Esther

This past week I focused on the book of Esther.  I find the book of Esther to be very interesting and thought provoking.

The first thing I noticed is that the name of our Lord is no where to be found in the book of Esther.  Although His name is not in the book the works of His hands are so evident!

The king was giving a large banquet that lasted seven days…. can you imagine serving food and drink to many, many people for seven days?  I get tired after one afternoon of entertaining!  Anyway, on the seventh day, after the king had become ‘merry with wine’ requested that his Queen come before him so that he could show off her beauty.  Queen Vashti refused and the king became very angry and removed her as Queen.  Seems a little harsh but God is working!

The king starts his search for a new queen and this is where Esther joins the story.  Esther found favor with the king and all of his servants and she eventually becomes his queen.  All this time never did she reveal to the king her kindred or her people just as Mordecai commanded her.  Mordecai became aware of a plot to kill the king.   Mordecai told Esther the plan and she told the king in Mordecai’s name.

There is another plot that Haman has devised and convinced the king to sign off on and that was to kill all the Jews.  Through Mordecai, Esther learns of this plot to kill her people.  Mordecai tells her she must go to the king but Esther knows that to do so would be very dangerous.  I love Esther chapter 4, verse 14 (NASB) “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place and you and your father’s house will perish.  And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?”  That is the Lord at work!

Esther musters up the courage to approach the king and tell of the evil plan of Haman and in the end Haman is hung on the very gallows he had prepared to have Mordecai hung on.  The Jews were saved, Mordecai was promoted and the Jews destroyed their enemies.

Where else is God’s hand shown in Esther?  Chapter 4, verses 16 and 17 “Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  I and my maidens also will fast in the same way.  And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.”  So Mordecai went away and did just as Esther had commanded him.  The people PRAYED!  God listened!

Esther mustered up the courage to approach the king… she said “if I perish, I perish.”  Wow!  God lifted Esther up ‘for such a time as this’ and because of her bravery her people were saved.

As I read Esther a verse came to mind… Philippians 2:15 “That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”

Now, none of us are perfect and yes God does forgive our sins.  However, that does not mean it is ok to blatantly sin and then say to God ‘Well I know this is wrong but… I’m gonna do it anyway.’  Hmmm… that’s kind of off the topic of Ester isn’t it???

Anyway, when it came to saving her people Esther stood alone before the king and did what was right.

Am I able to stand alone and do what’s right?  I mean, let’s be honest, sometimes being a Christian is standing alone.  Especially in such a fallen world and being surrounded by so many who are convinced that there is no God or if there is that His love is all that matters, not sin.

I pray that I can be bold like Esther and stand alone, if I must, to go against  the ‘norm’ or politically correct in this world.

Thank you, Lord, for standing with Esther and for standing with all of us.

Gaylene

 

First Day of School!

So, I’m a little late in getting this posted but we had our first day of school a few weeks ago!  Below is our first day of school pictures and a summary of what each is working on.

We start each day with bible and character time where we are all curled up on the couch or chairs and read the bible and discuss various Godly characteristics.  We usually sing a song or two as well and finish up with each of us praying.

Natasha started 6th grade and is growing into a quite a young lady.  She is studying swimming creatures with Apologia Science, The Mystery of History – Creation to the Resurrection, math with RightStart Math, Geography with Expedition Earth, typing (when I was in school it was called typing; I guess now a days it’s called keyboarding!) Spelling with Spell to Write and Read and reading lots of other great books.  She takes weekly piano lessons with the wonderful Miss Rebecca and weekly Spanish class with a group of close friends.

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Mikayla started 4th grade and continues to amaze us with her incredible imagination.  She is also studying swimming creatures with Apologia Science, The Mystery of History – Creation to the Resurrection, math with RightStart Math, Geography with Expedition Earth, typing and lots of reading.  Mikayla also takes weekly piano lessons with Miss Rebecca and the same Spanish class with Natasha.

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Alex is starting 1st grade but is still finishing up some Kindergarten studies.  I’m not big at pushing academics to 4 and 5 year olds so I’m ok with where she is at.  She will be studying the same science and history as her older sisters as well as her own level of RightStart Math.  She still likes to do the letter of the week activities that Jonathan works on although she doesn’t need them as she knows her letters and all the sounds they make.  She continues her weekly speech therapy sessions and has shown incredible progress over the last 2 years.  She and I spend lots of time cuddled up on the couch reading together.  She takes weekly piano lessons with Miss Tori.

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Jonathan is in Prek and absolutely LOVES doing school with his older sisters.  He has lots of fun games, puzzles, crafts and activities to do as he learns letter names and sounds.  He also has fun math activities along with shapes and patterning.

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Katherine isn’t in school yet but isn’t she cute???  And can you believe she is already 6 months old?  We just started giving her mashed up avocados mixed with a little of her milk once a day and she loves it.

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I absolutely love homeschooling.  I can’t even imagine dropping my kids off at a building each day and let others get the experience of watching their eyes light up when they learn something new.

Gaylene

Happy Birthday Alex!

I’m a little late with this post but life is crazy right now!

Our sweet Alex turned 6 years old on Monday, August 4th.  I remember heading to the hospital right around midnight on Sunday, August 3rd and my doctor was to meet us there.  Alex was to be my first VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean section) and I was suppose to be ‘monitored’ at the hospital since VBACs carry more risk.  Hospitals are not my favorite place to be and I put it off as long as Phil would let me!

Alex entered the world just after 2am on Monday, August 4th.  We did not know whether we were having a boy or a girl so it was  fun to hear the doctor say “It’s a girl!”  By 8am we were asking to go home.  My doctor saw no problem with us going home although the hospital staff was not happy.  Alex was doing great as was I so we saw no reason to stay and be poked and prodded and asked a dozen times if we know how to care for a newborn.   We were home by 2pm :)

Fast forward 6 years and we have a bright, happy, and slightly silly 6 year old who is NEVER at a loss for words!  She is about to start 1st grade and enjoys being a part of the school day with her older sisters.  She takes piano and absolutely loves her piano teacher, Miss Tori.  She is a very good big sister to her only brother Jonathan and her baby sister Katherine.  She brings us a ton of joy and is a wonderful part of our family.

Happy Birthday Alex!

Pictures from digital camera thru Aug 2010 081  Pictures from digital camera thru Aug 2010 003  June 2011 A

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Change Is A Good Thing…. Right?

Anyone who knows me knows that I, generally speaking, don’t do well with change. But I also know that change can be good and, at times, necessary.

We’ve had a lot of change in our house over the last 6 weeks. The kind of change that requires physical energy, patience and a good nights sleep!

In an effort to give our four girls more room we decided to give them the master bedroom. Now, our house was built in 1952 and the bedrooms are not very big, not even the master bedroom. But, it gives them a bit more room. We sold our giant, solid wood furniture and bought a used platform bed to fit our CA King mattress (I love craigslist!). Then I painted the room a bright green and stenciled Joshua 1:9 on their closet door. I painted a few small trees, butterflies, lady bugs and flowers throughout the room. My mom made them new curtains. Then we got their bunk beds set up along with the crib for Katherine. One set of bunk beds does not have the bottom bunk set up (don’t need it yet!) so I made it a little play area for the girls.

Then in our new room, I painted it and my mom made us some new curtains. We got our new bed set up and then I set off to re-arrange the basement.

Both Phil and I were convicted that we have too much stuff… I mean WAY too much stuff and stuff that we didn’t need nor use. So I made my old office the girls dressing room. All of their dressers and hanging clothes are now down in this dressing room. The other half of the room is set up with all of our crafts and believe me when I say we know how to craft!

Then, Phil’s office was cleaned out and made into a game room. All of the toys and games that were in our big play room downstairs were cleaned out. Some thrown away and some donated. Then we re-organized all that was left and set it up in what is now the game room. As a side note, Jonathan had grown out of his toddler bed and was ready for a twin. Because of our very, VERY tight budget we really had no funds to buy him a new bed. So, my mom volunteered to take the double bed that used to be in Phil’s office and give her twin to Jonathan. It was a win win for all of us! Thanks Mom!

What’s left in the big play room? The 2 lego tables won’t fit in the game room so they stayed in the big room. Our piano and treadmill are also still in this room. We took our dark blue couch to the dump which left us with the small brown love seat. It just so happened that my aunt was having a garage sale the same weekend and was selling her couch. The couch was rarely sat on as it was kept in a bedroom and she sold it to us for very little. AND, it is a sleeper couch! I realize that it won’t be as comfortable as our previous guest bed but hey, it’s free to use!

So, the big room is now much less cluttered and a more relaxing place to watch TV. Well, we don’t have cable so we watch movies.

Now for a few cute pictures!

Katherine taking a nap outside in the shade.

Katherine taking a nap outside in the shade.

They love when they get to go with daddy in the bike trailer!

They love when they get to go with daddy in the bike trailer!

Cousin Jacob here for a visit!

Cousin Jacob here for a visit!

Jonathan loves to roll in the grass!

Jonathan loves to roll in the grass!

The Titus 2 Woman

Titus 2:3-5 (NASB) Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands so that the word of God will not be dishonored.  

I was reading a blog post by Courtney over at Women Living Well about 5 radical qualities young women should pursue.   Courtney discusses what Paul is writing about in Titus 2.  She does a wonderful job breaking down each verse and the qualities that a young woman should try to acquire.  You should take a few moments and read her take on Titus 2

I am blessed to have 2 Titus 2 women in my life.  I have known my friend June for 14 years.  Through the years she has prayed for me and with me (and my family), encouraged me, challenged me and laughed with me.  She is usually the first person my husband calls when he sees that I need to get out of the house and be encouraged.   She is a wonderful example of a Godly wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend.

I’ve only known my friend Joan for a few years but she too has prayed for me, challenged me and we certainly laugh together… frequently!  She loves the Lord, her husband and her children.  She takes her role as a Titus 2 woman seriously and will lovingly mentor anyone.  Her passion is to help other women become a Titus 2 woman and to help them strengthen their relationships with the Lord, their husbands and their children.

I pray that one day I can serve others as my 2 friends have served me and my family.

Blessings,
Gaylene

ps – you really should check out Courtney’s blog.  She is a gifted writer and does not shy away from speaking the truth of the Bible.

 

Mom, I like testing!

Today was our last day of school for the 2013 – 2014 school year.  This is actually the first year we have taken an official summer break.  Don’t get me wrong; our kids get a ton of breaks throughout the year.  However, in years past we just kept on going through summer.

We are taking 3 weeks off (I know… hardly a break!)  I think if we take more then 3 weeks I will start to hear the “I’m bored” complaint and that makes for a grumpy mama!  We won’t start back in full force until mid August but we will pick back up with reading, math and science in mid July.

This week I administered the annual CAT to Pooh and Belle.  This was Pooh’s 3rd year testing but Belle’s first.  To my surprise Belle really liked taking the test and they both wanted to make sure they could do the text again next year.  Wow!  I hated those tests every year!  The great thing about homeschooling is we can take the tests in our pj’s, or go outside, or change the order to fit our fancy.

So, now we officially have a 6th grader, a 4th grader and a 1st grader.  I am so blessed to have my kids at home with me where they are building strong relationships with each other instead of sending them off to be with who knows who for 6+ hours every day.  I thank God for putting homeschooling on my heart the fall of 2008 and not letting me ignore Him!

Pooh our 6th grader!

Pooh our 6th grader!

Belle our 4th grader.  The two of us rode our bikes to Good Times for some mommy/daughter time.

Belle our 4th grader. The two of us rode our bikes to Good Times for some mommy/daughter time.

Alex our 1st grader.

Alex our 1st grader.

Jonathan is 3.5 and is working on letters and numbers.  He loves doing school with sisters.

JT is 3.5 and is working on letters and numbers. He loves doing school with sisters.

Katherine being loved up on my her big sister.

Katherine being loved up on by her big sister.

The Girls!

The Girls!

The Wilson Kids

The Wilson Kids