school: learning vs. “school”

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It’s probably interesting what Andre actually is learning in conjunction with what we do in “school.” Chef school?

We made salt/flour/water dough to make a little map with certain geographical features.

We’ll paint it later, I think, when it dries.

a cliff

labeling continents and some features of Egypt

He and Una really love the dough! We made three batches extra just for them to play with.

Yesterday we wrote a thank-you card together. Here he’s tracing his name:

 

experience sure helps with home school

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So, end of April, Andre just turned six, and I’m inspired to start our first year of home school. It’s actually really nice to be starting this child, I guess because I’m more experienced. We’re going through Tapestry of Grace, year one. I did this year with Skyla and Vika once already, maybe for 2nd or 3rd grade, and it was enjoyable, too. They have lots of hands-on options, reading, etc.

So we’re starting with ancient Egypt. I made the craft a group activity: make a paddle doll.  I switched it to Styrofoam, rather than corrugated cardboard. We cut and painted and put the heads on. They’re drying now and tomorrow we’ll decorate them.

I took Andre out to dinner and we did his book work. He’s flying through the first grade math so far. I like that I was able to teach him a little technique important for future handwriting. In his math pages, he was supposed to circle the correct number, but he circles in the wrong direction and starts the circle in a random place, and it’s not a great habit for handwriting later. (He’s done no writing so far.)

So I put four dots in a rectangle around the number, and showed him which dot to start on and in which direction to move around them. It was very simple and he caught on immediately. I small thing, but it showed me that I am thinking more like a teacher. I wasn’t like this when I started home school 6 years ago. 

It was a good start.

Vitaliy made a card game with the girls to help them all memorize verses. For now, they’ve reduced it to memorizing the reference and verse theme.

Cool idea 🙂

abortion: let’s disempower moms

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I’m stepping in a pile of dukey here, but I’m not apologizing about it. I hate talking about controversial subjects, and if someone comments on this, I’ll probably just leave it alone, for or against. It’s not my point here, to hash out all the ins and outs of this complex topic. This topic came up again in my life last week, which is what has me writing this. Maybe it’s just catharsis.

Abortion is supposed to be all about empowering women, right? Sheesh, she needs to finish her education, she needs opportunity to get the best job she can, she needs her reputation  … Insert “they/their” for when the guy is in the picture.

Dish it out.

Let me dish you out the other side. The side you will probably NEVER. EVER. hear in the news. The statement I heard last week, which is prompting these mullings-over in my brain.

“My friend had an abortion when she was [insert young age] years old. She wanted to keep the baby but her [guardians] made her have an abortion.”

Please, someone give me a quarter for every time I’ve heard that routine. Sadly, I’d be a millionaire. She “decides” she wants the baby. She should have the power to make that decision, right?. She should have the power to make her life complicated and “limited” by a baby, right?. Every feminist and abortion clinic in this women’s-empowerment nation should be asking each woman what she really wants to do with this baby, right???

RIGHT?????

That’s the lie right there, isn’t it. WE imagine that  more education, reputation, whatever is worth snuffing out that growing threat to all that, the  doom that her life will be if this comes to fruition….

Abortion disempowers women by empowering others in her life, empowering those who decide that abortion is the “only logical” choice in the face of this disaster. Let’s just sweep this coming doom under the rug and out of our lives, just like that.

What santanic, cruel joke was it, that we had to take a hard situation (aka, a “crisis” of a pregnancy) and make a worse answer in response to it? Who are we kidding? Who are we deceiving? Ourselves? No one?

Let’s get a little more creative, please. The human race is brilliant in many ways. But when it comes to abortion, it’s satanic. We can do better.

Abortion disempowers women because it begs a “logical” seemingly close-ended  solution to a decision that should be made as whole persons– as emotional, logical, will-ful, creative, eternal beings.  Which we truly are.

I will say it again: What amazing inventions and social goodwill have we buried by not envisioning cultures that embrace every life, all the way along? By coming at this issue with a politicized, polarized, poverty mentality?

I repeat: Abortion: It’s also disempowering women by giving power to others in her life who want to control her choices.

Was it really about empowering women? It hasn’t worked that way, in many, many lives.

Is that even the right goal?

our births, awesome or weird

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Just take your pick– ha ha 🙂

I love our unattended births. (Andre and Una were unattended births.) But as I age, the things I want to say about them changes.

First, I want to say that I’m starting to not like the term “unattended birth,” though I totally understand that term. I used to be ok with it.

But now … maybe it irks me, in that it puts the emphasis on who was NOT there, and can we puhleeze stop focusing on the caregiver? (I say this as a caregiver.)

My former midwifery director coined the term “family birth.” I like that. I’m toying with “just-us birth.”

Also, I used to explain, explain, explain  all my logical, physical reasons why we choose “just-us birth.” But I’m getting old and so I tire of all that now, and I just want to roll around in enjoying the fun and wonderful, amazing, over-the-top experiences we had together during our Just-Us Births. It makes me cry to remember it.

In our village house out in no-where, lying in the water in the bathtub, Vitaliy sitting next to me, listening to 4Him’s “Where there is Faith” over and over again while my uterus and baby did all the work.

Andre coming out, and me immediately, uninhibitedly talking to him and gently rubbing him with all his vernix! Oh, I could go on and on! I should!

Vitaliy coming to me over and over for days after Andre’s birth saying, “Wow, honey, you did it. You’re amazing.”

Him bringing me flowers and lavash, and buying 7 million chux pads for all the after-birth fluids.

Our kids running in after each birth to meet the new one.

My placenta that came out 7 hours after one birth– calling a “friend” in the States to ask how to push that out. And it was all fine.

Oh my.

Well, anytime you want to hear all about, just ask me to unload the stories on you.

I know you’re just dying to hear about it ….

 

fundraising: paper progress

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Spiritually, we’ve made leaps and bounds in fundraising this year. This goes back to my year where God is emphasizing my spiritual growth through relationships with other believers. Vitaliy and I participated in KingdomComeTraining.com training and now their coaching. It’s totally reformulated how we look at and feel about fundraising. I highly recommend it.

I have practiced being open and honest with my coach, and she has given me keys and questions to plowing down to the heart of my issues. I’m glad she’s my coach and not my friend, if you know what I mean. She’s asked me hard questions that a friend would never ask. Friends are nice for sympathy, however 🙂

We’ve met with many of our current partners. A few others still to go! It’s been so refreshing to share their lives for a while, catch up on kids, family news, life happenings. I’m very grateful. Vitaliy mentioned that this is the first time he’s starting to feel really emotionally connected to people, and that’s … special.

We have nine new partners that total $400 in new monthly support. About 6-7 friends are still considering and figuring out budgets and all the things that money reflects in our lives. We’ve been really encouraged by the responses of people, to pray for us, to partner financially with us.

What has been more amazing is seeing God’s hand exactly making people’s hearts ready. That brings me back to one of my main mottos from the Kingdom Come Training: God is my Main Partner.

Yes, He is. And He is Your Main Partner, too, making you fruitful for all eternity.

So far we’ve visited six of our appx. twelve partnering churches. It’s amazing what God has done. Each church we go to, we meet people who embrace us emotionally and spiritually, who are so open to us in their love for God, for us, for God’s people, for reaching the world with God’s Good News. We have fellowshipped with the salt of the earth. Their love offerings, that I know of, are something around $5,000. We’ve put all of that into our van fund.

So, praise to the Lord, who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth!

fundraising: an armor of God prayer

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In our ladies’ Sunday school class, we’re studying Priscilla Shirer’s The Armor of God.

I want to back up a minute and give a bit of context. For many years of my life, God emphasized talking to me through Scripture. By “talking” I just mean generally teaching/leading me. In 2017 He emphasized teaching/leading me in prayer. And this year He’s been opening my heart to be taught/led through His people.

Now, all these factors (prayer, Scripture, God’s people) have always had places in my relationship with God. He just is maybe filling it out more or something, balancing it, or making me focus on them more intensely and individually for certain periods.

So, honest moment, I’m normally somewhat nonplussed by pre-written Bible studies. But due to God’s emphasis in my life right now, I’ve been specifically working to open my heart to this.

It’s been an incredibly insightful study, helping me shift my thinking about some major, long-standing issues. She emphasizes prayer. And truth. So I wrote a prayer about fundraising, based on the truth.

Dear God, fundraising is a good work You planned for me to do so long ago. It has eternal value and rewards from You. In my weaknesses, You are strong. God, in the acts of fundraising, You are fulfilling my desires–good desires that You’ve placed in me to serve people and Your church, to make others fruitful for eternity. Fundraising is a path of righteousness in my life, it is part of my life’s cup overflowing. Lord, especially in fundraising, I lack nothing because You are my shepherd. May I live ever deeper in the life of Christ, gloriously fulfilling the specific part of Your magnificent plan which You’ve entrusted to and ordained for me to fulfill. And may I know Jesus through this, experientially know Him, His suffering and resurrection power, that others may also know and be emboldened to believe and obey who You truly are.

In Jesus’ name,

So be it.

 

Fundraising: seeing the hand of God

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Fundraising as a way of life amazes and blesses me more and more. The people we meet, the acquaintances we renew, the conversations we have about all of our roles in bringing the gospel to all the world ….

I will be realistic and say that as a person that’s pretty far down the line on the introversion scale, I need recover time. But the conversations and people are incredible.

I have asked God for emotional stability in fundraising, that it would not be a roller coaster of ecstasy or depression. And He is doing that. Today was a tempting day, though, but also a very encouraging day. I want to record it.

First of all, God reminded me a week ago, that in order to bless us in fundraising, He needs to have efforts to bless– that we need to be working consistently towards our goals, and let Him do the work of matching our partners and meeting everyone’s needs.

Our ladies’ SS group is going through Priscilla Shirer’s study, The Armor of God. I sat down to begin it today, and I realized that Satan sure can feed me lies about fundraising– this is such a slow process, you’re going nowhere, what’s the use  … It’s lies, because that’s all that Satan can say, you know. He can’t ever tell the truth.

It’s ridiculous. The Scripture that ministered to me today is from Ephesians 1:18-19:

 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know …. what is the surpassing greatness of His power … 

Enlighten my eyes! Give me Your light! … The truth is that fundraising is pretty easy for God, now isn’t it. There’s nothing difficult or hard about it for God. So the process that is our fundraising has exact, purposeful reasons why it takes whatever length of time it does, why it is a cyclical process, etc.

Today I read a letter that someone had sent me to our mission agency address:

Dear Anne,

What a precious gift you have been to me. When you spoke at [our church]…, I was exposed, my facade crumbled before the Lord. I believed my sin to be unforgivable, but you believed it was already nailed to the cross. And so the Holy Spirit began a great work in me. The relief, joy, freedom has been great….Your sister in Christ Jesus, ….

Oh dear God, may I never begrudge You another day of living Your will for my life, whatever that may be.

Let me go on a tangent here: You know how financially squeezing times come to us at certain times? Sometimes there are no big expenses and life flows on. Other times, it seems like expenses loom large, a tidal wave of them. We are in that time right now. Plane tickets, a new van, apartment renovations, international document fees, putting Skyla and Vika in Christian school next year. Thousands of dollars.

These are each matters that God has very specifically led us into, each one. It’s not timing we personally chose.

What I didn’t know until that afternoon was that the writer of that letter had enclosed a check for $1,000.

Oh dear God, teach me to identify and disbelieve the lying voice of Satan so the eyes of my heart be enlightened to know the surpassing greatness of Your power.

 

a flash of insight….

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…. that changes a lot.

I’ve posted sometimes about the feelings I have about my life– what’s the value of my life? what am I doing? what about unreached dreams? stuff like that I’ve been struggling with cyclically as I age.

So, I was telling Vitaliy about a week ago, “I think God wants me to think about this. Usually when something bothers me in this way, it’s a signal of where He wants to speak to me.”

I may have gotten the answer that closes the cycle. Finally.

I was late-night yakking with a friend about my frustrations, and a flash of insight shot into my brain.

I’ve been assuming the wrong question. It’s those hidden assumptions that are so foundational to everything, and we often don’t see them there– because we’ve assumed them.

For life analysis, I’ve been assuming the question: Is my life fulfilling? And that assumed question makes me land on slippery ground when I try to answer it. Yes. No. Maybe so. …. It’s always changing. It rubs painfully on the parts where I am still in the dark and need to trust God with my future.

And along with that insight followed this:

The better question to be asking/answering in order to evaluate my life is: Am I being obedient? faithful? fruitful? Am I letting the Son of God live in me in ever greater surrender?

It’s rather painful to pry my mind off the topic of personal fulfillment. But I think it’s the only healthy option. “Fulfillment” is not a goal, it’s a by-product, a result. Like happiness. It may be felt, it may not be felt. But it’s not the point. It’s not the goal of my life– to feel fulfilled.

Am I being obedient, am I being faithful, am I being fruitful in the revealed will of God for my life? Those are the truer questions.

… It’s a shift. It’s a transformation, a renewing of my mind.

It is learning to pray with greater sincerity: “Our Father in heaven, … your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

a giving testimony: 1

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As we fundraise, it arises memories for me of specific instances God’s led me to give. I want to record one here.

This was maybe 5 years ago. Somehow, I don’t remember how, I met a woman from Iran or Iraq who was a UN refugee (along with her adult son) for being a Christian and the persecution they suffered there.

We would occasionally see each other, I don’t remember how or why.

And one day God impressed on me very strongly that I was to contact her and give her a for-us large sum of money. It was a very strong, certain knowing that God wanted me to do this.

Pause a moment. You know how sometimes you give money in obedience to God, and in return He blesses you with even more money? I’ve had this happen to me several times.

But this time, when God was impressing me to do this, He “said” very clearly: I will not give you more money because of this. I just want you to give this amount and have a tight month financially.

So I did it. And it was tight, but we were OK.

I have no idea what God was doing for her at that moment. She left as a refugee for the States several months after that. But He was teaching me to discern His voice and obey no matter what. It’s what I’ve been learning my whole life, is it not?

Obedience is a theme God has been putting in my path a lot these last few months.

Happy obedience. An obedience that is secure in the love and knowledge that Christ did all righteous acts for my behalf already, that I have no standing to earn before God. I can obey in joy.

And understanding that the fuller blessings of intimacy with God for His children come through each one’s obedience to His specific will.

This time of fundraising is a time I distinctly feel that I am obeying God’s specific will for my life right now. And He presses this upon me over and over, that this fundraising is His will. He is working and doing His will in His people and in us through this. I don’t comprehend all the ends and purposes He has going on, but it’s going on.

🙂 Amen.

Ezhednevnik: Vospitaniye

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Когда мои первые 2 дети были мальенкими, я очень много писала, писала о воспытании. Это были годы когда Бог мне много научила о Себе, связано с воспытанием детей.

Сейчас намного все спокойнее, но хочу написать тоже, что происходит иногда у нас.

У нас много конфет дома из-за Пасхи. Юна спросила за конфет, и я ей разрешила 2 раза есть, и потом скзала, что больше нельзя. Через 5 минут, старшая дочка мне сказала, что Юна прячиться за дверей и кушает больше конфет.

Я туда пошла, было видно, но Юна сказала, что не кушала. Я сидела спокойно на полу, и скзала, что я знаю, что она съела конфет, и надо истинну мне сказать.

Она молчала. Мы ходили вместе к мою кроватю. Лежала вместе, и я с ней говорила, типа так:

–Юна, Иисус никогда не лгал. И Он всегда послушался…. Бог Его наказывал за то, что ты была сейчас непослушным и за то, что ты обманывала. Иисус любил истинну, Он всегда говорил истинну. Ты не можешь так поступать с мамой. Если Бог тебе наказывал и не Иисус, это значить, что тебе надо быть в аду. Но Бог любит тебя, и хочет чтобы ты была с Ним…. Тебе надо жить как Иисус жил.

И ей надо было лежать в кровати и спать. (Сон– это полезно в многих случаях). Я лежала с ней, и она быстро заснула.

Когда она проснулась, она позвала меня, и мы опять разговаровали

–нельзя обманывать, нельзя неслушаться, и давайте помолимся….

Вот, мой ежедневник воспитания сегодняшний.

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