"Prepare Your Heart for a Great Christmas combines unique reflections with real life, using daily prayer and to-do lists to ease your mind and inspire your heart. The reflections begin on Thanksgiving Day and proceed through Christmas Day to the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated in many churches as the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. When we take time with God on a daily basis, our days are blessed. Follow this book’s simple formula and prepare your heart for a Great Christmas!"
Prepare your Heart for a Great Christmas was written by Maria Rodgers O'Rourke. To learn more about the author and giveaway, please visit Momstart.com.
You will show me the path of life; in your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
God has important plans for all of us and our families. When we are confused about life and what our purpose is, we need to turn toward God and seek his plan. Oh the blessings we reap when we do this! In the book, Purpose for Everyday Living for Mothers, three important truths are listed to remind us that God does have purpose for our lives.
1. God has a plan for your life. 2. If you seek that plan sincerely and prayerfully, you will find it. 3. When you discover God's purpose for your life, you will experience abundance,peace, joy, and power- God's power.
Over the past couple of years, this reality has been very clear to me. It isn't always easy to discern God's plan, but I know in my heart that he does have a plan for me and my family. As I try to obey and go where God leads me, more peace and happiness comes to my life and to the life of my husband and children. Leaving my full-time job to go part-time and then eventually to leaving the teaching profession was done through many hours of prayer and discussions.
We have had less money, yet we have been given so much more. We have been focusing on simple living and relationships, and less on material things. This has brought an amazing amount of love and peace to our household. Leaving a full-time position, gave me the opportunity to grow as a Christian by building new relationships with other Christians, more time to volunteer and to serve others, and to grow in my relationship with Christ and family.
The new adventure that God has placed in our lives is homeschooling. I will start schooling my oldest daughter at home through Cyberschool. I started learning about homeschooling and praying about this shortly after my oldest left preschool. She had such a strong foundation from Christian preschool, so it bothered me to take Christian education away from her. At the time we didn't feel we had the financial resources to send her to a Christian School. She even said that this was one of the main things that she wanted to learn about in Kindergarten. She didn't understand why she wouldn't continue with a Christian curriculum in public school.
Even though my daughter had a wonderful and very supportive teacher last year, I continued to learn about and pray about this educational option. Especially since she was slowly being influenced more and more by the values of others than by the values being taught in her own home.
Even though in my heart, I felt that teaching her at home was the best option for our family right now, I sent her to first grade. I fought the idea because of my own insecurities and concerns for socialization. The more I fought the idea, the more God would whisper in my ear- You can do all things through me- I strengthen you . You are not in this alone. Over the past year, God has placed so many people in my life who are homeschooling or cyberschooling their children who have offered words of encouragement and inspiration.
Many think that I chose this path because I'm not pleased with her teacher this year. Her negative experiences have just pushed me in a direction that we were already heading. There are many reasons why I came to this decision with God's guidance which include my philosophy of education, opportunities for real-life learning vs. paper pencil tasks, my daughter's unique learning style, and individualized instruction. As a former educator, it was very difficult to sit back and watch a very curious, creative child be stifled by her current educational setting. After working countless hours to educate other people's children; with God's help, I'm willing to work as hard to provide the best educational and spiritual environment for my own children. I feel blessed that I have a supportive husband and the time and ability to do so.
"It's incredible to realize that what we do each day has meaning in the big picture of God's plan." Bill Hybels
Or should I say- Here we stay!! In the comfort of our home!
I'm preparing some space in the dining room to school my Sunshine girl. We created a word wall together to add words that she is studying and common words that she will use in her writing. I also have an area to hang her and her sister's best work and a couple of activities. (popcorn and turkey center) Luckily, I have a lot of teaching supplies in storage that I can pull out. I wanted to get my daughter excited about the transition between public education and schooling at home. She seems to love her new learning wall!! Her desk and computer will sit in from of the wall. This was a big decision for our family, but one that was done with a lot of thought and prayer. We are excited about this new learning adventure!
A small child had recently been baptized. One of her classmates asked her what it was like to be a Christian. She was caught off guard and didn't know how to answer when she looked up and saw a jack-o-lantern on the desk. She answered. "It's like being a pumpkin."
Her classmate asked her to explain that!
"Well, God picks you from the patch and brings you in and washes all the dirt on the outside that you got from being around all the other pumpkins. Then he cuts off the top and takes all the yucky stuff out from inside. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, and all those other bad things. Then he carves you a new smiley face and puts his light inside of you to shine for all to see! It is our choice to either stay outside and rot on the vine or come inside and be something new and bright!"
Welcome! I'm Jen, the mother of 3 beautiful blessings! My little man- age 3 years, Peanut-age 8, and Sunshine- age 10. Celebrated 17 years of marriage this past year- Wow! Enjoy exploring and creating with my little ones and those I care for part-time. Taking a break from my Elementary Education career to have more time with my family.
This site is dedicated to one of Abby's first teachers. God uses her daily to touch the lives of children (her Shining Stars). She touches the lives of grownups, too. She taught me to pray not only for the big things in my children's lives, but also for their daily boo boos! We are very blessed to have her in our lives!