Tag Archives: church



I did not just “fall off the turnip truck”, and I have “been around the block a few times”, meaning that I’m not naive, inexperienced, or immature.

I know that from time to time I will be in a disagreement  with others.  I am aware that conflicts happen within families, churches, neighborhoods, and groups.  I find myself currently involved in yet another conflict that the outcome will affect others.  This time the differences in opinions have left me shocked, angry and hurt.

It has been a week since the disagreement and I am still devoting too much of my time and energy dwelling on it.  Dwelling on the disagreement, not the solution.  My family knows about this situation that I’m having a difficult time with.  My kids are watching me and my reactions.  I realize that lately I have not been “practicing what I preach” or “walking the walk”.  I’m showing my kids what not to do instead of showing the right thing to do.

As of this very moment I am prayerfully changing my attitude.  The Holy Spirit is reminding me of the Scriptures I should be applying.  First there is this one,

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

I desire to be a blessed child of God.  I will allow peace to take over my attitude so that the hurt and anger will no longer have a place.

Next, the Word reminds me of more principles to apply,

1 Corinthians 13:5  It [love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Ouch!  I’m guilty of not acting in love.   I have dishonored those I’ve disagreed with.  I’ve thought badly of them.  I’ve spoken some of those dishonorable thoughts out loud.  I have been rather self-seeking, self righteous, and closed minded.  I was easily, very easily,  angered.  I know why, too.  It’s because of the records of wrongs I keep against them.  It’s true, I keep a mental list of everything, both little and big, that has ever offended me.  This list is not helping with finding solutions.  It is keeping my focus off of the matters at hand ,therefore keeping us from resolving the issue.  I’m laying my list down and will try not to pick it up again.

Proverbs 19:11  A person’s wisdom yields patience;  it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.

I’ll be getting over my hurt ego now and letting go of the anger.  I’ll be moving forward toward a resolution with both wisdom and patience.  This new and improved attitude is not just for my own benefit, but for the group of people this disagreement affects.  I also want my kids to see me doing what is right, setting a good example for them to follow.  They will always be involved in conflicts, too.  It’s just part of life.

God isn’t done with us any of us yet.  He guides and equips us through conflict.  He forgives us.  He encourages us with hope.  He reminds us of who we are and sometimes rewinds us to start over with the right attitudes.

betty jo

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But, He Has A Good Heart


“No, he’s not a Christian, but he’s got a good heart.”

“NO, he’s unemployed!  He lives in his van down by the river.  He smokes weed for dinner…”

“But, he’s got a good heart!”

The van in the photo does not have anything to do with our family, it just happened to be parked at the neighbor’s across the street from our house.   And that conversation, thank GOD, was not between my E17 and me, or about one of my boys.  It was from last Sunday’s sermon.  My church is just one of many Life Church TV locations.  That means when we meet, we watch a sermon on a video feed along with people all over the world.  This past Sunday Pastor Craig tackled the message of purity in the second part of the sermon series, Bless This Home.

Matthew 5:8   “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”

Usually I do not think much about my long-term goals as a homeschooling mom because I’m so busy just trying to meet our immediate daily goals.  But I do have some long term goals.  One is to help my children learn to “see God”.

According to Matthew 5:8,  this means that I must teach them the importance of purity.  I have found that trying to teach my kids purity is most difficult as so much of the world seems so very determined to teach them impurity.

Sunday’s message has me asking myself these questions, and realizing that I currently have much that can be improved on about the attitude of purity in both my personal life and teaching about this Godly attribute to my kids.

1) How would you describe the current condition of your heart? 2) What impurities have you allowed into your family? What can you do to remove them? 3) What steps do you need to take to create a permanent culture of purity in your family?

As my kids and I seek answers to those questions we’ll be meditating on these Scriptures from my sermon notes.

Jeremiah 17:9-10  “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? “I the lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”

Ephesians 4:18-19 NIV  “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed”.

Psalm 119:9-10 NIV  “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands.”

Proverbs 4:23 NIV  “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

1 Samuel 16:7 NIV  “But the lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the lord looks at the heart.”

Ephesians 5:3 NIV  “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people”

.Ezekiel 36:26 NIV  “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”

To view other teaching purity related posts click here  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/03/08/keeping-the-code/   and here   https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/03/10/calling-for-reinforcements/

You can view  Bless This Home 2  here   http://www.lifechurch.tv/watch

betty jo

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Forced Into Minimalism


Lately I’ve read numerous articles about prioritizing, organizing, simplifying and minimizing.  I suppose these ideas go well with the whole “spring cleaning” theme.  However helpful these themes are meant to be, they remind me of April two years ago and the hardest time our family has ever had.

On April 26th, 2011 we had to evacuate our home because of river and creek flooding.  We only took enough clothes for three days. We packed up our current homeschool books, supplies, and records.  The kids brought along one toy apiece.  We put a lot of things upstairs and put our furniture and appliances on concrete blocks, placed sand bags all around, grabbed mama cat and her kittens, and left.

The seven of us invaded the home of my husband’s sister.  Also, his parents, niece, her husband, and daughter were flooded out and were staying there, too (13 total).  It was crowded and tough getting along.   Everyone was stressed out, sad, frightened and worried.

It wasn’t until 2 weeks later before we could return to our home.  It was a nightmare!  The water line in the kitchen measured 42 inches.  Our furniture had floated off the blocks and tipped over.  A tornado had sucked out the kitchen window which in turn was an open invitation to every woodland and stray animal to take refuge in our house (upstairs included).  The septic system backed up into both bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room.    Oh, the smell was sickening and so much mold was growing on everything.  We were not going to be able to live there ever again.  Our belongings, including fifteen years of homeschooling books, projects, and records were completely ruined.

floodThe white foamy stuff in this photo is the mold that covered every inch of our home and belongings.  We had started our family twenty years prior to this event, so as you can imagine, we had a LOT of stuff.

The local news did a report from our driveway and yard about the dangers of poisonous snakes in flood zones.  And we found 2 snakes skins, one on the porch and one in the dining room.

After meeting with the insurance company, the Red Cross, and FEMA, we had the grand total of $8000 to start over with.

We stayed with my sister-in-law for three months, because there was not any rental property available in the area with so many being relocated.  Finally we were able to move into a tiny rental trailer.   We were greatly blessed by the charities of local churches, the Salvation Army and other ministries, who prayed with us, helped us with clothing , furniture, and brought us meals (they knew we were in too much shock to grocery shop, or prepare healthy meals).  We also, found out who our best friends really were.

By the following October, after living three months in that rental trailer, six months since the evacuation, we were approved for an emergency recovery loan for $50,000.  With more prayers, a very creative realtor, a caring loan officer, and sympathetic sellers, we had a HOME.

Today our home and furnishings fit into the categories of prioritized, organized, simplified, and minimized.  Though all these lifestyle and attitude changes did not happen to us by choice, I can look back and know without any doubt that these changes have been exactly what we needed.  We have learned about what is truly important. We understand the value of lending a helping hand to others.  We have much greater appreciation of the material things we have replaced.  We know that God doesn’t leave us or forsake us.  We are convinced that He provides us with what we need.  We are thankful.

betty jo

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The Leprechaun Hunt

st. ZebThis is a very silly Z7.  He and I teamed up for our local parks&rec Leprechaun Hunt.  Very clever.  They gave us a map and a list of clues to follow.  “Mr. Leprechaun loves to eat fish.  He has been known to catch them from all ‘ACROSS’ the pond” was our first clue to solve.  Z7 knew right away what it meant – the bridge across the lake that people fish from.  When we got there they gave us washable markers to draw  “rainbow mustaches” on each other.

There were eight clues in all.  Each had a silly activity to go with.   B14, E17, and A22 worked at the different clue stations with other volunteers from our church (I’m not sure how our church got involved in this community service project, but I was happy that they took this opportunity).  Everyone said they had a good time, and I know A7 and I did too.

It’s such a blessing to be able to spend the afternoon at the park with those I love on a beautiful (almost) spring day.  I think we received those Irish blessings we worked on during our homeschool week.

An Irish Blessing:

“May god give you…

For every storm, a rainbow,

For every tear, a smile,

For every care, a promise,

And a blessing in each trial,

For every problem life sends,

A faithful friend to share,

For every sigh, a sweet song,

And an answer for each prayer.”

For another post about St. Patrick’s Day click here

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!   And Happy Leprechaun Hunting!

For another post about St. Patrick’s Day click here:  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/03/14/absolutely-no-pinching/

betty jo


Gothic Revival in Western Kentucky

We toured some local historical churches with our homeschool support group. The three we visited are over 100 years old.  Not that old on the scale of old churches around the world, but old enough to have history.  Each of these were designed in a Gothic Revival manner, meaning that they look like mini middle age cathedrals.

c t 1  c t f

c t e   church door

The windows we admired were beautiful stained glass,  the Bible in art,  just like those windows from long ago when the common man could not read the stories for himself, but instead saw them in the church windows.

church tour 1   c t 4 c t a c t b c t c c t d

 As I stood amazed at the artisan skill,  I was humbled at the thought that God chooses not these fine buildings for his home, but  us.  “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

 One of the tour guides reminded us of this lesson from Luke 21:5-6,  “Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”  I’m glad to have seen these and shared them with my kids and friends before that happens .

betty jo

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Coffee And Donuts With The LORD At Home

We belong to a “cool and hip” kind of church.  We have a coffee bar with the absolute best donuts, wi-fi, 2 large video screens and 1 HUGE one, special lighting, large speakers,  and powerpoint  There is so much musical talent in the church that the bands and worship leaders have to rotate. Our pastor is well educated, a marvelous speaker, tells jokes, juggles,  preforms magic, and loves and cares. Dressing up is not a requirement. And the Presence of Christ is powerful, alive, and active. Yeah, like I said “cool and hip” very.  Just last Sunday we started a new thing by watching video from Life Church TV’s series Altar Ego.  With the broken car just sitting in the driveway waiting for the garage to have an opening, we were trying not to be bummed about missing today.

My husband takes his work truck to the donut shop and I make coffee.  There is a kind of peace that we don’t usually experience on Sunday mornings.  No one arguing about who’s turn it is for the bathroom, no one panicking over not being able to find a matching pair of socks, and no pressure to get all 8 of us somewhere on time. With the sermon available on the web we were going to have church at home. We have school at home nearly everyday, why not church sometimes, too

We send the two youngest off to another room (because last weeks sermon was PG) and husband, big kids and I settle in for Altar Ego part 2 – “Need for Control”. What?, Wait a minute- “Need for Control”?  I’m thinking this might not be so good after all. I’m a momma, I control my household, my kids, our budgets, menus , our activities and schedules. If you asked my husband he’d tell you I have a lot of control over him, too.  Control freak? Maybe, maybe not. I know to turn over my worries, I know God has better plans than I do..He’s the only one who really needs to be in control over our situations.

The preacher poses some questions about our need to be in control.  The second one pierces me right in the heart…”Is it mine to control?”

My first born is 21 now. He works, he goes to college, he has a steady, serious long distance.relationship.  He’s drug/alcohol free. But he messes up sometimes. And recently he messed up BIG TIME. While part of me wishes I could just step in and fix everything for him like I did when he was little (take control), the other part of me almost jumps for joy that he didn’t mess up like this during my watch. Today I know that  he is not mine to control just to love. Below is the link to Altar Ego 2 . betty jo