Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The True Meaning Of Christmas Redeemed Again

Do you know, my younger son actually wrote an essay about the true meaning of Christmas this morning?  The amazing part about this is that I hadn’t assigned it.  He just wanted to write it, and so he did.

When I talked about Christmas redeeming itself in the last post I could have never dreamed of the miracle that we would experience this Christmas season.  Past Christmases have felt void, and without room for Jesus (how ironic).  But this Christmas he is everywhere it seems, peeking around every corner.  His love is everywhere that I turn, and his opportunities to love are everywhere as well.  This is a Christmas to remember!

I am overwhelmed by the generosity of others in response to the basic needs of our family as well as those around us in need.  God is showing His love in amazing ways, and I am forever grateful.

God sees and loves us, as we see and love others.  Jesus was a humble man, and his amazing love humbles me.  Oh, that I was able to serve and love him even half as much as he loves and blesses me.

While I can’t express all that I treasure in my heart and mind right now, here are some words that represent what I am thinking . . .

. . . a family Christmas card from the grateful heart of someone in prison . . .

. . . a dear sweet man, living under a bridge, grateful for warm boots this Christmas . . .

. . . three children with not only a Christmas gift this year, but a few other little things that they want and need as well . . .

. . . a beautiful new baby, the ninth child, but loved every bit as much as the other eight before him . . .

. . . the child of the King that calls us his sisters and brothers . . .

May each of you experience God’s overpowering love this Christmas, and God Bless all of you!

-The Whole Social Homeschooler Family

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Redeeming Christmas

lampIn all honesty, Christmas has lost something for me over the years.  It is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but somehow it has gotten all goofed up. 

Christmastime for me is when the house is busting at the seams with toys, and I’m having trouble getting into the “Christmas spirit” because I know that there are more coming.  

It’s hard when it’s the time of year when everyone is asking, “So are you done with your Christmas shopping yet?” as innocent as can be, and I am more worried about  how I am going to pay my bills . . . let alone have extra to buy presents for ANYONE . . .  especially my kids.  (Something that they are truly wishing for . . . not toys.)

In fact for the last two Christmases we didn’t even bother putting up a tree.  We “played the part” at the appropriate Christmas get togethers, but we just weren’t feeling it.

This year I’m finally beginning to realize what the problem is . . . what the void and disconnect is.  And it’s NOT the fact that we don’t celebrate “Santa” in our home. 

We decided to celebrate Jesus instead, but were at a loss for exactly how to do that in conjunction with the “Santa” in all of our get togethers over the holidays.  Where was there room for Jesus? 

We decided not to go to anyone’s house for Christmas starting this year.  Maybe we could begin a change as a family unit, and serve others on that day.

It’s not even our first Christmas at home, and already a change is happening.  The tree is up.  Our families are focusing on those that are in need in our area with excitement and purpose.  One grandma is knitting gloves, and the other is spending time and money to help fill the needs of others.  The ones that they are helping to serve are personal friends of ours, some are homeless and some are simply in need, and the excitement is mounting.  This is what is important!  This is what matters!  

This is what Christmas is all about!  Jesus!  Serving Jesus by serving others is far more important than a present under the tree . . . it is a way of life.
If someone gives me something that is only meant to serve me superficially (it doesn’t meet a need in my life), and if I can’t use it so serve others, I DON’T WANT IT!  

Temporary pleasures will never be worth the same as something warm for a homeless man,  or something that creates a smile on a struggling woman’s face.

Yes, this Christmas is more.  This is the Christmas that Christmas redeems itself . . . through the love and generosity of us and the ones that we love.  Now THIS is the Christmas I’ve been missing!  The greatest present “under the tree” is not for me or the kids, and that’s just fine with me!  WE prefer it that way!!  We’ve already received the greatest gift of ALL TIME . . . Jesus . . . and HE has made all the difference!!

Lord, watch over those that have not, and continue to use those that have to provide for them.  Watch over those without shelter in this bitter cold.  We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Check This Out!

I don’t know if you have noticed yet, but we now have a new page on the blog.  Clicking on the links on the “Show Some Homeschool Pride!” page will take you to our shops at CafePress. 

My hope is that, in the future, these products will feature scenes from other homeschooling families learning and having fun as well.

There is a beauty and wonder found in homeschooling, and we want to celebrate that.

The proceeds from any sales at our shops will be used not only to support our homeschool family, but others as well.

Thank you for reading, and may God lead and bless your homeschooling efforts, as he’s blessed ours.

                              -The Social Homeschooler

Monday, December 6, 2010

Lewis, The Friendly Repo Man-Part 2

As a said before in the last post, our first year of homeschooling was during an extremely tough year, for many reasons.  But our finances, or lack thereof, played a huge role in the stress of that year.  There were many times when I wondered why I had felt called to start homeschooling that year, of all years!  But God was with us . . .

He was with us when we my hubby had no job for six months, and then found one finally that paid a lot less then jobs he’d had before, but it was income . . . just before the unemployment ran out. 

He was there when we went to a real estate office to talk to a financial service representative about getting out of our big monthly payment, and moving to a home with a smaller one.  And He was there when the man at the office gently told us that he thought that bankruptcy was a better option for us, and he gave us the name and recommendation of a bankruptcy attorney to talk to.

He was there as my husband and I sat outside our house, in the car, and cried together.  He was there as we dried the tears of our humiliation and shame over the situation, and geared up to walk in the house and face our children and the babysitter.

He was there at the attorney’s office and in bankruptcy court, as time and time again our financial situation was laid bare and spoken about in front of strangers.  He was with us when so many others in the trustee’s office that day had attorneys that were unprepared, and ours was prepared for anything.  He was there as I felt compelled to pray over the ones that were caused extra pain by the incompetence of their legal representation.

And he was there as we prepared to move away from our first home as a married couple, and the only home our children had ever known.  He was there when we thoroughly cleaned our house and leased van in preparation to give them back to the bank, and we tried to show our children how to be honorable in bad situations.

And he was there when Lewis came to our door . . .

We had been working frantically to move everything that we could before the van had to go back.  We didn’t have the money to rent a moving van, and we were already working against time to get out of the home before the bank took possession.  We only needed to move a few more loads of belongings that wouldn’t fit in a car.  It was a Wednesday or Thursday when Lewis came to our door and knocked.

My hubby had taken the van to work, and was away as I answered the door. 

Lewis was a kind looking man, probably about the age of my father.  He looked at me and asked gently about the van.

“My husband has it and isn’t here now.”

“Are you willing to give the van back?”

“Yes, we are more than willing to give it back.  We understand that it is not ours to keep.”

Handing me his card with his name and cell phone number on it.  “Then call me, and we can set a time to meet.  I can meet you here on Saturday.”

“Oh, thank you!  We will be calling you later today to set that up.”

I said good-bye and closed the door with relief.  And here was God’s grace and mercy again, in this man named Lewis.

My husband called later to set up an “appointment” for the next day, and I sighed.  Now we had just enough time to move what we couldn’t move without the van.  There would be no removal of the van in the night, no surprise.  We had the grace and mercy of a little more time to move.

We made many trips between the two houses the next couple days, but once again God had provided for us . . . through a man named Lewis.  Praise God!


As many of you know from my blog, we have since gone through another period of unemployment.  This time we were already at a point of living on less of an income, and we were able to live off of the unemployment income and pay our bills.  My hubby has again found a job . . . just as he would be set to lose unemployment insurance with so many right now.  Please pray with me now for them.

Lord, there are so many that are hurting financially right now.  And worse than that, there are many that can not find a job right now, and are losing their unemployment . . . the only income that they have.  We could have very easily been one of them.  There are so many whose hearts are breaking.  Please watch over those in need, and continue to provide employment opportunities and provision for them during this time.  And thank you for all of the blessings that you offer us every day.  Lord we pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lewis, The Friendly Repo Man

Did the title get your attention?!  I thought it might! 

It has been a few years since Lewis and I met, for the first (and hopefully last) time, but for some reason I was thinking about him today.

This is the time of school year where many of us struggle a bit.  It’s almost Christmas, the kids aren’t playing outside maybe as much as they were, and we are in this for the long haul.  If Wednesday is the hump day of the week, then this is the hump we must hurdle of the school year.

But where does Lewis figure into all of this?  I’m getting there. 

Every school year has it’s ups and downs, but what happens when your year has more downs than ups?  This was the way of our first homeschool year.

Our first homeschool year was a year of a learning the ways of homeschooling, homeschooling with an infant in the house, watching our finances go down the drain in bankruptcy after a layoff, giving back our house and car to the bank and moving away from the only home our children had ever known kind of year.  It wasn’t always pretty, and it definitely wasn’t easy. 

Our old home wasn’t near any homeschool activities or support groups, and other than the online part of our support group, I was pretty much flying blind.  And to top it off, I really had no real money for homeschool resources.  But God was with us . . .

To Be Continued . . . Come back and meet Lewis next time here at Social City Homeschooler.