Public Education and Freedom – Can they co-exist?

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Instead of posting something of my own today, I want to link back to this article that I think everyone should read, regardless of your existing beliefs about public vs. private education (homeschool).  When reading this, we really have to ask ourselves what we expect from our perceived freedoms.  Do we expect complete freedom in every area of our lives – with the government around only to serve us and protect the laws that we, the people of this once-great nation, have voted into effect?  Or do we want our government to make laws based on “the greater good” or simply what “they” want?

Th fact is, if one of the very reasons that we oppose Obamacare (I know, there are a myriad of reasons) is because we’re being told what to do, how to do it, forced to do it, and forced to pay for it, then should we not apply this EXACT same thought process to the issue of education?

What do you think?  Do you think complete freedom in education is a fundamental right in this country?  If not, do you think it should be?


Grace in the Little Things

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How often have you heard, “God cares about every detail of our lives,” ?  Or, “If it matters to you, it matters to Him,” ?

I’ve heard it a thousand times.  And I believed it.  But, God has a sense of humor, and a perfect sense of timing.

Currently, my minivan is on the fritz – the transmission is out (YAY….not!).  So, I’ve been driving our old F350 – I really do like to drive it, though you don’t exactly zip around town in a crew cab long bed 1 ton truck!  Anyway, the front passenger window was rolled down but wouldn’t go back up (the windows are electric, and there are also two other windows that will not roll up completely).  So, while at home, we’ve kept the windows covered to keep the rain out (what rain, you ask?  ha ha).  However, when I drive around town, I don’t like to look too much like a backwoods hillbilly, so off the covers come until I get home – you can imagine that I tend to stay home if it’s raining!

Well, a few days ago, I had to go buy groceries.  Thankfully, no rain – and it was a beautiful day!  So, off came the ugly black covers on the back windows, and off came the florescent orange cover on the front window!  I drove into town, and asked God quickly, again, to please roll that window up.

Now, let me interject here that I have ‘asked’ for that window to be rolled up several times before.  “God, will you PUH-LEEZE roll the stupid window up?”  Sounds heartfelt and very Christian-like, huh?  If I were God, I would have ignored my request, too.  Much, in fact, the way I ignore the requests of MY children when they whine, or don’t use a respectful tone.

But, the day was wonderfully cool and the sun was shining, and somehow, God had used those things to change my attitude.   I asked Him to please roll it up, tried the switch, and nothing happened.  So, I paused for a minute.

(As a quick side note, I don’t know about you, but I always do my BEST praying in the car by myself.)

I told God that I knew He did care about the little things in our lives.  I knew He could roll the window up that instant, if He so chose.  But, if not, would He just protect my truck while I was inside Wal-Mart buying groceries?  Either way, it was up to Him, and I was going to be happy either way.

I left the switch alone.

A few minutes later, for reasons I can’t explain other than the Lord, Himself, caused me to, I pushed the switch to close the window.  It rolled up smoothly, without a glitch, perfectly!  As if nothing had ever been wrong.

I laughed at my stubbornness in previous prayers – how I sounded like a spoiled, whiny child!  I told my husband what had happened and he, too, thought it awesome.  I told him the story of how I had “prayed” for that window before, and he said, “But did you really think He would do it?”

“Shutup,” was all I said, laughing and jokingly, of course.

So, my question for you is, when you pray for something, are you like a whiny, spoiled child who just wants to have his/her way?  Or are you praying truly asking the Lord for His covering, His protection, His will, and His timing?  And more importantly, are you trusting Him to answer?

The truth is that the little things can teach us so much about God, and ourselves.  There are so many lessons for me in this little story about the window that wouldn’t roll up.  How many can you see for yourself?

I wonder, wonder……

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You have to wonder:  does being a true Christian change a person?  Should it?  If it doesn’t, is that person TRULY, unequivocably saved?

I submit that the answer to the first two questions is absolutely, without a doubt – YES.

If, then, the answer to those two questions is yes, can we assume the answer to the third?

And perhaps, if you read your Bible, you don’t have to wonder, at all!

No sun – only the Son

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I love to sleep.

I’m a night owl, as I’ve mentioned before….but I do love my sleep.

I’m not a morning person….I’m getting better, but I don’t wake up early as a rule, though I do LOVE early mornings.

So, where am I going with all this?  Well, I’ll tell you.

Dark….or rather the lack thereof.

So, wouldn’t that be DAY, Toni? Not necessarily.  Besides, I’m referring to the light of the Son, not the sun.

Ok, so maybe I’m a little weird, but I was thinking yesterday about the fact that in Heaven, there will be no night. (If I say anything theologically wrong, please, someone, correct me!)  And, I know that we will have no need of the sun for the Light of Christ will be more than sufficient.

So, I was wondering, why no night?

Well, for starters, the Light that emanates from Immanuel cannot be extinguished.  Therefore, no night.  Simple enough.  But, what about no night for sleeping?

I don’t know about you, but I sleep much better in the dark than in massive amounts of light.  So, I wondered why there would be none.

And then, a few things occurred to me:

1.  We will be in the Presence of the Lord God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and earth, Immanuel, Yeshua – who wants to sleep then??

2.  We will be so busy being about the business of our Lord and Savior, that we just won’t have time.

3.  And, what if the words from Isaiah 40:31 would apply in Heaven?  Yet those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength;  They will mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

Or maybe the sleep we need here on earth is a result of sin.  And once we’re in Heaven, there will be no more sin, and therefore no need of sleep.  Sin cannot hide in the Light.  And the Lord cannot abide with sin.

So, at this point, it’s still a question for me – what does no darkness in Heaven mean?  No sleep?  No need for sleep?  Is it an illustration of the lack of sin?  Or is it simply that being in the presence of the Creator of the universe will require our eternal undivided attention, thus removing the need for, or possibility of, time used for sleep?  Since Jesus is peace, and we go to Him to get rest, perhaps therein lies the answer.

Uninhibited Volunteering

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My girls have recently become involved with 4-H, which means, I have recently become involved with 4-H!  LOL.

It’s ok, I enjoy the company of other people, and gravitate toward others, rather than always being alone.

The girls volunteered for offices within the club, and I am now the proud parent of a Reporter and Health & Safety Officer for our local 4-H club.  I’m really proud of them, though they almost bit off more than they (or I!) could chew.

So far, the girls have (combined) volunteered for:  offices in the club, livestock showing, photography, forestry, community service of course, being on the Christmas Committee, and a few other things.  Now, I don’t mind all that, as long as they remain devoted to whatever endeavors they choose.  For instance, forestry will be very challenging for my oldest, only 10, but has the potential to develop into something wonderful.  I’m excited about the possibilities they have available.

Tonight,my 10-year-old volunteered to be the leader of the Christmas Committee, which will be in charge of delegating for the club party in November.  She is the 2nd youngest, next to my younger daughter only, yet will be heading up this committee.  This is a great leadership learning opportunity for her, and will give her another chance to serve others.

So, it all got me to wondering.  (And we all know what happens when I start wondering!)

How often do we volunteer OUR time as adults?  Do we jump in and offer to provide a service for someone less fortunate, or for a friend who simply can’t do it?

I’m not hounding, and I’m not advocating that you become someone who cannot say, “No.”  But, as I look at my own life, I wonder how much I put my own selfishness in the place of serving someone.  God commanded that we work 6 days and rest for only 1.  Yet, I feel cheated if I have to “work” on the weekends.

I’m a person who doesn’t like to feel that everything is scheduled….our homeschool is very much a “go-with-the-flow,” and reflects our lifestyle in a good way.  But, God has been showing me that some structure is not bad.  It doesn’t mean I have to schedule everything, but simply have a basic guide.  And, I’m learning something else….

When I have that basic guide, I can schedule in some volunteer service.

If I can know that my own personal work will be accomplished by a certain time, then I know I can offer my time to another.  And, if my own work is done, it is selfish of me not to offer my time.

My goal over the coming months is to schedule some volunteer work as a family, and perhaps even individually.  John has been wanting to serve dinners on Thanksgiving for years.  Perhaps this is the year.  I’ve always said, “But, we don’t know where to go?”  Well, isn’t that taking the easy way out?

I want my children to know that there are others who are much less fortunate than we are.  That even though we are not rich, and may never be, that serving others through volunteering is a way to serve the Lord God Almighty, and to show the love of Jesus Christ His Son to those who may not yet know Him.

Here’s hoping you’ll volunteer, too.

Happy serving!


Rewards and Treasures

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Very often, a teaching from our little church will light a candle and God uses it to bring an idea to mind to post here.

Last night, He lit a bonfire.

One of the elders of our church, a wonderful Godly man whom I respect tremendously, taught another lesson in his series of studies on the subject of Heaven.  I’ve blogged about at least one of these such studies here .  Last night was on the subject of rewards in Heaven as they relate to works done after salvation is accepted, and not as a precursor or requirement of.

Well, he hit on several key points, but I’ll tell you what stuck out in my mind.

If I am understanding it all correctly, we will receive rewards and praise in Heaven based on our works here on earth.  Now, understand me:  YOU CANNOT EARN SALVATION THROUGH ANY NUMBER OR TYPE OF WORKS.  PERIOD. John 14:6 says:  I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE:  no man comes to the Father, but by Me. (emphasis my own)  John 8:32 says:  And you shall know the truth, and the TRUTH shall set you free. (emphasis mine)

So, in no way was our teacher, nor am I, suggesting that works will get you into Heaven.

What he meant, and what I understand is this:  God is keeping a scorecard of all our actions, thoughts, deeds, words – in short…He is recording our lives in microscopic detail.  If we have received His perfect gift of salvation, then our sins are blotted out completely – forever – by the blood of Jesus Christ on the cross.  Almighty Lord keeps a record of our good works and deeds, kind words, and those determine our reward in Heaven!

For some of us, this is a very comforting thought!

For others, we realize that we may make it through the Pearly Gates, and that would be enough…but don’t we want to hear our Lord and Savior heap praise on us by saying, “Well done, Good and Faithful Servant!”

I know I do.  But, right now, I fall into the second group of the ones cowering in the corner, saying, “Uh oh.”

James 2:14-17 tells us about faith without works.  It’s dead.  If one TRULY has faith, works follow.  When we have received the gift of faith and salvation, we LONG to do good works to reveal the love of Christ to others!  So, why do so many in the church today fail to do it?  We’ll get to that in a minute….first things first.

Seeing someone shivering in the cold and telling them, “I’m praying for your warmth, friend,” is great – pray for them.  But, if you don’t give them a coat, what does it profit?  Would it not be better to say, “Let me give you this to warm you, and I’d like to pray with you also,” ?  I think so.

I think God gives us resources to use for His Glory – NOT for our earthly comfort.  Comfort is great….but, perhaps its overrated.  If you were to give that shivering man or woman your thick wool coat, I guarantee you would walk off not even bothered by the cold.  And even if you did, you just stored up treasure in Heaven.

I think our teacher was incredibly accurate when he said last night that God will hold us accountable for ALL the blessings He bestows – how are we using:  our money, our time, our relationships, our talents, our witness, our health?  God has given us each of these things to #1) provide for the growth of His Kingdom, and #2) to provide for us, His children.

So, how do we use our resources?

Now, back to the question of why so many in the church are not fulfilling their duties as the church of Christ.  I truly believe it’s because we have allowed ourselves to become dependent on the government to perform the duties relegated to the body of Christ by Jesus Himself.  WE are to care for widows and orphans.  WE are to care for the sick and elderly.  WE are to teach our children.  WE are to be the salt of the earth.  But, we are losing our flavor.  And if the salt loses its flavor, what good is it?

We have to get that flavor back and its only through revival that it will happen.

If we can get back to the church Jesus Christ began 2000 years ago, we CAN turn the heart of this nation around.  And by doing so, we’ll be performing those works that James spoke about in chapter 2.

Then, when our work on earth is done, we can look into the eyes of the One who died for us and our hearts will swell with joy when we hear Him shout, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”

Just a quick update!

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I have been meaning to write recently.


I have!

But….well, suffice it to say I was at a loss for words.  And time.  And lots of other stuff.

I do want to share a recent blessing with you though, Reader!

This month, I will have a FEATURE ARTICLE with photos (shot by yours truly) in the Texas Logger magazine published locally.  And, to top it off, I’ll be a regular contributor!  I’m very excited and feel very blessed.  It was a Divine appointment, and God is using it to build my confidence, I think, among other things!

I’m also working on a couple of other publishing possibilities, as well as considering putting some of my pieces together into an ebook.  Of course, these things are all done as a secondary to homeschool, so they’ll take some time to prepare.

Going to do my best to get back to posting regularly, for those who happened to miss my posts!  And, if so, thanks!

I’m looking forward to all the new things God has to show me….

In the words (umm, well, letters) of a friend:



35 Reasons not to Sin

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I found this list on the Rebelution web site.  For whatever reason, my links don’t seem to be working, so here is the web address to the post – be sure to check it out!

Freedom Ain’t Free

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This is a very short post, but I just want to ask you to do me a favor:

When you read this, hopefully on the 4th, say a prayer for the ones fighting for us to keep the freedoms we have today.  Then, if you can (as in, if you know where one is located), tell a soldier thank you.  My oldest daughter and I did it last year at our town’s Independence Day celebration, and it was great.  It meant so much for them to know that SOMEONE still appreciates what they do.

So, celebrate safely, but be sure to remember the reason you have the FREEDOM to do so.  Freedom ain’t free…someone always has to pay a price.  But that someone ALWAYS knows the worth of the reward.

Enjoy your freedoms while you still have them.

Blessings to all my fellow FREE Americans!

(And, of course, blessings to all my readers, regardless of location or nationality!)

Decluttering….Far More than Organizing

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I am a pack rat.

I admit it – I keep all kinds of things.  Drawings, papers, articles.  The problem is, I don’t organize it well enough it find it, and soon forget I even kept it until I start weeding things out.  So, at that point, you would think I would say, “Toni, you haven’t used this in X months/years, get rid of it,” right?  Wrong.

Nope, I refile it with better intentions of using it, reading it, writing about it, etc.  And, again, 6 months later…I run across it again.  Some would say I need a better system.  Some would be right.

Anyway, today is the day that I begin decluterring – again.  So, I’m trying to toss things I don’t need.  I’m getting better.  I think I may even be able to overcome my addiction at some point in my life!  But, it made me think of something else:

Jesus said that when we become His followers, we are no longer that which we were before, but are new creations.  So, why then, do we tend to hang on to the “stuff” of our past for so long?  Maybe for some its the pain of a divorce, or the shame of an immoral relationship…for others it could be the hurt of abuse, or the indignity of past addictions.  The truth is, no matter how early in our lives we came to Christ, we all have a past as a sinner.  And, the instant we trusted in the power of the blood of the Lamb to forgive us for those sins, we became something new, something wonderful, something Divinely inhabited by the Holy Spirit.

So, why do we allow Satan to steal our joy by holding on so closely to those things we need to toss from our lives?  I believe part of it lies in lack of forgiveness.  Jesus said we are to forgive others, and He said that if we do not forgive, He cannot forgive us.  Who are we to say, “I can’t forgive myself for _____________,” when the One who created us, says, “I freely forgive you”?  Dare we put ourselves above God and say our judgment is stronger than His?  God forbid!

I believe part of it lies also in familiarity, though.  Even though those things are something we would gladly do without, comfort sometimes makes it hard to let go.  Think about it – an old, tattered, soft, worn-out t-shirt is so comfortable.  You wouldn’t wear it in public, and its threadbare, but you keep it simply because its comfortable.  We are so afraid of getting rid of the familiar sometimes that we miss out on the Divine!  With the t-shirt – God wants to replace it with a robe of pure white!  A white that we can’t comprehend!  But, we’re content to hang on to the tattered, worn-out t-shirt with the stains all over it.

I am pleading with each one of you – get on your knees – get on your face before the Lord of the universe and ask Him to reveal anything Satan is using to rob you of your joy in salvation.  And ask Him to remove it, completely.

Most importantly:  let Him remove it.

Psalm 51:10  Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

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