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Insider Peeks at Mission Academy using A Beka DVD

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Moments of Influence

Great things come in packages of 3…have you heard that? Maybe I just made that up because….

#1 – it’s 3 AM, I’ve been up hushing little one, and hoping good things are to come at this hour….

#2 – AbiNoelle just told me last night that she wasn’t worried because PopPop said he was sure that Jesus would come back before the year 3,000. (PopPop: did you say that?)….

OR

#3 – We had a visit from 3 very special friends last night. Oh the joy to hold little Baker Lilly Duffy and fellowship with her Mommy and Daddy. When God dips his brush into the pot of grace and paints a life story, the testimony is unmatched, and what a blessing to be a small stroke of the brush in His uniquely designed masterpiece.

IHOP Fun – (left to right) Beka, AmiJoy, Baker Lilly Duffy, AbiNoelle, Baker’s Mommy

Many times our influence reaches farther than we could ever imagine. From sitting in IHOP to, now, my 3 AM reflections, the reward of influence comes into clear focus.

Little Baker’s Mommy was a little wisp of girl who had grown up in surroundings destitute of God’s love, yet miraculously had been saved as a young child and that simple faith guided her to a back row in church each Sunday as a single young lady. Through circumstances only God could orchestrate, He led the two of us to a table in IHOP that opened the door for a faithful year of discipleship. From depression, anxiety, and many destructive relationships, God reached out His loving hand and she took hold with that same faith that had saved her as a child. Last night, as we wiped the milk dribble and strawberry syrup from little fingers while our families enjoyed each other’s company, we were able to sit back in that same IHOP and see the GREAT reward of that moment of influence – an influence – a challenge to rise up and be the best you can be for God.

Providentially, at the table next to us in IHOP sat another family we had not fellowshipped with in years. As we quickly chatted and caught up on life happenings, we were reminded of a gift we had given their teenage daughter some ten or more years ago. That Bible given to her when she could just begin to read His Word is still by her bedside being used for each morning’s devotions. That moment of influence – an influence – a challenge to rise up and be the best you can be for God – no doubt, has the potential to make a difference reaching into eternity.

A blast from the past – more friends at IHOP
Playing Violin at Yard Sale

As we said our IHOP goodbyes to such special folks (I’m sure we had put on quite the entertainment for others who had stopped to simply eat a quiet meal – after all, we had talked and talked AND taken a silly amount of pictures AND heard AmiJoy’s rendition of her Bible verses and several other songs), our friends made the point to specifically encourage AbiNoelle to keep up her hard work with violin, Scripture memory, and Tweety-Pie lessons. They told her that she may not realize just how many people were watching her, but people were watching. What helpful words were those! We all need a reminder sometimes that our influence reaches far beyond what we might realize. In recent days, for AbiNoelle, that influence has been double-sided, you might say. In several unique situations, she has been given the opportunity to play her violin and portray Tweety-Pie (a character used in our ministry to teach on the Constitution and other Biblical lessons.) From “Nothing But the Blood” at the yard sale to “Angels We Have Heard on High” at the doctor’s office and hometown parade, the sweet melody of her violin has played a clear message of blessing and promise.

Portraying Tweety-Pie at Church Conference

To our amazement, her influence on others resulted in many encouraging words from complete strangers to keep up her efforts to learn the violin. AND NOT ONLY words of encouragement but monetary donations for her violin lessons fund. She now has raised nearly $500 for her next year’s lessons. No doubt, many of those who acted upon her influence do not realize how they have been used by the Lord to encourage a little girl and meet the need to further train to be used of the Lord, but we can certainly sit back and 3 AM and smile! That moment of influence – an influence – a challenge to rise up and be the best you can be for God will not be soon forgotten by AbiNoelle (or Mommy and Daddy).

In a world so obsessed with finding the next moment of validation for what is no more than a life filled with self-will instead of the will of God, self-respect instead of respect for God’s Authority, and self-trust instead of trusting in the Lord, we are thankful for those moments of influence – real influence that point us to a higher and closer walk with God.

Uncle Sam wanted his picture with the DAR duo!

AbiNoelle and I have had the privilege of tracing our heritage back to the days of the American War for Independence and in doing so, have been accepted into the DAR and CAR, respectively (Daughters of the American Revolution and Children of the American Revolution). While not an explicitly Christian organization, its foundation has been built on Biblical principles with its motto being “God, Home and Country.” The President General of the DAR is actively promoting the theme Rise and Shine for America! I like that word Rise. It indicates an upward, continual motion. I Corinthians 8:9 says, “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” Certainly, here in America and as a 21st Century Christian, we have many liberties not even imagined by those gone before. It is our duty, our responsibility, and should therefore be our passion to not abuse those liberties resulting in a backward motion or digression in faith and practice, but to use those liberties to pursue a higher, closer walk with Him. It is not admirable to validate people where they are, but only to encourage them to reach, to strive, to rise above where they are and be the best they can be for the glory of God. Many say, especially in the wake of shootings and other tragedies, that what the world needs is Jesus. But the truth is that the world will not see their need for Jesus or the difference that He can make in their life if someone doesn’t Rise. Surely, there are critics and naysayers and names will be called – goodie-two-shoes, holier-than-thou, better-than-something, one-up, better-than-your-betters, etc. Regardless, the call has been given to Rise up and Shine…whether that be in the patriotic sense for America…or in an eternal impact for our Saviour. Rise in your voting, serving, working, dressing, looking, talking, studying, witnessing. In all that you do, do all to the glory of God.

And doing, we have, which we pray has been all to the glory of God…

Should we “direct” them?

Is direction needed?

Three, four and… Let the strings begin. Our summer has been filled with the sweet melody (well, most of the time) of beginning violin. Truly, under the instruction of Dr. Jaffe and the Abeka Strings DVD program, learning violin for AbiNoelle (as opposed to Mommy’s first grade experience) has been music to our ears! After over 40 lessons, orchestra rehearsal sessions have begun, even including the wedding march, no doubt in honor of our 15th Wedding Anniversary this summer! With an orchestra, of course, comes a conductor, yet according to Dr. Jaffe, trial and significant error brought today’s view of the man and his baton. Apparently, in times past, the musicians gathered and played somewhat “together” as their own ears directed. Eventually, general concensus called for a conductor to create perfect harmony. Yet still, the conductor needed something that would insist upon a unified tempo amongst the instruments. Hence…..the BIG STICK. Seriously, can’t you just picture today’s finest orchestra playing a minuet to the thudding beat of a Moses-like staff! The turning tide, so the legend tells, is that a conductor, so intently stamped the beat that when he mistakenly hit his foot, the injury turned deadly.

The extreme’s of no direction to the BIG STICK brought us to today’s small but not insignificant baton that can draw a clear path to delightful sounds.

Extremes –

it seems, even in times past, man is constantly gravitating from one extreme to the other.

From the live-as-you-go to a schedule that will make the marines shudder….

From a hodge podge of books at the library to a syllabus listing hours of assignments…

From no make-up to the Jezebel look…

From the composed funeral dirge song time to hopping, swaying, and praising…

From Kentucky Fried to Keto-for-Life…

From couch potato to 5k…

From the “can’t throw it away” to the Marie Kondo’s Extreme Declutter…

Certainly, some ideas have their merit. Nonetheless, extremes are always out to yank us here and there, intending to consume us and many times bringing fatal consequences spiritually, emotionally or physically. I Corinthians 15:58 says, Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Philippians 4:5 reminds us to: Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.

Thinking back to AbiNoelle’s K5 Abeka DVD days, Mrs. Reese said that “for the Lord” she just wanted to be “the same everyday” – Not meaning that she didn’t want to grow and improve, but simply that she wanted to be consistent not moody or unstable.

In this “extreme” world, this is our challenge for the 2019-2020 school: To be consistent, strong and abounding in our work for the Lord using proven tools in a balanced manner.

With that in mind, we continue on beyond a wonderful summer of travels, Spanish, violin, sewing, playing, book adventures, game time, etc. and welcome a new Abeka Academy school year with great anticipation and excitement.

The “big kid” days are upon us as AbiNoelle steps up into the real elementary-like classes with Miss Heindel. The all-new Abeka third grade curriculum offers excellent history biographies, lots of hands-on opportunities in Science, an adventure around every page in reading, “tons” of math concepts, awesome art projects, and life-challenging lessons in Bible. This biblical approach, high academic standards, and exciting learning method fits our school year goal to a “T.”

After day one, AbiNoelle said, “She’s (Miss Heindel) GREAT!” “I really like Math, but I really like Language too!” She is super excited about giving trial spelling tests a try and can’t wait for art time on Friday. Spanish, violin and sewing continue only in smaller segments, and Tweety-Pie Junior Tutor is full-steam ahead as we edit upcoming video lessons and look for our new book, The Constitution Defender, to arrive from the printer soon!

And, not to be forgotten, AmiJoy thinks she can do anything big sister can. Her busy little self enjoyed the first days of school by singing in Bible time, coloring on the chalkboard, working on her colors, and trying out AbiNoelle’s preschool desk. Her “JOY” interrupts regularly, but is learning to keep her hands busy in her own “school” space.

So….here we go…

not as a lost orchestra

not with the thud of a BIG STICK

but movement by movement directed by THE MASTER CONDUCTOR’s baton.

Life, under His direction, will have its high notes and low notes, yet complete a beautiful song.

RWS and the Princess Problem

Grandmother used to say to the idea of an afternoon drive, “Well, if you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all!” Some might call this a practical view, maybe a sign of boredom, or even a glass-half-empty type of negativism. Really the diagnosis is simple – RWS! RWS? What? You haven’t heard of that one? Well, it’s definitely real, and I am here to tell you today that I have experienced it. Thankfully it is avoidable, but first, we need to talk about Princesses. Perhaps, we could even say, “Well, if you’ve seen one Princess, you’ve seen them all!”  BUT WAIT – there it is again – RWS! Maybe you have it and didn’t even know it! Let me explain… RWS is otherwise known as Continue reading “RWS and the Princess Problem”

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