Veteran’s Day – Great Family Lesson

imageThis morning I asked God what I could do with my kids to teach them about Veterans Day.  We found out that there was a memorial service close by.  I was so glad we went!  It is sad to admit that I never intensionally attended one of these events before because I have felt a bit separated since I didn’t have any relatives that served in the military.

When we got there, we saw a large flag flying from a fire truck ladder, the firing squad, the boy scouts, and many of the veterans that have served in wars such as the Korean War.  They lit a fire as a symbol of freedom and had a white cross displayed at the front with an army helmet hanging on the side.  The key note speaker was a distinguished retired army admiral (I probably got his title mixed up) who had served for almost 30 years.  He explained that there were three things we as regular citizens could do to honor our vets.

1) We should always thank them for their service to our country.

2) Enjoy the freedoms we have in this country to the fullest.

3) Keep them in our thoughts and prayers as they continue to protect the United States.

This moved me.  Many of these men and women, if not all, choose to serve in the military.  How honorable is that!!    All of the names of the ones who lost their lives in active duty were read out loud with a little ting of a bell after each name.  At the end of the service, the firing squad fired their rounds as the veterans saluted and the bugle played.

image I learned a huge lesson today about the importance of taking time on Veterans Day to pay our respects to the brave men and women who selflessly put themselves in harms way to keep our country free.  Plus, our kids live in such a “me” centered society, so it is extremely important to teach them that their blessings have come with a price and to always be thankful and courageous when it comes to defending our rights.

God bless our troops.  God bless our government.  God bless America.

Lara~

Psalm 138:1 “I will praise You, Lord with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing Your praise.”

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Kids Bible Journal Scripture Verses ~

I had a mom ask me what scripture verses I used for our homeschool Bible journals I put together this year.  So here is a list of them for this quarter.  I mistakenly said we had 40, but now that I am looking at the journal, we’ve written down 20 so far.    Hope this list will be encouraging and helpful.

Bible Journal Scripture Verses

1. Proverbs 22:6

2. 2 Corinthians 13:14

3. 1 John 4:19

4. 1 John 3:18

5. 1 John 3:3

6.  Proverbs 3:5

7.  Psalm 138:1

8. Isaiah 29:13

9. John 3:16

10. Psalm 146:6

11. 2 Peter 1:5-8

12. Ephesians 6:10-11

13. Psalm 46:10

14. Psalm 27:8

15. 1 Thessalonians 5:15

16. John 1:1

17. John 3:30

18. Psalm 23:1 (actually the whole chapter ; ) )

19. Galatians 5:22-23

20. Psalm 27:1

If you are excited about these scripture promises to give to your kids or to just hold dear to your own heart, then join my blog or send me your email address so I can put you on my email list.  I’m going to be working on something to offer you that I think you’ll really enjoy!!

Blessings,

Lara ~

http://www.laramarriott.com & Itunes

“Ignore The Noise” ~

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I have been sick with a chest cold for almost 2 weeks now.  I can’t remember the last time I had to stay in bed, take lots of cold medicine, and rest for such a long period of time.  I am a homeschool mom, worship leader, music teacher, women’s ministry director, singer-songwriter, and part-time receptionist.  I don’t have time to REST!!!

Being in bed, I’ve become lazy, weak, and bored.  I’ve been watching the NFL Live sports channel all week. (I had no idea there was a WHOLE WEEK of football stuff going on before the Superbowl!  It has definitely been an eye opening experience for me, since I have only been a hockey fan, growing up in a Canadian household, until this year; really.  Anyway, Russell Wilson tweeted today to, “Ignore the noise.”  His quote made me start thinking about all of the “noise” I had been hearing lately that was distracting me from my main mission in life.

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Hmmm…let me think…well…there has been noise from my poor children who have been cooped up in this house with me, the constant murmur of tv commentary in the background, the social media updates on my iPhone, the sneaky deceptive thoughts of being overwhelmed, distracted, second-guessing my life’s path, all clouding the gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit.

I have loved watching and listening to all of these professional football players talk about their one goal, their mission, their focused preparation, and their resolve.  Even through all of their press obligations that can totally throw a person off course, they are sticking to their plan, come Sunday, they will go out on that football field and play to win!

To be honest, I have not felt that resilience to achieve what God has been calling me to achieve in awhile.  I have had more distractions get in my way.  The minute I start feeling confident in my mission, some sort of thought or situation throws me of course.  These professional football players do not let anything get in their way!

I don’t know about you, but I need this to be my way of life too!!

When I get better, I am itching to get out of this stuffy house and get more exercise with my kids.  I want to be focused on God’s call on my life and not let anything distract me from this.  I want to be the best homeschool coach for my kids for the rest of the school year, so they will complete their subjects with honors!  I want to be the best wife and mom I can be and sacrificially cook and clean with my family in mind (because it doesn’t come naturally), so that they can love the home they have.  Everything else is extra and could possibly be unnecessary.

What kind of “noise” are you allowing into your life?  What are you going to do to be more focused on your life’s mission?

The Superbowl will be exciting and awesome to watch, but it will come and go, leaving each one of us with the choice of how we are going to continue living out our lives.   Are you going to live with a winning mindset?  Or are you going to allow distractions to throw you off course?

I am in it to win it!!!

 

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Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Reflecting Back on 2014 ~

Well today is the last day of 2014! That is Crazy!! Have you been reflecting back on your year? What have been some good things? What have been some difficult things? Has God been faithful? What are your hopes for 2015? Are you excited? Are you fearful? Do you have any prayer requests you’d like to share?

For me:

Good things
– I got to minister with my dear friends, Brenda Yoder (http://www.brendayoder.com) & Krissy Nelson (http://www.notaloneministries.com) in Pensacola, Fl. even with a tornado in Louisiana and having to find a place to stay overnight in Ft. Lauderdale Texas (thank you Diana Thiessen!) God proved himself very faithful!
– We had a wonderful Women’s Retreat at our church and God broke through in so many ways and brought the ladies together and closer to the Lord’s Spirit.
– We had a great time in Boise visiting friends and family! Family is so important.
– The kids and I have survived the first half of our second year homeschooling. It has been quite the adventure full of ups and downs, successes and failures, and I wouldn’t change one thing!
– Our band “Not Just Sunday” had the chance to play out at some fun places together. We love gigging and rocking out! Hope to gig more together in the New Year Joshua Roosa, Brian Marriott, and Lee Lipsker!
– Went to a refreshing songwriter’s bootcamp led by Staci Frenes & Kenon Chen (http://www.kenonchen.com). God ordained that time for me. There were so many God moments that happened to me that I am so thankful for. I am planning to work with Kenon on recording at least one of my songs that I can’t wait to share with you. Looking forward to that in the new year.
– Read an amazing book by Staci Frenes (http://www.stacifrenes.com) called “Flourish.” It was so healing for me to read of another creative soul’s journey to accept her creativity and thrive in it for the glory of God! I am so inspired and determined to shine through the creativity God has given me to use. Each one of us are creative! We ALL can do something to reflect our Creator. I challenge you to not be afraid, but to do something creative. You won’t be disappointed. There is no right or wrong. Only you can express uniquely what you want to express. There is no one like you and there never will be.
– It was so much fun for me to share my music with my homeschool mommy friends this Christmas!! Barely any of them new I was a singer/songwriter. Most days are all about our kids. We sometimes dress up, but usually we are without makeup, wearing comfy clothes, and just surviving the variables of our days. So, it was a treat to share something that was dear to my heart with my dear friends. I will treasure that evening.
– I LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas time!! I grew up singing in many Christmas productions and events. So this year I was able to be apart of quite a few and my heart was full!!

– Our church got through a very difficult season by the grace of God.  We are now hopeful for the future.

– My family has been healthy and has brought me much comfort this year.  I adore my husband Brian and our two kids, Hannah and Josh.  My extended family always has a special place in my heart and I pray for them everyday.

– God has helped us financially.

– Oh and one more thing, we were able to raise $1000.00 to send to our sponsored child in Uganda to save her working eye.  We are still waiting to hear how it went, but hopefully she will be able to see.  It amazed me how the people of God can come together to do great things!!

Difficult things:

– I had many times this year when I was challenged by the spirit of fear.  Fear has plagued my side of the family for generations.  I have the fear of flying, fearful dreams and nightmares, visions, and future worries, fear of failure, and it usually happens more and more when I am doing something for the Lord, but God’s Spirit has equipped me with His powerful gifts to fight back!   There is power speaking out the word of God.  There is power praying in the Spirit.  There is power calling on the name of Jesus!

– My grandmother has been suffering with alzheimer’s disease.  This has made me sad because my other grandmother suffered with it as well.  I wish I could see my grandparents, but we just live too far away.

– All of what our church has had to go through this year has weighed heavily on my heart and on our family.

– Homeschooling (enough said)

– Situations in our family’s life

– The pain in my shoulder, neck, and leg.  I haven’t been able to raise my right arm all of the way for over a year now.  I miss dancing like when I was young.

– watching friends and family going through very difficult situations

Has God been faithful?  YES!!!!  Through it all, God has been faithful.   I have learned how to rest in Him.  I have learned to give Him all of my fears and concerns and let go.  I have learned to pray in my Spiritual language given to me by the Holy Spirit that has strengthened my heart and has given me a focus and has revealed to me what to pray for.  When you give your life to Jesus, He gives you His Spirit to help you in all things and to comfort you.  I can tell you that it is completely true!  Now, I am human and still struggle.  God never promised to take us out of our problems.  He promised to help get us through them.  So I am clinging to that this year and for next year.  It also says in His word that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

My hopes for 2015 are to get closer to the heart of God and be more disciplined in spending time with Him and listening for His voice and direction.  I want to write more songs and continue ministering to others through singing and worship leading.  I want to teach my kids to love Jesus with all of their hearts and be little lights for Him wherever they go.  I want them to learn to be avid readers, good writers, get better at spelling and math.  I want to instill in them a love for learning!  I want to spend more time with Brian and invest in our friendship and love for one another.  I want to reach out to my family members more often through letters, emails, phone calls, instead of using Facebook to update them on the latest news.  I want my life to reflect God’s love in all that I say and all that I do through the grace and help of Jesus.  Lastly, that I will be equipped to conquer the fears that come to attack me and that God will surround me with His peace.

I don’t know if I’m excited.  I still face fear regularly.  That is a battle I fight everyday.  But, more often than not, I win.  So I am resting in the Lord’s love, His grace, mercy, and peace.  There is nothing better than to be a child of the Most High God.  He truly is a loving Father.

Prayer request: That our family will hold true to the promises of God and that we will walk daily in His ways.

Thank you friends for reading my posts and sharing your encouragements.  I pray God’s love and His blessing will accompany you into 2015.  If you are reading this and God is stirring your heart to want to have that loving relationship with Him too, all you have to do is believe that He sent Jesus to die for all of your sins, that He conquered the sting of death by raising from the dead, and ask Him to come into your heart to transform you into the person He has created you to be.  When you say that simple confession, You will be adopted into His family and will live eternally with Him, but not only that, He will send His Holy Spirit to live inside your heart and help you with everything life throws your way.  His grace and mercy will cover you daily and you will no longer be weighed down by guilt, shame, pride, lust, addiction, hate, fear, etc.  His love will make your heart whiter than snow.  Please contact me if you said that prayer and I will send you a bible and help you get started on your new journey with Your Creator!! = )

Lots of love to you all!

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

I Learned Something ~

I was so excited to have been asked to lead the Christmas music for my homeschool group this past Weds. at their annual Christmas dinner.  I had wanted to do it last year, but was unable to, so when they asked me I jumped at the chance!  You see, most of the moms I see on a regular weekly basis have (or had) never heard me sing before.   Instead, they have the great privilege of seeing me without any make-up, in my grubs, happy, sad, tired, frustrated, you get the point. Oh yeah, and insert some sarcasm.  lol.  So I was excited to share another side of who God has created me to be.

Now singing other people’s songs is a cinch for me because I only have to own the interpretation of the song and not the words or back story.  But when it comes to singing my original songs, I get very self conscious and nervous.  I sang one of my songs from my “I Will Follow” CD called, “Breathe In The Presence Of God.”  I was excited to sing it over the ladies, but also nervous.  A professional songwriter had told me that it was just a production number, and eluded that it didn’t have very much depth to it.  I thought maybe it would be too simple for them.  Maybe the ladies would just politely smile when I was finished as a courtesy.  I still have a hard time saying that I am a songwriter and not just a singer.  I compare myself to so many other qualified and seasoned songwriters and well in my eyes I am still at an amateur level.

But, I learned something very important that evening.  After I had shared my song and sat down, my friend next to me said she loved it.  Another mom, with tears in her eyes, asked me to follow her to the back of the room.  It was then that I saw how God ministers to someone’s heart through the offerings that we lay at His alter.  That song touched her deeply and she wanted her friend who was going through a very difficult time to read the lyrics so that she too would be comforted.  There were other blessings that happens as well.  All because I had the courage and obedience to get up there, be empowered by the Holy Spirit, and sing what was placed in my heart to write down.  I learned my songs are not meant to be scrutinized and judged or thrown away because they don’t meet the standards that someone else has set.  If I believe in them, then God can use them to minister to others.  I just need to be brave, be obedient to God’s guidance, and surrender all of the offerings I have to bring through singing, writing, crocheting, praying, loving, caring, giving, etc., to Him for His glory and His glory alone.  He is in charge of how they are used or where they decide to go; not me.

Here is a link to a song I have been singing through lately called, “Christmas Offering” by Paul Baloche. http://youtu.be/_iR-wZVlTQw  I don’t know what your offerings are that you can bring to bless and minister to others, but I know you have them.  We all have something to give away.  Let’s be brave, creative, and open to use them as an offering of worship to our King.  We will get to see God work and be a part of it.  That is always such a wonderful blessing.  More wonderful then anything anyone else could ever give.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

The Big Picture ~

I graduated from high school.  I went to college for three years.  But I never pursued a Teaching Degree.  I am convinced that in order to acquire a degree in teaching you have to minor in pyschology!  These past three days of homeschooling my children have been an up and down roller coaster ride.  Tuesday, Josh’s day was the worst day ever.  Wednesday, both kids had their moments.  Today, has started to be Hannah’s worst day ever.  I am on the verge of being an emotional mess!

When they get like this they throw out accusations that I am no fun to be around, their lives are boring, they are stuck in their homes with no one to play with while all of the other kids…on their block, get to go to public school and be with kids their own age and have tons of fun.  Ug!!!  Yes, there are fun times to be had at public school, but not all the time.  They forget very easily the amazing field trips we have taken with many of their friends.  They forget how much they love to cuddle and play with their dog, Molly.  They forget the fun they have at their enrichment schools they go to each week.  They forget all of the hugs and snuggle time they receive from their mommy.  They forget the free time they have with their friends in the afternoon.  They forget how much fun it is for them to cook or bake something.  They forget the Christmas movies we watch together with hot chocolate.  Oh how easily they forget when they have to stay home for a day or two and be with me and not their friends.

This exhausts me.  As a parent, I have the privilege and the difficulty of seeing the bigger picture.  I see how their neighbor friends treat each other.  I see how they have to come home and do homework for an hour or more after school.  I see how my kids treat their friends.  I see the freedom they have to enjoy playing all sorts of different kinds of games without the peer pressure of conforming to what is the latest cool thing to do.  My kids can play and communicate with anyone of any age.  They know about the love of Jesus and they share that love with the people they come in contact with.  I know that there are fun things on the horizon that they hopefully will get to do, but i can’t tell them yet.   I know this little bump in their week will soon pass and their days will be filled with friend time again.  I remember how exhausted they were everyday after I would pick them up from school.  5 mins into our greeting they would whine about not wanting to do their chores when they got home, how non of their other friends had to do chores.  They didn’t want to do their piano practice because they were too tired.  They wanted food and water right away because they were famished, so we would eat junk food on the way to our next location.  I remember fighting through homework time, chore time, piano time, finally counting down the hours to bed time!  This is not the kind of lifestyle I am excited about getting back into.

From my perspective, with the big picture view, I see a balanced environment that my husband and I are blessing our children with.  All I can do is hope and pray that all of these sacrifices and lifestyle choices we are making for our children will pay off in the end and they will one day look back and see the big picture too.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes