Friday, March 18, 2016

Cry out!

Have you ever had your faith tested? Like shaken to the core, stripped down to the very foundation? This has been happening to me. I have spent the last 3 months trying to fix it on my own. The enemy has used confusion and all of the craziness of life to keep me questioning everything I once believed. 

When I took a stand on the depression and decided to allow God to heal me, to carry me through the healing process, the enemy changed his game plan as well. That is when the confusion started. I began to question things that I had never questioned in my entire life. (I am not going into specifics. I do not want to allow that confusion to be passed along.)  My entire foundation of truth was being attacked. My core beliefs were being tested. I had to find the answers, but was failing to find them on my own.
On top of that, there have been some personal family issues that we are dealing with. Tough issues. I have tried every door, sought advice from many people, and kept hitting a big brick wall! I've been beyond desperate.

The last few weeks in church, we have been focusing on prayer. Not the 'bless him and her' style prayer, but real, heartfelt, crying out prayer. David has been our example in this. David, oh man! We could have been friends. I realized in reading Psalms that David cried out to God, I mean for real! he wasn't afraid to call out. He was real and raw in his prayers. He spoke from the heart. You can almost hear him, see his tears, experience his anguish. IT GOT REAL! 
My question: Why don't I pray like that?

I fight depression. I get discouraged. I struggle too. I know that there is an answer. Why do I wait until I am miserable, and making everyone around me miserable too, to seek God? Where is the sanity in that? When I do pray, why do I tiptoe around the issues? Do I think that God can't handle my anger? Like He doesn't know that I am upset about a situation. So often, I think I can hide behind this 'righteous' exterior. While that might work for people, that will not ever work for my Heavenly Father.

1 Samuel 16:7 says it best,
 "People look at the outward appearance, 
but the Lord looks at the heart." 
I know that this verse is about Samuel anointing King David, and I want to be careful with keeping in context. I believe that is very much able to applied here. People see me, my smile, my 'put togetherness.' I can hide the real issues from them. God says He looks beyond that! He gets real. He looks deep in my inner heart. 
I don't know about you, but that makes me squirm just a bit. I get a little uncomfortable, especially when I am trying so hard to keep that anger and confusion a secret. 

Today, for the first time, I cried out. I was angry. I was tired of confusion and depression being in my home! I kicked it out! I prayed for God to release HIS peace, HIS joy, HIS strength, and HIS wisdom and understanding in my home. I asked for Him to re-establish my foundation again. 
I found an amazing Psalm that was a balm to my spirit today:

Psalm 62:5-8 (AMP)
"For God alone my soul waits in silence and quietly submits to Him,
for my hope is from Him.
He is my rock and my salvation;
my fortress and my defense, I will not be shaken or discouraged.
On God my salvation and glory rests;
He is my rock of [unyielding] strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust [confidently] in Him at all times, oh people;
Pour out your heart before Him.
God is a refuge for us."

So I sat. I allowed my soul to wait for Him. I asked for Him to renew my hope, the joy of my salvation. I confessed, out loud, that He alone is my refuge and that I will not be moved or discouraged anymore! I reminded myself to trust Him. I thanked Him that He is unwavering, unyielding and always dependable. I poured out my heart to Him, holding nothing back. I told Him (respectfully and reverently) that I was angry. That I was confused and tired of waiting and fighting. I sought Him. By the end of my time with Him, I felt restored. I had a renewed sense of peace. He is still fighting for me, even when I cannot see it! 

Where are you today? Have you poured your heart out to God lately? There is such a relief in doing so. The burden is lifted and placed at His feet. He takes over. You no longer need to worry about it. 
Exodus 14:14 (Amp) says,
"The Lord will fight for you while you [only need to] keep silent and remain calm."

Let Him fight for you! 

In reading this version, I feel like I am supposed to zero in on the 'keep silent' part. So often, I will lay my troubles and problems at His feet, then, I talk about them, to anyone who will listen. If you are like me, you know that talking about them takes away your ability to 'remain calm.'  Give it to Him for real, and leave there! Don't talk about it, let Him work while you wait for Him, trust in Him, and know that He will NEVER let you down!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Math-U-See: A TOS Review

Math. This is a word that has always brought with it so much anxiety. Scenes of tears and meltdowns followed by dread have all but stopped us from completing it each day. 
Then this past month I was introduced the most wonderful thing ever invented...ever: Demme Learning's Math-U-See.  Popper and I received a complete physical set of their Alpha level learning along with the Alpha level Digital Pack. The digital pack included:

*A 12-Month Access streaming instruction videos
*Instruction Manual PDF
*Lesson Solutions
*Skip Counting Songs mp3
*Songbook PDF
*Digital Manipulatives

Those first few days brought so much relief and freedom to our school day. We began to actually look forward to math time!

math, Demme Learning, on the go, manipulativesSince we have never used Math-U-See before, I cannot tell you what it was like before the Digital Packs were available. What I can tell you is that I absolutely loved having everything, including instruction videos, available online.

worksheets, streaming video, drill, math

I am not sure I would have been half as excited about this if I had to mess with a DVD to watch the instruction videos. Plus, there are so many extra resources available on the digital pack that you miss without it. For example, there is an Additional Resources tab that is filled with so much goodness. There is a worksheet generator, a link to print off graph paper (which is above us, but will be super helpful when we are older). There are word problem tips, additions and subtraction facts sheets, and skip counting mp3 songs. All that is under just one of the tabs! There are many more.

manipulatives, demme learning, streaming math instruction

There are even digital manipulatives! I think these would be great for a family who doesn't have a lot of extra space to store the physical manitpulatives or a family that travels. I like that Popper can use them while doing math if the table is occupied by other activities. 

demme Learning, math , drill

It is recommended that you test your child into the proper level. Since Math-U-See teaches differently than other programs, you want to make sure that you get the right level for your child. When we tested Popper I knew that he did not have his addition or subtraction mastered. He tested into Alpha. 
I was concerned about him being bored with it since he had been working on addition and subtraction for almost 2 years now. That was not the case at all. Since we began, we have moved through certain chapters and lessons more quickly than others, but not all.

Popper has really struggled with place value. I am not sure why, but he could not grasp what I was trying to teach him. Math-U-See has erased that confusion! He GETS it now! It was taught in such a fun interactive way that he was actually excited to show his dad and B when they got home that night! It has stuck with him through the last month. 

The manipulatives, both physical and digital,  have helped my right-brained boy with learning. He can actually see the numbers as the manipulatives. I believe it helps him truly understand the numbers that he is working with. The saying 'see it, build it, write it' are used in almost each lesson. This helps with each different style of learning. It also helps to make the new idea or lesson stick. 

I never thought that math would be enjoyable for him. Tears were an everyday occurrence. I had begun to put off math until the end of the day to keep from the stress overlapping and ruining other subjects. Not anymore! Popper loves his new math. He actually enjoys learning about numbers and how the work together.

These are the many faces of Popper doing math! Does this look like a boy who is miserable? NO WAY! This is a confidant boy that is loving learning about math all thanks to Demme Learning's Math-U-See!

You can find Math-U-See around the web:


Find more reviews from all the different levels of Math-U-See that other Crew member's reviewed by clicking the link below:

Demme Learning's Math-U-See Review