Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ethan's Birthday Pics

I know these are reallllly late, but my computor quit acknowledging that I have media card readers, and even my teckie husband can't figure it out. So we're on to Plan B.

Ethan's cake on his actual birthday.
He served his cake by himself and would resheath the cake slicer in the above manner .
The requested "Transformers cake" showed up at his real party a week later when everyone was feeling better.

The Teaching Home

If you are homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling, and you do not get The Teaching Home's free e-newsletter, click here and sign up without delay. They're great! The new issue just came today, and is on Health Education, specifically how to prevent and treat a cold or flu. It has great links to all sorts of educational materials (mosly free online) and charts about germs, proper handwashing, etc. Here is an excerpt:

5 Ways To Avoid Infection

1. Teach Your Children about Germs
  • Teach about germs and how they are transfered by air, fluids, and blood.
  • Use a textbook, an encyclopedia, or the Internet.

Set of 7 teaching pages.

Learning activities and lesson plans.

Lesson plans for grades Pre-K through 6.

For Older Students:Infectious Disease Workshop contains extensive information and learning activities.

2. Sharing Infectious Agents

Children are adept at picking up and spreading germs. Teach them how to avoid this at all times, but especially when someone in your home is ill or you are out in public where many unknown and very harmful diseases abound.

  • Cover skin abrasions and cuts.
  • Don't touch the face, especially eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • When ill, it is courteous to avoid contact with others so that you don't spread your cold or flu, even if it means missing something you really want to do.

Also, when you are ill and your immune system is weakened, it is easier for you to pick up another, and perhaps worse, illness if you are exposed to crowds and others who are sick

3. Establish Hand Washing Rules and Habits

The simplest and most effective thing that you can do to keep from getting sick yourself, or spreading your sickness to others, is to wash your hands well and often.

How To Wash

  • Wet hands with warm water and ordinary soap.
  • When you don't have access to soap and water, use non-alcohol baby wipes. Use of antibacterial soap can promote growth of more virulent germs and viruses.
  • Teach your children to scrub all parts of their hands for 20 seconds. (You could teach them a hand-washing song that lasts that long to sing.) Handwashing curriculum.
  • Dry hands well. In a public restroom, turn off tap with a paper towel or back of wrist, and open door with a paper towel or a corner of clothing.

When To Wash

  • Wash hands immediately upon returning home after being out in public or playing outside.
  • Wash hands before preparing food, eating, or handling clean dishes.
  • Wash after using the toilet, changing diapers, sneezing, coughing, blowing nose, and eating.Poster showing how to cough, sneeze, and wash hands.Hand washing poster #1, #2, and #3.

For Older Students:

Chemistry: How soap works

History: Why handwashing is important

4. General Hygiene

It is important to practice good hygiene principles and routines at all times, as you or others may be contagious a day before symptoms of illness are evident. Explain to your children that, although they may not see germs, they are present and can make them sick. Connect hygiene to illness by reminding them of the last time they were ill. The memory may be powerful enough to convince them of the importance of hygiene.

  • Don't share drinking and eating utensils, food that has been handled or partially eaten by others, or toothbrushes.
  • When someone in your family is sick, don't even share books, games, and toys.
  • Brush teeth and tongue, and rinse your toothbrush in mouthwash or vinegar between brushings to kill bacteria.
  • Close toilet lid before flushing so germs cannot spray toothbrushes or other surfaces.
  • Put dirty clothing or linens into the laundry right away and wash them with regular detergent.

5. Clean Your Home

Clean your home regularly, and more when colds and flu are going around.

  • Disinfect carefully with a solution of bleach and water or use baking soda to clean surfaces.
  • Also reduce exposure to dust, smoke, and other chemical irritants (such as cleaning compounds) in your home.
  • Open windows and bring fresh air into your home occasionally, even in winter.

by Cindy Short and Sue Welch

Copyright 2006 by www.TeachingHome.com. Reprinted by permission

Monday, January 29, 2007

Homeschooling this week

I'm going to cahnge the color as we read/do them this week.

Memory Work: Review week

  • Genesis 1:1-5
  • Luke 2:1-14
  • Psalm 100
  • Psalm 150
  • The Lord's Prayer
  • John 1:1-14
  • John 3:16-19

Poem: Review week

  • "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer
  • "A Thank You Prayer"
  • "My Shadow" by R.L. Stephenson
  • "This is My Bible"

Songs: Review week

  • "This Is My Father's World"
  • "Obedience"
  • "How Great Is Our God"

Bible/Devotional reading :

  • Genesis 21-26(30) (working on this a chapter or two a night)
  • Leading Little Ones to God (Schoolland)
  • The White Ram : A Story of Abraham and Isaac (Gerstein)
  • The Binding of Isaac (Cohen)
  • The Wicked City (Singer)
  • The Story of Isaac and Rebeckah (Davidson)

Books to read:

  • Magic Tree House Research Guide: Space (Osborne)
  • Henry and Mudge books (Rylant)
  • When Washington Crossed the Delaware (Cheney)
  • Let It Begin Here! : Lexington and Concord (Fradin)
  • Your Big Backyard - January 2007
  • Your Big Backyard - February 2007
  • A Mother's Journey (Markle)
  • The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Standiford)
  • Valentine storybooks

Videos to watch:

  • March of the Penguins
  • Elementary Spanish : Volume 1
  • Balto II : Wolf Quest (we somehow ended up with the Spanish version!)
  • DK Eyewitness : Planets
  • Abraham(is going to require a pre-viewing - started out with a women in hard labor - my kids still think babies"pop" out!)
  • In the Beginning
  • Abraham and Isaac
  • Noah's Ark


  • Winter Scavenger Hunt : buds, insects that are "sleeping," animal tracks, old bird nest, berries, pinecone, squirrel nest, ice or icicles (from Your Big Backyard, January 2007)
  • Finish alphabet book - all but the really weird letters,anyway
  • Finish snowman craft
  • Finish Birthday journal
  • Groundhog Day celebration

Well, that's the plan, anyway, we'll see how far we get!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Cherry Cheesecake Milkshake

You've got to try this! Get some of Breyers Very Chocolate Cherry light ice cream and blend it with some lowfat milk and a block of cream cheese. Then serve your family the best milkshakes they've ever had. It's that simple.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Calling all Mommies in need of encouragement

Travel over to The Sacred Everyday, and read Ann Voskamp's (one of my favorite writers)ponderings, "Peace isn't a Place." May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13). Love to you all!

It's the stomach virus

Ethan has a stomach virus. Doesn't it break your heart when your child says,"what can you do to help me?" and all that you can offer are prayers, hugs, and apple juice? Pray for him, and pray for the rest us not to get it, please. (Did I ever mention that my super-immune system has zero immunity to stomach viruses? I usually catch them if someone looks at me.)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blogs for life

What's the best mattress?

I need some help here. Brian, with his fibromyalgia, has had lots of back pain the past few years, but I haven't had any since elementary school (except for when I'm pregnant, of course). The past few weeks, though I have had a lower backache that has gotten progressively worse. Long story short, I think we're overdue for a new mattress. I've researched them a little, but I just get more and more confused. It seems that every store has a different name for the same mattress, making it virtually impossible to comparison shop. I'd be willing to spend substantial amount for a good mattress, but don't want to find out later that the $300 one at the liquidation sale was the same thing (or just as good) as the $1000 one I just bought. That would kill me - I'm an extreme tightwad about stuff like this. So help me out. Did you get a great mattress at Sam's or Big Lots? Did you have a lot of back pain that was relieved by a particular mattress? Please tell me!!!

And now, on to a prayer request. I'm coordinating a funeral dinner for 120 people tomorrow. Please pray for the Greene family. The grandfather went to be with the Lord and joined his 5 year old granddaughter who passed away suddenly in November. This family needs lifted up. And I humbly request your prayers for me as well. A nerve is trying to get pinched in my back and when it does, I can't stand up straight or lift things. It's been fleeting in that effect so far, but getting worse overall. So pray that it doesn't do anything weird tomorrow at least. Thanks, friends!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

How sacred is the life of the unborn?

This week is sanctity of human life week. I'm afraid I could get on about twenty different soap boxes, but I'll start with just this one. While I would definitely agree that abortion hurts both mother and child, I simply find some people to be overly compassionate in their treatment of this topic, afraid to condemn the choice to take a life. If a lady came to me personally wanting to find hope and forgiveness, then certainly I would compassionately show her the Way to true Life. Some have made this decision not fully understanding the consequences of their actions, and they have my sympathy. But I find it difficult to understand why people feel the need to allow other people to "make bad choices" in this area. I personally think that we still have too sterile a view of what's happening. 43% of American women will have an abortion by the age of 45. In 2003, 43% of women that had an abortion in the U.S. had already had at least one other abortion. (Thanks to Focus on the Family's Citizen Link for those stats.) If your next door neighbor chose to violently murder her 2 year old, I doubt that most of us would say, " I'm sorry that she made that decision, but we should treat her with compassion and not judge her." And I venture to say that that murder would likely have been less painful and horrific than the typical abortion. Do we choose to view it as the horror that it is only if the government declares it illegal? That sounds very similar to what the German people living near concentration camps did. That is the defense given by Nazi doctors who experimented on Jewish twins and nurses who euthanized the elderly and handicapped gave as their defense. It was legal. We, as a society judge people for their crimes all of the time. There is no sin that Christ cannot forgive, and we should always offer that hope with compassion because none of us are without sin, but until we start being shocked and appalled and calling sin by its name, why should anyone seek that forgiveness? Do I think the answer is to launch an attack against against women choosing abortion or the doctors performing them? No. I believe that the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. Christ is the only lasting solution to any problem. Proverbs 28:13 says He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. But we must speak the truth in love.

WARNING: The following video is VERY GRAPHIC and should not be viewed by children.

Abortion: The Facts


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Read Aloud and Memory Work This Week

I'm posting this partly since I have all of the memory work printable on one sheet and partly to keep me motivated to plan and keep up with it all. We've done pretty well with our Bible reading, but our memory work hasn't been getting done lately because I haven't been planning it in advance properly. So I'm going to try to post it every week to help me think it through and stay motivated.

Bible/Devotional reading:

  • Genesis 16-25
  • Leading Little Ones to God (Schoolland), chs. 72-76

Chapter book:

  • Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink

Other books:

  • Kingfisher Young Knowledge: Solar System (Goldsmith)
  • Worldwise: Space (Stott)
  • Escape North! The Story of Harriet Tubman (Kulling)
  • Young Abe Lincoln: The Frontier Days, 1809-1837 (Harness)
  • Abe Lincoln Goes To Washington 1837-1865 (Harness)

Scripture memory:

Genesis 1:2-5 (ESV)

2The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

3And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

4And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Poem of the Week:


I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,

And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Song of the Week:

"This Is My Father's World"

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears All nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres. This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thought Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise. This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass I hear Him pass; He speaks to me everywhere.

Words by Maltbie D. Babcock

Pics from Ethan's Birthday

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Christmas memories

Aunt Hannah (from This May Be My Life)
and Anna Kate
Hey, hey the gang's (almost) all here!
Daddy and Anna Kate
Mommy and Rosie

Anna Kate urging Uncle Gary forward

Pappy and cousin Brooklynn
Bass Pro shop at Christmas

Pappy, Rosie, and Uncle Isaiah

Pretty Anna

Anna Kate and Uncle Titus

Anna Kate's surprise corner she found in
her room when we returned home, complete
with rug, pillows, canopy, and dollhouse.
She had to sleep in her "cave," and did so all night.

Five things to do this weekend

  1. Pray for snow. (I know some of you are praying for the snow to melt, but you can pray for God to send it to me instead. Besides were looking at an ice storm, and snow is so much better!)
  2. Write a thank you note, not for an actual gift received, but for someone's time, friendship, or service to you. Write the thank you note that doesn't have to be written, to the person in your life that has really encouraged you. If you're really stumped, try starting with your church pianist, janitor, or secretary.
  3. Oganize your recipes. If you're anything like me, you have a lot of recipes that sounded great, got clipped out and stuck in a folder, and may never get used becuase you can't find the right one at the right time.
  4. Pick up some eyedrops at the pharmacy. Yep, this is a prayer request, Brian has infection in his eyes again. Please pray that it clears up fast!
  5. Fill your bird feeders.

Healthy Vegetable Recipes

Isn't everyone trying to have a healthier lifestyle these days? My kids love vegetables and salad, but I would really like to find some new ways to serve veggies. We eat green salads, as well as canned and frozen veggies. I usually cook frozen veggies in chicken broth, then season them. We also eat raw carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower; and I make lots of potatoes or sweet potatoes.

But I'm looking for some new ways to eat veggies. It seems like most vegetable recipes have a lot of fat (butter, sour cream, cheese), have some kind of wheat ingredient (bread crumbs, cream soups, crackers), or look like something my kids would never eat. I've tried some roasted squash recipes, that, frankly, weren't that great. I really need some help here. So if you've got a great vegetable recipe that your whole family enjoys, then please, please share it!

Just a note to those of you wondering, Brian has still done well with dairy, so I can use recipes with lowfat dairy, but we can't eat gluten, found in wheat, rye, barley, and most processed foods.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Are your hands dried out this winter?

I wash my hands constantly, partly because I have kids, partly because I'm a germaphobe, and partly because I cook. A lot. As a result my hands start drying out when we switch from central air to heat, and are usually dry, cracked open, and bleeding the rest of the winter. Yippy skippy.

But I now introduce to you my skin saver : Sunlight Ultra Sensitive Skin. Best stuff on the market. You know how Palmolive is supposed to be gentle? It gives me detergent burns. But I wash my hands all day with this in the kitchen and it actually makes awesome suds for dishes too ( not like some of those soft detergents that leave you going,"Where's the bubbles?"). I had to share, because someone out there still has the stinging hands I had a month ago. Hands too sore to even knock on a door. If that's you, try this stuff!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Sometimes you just have to get your money back!

Okay, nothing happened to me today, but I was inspired by Mary's post. Since I consider myself to be pretty good at this (and humble too), I thought I'd share.

I'm the one my friends and family know can talk people into giving me my money back for stuff. I really think that most people just don't try. But money doesn't grow on trees, and I refuse to be burnt by someone's bad products or service. On the other hand, I'm also far more likely than most people I know to go out of my way to thank people for good products or service. It's just good business. The business of running a home.

For example, a part went out on my dryer one month after the warranty expired, and I was nine months pregnant. They wanted to tell me that this was just too bad, but they were not going to get off that easily. Through eliminiation (dryers really don't have that many parts), it was obvious that a major part had gone bad. A part that, by their own admission, should not have gone bad for around ten years. Simple deduction: the part was defective. And they thought that I should be responsible for paying their technician for a new part to be installed. I DON"T THINK SO. Just because it didn't break a month ago, didn't mean it wasn't bad. What if I had had six kids already? It surely would have given up within that year then, right? Eventually I paid a $40 service fee and they covered the rest and gave me an additional 1 year warranty. The dryer's been great ever since. And do you know what? I would buy their dryer again next time now.

Toys are another big area in which you can lose a lot of money. My son took his birthday money and bought two similar toys at $15 a piece. He was thrilled with them. Until the first one broke and the second one wouldn't stay together one week later. I probably could have returned them to Walmart, but I hate to do that when it's not Walmart's fault. I have found that most major toy companies aim to please, and Hasbro absolutely outdid themselves. They sent me a prepaid label to ship them back for evaluation, asked if I would like to have them replaced with the same thing or something of equal value, and actually told me that I could write the item numbers for substitute choices on the return slip. It ended up that we wrote several items down with a note that this one particular Star Wars toy was what he had really wanted for his birthday, but it was completely sold out even before Christmas (his birthday is at the beginning of January). I mean this toy was gone from the market except fot a few collectors sites that had it for $200 instead of the original $30. Well, we got a package back from them expecting Hungry, Hungry Hippos, but it was instead, you guessed it - the Millenium Falcon!

Even bills can be helped by a polite conversation with a customer service rep. I always pay our credit card in full, but one month, I got online a day (really just a couple of hours) late. I was sick to my stomach. Late fee, interest.... I had nothing to lose. And the customer service lady just adjusted the date for me as sweetly as could be, and I was fine again.

So don't just give up on stuff. You can be polite, but persistent. Here are some tips. Some I've learned on my own, some from my brother (who actually goes way beyond what I would ever ask for, but has me laughing hysterically and scolding him at the same time. And he does get what he asks for).

  1. Ask for the person's name, write it down for future reference, and call the person by name when you're talking to them. If you are getting a serious run around (like the five month run around my mother-in-law got from a furniture company whose furniture she had under extended warranty, but they wouldn't replace) you can let the person know that you will let the next guy up know if they were helpful or not.
  2. Work your way up. There are a lot of things a customer service rep "just can't do" for you, but her manger or his manager most certainly can.
  3. Always be calm and polite. You can get a lot farther by kindly explaining that you need their help than you do by issuing threats. (Although, my brother once actually threatened to take out newspaper ads in the company's home town, and swears it was effective - but I wouldn't recommend it! :^)
  4. Don't assume that it's too late. If you feel that you've gotten a bad product, most companies will work with you. They want to keep their good name and your business. Try saying, "isn't it your goal to have satisfied customers? (yes) I am not a satisfied customer!" I had an infant toy that was used with Ethan for about a month or two, then packed away for two years until Anna Kate was ready to use it. But it would no longer keep it's shape and hold the little toys up; I was going to have to replace it. I decided to give Fisher Price a call (they are the best company to work with!). They couldn't replace it fully, but they did prorate it, which gave me back around 70% of what I paid - and I bought another Fisher Price toy.
  5. Don't forget to call about the good things too. I often call food companies, in particular, to thank them for a great product. They sometimes just stutter in shock and amazement, but sometimes they actually send me coupons or sign me up for a newletter. And I'll hold a long time just to let someone's superior know that they really went out of their way to help me out, even after someone else had told me that they couldn't do anything.

From a Reformed perspective, why do evangelism?

If you actually made it all the way through the previous post, then you'll understand that I wrote it because I wanted to share where I've been and where I'm going on this theological saga. After working through limited atonement (which, to me ended up being so closely tied to election that I no longer had an issue with it - I'll probably explain that better another day), then my next job was working back through what I've always believed and reviewing it in the light of what I was beginning to more fully understand about election. One of those things was evangelism. I knew I didn't want to be on the "hyper" side of calvinism. Obviously Jesus gave us a commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel. But what to say? "Jesus Christ died for you if you're one of the elect and if you're one of the elect you should consider this your notification that it's time to give your life over to Him." ?

This is the question Eric answered last week in for the Irish Calvinist's Q&A Friday. He quotes Spurgeon who (of course) says is better like this, “If God would have painted a yellow stripe on the backs of the elect I would go around lifting shirts. But since He didn’t I must preach `whosoever will’ and when `whosoever’ believes I know he is one of the elect.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Election Update

As I 've worked through the 5 points of Calvinism the past couple of months, I've really found such a great peace about things that terribly disturbed me. The doctrine of election was such a stumbling block for me. Of course it's in the Bible. Everyone knows that (I think). But I didn't want to give it too much weight. I wanted to keep it securely tied to free will. Because there were things I didn't like about election. To me, if some were elect, then some were obviously not elect. And this was a problem for me.

Let me backtrack a bit. My Pappy (my maternal grandfather) was probably my favorite, most loved person in the world. I was his first grandchild, and the only one for six years until my brother was born. I was his "baby." My Grandma still calls me that. I prayed for him to be saved every day for as long as I can remember. Then one Sunday morning, when I was ten years old, he had a massive heart attack. He died. I had prayed for my daddy to be saved, and when I was three, he gave his life to Christ and soon was called to preach. I prayed for my aunt to be saved, and when I was seven, she received Christ. I prayed for my Pap to be saved... and he died... and went to hell. And I can't say or think that 20 years later without sobbing.

So this election thing bothered me. It bothered me that he could go to hell period. Because he wasn't just some nebulous "someone who rejected Christ." But worse still, could God elect some people and not others? Why not him? This was personal. Intensely personal. And the dialogue of my thoughts bordered on blasphemous. How could God do this? How could it be right? And yet at the same time I was so grateful for what He has done for me. And I knew that God's thoughts are high above our thoughts.

So, there were times that I was so overwhelmed by God and who He is, that my questions suddenly paled in comparison. And there were many more times that I simply pushed those thoughts back away, into their little corner, because I still couldn't figure it out.

Now don't think that I have it all figured out now. But a few things have become crystal clear to me.

Several posts at the Irish Calvinist dealing with election and limited atonement gave me yet another opportunity to work through these things. And Eric was ready to give Biblical answers to any questions I brought up. I also recently worked through what a truly biblical view of assurance of salvation was. And I was also confronted with an angle of this isssue in the Way of the Master evangelism Sunday school class at church. So it was time to once again try to reconcile the God I love with His ways that I cannot understand.

Then my brother was arrested again and went back to prison. He knows so much about God. He has a level of discernment in theology that just blows your mind when you try to put it together with a life that is obviously not the life of one who is attached to The Vine. In the midst of the pain his actions and continued lack of submission to His Creator caused my family, God spoke to me. I shared it with you then, but I didn't realize the ripple of impact it would have in my own heart:

God will always get glory from whatever happens. We just have to adjust our thinking. Even in terms of the eternal destinies of those we love most. My new prayer became, "God make my desire to see you be glorified more important than anything I feel, or anyone that I love."

And that really was the key all along. Do I want God's truth or Alicia's truth? Do I want God to be glorified, or do I simply want what I want? I had had a sneaking suspicion that if I really loved God more than I loved these people that I've loved and held here on earth, I would have a better perspective. God's glory is the most important thing. Jesus said, "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Make my desire to see you be glorified more important than anything I feel, or anyone I love.

Once I put my issues aside and opened my heart to what the Scipture was saying I was able to grasp the complete depravity and hopelessness of fallen man. The free will is there, but we would never choose him without Divine intervention. We would choose our own way. Yet He chose us before the foundations of the world. For his glory. Soli Deo Gloria!

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Update: Today is the day to bless Kelli, so go to BooMama's blog to make an online donation. You can give as little as $1.50. I everyone did this, it would make a huge difference. I know what it's like to have too many medical bills and not enough income, but Kelli's situation is far more urgent and expensive. Skip a latte, movie rental, or eat an extra round of spaghetti this week. You can't afford to miss this chance to be a blessing!

This may be one of the greatest blessings in blogging. The privilege to bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ. This is all BooMama's idea, but I found out about it through Mary. Click on the button to be a part of this wonderful show of love for Kelli, a mother in need of a kidney transplant.

As a side note, I'm so excited to have finally been motivated enough to figure out how to add these buttons to my posts, maybe now I'll look like a "real" blogger. :^)

Tuesday, Craft Day

I like seasonal and holiday activities. Today we're doing winter crafts.

  • Paper snowflakes - I think we'll have to stick these on the glass deck doors.
  • Marshmallow snowmen - I know more will be eaten than crafted
  • Dress-up snowman magnet pieces. - I'm going to mount the black and white templates here on heavy paper, have the kids color them and cut them out, then glue magnet strips (from all of those advertising magnets that come stuck to things) on the back.
  • Decorate your own mittens. - We're going to try out Ethan's new glitter pens on the "My Mittens" page at crayola.com

Monday, January 15, 2007

MLK funny

We read a couple of storybook bios today, then tonight we actually watched an online recording of Dr.King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I had actually never read very much about him before, nor had I heard the speech beyond the short, much-quoted "dream" excerpt. I was impressed with his amazing speaking talent as well as the content of his speech.

Anyway, on to the funny part. While I was searching for a recording of the "I Have a Dream" speech, I stopped at The King Center website where a section of his sermon-speech "The Drum Major Instinct" begins playing when the site comes up. You can click on it in a new window to get the full effect. As Dr. King's voice orates,
"You don't have to have a college degree to serve.
You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.
You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve.
You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve.
You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve."
Anna Kate intones, "Breakfast is served!"

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Give him a break!

Is anyone else out there half as disturbed as I am that Jack Bauer never gets a vacation?

Hymn of the Week

This is an old hymn whose original melody was written in 1876 by Robert Lowry. The Rees text was originally written in Welsh and was the revival hymn of the 1904 revival in Wales. I never heard it until it was reset to a melody by Steve and Vicki Cook on Sovereign Grace's CD All We Long To See. You can listen to the secondverse of that version here.

Here is Love

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

Let me all Thy love accepting,
Love Thee, ever all my days;
Let me seek Thy kingdom only
And my life be to Thy praise;
Thou alone shalt be my glory,
Nothing in the world I see.
Thou hast cleansed and sanctified me,
Thou Thyself hast set me free.

In Thy truth Thou dost direct me
By Thy Spirit through Thy Word;
And Thy grace my need is meeting,
As I trust in Thee, my Lord.
Of Thy fullness Thou art pouring
Thy great love and power on me,
Without measure, full and boundless,
Drawing out my heart to Thee.

Words: William Rees (1802-1883),verses 1-2; Will­iam Will­iams pos­sib­ly wrote vers­es 3-4

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another prayer request

Please lift up Noah and his parents, Adrienne and Jason today. They have made the decision to take their baby off of life support today. Thanks to Wendy for making me aware of this sweet family.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bathtime is fun!

New Every Morning

Lamentations 3
22 It is of the LORD's mercies
that we are not consumed,
because his compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning:
great is thy faithfulness.
24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;
therefore will I hope in him.
25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him,
to the soul that seeketh him.
26 It is good that a man should both hope
and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.
31 For the LORD will not cast off for ever:
32 But though he cause grief,
yet will he have compassion
according to the multitude of his mercies.
40 Let us search and try our ways,
and turn again to the LORD.
41 Let us lift up our heart with our hands
unto God in the heavens.
55 I called upon thy name, O LORD,
out of the low dungeon.
56 Thou hast heard my voice:
hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry.
57 Thou drewest near
in the day that I called upon thee:
thou saidst, Fear not.
58 O LORD, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul;
thou hast redeemed my life.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Hymn of the Week

From a lyrics standpoint, this is my very favorite hymn. I'm not at all crazy about the traditional melodies. There was a beautiful choral arrangement with a different, very effective melody that we sang in the Unversity Chorale, but I've searched the internet to no avail and am sending off an e-mail to some friends to find out (hopefully) who wrote it. But, in the meantime, take the time to read the words to this great song as if you'd never heard it before, and you will be blessed.

Arise, My Soul, Arise

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Words:Charles Wesley
Music: Lewis Edson

About Me

I was putting this together on e-mail for a friend, so I decided to share it with everyone. I've seen it floating around the blogosphere too, but have never posted it before. I'd love to have those of you who haven't done it lately(or ever) join in.

Four Things about me you might not have known.
1. I am the oldest of seven children, and I am six years older than my next sibling.
2. I've always wanted to live out West, in theory, at least
3. I almost never get sick except when I'm pregnant - then I more than make up for it
4. I have hundreds, probably over a thousand, books in my house and I love every one of them. (And those are just mine, not counting Brian's or the rotating boxes of children's books or the books on the kids bookshelves....)
Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Choir director
2. pizza maker
3. tour guide
4. accompanist
Four movies you would watch over and over:
1. Romeo and Juliet
2. Pride & Prejudice
3. The Sound of Music
4. Much Ado about Nothing
Four TV shows you love to watch:
2. 24
3. Prison Break
4. The Unit
Four places you have been on vacation
1. San Antonio
2. New Orleans
3. Marco Island
4. Steamboat Springs
Four of my favorite foods:
1. Chocolate
2. Mocha lattes
3. Danishes
4. Pasta
Four places I would rather be right now:
1. In Europe, especially Austria or Tuscany

2. Home in PA
3. With a friend (everyone's asleep and frankly, I'm a bit lonely; we've been isolated by illness for weeks, with occasional breaks)
Out west, preferably Colorado or Montana

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Happy Birthday,Ethan!

A few days ago, Ethan was singing "Forever and For Always" to me. It's our song. He sang, "wanna wake up every morning to your sweet face, always," then stopped and earnestly said, "that's why I got into your bed last night, Mom, because I wanted to wake up every morning to your sweet face."
I can't believe that it's been six years since the first Sunday that I held you in my arms. You are a sweet, tenderhearted little man, and I thank God for you all of the time. Sometimes I wish I could freeze time.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

This was NOT on my to-do list today

Five things to do this weekend

  1. Finish packing away the Christmas decorations. I'm pretending that I'm not the only one who hasn't done this yet. I'm also pretending that I'm actually going to pull this off this weekend, but maybe I'll get an E for effort.
  2. Write a letter of encouragement, or call a friend that needs encouraged. I'll be writing to my brother in prison, as I try to do almost every day. And I'll be calling a girlfriend several states away to listen to her and to listen to God, begging Him for the wisdom to know how to encourage and when to keep listening. It's humbling to not know the answers, but comforting to know that Someone does.
  3. Hang a calendar for each of your kids. I get each of my children their own calendar, hang it in their room, and use it to write down things that they say or do, just like a baby calendar. It's less effort than a journal, but I still have a record.
  4. Make some homemade mixes. I need to mix up a batch of gluten-free Bisquick, a dry cream soup base, and some gluten-free corn muffin mix.
  5. Send out your remaining Christmas thank you notes. I have an old card maker from when I was a girl. The kind where you choose the plates, put a piece of paper over them, and then rub them with a crayon. The kids love it. Of course, the internet also has a limitless supply of great (free) printable thank yous too. These are really cute.

I want to invent a medicine machine

Wouldn't it be great if you could go to Walmart, walk up to a console, choose which ingredients you wanted, then the flavor you like best, and have the machine fill your bottle and print out a label with dosage instructions? Of course it would have premeasured amounts of each ingredient based on the combination chosen and would know which combinations were a bad idea.

It would just be so nice if you could get only a cough suppresant and decongestant when that's all that you want. And then add in acetaminophen or ibuprofen and an expectorant when you want that too. All in the really good grape flavor.

Well, that would be my perfect world of medicine shopping. Of course I would rather not be buying medicine at all.

In the meantime, try Delsyn, the 12 hour cough suppresant. It works really well, comes as a single ingredient drug (a big plus in my book), and tastes good.

Is your car seat really safe?

I just watched an enlightening piece on the local news about car seat safety tests. Did you know that federal car seat tests are sone as a frontal crash at 30 mph? That's enough right there to concern me - does anyone know what these seats would do on an interstate crash at 70 mph????

Well, Consumer Reports tested infant seats at higher speeds ( I think only up to 38 mph) and did a side crash test. The results were not pretty. They even recommended that the Evenflo Discovery be taken off the market because it flew off its base even at the federally mandated speed. Several seats twisted or flew off their bases! I'm apalled. Does the average parent know this? I'm spreading the word.

According to Consumer Reports, "Of 12 infant seats we tested, only 2 performed well: the Baby Trend Flex-Loc and the Graco SnugRide with EPS. " Their testing also found continued problems with the LATCH system. It appears that securing carsets with the regular seatbelts may be the safer approach.

And I still would like to know what happens at even 50 mph. Don't you think it might at least be prudent to record the effectiveness of various carseats as a required part of accident reports? This data could help identify particularly weak carseats.

Friday, January 05, 2007

How to Fight for Joy

Jump right over to The Irish Calvinist and watch the John Piper video posted right under the "Straight from the Armenian Hymnal" article. (It doesn't have its own permalink, and I think it's a bit misplaced.) You don't want to miss this mini sermon on joy. I think it's only about 30 seconds long. So go. Right now. Then you can click the back button and settle in for a visit.

Dairy's BACK!

The really good news from our trip is that my mother left some lactose pills on our room while we were up there, and Brian took the plunge and tried them since he was off work. AND THEY WORKED! He's been off gluten and dairy for over a year. Just imagine cooking with no wheat, rye, barley, oats, milk, butter, cheese, or other dairy products and you'll see how great it is to just add half of that back. Ice cream, pudding, crustless cheesecakes, wheat-free pizza, smoothies.... I'm almost as excited as he is.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Happy New Year!

Can you believe that I actually just wrote "07" today for the first time? We're making a slow recovery from the holidays. My minivan is still only part way unpacked from our arrival three days ago.

We did have a good Christmas, but my family has been passing stuff around for over four weeks now, and my family in PA was doing the same thing. For those of you who don't know me personally, I don't get sick very often. If I call the doctor, they have to look in their old records. I do get HORRIBLE morning sickness that lasts forever, but very rarely get anything else. Especially colds, and I can't remember ever having the flu. My husband is my direct opposite. He has fibromyalgia and has frequent pain, headaches,etc., and he catches everything too. Our kids are somewhere in between. So, when we left, Ethan had a lingering cough, and Rose was just getting it (Anna Kate had gotten it and recovered quickly already.) Rose had a mild fever pretty much the whole time we were there and spiked a 102 degree temperature for a couple of days, and nearly everyone else staying at my parents' home got some version of this cold/flu/sore throat/cough thing too. So we enjoyed spending time with my family, but didn't get out very much. Brian came down with it on New Year's Day - the day we had to drive all day to get back home. I know that he felt reeaallly bad because he let me drive the WHOLE way home. (Understand, he doesn't mind my driving, but I rarely drive more than an hour of a ten hour drive - it's one of those "taking care of me" things he wants to do himself. And I appreciate it. Interstate driving is not my cup of tea.) But we made very good time after a very late start. Brian was home from work on the 2nd, he went yesterday and today, but is still feeling pretty awful. Rosie, I think, has finally gotten to feeling better. I really like when kids get old enough to communicate details. And Ethan's cough has finally disappeared. Did I mention that I still need to go to the grocery store, and that Ethan's birthday is Sunday and I haven't planned a thing because I didn't know if anyone would be well? Yeah, we're starting the new year Byars' style. :^)

So. I've decided two things. First, I think I have unfulfilled perfectionist tendencies. As in, I try very hard to have things go perfectly or be perfect, but they virtually never live up to my expectations. Example: I didn't pick up my blog right away because I wanted a good "first post" of the year. But at the rate I was going it was going to be February.

And second, maybe I should have stuck with my unfulfilled perfectionist tendencies, because this post is way too rambling.

Hope you all are WELL this new year. I noticed that Walmart's cough syrup supply was dwindling.