Monday, February 26, 2007

Favorite Birds

I took this pic on the inland waterway
at Daytona Beach this past October.

Leslie's daughter is graphing birds over at their family blog Hilaritas. She needs more data for a good graph so go vote for one of her options.

It captured my whim, so while you're at it, tell me your favorite bird(s). At home I love to watch for bluebirds and hummingbirds. But I love water birds, especially egrets. And watching pelicans dive, sandpipers run along the shore, and feading seagulls are some of my favorite beach activities.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Desiring God Chapter 1 - The Happiness of God

I'm finally getting an opportunity to share my thoughts on the first chapter of this book. I'll try to do it without typing the whole chapter. :^)

Piper follows a logical thread of biblical arguments to establish that God's own happiness is the basis for our pleasure in Him. He shows that God is sovereign and His purposes can't be frustrated, even evil is under His control and fulfilling His ultimate purposes. Because of this "We will not find a frustrated, gloomy, irritable Father who wants to be left alone, but a Father whose heart is so full of joy that it spills over onto all those...who are thirsty."

A major theme that stood out to me in this chapter is the question, Why does God want and command our praise? Here come some great quotes! Piper says:

"The second reason people stumble over the teaching that God exalts His own glory and seeks to be praised by his people is that the Bible teaches us not to be like that. For example, the Bible says that love "does not seek its own" (1 Corinthians 13:5, NASB). how can God be loving and yet be utterly devoted to "seeking his
own" glory and praise and joy? How can Go
d be for us if He is so utterly for Himself?

The answer I propose is this: Because God is unique as an all-glorious, totally self-sufficient Being, He must be for Himself if He is to be for us. The rules of humility that belong to a creature cannot apply in the same way to its Creator. If God should turn away from Himself as the Source of infinite joy, He would cease to be God. He would deny the infinite worth of His own glory. He would imply that there is something more valuable outside Himself. He would commit idolatry."

While I may have occasionally wondered about the question above in passing, I certainly never stumbled over it, but I really liked the answer.

The next concept to stick with me was, "We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise." Piper stumbled upon this concept while reading C.S. Lewis's Reflections on the Psalms, which I am also adding to my ridiculously long reading list - but I think it may get bumped to the top. :^) Lewis expressed that people praise whatever they are enjoying, and not only do they praise it, but they invite others to join them in praising it.

If I had been asked if I give praise to God, I would certainly have said that I do. I praise Him for my life, for good food, for nice weather, for green lights... But now I think of all of the other things that I praise so enthusiastically. The last episode of 24 ("You've got to watch that show; it's awesome!), my Rosie in pigtails ("isn't she so cuuute?!"), a great new latte flavor ("you've got to try this, mmm,mmm,mmm"). Yes, I can be spastically spontaneous in praising all of these things to the people around me. Do I so delight myself in God that my delight spills over in praise so effervescent that it infects those around me?

"All the works of God culminate in the praises of His redeemed people. The climax of His happiness is the delight He takes in the echoes of His excellence in the praises of the saints. This praise is the consummation of our own joy in God. Therefore, God's pursuit of praise from us and our pursuit of pleasure from Him are the same pursuit..."

Ann's Mothering Prayer

Ann continues to exhort and convict me with her keen observations. Jump over to her Charlotte Mason quote and the prayer that was offered in response.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Henry and Mudge

Thanks to my sweet little friend Leah who lent us several of her books, we have become big fans of a big dog named Mudge and his best friend Henry. The books are level 2 readers, and Ethan is at level 1 right now, so I'm reading them and the kids LOVE them!

If you've never heard of them before:

  1. Take a first look at Simon and Schuster.
  2. Then look inside one at Amazon.

Already a fan?

  1. Find language arts worksheets for two of the books at abcteach.
  2. Really cute printable stationary and additional worksheets at Marcia's Lesson Links.
  3. Printable memory game and activity pages at simon and schuster, and a printable board game as well
  4. Their teaching guide for the Henry and Mudge books can help with ideas for fun and sequencing. My favorite is to celebrate Mudge's birthday on May 1. Note: I can now (2/2011) only find this available at teachervision.
  5. A primary level reader's theatre script at havefunteaching.

A really big fan?

Amazing Grace


I just found out that Crossway has finally released a single column, verse by verse (instead of paragraph form), wide margin bible. It comes in hardcover or black trutone; no pretty colors or designs yet. I like my old Rose floral thinline, but some of you might want to go check this out.

A day worth forgetting

We ended up eating at a steak house for dad's birthday Thurday night. Brian was feeling better; Rosie still didn't eat anything. Anna Kate and Ethan stayed at Gran and Pa's for their weekly sleepover night and Rose, Brian, and I headed home. Then...

Brian got the stomach virus, and a couple of hours later, at 4AM, I got the call to come get the kids because Brian's mom had gotten sick earlier in the night, and now Anna Kate had thrown up all over their bed. Yippe skippy! I knew we were doomed. Rosie had woken up at 12:30AM before I'd had a chance to go to bed and she was still awake, so we headed to Walmart to buy large quantities of Gatorade, Gerber liquilytes (way better than Pedialyte), chicken broth and PeptoBismol. I could tell that I was getting sick too and was just glad to make it back to the van first (barely). I went to get Anna Kate and we decided that Ethan would stay with Gran so that Pa could go get her medicine. So we had a very long night and day.

I started feeling better yesterday late afternoon. Anna Kate is feeling better this morning, but not eating yet. She had a very high fever with her virus. Brian's a little better, and - you guessed it- Rose still isn't eating. Ethan, astonishingly, is still well. I really, really hope that he and Pa stay that way.

Well, I'm off to wash some more hot water laundry.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Quick (or not so quick) Update

I'm sorry that I've been so absent this week. Just to let you know that Brian is doing much better, but is still very tired and trying to catch up after everything. Rose is a mystery. She threw up 10 times that first night, slept three hours, ate breakfast, threw up, was happy all day, hardly ate, then threw up again right before she went to bed. She didn't throw up all day yesterday, but she only ate a banana and a graham cracker all day, and had some diarrhea. She acted normal other than not eating. Today she ate half a muffin at breakfast, drank some chocolate milk (her only known cure for diarrhea in the past was whole milk- I know it's weird), we went to the park for a picnic and she took one bite and threw up all over the place, then refused to eat anything else. I can't figure it out, but it doesn't seem to be contagious, and it doesn't even look like an illness. Anyway.

It's my Nanny, my brother Titus, and my father-in-law's birthday today. And George Washington's. Happy birthday, everyone! (Not that any of them read this. Especially George.) We're trying to decide if Rosie will throw up and Brian and Ethan can eat anything at the Japanese steak house we'd like to go to for Dad's birthday dinner. There's apparently no one there to tell you about the food until they are already open, and that's when we were hoping to go.

I'm rambling, so I'll shut up now. Have a good weekend, friends. I have much more substantial posts ready in my brain, but I'm too busy trying to keep Rosie's clothes and sheets clean to write them just now. :^)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sickness has returned

Please pray for Brian and Rosie.

Brian accidentally had a large helping of wheat last night (Sunday night). He started to get sick about 45 minutes later and is still getting worse. If staying away from gluten was a vast improvement for his fibromyalgia, then eating it in that quantity is kind of like fibromyalgia hell. Like your worst imaginable day of the flu on terms of all-over misery, minus the fever.

Rosie's thrown up twice in the last hour.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Pork and Sauerkraut

I had just put our dinner in the crockpot. Ethan walked past the kitchen and said, "somebody stinks [Rose]," to which I replied, "no, Ethan, it's just the sauerkraut." At which point Anna Kate (who watched me cut the pork roast in half) chimes in, "It stinks because it's dead!" "They killed him and they chopped off his head and they threw it in that bag and you take it home and chop it up and eat it up. Because it's dead, dead, dead, dead."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Can theology change your life?

This is the question that has been simmering in my heart for weeks now, and I've waited for the right way and the right time to answer with the decided and resounding "yes!" that is really just a testimony of what God is doing in my life.

Theology is literally the study or knowledge of God. So the real question would be "is learning who (or the knowledge of who)God is capable of changing the way I live?" Anyone who has a personal relationship with their Creator would have to say "yes," but far too many fail to look further and realize that the more we know about God and how He thinks and how He saves and what He does can continue to change the way that we live and think.

For example, I can know that "all things work together for good," but until I understand the sovereignty of God and that he is working everything out for His glory, I will never truly be able to grasp how the bad things in my life could ever be good. Or I can know that you cannot lose your salvation, but until I understand how God has chosen me and brought me to himself, not of my works, because even the work of believing was His Spirit's work, only then do I truly understand how truly saved I am.

The study of God's salvation is transforming my heart. I feel newly saved. I cannot believe that I could have been saved for 27 years, but never glimpsed its true depth until just these past few months. Realizing the truth of salvation from God's perspective has humbled me, excited me, and created in me the longing to know Him better, to hunger and thirst after righteousness, in a way I could only wish for before. God chose me, He overcame my sinful will that would have led me to damnation, He sacrificed His only Son to be the propitiation for my sins, and He will continue this work in me. This is truly good news! This is the gospel.

Now go and tell the world.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My Twinn Sale and the Modesty Survey

Remember my modest clothing links? Well. My Twinn is having a big sale. Don't be mislead. When the page comes up it shows the normal prices, but if you click on them you can find $4-10 dresses, jackets for under $10, shoes under $5, etc. I have ordered a dress from them before and it seemed to be running a bit on the large side. Also most of these items are available only in a few sizes and mostly XS and S which would range from about sizes 4-8 (?). So go check it out!

P.S. My modest clothing links aren't necessarily sites where all of the clothes are modest, but where it is typically easy to find modest clothing. :^)

P.S.S. In case you haven't heard, The Rebelution has released the results of their comprehensive modesty survey. 1600 men's opinions and input on how their sisters in Christ can show their love for their brothers by dressing (and acting) modestly.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Our Valentine traditions

We love holidays and Valentine's Day is no exception. This is the first year since before Ethan was born that Brian is not working second shift. We have always had a heart-shaped pancake breakfast with strawberry syrup, but now he leaves before we are awake, so I need to have a dinner instead. We also dress up in red or pink clothes, preferably with lots of hearts. We sometimes have a little children's party with friends, and this year we were invited to one! We'll head there after we take a trip over to Brian's grandparents to see them. We always make handmade personalized valentines for grand and great-grandparents and often aunts and uncles too. We save the themed storebought ones for other friends and relatives. We also like to make heart-shaped rice krispy treats for all of our friends. And then, of course we throw in as many surprises as possible for Daddy, which usually included a trip to the TV station with balloons, but the new job is too far away, so we'll think of something else. Have a Happy Valentine's Day! (Thanks to Brian's car breaking down and a few other wrinkles, I still need to go get that strawberry syrup!)

Valentine stuff for kids

  1. The Toymaker - beautiful printable crafts
  2. Billy Bear 4 Kids - Valentine handwriting paper
  3. Disney.go - Cinderella III printable valentines
  4. Crayola - Valentine bingo
  5. Very Best Kids - Valentine Heart Mosaic
  6. Buy Roses 101 - rose coloring pages

Baby Ashley...

who has been stuggling to survive a multiple organ transplant, now has cancer too. Please pray for Ashley Kate, who has been screaming in continuous pain for eleven days, and for her mother Trish, who's faith humbles me.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Reformed theology

So, I'm still working my way through reformed theology. I can't help but love reading the stuff - it's so saturated in Scripture and the glory of God. I just found a fantastic resource. This link is a list of all sorts of Reformed sermon series, study guides, doctrinal statements,etc. I just found it tonight, and I'm lovin' it! All, or at least a lot, of my questions answered in one place - ya gotta like that. I was telling Brian, though, that the more I read, the more questions I have about everything I used to believe about doctrine. I am definitely reading my Bible on a quest for truth; approaching it completely open to finding the truth as it is, rather than how I thought it was, think it might be, or want it to be.

Well, I can't find the exact source of these Bible studies,they're labeled The Sovereign Grace of God Bible Studies, but the one I wanted to share as food for thought is the lesson "The Extent of the Atonement". I can't even figure out who wrote it, but the section I'm sharing is mostly quotes from J.I. Packer's introductory essay to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, so I hope he doesn't mind.

The Problems with Denying Particular Redemption

All quotes are from J.I. Packer's introductory essay to John Owen's The Death of Death in the Death of Christ

Particular redemption is the doctrine that Christ's death made certain the salvation of everybody He died for, and thus He didn't die for all people since all are not saved. Universal redemption is the view that Christ died for every individual without exception--those who perish in the same way as those who are saved.

Particular redemption preserves the truth that the cross saves.

“Calvary, in other words, not merely made possible the salvation of those for whom Christ die; it ensured that they would be brought to faith and their salvation made actual. The Cross saves. Where the Arminian will only say: “I could not have gained my salvation without Calvary,” the Calvinist will say: “Christ gained my salvation for me at Calvary.” The former makes the Cross the sine qua non of salvation, the latter sees it as the actual procuring cause of salvation, and traces the source of every spiritual blessing, faith included, back to the real transaction between God and His Son carried through on Calvaries hill.”

We are not stressing limited atonement because we are interested in confining the limits of divine mercy, but because we wish to “safeguard the central affirmation of the gospel--that Christ is a redeemer who really does redeem.”

“Christ did not win a hypothetical salvation for hypothetical believers, a mere possibility of salvation for any who might possibly believer, but a real salvation for His own chosen people....Its saving power does not depend on faith being added to it; its saving power is such that faith flows from it. The cross secured the full salvation of all for whom Christ died.”

Universal redemption lessens God's love, the glory of Christ's death, destroys the gound of our assurance. And universal redemption must deny that the cross actually saves.

“So far from magnifying the love and grace of God, [universal redemption] dishonors both it and Him, for it reduces God's love to an impotent wish and turns the whole economy of `saving' grace, so-called (`saving' is really a misnomer on this view), into a monumental divine failure. Also, so far from magnifying the merit and worth of Christ's death, it cheapens it, for it makes Christ die in vain. Lastly , so far from affording faith additional encouragement, it destroys the Scriptural ground of assurance altogether, for it denies that the knowledge that Christ died for me (or did anything else for me) is a sufficient ground for inferring my eternal salvation; my salvation, on this view, depends not on what Christ did for me, but on what I subsequently do for myself.”

Particular redemption is needed for a proper understanding of the gospel

“Our minds have been conditioned to think of the Cross as a redemption which does less than redeem, and of Christ as a Saviour who does less than save, and of God's love as a weak affection which cannot keep anyone from hell without help, and of faith as the human help which God needs for this purpose. As a result, we are no longer free either to believe the biblical gosepl or preach it.”

Some food for thought. Oh, and in case you're wondering who John Owen is, according to J.I. Packer at,

"Owen was by common consent the weightiest Puritan theologian, and many would bracket him with Jonathan Edwards as one of the greatest Reformed theologians of all time. Born in 1616, he entered Queen's College, Oxford, at the age of twelve and secured his M.A. in 1635, when he was nineteen. In his early twenties, conviction of sin threw him into such turmoil that for three months he could scarcely utter a coherent word on anything; but slowly he learned to trust Christ, and so found peace. In 1637 he became a pastor; in the 1640s he was chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, and in 1651 he was made Dean of Christ Church, Oxford's largest college. In 1652 he was given the additional post of Vice-Chancellor of the University, which he then reorganized with conspicuous success. After 1660 he led the Independents through the bitter years of persecution till his death in 1683."

On a more personal note

I'm struggling a bit with some things that have happened to us recently (really Brian, but it's all the same isn't it?) Please pray that I will have a gracious and humble spirit, that I can encourage my husband when what I really want to do is vent(not about him, he's as wonderful as usual), that God will use Brian for His own purposes in just the right place, and that He would put me in the places that He wants me to minister. I am a very justice-oriented person, and I don't like when it seems that things aren't "right" or done right. Pray that both of us will have wisdom to do the right thing in every aspect of our lives. God will get glory from every situation. He works everything out that way. And that is so comforting to me. Because that's what really matters, isn't it?

Purpose of Missions

"The ultimate aim of world missions is that God would create, by His Word, worshippers who glorify His name through glad-hearted faith and obedience. Missions exists because worship doesn't. When the time of ingathering is over, and the countless millions of redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more. It is a temporary necessity. But worship abides forever. Worship therefore is the fuel and the goal of missions."

-from the Bethlehem Baptist Church Shepherd's Training Manual by David Livingstone (which, by the way, looks like a fantastic manual for small group dynamics)

To My Dear and Loving Husband
by Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more then whole Mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that Rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompence.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

An American Soldier

air force photo
Click Here.

Modest Clothing Links

Kim's post inspired me to share these links I've found over the years for those of you trying to find modest clothing online.

Chadwick's - especially their clearance section
The Scarlet Thread - beautiful old-fashioned handmade clothes
Hannah Lise - collection of beautiful, if somewhat pricey, girl's and women's clothing
My Twinn - this is a very unexpected source, but their end of season clearances can produce very nice girl's dresses for under $15

Vegetable soup

I've been wanting to post some of my recipes. so here we go. I had planned to stop for some ingredients for other meals at Walmart on the way home form church, but when we pulled into the parking lot, I realized that I'd left my wallet at home (Brian was home sick.) So I needed to come up with something healthy and quick, and my freezer and frig weren't looking very promising. When I asked Brian what type of thing he felt like he could eat, he said tomato soup. All regular canned tomato soup has wheat in it, so I set out to improvise.


Hearty Vegetable Soup

  • 2 cans or 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1-2 can(s) Hunts organic diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
  • 1 can corn,drained
  • 1 can green beans,drained
  • 2 carrots peeled and coarsely grated
  • 1 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 1 cup bionaturae gluten-free fusilli
  1. Blend broth and tomatoes in blender, if your kids won't eat chunky tomatoes or you like smoother soup.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until noodles are cooked.
  3. Serve with gluten-free cornbread.

This is very easy to improvise. You can eliminate the beans or trade them for a different kind. I keep cooked frozen beans in the freezer and just dumped some in, but you could use canned. If you don't have gluten-free noodles (or need them), you can substitiute regular noodles, rice, or just skip it. I used 1 can of tomatoes, but two would have made a "soupier" soup - ours was more like stew. I also used buillion cubes for the broth, because I was out of canned and frozen.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Five things to do this weekend

One of last year's pics

  1. Help the kids make the valetines they chose for which I finally found the right paper.
  2. Figure out some nice surprises for Brian and plan a nice dinner.
  3. Choose Valentine's Day outfits and reserve them for the big day, find the Valentine hairbows I bought on our Christmas trip, and schedule a family picture.
  4. Read more in Genesis and Desiring God.
  5. Catch up on laundry - See ya later!

Oh, and by the way...

Anna Kate was starving cold during her bath tonight. Starving. To death. Cold.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday report

Well, today was fun!

I enjoyed my silly survey and your funny responses. This is not about lack of trying or concentration for me. I have concentrated until steam poured out of my ears, and I've even tried using my fingers! I've heard the genetic line before, and that's what I'm claiming - it was all one of my great-grandparent's fault!

Well, today I hung out with Rosie, but we didn't stay at home, we had a big day on the town. First item on the agenda? Get her 18 month pictures taken. Pictures are important around here. I get them done at 5 weeks 5days, 3mo., 6mo., 9mo., 12mo., 15mo., 18mo., 21 mo., 2yrs., 2 1/2yrs., then each year after. (None of my children will be able to say that they don't have pictures of themselves at least.) Since I got my handy digital camera, I do occasionally make the necessary photo packages from a fantastic photo if it was in the correct month, but not two in a row, and not for a birthday pic. I took Rose's 15 month pic. And she's only 18 months old for two more days. SO. First I called the Walmart that's ten minutes from me (but two minutes from my mother-in-law) to schedule a photo appointment. I'd heard a rumor that some of their photo studios were closing and guess what? It was true. Next I called the walmart that's five minutes away. Yup. That one too. Okay, so the two remaining studios were both about 20 minutes away, so I went with the one closer to Gran's, in order to drop off Anna Kate; Ethan was already there. And - hooray!- my favorite Walmart photographer that usually works 40 minutes away, now works there. Things were looking up. Rosie was perfect. I kid you not. My eighteen month old put her little hands wherever the lady told her to, and kept them there. Tilted her head. Smiled on cue. Took absolutely perfect pictures that I can't show you. Then we went to pick up her beloved bananas (she can eat three a day, and it's her first word nearly every morning) and a loaf of bread, and she charmed the rest of the store.

Next we needed to get a Batman action figure for Ethan completing his sticker chart. (And, boy, did he work hard!) We stopped at the first Dollar General on the way home (we have to pass three.) No "man" in sight, but there was a thrift store I'd never visited next door. Poor Em. They had a quarter bin, two actually, full of children's clothes. 45 minutes and 8 dollars later, I had for Ethan : 1 pr.shorts, a new blue camouflage zip-up sleeper, 3 t-shirts, 1 long sleeve shirt and for Anna: 2 pr. shorts,and several shirts and blouses. Plus a book of piano sonatas and a surprise for Lindsey. Rose was still in good spirits, despite it being way past lunch. She had, after all had a banana and half a slice of bread.

Onward to Long John Silver's. This had been a long time coming. I love their food, they have great coupons - Brian can't eat anything they serve. Except maybe the coleslaw and shrimp sauce. So we got a big sampler and cup of water to share. And she wouldn't eat anything breaded. So I had to unbread the chicken and fish, which she then devoured. Poor child. The joy of growing up in a gluten-free household. She's never had breaded foods.

Finally, we stopped at the dollar store closest to Gran's and found the needed Batman and took it to Ethan, who was, coincidentally, dressed like Batman.

We had so much fun, and I'm so glad that it's the weekend! I feel like a kid. I miss Brian so much during the week, and it makes me so happy to have him home. But I think he's allergic to weekends, because he got sick again tonight. He fights so hard to keep going all week, and that's about all his body can take. I'm hoping a good night's rest and not having to go to work tomorrow will help him to wake up revived. I have to get Ethan's birthday picture.

Best of the blogs

My husband Brian at Growing Vertical has a great post on Christian marriage in response to a question from a coworker.

Kelly at A Spacious Place had an article on pornography with some shocking statistics that are a must-read for every wife and mother.

Funniest reads of the week go to
Kim's Day at the Zoo and Lindsey's bathtub story.

And how could I end this list without
a beautiful read from Ann at The Holy Experience of Listening.

Silly informal survey

Can you roll your tongue?

Rosie has joined the ranks of the able. (But she doesn't know what I want her to do, if I ask her to do it on cue. She just sticks her tongue out.) That leaves me to be the odd one out, everyone else in my family can do this.

So do tell.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Desiring God

I just began reading John Piper's Desiring God : Meditations of a Christian Hedonist. I'm so excited to be reading this book, and all I've read is the introduction! I also can't believe that it's taken me this long to get around to reading a Piper book. I have a feeling it's going to be full of things to share, so I'm going to start right now so that I don't get too far behind.

First, I seriously wonder if there wasn't a conversation in the Piper living room with Noel saying, "I understand what you're wanting to communicate, John, but do you really have to use the word 'hedonism' ". Just one of those things my weird mind will spend time thinking about, because that's what I would have said.

Now on to what really struck me. Am I the only one who grasps a truth that was so obvious that I wonder how I, or anyone else, could ever have missed it?

Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." Now at first, one might think that if you delight in the LORD, he'll give you whatever stuff, things, dreams you have. Later, you might read, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires that He has placed in your heart." That was how I interpreted it. But let's take it at face value, shall we? "Delight yourself in the LORD, and when He is all your delight, He will give you Himself, the Desire of your heart." That is so much better than any other desire I could have or He could fulfill. Psalm 73:25-26 "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Please pray for Ashley

Baby Ashley has survived her organ transplant , but has been screaming nonstop since Friday, and no one can find a reason. I cannot imagine the absolute helplessness that I would experience knowing that my daughter was in that much pain, and not knowing what to do. Please pray for Trish, Dave, and Ashley, and go read Ashley's Journal.

Where has Hannah gone?

For those of you who have tried to visit my sister Hannah at This May Be My Life recently, I regret to inform you that she has had to delete her blog. She has received a couple of frightening and rude comments in the name of a man who was responsible for, and killed in, a car accident that Hannah was involved in over a year ago. Freaky, I know. That would be the dark side of blogging. Just wanted to let you know.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Help when running on empty

Mary at Owlhaven asked, "what do you do to rejuvenate when you are drained and feel like you have nothing more to give?" She was soliciting the best mood-lifters. Now Mary has had the flu; that's a really real reason to feel drained on a completely different level. I tend to just be mentally drained, or more often irritated to the breaking point. Like when I've planned a great outing and suddenly Brian is no longer feeling well enough to join us and the children are not obeying, and my snipping is starting to turn into exploding... A lot of times I get it wrong, but sometimes, by God's grace I get it right. This is the message I left Mary, and I'm sharing it with you too. Maybe you're having "one of those days." And maybe it will help me to remember. I'm glad that she asked.

When I'm drained and have nothing more to give I tend to start taking it out on my perceived drainers (read "kids"). I won't pretend that I've gotten smart enough to always do this, but when I have, it has been like a miracle. I take my children by the hands and gather them to me. I tell them that I can't do all of this by myself, that I'm sorry that I've been grouchy, and let's pray together for Jesus to help us. And we pray for the children to obey Mommy, and for Mommy to be kind. Often we were headed out somewhere before the breaking point approached, and what seemed impossible to pull off becomes possible again. And it does make a huge difference. It changes our hearts. And that, after all, is what really needs revived.

Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the LORD

I hope everyone enjoyed the game last night. It was so interesting to watch the media try to analyze and comment on the actions and reactions of both teams' Christian coaches. They apparantly both have stellar reputations, and neither raises their voice. Someone was commenting on Tony Dungy never using a bad word of any kind.

At the end of the game, as they had after they won the semi-finals both the Colt's owner and their coach, Tony Dungy, gave the praise and glory to God. One commentator mentioned how amazing this was, especially in light of the fact that one of his son's had committed suicide just over a year ago. I knew very little about this man, before the Superbowl, but I was reflecting on all of this this morning, and this Psalm came to my mind.

Psalm 40:1-3 NKJV
1 I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.
3 He has put a new song in my mouth—
Praise to our God;
Many will see it and fear,
And will trust in the LORD.

It struck me that even when our praise wasn't exactly in the from of a song, when we praise God it is a testimony to lost souls who may indeed see it, and fear, and trust in the LORD.

This morning I saw a comment by "me" (not me) over at Lindsey's post about the Superbowl. And she had left a link to Tony Dungy's testimony that aired on Family Life Today. You can listen to it

Free Tracts

You can now download and print free tracts from the Irish Calvinist.

Coolest new-to-me website for homeschoolers

Did you know that there is a Time for Kids magazine and website? And that they have tons of neat reproducibles in their teacher section, searchable by theme? I've just begun explorng the wealths of this resource. Already I've found Go Places, which includes sightseeing information, day in the life articles, native lingo, etc., about different countries around the world- all on a kid's level. (You can even print out a passport and passport "stamps" for the places you "visit.") And of course, news articles for kids. I'm impressed.

As a side note, if you want to read more conservatively written kids' news articles, check out God's World News.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Homeschooling this week

Well, last week a lot of our books took longer than expected to come in at the library, and then some of the books and videos that were meant to go along with our Bible reading were either too mature for my children, or I didn't care for them for other reasons. So we'll try again.

Memory work this week

Bible verses:

I John 1:7-9 (ESV) 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


"The Little Elf'"
By John Kendrick Bangs

I met a little Elf-man, once,
Down where the lilies blow.
I asked him why he was so small
And why he didn’t grow.

He slightly frowned, and with his eye
He looked me through and through.
“I ’m quite as big for me,” said he,
“As you are big for you.”


"Blessed Be Your Name"


Bible/devotional reading:
Genesis 27-37
Leading Little Ones To God (Schoolland) - still reading
Jacob and Esau (Auld)

Chapter books we're working on:
Baby Island (Brink)
Magic Tree House Research Guide:Space(Osborne)

Other books:
Saint Nicholas(Tompert)
Bird Watcher(Burnie)
Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad (Brill)

Videos/DVDs to watch:
Elementary Spanish Volune 1
Abraham and Isaac

  • Hang feeders and keep bird journal this month (I still can't figure out how to hang the ones we made months ago! This week we'll either figure out or skip them and hang something else. ARGGH!)
  • Do Polar Plunge science experiment from Family Fun magazine to see how blubber works
  • Make family valentines(T) and mail them.
  • Noah and Abraham books
  • Geography day (M): worksheets to learn continents and countries of North America, continents and US puzzles, Go Places, VOM map of the persecuted church, read this month's Kids of Courage

Blue Sunday (Go Colts!)

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Doing righteousness and justice

I decided to go back to the beginning of what we'd been reading in Genesis and begin seeking out the passages that refer to God's relationship with His people and the doctrine of salvation. I'm hoping to get through the whole Bible this year doing this, and I'm very excited about it.

The passage that really stuck out to me today fit that theme, but struck me more as a parent.

For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring to Abraham what he has promised him. Genesis 18:1

What a blessing it would be to have it said of us as parents that we commanded our children to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice! That's aiming a lot higher than "brushing your teeth and saying your prayers."

I won !

I just realized that I won a contest! On The Fly asked this question, and then chose my answer for his Instruction Manual here. Cool. Thanks, Brian.

Top 20 Praise and Worship Songs...So Far

I turned on the radio this morning just in time to catch most of 20 The Countdown Magazine which was playing the Top 20 Praise and Worship Songs..So Far. Jon Rivers was co-hosted by Chris Tomlin. What a blessing! All of these songs are favorites of mine. Our family favorite though would have to be "How Great Is Our God." Rosie even sings along, humming on syllables, then ending each phrase with "ah Goh." And she raises her arms to praise our great and holy God. The next song to play was "You Are My King," which includes the phrase "and it's my joy to honor You, in all I do, I honor You." And Ethan asked, "Mom, did they just say, 'in all I do, I barbeque?' " Good grief.

This show had wonderful background stories to several of the songs, the Psalms and situations that inspired them. You can listen to them by clicking here and scrolling down to the extended podcast version.

Birth Control

Okay, this is a scary topic to open up at all, but here goes. First of all, Tim over at Challies Dot Com is going to be tackling the subject, and I'm interested on seeing what he has to say.

There are a lot of things I'm still working on, but one thing that has become rather clear to me. I wish someone had told me this, so I'm telling you. The birth control pill can cause abortions. Maybe you already know that. Maybe you're cringing in shock and disbelief. Maybe you just don't believe me at all. But I would encourage you to read Randy Alcorn's booklet, Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?. This is not a rant, but a carefully researched article, written by a well-known Christian author and pastor who didn't know either, but then had to know if it was true. Lots of people have lots of different opinions about birth control. But this is not an opinion, it is facts about life. The booklet is a free PDF file. So find out for yourself.

Never in January

If you've ever struggled with a Bible reading plan, go read this article by Noel Piper.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Happy Birthday, Rachel!

Today my leeeetlest seester turns 20!
Happy Birthday,seester!

I've loved you your whole life. I remember waiting at school for the phone to ring and let us know if you were a boy or a girl. I remember being surprised that your middle name was not Marie. I remember taking your toddler hand and walking you downtown for a lollipop or new hair ribbon. I remember you hanging upside down form your desk watching your kindergarten video, and then, later, telling Mom that you didn't think your teacher was very smart because she kept asking you all of these questions that you already knew the answers to. I remember taking you and the other children on a '"ramble" and showing you the fairy tree. (I like to think that it's my fault that you love fairies so much.) I remember shopping for a birthday present to mail to you and realizing that I shouldn't be in the little girl's department any more. I remember thinking what a lovely person you've grown up to be. And that wasn't hard to remember, because I'm thinking it right now.


Rachel, Anna Kate and Ethan with the fairy house they made last summer.

Happy Groundhog's Day!

I looked out my kitchen window at the melting
snow in my backyard and way back in the
corner under the rose bush, I spied this:

I also spied a robin.

Rosie and I mad a little snowman and put it in the freezer. I think we'll save it for the Fourth of July, and let everyone guess how long it will take to melt. (I read that in a magazine recently, but can't remember which one. Probably Family Fun or Nick,Jr.)

Now I'm off to watch the noon news and see what the groundhog said.

Update according to

Phil Says Spring is Right Around the Corner!
Phil's official forecast as read 2/2/07 at 7:28 a.m. at Gobbler's Knob:
El Nino has caused high winds, heavy snow, ice and freezing temperatures in the west.Here in the East with much mild winter weather we have been blessed.
Global warming has caused a great debate.This mild winter makes it seem just great.
On this Groundhog Day we think of one thing.Will we have winter or will we have spring?
On Gobbler's Knob I see no shadow today.I predict that early spring is on the way.

For a great craft go to the Toymaker.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Snow babies

Snow day!

If it gets really quiet around here...

A) That weird rash Rosie has really is the chicken pox.
B) The predicted ice storm has hit and the power went with it.
C) Both A and B

Homeschooling Meme

Thanks to Leslie for tagging me - whoever knew it was this much fun to be "it"?!

1) One homeschooling book you have enjoyed. The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling by Debra Bell (who just happens to have been my evaluator when I was homeschooled!)
2) One resource you wouldn't be without. The library! Homeschooling could end up being downright expensive! Right now, all I have to pay for are my fines - I call them my membership dues. :^)
3) One resource you wish you had never bought. Bob Jones K5 readers. They're perfectly fine readers, but they were very expensive, and introduced things in a different order than we'd been learning them. As a result they haven't been used much (why didn't I just get A BEKA?!).
4) One resource you enjoyed last year (and this year). Your Big Backyard magazine. My kids love it. And Rosie's favorite books right now are our old copies of its sister boardbook magazine Animal Baby (gotta renew that for her!). Both are published by the National Wildlife Federation, which also publishes Ranger Rick.
5) One resource you will be using next year. Plants Grown Up. We haven't used it as much as I'd planned this year, but next year he'll have reading down and we'll be diving in to this great handbook.
6) One resource you would like to buy. An extra room added on to my house to be the library. Our beloved books are completely taking over our living space!
7) One resource you wish existed. A Dora the Explorer or Go! Diego Go! Spanish course on DVD.
8) One homeschooling catalog you enjoy reading. Sonlight - I love their booklists!
9) One homeschooling website you use regularly. Just one?! Most of my favorites aren't exactly homeschool sites. I think I'll go with, especially their coloring pages.
10) Tag other homeschoolers.
I tag Kim and Lindsey.