Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thankful Thursday: A Wonderful Visit



Uncle Ray came for a visit over the weekend, and we really enjoyed having him with us.  We visited the Houston Museum of Natural History on Friday and kept closer to home on Saturday and Sunday.  Ray brought a special chess set that he got from missionaries to South America, depicting the Spanish and Incas.  He played many games of chess with Sarah Beth and Daniel, and I didn't feel too bad about losing to Daniel since Ray did once or twice, too.

Here are a few ways that God blessed us this week:
  • a wonderful visit with Uncle Ray
  • that he likes spending so much time with our children because they wouldn't leave him alone!  ;)
  • killing two birds with one stone, so to speak:  after dropping Ray off at the airport in Houston, we got to spend some time with friends who live there
  • the flexibility of homeschooling so we could take time off while Ray was here and spend that time with him
  • for the rain...
  • that is spotty instead of being continual
  • lunch with a friend who unfortunately is moving away...
  • but she's moving to my hometown, so we'll still be able to get together when I visit my parents
  • the ease of getting a new library card since I lost my last one
For what are you thankful this week?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday's Quote: "If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee"


I've been reading through Then Sings my Soul Book 2:  150 of the World's Greatest Hymn Stories by Robert J. Morgan, and I really enjoy learning about the people who wrote some of my favorite hymns and the stories that inspired them.  When I read this hymn by Georg Neumark, I discovered one that I had forgotten.  What a wonderful hymn it is, full of truth!

If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He'll give thee strength, whate'er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days;
Who trusts in God's unchanging love
Builds on the Rock that naught can move.

Only be still, and wait His leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whate'er Thy Father's pleasure
And all-discerning love hath sent;
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To Him who chose us for His own.

Sing, pray, and keep His ways unswerving,
So do thine own part faithfully;
And trust His Word, though undeserving,
Thou yet shall find it true for thee;
God never yet forsook at need
The soul that trusted Him indeed.

Hymns like this one comfort my soul when hard times come.  I praise God that He moved men and women to write hymns such as this one.

Do you have a favorite hymn?  Or are there too many to count?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Rachel's Clean Bill of Health and No More Methotrexate!


This week has been not-quite-crazy busy.  It started over the weekend when we were out of town for John's brother's wedding, and we didn't get back until late Sunday night.  I had a dentist appointment Monday afternoon, and since I had a babysitter, I ran a couple of other errands, as well, while I was out.  So I was gone all afternoon.  Tuesday was our homeschool co-op and then Teachers' Night Out for homeschooling mothers.  Yesterday, Rachel had a doctor's appointment up in Houston, and we visited the Lego Store beforehand which was fun.  And today, we're heading back to Houston to pick up family who is coming into town.  John is taking tomorrow off, and who knows what we'll end up doing.  No wonder I'm so tired!

But this week is also full of things for which to be thankful:
  • first of all, for Rachel's clean bill of health...
  • and that we get to stop giving her methotrexate!
  • that family is coming into town
  • clean teeth :)
  • supper out with friends
  • new friends
  • a babysitter who can come during the week
  • children who didn't expect us to buy them something at the Lego Store although they would have been disappointed, I'm sure, if we hadn't.  (How do you visit the Lego Store without buying anything?)
Mostly, I'm thankful that God chose me before the foundations of the world to be His (Ephesians 1:4), but how wonderful that He didn't stop there!  He lavishly bestows all kinds of good things on me every single day!

For what are you thankful this week?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Top Ten Influential Books


I was tagged on facebook by one of my good friends to tell about the ten books that have influenced me the most.  Because I blog (and because I thought this post might be too long for facebook), I wrote it all out here.  And yes, I realize that there are more than ten books on this list.  But it was really hard to narrow it down, or maybe it was really hard to come up with ten?  I'm not sure.  ;)
  1. The Bible.  Without this book, where would I be?  On the road to hell, that's for sure!
  2. Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  This book revolutionized my thoughts about Heaven and how wonderful a place it will be.  Before I read this book, I couldn't wait to get there, and now I know why!
  3. If God is Good by Randy Alcorn.  I already had a grasp on how a good God can allow or cause bad things to happen, but this book expanded my knowledge a hundred-fold.
  4. White Fang by Jack London.  I remember buying this book from a Scholastic flyer in the fourth grade; it was probably the first book I ever bought with my very own money.  I read it so many times as a child that it has to have had some kind of influence even though I'm not sure what it could be.  (And I still have my copy!)
  5. Watership Down by Richard Adams.  With this book, I learned not to be afraid of a book just because it's long.  I read it for the first time in the fifth grade.
  6. Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot.  This book introduced me to Elisabeth Elliot when I was a young Christian in high school, and I couldn't read enough of her books.  I learned so much through them.
  7. A Word in Season Volume 1 by R.J. Rushdoony.  I read this book a couple of years ago, and it changed the way I thought about social problems.  They can't be changed by anything but the Gospel no matter how well-meaning people are.
  8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  I can't tell you how many times I've read these books, and I always enjoy them.  Now my children are gaining an appreciation of them, as well, which thrills my soul.  My favorite is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  Which is yours?
  9. 10-20-30 Minutes to Learn to Crochet.  I learned to crochet by reading and studying this book, and crocheting opened a door to crafting that I didn't know I would enjoy so much.  And since I taught myself to crochet, I figured I could teach myself to knit, too.  And I did!
  10. Horse books:  The Rider's Handbook by Sally Gordon's and Encyclopedia of the Horse by Elwyn Hartley Edwards.  Horses were such a big part of my life for so long that I have to include these two books.  I received both of them for a birthday, I think my thirteenth.  I did not have a horse yet, but I had started taking lessons.  I read and reread these books so many times, dreaming of my own horse.
Now I'm supposed to tag people, and I'll do that on facebook...except for Tracey at Girls to Grow who isn't on facebook.  Tracey, what ten books have influenced you the most?  And other readers, what books have influenced you?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday's Quote: We Need Christian Community and Fellowship


When I read this quote from Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full by Gloria Furman, I realized how much I needed to hear this wisdom because I tend to keep my friendships shallow and superficial.
We need other Christian women in our lives to help us grasp how wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the love of Jesus.  Compartmentalizing our spiritual life away from our interactions with other women is unhelpful and spiritually damaging.  When we relegate our fellowship with other women to discussions of fleeting things and avoid talking about how eternity is pressing on our heart, we're not doing ourselves or our friends any favors. 
Christian women are sisters on the deepest level of community, bonded in Christ together for all eternity.... 
It's true that other mothers can give you great advice on childcare and support your parenting decisions, but Christian sisters can give each other so much more.  Jesus gives us Himself, and He gives us sisters to strengthen each other as we learn more about His love that surpasses knowledge. 
God designed us to need each other.
Thankfully, God has given me a couple of friends who encourage me to open up with them and deepen our friendships.  And now I'm going to work on deepening other friendships, as well, because I see how keeping them shallow is hurting myself and my friends.

Do you work at deepening your friendships?  How do you do it?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Our 2014-2015 Curriculum


Since I enjoy reading about what others use to teach their children at home, I thought I would share with you what I use, in case you enjoy reading these types of posts, too.

First of all, we are part of a Classical Conversations community which is basically a co-op that includes the curriculum.  Through it, my older three children are memorizing an enormous amount of material which they will then learn to use throughout the rest of their homeschool journey.

Math.  We started using Saxon Math when Sarah Beth was in kindergarten, and we've enjoyed it these past few years.  I appreciate the repetition and how the concepts are broken down into easy-to-learn segments, although my children aren't always so thrilled.  I have to admit, however, that we usually skip all the "intro" stuff and just dive into the lesson.  Otherwise, it takes too long!  And since I already have the teacher's manuals, we've kept using it and plan to keep using it through Mary. Daniel is using Saxon 2 and Sarah Beth Saxon 5/4.

Bible.  We finished up Genesis to Joshua the first few weeks since we didn't quite finish the book last year, and we will start Judges to Kings as soon as our materials get here.

Grammar.  Last year, I started Sarah Beth on Shurley English Level 1, and it was very good.  But I've put it on hold this year until I get her writing and spelling where they need to be.

Reading.  I started Hooked on Phonics with Sarah Beth after buying it super cheap on sale, and it works well enough.  Daniel started the second grade year, and I've started Rachel with her letters.

Writing.  We started Cursive First with our children, and we use these workbooks from Classical Conversations to help implement it.  Sarah Beth is working her way through Spelling Plus, and I don't think it will take long since she's such an avid reader.

Science.  We love the series from Answers in Genesis, and we're going through The Human Body to complement what we're studying in CC.

History.  Basically, I'm just checking out books from the library and showing appropriate DVD's to my children that correlate to what we're studying that week in CC.

Do you enjoy these types of posts?  What are you using for your children?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review: The Berenstain Bears Blessed are the Peacemakers by Mike Berenstain


In The Berenstain Bears:  Blessed Are the Peacemakers by Mike Berenstain,  the cubs have another problem with which to deal.  They are caught in the middle between two groups of cubs at their school:  the teasing bullies and the smart kids.  These two groups want nothing to do with each other, but they are forced to cooperate when their school decides to put on a play.

Like most of the Berenstain Bears books, my children and I enjoyed this one.  It was a little far-fetched when the whole town (it seemed) got caught up in the rivalry between the two groups, but that part was very short.  The main message of trying to get along with the people around us came through the story.  And I appreciated that the author used Scripture to make his point.

I want to thank BookLook Bloggers for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.