Monday, February 28, 2011

What are My Children Learning?

The other day, as I was reading from The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson (one of the titles on my 2011 reading list), I came across this paragraph:
When we choose to graciously overlook our children's messes and accidents, we are teaching them to be patient and forgiving with the mistakes of others. When we react sensitively, thoughtfully, and patiently to them, we are helping to instill these qualities in their lives. As they benefit from our unconditional love, they learn to extend it to others as well. As they watch us extend hospitality, care for others, and pray for them, they learn to make service a part of life. And as they observe us searching Scripture, spending time with the Lord, and making faith-based decisions, they learn these things as well. Modeling loving service to our children gives them something to emulate in their own lives.
Are you as convicted as I am? What do my children learn when I snap at them, when I am too busy to listen to them, when I want them to leave me alone? I cringe when I think about it. I thank God for this reminder that my children watch everything I do, and they learn so much more from what I do than from what I say. If I want them to emulate me, I need to be an example worth following.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

What Wondrous Love is This?

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this that caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul, for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb, I will sing.
To God and to the Lamb Who is the great “I Am”;
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing;
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

words by Alexander Means

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Giveaway


My good, real-life friend Laura at Six Little Arrows is hosting a giveaway from Vision Forum. Head over there to check it out and put your name in the hat, so to speak.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Pancake Day is Coming!


Tuesday is National Pancake Day, and IHOP will give all their customers a free short stack of pancakes. They do ask for a donation to a local children's hospital in return, but I think that's a small price to pay for free pancakes and the fun that comes with it. To see how much fun we had last year, check out these pictures!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Uh-Oh!

The other day, I turned around and look what I saw. It's the first time that Rachel has pulled up. She wasn't real happy about it, but I had to take a picture. I guess it won't be too much longer before she's walking. Rats! (Please disregard the mess in the background.)


Yesterday, I ran upstairs just for a minute, leaving Rachel downstairs with Sarah Beth. Look what I found when I headed back down the stairs. Yes, Rachel had crawled up onto the landing. (Our stairway goes up two stairs to the landing, then turns, and goes up the rest of the way.) I guess it's time for a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, too, now.


Here she is, trying to climb even farther up the stairs. Her brother and sister were up there encouraging her on.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Little Star by Anthony DeStefano, Illustrated by Mark Elliot

Little Star by Anthony DeStefano and illustrated by Mark Elliott is a cute story about the nativity star. "Little Star" is the smallest star and is ignored by the other stars; however he is the only one who realizes the importance of Jesus's birth, the birth of a King. Because of this Little Star shines more brightly than he ever has before, more than any other star ever has.

My children and I enjoyed reading this cute story. I thought it was a little short on the nativity story, but it is definitely in there. Too much time is spent on the stars and how they ignore Little Star, but I think that's the point: to see Christ's birth from a stars point of view. But we like the book, and we'll add it to our Christmas book collection.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah for sending me a copy of this book to review, but my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Worrying about a Little Hole

Last week Sarah Beth found a little hole in her pajamas. When I say "little hole," I really mean a very small, threadbare place in the sleeve. Her reaction? Oh, my! She was sobbing and almost hysterical about this itty, bitty not-quite-a-hole. She fussed that her arm would get cold. (Never mind the blankets on her bed.) She probably worried that I would throw her pajamas away. (I do throw away sock with holes in them.) Finally, I was able to calm her down by reassuring her that she wouldn't get cold, and I wouldn't throw her pajamas away.

How often do we worry ourselves needlessly over such small things? What if my baby never eats solid food? What if my son is never potty trained? Of course, my baby will eat solid food; what child doesn't? Of course, my son will learn to use the toilet; what child doesn't? God cares about us more than we know, more than we can understand. He doesn't want us just to bring the "big" things to him; He wants us to bring everything to Him. He may not solve all of our problems, but He will help us get through them.

When will we learn to "cast all our cares on Him because He cares for us? (1 Peter 5:7)

Do you struggle with needless worry? What do you do about it?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents' Day

What are your plans for today, Presidents' Day? We don't have any; holidays like this seem to surprise me, although they shouldn't since they're on the calendar all year long. John has the day off, though, so that should make it interesting.

Jessica at Life as Mom has a few suggestions for celebrating the day. I sure wish I had some jelly beans to eat in honor of Ronald Reagan.

Do you have plans?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Links of Interest

Here are some links you may be interested in:
Do you have any good links to share?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Finished Object Friday

As I looked through one of my (many) books of crochet patterns, Daniel saw this blanket and asked me to make it for him. Since he didn't like the one I had made before for him and therefore didn't have one, I agreed.

This blanket was super easy to make, but I think it turned our rather pretty. Daniel picked out the color yarn himself, and I think he made a good choice. He is so thrilled to have it, and he carries it around with him all over the house. I'm glad he likes this one!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ten Years Ago


Ten years ago today, I married the most wonderful man in the entire world. No, I am not exaggerating. Just as our children are the most beautiful in the world, so is my husband the BEST! Let me list just a few of the ways:
  • He is hardworking in order to provide for our family.
  • He makes me laugh.
  • He is a great father.
  • He loves me in spite of my moods and fickleness.
  • He is dependable.
  • He is trustworthy.
  • He is kind.
  • He is compassionate.
  • He's awfully handsome.
These ten years feel like such a short time, and yet I cannot remember what life was like B.J. (Before John).

Happy anniversary, Sweetie!

(I'm sorry about the quality of the picture. I had to take a picture of a picture which doesn't work well because we got married before digital pictures were common.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How Do You Know When Your Children are Paying Attention to the Bible Stories You Read Them?

When you hear your daughter say, "I look like Mary."

Do your children act out Bible stories or other stories that you have read them?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Blog

I have thought about starting another blog for a while now. There are items in the news that I come across in the newspaper, on the radio, and on the television that I want to share with you. Maybe you've heard about them, and maybe you haven't. I don't want to take away from this blog which is more about my personal life, so I'm starting another one.

I plan to share quick snippets as I come across them. I don't know how often I will post, but I hope to post often. We'll just have to see how it goes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Daniels' Birthday Recap


Daniel's birthday was Saturday, and I thought I would share some pictures with you.

One of Daniel's new privileges is getting to play with Play-doh.

Here is he is again, playing with Play-doh after his bath.

Doesn't he look excited about his blue cupcake?

I just thought this picture was cute.


Blowing out his candle.

Since we were not able to celebrate Rachel's birthday on her birthday (thanks to the stomach flu), we just waited a couple of weeks to celebrate it with her big brother's birthday. I made three different color cupcakes: blue for Daniel, pink for Rachel, and white for the adults (John, my parents, and me) who didn't want blue teeth.

Rachel ate every, single bite of her cupcake.

She loved playing with the wrapping paper, much more fun than her actual gifts!

Of course, I can't leave out Sarah Beth. She was thrilled about the pink cupcakes, too.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Daniel!


Today is Daniel's third birthday. It feels like this sweet, little (no, BIG) boy was just an itty, bitty baby yesterday. You blink, and they grow up. *Sigh* Here are just a few of the reasons that we love Daniel:
  • He has a sweet spirit. He will do almost anything to make someone happy. Sometimes, he will leave his playing to come find me just to check on me.
  • He loves to help. When I ask him to do something like throw away one of Rachel's diapers, he says, "I will!" and runs to do it.
  • He's our comedian. He doesn't "get" the concept of a joke yet, but he loves saying and doing funny things trying to get us to laugh. Once he understands jokes, I'm sure we'll be hearing a lot of them.
  • He's just so cute!
With age comes responsibility. Here are Daniel's new ones:
  • No more pacifier. He is only allowed to have it in his room, anyway, but now it will be gone.
  • No more riding in the buggy. I'm tired of picking him up to put him in there, and it's just a good time to stop this.
  • Time for chores, specifically, clearing his place at the table.
With age, also comes more freedom:
  • Playing with Play-Doh.
  • Getting his own pair of scissors.
We love our Daniel-boy, and we cannot wait to see what plans God has for him.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Booking It: February Review


One of my goals for this year is to read two books a month. Hmmm. Maybe I underestimated myself. Then again, I started a couple of these books in late December, and here it is almost the middle of February, which is a time span of almost two months. How did I find find the time to read so many books? Ten minutes here, five minutes there....
  • I really enjoyed reading Confederate Corsair: The Life of Lt. Charles W. "Savez" Read by Robert A. Jones because I enjoy reading history. This book tells the story of Read and his escapades during the War of Northern Aggression. I was amazed at how one man (and his ship) could strike such fear into maritime commerce; as a matter of fact, the United States did not recover from Read's 20-day looting spree as a Confederate captain until World War I. I hadn't read a book about naval warfare, so I learned a lot.
  • The Faith of Ronald Reagan by Mary Brown chronicles the life story of Reagan from his humble (re: poor) beginnings all the way to being the most powerful man in the world. The best part of this book is its focus on Reagan's faith which I did not realize was as strong as it was. (Read my full review here.)
  • The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan is a strange story. Mercy Land works for the local newspaper editor "Doc," and one night a book appears mysteriously, i.e. supernaturally, on Doc's desk. This book has the ability to show the entire life of the people within its pages. They decide the book has appeared in order for Doc to make right a wrong he committed many years ago, and John Quincy is brought into the story. Of course, John is not who he appears to be. (Read my full review here.)
  • I made time to read Toilet Training without Tantrums from Parent or Child by John Rosemond because it was that time for my son. This book, well, it does what it says. I enjoyed reading the history of potty training, how our grandparents had their children (our parents) trained before they turned two; now we think it's unusual for a child to use the toilet independently at that age. (He's doing GREAT by the way.)
  • I started reading Bright Against the Storm by Ari Heinze and got three-quarters of the way through when something came up and took my book away. It's Christian fantasy, and I really wanted to like it, but when I got the book back, I just wasn't motivated to finish it. Anyway, it tells the story of a newly made knight who goes on a quest for his king, hoping to save their country from war.
  • Harriet Tubman by Rebecca Price Janney is a nice, short read about this amazing woman who was born into slavery. After she escaped from slavery, she returned to the South many times, rescuing other slaves. During the War of Northern Aggression, she worked for the Union Army as a scout and in hospitals. After the war, Tubman continued to work for her people, helping them become educated and better able to support themselves.
  • I also reviewed God Gave us the World by Lisa T. Bergren and Laura J. Bryant which is a nice children's book.
My list of books keeps growing! And it seems like I have a theme: books about the War for Southern Secession. (Last year, it was World War II.) Do you have a reading list for the year? If so, head over to Life as Mom, and join the fun!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

What Kind of Christian am I?

Currently, I am reading Joy Unspeakable: Power and Renewal in the Holy Spirit by Martyn-Lloyd Jones, and I came upon this passage:
If we have no sense of responsibility for the condition of humanity at this moment, then there is only one thing to say -- if we are Christians at all we are very poor ones. If we are only concerned about ourselves and our own happiness, and if the moral condition of society and the tragedy of the whole world does not grieve us, if we are not disturbed at the way in which men blaspheme the name of God and all the arrogance of sin -- well, what can be said about us?
Oh, boy! Was I ever convicted! That one paragraph strikes down deep into my heart and shines a light on my selfishness and self-centeredness. Does the Holy Spirit ever convict you like this when you're reading a book? What do you do about it? I hope that I don't forget about it and return to my calloused living.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Book Review: God Gave us the World by Lisa T. Bergren and Laura J. Bryant


God Gave us the World by Lisa T. Bergren and Laura J. Bryant is a sweet little book about a polar bear "Little Cub" who visits the bear museum with her family. While there, she learns about the different kinds of bears that God created. She also learns about the different parts of the world where these bears live. As she learns about diversity, she learns to appreciate these differences.

My children and I enjoyed reading this book, and it does have a cute story. However, it gets a little "green" as the authors talk about our world being "fragile" and how God might get "mad" if we don't take care of it. These issues are a small part of the book, though, and we will continue to enjoy reading it together.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Company for sending me a copy of this book; however, my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Potty Training Update


It has been a little over a week since I started teaching Daniel to use the potty. Do you remember how reluctant I was to start? Now I wish I had started weeks/months ago because it's been so easy!

What did I do? How did I do it?
  • I read John Rosemond's book Toilet Training without Tantums by Parent or Child.
  • I realized that accidents were inevitable. Instead of worrying about preventing them, I prepared for their clean-up. This preparation relieved so much of my stress.
  • I bought two potties: one for the living room where we spend most of our time downstairs, and one for his room upstairs.
  • I prepared Daniel by telling him that we were going to start on Monday.
  • I bought a bag of m&m's.
Monday, however, was not a good day to start. I should have waited until Tuesday because I was exhausted from working that weekend. On top of that, it seemed like everything that could go wrong that morning did. But we persevered, and I knew I was getting somewhere when Daniel left a "trail" from the library to the living room because he was trying to get to his potty. Today I plan to start working with Daniel to use the "real" potty, so I don't have to clean out his little potty anymore.

A funny story: Last week I used a timer to remind Daniel to go sit on the potty, but we only needed it on Monday and Tuesday because he started going by himself before the timer went off. Yesterday morning, I needed the timer for something else, and when it went off, Daniel said, "Time to use the potty." He still remembered his training from last week!

Lest you think that Daniel is all trained, yesterday afternoon...well, let's just say that he's not. But he is well on his way.

I'm already planning for Rachel's training. Rosemond recommends potty training between the ages of 18 and 24 months, so I'm looking at early fall while it's still warm.


Monday, February 7, 2011

An Inspiration

Yesterday would have been Ronald Reagan's 100th birthday, if he were still alive. While I knew that he was a great man, I didn't realize how great he was until I read a biography about him. There are many different reasons why people think Reagan a great man: his conservative principles or his economic policies; but I think what made Reagan great was his values, his morals. Those values brought together different people groups -- conservative Democrats, Protestants, and Catholics -- and united them behind one man.

Our country was heading down a dark road toward communism, and Reagan was able to reverse that process, at least for a few years, because of his Christian principles. Once again, our country is heading down a dark road; please join with me in praying for someone like Ronald Reagan to rise up. I know that one man cannot change the direction our country is taking, but one man can be an inspiration to those of us who are looking for someone to inspire us. One man can unite us, as Reagan did, to change our country.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people He has chosen as His own inheritance." Psalm 33:12

Friday, February 4, 2011

If You Love Chick-fil-A....

If you love Chick-fil-A, now is the time to support them. I was alerted to the "war" against this Christian company by an editorial in our newspaper by Michelle Malkin. (You can read the entire article here.)

Over the past month, several progressive activist blogs have waged an ugly war against Chick-fil-A. The company's alleged atrocity: One of its independent outlets in Pennsylvania donated some sandwiches and brownies to a marriage seminar run by the Pennsylvania Family Institute, which happens to oppose same-sex marriage.

Of course, the best way to support this company is by praying. Another great way, however, is with your checkbook. So...what are you having for dinner tonight? Or dessert? (You can't beat their peppermint chocolate chip milkshakes with a stick!!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Book Review: The Faith of Ronald Reagan by Mary Brown


When I saw the opportunity to review this book, I seized it. I had been considering reading a biography about Ronald Reagan, so this opportunity seemed fortuitous. The Faith of Ronald Reagan by Mary Brown chronicles the life story of Reagan from his humble (re: poor) beginnings all the way to being the most powerful man in the world. The best part of this book is its focus on Reagan's faith which I did not realize was as strong as it was.

I really enjoyed this book which is full of quotes from Reagan about his faith. I also enjoyed reading about his humility and concern for others. His words resonated with me even though they were spoken many years ago, and I'm sure those same words impacted the people of his time, as well. Finding good biographies about Christians can be hard because non-Christians don't understand their faith. Brown obviously is a Christian herself and does an excellent job writing about Reagan's.

I want to thank BookSneeze for sending me a copy of this book to review; however, my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

New Year's Goals Reviewed

Earlier in the month, I set some goals for the New Year. I don't think there is any point to making goals if you never go back and review them. So here I go:
  • Homeschooling. While I'm not working on reading with Sarah Beth four days a week, we are still working on it. She's only four, so really there's no hurry.
  • Potty training. Daniel and I started on that yesterday. Why didn't I start this sooner? Then we would be done with it! Yesterday morning started out difficult, but he started to catch on later in the day.
  • Walking. Rachel is nowhere near walking, and I am grateful for that.
  • Being a better wife. I'm working on that.
  • A hobby for John and me. Shooting? We're going to try that soon.
  • We've been doing well memorizing Scripture...at least for us. Sarah Beth can say the first two verses of Psalm 23 (good luck getting her to prove it, though), and Daniel can fill in the blanks.
  • Reading. I'm doing well on that one. (Here's my reading list for the year, if you're interested.)
  • Hospitality. We have not had a single person over this month, but it's not for lack of trying. Things just come up; you know how it is. Hopefully, this month will be better.
  • Baby blankets. I have one out of my projected six done.
  • Exercise. Still too cold. Rats!
  • Cleaning. I think I'm getting a handle on this.
Did you set any goals for the New Year? How are you doing with yours?