Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Reformation Day

Today we celebrate Reformation Day, the day the Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg.  On Sunday when we celebrated Reformation Sunday, there was a short explanation in the bulletin of exactly what the Reformation is.  I hope my church doesn't mind if I post it here.
On October 31, 1517, a German monk by the name of Martin Luther nailed his theological convictions (The 95 Theses) to the Castle Church door in Wittenburg.  Luther's intent was to foster debate and reform regarding the church's practices, so that they might align with the principles of Scripture.  This act helped spark a revival in the Church and a reformation in Western culture.  This movement became known as the Protestant Reformation. 
The spiritual heritage of Reformed and Presbyterian Churches is traced back to this era.  On the Sunday prior to this anniversary we celebrate Reformation Sunday.  Today Reformed Churches and Christians seek to follow the five mottos of the Reformation:  1) Sola Scriptura -- Scripture Alone, 2) Solo Christo -- Christ Alone, 3) Sola Gratia -- Grace Alone, 4)  Sola Fide -- Faith Alone, 5) Soli Deo Gloria -- Glory to God Alone.
We heard a sermon on the five Solas, and it was a wonderful reminder.  In case you enjoy these types of reminders like I do, I thought I would expound a little bit on these battle cries of the Reformation with some help from the notes I took from the sermon.
  • Sola Scriptura -- Scripture Alone.  The Bible alone is the final and absolute source of knowledge about God, our sinful condition, and how those two things can be reconciled.  We take for granted the fact that we have the Bible in our own language, but men died in order to procure that for us.  (John Wycliffe, John Huss, William Tyndale)
  • Solo Christo -- Christ Alone.  Our salvation is of Christ, and Christ alone.  As John 14:6 says, Jesus is the only way to God.  
  • Sola Gratia -- Grace Alone.  We are saved by Christ alone through grace alone.  Just as we had no choice in being born to our earthly parents, we had no choice in being adopted into God's family.  According to Ephesians 2:5, while we were dead in our sins, God made us alive.
  • Sola Fide -- Faith Alone.  We are saved by Christ alone through grace alone by faith alone.  That's all there is to it.  Such a simple idea and yet so hard to grasp.
  • Soli Deo Gloria -- Glory to God Alone.  Why did the reformers endure so much?  Why were they willing to die for these beliefs?  To bring glory to God and only to God.
Do you celebrate Reformation Day?  I'm afraid that it kind of sneaked up on me, and I'm not exactly sure how to celebrate such weighty ideas with my young children.  But I plan to think about it so that next year, I'm more prepared.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review: Christ Our Mediator by CJ Mahaney

Christ our Mediator by C.J.  Mahaney is a great reminder of what Christ did for us Christians on the cross.  Although it is a short, quick reading book, the ideas within it are powerful.  Here are a couple of quotes for you:
Unless you're deeply aware of your sin, and of what an affront it is to God's holiness, and of how impossible it is for Him to respond to this sin with anything other than furious wrath -- you'll never appreciate grace, and it will never be amazing to you.  Only those who are truly aware of their sin can truly cherish grace.
God, in abandoning His Son, is treating Jesus as a sinner so that He can treat you and me -- who are sinners -- as if we were righteous...all because of Jesus.
We can all use fresh reminders of the wonderful work that Jesus did for us on the cross.  We need to be reminded daily, hourly, every single minute because we forget so easily.  This book will help you remember.

I want to thank WaterBrook Multnomah for my (kindle) copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reformation Sunday

  1. Today is Reformation Sunday, the Sunday before Reformation Day which is October 31.  I love this Sunday for many reasons, but one of them is that we get to sing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" by Martin Luther, my favorite hymn.

  2. A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
    Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
    For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
    His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
    On earth is not his equal.
  3. Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
    Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
    Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
    Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
    And He must win the battle.
  4. And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
    We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
    The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
    His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
    One little word shall fell him.
  5. That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
    The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
    Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
    The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
    His kingdom is forever.

Friday, October 26, 2012

3 in 30: Getting Back to Normal

We had another fun week with company; this time "Uncle" Ray came to visit.  He is actually John's father's cousin, but we're not exactly sure what the relationship between him and our children is, so we call him "Uncle" Ray.  Ray left Monday afternoon, so we were able to get back to our normal routine this week after two weeks of visitors:  my parents and Ray.  It was a great, fun two weeks full of wonderful visiting and a couple of field trips, but it was nice to get back to normal.

With that said, here is how my week went:
  • I enjoyed writing letters so much last month that I want to continue it this month -- one a week.  Specifically, I want to use these notes as an encouragement to the people I pray regularly for.  I did not get this letter written this week for multiple reasons.  I hope to write it this weekend. 
  • I want to get school started at 9:00.  I'm bad about doing "just one more thing" before sitting down with our schoolwork.  Starting a load of laundry, doing the breakfast dishes, making the bed -- things that don't take long.  You know how it is.  And pretty soon, the time adds up, and we start school later than I want to...which pushes everything back for the morning.  I didn't do so well with this goal, either.  We started school at 9:15 on Tuesday after taking Monday off to spend with Ray (reason #372 that I love homeschooling!).  I would like to blame our late start on the fact that men came to put in my new oven.  (Hooray!)  Wednesday, however, was even worse.  The kids slept late, so we started school late -- at 9:30.  Oh, well.    Thursday is our co-op day, and today we started at 9:15.  I'm getting closer to my 9:00 goal, though!
  • Everywhere I look in my house, I see something that needs to be sorted or gone through.  I've had this goal of sorting before, but I want to have it again.  Honestly, if I don't put it down here for you to keep me accountable, I won't do it.  I seem to have so many things that are in the wrong place or would be better in a different place.   I did get something done toward this goal this week...finally!  I went through my kids' winter clothes from last year, hoping that some of them would fit them again this year.  I think some of Sarah Beth's shirts will, but that's about it.  I boxed up everything else:  Sarah Beth's for Rachel and eventually Mary, and Daniel's to give away.
How was your week?  What were you able to accomplish?  Do you wake your children up when they sleep a little later than usual?

This post is linked at Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Random Question: Have you Served Jury Duty?

I have served on a jury twice, and both times were an experience.  The first time, I was in college, and two people were suing each other.  A woman from Europe partnered with an American man to import goods.  To make a looooooooong story short (it took three and a half days to hear all of the evidence), she was using him to bring things here, and he was using her to make money.  It was a confused and confusing story, and something that was a real eye-opener to my innocence.  How did we decide?  Well, since they were both using each other, and there was no way to untangle the myriad documents they produced, we awarded her $1 because we thought he had used her a little bit more.

The second time I was summoned to jury duty, I was actually called for grand jury duty.  Basically, in case you don't know, grand juries heard the facts of a case and decided whether there are enough to justify a trial.  As it was explained to us, we were looking for reasonable cause that the suspect had committed the crime.  There were about twenty of us who met weekly to hear the cases, and we heard close to twenty cases each day.  It was interesting, but not as much as an eye-opener since I was almost ten years older.  Most of the cases had to do with drugs:  a policeman would come across someone who looked suspicious, that suspicious person would throw something away, the policeman would pick it up, and it would be illegal drugs.

Have you served jury duty?  What was your experience like?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Ask for Help

As I told you last week, our oven broke Wednesday evening.  I was in the middle of preparing supper -- Taco Ring which is a Pampered Chef recipe.  I had browned the ground beef and put everything together.  I was ready to put it in the oven, when I realized that it wasn't on...and I remembered distinctly that I had turned it on.  So I tried again.  And nothing.  Oh, no!  And Uncle Ray was here, and it was supper time, and panic!

Well, it was all right.  We had planned to take Uncle Ray out for seafood one night anyway, so we just went out that evening.  It was fine.  But the broken oven messed up the rest of my plans for feeding my family.  I had a lasagna in the freezer to cook, and I had planned to try a new coffee cake recipe.  *Sigh*  What to do?

The thought struck me, "Why not use my neighbor's oven?"  Why not indeed?  I figured that I wouldn't mind if one of my neighbors asked to use my oven because hers was broken, so surely she would let me use hers, especially if I offered a piece of lasagna to sweeten the deal.

So I walked next door, and this lady couldn't have been sweeter.  And it gave me a good excuse to sit and talk with her a few minutes.  This elderly lady doesn't get out much, and I don't think she sees many people other than her caregivers.  I try to get over there to visit occasionally, but I don't get to as often as I would like.  I was glad for the chance to spend a few more minutes with her.

My point in all of this is that sometimes we have to swallow our pride and ask for help -- our pride that demands that we do everything all by ourselves.  Of course, my neighbor didn't mind sharing her oven.  Why would she?  But it was hard for me to ask for her help even in such a small thing.

Do you have trouble asking for help like I do?  Or is it just me?  What do you do about it?

Friday, October 19, 2012

3/30: A Different Kind of Week

It's been an interesting week.  Monday and Tuesday were quiet, and it was nice getting back to our normal routine with school and chores.  On Wednesday, Sarah Beth and I had dental appointments, and Uncle Ray came into town.  And after I got supper all prepared and ready to put into the oven, I discovered that the oven wasn't working.  Aggravating!   (What am I supposed to do without an oven until Tuesday...with company here?!)  Yesterday, we had our co-op, and we dissected owl pellets there.  That's what we're doing in the picture above.  I thought it would be kind of neat, but actually, I found it to be fascinating.  Today, well, I'm not sure what we're doing today except having fun with daddy being home and Uncle Ray staying with us.

Anyway, here's what I was able to get done on my goals for the month:
  • I enjoyed writing letters so much last month that I want to continue it this month -- one a week.  Specifically, I want to use these notes as an encouragement to the people I pray regularly for.  I got my letter from last week and the one from this week done on Sunday.  
  • I want to get school started at 9:00.  I'm bad about doing "just one more thing" before sitting down with our schoolwork.  Starting a load of laundry, doing the breakfast dishes, making the bed -- things that don't take long.  You know how it is.  And pretty soon, the time adds up, and we start school later than I want to...which pushes everything back for the morning.  We started school Monday and Tuesday at 9:05.  Not bad!  We didn't have school the other days because of dental appointments, co-op, and company visiting.
  • Everywhere I look in my house, I see something that needs to be sorted or gone through.  I've had this goal of sorting before, but I want to have it again.  Honestly, if I don't put it down here for you to keep me accountable, I won't do it.  I seem to have so many things that are in the wrong place or would be better in a different place.  Nope, nothing.
What were you able to accomplish this week?  Have you ever dissected an owl pellet?  What did you think about it?

This post is linked to Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: A Place for Your Children's Shoes

I don't remember where I got this tip, but I've used it for years.  I bought this little shelf to store my children's shoes on a few years ago, and it works great.  I keep it down in the playroom where it is easily accessible to our children.  I really like the fact that they have somewhere specific to put their shoes.  I can say, "Rachel, put your shoes in the playroom on the shelf," and she knows exactly what to do.  Saying things like, "Put your shoes in your room," seems a little nonspecific to me, and it seems that shoes end up thrown on the floor.  The other good part of this shelf is that my children know where their shoes are when it's time to put them on.  Hooray for that!  Again, I can send Rachel down to the playroom to find her shoes, and she can.

Of course, all of this assumes that my children do put their shoes where they belong which is an ongoing battle.  And you can also see from the picture that shoes don't always end up on the shelf, and when they do, they're not always (usually) on there neatly.  But my system still works for the most part.  (I have to admit that part of the problem is mine; I can see some shoes on the shelf that have been outgrown and that I need to put up.)

Where do you keep your children's shoes?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mary is Ten Months Old!

Mary turns ten months old today.  She has learned to crawl -- a real crawl on her hands and knees instead of the army crawl she was doing.

Mary is a little "stingy" with her smiles, as my mother said.  Someone described Sarah Beth at this age as a "serious happy."  That description fits Mary well, too.  She is happy, but she doesn't show it by smiling all the time.  

Fourth children get to do things that first children don't, such as playing with ice cubes in daddy's tea.

The little ham.

Mary is pulling up on everything.  It won't be long, I don't think, until she is walking.  And I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Booking It: October Edition

I had a good month for reading, that is, I read good books this month instead of wasting my time with books that weren't worth reading.  Once I start a book, I feel like I need to finish it, even if it's not any good, just in case it turns out to be better than I thought.
  • George Muller of Bristol and His Witness to a Prayer-hearing God by Arthur Pierson.  I had been wanting to read a biography about George Mueller because I had heard of his extraordinary faith in God, and when I read this review by Tracey at Girls to Grow, I immediately downloaded this book to my kindle.  The faith of this man is unbelievable; he fed thousands and thousands of orphans in his Orphan Homes for years without ever asking anyone (but God) for money.  He trusted that God would provide, and He did.  It seemed that the more Mueller trusted God, the more God wanted him to do, and the more He provided for that work.  Truly, I was amazed at the precepts Mueller founded his institutions on, like never asking anyone for money and never taking money from non-believers.  I have to admit that I did not finish this book; I skipped the appendices (did I miss anything there, Tracey?), but I did read up through Mueller's death.  What an amazing man, and I am so humbled by how great his faith in His God was.
  • The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer.  This book is full of practical and useful tips to make your house into a home, making the most of the gifts that God has given you.  Chapters deal with music, painting, interior decoration, gardens, food, writing, drama, clothing, etc.  Your gifts may not include all of these topics, but you will still find ways to use these areas to improve your home.  I have quoted this book several times, and you can find those posts here, here, and here.
  • Deadline by Randy Alcorn.  When Jake is involved in a car accident which leaves him injured and two of his friends dead, he teams up with a police officer to find out who caused the "accident."  Along the way, he discovers that there is more to life than he thought, and that one of his friends had been correct about it while the other was self-deceived.  I think this was Alcorn's first novel, and you can tell.  The writing and plot are kind of sticky sometimes, but the message is a wonderful one.  The way Alcorn depicts heaven makes one yearn for it which, as Christians, is something we should be doing.  I read Safely Home earlier this year, and I think it's better written with a better story.  But if you prefer mysteries, you might like Deadline better.  These books are worth reading just for their portrayal of heaven; of course, Alcorn hasn't been there and doesn't really know what heaven is like, but what he imagines is simply amazing.
  • Chick Days:  An Absolute Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens from Hatchlings to Laying Hens by Jenna Woginrich.  I don't have much to say about this book except that it's excellent, especially for someone contemplating having their own chickens.
  • How to Raise Chickens:  Everything You Need to Know by Christine Heinrichs.  This books isn't as good as the previous one; it doesn't live up to its name.  Honestly, having read this book, I still wouldn't have a clue how to raise a chicken, if I hadn't already read the other book.
Can you tell that I'm thinking of taking up a new hobby?  What have you been reading lately?

This post is linked to Life as Mom:  Booking It.

3 in 30: A Fun Week With Grandparents

My parents came down for a visit, and we had such a fun week!  I was able to get some things done like taking Mary for another vaccination, but we also did some fun things like going to a local pumpkin farm.  John even took my father, Sarah Beth, and Daniel fishing on our boat while my mother and I took the younger girls to Rachel's appointment.  (By the way, she's doing great!!)  But I was unable to get a some things done, like school, reading your blogs, things like that.  Hopefully, I'll get caught up this weekend.

  • I enjoyed writing letters so much last month that I want to continue it this month -- one a week.  Specifically, I want to use these notes as an encouragement to the people I pray regularly for.  I did not get my note written this week.  Hopefully, I'll get to it today.
  • I want to get school started at 9:00.  I'm bad about doing "just one more thing" before sitting down with our schoolwork.  Starting a load of laundry, doing the breakfast dishes, making the bed -- things that don't take long.  You know how it is.  And pretty soon, the time adds up, and we start school later than I want to...which pushes everything back for the morning.  Since we put school on hold this week while my parents were here (another perk of homeschooling), this wasn't an issue.
  • Everywhere I look in my house, I see something that needs to be sorted or gone through.  I've had this goal of sorting before, but I want to have it again.  Honestly, if I don't put it down here for you to keep me accountable, I won't do it.  I seem to have so many things that are in the wrong place or would be better in a different place.  I meant to have my mother help me figure a few things out, but we were having so much fun doing other things that I just forgot.  Oh, well.  I guess I'm on my own.

I completely forgot to take pictures of my children with their grandparents, and I really regret that.  There were some perfect photo opportunities that I just missed:  when the older three were sitting around Grammy who was reading them a book; when they all clustered around her on the arm chair; when Granddaddy played ball with Rachel.  All I can do is hope that I'll remember next time.  *Sigh*

How was your week?  What were able to accomplish...or not because there was something better to do?

This post is linked to Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Finished Object Friday: Table Runner

Today is Yarn Day.  Did you know that?  I feel like I should celebrate by crocheting all day long, but who has time for that?  And my hand would probably seize up anyway.

But in honor of Yarn Day and because today is Finished Object Friday, I thought I would share this table runner with you.  I first showed it to you here back in May, but finally, finally I got it finished.  Hooray!  I'm so excited!  Doesn't it show off our dining room table well?  

I found the pattern for this runner in this book, and I made it with crochet thread.  It measures about 70 inches by 20 inches, so it's pretty long.

Now that I have this table runner finished, I can start to work on other projects that I've had to leave on the back burner.  Christmas is coming...that's all I will say!

What have you been working on lately?

This post is linked up with Finished Object Friday at Fresh from the Chari Tree.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Our Homeschool Curricula

Is it curricula or curriculum?  I can't decide.  I know it's one curriculum and two curricula, but I don't know which is right in this situation.  Do you know?

I enjoy reading about what others use in their homeschooling, so I thought I would tell you about what we use, in case you enjoy reading about it, as well.

We started something new this year with our homeschooling:  Classical Conversations.  I wasn't exactly sure about it when we started, but I am very impressed now.  Basically, with this co-op my children are learning all kinds of information, information they don't understand or know how to use yet.  But they will, and it will be impressive when they do.  CC likens it to hanging pegs on the wall; as my children get older, they will be able to hang other information on these pegs in order to make sense of everything.  And I have to admit that I'm learning soooo much, too!

Here's what else we are using:
  • For reading, we're using Hooked on Phonics.  Daniel started the Kindergarten book this year.  I'm taking a little time off with Sarah Beth as we read Bob books and this series, trying to get a good foundation with reading before we move on with the first grade book of HOP.
  • We're doing Cursive First for writing...loosely.  Basically, I'm teaching Sarah Beth how to write in cursive instead of print.  Daniel learned how to write his numbers.  I'm not sure he's ready for letters yet, but we try when he wants to.
  • I love Saxon math.  Sarah Beth is doing Saxon 2, but I'm waiting until next year to start Daniel.  Meanwhile, he's picking up a good bit just by listening to what Sarah Beth is doing and through what we're doing with CC.
  • For science, we're using God's Design for Life:  The World of Animals.  This curriculum was written to be used multiple years and/or for children of different ages.  Obviously, it is based on the Bible and a six-day creation, but it doesn't talk too much about evolution and why it's wrong.  I like that because my children don't know what evolution is, and at ages 6 and under, they wouldn't understand anyway.  This book teaches the main concepts of animals but in words that my children understand.  They have learned that vertebrates have backbones, the five characteristics that mammals have, and more.  (No, they can't regurgitate all of that information, but we can reuse these books in a couple of years and go more into depth.)  I only ordered this one book out of the series to make sure that I would like it, but I plan to get the rest as we move on.
  • For Bible, we're still reading our way through the Child's Story Bible.   We're almost done, and I'm not sure what we'll do afterwards.  Do you have a suggestion?
What are you doing for your school this year?  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Do it Faster!

A few years ago, an older, more experienced mother spoke to some of us younger mothers at church, and one of the things she said stuck out to me.  She said that we should try to do our chores faster, to see how quickly we can do each one.  If it takes five minutes to clean your sink, see if you can do it in four or three or even two.  I have to admit that I didn't take this suggestion seriously when I heard it, or for the next several years.  While I don't think that I do my chores slowly, I also don't hurry; I haven't seen the point.  I don't like to hurry...ever.  And why should I hurry in my daily chores when they're something I have to do everyday.

But lately, I have discovered the wisdom in this advice to see how quickly I can get things done.

Since we started back to school and with school taking longer this year than last, I have less time to do my chores.  I like doing chores, such as mopping the floor and cleaning the bathrooms, while Mary is asleep so she is not getting into things (like the mop water).  But most of Mary's morning nap is taken up by school.  What to do?  Well, I'm trying to take that advice now and do my chores as quickly as possible.  As I hear Mary start to wake up from her nap, I rush through whatever cleaning chore I have to see how quickly I can get it done, of course, trying to do it well at the same time.  My goal is to see how much I can get done before Mary starts to fuss that she's ready to get out of bed.

Of course, I can see the wisdom of this advice even if you have lots of time to do your chores.  The faster you get things you have to do done, the more time you have to do things you want to do.  Oh, why didn't I practice earlier?

Are you like I am, wanting to take your time while doing your chores?  Or do you take this lady's advice and see how quickly you can get things done?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Feelings vs. Truth

Have you ever argued with someone who wouldn't listen to reason?  Someone who knows they are right even though the facts prove them otherwise?  (If you have children, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about!)  Well, I've been reading Christ our Mediator by C.J. Mahaney, and he speaks to this situation in the first chapter.  Unfortunately, we all do this to some extent, even, sadly, when it comes to Scripture.  Here are a few quotes from the first chapter:
  • We let subjective impressions determine what we'll accept as objective fact.
  • We let our feelings tell us what's true, instead of letting the truth transform our feelings.
  • And this is how serious it gets:  In our arrogance, we invest our feelings (or lack thereof) with final authority rather than recognize that our emotions are unstable and unreliable, often hopelessly controlled by selfish pride, and riddled with lies--lies that "feel" like the truth.
I feel like I should be above this (there's that "feel" word!), but I know I'm not.  There are times when I want something to be true even though the facts don't support my position.  I want it to be true just because I want it to be true.  Thanks to this book, I'll be looking more closely at the things I believe and the decisions I make.

What are you reading?  Has anything you read stuck out to you lately?

Friday, October 5, 2012

3 in 30: A Tiring Week

This week has been a tiring one.  I hate to say it, but I'm glad that it's over, although that doesn't mean that it will get any better.  First of all, I ran my very first 5K Saturday and was so sore and tired from it until Tuesday.  And Mary has a cold, and she had John and me up Sunday and Tuesday nights for a couple of hours in the middle of the night.  It's so hard when your baby won't go back to sleep after you've changed her diaper, held her, given her medicine so she can breathe, and tried to feed her.  At least, she gets two (or more) naps during the day so she can catch up on her sleep, but where does that leave you and your husband?  And then, of course, Wednesday night, John's work called at 2:30 a.m., waking us up.  But the call didn't take long so we were able to get back to sleep relatively quickly.

With that said, here are my goals for the month:
  • I enjoyed writing letters so much last month that I want to continue it this month -- one a week.  Specifically, I want to use these notes as an encouragement to the people I pray regularly for.  This week I wrote my letter on Sunday; I got it done early!  But as I addressed it, I realized I didn't have any stamps.  *Sigh*  But I finally bought some Wednesday and got the letter mailed.
  • I want to get school started at 9:00.  I'm bad about doing "just one more thing" before sitting down with our schoolwork.  Starting a load of laundry, doing the breakfast dishes, making the bed -- things that don't take long.  You know how it is.  And pretty soon, the time adds up, and we start school later than I want to...which pushes everything back for the morning.  I've been working toward this goal this week, but I haven't attained it.
  • Everywhere I look in my house, I see something that needs to be sorted or gone through.  I've had this goal of sorting before, but I want to have it again.  Honestly, if I don't put it down here for you to keep me accountable, I won't do it.  I seem to have so many things that are in the wrong place or would be better in a different place.  Do you have that problem?  But moving those things isn't as simple as just moving them.  I have to figure out where the best (or least bad) place is for it, then move things in that area to make room, which means that I may have to move things in that space to make room....  So I don't start.  But now I'm going to.  At least, for this month.  But don't expect pictures because I tend to forget to take them, and the results aren't dramatic anyway.  Yesterday, I took the time to reorganize the top of our armoire.  I keep my current crochet project in there along with our daily homeschool books.  The kids also keep some of their toys in there, things that need to be played with at the kitchen table:  Play-doh, board games, etc..  I don't feel like I took much out, but there is so much more room now.  I also cleaned off the top of it where we tend to store things indefinitely.  Wonderful!
I hope these goals won't be too taxing because we have out of town visitors coming twice this month.  It's going to be a fun month, and we can't wait for our guests, but realistically, I know I won't have time for lofty goals.

How was your week?  Did you have any sick children?  What were you able to accomplish?

Don't forget that Monday is Columbus Day.  I plan to read a couple of books about him to our children and eat some pineapple, chocolate, and maybe some pumpkin bread.  (He brought these foods back to England from the New World.)  Do you have any plans?

This post is linked to Welcome to Our Good Life 3in30.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

September Review of New Year's Goals

Here is the view from our back window.  As you can see, the lake in our backyard is gone.  It was still there Friday morning, but the men from the golf course showed up that morning and started pumping the water back into the real lake, where it belongs.  I have to admit that I'm a little sorry to see it go; I liked the privacy that we had since no one was back there.  Oh, well.

September was a good month.  It was fairly quiet as we spent a good bit of time at home doing school and the other things that we need to do at home.  Rachel is doing great with her JDM, so we only had to visit the doctor once for that.  And I was able to work on a couple of my goals and complete one of them.
  • School.  School is going so well.  Sarah Beth and Daniel love their co-op, and they enjoy the rest of the curricula that we're using.  I hope to post about our curricula soon; I enjoy reading about what others are using, so I assume that you would like to hear about ours.
  • Reading.  Yes, I read.
  • Losing weight.  Done, done, done!  I'm back to my pre-Mary weight.
  • Run a 5K.  I ran this race Saturday, and I'm so proud of myself because I ran the whole thing!  Hooray for me!!  I plan to run this race again next year, and with a little more training, maybe I can do a little better.
  • Hospitality.  We did have another family over for supper one night which was great fun.  We didn't know them well before, and so we were able to get to know them a little better.  October is going to be a busy month in this respect, as we expect visits from my parents and "Uncle Ray." It's going to be fun!
  • Work.  I'm having trouble finding a job.  It seems that most of the pharmacies are fully staffed already, or if they're not, they still aren't looking for someone who only wants to work one weekend a month.  I still have a few more places to call, and hopefully God will provide just the right job.  I have to admit that I'm not pursuing this goal as intensely as I should because I enjoy being home all the time and not working.
How was your month?  How are you doing with your yearly goals?  Have you started thinking about your goals for next year?

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Separation Based Upon Age and the Environment We Create

Here are a couple more quotes from Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking that I thought you might appreciate.
One reason for the loss of family life today, I believe, is the incessant emphasis on dividing ages into tight categories.  There are the kindergarten group, the juniors, the intermediates, the seniors, the young business people, the young married ones, the older married couples, and the "senior citizens."  There are high school groups, college groups, university groups, and professional groups; everyone segregated from everyone else who is not the same age, and often of the same occupation!  This seeps into the family unit, too, so that people just do not expect to enjoy each other or really communicate unless they are exactly the same age.
Another great reason to homeschool, don't you think?  I have felt for years that I haven't received the benefit of the maturity and wisdom of the older people at church because we don't know each other.  And we don't know each other because we're never around each other...because we're always kept apart.  Thankfully, at the church we now attend, this isn't the case.  I have the opportunity to speak with women (and men) of different age groups and benefit from their life experiences.  And I enjoy it so much!
There are various art forms we may or may not have talent for, may or may not have time for, and we may or may not be able to express ourselves in, but we ought to consider this fact - that whether we choose to be an environment or not, we are.  We produce an environment other people have to live in.  We should be conscious of the fact that this environment which we produce by our very "being" can affect the people who live with us or work with us.  The effect on them is something they cannot avoid.  We should have thoughtfulness concerning our responsiblity in this area.  We should be artists in doing something about the environment we are creating - artists before God, of course.  We have His help because we are artists in this sense, in the hands of the Holy Spirit; for if we are Christians, He is dwelling in us, and we can ask for His power to help us.
I forget that people are affected by me whether or not I want them to be, whether or not I mean for them to be.  My disposition can and does affect the people around me; the only question is how.  And since I stay home with my children, they are the ones who are affected the most.  I need to take more care in this area and strive to give my children a positive environment.

What do you think about separating people based solely upon age?  Do you realize how much you affect the people around you?