Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday's Quote: Will Our Good Works Appear in Heaven?

I've been reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn, and I came across these quotes about what Christ will resurrect.  I hadn't thought about the works of our hands, of my hands, literally being in Heaven forever, and since I really appreciated these thoughts, I thought you might, too.
Biblically, the resurrection of the dead extends much further than most of us have been taught.  How much further might the power of resurrection go?  Let's use our biblically informed imaginations.  Could a child's story written out of love for Jesus survive this world, either in Heaven's handwriting or the child's own?  Might certain works of art, literature, and music survive either literally (on the canvas and paper they were written on) or at least be re-created in Heaven?
If our bodies and the works of our hands that please God will be resurrected, why not a chair, cabinet, or wardrobe made by Jesus in His carpenter's shop in Nazareth?  Couldn't God reassemble those molecules as easily as our own?  Are they not as much a part of God's "very good" creation as our bodies, and animals, lakes, and trees?  What about things we made to God's glory?  Could these be resurrected or reassembled? 
If Jesus will resurrect people and flowers, might He also resurrect a special flower arrangement given to a sick person that prompted a spiritual turning point?  Might He resurrect a song or book written to His glory?   or a letter written to encourage a friend or stranger?  or a blanket a grandmother made for her grandchild? 
Some may think it silly or sentimental to suppose that nature, animals, paintings, books, or a baseball bat might be resurrected.  It may appear to trivialize the coming resurrection.  I would suggest that it does exactly the opposite.  It elevates resurrection, emphasizing the power of Christ to radically renew mankind -- and far more.

I may be mistaken on the details, but Scripture is clear that in some form, at least, what's done on Earth to Christ's glory will survive.  Our error has not been in overestimating the extent of God's redemption and resurrection but underestimating it.

Picture the kinds of things done by His children that God, the ultimate father, would put on display.  God rewards with permanency what is precious to his heart.  What pleases Him will not forever disappear.

Let's pray with Moses, "Make permanent the works of our hands."
Knowing that the works of my hands, the ones the glorify God, will appear in Heaven makes me think harder about what I do.  Wow!  Some of the things I do here on Earth will last forever.  What a glorious thought!  It makes me want to make the most of my time here, to build with gold, silver, and precious stones which will last instead of wood, hay, and straw which will not (1 Corinthians 3:12).

Have you thought about whether the works of your hands will last forever?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Counting My Blessings

Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life started a new link up:  Counting Our Blessings.  I just took these pictures and thought I would join in this week with them.

I am thankful for Sarah Beth's love for reading.  It seems like she always has her nose buried in a book...and I love that!

I am thankful that Daniel enjoys playing games as much as he does, so much so that he makes up new games to play with the pieces and teaches his sisters how to play.  How fun!

What are you thankful for today?  How do you feel blessed?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Wonderful Visit

Granddaddy always finds the neatest videos on YouTube.

My parents came for a visit last week, and it was wonderful!  It was the first time that my father had been here, so it was fun showing him around.  Both of my parents enjoyed seeing our new chicks and our established hens.  And we all enjoyed eating some farm fresh scrambled eggs for breakfast.  Yum!

 Grammy played game after game after game after....

Their visit was a great excuse to do some special baking:  Cookie Dough Cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and peasant bread.  We also enjoyed homemade bread and chocolate chip muffins which actually aren't so us.

Grammy also read book after book after book after....

We also seized the opportunity to share some of our fun things, like the local aquarium and planetarium, and to try new things like the Children's Museum of Houston.  It was a busy week but so much fun!

Mostly, though, we just enjoyed spending time with my parents.  We miss them since we live so far away now, and their visits are more special now that we don't see them often.  We try to make the most of their time here with us and try not to take it for granted.

We have enjoyed our guests this month:  my parents and Uncle Ray, but it will be nice to slow down a little bit in October!

Have you had any special visitors lately?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Look What Came in the Mail Last Week!

After Bob Tomato got lost and the coyote got two more chickens, I was left with just three, and I wanted more to replace the ones I had lost.  So I ordered some baby chicks!  They arrived last Wednesday, and I got the phone call from the post office early that morning.

I wanted to order them now instead of in the spring so I could get eggs from them sooner.  And the winters here are supposed to be pretty mild, so the cold shouldn't be a problem.

I bought one Barred Rock to replace Bob Tomato, three Light Brown Leghorns, and two White Plymouth Rocks.  One of the Leghorns died shortly after arriving, but that was a good life lesson to my children.  They were fine.  I'm trying to get a diverse flock with different colors.  I figure that if I'm going to have chickens, I may as well have what I like!

The chicks are so cute right now with their fluffy down.  But I'm looking forward to their growing -- more eggs!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day

Yesterday was Talk Like a Pirate Day, and we just had to celebrate because we really like pirates in our least, the good, clean ones.  (And not the real, live, factual ones.)  I started over the weekend by requesting pirate books from the library.  How nice is that?  I had several books waiting for me to pick up!

While we were at the library, I discovered that we were right on time for story time.  We usually go to story time at different library, so I had forgotten about this one.  They were celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day, also, and that's where my children made their pirate hats and got their eye patches.  Fun!

After lunch, I set up a treasure hunt, and my children had so much fun running all over the house.  And the "treasure" was candy corn and pumpkins.  A great fall food!  Yum!  Daniel couldn't stop telling me how much fun it had been.  I'll have to remember to do this again!

Did you celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day?  Do you wish you had?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Have Women Changed That Much?

I'm reading a book right that I received free in return for a review, and I came across this paragraph which I found insulting.  The setting is Massachusetts colony before the American Revolution.
The intelligence and decisiveness of her responses were like a shot of energy in his veins.  There was something entirely refreshing about a young woman who wasn't afraid to voice her thoughts and spar intelligent words with a man.  Most women he'd met didn't have the slightest interest in the latest political situation involving the king, not did they have any thoughts about treason or anything else important.
What I find insulting is that the author apparently thinks that women are incapable of rational thought, much less being able to voice these opinions clearly, at least during that time period.  But have women really changed that much?  I don't think so.  And from what I've read about the women of this time period, they were educated, intelligent, and just as capable as their husbands of feeling revolutionary (or British) sentiments.  In fact, I remember a quote (I can't remember where) from a foreign diplomat who thought the only reason we won the war was because our soldiers had women at home, taking care of things so competently that they didn't have to worry about it.

Maybe I'm being a little sensitive; probably I am.  But it irritates me that a woman author obviously thinks that women are shallow, and only a few are capable of deep thoughts.

I'm certainly no feminist.  I gave up my career as a pharmacist to stay home with our children, but that doesn't mean that I think women are second class citizens.

What do you think?  Am I being overly sensitive?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More Chicken News...This Time it's Good!

Look at what my wonderful husband built for me!   I mean, for my chickens!  Since I wasn't thrilled with the first coop that we ordered, John decided that he should build one in order to get exactly what we wanted.  And since we lost two chickens last weekend and another one the week before that, this coop became a necessity as letting my chickens free-range was getting them killed.  (The first coop had no room in it for the chickens other than for roosting.)

I had been using an old Pampers box for the nesting box, but I knew that wouldn't last too long.  When I saw this wash bucket, I decided to give it a try.  It may not be the chickens' preferred place to lay eggs, but they're using it.  If you look closely, you can see two eggs (and a golf ball) underneath Alice.

One fun thing that happened this weekend was that Meg started laying.  What fun!  We have a blue egg!  She hasn't laid another one yet; I think she was just whetting our appetite!

I'll have more chicken news for you later in the week.  How's that for whetting your appetite?!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday's Quote: The Source of True Joy

I've read a few of Randy Alcorn's books and really enjoyed them, so I started following him on facebook.  He posted this paragraph on Saturday, and I thought you might appreciate it, too.
What makes anything good is God.  God's absence is the very definition of Hell.  No God, no good.  People spend their lives running from God in order to find joy elsewhere.  But God is the great Joy -- the fountainhead of all lesser streams of joy.  Trace those streams back to their source, and you find God.  "In your presence there is fullness of joy"  (Psalm 16:11).
I think Alcorn said it well; what do you think?

And if you haven't read anything by Alcorn, I highly recommend that you do.  Among other things, he delivers an amazing (and biblically accurate) vision of heaven, that will make you want to go there!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Finished Object Friday: A Christmas Blanket and a Dishcloth

As soon as I finished the wreath, I started crocheting this blanket because I wanted to complete my Christmas decorations.  Whew!  I'm done for this year!  You can't see the texture too well in this picture, but there are front post double crochets that stand out and make it really neat.

As soon as I finished the blanket, I started this dishcloth.  Can you tell a difference?  The dishcloth is knitted!  I haven't knitted since Sarah Beth was a baby, but I've had the bug for a while to try it again, ever since I ran across a blanket I knitted for her when she was a baby.  It was soooo soft, but I decided to wait until I finished my Christmas things before re-learning to knit.  I finished this dishcloth and started a blanket, but you'll have to wait to see it when I'm finished!

What have you been working on lately?

This post is linked with Charity at Fresh from the Chari Tree.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

We're All Winners...Or Are We?

Recently, I heard someone say, "We're all winners," and I had to bite my tongue to keep from correcting her.  (I have to do that fairly frequently; do you?)

Some people work very, very hard, and that makes them winners, right?  And some people don't work at all, and they're the losers.  Isn't that how life works?

I want to make sure that my children learn this lesson as soon as possible because, unfortunately, that's not how it works.  Some people work hard day after day, and they don't get picked for the team or receive the promotion they're due.  And some people don't work at all, and they do get on the team or receive the promotion.  And it's not fair.  But like our mothers told us, "Life's not fair."

I want my children to know how to win and lose graciously.  When we play games, I do not let my children win; well, very rarely when they were younger, I would let them win occasionally because it's not fun to always lose.  Part of playing a game is losing, and children need to know how to do that without throwing a fit or sulking.  They also need to know how to win without gloating.  And they need these skills whether they won (or lost) through luck or skill.

What do you think?  Is everyone a winner in the game of life?  Do you, or have you, let your children win when you play games with them?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Our Fun and Not-So-Fun Weekend

Uncle Ray came for a visit last week, and we had so much fun while he was here.  He even went to our Classical Conversations group with us and was Daniel's presentation.

His visit gave us an excuse to do some things that we just hadn't gotten around to yet, like visiting the Battleship Texas, and that was great!

Friday night, Mary tipped a chair over and busted her chin.  I took her to the emergency room, and I guess I should be thankful that was our first trip with any of our children.  They just glued it back together, and she was a champ through the whole process.  I knew how bad the nurse thought it would be when she walked in with two, big male nurses!  We were so thankful that Ray was visiting, as I left the older three children with him to take Mary to the ER where John met us.

Then over the weekend, we lost two more chickens, so I'm down to three.  Marigold, our favorite, disappeared like Bob Tomato did, but we found Buttercup's feathers.  John discovered a coyote track, so we think that's what got them.  Very sad!  But Uncle Ray even helped worked on the new coop!  No more free-ranging!

Overall, this weekend was more fun than not-so-fun (thanks to Uncle Ray!), but it was certainly not boring at all!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday's Quote: Do Our Children Need a Great Teacher? Or A Good Mom?

I don't remember where I heard about it, but there was an offer for a free issue from Home School Enrichment magazine.  Of course, I signed up!  And in the article "Just Who Am I Homeschooling For, Anyway?  Ten Lessons I've Learned as a Homeschooling Mom," I read this quote which I found encouraging, and I hope you do, too.
I have learned that I am a better mom than a teacher.  The truth is that I am not that great of a teacher.  But for my children to have a great education, I do not have to be.  They do not necessarily need a teacher.  They need a mom who will lovingly teach them.  A teacher is concerned with results and methods.  Results are important and methods useful, but a mom is often more concerned with the children's hearts and their motives.  This concern will cultivate an education that is specifically designed with each individual child's best interest in mind.
It's nice to know that I don't have to be the best teacher; I just need to be a good mother.  There are more important things than academics to teach my children, and I'm fully qualified to teach them...along with the academic ones!

What do you think?  Did you find this quote encouraging?

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Links of Interest

I found a couple of interesting articles this week that I thought you might enjoy:
  • Regardless of how you feel about astronomy, you need to see these pictures of the stars that were taken for the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013 shortlist.  They are breath-taking!
  • I love this post about how to identify yourself as a Christian in your daily life.
What interesting links have you found this week?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Farewell, Bob Tomato!

We lost a chicken last weekend.  Yes, lost.  She was here Saturday morning and was not that evening.  John had to run the chainsaw which frightened the hens pretty badly, and we think that Bob Tomato (who turned out to be a hen not a rooster) ran away and lost her way.  At this point, we don't expect her to find her way home.  The kids are sad, but they've taken it in stride for the most part.  I think it helps that chickens are not the most personable pets.  So I'm left with five chickens:  one Barred Rock, two Buff Orpingtons, and two Easter Eggers, if you're keeping count.

On the flip side, Alice started laying yesterday.  She laid that great big egg in the middle, and it's the same size as a large egg from the grocery store.  I'm thrilled that she started laying...and laying in the nest box where she should!  Since my other three older hens started laying two weeks ago, I wasn't sure whether Alice just wasn't laying yet or if she were laying somewhere in the neighbor's yard.  Now I know, and I look forward to more of her eggs!

So there's been a little good and bad at our house this week.  What about you?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

August Review of Yearly Goals

Once again, it's time to review my yearly goals to see how I did last month.
  • Read through my book list.  I finished one book from my list last month, and I'm currently reading two more which leaves me with just three left for the year.
  • Exercise.  I was doing well with that until last week.  
  • Have one fun day in school a month.  I didn't have anything planned this month because I forgot.  Thanks to Tracey at Girls to Grow, though, I discovered that Friday was Toasted Marshmallow Day, and we celebrated with Toasted Marshmallow Milkshakes.  
  • Take one field trip per month.  We went back to the planetarium near us; it makes a great family field trip as the events are in the evening so John can go, too.
  • Date night.  Once again, fail.
  • Home improvement project.  I didn't do anything this month.
  • Service project.  Nope on this one, too.
  • Blog on more serious topics.  I have been doing this with my Monday's Quotes.
  • Hospitality.  We had one of John's friends from Georgia, who now lives in the Houston area, too, over for supper.
  • Work.  I'm at the point where all I need to do is take the Texas law test, and I'll be done...assuming I pass it, of course.
  • Having my children do more around the house.  I had my children mop once, and while they didn't do as good a job as I would have, it was a great learning experience for them which is the real point, right?
How are you doing with your yearly goals?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

August Reading

Here are the books I read last month:
  • The Mystery of Lawlessness by John K. Reed.  This book is the third in a trilogy, telling the story of the times before, during, and after the Flood.  Reed does an amazing job with this series.  I especially enjoyed thinking about how the longevity of these people's lives might have affected them:  they were willing to wait years or decades for things they wanted because what's a few years when you live five or six centuries?
  • Angels in the Architecture:  A Protestant Vision for Middle Earth by Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson.  The authors make an interesting case for returning to Medieval values.  It was the Enlightenment that made women second class citizens because we are "emotional" and not capable of logical thought.  And compare the architecture we have today -- ugly skyscrapers -- versus what men built back then -- beautiful cathedrals with flying buttresses.  Those examples are just a couple to help me explain what this book is about.  It is not calling for a return to Medieval technology.
  • Dragonwitch by Anne Elisabeth Stengl.  My review is here.
  • Harriet Beamer Strikes Gold by Joyce Magnin.  You can find my review here.
  • Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering.  You can find my review here.
What have you read lately?  Please share!  I'm always looking for a good book to read.

Book Review: Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering

During the late 1930's in Britain, Drew Farthering decides he must find who murdered the man in his greenhouse and his own mother.  Are the murders related?  Why?  In the meantime, he must also figure out how he feels about Madeline, who is there for a visit, and God Who keeps bringing a specific verse back to haunt him, so to speak.

I liked parts of this book.  Mostly, I liked the characters; there was a fun rapport between Drew, Nick, and Madeline.  There was a Christian message, but it was weak.  I enjoyed reading about life in one of the great houses of Britain during the 1930's, and like I said, I liked the characters...but that was about it.

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

Monday, September 2, 2013

Monday's Quote: Can Voting Change our Country?

Are you guilty of thinking that we can "fix" our country by voting for the right people?  I know that I have been, but after reading R.J. Rushdoony, I no longer am.
The ballot box has a very important function in a free society, but it can never be expected to do anything more than to reflect the character, the desires, and the will of the people.  If the people who vote are of weak or bad character, if their desires are larcenous and envious, and if their will be perverse and evil, the election results will merely reflect their own nature on a broader scope.  This means too that people who expect to reform the state or country by means of the vote, by elections, are headed for failure and disillusionment.  Reformation must begin in the lives of the people in order to show up in the ballot box.  (emphasis added)
It appears that, if we truly want to change our country, we must engage the people around us with meaningful conversation, trying to change them.  Actually, we need to lead people to Christ because He is the only One who can truly change anyone, and without that kind of change, nothing in our country will improve.

What do you think?