Thursday, October 31, 2013

Counting My Blessings: Reformation Day and Others

I have many blessings for which to thank God, but today I am especially thankful for the Reformation.  Almost five hundred years ago today (in 1517), Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the church door, trying to bring about reform within the Catholic church.  When that didn't work, well, Protestantism was formed.  Today is one of the most important days in church history.  I wrote more about Reformation Day and why it's important here

I am blessed with a husband who enjoys spending time with our children.

I am blessed with a daughter who enjoys reading to her younger siblings.

We are blessed with cooler weather; it's only in the lower 80's now!  Hooray!

We are blessed to have a tire swing in our backyard, and my children are blessed to have a mommy who will push them on it.  :)

We are blessed that Rachel is doing so well with her JDM.

We are blessed with this little stinker who keeps us on our toes!

And we are blessed with children who (usually) enjoy playing together.

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October Reading: Heaven and The Bronze Bow

As the year comes closer to its end, I'm glad to have finished two more of the books I wanted to read this year:
  •  Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  I used to have a Christoplatonic view of Heaven:  I thought we would stand around, basking in God's glory and worshipping Him incorporeally...although how we would stand without a body, I don't know.  Having read several of Alcorn's books, I see how wrong I was.  After God brings Heaven and Earth together when He brings the New Jerusalem down to the New Earth, things on the New Earth will be mighty similar to the things on the old Earth just better because we won't be under the curse anymore, and so much better that we can't even imagine it.  The New Earth will be a lot like Eden, again only better because God always makes things better when He remakes them.  We will have work to do like Adam and Eve did; we will fellowship with old friends and family and new ones that we make in Heaven.  Every single thing that we do will be an act of worship to God because He will be our main focus while we do everything else.  Just as we can worship God here through reading good books, spending time with our friends, and eating delicious food, so we will do the same things there.  All of these facts are in Alcorn's book, but there is so much more.  And he supports everything with Scripture, and the few suppositions he makes, he tells the reader so.  Living in view of eternity with Jesus Christ should change our lives.  I encourage you as strongly as I can to read one of Alcorn's books.  I really don't think that you will regret it.
  • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Spears.  I had heard good things about this book, but for some reason I didn't think I would like it.  So I kept putting off reading it, but this month I didn't have any excuse so I started it.  Guess what!  I really enjoyed this story of a young Jewish man who has to decide whether or not to follow Jesus, literally, because this story takes place during Jesus' life on Earth.
What have you been reading lately?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday's Quote: What's Your Story?

As you know, I've been reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn, and I keep coming across quotes and points that I would like to share with you.  In this one, Alcorn is discussing some of the people with which he would like to talk when he gets to Heaven and how he wants to hear their stories.  Can you imagine talking with Mary about Jesus' childhood, with Noah about what it was like on the ark, or with Enoch and Elijah about what it was like being taken to Heaven without dying?
We'll each have our own stories to tell also--and the memories and skills to tell them well.  Right now, today, we are living the lives from which such stories will be drawn.  Are we living them with eternity in mind?
How convicting!  When I get to Heaven, I want to have stories to tell how I served my Savior.  I may not have the kind of stories that Mary and Noah have, but I do want to have some.  And now is the time to live these stories because once we get to Heaven, it will be too late.

Do you live in light of eternity?  What kinds of stories will you have to tell?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Counting My Blessings from an Ordinary Week

We didn't do anything out of the ordinary this week, but that was okay.  It's nice to have a relatively quiet week at home and get a few errands taken care of.

Here are a few of my blessings from this week:
  • I started reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis this week, and my children keep asking for more.  I knew they would like it, even though they weren't so sure!
  • I made a casserole last night, and I was able to freeze half of it.  Now I have a dinner ready to go in the freezer.  Hooray!
  • Farm fresh eggs.  Need I say more?
  • It only took thirty minutes at one store to find church shoes for Sarah Beth and Daniel.
  • I already had church shoes for Rachel and Mary:  hand-me-downs.
  • The weather cooled off.  Wonderful!  It's still in the 80's, but now it's the lower 80's.  
  • My sister is planning a visit!  Won't that be nice!!
How was your week?  How were you blessed?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Should Christians Send Their Children to Public Schools?

I've been thinking about this post for a while, but I was inspired by Cindy's post at Get Along Home to actually sit down and write it.

Should Christians send their children to public schools?  What do you think?  I have two questions for you to consider while making your decision.

What are the most important things for your children to learn?  Remember, I'm asking Christians.  The most important things for the children of Christians to learn are that we are sinful and in need of a Savior, that Jesus Christ is that Savior, and how we are to live in light of those two facts.  Public schools will not teach that.  They cannot.  Increasingly, public schools are becoming more and more hostile to Christianity.

What else should your children learn?  The three R's are very important:  reading, writing, and 'rithmetic.  Without those, our children cannot learn about God and the world He created.  Public schools do a poor job with those three basics.  Just look at what children knew a hundred years ago, fifty years ago, even twenty, and compare that with what they are learning now.  Do you know how poorly our children rank in the world as compared to other countries' children?  It's absolutely awful!

Do you think I have oversimplified the question?  Maybe.  But what is the purpose of sending our children to school, of doing school at all?  Isn't it to learn?  Schools are not set up as places for mission work; they are places for children to go in order to learn.  And, as parents, we should be concerned about what they are learning.

Basically, as I see it, if you want your children to learn about God, or anything at all worth knowing, you cannot send them to public schools.

What do you think?  Do you think Christians should send their children to public schools?  Why or why not?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tooting My Own Horn

A few weeks ago, John and I took our children to a nearby county fair.  While we were there, we discovered works of crochet that had been entered for judging, and I thought, "I can do that, too!"  I started researching our county fair when we got home and decided to enter some of my things.

I'm most proud of my table runner (above).  John encouraged me to enter it, and as you can see, it did well.  Best in Class!

 A doily.

I made this blanket for Rachel before we discovered that her favorite color is purple.  Oops!  She wasn't real sure she wanted me to enter it because she was afraid it wouldn't come back home.  But I won her over by offering to let her keep any ribbon her blanket won. 

I wasn't going to enter this blanket, but Daniel really wanted me to enter something of his.  I think he really just wanted whatever ribbon it might win.  And he didn't want to be left out. 

Sarah Beth was so excited for me to enter her blanket!  She really thought it would win something although she was a little worried about not getting it back again.

Have you entered anything in a county fair?  How did you do?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Book Review: What Once Was Lost by Kim Vogel Sawyer

When a fire burns the kitchen in the Brambleville Asylum for the Poor that Christina Willems manages, she has to find homes for all of the residents.  After finding homes for everyone else, Christina in desperation almost forces the reclusive mill owner Levi Kilgore to take the blind boy Tommy.  Then she has to deal with the mission board about getting the house repaired along with several other adventures including getting accused of stealing her own watch.  Of course, as the book progresses, Levi starts to enjoy having Tommy around, and he and Christina form an attachment.

I liked this book better than the last historical fiction I read.  I appreciated how Christina worked hard to be kind to everyone, even those who were trying to take advantage of her.  But the romance was hardly believable, as Levi and Christina don't spend much time together (thereby getting to know each other) before falling madly in love.  Christina tried to do God's will, and that was refreshing for this type of book.

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Random Question: Whom Do You Want to Meet in Heaven?

When I arrive in Heaven, the first thing I will do is look for Jesus Christ, my Savior.  After that I'm sure I'll spend some quality time with old friends and family who have arrived before me.  I'm not sure what will happen afterwards, but I am making a mental list of the people I would like to meet once I get to Heaven.  So far, these are the people I have on my list:
  • Deborah.  Wasn't she an amazing woman?  The only woman judge mentioned in the Bible, and one of the few women who didn't have anything negative recorded about her.
  • C.S.  Lewis.  What he has written makes me think, and I'm sure that talking with him will be even more thought-provoking.  
  • Randy Alcorn.  Another author I really admire.  He is still alive, but chances are that we won't meet this side of heaven.
  • R.J.  Rushdoony.  Have you been reading my Monday's Quotes?  Wow!  Didn't he hit the proverbial nail on the head about so many things?  I can't wait to meet him, as well.
  • My guardian angel.  I can't wait to talk to him about all the ways he helped me in this life and how many times he saved my life while I was riding all of those crazy horses.  And that night I had the concussion and drove myself to the emergency room, and I don't remember any of it?  I'm sure he was there, driving my truck for me.  
Who would you like to meet in Heaven?  Have you thought much about it?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Review: Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund

In Rebellious Heart by Jody Hedlund, Susanna Smith is a God-fearing, king-obeying woman in the American colonies during the time before the Revolutionary War, but she does have a stubborn streak.  Ben Ross is a self-made lawyer, and both of them have decided not to like the other one.  But a runaway indentured servant brings them together as they try to figure out how best to help her.  And, of course, along the way, despite their best intentions, they realize that they cannot live without each other.

I didn't much care for this book.  Too much time was spent on pounding hearts and warm feelings when the two protagonists were together, especially when they were alone which was way too often for the time period.  The indentured servant seemed just a plot device used to bring the Susanna and Ben together, and wasn't developed enough.  This book was more romance than historical fiction, and I prefer it the other way around.  I do have to admit that, unlike most of the books I've read in this genre, the characters actually sought to do God's will, and I was impressed with that.

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

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday's Quote: Will There be Space and Time in Heaven?

While I don't have a quote for you today, I want to tell you about Chapter 26 from Heaven by Randy Alcorn that I read last week entitled, "Will There be Space and Time?"  The author answers this question with an emphatic "yes."

First of all, let's talk about space.  Have you ever wondered why God created such an enormous universe when humans only live on one planet in it?  I have.  Of course, "the heavens declare the glory of God," and God could have created all of those millions of galaxies just to proclaim His glory and to show His creativity.  But what if He created them as a something for us to have "dominion" over?  What if the fall interrupted those plans, and we will actually fulfill them in Heaven?  What if we get to explore the universe once we get to the New Earth?  Does that thought fill you with as much excitement as it does me?

What about time?  If you're like me, you don't have time in your day to get everything done that you want and need to do.  It's all a matter of choices:  a choice between doing the dishes and the laundry; the choice between cleaning the bathrooms or homeschooling your children; the choice between taking care of your home and family or learning to SCUBA dive.  SCUBA dive?  Yes, that is one of the things that I can't wait to try once I get to Heaven.  Maybe I'll have the time here on Earth, but if I don't, I will have all the time in the world to learn in Heaven.  Those hobbies and activities that I just don't have time for now, I will then...because I won't have all the time in the world, I will have all the time in eternity.  I might find rock climbing fun in Heaven, too, as I won't be afraid of heights anymore, and I certainly won't be afraid of dying.  Sky diving?  Maybe.

And just think!  We will do all of these things to bring glory to God.  That's why He created us and the universe.  Everything we do in Heaven will glorify God!

What about you?  Are you excited about the possibility of exploring space, "where no one has gone before"?  What about finally having the time to do things you haven't gotten to here on Earth?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Finished Object Friday: A Knitted Blanket

After I knitted the dishcloth, I started on this blanket.  I must say that knitting takes a lot longer than crocheting, I guess because the stitches are so much smaller.  But I enjoyed knitting this blanket as I gained more experience.

I worked hard on this blanket, and I took out many stitches and several rows trying to get it right.  But there are still obvious mistakes, and I'm not too happy with it.  I'm not sure what to do with it.  I don't want to give it to anyone because of the mistakes, and I hate to donate it to the local pregnancy center as if it's someone's cast off.  Do you have any suggestions?  At least, it's pretty.  Meanwhile, I'll fold it up and keep it in my closet.

What projects have you been working on lately?

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Counting My Blessings

Today I start counting my blessings by thanking God that I live in the United States of America.  Even though we are losing our freedoms -- quickly, these days -- we still live in the most free country in the world.  What a blessing!

I am also amazingly blessed to have four wonderful, healthy (for the most part) children.

I feel blessed to be able to teach my children at home without having to worry about the police coming to take them away.

And this blessing Number 4 keeps me laughing!  If you ever get bored around Mary, you need to get up and go look for her and the trouble she has just gotten into!  I mean, just look at those expressions on her face!!  Nothing boring there!

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit

Connie at Smockity Frocks has written time and time again about how great The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit is, and it has piqued my interested.  You see, I have a secret:  I love attending conferences.  I find it fun to sit in an auditorium, listening to great speakers impart their wisdom.  I haven't been to a retreat/conference/summit since I was pregnant with Rachel four years ago.  I miss these getaways!  And what could be better than a conference about homeschooling, especially for mothers?!  And now there is one right here in Texas!!

I really want to go, and I could win a trip just by writing this post.  How neat is that?  I would love to spend time with like-minded women, discussing what works and doesn't work as we train our children at home.  And while I don't know the speakers, I'm sure their talks will be great.  And the possibility of meeting Connie from Smockity Frocks, well, that's just the icing on the cake!

The Homeschool Moms' Winter Summit will take place January 24-25, 2014 in San Marcos, Tx., at the Embassy Suites.  If you would like to attend, you can find more information here, and you can register here.  It's even on Facebook!

If you would like to go, too, you need to leave a comment because one commenter (not necessarily from my blog) will get a free pass!  Even if you don't want to go, please leave a comment because one of the criteria for deciding the winner is the number of comments I receive.

Do you enjoy conferences as much as I do?  What was the last one you attended?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday's Tips: Measuring Medicine for Children

Those silly plastic cups that come with children's medicine, what are we supposed to do with them?  Please don't actually use them to measure your child's medicine because they are not accurate.  You need an oral dosing syringe; you can buy one, or most pharmacies will give you one if you just ask.

I keep these silly cups because I'm a bit of a packrat, and finally I figured out a use for them.  A couple of weeks ago, all four of my children had a bad cough.  To help them sleep, I planned to give them some cough medicine, but I didn't want to use the same dosing syringe because of cross-contamination. So I drew up the correct dose in a syringe and put it into a cup, one for each of my oldest three children.  Then they drank up their individual doses, and there was no sharing of germs.  Great!  And then I used the syringe for Mary as she's not ready for a cup yet.

Sometimes, too, I use these cups when I need to give one child two or more medications, e.g. for fever and for cough.  I draw up the correct dose in a syringe and put it into the little cup; then I can use the same syringe for the second medication.  And I can either draw up both medications into the syringe (for Mary) or have the child drink the concoction.

Do you save those little cups?  What do you use them for?

I have another post about giving medicine to children here, if you're interested.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday's Quotes: Three More from Rushdoony

I'm finishing up A Word in Season Volume 3 by R.J. Rushdony, and I wanted to share these three quotes with you.

First, a word of encouragement when you feel like a "mean, ole mom" for disciplining your child.  I need this reminder often, and I always tell my children that I discipline them only because I love them.
Undisciplined children are unloved children because love seeks the best for the loved, not indulgence.  The best is often what a child likes least, because "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child."
Next, don't forget that we are are to be salt and light to the world and what that means.
For Christians, to be the salt of the earth means that they are to preserve it from the corruption natural to fallen man.  This means that they are to be active in every sphere to affirm Christ's word and way and to bring all things under His government.
Finally, we often hear that earning money and having money are evil things, or at least, are bad things.  On the contrary, without money we cannot help others.  And shouldn't we be rewarded for our hard work?
Christians need to be creators of wealth in order to further the Lord's work, materially and spiritually.
What do you think of these quotes?  Do you ever feel like a "mean, ole mom"?  (My kids have never actually called me that.)

Friday, October 4, 2013

Top Ten Reasons I Love Homeschooling

I love homeschooling my children for many reasons, but here are my favorite ten:

  • Not spending all day in least, not yet.
  • Suiting curriculum choices to each child's strengths, weaknesses, and even preferences.
  • Flexible schedule.  We started school three weeks before the public schools did, but we took two weeks off when Uncle Ray and my parents visited.  And we can take days off, well, whenever we feel like it!
  • Having more control over the influences on our children.
  • Being the primary influence on them.
  • Spending all day with them.
  • Teaching can and does happen at any time of the day.  A few days ago, Daniel interrupted me while I was brushing my teeth to ask how to write certain letters.
  • Teaching the truly important things, like character.
  • Putting God into every subject...where He belongs since He created everything.
  • Getting to spend all day with my children.  Oh, did I mention that one already?  :)

What do you love about homeschooling?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Counting My Blessings: My Husband

After my salvation, I figure that John is the greatest blessing God has given me.  And this blessing has been a great blessing to me, more so than usual in the last few days.

  • A raccoon got into the chicken coop early Friday morning, and John jumped up and hurried outside to see what was going on and to defend my chickens.  (The raccoon ran off without harming any of the chickens.)
  • After work Friday night, John worked to raccoon-proof the coop, and he was least so far.
  • Saturday while I ran a quick errand, Mary got into my toothpaste.  (Did you know that a two year old has to ingest two full tubes to get a toxic dose of fluoride?  Now you do.)  When John found her, he stuck her into the bathtub and bathed her.  Wasn't that sweet of him?  Especially since I had just arrived home.
  • Of course, all of this is in addition to the "normal" ways that John is a blessing:  working hard to provide for his family and being a good father and husband.
How has God blessed you this week?

This post is linked with Aurie at Welcome to Our Good Life.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

September Review of Goals

Whew!  What a busy month!  We had great visits with both Uncle Ray and my parents; and with them here, we visited sites new to us while we put formal schooling on hold.  Now we're getting back into our routine.  Maybe I can blame some of the things I didn't get done on our visitors.  What do you think?  No?  I didn't think so!

Here's how I did:
  • Read through my book list.  I thought I had finished a book on my list, but I was mistaken.  I have five books to go and three months in which to read them.  Here's what I did read last month.
  • Exercise.  This goal was hit and miss during September.
  • Have one fun school day per month.  We had a lot of fun celebrating Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day, and we tried to celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day, but I just couldn't make it to the library to pick up the books about him that I requested.  We still had a yummy dessert, so I think it counts!
  • Take one field trip a month.  Oh, boy!  With Uncle Ray and my parents here, we had several field trips:  the local aquarium (twice), the planetarium, and the Children's Museum in Houston.  Fun times!
  • Date night.  Fail.  Again.
  • Home improvement project.  Does getting new chicks count?
  • Service project.  Fail.  Again.
  • Hospitality.  We didn't have anyone over just for supper last month, but we did have Uncle Ray  and my parents for visits.  I'm sure that must count.
  • Work.  I just need to figure out when to take the Texas law test (and actually schedule it!).
  • Having my children do more around the house.  I'm not having them do anything big, but they're doing all kinds of little chores for me which is a big help.
What about you?  How are you doing with your yearly goals?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Reading

I didn't get much read this month toward my reading list for the year, but here is what I did read.
  • The Protector by Dee Henderson.  There's an arsonist that firefighter Jack O'Malley has to help find while keeping the only eyewitness safe.
  • The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 4) by Rick Riordan.
  • The Bronze Ladder by Malcolm Lyon.  When I found this book free for my kindle, I was excited because I would be able to knock a book off my reading list while walking on my treadmill.  Unfortunately, I discovered after I finished it, that The Bronze Bow is on my reading list, not The Bronze Ladder.  *Sigh*  But this book was good, and I don't regret reading the true story of Perpetua who was martyred in 203 in Northern Africa.  
Currently, I'm reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn (which is on my reading list), and it's a wonderful book.  It's just veeeery long, so it's keeping me busy.  It looks like I've got five books left on my reading list for the year and only three months to read them.  I'd better get going!

What have you been reading lately?