Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied;
Come to God’s own temple, come, raise the song of harvest home.

All the world is God’s own field, fruit unto His praise to yield;
Wheat and tares together sown unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear;
Lord of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be.

For the Lord our God shall come, and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day all offenses purge away,
Giving angels charge at last in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store in His garner evermore.

Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified, in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come, raise the glorious harvest home.

words by Henry Alford

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday's Quote: Humility vs. Pride

I found this quote last week while I was reading Seeing the Unseen by Randy Alcorn.
If you want to be humble, take a good look at God and then a good look at yourself, and notice the difference.  When you see Him as He is and yourself as you are, the very thought of being proud or arrogant should be absolutely laughable.
This quote was especially fitting for me last week when John asked me to make him something for a covered dish dinner at work to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We decided on Fudgy Brownie Bites from Ann Byrn's Cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor which, if I do say so myself, are pretty good.  As I made the brownies, I started thinking about how much the men would enjoy them, and how they would shower accolades upon John to give to his wife -- me.

To paraphrase Solomon in Proverbs, "Pride goes before a fall."

Guess what!  The brownies would not come out of the muffin tins!  I'm not sure what happened; I've made this recipe many times without any problems, but something definitely happened.  And I realized that this happens frequently, that when I start getting "the big head" about my baking, something invariably goes wrong...when it never has before.  Coincidence?  I don't think so.

"And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."  Matthew 23:12

Do you have a similar story?  Has your pride gone before one of your falls?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Counting My Blessings in a Quiet Week

It's been another relatively quiet week so far, and that's part of the reason I haven't had much to blog about lately.  But since "every good and perfect gift is from above," there are always blessings for which to be thankful.
  • a quiet week
  • health for all of us
  • clean teeth for Sarah Beth and me
  • a new dentist we like
  • three eggs three days in a row
  • a job that John likes
  • homeschooling
  • being able to stay home with our children
  • Rachel's silliness coming out even when dreading her weekly injection
  • Daniel starting to really grasp the whole idea of reading, as he sounds out words at the grocery store
  • friends we enjoy at Classical Conversations
  • a week off from school next week
How has God blessed you this week?

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Book Review: Martyr's Fire by Sigmund Brouwer

Martyr's Fire by Sigmund Brouwer is the third book in the Merlin's Immortals Series.  (You can read my reviews of books one and two here.)  In this book, Thomas has control of the city/castle Magnus which is located in northern England but quickly loses it when the Druids arrive.  Since he still doesn't think there is anyone he can trust, specifically Katherine and Hawkwood, he tries to figure out by himself what to do next...without being used by either the Druids or the Immortals.

My main criticism of this series is that there are too many mysteries.  Thomas doesn't know who he is, why taking control of Magnus is important, who the Immortals are, etc.  Finally, finally, at the end of this book, some answers are revealed.  Honestly, all of the deception is wearying.  It would be nice is Katherine and Hawkwood would be truthful with Thomas instead of trying to conceal as much as possible from him.

Did I like this book?  It was okay.  Will I read the next one?  I don't know.  Do I recommend this series?  Only if you like this period of time fictionalized beyond recognition.

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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Counting My Blessings: All About Rachel

Most of my blessings this week have to do with Rachel.  We had a stressful day yesterday, but it was also full of blessings.  I wrote about our day at Rachel's blog here.  Here is my list for this week:
  • A husband who is willing to take his daughter to get her blood drawn because that is just not a fun thing.
  • John's job which gives him the flexibility to take Rachel to get her blood drawn so I don't have to take all four children with me.
  • A babysitter who can come over during a weekday to keep all of the children except Rachel while I took her to the eye doctor.
  • That nothing is wrong with Rachel's eyes due to Plaquenil.
  • That she still sees fine, even with her cataracts.
  • For prednisone which knocked down Rachel's JDM even if it did give her steroids.
  • A conservative ophthalmologist who is willing to wait for surgery for Rachel's cataracts.
  • Mostly, I feel blessed that God has answered our prayers for Rachel's health so amazingly.  We never thought she would be doing this well at this point.  
To God be the glory!

How has God blessed you this week?

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

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book Review: Return to Me by Lynn Austin

In Return to Me by Lynn Austin,  Zechariah has to decide whether to return with his grandparents to Jerusalem to help rebuild the temple or stay in Babylon with his parents.  Zechariah sees the temple started with enthusiasm but abandoned due to interference with local Samaritans.  Over the years as he matures into the priesthood, he becomes God's spokesman, encouraging his fellow Jews to continue the work on the temple.

I really enjoyed this book as it is Biblically accurate, and the characters are believable and likable.  I appreciated the parallels between Zechariah and his wife and God and the Jews, as Zechariah and God each love the unrepentant.  If you enjoy historical fiction, especially books about Biblical times, you will probably like this one as well.  As this book is the first in a series, I will definitely keep my eyes out for the upcoming books.

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

Friday, November 8, 2013

un-Finished Object Friday

I found the pattern for this blanket in this book that I checked out of the library.  I like how the stripes are different than other striped blankets; they are more interesting than most.  And, other than changing the yarn color every few rows, this pattern is easy:  it's just stockinette stitch.  I was so proud of myself when I realized I hadn't made a big mistake about a third of the way through.  I hadn't had to take out any full rows, and I was feeling pretty smug.  But you know how it is:  pride goes before a fall and all of that.  That very day, I realized that I messed up one of the color changes, and it was obvious.  Since the point of my knitting is to get it right instead of just getting it done, I pull out six stripes to fix the problem.  Yes, that meant pulling out 24 rows.  Argh!  But I did, and the blanket is fixed.  Whoohoo!

This blanket is not finished yet.  I need to put a border on it, and I want to crochet it.  Crocheted borders seem so much easier than knitted ones, although I have to admit that I haven't knitted a border yet.  I'm waiting on this book to get here, and hopefully I will find the perfect (or at least a good-enough) border for this blanket.

Then I will just need to figure out what to do with it.  So far, it's well enough made that I don't mind giving it away.

What have you been working on lately?

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

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

October Review of Yearly Goals

October was a relatively quiet month which was nice after our visit-filled month of September.  We were able to get back into our school routine and enjoy our family again.  I feel like I did okay on my goals last month; I could have done better, but I also could have done much worse!  My biggest success was date night!  Finally!!
  • Read through my book list.  Looking through my list, I've got five more books to read.  I'm not sure I'll get them all read, especially since I forgot about a couple of them.  But I knocked out two more last month.
  • Exercise.  I didn't start the month out well, but I finished well.
  • Have one fun school day per month.  Goodness!  There were a bunch this month, and most of them were last week!  Monday was Chocolate Day, and my kids demanded fudge; Wednesday was Candy Corn Day, and I found some great printables to practice their math skills; and Thursday was, of course, Reformation Day.  
  • Take one field trip per month.  We toured the county fair and visited the planetarium again.
  • Date night.  Success!  But, oh, the mad scramble trying to find a babysitter.  I forget that teenagers these days don't answer their cell phones; they only respond to texts.
  • Home improvement project.  Fail.
  • Service project.  Fail.
  • Hospitality.  Fail.
  • Work.  I am now scheduled to take the Texas pharmacist law test.  Now I just need to find some study materials and time to study them....
  • Have my children do more around the house.  I think I'm doing okay with this, but not as good as I could and should be.
How are you doing with your yearly goals?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday's Quote: Will Heaven Be Boring?

There are lots of jokes about people not wanting to go to Heaven because they are afraid that they will be bored there.  In fact, they have it wrong.  Heaven will not, cannot be boring.  As Randy Alcorn says in his book Heaven:
Another reason people assume Heaven is boring is that their Christian lives are boring.  That's not God's fault; it's their own.  God calls us to follow Him in an adventure that should put us on life's edge.  He's infinite in creativity, goodness, beauty, and power.  If we're experiencing the invigorating stirrings of God's Spirit, trusting Him to fill our lives with divine appointments, experiencing the childlike delights of His gracious daily kindness, then we'll know that God is exciting and Heaven is exhilarating.  People who love God crave His companionship. To be in His presence will be the very opposite of boredom.   
We think of ourselves as fun-loving, and of God as a humorless killjoy.  But we've got it backward.  It's not God who's boring; it's us.  Did we invent wit, humor, and laughter?  No.  God did.  We'll never begin to exhaust God's sense of humor and His love for adventure.  The real question is this:  How could God not be bored with us?
I want to live a life that experiences God to His fullest here on Earth so that when I get to Heaven, it will just be a continuation.  I cannot imagine the adventures that God has planned for me when I get to Heaven, but I'm looking forward to them!

Friday, November 1, 2013

How Are the Chicks Doing?

I thought you might be wondering how the chicks were doing...and they're doing great.  They are growing and growing; now they are covered with feathers instead of their baby down.  Basically, they're not cute anymore.  But we're one month closer to having more eggs!

Here is a picture for comparison.

Meanwhile, the egg production of my hens has decreased due to the shortened days, so I'm trying something to see if I can increase it.  I've got a light in the coop set to come on at 5:00 in the morning.  Apparently, more light, even artificial light, can stimulate egg laying.  We'll see if it works.  One of my hens hasn't laid an egg in over a week, and I'm not okay with that.  That's why we have her!