Monday, March 31, 2014

March's Book Reading

I read five books this month which I think is a good amount.  Walking on the treadmill really helps because it gives me more time to read.  The first one is from this year's reading list.
  • What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp.  To sum this book up, we are sinners married to sinners living in a fallen world, something that gets forgotten in our dating/courtship days.  Tripp reminds us of this truth and shows how we should live in light of this truth.
  • Prophet by R.J. Larson.  A Christian fantasy based on the Old Testament world, I enjoyed this book which is free on your kindle.
  • Judge by R.J. Larson.  The sequel to Prophet, and I enjoyed this one, too. 
  • Tending the Heart of Virtue:  How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination by Vigen Guroian.  One of my friends recommended this book, and I found it fascinating.  While the author is not (apparently) a Christian since he talks about Biblical "myths," I liked his idea of using fairy tales to encourage my children's morality since so many of the stories have definite morals.  Some of the "fairy tales" he exegetes are The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Princess and the Goblin.  This book should be read with a grain of salt, but it's worth reading.  You can read more of my thoughts here.
  • A Draw of Kings by Patrick Carr.  What a fun and exciting conclusion to The Staff and the Sword trilogy.  I can't wait for Carr to write more books!
What have you been reading lately?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book Review: One Lost Sheep by Rhonda Gowler Greene

One Lost Sheep by Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by Margaret Spengler retells Jesus' parable of the one missing sheep that the Good Shepherd leaves His other sheep to find.  I was excited to read this book with my children as the parable states such an important part of Christian theology.

The singsongy rhythm of this book makes it fun to read, and I enjoyed reading about the Good Shepherd searching high and low for His lost sheep...until the last page.  This book starts out so positively, quoting directly from the parable on the first page.  But the last page says, "Like that shepherd, God above keeps us in his boundless love.  The Lord God is our shepherd too, watching over me and you."  It completely misses the whole point of the parable!  This story doesn't show us that God takes care of us; it tells how we are lost, lost in our sins, until Jesus comes looking for us and saves us.

If you're not bothered by this type of thing, you will probably still like the book.  But if you look for correct theology in your children's books, you will want to pass this book by.  

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday's Quote: Some Thoughts from Chesteron about God's "Eternal Appetite of Infancy"

On a recommendation of a friend, I recently read Tending the Heart of Virtue:  How Classic Stories Awaken a Child's Moral Imagination by Vigen Guroian, and I found it fascinating.  I came across this quote in the introduction, and I wanted to share it with you.  The author brought together his college students to study fairy tales alongside his child's fourth grade class, and here is one of his observations:
Repetition signified one other thing to the fourth graders, the importance of which also dawned on my college students.  [C. K] Chesterton observes that when we grow up we tend to think that repetition is a sign of deadness, "like a piece of clockwork.  People feel that if the universe were personal it would vary, if the sun were alive it would dance."  To the contrary, "variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue."  Whereas repetition, far from signifying monotony and deadness, may signify flight, desire, and vitality....  "A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life.  Because children have unbounding vitality, because they are spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.  They always say, 'Do it again'" because there is such delight in that thing or activity.  "It may be,"Chesterton concludes, "that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.  It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy, for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.  The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore."  (p. 13, my emphasis)
Isn't this an interesting idea that Chesterton presents, that God has the "eternal appetite of infancy" and loves repetition while we have grown old via sinning and crave variety?  I've never wondered why all daisies look alike, but it makes sense to me that they look the same because God loves the pattern and keeps using it.  And my children's love of playing the same games, reading the same books, watching the same movies does seem to come from their innocence where my desire for new books, new movies seems to come from what?  A lack of innocence?

What do you think?  Do you agree with Chesterton's thoughts?  Or do you think he's way off base?

Friday, March 21, 2014

This and That...and Mary

I don't know if you've been wondering where I was or not, but we had some problems with our internet.  I think, I hope, it's finally been fixed after two visits to our house.  If you hadn't noticed, it's probably because I've been around a little bit; the internet has been in and out.  I must admit that this unscheduled blogging break has been really nice.

I started potty training Mary last week, so this is the end of week two.  And she's doing great.  As a matter of fact, Rachel found her on the regular toilet yesterday instead of her little training potty.  I hadn't even thought of making the transition so quickly, but it just shows you how ready Mary was for this next step of development.

We've been relatively homebound for the past couple of weeks so Mary and I can concentrate on all of this, but we've got some fun things planned for next week.

I hope that you've had a good week, and I hope to catch up on my blog reading over the weekend.

By the way, Tracey at Girls to Grow has a giveaway going on right now for three books from Zonderkidz.  If you have children, you might want to enter.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Yes, I Bought More!

Last week, I bought seven more chicks.

Why did I buy more since I have five laying hens?

One reason is that I want to use chickens to teach Sarah Beth a little more responsibility, especially as her chicks start to lay and she gets to sell the eggs to earn some money.

Another reason is for a buffer; I keep losing chickens, and I want to have enough that I can absorb the loss of a few.  (Does that sound heartless?)

Mostly, though, I just enjoy having chickens, even the added work that having chicks brings.

In case you are wondering, here is what I have now:
for a total of eleven!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Strawberry Pickin'

Rachel enjoying the fruits of her labors.

Sunday night, I got an email asking if we wanted to go strawberry picking Monday morning.  I had to think about it real hard for about half a second.  If we stayed home, we would just do school like usual and start Mary's potty training.  If we went, we could count it as a field day and procrastinate put off Mary's potty training for a day.  It really wasn't too hard of a decision!

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of our picking strawberries since I didn't want to drop my camera in the mud accidentally.  But I did snap a few after we ate lunch when the kids were playing.

Rachel trying to be like Sarah Beth, but she just isn't tall enough. 

Balancing on a rock. 

Ready, set... 


Same rock, different child. 

Different rock, different child.

Do you enjoy picking your own strawberries?  When will your season begin?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday's Quote: The Importance of God in Our Marriages

I'm still reading What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp, and in this quote, he stresses the importance of having a right relationship with God in order to have a good marriage.
When we resist change and complain about the daily difficulty of marital differences, we are not first moaning and groaning about the person we live with.  No, we are struggling with who God is and who God says we are.  The horizontal struggles are the fruit of vertical struggles between us and our Lord.   (p.215)
I remember having a similar conversation with my father when I was a child.  We reasoned that, if we loved God as we should with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength, then we would love others as we should.  Then there would be no sin!  Of course, my childish heart followed things through to their logical and unattainable end, but it's still there.  If we loved God as we should, we would not sin against others.

What do you think?  How important is it to love God correctly in order to love your spouse as you should?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review: A Draw of Kings by Patrick Carr

A Draw of Kings by Patrick Carr starts as Errol returns to the capital city and finds that the king has died and Duke Weir has taken the crown for his own.  The duke tries to keep the throne through force and blackmail, but his schemes don't work.  Meanwhile, two hostile countries are poised to attack the kingdom, and without a rightful king, it cannot withstand the attacks.  But who is the rightful king?  Once again, Errol is in position to save the kingdom, although this time he volunteers instead of being coerced.  Is he the rightful king?  Or is Liam?  Only Deas knows.  As Errol matures, he realizes that Deas' hand was upon him for his whole life, even when bad things happened.  If those things hadn't happened, he would not have become the man he was.

This fun-filled, adventure-packed ending to The Staff and the Sword trilogy is just as good as, if not better than, the first two books:  A Cast of Stones and Hero's Lot.  I really enjoyed reading this book, and I look forward to reading any more books that Carr writes.  This certainly is Christian fantasy at its best!

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

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Don't Forget: Today is National Pancake Day!

You can get a free short stack of pancakes at IHOP today!  Don't forget!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Look What Happened This Weekend!

First of all, John finished this swing set for our children.  They love it!  There are three regular swings for the older three children and a baby swing for Mary.  They enjoy seeing how high they can go (or can be pushed)!  You can see me in the background to see how massive this swing set is.  Didn't John do a great job?  It was a lot of hard work for him, but I think he feels that it was worth it to see our children having so much fun.  I'm proud of him for starting and finishing such a big job!

The other thing that happened was that two of my "new" hens started laying:  Lucy (the white one) and one of the brown ones.  That was egg-citing, too!  I got four eggs on Saturday which was wonderful!  (I don't have pictures of the eggs, sorry!)

What fun things did you do this weekend?