Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Reformation Day!!

This post was originally published October 31, 2012.

Tomorrow we will 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 also 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?  How so?

Friday, October 28, 2016

What I Enjoyed this Week: A Whole Week at Home!

We had a lovely week of being home everyday except our CC day.  It was still busy as I worked to keep on top of things, but it wasn't as crazy as usual.  I'm learning to do things early to keep from being overwhelmed by too much to do at the last minute.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Preparing a meal my children were actually excited about!  Chili Cheese Dip.  Yes, we eat it as a meal.  :)
  • My children didn't appreciate Carolina Shrimp and Cheddar Grits, but I sure did!  Yum!!
  • The cooler weather.  Our highs have dropped to the lower to middle 80s.  It's much more pleasant outside, although, honestly, it's still a little warm.  :)
  • Not being joined at the hip, so to speak, with Hannah now that she's weaned.  I went to a children's book party Friday night, and it was wonderful to leave all of the children at home with John without having to worry about, well, anything.  
  • I also enjoyed the ladies at the book party, and of course, I had a lot of fun looking at all of the books!  (Christmas presents!)
We have a busy weekend planned.  First thing Saturday morning, I've got a 5K to run.  My goal is just to run the whole thing.  :)  Afterwards, Sarah Beth and Daniel have soccer games; thankfully, they're in town, but there should be about an hour in between which makes it more difficult on the other children (and therefore us parents).  Just in case that's not enough, we're having our pictures taken professionally that evening.  Oh, I'm tired just thinking about it.  :)  

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why I Impulsively Clean -- And Maybe Why You Do, Too

photo source

I know that I've written a couple of times already about Triggers:  Exchanging Parents' Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake, but when I read this paragraph I knew that I needed to share it with you.  I've always wondered why I start cleaning when I'm upset, and why clutter doesn't bother me -- until I'm upset about something totally unrelated.  Now I know.  :)
The confusing problem is, this isn't really about my house at need for order in the home goes much deeper than a woman's affection for a freshly swept floor and Windexed windows.  What I'm learning about my need for a clean home is that uncluttered countertops are a tangible way to rank the control I have over my life.  When I can't control my husband's work schedule, my children's volume, their behavior at dinner or in their beds at night...I want to have just one aspect of my life in order.  Just one.  That's all I ask!  (p.183)
In other words, when my life feels out of control -- out of my control, I want to assert my control over something, anything, and that oftentimes is my home.

I remember the first time I realized this about myself.  John and I hadn't been married long, and I had a new recipe to try out.  I was excited about it and had spent a good bit of time preparing it.  When I pulled it out of the oven, however, it was completely inedible.  So I started cleaning the kitchen like I had never done before.  John and I were both surprised by my reaction.  :)

Do you clean when you're upset?

Friday, October 21, 2016

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Day Off (Kind of) and a Scooter

Look who we found under the kitchen table!

I felt like I was running behind all week, and it was only Tuesday!  I felt like my days just needed one more hour in them because I didn't have enough time to get everything done that I needed to.  Simple, quick things like folding one load of laundry were not getting done.  I needed a day where I could stay home all day long, and I hoped that would help.  Well, I got that day on Wednesday, a day I really didn't want it.  :)  My car battery died Tuesday, and it had a corroded cable which John wasn't able to fix that evening.  Then Hannah started running a fever.  So we stayed home Wednesday instead of heading to CC.  We were all very disappointed, especially my older two children who had worked hard preparing their presentations.

The other big thing that happened this week was that Hannah became mobile.  She's moved around a little bit, but mostly stayed within a five-foot radius of where we put her down.  Not anymore!  Overnight -- Tuesday, to be exact -- she started scooting all over downstairs.  From the living room to the kitchen and again to the library.  I'm excited that she's scooting, but I also miss her being fairly stationary.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Staying home and getting things (mostly) caught up.
  • Sending Sarah Beth to CC on Wednesday when a friend offered to take her.  :)
  • A relatively quiet day at home with just four of my children.
  • A husband who knows things about cars.
  • A good night's sleep Wednesday night after getting up with Hannah a couple of times the night before.  I didn't even realize I was so tired!  :)
  • Children who enjoy the library as much as I do!
What did you enjoy this week?  

We planned to meet friends again at the park this afternoon, but John is taking the car to the shop today to have it repaired.  UnFortunately, we have another day completely at home in which to get some things done.  We also have two soccer games tomorrow.  What do you have planned?

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

After a harrowing trip by ship to a resort on Lake Michigan, Anna's childhood nightmares of surviving a shipwreck return.  She befriends one of the resort workers Derk who encourages her in her faith and helps her to work through some issues with her fiancee.  At the same time, Geesje , struggles to write down her part of the history of how her family helped found the town of Holland fifty years previously.  While these two stories seem unconnected, the reader can see how Geesje's experiences could help Anna -- if only they could meet.  :)

I always enjoy reading Austin's books, and this one has become one of my favorites.  As Anna deals with her faith and how it relates to her relationship with her fiancee, the author does not give easy answers.  The struggles that Geesje dealt with in her early life are heartbreaking, and again, the author does not give trite answers to her suffering.  I usually prefer neat and tidy endings to the books I read, but this one doesn't do that, although the conclusion is satisfying in its own way.  I also enjoyed learning more about why families immigrated to America and about the difficulties they had when setting up new settlements in the mid-1800's.

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

Friday, October 14, 2016

What I Enjoyed This Week: Uncle Ray

Uncle Ray came to visit last Saturday and stayed until Tuesday.  We had a great time with him like we always do.  John took Monday and Tuesday off, so we enjoyed having him around, too.  Our children especially appreciated all of the time that Ray took with them, teaching them new things.  John and Ray took the older four children to the Houston Museum of Natural Science on Monday; we hadn't been in a while so that was a treat.  Hannah and I couldn't go because we don't all fit in one car.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Meeting friends at the park last Friday.
  • Making a new homeschooling friend.
  • Spending Saturday morning with just Hannah and Mary when John took the older three to pick up Ray from the airport.  Mary and I had so much fun finishing the cleaning of the house and grocery shopping.  
  • Having time on Monday to myself when everyone but Hannah went to the museum.  I almost didn't know what to do with myself -- except that I had made a list of things I wanted to do:  watch a CC webinar while knitting and reply to an email from a special friend.
  • An "off" week for soccer games.  But I look forward to games tomorrow!
What did you enjoy this week?  We just have the soccer games this weekend so it ought to be a quiet weekend -- as quiet as our house gets, anyway!  :)  What do you have planned?

Friday, October 7, 2016

Enjoyment: Mary's First Lost Tooth!

It's hard to see, but Mary lost her first tooth!

The weather has finally cooled off somewhat, and we've enjoyed spending time outside.  Rachel even suggested having picnics for lunch, so we've carried everything outside to eat a couple of days.  What a great idea!  I've also enjoyed sending the kids outside for a while without having to deal with their complaints about the heat.  And they're having a great time, too, especially eating the pecans that have fallen from our trees.  :)

Here are a few other things that I've enjoyed this week:
  • I forgot to mention last week that Mary lost her first tooth!  She was so excited to lose her first tooth and that the Tooth Fairy visited!
  • Hannah is completely weaned which is great because now we're not "joined at the hip," so to speak.  
  • A week off from CC.  We love CC, but a mid-semester break is nice.  
  • I took the opportunity to get a babysitter one afternoon so I could run a few errands by myself and get my hair cut.
  • I also ate lunch with John which was wonderful!
  • While it's nowhere near cool, the cooler weather reminded me that the kids needed new shoes, so we bought shoes one morning.  I had dreaded that errand, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  :)
We have company coming into town tomorrow, so that should be fun!  Sarah Beth and Daniel don't have soccer games this weekend for some reason, but don't tell them that it's kind of nice for a change.  :)

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

September Reading

 A few years ago.

Spending thirty to forty-five minutes on the treadmill four times a week gives me lots of time to read!  And since I need something lively and interesting, I've been able to read several fiction books this month.  Other than that time, I haven't had much time to read, but I finally figured out why.  :)
  • Carthage Must be Destroyed:  the Rise and Fall of an Ancient Civilization by Richard Miles.  I'm interested in ancient Roman history, so I thought I would enjoy this book since it was Rome that destroyed Carthage.  And I did appreciate all of the history, but it was very dry.  :)  I'm glad I read it, and I'm glad I'm done!
  • From Darkness Won by Jill Williamson.  The third book in this trilogy, it was just as exciting and well-written as the previous two books.  
  • Curly Girl:  the Handbook by Lorraine Massey.  I read this book about the care of curly hair because Mary has curly hair, but I learned a few things about my own hair as well.
  • Sweet Olive by Julie Christie.  Tracey at Girls to Grow recommended this book, and I enjoyed it while jogging on the treadmill.  Camille travels back to a small town from her childhood, trying to figure out how to make her oil and gas boss happy while not destroying a lovely neighborhood.
  • Kingdom at Sea by Jill Williamson.  After their land is destroyed, the people of Armania travel on ships trying to find a new land to inhabit.  Another exciting book by this author that made my exercising more pleasant.  :)
  • Triggers:  Exchanging Parents' Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake.   I've said it before, and I mean it:  I would buy a copy of this book for every parent that I know, if I could.  Yes, it is that good!
  • The White Horse King:  The Life of Alfred the Great by Benjamin R. Merkle.  After listening to The Dragon and the Raven, I wanted to learn more about the amazing King Alfred.  My father recommended this book to me, and I recommend it to you:  it's an easy, yet informative read about one of the best English kings.
What have you read recently?

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Eight Months!

Hannah is eight months old today!  While she's not crawling yet, she does get around a little bit by scooting.  I have to admit that I like the fact that she's still pretty immobile.  :)

As you can see, she can sit up by herself.  We have also started her on baby food, and she decided to wean herself last week.  :(  None of my other children have weaned themselves, so I was caught by surprise. 

I love this picture.  Daniel enjoys his littlest sister as much as her other siblings, but he doesn't show it as much.