Saturday, January 31, 2009


On the very first Sunday that we visited our new church, we met a friendly family who invited us to share lunch with them. That same day. I had something in the crock-pot at home, so we declined, but we were touched by such open and ready hospitality toward us-- even though we were practically strangers to this family. In the weeks and months following we've received (and accepted) many more offers from others to share a meal. It's been very humbling to us that so many in a very small church would show such kindness to our family. Last Sunday, a young newly-wed couple invited us over for lunch at their small (but very homey and welcoming) apartment. I know I wasn't brave enough to have a family of eight over before I had children!

The example of all those who have warmly opened their homes and lives to us has had such an impact on us. In fact, we've never experienced anything like it. Can you imagine if all Christians were so willing to share their time and energy practicing hospitality toward others? I think that the church would look much different than it does today.

Maybe the reason that hospitality isn't the norm is that we have some exalted 'Martha Stewart' standard in our minds that we feel we can't meet. I wonder if Satan has twisted the command to be hospitable into something focused on ourselves; on our own image and reputation and ability to impress. Or maybe we're just too selfish with our time to make room for others.

I've been challenged and encouraged by the example I've witnessed to set the excuses aside and obey God's Word. Will you?

Be hospitable to one another without complaint. 1Peter 4:9
See also 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:8, Romans 12:13

Thursday, January 29, 2009

One Down and Prayer Requests

Well, I finally finished The Age of Opportunity, and I will definitely be buying this one to re-read in the future. I was so challenged by this book to reexamine my motives and goals in parenting, and it was humbling to face how often I am shortsighted in how I handle difficulties with the kids: reacting to them as burdens or bothers and feeling exasperated to have to deal with the same problems and issues again and again. If I had to choose one thing to take away from the book it would be this:

"See the difficult, troublesome, problem situations as God-given opportunities to develop a biblical mind in your teenager."

Tripp follows this instruction with a powerful scenario. A parent came to him and related that she had found pornography in her son's room. Tripp advised the parents to not go in "with guns blazing" but to thank God that He had allowed their son's sin to come to light, and to try to help their son understand the "thoughts and motives of his heart that led him into this sin."

This way of parenting is so rooted in humility (we are sinners just like our children!) and a sense that our children are not really 'ours', they are God's. I loved the exhortation to treasure the high calling that Christian parents have.

Switching gears, I wanted to share a couple of prayer requests. First, My friend Julia's husband was laid off from his job earlier this week. Please pray for them as they trust God and wait on Him to make his plans known. And you can pray the exact same thing for us (that we would trust God and wait on Him) as Sprint is getting ready to lay off another 8000 employees in the next 2 months. It will be interesting...I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

George Mueller

I'm so excited to be teaching Drama class at our home school co-op this semester. We're beginning to work on a play about the mid-19th century evangelist and missionary to children in England, George Mueller. I absolutely love to hear accounts about faithful saints of the past, and am praying that the children will be impacted by this godly man's example.

It ill becomes the servant to seek to be rich, and great, and honoured in that world where his Lord was poor, and mean, and despised.
--George Mueller

Friday, January 23, 2009

History of Cars

I was coming home Tuesday night when I spotted an old car on the side of the road. It's amazing how memories can suddenly come flooding back at the sight of an old El Camino. My Dad drove one for years when I was young. I remember being dropped off to first grade in that pea-green truck (car/truck?) with grey bond-o on the sides.

My parents had some other winners, too. I loved the big green-and-white Plymouth van with blue and black astro turf in the back. The 'PLY' was missing from the back, so we lovingly referred to it as the 'Mouth' van. I thought this was one great vehicle. It was a bit disappointing to me that the sink in the back never worked, though.

Probably my fondest memory of a car my parents had when I was a child was the little maroon Pinto.
This was the coolest car. I could lay in the back under the enormous window and listen to Air Supply while my Mom drove. Ahh. Good times.

There were more ugly cars in between, but the one that is freshest was the banana-yellow Plymouth Reliant with poopy-brown vinyl interior that had a slipping transmission. This was the car I drove in my early high school years. I thought my parents were scheming to ruin my social life by buying this car, but it was the banana, or the bus. Everyone knows that the bus is the kiss of death, so I drove the 'K.

Now, I drive the largest vehicle on the street...perhaps in the whole neighborhood. But I'm really kindof glad for all the embarrassing cars in my history. You could say that I was well primed for this one.

And you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way.

Upcoming Film on Abortion

The truth about abortion really is chilling. I found this on Challies.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Jenia and Anne, here goes! This is from Kevin's birthday in February 2007. I let the kids take care of the cake that year, and we had fun scrounging around to find ALL those candles! hee hee!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who Governs?

I have been alternately called an aristocrat and a democrat. I am now neither. I am a Christocrat. I believe all power. . . will always fail of producing order and happiness in the hands of man. He alone Who created and redeemed man is qualified to govern him.

Benjamin Rush

I've been enjoying a program my Mom downloaded and gave to us entitled, "Freedom Requires a Conservative Economic Paradigm." Despite the boring-sounding title, it's been highly interesting and informative. Find it here.

Monday, January 19, 2009


If you're like me and scrambling for materials to teach your kids about Martin Luther King, check out this site. I especially like the 'Story of Martin Luther King Jr.', which is perfectly suited to grades 1-3.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thrifty Thoughts

This week I found better deals at retail stores than thrift. I got four long-sleeved Gap shirts for Joe, which he happily modeled for me. I paid $1.97-$2.97 at the outlet store. I guess this is a good time to check out those winter clearance sales.

On to money-saving in the kitchen. I may be the last person to have figured this out, but just in case someone else is in the dark about this, too, I'll share a little tip I discovered about three years ago. Over the years countless green peppers have died a slow and moldy death in my refrigerator and I've wasted money on unused onions. A nice lady from church enlightened me about freezing chopped peppers and onions. Now I buy when green peppers are on sale, pull out my trusty food processor, and chop and freeze them. It's so nice to not only save the peppers and onions from the trash can, but to also avoid chopping stuff every time I need it. (Food processor: $15 at a garage sale, only used a couple of times. My friend Kim saw it and gave me a call. Network your garage sale efforts!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Odds and Ends

Keely's gone to spend the day with a sweet friend of hers, the littles are downstairs and currently quiet, and Noah is vacuuming the hall. Ahhh. I love the sound of the vacuum another room.

My Mom is coming to spend the week with us, and will be here in a few hours. I'm so excited! It's always great to have her here and see her pour herself into the kids. I am so blessed.

I need to do a few more things to get ready for Mom, but I wanted to share something from a great book I've started. I've had this on my nightstand for months, and I'm so glad that I decided to try it before returning it to the lender. (It's coming your way, soon, Michelle!)

Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, by Paul David Tripp. Since we are on the cusp of the teen years, I wanted to check it out. I'm only in Chapter 4, but so far I have been so very encouraged with the wisdom presented in the book, that applies to parenting all ages, I think. The following is long, but I couldn't leave any of it off!
Modern Christians have wrongly attempted to handle the Bible as if it were an encyclopedia of religious thought. We tend to have a 'where can I find a verse on..." approach to Scripture. This approach robs the Bible of its vitality, its genius. The Bible is not put together like an encyclopedia, organized by topic. For instance, you would not understand what the Bible has to say if you separated out all of the verses marriage, government, sex, parenting, communication, work, money, the church, etc. Whatever you would learn from these verses would be distorted and out of context because they would be understood separated from what the Bible is really all about. The Bible is not a topical index, a dictionary, or an encyclopedia. The Bible is a storybook. It is God's story, the story of His character, his creation, his redemption of this fallen world, and his sovereign plan for the ages. It is the one true and unalterable story. It is the story. All other stories of people and nations find their life, meaning, and hope in this story. This grand, universal story is what gives all of us a reason to get up in the morning and do what we have been called to do.

....The Bible has much to say about all the topics mentioned earlier, but what it has to say only makes sense when seen from the vantage point of the glorious story of God and His work. We have to be very careful that we do not "de-God" the commands and principles of Scripture. He stands in power and glory behind every one. Every command looks to him for strength to obey, every principle looks to him for wisdom, and every promise looks to him for its fulfillment. The whole system depends on the truthfulness of the story.

This is what teenagers need to understand about life....We must teach them always to ask, "Who is God?" "What is He doing?" "What has He promised?" "What does He command?" "How will these facts shape the way I think about and respond to the daily situations of life?"
from pgs 58, 59, 60
You can see why I'm excited to read more. I'm sure I'll be sharing more as I progress through the book. Enjoy your day!

Friday, January 09, 2009

I Can't Help It

Every time I see one of these

I think of this.

I really want this book; it makes me smile.

Challenge for Wives

Living in a world rife with unbiblical ideas about womanhood and marriage, I love it when someone points me back toward the truth. I was so challenged by a post I ran across yesterday.
She should always care more to please him than any other person in the world. She should prize more highly a compliment from his lips than from any other human lips. Therefore she should reserve for him the sweetest charms; she should seek to bring ever to him so new surprise of loveliness; she should plan pleasures and delights for him. Instead of not caring how she looks or whether she is agreeable or not when no one but her husband is present, she should always be at her best for him.
Read the rest of this excellent excerpt from an old and wise book by J.R. Miller.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Gettin' Organized

My friend Michelle sent me this link; lots of good stuff for organizing your household and homeschool. I was so motivated after checking it out that I made each of the kids a reading list for this semester, something I've put off for a while now. (I used the recommendations from Veritas Press). The kids helped me scour the bookshelves for the ones we have here at home. I also decided to save $12 or so by printing out and putting together my own planner/calendar for the year. Sorry, Hallmark. Maybe not as cute, but just as functional!

How are you getting organized for 2009?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Thrifty Art

This 49-cent Goodwill book turned out to be a gem of creative ideas.  Here's Keely's first try at fingerprint art.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Back Into the Routine

Every day since we got home from TX, I've had a goal or two for the day:  laundry, ironing, meal-planning and grocery shopping, taking care of phone calls, thank-you's, etc.  Today is earmarked for school planning.  I always like to evaluate how we're doing and refresh my vision and goals for each of the kids.  I feel rested after two weeks of not even thinking about school, and ready to focus again on the 'school' part of our life. One thing that's abundantly clear to me is the need for the kids to remember how to entertain themselves and be content!  This afternoon two different children came to me with a sad, bored expression on their little faces and bemoaned the fact that 'there was nothing to do'.  I guess it's just the contrast of constant time with cousins, new toys, and too much t.v., compared with no available friends to play with, no-longer-exciting new toys, and no more t.v. time today. 

I gave them a quick little lecture in my nicest voice. 

One thing in particular I'm excited to implement again is our chore schedule.  I think that this is so good for the kids, but we've gotten away from it.  I want to update it a little and include more things for the 3 and 4 year olds to do, even if it's wiping baseboards with water or something.  I think they'll feel proud of themselves to have 'big kid' responsibilities, as they haven't gotten the memo (that I think kids get around age 6) that work is, literally, a chore. 

I also want to begin formal logic study with Keely.  I'm going to order this.  Though I think I may have to fight Kevin for the right to teach this subject, as we are both excited about learning logic as we teach the kids.  :)

Another change I'm planning on is to pick back up our family read-alouds.  I've done this with the kids since Keely was about 4, but since Annesley's birth, I haven't been as consistent.  We all love this time together and I think it's so beneficial for all the kids.  I'm going to even try to include Joseph now, by trying something I read about in this article:  training him to stay put on a blanket with some legos while I read.
We'll see.  

I want to finish The Light and The Glory for Children, and then begin a biography about Corrie Ten Boom.

Anyway, those are some of my goals.  Kevin needs the computer, so I'm off to finish planning.    

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Yes, I do make New Year's resolutions, though I think a better word is 'goals'. I'm going to share mine here, as much for accountability as anything.

1. To get to bed earlier, and to get up earlier, which makes the day so much better. I find that if I don't spend time in God's word and in prayer before the kids wake up, it probably isn't going to happen that day.

2. To not get on the computer AT ALL 'til after I have met with God. I've felt convicted about this for some time, and just haven't gotten serious.

3. To better control my tongue.

4. To read at least 5 books. That's a modest number, I know, but I'm trying to be realistic here.

5. To eat healthier/ to eat less sugar.

6. To do at least one thing every day to bless my husband, whether it be encouraging words, a small gift, or a phone call to let him know I'm thinking of him.

And a prayer for this coming year: That the Lord would mend and heal some broken friendships with people from our former church.

May God bless you and grow you in 2009!