Thursday, November 27, 2008

A little break

Hope you all enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones.

I am checking out from the blog world for the next 9-10 days and look forward to some time of refreshment and some special time with my husband as well.

See you soon!

Happy Thanksgiving!

While visiting Generation Cedar recently I was prompted by the question,

How do you spell thanks?

I often find it in those everyday moments . . .

Tiny giggles in shining eyes,

Hands upstretched for holding

Awesome responsibility entrusted to me.

Never a dull moment!

Kisses on sleepy foreheads, and the

Saving Grace to make it through each day with an eternal outlook.

Happy Thanksgiving, and I pass the question along . . .

How do you spell "Thanks?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Magnetic Menu

Always looking for ways to streamline activities in the kitchen, I came up with an inspiration that saves me time, mental energy and paper!

Each week I used to look at our schedule for the week and plan our menu accordingly. While most weeks look pretty similar, some slight variations always effect a few meals here and there. It also seemed that invariably as I would write up the menu I would erase and move and switch to accommodate something I had forgotten. Then, during the course of the week, plans would change and I would erase, draw arrows, etc.

I finally came up with the idea of putting the menu on magnets. We had some magnet paper around that you could run through the printer and then cut out however you want. So, I typed up our different meals. My husband graciously offered to print them out and cut them up then.

I also included labels for "Take out of Freezer," "Soak flour," "Make Bread," "Make Yogurt," and other such tasks that relate to meal preparation.

The extra pieces stay off to the side awaiting their turn on the schedule.

This simple project has enabled everyone to see what we are eating today, tomorrow, two days from now, without even needing to ask. And, when something changes, a quick switch of the magnets and a new plan is in place. I love simple solutions!

Great organizing tips at Works for Me Wednesday.

Edit 8/25/2009: I've been using this for nearly a year now, and still love it! I should have left a few blank pieces to fill in as time goes on, but it has needed very little tweaking in the months since we started it. We all love knowing what's on the menu, even if it is subject to change

Sale and Giveaway!

Come Shop With Us

I received an email on Saturday that got me rather excited. Not that I did not already know that it was coming, but actually seeing it in print was somehow exhilarating.

Earlier this year I read about a new ebook in the works about socialization and the homeschooler. Well, I had recently written a post on the topic and sent it in for consideration. Eventually, I did flesh this post out to make the text for what would become a chapter in this book.

Now, I have the fruit of my labors in my hands. They recently finished the ebook about socialization and there was something thrilling about seeing my name and writing actually in "print," if you can call it that in an ebook.

Anyway, enough about me . . . You now have a chance to win a free copy of this encouraging piece of work. Here's all the official news as posted on the HSB Company Porch:

Here's a chance for you to win a copy of TOS's newest E-Book, What About Socialization? Dispelling the Myths and help spread the word about our upcoming Black Friday Sale and our lowest subscription price EVER!

We're going to give away 3 copies of the E-Book on Saturday November 29. All you have to do to enter is to post the info below in your own words on your blog or website, or at least email it to 10 friends if you're not a blogger. Then leave a comment here! (on their website, not mine)

Here's the info for you to post. Feel free to reword it and add your own flair. :O)

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is having an amazing sale on subscriptions during their annual Black Friday Sale November 26 – 30. For those 5 days only, they are drastically reducing their one-year subscription price to $7.95! That's the price you would usually pay for just one issue at a bookstore!

You can even grab the code here for this jazzy button.

*If you are having trouble pasting this code into a post, start a new entry page>click source>add the code>click preview entry. If the button is there, you can then go back and edit your post in the normal setting.
Contest deadline is Saturday, November 29. Happy Blogging!

This is their lowest price ever on the magazine and they want all ofyou to take advantage of this offer and share the info with your friends.

Please don't miss out. Your one-year subscription will pay for itself time and time again as you receive practical tips and Biblical encouragement to keep going strong in your commitment to homeschooling and to the Lord. Since it's a quarterly magazine, they even have a monthly subscriber's only E-Newsletter called Teacher's Toolbox that will give you seasonal teaching ideas and a free E-Book download! It's like joining a unit study of the month club! The free E-Books alone are valued at almost $250/year. It's really perfect for people who are homeschooling on a shoestring or just wanting to add in some little extras to your teaching.

Plus during the Black Friday Sale, they have all kind of bonus gifts when you spend $50, $75, $100, or $150. Some are electronic downloads that you can download immediately, while other are physical products mailed from various vendors directly to your home.

AND, their Win Big contest is going on so if you just happen to be customer 67,000, you will receive a prize package valued at almost $500 which includes a $150 gift certificate to the Schoolhouse Store! Who couldn't use that? And you can qualify to win it no matter how much or how little you spend!

Mark your calendars for November 26 - 30th and do a little shopping from your seat, not your feet at the Schoolhouse Store's Black Friday Sale!

This is an incredible deal. Less than $8 for a year of encouragement and resources to keep you homeschooling strong! Snatch this up while you have the chance and spread the word.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Verse of the week - Romans 6:17,18

Picture of Fall Color, Autumn Colour, New England - Free Pictures -

Stirred to give thanks . . .

Thanks for my salvation that I could never earn.

For what I don't even know He saved me from.

For eternal promises and hope.

For a loving, awesome God that laid aside His own glory on my behalf.

For a country I can worship freely in.

For three meals (plus) every day.

For fresh water to drink.

For modern day conveniences.

For a family to share it all with.

For friends to bring encouragement and accountability.

For the Word of God to live my life with direction, conviction, and clarity.

For a relationship with the Creator of the Universe.

For a day, a week, to remember to give thanks, because I too often forget to give thanks for the big things and the everyday things.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift.

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

~Romans 6:17,18~

Saturday, November 22, 2008

weekly wrap up - November 21

Looking ahead to the holidays, we worked to pack extra academics into this week. Usually I assign a week's worth of work at a time. This week I put two weeks on their assignment sheets and hope to have it all done by the end of the school day Wednesday (10 days in 8 days, should be doable). That way, I can rest a little easier with taking the next week and a half off aside from a little reading here and there which we almost never completely remove from our schedule.


- We participate in a co-op on Monday afternoons and I love their schedule of only 24 weeks in the school year. It keeps things consistent, and still gives us a break during the holidays and May when we need it. So, this Monday was our last until January.

I teach the drama class and we gave our first performance to a group prior to class. Overall, it went well and was a real learning experience. We were able to use class time to critique the video of the sketches and play a lot of fun drama games. Now, a little breather . . .

Tuesday and Thursday

- We spent these days doing school from about 9:00 until 5:00, with a few sanity saver breaks here and there. We got a lot done of our regular academics and enjoyed lots of time spent reading together. Nothing out of the ordinary. I was so spoiled to get two full days like this in one week!


- My parents took us on a fun outing on Wednesday to The Painted Penguin.

They each got to choose a piece that they liked - princess, Bob the Builder, ballet slipper, M&M guy, and a penguin.

Nathan had some interesting ideas about Bob's colors.
Green shoes and hair . . .

Brooke did a great job almost all by herself!

Also, while we were with them, my parents gave each of the kids gifts. For some reason they have switched to Thanksgiving presents in recent years and each of the girls got a dress with a matching one for their doll.


- Friday we enjoyed a partial school day and a partial play day with another homeschool family. These moments with friends in a similar place in life are so rich. Dear friends are such a blessing of encouragement and iron sharpening. In the afternoon we made a bigger dent in our school work and somehow kept working on school work until after 5:00! I think my kids are motivated by the thought of some well earned time off as well.

For some reason the kids decided to work in the closet part of the afternoon. Three kids and a dog do not fit well in a closet that already houses our school supplies . . .

Favorite moments of the week:

- The blessing of Grandparents and a day "off" painting with my kids and enjoying their unique creativity.

- Celebrating with Faith the completion of her AWANA book. She is very self-motivated about getting her sections done. And, so many verses offer the start of great conversations about God and our pursuit to live like Him.

Challenges faced:

- Algebra has gotten to be a focal point right now. I think we have finally tackled the topics that were presenting the problem, so hopefully we can pick up speed again. I love the flexibility of homeschooling, to fly when the concepts are clicking and to slow down when they need more contemplation.

- Laziness (in myself) I have to keep fighting the temptation to "veg" in front of the computer instead of keep tackling my to-do list.

Favorite passages in our books :

- Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry -- This book, placed in the racially charged south during the 1930's, has afforded us many deep conversations. My kids, thankfully, can't understand why racism exists, but as we dig through history it helps us to understand some of the events, emotions, and reactions surrounding it.

- Robinson Crusoe -- Paige has been listening to this on Candlelight Stories. She just finished it and was left with a strong sense of God's sovereignty. Even when events may be difficult He is at work and teaching us. Reminds me of the importance of reading good literature with positive, biblically accurate story lines. It seems some books, even fiction, play roles in confusing people's theology. We need to be so careful about that!

Check out more weekly wrap-ups.

Friday, November 21, 2008

quick link

Found a site worth mentioning, I was wondering what other memes might be out there that I am missing and found a site dedicated to compiling all the memes.

If you host a meme you can have it listed on their site. If you are looking for something to blog about you can be prompted by some of the meme topics. And, if you already wrote a post that you want to "get out there" you can probably find somewhere to link to it.

Whatever your motivation, check out the Daily Meme.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Frugal Scrapbooks

My artistic abilities fall somewhere below my cooking abilities, but I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. And, recently did my first ever bit of scrapbooking (is that hard to believe, or what?) at our November Keepers and Contenders Club meeting. Our wonderful leader for the lesson made it so painless and both moms and kids all had a fantastic time. Rather than put together an actual scrapbook page, we created a couple projects that are perfect for kids or beginners just getting their fingers wet.

The first project is a little more involved, but so worth it! If I can do it, anyone can . . .

We made accordion scrapbooks.

Here is a little tutorial with pictures of some of our projects in process.

First, you need:
- 3 -- squares of card stock 8"x8" (some of the kids had different colors on each side, some were the same on both sides. Either type of paper made a beautiful finished product),

- 2 -- 6" squares of coordinating paper

- 2 -- 4" squares of coordinating paper (these won't show much in finished product)
- 2 -- 4" squares of posterboard or light box (cereal box, cracker box, etc.)

Start with the 3 8x8 squares and fold them all in the following way:

- first fold in half

- reopen and fold in half the other way

- reopen and fold on a diagonal

- reopen and bring the creased corners together (I found it helped to push the center of the paper in with my thumb) and collapsing all the folds now to make a 4x4 square shape.

- repeat this with the other two 8x8 squares

Set those aside and take the 4x4 light cardboard squares

and cover them with the 6x6 squares wrapping tightly around all sides.

Fasten one ribbon to each exposed cardboard and cover with the remaining 4x4 paper.

(sorry, you can't see the ribbon in this picture, it should be between the 4x4 card and 4x4 paper)

Connect the accordion folds together by attaching the top and bottom squares of each together.

(another shot of all three connected)

The 4x4 squares get fastened on the top and bottom for the covers

. . . and tie shut to hold it closed.
My 9 year old did hers all by herself and the 7 year old just needed a little help with the folding and fastening. They have now made second ones on their own as well. So fun and beautiful!

I also could not help thinking these would make a unique layout for lapbooks, Christmas cards, gifts, photo albums, preschooler's stories, etc., etc.

Okay, one more. This one is a bit easier if you want something simpler.

For this you need three paper lunch bags to make these paper bag scrapbooks.

Alternate the openings, fold them in half:
Punch holes in the folded side and fasten with ribbon, raffia, brads, whatever you have around. Decorate the cover with graphics or lettering:

Open up and you are ready to fill with your favorite photos:

VERY simple and the kids had a lot of fun dressing these up a bit. She talked about matting pictures, picking colors, using stickers and lettering, etc. This was something the kids could all do with very little assistance and the end products were adorable.

Have fun making your own! And for more Frugal Friday tips head over to Crystal's blog.

Homeschool Memoirs -- Award the Categories

My kids offered a little help in compiling our family awards.

If we were to recognize each child in our family for some of his or her unique contributions to our home they would go something like this . . .

Most knowledgeable Baseball fan and sports buff in general: Blake

He knows the players, the stats, the standings, the rules. He has had the privilege of attending a few major league ball games this year and can tell you who was at bat and what the score was in almost all of his pictures. His baseball devotion is well suited to the Chicago fan he has become.

Best Little Mother: Paige

Paige has a tender heart for the little ones and has an amazing ability to calm them and love them. They love to hear stories and snuggle with her whenever she has time. She already exhibits amazing patience and wisdom in her dealings with them.

Best Animal lover and Knitter (clearly, she is the most opposite of me out of all my children): Faith

Faith loves animals of all shapes and sizes. From the worm to the walrus she loves them all.

Despite my complete lack of creative ability, Faith has learned from my mother-in-law how to knit dish rags and adorable hats. She made this blue one for her new cousin a couple months back:

Most Precious ballerina: Brooke

Although not yet five years old, Brooke has shown a love for and early talent in the area of gymnastics and ballet. She works to follow her teacher's and coach's instructions with precision and pushes herself to practice at home to improve her balance and flexibility. I have never seen anything like it. Blake has offered to train her for the 2020 Olympics (all things sports, he is).

Best Actor (and supporting actor): Nathan

All boy, and all his own. As the youngest of our five kids he has learned to make himself known. Generally easy going, many mistake him for quiet. He may be polite, but he has already made a name for himself in our household. He knows what to say to have us rolling on the floor and rolling our eyes. Already witty at the age of three, I can't wait to see what the future holds for this little dramatic child.

Best living vacuum: Daisy

While I do not remotely consider our dog a member of our family (it bothers me when people blur that distinction between human and animal . . .), my kids did want to give her a reward. And, in this area, I need to admit that it is well earned.

So, there you have it. Some of the highlights of life with my children, and dog.

Life is sure never dull.

For more awards check out this week's Homeschool Memoirs.


Some Psalms that ushered me humbly, and joyfully into God's throne room in recent days:

Psalm 59:16,17

But I will sing of thy power;
yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning:
for thou hast been my defence
and refuge in the day of my trouble.
7Unto thee, O my strength, will I sing:
for God is my defence, and the God of my mercy.

Psalm 61:2-4

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee,
when my heart is overwhelmed:
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3For thou hast been a shelter for me,

and a strong tower from the enemy.

4I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever:
I will trust in the covert of thy wings.

Psalm 62:2,7

He only is my rock and my salvation;
he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory:
the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Psalm 63:1,8

O God, thou art my God;
early will I seek thee:
my soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh longeth for thee
in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

My soul followeth hard after thee:
thy right hand upholdeth me.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Homeschool freebies and deals

Here are some items of interest I have heard about from local homeschoolers that I thought I would share:

Homeschool in the Woods has a free Christmas Unit Study that you might enjoy, even if you are taking December "off."

Rosetta Stone is giving a free 7 day trial to homeschoolers. I have not used this, but have heard many glowing recommendations from fellow homeschoolers.

If you have a Scholastic warehouse nearby, you might enjoy their sale (not free stuff, but some good deals) coming up next month. If you register online in advance of the sale you will get a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase. I like to go every couple years and stock up on reading materials and gifts.

And, if you aren't already, I would encourage you to sign up for the Trivium Pursuit enewsletter. Not only is it filled with great tips and encouragement, they often have some generous freebies to download or access. The current one expires the 19th, but there is still lots of good information to be had even without the Coloring Collection they are currently offering.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

carnival of homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling

The 151st edition of the Carnival of homeschooling is up for your enjoyment and education.

Check it out!

I enjoyed reliving the "cup rhythm" that I first saw at a Rich Mullins' concert many moons ago and got quite proficient at.

There was also an interesting post on Thanksgiving, with some great links.

Feel free to look around and be inspired.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Love in the home

More love has been the tug on my heart in recent weeks. This post on Heart of the Matter that talks about showing love for our families brought this to the forefront of my thoughts once again.

I know I love my kids, but how much do the day's events prove that truth?

I prayed for God to pour His love through me. We spent the last month studying this fruit of the Spirit during morning Bible time. We memorized verses (Gal 5:22, 23; I John 4:7,8; John 13:34, 35; I Corinthians 13:4) and each day read passages that showed us God's love.

One week we read through I John a chapter a day.

The next week I Corinthians 13, Galatians 5, and John 3.

Then we looked through John chapters 12-16.

We wrapped up with a week in various Scriptures that gave greater insight into love.

I mentioned this a bit when meditating on Matthew 11:28-30 as my verse of the week, but I have been thinking more about the difference between selflessness and love and asking myself some tough questions. I Corinthians 13 inspired these:

Why do I give to those less fortunate? Is it truly out of love?

Does my love for my children manifest itself in patience and kindness?

Do I set aside love and instead allow myself to be provoked at times?

Even as I prayed and engulfed myself in Scripture I longed for greater love to show my family. I asked my husband to pray for me in this area. I wanted to love my children with joy and sincerity, to feel that longing for them, not just caring for them as duty called. God has gently transformed my heart.

He has shown me His love in a whole new way. He is amazing. If God owns our hearts He can change anything in our lives. It was amazing to almost sit back and watch Him work.

He gives me joy,
He supplants the drudgery with love,
He brings springs of tenderness where they had run dry,
He opens my eyes to what had been there all along.

I love my children and husband, but in order for them to feel it, I must feel it, too. I sometimes struggle with the teaching that love is an action. While I agree that true love is not just a whispy emotion that stirs up butterflies, it is far more than a decision of faithfulness or days of duty filled diligence.

Love must flow and feel, it must rejoice and sparkle. And, when it loses that luster, we must remain rooted in the Creator of Love, Love Himself and let Him pour through us His deep, deep love.

How do you keep the balance of action and emotion alive in your love?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What is going on?

I just arrived home from the grocery store and my children raced toward me as I came in the house. Then they raced right past me and out the door.

It took a second, then I realized what was going on. I rushed through our living room and into the kitchen. My husband, Charles, turned around to see what the ruckus was about, saw that it was me and rushed out the kitchen door about the same time Blake was around to that door (having accidentally locked the front door behind himself on the way out) and tried to push past him to get back to me.

I brief struggle at the door as Charles grabbed him and restrained him long enough for Charles to get back in the door in front of him with the first snow ball of the season with my name on it. All it took was an 1/8 of an inch of snow. My sides hurt I was laughing so hard.

Can't break tradition. Charles ALWAYS gets me with the first snowball of the year.

Daddy is still king, Blake. :-)

Verse of the week --John 8:36

While curiosity may have killed that cat, it has often caught the raccoon as well. In Where the Red Fern Grows Billy's grandfather explains how to catch a 'coon with not much more than a few nails, and the reason it would work? Curiosity and stubbornness.

This site explains about a humane trap for raccoons that will catch them alive in a similar way. All you need to do is set up a bottle with something intriguing inside that they can stick their hand in, but once they grasp the object of interest, they can't get their hands out. They will not put down that object no matter how much their life depends on it.

Figure 2. Egg trap for live capture

Seems so silly, doesn't it? Yet how often are we trapped when all we need to do is let go?

For someone reason, I kept coming back to this story about trapping coons and realizing that there are still things in my life that I hold on to with childish curiosity and human stubbornness. In fact, the true freedom only comes when we let go of that "object of interest." John 8:36 says, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

Some say we as Christians are trapped. So many scriptural laws to follow. So many proverbial "do's and don'ts" in our lives. Yet, we are truly free. Anyone in sin is a servant of sin. So many are still running around with their hand in the bottle. They may look free, but as long as they won't loosen their grip, they will never know complete freedom.

Freedom from guilt, fear, punishment, doubt, pain, and regret just to name a few. Freedom within the care and protection of a loving Father.

I want to keep evaluating my life, watching as God continues to peel back my fingers that I could not release on my own as they cling to "my" stuff. Continually embracing pure freedom in Christ.

Are you truly free?

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

~John 8:36~

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Homeschool Memoirs - mom help

We all have those days, those moments when we realize the futility of attempting to mother or homeschool in our own strength. If that's all I'm working off of I will always reach the end of my rope. However, as I daily seek to lose myself in Him and His character I find no end to the strength, love, peace, patience, and stability that I can tap into.

One secret I am still learning how to apply is keeping my schedule manageable. It's kind of a pre-emptive strike philosophy. If my stress level is lower, things won't get under my skin so much. As deep as God is, when I have too much in this world that screams for my focus, I have a hard time humanly speaking remembering the proper perspective. It is mandatory that I spend some time each morning finding my grounding in Him. Some days, and seasons (like during those baby days) it might only be a 10 minute prayer time, or a chapter from Psalms. When I get up early enough and my kids still sleep I treasure the longer time of covering my family in prayer, worshiping my Father, and finding inspiration to not grow weary.

Life still happens. I absolutely love homeschooling, and the struggles that often come to a head are due to the fact that we have six imperfect people spending 24 hours a day together.

It is inevitable . . . we will annoy each other at some point.

When those moments come we handle it different ways depending on what I perceive the root cause to be. Here are some remedies we (I) enjoy:

- Run around the living room and scream (not the solution when a headache is the problem, but my kids love this one, we do this outside when the weather is nice . . . wonder what the neighbors think)

- Take a tea break -- my kids all love this as much as I do

- Remember to smile -- even when forced this helps me reset my emotions

- Go fold laundry -- puts our frustration energy to work productively

- Pray! There have been times I have pulled all my kids into a group hug and just poured my heart out to God

- Pillow fight

- Take a nap

- Cry (okay, that's not a great thing to do, but I'll be honest, there are days when somehow it helps)

- Toss the schedule out the window. We can always get back on track, and sometimes we just need a spontaneous day, hour, or half hour.

We must have these days too often if I have this many ideas to pull out of my hat . . .

And, my favorite Scriptures . . . There are so many! Each week I choose a new one and post it here on my blog as my verse of the week. This is so great to keep me meditating on that verse throughout the week as well as seeking more of God's promises for the weeks ahead.

For this week I am enjoying Psalm 37, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."

Some other favorites:

Matthew 11:28-30 says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Nehemiah 6:9, "For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands."

Isaiah 58:11 "And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."

I could go on and on. For more encouragement check out my verse of the week label in the sidebar. God has spoken so sweetly to me through so much of His Word and I love to share.

For more "mom" help check out the Homeschool Blog Awards.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Executive decisions

The news is making me think too much right now . . .

I didn't know much about presidential executive orders until a few days ago.

Recently they have taken a few headlines and caused my to do a little research.

I found this listing of all the executive orders that President George Bush signed into effect so far during his terms. Not extremely interesting reading, but amazing to see all the president has the power to do without congress.

According to Wikipedia's entry on the topic, these orders came from the reference to a president's "executive power" in the constitution. They don't generally change a law, usually just clarify it. (More on executive orders here, and here). They have, on occasion, been overturned by the courts. It would require a supermajority vote in congress to overturn it. I couldn't find specifics on this number, but it has happened in recent years.

In March, 2007, the House overturned an order to let presidents keep their paper private indefinitely by a 333-93 vote. The vote must be greater than the 2/3 required to overturn a veto.

Anyway, what does all that have to do with us now? Well, as presidents step into office they often look to these presidential executive orders to fulfill campaign promises and to distance themselves from the outgoing leader. They want to define their time in the white house, and use these orders to do so at times. Of course, they are a quick fix to problems they see needing change as well.

This article shows what orders President-elect Barack Obama and his team are looking closely at counter-acting. Stem cells and foreign abortion funding are high on the list according to this secular media source. Which, to me, are one in the same issue.

More than ever, we must speak out for life, for those that cannot speak for themselves.

What's their problem?

I read a thought provoking article on CNN today. At first I groaned a little as the link brought me to an article building from an Oprah show.

Bear with me.

The article talked about the pervasive rudeness in our society today. I could not agree more. You see it on the roads, in the stores, in restaurants, at church, at parks, and everywhere in between. Now, I'm not talking about childhood immaturities that parents are still working to correct. I'm talking about the adults.

Want to see how you measure up? Like any "good" magazine article they have a quiz you can take to see if you are rude or not. What is it about those quizzes? Do they really show us anything we didn't already know? Maybe some things we aren't willing to admit until we are asked point blank on a magazine quiz. Anyway, that's beside the point.

The article referenced cell phone use in particular and the blatant disregard for common courtesy shown by many cell phone users around town. They also focused on the service sector and how they often take the brunt of rude behaviors.

Now, while I heartily agree with their assessment of society, I don't necessarily agree with their conclusions. They seem to draw from this that we need to get back to the rules of common courtesy and people need to follow these rules.

My response dug much deeper. Once again, man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. Rules will only change the behavior, not the attitude that brought them about in the first place. I believe the core issue is selfishness. It shows up in their rationale for getting rid of rudeness (it can make you sick). As long as we keep our eyes on ourselves and are looking out for our own agenda, our own rights, our own convenience, we will continue to display rude behavior.

I don't think I am generally rude, but I'm sure there are times when I let my bad day pour out on someone it had nothing to do with. Sometimes I might get a little "firm" with a customer service rep that doesn't quite seem to see my side of the issue. Sometimes I pull up the draw bridge and station the guards to protect my "rights." And the result, the recipient would usually interpret as rudeness, as would I if I took a moment to walk in their shoes.

Selfishness shows up at the core of so many of society's ills. Abortion, adultery, fraud, theft, etc. And, it shows up in my life on a daily basis. When I serve my family with reluctance, when I push the snooze too many times, when I ignore a problem and let someone else deal with it, and on and on. A daily battle to deny myself, take His yoke upon me, to walk humbly.

That's their problem. Too many people don't realize where the struggle really lies and don't even realize that they are in a battle. I know my problem and it's a doozy! One I can't resolve on my own.


I lay before you my words, my walk, my thoughts.
May they show You as their Lord.
May others not see rudeness in me, but something different.

May they see You.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Verse of the week -- Psalm 37:23-24

Learning to Walk by daman sidhu

As a toddler begins to walk they grip tightly to the two hands that steady them and keep them moving forward. As they gain greater confidence and stability they continue to keep that vice like grip with just one hand. Now and then, they totter, they lose their footing, they slip, and almost fall. The hand holds fast. Their loving parent keeps them from completely falling to the ground.

Special hands... by Anke80(away for a while)

That's my daily walk with Christ. He holds me tight with that firm hand. As I walk along side Him there are repeated times that I trip and almost fall. He holds me tight and prevents me from falling headlong into disaster (sometimes of my own making). What a precious, deep love He has for me. So caring and tender. Psalm 37 paints this picture beautifully, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand."

So grateful for this promise to walk this week hand-in-hand with my Savior.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.

~Psalm 37:23-24~

For more encouragement from Psalms . . .

Saturday Psalm & Praise

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Moving story

Someone emailed me this moving story and I had to share:

A son asked his father, 'Dad, will you take part in a marathon with me?'

The father despite having a heart condition, says 'Yes'. They went on to complete the marathon together. Father and son went on to join other marathons, the father always saying 'Yes' to his son's request of going through the race together.

One day, the son asked his father, 'Dad,let's join the Ironman together.' To which, his father said 'Yes'. For those who don't know, Ironman is the toughest triathlon ever. The race encompasses three endurance events of a 2.4 mile (3.86 kilometer) ocean swim, followedby a 112 mile (180 .2 kilometer) bike ride, and ending with a 26.2 mile (42.195 kilometer) marathon along the coast of the Big Island.

Father and son went on to complete the race together.

The video puts this in a whole new light:

I had to learn a little more . . . Team Hoyt has an amazing story. It earns them their own entry in Wikipedia. And, of course, Snopes verifies the story.

It challenged me to think how much am I willing to do for my kids? For Dick Hoyt he began working out tirelessly, has participating in numerous races, and now speaks to groups out of love for his son. Definitely pulled out of his comfort zone and put his love into action.

Amazing story.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Weekly wrap up -- November 7

A fairly quiet week this week. A few odds and ends thrown in, but overall, everything got done that needed doin'.

We had a very busy weekend last weekend with two family get togethers consuming Saturday and Sunday evenings after the end of the soccer season on Saturday and church Sunday morning. So, we took Monday morning off of school so that I could get all the school prep done for the week. Monday afternoon we enjoyed our drama and ballet classes.

Election day on Tuesday gave feet to our school day as we all went to vote (well, my kids didn't vote, but they still got the stickers), a habit I hope to instill in my kids. A little discouraging that almost no one that we voted for won the election, on a federal or local level, but still a great opportunity to teach civic responsibility. We also had lots of conversations about supporting and respecting our government officials no matter who they are. We can respectfully disagree, but they still need our prayers and deserve our respect and submission.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday we had wonderful, action packed, typical school days with a visit from a potential homeschool mom on Tuesday and gym and swim class on Wednesday afternoon. My husband took a couple hours off to come see our little fish in the water and I marveled again at how far they have come this school year.

Friday was a special day . . . We had a field trip to a local dairy farm. Some of our favorite field trips have been to local businesses like this one. Generally inexpensive, close by, and so much more personal than places that run tours on a daily basis. Grocery stores, restaurants, family owned shops and farms are just a few of the great finds.

We started in the barn with a milking demonstration

Cows are huge(!) animals. Their chest area is large because God specially designed them for producing all of that milk. Each day they eat 100 pounds of food and produce 8 gallons of milk. Each of those gallons requires their enormous heart to pump 400 gallons of blood.

Despite the frigid temperatures we enjoyed checking out the calves.

They loved coming out to say 'hello' and seemed to appreciate the attention.

We had never been on a dairy farm so it was neat to see everything close up. The calf pens were interesting.

Samples of the cows' feed for touching

And, what would a tour be without milk and cookies at the end!

Favorite moments of the week:

- Enjoying salami snowflakes.

- Parent night at AWANA -- seeing my girls work so hard on their verses and having a blast running around the circle once again. :-)

Challenges faced:

- Recovering from a busy weekend. Often homeschooling is the easy part, it's trying to keep up with our calendar, meals, laundry, housecleaning, etc., etc. that's the tough part.

- Potty training (not a forever job, right?), but better than last week!

Favorite passages in our books :

- Number the Stars -- A riveting story. Just imagining what it would be like living during a time of intense war (Denmark during WWII). Having soldiers constantly on guard around your everyday life would be very difficult.

- John 15 -- as we talked about love this week we read John 13-15 throughout the week. Not necessarily love related the part that stuck out to me. We talked about pruning, what it is and the benefit of it. Clipping off some productive branches help the remaining branches to produce even better fruit. Made me think, what branches should I be clipping in my life? Sometimes I think of my life as a crazy tree with more grafts than it can manage. Balancing roles of wife, mother, teacher, housekeeper, nurse, taxi driver, church volunteer, potty trainer, cook, and more on a daily basis becomes quite challenging. How can I "prune" to offer the best fruit?

To hear more weekly wrap ups check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.