Monday, June 27, 2005

Tidiness and Reforming Minds

have been living in what feels like a never ending sea of
papers/books/cardboard and disorganization. Not because I have a desire
to live like this, but because I have been SO very busy that shoving
items in the school bookshelf (and elsehwhere!) seemed like the good
answer to the question of eating on a clean table. There is almost an
euphoric response to cleanliness for me because with five children,
homeschooling, running a house, and working from home - things tend to
get pretty darn messy at times. As my dear friend Kolbi says, "I don't
know how you do it, Kate!" Well, guess what, I don't do it all!
Something gives when I am busy with something else. I can be in many
places, but not all at once! We have begun the process of organizing
and the school bookshelf always comes first. It is highly motivating to
me and gives me that joy for homeschooling that I loose when things are
everywhere and hard to find. I am happy to be starting a new year in
the fall and we are using the summer to catch up on the areas that were
lacking during the year.

Today was a ~GOOD~ day! We had a marvelous day of school that began with Michaelangelo and ended on the verge of Martin Luther. I am excited to be learning about the Reformation! We are almost done with the Hawk that Dare Not Hunt by Day
and it is really a great story on Tyndale. He was such a powerhouse for
God's word! It is inspiring to read about him and to see his utter
devotion to the truth going forth in the language of the people. What
an experience that must have been at the time. We SO take for granted
our bibles. We have many here, in many translations, story formats, and
study books, but do we have the hunger for God's word that Tyndale had,
or the hunger of the masses who only ever heard it in Latin from their
priests? What must it have been like to live during this time?! Tumult,
war, rebellion, fear of discovery, and victory over the darkness of the
Catholic faith of the time – what it must have been like! I almost envy
them - even in the midst of all their sickness, poverty, and lack of
quality medical care (not to mention electricity!) Would that we could
fly back in time to see what it was really like in the midst of the
various stages of the Reformation!

OK - well I would love to write more, but motherhood is calling my name and I must heed the call!


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

As a Student of History...

I just love odd items of in the historical realm. This would be one of them. I happened onto the fine internet home of Pyromaniac, otherwise known as Phil Johnson (*not* to be confused with Phil E. Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial
for those in the know). He is the Executive Director of Grace to You,
the John MacArthur radio ministry. I look forward to reading his blog
since he seems like an interesting person with some serious theological
brains *and* a sense of humor to boot.
That is always welcome here at Under the Sky. His post of interest is found here. You will have to scroll down a wee bit to find it, but it is listed as You say "Cappuccino"; I say "Capuchini". This is a vain attempt to loop all us caffeine-dependent
morning bloggers to read a history post disguised as a coffee post. He
plays tricksies, precious! It worked, but that was not terribly
difficult for me. I love history so I thought the news of the odd (and
it is odd for certain) was great. Check it out and tell me what you

Enjoy your cappuccinos today! (Cheshire grin...)


Talk about God's sovereignty!!

Lions Save African Girl From Abductors

Tuesday, June 21, 2005 (Associated Press)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — A 12-year-old girl who was abducted and beaten
by men trying to force her into a marriage was found being guarded by
three lions who apparently had chased off her captors, a policeman said

The girl, missing for a week, had been taken by seven men who wanted to
force her to marry one of them, said Sgt. Wondimu Wedajo, speaking by
telephone from the provincial capital of Bita Genet, about 350 miles
southwest of Addis Ababa (search).

She was beaten repeatedly before she was found June 9 by police and
relatives on the outskirts of Bita Genet, Wondimu said. She had been
guarded by the lions for about half a day, he said.

"They stood guard until we found her and then they just left her like a gift and went back into the forest," Wondimu said.

"If the lions had not come to her rescue, then it could have been much
worse. Often these young girls are raped and severely beaten to force
them to accept the marriage," he said.

Tilahun Kassa, a local government official who corroborated Wondimu's
version of the events, said one of the men had wanted to marry the girl
against her wishes.

"Everyone thinks this is some kind of miracle, because normally the lions would attack people," Wondimu said.

Stuart Williams, a wildlife expert with the rural development ministry,
said the girl may have survived because she was crying from the trauma
of her attack.

"A young girl whimpering could be mistaken for the mewing sound from a
lion cub, which in turn could explain why they didn't eat her,"
Williams said.

Ethiopia's lions, famous for their large black manes, are the country's
national symbol and adorn statues and the local currency. Despite a
recent crackdown, Hunters also kill the animals for their skins, which
can fetch $1,000. Williams estimates that only 1,000 Ethiopian lions
remain in the wild.

The girl, the youngest of four siblings, was "shocked and terrified"
after her abduction and had to be treated for the cuts from her
beatings, Wondimu said.

He said police had caught four of the abductors and three were still at large.

Kidnapping young girls has long been part of the marriage custom in
Ethiopia (search). The United Nations estimates that more than 70
percent of marriages in Ethiopia are by abduction, practiced in rural
areas where most of the country's 71 million people live.

are some things that scientists just cannot explain away. This was an
unabashed miracle for this poor young terrified girl. I know nothing
more about her  than what is written in this story, but I know God
had a hand in her saving. This was a modern day Daniel story to me and
I hope that after she is comforted by her family (and I certainly hope
that happens) that someone will tell her God's story of Daniel and that
she will see her likeness. Only God knows what is written in her book
of life, but I pray right here and now for her, that His hand would
guide and lead her and that she would one day be an instrument in His
hands as Daniel was.

treatment by ruthless men was horrifying, and I hope she is protected
and cared for by her family. I hope that these men are brought to true
justice.  The fact that she is only two years older than my oldest
child is not lost on me. What is saddest to me is that these people are
living in the dark. What kind of culture treats its weakest members in
such a manner?
am not unaware of the travesties that continue in many countries of
Africa, from slavery to genocide, and this is within the same culture!
I pray that the light of Jesus would shine in those places, brighter
and clearer, and that they would see the beautiful face of a Savior;
and that they would be forever changed. Culture change starts from the
heart, and only Jesus can change that.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

And there she was...

across from him, flashing her prettiest smile, making a fool of herself
for him. Would he notice? Yep, he did. Little did she know that he
would be the father of her five children. This is the end of a calm and
peaceful Father's Day. We are blessed here and I am grateful, for all
God has given us, and the life that we have.  I would like to
thank my Savior, for this daddy for our children, and for what He has
made of our life. He is  the best Father of all.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Box Chatter

found a great quote today while chatting with a young gentleman in the
foothills of CA. He was telling me how bored he was and I was searching
for good quotes to quell his boredom - to snap it in the root if you
know what I mean lest his mother start doing this: 

Now I really enjoy chatting with this young man because the apple does
not fall far from the trees that grew it and they are pretty wonderful
on the scale of wonderment. He and I chat in jest much of the time and
we were dueling words and phrases. He had some pretty good ones and
even a few that I didn't know so I asked him if he was copying his
vocabulary list. He was not he said. I told him, "at least you are not
excerebrose." That stumped him! I told him to ask his father.
*was* having fun searching for quotes and making him believe I was so
sharp I had them all at my behest. He is what I call a crackerjack - a
funny character that amuses the heck out of me. He even had the
gumption to say, "I am still in the process of existing in the black
pit of boredom." LOL! What a great funny character and I loved it. We
enjoy our banter and this is where I stepped up the search and found a
few goodies.

"The person who knows how to laugh at himself will never cease to be amused."

He then shared with me, "I am not amused please say somthing funny!" To which I responded with:

not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for
the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live."

Now that one was good, but my chatterer paused with my final quote:

certain power to endure boredom is essential to a happy life. The lives
of most great men have not been exciting except at a few great moments.
A generation that cannot endure boredom will be a generation of little

is going to be a great man someday. He is already a great young man
with interests probably far wider than my own right now! This young man
has a special place in my heart and I will enjoy watching him grow to
manhood. He is blessed with amazing and wonderful parents that I am
privileged to call friends. They are homeschool giants to me; living
out their convictions and dreams in a very real way. They have five
beautiful children that I look forward to seeing as adults because they
are so charming as young people. Certainly they have their faults,
certainly they struggle, but boy are they encouraging and inspiring to
me, and so is their son.


Crime Fightin'

were up late last night, but for fun reasons. My husband and I like
movies and while we rarely go to them in the theater, we do enjoy the
big screen a great deal when we can get it.
Our sweet friends, the Igs, came over and generously took us to see
Batman Begins. (Thank you, Igs!)  Now I didn't think I would care
much for this movie -  I mean the other Batman movies were less
than stellar, and much more comic bookish. This is no movie for young
children though, and there are definite dark parts of his life. Fear
and conquering fear is a big theme and a very interesting one. This one
had a decent story and the acting was, for the most part, quite good.
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman, all very talented
men, held up their end of the bargin and we enjoyed ourselves a lot. So
if you like "that sort of movie" and you want to see some good action
scenes with great special effects, and some very cool gadets, you will
enjoy Batman Begins.
I sure did.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Love this poem

I post this below with a nod of thanks to Rivendell Press. She just posted it, but it is too lovely not to repost!

Sweet and low, sweet and low,
Wind of the western sea,
Low, low, breathe and blow,
Wind of the western sea,
Over the rolling waters go,
Come from the dying moon, and blow,
Blow him again to me;
While my little one, while my pretty one, sleeps.

Sleep and rest, sleep and rest,
Father will come to thee soon;
Rest, rest, on mother's breast,
Father will come to thee soon.
Father will come to his babe in the nest,
Silver sails all out of the west
Under the silver moon.
Sleep, my little one, sleep my pretty one, sleep.

~ Alfred Tennyson

Mia, this reminds me of you.


Just keep swimming!

started swimming lessons this week which will last for nine days total.
This was a much anticipated event by all four of my eldest children
ever since last year's lessons ended! Sweet little Elizabeth couldn't
wait until she was four so that she could participate with her
siblings. On her birthday last September she announced that she was
four and that she was ready for swimming lessons - that day. 
just do not make em like four at any other age and she is so very funny
and delightful to us. She is about as contented in the water as a fish
and as willing to submerge herself too - which is slightly scary. It is
a good thing there are two teachers for the four students in the class.
John Henry, our single mancub, was dubious about the whole thing until
he actually got in the water and remembered how fun it is. Now he
cannot wait until "Friday Funday" so that they can go down the tube
slide. What a funny character he is!

and Hannah are happily in the deep end learning how to swim like
competition would require as well as how to dive well. I am very
pleased with their exuberance and abilities. Not that we are headed
into the world of competition, no thank you! However, it is so nice to
know they are being taught well and that I will not have to fear (much)
when they are in the water. I think in California it is almost a
requirement to be able to swim well the opportunity presents itself so

So we
are heading to our library's summer reading program because it is just
so motivational and exciting. Our library offers real prizes of actual
worth if you read for a measly 20 minutes per day! I am almost tempted
to go to our other library and join their club too, but something tells
me that is overkill and probably disingenuous. They are wildly excited
to go so I had best get off this computer and go do my real job of
being the mama.

Have a lovely day!



Sunday, June 12, 2005

Responding to Tagging

Since I have been tagged twice I suppose I ought to answer! Here are the questions and my answers:

Q. Most books I've ever owned.

in my life? NOW – I own the most books I have ever owned now. Amount?
Oh jeepers, I am not going to count them, but my guestimate would be
around 1,000 books give or take. We like books and I just bought about
15 more.

Q. The last book I bought.

Well, since you asked; and I have just placed an order, here it is! Surprise
Puppy!, Munching, Crunching, Sniffing, and Snoop, What Is P.B. Bear
Doing?, Incredible Great Hunters, Mission to the Arctic, Incredible
Buried Treasure, Rockets and Spaceships, Volcanoes: And Other Natural
Disasters, A Day at Greenhill Farm, Disasters at Sea, American
Revolution DK Eyewitness Books), World War II
(DK Eyewitness Books), Where Is P.B. Bear?, and Wild West (DK Eyewitness Books) – all from
(And all from DK Publishing. I am a DK hound! It helps that I used to
sell them and own a ton already - I know the quality and love it.)

Q. The last book I read.

Susan Creek (blogged about below). I am currently working my way through, The Daisy Chain.

Q. The five books that meant the most to me.

the most to me” is a very fuzzy phrase so I will just say the five
books that mean a great deal or have influenced my life a lot.

Bible: God’s word, and His rule of life for us.

The Lord of the Rings
(J.R.R. Tolkien): It created in me a desire for rich detailed reading
of a well-done story, and I love the fantasy world of Middle Earth.

To Train Up a Child (Michael & Debbie Pearl): Because it helped to shape the (almost always) delightful children we have today.

The Bondage of the Will (Martin Luther): Martin Luther, a favorite former theological giant, helped me to see it is none of me and all of God.

The Holiness of God
(R.C. Sproul, Sr.): RC, a favorite living theological giant, helped me
to see what holiness is, and how truly holy God is, and how much I am
not. It is humbling to see yourself as Isaiah saw himself – “Oh woe is
me a man of unclean lips!”

And that is it!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Sweet, Darling, and Ticklish!

That describes my four year old, Elizabeth. You can see her here
and read something of her funny personality from another sweet girl,
Coie. Isn't it wonderful to have good examples of kind behavior towards
your children from those beautiful people in your life? I am blessed in
so many ways by our friendship with the Igs. What a lovely family!!


Phantom and Good Reads

my dear husband and I watched the much-talked about Phantom of the
Opera movie last night. Now I didn't know the entire story, and I
usually really enjoy big productions and costume dramas. I was very ho
hum over this. The singing was OK, the acting was OK, the costumes were
fantastic, and the sets and overall feel of the film was very
beautiful. I really didn't realize that it was highly sensual and
pretty charged in this manner. It was a little much for me. I
appreciate *much* more subtle behavior in this area. (Give me Pride and
Prejudice any day over this!) There was one very lovely scene on the
roof when Christine and the man she loves are singing to each other. It
is not *charged* but subtle and a beautiful expression of new love.
However, there was a lot of "other" that I really didn't care for. I
was relieved when the movie was over. I know that many people really
really LOVE the Phantom and I just cannot figure it out. Maybe someone
out there can share why/what they enjoy so much about it?

I just
finished reading two books in the Maritime Series from Veritas Press.
They are mainly for boys, but my girls will enjoy them too. The first
Blackthorn Winter and the second is Susan Creek.
I liked them for the very rough and tumble stories of sea life and
fighting with pirates, as well as the Scripture placed throughout.
There are some tough decisions some of the characters must make about
taking lives in defense of their own persons. I thought they were
balanced and written in the spirit of the time in which they are set
(pre-American Revolution and during the Great Awakening for the
second). If you are a believer in non-resistance you will not like
these books. I did like them and found the stories suspenseful and able
to keep this very tired mom up late at night to see how they ended! I
think Douglas Wilson, the author, is planning to continue the series
and I hope he does.

I am
watching four children in addition to my own today and tonight so I
should probably not continue to blog! I hope you all have a wonderful



Thursday, June 09, 2005

Book Buyers Beware!

Oh, I just love www.Bookcloseouts.com.
It is a scary place of happiness for me. I just ordered a bunch of
books at ridiculously low prices. Most of them below half of what they
are normally. I have needed to buy some readers for our man cub for
quite some time since he is out of Bob Books and not quite ready for
Boxcar Children. That sweet little bug is somewhere in between the "I
want to read!" and the "I can read, Mommy!" area of schooling so I want
to encourage him. Well guess what I found on BCO! Some great DK
(Dorling Kindersley) books full of bright pictures, exciting stories,
and general reading fun. I also found a truckload (but did not walk
away with one) of the Eyewitness series. These are two we did buy:


have such great pictures in a very sturdy hardback. We have many of
this series already, but these two we did not own as well as a
World War II
one. I have been super careful with book money recently and have not
made any orders so hopefully when my husband gets this blog entry he
will be a happy camper.

I was also able to order something I did not know existed in audio format. Tolkien's Letters from Father Christmas read by none other than our family favorite, Derek Jacobi!

will save this treasure for next Christmas and enjoy it immensely when
we open it! Unfortunately I think I bought the last one from BCO,
otherwise I would link to it, but the book format is available
elsewhere as probably is the tape format.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the book fever with you - I think I am slowly turning into Desiderius Erasmus who said,

When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.



Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Curriculum Purchasing Poll

I was reading a homeschool board today these questions popped into my
head. I am asking them for no reason other than that I am curious. I am
like Curious George, but I am not a monkey. If you care to answer, please post in my comment section.

Here they are:

1. Do you purchase most of your curriculum online through catalog companies or locally?
2. If you purchase locally, do you buy from a homeschool store or do you buy from big chains like Borders, etc.?
3. Do you buy most of your curriculum at a discount or do you pay full price?
4. Would your buying habbits change if money was not an issue?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'm thinking I need a little bit myself

prayer that is. Prayer for clarity of vision for our homeschool, the
ability to do all that is required of me, and the desire to live it out
each day - even when I am tired. I am off my schedule of work due to
Florida, and while I loved and needed that trip, it has thrown my
schedule here into a bit of a tailspin. I am frantically trying to
catch up and keep my head above water so to speak. Please pray that I
will be able to "get it all done" and in the midst not loose sight of
why I do what I do - in all areas.

I sure would appreciate it!


Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Prayer Request

I read a blog tonight that touched my heart and I am asking that you pray for this woman below. Sometimes we are in the midst of
a big struggle and we cannot see the other side - we cannot even see
the steps in front of us. This woman needs our prayers. Please pray for
Lynda Coats
today. May God work His miraculous wonders in her life - may He part
the Red Sea for her - and may she remember His faithfulness in times
past to help with the struggles of today. The blessing of blogs is that
we can lift up those we do not know at all, but we can touch the
heavens for our sisters on the net.

Praying with you,


Saturday, June 04, 2005

Ice Cream Smiles and Faithful Remembrances

had just returned from swimming in a kind neighbor's pool and I was in
the midst of scooping rainbow sherbet for my children when I thought
about this. What an amazing life I have. What beautiful glorious
thankful children I have. The simple blessings of ice cream on a cone
can get them so excited. How can this life of blessing be mine? I know
there are days when I live in anxious anticipation for bedtime, but not
yesterday. The happy smiles and the grateful gushing, "Thank you!" from
each of them as they happily danced to the backyard with their cones
does not happen every day, but when it does it is precious.

How much
we as mothers enjoy making our children smile! It makes me want to
dance in the kitchen with my cone too. There is so much pleasure in
making them happy. I know life is not all about making people happy for
happiness' sake, but it can be a gift to the giver too. How much joy
must our Savior have in His provision of His children? I know that my
Savior provides. Sometimes, like my children, I do not trust that He
will "come through" for us. But then I am shamed by remembering the
past. How like the Israelites of old I am! Having watched God provide
for them safety and provision - over and over - yet they were afraid to
walk into their inheritance because there were giants in the land. "How
can we fight them?" they would cry to Moses, "You should have left us
in Egypt!"  Hadn't these same people seen Him part the Red Sea?!
Remember God's works in time past!

I am
like these faithless people all too often. Forgetting to keep the
faith; forgetting His works of wonder, not just in the ancient times,
but in my own life. Today though, I will not forget His faithfulness to
me, to my family, to my friends. Today, I will see the grateful smiles
as I bring out the ice cream again and remember when God gifted a cone
to me.



Friday, June 03, 2005

Isn't it amazing

a little shove off the blogging cliff will get you started on talking
about almost nothing? Mrs. Ig. gave me a good shove and here I am. Not
that I have much to say today; especially because I have yet to have my
daily dose of dark french roast (and I even have real cream to go with
it today!) I have been underwater with work this week watching
deadlines pass by waving at me smiling their snarky smiles. I will catch up to them though and they will regret their snarkiness. 

Coming home from Florida has given me a renewed sense of purpose and a
better idea of how I want my homeschool to be different this year. I
will be incorporating some new things that go against my nature. I now
own The Ultimate Lap Book Handbook, from  Tobin's Lab.
If you had asked me even a month ago if I would ever do lap books I
would have said absolutely not. Too much work, too much time, too
detailed, and < sounding aghast  > too hands-on! But are
they really? Now I am not a *totally* boring mom; we do hands-on
projects, but nothing like a lap book. After all, we are bound and
determined to get through our math book this year come high water or
summer weather! (We school year-round to avoid the stress of "we must do school no matter WHAT" that
does not work well here.) So to see this book and be so attracted to it
was sort of surprising to me. See what homeschooling conventions do?!
They modify your preconceived notions of what your homeschooling should
be like! Yikes! So now I find myself asking the children questions
like, "What would you like to study in depth? What would you like to do
as a presentation to the group?" and all the while thinking how we can
create a giant lap book out of our new colored poster board! I am
excited to see what we will do that is out of our "norm" this year.
What will you be doing differently?

Always learning,