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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ho! Ho! Ho!

My family (especially my girls!) really blessed me this year. They know me well enough to know what to buy for me, and that means a lot to me. My oldest daughter knows my personal addiction to Victorian novels--especially Elizabeth Gaskell. She went out of her way to buy me Cranford. I am extremely excited to read this and will start it upon completion of The Silmarillion--which I have been slowly reading late at night. Christmas has put me off the regular reading time I steal for myself. :+)





My second daughter knows how much I like music and how much I like good soundtracks. She purchased the Narnia soundtrack for me. If you have never paid attention to the music in this film, you are missing something! I really love it.




Our family's favorite gift though, is the one that Daddy brought home the day after Christmas. Our new puppy, Annie.  Isn't she a doll? That is a very very happy Hannah holding her. Hannah is our resident dog lover (along with her siblings) and she has wanted a dog for many years. Abigail is a close second for excitement. :+) We are all very happy with our dachshund and she is as cute as a button!



 


We are heading to my mother's house on Friday night for my family Christmas. We had planned it for the weekend before, but sickness prevented the event. All the children are very excited and Annie will be joining us for her first trip to Grandma's house.





So how was your Christmas? Did you enjoy the day? We sure did.




Note: I am officially dense. :+) Ever since the blog upgrade my settings were changed so I was not notified by email that any of you wonderful people had commented! I did not know I had received so many kind comments! Please forgive me for not responding to any of them. I was unaware they were there and really honestly thought no one was reading my blog! Thanks so much for all your kind words. They mean so much!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's nearly here...

...and we are all waiting with great expenctancy. (At least the children sure are!) :+) I will be off the blog for several days and I just wanted to wish you all a lovely and beautiful Christmas. We will be busy with family and fellowship and I didn't want to forget you all. May our great God and King, who sent His Son to bring salvation to sinful men, bring you His peace and joy this year.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas around our house

There are many blogs that are showing pictures of their Christmas finery. I don't know that our decor can be considered "finery" but they sure bring us joy!



Here is our little Christmas tree nook. We have three little trees up on a steamer trunk full in the corner of our living room.



 


Here are our living room windows with the rest of the Christmas tree ornaments as well as the stockings "hung from our garlands with care." :+)







Here is the view of the top of our piano--a favorite place of mine to decorate no matter what time of year we find ourselves!





Here are our nutcrackers up close. :+)





Here is what greets you when you enter our home. It is a much-loved pie safe that was made for me by my mother's loving husband.





Here is the close-up. I love my red jug and my cranberry candle!





And here is my Christmas crew!




We hope you are enjoying your Christmas season as much as we are.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Letting the universe fill me...

Um, what?!  The full instructions, found on my tea bag, are: "Meditate by emptying yourself and letting the universe fill you." All I really wanted to do was to find some relief from this nasty head cold with the Yogi Tea, Breathe Deep. I was not looking for a message of false hope. Can I just say that that is one of the biggest lies out there? Believe it or not the "universe" is not waiting for you and is not ready to fill your soul. That is false hope in a fallen world.



There is only one good thing that will fill your soul, that will give your heart freedom to soar the heights of God's amazing love, only one that will enable you to breathe deeply of the clean air of God's forgiveness--that is the Holy Spirit. There is only one God and King and He is reigning even now. The world will offer up all sorts of fancies on the platter of life, but they are all bitter and full of death. There is true peace, true forgiveness, true joy to be found in this life, but it will not be found in the world. It will be found in Christ.



John 14:27
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful."



I hope you find peace in Jesus this Christmas.



Monday, December 18, 2006

If you like to talk for hours...

The paradoxes of life amuse me. Here I am a Christian for many years, conservative, a mom of five, homeschooler, etc. (and I even own two denim jumpers!) YET, I really like great music—funky, strange, silly music. We are sitting here listening to the Spin Doctors’, Two Princes. It was initially the chorus that looped me into liking this song. It is a man singing:

Said if you want to call me baby
Just go ahead now
And if you like to tell me maybe
Just go ahead now
And if you wanted to buy me flowers
Just go ahead now
And if you like to talk for hours
Just go ahead now



But what kept me listening was the music. I KNOW that as a young woman I would always argue with those in authority about the music I listened to—that it was the music that I really loved and didn’t care about the words. Well, I have to say that I mostly stick by that today. This song has great funky music that is nothing like the more conservative tunes I like to listen to as well. I do care though, about the words. Thankfully these are OK. :+) It is fun to just get up and dance with your children, make silly faces in the never-missing video-camera we have here under the ownership of my first child. The movies of an ill mother (for I happen to be feeling on the low side of the health chart today) grooving to a very beat-filled song, in her sweats, with no make-up on—well, let’s just say they will not be making it to uTube. :+)



Enjoy your children today – dance a little for me!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What do they think?

What goes through the minds of the people in nursing homes at this time of year? Last week the sweet little Cub Scout pack that my son belongs to made a bunch of Christmas cards for the residents of a local nursing home. Last night we went to sing Christmas carols and deliver them. This is always a very hard thing for me because I feel such terrible sadness for the residents of these places. I don't feel sad because they are treated poorly; for in this home I don't think they are. Most of them just looked so very worn and lonely.


 


What must it feel like to be at the end of your life, surrounded by strangers? It is hard to comprehend. Does our singing and card-giving minister to them? My heart ached as we left there. Do they receive visitors mainly during the Christmas season? How does this make them feel?


 


There was one woman that came out to her door and stood and sang with us. I brought my ever-ready-with-a-hug-and-a-smile daughter, Elizabeth, to greet her. She gave her a big hug and just grinned like crazy at her and told her "Merry Christmas." It was all I could do not to cry. I am greatly moved by the aged because I think in our society we hugely undervalue them. Many of these people were not obviously needy - some were not bedridden and helpless. I wonder where their families are. I cannot blame a family that places their family in the care of a nurse when they are unable to care for them--I understand that. But what about those who don't require that kind of care? Are they unwilling to "burden" their family?


 


Isn't caring for those that cared for you what families are for?


 


I cannot answer for all the decisions that people make, but I *so* desparately hope that I will be able to offer care to any of my family members that may need it. Those kinds of places are there for a reason, and I do not say we should not have them. However, I never never want to have to use them.



I hope the mile of boys and families blessed someone in the home we visited. I hope the songs brightened their night. I hope I can find a way to minister to them at some other time of year. Do any of you do this and if so, how? I would like to find a way to make their day a bit brighter, and help my children see the beauty in blessing others.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas - Glory to God!

In response to Jen's Christmas post, I wrote this:


 


In the same way we thank God for our liberty and freedoms here in the US on the 4th of July (for they are given by Him and Him alone), I thank God that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us during the Christmas season. I love that the whole world celebrates this time of year, that the songs sung by my sister-in-law's secular (Sac. State) choir were almost exclusively Christian God-honoring songs. That the entire *church* we heard them sing in erupted with thunderous singing of His holy birth, death, and resurrection. I love that even the secular institutions choose songs that were created in the church to honor our Savior. I love that even those who are unsaved will sing of His saving grace at this time of year. It is a brief glimpse of what is to be--what is to come. That every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.


 


I love this time of year and thank God it exists for all things secular are ultimately His. Col. 1:16 says it perfectly:

"For by Him all things were created, [both] in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him."


 


May your Christmas season be a joyous one as you celebrate the Advent of the Savior!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fundamental Freedom

"Homeschoolers need more oversight. Prove to me why they don't?"


 


This was asked on a homeschooling board I read a while back. I was thinking about this tonight as I was sitting in my local Barnes & Noble, sipping a gingerbread latte, and enjoying some really fine conversation with several other homeschool moms. My response to this question was the following:


 


Fundamental Freedom


 


It is the fundamental feedom of the parent to choose what they feel is best for their child. It is an inherent right that parents have, for better (one hopes) or worse, to decide what their children do or do not learn.


 


As defined in the M-W online dictionary "inherent" means: essential character of something: belonging by nature or habit.


 


It is our inherent right to parent. It is not the inherent right of the state. Just because some people think it is the right of the state or as some use the phrase, "compelling state's interest" to make sure that all children are "properly" schooled, does not make it so. Who defines "properly?"


 


According to John Taylor Gatto, "A small number of very passionate American ideological leaders visited Prussia in the first half of the 19th century; fell in love with the order, obedience, and efficiency of its education system; and campaigned relentlessly thereafter to bring the Prussian vision to these shores." The Prussian ideology is easy to find.


 


Gatto says the major ideas of Prussian education brought here are: the purpose of state schooling was not intellectual training but the conditioning of children "to obedience, subordination, and collective life;" whole concepts or ideas were broken into disjointed "subjects" and school days were divided into fixed periods "so that self-motivation to learn would be muted by ceaseless interruptions." The last idea was that the state was viewed as the true parent of children.


 


I, obviously, don't think it is good from any standpoint (especially my Christian one).


It is, in my opinion, the heart of parental freedom to choose to school their children.


 


What do you think and why?