Sunday, April 29, 2007

Movie Mind Mints

We have, as you know, been studying World War II. Talk about a fascinating war with consequences still being felt today! We are wrapping it up, but I rented Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Pacifist, Nazi Resister on DVD, and was truly moved. This was a fascinating look at the war from someone who truly opposed it yet was a part of the resistance. I think it is an important look into the war and one that should not be missed no matter what your thoughts are on war. He was a Christian man who affected the world around him.


I have been on a good movie binge--which is not always easy to do! I enjoyed The Queen very much. It is hard to know what is true and what is not about this movie, but I appreciated it anyway. We also watched the moving The Pursuit of Happyness. If you have not seen this, I highly recommend it. He is an imperfect man, but he had powerful love for his son under some seriously difficult circumstances. Will Smith did a wonderful job in the based-on-a-true-story role. Since we are from the Bay Area it was neat to see San Francisco from the director's perspective.


What are you watching?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Prayers for the family of Knox Anderson

From the home church site of the Anderson Family:

Beloved Westminster family and extended family of Christ, thank you for your continued prayers for the Andersons.  Please continue to pray fervently and without ceasing for the family (I Thes. 5:17).  Last evening around 9:00 p.m. Knox went home to be with Jesus.  Jon, Rachel, and the family are grieving but are strengthened by the knowledge of Christ’s redeeming love.  As well, they are appreciative of your prayers, love, compassion, and readiness to serve them in this difficult time.  Please pray that the Anderson family will experience the hope and love of Christ in their grief over Knox’s death.  Pray that God would sustain them in his steadfast love.  Pray that they would find comfort in God’s covenant and eternal promises to us and to our children.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Little Ones

What does a busy homeschooling mama do with those little ones when she needs a few minutes with her older ones? I compiled this list long ago and thought I would share it.

Dot Paints - look at Michael's or Joann's with a coupon for good prices

Blocks of any kind (regular wooden, Kapla, Lego, Duplo)

Plastic animals in a box (Target now sells some really realistic ones that are heavy duty and great fun to set up into a zoo with the blocks above.)

Wooden/Plastic Train Set - You set it up (or have the older children help) and then they can happily play.

Laurie Crepe Rubber Puzzles  or Fit-A-Space  - These are fantastic for smallish persons! They have all sorts of puzzles, both things and letter shapes.

Wooden Puzzles by Melissa & Doug - wonderful colorful puzzles of animals, castles, trains, etc.

Lincoln Logs

Special books only brought out for quiet times. Flannel books or magnetic books are great for these moments. Often school supply places have these.

Coloring, of course! We use washable pens, crayons, colored pencils, stamps, and ink pads, to color regular paper as well as coloring books. Some of the new Crayola special paper have been big hits here. They are also wonderful for church - keeps the littles quiet so mom and dad can listen!

Craft Creation Container - glitter (if you are a daring mom), glitter glue, child scissors, tape, regular glue or stick glue, beans, pasta, letter-shaped pasta, foam shapes, stickers, confetti, feathers, poms, and let your little go for it!

Read a story about a fort or a sailing ship and help make a fort to play in with chairs and blankets. Don't forget the play swords!

Shape Sorter from Lauri

String Beads - all different shapes, wooden or not.

Lacing Shapes come in all different kinds of sets. This is one of them.

Buy some play-acting tapes, like the Wee Sing ones, and learn them. Then when you need some time, they can do them with their smaller siblings and lead them!

Make bread dough without egg and allow them to shape their own for baking.

Sandbox filled with either sand, pea gravel, for outside. For inside use rice or beans.

Kitchen toys with a small wooden kitchen.

Give your little a "plot of land" they can cultivate with a few small plants. They can be in charge of watering, weeding, etc. Seeds are fun to watch grow - sunflowers reward the best because they are so huge. Cherry tomatoes, beans, or snap peas are rewarding too - they can pick a snack right off the plant!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Little Knox

Updates on Knox can be found here.

Please pray for Knox Anderson.

This precious little boy needs our prayers.

He is in the hospital fighting for his life.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

In the wake

In the wake of the utter tragedy in Virginia, I came across a very powerful blog post by Doug Phillips. I know I could never communicate what he was able to. I think he presents some important truths and that it is well worth reading. Please do.

May God be with the sorrowing families. I simply cannot imagine.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


We have been reading all about World War II in our history time here. It is a period of time that has long fascinated me, particularly because I have living family who lived through it. My grandfather did not see action in Europe or the Pacific, but he was in the service and my grandmother worked in Washington DC during the war. They were married on a weekend pass and he went back to the war. I have often wondered what it would have been like to live then; to have the entire country behind you as your faced the demons in your heart and in the flesh.


I just finished a very moving story, I Have Lived A Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust. She told a powerful and moving story of her life--at 13--taken by the authorities and moved to a ghetto and from there to various camps. How she lived and survived--truly the hand of God was upon her. The older girls are reading this book and I can tell that it is disturbing. We *should* be disturbed by the Holocaust--in every possible way. It should forever shake our souls and should forever be a reminder that man is capable of horrifying sin. It is evidence of the depravity of man. Thank God for His mercy!

In My Hands is not a book for children, but is a book for those who would protect them and for those who need to see the kind of sacrifices that were made to save people who should never have been in fear of their own lives. The Nazi Officer's Wife is what a persecuted young Jewish girl had to do to save her own life. It is shocking in places, but I find myself wondering - just what would I do to stay alive? It is deeply disturbing to think that these normal every day families had to suffer such great loss and agony--because of their religious persuasion. I find it terribly hard to process it all. It was only 60 years ago. How could it have come to pass?  

We are in the midst of reading some very good stories--worthwhile for the children and many of them heroic and inspirational. There were such great things that happened too amidst the great depravity of the war. True Stories of the Blitz has been incredibly interesting and engaging. What a fearful thing to live through your home being bombed repeatedly for years! Each chapter is a separate story based upon a real person and their experiences. It is worth the time to read them out loud.

We have also read
The Winged Watchman and A Father's Promise as well as Run for your life! and are currently reading a story based upon true accounts of some amazing children, Escape from Warsaw. This last one we are really fascinated with. I am always drawn to real life stories and this was is truly amazing. The other books, more biographies and source books, are listed in the sidebar. This has been a rich study for us and we feel so blessed to sit in the easy comfort of our home and read about this tragic time. I pray the world never sees such terribly suffering, never embraces the need to go to total world war again. May God bring home our brave men and women from the Middle East in His perfect timing, and be with them in their dangers. Studying the past reminds me of the need to be in faithful prayer for those who serve to protect and preserve what we have in our land--while they are in very real danger today.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Why

I was reading a board I regularly visit and there were some questions about how to balance life choices with homeschooling. Where does the mother fit into all of it—her personal happiness and joy?


The original poster wrote this:


“Is my happiness what's "best" for my family? I'm thinking aloud here, asking that somewhat rhetorically. As the saying goes (and as you referenced), "If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." The sticky wicket, of course, is when Momma's happiness really isn't in the best interests of the family ~ and maybe she doesn't realize that. If I decide to start major training for an athletic even (I'm speaking hypothetically here!) ~ training that consumes large portions of my time, how does fulfilling my desires mesh with my family's best interests? One person's happiness may come at the cost of another's well-being. I may be content...but does that contentment by extension mean the rest of the crew is better off? … So how do you maintain your contentment (and, thereby, pursue what's in the best interests of your family) if/when what you're doing feels tedious?”


These were great questions for me to be thinking of last week. I have been really self-focused lately—just not thinking about what is *truly* best for the family, but about what was amusing or interesting to me. I have not really been interested in working hard or being a good example, or keeping things in order. It is hard work and I have been very unmotivated. I am sorry because that is gross sinful behavior, but I am being honest with you because this is my life. I wrestle with my own selfishness and lazy behavior. Do you?


I wrote back what I know to be *true* - that if a mother *really* wants the *best* for her family then she will be dying to herself on a regular basis. She will not be choosing to pursue only her own personal happiness at every turn. Those things are incompatible really. If you want what is best then you will not be giving in to your own whims so regularly. This is huge huge huge for us Christian mothers. We are shaping the next generation of Christian parents—we cannot really give in to laziness or our own whims. This is really hard some days for me, and every day it is a struggle. However—and here is where our Savior comes in! I repent and turn around to what my calling really is because at the heart of it, I do want what is best for my family—even when it is hard for me.

How does homeschooling fit into it all? I answered her with this: It is absolutely 100% a life choice for us. There are wonderful, productive, delightful days for us—those homeschooling *moments* we all dream of having. AND there are days I wonder WHY I had five children because it is HARD work to be a mother, to be their teacher, to train them all, to be utterly responsible for every detail of their early education and to plan and equip them for their later education. It is huge! And what do you mean I have to keep the house, do the laundry, make dinner *and* be a wife TOO!? :+)

I don't view homeschooling through lenses of contentment unless you mean by that a conscious choice to be content in my life. Being content is a state of mind, and a choice and is not something that is swayed by a bad day/week/month/year. I view homeschooling as a foregone conclusion, with its resulting highs and lows. This is my life and I am committed to it.

Am I happy? Yes, very, but even if I was not (and I have those days too) it is what we have chosen and it is what we will do. There is not a "better option" for us--this is it. Part of that is a philosophical choice in that we want to impart what we believe is a better education in a safe place while allowing our children to be who they are, to grow up as individuals, and with our faith as the foundation. Part of it is a personal calling for us—we believe we are called by God to school our children—so we do.

At the heart it really just depends on why you do what you do period. We are reformed so that means that we try to live by our chief end and that would be to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. We homeschool so that we can.

She said to me: “I understand. But if circumstances were such that you weren't able to homeschool, you would of course still be able to fulfill that mandate....Right? What troubles me about some people (I am not referring to you particularly, Kate) who feel "convicted by God" to homeschool is that they refuse to even consider the fact that circumstances may change. The are so bound up with their "calling", that they begin idolizing it, and their Rightness supersedes God's hand in their lives.”

I responded with: Wow, there is a lot bound up in those words. I don't feel that I am *bound* up in my calling—that is not what I meant—in a negative way I mean. However, at the same time, my calling is part of who I am. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher, etc. I don't long for a time to be free of my responsibilities to pursue my own personal ___. I don't refuse to consider that my circumstances may change, but I am at the mercy of my Savior at the same time. If He has called us to this life then He will enable it to be as well. There are no circumstances, quite frankly, that would compel our family to place our children in a public school.

I don't idolize homeschooling. It is a hard choice some days. I don't think it is easy and I don't think it solves the problem of sin. We deal with it every single day. *I* do not have the power to create Christians, and I don't expect my children to escape the snares of the world. I know that *homeschooling* is not going to save them. At the same time, homeschooling *is* a beautiful way to raise a family, build our unity, focus on our Savior, learn what is true. But at the end of the day, I know full well that I am a limited being--it is only my Savior that isn't.

This week has been better already. God moves in our hearts and directs our paths. I have had fruitful conversations with my children, played games, read God's word, and just enjoyed the hours we had together. I am so blessed! I am so grateful for this time with them. Who knows when it may end--but I don't want to lose another day to myself--I want to live it with them--to the glory of God.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Team Bettendorf Quilt/Toy Drive

I just found out about this family. Their daughter, Jillian has cancer.  They have spent a great deal of time at the hospital, not a exactly a friendly atmosphere for children.  All of these visits have opened Katie's heart to areas that she sees a need.  

Katie is starting a quilt drive to help all of the other children who are learning to live with a scary diagnosis.  I know all of you have generous hearts.  Let's help Katie help those children and families. 

Quilts  - When children are admitted to the PICU they are given quilts and blankets.  Katie explains that these blankets help give comfort and help to brighten up the hospital room.  Quilts and blankets only!  No crocheted or knitted blankets as these cause hang ups in medical equipment and the blankets are washed numerous times.  Click on the quilts link to read more.

Small Toys - Little toys and games help to keep a child's mind occupied during painful procedures and treatments.  Click on the small toys link to read more.

For those of you that feel you can't mail anything right now, or feel you should support the children in your own local hosptial, then consider doing just that!  It's still all a part of the Team Jillian effort. 

You can find the address to mail your items in the quilts link above.  Items need to be mailed by the end of May as the Bettendorf family will be moving. 

A part of healing is to take your mind off yourself.  We can help Jillian heal by helping her give blankets and toys to the other children in her hospital. 

Monday, April 02, 2007

Posts Around and Easter Thoughts

Poking around the blog world tonight I landed at a Christine Miller's blog. Usually insightful and motivating, tonight was no exception. She encourages me! I hope you find her encouraging to you too as you read about safeguarding your investment in your children. There is little else in this world more imporant.

The Homeschool Carnival at Kris' blog is up and running. There are a lot of homeschoolish posts to keep a mama busy for quite some time. I actually sent something this time. I hope someone finds something useful in it! LOL

Today we started our Resurrection Eggs and the reading of our book, Benjamin's Box: A Resurrection Story. The children look forward to this every year. We "cheat" a bit in that we only do them for one week (six days) with two a day, but it is a very nice way to prepare for Easter Sunday. While our church in not a liturgical church, per se, as in we don't do Advent or Holy Week with special services, etc., it is still acknowledged for what it is meant to be. I like that.

I grew up in the biggest mix of churches so I have pretty much seen it all in the manner of service/liturgy/practice. It is very fascinating to me! Sometimes I wish our services were in a giant gothic cathedral. When I visited some in England and France, there was something very majestic to them--bigger than us so to speak. Regardless of the form or type of church it was, whether they knew the Risen King or not, it reflected the glory of God in the building. It is almost as if they were sitting underneath the night sky--it reflects God's glory whether we recognize it or not. It spoke so strongly to me of the majesty of God. In me anyway, they just provoked a longing for the King. Those medieval church planners had it right in some ways! :+)

For your Easter thinking time, from our Trinity Hymnal:

How vast the benefits divine which we in Christ possess!
We are redeemed from guilt and shame and called to holiness.
But not for works which we have done, or shall hereafter do,
Hath God decreed on sinful men salvation to bestow.

The glory, Lord, from first to last, is due to Thee alone;
Aught to ourselves we dare not take, or rob Thee of Thy crown.
Our glorious Surety undertook to satisfy for man,
And grace was given us in Him before the world began.

This is Thy will, that in Thy love we ever should abide;
That earth and hell should not prevail to turn Thy Word aside.
Not one of all the chosen race but shall to Heav’n attain,
Partake on earth the purposed grace and then with Jesus reign.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

And the bride wore white

This Wedding Meme is for Donna. :+)

1. Where/How did you meet?

In Sunday School for the college youth.

2. How long have you known each other?

Since February 25, 1990. (Not that I am keepin' track or anything...)

3. How long after you met did you start dating?

That day. (!!) Not really what I would recommend!

4. How long did you date before you were engaged?

11 months

5. How long was your engagement?

Too long! We were married almost a year and a half later.

6. How long have you been married?

15 years in July!

7. What is your anniversary?

July 11, 1992

8. How many people came to your wedding reception?

110 give or take

9. What kind of cake did you serve?

Spice cake with white frosting. It was very good. (But not so good a year later!) LOL

10. Where was your wedding?

First Baptist Church in San Mateo, California

11. What did you serve for your meal?

We had the most (and I am not just a kidding when I say THE MOST) amazing food. We had the full brunch at Borel's--a very nice restaurant in San Mateo at the time.

12. How many people were in your wedding party?

I had five ladies and my husband, five men. We had three flower girls.

13. Are you still friends with them all?

Sadly, no.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony?

Yes, and so did I. :+)

15. Most special moment of your wedding day?

Finishing the ceremony and realizing that we were really truly married. It was wonderful.

16. Any funny moments?

Yes, I squeezed his rear during the pictures and said, "It's legal!!" :+)

17. Any big disasters?

Well, yes, but there is no sense in rehashing those. Grace and time heal all, right? God is good.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon?

The first part was wonderful and we went to a lovely house right on the Russion River. Then we drove to central Oregon in the middle of July with no air conditioning. That part of the honeymoon was not so much. :+)

19. How long were you gone?

One week.

20. If you were to do your wedding over...

We would have been more vocal and put our foot down on some things. We would have had a receiving line, and we would have staying longer at the reception and just enjoyed ourselves.

21. What side of the bed do you sleep on?

If you are looking at the bed from the foot, on the right.

22. What size is your bed?


23. Greatest strength as a couple?

We truly enjoy one another, we laugh a lot, we accept each other's foibles, but our greatest actual honest strength is that we both love our Savior. Ecclesiastes 4:12 "... A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart."

24. Greatest challenge as a couple?

Being patient and remembering to compliment each other's differences rather than take offense or try to change each other.

25. Who literally pays the bills?


26. What is your song?

Don't have one.

27. What did you dance your first dance to?

I Wear Your Love, by Kathy Mattea

28. Describe your wedding dress:

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding?

Some of them were Dendrobium orchids and Lisianthus.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved?


31. How old were you when you got married?

21 and 22