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Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's December!

Already we are half way through the month. When did that happen, exactly? It has been such a busy time already! We are looking forward to the next few weeks. We will take off two for the Christmas/New Year holidays. Yippie! We are going to make cut-out cookies for the first time in many many years. The children are especially looking forward to that methinks.

My shopping is almost done and I hope that the few things I bought at the beginning of the month arrive on TIME. I will be very disheartened if they don't so we shall see. God knows what we need and will have exactly what that is here. :+)

We are enjoying a lovely Advent study coordinated with Messiah by Handel. I love this time of year. I love hearing music that honors my Savior all over the place. I loved the kindness of strangers that we experienced tonight. We were driving around looking for Christmas lights and drove by this amazing house that was covered front and back with an abundant display. We were driving slowly by and the woman of the house walked up to our van. She said the best view is from the backyard and invited us in. They had the hugest Victorian set-up inside their house that all lit up and moved and the backyard was truly beautiful. To offer all that work to total strangers - well it was pretty neat to us. God touches us through so many things this time of year and I really appreciate it.

Enjoy the beauty of the cool days, the eggnog, the hot cocoa, cookies, fudge, and your favorite carols. Listen to Messiah this year and really take it in - "...and His name shall be called, wonderful! Counselor! The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."

Amen, Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Grandpa - on Veterans Day

Growing up I didn't have a lot of contact with my father. My grandfather was the only real dedicated father figure I ever had during those years, but he really loved me. I never had any doubts about that. Always there for me, always encouraging, always happy to see me - to be a part of my life. He left his imprint and I am forever grateful.

My grandpa met my grandmother at a dance hall in their town. It was right before World War II. He used to watch her dance from the balcony and finally got up the courage to ask her. They married during the war on a weekend pass. He made it through the war and they went on to have four daughters. My mother was their second.

We saw each other regularly once I married and he loved my children every bit as much as he loved me. It was from him that I learned to cook a tasty beef roast, learned how to fry an egg to perfection, and drive a fast car. Every year on Veterans Day, I would call him and thank him for his service because I felt it was important to remember.

My grandpa died eight years ago. He left a void I imagine nothing will ever fill. I think of him regularly, but especially on Veterans Day. There is an ache in my throat and tears in my eyes and I don't post this looking for sympathy. I just wanted to honor a man I loved deeply on this day, when I can no longer do it in person.

Happy Veterans Day.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Culmination of the Mystery

I have been motivated recently - motivated to really get some good schooling done. We had a lovely Sunday and overnight with some dear friends and when they left today, we jumped right into school. We were ending our Mystery of History Volume 1 and I was ready. In the fullness of time - He came forth. The last lessons were on Christ. Wow - what a tremendous resource. I don't know how to explain my joy or explain *why* I have such joy at this curriculum except to share with you something my eldest wrote at the end of her final semester test. The question was this:

What have you learned about the prophets of the Old Testament?

Now please understand that when we started this book, I had no idea what we were really going to learn. I had no idea what my children would walk away with or whether they would enjoy it at all. I had no idea they would learn so much about so many Bible personalities among the secular ones with whom we are so familiar. I really had no idea that we would be learning about the prophets or why that would even be as important as it is for understanding scripture as a whole. This was her answer.

I am going to relate some of the amazing facts about the Old Testament prophets. The prophet Micah predicted the place of Jesus' birth. Ezekiel witnessed bones return to life, ate a scroll, and saw a wheel within a wheel. Joel prophesied during a locust plague. Habakkuk wrote letters to God. Amos was a fig farmer. Huldah was a prophetess who revealed to King Josiah the will of the Lord. Jeremiah, known as the 'weeping prophet', foretold the enslavement of Israel. Isaiah's beautiful words have been compared with the rest of the Bible. Jonah, the first prophet to Nineveh, was swallowed by a giant fish, and spit out three days later. Obadiah prophesied to the Edomites, the descendents of Esau. Elijah, who was known as the 'fiery prophet', was taken up into heaven by a chariot of fire. He was also mentor to Elisha who, even in death, brought people back to life by the mere touch of his bones. These are just some of the wonders that God's faithful servants saw and did, for His glory. 

I can be honest with you and share that *I* don't even know all these things and *I* taught them through MOH! This came out of the top of her head, was hastily written, and she had more to offer had I given her the chance. I am simply stunned with the knowledge she has acquired through Mystery of History--on the prophets alone! Not only Bible history of course, but all sorts of wonderful ancient history meshed with the real living people of Scripture. And this is only one of my children. The other two I use it with have also really enjoyed it and learned a great deal too.

The way Linda Hobar wrote the last three lessons continually brought tears to my eyes. It is abundantly clear that she loves her Savior - loves the same Lord I do. This book was written to the glory of God, for the building up of the saints, and I am so grateful. I just wanted Linda Hobar to know - this family is eternally grateful for her work.    

Friday, October 31, 2008

Please Pray for Ben Towne

This little boy needs our faithful prayers. God keep his family and this little precious life. Thanks for joining me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Archeologist finds 3,000-year old Hebrew text

Can I just say that I love stories like this? I just love biblical discoveries. Only 4% of the site where this was discovered has been excavated. Who knows what they will uncover! This is only a tiny fragment, but still - wow!

Archeologist finds 3,000-year old Hebrew text

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- An Israeli archaeologist has discovered what he says is the earliest-known Hebrew text, found on a shard of pottery that dates to the time of King David from the Old Testament, about 3,000 years ago. The shard -- or ostracon -- contains five lines of text divided by black lines.

Professor Yosef Garfinkel of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem says the inscribed pottery shard -- known as an ostracon -- was found during excavations of a fortress from the 10th century BC.
(Rest of the story.)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

New Entry!

Hello, again!

We just finished reading history for the day and I thought I would take a few minutes to pop in and update here. It is Mystery of History (no surprise to any of you longer readers here :+) and boy are we enjoying it. We go slowly and stop when we want to concentrate on something of interest or take a break when we need it so we are just finishing up the first book. Today the children took a quiz of sorts in the book on the 20 prophets in the Bible. Can I just tell you that has been one of the neatest things we have learned over the course of studying ancient history? I am simply amazed that my children can identify most of the prophets by memory. I mean it is really something. They know more than I do. (She sheepishly admits...)

We will be starting the next book immediately after the cessation of the first and I cannot wait to get into the middle ages again. Our history study is such a joy and we have learned SO much. I received the third brand spankin' new Mystery of History Volume III - The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations. It is a beautiful hardback full-color book. The look, the feel, the information - wow! It is all so wonderful. I am very excited about using this level next year. They did this one differently than the last and it is more expensive than their previous softcover all-in-one Volumes I and II, but after talking to Linda Hobar about it I know why they had to do it. Many of the Renaissance art reproduced in the book could not be reprinted in black and white so they chose to go with color - and hardback makes it study and lasting. It is truly, in this homeschool mom's opinion, worth the price. :+)

I am trying to figure out which books to read out loud as we start the next year. I try not to repeat books we have read before so I will have to do some searching to find the very best historical fiction. I love that genre!

So right now I am reading Gone With the Wind. I have been reading all sorts of interesting books - some are re-reads of books I have enjoyed in the past from the Cadfael series. These are so enjoyable to me. The other focus I have had has been Rome. Quo Vadis? was one of the books I recently finished and WOW was it powerful to me. Set in the time of Nero's Rome, the book focuses on the relationship between a powerful Roman Patrician and a Christian barbarian princess. Peter and Paul play parts and towards the end the stories of those dying in the arena are shared. It was published in 1896 and has that older feel to a book I enjoy so much. It depicts some of the Roman oppulence in a very descriptive manner so I cannot endorse it for children, but I felt I knew a great deal about Rome and the persecution of believers - and their example to many around them - by the end of it.
It is a powerful book and I really recommend it. In my search to understand Rome a bit more before we dove into it with MOH, I spent some time reading The Story of the Romans, from Nothing New Press. I had never read the whole thing all the way through and it was a good overview of the history of Rome. It is very obviously written for children as it is quite delicate with some of the more unseemly events in Rome's past. It helped me understand it from a broad perspective and I was glad I read it.

But back to Gone With the Wind... It is highly engrosing. I cannot say that I *like* Scarlett at this point in the story and am not sure I ever will. The self-love of this firey young girl is pretty palpable, but the story is very different in some places than the movie and the movie was all I had to go on. I am enjoying it enough to stay up later than I ought. :+) We shall see where it goes!

So what have been your favorite reads for the middle ages and what are you reading now? Blessings to you this October.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

September 2008

September is traditionally very full month for our family with three birthdays, the start of school and our co-op, magazine deadlines, and a whole lot of activity! This September has been no exception. Here are a few moments captured:


Our co-op has spent the first four weeks learning a bunch of things from the music of Bach to the art of Botticelli to beginning sketching with lines, shapes, and outside forms. The picture above is some of our blue dawn vine. Here are some of our younger members trying to sketch a watermelon. Aren't they just the cutest?



Here is another of our two watermelons God blessed us with! Planted and nurtured by our very own Abigail.



We hit three birthdays along the way. The first was our Elizabeth. She is now officially 8.



This was a highly sought-after present that arrived from Hearthsong just in time. Here is the truly delighted (and focused) child baking her own filled cupcakes.



They were stuffed chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting - all from scratch. They were absolutely delicious!

Mama and her birthday girl.



Then we had a very special birthday - a once-in-a-lifetime kind of birthday - my grandmother's 90th birthday. This is Elizabeth Kirk Immekeppel on her 90th. She is, and always has been, some kind of woman!



It was not a surprise, but she didn't know who all the guests were. It was so much fun to see her face when she saw a long-ago friend.



Here she is with her three daughters. My mother is on the left, my Aunt Judy is in the middle, and my Aunt Nancy is on the right. They are so precious to us! I really love this picture.



The last birthday of the month is my lovely daughter, Hannah. She is now 14. 14!! I simply cannot believe it. She is a delight and a joy. God gives such rich and good treasure! Today is her birthday.



Happy birthday, precious girl.


Monday, September 08, 2008

And They're Off!

Sometimes the new year feels like a race that is going to start whether we are ready or not. Kind of like a big marathon - it is going to begin whether you have your shorts on or not. That is what it felt like this morning after being up way too late trying to get the schedule ready for all five of our children. Five! I have all five in the race this year for the first time. 8th, 6th, 4th, 2nd, and K - you would think we planned it that neatly.

This feels like a very unique year and I guess it is. It is our last year before high school starts for our family - homeschool high school! I know I blog about this frequently, but moms, hold tight to your littles and ENJOY them - they grow up SO fast!! It is delightful though, to see who they are becoming. It is so much more beyond my wildest imaginings. God has blessed us so richly in our children!

Our new year looks like this for the oldest two. I will share the others later this week. It is very late!

8th Grader:

Rainbow Science
Traditional Logic I
Literature Study
Math
Wordly Wise 3000
Writing Skills, Book 2
Latin
Piano
The Mystery Of History, Volume 2: The Early Church and the Middle Ages
Art
Reading

We still have to finish up Mystery of History, Volume 1 first, but I am hoping to jump into the middle ages in a few months. I don't rush history so if it takes longer - really, who cares? We love it. :+)

6th Grader:

Learning Language Arts Through Literature
Entire Online Grammar Program - It's free!
Math U See
Handwriting - We use Startwrite Software and I create cursive pages for her. We choose literature portions, Bible verses, poetry, and great quotes. I love this software!
Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day
The Mystery Of History, Volume 2: The Early Church and the Middle Ages
Reading - this is free reading from books from the library, our own family library, and good book lists like this and this.
Piano
Art, Handicrafts, Baking

We are also involved in a homeschool co-op learning about artists, composers, more science topics, and drawing. It sounds very busy and well, it is. It is a joy though - and this is only the first two! 
Oh - and if you have sent me a note or a comment and I didn't respond, please forgive me. I have been under the most amazing load of responsibilities. I apologize. I am trying to live this wonderful quote out and am having a hard time doing it!

There have been wives who in their zeal for Christ’s work outside have neglected Christ’s work inside their own doors. They have had eyes and hearts for human need and human sorrow in the broad fields lying far out, but neither eye nor heart for the work of love lain about their own feet.

Let it be remembered that Christ’s work in the home is the first that he gives to every wife, and that no amount of consecrated activities in other spheres will atone in this world or the next for neglect or failure.

From Home-Making by J.R. Miller

This was such a great reminder to me today! Blessings to you this week.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This and That

I should really be doing about ten other things, but I have missed "chatting" with my blog friends so here I am. I am, as I am sure most of you are, prepping for the new school year. For many of you it has already begun, but not for us. I still have a few last minute planning/organizing/"how does this curriculum work" kinds of things to do. I really need an extra week of August so I may just take it in September. We shall see. :)

I will have five students this year - the first time ever. It feels a little bit scary, but not *too* scary - really. If I keep saying that to myself it will be true, right? LOL! There is so much to think about with regards to this new year and I feel I have had no time at all to do it. There has also been so much to think about and evaluate for my new "crop" of smallish schoolers. This idea has been on my mind quite a bit. I really like what they discuss for first and second grade, but we are in the midst of a history cycle with the older children and doing *two* types of history is just not what I am available for.

However... and there it is - that "however" - I really love the idea of just reading great books like the history-oriented beautiful work by Ingri and Edgar D'Aulaire amongst others. I really really want to do this with my two little ones. I *want* to do so many things. It is the doing that makes it hard sometimes. These books are worth the time though, and there are so many others that are too. I heard one of the best and most encouraging homeschool conference talks from Rea Berg recently. She extolled the importance of reading real quality literature with your children over the course of their years. It was such an uplifting message! I think we forget sometimes, the importance of just reading. We don't have to *do* something with every piece of literature--we can just enjoy it together. This is the easiest thing for me to let slip by. I don't want to do that this year!

What is the easiest thing to slip in your homeschool? How does a day in the life of your homeschool work? Do you find schedules and plans help you? If so, what few things do you do that really make it come together for your family? I am needing a little help this year! :+)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Catching up on July 4th

So July has been busy! Can you tell by my frequent posts? Haha. We began our month with a trip to one of the prettiest places - Lake Tahoe. We stayed in the most amazing resort as a kindness of Mark's boss. WOW was pretty much our thought upon arrival and during our stay! What a place. Here are some photos. Many of these are click-able to enlarge them. From Squaw Valley:



My beautiful friend, Grace and her baby girl, Hannah, and me. Grace is the kind of friend that once you have you never lose. She is a dear and precious person and I feel so blessed to know her! And her baby is funny and sassy and darling - all wrapped into one little curly-headed girl. :)



And it was the fourth of July and here is one of my sassy silly girls with Grace's other child, David. What faces!



We took the most beautiful hike. You can see the smokey sky as the CA fires were still in full force at this time.





It was so green and lush and lovely. I didn't expect that in July, but wow, it was so pretty!



I loved this one:



And I got all excited on our hike because I thought I had located hemlock. I started thinking of all sorts of medieval poisons (and Brother Cadfael mysteries) that could be made from it. (Not by me of course, but what I have read over the years.) It wasn't hemlock. It was cow parsnip. LOL



I was so happy this picture turned out. I love the colors of the yellow Mule's Ears and the purple Forget Me Nots. If you click on it, you will see just how pretty it is up close.



We also found Indian Paintbrush:



I loved the look of this with the lush green foliage surrounding it. The name is so pretty too: Thimbleberry. Doesn't that make you think of a fairy? :)



And the Western Columbine was just beautiful:



And this is the best of all. All the beautiful flowers of my own garden:



So that was our Fourth of July. :)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

16 Candles

For sixteen years with my wonderful husband.  Here we are (last night) on our way to dinner at Benihana. Yum! It has been a tremendous life with Mark and I am so grateful to God for our family. I pray for many many more! :+) 

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Fourth Trip

Tahoe is where we are headed this weekend. It will give us a reprieve of the hot weather (and actually it has not really been all that hot since we have been on fire here in California!) It is supposed to be in the heavenly 70's - can I just tell you how wonderful that sounds?! :+)


 


The children are all very excited and so are Mark and I. Tahoe is lovely in the summer and we will be near Squaw Valley. Yippie! I hope we can take the gondola up to the top of the mountain to see the whole view of the Lake. We shall see!


 


So how is your summer going? We have been more busy than normal, but "it is all good" and we are just trying to enjoy the summer before it gets too toasty. :+) Our first zucchini was picked yesterday after much ground-breaking labor (and sometimes a bit of back-breaking too). Abigail made the most glorious zucchini muffins today. My two oldest daughters have really decided that cooking is fun and that they love to bake. OK! I am completely on board with that especially since they are cooking with whole grains and making truly delicious things. It is kind of strange not to be the only one doing a bunch of the cooking, but *I* really enjoy having the girls enjoy it. :+)


 


On a more serious note, please do lift up Kendra and her baby, Joe, in prayers. Here is some of what she shared today on her blog:

Sara Groves is always a ministry to me. “Prayers for This Child” have been particularly poignant:

I do not know how I am to pray for this child
as a mother I don’t want my baby denied
but in the waiting in the waiting
I learned

Every instinct in me wants to shield him from pain
take the arrows of misery heartache and blame
but in the sorrow in the sorrow
I learned to hold on

I only have two eyes - be all seeing
I only have two hands - be everywhere
I do not know enough - to be all knowing
I give this baby up into your care

I do not know how, how to pray for this child
I want to guard him from everything wicked and wild
but in the trial in the trial
I learned to hold on
And in the trial, in the trial
I learned to hold on to the heart of God

Hold your babies tightly this afternoon-
Kendra

Thanks for praying. God hears His people!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More on History...

We are finishing up our history study and loving every minute of it. I think I have bragged about Mystery of History here enough, so I will leave off that (though I *could* say more, you know - LOL) and share with you what we are going to be reading and listening over the next few months as we wrap up our study of the ancient folks. I am so looking forward to it!


The Ides of April



Beyond the Desert Gate



Adara



For the Temple



Martyr of the Catacombs: A Tale of Ancient Rome



Ben Hur - Focus on the Family Radio Theatre audiodrama on CD

So what are you doing for the summer? We will be finishing this up and also wrapping up other work we did not get to over the year. We will be taking the entire month of August off of everything but fun. :+) Then September will find us at work again. I really don't like to take off more time than that as I find we start to get stir crazy and don't accomplish much. We have to be extra diligent to get it done in June and July - and they are busy months too!

So what about you? What are you looking forward to for this summer? For next year?



I have updated and added items to my "for sale" list. Thanks for looking! :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A day with smallish creatures.

Today was a special day! It is not very often that I get to spend alone time with my two smallest creatures. Daddy was partaking of part of his Father's Day bliss by spending alone time with the oldest three at Golfland Sunsplash. Dead drop water slides plus 90+ degree weather equaled a fantastic time for them. They came home lightly toasted, red-eyed, and full of stories of dark water tunnels and wave machines. It was good they older ones were the chosen for this event as there were some things the littles just couldn't do. That is OK - I got to have fun with them!





We started our fun time with a trip to see Prince Caspian. I didn't know what to expect, but I was not disappointed. There were so many beautiful parallels to God's call on our lives; so many examples of what it means to have faith in something not seen. I really enjoyed it. The girls did too. Emma shut her eyes for the short gross beaked creepy creature, but otherwise this was a much less "icky creature" Narnia. It was a darker Narnia though as so many things had happened in the kingdom, but Aslan's presence was truly felt. I think I liked it better than the first one.





From there I took my sweets to Chik Fil-A - which is a new thing here in CA (at least for us). I love it there. So friendly and helpful and just plain yummy. From there we went to a place I rarely go, the mall. I am not a great fan of malls generally, but this one has a really pretty carousel with so many different animals that the girls just love to ride. Isn't it delightful to be able to do small things that bring such pleasure to our children? I just love it. From there we spent money. LOL Perhaps that is why I don't generally like going to the mall! There were some tremendous deals there though - they must be feeling the pince that the rest of us do as every store had great sales. The girls *did* need some nice clothes... :+)





We came home to frozen berries with half and half (truly delicious) and a blended mocha for all - yep, even the littles - and some sweet reading time with some new titles from Barefoot Books. We are now the happy owners of The Barefoot Book of Princesses, Barefoot Book of Knights (because you know I have both, right?) Barefoot Book of Classic Poems, and Barefoot Book of Stories From the Opera. These are all gorgeous sturdy paperback or hardback and most of them come with the entire book on CD. I am really impressed with this company. They also produce one of my favorite Shakespeare books for children, Shakespeare's Storybook. All of these are full-color with creative illustrations and we really love them! It was truly special to sit with my very own princesses and read them. :+)





Daddy is home now and we are all in a very tired state, but it has been such a lovely day. I loved being with my "babies" today - just loved listening them them and talking with them and just loving them. They are little for so short a time! Enjoy your children this weekend - as we celebrate together their fathers.





Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

For Sale

A good blog...


 


Just kidding. :+) You would never know that I do enjoy blogging with the time I have put into it lately. I am cleaning shelves and have compiled a bunch of things I no longer need (as I need to make room for more books!) LOL If you are interested in any of the following, please do email me at underthesky@gmail.com. The next step is ebay! :+)


 


Big list of books and a bit of curriculum too.




Shipping will be $3.00 for up to five books, media mail. For six to infinity it will be $5.00 shipping. Any questions, I will happily answer! I prefer Paypal, but will take a USPS money order. Thanks!


****************
UPDATED STILL FOR SALE LIST 06-22-08


The Spartan, Caroline Dale Snedeker (new condition paperback, $6.00)

Stalin, Albert Marrin (paperback in good used condition, $5.00)

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? Richard Maybury (very nice used condition, $6.00)

In Search of Knossos, Giovanni Caselli (full-color, hardback, gorgeous book in nice condition, $5.00)


Vanity Fair, William Makepeace Thackeray (paperback, B&N Classics, nice used condition, $2.00)


Life of Patrick Henry, William Wirt (lovely hardback from HSLDA, great condition, $4.00)


The Arabian Nights, by Maxfield Parrish (Hardback, nice condition $4.00)


Bulfinch's Greek and Roman Mythology (Dover Pub.) (Paperback, good used conditon, $2.00)


Caddie Woodlawn (Paperback, good used conditon, $1.00)


Eldest (Paolini) (Hardback, used condition, $3.00)


Secret in the Maple Tree (A Beka hardback book) (Nice used condition, $3.00)


Song of the Brook (A Beka paperback book) (used condition, $2.00)


Jane Austen A Life, (David Nokes) (Paperback, used condition, $2.00)


The Art of Sculpture (Hardback, nice used condition, $2.00)



******************


Thanks for looking! :)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Great Link

The person who put this together shared this on the WTM Board. I thought it was worth sharing here because it had so many resources gathered into one place. :+)



Lizzie's List of Fabulous Websites for all Ages and Stages

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Scattered post with no real focus...

You were warned with the title! :+) Here I sit at 10:23 pm when I should really be getting myself ready for bed. I am recovering from a nasty chest cold so I really should be getting on, but I have missed chatting here. Life seems to be flying by that I have not made much time for this. I have had so many good resources come my way though, that I keep thinking, I have to blog about this! Now that I am here I am sure I won't remember most of them. LOL


 


I did want to share a fantastic new Christian historical fiction series from a really talented author called the Viking Quest Series. These were so engaging to me that I literally flittered a day away reading them! I rarely do such a thing, but these were good! And they are for your children so that tells you they are quite likely to draw them in too. (And I have the proof in my second daughter!)



We have been *so* enjoying our Mystery of History study! I mean *really* loving it. So much more than I ever thought we would. I think I keep saying that but the curriculum keeps surprising me by its coverage of so many things! :+) We also just read Victory on the Walls and really enjoyed it! It is quite close to the book of Nehemiah that it teaches so much in the story. I really felt for the Israelites and the faith of Nehemiah is real and vibrant. I highly recommend it! 


 


I am in the midst of planning for next year. I have not felt so scattered as far as school planning goes in a while. I have not been able to devote any serious time to it and with five children in the hopper next year I feel I need a few days to let my brain percolate on it. Really though, good luck to me trying to find those days! I will have to carve out some time once my real responsibilities are done for the day. It is something I really enjoy once I am into it though. The excitement of the next year is always a thrilling thing to look forward to even if it scares me a bit. :+) Have you finished your planning? What about your buying? That is the hardest part, isn't it? LOL



We have a new van! It is a lovely 2007 Town & Country minivan and we are so very blessed and happy to have it. I mean SO very happy!!! We also happened to need a new stove *and* dishwasher at the same time so needless to say it has been a banner week for Lowe's. :+) Too bad that rebate check hasn't arrived! I think we are doing just what they want us to do with it without it. LOL



So I have been following the election cycle pretty closely and am as diappointed as one gal can possibly be at this point. I don't know what to hope and pray for other than for God to be glorified. I don't feel we can ever feel hopeless, but I sure feel disgusted by the fare being dishes up to us from both sides. Would that Ron Paul stood a real fighting chance. I will probably vote for him anyway by write-in, but you know, I sometimes wonder what our country would *do* with someone like him in office! Just the thoughts of what could happen are enough to make me giggle. :+)



So that is not much to pour out of my brain at this time of night, I am afraid. I apologize for the most schizophrenic post I have offered you in a long while now. I hope to be more centered soon - once I stop coughing up my lungs. :+)   

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thank you.

Sometimes the holidays we have in our country come and go and not much happens on my end to commemorate them. Memorial Day was a day we spent around the house trying to recover from not feeling so great. Today though, I discovered a site that made my heart hurt, but in that good must-never-forget kind of way. Through a story on CNN I learned about Project Compassion.


 


These amazing artists paint portraits for the families of every active duty soldier who has fallen in the line of duty since September 11, 2001. I spent a good deal of time in the gallery. There are hundreds of paintings. Every single soldier I met there had died in the service of our country.  I feel every single one of those eyes has died for me. 


 


The paintings are varied and done by several artists; most are portraits in military style. Some are not though. The ones that moved me the most were the ones with children in them--like the one where the daddy holds his newborn baby or the one with the laughing child on his daddy's back. My husband has never had to serve, to put his life on the line, for his country. I have been selfishly grateful he has never been in harm's way. But I know that if he had given the ultimate sacrifice it would have been terribly difficult for his children. I know that so many families have had to offer that kind of sacrifice and I just want to say thank you. I know it isn't much - that thank you. It won't make up for your loss, but I am grateful. God go with you and give you His peace.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Faith and Government

Bear with me as I think out loud...


I have been politically involved from a young age - not going door to door, but I follow those up for election, read the propositions, vote, stay involved, etc. I am not apathetic towards government. I am finding myself more and more perplexed by the "state of the state" and am not sure what there is to be done about it.


I am a Christian and know that my faith infuses all that I think and do, but I guess what I am trying to figure out is at what point (in a free society like ours) does one's personal faith affect the faith/lack of faith of others? This is a great puzzler for me as I am not sure what my responsibility as a Christian is with regards to moral issues in the public square. There are certain things I hold to be biblically immoral, but I am honestly asking how this plays out in a country that has freedom of religion? What is my responsibility and where do I have to draw the line? Does my moral compass determine what is right for others because I know the Bible to be God's inspired word? At what point does "freedom of religion" turn to "forced into my religion?"



I have no desire to return to the times of a state-run church or to the Spanish Inquisition where those who did not "tow the line" were eliminated. I have read enough history to know that I don't want to live faith by force. How does that play out in our world? How do we maintain a moral world when everyone's morality is different?



When it comes to answering questions like:



"Government should not censor any speech, press, media, or internet." and I have to answer "Yes, Maybe, No" which do I choose? As a freedom-loving American, I don't want my own thoughts and freedoms of faith in jeopardy, but there *are* inappropriate pictures on the internet, there are other horrifying things there too--and not just on the internet. Of course I don't want them available - so I do embrace censorship to some degree. There *are* appropriate things to censor. So who gets to decide what is censorable and where does our faith fit into it?



I was very interested to see the groundswell of support for Huckabee when he first came on the election scene. It seemed like he was embraced with fervor because he had all the right buzz words. His record didn't vouch so highly for him. (At least in my opinion.) I am not a person who believes that this country will be saved by politics or even by the actions of God's people. My Savior is not of this world. This does not remove our responsibility to be involved though--we have to be in a free nation or we have no say at all. Just how far though, do we go as Christians? What is our God-given, biblical calling, in the political arena? I am not talking about leaving our faith at the door of the election box--no way! I am trying to process the phrase, "You cannot legislate your morality." Do we draw lines? If so, what lines and when?



I would love to hear your thoughts. I am obviously mulling this around in my mind. I want to honor God in all that I do--to obey all His commands for me, and to glorify Him in all that I do. How do we do that politically?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Everything Impossible

God does and is everything impossible. Oh, how I love that! I have been in a discussion about faith in God and His work in creation and you know, sometimes it is just so hard to explain faith to those who don't share it. It truly is "...the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."  (Heb. 11:1) God is just like that, isn't He? I just love love love Him for that. How easy would our faith be if Jesus walked with us face to face here on this earth? How much would we have to trust in His saving, life-giving, purifying, providing hand?

The discussion has once again brought the quandry of faith versus sight into view. This is so key in our homeschools, isn't it? Our all-important faith is not something we can convince another of. It is truly a gift of God, lest we boast. Oh God, grant that my children walk in the faith you have so beautifully given me!

As I was sitting here working, I was listening to Mercy Me's album, Undone. The song, "Everything Impossible" just spoke to me! There are others who wonder and marvel at our Creator God! He is all we could ever need - even if we don't have all the answers. Let Him be praised. I hope you enjoy the lyrics as much as I. They met my heart tonight.

"Everything Impossible"

I was taught to be practical in everything I do
Holding on to what is tangible, and then came You
That's when I found myself so far away, from everything I knew
I took a leap of faith

Even though You're difficult for me to explain
I know I'll never be the same

You're everything I cannot see
You're everything I cannot say
I know it all seems so illogical
But that's okay
You're the love You give to me
You're the love I give away
You are everything impossible
And that's okay

That's okay!

All the things that make no sense to me, draw me to You
Like finding freedom by surrendering, can it be true
With everything I can and cannot know
This mystery is bringing life to me

And all this love I have for You I can't contain
I know I'll never be the same

You're everything I cannot see
You're everything I cannot say
I know it all seems so illogical
But that's okay
You're the love You give to me
You're the love I give away
You are everything impossible
And that's okay

That's okay

What's so hard to understand
What I cannot comprehend
Is that You love me the way I am

You're everything I cannot see
You're everything I cannot say
I know it all seems so illogical
But that's okay
You're the love You give to me
You're the love I give away
You are everything impossible
And that's okay

And that's okay

Saturday, April 12, 2008

These golden years...

Life at our house has been pretty busy as you can probably tell by my extreme lack of attention to this blog! :+) So much has been going on that I have not had five minutes to compose an entry. So I am stealing time tonight and sharing photos. My seven year-old has lost her first top tooth. She was quite the happy girl once the deed was done, but it hurt so much to get the very loose tooth out that the tooth fairy gave her $2.00. :+)



We spent one of the nicest days at a tremendous gold rush living history site near Coloma. Below are a few photos from that wonderful event. If you click on the photo you can see a larger version. Here are the children hand-dipping candles. I was amazed at how many dips it takes to make a candle! It was well over 40.



Here are the beautiful finished products. Don't they look so pretty hanging there?



Here they are making rope with twine. They were making a very long rope the old fashioned way!



Here is another gorgeous shot of the area we were enjoying that day along with the rope twisters. :+)



Here they are making butter, ice cream, grinding wheat, and making fresh whole wheat tortillas by hand. All were wonderfully fresh and delicious!



Here is Abigail churning butter. This was such wonderful butter!



Here is the gold rush country in the spring. This picture was taken right by the American River as we were panning for gold. We did find some and now I finally know how to do it! There was not *much* to be found as I was only able to take gold dust, but boy, I could see the lure of it. It was something to figure out how to glean the gold from the riverbed!



Life has been hectic, but it has been so beautiful here. The weather just yesterday was 85! We have planted our garden and the flowers are all starting to bloom. It is a lovely time of year and we have had hardly any allergies! What a blessing. I hope you are all doing well!

Monday, March 24, 2008

By your words...

"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."



Have you ever seen that verse? I know I have read it before because I have read the whole of the Bible and that is in Matthew 12:36, but I have never read it in the way I did today. My children and I did a study this morning on the tongue because their mother had an issue keeping hers in check. The words we read today were hard and brought many tears.



"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."  (Matt. 12:33-34)



Out of the abundance of my heart my mouth speaks. What is in my heart if I have spoken something sinful? A fellow blogger has a "campaign" of sorts to root out gossip in the church. Gossip is probaby spoken more by women than by men. I have no real proof of that, but I would wager a good guess that it is so. I know that I have been guilty of it more often than I care to remember and it is almost always with another women. I don't share what I share with you to accuse you, but to encourage you to keep your tongues too.



This morning, by not bridling my own tongue I hurt a dear and precious friend. I repented of this sin, but it grieves me still. I share this with you so that you too may be thoughtful because I think it is so easy to open our mouths when we should be silent. Even when we think we are justified - are we honoring the person we are speaking of? Would we speak this way to their face?



"There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." (Prov. 12:18)



The scripture has so much to tell us - to warn us really - about the tongue. James is especially potent:



"Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!" (James 3:4-5)



Ladies, it was a painful lesson to teach my children this morning. It was hard to sit and admit my ugliness to them, to encourage them to keep their tongues pure and their hearts guarded, but the times of refreshing in God's word - even after reading these scriptures that cut the heart - was true and beautiful to me. I don't know what my children will take away from the lesson this morning. I don't know what they will have learned, but I have learned a hard lesson today. I praise my Savior for His kindness to me. I praise Him for His forgiveness when I don't deserve it. I praise Him for His longsuffering over me. I praise Him for the ability to be humbled. I pray that I will remember that it was Jesus who said, "I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak."

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

Hallelujah! Christ arose! Rejoicing today for my salvation!

One of my favorite Easter hymns:

Low in the Grave He Lay


Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!


Refrain


Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!


Vainly they watch His bed, Jesus my Savior;
Vainly they seal the dead, Jesus my Lord!


Refrain


Death cannot keep its Prey, Jesus my Savior;
He tore the bars away, Jesus my Lord!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Rosetta Stone Contest!

Jen is running a fantastic contest and here are all the details:

From Jen:
Rosetta Stone has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while -- next week they are unleashing a brand new curriculum, and you can WIN the *all new* Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3… FOR FREE!

This is a $219 program (and believe me it's worth every penny!) and the winner gets to pick from any of these 14 languages: Spanish (Spain or Latin America), English (American or British), Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Irish, Hebrew, or Russian.

This will also include a headset with microphone, and students will participate in lifelike conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone still incorporates listening, reading and writing as well, in addition to speaking. Many homeschoolers requested grammar and vocabulary exercises, and with Rosetta Stone Homeschool Version 3, they're included! For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program and allow parents to easily enroll students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, and view and print reports.

To win this most excellent program -- in the language of your choice -- copy these paragraphs and post it in (or as) your next blog post -- then to enter the contest, go to the original contest page
HERE and leave a comment with the link showing where you blogged about it. And please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post it. And good luck! The winner will be picked randomly on March 26, and will be notified thru the link they left to their blog pg. And if you have more than one blog, you can post them and enter those separately for more chances to win. Yay for free stuff!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Winter blues?

Naw...


Well, if you have been following the weather report for CA (and I am *so* sure so many of you have - LOL) then you would see that we were supposed to have a storm or two with rain. Not so.  Not that I am complaining because I am not. It has been just gorgeous here. Here is some proof:











And then this happens! My smallest person no longer needs training wheels! It almost seems wrong somehow. :) I am really happy for her but it is the end of an era here at our house--everyone rides on their own! She is a happy happy girl. :+)