Tuesday, January 31, 2012
My sweet Annagrace likes to look at my pictures from my trip to Amish country. We have a special book we read together about the Amish way of life. It is "Just Like Mama" by Beverly Lewis. It is a sweet story about a little girl who wants to be just like her Mama. In the end she and her Mama decide they will both try to be more like the Lord Jesus together.
Well, it put a smile on my face when Annagrace came up to show me her play dough creation and told me she had made an Amish lady. How cute! One day I would love to take my Annagrace to see the beautiful Amish country with me.
Monday, January 30, 2012
I am always on the lookout for new ways to keep little hands busy around our home. My Abigail is a busy little lady, and she does best when she has something to focus on. If she is not engaged in something she WILL find something to do, and it is not always the most profitable thing for our household. So, I try to keep her busy with learning activities and the like. Well, I have read on other blogs that preschoolers will entertain themselves for awhile if you put them at the kitchen sink and let them play. Honestly I had never tried it; I think I was afraid to. Last week, however, I decided to try. I asked Abbie Joy to wash a pot for me. The results were amazing. She washed and scrubbed that pot for a good time. She took it very seriously. After awhile I traded it for another one and then went on to having her scrub cookie sheets. She did a great job! The beauty of it was that not only was she staying out of trouble, but she was also helping me wash the cooking ware in our kitchen. She even went on to scrubbing the sink. I did have to keep an eye on her as she sometimes made the water spray too hard, and I had to quickly adjust the water pressure before we had a flood in the kitchen. Overall it was a very profitable time of keeping her occupied while getting some dishes cleaned. The best part of all was how great she felt knowing she had helped bless our family. She could not wait to get her Daddy's attention that evening and share the news of what a big helper she had been.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
I am so happy for my son. He came in first place in his Bear den for the speed of his car. He received the blue ribbon award and is one happy little fellow. He is already planning how he wants to design his next car for next year's race. :)
Friday, January 27, 2012
When Matt and I went to Amish country I bought a cute little apron bib in a quilt shop. I have wished I bought more as it has been so helpful at meal times. It is big enough to cover clothing and washes up really well. Since I can not go back to Amish country at the present time I decided to try to make a few. So far I have made one and am pretty happy with it. It fits both Abbie Joy and Lilly Faith. The pattern was really easy. The only glitch was learning how to sew on the narrow bias tape, but once I got the hang of that everything was smooth sailing. Here are some pictures.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Today I am posting about my continuing Bible study in the book of Ephesians. The topic is the HOPE we are given in Christ. Circumstantially things have not been going very well in our home this last week. We have had a LOT of sickness, croup, a baby who has been out of sync with her sleeping, a trip to the Emergency Clinic with Annagrace and just the ongoing demands of life. This morning I read this from Ephesians chapter one verses eighteen through nineteen.
"having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might"
I was reminded of the HOPE to which I have been called. That hope remains even when life is demanding and circumstances are not happy. That hope is not in our circumstances but in Christ alone. The verse goes on to talk about the "Immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe." As I read that I was reminded that even though circumstances have sent our lives in a tail spin this past week we are not without resources to deal with it all. It is through His power working within us that we can stand. This beloved hymn comes to mind.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
Here is my prayer from my study this morning:
"Lord, please help me to keep perspective in the midst of daily struggles. Please help me to keep the hope of my calling in sight and to receive your great power to help me. Amen"
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
My girls recently enjoyed several new puzzles from the Dollar Tree. Abbie Joy has also been loving her princess magic marker set she received for Christmas. I love magic Markers! She does not get the ink all over her, and she loves to see the color appear on her paper. What a win win situation. :) We have also been having fun with our new singing Crayola holder which sings songs as we take the crayons out. http://www.amazon.com/Fisher-Price-Made-Musical-Crayon-Caddy/dp/B004ND7FMQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327466142&sr=8-1
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Well, here we are at the end of another week. This morning found me buried in our craft room rummaging through a huge mess of maternity clothes, baby clothes, special momentos, and crafts of all kinds scattered around. I made a dent but still have much more work before that room is organized. I am thankful that I ended up with a pile of things I can donate and get some more things out from under this roof. I hope you all are doing well, and here are seven quick takes for you:
1. Here are some great links I found this week. I thought I would share them with my readers.
Want some creative uses for pencil boxes? Check out this: http://thehappyhousewife.com/home-management/
Here is a link for Psalm 119 put to music. I would LOVE for my children to know Psalm 119 by heart. This cd sings through Psalm 119! http://www.shepardmusic.com/
I really enjoyed reading this post about the life of Sarah Edwards. She was the wife to Jonathon Edwards. http://joyfilleddays.wordpress.com/2012/01/21/what-you-can-learn-from-sarah-edwards/
2. Here is a great quote from John Calvin on the need to rejoice in the Lord.
“We are cold when it comes to rejoicing in God!” wrote Calvin. “Hence, we need to exercise ourselves in it and employ all our senses in it – our feet, our hands, our arms and all the rest – that they all might serve in the worship of God and so magnify Him.”
3. Yesterday I got lost in Joann's fabrics and came home with some 99 cent patterns and new fabric. I hope to get these projects finished: a new skirt for me, two new bibs for Lilly Faith, teach Lauren and Annagrace how to sew tote bags and teach Lauren how to make jammy pants.
4. This week a friend blessed our children with one of those nice, large plastic play houses. My children have been having sooo much fun with it. This sweet friend also taught Lauren how to do some cake decorating. Thank you, sweet friend!
5. I have been in the first book of Ephesians this week meditating on the spiritual blessing the Lord has poured out upon me as His child. When you realize your position in Christ and how many resources He has already given you it gives great encouragement.
6. I am reading through "More Devotions for Homeschool Moms" by Jackie Wellwood. It is a book of short two page devotions for homeschool moms. She writes very authentically sharing from her own struggles with her large family. This book, as well, as Jackie's first book "Devotions for Homeschool Moms" have been really encouraging.
7. The weather has been really warm; like in the seventies. My children have been playing outside without even a sweater. It feels like I should already be planting spring plants. Looks like this may not be a very cold winter. I am o.k. with that as I would rather my children get to play outside. Well that is all for now. Have a blessed weekend, everyone.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
My Annagrace and Abbie Joy have each adopted their own very favorite color that they are most committed to. Annagrace is a lover of purple while Abbie Joy is devoted to pink. Well, yesterday I pointed out an infant picture to Abbie Joy. I said, "Look there is a picture of you when you were a baby." Her response was, "That baby has a purple passi in her mouth. Purple is NOT my favorite color." Oh, that girl sure makes me laugh. I just told her that when she was a baby she did love her purple passi. :)
I recently purchased some fun ice cube trays from the Dollar Bins at Target. We have been trying to find various fun uses for the trays. Yesterday we filled them with rice. Today we used salad tongs to pick up counting hippos and drop them into the trays. After that fun we filled our cubes with yummy snacks. My little learners pretended to be making cookies with their snacks.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
This week I began a new study in the book of Ephesians through the ministry of Good Morning Girls.
It has already been very refreshing and encouraging. Much of the study thus far has been about how God chose His church "before the foundation of the world." Eph. 1:4 That is pretty mind boggling to realize that God chose His bride, the church, before the foundation of the world. We are fulfilling His eternal plan that was written in eternity past. He has a purpose for saving us and giving us life during this time in history. Look at the full verse:
"Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved." Ephesians 1:4
That says to me that we have much to be thankful for. We have much purpose to our lives, and we absolutely should be living our lives "to the praise of His glorious grace."
Did you catch the phrase "that we should be holy and blameless before Him?"
You see, I believe that the Lord desires that His people live holy lives. He desires that we be sanctified or "set apart" from non believers. Does that mean that we lock ourselves up and don't reach out to the lost? By no means! It means that we should make it our goal to:
"Lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us" - Heb. 12:1
It means that we will not live in a lifestyle that is contrary to God's Word:
"No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God." _ I John 3:9
It means that we will flee even a hint of what is shameful or immoral:
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. - Ephesians 5:3
It means we will have an aversion to evil but CLING to what is pure.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. - Romans 12:9
Here are some practical nuts and bolts when we think about the topic of "Blameless and Holy."
Have I set Christ as Lord in my heart? Am I willing to say, "YES LORD!" to His still small voice? OR do I want to set my own agenda and do things my own way?
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, _ I Peter 3:15
Am I trying to get as close to the world, and its allurements as I can? OR am I trying to be as much like the Lord Jesus as I can? Do I want as much of the world as I can get, or do I want to be conformed to the image of Christ?
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. - Romans 12:2
Am I, as a daughter of the King, dressing in a modest fashion so as not to pull my brothers down?
"Likewise that the women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control." I Timothy 2:9
Just a point on modesty......do you see from this verse that modesty is referring to a woman's clothing but also to her heart attitude? Women are to be self-controlled with modest hearts. In reference to clothing, I think it so sad that immodesty is so rampant that when a woman is dressed modestly she really stands out. My point is that modesty is SO NOT the norm that when I see a woman who consistently dresses modestly I can't help but really notice. Shouldn't it be the other way around especially for christian women?
Am I guarding my heart and eyes so that I will not be desensitized to purity and truth?
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life. - Proverbs 4:23
We need to be careful about what goes in our ears and in our eyes, because garbage in/garbage out. Mothers, we need to be so vigilant in this area with our children. I try to always choose not even the good but the best. There might not be anything wrong with a certain video or book, but do we have a better option? Is there something that will encourage my children to love God and live for His glory. We have found some excellent resources both in videos and books that inspire our children to greatness. The Lord has been growing me in this area through the years, and I am a lot more picky now than ever before. If we do allow them to see, read, or hear something mediocre it is our desire to talk with them and help them sort through what hidden agendas might be in play in that book, movie, etc. This is a hard one but so worth a concerted effort.
Well, this by no means is an exhaustive list of what holiness and blamelessness is. It is just a few things that come to my mind. If Christ chose us, gave us eternal life, and adopted us into His family that, "We should be holy and blameless before Him" then I think it is important that we continue to "seek those things which are above." Our purpose is to glorify Him!!!
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him iin glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you:2 sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self4 with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,5 free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." - Colossian 3 1-17.
To wrap this up, I would say that it should be our ambition live "holy and blameless lives" out of gratitude to the Lord Jesus for saving us and adopting us into His family. Our foundation should be that our purpose is to glorify Him in everything. That is why we exist. It is like the catechism I teach to my little girls. Annagrace, "Why did God make you and all things?" And she answers, "FOR HIS OWN GLORY." If God made me and all things for His own glory then my life should bring Him glory through my attitudes, choices, and behaviors. We will never be perfect, but it should be our aim to please the Lord Jesus and live a life of obedience to His Word. As for me, I have much to learn and thankfully He is not through with me yet.
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."
- Philippians 1:6
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
We bit off a big commitment with Gabriel this past school year. That commitment is Cub Scouts. I have to say it has been a huge blessing in his life. You see Gabriel has four sisters, and thus all the girl stuff in our home is multiplied four times. One time he complained to me that there are always more girl toys, movies, etc. Matt and I felt it was time to make an intentional effort to do something for him that was just ALL BOY, and Cub Scouts has been the perfect thing. He goes once a week or twice if there is an event like a camp out, Pinewood Derby, Workshop, etc. As much as we want to teach him boyhood/manly skills it is easy to overlook all he needs to be learning without this accountability. The homework has been great to keep us accountable to teach him these skills and character lessons. Recently he has learned some about cooking, built a model car and display, built a Pinewood Derby car from a block of wood, began woodworking skills, and learned about safety precautions. There have been so many great lessons learned already. He is currently working hard to complete his requirements to earn his Bear badge before he is promoted to the next level. He is learning that hard work pays off as he completes these assignments and is awarded along the way. It is so precious to see him in a group of boys all in uniform and having so much fun. This has been such a great opportunity for him. We are so proud of his hard work thus far. In the pictures you can see him showing his model display to his Bear Den and also standing with his group after the police officer spoke about safety.
Monday, January 16, 2012
Psalm 126:3 The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad.
We have a new craze over here that is bringing much fun to hair fixing time. My little girls have fallen in love with what we call "MOUSE EARS" Everyday when I fix their hair they are requesting this new little hair style. The truth is their hair is just now getting long enough to do fun things like this. Lilly Faith has too little hair to have "MOUSE EARS," but she has fun playing with all the bows and putting rubber bands on her wrists as if they were bracelets. Having these three little stair step girls is so much fun. They put a smile on my face.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
1. I have new household help that I absolutely am soooo incredibly thankful for. It is my new Roomba Robot that Matt gave me for Christmas. This little friend drives herself around on my tile floors picking up all kinds of dirt and crumbs. She goes all over our downstairs working diligently. She does not even complain about her chore. :) I was uncertain about it at first, but it has turned out to be a really big help. I just wish she could mop too.
2. I read this quote and thought it was powerful "Let the child's first lesson be obedience, and the second will be what thou wilt." -Benjamin Franklin
3. Gabriel has been playing catch up this week on some of his Cub Scouts requirements. He has spent time cooking and working on models as well as some other achievements. We will have some pictures coming soon.
4. Tonight I made baked oatmeal with cranberries for my family. They loved it. Here is the link I got the recipe from.
5. One highlight of my week was going to the mailbox and finding a hand written note card and special gift sent to me totally unexpected. What an encouragement! It reminds me again of the power of encouragement in handwriting a blessing to a friend or family member. With email it is seldom that I send mail the old fashioned way, but what an encouragement it can be!!! I was so incredibly blessed.
6. I have spent years now unable to attend women's Bible study due to the season of life I am in homeschooling my children. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make, but I do miss the fellowship, accountability, and encouragement. I have decided to try an online Bible study and am excited about it.
I have never tried anything like this, but I look forward to an opportunity to learn with others. We are going to be using the SOAP method of Bible study. I have never done SOAP before, but my husband has and really enjoyed it.
7. This past week the children and I took time most mornings to sing together. Abbie Joy always wants to sing "Jesus Loves Me" or "I've Got the Joy Down in My Heart." We usually oblige, but we have also been trying to learn some Scripture verses put to music. I look forward to continuing with that tomorrow. May you all be blessed as we close out this Lord's Day, and may you have a week focused on Jesus our Savior.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
As I said in the last post we are trying hard to keep six little hands busy and out of trouble. Here are some more things we have been occupying ourselves with. Notice the fun Annagrace and Lilly Faith created out of a simple quilt. :)
You can make poster board puzzles by purchasing two of the same poster boards. Then laminate and use one for the base of the puzzle while cutting up the extra one. Then apply velcro and you have a puzzle.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Now that we have three sweet little girls it has become crucially important that we find creative ways of occupying their time. One of the best things we have done over the past school year is to turn our breakfast area into a preschool/activity center. We have organized our different learning manipulative activities into plastic shoe boxes. We have tried many different ways of storing these boxes, but the best thing has been purchasing a shelf from Target that holds most of our boxes. We do have some larger plastic boxes still in our pantry, but the shoe boxes have a new home on the shelf. Our girls busy themselves with these activities in the morning when we have "school time." They also busy themselves with them when I am cooking and cleaning, etc. Learning is something that is happening all hours of the day as they keep coming back and asking for various activities. They LOVE hands on learning, and I am always looking for new and creative things to put in these shoe boxes. So, if you have any ideas please share!!!
We are also going through an alphabet curriculum I purchased from www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com
Each week we focus on a new letter of the week.
Abbie Joy and Annagrace are also working through sweet little workbooks from Rod and Staff. They are simple and very inexpensive.
Some of our recent activities have been sticker dots, counting hippos and placing them in ice cube trays, puzzles, musical instruments, scissor practice, shape sorter, stacking cups, etc.
I have found that keeping them occupied with learning activities keeps them busy in a productive manner.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
I have posted much on this blog about Lauren's handiwork. She is one crafty inclined young lady. Well, recently it has really been hitting me that my second daughter, Annagrace, is more than ready to begin learning homemaking skills and crafting as well. So, we have made a few small attempts at learning to sew, craft, and cook lately. I found a vintage teddy bear kit that I purchased and surprised her with. She was really pleased with her finished product. The bear was sewn together with pre-cut pieces of felt, so it was super easy but rewarding. Also, last Sunday I did tie blankets with Lauren and Annagrace. I bought the pre-cut kits half off at Joaann's fabric store. I love the excitement I see in my girl's faces when they have completed a project. It really is important to me that my girls learn these womanly arts. I want them to be skilled homemakers so that they can one day take care of their own families if the Lord chooses to bless them with homes of their own.
"And so TRAIN the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be reviled." Titus 2:4-5
The word TRAIN strikes me in the above verse from Titus. A little girl is not going to grow up somehow just knowing how to be a woman of God, how to be kind, how to work at home, how to love her family, etc. Our little girls have to be TRAINED in Biblical womanhood. It is a mother's privilege and responsibility to TRAIN her daughters day by day, precept upon precept. It is easy for me to get caught up in the mundane duties of each day and forget to TRAIN as we walk the path each day.
English Standard Version (ESV)
6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. I feel so blessed when I do take the time to TRAIN my girls and see the joy it brings to them. I hope one day they in turn will TRAIN their daughters and the legacy of Biblical Womanhood will be passed from one generation to the next. I have much to learn about the training of my children. I make many mistakes all the time, but the Lord is faithful to continue TRAINING me too. :)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Yesterday Gabriel and I spent some time in the kitchen learning some basic skills he needed to know for a Cub Scouts assignment. Here are some of his accomplishments:
He did really well and enjoyed his time in the kitchen. I was able to take him to Cub Scouts last night and listen to him share, with his den, about his experience in the kitchen. His den also discussed safety measures to protect ourselves from evil people, and Gabriel had fun taking my finger prints and marking them in his book. It was a good time with him. I love my growing little man.
He is currently preparing for the pinewood derby, so we will have some pictures of his car on the blog in the near future.