Friday, January 28, 2011

Review of Week 21

I love that my kids love to read!

A is still working on The Courage of Sarah Noble. She sort of got side tracked on a new series called That's Nat!. She absolutely loves them! They are all Christian based about a little school aged girl named Natalie.

J is my speed reader. He reads books faster than I can get my hands on em. He's already gone through his new series, The Sugar Creek Gang, also Christian based. He finished up Farmer Boy a day or two ago and is about half way through Mountain Born already.

Yes, I know several of these books are read-alouds for MFW, but we just never seem to find the time to get to them with everything else we have going on. So, the kids read these in their spare time.

A is getting much better at her math facts. She loves when I hide the flashcards and she finds them one at a time and answers them. 

J and S are learning things I know I never did in the 3rd grade equations... and they are pretty good at them too.

The state studies are going ok. A loves everything about them. She could color for hours. J pretty much does the bare minimum...state flag, state abbreviation, and state capitol. Every now and then he feels like going all out.

The kids enjoyed learning about Robert Fulton. They wondered how he was able to keep the water out of his diving ship while he attached a bomb to another boat. Hmmm...I guess we'll be looking that up this weekend on the internet :) 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Just the way they are...

Have you ever just set back and watched your kiddos? Yesterday morning, while doing the dishes, I took a little break to do just that. And you know what? I like my kiddos just the way they are :)

I like their little mannerisms, their quirks, their eccentricities. Yes, sometimes, some of those things do get on my nerves from time to time, but God made them just the way they are. Who knows what God has planned for them? They may need those all those traits one day for HIS special purpose in their lives. (Now, I'm not talking about bad habits, bad behavior, or anything like that. Those things I could definitely do without!) 

I almost started to cry yesterday morning as I watched them sing those cute little Bible songs during the Bible part of school. And I thought to myself, "They are growing up so fast. Before long, they won't want to be singing these songs anymore."

Here are a few thoughts I had about my kiddos... You know us mommies can go on and on! But, I'll stick with the first few that popped into my head :)

My daughter...

She's the artsy fartsy one. The drama queen. The one with her own fashion and style.

My son...

He's the loving compassionate one. The analytical thinker. The one with no sense of fashion or style.   

Here's one of the songs they were singing this morning. Enjoy the video!

"Little by little, inch by inch
by the yard - it's hard, by the inch - what a cinch
never stare up the stairs, just step up the steps
little by little, inch by inch"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Compassion International

Waaay back in June of 1998, while my husband and I were on our honeymoon, we came across a Compassion International flier in a little Christian shop we were browsing through. We picked one up and once we got home, the Lord laid it upon our hearts to begin sponsoring a child in need. Fast forward 13 years later, and we are still sponsoring that same child. Her name is Eanjill.

She is from the Philippines. We began sponsoring her when she was 7 years old. Now she is close to turning 20 and in her 1st year of college. We have a binder full of letters and pictures throughout the years. It is truly amazing to look back through them all and see where the Lord was drawing her closer to Him. This is what I love about Compassion International! They not only meet these children's physical needs, but their (and their family's) spiritual needs as well. Once my kiddos were older, they began taking an interest in drawing pictures and even writing letters to send to Eanjill.

The other night, as I was writing to Eanjill, my children said, "Mom, we want to help sponsor someone like us." My husband and I thought this was a wonderful idea! Jason pulled up the website and before long, each of our children had found other children they'd like to become "pen pals" with. 

Meet Debabrata from India. He is the same age as my son and likes to do many of the same activities as him, including playing marbles and reading. J said, "He looks like a boy I would really have fun  playing with."

And meet Marthe-Kencia from Haiti. She is also the same age as my daughter and enjoys playing dolls and hide-n-seek just like her. A loved all the bows she had in her hair. At one time, my daughter used to love having her hair fixed just like that too. 

Sponsoring a child is a long term commitment. (It is also tax deductible, if that matters to you.) Typically, you stay with that child until he/she leaves the program or they reach the age to where they 'graduate' out of the program.

If sponsoring a child is not something you feel up to at the moment, then I still encourage you to take a look at their website. There are infant/children survival programs, disaster relief programs, disease intervention programs, one time gift or occasional gift programs, the list goes on...   

I like the fact that the majority of the money (over 82%) sent in goes straight to these children and less than 10% is spent on administrative type costs.

I hope my children are able to develop as deep a friendship with their 'pen pals' as we have with Eanjill over the years.   

Do you sponsor a child? If so, I would love to hear a little about them. Or have you ever thought about sponsoring a child? If so, I would encourage you to visit

Friday, January 14, 2011

This -n- That...Video Review

Ok, I am playing catch up. A lot has happened over the last month and I have not had time to sit down and blog it all.

This little video has it all....from lava and tap to basketball and birthdays.


The Rock Tumbler...Now We Know

So, J saved up all his Christmas money to buy a rock tumbler. We thought, This is great! No little pieces to get lost and he's actually spending his money on something meaningful. He loves to collect rocks, so what better to get than a rock tumbler to turn his collections into little works of art. Fast forward 10 days later...I can still hear that tumbler in my sleep. 24 hours a day for 10 days straight!!! That tumbler just kept going and going and going and going... Technically, it was supposed to run for more like 2-4 weeks straight, but Shhhh! we ain't tellin' Jase that. The rocks aren't as shiny as they should be, but we had no idea what we were getting into.

It was positioned in the corner of our dining room. Mistake! NEVER posistion one of these things inside your home. My husband put a chair over it and covered the chair with the thickest, heaviest blanket we could find. It sorta worked...just a teeny tiny bit.  We thought of moving it into the laundry room, but our old cat was scared of it as it was and her litter box is in the laundry room. Putting that thing in there with her litter box was like asking for little surprises (if ya get my drift) to be left all over the house. We thought of moving it into the living room, but that room has tile floors and it echoes terribly, so putting it in there would just amplify the noise. We wanted to put it outside, but the weather and operating conditions didn't match up and it would be too cold at times to run the tumbler outside.

Our only option to make the noise go away sooner was to shorten the time by half. So, if the instructions said 4 days, we did 2, if it said 7 days, we did 3. Well, the rocks are finally finished. J is happy and still excited about the tumbler, but wonders why the rocks aren't as shiny as he expected. Hmmmm...

He wants to try to tumble some of the rocks he has collected over the years. Now those rocks are not the fancy pre-packaged kind that came with his tumbler, so shortening the time is out of the question. We'll definitely have to run those the full 2-4 weeks. We'll get started on that just as soon as it warms up a bit and the tumbler can go outside.


and after :)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Forgotten God...

The title of this post comes from the book I have recently finished reading called, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan.

Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

This is the follow-up post to what I had started writing about earlier on the Holy Spirit. You can find those posts at It Happens in a Flash: Show me how to die and It Happens in a Flash: My Mother's Legacy... .

In the months before my Mother's death, she told me, "P, the Holy Spirit tells me things. If you listen, you can hear him speaking to you too." That got me I listen closely to what the Holy Spirit is telling me, or does the busyness of my life and my plans get in the way all too often? She also told me that, if she had not gone through what she did with her pain and her cancer, she would never have relied or leaned on the Holy Spirit as much as she did.  "What about me?", I though. It shouldn't take tragedies and hardships in life to bring me closer to God, I should have been doing it all along.

The Holy Spirit is just as much a part of God as Jesus is. We try to explain the Trinity with cutesy analogies like water/ice/steam or the 3 parts of an apple. Those simple explanations do help us and all, but they can never come close to even scratching the surface of understanding the Trinity. The reality is, we will NEVER be able to explain the Trinity. Our human minds can only take us so far and the rest resides in the mysterious awe and wonder of God. Think about it...If we could explain it all, then God wouldn't be God now would he?

I watched my mom closely in her final weeks. She was in constant prayer. Every ache, every pain, every pill she had to swallow, every step she had to climb...she prayed. She told me the Holy Spirit helped her, comforted her, guided her. Doctors were amazed that she was still alive; they wanted to know how she was still here, still able to breath, to talk, to get around. She'd tell them, "It's not me or anything I have done, it's Jesus. To Him be the glory. Praise God!" Then, they'd reply something like, "Well, it must be. Looking at your charts, you shouldn't be here."

Let's face it, there are lots of things we can do without the Holy Spirit. We can rely heavily on ourselves and get pretty far in life: we can attain the American dream all on our own. I don't want to be like that . In the Bible, Jesus explained to his disciples that he had to leave this earth so another could come in his place. One who could live in us and work through us and be with us forever. Wow! Jesus asked God to give us a helper and he came in the form of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). That is just amazing to think about!

At one point through reading this book, I started to think back to where I know I felt the Holy Spirit telling me to act and I did not. To give this stranger a hug or to ask this person if I could pray for them right then and there. So many missed opportunities because they didn't fit into my plan or my schedule for that day.

As Francis mentions in his book, I don't want to be the kind of person who orders the Holy Spirit around and tells him to go where I want to go or do what I want to do. I want to ask the Holy Spirit if I can join Him, if He can lead me and guide me, not the other way around. I need to be brought to a place where people can see God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit working though me: not me working through me. One of the things that Francis Chan said in his book that really stuck with me was, "The God of the universe is not something we can just add to our lives and keep on as we did before. The Spirit who raised Christ from the dead is not someone we can just call on when we want a little extra power in our lives. Jesus Christ did not die in order to follow us. He died and rose again so that we could forget everything else and follow Him to the cross, to true life."

A few parting thoughts on the Holy Spirit from the Bible as mentioned in this book...
*The Spirit speaks when we do not have the words. (Luke 12:12)
*He is our comforter, advisor, encourager, strength. (John 14-16)
*The Holy Spirit draws us closer to God. (Romans 8:26)
*He convicts us of sin. (I Thess. 1:5)
*The Spirit is our sanctifier. (2 Cor. 3:18)

All of these thoughts fit so perfectly with the things that have been taking place in my life over the past several months, the things that God has been showing me, and what I am currently reading in the book Radical by David Platt. You can see more on this at It Happens in a Flash: The Winds of Change are Blowing

I have a long way to go, I don't fully understand everything, and I'm going to mess things up terribly when I get in the way (and I know I will), but God is helping me. My prayer from here on out is to allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through my life so that I might live in such a way that there is no way people could mistake what is happening in my life for anything other than God and His awesome power.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Makin' Changes and Makin' Rain

After the long Christmas break, this week back in school went surprisingly better than I had planned. My little brother, S, will be homeschooling with us from here on out now which brings along a few changes. He uses the Abeka DVD program and we do not. I beat my head trying to figure out how we could fit in all of the things my kids were doing plus the things he was doing. There was no way I could do it all and still keep my sanity! (We use Abeka too, but only for math and language. For history, Bible, and science, we use other curriculums. ) My dad has already paid for the entire year of Abeka DVD, plus S's grades are all sent stright to Abeka. (I keep track of my kids' grades myself.) Anyway, I didn't want to mess up S's records for this school year or anything, so I had to come up with some sort of compromise.

I think we've got a plan though. Since my husband does MFW Bible in the evening with my kids, we just get in the Abeka Bible lesson with S through DVD in the mornings. We are taking a break with our Apologia science (this was the hardest part for my kids because they loved learning about the planets) to finish up S's Abeka science with him through the DVD. We also do S's Health, Safety, and Manners Abeka lessons with him and he does MFW History with us. Soon, S's Abeka history lessons will start up and I think we will have to split up at that point and S do his history lessons with the DVD teacher while I do MFW history with J and A. I don't know...we'll think more about that obstacle when we come to it I guess. 

Now for what we did this week....

In history, we learned about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin. Sadly, we did not get around to picking the fake seeds out of the cotton balls though like we had planned, but some things just fall by the way side I guess. The kids did have some fun this week "making rain" in their science experiment though.

The steam coming from the boiling water represented a cloud.

The ice cubes in the dish represented cold air.

Warm, moist air (the steam/cloud) met up with the cold air (the ice cubes)...

...Thus creating "raindrops" .

And the "raindrops" begin to fall

All in all, it was a good week :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Hamburger Finale

It is finally here...the end results to our hamburger experiment. Technically, the hamburger has been long gone for quite some time, but I am just now getting around to posting all the happenings.

Day 14 of the hamburger didn't really look all that different from Day 10. The only thing we noticed was both buns had cracked all the way though and were very brittle. Still no mold...

Now, what the kiddos had been waiting for...the hamburger finale. They destroyed the "fake hamburger" (as A calls it) with hammers and PVC pipe. They were suprised at how much force it took to crack the rock-hard patty.

Just pretend you saw a video here. Apparently, the video file was corrupted. Gonna see if my husband can take a look at it and fix it.

We had a fun time with this experiment, but we are glad it is over. It was rather boring. We have not been able to eat a McDonald's hamburger (or any other pre-frozen hamburger from any other fast food place for that matter) since completing this experiment. We did enjoy a Fudrucker's hambuger a few days ago though and it was delicious... It may not not be that good for you, but at least they use fresh beef.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Winds of Change are Blowing

I've never been one for making New Year's Resolutions and I'm still not really, but God has been showing me a lot over the past few months and has really been speaking to my heart on a number of things. It is absolutely amazing how nearly every conversation, sermon, bible study, article in a newsletter, etc... has just all fit together and brought us back to the same point over and over. And I haven't even read the book Radical by David Platt yet!!! (My husband just finished it up last night and passed it on to me.)

After hearing our Sunday school teacher today and the message he brought, my husband laughingly said, "Do you think God is trying to tell us something?" There are so many things that God has shown and is showing me as a person and us as a family that we need to change...It just so happens that a brand new year happened to come around about the same time :)

Radical | A book by David Platt