Tuesday, April 29, 2008


5 year old C, when adding 200 plus 200 in math: "It's 400, I memorized it out!"

3 year old Little Man, as I was patting his cute little behind: "I will have a big bottom when I'm grown up because my size will be big. And I will have hair in my nose."

11 year old G, clearly concerned at the notion that there was a finite amount of crude oil underground throughout the world: "Does it produce itself?" (I thought this was a really great question!)

Little Man, while watching butter melt onto his warm rice: "It's floating in!"

Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy 90th Birthday!!!!

My amazing father in law turned 90 a few days ago, and we had a big party for him yesterday afternoon at my brother in law's house. You would never think he was 90 if you met him in real life. He is healthy, smart, and still has a great sense of humor! He has had such interesting chapters to his life so far, and I love to hear his perspective on the past. Happy Birthday dad!

My brother in law lives on a couple acres out in the country....our children were in seventh heaven! If you look closely you can barely make out a blue blur about halfway up this tree. That would be my son G. I had a little freak out moment when I realized how high off the ground he was, but took my cue from my hubby who was completely unconcerned. How is it that so many boys survive to adulthood???

All my father-in-law's offspring. My hubby and I are on the far left. Behind us is my brother in law, owner of the house. The blond woman on the far right is one of my sisters in law, and the woman directly beneath her (with elbow on knee) is the other one (her hubby - my other brother in law - is on the top far right in black). My in laws are in the middle of course, and all the rest are the 10 grandchildren. Great team work on the party everyone!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Happy 11th Birthday!!!!

To my sweet, precious daughter.....11 years ago today you officially made me a mother, but I felt like your mother from the first day I learned you were growing inside me. We had waited so long for you, longed for you, prayed for you, anticipated you. Your birth day was a joyous day, finally meeting you for the very first time! We made all the anxious relatives wait a while longer in the hospital waiting room as we basked in your newness, delighted in all your tiny perfect features, and whispered our love over you. Those moments are forever etched in my memory and my heart.

You have brought us such joy! The last 11 years have not been without their challenges, but I absolutely love being your mommy, and I absolutely love you. I know that growing up is sometimes hard (as being grown up is sometimes hard) but your life is such a precious gift, and I treasure each year, each day with you. I love you as many as the stars. And I will always love you no matter what.

Today ~

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008


Last night at bedtime I told our daughter that her daddy and I had discussed various privileges/freedoms that she's earned, and that one of them was she would no longer need to ask permission to ride her bike around either of our blocks (the one we're on and the one facing us), only that she tell us where she's going before she leaves. We discussed how important it is to be aware of your surroundings all the time. In other words, don't look just straight ahead. And also how important it is to be as responsible as possible for your own personal safety. It was a very grown up discussion and I could tell G was grateful that we recognized her maturity and that she would now have this freedom her brothers do not yet have.

During our early afternoon recess today, she informed me immediately upon going outside that she was going to ride her bike around our block. I must confess, I prayed the whole time she was gone! An hour later, before coming in for more school, she rode around the other, much bigger block. I sat on the porch and waited for her return.

I want to be good at letting go. I don't want to be a mom that hangs on desperately. But it's painful at times. Not only do these privileges represent a greater potential "risk", as she is physically away from parental protection, but they also represent an emotional seperation. She needs me in such different ways now. It is more complex and challenging to be a support to her as she maneuvers the minefield of puberty, than it was to tie her shoes and kiss away a hurt when she was a toddler. There are times I miss how easy it used to be! But I do love the girl she is and the woman she is becoming. It is a delight and a joy to know her so well, and to watch how she struggles and grows through difficulties.

The changes she is experiencing represent changes for me as a mom too. And I want to embrace those changes and enjoy the newness they bring. I just wish the changes were never painful or hard!!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Last Week I....

Mailed in our state income tax forms with a $600 check. Our poor beleagured state needs the money but I wish I had more confidence that our tax dollars would be well spent.

Went to our son's first soccer game of the season. G played hard, we are proud of him!

Waited impatiently for our federal income tax refund to arrive so I can spend the money. :-)

Made a book list for next school year.

Did dishes, laundry, sweeping, folding of throw blankets and replacing of couch pillows many times over.

Had to hand down a no-bike-riding-for-a-week consequence to one of our children who rode around the block without permission.

Listened to several very cute conversations. Here's one:

My husband: Who knows what a butterfly drinks?

5 year old C: He drinks honey.

3 year old A: No, he drinks nectar! (he learned that in co-op 2 days ago and remembered!!)

Struggled through a few days of school not feeling well.

Re-did the menus for the week based on what I actually had on hand so I wouldn't have to spend any money on groceries.

Did some prep work for our MOPS end of the year banquet.

Planted tulip bulbs that lived in my freezer all winter and hoped that they'd grow!

Made a meal for another family.

Went to a farewell party for our "illegal" friends who will be now be deported very soon.

Felt convicted about my selfishness (in a couple areas in particular).

Cried a few tears. Prayed a lot. Thanked God for all His many blessings.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Paul Revere Lanterns

I had hoped to have pictures of 5 cute little colonial era looking lanterns to share with you all today, but we ran into some difficulties in the making of said lanterns!

You will recall that famous phrase from Longfellow's poem: "one if by land, two if by sea...." Well, we set out to make Paul Revere type lanterns yesterday afternoon. First we cut appropriate lengths of thin metal sheeting off the big roll (called "flashing" and found in the roofing department of Lowe's).
Then each of the children drew a picture on paper and taped this to their metal flashing piece. We gave each of them hammers (Little Man was the only one who needed help!) and they began to pound little holes along the edges of their picture, for the light from the lantern to shine through. This took quite a while.

Once this was accomplished, we cut small slits along the bottom edge (similar to the cuts you make on the inside of fabric when sewing corners) and rounded the flashing so that the bottom would fit inside a jar lid. We hot glued the bottom of the flashing to the inside of the jar lid. What we didn't plan ahead of time was how to adhere the two edges together all the way up the side of the lantern. Hot glue didn't work. Currently they are all being held together with rubberbands while we figure out what to try next. We're thinking super glue.

In the meantime, all the jar lids came unglued from the lantern bodies, so we peeled off the dried glue and will try super glue along the bottom also.
Note to other homeschoolers: if you try this yourselves be sure to use WIDE MOUTH jar lids!! It gives you much more room to work.
So, the children are disappointed that the lanterns aren't finished in time to light them and act out that whole scene from history, but hopefully they will be finished soon. After we do the gluing, we will also attach wire handles along the top.
Yesterday was the anniversary of Paul Revere's famous ride, and today was the anniversary of Lexington and Concord, the "shot heard 'round the world". If you are an American, be thankful for the freedoms you enjoy, and for the system of government that allows for representation and for a peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. For all that is wrong with our government, there are lots of things that our founding fathers got right!

Friday, April 18, 2008


At the request of my friend Laurie, who wanted to see some art using oil pastels, here are two projects we did in my drawing class at co-op this year. The first one was just completed last week. It's a copy of Monet's "The Cliff at Fecamp". In class we learned about impressionism, and then began work on reproducing this picture, which was originally done in oil paint. Oil pastels are a great substitue for oil paint - they are like oil paint on a stick! Here is one done by a 14 year old student:
Here is mine:

And here is one done by a 10 year old student (my daughter!):

Earlier in the year we did a "scratch off" project when we were learning about complimentary colors. We colored a taped off square with one color of crayon, and then colored over it with its complimentary color of oil pastel. Then we used a toothpick to scratch off some of the oil pastel, revealing the crayon underneath. All 3 of these pictures were done by my daughter, and they are different bugs. I tried and tried to get them to come out more clear, but for some reason they want to be blurry today.

We are using a wonderful art curriculum from Masterpiece Art Instruction called "The Phonics of Drawing." It has been so fun (and different for me) to do some bona fide art this year!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When Play Imitates History

Here are all the children, lined up like the British Regulars for a "volley". They played revolutionary war the entire time they were outside today, lining up for volleys (with sticks as muskets) or tiptoing around our vehicles in the driveway in order to shoot from behind trees and rocks (as the militia did at Concord). It was quite funny to watch them. As a mom I used to wrestle with the notion of letting my kids pretend to fight. Now I see it as a healthy thing. Most of the time no-one gets hurt, and virtually all of the time their play fighting is a re-enactment of an historical battle. People pay money to see re-enactments!!

Just as an fyi, tomorrow (April 18) is the 233rd anniversary of Paul Revere's famous ride. Perfect timing for us since we have just finished learning about that! We are planning a special activity tomorrow afternoon after co-op to commemorate his ride. Hopefully I will have pictures to share!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sharing some written work

I'd like to share with you what my daughter wrote today. Please know this is not a boastful type of brag, but a genuine "wow, look what my daughter did today" type of mommy brag. Since I am pretty much homebound and without adult interaction much of the time, you are the lucky ones who get to hear it. :-)

This might also be considered a mini commercial for our writing curriculum, Institute for Excellence in Writing, or IEW. I am so thankful the Lord brought us to this curriculum at this juncture in our homeschool journey. It is a curriculum that teaches writing skills using models, so from the very beginning students don't need to worry about what to write but are simply taught how to write. Once these models are practiced and retained, they become automatic and then older students can spend all their time on what to write because they already know the how. Make sense?

We are currently learning how to write short narrative stories, and the model we are using for this is the fable. First we learned how to break the fable down into its three main parts (characters/setting; conflict/problem; climax/resolution/epilogue) and made an outline of these parts. Then today our daughter put the original fable away, looked at her outline, and re-wrote the fable from her notes. She was required to add in the "dress-ups" that she's learned, those elements of style that tend to "dress up" our writing, making it fancier.

Here is her fable (the Fox and the Crow), minus a catchy title which we haven't come up with yet. She did this 100% on her own, and you can tell that she likes adjectives!

Once there was a black crow perched on a leafy branch in the dewy sun of the morning, with a big yellow delicious piece of cheese in her beak. Along came a fox trotting through the forest. When he saw the piece of cheese in the crow's beak, he drooled and licked his lips. The fox craved the cheese and said to the crow, "Good morning, you look very beautiful today!" The crow smiled but didn't say anything because of the piece of cheese in her beak.

Then the sly fox said, "How black and glossy your feathers are." The crow puffed up with pride. Then the fox pleaded, "I'm sure your voice is even more beautiful than your feathers. Please just sing a few notes for me." This pleased her and the poor crow opened her mouth to sing. The piece of yellow cheese dropped down to the open mouth of the waiting fox. Then the fox gobbled up the cheese and said, "Ha! That was very delicious cheese, but your song was ugly. Remember, watch out for flattery." And with that, the fox walked off into the sunny forest.

The crow was left behind on the branch of the tree, starring into the forest. Then she flew over into a bigger tree where she had a large stash of nuts and cheese. "Well, at least I have more cheese," she gloated, "but that selfish fox did teach me a lesson. Beware of flattery."

We need to work on alternate ways of beginning a sentence other than with the word "then", but I thought it was a wonderful start!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Park Day

After lots of rain recently and even some snow flurries over the weekend, we had a cool but sunny spring day today! So off to our neighborhood park we went after lunch.
The older kids played "Marco Polo", where the person who's it has to close their eyes but can say "Marco" and the others have to respond with "Polo". Then the it person can follow the sound of their voice. None of them were actually able to tag anyone, but they had fun taking turns being Marco! Then the boys thought it would be fun to close their eyes all the way home. They used walking sticks to feel when they were off the sidewalk. I made them open their eyes when we crossed the street. :-)

Little Man was too busy pushing around his shopping cart to play Marco Polo!
We had a GREAT school day today, for which I am supremely thankful!
Our daughter (fifth grade) and I had a wonderful writing time together, learning a new skill.....how to summarize a narrative story. I love, love, love our writing curriculum! It's so well laid out and tells me exactly how to teach things to my kids so I'm not guessing or missing something important. Together we summarized and outlined the fable "The Fox and the Crow" today. It was hard and took lots of time, but was very worthwhile. Tomorrow we will re-write this story using our outline. On Wed we will start summarizing another fable, but she will do a little more of it on her own. I have planned on doing 3 like this, together, and hopefully by next week she will be able to summarize/outline and then re-write a short story all by herself.
I get to learn so many cool things along with my kids. I love that about homeschooling! Speaking of learning new things, did you know that only about a third of the American colonists supported the idea of independence from Britain? And there were really only a handful of Patriot leaders. They all just happened to be in the right places at the right times, and respond to events in just the right way.....and certain events (like the Boston Tea Party) served to unite the formerly very independent 13 colonies. The set up to the declaration of independence was truly remarkable. The reading we are doing for history just amazes me. Every day I am learning something new.
Today I read Longfellow's poem "Paul Revere's Ride" to the children and they were absolutely riveted. Riveted!! Did you know there were TWO riders that night? Anyone know the name of the second rider? It was thought that in case one of them was captured, there should be two riders to go warn Lexington and Concord that the British were coming. As it turned out, both riders ended up being captured (after Revere successfully warned Lexington) and a third man, who just "happened" to be going home late that night after courting a young lady, on the same road that Revere was riding on, ended up being the one to warn Concord (you can rest easy though, both Revere and the second rider escaped shortly after being captured).
I am currently reading John Adams by David McCullough, and I tell you what. Those patriot leaders could ORATE! And WRITE! Man oh man, they were so good at it. It stirs liberty in my own breast just reading what they wrote and said. That's a lost art today, isn't it? There's just no comparison to the political campaign speeches we hear snippets of these days. And the love story between John Adams and Abigail Adams.....wow. They were apart for many years of their marriage due to John's government service, and what a blessing for us that nearly 1000 letters they wrote to each other survive to this day.
I think this is one of the reasons I homeschool, so I can keep learning too! But I'll stop sharing now lest you get bored. :-)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Did you Know....?

Did you know that if you go to Sam's Club at 8:30 on Saturday morning, it's easy to find a good parking spot and there are no lines at check out?

Did you know that if you go to the library first thing when it opens on Saturday morning, there are also no lines at check out?

Did you know that if your daughter stays up until nearly 2:00 A.M. at a church event your entire family will suffer the consequences for about two days afterward?

Did you know that if YOU stay up until nearly 2:00 A.M. reading a good book, you will have to work really hard at not letting your family suffer the consequences for about two days afterward?

Did you know that if you don't set the alarm for your "quick nap" you will oversleep and have to serve frozen waffles for dinner?

Did you know it can snow in April?

Did you know that it is such a blessing to receive forgiveness from your child when you have inadvertantly embarrassed them in front of their siblings?

Did you know it is possible to watch the same scene from a movie 4 times in one day?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

And now for something totally lighthearted

"School time" for Little Man has been so much fun this week! Before I brought the Little Tikes table upstairs I would *try* to do some type of preschool-ish manipulative with him every day, but it was hit and miss. Now he expects this to immediately follow his room time, and it has become a regular part of our daily routine. Our son C usually does this with him so they are having a positive bonding time every day, and all the fun manipulatives stored in the cupboard behind the table, that took me years to acquire, are actually getting USED again! A win win situation all around.

For those who want to know what each activity is (you know who you are!!), the top photo shows them using "Pattern Blocks" from Discovery Toys - I bought this years and years ago and it has been well used and loved by all our children. The middle photo shows them arranging felt shapes on a feltboard, and the last photo shows Little Man sorting colored pasta into egg cartons.
This is a homemade sorting activity that I put together years ago when my oldest was preschool age. It is GREAT for fine motor skills too (if you have the child pick up each piece of pasta with a small spoon), and for developing the pinscher grasp (if you have the child pick up the pasta with a clothespin). I glued a different shaped/colored pasta in the bottom of each section of the egg carton, and then Little Man sorted a big pile of pasta according to its color and shape.

We have been doing a different activity each day for about 8 school days so far and haven't quite cycled through everything I have on hand. I hope Little Man will continue to be in love with this special time even when he begins doing the same activity over again!

Update on Baby Audrey's Family

Audrey's mom Angie was released from the hospital this past Wed, and yesterday she wrote a beautiful letter to her little daughter who is now in heaven. She also posted a few photos of their sweet little girl. Please visit her Bring the Rain blog to read and see for yourself.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Grief and Gratitude

The birth and death of baby Audrey this week (see my "Blog that blesses me" entry two posts down) has rather captivated my attention. This sweet little baby was born alive yesterday afternoon, lived for just over 2 hours, and then went home to be with Jesus. During her short hours of life she was able to meet her 3 older sisters, be lovingly bathed by her daddy, and be loved on by her family. It was poignant to imagine their joy at seeing her alive, and their sorrow at watching her pass from this life. Now her amazing mama must recover from a c-section, while grieving and planning for her tiny daughter's memorial service. Please keep the Smith family in your prayers during the difficult weeks and months ahead.

Their grief has become my grief. For those of you who have been touched by grief, you know that it is a continuous cycle or tide that comes and goes, sometimes unexpectedly. I believe this is normal and good. There is no "getting over" a deep loss, but there is a "learning to live with it comfortably" that comes with time.

If you are a regular blog reader you know that we have suffered the loss of several children before they were born. The fact that we have 5 healthy children does not lessen the grief we have felt for the loss of the others. All of our children are deeply loved and wanted, and we recognize each of them as unique people created by God.

I used to ponder the "easier/harder" dilemma quite a bit......was it "easier" to lose them before we knew them? Would it be "harder" to lose them if they died after birth? After 2 years? After 10? After 30? Of course I do believe it would be harder to lose them later, after having known them, but I also think there is a sweetness in having known them that is missed when they die before birth. And I have come to understand that while there are many kinds of grief, none of them are "easy". They are just different.

It has been nearly two years since we lost our sweet little twins at the end of my first trimester. I am still learning much from that journey (am probably still ON that journey). One thing that struck me so vividly in the early days and weeks of the twins' miscarriage was that God seemed to be answering "no" to all my requests. That sounds like a negative thing, but stay with me! When we first learned that they weren't as big as they should be and probably weren't growing right, we also learned one of the babies was quite a bit bigger than the other one. We began to fervently pray that God would spare our babies, and that at the very least He would allow the biggest one to thrive.

God answered no to both of those requests. The babies died and we chose to let the miscarriage happen naturally at home. It was a very sad time, of course. I had to grieve in bits and pieces in between the normal rhythm of our family life. We managed to finish our home school year during this time, I honestly don't remember how. Our two oldest children played soccer for the first time that spring, so we had twice weekly practices and games every Saturday. Our church family graciously brought us meals for quite a while. Somehow life went on, but it was as if my body moved and breathed in one reality while my soul anguished in another.

The physical aspect of the miscarriage lasted 6 weeks. It was an agonizingly long time. During those weeks I prayed that God would allow the babies to pass from my body intact, so that I might at least see them and be allowed to say goodbye to actual physical babies. After it dragged on so long I realized that the likelihood of my prayer being answered was very small. I went in for another ultrasound and it showed that my uterus was empty. I was still spotting but there was really nothing left to miscarry. It was very hard for me to relinquish that desire to the Lord. It seemed like such a small thing for Him to be able to accomplish, yet it would have meant so much to me.

Does God's nature change when He says "no"? Does He somehow become capricious just because He didn't do what I wanted Him to do? How does God show His love for me? Does He love me less when He allows hard things? No. God is faithful. Unchanging. He displayed His love in all its agony and glory when Christ died for me and 3 days later overcame the power of death and rose to life again! He is full of compassion. I felt Him weep with me and walk with me through the loss of our babies. Even though He chose to allow this pain, I know it pained Him to do so. I didn't understand why so many of my private prayers had been answered "no", but I trusted that He knew best and continually prayed for more trust.

Then an amazing thing happened. When I was least expecting it and thought that the physical miscarriage was virtually over, my body finally released the bigger, stronger of the two babies. Intact. When I had accepted all of God's no's, He chose to give me a totally unexpected yes. It was not the BIG yes that I had wanted most, but it was a sweet, comforting, tender yes that whispered His love and care to me.

God's nature is good. He is a good God. He is good when bad things happen. He is good when good things happen. He is good when my heart is at peace. He is good when I am troubled and don't understand. He is good. Period. My circumstances don't change His nature. Can you imagine what a truly awful world it would be if our circumstances DID dictate the nature of God?!

So, all this long personal story to say that God is. He is good. He loves me. He loves the Smiths. He loves baby Audrey. I like to imagine baby Audrey and our twins (which I have imagined are two girls) completely whole, running to Jesus in heaven, climbing on His lap and kissing his face. Perhaps they were welcomed to heaven by my dear grandparents. I can't wait to meet them one day and to meet the One in whose presence they are complete and perfect.

Thank you, Lord, for the hope of heaven. Not a wishful thinking kind of hope, but a surety that hasn't yet come to pass. Thank you that You are real. Thank you for your great love. You have experienced the deepest, most intense kind of grief, so You are able to lift and carry us when we are incapable of going on. I love you Lord. I would be lost without you. When there are no words, You are there. Thank you. Thank you.

Monday, April 7, 2008

First Lost Tooth!!!!!!

Congratulations C!!! After a week and a half of expectancy, TODAY was the day!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Blog that blesses me

A couple months ago I was introduced to this blog called Bring the Rain. It is dedicated to the story of a tiny baby who will be born tomorrow (Monday at 4:00 pm) and is not expected to survive outside the womb. This baby's parents, Angie and Todd (he is one of the voices of the group Selah) are walking through this valley with such faith. Though each post is heartwrenching to read, it is also uplifting. Some blogs that journal difficult times are such downers to read that I just stay away. This blog is not one of those. It was started this past January and I spent a couple hours one night reading from the very beginning to get their whole story. I was so blessed. It was also somewhat cathartic for me, as she has a real gift with words and is able to express deep emotions so eloquently. We have never carried such a sick baby to term, but have felt so many of the same emotions over the loss of our babies that died much earlier.

Please pray for them tomorrow as they deliver their sweet Audrey into this world and then into the next.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


After my post yesterday about the importance of impressing God's commandments onto the hearts of our children, we had a humbling day today. It is painfully obvious that we have a long way to go!

The 3 middle children and I all had dental cleaning appts at 8:00 this morning. The appts went fine, but the boys were awful while there. Truly awful. Their behavior made me a little mad and a lot sad.

Their daddy had a long heart to heart with them when we got home and they have lost all screen time (both tv and computer) until they have shown a consistent pattern of obedience. He had to explain "consistent" and "pattern" ~ that it's what they're characterized by over a period of time rather than one or two or three times of obedience in one day. They only got 2 hours a week of computer time anyway, and very little tv/video watching, so this consequence REALLY mattered to them. For which I'm thankful. I wanted the consequence to "hurt" them enough to make a big impression.

Our 7 year old had been asking me all week to play with my webkin online so that he could watch. We were going to do that today, but I told him that even if I played he wasn't allowed to watch because he had lost the privilege of screen time. Then it dawned on him that he wouldn't even be allowed to watch his sister play during her two hours this week, and he "got it".

We had a truly beautiful day, weather wise, and the children played outside all afternoon. We had a frustrating time with the neighbor children coming over and not obeying the rules of our yard. For any new readers, this is a recurring problem. One of them repeatedly entered our garage after being told not to, and ate up the last remaining easter candy out of someone's basket. We are seriously thinking of putting a fence around our yard. Which makes me sad. I have loved the open look and feel of our backyard. But it appears that we need a visual and physical boundary, and the power to invite others in when we would like to include them, and the power to keep them out at other times. We simply cannot put our pool up again without a fence.

I baked bread today. And took a 3 hour nap. Wonderful!! Our daughter did a fabulous job mopping the kitchen floor. I am enjoying just gazing on its cleanliness! I taught our 7 year old how to wet swiff the dining room floor. It was a pretty good first lesson.

I am really tired and ready for bed. It was a hard parenting day.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Eventful Morning

I had the privilege of being a participant on a panel of educators at a MOPS meeting this morning (MOPS = Mothers of PreSchoolers). I was a little intimidated at first as the other 3 participants were all institutional school administrators, but it is always a joy to talk about homeschooling, and this morning was no exception.

The MOPS moms had submitted questions ahead of time, and they asked some very good ones! It is my prayer that some of the moms will seriously consider homeschooling their children, as there is simply no better way to disciple your children and train them "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" as parents are commmanded to do in Eph. 6:4. For those moms who do choose to utilize institutional school for their children, I pray they will continue to be the ultimate authority in their children's education, and be very involved in the classroom!

I have been studying Deuteronomy 6:4-9. It has some very compelling thoughts related to the value of homeschooling. Consider the weight of these words:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

How can I impress the commandment to "love the Lord your God with all your heart" upon my children if we are never sitting together at home? And how can I impress them upon my children if they are not first on my own heart? This book I am reading, Teaching the Trivium, describes how the Israelites took the above verses literally and would attach parchment scrolls of these verses on the posts and gates of their houses. Unfortunately it became the custom to roll up the scroll before attaching it, so every day they touched it or kissed it as if it were a protective charm, but they didn't read it! I so don't want to give my children the head knowledge of God's Word without it being impressed upon their very hearts. I am so impressed to just get close to Jesus. So many of my daily struggles and frustrations would simply melt away in His presence.

So.....after this stimulating morning at MOPS I went to the bank. All. By. Myself. DURING THE DAY. Do you realize the significance of this? It felt strange not to be holding some little person's hand! And after I was finished at the bank I made a quick trip to the grocery store. All. By. Myself. And I didn't even need a cart!! And I was in and out in less than 5 minutes. Strange. A taste of things to come.......but don't let that come too soon!

When my hubby and kids came home from co-op (where he had once again taught my classes - yay hubby!!!) I really missed them and was so ready to see them again! Thank you Lord, for settling the barren woman in her home, as a happy mother of children. (Psalm 113:9)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Guess what I saw today????

A teeny tiny BUD on one of my rose bushes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A lesson on prayer

Yesterday we read in Mark 11 where Jesus teaches his disciples about prayer using the illustration of the man who goes to his friend's house at midnight to ask for some bread to give his guests. The friend is asleep, with his children asleep too, and he doesn't want to get up and loan the bread. Yet the man continues to knock and ask, so finally the friend relents and gives the man as much bread as he needs.

I wanted to give the children a concrete example so that they would more readily understand this teaching, so I told them that daddy and I have prayed for years for a loved one who has not yet trusted Jesus as Savior, and who has made many poor choices and also struggles with substance abuse. Should we stop praying for this person just because God hasn't answered yet? Do we give up? I think (I hope) that they got it at that point. We discussed this person and their lifestyle choices at length. At one point one of our sons said, "they need to stop smoking and stop drinking and stop taking drugs!" to which I said, "no, they need to accept Jesus. HE is the answer to this person's problems."

After we had discussed many facets of this topic for quite a while, our 7 year old son said earnestly, "we should pray for them right now!" It was so encouraging to see his tender and sincere spirit in action! Truly, it blessed my heart. So we held hands and prayed together right then for this person's salvation and for protection from their own bad choices. I am pretty sure the older 3 have added this person to their own prayers from now on. I am so grateful for Luke 11, and for this opportunity to be reminded of and to teach our children about this important lesson on prayer.

As part of this lengthy discussion we did talk about alcoholic beverages and the nature of addiction, and we looked up what the Bible has to say about alcohol. The children were absolutely fascinated that the Bible actually says, "do not get drunk on wine". Our 7 year old read it outloud to all of us. I'm not sure what was going on their minds at this point, I would sure love to know!

Lord Jesus, thank you so much for the freedom and privilege we enjoy to teach our children at home. Thank you for all the small and big teachable moments. Help me to recognize them and take advantage of them when they occur. Help me to not be just a hearer of the Word and so deceive myself, help me to be a DOER of the Word! Help me to model a vibrant and real prayer life to the children. Help me to not just teach them about prayer. Help me to PRAY! And please draw this wayward person to yourself, Lord. Reveal your truth and your love to them. Thank you for loving me, for loving all of us, when we are unloveable. I bask in Your love and throw myself on Your mercy. Amen.