Thursday, April 30, 2009
From my years of experience in homeschooling, I have learned a few things by the way of the School of Hard Knocks! I made plenty of mistakes over the years, but learned what worked for our family and what did not. Here are a few tips of things that I figured out that may be of help to you:
Tip #1: Early Springtime is the best time to make curriculum choices, and there are a lot of reasons why I say that. For one thing, waiting until the last minute can delay your school start time and put you behind with your school year. You will also miss a lot of good deals that are offered to early buyers.
You will want to know what you are really looking for when you go to the curriculum sales and fairs, so it is essential that you spend time researching and evaluating before you head out the door or online to shop for curriculum. It is easy to get overwhelmed when you walk into an arena filled with books and vendors vying for your hard earned money. You need to know how much you can afford to spend and what type of curriculum you really need. You need to look beyond the colorful covers to really see if that particular curriculum is the right one for your family. Be careful not to get talked into something just because it has a certain publisher's name on the cover. It may not right for you!
Look back over your homeschooling year so far. What have you accomplished? Was it a good year where you felt happy with the children's progress or were you unsatisfied that the curriculum was too easy or too hard for your child? Have you had a lot of frustrations with the little people in the household? Has your child struggled and struggled over certain concepts and simply did not get it? Was this year's curriculum particularly frustrating to teach? Why? There are answers to these questions. Just because you had struggles did not mean that you were not a good teacher. It may just simply mean that you may not have chosen the right curriculum.
Tip # 2: If your child is struggling with learning, this may be a clue for you. Do not go through the school year struggling every day over something that can be prevented because the curriculum does not speak their language. If it is not right, then start over with something that does speak the child's language. You cannot teach Latin by speaking Greek. If you do not know your child's language, then I would highly recommend that you check out Cynthia Tobias's books. Her book called, “The Way They Learn” , is excellent. In this book she helps you unlock the mysteries of learning and guides you through how to challenge your child to do his or her best. When you speak the child's language, they will thrive! A kinesthetic learner will not learn the same way that an auditory or visual learner will. They think differently than others do, but they are uniquely created by God to do a job that He has designed them to do. You will find that the more children you have, the less likely that they will learn the same way that their siblings do. Some subjects will always be a struggle for some students. For example, math has always been troublesome in this household, so we tried many different curricula. We used textbooks, manipulatives and hands-on curriculum, and math facts set to music (Sing, Spell, Read and Write series for math as a supplement). We tried Saxon math and hated it! We have used video lessons, CDs and anything else that we thought would work. Do not feel that you have to use the same curriculum that your friends use. Remember that every child is different and every family is different in their approach and it is okay to do things your way!
Tip # 3: In these difficult economic times, do whatever you can to stretch the dollars. If you join HSLDA, and I highly recommend that you do, they have a curriculum market that you can buy and sell new and used curriculum and educational materials on it. The advantage to the actual homeschool sites is that you can ask questions before you buy to make sure it is really what you are looking for. There are a lot of other places to get used stuff at reasonable prices too.
Also check out Christian and public schools as well as library book sales for older curricula. We found a lot of good stuff this way including, “The Homeschool Manual”, by Theodore E Wade, Jr. It was an excellent find! It was chock full of ideas and had a standard guide to learning concepts grade by grade. It is a good way to make sure that you are on track with what your child is learning and when they should be able to grasp certain concepts. If you see this book in any edition, grab it! I found it extremely helpful in our homeschool journey.
If you have several children and are limited on finances, then I recommend that you look into unit studies very carefully. Perhaps later on we can discuss the different styles of unit studies and show you the advantages and disadvantages of each. Until next time, have a wonderful, happy homeschool day!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Back in the olden days, when I had lots of littles and only two hands, there was so much charm in my life. My whole world was encapsulated by the boundaries of my home, and what a wonderfully cozy world it was.
Going out for the necessary things in life to the grocery store, or the bank, or the doctor's office often posed a challenge. It was my unfortunate observation that children, by definition, acted like apes in public.
But I didn't want to raise a group of apes. For one thing, I didn't appreciate the ape-like creatures from other families when I went out, and ape behavior in my own children wore me out; "GET off of that! No, don't pull that off of there! What ARE you doing now?"
It occurred to me early on that, instead of trying to solve this problem from an adult viewpoint, I needed to look at it through the eyes of a child. I also tried to remember being a child in such situations myself, which reminded me that small children rarely know what to do with themselves. I know I didn't. While I, as an adult, knew where I was to stand, and then who to talk to and what to do with my body and my hands, my children had not a clue.
This is when I got the wonderful idea to give my children something to position themselves with. When they got out of the car, they were to stand with their backs against it--this kept them from running out into traffic while I unhooked the baby from the car seat. When we walked together, holding hands was a must--I would quote the line from a Three Stooges movie, "Hold hands, you lovebirds!"
If we were to enter into a store, they were to "glue" to the cart, at least one on each side, with a hand firmly grasped to the plastic or metal basket. If I had more than two walking young ones, one would take the front, the other the back, in order to keep them from stepping on each other.
If there was no cart, and my hands were full with a baby, they were trained to hold onto my skirt, back pocket, purse, etc.
Whenever in a store or other place filled with "breakables", etc., they were taught to have their hands either clasped together behind their backs or in their pockets at all times, with an understanding that we look with our eyes and not with our hands!
If I were at the bank conversing with the teller, they were to stand against the counter directly beside or in front of me. I always referred to these things as "gluing".
Of course, before we ever piled out of the car, I gave a lecture about how to act like ladies and gentlemen in public--no loud speaking, how to address people, and anything else pertaining to the particular situation. There were also sometimes warnings of correction for bad behavior or promises of rewards for good behavior, but I did not always employ either.
As the years have progressed and I had older children, they helped hold hands, etc., but the younger children were still expected to act politely, etc. I still have my little ones "glue", but the older ones are allowed to follow behind, or even push a cart or two--especially when we are doing our big shopping once-a-month and might end up with 4 carts to push to the car!
It is also nice to have an older son or daughter who can watch the little ones at home when there are some really grueling errands to tend to. With the advent of cell phones, we are only a call away should any crisis arise.
Life with littles has gotten easier over the years, but the principles I learned early on still help me today, and they are helping my children raise their own. I hope these tips can help other parents as well!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog!!! My name is Courtney and I have been married to my high school sweet heart for 11 ½ years. I am a mommy of two who will begin homeschooling my 6 and 4 year old this fall. I am a graduate of the Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Evangelism and Discipleship and I LOVE Jesus and want to share him with everyone I know and even people I don’t know. So I have started my blog at www.womenlivingwell-courtney.
What is your reputation?
When people hear the name (insert your own name here) what do they think of? A reputation is what you are known for. Although I share a birthday with Mother Theresa our names clearly bring different images to mind.
I Timothy 5:9-10 tells us specifically what Godly women should be known for. In this passage Paul was explaining to Timothy how to supervise their growing church and how to care for the widows who were in need: “Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband and having a reputation for good works; if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.”.
Now you may wonder why I would use a verse that is in reference to widows to be our guide. But consider for a moment – if a woman of sixty something is to be known for her reputation of good works, wouldn’t that mean that she would have been doing these good works while she was young? So let’s see what she was doing while she was young…
Being faithful to her husband
Bringing up children
Washing the feet of saints
Caring for the afflicted
Devoted to every good work
God’s word says this should be a part of a Godly woman’s reputation or what she is known for. Would someone describe you with the list above?
As you receive all the spring ads that will try to sell you new clothing – consider a new kind of adornment for spring – good works! I Timothy 2:10 says women should adorn themselves “with good works, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
Are you appropriately adorned for spring as a woman who worships God? If not – get busy working on the list above – there is a lot of work here to do! I know there are days that we may lose our way and wonder what God’s will is for our lives – let me be honest with you – this list above - this is the will of God for your life and when you are living fully for him and serving him in this way – you will be a woman living well!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Through many good books, blogs, and articles, I think I've become pretty well educated on what it means to be a godly wife. It all sounds really good and easy on paper and I am convinced that of course, I can do all that. I love my husband--that should be easy! But it isn't long until I find myself crying alone in the bathroom, telling the authors of those books what I really think. They don't know my husband! I can't be that way to HIM! They're probably married to some great patriarch or maybe a pastor or a missionary! And my pity party quickly kills all my submissive good intentions.
I'm quite sure I'm in good company here. Am I right? It is so easy for women to feel like they've outgrown their husbands spiritually because we are very spiritual beings who often feel close to God through our emotions and trust what we feel are spiritual intuitions. But when we start to believe ourselves closer to God than our husbands, we sometimes fall into a trap that makes us believe we are obeying God when we fail to yield to our husbands or even begin to try to teach him.
I'm sure there are many wonderful books written to help up know what to do when we are in spiritually unequal marriages, but all we need is on one page in our bibles--six verses that lay out very plainly what we as wives should do. This must be a more common problem than many of us feel because God addresses it so directly and instructs us so clearly in 1 Peter 3:1-6.
Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
These verses are frequently used when referring to an unsaved husband, but they also apply to a husband who may have fallen away from the Lord, one who not is growing or may be struggling in his faith, or even one who is failing in his role as spiritual leader. Or maybe your husband just doesn't agree with convictions you feel the Lord has given you, so you feel he is disobedient to the Word in this way. When we're in these circumstances, our only job is to pray for our husbands and make these six verses our lifestyle.
One night, I took the time to read these verses in different translations and original texts and I was just blown away. Some of the different wordings just hit the nail on the head for me. God changed my life and my perspective once I began to study this passage. There are five important points that I drew from it:
1. Be in subjection. Probably the hardest one, especially when he doesn't want to follow OUR visions for him or ourselves. (That attitude alone should tell us just how "spiritual" we really are, right?!) Some other wordings that really spoke to me were "be submissive", "accept his authority", "yield to", "be dependent on him, adapt yourself to him." Wow.
2. Without words. Oh boy. This is my downfall. I have so often used that line "I should be able to tell you what I think!" But then I read, "they may be won WITHOUT WORDS" and "without discussion". It's not our job to teach our husbands. In fact, any teaching that does not come from the Holy Spirit will probably just push them further away.
3. Watch your behavior. Our conduct should shine with purity, reverence, gentleness, quietness, meekness, respectfulness. I just love how the Amplified bible expounds on this: "to respect, defer to, revere him--to honor, esteem, appreciate, prize, and, in the human sense, to adore him, that is, to admire, praise, be devoted to, deeply love, and enjoy your husband" What a beautiful and clear description of what it means to be respectful--what every man dreams of! Make his dreams come true in this way. THAT will get his attention much more than any amount of nagging or teaching.
4. Trust God. He is the only one who can change your husband and He doesn't need your help. Put your hope in God.
5. Do the right thing without fear. This is key for me--doing what I know God wants me to do without being afraid of what the outcome may or may not be. "Do not give way to fear." "Let nothing terrify you." "Do what is right without fear of what your husband might do." Don't be afraid! Just rest in the peace that you are obeying God and He takes care of the rest!
Last month I was listening to a radio program during a run to the store for sugar. I KNOW God orchestrated this because I NEVER run to the store just to get sugar! On it, a lady was saying, "What do you do when you outgrow your husband spiritually?" Well, I was all ears! Tell me! What do I do? The answer shamed me and changed my life:
"You CAN'T outgrow your marriage spiritually. Because the closer you get to Jesus and, if you're really becoming more spiritual, then you're becoming more humble and more aware of your own fallenness--not more judgmental and self-righteous."Wow. Maybe I'm not as spiritual as I thought.
For further reading on this subject, Jennifer recommends "Wise Woman's Guide to Blessing Your Husband's Vision".
Friday, April 24, 2009
We've enjoyed our VitaMix and green smoothies. I made the Raspberry Syrup from their website for my pancakes Monday morning. Yum! I'm also attempting to replace my breakfast with a green smoothie every morning. It would work pretty well if the kids would stop drinking them all before I get any!
I tried this recipe for Peanut Butter Granola Bars and they were yummy, but I couldn't get them to stay together. We ended up having to eat them as regular granola. The only thing I did different from the recipe was use butter instead of margarine and natural peanut butter. Any suggestions?
I didn't buy any bread this week, but I'm not sure it's saving us money. We could eat a loaf a day of this bread! And so easy...just how I like it.
In the bedroom...I finally got all my furniture moved in! It's such a comfortable, inviting place. All I have left to do is decorate the walls. Trying to get up the nerve to actually drive nails into those walls that hadn't been painted for too many years!
In the kids' room...We moved in the tall bookcase and did some (more) rearranging. I'm so excited to have a bookshelf that is not spilling over...at least until we fill it up! Did anyone know we love books at our house? Just wondered.
On my nightstand...Speaking of books, I am currently reading Food Is Your Best Medicine by Henry Bieler, M.D. I'm also still in the middle of The Plug In Drug by Marie Winn and Traveling the Pilgrim's Path by Craig and Janet Parshall.
In the yard...My wonderful husband brought me flowers this week! No, not some roses that will die in a few days, but flowers for our flower bed. (Romance grows more practical as we approach our 10th anniversary!) He also brought me some herbs for my windowsill herb garden. He and the kids planted them in a little greenhouse contraption he brought home and will transplant them outside when the weather is just a tad bit warmer.
In the schoolroom...We have completely finished Science and at the end of this week, we will be finished with Bible, Heritage Studies and Spelling! Only three more subjects to go. I'm counting down...20 more days...Lord willing!
Big lesson learned...If you're not sure what that spot on the carpet is, resist touching it with your finger. It probably is what you're hoping it's not!
Now it's your turn! Do an In My Home This Week post on your blog (or in the comments, if you don't have a blog) and link back here. Go ahead, be creative and make your own categories to reflect what has been going on in your home. I'm looking forward to reading them!
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I do believe that if a child asserts his or her will, a good parent must meet the challenge and make sure their will submits to Mom's or Dad's. However, call me chicken, but I have learned by hard experience not to create these situations because enough of them occur naturally. Therefore, my husband and I have chosen not to make food a battleground. Though we have had a lot of "showdowns", especially with a very strong-willed child who will remain nameless (you can narrow it down to one of three!), we have yet to fight a battle over food.
I also believe that children should be taught not to waste food. I've told my children about the "starving children who would love to have that food" just like you have. However, I have a different idea about waste, also from hard experience.
So there you have my disclaimer, now I'll tell you the "why" of it:
I am not a scientist or a doctor, but it makes good sense to me that if a child is fed good, nutritious food that they will eat what they need and stop when they are full. I also think that the amount they need varies greatly from day to day. However, there are a lot of obese children in the world. From my very unscientific observations, it seems that those children (barring medical causes, of course) aren't fed healthy foods and/or they are required to "clean their plate" at every meal. Studies have shown that unhealthy foods create cravings for more and children overeat that way. (Studies from my kitchen show that if you give a child a piece of candy, they will be asking for more in approximately 6.4 minutes.) If a child is conditioned that he must finish everything on his plate, he will eat it all whether he is full or not, therefore overeating that way. Food is "wasted" if it must be thrown in the trash can, but it is also "wasted" if a person eats more than they need for nutrition (then it turns to fat and all that other wonderful stuff--again speaking from hard experience).
So, what's a parent to do? I will tell you how it works at our house, and I would love to hear your comments on how it works in yours. I'm always looking for new ideas!
We try to eat fairly balanced meals (feel free to grade my menu on the sidebar--I know I'm not at an A plus yet!) and at regular intervals. For the most part, we let the child choose how much they think they can eat of each food. If they have food left over because they are full, we show them how to take less the next time because they can always get more and they don't want to waste it. Now, I usually don't have much to throw away (can't imagine what's going to happen when they become teenagers!). If it's a food they don't like, they have to try it but they don't have to eat more than a bite or two. Usually, they learn to like it eventually since we didn't make a big deal out of it, with a few exceptions (aren't there a few foods you don't like?). When we are not at Grandma's house :-), we don't allow pop (soda for some of you) or excessive sweets. When we have a huge stash of candy (like Easter candy....grrr), I keep it in a basket well out of reach and they have to ask for it. I try not to give them more than one or two treats a day. That way, they are usually hungry at meals. If they eat very little, I save their plate in the refrigerator and if they come asking for food, I give them the plate they didn't finish. That has happened about 2 or 3 times in the 7 years I've been a parent. That's about it...it's not rocket science.
The other day when someone took another helping of food with the comment, "I really shouldn't eat this, but..." (can't remember who, it was probably me
Friday, April 17, 2009
During this last week, amid the excitement and blessing of the Easter holiday, my thyroid decided to go haywire and threw me into an intense emotional, and even spiritual, battle. I cried to God for healing and help and comfort. I rationalized that this was only an emotional thing and tried to "talk my way out of it". I received counsel from older, wiser people and my dear husband. However, it wasn't until I returned from a long, busy weekend and entered my own front door that God began to work my healing.
Our front door opens into our living room which was filled with Easter baskets that the kids had dumped as we hurried to the next "big family event". They had hastily changed from their Easter outfits into more comfortable clothes so those were strewn about. I even had dishes stacked in the kitchen to tackle from my contributions to our various Easter feasts. Yet, as I walked in, peace enveloped me. I was home.
I spent the next days tidying and cleaning, which is still in progress, but as I knelt before the Lord one morning, He spoke to me through the Psalms. "One thing...will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the [delightfulness] of the Lord." How beautiful! Just to curl up in the big, comfy chair and rest back on the Lord because He is delightful. He is our source of help, comfort and peace.
May our hearts be healed through our physical homes that they be a place of comfort and rest for all who dwell therein. In reality, they are a reflection, poor though it may be, of our blessed Heavenly Home in which there will be no tears, no anxiety and no fear.
How does your home bring comfort to you and remind you of your Heavenly home?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
My daughter didn't like bananas as a baby. Can you really blame her? I mean, that stuff in the jars you buy in the baby food section is pink! I have never seen a pink banana and if I did, I would seriously doubt whether I should eat it. When she tried a real banana, though, she loved it and has been eating them ever since. My husband and I have always loved broccoli, so I've always served it (well, not every night, but you get the idea). My kids have always liked it, too. In fact, the first time my son had it in a casserole, he spit it out because "there's something in my broccoli!" (Don't worry, we've worked on table manners since then, but I do serve him casseroles cautiously.) Those are the two incidents that come to mind when my children did not like something. I'm sure there are others, but they are few and they don't immediately come to mind.
Lest you think I'm Mrs. Health Nut and my kids are extraordinary, let me quickly assure you that they can quickly polish off a bowl of chips or an amazingly large stash of candy if I let them...and I sometimes do (paying the consequences for it later). They ask for pop like an addict, and most of the time, I do the right thing and tell them no. No, we are far from perfect on healthy eating (don't get me started on chocolate!). However, God's food is much more enjoyable in the long run.
Just to make it interesting, I will tell you some things to do if you want your kids to be picky eaters:
1. Develop an aversion to healthy foods and let your kids know about it. Tell them stories of when you hid your peas under your napkin or when you gagged eating your broccoli as a kid.
2. Buy only "kid-friendly" foods. You know, like Kraft macaroni and cheese, hot dogs and apple juice. Make sure to serve an adult meal and a kid's meal for dinner so everyone will be happy.
3. Don't let them try salad or questionable vegetables until they go to kindergarten. They will hear the other kids complaining about these foods, and that will take care of their interest in them after that point.
4. Fill them with lots of junk food snacks and you won't have to worry about them eating much at dinner time. Give them something fizzy to drink with dinner, too, and they will leave their plates mostly untouched.
5. Preface every serving of healthy food with a tentative, "I hope you like this. It doesn't look real good, but you really should eat it."
6. Make your children "clean their plate" at every meal even if it means having a 24-hour showdown. (I realize this needs a disclaimer....you'll have to wait until next week.)
7. Do not let your kids in the kitchen with you. Allowing them to help prepare good foods might make them enjoy eating them as well.
8. Tell your children to "be sure to eat all your peas, then you can get dessert!" The child hears, "Get the nasty stuff out of the way first, then you can have the good stuff." You won't have to worry about him touching it at all. (then progress again to step 6)
9. Always treat everything with natural colors as "strange" (i.e. spinach, carrots, red peppers), but tout artificially colored foods as "yummy" (i.e. bright blue or red drinks and green, yellow, or orange candies).
If you fail at raising a picky eater, and your kids actually want healthy food, or if you're not sure
you want a picky eater, hang on. I'll share a few more tips and tricks in a future post (and that disclaimer I promised).
Monday, April 13, 2009
So, just what does it mean? Is being submissive really the "becoming a doormat" that so many of us think of when we hear the word? The husband/wife relationship can only be understood, and that only in part, by viewing it through the lens of what it was meant to be a picture: the relationship of God and His Son, Jesus. John chapter 5 gave me some insights into submission as I read the relationship between Christ and His Father. As wives, let's put ourselves in Jesus' place and see how He lived out submission.
1. "Jesus was submissive to the Father, but He was not subordinate to Him." (emphasis mine) That is the statement my study Bible makes about this passage. So what is the difference? Dictionary.com defines submission as "inclined or ready to submit; unresistingly or humbly obedient". Subordinate is defined as "placed in or belonging to a lower order or rank; of less importance; secondary; subject to or under the authority of a superior; subservient or inferior; subject, dependent." In submission, Jesus is voluntary placing Himself under the Father's authority. If he were to be subordinate, the Father would be making Jesus do His bidding. I've seen Christian men interpret submission as subordination. One I know actually snaps his fingers to get his wife to do something, and she rushes off to do it. I've heard Christian men say, "It's my duty to make my wife submit to my authority." No, no, no! That goes against the very definition of submission. The Bible always addresses submission as something the wife does. No one can make another person submit; it must be voluntary.
2. Jesus wanted to please the Father, not Himself. I can feel all the women bristling again as they think of the implications of this statement on their lives! There are a myriad of excuses why we just cannot please our husbands. You've heard them all (and probably said them, as I have), so I won't go into them. This is where being a follower of Jesus separates from following the religion of Christianity. Following Jesus means to lay down our lives, to give ourselves totally to Him and to do His will. Anything else is pseudo-Christianity. God calls us to live a picture of this in our marriages. The good news is husbands are to lay down their lives for us, their wives. You know, the stuff fairy tales are made of: handsome prince risks his life to save the princess! The equally good news (though Satan causes us to view it as bad) is that we have to be willing to be "rescued" by our husbands through submission. Can you see Sleeping Beauty opening her eyes to see the Prince that had just braved the thick hedge and evil dragon for her and saying, "I think it would have been better to do it this way"? Or Cinderella to try on the glass slipper and say, "Yeah, it fits, but I don't want to marry the Prince. I have better plans for my life." ?
3. Jesus and the Father were one. This is perhaps the most beautiful part of submission. In the end, if husband and wife are both doing their part, there is no power struggle. Jesus was God and so was the Father. They were both equal in power and authority. However, Someone had to die for our sins. Someone had to be willing to come to earth and be the tangible sacrifice for humanity. Jesus willingly submitted to this, not because He was lower in rank than God, but because they could not work out their purpose (to restore us back to God) without this. As wives, we can be "one flesh" with our husbands in such a way that it is no longer "him and me" but it is "us". Do we lose our individuality or our personalities? No. Jesus didn't. We can see that He had His own thoughts, His own actions and His own personality. He managed His daily life and habits according to the way He wanted things done. Yet, He and the Father had the same purpose. Jesus knew Who He was and what His purpose was, and it always aligned with that of His Father. As women, our purpose cannot be wrapped up in our own selfish goals. Our husbands cannot be consumed with their own selfish goals, either. We have to both align our purpose with that of God's and "be one" to accomplish that purpose---with eternity in view.
What are some practical differences between submission and subordination? How do you live out submission in your relationship with your husband? Or, if you're not married, in your relationship with God?
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I don't usually post on Sundays, and actually I'm not writing this on a Sunday since I'm writing posts ahead for this week. However, it seemed fitting to finish out book and link week with those that have helped me spiritually so far this year and to post it on Resurrection Day. Besides my favorite King James Study Bible for Women and the helpful messages from my pastor (especially the recent series on Soldier Saints), I have learned from these authors:
Praying Your Prodigal Home by Richard A. Burr helped me to see that we have to release our children to God and helped me to know better how to pray for the "prodigals" in my life.
Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don and Katie Fortune was the first I've read with a test to find out your spiritual gifts. I was left with a little ambiguity on my #1 gift, but the insights on how to use my gift's strengths and minimize the weaknesses were helpful.
A little on the practical side of spirituality, I thought this free download was a great resource for modesty:
Modesty Heart Check
Hope you enjoyed Book and Link Week. I'll be back to regular posting tomorrow. Don't forget to share the good news with someone today: He Died, He Was Buried but HE IS ALIVE!
Friday, April 10, 2009
A stain remover recipe I'm going to try!
Busy Woman's Cookbook was a cookbook I actually read through because of all the interesting real-life stories and helpful tips.
How to Save $100 at the Grocery Store This Month
This is about how I grocery shop, too. Maybe I'm on the right track? I hope so!
Don Aslett's books are always motivating to me. I read No Time to Clean and Make Your House Do The Housework. Now if I can just get a central vacuum, I'll have it made! Just kidding (sort of).
Organizing and Enjoying
Another favorite Anne Ortlund book is Disciplines of the Home. Practical, helpful and motivating.
How to Save the Day from a Bad Morning I may have posted this before, but it's still on my list. I need it often!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
The Heart of Homeschooling by Christopher Klicka was a great book to remind me why I homeschool and how it can impact the world evangelistically. The quote I keep hearing in my mind from this book is "Life is too short and hell is too long."
Children are Wet Cement by Anne Ortlund is an old book but still very relevant to today's parents. I love how she stressed that we enjoy our children and that she was brave enough to put her four children's thoughts in the book as well.
Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends by Sarah, Stephen and Grace Mally was a delightful book that could be read with your children. Two sisters and a brother (all under age 20, I believe) wrote this book about getting along with siblings--something that is much needed in our home at this time!
This link convicted me as well as Michelle, whose blog directed me to it:
First Time and With a Cheerful Attitude for Mothers
These posts from Large Family Mothering, were thought-provoking:
What A Waste! and Slavery
This was very helpful as well:
20 Tips For Finding Your Routine With Kids
I can't wait to try some of these games:
Great Learning Games
And finally, as you celebrate Easter with you children, here are some great thoughts:
Filling Those Easter Baskets
Monday, April 6, 2009
To keep my list from taking over the whole blog, I decided to report on the good ones I've read by subject, then clear the list and start again. I must make a confession before I begin. I am a perfectionist and I hate to cross off a book if I haven't read all of it. However, not all of the books in the sidebar have been completely read. I admit, I did skip the acknowledgments...o.k. and in some cases, whole chapters. There, I said it. Now that it's out in the open, let's see what my reading has taught me about.....MARRIAGE.
I've only read one book specifically about marriage although several of the books have addressed it. The following are books on general womanhood that I enjoyed:
Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund was a re-read for me, an all-time favorite. Anne helps to establish our priorities and practical helps for meeting our goals as God's women.
When the Fairy Dust Settles by Janet Parshall and Sarah Parshall Perry was a very interesting set of letters between mother and daughter about important issues women face.
Fearlessly Feminine by Jani Ortlund was a refreshing book giving insight on what it means to be feminine and why we should not be ashamed to be so.
Now to the book that was very specifically about marriage: When Two Become One by Christopher and Rachel McCluskey. This is a very good resource for Christian married couples. I would not recommend it to anyone not married because there's a big "blush factor" involved. However, if you're not afraid of a little tasteful but plain language, it is a practical but spiritual look at what intimacy really is.
I'll leave you with this interesting link I found regarding marriage:
Modern American Dating
Disclaimer: If you read anything that I've recommended here, please don't check your brain at the door. The only infallible book is the Word of God, so my recommendation does not mean that everything in these books is necessarily correct or that I agree with everything that is in them.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
From my 3-year-old:
Coming to me with his pajama arm inside the pajama leg: "Mommy, help me, these are upside right out!"
After using Memaw's toilet that had an "Out of Order" sign on it: "Mommy, remember when I used Memaw's potty that wasn't organized?"
And from my 6-year-old who just did a unit on weather and enjoys dropping words like "precipitation":
To her aunt on the phone when asked how the weather was in our area:
"Oh, we had a case of wind today."
To me when I asked her to check and see if it was cool enough for jackets outside:
"Yeah, from an angle." Huh?
And from my 6-month-old:
Well, I thought it was cute anyway! (Although "ma ma" would be better!)
Friday, April 3, 2009
I've recently been challenged about my beliefs about women staying home vs. working and what the Bible says about it. I am not the authority and don't have all the answers on this issue. It is hotly debated among all religious groups and even secular women's groups have gotten into the debate. Stay-at-home mom vs. working mom--which is better? I've also been accused of being biased on this blog. If it seems I speak more to the full-time homemaker rather than the working woman, it is simply because that is what I am. I can't speak intelligently to issues women face in the workplace because that is not where I am from day to day. It may seem as though I am making a compromise, but I truly think that this is an issue between you and God and your husband. I may have personal preferences, but they are not judgments on anyone but myself and what God has shown me is right for me.
As a child, I enjoyed playing baseball; at least when I wasn't in a high pressure situation. I have a very athletic brother who is patient to a point, but he very much focuses on winning rather than simply being able to make the bat connect with the ball. :-) Recently, I thought of a correlation between baseball rules and my ideology on women and the home. Admittedly, I don't know a lot about the rules and technicalities of baseball, but the basics will do for my analogy. (My apologies to you international readers. I understand this is mostly an American game.)
- Baseball is a game with a goal in mind. Yes, baseball--or in my analogy, life--is a fun game, but the enjoyment of the game is not the main goal (especially for people like my brother!). People who play only to have fun usually don't get to the big leagues or anything. We must realize that we are just on this earth a short while, and we need to keep our eyes on the goal--winning, or in my analogy, Heaven. Make this play count, get as many runs as possible in this inning, but the real measure of the game is the team with the most runs at the end of the last inning.
- Baseball is a team sport. Although you might feel alone up there in the batter's box, you are not the only one playing. You might feel like you're the only one in the outfield trying to stop the other team, but there are others.
- The player does not make all the decisions. Even the team as a whole, though they may have input, cannot map out the game to their liking. As women of God, we have Someone who not only has the next play mapped out, but He knows the outcome of the game. We must follow His plans or we cannot hope to win.
- Home plate is where the action is. So far you may have stayed with me, but this is where you need to "hang on to your
hatbaseball cap" and keep listening. In a baseball game, anyone who makes a point for his team must first bat from the home plate and get back to home plate successfully. Titus 2 directs us to be keepers at home. This simply means that we are the managers or the guards of our homes. All that is truly important in our marriages and parenting begins and ends in that place. It should be the headquarters of all other action in our lives.
- A player does not stay on home plate. Although home plate is where the action is, begins and ends; we do not stay there. As much as I stand up for a woman's privilege to be at home full-time, I do not believe that "keeper at home" means "stayer at home". I've written before that it is important to the keeping of our homes to be there. However, we all have bases to run if we want to get back to the important duties at home. Everyone has different bases. Some of you might be "running" to a job and you may only get a base hit--meaning it takes you longer to get back "home". Some of you might have a ministry as one of your bases. Some of you may make pretty consistent home runs because you don't stay on a base too long (i.e. grocery shopping, homeschool field trip, back home). The point is not how long we are away from home (whether it is paid employment or a shopping trip), but that we get back.
- Home plate is the goal. Yes, we need to get back because home plate is the goal. In our homes, we sit around the dinner table as a family, sharing the events of the day. In our homes, we lay babies down for naps and train our children by our example. In our homes, we cultivate a love relationship with our husbands. In our homes, we create a place of beauty all our own to reflect the beauty of the Heavenly home we are anticipating. Home is where real life happens.
- Our job is to hit the ball. It is tempting to just hold onto our children and keep them safe, but we know nothing is going to be accomplished until we take a swing. They must be "launched" and trusted to the One Who knows all and cares for them.
- Strikes and fouls happen to the best of hitters. We all do our best to train and "launch" our children into the outfield, hoping that they will soar above all the waving baseball mitts of life and "over the fence". However, we make mistakes. We foul the ball into the wrong place and sometimes completely miss. I'm so glad that there's a Catcher to catch them and a chance to try again. Even if it feels like you're "an easy out", keep it up.
- Playing in the outfield is defense, not offense. Although we all have our own unique bases to run which may include working for pay outside the home or a ministry outside the home, it is important that we get back to the home plate regularly. If we don't get enough players home, we will end up in the outfield. This was the part I always dreaded as a child. The other team was up to bat, and I was usually placed in a remote corner of the field where no ball would ever fall. (Although I liked to play, I was not a particularly good player!) A team that hopes to win does not stay in the outfield any longer than they have to. They are eager to get back to batting. If life circumstances are drawing us away from home--not necessarily the physical place but having our hearts there and using it as our headquarters for all other operations of life--we must do all we can to stop the other team and get back to that batter's box. Our homes need us, our husbands need us and our children need us--not just our physical presence but our hearts. The Bible tells us "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also". Is your heart at home? If it is, you're ready to play to win!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Reader Question: Does Teaching A Child According to His Learning Style Prepare Him for the Real World?
Donna spoke about discovering your child's learning style and teaching them accordingly. A reader thought that would not prepare them for the real world because a boss will assign work to one as it needs done not according to one's learning style. The comment was made that if he (yes, I have a few male readers--bless your hearts--I'll try to be easy on you!) were to tell his boss that he worked best by listening to music that his boss was likely to tell him to find another job. He was also concerned that this would teach children that they are the ultimate deciding factor of what they learn rather than the authority figure. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? And why or why not? (Oops....that may be phrased for those whose learning style is the essay question...are there really any people that learn that way? Never mind....)