Friday, October 31, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
"We cannot consider the teenage years, with their tumult and struggle, without honestly looking at what we, as parents, bring to the struggle. If our hearts are ruled by comfort, respect, appreciation, success, and control, we will unwittingly hunger for our teens to meet our expectations instead of ministering to their spiritual needs. Instead of seeing moments of struggle as God-given doors of opportunities, we will view them as frustrating, disappointing irritants, and we will experience growing anger against the very children to whom we have been called to minister."
-- From "Age of Opportunity - A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens" by Paul David Tripp
Thursday, October 30, 2008
One autumn when the boys were little, we took them to a penny fair at a local church. They loved the simple games that cost a penny to play - and, of course, the little prizes that went with them! The boys were enthralled with the whole idea of a penny fair and played at the idea for days. They set up little stands with games and just played pretend as little ones do. Somehow that enthrallment lasted, and every autumn they set up a penny fair out in the yard. A few years ago we started to invite two other families to join our fun and so it has become a tradition. The kids talk about and create their stands weeks ahead, saving pennies and collecting prizes. They've come up with all kinds of ideas over the years - pet the chickens for a penny, a mini-golf course in the barn, hit the human (throwing a tennis ball at Ben in his protective gear!), wagon rides down the lane, a maze through the asparagus patch and on and on. The moms serve lunch, play the games (for a penny, of course!) and visit. Sweet, sweet memories . . .
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I've spent parts of the last two days looking at the life of John the Baptist - studying the passages about him in the Gospels as well as Old Testament prophecy of him. Two themes that occur over and over in the life of John are these: humility and a continual pointing to the Savior. Actually, the two themes go hand-in-hand. If you study these Scripture passages, you'll see that John is constantly denying himself (physically, verbally, spiritually) and pointing to Jesus. John isn't concerned about making disciples that follow John, but disciples that follow Jesus. He tells others to take their eyes off him and, instead, look to Jesus as the One to follow. As I noticed these themes coming up again and again, I was convicted with the fact that I am often not quick to point to the Savior. I realized that at times my desire is to create followers of Julie, instead of followers of Jesus. The study of John's life has encouraged me to do as John did - continually point others to Jesus as the One who is worthy of their worship.
Abba, continue Your work in our hearts. Humble us and remind us to point others to You - the Way, the Truth and the Life. Thank You for the example of John's life. I pray that You would cause us to decrease and that You would increase Yourself in our lives.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
The Revive Our Hearts ministry has an excellent two-page download called "Twenty-Three Great Questions to Ask Your Kids." I printed it out and plan to ask the boys one of the questions each morning during our devotion time. If you'd like to view the list, go to www.reviveourhearts.com/pdf/1-23Questions.pdf. (Sorry I can't hyperlink it because of my Mac browser, but you can copy and paste it.)
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Early in autumn, the boys and I collect lots of different kinds of beautifully-colored leaves from around the farm to dry. We place one leaf per page in a book and then put a heavy book on top of the lighter. After a week or so, the leaves are taken out and stored in a plastic bag for use in various projects like this one. I recently showed Eli how to pin-prick a leaf with his name so that light shines through when hung in the window.
To make one: take a dried leaf and place on a pile of scrap paper. Using a pin of some sort or a thumbtack, pin-prick dots on the leaf in the form of the letters in someone's name. You can go back over it then and make the holes slightly bigger to allow more light to shine through. Names which contain lots of straight letters are the easiest, but it's fun to try and make name leaves for the whole family to hang in the window.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
"At the end of her life, my mother suffered from Alzheimer's. She was in a nursing home and often did not recognize me. Mother shared a room with another woman about the same age. Her roommate was sloppy and often left things strewn everywhere. My mother had been an immaculate housekeeper, and even though she didn't know what day it was, she continued to carefully maintain order. One afternoon I helped her get to the bathroom so she could wash her hands. She stood at the sink and surveyed the dirt and chaos left by her roommate. An expression of disgust came over her face and she began to complain. But just as quickly she stopped herself and I heard her say, "But that would not please my Lord!"
For weeks I grieved that I was not able to talk with her to find out how she had learned contentment. After her death, I sorted through her things. In a pile of books, I found a small, old, looseleaf notebook with hand-lettered dividers. My heart stopped as I opened her little book and discovered thoughts and notes that my mother had written over the years.
One page jumped out at me. Copied in her careful lettering from a favorite book, it was titled, "If we wish to gain contentment we might try these rules":
* Allow ourselves to complain of nothing, not even the weather.
* Never picture ourselves in any circumstances in which we are not.
* Never compare our lot with that of another.
* Never allow ourselves to wish that this or that had been otherwise.
* Never dwell on the morrow; remember that this is God's and not ours.
With awe, I knelt to thank God for His gift of insight.
When our minds are gone, what will we have to offer God? If we have cultivated contentment, we can offer that to Him even when we cannot control what we think. We choose contentment today in order for it to be ours forever."
-- From "Holy Habits - A Woman's Guide to Intentional Living" by Mimi Wilson & Shelly Cook Volkhardt
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I made Peanut Butter Apple Crisp Saturday afternoon with some Macintosh apples Marty and I bought at a little produce stand earlier in the day. The original recipe calls for Jonathan or Macintosh apples, but I've used several different varieties with success. So choose your favorite apple and bake some up this afternoon!
Peanut Butter Apple Crisp
4 C. apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/8 C. sugar
1 tabl. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 tabl. water
1 C. quick-cook or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1/3 C. brown sugar, packed
4 tabl. flour
1/2 C. peanut butter
5 tabl. butter
Preheat oven to 350. Add first 4 ingredients in a bowl and mix until apple slices are coated. Add mixture and water to an 8x8 baking pan. In another bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Top apple mixture with oat mixure. Bake for 45 minutes or until apples are tender. Serve warm with whipped cream, ice cream, milk, or plain.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Sunday afternoon we headed to a local park to do an Autumn Scavenger Hunt that I had found last fall over at Dawn's "By Sun and Candlelight" blog. It was a gorgeous autumn day and cool enough that we started out with sweaters and coats on. Besides looking for the things on the list, the boys and Marty also enjoyed "working out" on the some of the exercise equipment which is along one of the trails. After we found everything and finished our hike, we gathered back in the van with apples and drinks on the way home. A sweet memory made on a beautiful day -
Autumn Scavenger Hunt (adapted a bit from the original list)
Find the following:
* flowers still in bloom - Do you know what they are? If not, look them up later.
* changing leaves - a red leaf, yellow leaf, orange leaf, and one with three colors combined
* a seed of some type - Can you identify it?
* a tree with no leaves (or very few) - Why has it lost its' leaves so early?
* an insect - Can you identify it? If not, look it up later.
* an insect home
* an autumn sound - What is it?
* a fungus
* a fruit (berries, for example) - Can you identify?
* a conifer tree - What species?
* something living under leaves or a log
* signs of animal activity or presence
* an animal home
(See if your kids can add to the list.)
Monday, October 20, 2008
(Photo by Eli - This photo has nothing to do with this post, but I included it as Eli got such a kick out of one of the chicken's antics that he had to take her picture!)
Memory Fighter Verses for weeks of 10/19 & 10/26 - James 1:22-24: "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like."
Saturday, October 18, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
Besides my new commentaries, something else that has been very helpful in studying the Word is a website Marty recently introduced to me. Advanced Bible Search at bibledatabase.org/cgi-bin/bib_search/bible.cgi is a helpful resource that allows you to search for words in Scripture similar to a concordance. For example, if you are aware of a verse in the Bible but unsure of where it's located, you can plug in a few of the words from the verse and press search. The site will show you any verses which contain those words. There are various ways and options to search for what you need. It has been SO helpful for our whole family to use this in various studies of the Word.
(By the way, could any of you ladies that use Blogger teach me how to highlight a website within a post so that all YOU have to do to is click on it in my post and it will take you to that site? I STILL haven't figured out how to do it!)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
For our anniversary Marty gave me a six-volume set of Matthew Henry's Commentaries. I have found them so helpful and encouraging in the study of the Word! Typically, commentaries give you just phrases or tiny snippets of information about various Bible verses. This set is written differently - every verse is commented on and in a devotional-type style. Some of Matthew Henry's insights have been so eloquent - I love the way he writes various things. For example, referring to a passage in Genesis, Mr. Henry writes, "Though it (earth) is not a paradise, but a wilderness rather; yet it is better than we deserve. Blessed be God, it is not hell." In reference to the creation of Eve: "That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved." And from Tuesday morning's reading from John in relation to Christ becoming flesh: "This should make us willing to abide in the flesh while God has any work for us to do; for Christ dwelt in this lower world, bad as it is, till he had finished what He had to do here."
By the way, if you're ever interested in purchasing Matthew Henry's Commentaries, Marty bought them used through Amazon at a GREAT price. My books look like new! There is also a one-book, condensed version of Matthew Henry's Commentaries which I've looked at, but the comprehensive set is definitely better -
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Eli and I enjoyed working on this decoupage pumpkin the other evening. The idea comes from an issue of last year's "Family Fun" magazine. You simply tear or cut a double-thickness of colorful tissue paper into squares (the double-thickness makes the end result brighter). Paste the squares on a pumpkin with Mod Podge decoupage paste or watered-down glue. Coat over the entire pumpkin with Mod Podge afterwards for extra shine. The original instructions showed a pumpkin with tissue squares here and there - allowing orange to show. But Eli wanted to overlap the whole thing - we sure had fun making this together!
Monday, October 13, 2008
"I Kissed Dating Goodbye" by Joshua Harris is making its' way around our house. First I read it, then my husband read it and just this weekend my almost-15-year-old finished it. This book was written by a godly young man who decided that he wanted to seek God's way in the realm of relationships. It is an honest, practical, easy-to-read Biblical resource that discusses Scripture and seeks to apply it with purpose. The book encourages readers to examine the evidence of the world's system of dating and instead, choose to deal honestly with their own hearts and seek God's wisdom. Joshua Harris was very much inspired by Elisabeth Elliot's book, "Passion and Purity." On the back of the book are the following comments from Elisabeth Elliot: "Bravissimo! I applaud Josh's forthrightness, courage, God-given conviction and ability to articulate a message that is desperately needed."
Here's an excerpt from the introduction: "Many wise people say that honesty is the best policy in any relationship. So before you "get serious" with this book, you need to understand one thing. This book isn't like other books on dating. Most other books will tell you how to fix dating to make it work for you. This book tells you how to "break up" with dating so your life works for God. "I Kissed Dating Goodbye" is about the reasons and ways to leave behind the world's lifestyle of dating."
Now it goes back on the shelf for a year or two until the next boy's turn -
Saturday, October 11, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
"The Teacher in Ecclesiastes says it this way: "Meaningless! Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless under the sun." Powerful words that every parent needs to consider. If you cut off the heavens, if you act as if God doesn't exist, everything loses its meaning. If you only look at life horizontally, all things lose their meaning. The Teacher in Ecclesiastes says that all labor, all wisdom, all achievement, all pleasure, all success, and all toil are utterly meaningless unless connected to God. If there is no God who is glorious and good, who rules the earth, who has a plan, and whose will is to be done, there is no reason for anything. Why think, work, obey, love, study, discuss, serve, or give? Why? Why? All of life blows into a chaotic mass of meaningless choices unless it is rooted in the one fact that makes every other fact make sense - GOD. This truth must dye every encounter with our children as red dye permeates every fiber of a white cloth dipped into it."
-- From "Age of Opportunity - A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens" by Paul David Tripp
Friday, October 10, 2008
Marty and the older boys have been archery hunting several evenings this week. While they're gone, Eli and I do our own little routine. After supper dishes and chores, we watch an episode of "Christy" and then do some sort of project. The other night we made these pumpkin cards to celebrate autumn for several family members and friends. The idea comes from a Martha Stewart Living magazine and is very simple. Just cut pumpkin shapes out of orange cardstock and attach to another piece of cardstock. Add rick-rack for the stem and face. Write a message and send on their merry way!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
(Photo by Eli)
169 - Let my cry come before You, O LORD;
Give me understanding according to Your word.
170 - Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.
171 - My lips shall utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
172 - My tongue shall speak of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
173 - Let Your hand become my help,
For I have chosen Your precepts.
174 - I long for Your salvation, O LORD,
And Your law is my delight.
175 - Let my soul live, and it shall praise You;
And let Your judgments help me.
176 - I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
Seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments."
O God, You are:
- my understanding and light (vs. 169)
- my deliverance (vs. 170)
- my teacher (vs. 171)
- my way (vs. 172)
- my help (vs. 173)
- my salvation and delight (vs. 174)
- my sustainer (vs. 175)
- my shepherd (vs. 176)
Lord, show me more of Yourself - from Your Word, in my circumstances, from Your creation, reflecting from Your people.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
In the back of my Homemade Calendar, I attached an envelope pocket to put keepsakes in. The idea is from an old Martha Stewart Living magazine. Simply take a large, decorative envelope and turn the flap back over itself - licking the adhesive and pasting the envelope onto your surface. Smooth down the rest of the envelope and attach it with some type of adhesive. Now you can store odds & ends of cards, notes, etc., in your Homemade Calendar - making it even more like a journal!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
"God has confidence in our ability to teach our own children. His desire is not for us to give them all the best that money could buy. His desire is for us to give them contact with Him through His Word and direct contact with our own heart through deep home relationships! He wants for us to give OURSELVES . . . Our FAITH, Our LOVE, Our NURTURE, and Our WISDOM!"
-- From "Homeschooling the Easy Way! Reprint Book Volume 2" by Cindy Rushton
Monday, October 6, 2008
Before Sunday School, there is a half-hour of fellowship and refreshment in the kitchen. Yesterday I took a pan of Easy Sticky Buns to share during that time. I actually made them Saturday afternoon and re-heated them on Sunday morning. Though they are best fresh from the oven, they are still delicious warmed up!
Easy Sticky Buns
2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed (I usually put the loaves in a cake pan to thaw on the counter several hours before I need it.)
3/4 C. butter or margarine
1 1/2 C. brown sugar
3 tabl. milk
1 - 3 oz. pkg. of instant vanilla pudding
After bread is thawed, cut 1 loaf into about 20 pieces and place in the bottom of a greased 13x9" pan. Mix butter, sugar and milk together and heat until butter is melted. Pour over bread. Sprinkle the package of pudding on top as well as cinnamon. Cut the remaining loaf into about 20 pieces and place in pan. Let raise 2 1/2 - 3 hours. (Just let the pan sit on the counter.) Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Put aluminum foil on a large tray and invert sticky bun pan onto foiled tray while hot. Watch out for the stampede when your family finds out that the sticky buns are out of the oven!!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I was shopping the other day and noticed a sign which stated: "90 More Days Until Christmas." I did a little mental double-take! How can it be 3 months until Christmas again?! Anyway, it made me think that there's not a whole lot of this year left. And to that end, I decided to add a photo to the blog today of my homemade calendar. In the past, at the end of each year, I would go on the hunt for a new weekly calendar. However, two issues always came up - the price and the lay-out. I was never happy with either one! And so, I decided to make up my own - cheap and adapted to my schedule.
I simply buy an inexpensive, 8 1/2 x 11" wire-bound sketchbook (usually from a discount store as the ones in art stores are pricey). Each Saturday, I make up my new calendar page for the week. At the top left, I paste a small magazine photo I like and label the week. On the left-hand side under the picture is a space to list things that need done in the week but haven't been assigned a specific day yet. Using a thin marker on the right side, I divide the rest of the sheet in eight blocks - one for each day of the week plus an extra one on the bottom right in which I write blog ideas. I label each box with the appropriate date and immediately plug in the daily chores assigned to that day. For example, I always clean the bathroom on Mondays, dust and vacuum bedrooms on Tuesday, etc. Then I write in anything else that needs done on certain days of the week - doctor appointments, reminders to send out birthday cards, etc. As the week progresses, I plug things from the left-hand box of odds and ends into specific days of the week as there is time. I've used this type of calendar for well over a year now and find it suits my pocketbook and taste! Perhaps it will be of help to you -
Friday, October 3, 2008
(A "pumpkin flower" from E. to me!)
"The mission of motherhood is strategic in providing the next generation with wholehearted, emotionally healthy, and spiritually alive adults. It is not simply a lifestyle choice. It is a divine calling that will indeed affect eternity."
-- From "The Mission of Motherhood - Touching Your Child's Heart for Eternity" by Sally Clarkson
Thursday, October 2, 2008
(Photo by Eli - a clever shot of Jemima Puddleduck's shadow!)
As I've mentioned before, I find such encouragement in Nancy Leigh DeMoss's teaching on the Revive Our Hearts radio program each afternoon. Miss DeMoss has been teaching through Titus 2 this week, and I wanted to share a comment she made that has been so helpful. She mentioned that whenever we read Scripture we should ask ourselves this question: What kind of woman am I to be in light of this Scripture? During my devotion times this week, I have found myself asking that question after every study session. It's an awesome way to sum things up, to seek application. It really takes a portion of Scripture and helps to make it personal, to see how it relates to my life. I'm so thankful for the example of mentoring that Miss DeMoss is to me and pray that her little piece of wisdom will be a help to you as well -
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
I tore this idea out of "Family Fun" a few months ago, because I figured Eli would enjoy making these. In the photo, if you look in the bottom right center of the picture, you'll see a round, light gray stone which is actually a Treasure Stone that we made. Inside it, Eli hid a plastic "diamond" (he purchased a bag of these at the craft store for various play). He made up several of these Treasure Stones and hid a few for his cousins next door to find and enjoy.
Treasure Stones are very simple to make (we halved the original "Family Fun" recipe):
Preheat oven to 170. In a bowl, combine 1/2 C. flour, 1/2 C. used coffee grounds (spread them out to dry overnight), 1/4 C. salt, and 1/8 C. sand. Slowly add between 1/3 - 1/2 C. of water, stirring to form a mixture that adheres together but isn't sticky. Roll a piece of the dough into a ball about the size of a large walnut. Press a "treasure" of some sort inside and cover over with dough. Place the stones on a baking sheet and bake them for about 20-30 minutes - until they're firm but not rock hard. Allow to cool completely and give to kids to break open - they will be firm, but easy to break open.