Monday, December 29, 2008

Worth the Effort

Nancy Wilson recently wrote:
May you all enjoy your post-Christmas celebrations. I know many of you keep going for the full twelve days. Learning to rejoice and celebrate is a real discipline that requires patience, stamina, practice, and endurance. So go for it! God must be pleased that we are making progress!
~~~~~~

So true! It is easy to want to skip out on things because it is just too much work. Celebrating takes time and effort...but it is worth it!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Church Year Perspective

Angie says:

"But back to Christian living in general…one of the helpful aspects of the liturgical or church year calendar is that it helps us be balanced in our Christian walks. During the Lenten season, we fast and confess our sins–a season of penitence. Then comes Easter (which really ought to be the biggest and nosiest and most joyful celebration of the whole year!) And really, Advent has been traditionally a time of reflection and preparation for the real Christmas feast–the twelve days of Christmas, which starts on Christmas Day, not before."

Summary by Peter Leithart

Peter Leithart has some helpful insight on the topic I have been on the last few posts...how to balance celebrating in grand style with remembering the poor and staying focused on the meaning of the season). He says that Christmas (like all our feasts) means enjoying an abundance of good things and then asks, “What are we to make of this as Christians?”

“There are some – let us call them liberals – who want us to feel guilty for the excess of our celebration. How can we be eating all this chocolate and making this great expenditure when people are hungry and lonely and vulnerable. And there are others – let us call them conservatives – who say that the hungry and lonely and vulnerable are not our responsibility, so we should celebrate with a clear conscience. Besides, if someone is hungry, so goes the thinking, it’s probably their own fault anyway.

Scripture does not allow us to be either liberals or conservatives when it comes to Christmas, or when it comes to anything else for that matter. Against the liberals, we have the Scriptural pattern of abundant and rich and frequent feasting. At their feasts, Israel cut loose and enjoyed food and drink, and enjoyed it abundantly. . . . But we are not conservatives either. The fact that we are to feast and rejoice with a clean conscience does NOT mean that we feast without any thought for those who have nothing to feast on. Israel is commanded over and over not to forget the Levite, the orphan, and the widow. . . . Remembering the Levite, the orphan, the widow and the stranger was not a way of smuggling liberalism and guilt-manipulation into the back door. Israel was not supposed to refrain from feasting because there were orphans and widows around. Rather, they were commanded bring the orphan and the widow into their feasting, so that the needy could share the abundance of their joy and of their goods. We in the new covenant have an even more profound reason for doing so: God has shared the abundance of His life with us in Jesus, and so ought we to share with one another.

So, feast this Christmas in good conscience. Lay your hands on whatever your soul desires, and eat it in rejoicing and thanks. But look for opportunities to share your abundance with the orphan, the widow, the aged and the poor. God has filled you when you were empty, and helped you when you were helpless. Go and do likewise.”

I originally found this quote here.

Another Thought on Christmas

Another great post for Christmas can be found here. Gotta run! Baby is crying :0)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

But Still Celebrate in Grand Style!

Here is a good follow up post to the video I put up. It reminds us that even though there is a place for simplification, and we do need to remember the poor, there is also a place for extravagant celebrating! She even says this:
~~~~~~~~~
I'm inclined to think, though, that some (not all) may embrace this “Advent conspiracy” stuff as a way to justify their own laziness and/or curmudgeonliness. To those folks I say: stop griping about the celebration and start celebrating! Put up an extra strand of lights. Give your kid a little trinket every day from Christmas through Epiphany (the twelve days of Christmas). Buy extra hot chocolate and marshmallows for the family to enjoy while you have your Advent devotionals and singing.*

* Believe me, believe me---I’m exhorting myself here as much as anyone else. I’m often ashamed at how much my dislike of mess and disorder and noise dictates what I do or, more often, don’t do, with my kids.
~~~~~~~~~
Good point!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Poor or Consumerism?



Even if you don't join this organization in their efforts, it would be wonderful if we all spent a bit of our money helping the poor during this season. Blessing our families during this time is wonderful! But, we could simplify a bit and help a lot.

So there I was...

...reading our Advent story to the boys. Jeremy was gone to a meeting, but the two purple candles were lit, the boys were being good, and Remy was crawling on the floor. The big boys even like to dim the lights. All was well, until I told Riley to scoot back and sit still. As he was "scooting" I saw something behind him. I squealed, "Uuugghhcckk!" and told every one to stay still. I pulled Riley up and confirmed that he had a poopy diaper that had literally squished out everywhere. I think he had been grinding it in for a while before I noticed. And, to make it even more fun, he was sitting in the center of the couch. This is the one 12 inch square that touches the back and both of the cushions. This is the biggest poopy mess in my life as a mom.

So, how does this story fit with my goal on this blog..."to challenge and encourage us all"? Well, be encouraged that you are not cleaning up this mess!

(...I am not really sure how to go about this, but I know it will include a lot of Kids and Pets. Thanks Dolly for first showing me that stuff.)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

GREAT and Practical Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Devotions

Here is a link to a wonderful Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany Devotion put together by a Randy Booth. My husband came across it and then I saw it at Femina. It has a 1 page intro explaining the season a bit (very helpful...did you know that Christmas is the FIRST day of the 12 days of Christmas? I love that!). Then it has 1 page or less for each day. It is a quick read, but with lots of meat in it. I really like the last section on each day. It is an application to put to use what you just learned. Neat!

Down Time

Here is a wonderful article about how (and why) to have some TRUE down time...no multi-tasking allowed. Take time to just "be" and enjoy something that is purposefully not productive. The Sabbath in a great time for this. We mom's tend to work right on through sometimes. But God says we NEED rest and I would say that he knows better than we do...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Some Great Books

Here is a fun little book club that Simple Mom is hosting in the coming year. I think I am game for most of the books. I don't plan to get involved with the comments and chatter about the books...I am enjoying limiting my time in cyberspace. But, I like having a list that others have recommended and having a timeline to commit to. She took many suggestions and came up with some interesting topics. I am particularly interested in Your Money or Your Life, Last Child in the Woods, and It's All Too Much. I read For Women Only a few years ago and it was interesting. What do you think? Are you interested in any of these books?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Todoodlist



I have been enjoying this a lot. It has helped me not be so dependent on the computer. It is nice to "unplug" a bit. Click on the link to the right for more info...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankfulness when something breaks, burns, or spills

Nancy Wilson posted this on her blog today...

Tomorrow is the day of many preparations. As we prepare the meal, the table, the house, and everything else, let’s remember to prepare our hearts to be thankful to God from the moment we rise until we fall back into bed. Thankful as we roll out the dough, peel the potatoes, and iron the napkins, thankful as we prepare those foods everyone has come to expect for Thanksgiving dinner. Thankful if something breaks or spills or burns or is forgotten or unappreciated. Thankful as we wash the dishes. Thankful for leftovers. Always and for everything, giving thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bishops Speak Up

Here is a post in the Washington Times entitled "Bishops warn Obama about Abortion issue." Amen!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Culteral Kids

Here is the link to our pastor's sermon's online. I want to recommend August 24, 2008, August 31, 2008, and September 7, 2008 in particular. These three are a series about how to raise your kids in the culture. Such wonderful and helpful info.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Just do it.

No unwelcome tasks become any the less unwelcome by putting them off till tomorrow. It is only when they are behind us and done, that we begin to find that there is a sweetness to be tasted afterwards, and that the remembrance of unwelcome duties unhesitatingly done is welcome and pleasant. Accomplished, they are full of blessing, and there is a smile on their faces as they leave us. Undone, they stand threatening and disturbing our tranquility, and hindering our communion with God. If there be lying before you any bit of work from which you shrink, go straight up to it, and do it at once. The only way to get rid of it is to do it.

-Alexander MacLaren (1826–1910), Scottish preacher

I originally saw this here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sabbath Feast Tips

Here is a wonderful link filled with shortcuts for a Sabbath Dinner. There are other articles on her blog to explain more about how and why they do their Sabbath Dinners.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Traveling with kids

Here is a great article with tips for traveling with small kids. She even has some really handy packing lists.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Low Tech...

Here is a good article about getting obsessed with being productive. We want software and technology to help us get more done, but maybe we should just pick up a pencil and get on with it...

13 Reasons to Switch Back to Paper Today is just that. Take a look!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Halloween...a little late.




Here are the pictures from our Halloween night. Aiden and Alex staged this fight and wanted me to take a picture...then Riley joined in! In case you can't read my and Jeremy's hat it reads "Zookeeper." That does not need much explanation does it?

If you want to see why we "do" Halloween look at my previous post here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Story of Stuff



This is a video called The Story of Stuff. It is about 20 minutes long and totally worth your time. It shows where all our "stuff" comes from and where it goes. It also shows how we as consumers find our identity in our stuff. (If this video is too blurry you can go here to watch the original version on The Story of Stuff website)

I have been thinking about this a great deal in the last months. Consumerism and time on the computer both keep us from real life. They keep us from enjoying solitude, talking with friends, God's creation in nature, and simple pleasures. We can become addicted to e-mail, blogging, or other online things and find our identity there...especially stay at home moms. Do we want to escape to the computer and often tell our kids to "hold on" while we are online? Now, there is nothing wrong with enjoying these things in moderation (I clearly am by writing this blog). I am talking about thinking these things through and purposefully living in the real world with real flesh and blood people that are in your physical presence. I am talking about going outside and just sitting and reading a book. Just sit and stack blocks with the toddler. Go outside for a walk. Meet a friend from church at the park and let the kids play. I have been trying lately to tip the scale in that direction. This video just made me think about these things from another angle. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Developing all our second bests...

I originally found this quote here. G.K. Chesterton said this about women...

Woman must be a cook, but not a competitive cook; a school-mistress, but not a competitive school-mistress; a house decorator, but not a competitive house-decorator; a dressmaker, but not a competitive dressmaker. She should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she, unlike the man, may develop all her second bests. This is what has been really aimed at from the first in what is called the seclusion, or even the oppression, of women. Women were not kept at home in order to keep them narrow; on the contrary, they were kept at home in order to keep them broad. The world outside the home was one mass of narrowness, a maze of cramped paths, a madhouse of monomaniacs. It was only by partly limiting and protecting the woman that she was enabled to play at five or six professions and so come almost as near to God as the child when he plays at a hundred trades. But the woman’s professions, unlike the child’s, were all truly and almost terribly fruitful.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Travel Food the Frugal Way

Here is a link to tons of ideas to use when packing food for a road trip. This is one way to save a good bit when you are traveling.

There are also ideas in the comments of this post.

Just in case you want it

Here is a link to a list of who voted for the bailout and who voted against it. I saw the link on Shannon's blog. She made the point that the public was very vocal about opposing the bailout and many politicians did not represent what the people wanted. If you are one of the people who wanted to be heard, here is the info to tell you if your representatives deserve your vote.

LOTS of freebies for voting

This post lists a TON of places giving you something free if you come in with a sticker that says you voted. Starbucks and Krispy Kreme are on the list!

Room Time...Rest Time

Dolly linked to this great post about "Room Time." We have rest time in the afternoon at our house, but I liked some of the things she suggested in her article. I might tweak our system a bit and see if we like it.

Do what this kid says

Saturday, November 01, 2008

A Great Way to Save Money

Here is a great article on Money Saving Mom about saving money by not shopping. I do this too. The less we see the less we want!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Lots of ideas and encouragement

If you are looking for ideas for dealing with a few little children or needing some encouragement take a look at this article. I first saw it recommended on Money Saving Mom. I think I will have to refer back to this one a few times to soak it all up!

Sinners

Here is a quote by Eugene Peterson on the value of seeing people as sinners. I think that this can apply to parenting as well. We need to not be shocked, mad, dismayed, or frustrated when our kids sin. We just need to remember that they are, in fact, sinners and then be delighted when they act nicely!

"The word sinner is a theological designation. It is essential to insist on this. It is not a moralistic judgement. It is not a word that places humans somewhere along a continuum ranging from angel to ape, assessing them as relatively 'good' or 'bad.' It designates humans in relation to God and sees them as separated from God. Sinner means something is awry between humans and God. In that state people may be wicked, unhappy anxious, and poor. Or, they may be virtuous, happy and affluent. Those items are not part of the judgment. The theological fact is that humans are not close to God and are not serving God. To see a person a sinner then, is not to see him or her as hypocritical, disgusting, or evil. Most sinners are very nice people. To call a man a sinner is not a blast at his manners or his morals. It is a theological belief that the thing that matters most to him is forgiveness and grace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

simple mom

I really like www.simplemom.net. It has lots of helpful info about how to cut back and focus on what really matters.

Here is an article about how to make e-mail work for you instead of letting it take on a life of it's own. It is easy to become a slave to your inbox.

Here is an article about whether it is better to mulit-task or single-task.

Worth reading...

Shannon just posted a really great article on giving up yourself. Boy does it hit the nail on the head!

Why teach grammer?

There are those who would say that children don't need much training in formal grammer because they will figure it out naturally as they read good literature and do lots of copywork. Well Lori just had an excellent post explaining how "there exists an inseparable connection between the structure of language and the structure of thought." She included this great quote from Richard Mitchell:

People who have learned even a little about how English works have all heard about modifiers. They know that a modifier is something that tells us something about something, and that there are many kinds of modifiers, some with tricky names. The way we teach things like this, as though they were subject to arbitrary rules like the rules of basketball, is so stupid and tedious that most people block out modifiers as soon as possible. The English system of modification, however, does not exist in a set of paltry rules that do what they can, and fail, to describe some very elaborate operations not simply of the language but of the mind. To say that an adjective modifies a noun is worth nothing unless we see that sticking adjectives on nouns is the outward equivalent of some mysterious inward process that goes on in the mind. It's not entirely absurd to think that somewhere in the past of mankind someone, for the first time, did in his mind the equivalent of putting an adjective to a noun, and saw, not only a relationship, but this special relationship between two things of different kinds. That moment was more important to our history than the flight of the Wright brothers. In sum, all the seemingly complicated kinds of modification in English are just ways of thinking and seeing how things go with each other or reflect each other. Modifiers in our language are not aids to understanding relationships; they are the ways to understand relationships. A mistake in this matter either comes from or causes a clouded mind. Usually it's both.

Just think what happens in the mind of the person who knows the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses. Anyone who understands the distinction is on the brink of seeing the difference between simple fact and elaborative detail and may well begin to make judgments about the logic of such relationships. He may start bothering his head about the difference between things essential and accidental, a disorder that often leads to the discovery of tautologies. Furthermore, anyone who sees the difference between restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses is likely to understand why modifiers should be close to the things they modify and thus begin to develop a sense of the way in which ideas grow from one another. From that, it's not a long way to detecting non sequiturs and unstated premises and even false analogies.

Unfortunately, we just don't know how to teach skillful reading and writing without developing many undesirable and socially destructive side effects. Should we raise up a generation of literate Americans, very little of the America that we know would survive. We depend on a steady background level of ignorance and stupidity. A skillful reader, for instance, cannot be depended upon to buy this aftershave rather than some other because he is always weighing and considering statements that just weren't meant to be weighed and considered.

The next thing you know, they'll start listening very carefully to the words and sentences of the politicians, and they'll decide there isn't one of them worth voting for anywhere on the ballot. There's no knowing where this will end. (Less Than Words Can Say pp. 150-154)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

More Great Quotes from Pastor Lusk

St. Jerome:

Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ.


St. Francis of Assisi:

It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.


Thomas Aquinas:

The things that we love tell us what we are.


From one of John Calvin’s sermons, on the comforts of knowing the ascended Christ:

Jesus is at the right hand of God in this nature which He assumed with us...He is always ready to stretch out to us His hand, and we must be certain that, although we suffer for a time, the end of it will be for our salvation. That is what must be understood when His Ascension is spoken of. Thus, since He has gone up there, and is in heaven for us, let us note that we need not fear to be in this world.

It is true that we are subject to so much misery that our condition is pitiable, [but] we look to our Head Who is already in heaven, and say, “Although I am weak, there is Jesus Christ Who is powerful enough to make me stand upright. Although I am feeble, there is Jesus Christ who is my strength. Although I am full of miseries, Jesus Christ is in immortal glory and what He has will some time be given to me and I shall partake of all His benefits.”

Yes, the devil is called the prince of this world. But what of it? Jesus Christ holds him in check; for He is King of heaven and earth. There are devils above us in the air who make war against us. But what of it? Jesus Christ rules above, having entire control of the battle. Thus, we need not doubt that He gives us the victory. I am here subject to many changes, which may cause me to lose courage. But what of it? The Son of God is my Head, Who is exempt from all change. I must, then, take confidence in Him.

Our little trip




These are from our camping trip last weekend. We met some friends at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia. We had a great time! Look at this amazing sculpture on the largest hunk of granite in North America. We rode to the top of it and took one of these pictures.

Monday, October 27, 2008

HT to Pastor Lusk for this quote...

Andy Crouch on American Christians:

We are a terrifyingly unserious people, our heads buzzing with trivia and noise. This is more true, if anything, of American Christians than the rest of our country. The stark contrast between what I experience among Christians anywhere else in the world—and not just the "Third World," because Canada and Germany and Britain and Singapore come to mind as quickly as Uganda and India—and American Christians is astonishing. We are preoccupied with fads intellectual, theological, technological, and sartorial. Vanishingly few of us have any serious discipline of silence, solitude, study, and fasting. We have, in the short run, very little to offer our culture, because we live in the short run….

I believe the first step in culture making is not creating (let alone condemning, critiquing, or consuming) but cultivating: keeping what is already good in culture, good. American Christians, on the right and the left, have been painfully bad at cultivating. We want to jump to "transformation" and "impact" (words generally used on the right) or to "resistance" and "revolution" (favored words of the left). We often seem incapable of seeing ourselves first as gardeners: people whose first cultural calling is to keep good what is, by the common grace of God, already good. A gardener does not pull out weeds because she hates weeds; she pulls out weeds because she loves the garden, and because (hopefully) there are more vegetables or flowers in it than weeds. This kind of love of the garden—loving our broken, beautiful cultures for what they are at their best—is the precondition, I am coming to believe, for any serious cultural creativity or influence. When weeds infest the garden, the gardener does not take the opportunity to decry the corruption of the garden as a whole. She gets patiently, discerningly, to work keeping the garden good.

Everyone's talking about this...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I couldn't have said it better...

I absolutely LOVED this article. Jeremy and I were 19 and 20 when we got married (respectively...yes, I robbed the cradle just a bit). We had both just finished our 2nd year of college. We had known each other since 5th grade and both our families knew each other very well. There was no reason to wait to get married and there were lots of reasons not to wait. This writer says a lot of things in this article that need to be said today. Take a look.

How to Read the Bible to your Kids

The following quote is taken from this article by David Mills. The article is a little bit long, but it had some very helpful insights.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Chief among the classics to be read, of course, are the Scriptures, read as if they were classic stories, without their stained-glass and Sunday school associations. You would read them, for example, without drawing simple dogmatic lessons, as if the stories were primarily illustrations for ideas you’ve gotten from the Catechism. You would also read them as if they were written by one author, connecting “what he says here” with “what he says there.”

And you will read as if these were not just good stories, but our family’s story, as if when we said “Abraham” we were saying “great-grandpa” and when we said “St. Paul” we were saying “your saintly uncle Paul, the genius.” This is harder to do, and is conveyed mostly in an attitude of possession and reverence, of the sort you have for your greatest and most interesting of ancestors.

Good stories read seriously and with enjoyment will help form a child’s imagination, and give it a shape it will never entirely lose, no matter what the child does when he grows older. But we would be foolish to rely on stories to do more than stories can. Wise Christian parents will immerse themselves and their children ever more deeply in the life of the Church, whose worship and teaching and charity and fellowship will be the most profound creator of the Christian imagination.

Amazing Dishwasher

I remember reading in the Tightwad Gazette that you can dramatically reduce the amount of detergent you use in your dishwasher and still get great results. I also remember Flylady recommending that if you are starting with a huge mess of a kitchen you should run the dishwasher EVEN IF YOU DON"T HAVE ANY DETERGENT because the hot water will clean most of the dishes just fine.

Well, I just proved these ladies right...on accident. I think Riley (2) started the dishwasher. I heard it running yesterday and did not remember starting it. Sure enough when I opened it it was only 3/4 full (and I always pack it full). BUT, even thought I had not put a drop of dish detergent in there, every dish was perfectly clean. And, I know that some of them had Crisco (and other food yuckiness) on them when I put them in there. Amazing! That will save some money. I won't quit using it all together, but I will use a LOT less!

Good Political Video

ABC made this video pointing out how we are all looking to be "saved" by the next President. No wonder they all let us down...who can live up to all that? There is a part 2 that deals with the economy and the bailout. I liked it a lot too.

I Know What God's Will Is For Your Life!

Do you wonder about this? I know I do. What would God have me do? What is his will for my life? Well, I just found the answer. Check this out...

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

There you have it! And it is straight out of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Sears will give your kids free clothes?

Check out this post. She explains the Kidvantange program at Sears. Apparently if your child wears out a piece of clothing before they outgrow it then sears will replace the item for free! Boy do I need this! My boys can wear a knee out of a pair of pants faster than you can say...anything! I couldn't think of anything clever. Sorry!

Seasoning Recipes

Here is a link to a blog post with 7 recipes for homemade seasoning blends. They look like they'd be worth a try :0)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Another one about being a kind mommy...

Here is a very short little piece on how to talk to your kids. Would you talk to anyone else the way that you talk to your kids?

Gifted kid?

Here is an article entitled "Is your kid really gifted? Probably not." It talks about how obsessed we are with making our children brilliant and gives a more balanced view. My favorite part is the 5 tips it gives.

Catholic Vote

I'm not Catholic, but I am part of the catholic (little "c" meaning universal) church. This little commercial was really moving and inspiring. Take a look.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kind to the Kids

This is a great post on speaking kindly to your kids.

And here is a quote from another article about the cost of raising kids (I did not read the whole article so I am not endorsing it...I just liked this quote):

Once a lady went to visit her friend. During the visit the children of the friend entered the room and began to play with each other. As the lady and her friend visited, the lady turned to her friend and said eagerly and yet with evidently no thought of the meaning of her words: “Oh, I’d give my life to have such children.” The mother replied with a subdued earnestness whose quiet told of the depth of experience out of which her words came: “That’s exactly what it costs.”

There is a cost of motherhood. And the price is no small sum. And if you are not willing to pay this price, no amount of encouragement about the joys of motherhood will satisfy.

But the price of motherhood is not fundamentally different from the price of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. In fact, Christian mothers see their duty as mothers flowing from their calling to Jesus Christ. And what is this cost?

Christian motherhood means dedicating your entire life in service of others. It means standing beside your husband, following him, and investing in the lives of children whom you hope will both survive you and surpass you. It means forgoing present satisfaction for eternal rewards. It means investing in the lives of others who may never fully appreciate your sacrifice or comprehend the depth of your love. And it means doing all these things, not because you will receive the praise of man — for you will not — but because God made you to be a woman and a mother, and there is great contentment in that biblical calling.

Dealing with the Interruption of Parenting

Step back and look at the big picture. What do they need for the future? Do they need their mom to sit and read with them right now so that they can feel loved and secure and able to have that same love to share with their children in the future? Or are they already feeling that way, and right now need to help you do the dishes instead, so they can learn to think of others and to be giving and caring? Always think of what is best for your children in the long run. And remember to observe and know each individual child and their individual needs. And yes, sometimes they do need to learn to just sit and be quiet and not disturb you while you handle something important beside them.

This is an excerpt from this article about what to do when your kids annoy you.

Highest Calling?

Here is a wonderful post about what the highest calling is. This is wonderful to balance out those that say that being a mother is the end all be all of womanhood. I found this link (and probably the next few I link to!) at Making Home.

The Rest of the Quote

In March I posted this quote by C.S. Lewis. Tonight I found the rest of the excerpt at Making Home. Here it is. What a wonderful article about dealing with the sin of other people.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

How much should you spend on food?

Take a look here to see what the USDA says your family should be spending on food. There are 4 categories: thrifty, low-cost, moderate-cost, and liberal.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Daily Docket and More

Here is a link to some very useful forms that you can download. My favorite is the Daily Docket. It is an "at a glace" view of what I need to get done today. It has a place for my "to do list" for today, an outline of my schedule for the day, a place to write what's for dinner...you get the picture.

Having Guests and Storing Art

Here is a wonderful little post about how to make overnight guests feel welcome in your home.

Here is a wonderful post about what to do with the huge mass of artwork that you can accumulate if you have children...Oh, boy do I need this one!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Financial Explanations

Here is a WONDERFUL bit of financial journalism. One website calls it "the best piece of financial journalism ever." If you are wanting some more info about what is going on with the economy listen to this. There is a link entitled "full episode" on the left (a little scroll down) to listen to the file. It is easy to listen too and really interesting.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Quotes from Murray and Lewis

Some more wonderful quotes from our "TPC Updates" Thanks, Pastor Lusk.

Andrew Murray, from Raising Your Children for Christ, p. 262:

Many people wish to help the poor…but they do not do anything because they do not know how to go about it. One of the highest goals of Christian education is to make deeds of kindness the chief aim in life. Our desire should be to live to make those around us better and happier. This can only be attained as the parents teach themselves and cultivate the virtues they seek to instill in their children.

C. S. Lewis on selfishness:

At this very moment you and I are either committing [selfishness], or about to commit it, or repenting of it.

C. S. Lewis on love:

Love is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far as it can be obtained.

What Are Your Children Breathing?

Horace Bushnell said in Christian Nurture:

"[A Child's] character is forming under a principle, not of choice, but of nurture. The spirit of the house is breathed into his nature, day by day. The anger and gentleness, the fretfulness and patience-the appetites, passions and manners- all the variant moods of feeling exhibited round him, pass into him as impressions and become seeds of character in him; not because his parents will, but because it must be so, whether they will or not. They propagate their own evil in the child, not by design, but under a law of moral infection. ...The spirit of the house is in the members of the children by nurture, not by teaching, not by any attempt to communicate the same, but because it is in the air the children breathe...Understand that it is the family spirit, the organic life of the house, the silent power of domestic godliness, working as it does, unconsciously and with sovereign effect-this it is which forms your children to God."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Consumer Christians?

Here is an interesting post about just hanging around with people we like at church instead of dwelling together with Christians in our geographical area. Do we look at church as a consumer...which one has the right features for me? Food for thought...

Jospeh

About 6 months ago our family came across this blog chronicling the journey of 3 year old Joseph as he fought cancer. We have been praying for Joseph since then. He died recently (the day after his 4th birthday) and his family has continued to touch us. Here is a video of his father singing a song that he wrote at Joseph's funeral. Here is an honest post by Joseph's mother about how she felt as a mom before she found out about the cancer. She shares how it changed her in every way.

Easy Homeschooling Techniques

I mentioned a few days ago that you could download a free ebook entitled Easy Homeschooling Curriculum (it was just free for that day). Well, I did that and I enjoyed the book a lot. I did not read every page, but read enough that I knew I wanted to get...Easy Homeschooling Techniques. This "techniques" book has been really helpful and has tons of practical tips. She has a few views that I do not share, but overall I have eaten up every bit of this book so far. The link above is to Amazon, but you can look here if you are interested in getting the ebook. This book is a great resource, especially if you are needing to keep your school budget to a minimum, .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Pear Budget

If you are trying to figure out a budget and wanting something user friendly, I highly recommend Pear Budget. I first saw it on Dolly's blog and started using it this month. It is $3 per month, SIMPLE to use, and pleasing to the eye. They even offer a free trial!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Homeschool Freebie of the Day

Yes, that is right. There is a website called Homeschool Freebie of the Day that gives you free offers! I just found it at Money Saving Mom and got my first one and I am excited to look it over. It is called Easy Homeschooling Curriculum and it outlines an entire curriculum that you could use (or at lease build on). I just looked at it for about 1 minute before I came here to post to you about it. Here is a little teaser I copied for you:

Easy Homeschooling Curriculum CHRISTIAN Edition by Lorraine Curry (PDF ebook) - What is really worth learning? This great collection from Lorraine Curry and 16 noted homeschooling authorities provides insight into that sometimes puzzling question with clear directives and definite answers.
* How do I reach my spiritual and educational goals?
* How do I identify classic books?
* How do I make the most of the “decade of impressibility” (ages 6-16)?
* How exactly does the literary method work, why is it effective?
* How long do we spend on a topic?
* Should we read excerpts or entire books?
* How do I best combine works?
* What exactly are the most important, and secondary subjects?
* How can I stimulate interest in a subject or topic?
* What is apperception and why is it important?
* How do I teach so that learning becomes permanent?
* How does knowing and feeling contribute to will training?
* What titles and genres should we use for each grade?
* What else should my child be doing at each grade level?
* Why are these particular books best for these ages?
* What is a type study in geography and why should I use it?
* What is meant by “home outward” and why is it important?
* Are there exceptions to chronological studies?
* How can nature study be combined with our reading topics?
* How can grids be helpful in teaching accurate drawing skills?
* Is fantasy really appropriate for children, and if so, why?
* What is the best narration-notebook system?
* At what grade do I begin historical study?
* Where do I begin historical study?

“Lorraine Curry guides the reader through rich literature selections that will challenge you and your children. In our culture of slang language and decadent amoral lifestyles, these selections are refreshing and challenging, reminding us that things were not always this way. . . . The subject chapters offer helpful guidance when putting together literature-based studies. . . . a valuable and well-used resource; inspiring as well as challenging to all who read it. “-Christy Herbert

Saturday, September 13, 2008

May it be so...

Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

A Prayer Attributed to St. Francis

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Michael's Coupon

Money Saving Mom posted a great coupon for Michael's today. The link is here. It is for 25% off of your entire purchase and it applies to sale items too!

Are your kids fun to be around?

I just saw a new post on Making Home entitled Train Them Until You Like Them. It basically says that if your kids are not fun to spend time with then you need to train them so that you can enjoy them. Take a look at the link to read the whole article. Great!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This is Funny (and interesting)

On the topic of Sarah Palin, Doug Wilson recently wrote:

I have argued before from Isaiah 3:12 -- "children are their oppressors, and women rule over them" -- that feminism is one of the things Scripture uses as an indicator of God's judgment on a culture. I still believe that, and also believe that we are in fact under this particular judgment in our culture. But as a biblical absolutist, and not a simple traditionalist, I also want to make room for the occasional Deborah. Life is funny, and you should remember that in the Bible Deborah was the dame who upstaged a fellow named Barak. Kinda spooky when you think about it.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Grocery Game

The Grocery Game is a way to save you lots of money! My friend Shannon first mentioned in a few months ago and I thought I would pass since I don't buy tons of brand name items. Well, I decided to try it out and it has been lots of fun and saved me some money afterall! Last night I spent $80 at Publix and saved $75 (by that I mean that my total was $155 and after coupons and sales I paid $80). Then I went to Winn Dixie and spent $60 and saved $54 dollars! I will be really excited when I save more than I spend! You can have a 4 week trial of the Grocery Game for $1 and after that it is $10 every 8 weeks. I don't have time to explain how it works right now, so I will just direct you to the link above. Have fun clipping coupons!

Sarah Palin Rumors...true or not?

This Newsweek article is a refutation of many rumors flying around about Sarah Palin. Many of the rumors have been circulating in e-mails and websites. This article does a good job of presenting a lot of facts that set things straight.

Puritan Prayer of Confession

Jess linked to these Puritan Prayers and I have enjoyed them a lot. Even if you are not crazy about printed prayers these have a lot to offer. They are well thought out and rich. I am going to post some here to give you a taste of them...

Contentment

Heavenly Father, if I should suffer need, and go unclothed, and be in poverty, make my heart prize Thy love, know it, be constrained by it, though I be denied all blessings. It is Thy mercy to afflict and try me with wants, for by these trials I see my sins, and desire severance from them. Let me willingly accept misery, sorrows, temptations, if I can thereby feel sin as the greatest evil, and be delivered from it with gratitude to Thee, acknowledging this as the highest testimony of Thy love.

When thy Son, Jesus, came into my soul instead of sin He became more dear to me than sin had formerly been; His kindly rule replaced sin's tyranny. Teach me to believe that if ever I would have any sin subdued I must not only labour to overcome it, but must invite Christ to abide in the place of it, and He must become to me more than vile lust had been; that His sweetness, power, life may be there. Thus I must seek a grace from Him contrary to sin, but must not claim it apart from Himself.

When I am afraid of evils to come, comfort me by showing me that in myself I am a dying, condemned wretch, but in Christ I am reconciled and live; that in myself I find insufficiency and no rest, but in Christ there is satisfaction and peace; that in myself I am feeble and unable to do good, but in Christ I have ability to do all things. Though now I have His graces in part, I shall shortly have them perfectly in that state where Thou wilt show Thyself fully reconciled, and alone sufficient, efficient, loving me completely, with sin abolished. O Lord, hasten that day.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Teaching the Younger Women is...Frustrating?

This post is a question from an older woman in the church that is trying to minister to the younger moms around her and has run into a few unanticipated snags.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sexual Tempation

Here and here are two great articles by Randy Alcorn on sexual temptation. An excerpt from the first article is below. These are really worth reading.

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What level of pride is required to believe that sexual sin could overtake Samson, David ("a man after God's own heart"), Solomon, and a host of modern Christian leaders, but not me? Paul's warning in 1 Corinthians 10 deserves a prominent place on our dashboards, desks, or Day-Timers: "If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Jamie Soles

For a long time I have wanted to put a plug on my blog for Jamie Soles. I have hesitated though because I wanted to do it just right and give you a really good glimpse into why we LOVE his music so much. So, I have put it off for months and months. I just made up my mind (about 2 minutes ago) to make an effort and then direct you to his website.

Jamie's albums are by far our FAVORITE albums as a family. A few of our favorites are "Ascending","Fun and Prophets", "Memorials", and "Weight of Glory". There samples and reviews on his website.

Dan Glover has been recommending Jamie's music to resellers with whom he is familiar. Here's an excerpt:

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A friend of mine has been making quality children’s music (he also produces very good music geared toward adults) from a reformed-covenantal perspective for some years now. His music is very high quality both in respect to its artistry and its scriptural insight and content. My friend’s name is Jamie Soles and he hails from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada.

Jamie sings a lot about God’s covenant relationship with His people throughout the scope of redemptive history. He does a wonderful job of simultaneously combining humour, gravity, solemnity, triumph, education, joy and praise as he retells many of the best and least known Bible stories from both the Old and New Testaments. Generally, each album progresses from creation to fall to redemption and shows God’s grace to His people throughout the full and continuous story of Scripture, culminating in Jesus Christ.

Something else he does masterfully is to show how Messiah Jesus was foreshadowed throughout the OT in so many of the great yet very human characters we thought we knew as well as the events that God ordained in their history. Jamie is a true artist.

Unlike many musicians (some of whom wrote some of the tunes in the Psalter!!), the tunes he has written for the stories he is singing suit the overall spirit of the story-song. Songs of triumph (the Israelites taking Canaan) can be marched to. Songs of mourning (the exile or the death of Absalom) always make it difficult for me to swallow (and I’m the dad). Songs of redemption make me and my family marvel at our gracious God as we heartily agree with the words and our spirits are raised to worship by the melodies.

...Frequently, he is joined by his wife (Val) and the older of his [eight] children who all sing beautifully. The children’s voices are not pouty or whiney and Val’s voice is strong and clear without a hint of sensuality, something that is near impossible to avoid in modern music whether Christian or secular. My family and many others I know have also enjoyed his most recent adult offering, Ascending. This album is a faithful rendering (sometimes nearly word for word) of the Psalms of Ascent.

Jamie’s philosophy of children’s music is similar to that of C.S. Lewis’s philosophy of children’s literature: If it can’t be enjoyed by a fifty year old it won’t make for good children’s listening either. I can attest to the fact that this music appeals to adults as well. Much to my family’s chagrin, Dad often snags one of the CDs before anyone else is awake and takes it to work to listen to. I find that I am continually edified by it and that Jamie has included details from the biblical narratives that I had sometimes glossed over before.

Old Post Revisited

Here is a post from May, but I thought I would highlight it again. Jeremy is preaching tomorrow and asked me for one of these quotes and when I looked it up I was glad to be able to read these again. Even if you (or I) don't agree with every word in every one, they at least give us MUCH RICH food for thought.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin Pictures

I like to see pictures of people doing what they do. This site has about 40 pictures of Sarah Palin with her family. I am not endorsing the site, but thought I would pass along the pictures for any who would like to see them.

N T Wright

In Reflecting the Glory, NT Wright fleshes out 2 Corinthians 5:6-10. He starts out by saying that sometimes people feel like they can't please God. They know they are sinful and they think that is all God can see...their sinfulness. He uses the example of trying all your life to please a parent and never feeling like you are able to do it. He goes on to say the following (I just love this!)

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Clearly Paul does not look at the matter like that at all. For Paul, God is pleased when he sees his image being reproduced in his human creatures by the Spirit. The slightest steps they take towards him, the slightest movements of faith and hope, and particularly of love, give God enormous delight. However difficult we may find this to believe, not least because of our own upbringing, it is a truth that Paul repeats quite often. Who we are in Christ, what we do in the Spirit, is pleasing to God; God delights in us, and, like a parent, he is thrilled when we, his children, take even the first small baby-steps towards the full Christian adulthood he has in store for us...

...If we have been well taught that we can never "make ourselves right" before God we might assume that there is nothing good about us, that when we finally stand before God we will have nothing to commend us to Him. That is not, however, the way Paul sees it. For Paul, if we are genuinely living in and by the Spirit of Jesus, then day by day, often without our even realizing it, we will have done many things that will give God pleasure-the smallest act of forgiveness, a great act of justice or mercy, a wonderful act of creativity enriching God's world. As a result of all these many things God will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." When he says that, of course, we will rightly say, "Our competence, our sufficiency comes from God." We never escape the wonderful circle of grace, gratitude, and glory. None the less, it really will be us whom God thanks, us whom he praises.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Now On The Things That Are Useless

This article has some interesting things to say about the things that we do that are "useless". There are some great quotes by Peter Leithart in it. They spell out why sometimes it is truly good to do something "useless."

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Are you useful?

On being a Useful Christian. This is a great article about looking for ways to help other people especially in the church.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Sinner in the Church?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in Life Together, "For the pious community permits no one to be a sinner. Hence all have to conceal their sins from themselves and from the community. We are not allowed to be sinners. Many Christians would be unimaginably horrified if a real sinner were suddenly to turn up among the pious. So we remain alone with our sin, trapped in lies and hypocrisy, for we are in fact sinners."

The Opposite of Feminism

Doug Wilson recently said on his blog...

There is a significant stream within conservative Christian circles that is more Muslim than Christian. In my writing on family, I have called this error masculinism, the counterpart to feminism. This selection of Sarah Palin enables us to address that problem. The Bible does not teach that a woman's place is in the home. It teaches that a woman's priority is the home. If a woman accomplishes a great deal outside the home without surrendering the priority of the home, there is nothing whatever unbiblical about it. Many people have assumed that Nancy and I are homers simply because we don't apologize for the apostle Paul's teaching on headship and submission in marriagae. But while we believe and practice and teach everything the apostle ever wrote on this subject, my wife has taught outside the home, written a textbook, taught at conferences, written other books, and all while managing the home in a spectacular fashion. My daughters are both very accomplished women, as is my daughter-in-law, and I welcome the opportunity for genuine conservatives to reject the ditch on both sides of this gender road.

Palin's Daughter Pregnant...

Here is good post about the Palin's reaction to her daughter's pregnancy.

Here is an excerpt:

“I’ve heard from the pulpit that the abortion rate among evangelicals is as high as among the general population. That’s because evangelicals would rather face God’s judgment than the judgment of their peers. Hallelujah that the Palins - mother and daughter both - chose life when it would have been more convenient and less embarrassing to choose death.”

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One more thought…Sarah Palin does not have to be the perfect Christian mother for us to vote for her. We must remember that none of these candidates are going to be the savior of the USA. We must vote for a person who will take this nation in the direction that we as Christians want it to go. Palin has a history of rooting out the corrupt, being frugal in government spending, and since she is adamantly pro-life she could save the lives of many babies. She also presents herself as delighting in being a mother, seeing children as a blessing, and honoring her husband (as she said in her acceptance speech). Let’s just keep watching and then decide who gets our vote.

A Great Cheap Recipe

This is especially great for those who don't love the "mushiness" of oatmeal (like me).

Baked Oatmeal

1 c oatmeal
1 1/2 c sugar
4 eggs
6 c oats (not quick oats)
4 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 c milk

Mix all well. Pour into greased 9x13 and bake at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes until lightly browned. You can refrigerate it overnight before baking. It is also really good reheated the next day (or even eaten cold!). You can serve it with butter, brown sugar, and milk on it, but I just like it straight. Enjoy!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Work From Home

I came across this blog while looking for frugal shopping tips. Here is one of her posts I was interested in. It is a work from home option and it is not like anything I have ever heard of. If you need a little extra income take a look.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fanning the Flame

This is a WONDERFUL article about how to keep your marriage happy and healthy.

Boundless

This is the Best of Boundless. I have not read all of these articles, but wanted to put them here so that I can look at them later. Boundless has so many really helpful articles.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sleepy mom?

This is a great post about how one mom has succeeded in getting her children to sleep well through the night. I hope it helps anyone needing a little rest.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Child Drowing Prevention Video

This is an amazing video. It just takes a few minutes to watch. If you have small kids and a pool (or visit one frequently) you might be interested in this idea.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy 30th Honey








Today is Jeremy's 30th birthday. He's the best husband and father I know! I could not ask for more. Happy Birthday, Honey.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

One More Picture



Here is a picture of the WHOLE Sexton family at Doug's surprise 50th birthday party.

Can You Live With Only 100 Things?

This article is right up my ally. Any of you who know me very well can testify to the fact that I LOVE to get rid of clutter. I love the help other people clean out. I love to do it again and again and again. I never get tired of it. Well, having 4 small boys has made it a little harder to find the time to clean out as much as I would like. And yet I feel like it is more important than ever that I do it. The article mentioned above inspired me to find the time and simplify once again. I hope it does the same for you. After all, taking care of a bunch of things you don't care about just takes time away from the people you do care about...your family.

Two Wonderful Luther Quotes

"My Lord Jesus Christ is Lord over death, Satan, sin, righteousness, body, life, foes and friends. What shall I fear? For while my enemies stand before my very door and plan to slay me, my faith reasons thus: Christ is ascended into heaven and become Lord over all creatures, hence my enemies, too, must be subject to him and thus it is not in their power to do me harm. I challenge them to raise a finger against me or to injure a hair of my head against the will of my Lord Jesus Christ. When faith grasps and stands upon this article, it stands firm and waxes bold and defiant, so as even to say: If my Lord so wills that they, mine enemies, slay me, blessed am I; I gladly depart. Thus you will see that he is ascended into heaven, not to remain in indifference, but to exercise dominion; and all for our good, to afford us comfort and joy."

~Martin Luther


"In the twelfth place, faith does not merely mean that the soul realizes that the divine word is full of grace...it also unites the soul with Christ, as a bride is united with her bridegroom...so that they hold all things in common, whether for better or for worse. This means that what Christ possesses belongs to the believing soul; and what the soul possesses belongs to Christ. Thus Christ possesses all good things and holiness: these now belong to the soul. The soul possesses lots of vices and sin, and these now belong to Christ. Here we have a happy exchange...Christ mkes the sin of the belieivng soul his own through a wedding ring, which is faith, and acts as if he had done it himself, so that sin could be swallowed up in him...Christ, the rich, noble, and holy bridegroom, takes in marriage this poor, contemptible, and sinful little prostitute, takes away all her evil, and bestows all his goodness upon her...she is now found in Christ and is swallowed up by him, so that she possesses a rich righteousness in her bridegroom."

~Martin Luther

Thanks Pastor Lusk for passing these on to your parishioners.

How Not to Loose Your Faith in College

This is a great article for anyone heading off to college. It has some really practical tips.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Trip to Missouri

We just returned from a trip to Missouri. It was very fun and very full! Here are a few pictures.


Papa Doug takes Aiden, Alex, and Kate for a ride on Future.


This is Jeremy's parents and his sister with all 8 grandkids.



This is my parents with all their kids and grandkids.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I LOVE this article

Jenny...you can tease me if you want to about linking to another Wilson article, but this one is wonderful! I think this is one of my favorites. I like it so much that I am just pasting the whole thing instead of making you click a link.

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Loyalty

Douglas Wilson

When it comes to teaching cultural standards, the task confronting parents is not to make the children conform, but rather to bring the children to love the standards being taught to them. But this cannot happen without loyalty, and loyalty has a genesis all its own.

It is not enough for parents to have a high view of their responsibilities coupled with a strict set of standards. More often than not, this by itself simply creates rebellious children. Such "high standards" in the home are nothing more than the pressure cooker lid, screwed down tight. The devil and Adam supply the necessary heat, and after about fifteen years, the pastor has quite a mess in the kitchen to clean up.
Jesus taught us emphatically about the dangers of cleaning the outside of the cup while leaving the inside full of self-indulgence (Mt. 23:25). In our circumstances, what could the outside of the cup include? The list could contain Christian education, whether at home or in school, no R-rated movies, hormone-free chicken, bread baking, having your hair in a bun, no rock and roll, vitamins for Jesus, or any number of other things. My point here is not to get into the pros and cons of the particular things on this list, and so I will not say whether or not I wear my hair in a bun.
Obviously, the point is not to object in any way to a particular set of cultural decisions in a given home. All parents must make such decisions, and all families live with the results of them. Rather, the point is that they are not a substitute for the spiritual graces, i.e., the fruit of the Spirit. Put another way, when it comes to child-rearing, there is no substitute for grace, humility, sacrifice, kindness, shrewdness, love, tenderness, justice, and humor. The loyalty of children to parents is the fruit of the graces, and not of the externals.

This is why some parents have a comprehensive "worldview" package all worked out for the kids, only to have the kids reject the whole shebang. Other parents do far less teaching, but what teaching they do is gladly received. Perhaps such parents should have taught more, but still, it is better to have all of a smaller portion gratefully received than to have all of a larger portion ungratefully thrown to the floor.
Say a father maintains that he has a biblical worldview, but others who know him would say that he is simply dogmatic and opinionated. Because he has a biblical worldview (in his own opinion) he is therefore free to cudgel the kids with it at every opportunity. If they don't like it, they probably have a spiritual problem. After a time, this grows up into a full-blown rebelliousness, with the father assuming that the children are rejecting "the things of God."

But loyalty is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of grace. Grace, unlike movie standards, is not a fungible commodity. Grace and peace can be multiplied to us through the ministry of Word and sacrament, as God pleases, but we cannot go buy grace as though it were a bag of flour. But we can simply adopt certain external badges of our worldview commitments. We can subscribe to the right magazines, including this one, we can kill our television, we can move to the country, we can attend all the right conferences, we can drink the right beer, and we can join a church where everyone else is doing the same things we are. We can fit right in there, and when the family melts down, everyone wonders how that happened because the now-melted family "did all the right things."

Grace is obtained through the established means of grace—hearing the Word, coming to the Lord's table—and the attitude that receives God's offers in the Word and sacrament with a blessed result is the attitude of humility, repentance, tenderness, lowliness of mind, and faith. These things are not child-rearing techniques, but they are the only things that make godly child-rearing possible. In short, we need Christ and not our own to-do list. And when we have Christ, He works through us to accomplish His to-do list (Eph. 2:8-10). The good works God prepared beforehand for us to do certainly include bringing up children before Him. But child-rearing as the result of such grace is child-rearing characterized throughout by the extension of grace.
When we have received grace, and know that we have, the infallible indicator of this reception is the fact that we extend grace. We pray in the Lord's Prayer that God would treat us as we treat—fill in the blank. We are in effect asking God to take our treatment of our debtors as our working definition of grace, and to please use that definition on us the next time we need it. Now, are our children our debtors or not? How do we treat them?

All parents discipline. The thing that distinguishes them is what they discipline for and how they do it. And all discipline brings correction, admonishment, and so forth. It doesn't seem pleasant at the time, but rather painful (Heb. 12:11). But if we have learned the nature of grace, we can see that discipline can be either gracious or selfish. Gracious discipline requires something of a child as a gift to him. Selfish discipline requires something of a child as a gift to the one disciplining.
Bringing it back full circle, let us assume a discussion between a parent and child about a certain objectionable movie the child wants to see. The parent says no. We still do not know if the parent is wise. Is he giving with this decision? Or taking?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What Love Does

Toby Sumpter on love covering sins:

Scripture says that “love covers a multitude of sins”. It does not say that it might or that it could. It says that it does. This means that if we are not regularly covering sins, then whatever we have, it certainly is not love. Our love for our brothers and sisters must be so great that we will do everything in our power to forgive, forget and cover over the blemishes of others. This begins with our attitudes: A firm commitment to this means that we must think the best of everyone. Paul says that love “hopes all things”. And one of the things this means is that it is a Christian duty to tell the story, remember the event, recall what he/she said, shedding the best possible light on all people involved. Your mission as a Christian is to make everyone else’s reputation as good as possible. And this is our mission even when we think someone has snubbed us, ignored us, and perhaps shown some level of disregard for us. You mission as a follower of Jesus is to bless that person and think and speak about them in the best possible light. This is at least one meaning of “love your neighbor as yourself.” Remember the words of Christ: But if you do not forgive, neither will your father in heaven forgive your trespasses. You will be judged by the standard with which you judge. And if you are picky and critical, then God will be picky and critical of you. And God knows that on even on one of our very best days, he’d have more than enough to condemn us all. But God in His great love has covered our sins. Therefore go and do likewise.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Great Quote

One theory has it that no one knows your child better than you do. It would be more accurate to say that no one is in a better position to know their child than the parents, provided the parents conduct themselves with wisdom. If they do not, then the chances are good to outstanding that everyone in the church will know the character of the child better than the parents do.
Parental wisdom is not automatic. Parental defensiveness is. And harvest is a bad time to decide you don't like what you planted.

Douglas Wilson

May we all be willing to *see* our children's sin so that we can help them defeat it more each day.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Homeschooling Craziness

Susan Wise Bauer has chronicled two days of homeschooling that I just love to read. They are helpful and hilarious. Here is her day with a 1st grader, k-4, and an 18 month old. Here is her day with a 3rd grader, 1st grader, and a 3 year old.

Two Great Parenting Tools

Don't Make Me Count to Three is a wonderful book about raising children using heart-oriented discipline and the Word of God. I have loved it! It is along the lines of Shepherding a Child's Heart, but it gives many more examples of how to apply the ideas.
I also heartily recommend Wise Words for Moms. It is a REALLY HANDY chart that has bible verses to correspond with certain sins that your kids are prone to. BUT, a unique feature that is has is questions to probe your child's heart in each instance and help them to discern what is really going on in their heart.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Kids helping in the kitchen

Kids Cooking Lessons is a great site that has wonderful age appropriate ideas for getting your kids in the kitchen. My good friend Sharon sent me the link. Thanks friend!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

I just read this article entitled "Is Google Making Us Stupid". I resonated with what it said. The writer is a professional journalist and used to be a voracious reader, but after using the internet a lot in the past few years he now has trouble sticking with a book. He has heard the same sentiments from some of his colleages (and I feel the same way). The web throws things at us in snipets, headlines, summaries, and pop ups. Sustained thought or pondering...well, there is not much time for that. Take a look and see what this article says about the way that our brain is actually reprogrammed by the internet. Then...go read a book :0) I'm going to.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Answers

Best Parenting Advice...Just to enjoy your kids and be a blessing to them. Here is a post on that topic. Now, being a blessing sometimes means training your children in a way that they will not think is fun. But lots of times it means putting the laundry or dishes on hold so that you can just play with and pay real attention to your kids. Do you remember when you were a kid...asking your mom to come and play with you? Do you remember wanting her to stay forever and just keep playing and playing? I try to remind myself that that is what my kids want. They want to have the assurance that I am not about to rush off and do something else. They want my undivided and "unrushed" attention.

Best Marriage Advice...Cultivate and enjoy your sex life. Put some time into learning how to make it enjoyable for both of you. Here is a good article about how God uses this area of your marriage in a mysterious way to strengthen your marriage.

One thing I would do differently in my parenting...I would not have been so hard on my first one. It is easy to be a little too consistent with the discipline on your first one and try a little too hard to do it all perfectly. Try to do your best, but relax a little. Enjoy it all, and pray for God to bless your efforts and do a mighty work in each of your children.

Edifying Meme

I am starting this edifying Meme. I will post my answers when I have time, but for now I just want to get these questions out there and get ya'll thinking. I am tagging everyone that reads this. Put it on your blog or post it here in the comments. I can't wait to get all this free advice! Post away!

1. The best parenting advice you've ever received.
2. The best marital advice you've ever received.
3. The one thing you would do differently with your kids if you could do it all over.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Encouraging Blog

I happened across a blog called Making Home and I have enjoyed reading bits of it here and there. Here are a few of my favorite posts so far.
Filling Our Homes With the Word of God
Show and Tell: Everything and the Kitchen Sink
Hospitality by Moms of Young Children

Less Meat

I have been trying to cut back on our grocery bill and this is one way to do it...use less meat. Dolly linked to ant article called "Putting Meat Back in It's Place" and it had some helpful ideas for how to consume less meat. Take a look.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Family Pictures

My sweet friend Meredith Frazier took these after we returned from our vacation. She's a gem!

Jeremy and Brandy

Aiden

Alex

Riley

Remy

Our crazy family :0)

Two great posts about summer vacation

This one is about why to have it and this one is about what to do with it...excellent stuff!

Google Reader

I would like to put a little plug in for Google Reader. First of all, I really love the way Google does nearly everything they do. I love gmail. I love picasa (although since I have switched to using an iMac I now use iPhoto because it came with my computer). Well, Google Reader is no exception. It is a site that you can sign into and then use to check all of your blogs (and many other sites) from one location. I used to use Bloglines, but I think Google Reader is a little more user friendly. I would not keep up with blogs very much if it were not for a site like this. I just log into it every few days and I can see, at a glace, if there is anything new on the sites I enjoy. This is a big time saver and makes things much simpler. Give it a try!

Cooking

I would like to draw your attention to King Arthur Flour. This company has a GREAT catalog with lots of really useful and fun kitchen tools and they also print some really yummy recipes in each edition. They just recently launched a blog that has some good looking recipes. They came to St Louis while I lived there and offered free baking classes. I attended one and learned a lot from these expert bakers. You can check their website to see if they will be in your area any time soon.

On another cooking note...I recently tried the most wonderful chocolate pie recipe from Pioneer Woman's cooking blog and I love it! My friend Rosemary posted the recipe on her blog and it reminded me that I wanted to post it here as well. It is a nice recipe to know because you can always have the ingredients on hand.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Evangelism and Fault Finding

Here are two quotes that made me think...

Ron Bennett's thoughts on authentic evangelism towards the unchurched:

As a couple trying to relate to neighbors and unchurched friends, we have found that even our home is not the first place to begin a relationship. If we invite new people over, it is usually for a cookout in the back yard, not
for a dinner inside our home. The initial place is often a local restaurant that is neutral ground. Our church is not neutral ground for the unchurched. Planning evangelistic activities on campus creates and unnecessary barrier for many we are trying to reach. Our strategy needs to include locations that are neutral, common, and natural to the unchurched. We need to ask, "Where would the unchurched feel comfortable?" Rather than our own comfort being primary, we need to apply the attitude of a servant and missionary and remove unnecessary barriers to sharing the message.

C. S. Lewis on fault finding:

We don't like rationing which is imposed upon us, but I suggest one form of rationing which we ought to impose on ourselves. Abstain from all thinking about other people's faults, unless your duties as a teacher or parent make it necessary to think about them. Whenever the thoughts come unnecessarily into one's mind, why not simply shove them away? And think of one's own faults instead? For there, with God's help, one can do something. Of all the awkward people in your house or job there is only one whom you can improve very much. That is the practical end at which to begin. And really, we'd better. The job has to be tackled some day: and every day we put it off will make it harder to begin.

Mary, Mother of God

This is a great post on Mary. She was godly woman and we would do well to follow in her footsteps.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Timberdoodle

I love the Timberdoodle catalog. I just got an e-mail from them. Part of the body of that e-mail is pasted below. I thought it was a good reminder of things to cultivate in our kids...

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With today's economy and our recently upgraded efficiency, we don't have a huge need for an additional summer workforce. But, mostly out of habit, we continue to evaluate the youth around as potential employees. Here are some of the things that catch our eye.

We are attracted to any young adult who can comfortably engage all manner of people in conversation. When we witness a young man captivated by a six-year-old's wiggly tooth, concerned about a peer's blown engine and chuckling over an elder's memoirs, we know we have someone who can interact with our customers in an honorable way.

When we see that same individual showing initiative by scooping up a bit of stray garbage off the church parking lot, or volunteering for tiresome tasks like arranging the chairs every Sunday, or even refraining from joining his peers as they engage in cocky boastful activities, we know we've found a gentleman whose conduct can be counted on.

And while love is a term that is used more often in conjunction with pizza than with God, we are drawn to anyone that knows how to show sacrificial love. It may entail roofing in 90-degree heat, respite care for the elderly, or pet care for the infirm. God gives everyone multiple ways to set aside personal freedoms; when we see a young person elect to do so, it speaks well of his ability to see needs and meet them.

In the twenty-some years we have been hiring youths we have been blessed with some of the finest young people our county has to offer. Most have truly exemplified I Timothy 4:12, "Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Vacation


We just returned from a very fun vacation. Jeremy and I decided that to celebrate our 10th Anniversary we were going to pull out all the stops and have a great time. So, we took Meredith Frazier with us to help with the kids and we headed to Pigeon Forge, TN. I'll post more later.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Very Sad



Steven Curtis Chapman is a CCM singer that I grew up listening to. He and his wife had three children and then adopted three young girls from China. One of his sons accidentally hit their youngest adopted daughter, Maria, while pulling into their driveway on Wednesday afternoon. She died at the hospital. This is such a tragic accident and I know that they could use our prayers right now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Children's Chior Moment



I am thankful that Cindy took these pictures and posted them on her blog. The children sang a song for the prelude last Sunday morning. I was sitting in the last row because Remy was a little sick. Well, the kids got up there and before they started singing Alex "whispered" very loudly..."Don't forget to not stop watching us!" I gave him the thumbs up and I won't ever forget to "not stop watching" them.

*Aiden and Alex are in the orange shirts on the far left.