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.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

How to get kids to sit through church.

This was a good, short article with tips on getting kids to sit through church.

A Salty Tip

I saw this link on Deana's blog and it was very helpful. I have often wondered, "So, what's the big difference between sea salt, kosher salt, and regular table salt?" Well this quick little Q&A gave me the answer.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Our boys

Riley (2) Alex (3) Remy (12 weeks) Aiden (5 1/2) We sure are crazy about these boys!

Friday, May 16, 2008

10 Happy Years

Today is our 10th Anniversary! What a blessing it has been to travel this road with Jeremy. I am so thankful to have him. He is a godly man, sensitive husband, and awesome dad! Thank you Jeremy for asking me to be your wife. I look forward to the rest of our life together!

P.S. It is also Riley's 2nd birthday!

Homeschooling Pit Falls

I read this on the Sonlight Forums. There are some great tips here.
At my mom’s homeschool support group last night the topic was, “Things We Wished We’d Known……or what we’d have done differently if we could”

Please note, all of these are from moms with at least 11 years homeschooling, several of which have over 20 years.

I wish I would have had someone help with the boys’ grammatical skills. I thought I had to be able to do everything myself. If you need help – be it a tutor, a certain curriculum, whatever – get it.

It is not about me anymore. For this time of life, it has to be about them.

Realize that the kids are all different. What reading, math, etc. that worked with one may not work with the others.

I wish I hadn’t let meaningless activities (like television) take up my time.

I wish I had spent more time learning about my childrens’ different learning styles, and what made them tick.

Don’t push. Have fun. Don’t try to make them be the next Einstein. Even if she DID start reading when she was three……don’t take all those books about homeschooling families who send all their kids to Harvard to heart. Not everyone should go to Harvard. Some people should go to trade schools. The world needs all different kinds of people.

I completely underestimated how much my children would need outside friends. Even in a family of 9 children, there have been years of tears when there were no other girls the same age in our hs group. I took the position that our family was enough, but now I know it wasn’t always.

Don’t put your children on a pedestal. Your children may thank you, and rise up and call you blessed. They also may resent being homeschooled. They may end up angry with you. Families have been broken, and moms have walked away from the faith over a child who did not turn out the way we thought they should. Don’t put homeschooling on a pedestal. And don’t put yourself on one, either. Remember that the mom down the street who is fixing lunches and sending her kids to school loves them just as much as you do yours.

Teachers...take a look.

Here is a wonderful article on what is important when you are a teacher. Lori is great and I wish that my kids could have had her as a teacher!

Having our kids in church

I really liked this article. It was a great reminder to me as a parent of children who make "little" noises during church. I laughed out loud as I read this in the second paragraph:

I’ve said prayers like this: “Our Father who art in . . . ssshh! Put that down . . . thy kingdom come, thy will . . . no, don’t color on that . . . Give us this day . . . ssshh! I said. . . .”

But, we love the interuptions that kids create because it means that they are in the service with us and being formed by the liturgy with us (just like Lauren Winner said in her quote in my last post).

Some Great Quotes

These are from our weekly "updates" from our pastor. He usually includes some links or quotes like these. I want to post them here to have my favorites all in one place.
Oswald Chambers on cosmic redemption and our place in it:
Paul states here that the call of God is to preach the gospel. But remember what Paul means by "the gospel," namely, the reality of redemption in our Lord Jesus Christ. We are inclined to make sanctification the goal of our preaching. Paul refers to personal experiences only by way of illustration, never as the end of the matter. We are not commissioned to preach salvation or sanctification -- we are commissioned to lift up Jesus Christ (see John 12:32 ). It is an injustice to say that Jesus Christ labored in redemption to make me a saint. Jesus Christ labored in redemption to redeem the whole world and to place it perfectly whole and restored before the throne of God. The fact that we can experience redemption illustrates the power of its reality, but that experience is a byproduct and not the goal of redemption. If God were human, how sick and tired He would be of the constant requests we make for our salvation and for our sanctification. We burden His energies from morning till night asking for things for ourselves or for something from which we want to be delivered! When we finally touch the underlying foundation of the reality of the gospel of God, we will never bother Him anymore with little personal complaints.
Martin Luther on forgiveness of sins (yes, even the most "shocking" sins):
You must by no means make Christ to seem paltry and trifiling to us, as though he could be our helper only when we want to be rid from imaginary, nominal, childish sins. No, no! That would not be good for us. He must rather be a Savior and Redeemer from real, great, grievous, and damnable transgressions and iniquities, yea, from the very greatest and most shocking sins.
John Piper on faithful parenting:
The Ten Commandments are not central in Christian parenting. The gospel is.
The gospel is the rule and power by which we teach our children to live...Successful parenting is more than compliant kids. It is gospel-saturated living and teaching—a gospel is not just something that begins the Christian life but empowers it and shapes and sustains it.
Changed and sustained by the gospel, our children can rebel against the low expectations of adolescence and “do hard things” in a way that magnifies Jesus.
Doug Wilson on friendship evangelism:
Friendship evangelism rests upon generosity, sacrifice, kindness, openness, hospitality, goodness, and open-handedness. That is to be the texture of your life, and non-believers are welcome to come along with you. In short, is your evangelism giving or taking? Are you a benefactor or a salesman?
Lauren Winner on liturgy:
Sometimes, I think I have come up with something poetic. One day, when I was full in the flush of agony about what I should do with my life, whether I would always be alone, whether I should become a nun, whether I should drop out of graduate school, and other high-pitch anxieties, I heard, reverberating around in my brain, "Go out to do the work I have given you to do." The work I have given you to do. The work I have given you to do. What an ingenious sentiment, I thought. I can't believe I dreamed that up. Maybe I should drop out of grad school and enter a poetry-writing Master of Fine Arts program. All day, all week I heard those words, the work I have given you to do, heard them and was deeply consoled by them, sure that God had given me work to do, that He has sent me out into the world to do it, that He had even woke me up too early in the morning to do that work, it was mine, I was consecrated to it, and it was given of Him. I heard those words all week, and I felt peaceful. Not only had God given me work to do, He had given me poetic snatches of reassurance, too.
Then I got to church on Sunday. We opened with a hymn. The crucifier and the priest processed in. We prayed the collect of the day, we read three passages from Scripture. Milind [the priest] gave a rousing sermon about forgiveness. We sang some more, we prayed the prayers for the people, and exchanged the peace. Milind consecrated the Eucharist and we received it. Then we said the prayer of thanksgiving. "We thank you for receiving us as living members of your Son." And there, in the middle of that prayer, the words God had given me all week: "And now, Father, send us out to the do the work you have given us to do." It was the liturgy that had lodged in my brain, words of the liturgy I barely noticed Sunday to Sunday when we said them, but here I was,
noticing them raptly, in the middle of a weekday afternoon, when I needed them most.
Habit and obligation have both become bad words. That prayer becomes a habit must mean that it is impersonal, unfeeling, something of a rouse. If you do something because you are obligated to, it doesn't count, at least not as much as if you'd done it on your own free will, like the children who says thank you because his parents tell him to, it doesn't count. Sometimes, often, prayer feels that way to me, impersonal and unfeeling and not something I've chosen to do. I wish it felt inspired and on fire and like a real, love-conversation all the time, or even just more of the time. But what I am learning the more I sit with liturgy is that what I feel happening bears little relation to what is actually happening. It is a great gift when God gives me a stirring, a feeling, a something-at-all in prayer. But work is being done whether I feel it or not. Sediment is being laid. Words of praise to God are becoming the most basic words in my head. They are becoming the fallback words, drowning our advertising jingles and
professors lectures and sometimes even my own interior monologues. Maybe St. Paul was talking about liturgy when he encouraged us to pray without ceasing.
N. T. Wright on the resurrection and the mission of the church (excellent!!):
To preach the Resurrection is to announce the fact that the world is a different place, and that we have to live in that "different-ness." The Resurrection is not just God doing a wacky miracle at one time. We have to preach it in a way that says this was the turning point in world history....
But how can the church announce that God is God, that Jesus is Lord, that the powers of evil, corruption, and death itself have been defeated, and that God's new world has begun? Doesn't this seem laughable? Well, it would be if it wasn't happening. But if a church is actively involved in seeking justice in the world, both globally and locally, and if it's cheerfully celebrating God's good creation and its rescue from corruption in art and music, and if, in addition, its own internal life gives every sign that new creation is indeed happening, generating a new type of community - then suddenly the announcement makes a lot of sense.
Doug Jones on Priest Oscar Romero, a twentieth centruy martyr for the gospel in El Salvador, killed for his stance on human rights:
Oscar Romero gave his last homily on March 24 [1980]. Moments before a sharpshooter felled him [as he administered the Eucharist], reflecting on Scripture, he said, 'One must not love oneself so much, as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us, and those that fend off danger will lose their lives.'

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I cannot recommend this movie enough. It was clean, thoughtful, and fun to watch. We also really enjoyed the behind the scenes sections on the DVD. This movie had an interesting journey. Rent it tonight:0)

Friday, May 09, 2008

Two Word Meme

Bloggin Dazs tagged everyone who loves coffee. I do NOT like black coffee, but I adore cold coffee drinks. I mean the kind with ice, and chocolate, and carmel, and whipped cream. And not "on the rocks". They're the best when they have no ice chunks left...only smooth, cold, coffee goodness. This is one of my favorite things. So here goes my two word meme.

1. Where is your cell phone? right here
2. Where is your significant other? Army Reserve
3. Your hair? long brown
4. Your mother? far away
5. Your father? the same
6. Your favorite thing? my family
7. Your dream last night? can't remember
8. Your favorite drink? sweet tea
9. Your dream/goal? godly kids
10. The room you're in? basement office
11. Your hobby? no time
12. Your fear? harmed kids
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? with Jeremy
14. Where were you last night? at home
15. What you're not? ever bored
16. Muffins? love all
18. Where you grew up? Greenfield, Missouri
19. The last thing you did? fold laundry
20. What are you wearing? spit up
21. Your TV? only DVD's
22. Your pets? maybe later
23. Your computer? works fine
24. Your life? busy wonderful
25. Your mood? ever changing
26. Missing someone? my sweetie
27. Your car? white minivan
28. Something you're not wearing? a necklace
29. Favorite store? Thrift store
30. Your summer? lotsa travel
31. Like someone? 10th Anniversary
32. Your favorite color? bright red
33. When is the last time you laughed? often...boys!
34. Last time you cried? Remy born

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sunday School and Our Children's Response

Here are two great posts by Lori Shaffer. The first is about Sunday School and how it takes the whole church to raise godly kids. The second points out our children's responsibility to respond to this covenant training.

7 Random Things About Me

Dolly tagged me so here goes...

1. I am the oldest child in my family...two younger sisters and one younger brother.

2. I was almost 16 when my brother was born.

3. I homeschooled my last two years of High School.

4. I graduated from Missouri Baptist College (now University) with a BA in Audio and Video Communications.

5. I got married when I was 20 and Jeremy was 19...I robbed the cradle just a bit.

6. We were marrried for 5 years before we had kids.

7. Then we had 4 boys in 5.5 years...Aiden, Alex, Riley, and Remy!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Water on a Grease Fire

We have all heard that you are not supposed to throw water on a grease fire. But why? Well, according to Appleby Inspection Services the water, being heavier than the oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out. Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room. Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup creates an explosive force like dynamite.

Harry Potter's One Fault

Here is a great article on the critiques that Christians have of the Harry Potter series. I thought he made some very helpful points, especially when he mentions the one thing that he thinks we should be concerned with. Just as an aside...I can't wait to read the whole series again...with my boys! I think I will have to wait a little longer for that though.

Serving the Poor

This is a great short article about how the church can best serve the poor.

A Stepford God

Here is the link to the blog that this was originally posted at. I liked this a lot.


“If you don’t trust the Bible enough to let it challenge and correct your thinking, how could you ever have a personal relationship with God? In any truly personal relationship, the other person has to be able to contradict you.

“For example, if a wife is not allowed to contradict her husband, they won’t have an intimate relationship. Remember the (two!) movies The Stepford Wives? The husbands of Stepford, Connecticut, decide to have their wives turned into robots who never cross the wills of their husbands. A Stepford wife was wonderfully compliant and beautiful, but no one would describe such a marriage as intimate or personal.

“Now, what happens if you eliminate anything from the Bible that offends your sensibility and crosses your will? If you pick and choose what you want to believe and reject the rest, how will you ever have a God who can contradict you? You won’t! You’ll have a Stepford God! A God, essentially, of your own making, and not a God with whom you can have a relationship and genuine interaction.

“Only if your God can say things that outrage you and make you struggle (as in a real friendship or marriage!) will you know that you have gotten hold of a real God and not a figment of your imagination.

“So an authoritative Bible is not the enemy of a personal relationship with God. It is the precondition for it.”

- Tim Keller, The Reason for God, pages 113-114

Friday, May 02, 2008

Parenting Advice

My mom asked me to correspond with a lady she knows about childrearing. This lady has a daughter that is just turning three and getting a little out of control. She (the mother of course)had tried to avoid spanking and it was not working. She wanted any help I could offer and so I compiled all I could think of on childrearing (that would apply to her situation) and sent her the following reply. It is a bit rough, but she (and my Mom) thought it was really helpful so I post it here just in case it might be helpful to any of you. I also thought that it might start a good dialog in the comments section. Any input would be appreciated. It will take about 10 minutes to read.


First of all I would like to say that since you said you are open to any advice I have I am going to just get right to the point and be frank. I won't beat around the bush. If you have any questions about what I mean just ask away and I will be happy to clarify. Second, sorry it is a little bit long, but I did not have time to edit it enough to make it really short. It always takes lots of words in e-mail to get a point across you know?

I want you to know before I say anything else that I think most of your time with your child should be happy and positive and cheery. I love to enjoy and spend time with my kids. I try to not always be "on them". They make mistakes and do childish things and that is fine. But when they act in a way that is unbecoming of a Christian then it needs to be addressed (and quickly). Sometimes they just need a little verbal reminder. Especially when they get a little older. But at Jessica's age most of the time spankings work the best. You cannot reason with a three year old all the time. You cannot "convince" them that you are right. After all, obeying when she agrees is not submitting. Submission is doing something cheerfully when she really doesn't want to do it. This is a hard lesson to learn, but it is critical.

There is definitely not an easy formula for these things. What works for one child might not work for another. Other than spankings we have also had them sit up straight with their hands in their laps for as much as an hour in very extreme cases. (that only happened once). Another time with my first one he was throwing a very physical fit and I actually sat on the floor with him in my lap and held him with my arms around him. I was holding him until he would submit to my arms and not fight me anymore. I talked to him during this and tried to soothe him and help him know I loved him and was not mad at him. But, he had to finally give in and let me hold him. I could not let him win and fight his way away from me. Eventually he did submit and I think it was quite a turning point for him.

The main goal of this age is to teach her that she is a child under authority. Look at her through the eyes of a stranger. Does the way she talks to you look respectful? Does she treat you and her Daddy with respect? Anytime you see that disrespect it has to be dealt with fast. You can tell her "Jessica, you may not talk to Mommy like that. You have to be respectful. You can talk to me about anything, but you have to be respectful when you do it." Things might look cute when she does them now, but see past that to what is going on in her heart.

As for using non spanking with a child...Proverbs is full of advice to parents and it talks a lot about physical punishment. Some of the language even makes us feel uncomfortable

Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.

Now I will say straight off that I am not encouraging you to beat her! :0) But my point is that God knows that we as a people are bent on sin and the quickest and easiest way to train a child to obey is to cause them some physical pain. God tells us that spankings work (and I mean this in the context of a loving relationship! not whacking them we we are mad but controlled and loving even while giving the spanking). And, one note about that: We usually give one or two really hard spanking with a wooden spoon. If it was something they have done lots of times, or they bite their brother, or if they lie to us then we will give more. But, it seems to do the job usually to do one , but make it hurt (not through a diaper). That works so much better and shows them that you mean business when dealing with their sin. It is a serious matter and you want to teach them to kill their sin. They should be used to that language. They will have to fight with sin all their lives and the goal is to try to kill it! Jeremy used an illustration of killing a snake. You don't just poke it. You cut off it's head and you keep whacking at it until the thing stops moving!! So it is with our sin. Jessica has to know that.

Administer the spanking with sympathy and respect for her. I usually tell the boys, "I don't want to spank you sweetie. I love you so much. But, you (fill in the blank) and you know that you can't do that. You do not get to disobey Mommy. Now I am going to give you two spankings and then it will be all over." I spank them and then hug on them lots and pray with them (I usually lead them in a prayer that they say about what they did and ask for forgiveness and thank God for forgiving them) and make sure things are all better when it is over. I even do this with our almost two year old. He knows how it works. At the end he is smiling and we are ok. Also, remind them that Jesus died because we sin. Sin is yucky etc.

Be careful what you say to Jessica. If you tell her to come over to you so you can put her shoes on and she doesn't come then you have to follow through until she does. This goes both ways. Sometimes you need to avoid things like this and sometimes you need to plan things like this. If you are in a rush then just go over to her and pick her up and put the shoes on. If you have time at home then tell her to come to you as a "training excercise". Your job is to train her, not just react when she does not do it right. So, you might need to create some opportunities for training. Deal with and train the areas that she has trouble with. Now, I don't mean all the time of course. But if she has had an issue with obeying the first time then don't wait until you are in walmart to train her in that. Do it at home as often as needed so that she gets enough training and does not have to think about it every time. She will (hopefully :0) "get used to" obeying the first time. Kids get used to how your home runs and what you require.

Spank first...not when all else fails. Your kids learn how far they can go. If you count to ten then they will know to obey at 9. If you start getting frustrated and give them "the look" then they will know it is time to obey. Or, you can train them that when you say to go wash their hands, you mean it the first time. If you tell her to come to you, you want her to do it right then. That makes for a happier mom and a happier Jessica. She does not have to wait around figuring out how much she can get away with. It might be a rough week or two (or longer if she is really strong willed!) of initial training, but it is crucial to a happy home. After that first week or two things are so much better! The cut off should not be when you are frustrated because you have asked 4 times. If you wait till then then you're mad at her and spank her in anger or yell at her. If you expect first time obedience then you are in control of your attitude and can just deal with the facts. "Sweetie. I told you to come to mommy and you did not come. You have to obey all the time. Even when you don't know why. Ok? I love you." It is hard not too feel guilty when you are spanking over little things like that. But, you have to see the big picture. You are not spanking her because coming to you right then was a life or death matter. You are spanking her because obeying you cheerfully the first time is a life or death matter. Literaly it could save her life (parking lot etc), but more importantly you are teaching her submission to authority and that will serve her very well. She will be a delightful wife and daughter!

The goal is not her obeying a lot of rules. The goal is for her to understand that she is God's child and she needs to act accordingly. Those who love God keep his commandments. She needs to be trained to love God because He is so good and then her discipline will come out of that. We want her to love God's standard not a bunch of dos and don'ts. If she sees Religion as a bunch of things not to do then she will hate it. That is not what Christianity is! It is a new life that is abundant because we love and serve God.

If you see her attitude coming out don't think "Oh, I don't want to provoke her." If you start to see her attitude just do what you need to do and don't be afraid to deal with her reaction. If there is a bad attitude there then pray that God will show it to you so that you can deal with it. It will be a blessing to her.

Look at her behavior and imagine it continuing into her teenage years. This can be seen well in thinking about boys and pornography. If a 3 year old cannot take "no" for an answer and gets everything he wants then what will he do when he realizes that he has access to pornography and his hormones are raging? Will he have learned how to master his desires and tell himself no? Our children will face real temptations and we have to teach them how to deal with them. This training happens when they are very little. If they fuss now and throw a fit then they will only get worse. They may learn to act in more socially acceptable ways, but God will see what is going on in their hearts and He will see they despise instruction. Some of the things that she does are just immaturity I am sure, but there are many people that are 30 years old and still immature!! No one ever made them get out of their "phase"! Some of it might go away, but some of it might not and so when you see disrespectful behavior it needs to be dealt with.

Also, make sure her physical needs are met...that she is not often hungry, or tired. If she is hungry or tired she does not need to hear you use it as an excuse for her behavior. If she is hungry she still has to act respectfully. But try to help her out by not keeping her up two hours late and then going to Wal-mart first thing the next morning if you know what I mean!

Having a proper attitude...that is tough. We still deal with this. My oldest especially has a lot of trouble with it. One tip on this. They reflect you. TOTALLY!! When I am fussy, my kids are fussy. But, almost without fail, when I am cheerful and enjoying them and smiling, they are like that too. They fight less and scowl less. I sometimes even tell them that I know how it feels when you want to be fussy. Sometimes I am in a bad mood and I just have to make myself smile. It is hard, but if you can force a smile it makes you feel a little bit better. The way that we feel is not an excuse for sin. The way we feel just makes it harder not to sin, but we are still supposed to try hard! We fail sometimes, but we just keep on trying!!

I cannot stress enough that you kids will be what you are. You see it over and over. Parenting methods work to a certain extent, but most people become like their parents in a lot of ways. So if you want her to be cheerful then she needs to see you being cheerful. If you want her to be grateful she needs to hear you being grateful. If you want her to be generous then she needs to see you being generous. Also, you might have to be pro-active in making sure that she sees these traits in you. Put some thought into it. Just because you want to be generous does not mean that she sees you being that way. I got this from a book called The Parent You Want To is the link to it.

It was very good. You need to talk to her about how a grown up woman acts. You need to be able to say to her, "I know that you are sad that you cannot have that sucker, but does mommy throw a fit when I cannot have what I want. No, that is not how a lady acts. We need to be thankful for what we have and be content. It is silly to be fussy. We don't want to look like that do we?!. No way! :0)"

She may be acting out to get attention even if it is negative attention. Sometimes just sitting on the floor stacking blocks or reading books will do wonders for these little ones!

In the end you have to parent by faith. You have to be as faithful as you can with your "methods" and then pray and ask God to bless your kids, to give them more of his Holy Spirit to help them obey, to help them love Him and His ways and to never turn their back on God. Don't worry too much about her embarrassing you in public, but instead be more worried about her little heart. She will be able tell if you are only worried about her making you look bad.

In public...first of all if you get it under control at home then you will not have near as many issues in public. But, if you do have an issue then that is the most important thing right then. Leave the cart if you must for the first few times, but deal with it then. Take her to the car if you need to. Stay calm, but let her know that the same rules apply while running errands. If you don't do anything she will know that she can do it every time. Kids will embarrass us in public, but it is what we do about we react. We have to train them.

I sometimes use a little pinch in public, but this will only work if they usually obey at home. It is not to bruise them or hurt really bad or anything, but just to get their attention and remind them that they need to stop what they are doing. My friend told me she did that a long time ago and I thought I never would, but it has actually proven usefully sometimes. Just don't do it like you are mad at them. Be in control and speak calmly to them. The physical just helps get the point across like no amount of talking can. Even if if does not really "hurt" them, they get the point. Just be careful. I did this to Alex in church one time and he YELLED out "OUCH!!" It was pretty comical. He is my dramatic one.

Well, like I said, this was a bit long, but that was all I could think of to say. Now you can respond and we can have a little dialog about it. Let me know your thoughts or things that were unclear. I hope some of this helps!