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!


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 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 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!