March 31, 2010

Saving pennies

Along the lines of domesticity and generally (prayerfully) being a better steward of God's blessings on our family.  A few months ago, the kids and I started a special change saving can that sits on the bookcase in our kitchen.  It was just a plain old large coffee can that we covered with some neat wrapping paper and cut a hole in the plastic lid.
We dump loose change in - coins found in the laundry or in pockets or at the bottom of my purse or in Steve's car.
After lunch today the kids & I took the can- now full - to the credit union/bank to be counted and deposited.  We had over $200 in loose change accumulated in just about 3 months!  Definitely worth saving those pennies!

March 30, 2010

New Dinner Hit

In my quest to be more blissfully domestic I have been gaining ground in my kitchen culinary adventures.  Fancy verbiage for I'm getting better with new recipes that people will actually eat in my family.
Last night I attempted calzones for the first time ever and they were a success!  I used my normal pizza dough recipe (I have been making home-made pizza for several months now) and cut the dough into 4 chunks before rolling it out - not too thin - filling it and crimping the edges.  For the kids I made just regular sauce/cheese - sort of a pizza sandwich. 
Steve & I enjoyed BBQ chicken w/ carmelized onions & cheese.  It was very yummy! 
And as a bonus - because I made 4 of them (2 each variety) - all 5 of us had dinner last night and I have 1 each left in the freezer for when I am away so the "boys" will have an easy dinner one night.

Great bumper sticker

March 29, 2010

Testing Week

It has arrived... our week of standardized testing for both the kids.  I know there are many arguments around the benefits of standardized testing for children.  I am not generally a big fan of standardized testing as a method of determining progress or proof of learning for a student.  Our state does not require testing for students who are home schooled unless the parent chooses that method for assessment purposes.
Our family does standardized testing every-other-year for both of the kids.  It is for informational and experiential purposes only.  I do not submit the scores to anyone for proof of their accomplishments as home-schoolers.  We do a portfolio review each year with a state certified (and designated Highly Qualified) teacher that is then submitted to our district as proof of their progress for the year.
I first chose to do a standardized test in a fit of insecurity.  As home schoolers - heck, as women/mothers - we are all known to have those moments where we doubt ourselves and our choices.  I really KNEW the kids were learning a lot, but still had that nagging...'how do they compare' thing in the back of my head.  So I did some research and after finding a place where I could secure testing materials for the kids - we did the testing - got back great scores and moved on. Nothing earth shattering, they didn't have any test anxiety or anything.  Just another unique experience.
2 years ago we had the opportunity with our standardized testing cycle to be part of a national study commissioned by HSLDA to look at the scores of home schooled students and see how we (as a group) stack up.  We chose to participate and the kids did excellent that year (mommy brag - they were 97th and 99th percentile overall).
This year we scheduled our testing for the last week of March as J and I will be traveling to Ohio for a big home school convention at the beginning of April and it made sense to test and then have a fun trip as break time.
I think it is good for them both to have the experience of standardized testing. They will most likely have to take the SAT and ACT for college and this is prep for those higher stakes tests in a small way.  They also enjoy the opportunity to do something different and get a kick out of seeing their numbers when the results come back.  And it is always a plus to have something concrete in hand if the need should ever arise to justify ourselves to the establishment or just for the grandparents to have for bragging purposes. :-)

March 24, 2010

Chapter 18 Key Players & Historical Context

  1. The classical culture of ancient Rome was the historical setting into which Christ & Christianity was born.
  2. Constantine I was the emperor who called for the Council of Nicea because he was trying to unite the empire and the church.  His motto included the phrase "one Lord, one faith, one church, one empire, one emperor"
  3. The central issue of the controversy was the one surrounding the person and the work of Jesus Christ.
  4. Arius was a priest from Alexandria who rose to fame (or notoriety) for teaching the Jesus was not God, but was a lesser creation.
  5. Athanasius was a deacon who was an assistant to the Bishop Alexander of Alexandria.  He became a force through his zeal and unrelenting protection of orthodoxy in the church.
  6. The men who attended the Council of Nicea were well aware of its significance.  This was the first ecumenical council since Acts 15 in the days of the apostles.  They knew this was history in the making.

Chapter 17 The Life of the World to Come

We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

  1. Christians live a life of hope based on the resurrection of Christ and the promise of eternal life with Him.
  2. What you believe about what the future holds influences the way you live in the present.
  3. The Creed connects the eternal with the present by pointing us forward, giving us a trumpet call to live a life of hope, of faith in Christ that shine optimistically in this dark world.  Not in a foolish, dreamer or Pollyanna-ish way, but in a firm belief in the promises of the One who gave Himself for us.
  4. Death doesn't have a "grip" on Christians because in Christ's resurrection, death has been overcome.  There is nothing to fear, only cause for joy & hope.
  5. If death is the final weapon, the enemies of Christianity are always frustrated because it has no sting for a follower of Christ.
  6. Paul summarizes things perfectly in Philippians 1:21 live is Christ and to die is gain.
  7. Verses:
    Phil 3:7-14  But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
    Rev. 20: 6  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
    Acts 24: 14-16  However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.
    1 Peter 1: 3-9  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

March 23, 2010

Chapter 16 One Baptism

We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

1.  Christ specifically calls out baptism in the Great Commission given to the apostles (and therefore the church) in Matthew 28.
2.  Baptism is a unique sign, given to the church, of the ongoing apostolic mission of the church.
3/4/5.  Baptism is a sign of unity among God's people, brought together in Christ.  Ephesians 4:1-6 points to the unity we all must share in Christ as the church, becoming one body of Christ - called to do His will and work in this fallen world.
6.  Baptism is NOT the cause of the forgiveness of sins.
7.  Baptism is an outward sign pointing to or proclaiming our salvation from sin through Christ Jesus.
8. Verses:
Mark 16:16 "...Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
John 3:5  Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit."
Acts 1:5  "...For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."
Acts 2:38  Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Acts 10:47-48   Then Peter said, "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
1 Cor 12:13   For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

March 22, 2010

Chapter 15 One Church

**This chapter is the one where I found the word that didn't mean what I thought it meant.**

We believe in one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church...
1.  To many Protestants (term used broadly), the church is not a vital or essential part of their individual existence/experience.  They feel that the church plays a role, but it is not central and therfore would not be readily part of their gospel confession.
2.  There is a movement away from the word "church" as old fashioned and irrelevant.
3.  The word 'holy' indicates that the church is of God, set apart by Him for His people and His purpose.
4/5.  Christians are 'set apart' by the work of the Holy Spirit and are called to be part of the church.  Torrance states, "The one holy Church is thus as it were the complement of the one Holy Spirit."  We don't have a choice about this - when we become a Christian, we become a member of Christ's body - the church.
6. Even's creation as Adam's wife points to our relationship as Christians with the church.  Eve was made for a specific purpose - to be Adam's wife & help-meet.  We become Christians and are given new life, new birth into our place in the church body with our purpose.
7.  The word "catholic" in the creed simply means "universal".  It does not reference a specific denomination as we now know it.
8.  The Greek word for church ekklesia means the called out ones.
9.  We tend to see the church as reflective of our unique culture or 'tribe'.  However, God's true church is universal, not tribal or denominational.
10.  The church reverses what happened at the Tower of Babel.  People were then driven apart by language into tribes - away from each other.  After Acts 2, we are called to Christ - and the church - from every tongue, tribe & nation.
11.  Every Christian is a fellow-citizen in Christ.
12.  We are members of the household of God - the church.  This means we share in teh blessings and lives of others in Christ.  We are family.
13.  The church is apostolic since it is founded on the gospel and called to fulfill the apostolic mission given by Christ.
14.  The church has access to God & can be used by God to fulfill His purposes.  We, as the church, are to reflect God's glory & seek to be a light to lead others to Christ.
15. Verses:
Acts 20:28  Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
Heb 10:24-25  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Rom 12:5  so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Col 3:12-17  Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 Peter 2:9  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Psalm 119

Teri Lynne is doing a great walk-thru of Psalm 119 over at Pleasing to You.  It is absolutely worth checking out and following. 

March 17, 2010

Chapter 14 Who Has Spoken by the Prophets

Who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

  1. We are told in this section of the creed that the Holy Spirit "has spoken by the prophets" and draw warm comfort and joy from that fact.
  2. The words of God have come most commonly and clearly through the prophets of God to His people.
  3. Prophets are referred to as "the mouthpiece of God" because by the Holy Spirit these men spoke the very words of God.
  4. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says, Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
  5. Proverbs 29:18a (Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.), is often misused as a positive thinking or motivational type verse when the words used in the verse - in Hebrew - are a parallelism that restates a truth about the revelatory word of God.
  6. The popular notion today of a prophet is more of a 'fortune teller' or one who only predicts future events.
  7. In classical times, a prophet was used to interpret signs & dreams, like the Oracle at Delphi.
  8. In pagan rituals, drugs/narcotics or frenzied activities were used to induce prophecies.
  9. Pagan prophecies originate from the person who is involved, the are self-induced. 
  10. For a biblical prophet there is always an intelligent discourse.  God speaks to his prophets in an intelligible exchange.  (ie Moses - Ex. 4:15-16, Jeremiah - Jer.1:6-9, and Isaiah - Is. 6:1-8)
  11. God continues to speak to us today through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us as believers.  He is revealed in His holy word - the Bible.
  12. Verses:
    Daniel 4:8 & 18  
    Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.)....."This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, had. Now, Belteshazzar, tell me what it means, for none of the wise men in my kingdom can interpret it for me. But you can, because the spirit of the holy gods is in you."
    Ezekial 11:5  Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and he told me to say: "This is what the LORD says: That is what you are saying, O house of Israel, but I know what is going through your mind.
    (example of direct exchange) Numbers 27:12-18  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes." (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.) Moses said to the LORD, "May the LORD, the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community to go out and come in before them, one who will lead them out and bring them in, so the LORD's people will not be like sheep without a shepherd."
    So the LORD said to Moses, "Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand on him.

March 16, 2010

Chapter 13 Filioque

Who proceeds from the Father and the Son...
  1. The word 'filioque' is Latin and means "and the Son."
  2. The filioque was added to the creed at the Third council of Toledo in 589.
  3. This addition was controversial because it was not added by a full ecumenical council, but rather by a regional one.  Something that belongs to the whole church should not be altered by a small part.
  4. The regional council made the addition with good intentions to fight the false teachings that were strong in that region - the Visigoths of Spain.
  5. This didn't become a really huge issue until the time of Charlemagne, when he tried to force unity within the church by forcing the word upon the Latin & Greek church.
  6. The phrase became a line of division in a larger power struggle that was apparently far more about politics than true theology.
  7. In 1054 there came a breaking point with a defined schism between East & West with the synod for the church of the East officially condemning the Bishop of Rome.
  8. The major biblical text used to argue this point is John 15:26-27 "When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning."
  9. These two positions are not mutually exclusive because they really seem to focus on something that is ontological versus economical.  Ontology deals with the essence of God while economy deals with the activity of God.  Each side isn't really contradictory, they are each choosing a different emphasis. 
  10. Verses:
    2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
    Galatians 3:5  Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
    Ephesians 4: 4-6, 30   There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  ..... And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

March 10, 2010

Life is hard for everyone

You know those days when you feel like you are dealing with some big, huge, awful thing?  And then you read something, or talk to someone, or see something on the news that makes you suddenly realize that what you are facing maybe ISN'T so big, huge, and awful?
I've had a lot of those days in the past year or so.  I mean... a lot.  God continually reminds me that even in the face of whatever it is I'm dealing with at the moment - He is with me, and someone else is dealing with something worse.
Now, all that being said... when you are facing something that for YOU is a big, huge and awful thing.  God cares.  It really is big - for you.  It is huge - for you.  It is awful - for you.  But really... in the scope of eternity, it isn't about you.  God will carry you through the darkness if you lean on Him. 
A friend of mine once wrote a devotional study on Psalm 23 - that famous one everyone (or almost everyone) knows by heart.  She wrote one line that stuck with me. "When you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death; keep walking and don't stop to pitch a tent."
We are not supposed to wallow in our big, awful and huge situations.  We are supposed to keep walking along the path that God has marked out for us, even when we only have the light for just the most immediate next step.  God sometimes lights the way with small lights instead of big floodlights.  Though I will admit, in my human frailties, I'm afraid of the dark and crave sunshine and bright lights.  I even have a nightlight in the bathroom at home. :-)  I'm learning to walk in His light, that is sufficient if not always comfortable for me.
Part of my point is that I've realized (albeit slowly), when I try to look outside of myself and my immediate circumstances or issues, things seem to be a bit better, a bit brighter, a bit lighter.  Maybe because I can leave whatever my load is at Jesus' feet and move on to attempt to lighten somebody else's load.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
And he says in John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
 In Psalm 71:19-20 David writes:
  Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, you who have done great things.
       Who, O God, is like you?
  Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.

Today I am dealing with some issues in my life.  But I know God is in control.  Nothing surprises Him and He has a plan for everything in my life - even when I can't possibly see how it will play out.  It is really hard, but I have to pray on it all and leave it with Him.  He will carry me through if I let Him.  I have to trust Him. 
And realistically, what choice do I have?  I can't change anything by worrying or fretting.  Jesus said in Luke 12: 25-26  "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?"  He is right, of course.

March 8, 2010

Our New Addition

This is Fred.  He is 6, though his birthday is Sunday and he'll be 7. He lives with his mother and 6 siblings in Kenya.  Two days ago, he became part of our family through our sponsorship with Compassion International. God has graciously allowed us to be a part of something special and the thought of it brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes as well.
This small boy has seen poverty that I can't begin to comprehend.  He has been hungry in a way my children here, snug in their beds, have never and will probably never know.  Now there is hope.  He has been chosen! After waiting more than 6 months for a sponsor through the Compassion program.
But you know what?  We were the ones chosen.
God chose us.
He is allowing us to do something real.  This has been a prayer of mine for months now... that somehow, in some small way, God would make me useful for His purposes. He is answering that prayer.
Our God loves us all so much.  He wants so much to let us be part of His plans.  He wants to grow us, change us, and pour out His blessings on us in ways we can't even begin to imagine.  Two days ago I felt that in a powerful way and it is carrying forward in my heart in a way that is difficult to express.
So often I feel that I live this pampered, sheltered life.  My version of "hard" is having a long "to do" list that includes too much laundry, having to grocery shop yet again in spite of the cabinet full of food in my kitchen, and a house to clean.  Fred's mother probably lives in a house that is about the size of my youngest child's bedroom - with 7 children to care for daily.  Talk about a slap of reality.

I have been reading the posts of the 6 people (bloggers) who are on a trip with Compassion right now to Kenya.  I have seen a glimpse of that world.  It terrifies me and fascinates me.  One blog had a video clip of a sponsored child - who has grown up

My heart broke with joy and tears rolled down my face as these men hugged and cried.  Compassion works.  Lives change because of Christ and how He uses people like me - like you - to make a difference in the life of a child around the globe.

Think about it.... pray about....DO something amazing! 

March 5, 2010

Hope - and a chance to Help

I have been following the journey of a group of bloggers who have partnered with Compassion International on a trip to Kenya.  You can read about it by clicking on the individual photos of the 6 different bloggers here. This is powerful stuff and God is using it to soften my heart that is often hard about things.
He is breaking my heart over some of this... pushing me gently to give out of the abundance with which He has blessed our family.  J & B are praying with me about sponsoring a child and I've asked Steve to pray about it as well - literally JUST sent him an email with links to some of the guys blog posts.  They are making me cry as I read what God can do through a few dollars.  He is so awesome!
This is a way to be Jesus' hands in giving to those who live in far greater need than we can imagine.
I feel so selfish... I complain that milk & bread prices go up 10 cents when these people may never even SEE bread & milk at the same time.  I am ashamed.  Jesus calls us to love the least of these... I haven't.  I pray for forgiveness and that He will give me His heart, His eyes, His hands.

Chapter 12 The Holy Spirit

We believe in the Holy Spirit, The Lord, the giver of Life...
  1. The doctrine of the Holy Spirit helps us in liturgy & worship because it is truth.  We cling to the Holy Spirit - confessing this truth, we can rejoice in the life that comes to us through the Holy Spirit.
  2. Two good images of the Holy Spirit can be drawn right from the beginning, from Genesis.  The Spirit of God hovering over the darkness provides a portrait of light bringing hope to darkness.  The Spirit of God also breathed life into Adam.  He is the bringer of life.  Light & Life are perfect images for the Holy Spirit.
  3. The creed's section on the Holy Spirit was expanded and defined (or refined) at the Council of Constantinople in 381.
  4. In ancient times, divine power was often viewed as impersonal, some 'force' outside of us or 'the gods'.  the Bible clearly identifies the Holy Spirit as personal, one who can be grieved, using the personal pronoun "He".
  5. The Holy Spirit cannot be detached from God, He is permanently connected because He is God.  the Bible teaches the Trinity - Father, Son & Holy Spirit.
  6. There is unity & diversity in the person of God.  An equality of essence with a distinction in function.
  7. The Holy Spirit functions in what could be termed a 'self-diminishing manner'. He does not draw attention to Himself, but rather points to or reveals to us the Father & the Son.  he comes to us as a light, illuminating for us the truth of God.
  8. Regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit in us, making us alive in Christ.  He brings us the life of Christ even as we were dead in our sins.
  9. The Holy Spirit works in our lives daily.  He loves us, teaches us, guides us, convicts us of sin, intercedes on our behalf, and testifies to us of the love of God.  He plays many roles in our lives - serving us, lovingly & personally.  he walks with us as our closest friend.
  10. The Holy Spirit comes gently to open our hearts to be able to embrace the gift of salvation through Christ.  We are won to Christ by love.
  11. Verses:
    Luke 11:13  "If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"
    John 6:63  "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."
    1 Cor 2:9-14  However, as it is written:  "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived
       what God has prepared for those who love him"—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
    Eph 4:3-6  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
    Eph 4:30   And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

March 4, 2010

What is important?

This verse hit hard this morning... an important reminder of what is important.
Micah 6:8  He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you?
                   To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

March 3, 2010


I am playing with new templates... sorry for any confusion or glitches that occur until I figure it out.

Surf over - it's worth it!

I have been following a study of Esther over at Pleasing to You and Teri's post today is especially good (they've all been good!).  Check it out.
In the last 6 months or so, I've been praying and working towards a healthier me.  God has been gracious and I've been exercising fairly regularly, eating better and managed to lose 20lbs.  I didn't do it for anyone but myself (mostly) - with lots of prayer - but Teri's post reminds me that I am much more than what I look like on the outside... MUCH more.

March 2, 2010

Spring Planning

It is now March, which means it should be Spring.  At least that makes sense in my head.  In reality, we live in NH which means we can have snow until May if the Lord so chooses.  Actually... if the Lord chooses - we could have snow in August, but that is another matter altogether. :-)
Anyway, back to Spring.
For me, part of my Spring planning that happens in March is thinking about our next school year.  This is the time of year when many - not all, but lots - start to get itchy about what didn't work this year, what we want to do differently/better/again or NEVER AGAIN!  We re-evaluate our kids strengths/weaknesses (though this is often an ongoing process and not a formal list sort of thing), and start to think about what our needs/wants are for our school materials for next year.
Spring is a great time to clean out the bookshelves and start posting things for sale on the various websites that allow such things for home schoolers.  Used curriculum is such a blessing!  Since so many of us are living on one income, being good stewards of what the Lord provides is absolutely imperative.  Being that we live so close to the distribution warehouse for Christian Book Distributors means another blessing for us - the CBD Warehouse Sale!  This is a really fun road trip that I take with a few of my friends at least twice a year.  They have an amazing mark-down sale with things that are bumped, dented or returned and you can find some amazing bargains on some otherwise very expensive curriculum.  It also allows us to actually put our hands on some things that we might be considering using, but want to flip through the book to be sure before we part with any of our husband's hard-earned money.
The next sale is on March 20th, so I am starting the process of figuring out what we need for next year.  I am blessed in that over the years I've managed to collect a lot of curriculum... some people would say that I have a "problem" when it comes to buying books.  I am of the firm mind set that there is no such thing as too many books - only that there are too few bookshelves.
There will not need to be too many big purchases for next year - at least I think that at this point, I never know what I may find on the tables at CBD.  ;-)
A few years ago I started using Rod & Staff for English for the kids - which we all love.  The big plus here is that they are hard-cover text books and re-usable for other children.  So I already have our English for next year on the shelf.  All I will need to get are the workbooks/test books and those are very affordable.
We will continue with our current history curriculum and use the third volume of Mystery of History.  That one I do need to buy as I don't own it yet.  I am praying that God allows it to be found on the bargain tables as it is a fairly pricey set.
Math is all set, both kids will use materials from Bob Jones University Press for next year.  B will use 6th grade (that we will buy or borrow from a friend) and J will be doing Pre-Algebra that I already found on the tables last year at CBD.
We will not be quite finished with our Latin curriculum from this year by the end of our official school year, so we may continue through the summer or we may just leave off and start again in the fall.  I will start looking for year 2 of the same program Latina Christiana on the 'For Sale' boards.  I want the DVDs again and those are expensive, but well worth the money.
Science is also all set from prior purchases, both kids will use materials from Apologia.  B will do a year of elementary Astronomy and J will be tackling their General Science course.
The miscellaneous pieces still need to be filled in for them both.  Spelling, Vocabulary, Logic (though I may start the formal Logic curriculum that I already bought on clearance earlier this year), and probably some sort of formal Literature programs.
This year J used Lightning Literature from Hewitt and has enjoyed it, so I may hunt down their 8th grade program for her.  B has used the 5th grade Pathway Reader with the workbook this year and liked that as well, so that might be an easy choice for him again.  They both read voraciously, so that is not really a huge concern for me.  Keeping them in good quality books is a challenge, but thankfully the Lord provides and Steve doesn't ever complain about my spending money on books for the kids.
One new addition for next year, that will be an expense but worth it I hope, is that I'm going to utilize an on-line writing tutor for both of the kids.  I love to write, but teaching it consistently is a huge weakness for me.  I found this program that looks like it will suit our needs from Write Guide.  They will allow the kids to share a tutor each week, that will be a big savings on the total cost.
So... I am making progress in my planning.  I am praying that God puts in front of me what I need or really, what He wants me to find.  I know His plans are better than mine and I'm open to any changes He reveals to me.  This whole journey isn't about me anyway and having that knowledge going forward makes the changes less traumatic. I am praying for wisdom and guidance for me and for the kids - my goal is to make sure they are equipped (as best I can) for whatever the Lord has planned for them in the future.

March 1, 2010

NH Excitement - random family stuff

We've had a bit of weather-related excitement here of late.  All in all it has been a normal winter - snow, rain, nice days, etc.  It is New England and as they say "if you don't like the weather, wait a minute". :-)
Last Thursday we had rain, I mean RAIN.  It poured buckets and buckets all day and then the wind began.  When I say wind, I mean WIND!  It was gusting upwards of 50-60mph and given that we are an hour from the seacoast, that is really something.  Unfortunately it meant a LOT of downed trees and power lines.
We lost our electricity at around 10pm on Thursday evening and didn't have it return until 6:15 on Saturday morning.  In that time we played games, snuggled under blankets, talked by candle & lantern light and were chilly!  It got down to about 54 in our house by the time the lights (and the heat) came back on.  Thankfully we have a generator so the fridge & freezer were fine and were able to run some extension cords to keep a space heater running in J's room - all three kids camped out in there on Friday evening as it was toasty with the door closed. 
This is only our third major power outage in 14 years in this house and was the first one with the generator.  It made a big difference and now on Steve's "honey-do" list is installing a transfer switch so we'll be able to run the furnace from generator power should the need arise again.  We are praying for power to be restored to the many families still in the cold & dark here in NH.
Once the lights came back on we did a quick run-through to clean/tidy up the mess of living by candle/flashlight.  We were all up nice and early on Saturday!  I managed to get some baking done since I'd been several days with no bread made.  I made a batch of Cinnamon swirl bread - and took one loaf to a neighbor.  Then tried a new recipe from the lovely lady at Frugal Girl, English Muffin Bread.  Not a new one for her - but for me!  It came out marvelous and really did make the best toast.

Now that it is March 1st, Steve and I are beginning our 15th year of wedded bliss.  Our actual anniversary wasn't on the calendar this year as we are a "Leap Year" anniversary couple.  I love that it makes our story a bit more unique... well... I think so anyway. :0)
Yesterday the younger two kids and I went with Steve to a race out in Amherst, MA - he ran 10 miles and set a new personal best time.  He is so amazing!  It was a USATrack&Field championship race, so it was a FAST race on a tough course.  He had a great race and I was very proud.  This photo is with the two kids just after he finished.

Chapter 11 Ascended and Coming Again

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end.

  1. The doctrine of ascension requires that all of history connects to a destined end or purpose.
  2. The ascension gives meaning to history as a specific series of events designed to move us forward under the rule of Christ toward the final judgment by Christ.
  3. St. Augustine's famous book on history is titled "The City of God."
  4. Pagan historians believed that history was just a meaningless cycle of events, in cycles of growth & decline.
  5. The fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476 shocked the classical world.  Rome had been considered 'urbs aeterna', the eternal city, and at the fall, people were devastated.
  6. Augustine wrote City of God in response to this event.  He recognized the fact that kingdoms on earth rise and fall but that the Kingdom of God is eternal and therefore is the focus of history.
  7. The phrase in the creed "He shall judge the living and the dead", shows us that our personal lives are connected in the scheme of history.  It makes history personal.
  8. This perspective offers very practical help in how we should live our lives day-to-day.  In light of Christ's coming and judgment, we know with certainty there will be perfect justice at some point.  This teaches us patience and dependence on God.  We, as believers, live with an eternal perspective (or we should!)  We have a purpose as a people of destiny because, just as history has been written by God's providence, so the future is His also.
  9. This doctrine is sobering as well as joyful.  Judgment is certain for all - this means we need to live with the full knowledge that every part of our lives - actions, words, thoughts - all - come under the scrutiny of Almighty God.
  10. Judgment by God is therefore part of the gospel message.  Good news comes with bad in order for it to be fully grasped.  people must understand that they have a need for the Savior who will judge.
  11. This knowledge provides hope for the future and strength to live in faithfulness each day. Because of Christ's work on the cross, our final judgment as believers will be under grace.  This drives us to live in humility an dservice to Christ, to godly living as befits citizens of the Kingdom that shall have no end.
  12. Verses:
    Matt 12:36  "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken"
    Romans 2:16  This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.
    Hebrews 9:27  Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment
    1 John 4: 9-18   This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.