Saturday, April 18, 2015

Growing in Homemaking

This is something I have really been seeking to do since moving to Louisville. It is very difficult for me, and there has been much failing, but recently God has really given me a desire to seek to manage my home well and giving me resources to help me figure out ways to make this work in my home.

I recently found out about a free mini e-course, "4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking" and the first three videos already have me reinvigorated to start fresh next week in being more intentional with how I do certain tasks. I hope the fourth video becomes available today, so that I will be ready to start the week fresh. I currently have my homemaking note book out, ready to plan my week and start making the necessary adjustments.

 If you are stressed out in homemaking, like I am, or just need a boost, this e-course is a great fit for you.  "4 Simple Steps to Stress-Free Homemaking" is only available until Thursday April 23rd, so check it out today!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Self Awareness

During the sermon on Sunday, our Pastor made a comment about self-awareness as we began our sermon series on emotions. I don't remember the exact comment, but it really helped me understand a little about myself and how I view others and deal with them. By God's grace, I am very self aware. This is one of those things that has happened in the last 15 years or so, little by little, but I know myself very well. I am aware of my sin tendencies, how I react to things and beginning to understand why. I am very honest with myself about what I am thinking and how I am feeling, even if I am not honest with others. I do have some blind spots, everyone does. But I know myself very well.

I have never understood how much grace God has given me to be this way. 

Being like this has caused a lot of frustration when dealing with others. Seriously, I did not realize this is God's grace. Maybe because I'm still learning about God's grace and what grace really is, but it just never dawned on me that being self-aware is evidence of God's grace in my life. How blessed I am! But how I must learn to be patient with others who are not as aware of themselves.

Father help me to extend grace to others as You have given me so much grace. Help me to point out the truth in love, the way You have done with me. Impart this amazing grace to others so that they may see themselves as they are, and continue to show me who I am. I know I have so much more to learn about myself, and by Your grace You will continue to make me aware of sin and struggles so that I can fight according to Your Word.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY, SAM!!!!!


It's hard to believe that 1 year ago, I gave birth to my 5th child. It was a shock to have another boy, but oh, how thankful I am for this sweet boy. God has used our precious Samuel to teach us and grow us more than we ever thought possible. He is a constant reminder that God always knows what He is doing, even when we do not understand what that may be. Sam reminds us that God always hears His people (Samuel means God hears) and that God is our strength (Hezekiah mean God will strengthen).


Even with 4 other children, I am always amazed at how much children learn and grow in their first year. We were really blessed that Sam was born sleeping through the night and continues to be a good sleeper. He is standing on his own and perhaps thinking about walking a little bit. Like his siblings he is a lightening fast crawler and can get across our living room in about 2.5 seconds! He loves to clap while we sing and is starting to dance a little. 7 teeth are in his mouth and he loves to eat with them as well as show them off with huge smiles. Sam will eat just about anything, which is a huge blessing. Now, if he could feed himself with a spoon. He has recently learned to climb into our brown chair and likes to sit and watch what is going on from this perch. I am thankful that he is starting to communicate with signs and a few words. He is very expressive and has no problem letting you know he wants something. This is a blessing, but can be a bit inconvenient at school time when he just wants to play. :)


Sam loves to play with all of his siblings! The trick is getting them to understand that he isn't taking just because he joins in their play. He is getting a mischievous side and is beginning to get into more things. Though he has help with this at times, he usually does it all on his own and then has 6 parents as all of his siblings tell him what to do too. (The joys of being a 5th child.) Thus far, he would rather be with the family than be alone, so I think we have another extrovert in the making.

Sam is so much fun and already wants to wrestle. He is already giving big sloppy wet kisses and really big hugs. I'm so thankful for this sweet side in him and pray that it will continue throughout his life. He loves going to church and is becoming attentive when we pray, occasionally holding hands with the family when we pray. He loves his one on one time, especially since it is not super frequent right now. One of his favorite times in bedtime prayers since he gets Daddy and Mama all by himself for just a few minutes.

Sam is also a thumb sucker, much to my chagrin, but not too much I can do about it right now. Praying that he will grow out of that. :) He also is not real big on having his picture made. When he's smiling in a picture it's because something other than the camera had his attention. Preparing to be an Eastern European maybe?

Like those before him, Sam is following in the steps of becoming a big brother sometime between 14 and 15 months. You can tell he is thrilled about being "hires as my favorite big brother." I am sure, by God's grace, he too will come into his role and love being a big brother!

I don't think I can even begin to explain what a blessing our little Sam is. He is such a joy to be around and is every bit a Manor. God has already used Sam so much to teach us in his first year of life! Father, thank you for blessing our family with Sam. You know we do not deserve this precious boy, but You saw it fit to give him to our family to teach and guide, love and nurture. Give us Your grace to raise Sam according to Your word and in Your ways. Save Sam by Your grace, and let him be a witness of Your great Name! Thank You again for Sam and that You always hear Your people and work Your plans for Your glory and our good.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SAM!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Wheel On The School by Meindert DeJong

Janus in His Wheelchair
Lina on a Boat with one of the Fathers

I had so much fun reading this to my kids as one of their Read-Alouds this year for school. This book is in competition with "Understood Betsy" as my favorite book of this school year.

Eelka Rolling a Wheel
The Storm over Shora
It is a very well written story about 5 children in a fishing town in Netherlands who begin asking questions, wanting to know about storks and why they never come to Shora. As the kids continue to wonder about these things, this town that is small and does the same thing day in and day out begins to come alive. Connections are made, relationships built and daring deeds are done in order to do what it takes to bring storks back to Shora. I cannot tell you how many times I laughed out loud at the antics and sayings of many of the people, especially Janus, who made the book, in my opinion.

The only downside for me was a few parts that seemed really drawn out, but this is not enough to recommend it. It is a lot of fun to read and imagine as you hear what these children did. It also makes you wonder what might happen if you started wondering about something. I look forward to reading this in the future with my younger kids when they get to this year of school!
Two Storks on a Wheel

Two Storks in Front of the Furnace


4.5 stars for this exciting read!

Thanks to my kids for their illustrations of parts of the story.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sadness

This week Sojourn has started a sermon series on Emotion and Devotion looking at the Psalms. Can I just say I am really excited about this series as I am quite an emotional being! (Aren't we all if we really admit it.) As an intro to the series as a whole Pastor Daniel said that feelings are a gift from God that help us to live life and experience it more fully. There are so many people who would argue with this, but as I have learned to deal with my emotions, I would say this is so true. Dealing with feelings also shows spiritual maturity, which I find interesting and again quite true. As I grow in my relationship with the Lord, I find I am becoming more aware of what I am feeling and how to handle it. I still have a long way to go, but I can see God moving in this area of my life and I am so grateful.

Now onto sadness!

Our passage is Psalm 77:
My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud;
My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord;
In the night my hand was stretched out [b]without weariness;
My soul refused to be comforted.
When I remember God, then I am disturbed;
When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. [c]Selah.
You have held my eyelids open;
I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I have considered the days of old,
The years of long ago.
I will remember my song in the night;
will meditate with my heart,
And my spirit [d]ponders:
Will the Lord reject forever?
And will He never be favorable again?
Has His lovingkindness ceased forever?
Has His [e]promise come to an end [f]forever?
Has God forgotten to be gracious,
Or has He in anger [g]withdrawn His compassion? Selah.
10 
Then I said, “It is my [h]grief,
That the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
11 
I shall remember the deeds of [i]the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 
I will meditate on all Your work
And muse on Your deeds.
13 
Your way, O God, is holy;
What god is great like our God?
14 
You are the God who works wonders;
You have made known Your strength among the peoples.
15 
You have by Your [j]power redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.
16 
The waters saw You, O God;
The waters saw You, they were in anguish;
The deeps also trembled.
17 
The clouds poured out water;
The skies gave forth a sound;
Your arrows [k]flashed here and there.
18 
The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
The lightnings lit up the world;
The earth trembled and shook.
19 
Your way was in the sea
And Your paths in the mighty waters,
And Your footprints may not be known.
20 
You led Your people like a flock
By the hand of Moses and Aaron.

I really love this Psalm as I can deeply identify with the writer crying out to God in distress. Asaph is brutally honest with God as he cries out to Him as it show the relationship they have. As we grow in honesty with people, so grows the relationship. It is the same with God. Tell Him exactly how you feel! He can handle it. True Godly lament is woven with trust for God. When we bring our honest sadness before God, it shows that we trust Him.

Asaph also does not shy away from asking the tough questions in verses 7-9. What is important to see is that Asaph is not putting God on trial, but he is putting his heart before God, showing where he is in the midst of this sadness. I know I have done this and I have put God on trial. There is a completely different tone and attitude in each of these. As we see in Job, we cannot put God on trial because He is God and knows what is going on in every aspect of the universe. We can ask questions as we bear our souls to our maker who loves us far more than we can imagine. In fact good questions also show trust in our God.

We see a ruthless trust in God in verses 10-20. Sometimes this takes a purposeful redirecting of our thoughts. In verses 10-12 Asaph recalls the past blessings that God has given him. This is what reminds us of God's faithfulness to us, remembering what God has done for us before. Being a Christian means that we have experienced God, even if we cannot feel His presence right now. And so, we recall His deeds of the past to help us remember who He is and choose to focus on the Lord, even in the midst of sadness.

In verses 13-20, Asaph magnifies God's greatness and who He is by going back to the parting of the Red Sea in Exodus. God is giving him the grace to see how big God really is. We need God's grace to get a bigger perspective on life and lift our eyes to Him. This does not mean we will just stop being sad. What this means is that we do not have to be afraid in the midst of our sadness and we do not have to pose acting like everything is fine when it's not. This reminds us that God is holding all things together even when our lives are falling apart.

"The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit"
~Psalm 34:18

God cares about our sad and as family we need to care about each others sad. 

Do you take your sadness to God? Do you share it with others? 


Friday, April 10, 2015

What's Smaller Than A Pygmy Shrew?

This is a fun look at the molecular world. It is very basic, which was perfect for my little ones in preschool, but still interesting for my older ones to learn and ask questions.

4.5 stars

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

I'm not really sure what I was expecting from this book when I chose it, but I know it was not what I read. This was a very interesting story of the Time Traveller going to the year Eight Hundred and Two Thousand Seven Hundred and One, and the adventure he had there for a week. As someone who wonders what it would be like to time travel and what the future may be like I found it very interesting from a scientific standpoint. The assumptions made in this book are very imaginative and even help in thinking of ways to write fantasy works. As a Christian who does not believe in evolution, I find it challenging and a little sad at the view the Time Traveller has toward some of those he meets in the future.

I enjoyed the story telling aspect of this book as well as the unique writing style. Again it was imaginative, which I appreciate greatly. I usually enjoy books that think outside the box when it comes to new places and people.

I cannot say that I disliked the evolutionary elements, for it being a story the writer will usually write based on their beliefs, but I did struggle with how the Time Traveller viewed some of the people of the future. Though realistic for humanity, it was hard to appreciate, but I do think this is largely part of my personality and others may enjoy it.

I would give this book 3.5 stars, as I was not blown away by it, but I did enjoy it as literature.

This is my third book in the Back to the Classics Challenge 2015! Check out the challenge here.