Friday, May 22, 2015

Detectives in Togas

What a fun book! This was our last read-aloud for the year with our Sonlight Core B curriculum. This book takes place in ancient Rome and is a mystery that follows 6 class mates that have to rescue another of their classmates from jail after being accused of desecrating the temple of Diana, which is dedicated to the emperor. It teaches deductive reasoning, searching for evidence and learning how to appropriately question what you see and hear. It is funny in many parts and also intriguing. My son really enjoyed this book as well, which is always a plus.

There were some parts I did not care for. Overall it was easy to read, but at times drug out more than was necessary.

I would give this book 4 stars and recommend it as a fun read for kids.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

George Muller The Guardian of Bristol's Orphans

This book is written by Janet and Geoff Benge in a series about Christian Heroes and was part of our History and culture in our Core B Sonlight material for this year. I am quite familiar with the story of George Muller, but this book really opened my eyes to how much God changed him and how strong George's faith in God really was.

It starts with George at age 16 getting arrested for bailing on hotel rooms throughout Prussia. To see where George started out just blew my mind. It is such a testimony to the amazing power of God's love and salvation. It follows through the rest of his life, including attending Bible college to become a pastor, his conversion, seeking God's will for his life, marriage, children and the beginning of the ministries he started, including the most famous one: the orphan houses.

Reading this along side Oliver Twist was amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time. What was really interesting is that Charles Dickens actually went to visit the orphan houses when he heard about them, thinking they were horrible places where kids had to work. Once visiting the orphan houses he was very pleased and wrote an article telling others of the good work Muller was doing in helping the orphans.

This book was very easy to read and full of information. It was written in such a way to keep you interested and made you want to keep going to know what happened next (even if you know what happened).

5 Stars, hands down, for this biography of George Muller. I recommend it to everyone. It absolutely challenged me and my faith.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oliver Twist

I finally finished my 4th classic for the Back to the Classics Challenge I am participating in. I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time and finally got around to reading it. I remember seeing the musical when I was in high school and so I thought I knew the story line, but clearly I forgot a lot.

I liked this book OK. I think I might have had a hard time with it since I'm pregnant and highly emotional. Oliver went through way too much for my emotions at this time and I found myself often getting angry at the book. The story line is very interesting, but at times was a bit confusing. I appreciated the mystery of Oliver's parentage in it as well as the mystery of Monks, though when we find out who he is, it is of really little significance in some respects. I was a little dumbfounded by it. I appreciate the elements of the sovereignty of God, though it is not addressed as such in this book, as Oliver finds his way to people of great significance to him. I also appreciate the justice in the end.

Stylistically I also struggled with this book. This is the first book I have read by Charles Dickens so I did not know what to expect. I hope I enjoy his other book I have scheduled better as I hear there are differences in his books.

Overall I would give this book 3 1/2 stars.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Day in Our Life

When the school year begins, several people post about what their typical day looks like. Yesterday we finished our 2014-2015 school year! So to commemorate, especially since this is our last year schooling only 2 for many years to come, I wanted to share what a day in our life looks like.

We have been through a lot in the past school year, so there has been a great deal of fluctuation in our daily schedule. That means this will be a general overview of the past year, since starting school with the kids last July.

Between 6 and 7 everyone is up, attempt to have some time reading the Bible and praying for the adults. Occasionally the older 2 would also read their Bible story books

By 7:30 we are eating breakfast and preparing for the day

By 9 we are starting on Jamey's core, which included family Bible reading, history and read a-louds

Once finished with Jamey's core, Jamey would work on his language arts while I did Lillian's core with her. During all of this time the little boys are running around, playing or listening on rare occasion.

At 10 a snack is given for the sanity of everyone.

Our goal is to be done with all school work before lunch time at 11, and sometimes we would succeed. This got easier as the year went on and Jamey could do more on his own.

At 11 we make lunch, which Jamey can now do, and eat.

After eating, if it is needed we would finish our school work (usually our science lessons). If done with school we would clean something and then have free play until rest time at 1. Jamey would use this time to practice piano for his class as well

By 1 all three of the little boys would be in beds napping, the older two would color/draw or read. Sometime we would watch a movie so they would lie down. During this time I would work on reading, email, journals, writing, etc and after becoming pregnant would often take a nap as well.

Between 3:30 and 4 everyone would be up and we would start on dinner. (Yes I am aware we eat dinner early, but that is when our family is hungry.) The kids take turns helping with dinner to learn the kitchen as well as other math and science skills.

About 4:30 we would eat dinner.

After dinner we would have family play, watch a movie, read a book, or get ready for anything happening that evening.

The first part of the year the kids went to bed at 7 pm. When Jim changed to day shift we moved bed time back to 8 pm to accommodate his work schedule and being able to see the kids. Therefore 30 minutes before bedtime the kids help pick up the living room and get ready for bed.

After the kids are in bed, Jim and I would have some time to talk or relax for a little bit, then get ready for bed ourselves, usually by 10.

Next year we will have so much more to do so I am sure in some ways our schedule will be much more rigid. I am thankful I have had such a flexible schedule with the kids this year. It is so helpful. I'm also thankful that we are done so early to prepare for our new little one coming in a 4-8 weeks.

Here's to next school year, and a nice long summer break ahead.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Guilt

This past Sunday, we talked about guilt at Sojourn, using Psalm 51. This Psalm was written by King David after committing adultery with Bathsheba, getting her pregnant and killing her husband.

Psalm 51
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;

According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For [b]know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.
Against You, You only, I have sinned
And done what is evil in Your sight,
So that You [c]are justified [d]when You speak
And [e]blameless when You judge.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,

And in sin my mother conceived me.
Behold, You desire truth in the [f]innermost being,
And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
[g]Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
[h]Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
[i]Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities.
10 
Create [j]in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew [k]steadfast spirit within me.
11 
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will [l]be converted to You.
14 
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation;

Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
15 
O Lord, [m]open my lips,
That my mouth may declare Your praise.
16 
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burnt offering.
17 
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
18 
By Your favor do good to Zion;

[n]Build the walls of Jerusalem.
19 
Then You will delight in [o]righteous sacrifices,
In burnt offering and whole burnt offering;
Then [p]young bulls will be offered on Your altar.

What is Guilt?
Guilt is an objective reality that must be dealt with. If you have ever experienced guilt you know there are different types of guilt. Guilt from sin is from the Holy Spirit convicting us that we must deal with the reality of sin. This causes us to acknowledge there is a problem.

There is false guilt that can come from Satan accusing us of things that are not sin issues as well telling us we have not lived up to some imaginary measure. This guilt also needs to be dealt with but in a different way.

What do we do with Guilt?
We confess our sins. That is the beginning of dealing with guilt. What does it mean to really confess?

True confession relies on mercy and not works
True confession owns our sin- it does not seek to pass the buck or make excuses for what we have done, but says I have sinned against God
True confession is relational- we recognize we have violated a Holy God and because of that our relationship is broken
True confession asks for something- Will you forgive me?
True confession desires renewal- this is repentance, we cannot truly confess without repentance

What does God do with Guilt?
God has provided Jesus as our atonement for those who trust in Him for their salvation. Confession without atonement is meaningless. Jesus, who is the only atoning sacrifice, is the only thing that can cover God's wrath and our sin. God atones our guilt and makes us right again.

No matter what we have done, if God has called us to Himself and we have placed our faith in Jesus alone to save us from the penalty of sin and death, we can be free of guilt. I found it interesting that Pastor Mike said, "The areas that are the darkest can be the most useful in ministry." We are all sinners. We all deal with guilt. God will use it to further His Kingdom.

To hear a great song based on this Psalm, Listen to "Psalm 51" here!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why Do I Write?

"This will be written for the generation to come
that a people yet to be created will praise the Lord."
~Psalm 102:18

I read this verse this morning, and it was a great reminder to me why I write. I'm not always writing specifically about God, but my goal in writing should be to pass on the greatness of God in everything. We serve such a mighty God who alone is worthy of all our praise. Whether I'm writing about everyday life, what I am reading, childbirth, marriage or my kids, the purpose should be for people to be see God in everything and give Him praise.

Father, may I honor You in everything I do, especially my writing. Thank You for the gift of writing and that You have given me a desire to write. Grow me in this and may I bring praise to Your Name in my writing. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Being A Mom


I'm a mom. I know that is an overly obvious statement, but I've really been thinking about it as I prepare for my sixth child. So many people say that I am crazy. There is some truth to that. But I'm not crazy because I have six children, I am crazy because I am human, and God is using these little ones to teach me more about Himself and actually become more sane. Don't get me wrong, I feel crazier more often than I feel sane, but I feel more sane today than I did yesterday because today I trust God more than I did yesterday. There is a roller coaster about this, so maybe tomorrow I will feel a little crazier that I did last week, but then God shows up and reminds me of who He is and brings that sanity back. I don't know why God thinks I should be responsible for raising 6 children for His Kingdom, but I do know that by Him entrusting them to me, He is making me more like His Son, Jesus, and that is the best gift of all. Each child reveals to me that I am even more of a sinner than I thought I was. They make me go deeper. They show me more of where my heart is. God works in such mysterious ways.

In all of this God is helping me to learn to let go of control, be more patient, to not expect perfection EVER from myself or anyone else aside from Him. I'm learning to do things that I have wanted to do as I'm forced to teach my kids. I'm learning what it means to me a mom after His heart and how loving my husband is one of the best things I can do for my children. I'm learning to take everything to God, and not just "handle it". I'm learning that there is no such thing as predictability, not really. As soon as I think I have something figured out, a curve ball comes and you have to figure it out again. I'm learning I cannot do this on my own and God does not mean for me to. This is why He always walks with me and puts people in my path to help me and for me to help.

Being a mom is so much more than having babies. It is a life given by God to grow us in Christ-likeness and to teach others to do the same. I'm so thankful that God has made me a mom 6 times over. There is little in life more precious than that.