Friday, May 19, 2017

Master of Divinity

Nearly seven years ago, our family loaded up a truck and headed to a new adventure in Louisville, KY, for Jim to work on his Master of Divinity degree. Today marks the end of that adventure.

After seven years, 95 credit hours, and 5 kids, 
Jim now has his Master of Divinity degree!!!!!

It was been a long and challenging road with much growth, but it has been good. God has taught both of us through this time and we have grown closer to God, closer to each other and closer to our kids. These have been the most important things since coming here.

Along with this we have learned more Bible, Theology, Hermeneutics, Greek, Hebrew, and Missiology. We have learned about community and family. We have learned to love more, grieve with others and how to share life with those around us. We have learned a LOT, and yet we still have so much to learn. The more we have learned the more we have learned what we don't know. And as we move forward we pray to keep learning more and more, until it is time for us to go home.

It has been a day of great celebration and we are so proud of Jim! 

We are so grateful for this time God has given to us to grow and learn. 

We are also thankful for those who have prayed for, loved and supported us on this adventure, and look forward to where God will lead us next. Right now we are waiting for God to bring the right buyer for our house so that we can return to our home city and be a part of our home church until God tells us what is next.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Usborne People of the World

This book was a part of our history and culture studies in Core B of our Sonlight curriculum.

On the whole I really enjoyed this book. It gives a good basic overview of people around the world including language, town or city set up, religion, foods, money and other things that are part of daily life. My kids really enjoyed reading this together and learning about people around the world. It was a good way to talk about differences and learning to love others who are different than us.

My only problem with the book was their description of Christianity and Christians. Though it was correct on most tenants there were some major flaws in explaining what it truly is. It described more cultural Christianity.

4 stars for this book.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

I'm a way behind on book reviews! The kids and I read this at the beginning of our school year as part of our Core B curriculum with Sonlight.

It is was a good read aloud with the kids and very easy to understand and talk about. The story line I think is a familiar one following Wilbur the pig as he is saved by Fern, sold to her uncle and then rescued from slaughter by his clever friend, Charlotte the Spider. This is our second time reading this as a family and it was more fun reading it with the kids this time as they seemed to better understand what was going on. Having seen the movie with people it was also fun to compare and contrast them to each other.

Though this is not personally one of my favorite books, I do think it is clearly written and is a great family read for most ages, depending on the sensitivity of the kids. What I enjoyed the most was watching a friendship blossom in the true meaning of the word friendship. I also enjoyed that it did not have a super happy ending, that there was room for tears as Wilbur had to still face the reality of life.

3 stars for this book

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Parent Trap by Erich Kastner

My wonderful hubby got this book for me for my birthday, as I have been wanting to read it since realizing one of my childhood favorite movies is based on it. It was also a perfect fit for this year's Back to the Classics Challenge for classic in translation.

Like both movies the book begins at a camp where 2 identical girls, Luise and Lottie, meet and have no idea how they could look so much alike. As they talk to each other they come to realize they are twins who were split up by their parents and make plans to switch places. But this is where the similarities to the movies ends! The book is based in Germany and Austria, where the girls live. There interactions from the beginning, though full of question and wonder, is mostly civil and the quickly get along without the help of an isolation tent. We see them each with their parents and the parents are VASTLY different than the parents portrayed in either movie. The father is a famous conductor in Vienna and has almost no time for his girl. The mother lives alone with her daughter and is not wealthy or surrounded by family. But this adds to the story line in my opinion. What is even better is these girls spend almost a full semester with the opposite parent before they know what is going on! The way the swap is figured out is so much better and more interesting than the movies.I was so shocked by the difference but really do believe the story is better for them.

Because it's translated I have no real view on the style, but the translation I read was a quick and easy read. Overall I enjoyed this book.

4 stars

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Insanity of God by Nik Ripkin

Jim and I read this book together as part of our School of Missions training and it was incredible. Everyone needs to read this book, especially if you are a Christian. If you are a Christian and you read this book and are not moved or challenged, you seriously might want to examine your heart.

This book follows Nik Ripkin and his family from the beginning, to going to work full time in Africa, to interviewing Believers around the world to understand better the breadth and width of God and what He is doing. The name of the book is so appropriate, because from a short sighted human perspective, God appear to be insane. But what this book reminded me of in story after story is that God sees the whole picture and He is using whatever means necessary to bring His Kingdom on earth and bring Himself glory as the Lord and Creator of the Universe.

The stories of seeing how God has moved, and is moving, at different times and in different places just rocks you to the core. This book seriously challenged me in what am I willing to give and give up for God. Currently, it really does not take much to follow God, at least it appears that way, in our culture. But our Brothers and Sisters around the globe risk everything to be able to worship our God, to live a Godly life and be who He created them to be.

On of my favorite quotes in this book comes from a man Nik interviewed, I believe, in Russia. He said, "I took great joy that I was suffering in my country so that you could be free to witness in your country. DON'T YOU EVER GIVE UP IN FREEDOM WHAT WE WOULD NEVER GIVE UP IN PERSECUTION - AND THAT IS OUR WITNESS TO THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST!"

How easily I give up my freedom to witness to the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ! How easily I complain in my suffering! This is just a glimpse of the stories that show us how, even when we have religious freedom, to take up our cross and follow Jesus where ever He leads.

10 stars for this book. I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Our 7 Year Old Girl

Happy 7th Birthday to our precious, Lillian! 

It is so hard to believe that our only daughter is 7. Her birth was such a miracle, and today she is a lively, vibrant, active and fun young woman. Everyday she surprises us with how much she is learning and growing. She loves to learn. She is excellent with time and scheduling. God has made her a natural time keeper and given her a desire for order (at least in the area of schedule).

Lillian loves the kitchen! Cooking, baking, eating, she enjoys all of it. She makes lunch almost everyday and does as much dinner prep as she can. When we cook breakfast, she is right there helping. She wants to learn how to bake everything.

Lillian loves to learn and memorize. She is always reviewing facts to make sure she has things correct. Her favorite subject is spelling, but she works hard at all subjects. She is a hard worker and enjoys getting work done in a timely manner so she has time to do other things she enjoys, like baking, coloring and being outside.

Singing and dancing is also a big favorite of Lillian's. At co-op she really enjoyed learning ballet. We are learning hymns and she is all about learning every verse. She enjoys playing the Just Dance video games with the family. Lillian also loves to sing with songs on the radio or the Ipod. Some of her favorites are "Dry Bones", "Oceans" and "What a Beautiful Name."

It is such a blessing to see this beautiful girl growing up.

Father, I pray that you will save Lillian and make her a woman after Your heart. I pray she will love You and seek You with all of her heart. Help us to teach her how to use her gifts, talents and strengths for Your Kingdom and Your glory. May she lead others to You by the way she lives her life.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Our 3 Year Old Sam

It's been 3 years since we welcomed our 5th child, Sam. How much has happened since then! We are so thankful to have this precious boy in our family. With Sam you have to laugh. He is so full of life and has such a big personality. He loves to talk and will talk to you about anything. You cannot always understand because he gets so excited and talks so fast, but he is so fun to listen to.

Even though he is not in school yet, Sam has a great love of learning. During school time he likes to pull out his journal and "write" in it. He is learning his alphabet and numbers and loves every minute. He is learning Bible verses with us doing Bible time, which is precious to hear. It is such a joy to watch him love learning.

Sam is also a very active boy. He loves to play outside with his siblings. He loves to wrestle and sword fight. He loves to sing and dance. He loves hugs. Anything physical he enjoys so much.

Sam enjoys coloring and watching movies in his quiet time. He also enjoys reading books with Daddy, Mama or an older sibling. He is a big snuggler and is so snuggly when he is sleepy.

We love this little boy so much and he is growing up so fast! God knew what He was doing with He gave us our precious Sam.

Father, Thank You for giving us Sam. Please save him and make him into a man after Your own heart. Show him how to be like Jesus, to serve and pray and love others. Let him love You with all that he is and love his neighbor as himself.