Saturday, September 7, 2019

Our 8-Year-Old Reuben

Eight years ago Reuben made his appearance in this world.

His long gentle labor was such an answer to prayer and this same style has followed him as he's grown. Reuben is so laid-back and gentle in his manner and it takes a lot to provoke him to anger. But he has an amazing strength about him, a gentle strength that he uses to help and take care of people, especially his younger brothers, and do the heavy lifting in the house work. Like all of us, he has his weaknesses, but God has blessed him with such a tender heart and it's a blessing to see this as he grows.

Building is one of Reuben's favorite activies. He can build out of any medium and when he builds from what he's learning it's so fun. He tries different things from his mind and he has the best creations. I love seeing him work to figure out how to make something. He's now doing this with words and language a well and it's amazing to see how God has made Reuben to envision and put things together. In the same vein, he is wonderful at puzzles and enjoys putting them together.

While Reuben loves running around outside and playing Lord of the Rings or The Wingfeather Saga with his brothers, he also hates to be hot! So after enjoying outside time early on, Reuben loves to get into his book work and read. He has grown tremendously in reading and spelling this year as well as grown in comprehension. He LOVES to learn! His favorite book is a book of Classics for Boys from Usborne that he has read five or six times. He also loves reading to the babies and teaching them when he's not learning himself. It's been such a joy to watch his imagination grow as he reads or listen to excellent stories read.

Reuben has also been working hard to learn Scripture in many avenues. He is all about learning it as well as the answers that the Bible has for our life. While there is no saving faith yet, it's a blessing to see him having a desire to learn and grow in knowledge. He enjoys church activities greatly and always wants to be where the church is.

Reuben loves people, but also doesn't mind being alone. It's a blessing to see him grown in learning to be alone as well as work with people. He loves his siblings and enjoys building, playing and just being with them. He just goes with the flow for the most part and is such a sweet calm most of the time. We're so blessed to have Reuben in our family and so thankful God has given him to us!

Father, thank You for Reuben and his sweet spirit. He is such a blessing from You and our family is better because of him. Thank You for the calm temperment you have placed in him and his love for people. How I pray that You will reveal his sin to him, convict him and turn him to the saving grace of Jesus! Show him you deep love and bring him into true life with You! In Jesus Name. Amen!

Thursday, August 29, 2019


"I was young yesterday."

This quote has stuck with me since I read it at the beginning of chapter five and in many ways sums up the book.

In typical Lewis form, this book is deep and makes you think so hard that you realize how young you were yesterday before knowing what you know today.

Though clearly Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Perelandra takes you to the depths of spirituality, seeking to understand who God is and the What Ifs that we often consider had the fall never happened, with the conclusion that even in the evil of the fall it was still what was supposed to be. While a very challenging read, I appreciate that it made me think and took me to the Word of God to see more of who He is.

Now, in all honesty, when Ransom first arrived on Perelandra and they are describing this world my first thought was, "What was Lewis on???" The description of the planet is almost beyond comprehension and made my head hurt trying to understand it. But it is interesting to imagine a planet so incredible different from our own that even in the "what in the world" thoughts it made it fun.

Throughout the middle I really appreciated the theological debates as the Lady and the Devil talk while the devil tempts her and then Ransom seeks to show the better way. There were many deep thoughts that caught my attention and sent me into prayer to understand what was being said according to Scripture. I love a good parallel that helps me delve into the truths of God's Word.

So as the Lady declares when she first talks with Ransom, "I was young yesterday" but today I'm a little older from reading this book and investigating the arguments and thoughts found in it.

I would give this book 4 stars. It's intriguing but difficult to read

Reading Challenges:
Back to the Classics Challenge- this is my 20th century classic
Challies's 2019 Reading Challenge- Book by C.S. Lewis in the Committed section

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

No Children, No Pets

This fun read aloud is part of our Core A curriculum with Sonlight.

I enjoyed reading this book as much as I did the first time around. It is a great book to show ingenuity and how kids can figure out solutions to life problems. This book shows these children working hard to help there mother and work towards a goal together. You also learn about sibling relationships and see the struggles of having responsibility.

There are many different lessons you can pull out of this book to talk about with your kids: Hard work, seeking your own way vs doing what needs to be done, cooperation, kindness to strangers, not accusing without facts and not jumping to conclusions, honest living, wisdom, loving your neighbor as yourself and seeking the good of others are just a few you can find.

I really liked the chapter called, "Tenants Are People" where you see the kids begin to see that the people living in the building are not just a bunch of old people who don't want them around, but human beings who are like them, just older.

The mystery throughout the book also keeps it fun!

My only struggle with the book was a bit of feminist undertone, but it's done in a way that it shows the real struggle women sometimes have when we live out our roles in a fallen world. It's not at all in your face, but I definitely heard it mildly in there this time.

4 stars for this book!

I could totally count this in a challenge if it would fit in a category. Hopefully I'll figure out one to put it in.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Malachi is 3!

Another year has come and gone with this precious little boy! His birth was quite an adventure in trusting the Lord and His provision of labor, but we made it through and three years later he is continuing to grow, learn and teaching us more about trusting the Lord.

Malachi is so much fun! He talks about everything but really loves his baby brothers. He loves being bigger and taking care of them. He loves to learn and shares what he is learning with us. Right now Malachi is into animals and cars. He's finally getting into reading and will sit for a whole book a few times through. I'm so excited to start some basic preschool curriculum with him this year!

This boy is rough and tumble but still sensitive. Malachi is all about playing outside and bugs and jumping and exploring. Right now he loves riding on push cars and playing in the kudzoo that's taking over our backyard. Along side these very boy traits he is very sensitive to others being hurt (unless he did it of course!) He hates to hear Timothy cry and will kiss him and give him his pacifier. I love seeing him come into but brother mode.

Like most kids at this age he tests the boundaries to see what he can get away with, but by God's grace we're seeing him respond to correction. He is learning Gospel, Bible and beginning to memorize both Scripture and catechism. Right now he is not big on prayer, but every night he says he is thankful for playing outside and killing a cockroach!

Malachi has such a big smile that it's contagious! Most of the time that smile is accompanied by something a little mischievous, but I always love seeing it on his face! He is so full of life and brings much fun to our family. He does enjoy annoying his older siblings in typical little brother fashion, but more than that he loves to be with his family. It's such a joy to watch him grow as a member of our family and watch him find his role.

Malachi is all about putting his dishes away and is quick to clean up his spills. He does love to eat and eats almost anything put in front of him.

These first three years have flown by and I'm so thankful for Malachi being in our family. God gave us sick a precious gift in this little boy.

Father, thank You for Malachi's life. Thank You for making him a part of our family. Thank you for his adventurous spirit. Please save him by Your amazing Grace and use this to make him bold for the Gospel of Jesus. As his name means, make him Your messenger and let him go wherever You lead that he may build Your Kingdom here to be on Earth as it is in heaven. Thank You for all You are doing in Malachi's life. On Jesus name, Amen!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

A Week Apart

Last week Jim and James are able to go with others in our church to Utah to serve out there. It was challenging to let the two of them go and to be home with the eight other kids without them, but, as is always the case when following God, it was good.

Now, when I say good I do not mean easy! In fact, it was a very challenging me! The morning they left was amazing and I was so excited for the week, but within an hour of Jim telling me they had landed in Utah, our 5 year old decided to test his strength on a window and gashed his arm deeply! Thankfully, my parents were here and we were able to get help quickly but it still required a trip to the emergency room  stitches and involved lots of blood and pain!

In case you are wondering, no one wants these things and especially not to start a week away from your husband!

But, as with everything, God used it to grow and stretch me this week. I now had an injured child to take care of on top of all the other normal responsibilities, including feeding a baby around the clock. This stretched all of us. I got to put my nursing skills to good work as I bandaged and monitored Sam's healing. I sacrificed my alone bed to let him stay with me so I could monitor him. Sam sleeps like a fish out of water!!!

We had a pool party for the kindergartners at Smyrna First Baptist on Friday, which Sam could not swim at anymore. This stretched him and me as he could sit on the side but not get his arm wet. Throughout I was telling him about the consequences of sin and having to deal with the choices we make. It was a great time of fellowship, but also challenging.

During the week there were many small incidences as there are every week. I by the end I was wondering what was real and what was fake with Sam. How quickly he figured out how to manipulate and I had to use wisdom to assess every situation.

On the way to the pool party, a foolish driver almost hit us head on! That was terrifying! But God's amazing grace and mercy allowed me to see the foolishness and stop the van before they hit us.

Ali reminded me that when our husbands away we are more vulnerable to the attacks of Satan, and was she ever right! And thankfully God kept me aware of these little attacks and helped me to face the little incidences well.

But today I realized there was one attack I didn't see. With Jim gone and having to keep a close eye on Sam, I fell back into laziness. God has been working on my heart so much in this area, giving me the desire to work hard for Him in all areas. But I used the circumstances to do what I wanted or really to do nothing whenever I could.

How quickly we fall back into old habits when we have our eyes on our circumstances instead of on God!

Yes there was a lot going on and a lot that needed my attention with only one adult in the house. But I forgot God had it all under control and nothing surprised Him. I took it easy, allowed way too many movies and slept far too much. I trolled online entities and allowed myself to get caught up in moments instead of sticking to our normal rhythms as closely as I could.

This week taught me a lot! And God in His mercy revealed my sin so I could repent and turn.

Today has been much better and I've done what God has asked me to do. Perfectly? NO! But I'm moving back in the right direction.

That's the mercy of God! A week apart from my husband and my oldest to show me how much more I have to learn and how to spot even more of my weaknesses!

God uses everything!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness

I love this book!!!! I read this the first time about three years ago and could not put it down. This time around our family read it together and we never wanted to put it down!!!

The fantasy world that Andrew Peterson had created is fun, brilliant and while impossible in a literal sense, hits close to home. Janner, Tink and Leeli are learning to survive and coming of age in a world full of evil and fear. At night the dreaded dark carriage will come to take children while they sleep, fangs roam about threatening anyone who challenges them and the Igiby family tries to keep their head down and make a home together.

Trouble strikes when the children have an encounter with Slarb, a fang of Dang and soon the family is under the watchful eye of the whole fang regiment in Glipwood. Before long the black carriage is coming for them and they must work together to survive.

This book is filled with spiritual and Biblical imagery and teaches life lessons in a way the kids can understand. I really appreciate the relationship between the siblings and watching how it plays out. You can easily identify with many of the characters and empathize with them. Andrew Peterson does an amazing job of making the characters and story come to life.

I've down side for me is in explaining some things in setting up this imaginary world he gets a little gross in descriptions, but my boys thought it was hilarious. Differences in humor.

I like that it's easy to read and most of the chapters are fairly short making reading sessions quick when needed.

I definitely give this book 4.5 starts! It's a great read!

As for Reading Challenges, I don't have a catagory that fits it except for maybe a Book of Your Choice in the Tim Challies Reading Challenge.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Hidden Tales from Eastern Europe

This fun compelation of stories is part of our Core C curriculum with Sonlight!

Jim and I both have been to Eastern Europe and have such a heart for the people in this area of the world. It was so fun to read these stories with our kids and hear classics shared from generations there. I loved the wisdom in these stories and the life lessons we talked about at the end of each one.

Appropriately enough the last story was The Hundred Children from Romania. While we don't have a hundred, we're definiately a large family and I've been to Romania on a short term mission trip before. It was fun to hear the heart of the man and to see how he uses his cleverness to care for his family.

Every story is that way and it was so fun to read these together. It was also neat to see how God's truths stand the test of time, even when they are not recognized as his across cultures. Kindness winning over cruetly, choosing joy instead of misery, learning a trade and working hard so you can care for your family, seeking the wisdom of those older, discression with words and not being able to escape physical death all play a part of life in every culture.

I highly recommend this book!

5 stars for this fun cultural read

I don't think it really fits in any of my reading challenges but I may try to make it fit!