Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fun Family Fishing


We (me, Brad, Madison, Cari, Amelia, Matthew, Angela and Alex) met at my mom and dad's home this past Saturday afternoon for a nice, relaxing day of fishing. It was a little chilly, but the fish were biting (for some of us anyway!). Some of us caught'em, some of us cleaned'em, some of us cooked'em, and ALL of us ate them!






















Friday, October 23, 2009

A Week of Autumn (in pictures) (and a few words)

Cari wasn't being punished - she just felt like writing "Fall."







My children had never had caramel apples before. They didn't like them. I, on the other hand, LOVE caramel apples!
We took a midweek field trip to Carlton Farms with some of our homeschool friends. It was a gorgeous day and a great day to get together with friends and experience life on a farm. We visited their animal barn and got to pet some of their baby animals. We also took a hay ride into their pasture, and the driver stopped about halfway through and let the children feed the cows some hay that was on the trailer. I don't know who enjoyed it more - the cows or the children?! We then went through a corn maze and later had a picnic atop some hay bales in the warm sunshine while watching the kids attempt to corner and catch some chickens. All in all, it was a lovely day. Below are some pictures from our trip.
Probably the closest Madison will ever come to milking a cow.



Quick snapshot of Amelia and Matthew before we continued to find our way out of the corn maze.














It was nice to take the week off from regular school work and focus on Autumn. We were able to learn some new things and have fun while doing so. We ended the study by making some Honey Pumpkin Bread. I would have taken a picture, but I wasn't quick enough. You've got to be quick around here if you want to get a picture of food!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More about ~ Grace ~

I am truly enjoying the church we are currently attending. As I've shared before, my husband and I both have the desire for him to pastor again someday, but in the meantime, we know God has us at this particular church for a reason. We are learning so much, and we are confident that everything we are seeing and being taught will be of great use in the future. I don't think we've attended a service yet where I haven't learned something new or had another one of those things corrected in my mind that I've always believed but never really studied. God's Word, the whole council of God, is clearly expounded - and that's the way it should be. If we can't go to John MacArthur's church (that would be a bit of a drive!), I think we've found the next best thing - just on a much smaller scale. ;=)

On Wednesday nights, we've been studying forgiveness. You may wonder how that topic could be studied for more than one evening, but you would be surprised. As a side note last night, he mentioned something about grace, and a lightbulb exploded in my head. I had absolutely never considered it this way before.

God gives us enough grace to get us through each day. We don't have grace for the worries of yesterday or for what is going to take place tomorrow, next week, or next year. And we can't "borrow" from today's grace to take care of those worries. We should deal with each day with the grace we've been given, and let tomorrow take care of itself.

Matthew 6:34 - Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What's Going On Around Here?

Just a few updates under various subjects:



*Sports*
Madison just finished with fall softball. They had two tournaments, two weekends in a row. With basketball soon approaching and fall vacations, that is all they could fit in for this season. They moved up to the 14 and under bracket, and I think they did very well for their first experience with this age division. They won a few, and the ones they lost were mostly by one point - no more than two or three. The coach held tryouts several weeks ago and half of the girls are new to the team. I think we've ended up with a great team, and all the girls seem to have good attitudes, which Madison's coach is very BIG on. On the team, we have girls from different schools - Bremen, Haralson County, Cedartown, Mt. Zion, and of course our one lone homeschooler. I was curious to see how they would all mesh together, and of course it takes a little time for the girls to get used to each other, but I think they're going to be a good fit. I'm looking forward to their spring/summer season. In the meantime, we have basketball season fast approaching. Madison will be playing for a Christian school, and I'm hopeful that Cari will be able to also. I have about two weeks left before the deadline for rec. ball, so I have to make that final decision soon. Cari just wants to play for whoever starts first. She is so ready to play she says.



*School*
We've finally figured out our curriculum for this year, and I feel so much better and not nearly as stressed as at the beginning of the year. We're using CLE for reading. We'll continue to use their spelling and Bible until the workbooks run out that I ordered, and then we'll use something else. I went back to Easy Grammar for Madision and Easy Grammar and Daily Grams for Cari. The CLE grammar was just way too difficult. At one point, I had thought we would stick with it and muster through somehow, but obviously I wasn't thinking clearly. I had it in my mind that we needed to stick with it in order to properly prepare them for college (if through much prayer and seeking God's will they find it necessary to attend college). Then I got out my English/Grammar book that I used in college (one of the few books I saved), and it was nowhere near as complex as what we were doing in 8th grade grammar! So, that was my permisson to dump it and go back to what we used before! We switched to All American History for both girls. We had used this in the past but only made it halfway through, so we're continuing on with the second half. Madison had actually requested to do this as she really likes that curriculum. I like it, too. I switched Madison back to Apologia Science, and Cari is staying with the CLE science.



But for this week, we're having a relaxed learning week. We're studying Autumn and various aspects of it. We have workbook pages, things we're watching on the computer, fall recipes to make (we're making caramel apples today!), nature walks, and we're planning a field trip tomorrow to a pumpkin farm. Cari is very excited about this. She could absolutely do school like this all the time. Who knows, she might would learn more this way!? Maybe I should listen to and try to take to heart what Dr. Ruth Beechick says ~~ Homeschooling naturally is natural. Don't work too hard on making it artificially schoolish. I'm working on it.


*Matthew*



Matthew is 11 months old now! I can't believe we'll soon be celebrating his first birthday! He has been so much fun to have around, and I'm so thankful that he is here. I never imagined having four children but now can't imagine not having four. It saddens me to think what we would have missed! And what are we missing yet? Hmm.... That's a whole other discussion right there! Back to Matthew ~ he's standing alone and has taken a tiny step on his own but no official walking yet. I remember "coaching" Madison with her walking, but with number four, I am in no hurry to see him walking. It is totally up to him and when he's ready. He has three teeth now - finally. We didn't think he was going to have teeth for a while, but they all came in at about the same time. He LOVES to eat, so that was a huge plus for him in getting to try new things. He has started smiling with his nose all wrinkled up, and I love this photo I took of him in the bathtub the other night. He was taking his first bubble bath, but I could hardly get him to stay sitting down long enough to show the bubbles! He likes to stand, that's for sure. I have to eat with one hand, feed him with that same hand, and hold on to one of his legs with the other hand to keep him seated in his highchair during meal time. He has even figured out how to wiggle out of the highchair seatbelt. He's quite proud of himself - you can just tell.




*Amelia*
Amelia has so many cute things that she says. I really need to write them down or put them on here more often so I won't forget. Because I know I will if I don't. Last week, she found a tiny shirt and said, "Mommy, you know what this goes to? It goes on my Hot Pocket." I was thinking "What?" I turned around and looked. I said, "I think you mean Polly Pocket." Obviously, food gets more attention than toys around here!




*Rabbits*
Please...someone come get those rabbits. Seriously, that is part of our prayer time every day. Lord, please send new families for these rabbits. We're very anxious for Him to answer that prayer!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

House Cleaning and Memory Problems

Well, I was in full force blogging mode last week but haven't had much to say this week - or rather much time to say it if I did. I enjoyed blogging so much last week that my house suffered a bit. But I guess it wasn't too bad since we did have company one afternoon. On the other hand, I've come to the realization that if I'm going to wait until my home is perfect to have company, then it may never happen. I've realized that people really aren't here to see my home anyway. I know they don't want to worry about catching a strange disease when they enter the doors because of filth, but at this point, that isn't an issue. If I become much more of a blogger, it may! On the other hand, a few scattered toys here and there or my husband's mobile office in the dining room can be overlooked. I remember years ago before the children arrived, it seems like we used to have get together's at our home on Saturday evenings quite often. Maybe it was easier then - we could get the house clean and know that it was going to stay clean until everyone arrived. Now, not so much. It can be perfect but can change in the drop of a hat. After the kids arrived, I remember having people over and making my family miserable before the company arrived - "don't put that there!" - "pick that up" - "don't bring that in here" - "you can't eat that right now!" and so on... Then I did a Bible study on hospitality and that very situation was addressed. If you're yelling at the family as the doorbell rings and then open the door and flash that smile at the visitors like everything is just fine inside the house, what is that saying to the children? It was freeing to read that, and I've since tried to make the process of having people over enjoyable for my family before, during and after the visit. I've let the perfectionist mentality go (for the most part) and am learning to go with the flow in this area. But, once again, it's not me - it's Christ working in me and helping, teaching me. I learned this week how careful I need to be to not think I've arrived at something and that it will be smooth sailing from here on out.

Brad and I were talking last week about how much better our school time had been and that he had noticed better attitudes in the evenings also. I guess I was basking too much in that sunlight because Monday and Tuesday seemed like throwbacks to the past school days. It was rough - mainly because of attitudes. And guess what - I think I was the main one with the bad attitude, and it was rubbing off on everyone else! I didn't read this verse yesterday, but I believe the Lord brought it to my mind - Proverbs 25:11 - A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. I was careful yesterday to speak kind words and in a kind manner and was convicted when I didn't. All in all, yesterday was so much better. Life is so much better when I do things His way. I know I have a short term memory problem (or so it seems - just ask my family), but you'd think I could remember that!
I have more to say but I have a little one up now, so it's time to get started with the rest of the day. I hope you have a great one!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fall Photo Contest


In case you didn't know, The Weather Channel is having a fall photo contest. I don't think this one would come close to winning, but it's the best I've come up with so far. I took this at my mom and dad's pond last week. It's really not quite "fall looking" around here, but I plan to keep my camera handy so I'll be ready when it appears!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's All About Grace

I've been reading some good things this week - too much in fact, as I feel my brain is in overload mode! This one was a reminder that it's not about how well we do things - or how many mistakes we make - it's ultimately about God's grace and how He works in our lives. That's not to say that we shouldn't always be seeking to do what is right and according to His standards - but any good that comes of that is because of Him - never because of us.

Excerpt from an article by Israel Wayne titled Homeschooled Without Dad--


The point is, it really isn't about us as fathers--at least not ultimately. It's all about grace. It isn't about faithful single parents who lead their children as the lone sanctifying spouse. It's all about grace.

As much as I love my mother, and thank God for her faithful example...it really isn't about her. It's all about grace! Anything good that we have in life is an undeserved gift from God's hand. The way we avail ourselves of that grace is through humility. We have to come to the end of our rope and admit that there is a God--and we are not Him. When we are finally broken and surrendered to His will alone, He will raise us up. Whether you are a single-parent or a faithful Bible-teaching, patricarchal leader of your home, it isn't ultimately about you. It's all about God and His marvelous grace. Throw yourself on the merits of Christ and watch in amazement what He can do in and through you and your family.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Shooting Range on Saturday








She explained it this way......if she had lived back in the days of the Wild West, she would have been one of the ladies in the fancy dress with hair and makeup fixed just so. But if anyone tried to harm her or "steal her purse," they would quickly be shown the gun strapped to her leg!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Menu Plan Monday


It's been a long time since I've posted a weekly menu, so I thought it was about time to do it again. Here's what we'll be having this week (I've started grocery shopping on Friday mornings, so I'll begin with the weekend):
**Friday - Take home from Majic Wok - love that place!
**Saturday - Had some friends over and grilled hamburgers. Also served homemade potato salad, baked beans, and dark chocolate brownies.
**Sunday - After chuch, had Zaxby's for lunch and then made turkey spaghetti and rolls for supper.
**Monday - Looks like it's going to be a great day for some Chili served with Mexican cornbread muffins - I use my regular cornbread recipe and add chopped jalapenos, half or more of a can of creamed corn, onions, and sharp cheddar cheese.
**Tuesday - Chicken and broccoli casserole, salad, bread
**Wednesday - Coleman organic hotdogs served with (hopefully) leftover chili, cheese, and sourkraut (I recently discovered I really like sourkraut, and it's good for you - think fermented).
**Thursday - Chicken and vegetable stirfry (I add carrotts, onions, cabbage, and zucchini) served with Jasmine rice and sweet & sour sauce.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Faithful Fighting Fathers

This week I've had to get up around 5 a.m. to do my medical transcription. I've been finishing around 7 to 7:30, and I've been taking advantage of the cool, crisp mornings to wake me up and get me going before waking the children. With iPod in hand, I've been listening to a message by Jeff Noblit titled Faithful Fighting Fathers. This message is aimed at fathers but certainly applies to both parents. Being unable to take notes while walking around the neighborhood, I was anxious to listen to it again so I could write down some important truths. Of course I'm going to share them with you. You can visit the web site and find the message there if you want to hear it in full and get all the scripture references.

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The church is always reforming. Are we always down on the church? No, just up on God's plan for the church. It is every generation's job to grasp where we've veered off the path, search the scriptures, and pull ourselves back on by the grace of God. Sometimes we measure success by worldly standards and then try to ignore or explain away our failures.

Somewhat of a revival that is currently being seen is a return of Biblical fatherhood. Not just family devotions, teaching, etc., but a lifestyle.

We should never emphasize the rules - family law, dos and don'ts - when training children. We should emphasize the superior principles that God has given us through Jesus and then give the rules. Life principle first - followed by rules after the principle has been taught. What are some foundational life principles?

I. Love, Enjoy, and Glorify God

If our children do not see us doing this and they don't do it either, even if they walk by our rules and standards, all we've made is idolatrous, self-consumed, arrogant, proud Pharisees. Or worse. The minute they get a crack of freedom, they run and rebel like we've never seen. We want our children to love and enjoy God. The byproduct will be good, but this is where it has to start. Our children need to see this in us.

Four attributes of God to teach: 1) God is all good. Even in tragedy, we should let our children know that God is all good. 2) He is all wise. He knows what He is doing. At the end of the age, we will understand. 3) He is all loving. He has infinite love for His children. 4) He is all powerful. No one can thwart His will.

A. Convictions We Function By

1. Lifelong partner - We desire that our children achieve this. God's ideal = one man with one woman for a lifetime. Next comes the rules that can aid in this ----

*Modest dress - Anything that draws attention away from the beauty of Christ in a woman's countenance could be considered immodest; Godly women should control their desires so as not to lead others into sin; young ladies should be taught proper modesty in clothing as well as in spirit and disposition. You can be modest without looking like Little House on the Prairie (but it's okay, Cari, if you want to!). Should dress so as not to attract "strange men." The Bible does not give specifics here. It doesn't say women should only wear skirts/dresses, and they must be _____" below the knee. The rule for one Christian household may not be the same for another. We should not be judgmental towards others in this area.

2. Pure entertainment in our homes - movies, TV, internet - Internet filters can protect the family. Our home should be a safe place where children can escape temptation. We should be discerning and wise regarding novels and magazines. Even with our best intentions, we'll still encounter things of the world, but these can be learning opportunities - discussion of the error and why it is wrong and against God's principles.

3. Authority is our Protection - all society is designed to function under authority. We should respect those in authority over us - even when we don't agree with them (that's a hard one!) Satan wants us to rebel against authority. We should teach our children 1) obedience to parents. There is blessing in protection. Ephesians 6:2-3. We must warn them about peer idolatry - when what their friends think of them is more important than being obedient to their parents - making an idol or god out of approval of their friends. 2) Our children should be taught to respect those that have been given limited authority over them, i.e. teachers, coaches. 3) Respect for police. 4) It is very important that children be taught the importance of honoring elders, preachers, and pastors in the church.

4. No fellowship or encouragement given to rebels outside the family.

5. Our body is the dwelling place of God. 1)Therefore, no intoxicating or addictive substances. They can alter our mind and cause damage to our bodies. 2) No carnal music. Not saying to stay away from non-Christian music (some Christian music isn't worth listening to either), but we should test the spirit of the music. Are the lyrics unbiblical? Do they encourage a sinful lifestyle, encourage you to live for yourself, or teach false doctrine?

6. No premarital impurity. Biblical courtship encouraged and taught.


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After listening to this message this week, I had the opportunity to have a good discussion time with my girls. I was able to review some of the above with them and encourage them in why we don't watch some TV shows, listen to certain music, and why we as their parents don't intend to let them do the typical dating routine but want to teach them about the blessing of courtship, etc. I asked them "do you think we make these rules because we hate you and want your teenage years to be the worst ever?" Thankfully, they laughed and said "no." Yes, I know it's easy now because we're not actually there, but I realize now more than ever how important it is that we teach these truths early and that the reason we are doing this is because God's way is always best. Excuse me while I offer up a prayer right quick :>) ~Lord, please give us wisdom and strength to persevere, and give our children hearts that love you and seek your ways!~

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Fall Wallpapers

My favorite season has arrived, and I'm in the mood for all things autumn - including a pretty background for my computer! If you need a new wallpaper for your screen, here's some you might enjoy. CLICK HERE