Thursday, December 15, 2011

Where is Heaven?

This is from Tramp for the Lord by Corrie Ten Boom. I just had to write it on here:

Where is heaven?

Happiness is not dependent on happenings, but on realationship in the happenings.

My Father taught me this when I was just a child. He often told me of the early days of his marriage. He had opened a small jewelry shop store in a narrow house in Amsterdam. Poor Mother! She dreamed of a a home with a little garden. She loved beautiful things and spacious views. "I love to see the sky," she often said. Instead she found herself on a narrow street, in an old house--the kind with only a single room each story--with worn out furniture which they had inherited from Grandmother. Yet they were both happy, not because of circumstances but because of relationships in the circumstances.

There, in Amsterdam in that narrow street in the ghetto, they met many wonderful Jewish people. They were allowed to participate in their sabbaths and in their feasts. They studied the Old Testament together and on occaion, even the New Testament.

I have remembered, many times, the lessons I learned from my father about happiness and happenings. But never was it so clear as when I was in Korea, many many years later.

I had been in the Orient three months, spending much of the time in Korea. While there I spoke in many meetings in schools, orphanages, children's homes, and churches. One day, after I had spoken in a university, a theological student came to me. I had never seen such gloom on the face of a man who said he wanted to be a minister for the risen Christ.

"Why is it that you are so full of unhappiness?" I asked

"I have lost my way," he said sadly. "When I first became a Christian my pastor taught the  Bible is true. In those days I had great happiness. But now I am studying the famous scholar, Rudolph Bultman, who says our Bible is full of myths and fables. I have lost my way and no longer know where heaven is."

I was angry. It did not seem right that the simple boys of Korea had to struggle throught this horrible theology. They studied many hours going to universities, going to school twice as long as students in America, yet because of what they studied, they often lost their faith. I answered his question about heaven by telling him what I had just seen and heard the day before while driving through the countryside.

There I saw the poorest shack I have ever seen. It was a tiny lean-to , made from materials collected from the garbade heap--pieces of cardboard, tin cans which had been smashed flat, old boards....As we drove past, though, I heard the beautiful vioce of a woman singing. Seldom, ever in the concert halls of
Europe, had I heard such a sweet voice. We stopped the car and listened, for it was like the song of a skylark.

I said to the missionary who was traveling with me, "Do you know that song?"

"Yes," she said, "it says, 'Where Jesus is, 'tis heaven there'."

Oh, how my heart leaped for joy as I heard this beautiful song coming from such a poor place. It is one thing to hear such a song in a dignified church, or pouring through tthe speakers of an expensive stereo set. But when one hears it coming from the poorest shack in the midst of such poverty, then it means something else.

I looked at the young theological student before me. "Jesus said, 'The Kingdom of heaven is within you' (Luke 17:21). Bultman is wrong Jesus is right. Heaven is not a myth or fairy story: heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. Theology in the hands of the Holy Spirit is a beautiful science. But in the hands of unbelievers it is death. If you want to find where heaven is, get out of your stuffy classroom and go back to the countryside. Listen to the simple faith of those who read only the Bible and trust only in God, not material things. What do they care if some theologian says that heaven is a fable. They have found Jesus, and where Jesus is, 'tis heaven there."

What a precious book this is!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

He has Made Everything Beautiful in His Time

Beauty from ashes, Joy for mourning, The Spirit of God for the Spirit of heaviness.
Contrast is found throughout God's Word, being a double edgded sword.
These themes are found often in the Bible; peace in the midst of suffering, rest in labor, life in death.

The kids and I started some zinnia plants from seed in early spring, they had a very slow start. When it was time to put them in the ground, they were very small and pathetic. I had very little hope for them.

It took them a long time, but when they finally decided to bloom for us, what a feast to the eyes they were! I was amazed by them, so bright and vivid  and huge. They grew as tall as my little Gracey and the blooms were as big as my hand. I drank in their color, in the late August early September days that I went to the garden.

I also forbade any child to pick even one, because I wanted the chance to save as many seeds as I could. I took these pictures the evening before our first frost. I was so glad I did.

 In the the early morning when I saw the frost I sadly knew they were destroyed. I saw from a distance they had died in full bloom. Those lovely Zinnias, we had enjoyed them so much. It saddened me to know that summer was over, a new season was upon us. But, when I took the time that morning to get a closer look, I knew God wanted me to see something in it. What I saw in this new perspective was even more amazing, The beauty I found in their death.

Truly truly I say to you, except a seed of wheat falls on the ground and dies it remains alone: but  if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. -John 12:24 

My first emotion was passed, it had bloomed into excitement because of the beauty I had found. God once again brought truth to me, alive and practical, through gardening.

It reminded me of the old hippy song I listened to by the Birds. Before I found truth and peace in Jesus, I didn't have a real understanding of the passage and definitely didn't know it was right out of the Bible. Its still hard to read with out truly thinking about what it is saying and singing the song in my head, but it applies...

          To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up
          that which planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
          A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace,  and a time to refrain from embrace. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

   He hath made every thing beautiful in his time
I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor  any thing taken from it: and God doeth
it, that men should fear before him.  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,11,14

The Lord brings us in and out of seasons. And when change comes often we, in ourselves,
are usually unwilling, tending to kick our feet, or be anxious,
not liking or wanting what is unknown and unplanned in our lives. 
God designed times and seasons and knows exactly what we need.
He never fails, His promises stand.

And we know that all things work together for good to those that love God,
to them who are the called  according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Faith is like a radar which sees through the fog--the reality of things at a distance that the human eye cannot see. -- Corrie Ten Boom

My life is but a weaving, between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors, He worketh steadily,
Oftimes He weavth sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He's sees the upper, and I the underside,
Not till the loom is silent, and shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas, and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the weavers skillful hand,
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

He wants to weave a beautiful pattern out of our lives, using everything.
Ask the Lord Jesus to show you the beauty in your ashes,
may we receive all that he wants for us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Confessions from a Homeschool Mom

Throughout the days of being home, I go through phases.

Days where my priorities are on the kids, sacrificing what I want to do or think that needs to be done to spend time with them. The house may be shabby, meals may not be on time.

Other days The kitchen sink may be empty and clean but, my toddler is crying at my feet.

Still other days it seems as though everything works out, school done, chores done, happy kids, happy husband.

Sometimes I go by feelings and not by faith.
I get discouraged at even being home and don't think I'm accomplishing anything at all...
Even though everything seems to be humming along okay.

Sometimes I'm discouraged, hard hearted, losing sight of my goals,
Thinking, that all I've done is converse with little people all day,
Wondering, is all this staying home business really accomplishing anything?

And The Lord whispers in my ear, "I don't measure success the way you do."

And He turns me into mush once again....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sushi Rolls

Here is the recipe for the infamous Sushi Rolls from breakfast the other day. 

They came out the best we've ever made them, and they're not too hard to do. You definitely need a sushi mat for rolling, which are a very inexpensive kitchen utensil.

here is a link for the best deal I could find:
 Think Bamboo Sushi Rolling Kit, 2 mats and rice paddle - green slats w/ skin

You'll need:
6-8 sheets of Nori seaweed
2 cups sushi rice
sweetener of choice (optional)
Sesame oil
White rice Vinegar

1 carrot
1 cucumber or zucchini or both
4 eggs
Braggs Liquid Aminos

Cook the rice and get your veggies cut and peeled into long long thin strips

after the rice is finished:  add a dash (approx a Tablespoon) to taste of
Sesame oil, white rice vinegar, and agave nectar to taste (sugar would be just fine too) to the rice and mix well.

set it aside to cool.

beat 4 eggs with salt, pepper, a tsp of water and a tsp of Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
pour the eggs into a heated oiled frying pan.
let the eggs cook over med - med low heat with out scrambling,  just let them cook into the shape of the pan, and flip to get them cooked on both sides, then take the disc out and cut into long thin strips.

set everything out in front of you. You will need a bowl of water for sealing the nori and getting the sticky rice off you fingers.

Place the nori on the bamboo roller with the shiny side down. Place a handful/ thin layer of rice on the bottom 2/3 of the nori. Lay pieces of veggies and egg with-ways in the center of the rice. Pat a little water on the edge of the nori to help it seal well. Then roll the nori tight with the mat until it is at the end. Tuck the rolled edge of the nori under the filling, pull the roll tightly to seal.
I recommend searching on you tube how to roll sushi.

When the rolls are finished slice them into thin discs with a very sharp knife using a gentle back and forth sawing motion. Keep a damp towel nearby to periodically wide the knife to keep it clean. and Serve.

We like to eat them with wasabi, chili garlic sauce, the liquid aminos or sweet and sour sauce, We also like Asian sesame ginger  and sometimes all of them.

I learned how to make these from a Korean exchange student that lived with my parents. I've changed some of the ingredients so its probably not as super 'authentic' as some sushi fanatics would like. We just like to have a fun healthy meal. Enjoy!

p.s. I'll never figure out how the kids thought they could make this all on their own, having never even helped me with them before..... the pictures are taken after the craziness of the morning. :)
and if your interested in our crazy morning you can read Surprise Breakfast
UPDATE (Feb 2nd 2013): When we had this surprise breakfast a few years ago, all we had was regular rice. We did what we do when we don't have the right ingredients, just made do and made it anyway. I've been using regular rice on these forever now, not making them very often, and even though they were still delicious, I was increasingly frustrated with how they would roll and fall apart. So I have recently bought a 25 pound bag of organic white sushi rice and more nori sheets. What a difference in the way they roll out and stick together they are beautiful.
We have been making them a lot now.
Also I haven't been adding any sweetness to the rice just about a few tsp of the rice vinegar and a tsp of sesame oil. If you really squish the rice down in a wide thin area they will come out perfect. Sometimes I also saute the carrots a little in some braggs amminos to soften them slightly.
We love them so much, a great thing to just have in the fridge to snack on. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Surprise Breakfast

This morning I woke to the sound of the two oldest children shuffling about it the kitchen and conversing quietly. I stumbled in to see the table set with cups and plates, even complete with a centerpiece of flowers. They saw me and quickly shooed me out, explaining they were going to make breakfast. Praise asked about making scrambled eggs. Which I told her she couldn't because we only had 4 eggs. They would have to figure out something else.

So I went back to my quiet time, and listened ever so often, smiling to myself, hearing them figure out a plan on how to do it and what they needed. I couldn't hear everything over the noise of kitchen work and still couldn't figure out what they were planning.

The two youngest kids were sleeping still, same with the puppy. Everything was going along pleasantly until suddenly the brawl of the year broke out. I had trouble breaking it up. One went stomping away red faced with nostrils flaring, the other stayed behind teary and upset. Cookbooks opened, preparations half done, a messy table.. counter ..stove!…uggh. And what was it the two were beginning to make? French toast? …Pancakes? ….Muffins even? …
No, they had decided to make Sushi rolls. Yes, Sushi rolls for breakfast.

So, as I made this discovery, Things got pretty hectic. Seanny, Gracey and the puppy woke up. So I had a morning diaper and puppy potty time to deal with, a hungry Gracey, two fighting children and a disorderly kitchen. Oh boy! We eventually got it worked out. Praise took care of the puppy, Seanny and Grace ate some dry toast and orange pieces to hold them over for the upcoming sushi feast, while Seamus and I got to work.

What started out nice, with a giant explosion-- actually ended well. I was able to have some wonderful one on one time with Seamus and teach him how to roll Nori and we all had a treat we haven't had in a long time.

After we were stuffed with Sushi, the two brawlers made up and it ended with smiles and hugs.

And here is the link to the post with the recipe:

Friday, May 27, 2011

He Ponders

A Bible time with the kids in Proverbs 5 verse 21:

For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and he pondereth all his goings.

Our ways are before his eyes -- so he sees it all.
The kids knew this, they said, "Yeah, we know. He knows everything".
Then I asked them, but did you know that he thinks about the way we go? As in, ponders our goings? As in, thinks about us?
No, they had never considered that before. We looked up the word ponder.

Ponder: to consider deeply, to weigh carefully in the mind, to meditate upon.
That's much deeper than just a rushed thought.

We went to Psalm 139. Such a beautiful illustration on how intimately involved He actually is in each of our lives, whether we stop to consider it or not. As we stopped to consider this great truth, reading and being reminded is always overwhelming (Such knowledge is too wonderful for me). To read, how no matter where we go His Spirit is there. To read, how he protects us. To read, how he formed us with such care and how everything we say, do or think is already known by him, knowing us better than we can know ourselves. On top of all of this care and intimate knowledge of our very beings, to think and understand that God thinks precious thoughts toward us, more than can be numbered, just amazes me.

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them they are more in number than the sand. Psalm 139:17-18

By this we can see that he wants so much more than to merely know us, He desires a relationship with us.

It was not just a good way to start the day and a great reminder me, I think that God also revealed a little bit more of his character to my children that morning.

To know Him is to love Him.... We love Him because He first loved us....... He
has taken such steps to show us His love.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Daily Surprises

Living in the woods, we spend a lot of time outside and the kids are always finding something interesting. There are new discoveries to find in nature almost daily.

               A week ago two birds were flying together, and flew into our big picture window. One was fine the other landed on the ground. I picked it up to make sure she didn't have any broken wings. She just seemed stunned. Praise held it for a while and just looked at it. It was a special little opportunity to see how delicately birds are made.

 Shortly after this picture she just flew away, and it was back to our school work for us. A nice little break.

Last August we found a very green, fat, caterpillar. He reminded us of that caterpillar on A Bugs Life. Holding him felt very strange because you didn't want to touch him too roughly for fear he might just pop.
We placed him in the biggest jar we could find. I was going to have a photo shoot with him the next day because he was so neat to look at. I was too late, within hours of catching him he formed into a pupa. 
We were excited because now there was the chance to watch him turn into whatever it was that he would turn into. After a good month and the weather turning quite cold, I was puzzled, even more puzzling was that when you moved the jar you could here the thing moving inside its cocoon. We did some research online and thought we had caught a luna moth caterpillar. The kids found out that they build they're cocoon on the grass usually under a leaf and winter over until its time to hatch out in the spring. 
This new information made this very exciting.
So we found Mister Caterpillar a place on top of the refrigerator for the winter.

It wasn't until a week ago in the middle of the night, I heard a strange scratching sound in the kitchen. After being a little freaked out by it, I discovered the noise came from the top of the fridge and... I remembered. It was actually the sound of flapping wings.
I placed the jar on the table to surprise the kids in the morning.They were surprised and to realize it was not a Luna Moth. So we had to do a little more research.
Gracey liked to pet it, and she said it didn't want to be pet.
 The kids discovered that Mister Pop Caterpillar was a not a he. She was a Female Polyphemus Moth, very much like the Luna, does not have any mouth parts. And live only about a week to mate.

Unfortunately due to the warmer temperature in the house it hatched out earlier than it would've in nature, and was probably in the jar several days before I found it, as you can see the wing damage.

                                                             Even Sean was so gentle.

Since the Polyphemus moth caterpillar eats the leaves from several trees found in our backyard we placed her on  a tree in hopes of her finding a mate even though I think she was about 4 weeks early.

Its nice to make these little discoveries from our own backyard. Also to find out what we could do differently in the future. If we find one this year we will most definitely store the container in a protected area outside so that it is on time with nature and has a better chance of  finding a mate when we set it free.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Great Chestnut Wars of Wibird St.

I wanted to share this story written by my husband on our blog.

My kids are always asking me to tell them a story, made up stories and real stories of me growing up. One of their favorite (and mine) is all about the huge chestnut tree that had grown out of the sidewalk and hovered tall and wide over our white picket fenced yard on 256 Wibird st. Portsmouth, where I grew up. I say 'our' yard but it was actually my grandmothers yard, its just that this little first grandchild also claimed part ownership of this property , yet without having any knowledge of what a mortgage was or having to fix all the stuff I broke..(that was for Papa). Along with her 9 children who I grew up along side, the youngest being only 1 year older than me whom I also claimed to be my older brother, being an only child. Yes my kids love hearing about this great  and mighty tree that we had many great times with. One being the time my older brother Uncle Tom  stuffed one of those pretty little clustered flowers that blossomed during Spring into my ear so far that I had to have it removed by my doctor. This was back in the olden days of the 70's when I didn’t have to wait a few weeks for an appointment with the "flower in your ear specialist'  to remove it, my doctor actually removed it himself, the same day my parents brought me in!( they used to do stuff like that back then ya know!!) But greatest of all memories of what our great tree produced was, in the fall, when the actual chestnuts arrived --Oh we had so much fun with those! We loved to collect chestnuts! we'd fill up bag after bag , those big brown paper bags  that Pic n Pay would stuff our groceries in…we collected so much; and absolutely wanted to save  forever! Even long after winter ended or even years later when we forgot about them ,stuffed way in the back of the coat closet, Nana would find those bags as she cleaned, open them up and say what are all these doing in here!?-- Im throwing them out!--And Oh--no, no! you cant-- they're ours!! how could you! would we beg fuss and have a major riot ,and demand she not throw any chestnuts away, not one! she would give in and the chestnuts were put back safely into the closet so we could forget about them again.  There was also  a large blue mail box beside the tree,  we didn’t mind sharing our chestnuts with the mail man, for when he came to empty the box, chestnuts always came pouring out for him with the mail. there was beyond abundance of chestnuts, yet no way were there enough  to allow any other kid on the outskirts of our neighborhood to share with, no way! If you weren't a Casa, Bernier, Buttery,  a Loch, or this Moore--you did not touch one chestnut of ours! every year some other kids would try coming around with their large brown paper bags to try and collect our  huge shiny brown horse chestnuts! Even though we always went to the other trees around and brazenly raided them! …we would chase anybody who came around ours, up and down the streets. Even many a time did things get so heated up during the chestnut wars of Wibird st that great  battles broke out, with the chestnuts themselves, of course, being the weapons! We would find the biggest heaviest ones and huck em as hard as we could at our enemies, cars, houses, innocent bystanders-- all were pelted during these long and great wars. It was the silent agreed rule that a chestnut that was thrown, in such battles ,would be peeled from its  sharp spiky shell first… But always always ALWAYS! we would start seeking out the biggest sharpest spikiest weapons, and ALWAYS did our invaders, after being hit a few times by these, run away home crying in disbelief , shock and pain, at such ruthlessness-- and Victory was won! Parents sometimes came back to scold us and tell us how cruel we were, but it wasnt that, we just really loved chestnuts! Yes indeed--These were the great days of the Chestnut Wars of Wibird St.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My Tweaked Out Shephards Pie

What I did:
oven 350

I bought a big package of stew beef (because I couldn't find beef tips nor, do I know the difference)
heated olive oil in cast iron skillet with 4 cloves of crushed garlic
browned the beef with a sprinkle of montreal steak seasoning
When all browned there was quite a bit of juice in the pan,
I then added 1 cup of cold water w/ about 1/3 c flour mixed in thoroughly and 2 beef bullions
added approx 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
cook on low just long enough for everything to mix together, beef probably got to med rare
then turn off heat, set aside

the taters-
probably about 7 med potatoes peeled, cut, boiled, and drained
I mixed in 3/4 package cream cheese
dash of milk
sprinkle of salt

I put a light layer of slightly steamed fresh green beans on the beef
topped with the potatoes
sprinkle of paprika
and a sprinkle of cheddar

put the whole skillet in the oven and cooked till bubbly prob 15-20 min

(below is the original recipe if you want to make it that way)


The recipe from the cook book:
2 (17oz) pkgs fully cooked beef tips w/ gravy
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen sweet peas

1 24 oz pkg refrigerated mashed potatoes
1/2 pkg cream cheese
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded cheddar

oven 350
follow package directions for beef
spoon into a a lightly greased baking dish
top with veggies and set aside
cook potatoes mix in all the other stuff and spread them over the beef
then sprinkle on the cheese

bake uncovered 15 mins till thoroughly heated

Snowy Day

We got well over a foot of snow yesterday (April 1st) just when we thought spring had arrived, April Fools :)

 We lost power last night So I woke up to Jamie cooking breakfast on our woodstove:

 This is the view from our porch. We got the power back around 11 am.  Hopefully the last day to relax and enjoy winter.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Notes from the Homeschool Conference

I had a great, refreshing weekend. It was similar to a retreat. I felt the Lord breathe new life into me and considering all the opposition that has occurred since I've been back, I thought it would be good to look back at my notes and get a reminder. These are just rough notes, thoughts, quotes, etc., things to meditate on and in my opinion, good for parenting in general.

 * Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

 *  Don't place responsibility over relationship.

 * God's compassion/mercy is new every morning we want to demonstrate that to our children.

* We also want to be quick to demonstrate brokenness and humility if we mess up.

* We want our children to know that they are fully loved and fully known (that they know, that we know, that they are full of it).

* Teach them at an early age to confess they're sins to God, so a relationship with the Holy Spirit will be established.

* Raise them up don't crush them down.

* Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalm 127:1

* We can't lead by pushing them forward-- Isaiah 40:11

* Children want to hear the beating of our heart not the beating of our voice.

* Our children need to see us serve them and be willing to get dirty for them, just as Jesus came not to be served but to serve.

* Malachi 4:6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. The Old Testament ends with a curse (self effort, the law). The New Test ends with Grace -- Revelation 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Grace is attractive, carrying the idea of outstretched arms, free to receive-costly to give.
When we live our lives according to self effort/law it never works. Let us live according to grace,  outstretched and vulnerable, death to self.

 * When anyone stays within the boundaries of which God has established, there is happiness and contentment.

* Train up a child in the way he should go... Train = to stimulate, cultivate a taste, develop an appetite.

* "Many wishing to be great have failed to be good". -CH Spurgeon

* Want to change a kid's values? Let them work hard at something.

* "The Love you liberate in your work, is the love you keep".

* Difficulty in our lives is to grow us up.

* Our passions must be guided by worth or what is worthy.

* And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8  --Notice the sequence: Faith 1st, Virtue or Character 2nd, Knowledge 3rd.
Virtue = maniless/womanliness, valor, excellence, reasoning, passion/motivation etc.

* "Let God bring to each man: a will to obey, a work to do, and a woman to love."

* Discipline without direction is drudgery.

* The Sermon we preach everyday (our lives) is what will impact our children the most.

* God's concept of family is like looking at a diamond.

* We the parents, are the first example of a Christian our children will ever see.

* We shouldn't be teaching something we ourselves are not practicing:
1Peter 5:3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

* Let his word have free course in our lives. Continue to grow and change right along with our children.

* Teach children to search the scripture, think independently, have convictions but let convictions bow to the Word of God.

* 1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear

* Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy child's eye. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy child's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy child, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Matthew 7:3-5 (Italicized words changed)  So we should examine ourselves before correcting our children.

* Jesus is the great Redeemer.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Wisdom of Solomon

Proverbs 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

After reading this, I asked my kids, "If you could have anything you ever wanted what would it be?" My oldest son said he'd like a thousand video games, My oldest daughter said, "a barn with chickens, ponies and horses", and My youngest daughter responded by saying she wanted 1000 flemish giant bunny rabbits.
I asked, "Those things would be nice... but, did you know that having wisdom is soooo much more important in our lives, ...more important than anything we could ever want?"

I was reminded of the man that once had the opportunity to have anything he could ever want, in fact God himself asked this man what he wanted, anything and he would give it to him. So we went to the account in 1 Kings 3:5-15:
In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee. 
 And Solomon said, Thou hast shewed unto thy servant David my father great mercy, according as he walked before thee in truth, and in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart with thee; and thou hast kept for him this great kindness, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.
And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.
Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
 And the speech pleased the Lord, that Solomon had asked this thing.
 And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life; neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies; but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment;
 Behold, I have done according to thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart; so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.
 And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches, and honour: so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days.
 And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.
 And Solomon awoke; and, behold, it was a dream. And he came to Jerusalem, and stood before the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and offered up burnt offerings, and offered peace offerings, and made a feast to all his servants.
1 Kings 3:5-15

The thing that stood out to me most in this story is Solomon's humility. When he says 'I am but a little child' he was under qualified and he knew it. As I feel most days with this responsibility of being this mom committed to raising these kids and teaching them. 

Even though he may have been lacking wisdom, he was very wise in acknowledge his inability before the Lord. In fact, it was the most wise thing he could have done.
So out of all the possible things he could have asked, He asked for an understanding heart. Israel would have a whole different history had Solomon asked for power, riches, etc. etc.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16time
of need.
 And is it any different with God today? When we just get real and acknowledge our need before him, will he not give us exactly what we need. Whether it be needing help to understand your math lesson a little better,... or you don't understand why your parents make the decisions they do, ...if you need wisdom for raising 4 completely different people,.... anything. The Lord Jesus is faithful to do abundantly above what we could ever ask or think. 
The blessing from God that followed Solomon's request is wonderful but what hit me most in reading this passage to the kids was, where he was before receiving this blessing, a place of humility with a need.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask from God,
who gives to all freely and with no reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Verses to live by for the Homeschool Mom (aka Me)

Yes, these verses are actually for me, but maybe just maybe in sharing them they will benefit someone else too.

I can do all things though Christ which strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

When the Lord leads I can do all things, even raise and educate 4 children while trying to keep a house in order. Because I'm not alone, there's a never ending supply of strength to draw from, I just need to go there. I am always praying that I would remember the Lord's capabilities.

Behold the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule with him: behold, his reward is with Him, and his work before him. Isaiah 40:10

He shall feed the flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

I love the contrast of these two verses. The first says the Lord is coming with strength, his reward is with him and he has work too. The second assures us of his gentleness and patience, his ability to provide (feed his flock). When looking at his nurturing side to gently lead me with all these young, to feed us, to gather us. I don't have to doubt of his direction for us or in his ability because we know of his strength.
Lord Jesus, You have a direction and a work for this family, lead us with your strong arm, but gently, we are weak and sometimes need to be carried. 

Let Your work appear to your servants, and your glory to their children. And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:16-17

Ah, I love this verse, I have made it our prayer many times. That God would show us the work he has for us, and that His glory would be on our children. The beauty of the Lord Jesus, would be upon this whole family, asking him to establish everything we do, being established in Him. That we would hear and apply these things in our hearts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mastering the Crust

 It only took me 11 years of marriage to find the crust recipe I will use for the rest of my life.

I have a problem with shortening and I refuse to use it. I think, its not only gross but very unhealthy. So I have been on a long journey to find an alternative. Trying everything from olive oil to butter, rice crusts, pat in the pan crusts (because I could never even roll them out). I gave up for a while and resorted to premade which is even more unhealthy.  But alas, I have found it, the perfect crust; soft, rich, flavorful, a delicate flake, made without shortening. It may be fattening but aren't they all? At least its made with real ingredients. Oh, and did I mention its easy to roll out?

here it is:

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons flour (I like King Arthur best)
1 Tablespoon sugar (omit if making it for chicken pot pie)
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tablespoons cold butter
3 ounces cold cream cheese (a little less than 1/2 a pkg)

blend all together with pastry blender or I like to use my hands, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

then add:
2-3 Tablespoons cold milk or cream

mix it up until it gathers into moist clumps and forms your dough,
you can wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for later or roll it out on a floured surface. You need a generous amount of flour handy.

The recipe says its only good for 1 pie crust but I always end up with more, you'll typically get 1 1/2 pie crusts, when I doubled the recipe I got 3 pie crusts out of it, when I tripled it for the chicken pot pie, I was able to make 3 covered pies. So make a bunch and freeze it or save it for later in the week and make another pie. Keep in mind I tend to roll them out quite thin (because I can with this recipe).

This recipe came from Joy of Cooking.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Keep your Heart

 At the start of the year I wanted my oldest son to read Proverbs, it didn't take too long to notice he may have been reading but his understanding was limited. I thought about how deep and full of wisdom just one verse can be. I decided it would be beneficial for all of us to go through Proverbs very slowly for our daily Bible study. We started about a month ago and just finished chapter 4 today.

Keep your heart with all dilligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. 4:23

This was the first verse we read today, I asked the kids if they could guess what it meant. I got some shrugging shoulders and not much more. So I broke up the verse even more, Keep your heart, how can we keep our hearts? by protecting them? I talked a little and for some reason the little kid song, Be careful,(that I dont think I've ever sang to them) came to mind.

Be careful little eyes what you see,....
be careful little mouth waht you say,....
be careful little feet where you go,....
be careful little hands what you do,
for the father up above is looking down in love,
so be careful little eyes, hands, feet.... ect.ect. 

So we broke out in song, which they all liked and I asked again I could see the light going on, and my oldest explained back to me her understanding.
The most exiting part came next.

We went to the next verse:

Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you.
(Be careful little mouth what you say.)

the next:
Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.
(Be careful little eyes what you see.)

vs 26:
Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
(Be careful little feet where you go.)

and the last verse of chapter 4:
Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.
(Be careful litte hands what you do.)

I was just blown away at the coolness of our God to give me the exact words I needed to explain this to them today. The kids were pretty amazed too.

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