Monday, September 19, 2011

One Million Tears

I feel like that is exactly how many tears I have shed in the last 13 years. Today, I will shed a few more. Thankful today that God has kept a record of my sorrow. "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." (Psalm 56:8) Thankful that He doesn't leave us in our sorrow. He picks us up and carries us through it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

49 Years and counting

Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mission Organization in Review

Day 8 and this was probably the biggest day in this project. We have a front room that could be used as an office but we set it up as our school room this past year. It didn't take us long to figure out that this wasn't a great idea for us. I don't like being in the room tucked away and the boys don't want to work in there if I am not in there. They spent a lot of time doing school on the floor in whatever room I was working in. Usually we ended up in Tim's office. That was not a good solution since there are times when we all need a little space. I ended up moving my chair into the living room and setting up a corner area of our living for us to do school. This will allow the boys to have plenty of room to stretch out and I can be in a more central location.

We decided that the school room would make a good room for the boys computer and also a TV with the Wii. At first I thought I would move some of their desks out to the garage and store them. When I actually got in the room and begin arranging things I realized that I could put all the desks on one wall. We were then able to put their computer, one laptop, the TV, and the printer on the desks. By moving all the desks to the same wall it opens up the room and really makes it seem larger. I moved three smaller bookcases along the opposite wall and those will hold our books and the boys bins they use for their daily school work.
In the closet I moved in a cube unit and it holds all our misc homeschool items, magnetic letters, HWT wooden pieces, word cubes, MUS blocks, musical instruments, art supplies, math manipulative's, and all our extra science stuff. I put some things on the top shelf in the closet and these are things that I don't generally want down and accessible to the younger ones with out supervision. This shelf holds our rocket set, snap circuits, Physic Quest materials and also a microscope. The boxes on the top shelf hold the boys school work from the previous year.
I am keeping some supplies we use regularly on top of the bookcases. I found these picnic bins at Target. Last year I got the red one which is a little larger and is divided into 6 compartments. This year I got the blue and white ones. They are divided in half and one half has three sections. I like that they are easy for us to transport to a different area if we need too.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mission Organization in Review

Day 7 was spent running around in 100+ degree heat! I dropped off the items I had purged for friends who were having a yard sale. I also took Eli to pick up his new guitar. He has wanted to take lessons and we have someone in our church that is going to teach him. I asked on our homeschool group if anyone had an inexpensive guitar to sale. One mom told me her teen son had one and she would find out how much he wanted for it. The young man told me that he would like to give it to Eli! I am amazed at how God blesses us. We went today and picked it up and Eli is so excited to start lessons! AFter that we came home and I managed to clean out our freezer (which was appropriate) and I put off the school room for one more day!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Mission Organization in Review

Day 6 I did some odd areas today. I cleaned the boys room and their boxes under their beds. These boxes are where they keep any special things they collect. I also straightened and organized their bookshelf. I also cleaned out our linens. I have a couple of sets for full size beds and we don't own a full size bed so those are going to a new home.

I rearranged the coat closet. I took all our suitcases and stored them in the largest one. The closet we use for coats is just outside the master bedroom and it is very roomy. I also put a laundry basket in there that holds gloves, hats, and scarfs. In the top of the closet is a basket which holds the boys backpacks. I really wish I understood how a homeschool family ends up with over 12 backpacks for 4 boys. The boys picked the ones they wanted to keep and I kept a couple of extra for backups. The rest are going somewhere else.

I only had a couple of areas in the kitchen that needed work so I tackled those today. I moved some things off the top of the fridge because it really isn't a storage area! I put my supplies for cook outs together with tablecloths that I only use when we have guests over.

I thought I was finished for the day but after dinner I cleaned out my bathroom. I went through all the medicine and vitamins and tossed everything that was expired. Please tell me that I am not the only one with old stuff in my cabinet. I also cleaned out my makeup and lotions. I had a couple of products that didn't work for me and I finally (after a year) decided that I could get rid of them. I rearranged the drawers and cabinet so that things were in a better location. I also cleaned out my jewelry box of items that I don't wear.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mission Organization in Review

Day 5 was quick work putting our files in binders. I finished our personal files and still have to work on Tim's professional files. Quick day because we invited several friends over to spend the day playing.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mission Organization in Review

Combining Day 3 and 4

On Day 3 I cleaned up the mess I made from day one and two. Listed the clothes to find a new home and made list of storage containers that we could use.

Day 4 I started in Tim's office. I moved a bookcase in from the school room. This really helped give me more storage space. Also it allowed me to have a place to use this Binder Filing System. I love having our files at my fingertips. I also love being able to get rid of our file cabinet.

In the process of day 4 I finished up Tim's closet. Moved a shelf in their for his shoe storage. I refolded the sheets and blankets so that they sit neatly on the shelf and picked out a few things of his that we can donate.

I also used this time to add some more books to Library Thing.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Interrupting my Mission Organization posts to say...

Happy Anniversary!

Twenty one years ago I had no idea how much I would grow to love you. I had no idea what being a partner in marriage would mean. I had no idea that you would become more than my husband that you would become my best friend. I had no idea that we would dream big dreams and then learn to watch as God moved in ways that were even bigger than our dreams.

Twenty one years ago I had no idea that my heart would still flutter when you called me Beautiful. I love you and am looking forward to the next 21 years.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mission Organization in Review

Day 2 in this challenge began in the boys closet. First, I went through their clothes and really thinned them out. They had way too many things and since they only wear some of them I pulled out the extras. I kept probably about 10 outfits per child (give or take). I pulled their storage bins out from the garage and also sorted through those. I ended up with 2 laundry baskets full of clothes to give away.

I am listing some on Thred Up and the rest are going to a friend whose daughters are having a garage sale.

I also moved extra blankets out of this closet into the top of Tim's closet. I already had our sheets stored there so this made more sense. I put their bins of next season clothes in the closet. I also used the freed up space to store sports equipment like cleats, soccer shorts, baseball pants, socks and shin guards. At the end of summer I will get one more bin to store swimming gear.

On the side I hung a coat rack we had and bought new laundry bags for each boy. My goal this fall is to teach the oldest two to do their own laundry.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mission Organization in Review

I used the month of July to organize and clean our house. We are on summer break from school and I wanted to use the time to reorganize things so that we would be set to start back in the fall.

Day one - my closet

I went through my closet and using ideas on my Pinterest style board I begin to clean things out. I only kept things that I loved and that fit. I ended up with an overflowing laundry basket of clothes. I also cleaned out my shoes and purses bags.

I rearranged my shoes and added my smaller purses and wallets into my shoe storage system. A friend gave me these nifty shoe boxes that come in two sizes and fit together in a honeycomb pattern. When you pull out one box the others stay in place. Handy Dandy Shoe Storage. I love these.

I still need to find a storage solution for my larger purses and bags. That is the last thing I need to finish up my closet.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:7

Holy, an adjective, meaning consecrated; dedicated or devoted to the service of GOD.

For the longest time in my life I never really thought out holiness and how it affected my life.  The only time I thought about holiness was in relation to God.  I totally understood the concept that God is holy; therefore, He is "set apart" from us.

A few years ago a good friend spoke at our church and he used this scripture as his reference.  He spoke about how God has called us to live holy lives.  This was something that I had never considered before.  I had bought into the bumper sticker theology that said "I'm not perfect, I'm forgiven."  While this is true, it isn't the whole truth.  I am more than "just" forgiven.  My forgiveness cost Jesus EVERYTHING.  

The idea that well we all mess up and then God dishes out forgiveness from His big bag of goodies leaves a huge question unanswered.  What about personal holiness?  What is my personal response to God's forgiveness?  

For many years I lived a life that bought into this theology.  I would go along and be "OK" for a while and then sin would creep into my life.  Oh and sometimes it didn't creep, I ran out the door down the side walk looking for it and inviting it in.  After that I would feel guilt and shame.  Guilt is a healthy response to sin.  It is what drives us to make things right with God and with others.  Shame on the other hand is what drives us to bury our sin and hide from others.  Guilt calls us to make restitution and to repent.  Shame drives us to shove everything in a closet and lock the door.  As Beth Moore says "Shame is the Devil's calling card."  I would then spend time praying and begging God to forgive me.  Missing an important element...He already has.  Christ's death on the cross covered all my sins.  Forgiveness was readily available, I needed to accept it.  The problem with systematic sin is that forgiveness doesn't seem to stretch to cover it because we haven't really turned away from it.  

It is really hard to pray "Oh God, forgive my sin of gluttony." while rummaging through the cabinets in search of more food.  It is hard to pray "Oh God, forgive my unfaithfulness."  while chatting with someone on the Internet.  It is hard to pray "Oh God, forgive my lying."  while...well I think you get the idea.  Even when we try to live a "double" life our heart will find us out.  It will whisper to us that it isn't true.  

The good news of this story is this that when we truly repent; when we turn our face, heart, mind and body away from that sin...forgiveness washes over our soul.  Personal holiness is possible.  It isn't easy.  Daily it is a struggle to lay down my life.  Daily it is a struggle to fight the temptation to believe the lies Satan whispers.  Daily it is making the choice to turn away from any thing that draws me away from God.  Daily it is making the CHOICE to live a holy life.  

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Strawberry Birthday Cake

For most of the birthdays in Tim's family they all get a Banana Cake. The Banana Cake is not what most people expect. The Fowler family recipe is actually a yellow layer cake. In between the layers are butter cream and bananas and the entire cake is covered with cool whip. It is very yummy.

For my birthday it has become a tradition that I have a strawberry birthday cake. I think it started the year we got married and has pretty much happened every year since then. I love strawberry cake. I had a strawberry wedding cake in the days before flavored wedding cakes were in vogue. Back in the day, you had a choice of a white wedding cake and the groom (who made this rule?) had a chocolate grooms cake. Well one thing I didn't want was a white wedding cake. I don't like white cake and since Tim got the chocolate I went with my next favorite strawberry. It was yummy and beautiful.

Back to the birthday cake, this year I had the brilliant idea of taking our Banana Cake recipe and substituting it with strawberries. It turned out very delicious. Here is my recipe.

One strawberry cake mix plus eggs, oil and water
One tub of Brummel & Brown Strawberry Creamy Fruit Spread
One cup of powdered sugar
pint of strawberries
large container of cool whip topping.

Follow the directions to make the cake and bake it in three round layers. While the cake is baking mix the fruit spread (or butter if you want the original) and powdered sugar. Use the milk to get this to a consistency that you can spread between the layers. Slice the strawberries. When the cake is finished let it cool completely. After it has cooled place it one your cake pan or dish you will serve it on. Put a layer of cake and top with 1/3 of the fruit spread/sugar mixture and then add strawberries. Do this will all three layers. Then cover the entire cake with cool whip.

YUMMY goodness. This cake needs to be refrigerated if you aren't going to eat it right away.  I will post the original banana cake recipe when Tim's birthday rolls around and maybe with his I can get a picture of the cake when it is cut and you can see the layers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Our Calendar Noteook

This past year, I decided to try a new method for teaching calendar ideas. I saw this Calendar Notebook and really liked the way it looked. I also liked that it wouldn't take up space on the wall like many calendar centers do.

I looked around and decided that I would use the following inserts for our notebooks. I used the blank calendars, blank 100 grids and Tally marks chart from Mrs. Meacham. I downloaded Written Date Page, Make the Date with Money, Hundred, Tens and Ones, and Weather Graphs from Mama Jenn.

Carissa and Jolanthe both have great print outs and links for calendar boards supplies and ideas. Carissa has some downloads to do color of the week, thermostat temperature tracker, what day is it? Lots of really good ideas.  I like the idea on Carissa's site of using real coins in the make the date and I plan to incorporate that into our notebooks this year as well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent

I posted on facebook that I was trying a recipe for homemade dish washing detergent. I had a few people say they would be interested to know if it worked.

I used this recipe. I actually had pretty high hopes. Ultimately, it was a huge failure. I even clicked around to some different tips and tried changing out the lemonade mix for lemon shine. Neither recipe worked well. We create a lot of dishes around here. So I want my dishwasher to work well. I don't want to have to pre wash my dishes before I put them in the dishwasher. A little rinsing is fine but anything more than that is a waste since I could just wash them by hand and be finished.

When I used this I had a few problems. The biggest was it didn't get things clean. Since I usually only lightly rinse my dishes I did the same thing with detergent. If there was any food on the dishes it did  not  come clean. The second issue was it left a white residue on everything. I tried adjusting the amount I used both more and less and still had the white film. I even tried doing an extra rinse cycle which helped somewhat but felt wasteful. The third issue is that the washing soda has a fairly strong soapy scent. The vinegar rinse helped with this but I just didn't like using that on my dishes.

Overall this experiment gets a big thumbs down. I only made a small batch of this but I am not sure what I will do with what is left. If you have any ideas please share.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

We had a few meals "left over" from last week.




hot dogs
chicken nuggets
potato bar



I am also planning on restocking my pantry with a few easy meals with week.

Pantry meals

mac n cheese
chicken noodle soup

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Meal Plan in Review

I thought I would post how our meals actually turned out.


Chick fil a



We had friends over and so lunch was a spread and some of this was snacks also.

pbj sandwiches, pb crackers, carrots, broccoli, apples, cuties, cheese sticks, chex mix, last of the chips, pretzels and choclate cupcakes

Moms had Cuban Chicken Salad.

Leftover pizza for dinner



Lunch was snack food for the boys, yogurt, popcorn, tortilla chips, cheese sticks, granola bars and pb crackers. I had leftover Cuban Chicken Salad.

Dinner burgers, rotel dip and tortilla chips. Dessert was ice cream with carmel sauce.



sloppy joes

chicken noodle soup and french bread





leftover pizza and McDonalds

chicken, broccoli and rice


granola bars

chili dogs


We did pretty well the first part of the week.  Friday and Saturday we had some things come up that meant we ate out of the house more than I wanted to.  I plan to make sure that next week we have more sandwich options on hand.

Friday, July 15, 2011

3 John 4

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

On the morning of July 6th, I decided to take the boys to a summer movie. J didn't want to go and as I look back on that I am thankful that this time I didn't push the issue. He decided to stay home with Tim. They watched a video and talked about baptism and Jesus. He has been asking questions recently and we have been praying that God would continue to draw his heart. I walked in from the movie and say Tim and Josh sitting on the couch reading and praying. Amazing to see my husband lead his child in a prayer of faith. I went to our bedroom and cried.

As a parent there is nothing that I want more than to see my children follow Jesus. I know that they will still have trouble and trials. I know that life will not always be easy. I know they will face heart break and disappointment. I also know that all of those things are bearable when you walk in faith. I can't explain it but I know what "peace that passes all understanding" feels like. I want that for my children. I want to know that in the tough times and the times in which there doesn't seem to be a way out, that they will know that there is One who will see them through that day.

On Sunday we baptized this child "Church Plant in Texas" style, in a horse trough in a movie theater lobby.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Breakfast ~ cereal with soy milk
pancakes with syrup

Lunch ~ Cuban chicken salad
sloppy joes
chili dogs

Dinner ~ pizza
baked ziti
grilled chicken

I will link to recipes later. I have found several recipes via Pinterest that I have on my too try list.

BTW this is my first post using my iPad and new bluetooth excuse any errors and blames them on the auto correct this time. :-)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Two new favorite websites.

I have two new sites that I LOVE.

The first is Pinterest. I love it. I now have a virtual bulletin board of things that I like, recipes, crafts to try, homeschool ideas, just about anything I find on the web that I want to remember. You "pin" a photo from the website and you have a board of all your ideas.

The second is Library Thing.  A few weeks ago I ordered some books from Amazon.  When they arrived I realized that one of them was a free book that I already had on my iPad.  I hate having to return things!  With Library Thing I can catalog all our books.  Plus, there is a category for books read but not owned!  I signed up for the lifetime membership which costs $25 but you can try it out for free and list up to 200 books.  I also bought the CueCat when I signed up.  This little magic machine is great.

You simply swipe the "cat" across the bar code and your book is entered into your Library Thing library.

Do you have any can't live without organizational websites?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Resources for Year 1 Classical Education

My goal has always been to follow a Clasical Model of education. During the past six years of homeschooling I have gotten off the path but this year decided it was time to go back to the basics and how I believe I should school my children.

In classical education you study using a chronological view of history so year one is the time period from Creation to A.D. 400 or the time period of the Ancients.

In putting together resources to use this year I stumbled across this site with a wonderful list of resources (some free). Ancient History Lessons. She even has a few free ebooks that aren't already in my library!

Be sure and check out the link for "Historical Hats and Headgear" What child (boys especially) wouldn't like to make a Roman Praetorian Guard hat?

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I know that there are horror stories out there about growing up in a pastor's home. This week I was reminded of one of the best parts of growing up "in the ministry". I have a childhood friend who was also the maid of honor in my wedding. In the last 10 years we lost contact. It would hit me from time to time how much I missed her and I would talk to her sister on fb but didn't reconnect. Then she signed up for facebook...which I love btw! We reconnected and she said she had a photo to send me.

I opened my email to find this.

This is her dad and I. We think it was taken the summer before my senior year in high school. This would be the summer that we moved from my "hometown". That would be the "hometown" that my dad had pastored in for 14 years. The same "hometown" that I had gone to school since kindy.

That summer we went to youth camp with our our previous church. I got to spend some quality time with lifelong friends.

This picture reminds me of the best part of being in ministry...the people. They are the family you create when you don't live next door to your family. Pops (as all his girls called him) was a second father to me for years. He probably thought I lived with him when I was in high school. When I went to college I was actually closer to Pops and Mom Marilyn's house than my own parents. Mom Marilyn did more of my laundry in college than my mom did and they always had an open door for me (and usually gas money).

This picture is bittersweet. Pops passed away in 1998 just a couple of months after we lost Josiah. I left my childhood home from his funeral to bury my first son's ashes. The comfort came in knowing that because of his faith my son and Pops were together. Eternity will be so sweet.

So while ministry is hard...I so want that for my children. I want them to share the joys of creating a church community family that will carry them through the darkest times in their lives.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I am ashamed.

I love my kids. I seem to talk about them on here a lot but since it is my blog I guess that is ok. I have to tell you that something has happened in the past few months that has made me ashamed.

In the spring two of the boys wanted to play soccer and so we signed them up. I have a love/hate relationship with our local parks and rec program so we did this with mixed feelings. We requested a certain coach and we didn't end up on his team. I wasn't thrilled with the situation. We liked our new coach but we *I* was tired of having a new coach and new team every single season. So we played the season we some mixed emotions and the one great thing about it was we met some new people and the kids made some great friends.

In particular there was one little girl on the team that one of our boys liked. He is a pretty outgoing kid so this doesn't really surprise me. But I am still a mom and he is still my baby and well he isn't really old enough to like,like a girl...I am told that denial is a great place to live.

So this sweet girl and my not so little boy would talk. Being our child I guess it should not surprise me that one of the things he would talk about was our church. Remember the invite card post? At the end of the season we moms were talking and she said "We are coming to your church tomorrow. Girly wants to see what it is like to go to church in a movie theater. G says it is neat."

This sweet family starts coming to church and one Sunday Tim talked about salvation and baptism. Mom talks to Tim and shares that little girl is ready to be baptized. Today we "borrowed" a pool and stood around with family and friends and watched as this sweet child demonstrated her love of Jesus.

Once again I cried. I have cried at my two oldest boy's baptism. I have cried at every child's baptism since we started this church. I don't know if I am getting older and more emotional. I don't know if I am finally realizing what a sweet aroma this step is to our Lord. I do know that today as the tears came they weren't simply tears of joy. The tears today were an offering to Jesus. They came because I was ashamed that my child did something that I didn't do myself. They invited this family to church and encouraged them to come.

You see the boys didn't just mention church one time. The mentioned it weekly. I will talk to people about church but if they don't show an interest, I move on to more comfortable topics. I will invite strangers to church but those acquaintances not so much. What if they don't like it? What if they don't like me? What if? I realized today that Satan had been using my pride to keep me from doing what I should be doing.

A while back I was chatting with CPQ and she said "I, too, am truly convinced that God gives you what you need in your kids to show you what you are truly made of..." I am finding this to be so true. Jesus is using my boys to show me that when we truly love Him we can't stop sharing about him. It just overflows out of our lives.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Free Books part 2

This is the first year we have ereaders in the house. As I was searching for books for Kindle, I began to find some of the books we wanted to use with our curriculum for free. It actually felt kind of random until I started doing some more searching and realized that there is a way to increase the likelihood of finding free books.

The best known site for free public domain children's books is The Baldwin Project. You can use this site to read the books on your computer or print them out. You can search by title, author, or genre.

The other two sites I use for free books is Google books and Amazon Kindle. I have both of these apps loaded on my iPad. You can download their apps for different devices (android, iPod, iPad, and computer). For both of these sites it is pretty important that you use a generic search. Also just because a book isn't available on one site doesn't mean it won't be available on the other.

If you search for Famous Men of the Middle Ages you will find it on Kindle for either $2.99 or $.99 but if you search on Google books it is available for free.

On Amazon Kindle I have had the most luck not putting the word "free" in my search. In google it doesn't seem to affect your search and usually if you use the word free at the end of the keyword search (Famous Men of the Middle Ages free) the first book that comes up (if it is available) will be the free version. So when you use Kindle don't use free, but use free when you search on Google books.

Here is a link to Amazon's Free eBook List.

I have not searched for books for the Nook but one tip I read said to type in the subject you are searching for plus 0.00...i.e. King Arthur 0.00.

Here is one last link for free ebooks Happy Hearts Homeschooling Library. This is a new blog that I found from a link on WTM. So far I love what I am finding. She has a diverse list of books and has a great category system linked. On her side bar she has a list of places you can find free ebooks and also tips for printing and searching her site.

One thing to remember is that many of these books are not revised editions. Some of the things in them will not be politically correct and will reflect the cultures and mores from the time they were written. So be aware of this and be prepared to address any of these issues that arise from the reading.

Most of the classics will be available in some form for free (Charlotte Bronte, Stevenson, Dickens, etc). Also some "classic" textbooks will be available. I have a long list of language arts curriculum available on Google books.

The authors John Henry Haaran, G.A Henty, Samual B. Harding, and H.E. Guerber (all historians) have numerous books available and I feel like you could create a solid base for your historical studies using these authors. I don't believe that you could use these books alone. You need some more modern works.  These books are not full of color photographs so they may not be as "entertaining". My plan is to use these along side other more current works so that the program is more well rounded. I love the Usborne books for their photos and the way they bring history to life. I also love the narratives in Story of the World for younger children. I believe that adding these books in gives you a depth that isn't found in current spine/core/textbooks.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Free books

I am going to write a couple of posts on free books. This time of year there are lots of homeschooling moms looking for curriculum and books for the next year. If you are like us and a house of big readers saving money on books is a very good thing.

One of my favorite ways to get free books is to use Paperbackswap.

I have been a member there since 2007. In that time I have received 102 books. If I average the cost of those books to about $5 each, then I have saved over $510 using PBS. The reality is probably more than that since many of the books I have received sell for more than $5 each. Out of the last five books that we have received, one of them is out of print, one is a field guide that sales for over $13 on Amazon and the other three both cost over $8 each.

That is my long way of saying PBS is worth using. So if you don't have an account, go sign up for one now. When you sign up for an account you have a couple of different ways you can earn credits. You can list books to swap (easiest way) and you earn credits for each book that you send out. You can go to their forums and there will be people willing to sell credits for $2.50-$3.00 each. Or you can buy credits directly from PBS for $3.85. I usually try to send out books so that I always have a few credits in my account. There have been a few times that I have bought credits from both other users and PBS directly.

When you send out a book you do have to pay the postage on the book. When you request a book you do not have to pay postage and instead trade in a credit for each book.

Once you sign up for an account and you have listed books. The next step is to set up a wishlist of books that you are interested in. Currently I have 174 books on my list since  I am collecting books for next year. You can have as many books on your list as you choose. When you start searching for books there are some tips that will help you find as many books as possible.

The first thing I do is use the keyword search for the specific title and see if the book is available. If it is available I will click on the title and add it to my wishlist. On your wishlist, if the book is available in more than one version, then you can click on the link (expand wishlist) and it will add other copies to your wishlist. This helps if someone lists the same book in a different version (hardback vs paperback).

If you type in a book and click on the link you can see some helpful information about the book. You can see if they have any other versions available. You can also see how many members are waiting on the book. If you are waiting on a book that has a long waitlist (one of mine I am 347 in line for) then you can also refine the way you search for a book and you might find a different version available.

This information comes for Cindy on TOG year 2 yahoo group. When you are searching be sure and search for generic information in the keyword search box. I was looking for the Usborne Internet Link of the Medieval World by Jane Bingham. When I searched for Medieval World in the keyword search it brought up a version of the book I was looking for with a different ISBN but the same author. I am fairly certain this is the book I want so I ordered it. Also be aware that sometimes when inputting a book there may be misspellings in the name so a generic keyword search may bring up the book that you are looking for.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Invite Cards

We have these little invite cards at our church. We provide them for people to share with their neighbors or to leave in restaurants with a tip. They are business card size and have our church info on them. I always try to have a few in my purse and we leave them any time we eat out of if we are chatting with someone and they ask about the church. They are very handy (pun intended) to have.

The problem is that I keep running out of them. I will go to leave a tip and find that I am out.  Tim will ask for one and I don't have any more. The main issue is that I am not the one that is handing them out. Nope, not me. Actually, it isn't Tim either. Don't get me wrong, we do use them.  Embarrassingly enough the reason I can't keep them in my purse is because our not quite 12 year old son is always saying, "Mom, there is a someone  that is looking for a church and I told them about ours. Do you have a card?"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why do we do this?

I wrote this back in February and never posted...

I don't know the number of times we have been asked why we plant churches. There are a number of pat answers that I have given over time. This past week it was brought home to me why we are drawn to this adventure.

A friend of mine who I have never met in real life, lost her daughter this week in a tragic car accident. This friend is suffering. This friend is also a believer. She is a mom that I connected with on the internet on a message board. Over six years ago we started a discussion about who Jesus is. We begin an email discussion of who God is and how does the role of religion play into our relationship with Jesus. At the time she had been on a varied role with many religions and hadn't found the answer. At the time I was a little short on "defending" my faith. In particular I was "over it". I actually stated that I was "done arguing with people (unbelievers) about whether Jesus was who he said he was". I figured that all the arguing did was frustrate me and not draw anyone closer to a belief in Christ. This sweet mom asked if she could email me some questions. I said of course but really wondered how I would have any answers for her. You see I had come to a place in my life were I couldn't explain my faith, but I knew that Jesus was who he said he was because of my experience in my life.

Through a series of email conversations and through her seeking,  this mom developed a relationship with the man Jesus. As she developed her relationship, her family saw a difference and they also developed a relationship with Jesus. This week her daughter died and through tears of mourning this mom emailed Tim and shared her thanks for our prayers and for pointing her to Christ because she knows her daughter had a relationship with Jesus.

This morning my devotional was on the demon possessed man. In Luke 8:39 Jesus tell the man to go back to his family and tell them what God had done for him. So the long answer of why we plant churches because God has done something in our life and we have to share it. People who are scared and scarred by religion still need to know Jesus. Maybe they are the ones desperate to know him.

So today I am reminded why we do this, Jesus has made me a better wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend. How could I not share that with someone?

Monday, June 6, 2011

K 4 plans

We have a little guy that wants to "do" school so bad that I am planning a K4 year for him this year.

I have found some amazing resources for this age group and even a little older.

For Bible I think we are going to do this study as a family...Young Peacemakers. We will also be reviewing our lessons from Little Contenders of the Faith. Both J and W participated this past year and they memorized Ephesians 6:10-18. We will review that and use these printables for practice and review. Armor of God

For math we will use Math U See Primer.

I will also use some of the worksheets from Confessions of Homeschooler and especially the You Can Read program from Carissa's blog. If you are interested in this she is offering an ad free zone for $5 until she completes the program and has all the printable loaded on her blog. This is a great deal! You can download the printables for free but it is worth it to have the ad free zone. Let's be honest don't most of us spend more than $5 a week on soft drinks and coffee?! Carissa uses her blog to sport their mission work so this goes to a great cause.

There are tons of Alphabet resources here and I know we are going to use the playdough mats along with the do a dot/magnet pages.

Because the older boys are studying astronomy I printed out Astronaut Pack and also Solar System Pack to use with Will. All of the boys have enjoyed the printables and games from these sites so I know they will love these also.

The boys will be studying Medieval history this year so I am adding this Knight pack.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Plans for next school year

I am trying to make plans for next school year. For the older boys I am pretty set on what we are going to be using.

TOG is our main source for history, geography, timeline work, literature, worldview, arts and activities. This is our second year using TOG and while there are some challenges overall we enjoy this program. This year we will doing year 2 and studying the middle ages. I have been choosing our books and collecting them from various resources like PBS, google books (love free ebooks) and then buying some from Rainbow Resource and Amazon.

I am editing this because we will not be using TOG this year. History is going to be an eceletic mix of things with Story of the World as our spine. I am planning to use the map work and cool histories from Biblioplan to go along with SOTW.

This year we are going to be studying Astronomy with Exploring Creation with Astronomy. We are going to use their notebooking products. I am going to supplement G's work by using Paige's books from Great Scientist

For math we are still using Math U See. I am thinking about adding in Life of Fred for Graham and Sir Cumference for E and J.

Peace Hill Press is still one of my favorite resources for language arts. Both E and J will continue with First Language Lessons. All three older boys will be using Writing with Ease. In the fall we are expecting the release of their middle school materials and I want to use Advanced Language Lessons and Writing with Skill with Graham once they are released. We are also using Phonetic Zoo for the first time this year.

In addition to all of this the boys would like to play soccer again and we will do that depending on when the season starts. I also am looking at starting G and E in guitar lessons. We have some amazing musicians in our church and one of them has taught lesson in the past.

Friday, June 3, 2011


I have been absent for a while and am still debating keeping up with my blog. I love some parts of it but am not sure that I am a "blogger". I have been working on school plans for next year and will probably post them on here later this week. Just not sure where I want to go from here.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thoughts on Suffering

I don't claim to be an expert on suffering. As a matter of fact when I look at my life I feel extremely blessed by God. I don't really know why He has given me so much but I do know that it is difficult for me to look at very many instances in my life as true suffering.

If you have read my blog then you know it really started as a place for me to process my thoughts on miscarriage and grief and all that entails and that has been my primary experience with suffering. There have been other trials or difficulties but nothing that I would put in the same class as what many people have to face. So over all I feel blessed.

The only problem is that if you are in ministry long enough (and I do think that I qualify for that now) that you will watch and struggle with people who are truly facing things that make them suffer. So even though I don't feel like I have directly faced suffering, I do believe that I have seen it occur and walked with others through it often enough (can you even really qualify that?) to make some observations.

As we have watched people around us deal with difficult issues I have asked "Why?". Not that I always expected God to give me an answer but you know it never hurts to ask. Sometimes suffering is obviously a result of poor choices, but some times it seems to be just because. The reasoning can be explained because we live in a fallen world that is decaying around us. While that is true and I don't place all suffering in the category of spiritual I find that the entire thought that the reason we suffer is "just 'cuz" falls a little flat. I guess I have a hard time reconciling a loving, good, gracious, merciful Father saying "just 'cuz". I believe the reality is that our God doesn't do that. We won't always have answers but I think God is much more involved in our suffering that than. I honestly think that God is intimately acquainted with our suffering and cares very deeply about it.

None of this reasoning actually answers the question of why people suffer. I know there are some awesome books written on the topic. These are just some of my observations of how and maybe why God has used suffering in the lives around us.

First I think God allows suffering because it teaches us interdependence on the Body of Christ. In America especially we are very self reliant and suffering totally undercuts our ability to do it all on our own. When we suffer and the church turns and puts its arms around us and lifts us up, we are the Body of Christ and we present that to a hurting world that needs to know Christ.

I think we face suffering to draw us closer to the heart of the Father. My children run to me or Tim when they are hurt. It isn't a question of what they should do. They run full force into our arms. They expect us to evaluate the situation and do what needs to be done. They trust us to care for them when they can't fix the problem. I think that is exactly what God wants his children to do. We should run to him and bury our head in his side while we wait for Him to do His work.

Suffering does remind us that we live in a fallen world and this is not our home. I am continually pulled between this world and heaven because a part of my suffering placed our son in eternity with the Father. I am continually reminded that even though in this life Josiah would have had trials and troubles, in the other world he is perfect, whole and complete. I long to share that perfection with him. I long to hold him and know him in the light of the Father.

Suffering also causes us to come face to face with our own sinfulness. I know it may not be popular but in my life I know it is true that many of the difficulties I have faced have been because I blew through God's warning signs. Suffering can be a result of the consequences God allows in our lives. I wish that I had chosen the route of wisdom rather than consequence in learning life lessons. Too many times I didn't and faced the harsh reality of consequences that didn't have to occur.

Suffering can be used to remind us that God is God and He alone is holy. How many instances in the Old Testament did God show Israel that He was holy. There are numerous stories of God's people taking His laws and words lightly and results were always disastrous. Again how many instances in our lives do we suffer because we don't recognize and respect God's holiness and His commands?

There is a reason behind our suffering and God has an outcome in mind. Some of our suffering does happen "just 'cuz" but we are told that other part of the story "all things work together for GOOD to those who are called according to His purpose".   I believe that no matter the cause of our suffering, God takes that suffering and turns it into something that reflects His glory.  Actually, I believe very strongly that this is the business God is about on a daily basis.