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.