Tuesday, August 31, 2010

First Day of School

There are days that glow in the memory,
such as the first day in the school year,  
when the excitement and anticipation of newness create treasured pictures 
that nestle in amongst the best of times in a child’s memory.  



I am so extremely thankful for this good day, 
knowing that it is all from the gracious and merciful hand of a loving heavenly Father.
He is blessing our efforts to put Him and His word first,
as we begin each day gathered around the big table a study of Proverbs. 
In our Charlotte Mason approach,
we utilize Kevin Swansons’ book to do our copy work, vocabulary, handwriting,
as well as learn the foundational truths concerning wisdom and understanding.
My dear husband commented, as he came in to find some lunch,
that the white board might be helpful, which in deed it was.
  I treasure this Proverbs study,
because it declares the Truth against the worlds hollow and empty promises
in a way that reaches each one of us in practical life situations. 





Our second hour was spent largely outdoors
as we tramped through the woods to collect insect samples for our Nature Journal.
Then we came inside to extend our knowledge of the world of insects, 
each student diligently drawing their specimen, and listing the new found facts.


After a quick bite of leftovers for lunch,
we were on our way into various lands and eras in historical literature,
whilst the little ones and I developed our phonics skills,
and, mercifully, the toddler had a nap. 

Lastly, the older children sat down to study figures and math facts. 
Mama corrected the days work,
then tidied the kitchen and prepared some supper as all finished up the first days lessons. 
Then, this homeschoolin’ mama  heaved a contented sigh
as the books and papers are put away for another day. 

  This is the perfect time to enjoy the pleasure of afternoon tea. 
Autumn wind singing through the pines,
children scampering outdoors in the fresh air,
a wonderful quiet tranquility floods the room,
and in that moment I discover the power of stillness. 


I feel the strength of His presence. 
Never could I muster up the patience and graciousness to homeschool without Him.
Once again, I am in awe. 
For this good day, 
the beauty of stillness enjoyed after our days work,
the grandeur of the woods outside my window,
the smell of dinner cooking,
the blessings of family and home,
I praise his Holy Name.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Family Gatherings

Every summer, as long as I can remember,
relatives have flocked to my parents home for a family gathering.
  Potato salad, garden fresh tomatoes, watermelon, grandma’s baked beans and my mom’s apple pie, the best you can find anywhere,
are only some of the favorites that bury the kitchen countertops
and nourish our frames as we visit and catch up and relive past experiences.


 Family is always family.  
They will always be there.  
Friends may come and go, but relationships with relatives last.

The cousins splash and giggle in the water all afternoon,
the adults sprawl leisurely across the house. 
Old stories mingle with new,
laughter and snoring mix together as uncle or grandpa takes a snooze.
  It is all familiar, nothing exciting, always the same,
and that is the very reason these times are special, relaxing and looked forward to.

It is the simple things in life that I appreciate the most. 
It is the sameness of life I recall most clearly and dear to my heart,
how grandma always had pickles on the dinner table,
we always played cards,
we always ate berries and toast with bacon for breakfast,
and grandpa always fell asleep in his chair in the afternoon and snored.


Now that Grandma and Grandpa have gone on to heaven,
my own mom has carried the traditions, and added some new ones, like pony rides,
and some day I will too I suppose, furthering our family’s customs to another generation. 

She rocks the baby in the living room, away from all the noisy stories and laughter,
singing to him the same song Grandma used to sing to me. 
Uncle is snoring on the couch, 
I look around and see a family bonded together
by the simple enjoyments of our traditional summer gathering.
  I sigh, contented, drinking it all in again. 

Cousin smiles at me sheepishly
as we both reach to fill our plates with another helping of apple pie.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

What To Do With Preschoolers


Welcome to our practical Saturday post of large family living.  This is where and when we will address some of the helpful things that have helped us along the way to raising a large family, things I wish I would have known years ago, when I was struggling to adjust to a bigger family, like around child # 5.

Undoubtedly the question I get asked the most often about homeschooling, is:
What do you do with preschoolers???
We have been homeschooling for 14 years.  In that time we have always had at least one preschooler tagging along with us.  Since our school is life oriented, the toddlers, babies, and 4 to 5 year olds just get to do everything we are doing.  We read to them, help them memorize Scripture..this is done matter-of-factly while combing their hair or tying their shoes.  All capable children help with household chores.


Small children love to feel big enough to be helpful.  They tag along with me doing laundry, making beds, stirring dinner, feeding animals, etc. in as much as can possibly be done.  They can sit at the table and do quiet activities on their own while the bigger children are working on math or handwriting.  The atmosphere is fun and loving, just letting their curiosity take them.  However, when their attention span is full they are free to go play by themselves, there are no demands.  This style has set the stage for a love of learning, which is our second highest goal in homeschooling.


Here are some specific things we have done with our preschoolers while schooling the older children.
I have a big basket of color books and a box of crayons for them to scribble with.  Even Gabe, barely a year old, will sit and color because he sees the others doing it and he wants to do what they are doing.  I think that when you involve the little ones in the family lifestyle, they are more prone to accept table time.  Last year, when Gabe was 9-14 months old, he just sat in my lap a lot of the time we were working.


I also have a math manipulative box, with dominoes, dice, scrabble letters, and pattern blocks.  When the little one has had enough of coloring I will get out a manipulative and let them make a mess with it, as long as they don’t throw them, they can sort them into plastic cups or a muffin tin, or just play with them.  I have given little ones a container of buttons and a small ribbon or embroidery string to make a temporary necklace with, or let them sort the buttons into sizes and colors.
In my quiet basket, I have all kinds of things to occupy  babies and toddlers, lacing shapes, finger puppets, wooden puzzles, and much more.  Blanket time is especially helpful for babies and toddlers who are tired of being in mama's lap or at the table... or mamas who are tired of baby being in her lap.
Edible play dough has been very popular with our children.  They have tons of fun patting it out, cutting it into shapes with cookie cutters and then eating them all up.  We also make traditional play dough from time to time, and keep it in the fridge while it lasts. (recipes following)


A three year old can cut and paste pictures from magazines onto scrap paper, using a glue stick, sort change  or 7 bean soup mix into a muffin tin, use pattern blocks, make puzzles, or play matching games by themselves during your school time.  These are all things that encourage learning.

One thing that our preschool children especially like is a small drawer unit where they can keep special collections.  It is amazing to me the time they can spend with a small pile of rocks or shells that they have found and keep for special, each having their own drawer.  I got this idea from the book “Little Men”, which, by the way, has lots of great ideas for making your household a fun leaning environment.


During their playtime, I like them to listen to classical music.  It seems to promote creativity, and often times they will dance and move to the music, but it is the style of music that does not wind them up, like the common kid music they like to listen to when school time is over.

All our preschool children lay down for at least one half hour shortly after lunch for quiet time.  If they don’t fall asleep after 30 minutes, they can get up, but most children under the age of 5 will fall asleep and take a  nice nap, which I believe keeps them in much better humor throughout the rest of the day.

When answering questions about what to do with preschoolers in a homeschool family, the reply that I most often receive is... “Oh, my toddler would never do that!" or "My preschooler won’t sit with us at the table.”   

Here is where firm but loving reproof comes in... "Then, you have some serious training to do to get your little one in order.   A baby or toddler who won’t mind will be a young child who won’t mind, then a big kid who won’t mind, and then a willful and rebellious teenager.  Train them young, incorporating them into all you do, talking to them all the while like they understand everything, and you will find that they are much more willing to follow instructions, and become an enjoyable little one."

Edible Play-dough
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered milk
Mix well, keep refrigerated, if you don’t eat it all.

The Best Play-dough
1 cup white flour
½ cup salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 ½ Tbsp. oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
Food coloring

Combine flour, salt and cream of tartar in saucepan.  Stir in water, oil, vanilla and color.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, till it forms a ball.  Knead it until smooth.  Cover tightly and store in fridge.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Illuminate Sessions

My niece participates in Virtual K-12 schooling. 
I was talking with my brother about this the other day,
and he mentioned the “illuminate sessions” as being particularly important.
  An illuminate session is where the student both sees and hears the teacher via an internet connection.
  I nodded my head and we visited for awhile. 

My mind has been sitting on this for a few days now,
slowly forming connections to spiritual realms.


When we meet with God to pray and read His Word,
we have the opportunity to participate in an illuminate session with Him. 
I have noticed in my life, that this doesn’t just happen. 
Several things have to be in order before I genuinely enter His presence and commune.
  First, I need to be of a humble heart so that I am teachable, ready to take in the lesson for the day.  Secondly, I must be looking in the direction of the teacher, so that I may “see” Him. 
My thought here is that often times, I am so consumed by myself
that I don’t see the Who of God, trying to jump to the “what about me” application.
  Funny how it never seems to work out real well.
  But, if I am looking intently at the Scriptures for what it reveals about who God is,
and I spend time reflecting on what it shows me,
marveling,
then I am perfectly poised to hear what He is saying to me.


As I go to my Bible each morning,
am I looking at it as a text book where I may find the answer to my problem? 
Or, am I anticipating a living conversation where I learn more about who my Savior is,
and listen for what He is saying to my spirit today?

I love to get big fat letters in  the mail from my dear friend in Colorado. 
I look expectantly in the mail, and when one comes, I find a quiet moment to sit and read it.
  I savor each word. 
I reread it.
  Do I have this same response to God’s letters of love to me? 
Regrettably, I must admit, not always.
  But, now I can see that the opportunity to participate in an “illuminate session” is always before me,
and so I am able to change my mindset,
and anticipate my time alone with God in a more personal, vibrant way,
like the way I anticipate a letter from my friend.


Snatching up my Bible with joy and heading to the porch,
I am giddy to find a quiet moment wherein I relish every word,
rereading it until I am saturated by God’s Wonderful Words of Life.

My spirit is alive and aware to my Lord,
and his teaching is heard above all the noise and commotion of the day.
 

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Power of One Woman

President Theodore Roosevelt summed up the effect of  family upon a nation
in his 1907 address to Congress when he said,
"When home ties are loosened, when men and women cease to regard a worthy family life, 
with all its duties fully performed and all its responsibilities lived up to, 
as the best life worth living, 
then evil days for the nation are at hand."


Each woman is divinely unique, designed by God to Mother with a nurturing heart, to love children. 
History tells of the power such nurturing produces. 
The life of Susanna Wesley is such a moving story to me. 
She surely was one of the faithful who has gone before us leading the way,
as Hebrews tells of. 
In the 1700's, her day was evil.
  Threatened by the English community because of their faith, 
some mean spirited folk attempted to burn down the Wesley's home.  
Susanna's husband was away much of the time,
yet this courageous mother of 11 children diligently trained her brood day after day in the Scriptures. 
Just an ordinary woman in an ordinary house, 
determined to walk with God, day by day.
She had no support sysytem, no phone, or email, 
or like minded mothers in whom she could confide. 
Sadly, the many women who surrounded her were not devoted to their children as she was.
  Yet, because of her faithful constance, two of her sons, Charles and Johnathan-
transformed the history of Europe and America through being a vital part of the Great Awakening.

Historians agree that without this great spiritual revival,
no political revolution would have freed our nation. 
The sweeping change in the moral fabric of America started with faithful mothers, like Susanna, 
who in their quiet homes loved God and their children. 
The power of one woman is this:  
World History changed forever when a mother set aside deliberate moments each day to train her children.  She obeyed the voice of God, not the voice of her culture. 

 
Slowing down and determining to be fully present in the daily lives of our precious children, 
savoring the special moments, takes focused effort.  
Thank God Susanna was a woman willing to make that choice. 
Now, today, the same choice lays at my feet. 
How will I spend my time today? 
Will it matter for eternity? 
Or, will I waste it all in busyness, irritability, selfish pursuits,
or absent minded parenting? 
Day by day, a mother is battling it out for the Kingdom of God.  
Waking up in the morning and declaring, "I choose to walk with God today, 
and I choose to spend my life today raising these children to love and adore Him," is the battle cry. 
Nehemiah called the families to stand at the city wall.  He says,
"Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers,
your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."  Nehemiah 4:14 

Some days we may feel like failures as mothers,
but God is there, standing with us every day, 
just as He was with Susanna Wesley as she lived out her tenacious life 300 years ago.
A life that still moves mother's hearts today. 
A Great Awakening lies in the heart of every mother who will say yes to God today,
I will walk with God, I will train my children. 
Only He knows how future generations may be blessed by one mother's determined step.


holy experience

Monday, August 23, 2010

5 Ways to Impove Your Marriage Today

"Marriage  is intended to bring joy.
  The married life is meant to be the happiest, fullest, purest, richest life. 
It is God’s own ideal of completeness. 
If in any use it fails to be a blessing and to yield joy, and a richer, fuller life, 
the fault cannot be with the institution itself,
but with those who, under its shadow, fail to fulfill its conditions.” 
J.R. Miller, Homemaking pg 13

I adore Chocolate pie.
  For years I thought that Cirus Oleary’s chocolate pie was the best of the best.
  And then, I had a real chocolate pie, made only with milk chocolate and cream.
  It was heavenly. 
The taste far exceeded the former favorite. 
I was astounded.
  I couldn’t believe chocolate pie could be so good. 
Such a pure chocolate flavor, no artificial aftertaste, just simple creamy chocolate. 
My eyes were opened to purity of ingredients, thus,
I became aware of a synthetic taste in my foods.
  I began to feel sympathetic toward people who adored Cirus O'leary pie,
the poor things didn’t even know what they are missing by partaking in it. 
They had no clue how good chocolate pie could be.


This , too, is how I feel about marriage God’s way. 
God has been gracious to Brian and I,
and allowed us to enjoy a unified and abundantly blessed relationship,
the way He intended for marriage to work. 
A husband and wife’s highest priority, after God, are to each other.  
The two are to live for each other. 
Life is to be lost for life. 
Every other interest is thenceforth secondary to the home interest. 
Then, the two become, in the fullest truest sense, one.
  Somehow, many people today have been duped into believing that what they have,
like a synthetic made pie, is the best it can get, 
when God intended for their marriage to be so much more. 
I wish I could help them to taste and see the pure and excellent taste of an unabashedly intimate,
romantic, unified husband-wife relationship.
 
God has taught us in our 21 years of bliss some very simple everyday actions that keep us living in harmony with one another, in honor preferring one another, the way the Bible teaches.
1.  Our number one goal in our marriage is to serve one another.  Every day we look for ways we can be a blessing to each other.  Often we will just ask:  “How can I be a help to you today?”
2.  Pray for and with one another.  I pray for my husband every morning.  I follow a list of “31 days of prayer for your husband” to help me get going.  Praying for one another softens the heart. Praying with one another unifies the heart.
3.  We work to stay on the ‘same page’ mentally.  We read the same books, listen to the same sermons, and make a deliberate effort to have the same goals, working toward them together.  His agenda becomes my agenda, his calling becomes my calling, as God directs me to do in His Word, rather than me doing my own thing.  The world has lied to women regarding this, they think they won’t be happy if they give up their aspirations, but nothing could be further from the truth.  A wife is only truly happy when she has given up all of herself in sacrificial love for her husband, becoming his helpmeet, and the support behind him to enable him to be great.  There is no joy of fulfillment so great as this.  It is God’s way, His plan, why wouldn’t it be the best of the best?
4.  We have communication meetings.  Every Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, we go over the week’s schedule together, making note of needs and desires for how each day will play out.  This has been a huge help to us, and I can’t say enough about spending a little time preparing for your week. It has eliminated so much mis-communication and stress; a very worthwhile venture, one that helps tremendously to stay together though out the week.
5. Look for ways to love on each other.  My husband is a touch oriented kind of guy, so I pay careful attention to slide a hand over his back as I pass by, hold his hand when I can, sit close to him, in every opportunity I make an effort to reach out to him in this way.  He too, knows my “love language” and thoughtfully loves on me via notes of encouragement, a phone call when we are apart, and words of affirmation that let me know where I stand in his eyes.



These are the "daily bread" of love,
the common courtesy in married life that brings pleasurable thought and genial feeling for one another.
The omission of them only leads to hunger of the heart, where husband and wife slowly grow apart, 
when they so easily could have been nourished and cherished in each others arms, happily ever after.
  The purest, sweetest flavor of married joy is only to be found in following God’s simple recipe, 
which is not in any way unattainable, nor skillfully gained,
it’s only requirement is the surrendering of self for the love of each other,
where there is no lingering aftertaste of the world,
just heavenly delight.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Simplifying Homeschool Days With Easy Cooking


 I love simplicity. 
Things natural feel simple to me,
  When I am cooking, I often think that a simple version of the food being prepared is the best.
Food is one of my great delights in life, 
so finding a great way to prepare something especially delicious that is also easy
is a favorite past time of mine. 

Welcome to our practical Saturday post, where we share some of the things that have made life with a large family easier.  Things I wish we would have known years ago,
when I was struggling to adjust to a bigger family, like around child #5. 

Recently, In attempting to bring more simplicity to my life
I have come to hold my crock pot as near and dear to my heart. 
There is just nothing so wonderfully easy as  putting a chicken in the crock pot on a Sunday morning
and coming home to a wonderful smelling dinner,
on paper plates, so we don’t have to wash,
but can relish an afternoon of quiet, preferably including a nap and some chocolate. 
For a family our size, I put two parted chickens in the crock pot with a head of garlic
separated and peeled ofcourse, and then generously pepper the whole thing. 


The blessed kindness of a crock pot in the summer
is that it does not heat up the house like my big gas oven.  
Served with a salad, fruit, or made-ahead side dish, 
you end up with a lovely dinner and almost no preparation.
Another Sunday favorite is to fill the crock pot with meat on Saturday,
ours would be venison, but it could be a big roast of some kind,
and cooking it all day with an assortment of onion slices, whole garlic, salt and pepper.
  On Sunday morning, it is turned on low during church, and when we arrive home, 
we make sandwiches with the pull- apart soft meat.
  I like the hoagie rolls or outdoor buns that are a bigger version of a hot dog bun. 
Mayo, peppercinni’s, mustard, and some pepper jack cheese
  together with the slow cooked meat makes a mouth watering sandwich
  that holds the same flavors of grandma’s "Sunday dinners", but much easier. 
We like these two options for Sunday so much, 
we typically have them over and over, which also seems simple to me. 
Great variety in a menu  plan is not too high on my priority list. 


The school season is just around the corner,
and I am planning on utilizing my crock pot a lot as we adjust to the new schedule and routine. 
With two preschoolers, 5 of mine in our home school, plus my niece,
and entering my last trimester, I am thinking;
simplify and survive!
  A few things on my menu that I am planning on fixing in the crock pot as we begin another school year are: spaghetti casserole, chicken and rice casserole, tacos, a Tarheel roast (recipe follows),
sloppy joe's, and sweet and sour chicken. 
I  want easy recipes, with standard ingredients that I can throw in the pot and forget about it for the day.

For some extra inspiration and fun,
wander over to A Year of Slow Cooking
for everything under the sun in a crock pot. 
I was strolling through the budget meals category and found plenty of interesting looking things to try.

Tarheel Roast

Any cut of roast, pork, beef, venison, or elk. (Size depends on your family)
1 or 2 quarts canned green beans with juices
1 head of garlic, peeled
Pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in pot and cook all day.  Serve with cornbread.



When I make a batch of cornbread, I often mix up three at once. 
It is just as easy as doing one. 
With three bowls side by side, I add the dry ingredients to each bowl. 
I then add the wet ingredients to just one bowl, and put the other two in zip lock bags in the pantry. 
When I want a quick fix corn bread, all I have to do is add the eggs and milk, and bake.

I love a good old roast chicken or venison with potatoes and carrots as well,
which I cook in a big cast iron dutch oven at a low temp from lunch till dinner.
  Prep time is low and the results are fabulous.
 Once the fall weather gets here, we will have soup most every day,
fixing a big pot and then lunching on it for a few days. 
Until then, a sandwich and some fruit will be our main school day lunch. 
I buy a buffet ham every month, then take it to the meat counter at the store of purchase
and have them thin slice it. 
This makes a very fugal lunch meat, and I can freeze portions in ziploc bags
to make it last the month through. 
Alternating the meat in a sandwich keeps the children content; pb&j, tuna, ham and cheese,
left over chicken made into sandwich filling, and egg salad are the common staples for us in warm weather.
I often serve a sandwich on a paper towel thus diminishing clean up.
I have learned, over the years, that it is wise of me to let some of my ideals go,
and use paper plates on occasion,
cook some less extraordinary dinners,
and leave some margin in my day. 
Every day does not have to be picture perfect (I really tried for this)
just happy and God focused.
  Planning simple meals, especially during a school season, just makes sense. 
I am still trying to see the beauty of paper plates,
but is just doesn’t seem romantic to me,
so I’ll wait until dinner to set a proper table, and find balance in life.
 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Home-making

"Are all these your children?"
Yes, they are.
"Well, you sure have you hands full!"
Yes, I do.
I have heard it a hundred times. 
I am so grateful that my hands are full. 
I wish it no differently.

As I stood next to baby Jethro's ICU bed,
tubes going in and out all over his little15lb frame
I thought, life is so fragile, so very fragile.  
Yet, all too often we take each blessed day for granted,
living for the moment, and not for eternity.  
What else matters when your baby is struggling to maintain life,
other than making every moment count and doing your best to help him live?

I could have been an architect. God has given me a talent for it.
  I could have been a  teacher. I love teaching and even in high school excelled at it giving equitation lessons. 
But I am ever so thankful that I chose to be just a mama.
No high paying salary or career of significance holds a candle to devoting my days to caring for and training my children. 
But, sometimes, in the midst of cranky children and clogged toilets it is hard to remember. 
It is at those times that I head for the bookshelf in search of a word of wisdom or inspiration, or both. 
The precious Word of God takes precedence,
but I have some other worthy favorites that also uplift my spirits and uphold my calling. 
This is just such a one as seems fitting for the day:

"We are fast moving through this world.  
Soon all that will remain of us will be the memories of our lives.
  No part of our work will then afford such true test of our living 
as memorials we leave behind us in our homes.
  No other work that God gives any of us to do is so important,
so sacred, so far reaching in its influence,
so delicate and easily marred as our home-making.
  This is the work of all our life that is most divine. 
The carpenter works in wood,
the mason works in stone,
the smith works in iron,
the artist works in canvas, 
but the home-maker works on immortal lives. 
The wood, or the stone, or the iron, or the canvas may be marred
 and it will not matter greatly in fifty years,
but let a tender human soul be marred in its early training,
and ages hence the effects will still be seen.
Whatever else we slight, let it never be our home-making.
  If we do nothing else well in this world,
let us at least build well within our own doors."
  - J.R. Miller, Homemaking, pg 265.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Most Important Thing

As I sit in the hospital today with my dear fiend,
waiting fo her 5 month old son to get out of surgery,
I have been much in payer for him. 
Prayer has got to be on the top of the list when it comes to parenting our children.

Elizabeth Elliot writes in her book, “The Shaping of A Christian Family”: 
“My father, often wrapped in a steamer rug…against the predawn cold,
fell on his knees daily beside a threadbare old armchair in his little study to pray for his children. 
This was his primary duty,
his priestly duty,
and he gave it first place in his day.”

This little vignette inspires me tremendously. 
Such passion to pray for my children with daily devotion moves me,
this is truly the heart of spiritual parenting.
My friend Carolyn  always prays the scripture back to our Heavenly Father on behalf of others.
  I think this is a great way to pray.
  So many times we don’t know what to pray, but there are guidelines to steer us.
  For several years, I have used a list of 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Children, by Bob Hostetler.
May it also be a tool you can use or pass on to a friend. 
I keep this list in my Bible, where I go every morning for my spiritual breakfast.

1. Salvation.
Lord, let salvation spring up within my children, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.  Is. 45:8, 2 Tim. 2:10
2.  Growth in Grace.
I pray that my children may grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 3:18
3. Love.
Grant, Lord, that my children may learn to live a life of love, through the Spirit who dwells in them.  Ga. 5:25. Eph. 5:2
4. Honesty and Integrity.
May integrity and honesty be their virtue and their protection.  Ps. 25:21
5. Self-Control.
Father, help my children not to be like many others around them, but let them be alert and self-controlled in all they do.  1 Thess. 5:6
6. Love for God’s Word
May my children grow to find Your Word more precious than gold.  Ps.19:10
7. Justice.
God, help my children to love justice as You do and act justly in all they do. Ps. 11:7, Micah 6:8
8. Mercy.
May my children always be merciful, just as their Father is merciful. Luke 6:36
9. Respect.
Father, grant that my children show proper respect to everyone, as your Word commands. 1 Peter 2:17
10. Biblical Self-esteem.
Help my children develop a strong self esteem that is rooted in the realization that they are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.  Eph. 2:10
11. Faithfulness.
Let love and faithfulness never leave my children, but bind these twin virtues around their necks and write them on the tablets of their hearts.  Prov. 3:3
12. Courage.
May my children always be strong and courageous in their character and in their actions.  Deut. 31:6
13. Purity.
Create in them a pure heart, O God, and let that purity of heart be shown in their actions.  Ps 51:10
14.  Kindness.
Lord, may my children always try to be kind to each other and to every one else.  1 Thess. 5:15
15.  Generosity.
Grant that my children may be generous and willing to share, and so lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age. 1 Tim 6:18-19
16.  Peace-loving.
Father, let my children make every effort to do what leads to peace.  Rom 14:19
17. Joy.
May my children be filled with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. 1 Thess 1:6
18. Perseverance.
Lord, teach my children perseverance in all they do, and help them especially to run with perseverance the ace marked out for them. Heb. 12:1
19. Humility.
God, please cultivate in my children the ability to show true humility.
20.  Compassion.
Lord, please clothe my children with the virtue of compassion.  Col. 3:12
21. Responsibility.
Grant that my children may learn responsibility, for each one should carry his own load. Gal. 6:5
22. Contentment.
Father, teach my children the secret of being content in any and every situation, through Him who gives them strength. Phil. 4:12-13
23. Faith.
I pray that faith will find root and grow in my children’s hearts, that by faith they may gain what has been promised to them. Luke 17:5-6, Heb. 11:1-40
24. A Servant’s Heart.
God, please help my children develop servant’s that they may serve wholeheartedly, as if they were serving the Lord, not men.  Eph. 6:7
25.  Hope.
May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13
26. Willingness to Work.
Teach my children to value work and to work with all their heart, as working for you Lord. Col 3:23
27.  Passion for God.
Lord, please instill in my children a soul that follows hard after Thee. One that clings passionately to you.  Ps. 63:8
28. Protection.
Lord, please protect my children, guarding their course. Prov 2:8
29.  Time Management.
I pray that my children would learn to manage their time well.  Eph. 5:15
30.  Fear God.
Father, I pray that my children may have a holy fear of you.  Ps. 34:11, Prov. 9:10
31.  Trust.
May my children learn to trust you, O God, with all their heart.  Prov. 3:5,6

As I pray these things for my children each day,
it has made me more conscious to train them to that end,
to talk to them about each virtue, and how well they are exhibiting these characteristics.
  It has also made me more aware of my own shortcomings in each area.  
Often I add myself in the daily prayer.
May my children know that I pray for them every day. 
And may they continue in this path, valuing prayer in their own lives.
holy experience

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Our Log Home

Here is a recap, for some special people, of the log home our family has been building by hand for 6 years.

6 years ago, a man in our church gave us 10 timbered aces.  From this land, Brian and our oldest son (then 12 yrs old) cut down 120 lodge pole pine trees, which we decked near the house site.  Friends and family helped us peel these 38 foot logs by hand with spuds and draw knives.  All the heavy equipment we needed was generously loaned to us to clear the site, build the driveway, and construct the house.  All our children helped build.  Our older childen can use most any power tool, down to Joe, who is 11.  We had the two year old peeling logs with us, he liked it.  We did not finance with a bank, so it has been a build as you can project, which still is not done, but we moved in anyway in February. 
The porch is the favorite place for the children to play, Brian and I like to sit out there in the early morning sunshine to have our time alone with God.
As you enter the lodge, the entry way has a door to an unfinished bathroom and on the other side, a coat closet.  From here you can see straight into the living room, or to the left, the kitchen.




The 12' x 18' dining room connects to the end of the kitchen completing the first floor. 




At the top of the stairs on the second floor, to the right is the family room...

To the left of the top of the stairs is John's room, also the guest room.


Down the hall, you pass the laundry room and bathroom, then come to a cozy spot to read before entering the master bedroom, which is at the bottom of the stairs to go to the third floor.


On the third floor, to the right is the girls room, divided by the log support columns into three 12' x 12' sections.  To the Left is the craft room and the little boys room.


To the Left is the craft room and the little boys room.


The whole interior of the house was furnished by salvage:  Some windows and doors, all the bathroom fixtures, the kitchen cabinets and appliances, and almost all the lights in the house. Also, all but 6 pieces of furniture in the whole house was given to us, including lamps and large pictures and other decorative items, which, combined with all the amazing salvage finds, the property and all the volunteer help we have had is how we came to name our home "Providence Lodge."
I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour, and I invite you to delve into the archives and read the whole, amazing story.  It has been a miraculous, arduous, adventure.