Sunday, July 31, 2011

Compassion Child

Samira - from Burkina Faso
A  few years ago our family adopted a little girl from Africa. It began as a way of teaching the kids about other cultures - specifically that most people in this world do not live privileged lives like we do in America. Last year we learned about poverty and fresh  water and hygiene practices to supplement some school activities. We prayed often for Samira and her family. Over the last year Drew and Samira have been writing letters back and forth. The latest letter brought about some great dinner table conversations.

Samira had written and asked if we celebrated Easter, the Christian Mission Alliance of Tampouy had put on Easter programs and had spent a lot of time talking about what it meant for Christ to die for us. She then said her parents are Muslim and do not celebrate Easter - she asked us to pray for her parents salvation because she wanted a christian family like Drew has. Drew is so faithful to pray for Samira, he prayed for her parents too after the most recent letter. Yesterday he asked "What is Muslim?" That lead to a great discussion about other religions and their beliefs. I was so encouraged as Drew stated things like "Well that is not what God says?" or "Is that in the Bible mom?"  Drew's plumb line for right and wrong, truth and lie is beginning to take shape and he is looking to the God of the Bible to answer those basic fundamental questions. It was very interesting for me to just listen to Drew talk and see him rationally talk out what he was wrestling with in his mind.

I urge you to sponsor a Compassion Child, in Burkina Faso the average income is 22.00 a month. Your support of 38.00/month provides food, education and medical care to children plagued by poverty. So little to change the future for a child! The relationship you develop with this child is so tight, the compassion my own children are learning is priceless. I love it that my kids want to send Samira letters and pictures they have drawn. I love it that she is the center of many prayers at night. I love it that my children are learning to serve others instead of being served. The cost of sponsorship is so small  and delights the Father because we have "... served even the least of these in the name of Jesus Christ."

There is now a permanent link from  this blog for those interested.










Thursday, July 28, 2011

While Daddy Is Away....

Lego Creations around the kitchen table - Drew did this one with very little assistance!


Fun times reading about inventions.
The past few days gave flown by, my mother has been helping with the  boys a lot so Abby and I have had more time to prepare some fun lessons. Our frogs are multiplying and my kids seem to be fascinated with just about any topic these days so we've had a lot of fun painting and coloring and writing and working on Math. We also are learning a little about Vietnam and their culture. Here are some of the highlights of this week as we anxiously await Daddy's return.

We did a colors project this afternoon, I read the boys Mouse Count and we mixed colors together and then mommy painted the boys with the new color. We then made pictures, Drew made one of flowers to send to his sponsored child in Africa. It is so sweet how often Drew things and prays for Samira. He verbalized a letter last week that we sent off to her - Drew answered her questions about Easter and told her he was praying for her Muslim parents. Drew's first question to Samira was  "Do you see Cheetah's where you live in Africa, do you know they run as fast as a car?" He also decided to dive into the Cheetah lapbook I was preparing for our first week back to school, I guess school and fun are finally synonymous!  Sorry the picture quality is lacking, my prized camera is in Vietnam with my sweet husband, so I'm resorting to our little coolpix camera.
We've been learning about Cheetah's - at Drew's request. They really are fascinating animals.

We started to learn about Vietnamese culture and geography was a great place to begin.
 My sweet friend Chantal shared how she used a light and a globe to explain the time difference between Vietnam and America. We don't have a globe, but a soccer ball worked to explain this concept to Drew. He was quite excited that he remembered that the Earth revolves around the sun. He then asked what would happen if the earth stopped rotating -- I really need Daddy home for that one. All I could say was that God created the universe so meticulously that if the earth stopped rotating there would probably be utter destruction. However, God is in control of all creation so I don't think we need to worry about that, though it is fun to thing about.
Drew's flower picture for Samira

Gabe's Masterpiece (Abby had one too but it was in pencil and the picture didn't turn out).

What is left of Gabe's Red and Blue makes Purple lesson

Free 1+1+1=1 Frog book  that I laminated, plus a 1.00 pocket holder from Target.
Our frogs are procreating and we have eggs, tadpoles, froglets,  and our adult frogs. The boys love seeing them transition. Today we had one froglet who sat on a rock all day while his tail absorbed into his body. Crazy!!! I wish I had my camera and could have done a time laps. I printed these great, free, books from 1+1+1=1 and used my handy new laminator to make the above picture. Drew really is taking to these very short little lessons. Today he learned how to spell the word "fly."  Our favorite ABC Bible verses are free on 1+1+1=1 so this year we will be going back through the book, this time with Gabe, and I can print out and hang up our weekly bible verse. How cool, she even has easy activities to re-enforce the letters. Such fun!
Life Cycle of frogs who are "live and in color," "doing it" in our playroom!
I seriously wonder if our female frog will die from all the procreation & male grabbing going on, they never stop!

Finally, I have been enjoying the ladies who are coming over for the Mission To Motherhood book study. We have been talking about some very  counter cultural ideals and sharing stories of fun and frustration. Last night we talked about gardening our children's hearts and filling them with righteous living. Sally gave us some great, practical ideas on how to inspire our children to greatness - my favorite was her sharing on literature. So.... I grabbed all my favorite books that promote great character and we had a lovely time sharing and discussing the role of books in family life. I've had some great feedback and many of the ladies have already purchased some classical literature to add to their library. I am truly blessed by this group of women who faithfully commit to read and share so willingly. What a great group of friends I have! Chantal even came over early to help clean and bake so I wouldn't stress about getting it all done before everyone arrived. Sweet Holly brought treats for the  second week in a row and she inspired me to take more of my pictures and journals and create memory books for my family to enjoy. I never thought of that before. I'm eager to copy all my 1,000 gifts and compile them into a book for our coffee table.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Arrival

John just e-mailed, texts' and Skype'd to figure out what worked from his hotel  - they all did! Isn't technology amazing! John spent the last 24 hours on a plane and is now settled in a hotel. It was around 1 am when he called and he had to be back up at 6:30 for a breakfast, then opening ceremonies and then he will begin his 1st of 4 talks over the next 3 days. Please pray for him, that he would not be tired and would be bold and courageous to speak with a passion for the disabled. I couldn't imagine flying half way around the world, sleeping very little and talking in front of large crowds- my husband certainly is courageous! Thank you all who supported this trip - it has been a great lesson in faith for our family.
 
The boys are I are keeping busy and pressing on with summer fun. My mother is helping out a ton, she took Gabe overnight so Drew and I could spend some time together. Drew's idea of a great evening with momma - a Wild Cratz show learning about flying lizards and then some art together coloring Cheetah's.
 
Again, thank you all for praying!
 
Melissa

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

He Has Left The Continent!

It seems to  this momma that John has left the planet, since he is going so far away! But, John has actually left our continent and is off to Asia, first stop is Japan, then Hanoi Vietnam. The kids and I took John to the airport this morning and said our good-byes. The boys cried and begged to go on the big "777" with Daddy. Gabe really wanted to climb in his suitcase, but sadly had to come home with me instead. When the boys were crying in the car on the way home I tried to comfort them and tell them that Daddy was doing God's work and needed to obey - just like they obey us, Daddy must obey God. Then I said, "God is sending Daddy to share the love of Jesus with those who do not even know the name and who haven't read the Bible." To which Gabe cried, "I haven't heard of Jesus either so he needs to come home and be with me!" Drew piped in, being the ever so smart one and replied "Gabe, you hear about Jesus ever day and Daddy reads you the Bible at night, you hear about Jesus all the time!" I just smiled at the innocence of my kids and their great deep love for their daddy. Oh, how much more our father in heaven love us!
John will arrive in Hanoi on Wednesday morning Central time (I think) which will be around 10 pm in Hanoi. Please be in prayer over John when you go to sleep on Wednesday evening, the opening ceremonies begin on Thursday morning in Hanoi which is when we are getting ready for bed.
Please pray the jet-lag won't be a problem and that he will speak what is on God's heart. Pray he has wisdom and guidance from the Lord and is the hands and feet of Jesus over the next 12 days.
Thank you again for all your support and prayers, as the kids and I prayed over John this morning and our team prayed over him on Sunday evening - John just felt renewal in his spirit and is so eager to see what the Lord has in store for him.
I'll update as John and I chat, good night!
Melissa

Monday, July 18, 2011

Traditions Are Sometimes Flexible

It is sweltering hot in Texas these days and I haven't quite been in the mood to bake yummy scones and drink hot tea. So we changed it up a little bit and made...... smoothies! I think the Sunday Sabbath is still a hit despite the weather! I've been trying to read the boys Sara Plain & Tall this week,  they aren't quite as excited as I had hoped. Maybe it is because they are boys? Sara Plain and Tall was my favorite book when I was younger, I'd hoped they would have been as excited to listen as I was to read it to them. Oh well, they were still excited about the smoothies!  Abby enjoyed her smoothy too, but I think in all my eagerness to clean her up I forgot to get a picture.



Sunday, July 17, 2011

Invention Convention Camp

Drew is our little inventor - he loves taking junk and turning it into something. So this July he spent a week attending Invention Convention camp! Drew was in his element. What a fun time he had learning about inventors, how animals have contributed to science, atoms, aerodynamics, and much much more.

Drew created his own invention, a tube  that takes a marble down to the bottom of his giant roller coaster, smack down into a cordless phone holder. His task was to invent something out of the recyclable material available. Drew did have some help from an older child because his teacher said, "he had so many great ideas that he couldn't focus on just 1." That sounds like our boy!
On the last day we all went and saw what he had been learning. I am excited that this unit will feed into the inventors/invention unit we will be doing in the Fall. Such a fun summer!

After invention camp we took a week off and then the boys both attended gymnastics camp for a week. They both had such fun and loved all the running and tumbling - perfect for our 100+ degree weather! The rest of our summer will conclude this week with a trip to Broken Bow Oklahoma for 4  days of family time. Once we return John will head off to Vietnam and will return right before school starts. I'm so excited for John to finally be leaving, but sad that I won't be going with him. I know it just won't be the same here without him!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blessings of Life ~ Changed


"Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant—a seed—this plants the giant miracle." A. Voskamp
990. Husband who renovates the laundry room so we can have a desk for the kids downstairs. I don't like that my computer is upstairs and if the kids are playing on it I don't like leaving them unsupervised, now I can get some things done in the kitchen while Drew works on his phonics. An added bonus - a quiet place to work on school work that will have fewer distractions - our kitchen table breeds lots of business and activity.

991. I purchased the new Fernando Ortega CD and can't stop listening to it!  There is something so peaceful and contemplative about Fernando's music. I've been waiting for a new CD for years!!!!

992. Dear friends, the Reed's,  over for dinner with their little  boys who ramble and run and raise a ruckus just like ours. It was such an encouragement to hear about their journey and trips and faith lessons. I especially enjoyed hearing about Vietnam traffic!

993. This year I stepped out in faith and started a Book Club with my dear friend Clair. We have 12 ladies who are reading Mission To Motherhood and are being encouraged! Last night was such a great time with great Pioneer Woman scones, thanks to Holly!, and women who open up about mothering and discipline and struggles. I pray they took away a clearer vision of mothering and tools to execute the daily battles that arise. I was so encouraged  by everyones honesty!

994. Boys spending the night at Nana's, giving momma time to clean out cupboards and get rid of items I'm not using. I confess I recorded the show hoarders and have been appalled at the state of mind those people live in. The messes alone are inspiring me to clean out all those old boxes and dust bunnies in preparation for Fall and School and cooler weather.

995. Early mornings watching the Harvest moon descend and the sunrise light up the sky, I know I've written before about the blessing of rising before the household, but I've been struggling getting up early since returning from vacation,  so the two mornings I conquered this week were indeed times of great rejoicing  and time with the Lord.

996. The life cycle of our frogs - they are fascinating to watch, the tadpoles grow so big and then little hind legs pop out, then the front and they turn into tiny little frogs. I can't believe how captivating they are to watch. Praise God above, He indeed created an amazing world that changes and  cycles right on command.
997. Girly girl who loves to ride "Motocycles" with her  brother.

998. Hot afternoons spent at the pool - the heat seems to be suffocating me and I'm anxiously awaiting Fall! School and Fall and rain can't come soon enough. In the meantime I'm praising the Lord for lots of pools and water to cool us off.

999. Gabe's sweet smile that greets me each morning with delight and eagerness for new adventures.

1000. John's upcoming trip to Vietnam, I am a blessed woman to be married to such a man of God. My husband challenges me daily as he walks with the Lord, a once weak faith, in the last 5 years he has flourished and turned into a man of great wisdom with a heart for the hurting. I am so proud that he listened to the quiet voice of God and committed to leaving for Vietnam. I pray daily that he would bring a great message to this culture, one of grace and love for sinners. Though John is presenting materiel on children/adults with special needs and the life skills they need to be integrated into society, I know John will bring much more than a message, he will bring the footsteps of Christ into a hurting and ignorant land that desperately needs a Savior.

"Eucharisteo—thanksgiving—always precedes the miracle." ~ A. Voskamp

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Random Conversations


We were out running errands today and I made a mental note to remember the various conversations my children and I had over the course of the 2 hours we were gone, they are quite funny!


Conversation #1 -
"Mom, can I eat grass?" asked Drew
"Um, you mean actually chew it like a cow?" I asked in confusion (that happens often!)
"Yes, herbivores eat grass, just like cows"
"Sure, you can eat grass!" I replied

"How about pollen? Would pollen be ok?"
"Sure Drew, if you can eat grass, then I bet you can eat pollen."
" I'm going to eat some when we get home, maybe we can have pollen for lunch!"
"I'm going to eat some pollen before I bring in the  groceries, ok?"

When we arrived home Drew found a bunch of pollen on my daisies and ate three finger swipes, he thought it tasted rather bland and after seeing some ants on one, he decided peanut butter and Jelly sounded much  better.

Conversation #2 - Drew exclaimed that his favorite animal is the Cheetah, then Gabe chimes in, well my favorite animal is a chicken! Also, did you know that Gabe named his puppy "eating dirt?" I thought he might change his mind  in a day or 10 minutes, but he continues to  call him "eating dirt" a week later. That's my middle child - the comedian!

Conversation #3 - We were at Hope's Closet picking out books and I was looking for some tea cups. I have been wanting to get some classical tea cups for the ladies who attend the book club that meets every other Wednesday at my home. It is way more decadent to drink from tea cups - at least in Oregon where I'm from. We found only one tea cup and I had told Drew that I had hoped to find more. Here is the conversation that followed:
"Mom, you know when Jesus died on the cross?"
Confusion written all over my face, "Yes, I know the story, but what does that have to do with tea cups?"
"Mom, when Jesus died on the cross, he had a dinner the night before called the paserover, where they ate  bread and Jesus washed the apostles feet - like Luke and James and Andrew. Well, did you know they also drank wine?" Yes, they drank wine out of one glass that was passed around, so I think you should get the one tea cup and you can share the tea, not wine because wine is yucky,  with all the ladies? Isn't that right mom?"

Wow, I laughed and laughed that I had a hard time talking after that one. I especially liked the part where he started to name off the apostles in case I had forgotten the  event. So sweet! I just love my kids!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Some Days

Some days don't go as planned and include:

  • Children who have bad attitudes & a mommy who is determined to make it a great day
  • Trips to the dentist as we pray no teeth need to be pulled
  • Important Fedex packages lost
  • Steeling of chocolate chips - why do kids think they can get away with things, a mother always finds out!
  • Chaotic household messes while we clean out closets and remodel the pantry
  • A toddler teething and grouchy
  • Unmotivated mother who doesn't want to get up super early and go to the gym
  • Praying for grace and patience today

Do you ever have one of those days?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Schooling At Home Plan 2011-2012



I love summer, time for relaxation and  rest and lots of time for organizing and planning. This summer I've been researching and planning our school year for 2011-2012 - its so much fun to take what worked last year and add some new fresh ideas to our schedule. I also love it when the new books arrive in  the mail - it is taking all of my willpower to leave them in my closet.


I can't believe Drew is going to be a 1st grader! How did that happen. I really thought we'd repeat Kindergarten again this year, but he has learned despite me!  Gabe will be in Preschool this next year ,2 days a week, but will start Kindergarten phonics and math at home. Gabe just loves learning and it comes naturally to him - he is such a joy - often asking to do school! Drew is a smarty too, he just takes a non-traditional approach to learning! Gotta love variety!

Here is what is on the agenda for the Fall (Note: plans subject to change without notice and at the whim of mother).

Drew's Curriculum:
  • Math U See Alpha  for Drew, (30 lessons) 4x a week (15 minutes) plus Xtra Math for Drill work (5 min). Gabe has the Primer book and enjoys working along with Drew and  me, I don't push Gabe's math much, since I only want him to do what is fun. So far Gabe is already on chapter 3 and knows all the counting and material - he is just struggling with fine motor skills like holding a pencil correctly and tracing numbers! We aren't in a huge rush with this math curriculum, since we will be working on math through the summers each year. Math is one thing that is very easily lost, so going slow and steady seems to work for the boys. They really don't mind spending 15-20 minutes a few days each week working on Math. So far they both surprisingly love it!
  • Venture School (Drew) 8:45-2:45 on Thursdays which will be more of a small classroom setting teaching: Bible, Social Studies, Science, Writing, Drama, PE and Spanish. The school uses unit study approaches to foster creativity and get kids out of the desk and onto the floor! Drew will be studying the following units: Pilgrims (my favorite, I've got supplemental work at home since I love anything Fall!), Native Americans, 13 colonies, Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere, George Washington, American Revolution, Declaration of Independence,  and the US Constitution. Science will also include units on: Insects (Drew's favorites), weather, simple machines (another Drew  favorite), inventors, inventions, electricity and mammals. I love the enthusiasm in this school and the great homeschool mom's who will be teaching these precious kids!

  • Handwriting Without Tears (3x per week 15 minutes) Orange Book, we're heading back to basics and learning to write neatly! Drew loves  manipulatives since he is a very tactile learner; he also loves to sing! This was a great pick for him! Drew's not too fond of writing so I'm hoping the various manipulatives will help make writing fun this year. The book should only take about 1 semester to get through so we could move on to the lower case letters if we don't doddle! Here is a cute video from  HWT - I just love the songs!  Gabe will be working along with us too in the Lime Green book, learning upper case letters and fine motor skills.

  • Phonics, Language Arts,  and Science with Time 4 Learning (3x a week for 30 minutes) - I was desperate to find a phonics program that Drew would resonate with. He tolerated the Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons, mastering Kindergarten and part of 1st grade  reading with that book. One thing Drew didn't like about TYC was the repetition - each lesson was exactly the same style - perfect for momma's learning style, but not Drew's! Drew is a random  learner and loves to do different  things each day, so I struggled with finding a phonics curriculum that he would get excited about. Plus I never learned phonics and the phonics kit looked so overwhelming and time consuming!  Then, after a lot of prayer I was directed to Time 4 Learning, the first month was only 4.95 so I thought I'd just give it a 30 day trial and see if Drew liked it. Wow, Drew is so excited to read now. He loves  the changes for each 5 minute lesson and that he can interact with the pages - there are games, songs, clicking on the right answers, books to read aloud, questions to answer, & more. I appreciate that I can log into my portal and see his grades, how long he spent on each assignment and print out  reports for his binder. The 1st grade  account came with language art topics like flowers, planets, sun, photosynthesis, etc and it also came with a life science section, so Drew can add those in when his phonics is done. I've only reviewed this through 1st grade so I can't vouch for the material for older grades. I'm not sure if we'll continue with this once his reading is mastered, but for now this program was a huge answer to prayer!  Gabe has also been using this on the Kindergarten setting and LOVES it! We'll probably allow Gabe to spend about 10 minutes a few days a week  reviewing some phonics too - since he wants to be like his big brother.
  •  The Random Rest: The rest of our days will be spent working through some fun art with Draw Write Now (units match the topics above!), Bible from Kay Arthur's How to Study Your Bible and Catechism/Bible memory from Susan Hunts books, A Child's Geography (review last years chapters and add 4 more), Violin time, Poetry from favorite Poems From Childhood & The Llama Who Had No Pajamas, Health from the Story of Me/Before I Was Born Series, Signing Time Dvd's, Nature Journal, Artists, S.S.R., Lapbooks (download The Big Snow Free on the Lapbook link), Hymns and lots of  Momma reading aloud. We're hoping to work on school Mondays-Thursday's and leave our Friday's for special outings and fun field trips. 
It sure seems like a lot when I  write it down on paper, but we don't do everything each day, the core above we do 3-4 days a week and the random rest fill in the schedules and happen once a week or so. We do have a weekly bible verse and I need to come up with some reward on Friday's for all their hard work - not sure what? The boys love cooking and eating so maybe we'll have a baking party or something fun and new like that each week?

Anyone have any curriculum or schedules that work well?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Who Am I?

I was eight in the video's - carefree, attention provoking, loud and very boisterous. "Who is that girl?" I asked my now 31 year old self? "Surely that was not me? I am so different now?"

Did my circumstances change me?

I was nine when the familiar world around me fell apart and I wanted to be unknown. For most of my early years I  was smart and loved learning and had a family where I felt safe and secure. That life changed as the Winter of record snow fall gave birth to the Spring of my 3rd grade year. I always wanted to go back, to undo the damaged, to go back to the imperfectly good times of rural country life: with pets and family and  the teacher I'd prayed for and -- identity.

Then we moved from rural to city, country landscapes to industry, a home to an apartment, and tragically -- I had to give away my beloved dog.

For the completion of my third grade year I was sentenced to Mrs. White's class. She made no qualms about the fact that she didn't like me. I had always been a good student, but in her class I thought I'd dropped two grade levels. Mrs. White made me wish I was invisible. My most vivid memory was when she made fun of me in front of the whole class because I didn't know the answer to 7x6 and then called me "stupid." I remember she was reading the class A Wrinkle In Time when I first arrived - to this day I hate the book. I never understood what was happening because I'd missed the first few chapters. She didn't bother taking time to summarize the story for me.  Even the children in the class noticed her singling me out and would ask "Why is she so mean to you?"

That 3rd grade year was also when I first heard the words "Schizophrenia."  My father, unable to cope with the stress of moving, was admitted to the psychiatric ward in Portland. His life too -- forever changed by voices and images and paranoia.

My world fell apart  before my 9 year old eyes and my identity was lost. The person I am now has everything to do with the trials life through upon me. Those years before  I found Christ are still hard to process. Without my identity, how was I to find meaning or value or purpose in this life? Even at age nine,  I knew that my identity defined my purpose. My lost identity was found in Jesus Christ at age 15, When I was sealed with Christ I became a new creation and received my new identity in Him.

As I watched my son Drew tonight, building a castle with his daddy,  he is similar to little girl I once was. He is energetic, attention seeking, hard to contain, always learning, always discovering and always moving. Sweet Drew looks like me, talks like me, he even has the same mannerism's as me. He is a random learner who dives into life using concrete ideas - like his momma.

What I see in that glistening child about to embark on his next big "adventure" redeems all those years I lived in dark places. If I had not experienced the dark, then I would have never grown to appreciate the Light. 

 Elisabeth Elliot writes,
"I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things that happen to us that do not belong to our lovingly assigned "portion." ("This belongs to it, that does not")? Are some things, then, out of the control of the Almighty? Every assignment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are canceled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter. A quiet heart is content with what God gives."

"God is the blessed controller of all things,
the king over all kings and the master of all masters."
-1 Timothy 6:15
"Lord, you have assigned me my portion
and my cup; you have made my lot secure."
-Psalm 16:5

I have found contentment with All God gave and will give - for He only gives good gifts!

Daddy & His Little Girl

FIRST 
SECOND
THIRD

Monday, July 4, 2011

Blessings


The heavens declare the glory of God
and the sky proclaims the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1)

977. Celebrating freedom with scones and clotted cream, James Harriot and a book about the statue of Liberty.

978. Visit from my dad from Seattle.

979. Helping John plan the remodel in our pantry - I'm so excited that we're getting a desk downstairs and cabinets so I can store all this school stuff I've collected.

980. The magnificent landscapes of God's creation atop beautiful snow covered mountains.

981. Picture Outtakes!

982. The simple rejuvenation of a day spent resting and playing - thank you Lord for the example of sabbath rest.

983. Husband  home for the summer working on projects and serving others.

984. God's provision for John's Vietnam trip -  we were blessed by so many!

985.  Giggly middle child who makes everything into a funny game. Gabe is the comedian in our home, always smiling and blessing us with his contented spirit.

986. Drew's mental thoughts and the myriad of questions he asks - those questions keep me on my toes and inspire me to be a learning momma!

987. Abby's constant chatter that reminds me how blessed I am to have a little curly haired girl.

988. BBQ chicken and salad surrounded by family on the 4th of July.

989. Religious freedom that allows  me to teach my children at home and wise historians like David Barton who provide great insight into our founding Fathers Christian faith. I listened to Focus on the Family this week on American's founding fathers - much of the information I heard wasn't taught to me in public schools. I am overjoyed that I can give my children the real truth and teach them from a young age about our country's Christian heritage.


Friday, July 1, 2011

David Livingstone

The kids and I are reading living books on Christians who did great things for the Lord. Our most recent book was on David Livingstone - Missionary to Africa in the mid 1800's. One sad point about David Livingstone's life was that he put his mission work ahead of his family. I was so saddened to read about his tragic life and the lives of his children who were ultimately abandoned because he refused to return to Great Britain to care for them after his wife's death. Livingstone was used by God in so many great  ways: to free slaves and bring the gospel to Africa, but at the cost of his most important mission field - his own family. What an example for me today - it brings me to my knees and I ask the Lord, "What can I do today to serve others - my children and husband and neighbors within the context of my family?"

According to Niall Ferguson: "Empire: The rise and demise of the British world order and the lessons for global power". Basic Books, 2003, Livingstone's greatest regret in life, written in his journal just before his death was "... that he did not spend enough time with his children, whom he loved immensely."

Such regrets for such a great man of faith.

So today I'm off to the pool to spend some sweet time with my two youngest children while Drew is at Invention Camp.