Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Joys of a Good Story

Jordan and I are reading Watership Down by Richard Adams together. Jordan begs for more of it constantly.

The protagonists of this story face a series of evils and overcome them. They are quick and clever and manage to defeat their enemies time after time. This is basically a good vs. evil story, and good wins, as is only right. We just completed a portion of the story that describes a daring rescue. Jordan kept shouting "Yes!" and "Alright!" as I read aloud. This is an exciting, well-written book.

Oh, and have I mentioned it is about rabbits? Yes, rabbits.

These critters think, talk, plan and dream but physically they act as rabbits would normally and they live as rabbits do --except for story telling and talking. Mr. Adams used a naturalist to guide him. The book is conversational in tone, certainly what Charlotte Mason would call a living book. Definitely a classic.

There are dark parts to this story, and humorous bits as well. There are parallels with real life. Some lessons could be drawn from the adventures of the characters. There are even some political commentaries inherent in the book, if you care to look for them.

But mostly, this is just a good story. The kind kids love. (I wonder if it ever could have been written today. Rabbits might be considered to childish or something. Kinda sad really.)

What books excite your children?

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Random Thing I Learned Today

Today I found out that it is easier to open bananas from the bottom instead of the top. A funny thing to learn on a homeschool nature hike, but where would you learn something like that in the normal course of events?

It happened because we found a banana peel on the ground and one of the Dads picked it up to put in the trash. “Ah. There must be a monkey around.”  (“Why?” ask assorted children.) “Because this banana is open from the bottom. Or maybe it’s just someone who has learned to open bananas properly. I saw a documentary once that showed that this is how monkeys open bananas. But I also have a friend who told me that it is easier to open bananas from the bottom. I tried it and found he was right. It’s easier to do and the banana doesn’t squish so much.”

It just so happened that Jordan and I had bananas for our snack. So I tried opening mine from the bottom. It was easier. And cleaner. Wow.

Well, you learn something new every day, right? What’s your something for today?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy New Year!

Today is the first day of the Christian year.

While even most churches barely give a nod to it these days, it used to be a religious high point for most liturgical churches. There would be changes in worship -- additions to prayers, new colors and a more festive atmosphere.  The idea is new beginnings.

I love new beginnings. This one is the lead up to the celebration of Christ's birth and I as I mentioned, is barely noticed. In fact I posted "Happy New Year!" as my Facebook status on the first day of Advent and got berated for not waiting until after Christmas, until I pastor posted a comment explaining. But, then I am not sure how much the secular new year on Jan. 1 is really noticed. There are parties and some people make New Year's Resolutions that keep for a little while, maybe, but the rhythm's of life don't change at that point.

I think most of us, in the U.S., are most attuned to the academic year. Things start fresh in schools and churches in late summer/early fall and wrap up in June. Even after we leave school and our own children have moved on, we feel that rhythm. It was the rhythm of our childhood.

Still, I like the Christian New Year, too. The idea of following Christ's life through the calendar.

What do you think?

Have a great day -- and Happy New Year!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Hymn of Thanksgiving

In Honor of Thanksgiving.

Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the creator triumphantly raise.
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to the end of our days.
God's banners are o'er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night.
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished
As forward we travel from light into light.

His law he enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration a Song let us raise
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:
"To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!"


                                      ~ Katherine K. Davis

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Prayer for Healing.

Many of my family and friends are in need of healing in one form or another -- whether from strokes, disease, a cold, an injured foot, a hurting heart or emotional stress. I came across this prayer, written by John Burch and posted Faith and It captures some of what I would like to say. I hope you find it useful, too.

A Prayer for Today

When I pray for healing, Lord,
I sometimes feel so inadequate,
ill-equipped for the task.
There are so many I could name
who are in need of healing.
Those who hurt physically,
and others whose hurts go deeper,
whose scars cannot be seen to the naked eye.
Yet all need healing,
all need making whole again.
There are broken bones
and broken hearts, Lord.

You had a way,
a gentle and loving way
of dealing with hurts,
physical and spiritual.
You healed the whole person,
something medicine can never do.
You reached the very cause,
not just the symptoms.

When I pray for healing, Lord,
I sometimes feel so inadequate,
ill-equipped for the task.
All I can do
is bring their names to your feet,
holding them tightly in my prayers,
then hand them over
for you to touch,
in the way that only you
can touch.

Read more at:
Under Creative Commons License: 

Do you have any prayers to share?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Memorial

"Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure."
                                                                                                     ~Abraham Lincoln

Today, in honor of Veteran's Day, my town dedicated a new granite WWII Memorial Monument to replace the old decaying wooden one. It was at the request of veteran's and the town paid for it without  using any local taxes or government grants. It was all private donations from local residents, organizations and businesses. It was put up this week.

Jordan took pictures of both the building and the dedication. He go to learn about Armistice Day, weight load limits, cranes, monument building, granite and patriotism.

I hope that he learned how important it is to thank veteran's. I think I will set an example. To all of you military men and women, current and former, young and old, living and dead, whatever war you served in or if you served in peace:


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Fall came late this year, but it came with startling beauty.

At least that's how I see it. It actually seemed that there would be no "peak" this season, no time when everything burst into color. In fact, just yesterday there was green mixed in with dullish autumn colors. But today.... bright and glowing with the light just perfect for viewing.

It was so beautiful that we gave up lessons and went to look. I have a feeling that this will be a short autumn as the trees are literally raining leaves.

Jordan brought along his camera,and these are his pictures I am posting.

I wonder if maybe it's because we had to wait so long for it that it seems so much better, so much more vibrant this time around. It's like that with some things, isn't it? I think maybe that's sometimes why God's answer to our prayer might be "wait".

Anyway, today has given us an unexpected blessing and I'm grateful we got to enjoy it.


What's your fall looking like?

Jordan taking pictures...

I wish I could get a picture of Jordan absorbed in a photo shoot. He gets so wrapped up in it. His face just shines and his whole body is involved in the experience.

Today, I looked at him, lying on the ground in a  pile of leaves utterly concentrating on what he was seeing through the lens. He seemed to be in a perfect spot. He took pictures of trees, of individual leaves on the ground, of geese, of a woodpecker, of anything that caught his eye. The light was brilliant, the leaves in their fall glory. It was just enchanting.

I do wish I could get a picture of him like that, but it would have to be a seize the moment kind of thing and he always has the camera at those times. I guess I'll just have to rely on my memory.

What pictures would you like of your children? Have you been able to capture them as you want to?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Diabetes Awareness Stuff

November is Diabetes Awareness Month.

Everything has a month I guess.

A friend of mine just died of complications from Type 1 Diabetes. It is treatable to a point, but it's tough to manage.

Type 2 Diabetes runs in my family and I hope to hold it off with a sensible diet and exercise. Apparently, as obesity has risen in our population so has this type of diabetes and it is now even seen in children fairly often.

Here are a few links for more information. I think they are legitimate, but use common sense.

American Diabetes Association (General Information)
About symptoms:
Tips and recipes:

A dessert recipe from a website for diabetics:

Apple Pecan Upside Down Cake
Ingredients: butter (one-fourth cup), flour (one cup), baking powder (one teaspoon), cinnamon (2 teaspoons), brown sugar (half cup), vanilla (1 teaspoon), toasted pecans (half cup), thinly sliced apples (3), granulated sugar (one-fourth cup), eggs (2)

  • Foil a baking pan and spray nonstick cooking spray onto it. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt in a bowl.
  • Beat butter in a bowl with brown sugar and granulated sugar with the help of a blender. Add egg white and vanilla and continue beating. Now add flour mixture in it. Mix properly.
  • Add the sliced apples in the baking pan and add the above mixture onto them and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool the pan and invert onto a serving plate. Remove the foil carefully.
  • Serve it warm with sliced apple pieces.

And some cool quotes:

Trying to manage diabetes is hard because if you don't, there are consequences you'll have to deal with later in life.
Bryan Adams

Diabetes is a word, not a sentence. 

Diabetics don't need sugar to be sweet.

Life is not over because you have diabetes. Make the most of what you have, be grateful.
Dale Evans

Have  a blessed day!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Seeing Jesus Face to Face

A memorial service was held yesterday for my pastor friend, Charlie Crook, at the church he was serving when he died. Near the end of the service, the pastor asked us to listen to a song  and imagine that this was what Charlie was doing. Over the loud speakers came a recording of Charlie's voice, sing this song by Aaron Jeffrey. It was the most touching moment in a very poignant service. 

Restless days stand in a clouded haze
Before my weary eyes
As I pray your kingdom come
Like a thief in the night
You know this 
world can be unkind sometimes
When you don't bow to its whims
But one day you'll take me far from here
Where the 
sun never dims

Beyond my eyes 
Beyond the sky
Where tears turn to hope
And hope's the way of life
Beyond my fears
Beyond here
Beyond the realm of time and space
I'll see Jesus 
face to face

I know some souls who made it there
Oh God, I miss them so
They traded in their earthly cares
To kneel before your throne
But if I could see them now
I know they'd cheer me on
Down this narrow road I'm 
traveling on
That leads me home 
That leads me home

(Repeat chorus)

Charlie is indeed seeing Jesus face to face now. What joy it is!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Preparing for Death

This topic has been coming up a lot lately, especially with my twelve year old. I'm not sure why it keeps popping up in different circumstances, but it does.

We have been studying Ephesians 6: 10-20, the passage about the armor of God.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,  and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

When we got to the part about our "feet being fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace," we talked about what it means to be ready. First, we discussed being ready to tell others about Jesus. Then, we realized that there was more to it than that. This passage was written to people who were being persecuted and might face martyrdom at any time. They needed to be ready for death.

We also attended a funeral this week. The friend who died was a Christian, a pastor and only 50 years old. The man who gave the message spoke of how Charlie was ready for death and how he would want us to all be ready, too, by knowing Jesus and being hopeful of Heaven. That lead to converstation in the car on the same topic.

There have been other instances when are talk went to this subject. My son hasn't been fearful or morbid in these conversations. He seems to take them in his stride and just be looking for information. He has seen death this year, as his beloved grandmother passed away from cancer. He also was seriously ill himself at one point though (thankfully!!!) he is fine now. My son also knows Jesus. I suppose we are just in a season in which this topic is on his mind and mine.

Are you prepared for death?