Tuesday, May 31, 2011

God's Wonder in the Yard

No time to write today, but I wanted to show you the Eastern Painted Turtle we found in our backyard.  That's right, folks, we can't afford to go anywhere, but God is determined to give these children a summer they will remember, once again!  The Lord is so faithful!  He gives us a life from just the beauty of his hands.  I bought 4 bags of sand and new sand toys, thinking it would give my children something to do. While they do appreciate them, when the turtle showed up, I realized God plans on keeping my kids amused and full of wonder; I needn't worry about buying them a thing.  Why complicate things?  God's wonder is enough for any child.  

 Here is my Beth with her allergy shiners (the tired-looking line under her eye, and puffy eyes).  I took her to the doctor last week to confirm that she's suffering from seasonal allergies.  He used her shiners as a clue, and the fact that her nostrils show swelling inside, which is not the case with the common cold. The swelling is a classic allergy sign.  I didn't realize it was so easy to distinguish the two.  He gave me some Claritin syrup, which the pharmacy sold me in generic form (loratadine). It makes her gag and vomit, so I have to call today for another solution.

We gave him fruits and veggies at first, but then consulted our field guide to learn that he lives in ponds and marshes.  Peter then went to get water laden with tadpoles and snails from our drainage ditch (aka frog pond).  We filled the container with a few inches of this water and decided to keep our little friend until Daddy came home and could enjoy him a little.  They eat snails, tadpoles, small fish, algae, leeches, etc. and bask on logs.

Compassion Blogging Trip
You will find a Compassion Blogging Trip button at the top right of my blog. Click on it to read all the posts from the current Philippines trip. The blog authors are from these blogs:  Inspired to Action, Passionate Homemaking, Simple Mom, Keeper of the Home, and Chatting at the Sky.  Shaun Groves leads these trips, and he also writes wonderful posts about them, at ShaunGroves.com.  The first posts went up yesterday morning, detailing the bloggers' visits with their own sponsored children, during which they visited the Manila Zoo and a restaurant.  Today they will each write about their visit to their sponsored child's home.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Day in the Life of a New Prayer Warrior, Week 2

To read about Day 1 of A Day in the Life of a New Prayer Warrior, click here.
To read about Days 2 & 3 click here.

To read about Days 4 & 5, click here.

Today I will report on Week 2:

I'm grateful to report that prayer is going very well!  The more days I stay faithful, the smoother and more intimate my discourse with God becomes. My joy is greater; my peace is deeper.

Being faithful in prayer means God can finally make big things happen--the spiritual changes our hearts dearly desire!  

He impressed an important basic fact upon me this week.  It's not new to me, and it won't be new to you, but it's profound and essential knowledge--knowledge we simply must take to heart.  

Mothers fret.  They just do.  About the kids' eating habits, playing habits, school habits, spiritual habits, chore habits.  We imagine that every ungodly mistake we make will somehow change our children's futures for the worse.  

And our fretting doesn't stop there.  We fret about the grocery bill, the broken things around the house, keeping up with the messes, the state of the yard and the car, the unfolded laundry clutter, the paperwork that never ends, and finally....we also fret about whether we've given freely enough of our bodies to our husband, who counts on us and only us for those needs.

Fretting takes up a lot of time, no?

This is what the Lord said to me this week:

I only ask one thing of you:  Make time for me; make me number one.  When you wake up and when you go to bed, you will have peace, if you make time for me.  

All these things you fret about?  They're my areas.  You have but one area to worry about........being with me........through prayer, through Bible reading, through worship.  I will order your days, change your ways, take care of you and yours.  

Just be with me.

So friends, let's stop complicating it all, shall we?  

One thing.  Let's be faithful to that.  

Chant it to yourself if you have to--especially when you feel even slightly flustered.  

One thing.  One thing.  One thing.  He only requires one thing.

So tell me, how's the prayer going for you this week?  What have you learned?  Only one person has chosen to share about her prayer life--that post is coming later next week--but if anyone else has a few minutes, could you tell us about your week, just this once?  

Luke 10:41-42
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Deuteronomy 6:5
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength

Matthew 6:33-34
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 55:22
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.

1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself also in the LORD: and he shall give you the desires of your heart.

Isaiah 58:14
then you will find your joy in the LORD, and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob." The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

Nehemiah 8:10
The joy of the Lord is your strength.

Job 33:26
"He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto Him: and he shall see His face with joy: for He will render unto man His righteousness."

Matthew 21:13
My house shall be called the house of prayer.

Psalm 5:11
"But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy name be joyful in Thee."

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours!

Auntie Lorrie and Daddy left for PA after lunch.  There were tears shed, as there always is when our beloved Lorrie leaves.

I cheered up the kids with chalk, paint, sand and water.  Oh, and Popsicles!

My Gratitude List

I'm thankful for....

- every family who gave a beloved son, a beloved husband, for my freedom.

- my husband's kiss goodbye. 

- Lorrie bringing presents for the kids, including the game Trouble.  Finally, something we can all play together--including the two year old! 

- sand castles.

- family bike rides (Mommy jogging along with the jogging stroller).

- a couple days without rain (t-storm expected Sun. eve.,but then no rain for two days).

- new birds for Peter while hiking with Lorrie and Paul (cedar waxwing, yellow warbler, tree swallows, and a baby turtle).

- nighttime talks with my sister-in-law while husband was at work.

- chocolate turtle pie (I accidentally looked at the nutrition info--not pretty, 480 calories, 27 grams fat. The most fattening thing I've ever consumed!  No more of that........okay.........maybe on a holiday.).

- sidewalk chalk flowers. 

- two year olds on training wheel bikes.

- a blue-eyed boy; a brown-eyed boy.

- four-year-old girls singing Baa Baa Black Sheep.

- pink and purple flowers blooming all over.

- corn on the cob.

- mashed sweet potatoes.

- big rubber balls in purple; new sand toys.

- little girls painting with the easel.

- Jack the Black, our hamster, who still delights Peter.

Postcards for Memorial day found here:  http://www.usmemorialday.org/images/cards/index.html

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Praises! and observations

- During a three-hour tornado warning last night, Peter, very upset, hugged me through his tears, saying, "Just in case we die in an hour, I want you to know that I love you so much."

- Trying to make light of it in the third hour, I prayed, among other things, "Dear Lord, remind us that our hope is in you, and not in our clean underwear."  Paul giggled, but Peter was not amused. (Seriously, my worst fear from a tornado, besides knowing that my family is with me and safe, is wondering where my next pair of underwear is coming from.)

- Auntie Lorrie coming for a visit from PA on Friday, taking husband back with her on Sunday, to pick up his friend's mother's old vehicle (1986-year sedan, but with mileage under 40,000)  Husband's nephew worked on the car, fixing several things.  I am very relieved because during tornado warnings I will have a vehicle (our van) to take the children to my aunt's basement, eight minutes away.  I've never heard a tornado siren, but hopefully we'll be given at least twenty minutes to pile all in the van and get there?

- Paul, my art-filled soul, ordered another used Usborne Art book from Amazon (Art Ideas), and checked out their third one from the library (Art Projects).  He does art for at least two hours a day, and oh....how he's in his element!  His whole body exudes joy while he creates. I'm nervous about him getting paint on that library book, though.  I'm so glad for used books, usually purchased for a few dollars plus shipping.  Some of the Usborne Art books list for over $100, but if you keep searching, you can usually find an older, cheaper version. Some of the expensive versions are combination books.

- Husband taking Peter on an early morning birding trip last Saturday.  Peter talked about it for hours--he was overjoyed....but sad it had to come to an end.  It made for a long day for Daddy, who still had eight hours of work to do.  They walked about five miles, so husband was on his feet all day.

- Hearing the kids painting in the dining room while I type this.  I love their conversations during creation times.....ooohs and aaahs over each other's work, and a lot of joy.

- A sweet e-mail friend, whom I met through this blog, offered to tell us about her prayer life.  Anyone else in?

- Miss Beth is in love with chipmunks! We have one that feeds on seeds found under our feeders.  She can't say the first part of the word correctly, but I understand the 'munk part.  So cute to hear her shout with glee, telling Momma she sees a chipmunk.

- Studying the Lord's prayer...learning more of His heart.  I think I'm ready to do a post on it...the next time I have a night free for writing.

- Boys all a wonder at creation....learning that starfish lose appendages and then grow them back.  The fallen off appendages become new starfish!

- Miss Beth's had her fill of painting....time to say... Have a good day! Lord Bless You!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Need Your Help!

In order to truly bless readers with a prayer series, I need some volunteers.

Yes.  That means you!

I have enabled anonymous comments, and would like three volunteers to comment once a week about their prayer lives.  You will follow a simple format, such as:

- What went well
- What was difficult
- What did you learn?

You don't have to chronicle each day.  Just tell how it went for you in a week's time, as a whole.

I will give you code names, such as anonymous 1, anonymous 2, and anonymous 3.  It would probably be helpful to give a little information up front about the number of children you have and their ages, whether you are twenty-something, thirty-something, forty-something....and how long you've been a Believer.

If you say no to this, let it not be because you think you pray less than most people.  Most people don't pray much.  Or, they pray a lot for a week, and then not at all for three weeks--except for a few desperate sentences uttered to the Lord here and there (which is better than nothing--any discourse with God is good).

And the Bible does say we should pray without ceasing, so sentences uttered here and there, all day long, are excellent.  If that is where you are right now, than write about that.

God works with us right where we're at. I've been a Christian for fourteen years, and His message to me now is this:

I expect more discipline from you now. I expect you to live the Word, not just read it.  

I've learned over and over that I can't live the Word, without the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives the Word through me.  Self-effort gets me no where--except at the very moment I sit down to pray.  The Spirit gives me the words--I don't even do the actual praying.

My part is to make regular full stops, and utter the first word.   Same as with Bible reading.  Our part is to sit down at regular intervals, and open the Bible.  I believe most people will agree, that simply sitting down and opening the Bible, is the hardest part.

Prayer is communing with the Spirit.

Prayer is the avenue by which we live the Word.

Bible reading is the avenue by which we learn the Word.

The Spirit is with us during both.

Please join me?  By volunteering, you will automatically have some accountability--something we all need.

Don't worry about how well you write.  Just jot it all down as an anonymous comment, or in an e-mail to me, christine4431(at)ymail (dot)com.  I will edit each entry for spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. Once a week, I'll publish them in a Day in the Life of a New Prayer Warrior post.

Please help?

Edited to add:  On second thought, I think it would work better if you just give me the name you want to use to identify your posts.  Either your real name, or a name you pick out.  Thank you!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Why Do We Struggle With Prayer? Into a Life of Prayer: A Journey, Part 2

To read part 1, click here.

The sad truth is that only a remnant in the Church has an effective prayer life.  If your own prayer life is lacking, don't be ashamed.  You are not alone.

Why is it so hard to pray?  Why do so many of us fail?

Matthew 26:41
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

We are born again Christians--new natures, in old bodies.  Our desire is for holiness, but we live in a body of sin.  Until we die and go to Heaven (and get new, perfect, sinless bodies), we are stuck in our present body, constantly struggling to be Holy.  (Romans 7:18 - 8:4)  God designed it this way so we would be dependent on Him--so that all glory would go to Him.

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;

Many things hinder our prayers, all under the umbrella of the flesh. Here are some examples:

- unbelief in the power of prayer; hopelessness

- chasing after the things of this world; worldliness

- broken relationships; discouragement

- ongoing sin

- the enemy

But, there is hope!  Though our flesh is weak and hinders our prayers, it does not prevent them.  Nothing can separate us from Christ--from communing with Him in prayer.

Romans 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

   “For your sake we face death all day long;
   we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

If you're having trouble praying, or sticking to a habit of prayer, the answer is.....wait for it......more prayer!  More prayer is more of Christ. 

When we choose to walk with the Spirit instead of the flesh, the Spirit intercedes for us, helping us to be holy.

Romans 8: 26-27
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Friends, I beseech you, walk with the Spirit.  Pray.  Do it with me!  There are a mere seventy readers out there.  A remnant.  Seventy people, praying like warriors, can do mighty things for Him.

Choose prayer.  Choose Him   Choose life abundant.  Choose holiness.  

Are you in?

What are you waiting for?  

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day in the Life of a New Prayer Warrior--Days 4 & 5

I published something this morning about art, but since I don't think I'll get any writing time tonight, I wanted to update you now on my praying.

To read about Day 1 of a Day in the Life of a New Prayer Warrior, click here.

To read about Days 2 & 3 of a Day in the Life of a New Prayer Warrior, click here.

To read the first post in my prayer series Into a Life of Prayer--A Journey, click here.

Here I will chronicle Days 4 & 5:

Day 4 was my day to pray alone.  On the other pray-alone days, I started almost immediately after putting the boys to bed (unless there were dishes to do).  On night 4, however, I was thinking about the cute, new-hat pictures I wanted to download of my girls.  It had been a difficult evening with my older son, and I wanted to drink in the blessing of my girls--in photos.

Now friends, let me tell you, I failed.  The Holy Spirit said to me:  No!  Do it like the other nights. Put God first.  No photos, no e-mail, no news, no other writing.

I told myself I would just download the pictures, writing something about them another time--thereby getting to my prayer in a just a few minutes.

But no, my desire to put me first--my desires first--trumped my desire to be a prayer warrior.  I ended up writing about what my girls meant to me, instead of getting to the prayer.

In the midst of my post about the girls, Beth woke up coughing from allergy-related post-nasal drip.  After settling her back down, my Mary had a night terror, which occasionally happens lately.  I held her through it until she fell asleep.  While holding her, I fell asleep until Beth cried out again from her room.

You've heard people say you'll never sleep well again until your kids leave home?  Yeah.  Right on.

I'm not complaining, mind you.  I love my little ones.  And I'm sure I'll love staying up late, listening to my teenagers pour their hearts out.  That is coming, people tell me.  Teenagers take up your sleep time too, not with their snotty noses or night terrors, but with their complicated feelings.

I never got back to the living room at all that night.  I awoke at 1:30 AM, brushed my teeth and washed my face, and headed back to sleep.  If I had attempted to do much more, I probably would have suffered insomnia the rest of the night.

I was horribly disappointed in myself.....but I learned a lot.  Always put God first. I can't even entertain other ideas for my time, until I've put God first.  To experience all that He has for me, and for my family--in terms of relationship--I simply must put Him first.

The next day I tried to make up for the previous night's prayer time, by praying as I was nursing Beth to sleep for her nap.  This is a regular prayer time for me, but not a long one, or a particularly organized one.  I kept losing my focus, and never got beyond Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving.  My mind skipped around shamefully.  It made me realize that my prayer blog is my saving grace, in terms of disciplined prayer.  I can focus so well there, praying for thirty minutes without even thinking about it.

The next night, Day 5, was husband and wife prayer night.  We got back from church at 8:45 PM, and started putting the children to bed.  Peter's OCD flares up after church for some reason, so Sunday night is always emotionally exhausting.  As well, the children are all over-stimulated, which makes for a fun night  exhausting tuck-in time.  I can't wait until our schedule allows for morning church!

As soon as the last child fell asleep, I went right to the living room to join my husband.  I starting praying as soon as I sat down, so the enemy wouldn't have a single minute to work on me.

I prayed for about fifteen minutes, then it was husband's turn.  From sheer exhaustion, I partially reclined in the easy chair as he began praying.  I spent time in the sun that day with the children, which always seems to sap my energy.

Not that four young children can sap your energy or anything.

Yeah...it was the sun.

My poor husband.

I actually fell asleep toward the end of his prayer!   Can you believe how spiritual I am?

Other than this revealing information, I wanted to tell you about something I'll definitely use for tonight's prayer.

A list.

Yes, in order to consistently pray for the people in my life, I can't do without a list.

I plan on keeping a list taped to the side of the computer, which will include:

- my immediate extended family, husband's immediate extended family
- other family, less known to us
- neighborhood families
- friends from other states
- friends from Ohio
- my online friends
- church acquaintances, pastors

I will rotate praying for all the people and needs on this list.

So, friends, that's my update.

How is it going for you?

(Part 2) Art for Kids--Making an Investment

Last week I wrote about investing in art books for children.  Today I'd like to cover the art supplies you'll need on hand as your children explore different art techniques.

The book above, which we recently obtained (we bought a used, 2002 hardcover, 12x9 edition), teaches basic art techniques, including:

tissue paper collage
oil pastel resist
collage with ink drawing
dragged paint
tissue paper rubbings
cardboard and potato printing
cut paper
techniques for trees
printing with a sponge
pastel and ink resist
creating textured papers
techniques for skies
mixed media collage
painted patterns
patterns with plastic foodwrap
watercolor washes
tissue paper and glue collage
printing with an eraser
techniques for water
wet inks and chalk pastels
adding gold highlights
tessellating and transforming shapes
continuous line drawing
techniques for fur
wet-on-wet painting
magazine paper collage
wax resist and splattering
paper collage
oil pastel resist and splattering
techniques for feathers
watercolor effects
chalk pastels
lifting off watercolor paint
scratched paint and pastels
collage with found objects
pencil and eraser drawings

If you're like me, you've never heard of many of these techniques!  My own education lacked any art emphasis--no performing arts, no visual arts.  I want more for my children.  I can't very well jump into a music curriculum for them--me, who can't carry a tune--but I can do something.

I can make time for them to participate in the Christmas Pageant every year, and in other productions; I can sign them up for basic music classes when they're appropriate for our budget; I can purchase simple recorders (a basic musical instrument) and accompanying book; and especially right now, I can invest in art materials they can explore at home.  

Let me say again here that my boys (ages 7 and 9) use our new Usborne art book independently (as well as our Usborne drawing books), due to the excellent illustrations and explanations.  If you're busy with little ones at home, your older children can still glean much from a good basic art skills book.

You'll likely need the following supplies on hand, if you do invest in a basic art book.  I plan on keeping this list in my purse--purchasing them a little at a time.

- watercolor

- acrylic

- poster

- gouache

Pastels (usually sold in sets)
oil pastels
chalk pastels

colored inks, which come in bottles, or you can use ink from a pen cartridge

- thick watercolor paper that is 190gsm (90lb) or above that won't wrinkle too much when you paint on it

- bristol paper coming in pads or individual sheets (wrinkles when you paint on it)

- colored writing paper

- textured paper

- old magazines

felt-tip pens with permanent ink

Enjoy their creativity, letting it color your world!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Let the Blessings Flow

My Gratitude List

- sisters in pink hats

- sisters side by side in the mud

- a dent in weed pulling (many hours left)

- sunshine making the greens so brilliant

- six people at the dinner table

- whole wheat and flaxseed pancakes with mixed berries ( 5 to 1 ratio on the wheat and flax)

- a quiet house after a noisy day

- a yard with shade trees

- flowerbeds full of weeds, to give us something to do together ( together is my favorite thing, when it comes to my family...together is beautiful)

- sisters who kiss each other good morning and good night

- sisters who squeal and giggle at each other as they ride bikes, and trade bikes

- penny rides at the ice cream stop

- the eyes of a child, when you put an ice cream cone in his hands 

- a yard to delight my children (I never watch my children on the lawn without thinking about all the children raised in apartments..or worse.  My children are blessed.)

- my heavenly father, who gifted me with daughters when I was 40 and 42 years old  

I think most women will tell you that their unplanned babies brought very special blessings....which is why I say....let the babies come!  Say no to anyone else, but never to God.  He knows everything!  My girls are pure sunshine to me--brightening even the darkest days.  My boys are just as wonderful, of course--hopefully that truth is evident on this blog.  But somehow God knew that without daughters--these two daughters--our lives would be too heavy.  That's the only way I can describe it, when I think of life without them.  Heavy.  The various disorders we've got going on here contribute to that word heavy.  What do we really know about our coming years?  Nothing.  Only God knows. We can't afford to say no to Him, can we?  

As an aside:  Whenever I say something like this--I'm sure it annoys some out there--I don't mean to imply that a woman should discount everything a doctor has told her about her reproductive health.  I know a woman who nearly died from preeclampsia, twice (her two children are healthy).  Her doctor asked her not to get pregnant a third time, as it would be too dangerous.  Unless God gives a very clear message otherwise, I think we should listen to our doctors--really skilled, experienced doctors--unless they advise something akin to abortion.  

I don't understand infertility, in terms of why God would allow such a horror, when so many woman have plentiful babies.  Infertility really is a horror.  But I do know Him.  I trust Him.  It is so hard to do that.....to trust Him.  But we must.  He provides the tools, the giftedness, the wisdom, the grace, to carry out His design for our lives.  When we trust Him, blessings flow....our lives are all that He meant them to be, here on Earth.

If you're like me, and your husband has already decided you will have no more babies, submit to the decision in your heart. (Yes, it is so hard!) In your coming years, maybe God has orphans for you to adopt.....and a changed heart for your husband?  Or a family member's children to care for?  We just don't know, but I believe God honors our trust in Him.  And He is pleased when we respect our husbands, who are just trying to do their best.  Leadership is hard.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day in the Life of a New Prayer Warrior--Days 2 & 3

To go back to Day 1 of Day in the Life of a New Prayer Warrior, click here.

To read the 1st post of my prayer series, Into A Life of Prayer--A Journey, click here.

Days 2 & 3 chronicled below:

My husband and I worked out three days a week for husband/wife prayer. This will occur on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday--days he is home by 10:00 PM.  On the remaining days I will pray on my own, after the kids have gone to bed, and husband is at work.

I also decided to give the boys three days a week to pray on their own, saving four days for corporate family prayer in the mornings.  The earlier they develop this pray-alone discipline, the more impact it will have in their lives, making them mighty warriors for Jesus.  They already read the Bible on their own seven days a week--from Psalms or Proverbs, or rereading what we've read together.

On Day Two of my prayer warrior journey, then, I prayed with my husband.  We used the ACTS acronym and prayed for twenty minutes.  It would have been longer, but he had a sneezing allergy attack halfway through our prayer.  He is so ready to move to Arizona.  The allergy shot series he had in California left him feeling good for several years, but now he is miserable again, and showing signs of mild asthma on exertion.  We had a lot of health issues to pray about!  Paul has had a few incidents of wheezing, but nothing like I've heard from husband.  This has turned out to be a severe allergy season for our family, for whatever reason.  Excessive rain--record breaking rain--is the only environmental change I've noticed this year. Rain itself is not supposed to aggravate allergies, but maybe it leads to more tree pollen over a season?

Anyway, we appreciated the time to pray together, uninterrupted by children, and we were happy to set regular dates for our prayer.  Being intentional is so important!  Marking a calendar or creating a prayer schedule helps the whole family draw closer to God.

I didn't have to convince my husband of anything to make this happen. While I wouldn't describe him as a prayer warrior, he definitely does value prayer.  We started our marriage being very consistent about husband/wife prayer, but when our first colicky baby came along, joint prayer suffered.  It has been good at times since then, and spotty other times.

If your husband is less receptive to husband/wife prayer, just pray about it consistently, letting God do the work in your husband's heart.

On Day Three of my prayer warrior journey, I was alone in the house, after putting the kids to bed.  I was exhausted, but thankfully I had done the dishes and shuffled the laundry earlier in the evening.  I drank some water and then sat right down to begin praying, using my new prayer blog.  I considered how nice it was that I didn't have to look for anything--pen, pencil, pad of paper, etc.  I just had to sit down and start typing.

As an aside:  I had done about an hour of research the night before on The Lord's Prayer, using sermons given by John Calvin (1507-1564),  John Wesley (1703 - 1791), and Charles Spurgeon (1834 - 1892).  I wanted to know why the ACTS acronym has us praying confession second, but the Lord's Prayer (not meant to be recited, but to model prayer after) has confession further down.  It makes more sense to me to ask for forgiveness up front, but I wanted to model my prayer along the line of the Lord's Prayer.

I will do a post on structuring prayer as soon as I'm done with my research.  Husband pointed out that the Bible, when taken as a whole, seems to point to the importance of confession up front, after admiration--though he agreed The Lord's Prayer clearly isn't structured that way. Interesting subject that I will look into more--although as I said before, I think the Lord is happy with any discourse, and his Holy Spirit will help us structure our prayer in a way that pleases God.

Anyhow, for Day Three, I continued to pray using the ACTS acronym.  The typing definitely kept me very focused and disciplined.

I had about thirteen minutes of prayer time before Beth woke up.  After nursing her for fifteen minutes, I came back out and resumed my prayer, going for another fifteen minutes.  I really think I've found what works for me!  It was so easy to sit right down and get started, despite my exhaustion.

So tell me....how is it going for you?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Art for Kids--Making an Investment

Do you know what makes me very happy during the day?  

Watching my kids create.  

If we want minimal use of screen time, we have to provide alternatives.  Art is a wonderful option.  We found a $34 Usborne Art Skills book for around $4.80 used, labeled very good condition, from the Amazon site.  I've found that the used book companies who advertise on Amazon actually have better service than Amazon itself.  And the books labeled very good condition always come looking like new!

At seven and nine years old, the boys were able to open this book (open in front of Paul above) and do the suggested techniques independently.  With a two year old running around, it would have been hard for me to direct them.  I was thanking my Lord for this book, and for the boys' enthusiasm! My Paul, especially, needs to create.  Art is inside that boy--waiting to be expressed!

If you start searching now, in a few months you'll have quite a nice library of art books on hand.  You will be very pleased with your investment.  The Usborne company is outstanding, and you can start with their inexpensive paperback drawing books shown above (I Can Draw Animals; I Can Draw People)

I am learning to distinguish between arts and crafts.  Ideally, kids should experience both.  The points listed below, found here, are good general distinctions between art and craft:

Art is a form of work that expresses emotions and expressions.  
Craft is a form of work, which has a physical form just like in moulding and carving. 
While Craft is quantified, Art seldom is.   
One can create duplicate craft forms, which is not possible with art.  
Art forms move people emotionally, whereas crafts attract people.  
Unlike craft, art is known to come out of the heart and soul.  
Crafts are a product of the mind.   
In art, it is the emotions that flow out whereas in craft no emotion is involved.  
Art comes out from a person’s innate talents whereas craft is the result of experience.