Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Prayer For a New Season

I can't wait to get back to our school routine and I'm itching for fall weather too. Whenever I catch myself wanting to rush a season, I slow down and remember that each day is a gift and each day offers a special grace or surprise, courtesy of our loving and attentive Heavenly Father. I downloaded some pictures to remind me of summer's graces.
For the most part the weather and mosquitoes were terrible, and our favorite garden vegetable, yellow squash, failed for the first time ever. Just too wet and not enough sun this summer. The giant pumpkins died on the vine too.
But there were blessings, as the photos below attest to. And there is hope for a better summer next year.
I love even the sound of that word...hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

In a couple weeks I start schooling the boys again, along with Mary who will be a first grader. Beth will join in as I have time to accomodate her.
I made room for Mary's weak attention span last year, her kindergarten year, but this year I plan to work her hard. She'll likely need the Lord's grace and strength to make the adjustment. And Momma too, because household duties will get behind as I sit with her for longer segments this year.
My hope is that the right schedule will come together, with God's help, so we're learning and having fun together at the same time. And to maintain Momma's sanity, I pray that under my tutelage, the children will surpass chore expectations as well as their schooling goals.
And on that note, I'll pray for our family and yours as we look to fall:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for your love and unending grace. Thank you for the opportunity to pray and share our hopes with you. A new season will dawn soon and we thank you for it. We thank you for four seasons--four modes of fun and beauty each year. Your plan is amazing. You are amazing.
Please bless this blog community as we tackle new challenges in time management and parenting. May our standards be high and our children respond well. Shower us with grace for one another and for ourselves as we start anew. Keep our eyes on you and on what you've done--not on ourselves. Change our hearts from selfish to sacrificial. May we live in this world but be heaven-minded.

The world is so very lost, Lord, and that can be scary. We read that 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women are addicted to pornography. We read that more and more children are losing their Christian worldview, not to mention their purity. Help us to say no to unsupervised Internet access. Help our children to stand strong for you. Help us, as parents, to practice what we preach. May our children and our families as a whole, become excited readers and doers of the Word this fall.

Give us discernment in all things, Lord. We humbly ask you for wisdom. We humbly ask you for blessing in our homes. Knit us together tightly, Lord. Parent to child and child to parent and sibling to sibling. May we stand strong as one unit, defeating Satan's schemes. May your mercy and grace follow us throughout our days. May we love you with all our hearts, never putting ourselves first, but you.
May we bless the least of these this fall, Father, whether it be through Compassion International or another entity. Help us to give thanks for our blessings, hold them loosely and spread them wide. May we write many a letter to our sponsored children, telling them that yes, Jesus loves them. They are valued, loved, beyond words by their Heavenly Father and by us. May the words sink deep into their hearts, Lord. May they no longer be bound by hopelessness, Father, but by love. Redeem their stories, Lord, and ours too as we give. Make beauty from ashes in our hearts and theirs.
Bless each and every marriage represented in this blog community. May we love one another, sacrifice for one another, extend mercy to one another, for your glory and for the good of our children's someday-marriages. May the health of their marriages begin building today, as our own strengthen.
May we look for blessing and beauty in each September day, may we give thanks, and may we slow down for fixed prayer, honoring our first love. Jesus.
In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Our ninth annual visit to the county fair!

We're at my aunt and uncle's house here, who are hosting my mom during her visit. Yes, you count five children here. One is a third cousin.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mommy's Charm School (for the Hyperactive and Exuberant)

I don't neglect my children's hearts. Can I just say that tonight?

Now the folding of laundry? Yes, neglected. The sweeping of the front porch? Neglected. Vacuuming the van? Neglected. Wiping of windows? Don't ask. It's been years for the outside windows, I'm ashamed to say.

Recently, I learned there's something else I've neglected.

My mother, visiting here for ten days but staying with her sister, said I have four spirited children. She thinks it will be difficult when they're all teens. (By the way, they've behaved well this week. Go figure.)

Then last Sunday my uncle referred to Beth and Paul as live wires. Paul, because he got exuberant while watching a football game at their house. And Beth because she likes to twirl around and jump like a ballerina, all for show. She's a ham that way.

Beth also likes to jump in your arms like a happy little frisky dog. She's very cuddly, just not subtle about getting the affection and attention.

I think I've told you I'm shy? That I don't like to make waves? That I'm so not outspoken? When someone says something about my children that I don't like, I seethe privately.

Spirited? Live wires?

Well, yes.

I have one child officially diagnosed with ADHD, but most mothers with this disorder in the house will attest that all her children exhibit some of the same characteristics, but perhaps not to the same debilitating extent.

Yes, they're all live wires. We burn our calories here, thank you very much. If we owned a treadmill it would be used by someone all the live long day.

I was mad, you know. Neither my uncle nor my mother meant any offense, but I took it and hid it (offense, that is).

Here I spend oodles of time on these children's hearts, and all I get in return is people telling me they're hyperactive?

Aren't they sweet and nice too, people, and don't they have clean language habits? We don't allow darn, dang, crap, or any other fake cuss word.

Aren't they friendly and engaging, rather than having their noses in some electronic thing?

Where can a mother get a little credit for her standards and hard work? I don't look for credit unless I get too much of the opposite.

I lamented to my husband for an hour one night, nearly in tears about these live wire-type comments. He was hurt by it too, and even wondered why God would give us four hyperactive children? It's exhausting, especially when they're all talking out of turn at the dinner table.

After about 36 hours I got over my anger and then I asked God for help. At least I said 36 hours and not 48. That's progress folks.

What can I do to make the world focus on their hearts, rather than on their wiggly bodies?

If I want people to see Jesus in them, I need to make their hyperactivity less distracting. I need to get the focus off the external, somehow.

God did help me, with a crazy, maybe-even-fun idea.

Mommy's charm school.

I've instituted charm-school rules and now, starting today at Save A Lot, they walk in lines. No running, twirling, jumping, skipping, hopping. No ballet moves, no football moves. No touching and hands at your sides. No weaving in and out of poles or chains or railings. No bounding up the stairs. No bounding at all, in fact.

I don't have a whistle like the father in The Sound Of Music, but I do have a secret signal to let them know they're exhibiting live-wire bodily movements.

Are you ready for it? Mommy's charm school warning signal?

The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plains.

You go Eliza Dolittle.

Why is Ann Shirley such an endearing heroine (Ann of Green Gables)? Because she's a live-wire with a huge, compassionate heart. She's equal parts stubborn and loving. She's three parts dreamy and one part practical. I love Ann Shirley but the world rolls their eyes at her type.

I love my children's exuberance, even if it exhausts me. They make their own fun and enjoy life without a dime to their names. They talk and shout and laugh and jump and twirl. They're alive in every sense of the word. That's something in this day and age.

But when we go out into the world as Christians, we have to let our hearts shine. Not our bodies or our clothes or our loud voices. Not our fancy cars or nails. Just our hearts, center stage.

Here's hoping Mommy's Charm School works to get the focus where it belongs.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Prayer of Surrender

Dear Heavenly Father,

We love you. We thank you for the radical love that made you say, "yet not my will, but yours be done” as you faced suffering and humiliation on the cross. Help us to live each day with that same radical surrender and humility. We want to, Father, for your glory.

Thank you for the gift of motherhood, whether by birth or adoption. To be a mother, Father, is a rich existence. Could anything be sweeter? Could anything but you fulfill us more? Thank you also for the depth of that love blows us away sometimes.

And you conceived it all, Father...both marriage and motherhood for our good pleasure and as a medium to refine our hearts. Help us to be clay in your hands as we mother and love. The selfless mothers are the best ones, Father, and we want to be that kind. The Jesus mothers. The ones who go out to the garden and pray "yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Whatever it is besides you, Lord, that we're clinging to, break the bond for us. Free us to love as radically as you do. May we regard our Bibles as daily manna without which we can't survive. May we regard prayer as our lifeblood, connecting to your Holy Spirit throughout the day. May we draw from your divine love as you enfold us in a holy embrace. Then, Father, from the overflow of that love may be serve and love others.

Help us to really see the connection between walking with you, and bringing you glory. If we don't walk in your footsteps to Calvery, we can't bring you glory. Full surrender is what we're after, Father. We want it with our whole hearts.

Satan whispers in our ear about this and that, trying to steal us away or discourage us about our God walk. Maybe one day it's that sylish dress, another day it's that lovely large garden or expensive scent. Maybe it's that couple over there who seem to have everything. Maybe it's that neighbor child with the near-perfect SAT scores, making us wonder if our child has enough smarts. Satan's rarely quiet and it's always something trying to steal away our contentedness and gratitude.

Mere distractions. Mirages. Help us to see through it, Lord. Distraction and discouragement are Satan's bullets. May we not fall, Father.

Make our lives matter for eternity, Lord? May we leave legacies behind that bring you glory. May our children rise up and call us blessed, knowing you're behind our radical love. May they see you clearly in our smile, in our embrace, and may they follow you, Father. Oh, to see our children in eternity, Father. How we long for that. Protect them from enemy lies; give them discernment. Call them children after your own heart.

We lay down our lives, Lord, without fear for tomorrow. Use us.

In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Let Love Win

Regular readers may know by now that my 90-year-old father-in-law, a Florida resident, may come to live with us. He's fallen recently and is in a rehab center now, getting stronger daily in small leaps.

I speak to him on the phone daily to get to know him better and track his progress.

This probably seems strange, but although I've been married 14 years, I've seen my father-in-law only twice for short Florida visits--once in the year after we married, and again when my first child was 9 months old.

He doesn't care to fly or travel and we don't have travel funds. And for the last five years, up until Father's Day 2013, Luther gave all of us the silent treatment, not answering the phone, not reading our letters.

I think that phone call on Father's Day, from Luther to us, was an answer to our prayers and Part One of God's plan to help Luther finish well. Luther's fall two weeks ago was Part Two of God's redemption plan.
Some days Luther seems interested in living with us, and other days he leans toward a retirement home.

At any rate he knows the risk of falling again is too great to continue living alone. What will Luther ultimately choose?

What does God want? What is his divine plan for my father-in-law's last months or years on this earth? I wonder about this daily now. If we are actors and actresses following an already-written script (God's will) what is my next scene about...and what is Luther's about?

Certainly it would be hard both for him and for us if he lives here. The children are noisy and needy and the chores and tasks are many. My plate is already full. And Luther has lived alone some 40 years now, never remarrying after his wife died in a car accident when my husband was 16. How will he adjust to having housemates? Will he shout and bark at us to be quiet?

What happens when my ADHD son has a meltdown? Will Grandpa interfere? Will I get angry at him and him at me? Will he love my son unconditionally, or favor the other children?

Will Luther have picky meal requests on top of my children's pickiness? What will I make for dinner, pray tell? What if my pineapple-upside down cake tastes too sweet, compared to his wife's?

On the one hand it all seems so messy, but God has a purpose for every stage of our lives. He allows our bodies to give out gradually. In the 80's and 90's we lose our balance and fall frequently. We can't quite get to the bathroom in time and we feel so tired, needing daily naps.

Does all this deterioration happen for a reason--beyond just the sin curse?

Parents care for babies and young children despite the exhaustion and intensity, day and night. We all survive and hopefully our little ones stay out of trouble, if not thrive during these years.

Later, it reverses. Elderly parents need the same care from us that decades earlier they provided for us. Even down to the potty care, bath care, feeding care and settling them down for a nap.

Why this cycle? What is God's intention? After living separately for decades, suddenly parent and child are back together under one roof, sometimes with fear as to how it will turn out?

As I've talked to God about this, I think I'm hearing these words--redemption, amends, forgiveness, grace, mercy, gratitude.

Most of all, I think God wants Luther to finish well. The Lord began a work in Luther's heart years ago, but Luther was not always cooperative. He's stubborn as an ox, much like my sister-in-law and one of my own daughters (Mary).

As a father Luther was sharp-tongued and merciless with his children. As much as he could he ignored them, spending all his non-working hours in his garage, tinkering. My husband, his sister, and their mother walked around on egg shells, not knowing what would happen next with Luther's temper. There was frequent spanking, but probably not what we'd call abuse...emotional abuse, sure, but not physical.

In his defense I must add that Luther was raised by a mentally-challenged mother and no father at all. The circumstances of his birth and upbringing were tragic.

Now at age 90, as much as Luther may want the comfort and quiet of a retirement home, God may want him in the midst of family chaos and love.

God may want Luther to finally invest in someone's heart, despite the fear of failure. And similarly, the Lord may want someone to give Luther unconditional love, despite his rough edges. His wife and children despised him most of the time. Luther left his own mother when he was 16 to work and live on someone's farm, closer to the high school, and his mother disowned him for it.

Luther desperately needs a love he doesn't deserve. Like someone else I know? Like me? Like my husband and our children?

We are all the same...sinners in need of grace. We crave love above all. Love heals. Love redeems. Love changes the heart.

The Lord may want Luther to speak love into his children heart's for the first time, smoothing over past wounds. My husband can get in touch with the childhood pain easily, but he's forgiven his father. His sister hasn't.

The Lord may want all of us to swim in the pain of brokenness for a while, while he works to redeem the past and finish the work he began in Luther, while dealing with our sins at the same time. We may need to overlook a lot of harsh words, and Luther may need to overlook a lot of noise and chaos and messy family business.

Through it all each person sharing this roof will need to cling to the Father. Tightly. It will be, above all, a lesson in clinging to God. I've had lessons like that before--two miscarriages, job loss, three unpleasant medical diagnoses in my children. I look back on those trials without resentment, knowing that in those months I grew exponentially.

Please pray with me that Luther will finish well? That he will come to our home and live life messy with us? That he will let God redeem the past? That Luther would receive unconditional love here? That he would leave a strong legacy afterall, by the grace of a magnificent God?

Luther's is just one messy story in a sea of human brokenness. Every family, every descendant of Adam and Eve, has a messy story. The question is, what will we do with our messiness? 

Pray that in our home, and in yours, love wins...for the glory of God.

Psalm 66:10 You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pray Without Ceasing - It's Not Impossible

In this post I wrote about God's work in my life regarding the management of stress. Specifically, what God is teaching me is to pray first whenever a difficulty arrives, rather than responding with bodily stress that raises my blood pressure and changes my mood, all because I'm trying to deal with the difficulty in my own strength.

Over a full day these stress responses wear me out emotionally and keep me from mothering the way I want to, especially at the end of the day.

In response to that post, a reader wrote: "I have been working on praying first instead of stressing. I cannot believe all the testimonies I have experienced already! The only problem is I still struggle to do it. Why?":)

Well...I might have an answer to that. I've thought about it a lot these last couple weeks.

When I was nursing Beth I had an active prayer life (she nursed 4.5 years total). Three months after she was born my husband lost his job, bringing a great deal of stress in my life. Before long I was praying each time I nursed and even after the intensity of that time passed, my mind kept associating nursing with prayer time. It became automatic and the connection in my mind lasted for the full length of our nursing relationship.

Beth slowly weaned herself over several months so that by June, 2013, she was barely asking to nurse at all. After a three-week break she did ask to nurse suddenly, but the milk diminished enough that she wasn't getting much for her effort. She asked a few more times and then stopped asking altogether, with nary a complaint.
It happened so slowly that it didn't dawn on me right away. The less she nursed, the fewer prayer sessions I enjoyed. See, the nursing sessions were a fixed prayer time for me.

Now that she's weaned, I've had to ask myself the same question you see posted above: "The only problem is I still struggle to do it? Why?"

I can answer this only for myself, but maybe it will help some of you too. In my life it took a fixed prayer time to focus my mind and heart on prayer, so that over time fellowshipping with God became more automatic--less an act of my will. And because I was conversing so often with him, it spilled over into other times of the day. My mind was in tune with God--used to talking with him. It became a habit.

When we sit down for a once-a-day quiet time that's an act of our will. It's wonderful and obedient. But the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. How do we make the transition from praying at our quiet time and before our meals, to praying without ceasing?

1 Thessolonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.…

Developing a prayer habit is the answer. Experts say it takes 21 consecutive days for an act of our will to become a habit. Our minds are too quick to roll through life without thought of God, but a fixed, recurring reminder would solve that dilemma. I believe this is what God is referring to when he instructed us to pray without ceasing. He's saying: Form a habit of putting me first...of making me your first love.

Luke 10:27 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind..."

We begin to love him with all our hearts after we've formed a habit of conversing with Him throughout the day.

What did it take to fall in love with our husbands way back when? We formed a habit of talking on the phone and getting together for fellowship. Gradually, we shared more and more without fear until eventually we had to get married. Being apart wasn't feasible anymore.

That is what God wants from our hearts. That they would be so in tune with his, that being apart becomes unfeasible.

We each need to find something in our lives that will function as a fixed prayer time, whether it's washing dishes the long way three times a day, or doing laundry or preparing meals. Something.

Changing a diaper, maybe?

If nothing else we can set the oven timer three or four times a day, to remind us to pause the regular daily programming and stop for prayer. Our children can participate too, either privately or with the family unit.

Gradually, the prayer relationship will solidify and spill over into other times of the day. We'll respond to difficult situations first with prayer, because prayer will become part of who we are. We'll become a prayer warrior.

Daily Christian life is a battleground; Satan's always ready to fight for our hearts. Our best defense is offense and prayer is that offense.

I believe there really is a way to pray without ceasing. It won't happen overnight and at first it will be an act of our will, but the Holy Spirit will meet us far more than halfway. He will make us succeed if our hearts are sincere.

The work of grace that started when we first believed will prevail.

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

What reminds you to pray throughout the day?

Monday, August 19, 2013

How Homeschoolers Measure Up (A History of Amer. Education)

I found this graphic on Smockity Frocks and went to the source to see if I could use it here. They invite anyone to use it on their site, so hurrah! I found the history portion very interesting.

It was not surprising to read that on average, homeschooled students score in the 87% of standardized tests, and this score remained steady regardless of the families' yearly income, or education level of the parents. Anyone can homeschool well. Parental motivation is very high and the education is tailored to fit each child. Also, since children are not preoccupied with negative peer pressure or bullying, they're free to pursue keen interests and develop to their full capacity--intellectually, spiritually, morally, socially.

The chart states that the average homeschooling family spends $500 per child, and the average cost of public school is $9,963 per year. I have four children but I don't spend $2000 per year. If you buy used curriculum, you will spend a fourth to a third of the original prices. And remember, you'll save your purchases for younger children to grow into. Only consumables and sometimes DVD ROM's have to be purchased new.
Homeschooled: How American Homeschoolers Measure Up

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Homeschool and Mother's Journal

In my life this week:

I'm cleaning out closets and cupboards, preparing for my mother's visit and for my 90-year-old father-in-law's eventual move in here. He's in rehab after a fall that injured his shoulder. He lost overall strength and stamina and can't stand up on his own right now, but when he's strong enough to take a van ride from Florida to Ohio, my husband will pick him up.

Some friends will work on selling his house. His neighbor is considering buying it for her own elderly parents. Real Estate is moving slowly in his area (outside of Tampa a few miles from the Gulf), so the neighbor's interest is God's provision.

While my plan was only to clean and straighten closets and cupboards, the hamster's Friday night escape prompted deep cleaning under beds and furniture as well. This will be one clean house and hopefully hammy will show up or leave telltale signs of his hiding place (before he chews wiring and cords).

While I type, I'm listening for hamstery sounds.

After this, his second escape, he gets our large, escape-proof aquarium for a new home. No more handy dandy hamster cages that can't outsmart the rodents they house.

I'm also going through our hundreds of paperback picture books, deciding what to give away. There were far too many and they're so crowded in the shelves the girls don't reach for them; they reach for library books instead.

In our homeschool this week:

We schooled until August and have 4.5 weeks of vacation left. The boys still have to read for 45 minutes a day and read their Bibles, and Paul still plays the piano.

I also started the boys on The Message this week by Eugene Peterson. It's not the same as reading the Bible, but it's an excellent devotional for middle-grades children. I want all my children to read it at least once.

The girls and I are reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and some picture books, and I'm listening to Mary read easy readers so she won't lose ground in reading.

Homeschooling Tips or Advice to Share:

Do some deep cleaning and purging of clutter before school starts so the state of the house won't distract you and sabotage your homeschool consistency. I believe consistency is the most important predictor of success for homeschooling families.

My Favorite Thing This Week:

I've worked so physically hard this week that I'm straining to come up with a favorite--it wasn't exactly a fun week. Knowing how nice and trim our home will look when I'm done is what keeps me going.

I do remember the children charming the socks off a man at the post office and vice versa. He joked with them freely and they all giggled and giggled. When we got back in the van Miss Beth said she wanted to marry Tom (who was about 50ish). We know his name because Miss Beth introduced herself and her sibilings, and then Tom said, "Well, it's nice to meet you Beth. My name is Tom."

Then later when they were describing Tom's antics to Daddy, the boys referred to him as "a guy at the post office", to which Mary took offense. She said, "His name was Tom!"

My Kids' Favorite Thing This Week:

They schemed up a game in which they auction off rocks & pebbles, pretending they're precious stones. I gave them all the loose change I could find and they had a wonderful time playing this with a neighbor boy for a couple days. My four year old has been scouring drawers and cushions for more loose change.

Things I'm working on:
I'm working on praying about difficulties when they first hit the scene, instead of stressing first, praying second. Emotional energy drains out of me liberally when I forget to pray first. But when I give it to God, he's faithful to guide my steps and keep my mood steady and positive.

I never used to think about my emotional energy in terms of conservation techniques. The extent of my exhaustion and crankiness at the end of the day is directly related to how my body responded to discipline problems, everyday messes, and whatever else landed on my plate. The events were not the problem--my response was.

I can choose to kneel and pray and conserve (and even renew!) my strength, so that even at the last moments of the day, when I'm praying with kneeling children, I'm doing it with my whole heart, not wishing for everyone to fall asleep already because I. can't. take. another. second.

I want to finish well. Start well and finish well.

I'm also working on teaching the children the power of our words. Words do have power--to destroy or to build up. At the dinner table we say three nice things about the person sitting across from us, and the next day to the person at our right, and the next day to the peron at our left. We do the same thing after there's an argument--exchanging three positive and specific things we like about our housemate. By specific I mean they can't just say their sibling is nice--they have to describe what makes them nice.

I'm Grateful For:
My Jesus, my marriage, my four blessings, for being a keeper at home, for having the opportunity to bless my father-in-law and care for him in his lasts months and years, escorting him to the throne of grace from my home, not an impersonal nursing home where scripture is not read and love is not practiced.

I'm praying for...:, friends, church, my own heart growth, my growth as a keeper of the home, my children's someday-spouses and marriages, sibling relations, neighborhood families, upcoming visits and changes to our daily life.

Quotes to Share:

The impression that a praying mother leaves upon her children is life-long. Perhaps when you are dead and gone your prayer will be answered. D.L. Moody

The mother's heart is the child's classroom. Henry Ward Beecher


Friday, August 16, 2013

When Motherhood Feels Like Endless Work

Does the state of your closets and cupboards make you feel like a failure?

Mine do.

My mother is coming to visit and all my closets and cupboards are a wreck. And my father-in-law will be living with us soon, too. I need to make room for whatever he might bring, and yet we have no garage or basement and the shed, which is good-sized, just might still have mice so we only use it for the lawnmower, lawn tools and bikes.

I worked on two closets today...the worst two. They look great now but I have to decide what to give away and what to keep. Should I keep a second shower curtain on hand, or not? Should I save the kids' old comforters for really cold nights, as extra padding?

What is hoarding, exactly? Is it thinking you might use something someday, even though tomorrow hasn't been written yet? What about when the kids move out and I want different coverings on the beds? Shouldn't I save something to use then, or is that hoarding?  Should I trust God to provide guest-bed type coverings when the nest is empty?

Sorting through clutter is hard work and the temporary mess that results is stressful with curious kids getting into the piles, pleading with you to keep this and that.

And the folding of laundry. Till I reach the grave, that may remain one of my failures.

Sometimes I get so behind on folding laundry that I rent a movie from the library and we watch it as a family while I fold. Occasionally I even get help this way from hubby. During school the children help with folding but somehow that's fallen by the wayside with a school break upon us.

Tonight I did it differently. After the kids went to bed I watched Anne of Green Gables, The Sequel. I had so much folding that it took me all of one side of the DVD to finish my baskets.

At the end Anne kissed Gilbert and she said she didn't want a fancy house...just him. And I cried.

I cried for the Boston guy she rejected. I cried for her student, Emmeline, who would miss her so much.

Then I felt melancholy about Ann starting out a new life as a writer and then a wife. I want to feel that again.

Often marriage and kids feel like work. The romanticism passes away. The incredible excitement of getting engaged and having such hope for the future seems like eons away from my daily life now. I've done so much work today, for example...almost non-stop.

There's always so much work around the house, and so much work discipling my blessings. It's hard to find the time to enjoy just being with the kids.

The key to joy in the midst of very hard work is what?

I ask myself this question so often, and I work hard to answer it for myself too. And yet, the answer doesn't stay with me. Sometimes the dread of all the work feels bigger than the answer.

And then quiet time will come; God will speak his love into my heart. He will fulfill me for that hour, for that day, and suddenly I'm not thinking about the work anymore. I'm just thinking about bringing my first love, Jesus, his due glory. He loves a servant's heart and when I work without dread, when I work with a will to enjoy serving, he is glorified.

Yes, marriage and family are work. The intense joy over getting just the guy you always wanted passes away as you get dirty socks and underwear unrolled and ready for their bleaching.

Do you know that's my least favorite job? Unrolling yucky, filthy, germ-infested socks and underwear.

But everytime I pass them from the dryer to a basket, I'm amazed at the transformation. Fresh smell with all the caked-mud long gone. All the germs washed away.

When I feel melancholy about the work in my life, it's sin. When I want something more than the mundane, it's ingratitude. God knows how grateful I really am about my husband and children being here with me, sharing love and sorrow and joy and pain.

I get to be a mom and wife and I'm so excited about that, still.

Like the socks and underwear, I just need a soapy-bleachy wash to take me back to holiness.

That's what quiet time is, isn't it? A good soapy-bleachy wash? We come out white as snow, smelling so fresh, hearts ready to serve with a smile.

I love my life and my Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:58Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

John 6:27Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Biblical View on Screen Time


On occasion I find time to read something from Simple Homeschool's Weekend Links. Last weekend I found a link entitled Screen Rules, by Elizabeth Foss of In the Heart of My Home. Elizabeth's is not a blog I read (spiritual content is far different from my faith), but this particular post title caught my eye. Screen obsession in America's young people worries and saddens me.

Elizabeth lists 12 rules she and her husband came up with to regulate the use of iPhones, iPods, computers, television, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. In the comments she admits to needing some regulation of her own screen time, and that she too, benefits from the 12 rules.

As I read it struck me, why do kids need these things at all? Why do they need hand-held computer access? Why do they need texting? Why do they need cameras with them everywhere they go? Why do they need Facebook or Twitter accounts? Or any other social media account?

Staying out of trouble is hard for teens. Period. They're hardwired for risk and danger. Nowadays it's harder for them than ever. Parents allow them too much freedom during the years they're least likely to behave responsibly.

And with social media and screen use, the mistakes can be terribly costly and long-lasting. One tragedy after another fills the newspapers, and yet, parents aren't stopping the insanity.

The 12 rules Elizabeth lists are nice on paper, but she admits herself she doesn't have time to check text messages received and sent by her children. She only warns them with the pithy comment, "You never know when I'll be in a long line and have time to check your accounts."

I like her bullet points and the focus on the heart, but I don't agree that kids should have these gadgets and accounts at all.

Why not just say no to all of this stuff, since there is absolutely no need for them in a child's life? Kids want them so they can fit in with their peers, more than anything. Is it good to encourage fitting in? It is good to buy the $60 athletic shoes a child wants but doesn't need, just because everybody has them? Is it good to give an iPhone or iPod or cell phone, just because all the kids have them?

Shouldn't we be around our kids most of the time, instead of giving them a phone to contact us? They can get into major trouble despite being a phone call away from us. Phones don't keep kids out of trouble...parental supervision and involvement do. Teens needs just as much of our time as our toddlers do.

What should our homes look like, really? Shouldn't we have a spiritual focus and family-bonding focus? If everyone is looking at a different screen, engaged with people and media outside the family, how can family bonding occur, and a strong spiritual foundation be laid?

If it's not sports and other extracurricular activities separating the family, it's screens and social media.

We're a distracted nation and our young people suffer from too little parental/family engagement. They're not grounded anymore because parents aren't focused on building a foundation in their homes. I don't mean you personally or me personally, but none of us is immune to the ways of the culture. We must regularly take stock and gauge how far the culture has taken us from a biblical worldview.

What fathers do to build a spiritual foundation is profoundly important. They're more influential than mothers alone in ensuring lasting spiritual faith in their children. Kids with both Dad and Mom involved in their spiritual growth fare the best.

What can we, as mothers, do while we dwell with our children all day?

We can build our house wisely. I love Matthew Henry's commentary on Proverbs 14:1, shown below the verse:

Proverbs 14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down

Note, 1. A good wife is a great blessing to a family. By a fruitful wife a family is multiplied and replenished with children, and so built up. But by a prudent wife, one that is pious, industrious, and considerate, the affairs of the family are made to prosper, debts are paid, portions raised, provision made, the children well educated and maintained, and the family has comfort within doors and credit without; thus is the house built. She looks upon it as her own to take care of, though she knows it is her husband’s to bear rule in, Est. 1:22. 2. Many a family is brought to ruin by ill housewifery, as well as by ill husbandry. A foolish woman, that has no fear of God nor regard to her business, that is wilful, and wasteful, and humoursome, that indulges her ease and appetite, and is all for jaunting and feasting, cards and the play-house, though she come to a plentiful estate, and to a family beforehand, she will impoverish and waste it, and will as certainly be the ruin of her house as if she plucked it down with her hands; and the husband himself, with all his care, can scarcely prevent it.

When you read Matthew Henry's description of a wise woman, does it conjure up the image of a woman on Facebook everyday? Or needing to check a computer screen frequently? Can she build her house with a focus on posting pictures and tidbits online, or does she build it by investing her time in her children's hearts and in their education?

Be in the world but not of the world...that is the challenge. Can we pray about screen time and use it for His glory, only?

Certainly there's room for some personal time on most days, but let's face it, raising children well is time-consuming. If we're on a screen very much during the day while they're awake, how are we investing in them spiritually? Screens are addictive and they can steal the best years of our parenting away, easily. Children find them just as addictive as adults do, so why have them go down that path at all...especially before they can pay for the screens themselves?

As mothers building a home, we have to show our children that there are far sweeter things in life than screens. And that no one can be measured by likes or clicks. Our measuring stick for worth comes in the price Jesus paid for us. Our status is this: Redeemed. Deeply loved by a gracious God.

To steer our children right, to build a pious home, we have to make sure we're on the right path ourselves. I don't think the right path is one that includes a lot of screen time (especially before their bedtime).

And giving children all these gadgets and accounts? It's all a waste of their precious time...time they desperately need to grow closer to God and their family.

We as mothers need to get out of bed everyday with the goal of building a home Jesus would smile upon. We would do well to gather our children and teach them, just as this Deuteronomy verse says: You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You should write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.“You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.“You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.“You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

If social media and screens are present at all, let's give them last importance. There are so many better things to do, better things to focus on, as mothers, as children, and as families.

A wise woman uses screens sparingly, teaching her children their proper place and utility.

How have you dealt with this in your home? Do you have tips or a story to share?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Unhappy Christian Wives, Part 2

On July 16 last year, I wrote a post entitled An Open Letter to Unhappy Christian Wives. It was actually a copy of a letter I wrote to a woman planning a divorce. She and her husband had gone to counseling with poor results--in her opinion, he wasn't changing any of the things on her laundry list.

Yes, she gave him a list of things he was supposed to change, and he failed.

Shortly before her divorce this woman's husband came to know the Lord but the laundry list of things she didn't like about him sent her packing; the divorce is now final. Never once did she admit to any fault in the troubled marriage, but she spoke daily--in everyone's hearing--about her husband's faults.

She is only an acquaintance of mine, but we know her son, a former homeschooler, and she works at my husband's workplace.

In my letter I told her boldly "No one increases their personal peace through non-biblical divorce."  (Just so you know, he was not abusing her or cheating.)

Immediately after she left the home with their 13-year-old son, trouble followed her everywhere...trouble with their son, an addiction, her purity, her finances, her daily schedule. She came to work crying on many occasions, and still does a year later. In short, she's a mess and her son despises her. If something doesn't change she may be without a job soon.

I was brave enough to write this letter to her because of concern for her son, and because three months prior, I wrote one to another couple on the brink of divorce and God used it. They reconciled, stopped the divorce proceedings, and the wife moved back in. Later in the year they split again, divorced, but kept in contact. The husband came to know the Lord and tried very hard to change the woman's mind, and she did date him for a few months and they saw pastors for counseling, but then later she met someone else. End of story and her ex-husband is in a lot of pain right now, wondering where God is.

Between the two letters I probably spent eight hours of my time, and then more time praying. I can't tell you how sad the outcomes have left me, but I know better than to waste time wondering if I could have chosen my words better, or if I could have prayed more, or if maybe I should have minded my own business.

Free will is a gift from God, but Satan uses it to destory us and that's what happened here. There was too much Satan and not enough God in the equation. God was big enough, but the women weren't willing to wait on the Lord. Satan spoke a better sales pitch, deceptive though it was.

When there's trouble in human relationships, God works miracles through prayer and willing hearts, but the time table is rarely to our liking. We may start out following God, but when the path seems too long with no end in sight, we look for shortcuts. I don't want to wait any longer for happiness. I want to chase after it myself, for I know just what the answer is and I see it within my reach. (So Satan tells us.)

My Open Letter has yielded 255 hits on this small-scale blog, usually through searches such as: unhappy in Christian marriage, or unhappy Christian wife. I always wonder, when I see the titled searched, if someone, somewhere, is helped. I pray sometimes for the anonymous person who reads it, wondering if my prayer will make a difference in whether they feel disgust at my words, or conviction.

What was I asking of this woman, in my letter? Sacrificial love such as our Savior gave to us. While we were sinners, Christ died for us. We are sinful women married to sinful men and that part never changes. Giving a spouse a laundry list of things to change--essentially saying, "Please be less sinful," doesn't solve anything or yield positive results.

Marriage doesn't make us happy, and neither does it complete us. Our joy is in the Lord and in our relationship with Him. We are not defined by our marriage relationship but by our commitment to following Christ. Do we take up our cross and follow Him, or do we take up our grievances and let them destory us?

The answer to any relationship problem is this: "Be still and know that I am God." And while you're being still, read your Bible and pray. Realize that your joy is in that, not in your husband's personality qualities.

How many times in the last week have you prayed for your spouse and for your relationship, versus how many times you've lamented about your unhappiness? If the grieving outweighs the prayer, you only pile on more grievances.

We don't like to admit it, but we have plenty wrong with us. Our prayers, responded to by the Holy Spirit, gently lead us to a purer heart. It's never supposed to be..."Dear God, there is just so much wrong with my husband." Rather, we should begin, "Dear God, there is just so much wrong with my heart. Please purify it and my husband's too. We want our marriage to bring you glory."

Does God need us to tell him what's wrong with our husband? Does He not know? Of course He does; we are the ignorant ones. We don't know what's wrong with our own hearts. Our prayers reveal it, and then the Holy Spirit works with our free will to create beauty from ashes.

Without the prayer we remain lost, thinking it's our husband's fault all the while.

Here's the Fix:

1. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46: 10)

2. Give up your own way and follow Him. Matthew 6:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

2. Pray much. Ask for heart purification.

3. Read your Bible. Every time you think a negative thought about your husband or your marriage, take up your Bible and read.

4. Keep a blessing list; practice gratitude.

5. Be still and know that I am God.

Prayer Time: Dear Heavenly Father, you are everything to our being. Thank you for your abundant gifts and your sacrificial love. Thank you that your love never ends and never makes mistakes. We don't realize it sometimes, but our hearts ache for you, not for perfection in our relationships. Help us to fill up on you, and to love others with the overflow of our hearts. Love is an outpouring, not a feeling. Purify our hearts so we can see the answers in your Word and want to obey them.

In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Dear Reader, I wish you joy. I'm sorry about your pain. Please, do steps one through five above and know a joy, and a Savior, who will rock your world with goodness.  

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Homeschool and Mother's Journal, Aug. 10

In my life this week:

Well, let's see. Let me rehash a little craziness for you.

I now carry an epi pen for Paul, age 9. Turns out he's allergic to yellow jacket bees. The entire top half of his body turned into one big hive, and so, yeah, we went to the emergency room, where they assured me it would be worse next time. They taught me how to use an epi pen. Fun stuff.

And Peter, age 11? He couldn't let Paul steal all the attention. Oh, no. He tried a trick on his bike and fractured a bone in his pinky finger and another in his hand. Three weeks in a cast...but it could be worse. It could be his whole 6-week vacation in a cast.

And not to be outdone, my 90-year-old father-in-law fell at a Florida store parking lot and ended up in the hospital, but is now in a rehab facility where he will get stronger in the next month or two before moving up here to Ohio to live with us.

My father-in-law asked me tonight on the phone, "I was wondering how warm you keep your house?"

I think he's still deciding if his arthritis can take the cold Ohio winter weather, and if he can take the four children. (My children know one volume...loud...unless they're reading. No, I haven't mentioned this yet.) Instead of shocking father-in-law with the real winter furnace numbers, (about 63 at night and 65 or 66 during the day) I replied, "Luther, we'll keep the house as warm as you like it."

He was worried about my boys, who he knew probably won't like a warm house. No kidding. My Peter runs around with no shirt on at 65 degrees. We may have to give grandpa a space heater in his room or we'll lose the house over the heating bill.

Lastly, Maybelline, without asking me, decided to quit making the combination foundation/powder/sunscreen make-up I've used for a long time. It hid a lot and went on lightly, not cakey. I wasted a long time in Walmart going around and around the two make-up aisles, trying to find it and then trying to find a replacement. Not that this matters in my life that was just one of the things I could count on.

In our homeschool this week:

Technically, we're on vacation but my boys did more reading this week than they do on a typical school day. Peter, because he's supposed to rest, elevate and ice that hand/arm, and Paul because he's reading the best book ever (The Candymakers by Wendy Mass). Or at least it says so over on the Amazon reviews, and my Paul agrees.

The Candymakers

Paul confessed to me more than once this year...."I'm sorry, Mommy, but I just don't love reading." Of course I knew this. He loves maps, statistics, charts, graphs and puzzles...typical math stuff. But right now he loves reading best of all and I have to thank Wendy Mass, middle-grades author, for that. It's glorious to hear my Paul exclaiming how much he loves a book.

Scholastic's Synopsis for The Candymakers: Four children have been chosen to compete in a national competition to find the tastiest confection in the country. Who will invent a candy more delicious than the Oozing Crunchorama or the Neon Lightning Chew? Logan, the Candymaker's son, who can detect the color of chocolate by touch alone? Miles, the boy who is allergic to merry-go-rounds and the color pink? Daisy, the cheerful girl who can lift a fifty-pound lump of taffy like it's a feather? Or Philip, the suit-and-tie wearing boy who's always scribbling in a secret notebook? This sweet, charming, and cleverly crafted story, told from each contestant's perspective, is filled with mystery, friendship, and juicy revelations.

I had the boys each summarize and evaluate their school year earlier this week, but we forgot to include any science details. This year they read:

The Story of Inventions
Diary of an Early American Boy
Electricity and Magnetism
How Things Work
Light and Color
The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope
Tops Magnetism and Tops Electricity
Space, Stars, Planets and Spacecraft

By far they were most fascinated with The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope.


At the time they read it we didn't have a microscope, but their aunt bought them one in July, and now they collect blood from bloody noses and fallen hair, etc. for microscopic study. This week they decided their microscope is too cheap and they want a super expensive one from Amazon. "Alrighty then. We'll pray then, shall we, boys?"

Places We're Going and People We're Seeing:

You mean besides the guys and gals in the emergency room? We didn't go anywhere else. Momma was on the phone a lot to Florida about Grandpa.

My Favorite Thing This Week:

Hearing my husband tell his father, "My wife is a very resourceful, capable person. It's amazing what she can accomplish. Her energy and love never give out and she can handle caring for you during the day, and I'll help at night."

My husband's love language is quality time and physical touch, so he rarely compliments me. He forgets that my main love language is affirming words (though I'm not picky after fourteen years of marriage, six pregnancies, and four active kids. I'll take the love any style it comes).

Anyway, hearing this said about floored me in a good way. I never knew my husband thought these things about me, though I knew he loved me.

My Kids' Favorite Thing This Week:

Paul - Reading The Candymakers and playing rummikub with Mary and checkers with Peter

Peter - Putting various fluids and specimens under the microscope and having his praying mantis molt for the second time. The thing is huge now.

Mary - Playing in humongous rain puddles, finding a giant cucumber in our garden, playing rummikub with Paul, catching huge grasshoppers, finding several toads.

Beth - Pretending with her dollies and strollers and dishes and books, cuddling with Momma and playing in the rain puddles.

Things I'm Working On:

I was too busy this week to read any further on the Sonlight Eastern Hemisphere reading list, and school starts in 5 weeks. Now I'll have to carve out extra time this week to get everything pre-read in time. Sonlight picks wonderful, high-quality, heartwarming books, but you have to throw out a couple bad seeds every year...before your kids start reading, preferably.

And I'm working on finding this cricket in our laundry room that never made it into the frog's aquarium. It sings every night and for the life of me, I can't find it, and it never dies! It seems like it's been 5 weeks now.

I'm Cooking:
barbecued pork ribs, taco bake, crockpot whole chicken, chicken noodle soup, spaghetti, whole wheat pancakes, turkey burgers

I'm Grateful For:

My husband, my children, the police officer who took my father-in-law to the hospital after his fall, my Lord, all the Psalms King David wrote, that the Lord looks at the heart above all, the Lord's strong, sustaining, comforting arms, and my husband's too!

I'm Praying For:

Several friends' requests, that the swelling will go down in my Beth's arthritic knees, for my father-in-law, my children and my husband, and as always, for my extended family's salvation.

Quote to Share:

Matthew 19:26
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

And how was your week, friends?

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Just How Strong Are You?

Last Saturday my 90-year-old father-in-law fell as he was leaving a New Port Richey, Florida Dollar General, loading groceries into his motorized scooter. A police officer found him on the ground and took him to a hospital for treatment.
He was bruised, weak, and they found a racing heartbeat for which he's being treated. He will be transferred to a physical therapy facility soon to gain strength for the trip up to Ohio where we will care for him at home. Right now he can't even stand up.
His neighbor noticed he wasn't around for a couple days so she called around to different hospitals until she found him, and with his permission she called us.
He began coughing a great deal tonight on the phone and since there were previously no signs of congestive heart failure, I have to assume the coughing and throat-clearing is a side effect of one of the heart medicines they put him on (I researched this).
Today the inevitable happened.
I had a person tell me I can't handle caring for my father-in-law, along with my own children and their issues, along with homeschooling, laundry, cooking, cleaning and paperwork. Caring for an elderly person is like caring for a newborn, she warned.
While this person meant well, I know a verse she doesn't; her warnings didn't scare me.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
The world will tell you to take the easy way. Put him in a nursing home--everybody does it. Divorce that husband you can't stand--everybody does it. Go back to work, put the kids in daycare and stop living so poorly--everybody does it.
Everybody does't have Christ.
But you do and I do.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

I don't know what is going on in your life, but I know this: When the going gets tough, people will tell you it's too much. "You just can't handle it and you have to face facts. It's nice that you have your religion and everything, but prayer isn't going to change the amount of work you'll have to do."
Today, the conversation ended with this question. "Just how strong are you?"
I'm as strong as He needs me to be.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!

When we dare to live for the Lord, we will always be as strong as He needs us to be. He will always sustain us, always renew and strengthen us, when we work for Him.
Most bosses expect you to pull your own weight--pull ahead of the crowd even. But God, the ultimate boss, expects us to follow where He leads--in his footsteps, through his strength.
Live each day with joy, knowing you will always be as strong as He needs you to be. Deficits don't exist for Christ followers. There are only assets for us here, and treasures stored in heaven for later.
Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Rejoice, the Lord is near.
Isaiah 40:28-31 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.


Part 2 Student End-of-Year Evaluation


Earlier this week I shared what 9-year-old Paul thought of his school year. Today I share Peter's end-of-year evaluation.
I agree that the main theme this year was war. War is sad, depressing and lonely, with battles all over the land. Land is ruined and crops and buildings destroyed. People grieve a lot about the death of loved ones, and it is only with God's help that they get past the terrible sadness.
The benefit of war is freedom and yes, freedom is worth fighting for, but I think it would be very sad to leave my wife and kids. I wouldn't want them to suffer over my death. But I would fight if I had to.
Favorite Fiction Books:
Kitchen Madonna - The boy in this story started out sad because he didn't see his parents enough. He was kind of neglected because they worked so much. He had a lot of different housekeepers and nannies. His new housekeeper was also sad and lonely. He loved her and wanted to help her, so he and his sister worked very hard to make her a kitchen Madonna. This was something she had in her home in the Ukraine. To her it was a "good place".
When the boy worked hard to make the housekeeper happy, it made him happier too. He worked closely with his sister and grew to like her more, and he worked with people in the neighborhood too, and grew to like them. He used to never talk to anyone, even his family, and he stayed in his room.  In the end he was completely changed by love. Love healed him and his housekeeper.
Gone Away Lake - The book had a lot about nature, which I am very interested in. It talked about insects and many different flowers and plants. The characters were very nice and in the end they were all happier because of the friendships they made at Gone Away Lake. The elderly people were less lonely and the children appreciated all that the elderly people shared about life and plants and history.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler - The girl in the story wants to run away with her brother and plans it out very well. She brings money, and they hide out in a museum. Soon they find themselves mixed up in a mystery about a famous statue. The kids are really smart and that makes the story so interesting. At the end, when they are running out of money, Basil Frankweiler helps them solve the mystery of the statue and then drives them home. I liked it because it was fun, adventurous and very smart.
Favorite Non-Fiction Books:
Man's Slave Becomes God's Scientist: George Washington Carver - I liked this book because it had a lot of information about nature and botany, which I really like. I want to be a farmer when I grow up
George Washington Carver had a very special relationship with God. He had a lot of faith. This book is also about education and how Carver helped black farmers learn important information about farming so they could make a living for themselves after slavery. He traveled by buggy to farms all over the south. He told them about the pest that was destroying cotton crops, and he told them to plant peanuts. At first they didn't listen, but then their cotton didn't do well so they changed their minds and planted peanuts like Carver suggested. They couldn't find buyers for their peanuts so Carver invented a lot of things to make with peanuts, with God's help. He prayed for wisdom and God answered his prayer.
Bruchko - Bruchko was a brave missionary who loved God very much. He had a lot of faith and had to suffer a lot while he worked in the jungle with the South American Indians. God saved his life more than once and he became pack brothers with Bobby, his special friend. Many sad things happened, like Bobby's death and the death of Bruchko's fiance. Bruchko persevered through many things because of his faith in God.
Main Improvements This Year:
I improved a lot in spelling, writing and math.