Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blessed is the Way

I don't often listen to the radio, except when I'm driving. The music and the news help the time pass quickly. The 'so-called' christian radio station in our area is pretty heavy rock, so generally I listen to an oldies station or the country station. While I was out the other day, a song came on the country station that nearly made me cry. Not because of the sentiment the song was meaning to portray, but because of the image that world views as normal.

I have no idea what the song is called but the chorus followed these lines:
it won't be like this forever...
It was referring to the children that we are blessed with to raise up. The song, however, was talking about these children growing up and leaving their parents behind. The verse that choked me up? The man singing describes how he dropped his daughter off for pre-school and she is clinging to his leg, begging him not to leave her there. Then, how the 'child care professional' pried the daughter away from her father and told him everything will be okay ...if you just leave. So...basically abandon your frightened three year old child with a complete stranger and eventually that child won't need you so much anymore.
That's North America today!
Well, I didn't actually cry when I heard the song, but I did pray. Giving thanks to the Lord for showing my husband and I how to stand on His Word and on our own; to say no to statism; to take full responsibility for our child's life; and to tell as many as who will listen - GO COUNTER-CULTURAL! Your children are depending on you.
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
Psalm 1:1
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous:
but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 1:6

Friday, January 23, 2009

Homeschooling is Everywhere!

Recently I changed the look of the blog - those bright red berries in the header are from a mountain ash tree in our backyard. Generally they grow in double-fisted bunches and hang on the trees throughout the winter. As the season carries on, the berries lose the bright red and start to turn brown and fall off. This year, they didn't last long enough to fall off.

Meet the Bohemian Waxwing. These birds arrived on our property last week by the hundreds! They spent two days cleaning off every last berry. We looked them up in all our wildlife books and bird books. The Bohemian Waxwing is noticeably marked with yellow, red and black markings. They are far more beautiful than any of these pictures actually show. The pictures were hard to capture as the birds do not sit still very long at all.
The peaked heads originally had us thinking they were female cardinals (which are grey with only some dark markings) but when we finally had a good look at the flock, we could see the additional colour.
Our research tells us they come from Alaska!
It just goes to show us again, that homeschooling can be found everywhere. We had a great time looking them up in books and learning about them. They have never visited us before and we are thankful to have studied them this time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


When it comes to meals, I am fairly organized. I keep a 5 week menu plan that is flexible for substitutions, but generally I stick with the menu. The criteria for anything new to be added into the rotation is the amount of time needed to create the meal - preparation and cooking time. Anything over an hour is too much time in the kitchen for me**. Hence, the following recipe:

Chicken Pot Pie
-prepared, unbaked top pie crust (I usually have balls of pastry ready in the freezer, they thaw in short time)
-2 tsp margarine
-1/2 cup PLUS 2 tbsp chicken broth, divided
-2 cups sliced mushrooms
-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
-5 potatoes, peeled and chopped small
-1/2 cup onion, chopped
-1/2 cup celery, chopped
-2 tbsp flour
-1/2 cup half & half cream (or kefir)
-2 1/2 cups chicken, cubed and cooked
-poultry seasoning
-salt & pepper
Step #1 - heat margarine with 2 tbsp of broth in medium saucepan until melted together. Add mushrooms, onion and celery and cook until tender.
Step#2 - boil carrots and potatoes in second saucepan until softened and add into broth/veggie mixture. Stir in flour and remaining broth. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken.
Step#3 - reduce heat and add cream & chicken and season to taste.
Step #4 - pour all into 8x8 baking dish and cover with 1/4" rolled out pastrey (should cover to edges, but not sealed to edges)
Bake at 375F x 20 minutes, until top is browned and serve hot.
It is very easy to substitute different vegetables. Steamed broccoli or chopped peppers are nice in it, too. If you have any additions, I love to hear them.
**mommy note: if little hands are 'helping' all bets are off for the one hour limit I have on any recipe!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Frigid Fun!

Today for Show and Tell with Mary, I'm showing off some pictures from the recent deep freeze we are experiencing. To be honest...I did not take these pictures...OK, I was not even there. I'm not going outside in this weather! These are some shots from a recent "Dad date". My husband and Duck went for a hike in their snowshoes and brought back the pictures for me.

This first one shows the morning frost on the brush - see the steam rising from the river:My family members weren't the only ones out in the cold, check out this woodpecker working away:Here's Duck making a run down a snowmachine trail - it's much easier to hike when the snow is groomed for you. Most of the trail was hard slugging for them, though:Take a look at the backside. It is a tell tale sign of the snow angels they were making! They had a great time, but were happy to run to the hot chocolate shop, too! Happy Show and Tell!

The Marketing Angle

So have you seen the reports coming out of England that an athiest group is using billboards to advance their cause? The signs are on buses and in subway stations that say "There probably is no God, so stop worrying about it and get on with life!" (or something along those lines)

The funny (and sad) thing about this campaign is, do non-believers really need to recruit? Is this marketing really necessary? We are born sinners. Unless we are called out of our sin by God, we stay in a state of total depravity.

The news cast showed several examples of Christians huffing and puffing indignantly about the signs - as they should from their own beliefs. But...I don't believe God is worried, or surprised. The world has not changed since the garden of Eden was closed up. As Christians, we need to have patience with these type of campaigns and be wary of those who promote them. However, I am secure in the knowledge that Christ is on his throne at the right hand of God and the Spirit will continue to work in those who are chosen.

The small Gospel Hall church by my place often places quick quotes on their street sign. One in particular sticks in my mind:
"No God, no peace.
Know God, Know peace."

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Is Anyone Out There?

Satan is picking away at me lately; picking at me in one of the most unlikely areas of faith in my life. My conviction that courtship is the only manner to raise my daughter to understand God's plan for marriage. I (and my husband) have studied this area inside-out and sideways. I wrote an allegorical story based on my studies and understanding. However, since my daughter is only 9 years old, I really did not think there would be trials and temptations over this conviction for several more years yet.

I was wrong.

I am tempted to despair as I watch yet another young woman at church give herself away to an unqualified young man. This young woman expressed a desire to study and grow in Christ. She proclaims salvation in clear, honest declaration. She has seen God work in her life in personal ways. Unfortunately, she does not have parents to lead and encourage her in remaining pure for marriage and she is slowly slipping into a self serving relationship with a young man who has absolutely no interest in God.

Are there young men out there that actually deserve these young women!? Are there parents out there who are raising their sons and daughters to follow God's plan for choosing a marriage partner AND remain pure until that person is found!? Must these beautiful and pure young women settle for average (and, quite frankly, useless) men?

We have several other young woman in our church who are maintaining their conviction for 'courtship'. They are succeeding with strong parental support and leadership. They have no men to choose from for their futures. I don't think any of us can fully understand the frustration they must feel as they keep their hearts and minds open for the young men God would have them take as husbands, all the while watching other acquaintances and friends give into the worlds way of dating/marriage.

If there are no young men being raised to be godly husbands and fathers for this current generation, where will my daughter find a husband when she is ready? When we pray for her future husband, are praying in vain?

No. Get behind me Satan. I refuse to allow the world to break my faith. There is a limit to my influence with other people's children, but I will continue to stand on the truths that God has shown me in His Word. I will continue to pray for those young women who are also standing faithful on their convictions and look forward to the blessing of seeing God work in their lives.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Christmas Crash & True Celebration

You know how you feel after the season of rushing around before Christmas day, shopping, cooking, baking, wrapping, crafting, and so on? Then Christmas day arrives and all the hard work and determination you put into making the right gift and setting out all the pretty decorations and prepping a big breakfast for our loved ones is over in just a few, short hours.

This is my dog, Pokey, expressing his own exhaustion from the excitement of the morning.

He is perfectly reflecting my own thoughts at that moment, "Can we go back to bed now?"I thought I would also add on the picture from our New Year's Eve buffet spread. Several families from our church got together for a game night and thought we might be hungry! I couldn't get an angle to picture the whole buffet - this is half of it. Do all church families eat like Baptists do? It seems every time we get together, we eat!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas time and Happy New Year celebrations.
I missed Show and Tell several weeks in a row - it's good to be back! See Mary for more.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Go With The Flow

I am a schedule person. In previous posts I have alluded to my fetish for lists: grocery lists, cleaning lists, daily lists, monthly lists, etc. Having an organized and scheduled life has always helped me stay on track of my responsibilities because I get easily distracted. This is a system that has served me well all my life.

Until I became married with children.

Oddly enough, my husband does not want to follow my lists and schedules. Neither he or my daughter see the beauty in a fresh list of 'things to do'. How strange. How frustrating. Over the years I have learned to adapt to this - sometimes begrudgingly.

However, when it comes to our home education, my schedules have stood the test of time with only rare exceptions. Until now, that is. Now, the 9 year old Duck is developing opinions of her own. There are things that are becoming important to her that don't necessarily fit into my schooling schedule.

Once again, I am learning to adapt.
I'm not talking about ignoring book work, or cancelling social studies (sorry Duck!). The adaptation comes in to play when Duck is showing interest and skill in a particular topic or hobby. Right now, it's baking. She really seems to love having the kitchen to herself, picking out a recipe and putting it together. From a home education point of view, this covers several topics: reading, comprehension, mathematics and science (see how I made a list out of that!).

So, what is a mom to do? We make some extra time to work in the kitchen, that's what. It has only been a short time since this interest has come forward, but there have been many good things coming from our kitchen. Not the least of which is good conversation and fellowship with my daughter.

This would be another lesson from homeschooling that I have learned! Duck's interests will change as time goes by, but I want her memories of school at home to be pleasant ones. Memories of a mom who encouraged her, who worked with her, and who enjoyed it. Memories of time with me that she wants to have with her own children one day.

So, I will go with the flow and learn to leave my lists off to the side. You know, so I can admire them from afar.

Let me list a recipe that is popular in our home - easy for kids of any age:

Chocolate Brittle

1 cup of butter (or hard margarine)
1 cup of brown sugar, packed
2+ cups of chocolate chips
1. place a single layer of saltines on cookie sheet
2. melt butter and brown sugar on low until blended well
3. pour/spread sugar mixture over crackers
4. bake in oven at 350C x 5 minutes, or until bubbly
(watch it, this burns easily)
5. sprinkle chocolate chips over top of hot sugar mix and allow to sit x 2 minutes
6. spread chocolate with butter knife over top of sugar mix (like an icing layer)
7. Cool in fridge until 'brittle' (about 1 hour) - chop into pieces

Thursday, January 1, 2009

So What Now?

Yes, it's that time again! A new year always feels like a wide, open field to me. I can run straight across the field with my head down, not looking in any direction. I can take the easiest path to get to the other side. I can avoid all obstacles that may be hidden in the grass. Or...I can leave my eyes and my heart open to search out the hidden treasures that are in that open field.

A new year should be exciting for christians. The possibilities for challenge and change should be something for which to be thankful. But, most of the time we do duck low and make a run for the other side. Don't be mistaken, though. God is not mocked. He watches our reaction to the obstacles and to the treasures, because He put them there.

Have you ever read John chapter 4 all the way through? Most christians have heard, read or studied the story of the woman at the well - as we should, it is a great example of how Christ sees and knows everything about us. However, after the Samaritan woman runs back to her city, the insights continue as Jesus talks with his disciples.

His disciples are concerned that Jesus needs to eat and Christ tells them;
'...I have meat to eat that ye know not of.' verse 32
When, like most of us, the disciples do not understand him at first, Jesus explains;

'...My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. And herein is that saying true, One soweth and another reapeth.' verse 34-37

Upon first read, we (the modern disciples) may glean the understanding that Christ is the sower and we will reap eternal life because of it. Recently though, a Matthew Henry commentary (or maybe it was Calvin?) pointed out what I did not see on my own. Read vs. 35 again and imagine actually standing there with Christ and the disciples. Jesus tells us to "lift up our eyes and look on the fields". What we, and the other disciples are actually seeing is that it is "white already unto harvest." Do you see what Christ is showing us? It's the people of Samaria coming across the field (see verse 39&40). Jesus sowed a seed with the Samaritans, as disciples we can reap
from his efforts and rejoice in any who to join the family of Christ.

So here I am looking out on my field in this new year. I know Christ has sown some things for me to reap this year. I know there are others who God has already placed in my field who need to know how I reaped the gift of eternal life and how it has changed (and continues to change) the way I live now. I will keep my eyes open and pray for the strength and courage to testify.

Thank you, Lord, for another new year and another open field.