Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rock Climbers

As I mentioned in last week's S&T, these are the rock climbing pictures I had wanted to post. We went to a local community sports center with our good friends and four of the kids signed up to use the rock wall. But, when you have two older boys and two BFF girls - you have competition!

The girls had been here to use the wall just two weeks prior and had both made it to the top of the wall. So...there was no way the boys were going to be shown up - they were sure they could make it to the top!

Now, Duck and her friend HH are 9 years old. HH's brothers are 15 and 13. Both boys are taller than me (which puts them well over 6') and they didn't realize that the bigger you are, the harder the climb can be...
The 13 yo made it 3/4 up the wall, but the 15yo made it to the top. Here he is touching the wall number at the top for good measure:
HH was not to be outdone. Being shorter, she actually has to climb higher to reach the wall number:

Then it was Duck's turn, she didn't make it all the way this time, though. Each kid took approximately 1/2 hour to climb up and they were hot, sweaty and tired by the time they finished.We all returned to the house for a winter campfire and a games night (has anyone else discovered The Settlers of Catan?).
A fun day for young and old!
(BTW, the reason they have the wall to themselves - it's the tradition time for sitting in a classroom. Ya' gotta love homeschooling!)
For more Show and Tell, go see Mary!

Titus 2 Study Questions

Our ladies study group just finished the next section of our study on Martha Peace's book, Becoming a Titus 2 Woman. Just like the first section, I thought I would share the self study questions we have for homework:

Reminder: Why are we studying this?
*do I believe that God is speaking to all christian women in Titus 2:2-5?
*what ways have I sought to become a Titus 2 woman?
*What areas of my life continue to hinder my ability to be a Titus 2 woman?
*am I continuing to put my duties as wife and mother (grandmother) first?

How does a Titus 2 Woman Act?

1. Am I responsible for leading anyone into rebellion, or heresy, or hypocrisy, etc. by my behaviour or conversation?

2. Am I outwardly different from the world because of Christ's influence within me? Would those who are close to me agree this is true?

3. Would I accept a gentle admonishment from any of my authorities or peers as a time to examine myself or would I be offended and angry?

4. How cautious am I with my conversation? Where can I improve?

5. Read 1 Corinthians 6:12. How do I define 'freedom in Christ?'

Responding to 'Younger' Women?

1. Do I believe God would have me build relationships with other women for the purpose of encouraging and growing together in His Word?

2. Am I willing and able to reprove my christian friends from a biblical standpoint?

3. Do I allow my emotions to dictate my doctrine (Ephesians 4:14)?

4. Do I evaluate my heart in each situation (i.e. my reason for participating in any situations)?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Games Girls Play

So...I was intending on showing and telling about a rock climbing excursion the kids went on recently. However, when I downloaded my camera card - I found fifty (yes, fifty!) pictures that I did not take. My daughter loves to play with the camera - and really, as homeschoolers we always encourage interests and creativity.

Here is the first photo that really got my attention:

Maybe you can't quite see it, but he is wearing blue pants, as well. My poor Pokey dog must put up with so many trials when he lives with a little girl. He is so patient about it, too. This isn't exactly what a 'manly' dog would wear afterall.

Here he is all tucked into the bed covers. In general, the 'bedtime for baby' game isn't so bad by comparison to the dress-up game.They are certainly two peas-in-a-pod most of the time. This is a shot of them (I actually took this one) filling the bird/squirrel feeder on the front porch. He follows her everywhere.
Then, of course, there were the two dozen of so pictures of this little fella:

Teddy Bear the hamster has only been with us for a few weeks (the results of a shopping trip with daddy and no mommy supervision!). It was just the other day Duck suggested that if her dolly clothes fit Pokey, maybe her barbie clothes would fit the hamster - that idea was quickly squashed!

Finally, what's a day with mom's camera without a self portrait?

Ah, little girls have great imaginations!

For more show and tell, see Mary!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mediocrity is a Disease, part 2

(to see part one, go here)

So how is it that christians become so apathetic to living differently than the world? Why do we choose to live mediocre lives rather than to be "peculiar people"? My short answer to that big question is - leadership. With a lack of strong leadership in the home and a lack of strong leadership in churches, each generation is becoming more mediocre than the last.

Recently the movie, Fireproof, was brought to our area in some local churches (great movie, BTW). I was excited about the idea of seeing this film with my husband when I first saw the posters on community boards. It wasn't too long before a radio ad gave more details - specifically the admission fee that each church was charging to enter and view the movie.

Does anyone else see the problem here? Local churches were charging a fee to enter the building!

And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep and the oxen; and poured out the changers money, and overthrew the tables;
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
John 2:14-16

This isn't the first time churches have dissappointed me by turning into marketplaces. Several years back a homeschooling conference that our ladies' group previously attended changed their venue to a local church. There was no fee to enter the conference (which is why I had always liked it) but the display hall for buying books was also in the church. When I emailed the organizer of the event to clarify that they were actually intending on selling within the church, her return email curtly explained that sometimes these decisions were necessary to carry out important christian business.

What are the leaders of these churches thinking? If the churches showing the Fireproof movie wanted to encourage couples for God's glory, then why not trust that He will ensure the cost of the film is covered? If homeschooling is to be encouraged as God's best for our children, then why blaspheme His house? These aren't community centers, after all.

I know, I know. I've heard the excuses. The cost of the film was likely very high and alot of churches simply don't have the funds to avoid asking the fee.
Then don't show the movie.
Better yet, teach the church members to tithe in a biblical manner.
Even better, trust that God will provide for all the church's needs as He sees is needed.

But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
(emphasis mine)
Too often we confuse our children by teaching them that the Bible is the end answer to everything, but then we just ignore the inconvenient passages.

'Let's follow the scriptural outline for keeping the sabbath holy, but ignore any reference to keeping His house for worship only.'

If the church leaders don't believe it, how can it be expected to be lived out in the lives of the membership?

I know how it happens to some church leaders. In my small town there are well over 2 dozen churches to choose from to attend. There is a steady marketing scheme happening at several of them as they compete for numbers in the congregation. It is very common for people to attend one church for several years than, due to some offense or just boredom, join the next church down the road. It is practices like this that can cause a church leader to join in on the competition - to start pandering to the popular vote to avoid losing membership.
That is only one excuse. It isn't good enough for God.
As a church member of my local church, I support my leadership. That does not mean I agree with everything that the leadership chooses. It means I understand that the leadership answers to God and I will not be part of the cause for falling. I will also not be part of the excuse for mediocrity in my church.
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
Hebrews 13:17 (emphasis mine)
When a church leader chooses the wrong path, I believe God will provide the consequences. Does that mean he should be removed from the leadership office? Yes, and it is important that godly men follow up within the church. Pastors/elders are only men, open to temptation like the rest of us. We need to forgive them for mistakes and offenses. We need to show mercy when they repent. We need to encourage them when they are leading on the "narrow path" and follow when they lead our churches by biblical standards.
Does your pastor have your support to lead God's house in a biblical manner? Do you believe he should have it? Is your church maintaining itself as the house of the Lord, or is it a community center/marketplace?
Good questions for all christians.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A Great Place to Visit

There is a lovely lady who has been posting about her personal life on a private blog. These days this lovely lady, Janet, has started a new blog that discusses her biblical thoughts, studies she is accomplishing and even some links to those of like-mind.

I encourage all christians to visit this new site and be refreshed and challenged! You won't be disappointed.

Exulting the Cross -

Great Coffee Cake

This cake is easy to put together (although it requires three bowls). It is a favourite of many at church - and nobody knows food like Baptists!

Rich's Coffee Cake

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream (or kefir)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs and beat well.
- In a seperate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- In another seperate bowl, combine sour cream and vanilla.
- Alternately add dry ingredients and sour cream mix into large bowl and
beat until just combined.

Topping: 1 cup chopped pecans
5 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

- Grease and flour a 10 inch tube pan and pour in cake batter.
- **Sprinkle topping mix on top of cake batter (bottom of finished cake).
- Bake at 350 degrees F x 60 - 70 minutes, or until passes toothpick test.

- Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan to cool completely.

Glaze: 2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla

- Mix glaze together and drizzle over top of cake. (adjust the sugar/milk ratio to get the thickness desired for good drizzle effect)

**it is easy to vary the placement of pecan mix - fill pan to half full and add layer of pecan mix before adding remainder of batter; sprinkle some pecan mix into pan before any batter added - play with it to find the final result you like best.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Growing Everyday

Recently, several ladies from church and I have been studying Martha Peace's book Becoming a Titus 2 Woman. Just like her book The Excellent Wife, this book can be very inspiring for women of all ages.

Part of our process in working through the study is to add some of our own questions to those that are already part of each chapter. I was just reading over the recent questions from our last meeting and thought they really apply to anyone, whether reading this book or not. The subtitles come from the chapters we were studying:

Questions for self examination and discussion:


1/ How much of my doctrine is scripturally based? What are the scriptures that have given me conviction for my doctrine? Do I know my church doctrine?

2/ If I am seeking the Lord's lead for growing doctrinally, am I reading/watching/listening to different things that will accomplish this goal?

3/ What is the percentage between doctrinal/scriptural material vs. secular (entertaining) material that takes up my time?

4/ If put on the spot, could I give someone scripture and verse to tell them why I believe my salvation is secure for eternity? Could I show them good literature (media) to help them gain understanding of my doctrine?


1/ How do others see me? Is it important? Why or why not?

2/ Could I do a testimony of how I have changed for the Lord in the last two years? Five years? Would others agree that I have changed?


1/ Where do I serve with my time outside of the home?

2/ Am I a cheerful part of the working body of Christ?

3/ When an area of service is 'assigned' to me, do I accomplish it joyfully? Do I seek to do more?

All these questions are appropriate for any Christian - there isn't much point in reading the Bible unless we are constantly looking to grow in God's will.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another Sign

Just as I have been buried in my gardening thoughts, another sign of spring arrived in the mail. The brochure for the home education conference that I attended last year.

Conferences for home education are becoming part of my spring ritual now. It isn't because I'm looking for a different curriculum - I really like the set up we use now. What I enjoy is the workshops and speakers. They can be so encouraging and inspire new ideas for the coming year.

Walking through the exhibitor's hall is fun, too. Window shopping for alternative or additional school books keeps my husband occupied for a couple of hours. We always buy the next year's grade books while we're there and get a cheaper price - no s&h. Plus, I like to look through the curriculum books to discern what we really need. In particular, the teaching aids are more easily evaluated than when looking at a catalogue - they're not always worth my money.

So this brochure only adds to my spring fever - because it happens in April. How time flies! And yet, there is so much to do before then...