Friday, September 30, 2005


I am so thankful that my wonderful hubby gave me a "kick-in-the-butt" in regard to getting my recordkeeping organized for homeschooling. When I got around to organizing it, I found that the schoolyear in Missouri begins on July first, so I was already 2 months behind!

But it was a lot of fun to open up Publisher and create my own little record-keeping book :-). I printed it, bound it (with my binder machine and a comb binder) and just today I closed out my first month of recorded school hours, giving David a lesson in using an adding machine in the process. Here is what is included in my record-keeping book:

1. A summary page: curriculum summary & goals summary
2. Hour-tracker pages for each month: colums for each subject, core hours, extra hours (ie field trips), and a block for notes at the bottom
3. Evaluation pages: Strengths, weaknesses, goals met...etc.

Missouri law requires periodic evaluations and I am excited about it because it forces me to take the time to ponder and plan and correct my course if necessary.

We believe that we are responsible first to answer to God for training our children up in the way they should go. We also plan to be ready to give an account, if necessary, to the governing authorities for the education we are providing.

In the meantime, I will use them to record and improve our homeschooling endeavors. I am sure that next year's book will far surpass this one, but I am having fun, and that is what school is supposed to be about, right?

"Then why do I have to do math flashcards?" I can hear my 7yob cry out :-)

"For the same reason you have to eat your vegetables!" I reply with a smile.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Looking Forward...

I keep logging on with the desire to write something magnificent. Something really worthy of your attention. But alas, my life is devoid of immediate inspiration :-). Though I do have plans. I've written a post on modesty and plan to summarize a wonderful sermon on the Security of the Believer. They are not, however, quite ready for posting, so I will have to content myself with rambling on in the blessed world of mundania.

Today we will attend Nathan's company picnic. We'll make bread this morning to bring along. A double batch -- which means 8 loaves. Yikes, I'd better get busy!

Pregnancy Update:
I went to the Doctor on Thursday. We heard the baby's heartbeat :-). She ruled out the possibility of an incompetent cervix and provided some possible explanations for the continued spotting. She was very reassuring. We still have to watch things, but I am no longer confined to bedrest. Yay!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


After dinner tonight Nathan and I played chess while Ben and the kiddos cleaned up the kitchen. Imagine my horror when I wiped away a glob of goop from my eye and was pronounced "unclean" by the rest of the family :-). Well, now I am putting that wonderful colloidal silver in my own eyes and my compassion for the children has once again doubled, for this is really the pits (swollen eye, impaired vision, pain --how did they stand it?). The kids' infection was cleared up so I know it works. I just have to hurry up and wait. Same thing on the pregnancy front. No cramping but spotting. I see the doc tomorrow to see if there is cause for concern.

Today was a good day. We read from the book of Daniel at breakfast and David was very curious about the location of Babylon and Media and Persia. We brought out the family Bible and found it all on the maps. David bathed Joshua and helped him get his diaper on. School was somewhat disorganized but marvelously engaging. I took care to have everything laid out by the couch so that I could "take it easy". Rebekah illustrated (with help) and narrated Mr. Putter and Tabby and the Pear Tree. Deborah learned to count by 2's, began addition flash cards and read a lesson out of her reader (it's only a matter of time before she takes off --today I saw her reading a few words from the Magic Schoolbus). David wrote out his memory verse, wrote in his penmanship book, did math flashcards, had a language lesson and began to narrate Cat Mummies (to go along with his Story of the World). He also read from J. Pollard's General Ullyses S. Grant. Joshua and I read and worked on counting.

This evening we finished listening to The Magician's Nephew (awesome book!), and the girls ended the evening with songs from Ephesians and Collosians. I love it when they request scripture songs and rarely do I have the heart to refuse:-)

I am about to take my monstrous eye to bed -- It's happier closed :-). G'night.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Pregnancy Update

I had my 12 week check-up Tuesday. I was in and out in a flash, for they found the baby's heart beat instantly, and I had no questions :-) I felt blessed that I was over the 12-week hump and less likely to miscarry. However, God still had a trial in store for me.

Saturday morning, I was standing at the island partaking of the delicious omelet that my wonderful husband prepared for me. I was very surprized to discover that I was beginning to show signs of a threatened miscarriage. The bleeding continued throughout the morning, and it was Nathan's wish that I go in to the emergency room to have things checked out. An ultrasound revealed a healthy, active baby, whom I fell in love with when I saw him doing the baby "wiggle" :-). The exam showed a slight dilation which the doctor thought may be the cause of the bleeding. An incompetent cervix could be the cause for the bleeding, which is not accompanied by any cramping at all. The doctor prescribed strict bedrest and a visit to my doctor on Monday.

So here I lay on the couch, content in the knowledge that His will is my strong desire. And my children and husband wait on me hand and foot. I suppose there are hidden blessings within any trial :-).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Goopy Eye

Yesterday Joshua and I began to get sick with a cold. Unfortunately, Joshua's spread quickly to his eyes and he came down with a bad case of goopy eye (I'm not sure if it qualifies as pink eye or not). Anyway, I was loathe to take him to the doctor and pay $20, so I got on IM and asked my hubby if he remembered if colloidal silver could be used in the eyes. He said yes, and found some instructions for me on the web. So I found a dripper bottle of sodium chloride, dumped it out, rinsed it well, filled it with colloidal silver and "WALA"! Instant eye drops :-). I put some in my own eyes first to make sure it didn't sting or anything, and then began to treat him.

Well, this morning Joshua woke up with clear eyes and I was thrilled that two drops of colloidal silver in his eyes every 2 hours or so did the trick. So I downed the drops and frequency, but I think I should have known better. After his nap goopy eye was back, with less intensity, but present nonetheless. I hope that if I keep it up for another day or so it will be completely gone.

Unfortunately I myself feel extremely miserable. It is difficult to be the constant caregiver of 4 small children and be sick. But things are going pretty well regardless. Tonight I cleaned up the kitchen with Joshua, Rebekah and David. David loaded the dishwasher quickly and efficiently, Joshua moved the chairs and had some trouble with sweeping due to his runny nose and goopy eyes, so it was time for Rebekah to move in with loving and serving her brother. She finished up his jobs for him (mostly:-) while I ministered to his needs. Then Josh and I went back to the kitchen and he was of very excited about washing up the last two pans with me. We did it together and then he wanted to sweep and swiff together. He is one great sick helper :-). Then we ate icecream and watched the President together with the rest of the family.

I think that being sick makes it easier to slow down and be laid back about everything. I praise God for it right now, for it has given me some precious times with my kids today!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

What is the Focus?

As I was reading in Daniel I was arrested by a verse within his intercessory prayer.

"O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies." Daniel 9:18

When Daniel draws a distinction between two possible reasons for the Lord answering his prayer, it makes it clear that one of them is a winner. He supposes that if the Isrealites, who had sinned greatly and bore great consequences, were to pray with a sense of their own righteousness before God, that God would not hear. "But for thy great mercies..." is key here and not just because it is the winning reason; the effective way to gain the favor of God.

The mercy of God is a defining characteristic in His person, and I believe that we flatter Him when we believe that He is merciful. We flatter Him because we are focused on Him; because we have chosen to remove our eyes from ourselves and immerse our hopes in who He is; because we believe Him, whom we have not seen. And surely this is the beginning of "delighting thyself in the Lord". :-)

With raising our kids, it becomes obvious that parents can so easily encourage children to focus on themselves and their behavior. Their own "righteousness" if you will. Have you ever taken the kids to Walmart, promising a reward for good behavior? How about this one: "If you behave well in church, we'll take you out to eat afterwards."

There are many ways that parents can foster an unhealthy focus within children. I have realized that motivating them upfront with some tantalizing reward for behavior is not the right thing to do. Surely rewards are a good thing, and it is very effective to foster a cause and effect relationship between good behavior and positive feedback and sometimes rewards. But I am convinced that it develops an unhealthy focus in the child to lay out the reward beforehand, dependent on their behavior. I understand that there is a distinction between rewards for behavior and rewards for goals and skills. For example, the other night my husband motivated the children to find the missing library book by offering a bounty of 2 marshmellows for the finder. This was very effective and satisfying -- just ask Rebekah :-).

The unhealthy result, I am afraid, is to develop a mental habit within our children of focusing on behavior and fleshly temptations in order to accomplish a goal of goodness and self-control. What foolishness! We all know that this is certainly ineffective at the very least. It has become obvious to me that fellowship and joy is the only true behavior motivator, along with training and certain chastisement when needed.

Which brings me to my point. We must make our character attractive to our children. When they are drawn to the steadfast gaze of a loving parent. And when they are sure that they are delighted in, then they will be motivated to please first the parent, and then the loving God who has drawn that parent into His own steadfast character.

Monday, September 12, 2005

On Loving and Serving

Ok, so I've been trying to focus in on teaching my kids to love and serve one another, and the only thing I've been able to come up with is negative training, where a child who has offended another is required to serve the offended child in some way (ie serve them a cup of ice water). But now I've decided that it's got to be a regular part of life. After all, what child was ever trained well from rebuke and consequence alone? They've got to DO the right thing! Instead of just being told not to do the wrong thing.

To facilitate this goal, David (my 7yob) is now responsible for overseeing Joshua's (2yob) bath and Deborah (5yog) is now responsible for overseeing Rebekah's (3yog) bath in the morning. Now, some oversight is still necessary, obviously, at bathtime, but I am thrilled that my kiddos will be taking care of each other in this way! And I am all ears for other ways to proactively train a loving and serving mentality in kids. What do YOU do?

Tonight I gave everyone extra vitamin C, a spoonful of colloidal silver and a squirt of peroxide in thier ears (myself included). Hopefully when we wake up, the sickness blossoming in our noses (ahhhh-chooooo!) will have shriveled up and died :-).

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pressing On...

At church today I read to the children from Pilgrim's Progress and the children colored a great picture I found online. The site has five pictures which go along with Pilgrim's Progress. The part of the story which impressed upon my heart was when Christian asked Discretion what armor he was to use to protect his back. He responded sheepishly when it was pointed out to him that he had no need to protect his back, unless he was turning back to death and destruction.

This is so key for the Christian! To keep going forward always and not even think of turning back. We might slip back a little sometimes, but the consequences are dire if we turn our back on God and place ourselves at the mercy of principalities and powers. We must not turn back, lest we become a pillar of salt. We must always be reaching forward, looking forward to heaven and aligning ourselves more and more with His glorious will.

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." - Phil 3:13-14

Today we gathered with friends for a quick dinner at our place before heading over to the beach for an afternoon of swimming. Benjamin located and inflated my inner-tube and it was great fun for all to float about in it! I adored my time in the water, watching little ones float and jump; watching big ones build wonderful pools for little ones; conversing with friends. But as a result I am overtired and ready for bed. Goodnight all!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Never Give Up

Warning: The following post is somewhat emotional. I hesitated to post it due to my current pregnant hormonal state, but have decided to go ahead, as it seems to be an accurate reflection. Friends, please don't tell me I am being too hard on myself. Just pray for me, ok?

There are those who seem to have it all together in their families. I read their articles and their blogs and am inspired and encouraged. However, when I reenter my own little world I realize that my life is different. I don't always have it together. My kids don't always sit still and quiet in church. My attitude is less than perfect far too often. There is bickering in my home and much frustration at times. Sometimes I think of the 3 years that we have been working to train properly and have a better attitude and be rightly related to each other and I think "I really ought to have all these kinks worked out by now"! And I just want to give up.

It's true. I really ought to have things in a better state by now. The ultimate blame for a less than happy and peaceful household will always fall upon parental shoulders. For children will mimic the behavior of those around them. If I fly off the handle and become easily frustrated at times, then the children will of course have the same tendency. If I have neglected to effectively train whining out of my older child, then inevitably the younger ones (though better trained) will start to mimic that older sibling's behavior. And it is hard to play catch-up when there are a lot of children involved and bad habits have formed.

But I am convinced more than ever that I am doing the right thing, and I know that my surety must be supernatural (otherwise I would have given up a long time ago). I know that giving up would only be giving my children over to their flesh and the devil. I know that if I lay down my head in despair I would be allowing another victory which is unthinkable.

Right now it is winter in my heart. Somehow my life is a cycle which I can track. I go through seasons of winter, just like the world around me. And seasons of summer, where my growth causes my ever smiling face to be turned constantly toward the Son (O how I long for that glorious moment!). At one point I thought that my winters were lessening and my summers lengthening and the Christian life progressed to an eventual endless summer. Ahhhh, Lord let it be so!

There is also hope in my heart right now. I am longing for a revival in my heart. These are some of the prayers I always pray for my kids at night: "Grant them a willing spirit"; "Give them a revelation of Jesus Christ"; "Give them wisdom to make good decisions"; "Give them a vision for purity and holiness in their lives"; "Let Christ dwell in their hearts BY FAITH, that they would be rooted and grounded in love, that they together with all of the saints may be able to grasp how long and wide and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that passeth knowledge that they might be filled to the measure with all of the fullness of God."; "Lord change me into a better Mommy for my children."

Lately I have prayed weeping at times, and asked them to pray the same prayers for me. They know me, my children. They know that I am a Mommy who is far from perfect. But they also know that I will always admit when I am wrong and apologize. We always look one another in the eye when confessing and say: "I'm sorry ____. It was wrong to _____. Will you forgive me?" (Okay, so we do have some good habits too :-))

And "I wait I wait for the Lord, my soul waits. And in His word will I hope." For surely they that sew in tears will reap in joy!

Friday, September 9, 2005

Flax Seed Cookies

These cookies are the tastiest I've every made and surely the healthiest also. I think the secret ingredient is the ground flax seed, which gives the cookies a wonderful chewiness.

Recently I've taken to omiting the chocolate chips and using 2/3 cup of cocoa powder instead. I've been trying for awhile to get just the right chewiness to my chocolate oatmeal cookies and I think I've hit on it with the flax seed. They are delicious and oh-so-chewy!

Flax Cookies
Yield: 9 dozen
1 1/3 cups butter
3 cups sucanat
(or 1 1/4 cups white sugar & 1 1/2 cups brown sugar)
2 1/3 cups flax seed (ground)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbs baking soda
3 cups rolled oats
1 10.5 oz bag chocolate chips or 2 cups raisins (optional)

Cream butter and sugars; add flax seed. Beat eggs and vanilla, then combine with the flax mixture. Sift flour and soda (I never sift it, but take it directly from the grinder and mix it right in :-)). Mix in oats and combine with other ingredients. Roll about a tablespoon of dough on baking sheet leaving about 2 inches between cookies. Preheat oven to 350 and bake on cookie sheet for 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet and cool.

UPDATE: It is helpful to add a little less flour and oats to make the dough a little less crumbly and the cookies easier to form.  I removed the "chill dough" for it does not seem necessary with these cookies.  It is still helpful to chill the dough if it is not very stiff.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

What A Day!

I am tired tonight. We went to the store today, and school consisted merely of math worksheets and coloring while Mommy made a new menu and researched some potentially harmful substances. I was curious as to whether hot dogs were really that bad for you. If so, I wanted eliminate them from our diet. I found a cool article which made the decision a no-brainer (ever heard of sodium nitrite?), and now we have some empty spots on our menu. I could use a few good, easy, healthy recipes about now. I wonder if they would fit in a comment? hint-hint :-)

Anyway, I had a real hankering for ham and bean soup and I thought surely I could find a healthy ham in the store. But every single ham in Walmart has sodium nitrite. I suppose the alternative would be very unappealing hams, but I'm sure I wouldn't mind in my soup.

Tomorrow morning I make bread, and win back my son's heart. Boy could I use some prayer right now.

Lord give me wisdom!

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Labor Day Weekend

Labor day weekend we had Sam and Rani here. Activity abounded, at least for the first 2 days, as we visited the Science Center in St. Louis. On Friday my adoring husband and wonderful sister-in-laws took all 4 of the kiddos for an all-day outing and left me to my own devices. What a gift! As they were leaving I felt the energy rising and I made my mental list of all the things I wanted to catch-up on around the house. Happily, I did get some much-needed cleaning done, but I knew I needed to get something lasting accomplished. So I took 2 hours to clean out my desk drawers. Before I began my main drawer was a cause of daily annoyance as I couldn't even open it without stuff getting stuck. Now it is a source of joy for me, and I could vow to never let it happen again, but I know myself too well for that :-). So I'll just try to make it last as long as possible.

I know it is already nearly Thursday and I am only just now getting around to blogging all this. In fact, I haven't blogged at all. I really need to do better. But have I mentioned to anyone that I am sick? Not retching, mind you, but mindful of the pall of everpresent nausea (whoever named it morning-sickness anyway?). And my pregnant-super-nose has caused me to breathe shallowly whenever I open the fridge; the array of leftovers are simply too much for my olfactory nerve. And it doesn't matter how much I clean (or don't clean). Everything still smells dirty. But hey! A few more weeks and we'll be through (this must be read with military intonation or you are simply not hearing me)!

Here is a pic of everyone (minus me, who stands atop Sam's fuschia berretta).