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Saturday, December 31, 2005

Laotian Missionary Murdered after Christmas Service

Laotian Missionary Murdered after Christmas Service
Prayer requested for wife, children


Missionary Aroun Warapong, who has been serving the Lord in his native Laos for years, was found murdered on December 23. No one has yet been charged with the crime.

According to reports received by Christian Aid from native mission leaders in Laos, Warapong went missing on December 22 after leading a Christmas service in rural Pakading district, Borikhamsay province. He left after the service to return to his home village of Heuysiak in Phaksan district and celebrate Christmas with his family. However, he never made it home that night.

Warapong's family members began a search for him that culminated tragically the next day, when they found his body abandoned in a creek, his throat slashed and his chest stabbed. "His face was all bruised and beaten and left dead," one witness reported.

It is not known whether or not the murder was religiously motivated. While many parts of Laos have been experiencing increased religious freedom in recent months, other more isolated areas remain dangerous for Christian workers.

Warapong had experienced some of this danger first- hand about two years ago, when he was arrested and imprisoned for over a year because of his outspoken faith. After his release, he continued preaching the gospel despite many threats against him.

"Now," writes one of Warapong's former coworkers, "he is with the Savior and has finished his race strongly and faithfully." Warapong leaves behind his wife, Ta, and their children. Pray the Lord would comfort them in this time of sorrow. Pray also that their needs would be met as the family faces great poverty with the husband and father gone.

Any readers interested in giving to support the family of Aroun Warapong may call 1-800-977-5650 or visit www.christianaid.org to make an online donation, using gift code 730-PERS.

Christian Aid Mission
email:
insider@christianaid.org
phone: 434-977-5650


You have permission to share this Prayer Alert with any evangelical Christians whom you think would be interested in reading it. Permission is granted also to reproduce it in whole or in part in e-mail networks or print media as long as it is faithfully replicated and credit is given to Christian Aid Mission. Direct inquiries to insider@christianaid.org.

Weekly Prayer Items from Mission Network News

Greetings from Mission Network News, a daily news service of Cornerstone University of Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA. This is your weekly Mission Network News prayer bulletin. You're receiving this update because you signed our guest book. If you'd like to be removed from this list please follow the instructions at the bottom of this email.Here are your weekly prayer items. Please pray over them during your personal devotional time and at your church prayer meeting.
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It's been one year since the tsunami, much work yet to be doneIt was one year ago this past week that a massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia changed 11 nations throughout Southeast Asia. A tsunami struck on December 26, 2004, killing more than 200,000 people. In Indonesia alone, more than 100,000 people died and entire cities and villages were destroyed. Bruce Smith with Wycliffe Associates says his organization had extensive work in Indonesia before the tsunami, but not in the hardest hit area, Banda Aceh. It was closed to Christians for a long time due to unrest in the area. But, Smith says the opening of the area up to relief and support after the tsunami was unprecedented. While physical work has been ongoing, it's paving the way for future outreach, Smith says, especially in the areas of language research and being in contact with people groups they didn't have contact with previously. The country of Indonesia has about 500 languages that are still without any Scripture at all, and Smith says their commitment there is long-term.Praise God for how He has worked amidst the devastation of the past year. Pray for those believers who are working and bringing the hope of Christ there. ___________________________________________________________________

Christians shore up hope as tsunami survivors face a year of change.Marking the one year anniversary of the tsunami, grief again grips Indonesia's Aceh Province. Food For the Hungry's John Frick says they're projecting that the rebuilding process will take a decade, with emotional healing perhaps taking generations. Within 24 hours of the disaster last year, FHI landed emergency response. Since then, they've dedicated personnel teams for the long haul, with an emphasis that has shifted from aid to rebuilding. A lot of FHI's efforts have revolved around livelihood and business restoration, as well as infrastructure and agriculture. Prior to the tsunami, Indonesian Christians were leery of going into the Aceh province because of the persecution. But, Frick says now they're goal is to involve Indonesian believers into the mix of everything they're doing, with the objective of sharing the love of Christ in tangible ways.Pray for those who are still suffering. Pray for the ongoing work of rebuilding and restoring what was destroyed. Pray that Indonesian believers will be a shining light of God's hope and peace to their own people.
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Amidst the wreckage of the tsunami, hope exists and rebuilds.Along the shores of India, the visible marks of the fury of the ocean are slowly receding. Like many other aid groups, Hopegivers International's Bill Bray says they're out of emergency mode, and well into Phase Two of their tsunami reconstruction plan. They have several buildings under construction right now. They are being built for the children. They hope to have 12 Hope Homes constructed by time they're done. Bray says they're working on a five-year timeline for the homes. He adds that both this phase and the next and future outreach would not have been possible without the disaster. Through the tsunami relief, there are new open doors in many of the villages for ongoing relationships and evangelism. As their projects take on a life of their own, Bray says they plan to send teams to most of these villages to do church planting and establish a long-term presence.Praise God for new open doors. Pray for relationships to be strengthened and trust built to enable many to come to know Christ.
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Indonesian rebels disarm--believers watch the outcome. The civil war in Indonesia's Aceh province may be over. Rebels have officially disarmed. Voice of the Martyr's Todd Nettleton says peace talks between the rebels and the government were already underway prior to the tsunami. However, once the disaster struck, priorities changed and both sides saw that in order to facilitate rebuilding, they were going to need to work together. Nettleton confirms the connection between humanitarian aid, relationship building and the ongoing potential for evangelistic work. Along with a connection to the local church, there is also discipleship for new Christians. However, prayer remains essential. "Thousands of people around the world prayed for this region because Indonesia is an area that has persecution, that has hostility towards Christians but the absence of armed conflict is obviously going to be a good thing for the people of Banda Aceh, for the people of the Aceh region."Pray for continued peace, even after the rebuilding isn't as urgent. Pray that the peace of Christ is what stabilizes that country.
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Hope fuels rebuilding along Sri Lanka's ravaged coast.Fear of another tsunami haunts the survivors of last year's monster wave in Sri Lanka. With this week focusing on the one-year anniversary, those thoughts are prevalent. However, that hasn't stopped the people from resuming life. World Vision's Steve Matthews recounts a discussion he had with a survivor they built a home for and describes the scope of Christian ministry and Gospel impact. Matthews asked the man how he felt as a Muslim, receiving help from a Christian aid agency from the West, and looked at Matthews as if it was an absurd question. But then he told how he was curious about Christians and actually went to a local church a few times to find out what Christians were all about. Thus, relationships begin. World Vision plans to serve tsunami-hit communities for the next two to five years, implementing programs that first and foremost support the capacities and aspirations of the survivors, with a special focus on the needs of children.Praise God for the witness of His people. Pray for many who have encountered Christians and have questions. Pray that God's Spirit would draw many to Himself. ___________________________________________________________________

Mission Network News is dedicated to keeping Christians informed about missions and evangelism around the world. Our goal is to help you become engaged in missions through praying more effectively, giving or going to the field short or long term.

Thank you for your dedication and heart for world missions. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. May God richly bless you as you serve Him today!

In His grip,
Greg Yoder,
Executive Director
Mission Network News
1.800.284.9361616.942.1500
www.MNNonline.org

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Missionary Stories to Inspire Children

A friend sent this list of books to inspire children about missions to me and I wanted to share it with you:

To Endure Hardships
Worth Dying For - Nicholas Stoltzfus
Deliver the Ransom Alone - Verda J. Glick
The Hiding Place - Corrie Ten Boom
God's Death Squad - Richard Belcher
Evangelists in Chains - Elizabeth Wagler
Coaks of Fire - Elizabeth Bauman
Trouble at Windy Acres - Mary Landis
In My Enemy's Camp - Josef Korbel
The Smoke of a Thousand Villages - David and Naomi Shirbley

To Be Brave At An Early Age And Stand Up For The Right
They Would Not Be Moved - Harvey Yoder
Little Daisy and the Swearing Class
Paula, the Waldensian - Eva Lecomte
Captive Treasure - Milly Howard
The Shining Sword - Carles G. Coleman
Courage of Sarah Noble - Alice Dalgliesh
A Father's Promise - Donna Hess
The Secret Church - Louise A.Vernon
Lost on a Mountain in Maine - Donn Fender
Run for your Life - Betty Swinford

To Be a Servant And Live For Others
Young Prince Hubert - Sidney Baldwin
Three Months under the Snow - reprint from Prism Publications

Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe
Nobody Loves Me - O. F. Walton
Only A Servant - Kristina Roy

To Have a Zeal for Missions:
Age 6-10 years
Miguel the Shepherd Boy - Edith Witmer
Mohan in the Jungle - Ella Grove
Sooky of the Philipplines - Mary Miller
Pedro - Marilyn S. Martin
Escape - Mona Dunckel
A Question of Yams - Gloria Repp
Missionary Stories with the Millers - Mildred A. Martin

Age 11-15 years
At Every Gate a Pearl - Shirley Boll
The Smoke of a Thousand Villages - David and Naomi Shibley
Paula, the Waldensian - Eva Lecomte
Seiko - Olga Abrahams
Forbidden Sunday School - Karin Moret
When Will We See Our Father Again? - edited by Margarete Schmidt
Dilek - Mollie Zook
Children of the Hills - Isobel Kuhn
Sammy Morris - Fern Neal Stocker
Gladys Aylward, Bold and Brave for God - Fern Neal Stocker
Gladys Aylward, the Adventure of a Lifetime - Janet and Geoff Benge
Amy Carmichael, Rescuer of Precious Gems - Janet and Geoff Benge
Hudson Taylor, Deep in the Heart of China - Janet and Geoff Benge
William Carey, Obliged to God - Janet and Goeff Benge
Nate Saint, On a Wing and a Prayer - Janet and Goeff Benge
Lottie Moon, Giving Her All for China - Janet and Goeff Benge
Tekko Returns - Alie Vogelaar
What Will Tomorrow Bring? - Betty M. Hockett
Young Man in a Hurry - Iris Clinton
On the Alaskan Trail and Other Missionary Stories - Margaret Jean Tuininga
Trail Maker, The Story of David Livingstone - Robert O. Latham
Friend of the Chiefs, The Story of Robert Moffat - Iris Clinton
Imprisoned in the Golden City - Dave and Neta Jackson
More than Gold - Evelyn Hege
These are My Peple - Mildred T. Howard
Marita - Evelyn Hege
The Smuggler's Quest - Lily A. Bear

Youth to Adult
The Lim Family of Singapore - M. H. Finlay
Vanya - Myrna Grant
The Shadow of the Almighty - Elisabeth Elliot
In My Enemy's Camp - Josef Korbel
Behind the Ranges - Geraldine Taylor
Awaiting the Dawn - Dorcas Hoover
Reaching Muslims for Christ - William J. Saal
John Paton - Benjamin Unseth
Eternity in Their Hearts - Don Richardson
Lords of the Earth - Don Richardson
Peace Child - Don Richardson
Ten Fingers for God - Dorothy Clarke Wilson
Totally Surrounded - Christine Davis
Tomorrow You Die - Reona Peterson Joly
Revolution in World Missions - K. P. Yohannan
Bruchko - Bruce Olson
Torches of Joy - John Dekker with Lois Neely
God's Smuggler - Brother Andrew with John & Sherrill
Through Gates of Splendor - Elisabeth Elliot
The Savage My Kinsman - Elisabeth Elliot
The Great Omission - Steve Saint
Ann of Ava - Ethel Daniels Hubbard
Deliver the Ransom Alone - Verda J. Glick
Mimosa - Amy Carmichael
The Condor of the Jungle - C. Peter Wagner & Joseph S. McCulloughAnswering the Cry - Kenneth Eagle
George Mueller - Basil Miller
Jonathan Goforth - Rosalind Goforth
John and Betty Stam - Kathleen White
Isobel Kuhn - Lois Hoadly Dick
M. A. Thomas The Man with the Heart as Big as India - Richard P. Belcher
God's Orphan Army - Richard Belcher
God's Death Squad - Richard Belcher
Blazing the Missionary Trail - E. Myers Harrison
Judith - N. I. Saloff-Astakhoff
Hidden Rainbow - Christmas Carol Kauffman
In His Name - Edward E. Hale
God Knows My Size - Harvey Yoder
And the Word Came with Power - Joanne Shetler
Daring to Live on the Edge - Loren Cunningham
The Indigenous Church - Melvin L. Hodges
Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secret - Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
The Growth of a Soul - Dr. and Mrs. Howard Taylor
The Growth of a Work of God - Dr. and Mrs. Howard Tayor
The Man with the Bird on His Head - John Rush and Abbe Anderson
From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya - Ruth A. Tucker
Brother Andrew - Dan Wooding
Coffee on the Terrace - Bruce Grayden
The Torch of Triumph - Sally Laity
Child of the Crossfire - Alcyon Ruth Fleck
The Go Manual Compiled - Grahame Dryden and Anna Kim
John Hyde - Francis McGraw
Touching the Untouchables - M. A. Thomas
Thirty Days of Prayer with Christ for India - M. A. Thomas
A Passion for the Impossible - Miriam Huffman Rockness
Slices of Life - Aretta Loving
Stronger than the Strong - Louise Morris
The Spirits of Mindoror - Catherine L. Davis
Where There is no Dentist - Murray Dickson

Compiled by Helen Leibee. The books in bold are very highly recommended.

Monday, December 26, 2005

~*~Prayer Request~*~

The other day my oldest daughter's car broke down on the highway and my husband had to go get her. The car was towed to a local service station where our next-door neighbor works. Apparently a timing (??) belt broke. Some kind of belt broke that's all I know! Today we got word that the car needs a new engine. It looks like when the belt broke it messed up a bunch of other stuff in the car. (I wish my dh were here so I could explain all this correctly.) So now she is without a car.

We are boldly asking the Lord to provide us with another car--for free. We don't have the money to buy her a car. She will need me to drive her to and from work and on January 9 she starts attending the local community college. To tell you the truth, I have never prayed a prayer like that. It feels a little presumptuous but it is what we need. We're not asking for a new car, a fancy car, a big car--just a car that runs.

When this happened, my first thought was, "This couldn't have happened at a worse time". (Remember my prayer request a week or so ago? It looks as if my dh will be out of a job by March.) Then the Lord brought to mind a verse: "Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure." He has assigned this! It is coming from His hand so it is good!!

How am I going to accept this assignment? With joy and thanksgiving or with murmuring and complaining? A quiet heart is content with what God gives. It is enough.

Will you pray with us that if it is His will, He will provide a car? And if not, that we, especially my daughter, will be content with that? Thank you!!

Boredom

Boredom

In the book A Sort of Life Graham Greene tells how he has struggled, ever since he was very young, to fend off boredom. He once had a dentist extract ("but with ether") a perfectly good tooth for no better reason than that he was bored and this seemed like an interesting diversion. He tried several times to commit suicide and six times played Russian roulette, using a revolver with six chambers--a dangerous game, but not, heaven help us, boring.


Dorothy Parker was famous for her wit before she was thirty. She had great charm, a fine education, a fascinating kind of beauty, and many interesting friends. But she was utterly bored. She, too, thought of suicide, and was quoted in John Keats' book You Might As Well Live as saying:

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.

Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Her life story seemed to me the exact illustration of acedia, or accidie, which is an old word for boredom, but a word that includes depression, sloth, irritability, lazy languor, and bitterness. "This rotten sin," wrote Chaucer, "maketh a man heavy, wrathful and raw." Poor Miss Parker had been so irritable and raw with people--she had treated even her friends unspeakably badly--that she spent her last years alone in a hotel in New York, her pitiful, neglected dogs and her liquor bottles almost her only companions.

Gertrude Behanna says, on her record, "God Isn't Dead," that she has come to believe that it is a real sin to bore people. When we stop to think about it, most of us would readily agree. But how many of us have thought of boredom itself, so long as it affects only ourselves, as a sin? The Bible speaks of joy as a Christian virtue. It is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and often we find that it characterizes the people of God whose stories we read in the Bible. The worship of God in the Old Testament was accompanied by the most hilarious demonstrations of gladness--dancing, shouting, and music-making. (This was to me one of the most impressive features of life in modern Israel when I visited there.)

Joy is not a word we use much nowadays. We think of it poetically as the opposite of sorrow, another word that does not often come into conversation. Both words represent experiences one does not normally have every day.

But I think we are mistaken. I think joy is meant to be an everyday experience, and as such it is the exact opposite of boredom, which seems to be the everyday experience (am I being overly pessimistic?) of most Americans. I get the impression that everybody is always hoping for a chance to get away from it all, relax, unwind, get out of these four walls, find somewhere, somehow, some action or excitement. Advertising, of course, has done a splendid job of creating in us greed for things we would never have thought of wanting, and thereby convincing us that whatever we have is intolerably boring. Attributing human wants to animals, we easily swallow the TV commercials that tell us that Morris the cat doesn't want tuna fish every day, he wants eight different flavors.

"Godliness with contentment is great gain.'' Those words were written a long time ago to a young man by an older man who had experienced almost the gamut of human suffering, including being chained day and night to a prison guard. Contentment is another word which has fallen into disuse. We think of it, perhaps, in connection with cows--the best milk comes from contented ones, doesn't it?--but it doesn't take much to content a cow. Peace and fodder are probably all it asks. We are not cows. What does it take to content us? How could Paul, after what he had been through, write as he did to Timothy?

C. S. Lewis, one of the most godly and civilized men I have ever heard of, exemplified what Paul was getting at. Lewis wrote that he was never bored by routine. In fact, he said, he liked it. He had what his anthologist Clyde S. Kilby called "a mind awake." Why should routine spoil it? Pictures of him show a joyful man. But he was not a man unacquainted with poverty, hard work, and suffering any more than Paul was. He knew them, but he knew, too, what lay beyond. "All joy," he wrote to a friend, "(as distinct from mere pleasure, still more amusement) emphasizes our pilgrim status; always reminds, beckons, awakens desire. Our best havings are wantings."

Those wantings lie in the deepest places of our being, and they are for the kind of joy that, according to Lewis, is "the serious business of heaven." So we waste our time, our money, and our energies when we pursue so frantically the pleasures which we hope will bring us relief from boredom. We end up bored with everything and everybody. Work which can be joyful if accepted as a part of the eternal order and a means to serve, becomes only drudgery. Our pettiest difficulties, not to mention our big ones, are cause for nothing but complaint and self-pity. All circumstances not deliberately arranged by us look like obstacles to be rid of. We consume much and produce little; we get depressed, and depression is actually dangerous and destructive.

But there is another way. Paul made it perfectly clear that his contentment had nothing to do with how desirable his circumstances were. "I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities." It is no list of amusements. How, then, did it work? It worked by a mysterious transforming power, something that reversed things like weakness and hardship, making them into strength and joy. Is there any chance that it will work for us? Is there for us, too, an antidote for boredom? The promise of Christ was not for Paul alone. "My grace is sufficient for you." It's a gift to be accepted. If we refuse it, nothing will be enough and boredom will be the story of our lives.

Copyright© 1988, by Elisabeth Elliot
all rights reserved.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Another Day--Not Quite as Busy

This morning JK and I went to a cookie decorating party at a friend's house. She bakes and prepares lots of cookies and then has an open house in the morning for friends and their children to come over to decorate them. It's so much fun. This is our second year and unless we are away, this will be a tradition for us!

After the party we went to the dollar store and picked up a few things. Five to be exact! We were looking for a portable doorbell that JK's friend had in her room but we didn't find it. It was so cute!

JK and JL are decorating the tree this afternoon. I have to admit that I really wasn't up to doing that task but they have graciously volunteered to do it! They are in the living room now giggling and having lots of fun!

I'm on my out the door to pick up stocking stuffers, pick up a DVD from the library and then do some last minute grocery shopping before the weekend. I am out of bread, oj and milk! Oh, and eggs!!

The weather is chilly but not windy so it's nice to be outside. The weather report says rain for Christmas so no White Christmas. I can pray, though! God can send a chilly blast of air if He so wills!!

How is your day? Are all your preparations complete? I'd love to hear about it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Day Full of Errands

I was home alone today and I used that time to get a lot of errands done. After meeting Kari at Barnes and Noble, I stayed there and shopped. I picked up a few books for my sister for Christmas and one for my dad. Then I found The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers on audiocassette (unabridged) for half price! I was thrilled. I had found The Return of the King a few months ago there for $7.99 but the first two were regular price. I guess they are getting rid of these because everything is going on CD but that's ok by me! I have a radio/tape player here by my desk and I can listen to them while I'm working at night. Yeah!!

After B&N I went over to Target for more Christmas purchases. I bought JM three pairs of jeans. He was definitely in need of these. I also got some monogrammed hankerchiefs for my dh. I bought three stocking hangers to use on the new mantle. Our old one had nails in it but I definitely don't want to do that to this one! After shopping, I had lunch in their snack bar.

From Target, I drove down the road to Wal-Mart to pick up film, ink and a camera battery. That was a quick in-and-out trip. Since I didn't have to push a cart, I parked far away. Wal-mart's parking lot is uphill from the store and when I go grocery shopping, I need to park close because it's very difficult for me to push the cart up the hill.

Next stop was the post office to mail Christmas cards, buy stamps and to get an airmail stamp to mail a card to Costa Rica. I don't think it will make it there by Christmas but definitely before the New Year! The line was long but moved quickly as they had three clerks on duty. Then it was on to the bank where I deposited my sons' paycheck. There were no lines so that errand was done in five minutes, if that!

There's more! After the bank, I went home to drop off all my packages and hide the presents. While I was home, I threw in a load of laundry and straightened the living room. I checked my e-mail and left again to get my hair cut and then it was home again, home again, jiggety-jig.

But I wasn't done yet.........once home, I changed clothes and rinsed my hair to get rid of all the little hairs flying around. I then gathered my notebook and headed out the door for a retreat planning committee meeting. It was very successful and we got a lot accomplished.

Now I am home and ready for bed. Good night!!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Frosted Pumpkin Puffs


Frosted Pumpkin Puffs

1 package yellow cake mix
2t pumpkin pie spice
1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin
2 eggs
½ C raisins or nuts, if desired
1 tub vanilla frosting

Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Mix cake mix (dry) and 2t pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and eggs with spoon until well-blended. Stir in raisins or nuts. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons about 2” apart onto sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes or until set and very light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and let cool completely. Frost; sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.

Makes 4 dozen.

Friday, December 16, 2005

What I've Been Doing This Morning


After I got JM off to school, I started working on finishing the cards from last night. I've been stamping ever since! JK and my dh went to see "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown" at a local theatre and I am home alone!! They will probably go to lunch afterwards and then shopping.

Christmas music is playing on the radio, the space heater is at my feet and I am rubber stamping without interruptions...........ah, bliss!!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Thursday at Home

Cold and rainy!! That is the order of the day. No ice here but a cold, cold rain. It was off and on earlier but now it's pretty steady.

We had school today and JK continued to work with planes and lines. A fun and easy lesson! For her copywork she's been using poetry and most of it from Ogden Nash. She just thinks he is a hoot! I do, too. He's always good for a laugh.

I tried to make a recipe today using Saltine crackers, chocolate and nuts but it didn't quite turn out like I expected. I had to make a mixture of brown sugar and butter to pour over the crackers but when I poured it, it sort of went into a big lump. Well, I managed to spread it over the crackers but when I cooked it, there was smoke!! Don't tell anyone! Actually, they didn't turn out too bad. I'll post the recipe later since I don't have it in front of me.

Since school ended I've been working on making cards. I'm making some Christmas cards and ones for other occasions. I have a friend who just had a baby and another who is getting married so I need to do cards for those. Rubber stamping is so much fun--and addicting!

That's about all from home today. I'm off to Target to pick up a prescription and then I'm heading to Michael's with my 40% off coupon. There must be something I need!

How about you? How were things in your home today?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Favorites


I got this from MamaBugs. It's a "non tag".

10 Christmas Favorites:

Favorite traditional carol with spiritual emphasis: O Little Town of Bethlehem
Favorite modern carol with spiritual emphasis: Mary, Did You Know?
Favorite secular Christmas song: White Christmas by Bing Crosby
Favorite Christmas music album: too many to pick just one!!
Favorite Christmas drink: hot chocolate
Favorite Christmas movie: Holiday Inn
Favorite Christmas treat: homemade frosted cookies
Favorite Christmas family tradition: Christmas Eve service and coming home to open on present
Favorite Christmas decoration: Precious Moments nativity set, and all the childrens' homemade ornaments on the tree
Favorite Christmas scripture: Matthew 1:21........for He shall save His people from their sins."


What are your favorites?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Monday at Home

My title is Monday at Home but we haven't been home much this morning. My dh is on vacation this week! We took JK to a local bowling alley and played a few games. On Mondays it is only $1 for a game and shoes! I'll probably be taking her there so she can practice for her league. I got 118, 112, and 78. Not too bad considering I bowl about once a year!

After bowling we went to a local pharmacy that has an old-fashioned lunch counter with stools! It was a real treat for JK. The lunch was delicious but their "homemade" milk shakes left much to be desired. I'm sure we'll go back again but not get any ice cream!

We stopped at Lowe's to pick up a heater for our schoolroom. We have a small one in here but it's not enough to heat the whole room. So we picked up a bigger one and the small one is now under my desk keeping me warm .

In a few minutes I'll be finishing laundry and doing my Monday chores: vacuuming and dusting downstairs. A friend is dropping their toddler off this afternoon for us to babysit while the rest of their family goes to a Christmas party. We are so excited. He is just the cutest little thing and I know we're going to have fun with him. I'm going to have JK do most of the babysitting so she can get some experience while I'm here.

That's about it for our morning and early afternoon. No news on the job front! Oh, here's something funny. In Saturday's mail I received a booklet entitled "Cultivating a Heart of Contentment" from
RBC Ministries. I have a feeling the Lord is preparing me for big changes ahead! But "I can do all things through Him who gives me strength"!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Hear Him Roar! I Did!

Hear Him Roar! I Did!A Review of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
By Rebecca GraceAFA JournalDecember 9, 2005


(AgapePress) - I was one of select group to have the honor of hearing Aslan roar from the big screen last weekend during a pre-screening of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And mind you, his roar was loud and clear as a tale of wonder and majesty unfolded throughout the film.

There was a rumble of excited voices as a steady stream of anxious viewers wearing everything from cowboy hats to wool toboggans made their way into a theater designed for about 300 people. It appeared to be filled to capacity as viewers readied themselves for what many expect to be the motion picture blockbuster of the year.

If you're one of those with such high hopes, you can rest assured that your expectations will not only be met but possibly exceeded as you watch the world of Narnia come to life during 125 minutes of theatrical grandeur. The film, which has been 13 years in the making, releases nationwide today, just in time for the Christmas season.

A Biblical DepictionIt is based on the literary masterpiece of the same title written by the late C.S. Lewis and first published in 1950. The author, considered to be one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, wrote the story as a supposal.

"The question was: Suppose there was a land or world where the animals could talk with the people and they lived in friendly harmony with mythological creatures like fauns and centaurs .... And suppose somehow evil managed to get into that world, and God had to save that world like He had to save this one," explained Douglas Gresham, Lewis' stepson. "How might this come about? What might it have been like? How would it have happened?
"His answer to that ? supposal was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which is a story of four children who stumble into a magical world through the doors of a wardrobe hidden away in an old professor's house.


As a result, Christianity is suffused throughout the story making it more than just a fantasy tale but rather a biblical parallel to the death and resurrection of Christ. It is also a very real depiction of temptation and sin, love and forgiveness, mercy and redemption, and Law and grace. I can thankfully say that Disney and Walden Media respectfully included these Christian elements in the movie.

Faithful to the MeaningPrior to my viewing of the movie, Michael Flaherty, president of Walden Media, assured me that the movie was a faithful adaptation of the book and whatever spiritual elements I took from the book I would also be able to take from the movie. He is a man who is true to his word.

I must admit that there was a particular point during the movie when I began to squirm in my seat thinking they were about to blow it in depicting the resurrection of Aslan. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that they got it right. They really got it right! And that means a lot.
In fact, they went above and beyond to include a line in the movie that is taken directly from a well-known passage in Scripture. It was not part of the book but was a powerful addition to the film, as were several other clever alterations.


Viewers who are avid-fans of the book and especially close to the content of it will be quick to notice a number of changes in the film. Some parts are eliminated while others are added. However, all of the changes are made in good taste and are done so as a means of dramatizing the story so that it works for the big screen. In no way do the dramatizations change the meaning of the message that is at the heart of the story. Rather they enhance it.

For example, the film has the perfect touch of humor prompting audiences to laugh at random times throughout the movie. The humor is mostly conveyed through the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, who are highlights of the film. The comical elements are never corny but well-balanced and a delightful facet of the film that can be rather heavy at times.
"Not Safe ..."Since the climax of the story line is the death and resurrection of Aslan who triumphs over the evil White Witch, many viewers -- specifically parents of young children -- may be skeptical about the violence and evil that are central to parts of the film. Both elements are handled very tastefully with children in mind.


For example, there is a battle scene between Aslan's warriors and the White Witch's army that lasts about 20 minutes. The opposing sides are seen attacking each other with spears and swords. Some blood is seen, but the intensity of the battle is mild more so than gory and once again depicted in a way that is tactful yet necessary to the purpose of the story.
However, some of the contents may be inappropriate for children under six. For example, the White Witch's creatures are very grotesque and conniving, especially during the scene where Aslan is put to death. Although the Witch's sword is not shown going directly into Aslan, the intensity of the moment is felt and heard. Therefore, I encourage parents to evaluate the maturity of their children and even screen the movie prior to their children seeing it if there is any question about its appropriateness.


It is also important to note that the portrayal of the White Witch, who is the representation of evil, is a very accurate depiction of Satan. Her actions and her appearance are enticing in the beginning but repulsive by the end of the film. Although extremely mean and evil, she is not portrayed as the typical green-faced, wart-nosed witch. There is a sense of sinful appeal about her, but her character causes viewers to shudder at the same time.

Even more startling than the White Witch is her team of ferocious wolves who prowl around in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy. There are two times where the wolves jump out unexpectedly, startling viewers.

The movie, which involves a talented cast of actors and an inspiring soundtrack, is rated PG because of these themes. It also includes brief scenes of the Witch's cleavage and of the Professor smoking a pipe as well as what sounded like one use of the Lord's name in vain.
"But Good"But all in all, the elements of violence and evil, as well as the very mild obscenities, do not outweigh a message of hope and redemption brought to life through the world of Narnia where children enter a fantasyland of wonder and fun only to learn a life-changing lesson.
A similar lesson is likely to be learned from simply watching the movie and allowing oneself to connect with its meaning.


"There were some spiritual moments [in the movie] for me," said Lynn Noe of Nashville, Tennesse, who brought her five-year-old daughter Abi to see the movie. It was also a very moving experience for Abi as she watched Aslan die and come back to life.

"She is very tender," Noe said about her daughter. "She is still crying [and not out of fear]. She doesn't have the words for it yet."

But Abi's four-and-a-half-year-old friend Bailey did. "My favorite part was when the lion turned back alive!" Bailey said with a smile.

"It was the best movie I've seen all year," added Bailey's mother, Kate Sage. "I loved it!"
As did the rest of the audience who erupted in applause as the credits began to roll.


Rebecca Grace, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is staff writer for AFA Journal, a monthly publication of the American Family Association.
© 2005 AgapePress all rights reserved.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

~*~Prayer Request~*~

My husband has worked for the same company for 25 years--ever since he graduated from technical school in 1980. They have been without a contract for four years now. Four years, no raises, nothing. It's been hard! We received word last night that the company is going to reduce its technical staff by 103 positions. They have offered a few options. My husband can be bought out. He has 25 years so the amount of money he would receive would be significant. The buyout would also include a payment toward the cost of health insurance coverage continuation.

If he decided to stay, he would probably be relocated. The likely choices are New York, Los Angeles, or Washington, DC but it could be anywhere!

If they don't get enough people to leave, then they would start "involuntary reductions" until the 103 reductions were made. I think "involuntary reductions" is a fancy way of saying "letting you go". Of course, if he were let go, then that severence package would be out the window and he would get two weeks and bye-bye!

Please pray for my husband as he has this decision to make. This is a big, big decision. If he left, he would have to find another job and he doesn't have a college degree. Even though he has 25 years experience in his field, so many companies want a college degree. It's so frustrating.

Please pray for me also that I would be a helpmeet to him in this area. That I would be cheerful and encouraging. Of course, I would go where he goes but it would be a very big adjustment. I have really only moved one time and it was hard. My dad was in the Army when I was younger but when he bought our house in NJ when I was nine, we didn't move after that. My parents still live in that house. I moved out when I was 23 but only to the next county so I kept all my friends, etc. I next moved when I married my husband but only to his apartment and then to our first house. Again, it was right in the same community so we kept the same friends, the same church, etc. I had only been to one church.

Then in 1990 we moved here to Virginia. I left family, friends and church and it was difficult but I love it here. We have been in the same house since we moved and my children have grown up here. My two oldest were 4 and 20 months at the time and JK was not even born so this is the only home they have ever known. JM will be a senior next year and I would like to see him graduate from his school. And I have some dear, dear friends here. Our church family is so, so special!! It is our family since ours is in NJ and they are not believers.

So, as you can see, there is a lot to pray about. Please pray for God's wisdom and clear guidance! My husband sent out a letter today to some of the men at church to pray for him during this time. We only want to do what is best and to follow Him.

Thank you so much!!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups

Here's what I'm making for dinner tonight:

Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups

1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
5 slices cheddar cheese, quartered
1 can refrigerated flaky biscuits

In large skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef, celery, onion and green pepper. Drain fat. Stir in bbq sauce and salt. Simmer 2-3 minutes, uncovered. Meanwhile place 1 biscuit into each of 10 ungreased muffin cups. Press dough firmly into bottom and sides of cups. Spoon about 1/4 cup of beef mixture into each biscuit cup.

Bake 10 minutes or until edge of biscuits are golden brown. Arrange 2 pieces of cheese on top of each cup. Continue baking 1-2 minutes until the cheese is melted. Let stand 1 minute then remove and serve.
~*~*~*~*
This is one of our favorites. BTW, I usually double the recipe.

Today at Home

The roads are clear this morning but the snow is on all the trees and grass. It really looks beautiful. I just read the weather report and we're supposed to get more snow on Friday. Wouldn't that be something? I hope it comes later in the day because I was going to surprise JK and take her to lunch and to see Narnia.

Today I'm catching up on some chores that need to get done. I'm doing my regular chores which are laundry and cleaning the bathrooms. The main thing I'm trying to catch up on is paperwork and cleaning my desk! I'm almost done. While I'm cleaning I'm listening to Christmas music which is making the time go faster.

How is your day?

Monday, December 05, 2005

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!


It's snowing here in Central Virginia! We have made it north of the famous rain/snow line. It's rare that it happens! The weather forecaster said we would get 1 to 3 inches but we measured it around 4:00 and it was 4.5". Everything looks so beautiful.

The public schools were let out an hour early and I'm not sure if they'll have school tomorrow. I know to all of you who get that amount daily it sounds funny but it doesn't take much to close schools here.

We are going to have some popcorn and play some board games in a little while. I hope you all are snuggled up with the ones you love and staying warm. Even if you're in Hawaii!!

I've Been Tagged!

Seven Sevens Tag
I was tagged by
Leslie

Seven Things To Do Before I Die
1) See my children serving the Lord and living for Him
2) Become more like Him every day
3) Read all the books on my very long reading list
4) Visit England
5) Move to the country
6) Finish a quilt I started years ago
7) Learn to play the dulcimer (I first have to get one!)
Seven Things I Cannot Do
1) Kill a bug
2) Mow the lawn
3) Change a tire
4) Make a decent biscuit
5) Sing
6) Sew (on a machine) without getting frustrated
7) Be normal

Seven Things That Attract Me To My Husband
1) His sense of humor
2) His love of the Lord
3) His work ethic
4) He always makes me feel good when I am down
5) His kisses
6) His love for our children
7) He kills bugs for me
Seven things I Say Most Often
1) I love you
2) Did you brush your teeth (or hair)?
3) Does anyone know where my keys and/or shoes are?
4) Go. Be free.
5) Oh, for Pete's sake!
6) Pooh!
7) Please clean your room

Seven Books (or series) I Love
1) The Bible
2) Jane Eyre
3) Persuasion
4) Pride and Prejudice
5) Loving God With All Your Mind
6) Roxaboxen
7) The Little House (by Virginia Burton)
Seven Movies I Watch Over and Over Again
1) Casablanca (I never, ever get tired of seeing this)
2) LOTR
3) Pride and Prejudice (A&E)
4) Sense and Sensibility
5) Rebecca
6) Ball of Fire
7) The Maltese Falcon (or The Big Sleep)

I tag whoever would like to answer these. Just leave me a comment and I'll pop over to read your answers.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Christ is Able

Last night I compared Philippians 4:11-13 in different Bible versions. I won't post all of it but just verse 11.

NASB: Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.

KJV: Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

NIV: I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

NLT: Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little.

ESV: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

I also did a word study on content. It's the Greek word autarkes (Strong's 842). Here's the definitions:


1. sufficient for one's self, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support
2. independent of external circumstances
3. contented with one's lot, with one's means, though the slenderest

I like the third definition because our means are definitely "the slenderest"!!

From Calm My Anxious Heart:
At all times, in all circumstances, Christ is able and willing to provide the strength we need to be content.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Holy Habit

Yesterday as I was preparing to read "Calm My Anxious Heart", I thought to myself that I was fairly content with things the way they are. Well, there's some pride for you! "The heart is deceitful and desparately wicked. Who can know it?", the Lord says. He is so right, of course.

I didn't get far into the first chapter when I read about one woman's prescription for contentment:
Never allow yourself to complain about anything--not even the weather
Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
Never compare your lot with another's.
Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
Never dwell on tomorrow--remember that [tomorrow] is God's, not ours.


The author describes this woman as having a "holy habit" of contentment. A holy habit! I have to tell you that this is as far as I have read in the book. I just wanted to spend yesterday and today examining my life thoroughly, repenting of this sin of discontentment and practicing to make contentment a "holy habit".

More later....................

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Contentment


A dear friend and I are going to be studying a book about contentment called, "Calm My Anxious Heart" by Linda Dillow. We're planning on meeting once a week to discuss what we've read, to prayer with each other, to encourage each other and to hold each other accountable in areas where we are struggling.

I thought before I would start the book that I would look up the word content to understanding the meaning. Here's what I found:

1. happy enough with what one has or is: not desiring something more or different; satisfied.

An interesting definition was this: willing--used in the British House of Lords as an affirmative vote.

I suppose we could vote "affirmative" to what we have as a sign that we are satisfied with it.

The above definitions are from the Webster's New World Dictionary (1951). Here's the definition from Webster's 1828:

CONTENT, a. [L., to be held; to hold.] Literally, held, contained within limits; hence, quiet; not disturbed; having a mind at peace; easy; satisfied, so as not to repine, object, or oppose.
Content with science in the vale of peace.


Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content. 1 Timothy 6.

CONTENT, v.t.
1. To satisfy the mind; to make quiet, so as to stop complaint or opposition; to appease; to make easy in any situation; used chiefly with the reciprocal pronoun.


Do not content yourselves with obscure and confused ideas, where clearer are to be obtained.

Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas. Mark 15.

2. To please or gratify.

It doth much content me, to hear him so inclined.

CONTENT, n.
1. Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.


A wise content his even soul securd; By want not shaken, nor by wealth allurd.

2. Acquiescence; satisfaction without examination.

The style is excellent; the sense they humbly take upon content.

3. The term used in the House of Lords in England, to express an assent to a bill or motion.

Rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition. Well, that really puts it into focus, doesn't it? Satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining complaint. Can I say I am doing this?????

Last Sunday our teaching elder, Rich, spoke on 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18. When he got to verse 16, "Rejoice Always", he said:


there are no exceptions
it is a command
it's continual
and it is always applicable
it's a continual state of joyful happiness (trust and confidence in God)


I think being joyful and content go hand in hand. Rich asked the question of how do we remain joyful. I think his answer would be the same to the question of how do we remain content: by not focusing on our circumstances but focusing on God and His savlation.

I pray that I will learn to be joyful and content in the midst of all the circumstances of my life!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Making Math A Little Easier


JK started a new math book last week. It's different for her because it's now a textbook and she has to transfer her work onto a separate piece of paper. So far, so good!

Years ago a friend gave me some advice that really helped me and saved a lot of time. When starting a new math textbook, have your student take the chapter tests to see how much he remembers. Most textbooks have a few chapters of review and if they pass the test for that chapter, then go on to the next one. We are already on Lesson 18 today. That's over 3 weeks worth of work done in 3 days! Instead of taking the chapter 3 test today, I had JK go over some of the concepts on the test that I knew she would have trouble remembering. We'll do that again tomorrow and then take the test because the rest is just multiplication problems. I think she should be able to get through 6 or 7 chapters before we have actually do the entire thing. That means we'll be starting around Lesson 65 or so. What a great timesaver!!

Do you have any timesaving tips that have really helped you?

(graphic courtesy of
Graphic Garden)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Search me, O God!


Tonight at the Lord's table we talked about coming to Him with an unexamined heart and the risks of doing so. Some of the risks include focusing on temporal things (2 Cor. 4:16-18), a growing love for money or "stuff" (1 Tim. 6:8-12), being conformed to this world and having a wrong view of self (Romans 12:1-3) and having an evil, unbelieving heart (Heb. 3:10-13).

Charles, the elder who spoke tonight, encouraged us to be vigilant in examing our hearts by spending daily time in His word (Heb. 12:15) and in prayer, and humbly submitting to the Lord on a daily (I added hourly) basis.

Our prayer should be:

Psalm 139:23-24

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there by any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!

One of the songs we sang tonight was Cleanse Me by J. Edwin Orr, which is based on Psalm 139:23.

Cleanse Me

Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
Try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there by some wicked way in me;
Cleanse me from every sin, and set me free.

I praise Thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
Fulfill Thy Word, and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire, where once I burned with shame;
Grant my desire to magnify Thy name.

Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine;
Fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passions, self and pride;
I now surrender, Lord--in me abide.

O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee;
Send a revival, start the work in me.
Thy Word declares Thou wilt supply our need;
For blessings now, O Lord, I humbly plead.

God used the above Scripture and this song to encourage me tonight to be viligant in guarding my heart and to make sure that I am wholly His! I hope it will be an encouragement to you also.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Pride and Prejudice


Tonight my kindred spirit, Pam, and I, along with a lot of friends, went to see Pride & Prejudice, which finally opened here in town. Pam and three of her daughters were dressed in period costume and looked wonderful. Pam just finished her dress this afternoon. (They are all going to the Netherfield Ball on Saturday.) One girl came over and asked Stephanie (Pam's daughter) if she was going to see Harry Potter! Ummm.....no.

I was anxious to see how well the movie compared to the A&E Pride & Prejudice. I mean, can anything compare with that? The P&P with Laurence Olivier is not very good. They wear Civil War-era dresses, for goodness sake! Anyway, this movie was very, very good. I wasn't sure Kiera Knightley could pull it off but she did. I thought she was very charming. And Mr. Matthew MacFayden was a fine Mr. Darcy. He grows on you!

I especially liked that the Bennets' were portrayed as country people and it showed in their house, their yard and their community. I absolutely love the country dance where Lizzie and Darcy first meet.

And, as it seems with so many period pieces, the photography was stunning. I want to go to England!!

Check out the
website and then go see the movie. You won't regret it and if you're a big fan of the A&E version, you will not be disappointed.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rainy Days and Mondays


It's been raining all day here with more expected tonight. We didn't get a chance to get the leaves up this weekend so they are everywhere! Hopefully it will dry out by this weekend so we can vacuum them up.

We enjoyed another day at home. Laundry was started, chores worked on and school was finished! JK started the new math and language arts and enjoyed both. She liked the idea of having a math textbook and we made up a math notebook in which to keep all her work.

We also started some other new things. The first is English From the Roots Up, which teaches about Greek and Latin roots. We're not doing anything too formal for this. I'm just giving her a card a day and having her look up some words in the dictionary. On Friday, I'll give an oral quiz on the ones she's learned. I think it will help in her vocabulary.

The second thing we started is Christian Liberty Press' Studying God's Word. I wanted to introduce her to Bible study and I really like this series. The lessons are short and I think it will make a good introduction to more indepth Bible study.

I'm not cooking tonight because we're going out to dinner. We tried to go to this restaurant on Saturday night but when we got there, we were told it was a three-hour wait!! Needless to say, we went back home and ate leftovers. I don't expect it to be busy tonight but I made reservations just in case!!

How was your day?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

In Our Home This Week


My week at home was very productive! I did go out Monday night to do grocery shopping and Wednesday afternoon JK and I went out to buy items for our Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. Other than that, we were home all week.

JK finished her math and language arts books so she is officially (?) in 5th grade. She'll be starting the purple book in
Learning Language Arts Through Literature and Math 5 from Bob Jones University. LLATL follows the same format as the last book but math will be different since she will now be using a textbook instead of a workbook. She's going to have to be diligent when she transfers her work from the book to paper!

I had hoped to finish our
Astronomy book by the end of the month but I don't know if that's going to happen. We'll really have to make a concerted effort to get that done. I'd like to start the Biology book in December but maybe I need to be realistic and just start in January after the holidays.

I managed to do a thorough cleaning of the downstairs--I vacuumed and dusted everywhere (not just the areas that show) and the house looks great. I even washed the windows and curtains!! I also did a lot of baking, mostly with apples. Some of the other projects I got done were filing away all the new
Mailbox Club lessons that came in and sending out new ones. I also ordered a lot of materials that needed to be filed. I know have two file drawers just for Mailbox Club items. Yeah! When I took over the club, I was given about seven or eight large cardboard boxes full of papers and not organized. Now everything is organized and much more manageable.

I also organized my recipes. I like to clip recipes and I have a notebook full of them but they weren't in any order. I took them all out, organized them into categories and put each into a separate binder pocket. I also made a list of ones that I would like to try first. If I like them--well, if my family likes them--then I put that recipe into my own personal recipe book.

The one thing I didn't get to do was start my sewing projects for Christmas but next week we'll be home again most days so I hope to start on Monday. We're going to a friend's house for Thanksgiving so I don't have to shop or anything!

How about you? How was your week?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Create In Me Thy Beauty Now


Create In Me Thy Beauty Now

Dear God, I come before You now
To open up Your Word.
My mind is full of scattered thoughts;
My view of You is blurred.

Please help me read with open eyes
Enlightened by Thy grace.
Help me to see on every page
My lovely Savior’s face.

Dear God, Your Word has searched my heart;
It made me look within.
For when I saw my Savior’s face,
I also saw my sin.

I saw the thorns upon His brow;
I saw Him crucified.
And then I saw my careless life,
My selfishness and pride.

Dear Lord, forgive…..remold…..renew
As on Thy face I gaze.
Create in me Thy beauty now
In tender girlhood days.

Remove the stains that smudge and blur,
So all may clearly see
The image of Your loveliness
Reflected now in me!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Today at Home




I was able to get quite a lot accomplished today. Yeah! I spent most of the day at my desk working on correspondence, paying bills, organizing school work, and general de-cluttering of papers. That took quite a bit of time. I also did a thorough cleaning of the kitchen and finished most of the laundry.

We didn't do school today because JK got her spacers yesterday and she was in quite a bit of pain today so I just let her read and play. She did do some copywork and handwriting but no math.

Tonight I'll be finishing up the laundry and then working on the lessons for the Mailbox Club. I also received some rubber stamps that I ordered off of e-Bay that I'd like to cut out so I can start using them!

Tomorrow I'll be posting more from the Vessels Unto Honor conference. Have a good night!

The Sunshine Girls


At the conference I went to this weekend one of the sessions was entitled, "The Sunshine Girls" and it was about equipping our daughters for loving service to others. The conference was full of girls, young and old, with their mothers and Mrs. Hendry encouraged the girls live for others by being a "sunshine girl" and by serving. She gave many practical examples of what a girl could do. Some of these girls of all ages could do; some would be more appropriate for the teen years and beyond:

~read encouraging poetry to shut-ins or those who are sick; this could even be done over the phone
~have a ready word of encouragement
~memory verse assistant; help a mom at home by offering to help her children memorize Scripture
~secretary to mothers including writing thank you notes
~write notes of encouragement to the elders of your church (and their wives)
~start a birthday card ministry
~mother's helper
~party planning and helping
~making different baskets to give away; these could include new mothers' basket, get well basket, new bride, new church member, birthday, new neighbor, teatime basket. I'm sure you can think of lots of others!
~pastor encourager
~prayer warrior; send notes to tell the person you are praying for them
~soup makers
~conference and meeting helpers; what mom would like some help at a homeschool convention especially if she has many children to take?
~trip and travel assistant
~story reader and teller (using felts, puppets, etc.)
~meal deliverer
~crisis, care and condolence card writer
~tea party hostess and helper
~visitor of shut-ins
~moving assistant
~mending and ironing maiden
~game player
~book lender
~teacher and tutor assistant
~errand runner
~gift wrapper (go over to help a mom wrap Christmas or birthday presents)
~new mothers' helper

She encouraged the girls to think of others older and younger who they can minister to by acts of service. She also encouraged us as mothers to train our daughters for service and to get a vision of Biblical girlhood for our daughters. A vision where our lives and theirs are poured out to God in service to others.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Eight Gifts That Do Not Cost A Cent


1. The Gift of Listening......But you must REALLY listen. No interrupting, no daydreaming, no planning your response. Just listening.

2. The Gift of Affection......Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and handholds. Let these small action demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.

3. The Gift of Laughter......Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."

4. The Gift of a Written Note......It can a simple "Thanks for your help" note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.

5. The Gift of a Compliment......A simple and sincere, "You look great in red", "You did a super job", or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.

6. The Gift of a Favor......Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.

7. The Gift of Solitude......There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.

8. The Gift of a Cheerful Disposition......The easiest way to feel good is to extend a kind word to someone, really it's not that hard to say, Hello or Thank You.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Corrected Link for Menus4Moms

Here's the correct link for Menus4Moms:

www.menus4moms.com

I'll correct the post below also!

Menus4Moms


Menus4Mom is a nice website that has lots of articles on home organization, frugal meal planning, time management, bulk cooking and more. They also have a very large section on homeschooling.

One of the nice services they offer is a week of menus and recipes that are sent via e-mail. Each week is something different. I don't follow the schedule strictly but pick and choose what I want. So far everything I've made has been good--and easy.

If this is something you think you would like to try, go over to their
website and sign up. It's free and I think you'll enjoy receiving the recipes!

(photo courtesy of graphicgarden)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Please Pray for My Son

Last night JM's place of employment was robbed. Jared was there with another employee, J, and a young lady customer named A. Two teenagers entered the store with knives and demanded money from the safe. One of these teenagers was a former employee who had recently been fired for stealing money from the registers. They put J and A in the back room and held a knife to my son while he opened one of the safes. They then took all three employees and locked them in the freezer and left with the money. They also stole the young lady's pocketbook and J's key ring, which contained his personal keys and the keys to all the other stores. JM and the other two were able to get out of the freezer and call the police. Then JM called my husband to come to the store.

Needless to say, JM was very shaken up by this. He seems to be doing a lot better today. Thankfully, school is out for the next two days so he has some time to relax. Please pray that he doesn't have any lasting effects from this and that the Lord would use this in his life to draw my son closer to Him. Pray also that these two teenagers will be caught quickly and punished accordingly. JM and J knew the boys so there was no problem with the identification. I spoke with JM's boss today and he will be pressing the maximum charges against them since it was an armed robbery. The locks have been changed at all the stores.

Pray also for J as his house and car keys were taken and all that will have to be changed now and for A, who was hurt during the robbery (they pulled her hair and dragged her into the freezer) and she is very badly shaken by this. As far as I know, J and A are not believers.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


The library book sale on Friday was wonderful. The children's selection was very good this time. Sometimes when I go it's not so great but this year ws pretty good. One year my friend and I found 60 COFA's. We took them all and split them up later!

Here's some of my finds:

~The Complete Guide to Middle-Earth
~The Gift of Music (Great Composers and Their Influence)
~The Silimarillion; in hardback!! My pb is falling apart. This is a first edition.
~Egyptians Designs; A Dover Electronic Clip Art book with the CD still sealed. We're studying ~Ancient Egypt next year and this will be great.
~Grocery Cart Math--no writing
~The Land of Fair Play (CLP)--American Civics from a Christian Perspective
~The Weather Book (USA Today)
~.......If You Lived at Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake
~Rulers of Britian (from Roman Times to Elizabeth II)
~Life Science/100 Reproducible Activities--no writing
~LLATL Gray/Student Activity Book--again no writing!
~My Dear Cassandra (Letters Jane Austen wrote to her sister)
~Johnny Tremain--a nice hardback to replace the pb I have. This appears to be a first edition.
~The Narnia Cookbook; beautiful hardback with dust jacket--looks new
~Martin Luther by May McNeer and Lynd Ward; I enjoy this husband/wife team
~Blaze and The Gypsies
~Knight (Eyewitness Book)
~Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car (FIAR title)
~Confessions of An Organized Homemaker; looks new
~The Penguin Book of Carols; new
~The Summer Book by Susan Branch; brand new!
~The Carving on the Tree (story of Roanoke Island); autographed!!
~Life in the Ancient Word; a Giant Landmark!
~Peter Rabbit's Cookery Book; don't these recipes sound good? Patty-Pan Pie, Appley Dapply's Jam Tarts, Jeremy Fisher's Butterfly Sandwiches and Mrs. Rabbit's Currant Buns
~The Wind in the Willows; a beautiful copy illustrated by Ernest Shepard (Winnie-the-Pooh); I already own a copy illustrated by Tasha Tutor. Which do I keep? They are both beautiful!
~Alexander the Great (Horizon Caravel)
~Kings of the Crusades (Horizon Caravel)
The Renaissance (Eyewitnes Art); this is used but in like-new condition
~Don't Count Your Chicks by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire; I was so excited to pick up this book as I have never seen any of their other books besides the famous biographies. It appears to be a first edition.
~The Yearling; beautiful hardback to replace a library discard
~The last two were my "finds of the day"! Both are considered rare and valuable.
~A Child's History of Art by Hillyer and Huey
~Norse Gods and Giants by the d'Aulaires

I only came home with two boxes and that's good for me! I left a lot of wonderful books there such as some Landmarks and We Were Theres because I just don't have the room for them and I'm not selling books anymore. My friend, who also homeschools and sells books, picked up a lot of what I didn't want. She sells at our local regional homeschool group and our state convention so I know they'll be in good hands!

By the way, the library decided not to put out the rare children's book with the higher prices so I paid 50 cents each for these wonderful books!! God is so good to bless my little home library in this way.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Busy Morning

A lot was accomplished on this *warm* Fall day. It seems summer is still trying to hang around and not let fall begin. We might be in the 80's this weekend.

I finished up the laundry and did 3 loads of towels. My children go through lots of towels during the week. I have a basket in the hall closet where they can put their used towels for me to wash but next week I'm changing it so they have to keep their own towels and do them when they wash their clothes. That should save me some work!

The downstairs is straightened up (for now), dusted and vacuumed. I even managed to spend some time at my desk. I did some paperwork and the rest is in nice little piles to be tackled later tonight!

School went well. Math is a breeze this week as JK is learning about graphs, charts and statistics. JK did most of the schoolwork herself--something I encourage with all my children. She did her whole math worksheet without any help then went on to her handwriting, language arts and history. Yeah!

I'm off to take a shower and then I have to take JK to pre-bowling. She cannot make it to her regular bowling on Saturday since we're going to a wedding shower but she can bowl today and have it count toward her average. After bowling, we'll stop to buy the shower gift and pick up some milk, oj, etc.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cheering Competition


Tonight was the finals in JM's cheering competition and they were the first to compete. They did really well except JM dropped his flyer. I felt so bad for him. He didn't actually drop her but his knee touched the mat so that's an automatic 5 points deducted. After the competition he was sitting in the stands and he looked so dejected. I wanted to go over there and hug him. When they announced the winners, I almost cried. Not because they lost but because I know JM is feeling that he let the team down. He didn't! They might have lost some points but the other teams tonight were spot on. They didn't mess anything up and looked so clean. Saturday they went to a competition in Virginia Beach and they got 1st place over 30 teams! Tonight was just not their night.

Please pray for my son if you think of it! He did a good job tonight and we're so proud of him. JK came home and made him a card to cheer him up. She told him how well she thought he did and that she loves him very much. That really cheered me up and I hope it helps him feel a little better.

Book Sale


I just received an e-mail from a friend asking if I was going to the book sale at the local city library. I had forgotten all about it because I let my Friends membership lapse. This library holds a sale twice a year and it's very good. I usually come home with several boxes of books.

One of the reasons I like going to this sale is because of my friend. We are both passionate about books and we have the same tastes--and we look out for each other. A lot of book dealers go to this sale and they can be very, very rude. They come in and just sweep a shelf clean without even looking what they have. They fill their boxes up and then sort through them later. How frustrating! They also have a smug attitude toward anyone that isn't a dealer but I notice that most of the books they keep are twaddle .

Both of our daughters go to the sale also and they have a great time. We pay them to guard our boxes (from the book dealers who will just go through them if there sitting out--even if you have a "sold" sign on them). We usually bring a drink and snack for them and they guard, talk, and play video games. They each have an older Nintendo game and they link up those to play.

This sale promises to be better than usual as they are putting some of their books on sale from the collection of rare children's books. I'm sure they will be priced higher but it will be interesting to see what they have.

The sale starts Friday at 10:00 for Friends (I'll renew my membership there) but we'll be there when the library opens at 9:00 .

(graphic courtesy of
Graphic Garden)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Our Day

It's another beautiful fall day here in VA. The temps are in the 70's and the sky is once again bright blue! It's beautiful!! As I was driving this morning, I noticed the trees are really changing color.

JK and I served at the homeless ministry this morning. Another friend and two of her children were there also. I'm so glad to see the children come to serve. It's a wonderful experience for them and I think it helps them to appreciate what they have. I hope it also instills in them an attitude of servanthood.

We almost didn't make it to the church where we serve. I know only of one way to go and when I went to turn down the street, it was blocked by a road construction crew. I figured I would just go down a block and then back around and come to the street on the other end but that was not to be. Every road I turned down was blocked by either a gate or a building. The blocks were not square! Since I don't really know the neighborhood, I wasn't sure where to go. Finally I figured I would try the block before I had to turn. It wasn't exactly square either and we ran into a fire truck blocking the road but I did manage to get to the church. We had to really work fast to get everything ready by 12:00 but we got everything accomplished and had a large number of men and women today--ninety-three!

When we were finished, we headed back to our church to drop off some supplies and to pick up the teaching notebook for the 5/6's class. I'll be teaching the second hour during this month. We're studying the life of Christ which I think will be some exciting lessons for the children.

We came home and I made chicken salad for a late lunch and then we melted some caramels for apple dipping. Our lunch game was UNO and I lost twice. A lunch game is something I started when my children were small. We always play some kind of game at lunch like UNO, Sorry, Trouble, etc. When my son went to public school, one of the things I was concerned about was that he wouldn't have enough time to eat lunch. They only get about 18 minutes! We usually take an hour from start to finish; sometimes longer. I make my son's lunch everyday so he gets the full time to eat. If they have to buy their lunch, they have even less time.

Tonight we're going to a friend's house for our monthly stamping night. I love going to this because I get such good ideas. I do well at following directions but not at creating!

Have a blessed evening!!

The Uniqueness of Christ

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." — John 14:6

"No person who has ever walked this earth even comes close to comparison when placed up against Jesus Christ. He is unique. He is incomparable. He is our Lord. Here is what one unknown person wrote about Him years ago.

More than 1900 years ago there was a Man born contrary to the laws of life. This Man lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He did not travel extensively. Only once did He cross the boundary of the country in which He lived; that was during His exile in childhood. He possessed neither wealth nor influence. His relatives were inconspicuous and had neither training nor formal education.

In infancy He startled a king; in childhood He puzzled doctors; in manhood He ruled the course of nature, walked upon the billows as if pavements, and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His service.

He never wrote a book, yet all the libraries of the country could not hold the books that have been written about Him. He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined. He never founded a college, but all the schools put together cannot boast of having as many students. He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun; and yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have, under his orders, made more rebels stack arms and surrender without a shot fired. He never practiced medicine, and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors far and near.

Every seventh day the wheels of commerce cease their turning as multitudes wind their way to worshiping assemblies to pay homage and respect to Him. The names of the past proud statesmen of Greece and Rome have come and gone, but the name of this Man abounds more and more. Though time has spread 1900 years between the people of this generation and the scene of His crucifixion, yet He still lives. Herod could not destroy Him and the grave could not hold Him.

He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils as the living, personal Christ, our Lord and Savior." -Anonymous

Monday, October 31, 2005

Another Great Selection from Elisabeth Elliot

Author: Elisabeth Elliot
Source: Keep A Quiet Heart
Scripture: John 14:27 Psalms 27:14 Isaiah 25:9 Psalms 40:1

Waiting
"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry" (Psalm 40:1, NIV).

The tests of our willingness to wait patiently for the Lord come almost daily for most of us, I suppose. Probably I am among the Lord's most impatient servants, so the lesson has to be renewed again and again. A tough test came when my daughter's family (of ten) was searching for a house. Southern California is not a place where one would wish to conduct that search. It's a long story, but at last, all other possibilities having been exhausted, a house was found, an offer made. That night word came that two other offers, of unknown amounts, had also been made. Dark pictures filled my mind: the others would surely get the house, the Shepards would be reduced to renting and we'd been told that rentals start at about $2000 per month (imagine an owner willing to rent to a family with eight children!).

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord" (Psalm 27:14, NIV).

I lay awake in the wee hours ("when all life's molehills become mountains" as Amy Carmichael said), repeating Scripture about God's faithfulness, trusting, casting all cares, waiting. I had to keep offering up my worries and my impatience. At four I was up reading the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham called the place where he had offered up Isaac "The Lord Will Provide." I took that as the Lord's word to me that morning.

Before nine o'clock, my son-in-law Walt called to say "Offer accepted. Other offers, both higher, turned down." No explanation. It was the Lord's doing.

Waiting requires patience--a willingness calmly to accept what we have or have not, where we are or where we wish we were, whomever we live or work with.

To want what we don't have is impatience, for one thing, and it is to mistrust God. Is He not in complete control of all circumstances, events, and conditions? If some are beyond His control, He is not God.

A spirit of resistance cannot wait on God. I believe it is this spirit which is the reason for some of our greatest sufferings. Opposing the workings of the Lord in and through our "problems" only exacerbates them. It is here and now that we must win our victories or suffer defeats. Spiritual victories are won in the quiet acceptance of ordinary events, which are God's "bright servants," standing all around us.

Restlessness and impatience change nothing except our peace and joy. Peace does not dwell in outward things, but in the heart prepared to wait trustfully and quietly on Him who has all things safely in His hands. "Peace I leave with you; I do not give to you as the world gives" (John 14:27, NEB). What sort of peace has He to give us? A peace which was constant in the midst of ceaseless work (with few visible results), frequent interruptions, impatient demands, few physical comforts; a peace which was not destroyed by the arguments, the faithlessness, and hatred of the people. Jesus had perfect confidence in His Father, whose will He had come to accomplish. Nothing touched Him without His Father's permission. Nothing touches me without my Father's permission. Can I not then wait patiently? He will show the way.

If I am willing to be still in my Master's hand, can I not then be still in everything? He's got the whole world in His hands! Never mind whether things come from God Himself or from people-- everything comes by His ordination or permission. If I mean to be obedient and submissive to the Lord because He is my Lord, I must not forget that whatever He allows to happen becomes, for me, His will at that moment. Perhaps it is someone else's sinful action, but if God allows it to affect me, He wills it for my learning. The need to wait is, for me, a form of chastening. God has to calm me down, make me shut up and look to Him for the outcome.

His message to me every day
Is wait, be still, trust, and obey.

And this brings me to the matter of counseling. Upon our return from a trip to England I found a pile of mail, so many letters asking me what to do about things, for example: a wife's critical spirit, unemployment, a wife who has abandoned husband and children, a single mother doing a job she hates, an unfaithful husband, a woman (who tells me she is Spirit-filled) having an affair with her pastor, a farmer who'd like a wife, a mother-in-law who is nasty to her daughter-in-law, a stepson who is angry because "we don't spend enough money on his children," a wife who snaps at her husband each time he tries to snuggle up, and a husband who "drinks like a fish, curses like a sailor, and says he loves God."

I wish I could write the same letter to everybody: Wait patiently for the Lord. He will turn to you and hear your cry. It is amazing how clear things become when we are still before Him, not complaining, not insisting on quick answers, only seeking to hear His word in the stillness, and to see things in His light. Few are willing to receive that sort of reply. "Too simplistic" is the objection. One listener to my radio program, Gateway to Joy, wrote, "I got so upset at what you were saying I ripped the earphones out and aid, 'I'll do what I want to do!'" But there are those who can say, "This is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation" (Isaiah 25:9, KJV). Here are two testimonies:

"I've lost my mother, my brother, my husband, and my baby. My song is More Love to Thee, O Christ."

"God picked up the scraps and pieces and made us whole--a whole woman, a whole man, a whole marriage."