Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Filling in the Holes

I sat down with the boys this morning to do a Bible study. 

Some moms worry about teaching the Bible and search for the perfect curriculum.  I have a few Bible curriculums that my children use on their own because I'm sure I'm going to miss something.  But my favorite way to teach the Bible is by discussing verses that the Holy Spirit has laid on my heart.  Verses that have helped me thru a problem, etc...

Sometimes we use the "child directed" (God directed) method of Bible study which is what happened this morning.
I opened the Bible and was going to discuss one of my favorite passages, Luke 7: 36 - 50. 

As I was turning to the passage, Jared starts to recite some lines from a Tim Hawkins skit about painting a child's room in a Noah's Ark theme.  And when he gets to the lines about "your brother's room is painted with the stoning of Stephen", Jared said, "The stoning of John."

I stopped him and said, "Jared, you got that wrong.  Who was stoned?"  And our quick thinking son says, "David? No, no...Isaac? No, that's not right....um...."

I realized we had a huge gaping hole in our Bible study....so instead of the passages I wanted to study, we decided to study the stoning of Abraham.

Just kidding...trying to keep you on your toes.  :)

Monday, December 19, 2011


I received a copy of a homeschooling magazine, Home Educating Family, that featured an article by Sally Clarkson.  I enjoy and am always encouraged by Sally's writings. 

The article was called "Which personalities are the most acceptable?" 

I have six children.  They are all so very different, all going in different directions, all going at different speeds, all going at different sound decibels.  Their personalities are all different, too.  As a mom, it would make things easier if they were all the same - Christmas shopping, school books, music lessons, sports, concerts...

I have children that don't fit in the box.  They don't fit in the traditional "Christian box" and they don't fit in the "Worldly box".  They laugh too loud, talk too loud, dress too conservatively, dress too modern, dance when they worship, swing dance on Saturday nights, etc...

Well meaning advice comes from all sides. You shouldn't let them do that.  You shouldn't let them do this.

Sally writes that "We live in a world that values conformity.  We want to use our force, our power, our authority to make people, and our children fit into the box.  Be good. Be tame. Be moral.,..., Perhaps you prefer one type of personality, but all personalities are holy to the Lord.,..., if I had followed the advice of those in the world who just knew God's will, and told me to spank Nathan more, to make him fit in, I would never have seen God's will, would never had known the story of God shaping a young man's soul to be passionate for Him, to have the courage to dream, and to love Him unconditionally with his stripes and spots - just as God had made him."

Thank you, Sally.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene - Tree Fell On Our House

The neighbor's tree fell on our house.  It fell on the strong log part of the house and not the screened in porch roof.  It fell on Becca's old bedroom which is still empty.  God has protected us.  There were no injuries.  Things could have been much worse.  We had no water in the basement.  We have had electricity the whole time. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Becoming all things to all men

I was going through the attic looking for school books for this coming homeschool year.  I have boxes and boxes of homeschool books.  Some dating back to our first years.  School books are a major monetary investment so I try to purchase things that can be handed down from one child to the next.  (As long as I don't forget where I put them.)

I came across a booklet from the Sonlight Curriculum, "The Kingdom Strikes Back".  It's a short look at how "events" (some not so pleasant) in history, aided in the Great Commission to spread the gospel to all tribes and tongues. 

This booklet picked up right where Brother Andrew's biography left off.  The books we have been reading have given us a renewed interest/energy in evangelism and discipleship.  I'm not sure where this is leading but it sure seems to me that God has given our family reading time a "theme".  My family's workplaces, colleges, and friendships have all taken on a new meaning with new opportunities to "Go share the love."

One section of the booklet quoted the apostle Paul and I had to look up the Bible verses in their entirety.

1 Corinthians 9:22  The Message (MSG)

 19-23Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn't take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I've become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn't just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Matthew 5:43-47 Prayer

Lord help me to show love to everyone.  Even to those who are unkind or who think differently than I do.  Give me Your grace, kindness and love. The grace, kindness, and love that I don't naturally possess but You do.  Change me.

43-47"You're familiar with the old written law, 'Love your friend,' and its unwritten companion, 'Hate your enemy.' I'm challenging that. I'm telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Looking beyond the Negative

It seems that lately I’ve been hearing about moms taking a lot of “heat” for having large families.  I’ve been there and my dismay isn’t with the people giving the heat.  When you do something different you can expect that reaction especially from the world.  My dismay is from the reaction of the moms. 
I realize there are people out there with an anti-family agenda but our reaction should never be anger but a testimony to our God.  Loads of people believe one of our nation’s biggest needs is revamping our public education system.  Many people know we have a problem with our young people …they are just mistaken as to what the answer is…they need Jesus.
Sometimes people say negative things like, “We could never afford to have children.”  “How do you survive?”  Our response should always point them to Jesus…, the Lord has always provided for us, we have always had more than enough.  If you are obedient to Him, He will supply all your needs. 
Sometimes other moms say negative things because they are going through a really rough time.  They can feel desperate and overwhelmed.  Negative remarks and comments are often a sign of pain and hurt.  If our response is a quick tart remark, the chance that they will want to follow our Jesus is not so likely.  Showing them love and understanding may not be the first thing on the tip of your tongue but it should be.  Turn their negative remarks and attitudes into an opportunity to minister and lead them to the Lord. (Reread The Hiding Place if you need too.)
As Christians, we should all try to be encouragers.  The next time a mom says “…wait til you have teenagers.” Maybe say something like, “I’ll remember to pray for you this week.  How are things going?”
Or try to make her smile by pointing out an older sister in the Lord and saying, “Look at Ruth, she raised more kids than both of us put together.  Her husband looks happy.  She still has all her hair and can speak in complete sentences.  If she can do it, we all can.” 
Sometimes seeing through the negative remarks and looking at the person within, the person Jesus loves and died for, can change a situation, an attitude or maybe even a life….the simplest response can open a flood gate and allow us to speak love and encouragement into the heart of a mom who needs it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Deciding...A Person's Will...

One of my best friends sent this to me. She is filled and led by the Holy Spirit. She is always an encouragement to me, my trusted confidant, loving me unconditionally, always pointing me to Jesus.
You really need to read this devotional in full.  Below are just the highlights that spoke to me and will hopefully peak your interest.  Here is the link to the My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers  complete day's devotional
Will to Be Faithful...
. . . choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . —Joshua 24:15

"..., I cannot give up my will— I must exercise it, putting it into action. I must will to obey, and I must will to receive God’s Spirit. When God gives me a vision of truth, there is never a question of what He will do, but only of what I will do. The Lord has been placing in front of each of us some big proposals and plans. ,..., Your choice must be a deliberate determination,..., The proposal is between you and God— do not “confer with flesh and blood” about it (Galatians 1:16). ,..., God allows the opinion of His other saints to matter to you, and yet you become less and less certain that others really understand the step you are taking. ,..., Openly declare to Him, “I will be faithful.” But remember that as soon as you choose to be faithful to Jesus Christ, “You are witnesses against yourselves . . .” (Joshua 24:22). Don’t consult with other Christians, but simply and freely declare before Him, “I will serve You.” Will to be faithful— and give other people credit for being faithful too."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Our Homeschooled Kids Out in the World

We've homeschooled all of our children.  You hear the stories of how homeschoolers are unsocialized and will be unable to function in the real world.  You worry...cause that's what moms do.  But you know the Lord and His leading and you follow Him.  So you continue to homeschool.  My children were like those little seeds you start on your window sill.  You protect them and nurture them; giving them just enough sun and water and they thrive.

Well let's see....my kids were able to get into college, dean's list, and graduated.  They were able to get jobs.  Yes, employers like their work ethic and integrity.  Hmmm...you can't even tell they were homeschooled or can you?!? 

They are able to relate to co-workers older and younger because they were never just in a class room setting with only peers their own age and so they relate well to all ages. 

They are like the seedlings that need to be "hardened off" before placing in the garden.  You take them outside in a sheltered area to get them accustomed to the temperature changes.  You need to give them extra water until their root system is established.

The older kids are in work and college environments where they come in contact with non-believers.  Some of those are in authority positions, some are fellow peers, some are customers that are always right.  But my children have been trained and "hardened off".  They weren't isolated in a green house all this time.  We discussed hard issues.  We discussed the reasons of why we do and believe certain things.  We don't give the answer "just because".   We give them Bible verses, encouragement, examples and resources.

Some of the new plants in the garden don't make it to the stage of producing fruit.  They wither, are eaten by rabbits, or are overcome by weeds.  I can't tell which ones this will happen to before I set them out.  But I can tell you what happens to the ones that make it.  They produce fruit....Abundantly.  Not of their own accord, strength or wisdom but because they are obedient to the Master's directions. 

I had a conversation with one of my kids last night that went like this:
"Does anyone know you are a Christian at work?" 
"Oh, yeah."
"There aren't many Christians there."
"How do you know?"
"I ask."
"You ask? Do they stay away from you after that?"
"Mom, I don't go around and take a survey.  I get to know them.  They are my friends.  I eat lunch with them.  I care about them.  You taught me to love them.  Then I ask.  It's only natural.  In fact, there was a college intern the other day, that had so many questions about God and Christianity.  I wish I would have had a Bible to give her."
"I'll give you one to carry in your truck. Pray for God to give the opportunity.  Don't do it without Him on your own.  There will be no fruit.  Wait patiently for His timing."
"How will I know?"
"Pray and be prepared.  You will be surprised."

As a parent I watch for signs of wilting and neglect....and at the direction of my Lord will jump in (holding back is harder, trust me).  The reasons they obey and believe God, will have to become their own not their father's and mine.  That can take some time and sometimes some wilting, unconditional love, and lots of forgiveness.

I still trust in the same Lord that directed us to homeschool. He is still involved in our children's lives.  I see Him working there.....when He's not busy working and transforming me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Update on the renewing of your mind post

My husband left for work that Thursday morning unsure of how to handle the situation but was praying. 
The man who did the wrong had agreed to mail a check to make things right.  That was weeks before and no check.  My husband called him again and he again said he would send a check.  Another week + went by...no check.  Then the Thursday morning with all the worldly ways and thoughts of how to handle this situation came to our minds and discussion...then the Corrie ten Boom story...and then praying and thinking.  My husband called home before lunch.  He needed to tell me an unusual happening....he got a phone call....out of the blue.  It was from the man who was to send the check.  The man apologized that so much time had lapsed and met with my husband along with the cash on Friday.  We did nothing but pray and wait.  Our daughter came over for supper and car repairs last night and we were able to give her the money.  

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A renewing of your mind...

Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."

Thinking a new way...not our natural way but a new way.  God has been speaking to my husband and I not by sermons or special speakers but in unusual ways that we "just happen" to come across. 

For instance...yesterday was music lesson.  I picked up the nearest book to take along to read.  It was the "Tramp for the Lord" book by Corrie ten Boom with Jamie Buckingham.  I've already read this book or so I thought.  I opened it to chapter 11 "Lights from Darkest Africa" and started to read a story I must have skipped.  I only got half way through the story until the music lesson was over.  I book marked the page and thought nothing of the story again until this morning.  My husband and I were discussing a problem where in a business deal someone took advantage of our daughter and cheated her.  My husband spoke to the men and they were now giving him the run-around. As we were discussing how to handle this...The story from Corrie's book came to mind.  I read it aloud to my husband.

In Africa. there was a Christian man who lived in a hut along with his large family. This man's neighbor hated him and every evening set the Christian's grass roof on fire.  The Christian was able to put out the fire each time.  The Christian never said an unkind word to his neighbor and showered him with love and forgiveness.  This made the neighbor hate him even more.  One night there was a wind and the fire spread to the neighbor's house.  The Christian put out both fires and in the process badly burned his hands and arms.  The chief of the tribe found out and had the neighbor arrested.  When Corrie was told the story she was relieved that the family was no longer in danger.  But the Christian man, holding up his burnt hands, prayed, "Lord, I claim this neighbor of mine for You. Lord, give him his freedom and do the miracle that in the future he and I will become a team to bring the Gospel in our tribe. Amen." 
A few days later, Corrie led the jailed neighbor to Christ.

The way the Christian handled the situation would not be the world's way of handling the situation.  There had to be a renewing of his mind for him to think and react this way.  Not natural but supernatural. 

Matthew 6:32 - 34 "For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

May the Lord continue to renew my mind to think first of His kingdom.

The Skate Park Finally Happened

My youngest son has been begging to go to the skate park for quite some time now (years).  Well, blessings and many thanks to Chris for taking him.  He had a blast!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Ice Cream York Side

One Sunday evening, we got bored with the same old routine by ourselves.  So we decided to travel to York to meet up with my younger sister and her boys.  She looks like me, huh?!?

my sister

We also met up with our daughter Becca.


This always involves food and quite naturally ice cream, coming from generations of ice cream makers.  We visited the competition.  There's a little ice cream drive-in all by itself in the middle of the countryside.

Dad getting the latest news from the newspaper reporter.

The view is breath taking, well worth the drive. 

My father grew up not far from this place. 

The cousins got bored.

My other two girls took photos of the surroundings.
Like this sunset....beautiful.
Maybe we should move to York. hmmmmm....

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Series of Unexpected Events

There's been a lot going on the last two weeks.  Some very personal things...some every day things...maybe I can explain in another post in more detail but for now...
  • A Co-op Incident to Deal With
  • A Thirty Year Old Emotional "Wound" Was Opened
  • A Scary Trip to the Emergency Room With Our Son
  • Extreme Pain From Ovarian Cysts
  • Doctor Appts / Tests
  • Deadlines...Deadlines...Deadlines...Homeschool Stuff to Turn In to the School District, Additional Paperwork Needed for College Financial Aid, School Applications Due, Co-Op Yearbook to Finish Up, Newsletter Deadlines Starting.
Then the every day little things that just frustrate:
  • No hot water because we ran out of fuel oil.
  • Ripped the whole house apart looking for "lost" library books two weeks in a row.
I could have called this post "Unfortunate Events" but there was God.  He was there. 

How can it be called Unfortunate Events if they caused you to dwell, converse/cry out, rely more on God?

So...they were "Unexpected Events" used by God to bring me to my knees...a new place...a deeper place...somewhere He desires me to be. 

A few days ago, during our "reading time" (I try to set aside an hour every day for the boys to read.  I know school is over but blame it on the Ben Carson story.  I'm making them read.  I read aloud to them for about 20 minutes and then they must finish out the hour with quiet reading on their own. Yes, they complain but I pull rank.) 

So during our reading time, I read from the Bible about Jacob wrestling with the angel and being touched on the hip. This experience made a huge spiritual change in Jacob.  When Jacob told the angel his name voluntarily, it was an act of surrender.  He came out of this experience with not only a new name (Israel) but also a new behavior and attitude and, of course, a limp.  A limp that would remind him of his dependence on God.

May we always be willing to say..."Change me...whatever it takes Lord...whatever it takes."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

All the kings men couldn't put Humpty together again BUT my husband CAN!!

The last week in May the weather was extremely hot and humid here and when do you think the air conditioning in the van decided to break....that week. The only two windows that really open in our mini-van are the front ones.  My husband is an auto mechanic and quickly found what was wrong.  The parts were less than $200 but the labor would be intensive.  It took my husband part of Friday and ALL day Saturday to fix it.  Some of the work he had to do at the shop but most of it he did at our house in the driveway.  Why did he do it in the driveway?  Because he hates being away from our family.  It was 9:00pm when we finally ate supper Saturday night.  He brought a pizza on his way home. 

I am amazed at the way my husband can take things apart and put things together again.  The Lord has given him many talents.  We are blessed.  He's not only good with cars but with other mechanical things, too, like appliances and our furnace/boiler. He sits down and reads and understands electrical diagrams like I read a cake recipe. 

Here are some snapshots of the driveway air conditioner fix-it job.

This is the van's steering wheel in the back of the pickup.

You must take the dash off to replace the broken part.  These are just some of the parts.
He laid them in the middle seat of the van.

Here the dash is completely off.  Do you recognize the front seats?

He ran out of room so some of the parts he laid on the grill.  It looks like a robot from Star Wars.

He put some parts in the back seat.

Even the windshield wiper assembly had to come off.

And the side mirror because of the wiring harness.

That's where the steering wheel goes.  Which wire goes where?

He has now started to put things back together.  He's lost it and is pretending to drive.  Poor guy...

The job is done! We have cool air and just in time. The heat is supposed to be back on for the rest of the week.  Thank you, Honey!!  

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Making a List and Checking it Twice...

I'm a list maker. I've always made lists. When I was a little girl my mother said I spent more time doing paperwork than actual work. My sister and I played "secretary" on a regular basis.

When I was a young wife, I would make a list and just the act of writing down the words was enough for me to remember what I needed at the store, the chores I needed to do at home, etc...Hospitality Lane had a big list .

I find that as I age, if I don't make a list and take it with me....I forget what I needed to buy. I even forget what store I wanted to go to....and how many kids I've taken with me. (oh yes...they are old enough to stay at home and don't always come along any more...and they sit quietly in the back of the van...listening to an MP3 player and I forget they are in the car with me...)

But lately I make a list...go to the store and open my purse...no list; look in my pockets...no list; go back out to the car...no list. I spend more time looking for my list than I do making it. When I find my list...I can't read it because I can't find my $3 pair of drug store glasses. I search my purse, my pockets...my head...oh there they are on top of my head. Huh...

Gas is too expensive to keep running back and forth to the store....I need to pin the list to my shirt just like my mom would have done when I was in second grade and wear my glasses around my neck on a chain like the little old library lady.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ascension Day

Today is Ascension Day.  It is the 40th day after Easter and is an important religious holiday especially celebrated by the Amish and Mennonites in our area. 

After I saw everyone off to work, I sat on my back porch and read a devotional and my Bible. 

We have a honeysuckle vine growing over the fence near my back porch and the morning air was filled with it's scent.

I opened my Amplified Bible and read Isaiah 60:1
"Arise  [ from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you--rise to a new life! ]   Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord),  for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has, risen upon you!" 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Noodle Head

This is a silly post but for those of us who have been "blessed" with curly hair it may be of interest.

For most of my life, I have fought my naturally curly hair.  My father has it and one of my sisters has it.  In junior high, I had my waist length hair cut to 2 inches, an instant blond Afro.  Not my best hair move...  It took years to grow out.

All through high school I straightened my hair sometimes chemically, sometimes with just a heat straightener.  The outcome was always frizzy....its just the nature of curly hair.

About 8 years ago, I decided enough was enough and I chose to go with my natural curl.  I started to experiment with creams and serums to tame the frizzies. Months ago, my long time favorite curly hair serum was discontinued.  I tried several brands and none worked.

So I went the other way...I tried several products that reduce the frizzies and make your hair straight.  Whoa! Those products have come a long way.  I was able to have straight hair!  UNTIL the summer humidity set in.  Gone is the straight hair no matter how much serum I applied.

So back to the experimenting....I found a new curly hair cream.  I'm sure there are several people that would agree that the name suits me, Noodle Head.  The only place I could find it is Sally's Beauty Supply. It's a great product and when I go curly I spend 2 minutes doing my hair!  That's about all the morning time I get in the bathroom.  I actually think anyone with just a little curl in their hair could make their hair really curly with this product.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Disappearing Books...

My "body clock" has trouble telling the difference between a weekday and a weekend.  Occasionally I get to sleep in on the weekend but usually my internal body clock wakes me up at my normal 5:30AM time. I might try to lay there and argue with it but it normally wins and I'm up, all by myself, in the quiet morning hours.

It happened this Sunday.  Having the luxury of a few hours to myself, I looked for my "Tramp for the Lord" - Corrie ten Boom book and couldn't find it anywhere.  During the search, I found a book that the kids had used for their homeschooling from the Sonlight curriculum, "Daring to Live on the Edge". (linked here) It's by Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission (YWAM). 

I sat outside on the back porch and read the first two chapters. As the rest of the family woke up, I started to get everyone ready for church and forgot about the book that I left on the back porch. 

Sundays have become quiet family days for us, they weren't always like that but that's what they've become in the last year or so. It wasn't until later in the day that I asked if anyone had seen my "Tramp for the Lord" book.  My college-age daughter said, "Oh, yeah, the parts of the book you read to me were so good I had to read the whole thing.  I have it up in my bedroom.  Sorry...."

There, lying on the living room coffee table, was the "Daring to Live on the Edge" book.  It was book marked at page 165.  I looked around and said, "Who's been reading the book I got out this morning?" 

My husband said, "Oh, that was me.  I found it on the back porch and started reading it." 

"I guess its pretty good, huh?"

"He said, "Yeah, not bad."

He has about 25 pages to go until he finishes it. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Graduation Day Glimpses

Homeschool Graduation Day: 

Four of my children have participated in this county-wide graduation throughout the years.  The first in 1999 when there were roughly 25 graduates.  Over the years, the graduation has grown, this year - 90 graduates.

The Christ-centered ceremony is wonderful.  I have heard from so many people how these graduation ceremonies were exactly the motivation they needed to continue homeschooling through high school.  An out-of-state friend, that graduated from a Christian school, shared how much more Christ-centered this homeschool graduation was compared to her Christian school's graduation. The gospel is shared and the biographies are inspiring. 

The definition of inspiring is to encourage or stimulate.  A synonym for inspire is actuate, meaning to start a function or action, motivate.  That is my hope and desire, to encourage parents to continue to homeschool and not give up when the road gets difficult or seems overwhelming. 

The graduation appears in the local newspaper.  How important it is to remind the community and our local leaders that homeschooling is still around and producing vibrant educated adults.  I can't imagine homeschooling and not participating in this graduation.

Morning Practice:

The Ceremony:

After the ceremony celebrating with swing dance friends, co-op friends, and her sister - all homeschooled!

Congratulations, Em!!  We love you!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Buying "bulk" is not always worth it...

My day, today, will be filled with the process of BULK mailing.   I bulk mail over 750 homeschool newsletters for our county-wide homeschool organization.  I address, sort, and sack them.  The post office recently removed everyone in our area's ability to bulk mail at our local post office.  I must now go to a bulk mailing site.

My first task in bulk mailing is to get the newsletters weighed.  This doesn't sound too hard but let me explain...When you mail a first class letter at the post office, your letter is weighed by ounces.  But when you mail by bulk, the paper work requires that you weigh the piece by pounds in decimal format.  Ounces (divided into 16 parts) do not easily convert to decimal pounds (divided into 10 parts).  The weight must be figured out to the ten thousandths place. To get this accurate of a weight, I must go to a local post office.  Sometimes the postal worker can figure this out and sometimes they look at me as if they wished I would disappear.  So after I pick up the newsletters at the printer, I must run to a post office and hopefully get an accurate piece weight.  (Last month the weight given to me was wrong.  All the sacking and bundling is dependent upon an accurate weight.) 

Then back home to figure out all the paperwork and the sacking.  There must be at least 15 pounds of newsletters in each sack (another amount to calculate).  Each sack must be labeled and sorted by zipcode.  Each sack must contain bundles of newsletters with four rubber bands holding each bundle.  Depending on weight the bundles must have a minimum of 10 or 15 pieces.  The bundles are sorted by either the first 3 digits of the zipcode with a "3" sticker or all 5 digits of the zipcode with a "5" sticker (or ADC or Mixed ADC which is so complicated I don't have enough room to explain.)  I must then figure out if the sacks should be labeled as 5 digit, 3 digit, ADC, or Mixed ADC.  Some 3 digit sacks can have both 5 digit and 3 digit bundles. All of this needs to be documented with paper work and exact counts.

If the newsletters are over 3.3 oz (that's over .2063 lb) there are four mathematical equations to reach a price for the 5 digit sacks.  Then four more mathematical equations to reach a price for the 3 digit sacks...and four more for the ADC and four more for the Mixed ADC.  Then you have to add them all up to get the final price.  You must also know what kind of bulk mailing site you are mailing from.  There are three different prices for each sack depending on your site.  One mistake and you have to do all your paperwork over again.

On top of everything, the post office can take apart all of your sacks and double check everything.  Last month I had only two rubber bands on the newsletter bundles and was asked to take everything apart and put four on each bundle. I get so nervous when I have to go to the mailing site.  I never know if it will go easy or if it will be a disaster. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Graduation is coming!!

It's only a few days away.  Graduation....We have many homeschoolers in our area and we take part in a county-wide graduation ceremony.  There are 90 homeschool graduates participating this year.  It is not only a testimony to homeschooling but a wonderful testimony that the Lord is faithful and supplies our every need. This is our fourth homeschool graduate.  She is so excited!

This past Sunday, our church, at all three services, honored the high school graduates. At the third service, there were three homeschoolers out of a dozen graduates that stood at the front of the church.  I have no idea how many homeschoolers go our church; it is so big but there are several. The graduates were given a new Bible, a mini-sermonette about living for the Lord, and then the pastors and their families gathered around them at the altar and prayed over them.  I cried and rejoiced as the children and I stood next to my husband as he laid his hands on her head and prayed blessings over her and her future.

This year was a little harder for her than other years.  Her older sister graduated last year as well as many of her friends. She and her sister did almost everything together.  They are not only sisters but the best of friends and confidants.  They share a room, went to the same co-op classes, shared textbooks and classes in our homeschool, had the same co-op friends (Their best friends were even sisters.), had the same place of employment, went to the prom together. and worshiped together.  This year was lonely for her.

She left many activities this year in tears, feeling as if she had no one to talk to.  This was heartbreaking for me as well.  I encouraged her to make new friends.  She did.  She started to reach out to some younger girls at co-op by joining a Bible study.  At graduation meetings, I encouraged her to continue to reach out.  She made some new friends but when they all got together, the other girls would reminisce about fun things they had done in years past and she just didn't have the history with them as she did with her sister and older friends.

She is getting ready to move on to her college level studies.  Although both of her sisters attended college while living at home, this one is hoping to get accepted into a school that will require her to live on site.  Although this year was hard, maybe it was just preparation for the move next year.  Who knows maybe the Lord has something else in mind.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I must be stuck in a Corrie ten Boom theme...

As most homeschool moms...I'm going through our homeschool books and seeing what I have already and what I need to order for next year.  As I was going through the book shelf, I came across another Corrie ten Boom book, Tramp for the Lord
Tramp for the Lord        We picked this up for $.25 at the library book sale years ago. (Which, for those of you that live close by, is this week! I have found many treasures at those book sales.) 

I pulled the book off the shelf and started to read it.  Written in short, daily-reading chapters, I was able to read an entire chapter in just a few minutes.  There I sat, cross-legged on the floor at the foot of the bookshelf, crying.  And you know, I couldn't put the book down!  The first couple of chapters are "repeats" from The Hiding Place only in more detail.  After that, they go on to tell of her ministry after the war. 

Stories of:
  • How dear friends treated her badly and how she had to ask forgiveness for the bitterness and resentment she felt toward them.  Even after surrendering that to the Lord, it would come back to her mind several times and she would have to surrender it all over again.  The Lord filled her with His love towards them.
  • How she had been injured in a fall and asked for someone to come pray over her for healing.  When the man had laid his hands on her head and prayed, she said, "I felt a great stream of power flowing through me.  Such great joy.  The mourning left and I wanted to sing with David: 'Thou has turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.' Psalms 30:11.  I felt the Presence of the Lord Jesus all around me and felt His love flowing through me and over me as if I were being immersed in an ocean of grace. My joy became so intense that I finally prayed, 'No more, Lord, no more." My heart felt it was about to burst, so great was the joy.  I knew it was the wonderful experience promised by Jesus - the Baptism in the Holy Spirit." 
    Corrie ten Boom's account reminded me of D.L. Moody's experience, "the power of God fell upon him as he walked up the street and he had to hurry off to the house of a friend and ask that he might have a room by himself, and in that room he stayed alone for hours; and the Holy Ghost came upon him filling his soul with such joy that at last he had to ask God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot from very joy." Here is a link that tells D.L. Moody's story and several others - R.A. Torrey, Billy Sunday, Charles Finney, and Charles Spurgeon.  I had read this story years ago and wanted to you be able to read it in its entirety, so I searched for a web site with the information and just found this link today.
  • How there was resistance to her ministry in America.  Her discouragement when some Americans were telling her that perhaps she would be better off if she simply returned to Holland.  Continuing to follow God's leading to "press on",  the tables turned and instead of no ministry opportunities, she had to guard against too many. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Book Review

I saw the interview on TV several weeks ago and knew I would have to read this book, Heaven is for Real: A little boys' astounding story of his trip to heaven and back by Todd Burpo.  Now, I'm a skeptic but something about the TV interview caused me to be interested.

Our homeschool co-op was thinking about starting a book study group again this summer.  I wasn't able to participate last summer but I was determined to give it my best shot this year.  So I suggested to the gal that's heading it up that I would love to read this book and asked if it could be on the reading list for the book study.  Sure enough...she made it the first book.

I signed up for the book at the library but there were 86 people waiting for a copy.  This book made it on the New York Times Bestseller list.  (People are hungry for God.  The fields are ripe with harvest.)

On May 18th, ABC World News had a piece on the book and then comments from an interview with Stephen Hawking about heaven being only a fairy tale for people who are afraid of the dark.

When I saw the book at Costco for about half the price as our local Christian bookstore and I couldn't resist.  I read this book in 2 sittings.  I couldn't put it down.  I cried several times.

CBD.com has this book for sale and there are 417 reviews on their website so far.  Out of the 417 reviews 378 gave it a 5 star rating. Hmmmm....

There was a part in the book about the family's miscarried child in heaven.  This part of the book touched me deeply.  Although we have six children, many people don't know that we miscarried 2 children.  They are buried in a local cemetery in town that has a section for stillborn and miscarried children.

We, as a family, hold everything up to the light of scripture.  If you read this book...I'd love to hear from you and what you thought.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My house needs a facelift...

Summer is right around the corner which means I'll have more free time.  I'd like to do something with my house.  We haven't painted for years so almost every room could use some paint.  I'm just tired of the crayon marks and the marks where the furniture rubbed off the wall paint.  So new paint colors to think about and experiment with...sound fun?!?
With new paint colors on the walls (most of my walls are white) I would need updated curtains.  Years ago, I sewed a fish tale swag curtain for my living room window.   I haven't had time to sew in a long time.  I happened to stop at a Walmart north of my home and found that they still have a sewing department (great fabric prices). Why they took the sewing department out of the "dutch area" Walmart is beyond me....we have loads of Amish that sew constantly.  So new curtains and wall paint.
When the boys were little I sewed quilts for their beds.  They both liked Nascar and I couldn't afford the Nascar bedspreads in the department stores.  So I bought their Nascar pillow cases and appliqued the car onto the quilt with a checker board background pattern. 
I made a border for the quilt in a wide stripe in different bold "boy" colors. The boys have grown and although the Nascar theme could continue.  I'm thinking maybe its time for a change....Any ideas?!?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


A few of my homeschool co-op friends went on a Moms' Spring Break to Winterthur.  The weather was perfect.  The flowers at their peak.  And the companions wonderful!!  I love getting to know these ladies.