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.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Rain Came Down and the Floods Came Up

We had SOME rain last evening.  The ground water rose very quickly.  My husband had trouble getting home. He was in the city and some of the streets were like rivers.  I shot these photos between downpours. There is a little creek that runs to the south of our house and under the roadway.  These pictures are looking across the street from our house at the creek where a trickle of water is the norm. 
The water was moving extremely fast.
Our house had a little water in the basement but the sump pump took care of that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Continuing our history studies

I don't know when we'll be "done" with school this year.  I think we will just keep going....I'm kidding here...the kids would have a fit....but...There are so many things I wanted to do with them and just haven't had the time.

We finished up our study on WWII with a movie from Netflix, "Hiroshima:  BBC History of World War II".  This graphic, fact-filled movie opened up lots of questions and started lots of discussions.  Which is exactly what homeschooling is all about, sharing your feelings and thoughts; laying out the way God's Word says to look at things and how different the world looks at things....AND most importantly how to DISCERN the difference. (Was that a run-on sentence or what?)

Dying without Christ became one of the big topics of our history discussion...not exactly a discussion that would happen in the public school but definitely in our little "schoolhouse".
The question was asked..."Mom, why does it bother me so?...all those people died without Christ."
My heart leaps for joy as I see God working in their minds and hearts.

Our history lessons tend to be filled with the "whys" and "hows" and with less "dates" and "times"....
We have started to read "God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew with John and Elizabeth Sherrill. 
God's Smuggler: 35th Anniversary Edition   -     
        By: Brother Andrew, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
This book is taking us from WWII into the present day.  This true-life story (thriller) has my boys begging me to read just one more chapter.  I should have known this book was going to be a winner.  Every book I have read, written by John and Elizabeth Sherrill, has been "life-changing" for me.  God has put their books in my path at just the right time in my life.  Times when I was curious and questioning things...to times when I needed to repent.
I first heard of John and Elizabeth Sherrill when I was reading one of Catherine Marshall's books.  Catherine and the Sherrills were friends.  So when I came across a book with the Sherrills as the authors...it was as if I already knew I would like the book. 
From the information I can gather...the Sherrills' are the founders of Chosen Books.
They authored and co-authored a number of best sellers...
"The Hiding Place" with Corrie ten Boom,  The Hiding Place     -     
        By: Corrie ten Boom
"The Cross and the Switchblade" with David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade, 45th Anniversary Edition
"God's Smuggler" with Brother Andrew, and "They Speak with Other Tongues" just to name a few. 
They Speak with Other Tongues, 40th ann. ed.  -     
        By: John Sherrill