Links for Friday on Saturday

October 10, 2009 Categories: Extreme Health Makeover , Faith , Homeschooling , News , This and That | 5 Comments  

It’s been a while since I did an update post – and things are always crazy-busy, so here’s the bullet-points version:

~ It’s gotten cold here – we’re running the furnace in the mornings. I’m ready for fall, but praying that we don’t have record snowfall like last winter.

~ Project health makeover is going well. Kevin told me he can see my weight loss in my face. My jeans are loose, too.

~ Michelle is back from England, and I’m loving our weekly chatfests again.

~ I’m going to participate in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. Wish me luck. I’m trying to talk Natalie and Noah into joining me.

~ I’m also going to take part in the 24-Hour Read-a-thon. Michelle’s taking the boys for a sleepover, and I’m hoping Natalie will be invited somewhere, too.

~ My sister Debra and her ex-husband – who divorced a few months ago – are in counseling and working toward reconciliation. This makes me very happy.

~ I talked to my youngest sister, Marni, on the phone today for an hour and a half. She lives in St. Louis – clear across the country. I miss her. I miss all three of my sisters, and I’m very glad that we’re all getting together in June.

~ I’ve decided that Natalie’s hatred of her history curriculum is not her fault, but the curriculum’s, so am considering a change. (Any ideas? She’s in 7th grade, studying American history from the Civil War through modern times. I’m considering The Story of US.)

~ Speaking of Natalie, it looks like she’ll be braces-free by Christmas, after 2 and a half years.

Well, I think that catches you up. Here are the links:

~ Cursive writing may be a fading skill

~ Buckets comic: Politics through the ages

~ Pictures that make you say ‘wow’: Photographers get up close and personal with wildlife

~ 20 centuries of church history in 4 minutes and 17 seconds

~ “Your Navel Never Lacks Blended Grape Juice”: A More Biblical Study on Alleged “Wine”

~ Confessions of a homeschooler

~ Why Roman Polanski can rot in jail for all I care

~ ‘Whatever’ so totally tops most annoying word poll

On Books and Movies lately:

~ Book Review: Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
~ Book recommendations from a non-blogger #4 – Rod (Dad)
~ Book Review: The Magicians by Lev Grossman
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Lorie Ann Grover
~ Book Review: Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
~ Book Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
~ Book recommendations from a non-blogger #3 – Teresa (Mom)
~ Book Review: Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
~ Book Review: Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich
~ Book recommendations from a non-blogger #2 – Marni (my sister)
~ Literary Road Trip: Author Dia Calhoun
~ Book Review: The Promised World by Lisa Tucker
~ Book Review: The Purloined Boy by Mortimus Clay
~ Book Review: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Why don’t we fit?

June 6, 2009 Categories: Faith | 5 Comments  

Carrie K. from My Middle Name is Patience left a comment in my previous post, asking what we are looking for in a church. I responded that the question requires a post of its own.

I’ve had e-mail conversations with a couple different friends about this issue, about the things Kevin and I have been talking about while considering the church situation. Here’s a cut and paste of some of those e-mails. Please excuse the poor grammar and sentence construction – I wasn’t trying to write as much as just get my thoughts out.

The Baptist church we have been at for two years isn’t a good fit anymore. We’re not Baptists by any stretch of the imagination, but the only truly reformed church here just disbanded. We were sticking with First Baptist because of a good children’s program; the kids’ program changed this year and we’re not comfortable having our kids there anymore. Long story short: not enough supervision, emphasis on competition rather than becoming Christ-like. I’m not sure if we’ll find anything or not. We have talked about doing family worship for a while. I don’t know – I’m discouraged. It’s been years since we’ve been in a church where we were truly home, being fed, able to minister and use our gifts. My brother-in-law is studying at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis – we’re trying to talk him into doing a church plant – maybe through Mars Hills Acts 29 network – in our area. He’s wise, though, and wants to do an associate pastorship somewhere first.

I wish you could order up a church off an a la carte menu. “Yes, I’d like a church with reformed doctrine that’s complementarian in their view of men and women – no patriarchism for me, but also no female head pastors. I’d like worship that uses both hymns and choruses, plus the Apostle’s or Nicene creed – I’d like to do communion every week, and I’d like a pastor who loves to study and gets passionate about sharing what he’s learned. Oh, and a good kids’ ministry and lots of fellowship opportunities. Also, a church that engages with culture and the community instead of hiding in it’s own denominational bubble.” Is that too much to ask? ~grin~

Kevin and I were talking the other day, and he asked, “How come we don’t feel like we fit in anywhere?” And I said, “cause we don’t!” We don’t fit with the traditional Christian homeschooling family idea – cause we’re not reactionary about things like Harry Potter. We don’t fit with the non-Christian homeschooling group, cause we’re believers and don’t teach evolution. We don’t fit at a conservative church like the Baptist because we don’t believe that only men’s viewpoints matter and that we should be sheltered from culture – but we also don’t fit in a more liberal church like the Free Methodist because we don’t believe that women should be senior pastors and we don’t buy into the whole “God speaks to me every day and tells me what to wear and buy and…” We wouldn’t fit in the local reformed church, because they’re completely closed off to any work of the Holy Spirit and their worship is closed-off – only hymns, no praying for healing cause that doesn’t happen anymore, etc. (And then I just heard they disbanded anyway.) We don’t fit with the more enthusiastic worship churches, because they’re way too charismatic and unbalanced, and don’t do any hymns, and most of their worship songs sound like contemporary love songs instead of songs worshipping the Almighty Creator.

And amongst all these thoughts is the thought that I know there is no such thing as a perfect church, but we should at least be able to find one where the pros outweight the cons, right? Sigh.

Please understand that these are simply the things that Kevin and I have struggled with. If you fit into one of the groups which I said we didn’t, please don’t take that as judgment. We’re simply trying to work out our faith and understand what the Word says and how that applies to our family.

Friday thoughts – and a little bit of faith and politics

May 7, 2009 Categories: Books , Faith , Homeschooling , Politics , Television | 2 Comments  

I have short-timer’s disease. You see, we only have four weeks in our homeschooling year, and I am really ready for summer break. It is so easy to get lax in the final weeks – I’m a soft touch when I hear, “Can I just do 1 through 10?” or “Can we skip grammar today?”

We’re having a typical Northeastern Washington spring, which means one day it’s 80 degrees, and the next it’s raining and freezing cold. Sometimes it’s beautiful in the morning and then cold and rainy in the afternoon, or vice versa. When the weather allows, we are spending time at the park. With trips to the park and dentist and orthodontist appointments, I’ve had lots of extra reading time, and I finished Specials, the third book in Scott Westerfeld’s series, and also The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which was outstanding.

Natalie and I sang at a Mother’s Day Luncheon on Saturday and Kevin posted a video at our family web site.

Monday, I took Jonathan to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and we both loved it. In fact, as much as I liked the X-Men movies, I liked this one more. Of course, it helped that Hugh Jackman was in it. :)

Kevin and I are watching the HBO mini-series John Adams, and the kids and I are watching the PBS series Liberty’s Kids – can you guess what part of history we are currently studying? :) John Adams is excellent, by the way. I haven’t read the book, so I can’t vouch for how well it follows, but it’s enthralling and extremely well-acted.

We’re also enjoying ABC’s new Monday night show Castle – and keeping fingers crossed that it is renewed for next season. We continue to enjoy some old favorites this season: Bones, House, and NCIS. I’ve been watching Lost and Fringe, which Kevin refuses to watch with me, but I record to enjoy on rare occasions of alone-time.

Okay, on to a complete change of topic.

Today was the National Day of Prayer here in the United States. It saddened me to see a Christian post on Facebook that she is actively praying for the destruction of President Obama. Is this what Paul intended by 1 Timothy 2:1-4? Is it any wonder that the media portrays us as hate-filled? Is this how we walk in the steps of Christ? As I read those comments, the faces of President and Michelle Obama’s two beautiful daughters came to mind. I pray that they are protected from the hate-filled words spoken about their father.

Please don’t construe my comments to mean that we shouldn’t speak our mind when we disagree with the president and with Congress, and their actions. We should make our voices heard. I just happen to believe that when we pray for our president, our time would be better spent praying that God would grant President Obama wisdom and a heart that seeks Him.

Okay, I’m stepping off my soapbox now. :)

We will have Mom and Dad over for Mother’s Day on Sunday – Kevin is grilling steak and Dad is bringing a yummy (most likely chocolate) dessert. I hope all of you also have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

He is risen!

April 12, 2009 Categories: Faith , Holidays | 1 Comment  

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Rejoice – the tomb is empty! May your family have a blessed Easter celebration.

Links for Friday

March 27, 2009 Categories: Faith , Funnies , Homeschooling , Movies , Poetry , Television , This and That | 4 Comments  

Some random thoughts:

I love spring, but I would love it even more if someone could invent jeans that completely repel grass stains.

I think it’s sad that it has been necessary for the staff at Subway to put up a sign that says, “Please refrain from using your cell phone while placing your sandwich order.”

How is it possible that I’m purchasing fall curriculum for a 7th grader?

I am very proud of Kevin, who gave up chewing tobacco eleven days ago.

I re-connected with an old friend/flame on Facebook. How is it fair that he looks exactly the same as he did the last time I saw him – 16 years ago?

I hate that my sisters live so far away from me. I miss them.

PG-rated movies from the 1970s and 1980s are a lot more adult than PG movies made recently.

I’m going to be very angry if NBC cancels Life.

And now, some links:

~ Anne Hathaway will play Judy Garland in a biopic. Brilliant casting, in my opinion!

~ 1 More Chapter has the new trailer for Terminator Salvation. Can’t wait to see this one.

~ Take Your Vitamin Z has the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are.

~ Any of you moms Twitter? You’ll get a kick out of this comic.

~ Does Satan exist? If that topic fascinates you, check out the Nightline Face-off on this topic, in which Christians Pastor Mark Driscoll and Annie Lobert debate Deepak Chopra and Bishop Carlton Pearson.

~ This little girl singing The Lord’s Prayer is adorable.

~ April is National Poetry Month. If you’d like to receive poetry in your inbox every day during April, you can sign up at Poets.org and Borzoi Reader.

Links for Friday, March 6, 2009

March 6, 2009 Categories: Books , Contests , Faith , Movies , Music , This and That , Writing | 1 Comment  

Whew, this week has just whizzed by! We’re all feeling better, mostly over the creeping crud, thank goodness. I don’t have a lot planned for my weekend, but on Monday I (finally) have my appointment with the neurologist about my headaches. His office is called The Headache Clinic, so he should be able to help, right? I’m optimistic. I’m going to take Natalie with me so the day isn’t completely a drag – we might even stop at Barnes & Noble on the way home, though mostly just to browse and pick up the third 39 Clues book for Noah.

If your weekend includes time for surfing, here are some links to check out:

~ Trish at Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’? has compiled a list of the books book bloggers considered their best read of 2008. Lots of good titles there.

~ Take Your Vitamin Z posted about how Mark Driscoll handles family devotions at dinner time. This actually seems like a relatively painless approach – we may give it a try.

~ Ever wanted to find out what book bloggers think about a particular book? Fyrefly has created a custom Google search of book blogs.

~ Are you jonesing for a Harry Potter fix? The Leaky Cauldron has a First Look video with highlights from the upcoming Half Blood Prince film.

~ There’s still time to enter my giveaway for Good Egg.

~ For you writerly types, here’s a great article on procrastination by Janet from Quoth the Maven.

~ The Sacred Sandwich imagines the reaction if the book of Galatians was published in Christianity Today.

~ This is one comeback I could do without.

At Books and Movies lately:

~ A list of our favorite read-alouds in the past couple of years.

~ If you read this before midnight Pacific Standard Time, there’s still time to enter my giveaway of Interred With Their Bones, Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story, and The Read-Aloud Handbook.

~ I’ve joined The Classics Challenge 2009.

Book Review: The Classic Bible Storybook by Kenneth N. Taylor

February 25, 2009 Categories: Books , Faith , Homeschooling , Reviews | 2 Comments  

(The Classic Bible Storybook by Kenneth Taylor was provided to me by the publisher for the purpose of this review.)

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The Classic Bible Storybook is a collection of more than 120 stories written by Kenneth N. Taylor, translator of The Living Bible and best-selling children’s book author. Inside you’ll find:

~ Each story presents the accuracy of God’s Word in language children can understand.

~ The realistic illustrations will capture the imaginations of both young and old.

~ Comprehension questions after each story reinforce the themes and help readers engage with the text.

It’s the perfect book to help children learn to love and reverence the Word of God.

The kids and I have been enjoying the stories from this book for the past three weeks. I love that the stories aren’t so long that my two squirmiest become restless, but are long enough to communicate a full story without cutting any corners. The text is scripturally accurate, but also keeps in mind the age of the intended audience. For instance, the story of David and Goliath stops with Goliath falling to the ground, and skips the part about David cuttting his head off.

Another wonderful thing about this book is the illustrations – they are beautifully done, and remind me of the Bible storybooks I grew up with. The questions at the end of each chapter are designed to make sure that your children have understood the story, and are a good jumping-off point for deeper discussions about how the story relates to us today and how we live out our faith. My kids are ages 12, 10, 9, and 7 – and all four of them are enjoying the time we spend with this book.

Highly recommended.

Questions from Little Hearts – Review and Giveaway

January 17, 2009 Categories: Books , Faith , Reviews | 16 Comments  

(Questions from Little Hearts was provided to me by the publisher for the purpose of review.)

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This book combines 4 Little Blessings volumes (What is God Like? What Is Prayer? What About Heaven? Are Angels Real?), all of which use whimsical rhyming text to answer questions about God, heaven, angels, and prayer. Little Blessings “questions” books are known for their heartwarming text and delightful multicultural characters. Each question is answered using Scripture, fun poetry, and the adorable characters. The questions include: What is God Like? What Is Prayer? What About Heaven? Are Angels Real? The answers are theologically sound and thorough, yet child-friendly. Bible references follow each section.

Questions from Little Hearts is the kind of book I wish I had when the kids were smaller. The pictures are beautiful, the rhyming text is delightful, and the questions are just the sort that toddlers and young children are constantly asking.

There are four sections to this book, each one answering important questions about the nature of God, Heaven, prayer, and angels. The questions are asked, then answered, in rhyming text. At the end of each section, the questions are answered again, this time with Scripture verses explaining where the answers are found in the Bible.

Here’s a sample from the section on Heaven:

I know God loves me.
Of this there’s no doubt.
But what about heaven?
What’s that all about?….

(snip)

All questions have answers,
but some you won’t learn
Till God says it’s time
for his Son to return.
Your questions are good ones,
so let’s dive right in
And see what the Bible says.
Ready? Begin!

Though heaven’s a place
that you can’t see from here,
It says in the Bible
that heaven is near.

You don’t need to know
how to fly or to swim.
The way is with Jesus,
believing in Him.

The author then goes on to expound on what we do know about heaven, all told in language that small children will readily understand.This is a perfect book to read with your young ones, and should lead to some great discussions.

Christy at Tyndale House has been wonderful enough to offer a copy of Questions from Little Hearts to one of my readers. If you have little ones in your life that you would like to share this book with, enter by leaving a comment on this post.

Here are the details:

~ Leave a comment on this post before 11:59 pm PST, Friday, January 23, 2009.

~ This contest is open to readers in the US and Canada only.

~ Only one comment per person.

~ On Saturday, the 24th, I’ll use Random.org to draw the winner.

Barrenness

September 7, 2008 Categories: Commonplace Book , Faith | Comments Off  

Although we may have brought forth some fruit and have a joyful hope that we are abiding in the vine, yet there are times when we feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak, each grace in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. We are like flowers in the hot sun, desperately needing the refreshing shower. In such a condition what are we to do? The text is addressed to us in just such a state. “Sing, O barren one…break forth into singing and cry aloud.” (Isaiah 54:1) But what can I sing about? I cannot talk about the present, and even the past looks full of barrenness. I can sing of Jesus Christ. I can talk of visits that the Redeemer has paid to me in the past; or if not of these, I can magnify the great love with which He loved His people when He came from the heights of heaven for their redemption. I will go to the cross again. Come, my soul, you were once heavy-laden, and you lost your burden there. Go to Calvary again. Perhaps that very cross that gave you life may give you fruitfulness. What is my barrenness? It is the platform for His fruit-creating power. What is my desolation? It is the dark setting for the sapphire of His everlasting love. I will go to Him in my poverty, I will go in my helplessness, I will go in all my shame and backsliding; I will tell Him that I am still His child, and finding confidence in His faithful heart, even I, the barren one, will sing and cry aloud.

~from Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

Links for Friday

August 21, 2008 Categories: Books , Faith , Funnies , Homeschooling , Movies , Music , This and That | 3 Comments  

We just got back from the fair and I’m pooped. I’ve been entertained out this summer, I think. Vacation was wonderful – so fun – but I have no desire to do anything else. I want to start school and have normal life back! But, that won’t happen until after Tuesday, because on Tuesday, I’m taking the kids here. I don’t want to. at. all. But, the kids read their 10 hours each (over and above normal school reading time) to earn their free tickets, so I kinda half to, or I’d be a really mean mommy. Sigh.

I am really looking forward to tomorrow night. All three boys are going for a sleepover at Michelle’s house in honor of her Jacob’s birthday, and Natalie is heading south to Grandma and Papa’s for the night. So Kevin and I are going to go out to dinner and have an evening all to ourselves. Then Saturday afternoon, he’s taking Josiah on an overnight camping trip, just the two of them. It’s Josiah’s turn for time with Daddy.

It’s been a great week, book-wise. I received a review copy of…

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The Grift by Debra Ginsberg

…and an ARC of…

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The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway.

I also ordered the first four books in the History Lives series, which are books for young readers that tell the history of the church from St. Paul through John Wesley. (Book 5 continues the story from there, and is due out later this year.) Westminster Books has the first four books for only $25.17 – 30% off! The series is written by Brandon and Mindy Withrow, whose blog I’ve enjoyed for a couple of years now. Anyway, I’m going to read these aloud to the kids for part of our Bible studies.

Well, Kevin’s come upstairs and wants to watch a DVD, so I better get to the links.

~ Angela Hunt posted this Urban Legend Amalgam. If you’ve ever received a forwarded e-mail, you gotta click over.

~ Confused baby sea turtles – I would have loved to be there for this!

~ If you’ve read or heard anything about the “revival” going on in Lakeland, Florida, this is a must-read.

On April 3, 2008 Canadian evangelist Todd Bentley was invited to speak to the Ignited Church of Lakeland, FL. Though he was only scheduled to be there for 5 days, he remained for 3 months during what he considered to be the biggest pentecostal revival since the Azusa Street revival. To put it mildly, the “Lakeland revival” has been controversial. Claims of people being raised from the dead? Violent healing? Now it appears Bentley is stepping down after filing for separation from his wife and admitting to an inappropriate relationship with another woman…

(snip)

Yet, when I see things like this, it is just hard not to ask: does anyone still have a Bible and some common sense?

Let me add: I do not think this is a Pentecostal issue. That is why the title is, “Evangelical Gullibility.”

In other words, all kinds of Christians are forwarding emails about the FCC’s phony plan to ban religious braoadcasting, signing up to have emails sent to the loved ones after the rapture, and watching Christian television for its theological depth. For that matter, I have just as many odd people come up to me with “something they discovered in the Bible that no one has ever noticed” after I speak at a Baptist, Wesleyan, of non-denominational meeting as I do when I speak at a Pentecostal one. Furthermore, many Pentecostals and Charismatics HAVE expressed concern about this movement– including some when I visit the Assemblies of God office a couple of weeks ago.

I just have to wonder with Grady if Christians really are just gullible.

~ If you need some Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince buzz to tide you over until the movie’s (new) release date of July 17th, EW has an article with some scoop about the film.

~ Why is it that Dan Brown could publish The Da Vinci Code, a fictional novel which offended many Christians by stating that Jesus was married and had kids, but Harper Collins won’t publish a fictional novel about one of Mohammed’s wives?

“Random House made the decision to cancel its US publication of the novel ‘The Jewel of Medina’ after much deliberation and with great reluctance,” a statement from the publisher sent to AFP said.

“The decision was based on advice from scholars of Islam, among several creditable sources, that publication of this book might be offensive to some in the Muslim community and could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.”

~ If you want to watch a slideshow and some video clips of our vacation, head over to Kevin’s site.

~ Hey – it turns out I’m raising three future surgeons.

~ This video of the a cappella group Naturally 7 is pretty awesome.

~ It’s time to sign up for this year’s Pizza Hut Book-It Program.

~ Homeschool stereotypes vs. public school realities – a must-read at Principled Discovery.

At Books and Movies this week:

~ The Sunday Salon

~ Musing Mondays

~ Teaser Tuesdays

~ Review of The Great Debaters

~ Booking Through Thursday