Thursday, March 31, 2011

Domestic Artist in Training

This girl has been working on....

Making these crocheted dresses....and

This detail...and

Piecing together this quilt top...and

These blocks from leftover yarn...and

This embroidery project.  I think I see an etsy shop somewhere in her future!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Training Children in Godliness ~ A Contagious Affair

First of all, before I get into today's topic, I want to thank all of you that were so gracious to pray for my recovery.  I am still not 100%, but feeling better and I thank you so much for your prayers.  Since we are finishing up the remnants of a virus in our home, I thought it appropriate to talk about contagious diseases.  If you have a large family, you know how easy it is for one person to get a virus of some kind and then within 24 to 72 hours after that first person gets it, someone else starts showing signs.  At this rate, what should have been a 7-10 day virus, with a large family can take up to a month to eradicate it from the home.  Wouldn't it be nice if instead of catching viruses form others, we could easily catch good health?  I don't know about you, but I would be finding the healthiest family I know and having my children shadow them for days to get good health.  That sounds a little ridiculous doesn't it?  Trying to catch good health.  But, what is true in the physical in this case, is also true in the spiritual.

Why is it when we would never dare to have our children around those who have strep throat, whooping cough, or the flu, yet we allow them to be in the company of other children who are far more dangerous to them spiritually?  We justify our actions sometimes by saying how much our children can be an influence for good to others.  There is a great difference in witnesses and immersing yourself in a friendship with an unbeliever.  Even adults do not withstand that type of temptation, so why do we think our children can?  The truth is that it is easier to go with the culture and allow our children to associate with those of questionable character because everyone else is doing it.  We send our children to functions of all kinds...some even in the church, where they are constantly in contact with children who are poor influences. 

And then, after spending time with these influences, we wonder why there is a sudden change in our children's behavior?  When my oldest daughter was about six years old, we were living in a neighborhood where many children would spend time outside playing.  There was a particular little girl who was not watched by her parents and would roam the neighborhood.  She would come down often and want to play with my daughter.  After just two afternoons with this girl, my daughter developed a defiant attitude toward me.  Just two afternoons!  I told her she was no longer allowed to play with this little girl because a true friend is one that causes us to be more like Jesus, not less.  My daughter went back to respecting my authority just by keeping her away from this child.  So, what is a parent to do?  Be as diligent in the associations that your children have as you are in whether they play out in the street where cars are passing.  Be aware parent that your children's associations will do one of two things...make them more like Christ, or less.  There is no middle ground.  The same is true with adults.  If I spend time with women that bash and denegrate their husbands on a daily that going to help me in my marriage?  Certainly not.  I have seen too many adults that were professing Christians go the way of the world just because they started being close friends with those that were ungodly.  I Corinthians 15:33 says, "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners."  We still battle an evil that does not easily withstand temptation.  Why do we expect our children to withstand more than we are able to do?  Watch your children's friends and put an end to relationships that are ungodly.  To allow them to continue is detrimental to your child's eternal health...and that is far more important than their physical.  Remember one bad apple spoils the whole bunch.  Have you ever seen one good apple make all the bad ones good again?  It doesn't happen in the physical and it doesn't happen in the spiritual.  Guard your won't regret it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Prayer Request

Just wanted to drop a small note to let you know that I haven't been posting because of sickness.  I caught the virus my children got and it has taken me down a notch or two.  I hope to be back up and running the beginning of next week.  I have missed posting and visiting the blogs of my friends.  I would greatly appreciate your prayers for my recovery.  God bless you!

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Poem

The Chosen Tree

O chosen tree, O precious wood
That bore my Saviour up,
Though He chose long before that time
To drink death's bitter cup.

O heartless bark, how could you know
What those dear drops could mean?
Of blood that flowed so freely
That made this sinner clean.

How could you know such cruelty
That day on Calvary's hill
Would pave the way to glory
For those who seek His will.

It's not your fault, O little tree
This torturous sight took place
For I'm the one who hung Him there
He died to plead my case.

If you had known the magnitude
Of what your life would be
I doubt you would have chosen
To be that special tree.

Oh the boundlessness of God's dear grace
To plant that little seed
That would be marked the "death-tree"
That all mankind would need.

O little tree so long ago
How could you know you'd be
An instument in Holy Hands
To save a worm like me.

Written by me: Inspiration from the One who loved me so

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Natural Antibiotics for Sickness

Since we have been a little under the weather, I thought I would share with you some of the natural remedies we use to help in healing.  Organic Olive Leaf works as a natural antibiotic.  You can get this in pill form and it is much more concentrated.  If you are an adult taking it, I would recommend the pill form, but if you have young children get the extract.  An adult dosage is 30 drops, so for my 10, and almost 8 year old, I put 15 drops in half a cup of water for them to drink.  My younger children get 10 drops and my oldest daughter gets the adult dose.  We have seen great results with this pared with extra vitamin C.  We usually get Emergen-C for that.  I split up half a packet in water for my youngest children.  Oil of Oregano is another great natural antibiotic, but it is extremely hot taken directly, so we have found the Olive Leaf works especially well for our children.  If you have children who have been vomiting, rather than getting Pedialyte that has sugar in it (which breaks down the immune system) get coconut water instead.  Make sure it is from the health food store as many places have flavored coconut water that also has sugar in it.  It has more electrolytes than Pedialyte and is a natural way to build back up the immune system.  We have found God's remedies to work beautifully and without all the side effects that synthetic drugs have.  Now, I do know there is a place for antibiotics and other drugs, but when it is possible, I believe it best to avoid them.  May you all stay healthy this season! 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Catching Up!

I know this is supposed to be my health post day...but since we are having some health issues ourselves in the home, I just wasn't able to get to it.  Life does happen and unexpected things come up.  My third child has come down with a cold, but the other two are doing much better.  Just waiting for it to run its course.

It seems pretty official now.  We should be moving sometime the end of July.  Because of that, I have already begun my dejunking and weeding out of drawers and such.  We are planning a yard sale soon and will be selling quite a few items.  We currently rent a home that is about 1900 square feet, but are actually looking at moving into a two-bedroom townhome on the seminary campus and living in a little under 1100 square feet.  Yes, you read that right.
And why on earth would be want to do that for a year and a half you ask?  Very good question.  I have asked that of myself quite a few times too. 

My husband has been selected to get an Ethics degree and then he will move on to teach in a military school once he completes his degree.  We could rent off the seminary campus, but quite honestly, we could save so much more money living on campus.  The older we get, the more we realize that things, houses, lots of space...that is not what makes a home.  The people in it are.  And one day we hope to leave some inheritance to our children and saving and planning now is the only way to do that.  Our children are happy about the idea.  They have always wanted to share a room together at least in one of our homes.  So, right now the plan is to have two bunkbeds and a twin in one room.  I am going to have to get really creative with storage ideas!  I will hopefully post pictures when the time comes.  I will try to get to the health post as soon as I can.  Praying that the Lord blesses you and your family greatly!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Training Children in Godliness ~ Building a Godly Appetite

We got back from the Family Economics Conference Sunday afternoon.  We were able to attend church on the campus of Southeastern Seminary and then Scott Brown's church fed all those in attendance.  It was a wonderful time in the Lord and the conference was especially good.  We were strengthened in our resolve to build a strong Godly family for the Lord and given a vision of what it looks like to have an entrepreneurial mindset for whole families.  We are now praying for God to use the things He has taught us to either redirect us, or to help us to place that vision in our own children. 
The pictures are various shots of the family while we were there.  Once we got home, Monday I was faced with about seven loads of laundry and a little girl who started showing signs of being sick.  Today, my youngest son has come down with the virus and it has hit him especially hard with a high fever and he is, as I type, asleep on the couch.  Since today is Wednesday when I usually post on training children, I wanted to introduce you to a concept that you may have not thought about before.  What kind of appetite are you building in your children? 
By appetite, I do not mean what they are eating.  I mean what desires are you helping to cultivate in your home and interaction with your children that will either bring them closer to the Lord, or further away.  I think many times as parents we do not give this much thought.  I plan to get more specific with this at a later date, but before you plan any activity, watch any movie, buy any video game, read aloud any book, take any vacation...ask yourself, "Will this build my children up in the faith, or could it be a potential to ensnare them when they have families of their own?"
I was always a big proponent of Walt Disney World.  That was my dream vacation.  I had gone there a couple of times as a young girl and had grown up with Disney movies.  After I got married and started having children, some movies that I watched before all of a sudden took on a different meaning.  I began seeing themes in the movies that did not match up to a Biblical worldview.  For instance, Little Mermaid was rebellious against her father.  Beauty, in Beauty and the Beast, was a daughter that tired of her home life and sought great adventure somewhere else.  Pocahontas, besides being historically inaccurate, had mysticism in it...and the list goes on. 
When we started getting the mindset of having multiple children for the glory of God, all of a sudden places like Walt Disney World were unaffordable.  Then we began to wonder, "If we want our children to love children and desire many of them, would taking them to a place that is so costly be the wisest use of our time?"  I don't know about you, but when I went to Walt Disney World, coming back home was always a downer.  The real world can never compete with the fantasy world.  Now, before you think that I am saying going to Walt Disney World is a sin...please understand...that is not what I am saying at all.  We just decided that it did not fit the goals and appetites we wanted to place into the lives of our children.  Instead, we have found that going away to mountain getaways and Godly conferences such as the one we just got back from have built a desire for such things in our children.
Our children would much rather go to a homeschool conference, or a spiritual conference of some other kind than an amusement park.  And rather than feeling let down when they come back to their "normal" life, they have gained a greater sense of the vision that God has for their lives. 
I have seen great strides in spiritual maturity with my almost 15 year old daughter just from attending these spiritual conferences.
Being among Godly, like-minded people brings a refreshment like no other.
Pouring over the Word of life brings true joy and contentment...much more than a roller coaster could ever do.
So, the next time you making a decision about anything...yes, and even where to vacation.
Ask yourself what will bring an eternal difference in the lives of your children, because even God cares where you take your vacations.
Our time to raise our children in Godly character is so very short.
Let's take every opportunity to give them ways to grow for the glory of God.  Those are moments you will never regret.
May the Lord give us wisdom to do all for His glory!
This final picture is our family with some of our very best friends in the world.  They are more like our family than just friends.  They too were at the conference and the Lord greatly blessed our time together.  Until next time my friends...keep pressing toward the mark for Christ's sake!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Article and a Conference

    For those of you that receive the Above Rubies magazine, they are being mailed out this week.  I was greatly humbled by the fact that Nancy Campbell chose my testimony about God's provision to be included in the current magazine.  I know it was not of me, but all of God who blessed my life with such a testimony to tell.  It is my prayer that He will use the article to bring glory to Himself. 

Also, I wanted to tell you that my regular blog post on "Small Steps to Better Health" will be missing this Friday.  Our family, Lord willing, will be attending the 2011 Family Economics Conference this weekend.  I hope to be visiting with you again via blogland real soon.  I pray you all have a wonderful weekend! 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Training Children in Godliness ~ A Far-Sighted Focus

Ever since I was in fourth grade, I have had to wear either glasses or contact lenses for my severe case of near-sightedness.  My husband and four out of our five chilren, on the other hand, are all far-sighted.  Just as there are two camps of vision, there seems to be two similar camps in parenting.  It is very importat in traning our children to have the right vision.
It is so easy at times to be the near sighted parent  The type that looks at the urgency of the moment and keeps their vision focused on those things that are "near."  Things like homework, extra-curricular activities, academic success, successful careers, etc.  If you ask the majority of parents today, their goals for their children consist of getting good grades, not making too many mistakes when they are under our care and finding a successful and fulfilling career.  Now, please do not misunderstand me.  I am not saying any of these goals are wrong.  But, what I am saying is they should not be the most important goals a parent, especially a Christian parent, should have for his/her children.  A Christian parent needs to devlop a far-sighted focus. 
What does God say is a sucess in life?  The Bible says we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbor as ourselves.(Matthew 22:37-39) We need to start looking at the long range goal of parenting.  If your son becomes a world famous neurosurgeon and yet does not follow this one commandment, the Bible calls him a failure.  So why is there a tendency to focus so much on what this world calls success?
Far-sighted parenting changes everything.  Instead of asking questions like this," How is this activity going to pad my child's portfolio for college?" We will begin to filter everything through the lense of eternity.  Not what I want my child to be by the time he/she reaches college, but what I want my child to be far beyond that point.  So, then we will be asking questions more along this line, "Does this activity bring my child closer to the goal of loving the Lord, or further away?  Will the influences my child is around make them more or less godly?  Will this activity prepare my daughter to be a godly wife and mother, or my son to be a godly leader/protector?"  If not, it doesn't matter how many other children are doing it, or what your immediate family thinks about it, or how strangely people may look at you.  We are supposed to be separate anyway...a called out people, set apart for the glory of God.
God says there are only two types of people, those who are for Him and those who are against Him. (Matthew 12:30) We get so indoctrinated in our culture sometimes that we don't realize there is nothing truly neutral in this life.  The curriculum we choose, the activities we place our children in, the music we listen to, the movies we watch...they are either pleasing to God, or not.  And when we have a far-sighted focus, then we begin to see life as God intended us to view it, through the lense of eternity.

So today, let us pray that God gives us a far-sighted vision for our children.  One that looks at the far reaching consequences of behavior problems and important decisions.  Because at the end of this life, the only thing that will bring peace and comfort to your children is knowing they are in a right relationship with the One who created them.  And there is no amount of activities, academic successes, and successful careers that will ever be able to take the place of it.  In the words penned by Stephen Olford's father to his son, "My son, this is the of utmost importance : Only one life 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." God bless you my friends!

Monday, March 7, 2011

A Great Resource!

If you have Netflix, I highly recommend getting this video to watch.  It is a documentary on Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee.  If you homeschool, it would be a wonderful addition to your history of the Civil War.  If you don't homeschool, it would be a great resource to share with your children the spiritual lives of these men and how their faith impacted everything they did.  There are some black and white photos of the Civil War in this documentary, and some are of men dead on the field.   I did not find them especially gruesome or bloody, but depending on the ages of your children, you may want to preview it first.  This documentary was so very good that we ended up getting a copy from Amazon.  I rented it off Netflix thinking that it would be a great resource to give the children added information about the war.  I had no idea it would be so God-honoring.  I found myself greatly convicted by the lives of these two great generals.  My husband liked it so much he started reading a book on Stonewall Jackson afterward.  In a time where our children, and especially our boys, are lacking Godly examples of what it means to be a man of faith in difficult times...this DVD is a rare find.  If you decide to rent it, let me know what you think!  God bless!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Small Steps to Better Health ~ Step 2

Well, how have you been doing with small step one?  Are you drinking more water throughout the day?  Hopefully, you are and are keeping your bodies well hydrated.  Step number 2 is simple, but may be much harder for some to do.  Since I told you last week what to drink...I will tell you this week what NOT to drink.

Step 2:  Give up all soft drinks.  I know, I know...that is a hard one for some.  It certainly was for me.  For years, my drink of choice was a Mountain Dew...and if I couldn't have that, my next favorite was Mello Yello.  Leave it to me to prefer the drink with the highest level of caffeine!  But, it is not only the caffeine in your bodies that are harmful with soft drinks.  There are many other dangers lurking within that nice cold, sweet beverage.

First, let us talk about caffeine.  Caffeine is a diuretic.  That means it robs the body of the water it needs to keep organs, muscles, joints, bones, etc. functioning properly.  If you must drink caffeine, for every cup you have, you need to add another two glasses of water just to counter the affects.  If you are suffering from joint pain or arthritic symptoms of any kind, caffeine only intensifies your aches and pains.

Sugar:  Soft drinks are loaded with them.  And many of these are in the form of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).  I could do a whole post on the dangers of HFCS.  Studies have recently found mercury in food and beverages that contained HFCS.  And take it from one who is suffering from mercury do not want to go there!  Secondly, HFCS comes mainly from genetically modified corn which is very dangerous.  We will get into GMO foods later.  Thirdly, HFCS is one of the leading causes of obesity and diabetes. I could go on and on, but I don't want this post to turn into a book instead!

Now, for those of you that drink diet drinks and think that it is good to avoid the HFCS.  I must tell you that I think it would be better to drink the regular soft drink than diet.  Diet well as almost anything that touts the label sugar loaded with aspartame.  Aspartame takes the number one spot for complaints of adverse reactions with the FDA. 

The following quote was taken from Dr. Mercola's site.

Aspartame accounts for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA. Many of these reactions are very serious including seizures and death.(1) A few of the 90 different documented symptoms listed in the report as being caused by aspartame include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, weight gain, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, tachycardia, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, breathing difficulties, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, loss of taste, tinnitus, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.

According to researchers and physicians studying the adverse effects of aspartame, the following chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame:(2) Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, parkinson's disease, alzheimer's, mental retardation, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes.

Ten percent of aspartame is made of a chemical called methanol.  If you do not know what methanol is, it is wood alcohol, which is a poison.  Methanol breaks down into formic acid in the body.  What is formic acid?  The same thing as formaldehyde.  Most of us know formaldehyde as the same as embalming fluid.  That was enough for me to stay clear of aspartame!  Especially be careful with children drinking diet drinks, they seem to be even more susceptible to these dangers than adults.  I could once again go on and on about the dangers of aspartame, but time will not allow. 

If you do decide to cut out the soft drinks, I would advise you to do so gradually, especially if you drink at least one soft drink a day.  Expect to feel worse before you feel better.  Whenever your body detoxes from a man-made chemical, it has to release those toxins that your body has now grown accustomed to.  The process may be a little difficult at first, but you will be doing a great service to your body.  I hope this has encouraged you to keep giving your body the drinks that will keep you healthy!  God bless you!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Training Children in Godliness

Technically this is the beginning of my series in training daughters to be Proverbs 31 women, but to effectively do that, we must cover some of the basics of parenting and that applies to both girls and boys.  So, my hope is that we will cover the basics of parenting and then once we do that, move on to specifics with training daughters.  I will tell you from the very beginning, I do not come to this subject as a perfect parent.  I have made many mistakes and know there will be more that I do make.  I am not an expert on parenting, but I do know the One who is.  It is His knowledge I hope to impart, because really His knowledge is all that is worthy of repeating.  God does have a manual for training our children.  It is called the Bible.  So as simple as this first idea may sound, I would recommend that you only and always defer to His Word when it comes to how to raise your children.  Everything we need for instruction in righteousness can be found in the Word.  Oftentimes we do not go to the Word for our answers.  We go to modern psychology, or parenting experts, or to our neighbours and friends and we never stop to read what God has already said on the issue. 

Now, I am not saying that we should not seek help from others.  The Bible clearly talks about Titus 2 women training younger women in respecting their husbands and teaching their children.  What I am saying is that if those friends, experts, neighbours do not give you advice based on the Word of God, then dismiss it.  If you ever feel anything I say is of my own understanding and not founded on God's principles, then I want you to reject that as well. 

So, my first piece of advice would be to immerse yourself in the Bible, and while you are doing that, immerse your children in the Word as well.  How many times during a day do your children hear the Word of God read?  Almost everyday in our home we have two devotionals.  I do one with the children in the morning and my husband leads one in the evenings.  But, what if your children do not sit still?  Train them to do so.  Having quiet times of sitting while you read the Bible and pray is a good practice for young ones.  At two years of age, our youngest was able to sit still for Bible reading and prayer.  While they are young, we would only read a few verses and pray.  Now our youngest is five and we read chapters aloud, pray and even try to sing many times.  This is the time that your children will remember the Word.  I am amazed at how many Bible verses my oldest has memorized just by hearing the Bible repeated to her day after day.   
God said His Word will not return to Him void.  What better way can we begin to train our children in righteousness than by filling their minds and hearts with God's Word?  Many of us read many other books to our children.  We allow them to play video games and watch DVD's.  If they can sit still for those things, they can sit still to feast on what is far more important for their souls.  And quite frankly, for ours as well.  We used to read Bible storybooks to our children and I am not saying that many of those are not good.  We just found that our children understand so much more than we give them credit for and we felt that reading the infallible Word of God was far greater to them.  I have found that many Bible storybooks take great liberties with the Scripture, leaving out crucial parts and inserting things that were never intended to be there in the first place.  Did you know that when Moses would read the law to the Israelites, he read it to whole families?  That's, women, young people, was a Word from God and that made it important for everyone to hear.  Deut. 31:11 When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.

So there is the precedent for our family...found in the Word of God.  We have seen it make such a difference in our children.  So, if you read to your children from the Word, I admonish you to keep on and maybe even challenge you to do more.  The Bible is one book that will never be a waste and the one book you can never read too much.  May the Lord bless you as you train your children for His glory!