Thursday, November 29, 2007

Christmas Play and Christmas Books

This morning we enjoyed going to a play along with about 100 members of our support group. The play was "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever", at the Progress Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh. We have enjoyed reading this book for many Christmases, and the play was a nice, but abbreviated, version of the story.
It's time to unpack my trunk of Christmas books and videos. I have a nice collection of picture books that we try to read through during the month of December. I'm always on the lookout for another good Christmas book to add to the collection. Some of my favorites are:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
Jacob's Gift by Max Lucado
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson
The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell
Alabaster's Song by Max Lucado
The Gift of the Magi by O Henry
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg
A Cup of Christmas Tea by Tom Hegg
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend by Julie Stiegemeyer
The Very First Christmas by Paul Maier

I know there are some good ones that I'm forgetting. I'll have to update this list once I get the books out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well, I've been trying to get my photos from Thanksgiving uploaded, but they keep disappearing. So I'm still working on that.

We've got a bunch of basketball games this week. Amanda's JV Girls team played yesterday afternoon against Vance Charter School, and won easily. Today, the MS Girls, MS Boys, V Girls, and V Boys all had games at Franklin Academy - and all lost. I only got to see Eric's game - the V Boys - and although we lost, I thought we played really well. Mark was happy, as the coach, but the boys were pretty disappointed. Franklin Academy is a rival, and they wanted to do better.
Friday, Amanda's team plays at Christian Faith Center in Creedmore, and then we'll hurry down to Cary to see Eric play at Cary Christian. The MS Girls, which Mark also coaches, will be playing Cary earlier that afternoon, so Mark won't be able to come see Amanda play. Then Saturday, Jason has tryouts for town league basketball, and his games will start after Christmas. This time of year, I cannot look at more than one day on my calendar at a time, or I start to hyperventilate!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Nest is Full

We had a very nice Thanksgiving at the home of our friends, the Dohertys, with 7 families and a total of 38 people! Karen roasted 2 turkeys, and everyone brought an assortment of sides, breads, and desserts to fill 4 buffet tables in her dining room. My contribution this year was Parker House Rolls, apple and chocolate silk pies, pizzelles, garlic-parmesan smashed potatoes, cornbread-sausage-apple stuffing in the crockpot, and an antipasto veggie salad. After giving thanks for God's provision and many blessings, everyone filled their plates and spread out over the house and yard. The adults talked... and talked... and talked... and the kids played front yard football and Catch Phrase and Guitar Hero... and everyone enjoyed the time of feasting and fellowship.

We have a full house this week, with Sarah and Alex both home from college, with an additional two friends who are staying with us. Mark borrowed a laptop projector for the week, to which they have hooked up Alex's X-Box 360 - so my living wall is a giant screen for playing video games and watching DVDs. There has been lots of late nights and laughter and music and dancing and munching and teasing ... I am in heaven. :-) It will be quiet when they go back to school on Sunday.

Sarah and friends Bekah and Jenna stayed up all night Thursday night and hit Kohls when they opened at 4 AM on Black Friday ( insane!!) , arriving home at 7:30 AM to fall into bed (and the LR couch) and sleep a few hours. Me on the other hand.... I avoid the stores like the plague on the day after Thanksgiving. I will have to go out today ( Sat. ), but still under duress ~ I just do not like to shop. I did go online yesterday and make a few holiday purchases. That is much more to my liking.

I'll have pictures up as soon as I get new batteries for the camera! Right now I am waiting for AAA to come and change the flat tire on my van. At least it is in my driveway and I am sitting in my warm house with a cup of tea and not on the side of the road somewhere. Yay for AAA!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sinister Sunny Days

My thanks to Lea for finding this article and alerting us on her blog! Thankfully, I am OLD and was beyond interest in preschool television shows by 1969, but my youngest brother.... now he was totally immersed in this stuff!! Poor little tyke... Mom, it's not your fault. You didn't know any better. Hopefully, his therapy won't uncover too much other damaging information ( like the fact that we had to sneak behind your back to watch Speed Racer and that you kept a wooden paddle perched on the ledge in the stairwell - out of our reach but in plain sight every time we children walked down those steps - TERRIFYING! )

Tony, this explains a lot...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Little Bear Wheeler

Friday night and Saturday morning, Jason and I, along with our friends the Bartons, went to S. Raleigh to hear Little Bear Wheeler of Mantle Ministries talk about the Pilgrims and the providential hand of God in bringing them to North America. Little Bear Wheeler is an evangelist, historian, and masterful storyteller, who dresses in authentic period costumes as he delivers his presentations. Friday night he dressed in Reformation garb as he traced the development of the Bible and of the body of believers known as "the church" over thousands of years, from Moses through the rise of the Roman Church to the early Reformers who often gave their lives to bring Scripture back to the common people. Saturday he continued in Pilgrim dress, teaching about the creation of the Church of England by King Henry VIII, which set the stage for the Separatists, whom we know as Pilgrims, to flee persecution in England, and ultimately sail to the New World. There were many fascinating facts and stories woven into the talks, and the morning culminated with a demonstration of fire making, with flint & steel, a bow drill, and hand drill, and a pump drill. That kept the little boys interested!

Now, do you know why the Pilgrims sailed to the New World? Most people would say it was to flee religious persecution in England, but that is only partly correct. The Pilgrims did flee England, but they went to Holland, and lived there for 10 years. The were not persecuted in Holland, but were welcomed, and settled into the community there. But the problem was that Dutch society was much more "liberal" than they were, and the Pilgrims saw that their children were being adversely affected by their peers and the surrounding culture in Holland. So the real reason that the Pilgrims came to North America was to rescue the hearts of their children from a culture that was pulling them away from God!

Recommended reading if you are interested in learning about the Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony from someone who was there: "Of Plymouth Plantation: Bradford's History of the Plymouth Settlement 1608-1650", published by Vision Forum. This is a reprint of a 1909 translation (into Modern English) of Governor William Bradford's original journal, which is considered the single most important source of information about the Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Adoption Testimony

My friend Eileen's testimony about God's provision of finances for their adoption of three children from Ethiopia was featured on Crown Financial Ministries "Money Matters" radio broadcast today! You can hear the program, and Eileen's testimony at the end, online here.
Listen to the whole broadcast or click on "listen to adoption testimonies".

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Alex Update

Alex found out yesterday that he will be joining the 1st Cavalry, 1st Brigade in Fort Hood , TX after he finishes his Ordnance Training, sometime next fall. Please keep praying for him and all our soldiers and their families, especially during the upcoming holiday season when separation is especially hard.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hospital Stay

Well, I've had an interesting week so far! Monday night I sat down to eat dinner with my two youngest children while Mark and Eric were at basketball practice, and with my first bite of chicken divan, I felt an intense pain and tightening in my chest. I was pretty sure this was related to my esophagus, not heart, because I periodically have episodes where my esophagus squeezes shut when I am eating; this usually happens in my lower throat, and I feel pressure, and am unable to swallow anything at all until the spasm relaxes. This has been going on for years, and I had an endoscopy done about a year ago that didn't show anything of concern. This episode was much more painful than anything I've experienced before and lower, hitting right under the sternum. When these spasms occur and I can't swallow anything, I end up coughing up a lot of mucous/saliva - since it cannot go down, it has to come up! Lovely, huh? Well, I was doing a similar thing Monday, but after about 30 minutes I started coughing up blood, so when Mark got home from practice, we got in the car and took a trip down to the Emergency Room at Wake Med North. The waiting room at the ER was pretty full, but funny thing - when you come in with chest pain and a baggy containing blood that you have spit up, you get seen RIGHT AWAY!! ( sorry if anyone is getting grossed out here )
So I spent 2 days in the hospital, and finally after an endoscopy yesterday, learned that I had an ulcer in the esophagus. They also removed a couple of polyps from my stomach, and have sent those to the lab. I was released last night, and have some meds to take to help the ulcer heal and also to suppress acid production in my stomach, so I have to eat a fairly bland, easy to digest diet for a little while. Good thing Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes isn't spicy!

I'm feeling much, much better. I had pain in my back/chest for 2 days, but it is barely noticeable now. I appreciate your prayers for healing. And I appreciate sleeping through the night without being woken up to have blood drawn for the gazillionth time, and not being hooked up to wires and IVs and sensors that keep beeping because you bend your arm too much..! And nurses are wonderful. :-)


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Top Ten Favorite Family Movies

There isn't a lot on TV that I consider worthwhile, but we do enjoy watching movies on video or DVD for entertainment. Here is a list of some of our family favorites. Now, my kids range in age from 9 up to 22, and I have both boys and girls, so the list reflects varied tastes!
Share your family's favorites by leaving a comment!

( in no particular order )

1. Newsies

2. Iron Will

3. Apollo 13

4. The Sound of Music

5. Hoosiers

6. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

7. Pirates of the Carribean

8. The Man From Snowy River

9. Rudy

10. Star Wars

Lord of the Rings would have been high on this list, but it isn't a "family movie" for us, because my younger ones haven't watched it yet ~ mainly because I require that they READ the book first on this one!
There are animated ones we like a lot, like Ice Age, Toy Story, The Incredibles.

But lets go with this list, and see what you all come up with!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Alex's Assignment

Alex found out today what his job assignment is with the Army. He will be an Ordnance Officer. He is to report for Basic Officer Training on April 6, 2008 (not sure where yet) and then to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for 18 weeks of Ordnance Training on May 20-something.

"The purpose of the Ordnance Corps is to support the development, production, acquisition and sustainment of weapons systems and munitions, and to provide Explosive Ordnance Disposal, during peace and war, to provide superior combat power to current and future forces of the United States Army.”

He doesn't know yet what unit he'll be attached to after he finishes his training ~ he should find that out in a couple of weeks.

Please keep him, and all our troops, in your prayers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Raising Godly Children

Last night was our monthly homeschool support group meeting, and the topic was "Raising Godly Children". There was supposed to be a panel discussion, but due to illness/a death in the family/ travel, only one couple from the intended panel was able to come to the meeting. Cindy and Randy graciously shared their thoughts, even though feeling much "on the spot", since obviously being the only presenters meant that they KNEW how to raise Godly children!
Really though, their 13-y-o son is evidence that they do have some wisdom to share.

First of all, what is meant by "godly children"? One definition for "godly" is "religious, pious, or having reverence for God". That is a good starting point. But when we talk about having godly children, we are really talking about more than having "religious" children. I looked up "pious", and that can mean "dutiful, kind, devout, pure". "Reverent" means "showing great respect, especially for God". That is the direction we are going in when we talk about raising godly children. Godliness has everything to do with character. I want to raise children who have a deep respect for God and for the Bible, which is His gift to us. I want my children to be kind, morally pure, loyal, honest, responsible, diligent, considerate, courageous, and compassionate. I want them to model themselves after the character of God - to be "godly".

Here are some of the thoughts shared at the meeting last night, by our "panel" and by others:
  • What goes in through the eyes and ears has a definite effect on our children's character, and eventually comes out in their actions and attitudes; be very careful of TV, movies, books, magazines, music, video games... what are the values and attitudes being presented? what are the images that are being seared into our children's minds?

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

  • Be selective about the people your child spends time with.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character."

  • Be deliberate in teaching the doctrines of the Christian faith to your children. Do not rely on Sunday School or church children's ministries to do that job for you, because often they are not teaching these things either. The Bible is clear in Deuteronomy 6 that parents are to teach their children.

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

Psalm 34:11 Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

  • We must not separate our schools, our weeks, our lives into "secular" and "sacred"; in other words, biblical teaching must happen beyond just "Bible class" or "family devotions" or "Sunday morning". Everything we do either points our children to God or away from Him. The Hebrew method of education is to walk beside our children (our students) and let them learn by example - this is discipleship! It is not lecturing our children and telling them what to think, regardless of what they see in our lives.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

  • Raising godly children takes time - and effort - and might mean we parents have to give up some of our own desires and activities and interests for a time... but the end result is so worth it

Some suggested resources:

A Biblical Home Education: Building Your Homeschool on the Foundation of God's Word by Ruth Beechick

The Seven C's of History and other materials from Answers in Genesis

Passport2Purity by Dennis and Barbara Rainey (a workbook/book/CD set meant to be used in a special parent-child weekend with your child as he/she approaches adolescence)

Heart of Wisdom by Robin Sampson (how to use the Hebrew method of instruction in your homeschool)

GREAT ARTICLE!!!! "Christian Kids Are Too Gentle to Live Amongst the Wolves"

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Family Sports

Jason had a soccer game this morning, the first since having his cast removed on Thursday. He played halfback today ~ the coach puts the kids at different positions each time they go in ~ and did really well, scoring one goal and assisting on another, and hustling between defense and offense. It was a perfect day for sitting at the soccer field ~ sunny but cool and breezy. Next week is the last game of the season.

This weekend was also a Homeschool Pre-season Basketball Tournament in Greensboro, and the Lighthouse Boys Varsity team competed. We had 2 games yesterday, at 4:15 and again at 9:30 ( which didn't actually start until 10 PM) . We left home with a carload of players at 1:30 PM for the hour and a half trip, and didn't return home until 1:30 AM! Mark and the boys returned to Greensboro today for a game at 2:00. We won both games yesterday, against Davidson Co., and Cabarrus Co., but lost today to a sharp and disciplined Upstate Carolina team from SC. I had to keep the scorebook since Amanda was at a church retreat this weekend, so no pictures!