What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, October 31, 2014

Sneaky Peek

A sneak peek into my All Hallow's Eve~ can you guess what the children will become?

Trick or Treating in the boondocks is a different monster entirely than trick or treating in a city or suburb.

Trick or Treating in the City or Suburb: 

Dress up kids.  Go to a street corner. Walk house to house, say TRICK OR TREAT, get gobs of candy.  Repeat.  When you've gone far enough down the street, you cross the street, head down the other side and back into your car.  "Trick or Treat".  Gobs of candy.  Done.  A great 40 minute walk in the fresh night air- gobs of candy.  No pressure.  Non-commital. 20-40 minutes, depending on how greedy you are and your done.

Trick or Treating in the Country: 

Up to a week beforehand- neighbors start calling, wondering whether the kids will be coming trick or treating on Halloween. (of course!) "What candy do they love most?" they ask. (ummmm....the sweet kind.)

Halloween Night: Dress up kids.  Go in the car.  Drive to the nearest house- 1/4 mile away.  Trick or Treat!  Come on in and let's visit.  Drive to next house- 2 more miles away.  Each house gets further away than the last.  Each house requires AT LEAST a 10 minute visit. Sometimes up to 40 minutes.  Total houses 'hit'- 7.  Total time involved- 3 hours and 37 minutes, give or take an hour.

Last year, after working straight until the minute they had to be in their costumes and on their way out the door, I wearily said to Matt- "How about YOU take them trick or treating?!  I'll be the get-readier and you can be the chauffeur.  This could be your THING.  You'll have so much fun!  Beside- your really good at the whole kicking-the-dirt country visiting scene."  So he did.

I stayed home and had a glass of wine.  Lit a few candles.  Did a bit of crocheting.  Painted my toenails.


So, here is hoping to that becoming a new tradition in this house.  I have the yarn all picked out.  ;-)

Happy Halloween, folks!  
May your costumes not be itchy and your bellies be full of sugar!

Review: When London Burned

Jim Hodges Productions Review

I've told you before about my love of audiobooks.  My children love them, that goes without saying.  But, as an adult, I can honestly say, I love audiobooks myself.  I tend to be a multi-tasker by nature so when I am working with my hands, I like to occupy my mind too.  Canning, crocheting, laundry, cleaning- it doesn't matter...everything is better with an audiobook.  (Crocheting especially- you can concentrate on the words without the need to constantly look up from your crochet work.  It's great!)  So, I was thrilled to receive a copy of When London Burned: A Tale of the Plague and the Great Fire by Jim Hodges Productions.  In addition to the cd, I was given a copy of the corresponding study guide.

Jim Hodges Productions Review

There are plenty of great titles to choose from~ it was hard to decide.  (Though I appreciate so much that Jim Hodges put together a Scope and Sequence page, sorting his titles into age groups and time periods!)  I eventually decided upon When London Burned because we had recently had some deep discussions and learning opportunities about these very topics and it was fresh on the minds of my children.  I thought it would be a good way to delve deeper into the topic.  But, I thought, how depressing is this book going to be?!?  Society decimated by the Plague and then- just when things were beginning to show signs of hope- London burns.  Educational, sure.  But how is this audiobook going to be at all entertaining?!?

When London Burned is the G.A.Henty tale of a boy named Cyril who, in the midst of the great trials and disasters of his society (the Plague and London burning) as well as the great trials and tribulations of his personal life (his father dying and leaving him penniless) shows extraordinary perseverance, compassion, hope and character.   Amidst the fire, plague and being penniless there are intriguing scenes of plots to murder, plots to steal, sea battles and eventually, receiving the estates his father had lost before he died.  Not all doom and gloom after all.

G. A Henty's works of historical fiction are incredibly accurate to history and always embody strong moral lessons and exemplary character...but they are dense, meaty and thorough!  Jim Hodges Productions records the unadbridged G.A.Henty classic in audio format...and it is over 13 hours long!  Each chapter runs about 30-45 minutes long and would be excellent for older children (and adults)~ 10 years and up.  It is not an audio-DRAMA...so no bells and whistles, acting or music to accompany it.  Just a soothing voice reading the book to you.  Jim Hodges reads in a very pleasant way- with enunciation , emotion in his voice and a distinction between characters' voices.

The accompanying study guide is a treasure to have alongside the audiobook.  Each chapter has unfamiliar vocabulary words for the student to look up and alphabetize (a great tool because G.A.Henty vocabulary, again, is MEATY!) along with comprehension questions based upon the reading.  Reading the vocabulary words and questions BEFORE the listening periods can help the student to focus on what s/he is hearing and listening for.  It also included several activities to do per chapter.

When London Burned is an MP3 audiobook which means it will not run in an ordinary cd player.  When purchased as a CD, you will need to use a drive in a computer, DVD player or an MP3 compatible CD player to listen to the story.  It is $24.99.  Or you can purchase it as a digital download to your computer ($18.00). The study guide is also available as a PDF for $12.00.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014


The girls love to dress up the sewing mannequin in the hallway with theirs (and my) clothes, scarves and jewelry so it is not at all uncommon to come upon a decked out headless girl in the hallway.  One day though- they got a bit into the Halloween spirit and scared the bajeebers out of me.  You don't want to come upon her unexpectedly-trust me.  


"Tomorrow's tomorrow we can say tomorrow is Halloween"... so Andrew tells me.  

The countdown has begun.  

They've begun mapping their candy route with strategery.  They've finally pinpointed who they will become on Halloween...though Corynn had such a hard time this year that she nearly gave up on the idea altogether.  There will be quite a menagerie.

 I kept giving what I thought were awesome ideas- Frida Kahlo! (I am still hoping I get a Frida Kahlo some Halloween.) A tree!  A bubble gum machine!  A Matroyshka doll!  A knight!  A peacock!  A scuba diver!  Every idea resulted in a grumble or sigh.  (Every single one could have been awesome... I am certain)  

Eventually everyone picked something- with a few gentle nudges from Mama here and there. ("No...you were an excavator LAST year, Judah.  There is an old Halloween rule that says you can never be the same thing twice...")

So the costumes have been sketched, the route has been made, the supplies have been gathered up (I hope) and it's time to start thinking about the making.  

A Nation Adrift

I just recently watched the movie A Nation Adrift, one of several movies put out by New Liberty Videos.   This company was founded by Brian Barkley, a man who worked in Hollywood on motion pictures for decades before deciding to produce Christian DVD's that are "changing lives both now and for eternity". So, he knows his stuff.  And they have plenty of interesting to do just that.

How can a nation that began with such intense morality and Christian ideals have turned into the depraved nation we are living in today?  How did the founding fathers intend for this Republic to be governed and why?  What individuals helped to further those ideals...or thwart them? I, personally, often wonder how we, as a nation, could have strayed so far from the principles/laws/ideals that this once great nation was made up of and wonder how we can reclaim the glory that our nation once had.  (Me, trying to save the world single-handedly.)

A Nation Adrift answers these questions in a 93 minute narrative which takes the viewer on an intense journey through the historical timeline of the founding of this nation; through the pivotal points in history (and the people) that have shaped the course of American history up until present day.  From the godly George Washington to the malicious Margaret Sanger... from Valley Forge to the bombing of Pearl Harbor...from putting Bibles in every school to taking the Lord's prayer out of the schools entirely... you can see very clearly each step we have taken to become what we have become.

I found myself uplifted and proud in the beginning of the movie- as the wisdom of the inspiring men such as George Washington, John Adams and Noah Webster was so clearly present.  As the documentary progressed, I grew further and further forlorn, as we continue to fall into the forces of humanism and godlessness.  We really are at a critical moment in history...and at times it seems like an impossibility to return to the free, independent and God-honoring Republic that once was. But all is not lost- and it is never too late.  The first step is helping people to open their eyes to where exactly we are as a nation and why we got here.  Only then can we determine what steps are necessary to fix things and what things to avoid in the future.

The video is for the 'general audience' but I personally would encourage adults to watch it first before showing it to younger children.  Toward the end of the video, as the discussion turned to abortion and then gay-rights, there was some footage that I deemed inappropriate for my own children at this stage.  Drawings of a partial birth abortion may bother some parents (it is important to me that my own children know the heinousness of that sin-) but for me, the most disturbing footage was a bunch of gay and lesbian people getting married and playing kissy-face in the camera.  My own view is that we are subjected to the whole gay propaganda enough just living in the times we live in (and the activists know that the more we see it/hear about it/experience it, the more "normal" it becomes)... I didn't really need to witness a bunch of gay couples kissing it up it in a Christian documentary to know what they were referring to.  That is my one and only complaint.  It is at the very end and could easily be fast-forwarded through...the rest of the film was fine for children to watch (though it may have been over their heads in areas.)

A Nation Adrift is $19.95 but you get a substantial price cut when ordering more than one of any of their New Liberty Videos.  Personally, I think the Warriors of Honor (about Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and the Civil War) looks like a really interesting one too!  I'd love to see that one, as well.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Flying By

I saw a bald eagle the other day, perched on a limb within the blazing fire of a soft maple.  There it sat, so large and stately- a bit of white separated by two feet of black.  I tried to sneak up on it and wasn't the least bit surprised when it didn't let me get halfway across the field before soaring majestically away.  Even still, you can't help but stand a little bit taller and smile a little bit broader after having seen one of these beauties.

Unlike the photo further up in the post of a sky filled with turkey vultures circling our house.  That is a far less majestic experience.

My heart is heavy today- reading this...about this.

It hurts to know that there are women aching with the knowledge of what they are about to do and babies dying and women pining to just be able to HAVE that baby, hold that baby, love that baby- all of these realities happening at the very same time in this very same world, maybe even in the very same towns-but without being able to connect together and work together for good.  It hurts to hear the compliments women give to women who are considering terminating a life.  Brave?  Healthy?  Beautiful?  It pains me to see the agendas and the lies and the justifications and the abhoring of life that is so prevalent in peoples' minds.  Oh- this world that we live in.  It can be so beautiful and it can be so foul.

I've tried to connect with scaredthrowingaway.   I've pleaded with her, begged her to let me have her baby instead of taking the life from her baby- oh what joy that would be!- but the moderators on the site delete all the pro-life comments and she likely won't see mine either.  I don't know her but I know there are women out there who are just like her....wishing it didn't have to happen but not thinking there is any other way.  I also know that I am here- arms empty and heart open and longing to change the fate of these precious children...ready to give them a life filled with love and beauty and to protect them from the foul.

If only our aching souls could unite to do something good for the world, her and I.

Review: Apologia iWitness Series

Well, they've done it again!  Apologia Educational Ministries is a leading producer of top-notch science curriculum for all ages and abilities, they have a wonderful Biblical worldview curriculum for young students, they have just recently releaed a book to help homeschooling moms Flourish and now... three new and exciting books for older students to learn about apologetics!  What a topnotch company.  I was given the chance to review all three of them~ iWitness Biblical Archaeology, New Testament iWitness, and Old Testament iWitness.

The day we got the package, Corynn ripped right into them and disappeared.  Throughout the evening she would bring them to me saying "Look at this!" and "Listen to THIS!"

Apologetics comes from the greek word Apologia which means- an apology.  But not an apology in the modern sense of the word- feeling bad or remorseful about something- rather, in ancient times it referred to a DEFENSE of something or someone. In ancient Athens it referred to a defense made in the courtroom as part of the normal judicial procedure. After the accusation, the defendant was allowed to refute the charges with a defense or reply.  Christian apologetics, then, is about building the case for our faith...learning how to explain and defend it to others and grasp it more completely ourselves.  Apologetics is SO important for every Christian, but is often presented in such a way that it is so heady and stuffy and intimidating that one feels barely capable of or interested in pursuing it.  Not so with these books- these three resources have made even the most intimidating of topics to be interesting, enlightening, and ACCESSIBLE even to young students.

Each book is presented in an interactive format- with layers of photographs, scrolls, paintings and tags of text on two page spreads giving the reader the sense that they are sitting at a desk, resources scattered in front of them, seeking the truth wherever it is to be found.  Each is a 6" x 9" paperback book and geared for readers age 11 and up.  Each book is $14.00.

Old Testament iWitness:  Who wrote the books of the Old Testament?  Are they accurate history or myth?  What is the differences between the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament?  Why are the Jewish books ordered differently than ours?  What about the apocrypha?  All these questions are addressed in Old Testament iWitness, probably the most informative of the three books.

New Testament iWitness: Why are the books of the New Testament the ones that they are and why did some books not make the cut?  Who made those decisions and why? How do we know that the books have been passed down accurately and that they are inspired?  Is the New Testament as important as the Old Testament and why?  This book answers all these questions and more- talks about the rejected books, the Apostolic Age, the early church fathers and much information about the copying of the text throughout history~the methods of copying, the numbers of copies made, the differences in copies and textual criticism.

 iWitness Biblical Archaeology was Corynn's favorite of the three.  This book explores the many artifacts and discoveries throughout history that align and confirm the story of scripture.  It introduces to you archeological discoveries regarding the flood, Egyptian chronology, the Exodus, the siege of Jerusalem, the dead sea scrolls, Peter's house, and even addresses the shroud of Jesus.  These discoveries make scripture and history come alive.

Though I did find I disagreed with the author on how he presented two particular things, mostly I was entirely impressed with these books-and I learned quite a bit myself!  I found these books to be incredibly worthwhile in providing apologetics in a captivating and accessible way.

If you are interested, you can read more reviews here.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Bridal Shawl (yarn along)

I finished the bridal shawl mid-summer, but who wants to wear a shawl in 80+ degree weather?  So I tucked it away until the cooler weather arrived.  And here it is!

I made it enormously long ( about 6 feet or so probably!) which wasn't really necessary but it isn't overwhelmingly so.  I like it.

For now, I am working on the calm cowl out of a creamy soft yarn (using the leftover balls I had left from the lamb hat).  It's an easy, quick and mindless pattern so it is good for working on pretty much anytime- no concentration needed.

As for books~ I have been on a Teddy Roosevelt kick for a while now and have most recently been enjoying Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Theodore Roosevelt by George Grant. What a great man that Teddy was.  I have a pile of T.R.'s books from the library waiting for their turn after I am through with this- Rough Riders, Strenuous Life , and Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail .

And for my cleaning/kitchen chores- I am listening to the audiobook of Peter Schiff's book called The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy---How to Save Yourself and Your Country.  It keeps my brain busy when my eyes (and hands) are occupied.  ;-)