Saturday, April 30, 2011

90 day Bible- I never noticed that before!

Do you ever experience I-never-noticed-that-before moments when simply reading through the Bible?  I must only have half of my brain engaged the majority of the time because I sure do miss a lot!  Here are some details I noticed anew this time through the first half of Genesis:

-Cain's punishment from God was that he should be a fugitive and wander the earth.  I never noticed until this reading of Genesis that Cain didn't accept his punishment.  "Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch.  When he built a city, he called the name of the city after the name of his son, Enoch."  (Genesis 4:17)  Instead of living the life of a nomad, utterly dependent on God, Cain went right out and built a city!  It appears that this was the first city.  This is what the Reformation study Bible footnote says:  "In seeking the security of a city, it appears that sinful Cain both defied the divine judgment that he should be a vagabond (v.12) and showed his lack of faith in the protection provided by God's mark (v.15).  The earthly city provides both civilization and protection, but culminates in the building of a city that challenges God's supremecy (11:4).  The faithful by contrast look for a heavenly city (Phil 3:20, Col 3:1-4, Heb 11:10, 16, 12:22, 13:14)."  Interesting.

-Noah was 500 when he fathered Shem, Ham, and Japheth.  (Genesis 5:32) And I thought I got a late start having kids!

-Noah gathered every kind of food into the ark!  I always thought in terms of gathering the food for the purpose of feeding the animals and his own family, but hadn't realized that they had to go out and gather EVERY sort of food that is eaten (Genesis 6:21).  No wonder it took so long!

-Ishmael was there at Abraham's funeral- he buried his dad along with Isaac.  For some reason that little detail has escaped me until now.  I thought he just disappeared out of Isaac's life at the end of chapter 21 when the Lord tells Hagar that Ishmael will become a great nation, too and they resettle in the wilderness of Paran.  But check this out:  "Abraham breathed his last and died in good old age, and old man full of years, and was gathered to his people, Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre."  Genesis 25:8-9  I like to think they made up.  That makes sense because Esau went to Ishmael for a wife when he realized Isaac and Rebekah disapproved of his Canaanite wives.  I guess he wouldn't have done that if Isaac was still at odds with his brother.

-And a few miscellaneous little observations: 

Isaac was 40 when he married Rebekah and prayed that the Lord would open her womb.  He was 60 when she had Jacob and Esau.  They had to wait 20 years for children! 

God tells the animals to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth before telling man both immediately after creation and post-flood.

After Abimelech discovers that Sarah is Abraham's wife, he still refers to Abraham as "your brother."  I wonder why he doesn't say "your husband".


I hope you don't think I'm a complete dingbat right now.  What have you recently noticed in the Bible that you never noticed before?  Please tell me I'm not the only one that misses a lot.

Friday, April 29, 2011

90 Day Bible Challenge- Why I'm doing it yet again.

If it's true that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, why keep reading the Bible?  It's an honest question, especially considering the culture's been there, done that mentality.  I felt that way for a long time.  Sure I love God's Word, that's why I'm so into Bible study and I even read the whole thing cover to cover- back in 1986!  I had bought the t-shirt so to speak and wore it proudly.  I see several problems with that line of thinking.

1.  God's Word is never-changing, yet it's work is never done.  As long as I'm a sinner in need of sanctification, I need a steady diet of Bible. 

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."  2 Timothy 3:16

"I have stored up your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against you."  (Psalm 119:11)

2.  God's Word is alive which makes it different from every other piece of literature.  You may appreciate Shakespeare or Dickens, but once you know A Tale of Two Cities, you know it.  It's not like that with the Bible.  It's not just a matter of assimilating facts.  God uses His Word and His Spirit to work together in us.  

"For the Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12

3.  We find blessing and joy in God's Word. 

"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes."  Psalm 19:7-8


And besides all that, my mother once told me "good things bear repeating".  Or maybe she told me that more than once : ).  Anyway, I'm back at it and would love for anyone to join me.  I'm reading May through July, which is actually 92 days, but close enough in my book.

I'm doing a few things differently this time around.  I'm reading the Holman Christian Standard version this time (I like reading a different version each time) and I'm using my two year old's my ipad.

A friend at church told me about this youversion app for my ipad.  Youversion has 41 Bible translations in 22 languages and over 50 reading plans.  And it's all free!  I can track my progress on my ipad or online at  Cool, huh?

I realize the 90 day Bible challenge isn't the only way to read your Bible, but it works for me.  Happy Bible reading, whatever plan you use!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A week of new challenges- I must be insane!

As if life with 6 kids weren't challenging enough : ), this week I've embarked on a few new challenges.

I learned about the 60 day Insanity total body conditioning program from Roan at Joyful Always, that crazy woman who just finished her first marathon despite falling in the midst of it!  That should tell you something about this program.  I'm now two days in and feeling quite out of shape, but challenged, definitely challenged.

I'm not a video workout kind of person.  The last time I remember working out with my tv was trying to dance along to my mom's Jackie Sorenson aerobics video.  I think I was 11.  Just when I would get down a move she would have gone on to the next one.  Frustrating.  I'm a simple person.  A simple, uncoordinated person.  Running and swimming are more my speed, albeit a slow one.  This is fun, though, and let's not forget challenging.

The second challenge I'm taking up yet again this week is the 90 day Bible challenge.  Last summer I read through the Bible in June-August, but August was really tough because of homeschool planning and starting the school year a bit early.  I decided to read in May-July this year which will give me August off to get our school year planned. 

This will be my 4th time to read through the Bible in the last year and a half.  This challenge has meant so much to me!  It's the boost I needed to get into God's Word enough to make me really hunger for it.  It's allowed me to make meaningful connections between the Old and New Testaments and provided a framework for the in-depth studies I participate in.  For instance, this year in CBS we studied the history of Israel and the minor prophets.  Have you ever studied books like Nahum, Zephaniah, and Habakkuk?  Thanks to the 90 day Bible challenge I already had the context in which these men of God prophesied.  More importantly, I've grown in my knowledge of God, which has brought me closer to Him.  I see that He's the same God yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  That He is both the covenant maker and covenant keeper.  That He is a God of love and mercy, but also a holy and just God who will judge the world.

And I'm still plugging away at the challenge of memorizing Colossians in a year, working on verses 3 and 4 of chapter 2 this week.  It's almost harder to keep at something for a year than just 2 or 3 months.  I'm loving meditating on the deep Christological passages in Colossians, though.  What a Savior we have! 

I'm grateful for the accountability these challenges provide.  Discipline is tough.  It requires work, whether to bring my body into submission through Insanity or my mind and will into submission through reading and memorizing God's Word.  Please keep the encouragement coming my way and I'll try to pass it back to you!  Sharpening one another is what it's all about, right?

What new challenges are you embarking on?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My totally normal kids who don't ever do anything strange.

Measle Bug (7) played platypus for days after we did that platypus unit study.  Here she is hanging out in her platypus burrow.  She made me order three books on platypuses.  Could we have a future zoologist on our hands?

All dressed up and coordinated for Easter.  Too bad their mommy can't take a picture.

They look normal, but don't let that fool you.  This morning at church, Queen's Sunday School teacher came up to me discreetly as I was gathering children and heading into the sanctuary and told me that when she took Queen (2) potty she noticed she didn't have any panties on.  When she asked her about them, Queen said that she had flushed them down the toilet at home.  Nice.   Of course laughing, I promptly found my parents and other kids sitting in church and told them about Queen's little Easter surprise.  Measle Bug (7) overheard and said she happened to have brought a spare pair in her, I mean my, purse.  Thank goodness for big sisters!

This picture cracks me up!  Queen thinks she's one of the big girls!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review of The Curiosity Files: Platypus Unit Study

As part of my application to join The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew this year, I received an e-book unit study on the platypus from their popular Curiosity Files series. 

The Curiosity Files unit studies, explorations with professor Ana Lyze, expert in outlandish oddities, are designed to be used with 8-13 year olds, though my 7 year old had no problem joining in the fun.  The Platypus Unit Study is available for download in e-book format for $6.95 from The Old Schoolhouse Store.

I have a confession to make.  I've never actually done a unit study with my kids before.  Gasp, shock, horror, I know.  I've always wanted to do one and this was the perfect nudge I needed.

The 86 page e-book seemed a little overwhelming to me at first, but after studying the table of contents and flipping through it, I formed a plan of action.   I began by reading aloud the 6 page Everything You Never Wanted to Know About the Platypus summary to my 11, 9, and 7 year olds.  Next I gave them the quiz orally.  I was amazed that Measle Bug (7) was able to answer all her questions since she normally struggles to pay attention during read-aloud.  Next we read together the Scripture passages included that reveal God's glory through His creation.  I really appreciate that this unit study continually points out the ways in which the platypus defies evolution!  At this point we had covered about 20 pages of the study in around 45 minutes.

I then gave each of my homeschoolers age-appropriate math, science, and language arts assignments from the platypus study.  They worked for about 45 minutes individually.  Mr. Monk (11) constructed a table of the names and weights of his family members and calculated how many pounds of food we would each need to eat nightly if we were platypuses.  He also used a timetable of sunrise and sunset dates in Sydney to answer a set of questions.  For science, Monk studied neurons and how signals are transported in the nervous system.  Twinkle Toes (9) studied probability with platypus food, and Measle (7) reviewed her tens since platypus eggs hatch in ten days.

Monk and Twinkle Toes copied creation Bible verses in cursive, whereas Measle was able to copy the same verses printed.  Measle worked on a spelling assignment and colored a picture of a platypus while Twinkle Toes did a nature journal-type sketch of a platypus.  Monk and I even tried writing platypus-themed limmericks!  And the girls joined forces to dig a platypus burrow in our flower beds (don't worry no flowers were killed in the making of this burrow- which reminds me of my next project.)

While we got a lot out of the couple of hours we spent on the platypus unit study, we could easily have spent twice the time on it, especially if we had completed all the project ideas that are included.

In conclusion, we really enjoyed working through this Curiosity Files unit study together and we're looking forward to doing it again.  Some of the other Curiosity Files titles that I'm interested in are:  Zombie Fire Ants,  Quicksand, and MRSA.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Guess who was 6 months old last week?

I sort of missed it, but I have a good excuse.  Calvin turned 6 months old on the same day Prince turned 5.  Funny I had never put that together before- they're exactly 4 and a half years apart. 

Calvin weighed in at 20.4 lbs the Thursday before his 6 month birthday.  That's just 7 lbs less than his 2.5 yr old sister weighs, and she's no featherweight!

Calvin was not in a very cooperative mood today, as you can see.  Maybe he's brooding about having to get that helmet on Monday.  I'm bummed, too.

Hey, don't blame me.  Dad's the one who thinks your head needs to be perfectly symmetrical.

Every time I got him to smile, he'd stop just as soon as I pointed the camera at him. It was very frustrating until Bubba came to the rescue. Calvin loves it when his big brother makes his hands dance.

Who wouldn't?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Making time for what matters

I don't consider myself an expert in time management, by any means.  I regret squandering my youth on things like entertainment and other frivolous pursuits.  And I'm sitting here at the computer right now!  But lately, I've noticed more and more friends asking me how I can possibly have time to read the Bible in 90 days or to memorize the book of Colossians in a year.  How I have time to homeschool my kids and be in two Bible studies.  Time to go to church twice a week and time for exercise.  Time to do the grocery shopping and make our meals  from scratch, instead of eating out.  You get the idea.  We all know it's a matter of prioritization, but I have some thoughts to share on the subject.

1.  We all do what we want to do.  I borrowed this phrase from my husband.  I think it's basically true.  I've always marvelled at people who say they don't have time to exercise.  I think those people must not enjoy being active.  Since I love to be active, I love to exercise.  Finding time isn't really an issue.  People can make time for what's important to them.  The real question is why wouldn't reading, studying, and memorizing the Bible be of the utmost importance for believers?  Regeneration means we've been given new desires, godly desires.  Yes, we still wage war with our flesh, but if we're children of God we should desire the things of God more than we desire the things of the world.  If we desire God's Word more than the other things on our schedule, then we'll have time for it.  On one level, it's that simple.

2.  Live each day in light of eternity.  I just loved reading and studying through the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn a few years ago.  His ministry is called Eternal Perspectives Ministries and the name says it all.  I'm convinced that if we really believed that either our death or Christ's return was imminent, that we would be highly motivated to spend as much time as possible reading, studying, and memorizing the Scriptures.  Guess what?  It is.  Jesus may not return for another thousand years or longer, but our life on earth is like a vapor- here and gone.  Just ask anyone over the age of 70 and they'll attest to this!  Life flies by.  Don't waste it.  One of my husband's favorite quotes is by the Puritan Richard Baxter.  It goes something like this:  Reckon not on long life, but live as though dying.  Isn't there a country and western song about that?  Anyway, it's true.  The main reason I quit working and began homeschooling a few years ago was that I sort of woke up and realized that if I knew I were going to die in a year, my life would be radically different than the one I was living.  That's messed up.  We should be living that life, the one we really want to live, the one we know we should be living, right now!  Don't put off the life you want for another day.

3.   When we focus on what matters, everything else just sort of fades in significance.  I'm going to given an example here from my life.  When I was growing up my parents didn't watch tv.  Seriously, I know I probably grew up in one of the only households in America without cable, but my folks just never watched it.  I felt deprived and went overboard in that area.  When I first lived on my own, I had the tv guide practically memorized.  I watched tv almost every minute I was at home.  Yes, I lived alone, and I know many people say they just leave it on as background noise, but the fact remains I had a time consuming habit of watching lots of tv.  If someone had asked me to give up watching tv for my faith, I probably would have tried and failed, or made up some justification for why I didn't need to quit.  It would have seemed like a huge sacrifice.  The neat thing is, no one asked me to give it up.  I didn't even ask myself to give up tv.  But I can't tell you the last time I turned the television on.  When you stay busy doing more worthwhile things, you don't have time for television and it doesn't even tempt you.  My mother always said, when you don't watch television, you have lots of time for everything else.  I should have listened to my mother years ago! 

I used tv as an example, but we Americans spend lots of time on nonessential activities (like working out or blogging : ).  I call this majoring on the minors.  We should be majoring on the majors.  God's Word must be a priority in our lives and if it's not, we should be concerned about whether we really belong to the Lord.  Once we've fit the big things into our lives we can add in the non-essentials.   

4.  Get used to being sleepy!  There may be some people who walk around feeling refreshed and well-rested all the time, but I don't think it's the norm for people who accomplish a lot.  My dad, who is a lawyer, used to joke about what a respite prison would be- no clients to have to keep happy or phone ringing off the hook, just all that time to read (and play war games in his case.)  He was only joking, but the point is my parents never got to sleep as much as they would have liked to and neither do I.  I go through life in sort of a half daze.  You get used to it.  I'm only half joking!  I once worked in the lab of a man who was both a pediatric neurooncologist and had a PhD in Genetics and ran a big lab at a major medical center.  The guy slept like 4 hours a night.  I've heard Al Mohler sleeps less than that.  My point is not that we should sacrifice our health for our careers, but that 7 hrs sleep and reading the Bible an hour a day is better than 8 hrs sleep and not reading the Bible an hour a day.  You might be able to get by on 6.5 hrs.  It's been my experience that the amount of sleep I seem to need fluctuates according to my habits.  (My mom always says it takes 21 days to form a new habit.  She was right about tv.  I bet she's right about habits, too!)

5.  Multi-task!  I had a friend in college who used her daily commute to pray.  I always keep my Bible and Bible study in the car in case I find myself waiting on the kids and have time to study.  I workout at the gym where my kids swim during their practice time since I'm there anyway.  I keep a double stroller and the kids' scooters in the back of my vehicle so we're always ready for a last minute trip to the park.  When stewing chicken for one meal, I usually go ahead and stew enough for multiple meals.  We listen to Psalms while we drive.  You get the idea.  With a little planning, you can get more done in less time.  My daily time devoted to memorizing Colossians is when I take a bath each night!  The kids and I enjoyed listening to Cheaper by the Dozen a few weeks ago.  I love that their dad was an efficiency expert and always tried to do away with what he called "unavoidable delay".  In that regards, he was a man after my own heart.  He had his kids learning French and German in the bathroom, I'm learning Colossians!  Lots of times the kids and I listen to a book on CD while eating lunch.  Hey, we're even learning geography while praying for a different country of the world each day.  All it takes is an extra 20 seconds to have the kids each find the country on the map then I read a bit about the country before we pray for it. 

6.  If all else fails, pray.  My mom quoted Elizabeth Elliot the other day who said, "In any situation, the most we can do is pray."  Not the least we can do, the most we can do.  If you're already doing all the things I mentioned and you still don't have time to add some important activities, pray and ask the Lord to make time in your schedule for what He wants you to do.  When we can no longer juggle our many activities, and we begin dropping the ball so to speak, the Lord is able to pick them up and carry them for us.  I love how Paul describes his labors within the church as "striving according to His working which works in me mightily."  So we do the striving, but God is working in us all the while to accomplish His purposes.  All that we accomplish is by His power and His grace.  To God be the glory!

How do you make time for what matters most to you?  How have your priorities shifted in recent months or years?

Friday, April 15, 2011

What do your preschoolers do during your homeschool day?

OK, I'm going to be painfully honest with you.  The preschool activity stations that I envisioned my 4 and 2 year olds playing at quietly while their siblings do school haven't worked for us.  Ever.  Maybe it's that Queen (2) is too young (Prince does great with them, but then he's great at just being quiet when I tell him to.), or maybe she just wants to mess up whatever her brother is working on.  Maybe I was expecting them to stay quiet for too long of a stretch (is 3 hours too much to ask?).  Maybe it's that it's just too darn tempting to send them upstairs or outside to play.  Or to nap.  We love naps.  Maybe I've given them the run of the house and there's no going back now.

Anyway, I was talking with my homeschooling friend Debbie about this yesterday.  It's an issue all of us homeschooling moms of many face and can be discouraging at times.  This morning we were off to another rocky start.  While Monk (11), Twinkle Toes (10), and Measle Bug (7) were diligently, oops I forgot I said painfully honest, let's just say doing their school work, Prince (5) and Queen (2) managed to completely trash the kitchen with a Toy Story tracing kit Prince got for his birthday.  Imagine markers, discs, and papers strewn about and then add to that the container of snacks Queen got into that was divided pretty equally between her table and the floor.  I decided some action needed to be taken and being the mom, I was probably the one to take it.  So while they cleaned up chaos central, I went upstairs to grab a basket of blocks.  I moved the ottoman out of the middle of our living room to give them a place to play and encouraged them to build.  (I know I can't live in a mess-free world with kids, but it makes me feel so much better when the mess is contained and easily resolved.)

They did really great.  While Prince busied himself building a space station, Queen decided to make the basket into a little bed.

They may make our school days a bit more challenging, but they sure are worth it!!  I can see how much Prince loves his little sister in this picture.

Oh and the basket diversion proved to be more successful than the blocks diversion.  Soon Prince abandoned the blocks and joined forces with his sister.

Eventually, ok after about 15 minutes they lost interest with even the basket.  Now they're sitting at the homeschool table with their siblings grabbing papers and pencils and causing general chaos.  In fact, I better go find another diversion.  Of course, lunch is the best diversion of all. 

Honestly, what do your preschoolers do while your big kids do school?   I put myself out on a limb here.  Don't leave me hanging here all alone.

Now my kids are popping waterless water balloons.  I really need to finish this post.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Birthdays and Mud Pies, Oh My!

Our little Prince decided on a Spiderman-themed birthday party at a local jumping gym.  I think we had 18 kids!

Sliding with one of his good friends.

As you can see, Prince is very excited about his birthday!

This girl always seems to have a good time.

I'm so glad the Bug still enjoys making mud pies.  She's got quite the operation going in her outdoor kitchen!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


It seems we're all in transition around here.

Monk:  From video game addict to novice computer programmer.

I bought Monk a couple of programming books last week and told him I was going to be more strict about sticking to his 1 hr video game time limit on weekdays and 2 hrs on the weekend.  (I had gotten WAY too slack.)  He moped around for a few hours Saturday then cracked open his book on Python and 6 hours later I had to drag him off the computer.  I commented that I knew programming wasn't as fun as video games, but at least it was still fun.  "Oh, it's just as fun," was his reply.  I love it!  He's been making some progress with Blender, as well.  It will be really exciting to see what he can creat once he masters the Python language.  Big D and I want to equip our children, especially our sons, with marketable skills as part of their education.  Given Monk's interests, this seems like a natural direction in which to move.

Twinkle Toes:  From sharing a room with Measle to independence.  (She's doing the happy dance, even though we have a LOT of work to do in her room.)

Measle:  From little sister (rooming with Twinkle Toes) to big sister (rooming with Queen).  As I was tucking her in the other night, Measle said, "Since I'm basically Queen's mom now, can I get her dressed in the morning?"  I told her that I'd love for her to dress her sister, but that I was still the mom (unless she's willing to take over laundry and meals- for that I'll relinquish my title : ).

I was going to buy a trundle bed since Measle says she's too scared to sleep on the top of a bunk bed,
but since I was able to scrunch the crib in at the foot of the bed, we'll save the money! 
This is the smallest bedroom in the house so I'm thrilled the girls are willing and able to share it.

Twinkle Toes and I took apart the girls' bunk beds and made them into two separate twin beds.
Here's Measle enjoying playing on her new bed in her new room.  (These yellow beds were
in my room when I was growing up.  They've seen a lot of use and are still going strong!)

What a great closet!  Measle had her things spread out in a closet and two dressers of her own before. 
Now all her things fit into this closet she shares with Queen and one dresser they share.

The girls and I gave 11 bags worth of clothes and threw away 4 bags of trash.  Now we have two
empty dressers!  I'd say we simplified, but as you can see they still have LOTS of clothes!

Prince:  With his 5th birthday looming right around the corner, Prince has started swim lessons.  He's proud and scared at the same time.  Mostly scared before and during the lesson and proud afterwards : ).

Me:  I finished the 90 day Bible challenge the end of March and have filled up my extra free time with Spring Cleaning.  I finished the 40 bag challenge last Saturday.  I worked until 12:30 in the morning Friday on the girls' rooms and until almost that late Saturday night.  I'm also reading Why 27? and doubling my efforts in memorizing Colossians.  I'll start another 90 day challenge May 1 or therebouts.   

Calvin:  My husband has continued to threaten giving Calvin a buzz, so I took him to have his hair cut Friday.  I almost cried when I saw his long wavey locks fall to the floor.  I think he's looking less like a baby now and more like a little boy.

Before his haircut, Monk said Calvin looked like one of the Beatles.  That was the final straw. 
I can't have my son looking like one of the Beatles.

Oh- too short!

Calvin took it all in stride.

Does this look like a 5 month old baby?  I think he looks more like a little boy.



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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.