Friday, November 27, 2009

My Husband = My Hero

I am so proud of Paul! He fixed the toilet! It has been broken since Wednesday morning. I knew they Joshua had put bath-tub toys in the pot, but I thought I had gotten them all out. (Yuck, Paul was gone, and I had to do that myself!) Well, two days passed and the toilet still was not working right. So, Paul took it completely apart to find the trouble. He quickly discovered that the problem was the toilet itself, and put it in the bathtub to run water through it. It was a nasty, dirty, stinky job... and I am glad that my husband was able to do it! End cost = nothing but hard work!

I think from now on I will ban all small bathtub toys!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

37 Week Check- Up

Yesterday was my 37 week check up.

Good news:
- NEGATIVE Group Beta Strep test! What a relief!
- Baby is still head down
- Thyroid and Iron levels look good

Not such good news:
- protein in my urine, but it is NOT hypertension, because blood tests ruled that out
- my blood pressure is a little elevated

Still waiting on:
-Vitamin D results, I will let you know those next week

Blessings

Thanks to God's goodness, and the generosity of friends (some known, some anonymous), Paul and I were able to buy some much-needed items at Wal-Mart today! We bought two radiant oil-filled space heaters, so we will not have to use as much propane. And, we bought plastic sheeting to cover windows and doors!

Here is the assembly crew putting together the new heaters!



Kitchen Crew

I had to enlist some help in order to get these pumpkins processed before they got too ripened. We had a blast... except for the clean-up afterwards. I am a bit of a clean freak, but I knew this would be a very messy job and I did not utter any complaints... outloud.

Below: I work with the kids. Joshua and Lydia look on, as they were not allowed to help.


Paul took my space when I got tired (after doing only one half...). Joshua is still looking on, but where did Lydia go?

 
Lydia hated being left out - I should have known better. But, I honestly thought she was not big enough/strong enough. She showed us! She sat herself down at the kitchen table to work! She is wearing a coat, because she is always cold in the house. Nelson (above in the T-shirt) is always hot.

 
They are all such big helpers! I could not have processed those pumpkins without them!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Job Update

Just about everyone we know is praying that Paul's job at UPS will go to full-time very soon. But, it does not look like this will happen soon. Paul found out a few days ago that four of the full-time drivers (at his center, in Columbia, MO) have been laid off... and this is at the start of "peak season." These men will be used as "driver helpers" for a few weeks before Christmas... The outlook, at least from a human perspective, looks grim.

We beg for your prayers. We are praying for wisdom and guidance from the Lord:
- We do not have insurance at present, Paul will get insurance in about 6 more months if he stays at UPS, the family would qualify in another 6 months after that
- If drivers are being laid off, then there is no chance of Paul's going to full-time soon and getting the salary we need to live on.
- Should he stay part-time for benefits to come? Or leave UPS entirely and seek a different full-time position?

We ask you to join us in our prayers! God has answered so many prayers already, and provided so many of our basic needs. We now ask for wisdom.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5 (NASB)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Unbelievable

We visited a different church today. I want to write more about the church and our overall impression at another time. But, for now - I gotta tell you...

We did not tell anyone about our needs. But, while we were at church complete strangers offered us some deer meat. They have already killed two deer this year, and had not yet used up the old meat. She asked if we like to take her old meat (less than a year old!). So, we came home with bout 75 pounds of deer burger. AND, when we were leaving another member brought a bag of groceriess to the van. She gave us a bunch of produce, some bread, and some deer summer sausage.



It is so unbelievable! I prayed on the way to church this morning that God would give us some deer meat this year, since Paul and I decided that we could not afford to hunt and process our own. But, I never told anyone that we had any need of anything!

God just keeps showering us with gifts at the hands of strangers and anonymous friends! To God be the glory!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Reading Update!

Exciting news... no Baby has not yet come... that will be in about 27 days! But, this news is exciting too! I think we have had a reading break-through! Rebecca was bored the other day and went and got a Little House book. I thought she would look at pictures, but guess what?! She started reading it! All by herself! Without being prompted by a parent in any way! What's more, she understands what she is reading! She said to me, "Mommy, Laura lives in Wisconsin." And, later she said, with awe in her voice, "Mommy, Laura's family has to cross the Mississippi River!" I am so happy! My Big Girl is reading! Praise the Lord! She has had so many set backs... so many struggles. But, now she is reading by herself! It is like someone turned on a light bulb in this past month! I am starting to think that some people were right, when they said, "she is not delayed, she does not have a reading problem, she just is not ready." Maybe they were right. Maybe she was just not ready.

I have said before, on the old blog, that Paul had a "reading delay" as a child. He was held back in first grade. But, in the following year, he became such an advanced reader, that he had to be moved to the gifted class! (He was the same age as Becca, about 7-8, when he had his breakthrough). I thank God for giving us the courage to homeschool, even when people were openly hostile about Rebecca's reading delay. Some said, "This is one more reason that she should be in public school." (Implying, of course, that I am not an adequate teacher). Others would say, "This is exactly the reason that you need to homeschool!" (Implying that Becca needs more individual attention, and not a classroom full of kids who would likely laugh at her.) I cannot tell you how many times I have doubted and blamed myself in the past three years. I cannot tell you how many times I have wanted to give up, call it quits, and enroll them in a school. But, God carried us through those challenges. And, I am glad that we stuck with it. Still, I am not trying to take the credit for Rebecca's progress. If I am a good teacher at all, it is by the grace of God. Sometimes He gives me new ideas and approaches, new insights, that I know HE is the one at the helm! I praise God for setting Becca free from whatever it was that has held her back so long. It is so good to hear her read with growing confidence! She has a long way to go, of course, but I am encouraged by her progress.

To parents who do not homeschool because they say, "I cannot do it, I am not qualified." Friend, I feel the same way each and every day! Few homeschool moms feel that they are really qulaified for such a high calling! Yet, we rely on God to give us the strength to follow through on our convictions. If God is moving you towards a desire to homeschool, then be assured, He will enable you to do the job. There are new challenges to face every day... but He will go through them with you!

To the homeschool veterans that have encouraged me so much in the last year as I have cried over my daughter's "delay" and especially over the way kids teased her... thank you so much! I needed your kind words and I took them to heart! It is, in part, thanks to friends like you that I did not give up! I will try to follow your example and encourage others as I get further along in our homeschool journey.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Phone Bill Mystery

Paul discovered y-day that our delinquent phone bill was paid. (Which is why our DSL and phone were never disconnected.) I should not be surprised at someone anonymously paying our phone bill, but I am! I was not at all expecting this... how in the world did someone trace down all that?! I should not be surprised that God would provide for this, since He has provided for so many other things as well.

I think the reason I feel "surprised" by generous humans and by God, is that I just feel so unworthy. Yes, I cried out to God and expected Him to answer... but I am still such a sinful creature. I am so short-tempered. I am so impatient with the kids (and myself, and Paul, and...). Yet, I know that God's good gifts do not depend on our good behavior and sinlessness. If they did, we would never even receive salvation.(Because He died for us while we were yet sinners! Romans 5:8)  But, we know that "every good and perfect gift is from above" (James 1:17).

Also, y-day, we received another benevolent gift from a local church (the same church that sent the box with clothes in it! Paul is going to meet with the Pastor this morning and tell him thank you!). While I am very grateful and excited to see God provide, Paul is overwhelmed and quite beside himself.

Though we have differing reactions to the many blessings that God is bestowing on us, we are both very grateful for all the many gifts God is sending! We are grateful to our anonymous brothers and sisters who are being the hands of God to reach out to us at this time! We appreciate all your prayers! God is answering them!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make Your Own Instant Mixes

I know that I have told you about The Family Homestead at least 50 times already. But, it is just such a wonderful resource! (At least for those of us that are not in metric... sorry to my Aussie friends!)

Anyway, today I wanted to tell you about Crystal's bulk mixes. I highly recommend that you go check out the Instant Oatmeal, Bulk Pancake Mix, and Taco Seasoning! Can you guess what I will be doing in my kitchen today?! What a blessing to be able to prepare these things in advance, with real ingredients, instead of buying the expensive store-bought mixes that contain MSG, high fructose corn syrup, and all those other nasty things that make our bodies weak!

Updates

Pregnancy Update: I had my 36 week check-up y-day. Everything looks great. Baby is still head down. He is measuring well.

Nesting Update: I am seriously nesting. I think it is because I know that I am only going to get more tired as the weeks continue. So, I am still putting up food in the freezer for later. I had Paul get my non-maternity clothes from the attic, so that I could pack some in "The Bag." And, of course, I have started packing The Bag. My non-maternity clothes are now hanging in my closet. I am SO excited by all the clothes I have to choose from in a few weeks (I always get back into my normal clothes right away). After having only a few maternity outfits to choose from, my normal closet looks excessive! 

School: I have not been scheduled in my schooling lately. Our regular routine has flown out the window. But, we read every day. And, we read out loud every day. Rebecca's reading is VASTLY improved! I am so excited by her progress. Even Grandma was surprised by her improvement when they came last week. The only thing that holds Becca back, I believe, is the impatience of grown ups and older children. Since Becca has learned/is learning to read phonetically, she has to sound out words. And, often grown ups finish her words, assuming that she doesn't recognize it. This has been frustrating for Becca, because I have labored hard to force her to sound out words until she is certain that she knows them by sight. And, the crazy thing is, the only words that Rebecca is reversing now are the three letter words! "Bat" may be "Tab," but she would never reverse "Israel"! She is able to read the Bible for our family worship fairly well. She is able to follow along in the Psalter fairly well. And, she is reading baby books to the younger kids. She can read a lot better than she thinks she can! She is afraid to read new things, even if I know that she could. She hates to fail... she is a bit perfectionistic like her mother. So, we just keep pushing her to try new things.

My health: I know that many of you are very concerned about my disability... will it come back with the cold weather, will I be able to labor with and deliver a baby, am I in remission??? I ask some of these same questions. However, I can tell you that I feel great (for a nine-months pregnant lady). In fact, I still think that my perspective of what real disability is has made this pregnancy better than any other! I cannot think that vomiting, nausea, or fatigue is really all that bad compared to a real disability (not being able to walk, button my shirts, wash my hair, dress myself, etc). 
When the weather started changing at the end of September, I did have a lot of pain and fatigue (beyond that of pregnancy). But, Paul asked me to raise my dose of Vitamin D to 5,000IU/Day (doubled what I was taking,) And, I take that with my cod liver oil pill, to improve its absorption and effectiveness. Now, I have no joint pain. And, I do not even have to take a nap every day. Am I tired? Of Course I am! I am pregnant with Baby Number 5! Any pregnant woman this far along will be quite tired, but I do not think that this is at all disability related. So, maybe I am in remission... maybe God is healing me through the use of Vitamin D... maybe God is giving me only what I can handle at this point... only time will tell.
Keep the prayers coming. God answers prayers, and he is using my brothers and sisters literally all over the world to bless me with strength and healing!

As you can see, we still have internet access. We are afraid to call and see why they have not yet disconnected us, for fear that they will see their mistake at once and cut it off immediately. Though the home phone is not terribly important to me, I sure will miss home access to the internet... that is, when they get around to disconnecting it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trip to the Dentist

I took Rebecca and Nelson to the dentist y-day. I thought that my family would like to know that they have no cavities!

Rebecca - Will those two front teeth (that were removed at age 2) ever grow back?! Yep, they are on their way in... very slowly working through the scar tissue.

Nelson - The only concern was a "weird tooth" as the dentist called it. Two of his baby teeth on the bottom have "fused together." But, though it looks odd, it is nothing to be concerned about.

I go to the OB this afternoon. Hopefully (if the internet is still on) I will have another good report for you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Changes

My bedroom seems to be changing as much as my figure.
Here is the bassinet... waiting for deposit.
And, next to it, the new car seat.
(Which is not usually in the room, we just wanted to share the blessing!)

Changing table and two clothing "dressers."
The little one on the left is for New Baby,
the one on the right is Joshua's.
 
ME! Only 32 days to go!
This is my new skirt (the anonymous gift)!
And, I am wearing one of my new tops under the sweater.
 

A Picture is Worth...

Rebecca and Grandpa S. snuggle

Grandma S. reads to the kids


Grandpa poses with Nelson, Lydia, and Joshua


Paul is "training" one of the kittens to be an indoor cat.
(More like, Paul is spoiling the kitty!)


Grandma and Joshua play with the kitten, "Princess"
(and, boy, does she ever live up to her name!)


My Mama


Grandpa and the kids look at the digital camera pictures

Nelson used his birthday money from Great Grandma S (my grandmother) to buy a BIG gun!

I will try to get a picture of my big belly on sometime... if the DSL remains connected. I don't honestly know why the phone and DSL have not been disconnected yet.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gifts

We got a big box in the mail today with clothes in it and a few school supplies! Among the clothing items were NEW maternity clothes! Two tops and a skirt! (Receipts included for the maternity clothes!) I haven't tried on the maternity clothes yet, because I am afraid to shut the door... what would the kids do in the time it takes me to try on a few items? (well... there was that one day when Joshua put dark clothes in the bleach load...)

The big question - who is it from? The return address is a church in Columbia that Paul and I visited for a while, but no longer go to. Whether this gift is from the church (as a whole) or from an anonymous member that wanted a safe return address to conceal their identity -  WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL! Thank you, dear friends!

I am so unworthy of the Lord's kindness. God reveals His Grace in many ways... and I always feel so unworthy! Praise God, again, for all His provision.

Counting Blessings

"Count your many blessings, name the one by one" says the hymn. I am so excited about all the stuff we got y-day, I just have to tell y'all!

-oddly enough, we still have a phone and DSL, and now it is weekend. Who knows when it will be disconnected now?
- some friends bought us a car seat for baby. It was out of stock at one store, and the other store had it on sale!
- my parents bought us a bassinet
- my parents bought us a ton of everyday stuff that we were completely out of: garbage bags, paper towels, dish soap, free clear laundry detergent, strong smelly laundry detergent (for Paul's work clothes), toilet paper, a toilet scrub brush, bleach, rubber gloves (for Becca to do dishes), diapers for Joshua (in a big BOX), wet wipes, fabric softener, light bulbs, and work gloves for Paul
- my parents even bought a few items off of my "just dreaming" list: a 12 inch skillet, and 8 small Corelle plates
- my MIL took an old phone and got it connected with their family and friends cell phone plan, so that I will never be without a phone...only 34 days till Baby is due!

God has been very kind to us in providing these provisions. I think Paul will sleep better at night knowing that we have everything the Baby needs to make his grand debut! And, I will sleep better with clean sheets, washed in detergent! I am earnestly saying, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow." But, I am also trying to be mindful that this difficult financial season is a blessing. Paul has been very a stable pillar of strength that always points towards our eternal Tower. I am blessed to have such a husband!

The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe . Prov 18:10 (NASB)

Friday, November 13, 2009

For Some Reason...

I still have a phone connection and DSL... very peculiar! Paul called y-day morning and they said that it would be disconnected as soon as they could send a man out. I did not even attempt to use the phone or internet y-day afternoon, because I was certain that I had no reason to. How odd!

My parents came to town y-day and spent the night. Last night they took us to dinner! Today they are taking us shopping! Guess what?! Someone gave my parents money to buy us a Baby carseat! And, my Dad talked like he and mom would buy us some necessary household items that we are out of! Praise the Lord! I will have laundry detergent! I don't know what is more exciting... getting a carseat or getting these other necessities!

Oh - and there's more! My parents brought birthday presents for Nelson last night. (Remember, we missed going up to IL for his birthday). Well, they bought Nelson the winter coat he needed! And, they bought Rebecca brown shoes that she can wear (as opposed to the white ones she has been wearing - even to church)!

I do not know why the phone is still on... or when it will be disconnected, since they are already two days late... very odd. But, I do want to let you know that Paul's folks are going to get me a cell phone on their "Friends and Family" plan, which will cost them $10/month. Seems that no one likes the idea of me being without a phone 35 days before Baby's date. : 0 )

I am assuming that this will be my last post for a while... surely they will disconnect the phone sometime. So, I will leave you with this -

Another Baby name clue:
Clue One was: It is an Old Testament name.
Clue Two: It is NOT the name of an Old Testament book... so, if you were thinking "Deuteronomy W____" then think again ; )

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last Thoughts


Rebecca with Grandpa at lunch break. Hopefully it will be the last day of soybeans... so long as the combine keeps working.

In case I don't get back online for quite a while, here are my pregnancy, labor, and delivery prayer needs:
- I would prefer a baby under 10 pounds, because the Dr will not let me labor with a baby bigger than that.
- That these last few weeks would be healthy for the whole family, and we would not contract any illnesses
- That I would be a light to the doctors and nurses during labor and delivery
- That the pain would be manageable, and if it is not manageable, that I would STILL be a light to the lost world around me
- A speedy recovery
- That my desire to keep from being induced will be honored
- That my desire to keep Baby from receiving the Hep B vaccine will be honored
- That God would allow me to make it to the hospital in time (December is known to be cold and/or icy)
- That Paul would be able to attend the birth (and not be stuck at work)
- That God would fortify Grandma W to watch the kids while I am at the hospital... and that they would be safe and well behaved
BUT, if you think this list is too long, pray for this one thing - that I would be a witness for Jesus Christ during my entire hospital stay! That is my single greatest desire in labor and delivery.

Until I get back online again...
Bethany

P.S
- I know the background is boring, but I was not sure when I would be able to change it again... so I thought I better keep it neutral

Who Can Satisfy

Here is a very tame version of one of my favorite songs. I chose this version, because the lyrics are written out. But, if you ever hear me singing from the shower... or singing in the car... or singing while I do dishes, you will hear a much more lively arrangement!

Something Useful

As I said the other day, this is the first year I have ever processed/pureed my own pumpkins. I am still excited about this seemingly small achievement. I know that all you ladies reading my blog have probably done this for years - but to me, it is new and exciting!

If you have not yet processed your own pumpkins, let me encourage you... if I can do it, you can do it! Plus, look at the money you may save.

I spent 50 cents/pumpkin. I got about 3 cups of puree from that one pumpkin! The can of Libby's pumpkin goop is at least $1.50, and it has only 2 cups of puree in it! That's what I call good stewardship! I hope to get to the Amish store and buy a dozen today, if there are any left. And, I am keeping all my seeds for next year's garden!


I have been married almost 10 years, and it is the little victories like making my own pumpkin puree that bring me great joy. I am finally becoming a homemaker! And, I am finally able to teach Rebecca (my 7yo) a few practical helps.

I have been praying that the joy of the Lord will be my strength. And, I am allowing little pleasures like pureeing pumpkin myself, to bring me great joy!
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:6 (NASB)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

38 Days to Go...

... until Baby Boy's due date.

I had an OB appointment this afternoon, everything looks good. She asked, "Are you having any contractions?" I answered, "All day, every day." She was not concerned about it. Blood pressure is good. Baby's head is down, but high. No swelling in the ankles. I am measuring at 36 weeks. And, I gained a half a pound since my last visit (2 weeks ago)! She was very glad that due to my new acid reflux medicine I can eat and sleep!

Thanks for all your prayers! When we lose our home internet (first thing Thursday morning, because tomorrow is a holiday), I will try to get to the library once a week to update you on everything important. (I am now on weekly OB appointments) Hopefully, our internet will be back on before Baby comes, so that you can learn his name and see some pics.

Your first name clue: It is an Old Testament name.

Blessed Be Your Name

3 AM Panic

(Edited 2 pm the same day for content. I posted this while Paul was at work, and I did not have his permission. He has not asked me to erase it now, but he is visibly hurt by my mentioning finances. Please forgive me friends for mentioning things that ought not to have been shared.)

Paul left for work at 3... and I am still awake.

I just remembered that our phone and DSL will be turned off today, because we could not pay our bill on time. This will be our first ever phone disconnection... truly humiliating, but unavoidable.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed. Psalms 37:23-26 (KJV)
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 2 Cor 4:7-9 (KJV)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Book Review

Dinner is in the oven and I have a few minutes to write a quick review.


The Complete Financial Guide for Young Couples, by Larry Burkett

- a very easy read, I read it it one night
- I think it would be a great tool for premarriatal counselling, or a gift for newlyweds!
- I wish we had read this book 10 years ago! There was nothing new to me now... everything in the book (by way of practical help) we have learned the hard way
- God-centered and Bible-centered
- unlike the other guy (you know, the one on the radio with the Money, Money, Money, Money theme song), Burkett does not encourage women to work to meet the financial needs. In fact, he says that a woman's income should not even be included in the budget, because at any point she may need to leave her job
- very practical... again, if I had only read it 10 years ago...

My favorite part was in the introduction, where he mentions different personalities. I had to work to keep myself from laughing out loud when I read my personality: (The reference to the swing set is a comparison to a different personality... the guy who does NOT read the instructions...)
"Compliant is the perfectionist who wants clear-cut guidelines and conformance to detail. You'll know them when the order the swingset, because not only do they read the instructions, they correct the spelling and grammar before the begin."
Isn't that hysterical! OK, so maybe you have to know me... anyway, I think it's funny.

This book is a must read for the engaged or newly married couple.

Busy, busy days

I have a million things I ought to be doing right now, but I thought I would take a short break to say how busy we have been.

Paul has been helping his Dad with farm stuff for the last week. I went to take a picture of him working in the field today, but as usual, the combine was broken down... again. These pictures probably show much of what they have been doing for days! It is supposed to rain tonight, and they need to have the beans out... I am doubtful that it can be done...


Paul is the one in the brown shirt with his head in the machine. That is his dad beside him. They called in another mechanic to help, he is by the cab.
 
As for me, I have been on vacation... sort of. I am due in 5 weeks, and everyone is worried about me. So, Paul has taken Nelson to "work" with him every day! I have had some QUIET days around here! So, I spent one afternoon finding recipes for pumpkin. I spent another afternoon learning to process my own pumpkin. And, I am spending every afternoon working on a new recipe (that usually includes pumpkin!) I am getting all my recipe ideas from The Family Homestead - my new favorite site!!! (Go me! I made my first ever pumpkin puree!) I should also mention that since I do not have a sturdy mixer I am mixing and kneading by hand! My hands are not too sore these days... and I am going to enjoy this labor while I can!

This afternoon, I took Paul, Nelson, and Paul's parents lunch out in the field... then, I came home to start garlic cheese dinner rolls (another new recipe). Oh, and I bought groceries this morning. It was a vacation with only three kids - the busiest one being absent!

My folks are coming from IL on Thursday, so I probably won't be around much at the end of this week. There is cleaning to be done... hospitality to extend... and so on.

Tomorrow I have another OB appointment, I will let you know if I learn anything new.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meet Rebecca

Rebecca wants to tell you a little more about herself and our family.

I have 1 sister and 2 brothers. Their names are Nelson, and Lydia, and Joshua. I live in MO. My favorite colors are pink, purple, blue. We have 1 big black dog and 4 kittens.   

Funny things that Rebecca actually said while writing:
"Mommy, there is no V"
"Why don't they put computers in alphabetical order?"
"I don't think there is a Y"

Week in Pictures


Above and Below: Nelson opens gifts


Below: Someone bought all the kids pajamas!
  

 
Below: One day I was VERY tired and rested on the couch while Lydia practiced her letters in the living room, at a make-shift desk

Below: The kids love kittens! We let them bring in kittens a few minutes every day. And, they snuggle under strict adult supervision.


Total Praise

I cannot endorse everything that the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir sings and/or believes, but I LOVE this song!



Lyrics:
Lord, I will lift mine eyes to the hills
Knowing my help is coming from you
Your peace you give me
in time of the storm

You are the source of the strength
You are the strength of my life
I lift my hands in total praise to you

The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power

Friday, November 6, 2009

Teaching Reading/Writing

I had something of an epiphany last night. (Well, actually, it was more like a "DUH, Bethany!" moment)

A few days ago, I let my 7 year old, Rebecca, write her first ever blog post. She was so excited, that it was all she would talk about for days. She is still asking, "Did I get any more comments?" She was very challenged in the writing of her post and (even more so) in the reading of the comments. But, she is yearning to read the comments all by herself and write all the replies herself. I help a little, but she says, "OK, you can go now," after I answer her question. I secretly laugh with Paul over the way she dismisses me, as though she is such a big girl now!

Then, yesterday, I helped her write a letter to a local friend. We write a few letters a month. I consider it to be part of her schooling. And, as with the blog post, she has to keep copying her letter until it is very well done. Through this, she is learning her spelling rules, grammar/punctuation rules, and much more! I knew this was a good exercise for her, but I really did not see the whole picture until last night.

I always thought that the best way to teach a child to read was to gather (and read) books on any and every topic that the child is interested in. And, that certainly is a GREAT thing to do with a beginning reader. However, Rebecca was not made in such a way that she desires to accumulate knowledge. She asks a lot of questions, and she does like learning, but she does not care to spend time reading to answer her questions. BUT, God has programmed her in such a way that she is VERY driven to want to use language to communicate! More specifically, she desires human relationships. Through writing the blog the other day, she realized that in using her reading and writing skills she can actually communicate with other people!

As I was thinking through this little epiphany of mine, I realized that from a very young age, Rebecca wanted to learn to read the Bible. In fact, this is the only book that she ever seems really interested in reading (by herself). Now I know why, and it is VERY exciting to me! She love the Bible, because it is all about building a relationship! She knows that God is a real being, and that Jesus, Paul, Peter, etc were real people! And, she wants to develope a relationship with God! This is so very exciting to me! I have no doubt that Becca loves the Lord. She hungers for His Word, and wants to learn more... not just facts about the Bible, but the real-life relationship she can have with its Author!

So, I now know that relationships/communication is a motivator to teach Rebecca more about reading and writing. I know that blogging is good for her, along with letter writing. I will be more aware to look for such motivators with my younger children.

Another Neat Site

I want to recommend that you stop by The Family Homestead and see their helpful site. There is help and information on a variety of topics: cooking, homeschooling, gardening, home-birthing, and much more. Go check it out!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Suggested Site

I found a neat site today!

Pick Your Own features:
- finding a local orchard
- recipes (with pictures!)
- canning helps
- much more, go check it out!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Rebecca Writes

I have decided that part of Rebecca's schooling will be getting acquainted with technology. She wrote her post on paper first, and now she will type it below. I told you this would be a family blog!

I am Rebecca.  I am 7. I want to play music. I like to sing.

She did that very well. Next time I will let her write more, but I expected her typing to be much slower than it was. If you leave a comment to Rebecca, she will read it. 

 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Family Driven Faith - a book review

I finished reading Voddie Baucham's Family Driven Faith, last night. (I cherish my quiet evenings alone to read! Paul and the kids go to bed before 8.)

I thought this book had some really good material in it! It reads like a partial autobiography...with Baucham sharing his own journey in: becoming a husband, father, and spiritual leader in his home. He is honest and open in sharing his short-comings and successes. The prose of the book is an easy read.

However, some of the ideas may not be so easy for some to swallow. For example:
- Baucham promotes the idea of all families doing family worship regularly
- He is unashamedly a homeschool dad, and encourages others to rethink public education
- He supports the idea of family-integrated churches, and points out the short comings of age segregated churches
- He sees no reason why young men and women should not marry and have children while they are young (college aged)
- He encourages leaving your womb open to God's control
- He constantly brings up statistics that show how our children are leaving the church in droves... and how they have no worldview

While I love the book and agree with most of the points he made, I think this may be a love it or hate it kind of book. His language can be, at times, harsh to those who see things differently. The book has a loving, pastor-like tone. I have no doubt that he wants to see families grow in their spiritual lives! However, some comments will leave you saying, "ouch."

I do recommend this book. However, I can see that a lot of people will not like it, because it is so radical. Overall, I was VERY encouraged.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Confessions of an Inconsistent Mom

I have been working on my old blog (Grace in Bloom), pruning it to get it ready to some day turn it back on. I have read through every post I wrote since I started. Here is one thing that stood out very plainly to me...

My kids used to be pretty well-behaved. Last winter we had the children pretty well trained. They were following orders after being told to do something only once. They knew what was expected of them and they complied. And, we parents rarely had to raise our voices... ever. I was not afraid to go to church or have friends over. In May, we even had another family of 6 stay at our home for about 10 days. During all this time, my web-log shoes that the children were doing very well.

THEN... I got sicker and weaker. You likely remember that I could hardly walk last May through June. I certainly could not run and play in the yard with the kids. I had a hard time getting around. I could not cook or clean. And, Paul (or Rebecca) had to dress me.
THAT is when the children's behavior began to change! Instead of getting up to enforce my commands, I would not be able to get up.

First, you need to know that we correct our children with Scripture. We believe Scripture is the only standard by which to raise your children by, therefore is it the primary discipling tool. When a child in our home misbehaves we take them to a private bedroom and speak with them about their sin. We read or quote Scriptures to them to show them they have sinned. And, often, we reinforce these teachings with a firm nudge to their bottoms.

But, this is what things have looked like in our home since Mommy got sick:
Nelson would run in the house or jump off the furniture. We have LONG standing rules forbidding any such behavior INDOORS. I would say, from the couch, "Nelson, are you allowed to jump on the furniture?" Nelson says, "no," and then runs about the house and jumps on the couch again. I get a little louder, "Nelson, you are NOT to jump on the couch." Nelson looks at me then runs off again to jump on the bed. I am, meanwhile, sitting on the couch crying, because I cannot get up... so I scream, "NELSON, STOP!" This gets his attention...finally... and he sits down (for a few minutes).

Do you see what has happened in my home? I do. I fell short, and the kids began to rule me! I was being inconsistent. I said that I expected certain behavior, but I did not immediately correct the problems that came along. Over time (a few months), the younger children have turned into little monsters. (Rebecca is different. The Lord has changed her heart- she is a Christian. She obeys from a genuine desire to please and serve the Lord!)

So, here is the new gameplan. I sat down with them this morning and had a discussion with the children. I asked them if they used to behave better than they do now. They are readily agreed that they used to behave better. I asked if they used to obey when Mommy said something once, and they answered to the affirmative. Then, I told them that Mommy was being sinful in her inconsistencies. And, I said that they were sinful in the lack of honor for me (and Daddy, at times, but usually me).

God was with us... and the children listened. They are already behaving better. And, I am already being more consistent. I am guessing that the next few days will be exhausting, but I know there will be some immediate results (and others that will take much longer).

So, that is my confession. I hope that you will be encouraged in your own parenting from this post. If you are not yet a parent, I hope that you will glean something positive from it as well.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Big 6!

Nelson turned six on Sunday! I did a birthday interview with him. He's getting so big!
video
I know that he looks kind of shaggy... we are in the process of growing his hair out to look more respectable (you know, like the good-looking boys in the Vision Forum catalog, or a Normal Rockwell calendar.) He has worn his hair short for about 3 years, because that is the only way Paul knows how to cut it. But, I would like to see it longer... even if it means paying for a cut!

It's All About the Blood

This is my favorite Southern Gospel group, singing one of their best songs! Enjoy the message!