Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I believe fresh air, natural sunlight and the sound of songbirds are vital to the health of one's soul.


Lilacs in the yard, c. 2015
"Hush. You have naught to say. Shhhh. No one cares about your little life and your little happenings. Shhhhhhhhh. You are uninteresting and unlearned. Just move along, someone else is writing to them; someone else is praying. That's it: just pray. Pray a little prayer from your unbelieving state of heart and get back to your own life. That sort of praying is enough; feeble and frail is better than nothing. Shhhhhhhhh."

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Hold yours and what will be the outcome? Life or death? To suppress the giving of yourself is to hoard. “Freely you have received, freely give.” The voice that tells you that you have nothing of note or worth to say is not that of God's.

How oft have I thought to write to a missionary wife, or a friend, a relative, or to the pastor's wife and have had my actions altered by the persistant voices in my head that tell me what I have to say will do no good, will not be interesting enough, will not be able to be maintained consistently so why start? “For who has despised the day of small things?” Zechariah 4:10.

A spring day. My thoughts scattered, racing, sprinkled with lies. Trying to sort, trying to come out from underneath the negative onslaught, knowing truth is within and is trying to be heard amongst the din. When all of a sudden a burst of a fragrance, a glorious distraction from this earthly below calling my attention to the things of the above. The scent of a lilac bush drifting delicately across the ocean of air surrounding me, engulfs my senses as a whirlpool catches up the weathered leaf. My thoughts are arrested. My God speaks. I hear. I believe. I regain my focus and put all thoughts into their place. I am the queen of my own kingdom-mind. I control my thoughts as my Saviour has supremely requested that I do: “Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

I confront the devilish accuser and tell him, “Shhhh. You have naught to say. I care not about your little life and your little thoughts. Shhhhhh. Great and mighty is He that dwells in me and therefore my life has the seeds of great and mighty to scatter about. Your evil thoughts and ways are uninteresting to me for my attention is on the Lovely and Beautiful One whose name is Everlasting and Whose nail-scarred hands outstretch past the distance from the East to the West. Hush! Just move along, defeated one, for I have things to say, to write, to pray. For others, that are as I, trapped in these earthly vessels of clay, are in need of refreshing from the cool spring of God's own Word. For the Living Fount of Life, the Well Spring from on High has touched my soul and now I must share... if even just a drop."

Even a consistent mist nourishes a land.

Monday, May 18, 2015

On the selection of books....

Thou and Thy House

"There is, I should say, a very serious error involved in a Christian parent's committing the training of his children to unconverted persons, or even to those whose hearts are not one with him as to separation from the world. It is natural that a child should look up to, and follow, the example of one who has the training and management of him. Now, what can a teacher make of a child, save what he is himself? What principles can he instill, save those which govern his own mind, and form the basis of his own character? The same principle applies to the reading of books. A book is decidedly a silent teacher and former of the mind and character; if I am called to look well to the character and the principles of the living teacher, I am equally so to look to those of the silent teacher. I am quite convinced that in reference both to books and teachers we need to have our consciences stirred and instructed."

C.H. Mackintosh (1820-1896)

Friday, May 15, 2015

Grace 2013

Home educating mother, if you instill a love for learning in your children, then you've done your job well. If they know how to seek out and find answers for their questions, then consider your time well spent. If they converse well with people of all ages, and have that sparkle of interest in their eye, then your efforts have not been in vain. If they can convey their thoughts clearly in writing and plainly in speech, then you have taught them much. If they can look at the world that surrounds them and humbly praise the God that made them, then you can rest in peace, for He can take it from here.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Teaching Your Child English Through an Hymn

A Mighty Fortress is our God

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate, 
On earth is not His equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same, 
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still, 
His kingdom is forever.

First, a vocabulary and spelling lesson:
Have your child find the following words in their 1828 Webster's Dictionary:
(The HUGE book...not a digital facsimile...and, by the way, when you obtain this gem, dear mother, take the time to read through the entire introduction....fascinating!)
1. Fortress:
2. Bulwark:
3. Mortal ills:
4. Prevailing:
5. Confide:
6. Sabaoth:
7. Kindred:
8. Foe:
(You should be playing this song in the background as they are working. Kevin Inafuku's version from his "Love So Amazing" CD is my favorite.) 
You can find it here:

Second, a test of comprehension:
Walk your child through each verse explaining what is happening, and what these truths mean to us today, right now, right where we are. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever" should resound through each stanza. 
Ask questions such as, "How is our wonderful God compared to a fortress and why?" "What is the power of the devil as described in this song?" "What, or better yet, Who is the power of God as shown here?" "How powerful is satan?" "How powerful is God?" "According to the Bible, what are we to fear?" (Find verse and chapter using Strong's Concordance.) "What 'one little word' will topple satan?" "What stands now and forever?" 

Third, a time of praise and prayer to the God that is most gracious to speak to us through His Word and through hymns; to the God that provides for us, protects us and fights for us. (Chapter and verse could be found for the latter three.)

Mother dear, listen for God's gentle whispers to your heart during the song service at church or as you are at home with godly music that you have playing, setting the tone and mood of your dwelling. When the chords of a song strike a chord in your heart, pay attention! Take note before the stirring of the waters has ceased. Move quickly to the edge of the pool and step in knowing your healing is about to begin. Pay quick attention and write down what you are sensing in that moment. Find the lyrics and take actual note of where the Spirit is directing. You are a vessel God desires to use to reach your children. His speaking to you is often what you are to speak in turn to them. You are stirred for a reason. Take note. Let not His gentle Spirit pass by without drawing forth all you can from its magnificent depths.

     When the children were little, I needed a concrete, tangible, hang-able, easily remind-able set of rules to help me govern well while my husband was absent from home during the day. I present to you the list.

     You see it in its finished state. It began with the first four, written out in quick, frustrated succession one exasperating afternoon. From then, rules were added as stumbled upon. (I can still see the individual child's face and remember the inspirational transgression that lead to the recording of most of these. The sweet little dears...) If you read carefully, you can sense the growing children and their growing struggles.

The Rules of the Household

1. You must obey Mommy and Daddy. Obey immediately and happily.
2. "No," means "No!" Do not ask twice.
3. "Stop," means "Stop!" Whatever you are doing---Stop!
4. No hitting. No biting. No pushing.
5. No teasing. If it is not fun for one, then it is not fun at all.
6. You must be kind. No being mean to each other, even during pretend play. What you practice is what you will become good at.
7. Share everything.
8. In church: No running! No yelling!
9. Never ever say, "No," to Mommy and Daddy.
10. No lying.
11. Always say, "Please" and "Thank you."
12. Grumpy people go to bed.
13. Speak when spoken to. You mustn't be rude to adults who speak to you when Daddy and Mommy are near.
14. Eat all food that is put in front of you.
15. Say, "Excuse me," if you must interrupt.
16. No grumbling permitted!
17. No whining tolerated!
18. No mumbling accepted!
19. Look for the good in things and in people, not the bad.
20. Never ask, "Why?" when given a command.
21. Tongues stay in your mouth.
22. If you don't say please, you won't get what you wanted.
23. Keep your toys neat or you won't keep your toys. Remember: "A place for everything, and everything in its place."
24. Finish what you start.
25. When you come upon a door that is closed, knock before entering.
26. Delayed obedience is disobedience.
27. Be happy with what you are given.
28. Look with love in your eyes as you speak to one another. ("Smiling eyes")
29. Don't expect things to always be fair. Life is not fair.
30. Just because it's in front of you, doesn't mean it's for you.
31. Guard the gates to your soul: the ears and the eyes.
32. Act, don't react.
33. Do what is right because it is right, not because you will be recognized for it.
34. Learn to loathe your sin.