Thursday, March 31, 2011

WOW!

I think I will make an acronym:  W.O.W. = Wonderful On (the) Web - or - What Outstanding Websites!

I was looking for some printable prisms to cut and put together for my 2nd grader.  I wanted her to have a hands-on feel for the shapes she is working with this week in her math unit.  I am hoping her grasp of these 2-D to 3-D shapes will broaden her understanding of their function.

I did a quick search and right-off-the-bat I found a site that made me want to say, "Darling, where have you been all my [homeschooling] life?"

The site is called SEN Teacher and it has pretty much everything I could want in printables and link-ups!  Just look at what my search led me to:


Talk about easy to navigate!

After printing off the needed prisms, I explored the site a bit more and discovered a wealth of other resources and printables.  The site seems to be geared towards special education but the resources are valuable no matter what type of learner you have. 

After printing of the needed pages on cardstock, I began work on a chart for the kids to use in evaluating their prisms (Yes, one child has turned to two because my 8 and 10 year old are peas in a pod... always wanting to do the same thing!)

They were so excited seeing what I was working on they begged me to do extra math today!  How could I refuse?  I'm so glad we pushed forward... look at the fun we had....







We had a blast with this project.  Who knew something as simple as coloring, labeling, cutting and charting prisms could be so much fun!  If you would like a copy of the chart I created, let me know, I would be happy to share along with how we used it (a lesson plan of sorts!)

One last WOW that was just simply fun:  Classroom Jr.  This site has fun printables tailored to the season in various subjects.  If you like to plan your learning to the time of year, you will enjoy this site.

Do you have any "Where have you been all my life" - or - WOW links?


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Simplicity

Simplicity.

I am an analytical, detailed to-do list, type of gal... searching for simplicity.

I search for it in my daily schedule.

I seek it in our homeschool.

I desire it in my quiet times with God.

Ever since we moved from our home and came to stay where we are for now, I am finding simplicity in more corners than I thought possible. 

My laundry is caught up more often then not.  We have less with us here so smaller laundry piles and days without washing are a sign of domestic simplicity.

In small surroundings and lack of vehicle situation, our simplicity in schedule is almost inevitable.  It is hard to be anything but simple when walking, like ducks in a row, down a road-side with umbrella in hand (in case it rains!)  It is difficult, at best, to amass a day's worth of cleaning when you don't have a day's worth of stuff to make messes with!  I praise God for that!

Homeschool, for this needs-to-be-in-control mama.... has taken its turn at simplicity as well.  Lesson plans thrown together in an hour flat, no more worrying if every worksheet got used in the unit.  Much of our learning aptly completed with real-life lessons to round them off... it has been simply blissful (and I pray God sustains my stamina to keep up!)

And as I busy myself each day with each task, I try to remind myself to breathe and think and turn my heart heavenward.  To see my Father in the simpleness that comes from living outside of one's box and inside His will.  I try to listen each time we venture out.  Not to the roar of a car engine anymore, but to the shuffle-shuffle of our feet on the dirt and rocks of paths and sidewalks.  I hear His voice speak of strength and devotion.  I feel His warmth and approval.... His will not mine.

God is good, faith is simple, all we must do is step out and believe.


May you find peaceful simplicity and faith in the hub-bub today!

I thank Photobucket for the lovely images in today's blog

Monday, March 28, 2011

Miscellaneous Monday: Birthday Edition


1. This is my first time... why not?  A great way to celebrate my birthday too :-)  "Happy Birthday to me, I belong in a tree..."  (singing off key)
Me!!  37 years ago!

2.  I was good at random when I was younger.... oh, wait, I am still good at it!  How about this;  we use to have a cat named "Sunshine".  She was my sister's.  I would put her on my shoulders (the cat, not my sister) and sing "Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy..." by John Denver.  My sister was not pleased, I had to put the cat down :-(  Now we have a FAT cat named "Stinky", he is actually my mother-in-law's and when he lays in my lap my knees go numb... I think he is getting revenge on Sunshine's behalf!

I was talking to a friend when hubby snapped this shot

3.  I turned 37 today and proud of it!  I have more gray hair than my husband who is 40.  He calls me Mortisha sometimes and smiles like... ya know!  I think he likes my salt and pepper hair ;-)  Which is good, cause I like it too.  I call all the gray my experience lines :-)
One experience I could go without... breaking my toe mid-summer!

4.  I love sunflowers because my favorite season is fallSunflowers work alllll year long, well, almost all year long.  Hence the new website theme which I plan to keep and not change with seasons anymore.  (For more on my sunflower fetish, click the "Sunflowers" tab at the top of the page!)
I love photo bucket!

5.  We don't have a car.  I have decided I prefer not having a car!  I love to walk and have had the most AMAZING experiences meeting people while pounding the pavement and riding the bus.  When you have a car there is no motivation for running your errands the old-fashioned way.  But of course, I am an old fashioned girl!
me :-)

6.  How many random thoughts are customary?
Talk about random!

7.  I use to play the violin.  At one time I thought it was the most beautiful sound!  Now, I only seem to enjoy it in Irish jigs and orchestras because the last time I broke out my bow and ran it across the strings... either I have gotten worse, or the sound of a violin is more like a screech to my ears... Yeyowww!  Now I find myself wishing I had made more time to learn the piano... that sound is always smooth and lovely :-)

Did I mention I love Photobucket?
8.  My youngest daughter LOVES bunnies.  She had wanted a BIG bunny for Christmas the last few years.  This past year we were blessed to discover one at Salvation Army just before the holidays.  $2.50 later she was all mine!!!  And Christmas morning she was all Brooke's (to her great delight!)  Last month Brooke felt her bunny needed graham crackers and milk before bed... along with a photo session to prove even stuffed bunnies need a bedtime snack!


9.  I love old classics and old musicals and I watched Old Chicago today in honor of where I grew up (a suburb of Chicago) and my birthday.  It made me wonder just how much of the movie was true and would completely explain all the corruption to this day!
New Chicago!

10.  We will go for ten.  Like Letterman's top only mine doesn't have a witty one-liner at the end!  I do try to always end my posts with a blessing though... so may you have 10 wonderful blessings this week in 10 random ways!

Logan Pass, Glacier National Park... a blessing to behold

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Excitement Mounting

I am so excited to see the site remodel really take shape!  I praise God for "The Cutest Blog on the Block" and their adorable templates!  Sooooo much easier to install than the free templates I was finding elsewhere on the web. 

I have been wanting something beyond the typical templates offered here at Blogger ever since I started visiting Sprittibee's website.  I know I shouldn't covet, but her theme is adorable!  I go to her site and I don't want to leave.  Articles are compelling, pictures are always fun.  It has been inspiring.

My husband is so busy designing for others as well as our KOG site, I hate to bug him with mine.  But I am excited... he is taking some time out to put a beautiful banner together for me!!!  He even designed a button which we need to tweak before it is ready.  I really appreciate his loving desire to do what he can :-)

I have more content to work on as this new lay-out offers more 'tab' space!  I also have adjustments to make to existing content.  This coming on the cusp of a new idea we may be releasing on the KOG website this next month.  My hubby calls it "the short attention span approach"!  Our idea is to release more articles (possibly daily) with much shorter content as opposed to longer articles less frequently as we currently do.  I am nervous and excited all at the same time!

I did not get my review done this month for Gabby Mom's... and I sure wish I had :-(  They sent me the neatest stuff for consideration this month.  I even had a say in the content I received!  It is called a "Super Shot" and mine was about "Freedom From Homeschool Frizzle".  I so need this one! I will have to get through it eventually and share with you all... even if the official review date has passed!

I know I should close down and go to bed but the new look and feel of the site is like a lovely new sitting room with a soft couch and beautiful view... you just don't want to leave the space!  But long, rambling blogs do get boring! 

In keeping with my attempt to include pictures whenever possible in my blogs, I want to share some darling shots of my "little" boy!  Well, he will always be little in my mind anyway!  This is my oldest son's Junior Prom pre-dance pictures (the only one of my kids to attend public school):

Yes, he is a tad tall!

Proud mama, HE asked for this picture!  I wasn't prepared!
My son and his date.  I have been promised better quality pictures! (I didn't take this one)
 May your last week of March go out like a Lamb, with peace and joy and spring time hope.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My SITE IS A MESS!!!!

:-)  I am looking into new templates for the site.  Doing it myself with FREE lay-outs is time consuming though and, for some strange reason, I thought I could do it in under an hour tonight!  LOL

Well, here it is... after 11:30, I have been on here for the better part of 6 hours! 

Oh boy!

So Please, be patient with my mess.  Everything is all crazy and I probably won't be able to work on it more until this weekend :-(

God bless!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Deceit Recognized

It has been days since I have had the strength to type on the blog-rolls (aside from my St. Patty's greeting at KOG!)  Such is the way of the enemy when a serious message needs to be delivered.  Spiritual Warfare is hard, but it proves that God is calling us to do something great or important.  As I type this I am listening to Aaron Shust sing "To God Alone".  I am drawing strength from the prayer that preceded this session and as you read on, I pray that the message I have to share today sparks a desire in your heart to dig deep, see truth, and lean on the Lord Jesus for strength and guidance....

It started with a book by Brian McLaren, "Finding Our Way Again; the return of the ancient practices".  I requested this manuscript in the hopes of gathering some 'training material' for our ministry.  I signed up with  Book Sneeze to receive it for free in return for a fair review of the material.*

What I didn't expect was the kind of 'training' I received.  Instead of learning how to share the gospel, develop a closer relationship with Christ, or shine the light on the idea that it's not about religion, it's about relationship... I found myself plopped down in the middle of a battle field.  Crossfire whizzing by overhead.  Before I could gain my bearings I was belly down, crawling along the hard dirt ground... trying to make my way to the nearest fox hole without being turned to Swiss cheese by the bullets of lie and deception.

Faith in this new millennium has become a battleground.  It has sickened me and torn at my heart to see this.  As a missionary called to speak into the lives of Americans in the United States it is ever obvious.  The multitude of religions, the agnostics, the atheists, the Darwinists; believing in alien seeding, evolution with or without God as part, religious doctrine that casts judgement and gives Christianity a bad name, anarchists who just want it all torn down and people left to fend for themselves... most if not all has NO scientific or experiential basis.  My heart breaks.

I thought this book would give me answers to all that.



The answers I got were that this war is waging in all realms, in all sectors, and some of the gunfire issues from what looks like Christianity but is actually the enemy in disguise. God revealed to me, it is time someone spoke out.

“But I have this complaint against you. You are permitting that woman—that Jezebel who calls herself a prophet—to lead my servants astray. She teaches them to commit sexual sin and to eat food offered to idols. “Therefore, I will throw her on a bed of suffering,and those who commit adultery with her will suffer greatly unless they repent and turn away from her evil deeds."  - Revelation 2:20,22



"Finding Our Way Again" is introduced with this thesis:
"We have lost the path and are seeking to rediscover our faith as a way of life shaped and strengthened by ancient practices..."

Mr. McLaren goes on to support this statement by asserting these paths to obtaining a rediscovery of our faith:
  • - Spiritual Practices: in which he claims it is not about spirituality but about humanity, to build character
  • - Aliveness: here he refers back to the claims of Spiritual Practices and adds that we should open our eyes to see what really goes on around us and embrace it as "real" and worth living for
  • - Using Aliveness and Spiritual Practices to Stay Awake To God: to join Him

It isn't until the end of the book that he shares the fourth path to spiritual enlightenment:
  • - Rediscover the Ancient Ways: the Abrahamic practices that tie the three main world religions together (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam)

At first glance these directives seem noble.  And, truly, they are.  But, "Buyer Beware".

"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ," - Philippians 1:9-10

For those who walk in the light and peace of Jesus Christ, you have the Holy Spirit residing in you.  His voice will speak to you when scandal is afoot.... and you must listen.  From the moment I cracked the cover of this book, I heard His voice whisper to me, "Be mindful".

Mr. McLaren craftily supported his theories.  Often making very good and just points of love and tolerance of all peoples regardless of religion, race, or economic status.  A true Christian character trait should espouse that theory.  I even used his reference to an artist under the tutelage of his Master in my March missions newsletter.

But this is the the trickery the enemy uses.  Taking what is honest and pure about Jesus and the scriptures and tainting it with ideas from man.  I wish to use the platform of this book review to issue some key phrases and ideas to WATCH FOR when reading what seems to be Christian material:


Social Justice is a statement Mr. McLaren uses often and an idea (upon some biographical research) he strongly promotes.  Social Justice on the surface seems like a viable idea.  It advocates for the rights of the less fortunate, equality, and order.  However, the means to achieving Social Justice are more commonly implemented by government rule over rights and distribution of wealth (meaning, if you want to obtain any kind of wealth... forget it!  Even your rights and choices are taken away and controlled)

Jesus Freak is presumed to be a cliche' adopted in the 60's and 70's and often applied to people who are crazy about Christ.  However, if someone claims to support this movement (like Mr. McLaren does in this book) they are essentially admitting to being part of a group that was experimenting in religious socialism.  A mini-test to communal living where they oppose individualism and democracy and all belongings and finances were evenly distributed among the commune.

The 3 Main World Religions are the Same which is just not true.  Up through Abraham we may have a lot of commonalities but beyond that, the other two religions obscure the truth of Christ.  Only Christianity preaches this Truth and Light that Jesus is the way to heaven.  I don't believe we should war with opposing views but I do believe it is our obligation to put our light on the lampstand in this matter.  Greying the lines only makes it quicker and easier to corrupt what is good and right... don't be fooled.  Mr. McLaren not only makes this bold reference but he also refers more to our relationship with God and seems to avert to what a true relationship with Christ should be.  Red Flag right there.  Christianity should spend more time preaching the gospel of Christ then just focusing on a feel-good idea of God.  The scriptures have so much fact, there is no need to weed in our fiction.

"We need a fusion of the sacred and secular" is a direct quote from pages 4 and 5.  It is not true.  We need to keep what is sacred... that is what makes it so.  We do need to take our light and walk into the middle of what is secular in order to shine the Love of Christ more brightly.  But a fusion, no.  If you taint what is sacred with what is secular you are muddying the waters of the purity of Christ and His message to live as an example.

"Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring is a righteous man who yields, falls down, and compromises his integrity before the wicked." - Proverbs 25:26 (Amplified)
"Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” - 1 Corinthians 15:3

"The kind of person you are becoming determines how much of God you can experience and even which version" another direct quote... where do I start?  First of all , this statement suggests God is changing and therefore reality is changing as well.  In fact, God is unchanging, He is eternal, and truth is not relative.  Truth is embodied in Christ.  Second of all, you either experience God or you don't... there is no in between.

“For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed." - Malachi 3:6

"Accordingly God also, in His desire to show more convincingly and beyond doubt to those who were to inherit the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose and plan, intervened (mediated) with an oath." - Hebrews 6:17 (Amplified)

Jesus is like Mohamed, Abraham and Moses because he had an encounter with God, another assertion in this book which is just not true.  Jesus was God in flesh.  How do you encounter yourself?  This is another attempt to grey the lines of faith and devalue all that Christ stood for.

"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” - Acts 4:12

It is ok to combine different beliefs, Mr. McLaren suggests this when talking about a Buddhist who excepts Christ and how they should not forgo their Buddhist practices in light of their new-found faith.  Jesus says "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no-one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6)  How can a person worship both Christ and Buddha and still receive true blessings from above?

"No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other..." - Luke 16:13


Social Gospel sounds... interesting.  Socially sharing the gospel?  Or, what I thought with "socialism" being the word of the decade, was Socialism in Gospel.  Guess what?  I was right.  It is applying the gospel to social problems typically by way of Social Justice.  Most supporters of Social Gospel believe that Jesus can't return until we rid earth and mankind of its problems.  What supporters of the Social Gospel don't realize is that Sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden.  As a result the happenings on earth are strongly influenced by Satan and absolute purity on this planet is impossible without Christ coming first, not the reverse as inferred by proponents of the Social Gospel.

"Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me... You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." - John 8:42,44

The socialistic undertones in this book lend to Mr. McLaren's idea that man should solve the problems of our culture by getting everyone closer to the God of Abraham (not the Lord Jesus Christ).  By suggesting this he blurs the lines of true faith in Jesus and suggests that MAN is the source of change. Only God can issue change.  Man's job is to put his light on the lampstand, preach the Good News, stand firm in our faith, and, not for a minute, think we can do it of our own strength by passing laws or letting go of Truths in order to accommodate the lost.

"I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:16-17

Theistic Evolution or Evolutionary Creationism states that God created the earth and placed all the ingredients here needed for life.  Those ingredients then evolved and formed as per Darwin's Theory of Evolution.  I could write on about this for hours.  When I discovered this term I did a great deal of research that, perhaps, I may share another time.  I did receive an interesting fact last week:
“Genesis is quoted from or referred to in the rest of the Bible more than any other book of the Bible. In the New Testament alone, there are at least 200 quotations from—or references to—Genesis. In fact, there are over 100 citations or direct references in the New Testament to the first eleven chapters of Genesis. And every one of those eleven chapters is referred to somewhere in the New Testament.
“If Genesis isn’t true, then Jesus Christ would have been lying. Also, the rest of the Bible collapses, since every biblical doctrine of theology—directly or indirectly—is founded in the book of Genesis. That’s why Genesis is referred to so often throughout the Bible. Believing Genesis is the key to fully understanding God’s Word.” -Answers in Genesis
In Chapter 18 of "Finding Our Way Again" Mr. McLaren speaks in depth about his beliefs in Theistic Evolution.

"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." - John 1:3

Progressive Evangelical or Progressive Christianity believes in the "love one another" aspect of the gospel... which is good.  However, they believe in fulfilling that calling by social justice.  They believe that salvation is only found as a collective and not as an individual and therefor all social and environmental problems need to be solved or fixed.  Again, we should be accepting and loving towards fellow man, but we should not sacrifice of our beliefs or demean the gospel to accommodate other systems of belief.  Progressive Christianity often seeks to do just that.

Social Action applied in the realm of faith and politics ultimately says that the ends justify the means.  It doesn't matter what you have to do to get to where you want to be.  Sacrifice morals, ideas, beliefs... just as long as you reach the ultimate goal you want to achieve.  Not only does this morph into self-actualization, deaming acts worthwhile only if they improve upon self determined goals and ideas, but this leaves out what our primary focus should be which is Jesus Christ and the simplicity of His teaching... which does not call us to step on anyone for any reason.  His example shows us to stay true to our faith, no matter the consequences. 




"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." - Hebrews 10:23

All of the terms and ideas above are just a basis.  There are many other ways the enemy tweaks terms and conversations to serve his purpose.  "Finding Our Way Again" revealed a path that sought to lead to the edge of a cliff.  It set me in a battlefield where all sides were yelling and shooting at each other.  Mr. McLaren spent more time quoting non-experts, socialists and even some atheists than he spent quoting the Bible itself witch brings up another point:

When reading a book about faith EVERY chapter should have at least one if not multiple quotes from the Bible, intertwined with the text of the book and used to support all ideas discussed. Without God's Word, the ideas in Christian manuscripts are nothing more than ideas.  "Finding Our Way Again" spent many chapters without quoting from God's word and some of the quotes were inadequately used.

Whether we are reading books, listening to politicians, enjoying a good sermon, or talking with an acquaintance... if they espouse any one of the views discussed above we MUST proceed with caution.  This is the vocabulary of the enemy.  He is crafty and shifting and can take on the form of Christian ideology in order to draw you in. The enemy knows we are smart so his plans have become more creative and deceiving, but do not loose hope.  Lean on Christ and listen to His Holy Spirit speak the Truth within you.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2

Most of all, speak out for your faith.  Don't be afraid to declare the Truth.  Warn people of false teachers so they are not deceived.  Wave a hand before blind eyes and pray that they might see.  We may not be able to stop the evils that run rampant in this world but we can certainly set our lights out on our lampstands or in our windows.  We can spread the word of Truth when lies seem to prevail.

Truth does not change.  This book would have you believe you need to change to see the changing truth... and you don't.  Simply put... I give this book two thumbs way down, 5 negative stars, and I recommend that everyone pass it on!  All books by Brian McLaren spread the same horrific message, encourage others not to support his message.



* This book review is my opinion alone.  Book Sneeze provided this book free of charge in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, March 4, 2011

And the memories... priceless!

I just had to share this funny tidbit from this week, it has brought some hearty laughter in this house!

Here is 10 and 8 when they were aprox. 5 and 3... my peas in a pod!
My 8-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son were trying to raise $1 in quarters for the trinket machines at the grocery store.  They had 75 cents and needed just one more quarter to complete their savings.

Right after my 12-year-old woke up on Wednesday, 8 approached her with a sucker and made her pitch, "Do you want to by a sucker for 25 cents?"

12 responds, somewhat agitated, "I don't think we should have to pay for things from each other in this house."  (mom is stifling a snicker in the background)

Mom sits down to eat her eggs and 8 approaches with small stuffed bunny and sucker in hand, "Do you want to buy a sucker for 25 cents?"

Mom looks at sucker which seems smaller than it should be, under a somewhat crooked wrapper and asks, "Have you already licked that sucker?"

8 innocently replies, "Yes, but it has been wrapped since Saturday."

At this point, mom has head down on table trying not to LOL in an all too obvious manner.  It takes the better part of 2 minutes to compose myself well enough to ask tenderly, "Do you really think someone is going to want to pay 25 cents for a sucker you were already eating?"

8 seems perplexed by the thought and sweetly reiterates (as if mom didn't get it the first time), "But it has been wrapped!"

What a hoot!  Fortunately for her and her brother, grandma, after hearing this story, took pity on them and "bought" the sucker!  Talk about "priceless" memories!  I hope and pray you have some priceless memories this weekend :-)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

1 Corinthians 13 Challenge

On our missions website at KOGMissions.org, I issued a challenge this week.  I want to share that challenge here, as well, at The Faithful Homeschool in hopes of inspiring all of you!  Here is my article post from KOG:

Are you ready to take a challenge with me?  A challenge that could potentially alter your thinking patterns and understanding of your relationships with others and the world around you?

I am reading a book for both personal and professional purposes, "Finding Our Way Again; The Return of the Ancient Practices" by Brian McLaren. I am finding it truly enlightening and quite parallel to our ministry calling: relationship and Kingdom building.  As I progress through the chapters I come to a 'review' of sorts where the author sends out a challenge:

"Think of your spiritual life as a "way of love," and read 1 Corinthians 13 each day for the next week, month, or year (your choice).  Learn 1 Corinthians 13 "by heart" and see what effect it has on you."  (p.49)

I have decided to take this challenge.  Each day until I have it so embedded in my mind that I don't need to read it anymore!  I plan to pray on it... not just as a verse that reminds me of a Godly marriage, but as a verse that reflects what all Godly relationships should look like.  I want to not just see, but feel its transforming effect on how I interact with all of mankind.

Love is not to be reserved for spouse, children, parents, family, and closest friends.  Love is the tool God gives us, the lighting rod that channels HIS love and kingdom into our realm here on earth.

If you would like to take this challenge with me, step forward and give it a try! Message me, let me know you are on board and check back to let me know what experiences you have with this challenge!  I would love to hear from you :-)

May God's grant you your greatest understandings this week through love!