Book Review

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…”I love you. Don’t worry. If I loved you enough to die for you, don’t you think my love is great enough to see you through this?”

Something was happening, something for the first time since Jacque lay next to me in the night, singing “Man of Sorrows”: I was caught up in God’s thoughts about me, not my thoughts about him. I was lying in a stream of sunshine, consumed by his compassion for me, not by my anger and doubt about him. My thoughts didn’t even matter now- only his did. Only his mind, his heart. And his mind and his heart were communicating clearly, as clearly as all those visionary moments I rode the horse trail, brushing past tree limbs, as clearly as all those nights by the ocean, under the stars. And he was saying, “Come unto me. Let me give you rest.” “ – From page 183 of The God I   Love A Lifetime of Walking With Jesus by Jone Eareckson Tada

I got this book from the library a couple weeks ago. I had recently watched the memorial service in honor of Elizabeth Elliot put on by Wheaton College in which Joni Eareckson Tada was one of the speakers. When this book caught my eye at the library I thought, “oh yeah, I wanted to read her story sometime.” I was familiar with who Joni was and her accident that had left her a quadriplegic at the age of 17. I hadn’t heard her testimony though and wanted to learn more about her, her walk with the Lord and hear the wisdom she has been given through so much suffering.

This memoir written by Joni herself is one of the most encouraging books I have read in my life. In it she tackles head on “pat answers” often offered by well meaning Christians as to the problem of suffering and is not afraid to challenge and ask “why?”

Joni encourages the reader again and again that in the end what God wants from us is for us to know Him and the fellowship of His Son Jesus. My favorite quote from the book which I have been turning over in my mind again and again is,

“God was after my heart. He wanted more than my name in his book and my hand to his plow. He was after more than my signature on the dotted line of an eternal insurance policy. He longed for my heart.” page 145-146

This was such a great read because although it is Joni’s memoir and life story, the tale of suffering is the story of all humanity. While reading I could see my own pain, questions and doubts and my spirit was ministered to.

If you’re looking for a new book to start, or you or someone you know are experiencing suffering I recommend The God I Love.

“Maybe the truly handicapped people are the ones that don’t need God as much.”

Week Two of Preschool at Home

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E was happy that this weeks letter was B. For some reason “B” is her favorite letter and if she doesn’t recognize a letter she will always call it B. She was excited that her saying B over and over was correct this time!

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Our B bear. I saw the little paws as hands so it was cute that E insisted they were feet.

IMG_3246      IMG_3247    Beautiful, blue, beaded bracelets and butterflies. I’m starting to sound like a Dr. Seuss book… 🙂

Lots of B books… IMG_3279

This week’s Bible lesson was of day 6 and 7 of creation. I reviewed last weeks lesson of day 1-5 of creation. We learned about Adam and Eve but E decided this lesson was called “the mommy and daddy.” 🙂

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E’s favorite part of school this week was learning that bubbles begin with B!

IMG_3259 IMG_3262 IMG_3263 IMG_3260 IMG_3271 The “bubble snake” idea came from the teaching mama curriculum. Even dad got involved acting as a mad scientist adding different ingredients to the bubbles to see what would make the biggest ones. And yep, that’s me in my slippers!

IMG_3275 The suggested activity in the curriculum was to sort different shaped buttons into cups. I didn’t have different shaped ones so I improvised and cut out construction paper shapes to sort onto paper plates. I was surprised by how well she did with this. Since she’s a super active child I placed the plates and shapes far enough apart so she had to run back and forth and burn off some energy!

The last activity was to teach number recognition. In the curriculum she shows how to mark 9 balloons with the numbers 1-9 then hide them and help the child find them in the correct order. I only had one balloon so we played “don’t let the balloon touch the ground” and counted again and again how many times we could keep it in the air.

IMG_3278 So E would get a chance to see the numbers written, I made a number jumping game. I put a piece of duct tape on the floor then cut out 9 squares, numbered them and taped them down. We counted as we jumped from one number to the next.

Thanks for letting me share again our preschool at home adventure!

Our First Week Of Preschool at Home

We had so much fun having our first week of official preschool at home. I did a photo shoot of day one to capture the memory. My little girl is growing up so fast!

IMG_2264 Our letter of the week was A. Each school day we started off by reviewing the contents of her “A box” I put together. I collected as many items as I could find that started with the letter A for her to explore and for us to discuss.

I have read about montessori sand paper letters and I like the concept but not the price tag. If you can see in the box, I made my own by cutting sandpaper into 26 rectangles and using some red puffy paint to make a raised letter for her to feel. IMG_3190

She had fun with apples that I helped her sort by color and type. She then went crazy with paint on the “A” poster I made her and we made a stamp out of an apple.

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She enjoyed making a big mess with shaving cream! As fast as I could I would make a letter A then Ella would “erase” it over and over laughing like it was  hilarious.

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This sensory box was filled with oatmeal, cinnamon, and 9 numbered apples that are a printable that comes with the curriculum. I also added several letter A magnets and paper letter A’s that I had cut out. We played hide the apples and hide the “A’s”. I would bury them under the oatmeal and she would dig them out as fast as she could as we talked about the letter A and the sound it makes.

I checked out from the library as many books that starred with the letter A or had the letter A in the title that I could find. (Finding titles that start with A was harder than I thought it would be!)

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Of course we enjoyed lots of “just for fun” books this week too.

We made maracas and danced around to phonic songs on youtube that taught the letter A.

This is our A alligator. Isn’t he cute?        IMG_3210

I realized Ella didn’t know how to use a glue stick very well so I cut up paper for her and let her get some practice at using one.

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Almost daily we do play dough so I turned it into an opportunity to talk about the letter A some more. (yes our play dough is now all one nasty color!)

Our Friday Bible lesson this week was the story of creation.

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Here’s Ella’s version 🙂

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Hope you enjoyed seeing our first week of preschool at home! I sure had fun teaching and Ella had fun learning!

After school Friday we enjoyed an “A snack,” some hot baked apples covered in cream and brown sugar.. mmm

Colossians; Four of My Favorite Chapters

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This week I’ve been reading through the book of Colossians. I love all of God’s Word but Paul’s letter to the Christians at Colosse is my favorite to read again and again. It’s poetically written and full of easy to understand but deep doctrinal truths.

It contains a powerful argument for the diety of Jesus Christ and exhorts the Colossians to not be drawn away by Gnostic philosophy. There were people in their day just like today that were of the persuasion that Jesus was a good teacher but not God. Paul argues that it is only because Jesus is God that He has the power to forgive sins.

It tells us so much about Jesus teaching us that He is;

  • The King (in reference to His kingdom)
  • The Creator
  • The Son of God
  • The Redeeming Sacrifice
  • The Image of The Invisible God
  • The Firstborn of Every Creature (a reference to the old testament)
  • The Head of The Body
  • The Beginning
  • The Firstborn from the dead

The letter is full of encouragement and exhortation to keep our hearts on the Lord and not be distracted by this world.

It reminds us that we are totally complete in Christ and there is nothing that we lack or can add to His sacrifice. “And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power:” 2:9

It’s only four chapters long and easy to read so if your soul needs some encouragement in the Lord today, I recommend reading Colossians.

Colossians 1:12-18King James Version (KJV)

12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Philippians; Four Power Packed Chapters

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This week I’ve slowly read through the book of Philippians, taking the time to look up corresponding verses and praying about each thought. It’s one of my favorite books to turn to for a fast dose of encouragement in the Lord. It’s one of those books that as a mom if I only have time to read 4 or 5 verses, my soul is encouraged by a single thought contained in it that I can think about through out the day without loosing the intended context.

It was written by Paul while he was in prison for preaching the gospel around 62 A.D. He wrote it to the Philippians to express his love towards them and encourage them in their spiritual growth.

It is four chapters each packed with powerful truths and answers to life’s big questions and fears.

In chapter one Paul answers questions like, who am I in Christ? and what is the purpose of my suffering?

In chapter two we are taught about the humanity of Christ and what it looks like to have a personal relationship with God.

Chapter three tells us some of the benefits of following Christ. It also exhorts Christ’s followers in their work of furthering the gospel.

In chapter four there is a variety of topics reminding us to trust God, rejoice in the Lord, to walk and talk with God and to be full of thanksgiving and praise towards Him.

Here are a few of my favorite verses from each chapter to encourage you this morning:

Chapter 1: 20-21

1 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all

boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

2 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Chapter 2: 2-10

4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Chapter 3: 7-10

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Chapter 4: 4-8

4 Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

 

Getting Ready For Preschool at Home Part 3: Our Schedule and Outside Activities

I know our schedule will most likely evolve as we begin using the curriculum and tweaking it and I’m open to that! Here’s a look at our big plans as they are at the moment.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday morning are teaching mama mornings (the curriculum we are using, see part 2)

I have an early riser preschooler who is up without fail between 6:30 and 7:00 each morning. With that in mind it will be easy for us to have breakfast and morning chores out of the way by 8:45-9:00. I’ll work with her until we break for a snack around 10:00 then have time for more learning fun until lunch. That will leave us with the afternoon to play outside, free play, rest, run errands or whatever.

Tuesdays are music day! Starting September 1st, she will be taking a 1/2 hour preschool music class at the Arkansas Center for Music Education (ACME).

Wednesday’s are library day. Our local library puts on a great 1/2 hour to 40 minute story time for preschoolers and other young kids. It usually involves read aloud time, playing with the parachute (probably the kids favorite part!) and a craft. We were involved last year and really enjoyed it! It will be a good opportunity also to get whatever books I need for the coming week for her preschool curriculum.

Fridays are when I plan to do a felt board Bible lesson with her in addition to her regular routine.

It’s not super involved, just enough for a 2 year old to enjoy and learn.

Our area has a great homeschool co-op that has a preschool class. I thought about enrolling her a year earlier than the other kids in the class but with a baby brother due this fall that may need heart surgery I know it would be a hard time to commit to it right now. She’ll probably enjoy it more anyways next year when she’s 3.

So there you have it! A little sneak peak into Ella’s first preschool year at home!

Getting Ready For Preschool at Home Part 2: The Curriculum

A friend of mine told me about this curriculum that she used for preschool for her twin girls. When I saw how messy and hands on the whole thing was I knew it was for me and Ella! I’m definitely not a neat freak, especially when it comes to school stuff with Ella. The messier the better, bring on the glitter!

You can check it out here!

http://teachingmama.org

I paid the $6.99 to have the ebook so I could print it off and put it all in a 3 ring binder because I’m old fashioned and prefer to hold a book in my hand over using the computer but even if you don’t buy the full curriculum there is so much free stuff on her website that it’s definitely enough to put together a complete preschool curriculum.

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The ebook is a 26 week curriculum based off a letter of the week approach while incorporating math and other important preschool skills.

The only other curriculum I’m using is this guide which came with the felt boards.

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It’s the entire Bible in 175 lessons. I won’t be reading the stories from the book because it is too advanced for a 2 year old but I’m following the way the stories are broken up and telling them myself. Even very young children like Ella enjoy watching the colorful Bible characters going up on the felt board as I tell the Bible story.

This felt set is something my mom bought years ago for my younger siblings. When I had Ella I asked her to send them to me since my siblings are teenagers now.

You can check out this resource here: littlefolkvisuals.com

Getting Ready For Preschool at Home Part 1: Our Homeschool space

Ella is 2 1/2 now and this month I’m starting a more structured homeschool day with her. Next week is when we start and here’s a sneak peak into our first “official” homeschool year.

I have a lot to share so I’ll break this post up into 3 parts. Part 1: Our homeschool room, Part 2: The Curriculum, Part 3: Our Schedule and Outside Activities

Over the last couple of months I’ve transformed our homes loft into our school room. It’s so much fun to head up there because Ella knows we’re going to do fun stuff up there and she acts so excited! (Pardon the poor quality of these pictures, they’ll give you an idea of what it looks like anyways)

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The color and abc posters I got from the dollar store. You can see the table with her educational toys and crafts that she can help herself to. The crayon table and chair set and bookcase (barely showing in this pic) are from hobby lobby.

The magnetic board was a pinterest inspiration. It’s an eleven dollar oil drip pan from Wal-Mart screwed right to the wall.

IMG_2237  These felt boards are for both our Bible stories and ABC felts. I’ll share more about what we use these for when I show you our curriculum.

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A map I bought recently at a consignment shop and of course a cozy place to read some books!

Having Fun!

We’re having fun enjoying summer and finishing up our summer “bucket” list.

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Saturday we took a family trip to long pool which was a place I wanted to go swimming at before the summer was over. We went with cousins and Aunts and Uncles, picnicked and had a lot of fun! Isn’t it a beautiful place?!

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A cold themed sensory bucket was one of the things I had on Ella’s list. I then saw this idea on pinterest to freeze small plastic toys into a giant block of his for little hands to explore. I put it out in her kiddie pool and she was able to spray it with the hose and play with the toys in the water as it melted in the sun. Not exactly a sensory bucket but same concept.

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Eat giant pieces of watermelon? Check! and yum!