Wednesday, July 23, 2008


On a church sign in our town:

"Live in such a way that the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mini Office--Getting Ready for the School Year!

Well, we've been getting ready for the new school year to start and made these "mini offices." (A mini-office is a specific application of lap-booking, where you put together information they will use throughout the school year for their work). They were a lot of fun! I had the kids fill in their multiplication chart, names of shapes, prime numbers, Roman numerals, names of states etc... It was my sneaky way of doing some summer school ("really, this is a craft...").

Here's Zac's cover...

Anna's cover:

(She says that's a "Rainbow Crystal Cave" on the front of her's.)

Inside when you first open it up are some language arts tips.
(We hid magnets under the "COPS" on the left and the "run-away train" on the right; these hold the flaps closed. I saw something similar on another office online and the kids liked that idea, so we borrowed it!).

"COPS" is our acronym for editing--Capitalization, Organization (neatness etc...), Punctuation, and Spelling. Under that are "rule-breaker" words (We're using All About Spelling; they send rule-breakers to jail!) The right side shows sounds for OUGH, and the jobs of E.

On the middle panel, I remind them to "Spell with their ears (ie listen to the sounds/write the sounds) and Check with their eyes (did they choose the right phonogram for that word etc...)" I also had vowel sounds, which I thought might be a handy reference, but found them unnecessary after they learned them in AAS. 

The whole middle page flips up too, here's the inside fully opened:

I had the kids label all the states, and then in the middle is a place for them to record spelling, capitalization, and punctuation rules, plus samples of cursive letters, both caps and small letters.

The left flap has an additional tab that opens to show more "rule-breaker" words. The tab covers these up and has a place to put "this week's list" so they can study words that don't follow phonetic rules each week. I was going to make this a pocket on the flap, but then I saw that a dry-erase marker can write on and wipe off of the laminate, so we're going to try that instead. (This is another aspect we didn't end up needing to use).

This is the back:

I didn't take a pic of it fully opened, but all of the math concepts are on the back of the folder--so the items you saw on the cover picture show on the same side as the back when it's opened.

The kids had a lot of fun doing these and have thanked me about a zillion times, so I hope they'll be helpful this year! Both kids have already taken them to their own desks in their rooms, so I also hope they won't be lost before the school year starts, LOL!

Update: The math facts and how to spell math words ended up being the most used aspect of the mini-office for us. My daughter referred to hers for several years, actually.

Monday, July 7, 2008

My testimony

Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household…My days have passed, my plans are shattered, and so are the desires of my heart. —Job 17:11

My church asked for testimonies, and I refrained for awhile from writing mine. In many ways I wonder, what do I have to offer? What is my testimony? Eight years ago this June—after a 3-year battle to find answers for my husband’s headaches, confusion, chemical sensitivities, memory loss, joint pain, anxiety and depression—Dave had to leave his position as children’s pastor at our church. Eight years of praying for Dave’s healing—have our tears fallen on deaf ears?

“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?How long will you hide your face from me?How long must I wrestle with my thoughtsand every day have sorrow in my heart?How long will my enemy triumph over me?” —Ps 13:1-2
The God who sees, who hears, who—dare I say cares?—has given no answer to our fervent pleas.

Why, O LORD, do you stand far off?Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?— Ps 10:1

Where is the healing that walked the earth 2000 years ago? Surely God isn’t dead? Isn’t impotent? Hasn’t turned a blind eye?

Why are you so far from saving me,so far from the words of my groaning?O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,by night, and am not silent. — Ps 22:1b-2
Every fiber of my being cries out with Psalm 13, How Long, O Lord? We live a lament. And I know we are not alone—so I write this for you who need to hear.

What is my testimony? After all this, eight years of Lyme Disease, of Dave unable to work, sometimes coherent, sometimes confused, pain, anger, anguish, despair, feelings of abandonment, rage and bitterness trying to force their way in and take over—after all this—I love the Lord. And that is a bigger miracle than the one we seek.

But for the Lord who gives us life and breath and everything else, who holds us in the very palm of His hand, who weeps when we weep—But for Christ who intercedes for us continuously—But for the Lord I would surely turn away in bitterness and frustration and lack of faith.

But for the Lord who envelopes us in love from practical to spiritual through many at our church—the men who have sought to befriend Dave and minister to him, the women who are my dear friends, the pay Dave received while waiting for disability to kick in that enabled us to keep our house and make it here, the many other gifts and remembrances—But for the Lord, I would not have blessings to count in the midst of this horror—the good days with Dave, our encouraging children, the comfort of home, the joy of seeing green after a long winter.

During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. —Heb 5:7
The One who could save Jesus from death heard His prayers yet did not spare Him…if we have the same response from God that Jesus did, all is still well.

“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” — Job 1:21
My testimony is nothing flashy. I’m a mom raising her kids with the husband I love, for better or for worse. My testimony is just the basics, the things I go back to when Satan fills me with worry and fear: God is good. God is sovereign. God loves me. He will never leave us nor forsake us. And we are safe in His hands—even when everything in our lives screams we are not.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. —Rom 8:38-39
In His Hands,

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sometimes the Night is Beautiful...

Rich Mullins. Love this song. It takes me back to the days when Dave was a youth pastor & we were leading a mission trip. Sometimes it was so hot! And there was so much we wanted to do... but then it all ended for Dave.

We talked of Abraham and Sarah when we moved here, of what a true patriarch is, of going on a pilgrimage and not knowing where God was leading...

Tonight I saw the fireworks--we could almost touch the sky, Zac, Anna, and I.

I remember a fireworks long ago, before the kids, just Dave and I--it was the first time I ever saw fireworks to music, at the big racetrack in Arlington Heights. There were thousands there, and I had wondered why Dave wanted to drag me to such a crowd, until I heard the music in my bones and touched the sky with him, they were so close...and we were so real then. I cherish that he took me.

Sometimes the night is beautiful.