Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thankful for pain.

Today at lunch Luke was telling me about how his finger hurt, for the 37th time this morning. He has a small scrape that wasn't bleeding so didn't warrant a band aid and to these guys the band aid is what makes it feel all better! (What do we do without the band aid?? It must still hurt!) 
Now, my responses to hurts-that-are-fine can range anywhere from, "Do you need a hug?" to "You're gonna have to suck it up."(said with love) but today I was sitting next to him at the table and undistracted (but for the food and the chewing) and it occurred to me that I was in a "lesson moment", if I would choose to take it. And I did. I'll share some of what we talked about and my thoughts with YOU, lucky you.

I was telling Luke how God has designed our bodies to feel pain, that sometimes that pain protects us. We used the woodstove as an illustration: if I touch it real real quick I can get away without being hurt or burned, but leave that hand there and I'll get burned and it will hurt! How do I know when to lift my hand off the hot stove? Because I can feel the heat too much and I take my hand away before it hurts, if I can't feel the hurt, then I would leave my hand there and unknowingly damage myself.

Okay, understanding but not in a personal way so next illustration: his friend broke his arm last year, and even though they went to the doctor and he wore a cast, he had to heal. I explained that if Charlie had tried to wrestle, even with his cast on, it would have hurt-his body would have let him know to be careful with the arm, because it needs to heal.

Luke asks some questions, which was great and then I realized another example. Myself. The pain I felt as a person with undiagnosed Celiac Disease was immense at times. That pain sent me to the doctor even though my last doctor could not answer the questions, that pain saved me. Some people who have Celiac Disease don't feel pain, their body may be feeling the effects of the disease but they can't see the symptoms or feel the pain, but I did, and I can truly say that I am thankful for the pain. It helped me to my diagnosis, it's reminder is what takes away ANY desire I have to eat food with gluten in it. This amazes me.

We even wondered together if Adam and Eve could feel pain, surely if Adam stubbed his toe on a tree root he felt it! This would mean that pain was created! Part of God's plan, corrupted by sin.

At this moment I think of the people in my life, and especially the men who have come through F.O.A. over the many years, and so very many of them are caught in a lifestyle that originated in attempts to ease, run away from, or avoid PAIN in their life, whether physical or emotional.

I realized how very dangerous this could be, the mentality to avoid pain at costs. I want my children, my sons to know what pain is, and where it belongs. Sometimes the headache is to show you that you are dehydrated, don't take a Tylenol with a coke. Sometimes that back pain isn't from wrenching your back raking leaves months ago, sometimes it's cancer. You don't have to just get used to a life of pain, maybe you just need to find the doctor who has the answers.
Pain can show you when you are pushing too far, or when you need to use caution because you are healing yet. Maybe the pain is just yet another reminder that that piece of furniture is occupying that part of the floor. Or that pain can reveal a need you have for a Savior, or show you where you've tried to do it your own way much too long. Sometimes our pain isn't for ourselves, but so that we can recognize it in others, having known it so well ourselves.

After remembering God who became Man for me this past Christmas, I am thankful for today when I am to remember a Savior who CHOOSE pain for us.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Kids on the Course

When my family gets together we try to have a big golf tournament, and its kind of a big deal. No body wants to stay home and not play (ahem...babysit everyone else's kids) so we ALL go and we ALL play and ALL the kids come along.

This has gotten to be one of my favorite bits about our Family Tournaments. Golf pictures start to all look the same after a while...well, lets be honest, they are very similar, but looking through the pictures of our family after the years of playing you see more than golf.  It has become a way to document our family, when we first began my younger brother was still in high school, since then we have added Coast Guard stickers to the golf carts, spouses to the partner draw, better clothing for the camera and the kids!

The older boys, Luke and Tre, christened our tournament in car seats and now they are right along side of us, not in the draw but learning the game of golf, and in turn, learning what it means to be part of the family.  It means not only being able to be quiet but enjoying that quiet, it means never ever talking in someone's back swing, waiting for the group in front of you to finish putting, allowing other groups to play through, the cart is not a toy, grown ups have to follow the rules too, sometimes you have to pull the weight of the score, not to get mad at yourself when you are the one who needs pulling along, praising someone's shot even though it means they are now beating you, taking pictures of your opponent with their birdie, and that the fun is in being together.
One day they'll be in the partner draw, how cool is that?!

I get different reactions when I tell people we had 5 kids ages 6 through 3 on the golf course...
admit it, this is what you are imagining
And admittedly there are lots of snacks and its a learning process but really, here is just a little idea of what it looks like:
My dad with Joel and Tre
Addy and Joel

Family picture:
Cody, Courtney and Olivia

Joel keeping score

Tre in the back of the cart

Mark and Mark

Aaron and Luke

Joel and Tre picking up their putts

Grandma and Addy

Cody and Olivia at the tee box

getting a snack at the clubhouse

Olivia on the green with Stacy and Cody high fiving

There are TONS more, this may not even be the best of them. What family traditions do you have?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Behold the Lamb

~Previously posted December 22, 2009 on my former blog,

Behold the Lamb
The prophet Micah foretold the birthplace for the coming Messiah seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ. Micah said that the Messiah would be born in the little insignificant village near Jerusalem called Bethlehem. The actual location of the birthplace of Jesus Christ is also found in the prophecy of Micah, the location was Migdal Eder which in Hebrew is the “tower of the flock”.

“And you, O tower of the flock, hill of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:8“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.” Micah 5:2
Migdal Eder, the tower of the flock mentioned in Micah 4:8, is the watchtower where the priestly shepherds would watch over their flocks in the shepherd's fields there at Bethlehem.

This tower is where they would watch over their flock from the second story and where they birthed the newborn lambs in the lower portion of the two story tower there in the fields of Bethlehem. In the lower portion of this watchtower that the birthing of the lambs would take place, ewes were brought to give birth to the lambs. In this shelter the priests would bring in the ewes which were about to lamb for protection.

The shepherds would wrap the newborn lambs in swaddling clothes to protect the body of the lambs, keeping the new lambs without spot or blemish, they would then be laid in a manger until they had calmed down.

These were not just any flock and herd.

Migdal Eder was the watchtower that guarded the Temple flocks that were being raised to serve as sacrificial animals in the Temple. The shepherds who kept them were men who were specifically trained for this royal task. They were educated in what an animal, that was to be sacrificed, had to be and it was their job to make sure that none of the animals were hurt, damaged, or blemished.” These special lambs came from a unique flock which were designated for sacrifice at the temple in Jerusalem.

These lambs would be offered as sacrifice at the Temple just four miles away in Jerusalem.

With the establishment of Temple worship in Jerusalem, the fields outside of Bethlehem became the place where this special group of shepherds raised the lambs that were sacrificed in the Temple. Being themselves under special Rabbinical care, they would strictly maintain a ceremonially clean stable for a birthing place. The Tower of the Flock was used for birthing ewes, and the surround fields were where these shepherds grazed their flocks. These shepherds customarily kept their flocks outdoors twenty-four hours a day every day of the year, but brought the ewes in to deliver their lambs where they could be carefully cared for.

It was to this place that Joseph took Mary. It was in this special stable at “Migdal Eder” that Christ was born!

The "swaddling clothes" that wrapped the lambs was also used to wrap the Lord Jesus.

These priestly shepherds in their fields near Bethlehem on that Christmas Eve knew where to go to find the newborn Messiah, Jesus Christ. He would be found where the angel had told them, wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger in the lower floor of the tower of the flock, Migdal Eder

Luke 2:8-18 records that there were shepherds in the fields keeping watch over their sheep by night.

“And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night … And the angel said to them, ‘Be not afraid: for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” Luke 2:8,10,11
These shepherds were none other but the shepherds from “Migdal Eder”. The angels told the shepherds that they would find the Babe wrapped in "swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." There was no need for the angels to give these shepherds directions to the birth place because they already knew. These were the men who raised sacrificial lambs that were sacrificed in the Temple. When the angelic announcement came, they knew exactly where to go, as Luke 2 indicates, for the sign of a manger could only mean their manger at the tower of the flock!

Migdal Eder at Bethlehem is the perfect place for Christ to be born. He was born in the very birthplace where tens of thousands of lambs, which had been sacrificed to prefigure Him, were born. God promised it, pictured it and performed it at Migdal Eder.

It all fits together, for that's the place the place where sacrificial lambs were born!

The Lamb born at Migdal Eder was the Lamb to be sacrificed to take away the sin of the world.

You see our Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem where all sacrificial lambs were born, and our Lord Jesus died in Jerusalem where all sacrificial lambs were killed.

John the Baptist proclaimed of Jesus,

"Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." John 1:29
Jesus is presented in the Bible as being “in type” as a sacrificial lamb. It was not by chance but by choice that Christ identified His death with the time of the observance of the Passover.

Peter spoke of our redemption as wrought by the

"Precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" 1 Pet. 1:19
and Paul told us that

"Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us" 1 Cor. 5:7
Even the first fulfilled type by which Christ is to be revealed in Heaven is as the Lamb (Rev. 5:6-13).

The baby grew up! He grew into a man to fulfill the plan for our salvation. He grew up to be the advocate, the intercessor, the "one mediator between man and God, the man Christ Jesus." (1 John 2:1, Heb 7:25, 1 Tim 2:5)

He grew up so that He could die, thereby offering a perfect, sinless life in sacrifice for our sins. He grew up to be raised from the dead, conquering death and instilling a living hope of eternal life in all who come to Him. He grew up so that he might become “the source of eternal salvation." (Heb 5:9)

I'm glad that Jesus was born. But I rejoice even more in the life He lived, the death He died, and the accomplishment of His resurrection! While the world remembers a baby in a feeding trough, let our remembrance of His death help us to look to the Man, the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the year.

Behold, the Lamb.

Credits/Sources for this article:

This is by no means "mine". It is very much a copy and paste along with some editing and my own bits pieced together.

I was first introduced to this subject through Brock and Bodie Thoene's historical fiction novel: "Jerusalem's Hope" . Which I loved, and highly recommend.

Within weeks of finished that novel for the first time I received my copy of Friends of Israel's magazine: "Israel My Glory" (the copy is Nov/Dec 2008 if you would like to request a copy from FOI). In this magazine there was an article (page 25) on this very subject! I was so excited! It was from there that my fascination really took off!

The Internet is a wonderful place to search to your heart's content and your time is your only limitation. I've included some of my preferred links if you would like to explore yourself, but many of the writers refer to the following as their "sources":

The Bible

The Mishnah

The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Jimmy's Prophetic Perspective on the News, Dec. 23, 2005

I hope you enjoy your explorations as much as I did.

Christmas is...plays!

Christmas season again! One of those great traditions is: CHRISTMAS PLAYS! Pagents, performances, plays, whichever "p" word you use to describe them, I love them! ESPECIALLY those that feature my beloved progeny.

Luke was a shepherd in a Christmas play of a unique tone. It's focus was, of course, to glorify the Lord as it told "the Christmas story" but it's perspective leant more from the view of the shepherds who were the first recipients of the good news of Christ's birth. Wonderful experience!
Waiting on the show to start
Other loved ones (including myself) not pictured.
Luke the shepherd had THREE speaking parts, which he rocked. 
 AWESOME job Luke! We can really tell you studied hard, preparing and making yourself ready for your parts!
BOTH Grandma and Momaw at the Christmas Play

You know what? I think I'll repost my "Behold the Lamb" from my old blog on here...yeah, stay tuned.

Thoughts on words.

A recent conversation I had with one of my favorite people surrounded the use of words as it relates to what we call the males in our lives. She is in college and for some time now we have noticed that in our conversation they bounced back and forth between "boy" and "guy" with the occasional "man" thrown in there for good measure. A lighthearted, "OOP! Now he's been downgraded to "boy" again", sparked a discussion on terms; this is not hard to do with us, both being writers at heart, if not in practice, we easily shift between multiple conversations at once while also being able to maintain a commentary on the actual conversations we are presently engaging in! (Oh yeah, we're good.)
 In the end we decided that these "guys" are men and we will choose to consider and call them so, a decision that encouraged this post on her blog. 

A truly great conversation is like a truly great read: they keep those inner wheels turning for some time after you leave them behind you, and as I walked away from our conversation I continued to ponder my word choices in other areas.
Words have meaning and in very specific ways those chosen words convey that meaning, subtly at times but still with significance. Do we register the words we choose? Do we choose our words with purpose?
I could go on but I am still "mulling" over this one. I hope you pause to consider yourself and let me know what you discover!

Monday, September 10, 2012


Luke has a strong desire for control.  He really thrives in decision making and any way that he can do it (whatever "it" is)for himself, or be in charge of his own life in any way.
Obviously this creates some great struggles between he and I!  While we do battle over the big things I've found that giving him as much of the small things as I can (while still keeping us in our proper roles) really goes a long way here at home.

We were finding that me giving Luke his assignments day-to-day or as we go along was actually a frustration for him.  Solution: Daily Schedules.

At the table
Luke's schedule
By putting the tasks in little boxes across the page I have also given him the ability to choose what order he does his school in as well.  He has really liked this aspect of the planner and I love the way it fosters time management skills.
He gets great satisfaction by crossing off his boxes.  And I so appreciated the way this keeps us on task and keeps our context for our Monthly Focuses and Weekly Themes that I went ahead and made schedules for Joel too!
Joel's schedule
Joel always likes to be like his big brother!

Another home school lesson here is that you can be constantly evolving, finding out what works and what doesn't work best for you and your individual child (-ren). The challenge to really know them! Isn't that exciting!?


I love LOVE this product! You match up the truck with the Capital letter to the corresponding Lowercase letter.

Joel working it out.
Works really well with Joel who, unlike his older brother, is really more of a do-er than a read-er.  Luke would color his letters and be really happy with that but Joel really needs some kind of action involved!
Really recommend this! So cool!
I also really love the idea of learning Capital and Lowercase letters at the same time.

LeapFrog: Letter Factory
We watch this video as well. They too, pair the learning of Capital and Lowercase at the same time and add to that learning the letter Sounds!
Great idea! One of my big recommendations.

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig

A book review.  We recently borrowed this book from the library and really loved it!
Gets many stars from the whole family.  Luke says it is "Awesome." and "Cool." Lots of reading but had Joel's attention the entire time-he laughed out loud some too.

"We shall build an even stronger house," they said, because they were very determined. Just then they saw a truck coming along the road carrying barbed wire, iron bars, armor plates, and heavy metal padlocks.
"Please, will you give us some of your barbed wire, a few iron bars and armor plates, and some heavy metal padlocks?" they said to the rhinoceros who was driving the truck.
"Sure," said the rhinoceros, and he gave them plenty of barbed wire, iron bars, armor plates, and heavy metal padlocks. He also gave them some Plexiglas and some reinforced steel chains, because he was a generous and kindhearted rhinoceros.
So the three little wolves built themselves an extremely strong house. it was the strongest, securest house one could possibly imagine. They felt absolutely safe.

So funny! And I have lately been so interested in looking at familiar stories from a different perspective, this is worth the checkout!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Joel boy

 This kid has a great sense of humor!
Silly faces in the car
"Hey Mom, look! I'm Daddy."


Luke is a reader, big time! Of course I love that! He is constantly learning by reading.  This year in school I've also been encouraging his writing.  In his school book he is learning about Parts of Speech and Sentence Structure but one of the gaps I'm seeing in his writing is that conversion from singular to plural.  Found this online and quickly noted its simplicity and effectiveness. Tested it out and found out its kind of fun too... Winning combination! 

 Sometimes he just fiddles with them, and sometimes I have him sort them.  Sort them by content category or by ending (-y to -ies, etc).  I'm not really "teaching" this so much as allowing him to see it and take note,  he is already noticing patterns and that is so exciting!
This is one of those great areas of flexibility that I love about homeschooling! This level is considered a bit above a 6 year old, but we get to move along with each individual child to their level in each individual area.

Pick up the Worms

Fine Motor Skills for PreKinder Joel (credit to )

The Birdie (a.k.a. the clothespin) needs to pick up the Worms (read Pipe Cleaners cut up and made to look all worm-y). Thats the game, simple and fun.

He's having fun, he's just concentrating.
see the tongue action there? Concentration.

Building those little muscles in his fingers and hand to be able to tackle bigger jobs later is so important!
not as easy as it looks
Right now we are watching Joel because he hasn't really chosen a dominant hand, do we have an ambidextrous kid on our hands? I'll let you know!
Good job Joel!

Math: Greator Than/Less Than Game

 First Grade Math! So much fun. Here is one of our reinforcement activities that come alongside what we learn in the school book.  Its a card game that very much resembles War.

Get the printable here. (By the way, all the credit goes to The Inspired Apple.)

Remove all non-numbered cards from your deck, shuffle and divide. Then flip over the top card.  Each player writes in their number and whoever has the desired higher or lower number (depends on which sheet you are filling out) circles their side.  Tally at the end of ten rounds to see who wins!
competition at it's finest!
writing in his scores
Get it?
It won't help you remember which way to face your symbols (< or >) but it reinforces the concept, helps practice and it is super fun!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Luke and Aunt Em

Luke talking with Emily about what he wants for his birthday (expressive much?)
He asked for and got Book 1 of the Adventures of TinTin!

Here is his "report".

Thanks Aunt Em!!

Building Day

 Taking a break from table-learning, Friday we had Building Day!  I just love it when boys can be little engineers! Luke and Joel *loved* Building Day with-a-passion and have voted in favor of a monthly reappearance. YAY

Joel's city with Foam Blocks
Working together with Marble Works
Joel with Wood Blocks
Luke with Duplo Blocks
Joel's spaceship with Zoob Pieces
Luke's very tall tower with Marble Works
Our materials:

These were set up in their own areas with the instruction that once you were finished building you would get a picture taken with your finished work and then you had to take it apart and put it back in the center of it's area so it was available to work with again.  Then you had to move on to a different area/materiel.
Worked excellently!
Working together with Duplo Blocks
Luke's reimagining of town with Foam Blocks
Joel's tower with Marble Works
Luke working
Joel working