Thursday, December 20, 2007

Nutcracker Ballet today!

A young lady at church is in the ballet company and is going to be one of the rats! So, we are going to a performance this morning with about 50 other folks from church, it should be great!



On Tuesday I made 120 ginger snaps and about 60 sugar cookies. The kids had a great time icing them. I wish I had taken pictures! Gaelan sat at the table with the children (Steven was at work) and iced police cars and very fancy elephants. Hoppy (my niece Hannah) used three colors almost exclusively, pink, purple and light brown! Elena was into quantity and iced the most cookies. It was a great time. I do feel like I cleaned up more than I baked, but them's the breaks! I did get all of my cards and packages out, which is a big relief!



Yesterday, I cleaned my oven, so now it's all ready for my marathon baking starting this afternoon. I also finished several sewing projects and wrapped some things. Gaelan took the younger two out shopping in the afternoon and I think they had a good time. Isaac is still feeling under the weather a bit. Last night, Conrad and I went out with another couple for a nice dinner and to answer some questions in light of their joining the church. It was a very nice time and we got to know one of our newer couples.



When I get home today, I'm going to start baking cakes for gifting.

Tomorrow, after sitting for Mel, I will dive into the cookie baking and packing (the cookies, not us).

I'm thankful today for: The new families who are in our church, even though it is very crowded. A chance to go out with my daughter and friends today. My husband's wisdom and shepherd's heart. Family and friends coming in for the Christmas holiday.

Today I'm praying: For the peace of Christ to reign in our home. For us to be future focused, learning how to serve Christ better each day. For my children, that they will be caught when they sin. Psalm 119:71.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Today is Cookie Baking Day!

Well...one of them. Today we work on our sugar cookie cut-outs. One year when I asked the kids which Christmas Holiday tradition they most enjoyed they said this one. I thought, "Oh great, the one which is most work for me!" It is great fun though! We have a terrific recipe and lots of cookie cutters, some left from when I was a child.

THEN we ice them with the kind of icing that gets hard (royal icing) in about a dozen different colors. The boys have great fun using the cookie cutters in unusual ways - like turning the bell upside down and making an alien. It's a big mess and of course, we have to eat them all because who wants to give the neigbors a Merry Christmas alien?

Kathryn, Mom and the girls are going to come over and help before ballet class. And Steven hopes to join us when he gets home from work in the afternoon.

The rest of the week, I'm going to be working on baking the variety of cookies that we give to neighbors and friends.

I'll try to post this evening and let you know how much I got done and perhaps recipes, if anyone wants them.

I've also got to get out Christmas cards and packages this afternoon! And company's comin' soon!

The focus of the day: Well obviously, it's cookies and packages...but we are not going to skip our holiday school time.

What's for supper: I promised the kiddos party food...so we are having a croc pot full of meatballs with rice pilaf and cooked carrots and salad. I definitely think cookies are for dessert!

What I'm thankful for: Our health, even with the occasional cold it really is excellent! That we have company coming soon and I can't wait to hug niece and nephews and sisters and brothers. That our friends in Holland are coming soon for a visit, I miss them! That God is blessing our sons in their chosen professions and in their pursuit of the responsibilities of adult life. I'm thankful for my husband, he is one of the hardest working people I know.

What I'm praying for: Consistory meeting tonight. For Micah's precious family. That my husband would get done what he needs to at work before Christmas shut-down. For the Crisis Pregnancy Center. For my children: That they will hate sin. Psalm 97:10

Monday, December 17, 2007

Thanks for praying for our week, it went much smoother after cancelling the party. I think everyone here is on the mend. Steven as always has been sick longest and is still coughing quite a bit. He starts his new job today, so I'm sending him off armed with cold meds and a hot lunch.



The funeral was just beautiful! We sang some of Micah's favorite songs and his father spoke about what a privelege it has been to care for Micah, and about the fact that exactly what God planned happened, and Micah ran his race accomplishing the will of the Father. Then the brothers and sisters had written what they most loved and will most miss about Micah and it was read by one of the young men at church. Then two of the men at church whose families are especially close to Micah's family shared some thoughts. The Pastor gave a message and Conrad spoke on the sanctity of life. Conrad made it through the whole thing with only getting a little choked up! That is amazing because he is famous for getting choked up during nearly every sermon he has preached and at Baptisms too! At the end, we were invited to come up and share about Micah or to say a blessing to the family. I got up and shared what I had been praying for each of the children during the time I was praying for Micah and his parents. It was a wonderful time of rejoicing in God's goodness and remembering Micah's special smile. There was plenty of food afterward, too.



This is a hymn that our pastor chose for us to sing at the funeral. I thought it was very sweet.:

Children of the Heavenly Father

Children of the heavnly Father

safely in his bosom gather;

nestling bird nor star in heaven

such a refuge e'er was given.



God his own doth tend and nourish,

in his holy courts they flourish;

from all evil things he spares them,

in his mighty arms he bears them.



Neither life nor death shall ever

from the Lord his children sever;

unto them his grace he showeth,

and their sorrows all he knoweth.



Praise the Lord in joyful numbers,

your Protector never slumbers;

at the will of your Defender

ev'ry foeman must surrender.



Though he giveth or he taketh.

God his children ne'er forsaketh;

his the loving purpose solely

to preserve them pure and holy.



More secure is no one ever

than the loved ones of the Savior;

not yon star on high abiding

nor the bird in home-nest hiding.

Monday, December 10, 2007

When it rains...

Can you believe it? It's 73 degrees here! What's with that?



Our precious pastor's wife's grandmother passed away last night, so she is flying out to be with her family this week. Many of us are stepping up with childcare and meals for her family while she's gone.

So...I've decided to postpone our little party here on Friday. Many of the people invited to it drive a long way to come to church - 1-1 1/2 hours, and since they will come to the funeral and perhaps the visitation as well, that is too often to have to drive that far in one week. Also, this will free me up to help with the above need.

I had no idea, when I sent out invitations a month ago that I would still be battling these headaches as well.

So, my hubby has decided that this is a good plan. I'm much relieved, having more time to prepare food for that which it is most needed. AND, my family can relax and get over the various minor illnesses they are dealing with without Mom being to busy to bring orange juice, and more importantly, a sweet smile!

Phew! Now if the temperature would only drop about 15 degrees...;)

Please pray for our week.

This week is stacking up to be exhausting. Please, if you think of it, pray for us.

Today, we have the visitation for Micah. We will be getting to meet a lot of the family's family and friends who are here for the funeral. Several families in the church are hosting people who are traveling here. Conrad has to prepare to speak at the funeral.

Tuesday is the funeral. We are making food to feed lunch to about 300 people. (So today is shopping and baking day!)

Wednesday is the internment in the countryside at a private cemetary.

Thursday is a baby shower for someone else at church (the first of our next "rash" of babies, hurray!)

Friday, our family is hosting a homeschool presentation day and Christmas party, just for our shepherding families, but that is a lot of people! So, somewhere in the busyness, I have to make the food for that event and keep the house clean. And I know Isaac doesn't have his piece completely memorized (he's hoping I'll forget, I think!);)

We need to find time to meet with a few people, too, this week. And Conrad and I need to go shopping for the volunteers at the Crisis Pregnancy Center.



You know what, though? I tend to really shine when things get crazy. I'm one of those people who works better with a deadline. Headaches? Who has time for those, when you're this busy? It is my down time that I am really tempted to complain about such things.

Oh... I just realized that it is really high time I get presents in the mail, and though I am not very good at getting Christmas cards out every year, I had planned to this year.

Mostly, pray for the funeral and the things surrounding that event. Pray that God would be glorified in the service and people attending would be convicted of the truth of the Gospel, that there is a sure hope in Christ, and that there is a literal heaven and hell. That God's people love Him and submit themselves to His perfect plan for them.

Micah's family wants to make sure that everyone knows that God had a perfect plan for Micah, and accomplished that plan. There was no cruelty or mistake. And that they rejoice in God's will for them, though they miss Micah's presence very much.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Precious in the sight of the Lord...

Little Micah went to be with the Lord last night. Thank you for your prayers for him. Please continue to pray for his precious parents Pete & Suzanne, and his sisters and brothers, Samantha, Ben, Rebekah, Philip, James and Grace.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hurray!

Steven got the job! He is very thankful and so are we. He will be the "part-time shipping/inventory assistant".

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Isaac's Memorywork

Praise for the Incarnation

by John Newton

Sweeter sounds than music knows
Charm me in Immanuel's name;
All her hopes my spirit owes
To his birth, and cross, and shame.

When he came, the angels sung,
"Glory be to God on high;"
Lord, unloose my stamm'ring tongue,
Who should louder sing than I?

Did the Lord a man become,
That he might the law fulfil,
Bleed and suffer in my room,
And canst thou, my tongue, be still?

No, I must my praises bring,
Though they worthless are and weak;
For should I refuse to sing,
Sure the very stones would speak.

O my Saviour, Shield, and Sun,
Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend,
Ev'ry precious name in one,
I will love thee without end.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

We're home from a lovely Lord's Day celebration. We have a little of time to rest and then we have a parenting class here tonight- always lots of fun.

Warning: the remainder of this post is about health issues and not really very interesting, you have my permission to mose on over to someone else's blog!:
Just for clarification. The headaches I am experiencing are not new to me, though having them for such a long time is. I have had hormone related headaches since I was 14 and used to have them about every two weeks. Since my operation, I have been experiencing them more and more, culminating in one that I have had (sometimes less, sometimes more) for several weeks. I have had a couple of shots following my surgery to completely flush my system of any estrogen because of the endomitriosis. When this is over (late January) we will begin to find out how to get my hormones in balance (through hormone therapy) in order to get me headache free. What a change THAT will be!

Since I have had these headaches for almost 30 years now, I have had several MRIs as well as examinations to check for other causes such as TMJ. I will be calling my Dr. tomorrow to see if I can try yet another headache medicine since what I have been taking isn't making a dent (in fact, I am trying not to take anything, right now, since I don't like the nausea that the prescription meds cause, and the over the counter migraine medicine doesn't do much and I'm concerned about taking too much too often.)



I hope that that helps those who wondered understand a little better (thanks Dawn for calling!).

I do just fine, I am not stuck in bed, just made less effective in my day-to-day work. My family is gracious and understanding and help me when I seem to be having a harder time than usual, but they have had lots of practice over the years.

I'll keep ya'll posted if there's any change. Thanks!

P.S. Please don't forget to continue to pray for the Parkers and little Micah!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Getting back into the swing of this blog thing...

Today is Friday. On Fridays Shayna is a "mother's helper". I drop her off at my friend Mel's house and she does whatever is needed. Actually, I think Mel is too easy on her. When I go to pick her up, I usually find her holding one of the precious twin babies and giving them a bottle. I want her to be scrubbing the tub, or wearing the 3 year old out, something that will really be a help to Mom. She really enjoys her time there, though she is usually a little tired. I am so glad that she has this opportunity to work, since she is the youngest in our family and hasn't had the privilege of putting up with annoying younger siblings and figuring out what to do to help Mom when babies are screaming and pots are boiling over!



Today, Steven has an interview for a job that he would like to have very much, would you pray for him? It's at 2:00.



I have had a nasty headache for going on 4 weeks, now. It is starting to take its toll on me in the sense that I haven't had much sense! Ha! I find it hard to concentrate, though I can get small things done. Well, I'm starting to find appointments forgotten and little organizational things undone. I feel as though I've gone back in time about 15 years, to when I didn't have a clue how to run things! It is very distressing. Oh well, I'm just going to have to rely heavily on my organizer and pray that God will help me remember what I need to. Meanwhile, I have to call the Dentist and apologize for totally forgetting an appointment yesterday, and will miss out on a wonderful party tomorrow night because not only did I not RSVP, and forget that the thing even existed, but can't even remember what I did with the invitation!



I'm glad that the kids have so many of their subjects as routine in their schoolwork (the goal has always been to get them to the place where they are "self-educating"). We can do the real learning as it comes up in the day, the colloquium type learning that is just our habit as a family. What is really neat is that though I'm not up for much of that kind of thinking now-a-days, our older children just naturally engage in that kind of discussion with the youngers. What a blessing it is to have the older guys at home (though not as much as before, but they're around.)



We are praising God for His daily protection of Gaelan while on the job, but especially for protecting him last Saturday night. He ended up totalling a squad car while avoiding hitting people who just walked into the path of his unmarked car. As he swerved to avoid them, they continued into that path and he had to run up onto the curb, hitting a tree! We are not only thankful that he was not going that fast, and everyone in his car was not hurt too badly, but that there was another officer in the car with him to collaborate his story. There were also outside witnesses. I think he has recovered from the shake-up that that caused. I know that he felt better just getting to church and asking others to pray for him. Pray that as the report makes its way up the chain of command that all involved in decision making will still see it as an unavoidable accident.

Today's Focus: Focus!?! Are you crazy? I'm going to try to just hold things together and make sure we all have clean socks.

For Dinner tonight: I'm hoping to make turkey soup with homemade noodles. We might end up having burgers cooked by the kids...they've been doing lots of cooking lately.

I'm thankful for: An understanding and sympathetic husband (and children). For the Parkers and the opportunity to pray for them and Micah. For friends who call and check on me, even though I don't make a lot of sense on the phone! That God's strength is made perfect in my weakness.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Shayna's Memorywork

Christ the Believer's Adorning Garment

By Ralph Erskine

"Thy Maker is thy Husband."—Isa 54.5


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Yea, thou excell'st in rich attire
The lamp that lights the globe
Thy sparkling garment heav'ns admire,
Thy husband is thy robe.


This raiment never waxes old,
'Tis always new and clean:
From summer-heat and winter-cold,
Thy husband can thee screen.


All who the name of worthies bore,
Since Adam was undrest,
No worth acquir'd, but as they wore
Thy husband's purple vest.


This linen fine can beautify
The soul with sin begirt.
0 bless his name, that e'er on thee
Thy husband spread his skirt.


Are dunghills decked with flow'ry glore,
Which Solomon's outvie: :
Sure thine is infinitely more,
Thy husband decks the sky.


Thy hands could never work the dress,
By grace alone thou'rt gay.
Grace vents and reigns through righteousness,
Thy husband's bright array.


To spin thy robe no more dost need
Than lilies toil for theirs;
Out of his bowels ev'ry thread
Thy husband thine prepares.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Taking a Break

I know that posting has been sketchy around here already since before my surgery, sorry!

Things are really busy around here and I'm just plain stressed and tired, so I'm cutting out the unecessary things in life. This is definitely one of them, though lots of fun.

Our family is also discussing a media fast for the month of November, so I guess I will jump on the ball a little early!

Beginning with Reformation Day and going through the celebration of a New Year, the main thing that all of those holidays do for us is give us a time to celebrate God's total faithfulness to us, his people, in the past and the sure promise of His continued faithfulness to us in the future.

God Bless!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's been an unusual Tuesday. Pastor Smith is still in town and gave the young people a talk on the Great Commission. It was very good and they all did a wonderful job sitting still and paying attention for the hour and a half talk. There were a few good questions and I think that Pastor Smith was pleased, I know we Moms were.

Tuesday is my paperwork day, but not much of that got done with a trip out in the middle of the day. We did finish school, including the things we skipped yesterday to get ready for company.

To get ready for Sunday: I plan my menu and dessert and check for ingredients. I also make sure that clothes are chosen and get cared for (washed, pressed, buttons sewed on, whatever).

Tonight's dinner is leftover sauerkraut...I'm feeling a little overdone and am glad that we have plenty leftovers in the fridge.

Anothere Encouraging Article

Oct 04, 2007 06:00 ET
The Fraser Institute: Home Schooling Improves Academic Performance and Reduces Impact of Socio-Economic Factors
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 4, 2007) - Home schooling appears to improve the academic performance of children from families with low levels of education, according to a report on home schooling released today by independent research organization The Fraser Institute.

"The evidence is particularly interesting for students who traditionally fall through the cracks in the public system," said Claudia Hepburn, co-author of Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream, 2nd edition and Director of Education Policy with The Fraser Institute.

"Poorly educated parents who choose to teach their children at home produce better academic results for their children than public schools do. One study we reviewed found that students taught at home by mothers who never finished high school scored a full 55 percentage points higher than public school students from families with comparable education levels."

The peer-reviewed report, co-written with Patrick Basham and John Merrifield, builds on a 2001 study with new research and data. It examines the educational phenomenon of home schooling in Canada and the United States, its regulation, history, growth, and the characteristics of practitioners, before reviewing the findings on the academic and social effects of home schooling. The full report is available at www.fraserinstitute.org.

Hepburn said evidence clearly demonstrates that home education may help reduce the negative effects of some background factors that many educators believe affects a child's ability to learn, such as low family income, low parental educational attainment, parents not having formal training as teachers, race or ethnicity of the student, gender of the student, not having a computer in the home, and infrequent usage of public libraries.

"The research shows that the level of education of a child's parents, gender of the child, and income of family has less to do with a child's academic achievement than it does in public schools."

The study also reports that students educated at home outperform their peers on most academic tests and are involved in a broad mix of social activities outside the home.

Research shows that almost 25 per cent of home schooled students in the United States perform one or more grades above their age-level peers in public and private schools. Grades 1 to 4 home school students perform one grade level higher than their public- and private-school peers. By Grade 8, the average home schooled student performs four grade levels above the national average.

Hepburn said a growing body of new research also calls into question the belief that home schooled children are not adequately socialized.

"The average Canadian home schooled student is regularly involved in eight social activities outside the home. Canadian home schooled children watch less television than other children, and they show significantly fewer problems than public school children when observed in free play," she said.

The report concludes that home schooling is not only a viable educational choice for parents, but can also be provided at a much lower cost than public schooling. The report notes that in the U.S., home schooling families spend less than $4,000 per year on home schooling while public schooling in the U.S. costs about $9,600 per child.

"Canadian and American policymakers should recognize the ability of parents to meet the educational needs of their children at home, without government involvement," Hepburn said.

"While home schooling may be impractical for many families, it has proven to be a successful and relatively inexpensive educational alternative. It merits the respect of policy makers, the attention of researchers, and the consideration of parents."

The complete report, Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream 2nd edition is available in PDF format at www.fraserinstitute.org.

The Fraser Institute is an independent research and educational organization based in Canada. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Saturday Dinners

It’s been a wonderful, though busy weekend!
I usually try to get all of my cooking for the weekend done on Saturday, but this week we decided to reinstate the tradition of a Lord’s Day Eve dinner.
This was a tradition that we really enjoyed while the kids were younger, but as we got busier with a church that eats together, well, I just wasn’t organized enough to do it all. Now that my sister and mother are living so close by, we really wanted to have that tradition together with them. There is also a really big benefit for us, besides the family memories and together time. This benefit is the main reason we wanted to try again:

Having a special Lord’s Day eve dinner makes us STOP! It forces me to look forward all week and prepare for the Lord’s Day, rather than doing everything on Saturday. Normally, at least lately, I work, work, work all day Saturday and go to bed exhausted, often waking up on Sunday to a house in which the normal housework has been neglected in order to accomplish all of the big tasks I tackled. By Sunday evening, the house is a huge wreck and not a haven at all!

When we are having our special Saturday dinner, there is a cut off time for me. There is a time that I want to have things looking nice by and dinner on the table by… There is a time that I SIT and ENJOY and REFLECT. Lately the reflecting has been as I hit the bed and it is usually full of regret and self-chastisement. I wake up feeling stressed and then when I’m sitting in the pew I have the same prayer of confession, “forgive me for being so hurried this morning, forgive me for not even thinking of my Lord, but of all of the tasks to be done.”

So here is how my Saturday went:
I already had the dinner I was bringing to church made and in the freezer (well not completely, but I’ll get to that!). We had Sauerkraut for dinner on Friday and I froze a portion for our congregational dinner on Sunday. I made a huge push to be caught up on laundry on Thursday and made sure that everyone knew what they were wearing to church.
On Saturday I arose about 7:00 and went to the commissary (I usually do this) in order to beat the crowds. I was home about 9:00 and we hurried to put the groceries away. We worked hard before lunch to get the house clean because Isaac had soccer practice at 12:30 and Steven was driving him to it.
We had lunch about 11:30 and Shayna and I worked on making our dinner, finishing up a couple of loads of laundry, and making the dining room especially nice while setting a nice table.
Dinner was at about 5:00. (I was ready by about 4:00) We had stuffed shells, salad, homemade applesauce, garlic bread and for dessert, brownies and ice cream.
We all worked on the dishes together and went to bed with just a few rinsed and stacked dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher to do in the morning.

If you have read, “Making Sunday Special” by Karen Mains you know that she has a whole Shabbat Erev liturgy. We did use to do something similar, and hope to again, but this past Saturday we kept it simple. The only “ceremonial” thing that we did is that while I lit the candles, Conrad prayed this prayer: “O God, the source of eternal light: Shed forth your unending day upon us who watch for you, that our lips may praise you, our lives may bless you, and our worship on the morrow give you glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Then we all closed our eyes and gave thanks for the meal.

After dinner, we prepared for worship by singing the songs from the bulletin and reading the passages. It was hard to guess what the guest preacher was going to preach on, we couldn’t imagine from the sermon title.

Here’s what I did wrong:
I was supposed to have the shells already made and in the freezer, so instead of my lesson planning, I made dinner.
I hadn’t really thought through what we were brining on Sunday, my main dish was done, but I ended up making my side dish on Sunday morning (leaving the pots and pans in the sink). I also had an extra meal to bring (leftovers from the campout that we froze) and hadn’t thawed them in time.
The other thing that I really hoped to do is have time for my own Bible study and reflection on Saturday afternoon. I had left too much of the meal to prepare right before, so robbed myself of that time.

On top of that, we have special company coming tonight for dinner. I don’t think that I’m able to think ahead to Monday very well, when my head is full of Saturday and Sunday. I think that next time we will wait to have weekday guests on Tuesday or Wednesday.

I’m hoping that our Saturday dinner will also help my sister get organized for the Lord’s Day better, too. I promised her that I would put reminders to do different things on here throughout the week to get ready. Perhaps it will help you too.

Today, for us, Monday, is just a recovery day. We are going to clean up the house from the weekend and plan our week. We usually plan our week on Sunday evening but we had a church officers’ families meeting with our special guest last night. It was great fun, but meant that we were home a whole 1 ½ hours yesterday.
We are going to be visiting a friend in the morning and finishing up our housework and schoolwork in the afternoon.

Dinner is going to be in the croc pot: Beef in Port with Mushrooms. We will make carrots and poppy seed noodles to go with as well as a salad.
Pastor Smith will be arriving about 5:30ish and we hope to eat around 6:00 followed by some family worship and good conversation and beer, I think.

I’m thankful for: Pastor Smith’s teaching on the Trinity and Prayer this past Lord’s Day, and the fellowship with the saints here that we enjoy.
I’m thankful for my home and that we are so rich that we can afford to take the time to enjoy our company and feed him well this evening, think about it!
I’m thankful for my late brother-in-law, my sister remembered him especially yesterday, on their 12th anniversary.

I’m praying: That I get everything done today! Lesson plans are done and I’m off to make a breakfast to bring for our visit with Mel this morning. And I’m trying to pray with the wonderful things in mind we were taught yesterday. That prayer is more of a blessing than we could ever imagine – that it brings us into communion with God.

God bless, y’all!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Our Second Annual Church Campout

We had a wonderful time at the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center this past weekend. The weather was just beautiful and almost everything went off as planned, except that we had a late start and well...THE ACCIDENT!

We arrived on Friday afternoon to set up our tent. I looove camping because I like to play house. I love setting up my kitchen area, hanging my little laundry line and getting my stove set up. I like sweeping out my tent and making the beds. I like setting up the table and getting coffee right on incase anyone stops by...I love camping!

The first thing on the agenda was a campfire, with devotions, hotdogs and s'mores and ending with hayrides. The campfire didn't get started early enough, and neither did the hotdogs - note to self: when you put the cold hotdogs in the hot water, the water gets cold and has to heat up all over again! So we sang some songs while we waited for the hotdogs.
After hotdogs, we went down to the fire area and had s'mores. The hayrides were scheduled for a set time so they had already begun, so the devotion leader decided to put them off until the next night. Conrad brought glow-bracelets for all of the children which was very smart. We were able to see if any kids wandered off in the dark. We walked back to the campsites about 11:00.

On Saturday we awoke and had breakfast. We planned to share breakfast with the family at the neighboring campsite, so she brought sausage patties and I made begniets - yum!

At 10:00 there were events for the kids, the older ones had signed up to try a zip line in the woods as well as a tree climb...up 80 feet and ring the bell! The kids who were too little for those events had relay races organized by Steven and the wonderful K family. It was great fun watching the little ones and I think it went very well. Lunch was back at each campsite, we had sloppy joes, carrot sticks and chips.

The afternoon was reserved for free time, though there was a big flag football tournament planned. That's when IT happened.

One of the men playing crashed into another player and got a concussion. When he came to, he didn't remember any of us (only his wife and children) or where he was. AND scariest of all to us, he couldn't remember anything we told him. We spent a nerve-wracking several hours hearing him ask, "what happened?" every minute or so. He wasn't exhibiting any other signs, his eyes were doing what they are supposed to and he wasn't experiencing any pain so on the advice on the medical person present we watched and supported his wife. She was amazingly calm, though his teenage daughter was really shaken by listening to her dad ask the same questions over and over. The guys gathered around him a couple of times to lay hands and pray for him and each time he said, "What are they praying for me for?" Finally after a couple of hours he was taken to emergency room where they confirmed what our medical guy said. Nothing more than a concussion, it will mostly all come back to him in 24-48 hours.

Dinner was BBQ catered by Red, Hot & Blue. It was very good, but next time I will not order as much pulled chicken and will order more sausage. Volunteers brought delicious desserts.

After dinner and clean up we had our Psalm sing, and requests as well. For the hymns/psalms we were going to sing on the Lord's Day, we broke up into parts and learned to sing them "excellently".

Then the dance, and though I sat out ( I felt amazingly well all weekend, but I wasn't going to push it), it was so fun to watch. There was the Virginia Reel of course, and several mixer dances that were so much fun to watch. I especially liked the Scottish Polka. The young men practiced asking the young ladies' fathers if they could dance with their daughters, which was fun. We got the call that Mr. S was coming back from the hospital and that he would be fine. It was cool to see our young people gather in a circle and pray with his daughters. We also heard at the same time that Ryan was home with his family, there was much thankful praying going on and some tears I saw (and shed) too!

Sunday dawned early...You know, when I heard the rooster crow early Saturday morning, I thought, "A rooster, how quaint!" On Sunday, when I was awakened two hours earlier than I planned it was more like, "KILL THE CHICKEN!" Breakfast was hashbrowns with onions and peppers fried with sausage and covered with scrambled eggs...kind of a macho omelet. We also made little apple pies in the pie iron, well, because we could.

We walked down to the pavilion for church and it was very nice to have church outside. The breeze was very nice, though the sun shone hot on one side of the pavilion. After worship we had lunch together. Half of the church had made chili, frozen it, and heated it in their crocpots at the campsites, the other half brought bread and dessert. We also had leftovers from the night before and salad. It was neat to see the variety of chilis there, I brought white chili, it was good, I think.

After cleanup we stayed as late as we could and headed home about 4:30.

About Mr. S...boy do we have stories to tell on him! Apparently on the way to the hospital he was very loopy as well as the rest of that first night. Once when he asked for the millionth time what happened his wife said, "You jumped out of an airplane and the chute didn't open." He said, "Really!?" and she said, "No, not really." Of course, a minute later, he said, "What happened?" She had a lot of patience with him, especially when on the way to the hospital he kept repeating, "I don't recognize anything around here, you're lost, pull over so I can drive." She would just say, "You've had a head injury, you don't remember anything, be quiet." And then he would say it all again. Wouldn't that drive you crazy?



We are glad that by Sunday he recognized us and though he didn't remember the actual accident, remembered that he had indeed had one and what had happened. Today his wife reports that he is beginning to remember everything, including what he was told in answer to his many questions. We sure love the S family and are glad for their contribution to the entertainment at the annual campout.

Last year when it was so cold, we were going to name it the Annual Insanity Campout. I think that the name still fits, don't you?

I hope to get some pictures up, perhaps dear Jon K will shoot some our way...I never remember to take pictures. Doh!
*Edit* There are pictures over at my Xanga...I'm too lazy to load them on here, too.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ryan has returned home, Praise God!

Please continue to lift his family up in prayer.

We are just now returned from our church's annual campout. God has been kind and merciful to us, his people, this weekend. I can't wait to tell ya'll about our adventures, one of them I hope never to experience again!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Update on Ryan

Ryan has contacted his family to let them know that he is alive and that he is receiving counsel from a godly minister. Please continue to pray for repentance and a return home. Thanks

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I just wanted to call attention to Carmon's Top Ten List of Ways to Be Productive at Home, it's exellent as well as the new addition to the Prairie Muffin Manifesto. Read, and be encouraged (or convicted).

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Urgent Prayer Request

Please pray for this:
Please pray for an elder in a sister church of ours. He has been missing for a couple of days. He went to work sick and never came home. He is married and has two little daughters. Please pray for Ryan and for his wife, Judith and family. Thanks

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

All of the Windows are Open!

I love, love this time of year! It gives me so much energy!

I have had two good days in a row, and today looks pretty good as well. I try and try to not let my circumstances rule my attitude, but when I get an encouragement like this, I realize how much I failed when discouraged.
Heavenly Father, please help me to be more faithful to you when discouraged and to show that I trust in you. Give me a sweetness of disposition in trial that your own son demonstrated at the cross. Help me to continue to strive to be more like Jesus. Amen!

Yesterday the kids got right down to chores and schoolwork because I had promised to take Shayna out to shop for dress shoes and for Isaac to be able to hang out with Steven in the afternoon if they were done. On Mondays, they have tons of reading assignments and they did really well with not daydreaming and getting side tracked.

Shayna and I found some cute Mary Janes at Kohl's...I'm so glad that they are in style right now for women- her feet are growing so much! Then we spent about an hour and a half in the thrift store and as is often the case, God went before me there. As I often do, I waited to go until we were desperate for clothes for Shayna, I hate breaking up the routine at home to go out! So, we finally went to the thrift store, praying for atleast a black skirt and a couple more pairs of shoes as all of hers are too small. We found 5 skirts, 7 tops and two pairs of name brand, new, shoes. For holiday presents, I found 5 sets of Little Bear Wheeler's Historical Devotional tapes and a G.A.Henty book on tape! I kept thinking about the homeschooler who must have dejunked and gotten rid of things her boys have outgrown... (well, that's my scenario!). So, the trip was a success and we left just as I was feeling I really had to go home.

Conrad took us all out to dinner at Chili's to celebrate his and Gaelan's birthday, as well as Isaac's placement day. They all fall within nine days of each other. It was nice, it has been a very long time since we went to a restaurant, since my birthday in February. We all said that we were glad that it occurs so seldom because it was such a treat!

Today is another school and chores day, as well as LAUNDRY!! Yes, we attack Mt. Never-Rest today! Tomorrow I go to see the Dr. for my final exam. Please pray that I get the all clear to get back to normal life and that my iron levels are back to normal.

What's for dinner?: chilly day soup, buttermilk (keifer) cheesebread and salad. (Conrad won't be home for supper as he is working late and then going right on to the Crisis Pregnancy Center board meeting.) Isaac also has soccer practice soon after dinner.

Things I'm thankful for: All of the new families at church. We have outgrown the building we are renting, but it is such a joy to meet so many new families! For this wonderful weather. For God's faithful provision in meeting our every need.

Things we are looking forward to: The church campout! Woohoo! Our Reformation Celebration. My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.

Praying for my family: Getting back to the routine of this...Just going to pray Psalm 15 for everyone!
Concentrating in prayer today for: Micah and his family as well as the Murnion family.

We are using Tapestry of Grace this year and we are in week two. We are studying Exodus.
Have a blessed day, everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Alternate Name Meme

From Mrs. Wilt My favorite is 4.
If you wish, consider yourself tagged.
1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet & current car),Cortez Mercury
2.YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (fave ice cream flavor, favorite cookie),Chocolate Shortbread
3. YOUR “FLY Guy/Girl” NAME: (first initial of first name, first three letters of your last name),M-Dos
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color, favorite animal),Red Heron (Now THAT'S funny!)
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born),Jean Annapolis
6. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first),Dos-ma
7. SUPERHERO NAME: (”The” + 2nd favorite color, favorite drink),The Green Coffee
8. NASCAR NAME: (the first names of your grandfathers),John James
9. WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (mother’s & father’s middle names ),Elizabeth Eugene
10. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (Your 5th grade teacher’s last name, a major city that starts with the same letter),Koester Kalamazoo
11. SPY NAME: (your favorite season/holiday, flower).Autumn Rose
12. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit, article of clothing you’re wearing right now + “ie” or “y”)Strawberry Jumpery
13. HIPPY NAME: (What you ate for breakfast, your favorite tree),Cereal Magnolia
14. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: (”The” + Your fave hobby/craft, fave weather element + “Tour”),The Embroidery Sunshine Tour

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Marvelous Muffins!

I love to bake muffins to give away...my family likes to eat them too!
Here are a few of our favorites:

Hawaiian Muffins
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, lighlty beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease twleve muffin cups. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; stir in coconut and pineapple to coat. In another bowl, stir together milk, butter, egg and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine.
Spoon better into prepared muffin cups; bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.
Remove muffin tin or tins to wire rack. Cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from cups; finish cooling on rack. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature.
These muffins freeze well. Makes 12 muffins.

Bacon Cheddar Muffins
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
2 Tbs. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
dash cayenne
8 slices of bacon, cooked, drained, cooled and chopped (about 1/2 cup).
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbs. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. dijon-style mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups. In a large bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper; stir in bacon and cheese to coat. In another bowl, stir together milk, egg, butter and mustard until blended. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Spoon batter unto prepared muffin cups; bake 20-25 minutes until done. Cool 5 minutes in pan and finish cooling on rack. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator. Let muffins reach room tenperature or wamr slightly before serving. 12 Muffins

Lemon-Blueberry Muffins
2 cups flour
2/3cups + 1 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 (8 oz) container of lemon yogurt
1/4 cup butter, melted & cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1-2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups. In a large bowl, stir together flour, the 2/3 cups sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. In another bowl, stir together yogurt, butter, egg, lemon peel and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add yogurt mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake 20-25 minutes until done. Cool 5 minutes in pans then finish cooling on racks. These muffins freeze well. Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Some Muffin Making tips:
1. Don't over beat your muffins, as if you are making a cake...that is what makes the high pointy muffins.
2. Don't skimp on the fat, that is what makes your muffins moist.
3. Don't overbake, that will dry out your muffins, too.
4. When doubling don't double the baking soda (just add a pinch more per teaspoon) but double the baking powder. The same goes for salt.
5. Most muffins freeze well, so keep some on hand for guests!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Please Pray for Little Micah!

I have asked for prayer for little Micah before. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. His family has enjoyed his presence in their family so much and have rejoiced to care for this sweet little guy.

Micah is not doing so well right now. He hasn't been able to eat much at all for some weeks now, and has begun to vomit a lot. He is also dealing with a really terrible case of eczema that is driving him crazy!
Please pray for him & his family, pray that God would have mercy on them and allow them to get some rest. Pray that Micah would be made more comfortable. And pray that God would remove the tumor from his little body.

I'm praying every hour on the half hour for him, won't you try to join me when you think of it?
Thank you!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What I wish I had known then...

This past Tuesday, I went to the first homeschool meeting that I have been to in several years.
The topic for discussion was "things I wish I knew when I started homeschooling". Here are some of the things mentioned:

That we should play with the kids occasionally.

Homeschool shouldn't look like institutional school.

Parent each child, individually...don't leave it up to the older siblings to parent the younger, and don't parent all of your children exactly alike.

(One of the Dads present) Dad needs to be involved, and as boys (especially) grow , they need to answer to Dad.

Make Dad the authority, and Dad needs to back Mom up completely.

Pray for them more!

Work on early maturity...it's not the same as worldiness.

Understand how hard life IS.

You are going to spend most of your time on character issues.

Give them the right things to read.

If you have a need - God will provide - be content with what He has provided.

Respect each other.

It's character, not academics that will stick with them.

Give them purpose, so that it will be easier for them to push ahead when things get tough.

Mine was that I wish I had known that even though we as a family chose to not have high academic goals (we weren't interested in making them fit for the Ivey League) that I had been more dilligent to do actual seat work more often. The other thing that goes along with that one, really is that I wish I had worked hard to develop my own study habits.

We had good discussion on each of these. Do you have any to add?

We plan to talk about life-changing books next time.

Update on me:
I have a surgery date for August 7th. Please pray that we will be able to stick to the plan we have for doing a laproscopic out-patient surgery to remove ovarian cysts and that nothing further will be needed.

For those of you who have been praying for me this week because of my regular headaches, this one was especially terrible, and long-lived, but is definitely gone now, Praise God! Thanks for your prayers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Bible Bookmark for our kids.

While at the Home Educators of Virginia Conference, Conrad and I learned about a great idea for a devotional aid for our kids. We learned how to make this Bible bookmark at the workshop entitled “Raising Daughters for God” by Joy Moore of Daughters4God.
All you need is a 3x5 card for each child and a Bible and concordance (or For Instruction in Righteousness, if you have it).
On the blank side, holding the card vertically write a list of people that you would like your children to pray for on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. Start with Daddy, and Mommy, then go to church leaders, teachers and perhaps other relatives, listing them one at a time. Follow these with the President and other leaders who need our prayers regularly. Lastly, add any long term prayer requests, we have added Micah.

Next, turn the card over and holding horizontally, list a character trait that you think that this child needs to work on, and perhaps a short definition. Then on the lines of the card, write out a verse or passage of Scripture that go with the character trait that you would like them to read (and memorize) each day. For help with this, here’s a link to a list of Christian character traits.

Then, if you have non-readers and they are having their quiet times each morning, you should take at least a couple of mornings a week and “do quiet time” with them. This way they are being trained in how to have personal time with the Lord, and you can help them read and pray from their book marks.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Best of Love Stories

LOVE FROM THE NORTH.
I had a love in soft south land,
Beloved through April far in May;
He waited on my lightest breath,
And never dared to say me nay.
He saddened if my cheer was sad,
But gay he grew if I was gay;
We never differed on a hair,
My yes his yes, my nay his nay.
The wedding hour was come, the aisles
Were flushed with sun and flowers that day;
I pacing balanced in my thoughts,--
"It's quite too late to think of nay."--
My bridegroom answered in his turn,
Myself had almost answered "yea":
When through the flashing nave I heard.
A struggle and resounding "nay."
Bridemaids and bridegroom shrank in fear,
But I stood high who stood at bay:
"And if I answer yea, fair Sir,
What man art thou to bar with nay?"
He was a strong man from the north,
Light-locked, with eyes of dangerous gray:
"Put yea by for another time
In which I will not say thee nay."
He took me in his strong white arms,
He bore me on his horse away
O'er crag, morass, and hair-breadth pass,
But never asked me yea or nay.
He made me fast with book and bell,
With links of love he makes me stay;
Till now I've neither heart nor power
Nor will nor wish to say him nay.
Christina Rossetti

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Menu Planning...

The first thing that I do, when it is time to plan the menu is to look at what is on the family calendar. Does Conrad have an early meeting? Are we hosting game night, so have to have the kitchen cleaned up earlier than usual? Are we having company?

Then I begin with dinner. Some of the dinners that we have when it is a "fast dinner night" are hamburgers, fish sandwiches, frozen conveniences such as frozen pizza. I like to alternate types of meat, or meatless. When the budget doesn't need to be especially tight, and I'm watching my carbs (which I should be doing all of the time), I usually don't plan casseroles. I will plan a meat, two vegetables (one low in carbs) a starch and a fruit. When things are tighter we do lots of casseroles and soups.

This week we have had company. I really try not to go over board with "show-stopping" meals, and this is a real temptation for me.

On Monday, we had Jambalaya, salad, carrots and applesauce
Tuesday, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, Vidalia Onion Casserole and fresh green beans.
Tonight we are having baked macaroni and cheese, salad, stewed tomatoes, and homemade applesauce
Thursday, we are having a roast, with pasta, saute'd zuchini and yellow squash and carrot salad
Friday, I was going to make BBQ sandwiches with slaw, but have changed my mind because I think it will be too acidic for one of our guests who has reflux I'm thinking perhaps potato soup, salad and rolls.
Saturday, a Father's Day dinner of baked spiral sliced ham, pineapple sauce, scalloped potatoes, baked spinach casserole and harvard beets.

Sunday is congregational meal, so I'm going to dice some leftover ham and throw it into a hash brown casserole and make another vidalia onion casserole.

We have been having muffins and fruit for breakfast because our guests are usually hurrying to get to their tours on time. Lunch is leftovers or sandwiches.

I haven't yet planned the menu for my next wave of guests next week. I'll have to see what's on sale this week (the ham was just over a dollar a pound at the Commissary last week.)

Heather asked for my Quiche recipe:
In the bottom of an already baked pie shell, distribute about 3 Tbs grated cheese and one cup of cooked meat, vegetables or a combination.

Mix 3 large eggs blended with enough milk or cream to make 1 1/2 cups. Pour over the contents in pie shell.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Here are some favorite combinations: Cheddar, Chicken and toasted pecans. Salt, tarragon.

Swiss, Crab, green onions. Red pepper, salt.

Swiss, Sausage and Onions.

Swiss, fresh, stemmed, washed, blanched & chopped spinach, minced scallions. Salt, pepper, nutmeg.

Swiss, 6 Sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled. Salt, pepper, nutmeg.

The time of year that we are able to get Vidalia onions on sale is a big event. This is always a great, mild side dish.
Vidalia Onion Casserole:
1/4 cup butter
7 medium vidalia onions, sliced
1/2 cup uncooked rice
3 cups boiling water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
2/3 cups half & half or evaporated milk
Melt butter in a large heavy pan and saute' the onions until soft and transparent, stirring frequently. Cook rice in boiling water 5 minutes. Drain well. Blend rice, onions, cheese and 1/2 & 1/2. Put into a greased shallow baking dish. Bake at 325 for 1 hour. This dish travels well and is still tasty at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer time... and the living is easy...

That song is going through my head this week. The easy part is well...up to interpretation.
Having lots of company in and out is hard, there's lots more work to do, but it's easy on the heart and soul! It is great fun to stay up late talking, even though I pay for it in the morning.
Our guests are here, after a wonderful homeschool convention, the Howards came to our house to rest and worship. Church was packed, and once again, I got choked up with thankfulness for our new pastor - we are so blessed!
I got incredibly tickled when the 7 year old who is staying with us asked me to introduced him to Bill Potter. This young man did an excellent job, shaking his hand vigorously and saying, "Mr. Potter, I have heard your Vision Forum CDs and they are WONDERFUL!" and later, "Mr. Potter, I hope we can have lunch together sometime!" Bill was very gracious. His wife Leslie tells me that he started back when he was 7, his parents gave him a book on oratory and "off he went!".

The mother of our visiting family was not well, yesterday, and spent most of the afternoon and evening resting. She was up again, and quite chipper this morning. I hope that she was able to catch up on her rest. JimBob and their oldest stayed up way to late with us and learned how to play Dutch Blitz, and Pilgrim's Progress. Before going to bed, Rowen told me that he wanted to learn to play PIT the next night.... we'll see!

The Howards are staying with us because of the Jamestown 400 (Conrad says it sounds like a NASCAR race). Many in our church are volunteering so they get to be there. If you are like me and homebound this week, Carmon at Buried Treasure is covering the festivities. I'm loving her posts!

Conrad is working hard at the Shipyard and in his down time is very busy with shepherding God's flock. I and the younger three are holding down the fort. Gaelan is in his last week and a half of academy. He tells me that pepper-spray (I forget what he called it) training is this Wednesday - yuck! Next Wednesday he graduates. Conrad's Mom and mine will be up and so will my sister and her girls. I'm hoping that Kathryn and the girls will be here for Father's Day, which is also a congregational lunch...yay!

What do you do for Father's Day?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Stopping in for a sec...

I wish I could write as well as the inhabitants of the Common Room! I wish I could think as well as they!
Check out these two articles there.
The Spiritual Side of Family
and
News and Views

Good stuff!

Now, back to work... :^)

Monday, May 28, 2007

My favorite painting

"Le Gourmet" Pablo Picasso

Friday, May 25, 2007

Today's the big day!

well...one of them!

The wedding shower I'm hosting is today at 1:00. I'm excited and nervous, as usual, I left more things to be done today, than I ought to have. Oh well, I seem to be able to focus more under pressure.
This evening is game night, but that's no sweat! Three families have signed up to come, that's 30 people (including our 6)! We will have chips and brownies and be loud and silly. Sound like fun? A huge favorite of game night is Chronology (the older version) it is always popular with the older kids and adults. Younger kids like UNO and Hiss!

We have our guests for the Jamestown 400 confirmed and we are so excited. We invited these friends from Bristol to come for a visit a couple of years ago. When they called to ask if we had ideas for a place to stay we were like, "Well duh!" I'm excited!

Right after the Howards leave, we will have a day to get ready for company in for Gaelan's graduation on the 20th. He tells me that a party for him will have to wait as he starts on the job right away. He got the precinct that he requested - South, where all the action is! He is very happy about that. I am usually happy for him, but have my moments of trepidation.
I'm going to have to cross stitch Stonewall's quote for him:

"Captain, my religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me." He added, after a pause, looking me full in the face: "That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave"

Monday, May 21, 2007

Been so busy, haven't had time to post...

Sorry!

I have a list of topics to try to post about, but just can't seem to get myself organized enough to carve out the time to write about something of substance.
As usual, the summer is shaping up to be busy.
The kids and I have been getting ready for guests in June (painting and rearranging) and trying to keep school work going.
Church is very busy with goodbyes for people who are moving away and hellos and moving parties for people moving here.
Conrad and I have a parenting class in our home every other Sunday night, and that is going great! I'm teaching one of the ladies in the class to quilt, so after the class, she and I snuck up into Shayna's room to get some material and supplies. I can't wait to see the finished product!
This week is not as full as last week (there was something going on every night of the week!), but the weekend is full and we have lots to do for that.
I'm hosting a wedding shower luncheon on Friday for one of the young ladies at church and then we are hosting family game night here, that evening. Hey!-the house will already be clean, right? So might as well.
On Sunday afternoon one of the families at church is hosting a big picnic to celebrate his promotion in the Air Force.
Then, things get really busy, in the month of June, we have a wedding the first weekend, the HEAV convention the second weekend, Gaelan graduates the academy the following week (I hope to have some kind of party for that, but he tells me that he may already be working!), then the following week is the Jamestown Celebration as well as a conference that we usually go to, but I think we are opting out this year, since we are so busy.

Are you tired yet? And my head is full of next year's school planning...

This is one of those posts that nobody is really interested in...except perhaps family who wonder where in the world I am. It is, I'm afraid, a guilt post.

Did I mention that my sister and Mom are moving up here sometime this summer? I can't wait!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Preparing for the Lord's Day

“Consider the Lord’s Day an honour and delight. Let your heart be elevated in holy joy, and your lips be employed in the high praises of God. This day more resembles heaven, than any other portion of our time; and we should endeavour to imitate the worship of heaven, according to that petition of the Lord’s prayer — “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Never permit the idea to enter your mind, that the Sabbath is a burden. It is a sad case, when professing Christians are weary of this sacred rest, and say, like some of old, “When will the Sabbath be gone, that we may sell corn, and set forth wheat?” As you improve this day, so probably will you be prospered all the week.”
From Archibald Alexander on the Lord's Day.

I have been wanting to add my voice to some of the discussions going on lately about keeping the Lord’s Day. In keeping with the purpose of my blog, I want to talk about the practical aspects that apply to the homemaker. There is much to talk about!
I think that the first thing that must be talked about is premeditation.
It is very important, that if mother is to have a rest on the Lord’s Day as well, that she plan and work for it all the rest of the week.

Karen Mains in her book, “Making Sunday Special” talks about the rythym of the week with Sunday as the pinnacle. On Monday-Wednesday, we look back to Sunday, and Thursday through Saturday we look forward.

I have made a list of things that must get done for the Lord’s Day. Things such as a meal made (we have to eat!) and clothes cleaned. And then a list of things that ought to get done – it is certainly more restful if the living areas are nice and neat, and we love sitting down to a lovely table on this day of days.

Then I decided what needs to get done in the first part of the week, the looking back part.
On Monday we clean up any leftover mess from Sunday, and there’s plenty! The dishes might not have all gotten clean, only rinsed and stacked. The extra chairs are all out and about if we’ve had company. And dirt was probably tracked in from our ungrassy backyard.
On Tuesday, there are shoes to shine or clean, and perhaps suits to have cleaned. There is also lots of laundry to be done, because we probably have only done what was absolutely necessary on Saturday, leaving the day for other things.

Wednesday is a planning day and because it is often a company day in and of itself, I try to make some dishes that I can also use on Sunday or Saturday.

Thursday and Friday, we make sure that we know where our Sunday clothes are and get them ready if need be. We begin any cooking and preperation for special activities.
Saturday is the day that I always say has three days worth of work in it! Now it doesn’t have to be so, but I am an unorganized person…the things that I plan to do don’t always (should I even say usually?) get done. I might plan to start cooking on Wednesday, but whether I do or not is a question.

On Saturday, I have, in the past tried to get all of my work done by around 1:00 in the afternoon. That way, I had some time to prepare my own heart before our Lord’s Day eve dinner. And do you know what? Having a special dinner on Saturday after which the work stops and the enjoyment of Sunday begins forces me to be more diligent in preparing! We haven’t done a Lord’s Day eve dinner in several years, though we are beginning to think of it again.

Now –a –days, Saturday is filled with baking, cleaning and school planning, and the occasional contra-dance or party. My goal is to be done with everything in time to get a good night’s sleep and not have preparations on my mind as I rise on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Checklist for Planning Each New School Year

I'm beginning to think about the end of the school year, and look forward to the next year. This is actually a dangerous time for me. In our family, we do school all year, so I'm not ready to stop doing what we've been doing all year. BUT, that's old & sometimes even boring, and what we are GOING to be doing sounds exciting and interesting!
Thankfully experience tells me that I do this every year and it is a chance to learn perserverance!

I know that this is the time that a lot of families are finishing up, though, so I wanted to put up my end of the year checklist. I wrote this a couple of years ago so that I would stop reinventing it every year. It takes me a while to catch on!

Procedure for Planning Each School Year:
Out with the old:
1. Gather all of the year's school work. Put in piles by child, in date order. Double check attendance records. (In Virginia, I'm not required to keep an attendance record, I do this for my own benefit. We, as a family do believe that everyday is a school day, but this is a record of my faithfulness to do "seat work".)
2. Choose a representative group of each subject and box up schoolwork. Throw out the remaining papers. (This year, I have done this throughout the year, so it should be easier.)
3. Put lesson plans and books read record in an envelope and put with schoolwork.
4. Evaluate the year - Goals achieved? What worked? What didn't?

In with the new:
1. Make a list of each subject for each child.
2. List materials/ texts for each child. Make a note of needed items.
3. Order curriculum needed, visit homeschool store, homeschool convention.
4. Decide how each subject will be organized. Does it (the text) need to be finished by years end? Can it be done "the next thing" (subjects that you just do until done and then start the next book (such as math).
5. Make up a lesson journal/attendance record. Will some child have his own?
6. Assign folders, spiral notebook or composition ledger to each subject per child. Each year I might do this differently. This year, we only used a 3 ring binder and a spelling folder. My kids are color coded, Green for Gael, Blue for Steven, Red for Isaac, Yellow for Shayna.
7. Look over the first week or two of each subject and plan/gather materials.
8. Order library books for first two weeks. (We are slowly trying to move away from being dependent on the public library system.)
9. Sign up for extra-curriculars - sports, art, music, languages.

A great place for homeschool forms is Donna Young . I have a wonderful "Child's Spiritual Evaluation" form but it is several pages of a Word document. I guess I could put it up as a post in itself... Hmmm. I think I will do that in the future. If you would like a copy, meanwhile, though, email me with your email address and I will send you the file.

Have a great day!

Friday, April 27, 2007

From the Protestant Church of Smyrna

From The Persecution Times comes this horrific reading. Below is altered a bit to allow for reading by the more sensitive reader (that inlcudes me!). Please pray. ~M

I think about this a lot, in fact, there was a time that I was eaten up with the horror of what humans can think to do to each other and what is happening to our brothers and sisters in other countries, the Sudan for instance.

It is important, though for us to be aware and to be praying. In our country, we Christians are so interested in our personal peace and affluence that we don't want to hear or even believe that there are people, children even, living in extreme poverty or being tortured because of the simple fact that they follow Jesus the Messiah.

Do we really think that we too will escape? I pray that were I given the chance to suffer and die for Jesus that I would not shame Him. I pray the same for my children. It is important to raise them on stories of those who are among the mighty army of martyrs. This link is a good one for keeping up on Christian persecutions.For this reason, but mostly so that God's people will pray,

I am posting the following, but recommend it for mature readers:

By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST MinistriesSMYRNA, TURKEY -

Smyrna is an ancient city today known as Izmir in Turkey that was founded at a very early period at a central and strategic point on the Aegean coast of Anatolia.It was the second city to receive a letter from the apostle John in the book of Revelation. Acts 19:10 suggests that the church there was founded during Paul’s third missionary journey. Due to the fact that the port city of Izmir houses the second largest population in Turkey today, the site of ancient Smyrna has been little excavated. Excepting the agora, theater, and sections of the Roman aqueduct, little remains of the ancient city.But there is a protestant church in there that calls itself “The Protestant Church of Smyrna” and it has issued the following letter to the Global Church which was sent to ANS....Dear friends,This past week has been filled with much sorrow. Many of you have heard by now of our devastating loss here in an event that took place in Malatya, a Turkish province 300 miles northeast of Antioch, the city where believers were first called Christians (Acts 11:26).On Wednesday morning, April 18, 2007, 46 year old German missionary and father of three Tilman Geske prepared to go to his office, kissing his wife goodbye taking a moment to hug his son and give him the priceless memory, “Goodbye, son. I love you.”Tilman rented an office space from Zirve Publishing where he was preparing notes for the new Turkish Study Bible. Zirve was also the location of the Malatya Evangelist Church office.
A ministry of the church, Zirve prints and distributes Christian literature to Malatya and nearby cities in Eastern Turkey. In another area of town, 35 year old Pastor Necati Aydin, father of two, said goodbye to his wife, leaving for the office as well. They had a morning Bible Study and prayer meeting that some other believers in town would also be attending. Ugur Yuksel likewise made his way to the Bible study.None of these three men knew that what awaited them at the Bible study was the ultimate testing and application of their faith, which would conclude with their entrance into glory to receive their crown of righteousness from Christ and honor from all the saints awaiting them in the Lord’s presence.On the other side of town, ten young men all under 20 years old put into place final arrangements for their ultimate act of faith, living out their love for Allah and hatred of infidels who they felt undermined Islam.
On Resurrection Sunday, five of these men had been to a by-invitation-only evangelistic service that Pastor Necati and his men had arranged at a hotel conference room in the city. The men were known to the believers as “seekers.” No one knows what happened in the hearts of those men as they listened to the gospel. Were they touched by the Holy Spirit? Were they convicted of sin? Did they hear the gospel in their heart of hearts? Today we only have the beginning of their story.
These young men, one of whom is the son of a mayor in the Province of Malatya, are part of a tarikat, or a group of “faithful believers” in Islam. Tarikat membership is highly respected here; it’s like a fraternity membership. In fact, it is said that no one can get into public office without membership in a tarikat. These young men all lived in the same dorm, all preparing for university entrance exams.The young men got guns, bread knives, ropes and towels ready for their final act of service to Allah. They knew there would be a lot of blood. They arrived in time for the Bible Study, around 10 o’clock.They arrived, and apparently the Bible Study began. Reportedly, after Necati read a chapter from the Bible the assault began.
The boys tied Ugur, Necati, and Tilman’s hands and feet to chairs and as they videoed their work on their cellphones, they tortured our brothers for almost three hours*[Details of the torture–[the DHM omits these, but if you wish to read them click on the link above]Neighbors in workplaces near the print house said later they had heard yelling, but assumed the owners were having a domestic argument so they did not respond.
Meanwhile, another believer Gokhan and his wife had a leisurely morning. He slept in till 10, ate a long breakfast and finally around 12:30 he and his wife arrived at the office. The door was locked from the inside, and his key would not work. He phoned and though it had connection on his end he did not hear the phone ringing inside. He called cell phones of his brothers and finally Ugur answered his phone. “We are not at the office. Go to the hotel meeting. We are there. We will come there,” he said cryptically. As Ugur spoke Gokhan heard in the telephone’s background weeping and a strange snarling sound.
He phoned the police, and the nearest officer arrived in about five minutes. He pounded on the door, “Police, open up!” Initially the officer thought it was a domestic disturbance. At that point they heard another snarl and a gurgling moan. The police understood that sound as human suffering, prepared the clip in his gun and tried over and over again to burst through the door. One of the frightened assailants unlocked the door for the policeman, who entered to find a grisly scene.Tilman and Necati [were dead. Ugur’s was barely alive.]
Three assailants in front of the policeman dropped their weapons.Meanwhile Gokhan heard a sound of yelling in the street. Someone had fallen from their third story office. Running down, he found a man on the ground, whom he later recognized, named Emre Gunaydin. He had massive head trauma and, strangely, was snarling. He had tried to climb down the drainpipe to escape, and losing his balance had plummeted to the ground. It seems that he was the main leader of the attackers. Another assailant was found hiding on a lower balcony.

To untangle the web we need to back up six years. In April 2001, the National Security Council of Turkey (Milli Guvenlik Kurulu) began to consider evangelical Christians as a threat to national security, on equal footing as Al Quaida and PKK terrorism. Statements made in the press by political leaders, columnists and commentators have fueled a hatred against missionaries who they claim bribe young people to change their religion.After that decision in 2001, attacks and threats on churches, pastors and Christians began. Bombings, physical attacks, verbal and written abuse are only some of the ways Christians are being targeted. Most significant is the use of media propaganda.From December 2005, after having a long meeting regarding the Christian threat, the wife of Former Prime Minister Ecevit, historian Ilber Ortayli, Professor Hasan Unsal, Politician Ahmet Tan and writer/propogandist Aytunc Altindal, each in their own profession began a campaign to bring the public’s attention to the looming threat of Christians who sought to “buy their children’s souls”. Hidden cameras in churches have taken church service footage and used it sensationally to promote fear and antagonism toward Christianity.In an official televised response from Ankara, the Interior Minister of Turkey smirked as he spoke of the attacks on our brothers.
Amid public outrage and protests against the event and in favor of freedom of religion and freedom of thought, media and official comments ring with the same message, “We hope you have learned your lesson. We do not want Christians here.”It appears that this was an organized attack initiated by an unknown adult tarikat leader. As in the Hrant Dink murder in January 2007, and a Catholic priest Andrea Santoro in February 2006, minors are being used to commit religious murders because public sympathy for youth is strong and they face lower penalties than an adult convicted of the same crime. Even the parents of these children are in favor of the acts. The mother of the 16 year old boy who killed the Catholic priest Andrea Santoro looked at the cameras as her son was going to prison and said, “He will serve time for Allah.”The young men involved in the killing are currently in custody.
Today news reported that they would be tried as terrorists, so their age would not affect the strict penalty. Assailant Emre Gunaydin is still in intensive care. The investigation centers around him and his contacts and they say will fall apart if he does not recover.The Church in Turkey responded in a way that honored God as hundreds of believers and dozens of pastors flew in as fast as they could to stand by the small church of Malatya and encourage the believers, take care of legal issues, and represent Christians to the media.
When Susanne Tilman expressed her wish to bury her husband in Malatya, the Governor tried to stop it, and when he realized he could not stop it, a rumor was spread that “it is a sin to dig a grave for a Christian.”
In the end, in an undertaking that should be remembered in Christian history forever, the men from the church in Adana (near Tarsus), grabbed shovels and dug a grave for their slain brother in an un-tended hundred year old Armenian graveyard.Ugur was buried by his family in an Alevi Muslim ceremony in his hometown of Elazig, his believing fiancĂ© watching from the shadows as his family and friends refused to accept in death the faith Ugur had so long professed and died for.Necati’s funeral took place in his hometown of Izmir, the city where he came to faith. The darkness does not understand the light.
Though the churches expressed their forgiveness for the event, Christians were not to be trusted. Before they would load the coffin onto the plane from Malatya, it went through two separate xray exams to make sure it was not loaded with explosives. This is not a usual procedure for Muslim coffins.Necati’s funeral was a beautiful event. Like a glimpse of heaven, thousands of Turkish Christians and missionaries came to show their love for Christ, and their honor for this man chosen to die for Christ. Necati’s wife Shemsa told the world, “His death was full of meaning, because he died for Christ and he lived for Christ… Necati was a gift from God. I feel honored that he was in my life, I feel crowned with honor. I want to be worthy of that honor.”Boldly the believers took their stand at Necati’s funeral, facing the risks of being seen publicly and likewise becoming targets. As expected, the anti-terror police attended and videotaped everyone attending the funeral for their future use. The service took place outside at Buca Baptist church, and he was buried in a small Christian graveyard in the outskirts of Izmir.Two assistant Governors of Izmir were there solemnly watching the event from the front row. Dozens of news agencies were there documenting the events with live news and photographs. Who knows the impact the funeral had on those watching?

This is the beginning of their story as well. Pray for them.In an act that hit front pages in the largest newspapers in Turkey, Susanne Tilman in a television interview expressed her forgiveness. She did not want revenge, she told reporters. “Oh God, forgive them for they know not what they do,” she said, wholeheartedly agreeing with the words of Christ on Calvary (Luke 23:34).In a country where blood-for-blood revenge is as normal as breathing, many many reports have come to the attention of the church of how this comment of Susanne Tilman has changed lives. One columnist wrote of her comment, “She said in one sentence what 1000 missionaries in 1000 years could never do.”

The missionaries in Malatya will most likely move out, as their families and children have become publicly identified as targets to the hostile city. The remaining 10 believers are in hiding. What will happen to this church, this light in the darkness? Most likely it will go underground. Pray for wisdom, that Turkish brothers from other cities will go to lead the leaderless church. Should we not be concerned for that great city of Malatya, a city that does not know what it is doing? (Jonah 4:11)When our Pastor Fikret Bocek went with a brother to give a statement to the Security Directorate on Monday they were ushered into the Anti-Terror Department. On the wall was a huge chart covering the whole wall listing all the terrorist cells in Izmir, categorized. In one prominent column were listed all the evangelical churches in Izmir. The darkness does not understand the light.

“These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” (Acts 17:6)Please pray for the Church in Turkey. “Don’t pray against persecution, pray for perseverance,” urges Pastor Fikret Bocek.The Church is better having lost our brothers; the fruit in our lives, the renewed faith, the burning desire to spread the gospel to quench more darkness in Malatya …all these are not to be regretted. Pray that we stand strong against external opposition and especially pray that we stand strong against internal struggles with sin, our true debilitating weakness.

This we know. Christ Jesus was there when our brothers were giving their lives for Him. He was there, like He was when Stephen was being stoned in the sight of Saul of Tarsus.Someday the video of the deaths of our brothers may reveal more to us about the strength that we know Christ gave them to endure their last cross, about the peace the Spirit of God endowed them with to suffer for their beloved Savior. But we know He did not leave their side. We know their minds were full of Scripture strengthening them to endure, as darkness tried to subdue the un-subduable Light of the Gospel. We know, in whatever way they were able, with a look or a word, they encouraged one another to stand strong. We know they knew they would soon be with Christ.We don’t know the details. We don’t know the kind of justice that will or will not be served on this earth.
But we pray– and urge you to pray– that someday at least one of those five boys will come to faith because of the testimony in death of Tilman Geske, who gave his life as a missionary to his beloved Turks, and the testimonies in death of Necati Aydin and Ugur Yuksel, the first martyrs for Christ out of the Turkish Church.

Reported by Darlene N. Bocek (24 April 2007)Note from the church: Please pass this on to as many praying Christians as you can, in as many countries as you can. Please always keep the heading as “From the Protestant Church of Smyrna” with this contact information:izmirprotestan@gmail.com http://www.izmirprotestan.org

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Steven!


Today is Steven’s 19th birthday. I have struggled with what to write…as you all know, I’m no writer and I have difficulty putting what I want to say down on paper. Also, the things that we enjoy about Steven are not so easy to describe…they are attitudes, and gestures…things that show his heart to us, but not easy to put into words. But, I’ll try.

We used to be worried that Steven would be swept away by peer pressure - he loved his friends so much. But we see that his love for his friends has helped him to learn how to urge them on to greater godliness, to “call them on the carpet” if need be. We have seen that Steven is an exhorter, and we are thankful.

We used to be worried about Steven’s diligence to do what he ought…he really struggled with that in his early teen years, but also all through high school. But, Steven has risen to his calling, though and diligently studies “morning, noon, and night”. He is doing very well in college and has grown in his writing abilities. His English teacher has said that he is an “exceptional writer”. I have seen him working on a paper, it has taken great diligence on his part (I bet he would say, “blood, sweat and tears”).

We used to worry that Steven would be in rebellion - he has such strong ideas. It took him some time to learn how to speak them in a way that was respectful of authority. But, Steven treats his father and I with much deference and affection. His strong ideas continue to show his worldview which is one that glorifies God and we are thankful that he is so headstrong in this way!

Steven insisted on driving me and Shayna to a friend’s house a couple of evenings ago. We were invited to watch a movie, and finding out that we would be watching it on their laptop (their household is packed up in boxes ready to move) he offered to bring a television and DVD player and set it up for us. He did this and though they offered to bring us home, he insisted again, that I call him to pick us up. He remembers to get the doors for me, car doors as well as the regular kind and is always solicitous and gentle with me. Steven always remembers to hug and kiss me and I am so grateful for such small gestures! I think that one of the things that I will miss most when he goes off to “leave & cleave” one day is our conversations. Steven understands how important it is to me to “just talk” - I’m a quality time kind of person. He seems to understand that I need to talk things out, often to figure them out. He tells me his opinions, and what’s going on in his life, and he “calls me on the carpet” sometimes too.

Conrad and I are so thankful for the children that God has been pleased to bless us with. Each of them is unique and special…a real joy to us. Steven is not the least of these. Last year, I put the text of Psalm 1, but this year, I just want to put up a few verses:

1 The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son grief to his mother. Prov. 10:1

1 A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke. Prov. 13:1

15 My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad;
16 my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. Prov. 23:15,16

The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him. Prov.23:24

Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt. Prov. 27:11

“4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. 6If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 8For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
9This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance 10(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.
11Command and teach these things. 12Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. (13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.)15Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.
16Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
I Timothy 4:4-15

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A bragging post...for family and close friends.

Just thought I'd warn you!

A couple of days ago, Gaelan came quietly into the room I was in after having arrived home from work. "I need to go run an errand, do you need anything?" I answered no and that dinner wouldn't be for a while.
Later that evening, I noticed that he was sitting at the table with his college diploma. I recalled that he had gotten notice that it was ready to be picked up and surmised that that was what his errand was. "That looks like your diploma, may I look at it?" He shrugged and slid it over to me. It is very pretty, but the thing I noticed was the gold banner that said, "Magna Cum Laude". "Gaelan!, you didn't tell us that you had graduated at the top of your class!" Another shrug.

As I was telling the story to his father, Gaelan lounging in the library with us, I remarked that like a good homeschooler, Gaelan didn't set much store in what the "educrats"say. He obviously didn't think it was significant that he had earned a "Summa Cum Laude". Gaelan says, apparently disinterested from his chair, "that's Magna, Mom."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Prayers of the Church

This prayer was prayed at church yesterday during worship. I want to meditate on it this week.

Father in heaven, we raise our voices in thanksgiving to You, confessing that we are unable in ourselves to do good or to seek after You. Left to ourselves, we seek only our own peace, our own comfort, our own pleasure. It is Your Holy Spirit who works in us, giving us hearts to love You, changing us, and sanctifying us and our desires so that we may truly seek to glorify You in all that we do. So we pray, dear Father, that You would soften our hearts to hear Your Word, and quiet our wills that we may be guided by Your Spirit. Enable us to see past our own fleshly desires so that, in all we do, Lord, may we seek Your honor and glory.

We pray for the hastening of the day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that You are the One, True God and that salvation is found in none other than Your Son. Continue to work in Your people to make our efforts effective for the advancement of Your kingdom. Use us as leaven to work in the world around us, transforming lives, throwing down everything that sets itself up in opposition to You, and bringing all things into subjection to Your throne of grace. Give us boldness to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those around us, and grant that our words would go forth in power to bring the multitudes into Your Church.

Give us also a burning desire to see Your Church built up in faith and good works, washed by the water of Your Word, and cleansed from every spot and wrinkle, that we might be presented to You perfected at the end of time as a Bride for our Bridegroom, Christ Jesus. Give us a sense of urgency to minister within your Church, seeking not only to bless, but also to edify and to exhort one another unto holiness in our lives. Use our worship—the preaching of Your Word, the singing of praise, our prayers and the celebration of the sacraments—to nurture in us an abiding desire to walk worthy of our calling as Christians. Remind us of the privilege that is ours to lift up before You our fellow saints throughout the world, and especially those who worship in the face of persecution and martyrdom. Comfort them with the knowledge that their trials are a fleeting thing compared to the glory that awaits them in the world to come.

Lastly Father, we pray for our needs. We lift up to You all those who suffer from illness, infirmity, and difficult circumstances. We pray first of all for peace and a faithful witness in the midst of trials. We pray that You would be glorified in how we respond to adversity, and that Your strength would be made perfect in our weakness. Remind us that You love us, and that everything You bring into our lives is done out of love for us, Your children. Keep us faithful to You as we seek after healing, as we seek after work, as we look forward to moving and to the birth of new children. And in all this, Lord, grant us what we need. Give us this day our daily bread. In Your mercy, grant us healing, jobs, homes, and safe delivery of children.

Heavenly Father, where there is sin in our lives, root it out and grant us repentance. Where there is complacency, give us zeal for You and Your kingdom. Where there is pride, humble us. Where there is corruption, grant us a desire for purity in thought, word, and deed. Where there is anger and bitterness, grant us a desire for peace. Where there is selfishness, grant us generosity and abundant love. Where there are idols in our lives, give us the desire and the determination to cast them down. And in their place, may we exalt You, our glorious God and King.

We ask all this in confidence, knowing that as we seek Your will for our lives and as we sincerely desire to obey You in all things, we know that You will lead us not into temptation but will deliver us from the Evil One. And so we lift all these prayers up to You and rest in the knowledge that You are our faithful covenant keeping God, praying through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.