Sunday, September 28, 2014

5 Things You Should Teach Your Kids about Science

Jesse has subscribed to "Popular Science" for several years.  While I was teaching high school science I sometimes had students write summaries on articles for extra credit.  As with most magazines, we realize it has a secular humanism, pro-evolution bias.  Usually the bias doesn't directly attack Christianity.  Sadly, this month's edition did.


Popular Science's September 2014 issue cover
See their website here.
The front of the magazine reads, "Nerd Fight!  Bill Nye Will Save Science in America-or Go Down Swinging."  As you can see, next to these words is a picture of Bill Nye (yes, the "science guy") with his hands bandaged and fists up for a fight.  The article is referring to the recent debate at the Creation Museum outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, between Bill Nye and Ken Ham.  If you follow this blog then you know that I watched this debate.  It wasn't perfect, but Ham presented the gospel so the ultimate objective was achieved.

Why should we be concerned about the cover of a science magazine?

Because it clearly reveals the formal position of "science" in our culture:  blatantly anti-Christian.  This is hard proof that the secular humanists that write textbooks and magazines are not unbiased or neutral as many like to believe; they are fighting against the existence of God. (As demonstrated by Bill Nye's fists.)  There is no such thing as neutral, even in math and science.  If you thought that the science your third grader was learning was neutral and "God-friendly," consider this your wake-up call (or punch.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Walker Quiet Book


Last Monday (the 21st) Karl turned two years old!  The weekend before his birthday we went on a train ride with him to celebrate.  Jesse's parents were able to come along too.  Karl is SO much fun.  His personality shines through a little more every day, and I think it's a lot like Jesse's.  He likes things orderly and he wants to understand how things work.  He likes dance parties in the kitchen, playing in water, doing puzzles, eating twizzlers and making messes.  He is a toddler.  Thanks to EC, he is almost completely potty trained.  He takes off his diaper and runs to the potty and goes all on his own!




We finally turned him to face forward for our train trip.  










Showing his birthday card that played "Who Let the Dogs Out" to the little girl behind us


























For his second birthday I made Karl a quiet book.  I can't exactly remember how I got the idea, but I'm guessing I saw it on a blog that I follow.  And if I made one, you could too.

This was a lot of work.  As you can see from the cover, it is the WALKER quiet book.  Not the KARL quiet book.  I do not plan on making another book-it really is that much work.  I may add more pages over the years, but that's it.

I am not a crafty person.  I try, but I don't have a natural knack for creating beautiful things (like my mother-in-law.)  I taught myself to crochet via YouTube videos so I could replay the video multiple (as in hundreds of) times.  I skipped home economics in high school thinking it was a blow-off class.  My mom and MIL sewed clothes for their children.  On the couple skirts I've sewn, I used fabric glue for places the thread missed.  I am no Caroline Ingalls.  All this is to say, again, if I made one, you could too.

Despite the work, I am thankful that I made this book because:
  1. It helped me learn my sewing machine and to better sew
  2. It was fun to be creative with making some of the pages
  3. It will keep the kids quiet and entertained (hopefully)
  4. It teaches Biblical principles and character qualities
  5. It is educational (well, some of it is)
  6. It's a fun keepsake


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Disney Wedding and Disney World with 2 under 2

Last month we went to a Disney World wedding!  Congrats Megan and Erik!!!  It truly was magical.  

We weren't able to check into our hotel and pick up our stroller before the wedding because of flight delays (I changed and did hair/makeup on the bus from the airport) so I ended up holding Maggie most of the evening, which correlates to not a lot of picture-taking.  But it was a lot of fun and so special because of the couple and because it's Disney!!


Cinderella


The couple had pictures taken around Magic Kingdom two days after their wedding.  They had to be there really early in the morning before the park opened.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Renewed Focus for (weary) Moms

First of all, since I've been asked this question more than once I'll answer it here:  having two kiddos is SO MUCH FUN!!  Yes, it's more exhausting.  Yes, Karl sometimes gets jealous.  But the days fly by, Karl is anxious to play with his new best friend (next to Dada of course,) and it's wonderful having a little girl.  I am so grateful for my precious family!

Anyway.


My big prayer request since I have had Margaret has been to seek God first post-partum.  I made excuses and let my relationship with Him slide after having Karl and missed out on a lot of joy.  At the time I most needed God's grace and strength just to get through another day I tried to do it on my own.  Of course I failed.  


Here are some things I have consciously done differently this time around to keep that relationship strong:

  • Reading:  When I was up for midnight nursing sessions with Karl, I watched shows on Netflix to stay awake.  This time around I read books.  Reading God-glorifying books has helped keep my focus where it needs to be-on Him.  I try to read something every time I sit down to nurse if Karl and time allows.  I don't read just anything; I have learned to be discerning in what I read.  I read Christian books with a focus on better glorifying God.  **See excerpts that have encouraged me underneath this bulleted list**  I agree with this blogger's post in that many Christian books, while well-meaning, are not worth our time because they are more how-can-God-help-me centered than how-can-I-better-glorify-God centered. Subtle yet huge difference.  Do research and be careful in what you read even if it's a Christian author.
  • Quiet Time:  I will admit it doesn't happen every day, but for the most part I pray through my prayer list and read three chapters, and their footnotes, out of the Bible (making sure to pray that the Holy Spirit enlightens me as I read-all knowledge comes from Him.)  I don't always do this when it's quiet.  I usually have a not-so-quiet time while nursing (if Karl is occupied) or when Karl is napping.  Nothing is more rewarding than time invested in a relationship with God through prayer and reading His word!!
  • Listening to Sermons or Music:  We all have days where life is just crazy and no reading is going to happen.  So I try to put a sermon or at least uplifting music of some sort in the background (and have dance parties with Karl.)  I am still enjoying this Systematic Theology series with Elder Jim McClarty.  He is going over Pneumatology right now, which is the study of the Holy Spirit.   I have enjoyed memorizing the Westminster Shorter Catechism through this CD and plan to buy some Seeds Family Worship CD's for memorizing scripture at the Teach Them Diligently homeschool conference we're attending this weekend.
  • Following Bloggers:  You really have to be discerning in who you follow, but following women further down the road than I am has been extremely challenging and encouraging.  Read this post and you'll see what I mean.
  • Putting up Bible Verses:  I did this while still pregnant with Maggie, and they really have been helpful.  On a day I'm about to fall asleep standing up, I can read a verse like Galatians 6:9 to meditate on and, by God's grace, keep going.
  • Choose Gratefulness:  Sing praises to God, clap for Him with your toddler, thank Him for the trials because He is making you more Christlike, thank Him for who He is throughout the day, thank Him that your salvation has nothing to do with your good works because you just messed up--again. (Nancy Leigh DeMoss's book Choosing Gratitude is wonderful!)
  • Use Prayer Targets:  This is an idea from the Duggar girls' new book.  When the enemy tries to cause discontentment by dwelling on my exhaustion or frustration when Karl disobeys for the 80th time that day, I have predetermined prayer targets that I start to pray for.  Instead of giving Satan a foothold and allowing myself to dwell on my discontent, I begin to pray for my friends.  I pray for friends and family who are truly hurting from miscarriage, broken marriages or depression.  Quickly my own discontentment, along with Satan, flees.  
  •  TV:  Yes, I mean television.  Jesse and I don't watch TV (unless you count Netflix,) but I do sometimes turn on the Smile of a Child Network for Karl.  Although I'm not a fan of its parent company (TBN,) I am very thankful for this channel.  Sometimes I need to nurse at the same time Karl is starting to get rowdy.  So at times I will turn on a show while I'm nursing so that he will chill out.  This particular channel has a lot of great Christian children programming.  Some shows teach ABC's, counting and science.  Others teach character values, Bible stories and Biblical principles.  Commercials teach Bible verses.  We don't turn on the TV often, but when I do I'm thankful to have this station!  I am almost always encouraged by a verse or lesson.
  • Have a Mentor:  I am SO thankful to have a Christian woman (outside of my mother and MIL-they are great too!) that I can look up to spiritually.  Her Biblical insight and wisdom has helped me many times.  God graciously worked out this connection for me because she was also my teacher mentor my first year of teaching.  You may have to put yourself out there by asking a woman you respect if they will mentor you, but the return is worth the awkwardness.  Thank you Kim!!!


Reading has been one of my greatest helps in keeping on-track spiritually post-partum.  I have been so encouraged by some of the books I read that I can't help but share some of my favorite quotes from them.  They are all worth reading in full!

Growing Up Duggar
Jana, Jill (just got married on Saturday,) Jinger and Jessa Duggar

This is the first book by some of the Duggar children-featured in TLC's "19 Kids and Counting" (the parents have already authored two books, which are also very good.)  The book is geared toward young single women, but it also has A LOT of parenting tips.  They included information about the Obedience Game, making a wise appeal, how their parents intimately get to know all 19 kids, keep their children from becoming rebellious in the teenage years, how they encourage siblings to be best friends, how they handle conflict between siblings, how they pursue courtships/marriage and why, their personal convictions about media and dress, and much more.  I was pleasantly surprised with how much I got out of this book.
Contentment is realizing that God has provided everything we need for our present happiness.  Another key is recognizing the 'unchangeable' things in our life and choosing to live joyfully with them. 
This means that as we trust God, He will work all siguations to turn out for eventual good in our lives.  So instead of getting angry and upset when things don't go our way, we need to thank God and look for the benefits that can come from the situation.  He has promised that even the seemingly bad will work out for our good! 
She gave me a great mental exercise:  every time the devil tries to tempt you to be fearful, to believe lies about yourself...take the focus off yourself by quoting God's Word and praying for someone else.  Satan definitely doesn't want you praying, so eventually he'll back off! 
Think about your last conversation wit your friend.  Did it lovingly challenge him or her spiritually?...Jesus did not say to make friends but to make disciples! 
Our parents have stressed that it's not a sin on our part if Satan randomly throws an impure thought into our heads, but it is a sin to dwell on the temptations.  Don't send yourself on a guilt trip because you're being tempted. 
All things start in the mind and grow into actions, and there's almost nothing our human mind won't try to rationalize away. 
Television is being used as a babysitter and a way to keep kids occupied, but often parents don't realize it is a teacher and that kids are like sponges, soaking up everything they are being taught.  Parents say, 'I don't want you talking to me like that!' but then they turn right around and set their kids down in front of a television screen where they are being taught that this behavior is acceptable and the way to be 'cool.' 
We remembered Dad's words to us growing up:  God sees everyone the same.  We are all sinners.  So we can never compare ourselves to others and think that we are somehow better than they are. 
They are delighted with the thought of Jesus being our Savior, which literally means that He forgives our sins and saves us from judgement and spending eternity in hell.  But they're not willing to give Him the place of Lord and Master, which means giving Him authority over and control of their daily life and allowing Him to remove anything from their lives that He doesn't approve of.  But what they don't realize is that they can't have one without the other.  If Jesus is your Savior, He also takes the position of your Lord and Master.  (So many people seem to misunderstand this truth.)
Whenever she would meet a family with older or grown kids who turned out well-especially families whose kids didn't go through a stage of rebellion-she would ask a lot of questions.  She was never afraid to ask, and she's always sincere in wanting to know because she understand that a child's future depends largely on the foundations laid and principles taught to them when they were young. 
Gratefulness is one of the most important character qualities a parent can instill in the lives of their children, and it is vital too do it while they are young. 
We all consider our home a ministry center that God has given us to use as a place where we can encourage others spiritually and enjoy special times of fellowship. 

Tedd Tripp
I read this awhile back, but felt I should include it.  (I just typed up a synopsis and some quotes to share with Jesse anyway.)  This is one of my favorite parenting books and I highly recommend it for any Christian parent.    
A change in behavior that does not stem from a change of heart is not commendable; it is condemnable. 
You teach your children to function in the culture on its terms.  How do we do this?  We pander to their desires and wishes.  We teach them to find their should’s delight in going places and doing things.  We attempt to satisfy their lust for excitement.  We fill their young lives with distractions from God.  We give them material things and take delight in their delight in possessions.  Then we hope that somewhere down the line they will see that a life worth living is found only in knowing and serving God. 
You can use your insight into the nature of temptation to help them understand their own battles.  You can also encourage your children that the unending grace and mercy that you  have found in Jesus Christ is offered to them as well.  In him there is righteousness that we cannot produce, forgiveness that we cannot merit, and power that we cannot generate.  
Your children must understand what it means to repent, not just ‘of all my sins’ in some generalized way, but of specific sins f heart idolatry.  They need to know the cleansing and refreshing forgiveness of God, not just once to get saved, but daily.  They must understand the Christian life not simply as living according to a biblical code, but as life in faith, commitment, and fellowship with the living God. 


Grounding is not designed to do something for the child; it is designed to do something against him.  It is not corrective-simply punitive.  It is popular because it is easy.  Grounding does not address the issues of the heart in a biblical way.  The heart is being addressed, but it is addressed wrongly.  

When experts tell you that you must find what works with each child, they are saying you must find the idols of the heart that will move each child. 

When a child knows that all his life you have sought to see the world through his eyes, he will trust you.  When he knows that you have not tried to make him like you or like anybody else, but only sought to help hijm realize his full potential as a creature God made to know him and live in the relationship of fellowship with him, he will trust you.  The result is obvious:  your words will have weight.




Loving the Little Years

Rachel Jankovic
I read this one on my Kindle and probably highlighted about 40% of it.  It is a very short book with very short chapters (hooray!)  This book is a wonderful read for a mother with littles at home.  I stopped typing quotes when I was about 60% through the book-just too much to type!
The state of your heart is the state of your home.  You cannot harbor resentment secretly toward your children and expect their hearts to be submissive and tender. 
God has given us the job of teaching His law and demonstrating His grace. 
Now try thinking of discipline as a different kind of nourishment-a sweet means of grace to your children.  Bring that to the table with a smile and a wink-a means of building up little people, not a means of bringing them down.  Make a point of telling them all about how you love them-with a lot of good solid points. 
Treat sins that your children struggle with like basic math.  Practice, practice, and you'll get it! 
If the sins have changed, it can be a sign of growth. 
Setting behaviors into stories is a great way to communicate with your little people.  Got a boy hitting a sister?  Tell him about a brave knight who went out to fight the dragon but started hitting the princess instead.  Give the children a chance to get outside themselves and see their behavior as it plays out in a story. 
Little girls need help sorting out their emotions-not so that they can wallow in them, but so they can learn to control them...We tell our girls that their feelings are like horses-beautiful spirited horses.  But they are the riders. 
So make sure that before you start rebuking them your own heart is in order.  Thank God for the headache.  Thank Him for these prime opportunities to teach. 
God gave me this to do.  I may not be overwhelmed about it...Actually, I may be overwhelmed, but I may not say that I am overwhelmed!  The words have a real power over us.  If you say it, you will allow it for yourself.   You give yourself that little bit of room to say, "But I can't!" 
Deciding not to say it is different than never actually being in over your head.  But God loves a cheerful worker.  I am still frequently in over my head.  Actually, most of the time!  But deciding to not wallow in that fact has removed one of the biggest obstacles to my work-my own calculation of how hard the job is.

Then, I would tell myself that in twenty minutes this would be over. 
So while your children are little, cultivate an attitude of sacrifice.  Sacrifice your peace for their fun. 
Fat souls are better than clean floors.  They were so delighted to be in the thick of it-dinner was late, I could have slept standing up, and we were doing exactly the right thing-throwing flour around the kitchen. 
We should not be trying to fix it up to put it back on the shelf out of harm's way or to try to make ourselves look like nothing ever happened.  Your body is a tool.  Use it...One of the greatest testimonies Christian women can have in our world today is the testimony of joyfully giving your body to another. 
If you want some quality "me time," make a date with your husband.  Do something special with your children.  These people are you.  Your identity is supposed to be intertwined-that is the way God wrote the story, and it is the way He intends us to read it. 
Say your two-year-old son is defiant.  Imagine he looks a consequence-you-in the face and laughs.  You should see virtue in that sin. He has a personality that has the potential for facing good conflict and not running.  He also has the potential for being disobedient to godly authority-as you just discovered.  It is the parent's duty to take this raw product and shape it with discipline until it is a virtue and not a vice.

Choosing Gratitude
Nancy Leigh DeMoss
This book is good for anyone in any walk of life.  The author is a woman who never married or had children.  The book is perception-changing and God-glorifying.  After reading it, I have found this equation to be true:
Gratitude -> joy and peace -> contentment 
If you struggle with having contentment, I recommend this book.
But I want to suggest that as challenging as your situation or your season of life may be, your frame of mind likely has less to do with your distressing circumstances than with your need to develop a thankful heart. 
Any time our focus is on ourselves-even if it's on the good things we're doing-it keeps us from being grateful for what others are contributing. 
It is simply true that the person who has chosen to make gratitude his or her mind-set and lifestyle can view anything-anything!-through the eyes of thankfulness. 
The only people who can sustain a consistent flow of thanksgiving between them and God are those who know who, what, and where they'd be if He hadn't intervened and saved them from themselves. 
Giving of thanks is an indicator of our true heart condition.  Those who have been made righteous by the grace of God will be thankful people. 
The test of faith and surrender to the will of God is the ability to express thanks before we know how He will respond. 
A grateful heart is God-centered and others-conscious, while an ungrateful person is self-centered and self-conscious. 
Do you tend to be more focused on your own needs and feelings or on blessing and serving God and meeting the needs of others? 
People with grateful hearts are easily contented, while ungrateful people are subject to bitterness and discontent. 
Hear what people are saying when they talk about the everyday events of their lives, and you'll see in an instant the difference between gratitude and ingratitude. 
But I know that You are god, and whatever you do is for my good and Your glory.  So by faith I choose to give you thanks. 
But first, you need to tell God you're going there.  Tell Him you're going to begin letting your salvation be more than a once-upon-a-time event, but rather a daily cause for celebration and wonder.

Large Family Logistics

Kim Brenneman
Don't let the title fool you-this book is not just for mothers with lots of kids.  This book has principles and ideas for women who don't have children at all.  The book has two parts.  The first part has overall pictures of how to run a successful home, concentrating on having a God-glorifying attitude.  The second part goes into detail of how she runs her home-chore time, kitchen day, gardening, how to handle pregnancy and post-partum, etc.  This is a great book for a newlywed or new mom.  I have heard its praises sung on countless blogs and from personal friends.  At this point in my life with only very small children, I was most convicted about the heart issues she addressed.  However, this book will remain in an easy-to-reach spot on my bookshelf because I already know I will be going back to it for ideas as my kiddos grow up.  Oh, and the book is selling for $50ish on Amazon right now.  Check back later-eventually it will go back down to $25--not sure why that happens.
Even as you give physical food to your children, you should read the Scriptures and pray with them with just as much effort.  
It comes when we see our work as wives and mothers as He sees it-not as drudgery, but as a high and noble calling that bears eternal fruit. 
That is why we must be so gracious with each other; God is working on us all in different ways. 
Guard your hearts against this by daily confessing your sins and by staying sensitive toward your own bad attitudes.  Don’t become callous in your heart toward God. 
Do you use the TV to keep your children out of the way?  Are you relieved when your children are gone from the house for a day, or a few days?  Is the law of kindness on your tongue?  How often do you sigh?   Oh, these are hard-hitting questions, and we are all guilty of sinful thoughts that are further expressed in action. 
If you complain, your children will complain.  Don’t complain about your children; that is the biggest joy-squisher of all!  It is terribly demoralizing and will destroy your relationships with them.  Don’g complain to your friends about your children, don’t complain online about your children.  Simply do not complain!  It is a bad habit you need to break.  When you catch yourself complaining, turn it around into a praise.  
children are not a burned to escape or endure; they are a blessing that drives us to Christ because we are incapable of parenting well without Him.  God is who we need.  While there are helpful strategies we can employ in order to have a more peaceful day with our children, the number one thing we must do is to deny Self and cling to the cross. 
Little things are part of life with little people.  I had to get over my habit of an irritated attitude.  Really, I was making an idol of Self, as usual.  I wanted things to go my way.  
The blessings that come with motherhood far outweigh the trails, small and large, that come along with it.  The world would have us think that we are burdened by our families and that we need to do certain things in order to retain sanity.  Reject this thought.  By keeping our focus on Jesus, ordering our days in peaceful ways, and building relationships with others that bless the whole family, we can find refreshment in ways that honor him  
When somebody spills something on the clean floor, teach the children to handle a spill with grace as you hand them a little wet towel to quick-mop it with a smile and not a sigh.  A good attitude on the part of you, who teaches that good attitude to her children, makes for a happy home.  
Look at the long physically hard days as the blessing that they are.  This is the school of sanctification.  God is growing you...improve your attitude towards it by choosing to see it as a growth opportunity.  

I hope that some of these excerpts from these great books has helped y'all as much as they have helped me.  I hope we can all share good resources with each other as we all strive toward unity in Christ.  If you have a book that was especially helpful to you as a mother, please send it along or share some helpful quotes!!  Thank you!


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Barn Completion Party!!

Jesse designed the invitation in an engineering program and then had a brand made of it.  So yes, this is an invitation on a piece of wood.

A couple weekends ago Jesse had his barn completion party!!  There was not a set time on the party.  It was a casual, come-and-go affair that lasted from noon til about 9 p.m.   Rick and Travis (Jesse's dad and brother) cooked hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill (thank you for letting us borrow your grill Riveras!)  The women helped make dirt cake, cut up all the vegetable condiments for the burgers and chase after Karl.  Thanks to everyone who helped (especially the Walkers, Susan and Rachel)!!!

Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated Jesse's (almost three years of) hard work!!

Here are a few pictures that Annie and Sarah took at the party...
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