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Archive for August, 2008

Back in the days of the Old Testament, God raised up a young Jewish orphan girl as the Queen of Persia.  Her name was Esther.  She attained her position of power because the king admired her beauty and character, but in reality, God raised her to the throne for a very important reason:  to intervene in an evil plot to destroy her people, the Jews.  Her cousin who had served has her guardian encouraged Esther to take the very courageous step of confronting the king with this terrible plot with these words:  “and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”  Esther 4:14b

This story has come to my mind this week as I have witnessed the quick rise of Sarah Palin, John McCain’s running mate for Vice President of the United States.  This strong woman has already made her beliefs, values, and stands known as she has served as the governor of Alaska.  I admire her personal application of her pro-life beliefs as she chose to raise, love, and cherish her little boy whom she knew would have Down’s Syndrome.  So many of these kids are victims of abortion, but the Palins correctly saw that God had chosen them to raise this precious boy.  Her clear vision is rare in these days, but perhaps she has, like Esther, come to the kingdom for such a time as this.

I am praying for you, Governor Palin.  I am praying that you will stand true to your convictions and to your Creator.  We are honored to have you running for our nation’s next vice presidency.

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This week John’s first project for ABeka Academy DVD School 6th Grade is due.  It is an Adopt-A-Tree poster and report for his science class taught by Mr. Howe.  For this project, John was supposed to pick out a tree to study, write a brief report, and make a poster about his selected tree.  He chose the Littleleaf Linden tree.  Here is his written report:

The tree I chose for my report was the Littleleaf Linden Tree.  I found one at the Northwest Kansas Research Extension Center.  They can grow up to 90 feet tall, although that is unusual.  The one I saw had a circumference at eye level of 35 inches, and at knee level 37 inches.  Littleleaf Lindens have fragrant flowers and their berries look like little cantaloupes.  The berries have a leaf-like structure beside them.

One interesting fact about these lindens is that it changes shape as it matures.  Another interesting fact is that it is one of the types of trees that grows by the Statue of Liberty.  It has been used for medicine also.

The Littleleaf Linden tree has been cultivated for a long time.  It is a good shade tree, and is very interesting.

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Adopt without fear of your failure, but with confidence in knowing that God has
led you to this decision. “Fear not for I am with you,” says the Lord. In all you
do and in all you face here on earth as Christians, the Lord is with you. God
blesses those that give of their heart. What better way to bless a child than to
offer them your love through adoption.

Fearing the things of this earth will only lead to stress, anxiety, and a lack of
self-confidence. In the Bible there are several scriptures that address how
Christians should approach every decision they make objectively, with self-
control, and within obedience to God’s will.

Doubt comes from the voices we allow ourselves to hear. This voice is not of
God, but of Satan. If you’ve studied the Word of God closely, prayed for
answers, and given yourself over to the Lord in complete acceptance of His
decision; Satan will plant doubt, confusion, and frustration within your mind if
you’re not careful.

God Calls You Fear ONLY HIM
Deuteronomy 6:13 (NIV) “Fear the LORD your God, serve Him only and
take your oaths in His name.”
God is the only one you shall fear. Not
man, not yourself, not even Satan shall be your cause of fear.
God Calls You to Adopt Romans 8:15, 23, and 9:4 “received the Spirit of
adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!”
Through Christ Jesus
redemption.

The Bible supports in over 20 scriptures God’s approval of adoption. He
encourages and instructs us to be carriers of the fatherless. Adopting a child is
a huge step. It requires a special type of individual to take in a child and care
for them. What you do not realize is that if you are drawn to adopt a child, God
has already chosen you to be an adopted parent. He will give you a drive like
no other to pursue adoption. The mere existence of such a drive will reassure
you that God has a plan for you. Recognize it, thank God for it, and do not
become fearful.

God Calls You to Love
Deuteronomy 6:5 (NIV) “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and
with all your soul and with all your strength.”
Love is the greatest
commandment of all. We are to love thy neighbor as yourselves and this
extends to the children of this earth.

Adopt a child and you will see for yourself the joy a hug can bring to that child’s
face. If you are adopting a preschool age child, the rewards of your decision to
adopt are immediate. Imagine taking a child into your arms that has lost his or
her parents in a fire and needs nothing more than a secure hug from
someone who cares. Instantly, the child welcomes the acceptance of an adult
that wants to care for them. The hug back says, “Please take me home.”

WHAT IS LOVE?


LOVE IS gentle and caring,
LOVE IS understanding and acceptance,
LOVE IS giving of yourself and your time,
LOVE IS being there when it counts the most,
And LOVE IS caring for a child God has sent to you.

God smiles upon couples that make this important decision not out of
selfishness or with high expectations, but out of love and in obedience to His
word. You can expect all type of emotions during the adoption process. Don’t
be afraid to extend your hand, heart, and home to a child. Adopt knowing
you’re following God’s plan for your life.

Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P. is a speaker and award-winning author of two books, Adopting Online and Adoption: Your Step-by-Step Guide. Mardie is also the talk show host of Let’s Talk Adoption.com with Mardie Caldwell. For more information email Mardie Caldwell

Article Source: http://www.wahm-articles.com

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As promised in my last entry, I wanted to write a little bit about how we got into scouts and why we value it.

Neither Dan nor I are from scouting families, so this is a first generation experiment!  We did not get involved in scouts until a little more than a year ago.  We had previously been involved in a church that had an AWANA program, but around that time we decided to attend a different church where the Word of God was more boldly and clearly taught.  We love our new church.  It is a smaller church that did not have a mid-week program for our kids, so we began to look for alternative activities.

We had friends involved in scouts, so that is where we turned.  Little did we know, though, how ignorant we were about what scouting really is all about.  Oh, I knew they camped and did “outdoorsy” stuff, but I had no idea how many projects and programs are available.

Scouting is definitely more than camping.  It is a program that encourages exploration of new hobbies and areas of studies.  As the boys get older, there is a lot of career exploration and leadership training.  There is an emphasis on character training that is often strangely absent even in modern churches.

We are doubly blessed because our scoutmaster is a member of our small church.  I have known him for a long, long time.  In fact, God used this man to lead me back to Himself during a very troubled time in my young adult life.  His family came to our wedding.  So we go back a ways!  🙂  This scoutmaster, who is himself an eagle scout,  truly sees his leadership position as a ministry and he puts a lot into those boys.  He has already had such a positive influence on my boys, and I am thankful.

So, scouting is a blessing.  It has also gotten us back involved in the community.  We are making friendships that we would not have any other way, and who knows where those friendships may lead?

John is a first-year Boy Scout, and Brock is in his first year of Webelos.  Luke is old enough to begin Cub Scouts this year and will be in Tiger Cubs.  I can’t wait to see how cute he will be in his Class A uniform!

Now–about the girls.  Dan has never felt very comfortable with Girl Scouts.  Their national organization supports and stands for things that we simply do not agree with, and yet I still want a scouting program for them too.  I tried Camp Fire USA last year, and although we did enjoy it, it really was not what I was looking for.  It was more focused on self-image, understanding emotions, etc., and I am really wanting something more practical.  So, this year we are trying something new.  It is called Caravan, and the website is at http://www.caravan.nazarene.org .  It is published by the Church of the Nazarene, of which we are not a part, but the religious content in the materials are very compatable with what we believe.  It is similar to the scouting program that the boys will be doing in that they will be doing projects and earning merit badges.  The girls can hardly wait to start!

Some of the first year badges for Caravan are Sports and Fitness, Personal Care, Safety, Family, Manners, Friends, Art, Pets, Money, Prayer, Our Church, My Bible, Botany, Birds, and Recycling.  Each level offers different subjects, and of course, they go more in depth as the scouts get older.

So, I hope that Caravan works well for my girls this year.  If so, I may carefully consider inviting some other girls to join.  I am starting a new category on this blog for Caravan, so be looking for those entries to begin soon!

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This week’s Homeschool Memoirs Assignment is entitled “Homeschool Agendas.”  We are to share what our plans our for this school year including what curriculum we are going to use and why.

This year is our 7th year of using Abeka Academy DVD program #1.  our kids are in grades 6,4,2,1, and K4.  We have loved Abeka Academy over the years.  It is comprehensive, challenging, and enjoyable.  My kids have always enjoyed their video teachers and classmates, and I appreciate the quality that the Academy provides.  I have confidence that as we follow along day-by-day through the curriculum, my kids will get all they need to be successful in school and in life.  The program is well organized, which helps me to keep up with my five kids too!  I truly appreciate the spiritual training that is integrated into all of the Abeka subjects, and some of my kids even trace their salvation stories back to their early days in Abeka Academy.  They have all grown spiritually as a result of this program.

Another important part of our school day involves music.  I have always enjoyed music and want to pass that on to my kids.  Therefore, I not only give them lessons, I participate in their daily practice to help guide them along during the week between our “official lesson” times.  Currently all of my kids are taking piano.  John is in level 6, Brock is in level 3, Cosette is in level 2b, and Luke and Kara are in level 1.  John and Brock are also learning to play the violin, and Cosette is going to start next week!  John plays level 4, and Brock plays level 1b.  I have enjoyed getting out my violin and playing with the boys.  It had remained in its case for many years, and we sure do have a lot of fun playing together.

Our family is also very involved in scouting.  Although this is technically an extra-curricular activity, I have found it to be an excellent addition to our homeschooling experience.  I plan on writing another entry later today about how we got involved in scouting and what we are gaining from it.

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Every now and then someone will ask me how the kids interact with the DVD school classes.  “Do they just sit and watch tv all day?”  I always smile inside when someone asks me that.  No, our school is very active as my kids interact with the class on the video.  My kids have always felt they were part of the class, participating  with the other students.

Today I have a cute example of just how much “a part” of the class my kids are.  Today Luke was doing a graded test, and he was being really careful to cover his answers.  I told him that he didn’t need to worry too much about keeping his answers private because there was no one who wanted to see his answers.  (i.e. no one else in our school is doing that test besides him.)  He told me, “Yes I do need to cover my paper!  That boy (on the video) was trying to see my answers!”

Lesson learned:  the teachers on the video do a great job of including the video students–so well, in fact, that my kids sometimes forget that they are actually watching a recording!  🙂

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Kara is really enjoying Abeka Academy K4 DVD school! I think her favorite activity is learning how to make her cursive letters. She is very meticulous, and I am sure that by the end of the year, she will be writing very nicely!

I am also glad that we did BJU Homesat K4 with her last year. It gave her a good background in identifying letters and numbers, and that is so important for what we are doing now.

Kara is definitely one of our “Big Kids” this year! )

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8/24/08 Additional Information:  I have had several people asking me about this program.  For my readers who also live “on the prairie,” the website that tells about this program and where it is currently available is at http://www.prairielandfood.com If any of my readers know of similar programs offered in other areas, please leave a comment on this post with website links if possible.  There seems to be quite a bit of interest in this program!

Our community participates in a neat non-governmental program that encourages volunteering in exchange for low-cost grocery items.  Actually, I think many communities across the USA have similar programs.

We used to participate in this program when our kids were really small, but we got out of the habit.  Several months ago, though, we noticed how high our grocery bills were getting and decided to give this program another try.  We have been pleasantly surprised!  The food has been good and varied, and the costs really can’t be beat.  I can’t say that my kids have liked everything that we have gotten, but they have tried many new things and do enjoy most of it.

Here is what one Pack purchased today for $23.50+2 hours of volunteer service of your choice contained:

1 pound bacon, 1 pound popcorn chicken, 1 1/2 pounds of lasagne, 1 pound lean country brats, 1 1/2 pounds breaded chicken breast fillets, 1 pound breakfast turkey sausage, 1 head of cabbage, 1 head of lettuce, a nice bunch of celery,  2 tomatoes, 1 cantaloupe, 5 plums, 2 lemons, and a 1 pound bag of red seedless grapes.

They also have what they call “monthly specials” that are also nicely discounted items.  Today we bought a 10 pound box of breaded chicken breast tenders for $16.  These specials vary from month to month, and usually there is at least one special that is offered that I know my family will enjoy.  By the time we purchase 2 of the regular Packs and one or two specials each month, that pretty well fills my refrigerator and freezer, and it greatly reduces my overall grocery costs for our large family!

So, I thank God for this program.  I have made several neat friends with this program as I help to unload the truck each month, so that is another good benefit.

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A  couple of weeks ago, John, Brock, and Kara all had their regular dental appointments, and I left those appointments pretty confused.  The dentist had told me that John needed a couple of baby teeth pulled to make room for some permanent teeth and that Kara needed some fillings.  He questioned me about Kara’s eating and dental hygiene habits, and I told him the truth:  she eats and drinks the same things as my other kids, and we are diligent about brushing her teeth–maybe even more so than with our other kids because she enjoys it!  I said that her genetic makeup is obviously different than the rest of my kids’, but he basically indicated that genetics shouldn’t have anything to do with her teeth!?  (That seemed a little odd to me, to be honest.)  Anyway, I asked him how many fillings she needed, and he really didn’t give me a straight answer.  So I made appointments for Kara to have her fillings done and for John to get two teeth pulled.

Those appointments were scheduled for today, and since I knew it would take most of the afternoon, we just did not have school today.  They called John back first and then Kara.  I happened to ask the dentist, “So, John is getting two teeth pulled, right?” and he answered “more than that.”  The nurse in the hallway held up SIX fingers!  What?!  Then the dentist told me that he was going to pull the rest of John’s baby teeth.  OK–so that was not what I was expecting, but we’d live with it.

Then he started working on Kara.  He gave her many shots trying to numb her mouth and then went on with the procedure.  It seemed like he was getting fairly upset because things kept dropping and Kara was getting impatient, so I tried to distract Kara by talking to her about going to look at the Webkinz store when we were finished.  The dentist sternly corrected me that I needed to be quiet so he could concentrate.  OK–well, I guess he didn’t want me to help distract Kara.  So, his work continued….and continued…..and continued.  You get the picture.  It took quite a while with Kara getting more figety with each second!  He finally finished, and we were all relieved!  Then as we were leaving, he said to be sure to schedule another appointment so he could do the other side!  Again, I thought, “WHAT??!”  The other side?????  I had no idea that he didn’t do all of the teeth today!  I guess that’s another miscommunication about what he was going to do!

So, this has been pretty frustrating.  I like knowing what is going on with my kids so I can prepare them.  Maybe that’s just old fashioned.

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Today Homeschool Memoirs posted their first assignment entitled “All About You.”  This post is an introduction telling a little about myself and our homeschool for the other members of this group hosted by The Homeschool Blog Awards.  There is still plenty of time to participate in this weekly activity.  There is a link in my sidebar that will take you to the information about this group for those who are interested.

My name is Lois, and I have been happily married to my husband Dan for almost 13 years.  We have five children:  John, who is 11 years old and is in 6th grade; Brock, who is 9 years old and is in 4th grade; Cosette who is 7 years old and is in the 2nd grade; Luke who is 6 years old and in the 1st grade, and Kara who is 4 years old and is in 4-year-old-kindergarten.  We have used the Abeka Academy DVD program 1 since my oldest was in kindergarten, so I guess that makes this our 7th year of homeschooling.  We have all really enjoyed Abeka Academy.  The kids are all doing so well in their learning and are challenged to keep improving.

We decided to homeschool because we want to pass our faith and values on to our kids.  Today’s world is just so difficult–definitely not like it was when I was growing up.  We want our kids to believe in the eternal truths found in the Bible.  We believe that giving them a strong spiritual and academic foundation now will equip them to be solid disciples of Christ in the future.

I have several hobbies.  (Does doing laundry for a family of 7 count?? 🙂 )  I enjoy playing the piano and the violin, reading, and blogging.  I used to do a lot of crafts, but these days I just don’t have much time to do very much of that!

I am posting a slideshow of our 5 kids.  Our oldest 4 kids are all biological, but our youngest daughter was adopted from Huangshan, Anhui Province, China, in September of 2006 when she was almost 3 years old.  Adopting has been one of the best things that we have ever done.  God has certainly used our beautiful Kara as a source of joy and blessing, and we praise Him every day that we have the privilege of calling her our own.  –That is true of ALL of our kids.  They are all such treasures!

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