January 31, 2012

Pregnancy Update

Well, I've lost track of what week gestation I'm on, but I know that I'm somewhere in the half-way point. To me, that's very exciting! I feel movement every day. The baby is definitely getting bigger and stronger and excitement mounds for me because I know that the day is drawing near when I will get to hold another little baby! Jeramy thinks that I've been the most excited about this pregnancy than the others. I would agree, but I think my excitement is due to the lack of incessant nausea every waking hour and that we will not know the gender until the birth.

I like the uncertainty of not knowing until the birth. Even 30 years ago, couples could not know the gender until then. And it's been that way for the past 6,000 years of Creation history. The excitement of waiting is like Christmas. You know that Christmas is coming. You know that you will get a present. But you don't know what that present will be. We know we're having a baby. But we don't know if we'll have another girl or, finally, a son. Jeramy and I are content with either sex because we know that it's not up to us to decide and God is sovereign. I figure that if we continue to have children for the next 10 years or so, eventually a son will pop out. I just want to be surprised when that happens. I don't need to plan for it because I have green & yellow clothes up to 3 months and I know that Grandmothers will shower us with blue, brown, red and black when they hear the news. No worries, just excitement. :-)

January 30, 2012

A Sweet Smile

January 26, 2012

January 25, 2012

Ever Ask for a Sign?

Here's a double-sided one that Jeramy and I made for our church. Adjacent to the Sanctuary is a room with two-way glass and a monitor that is set up to be a Nursery with a changing table, rocking chairs and safe toys. But a visitor would not know this room is available, so we put some feet, blades, sandpaper, pencils and acrylic paint together to create this unique sign. The only material I bought for this specific project was the lettering stencils. The wood was a scrap piece that had been planed and sanded. The acrylic paint & brushes were a gift that still hadn't been used and the hanging ribbon I already had also. I hope the church will like it.

January 24, 2012

January 23, 2012

January 22, 2012

Nutrititious Meals Abound

This is why my girls place in the lower 50% percentile for weight when they have check-ups at the doctor's office . . .

because we eat healthy meals at home.

On today's plate: p.b. & j sandwiches, carrots with a dot of ranch dressing, and an apple. Shiphrah has a shredded cheddar cheese sandwich and applesauce.

Providing healthy meals is a parent's responsibility.

January 19, 2012

Definitely NOT Barbie!

For Christmas gifts, Moriah, Lily and Shiphrah each received a doll, specifically a Disney Toddler Princess Doll. Look how adorable they are! They are chubby and are built just like a toddler. They have chubby faces, arms, legs and even a little belly with modestly appropriate permanently affixed undergarments. And they each have lots of hair that little girls love to comb! I saw these on sale before Thanksgiving and decided to pick them up.

Some girls grow up playing with Barbies and as they begin to develop into young womanhood they wonder why they're not beautiful. Somewhere in their sub-conscience they think that all those traits that signify their humanity somehow mark them as ugly. I thought those same things too, "Why is my nose so wide? Why isn't my skin all the same color? Why aren't my hips more pronounced? Why isn't my waist smaller and my ta-tas ginormous?" I thought I was ugly. But I was average, just like everyone else. I don't want my daughters playing with Barbie dolls and then come to think that they are ugly because they don't look like her when they get bigger. These Toddler dolls don't give them some false standard to live up to. They are just like my girls are now. I hope that this, in some way, will not hinder the wonder and beauty of design in which God created them in His image, but rather help them to understand that their unique appearance is a magnification of the glory of God.

January 18, 2012

January 17, 2012

Our Home Education 2012

This year's focus is on reading, writing and arithmetic. Here they are practicing writing the alphabet.

Last week Moriah read through 3 books by Margaret Hillert using the Dolch words we've been teaching her over the past year and a half. We've added the New England Puritan Primer to our curricula to help her learn the phonetics of the English language. Here is one of the Hillert books based on the story of Goldilocks & the Three Bears we borrowed from the library.

Lily has also been learning the Dolch sight words and has started the Primer also. We pick out new books every three weeks from the library and I'm trying to get her to recognize the words written on the pages.

The girls can easily add when there are pictures of objects. Moriah can also recognize compound numbers like, 35 or 57. I've backed off of this for the past few weeks while focusing on reading and writing. We've continued with the Children's Catechism and, for safety, I'm helping them to memorize their names, address, parent's names, and parent's phone numbers.

When we're not working on reading and writing, they work with puzzles, color in various mediums and do contributory household chores. It has been very exciting to see them as they've grown into this stage and I eagerly look forward to their success as this year progresses.

January 16, 2012

Spin In A Basket

Here's another reason why we don't buy them toys.

They took turns sitting and spinning each other in this laundry basket for about 15 minutes. They always seem to have so much fun with laundry baskets.

January 15, 2012

Best Books & Doc of 2011

This past year I was able to read several books and the following were the best:

Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp
This parenting book really delves into the motives and goals of parenting as it explains how all behavior is an overflow of the condition of the heart. In all of the parent's dealings with the child, the goal is to cause the child to see his or her inability to do a Christ as commanded, his need for forgiveness and atonement, and a changed heart that seeks to do God's will. Every disciplinary session is geared toward correcting the sinful behavior by targeting the heart. This book is highly recommended by David Powlison, John MacArthur, Elisabeth Elliot, and David Welch.

The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo
This parenting book is subtitled, "Practical Help for the Prevention and Cure of Anger in Children." It exposes all the ways that parents provoke their children to anger and gives practical applications as to training up the child in the way he should go. It doesn't only correct wrong behavior and motives in the child, but teaches them to think and do what is right. As I read it, I began to understand not only the ways I provoke my children to anger, but it's even greater source, how my parents provoked me to anger. This is an excellent resource that should be read several times during a parenting journey, in the same way as Shepherding a Child's Heart. I would say that it is a very necessary companion to Tedd Tripp's book.

Marriage to a Difficult Man: The Uncommon Union of Jonathan & Sarah Edwards by Elisabeth Dodds
This has been one of the best books on marriage Jeramy and I have ever read. It is not a how-to book for marriage dummies, but a real example of a couple seeking to live for Christ and how they make their marriage glorify Him in the midst of early 1700's difficulties and trials. During this time most families were very self-sufficient. The Edwards owned animals and sheared their own sheep, made their own fabric and thread to sew their own clothes. They chopped their own wood, built their own house, hand washed all their clothes, traveled by walking or horse, cooked daily, cultivated a garden, canned their own garden foods, and home-birthed 11 children of which none died before reaching adulthood. They also endured many pressures from being a family in the spot light of ministry in a small, rural town. Jeramy and I learned a lot from this couple's interaction with each other and their children and how they made all this work together towards an incredible legacy. It is endorsed highly by John & Noel Piper.


IndoctriNation: Public Schools and the Decline of Christianity in America by The Gunn Brothers Productions
This documentary came out last year but I didn't get to view it until recently. It is incredible. It seeks to answer several very important questions, but the two prominent ones are: what is the history and progression of the public, government school system? (In other words, what are they really teaching these kids?) And can Christians be salt & light in this environment? Colin Gunn drives his family of 9 across country in a retired yellow school bus answering these questions by as he interviews several Christian teachers, administrators, parents and students who have been in the government school system for years.
If you remember Voddie Baucham's DVD sermon lectures entitled, Children of Caesar, you will recall that he addresses the issues of origin and whether Christians can truly be salt & light in this government school context. Gunn is able to spend 100 minutes delving into these questions that leave the born-again Christian parent with no other alternative but to forsake the government schooling and take responsibility for their child's education. Here is a memorable quote by RC Sproul, Jr., "If we're sending evangelists into the mission field and they return as atheists, then we need to consider that something is terribly wrong." (Something to that effect.)

I highly commend these to you. I've written some content and fresh reviews on this blog previously, simply do a search and those entries will arrive at your fingertips.

Currently I'm reading Created to Be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl and The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto. Gatto's book is particularly enraging as I learn about the goals and purpose of the government school system and how much of my time and vitality it wasted. Debi Pearl's book has a good content, but is a little too gimmicky for my taste. Many women have read it and told me to take it with a grain of salt.

January 12, 2012

Opening Gifts at G'Wanda's


I know it's late, but here are a few pix of gift openings at G'Wanda's on Christmas Eve.

After eating a wonderful baked pork stew lunch, we opened gifts. Later we went together to G'Wanda's church for a Christmas Eve service. Then we headed home and opened our immediate family gifts. Then we got in the bed for a big day following.

Christmas Day we went to church, where I played prelude, "Sweet Little Jesus Boy", then afterwards we drove down to Statesboro for the McDonald Christmas gathering (Grandma Jane's family). We had a great time seeing everyone. Then we stayed the night and Jeramy, Shiphrah and I headed home, leaving Moriah and Lily for 4 days with Grandma Jane. Everyone had a great time and we were glad to be reunited the day before New Year's Eve. Shiphrah was so excited to see her sisters again, they had a slumber party in their bedroom for almost 2 hours before finally getting to sleep! We don't need a bigger house! Kids would rather share a room with siblings, at least in our case.

January 11, 2012

Is College REALLY Necessary?!

My entire life it was always assumed that I would go to college. The only matter was, "Which one?"

I decided to get a degree in music on violin and considered a double major in biology to pursue a career in the medical field. After I completed my freshman year, while taking several hard science classes and my required music classes (to fulfill my music scholarship obligations) I nearly pulled my hair out. My grades were good, but it was stressful and my Christian fellowship dwindled. So, I decided to focus on my music degree with a biology minor, then see what happens.

During the last two years of my Bachelor's I considered that I could make music my profession. However after 4 years in a secular university I was unprepared to take a major orchestra audition. I knew I needed more training, but I had no money. Providentially, after $40K spent, I had no debt either.

I took a year off to work and save money while I decided where I would go to further my education. I got info from every music school and conservatory in the US (except Julliard) and then my music minister plugged Southern Seminary into the mix. After visiting two prospective schools with their respective auditions, I prayerfully considered where God was leading me: Longy School of Music in Cambridge, MA or The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.

I received my Master's in Music, Solo Performance in the Church, on Violin from Southern and finished my program without debt, but very scarily almost living on the street. It cost me about another $20K total. (I didn't know anything about credit or loans at this time.) However after my post-graduate degree, I still felt somewhat unprepared to take an audition for any orchestra, although I was definitely more prepared than before.

After marrying Jeramy and being exposed to the true history about the government (public) school system and how liberal most secular and religious colleges and universities have become, it dawned on me what a waste of time it is while a person is in the prime of their life.

Think about it. The average school student spends a lot of time in history classes learning about all the great leaders of the past who never attended formal schooling and somehow accomplished so much - but we never stop to think that they were home educated then apprenticed into their profession and achieved their goals much quicker, by 20 or 25 years old or while still teenagers. Why don't we do that today?

If I could go back, I would change my entire learning experience. I would not have wasted 4 years going to a secular university and then another 2 years getting a Master's degree. A grand total of $60,000 and 7 of the peak years of my life (18 - 25) were gone and I was still unprepared to take a major orchestra audition.

Instead, if I were 18, I would take 90 minute private lessons twice a week with a very high caliber teacher in a major orchestra, perform in community and other local orchestras while building a network at the same time in the musical field. All the other musical training: sight-singing, music history, music theory, violin pedagogy, piano keyboarding, etc. I would have just read the books and taught myself. I estimate that the cost would have been only half as much money rather than going away to school. If I had pursued this apprenticeship pathway, then at the end of 4 solid years taking the lessons and playing in orchestras - I feel like I would have been adequately prepared to take a major audition at 22 or earlier.

Pursuing an apprenticeship would have saved a lot of money because the only expenses would be the private lessons, any audition fees, and gas. Most local community orchestras are free to participate in. Some college orchestras may let you play without paying for the credit hours too. You'll save money on college admission, room & board, $X per credit hour multiplied by all the courses that don't advance you toward your goal. For example, two years of General Education classes (high school repeated = waste of time), piano keyboarding classes (= waste of time), and elective courses (= waste of time). In addition to all these, there is so much ideology that you will be forced to tolerate that you may completely abhor if you're a believer in Christ (a repeat of all the convoluted worldviews in the government education system = a minefield for Christians = imminent death).

Government schools, colleges and universities are cultivating in their student body a particular worldview not a set of career/professional skills.

However, I must say that given my limited knowledge at every turning point, I felt like I made the best decisions possible. In the providence of God, had I not taken that pathway, I never would have met my husband and had my children. In that sense, God used my poor educational choices to bring about a better circumstance for the present. Sure, if I could go back and change those things, I would - but look at what I would be sacrificing. I'm thankful for my family and I'm content to use my experience to encourage others to choose a less expensive, more direct route to their life's pursuits.

January 9, 2012

Somewhat Aloof

A few months ago I could honestly say that I had taken a little break from regular blogging because I was so nauseous. I'm so thankful to say that it has officially subsided and I am experiencing more liberty with my food choices now. Tomorrow I will be 17 weeks gestation! I can't believe that I'm almost half-way already! It amazes me how fast it has past. One minute you find out your pregnant, the next you realize that you're half-way through! This is a definite sign that I'm getting older.

Well, since I cannot honestly say that my blogging absence the past 2 weeks is due to nausea, I can say that time on the computer has become more competitive. Jeramy has been working on launching a new website - one that he is building himself. He has no previous knowledge of web development or search engine optimization, but with some books, determined study and practice, he has now become a web developer in his spare time at home. If you click on his picture to the left it will take you to his site where he is religiously posting daily blogs.

In other events: I'm very excited to start a new sewing project - DIY cloth diapers! I spent almost an hour in JoAnn Fabrics finding everything I need to make 15 - 20 cloth diapers, including a DIY how-to book! The first All-in-One diapers (Osocozy) I purchased 2.5 years ago are looking really ratty. The velcro tugs at the cotton lining and it really looks bad. I bought more Osocozy AIO in a larger size for Moriah and Lily for their sleep times and in less than a year, they are looking pretty ratty too! The best AIO diapers I've bought have been the bumGenius AIO pocket diapers. These are awesome! They dry quickly. They have some absorbency already sewn in and the pocket allows you to add more for nighttime. The lining is super soft and doesn't fray, pill or catch on the velcro! This is the diaper I'm attempting to duplicate.

For Christmas I made an apron for my sister-friend Sherri. I know the picture isn't that great- the apron and the model look a lot better in person. :-D The neck strap is adjustable. I'm very pleased with how this project turned out. I'm considering making a few more in purple.

All that being said, I'm hoping to return to a regular blogging routine. Please accept my apologies.

January 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Lily!

Today is Lily's 3rd Birthday!

When Lily was born I was so overjoyed! I was so elated because I knew that Moriah would not be alone, that she would always have a sister, a best friend, around. To me it was significant because I'm an only child. She is Moriah's best friend and she is very much involved in playing with Shiphrah too.

I love her easy-going personality. She usually takes my requests and commands with a very easy attitude, "Okay Mommy!" She has a great laugh and smile. Her Sideshow Bob hair makes me smile too. :-)