Monday, December 7, 2009
*Don't forget to scroll down and pause the music on the right side before watching the video*
Caroline placed 1st in Round 1, 1st in Round 2, and 7th in the Finals! We are so proud of her hard work and dedication. We pray that this is a stepping stone for Caroline to learn how to speak in front of others and ultimately, articulate the gospel and her faith and be used for His Kingdom!
We joined Club 19:14 in the Fall, and it has been such a blessing to be a part of! The students are amazing representives of Christ and glorify God through their word and deed. What an amazing group of peers... true Godly influences.
We were truly blessed this weekend by seeing Christ shine through the lives of these youth during the tournament. Can't wait for the next one in January!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Monday: Ava has soccer practice (aka P.E.)
Caroline is in Club 19:14 Speech and Debate
Caroline has Youth Bible Study (Erich has fun teaching)
(whew, I'm already tired... and Caroline's basketball season is coming up)
Tuesday: Caroline and Ava are in Sonflower Literature Club (Caroline studying Shakespeare's "MacBeth" and Ava studying Myths and Legends)
Wednesday: Piano lessons with Ms. Kristin Yost (she is an exellent teacher and the girls just love her)!
Thursday: FREE DAY! (thank goodness... although we usually find "something" to do to fill it up)
Friday: Ava is in a Word of Mouth Drama class and then goes to Art Class
Caroline is usually working on her speech or baking some yummy treats while Ava is gone. :)
Oh, and I forgot to mention our monthly American Girl Bookclub. Last quarter we read all the Kaya books and had fun making tee-pees, corn husk dolls and going to the Wycliffe Bible Translators Museum.
This quarter they are studying Felicity and they got off to a good start today sewing potpourri sachets and writing with quill pens and ink. Looking forward to the girls making samplers and their tea party. Colonial days seem so elegant (nevermind the fact that there was no indoor plumbing or deodorant)!
Yep... those are our extra-curricular activities in a nut-shell. We don't get out of the house much, do we?! :)
Have a blessed day!
Monday, November 2, 2009
*Scroll down and pause the "Playlist" music on the right tool bar so that you can enjoy Caroline and Ava's music! :)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
When any of these men get the opportunity to talk about Jesus, no matter if it's on CNN, Nightline, etc., they don't "water down" the truth. They know that there are no careless words, but that every word will be accountable to God. They know that the Bible is God-breathed, useful for training in righteousness. They know that God's Word will not return void and that only by preaching the truth may people be saved.
Time and time again they preach the truth of God's Word... and time and time again they honor God and proclaim the wondrous grace of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
This month, Mark Driscoll gets an opportunity to have a column in the Washington Post, and he makes sure it is NOT "chicken soup for the soul" advice. It is biblical truth... simple, honest, God-honoring biblical truth. What an encouragement in this day in age when "whatever you believe" is the most popular religion.
I'm in awe of these gentlemen. I thank God that He has given us wise, responsible pastors who love Jesus and have a heart for the lost sheep. May we love God and His Word enough to proclaim His truth no matter our audience! :)
Here's the article: Mark Driscoll Washington Post
Have a blessed, truth-filled day!
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Ava's 6 year old best friend, Noah, is having his grand opening today for his fantastic ministry that he's started: http://www.noahsmugs.com/
For every mug sold, someone gets clean water for the rest of their life by the purchase of water filters through http://www.watermissions.org/
*Please support this fantastic ministry and pass the news on...
Here's how it all started:
When Noah was 6 years old, he heard about kids all over the world who had to walk miles to get drinking water which made them sick. Noah was disturbed by this news, and hoping that he could do something to make a difference, he talked with his dad, Mike, about everything he had heard. After Noah updated Mike on the poor drinking water situation, the conversation went back and forth like this:
“Dad, we have to do something about this!”
Mike replied,“Well, what do you suppose we should do?”
“We should sell coffee mugs because when people drink out of them, they think about drinking and when you think about drinking stuff, you’ll think about water. Then all of the money we make can go to help kids get water that doesn’t make them sick.”
“Well, what is going to make your mug different then every other mug out there?”
“Dad, our mugs are going to help people get clean water, and I’m going to make some really cool themes and drawings.”
“Yea, I already thought of it all; I’ll draw Castles, Wild Bears, and Flowers – ‘cause girls like flowers.”
“Noah, can you draw a wild bear?”
“Yeah, I’m a real good drawer. So can we do it, Dad?” Noah asked excitedly.
Mike answered his anxiously awaiting son, “Sure, I’d love to go into business with a 6 year old!”
As Noah’s dad was teaching Noah how to put together a business plan, they did research and realized that the profits from just one mug would pay for someone to have clean drinking water for the rest of their life!
That is the story of how Noah’s Mugs began. Noah, his dad, and the whole family now print and press mugs and ship them all over North America. And, for every mug sold, another person gets clean drinking water.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Giving tithes and offerings is an honor and a reflection of our hearts as Christ-followers; so how do we instill this into our children’s hearts?
~We need to emulate cheerful giving in front of our children: They need to see our words put into action by giving graciously (whether it is to church, charity organization, someone in need, etc.).
~We need to study scripture with our children on tithing: For younger children, stories about the widow’s mite from Mark 12:41-44 would be good. For older children, I would suggest a more in depth study using the Sermon on the Mount from Matt. 6:19-21 as well as reading Exodus 36:3-7 to describe how the Israelites gave more than enough needed and the blessing in that.
~ We need to train their hearts to be givers: We should start by cautioning them against being like the Pharisees; who gave everything according to the law, but their hearts were not it in (Matt. 23:23). Then, we should impress upon them how we are to give; that Jesus says it was better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), and we also know from 2 Corinthians 9:5-15 that we are to give cheerfully. That cheerful giving not only supplies ministry needs & shows obedience, but the text tells us it brings about thanksgiving and glory to God.
If you have a child that is reluctant to give, pray with them that God will change their heart. Teach them that Jesus gave His life for them, and that everything we have is God’s in the first place; we are just entrusted with His gifts to be shown faithful stewards and advance the Kingdom. For older children, you may read them 1 John 3:17-18 and James 2:15-16 to further instill the purpose of giving.
This is how it looks in our home: we pay our children “contract labor” for optional duties above and beyond household chores. Erich will sit down with them on “paydays” to help them divvy up their allotted tithe portion, savings portion, and earnings portion. Any “gift money” that they receive falls under the same instruction. The children then get the privilege of giving God’s money back to Him by supporting the church, and they will personally put their tithe portion in the offering box on Sundays. We also encourage them to give when they feel led to other ministry needs to help instill that it’s not just about “Sunday”.
*Remember to pray with your children thanking God for entrusting us with money, giving us opportunities to advance His kingdom with our tithes and offerings, and asking Him to work in our hearts that we may be cheerful and gracious givers.
Be Blessed by your family's giving to God!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Somehow, I can't get the picture any larger, but these devotionals are my latest and greatest find... truly my favorite kids devotionals that I have found! They come in Old and New Testament flavors (and you can view excerpts from them from the below link).
I first saw Faith Factor devotionals at Sally Clarkson's Whole Heart Mom Conference; but by the time I went to purchase them, they were already sold out (that stuff always happens to us procrastinators).
So, instead, these became "Resurrection Day" gifts to the girls. :)
Can I just tell you the HUGE excitement upon opening their gifts... it was precious! I praise God that He has given them a desire and a value for His Word and for the study of it!
Ava was especially thrilled when she saw that the book's recommended age was for 9-12 year olds. I told her that since she can read like a 9-12 year old, then she gets the honor of reading books written for 9-12 year olds (that's a testimony to Charlotte Mason's curriculum).
And, boy... did she feel honored! She opened it up that very minute and started her devotional. Caroline was running to grab her bible so she could start hers too.
And the verdict is...
They both said, "This is the best devotional I've ever read!"
"Why?" I asked.
Caroline answered first, "Because it actually teaches you what the bible says instead of just giving you stories about life and trying to apply a bible verse to it."
Ava echoed, "I learned so much and they have more to say in this book."
They hit the nail on the head. That's exactly why I picked these.
It is VERY hard (and trust me, I spent an hour sitting on the floor of Mardel's one day looking through ALL of their kids' devotionals) to find a devotional that actually TEACHES God's word and what to learn from it. Most of the others simply give you a practical story (some of which would never apply to your child) and then add a bible verse to it (most of the time out of context).
I was thrilled that the girls were so ecstatic about their new books.
I overheard Ava tell Caroline, "I can't wait until the morning... because I get to read another chapter from Matthew out of my devotional!"
I then saw Ava writing down some things... when I asked her what it was, she said, "My devotional told me to write down things I want to ask/tell God. So, I wrote 'How can I be more like You?' and 'Thank you for the resurrection'."
Wow! Now, those are the blessings that I pray for my children! Thank you God for the work that You do in their hearts through reading Your Word. It is truly divine transformation!
Every day since, the girls have been excited to tell me what they've learned from their morning's quiet time... these are truly great devotionals teaching God's truth, using the only Truth: His Holy Word!
Have a blessed day instilling God's word in the hearts of those He has entrusted to us... our children!
"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Saturday, April 11, 2009
He is risen... He is risen indeed!
Over the weekend, we have listened to the story of Jesus' death & resurrection from Adventures in Odyssey, we made Resurrection Cookies, went through the Resurrection Eggs, & read our favorite Easter story re-telling in The Very First Easter.
Most importantly, we have had some precious time in God's Word, the true and exact account of Jesus's ministry, sacrifice and resurrection.
Today is a magnanimous day! Today is the day we celebrate Jesus' power over death! He is risen... He is risen indeed!
Easter is also a blessed day because it marks the anniversary of Ava's salvation. Two years ago, she received Christ as her Lord and Savior. I remember her praying to God thanking Him for Jesus' death on the cross that paid for all her sins; past present & future. I remember seeing tears stream down her face and Ava asking me, "Mommy, where are these tears coming from?... I can't stop crying for some reason." Her little heart was touched greatly by God's redeeming spirit and it was truly a joyous day we will always thank God for.
Jesus said in John 11:25-26: "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die."
What an amazing gift of grace! Because Jesus conquered death, and was raised again to reign ALIVE in Heaven on the throne... we are promised that same eternal life when we place our faith in Christ alone.
Thank you God for your indescribable gift of Salvation! We serve a risen and glorious Savior!
Have a blessed Easter!
*Before watching "On Christ Alone", remember to scroll down and pause my "Music Playlist" (red box found on the right-hand side of the page)
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
2 Corinthians 5:21 says: “God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Have you put your faith in the mighty miracle that God bestowed upon the World?: Jesus' sacrifice... his blood... will cover all your sins and your faith in that alone covering you will be your salvation.
Sunday we will celebrate His glorious resurrection... He is risen indeed!
Praise God for His perfect plan of salvation... Thank you Jesus for your death on the cross that paid the penalty for my sins. You are truly Mighty to Save!
Be Blessed by putting your faith in Him! Happy Passover!
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Caroline has proved herself over and over again by maturing in her faith, her academics, and her domestic abilities. This week, something wonderful happened: I got sick.
That's not necessarily the wonderful part; but through the sickness, Caroline rose to the occasion and completely and entirely ran the household.
She woke up and started her laundry as usual; and I have to mention that she does it cheerfully and excellently, without any reminders.
When she realized I was sick, she made breakfast for the family and did all the dishes on her own accord. After that, she brought me some Airborne & orange juice in bed and said that she was going to start school and teach Ava.
WOW! Can I just tell you what a HUGE blessing that is to wake up sick and have your 11 year old daughter tell you that not only is she going to do school on her own, but she's going to teach her younger sister's lessons too! Praise God for giving her such self-initiation and diligence!
She and Ava had a very productive school day including Caroline teaching Ava a new math concept and finishing Ava's geography book, Paddle to the Sea. Caroline crawled up into bed and read her geography lesson to Ava and me... how sweet! (We're studying Saudi Arabia from Explore His Holy Land)
She, of course, continued her running of the household by making lunch for everyone and keeping herself and Ava occupied while I took a nap to try to sleep off the illness.
Dinner was spectacular, too: Caroline ended up making a wonderful chicken dish & roasted red potatoes all by herself, while following a new recipe. After the fantastic meal, Erich smiled proudly and said, "Caroline can truly run a household all by herself."
It is so encouraging to know that little Caroline, at 11 years old, possesses the skills of cleaning, cooking, organizing, teaching, diligence, focus and most importantly, she "...works at everything with all her heart as working for the Lord, not for men" (Col. 3:23).
She was happy to serve the family that day... and I was happy to be sick so that I could see her gifts and talents SHINE forth excellently!
God has truly blessed us with Caroline! May she be used to further His Kingdom!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
I came across the most wonderful website and I had to share it: Free Rice !
You and your children play games and earn *free rice grains* (that are donated to the UN World Food Program) for every correct answer given. There are several subjects that they can play from including art (our favorite), vocabulary, grammar, math, foreign language, etc.
Ava played so much this morning she got over 4,000 grains of rice donated!
Caroline got so excited about it and she said, "I love this site because we're learning, playing & helping people all at the same time!"
Go play, learn and get rice grains donated... you will be blessed by blessing others! :)
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Let me take you on a walk... the same walk I was on with Caroline last week when she said something so biblically wise and insightful, that it will forever permeate my heart. Let's start walking...
Ava found some dandelions and commented on how beautiful they were, even though they were mere weeds. She picked up another strange flower and looked at it ever so intently and admiringly, only to be disappointed that it was yet another weed.
Caroline looked thoughtfully over at the carefully handled weed and said, "That weed reminds me of Satan."
I asked curiously, "How so?"
She replied, "Because Satan takes sin and twists it to make it look beautiful. But, just like that weed will overtake the ground, sin will take over our soul. You know, he was the most beautiful angel, and he likes to trick us by making things that are ugly look beautiful."
Silence... more silence... then I uttered a huge, "WOW! That is such a deep thought for a little 11 year old girl!"
Caroline can be very insightful and wise beyond her years sometimes. She humbles me and God uses her to bless me in more ways than I can count.
So, back to sin and weeds: How many weeds do we have overtaking our garden? How many garden destroyers have we mistaken as flowers just because they might look pretty? Satan would love none other than for us to fall for his twisting and marring of sin into something that looks enticing or harmless.
It's like the balloon guy... you know the one that wears the HUGE button that says, "I WORK FOR TIPS". He takes a common balloon, and with some air (or a pump if he wants to work less for his tips) and some twisting and turning... voila! You have a crown, or a sword, or a puppy dog... but it's still just a balloon prettied up a bit.
Satan takes our sins and twists and turns them into something that seems "OK"... and next thing you know, we've bought into the lie; hook, line & sinker... and our sins don't look like sins anymore... they look like: "No big deal, because everyone does it," OR "I feel fine about it, so it must be fine." OR EVEN, "God will forgive me later for it."
Romans 6:1-2 declares, "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
IT'S A WEED! Call it by name, pluck it out of your life and ask for God's forgiveness. Don't be fooled by Satan's craftiness... he will do his best to put his weeds of sin in the garden of your soul so that you will be overtaken.
Paul continues in Romans 6:11-14 saying, "So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace."
Praise God for being mighty to save us from the deception of the tempter! Col. 1:13-14 says: "For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Today, I got a very timely devotional written by Charles Spurgeon which illustrates Caroline's point very well:
-- Romans 7:13
Beware of light thoughts of sin. At the time of conversion, the conscience is so tender, that we are afraid of the slightest sin. Young converts have a holy timidity, a godly fear lest they should offend against God.
The ear in which the cannon has been booming will not notice slight sounds. At first a little sin startles us; but soon we say, "Is it not a little one?" Then there comes another, larger, and then another, until by degrees we begin to regard sin as but a little ill; and then follows an unholy presumption: "We have not fallen into open sin. True, we tripped a little, but we stood upright in the main. We may have uttered one unholy word, but as for the most of our conversation, it has been consistent."
Have a blessed, and weed-free day!
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Could Fly be any more submissive or what?!
Caroline's basketball team, the *Stars*, at Double Dip
for their end-of-the-year party. Erich just loved coaching their team and Caroline hated that the season came to an end.
Speaking of *Stars*, Erich took me to the Stars game for Valentine's Day... isn't he so sweet?! (ask me the real story behind it, and you'll get a good laugh!)
Caroline has learned the art of pie baking and so excited about her new found skill! This is her homemade pear pie that she baked for dessert at Popi & Kiki's! (I remember being her age and standing in this same exact spot at my home... if only I could find that picture...)
Another homemade pie... this one was an apple pie! Delicious! :)-
Caroline and Ava set up "store" in Ava's room. They donned name tags, had a check-out procedure and everything... very official!
Of course, Mommy and Daddy had to have our turn at cashier!
Here's their pretend money (obviously, some more pretend than others).
Here's a sampling of how they set everything up and priced it.
The girls have to have fun some way... add a basket and a little ice, and there's your fun!
We made a trip to the American Girl store, and Caroline surprised Ava with a gift of matching P.J.'s! They were so excited to dress alike that night!
Ava lost her 7th tooth...
Erich and the girls monkeying around. No joke, I originally was on the pile, too... but I had to hop down b/c somebody had to take the picture!
Caroline and Ava on Christmas Eve about to complete the Advent calendar with Door #24... baby Jesus!
All the cousins posing after they sung Happy Birthday to Jesus!
So, these pictures are out of order, but this was the first attempt at our homemade pie... we did this one together as a family. The other ones were special b/c Caroline did them by herself. Just had to make sure all the details are clear... :)
Ava and Olivia hamming it up (and rolling it out)!
Emma, Ava & Abby at the bowling alley! Sweet friends! :)
We had lots of fun baking pumpkin bread... (it's not fun unless you have flour on your nose)
Ava just loves using the mixer (and I'm sure Erich is glad to see I have paper sitting on top of one of the burners)
I think this is a picture of another lost tooth... it's really such a cute picture, I'm posting it even though I don't remember the "memory" of it!
Caroline & Ava in front of a tepee at the Dallas Heritage Village candle lighting! This is one of our favorite family traditions! (not standing in front of the tepee, of course)
Ava finished her wonderful sewing class, and for her final project she made her best friend, Rachel, this apron! She was so excited! :)
Caroline and Ava in front of the manger at our church's Christmas production. Both of the girls had precious solos... and it was such a blessing to see them lift their voices up to praise God!
Abbey and Caroline dressed up like Charles Dickens' characters after reading A Christmas Carol in book club. Abbey was a "merry old gentlemen" and Caroline was a "wash maid". Fun times!
Had to just throw this one in here b/c Erich looks so cute... I'm such a proud wife!
Of course, you have to make "mud pies" in your prairie clothes at least once in your life. I think this one was a "berry" flavored one!
Caroline and her friends make a race track at the Hands on Science field trip. They had a blast working together to put together pulleys and inclined planes!
And in the other classroom, Ava and her friends are working on some science experiments! These field trips are so exciting for the girls!