Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours! 

Our family picture from our trip to TX this fall.
May you remember the true reason for the season!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Perspective of Purpose

I've read this before, but recently received it again via email and thought it was worth sharing.


You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having "wealth" from the book sales. This is an absolutely incredible short interview with Rick Warren, "Purpose Driven Life " author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California

In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:
People ask me, What is the purpose of life? And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.

One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me.

I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity.

We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.

Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.

The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort.

God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.

We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.

This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.

I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.

Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.

No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on.

And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for.

You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems.

If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, "which is my problem, my issues, my pain." But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.

We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her.

It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.

You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.

Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy.

It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal wit h before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease.

So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72

First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit. We made no major purchases.

Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.

Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.

Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.

We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?

Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?

When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do. That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.

Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Adoption--My Thoughts

I wrote about the biblical basis for adoption and then was blessed to have three contributors who also wrote about their adoption experience. I thought I would share my personal thoughts as well.

For as long as I remember, I have wanted to adopt. Of course, my thoughts on adoption are different now than when I was younger. Long before Chad and I ever met, I always figured I would have four children of my own and then I would adopt a child. When thinking about that child, I always figured I would adopt an older child. The reason I felt this way was because so many parents want babies and/or young children and older children are often stuck in the system until they age out. My heart was for those who needed a family just as much as a baby.

When Chad and I began our own family, I still figured we would adopt one day as long as Chad's heart was open to it, but it wasn't something I was thinking about often. Chad first mentioned adoption after we had three of our own and there was a little girl we met that didn't come from the best home life and he said that he would adopt her in a heartbeat if needed. My heart was glad!

Now that we have 9 of our own, we still talk about adoption someday. We know that it will have to be in God's timing and with God's provision, but it isn't something that we've ruled out. We continue to pray that God will use us in some way. We often talk about how it would be nice if adoption was still done the way it was back in the 1800's. It would be so much easier not only for those families who want to adopt, but don't have the financial funds, but also easier for children to find homes. I truly believe that people would be much more willing to open their homes to orphans if there wasn't so much "red tape" and hoops to jump through.

For now, we make sure we pray for those who are in the process of adoption and/or have already adopted and we do what we can to help out financially as well.

I hope eyes have been opened about God's call for adoption whether you welcome a child into your home or you support someone else who has (or is trying). We are called to take care of "the least of these" so take a moment today and pray for those you know who are somewhere along the journey of adoption.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My adoption story--A Guest Post

I was adopted at a moderate age for 1968 I was 4 months old.  Due to chronic illness that followed me through into early adulthood I was not released immediately as a newborn.  I was the child bore of a relationship that was between a 15yr old girl and an 18yr old boy.  I don’t know much more than that and probably never will.  I was chronically ill as a child and had 17 documented hospitalizations between the ages of 1-4 due to pneumonia and or croup.  I think my birth mother was not overjoyed about her young pregnancy and did not care well for herself as a result.  I was adopted by a Christian couple who raised me in a Lutheran Church.  I am their 2nd child their only birth child is a boy who is 10 years older than me so in a sense we both were like only children and our family experiences were completely different as well.  My brother had our father until he was 11.  I had him only until 2 weeks past my 1st birthday when he died. 

I tell this so you can understand where we are today.  I am a conservative Christian woman.  I do not believe that teens should engage in relations prior to marriage but when I was asked to write this I thought  if you erase me then you erase my children all 5 of them.  They are precious to God and each has a purpose as do I.  God ordained the family that was to receive me.  He knew my father would pass.  He watched over and protected my mother until I was 17 and graduated at which time she passed.  He put me exactly where and when I needed to be. 

God’s intervention started when I was young.  I remember being in the hospital in oxygen tents crying because I wanted to go home.  I remember clearly feeling the presence of God.  .  You see my mother never treated me differently from my brother.  It was equal billing all the way.  I did not get a special out because I was adopted and I did not get it harder either.  God in his loving grace forgives all of us.  If we ask he forgives and not disproportionally.  It is equal.  My sin may be greater but our forgiveness is the same.  He forgives  us all equally. His grace and divine intervention is for all his children and in his home we are all adopted.  When salvation comes to us we are accepted into a great big family.  Maybe we would not choose all the members but God chose them.  He chased after their heart and wooed them until they became his.   Just like my mom and dad and brother chose me literally.  Back when I was adopted my family went to the home and walked down rows of babies and picked one out. They picked me.  God picked me.  He picked me to be raised by a single Christian mother.  He picked me to be the wife of my husband of 22 years .  He picked me to be the mother of 5 children.  He picked me to be the mother of a daughter who only lived 26 days but needed me for those 26 days. 
Being adopted can be easy or hard.  Many people think it is hard because they feel rejection.   I say Thank You God for guiding every step for putting me where I need to be.  I am very level headed about this and I cannot tell you exactly what my mother may or may not have done to make me feel this way.  But God has obviously given me peace and contentment about my situation.  He makes me feel whole and complete.  I don’t feel like I was rejected by my parents as much as I feel accepted by a family who poured all their love into me like they did all my cousins as well.  I think that is what being a Christian is like as well you are adopted by God , you are forgiven, reprimanded when needed with loads of grace and infinite love.  There are times my earthly brother and I disagree and times I disagree with the Christian brothers and sisters as well.  In the end we all were chosen and we must view each other from Gods viewpoint and not our human one.  He loves us with a never ending love even when we do wrong just like my mother did right up until the day she died.
I can do nothing short of praise and Thank God for the opportunities afforded to me.  Adoption is a wonderful thing.  It should be considered not only in the realm of infant adoption but older children as well.  Many kids are languishing in a broken system because everyone would understandably like a baby.  Pray, meditate, fast and consider has God placed adoption of any kind on your heart, if he has be obedient.  He will provide everything needed and so much more, even when it seems difficult.  You are making an impact that you will never realize on someone’s life. Someone like me who needed a family to call their very own. Know up front the road with your adopted child may not be easy.  My parents did not know when they brought me home in March that in November my father would be called home to be with the Lord.  It is far from what my mother thought she was getting into without a doubt. Are you called?  Are you ready?  Can you be obedient in this tough, exciting, thrilling and blessed journey?  I bet you can.  Because as you know all things are possible through Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Jennifer Chrispell is a SAHM who home schools her children.  She has been blessed to be a help-mate to Michael Chrispell for 22 years.  Ever learning and seeking.  She runs a home business called Sew Cute Doll Clothes (www.sewcutedollclothes.com) and does a large variety of activities from working on their 5 acres to provide a portion of their food needs to being blessed enough to have landed some contracts to professionally tweet for some large companies.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Called to Adopt--A Guest Post

Adoption. One of the biggest decisions one could ever make. A decision that will impact many precious lives for eternity. A decision to follow a God-given calling that is exciting, terrifying and amazing all at the same time. A call to give, to serve, to love… Adoption.

My husband and I are currently planning for our future adoption of our first child. To be quite frank, the thought of the adoption process can be quite daunting. Five years ago, adoption was merely a passing thought…
“Honey, I think we should adopt a child. Regardless of whether we are able to have biological children or not… I just feel like that is something we should do, like we were called adopt.” 

Little did we know that we would be down this road so soon.  After four years of infertility struggles, we resolved to give our desires to grow our family to the Lord.  And in that he has given birth to a new desire to not just become parents, but to glorify him is his command in James 1:27. To have our hearts and home open to a precious life, one we will teach about the goodness of the Lord.

With these new desires comes a slew of new concerns… Like how will we pay for this and what if no one chooses us and other thoughts that come with this uncharted territory for us. In Isaiah 55:8-9, the Lord says “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Sometimes it is hard to know what the Lord’s plans are, but I know one thing for sure… we are so excited to be in his perfect will!

So far our adoption journey have been one of a LOT of prayer, learning, researching and saving. Oh, did I mention prayer? :)

God is so good! See… we are a one income household. My husband works very hard to make sure our needs are met and that I can stay home to be a wife and soon a mother. If you are already aware… adoption consists of a lot of money. A lot. And we have chosen to go about this journey is a debt-free way that honors the Lord. So, that is where creative juices have to flow!

During the summer, I couldn't sell my herbal products (which was a way I was going to try to save up money) so I had to come up with a few ideas that would allow me to stay at home but still sock money away for our adoption savings. First, we had an extremely successful yard sale which really jump started our savings fund. But once that was done, it was done. And then I did a few face painting jobs that brought in some money, but there wasn't consistency.

While looking for other means of earning money, I came across a lovely business opportunity with Lilla Rose! I was blessed to be fully sponsored, so I started at almost no cost. What a blessing Lilla Rose has turned out to be! I can do all my work from home and each month I have been able to put a nice check right into our savings fund. (If you are interested in learning more about Lilla Rose, you can click here)

We have also been tremendously blessed by so many people’s generosity. Fundraisers, gifts, time, blog posts, and many, many prayers. I am truly, truly blown away by the giving hearts that have touched us more than they could ever imagine. If is SO amazing to see the father’s work at hand, especially with complete strangers. I just don’t think we could ever thank each of them enough.

So far this journey has been full of adventure, prayer, community and love. As we keep plugging along, we grow more and more excited to see what God will do. To follow our adoption journey, visit our blog www.meetthebasses.blogspot.com. Prayerfully consider getting involved with adoption... there are so many ways to help whether you decide to adopt yourself, or help support an adopting family (prayer, fundraising, your time or even just talking and being interested in their journey). 

Blessings, Jasmine Bass

Jasmine is a God-fearing, always-learning, stay-at-home-wife to the best husband in the world! In the past couple of years, her new found loves have become herbal fix ‘ems and things “all natural”! She is continually learning to slow down, enjoying the important, simple things in life…like naturally taking care of her home, husband and health. She really enjoys creating things “home-made” and showing others how to do the same! You can find her at Like A Mustard Seed blog!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Adoption--A Guest Post

Definition of ADOPT
Transitive verb
1. :to take by choice into a relationship; especially; to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one's own child.

I love this definition, especially the first part:  taking by choice into a relationship.  My husband and I made a choice to adopt, but in a way that some might not see as a true adoption.  So I thank Mr. Webster for his wording.  It makes my story that much easier to write.

My husband and I had difficulty conceiving a child.  After trying fertility medications, my doctor sent us to a specialist.  We spoke to the doctor and found we had two choices, we could walk away from trying to carry our own child and choose to adopt, or we could "adopt" someone else's embryos.  With lots of prayer along with God given logic, we decided to do both.  

We found an amazing adoption consultant who got us into an adoption support group.  We went through the home study and we waited to get matched with a birth family.  It was with our consultant and in the group that we gained a wealth of knowledge about adoption and made some lifelong friends in the process.  While we were waiting, we found a "perfect" match for embryo adoption.  

There were nine left over embryos from someone who had gone through ivf (in vetro fertilization) and she had decided donate the rest of her embryos to people like us, people, who could not have biological children of our own.  We finally had hope for having children.  Unfortunately, we quickly learned that hope and reality don't always see eye to eye.  The morning of our transfer, I got a call telling us that I didn't need to show up for the procedure. They had attempted to thaw seven of the embryos, but none of them survived.  A month later, we transferred the remaining two, and we got pregnant, but tragedy struck again at seven and a half weeks when we miscarried our little baby.  

After two heartaches we talked to our specialist and asked what other options were available to us.  He introduced us to a concept quite foreign to us: donor egg with donor sperm.  We would use a sperm bank and then choose an egg donor from the egg donor bank 
at our clinic.  We found the sperm donor after looking at dozens of profiles.  Our wonderful nurse helped us choose our egg donor.  She was the nurse for the patients as well as the donors and she recommended a donor based on personalities.  She told us this donor was a lot like me.  Once the donors were chosen, the process began.  We ended up with five strong and beautiful embryos!  Once again, we found out the hard way, we would never hold any of these babies in our arms here on earth.  

Before starting the process again, we fell to our knees asking God for guidance in our decision making.  It became crystal clear to both my husband and me that we needed to change fertility clinics and try again.  Our sperm donor had available vials at just the right time, but we needed to find another egg donor through our new clinic.  This clinic had very detailed profiles for their donors which included photos of the donors as children.  We had narrowed our search down to two.  My husband asked me to listen as he began to read one of the profiles.  Without looking at photos and without seeing what he was reading, the description sounded like me!  With the Lord's guidance we made our choice.

We ended up with eight embryos from which they transferred the "best" two.  I would have to agree, but I also believe that they were hand picked by God because they both implanted!  I am now the mommy to two beautiful ten month old daughters.  Daily, I talk to my girls about these amazing donors who gave gifts so that I could be a mommy.  In our nightly prayers, we thank God for people who gave so that we could be parents by choice, by "adoption" and still experience carrying a baby and giving birth to my girls.  

I was praying on the morning that I went into labor.  I was ten weeks before my due date and was explaining to God why I needed to go full term.  The Holy Spirit placed a verse on my heart in the midst of that prayer, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you.  My power is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9. When the girls were born, I thought I understood  what the Lord was saying to me.  There is not much weaker than two 3 1/2  pound preemie babies.  But as the weeks passed, the verse continued to come back to my mind.  It became clear to me that my babies were not the weakness.  My infertility is my weakness!  God's power is made perfect in the fact that I cannot have biological children of my own!  "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ can work through me!"

Adoption: to take by choice into a relationship

I firmly believe just as Christ chose to adopt me, he also chose the exact little girls He wanted for me, and I gladly and thankfully accept them as my children.

Shannon Faust is a former elementary school teacher turned full time mom to her miracle twin daughters.  Although she grew up in Western Michigan, she currently resides in Alpharetta, GA with her husband, her girls, and her beagles, Baxter and Charlie.  She is active in her church where she volunteers with the middle school students.  She enjoys reading Nicolas Sparks novels, listening to Jim Brickman's piano music, writing short stories, and blogging.  You can read her whole fertility journey at www.shannonleigh1976.wordpress.com

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Following Him to Haiti: My True Needs

Following Him to Haiti: My True Needs: 11.03.12 Happy Birthday, Leah Grace!!! I wanted to share some blurbs from my devotions from the past few days, and just what God has bee...

Friday, November 2, 2012

Adoption—Is it Our Calling?

I learned that November is National Adoption Awareness Month and wanted to do a series on adoption. I wanted to not only talk about the Biblical aspect of adoption, but also share adoption stories from those who are just starting the journey, to those who are on the journey and those who have already adopted.

Let's start by looking to the Bible and see what God has to say about adoption.

The Greek word for adoption is huiothesia. It is made up of two words—huios which means son and thesis which means placement. In essence, adoption is when a son (or daughter) is placed in a home.

God created each and every person. We are all His creation. We are not called His children until we come to know Christ as our Lord and Savior and then God adopts us into His family.

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.’” ~ Romans 8:15

“to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” ~ Galatians 4:5

God also calls all of His children to take care of orphans.

“to visit orphans and widows in their trouble” ~ James 1:27

“He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger giving him food and clothing.” ~ Deuteronomy 10:18

“To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, That the man of the earth may oppress no more.” ~ Psalm 10:18

He specifically tells us not to bring any hardship to orphans and I take that as a call to help.

“You will not afflict any widow or fatherless child.” ~ Exodus 22:22

“Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless.” ~ Zechariah 7:10

We also read about how He protects and cares for orphans. If we are called to live like Christ, then we are called to do God’s will. To receive a good idea of what God’s will is, would be to figure out what He is already doing and join Him.

“You are the helper to the fatherless.” ~Psalm 10:14

“A father of the fatherless” ~Psalm 68:5

“The Lord watches over the strangers, He relieves the fatherless and the widow” ~ Psalm 146:9

He even goes so far as to tell us that by not taking care of orphans, we are being rebellious.

“Your princes are rebellious. . . .They do not defend the fatherless” ~ Isaiah 1:23

I’m not saying that we are all called to bring a child into our home through adoption (although I believe more of us are called than those who are being obedient), but we are all called to help care for orphans and help other families bring children home through adoption. We can help by giving financially, giving of our time to fundraisers or helping in the home, praying, and more. I am sure everyone at least knows of someone who has been adopted or of a family that has adopted. I’m also sure that if you have questions about adoption or how you can help, those people would be more than willing to share with you. I also hope to share some stories with you from people who are somehow affected by adoption. Please check back each Friday of November to read about adoption!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Huge Giveaway!

One of my favorite blogs, The Modest Mom, has renamed her store (because it is so much more than just for mothers!) and created a new website to go along with the "new" store. The new site is much easier to navigate and still has all the same, great products!

Head over to The Modest Mom and enter to win the huge giveaway she is doing to promote the "new" website.

You can also take a look around the site and see other great giveaways she is doing as well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

14 Things I’ve Learned During 14 Years of Marriage

In no particular order!
  1. It is better to submit than to push my own way.
  2. It’s better to stay up late to spend time with my husband and then just take a short nap during the day.
  3. Some men just won’t learn how to cook.
  4. I enjoy my husband doing the “man’s work” and me doing the “women’s work”.
  5. We can accomplish so much more when we work together.
  6. Sex gets better the longer you’ve been married.
  7. Becoming parents made us less selfish which improved our marriage.
  8. Enduring difficult times together made our marriage stronger.
  9. Forgiveness is key!
  10. Men need respect more than sex.
  11. Watching my husband being a great father is sexy.
  12. God’s plans are so much better than anything we could have imagined.
  13. Becoming a keeper of the home improved our marriage 100%.
  14. Waiting for God to change my husband works so much better than me trying to change him (or waiting for God to change me because my husband doesn’t need to change)!

Happy Anniversary, Chad! 
I pray God bless us with 50 more wonderful years!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

I feel so bad that I haven't posted much lately. We returned home late last Saturday night from our 1 1/2 week vacation to Texas. I've been playing catch-up since. It is my hope to be able to sit and write at some point this week, but we just got 250 lbs of potatoes that need to be canned, apples should be arriving any day, and I was asked to make and can sauerkraut for a friend (of course this is all on top of home school, laundry, etc). I figure if the Lord has something important to say through me, He'll give me the time to write!

I hope everyone is having a blessed month so far!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Knowledge, Wisdom, Understanding

"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." ~ Proverbs 4:7

"As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams." ~ Daniel 1:17

I'm studying the difference and significance of knowledge, wisdom and understanding. Why did God put them in that order? What is the difference between them?

I stumbled upon another blog (The Agapegeek Blog) that had an interesting post on the difference between them. I'm not saying this is accurate (because I just read it and need to do more research), but it is definitely something to think about and he makes some profound statements such as:
We can begin to see why understanding is so critical, without understanding all you have is a religion and religious people with a bunch of random facts.   This was an example of the Jewish leadership of Jesus’ day.  These men knew a lot of facts written in their law, but understood practically none of them.  Too many so called Christian are just people with some knowledge of some random facts.  They do not understand how they fit together, or how they work, or why they are in the Bible, how they relate to God, how they relate to them, why they are important to know and on and on I could go.  The Bible is so much more complex than you just reading a verse and you thinking that you got it and know everything you need to know.  So getting understanding is a critical piece of the bigger puzzle.  Start by learning the facts and then grow to understand what each of them mean and how they relate together.  Continue to grow and understand how they apply to you specifically.  Only by understanding who you are in Christ, why Jesus died on the cross, who Jesus was, and all of the other important subjects in the Bible will you ever be able to achieve to the wisdom of God.
 I would love for you to read the post and share your thoughts here! I think much can be gained by discussion of scripture and we may all grow in understanding by sharing with one another our interpretations.

I hope to continue posting my thoughts on the subject (and maybe more thoughts from others), so keep checking back and sharing your thoughts!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mary Had a Little Lamb Nursery Rhyme Preschool Unit Review & Giveaway

I received a copy of Mary Had a Little Lamb Nursery RhymePreschool unit by Super Mommy to the Rescue to review (she also has other units available that I've heard are great at Currclick!

When I first received the unit, I printed it out and read through the whole thing. You will see that the pictures of the unit are in black and white. That is because I was out of ink for my color printer at the time. The unit is very colorful and I am sure would be beautiful printed in color. Since I was going to be using it with three children at the same time and I was low on ink, I decided to put everything in plastic sleeves and have the girls use wet-erase markers to do the writing activities. I did decide to laminate the hands-on activities (except for the traditional puzzles, number puzzles and patterns. I stored most of the activities in envelopes in the back pocket of the binder. I did decide to store the tic-tac-toe pieces in the sleeve of the tic-tac-toe board.
 I sat down with Cora, Martha & Jaina to do the unit. While I thought it might be a little “easy” for Cora, I also thought she would enjoy starting the school year off with a little review from last year. Martha & Jaina are only four and I’m easing them into Kindergarten work since they turn five in February.

The girls enjoyed listening to the nursery rhyme and then singing it all together. I then had the girls practice with the pre-writing. I actually gave Cora one of the longer copies of the rhyme since she already knows how to write her letters. They enjoyed tracing the letters, wiping it off and trying again.

Martha and Jaina then worked on tracing the lines. They both did great with the straight lines, but needed extra practice with the zig-zag lines. Having them using the papers in the plastic sleeves was great for this because they just wiped them off and tried again. They also worked on the coloring pages. Again, having them in the plastic sleeves worked well because they just wiped off what they did and traded papers.

I had Cora work on the number puzzles while Martha & Jaina were working on their lines. Then they took turns with the number strip puzzles, 2 part match-ups, and sizing. They then would pair up and play tic-tac-toe while the other continued to work on the other “games” and then would switch pairs. All three of them played memory together.
I also allowed Cora to try her hand at the patterns. This was a little hard because the pieces were so small and she had difficulty seeing what the picture was and picking up the small pieces to place in the pattern. Because she was having difficulty, I didn’t have Martha or Jaina attempt it.
  When they were done with the other activities, they had fun putting the puzzles together. I couldn’t figure out a good way to laminate the puzzle pieces so I just made sure they were careful with the pieces.

Overall, this was a great unit! The girls had fun (they even asked the next day to do it again!), Cora strengthen concepts she already knew and was able to practice counting and number order, and Martha & Jaina began on the journey of learning letters, numbers, sizing, and matching like items. The only downside I saw was what I mentioned earlier about the size of the pattern page.
I would recommend this unit to anyone who has little ones. Even if you don’t home school, you and your children will have fun while learning at the same time!

Stacie Lewin (Super Mommy to the Rescue) is graciously giving a copy of this unit to 2 of my readers! To enter leave a comment telling me why you want this unit. Giveaway ends Sunday, Sept. 23rd at midnight. I will post the winner before I leave for vacation (we leave on the 26th).

To earn more entries, complete the following and leave a comment for each item you accomplish.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Large Family Mothering: Strategies for weathering a storm

Large Family Mothering: Strategies for weathering a storm: Mountains don't have to be high. Skiers know this. Once while in Bavaria on a ski vacation we were told that a world-class athlete had re...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tired of the Mess--Success!

Do you remember when I wrote months ago about being Tired of the Mess? Well, it took a while, but I finally did something about it. That is the reason why I've been pretty much absent from my blog for the last couple of weeks. With picking and preserving garden produce, preparing for school to start this week and taming the mess, I haven't had time to sit and write (although I have lots of ideas in my head!).

I started on taming that mess back in February when I first wrote about it, but got discouraged when I needed help moving some things and couldn't get my husband to help. Then I thought I was going to be getting some new shelving units so I thought I would wait until I got those. When the time came to get them, we realized they wouldn't fit in the room because they were 8 ft tall and since our ceilings are only 8 ft tall, there was no way to stand them up. I got discouraged, again.

I kept wanting to do something, but with lack of time because of the garden, the miscarriage, etc., I was great at making excuses as to why I couldn't do anything. Then, two weeks ago, I had finally had enough. We had moved out our chest freezer so I had extra space and it was a rainy day and I knew I wanted it done before school started so I set to work. It took a total three days to get it to this point (the first day was a full day and then two half days after that).

Of course, when I first started, the room began to look worse and worse. I had to move piles of stuff out of the way so I could move things around. We ended up taking out three bags of trash and a box of items to be donated. Of course, just a week before I started on the office, I had two boxes of books that I pulled out to sell (I'm now down to one box!) so that was helpful. I still can't fit all our books nicely on the shelves we have so I need to do a little more work and I still have a few files and drawers to go through, but for the most part I am done. I am working slowly on those other items and need my husband to go through his book collection and downsize as he has more shelves of books than I do (the English major, book-loving, book-reading fiend!). I think if I can get his seven shelves of books down to even five, we'll be good (I only have two shelves, the girls have four, school books have four, and reference books have four).

We also discovered we have a lot more room with the new format even though we brought in a bookcase to replace the space the freezer took. The placement of the desk give me a better view of the house and girls' school desk at the same time.

Are you ready to see pictures?!

Here is the view of the office from the main house.
The bookshelves still need a little work.

The "School Zone". Books, supplies, etc.

Looking at this picture I realize I need to clear off my bulletin board some more!

The girls' school desks (the blue board folds down for a desk). We can't get that printer to work, so we will be getting rid of it.

These are the  bookshelves that still need to be downsized.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Large Families on Purpose: Organized Sports and Individual Hobbies - Appetite...

Organized sports is a topic that I have thought a lot about. Some of the points she mentions I agree with. Some of the points I haven't thought about before and am still "chewing" on. Some of the points brought up in the comments section are things that I struggle with.

What are your thoughts? I would love to hear more opinions on the topic. Please only comment after reading the link.

Large Families on Purpose: Organized Sports and Individual Hobbies - Appetite...: We are heading in to the fall season.  School will begin soon, and many parents are trying to determine which and/or how many activities th...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Large Family Mothering: Pusillanimous

Large Family Mothering: Pusillanimous: Somehow this word, "pusillanimous" has been part of my thought processes lately. The definition is  "lacking courage and resolution: marked...

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Small Piece of History

My friend shared the following on FB the other day. Interesting.

A small piece of history I bet most of you don't know. (city people you may want to think about a country home & country folk be happy you live where you do)

Quoting Einstein`s nephew, Dr. E.H. Bronner (a chemist who had also been a prisoner of war during WWII) in a letter printed in The Catholic Mirror, Springfield, MA, January 1952:

"It appears that the citizens of Massachusetts are among the 'next' on the agenda of the water poisoners.

"There is a sinister network of subversive agents, Godless 'intellectual' parasites, working in our country today whose ramifications grow more extensive, more successful and more alarming each new year and whose true objective is to demoralize, paralyze and destroy our great Republic--from within if they can, according to their plan--for their own possession.

"The tragic success they have already attained in their long siege to destroy the moral fiber of American life is now one of their most potent footholds towards their own ultimate victory over us.

"Fluoridation of our community water systems can well become their most subtle weapon for our sure physical and mental deterioration. ..

"As a research chemist of established standing, I built within the past 22 years, 3 American chemical plants and licensed 6 of my 53 patents. Based on my years of practical experience in the health-food and chemical field, let me warn: fluoridation of drinking water is criminal insanity, sure national suicide. Don`t do it.

"Even in small quantities, sodium fluoride is a deadly poison to which no effective antidote has been found. Every exterminator knows that it is the most efficient rat-killer. ... Sodium fluoride is entirely different from organic calcium-fluoro-phosphate needed by our bodies and provided by nature, in God`s great providence and love, to build and strengthen our bones and our teeth. This organic calcium-fluoro-phosphate, derived from proper foods, is an edible organic salt, insoluble in water and assimilable by the human body, whereas the non-organic sodium fluoride used in fluoridating water is instant poison to the body and fully water soluble.

The body refuses to assimilate it. "Careful, bonafide laboratory experimentation by conscientious, patriotic research chemists, and actual medical experience, have both revealed that instead of preserving or promoting `dental health,` fluoridated drinking water destroys teeth, before adulthood and after, by the destructive mottling and other pathological conditions it actually causes in them, and also creates many other very grave pathological conditions in the internal organisms of bodies consuming it. How can it be called a "health" plan? What`s behind it?

"That any so-called "doctors" would persuade a civilized nation to add voluntarily a deadly poison to its drinking water systems is unbelievable. It is the height of criminal insanity. "No wonder Hitler and Stalin fully believed and agreed from 1939 to 1941 that, quoting from both Lenin`s Last Will and Hitler`s Mein Kampf:

"America we shall demoralize, divide, and destroy from within." ...

"Are our Civil Defense organizations and agencies awake to the perils of water poisoning by fluoridation? Its use has been recorded in other countries. Sodium fluoride water solutions are the cheapest and most effective rat killers known to chemists: colorless, odorless, tasteless; no antidote, no remedy, no hope: Instant and complete extermination of rats. ...

"Fluoridation of water systems can be slow national suicide, or quick national liquidation. It is criminal insanity--treason!"

Dr. E.H. Bronner, Mfg. Research Chemist, Los Angeles.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Letter To America

This is an old post (written in January 2011), but it still rings true. What would Jesus say to the American church if He was to write to us today? Unfortunately, it wouldn't be good.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Wife's Ten Commandments

A friend posted these on her FB page and I liked them so I wanted to share them here.
1. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and you shall love your husband as yourself.

2. You shall not make your husband into an idol, but you shall love, honor, respect and submit to him as unto the Lord.

3. You shall not take your husband's name in vain through gossip, slander, criticism, complaint or mockery; but you shall bless him both privately and publicly.

4. You shall work heartily as unto the Lord and as directed by Him and your husband, not by your own ideas of what should be done. You shall not be so busy working, however, that you neglect to get alone with God every day. During this quiet time, you shall pray diligently for your husband. You shall also be willing to put aside work in order to "play" when your husband asks you.

5. You shall honor your mother and father, but you shall not elevate their position or opinions above your husband's.

6. You shall not resent or revile or hate your husband, but you shall grant him grace, forgiveness and mercy.

7. You shall not commit adultery, nor shall you think lustfully toward another man; but you shall thank God for your husband and be pleased with him.

8. You shall not steal from your husband. You shall not steal his marriage by threatening divorce. You shall not steal his wife by leaving him alone all the time. You shall not steal his spiritual leadership by taking control. You shall not steal his time by placing unnecessary demands on him. You shall not steal his joy by complaining or moping. You shall not steal his peace by endless nagging. You shall also not steal glances from other men by wearing provocative clothes and causing them to stumble. This defrauds your husband of an honorable wife, the other man of pure thoughts, and the man's wife of her husband's faithfulness.

9. You shall not lie to your husband, but you shall speak the truth in love. You shall also practice a quiet and gentle spirit.

10. You shall not covet another woman's husband, her children, her friends, her house, her decorating style, her garden, her looks, her wardrobe, her possessions, her talents and gifts, her ministry, or any other thing that is hers; but you shall be content with all God has given to you.

~ Inspired by Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 22:36-40; 1 Peter 3:1-6; Ephesians 4:15, 4:29; 5:22-24, 5:33; Proverbs 31:10-31; Genesis 2:24; Malachi 2:16; Proverbs 19:13b; Matthew 5:21-24, 5:27-30; Philippians 4:11, Luke 12:15.~

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Books For Sale + more!

I have a long list of books that I need to get rid of because I just don't have the space. Some of these books have been used and enjoyed, but we just don't need them anymore. Some I purchased with the intent of using, but didn't. And others were given to me, but sat on my shelves for a couple of years.

I am not listing prices, because I am hoping people will make offers. You can offer money or if you or local (or can mail it inexpensively enough), I am willing to make trades. Things I'm willing to trade for include (but are not limited to): venison, hormone/antibiotic free beef or chicken, fresh caught fish, farm fresh eggs, garden produce or fruits, bookcases, shelving units, crates (plastic preferred, but wooden will work), beach towels/towels, 3-hole punch, large paper cutter, cloth diapers/training pants, fencing, pex piping, hay, someone willing to butcher chickens or goats . . .If you have something you want to trade that you don't see listed, please ask!

Homeschool Books

Rod & Staff, Stories About God’s People,  Bible Nurture & Reader series 2, book with units 1,2,3; Reading Teacher’s Manual; Phonics Teacher’s Manual—very good used condition, worth $28.80 new SOLD

Rod & Staff, Exploring with God, Bible Nurture & Reader series 4, workbooks for units 1,2,3 and teacher’s manual—like new, worth $17.65 new SOLD

Rod & Staff, God Visits His Chosen Family, Bible 7, workbook & tests—some writing, worth $9.90 new

Rod & Staff, Preschool Readiness Test, 2 tests and 1 teacher’s manual—new, worth $5.50 new

Rod & Staff, God Choose a Family, Bible 5, teacher’s manual, workbook, & tests—some writing on first few pages only, worth $19.15 new

Reader’s Digest, The Story of Mankind, The Birth of Our Planet, Life Before Man, evolution based books, like new

Skill Builders, Multiplication, 3rd grade, 2nd half of book SOLD

Houghton Mifflin, The Mathematics Experience, practice workbook, Kindergarten SOLD

Math Review, grade 3, 2nd half of book SOLD

Mayas, Incas, and Aztecs: Ancient History—like new except for name written on front SOLD

Spectrum, Writing, grade 3—like new SOLD

Spectrum, Writing, grade 6—writing in pencil on the first 2 dozen pages

Spectrum California Test Practice 3—like new

Spectrum California Test Practice 4—like new

Spectrum California Test Practice 6—like new

Facts & Features, stack of newspaper like “articles” on topics such as George Washington, Butterflies, Safety, etc., approx. 20 pages SOLD

Busy Teacher’s Guide: Art Lessons, grades 1-3—like new SOLD

Reading for Content, A: Science, like new except for writing on cover SOLD

Endangered Species, like new except for writing on cover SOLD

McGuffey 6th Eclectic Reader, first 124 pages printed off the internet and in a new folder

Touch Math: Addition & Subtraction, workbooks & some in a binder SOLD

World Explorer: Geography, teacher’s resources and teacher’s edition SOLD

Manners that Matter, grades 3-8—like new except for a name on cover SOLD

Writing for Competency, 2 books—like new except for one has a name on cover SOLD

Reading & Critical Thinking, Book 1 & Book 2, gently used with some writing in one book SOLD

Fifth Grade in Review: 100 Reproducible Activities, definitely used, but can still make great copies

Great Rescues, Great Disasters, Great Mysteries, 2 copies of Great Disasters—good condition SOLD

Reading for Understanding, Grade 2—like new SOLD

Building Grammar, Grades 3-4, 100+ reproducible activities—used (pages torn on perforation, but in the book)

Using Dollars & Sense—very used SOLD

Skill Drill Math, Grade 5, black line reproducibles—very used SOLD

Explode the Code 2—like new SOLD

Explode the Code 3—like new

Explode the Code 4—like new

Alpha Omega, Bible 7 Lifepacs, units 2-10 (2 copies of each), teacher’s manual—covers worn, but inside great condition, worth $60 new

Weather, A Thematic Unit—like new except for writing on cover SOLD

Voices of American History, Colonial America: A New World, Grades 4-8, book & 1 CD—pages falling out of book, but still in good condition

Liberty Mathematics Level K teachers manual—some writing on cover SOLD

Christian Liberty Preschool teacher’s guide—like new

Modern Curriculum Press B, Teacher’s guide—very good condition, worth $30 new

Easy Grammar, Grade 3—like new SOLD

Misc. Books

Praying the Names of God by Ann Spangler—gently used

Messie Free by Sandra Felton—like new

The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw—like new

Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer, by Susie Martinez, Vanda Howell, and Bonnie Garcia—very good condition

Encyclopedia of Christian Parenting—very good condition

Reader’s Digest, Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things—very good condition

Reader’s Digest, 2001 Cleaning Secret—very good condition

Like Grandma Used to Make cookbook—very good condition

Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis—very good condition

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins—like new

And Then We Were Women by Dee Brestin—well used

To Train up a Child by Michael & Debi Pearl—very good condition SOLD

Moments Together for Couples by Dennis & Barbara Rainey—good condition

The Bible Promise Book, NIV—used

A Mother’s Guide to Herbal Extracts by Kathy Garber—like new

5-Minute Retreats for Women by Sue Augustine—like new

Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz with CD—like new (except for writing inside front cover)

Pilgrim Progress By John Bunyan—very well used SOLD

Rebel With a Cause by Franklin Graham—very good condition

We are also currently trying to sell two vehicles.

2001 Town & Country: Engine V6, 3.8 Liter 131,xxx miles; Air Conditioning; Air Conditioning, Rear Power Windows; Power Door Locks; Cruise Control; Dual Air Bags; Dual Power Seats;  Leather;
7-Passenger Seating; Privacy Glass; Roof Rack; Transmission-Automatic; Traction Control;  ABS (4-Wheel); Power Steering;  Tilt Wheel;  AM/FM Stereo;  Cassette,  CD (Multi Disc),  Premium Sound;  Power Sliding Doors and gate--asking $4800 OBO

1998 Ford Ranger Extended Cab: Great running daily driven truck. 3.0L V6 gets 20MPG 4 speed auto shifts perfect. 234000 miles mechanically solid Body is in good shape for the miles. There is some surface rust by the rear mud flaps and a small spot on the passenger side door. The DS front fender is dented but not rusted, and the AC condencer needs replaced. 15" Tires have only 3500 miles on them. New rear shocks.--$2695 OBO

Monday, August 13, 2012

Can You Handle the Truth?

I read a very honest article about abortion which wondered where Christians were in the fight against it. I highly encourage you to read it. You may not like the truths stated, you may have your eyes opened to some truths, or you may be like me and be encouraged to do even more in the stand against abortion.

We Can't Handle the Truth About Abortion

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Lilla Rose's Flexi-Clip Review & Giveaway!

The girls and I have discovered an amazing product that we just absolutely love!

The Flexi-Clip by Lilla Rose!

French Twist with small Flexi

We were sent a flexi-clip to review by a good on-line friend of mine, Jasmine Bass of Like a Mustard Seed. She became a Lilla Roseconsultant in order to raise money for her adoption. Jasmine is a wonderful woman who has a heart of gold. Add that on top of my love of wanting to help wonderful couples enlarge their family by creating a forever home for a child and I just knew I had to help.

French twist with medium Flexi
The girls and I were ecstatic when the flexi-clip arrived. Of course, since I am Mom, I got to try it out first. Jasmine sent us a small after I watched the sizing video on the Lilla Rose website and saying that a small seemed like it would be the most versatile for all of us to start with. Watching the sizing video is very important to ensuring you get the size you need because I would have thought I needed a large for my hair. While I can use the large if I do a French Twist with my hair wet, that is the only thing I can use it for and I would have been disappointed if I would have gotten a large to begin with.
Tails up with small Flexi

1/2 up with small Flexi
After receiving the small, I tried using it to do a French twist, but realized I need a medium for that, but I am able to use it to do an tails up (which is my favorite way to use the small!). I can also use it to do a half-up. A medium arrived and I love it for doing a French twist! I have used the mini for taking just a little bit of hair from each side and joining in the back. 

After I tried it, I allowed the girls to use it in age order starting with my oldest. Her hair is just like mine. Her favorite way to wear the small is in a half-up. She can use the medium for a French twist like like I do.

French Twist with bobby pins
My second oldest has much finer and thinner hair than me and likes to use the small for a French twist. Our XS arrived and she uses it for half-ups and up-twists. She has also been successful in using just two of the bobby pins for holding her hair in a French Twist.

French twist with Large Flexi
My third daughter has thicker hair than me and can only use the small flexi-clip for a half-up. She uses the medium for up-twists and enjoys the large for French twists.

My fourth daughter has hair similar to my second daughter, but she even has less hair so while we have been successful once in getting her hair to stay in a French twist with the small, I think the XS works better for her and the mini is great for doing a half-up.

Ponytail with mini Flexi
Even the little girls enjoy the flexi-clips!

French Twist with X-Small Flexi
Lilla Rose has many different styles of flexi-clips in various sizes (mini, XS, S, M, L, and even XL). They also have bobby pins, You pins, Hair sticks, O rings, Hair bands and a few choices of “jewelry”. 

We are looking forward to expanding our flexi-clip collection as there are not enough for everyone to wear one at the same time and that causes conflicts (especially on Sunday mornings when everyone want to wear one!).

1/2 up with Mini Flexi
Now for the great news! You can enter to win a flexi-clip! See below for ways to earn entries, but if you can’t wait  or want more than one, then you can order your own flexi-clips and support a great cause. If you purchase three, you get a fourth free! (To get your free flexi clip, purchase three through the link and then email Jasmine with which one you would like free.) Lilla Rose is also offering free shipping on orders over $20 (if you purchase through my link only)! This is a great time to order! If you order here between now and the 20th, you will help my girls earn some free flexi-clips for them to share.

You can earn multiple entries to win a free flexi-clip. Giveaway open until August 20, 2012 at midnight. Winner will be announced August 21st.

Mandatory entry!!!!

Extra entries . . .
  • Subscribe to or follow Gracious Daughter of the King and leave a comment telling me you do.
  • “Like” Gracious Daughter of the King on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you do.
  • Share the giveaway on FB or your own blog and leave a comment telling me you did.
  • Sign up for Jasmine’s Lilla Rose newsletter through this link: http://eepurl.com/mUjID  and then come back here and leave a comment telling me you did.
  • Like Lilla Rose – Jasmine Bass on Facebook and leave a comment telling me you did.
  • Visit the Basses adoption blog and leave an encouraging comment on their Guestbook and then come back and leave a comment here telling me you did.