Friday, September 30, 2011

Becoming A Wife Of Excellence

I doubt there are very few of us who wouldn't like to obtain this title. The truth for  me is that I very much want to become a wife of excellence.

When Kyle and I got engaged, our pastor had us counsel with him. Both of us had recently converted from Catholicism to born again believers. He was a very wise man who has since gone on to be with the Lord. His policy about husbands and wives was quite simple. To me he read Proverbs 31, encouraging me to make this my life verse and let it guide me all of the days of my life. To my husband he encouraged loving his wife like Christ loves the church. On the surface it seemed that this would be such an easy thing to do!

Then we got married and the "fairy tale hit the fan"... so to speak. I cannot tell you how many times we have had to revisit these verses and passages over the last 16 years!

Several years ago I made it a point to find any book that would help me become who my husband needed me to be. I set about collecting books, consuming them and trying to apply the principals I learned. Some books fell short in a major way, while others remain on my bookshelf, easily found and referred back to.

In the first oh, say 10 years of my marriage there was a great deal of conflict in our marriage. We both came into marriage with different concepts and understandings. Especially when it came to roles we both play.

I found a couple of books that really did help me. You see, it wasn't until my eyes were completely opened to my own heart that I even realized I was lacking. When I was preparing to speak at a Woman's Conference in Paris our pastor called us together and asked what we would be teaching on. Of course, I would be teaching on biblical submission! Seriously, he almost fell over with laughter and called me aside... and told me under no certain circumstances that, until I mastered being submissive to my husband can I teach on it! At first I was offended. But on my way home I had quite the talk with God, and then I knew the truth. I was not ready to teach on this subject, instead God would have me share my personal testimony of living through sexual abuse for many years and God's healing powers.

I am so glad I listened to my pastor and followed God's leading. My testimony of this missions trip to France is amazing. But another story for a later time.

The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace has been pulled again from my shelf. You see... no matter how it appears on the outside, no matter how "excellent" I feel I have become... there is always room for improvement.

Upon reading the areas in the book I have underlined, I see what a great and mighty work God has done in my life. I also see many areas in which I still struggle and could do much better.

Over these next few weeks I will be revisiting the attributes of an Excellent Wife. I plan to make myself a Large blooming flower and tape it on my front door. In the middle will be the words "An Excellent wife is" and on each of the petals I will write the answers as God reveals them to me. Some I know and practice, some will need better clarification and application.

I hope to be able to show you and share with you the awesome work I expect God to do in my life! And I hope to be an encouragement to you as well, as we are all on this same journey. 

A Wife of Noble Character
 10 [b]Who can find a virtuous and capable wife?
      She is more precious than rubies.
 11 Her husband can trust her,
      and she will greatly enrich his life.
 12 She brings him good, not harm,
      all the days of her life. 13 She finds wool and flax
      and busily spins it.
 14 She is like a merchant’s ship,
      bringing her food from afar.
 15 She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
      and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
 16 She goes to inspect a field and buys it;
      with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
 17 She is energetic and strong,
      a hard worker.
 18 She makes sure her dealings are profitable;
      her lamp burns late into the night.
 19 Her hands are busy spinning thread,
      her fingers twisting fiber.
 20 She extends a helping hand to the poor
      and opens her arms to the needy.
 21 She has no fear of winter for her household,
      for everyone has warm[c] clothes.
 22 She makes her own bedspreads.
      She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
 23 Her husband is well known at the city gates,
      where he sits with the other civic leaders.
 24 She makes belted linen garments
      and sashes to sell to the merchants.
 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity,
      and she laughs without fear of the future.
 26 When she speaks, her words are wise,
      and she gives instructions with kindness.
 27 She carefully watches everything in her household
      and suffers nothing from laziness.
 28 Her children stand and bless her.      Her husband praises her:
 29 “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world,
      but you surpass them all!
 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last;
      but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.
 31 Reward her for all she has done.
      Let her deeds publicly declare her praise.

* All of the underlining are mine! These are the points that touch my heart so much.

Update on the Ducklings...

Do you guys remember these little guys? I got them back at the beginning of the summer.

 During a short period of insanity I gave into my girls. "Please mommy! We want ducks!" You see, up to this point I was an avid chicken whisperer. I loved my 2 little ladies whom have given me many moments of companionship and joy.
Ducks? WHAT am I going to do with ducks? I had absolutely NO IDEA how to raise ducks. 
During this summer, we had a bad storm tear through the area and we lost power. Some time between 2 AM and 5 AM we lost Anna and Stardust. They were my girls' new babies. Our best guess was a raccoon or Opossum. Our neighbors to the West of us had a greater loss. Mama and Papa duck, along with 9 ducklings and 3 chickens. It was a very sad day in our neighborhood. Abby loved Anna so much!
So, in my compassion for the girls I gave in. We some how ended up with the 2 duckings you see floating around in the pressure cooker (I thought it was cute!). The black and yellow one we named Jeremiah Puddleduck
and the little grey and yellow one we named Marshmallow....
I do call her Marsha now....
Just like all babies grow... so did my little ducklings....

I had no idea what sex these birds would end up being... I am so glad that Jeremiah ended up being male! And Marsha is a female... That means I will be having ducklings before too long! Now, let me tell you how much I adore these ducks! THEY ARE SO MUCH FUN! What personalities they have!
Before you run out and and get yourself a couple, let me warn you that they are MAJOR mess makers and full of mischievousness! They poop like crazy and need a pool or pond. They are very opinionated and will tell you EXACTLY what they think if you are not pleasing them. They are super fast even though they waddle... and they have sharp nails!
While I have never eaten a duck egg in my life, I hear they are superior to chicken eggs. I suspect that if I don't collect the eggs when Marsha starts laying them that lots of little duckling will be born over the winter or first thing next spring.
I now understand fully how Beatrix Potter managed to write so many stories about ducks!


SOTW week 4


  •  Giuseppe Garibaldi, Young Italy rebels against Austria.
  • Victor Emmanuel II, Italy becomes a Kingdom
  • Taipings rebel against the Qing Dynasty.
The largest part of this unit covered Italy and China. The manual had some great suggestions for this unit so we ran with it.

 The First Pizzeria opened in 1830 in Naples, Italy. It is still open today. Naturally, as a class we had to celebrate Italy becoming a Kingdom in 1861 with pizza!

Our Journal entries and map work

This is a Taiping Tien Kuo Coin. You read these coins first from top to bottom and then from right to left. Almost off of these coins have been destroyed. The front side of this coin says " The Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace" and the backside says "Holy Coins"

 I baked some brownies... cut out a template of the coin... sprinkled some powdered sugar on top and got this....
So while we consumed our pizza and brownies (Yeah, History is torture!) we learned some new words in Uygur.
Hindsight is 20/20 as they say... Along with having them learn how to count from 1-9 in Uygur I also had them write out "God Bless You" and "God Loves you" in Uygur Calligraphy. I didn't get any pictures! 
Counting in Uygur

One                Bir                    Bihr
Two               Ishki                  Ihsh-kee
Three             Ooch                Ooch
Four              Tut                   Tut (rhymes with put)
Five              Besh                  Behsh
Six               Alta                   AWL-tuh
Seven          Yeta                  YEHT-tuh
Eight           Sekiz                  SEHK-ihz
Nine            Tokkuz              TOHK-kooz (“oo” as in “good”)

Other doing's in Co-op
Learning about silk worms and Caterpillars with FIAR

Chemistry class with Mrs. Christy

 Mrs. Sampson Teaching Natural History

 Natural History students. Natural History is really a form of science.

Chemistry Class. 3 boys. Need I say more?

Personal Finance class!

Bible class with Mrs. Sampson

 Sketching class with Mrs. York

 Does it look like they are trying to copy off each other?

I am sure that these faces do not portray their true feelings....


SOTW Week 3

Week 3 of SOTW 1855-1857
Dost Mohammad signs treaty with Great Britain, ending the Great Game and David Livingstone Explores Africa.

This was a fun unit that didn't look too promising when I first planned out what we were going to learn. I found it difficult to follow what the books recommendations were for the hands on projects once again, and decided to do a few of my own. While my own girls have already done an in-depth study of  Africa last year, my other co-op kids had not. My own didn't mind revisiting Africa and learning about the great sacrifices that David Livingstone made.

We created tree's in our journals and placed a heart under the tree. David Livingstone's heart was planted in the same way by the Afrikaans when he died. His body was then sent home to his family, while his heart remained forever. We labeled the the tree and sky using our Afrikaan words.

On the left hand side of our Journals we added our map work and famous men of this era.

 We practiced and added our Swahili words and Afrikaan words. Their assignment was to address and use these words to others this week. Jambo was used a lot!

 Co-op was hosted at my house this week. It gave me an opportunity to actually TEACH in my new classroom! I will have to admit... I do love my dry erase boards! On the left is our Swahili, in the middle the tree, next is Afrikaans and there to the right are some of the facts we knew about Africa before we began this unit.

Other Co-op Happenings

 Mrs. Sampson helping the littles with Art Appreciation.

 Mrs. Hildboldt with the Elementary and middle school kids. They are working on their nature sketches.
 I know that sweet girl there! Abby is sketching the flowers we planted on top of our dearly beloved Megan that had to be put down at the end of summer.
 This is actually in the middle of my "new" raspberry patch.

 I will have to say this... I LOVE these kids! Nothing can wear me out quicker than a day with these little ones! They are amazing!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Who ARE these people?

"Who is this young lady?" a client asks. "This is Hali, our oldest daughter", I replied. The exchange goes back and forth for the appropriate amount of time, each person politely executing this vague social greeting. Neither will leave the others presence and actually KNOW anything about each other. Will this person go to heaven? Does he need prayer? How is his family? Does he need a hug or encouragement? As a society we "settle" for what we consider "normal". We move on. Next week that person will not be remembered. To us they have little value.

I have no desire to be normal. You guys can be normal if you want to. In our American culture "normal" means you are in debt, immorality, relational conflict/divorce, stress, confusion and loneliness. I think I will bypass all of that and live my life believing the promises that God has given.

I don't want my kids to be normal either. And I am glad that they have been raised with a heart of compassion. I can count on my kids to always do the right thing... because it's the right thing to do. This is called integrity. Do they ever mess up? Do they ever make poor choices? You bet they do! I have yet to meet that perfect person. Last I checked that was only Jesus. Each one of them know how to exercise self control. And by controlling themselves they master areas of their lives that many fall in. There are many ways that my kids don't measure up in that "normal" category. This is okay with me.

Now back to my first point. What kind of difference could I have made in my daughters life or my clients life if I would have led the conversation in a different direction?

"Who is this young lady?" a client asks. "This is Hali, our oldest daughter. Hali, this is Mr. Johnson. His son has been suffering with asthma attacks lately. Their whole family needs prayer and encouragement to get through this tough time....."  Now I have just opened this conversation to a whole new realm. Mr. Johnson has value. His family has value. Mr. Johnson walks away from our conversation knowing someone cares enough to listen. Later that night, or next week, when Mr. Johnson is discouraged and tired he KNOWS someone is praying. When we take the time to invest in others, listen, encourage and break the confines or normality we make a change for the better of all.

Here is the same conversation in a different light.

 "Who is this young lady?" a client asks. "This is Hali, our oldest daughter. Hali, this is Mr. Johnson. He has lived in this same town for over 60 years! He can tell you stories about how so many things have changed over time. He was just telling me a story about how his family had the very first television on the block. His son just bought him this new phone he hasn't learned to use yet, but he figures if he could figure out that first TV then he can figure out his phone!"...... Now we have bridged the gap of generations. Chances are, my child will volunteer to show him how to use his phone. My daughter walks away knowing she has helped Mr. Johnson and Mr. Johnson walks away thinking a little differently about today's generation of kids. If we make just small investments into other people, the world around US will change.

Let me encourage you, even challenge you to break away from "normal" and reach out to others. You really do make a difference.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Journaling SOTW the first 2 weeks

Co-op Journals should look something like this! I have asked each kid to frame their entries but I want them to use their own creativity! What I have seen so far I absolutely LOVE!

 Don't forget to recite the Charge of the Light Brigade!

Story of the World Week Two

Week two SOTW: West against East

We began week two by reading our chapter and then doing our map work. During class we discussed Commodore Matthew Perry and his black ships that arrived in Japan.We also covered the "peace of Paris" treaty, Russia's ambitions quenched and the war over the "Keys to a Church".

We did a couple activities that strayed from the book. Before class began I asked some of the older girls in Co-op to put embossing powder on their hands and go about the next 15 minutes responding, touching and sharing. I then began my class. We took some time to learn who Florence Nightingale was, where she was from, how she helped in the war effort and how her work changed hospitals around the world. Our big focus was germs!

I then asked each of the kids to partner up and give each other an inspection. I told them that the glittering embossing powder represented germs. They realized they were covered with it! This was a very good lesson for all age groups! Before lunch I even busted a couple of them who forgot to wash their hands!

 The discovery process