Saturday, September 27, 2014

KEEPERS OF THE FAITH {girls group}

Look at all these sweet girls!

With back to school, a couple of my girlfriends and I decided that it would be fun to start a Keepers of the Faith group.  We loved the idea that we could work together once a month to train our girlies in a variety of skills and they could earn badges to share what they are learning.

Hailey painting her girl's group tote bag to carry her binder.

My dear friend, Lisa was the inspiration behind starting the group.  Thanks, Lis!

For our first meeting we sang together; worked on memorizing the Beatitudes (yep, that is a badge!), then divided the girls into two age groups. 
The younger girls worked on painting tote bags (to keep their Keepers Binders in) while the older girls learned about Home Decorating.  Then the older girls painted their bags while the little girls made their own hair bows. 
Our wonderful friend, Danielle with a couple of her little girls.
Our little niece, Mercy, age 8.

Finally, the younger children were read a passage from Little Women (chapter 11) about being content with their daily jobs while the older girls were taught a Photography skills class. 


Our dear Michaela, age 15.
In between classes, the girls had lunch together; worked on their Beatitudes passage and, once classes were done, had an afternoon snack and fellowship time.

Sweet girls working on memorizing the Beatitudes.
We decided that it would best meet the needs of our busy group to meet less often (once a month) for an entire day rather than try to meet weekly or biweekly for a shorter time. 
It seemed to work great and it's been so fun to see all the girls with their amazing tote bags and hair bows since then and hearing about the things they learned from the moms who were teaching those classes. 
Ellie's sweet tote.
If you aren't familiar with Keepers, I think one of it's strengths is that you can really customize your club in whatever way best suits your group (or family).  You can go with uniforms, or no uniforms.  Weekly meetings or monthly meetings.  With the pre-determined criteria for badges, or make your own.  It's really up to you!
Our schedule looked roughly like this:
10:00 -  Arrival and greeting time
10:30 -  Begin club meeting- greeting, memory verse, singing together, discussion of the day's plan
11:00 -  Session 1- Little girls paint canvas totes/ Older girls learn about Home Décor
12:00 -  Lunch break and clean up
1:00  -    Session 2- Little girls make their own hair bows/ Older girls paint canvas totes
2:00  -   Session 3- Little girls hear story about being content with their daily chores/ Older girls learn Photography skills
3:00  -   Snack time, clean up and fellowship
4:00  -   Depart for home
Badges worked on:  Beatitudes, Crafts, Home Décor and Photography
It was a full day and one we look forward to doing again soon!
Do you have plans to work with other families this year to encourage one another and work on skills?  I'd love to hear what you are doing!
Blessings friends,

Thursday, September 25, 2014


I can't believe it's Back to School time already!


I just want to say from the start, this isn't a post to add one more burden for anyone to carry.  The point is not that we won't make mistakes in our thinking but that there are times I buzz through life with the false impression that my thinking is inconsequential to some degree.  

Maybe you do too. 

We know that God cares about what we do; how we treat others, spend our time, abilities and resources.  And we know He cares about what we say (our words are to encourage, exhort and so on), but have you given much consideration to the idea that God cares about what we think? 

Back to school packs.  Each kiddo had their own color.  And a chocolate.  Because
really-- everything is better with chocolate, right?


Recently, I have been reading a lot of verses that have reminded me that our thinking matters.  

Before we were believers, we had a different way of thinking.

Ephesians 4:17-18 says that we are commanded to no longer walk or even think as the Gentiles.

 no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance in them, because of the hardening of their heart.” 

Our thoughts are new, just like our hearts.  And when they are not, we have a new pattern of how to deal with those thoughts. 

Getting our hands dirty harvesting the last of the garden spoils.
We learn (with ever so much trial along the way) to “bring every thought captive into the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
We push out ungodly thoughts and worldview to have “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16).
And we make provision to grow in our discernment and understanding (Phil. 1:9).

All packed and ready for a last little slice of summer-- a day at the lake.

Yes, God cares about what we think.  I guess that we should too. 


We had a private beach for hours to play and rest.


As I have been meditating on the Psalms the past few weeks, I have been so very encouraged  reading David.  Sometimes I think that he has a much clearer view of God as his Father than I do.

Tada!  Sister love.  They played for hours in the lake.

David’s enemies were ungodly.  That didn’t mean they didn’t go to temple, but  they were slick-talking, self-promoting and vile.  They exposed their own lack of faithfulness with throats that were like an “open tomb” Psalm 5:9. 
As a side note, just think about the purpose of the tombs in David’s day.  Remember, they conveniently kept the stink in (John 11:39).  There was deadness and decay inside and people wanted to keep that stench contained.  If only the sharp tongued men who attacked David had a stone placed over their mouths.

Smiling at my honey (see me in his glasses?)
But this is really about how David responded when he was literally run out of town by these men, led by his own son Absalom. 

You remember that Absalom had covertly worked to turn hearts against David and toward himself.  He seemed proud to "make a name for himself" like the ungodly men from Tower of Babel.

David's life was turned completely upside down as he was forced to flee far from his home; was cursed by men who misunderstood him and heard the people say, "There is no help for him in God (Psalm 3:2)."
Dog surfer by Michaela.
David, while running from their traitorous hands cries to the LORD: 
“But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.”
- Psalm 3:3-4

This is right thinking. 
Faithie soaking up the heat and the chance to read.

David set his mind on truth.  While others said he was without hope, David rightly believed that God heard his cry and was the lifter of his head. 
I am a head lifter.  As parents, we all have opportunities to lift up little downcast heads, don't we?  When a little someone has had their feelings hurt by others, it is our love relationship with that little one, that allows us to lift their little head; look in their eyes; dispel their fears and comfort their heart.  

And David knew that God is our Father in that way.  He is the lifter of our heads. 

I love this man like crazy.  We just celebrated 23 years of marriage.

 Later David said: 
“But let all those rejoice who put their
Trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because
You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as
With a shield.”
- Psalm 5:11-12

Goodbye sweet Summer...
David asked that all of those who trust in GOD (that is you and me!) would rejoice, shout and be joyful!  Not because we won't face trials, but because GOD Himself is our shield!   And we can't get a better deal than that.

We know that God has fought for us in the past.  We have seen His faithful hand extended to us.  Remembering those truths and having patterns of thankfulness.

That is right thinking.

It's been great to visit on the porch with dear long-time friends.
David had it right. 
Paul had it right.
And they not only remind us of right thinking, but also tell us to protect that right thinking from the crafty and persuasive words of men (Col. 2:4) as we are rooted and built up in Him (Col. 2:6).

Friend love.

Is the way we think really such a big deal?  I guess it is because God placed a warning sign up for us to read in His Word. 

It starts as all serious warning signs do-- with the strong declaration of "BEWARE":

"Beware lest anyone cheat you
through philosophy and empty deceit,
according to the tradition of men,
according to the basic principles of the world
and not according to Christ,
 For in Him dwells all the fullness of
the Godhead bodily;
and you are complete in Him,
who is the head of all principality and power."
- Colossians 2:8-9

Unless we guard right thinking, we will be cheated.

Back to School we go!
As we get back into schooling our children, or in some cases as we send them to school, right thinking is something worth our attention. 
Dr. Greg Bahnsen, writes in his book, Always Ready:
'"All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ (Col. 2:3-8).'  Note he says all wisdom and knowledge is deposited in the person of Christ- whether it be about the War of 1812, water's chemical composition, the literature of Shakespeare, or the laws of logic! 
Every academic pursuit and every thought must be related to Jesus Christ, for Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6)."  p. 4-5
As we read the headlines, study academics, interact socially, we have so many opportunities to filter those things through the protective screen of God's Word.   
May we clearly show our little ones that all thinking and all wisdom relates back to the One Who made us, sustains us and lifts our troubled heads.
What are ways that you are proactively protecting right thinking and growing in discernment?   
Because right thinking matters.
May you be blessed!
Have High Schoolers this year?  Consider having them read Always Ready by Greg Bahnsen and When People are Big and God is Small!  






Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Up in the school room, teddy is relaxing.

You've experienced this.  It's St. Patrick's Day, but you can't find the St. Patrick book you know you own on any of your bookshelves.  But good news- you just found the Easter book you couldn't find at Easter... Familiar? 

Nothing makes me more crazy.

So when I decided to organize the books upstairs, I did a quick search for inexpensive book storage hoping to be inspired.  And I was.  I fell in love with this idea of sorting books by category in organized bins. 

Using IKEA magazine files-- at just $1.49 for a 5 pack,  I didn't need to reform my book hoarding ways, I could just sort my stash for $20!  So that's what I did.

They are now all sorted.  I have categories:

  • By topic (Apologetics, Art, Atlas, Biographies, Birds, Butterflies, Coloring, Christian Character, Dinosaurs...)
  • By reader age (Young Readers 5-7; Young Readers 8-12...)
  • The four history periods we cover (History- Creation to Greeks, History- Rome to Reformation, History- Exploration to 1950 and History- 1850 to Modern)
  • Holidays and Seasonal
  • Puritans
  • US Presidents

And so on.  Then, all of the categories are alphabetized so that I can actually find that St. Patrick book when I want it- there it is, right there in Holidays and Seasonal.  Tada! 

And more than that, when a reader needs a book I can guide them to all the choices that are appropriate for their age as well as make sure they don't miss out on any of the fun books along the way. 

Books by category.
I turned the magazine racks so that books are easy to grab and used simple 4x6 cards cut in half for labeling the boxes.  I didn't even use a printer to make it fancy. 
So for a $20. investment and very little time, we got completely organized.  Of course, then I went to our local Homeschool conference and bought more books... 
My husband should really be presented with an award for patience.  :)
Enjoy all your before school organizing! 
Blessings friends,

Monday, August 11, 2014


You have fixed all the boundaries of the earth;
you have made summer and winter.
~ Psalm 74:17

Summers are for gardening. 
For enjoying the brightest
and best tomatoes and the
freshest produce. 

Gardening together.
Summers are for watching 
bright flowers emerge from 
small seeds,
planted by eager little hands

A tree to climb.

Summers are for exploring. 
For climbing trees that are
one year taller and for
inventing ways to deliver
items up.

Sending smoke signals to let everyone know dinner is almost ready.

Summers are for Bar-b-ques
and for slow meals eaten
outside on the porch. 
Grilled everything.
Summers are for stringing lights. 
And for sleeping under stars.
Lights to string.
Little girls who camped under stars and in a tent quite a few nights!
Summers are for welcoming guests. 
And for making trips to see friends and family. 
Great to see you Jonescrew!
And Auntie Dale with baby Oliver!
Great to drive to see you Grandma and Grandpa!
Ernsts and Ottos!
Raffertys and Mitchells!
Wintons (pictured), Burns, Wards, Eckerts and others!!!
Summers are for cheering
at church picnics. 
Jesse, Madison, Faith and Morgan
For holding hands.
Lending a helping hand to this cute little skater.
 For painting projects.
Rock painting-- another item checked off the Summer Fun list.
And finally...
Summers are
for feeling super.
Super heroes.
Hope you are enjoying yours!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights with
whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
~James 1:17