Friday, July 29, 2011

Ode to Samson's Parents

"For you are my hope, O Lord GOD:
you are my trust from my youth."
~ Psalms 71:5

When Samson's parents were told that they would soon have a child after being barren, I am sure they were very excited! The angel of God said to them that he was to be raised as a special child "unto God from the womb" (Judges 13:5).

What was their first reaction? It wasn't... choosing a name. It wasn't... how were they going to decorate the baby room. It wasn't... thinking about what school he would attend. It wasn't... thinking of what extra activities they would get to participate in when he grew older.

Their first concern was what God wanted from them for their child!

The first reaction was to ask the Lord to "teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born" (Judges 13:8).

Isn't our goal as believing parents to also raise our children "unto God from the womb"? And doesn't God teach us through the Scriptures what ought to be done?

  • "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)
  • "And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." ~ Deuteronomy 6:67
  • "Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old, he will not depart from it." ~ Proverbs 22:6
  • "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord." ~ Colossians 3:20
  • "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth." ~ Ephesians 6:1-3 NKJV
  • "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.2 Timothy 3:16-17

We must be diligent and forsake the saying that "children will be children" and watch them sin away... for these early days will be forming the character of the child. We are to be their teachers from the beginning. We must take our parental responsibilities seriously and prayerfully. Remember, these are God's children that He gave us to raise unto Him and ultimately they should be taught to bring "into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:5). And this dear reader, will take some time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sample of Our Nature Study Notebook Journal Pages

“Consider, too, what an unequalled mental training the child-naturalist is getting for any study or calling under the sun — the powers of attention, of discrimination, of patient pursuit, growing with his growth, what will they not fit him for?” 
Charlotte Mason, Victorian Era Educator

If you are curious about Nature Study, then you may be interested in seeing some samples of our nature journal pages (especially because we aren't that artsy family which means anyone can do this!). Maybe they will bring some inspiration for you to start one!

Decorate your own composition book cover (art). 

Sketches with scientific naming of parts (science, nature and art).

Being more artistic with your nature entry (science, nature and art).

Include Scripture (science, nature, character building and Bible).

Hatch butterflies and record your learnings (science, nature, art).

Include the latin names (science, nature and art).

Nature inspired poems with decoration (nature and language arts, arts and crafts).

Opportunity for learning new words (foreign language).

Learning the life cycles (science, nature and art).

Fun facts about God's creation (science, nature and history).

Colored pictures showing characteristics (science, nature and art).

Sometimes, seeing is encouraging.
I hope that these pages can give you an idea of what fun keeping a nature journal can be…
An educational keepsake at it's best!
Visit this post for more ideas and here for 40 Journal Entry Ideas.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Treasures of the Snow DVD ~ Family Movie Night

I am sure your family enjoys an occasional movie night.  We have one every Friday night and it's a real treat since it's the only thing our children watch ALL week.  We pop some corn or munch on some freshly baked treats and then relax after a busy schedule.

Today I would like to recommend the movie, Treasures of the Snow, which is based off the book by Patricia St. John. This excellent story of forgiveness and repentance takes place in the beautiful mountains of Switzerland.  Children will sympathize with these characters and parents will appreciate the delicate way that the author teaches timeless lessons. Appropriate for all ages.

What is it about?

"High in the Swiss Alps, little Danny disappears. When he is found---alive, but seriously injured---his sister, Annette, vows revenge. Lucien, who caused the accident, escapes to the forest where he is taken in by a godly old woodcarver. Lucien wants to make amends, but will Annette learn to forgive him? Features easy-access chapter-title search. Treasures of the Snow was filmed in the breathtaking Swiss Alps. The charm of genuine antique chalets will delight you. And you will experience real life drama, the tensions of ordinary people under pressures and the satisfaction of righteousness rewarded."

Homeschool categories:
  • Geography: Switzerland/Swiss Alps/Mountain Life
  • Character Building: Forgiveness/Repentance

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What to Read and What to Watch?

There is so much media out there which claims to be "family friendly", but the question is, are they "God friendly"? Do the movies and books glorify the worldly life, dress, and attitudes? Do they create fairy-tale thoughts of mother nature coming to the rescue of men instead of prayer and God?

To give an example, in the original version of Heidi, it is the biblical story of the Prodigal Son that eventually brings the grandfather to redemption. When a newer adaptation came out in the movies, it was the "mountains" that saved him! The Creator God was removed from the picture entirely and the new age thinking of "mother nature" replaced Him. This is what "family friendly" can often mean but it surely does not make it "God-friendly" for the discerning Christian home. (I am not saying that watching this particular movie is going to jar your faith, but it is simply a small example of the latest perversion in Hollywood to some of our dear classics.)

Here is some criteria we use when purchasing media (books and movies) for our family and I hope it inspires and benefits your household as well.

  • "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes..." (Psalm 101:3)
  • "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (Philippians 4:8) 
  • "Be as careful of the books you read, as of the company you keep, for your habits and character will be as much influenced by the former as the latter." (Paxton Hood)
  • "You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read."  (Charles Jones) 

The characters in books and movies are role models for our children and we must exercise caution when introducing our family to them. Bad company does corrupt good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33)! If your children are spending time with these people via book reading and/or movie watching then they are being influenced in some direction. May our prudent choices as parents steer them toward "what is good".

I cannot remember the books I've read any more than the meals I have eaten;
even so, they have made me.” 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

You may be interested in our Wholesome Video List.  Do you have any family favorites to add?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Coffee Break ~ Date with Husband at Home

I hear the words "date night with my husband" a lot lately and I pondered over the many complications with schedule, baby-sitting and expenses that it might bring. Somehow, it doesn't sound so glamourous after that.  Have you ever considered creating a place of peace in your own back yard that can give your husband and yourself a few minutes to catch up on the events of the day or the family situations in your life?

We have a "Friday 4 o'clock cup time" in our home.  It really is something we look forward to and gives us the extra "energy" to stay up a little later on Friday's to make it more special. Our little refuge is always there, a baby-sitter is always on the premises and a few tablespoons of ground coffee are all you need to have that special moment with your beloved.  So the next time the day is taxing and the labor is exhausting, brew a few cups and give your relationship a little something to quench it's thirst and warm you up!
This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysRoses of InspirationTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadFrom the Farm Blog HopFront Porch Friday Blog HopAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou FridaySimply Natural Saturdays, Date Night Linky Party and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Rain Water Storage when "Water is Naught"

Water is a necessity of life, but very few of us have access to our own source. You may not want to assume it will always be available when you most need it. Why not start providing some sort of water system on your land to give you that extra security.  You won't be sorry for there are many uses and money saving perks! With a little ingenuity and some time, this small investment will yield great rewards!

Moving onto our homestead, water storage was our first priority. We had heard rumors of our well going "dry" from the past owners so we dug that deeper for extra security. Next we began to focus on a rain collection system. Pictured below is a humble example of our first attempt at water storage.  Please note that our resources are limited and so are our finances. This is something the average household could create. We were fortunate that this old house we just bought had rain gutters already installed (though a bit old as you can see).

  • Rain gutters
  • Water tank/cistern
  • PVC piping
  • Water filter screening

First of all, you need to install rain gutters on the largest portion of your roof since the larger the surface, the larger amount of water you will collect.

Second, you need to have a designated area below your rain gutters in which you can place a water tank or cistern.  You may have a lower leveled roof below that you can place one on in order to provide a better gravity flow (which is what we did) for your water (more on that later) or you may have to place it somewhere on the ground.

We then just connected an elbow PVC pipe from the rain gutter and channeled it into the tank.  In the area of the rain gutter where the PVC starts, we inserted a small screen in order to catch large debris. This does need to be rinsed out after each rain. I am sure there is something out there that would be more professional but ours is the thrifty solution system and it works for us.

Next we drilled a hole in the front of the tank so that we can have access to the system with a hose for watering the garden, feeding the animals or any other outdoor use.

At this point we began to get adventurous and added an elbow to the water hose and piped some water right into our kitchen.  After drilling a hole into our kitchen wall, we popped in a pipe and attached a small portable water heater (20 liters) to it.  This I now use for washing dishes (my husband also plumbed it to the house in case of a drought so it is a duo water source).

The excitement continued as our laundry room is below the water tank itself with a shower as well.  We drilled a hole in the roof that the tank is on and plumbed the water to be able to use for my washing machine and laundry room shower.  This was so easy with the use of PVC pipes and portable water heaters.  (Again, this is duo and can be used with our well water in case of a drought, etc.)

You can see that this is not rocket science but a series of pipes and a downward spiral so that the gravity feeds the flow of water. We are not plumbing experts by all means but wanted to incorporate some sort of water device for our security. We do not have access to a Home Depot and have used whatever the local hardware store provided along with a little imagination.

Please note that the higher your water collection tank, the better water pressure for the house-piping projects I mentioned above.  If your tank is on the ground than you will probably not be able to run a pipe higher to use for laundry like we did. However, you will be able to water your garden, wash your car, feed animals with it and anything else where the combination of height and water pressure aren't necessary.

Uses for rain water are the following: 
  • Water lawn and garden
  • Animals
  • Laundry
  • Dishwashing
  • Bathing
  • Washing Vehicles
  • {Rain Water is NOT for human consumption unless you have proper purifying methods.}
For safety, keep the tank sealed from small children and insects (like mosquitoes who need somewhere to lay eggs).  They do sell a product called "mosquito dunks" for this purpose which are supposed to be safe for animals to drink (though not humans). For optimal results, keep using the water to avoid stagnancy. 

May your family be prepared so that you do not find yourself in the situation where "the water is naught, and the land barren." 
~ 2 Kings 2:19
This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysRoses of InspirationTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadFrom the Farm Blog HopFront Porch Friday Blog HopAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou FridaySimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Always an Answer

You can read a verse one hundred times in the Bible but once you are in a certain part of your life, all of a sudden, a passage stands out like a beam of light.  One line which has always been there suddenly becomes everything to you. It strengthens you, encourages you and is the motto which inspires you to "continue" on with a steadfast spirit... That is what makes the word of God so special.  It is living! When you are in need, it gives answers and hope. Next time you are challenged with a situation, walk away from the telephone and run straight to the Scriptures; you won't receive better advice anywhere.

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God,
and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction,
for instruction in righteousness…"