Tuesday, November 29, 2005

TV, Part II

Don’t get the idea, though, that I reject TV in and of itself in some sort of knee-jerk reaction. Ransom Fellowship first awakened me to the idea that movies are the stories of our culture. Every culture has had its stories, once told around the flickering campfire at night, now told on a glowing screen—but we still have stories that not only entertain us, but impact and shape us as well. As disgusted as I get with some aspects of TV, as determined as I am to not make that a part of my children’s lives at an early age, the limited amount of TV that Billy and I have allowed into our lives has been beneficial to me on many fronts. Most notably, it’s given me a window into our culture and how people in our society think and why. After all, a postmodern culture will tell stories that reflect its values. I don’t expect non-Christians to write Christian stories, and the stories they tell and treasure help me to understand them.

It’s also enabled me to better live in the world without being of it, to be a better friend and a better witness to those who live outside Christianity. I know something of what my neighbors watch, what forms their values, what touches their hearts, what makes them tick, why they are the way they are. It’s broadened my thinking and enabled me to see the unbelieving world as people, not just ideologies. It’s provided me with another way to converse with and identify with those next to whom my tent is pitched. I’d even go so far as to say that one it’s difficult to effectively be a missionary to our postmodern Western society without having at least a rudimentary understanding of pop culture. That’s something I work on constantly, and watching limited TV and movies with discernment is one way I’ve been able to move toward greater understanding.

Honestly, I love movies, both for their artistic and entertainment value and for the insight I gain from them.. I just don’t want them to replace real life, real relationships, real activities. I don’t want my children to become reliant on them for entertainment or to have their values shaped by TV and film, which too often (not always) present life in a way that violates all the values I hold dear. But I’m grateful that it’s something I can experience from time to time now that I’m mature enough not to be controlled or shaped by it.

One of my favorite writers, EB White, (author of Charlotte’s Web) wrote about TV in a newspaper piece entitled “Removal” in July 1938. TVs were just becoming available to families at home. I found his insight amazing. He accurately predicted what TV would do to our culture, long before time had proven him correct. He said this:

“…I believe television is going to be the test of the modern world, and that in this new opportunity to see beyond the range of our vision we shall discover either a new and unbearable disturbance of the general peace or a saving radiance in the sky. We shall stand or fall by television—of that I am quite sure…Clearly the race today is between loud speaking and soft, between the things that are and the things that seem to be, between the chemist of RCA and the angel of God. Radio has already given sound a wide currency, and sound ‘effects’ are taking the place once enjoyed by sound itself. Television will enormously enlarge the eye’s range, and, like radio, will advertise the Elsewhere. Together with the tabs, the mags, and the movies, it will insist that we forget the primary and the near in favor of the secondary and the remote. More hours in every twenty-four will be spent digesting ideas, sounds, images—distant and concocted. In sufficient accumulation, radio sounds and television sights may become more familiar to us than their originals. A door closing, heard over the air; a face contorted, seen in a panel of light—these will emerge as the real and the true; and when we bang the door of our own cell or look into another’s face the impression will be of mere artifice.”

So I encourage those who might have considered drastically reducing or even eliminating TV in their homes not to hesitate, particularly if they have small children. Of course, when they pull the plug on the TV, the kids will be bored for a few days, and the grown ups might be too. But don’t worry, that passes. In short order the family does more together, the kids are more content and creative, and relationships with each other are richer. For those who feel hesitant, why not try it for a month? If family life isn’t better, just plug the TV back in.

For those who choose to continue to watch TV and movies, it’s important to watch with discernment, a healthy critical eye. We must watch in a way that enriches our spiritual lives, allow it to be a window into the values of the culture, and measure it against the Word of God. As missionaries to our culture, we can use it as a springboard for discussion.

Either way, we’re challenging the cultural norm. I feel it’s safe to say, though, that we won’t be sorry.

TV Part I

From the time I was 3 or so, I was raised without TV. No cable, no network channels, no movies, no videos. Film was an almost non-existent part of my growing up.

It was one of the best choices my parents made. I didn’t miss TV. I watched a movie every so often at someone else’s house and enjoyed it, but TV wasn’t something I craved. I had more fun and creative things to do. I loved to read and read hundreds, probably thousands, of books. I wrote, drew, played imaginative games with my brothers and sisters, and learned crafts like sewing, embroidery, knitting, spinning, and quilting. I took care of the animals on our little homestead and wrote letters.

I was spared the gradual hardening that comes with watching shows that become ever more casual toward evil, more graphic in violence and sex, more disrespectful toward authority, more antagonistic to Christianity, more objectifying of women, more disdainful of men, month after month, year after year. And to be honest, I think I was also spared a lot of stress. TV is so much a part of most of our lives, I don’t think we realize how stressful it is to be inundated with the drama of the lives played there, or how over-burdened our minds become with the intensity of what we see on the screen. The first time I saw Star Wars I felt such sensory overload that I couldn’t sleep. The same goes for the negativity in the news. I’m all for being informed, but we weren’t meant to see the same horrible images, hear the same horrible reports, replayed again and again and again. It wears on the soul, especially of a child.

When Billy and I got married we lived so far out in the country that we didn’t even get the fuzziest network channel, and our local video store had a very limited selection. We watched a movie every now and then, mostly miscellaneous films that Billy had somehow accumulated during his bachelor years. For awhile we tried Sky Angel Christian programming, but it was for the most part so unappealing that we cancelled after a few months.

(On an aside, I’ve heard it lamented that Christian films and television are typically so poor quality, so cheesy, that they probably drives unbelievers away. It’s sad that non-Christians reflect more of the creative nature of God than His own children do, as a rule, at least in the arts. Of all people, His should be the most creative, the most artistic, the most able to reflect His glory before the culture. I hope the tide will turn, or maybe is slowly turning, in that direction. I’ve heard that Sky Angel is much better now than it was those years ago.)

Once we moved, we had more available and watched movies more often. Usually during football season we get rabbit ears so Billy can catch a game or two on the networks. Every now and then we turn on the TV and catch another show. It usually takes only a few times before both Billy and I have seen enough garbage that we are ready to put a hammer through the TV. It’s become a standing joke because I know that sometime before winter’s end we will get so disgusted that the rabbit ears will go into the trash—again.

As a rule, the kids don’t watch TV at all. They have seen a couple episodes of Clifford, some holiday specials, the Rose Bowl Parade, and of course football. They watch Boomerang at their grandparents’. Mostly we stick to movies, and I try to keep that to one 30 minute Bible movie a day. (My goal is to make it more like one a week.) Even with that limited fare, I can see how easy it would be for them to become addicted to TV.

It’s a sacrifice. Play dough, drawing, and puzzles are messier than TV. Reading aloud, playing board games, and letting them help me as I work takes more time than TV. But it’s worth it. I try to keep in mind how much more creative they will be, how many more things they will know how to do, how much better our relationships will be, and the early influences they’ll be spared if I keep them from most TV.

What a Week!

I'm a day late on this week's family update, but Oh Well. It's been so insane I think I'm entitled to an excuse!

On Monday of last week, Billy was at the hospital very early because a friend's baby was having surgery. While there, he got a call that his dad was having emergency surgery. So he was at the hospital till late that night.

Shortly after he got home, he came down with a stomach virus and was up all night with the less desirable symptoms.

Tuesday, in his words, he "wasn't worth shooting".

Wednesday, Elizabeth tried the laws of gravity by jumping off the couch and flapping her arms to see if she could fly like a bird. Afterward she couldn't put any weight on her foot and we were sure it was broken.

That night she and Silas had the virus and we were up most of the night taking care of the less desirable symptoms.

Thanksgiving Day we had planned to be with Billy's family since the whole family was together for the first time in quite awhile. However, since the kids had been sick all night we decided that as much as we wanted to go, we'd better not expose everyone else. Besides, since Elizabeth's foot was worse, we took her to the ER to get it X-rayed.

We learned late in the week that a very dear friend had a massive stroke and has only been given a few days to live.

The good news of the week is that Sarah and I escaped the virus, that Elizabeth's foot was only very badly bruised, our friends' baby came through surgery successfully and Billy's dad is on the mend.

Friday we decided we'd better get out of town (or "run for your lives" as one of our friends said), so we spent the night at the camp and had a nice restful day. However, it will take more than one day to recover from the mountain of laundry we generated in the past week.

Nevertheless, we have a great deal to be thankful for. Friends and family, a wonderful home, and abundant grace even in the hard weeks--and that's just a start.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Support our Troops

I'm thankful for our military men and women all year, but especially at the holidays when they make even more sacrifices than usual. This weekTenn reminds us to stand behind our troops.


Some of my sweetest childhood Christmas memories involve our Advent celebrations on Sunday nights between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We took turns lighting the candles, sang Christmas hymns, and read Christmas stories. Since Billy and I have married, we've celebrated Advent a little differently each year, some years more successfully than others. It's always fun though, and this year our children are old enough to really enjoy and understand the season. Barbara at Mommy Life has great ideas for Advent, and Tulip Girl provides links for Advent readings. If you've contemplated celebrating advent with your children, these are great places to start.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be grateful for...

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Spotlight on Tenn

Speaking of best homeschool blogs, I'd like to share with you one of my personal favorites. At School@Home, Tenn shares a plethora of wonderful ideas from her very creative homeschool, as well as lesson plans and resources. In Tenn's home, learning truly seems to be a way of life, not limited to school hours. I've gotten so many ideas from School@Home. I love Tenn's straightforward style and I've been blessed by the love and commitment that she shows her family. Reading what she writes has inspired and challenged me many times. I've used a lot of her ideas in my own beginning homeschool, and Tenn has broadened my horizons on many fronts. Thank you, Tenn!

Homeschool Blog Awards, Anyone?

Spunky is considering hosting a Homeschool Blog Awards. Drop by and tell her it's a great idea! I'd love to know more about the best homeschool blogs out there.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Portsmouth Tea, Part I

My Strawberry le Creme Portsmouth Tea arrived by UPS yesterday. If my experience is any indicator of their customer service, it is excellent. The beautiful loose leaf tea comes in an elegant tin and smells amazing. I'll post Part II after I get a tea ball and actually taste it, but I'm sure I won't be disappointed. This would make a wonderful Christmas gift for someone who's hard to buy for (or who just loves tea). But I think I'll keep mine all for myself!


Tulipgirl's 9-year-old son wrote a psalm that could be mine today!

Psalm of Exhaustedness

Praise Him, praise Him!
I’m exhausted, I’m tired .
Please let me sleep soon,
Lord of my heart,
please let me sleep.

Lord, may I go to sleep now?
Lord, I’m exhausted.
Lord, let me sleep.
Lord, let me go to sleep, Lord let me go to sleep.

Lord of the earth, I love you!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Monday's Family Update

Early in the week I decided to throw this garage sale together that I've been trying to have since April. Between new baby, Billy's surgery, and other things, I haven't had a weekend that would work. This Saturday didn't work either, but I figured if I didn't do it this week it would be far too late in the season. I just did it on Thursday and Friday, put out lots of signs and advertised on a couple local email loops I belong to. All in all I did really well, and I think I made even more on Thursday than Friday, which was a surprise. I don't have that much stuff left.

Billy's sister got married this weekend, so we had the rehearsal Friday and wedding Saturday. Billy was an usher and Elizabeth was a flower girl. She was so excited to get to wear the princess-y flower girl dress. This is her third time to be a flower girl, so she's getting to be a pro. The wedding was beautiful and we're so happy for the bride and groom!

Last night we had our community Thanksgiving service. Each year our church, the local First Baptist church, the Methodist church, and the Nazarene church all get together for a special service. This year it was Billy's turn to preach, and if I can brag on him a little bit, I thought his message was phenomenal. We're very blessed to live in an area with so many wonderful pastors, and it's a treat to get to see them and their congregations at this time of year.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What's Trackback?

Come on, experienced bloggers, help me out. This is one blog term that I've can't figure out. What's trackback? Does it mean that when you link someone from your blog, you let them know? Is this blog etiquette?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Little Pigs on the Prairie

By Elizabeth, age 4

Once upon a time there were 3 little pigs at a fair. A pig eater started to chase them. They were fast pigs and they runned home fast as a pig can run, 28 miles, and told their mom and dad. Then they ran out into the woods and hid in a bush. They crawled under the bush and they didn’t squeak or nothing. The robbers looked under all the bushes but not the one that had piggies. So they goed outside and sneaked up, but the house was in the woods somewhere but they didn’t know where it was. But they sneaked up on the little pink house and there were the mom and dad pig. Then the pigs chased the robbers away. The end.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Spotlight on Wittingshire and Christian Aesthetic

I'm reviewing Wittingshire and Christian Aesthetic together, because I read them both for the same reason: they are beautiful! Actually, I should say that I don't actually read either of them consistently...But I do check each regularly for the amazing, artistic photography. I grew up in the country and I live in the city now. I miss being out in creation daily. When I see pictures like the ones posted on these two blogs, it turns my heart to the Creator with gratitude for the beauty He's provided for us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

With the Lord

Adrian Rogers' preaching was an incredible help to me in my spiritual life during my most struggling time. Years later, Billy and I visited Bellevue Baptist Church the day after we got married. I'm sad to know that this great man of God is no longer with us. My prayers are with all those closest to him who will miss him most.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

In Lieu of a Thoughtful Post

I've taken a few minutes to update my sidebar.

Monday, November 14, 2005

A Cup of Tea

A Cup of Tea

When the world is all at odds
And the mind is all at sea
Then cease the useless tedium
And brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its' fragrance,
There is solace in its' taste;
And the laden moments vanish
Somehow into space.
And the world becomes a lovely thing!
There's beauty as you'll see;
All because you briefly stopped
To brew a cup of tea.

_Taken from The Metropolitan Museum of Art Teatime Tales and Rhymes


And originally I got the poem from Tenn.

Portsmouth Tea Company is offering a free large tin of tea to any blogger who links their web site between now and Wednesday. Tulip Girl sings the praises of Portsmuth tea and tells which are her favoites. Quick, before it's too late!


Barbara at Mommy Life has had some great posts lately on teaching children to work and serve. I was blessed to be raised in a family where teaching us kids a good work ethic was priority. We were expected to tote our share of the family load, helping out at home and on the farm. We did the dishes, cleaned, took care of the animals, took care of younger brothers and sisters, and worked in the garden. When we were guests in the homes of others, we were expected to help serve and clean up if our hostess would let us.

My parents modeled industry and service to us as well. My mom was always the one to clean up after church suppers and my dad was the first to volunteer to help a neighbor who had a need. Work was considered a good gift from God, and because it was part of our lives from a very early age, we never thought twice about it. We never felt put upon when we were asked to help with a task--in fact, it became second nature. I remember my dad saying many times, "If you see something that needs to be done, do it. Don't wait to be told." or "You work because you're part of this family." Today I see a lot of young people struggling as teenagers with their first jobs, because they have never worked before. I'm grateful that I was raised in a family that taught us to work. I seek to reinforce this to my own children. Go check out what Barbara has to say.

Monday's Family Update

This week we got to take the kids to see excerpts from The Nutcracker. The local ballet was performing at our library, and selling tickets, of course. Elizabeth really enjoyed it, but she wasn't as enamored as I thought she'd be. We've talked about going to the Nutcracker for years, but at this point, the excerpts were probably enough ballet for now.

On Friday and Sunday nights we were also able to attend a huge area-wide evangelistic crusade. Because of Billy's surgery and subsequent recovery we weren't able to be as involved as we would have liked, but it was still wonderful to be able to go. Several people in our church sang in the 1500 member choir or were counselors. Last night there were about 8,000 people there. Although the primary focus was on non-Christians, it was refreshing for the rest of us as well.

Sarah is sitting up well now and she is army crawling. She can get into pretty much whatever she wants, it just takes a lot of effort.

Silas' language skills have leaped forward in the last few days, especially his pronunciation.

Elizabeth's vocabulary is growing too. Her new favorite word is "ridiculous".

That's all folks!

Home Sweet Home School

Friday, instead of our usual kindergarten book work, we just had an informal learning day. I created a treasure hunt in about five minutes, writing clues with simple words highlighted that Elizabeth can read. For example, "The next clue is on Silas' *bed*" and she would read "bed". The clues led all over the house until she found her prize--a ding dong, something she never gets normally. It was far more fun for her than struggling with words on a list.

We also read and worked alphabet puzzles. I look forward to using more creativity in teaching. It's something that doesn't come naturally to me, but I know that children learn much better when a variety of approaches are used. Since Elizabeth seems to be a tactile and auditory learner--very little visual propensity--I'm forever on the hunt for ideas to help her learn in that way.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Spotlight on TulipGirl

I first "met" TulipGirl almost 5 years ago on a secular parenting board, before she was TulipGirl. I always looked for her posts because she had been homeschooled, like me, and I appreciated the grace with which she represented Christ in a largely anti-Christian forum.

After awhile I stopped visiting the site and moved on to a Christian board. One day as I was reading a post, I thought, This sounds really familiar. I emailed her and asked, "Are you ____ from the other board?" Well, she was! She was such an encouragement to me, prayed for me, and wrote me notes of encouragement during my second pregnancy. She had a cool web site that I loved to read. Then we lost touch again.

One day while blog surfing, I noticed her first name on a blogroll. Surely we haven't bumped into each other online *again*, I thought. What were the odds of that happening? But it was her. Now she had a blog, which was even more fun than her web site. She wrote about her family's life as missionaries to Ukraine, thoughts on mothering, homeschooling, breastfeeding support, and gracious living.

Now TulipGirl and her family are back in the states, but she's still blogging. I continue to value her insight and encouragement, and I know you will too. I have just one question for her though. If I'm not Reformed, will I get kicked out of the blogosphere? ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2005


"Until God ordains otherwise, a man ought to bear patiently whatever he cannot correct in himself and in others. Consider it better thus -- perhaps to try your patience and to test you, for without such patience and trial your merits are of little account. Nevertheless, under such difficulties you should pray that God will consent to help you bear them calmly."

Imitation of Christ
Thomas a Kempis

For the whole chapter, entitled Bearing With the Faults of Others, go here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Have Yourself a Thrifty Little Christmas

I love Christmas. I love to give gifts. I have a lot of people on my gift list. And that can add up.

Every year near Christmas, Billy takes a special tree ornament to church and shows it to everyone from the pulpit. He made it out of the credit cards he melted a few years before we got married! The point:it's not worth going into debt for Christmas. It's possible to have a great holiday and give awesome gifts without breaking the bank.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to save money on Christmas gifts.

1. Buy throughout the year. Don't let Christmas sneak up on you and end up looking for the perfect gift on Christmas Eve. Then you spend more money than you intended to on an impulse purchase.

2. If you have any craft or creative skills at all, use them to make gifts. Again, start early enough that you aren't pressed for time when Christmas is almost upon you. This could be anything from clothes sewn by hand, to handcrafted Christmas tree ornaments, to stories written for your children, or favorite books read aloud on CD.

3. Shop discount or closeout stores like Marshall's, Big Lots, or Tuesday Morning. Also check out local individually owned discount stores. You might have to sort through some junk, but you can find great buys at discount stores on everything from name brand clothes to stationery to housewares.

4. Buy in bulk and divide into inexpensive containers, such as pint jars tied with a ribbon. One year I gave freshly ground whole wheat flour from my kitchen with a muffin recipe. I bought the wheat in 50 pound bags, so it didn't cost much--but everyone loved it.

5. Family and friends who live far away love to receive photos, especially if you have little ones in the house! Use acrylic frames or pretty little photo albums.

6. Don't feel like you always have to buy full priced, new off the shelf items. If someone on your list is a biliophile, find a first edition copy of a book by their favorite author at Bibliofind or Ebay. You can often find items new with tags on ebay or at garage sales. Someone else payed full price for them, but you get them--still new--for a song! People frequently sell items in perfect condition that were probably never used. Add to someone's collection with beautiful but inexpensive antiques from garage or estate sales. You might even find something brand new for free on Freecycle. But shhhhh, it will be your little secret!

7. Give the gift of time. Offer to rake leaves, babysit, or fix a meal for someone on your list. Make a certificate for a special tea time with your daughter or a fishing day with your son.

So you see, it's possible to give a lot of gifts for not too much money. Use your imagination! You'll find ways to save at every turn.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Spotlight on My Sister

I hope to frequently spotlight some of my favorite blogs. Life at Sharps Corner is my sister Leah's. Obviously I like to read it for personal reasons, because it's great to keep up with their family news and pictures of my adorable nephew. I also like to read it for inspiration. Leah and her husband Stephen are missionaries to the Sioux Indians in South Dakota. On her blog, she tells stories of their experiences and posts ministry updates. She also shares thoughts on mothering and homemaking, recipes, poems, and songs. I especially love to read her posts about Christmas! She's a gifted writer, a great wife and mom, and most of all, an authentic apprentice of Jesus. Her blog lifts my heart, not just because she's my sister, but also because she's my sister in Christ.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Monday's Family Update

I'm going to try to post family updates on Mondays, so if you are reading primarily for family news, check in early in the week.

This was the week for bargains. The first and most significant is that God blessed us with a 2002 GMC Yukon XL for a truly amazing price--a beautiful vehicle that we never would have ordinarily been able to get. We have been trying to decide what to buy for months, since the Explorer (which Billy has had since before we married) is no longer reliable. We considered everything from trucks to small cars, and we were willing to downsize if necessary, even if the whole family didn't fit. Each time we thought we had come to a decision, something prevented us from pursuing it and we coudn't get a peace. Then the Yukon came available, far above and beyond what we ever dreamed we would be able to purchase. Our whole family fits with room to spare, we have ample cargo space, and we would be able to pull basically anything we would ever need to.

I'm still driving the wonderful van that God provided last year. He truly blesses us beyond our wildest dreams.

This weekend we also ran into bargains for books, clothes, and Christmas gifts. God's provision amazes me!

We spent the night at our camp Friday night. Years ago when Billy talked about buying a camp, I couldn't fathom why we'd need such a thing. I didn't even know what a camp was. For those of you who are in the dark like I was, it's not uncommon where we live for people, especially if they live in town, to own or lease small hunting or fishing camps near lakes or rivers. It's usually a small plot of land with an old trailer on it. We were fortunate and found one with a tiny but real house on a slab. It's been a wonderful ministry retreat and a place to have the best family time ever. It didn't take me long to figure out that
Billy used great wisdom in looking for a camp. The kids always cry when we have to leave, and they can't wait to get back. We rest, play, fish, go for walks, read and study, plan, and watch eagles, herons, and other wildlife. Our camp is where we are truly able to get Sabbath rest.

This time we just had fun walking and relaxing Friday afternoon, as well as looking for fossils and arrowheads. Billy spent Saturday morning in study while the kids played outside, and we headed home after lunch.

On other family news, Silas drew his first real person this week. He said it was Daddy. Elizabeth also had a first. She made a list of numbers in order up to 8. She would have gone farther, but she ran out of room on her paper! As for Sarah, she has learned how to make a horrible-sounding growl and she thinks it is great. I'll be glad when the novelty wears off and she is back to her sweet cooing sounds again!

That's it for family news this week.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It's the Letter of the Law That Counts...

At least with Silas.

The other night he pulled his usual stalling-bedtime stunts, calling my name again and again. "Mommy! Mooommmy! Moooommmmmyyyy!"

Finally I said, "Silas, if you say 'Mommy' one more time you are going to be in big trouble!"

I didn't hear anything for about 10 minutes.

Then I heard his small voice: "Stephanie!"

Thursday, November 03, 2005


I've been knitting since I was a little girl. When I was about 12 I bought an Ashford spinning wheel kit, which stayed in the box until I was in my late teens. By the time I finally got it stained and put together I wasn't that interested in spinning any more.

That was before I visited a group of handspinners in the area where I lived at the time. They met monthly to share food and spinning time. I hadn't known what to expect, but I found a group of warm and talented women who were willing to share their knowledge with me, my mom and sisters, and others who wanted to learn. Their meetings were charged with creativity, and I soon discovered that their expertise went far beyond mere handspinning--these ladies were fiber artists. Their interests ranged from knitting to felting to dying to weaving. Many of them owned fiber-bearing animals, which included llamas, alpacas, angora goats and rabbits as well as sheep. In addition to fiber arts, some of them enjoyed soapmaking, cheesemaking, and antique collecting. I had stumbled onto a goldmine of knowledge and inspiration.

Spinning became one of my favorite activities. The gentle pump of the pedal under my foot, the quiet hum of the wheel, the transformation of a pouf of wool into a twist of yarn, all these things were the ultimate stress relief. I knitted a few things from the yarn I spun. My greatest achievement was the gray socks I knitted for Billy the Christmas we were engaged.

After we got married I didn't have time to craft for a long time. I spun sporadically. Recently, though, I've been able to carve out a few minutes here and there to engage in fiber arts once again. I'm a busy mom, so my projects are simple. Right now I'm working on a chenille wrap for chilly evenings and I recently ordered needle felting supplies. For my birthday my mom got me a book of quick knitting patterns that I can hardly wait to try. I'm planning a craft day and a one-day knitting camp for our home school group.

We're made in the image of God. Because of that, we are all creative beings, whether we feel like it or not. For me, fiber arts are one area where my creativity really blossomed. Billy talks about the importance of nurturing all of ourselves--body, soul, and spirit. Creating beautiful things nurtures my soul. It feels good to be creative again.

God provided a group of wonderful teachers for me when I least expected it. If you long to be creative but don't know where to start, ask Him! He has made you to create, and He will enable you to find that creative part of yourself.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wise Words

Yesterday a veteran preschool teacher told me this.

"I always tell the parents of my little preschoolers, if you dream of doing something with your child, do it now. Make those memories. If you don't, you will never get around to it. Daddies, if you have dreamed of going fishing with your son, pick up the fishing pole and go now. Don't wait. If you don't do it now you'll always look back and wish you had."

Family Update

For the first time in several months this week has felt something like normal. For those of you who don't know, September 1 Billy had major emergency surgery. (For those of you who did know and prayed or helped, thank you!) Since neither of us has had anything like that before, we didn't realize how long recovery would take. He's just now feeling close to healthy again. It's good to see him back to his usual self, full of energy and enthusiasm. When he wasn't constantly writing, planning, or generating ideas I knew he was a long way from well.

We've both learned a lot of things through this. One, don't take advil every day. It eats holes in your stomach.

We also have a new sympathy for the ill and their caregivers. We know better how to minister to those who are going through similar things.

I knew I was blessed to have Billy, but the prospect of losing him made me realize even more just how much I treasure my guy!!! That's just a start of all the things we've learned in the past months.

As for the rest of us...Elizabeth and I have been busy with her home school kindergarten year. She's a joy to teach and she loves to learn. She would do school all day if it were possible. We're focusing on learning to read, basic math, and other early-grade skills. She keeps a nature journal and she's also learning to sew by hand and knit a little bit. Some dear friends got us a family membership to our local interactive children's science museum, so I know that will be on our list of frequent field trips. We joined the local home school group. Since Billy has been sick we haven't been able to get too involved yet, but I'm hosting a craft day and knitting workshop for the group later in the winter.

Silas is potty training and learning his colors. Elizabeth is his best bud. He loves boats, fishing, guns and anything that happens outside. He also loves animals in general and reptiles in particular. During church he stays quiet if I take a notebook and draw pages and pages of frogs, alligators, snakes, and turtles. He has a great sense of humor and loves to tease. He's also very observant, mechanical, and people-savvy.

Sarah is 6 months old and the happiest baby I've ever seen. She cries only when she is sleepy, very hungry, or needs a diaper change. Sometimes I pick her up and carry her around just because she is completely content nearly all day. She rarely fusses to be held. This is a new experience for us! She's a roly poly little thing and she's learning to sit and crawl. Nothing makes her happier than playing with her Daddy or brother and sister.

Our children are such a joy to us and we feel so blessed that God has given us the marriage and family that He has.

Hanging up the Nicknames

No more nicknames for us. Calling Billy "the Preacher" is just too impersonal. My blog will still be called Charity Grace because I love the concepts of God's love (charity in the KJV) and His grace. But we'll just be ourselves.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

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