Friday, February 22, 2008

Sleet, Ice, and Snow

More winter weather arrived in Missouri yesterday in the form of freezing rain and sleet, and then today freezing drizzle and snow. Yesterday morning both my Dad and Ryan needed to get to town. During my Dad's drive, he had to stop three times on the side of the road to clear the ice off of his windshield, and Ryan said that when he drove past an interstate on-ramp, the ramp was lined with stopped cars whose occupants were scrapping off the ice. The snow has stopped for today and our temperatures are quite cold, however, tomorrow is forecasted to be above freezing. I hope it holds true!

Photo taken from a previous ice storm this year; thankfully we did
not get this much ice from yesterday's storm!

Wednesday night, Leah and I were outside watching the lunar eclipse, and the temperature was in the teens then. Brr! But we enjoyed it! We don't have a telescope, but we used our binoculars to see it a bit better. God's handiwork is amazing! When I gaze at the expanse of the heavens, what awe wells in me towards our Creator. He spoke, and the heavens in all their glory and complexity were created.

"Then God said, 'Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night' . . . God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also . . . and God saw that it was good."
Genesis 1:14a, 16, 18b

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made . . . ." Romans 1:20

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Updated Website

Leah has spent a great deal of time the past several days working on our family's ministry website. She has completely rebuilt it (though we still need updated photos :), and it was uploaded to the web this morning. If you would like to see the new look click the banner below:

Girls Group

"Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder," 2 Peter 1:12-13

"This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder," 2 Peter 3:1

"But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given to me from God." Romans 15:15

Do these verses give you any idea of what we did this week with the girls? If you guessed reviewing you would be correct! To make reviewing a bit more fun, Leah and I came up with a few games to do. One was writing down on slips of paper different words/phrases of things that we have done or learned about such as: Graciousness, Countenance, Scripture Memorization, Spritz Cookies, Dusting, etc. The girls each got a slip of paper, and then they had the choice to either act it out, draw it on the board, or have the other girls ask them 'yes' or 'no' questions until they figured out what it was.
After each word/phrase, we would discuss what we remembered about it. We did about five rounds of this, and the girls greatly enjoyed it!

Leah giving a bit of advice to one of the girls on how to do her word.

Drawing . . . ?

The girls have also memorized several verses in Proverbs, and we chose 31:30 and 31:27 to review. We had written each word of each verse on slips of paper, and then, doing one verse at a time, the girls needed to get the words in order. We had a ribbon 'clothesline' that they would clothespin the words to to make the verse. One of the girls had the idea of unscrambling the words on the floor, before putting them on the ribbon. This worked quite well.

"Charm . . . is . . . deceitful . . . and . . . beauty . . . is . . . ."

Fastening on the words.

"This one goes here . . . and . . . what comes next?"

Almost done

Once all the words were clipped to the ribbon, we said the verse together. We also reviewed another verse that they had memorized, 1 Peter 3:3-4, by doing the bottle toss. This verse is longer and a bit more difficult for the girls to remember, but they did a great job. We finished off the afternoon by writing in journals and doing the all time favorite: cross-stitching. Thus ended another special day with the girls.

*To read more about what our girls group is and why we began it please click here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What a Day

A wonderful day that is. Leah and I had the opportunity to watch the three older siblings of the new baby girl that I wrote about yesterday in order to give their mother some time to rest. The children were dropped off at our house around 11:45, they played a bit and then the two older ones helped make their lunch.

As their Mom had just had a baby, our family had planned to make several meals for them over the next few weeks. Lasagna, Garlic Bread and Carrots was one of the meals planned. After lunch, the children helped us put the Lasagna together and butter the bread. My mom had already browned the hamburger, seasoned it, and cooked the noodles so what was left was to layer it. The children loved doing this! They were so excited about being able bring it home and eat what they had helped make.

Before long, the littlest one who is two and a half started getting a bit sleepy. She cuddled with Leah and a teddy bear for quite some time. The other two meanwhile spent a lot of time coloring pictures. I think we had about 10 pictures given to us by the end of the day, and each picture had a unique explanation about what it was. Do they ever have creative imaginations!

We also had Lego building guessing games. The children would build something out of Legos, and then Leah and I were to try to guess what it was. They came up with a greenhouse and a solar system to name a few.

We read quite a few books together, and of course, we had some teasing and laughing too. :)

Another thing that Leah and I try to do whenever we watch children, is to think of things that we can do together that will be fun, but also profitable. One of these was making the supper and then another was 'dusting championships'. I picked two pieces of furniture in our living room and assigned one to each of the two oldest children. They were not racing against time, but how thoroughly they could dust their piece of furniture. How meticulous they were! After they had their pieces done, I inspected them and not a speck of dust was to be found. To my surprise they requested another project!

Looking outside . . .

The time went by very quickly and before long it was time for Mom and I to bring the children home. (Leah needed to stay to do her animal chores and there was also not room enough in our car.) During the drive, I gave the two oldest, per their request, words to spell and math questions to figure. They did very well! When we arrived at their home, we had the opportunity to visit a bit with their parents, and I was also able to hold the baby for quite a bit. Once again, she is precious! Thus concluded an eventful and special day . . .

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"Fearfully and Wonderfully Made"

This past Sunday, we had the joy of meeting a new little one. One of the ladies that we home church with had a beautiful baby girl last week, and now, she and her husband have four children.

During the teaching/discussion on Sunday, the mother needed to tend to one of her other children, so I had the opportunity to hold the baby for quite some time. There is something about holding a little one that just warms the heart. I loved it, and I look forward to seeing her again next week. Afterwards Leah and Mom had the opportunity to hold her, and as you can see from the photo, Leah also greatly enjoyed it!

As I held this precious little one, I could not help but be in awe of our Lord. What a precious gift is a baby. Her beautiful eyes, the delicate eyelashes, the hands and fingers with their tiny fingernails. Precious. A gift from the Lord.

"For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, my frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!" Psalm 139:13-17

*Our family has watched an excellent video called "Fearfully and Wonderfully Made" on the development of the baby in the womb. The video's purpose is to show the awesomeness of our Creator, and how a baby truly is a miracle and did not 'happen' by random chance. This video is available from Answers In Genesis.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Year and a Half and Counting

A comment had been made on this blog asking what our girls group is, so I thought I would post part of the journal entry that I had written in August 2006 on my As Lilies Journal (which existed before this blog):

For the past several months (almost a year in fact), Leah and I have spent much time in counsel with our parents and in prayer, seeking the Lord's guidance in how we should specifically minister. Our hearts desire was to work with children as we love them dearly and it is always such a blessing to spend time with them and to teach them. With the Lord's leading and our parents direction, Leah and I are starting a 'girls group' that will meet at our home. Every week we will have young girls out to our home in order to teach them homemaking skills (cleaning, cooking/baking, gardening, etc.) and the virtues that God has instructed women and young ladies to have. Our desire is to share with young ladies some of what God has taught us through His Word in order to aid them on their journey towards godly womanhood.

Earlier this month we sent out invitations and letters to families explaining what we will be doing. It has been so encouraging to see the Lord's hand guiding and directing us through the whole planning and preparation process. My prayer is that all that we teach and do with these girls will be Him working through us and not our own flesh... that the Holy Spirit will be our guide and that our time with these girls will bring glory to our Lord's name.

So that is it in a nutshell. It is not really a class, but more like spending time with and teaching younger sisters.

As of this month, it has been a year and a half since the girls group began, and I rejoice to see how the Lord has guided and blessed throughout. All of the girls that we meet with are so very special, and I have grown to love each of them. I look forward to each and every week with them. Speaking of which, Leah and I need to plan the month of February today . . . :)

Below are some miscellaneous photos from the past year and a half. Enjoy!

Group photo out at a friend's farm

Weeding the beans
Planting beet seeds
Proper Table Setting and Napkin Folding
Completed Cross-stitches!

"Congratulations for all your hard work!"

Friday, February 8, 2008

Pleasantly busy

. . . has been the story of my life the past month or so. The majority of my time has been spent either sewing or writing. I finished one sewing order this week and this morning got it packaged and ready to go. Another order that I recently received is for replacing a lining in a coat. I have never done something like this before, so it will be a new experience. Thankfully, it does not look terribly difficult.

When I haven't been sewing, I have been spending much time in research, study, and writing. For quite some time, I have been in correspondence with a young lady regarding the scriptural issue of whether or not water baptism is necessary for salvation. Our family believes that God's Word teaches that salvation is found in Christ alone through believing/having faith in Him without any physical works on our part. With my Dad's oversight, direction and aid, I wrote (and just recently finished) a lengthy letter to her regarding this. As I researched and studied Scripture regarding this topic, the Lord taught me so very much. The more I studied, the more I saw how Scripture explains Scripture. How verses that at first may seem to be contradictory fit together in perfect harmony.

I find that it is so easy to say that I believe in something, but can I give a ready defense for it? A defense founded upon Scripture and not my own preconceived ideas, man's traditions, prejudices, etc.? Is the defense given filled with reverence and gentleness? Oh, how much I have to learn in these areas! But what an exciting and fulfilling journey it is.

"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;" 1 Peter 3:15