Saturday, May 31, 2008

After a Rain

It was hot and sticky today with temperatures close to 90 degrees and a high humidity (it was 92% humidity this morning, but thankfully that lowered as the day progressed!). At first, I was not planning to work in the garden today due to that, but, as it is only going to be getting hotter, I might as well get used to it sometime! :)

I worked on weeding and cultivating until an unexpected storm came up (there was only a 30% chance of rain today). It lasted for several hours, and this evening after it had moved through it was beautiful outside! There was still humidity, but with temperatures in the 60's, it was quite pleasant to tend to animal chores and do a bit more work in the garden.

The garden. It looks a bit small in this photo as I am taking it from the 'tower' on the swing-set that my Dad built for my brother, sister and I when we were little - thus the elevation also.

(By the way, I believe that we are gaining ground on the white grubs! For the past few days, I have been going out to the garden several times a day to check for wilted plants. Upon find them, I would then dig up underneath the plant and kill the grub. Today I found only one wilted plant which was encouraging! :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Is This a Weed?

We heard that question more than once during our afternoon with the girls! :) As we finally had a sunny (as opposed to rainy!) day, we spent some time weeding in their little pea and bean patches as well as around the pansies and violas that they had planted, and the tomatoes, cucumber and zucchini plants.

Cleaning up the pea patch

Me helping the youngest girl (6) weed

Mid-way through the weeding, the girls began to get tired and hot, but as we had not been out there very long, we wanted the girls to work past their discomfort. We started in on the tomato, cucumber and zucchini plants, and in an effort to energize them a bit, I had them each pick a plant and then race to see who could weed thoroughly around it the fastest. They enjoyed that! :)

After the weeding, we went inside and had our lesson which was on the prophecies foretelling Christ's coming and then their fulfillment. First we began by asking (and explaining :) what a prophecy is and shared how many years were between the prophecies and their fulfillment (for example Isaiah, which contains many of the prophecies, was written around 700 years before Christ's birth).

There are many prophecies, but we tried to choose some of the most significant and familiar ones to present to the girls:

-1. Born in Bethlehem of Judea (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:4-6).

-2. He was called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22-23).


-3. Introduced by John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3; Mark:1:1-11; Luke 3:1-22; John 1:14-37).


-4. The Messiah will enter Jerusalem riding a donkey (Zechariah 9:9 Matthew 21:1-11)


-5. Working miracles/healing (Isaiah 35:5-6; Matthew 9:35)


-6. He suffered that He might bear away our sins (Isaiah 53:4-6; Daniel 9:26; Matthew 20:28; 26:28).


-7. The Messiah will be raised from the dead (resurrected) (Psalm 16:10,11 Matthew 28:5-9; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:4-7; John 20:11-16; Acts 1:3 and 2:32)

Afterwards, we asked the girls why it was necessary for the prophecies to be fulfilled. If they were not, would God be true? The answer would be, no. But instead, every single prophecy foretelling Christ's birth, life, death and resurrection was fulfilled perfectly. We explained how this also shows God's foreknowledge. In the Old Testament, God foretold His coming plan of redemption, that is the sending of His Son Jesus Christ to "give His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28), and it was fulfilled. For what purpose? "that the world might be saved through Him" for "whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:17, 16).

After the lesson, the girls wrote in their journals and then cross-stitched.


Working away

"Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things . . ."

After girls group was over and all the girls had been picked up save two sisters, the youngest (6) asked us to play 'stump' with her. In previous weeks, they had already told me how to play their game 'log' (their mom taught them this game, and it consists of laying on the floor and seeing who can lie perfectly still the longest; though
the girls did inform me that you can breathe and blink ;). I had played log with them several times, but I had never heard of 'stump' before. The little girl went on to explain that 'stump' is like 'log' only you sit instead of lie down. I always enjoy doing things with these girls, so needless to say we did have fun playing it, though it generally does not take long before someone moves or laughs! :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Workin' with Daddy

Yesterday Leah and I helped Dad put new boards on our trailer as the old ones were rotting. The trailer is designed so that the boards have to be bent to fit into the end slots (thus tightly securing them so they will not bounce out.) Anyway, we had a lot of fun and managed to get the job done.

This board was especially difficult to bend . . . Leah was getting lifted clear of the ground as Dad pushed down!

Bend and Push!

I love working with my Dad whether it is installing new boards on our trailer, editing articles for the magazine What Mean These Stones or doing weeding and planting in the garden. I could not ask for a better Dad . . . he truly loves the Lord, and there is never a doubt in my mind of his love for me nor for my Mom, brother and sister. We are so richly blessed, and I thank the Lord for all that He has done and is doing in our family's lives.

Scripture Study Aids

No matter how many times one has read the Bible, there is always more that the Lord through the working of the Holy Spirit can teach us through it as so much depth of truth and wisdom lies therein. 

As we spend time reading and studying God's Word, it is often helpful to utilize study aids to assist us in understanding to a greater depth and clarity what is being taught (through word studies, meanings of the words, their relationship and usage elsewhere in Scripture, etc.)

Here are a few of the materials that my family and I use in studying Scripture, and I hope that they may perhaps be a blessing to you as they have been to us. It is so important to remember, though, that while all of these aids may be helpful (and they often are!), Scripture itself is our authority and standard in all areas of life and faith.

[What is below are materials that are the least ‘author biased’ of the study aids (as opposed to commentaries, books written on a particular topic, study Bibles, etc.)]


Bible Versions:


There are many Bible versions available, and it can often be confusing which one to use, which one would be the ‘best’. Due to its literal translation, our family uses for personal reading and study the NASB (New American Standard). The KJV (both 1611 and modern versions), NKJV (New King James Version), RSV (Revised Standard Version), and other such translations are also quite helpful.


Concordances
:


Strong’s Concordances (which are available in KJV, NASB, and NIV) are the most widely known and used. (We use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible – both NASB and KJV). A concordance is a tremendous aid when doing scriptural study! It lists virtually every word that is used in the perspective translation and then assigns a number to it. Each number is listed in the back with the accompanying Greek word, its literal translation, and the different ways that that specific word is translated in that particular version.


The Englishman’s Greek Concordance of the New Testament is a bit different than other concordances as it lists virtually all the Greek words alphabetically, and then the references of each location that that word is used in Scripture. This is especially helpful as each Greek word in Bible translation, depending on its use and context, is often translated into several different English words.

Dictionaries/Lexicons:


Vine’s Expository Dictionary is a Bible dictionary, and each definition is replete with Scriptures to help explain the meaning of the words in context. For better understanding the English words used in today’s versions, Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language is excellent for this purpose, as well as are modern dictionaries.


Lexicons (which are defined as: a language’s vocabulary, including its words and expressions – definition taken from Wikipedia) are excellent resources! Here are a few that you may find beneficial:

--The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament
--The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (for the Old Testament – this one is a bit more difficult to use and understand!)


Literal Greek Texts/Interlinear Bibles:


These are especially helpful not only for personal study, but also in teaching, writing, etc. In these, the Greek Text is used with a literal English translation written directly below it. An interlinear Bible will also include an English version(s) (NKJV, KJV, NASB, etc.)
The name listed on the left is the name given to that specific Greek manuscript; on the right is the reference material based upon that text:

--The Majority Text – The Majority Text Greek New Testament Interlinear

--Novum Testamentum Graece (New Testament Greek) – The Interlinear NASB-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English

-- Novum Testamentum Graece (New Testament Greek) - The New Greek English Interlinear New Testament (NRSV)

--Textus Receptus (Received Text) – J.P. Green’s The Interlinear Bible: Greek and English
Do any of you have particular books or study aids that you use and would like to share? If so, I would love to hear!


*Disclaimer - Just so you all know, I do not endorse as a whole the books/products offered by the company that I linked to. However, they do carry a great many study aids that are beneficial.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Unwanted Garden Pest

This morning as I weeded in the beets, I found that they had the same problem as the lettuce - plants appearing to be chopped off at the base. I spent some time researching online and everything pointed to cutworms. As they live under the soil during the day, I went and dug in the areas where the plants had been chopped off and found what I believe to be the culprit. It is not cutworms (as I had thought), but instead white grubs.

Ugly looking things, aren't they?!

It makes sense as they are common in gardens planted in areas that were previously sod, and we tilled up part of our yard early this spring for the garden. (It is best to till in the fall, but we did not have a tiller then, nor did we know that we were going to have a new and larger garden!) The grubs eat the roots of the plant, and thus why the plants would fall over as they had no roots left! Kind of sad. :(

Unfortunately, from what I have read, there is nothing that we can do. Though, by digging around where the plants had died or were wilting, I was able to kill a lot of them. I am not sure if that will make a difference or not, but at least it is a try! Hopefully, they will leave us at least a few beet and lettuce plants left. Though it is disappointing, it has been a good learning experience! :)

A Morning's Walk

Leah and I took an enjoyable walk together around our place this morning . . . it was quite pleasant out and the air was nice and cool. I brought my camera along as we are trying to get a bunch of photos that can be used on our Follow in His Steps blog. We have just about used up the ones from last year! :) Here are a few that were taken:



We thankfully did not receive very much rain Monday and Tuesday as most of the storms/rain split and went around us. Things are still very wet, though! The vegetable garden has been doing quite well for the most part, however, this morning I noticed that several of the lettuce plants look like they were chopped off right at the base of the plant and were lying there not eaten. My first thought is perhaps cutworm? Dad was also wondering if perhaps they rotted at the base due to all the moisture, which is a possibility as we have certainly not had a shortage of rain! There is not much that I can do about that, but if it is cutworm (or some other pest), I need to figure out what to do to get rid of them. In all our past gardens, we have never had much of a problem with pests and/or diseases, but this year seems to be a bit of a different story!

The broccoli plants are beginning to form their heads!

The zucchini

Fresh picked radishes.

Dad asked me to keep a ready supply of radishes in the fridge as he enjoys eating them. Growing up on a farm without a lot of 'extra', garden produce comprised much of his and his family's diet when he was young. If he and his siblings were outside playing and got hungry, they didn't run in to get chips, crackers, candy or the like, instead they went to the garden and ate whatever was ready. He remembers pulling radishes and eating them straight out of the garden. Ah, the joys of 'farm' life! :)


Monday, May 26, 2008

An Afternoon with Friends

Our family was invited to a barbecue this afternoon that a couple from our home church was having (it was a small group of family and friends). As I had sewing lessons this morning/afternoon, we missed the barbecue, but still had the opportunity to visit and of course play with the children! The littlest girl (3 1/2 months) was sleeping, though, so we were not able to hold her, but I did peek in on her. She is so precious!

We older girls took a walk with the little girls and had an enjoyable time. The couple hosting the event live in a retirement mobile home park as Mr. M. does the maintenance for it. So as we walked, we got lots of smiles and waves. The folks there are all so friendly!

One of the little girls was still not feeling quite back to normal (she has been sick for a week and a half or so) . . . so I carried her for the first part, then she wanted to walk a bit, and this is how she finished the walk:

Leah with our dear little friend

After we got back to the Mr. and Mrs. M's house, one of the girls
wanted to walk a bit more so she and I headed out for another stroll, but then Mr. M. asked us if would like to go for a ride in their golf cart through the park to which we readily agreed. It was a wonderful drive! The great majority of those living in the park have just beautiful flowers and keep their yards up very nicely. Mr. M. also enjoys plants (particularly flowers) and knowing that I do also thought that I would enjoy the drive which I surely did! He would stop from time to time and point out his favorite of the flowers and identify some of them for me. And then every once in awhile my little friend would find one that she liked and would take a picture of it. Such fun!
The hours flew by quickly and before long it was time to say goodbye . . . what a special afternoon it was!

More Rain . . .

Our plans to plant the corn Saturday afternoon changed a bit as it rained that entire morning, and it is going to be awhile before we will have another opportunity to plant it because more rain is in the forecast. It also rained quite a bit yesterday, and it is forcasted to rain today and Tuesday with the possibility of severe weather this afternoon/evening. It isn't a surprise that we are in flash flood watch!

In between the rain, however, Ryan, Leah and I were able to go out to his place to weed-eat around the fruit trees and to also mulch around them. After those tasks were completed, we went for a quick walk around his property, and even though it was only in the low 80's, it felt quite warm with the high humidity. We had fun, though!


Ryan and Leah

A flower on a thorn bush that was at the edge of the woods . . . I am not sure what kind though!

Beautiful tiny flowers blooming in the woods.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Trusting

There are many lessons that can be learned from nature. In Scripture, often the things found in God's creation are used as word pictures to illustrate the point that is being made (birds, grass, flowers, mountains, mustard seed, etc.) An advantage of living rurally is that His creation is all around one. You step out the door, and there is a whole world of subjects to learn and glean from. Such as one that I had the joy of seeing this week.

There is a tree behind our vegetable garden at which I noticed frequent visits being made by a female Cardinal; often with some tasty morsel dangling from her beak. Upon each visit, I could hear the hungry cries of her babies. One day, after her departure, I ventured to find the nest which was fairly easy to do as it was quite low in the tree. What preciousness lay in that carefully woven nest!


When thinking of these babies, one thought comes to mind . . . trust. They are not worrying about what they will eat or when; they do not anxiously look about for the next meal, but between each feeding, fall quickly asleep . . . patiently waiting. They do not fear the storm or the rain, nor do they wonder whether their nest will hold them. What a lesson can be learned here!

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life . . . Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? . . . Do not worry then . . . But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness . . ."
(portions of: Matthew 6:25, 26, 33).

Anyway, those are some thoughts that have been on my heart. Over the next several weeks, it will be exciting to see the babies grow and mature . . . it is always fun to watch as they fly for the first time. Hopefully I will be around when that takes place! :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Snapshots from the Garden

This has been a wonderful day spent for the most part out in the vegetable garden. This morning, I worked on weeding, cultivating and re-thinning (it generally takes me two times thinning before it is satisfactory! :) This afternoon, Dad tilled up the areas for the other bean rows, as well as by the potatoes so that they could be hilled up more. After the rows for the beans were tilled, I started planting. Leah came out later to help, and Ryan helped us finish up after he came home from work. It certainly goes faster with more hands! This week (as well as next) are my cooking nights, but Mom was so sweet to make the supper tonight so we could finish the planting. It feels so good to have the rest of the beans in, and now all that is left to plant is the sweet corn.

When vegetable gardening, we have used the wide row gardening method for many years which results in much more produce per square foot of garden space. We plant each row approximately two feet wide and then have two foot wide walkways. Once the plants get some size (like the bean row on the right of the below photo), weeding becomes almost unnecessary as the vegetable plants shade out the weeds.

The row is staked and marked. Approximately 1 inch of dirt has been raked to one side, and it is ready to have the bean seeds put down . . .


We spread the seeds out with about 4 inches between each. (You will notice that the seeds have a pink tinge to them - we ordered the seed in bulk this year, and the company we ordered from treats the seeds.) Once the seeds are put down, we tamp them down with the flat edge of a hoe; use a rake to pull the dirt over top of them; tamp one more time; and its done!

Beets . . . getting bigger!

Dad hilled the potatoes again this evening. The reason for growing the potatoes this year is that our girls that we meet with once a week really wanted to try growing them. So far it has been an interesting experience! (We had never grown them before. :)

The Cabbage plants

Girls Group

Another week has come and gone with the girls. The activities for the afternoon were making a recipe card of what we had baked last week, and making a wall-hanging utilizing some of the flowers that the girls had pressed.

Working on the project

For the wall-hanging, we had the girls each pick out one of their favorite qualities that we have learned about so far. They then wrote the name of the quality and an accompanying verse onto a sheet of cardstock paper that they had tied a ribbon onto. After gluing on their flowers, the project was complete!


A sampling of the ones that were complete (some of the girls finished theirs early so they made another one only this time they used markers to draw on flowers. The rest of the pressed flowers are being saved for a later project.)

I found this lesson a bit more difficult teach as our focus was upon such a broad and deep aspect of Scripture . . . Israel and the Law (which includes the sacrificial system). It needed to be simple and clear enough for the girls to understand, yet still be thorough enough to give a complete picture.

We also went through the verses (Genesis 11:1-9) regarding the Tower of Babel (due to a question last week), discussing things such as what was meant by 'one language'; why God was displeased that the men were building the tower; who the 'Us' is/was that God referred to in verse 7; and what were the consequences of these people's actions.

After that, we moved into Israel and the sacrificial system/Law. It went something like this:

-Does anyone know what God's chosen people were called? (Israel)

-Do you have any idea what the books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are about? (the Law, sacrifices; this one was a bit difficult!)

-Discussed that God is perfect, no sin can come before Him, and all men are born sinners (we talked about this in an earlier lesson also.)

-"And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22) Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. In order for them (Israel) to be forgiven, somethings' blood had to be shed.

-" 'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.' " (Leviticus 17:11) By Israel doing the sacrifices, they could see that they needed something to cover their sin. The sacrificial system is part of the Old Covenant, and it paved the way for the New Covenant. The Old Covenant pointed to Christ, it prepared the way for the Savior.

The Law (and thus the sacrifices) were instituted by God for Israel to show the people that no matter how hard they tried, they could not keep it. They could see that they (and us too) were/are sinners and cannot be good nor righteous on our own. And again this was preparing the way for Christ.

"Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed would come to whom the promise had been made . . . Is the Law then contrary to the promises of God? May it never be! For if a law had been given which was able to impart life, then righteousness would indeed have been based on law. But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Christ Jesus might be given to those who believe . . . Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:19, 21-22, 24-25)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Favorite Recipe

For quite some time, Leah and I have been experimenting with different cornbread recipes in hopes of finding one that our family liked. Often the bread was either too dry, too bland, or something along those lines. The other day Leah went on a search to find the 'perfect' recipe. She found a recipe to try and made it tonight to go with the Chili Stew . . . and it was delicious! By far the best cornbread we have ever eaten. It disappeared quickly!

She made two pans of the bread, and this is what was left. :)


Golden Sweet Cornbread


-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup yellow cornmeal
-2/3 cup sugar
-1 tsp. salt
-3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
-1 egg
-1 cup milk
-1/3 cup oil (she used slightly more as was suggested by a reviewer of the recipe)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine liquid ingredients and mix well. Stir into dry ingredients until well-combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Enjoy! :)



*This recipe was found on another one of our favorite recipe sites called All Recipes.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Family Outing

Today Ryan had a driveway graveled out on his property. This evening our family took a drive out to see it and to spend some time together. Family is one of the most precious relationships that one can have, and I am so very thankful for the family that God has blessed me with!

The four dearest people on earth to me - Dad Ryan, Mom and Leah

Leah and Mom. The grass is very tall here!

Ryan

While Dad, Mom and Ryan were looking at the mower, Leah borrowed my camera and started snapping pictures. Upside down, sideways, and even a few right side up!


I got a picture of her too :)

"Farmer Girl" - sitting on Ryan's tractor :)

The tractor made a nice camera stand! :)

We balance each other so perfectly . . . I tend to be more serious, and she is more on the teasing side. What fun we have together! And what a special evening we had together as a family . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Simple Pleasures

If days were ranked in order of good days and not so good days, today would definitely be on the former side! Not because anything extraordinary happened . . . we did not go anywhere or do anything exciting. But it was a day full of simple pleasures. Doing laundry out in the warm sunshine was one of these. Laundry has never been up near the top of my favorite household chores to do, but now this task has become a joy due to our clothesline. What task isn't enjoyable when it can be done outdoors?!

This is the view that I see while doing laundry - it is the pasture bordering our property.

This morning I did the supper preparation so all that is left to tend to this evening is putting the chicken in the oven and getting everything on the table. Pretty easy! Tonight we are having Breaded Ranch Chicken with Layered Lettuce Salad (a family favorite!), fresh baked bread with honey butter, and radishes picked from the garden just a little bit ago.

The recipe for Honey Butter is one that we use often. Nothing tastes much better than warm bread with honey butter! The recipe is super simple which makes it even better. All you need is equal parts of butter (softened) and honey, stir them together and its ready to serve!

Do you all have any favorite recipes that you would like to share? Perhaps a favorite website that you utilize to find new recipes? I love trying new recipes and one of my favorite sites is Taste of Home. They have a wide variety of recipes and a great many of them are more of a farmstyle type of cooking which my family enjoys.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mom's Birthday

Yesterday was Mom's birthday, and what a special day it was! The gift that we gave her was a bit big to wrap so we had her close her eyes and then Dad carried it in. This was her reaction upon opening her eyes:

We think that she liked it. :)

She had been wanting a rocking chair for a long time, so us kids and Dad decided to get her one for her birthday. I do not believe that it will want for use. ;)

Sunday afternoon we spent together out at a Conservation Area that is by the Missouri River. There is a trail that follows right along the river, and we spent most of our time there walking and bird-watching. Bird-watching is something that our whole family enjoys - it is always exciting to see and identify a new species! (Though seeing ones that we have seen before is still exciting too! :) This time of year is especially fun as the migrating Warblers are moving through. They are very small birds, and have beautiful color patterns of bright oranges, yellows, reds, blues, browns, black and even a hint of greens.

This area is absolutely beautiful, and we had a marvelous time. The sun was shining, and we could hear the wind in the treetops, hear the river as it flowed south-eastward, and the air was filled with songs of birds.

The River

Ryan photographing with Mom and Leah in the background

Leah

Ryan and Leah - this part of the trail was very green! Even the pathway was a green carpet.

Leah, Dad, Mom and I

Dad, Mom and Ryan

Me

This area has a great many old, large, beautiful trees such as this one.

A Budding Artist . . .

. . . and one with a very loving and servant's heart. Yesterday morning one of the little girls in our home church (age 6), gave Leah and I each something that she had made for us.

The paintings are each on a board that measures about 2 feet or so in length and is about 10 inches high.

Leah's

Mine

It was so very sweet of her, and we were quite surprised! It is such a blessing to see her growing in the areas of love and service. She is always eager to pass out the song books when it is time for singing after the teaching; most Sundays she volunteers and helps me get the drinks for the meal; sometimes she will even gather the plates when everyone is done eating and then help with the dishes. Her parents are doing such a good job training her (and her siblings) not only in having good character and a servant's heart, but also in the ways of the Lord.

Often on Sunday's during the teaching time she will sit with me (in a big chair :), and as verses are being read she will do her best to follow along. I will move my finger with the words as they are being read, and she will have her brow furrowed and her mouth moving silently as she reads along. After the teaching is done, she will sometimes have very thoughtful questions, or a comment regarding what was shared. What a blessing and encouragement her sweet child-like faith is!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Baking and a Lesson on the Flood

We are moving right along in our 'walk through history' in the Scriptures, and this past week covered Noah and the flood. Our study first began several weeks ago in Genesis 1, and we have now made it through Genesis chapter 9 . . . at this rate, it could take us a long time to complete the study! We are planning, however, on moving through the rest of the Old Testament fairly quickly; focusing mainly on why there was a need for animal sacrifices (briefly) and then some of the prophecies concerning Christ.

Before we began our lesson this week, we did a baking project with the girls. This was probably the most complex, if not the most difficult, project that they have done in the kitchen thus far. We made Chocolate Oat Squares, and this recipe consisted of many different steps, dividing of ingredients, etc. The girls did very well and what's more . . . it was delicious!


Measuring out the brown sugar

Trying to get the 2 Tbsp. of butter out of the wrapper and into the pan (this can prove challenging if the butter is soft!)

Chopping the walnuts in a handy 10 cent find at a garage sale.

Stirring the chocolate filling mixture

Sprinkling on the topping

And . . . the finished product!
(Photo was taken after the girls and Leah and I enjoyed the fruits of their hands and also after plates were made up for them to bring home.)

While the bars were baking, we had our lesson, and as mentioned before, we covered Noah and the flood. We began by reading and discussing Genesis 6:5-8, when God declared that He was going to destroy mankind because of their wickedness, except for Noah, because he "found favor in the eyes of the LORD" for he "was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God."

We read Genesis 6:13-14 and summarized about God's directions for building the ark; what a cubit was; and then shared information from an insert taken from a recent Answers magazine (from Answers in Genesis; we did explain that the photo is an artist's rendition, but that it is based upon the measurements given in Scripture, thus the proportions should be fairly accurate).


The girls were amazed to see how huge the ark was. Before showing them the above picture, I asked if they had ever seen pictures of the little ark with giraffes' heads sticking out the top (isn't this what is in every children's 'bible'?!). They had all seen it before and when asked whether they thought that that was what the ark really looked like, some of them said no. But they were quite surprised when they saw how big it actually would have been! Before seeing the picture, one girl asked what the animals would have eaten and where would they have had room for all that food on the ark, this was easily understood after looking at the picture!

We then read through and discussed:

-Genesis 6:17-22 which tells of the directions that God gave to Noah about going onto the ark and what animals to bring with him.

-Genesis 7:11-12 about when the "fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened" and how long the rain fell upon the earth (40 days - just about a month and a half)

-Genesis 7:17-19 about the actual flood and the waters covering the entire earth. This set of verses probably garnered the most discussion out of any of them. "Even America was covered?" "It covered the whole world?" "Even the highest mountain?" These types of questions were asked by the girls to which we answered yes, indeed, the whole earth was covered.

In regards to the above verses, we asked, if everything under the heavens was covered with water, could anything (besides Noah and his family) still be alive? They answered correctly, that everything except for possibly the sea creatures would have died. One of the younger girls asked, though, about whether or not anyone else who built a boat would have lived. (Aren't they deep thinkers?) We explained that no, even if they had built a boat (which more than likely no one did), they could not have survived, nor did they survive, the flood. Only eight persons lived, Noah and his wife, and his three sons and their wives.

Genesis 7:24 was read, and to make it clearer in the girls' minds how long the period of 150 days was when the waters subsided, we counted up the months that that would be, January 1st to right about the time of year now. We finished by reading about the raven and the doves, why Noah would have sent them out, where the ark came to rest, how long Noah waited before coming out of the ark and then concluded with Genesis 9:11-13. God's covenant with Noah and with the earth, to never again destroy mankind with a flood; the rainbow was set in the sky as a reminder to man of this promise.

After we finished discussing this, the youngest girl asked, but "when the people are naughty again, what will God do?" We explained that God would have a different judgment at the end of time, but His promise was that it would never be by another flood.

Leah and I were very encouraged by how the discussion went. There were many questions asked, excellent thoughts shared, and insightful answers to the questions that we presented to the girls. What blessed us more than anything, though, was that one of the girls who is very shy and has never spoken during our discussions before (unless spoken to), much less ever asked a question, asked how people in other parts of the world, say China, would have known there was going to be a flood. We explained that firstly, God did not tell everyone that there was going to be a flood (at least this is not mentioned in Scripture). God had already given mankind the opportunity to know Him, but they obviously had rejected and chosen to follow the prince of this world instead of the holy and true King of kings. One thing led to another and before long we were talking about how during the flood time period, the continents were not divided as they are now, people were close together and not spread out over the entire world, etc. Due to this discussion, we might talk about the Tower of Babel next week.

I am eager and excited to see how the next few weeks unfold with the girls! Thank you to all of you who have been praying . . . it is greatly appreciated!