Wednesday, September 21, 2011

a couple more read aloud books...

A couple more books that we read a while ago and loved...

Little Britches, by Ralph Moody

The true recollections of his boyhood, moving out west with his family and beginning a life of ranching, I thought surely this book would be a great fit for Matthew. I read it aloud to everyone and to my surprise, Irene was the one who loved it the most. Despite some dated and politically incorrect names for horses, this book was a great story...full of adventures of childhood in a much more free and simple time. We loved it that the author was not shy about bringing his family's faith into the story. Very good book, and there are more in the series, which we have not read yet.

Heaven, for Randy Alcorn

Irene asks regularly if we can read this book again. I think that kids hold an eternal perspective and fascination for thinking on what Heaven will be like that we lose as we get more entrenched in the ways of this world as adults. They are not so attached to all the trappings that we cling to, and they love hearing about what Heaven may be like. I learned SO MUCH from this book about what the Bible has to say about Heaven that I will definitely be looking for the grown-up version, which I have heard great things about from Dan Camp at Veritas Classical Schools. And, as a bonus, we were reading this at the same time we were reading the Narnia books, and Alcorn uses quote after quote from many of the C.S. Lewis books. It made it fun because most of the time it would be a quote that we could place from something we had read recently. This book made me cry in several places, which is admittedly easy to do, but is one I am sure we will read again in a few years.

Gifts 122-128

It is not Monday, but that is just how this week is going...behind on everything! Thank God for new mercies each morning!

122~ a very unexpected card in the mail from my "long-lost" brother. His note brought me to tears and reminded me that we should never, ever, ever give up on people and relationships. There is always hope and we can't give up the fight, ever. Even with the crazy ones.

123~ modern dental hygiene and gum-numbing drugs. I love Anne of Greene Gables, Little House on the Prairie, and Pride & Prejudice, and I tend to daydream that I should have lived in that time, BUT... there's a lot I really like about 2011, too.

124~ our church youth group starting back up for the year...the energy , excitement and enthusiasm is good for my dry, dreary bones!

125~ finally feelings some results from our trips to the track. I have been sore for about two weeks but I can finally (don't laugh!) run a half a lap around the track. I know that is pathetic but it is a huge goal met for me, because previously I couldn't even run to the mailbox. My next goal is a full lap.

126~ the time I get to zone out with just me, God and my iPod shuffle on above mentioned trips to the track. Even if I do have to take one headphone out every fifteen or twenty steps so I can listen to the "cheers" Irene & Abbie made up for me while standing on the bleachers. They are so sweet, they cheer each time I go around and they run up to me with the water bottle!

127~ Mike finally being through with the long, drawn-out & expensive legal issues we were facing...OVER !!!!!! YAY!!!!

128~ So excited to head to discipleship group tomorrow night, oh how I have missed the girls!! Thank you Lord for such amazing Christian women to share my life with.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Gifts 113-121

As always, so much to be thankful for:

113~ beautiful, round, gold harvest moon rising up as we ran around outside, laughing

114~ getting in a water bottle fight at the track with my 3 youngest. With as moody as 13 year old boys can be, it felt so good to cut loose and laugh and be silly, and watch him laugh too...what a great reminder that they love and need our attention so much, no matter how much they act like they don't.

115~listening to squeals (okay, maybe more like screeches) of little girls as they play hide and seek in the dark (in the living room!) at 10:00 at night

116~ safe travels of my daughter-in-law and granddaughter back to the east coast, with Michael soon to follow

117~ finally getting to the dentist after 20 years without a cleaning. I am sure nobody will be getting close to me to chat after that little tidbit of information, but rest easy, they have now been cleaned!

118~ my mom being healthy & happy at 80 years of age

119~ 21 years of marriage...the ups and downs, ins and outs, the good, bad and the ugly...all a blessing and all to God's glory.

120~ cool weather, and the hint that fall is around the bend (even though the weather has turned hot again)

121~ It may sound strange, but I am so thankful that I have become painfully aware of how quickly our family is exiting the "baby years"... it has made me acutely aware of the speed at which the years with my sweet babies are speeding by, and to grab hold of all of the todays I can and store them up in my heart, knowing that all too quickly I will be in a different season and life will move on. Very bittersweet but I am thankful for God making me aware of it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Chronicles of Narnia, and ROAR devotional

It has been a long time since I posted anything about what we are reading. Mostly just for the sake of our own memories, I think I will spend a few posts remembering what we have read in the past year. By far, the most memorable was reading aloud the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, by, of course, C.S. Lewis.

I will not even attempt to "review" the Narnia series, there are a multitude of reasons why this is classic literature. Many times I had to continue reading through a lump in my throat as the symbolism of the kingdom of Narnia (symbolically God's Kingdom) and Aslan as it's ruler (Christ the King) had it's effect on me. It is not only fun, funny and entertaining, but deeply moving as well. It is full of gorgeous and inspiring imagery and I am certain we will return to it many times!
We used as a companion to the series a book that I picked up on a whim, called "ROAR! A Christian Family's Guide to the Chronicles of Narnia", by Heather and David Kopp.

There is a two page spread about each chapter of every Narnia book. We really loved this book. I loved that the authors were able to articulate thoughts that I had while reading that I meant to bring up after we were through with the chapter, but I would usually forget! The book really helped draw out many of the spiritual parallels that could be easy to skim past if you were not taking mental notes as you read. There were some fun little quizzes and meanings to unusual words, too. We really enjoyed using this. I wouldn't really say it was a devotional but sometimes we really almost used it that way because there were almost always relevant Bible verses to look up. It was a great addition to the books. Let me know if you'd like to borrow it!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Birthday "Gifts" 105-112

I know it comes across as a little self-centered to talk about your own birthday, but I felt so blessed yesterday that to not say how thankful I am would really be more selfish (that's what I decided in my head anyways!). The highlights of my day:

(More of the 1000 Gifts, even though it's not a Monday!)

105~Having three awesome, wonderful friends sing happy birthday to me, when all I did is show up in my sweats to pick up our food co-op goodies!

106~ cam home to so many sweet, thoughtful birthday wishes on facebook.

107~a phone call from my mom, who also sang "Happy Birthday" to me, followed by such a great, long chat!

108~ my kids calling me Queen, for the day!

109~ a long overdue date, dinner at Cracker Barrel with Mike, and he didn't even rush me while I looked in the gift shop afterward.

110~When I came home, I actually had presents, cake, balloons and streamers. I know you may be thinking that this would be normal, but alas, it hasn't happened in many, many years. Mike is usually gone, and the kids are, well, broke and can't drive! They really put so much effort in and I feel so blessed by their willingness to go all out to make me feel special.

111~When tucking Irene & Abbie into bed, I told them I was a little sad that tomorrow would be a no-birthday day. Irene said, "Oh Mommy, you'll ALWAYS be my birthday girl!" Love that girl!!!

112~ Thank you Lord, for another year with my family & friends...another year of imperfect but sweet memories. I may not have gotten anything into the scrapbooks, but we lived it !