Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Works for me Wednesday: No tape measure - No problem!

It's a good idea to always have a small tape measure in your purse. You just never know when you'll need it. Yard sales and second hand stores have cool desks or sofas or pictures or.... well lots of cool stuff. The problem is that sometimes you just don't know if it's going to fit when you get it back home. My hubby taught me this trusty trick many years ago and I have used it time and time again.

Just measure your hand span and then you always have a ruler with you. Mine just happens to be 8 inches. So when I want to know how tall a dresser is, whether that inseam is long enough for me to bother trying them on, or if that rug is just going to be a few inches too short, I just measure how many hand-spans it is and count by 8's. I've used this trusty tool when buying my children clothing by just measuring (with my hand) their inseam before I leave the house for our used clothing place. It really does work for me and I'm sure it will work for you! :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Mom in Training

Yep, I'm reprinting this post from way back, like, 1 1/2 years ago! Reading in Titus this week with Book Review Friday (see sidebar) has brought the 'younger women loving their children' verse to mind a lot lately.
Here's a picture of my little Lone Ranger to go along with my thoughts. This is my eldest who has to deal with most of our parenting mistakes, because... well, he's the oldest. Poor guy.

Anyway, here's what I said then and am saying again now. :)

I am terrified to be in charge of teaching and training my children. That feeling is probably healthy considering it makes a parent very careful about how their children are raised. I desire for my children to have a heart for God. To make Him the central focus in everything they will ever do for the rest of their lives. I want them to know the scriptures inside and out. I want them to live out what the scriptures say with confidence. To have such faith in their God that they will obey Him without question, at any cost.
Many people think I go a little overboard on some issues. But what others thought and believed won't matter in a thousand years. Let them think what they will. I have more important things to be attending to. I want to please God. What will matter for all the rest of eternity is whether we raised our children to glorify God or not. That is the issue.
This terrifies me because I have had yet another realization of what this truly means. It calls for much on my part. It is a huge order. I have begun to ask the Lord each day to put in me the desire that he wants a mother to have. When you ask a question like this of God you have to be ready to get your answer and work hard.
Each day I noticed more and more the things that I had been missing out on before. All those missed opportunities to help mold and shape their little hearts to be open to the things of God. Chances to give a verse and teach them true wisdom. Chances to get involved in their lives on a deeper level. Chances to gain their affection and trust. Chances to point them to Christ.
Though some may think that sheltering my children from many outside influences such as reading material, movies, even other children, is actually going to work against what I want to accomplish, I stand firm on my convictions. The stakes are too high. Why would I want to mar their chances of purity at such a young and impressionable age? I definitely want them to be able to live as 'wise as serpents' in this evil world, but they are in training session right now.
A wise mother watches for glimpses into their child's soul each day. From that you gain an understanding of where they are spiritually and what they can handle and where they need further training.
I am thankful for mothers who have gone before that we can gain wisdom from. I watch them and learn. Sometimes I learn what I need to do and from others I learn what not to do. Either way, I am thankful for their examples.
This past week I realized that I just wasn't getting the 'mother' thing and started with a simple prayer. "Lord, help me know what I am supposed to do as a mother." But a simple prayer like this forces you on your knees more and more as you realize how inadequate you are for the job God has called you to. You also get excited to see results that only He can make happen.
It really is amazing what you learn and how much you can grow in a short time when you stay home and start pouring your heart into what counts.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Folks, this is scary! Many people out there do not think it necessary to home school. It is!
  • Read this
  • and don't think that we aren't affected by it. Children who attend any school whether in the US or Canada are dealing with these things everyday AND it will come to this before long right where we live. It's just that these new laws are so blatantly evil it should give us a wake up call before it's too late with our own children. They're kids, they aren't strong enough to handle it, (and light bulb moment here) neither are we as their parents. These are scary times and Christians need to start studying, praying, and getting into action.

    Thursday, October 25, 2007

    Book Review Friday: Zephaniah

    First things first, let's move on to Titus for the next week. It's a super short one but I'm sure we'll find it super good! :)

    I liked reading Zephaniah a lot this week. I had a hard time grasping just exactly what this prophet was saying. (By the way, I think it's exciting that I know now who a few of the prophets were since we've been reading these books together. I wouldn't of had a clue before who was or wasn't. Oh yes, we're learning lots!). I'm thinking that he's warning about the Lord returning and them not being ready because of the sin they are living in. The people are called to repentance and they are told about the judgements to come if they do not repent and escape them. It ends with explaining the blessings of being one found faithful and hidden safe in Christ when the judgements come. I think. Much of it I cannot figure into this equation because I really have no clue what is really being said.

    Despite the fact that I have no sweet clue with much of it but find it terribly interesting I was convicted with a few verses. The first being, "I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And punish the men Who are settled in complacency. Who say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, Nor will He do evil.' 1:12 Complacency is one of the major sins in the Church and in the individual Christian life these days, and apparently always has been. When life just continues on day after day with the same routine it's so easy to drift off into la la land spiritually. I am that one that starts thinking (without really thinking about it) that God is in neutral mode. He wouldn't do anything drastic in my life- I'm not that bad that He would have to deal with me! Big mistake. That was exactly who this prophet was talking to. That's how these people were summed up at the first but as we read through we see that there are other names for 'the complacent ones'. Names like, 'rebellious' 'polluted' 'insolent' 'treacherous', to name just a few. To God these sins are one and the same. It's scary for me to think that I am actually doing damage to God's purpose in my life by just not caring enough.

    In chapter 3: 3-5 it explains the wickedness found in the people. All of this is carrying on day after day with people not really thinking about what they are doing and all the while, "The Lord is righteous in her midst," He's right there seeing it all and being perfect waiting for the time to act. And the kicker- "But the unjust knows no shame". Although we know He is righteous and He's there somewhere, we don't really care and we just keep going right along. Shameless!

    I do not want to be part of the pollution problem. I'll be asking the Lord what is polluting my life and I'll need to pray for strength to do something about it too. It's all about being ready and chasing life, as my little logo up there at the top of my blog says. Live with purpose- God's purpose.

    So even though some was confusing God still got some major points through to this brain of mine. Now I'll wait to see what God put on all your brains this week. Let's fill up Mr.Linky ladies! :)

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    I'm not ignoring you :)

    I keep forgetting to mention to anyone who cares that my computer is acting up. For some reason it won't let me leave comments anywhere, including my own blog. Slightly annoying. :( In fact I am not able to scroll down to read comments that might be left there for me. Not sure what the problem is and not patient enough to figure it out.
    Hey Laurie, I really hope that you are feeling better! :( That cutie little baby will be here before you know it! :) We are reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is a total tongue twister for me and if I'm tired it just gets worse. The kids don't seem to mind, though the eldest is the only one who understands any of it. I think they would be happy if I read the dictionary, just as long as I was reading to them. :) I've had to skip a few things. It's had a few choice words and a little mature subject matter dealing with violence that I've skipped, but just short bits and pieces. You may not have a problem with it though. I think I'll skip the Prince and the Pauper for a bit if it is old english. My brain needs a break. :)
    As for the comments ladies, I am reading the usual blogs and enjoying them all. I'm just not able to say hello to you there.

    The facebook fiend.

    I canceled my facebook account today for the last time. I will never return. I loved being able to get in touch with a few people that I had lost somewhere along the way in the past 12 years though. Facebook really could have been a great tool for keeping in touch with some great people but..... there are just too many disadvantages to surfing around on it. Here are a few that I have had to deal with in my time on it:
    1) The ads are horrid!! HORRID!!! There are absolute vile adds that appear on the sidebar every time you enter a new page. (If you don't think they are vile your conscience has been seared.) I don't want to worry about my kids seeing half-dressed (if we're lucky) women while mommy shows them the newest pic's of her friends. And I figure if I have to warn my husband not to get a facebook account because of it, it's not good for anyone including myself to bother with.

    2)At first, months ago, it became a great time waster. It is easy to become addicted and then our first priorities as wives & moms suddenly take second place to a computer screen. You really don't realize how much time goes by as you are typing and clicking away.

    3)You can't control what your friends have on their own facebook walls and stuff. I went on to say hello to a friend and see some pic's and was greeted by a cartoon that will forever make me want to be sick to my stomach. Vile, that's all I'll say.

    4) Also, pictures are not the only problem. The language is awful. What is disappointing is that I saw the language and rude pictures on some of my Christian friends facebooks.

    I began yesterday to go through thinking I would just delete all my friends that had things that I found objectionable. It bothered me so much just checking each one out and seeing if they were 'clean' or not that I just gave up and decided it wasn't worth trying. Seriously, it shouldn't have taken me this long to figure it out, I know.
    I'm going back to good old fashioned email and my favourite, Kodak Gallery. We love pictures and send out lots of them through that.
    What bothers me about facebook is that there are so many Christians (just like me) on there and they are seeing the same stuff that I do. Does anyone else think this is just plain wrong??? Maybe you think I'm just old fashioned and need to get a grip but I'm just saying it like I see it. We got rid of the TV so that we didn't have to see stuff like that, why would I subject myself to this nasty stuff if I don't have to. One of our latest readings in Book Review Friday helped me in my decision to deactivate my account. "(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)" 2 Pet 2:8
    Anyone want to help me out? I can't seem to find that verse I know that says "I shall set no wicked thing before my eyes". Where is that???

    So I'll go the old fashioned way from now on - email, to keep in contact with those great friends I found on facebook. Maybe they'll change things and it will be clean someday and safe for me to join again.... what are the chances?? :(

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Produce :)

    We are so excited to give you the latest news from the Elson's chicken ranch! We collected our first eggs this week!!! Our eldest has had the job of caring for the chickens since they were chicks. He was so excited and in such a rush to get back to the house with the two eggs he found that one was lost along the way. Everyone wanted a turn holding the the egg that did make it, and just stared at it for a long time. If you'd like to take your own loooong look here ya go...

    Impressive eh?! Yep, we're pleased and looking forward to the day when we see 23 fresh eggs in the coop waiting for us. Woo Hoo!!

    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    Results of building Rome in a day.

    I didn't do too bad. I always want to get more accomplished than I actually see completed at the end of the day, but here is my list of what I can remember doing in my 12 hours today:
    Sweep & tidy sunporch
    Rearrange kitchen
    Move dishes & appliances into their new home :)
    Fed my chillins breakfast, lunch, & supper
    Washed a wall
    Cleaned bathroom
    4 loads of laundry washed, dried, put away
    Washed and set out winter gloves n' such
    Read to my youngest
    Did a puzzle with my youngest
    Watered my plants
    Moved dress up clothes to their new bin
    Tidied & swept upstairs
    Moved school books & supplies to their new home
    Picked out everyone's church clothes & ironed them
    Read a BRF post (thanks Barb!)
    Bathed children before bed
    Had a visit with Grampie & Grammie
    Read a chapter of 'Kidnapped' to the children
    Made hubby's lunch for work tomorrow
    And thankfully last night I worked out the lesson plan for each of the children's schooling next week and I don't have to do that now.

    Maybe that's a normal day for you but it's more than has been done here all in one day since mid-September. I love seeing things get done. But now it's time to chillax and say hello to hubby.

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    Book Review Friday: 2 Peter

    Edited to add my review :)

    First things first, lets read the book of Zephaniah this next week. Why not!?! :)
    So read it through each day and more if you like until next Friday and we'll all write something we learned or loved from it. I'm thinking we'll all learn something since most, if not all, haven't read it before. Exciting eh!?

    Some weeks I come away from my reading a little frustrated and this was one of those weeks. I just couldn't understand stuff. It wasn't a long book and it doesn't seem like a terribly hard one either but I'm just running into a brick wall for the most part. Nothing came together except for a thought on brotherly kindness and love.

    The most confusing was 1:5-9. Where Peter talked about adding virtue and knowledge, self-control and perseverance and godliness. And then brotherly kindness and love. If I lack these things I'm blind and shortsighted and living as if I'm not saved! I'm stumped. Maybe that is my clue with this book. I have a lot of soul searching to do. I am feeling very shortsighted this week and reading through that list, and seeing all the ones that don't apply to me, I can understand why I'm having a hard time. God has many ways of teaching lessons and maybe this is one.

    The one verse that I really did get was 2:8 "(for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)". How can we expect to be anything but spiritually messed up if we allow our lives to be surrounded by things that aren't glorifying to God?! Many of us have those 'strange wives' that Anne wrote about so well a couple weeks ago. We need to be in the world but not of it.

    Anyway, that's my review. Late & lame. What can you do though. I learned a bit of a lesson this week, I have A LOT to learn and I'm missing out on A LOT. But that's good right, it's all part of the journey. :) Whenever another review pops up here I'll be quite excited.
    Have a great weekend. I'm planning to have another 'Build Rome in a Day' day here. Lots to get done. Since apple picking started many things have fallen behind and I'm going to do my best to deal with them all in a 12 hour period. In the words of Bob the builder, "Can we do it? Yes we can!!"

    If you don't usually read your Bible or can't seem to make it a habit why don't you come along for the ride on BRF and try it out? The info for it is up in my sidebar to explain what we're all about.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    So long apple buckets & bins!

    We will no longer be taking the morning trek to the apple orchards this year. It's officially over, not becuase of a lack of apples to pick but because at some point homeschooling children need to be be homeschooled. Mother also need to catch up on laundry piles and the usual chaos in her home.

    We really have had a good run in the orchards this season though. We were able to do a bit better than last year and it was great to see the improvement in how the children worked themselves from one year to the next. I am looking forward to the day when my children are self motivated teens excited about another chance at some good honest work, with that good ol' honest pay of course. :) We have a ways to go since mommy was harping on them constantly that our boss doesn't pay us to chase mice and watch geese fly over his orchard, or climb his trees or rest in their shade!

    Anyway, in the past couple of weeks it has been hard to 'keep house' and school has had to take a back seat to bigger and better things. But now those bigger and better things are at an end and I AM SO EXCITED TO GET UP TOMORROW AND HAVE A DAY AT HOME! What is even more exciting is that my house is almost in a state of order now. My mom showed up while my children were eating their supper at 7pm (that's what kind of a day it was) and saw the mess and immediatley took to the dishes, and sweeping, and folding laundry and I know not what. I bathed children and vacuumed and by the time she left and hour later my house was looking so much better. And as it usually does, my mind was clearing just as fast as the mess was dealt with by mom.

    So now it's off to bed for this gal. I'll be reading 2 Peter before my light goes out and I hope all you BRF ladies have read it today as well. :)

    I'll leave you with a picture of something I will not be seeing until September next year. :) :) It's the view from the part of the orchard where we first started picking a few weeks ago.

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    Book Review Friday: 1Peter

    Edited to add my review :)

    First things first, we'll read 2 Peter until next Friday.

    Reading 1 Peter was great! I loved it and could spend another week or two here very easily. There were a few places that I didn't quite understand but overall I think I began to grasp what Peter was writing about here. At first I thought it was all about our conduct as Christians but realized after a number of readings that it goes deeper than that. It's about our attitudes that foster our conduct. If we say that we are Christians than how we live will give evidence either for or against that claim. This book is all about being serious about it.

    It doesn't take a brain scientist to see that Christianity has many problems these days. We are more caught up with our music and fashion and a whole lot of entertainment than anything else. Peter was reminding the early Christians of the dangers of being caught up in the things we have been saved from. Wherever our hearts are will show up in how we live. Why do we allow our hearts to be held by such frivolous things around us if we can experience something so much greater?!?

    The hardest things I found to read were about having a sincere love for the brethern (1:22), being submissive to my masters whether they be harsh or not (2:18), being submissive to my husband (3:1), refraining my tongue from evil (3:10), and rejoicing when I partake in Christ's sufferings (4:13). But it all comes back to living my life according to the grace that was bestowed on me. I was bought with a price but do I live like I have a master? What attitudes am I fostering in this little heart of mine? What do I fill it up with day by day, moment by moment? What do I allow my eyes to see, my ears to hear, my time to be taken up with? So many of my efforts, actions,and words are lost for all eternity because I did not have my heart in the right place.

    When I am careful to fill my mind with Scripture and take the time to be in prayer with my God, not only does the sincere love, submission, control of the tongue, and sufferring become easier, they become an all-consuming joy. I know this because I have experienced it before. It really does happen, I want it to happen again. I do know that prayer is the only thing that changes me. I've tried so many times to rally myself and be a better person only to realize once again I've goofed and it's impossible. God changes the heart, the attitudes, I just have to be willing and ask Him too.

    First things first with this though, are you really saved??? "If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious"(2:3) you could have no doubt. But if there is not a drastic difference in the way you live your life and how your unsaved family or friends live theirs, you either need to repent and get saved or you need to repent and get serious about your life in Christ!
    Now I'm off to read your reviews. I'm so excited!! I hope someone touched on 2:9. I love that verse but can't put my finger on why enough to write someting down. :)

    Tuesday, October 9, 2007

    Happy Thanksgiving !

    We had a nice thanksgiving, how about you? :)

    Sunday, October 7, 2007

    Brilliance Not Required!

    (Reposting this tidbit from my Jan/06 archives)

    "What we have lacked in money and brilliance, we have tried to make up in service." These are the words of Laura Ingalls Wilder's grandparents and once again I have found hope in a simple statement. I am so glad that we cannot find anywhere in scripture where the Lord requires us to be brilliant so as to be used by Him. If that were the case all hope would be lost in my case. There is nothing that I have ever read in the Bible to even remotely allude to the fact that smart people are more successful than the academically challenged, in a spiritual sense. But I guess it's all in our definition of success. According to the worlds standards I will never be successful. I, a stay-at-home homeschooling mom that graduated from high school with poor grades and only 1 year of Bible college after that. In the way of brain power I do not have much to recommend myself. All of my teachers will attest to that fact. Yet good grades don't come into play in the scriptures in measuring success. I see things like "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." and "A woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised". It's a blessing to be able to read scripture and understand and be able to apply it to my life even though I couldn't make out heads or tails in English classes in school. The Holy Spirit reveals things that are supernaturally understood and I count it a tremendous privilege that the Lord chooses to work in and through people as lowly as me as well as those who have a great mind for earthly knowledge. I want my children to excel in their school work and reach far beyond my humble capabilities but... they're true success when all is said and done will be judged by God not by the local school board. God will want to see a young man or woman who is completely surrendered to Him and serving Him with their whole heart. I want to be the kind of parent that gives them a thirst for knowledge but also a tremendous thirst for service to their God. That's a tall order and a much harder one than just teaching them to read and say their times tables, but it will count for eternity. So what I lack in brilliance (& money) I will seek to make up for in service. It's worth more in the long run anyway. :)

    Saturday, October 6, 2007

    Hooray for me!!!

    If you check my Ezra review you'll see good 'ol Mr.Linky himself down there. I figured it out and it really wasn't complicated. I'm so glad.

    Friday, October 5, 2007

    Book Review Friday: Ezra

    If you are annoyed by the lateness of BRF showing up please see previous post for a really good excuse as to why it's late. Thanks so much. :)

    First things first, let's read.... ummmmm.... how about 1 Peter this week? Sounds good to me! :) It's much shorter than Ezra so there should be no problem in getting it all figured out within the 7 days, right? :)

    As for Ezra, I could do with another month on that book. I loved it and I'm not even really sure why yet. Maybe it's the oncoming cold in my head blocking all good sense. I will attempt to put just a portion of what struck me from the reading this past week.

    It's really late and I desperately need to get to bed so I'll keep this short yet again. I'll just deal with good ol' Ezra himself right now. The very first verse that stood out to me was 7:10
    "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Isreal."
    Can I put my own name in that verse??? 'For Shannon had prepared her heart to seek the law of the Lord and to do it.' I'd like to think so, but I know better. It's a great story to read about other people way back when, but when the Lord starts making it personal in my own heart, it becomes more than just biblical history, I start to get convicted.

    I have failed in the past to purpose to do the right thing no matter what. Then I read about all these captives that realized they were living in sin and then they seek to make it right. They've been living with the Canaanites, the Hittites, and all those other 'ites' for a long time. They would have been quite comfortable in their sin by now. I find it very exciting that they all were convicted and repented and sought to put away their sinful life. It would not have been an easy task.

    God was very gracious to them, and it is a reminder to me that I have that same God and need to be thankful. The thing that keeps me from being thankful is pride. Someone who is proud cannot be truly thankful I think, that's coming from someone who finds it a great struggle. :( We really do have a patient and gracious God, but we must remember to fear Him.
    "Then everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel assembled to me, because the transgression of those who had been carried away captive," 9:4
    Have you ever trembled from your fear of the Lord. If we are not driven out of Love to obedience then the knowlege of who God truly is should be enough to keep us on the straight and narrow. But, it is true that we have lost our reverance for God and what He has called us to. We spend our time trying to figure out how much we can get away with and still carry the name Christian, or we spiritualize our own wants and somehow make ourselves believe they are actually God's will for us. I consider 9:8 a warning for us as well. If we take the time to ponder where our fluffy Christianity is taking us today these words will hold much meaning and urge us to quickly repent and get moving for the Glory of God, not our own happiness.
    "And now for a little while grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage." That's what we need, revival! As Christians most of us are so caught up in living for ourselves we have no idea we're in bondage. In fact, we're quite happy to carry on as we are. Meanwhile God and His temple are being ignored and left in ruins. I need to get serious and see what needs to be done to repair that foundation that was talked about in chapter 3. Once the proper foundation is laid then the Lord can get to work on the rest and make a temple to glorify Himself in.

    Well, it's time for bed. That's all I'll say for a review. I could go on and on about so many other things! I hope to see some reviews to see what you all found for yourselves. :)
    I'm so sorry that I don't have a Mr.Linky for you all. I'm having a hard time setting it up for this blog (story of my life). If you have a review please leave a comment so that people can find it and I'll see what I can do to make Mr.Linky and Mr.Blogger get along. :)

    Meanwhile have a great Thanksgiving weekend!!

    Monday, October 1, 2007

    In the Orchard :)

    I haven't had time to write my review for Acts. I know it is a shameful thing for the host of BRF to not have a post to put up, sorry. :( But just so you know that I am not laying around ignoring you and being lazy here is a picture of what we've been up to here at 'Watch the Sky'.

    There is a very nice family farm in the neigbourhood who allows our family to come in a work in the orchards picking the drops. They don't mind all the kids which is a blessing. :) Don't be fooled by the happy waves from behind those bins in the picture, it's hard work and they don't always look that pleased. It's all part of working toward that final goal of raising our kids to 'chase life' for their Lord.

    Hard work. Love it. (Hopefully someday they will too.)