Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do You Have Five Minutes?

I hope you have five-ish minutes because that is as brief as I can be!

There has been some "discussion" about the lengths of the Midnight Chats.

They sound something along the lines of,

"I got interrupted three times and had to keep coming back to it."

 "I just can't seem to get fifteen (ish) minutes together long enough to listen!"

On my end of it... I never have any idea when I will do one, what it will be about, or how long it will be.

It's been one of those"obedience/walking by the Spirit" things.

But I have been listening... and praying... and listening... and praying.

Here on Mishmash, I will often do a devotional post under the heading, "Pause and Ponder."
They are, usually, a brief exploration of a single verse.

You know, something to chew on all throughout the day.
One of the meanings of the word "meditating" is "muttering" or to say it over and over again under your breath.

Meditating on Scripture is also likened to "chewing the cud" to the Hebrew people.  Just like cattle chew and chew and chew on grass, etc... We are to chew on the Word.

Ah, but as my mother always told me...take small bites so I don't choke!

There are times when I have and should study large passages of Scripture.

 But it is good to chew on just one verse at a time in order to grow in intimacy with God and His Word.

"Pause and Ponders" have been good, but they usually involve lots of typing which is difficult on days when my body isn't cooperating.

The Midnight Chats can be cumbersome because... well they are done late at night... and on video, which takes time to import then upload. Then there is the storage issue with the bigger files.

But after the "To Encourage One Another" adventure I realized audio/podcasting is fast and pretty simple.

Since "Pause and Ponder"ing is already part of my "repertoire," we're just going to take it "on the air" so to speak.

When there is a new one, I will post it here.  But, hopefully I will have confirmation this week, that this new "channel" will be on iTunes.

It's been exciting to see that the Midnight Chats are not only getting views (over 10,000 now) through Tangle (where they are stored), but also, to see "Subscribers" on iTunes (especially since they've only been there since May).

Exciting... humbling... and a little terrifying to be honest.

I remind myself that nothing is about me and that the Lord can and does use the weak and foolish.

Any whoo, here is the very first podcast of "Pause and Ponder."

I'll keep you posted on the iTunes status-- it is currently under review.
*** Edited*** iTunes was approved :)

And I will do my best to keep them around the five minute mark... no promises though :)

Apple iTunes

Thanks for being here :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Products That Help: My Courson Commentaries

Okay confession time.

Are you ready?

Yes, I think sitting down is good.

Alrighty then, here we go...

I don't always pre-read the bible portions assigned for us in the teacher's manual and prepare (in advance) anything to "teach" the kiddos.

I often fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and just add commentary on the fly.

Wow, I used the word "fly" twice in one sentence.

I'm sorry... staying focused now.

Our children have always attended a "thru-the-bible" church and have fair grasp of Scripture.
Because of this, I think I slack off a little bit in the preparation department.

No one notices... that is, until I am busted!

Always on a day when I am ill-prepared, a child will ask what a certain word or phrase means in either the Hebrew or Greek.

My children are well-acquainted with my word study books since I have been asking them to bring them to me since they were big enough to lug them around :)

Oh the groaning I have heard when I am studying upstairs and the word study books are down stairs (or vice versa).

Wow, I am so digressing here.

Have I mentioned I haven't had any coffee yet?
It explains a lot!

Oh, so... Yes!  Now I remember... on the days when I am particularly discombobulated OR on the days when I am really on my game to help me prepare, one thing, in addition to my bible, prayer, and the aid of the Holy Spirit, that adds great depth and richness to our bible time is...

Jon Courson's Commentary Series


Being Precept trained, Karl and I didn't even own a commentary for years.
We also don't use bibles with commentary printed in it.
Don't get me started... I have a very strong opinion on the matter.

Okay... focusing...

A few years ago, I wanted to get a good commentary and was thrilled to learn that Jon was writing one.

If you've been around these Mishmashy parts for any length of time, you know that my right-before-I-drift-into-hibernation devotional is one of these...

And each day on  Karl's commute to work, he listens to Jon on his iPod.  He is listening thru-the-bible with Jon.  He started in Genesis and I think he is now in Joshua.  Hmmm, I'll have to ask him...

( I asked.. he is in Judges now :)

Jon Courson teaches in a very clear, easy to understand way.

He is solid doctrinally/ biblically.

He cracks me up and really applies the Word of God to life today.

And... well, like all the Courson brothers (who are all pastors),
he is full of and models grace.

I need a model of grace in my life and am grateful that every Thursday night and Sunday morning our family is pastored by Jimmy Courson-- Jon's youngest brother.

Rabbit-trailed again... coffee is coming...

These books have helped me teach our children not only what the Word of God says


what the Word of God means

but most importantly...

these commentaries have helped me teach our children

Who God is and what He is like.

These books have helped me to... spotlight... the heart of God and His love for us.

That makes these products that truly help.


Again... these "Products that help" are the things we use that work for us.
These are not product reviews that I am being compensated for. Just sayin'...

If you are interested in any of Jon Courson's materials or just want to check him out--
please visit : Jon Courson

All of his teachings are available to listen to online.
He also has a "store" online to order his books.

The commentary series is also available on Amazon.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To Encourage One Another- July

Once-a-month, a group of moms have been getting together to encourage each other in our common calling to educate our children at home.

This sweet time of fellowship has been such a blessing to me.

I share a devotional and then the amazing part-- we pray for one another.

Each woman shares her request and then we stop and pray it in before the next woman shares.

The answers to these prayers have been awesome and encouraging.

The Lord is so good :)

So I was thinking about how I would love it if y'all could come to these meetings.

But since we don't live in the same area, I thought, "What to do, what to do?"

I know I can't give you yummy cheesecake over the internet but I thought,

"Hey, why don't I share the devotional part and then offer to pray?"

Well, I finally (hopefully) figured out how to embed the audio here.

And I've added it to the "Midnight Chat" podcast in iTunes if you'd rather download.

I'd also like to invite you to leave a prayer request in the comment field or email me.

It'll almost be like you were with us... except, you know, without cheesecake and a hug from me :)

Click the triangle to play...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pause and Ponder-- 12:7

I've been wrestling with this verse for over 24 hours.

Mark 12:7

"But those vine-growers said to one another,
'This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!'

I didn't want to write about this verse.

I wanted to write about Luke 12:7 which says,
"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows."

Isn't that a much better verse? I thought so.

I have no idea how many hairs are on my head!

Do you?

Just another verse to remind me that God knows more about me than I do.
"Do  not fear" is always a good reminder.
And of course who doesn't want to hear they are valuable to God?

Ah, but this is not the verse for today.
And God knows more about everything than I do so here we go--

The verse for today is about the vine-growers that tend the fields of a "man."  They have beaten and/or killed all the servants that were sent to collect a portion of the harvest.

Verse 6 of Mark 12 says, ""He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.'

And of course, our verse--verse 7, reveals their plan.

Isaiah 5:7 identifies the vineyard as Israel and the servants that were sent are the prophets sent by our loving God to preach repentance to the nation.

The nation of Israel, being lost in idolatry, didn't want to hear that message so they killed the prophets and eventually killed the Christ (or Messiah) who is Jesus our Lord.

The reason I did want to write about this verse is I thought it wasn't applicable to me.

As I have wrestled and struggled with this all day, I've come to understand a few things.

My brains are fried from being crabby all day.  Please forgive the bullet points.  It is all I can manage ;)

• Jesus is God's Beloved Son and He is also referred to as The Word in John chapter 1.

• There are religions that edit their "bibles" whenever they come across a reference to the deity of Jesus.  They omit those verses because they don't like them or agree with them. It would appear that whether they are true or not has little to do with it.

• I must be very careful that I don't do the same thing but in a much subtler way.  I would never think to cut out or black out passages from my bible.  But do I gloss over the verses that are hard (on my flesh) to read?

Oh, this is where the Lord had me today.

2 Timothy 4: 3 & 4 sum it up very well...

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine;
but wanting to have their ears tickled, 
they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.

  I think I have to be on guard and very cautious that I don't adopt a "buffet" table attitude towards the Word of God.  At a buffet, I can pick and chose what I want and have as much of the stuff I like.  I don't have to pick anything that doesn't look appealing (even though I have never tried it). I can eat my fill of sweet stuff or in my case, "meat" stuff!

But God's Word is not a buffet.

It is a perfectly balanced and portioned meal. 

There are things written in the bible that don't look appealing to me.

But have I tasted (for myself-- very personal-- no one else can eat for you) and seen that the Lord is good?

Submission to my husband didn't seem very appealing when it first showed up on my "plate."

Oh, but now I know it is delicious and perfect.

But as today was witness, I seem to be pushing "Do everything without complaining or arguing," around with my fork.

God "peeked" under my mashed potatoes and said, "It's good for you.  Try it and see."

He's right.

I know that complaining is like a cancer for the soul and arguing just makes my flesh grow-- like the Rumor Weed in Veggie Tales.

I've been absolutely miserable all day.  I don't make a very good "god" for myself.

Once I "tasted" the truths in this verse, I felt free and at peace.

I'm praying that the Lord continues to show me the "calamari" verses of my life.
(I'm sorry but it jut looks creepy to me!)

And that I would trust Him enough to know that He desires good for my life and not evil.

But I still don't think I can bring myself to try the calamari!

This post originally from 12-07-09

Monday, July 12, 2010

Products That Help:The Expo Click!

Last year was the first year I invested in the retractable dry erase marker.

Last year was the first year I only used one marker the entire school year.

Do they cost a little bit more than the regular dry erase marker?


Is the added cost worth it?


My dear children do not forget to put the caps on the dry erase marker.

My dear children simply forget to push the cap all the way on until it snaps into place.

The marker looks covered.

But it is just enough uncovered to let air in which dries out my marker.

The year before I went through at least three markers in nine months.
Each time I would discover it was "dry" at a very inconvenient moment.
I would have to stop and grab another while conducting my "police investigation" to discover "who used the marker last and didn't snap the cap on all the way?"

(It was always a little embarrassing to realize I was the last one to use it {{{blush}}})

Moving on...

Besides the "Click" factor, I found that these markers wrote more smoothly and erased more easily.

Will we invest in a retractable marker again this year?



For those you that want the bottom line:

A 3-pack of Expo Click cost $6.49 which is $2.15 per marker
A 12-pack of regular Expo markers is $15.99 which is $ 1.33 per marker

If one Click at $2.15 lasts as long as 3 regulars ($1.33 x 3) at $3.99, I incur a  savings of $1.84 over the school year plus I am disposing of less waste

It isn't a huge savings, but I do save on frustration, time, and general annoyance.

Bonus?  It's fun to Click it :)

Oh, and yes it does come in colors...

Do's and Don'ts of Meal Giving: How to have glad food tidings

Whether you are helping out after the birth of a child or while someone is recovering from surgery/illness, there are times when we are asked to help bless another family with the gift of a meal.

And what a blessing it is to know that someone took time, money, and energy to prepare and deliver a meal for me and my family.

As with most things in life, there is a learning curve to develop the art of great meal giving.
Being a great hostess requires thought and effort.

Taking your hospitality "on the road" isn't difficult, but there are some helpful tips to ensure blessing and success for all involved.

If You Are The Meal Maker/Giver

  • DO Take the time to consider your schedule and your budget before you sign up to make sure that you will truly be able to give joyfully.  
  • DO Have a Plan B-- even best laid plans fail.  Children get sick, pipes burst, and migraines happen.  It is better to pick-up a pizza or Chinese take-out than to not bring an expected meal.
  • DO Make sure that you are aware of any food allergies, sensitivities, likes, and dislikes. And that you look at the label of each ingredient, including spices, sauces, etc...  It is amazing where wheat and/or soy (common allergens) shows up.
  • DO Bring the meal in containers that do not have to be washed and returned.  Trying to keep track of multiple plates, pans, and dishes after you've just had a baby or surgery requires extra energy and truth be told, you probably won't get your dish back soon... or ever.  Better to use foil pans, Ziploc bags, and plastic dollar store "platters."
  • DO Try to make simple, nutritious meals with fresh, whole food ingredients.  Most likely, the new mom is nursing and the post-op patient is healing.  Both need good quality food to give the proper fuel to their bodies.  Boxed dinners, like Hamburger Helper, and/or meals based of canned soups, should be an emergency back-up meal and not your normal meal of choice since they are loaded with chemicals.

  • DO Develop a few "signature" meals that are easy to transport, are healthy, and tasty ahead of time.  Generally speaking, meal giving isn't the time to try a new recipe or experiment.
  • DO Ask what they've had a lot of recently or if there is something they would love to eat.  It's not easy to eat lasagna, or other heavy pasta dishes, four days in a row.
  • DO Be on time for delivery... especially for families with small children that are used to a schedule.
  • DO Call if you are running late so the family isn't wondering if a meal is coming.
  • DO Be sensitive to visiting.  Some families want you to stay a little while and chat while others are focused on getting their families fed.  Plan to leave right after you've delivered the meal unless it's obvious that a short visit is okay.
  • DO Smile when you deliver your meal.  It's often hard to be on the receiving end and be the person in need.  It's even harder to receive a meal you know was a burden for the person that made/delivered it.  The idea is to bless another family and a genuine smile is a great way to bless the people around you.
  • DO Make a double batch of whatever you're bringing so that you already have dinner ready for you and your family.
  • DO Ask if they would prefer to have a meal that can be frozen and used at a later time.  Some good choices for frozen meals are : meatloaf, enchiladas, lasagna, soups, stir fry, etc... Side dishes, like mashed potatoes or frozen steamer veggies, can also be frozen.

    The best meal I received after one of my surgeries was such a simple meal but the giver typed up a little "menu" of what we were having and she brought little treats for our children.  I still remember that meal because it was evident how much she cared.

    • Don't flake out.  I had a friend who signed up for a meal and her day fell apart.  She called the new mommy and asked if Chinese take-out was okay.  She asked me if I would pick-up and deliver it after she phoned in the order and paid for it over the phone.  It wasn't the meal she planned on bringing but at least the waiting family had dinner and weren't left to fend for themselves.
    • Don't complain about the traffic, long lines at the grocery store, that you don't have dinner for your family, or your crazy, busy day.  It makes the recipient of your meal feel bad-- like they should help you instead.

    If You Are The Meal Recipient

    • DO Express gratitude not only to the people bringing your meals, but also to the organizer.  It can be quite the juggling act and a simple expression of thanks can go a long way.
    • DO Try to quickly return any "real" dishes that were brought.  Perhaps a close friend or family member can help do the returning while you are laid up.
    • DO Be considerate of your meal giver's time.  They may not be able to stay for a visit during the busy dinnertime hour. 
    • DO Be sensitive to the fact that not every meal bringer will want to 1) hold the baby, 2) see your scar, or 3) listen to a graphic description of your procedure.
    • DO Be communicative about your likes and dislikes.  People bringing a meal want to bless you and your family.  Being specific about likes and dislikes help give direction to your meal maker.
    •  DO Take advantage of email or Facebook to let your meal maker know you liked what they brought or you appreciate the effort.  I recently took a meal over to a family and it was a blessing when she asked for the recipe.  I was blessed to know they enjoyed their meal.
    • DO Secure any pets before your meal giver arrives.  
    • DO Make a clear path to your table or kitchen so your giver can navigate with full hands safely.
    One family was so sweet to their meal givers.  They had, by their door,  a little basket of candy with a sticker that said, "Thank you" on each bar so the meal givers could take a little treat for themselves or their family!

    If You Are The Meal Organizer

    • DO Stay in communication with all the folks involved.
    • DO Thank those that brought meals.

    Did I forget something?  Any other tips you can think of to include?

    Any interesting food delivery stories??

    How about simple, delicious recipes??

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    Sweet, Sunny Saturday

    It was a "perfect weather" Saturday here in the Pacific Northwest.

    I wanted to be outside the whole day.

    Elijah has some math he is finishing up so we headed out to the back deck.

    Around these parts, I am usually the one behind the camera.  But the sneaky Captain took the opportunity to capture a rare photo of me doing school stuff. 

    Yes, I am in my jammies with heeled sandals on :)

    We re-arranged a few rooms, I sewed a little, we sat outside with neighbors eating popsicles (Thank you Julie!), and then we headed off to the Portland Timbers soccer game.

    A patient gave the Captain three tickets a few weeks ago and then just this morning our neighbor Jeff gave us two more tickets.

    Our whole family was able to enjoy a great game (we won 2-0) in an outdoor stadium on the most beautiful, perfect Portland day... all for free.

    We felt so blessed to have such a treat.  The fact that they won was icing on the cake.

    On a funny side note--

    We parked and walked a few blocks to the stadium.  I kept encouraging Elijah to walk near Karl and I.

    In reference to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (which settled on the non-Promise Land side of the Jordan River), I leaned over and said to Karl,

    "Your son is straggling back there.  He's going to get picked off by the Amalekites."

    Abby was walking right behind us and she leaned forward and asked,

    "Did... did you just call me a mountain bike??!!"



    Hee hee

    I love how even the simplest things (like misunderstanding words spoken on a busy, noisy downtown street) can make us laugh and draw us closer to each other.

    Now if you'll excuse me...

    I need to kiss my mountain bike daughter goodnight.

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    2010-2011: What We're Doing

    We are now entering our fourth year in the five-year cycle with My Father's World.

    Continuing to learn history chronologically, we will be studying the time of the explorers to 1850.

    Our Bible study will focus on the Book of James this year.
    We'll be doing this inductive study:

    And our memory verses will start at James 1:1 and will be added to until we have memorized the entire book!

    We'll also be studying hymns from this:

    For our history portions we will be using these books (in addition to many books from the library):

     There is of course our whole student packet from MFW with awesome notebooking sheets and state sheets and the ever trusty teacher's manual (thank you Marie!).

     Some of our read alouds for the year are:

    In Science for the 6th and 4th grader...

    Science for the 8th (gulp) grader will be:

    Music for all (in addition personal lessons, etc...) will include composer studies of Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Chopin

    Not included with MFW but purchased separately, we will also use these books, by Opal Wheeler, from Exodus Book store:

    We will continue with Intermediate Language Lessons for Elijah and Charlotte.

    Abby will use this for further grammar study:

    She will do two more Progeny Press Guides this year-- Johnny Tremain and The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

    Spelling Power for Charlotte.

    However, we are going to see if All About Spelling is a better fit for Elijah.  His ocular motor dysfunction coupled with how he learns is leading us to try a slightly different approach.  We'll see how it goes...


    Abby is in Saxon Algebra 1

    Charlotte is already doing Singapore 5A and will do 5 B this year.

    Elijah will be in Singapore 3A and B.

    Hmmm... what else?

    Oh, I think there are more lessons in God and the History of Art.

    Besides that, I think we will have more than enough to do :)

    We are very excited for this year's study and are looking forward to studying the USA.

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    The 5th of July

    All last week I was asked, "What are you doing for the 4th of July?"

    Amidst the preparation for a national holiday, I try to remember that we don't celebrate a "date."

    There is nothing about the fourth day in the month of July that is special in and of itself.
    We, as a nation, celebrate this day as an anniversary of freedom. We celebrate independence from a monarchy, the rule of a nation by an earthly king.

    I am very grateful that I live here and am able to raise my children in these United States of America. We are far from being a perfect nation but I would not choose to live anywhere else.

    I am grateful for the people who took a giant leap of faith and traveled across the ocean to start the country I now call home.

    I am grateful for the men and women who have lost limb and life defending our freedom. I don't think lightly of the privilege to vote. I am grateful that I am given a voice in the direction this country turns.

    But there was something about remembering that it was "Independence Day" and not just the 4th of July that tugged at my heart.

    I think it is good to be free and independent from an earthly king but I think that it is only half of the answer. Being submitted to and dependent on a heavenly King is the other half.

    God's heart has always been to govern His people. You would think that we would be eager to be governed by God who describes Himself as,

    "The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth," (Exodus 34:6).

    Yet we, both as a nation and individually, have cried out like the children of Israel did in 1 Samuel 8:5-7:

    "And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.  But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us.

    And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

    And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them."

    Are we listening to God's heart as He says this?

    "They aren't rejecting you Samuel, they are rejecting Me, God Creator over heaven and earth, God giver of Life. God that faithfully loves them. They don't want me to rule over them."

    Very often I am the same way. I seek out an earthly king too.

    I place my own faulty, fleshly self on the throne of my life and ask God to step back. I declare my independence from Him and attempt to fight battles I've no business in and govern a life I've no rightful claim to.

    When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior I declared that I was giving up the rights to my life and handing my life over to the nail-scarred hands of Jesus.

    How quickly I forget. I don't want to forget though.

    Yes, I want to remember that I live in this free country. But more so, I want to remember that I am truly free.

    John 8:36 declares, "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

    Am I free to do what I want, when I want, with whom I want?"


    I am free from sin (my earthly king) and am able to be ruled by my Righteous King.

    "But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in {further} lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.

    For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:17-23

    Yes, our country has had much blood shed for it, to protect it. But not more blood than what was shed by Jesus on the cross of Calvary to free us from the bonds of sin.

    Yesterday, July 4th, we celebrated wholeheartedly the gift of living in a free, independent country.

    But let us not forget to re-commit ourselves today, the 5th of July, to being governed by a great and gracious God.

    This is an adaptation of a post which originally appeared July 3rd, 2008.

    Saturday, July 3, 2010

    2010-2011 MFW Blogroll

    It's that time of year!  If you are a blogger, blog about homeschooling, and a My Father's World user share a link to your blog.  It is both fun and useful to see how others are "doing school."

    I'm trying a new thing this year.  The blogroll will have a thumbnail picture visible so you can give us a sneak peek of your blog world.

    When signing up please...

    pretty please...

    fill out the entry like this:

    Your Name @ Your Blog Name (year(s) or curriculum you're doing)

    For example, I am Lainie@ Mishmash Maggie and this year we will do Exploration to 1850 so my entry will look like this:

    Lainie@MishmashMaggie Exp-1850

    There is a 30 character maximum so abbreviate where needed.

    Below is the code to grab a NEW 2010-2011 button for your sidebar.  Your readers can find other MFW users for this year and you can easily navigate back here from your blog.

    If you have questions please ask!

    MFW Blog Roll

    Looking for something??