Friday, June 24, 2011

Plugged IN

Today was a rainy day where we live. I should say, it was another rainy day! It was also the premier day of Cars 2. Movie going is not something we do often, but every now and then there is a movie that seems worth seeing.

Cars 2 was apparently a very exciting flick for three little guys... and one big guy too! They all were so excited I was compelled to tag along ;) It was great fun. An adventure for the boys being at the big theatre in a crowd of children, many of whom were on their first day of summer vacation. We got there early, got in line and got great seats. Even little Noah was smiling ear to ear saying "Cars 2" over and over. It was a special day.

The reason we don't typically view many movies is two-fold. First of all, and most simply, it's a costly affair and discounts and coupons are difficult, if not impossible to come by.

Secondly, most of what Hollywood produces is garbage and not worth the time or money. A number of years ago Dan came across a website of Focus on the Family called PluggedIN online. They do all sorts of reviews - everything from music to movies to video games. We have found it to be a most useful tool, and quite trustworthy.

Their review of Cars 2 is quite accurate, and we were glad to know the positives and negatives of the moview ahead of time. I also checked in there to see what was written about the new movie, Mr. Popper's Penguins. I was hopeful that it would be a great family film, since it was based on a great children's book that the boys enjoy. Sadly, I found that rather than a cute kid's film, it tries hard to cater to the adult crowd and as a result is not something we will allow our children to see. There simply is no need to send mixed signals. When so much time and effort goes in to teaching them what's right and God honoring, it's counter productive to take them to movies that don't encourage the same.

So, we've had our movie adventure for the summer, and now will put the idea on the shelf for what will likely be another long while, and move on to more educational and worthwhile excursions.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Olive Tree Facts

After the last post about The Olive Tree, I thought it may be helpful to include some of the more interesting facts we learned about olive trees. Really pondering these facts it's quite amazing the understanding that can be gained when referring back to the mentions of the olive tree in scripture.

Olive trees can live 1000 years or more.

The olive tree is a historical symbol of peace.

They are able to survive drought and dry periods due to their wide spreading roots, though they do best when irrigated and fertilized.

The root system is capable of regenerating a tree even if the above ground portion is destroyed.

Olive trees are fire resistant.

They are little bothered by pests or disease.  One of the few pests that can damage them are the olive fly, which lays eggs in young fruit and can damage a whole crop.

They are evergreens.

Olive trees need pruning. Pruning both regulates production and shapes the tree for easier harvest. They can withstand radical pruning.

Pondering this sampling of facts, I am even more convinced that we have chosen the most appropriate name for this blog, a journal of sorts, of our journey; our journey that involves drought and disease, fire, pests, growth, pruning, and peace.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Olive Tree

The olive tree was the inspiration for this blog. The image began as I was talking with my older children about what name to put to this idea that has churned in my brain for some time.

We talked about what would encompass all the topics I wanted to write about. We were able to pare down the topics. Faith and family were at the core.

The children and I began to speak about how I could refer to them, as they are a big part of our lives. They giggled about being called sprouts or sprigs. Our six year old son preferred twigs. After a day of giggling and praying over what name God would have us use, we were led to Psalm 128, and our silly terms morphed into olive shoots. After reading through Psalm 128 and studying the horticulture of the olive tree, the boys were quite content to be the olive shoots. (It's not as cute as sprouts perpaps, but certainly more meaningful).

We spent time learning about how the olive tree is supported by strong, solid roots and a thick, sturdy trunk. The branches, if attached to the trunk, grow and bear abundant olive fruit, and at the base of the tree olive shoots appear which eventually grow large and thick
and bear fruit themselves in time. The tree then becomes also a symbol of multi-generational family as year after year (or generation after generation), the tree grows larger and bears both more fruit and more shoots. As the tree matures and more shoots develop into branches, the fruit of the tree becomes more and more abundant, the trunk becomes thicker and stronger.

The boys recalled through our study that this reminded them of one of their memory verses for the year, John 15:5 where Jesus says, "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing".

Upon further study, we found how Hebrews 11:17-18 provided even more depth. It says, "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree,do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you".

And there you have it! The image of the Olive Tree sums up beautifully what we're after. The purpose of our intentionality, our training and our growth. These words, found in our subtitle, are used to describe not only family and the training of children, but also the horticulture of the olive tree. Mostly,they describe well our purpose -- to glorify the Lord, the root, the one who sustains us and to bear abundant fruit in His name.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Living Intentionally

This blog begins with a post titled Living Intentionally, intentionally.  To live as a Christian in an anti-Christian world requires constant decision making.  Everything from the daily grind to life's greater complexities requires us to deny the flesh and choose to live righteously.  Going with the crowd doesn't get us anywhere because more often than not the crowd is travelling in the wrong direction.  Sitting still is also ineffective as there is no direction.  To make the most of each day, of each hour, of each trial, of each joy, is to live with intention.  
One of the things I enjoy and find myself doing often is reading, studying and learning about anything that can aid me in making my daily life more intentional.  Sometimes that means simple things like finding new recipes that are quick and simple.  Sometimes it means finding a good quality family devotional, a good book worthy of a review, or good quality homeschool material.  Other times it may mean processing a passage of scripture.  This blog will likely take time to shape, but will be a conglomeration of things I find helpful, both as a way for me to record and remember what I have found to be worthwhile and as a way to share them with others.  

So... as you read, please use that which is helpful to you, and join me in striving to live a life of intention that is pleasing to the Lord.


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