Wednesday, August 31, 2011

48 hours without?

The hurricane blew in, bringing back memories of Hurricane Gloria when I was perhaps the age of my oldest son.  Mom took us outside to be sure everything was tied down.  We saw, on the rope that separated the deep end from the shallow in the in ground pool, a little mouse hanging on with all it's might.  Later that day, we made candied apples and all sat together in the kitchen- the center of our home.  Climbing on the downed tree in the back was great fun after the storm had passed.

Sunday we enjoyed our homemade french toast and while doing so, the power went out.  Truth be told, Dan and I had to think of what to do with ourselves with no power - at least initially.

Unable to run the vacuum, the laundry undone, no hot water and a dishwasher full of dishes, no way to cook the food that was perishing in our fridge and freezer, and in the chest freezer I had stocked with meals before starting school with the boys...
My grand plan had been for this week to be "cleaning week" in preparation for beginning our "school year" next week.  I used to be a planner.  I now hold more loosely to my plans, because my plans seem to rarely be His plans.  Cleaning week has been cut short.

Instead, 48 hours passed without power.  The kids unable to attend to most of their chores, we did some errands, we cleaned and organized the boys rooms - closets and all.  We talked, we read, we imagined what life was like before electricity.  How did those who lived before do their laundry?  How did they see at night?  How did they wash their dishes?  I am sure they were far more efficient than I, their having the knowledge and tools to get along without gadgets and machines.

Evenings brought earlier bedtimes, Dan and I reading for hours by candlelight.  We all missed the iPod - the sounds that permeate through our home as everyone sings along daily.  In it's place, the children- all three- continued to sing.  Noah asking for "lights on" to read his books as it got dark, just thought we were not cooperating with him.  The weather perfect for sleeping we didn't miss the air conditioner.  The sky so dark we could see the stars.  The house so quiet, so peaceful.

We lost nearly all of what was in our fridge and small freezer.  What was at the bottom of the chest freezer was saved, but needed to be used because it had begun to thaw.  We brought dinner to friends, and yesterday was spent making batches of meatballs and browning hamburg. The crockpot filled to the brim with chicken.  We now have many meals prepared and returned to the freezer.  The fridge and freezers thawed and fully cleaned out.  I did say I wanted this to be "cleaning week", it's just not what I had in mind!

"Cleaning week" has begun!  Instead of commencing with chaos and craziness, it began with yes, a bit of frustration, but much peace and calm.  So quiet.  Tasks I had not planned on getting to were done anyway out of necessity.  We had 48 hours filled with time to read, to converse, to begin to pick up sticks and enjoy the fresh air, the smell of pine surrounds our home.  Errands were done that would otherwise have not been.

In one sense, it was 48 hours without.  In another it was 48 hours with.  48 hours we spent as a family.  Forty eight hours with nowhere to be, little work that could be accomplished.  Forty eight hours with no phone, no computer, no television, no distractions.  Forty eight hours with no laundry to fold, no cooking to be done, no vacuuming to do.  Instead, 48 hours of peace, quiet, calm, candle light, sweet children's voices and much laughter.  Forty eight hours to give thanks, for there was much to give thanks for.

 "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”  As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil."  James 4:13-16

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Praise Him in the Storm

A friend called yesterday.  "Did you know a hurricane's coming?" I asked.  The only response was laughter.  My husband chimes in from across the room, "where have you been?!"

Under a rock, apparently.
{I gathered my news from Facebook I think,
as sad as that may be}
The friend on the other end of the line adds, "Have you not turned on your TV?  It's the only thing on!"

With an impending storm, I sent the older children outside today to be certain all their toys and lawn chairs, etc. were put into the shed.  Dark clouds looming overhead, the threat of rain, sensed by even the animals who seemed eerily quiet.

The boys came in for lunch, having done more playing than cleaning up.  After our meal, they went back outside to tend to the task they'd neglected, or perhaps procrastinated from, the first time.

I was in the kitchen, the 1960's retro kitchen, baking cookies.  Watching the boys from the kitchen window - what a blessing that window is, with the perfect view of the backyard!  Someone knew what they were doing when they built this house.  I can picture a 1960's mom, sporting an apron, watching children from this same window perhaps two generations ago...

The sky opened.  Rain poured down as it hasn't in months, perhaps years, at least not that we remember.  I ran outside to help, hurrying to get everything in.  The boys dawdling, rather enjoying their romp in the rain.  Little Noah had followed behind me, happily splashing about in the puddles that had already accumulated in the bare spots of our patchy lawn.

Everyone made it back in the house, little boys muddy and happy were ushered quickly up to the shower.  Curious, we turned on the TV.  As little guys emerged from the shower, they were drawn to the bright screen like bugs to a bug light.  They parked themselves in front of it, eagerly listening to one weather report after another.

It didn't take long and the anxiety and chaos set in, then it seemed to take over the house.  I was finishing up the cookies in the kitchen while getting the play-by-play of the weather.  "Someone died from the storm", they said.  Next, images of people being swept off jetty's into the ocean were pictured.  Even little boys had sense enough to know that was unintelligent, to be on a jetty in a hurricane.  They informed me of the storm's track, it's timing, projected wind speeds and precipitation amounts.  They were sucked into the drama.

That 20 minutes would be enough.  TV off!

The quiet of the house returned.  Little ones returned to their chores, hovering first for a taste of freshly baked chocolate chip cookie.  Dan continued the painting of our bedroom furniture - an ongoing summer project- it looks gorgeous!  Noah pushed Chuck (his favorite dump truck) across the kitchen floor.

Does it matter?  The storm is coming, need we know more?  If we've done what can be done to secure the things that could be taken by the wind and cause damage, is not the rest in the hands of God?  Does it matter the exact track the storm takes?  Will we know, or care, when all is said and done that we got 8 inches of rain instead of 4"?  Sure, for those who live at the shore, there may be extra precautions that would vary depending on projected storm details, but for us - is it worth the chaos?  Worth the noise and the interruption?

The TV is off, the storm is imminent.  As it creeps in, we will marvel together at the power of God.  The God who can move the mountains, part the seas, and save us from ourselves.  We will praise Him, He whom the winds and the seas obey.

And since church is cancelled, we will sleep in, enjoy homemade baked french toast for breakfast, and enjoy the sabbath together - a rare treat for a ministry family!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Read to Feed

The annual library summer reading program- this year with an added twist.  The prizes weren't spectacular - little buttons, computer printed coloring sheets, and silly bands.  Not quite the prizes I remember from my childhood days participating in the same state-wide library program.  I recall mini golf and ice cream certificates, new books and such.

Instead, the boys were given plastic coins, $.25 per book read, that they could place into a container of their choosing to signify their vote for which area of the world they wanted the library to donate money to.  The most filled container in the end was the winner.  The library's goal was to have the children in town read 1000 books, and they would in turn donate $.25 per book read to Heifer International.

Early on, Isaiah, Elijah and Noah looked over their options and the places in the world they could choose to help.  They agreed to always vote for Honduras and they set a goal to read 500 books between them.

As the last days of the program drew to a close, we began to see some glum faces.  The older boys knew they would not reach their lofty goal.  They finished up their books, filled in the last of their sheets, and returned them to the library.  Last night was the closing program.  The older boys won awards and their picture in the newspaper for having read far above and beyond that of any of the other children in town- 221 books between them in about 5 weeks, about one third of all the books read total.  Honduras won by a landslide.

I recall thinking as a child that the kids who always won had to have cheated.  That they had to have read books too easy for them.  Sure they read some simple books, but Isaiah also read The Chronicles of Narnia this summer.  He's only 8.  They also did not include in their lists all of the Bible reading that was done over the course of those five weeks.

We got home and as they were getting ready for bed, they were most pleased with Honduras having won.  They were fine about their having won - but they were most pleased with having earned over $50 for fish and chicks for the families in need in Honduras.

Heifer International has a Read to Feed program that schools or individuals can sign up to participate in.  Children find sponsors to donate a designated amount for each book read over the course of whatever time frame you set.  What a great way to motivate kids to read - and to give to those in need at the same time.  The program also provides an education in teaching children how their efforts will help those who are on the receiving end.  Heifer provides not food to those in need, but animals and training, allowing the recipients to be freed from hunger and poverty.  The gift is then passed on to other families as some of the animals offspring are gifted to others.

*Click HERE to link to Heifer International's Read to Feed Program website.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Your Brother. Your Neighbor. Your friend.

So how do you respond as a homeschool mom when your child begins to show concern for his younger brother's academic advancements?  When the older child worries because his siblings do some of the same curriculum?  I hear this often - older children concerned that their younger siblings may surpass them in particular areas, or feel that it's not fair for younger siblings to do the same work. Our oldest has begun to express similar sentiments.  Perhaps in your family the issue expressed by your oldest children is not in regard to academics, but in another area.

Sibling Rivalry, they call it.  "It's normal", they say.  "There's nothing you can do about it".

Isaiah and I discussed, and as we delved further into discussion, I found that our conversation turned quickly as we encroached upon the heart of the matter.

The heart being the heart of the matter.

Pride creeps in.  Selfishness takes root.  He begins to believe the lie that he must be better because he's older.  It's normal only because we are sinful beings.  Sibling rivalry may be normal, but it's also ugly.

Both of these boys are tremendously gifted.  One is cautious, calm, even-keeled.  One is charismatic, outspoken, and crashes hard at the end of each day.  For years we have watched this relationship develop between our oldest two sons.  They are each others best friend.  They have an understanding of each other and an ability to feed off of each others gifts that is just uncanny.  They communicate often without words, as they know each other so well that words aren't always needed.

Elijah is fast out of the gate, smiley, assertive, center of attention.  As he grows weary, Isaiah fills in the gap.  Just as assertive and pleasant he has the consistency but lacks the charisma.  They both lead but take turns leading.  One more comfortable in large crowds, the other prefers the smaller.

So, our discussion turned from his explanation of the matter, and the expression of his concerns to an explanation of the heart of the matter.  Along with the realization of the state of his heart came a sudden change of heart.

We talked about the function of our family.  We talked about how our family is a part of the body of Christ.  The body being one body, but many parts - Christ the head, each of us an arm, a leg, a thumb.  We giggled as he concluded that little Noah was a toe.  He was catching on.  He added that his father and I are the legs.  One without the other doesn't work as well.  He and Elijah an arm and a hand.  The hand doesn't work without the arm and the arm can't do much without the hand.  By now he was grinning from ear to ear.

Our conversation continued as we discussed that God is the gift giver.  We talked about how his gifts could be used to serve his brothers.  How his brother's gifts could be used to serve him.

He volunteered how much better it would be if he and his brothers encouraged each other and spurred each other on.  He volunteered that it would be so cool if Elijah could read what he read and do the math that he does - how much fun the schooling time would be, like how fun it is that they can ride bikes together and play football.  He recalled how it was he that taught Elijah those things too.  How Elijah wants to do what Isaiah does because he wants to be like Isaiah.  He began to see Elijah's efforts to do what he does as a compliment.

What "they" say matters not.  Sibling rivalry will not be the accepted norm in our home.  When biblical principles of trust, forgiveness and love are acted upon in a home, sibling rivalry cannot be accepted as normal.  There is no place for such disrespect amongst the commands of Christ that we strive daily to live out.

If love is patient, kind, does not envy, boast or be proud.  If love does not dishonor, is not self-seeking... if it always protects... there is no place for anything other.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Is not your brother your neighbor?  Is there no greater commandment?!

The normal, the expected behavior of siblings is to rival.  To fight and bicker.  This is not what God expects of our children, and therefore it's not what we expect as parents.  How much more pleasant the home, the atmosphere, where children treat one another with love and with kindness.  Where they offer encouragement to one another and lift each other up.  Where they begin to display fruit of their own in their actions and words toward those God has placed in their lives, to live with them, to be their closest neighbors.

My discussion with Isaiah ended sweetly, with a reminder that God CHOSE Isaiah to be our first child, the older brother of Elijah and Noah.  God CHOSE, for now at least, for Elijah to the the middle child and Noah the baby.  God has given them each what is needed to fulfill the roles he gave them, to make their part of our larger body function as we follow the head, that is Christ.

Since Isaiah is the oldest, he has the added responsibility of helping train his younger siblings.  Elijah excels academically, in large part, because of the time and effort Isaiah has invested in teaching and encouraging him.  Isaiah is no less bright!  Reassurance of his position in our family, of his position before God, and a review of our and God's expectations seemed to bring a sigh of relief to a little boy.
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you:  Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." Romans 12:3   

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Refiner's Fire

Pictures just can't do it justice.  This most beautiful form of fine art.  Glass blown, shaped and colored into the most exquisite sculptures.  

Light.  Color.  Reflection.  Shadows.  Angles.  Individual pieces selectively placed to create one larger creation.

 All components marry to display such grand beauty.  Our recent trip to the museum was most specifically to see this most special Chihuly exhibit.  Though we, especially artist husband, wondered what all the hubbub was about, we knew very little about what we would see.  Dale Chihuly, an unfamiliar artist - blind in one eye.  All we knew of him was that he'd been compared to Louis Comfort Tiffany... and a family day spent at the museum is always fun.

We were pleasantly surprised as we caught first glimpses of sparkling glass, casting enormous shadows about the wall and ceiling.  Throughout the exhibit we learned a bit about the process of creating such masterful works of art.  One particular quote stuck out, hanging in a fairly inconspicuous place on the wall of the room filled with baskets made of glass.  It read:

Immediately God, the Refiner, seemed to speak loud and clear.

Some days it sure feels like we've been dragged into the furnace, because I'm not sure we entered willingly.  The growth we've experienced has come with great pain.  The stretching, the molding, the heat that has at times seemed to choke the breath out of us.  The trials we walk through, the injustice that seems to envelop us, the process that causes us to see hopefully less of us and more of Him.
You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, “How have we wearied him?” By saying, “Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them.” Or by asking, “Where is the God of justice?”

  “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts.  But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.  He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the Lord Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.
  “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages,the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me" says the Lord of hosts.  
"For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed." 
Malachi 2:17-3:6

Though it has has, at times, felt scorchingly hot, we have not been destroyed.  The Refiner's fire is one that refines, that purifies.  It does not destroy.  The path to purity is painful, yet it's the pure in heart that are blessed, for they shall see God.  

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  James 1:2-4

"Both things are true: The Lord is like a refiner's fire; and a refiner's fire is a fire." - John Piper

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday Morning... and a Healthy Dose of Laughter

Oh the Sunday morning rush...

Everyone's up and out of bed.  The boys begin a slightly shortened version of their 'task packs' {Part of our chore system- to be explained in a later post}.  Chores are tended to, breakfast is had together - everyone except Dan- as he'd left early to fulfill church responsiblities.  Everyone gets dressed and ready.  All work together to gather everything that is needed ... you know... the essentials.
The pack of raisins for Noah in church, the sippy cup of milk, and Mimi.

The older boys clean the kitchen and dining room after breakfast while I shower.  They tend Noah, wipe his hands and face and get him dressed.  As 9:30 nears, everyone heads downstairs to put on shoes.  Everyone knows what shoes to wear in church, or so I thought.  The boys help Noah buckle into his car seat, they get themselves in.  We are ready and had a fairly enjoyable morning.  We ride to church listening to a new favorite song,
Manifesto by The City Harmonic.
We arrive in the church parking lot.  We're a few minutes early for church so the boys request that we hear it just one more time.  We rewind the song to 3:00 minutes, where our favorite part begins - the Lord's Prayer put to a catchy tune.  We all sing along, kids drumming on the seat backs, everyone smiling, and hearts preparing for worship.

We hop out of the mini van and begin to walk across the lot - me giving the normal speech.  "Noah, you will be a good boy in church.  You will sit quiet with Mama.", to which Noah replies "Yes, Mama".  I continue, "Isaiah and Eli you will sit like gentlemen and participate in worship.  I expect you to follow along in your bulletin, reading prayers where appropriate, responding for responsive readings and I would like, as would God, to hear your beautiful voices praising him!"  They respond in unison, "Yes, Ma'am".

No sooner do I finish the verbal routine when I notice Elijah's feet.  He had, for some unknown reason, decided to wear tall socks with his winter church shoes.  Shoes and socks intended for wear with long pants.  He has adorable brown sandals for summer wear with his nice shorts, but today... well... I'm not sure what happened today...

I ask where his sandals are.  They're at home of course.  I conclude quickly that there's nothing to be done now.  My face expressed clear displeasure at his choice of footwear, and I make a mental note to be more mindful of his feet before leaving for church on Sunday mornings.

We are steps from the front door and I realize that by now his head is hung low and he's beginning to cry.  He's embarrassed.  I'm feeling badly for making him so, and here we are about to enter the sanctuary.  Isaiah, quick to come to all our rescue, blurts out with a huge grin- the one he gets when he knows he's about to say something witty,

"It's OK Elijah!  We have a silly book at home that says Jesus even heals a man born with no fashion sense!"  
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."  Proverbs 17:22

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Let the Little Children...

We took a trip to the big city, my four boys and I.  We had been given tickets to one of my husband's very favorite places- the Museum of Fine Arts.  During our stay, we came across this piece, The Head of Christ sculpted in 1867 by French sculptor Jean-Baptiste (Auguste) Clesenger.

Dan was leading the way, the older boys following close behind.  Dan, trying to share his love of art with his older sons, to teach them art history and appreciation.  Trying to let them observe for themselves and find that which is of their own liking.

Little Noah, nearly always the caboose was following not too far behind.  Me behind him to be sure he kept his little hands to himself.  Suddenly, he stops.  He turns.  He looks up.  He stares.

I stop, wondering what he's doing and at first try to move him along.  He had seemingly entered his own world, oblivious to my promptings.  Then I realize what he sees from his vantage point.  Where he typically sees knees and the bottom of the frames hung on the wall, this was different.

I leaned down and said, "Do you know who that is?"  He said questioningly, "Man?".  I answered, "Yes.  It's a man.  It's Jesus".  Then I backed away a few steps, hoping to capture a photo of this sweet moment.
He then, eyes still fixed on this head of Christ, sat down crossing his legs indian-style.  He scooted his little butt forward to look directly into the carved face, and said
"Hi Jesus..."

I was too busy trying to get Dan's attention- and by then, he had noticed that Dan and his brothers had come to see and were standing nearly over him.  He smiled and quickly stood up.

Oh to know just what was going through his mind.  What was he thinking as he sat at the 'feet' of this bust of Jesus.  Unprompted and uninstructed, seemingly instinctive.  Eyes fixed, glued, to the closed eyes of this bronze sculpture.

What must he have thought, this two year old in an art museum on a rainy summer day?  Crowds of people, tired as he was without his nap, brothers busily moving about admiring lions, swords, and other such exciting things.  For this little boy to put a face to the name he hears spoken of daily, what must he have thought?

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  Matthew 19:14

I believe children have a greater understanding than we give them credit for.  If Jesus stated that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as the children who come to him, then why do we hinder them so?

Dear Lord Jesus,

May we gently lead our children to your feet, and teach them your scriptures so they may be guided by your light as they seek your face.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where the Practical Meets the Fanciful

When beginning this blogging adventure, researching and dreaming of what direction God may lead, listening to the encouragement of good friends, and Mom...


Knowing I am not a writer, english classes never were my thing.  With only three years of college under my belt - four really- and no degree to show for it {that's a story for another day}, I wondered -and still do- about how God may use me.  With millions of blogs on the web, maybe more, what can I offer?  Why does this seem to be God's leading for a girl who always hated, always failed, English?

Those questions have yet to be answered, but Dan's words of wisdom stand out in my mind.

"Your job, your goal, is to find where the 
practical meets the fanciful..."

He does this well and I have learned, am still learning.
What is it that can make the ordinary beautiful?

The everyday worthy of a second glance or a photograph?

What is it that I love about the holes in the knees of my
boys' jeans?

The weeds that flower?

Why is the old, the rustic and the antique sometimes more lovely than
the new, the shiny and the modern?

Why does wisdom often come with age
- not always- but often?

Where do practical and fanciful meet?

Me, the practical.  Dan, the fanciful.

Polar opposites, practical and fanciful, yet the intersection is often beautiful.

Fanciful without practicality is imagination.
Ornamental.  Unrealistic.
Practical without fanciful is dull.
Unimaginative.  Boring.

Practical intertwined with the fanciful must lead to the realization of the dream.


Perhaps the Jews in Old Testament times felt much the same.  The words of the prophets yet to be fulfilled.  The waiting for the realization, the fulfillment, of Old Testament prophecy.

With Jesus, the two intersect - practical and fanciful.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Homemade Slip n' Slide

It was really their father's great idea.  The regular Slip n' Slide just wasn't long enough - so they tell me.  The boys, who all seem to think bigger is better, took a trip to the local hardware store.  They soon returned, having purchased a large roll of thick plastic sheeting. 

They came home, unrolled it and hooked up the sprinkler near the top.  They requested some soap, lathered themselves up, and got a running head start.  They launch onto the plastic, head first ... some more gracefully than others.  Elijah, closest to the ground, takes off like a seal, arms by his side, head erect.  Isaiah seems a bit Bambi-like at first, and Dan happily joined them, mumbling something afterwards about a beached whale...

This was last year.  

This year, the fun was irresistible- so they tell me.  The fun had to be repeated, hose rigged to a lawn chair to provide continuous spray to the plastic.

So long as it's not left too long at one time on the lawn, it has provided hours of entertainment.  Even Noah joined in the fun this year, but since he has yet to adopt the 'bigger is better' mentality he mostly stuck to the kiddie pool with a perfect vantage point for observation.   

Simple ideas, hours of fun, mud puddles... lasting memories... 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Morning Devotions and Children's Bibles

Admittedly, my children are better about their regular daily devotions than I am, particularly in the summer months.  Each of the older boys spends 15 minutes each morning in scripture and prayer.  They say they notice a difference in their days when they have skipped this time.  How great it is for them to see the impact the time communing with God each morning has on their lives already!

The general expectation is that each morning, everyone who can read is to read from their Bible.

Anyone at the beginning reading stage - of which we have noone just now- is allowed to read from any Bible storybook they find on the shelf until they reach a point to be able to read well from the actual scriptures. Any little one not yet able to read a "real" Bible on their own, is allowed to ask an older brother to read aloud his devotions if he chooses - providing the little one sits quietly.   From about 3 years and up, until they are able to read at all on their own, they are allowed the use of the Ipod to listen to the Bible in spoken form.

I am often asked about what Bible to choose for children.  There are so many options!  After much research, we have narrowed down our favorites.  The best storybook Bible we have found by far is Egermeier's Bible Story Book by Elsie Egermeier.

Egermeier's Bible Story Book

The best first Bible for children is the Discoverer's Bible for Early Readers.

 NIrV Discoverer's Bible for Early Readers, Revised Edition

This Bible is different than the others in that it is written in large print.  It seems a little known fact that children's eyes are not fully developed for reading - teaming, tracking, focusing- until later in childhood.  We have found that with early readers, they appreciate the larger print.  There is also not too much in the way of pictures and side notes to distract from the actual text in this particular Bible.

Another that we have enjoyed with our boys - mostly for the illustrations- is The Children's Illustrated Bible.

The Children's Illustrated Bible

This year, we are going to begin working through a Bible in a Year plan.  I am confident that the children have become devoted enough to their morning reading that such a plan will be successful, though it may take more than one year to complete.  By having all family members on the same page, it further prompts natural fellowship throughout each day, and starts each day on the right foot.  It provides an automatic topic of good conversation at the dinner table, and a starting point for evening family worship, if not a 'fill in' for when Isaiah or I lead our evening time in Dan's absence.


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