Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent---A Time For Anticipation!

Advent....what is it and why do we hear this word just one time a year? The word "Advent" has Latin origins meaning "arrival". Webster defines Advent as "the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas observed.....as a season of prayer and fasting". Christians worldwide try to concentrate on the incredible miracle of the Incarnation during these weeks preceding December 25th. In the crazy, busy merry-go-round of everyday living it's easy to forget the miracle of Christmas. So, here's some practical ideas from Focus On The Family that will be a blessing to you and yours!
http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/holidays/making-meaningful-christmas-memories/celebrate-advent.aspx


One of our family's fondest Christmas memories is decorating the Christmas tree at Maricopa Community Church where not only my husband, Jim, grew up but all 9 of our children as well! The most amazing thing about the roly-poly, tumble-bumble, dusty, tired, faux tree were the Chrismons--the beautifully delicate ornaments made of craft dough, painted white and trimmed with gold detailing. Chrismon is from the Latin word for monogram. Think of Chi-Rho, the symbol for Christ formed from X and P, the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ. At the Reformed Church in America website are very simple Chrismon patterns as well as explanations of each symbol's meaning. Get out the scissors, glue, glitter, and ribbon for hanging on your tree and have fun making ornaments that will teach your precious ones the meaning of the Incarnation. https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=2420


From our family to yours, JOY! while making the most of each moment!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Your Vote Does Make A Difference!

November 2 is literally just around the corner---I'm watching You've Got Mail
as my musings find their way to hard and fast text. Our freedom to cast the vote
of our conscience is the product of the American patriots' commitment to truth.


Thomas Payne (1737-1809) said "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."


To be an informed, values voter, we must know the truth about the candidates'
positions on important policy issues. Most states in the U.S. have family policy
advocacy groups or councils ie. Center For Arizona Policy: www.azpolicy.org
Check out the voter guides posted by these pro-family organizations, find out
the truth about each candidate's position on the value of life, family, private
property ownership, health care and the role of government. 


To find out about the judges up for retention votes find a website like the Lighthouse Blog at: http://azjudgesreview.blogspot.com/  Finally, be sure to research all of the propositions that are on your state's ballot. Take notice of the groups endorsing and opposing the props--that alone will tell you if the measure is good for your family and community or not. Linda Turley-Hansen posted a very concise review of Arizona's props at: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/opinion/article_3d4b7630-d326-11df-a1b7-001cc4c03286.html


Each one of our votes added together will effect change in the way our local, state and federal officials, legislators and judges do their jobs. By God's good
grace, we are guaranteed liberty by the United States Constitution. Take a 
moment to read its Preamble during this election cycle....the privilege we 
have of speaking the truth has been paid for with the sacrifices of our founders. 
Let's pray for Godly leaders as Paul encourages us in his first letter to Timothy,
chapter 2, verses 1 & 2.


Be blessed! 













Thursday, September 16, 2010

Don't You Just Love Phoenix in the Fall?

Fall is my favorite season of the year! Once late September comes it's time to wear long sleeves and jeans and closed toe shoes, even if the temps are still between 90 and 100 degrees. It's important to use the "think system" here in the desert....if I think it's fall, it must very well be just so!


Fall means newly sharpened pencils, shiny, stiff new folders sporting colorful paisleys or bold geometrics, and of course, football! My high school cheer leading sweaters have long been retired, but not my unquenchable rah-rah, go team spirit or my excitement about the new school year. Our ASU peeps are hoping the Sundevils will rout those UA Wildcats on December 2nd in Tucson---our family has such divided loyalties that we need our own refs!




Fall 2010 brings the first day of our 24th year of homeschooling! In 1986 we initiated our homeschool with two 5 year old sons and every other year or so added another student to our roster. By God's good grace, the past decade has been one of exponential blessings as the oldest 5 have graduated not only from homeschooling, but college as well. Two more sons are pursuing their undergrad degrees and just two students remain on our homeschool roster. It's been an incredible journey on God's road of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding!


As our family immerses itself in the pursuit of knowledge at all levels, be encouraged by R. C. Sproul, Jr.'s article "Jerusalem and Athens" in which he exhorts us to pursue goodness, truth, and beauty by pursuing the One who is Goodness, Truth, and Beauty! Tabletalk Magazine is published monthly by Ligonier Ministries; this article appeared in the September 2010 issue.




The first day of fall is September 23rd. Enjoy the crisp autumn air, even if you have to imagine it! Look for the changing palettes in the tree tops, make leaf rubbings with your kiddos and cook up a pot of stew, because before we can rake up those leaves, it'll be time to cook the turkey! And, just in case you're looking for a good "fall" movie, watch You've Got Mail; the autumn scenes in New York City will warm the cockles of your heart.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Making Sense

I'm pondering the second chapter of Cynthia Heald's book, "Becoming a Woman of Excellence" as I review events that have affected two different families here in the Phoenix area this week. One family suffered near tragedy, but God's miraculous healing preserved life, while another family suffered the tragic loss of their first child just 8 weeks after birth. Both families affected are devoted believers, but God's answer to their prayers yielded different results. How can we make sense of such suffering, such miraculous healing, such different results? 

Cynthia Heald's second chapter is titled "God's Character", her theme verse is:

 "The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?"  Psalm 27:1

According to Cynthia, we must know God intimately, we must have a proper view of Him to live a life pleasing to Him.






Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Inauguration Day

Today is summer's midpoint, the perfect day to inaugurate this humble attempt to share some thinkish thoughts about faith and family. Feel free to listen in...then add your two cents...it's all about encouraging
one another!

Cynthia Heald has once again captured my attention with her book, "Becoming A Woman of Excellence". Through this study of Boaz's wife, Ruth, Cynthia's prayer is that we will be quietly and perfectly prepared to fit into Christ's Kingdom. In Ruth 3:11, Boaz refers to the young widow living in a foreign land as a "worthy woman" ESV or as a "woman of excellence" NASB. Ruth's trek to Naomi's homeland, which resulted in gleaning the leftovers in the grain fields, doesn't bring pretty pictures of excellence, but Cynthia leads us to an understanding of the Biblical view of excellence.

The Greek word for excellence--diaphero--means transport or differ while the Hebrew word for "excel" is alah--to ascend. So...in the Biblical sense, excel means to ascend, transport or carry above the norm. Even Webster concurs; excellence is defined as" the possession chiefly of good qualities in an unusual degree; surpassing virtue, merit, worth, value."

Check out some of the Biblical passages that Cynthia uses to amplify her point:

Ruth 3:11
Proverbs 12:4
Proverbs 31:10

For specifics in God's Word regarding pursuit of the highest and the best read:

I Corinthians 10:31
Philippians 1:9-10; 4:8
Matthew 22:36-39
Romans 12:2
Colossians 1:9-10
2 Timothy 2:15

My favorite kernel from Chapter One is that "excellence is not perfection, but essentially a desire to be strong in the Lord and for the Lord." Ahhh, such freedom for a first born daughter like me!

Finally, Cynthia exhorts us to hide God's Word in our hearts--her recommendation: Philippians 1:9-10:

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.

Be blessed by your reading of "Becoming A Woman of Excellence", Cynthia is looking into my window...and maybe yours, too.