The Land of Boys

Learning to live in a house full of testosterone

Archive for the category “homeschool”

Without Math We Are Cave Men Eating Mud

That is a statement made by a math teacher on the TV show Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. It is also something that I have to remind my kids of, frequently. Nathaniel really enjoys doing Science. He could read about Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton all day. Benjamin loves to read literature. He reads his own books and sometimes reads Samuel’s. Occasionally I have caught him reading some of Nathaniel’s books. Samuel loves to read history. The gorier the better in his mind. But then math time comes along and they are all asking ,”Can’t I do _______ first?” They sometimes ask how they are going to need math if they are not going to be math teachers. I have started trying to point out ways to them  that math is necessary and useful. Perhaps these reasons for math can be helpful to others, as well.

Scientist. I am always telling Nathaniel that if he wants to be a scientist, he is going to have to learn math and  learn more than the average person. As he gets older he is beginning to see that to progress in his scientific studies (and actually understand what he is reading) he has to know his math. It is not enough to know a particular formula, you need to understand what the formula is saying and how to solve it.

Chef. Sometimes Benjamin says he wants to be a chef. That is great. How he thinks he can get away with being a chef and not knowing how to do math is beyond me. Converting recipes from the metric system is not easy if you do not know what the metric system is . Doubling or tripling a recipe is going to take much less time than mixing one batch right after another. If you do not understand basic math how do you know how much food to prepare in proportion to the number of people you are serving? (These are actually things that apply not only to pros, but home-cooks as well)

Cashier This is something we see on a pretty regular basis. Cashier punches a wrong button on the register and then goes berserk trying to figure out how much customer actually owes. Sometimes the mistake is made after the total is figured up and the customer is paying. Then the cashier panics not knowing how much change the customer is supposed to receive. Some businesses are very strict on their cashiers. A drawer that comes up not matching the total sales can result in probation or even job loss.

Deli clerk People who get meat from a deli often ask for a specific amount. As a matter of fact I asked for 6 ounces of Canadian Bacon once at the Publix Deli.  Their scale measures in hundredths of a pound. I learned this that day. The lady behind the counter looked at me strange when I asked. She sliced one very small piece and placed it on the scale. “Are you sure you only want 6 ounces? Look, this is .06 by itself.”  Six ounces is a little under half a pound so I just asked for a half-pound. (It is .375, in case you are wondering) So now I ask for easy amounts for them to slice.

Seamstress If you are planning to make your own clothes, you need to know how much fabric and accessories are needed. Along the same lines would be making quilts. Quilt making requires careful planning. You need to know how much of each type of fabric is needed for your quilt pattern. The size of the quilt also affects the required amount of fabric.

Order Receiver Say your job is to be sure that orders are received for your place of business. Say they are big orders. It would be easier and take less time to say “Eight rows of boxes each stacked  four high. 32,”  rather than counting out 32 individual boxes.

There are many other ways we could talk about using math in our everyday lives such as balancing our checkbooks, planning a budget, etc.. but for brevity’s sake I’ll think this will have to suffice. I think it is safe to say that math is all around us. We need it to live our lives as productive citizens.


On Dreams, Denim Skirts, and Fitting In

I had a strange dream a few nights ago.  I dreamed that Mark had been somewhere and when he got home he told me he had a surprise for me. He very excitedly reached into a bag and pulled out… a denim skirt. With a HUGE grin on his face he proclaimed, “So you can fit in with all the other homeschool moms!”

       ******** DISCLAIMER: In case you are not  familiar, someone, somewhere, decided that homeschooling and denim skirts go hand in hand. It’s almost like it is a uniform of sorts. Personally, I feel if we were to have a uniform it would need to consist of a T-shirt that I have. It is red with a big white outline of a stop sign on the front that says “Please STOP talking” But I don’t make the rules. ************

Even in my dream I remember looking at him and thinking, “Excuse me? Has fitting in EVER been high on my priority list?” I woke up right after that. It made me start thinking about some of the things throughout my life that go against the flow. I can remember in elementary school missing two words on spelling tests. They were on different tests, but both in first grade. Color and airplane were the words. I spelled them: colour and aeroplane. Some of my favorite childhood books, such as Paddington and Winnie the Pooh, were British. Personally I think I should have gotten bonus points for being able to spell them in a different language (English, as opposed to American, ha-ha) but alas, I do not make the rules. Once in high school a friend asked me what I watched the night before on TV. It was not the day after The Wonder Years or Quantum Leap so I said I didn’t watch TV the night before, which is what I normally answered when she asked.  She said, “Gah! You never watch anything! You are so weird!” Same girl asked me another time who was my favorite singer. I said Michael Crawford. She said she had never heard of him. She then asked me if he was related to Cindy. I asked  her Cindy who. Friend looked at me as if I had worms crawling out of my head. (Keep in mind I was a teen in the ’90s. Cindy Crawford was only the biggest supermodel the world had ever seen.) My senior year, another friend and I started bringing our lunches in plastic cartoon character lunchboxes. People made fun of us. Still, she kept bring Herself the Elf and I kept bring Beauty and the Beast. You know what happened? Other people eventually started bringing kiddie lunchboxes, too. Not the whole school, mind you, but some people.

I think my whole life God has shaped me into a non-conformist. As Christians, we are not supposed to follow along with the world. We are to be different. (Romans 12: 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.) Going along with the world and worldly things is not our calling. Sometimes what may be popular could also be the very things that God wants us to avoid. Look at the world of entertainment. Some of the most popular video games, songs, books, movies, TV shows, magazines, videos, etc, are very ungodly. They glorify things such as fornication, demon activity, sorcery, witchcraft, drug usage, foul language, cross dressing and so forth. Add disobedience to parents and you have the plot to most of what is considered “Young adult” or “Teen” entertainment. When we are entertaining ourselves with things that we know are are ungodly we are like the people in Romans 1:32Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Wow. That is some strong language to think about. There are songs I used to like. But after listening to them through a filter of being God-approved, I can not seem to enjoy them anymore, such as the Pina Colada Song.  The tune may be catchy, but the lyrics are about two married people who are tired of each other. They each decide to meet someone through an ad in the paper.  In the end, they wind up meeting their new lovers in a bar, only to discover each other. Granted, compared to a lot of music, that may be very tame. It is still not something that I would grow closer to God by listening to, so it is out of my song world.

Another way we are to be different is in how we talk. Ephesians 5:4Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. We need to watch what we say. Our words have immense power.  This verse is not something we should only practice in church, although more and more churches need to be reminded of it. We should remember not to have filthiness, foolishness, or crude joking in our mouths at any time. This includes the internet. I am shocked by some of the things that people will put as a facebook status. I have a friend on there who is an atheist. He is not the one who puts things that make me wish I had bleach for my brain. As a matter of fact, I recently “unfriended” a popular preacher because he has been putting some  comments that were just a little too far “out there”  to be in good taste. Christian friends, we need to watch what we say. You never know who might  be looking, but we do know who IS  looking. God. Psalm 139 7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,10even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.

I could go on about other ways we might lower our standards to fit in. But in the end, do we really want just fit in? Do we really want to be like other people? I don’t. I want to be special. I want to be the me that God made me to be. I do not want to concern myself with worldly preoccupations. The kinds of things I want to be thinking about are listed in Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Let me leave you with what could be an anthem for all of us non-conformists.

All In a Day’s Work :)

If you homeschool, what would people see if they came to your house in the middle of the day? Would they see you knee-deep in scientific experiments? Maybe they would see deep theological discussions. Perhaps they might be met with incredible works of art in  process. Here’s what they would have seen today at my house:

Little brother playing with paper dolls….


Middle brother drawing…..


One cat wanting out…..


Another wanting in…..



One brother actually reading…..



And the principal taking a nap!!



Our Hymn of the Week


Wow, what a song. The first time I heard this was at Crawford Baptist Church in Mobile. This is not in any way a knock to the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, but Crawford Baptist is actually as good as this performance. This is one of the most amazing songs I have ever heard. Hope you enjoy!

Benjamin’s Report

Benjamin turned in his first rough draft of the year. Let me just say, boy was it EVER rough.

This is a report on Benedictine Monks. Benedictine Monks wrote by hand! They were so good at that, that you could barely their handwriting apart! And, they were not allowed to talk. And the weirdest thing of all, they could not go outside of the monistary.

Hmm… where to begin? The odd use of italics for no apparent reason? Leaving out words?  Misspelling? Awkwardly strung together sentences???? So, I replied with this:

Your sentences do not flow smoothly. This report is very choppy! And, you need to check your spelling. And, most important of all, never start a sentence with and.

(okay, maybe that is not the MOST important thing. It just seemed funny at the time) So then I went through with the dreaded red pen and marked what need correcting. I love my crazy kiddos!

**** On a totally unrelated note, yesterday I was feeling bad so Mark stepped in to teach. Like any good class, they took advantage of their kind substitute teacher’s lack of knowing what gets done. They conveniently “forgot” to tell him that after the devotion that goes with the catechism lesson  they are supposed to write the question and answer.  Little sneaks!!!

The First Week and A Surprise For Mom

We made it through our first week of the 2010/2011 school year. One down, thirty-five to go!! Things are going marvelously well, for now. Samuel wore real clothes the first day, not a costume. I was thinking there might be hope he would grow up not to be a costume-wearing geek at some comic book convention in the future.  Uhm, actually, he informed me his knight costume was dirty and needed to be washed.  So it got washed. And he wore it.

We have really had a lot of fun this week. This week is a bit of a review of the fall of Rome, which we learned about last year. We also reviewed all the geography terms that we learned about. One way that we studied them was to play a matching game with the cards I printed from here.

The boys also used those term to create maps of imaginary places. The places could be any way they wanted, as long as they had features like mountains, islands, plateaus, etc.

Benjamin created what he called “Whale Island”. It has the world’s largest gold mine and a gigantic chasm called “the big smelly crack” . He makes his mother so proud.

The finished maps

For math this week we played a game that I printed off here called Storm the Castle. It was loads of fun!!

The boys each had a paper knight that they had to get across a field and over a moat. The enemy in the castle (that would be me) hurled huge rocks (or coins, actually) over the castle walls. Each time a brave knight got hit he had to answer a math problem. (problems good for grades 1-3 came with the game, I just had to make up some for the older boys) If our hero answered correctly, he was allowed to proceed. A wrong answer cost him dearly. He had to move five spaces BACKWARDS on the board.

Closer view of the game. When they finally made it across the moat, they discovered that their enemy had a stash of M&Ms that they raided.  Following a true knightly code of chivalry they divided their spoils equally.

For our Bible reading we read from Proverbs, because we could use all the wisdom we can get. 🙂 Sorry there was no picture to go along with that. Or their catechism study. We reviewed the questions about the first two commandments.  Our hymn of the week was Alleluia Sing To Jesus.

The boys drew timeline characters to match some of the people we are studying.

From the left- Augustine, bought a few years ago in  a set; Celts by Nathaniel; Attila the Hun by Benjamin; King Arthur (in his golden armor) by Samuel.

To make the first day special, Mark stopped by Chick Fil A and got the boys some biscuits.  Mmmm. He was a little surprised when he came in from work with the biscuits and found out HE was being given an assignment!! Don’t worry- I took it easy on him. All he had to do was was color a king. Each member of our family colored a person to go on our bulletin board.

Samuel loved this game.

It is about the Celts in the Iron Age. Some of the stuff on there was just for fun, but it was very informative.

Nathaniel is enjoying reading some of his books online. Here he is reading Our Island Story FREE (!!) courtesy of the Baldwin Project.

On a sad note, our dog has disappeared. We have no idea what happened to our precious Hank. So our school mascot can no longer be the Cowdogs. So we have to settle for the Psycho Cats. (We would use Wildcats, but there is a local school that is the Wildcats. We have to be original.)

Don’t let her fool you into thinking she is all sweet and precious. She’s not always so cuddly-looking.

Now on to MY surprise. A few nights ago I was checking my Facebook page just before going to bed. John MacArthur sends out offers for free books or CDs every month. This month’s offer was hot off the press. Guess what it is?  A FREE HARDCOVER MACARTHUR STUDY BIBLE IN ESV!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you tell I am a bit excited??? I have been waiting on this ever since I first heard it was coming out. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Reformation Study Bible. Mark has been hounding me and saying that reading Sproul’s notes are turning me into a Presbyterian.   Personally, I don’t see a problem with that. But, what Baptist church can trust a youth pastor with a non-Baptist wife? (I hope  no one is getting offended here. It is an on going joke between Mark and me) Seriously, I dropped my Bible. You would think that a fall of 3- 3 1/2 feet on a carpeted floor would not do much damage.  (I’m 5’2″, it was under my arm) But, it obviously CAN do damage.

I broke my sword. Now I am getting a brand new one and it is FREE!!! Jehovah Jireh!!

Almost Ready

Just a few days to go. School. 2 out my 3 children are not happy. Of course, they would be happy never having school and having unlimited video game time. So, it looks like they will just have to stay unhappy. I am very excited about the new year. Nerd that I am I always enjoy learning new things. We are sticking pretty close to the same routines that we were doing last year. While I do like to try new things occasionally, there is just comfort in familiar things. So here is what our day will look like:

Mornings- Bible reading. Not really following any certain plan. I think we will stick mostly with New Testament and Proverbs.

Catechism- Still using Training Hearts Teaching Minds. I love this book! I cannot say enough good things about it. Amazon has a “Look in this book” for it. If you are even thinking of teaching the Shorter Catechism to your kids, read the intro to this book. Even if your not thinking about it, go ahead and read it, anyway. It might make you WANT to teach your children the Shorter Catechism.

Math- Still sticking with Math U See. I know that there are people who think it is too “simple”. Going through it with my kids I beg to differ. No, my kids do not usually spend 2-3 hours a day on math. No, they do not cry about math being “hard”. That, to me is part of the beauty of the program. My kids are understanding math to the point where  it doesn’t “feel” hard.  They really *get it. They do worksheets every single day that drill it into their heads, but do not kill the love of learning.  It is awesome.

English- Some changes are being made here. Benjamin and Samuel are still doing Shurley. We are doing it not right by the book, though. As a matter of fact, we are not using student books. I really am not too wild about the vocabulary and the writing assignments. We are using Writing Aids for writing and just using vocabulary from out TOG assignments. I still like having the jingles from Shurley. I still like having them classify sentences. I have not seen anything that cements parts of speech like Shurley.  Nathaniel is doing Learning Language Arts Through Literature. That is totally new to us.  It is taking some creativity to schedule it around Writing Aids. It is do-able, though. I love that he will learn to diagram sentences.   (told you I am a nerd)

History- Tapestry of Grace Year 2. Wow. We are studying from the Middle Ages to the American Revolution. That is so much to cover. There are some awesome reading assignments. I think my new favorite book-other than A Tale of Two Cities- is Men of Iron. I have discovered that I really like “boy books” better than “girl books” . Action, adventure, danger, chivalry, bravery- those are the things that to me make a great book.  We are going to be studying a lot of church history this year. To prepare, over the summer I have been reading Church History in Plain Language by Bruce Shelley. I love this book, too. I really love that I got it at the Bible Outlet for 40 % off retail. I think I made the sales woman’s day when Mark held up the book and I literally gasped out loud with excitement.  I am also very excited about the art that we will be studying. During our second quarter of school, especially, we will be doing several art assignments.


Science- Thank goodness Botany is over! If you read my post from several months ago, you might be wondering where all the pictures from our plants are. Well, guess what? Almost every one of them died when we transplanted them. The few that didn’t got dug up or “watered” by our dog. So we are moving on to Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.  Nathaniel is going to be doing Apologia Physical Science. He loved his science course last year. I assume the trend will continue.

Latin- Loved Latin for Children A last year. I really thought Samuel would need a year between Song School Latin and LfC A. His reading skills really took off last year and he is ready to move on to “big kid Latin”. So while he is doing that, the big guys are moving on to LfC B. Benjamin was looking at the new Latin History Reader and saying how it looked so hard. He said, “I’ll never get all this!” So I had to remind him that at this point last year he thought that his Latin looked too hard and he would “never get it”. He made good grades, and did not have too much trouble with translation. The boys absolutely LOVE Headventure Land, Classical Academic Press’s fun way to practice their Latin. (technically you can practice Greek and Spanish too, but all we have done so far is Latin)

Music- I made it from grades 5-12 in the school band and never really learned to read music very well.  I can read notes on the treble staff , IF they are not above or below the staff. I can’t tell you anything on a bass clef. So we are using some stuff we found online to learn to read music. Nathaniel has said he wants a cornet. I would like for him to have some knowledge of reading music to make learning an instrument go more smoothly. We are also going to be focusing on composers. I really like Ambleside Online for their links to composer and art appreciation studies. There are several things that we plan on using, just not necessarily the suggested studies for this year, at the time they are suggested. Still studying hymns from The Center for Church Music.

There is a possibility of adding Greek to the mix. Samuel and Benjamin have asked repeatedly to learn Greek. (Well, now that it is almost time to start, Benjamin thinks maybe he has changed his mind) If we do it, will be added after the rest of the year starts. We will use Song School Greek. Judging by Song School Latin, it should be wonderful.

Who Me, Patient? You Really Don’t Me Very Well.

I met a new hairdresser this week. She was really fabulous! We chatted a bit about families. She got married at the same age as me and has two boys. The subject of schooling came up. Ugh. I braced myself for the usual onslaught of, “Why on Earth would you want to do that?” when I told her I homeschool. I didn’t get that. She said, “Wow. That is really great. You must be so patient!”

(I can hear people who know me in real life laughing all the way through their computers.) Ah, no. That is something I really have to work on.  Every. single. day.  Schooling, not schooling-it doesn’t matter. I have to really try not to lose it on people, electronics, inanimate objects- you name it.  I realized the depths of my impatience one day as I was loading some books into Library Thing.  It took a whole 1.3 seconds to find a book on there. I was in the process of telling Mark how I was getting frustrated with this thing taking “forever” and I looked at the result time. Ouch. (maybe that is why I never actually finished cataloging our books.)

While it may sometimes add some comedy to our day when I am getting impatient with stuff-the boys remind sometimes that yelling at the computer will not make it load any faster- it is not so good with people. I sometimes run out of patience by telling a certain son a million gazillion kabillion times that putting his clean clothes in the closet floor is NOT putting them away.  I get impatient when I say bring me the sheets off your bed and am asked, “Does that mean the pillowcase, too?” (((slaps forehead and replies YES)))

Do you know how many times patience is referred to in the Bible? I don’t know an exact amount, but let me just say its a lot. Some of the most toe-stomping ones to me are:

Ecclesiastes 7:8
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. (Hmm…. makes me feel self conscience about not finishing cataloging books…. and not finishing so many books I start)

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (really toe-stomping because I tend to be more of the “why me wahhh” type than patient in tough stuff)

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant (Wow, Christians are told that we will be known by our love.  {see John 13:34-35}Love is patient. That is a hard pill to swallow)

2 Timothy 2:24
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (Yes, I know that this directed to pastors, but aren’t all Christians called servants of the Lord?)

1 Thessalonians 5:14
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. (This is probably where I have personally dropped the ball the most. I have high standards and somehow expect others to follow my rules. I would never make a good therapist. I tend to want to tell people to stop their sniveling and get a life.)

The verse about patience that stands out to me the most is this one:

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

God is patient with us. Even me and my rudeness. It is through His power that I am often able not to stick my foot in my mouth. It is His Spirit that keeps me from saying things that I know I am going to regret later. When I am talking to someone who has bad theology He reminds me that I have sometimes believed things that are not doctrinally sound. (My husband would tell you that I still cling a bit too close to Rome on something, but that is a whole ‘nother can of worms) When teaching my children God reminds that there once was a time where I did not know my multiplication tables or the differences in declarative and imperative sentences.

I often hear people saying not to pray for patience because it will result in God sending things, people, and situations into your life that make you exercise patience.  I think  that is ridiculous reasoning. If we want to improve something, we HAVE to exercise it more.  If you want to improve your strength on bench-pressing what do you do? You do bench presses. You add more weight on your bar so that you get more strength in your arms. So, shouldn’t we pray for patience if we truly want to be a patient person striving to be more like God? There are going to be things in life that stink, whether you pray for patience or not. I feel that by praying for patience, God is faithful to answer that prayer so that when difficult or whiny people (other than myself 🙂 ) are in my life I have the grace to be patient with them, rather than telling them off.

Botany Lessons

This year the younger two Gilliland boys are learning Botany. Bleh… Of all sciences, I think Botany is my least favorite.  I took Physics in high school to get out  of Botany. Now I’m teaching it. Strange, huh? I am not what you would call “green thumbed”.  At all. Every time I have gotten a houseplant, it dies. Once, at a store I suggested to Mark getting a fern because it was pretty. He said, “Well, once we get it home it won’t be pretty anymore. It will just die.” (he was probably right, by the way!)

So now I am in the midst of teaching on a subject that I have no experience in, no interest in, and no real desire to be teaching. Despite all that, I have been fascinated by a few things I have learned.

We started a light hut this fall. For anyone who might be wondering a light hut is just a foil-lined box with a light bulb attached to the top. We bought peat moss and seeds with the intention of planting a kitchen herb garden and some lavender to make into homemade soap to give as Christmas gifts. Then Fall allergies hit. Mark was sick, not just with allergies. If you have peat moss under a light bulb, it dries out quickly. If you have a mom run ragged by everyone and their ailments, she forgets to water the plants. If you forget to water the plants, they die. So when the dust settled and everyone was feeling better, we tried again. This time they were destroyed by the box being lifted up and dropped by an unnamed cutie.  We gave up until recently. We got a new, bigger box. We got more seeds, these for some pretty flowers to put in our very neglected flower beds. New moss, new light bulb, everything is all new.  So we planted out seeds almost a week ago. Several of them have sprouted already. It is amazing to see how the plants are sprouting at different times. They were all planted the same day. Some are just shooting up more quickly than others.


These moonflowers came from the same seed pouch and were planted all the same day, at the same time, yet each seed is sprouting at a slightly time than the others. It makes me think of my kids. They were born of the same parents. They have all been raised pretty much the same, yet they each have their own distinct personalities. Nathaniel is very serious. He likes to know the technical side of everything. Going to the mailbox, he stops at the end of the driveway, looks both ways and crosses, gets the mail, looks again, and comes back. He is sensibly modest. In a dressing room, he goes in, shuts the door and tries on his clothes, gets redressed, and comes out. Benjamin is the cut up. Everything has to be funny. Even things that are very not funny he tries to make into a joke. He does not take many things serious enough. He goes to the mail box and if he remembers someone might be looking, he looks one or two ways, crosses the street, then comes back while looking at the mail. (Wherein he gets scolded for not looking before crossing the road on the way back.) He is extremely immodest. He has been known to strut through the living room in just a towel when we have company. (He’ll say “it’s just _________. They don’t care!” I think he’d say that if we had a queen or something as a guest) In a dressing room, he goes in and starts undressing before the door is shut. He’ll kick his shoes off and they might or might not end up in the dressing room hallway. Samuel is somehow different from both of them. He is very sweet. He always looks to the rosie side of things. He is funny without trying to tell jokes. He is cautious, almost to a fault. Going to the mailbox, he stops at the end of the driveway, looks both ways, looks both ways again, sometimes looks a third time, holds my hand and crosses. (He’d probably look more times, but I tell him to stop, that we have looked enough) On the way back we have to look multiple times, too. He is very modest. When he takes  a bath, he bathes himself, but I still wash his hair. He does not want me in the bathroom when he is undressing or getting in the tub. He keeps himself covered when he walks from the bathroom to his room. In a dressing room, he shuts the door, checks the lock, jiggles it to be sure, then tries it again, just for good measure. He was trying on several things one day so I wanted to go in to help him. I had to promise not look while he was changing. Benjamin tried on a shirt that did not fit that day. He came to Samuel’s door (shirtless, of course) and tried to walk in. Samuel said”It’s a good thing that lock is there. Benj would have just barged right in and me in just my pants!” My little sproutlings are all very different.

Another thing has been a spiritual lesson.  Yesterday the weather was beautiful. I started getting the weeds out of the flower bed. (or weed bed as we call it) I was shocked by the roots of some of the weeds.  They went so deep. They were so strong and stable. It was hard work to get the roots out. However, I know what will happen if I do not get the roots. I have cleaned this flower bed out before. Just cutting the tops off of the weeds, getting part of the roots does no good. The weeds spring right back up. It is only digging very deeply and removing the entire root that gets the ugliness out so the beauty can thrive. As tough as the weed roots are, however, the flower roots are that much delicate. Some flowers have roots that almost look like hair. Some flowers have delicate stem that if they are broken or damaged, the whole plant dies. It is much harder to keep beautiful flowers alive than to keep weeds alive. I have never watered or fertilized the weeds, but they keep thriving. Last year we had a few zinnias and a sunflower in our flower bed. They had to be watered frequently or they wilted. It took work to keep them growing. I kept trying to kill the weeds, but they kept coming back. No work on them, no special attention. I see a pattern in  my life. The things that have beauty, value and goodness take work. Those are the things that I have to put forth effort to accomplish. However, there are things in my life that I don’t have to work on that if left to themselves would grow out of control and consume and overpower any good and beautiful thing that might try to be there.  Just like the weeds left unchecked  can choke the beauty out of a  garden, sin left unchecked can choke the beauty out of  a believer’s life.

Lord, please help me to dig deep and remove the roots of my sinful behaviors. Help me to cultivate the beautiful things that bring You glory.

Another Reason To Love Tapestry of Grace

Wow. This is huge. Five very lucky people are going to win a HUGE prize from Tapestry of Grace. The prize???? All Four year plans of TOG in digital format!!! Not just the units, but the supplements to go along!!! This is amazing! If you are a TOG user or have thought about it this is your chance!! To enter click here. You do have to set up an account with Lampstand Press (which is free and you do not have to accept unwanted e-mails or anything).  To enter you have to “purchase” a free ticket. That is all. They will draw from five categories: 1.)People who have purchased 4 Redesigned Year-Plans; 2.) People who have purchased 3; 3.) People who have purchased 2; 4.) People who have purchased 1; 5.) people who have never purchased anything from them.

This is awesome! Good luck to everyone who enters!!!

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