Showing posts from 2011

A great organizational tool

We had a quiet Christmas which suited us fine this year.  We've been so busy that it's been good to just rest and regroup!  I've loved having a few days to process the events of the year, get my calendar in order, and begin on my planning and goal-setting. I just love the whole notion of cleaning out, cleaning up, reorganizing, and prayerfully considering what God is speaking to me for the new year. One of the biggest helps I've had the past few months is a free software program called  ActionOutline Lite  (the "lite" is the free version; you have to pay for the premium). You can plan anything in outline form and flesh it out in a second pane that works like a word processor.  It's fantastic!  I finally have a place to pop every little piece of information--in an orderly place.  The screen looks like this: Each tab you create is a separate outline that organizes everything you want on that subject.  I have my daily to-do list, goals & planning, bl

Jesus, Our Light - Day 12

The call to "walk in the light as He is in the light" (I John 1:7) is the invitation God has spoken to mankind since the beginning when He said "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:3).  It was never His plan to leave us in the devastation and darkness that sin caused--praise His Name! He is building a kingdom of light-transformed people who love Him and will spend eternity with Him, enjoying Him and everything they were created for.  That little baby in Bethlehem was the Father's promise of perfect and restored life for us. And the best is yet to come!  Listen to what Isaiah prophesied centuries before Christ came: "The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light , and your God your glory." (Isaiah 60:19) He was not only referring to Jesus being the Light of redemption, but also the Light of heaven.  Just as we see God commanding light to shine at the

Jesus, Our Light - Day 11

One of the hardest things for our human nature is to let the Light shine in our darkness.  Those deep inner places we don't want God to mess with.  Weakness, fear, bondage, things we loathe and things we like and don't want to give up.  Yet to enjoy all the promised goodness and freedom of God's love, we have let it be on His terms. "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)... And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them... But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light , for whatever makes manifest is light . Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light .'" (Ephesians 5:8-14)  The great gift of the Incarnation is that in accepting Christ's light, we are changed!  Daily set free from the damaging works of darkess.  There'

Jesus, Our Light - Day 10

Paul the apostle had a startling encounter one day with the Light.  In prison for preaching the gospel, he recounts the amazing story to the king, hoping to persuade him to see his need for Jesus. On his way to arrest Jewish Christians in Damascus for heresy, Paul reports, "At midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me" (Acts 26:13).  He falls to the ground, blinded, and hears Jesus Himself speaking to him, charging him with the mission to preach salvation to the Gentiles: " open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light , and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and  an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." (Acts 26:18) Here's that wonderful symbolism again--Paul, who thought he knew the light (righteous in his own self-righteousness)--is plunged into blinding darkness that he might have his spiritual eyes opened to the Tru

Jesus, Our Light - Day 9

Interestingly, my study today 'happened' to coincide with the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, which is also called the Festival of Lights. This story is from the extra-Biblical Book of Maccabees in the Apocrypha.  Though an entirely Jewish holiday, we see some wonderful symbolism in it that speaks of Jesus, our Light. In the years before 165 B.C., the Jewish nation had been under the rule of the Greeks.  A pagan king named Antiochus Ephiphanes had defiled the Temple and forced the Jews to abandon their faith.  But a brave group of young men under the leadership of Judah Maccabee revolted and successfully overthrew the pagan rule. Judah headed up the work of cleansing the Temple and rededicating it in 165 B.C. But when they restored the temple service, they found they only had enough holy oil to burn for one day, the rest of it having been defiled by the Greek invaders. This oil was a symbol of the eternal Presence of God, the Light of the World, and had been comman

Jesus, Our Light - Day 8

We have seen what the prophets said about the Light that was to come, and we've seen what Jesus' followers had to say.  Later, Jesus Himself boldly declared that He was  the Light.  He not only revealed what darkness looked like in the human heart, but showed the power of His Light to transform it. In the familiar story of the woman caught in adultery (John 8), we see Jesus' forgiveness and mercy to a sinner.  This was played out against the iron-clad, law-enforcing Pharisees who would stone her on the spot.  But after Jesus granted her forgiveness, He turned and spoke to the Pharisees: "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (John 8:12) An interesting wrap-up to that drama. Implication? Their merciless self-righteousness actually came from darkness.  Jesus was showing the heart of the Father--His deep desire to bring His loved ones back to Life.  Mercy, grace, second chances. The path back is J

Jesus, Our Light - Day 7

It's the start of a new week and the second half of my 'take' on the twelve days of Christmas...hope these reflections bless you as much as they have blessed me! The study in the Word has been wonderful. The apostle John seems eager to communicate to his readers in his New Testament writings this whole idea of Jesus=Light=Life.  In his gospel, he starts right out in chapter 1: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it... This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light , that all through him might believe." (John 1:4-5, 7) Again, in his first letter, he starts right out: "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." (I John 1:5) "Darkness" here in the Greek is the word scotia , which means gloom, evil, sin, night, moral depravity.  It also has the implication of eve

Jesus, Our Light - Day 6

It's interesting to see how God used light to reveal Jesus when He was born--by a star. The wise men who came from somewhere in the east had an understanding that this unusual Star meant that the King of the Jews had been born (Matthew 2:1-11).  In obedience to that revelation (prepared hearts!), they kept at their quest to find this baby King until that same star actually led them to the very spot. I love how God uses the symbolism of darkness and light here--stars don't shine during the day.  It was in the darkness that the wise men found Jesus. Centuries before, a prophet named Balaam had actually called the coming Messiah a Star: "I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out Israel... Out of Jacob One shall have dominion." (Numbers 24:17, 19) And the apostle Peter, writing years after Jesus' resurrection, uses the same symbolism to call us to the Light of Christ: "And so we have the

Jesus, Our Light - Day 5

Within days of Jesus' birth in Bethlehem, his parents Joseph and Mary obeyed what all Jewish parents of firstborn sons were to do:  present him to the Lord in dedication at the Temple a few weeks after his circumcision. Meanwhile, God was watching the heart of a certain elderly man in Jerusalem--nobody special--whom the Bible says was "just and devout."  This man Simeon was not only a passionate seeker of God, but he was waiting for the "Consolation of Israel," a beautiful phrase describing the Messiah. Now I find it surprising that the Pharisees and other Jewish leaders were not on high alert at this time.  It is not hard to calculate by the prophecy of the coming Messiah in Daniel 9:25-26 that the Messiah was going to appear any minute. (That's a great Bible study right there.) So I wonder if maybe Simeon had figured this out, had maybe been asking God about it, pouring out the longing of his heart to see God's promise come to pass.  Luke 2:26 te

Jesus, Our Light - Day 4

Picture this scenario:  a few hundred years have gone by since Isaiah's prophesies about the coming Messiah, and Israel is still waiting.  One day in the Temple in Jerusalem, one of the priests, Zacharias, is chosen by lot to burn incense before the Lord on the golden Altar of Incense, which stood at the doorway to the Holy of Holies. While busy about his work, suddenly the angel Gabriel appears to him with an astonishing message from God.  (There were a lot of angels in the Christmas story.)  God was going to give Zacharias and his aged wife a son in answer to a long-time prayer, a boy they were to call John (which means "the Lord has shown favor").  John would be a prophet whose job would be to help prepare the hearts of God's people for the soon-to-appear Messiah. Prepare their hearts?  Why?  Hundreds of years with no prophetic messages from God and a history of national subjugation to foreign powers had dulled their zeal for their God.  Sin, darkness, and unbe

Jesus, Our Light - Day 3

And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,  and deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” Isaiah 60:1-3 Here it is again, that sharp contrast between darkness and light.  Doesn't it perfectly describe what we see everywhere?  Darkness, 'deep darkness,' blinding and crippling and imprisoning people everywhere.  Hopeless, helpless, and desperate—that's what darkness produces.  How that must have grieved the heart of the Father to see those created in His image and intended for kingdom-sharing to be so destroyed. But He had a plan!  Jesus, because He saw our need and subjected Himself to our 'deep darkness,' can now share His glory with us, on us, over us!  Restore to us the privilege of Kingdom living; a glory and light so real as to be seen by others.  The 'increase of Hi

Jesus, Our Light - Day 2

“... By way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, in Galilee of the Gentiles.  The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light ; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined … For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder, and His name will be called  Wonderful,  Counselor,  Mighty God,  Everlasting Father,  Prince of Peace.   Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end...”  Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 This glorious prophecy is one of the very moving passages in Handel's Messiah we hear at Christmas, which clearly declares the person and work of Jesus, our Light.  He is promised as the world's Messiah and Savior, Son of God and Son of Man, God Himself as part of the Trinity, the reigning King for all eternity, and bringer of Peace and perfect leadership for “us”--the ones He came for.  This is is what we celebrate! In these troubled times, I often find myself praying the words

Jesus, Our Light - Day 1

One of my most favorite things about Christmastime is the lights--twinkling on the tree, sparkling on homes and streets and buildings.  The world doesn't even know the vast significance of it, that Jesus came to be our Light, to shine on our darkness.  Without the Light we are blind and the darkness rules. So I offer you my version of the "The Twelve Days of Christmas"--a devotional thought each day from the Word, a thankful look at the beautiful gift the Father of Lights has given us. "Behold!  My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights!  I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles...I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people, as a light to the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house..."   Isaiah 42:1, 6-7 From the time God gave Abraham the cove

New week, new month, new snow

It looks like we're working on a white Christmas in our neck of the woods—we've had three snows in the last week and it's been too cold to do much melt-off. It's beautiful! I think our clan is secretly hoping that it'll continue for a few weeks, at least in a reasonable manner, to set the stage for the holidays. I always forget all the fol-de-rol that comes with winter, the cumulative hours of time to dress in layers, don boots, hat, gloves, scarves, then repeat the process in reverse; shoveling, shoveling, and more shoveling. But there's little that can compare to a cozy home, crackling fireplace, hot tea, cuddly afghans, hot soup and muffins, and the gallery-hung-pictures out every window. Might as well as enjoy it! We had the perfect Christmas-tree-getting this last week. In the interest of simplicity, we have for years opted for an artificial tree since SweetPea was little. But this year we were invited to the mountain home of some homeschooling frie


Happy day-after-Thanksgiving!  Hope yours was a blessing in every way.  Aren't we so abundantly showered with every good thing by our good God?  At our church's Thanksgiving Eve service, our pastor exhorted us to look at all we do have, on the answers rather than the problems and difficulties.  A good reminder, as it's too easy to be overwhelmed by the sense of need on every hand. Before this focus on Thanksgiving is lost in the tide of all-things-Christmas, I want to thank the Lord for His incomparable, wonderful, incredible Word.  I could list a thousand manifest specifics I'm thankful for, all under the heading of His lovingkindness in my life.  But to consider the gift of the revelation of Himself, His heart, and what He's done for us--the Word--moves me to the highest praise.  To be given a plumbline for right and wrong, detailed instruction on how to live with blessing and favor, to have life explained, to be invited to relationship with the One who made me

Pain and progress

While I'm held captive in the kitchen tending food on the stove, I have a few minutes for an update.  My poor blog(s) have been on the back burner (no pun intended).  My poor hubby's back has been the front-and-center issue in our family life the past couple of months, and continues to be that until we get the issue resolved. Turns out he has a herniated disc, the culprit of his intense pain.  We have a couple of options before us now, including that of surgery, so we're seeking the Lord's wisdom what direction to go.  I'm thankful for the good help we've had with physical therapy, chiropractor, and the counsel of professionals--and the sustaining mercy of the Lord.  We're trusting Him for complete healing and restoration.  We'll all be glad when this is done! SweetPea has managed to stay on track with school and make good progress through it all--and has had a special blessing sent her way in these recent weeks, ice-skating lessons.  It's real


I'm pleased with the steady progress SweetPea has been making in her schoolwork this year so far; partly due to our decision to keep a watchful eye on how many outside activities to participate in and partly due to her own commitment to 'stay the course.'  Last year's outside stuff piled up the second semester and pushed some of her studies way out into summer, so we don't want to do that again. One of the lovely benefits of a more disciplined schedule is that we've had time for some really meaningful discussions.  I remember this age as being when I really began to take hold of my own accountability to the Lord and know that I wanted Him to be the defining presence in every part of my life.  What a privilege to be daily with my daughter, helping her work through her issues and seeing God grow not only our relationship, but hers with Him. Several of her friends are seniors this year and having to grapple with the 'what am I going to do with my  life?'

Whose side am I on?

I've been pondering in recent weeks about the subject of criticism/judgment/accusation.  Seems like there is so much of it out there, either flying at us from others or doling it out ourselves, whether overt or subconscious, just or unjust.  If you are a recipient of this unlovely trio, you know how painful it it, how it can paralyze you with insecurity and hurt.  We feel misunderstood, our hearts race to our defense, and we might lash back, fight for justice and dig in to maintain our position.  Or we might simply cave in, believing that we are really that bad and buy the whole package of "I'm not worth much."  The net result is usually that we distance ourselves from the source and go into protectism mode, avoidance. The other side of the coin is when we dish it out.  "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks," so whatever we've been secretly thinking about someone might come out in a 'justifiable' situation, usually when we'

A snapshot of today

If you came to my house today, you'd see... Me the kitchen, frying chicken and cooking broccoli for supper, scooping handfuls of small garden tomatoes into a serving dish, and spooning marinated yellow bean salad into a bowl. What a beautiful palette of colors to enjoy--red, green, yellow. Makes it such a pleasure to cook. My hubby ...just home, resting his hurting back with a heating pad after a long day at work. He really did a number on it it while getting ready for our camping trip a few weeks ago, reinjuring an old trouble spot, and it's been quite a siege of pain, ice packs and massages, pain pills and chiropractor visits, physical therapy and lots of prayer. Thankfully, we're seeing daily improvement and yesterday got the good report that it's not a disc involved. SweetPea the kitchen preparing the broccoli, helping pick up the house for a friend's visit this evening. She's had to do school pretty much on her own since we began four

A Sunday afternoon

We've had a spectacular shot of fall this weekend...much cooler, crisp clean air, the stillness that breathes rest into your very bones.  I don't think we're done with summer yet, but it's sure been a treat. After church today, the loveliness beckoned, so I grabbed my much-neglected nature journaling set and parked myself in the backyard to observe our late-summer flowers.  Several last-minute stragglers still flourished and I had to capture their colors.  I'm learning to work with watercolor pencils and need a lot more practice...but it was satisfying nevertheless to sit still and really observe the incredible artistry of our God.  Have you ever noticed that every flower He made is perfect ??


We managed to squeeze in one camping trip this summer, just last week, near Leadville.  It's a very historic area, boasting the early days of silver mining in our state's history.  And it's spectacular! We enjoyed our time there with good friends, delighted we nearly had the campground to ourselves.  A fabulous setting with two big lakes ringed by several 14ers, absolutely breathtaking.  Wish I could share the scale with you. Colorado is just so...vertical! The highlight of the weekend was driving up over Independence Pass, a whopping 12,095 feet.  The day couldn't have been more perfect and the late summer hills were blanketed with wildflowers.  And yes, the air was thin!  We were glad to get down to more oxygen. Photo courtesy of my daughter...the one with the good camera! The weekend was nearly perfect, marred only by my hubby hurting his back.  More on that later...but we did make it home safe and refreshed.  I was glad we didn't hear until

Need some strength today?

I do...lots on my plate right now.  I bet you do, too.  Summer is winding down, fall and a new set of demands face us all.  So here's the "supplement" I'm taking today--encourage yourself with a dose, too! "The Lord will give strength to His people; the Lord will bless His people with peace."  Ps. 29:11 "Your God has commanded your strength ; strengthen, O God, what You have done for us."  Ps. 68:28 "The God of Israel is He who gives strength and power to His people."  Ps. 68:35 "Let the weak say , 'I am strong.'"  Joel 3:10 "...the joy of the Lord is your strength ."  Neh. 8:10 "I am anointed with fresh oil ."  Ps. 92:10 "As for God, His way is perfect...It is God who arms me with strength , and makes my way perfect."  Ps. 18:30, 32 "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."  Ps. 27:14 "Thou rule

Home again

I had hoped to share some pics of our recent vacation to Arizona...and maybe I still will.  Just too busy with a million things right now to take the time, but I'll try later. Arizona in the middle of summer is not usually the most desirable vacation destination unless you love it hot, hot, hot.  But the main attraction for us is our beloved families, and for that it was wonderful.  A sort of mini-reunion with both sides of the family...barbeques, sight-seeing, good talk, fabulous meals, three (!) birthday parties for me, heartwarming hugs from little my cup well filled.  Even got to reconnect with a junior high friend whom I haven't seen in years (hi, Sue!).  Our thanks to each family member for all the loving hospitality showered on us--you're the best! The drive home was a gift from the Lord--everything lush and green from so much rain, the high deserts studded with wildflower color and contrasts of red sandstone and the greens of sagebrush and junipers.

Free Bible study software

In case you haven't heard of E-Sword, let me introduce you.  This is a powerful Bible study tool that comes loaded with a variety of Bible versions, commentaries, dictionaries, search functions, etc.--and best of all, it's free !  You can create your own notes and studies, research Strong's concordance numbers, set up daily devotional readings, and create Bible reading plans.  In addition, you can purchase extra Bible versions and all sorts of study helps. We love it and encourage you to give it a try!  Check them out here .

Saturday reflections

I guess I've been on a blogging-vacation though it wasn't intended.  My spring was so busy with things outside our home and school, that when June hit, so did all the backlog of what I hadn't gotten done.  I've been chipping away at my yard work, tackling piles of seasonal laundry and ironing, cleaning and organizing the house, catching up on visits with friends, and trying to enjoy the beautiful out-of-doors as much as possible.  And frankly, I've been tired.  The mental kind that affects your energy and vision.  I know I need some 'space' to rest and refresh, but it seems rather elusive with the never-ending need-to's and looming new school year.  I'm trusting that some vacation time with our families will help refuel my empty tank. So I've scaled back on everything I don't have to do and am trying to spend time in the Word and being refreshed in the presence of the Lord.  He's the One who can make it all right and new, give me fresh

A wonderful week

Wow, VBS week was great!  God blessed us with a good turnout of kids, good weather, a terrific team of volunteers, and the very evident work of the Holy Spirit bringing peace and ordering all the details of a packed schedule.  I had a wonderful group of 6 & 7-year-olds, fifteen or so absolutely precious little lives.  As a homeschooler, I get so surprised when I'm leading a group like this--most of whom are public-schooled--at how quickly and obediently they line up for any and every reason.  ha!  Great crowd control technique and a blessed surprise when we had to move from station to station quickly and efficiently.  I've heard someone say that organizing a group of homeschoolers at an activity is like herding cats.  I agree.  My class A large percentage of my class had already asked Jesus into their hearts before this VBS, but on the last day when I put the flannelgraph piece on the board of Jesus being crucified, a gasp went up.  It wasn't a particularly gra

Catching up

 Summer, yay!  Feels like summer, looks like summer, calendar says it should be summer...I think it is, finally.  A peek into my garden...the "before" picture (hopefully I'll share a great "after" one in August!) I'm enjoying the privilege of some time at home after our marathon spring and getting caught up on all sorts of things.   My dearly beloved helped me get my late garden in on Monday--a huge relief that I was able to still squeek in under the proverbial wire.   Lots of home projects to tend to now that the weather is warm and our schedule has relaxed (oh, I love that word!).   Can't wait to set up my sewing machine again, teach SweetPea how to can, work on some landscaping ideas, and read some non-homeschooling novels over iced tea in the shade of the maple tree.  :-) Most importantly, I'm enjoying the space for reflection and sorting out the cacophony of thoughts whirling in my mind over the past couple of months.  I&#


I'm sitting at our breakfast table looking out at a sea of green--a lushness in our yard that can only be attributed to the huge amount of rain we've had the past couple of weeks.  In fact, our support group's Field Day got cancelled for today due to rain.  Hopefully the reschedule next week won't be cancelled because of rain; more is predicted.  Though we didn't get much snow this winter, they're saying we've already made up for the deficit for water, which here in the southwestern part of the nation is always an issue.  God is good! Back to green.  Another blessing of our cool and rainy May is that the lilac blossoms have hung on and hung on.  SweetPea told me that they've been out so long they're kind of bleaching out from what sun we've had.  It's great...our grass isn't crispy anymore and everything looks like it's breathed a sigh of relief and perked up its collective head. My VBS project is moving along well, thank You, Lor

Is it Friday already?

It's a good thing we had a refreshing week last week in Arizona...I sure needed high-octane this week! Monday greeted us with the first of two days of testing for SweetPea, the standardized stuff we're required to do by the state.  Since then we've flown between unpacking, and laundry, yardwork, Bible study, haircut, shopping, a last-minute chance to go ice skating, home stuff, and, oh, yeah, school.  I'm eagerly awaiting a week wherein we actually do school every day--seems like it's been a long time since that's happened!  With all the activities, we've pushed the end of school deep into June.  We're doing great for meeting our required hours and days, but finishing up our curricula is another thing.  I know the public schools often don't finish their books by the end of the year, but I just can't do that.  I like the closure of finishing it all, if possible, so we'll press on. I received an assignment from the Lord this week, too, that

A play, a trip, and happy May Day!

I fully intended to have a proper see-ya-later to my blog readers a couple of weeks ago, before SweetPea's play production week and our Easter trip to AZ to see our families.   But it didn't happen.   So here I am composing my blog update on the road home, enjoying a late spring snowstorm (ahem--note insincere tone) whirling around us and savoring some very sweet memories. I would not generally recommend trying to plan and pack for a trip while participating in a play, but as is His gracious custom, the Lord helped us.   "Robin Hood" was a smashing success, drawing repeat viewers and filling our cups to the brim with hilarity and immense satisfaction.   SweetPea's defining moment as a rookie actress came in the very first production when she was supposed to bounce gaily offstage, then bounce back in with a golden arrow on a pillow for Maid Marian to present to Robin for winning the archery contest.   Alas, when she went to pick it up offstage for her bounce-in, it

A sad day

"You look so lovely today." Those were the last words my dear friend Kim spoke to me, last Sunday in church.  She passed away suddenly yesterday morning from a recurrance of cancer, taking us all by shock.  She taught Sunday School and led worship Sunday morning, full of joy and anointing, with not the least hint that by the end of the week, she'd be gone. My heart is so heavy for the family.  She and her husband have five lovely children whom they've homeschooled from the beginning, the first to graduate next month and the youngest just seven.  Her dad is pastor of our church and I can't imagine how difficult it will be for her folks to carry on the ministry without her very gifted and loving presence.  Ours is a small church, so she leaves a very large hole. Kim and I hit it off the first time we met years ago in our homeschool support group.  Later, when she left the group, we would run into each other at conferences or fairs, and always it was as though

This 'n that

This breathtaking sight greeted us earlier this week, a Colorado spring snow in the morning sunrise.  We dashed out so as not to miss our chance with the cameras, knowing that in just a few hours, it would be melted and gone.  It was. Just as the ups and downs in our weather, so it seemed to go with other things this week.  My two sweeties were both sick with colds, which made it hard to get anything significant done.  School was choppy, events cancelled, and surfaces disinfected...over and over. Thankfully, the patients are mostly better, and I had the joy of cleaning and setting our life to rights again today. We've just finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird  in our literature study.  Wow, I'd forgotten what a powerful book that is!  It prompted some wonderful discussion, not only the issues of prejudice and injustice and so on, but also Harper Lee's incredible, funny, moving writing. To top it off, we checked the movie out from the library and watched it last night.

A chapter ends

Yesterday I sat in our homeschool teen public speaking class, checking off kids' names as they did their presentations and marveling at what God has done in them over the years they've been in this class.  One young lady did an amazing dramatic interpretation of four different poems; another, a riveting persuasive speech on the power of media's influence on a teen's mind and heart.  One young man presented a colorful and intriguing story of the pyramids of Egypt (some amazing writing), and his brother gave a clear and compelling case for "one race" in humankind based on genetic and Biblical evidence.  And for a lovely ending, we enjoyed a young lady's mini-musical on her pedal harp, and her fascinating information about it.  I was so proud of them all! I've helped moderate or teach this class since my daughter was six years old...nine years of fun and blessing as my friend Yvette and I have coached and challenged these kids how to become great com