Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Family Devotional for Lent

Since today is the first day of Lent, I got out our book, Family Celebrations at Easter, by Ann Hibbard.  I highly recommend this book, as it appeals to many ages and more than one learning style, and focuses on the gospel.

Each devotional begins with a short present-day story or situation, then moves to a Bible reading (not very long) pertaining to Lent.  Then come discussion questions, and I usually start with the youngest child and work my way around the table of kids, asking the provided questions and making up a few of my own.  I can quickly think of easy questions for the younger kids, and the more thought-provoking questions often launch my older kids into a meaningful discussion of the topic at hand.

The devotional ends with a short prayer and a suggested hymn, and then instructions about which symbol* to hang on our Lent tree.  The kids have fun guessing which symbol it is, based on that day’s reading.

*We copied the symbols (from the back of the book) a few years ago onto card stock, cut them out, colored them, and tied pretty yarn to each of them.  Also, we don’t have a tree; one year we just tied the symbols to a crocheted string hung across our fireplace mantel.


Do you feel like a leaky bucket?

Do you ever feel like a bucket with holes?  –Like you just learn an important life lesson, only to forget it the next week?  So did the writer of this prayer:

“My mind is a bucket without a bottom,
with no spiritual understanding…
always at the gospel-well but never holding water…
My heart is without affection, and full of leaks.
My memory has no retention,
so I forget easily the lessons learned,
and thy truths seep away.
Give me a broken heart that yet carries home the water of grace.”
(From The Valley of Vision)

I pray that my leaky bucket will hold enough gospel grace to pass on to my children–and that when they’re discouraged about their leaks, they’ll know where to go!  I don’t feel adequate for the task, but “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift [of grace]!”  (2 Co. 9:15)

The Creator of Time is Also the Giver of Time – Do you need more?

I read this today, and was inspired…

“The most delightful fact of all regarding time is simply this:  the creator of time is also the giver of time.  When we have exhausted our supply, used up our twenty-four hours, and still need time, an amazing thing can happen to those who ask for it.  God will give us time.  I don’t know how it happens, but many people besides myself have experienced it.  God can do this for one reason—time belongs to Him.”   (from How Do You Find the Time, by Pat King.) 

I love this book!  The author goes on to describe many stories of people who should not have had enough time to do all they needed to do, but because they chose to pray and trust God for everything on their list, it got done!  I’ll have to post later about my little “experiment” this afternoon regarding this.

Holiness, Dinner and Dishes

You might laugh when you hear what I’m reading these days; it’s basically a home management book called How Do You Find the Time, by Pat King–copyright 1975!  (So nothing about computers, email, or even homeschooling.)  But she did have 10 kids, all living at home for awhile, and I am not only enjoying the book, but finding many helpful tips.

In the chapter I read today, she talks about dinner–planning it, preparing it, and then cleaning up.  My first thought was , “Oh, I’ve got a lot of experience with that, and I think I’ve got it down pretty well.”  But she calls it “The 4:30 Syndrome” because 4:30 pm rolls around, and none of us want to stop what we’re doing to make dinner.  How right she is–at least about me!  (I usually push it off until 5/5:30!)

So I read on…

Mrs. King, the author, never planned to do anything after 4:30 pm except spend time with her children (now home from school) and make dinner.  She puts it this way…

“It’s a combination of listening to someone’s reading, giving spelling words, sharing a cup of tea with my daughters, making cookies or a salad, or peeling potatoes.  I don’t plan housework, telephone calls or even work at my desk.”

I began to picture my kitchen filled with children during supper-prep-time, all doing various activities; some helping me with food prep, some doing dishes (so there are less after supper), and some just quizzing each other on spelling or listening to them read aloud.  (By this time in the day, all of my kids have had some good free time.)  So the supper-prep hour becomes a family time where everybody helps–not just the one or two kids who want to help me that day.

After many more practical tips about dinner, the chapter concludes with this…

“Each of us is called by the Lord to holiness.  Isn’t it amazing that so many of us answer that call through something as everyday as dinner and the dishes?  The evening meal is the paradox of our homemaker lives.  It looks, at a glance, so unimportant when we consider all that there is to be done for the cause of Christ.  But when we answer this calling to lay down our lives every day at 4:30 with a conscious love for the Lord, it is not only helpful beyond all understanding to those we love, but when it is done for Jesus how can it be anything but important and utterly worthwhile?”

Anyone have any helpful tips for the “4:30 syndrome”–otherwise known as “Dinner Prep”?

(Ironically, we’re ordering pizza tonight for Barrett’s 11th birthday!)