The Cat's Meow

Not to be outdone by a dog, our cat, Patches, has been choosing some unusual poses lately. Here she reclines on a bench that belongs to the girls. She jumped up here herself, and when I noticed where she was lying, I had to get a picture.

Now she's sitting on Faith's shelves. I don't know if she got up here herself or if the girls put her up here. But she did stay up there a while. Finally, they messed with her enough that she wanted down. She is a very patient and tolerant cat. She endures much loving from a particular daughter, but she is seldom cross even with the overly-affectionate child.

Here's a very naughty Patches on our dining room table investigating one of the bouquets the girls received after their dance recital. I've caught her on the table a handful of times, often looking for food. I hope she seldom gets up here, but I don't know where she prowls when we're all asleep! (And, yes, that is a bookshelf in our dining room! We have two more, and I'm hoping for another!)

A couple of nights ago I caught Patches working on the computer. I think she might want her own blog! I don't think she's a particularly accurate typist, but she sure is cute! And this desk is what happens when two disorganized people marry. And then start a home business requiring paperwork. And homeschool on top of that.

Now Patches is studying the Bible! Maybe she can help Paul with the difficult passage he's teaching for Sunday School on Sunday! I'm usually Pauls "research assistant," but if we learn to speak cat, maybe Patches can help out on occasion. I think she has applied the "be patient, bearing with one another in love" part quite well.

I'm sure that not only taking these pictures, but posting them says something about me. I just hope it's something good! Now it's time for a cat nap!

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It's a Dog's Life!

Recently our animals have been choosing very unusual places to sit! Yesterday we caught Callie lying on our new patio table! She appeared to be enjoying it quite a bit. After I took the picture, we shooed her off the table so she sat in one of the chairs. The chair was between
the table and the deck railing, and at first she couldn't figure our how to get down. A dog treat solved that problem! (And then we cleaned the table!)

Here she is in the chair, looking pitiful! I think she's saying, "Please let me sit here!"

This isn't her first time to choose a table for her bed. Here she is lying on a small table in our yard. I really wish I could have seen her get on the table. I don't know how she got on without turning it over!

And here she is sitting in a lawn chair! Once again, I wish I could have seen her get in it without upsetting it! The funny thing is that she has never been allowed on the furniture when she is in the house. The only time she ever gets on our furniture is when she jumps on one of the girls beds when she is scared (usually of the vacuum) or when she is trying to avoid having to get in her kennel. But somehow she feels very comfortable on the outdoor furniture!

Next post: Our cat doing some Bible study, some floral arranging, and a little bit of work on the computer!

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A Side of Ribs

I went to the doctor yesterday because I had been having pain along my lower left ribs for several days. At first I figured I had somehow strained a muscle or ligament, but when the pain didn't go away, I decided I should make sure it wasn't something more serious. He told me I had somehow injured a rib! I don't know how. I don't remember doing anything that would cause that much pain. But, since those ribs are right at elbow height, he said I could have even injured it by sleeping on my arm funny.

Wow, I may have injured myself by sleeping! And I'm good at sleeping! Guess I need to practice more!

Of course, the only thing that will heal my rib is time to let my body heal itself. But Naproxen does help with the pain. He also told me to try to avoid doing anything that hurts. The bad good thing is that most housework hurts. So I get a little sabbatical from housework! Unfortunately this extra load falls to
Paul, who is so overworked right now with his job and researching another business prospect. Maybe this would be a good time to teach Faith and Hope some new housekeeping skills. (This would be a bit easier if they didn't mind the sound of the vacuum. It's really not that loud.)

We've set up the Stuff-Mart pool, so maybe I can tie the extra housework to extra swimming time! However, since it looks like rain, I may have to wait until tomorrow to try it.

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Going to the Dentist

Dentists have come a long way since I was a child. I always dreaded going to the dentist, but all four of my girls LOVE going to the dentist!

We go to a pediatric dentist, and he and his staff do a terrific job of making what could be an unpleasant experience FUN! The office is decorated in a train motif with toy trains to play with and a model train running along tracks near the ceiling. The hygienists are all great with children and help them get over any nervousness. The dentist is also wonderful with the girls and does a good job of answering any questions I have. And then there's the Treasure Box. At the end of each visit, the girls get to go choose a toy. I think this is what they like most about the dentist!

So today we have four sets of clean teeth, no cavities, four new toothbrushes, four flosses, three plastic spyglasses, and one set of miniature Go Fish cards. Not bad for a trip to the dentist!

We topped off our trip to the dentist with a stop by the grocery store. I thought it might be nice to have some food to eat. I had a list of five things and came out with thirty-eight! While a few were impulse buys, most were things I had forgotten we were out of or were things we liked that were on sale. So now I have no excuse not to cook!

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What is Worship?

Yesterday, after our Bible time (reading Philippians) Faith revealed that she was unsure about what worship really is. Somehow she had gotten the idea that worship always involved some special feeling and maybe even changing circumstances. She has been sitting with us in church for over four years now and has had weekly opportunities to observe the corporate worship of our church body as well as how Paul and I worship. But we had not really taken the time to explicitly teach our children about what worship is.

I guess we just thought that watching others worship, along with learning the Bible at home and at church, would naturally result in the understanding of and practice of worship. It didn't! She was so relieved to hear that worship isn't a feeling but an action, a response to God, a belief. Often feelings do accompany our worship, but they do not define what worship is.

So now I want to include instruction about worship in our training of our girls. This won't be a formal "worship lesson," but I hope to address worship as we do life, maybe taking some extra time on Saturday to help her prepare to worship God on Sunday.

But worship isn't just singing songs at church. It's living a life that glorifies God and lifts up Jesus in all things. It's praying. It's studying, memorizing, and meditating on God's Word. It's being kind to family members and friends. It's being a good neighbor. It's making choices about what we watch and listen to that honor God rather than just doing what everyone else does. It's doing things we don't care for without complaining or arguing. It's being joyful. It's loving God and others. As Louie Giglio says, "Worship is a way of life."

I want to live a life of worship, and I want to teach my children to do the same. Because, whether I recognize it or not, my life is all about Jesus!

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Spelling Wisdom

Hope has decided she wants to learn spelling. Even though she is in the second grade, we have only had a brief time of spelling instruction. The spelling curriculum I have used with Faith (Spelling Power) recommended starting at age 8, which is third grade. Earlier this year Hope begged to do spelling, so we did the first few short vowel lessons. But she lost interest when the long vowels were introduced.

Since then I have discovered Spelling Wisdom. This is perfect for Hope. She is given a brief quotation to study for a period of a few days and then I dictate the passage to her, checking her spelling. Since she is familiar with many of the words already, she only has to really concentrate on a few. This seems to give her confidence, since not all the words are unfamiliar to her.

I also like that she is exposed to good quotes as opposed to lists of random words. Later the curriculum moves to short passages and even poems. The author selected the quotes/passages based on the most commonly used words. Although we've just started using Spelling Wisdom, I think we have found a great fit for our family!

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I've noticed that when women get together drama often ensues. I don't really know why, but I've seen it time and time again. For some of us, the desire for approval causes us to see each unintentional slight, each difference of opinion as a personal affront and evidence that we are somehow unworthy. Some of us have difficulty handling conflict, so we either avoid it or are so nervous that we come across wrong. Some of us, in a desire to feel understood or important, share unflattering things about other women with our friends. Maybe my sample population is really unusual - I hope it is- but female drama seems very common.

And the drama starts young. In a house full of girls, I see it as they interact with each other, but it is even clearer when young friends play together. Today my girls played with several friends and, of course, drama made its appearance. Sometimes my girls initiated the drama, sometimes they escalated it, and sometimes they were uninvolved. And this wasn't an isolated incident. I have seen girls manipulate, lie, cry, pout, and throw fits in order to control the situation or control each other.

And I've seen grown women do the same things in "socially acceptable" ways. Why? Why do we make mountains out of molehills? Why do we gravitate toward drama? Two reasons that are true for me are insecurity and control, and they are both related. I am often insecure in my relationships. I have seldom been secure enough in my relationship to God to really be OK if someone doesn't like me. (And not everyone will.) I'm often not secure enough to be myself and let God bring me into healthy friendships. And I am insecure with other women. I fear rejection. I fear that a difference of opinion means a dislike of who I am. So I take things personally. I blow things out of proportion. I just give up.

And out of this insecurity grows control. If I don't call her, don't invite her over, don't initiate a conversation, she can't hurt me. I've shut myself out, but I didn't give her the power to hurt me. Or I become who I think she wants me to be. I agree with her opinions, act the way I think she wants me to act, and pretend my way through the relationship. It's my way of controlling, of making sure she'll be my friend. But still I fear that if she knew who I really am that she would not be my friend.

Getting out of my pit was the first step in my establishing healthy relationships. But I have to continue to reach out, to be lovingly real, and to choose to let Jesus be my ultimate source of affirmation, acceptance, and love. To know that since He loves me I am worthy. To know that no rejection (real or perceived) can make me any less valuable in God's eyes. I need to know that HE IS ENOUGH!

I think as long as we are on this earth we will be exposed to some amount of drama, but I pray that God will continue to grow my love for and knowledge of Him that I am secure in Him. I pray that He will give me the maturity, discernment, wisdom, and love to not initiate the drama and not to escalate the drama initiated by others, but to be a minister of reconciliation and to give grace to all who hear me!

Now all these things are from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. ~2 Cor. 5:18

Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
~Eph. 4: 29

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Slowing Down

This weekend was busy but very good. On Friday I was able to accompany a friend to the airport in a neighboring city to transport our guest speaker for the Ladies Conference to our town. She and her assistant were both so nice and I enjoyed getting to meet them both. My sweet mom had come in town, so she watched the girls so I could go. The speaker we were meeting had spoken at an event at her church a few months ago, and she was glad I had the chance to spend some time with her.

The girls danced beautifully in their recital. Faith is a natural performer! She smiled big for her tap and showed her serious and graceful side during her ballet. Hope has struggled with tap this year, but she did OK, and her ballet was quite good. I could see some grace that she is developing. Grace was a bit reluctant, but she did get up on stage and dance. Joy was joyful! She embellished the dance with lots of lovely twirls and kicks. Everyone around us noticed her. All four enjoyed their beautiful bouquets.

Life has slowed down this week. Dance class is over until September. I think all four girls (and one in particular) are ready for the break. Faith and Hope have only one more day of children's choir at church until the performance this Sunday. All we have left for AWANA are Fun Night and Awards Night. And we only have 23 days more of school!

They've been using the extra time to be scientific and creative. Yesterday they caught bugs in the front yard to observe. Today they are playing with sidewalk chalk. The older two have also spent the past two days making "people" out of craft sticks and scraps of fabric that will be a birthday present for Joy and Grace. Faith got the idea after making a diorama for AWANA. I'm so glad that I let her figure out how to make the figures in the scene instead of telling her that she could dress up small dolls.

May is going to be a great month. Playing outside. Picnics. An out of town field trip. Fun. Imagination. God is good!

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Who am I?

I a Jesus follower who is trying to teach my four girls at home and be a wife to my minister husband. I prefer reading to cleaning and have a crazy Border Collie and the world's best cat!


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