Tea Time with Annie Kate Rotating Header Image

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow

Our God is  God of miracles

Our God is a God of miracles

This weekend I will celebrate my fiftieth birthday!  I want to thank God publicly for the miracle that made this possible.

Of course, every new day is a miracle for everyone.

But I experience this is a deeper way than most.  You see, many years ago, when I was very ill, I received a preliminary diagnosis of liver and spleen cancer.  I was not expected to live for more than a few months.  However, that preliminary diagnosis was wrong and now, six and a half years later, my husband still has a wife, my children still have a mother, and I am one thankful woman.

I praise God for his goodness and kindness.

Because, despite all the prayers, God did not have to work this miracle.  He reminded me of that earlier this month when a friend with almost identical symptoms received an almost identical preliminary diagnosis.  In his case the diagnosis was sadly correct; it seems as though God will not give him and his family many more precious days together on this earth.

No, God did not have to work this miracle for me, but he did. And therefore I want to praise him publicly and tell the world what he has done.

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,

Who wondrous things has done, in Whom this world rejoices;

Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way

With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

May you, too, my dear readers, be able to thank God for the good he has done for you.  And if thankfulness is hard for you today, hold onto the fact that God is good, as Ann Voskamp did in her profound book One Thousand Gifts.  Remember that, somehow, it’s all good …because God is with us, and because he is good and loving and has the whole world in his hands.

May God bless each one of you in your own unique situation!

Christian Biographies for Young Readers by Simonetta Carr

My favorite book in the series

My favorite book in the series

It is so difficult to find well-researched, well-written Christian biographies that appeal to all ages!  As homeschoolers we are constantly looking for such resources, and in Simonetta Carr’s Christian Biographies for Young Readers series we have found a treasure. These stunning books

  • speak to children, teens, and adults;
  • are lavishly illustrated with photographs as well as original artwork;
  • give a clear and fascinating picture of the person as well as his or her times;
  • discuss the person’s ideas and contributions accurately but simply;
  • often present the person’s own thought through letters and other writings;
  • portray heroes of the faith positively without glossing over their failings; and
  • present conflict in factual, non-inflammatory manner.

It is difficult to imagine a better series for our homeschools….

Read the rest of this post over at the Curriculum Choice where I have summarized all my reviews of this series, relating them to each other.  Or you can read my full reviews here.

As an aside, I’m pleased and thankful that the publisher picked up on this post.

Two Week Wrap Up: Winter and Learning


053 (446x500)

We’ve had some real winter this year.  One girl has felt skin begin to stick to metal; another one does not have to be told to wear snow pants anymore.  In the middle of all that cold our fireplace, the house’s main source of heat, developed a quirk and at the same time the oil furnace stopped working.  I’m so glad the furnace works again, and my talented husband will be working on the fireplace today.

In our homeschool

Miss 16 is very, very busy with her math, physics, and amazing online English course.  When she has a few spare moments, she fits in her other schoolwork. On her own, she has started studying on Saturdays.  Obviously there is no time for volunteering this term, even though she really enjoyed her work at a small Christian school last fall.

Miss 14 is still using ALEKS for math, and that is going well.  Rather than studying French with a textbook we are reading a book (in French) about France.  I have never done this with French before (although we have used that method to learn Dutch), but it stands to reason that daily use of a language is a good way of learning it. Of course, that means my French needs to be quite good because I’m explaining things as we go rather than with the help of a textbook.  I’m so thankful for all the years I taught the older children from a textbook!

Miss 12 is dynamic as usual, busy with her schoolwork some of the time and with her music and other projects as often as she can be.  It is a daily challenge to make sure that the schoolwork does get done even though it is not as exciting as planning for a new flock of laying hens, or designing and sewing warm mats for the dogs, or taming a vicious rooster.

After some intense effort, Miss 16’s high school records are up to date.  Because we work only partly from textbooks, I often do not know how a course will turn out as we go through the high school years.  It’s important for us that our teens follow their own interests as well as learn the basics, but of course a university admissions office needs all that learning organized into recognizable courses.  So, a few months into grade 12 I look at all the work that has been done, group it into courses, gather all the marks and writing, set up course grading schemes, and write it all down.  That colossal job is now done.  The rest is just filling in the blanks in courses that have been properly outlined and determined…unless Miss 16 finds more exciting rabbit trails to follow.  (I’ve written about the record keeping method we use here and here.  And here’s my very popular post on the results of our record keeping for one teen.)

In our gluten free kitchen

Soups, lots of potatoes, eggs, squashes, simple meats, mandarins and apples, yoghurt, ham and beans, and even a baked oatmeal with peanut butter and chocolate.  It tastes like dessert rather than a real meal, so we went the whole way and served it with whipping cream.  I’m trying to incorporate greens into each day, but in the winter I obviously need to rethink my summer-time approach of just walking out to the garden for something.  That’s always an adjustment and sometimes I forgot about greens for a while.

Some of my favorite things were

  • Getting Miss 16’s high school records up to date.
  • Warmth.
  • Time with friends and family.
  • Learning.

Questions/thoughts I have…  I find I’m constantly tweaking the way we learn and the way I encourage the girls, even after almost two decades of homeschooling.  I suppose it’s just part of homeschooling.

Fitness… It has taken a lot of effort and patience, but I’m back to about 9000 steps a day after having a health setback during the holidays.  I have not yet added the other exercises I should be doing.  Because I am very busy with several projects and still need to sleep 9 hours a day (plus a nap), it’s also becoming more of an effort to fit exercise in.

Some of the things I’ve been working on

  • Homeschooling and record keeping.
  • Studying the history of science, specifically physics in the 19th century.
  • Anticipating and preparing for a visit from all five of my siblings!
  • Absorbing the books I’ve read which means, for me, writing reviews.
  • Pondering how to implement my 2015 goal to connect.

I’m reading (all links are to my reviews on this blog or on GoodReads)… Exodus.  Currently I’m in the middle quite a few other books:  Michael Faraday and the Royal Institution, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Fundamentals of Applied Electromagnetics, The Financially Confident Woman, The Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Read earlier and waiting to be reviewed—which is how I absorb what I read—are Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam, A Mathematician’s Lament, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts, What the Most Successful People Do before Breakfast, The One Thing, You Shall be Free Indeed, and God’s Undertaker. Yes, I am behind in absorbing what I read and that is a problem.  My goal for today is to finish up some of the reviews either for this blog or GoodReads.

Reading aloud…We read Acts at mealtimes and have finished Tom Sawyer.  Now we’re enjoying Michael Faraday and the Dynamo.

When my husband is home for meals, we read Revelation.

I’m grateful for ….  My dear husband who copes competently with broken fireplaces, failed furnaces, spouting kitchen plumbing, freezing pipes, and chewed up electrical cords as well as all the demands of his intense daily work and of being a husband and father.

Quote or link to share…. “What higher goal can a man set than to reveal God’s creation?” which is a quotation from Michael Faraday and the Dynamo.

This post is linked to Kris’s Weekly Wrap Up , Week in Review, and Finishing Strong.

And I Get to Share That!

sunlight, even in winter

Reflecting the sun, even in winter

(These thoughts felt too personal to publish, but my husband said they would help some of you.  So, dear readers, here they are, with a prayer that God may bless you through them.)

It was almost 8 PM.  Miles and miles away, Bible study was beginning but this season, due to logistics and health issues, I cannot attend.  One of my girls, knowing how sad I felt, had kindly turned on Handel’s Messiah.  The music swirled around me, along with airy fluff from a cattail that had exploded.

And so, sitting beside the fire, I picked up the study guide my friends were using far away and experienced its amazing message as though for the first time:

God made the world.  I rebelled against his loving rule, even this very afternoon.  Even this very moment, in fact.  I want to be in charge, to make things work my way.  But from the Bible, history, and personal experience we all know how that invariably turns out. Besides the inevitable failure of my rebellious efforts, there is also God’s judgement to face. 

Once again I’m confronted with the sacrifice Jesus made to save me from God’s fair punishment and my own willful ways.  And, not only did Jesus die, but he was also raised, because he is the Messiah, the ruler, the judge.  How blessed I am that my judge died for my sins and, instead of condemning me, gives me his goodness as though it were my own!

Yes, indeed, there are two ways to live.  My own way that causes such pain and sadness and intense restlessness, and God’s pure way that brings goodness and hope and peace.

This was what our study was teaching us to present winsomely to non-Christian friends.  Yet, though I have been a Christian for decades, I needed to face this gospel message personally last night, alone, with tears in my eyes and a repentant heart.

I experienced it again:  The gospel is for me, too, because I, too, am a sinner.  It is for me, too, because Jesus loves me and offers it to me.

And I get to share that!

And these two ways to live, God’s way and my way—well, because of God’s grace I most eagerly want to live God’s way, according to all of his commandments, because Jesus saved me from my sin, so I can begin to live God’s way again.  Around and around that goes, in a heavenward spiral.

Yes, now I get to share that!

May God bless you as you, too, get to know him and his Word more deeply and as you learn to share the good news about Jesus.  As Psalm 90 points out, our time here is short.  Let us use it wisely to connect with God and with those around us.  Perhaps we will even be able to show those we love the God who loves us.

The guide our Bible study group is using and that I confronted so intensely last night is Two Ways to Live:  Know and Share the Gospel by Phillip D. Jensen and Tony Payne.  I highly recommend it.

For more encouragement, visit Missional Weekend, Coffee for Your Heart, Raising Homemakers, Titus 2 Tuesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Mom to Mom Monday, Monday’s Musings, Missional WeekendR&R Wednesdays, From House to Home, Homemaking Mondays, Good Morning Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Mondays

Your Local Public Library

library sign After the Bible, the library is probably the most valuable resource we homeschoolers have access to, and it amazes me that some people homeschool without it.  Even those of us who use it regularly often do not take full advantage of its many resources.

In fact, even though our family uses the library so faithfully that our librarian refers to us fondly as “my homeschoolers,” we, too, had been neglecting a lot of what the library offers.  So I decided to start the year off by encouraging us all to use this free and wonderful resource a whole lot more.

To find out more about what your library may offer, continue reading at The Curriculum Choice.

  • Mom Links

  • Archives