Heart Reflections Live

Monday, February 25, 2008

Only Jesus?

My husband and I have a good collection of old Biblical and historical movies, and recently he thought he'd like to rewatch an old favourite- "The Robe". The girls were happily playing in their room, when sensitive Talitha became aware of the dramatic background music coming from the living room...

"Oh, dear..." said Talitha. "I hear scary music. I think somebody might be getting killed... I can't go out in the lounge!"

Brave Zara said, "It's not that scary- the music- I'll go out and check... Hey Talitha, it's OK- It's only Jesus getting killed!"

Only Jesus? As you can probably tell, our girls are brought up with a solid biblical knowledge. They know that Jesus was born in order to die in our place for our sins, and that then He was resurrected... My only hope is that this truth will not become "common place" for them, overly familiar... Yes, it's good they know that it was a good thing for Jesus to die, but my earnest prayer is that this gospel truth will always be a glorious wonder of God's love to them, and that God's life and truths will take root in the tender soil of their young hearts. Our children LOVE their Bible Stories, we should all pray that these should never become just "Familiar Territory" to our little ones' hearts and minds...

Food for thought and prayer...

Labels: , ,

posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 8:30 pm 0 comments

Friday, February 15, 2008

This is My Symphony

"To live content with what you have;

To seek elegance rather than luxury,

And refinement rather than fashion;

To be worthy, not reputable, and wealthy, not rich;

To listen to stars and birds, babes and sages with open heart;

To study hard;

To think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await ocassions,

Hurry never;

In a word to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common-

This is my symphony- William Henry Channing


posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 6:40 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Of Dentists, Happy Gas, and "Shalom Jerusalem"?!

I had my first dental appointment in a long time last Tuesday, and having had major work done in the past it was no big deal to me, rather I eagerly anticipated it.

As I was getting ready to leave, hubby had a sudden change of plans, so I was to take the children with me, and he would most probably be there to meet me by the time my appointment rolled around. I must have be called in a little early or he had been delayed, so I asked if there was room to bring the children into the treatment room with me, while I waited for my husband. Both the girls had a few small books in their bags and they sat down in the corner and started to read- I prayed they'd stay good as I hopped into the chair for a scale and polish, checkup and to get some broken bonding fixed.

As, in the past, I had to have some teeth ground down a bit to fix a major problem, they can be quite sensitive during a scale so I'm usually offered happy gas for the duration of the procedure. I specified that I only needed a little bit, as I don't like feeling spun out and I knew I'd have to keep an ear out on the children.

I breathed in, started to feel nice and floatly, but not too spun out and the procedure began. As the scaling machine had a break, I became aware of another rhythmic sound in the room- Miss 6 was singing "Shalom, Jerusalem" joyfully and quite loudly! I nearly laughed out loud, in spite of the equipment in my mouth, but since I couldn't ask her to stop and neither the dentist or nurse blinked an eyelid, I let her sing away.

Hubby soon arrived, checked that the girls had been good, and the dentist said, "They've been great, hardly knew they were here. One of them sang a mantra? to keep Mum relaxed..."

As I rinsed and rose from the chair I said, "That's the first time I've ever heard Talitha sing "Shalom Jerusalem" while under happy gas- that was weird! I'm so glad I don't do drugs!"

He laughed.

And the really good news- besides the girls being good during my appointment- I Had NO CAVITIES!!!

Labels: , , ,

posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 10:12 pm 0 comments

Good Neighbours

I know a lot of folks these days who say that good neighbours are as rare as hen's teeth, especially in these modern times of high fences and wild parties- but we are truly blessed!

Not only have we a comfortable home with cheap rent in a lovely area, many of our near neighbours are committed Christians too!

Last Sunday, we stopped home after Church to unpack the Church gear and to grab our lunch before heading off again. I made a mental note to rush out and grab the washing in off the line from the day before, as a lot of our daughters' bedding was out there and we've had very sudden showers of late. I looked out the laundry window- NO WASHING!?!

I quickly popped into our neighbour Pat's to see if she knew anything about it and- Bless her heart!- she had gotten the lot in and folded it as she could see rain coming. What a Saint! She is such a blessing to us, giving me weekly sewing lessons and even offering to tumble dry our wet washing during rainy weeks.

Good neighbours are hard to find these days- we are so thankful. Are any of your neighbours an especial blessing to you?

Labels: ,

posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 9:50 pm 1 comments

Friday, February 08, 2008

Enriching Your Children's Lives through the World of Books

"About 30 years ago, Victor and Mildred Goertzel wrote a book called Cradles of Eminence . In it they described their research of the 400 most eminent people living in this (last) century. They were looking for common factors in the childhoods of these men and women, and a major influence was the home library. They wrote: "A rule of thumb for predicting success is to know the number of books in the home..."

- from "The Child Influencers- Restoring the Lost Art of Parenting" by Dan Adams.

I began to reread snippets of this book of ours last week, as I made preparations for home-schooling- I had forgotten how profound it was when I first read it. It lists typical child influencers such as parents, reading, family-based learning, TV, peers and school, and how you can change your lifestyle in small ways, so that the first 3 on the list become or remain the major influencing factors. I highly recommend this book, not only to people considering homeschooling, but to parents who have children in the State (U.S. Public) school system as well. The book doesn't condemn any schooling choice and has some great tips for parents of public schooled children too.

I don't know when my fascination with building a home library began, but I know as a child I was drawn to books, especially old tomes and Encyclopaedias with the gold engraved writing on them. When I was single and working, I would much rather spend my dollars on an old secondhand book than a new outfit. I rejected trendy fashions for a classic dateless wardrobe with literature to match!

As I grew in Christ it became more and more important to me to choose books that had a biblical world-view, and that is also an important criteria, now that we have children. If a book doesn't leave me wanting to know and love Christ more, then to me it's a waste of time reading it.

Some people say you're better off borrowing from a lending library, than spending money on your own books, but I beg to differ, though I use libraries as well. If I've heard good reviews on a book, then if possible, I prefer to borrow it to check it out first, and then if I really love it and feel it's worthwhile, then I'll shop for a second-hand or discount new copy.

Getting back to biblical world-view, I'm quite fussy on this point, and if a book is said to be Allegorical, I expect it to be a nice clear allegory, pointing clearly to Christ and His Word. I remember as a young Christian reading the Narnia series of books and coming away quite disappointed and disturbed by them- especially the mixing of a kind of Christian imagery with Pagan mythology, and some of Lewis's theology disturbed me in what I picked up through the allegorical/similarly setting. But that's my oppinion and my husband agrees with me, so you won't find Narnia on our shelves- I expect that many people have many differing views on C.S. Lewis.

My other criteria in choosing books for our children is that the hero or heroine must not do magic or witchcraft, as children generally emulate what they see. A bad guy or a witch in the same story is not so much as an issue as this can help them discern the good from the evil, especially if they come to a bad end.

While I've kept a few Disney books from my childhood, that's not the sort of thing I wish to spend money on now- literary wise they really aren't well written. As much as our children enjoy an occasional Pooh Bear DVD, they'd much rather I'd read them the real stuff by A A Milne.

We find the cheapest places to buy books these days are op-shops (thrift stores)- as these are often supporting Christian ministries, many of these places now give away Christian books, Hymnals etc, and also School fetes and spring fairs as the schools often have a library cull prior to these. Here we sometimes pay anywhere from 20 cents to $1 for a classic!

If you'd like some ideas of where to start with classic books, try googling 1000 great books- you'll be amazed!

If you don't own any books, where do I suggest you start? - A King James Bible, The Pilgrims Progress by John Bunyan, Fox's Book of Martyrs, Han's Christian Andersen Fairytales(I assess these on their individual merits- some are beautiful allegories), "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens novels, Jane Austen Novels, "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte, "Little Women/ Good Wives" by Louisa May Alcott, Beatrix Potter, A A Milne, Little House Series by L I Wilder, Anne of Green Gables series L M Montgomery, Heidi by Johannah Spyri, Robinson Crusoe- does this whet your appetite?

I would never exalt any book above the Word of God- always give it priority. These others on the list, will not only improve your children's vocabulary, but will inspire them to live noble, Godly lives.

Labels: , ,

posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 6:36 pm 1 comments

Monday, February 04, 2008

We've Survived...Our First Day Homeschooling!!

Well, our adventures in homeschooling started today, and I'm not at all unhappy with how things went.

I expected a little resistance from Miss 6, as she can be quite strong-willed, and having done Prep at a Christian school already, I knew she would find homeschooling quite different. But despite a few teething problems, God's peace prevailed in my heart the whole day. "Principal Daddy"stepped in a few times to help out, but I was rejoicing that the Lord helped me not to lose my temper with her (I still had to be very firm at times though!) when she resisted certain aspects of the tasks I needed her to complete.

Breakthroughs can be so exciting though! Miss 6 was stubbornly refusing to attempt her first phonics exercise, despite confident Miss 4 trying to do it for her, and when I insisted she start, in 4 lines of words she went from stubborn refusal, to sounding out letters slowly, to reading words swiftly and correctly! "You're reading phonetically, Talitha!" I cheered, and we went through the list again, all smiles this time. She then read "Hop on Pop" with very little assistance. I was so proud of her!

The best things in life can be really challenging, but it's worth going the extra mile to achieve God's best where your children are concerned. All in all, I had a ball today and can't wait for tomorrow!

Labels: , ,

posted by Father's Grace Ministries at 7:38 pm 0 comments