Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reading List

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My good online friend posted a reading list on her blog (can I call you that Kim?), so I stole her idea as a way to keep me accountable. I have a stack of books in front of me that I've been wanting to read for years now. I've been adding to it slowly, but not really subtracting many books. *sigh* Fiction is always easier and faster to get through than educational books. At any rate, here's what's on my shelf.

Raising Your Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka (I'm about 25% through this one)
Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr John Townsend (again 25% through)
A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George
The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson
Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton (this one has been sitting on my shelf for so long it has a picture as a bookmark of Nadia when she was a baby. My dear beloved friend gave this to me.)
Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus (again about 25% through. I'm noticing a trend here.)
Think Like Jesus by George Barna (can you guess how much I've read?)
Too Christian Too Pagan by Dick Staub (same.)
Women In the Church by Stanley Grenz and Denise Muir Kjesbo (this is the one I am currently working through with the bible to check references.)
Becoming A Woman of Influence by Carol Kent

And here is my wish list (all fiction):
Yada Yada Prayer Group Series by Neta Jackson (I just got done with the first two)
Desperate Pastors Wives Series by by Ginger Kolbaba and Christy Scannell

So that is what's on my shelf.  Ugh.  That's enough.  I feel like I'm in college again and it's all MY choosing.  There is just so much good stuff out there, it's hard to not read.  But then again I've always been a reader, a researcher and a writer (among other things).  

Recycling At It's Best

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I believe in recycling and all, but this is the best way to recycle!!

This was all packing paper in ONE box. It was hard to believe how much was there. I thought, the kids are always wanting something to draw on. So I gave them crayons and let them have at it. I'll keep what's not been doodled on for other times (would be good for painting too.) They had great fun!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thoughts On Homeschooling

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I suppose it was only a matter of time before we got to this point. I mean, it follows naturally in our swing of things.

Even before Andrew and I got married we talked about homeschooling our children, for various reasons. The main one being we wanted to be sure our children were getting taught the things we wanted them to be taught (or, not the stuff we didn't want them to be taught). Naturally we wanted them to have a quality education. Little did I know that I would have a child that challenged me at every turn. Granted she has gotten much better, but we still butt heads frequently. That's probably because she is so much like me.

With this growing concern and time moving rapidly I was beginning to panic. When she turned 4 I knew we had to do something, as the next year she would enter kindergarten. I knew very little about homeschooling, the laws, what was required that first year, what would be required of me and how would I possibly get stuff done around the house and watch a little boy and school my daughter. I've been told the schools around here are ok, but.... We knew that the public schools weren't the way we wanted to go. Needless to say I was feeling the push.

I had also heard my fair share of homeschooling and how it's bad for the kids and that they NEED to be in public schools. *sigh* What my child needs is a good, quality education. And what we needed to do was figure out what that would be. It was tempting to just shuttle her off to school everyday and have more quiet in the house. But do I want to sacrifice my daughters most impressionable years for a few hours of quiet? Isn't that what being a mother is? Sacrifice?

Well about mid winter I discovered virtual charter schools. I was ecstatic! I thought this was the answer. Here I'd have someone who knew what needed to be taught in each grade, the lessons, the testing and I didn't have to worry about a thing!

I was so wrong.

We started the enrollment process. Everything was going great, until one of the last things I learned. I found out they run an all day kindergarten. I went to a half day kindergarten and I remember that about half that time was spent in recess, rest time, lining up and the other half was spent in actual instruction time. This charter school was expecting me to instruct a 5 year old for 5 hours a day. How in the world would I get anything done? Much less school and take care of a 2 year old? I'm sure not even all day kindergarten is 5 hours of solid instruction!

I'm finding out from other mothers that they spend a max of 2 hours in homeschooling in kindergarten. THAT I can do. And since I found out that PA's compulsory age for school isn't until age 8 and we wouldn't need to report that we are homeschooling until that age I feel much more free to sort of try it out. I'm told that kindergarten is the easiest to school. Not only that, but I've found tons of resources online for curriculum.

Needless to say, we stepped out of the enrollment process at this charter school. We will definitely keep it in mind for later years. But for now, homeschooling is much more an option to us after researching it a bit more.

Truthfully I'm apprehensive. Nadia and I just rub each other the wrong way. I don't want her education to suffer. BUT she LOVES to learn. And I do feel that it will work out.

But I'm not satisfied with it just falling into place. I'm reminded I need to spend time in prayer, lots of prayer about it. God loves her just as much as He loves me. He created myself and He created Nadia. In His wisdom He placed us together.

Pray for us too. And if you have any words of wisdom I'd love to hear them. One thing I'm learning is that this homeschooling thing cannot be done alone. That's much like the rest of life, isn't it?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Adventures In Whole Grain Baking

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Y'all know I bake with whole grains, or as much as is possible. Now I should give you a bit of background on my experiences with whole grains. Growing up, my Mother was a H.E.A.L.T.H. N.U.T. I am not kidding. We ate tofu dogs long before they were popular (and if you ask me, they still should not be popular). Rice milk, dairy free this, and sugar free that were staples at our house. Yuk. I believe in eating well, eating healthy so as to promote healthy bodies. However, there is a problem with all of this IF NO ONE WANTS TO EAT THE STUFF! *ahem* My mother forebade any sort of normal, or real cookies, candies or cakes in our house. At all, like never, not even for a treat. We weren't in danger of dying if we ate a single solitary chocolate chip cookie! That being said, I do believe in eating well, I also believe in small treats. You know why? Because my brother and I were so deprived when we would come in contact with said sugary treats we would gourge ourselves on the heavenly goodness. I can still ashamedly recall plunging my finger into a forbidden canister of chocolate frosting, over and over and over again at my grandmothers house. No wonder I grew up fat and frumpy.
So, I make cakes, cookies and treats at my house. Not everyday, not even every week, but there will always be some sort of sweet treat at my house for my kids and husband. My children are learning self control. But I still want to make those treats as healthy as possible, without sacrificing taste. The problem with the 'sweets' my mother had for us tasted like sawdust. They were junk and we didn't eat them. So I've been experimenting with whole grains. I've got the bread down pat. Rhys will even snack on a plain piece of bread. Which is just fine with me. But lately he's been wanting Nilla Wafers after his dinner. So I found a recipe to make my own. YAY! I wanted to put some whole wheat flour in it, but in the past when I replaced all of the wheat, they didn't turn out as nice. So this time I used a soft white winter wheat. Still the whole grain, but a lighter, better for cookies, cakes and quick breads. And I only replaced half the flour called for the whole wheat.  They turned out great.  I also made some chocolate chip cookies for the rest of the family and replaced half the flour with wheat and Nadia raved over them.  If she can't tell the difference, and the girl knows her cookies, then they've got to be good.  If they pass the Andrew test I know it works. 
For your salivation delight, a few pics.

The Vanilla Wafers.  Crisp and light just like the store bought ones. 

An oldie, but a goodie the beloved Chocolate Chips. 

Makes you want to eat one, doesn't it? 

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Life Lessons From a Horse Whisperer

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Life Lessons From a Horse Whisperer by Dr. Lew Sterrett  


A champion trainer and true horse whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett has used patience and a firm but gentle hand to earn the trust of more than 3,500 horses. In this book, Lew tells the stories of his work with these horses and the lessons each one has taught him. Sometimes heartbreaking and often uplifting, Lew has condensed his lifetime of learning into messages for the Christian life. Today, Lew shares these messages with more than 50,000 people each year through horse training presentations at Miracle Mountain Ranch and nationally through his Sermon on the Mount Ministry.

The author's engaging style and adroit mixture of well-tested anecdotes and thoughtful instruction make this a winning read-and not just for horse lovers.


A champion trainer and true horse whisperer, Dr. Lew Sterrett has used patience and a firm but gentle hand to earn the trust of more than 3,500 horses. Dr. Lew Sterrett (Ph. D) had little idea that his boyhood interest in horses would open doors internationally for speaking and training. During his years in 4-H, he savored many opportunities to train and show horses and earn national recognition. As a student leader at Penn State University he benefited from many mentoring relationships from which he received valuable training, experience and honors. This foundation provided a basis for an extensive horse career with a unique emphasis on training youth and community leaders.

Lew has served as the Executive Director of Miracle Mountain Ranch Missions, Inc. (MMRM) since 1977. MMRM, located in northwestern Pennsylvania, is home for a summer youth camp, and a leadership training center for youth, adult, and family groups. He has also promoted safety in public riding programs, serving as President of the Certified Horse Association for 7 years. A licensed pastor, certified Youth, Marriage and Family Counselor, he earned his PhD from North Tennessee Seminary in 2007.

An Interview with Lew


Of course this statement opposes the more popular line that 'If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing well'. However we must understand that no one ever starts anything at the top of their game. Starting is often clumsy, messy, and many times, embarrassing. The key is 'get started' for you will never learn any younger, and you really have no place to go but up! The emphasis here is to learn how to take the initiative and to keep getting up when you fall.


Berry, though outwardly beautiful and inwardly kind and cooperative, came to a place in his training that seemed impossible to surpass. As chapter 6 tells you, we thought Berry had reached his pinnacle. Finally, instead of trying to force the issue, I went back and started some basic training to increase his flexibility. Eventually, he overcame the physical challenge that was holding him back before. What I learned from him impacted me. Character is a reflection of the heart and will always surpass natural beauty and talent in the long run.


Every trainer wants a relationship with the horse. Man’s ways are opposite to God’s—we are deceitful and addictively self-absorbed—but God wants a relationship with us. To get there, God often has to corral us and get us to face the futility and deception of our own reasoning. Like the horse, we can’t 'save ourselves.' The story of this book is that not only does God want a relationship with every reader, but He has already sent the trainer, the Lord Jesus Christ, into our arena to speak our language and to elevate us to fellowship with him. It is our privilege to respond to Him in humility (repentance) and trust (faith) in His offer of forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe in Him for salvation.

Find out more about Dr. Lew Sterrett on his website:

My Thoughts
 I enjoyed this book.  I have loved horses from an early age, although we never had horses on the farm.  Maybe that's why I loved horses so much.  The Lord spoke to me through the author in a few ways, one was that if I am constanly saying "I can't do this...." then I am focusing on myself and my powers, my abilities.  God has called me to this, therefore I need to look to the one who called me, not myself.  He is my leader, my trainer.
The other was that anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.  This ministry that God has called me to is not going to be perfect, ever.  Especially not at first.  But if I want to hone my skills I need to start somewhere.  I need to just let go of the fear of failure and focus on God training me and leading me.
Other than the things it taught me, I enjoyed the easy to read nature of the book.  It was a very enjoyable read and I recommend it to others.  I found myself nodding my head in agreement to the many things he said.  I could see how some of the things would help me in rearing my daughter and son.  I encourage you to check this book out!