Monthly Archives: July 2011

More than One

I’ve entered a new era in my homeschooling experience. It’s called: more than one child. While most of you would laugh at my naiveté, I am both excited and scared. I’ve been homeschooling my son for all of about two years (at least officially). Now my niece has moved in part-time, and her schooling has become my responsibility. I get to teach another child to read! I’m so happy! Yet, I’ve only ever had to manage one child at a time, so I’m a little nervous as well. How will I find time for everything?

Sometimes I feel a little guilty when I think of all the homeschooling mothers who focus solely on ministering to their families. I feel that I’ve put my own educational, musical, and writing goals ahead of my duties as wife and teacher. In an effort to “do better this time,” I’ve majorly cut back on my piano and voice students to make things easier. I’ve decided to write only when I have all of my other duties taken care of. Nobody told me I had to write; it’s just something I enjoy. But I don’t want to have any regrets when it comes to spending time with the children and teaching them to the best of my abilities.

I do have some advantages this year: my son is reading well enough to be able to follow instructions in his math and language books. And when he reads aloud to me, he doesn’t take an hour like he did last year. I’m thrilled at how much his reading skills have developed over the last couple of months. In addition to all that, my niece absolutely loves her schoolwork! She’s been looking forward to the day when she would begin schooling for quite some time now, so it’s a simple task to motivate her. I’m thinking I can teach Bible, art, home economics, science, and history together, and maybe have my son read a lesson aloud to my niece every once in a while.

I never imagined myself teaching more than one child, so I’m quite unprepared and open to any suggestions you all may have for me! One thing I’ve decided: I’m not going to push so hard with this one. My son loved reading – until I pushed him further than he could comprehend. He’s hated it ever since about the middle of kindergarten. He’s just now beginning to read for pleasure again. So with my niece, I’m going to make sure she completely understands everything each step of the way. If she has trouble with a new math or phonics concept, I think we’ll just keep redoing mastered things until she is mentally capable of understanding the new material.

The Key to Happiness…

In a word, obedience.

Every time we disobey, we are in essence saying, “I know how to make myself happy better than You do, God.” It is identical to Eve’s sin, and it is no less stupid than hers, although we all blame her for the condition of the world.

Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch

Recently, I read Doing Virtuous Business by Theodore Roosevelt Malloch. On page 10, Mr. Malloch suggests that virtue is the root of business success, and throughout the rest of the book, he gives many examples to support this idea. He encourages employers to realize that people are spiritual beings (pg. 20) and to treat them as such. The book is filled with all kinds of practical applications and examples of virtue in business, and how those virtues contributed to the growth and success of known companies.

I truly enjoyed reading this book; the author shares his well-worded wisdom on nearly every page. He has a lot to say about treating people as equals, and not merely as a means to an end. In fact, on page 60 he states that, “You honor God by respecting his image, which is the human person.” Later, he shares something that all of us could stand to live by: “…the object of compassion is this person, here and now – the one whom you come across and whose need calls out to you (pg. 100).” I had a few complaints, but all in all, I’m very glad to have read it. I believe it should be read by every businessman.

If you want to find out more, check out the product page for this book. Or you can preview it here.

Note: In  exchange for an honest review, the publisher provided a complimentary copy of this book through BookSneeze®.

…from the Mouth of Babes

I recently read Kimberly Williams’ new book …from the Mouth of Babes.

When I was a girl, I always figured I’d marry a preacher. It just seemed like the natural course of events for my life. God had other plans for me, but it was extremely interesting to crawl into the mind of a pastor’s wife for a little while. While Mrs. Williams is full of the wisdom one would imagine a pastor’s wife to have, she maintains a humble attitude. Readers will understand quite quickly that the author’s family is her life. Many of her posts involve either her husband or her children, and they are filled to the brim with encouragement for the Christian woman.

From the very first page, I was encouraged by the wisdom that Mrs. Williams had to offer. Because I am a remarried Christian, I was encouraged by her exhortation to “teach … [my] children the consequences of [divorce] and the standards that God has set (pg. 2).” Too many times, we try so hard to hide our mistakes, that our first-hand experiences can’t be of any use to anyone. We must never brag about our sins – past or present. But we can use them to identify with others and to point others in the right direction out of experience.

Mrs. Williams also touched on service, (pg. 7) which is an aspect of the Christian walk that is close to my heart. Years ago, I was searching for God’s will in my life. For some reason, I thought that God needed to tell me in no uncertain terms what to do next. As I was praying, it occurred to me that if I would only seek out a life of service, God’s will would naturally open itself up to me. It’s so nice to make yourself available to minister to the needs of others, instead of constantly searching for a preconceived position that we think is ours to fill. We wrongly wait for God to open up the specific door we are looking for. In the meantime, nothing else gets done, and the needs of others go unmet. The author writes that “God reminded me in His Word that my service to others is service to Him (pg. 7).” She goes on to explain that even the most mundane tasks can be offered as a service to God, such as doing laundry for our families. (As an added benefit, she also gives us a simple recipe for inexpensive laundry detergent.)

I also really appreciated Mrs. Williams’ take on obedient wives. So many of my acquaintances believe that they don’t have to obey their husbands because their husbands are so very wrong. The author makes the valid point that “you will be accountable to the Lord for your obedience, not your husband’s (pg. 9).” If we could only get this idea across to all of the Christian women, I believe that the world would change as a result. Maybe even the non-Christian women would realize the benefit of deferring to their husbands if only they could see it in action once in a while. Since we already know that it is God’s will that we obey our husbands, “without submitting myself to my husband I could never be in the will of God (pg. 10).”

I will tell you that it is refreshing to me to find a Christian who believes in obedience to our government (pg. 17). When it comes to filling out taxes and obeying speed limits, sometimes I feel like I’m all alone.

I have so many good things to say about this book, that I fear my review will run for pages and pages. To keep from scaring people away, I’m going to cut the review a little short. Allow me to just mention a few more of my favorite passages:

On page 19, Mrs. Williams relates a story that caused me to look at prayer in a new light. She says, “It thrills my heart as a parent to be able to bless my children, especially when it is something they have been diligently asking for.”

I like the way that she takes responsibility for training up her children: “My children’s behavior is a direct reflection of my training…When I allow my children to disobey me I am training them to grow up to disobey God (pg. 28).”

I love her comparison of life to a corn maze (pg. 69). Only God can see the whole picture, and when we do finally see it, it will make perfect sense.

I enjoyed her reminder of the original meaning of the word “Christian (pg. 80).”

She addresses television on page 90, 128, & 139. She touches on modern problems such as evolution (pg. 106-107) and feminism (pg. 108-109). She even gives us practical ideas for how to spend your time or give gifts when you are running low on cash (pg. 51 & 151-153)!

One of the ways this book has most helped me is in the area of contentment. It seems like I constantly think that I need to go buy something. I don’t usually just wander around aimlessly looking for something to buy, but when I’m at home, I think of something that I could really use, and then it seems like I have to run out and buy it. It is especially easy for me to rationalize when it comes to something that would make the educational process easier for me or my students. She addresses this problem on page 49, 53, and even though she isn’t specifically talking about covetousness on page 139, her exhortation about not loving things that God hates spoke directly to the covetousness in me.

And then there are the essays that are so close to my heart, it would take me pages and pages to explain how much they mean to me. For instance, the one titled “I’m Dying,” on pages 156 & 157, and the one titled “Giving Thanks” on the following page. Pondering these essays was like having an epiphany. I walked away thinking, “so that’s what God really wants from me.” I still feel like I need to spend an hour or two just considering the implications in my life. In fact, after reading the entire book, I still have several pages dog-eared for re-reading and re-thinking.

Note: I received this book at no charge in exchange for an honest review.