Psalm 1

The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked

1 Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

The goal of education is to give people the knowledge they need to be wise. My husband and I want our children to be “like [trees] planted by streams of water” that they may yield the Fruit of the Spirit. This is no simple task. Wickedness comes naturally and is easier than being a blessed man of God. The world would tell us that God is not real, that we (human beings) are not extraordinarily special creatures, and that nothing really matters in the end. I do not want my children to accept those lies as truth.

God’s Word is truth. God’s Word is the most important thing for my children to learn. Of course, we will teach them mathematics, language, history, and science, but in such a way that they know that God created them, redeemed them, and sustains them. Without faith in Jesus they will perish with the wicked. That is certainly a sober thought.

I am thankful that my grandparents brought my parents up to love God and trust in Jesus for their salvation. I am grateful that my parents had me baptized when I was one month old, and raised me to know and love God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And I pray that my husband and I can pass on our heritage of faith to our children.

Lord, have mercy.


First Day of School

Today was our oldest son’s first day of First Grade. We started the day by twice listening to the 10 Commandments songs on the Sing the Faith CD. DSCF7997Then we worked on the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed and the first verse of LSB hymn 725, Children of the Heavenly Father. We completed history, math, geography, and science before lunch. After lunch we spent the afternoon working through the day’s phonics/spelling lesson.

He remembers a lot of things from last year, but we didn’t work very much over the Summer months, so he did forget a lot that we learned at the end of the year in phonics. His handwriting is better when he is doing copywork than with dictation, DSCF8004so I have to remember that when we have something longer to write that doesn’t necessarily need to be dictated to him. The dotted lines in the middle of his writing lines are gone this year, so he needs to work more on good handwriting than on his listening skills. He will get plenty of practice with dictation when he is learning his spelling words and writing dictated sentences. I can’t expect his handwriting to improve if he doesn’t have something to look at and copy when he’s working on writing longer portions of text.

Overall, the day went pretty well. DSCF8007The biggest challenge is keeping the 4 year old and the 2 year old out of our way. I gave them special things to play with and do, but that didn’t always help. They are interested in sitting at the school table with us, but it is just a small preschool table, so there isn’t really enough room for them to sit there and for my oldest son and me to have enough room to work. Also, they interrupt more when they are in the same room, anyway.

I also feel like my entire day was spent withDSCF8001 either the oldest working on lessons or with the baby nursing her. I spent a little time with our 2 year old son because he is in diapers and needed changes, and he was actually playing nicely (until I gave him crayons) when he was in the same room. I feel like I spent no time with our 4 year old daughter at all today and that most of the time devoted to her was in trying to get her out of my way or in disciplining. She will begin Saxon Math K next Monday, and then she’ll get some individual lesson time, too. DSCF8002I can tell now that she’s probably the one I’ll butt heads with the most throughout her childhood. I would love for her to sit and listen during the history and science lessons, since those will always be combined subjects for the children during their elementary years, but she doesn’t sit well for books always.

It is definitely always interesting to see how each child is different and wonder how they will grow, learn, and change as they get older.

LSB Hymn 716

I pass through trials all the way,
With sin and ills contending;
In patience I must bear each day
The cross of God’s own sending.
When in adversity
I know not where to flee,
When storms of woe my soul dismay,
I pass through trials all the way.

I walk with angels all the way,
They shield me and befriend me;
All Satan’s pow’r is held at bay
When heav’nly hosts attend me;
They are my sure defense,
All fear and sorrow, hence!
Unharmed by foes, do what they may,
I walk with angels all the way.

I walk with Jesus all the way,
His guidance never fails me;
Within His wounds I find a stay
When Satan’s pow’r assails me;
And by His footsteps led,
My path I safely tread.
No evil leads my soul astray;
I walk with Jesus all the way.

My walk is heav’nward all the way;
Await, my soul, the morrow,
When God’s good healing shall allay
All suff’ring, sin, and sorrow.
Then, worldly pomp, begone!
To heav’n I now press on.
For all the world I would not stay;
My walk is heav’nward all the way.

Verses 2, 4-6

I was going to only post one verse of this hymn, I Walk in Danger All the Way, but when I read through it all I couldn’t limit myself. This hymn states very well the life of a Christian. We live in a world full of trials, trouble, illness, and pain. However, we are not alone. Though Satan may try to convince us that we have no hope and that he will win, those are the same lies he has been telling since Adam and Eve were deceived in the Garden of Eden and they sinned.

We are not alone. Jesus and His angels are with us. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us recall Scriptures we have learned and hymns we have sung. And we know that though this world is full of sorrow and fears, that we may not be healed of all of our earthly trials, that when Jesus returns there will be no more tears. The old will pass away and He will make all things new. We will be in the presence of God forever and we will never sorrow or fear again.

LSB Hymn 656

3. Though devils all the world should fill,
All eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill;
They shall not overpow’r us.
This world’s prince may still
Scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none.
He’s judged; the deed is done;
One little word can fell him.

When I am afraid, especially at night, and the sound of a branch scratching on the roof while it blows in the wind makes me think it may really be evil at the door, I like to think of this verse of the beloved Luther hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. It is comforting to know that even though the dark spirits in the world may try to torment me, may try to snatch me out of the Father’s hand, the battle is already won. Jesus Christ defeated sin, death, and the devil through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the tomb. I like to think that the “one little word” mentioned at the end of this stanza of the hymn is “Jesus.” Jesus can send the devil and his demons away trembling. One of the best lines in the 2003 movie “Luther” is spoken when the character Martin Luther is being tormented. He says, “I am Yours, save me!” Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves that God is with us, that Jesus has saved us, even when we are afraid.

Here’s a great Luther quote that I discovered today:

The devil, the originator of sorrowful anxieties and restless troubles, flees before the sound of music almost as much as before the Word of God….Music is a gift and grace of God, not an invention of men. Thus it drives out the devil and makes people cheerful. Then one forgets all wrath, impurity, and other devices.

Maybe Luther knew when he wrote A Mighty Fortress how anxious Christians could use the song for their own comfort and remembrance that Jesus is the Lord of Heaven and Earth. And next time I am afraid I will sing that hymn out loud to remind me that Jesus is with me and He has conquered sin, death, and the devil.

Christmas Cards

Yesterday evening I got to have a few hours out of the house by myself. OK, the baby came along, but that’s only because I’m still nursing her. I went to a Christmas card making class hosted by my mother and a few of her other paper crafting friends. Any paper cutting involved was done in advance for us. I just needed to come ready to use the punches and stamps and adhere together all of the components. Since I had the baby with me I wasn’t able to stay out as late as I otherwise would have, so I was unable to complete all 48 of my cards during the three hours that I was at the class. One card in particular required a lot DSCF7983of paper punching, so I needed to make sure that I had my stamping and punching done, and one sample of each of the three cards that I was making, before I could go home. I still have a lot of double-sided taping to do, but I enjoy doing that kind of work with my hands. I certainly did not come up with the idea for these cards by myself, I do not operate that way. I’m a recipe follower when it comes to cooking, card making, and digital scrapbooking. I’m a little bit better with putting together my own designs with quilting, but I still follow patterns for individual components, like quilt blocks. I know my limits and I am willing to admit them!

I had a lot of fun being out of the house. As a mother of small children I rarely get any time off from my work. And being around four small people all day, every day, can get very frustrating and tiring. Also, since I didn’t get to finish the cards, I get the joy of continuing to work on them at home.

Best Animal Books

Pull Ahead BooksBy far, my family’s favorite early childhood level books about animals, and other science topics, are the Pull Ahead Books by Lerner Publishing. Each page has a few sentences of factual information about the featured animal and a wonderful picture. The three pictured books are ones that we purchased. We typically get them from the library. However, we had an easier time finding them at our public library when we were living in New York for a few years. Our local library just doesn’t have as many books from Lerner Publishing, which is disappointing. I need to request that they get more, I just haven’t taken the time to do it yet.

We are studying Life Science this year with the God’s Design for Life texts. We are using The World of Animals first, so we will be taking a few field trips to our local zoo, and we will be supplementing with the Lerner Publishing animal books that I could find from the library and the few that we bought. We also bought a great zoo guide from Answers in Genesis. It has a picture of many different types of animals and then some basic facts about each pictured animal.

My 6 year old son is a visual learner. He learns so much from reading books, whether by himself or listening to my husband or me reading to him, or from watching videos. He has a great memory, too. That is another reason why I love the Lerner Publishing animal books so much. They are simple enough for him to read by himself, and they teach him all sorts of facts about animals. He has expanded his vocabulary with words like omnivore, predator, camouflage, and nocturnal just from reading and listening to these books. And it brings great joy to a parent when your child uses a new, “big” word in conversations with you as he tells you about the interesting things he now knows.

Psalm 13

How Long, O Lord?

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

13 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

We live in a sin-filled world. Even our human bodies, which were the crown of God’s creation, are corrupted. Babies are born with abnormalities, diseases, and disorders. People contract illnesses and diseases. We fall, we hurt, we struggle, we die. We could easily look at the suffering around us and come back hopeless and in despair. We may not even need to be dealing with personal sufferings to despair at the world. Or maybe it is our personal sufferings that keep us locked into a feeling of helplessness.

Jesus healed the sick. But he never promised that he would heal all of our earthly ills in this life. Jesus overcame the world, sin and corruption, with His death on the cross and His resurrection from the tomb. But how can I be sure that this is truly for me? When you are baptized Jesus unites you to Himself. He claims you as His own dearly loved child. When we feel ignored by God and overtaken by the sufferings and cares of this world we can look to Christ’s work on the cross, and his baptismal bond to us, and know that, though we suffer, we are His. Though we despair, He is our hope. Though we have no control over even ourselves, He has control over earth and heaven and promises to return and make all things new. There will be no more tears, no more sadness, no more sin, no more corruption, no more suffering, no more illness, no more hopelessness for those who trust in Jesus and His promises.

In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
-John 16:33