Journaling Through the Valley . . . and finding JOY in the morning!

Location: MICHIGAN, United States

Thank you for stopping by. It's my hope you find glimpses of my Savior interwoven thru my writings. I am the wife to one husband for over 25 years, a blessed mama to a dozen children, yes each born from me ~ two of which see Jesus face to face & ten at home, all of us yearning to see Jesus someday. We have been home educating for over 18 years with . . . well, another 15 years to go (the youngest is 3, the oldest 23!) I have walked through rejection, to continually learning I am CALLED, LOVED and forever KEPT by God - never, ever to be rejected by Jesus! (Jude 1:1) I've walked through deep sorrow to find that joy does come again, though the night may be long; I've witnessed God orchestrating miracles with my children still beyond my comprehension, & I am seeing new love forming as we begin a new road of older children finding life mates. My life has and is a journey, from the deepest, almost rock bottom pit, to stumbling through my faith and looking towards the ultimate climax of everlasting life in heaven. Will you be joining me here and there? ~ Loni

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

When life seems hard . . . PRAY

When we look around at what others are going through, doesn't it seem like our problems seem so much less. Please remember to keep these families in your prayers . . .

"Pour out your heart like water in thepresence of the Lord...

Recovering from her 13th surgery.

...Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children."
Lamentations 2:19

Please keep Emily in prayer as she goes into the hospital at 5:30 am TODAY, Tuesday. Her surgery (for thyroid cancer) is scheduled for 7:30 am (central time zone). If you are willing to commit to a specific time to pray, please visit DANDELION SEEDS to commit to the time you will be praying. Stop by Crystal's blog and let her know that you're praying for the family as well and watch for updates there.

Continue praying for Luke, who drowned over a year ago and is going through major rehabilitation and has a very weary mommy. He is quite sick again.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

CANDACE - 13th Surgery Changed to Sunday

Candace will be having her 13th surgery in 18 days tomorrow (Sunday) which was previously planned for today (Saturday). Please visit their updated webpage along with new pictures and updates about her condition and be sure to pray for this trying time for the whole family and for Candace to be able to get through this surgery well.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Choking Game in our Local News

There was an article on the front page of our local paper today about the choking game in our area. You can read it here: Grand Rapids Press Article

Another group, The Choking Game Association of Appleton, Wisconsin, is trying to bring awareness regarding this "game" and has a brochure going to print. They will be trying to distribute this into the hands of parents, teachers, doctors, etc. They have included on the front page of this brochure 21 kids who have died from this game, including our son. We knew this brochure was being made, and we had to approve of it as well, and when it we saw the first copy, it hit both Norm & I pretty hard. Matthew's picture is right in the middle. We are thankful that we can be apart of bring awareness, yet it's certainly nothing we ever anticipated of. This was not the dream we had for our son. The inside of the brochure gives information of awareness, and what to watch for. One statement surprised us that says:

"75% of kids already know about this game
and how to play it

Talk to your children - TODAY.

The brochure links above can be printed from that webpage OR you can e-mail me and I can send you a copy in PDF format or JPG format. Feel free to print them up to share with your friends, teachers, doctor's office, etc.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hold Them A Little Closer

I've been trying to do more of my scrapbooking pages, and have been "talking" scrapbooking with some friends, and came across this picture that I want to share. This is my oldest 5 from about 13 years ago. It's a precious picture to me. All the innocence. Oh how I wish I could go back to those days, and savor them more. I am so thankful for the memories, and precious pictures, like this. Below is a poem a friend wrote when she lost a son. Little did I know when she shared it with me many years ago, how much I would be able to relate to it. I thought it fit this picture as well.

Picture is of (left to right) Heather, Jayson, Heidi, Stephen & Matthew - and our then lab puppy Shadow)


I pray you never walk through
The agony I’ve known
I pray that all your little ones
Will stay until they’ve grown.
I pray that you can really hear
My brokenhearted cries
So you will know the anguish
When a child dies.

I pray it makes you hold them
Closer to your breast
And savor every moment
As if it were the best.
For none of us can ever know
How soon they will be gone
And all we’ll have are memories
To hold us in the dawn.

Oh dear and tired mother
Of rambunctious little lambs
Do not grow weary of washing
And helping little hands.
Remember that these precious ones
May not be with us long
And we will have to suffer
Such pain when they are gone
So when you cry at one more day
Of toys spread on the floor
Think of if they weren’t there
To mess up anymore.
Think of all the precious things
You’ll miss and wish you had
You’ll see those things that irked you so
They weren’t all that bad.

Hold them closer for awhile
And stroke their silky hair
And touch them gently once for me
I wish that I were there.
For as I cry out for my son
Who cannot feel my touch
My heart cries out to tell you all
You can never love too much.

© Copyright 1997 Vickilynn Haycraft
August 1, 1997
11 months after her son Benjamin died

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Homeschoolers, Can You Relate?!?!

From Mommy Brain:

How many of us will say something like that this week?!?!?!

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I can hear the deseprate cry in this mom's heart as she cries out for her daughter's sake. Please continue praying for Candace AND the family. They are very weary and don't know God's plan at this time, and it's so hard to watch their precious daughter go through all this.

Candace needs your prayers today!
Sunday 02/19/06 Eleventh day in pediatric intensive care 10:00 a.m
Candace had a hard night recovering from yesterday and the infection that she is still very much battling. Just when we felt we were going forward in getting her in a reclining wheelchair and starting to sip gatorade she has seemed to have a setback. She has been running high fevers of 102 + and has a very high white blood count. Also her hemocrit was way low and she is currently getting another blood transfusion. Please pray ferverently on this Lords day as things seem to go up and down rather dramatically. We really would like to avoid the stomach tube but with the fevers she has not regained an appetite. In the scope of things that last part is probably very trivial but is a mom kind of concern. Please pass this prayer burden on to others who you know will take this before the throne of our Lord.

Cathy for all

Sunday 02/19/06 Candace Update 9:50 p.m.
Candaces' condition will necessitate a surgery tomorrow to check on the advancing of the infection. Because of her weakened condition and total lack of appetite since her arrival eleven days ago she will also have to have a stomach tube inserted during tomorrows surgery. Pray for her to regain some strength and for her constant ongoing fevers to subside. Also please pray for Gods mercy on our situation.

In gratitude for you,

A Peek Out Our Front Door

A couple of bloggers asked this (Intent & Quiet Life) "Why not post a picture of what is out your front door?" Here's a peek out our front door - after our ice storm here:

Snow covered driveway - kids swing and football.

Straight out front of our house - farmland & stateland beyond.

To the left - our garden fenced in and our neighbors golfcourse to far left.

Close-up of ice-covered tree. It looks like sparkling diamonds in real-life.

To the far right - ice covered trees above our house.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Oregano - a Fascinating Herb

One of my girls is planning to grow an herb garden starting this spring, and has been researching various herbs, and even starting some in her bedroom. One of the herbs she did some research on has fascinated us all is oregano. Now this oregano is not the type you put on your pizza, so in showing you the great health results from it, does not mean if you eat more pizza, you will be healthier! (That's what my children were hoping!).

One of the books that our daughter's research came from was The Cure is in the Cupboard - How to use Oregano for Better Health, by Dr. Cass Ingram's. The type of orgeno we are talking about is an herb that is actually grown in the Mediterranean. When you read of Hyssop in the Bible, this is actually Oregano. In our reading we have found that the best way to use it is using Oil of Oregano which is an essential oil derived from the leaves of wild oregano plants. We specifically got from our local health store "Oreganol". It costs approx. $30 for a small bottle. The oil has powerful antiseptic qualities, so it kills germs and bacteria on contact. The book will show you how to use oil of oregano to treat or reverse some common health problems including, colds, flu, rashes, nail fungus, gingivitis, yeast infections, acne, etc. We personally have found it works great for cancer sores. It is VERY strong - you only use a drop at a time. For the cancer sores I just put one drop on the sore. Water or juice needs to be used shortly afterwards because of the strong sting to it. But now our kids ask for it, because they know just a few times of using it, their canker sores are gone. We have also used it on some cuts the kids have had, and it too worked great as an infection fighter.

The author also has a webpage and one of his statements is: "I call wild Oregano Oil a 'Medicine Chest in a Bottle,' and every medicine chest is incomplete without this versatile essential oil."

Candace Update

CANDACE OUT OF SURGERY 2/18/06 2:30 p.m.

Todays surgery has taken longer than many of our previous seven surgeries. Some infection was found at the open site on the right leg. This is a eight inch opening that was the original site of the pain Candace had beenexperiencing. Please pray for this stubborn flesh eating organism to be eradicated from her body. Of the four other open sites, one small one on her abdomen was able to be closed today. We are very grateful for this. Candace is in quite a bit of pain right now as she has built up a resistance to all these narcotics. Pray for a release from pain also. We will see the bone specialist on Monday to explore the explanation for the bone damage to the thigh and hip. There is a caution with a biopsy because of the possibility of entering infection to that area. God bless you all for your continued faithfulness to stay with us during this lengthy hardship. Also Candace has not eaten since our arrival as her intestense is quite bloated. If I can not get her to eat something today they will insert a stomach feeding tube. I really pray we could avoid this.
Love Cathy for all

Please pray for a mother who lost her six day old baby Katlin yesterday. She was by our room and the child was recovering from open heart surgery.

Friday, February 17, 2006


I don't know how it happened, but it seems everyone around us is without electricity after a major snow ice storm here. We had tornado warnings, wind warnings, and an ice storm. Our electricity flickered a few times, but never went out. In our area it was said on the news 65% of the area is without electricity. Our phone service is out though but were told it should be on by 8 p.m. Saturday night. It looks beautiful outside with icicles hanging from all the trees. But, along with this a LOT of branches are down, and several large ones just missed our vehicles. When we walk outside it sounds almost like gun-shot with the ice crackling and you can hear the branches cracking from the woods.
We are safe and warm. We are thankful! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Jesus Will Still Be There . . .

We've had some rough days. Just when we think things seem better, we stumble and fall, and the wounds reopen. So many write how strong we are. It's God's strength, and when we don't depend on that, we are pretty weak. We've had some weak days. Just keep praying. Below is a song that touched me, but wanted to answer some questions too that several have asked:

I'm wondering how everyone is doing?? Overall everyone is doing good. There are still memories that trigger things - from taking showers to going downstairs alone. We still get junk mail in his name that we wish would end! There are days when one or more of the children will just really break down and sob over missing Matthew. One of our younger ones just does not understand and will often ask if we can "go see Matthew in that box" and asks if he is awake yet. I think the hardest part for all of us is that our lives ARE different. We've changed. Personal relationships and friendships are different and changed - some even drifted. This has all been a painful growing experience - espeically for our children. We are still all adjusting. We do look forward to daily things more.

How are Stephen's classes going? He is doing great. He is taking both automotive and welding coures and doing very well. Last semester he had A's in his two classes, and this semester he has 3 classes, and so far doing great. He is also doing an (unpaid) internship at two different automotive repair shops.

Did Norm get a job? He is still working out of our home, and we are "squeeking by". He is getting ads out again to start up the lawnmower repairing and already has a man that wants his mower tuned up ready to go (and we are gettting a bad snow/ice storm here!). He's been getting occassional snowblower and chainsaw repairs. We also took in puppies in both January and February which we don't usually do as it is a slow time during the year, but they sold! For now Norm feels led to stay home and work. If something came up or he read an ad of an appropriate job, he'd apply, but I think he has been very discouraged with the Michigan employment market.

Are the kids able to make it through the week without any nightmares? Thankfully, this is not a problem anymore. One of our children has regular "good dreams" of Matthew (which I am jealous of).

How is your room decorating going? SLOW! We only spend money we have, and will not go into debt, so it's been very slow. In time Norm has to rent "something" (not sure what it's called) to be able to put the ceiling u and rent "something" for putting the carpet in and have some supplies to get with this as well. After that is done, it should go quicker - we have the paint, carpet and wallpaper. I have some sheer material on layaway at Walmart that matched perfectly with our paint and was so excited to find it on the $2 a yard table! We were also just blessed with a wonderful gift of a dozen towels & washcloths for our new bathroom! Of course, this does not seem to get done quick enough and our twin teen girls are VERY anxious to have a little more privacy and be in their own room. They have decorating ideas then too . . . but one thing at a time! My little craft room and our closet off our room are finished which was an "add-on" thought to change the look of the room more and be able to change the layout of it.

How is homeschooling going? Much better. The kids are getting more done, and motivated much more with it. We are able to work some of their AWANA into our schooling and also more of their interests into it. One of our daughters is interested in herbs and planning her herb garden for the spring and doing lots of research. It was kind of neat with something else. We mainly use Saxon Math for our children from 4th grade through 12th grade which is an excellent program. One of our children really struggles with it though, and just cannot grasp the concepts. I was ready to make a trip into the "big city" which we don't do often, to try to find something else. But we had gone to Good Will that day and I found an old Arithmetic book which spells things out really well, and it's an "antique book" which this child loves. And, I got it for only 50 cents! So, that has helped remotivate and reinspire and math is going MUCH better! :) We have to get going a little more with one of our younger children, but I have to get some books for her too which we have held off a little bit. If we go to our anual spring HS convention, we might then get them.

Jesus Will Still Be There
by Point Of Grace

Things change
Plans fail
You look for love on a grander scale
Storms rise
Hopes fade
And you place your bets on another day
When the going gets tough
When the ride's too rough
When you're just not sure enough

Jesus will still be there
His love will never change
Sure as a steady rain
Jesus will still be there
When no one else is true
He'll still be loving you
When it looks like you've lost it all
And you haven't got a prayer
Jesus will still be there

Time flies
Hearts turn
A little bit wiser from lessons learned
But sometimes
Weakness wins
And you lose your foothold once again
When the going gets tough
When the ride's too rough
When you're just not sure enough...

Chorus (2X)

When it looks like you've lost it all
And you haven't got a prayer
Jesus will still be there

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

Love is patient; love is kind
and envies no one.
Love is never boastful,
nor conceited, nor rude;
never selfish,
not quick to take offense.
There is nothing love cannot face;
there is no limit to its
faith, its hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things that last forever:
faith, hope, and love;
but the greatest of them all is love.
~ 1 Corinthians 13 ~

CANDACE - no surgery today!

Hopefully you have been reading Candace's webpage and know the updates. I won't post ever detail here each day, but give the major news. The best news today is that today was the first day she did not need surgery since last Wednesday! Oh, those parents must have some relief from that, though she is still in a great deal of pain that has been hard to manage. That is hard. I remember with Jessica, while she was still intubated, and could not talk, yet tears would stream down her face from the pain. It's so hard as a parent to see this, and am sure these parents have shed many tears as they have sat by her bedside. The infection right now seems to be under control. PTL!! She will have another surgery tomorrow, so continue to pray. Also when you visit her webpage, there is a place you can sign that you are praying. How neat to see her prayer list grow to well over 2000 on a daily basis!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

CANDACE UPDATE - another surgery - more infection

02/13/06 SURGERY ON SUNDAY 5:09 p.m.
My sweet little Candace slept well last night with only a low grade fever present. This morning she went into surgery and our initial report is that additional infection was found in her posterior which means she has now another open surgical site which will be examined during future surgeries. Pray for the end of this rampat infection and the end of the seemingly endless surgeries. Also pray for the pain to be under conrtol.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Candace Update - Hope shines through

Candace's mom: " . . . We are still very much in the fight for life and death but this is the gift of the Lord to keep us going on and we shall always cherish it . . ."

You will rejoice & cry!

CRITICAL ~ Continue to Pray for Candace

From their webpage:

Candace in surgery 2/11/06 10:17 a.m.
Candace is once again in the fight for her life. A hard night was had last night filled with high fevers and deep respirtory problems. She has a chest tube to pump the fluids out. The stress of daily major surgery is taking its toll on her but the infection must be stopped as it is spreading so rapidly and eating away muscle and bone. It has traveled to near her small intestine but has not yet broke a barrier wall that separates these organs from muscle. Further evaluation will be coming after this mornings' surgery. Your prayers are urgently needed. If directed by the Lord, would you consider fasting for my girl? Time now is very crucial.

With much gratitude,
a very heartbroken Cathy (mama)

I've had several ask - yes, the picture of Candace is with her mom (below). Candace is the 8th of 9 children.

Who are you upholding?

So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. Exodus 17:11,12

Are you an Aaron and Hur, upholding someone, or are you a Moses, being upheld? Who are your Aaron and Hur? Who is holding you up your arms when they get tired? And whose arms are you holding up when their arms get tired? I've had many Aarons and Hurs in my life, from Sunday School teachers, to a special high school teacher (who I know reads this) to many friends who have been there, upholding us in prayer, helped us with our children, and helped us in so many ways. And, I think of the opportunities God has given us to be an Aaron and Hur to those who have gone through similiar experiences. I thought too, these verses and this picture just struck me so particularly as we uphold this family in prayer with their daughter's serious illness.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Continue to Pray for Candace

Continue to pray for Candace. She had an emergency surgery last night and this afternoon.

If this is the first you have read on her, please see my post below. The last update from her webpage says:

"Candace is out of surgery and is resting this evening. Surgeons removed infected muscle and tissue and now her vital signs are looking a little better. The infection has been detected to be a "Beta Strep Infection" that has gone out of control causing "septisimia" and eating away muscle and soft tissue. Candace has been left open at several surgery sites and has received transfusions. These sites will be worked on daily to remove infection until we are out of the woods. Please pray for physical stability that may end the countless surgeries and pray also for the antibiotics to take effect."

Though the circumstances are very different, it brings back many memories of our daughter's long ICU stay after her 2 open heart surgeries. Even the pictures seem so similiar. Our children have said the same thing seeing Candace's pictures on their webpage. We are sure this family is very weary after this long week of several surgeries and staying close to their daughter's bedside.

You can visit their webpage updates at: From this page you can also sign their prayer calender to let them know you are praying for them.

commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

(UPDATED) Urgent Prayer Request for Young Girl

This little girl, Candace, age 7, is the sister of a young couple, Patrick & Hannah, who are friends of ours that live in Florida. She is actually Patrick's youngest sister (of a large family). Patrick & Hannah attended our church well over a year shortly after they were married. They are now involved in missions.

Candace is in critical condition. At first they thought she had cancer but ruled this out and have said that is is an aggressive infection called "Gram positive cocci Infection" originating on the bone and spread throughout the soft tissue in her body & is rapidly eating away her bones and muscles. As of 3:00 p.m. today, she was having her 3rd surgery of this week this time to insert an ear tube so that they can place her in an oxygen chamber. They are hoping that that pure oxygen kills the infection. The doctor did tell them today, that "We cannot get to a worse situation that we're in now."

You can visit their webpage updates at: From this page you can also sign their prayer calender to let them know you are praying for them. Please be in prayer for Candace and their family.

URGENT UPDATES: (from their website)

In the Chamber. 2/10/06 11:41 a.m.
As the sun rose this morning I was never so grateful for the opportunity of life. At this very hour Candace is undergoing "hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy". A little while later she will receive yet another life saving surgery than return for her second therapy session. Pray for her on these critical day's and for the antibiotics to take effect.

Surgery a Success. 2/10/06 1:40 a.m.
Candace Joy is safely out of surgery! Candace survived a lengthy emergency surgerythat involved removal of much muscle and tissue through out her pelvic region. God has seen fit to spare her of any amputation and or organ loss. We are grateful for one more daywith our precious child. Continue to pray for her for she will be on a ventilator and receive transfusions plus daily surgerys. God's grace is more than sufficient for us

Emergency Situation Worsens. 2/9/06 9:32 p.m.
Candace is either in or going into right now a Massive Surgery to save her life. A form was just signed givingthe Doctors all rights to take away anything necessary to save her. Please pray that she makes it through the Surgery and without fatal damage.

Massive emergency Surgery. 2/9/06 8:45 p.m.
Details are lacking but we just heard that when Candace was taken out of the Oxygen chamberthat something happened and a drastic surgery is needed right away. Candace is now being wheeled in for some massive emergency operation details coming soon.

Concert Picture

Our girls (the two on the right) went to a concert and Jadon Lavik was one of the singers. They were asked to get this picture taken for his website. We just looked, and it is there today! :)

In Tennessee ... 'choking game' death . . . 30 Deaths THIS year

Click here for my last "choking game" blog entry.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Magazine Review: THE OLD SCHOOLHOUSE Winter 2006

This is my third review for the Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Besides all the wonderful articles, it is almost like having a homeschool convention right in your home! Though it is filled with advertisements, you will love them! There are lots of beautiful pictures, great descriptions and many links to their own webpages.
  • The articles are fantastic, encouraging, enlighting, and thought-provoking. I would like to share on some of the articles to give you some ideas of what you might be missing!

  • GIVERS, TAKERS and GAKERS - Which are you? The giver is a rare person, who is selfless and does not need the praise of others. (The perfect example is Jesus). The taker is as it sounds, a taker, very selfish, and potentially dangerous. Most fit into the gaker category. They aren't takers, and let everyone know. They feel they deserve the best of everything, especially if they paid for it! They seem to have the covetness attitude, yet will compare with others, especially with what they can't afford and complain continually & are very ungrateful. This is a very thought provoking article.
  • Successful Homeschoolers and Bloggers - Success is not about personal gain, but the decisipleship of our children in homeschooling and the witness as a blogger. This was the paragraph that touched me personally and want to share it:
    Just in the past few months, adultery, divorce and suicide have all touched our local homeschool community. Homeschooling is not the salvation of our culture. Jesus is. Homeschooling will not make a famiy successful. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a child from rebellion. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a marriage strong. Jesus does. And the minute I think that homeschooling will do any of these things is the minute I downward spiral toward defeat. Homeschooling will not build a successful family anymore than a hammer will build a successful house. Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it. - Psalm 127:
  • Meet a variety of families and how they adapt homeschooling to their lifestyle. One particular family is the Vogelgesangs who perform together in various circuses and stage shows as clowns! They share how they are "careful to be in the world, but not of the world, that means no immodest clothing, ungodly music, or behavior that would not honor God. Our standards seem to attract more non-Christians than they dissuade." Meet another family, the Frank Family, who share their homeschooling experiences, including their youngest child with Downes Syndrome, and how they adjusted to that, and continued with homeschooling when they thought they were not adequate to do the job. They even wrote a book, Life Prep for Homeschool Teenagers for teaching "everyday living" such as mortgages, credit, insurance and taxes.

  • Meet other Bloggers! I loved reading this part - just normal everyday moms sharing about their blog and what the purpose of their blog is. One of my favorite bloggers, Ann Voskamp of Holy Experience was also featured. She is such an encourager of enjoying the moment and finding glimpses of Jesus every moment. Another favorite of mine that is featured is Donna Booshay from Quiet Life.

  • The story that touched me the most, was "Homeschooling Through Life and Death". I read this a few weeks ago in the car as we were taking our daughter to her cardiology appointment. Leo & Lisa Atkins have buried two children who died of a rare heart disease. They have two younger lively boys, yet one has the same disease and had to have a heart transplant. Here I was on our way to our daughter's cardiology appointment, worrying about her, and I read this article, and it was as though God said "and YOU are complaining?" Here are a couple of paragraphs that will touch anyone's heart:

    "Looking at Leo's beaming face, you'd never guess that this had had two of his boys die in his arms just four years apart. Lisa's bright smile hides the fact that, although she's been homeschooling for over ten years, she has never schooled any of her children past the age of 8 . . . [speaking of their first son before he died] . . . As the disease progressed, Lisa contiued to homeschool. "It got really hard," she says. "He got so weak that I had to write the answers down for him." She pauses, remembering that day. "Eventually, I had to close the book, knowing he was done . . .That was really hard," she adds."

    The advantage with this family homeschooling, was that they spent quality time with their children, including taking time off and make memories.

  • There is a wonderful article "Interviewing Home Educated Artist Johannah Bluedorn". I wrote a review on this young woman's book, Bless the Lord, The 103rd Psalm. This is a delightful article, filled with many of her drawings and encouragement that "you don't have to be an artist to raise one!" I love the ideas given.

  • There are several articles written on teaching your homeschooled children writing. If you find this to be as much of a challege as I do, you will receive many ideas and encouragements from these articles titled: "Writing Essays", "Enticing the Reluctant Writer", "Writer's Workshop" (Getting Children Excited About Writing); "Letter Writing Right and Proper"; "Getting to the Root of Writer's Block"; "Growing Authors and Illustrators"; and "Writing from Home" (being an example).

This is just a little glimpse of this 193 page magazine. I love The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! Though in "magazine style" it's more like a book, packed with information for the family just beginning or new ideas for the family, like us, who has been homeschooling over 13 years. You won't be disappointed, and their is no better time with the great offer of 19 free gifts with a subscription, an almost $300 value.

NOTE: As a Mind & Media Reviewer, I was not compensated for providing this review. I received this complimentary magazine subscribtion in order to review it and am thankful for this opportunity.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Joseph wept

I just finished reading the book of Genesis. I’ve gotten a little behind in my reading through the Bible this year, but I’ve learned so much. I am not just reading to read but have been following a book and also BibleBlog.Com.

There are numerous things that stood out to me in reading through Genesis – one being God’s great compassion and patience. I’ve seen more of the failures of men – things that are horrible sins and yet we remember them as great men of God. In one verse it can be talking about the sins of the man . . . and go to the next verse and see “the Lord blessed him” (regarding Isaac in Genesis 26). Some even make the same wayward decisions as their father – such as Isaac and Abraham.

Jacob and Joseph really came more alive to me. I could read the great compassion and struggles and despair they went through. Most know the story well of Joseph and his colorful coat, and he was sold to the Ishmaelites. We read how Jacob mourned for his son for many days (Gen. 37:34). The next verse caught my attention-

Gen: 37:35: Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, “Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son.” So his father wept for him.

I see his sons and daughters thinking – maybe even saying aloud “Come on dad – life goes on – get over it – Joseph is not coming back – there’s nothing we can do – you got us – stop crying!” But the grief was so deep.

Over 20 years later, when the famine was going on and Joseph's brothers needed to return to Egypt with their now youngest brother, Benjamin, and they were trying to talk their father into letting Benjaimin go. Jacob finally gives in and says: (Genesis 43:13,14) "Take your brother also, and arise, return to the man; and may God Almighty grant you compassion in the sight of the man, so that he will release to you your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved."

It is sad to see how discouraged and fatalistic Jacob is after all these years. God allows us to see this man's emotions and how the death of a child even after all these years, still grieved him greatly. He wasn't over it.

The other thing that stood out to me was Joseph's great compassion and the numerous times it is said in Genesis how Joseph wept.

  1. Joseph tells the brothers to leave one behind while the brothers go and bring Benjamin back to him. The brothers talk amongst themselves and feel this judgement against them is because of the what they did to Joseph and sinning against him. They do not know Joseph can understand their language and at one point Joseph "turned away from them and wept." (Gen. 42:24)
  2. When Benjamin is brought before Joseph, and he sees his brother, Genesis 43:30 says: "Joseph hurried out for he was deeply stirred over his brother, and he sought a place to weep; and he entered his chamber and wept there."
  3. Joseph had had everyone leave the room when he revealed himself to his brothers, and (Genesis 45:2) says: "He wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it."
  4. Genesis 46:29 - "Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel; as soon as he appeared before him, he fell on his neck and wept on his neck a long time."
  5. When Jacob died, (Genesis 50:1) "Joseph threw himself upon his father and wept over him and kissed him."
  6. After the mourning time and burial were overwith, Joseph's brothers were very worried that Joseph would hold a grudge against them for what they did to Joseph, and now would be their payback time. They sent a message to Joseph begging for forgiveness. Genesis 50:17 says: " . . .And Joseph wept when they spoke to him." . . . Genesis 50:21 "So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones." So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them."

The other thing I found interesting was to read how they grieved for someone, and all the openess and long time of sharing. When Jacob died, they had an "embalming time" which they preserved the body. Gen. 50:3 says the embalming time was 40 days and the Egyptians wept for him for 70 days. The procession before the burial was quite some thing too (Genesis 50:7-10):"So Joseph went up to bury his father, and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household and all the elders of the land of Egypt, and all the household of Josephhis brothers and his father's household; they left only their little ones and their flocks and their herds in the land of Goshen. There also went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company. When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed seven days mourning for his father. " Verse 13 says: "his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah . . ."

This was not a hurry, let's get this overwith, get on with life, funeral. This took place over several months.

In reading this it struck me how God allowed it to be shown how emotional Joseph and Jacob were - allowed to show their real being and the deep grief they carried. In our society now, it seems emotions should be hidden, and pain should disappear. To lose any family member or close friend is very difficult. But reading how Jacob,even after 20 years, deeply grieved over the loss of his son, to the point, he just wanted to die. Mourning is not over when the funeral is over, or when you've made it to a certain time period. And men grieve greatly too. If you have made it to reading to the end here, you probably are wondering why I wrote all this. We are doing much better than we were a year ago. We are trying to get back to more normals and overall things seem to be going well. Yet, in our minds there is the missing person, that should be a part of our family. It's just not complete. Norm said just a week or so ago, that he knows we can go on, there is joy again, and we can have fun again, but there will always be the thoughts of how Matthew would have enjoyed certain things, or the remembrances of the past when he participated in things we are doing now. We still ache, yet most think everything is ok. And, it's not just the emotions of a woman, but my husband too. He's still a man that is hurting greatly, and yet, in our society, it does not seem proper for another man to ask him how he is doing, and if Norm brings up Matthew's name, there's a pause in the conversation, and the subject is quickly changed. We've changed, friendships and relationships have changed, our children have changed (and still struggle daily with certain things), but joy is returning, looking forward to the newness of the morning is here, and life does goes on, still with tears.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Does anyone know what this is?

One of my daughters got this as a gift and we have no idea if there is any meaning in this. I am not sure if it is some kind of symbol or what it could stand for. We don't feel comfortable letting her wear it until we do know. Anyone know? Thank you!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Poem - God Remains Our Source of Courage

"God Remains Our Source of Courage"
Greg Asimakoupoulos

God remains our source of courage
when we're traumatized by terror.
When we're haunted by the headlines
and the violence everywhere.

Hear God whisper in the silence,
"Don't despair, I'm in control.
Hurting hearts and broken cities
will at last one day be whole."

God can feel the pain of suffering
when grenades and bombs explode.
When a son is robbed of living
at a checkpoint on a road.

Then God whispers in the silence,
"Justice will in time be done.
I will stand with those who need me
'til my Kingdom fully comes."

God can see disasters coming
when we try to get away.
When the twisting wind and flooding
turn our world a greenish gray.

Yet God whispers in the silence,
"In the tumult of the storm,
I won't ever leave you orphaned.
if by faith you've been twice-born."

God knows when our own tsunamis
wash away our inner peace.
When a doctor's diagnosis
triggers worries that won't cease.

But God whispers in the silence,
"You can make it. You'll survive.
Even if you're taken under,
by My grace you'll be alive."

God invites us to be trusting
when we find that faith is hard.
When we're fearful for our safety
and our nerves are frayed or jarred.
Still God whispers in the silence,
"Even when your faith is weak,
I will keep your feet from stumbling
when your way is dark and bleak."