Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Learning through a house sale

This week we have been rejoicing.  With an element of caution, as selling a house can be a tricky business, and it's never done for sure until you are actually IN the new house!

For those of you who don't know our circumstances, I will fill you in first.  Robert, my husband, is the Pastor of a Baptist Church.  We are provided with a house, as part of his employment.  It is a 3 bed-roomed chalet bungalow.  Most of the other people living in the same houses around us are retired couples, with a few occupied by SMALL families (read, 2 children....they weren't really designed as a family house!).  The Church realised it wasn't really a suitable house for a manse (even if we had 2 teenage children, one boy, one girl, there would be no spare room), and last year made the decision to sell it, and to buy a larger, more suitable property.  We were very happy and content here, but somewhere larger would definitely be a good thing! So, last October it went on the market.

Selling a house, with 6 children, and homeschooling, is no small thing.  It is simply NOT possible to permanently keep a house "viewing ready".  Every time we had a viewing, it was necessary to do a major blitz of the house.  That has really taught me to get rid of junk, and get rid of clutter.  My lovely husband may suggest that I have not quite "arrived" in that department, but improvement has certainly been made!

I have had to learn patience.  In the current economical climate, houses do not sell very quickly. I learnt to rest in the knowledge that God's timing is perfect and that you cannot rush the ways of God.  We cannot make things happen before God has planned them to.  Whether it be the arrival of an overdue baby, the changing of heart of a person with whom we are at odds with, the finding of a new job, the passing of an illness - all these things will happen when GOD has planned for them.  And, whilst we wait, we learn patience, peace, joy, contentment, endurance, long-suffering, faith.  We learn to trust in God's perfect will for our lives, and know that the moulding of our will, is part of us being moulded more into His image.

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. "
James 1:3 

"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: "
1Peter 1:7

All that we experience in life, MUST be to the praise and glory of God.  How we act or react should honour the Lord, and not the flesh. I found myself saying that it was frustrating, thinking about the hard work involved in selling the house.  But, I was convicted about that.  Frustration is NOT being CONTENTED! Being frustrated is the same as not bowing to God's will.  It's an expression of discontent.  So, I humbly repented, and carried on with a more joyful spirit! 

We HAVE now sold the house (pending surveyors visiting, and various other legal aspects).  The Lord's will was very much evidenced in the way it has been bought.  The couple SHOULD have been shown around the house by the estate agent, but they were held up on their journey, and the agent asked Robert to show them around.  It was a real providence, as they got on well together, and Robert felt that it would be them who would buy, even though it was almost 6 more weeks until they had sold their house and able to make an offer on ours!  

Then, the Lord is being evidenced in the house we may end up purchasing.  I think I will reserve that story for  when it happens!  I really believe the Lord is in it.  

We were also told today, that the funds that are being added to the value of our house (which came from the selling of an old building belonging to the Church), are MORE than we first thought, as their value has increased!  It will bring our total to the PERFECT amount being asked by the owner of the potential house to be purchased, and also enough to cover fees!  God is SO good!  

We are so often amazed by God's perfect timing, and perfect provision.  In a way, I feel I shouldn't be surprised at all.  But I NEVER want to take God's wonderful goodness for granted.  I want to always stand amazed at His grace to me, an undeserving sinner.

So, keep your eye out for a post about a new house being found and bought!  We are viewing it tomorrow morning, so please pray for us at 11am!

Today I am linking up with A Holy Experience, where they are sharing about the practice of faith.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

And the winner is.....

Sam C!  If you could please contact me with your address, I can get the Journible in the post to you!

Your can find the scripture memory programme in the right hand side bar of my other blog Thy Word Have I Hid.

I have been on holiday,  hence the blogging silence.  More posts to come very soon (ie, once I have all my washing done, which may be some time next January!!!).

Friday, 19 August 2011

A give-away!

Roll up!  Roll up!

Who would like to win something?

On my other blog, for my scripture memory challenge, I gave away a Journible.  I ordered it for the winner from one shop, where it was out of stock.  So, I got it from somewhere else for the winner, and forgot I had ordered the first one.  I had also bought myself one, when I got the winner hers.  So, I got an email the other day to say they were in stock, and it was on it's way!  So, I now have a "spare" copy, and I thought I would give it away!

They are a Journal, where you write out whole books of the Bible, with any notes you want to take as well.  On each double page spread, the scripture is written out on the right, and the notes on the left.  Learn more about them here.

It covers both the Epistle that I am memorising, Philippians,  (please, take up the challenge, and learn it in a year, like I am doing!), and the book that i am studying through with my Good Morning Girls, Ephesians!

They are a really great resource, and I am sure you would be blessed by using it in your Bible Study and devotions.

So, how can you win one?  You have an entry by simply commenting below (if you don't have a google account, sign in with the "anonymous" and then put your name in the actual comment).  You get another if you blog about it, then post the link in the comments.  You get another by sharing it on Facebook, and posting that you have done it, in the comments below.  You can get another for each person you refer to "like" the page on Facebook (they must tell me in their own comment here, that you referred them!).  So, up to 4 entires.  winners will be chosen by

I am willing to ship anywhere, so go on, have a try!

You have until midnight on Friday, 26th August 2011.  So, go ahead, spread the word, and try and win yourself a Journible!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Chats on the farmhouse porch

Once agaiin, I am going to link up with Patrice.  So a few more questions....

  1. Have you ever colored your hair? If so, what colors have you tried

     - once,as a teen, I got all brave and did a wash-in wash-out one.  Well, I doubt anyone noticed the difference, because I was so chicken about the whole thing, that I chose a colour not far removed from my own, so that the difference was negligible! I like the colour God gave me, and have no desire to change it! :-)

  2. What's your favorite kind of music?

    I love classical music.  I particularly love Chopin's piano music, Rachmaninov's Piano concerto's, Elgar's cello concerto.  I also love Phil Coulter's Winter Crossing. I remember hearing "home away from home" for the first time, and falling in love with it.

    Listen to it here - sorry I can't get it to embed.

  3. What are the last three movies you watched?

    I hardly ever watch movies.  I kind of watched Mary Poppins with the children the other day, on and off.  Other than explaining to the children that we are not women's libber's, and that Mum's should look after their own children, it's a fun movie, with lots of singing!

    I also watched "KJB" with the children.  It's a docu-drama about the translation of the King James Bible.  It was very good, and Daniel can't wait to watch it again (he's 5!).

    Oh yes, I watched Avatar.  It was a bit strange, but I liked the whole self-sacrificing, redemption theme.  I also LOVED the concept of little plants that are fluorescent at night-time.  Not so keen on very large, strange looking blue people!

  4. Do you remember your first pet?

    How can I forget.....we had a little Jack Russell....Robbie.  He adored my Mum, but saw the children as a threat.  I was 3.  I had been warned NOT to go under the table and touch Robbie, especially NOT during grace, before the meal.....enter Caroline emerging from under the table, screaming, with blood pouring from the bite on the end of her nose....and exit for Robbie....via the road  from which dogs will never return....I kind of feel bad about it...a little....sometimes....but mostly I just can't go near Jack Russell's, without feeling VERY nervous.  I still have the scar to show for the whole experience. 

    If we are talking about MY first pet, we all got goldfish, at one point in my childhood.  They didn't last that long, as is the character of goldfish.  Other than that, I have never personally owned a pet, nor having a burning desire to do so.  I have 6 children
    ...I have no time for a pet!

  5. What was the best or most interesting "back to school" thing from your childhood?

    I always liked getting my new shoes.  Our local shoe shop had enormous, automated macaws, that moved on their perch.  I was always rather fascinated by them!  I also particularly remember my burgandy coloured tights, in primary school.  They were so thick and warm, in our Scottish autumn and winter (and spring, and, actually we were forced to wear summer, gingham dresses, which I also loved wearing, but we didn't exactly live in the Maldives......).  I don't think my Mum was best pleased when I fell over in the playground, bot a whole in the knee, and then decided to sit and cut it a bit more with my scissors, in class.  I can remember my Mum asking me "what on EARTH made yo cut it bigger with scissors?!?"  I have since had cause to ask my children the very same question, at which point I feel (as I often do), just like my own mother! 
So, there you have it.  A little bit more about me today! 

Why don't you link up with Patrice, over at 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

"blessed...with all spiritual blessings"

I want to invite you on a journey with me.  In order to invite you, I need to first take you on a journey back in time.  We don't have to travel very far.  Well, actually, after a bit of thought (whilst tidying up the kitchen....), I need to take you back a bit further than I initially thought.

Autumn 2009.  I was in the early stages of my pregnancy with Elijah. Easily fatigued, and hormones high.  Being a home-school Mum was wearing me out.  I realised I needed to take a different approach, namely changing the curricula we used.  I don't want to get into the "ins and outs" or the "whys and wherefores" in this post.  Suffice to say, that the Lord very clearly led us into a new direction.  We began in the January of 2010.

Upon starting out in pastures new, I discovered a whole realm of home-schooling communities online, with tremendous resources.  One such was Heart of the Matter.  It's a lovely source of encouragement for home-schooling parents.  They do a couple of different online conferences a year, and I signed up to attend the one last summer.  It was GREAT! I was so blessed and encouraged by the speakers and hostesses - particularly Sally Clarkson, and Courtney Joseph.  Through their roles in that conference, I started to really grow and learn in my role as wife and mother, and especially in home-schooling.

Through Courtney's ministry, I found out about Good Morning Girls.  It's an online accountability system, for having your quiet time.  My quiet times had really not been consistent, and as you would expect, my spiritual strength was lacking.  I tried to drum up some interest amongst friends, to join the Autumn '10 group.  I started out, but if floundered and fizzled out. Then, they announced that they would start the next one in January, studying through the book of James, using the SOAP method, that I shared about here.  I went on the forum on their website, hoping to find some others that I could join with, who also wanted to follow the study.  On the forum, there was a Scottish lady, asking about forming a group!  A SCOTTISH lady, no less.  Anyone that doesn't know a Scot, will not know the affinity shared with their fellow nationals, whether you know them or not.  (Meet a total stranger, who's a Scot?...then you WILL get chatting! lol)  Her name was Kirsteen.  (well, IS Kirsteen, I should say!)  She had another friend, Jennifer, who was going to be in the group, too.  Through one thing and another, several other ladies joined.  Heather, Ingrid and Kimberly, from the "other side of the pond", and Tanya and Grainne (sisters), from the other side of the much smaller pond (the Irish Sea!).  The latter 2 lovely ladies, live VERY near to my 2 brothers in Northern Ireland.  Their parents come from places I am very familiar with.  It was really one of these amazing moments, where a real connection is felt.  Then, we all shared pictures of each other.   Hmmmmm.  Kirsteen looked familiar, but I couldn't place how.  I mean, Scotland isn't exactly TINY - we very likely had never even met before.  Then, she emailed me asking "was your Dad a Pastor in Scotland?".  Erm, yes! Why?  "because I think i met you when I was 14, at your youth group!".  Indeed, we did!  Her Dad was Pastor of a different denomination, but they visited our youth group a couple of times.  I THOUGHT I recognised her face!  (It really hasn't changed much....I was just relieved that it wasn't that I looked like my Dad, as being the reason for her making the's happened before....*sigh*).  Isn't that amazing!  God really does some amazing things!

Well, the group got on like the proverbial house on fire.  We shared our discoveries and thoughts as we studied through the Epistle.  It was was so challenging.  God really spoke to me about many things.  I started getting up earlier, to do my devotions.  I started reading God's Word more.  I changed the way I behaved and dealt with my family.  (That's a work in progress, I hasten to add....but improvement, certainly!)  I was challenged about memorising scripture, and have now nearly finished learning the first chapter of Philippians.   We all grew, and became firmer friends, despite never being able to meet together in person.  The Lord most certainly brought us together to encourage each other "as iron sharpeneth iron".

We started the summer session, with the addition of a new members - Anne, Dawn and Rachel.  Anne and Dawn were asking to join a group, via the GMG forum.  I saw them, and realised that, yup, you guessed it, I KNEW Anne!  We met MANY moons ago, (nearly 20 years, so she must have been about 9.....*whistles and winks*), when I was only a teen, and she was about to become a mother for the first time!

ALL these friendships, developing through our GMG group and via Facebook contact, have been SUCH a blessing to me.  Finally, I get around to the title of this post.  Ephesians chapter 1 verse 3, tells us

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"

I am blessing God.  I am blessing him for the spiritual blessing that I have in my "Good Morning" Girls.   They have have challenged me, encouraged me, prayed for me, laughed with me, empathised with me.  They have blessed me abundantly, and continue to do so, as we enter a new study together.  I am so thankful for the different blessings that each one brings to me, with their own unique God-given gifts and personality's.

The Good Morning Girls fall session will begin in September.  However, for one reason and another, we are not waiting for that to begin.  We are going to study through the Epistle to the Ephesians, which will bring us to the end of the year.  God brought us together as a group of ladies, but we now feel able to study something that fits our group, which is a blessing of it's own! That we are able to share how we feel, without judgement or condemnation.  For that I give thanks.

So, the journey I asked you to share?  It's a journey through Ephesians. Do you study God's Word, in detail and methodically.  If you don't, using the SOAP method is great.  If you want to follow alongside us, in Ephesians, then you will find the reading plan (that you can print out) here.  I will be regularly sharing about what God is teaching me, as we study through this wonderful Epistle.  Please share your thoughts with us, if you follow along.  Your heart will be blessed by studying God's Word like this.  All you need is a notebook to jot down your thoughts, if you use the SOAP method.  If you don't want to study alongside us, but would rather be blessed by following along with the official GMG (who are going to study through I John), then either gather together a group of lady's who want to join you, or find a group on their Message Board.  Your heart will  be blessed, I am sure!

So, please join us on our journey, as we find God's truths and blessing, in Ephesians!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Raising a godly generation - part 2

This time I continue with some more practical considerations that are important in training up our children for the Lord.  There is still at least one more (probably more!) post to come, with further suggestions.


The Bible teaches us, in Deuteronomy 6:6-7

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."

I recently read a blog post, where somebody took time to say that family devotions are not in the Bible, and you shouldn't feel you HAVE to have them.

True, we do not find any explicit details or instructions to sit down together as a family, to read the scriptures, sing, pray and discuss the Word of God.  However, in the above verses we find command to diligently teach our children God's ways.  As I have already mentioned, children do learn by our example, but that is not the same as TEACHING.  Teaching implies formality and time taken to convey vital information from one party to another.  Having family devotions is a perfect time to do this.  It's a time to learn together, with the father as the head of the home, teaching God's truths to his children.  Praising God together in song.  Thinking about the truths that have been taught, and applying them to the life of the family.

Currently, we are going through the book of Proverbs.  The children are loving how Robert is trying to give them object lessons to remember the truths.  Things that they will remember, and by God's grace, apply to their own lives.  In the evenings, we always sing and pray together, and Robert usually brings some truth to round off the day.  It's a more informal time, and we LOVE singing God's praises together!

If you don't already have a time in the day when you have family worship, then I would recommend that you do.  Speak to your husband about it.  Prayerfully consider what format you want to use, to fit your own family, but ultimately not forgetting that the key point of it is to teach God's Word to your children.

We are planning on using a new book soon - Clay Clarkson's "Our 24 Family Ways".

Read about it here.  He explains the reason why he produced the book, and about what it contains   

It looks really lovely - you can see sample pages here.  They now have the added bonus of colouring pages, that you can photocopy for your own family's use, that tie in with the 24 ways.

There are many resources you could use for a family devotion time.  We have, in the past, used the lovely book by Mariann Schoolland, "Leading Little Ones to God".

 It's a lovely book, going through major points of doctrine, in a way that is easy to understand for children.  You can see inside it, and view the contents here. For each part that it teaches, it has a a scripture portion, a memory verse, a song and then the teaching.  Lots of excellent content.  We will probably keep coming around to using it in a cycle, as it's nice to have some variety, but we want the younger ones to learn the doctrine, too!  I must confess, I bought mine before I even got married, or had children!  We had used it growing up, and knew I wanted to use it when I had children of my own! So, I was very forward thinking, and bought it when it was on sale!

You could also use a good daily devotional, such as the Spurgeon's "Morning and Evenings", which would lead to some excellent discussion.

If you want to use scripture as the backbone, but want thematic study, then the Daily Light is great.  It is simply a collection of texts, around a theme, for morning and evening use.

Make the time enjoyable - you want them to see that you have a love for God's Word, and that it is something precious and valuable in your life. Be enthusiastic as you sing praise to God.  Help them to understand what they are singing - there is no point singing empty words.

We sing a selection of choruses and hymns, that are favourites of the family.  We know a small selection of Psalm portions, but that is something I would like to work on a bit, too.


Children have a brain like a sponge.  They have an enviable ability to memorise things, which an adult would sincerely wish that they were still able to so readily achieve!   Grab that opportunity while you can!  get them memorising scripture.  For little ones, choose short, key parts of verses.

 "The wages of sin is death",

 "God is love",

 "I am the way the truth and the life",  

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth".

They could also combine it with learning their alphabet, and learn a verse for each letter of the alphabet!  Older children could learn whole passages - such as Psalm 23, or the 10 commandments.  Key verses about doctrine are also good to have memorised.  You could have a reward scheme, where they could perhaps have a Bible given to them upon completion, or some other suitable reward.

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. "
Psalm 119:11  


Now, I know this is quite a subjective area.  I personally don't listen to Christian music that is too contemporary.  I feel that it is so close to the world's style of music, that it just doesn't sit well with me.

However, I have a couple of recommendations, for children, that I think would please most!

Firstly, there is a set of Albums called "Bible Songs for Kids".  You will find them at Bible Truth Music, and what's great is that they are downloadable!  So, no shipping costs involved!  They are a large selection (6 albums, so far) of KJV scripture in song.  Straight up and down Bible verses - no paraphrasing, or put into a meter, just songs composed to fit with the words.  They are really great, and it is also a super way of getting them to learn the Bible verses! The children pick them up very quickly.

Another one I got more recently, is "Hide em in your heart".  This is also scripture in song, but I think it is NKJV?  I haven't actually worked it out, but I base this on the fact that some of them are the same as KJV, and some are just a little different.  These are a little more"upbeat" in style, but not "rock" style by ANY means! You can download it on itunes, and also listen to samples there, to give you an idea of what it is like.   The other element of these that I like, is that they start with the recording artist (Steve Green), explaining a bit about the verse, and what children need to learn from it, before a child quotes the reference, and it is then sung.  My children certainly love it, as a lot of it is very fun!  It covers such verses as Psalm 34:13 (about lying), Romans 12:21 (overcome evil with good), Philippians 4:13 (do all things without arguing and complaining) - so lots of very appropriate teaching!

Please share your experiences and suggestions in these areas, as there are so many resources available out there, that it's a blessing to share them with others when YOU find them!

Link up below!

Friday, 12 August 2011

Want to learn some Latin?

Well, don't come and ask me for lessons! I know very little!

Semper paratus - was our school motto - "always prepared", as I remember...well, THAT needs some application in my life.

Moving swiftly on....

Life in a shoe is a blog written by Kim, wife to1 and mother to 10 (only 2 boys...poor guys! lol) ...she describes it like this...

"Our blog is our home on the web, and we try to keep it like our real-life home: fun and friendly, a little opinionated, but always striving to glorify God. "

She is very generously doing a give-away of "Visual Latin".  They have kindly offered to give away the 25 lessons in Latin 1 - either as a DVD, or as a download (perfect for us Brits!).

Go to her blog  here for your opportunity to win this highly recommended set of lessons.  If you visit here, you can download 4 introductory lessons for free!

So, head on over to her blog for a chance to win! 

Be careful what you ask for...

This morning I was reading in Isaiah, chapters 34-39.  I find it to be a book of surprises - where you get little gems of verses, in amongst prophecy that is hard to understand!

You also get, as I did this morning, the telling of history that you find in other parts of scripture.  This was a story that I remember very clearly, from reading it with the children in II Kings 20.  It's the narrative of King Hezekiah, and his death bed request.

He had come to the end of his days, and was about to die.  Isaiah comes and tells him to set his house in order, because he will die.  THE PROPHET, Isaiah - God's messenger.  Bringing the word of the Lord to King Hezekiah.  But, Hezekiah decided he doesn't want to die. Yet. So he sulks (turns into the wall), and cries.

Now, I am not suggesting that it is wrong to be sad, humanly speaking, at various times in our lives.  Not at all.  Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus (and HE knew that Lazarus was about to be alive again ;-) )  No, I have an issue with him not accepting God's plan for his life.  You can't have it plainer than a word spoken by God's messenger, and the message from God was that he was going to die.

So, Hezekiah asks to live.  And, God answered his prayer.  He doesn't just add a few days.  He adds 15 years.

So, what happens in those 15 years, you may ask?  15 long, happy years, of him continuing to follow after God?

Well, 2 significant things happen. He decides to be prideful, and boast to some visitors about all the wealth and treasures he possessed.

"sure, come in guys!  Have a good look at my vast treasures!  I'll show you every last little thing that I possess!  No problem!  Take a good mental note!  It's so good to have you here from Babylon anyway...such a long way for you to come and see me......"

*screeching sound effect* - what's that, you say, from BABYLON????   OOOOOOOOH yes siree.  Those lovely friends from Babylon.  Really friendly place, Babylon.  Do you need to look at a timeline to place Hezekiah and Isaiah?   That's right....BEFORE Daniel.  Really not long before Daniel at all.  Daniel.  Who lived in Babylon.  Because he had been taken captive by the Babylonians, who came along and decimated the land of Judah.

Isaiah comes and speaks to Hezekiah.  He tells him that EVERYTHING that the generations before him have stored up, will be taken away by the Babylonians.  NOTHING will be left.  All his sons would be taken away.  Was this worth living for?

What else happened in those 15 years?  Well, 3 years later, he had a son.  Manasseh. Read II Kings chapter 20.  Please, read it.  He was one of the most wicked kings in the history of the nation.  So wicked, that God promised to have so much evil come upon Jerusalem and Judah, that "whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle".   He was going to wipe them out, like you wipe out a bowl, turning it upside down to make sure it is empty. (verse 13)

So, Hezekiah.  You don't want to accept God's plan?  You don't want to die?   Are you sure about that? What?.... you can't see the future, you only know your own selfish heart?  Only GOD knows the future?  God, who had sent word that you were to die?



Do we ever question God's dealings in our life?  Do we question the path that God has placed us on?  Do we want change because "it's too much to cope with"?

Do we have thoughts of discontent?

"I didn't know that being a mum would be so was so much easier when I just went to work for 8 hours a day, and then came home"

"Lord, my husband is such hard work....why can't he be perfect...does he not understand my needs...the way I think....why should *I* do all the work....why should it be *my* job?"

"when I started out with this home-schooling, I thought it would be such fun...why did you lead me to do something that can be so challenging?"

"Lord, people with 1 child have it so easy...they get their foreign holidays, they don't need to shop in charity shops...they can get everything seems so easy for them...."

"this house is not very big...why did we ever live here...I know people with lovely big houses, and they look so nice..."

Before you carry on with your thoughts of discontent...before they become a prayer, desiring change.




We need to learn contentment.  That's why Paul said "I have LEARNT in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."

God knows better than we do.  Although, by the way we behave, and think, sometimes others may not believe that is what we think.

If we are following God's will for our life, according to the instruction given in God's Word, then we need to accept what follows, whilst walking that path.

I am also not saying that we shouldn't pray, and ask for things of God.  I'm just saying, be careful.  Make sure you pray "thy will be done", in all things.  That pride, selfishness and discontent are not the reasons for our prayers.

We wouldn't want a "Manasseh" to result from God granting our foolish desires.

Be careful what you pray for.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Chats on the farmhouse porch

I found this blog link-up, via Anne Morrison's blog, "Homeschool on the Croft".  It's just a fun sharing about each other, by answering a few questions about yourself.

  1. What color was your first car? 
Well, it was a kind of turquoisey blue, Peugeot 206 (?) Diesel.  It was really Robert's, first, but when we got married, it became mine, too!  I drove it more than he did - a 40 minute drive each way, to Dungannon Hospital.  We had it until 14th February 2001, when I crashed it (coming down a steep, bendy hill....on black ice...into the only tree in the hedgerow....).  I still maintain it was the shock of Robert remembering to give me a Valentine card!   I also thought  I was pregnant, but they did a test at the hospital ( that's a whole other story....) and it was negative.  Joshua is positively my son, however....born that, false negative!  Bit of a deviation form the colour of the car, but I can't think about that car without thinking about crashing, and without remembering the pregnancy part of the story! 

By the by, I still get nervous driving in icy conditions!

2.  Do you dance or sing when you're by yourself?

Sing - YES!  Especially on my own in the car!  I whack up the volume and sing away!   I sing a lot around the house, too.   But, then, that's very seldom by myself!  My latest singing "issue", is that I put my ipod on, with the headphones in, after the children go to bed, to listen to music whilst I do jobs  (on the nights that Robert is out).  However, I don't realise how loud I am singing, with the headphones in, and I frequently get children appearing, asking me to tone it down! (my boys room is downstairs, near the kitchen, so it's usually them!)  LOVE singing - we sing a lot as a family, too.

3. What were your favourite and least favorite subjects in school? (I'm thinking high school or younger, but if you want to tell us about your PhD, go right ahead.)

LOVED music.  LOVED English.  I loved being able to express myself in both those areas.  I need to spend more time playing the piano than I do.  I also need to pick up teaching the oldest two to play.  And, it's a dream of mine to write children's tory books about the Covenanter's.  However, reading one about that just now, I may not be able to achieve such high standards myself, and it will probably never come to fruition.  

I wrote a Paraphrase of Nehemiah 9, and wrote a tune to go with it.  I guess that fulfils my burning ambitions of music and English?!?

I liked Maths up until Higher level. Then I couldn't stand it!  Also, Physics got a bit beyond me.  No, it got WAY beyond me. Not a maths mind, me.  I know how to spend money...does that count? (ha, no pun intended!)

4.  What was the last dinner you made?

Ah, now, that's an interesting question.  I just made a LOT of dinners.  I just bulk cooked several things.  Overnight, in the slow cooker, I made a massive batch of savoury mince.    I also browned  about 4kg of minced beef yesterday - some of it went in the savoury mince, some went in the massive batch of bolognaise that I made this morning, and the last bit went in the chilli I also made this morning, for tonight's dinner.  I also cooked 2 chickens, froze the meat from it for using in pasta bake, curry or on pizza, and am making my first proper batch of chicken stock, from the carcasses.  PHEW! busy 24 hours!

5. Please finish this: "I feel naked without ---------------------." (Now, you know there's someone out there who will answer "clothes". See. I caught you! :)

Nope, not my answer! I feel naked without 2 "things" - firstly, my rings - wedding band, engagement ring, and my pre-engagement engagement ring, that Robert gave me. (it was for my 18th Birthday - we started "going out" when I was 17 - we knew right away we would get married, but knew my parents would freak out if I mentioned it.  We knew they wouldn't want me getting engaged at 18, so we bought a ring, that WE considered as our engagement ring! lol)  If I don't wear those ring, I am forever fiddling with my fingers, because they are not there.  I take everything other than the wedding band off, at the end of pregnancy's, as my fingers swell every time. I wear them on a necklace sometimes, then.

The other thing?.....a necklace that co-ordinates with whatever I am wearing!  I get them from charity shops, or reduced in the shops.  In fact, recently, I got a new top with green in it, and I realised I had no necklace to match.  I popped into a charity shop on the way to where we were going, and got one that matched perfectly!  I felt much happier afterwards! lol  Mad!  I know!  On the other hand, I never wear make-up, or face cream.  I don't always wear perfume.  Those things that women regularly seem to not be able to miss out doing.  Not me. 

If you go to Patrice's website, Everyday Rurality, you can link up with the questions yourself!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

When my heart is overwhelmed.....

It's been one of those days.

Irritable mother.

Highly strung children.



Lots to do.

Angry words spoken, instead of gentle ones.

Impatience, instead long-suffering.

Pride, instead of humility.

Words, instead of silence.

Martha, instead of Mary.

I need to be Mary.

I need to end the day, the way it began, with the Word of God.

The only place we can turn to in the midst of trial.

The Only One who can calm the storm.

"Against thee, thee only, have I sinned,...."
Psalm 51:4

(others affected by it...but God is the one who counts over all...)

 "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 
 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, 

when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 
 For thou hast been a shelter for me," 

Psalm 61:1-3

(oh, how overwhelmed....but OH, how strong...and high...and sheltering...that Rock, Christ Jesus....)

"In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"

Ephesians 1:7

( undeserved....the riches of his unworthy....) 

 "Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness..."

Psalm 31:21

(kindness...despite failing and sin....oh, what matchless condescension....)

 "It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not
 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 
  The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Lamentations 3:22-25

so thankful for His unfailing every morning....faithfulness, great and undeserved...

simply hoping, waiting and seeking...a new day lying ahead...starting again...girded with a new hope...)

Oh, what a blessing to know that my transgressions are blotted out as a thick cloud.

Past comprehension.

So undeserved.

The chance to start a new day, rejoicing in His faithfulness, and seeking not to make all the mistakes of the day that is past.

Grace, grace, God's grace.....

Monday, 8 August 2011

How can we raise a godly generation? - Part 1

I mentioned in this post, about the warning we read of in Judges, about a generation who fell away from following after the Lord.

So, how can we raise a godly generation, you ask?  What should we be doing to lead them away from following after the world, and all it's allurements, and to follow after God instead?  I should also point out here, that we CANNOT save our children.  We can only guide them and train them in the ways of the Lord.

Also, before I begin,  I KNOW my children are still relatively young, so this is very much written from the "going through" point of view, not the "finished the journey" perspective!  I am just trying to live out a life that will raise my children to follow God's ways, and not man's ways.

I am going to cover this in a few posts, as I realised quickly that there was a lot to share about!

So, here are the first areas which I believe are important in raising a godly generation.


We cannot possibly teach our children how to walk in the right ways, if we are not doing so first.

Are we reading God's Word....seeking how to follow Him daily, and honour Him in our lives? - do you have a daily quiet time - immersing yourself in scripture - in learning how we are to live our life in a way that is pleasing to Him?  Are we following God's ways in our life? - are we living in obedience, or do we just have an empty profession?   Do we seek continually to make sure that our lives are being lived in accordance to God's Word?   - do we seek to weed out the sin in our life, and daily come in repentance for our failings before God?  Do we know about God - who He is - what He expects of us - what He does for us?  Do we know what the scriptures teach us about how to do be the wives and mothers that we should be? - do we seek to put it into practice?   If we don't do all of these things, then we simply can NOT teach them to our children!

There are many ways to study the scriptures.  As I mentioned here, I am methodically reading through the Bible in a year.  It's amazing how many truths you see afresh, as you read through lesser read parts of the Bible.

Do make sure you note down thoughts on the way through.  I currently have a page in my Prayer Journal titled "God....." and then I take a note of things I learn about who He is, and what He does for me.  There are many things you could pick out - promises, rebukes, prayers, instructions.  Don't overwhelm yourself with too many at once.  Keep your thoughts focussed, and you will remember them better.

You can also do a more detailed study, only studying a couple of verses each day. In our Good Morning Girls group, we studied the book of James like this, earlier this year.  We used the SOAP method, which I had never before heard of!

S - Write out the scripture for that day
O - take a note of a couple of observations you make from the verses
A - how does this apply to your life?
P - pray, and ask the Lord to plant these observations and applications in your life, and cause them to take root and grow.

We are thinking of studying through the book of Ephesians until the end of the year, using this method.  We were so blessed and challenged by the truths that we learnt, through studying God's Word this way.

There are also many Bible Study books, that study through a theme, or character in the Bible.  Elizabeth George has many good studies like that.

You could also use a programme such as e-sword, which is a free, downloadable Bible Study software, to search for instances of certain words or themes in the Bible, and just study through them one by one, to gain a better understanding on a topic.

Whatever you do, DO study God's Word.  Your heart will be blessed, and your life drawn into sweeter communion with the Lord.

"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
Colossians 1:10  


I know this is something that I need to work on more, and is VERY important.  You can NOT start telling your children about the way they should live, and not apply it to your own life.  Children can spot a hypocrite a mile off, and they will not respect your instruction if they can see your are not living it first.  I knew of someone who always said "Do as I say, not as I do".  I don't like that much. Yes, children need to obey us, but if our own actions do not match up with our instruction, that is a terrible example to our children.

"don't read your book until you have tidied you room, Johnny"
(whilst Mum sits with her book, dishes stacked up in the kitchen, not cleaned.....)

"don't get so angry with your brothers and sisters, Jane"
(spoken by the mother who just lost the rag with her children 10 minutes before)

"think before you speak"
(says the Mum, who just spoke to Dad in a less-than-patient tone)

"don't leave that job unfinished"
(with Mum's unfinished projects in the corner)

There are many more examples I could give, but better that you think of ones that apply to your own heart and life!  And, trust me, this is an area that I need to put a lot of work into...

 "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy."
James 3:17 

As a flip side to not being a hypocrite, we NEED to be a GOOD example.  You want your children to learn Bible verses? - YOU learn Bible verses.  You want your children to read their Bible? - YOU read your Bible.  You want your children to be generous? - YOU be generous.  You want your children to be kind?  - YOU be kind.  You get the idea.....

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
 Matthew 5:16

Please, PLEASE share about your experiences in these areas!  Some small thing that you do, or an experience you can share about, may be an unimaginable blessing and encouragement to someone else! 

Link up below, or share in the comments section below.   
(If you have trouble with the comments log-in, just sign in as anonymous, and then put your name at the end.  Signing up with google is fairly quick, though!)

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Raising a godly generation

There are often verses in the scriptures which just strike right at the heart.  They challenge and they subdue, with one swipe of that two-edged sword.

I read one such verse on Tuesday, and didn't have time to share it then.  In fact, it was several verses, all through the second chapter of Judges.

"And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?" (verse 2)

"And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel."  (verse 10)

"And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim:
And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers....and provoked the Lord to anger," (verses 11 & 12)

"they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so."

OH, so sad.  SO very, very sad. More than sad - tragic.

The Israelites had been given the promised land.  They were clearly commanded to drive out all of the false gods from the land - all those things that would tempt them away from God.  The older generation started off doing so, but then the next generation arose, and they disobeyed the commandments of God, which their parents had followed.  With such terrible consequences - they stirred up the ANGER of God against themselves.

God hates disobedience.  He hates it when those who claim to be His, do not follow after Him and obey Him as they ought to.

Sadder still, however, was the conclusion that I drew.  HOW DOES A GENERATION ARISE THAT DOESN'T KNOW THE LORD????

A WHOLE generation - not just one family, or the odd child or two.  A WHOLE GENERATION.

I drew one conclusion.  I'm fairly certain it's not a quantum leap.  For someone to know what is the right thing to do, THEY HAVE TO HAVE AN EXAMPLE.  You need to know what the right thing is, to follow it.

"And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye done this?"

I think this is a warning to all parents - you need to make sure that your children are brought up understanding the precious truths of God's Word.  We need to make sure that we are faithful in teaching our children - in shielding them from the world and it's snares.  In protecting them from the ungodly influences that seek to crowd in our lives.

You can NOT allow yourself to crack under the pressure of

"well, little Johnny comes from a NICE non-Christian home, he won't do our wee one any harm, playing together every day!"  


"it's ok, they are learning so many good truths in Church, I don't need to do too much more at home....."  

 Or, (sticking my neck on the line here, with as much love and tenderness as I can muster)

 "school gives them such a broad education, and I really don't think I could manage home-schooling, and I don't want to wrap them in cotton wool anyway....."

We NEED to protect the next generation...and can I say, the influences from which they need protecting, and taught about the errors of, is becoming more foul and horrible every day.  I am getting more and more UNBELIEVERS being sympathetic to my confession  of being home-schooler's, than any Christians I meet!  The hairdresser I had the other day said "you must be able to keep them innocent for so much longer - that's really lovely"!!!!  SHE could see that they lose their innocence at school!

Home education aside - TV, children's books, toys, friends, advertising, music.  There are so many things that we need to protect our children from.  As it said in verse 2 

"ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of the land"

We need to not make friendship and familiarity with the world and it's ways.  You do it to your own peril. do it to the peril of the next generation.. And the current generation is already being lost.  Fast.

We need to claim back our children for the Lord..  We need to stop compromising our standards, and lowering ourselves to the standards of the world.

Their standards on leisure...their standards on entertainment....their standards on family values....their standards on education....their standards on children and their "rights".

I fear and I despair, when I look around at the children that are growing up.  I pray that we will all be challenged in our responsibilities and duties before the Lord, to bring up our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, which simply CAN NOT be merged with a toleration of the world and it's standards. Well, it can, but we will lose them....we will raise a generation who "know not the Lord".

Pray that the Lord would challenge and convict you about the ways in which you may be in "league with the inhabitants of this land", and seek to get rid of them, by God's grace and enabling.

I will follow this up with some suggestions and resources which could be useful.  

Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Top Tips Tuesday - Rising Early/Making a New Habit

I am nearly half way through our Holiday Bible Club week.  That's why there has been silence on here since Friday! :-)

It's a hectic, but rather enjoyable week.  We have been very encouraged by the children who have attended, and how well they have listened to the Bible Stories.  Lots of fun, but tiring!

I'm not sure that my brain is up to thinking about any top tips at all!  But, I'll tell you what mine is!

Learn to get up earlier in the morning!

I had read of so many ladies who rise up early in the morning, before their household.  I could see the wisdom in it, but never quite achieved it.  I used to get up at about 7.30am, or whenever I was wakened by some child or other!

However, when I was revising my whole Bible study and prayer life, I realised I needed to make a concerted effort to rise earlier in the morning.  SO, how did I do it?

1.  PRAYER - the day I started "going out" with Robert, we went to a County Show, and I felt car sick on the way there.  I remember Robert asking me what was wrong, and when I explained, he said "have you prayed about it?"?!   I hadn't - I almost thought that I didn't need to pray about something like that.  But, I did, and I started to feel better so quickly -  it was an immediate answer to prayer!  There is nothing in life too big or too small to pray about.  SO, pray and ask the Lord to help you physically, emotionally and spiritually in your task.

2.  DISCIPLINE - in all the areas that making changes is required, in order to achieve the goal of rising early, you need to be disciplined. Set your mind to do the task in hand.  Really motivate yourself and determine to make the necessary changes, so that you can get up earlier.

3. DO IT GRADUALLY - don't jump from an 8.30am rise, to a 5.30am rise!  You'll never manage it for very long, and you'll quickly get tired and give up!  Do it in small time increments, say 15 minutes earlier for a few days, then another 15 minutes, and so on.

4. SET AN ALARM - I know it seems obvious, but you can't just hope that you might waken earlier - and, if need be, put it somewhere that requires getting out of bed to turn it off!  That always helps!  Or, that's loud enough for you not to ignore (whilst not wakening anyone else in the house!)

I would recommend that it is a time before your children waken.  If you are wanting to do it to get your quiet time done QUIETLY, then it's the only way to go!

"But my children waken SO early in the morning already"...well, maybe here's something else you need to deal with first?!?  Or, you need to just tell them to stay in the room until you tell them to come out.

I would also recommend discussing it with your husband.  I currently rise at 6am and would like it to be earlier, but to achieve that, I would have to go to bed a bit earlier.  My husband is a night owl, and I will end up eating into my precious time with him, in the evenings, if I go to bed earlier.  So, make sure you have agreed on a schedule that your husband is happy with!

I have had such precious times in the mornings, doing my devotions when the house is quiet.  I also get a lot more jobs done in the mornings, before the busyness of the day.  I get the dinner ready now, most days, before breakfast.  It means I don't have to do it later when the children get tired, and Elijah is more demanding! (those who know him, will understand!!!)  It just gets my day off to a better start all round.  Your day isn't then always playing "catch up", with the children ahead of you!

I especially love the winter mornings, when it is still dark, and I just turn on a little lamp by the sofa, and get snuggled under a blanket, with a coffee, and my Bible! Bliss!

Your body quickly gets adjusted to the new sleeping pattern, and I know I can easily rise at 6am now, with few problems, so long as I have had enough sleep!  Even with less sleep, I can still rise at that time.....I just feel RATHER tired by the middle of the day! *yawn*

I may have forgotten something vital, but I am rather tired, so I wouldn't notice!

So, on the thought of enough sleep. I must got to bed!

Please share your experiences of early rising, or how you made a new habit.