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Families Again
Saturday, 12 November 2011
Gratitude Challenge - I'm Thankful for Our Church Family
Topic: Blog Carnivals!

Today I'm thankful for our church family at Memorial Baptist Church. If you've been on my blog lately, you've probably seen pictures of our family at some type of church event. Last night we were at another. The youth and some of the adults had a Murder Mystery night at the pastor's home. We each got a folder weeks ago with who we were, what our goals were, the list of other folks on the cruise (we were on a ship in 1914) and how to dress. I was a French chef named Blaise de Richilieu (who really wasn't a chef at all, but was a spy for the US Internal Affairs Department), Sarah was Elvira something or other, and John Allen was someone whose name escapes me but he was training to be a steward on the ship. It was a total blast and the youth and some adults spent the night. Sarah and John Allen stayed but I picked the youngers up at the babysitters and went home. We went back today to pick up John Allen and Sarah and the two youngers ended up playing with the pastors kids and Sarah and I stayed and talked and played game with the pastor, pastor's wife and another friend. Yes, even after they had been up half the night with kids and youth! I say all of this not because it seems like the church is having some type of an outing every week - they really aren't, but this was a particularly busy fall, but because of how open and accepting they are to us and our kids.

It's not easy to find a church that is understanding to special needs children. Even our oldest, John Allen, who's not special needs, requires some special care. It's not easy living with two brothers that are high maintenance. John Allen sometimes gets left in the dust. Not any intention of ours, but he often gets the short end of the stick. Often he gets very frustrated and angry at the situation. Our church body understands all of our kids and is patient and loving all the same.

Our church family is a true example of what God wants Christians to be. They are truly loving and caring and really want to obey the Holy Spirit. I am truly grateful to God for the body of believers that He brought us to.

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Posted by tink38570 at 7:19 PM CST
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Friday, 11 November 2011
What is BCM International all about?
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: BCM International

What is BCM International all about?

BCM International is the mission organization that Sarah and I are part of. This year was BCM International's 75th Anniversary. Throughout it's history BCM has remained true to it's core values. The question "What is BCM International is all about?" is a complex question, but watching this video should help you understand.


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Posted by tink38570 at 4:59 PM CST
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Thursday, 10 November 2011
Forget Flower Power...How About Flower Praise?
Mood:  happy
Topic: Blog Carnivals!

A good friend of ours gave this to us a couple of months ago. Originally we used it for homeschool to teach solar power and, let's face it, it's just plain fun to watch.


Then, one day I walked out into the kitchen and saw it in a new light. No, not sunlight, but sonlight! After watching it for a few seconds, it almost looked like it was lifting it's arms and praising God. It seemed to be saying...

Praise God...Praise God...Praise God...Praise God!


...with every lift of it's petals.


It made me think of these verses from psalms 148:


1.The desert and the parched land will be glad;

the wilderness will rejoice and blossom.

Like the crocus, 2.it will burst into bloom;

it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy.

The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,

the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;

they will see the glory of the Lord,

the splendor of our God.


Okay, I know it might be a stretch, but seeing that little mechancal flower does remind me to Praise the Lord every time that I see it. It's something that we should be doing every day - every minute of the day. So, today I am grateful for my solar power flower that sits in our kitchen window and how it reminds me to always be thankful for the Sonlight that God is always shining down upon me. Praise the Lord!

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Posted by tink38570 at 5:16 PM CST
Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2011 6:13 PM CST
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Wednesday, 9 November 2011
Come With Me to Ecuador
Mood:  not sure
Topic: Compassion International

Compassion Bloggers: Ecuador 2011

Can you believe that I have only been out of the US once. It was right out of high school. I had auditioned for a concert band called All Student Groups USA (now known as The Sound of America). We spent the month of July touring Europe playing concerts in nine different countries. It was an amazing adventure. One that I will never forget.

I say "can you believe", because I've always dreamed and talked about going overseas again. Sarah and I have often talked of going on a mission trip. Or perhaps visiting one of our Compassion children. We still feel that the Lord will use us overseas somehow, somewhere, someday. Until then, we will have to live vicariously through others. Others like the Compassion Blogger group that is traveling in Ecuador right now.

I've followed other Compassion Blogger trips before. I've even applied to go on them but have not yet been chosen for one. Twice a year I greedily read their stories. I check in several times a day to see if someone has posted something new. My heart breaks with theirs as I read about the children and the conditions that they live in. I cry when I read the stories of the ones who were rescued from poverty. I pray, asking for forgiveness for being selfish with what I have.

We, in the United States, live in such wealth. Even the poorest among us are often richer than a majority of folks around the world. I do believe that there are poor and hungry that live in our great country and I believe that God wants us to care for them. I also believe, though, that we waste enough money in the US to feed many more than we do. And I'm not just talking about our government, I'm talking about us! Do we really need one more t-shirt in our drawer, when there are those that don't even have one t-shirt to wear? Do we really need our weekly (or daily) latte, when the price of one Starbucks drink could feed a Compassion child for a week?

I know that there are some skeptics out there. Some who just don't understand. I was one of them until I began following these Compassion Blogger trips. Traveling along with them and experiencing what they are experiencing has made me realize how blessed I am. It's made the hand that grips my wallet loosen its grip just a little. It's broken my heart for the things that break God's heart.

Another trip is going on as we speak. Travel with me to understand our world a little more. Come with me as we experience the hearts of others being broken. Journey with me as we learn what living for Christ is really all about. Just click on the above button to see and be blessed.

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Posted by tink38570 at 4:24 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2011 4:59 PM CST
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Tuesday, 8 November 2011
The Person I Marry
Mood:  happy
Topic: Homeschool Product Review


The father wasn't expecting this question. The boy and his father had been finishing up the dishes. Father was putting the dishes away as his son dried them.

It was a beautiful fall evening. The colors of the autumn leaves were at there peak but the air was warm and the roses were showing their last blooms. All seventeen rose bushes had bloomed beautifully that year. There were nine that Father had bought for Mother every Mother's day. She would painstakingly search - sometimes for days - for just the right place to plant it. The other eight bushes were bought and planted every Mother's Day by Father after her death.

Perhaps it was the sweet smell of the roses that made the boy ask the question. Perhaps it was the beauty of the autumn leaves. Perhaps it was the chore of washing the dishes that was often shared by a husband and wife. Perhaps it was all of those things. Whatever it was, the always thinking, wondering and exploring boy asked it.

"Father, why did you and Mother marry?"

"Marry?" exclaimed the suddenly bewildered man. "Well, because we loved each other."

"Father," the exasperated boy blurted out. "I knew that. I mean... I figured that you and mother loved each other."

"But," the suddenly pink cheeked boy said as he shyly looked at his father, "Why did you marry Mother? Why her? Why not any other lady?"

"You know," said the boy in usual twelve year old fashion, "I'm getting older now, and I need to know what to look for in a girl."

"Well, this is a new one. Why do boys have to grow up...especially inquisitive ones?" thought the father as he loosened the collar around his neck with his finger. "Oh, Lord, please give me wisdom."

Finally the father hesitantly answered, "Well," he said while clearing his throat, "You need to make sure that she is a Christian. That's first and foremost. And, you don't always marry for beauty. I mean, you will always think that your wife is beautiful, but good looks aren't really why you should marry. Neither is money. You should never marry for money. Love should always be the main thing..."

The boy looked at him intently, sometimes with a furrowed brow. He seemed to be soaking everything in, but the more his father said, the more bewildered he became.

"Why is nothing coming out right?" thought the man. "Why did my son have to ask such a question without giving me some warning."

Finally the father stopped, looked at his son, and suddenly said. "Did you finish the science project I assigned to you today?"

"No sir," replied the boy. "But, I'm almost done."

"Well, go finish it." the relieved man answered. "We'll talk about this more tomorrow."

As the boy left to finish his school work, the father said a silent prayer. "Lord, please give me something. Send me something that will help me explain what to look for in that special one he will marry. And, Lord, if it's your will, send it to me quickly! Amen."

All that evening that thought filled the fathers mind. What am I going to say? How do I describe what to look for in a wife? He searched for lessons from the Bible. He tried to think of historical examples. Nothing seemed to fit.

"This is a job for a mother." mused the man. "Why did mother have to die so suddenly? Why must I be the one left to explain such things to my dear boy?"

Finally, just before turning in for the night, the father checked his email one last time. Glancing through the messages he noticed one that he had missed earlier. It was a message from Brenda. Brenda is the dear lady that is the vendor liaison for the TOS Homeschool Crew. It is her job to match the vendors with just the right homeschool families for them to try out and blog about the vendor's products. There was a new product listed. It was a book called "The Person I Marry", by Gary Bower, illustrated by Jan Bower and it was scheduled to arrive at their home the very next day.

"Thank you, Lord." exclaimed the boy's father as he went to bed that night. "Thank you for sending just what we needed at just the right time."

All morning and early into the afternoon.the father could hardly contain his excitement. Finally the mail man showed up and left the much awaited for package. The father sat it aside until he and his son could sit down to read it together when there were no distractions.

Later that evening after all of the school books were put away and the chores had been done, the father carefully unwrapped the gift from God. In it the beautifully illustrated book, "The Person I Marry" was contained.

"Son, " the father called, "We got something in the mail today that I think will help answer your questions from last night."

"What is it Father," exclaimed the boy as he entered the room.

"It's a book. Come and let's read it together."

The boy sat beside him on the couch and they began to read. The book was written in a poetic fashion that, at first, irritated the young man. He was almost 13 years old he thought to himself. Nevertheless, he persevered, and as his father read, he would stop and they would discuss things that were written in the book.

They discussed how you should choose someone for what they are like inside and not because of what they look like on the outside. They talked about how a mate should be gentle, kind and gracious. They read how your future spouse should be generous, thoughtful and appreciative. With the help of the book, the father explained how life wouldn't always be easy, but a couple should persevere and be courageous. They should look at the bright side of things. The book talked about how a couple should be joyful and enthusiastic when things are going well, but be patient and forgiving when things are not.

As Father read he began thinking of his dear wife. His face softened as he read the part where a future mate should be humane and respectful to humans and all of God's creatures. That fit his wife perfectly. She was always taking a meal to the sick or elderly, or taking in a stray that someone had cruelly abandoned.

Suddenly tears began to fall down the father's cheeks. The book had unexpectedly become harder to read. For they had come to the part where a couple should honor marriage "'til death do us part". As he was reading the words on those pages, his voice began to falter. Soon he was no longer able to finish the sentences. His son gently took the book and began reading for him.

The boy finished reading the book. He read through the pages that said that some disagreements would be small, but some they should measure against what the Bible said. He read about keeping himself pure for his wife, and how he should always be honest and trustworthy. He was glad that his father had taught him to be hardworking but fun loving, because that is what the book said was important as well.

The boy noticed fresh tears upon his father's face as he read that a husband and wife should be encouraging and sympathetic toward one another. The boy knew that those were some of the qualities that his father appreciated so much in his mother.

Finally, the boy read something that he didn't need to be told. He read how a person's future mate would always be number two in their lives. Why? Because Jesus should always be number one. All of his life the boy had been taught that God should always be first in his life. Those words were not unfamiliar to him.

As the book came to a close, the father silently got up to allow the boy some time to reflect on what had been read. He would discuss the book more with his son in the days to come.

That night, as the father tucked his son in and turned off the light. He heard his son call his name.


"Yes Son?"

"Father. Thank you for reading that book to me today." the boy quietly said. "I've been thinking, and I think I know who I want my future wife to be like."

"Who is that, Son?"

"I want her to be just like my mother. I don't remember her much, but I know she had all of the good qualities that we read about. Thank you for marrying her."

Father turned quickly away. He was glad the light had been turned off for tears were once again forming in his eyes.

"Thank you, Lord, for my son. And thank you for this special book that you sent us. Amen."

The story you have just heard is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Oh, Ok, you caught me again. The story is really about Joshua and I and not all of it is true. Thankfully my wonderful wife is still with us. The part about the tears and precious boy's responses were true, however. Happy Homeschooling.

The Person I Marry from Bower Books on Vimeo.

If you are interested in purchasing The Person I Marry just click here or on any one of the links above. This 36 page hardcover book is available for $11.99 on the website of the author and illustrator, husband and wife team, Gary and Jan Bower. To find out what the other TOS Homeschool Crew members thought of this book, just click here.

As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was sent a download copy of "The Person I Marry" in order to try out with my family and give my honest review on this blog.

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Posted by tink38570 at 8:29 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2011 1:20 AM CST
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