Katharina and Martin Luther: Successful Marriage through Selfless Living

Years ago I read Kitty, My Rib by E. Jane Mall and was delighted by the story of Martin and his ex-nun wife, Katharina. But I never knew what was fact and what was fiction in that book.

Until now.

Michelle DeRusha in Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk has done a phenomenal job telling the story of this world-changing marriage. Continue reading

Hamilton Themed Dinner Party

I arranged the venue, the menu, the seating…

for my husband and me to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home with a Hamilton Themed Dinner.

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Over the past several months both of us have thoroughly enjoyed the Hamilton soundtrack.  We originally started to listen after our kids repeatedly watched Studio C’s lip sync version of Non-Stop. Continue reading

Shalom at Home

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One late night coming home from Awana, my two oldest got into a fight. One blocked the door from the other which resulted in shouting and physical action. I yelled at them, sent to their rooms, and they lost their screen time for the next day.

After they were in their rooms for a bit, I realized, “Wait! I never really had them resolve their conflict!” Continue reading

Shalom in Psalms

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Shalom in Psalms: A Devotional from the Jewish Heart of the Christian Faith by Jeffrey Seif, Glenn Blank, and Paul Wilbur is more of a light commentary than a devotional.

The Tree of Life Version

The real treasure of the book is the translation of the Psalms. The Tree of Life Version was translated by Jewish Christian scholars. The translation was easy to understand. At the same time, the word choice called to attention the first audience of the book. I don’t often hear from Hebrew scholars when learning about the Psalms. My understanding of the Psalms was deepened because of the explanations of the meanings of the original Hebrew words. Continue reading

Why We Chose Public School

After thinking and praying and visiting our school, we chose to send our children to public school. I do not think it is the right choice for everyone. But for us in this time and place, God made it clear this is where our kids should be.

Here’s why:

Time and Energy

When my oldest started Kindergarten I had three younger kids and my husband was working a lot since we were still relatively new at church and we were about to begin a building project at church. I already had trouble keeping up with normal housework. Both Christian school and homeschooling would have required more time and energy than we had. I could have quit doing some things at church, but God made it clear I was to continue to do them.

why-we-chose-public-schoolThe Resources of a Public School

Public school has a lot of resources and professionals to help children who need it. Initially, we chose this because we suspected our oldest would need the gifted/enrichment program. But what we didn’t know at the time is that our daughter would need extra reading support. If she were not in school, I would not have caught her reading issues until later and I would have missed out on valuable time. Some Christian schools may offer great learning support, but I did not find that the ones in our area had as extensive a program as the public school does.

We want our children to be missional.

This the most important reason we want our kids in public school. Being in the public school gives them so many opportunities to share Christ with those who they may not otherwise meet. Nathaniel is now in 6th grade. One of his friends is an atheist. And this friend knows Nathaniel is a Christian. We will see as the years go on how the Lord uses their friendship to open his heart to the gospel. Molly, a first grader says, “If I weren’t in public school, I wouldn’t know anyone to tell about Jesus.” Of course, iffirst-day-of-school you are intentional, you can do this with your neighborhood and others you meet and there are some amazing parents out there who do that. But for us, this works both in having us meet people who need Christ and to give our children a chance to do the same on their own.

 

There are some draw backs to the public school.

Our particular school is weak in history and science. So we make that up at home with the things we do and watch and talk about and research and look up and what we check out at the library. And just because this is true of our school, doesn’t mean it’s true for yours. My friend in Texas has her kids in a public school that has science as a top priority even employing a teacher specifically for science at the elementary level.

And obviously since it’s public school, there is no Bible education. And although many teachers have been Christian, not all of them have been. Being faithful to attend church and Sunday school and talking about Scripture at home has given our children a firm foundation for a Biblical worldview.

Regardless of where we send our kids to school, ultimately, it’s up to the parents to make sure our children’s education is complete.

What do you do for your child’s schooling? What made you decide to educate your kids that way?

 

7 Steps for Picking the Right School for Your Kid

This week is National School Choice Week.

We are blessed in America to have the choice of where to send our kids to school. But it’s not an easy choice. How much did your school setting impact you as a child? Immensely.

How can you make this overwhelming decision?

Here are 7 steps for choosing your child’s school:

#1  The first thing to do is pray! Pray constantly as you investigate your options that the Lord will make it clear to you what is best for each one of your kids.

#2 Pick a good time for discussion. Let your husband know ahead of time: “I’ve been thinking about what to do for our kid’s schooling. Can we talk about it tomorrow night after the kids are in bed?” Give him a chance to think and pray about it instead of just springing all your fabulous ideas and questions on him. If your child is in high school, let them in on the discussion, too.

#3 Visit each school option yourself. It’s okay to ask around for your friends’ opinions of different schools. But nothing will be as telling as you going to visit the actual classroom to meet the actual teachers and principals and secretaries. Our media culture makes us panicky when we hear about something terrible happening in a school in another state or in another city. When we hear the news, we imagine the situation also applies to our local school. But schools are not like McDonalds. They are not the same in every location. They vary greatly depending on the district leadership, community, parent involvement, and principal. Homeschooling also comes in many varieties. If you are thinking of homeschooling, ask a homeschooling friend if you can come over for a day to see how she does it. Leave your kids at home so that you can quietly observe to see what an actual day looks like. Ask her to show you the paperwork she needs to turn in to the state. If you didn’t love her style, find another homeschooling friend to observe.

#4 What should you look for when you visit?

  • When you call to schedule the visit, are the people kind? Are they respectful to you?
  • When you visit the school, how is the security? Do you have to show ID? Are the doors locked?
  • When you walk in the hallways is there artwork on the walls? Then you know the kids aren’t just doing worksheets all day.
  • How are the desks set up? Are they all lined up in rows facing the front? Then they probably expect a lot of independent work. Are the desks in little clusters? That may indicate they allow the children to work together. They understand children are social and they harness that energy for their learning rather than trying to squash it.
  • For younger elementary, do you see boxes of manipulatives in the classroom? Or do you see centers set up around the room? Then there is hands-on learning that allow children to use all their senses.
  • Ask if they have recess time. How often? What do they do when there is bad weather?
  • Ask about the curriculum they use. See if you can flip the textbooks, or write down the name and search online to check out the content they will be learning.

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#5 Think about how the school will encourage good character or godly character. In one of my children’s public school classrooms, the class rule poster hanging in the classroom was “do to others as you would have them do to you.” Sound familiar? The Golden Rule! The teacher was using Scripture as the guiding rule for her class just without the Bible reference. There are also school wide behavior programs that promote respect, responsibility, kindness, trying your best. All these are part of Godly character. At the public school, they do not reference the Bible, but I connect this at home. “Oh, they are talking about kindness! God says to be kind in Ephesians 4:32!” Look for this in Christian schools, too. Memorizing Bible verses is not the same thing as developing godly character. Look for how they are applying God’s principles for daily classroom life.

#6 Ask about enrichment or special education services. If your child were to need special help or extra challenge, is the school equipped to help?

#7 If after much discussion and prayer, you and your husband disagree on what to do, he wins. We are called to submit to our husbands. That’s the way God has structured our families. If you believe that he is wrong, God will take care of it. He will be responsible before God for the decision. You are responsible before God to obey your husband.

After thinking and praying and visiting our school, we chose to send our children to public school. If you want to know why, I explain it here. I do not think public school is the right choice for everyone. But for us in this time and place, God made it clear this is where our kids should be.

How do you school your kids? How did you decide that was right for you?

5 Christmas Gift Giving Tips from the Expert Gift Giver

(Don’t take this post too seriously. Merry Christmas!)

The typical American is stressed out at Christmas time. There are decorations to hang, family get-togethers to plan, and dozens of cookies to bake. But most stressful of all are the gifts to be purchased and given.

Who should get a gift? What should you get for them? Where is the best place to buy the gift? When should you give it? How can you do gift giving the right way?

Exhausted woman in a Santa hat sitting with a long shopping list of gifts, surrounded by bags and gift boxes, vector illustration, EPS 8

God the Father, the ultimate gift-giving expert, offers these 5 tips for infusing joy into gift giving again.

 

Tip #1

The best Christmas present is given out of love not out of duty.

John 3:16 says

For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but will have eternal life.

Tip #2

Make sure your gift is given at just the right time. Not too early and not too late.

Galatians 4:4 says

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.

Tip #3

Build anticipation by creating a scavenger hunt or clues for finding the gift.

Matthew 2:1-3 says

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Tip #4

Think “outside the box” when it comes to wrapping the gift.

Luke 2:7 says

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 

Tip #5

Include various descriptive names of the gift so the receiver understands the gift’s full value.

Isaiah 9:6 says

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

These 5 tips will put you well on your way to a joy-filled gift giving season. If you need further gift giving guidance, consult the expert, God the Father, through prayer or in a Bible near you.