Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Our Theological Heritage

(This post has been on my heart for months now. I'm only sorry that it has taken me so long to post it.)

I am an historical girl. I just love history. I love my family history, American history, world history, church history.

Maybe I love history because I live in Colorado which has practically no history; it only became a U.S. territory 149 years ago. I grew up in a small town in the rolling Pennsylvania farmland that is older than the American revolution. My parents used to drive half an hour away and show us where our nation was born- I wish I could do the same for my children. I miss learning about the old history that used to surround me. History is important because it tells us where we've come from and who we are.

Maybe I love history because I grew up learning from a dear pastor who taught us to value our theological heritage. I draw great comfort from learning about the Scottish Covenanters who were persecuted for their faith. They died not just for believing in Jesus, but for doctrinal truths from Scripture, like justification by faith alone, the solas of the reformation, bringing children into the covenant by baptism, and practices such as family worship and psalm singing. I would encourage you to read a few of these books to get you started learning about these great saints.

I believe that historic Biblical creeds, confessions, catechisms are very important as we grow in our faith and can meditate on weightier doctrines. The simple doctrines (like the Apostle's Creed) are crucial to know and understand and love, but after a while, theological meat is necessary to grow strong. Do we delve any deeper than pop culture Christianity? We have hundreds of years of Presbyterian history that we benefit from everyday. Are we taking advantage of this history? These ancient godly men searched the scriptures night and day and summarized biblical thoughts and doctrines for their children and congregants. This is our spiritual heritage. These men were persecuted for shaking up the status quo and doing and preaching what was biblical. Ministerial delegates in 1647 labored heavily and prayerfully as they drafted the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechism, a thorough exposition of Scripture heavily laden throughout with full proof texts for every word written. John Calvin after having fled to Basel, Switzerland in 1536, wrote his Institutes of the Christian Religion, a veritable handbook for reformed, newly protestant Christianity. Study for yourself and adopt the Canons of Dort in 1619 which defend the faith against the delinquent doctrine of Arminianism. Don't forget the puritan preachers and authors too, like Jeremiah Burroughs, Thomas Watson, Jonathan Edwards and Richard Baxter who thoroughly studied the Bible and wrote beautiful volumes about God's attributes and instructions on how to live a godly life. (I'd heartily recommend this one.) We must study these documents and learn about our church fathers. All of this is very important. There is a wealth that we cannot squander. These are the shoulders that we stand upon. We need to be mature enough in our faith to know why we believe what we believe.

A note to those who know me from church:
Do you ever wonder what exactly is a sacrament? Why do we baptize our babies? Who should partake of the Lord's Table? Why do we worship in the order we do? I would encourage you to take a look at The Westminister Confession and the OPC Book of Church Order ~ also known as The Westminster Standards. This organized way of worship is important because order reflects the order of our good God.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Created in True Righteousness and Holiness

Question 5. Can you live up to all this perfectly?
Answer. No. I have a natural tendency to hate God and my neighbor.

Question 6. Did God create people so wicked and perverse?
Answer. No. God created them good and in God's own image, that is, in true righteousness and holiness, so that they might truly know God their creator, love God with all their heart, and live with God in eternal happiness for God's praise and glory.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Co-op 2010

This fall we're headed back to our friends' house in the country to learn about bugs and insects! You may remember that last May we participated in a co-op where we learned about trees, and my good friend Andie was brave enough to invite us back to their home so our group of kids could learn together again.

These jars are holding a couple homemade ant farms~ an experiment in what ants like to eat.

Everyone got to catch bugs and show them to each other.

Mostly, everyone caught giant grasshoppers, with a few caterpillars and ladybugs thrown into the mix.

My kids just loved it!

They're also creating another lapbook this time so there will be something tangible to put in their binders for the year. They'll be finished with them soon and I'll be sure to show you all of their hard work.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Cat Pictures

...which is ironic since I've never considered myself a cat person.

(Look at his cool stripes!)

I guess he was just too photogenic this morning as he took one of his multitudinous naps on Dabney's bed.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Buster Love

Isn't that the cutest cat you've ever seen?

A family at church recently had a few litters of kittens and were looking to give them to good homes. Imagine my shock when Tim actually said we could take one! Dabney literally shed tears of joy. And that is not an exaggeration. This is our family's first pet.

We brought the little guy home yesterday and I think things are going very, very well. We call him Buster. He finds his newspaper when he needs it (Tim's bringing home a proper litter box tonight) and has taken to eating and drinking just fine. My only job with him is managing his crowd control. My pet-starved kids just can't get enough of him, although he handles them well.

"Nice to meet you!"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

God's Law Summarized

Question 3. How do you come to know your miserable condition?
Answer. The law of God tells me.

Question 4. What does God's law require of us?
Answer. Christ teaches us this in summary in Matthew 22: "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your minds [and with all your strength].' This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." 1

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My $25 Dining Room Light Make-Over

Alright, here is our "before" picture. I hate "before" pictures. There is a story to this light fixture, but in a nutshell, suffice it to say that it had cost less than $3 and was always viewed as a temporary solution. That is, until I found this sweet thing for $15 on Craigslist last week... (scroll down!)

Of course, this was her "before" shot. However, a can of black spray paint does work wonders.

I strung her up on the inside of my trusty ladder and sprayed away!

Isn't that much better? She was meant to be painted black!

And, yep, I got paint on my ladder. Good thing that I don't really care. As far as I'm concerned, paint belongs on your ladder.

A cute helper is of course, completely optional.

Here she is hung, but before I swagged her.

I definitely needed a few chandelier shades for our new light fixture. I love the ones at Lowe's but they range from $6-$9 each and I needed 5. Paying that much is just not in my blood. I found these at Hobby Lobby. Did you notice the price? $3.99! And guess what? They were half off! That's right people~ $2 each! That's a price I can pay.

Now it seems as though our entire dining room is transformed. She gives out plenty of light, she's swagged high enough so the entire space is illuminated, and we all think it's a vast improvement. I am beyond ecstatic with the $25 we invested!

Monday, September 13, 2010

What We Did on Our Summer Vacation- Josh Turned 3

On July 22nd, our Josh turned 3 years old! How on earth did "Baby Josh" get so big so fast?

I made these cupcakes from a set of books (Hello, Cupcake and What's New, Cupcake) that I bought a few months ago. I let Josh thumb through the books and choose the kind that he wanted for his birthday. For a while he couldn't decide between the sharks and the pandas, but ultimately he settled on the pandas.

"Thank you, Aunt Rannah!"

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Set Free from Misery

Question 2. What must you know to live and die in the joy of this comfort?
Answer. Three things: first, how great my sin and misery are; second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery; third, how I am to thank God for such redemption.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

First Sewing Lessons

As you may remember, Dabney bought an American Girl doll last spring with her own money. Naturally, we've been on the look out for more clothes for Kit, but boy, can they be expensive! In our case, necessity really is the mother of invention so Dabney and I took inventory of the house. Providentially, we had just gathered a large garbage bag of clothes from the closets, destined for the Goodwill.

We found some free patterns online and got to work. We loved the patterns so much that we even bought a few, which is almost out of character for me.

Dabney and I printed, cut and laminated the pattern pieces, then got to work on cutting and marking the fabric. I did the sewing this time, but Dabney is not far from doing those steps herself.

Happy Customer!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Fitting for a Sunday Evening

The Heidelberg Catechism

Question 1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Answer. That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. Christ has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from all the power of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation. Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

Friday, September 03, 2010

My New Whiteboard

Ok, This one was really easy, guys.

My mailbox is down the street from my house. I hate that. What happened to the days when you can keep your cute mailbox on it's post at the end of your driveway? Seriously, is crime so bad that you have to keep your mail locked away in a cold, ugly, metal, communal box?. Ugh, sin. Anyway, I walk to my mailbox down the street everyday. On the upside, I also get to say hello to my neighbors and remove myself from our property everyday, too.

A few weeks ago, walking towards said mailbox, I noticed a house nearby whose occupants were obviously booted from the premises. The house had been for sale for a while, and the outside had been trashed. Literally. A crazy mountain of stuff was out by the curb. I scanned it but saw only one remotely salvageable item. This large frame. It's made of MDF and very heavy. It had originally been used as a mirror ~ I know this because there was still a shard lodged inside. It is almost 4 feet tall and as soon as I saw it I had an epiphany. I knew exactly how I could use it. A whiteboard! A huge, substantial, practically free whiteboard for our home school, that wouldn't look half bad! Look at those ledges! They are perfect for holding dry erase pens and erasers! I lugged it back to my house with my car. There were two ugly metal geometric medallions flanking the sides, which I promptly removed, then filled the holes with wood filler.

A few days later I went to Home Depot with my right hand girl. We bought a 4' by 8' enormous piece of tile board/panel board (mention that it will be used for dry-erase purposes and they'll know exactly what you need) and had the nice man at the store cut it with the giant wall saw into a 29x30"piece. That cost us $12, but I used less than half of that giant board and I have huge pieces left over in my basement now. So I estimate that the exact piece of tile board/ shower board set me back about 5 bucks. I pryed open the top of the back of the frame and slipped in my new whiteboard and voila. Couldn't be easier! And now look at what we have~ a substantial piece for our schoolroom that cost almost nothing. I love free stuff. And I'm not ashamed.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Homemade Bulletin Boards for the Kids

[Ahhhh! I really wanted to show you how to make these bulletin boards but I can't find the how-to pictures that I took. :( I might have to settle for written instructions because I just don't feel like taking them apart to show you how to put them together.]

First off, find a nice frame. I was aiming for a frame with pretty detail and more than 1" wide, but you can use your preference. The frame I used for Dabney's was brown wood (I gave it a quick spray with white paint) from Hobby Lobby and the original price was $59.99. Isn't that crazy? I mean, I really liked it, but who would pay $60 for 1 frame? I bought it because it was marked down to $6. Also, grab yourself some foamcore board ($1.50) and some poly batting. I used batting that I already had in the basement. Oh, and some fabric (the size of the frame opening plus about 5" around the sides) and coordinating ribbon. Dabney's board used clearance fabric also from Hobby Lobby ~ $2/yd. The boys' board used a remnant.

Layer the batting and the fabric on the foamcore. Flip the whole deal upside down, pull the fabric taut and then staple it all to the foamcore. Strategically place the ribbons to wherever you want them. I did all horizontal ribbons, but you could do the crisscross design that is so popular or whatever you like. Pull them very taut and staple them in place also. Place the whole deal in your frame and secure. I used my staplegun to keep the board in place, but you could also use clear packing tape on the back.

Hang it up and admire your work!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Welcome to Command Central!

Welcome to command central! This is my new (to me) desk! I was getting pretty harried managing our homeschool, finances, house stuff, mail, coupons, etc from our dining room table, so a few weeks ago, we found this great desk from Pottery Barn Kids for really cheap on Craigslist. I was so excited to snatch such a great find! Look at those little cubbies! I have one for coupons, one for our whiteboard stuff, one for drawings and letters from the kids, and more to spare! And drawers! I have art paper for the kids to use in that inbox in that 3rd space and my master curriculum guide lives (for now) on the bottom. The furniture is all solid wood~ hutch, desk and chair. Although the desk and hutch have been discontinued, you can still buy the chair from pottery barn on sale for only $99. I bought the entire 3 piece set for $59. Total steal. And, I am completely in love with it.

The only thing is this...

and this...
It was definitely used as a school desk. By children who were fidgity and expressed their boredom on this desk. The pictures don't show it well, but there are shallow carving all over the front right side of the desk. My dilemma is this: I want to use this desk forever and restore her back to her original beauty. I'm thinking a light sanding with my sanding mouse and then a coat or two of white paint. However, the ante is upped (in my mind, at least) because the furniture is from Pottery Barn. I'm nervous that I'll ruin it forever. Maybe it's because I know I can't just run out and get another one. Not that I do a bad job at these things, remember the $15 dresser?
Anyway, I'm thinking paint. White or black. Although I already have two large black bookshelves in the room where my desk lives. Would that be too much black? I need your opinion! I'm putting a poll in the left sidebar so you can help me. PLEASE VOTE! And thanks in advance for your wonderful ideas!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...