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Prayer and Books

Thank you so much for your prayers as our family continues to change and grow.  Please pray that the Lord would continue to give us mercy, strength, compassion, and love.  Pray that He would bind us together in love as a family.

 

Amanda’s Book List

With the preparation for our additions and trying to finish up the end of the school year, we didn’t read a lot this month.  Honestly I think I am the only one who read anything worth sharing about, and my book list is short.  By the way, I would love to hear if any of you have read any of the books we are reading or if you are planning to read them.  I would also love to hear any of your book recommendations!

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren                                                                                             I was a huge fan of Pippi as a child, but I realized that I don’t think I ever read about her.  I apparently only saw her on the screen; though whether I was introducted to Pippi through one of the movies, on TV, or on the cartoon, I can’t remember.  Maybe it was a mixture of all three.  But I do remember having my mom thread pipe cleaners through the middle of my braids so that they would curve up like Pippi’s; so when I happened upon a copy of the book, I was really excited.  And then I was really disappointed.

Now every character doesn’t have to be a role model.  We learn a lot and get great interest in reading about people who royally mess up their lives.  My problem with Pippi was that she was so interesting and likeable that she was clearly the hero in the story.  Who wouldn’t love a story about a super strong girl who has a pet monkey and a horse who lives on her front porch.  (She carries him into the yard when she wants to drink coffee on the porch.)

But Pippi is a liar.  She lies a lot, all the time in fact, as in numerous times in every chapter.  She sometimes admits that she is lying, but then she uses the excuse that you can’t expect her to tell the truth because she doesn’t have parents.  It drove me crazy the whole book.  In the last chapter Pippi plays with a sword and two loaded pistols, purposefully shooting holes in her ceiling right after saying:  “Never let children handle firearms.”  She offers two of the pistols to her friends as gifts; one is “enchanted”, and the other accepts as long as hers is unloaded.  The friends’ father seems to have no issue with this.  The whole book left me frustrated, and honestly I felt mad at the neighbors who all seemed to believe that it was too difficult to force Pippi into a children’s home and apparently didn’t care enough to welcome her into their families, curb her bad behavior, or talk her into going to school.

 The Princess by Lori Wick                                                                                                                  This is one of my go-to, happy books.  I commonly read this book when I am stressed, anxious or overwhelmed.  But I wasn’t actually feeling any of those things this time.  Perhaps I read the book to get the bad taste of Pippi out of my mouth… The Princess is a story about a young woman who agrees to an arranged marriage with a man she doesn’t know because she feels that this is a way for her to serve the Lord and her country.  The book is a light, easy read.  In some ways it feels like an unimportant book, something quick and frothy to enjoy.  But the story is also filled with deep truths about love being an committed action over a feeling and about how God expects us to deal with anxiety.  Reading The Princess makes me so happy!

Better Together:  Strengthen Your Family, Simplify Your Homeschool, and Savor the Subjects that Matter Most by Pam Barnhill                                                                                       Pam Barnhill is one of my favorite homeschool gurus.  I listen to all three (that’s right.  Three.) homeschool podcasts, and I use her Plan Your Year resources for my homeschool planning.  She is so practical and helpful.  Her book is inspiring and oh so practical in helping homeschooling parents plan a homeschool that works for their family.  I will be going back to this resource again and again.  Oh, and Pam is a fellow Alabamian!

Family Read Alouds:  

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell                                                                                I loved this story as a kid; and I had fun sharing it with my kids, though in retrospect I decided pretty quickly that worm eating may be a lot more interesting to children than grown ups.  They really liked it.  I think their only complaint was that the chapters were very short.  How can they insist that I haven’t read long enough if I have already read 4 chapters?!  Truthfully this book is such an easy read that my boys could have read it individually in one short sitting.  In fact I tried to get them to read it on their own, but they wanted to share it as a family.  Honestly, how could I say no?  🙂

 

Thank you again for all of your support and prayers.  Please continue to lift us up!  We really need it.  Also let us know what your family is reading and how we can pray for you.  Love to you all.

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Great Blessing and Spiritual Warfare

Last week the Lord answered our prayer to grow our family through foster care!  We are not allowed to share any personal information on social media, so all I can tell you is that for right now Jeremy and I have 5 sons.  You read that right. 5! Sons!

We love our new additions, and we are so grateful that the Lord has placed us together for now. Of course it is definitely a learning process as we all get to know each other and learn how to be a family.  G seems to have struggled the most so far since he is no longer the baby.  He has been frustrated that the new kids want to play with his toys!

We were told over and over that foster care would bring spiritual warfare.  I expected it; but to be perfectly honest, we have had a difficult time.  24 hours after our family grew, we were all at urgent care, concerned that G needed stitches in his toe.  Thankfully the doctor was able to fix the cut with glue! Then over the next 48 hours everyone in the family succumbed to a stomach virus.  The kids seemed to recover the easiest.  I ended up going to the ER in the middle of the night for IVs.  I feel extremely rough.

Foster Care is hard.  Family is hard.  But God is so good!  I can’t wait to see what He will do in all of our individual lives and in our family.  Please, please keep us in your prayers.

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Hurry up and Wait, Plus our Reading List

We are still waiting for our foster care license to come through.  We have done everything (so many big and little things), and we are waiting again!  So much waiting… Amazingly, no matter how long we wait, we always manage to find something else that needs to be done!  We really are done now though…except for re-cleaning the house and hang a little art work.  Officially we have done all that we need to do.  Now we wait for the powers that be to give us full approval, and then we will be eligible to be foster parents!  We are all so very excited to serve the Lord as a foster family; I have to keep reminding myself:  God’s timing, God’s plans.

Amanda’s Book List

I finished very few books this month, because I lost the first book I had been reading.  I was determined to find the book before I started another.  This was a mistake because unfortunately, it took me many, many days before I found the book–under my son’s bed!  Since I never read this book in my kids’ room, I am at a loss as to how it got there!  Perhaps a Bedtime Book Monster…

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells                                                                                                 Lately I kept hearing people mention H.G. Wells, and I realized that I had only ever read one of his books.  When I happened upon a copy of The War of the Worlds, I had to pick it up.  I am not usually a science fiction gal, but I really enjoyed this book!  The story was vivid and unique.  I was amazed at the depth and interest of the author’s vocabulary.  He used so many interesting words, like heliographululation, and integument.  Honestly, I was so fascinated by Wells use of language that I marked the words I didn’t know and looked them up in a dictionary later!

If You Can Keep It:  The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty by Eric Metaxas                    I mostly prefer fiction, but Metaxas is my very favorite non-fiction writer.  He is actually one of my favorite writers hands down.  When the Constitution was drafted in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was approached by a woman asking what kind of government the founders had given the American people.  Franklin replied:  “A republic, if you can keep it.”  Metaxas illuminates the story of our country’s beginning and the lives of some of those who helped to form her:  George Whitefield, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and more.  If You Can Keep It is fascinating, inspiring, and challenging.  I think this book should be read by every American.

Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart:  The Story of Amber and Essie told here in Poems and Pictures by Vera B. Williams                                                                                                          This is a short, middle grade novel written in verse.  Each one-page poem slowly reveals the story of two sisters’ joy and heartache.  I struggle to find the words to explain this book to you.  I happened upon it at the public library and read the entire book while my children used the library computer.  I laughed, and I cried.  The book moved me in a beautiful way, and I left changed.

Jeremy’s Book List

Jeremy read this month, but he wasn’t able to finish any books.  He’ll get back to you next month.

The Kids:  Both boys have been reading books by Andrew Clements, the author of Findle.  All of the books are delightful and funny.  The boys have enjoyed them all.

Family Read Alouds:  

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis                                                                              We finished this book (the third in the Chronicles of Narnia series) and really enjoyed it.  We were inspired to have some spiritual conversations due to this book.  I loved seeing understanding dawn in my children’s eyes!

Couple Read Aloud:

We are still reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.  Reading aloud as a couple is slow going, but we are enjoying the book.

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Reading Log: March

We are still chugging along toward our foster care licensure!  Somedays I feel like it is coming too fast; other times I feel like the process is creeping.  I am trying to trust the Lord and His timing.  Hopefully we will have some specific information next week!

Amanda’s Book List

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome                                                                                   I had somehow never heard about this book until recently when it was recommended on a bunch of different podcasts.  The book is considered a classic by many and was published in 1930.  This was one of my favorite books, maybe one of my favorites ever!  I loved every second of it and can’t wait to share it with my kids!  If you and your family love stories about independent children, wise moms, sailboats, and pirates, then Swallows and Amazons is the book for you!

The Borrowers by Mary Norton                                                                                                     The Borrowers is a children’s novel about tiny people who live under the floorboards and survive by “borrowing” things from the humans who live above them.  This book was a fun, light read.  I don’t think it was anything super special, but I enjoyed it and would be happy to pass it on to my kids.

Airborn by Kenneth Opel                                                                                                     Generally I like middle-grade or adult novels.  Young adult novels have never really been my thing.  But I gave this book a try, and I am glad I did.  Set in a world where airplanes were never invented, and airships rule the skies; Airborn was an interesting and fun read.

Jeremy’s Book List

Through My Eyes:  A Quarterback’s Journey by Tim Tebow with Nathan Whitaker                  Jeremy’s take:  This book was encouraging.  It was great to see how God uses college athletes, such as Tim, to share the Good News with the nations.  It was also great to read passages aloud to my boys.

The Kids:  More Diary of the Wimpy Kid books.                                                                            Jonathan has been re-reading some of the Flat Stanley books by Jeff Brown, and Samuel is enjoying them for the first time.                                                                                         Frindle by Andrew Clements.                                                                                                Jonathan read Frindle this month.  I had to talk him into trying something new, but he really liked it and asked to read other books from the series.  The story is about a mischievous boy who is always doing something mischievous at school; this time he stirs things up by inventing a new word:  frindle!  Jonathan thought the book was funny.

Family Read Alouds:  

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis                                                                              We are still reading this book which is the third in the Chronicles of Narnia series.  So far the kids seem to really be enjoying it.  I will let you know for sure when we finish!

Couple Read Aloud:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle    Jeremy and I just started this book as a read aloud.  I read this book myself last month; but since Jeremy had never read it, we decided to try it together.  The original plan was to read the book before the movie came out, but clearly that didn’t happen.  Since Jeremy didn’t like the movie, I had to push him a little to try the book.  I will let you know what he thinks when we finish it!

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Needles, Fingerprints, and Fencing

Weekly update time!  My mom’s health is much better.  She is improving slowly but steadily.  She is extremely weak and needs to rest a lot, but she is getting a little stronger each day.

My dad is going back to work today!  Unfortunately his new job is in Kentucky.  He will be living up there for the next few months, but hopefully he will be back to visit every two weeks.  He agreed to take this job before my mom got sick, and I think he is a bit nervous to leave her.  But we will take very good care of her.

I mentioned in my last post that the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home wanted to expedite our foster care license.  That means a crazy amount of stuff to do!  Since I wrote last week, every person in my home had a physical, including a TB test.  My poor children had to have a lot of vaccines on top of the TB test.  They were troopers, but it was NOT fun.  All of the grown ups had criminal background checks, which will be back between this Friday and two weeks after that.  We also filled out a ton of paperwork and read a very long and dry (but important) foster care manual.

We now have to wait for our background checks to come back and for my mom’s new TB test results.  You have to read a TB test within exactly 48-72 hours, and we accidentally missed our window on her test.  We got six out of seven times right, so I guess we didn’t do too bad!  Now the doctor is making her wait a few days before she can have another test.

We also have to put up a line of fencing between the back of our house and our pool.  The pool is surrounded by a high wall, but our actual house is the fourth wall around the pool.  DHR doesn’t consider that safe, so we have to add the line of pool fencing.

We still have a ton of little things to do from our safety list, like installing more outlet covers and writing an emergency evacuation plan.  And of course we have things to do from our regular life, like church, soccer, baseball, cooking dinner, and laundry.  Sometimes getting the regular life stuff done is harder!  I have so much laundry to fold right now….

Here is our goal, hope and prayer:  to get everything done by the time our background checks return.  Then we will be ready to open our home to a child that needs one.  Our understanding from the Children’s Home is that a child or children may come to our home very, very quickly.  That means that within the month I may be the mother of four or more kids!

I am terrified!  And I can’t wait!

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Moving Fast!

No time for a real blog post this week.  I just wanted to let you know that our foster care plans have suddenly gone from a crawl to a sprint.  Things are moving very quickly, and the Alabama Baptist Children’s Home may expedite our licensure.  Please pray for the Lord’s will.  We trust in Him, His goodness, and His plans.  Jesus is risen!  He is risen, indeed!

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Reading Log: February

My mom is home from the hospital and doing very well!  Of course recovery from pneumonia takes some time, but she is making quick improvements.  Praise the Lord!

We are still trying to catch up on our reading logs.  Here’s what we read in February.

Amanda’s Book List

Sharing God’s Big Love with Little Lives:  a Can-Do Guide for Parents and Caregivers by     Jean Thompson                                                                                                                                      Many of you may better recognize Jean Thompson by her ministry name:  Ms. Pattycake!  Thompson’s book is as precious as she is and as full of great advice.  I highly recommend this book, if you have a little one in your life.  Also the book has so many adorable anecdotes!

Flora and Ulysses by Kate diCamillo                                                                                           This mid-grade novel is so much fun.  Both heart-warming and hilarious, Flora and Ulysses  tells the story of a cynical girl from a home of divorce and a squirrel who unexpectedly received superpowers.  My middle son is in the process of reading this book too.  The reading level is a couple of years above what he normally reads, due to some very hefty vocabulary words; but the book is so great that he has really persevered and will hardly put it down!  A quote from this book–“Holy unexpected occurences!”–may become one of our family catch phrases!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen                                                                                                    I have read this book numerous times, but I reread it so that I could join in an online book club.  Pride and Prejudice is such a classic!  If your only experience with this story is one of the movies, pick up a copy of the book.  The writing is so wonderful!

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle                                                                                              I read this book years ago but I could only remember vague impressions and the feelings I had while reading it.  Since the movie was coming out, I wanted to reread the story.  So creative and interesting, A Wrinkle in Time isn’t really like anything else.  The book is so unique and has many Christian allusions and references that were left out of the new movie.

Jeremy’s Book List

Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels                                                                                         Jeremy’s take:  I am currently reading this book to cultivate my prayer life.  It is making a qualitative difference in my relationship with God.  One of the books great take-aways:  “When we work, we work, but when we pray, God works.”

The Kids:  Both older boys have still been reading lots of The Diary of the Wimpy Kid books.  As I mentioned above S is currently taking a break from the series to read Flora and Ulysses.

Family Read Alouds:  

Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis                                                                                                                The second book in The Chronicles of Narnia series was so much fun to read to the boys!  After we finished the book, we watched the movie (which while awesome, seriously deviates from the original story).  The boys kept saying:  “That’s not the way that happened.”  After the movie, they both agreed that the book was so much better.  I was so excited since my kids love TV and movies!  We are excited to move onto the next book in the series!