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(Not) DEFEATED.

(Not) DEFEATED.

I can hear the children bickering in the kitchen, while another empties out the clothes in the dresser.  I'm slumped over our homeschool grade book, wondering if I have done enough.  If I can ever do enough. Old wisdom says not to cry over spilled milk.  But, the kitchen floor needs ...

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Chicken And Dressing Divine (So Easy Your Preschooler Could Do It - A Recipe)

Chicken And Dressing Divine (So Easy Your Preschooler Could Do It - A Recipe)

Like, seriously.  Your preschooler can make this.  I mean, besides the putting it in the oven part.  It's THAT easy.  AND, it doesn't make a mess of your kitchen.  HALLELUJAH.  I'm not kidding.  I don't joke about these things. What you'll need: - Foil sheets - Frozen chicken breasts or tenders, one per ...

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Fun With Water Beads

Fun With Water Beads

We've been enjoying the fun that is WATER BEADS!  These little guys are hidden gems that have been around quite a while in the floral department.  Right now, they are getting lots of attention for creative play. The ones I bought look like these (at Walmart--they were a little over $3 ...

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2013-2014 Homeschool Year: What Worked And What Didn't

2013-2014 Homeschool Year: What Worked And What Didn't

What Worked: I may be way behind everyone else, but we just discovered Ticonderoga Pencils this year.  And. They. Are. Awesome.  The cheap and cutesy pencils are NOTHING compared to these.  They are just awesome. My homeschool binder.  I've used binders/notebooks/planning that I've spent some good money for, but my favorite SO ...

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When Fear Creeps In

When Fear Creeps In

It's easy for the fear to turn from flicker to flame, spreading like wildfire until we're sputtering and coughing on smoke that clouds our vision. It's when the dreams turn to furrowed brows and white knuckles as we clutch so tightly to the things we thought should have been. Moments pass, and ...

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Thoughts on Ferguson

by bosssanders on November 26, 2014 with no comments

I’ve not said much at all regarding what’s going on in Ferguson.  I don’t want to hurt or dishonor my friends and family of all colors, my law-enforcement friends/family, or any hurting hearts.  And, the truth is… I don’t feel like I have a complete picture.

You see, I don’t know what was going through the heads of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson (the cop).  I don’t know their motives or thoughts as they acted and then, reacted.  Sitting here, in the safety of my home, I can’t even imagine the fear or surprise or even, anger.  I can imagine what I’d do if I was in perceived danger, but I also know that when it comes down to it, when adrenaline and fear cloud in, it could play out completely differently.

Because I’m a white woman, I know my words may carry no weight for many.  But, at the same time, I don’t want my silence to be mistaken for not caring.

But, what I do know is this:

Many lives were changed on August 9, 2014.  A young man died and a cop’s life (and the family of M. Brown) was forever changed.

I see so many people saying so many ugly things and doing even worst things.  And, my heart aches and my soul cries out.  We, as a nation, are so busy pointing fingers and using our tongues to slice each other up, that WE ARE MISSING IT.  Don’t you see?  We are so caught up, that we have forgotten what we are fighting FOR and now, we are just fighting.  We are hurting each other in the name of JUSTICE and PEACE as we violently commit injustice to one another.  We’ve gotten so caught up in the hurt and anger that we’ve forgotten that this battle is against something beyond ourselves, and instead of banding TOGETHER to fight, we have turned on one another.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  –Ephesians 6:12

I don’t know if Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown BECAUSE he was black.  And, honestly, neither do you.

What I DO KNOW is

-Racism does exist.  Sometimes it’s subtle.  Sometimes it’s in-your-face.
- Racism exists both ways…all ways.  Both are bad and heart-breaking.  One does not excuse the other.
- Not everyone is racist.  Not every injustice is BECAUSE of race.
- But, some are.  And, again…it goes both ways.  And, it’s wrong.
- People are hurting.  I see my black friends hurting because they live in a world where they could easily be “sized up” because of the color of their skin – in some areas, they will be unfairly searched and manhandled and assumptions will be made about them by some (but not all) people…and many times, they will have to go the “extra mile” just to prove themselves.  Some of my white friends are hurt because it feels like assumptions have been made based on the color of their skin – that they must have inherited racism like some sort of disease, and that no matter what they do, it’ll be perceived as a “race issue” and they will forever be blamed for a history they had no part in.

What I DO KNOW is that this is not a war against flesh and blood.  That is where we’ve focused our energy, but this is much, much bigger.  If we ever truly want peace and justice, we must all put down our pointing fingers and realize that it begins with US.  We can’t change history – and blaming others for something the people before them did is not only not helpful, but also unfair.  We can, however, change the NOW.  We can stand up; we can listen.  We can mourn TOGETHER for a life that was ended (regardless of what he did or didn’t do… he was a man).  We can sympathize with a cop, whose life has been changed and will forever have to live with the scars that come from something like this.  He will live with both the guilt that comes from taking a man’s life (warranted or not), and fear of the possible backlash that comes from something like this.  We can refuse to trade injustice for injustice and violence for violence.  We can realize that our actions and words will further people’s opinions of us as both individuals and as a group – for the good and for the bad.  We can begin to knock down and erase some of the things that have brain-washed and fed to us generation after generation, erasing fences and building bridges towards others.  We must learn to work together, to learn each others stories and hearts instead of making up our own hateful judgements without ever truly knowing.

I refuse to be ashamed of my white skin because it is white.  Yet, I did not choose it, no more than my beautiful brown son chose his.  And, I know there are days coming, when my son will be out and he may be treated differently than other young men.  And, I am saying that this craziness must stop.  From both sides.  We MUST learn to love hearts and not skin.  We MUST remember not only who we are, but WHOSE we are (God’s children!)!  And, that there IS a war, but we are in this together.  We are on the same side!  This is not a fight against flesh and blood, and if we remain distracted, we will not change this world.

Today, let us remember that both the Brown and Wilson family have lost much.  The Brown family has lost their son and the Wilson family has lost much, as well.  The fact that ANY of this had to happen – a young man lost, an officer put in the position he was – is a tragedy.  Taking a moment to focus on these families and grieve beside them does NOT mean you agree with what happened or how it happened.  You don’t have to.  When we love others, despite what they’ve done or not done, we are not saying we AGREE… we are simply saying… THIS MATTERS.  YOU LOST SOMETHING/SOMEONE, AND THIS WAS A TRAGEDY AND WE WILL MOURN WITH YOU.

I’m standing here, without a “side.”  I’m standing here, palms open, waiting for walls to come down.  I’m hopeful for the future – one where individuals will realize that the way to peace is through Jesus and His love for ALL.  Will you join me?

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Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans – A Review

by bosssanders on October 2, 2014 with 2 comments

When we have children, it’s easy to get caught up in the checklist of all of the things we “ought” to do.  We can feel overwhelmed by the barrage of academic, recreational, and spiritual activities flying at us that we miss the MOST important thing – raising Kingdom Kids.  We begin to rely on Awana and Sunday School and teachers and pastors to develop our children’s spirituality, and forget that raising children who love Jesus isn’t based on any PROGRAM (while those are good in their own ways).  And, before we know it, we feel like we are trekking aimlessly through uncharted territory, not sure if we’re even on the right track…or, how to get to where we want to be.

Raising Kingdom Kids by Tony Evans is a book that serves as a map to help you realize where it is you want to be and how to get there – a map to raising Kingdom Kids, if you will.

This book is great if you want to

  • Create an atmosphere where your kids can maintain their identity in Jesus Christ despite the culture around them.
  • Be confident as you discover your worth as a parent, based on God’s Word and not on your kid’s actions.
  • Experience the freedom of influencing your children rather than the futility of trying to control them.
  • Gain new strength as you view the daily duties of parenting from a kingdom perspective.
  • Trade reactive parenting for intentional parenting and marvel at the difference.

This book is NOT another checklist of things you need to sign your children up for.  It’s not a guilt trip in parenting.  In his book, Dr. Tony Evans breaks down some practical steps to raising Kingdom Kids and is broken down into 4 basic parts:

Part 1 – Establishing A Kingdom Mindset – which helps you understand your worth and WHY this is important.  It helps re-align the focus so we can see clearly.

Part 2 – Cultivating A Kingdom Atmosphere – This part is where he breaks down the “how-to.”  It’s not a new check-list to overwhelm you, instead it’s how to implement this Kingdom Atmosphere into your daily life and routine that you already have.

Part 3 – Instilling Kingdom Virtues – or, how to teach your children to be people of wisdom, integrity, purity, etc.

Extras – a note to single parents, scripture index, and more…

Overall, I’d absolutely recommend this book to ANY parent or grandparent!

Note:  A copy of this book was sent to me by Tyndale Publishers for review.  This review is an honest portrayal of thoughts and ideas that are my own.  This review, like all my reviews, reflects my honest opinion.

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Vulnerable Love

by bosssanders on September 8, 2014 with 1 comment

Once upon a time, a little baby was born.  Not just any baby, but the Savior of the world.

I wonder how Mary felt when the Angel Gabriel first showed up… I mean, she was there just minding her own business and then, POOF!  There’s this glowing dude in her space.  The Bible actually says she was afraid!  Wouldn’t you be afraid if someone just POOFED into your room?  I mean, not only was some strange man in her room, but he was glowing!  I would’ve been scared, too!

And, then… Gabriel told her to not be afraid.  And, she wasn’t.  He told her that she was going to have a baby!  Yay!  Wait, not yay.  Mary was engaged to Joseph, but she wasn’t married yet.  Which means, having a baby outside of marriage was NOT a great idea.  You see, God created sex as His gift for marriage.  It’s supposed to be opened after marriage.  Sex before marriage is like opening a Christmas gift before Christmas and then having nothing to open on Christmas.  And, well… because you generally need sex to make babies… well, Mary’s pregnant tummy would NOT go unnoticed by the villagers.  I wonder if the thought fleeted through her mind of the danger … back then, a woman pregnant out of wedlock could be stoned to death!  Regardless of any fleeting thoughts… she told the angel that she was God’s servant and He could do with her what He will.  Brave words.

Mary became rounder and when, Caesar Augustus required them (among others) to come to Bethlehem to be registered, she and Joseph went.  I can’t imagine riding on a donkey from Galilee to Bethlehem.  What is that?  Like, 100 miles or so?  On a donkey.  Pregnant.  I can imagine the sweat pouring down her face and back and the nausea creeping up.  I bet her legs and feet were swollen and every little lurch was inconvenient, at best.  Tired and worn, they finally arrive… to find there were no rooms.  How disappointing that would’ve been!  Finally, a merciful heart offered them the only place he had left… a stable.  I’m not sure if you’ve ever been in a stable or barn before, but it stinks of manure, is dusty, and NOT the vision of cleanliness.  Jesus was born, swaddled in fabric (which had NOT just been bought from Walmart and washed in Dreft), and laid in a food trough.  For food.  And, because they didn’t have bleach and such, I’m guessing it was simply dumped and given a good swipe and hay/straw was dumped in.  By the way, have you ever been on a  hayride?  Have you ever felt hay or straw?  Even separated by fabric, it itches and scratches.  Not the ideal place for a baby…and yet, there Jesus was.

This is one of my favorite stories.  Why?  Because, you see, God is the maker of the universe.  He is great and BIG and nothing is bigger than Him.  He could’ve sent his Son as a strong knight into a palace with fine riches to rule… but, He didn’t.  He chose a vulnerable, defenseless baby.  Not only did Jesus come as a baby, but He went to a POOR family who wasn’t even married yet (at first).  His first bed was an animal trough.  He lived in what we would call the ghetto.  His parents poor and working class.  And, because that’s not enough… He spent much of his life with little to no valuables.  His friends died.  He was betrayed by people he loved.  He was spat upon.  He was hated.  And, in His last days, He let them beat Him with leather straps with sharp rocks/nails attached that ripped at His skin.  He walked with a heavy cross on His back and crown of thorns on His head placed by mocking hands.  He let them hammer those nails, nailing Him to the cross.  He let them.  At any point, He could’ve jumped off.  With a single word, He could’ve squashed them all.  But, He didn’t.

Do you know why He let them?  Because He loved YOU so very much.

“Do you remember the story I told you about Abrahaam and Isaac that I told you?” I said.

They all nod.

“Well, Jesus came to be the lamb for us.  He let Himself be a sacrifice so that whoever comes to the Father through Him would be saved.  Forever.  Z, Jesus died for you…you are so incredibly precious to Him.  He knows your name and he loves you SO much.  La, Jesus died for you, too.  He knows you and made you…he knows how many hairs are on your head.  And, Ro… Jesus died for you.  He thinks you are marvelous.  And, AJ… Jesus died for you and you make His heart so happy.” I said.  And, for the first time, a little boy from Africa heard that not only did Jesus love Him, but that He would pay the ultimate price for him.  That HE was worth it.

Z looked back at me with tears welled up in his eyes as he fought furiously to hold them back.  Yet, they jumped over his big eyelashes and splattered down his cheeks.  As I knelt at his feet, I looked up and said, “But, Z, I’ve not told you the best part, yet.  Jesus isn’t dead.  You can’t REALLY kill (and keep Him that way) Jesus.  Because, 3 days later, he rose from the dead.  And, He did that for you, too.  And now,” I say, with a big grin on my face, “Jesus is sitting on God’s right side.  And, someday, we’ll go and join Him and have a fabulous feast and party and it will truly be magnificent.  Jesus loved you then and He loves you now.  And, this… this is why mommy and daddy love Jesus so much.”

Then, La looked over and said, “It’s okay, Z.  I cried last time when mommy told me, too.”

There are days when I feel like homeschooling may make me lose my mind, but these little moments… these.  They are the nuggets that make it all worth it one hundred times over.

And then, from the corner, a tiny voice pipes up:  “Mommy, please show me how to get Jesus in my heart,” Ro says.

Today was only supposed to be a 2 minute Bible Story from the Jesus Storybook Bible, but turned out to be so much more.

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As Of Today, August 18, 2014

by bosssanders on August 18, 2014

I am thinking… My brain is running through a bunch of different courses right now.  You really don’t want a…

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A DAY IN THE LIFE

by bosssanders on July 29, 2014

We have GREAT days where we zoom through school at lightning speed.  There are days where I feel peaceful and…

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As of today, July 25, 2014

by bosssanders on July 25, 2014

I am thinking… Hubby took us all to the drive-in movies last week for our date night (we shared it…

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