The Porch Light copyright by Revka (2006-2010). All rights reserved.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Just had to share

I did my usual bi-weekly grocery shopping on Thursday night and made some additional purchases as well. I had been looking for a nice long wool coat but had not yet found one that looked good on me and was affordable. My search is over - at Target I found a black single-breasted knee-length wool coat with an empire waist and princess seams that looked fantastic on me and was on clearance for $29.99 plus tax. Well, I made a "planned impulse purchase," let me tell you! (For definition purposes, a planned impulse purchase is when you have planned to buy something but were not looking particularly for that item when you found it. I got the idea from Jonni McCoy's book Miserly Moms: Living on One Income in a Two Income Economy. also features a "Ask Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy" column.) I also got several little $1 toys for $.25 and have stashed them to use as presents later. Have you found a particularly good buy lately that you would like to share?


Friday, December 29, 2006

'Tis the season

... for dieting! That's right; ask people to name one of their New Year's resolutions, and one of the most popular answers will be "lose weight." It's an American tradition: we make gluttons of ourselves throughout November and December and "repent in sackcloth and ashes" during January (if we even manage stick to our resolution through the whole month).

I for one do not make resolutions for the New Year. When I was somewhere between the ages of 10-14, I tried making resolutions, but I never stuck to them. To me, resolutions feel too much like a diet, something else I never do. If you are like me, anytime you apply the words "diet," "resolution," or "budget" to yourself, you immediately rebel and devour everything in sight, smashing those resolutions and breaking the bank at the same time! Despite not going on a diet or making resolutions or having a budget, I have lost 20 lbs. over the past 4 years, have accomplished things that I would have made a resolution to do if I made resolutions, and seldom use a credit card but pay it off in full when I receive a statement showing a balance. For me, it's all about mind games. I tell myself that I can eat whatever I want. When I have that permission, I'm not attracted to food. I set "goals" for myself; a goal is a journey and doesn't make me feel compelled to succeed perfectly immediately. Mr. Incredible and I have a Spending Plan and a Freedom Account - very different from a budget psychologically!

But what if you really do need to lose that excess poundage NOW? So many people opt for the "easy" road: they starve themselves or purchase diet pills advertised as a hunger inhibitor or a metabolism booster. Starving oneself is actually counter-productive. A body in starvation mode will slow down its metabolism so it can hoard the fat it thinks it needs to survive. That is why you can eat less and still end up getting bigger. I am leery of supplements and diet pills. They mess with your body and often give quick results that simply don't last. Instead, I prefer the old-fashioned route of eating properly and getting regular exercise.

If you want to lose fat and weight, you need to get your metabolism going. The best way to do this starts with a fairly simple step: NEVER skip breakfast! That is your metabolism starter after your hours-long fast during the night. Breakfast need not be big, but do eat. Eat a SMALL and healthy morning snack. Eating junk is also counter-productive. If possible, make lunch your largest meal of the day because your metabolism should be in full swing during that time. Have a small afternoon snack. Eat a light supper. Soup and sandwiches is a good example of a light supper. Avoid eating after 6 p.m. if at all possible. Eating late means your body probably will not have time to fully digest a large meal before you retire for the night. Attempt to achieve sustained movement for at least 15 minutes a day. You don't have to "work out." Just get moving!

No, I don't do all those things all the time, but if I did, I would be losing weight faster. The little I do does make a difference. I have three children and have lost a little more weight after each child was born; I think that is due to the fact that I have more to do with each child I have. And, yes, I do realize there can be medical conditions that inhibit weight loss. If you are having trouble losing weight, consult a doctor. In fact, your doctor is a great resource anytime you are thinking about losing weight. Repeat after me: "My doctor is my friend!" Just not my wallet's friend. (grin)

photo courtesy of


Oh, yeah - they're rolling prices WAY back!

As seen while shopping at WalMart last night (and I'm not making this up!):

A Lays potato chips display screamed 2 for $5. The Rollback sign said, "Was $2.50."

Rollback logo courtesy of


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Family togetherness

If you haven't figured it out by now, Mr. Incredible has an incredibly large family - extended family, that is. He has 4 great-aunts and 1 great-uncle on his mom's side and some great-relatives on his dad's side, which means that the girls not only have great-grandparents but also have several great-great-aunts and at least 1 great-great-uncle. (I don't know his dad's side of the family as well as I do his mom's relatives.) With that in mind, you can only surmise as to how many who-knows-how-far-removed relations he/they have. Having grown up in a family estranged and isolated from all other relatives, the first time I attended one of the family gatherings was rather a shock. Nowadays, I look forward to those gatherings. I truly do enjoy (most) of my husband's relatives. Believe me, there are plenty of chances to enjoy the family, too! There's Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas for starters. Then there is summertime when an attempt is made to gather the clan yet again. In past years, summertime gatherings have often been postponed in favor of week-long fall gatherings at rented beach cottages. What fun that has been! All the beds in the house are full and there are often sleeping bags spread on every bit of available floor space. The days are passed in carefree fashion with no particular attention being paid to the fleeting time. A great spot for these gatherings is the Outer Banks NC. I have enjoyed visiting the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kill Devil Hills. Tracing the Wright's journey to flight has been an adventure that made the dull history books come to life. Nearby Jockey's Ridge is also a fun place to visit and watch the hang gliders floating from the top of the mountainous sand dune. There are quaint little shops for those who enjoy shopping (not me!), and there are miles of shoreline for walking. There is plenty of room for fishing and building sand castles, too. We hope to have the chance to explore the beautiful Outer Banks yet again this fall, but with my family this time. Here's to the memories yet to be made - may they be glorious with love and laughter.

photo courtesy of


Let the color flow

Everyone has his own style and preferences, including house color preferences. My mother-in-law prefers white walls in her home. I gravitate toward soothing, peaceful colors such as blues, greens, and grays. My friend Michelle loves vivid, bright colors (think sunshine yellow). I guess it has to do with your personality. Whatever the reason, beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. As I mentioned before, in the year that we have lived here, I have only managed to paint the girls' room, and I still need to paint the trim in there. I have the colors picked out for the rest of the house but have not yet found time to get the job done. This coming spring, that will all change. Within a few months, my house will sparkle with fresh paint in blues and greens and browns. The trim throughout will be cream, and most rooms will be either a combination of mossy green and a sand color or the aforementioned sand color and light-medium blue with the smallest hint of gray. If you are interested in adding color to your home but need some inspiration, I found a site that will give you some great house painting ideas and is full of information to help you choose your colors. I like that they offer free interior and exterior color combination guides. In fact, I am going to order some for myself - just to make sure that I still prefer the colors I chose 3 years ago!


I've joined the ranks

... of paid bloggers! Remember when I was first starting out and wrote about how clueless I felt? I even mentioned that I had just heard that some lucky people get paid to blog. To me, that was a dream-come-true idea. Wow! You mean it's possible to get paid for doing something that I absolutely love and am already doing? I guess I've come quite a way since those early days - I am now part of the paid blogging community. No, not everything I write is some kind of paid advertisement. In fact, unless I told you, I don't think you would realize which posts were actually assignments. (I could be wrong; you're welcome to test my theory if you would like. Can you guess which posts I wrote for pay?) That is what I like about the company for which I write - the only requirements are that the post be a minimum of 50 words and that the keyword(s) they send me be used as a hyperlink to the target URL. Other than that, I am free to write anything I wish, and I am not limited to posting for pay. This is still MY blog, and I can still write anything I want. If you have a blog and are interested in using it to make some easy money, you can get more information and/or sign up here. (This company is still in the beginning phase and is currently recruiting bloggers.) A friend also e-mailed me about another new paid blogging opportunity. ReviewMe pays bloggers to write reviews. Here is their WHY? page which details how and why their site works. I signed up for this, but my blog doesn't have enough traffic to qualify yet. I'll probably try back later. My promise to you is this: I WILL NOT turn this into an advertisement-only blog. I WILL strive to make my paid posts consistent with my normal personal content. I don't ever want you to feel that you are visiting a huge bill board - UGH! Let me know if you have any thoughts on this matter.


Go see what Christmas gift you helped give

Way back when, I let you guys know about Babylune's thoughtful Christmas gift for her readers. For those who are interested, she now has posted which gift you helped her pick out to give. Go see for yourself - I think this was a marvelous idea. While you're there, do some browsing and see for yourself why I think Kate's blog is an interesting and informative place to visit.


Oh, the cuteness!

I just received photos from Pookie Bear's Christmas PeeWee Patch program and thought I'd share. BTW, you can click on them to see a larger photo, which definitely enhances viewability! (If that wasn't a word before, it is now - HA!!!)

This is Pookie's posed shot.

This is the band of angels of which she was a part. She is center front wearing boots.

This is a shot of the whole group (except me) afterward. Pookie is in the second row standing between the two little girls in the front row.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

There's no place like home

After having been gone for 3 days, we are thrilled to the soles of our feet to be back in our "home, sweet home," especially our own bed! That feeling prompted me to choose the quotation you see in the previous post. I had that thought running through my head so I ran a search on (my favorite search engine, BTW) and found this interesting site which features the complete lyrics to the song - popular during the Civil War.

Words by John Howard Payne
Music by Henry Rowley Bishop

'Mid pleasures and palaces though I may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek thro' the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere.

Home! Home! Sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, there's no place like home.

An exile from home, splendor dazzles in vain,
Oh, give me my lowly thatched cottage again;
The birds singing gaily that come at my call;
Give me them, with that peace of mind, dearer than all.


To thee, I'll return, overburdened with care,
The heart's dearest solace will smile on me there.
No more from that cottage again will I roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.



Thoughtful Tuesday (10)

"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;"
John Howard Payne


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas

I wish you all a Merry Christmas. I thank God for His blessings this past year and look forward to sharing a new year with you all. Thank you for visiting my place. I appreciate every one of you - even the ones who just lurk. (grin)


Thursday, December 21, 2006

To Jesus; From Pookie Bear, with love

As Christmas approaches, I am earnestly seeking to instill in my children the knowledge that Christmas is not about presents or Santa Claus; rather, it is the day set aside to celebrate Jesus' birth. Pookie Bear, being the oldest, has finally grasped this concept and eagerly anticipates "Jesus' birthday party." (I wish we really could have a birthday party for Jesus, and maybe we will next year. Unfortunately, we are going to be out of town for several days this year, and it's just not possible.)

Anyway, Pookie and I were wrapping her daddy's presents and her infamous beauty set. (I told her she has to act surprised and excited when she opens it - LOL) While we were doing that, I told her it would be nice if we gave Jesus a present. She was really excited about that idea. I said that we could buy something for Him or give money to church. She went to our bathroom and came back with one of the starfish I use as decoration, saying that here was Jesus' present.

Of course I'm thinking, "That is one lousy present!" I asked if she would like to get Him something else. "No, Jesus like a starfish." I asked why she thought He would like it. "Him like starfish." OH-KAY! Under our tree we now have a starfish from our bathroom wrapped in Christmas paper addressed to Jesus.

Jesus, I know you made everything, and I hope Pookie is right in thinking that you would like a starfish for Your birthday!

Update: I think God is pleased with any gift given with a pure heart. Pookie received her own special gift.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Welcome back

The day after Thanksgiving, we helped my in-laws move back to their home from Cary, NC. They had rented out their house and lived in Cary for a few years because Dad S worked in Cary and also felt led of the Lord to start a church there. They moved from a 4/2 home to a 2/2 apartment. That in itself was an adjustment! As the latest renewal date for their lease approached, they began considering their options: stay in the same cramped apartment, move to a larger apartment, find a house to rent, or purchase another home in the Cary area. They did some house hunting in Cary and surrounding areas but found nothing both suitable and affordable. If you think housing prices are bad in your area, look at Cary NC Real Estate! Cary is a cultured town with large corporations and upscale attractions located nearby. There are excellent neighborhoods featuring beautiful (translation - expensive!) houses. There are golf course subdivisions and gated communities. If you have money and are looking to live the "good life," Cary is an excellent place to live. Still, I'm sure other areas in the country are worse in terms of pricing, but to me this area's market is ridiculous! Anway, my in-laws' renter gave them her notice to vacate which in turn gave them the added option of moving back home. After weighing all the options, they decided to move back to home sweet home and make the commute 6 days a week - twice on Sunday. It's nice to see them happy in their own home again and to know that they are about an hour closer to us than they were before. Welcome back, Mom and Dad!


Making science popular

(photo courtesy of fotosearch)

My husband loves watching the television crime scene investigation shows (NCIS, CSI, etc.) and is fascinated by the methods that are used to analyze evidence. While these shows are not real to life in that the bad guy is always caught (usually within the hour allotted for the program) and some of the featured technology is not widely available to police forces, the interest in all things scientific generated by these shows is a very good thing for society. Science was once the exclusive domain of geeks, but no longer. People are more aware of the technology that is available and the demand for such technology, dna testing services being one (popular) example, has increased. More students are interested in careers in criminal investigation and other science fields, a trend that bodes well for the future inasmuch as there will always be a new disease to study or a slippery criminal to track down. Love them or hate them, this is one instance where popular TV shows have actually had a positive impact on society - which is a welcome change!


Urgent request

Please pray for my brother and sister-in-law. As I wrote in my congratulations post, they are expecting a baby boy on February 26. Yesterday, my SIL was put in the local hospital and then transferred to a better hospital because she is having pre-term labor. She is only 30 weeks along, and the baby really needs some more time before being born. She has been given an injection to try to stop the labor. She is supposed to have another injection today, and how her body responds will determine the course of action. Meanwhile, we are keeping their daughter until they find out what is going to happen.

Update 12/20 12:07 p.m. - I talked to Amanda. The doctor said she is not having any more contractions, but they want to keep her at least a few more days for observation. Depending on how things go during that time, she will either get to go home on bedrest or will have to stay in the hospital, possibly until her delivery. I am glad that the labor has stopped for now but know that she desires to get home to her family. Thank you for your continued prayers for this family.


How am I using the gift?

I know this is news to none, but I was just thinking about how easy we have it today. Our pioneer forefathers had only themselves and their efforts on which to rely. Clothes needed replacing? In Colonial days, the women not only made their own clothes but also made the cloth from which to make those clothes. Laundry was stacked high? The women had to boil huge pots of water and scrub the clothes by hand. The examples are many. Today, we have innumerable inventions that save time and effort, and, believe me, I'm all for that! I like having an automatic washer and dryer. I like being able to buy a cake if I have run out of time to make one from scratch. I like the fact that there are printable greeting cards available on the Internet, removing the need for me to leave my home to purchase a card. But with all the conveniences and labor-saving devices we use every day, I find myself asking, "What am I doing with the time and effort I have saved?" Am I selfishly squandering the benefits of all the modern conveniences? While the pioneers' lives were rough, it is my opinion that, in general, they were much happier and lived fuller lives than we do. They were not focused on self as so many people are today. By necessity, they looked out for their family and neighbors, placing others' needs before their own. What a contrast to today's society where a request that requires effort on another's part is often met with a huge sigh (at best). I know I need to do a better job of putting life in the right perspective to have JOY - Jesus, Others, You. As a parting thought, Bob Vallier says,

"A man who is wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package in life."


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm in deep trouble! 12/21 "Not anymore" (*cheering*)

Oh, guys! I am SO in trouble! Yesterday afternoon I went shopping with the girls to get the rest of my Christmas gifts except for the ones for Pookie Bear and Miss Muffet. While we were in Target, Pookie Bear saw a Cinderella 8-piece beauty set that she absolutely loved. She cried when I told her that I was not going to buy it then because I couldn't buy it when she was with me. I did tell her that I was going to go shopping by myself after Daddy got home from work. So later that night she eagerly shoved me out the door, exclaiming about my going to go get her "Cinderella lipstick." I went back to Target only to find that the set was GONE, and I couldn't find it at Wal-Mart, either. This morning she went to the presents under the tree and picked one up, asking, "Is this my lipstick?" I am going to keep checking back in hopes that Target restocks that particular set, but I am afraid that I am going to have a very disappointed girl on my hands when we open presents and her Cinderella lipstick isn't there. I feel horrible!

UPDATE 12/20: Well, I didn't find the Cinderella set, but she did find a Little Mermaid set that she says she likes better. I don't like The Little Mermaid very well because she isn't wearing many clothes, but most of the items show only her face. I can live with that, I guess.

UPDATE 12/21: She started talking about wanting the Cinderella set again so we stopped at Toys R Us to see if they had anything similar. They had something WAY better - it was a beauty set in a carrying case shaped like a castle with a handle trimmed in that feathery boa type trim. (I stagger myself with my descriptive abilities!) Inside was kiddie makeup all in pink and purple, pink and purple applicators, 2 rings, and a sheet of body stickers (earrings to her!). I told her if we got that set, I was going to return the Little Mermaid set to Target, and she was fine with that. Yea! Now both of us are happy!

Cinderella picture courtesy of Petite Souris Character Shop.


Thoughtful Tuesday (9)

"Mama, she did believe in me smoking; she just lit up the other end."

Pastor Bill Wingard


Buy me, buy me, buy me!

Ah, 'tis the Christmas season - the time when retailers try to outdo each other with gimmicks designed to lure consumers to buy their product. "50% off," one sign advertises, while another practically screams, "75-80% off!" "Buy 1, Get 1 free," "Buy 1, get 1 half price," "Buy 1, get...." The varieties are endless, as are the sales. Even when shopping on the Internet, one is bombarded by advertisements designed to whet the appetite for "more, more, more." I was researching more furniture - a wardrobe or armoire this time. Our MBR is small, and Mr. Incredible and I could REALLY use more storage space for our clothes. I visited several different sites, including Coaster Furniture. They were offering free shipping on select lines of furniture while another site offered discounted shipping on all items. Just viewing the offers and promotions made me feel anxious and caused my blood pressure to rise. I wasn't even seriously shopping, and I felt that greed to score the best deal! Often, we end up caving under the pressure of getting a "great deal" and max out our credit cards, feeling the repercussions months and sometimes years later. During this holiday season, I wish we would all shop smarter: use cash if at all possible; have a budget in place before you go shopping; refrain from buying extra gifts simply because they are on sale; have a list prior to shopping - all these are choices we can make that will free us from the "gotta have more" syndrome so prevalent this time of year. Here's to a Merry (and debt-free) Christmas for all!


Monday, December 18, 2006

How can you be sure it is a good deal?

As I posted before, we just bought a new bed set for our girls' room. I have had people express an interest in how I decided what to purchase as well as how I decided where to make the purchase. I deleted my saved bed research bookmarks, but I do remember that this is one site I visited in my quest for a kids bed. As I remember, their prices were reasonable, and they had a good selection of furniture. This would probably be a good starting point for your search, too.

Here are some things for which I looked.

1. Was it suited to my purpose? We knew we needed some kind of bunk or loft bed in order to fit all 3 girls into one small bedroom. We ended up purchasing a twin-over-full bunk because it took up the least floor space while offering the most mattress space. (The picture is the catalog photo for the exact bed we purchased.)
2. What deals were being offered? Let me tell you, I did my research on this one! I looked at the furniture flyers that come to our home on a regular basis, and I also searched the Internet. It was rather confusing trying to compare different options because some places offered free shipping, some places included multiple pieces in the package, and some offered a same as cash option for "x" number of months. I ended up printing out the information for the beds I was interested in comparing and manually listing all the options available at each place.
3. Was it good quality? You should always purchase the best quality you can afford - better quality means longer service. We ended up with furniture made out of solid wood that should last for many years.


Learning new tricks

I have been searching to find how to put a music clip in a post, and I think I have finally found the information I needed. This is one of the songs I recorded for my CD. It is my arrangement of the hymn "It Is Well."

It Is Well.wma

Now I just need to find out how to convert the file to MP3 format. I think it would load more quickly that way. With a little more research, I'm sure I'll be able to figure that out, too.

This page gave me the information on how to post music to my blog, and here is the free file hosting site. I just thought some of you might be interested.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Judging sin without condemning the person

This morning, Pastor Wingard preached on the text, "He shall save His people from their sins." He went through some of Jesus' genealogy, pointing out who "His people" were: Rahab the harlot, Ruth the Moabitess (the Moabites were descendants of Lot by way of an incestuous relationship with one of his daughters), Bathseheba the adulteress. He then had us go to the passage where Matthew (Levi) the tax collector was called to be His disciple. He pointed out that Jesus freely mingled with publicans and harlots, not because He condoned their sin, but because He loved them and had come to be their Savior. Pastor Wingard made the statement, "I wish that every sinner in this town would come to our church to hear the Gospel." His whole attitude is one of unconditional love.

Why did that strike a chord in my heart? I have been thinking about the issue of judging people. In fact, I had a conversation with Frank about that very topic. He made the comment that while I do post a lot of "religious" content on my blog, it does not seem to be aimed toward hurting people. I am thankful to hear that perception of what I write. I see a lot of Christians who lose sight of loving the sinner while hating the sin and end up turning people away from Christ because of their harsh and judgmental attitude toward the person.

As Pastor Wingard said, how dare I (a fallen and lost sinner just like the rest of humanity) think that anyone is too sinful to be worthy of salvation? I need to be more like Christ - communicating His love for the sinner without condoning the sin. I believe that I am responsible to judge insofar as that judgment means discernment between good and evil. I am NOT called to judge (condemn) anyone. John 3 says that the world is already condemned. Hey, I am part of that world, and it is only by the blood of Christ applied to my account that God counts me righteous. I am no better than the "worst" sinner on Earth. As that old saying goes, "But for the grace of God, there go I."

My philosophy of Christianity is that I am to demonstrate Christ's love toward everyone, regardless of their manner of life. That does not mean that I agree with everything or everyone, but it does mean that I am not to be hateful when expressing my disagreement. It is possible to disagree without being nasty about it! I know I often fall short, but my desire is to be a reflection of Christ's love for mankind. I am so grateful that the Lord has placed us in Calvary Baptist Church and wish that more Christians would return to expressing Christ's love in their treatment of sinners and each other. I believe more people would be attracted to Christ if they actually saw His love demonstrated in our lives.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Breaking the addiction

If you come here often, you probably are aware that it is rare for me not to publish at least one post a day, and that is usually done in the morning. I have delayed posting today because I finally came to grips with the fact that I am addicted to blogging. It had gotten to the point where I was ignoring everything else I needed to do because I was having so much more fun here. How undisciplined is that? Well, no more! I am breaking the addiction. I will henceforth limit my time on the computer. I am positive I will still post every day, but I am not going to put this blog first. So cheers to my new resolve, and let's hope I stick with it :) Do keep coming by to see what new posts are up; I guarantee that I am not going to quit blogging.


Friday, December 15, 2006

I'll take that as a compliment

Yesterday, my sweet husband and I were out in our newly completed storage building sorting through boxes to determine where to put them. I found one with my memorabilia from high school and college. In there was my portfolio of 8 graduation photos. Here is a sampling.

I didn't think Mr. Incredible had ever seen them before so I showed them to him. He looked at them for a couple of minutes before saying, "Wow, honey! You were hot back then!" I immediately burst out laughing and replied, "Thank you very much!"

BTW, I did ask him if it would be okay to tell this story before I wrote this post.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Me at my finest

I'm going to let you in on a little secret - there are times (lots of times!) when my brain simply does not function, and it can get downright embarrassing. It happened again just yesterday. I wrote up this nice post about The New Parent, a blog I really enjoy. Toward the end of the post, I somehow referred to the blog's author as Steve. I have also been e-mailing back and forth with this person. In the last e-mail his signature read, "-Frank (or steve... smile)." I had not noticed that I had referred to him as Steve (IN MY OWN BLOG!!!) so crazy me thought that Frank was telling me that his real name was actually Steve. I e-mailed back, and this is what I wrote:

Hi, Steve(!)

Well, I am a very literal person, and it never occurred to me that your real name might not be Frank. Now I have to adjust my mental image of you. For some reason, it does make a difference in my mind whether you are Frank or Steve. (smile) BTW, my real name actually is Revka. :)
Oh, mama mia! When for some reason I re-read my post and saw that I was the one who had first called him Steve, I was ready to die of mortification! Of course, I hastily e-mailed a humble apology to him and told him to just call me a ditz and get it over with. So if I start calling any of you by a new name, just laugh and post a comment that I am a ditz. ;) Oh, and, yes, I did correct the original post, too.


Is it just me?

Has anyone else had a problem with getting your comments published in Blogger lately? I keep having to try 2 or 3 times before it will accept my comment. I check very carefully to make sure that I have typed the letters as they appear, but even when I am confident that I have typed everything correctly, Blogger still rejects my submission and tells me to try again. What's up with that?!?


Smiles from my child

Pookie Bear has very definite opinions about what she wants. What child doesn't? She really cracks me up with a few of her requests. Here are some I hear fairly frequently. (Oh, "sugar milk" refers to powdered milk; I don't know how she came up with that one.)

"Hey, Mommy, I want sugar milk - not hot, not hold [cold], just warm."

She likes her [rare] soft drinks straight out of the can - warm, not cold.
She likes her frozen waffles frozen.

What are some of your child's idiosyncrasies?


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I was tagged

... to post 5 things about myself. Here's my list.

1. I am a piano teacher. Ever since I was young and taking piano lessons from a SAHM/pastor's wife, I knew that was what I wanted to do when I grew up: stay at home and take care of my husband and children, play piano for a church, and teach piano to help with extra expenses. The Lord has graciously given me the desires of my heart.

2. I once made a "profession" of salvation because I had gotten in trouble and was about to get a spanking. We had eaten half of a watermelon for lunch. Mom put the other half in the refigerator, telling us not to eat it because we would have it for supper. I LOVE anything sweet so I simply couldn't resist. I kept sneaking in and taking "just a little bit more," thinking that it wouldn't make enough of a difference for anyone to notice. By the time I finished eating my little bits, there was quite a noticeable hole scooped out. Of course Mom saw it and asked who had eaten the watermelon. Afraid of getting a spanking, I vehemently denied any involvement. Of course all my innocent siblings also denied the charge, leaving quite a little mystery for several hours. Everyone kept asking me if I was sure I hadn't eaten it. I kept denying my involvement until Mom point-blank said that she knew I had stolen the watermelon at which point I burst into tears. Mom and Dad said that, because I had disobeyed them and then lied about it, I would receive a spanking. I immediately and craftily interjected the following comment: "I need to get saved. I didn't understand before." (That's another story and was not actual salvation, either!) They were so thrilled that they immediately "led me to the Lord" and forgot all about the spanking. Horrible as that may be, we all laugh about it to this day.

3. I finished recording last night. Now I just have to pick the best version of each song and compile them into one CD. I am so excited!

4. I was once engaged to someone other than my husband. Praise the Lord the poor guy had the sense to break it off - we were just not right for each other! The breakup happened September 2, 1998. I moved to this general area on September 15, talked to my (now) husband for the first time at the fall festival in October, went on a first date with him in the middle of November, got engaged in March of '99, and was married August, 1999. Yes, it was rather fast, but the Lord certainly knows best. I am so blessed to be married to Mr. Incredible!

5. I love to read and always have. I am told that I was reading the Little House on the Prairie series at age 5. In my teen years, I would often check out more than 20 library books at one time and have them read within 24-48 hours. They weren't skinny teenager books, either! I'm talking Gone with the Wind, War and Peace, The Lord of the Rings, Pickwick Papers - ah, you get my drift!


Parenting outside the "experts"

Have you noticed how much information is disseminated by so-called experts and is immediately swallowed (hook, line, and sinker) by a vast number of people. "Well, so-and-so said it, so it must be true" seems to be the general mindset. I try not to believe everything I hear, read, see, etc. It is refreshing to know that there are others like me who parent according to what works for them and their children rather than blindly following the decrees of the "experts." A kind reader who calls himself (?) Anthill tipped me off to a new blog that focuses on the realities of parenting. I have visited there almost daily since I became aware of the blog. In fact, Frank (the blog's author) and I have a running conversation going in the comments section of his latest post, The Defiance Paradigm - Part 2. I think The New Parent is going to be an informative and interesting place to visit and share.

(edited at 11:00 p.m. to correct "the blog author's name" from Steve to Frank - don't ask how I got that wrong in the first place, I don't have any answer at all *huge sigh*)


A milestone

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Wal-Mart with all 3 girls. A nice gentleman and I exchanged “Merry Christmas” greetings. Afterward, Pookie Bear asked me what he said, and I repeated the greeting to her and explained that Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. The little speech I gave her apparently left a deep impression because since that day, her bedtime routine has evolved to saying her prayers, hugging and kissing me, and saying, “Merry Christmas!” The first time she did that, I explained that it wasn’t yet Christmas Day. Pookie very gently declared that she knew that and she just wanted to say “Merry Christmas!”

I have reached a milestone – I published my first post here on October 14, 2006, and one day shy of 2 months later, I am writing my 100th post to be published on The Porch Light. Boy, it sure hasn’t taken me long to get here! I obsessively post, not knowing whether anyone actually cares. (LOL) Although I often post in the hopes of being a blessing and encouragement to others, I mainly do this because I enjoy it – just like Pookie says Merry Christmas simply because she enjoys it. Therefore, I would like to celebrate this milestone by passing along the words of my sweet Pookie Bear: “Merry Christmas!”


10 Rules for a Successful Marriage

1. You must marry the right person, one you love and one who loves you, and both of you must be in love with Jesus Christ.
2. GIVE and TAKE is a necessity. Let love cover the disagreements which will come with any marriage.
3. Never carry into tomorrow the petty troubles of today. Forgive at the end of the day, and then forget.
4. Don't discuss your disagreements and personal problems with others. You will soon forget these quarrels, but others will remember them forever. Go to the LORD for the advice you need.
5. Try to live within your financial means. Don't try to keep up with some other couple; keep within your income. And be sure to set aside something for the Lord's work.
6. Keep your love as romantic as possible. Appreciate each other. Express that appreciation in actual love and affection in the home.
7. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER think of divorce as a solution for your marriage problems. You took your vows "until death do us part." So often, divorce doesn't settle anything.
8. Keep your eyes on the person you have married, and don't bother looking around for someone else. Wandering eyes benefit no marriage.
9. Read God's Word and pray together every day. To pray together is to stay together.
10. Let Christ shed the love of God abroad in your heart, and you will be sure to have love for each other.

-as printed in Maranatha Baptist Watchman, reprinted in Sword of the Lord


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You should become a "Cheshire Cat"

Let me tell you - one of my parenting struggles is dealing with annoyances and discipline issues without losing my temper and yelling. I cannot tell you how many countless times I have told my children that I was sorry for getting mad and/or yelling at them and asked them to forgive me. I constantly struggle not to react in anger. That is one reason I enjoyed All Information Blog's post about laughing at discipline worries. The author advocates putting on a Cheshire grin and lowering your voice instead of getting angry and yelling. You'll have to read it for yourself; I know I haven't done a good job of communicating their message!


Thoughtful Tuesday (8)

"How God has blessed us in the past ought to encourage us here in the present and ought to give us hope for the future."
Pastor Dwight Williams

"When tragedy comes to us, it is not hard to get bitter, but it is hard to get better."
Pastor Bill Wingard

"Faith is not believing that God is able but is believing that God will."
Evangelist Lester Roloff


Monday, December 11, 2006

A Taste of Home

Having grown up in the Valley (that's the Rio Grande Valley in South TX for all you non-Valleyites *grin*), I looked forward to the pumpkin empanadas the Hispanic women in my church liked to make for church meals. They were invariably warm, well-spiced, and delicious! Remembering them brings back fond memories of Mexican food, Hispanic friends, and the place I called home for the first 18 years of my life. You can imagine my excitement at finding a recipe for the empanadas over at A Readable Feast. Anne Marie's post has the recipe and the story from a book called The Empanadas That Abuela [grandmother] Made. A Readable Feast focuses on recipes and children's literature and is an interesting place to visit. Picture is courtesy of via The Gourmet Sleuth.


Hope for those who are suffering

A friend of mine is serving the Lord with her family, yet they have recently been betrayed by those they thought to be their closest friends. Another faithful family just lost the wife and mother. Our pastor's family is suffering through serious illnesses, a custody battle, and several other trials. (Please pray for these families!) Our human reaction is often one of despair and hopelessness, asking, "Why, Lord?" Sometimes we never receive an answer this side of heaven, but even if we don't understand the whys and wherefores, we are promised comfort.

Pastor Wingard preached an excellent sermon yesterday morning, and I thought I'd share it with you. My prayer is that it will be a blessing to someone in need.

II Corinthians 1:3-7 "(3) Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; (4) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (5) For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. (6) And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. (7) And our hope of you is steadfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation."

Pastor Wingard went on to say that, while we can all sympathize with the afflictions of others, only someone who has been through a trial can truly empathize and offer comfort to someone else going through the same or similar trial. God sometimes allows us to go through suffering because, down the road, we have a Divine appointment to comfort someone who will be going through the same trial. Meanwhile, as we pass through the fire ourselves, we can know that God has appointed someone for our comfort. He will not leave us comfortless. Pastor Wingard ended by challenging us to ask God to put us in contact with someone in this coming new year whom we can help because of our past trials. If you are in the midst of suffering, I encourage you to ask God to send you someone who has walked in your shoes and has passed through the fire victoriously.


A Birthday Gift for Jesus

“Daddy, Daddy! I finished my list! Do you want to see? Do you, do you?” Jason was talking very fast because he was very excited.

“Whoa, Jason! Slow down so I can understand you! What list did you finish?” asked Dad.

“Oh, Dad! You know I’m talking about my Christmas list. Look at it!”

Dad took Jason’s long list and started reading it. After he finished, he looked up.

“Jason, this is a very long list. Tell me, what is Christmas about?”

Jason thought for a moment and then said, “Well, my PeeWee Club Captain said it’s Jesus’ birthday.”

“That’s right,” Dad said. “How would you like it if everyone else asked for and received gifts on your birthday, and no one even thought about you?”

“I wouldn’t like that at all!” Jason exclaimed. “My birthday is my special day!”

“Well, Christmas is when we celebrate Jesus’ birthday. We need to remember that. It’s fine to give and get presents at Christmas, but we should do something special for Jesus, too,” Dad said.

“But, Dad, I thought Jesus lives in Heaven. How can I give Him a gift when He’s not even here?” Jason wondered.

“You’re right, Jason. Jesus does live in Heaven; but because He is God, He is everywhere, even if we can’t see Him,” Dad answered.

Jason thought for a moment. Then he said, “I know the wise men gave Jesus gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. I don’t have anything like that. What can I give Him?”

“There are a lot of gifts you can give Jesus. You can give Him your money by giving it to our church or sending it to missionaries. You can give Him your time by reading your Bible, praying, or helping someone; but more than anything else, Jesus wants one gift from you.”

“What gift is that, Dad?”

“Your heart, Son. Jesus wants to live in your heart, but He can’t do that unless you give it to Him by asking Him to forgive you for your sins and to be your Savior. Once you do that, He can come live in your heart forever.”

“Wow, Dad! You told me about salvation before, but I never realized that Jesus wants to live in my heart. I’m ready to give Jesus the gift He wants most. Will you help me pray to accept Him as Savior?”

Jason and his father knelt to pray, and Jason gave his heart to Jesus.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Alack and alas!

I am sad to report that the gallant knight on his noble steed failed to save the princesses. In other words, the bunk bed fit best right in front of the mural. WAHHH! Oh, well, I guess it'll just be better the second time around. The mural will stay up at least until the new year if not until spring, but then it's history. Other than that small detail, I am thrilled with the kids' room. It looks both spacious and attractive. Mr. Incredible did a great job of deciphering the cryptic instructions and assembling the bunks. The kids were super thrilled and excited. The only problem we had was that last night was Baby Bear's first night out of her crib. She was incredibly tired but would not fall asleep. I even lay between her and Miss Muffet for over an hour, but that didn't help, either. She just kept tossing and turning. I finally gave up in despair and asked Mr. Incredible to try his hand at putting her to sleep. He went in and, no lie, in less than two minutes was back to report that she was asleep. (!) He said he just went in and pointed at her, saying, "Lie down." She climbed back up in bed, put her thumb in her mouth, and went to sleep. Now I know who to put on bedtime duty!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Legalism - the Chain that Binds

I have been thinking about this topic for a while, and when checking my stat counter recently, I saw that one visit to my blog resulted from the person's search for "legalistic churches." I was curious to see what other sites they found so I pulled up their search results. There were some very good articles and sermons, and I think the time is right to share some of my thoughts.

In today's politically correct society, many people, including professing Christians, are quick to use the term "legalistic" whenever they are told something they do not like. Unfortunately, from my own experience I have seen that many churches have become legalistic and, intentionally or not, have added to the Word of God.

True legalism is a binding and even suffocating chain that wraps itself around your whole being, demanding that you meet every requirement in order to receive the approval of both God and man. It ignores God's grace and mercy toward sinners and instead declares that you MUST keep a man-made list of standards if you wish to escape the wrath of God. The road to legalism is insidious and often begins with high personal convictions and standards. No one can ever truly fulfill the expectations placed upon them by legalism; thus, many rebel against the chain that binds, and some even rebel against faith and God altogether, incorrectly thinking that is the source of their sense of bondage.

On the other hand, while legalism does in fact exist, it seems that many instances where you hear the cry of "legalism!" are nothing more than rebellion against true authority. No one likes to have their sins exposed and condemned; and when confronted by the truth of their sin, people often attempt to ease their conscience by invoking "Christian liberty" or by incorrectly applying the famous verse, "Judge not that ye be not judged." The Ten Commandments declare that sins that are now socially acceptable are still sins and, as such, are subject to condemnation. Like it or not, God set certain absolutes of right and wrong: sodomy, adultery, pre-marital sex, and murder (which includes abortion), are all denounced as sin by God, yet they are some of the hot-button issues to which you are likely to hear the term "legalism" applied.

How can you recognize true legalism? Are there any distinguishing characteristics for which to look? The answer is, yes.

I recommend your reading this 2-part sermon on legalism by Pastor Randy Smith of Grace Tabernacle in Lake Como, NJ. He did an excellent job of expounding on this issue and began by examining what legalism is not.

    1. Legalism is not the pursuit of personal godliness as it is commanded and accomplished in us by the Triune God.
    2. Legalism is not adopting strong personal convictions.
    3. Legalism is not establishing guidelines for church conduct.

    He then divides legalism into two categories: "Big L" and "little l" legalism.

    "Big L" legalism is any attempt to earn your salvation by contributing your own works to the work accomplished by Jesus on the cross. [emphasis mine] In others words, it's a "Christ-plus" message. The true Gospel, by which we are saved, is one totally by grace through faith whereby the individual rests solely in the sufficiency of Christ's work to forgive sins, remove wrath and justify the ungodly in the sight of God. To ignore grace or combine our works to grace is "Big-L" legalism.

    "Little l" legalism, possibly more common in good churches today, may accept salvation by grace alone, but then believes all must follow certain prescribed extra-biblical standards for godly conduct and favor in God's sight.[emphasis mine] "Little l" legalism often begins as a personal conviction (which is fine), but then elevates that conviction to a corporate mandate expecting compliance from others in the church as well (which is wrong). There are often people who would never dream of subtracting from the Word of God, but have no problem adding to the Word of God and judging others who fail to comply with their standards, pressuring them to blindly adopt their burden or making them feel unholy and impure for failing to go along.

    From my point of view, some of the most common areas that fall prey to "little l" legalism are clothing, music, hairstyles, and the use of cosmetics. These areas are not minutely detailed in Scripture. Thus, different people have different convictions. Legalism comes into play when we decide that our standard in these types of areas is the correct standard and demand that everyone else abide by our standard, looking down on them or even considering them unspiritual if they do not.

    In closing, I believe it would be helpful if all Christians would keep in mind the following quotation.

    God doesn't expect us to be perfect, just progressing.


    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Prayers of a child

    We had family devotions tonight, and afterward we all prayed before packing the children off to bed. If you were to ask our children to say one of the memorized prayers so many children use, you would only receive a blank look. Ever since they were tiny babies, we have helped them pray to God in their own words. Tonight was a prime example of how a child's prayer differs from an adult's prayer. Pookie Bear was praying about EVERYTHING! She thanked God for going to my friend's house today and seeing the snowmen and Baby Jesus, she thanked God for her new bed she will be getting and told Him she wanted a starfish bed (there's a catalog picture of her new bed with a star pillow on it), she prayed for her PeeWee Patch Christmas program, and prayed for Baby Bear to get better. While I laughed really hard (and really quietly) in some places, her prayer was a sweet reminder that God cares about everything and wants us to talk to Him like we would talk to any other friend.


    Saving the Disney Princesses

    It has probably been 2 1/2 years since I first promised Pookie Bear a princess room. At the time, we were looking for another job for Mr. Incredible and were not sure where we would end up. We ended up here and just celebrated our one year anniversary of being here. During that time, I have managed to paint 2 walls in her room pink, add a border of stamped/stenciled Disney princess dresses at chair rail height on only one wall, and almost finished a free-hand mural based on the poster shown here. (The poster is available at framed or un-framed. Just search for "princess collage.") We have 2 bedrooms available for the kids and want 5 or 6 kids. Mr. Incredible had the bright idea to put all 3 girls in one room now and use Baby Bear's room as a guest bedroom until we have more kids.

    To do this, we needed a way to create bed and storage space in a small room. The solution was to buy a twin-over-full bunk bed with storage drawers underneath and buy two 4-drawer chests to go along with the bed. We shopped around and found a great deal so we ordered the set yesterday. It will be delivered tomorrow so today I have to paint 2 walls purple and paint all the trim cream if I have the time. Where does "saving the Disney princesses" come in? Well, you remember the mural I mentioned. It is situated on the wall that would be best suited for the bunk bed. UGH!!! I do NOT want to draw and paint it all again!!! Mr. Incredible kindly said that he would try to work it out so that we won't have to cover it up. I'll keep you posted, but now I gotta run. A dear friend is keeping the children so I can paint today- yeehaw!


    Tuesday, December 05, 2006

    Thanksgiving photos

    One of Mr. Incredible's relatives e-mailed me a couple of photos of the girls at the family Thanksgiving celebration, and I thought I'd share the cuteness. LOL

    This is a group photo of all the kids there that day. Mine are the three youngest girls. Miss Muffet is on the left, Baby bear is in the middle, and Pookie Bear is on the right.

    Here are Miss Muffet and Pookie Bear. I hadn't realized just how curly Pookie's hair has become until I saw this picture.


    Sixth Healthy & Fit Family Carnival

    “Hi, folks! Welcome to the sixth edition of Babylune's Healthy & Fit Family Carnival. I will be your server today. We have a menu of 10 articles for your reading enjoyment. Read one or read all; there are no known adverse effects from over-reading.”

    An Apple a Day...
    Two articles detail scientific and medical ideas for helping you to escape winter illness.

    Set Higher Standards shares an essay “Stay Well Through the Winter” by Dr. Raman-Caplan, a Naturopathic doctor. Included are a recipe for a healthy wintertime stew and practical ways to prevent winter illnesses.

    Flu Patrol's article advocates the use of Vitamin D for the prevention of flu.

    An Ounce of Prevention…
    Two articles share ways to maintain your health.

    More4Kids’ article “Healthy Eating for a Pregnant Woman” includes pertinent information about which foods to eat, which ones to limit or avoid, and healthy options for snack time.

    Worldwide Success’ article “Everything You Need to Know About Living a Healthy Lifestyle” gives us 7 simple rules to maximize a healthy lifestyle.

    Never Too Late…
    Two articles offer hope for those of us who need that “pound of cure.”

    Help with Everything tells us how to lose weight for the long haul.

    Anxiety, Addiction, and Depression Treatments highlights the inspirational story of a family’s battle against anorexia. (I extend my apologies for originally posting the wrong name for your site.)

    Instead of…
    Two articles talk about substitutes.

    Living the Scientific Life informs us of the latest outrageous politically-correct terminology for hunger.

    Here at The Porch Light, I share my ideas for worthwhile activities to replace my kids’ TV time.

    Speaking from Experience…

    Two articles share personal experiences.

    Solo Mother shares her experience with and advice about making a trip to the doctor without the benefit of health insurance.

    Babylune shares her humorous theory about a link between post-partum weight loss and clothing in “The Tight Pants Theory.”

    “Thank you for joining us today. There is no charge for your visit. I hope that you have found everything to your satisfaction and look forward to seeing you again. Submissions are now open for next week’s carnival. If you are interested in hosting the next Healthy & Fit Family carnival, please contact Kate via her link at Babylune. Have a great day and come back to see us soon!”


    Alphabet Meme

    I was over at Diary of a Stay-at-Home-Mom today. She had her meme posted and said that anyone who read it should consider themselves tagged. I've never done one here and thought it might be fun. Here goes.

    A - Available or single: What kind of question is that? I think it should read "Available or taken." The answer is taken - crazy in love with my darling husband.
    B - Best Friend: My husband (Mr. Incredible)
    C - Cake or Pie: Pie, and make mine pecan.
    D - Drink of choice: water
    E - Essential Item you use everyday: Dryer
    F - Favorite color: toss-up between dark green and navy
    G - Gummy Bears or worms: gummies
    H - Hometown: McAllen, TX
    I - Indulgence: My indulgence is eating out. It just doesn't happen very often. LOL
    J - January or February: February - means winter is almost finished
    K - Kids & Names: 3 girls but pseudonyms only- Pookie Bear, Miss Muffet, Baby Bear
    L - Life is Incomplete Without? The Lord and my family
    M - Marriage Date: August 1999
    N - Number of Siblings: 3 sisters and 1 brother
    O - Oranges or Apples: oranges
    P - Phobias or Fears: anything medical being poked into my skin - needles, IV's, etc.
    Q - Fave Quote: See my quotes category - there are too many good ones
    R - Reason to Smile: kisses from the ones I love; unsolicited hugs from my babies
    S - Season: Spring
    T - Tag 3 or 4 people: Sho, Lynlee, Michelle (Are you guys still out there?)
    U - Unknown Fact about Me: I almost majored in English.
    V- Vegetable You Don't Like: Peas
    W - Worst Habit: Procrastination
    Y - Your Fave Food: Olive Garden's cheese ravioli with their salad and breadsticks
    Z - Zodiac Sign: No clue


    Thoughtful Tuesday (7)

    "The next time you want to run down your wife, think about what that says about you - you picked her out!"
    Evangelist Bill Behrens

    "We often take monogamy for granted. We ought to take infidelity as the norm and work to cut it out before it begins."
    Pastor Bill Wingard

    "Husbands and wives have so much trouble because the men have never been women and the women have never been men."
    Cathy Rice


    A special gift - just follow the link

    It's officially the Christmas season - the time of peace, and love, and all too often - SELFISHNESS! Here is an easy way for you to help someone else this Christmas. Kate at Babylune had a great idea for giving a Christmas gift to her readers by giving to someone in need. The specific gift depends on the number of page loads her stat counter registers by December 24 so the more people who visit her blog, the better. Go see for yourself what gifts she will give. Just doing that will help her toward her goal. While you're there, you might also want to check out other pages and help her even more.


    Monday, December 04, 2006

    Why the King James Bible?

    I was reading a site I have bookmarked, and one of the articles was titled "What Is the Best Method of Studying the Bible?" I was surprised to find a well-written and personal account of one man's journey to believing that the KJB is the Word of God for the English-speaking people. I realize that many people consider the KJB to be archaic and difficult to understand - at best. I am also greatly disturbed by the hatred and name-calling perpetuated by people on both sides of this controversy. While I was raised to stand for the KJB, I refuse to be hateful to anyone who disagrees with me; however, I will say that I do believe that those who reject the KJB have made the wrong choice. Why should we stick with the KJB when there are so many other versions from which to choose? Aren't they all the Word of God? The answer is a resounding, "no!"

    Since I am NOT a scholar, I am going to rely on others' research to clearly speak what I cannot. The difference lies in the Greek texts from which the KJB and other versions are translated. The KJB was translated from Erasmus' Greek text (the Textus Receptus or Received Text) while modern versions were translated from the Greek text promoted by Wescott and Hort. Using two different texts as translation sources culminates in very different endings. You can see this for yourself at Watch Unto Prayer's Tables of Comparison of Selected Scriptures Affecting Fundamental Doctrines of the Christian Faith where they compare verses from the King James Version, English Revised Version, New American Standard Bible, and New International Version. The same website also features an article on the history of Bible translations, including excerpts from B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort's life and letters in which Westcott and Hort themselves expose their membership and participation in a spiritualistic society, a disbelief in the infallibility of the Bible, a penchant for Darwinism, and other beliefs incompatible with Scripture. To my mind, any text promoted by such people would automatically be suspect!

    If you are interested in obtaining more detailed information on this issue, I recommend Gail Riplinger's books In Awe of Thy Word and New Age Bible Versions. These books and other resources are available through Mrs. Riplinger's website Authorized Version Publications.


    Friday, December 01, 2006

    TV-time substitutes

    Lately, I have noticed a disturbing trend in my house. My kids are watching WAY too much TV. Most mornings, the first thing my one year old daughter says after she gets up and toddles into the living room is, "On, on, on!" My two older daughters beg to watch movie after movie. Enough is enough! It doesn't matter how good the program is, my kids don't need to watch more than 2 hours of TV per day - tops. Here are my ideas for more worthwhile activities to replace TV time.

    1. Read a book. My girls never get enough of my reading to them. Reading is a great way to develop the imagination. I love to read and hope that they will, too. Someday they will be old enough to read to themselves.
    2. Play a game. One of my girls' favorite games is simply chasing each other around the house. It's doubly fun when Mom joins in! We all have fun and get some much-needed exercise at the same time.
    3. Bake or cook together. This is one of the basic life skills I think every child should learn. After all, they will have their own home someday, and I certainly do not intend to cook for my children for the rest of my life!
    4. Have craft time. My girls love to make something on their own ... well, with a tiny bit of help. My oldest daughter displays her creations by taping them to the wall.
    5. Help them learn something new. This does not have to be formal like school. Collect leaves and determine from whence they came. Creat a volcano using baking soda and vinegar. Explore color creation by mixing paint.
    6. Have song time. Kids love to sing and don't care if you're off-tune. Have fun singing silly songs. One of my girls' favorite songs is made up of only their full name.
    7. Pass along your faith. Read a Bible story and pray with your child. Show them how a certain Bible character's experience is relevant to their life.
    8. Have "mountain climbing" time. This is easy for the parent: simply lie down on the floor and let the kids climb and tumble all over you. They love it!
    9. Take them somewhere special. I despise the trouble involved in loading all 3 kids into their car seats so we normally don't go anywhere, and it is a real treat when I take my babies to play at the park. Rarely, we will go out to eat afterward.
    10. Go for a walk. My girls get really excited when I get out the stroller and we head out the door. The weather is turning chilly, and now is a great time to get this form of exercise while we can.


    Top 10 Potty-Training Tips

    Steve of Inside Fatherhood has asked for potty-training tips. I promise I am not going to end up turning this into a series like I did with my style tips! *grin*

    1. Be sure your child is ready - starting too soon (unless you are into infant potty training) can actually delay potty-training success. The average age to begin potty-training is 18-24 months. There are signs that indicate that your child is physically ready to learn to potty.
    2. Do your research - particularly if this is your first child. Ask people about their potty-training methods; read books; watch videos; sign up for a potty-training incentive program. A book I recommend is Toilet Training in Less Than a Day by Nathan H. Azrin and Richard M. Foxx. Pampers has a program called Kandoo that features products geared toward potty-training and even offers a personalized toilet chart that you create on-line and print off.
    3. Let your child observe others (of the same gender) using the restroom. Unfortunately, this has meant I don't get any privacy, even in the bathroom. LOL
    4. Give a lot of praise. My kids beam with pride when I celebrate their accomplishments.
    5. Realize that there are going to be accidents. Don't let yourself get angry - it's a part of the learning process.
    6. Put them in regular underwear - if you are like me, you usually forget to take your child to the bathroom when they are wearing pull-ups. Believe me, this is a huge incentive for me to take them potty! Wearing regular underwear has the added benefit of helping the child feel when he is wet or dirty. (If you are able to use the pull-ups, go for that option first!)
    7. Use your timer. This helps a lot in the beginning stage when the child does not recognize the need to go potty. Set the timer and take your child at regular intervals - maybe 15-30 minutes in the beginning.
    8. Begin with a child-sized toilet. My children rapidly advanced to the topper for the adult toilet and then to the adult toilet seat alone, but giving them their own child-sized toilet in the beginning can help allay their fears of falling into the toilet.
    9. Use rewards. This is not always necessary, but some children respond to stickers, candy, or other rewards better than they do to praise alone.
    10. Be patient. Normally, children will not be wearing diapers or pull-ups at age 18. Sooner or later, your little angel will "get it," even if it is at age 5 or 6. :)