Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 in Review, One Second at a Time

Our year in review, 1 second at a time (as many days as I remembered to do it).  I made this video using the 1SE (1 Second Everyday) app.  It's a fun way to video journal!

"Satisfied" and Hymn List for 2018

Last year I made it a goal to teach my kids a different hymn each month.  We explained the big words, the doctrine from Scripture, and learned all the verses because they are so rich in theology.  My kids really liked it!  In fact, today I didn't have the new hymn ready for morning pledge time and Nehemiah came to me later very sad because "we didn't sing today."

We didn't do well with hymns in the summer...we were too busy renovating a house!  This coming summer we have several mission teams joining us for Bronx ministry, so I am again taking off the summer months (this time by design).  What we have been creating is "morning time" like many homeschoolers do in their learning routine, but I didn't even know there was such a thing!  This year we are going to incorporate Scripture memory into the morning time along with our pledges and hymn and prayer time.

Here is my list of hymns for 2018:
  • January: Satisfied
  • February: Blessed Assurance
  • March: Christ Arose (so we're ready for Easter on April 1st, which may end up being the first Sunday service of Emmaus Road Baptist Church too)
  • April: The Bible Stands
  • May: Nearer, My God to Thee
  • September: To God Be the Glory
  • October: How Firm a Foundation
  • November: Arise My Soul Arise
  • December: The First Noel
I like to make some of the hymns with black and white images so the kids can color them and be more hands on in the learning process, but this hymn worked well for color images.  Download the PDF printable of Satisfied here.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Printable - Wise Men Still Seek Him

I redesigned the "Wise Men Still Seek Him" subway art sign that I see around a lot at Christmas.  I wanted it to go in a frame on my mantle.  I thought I would share the file here for those who may want it.

It's a 8.5x11" printable, but trim it down to 8x10 to fit inside a frame!  

I also popped it into a bookmark format to give away to our Bible Club kids with a Bible for Christmas. 

*All files are for personal use only please!

Thursday, October 26, 2017


I, Andrea, take thee Ben, to be my wedded husband.  
As the Church is in her relationship to Christ, so will I be to you.
I will joyfully give you my life, and in confidence submit
myself to your leadership, as to the Lord.
I will live for you - loving you, obeying you, learning from you.
I will always strengthen, help, comfort, and encourage you.
Therefore, Ben, throughout my life,
for better, for worse...
for richer, for poorer...
in sickness and in health...
at home or abroad...
I pledge you my life, as a loving, faithful, and obedient wife, 
to have and to hold from this day forward,
'til death do us part.

Happy {ten} year anniversary, Ben. 
I still do.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Visualized Songs - Power in the Blood, Jesus Paid It All, and Stop! And Let Me Tell You

One of my goals this year was to teach my kids a new hymn each month.  I am just learning about what some homeschoolers call "Morning Time," but I guess we've had an abbreviated version of this all year.  We open our homeschool day with pledges, prayer, and a hymn.  Then we divide up into our various Bible classes and play times.  For pledges, we say the pledge to the American flag, the pledge to the Christian flag, and the pledge to the Bible.  Even Henry tries to say the words, and the twins know all the pledges just from listening every day.  The kids rotate who gets to hold each flag/Bible, and who prays.

We have done well learning our hymns this year, except for June, July, and August.  With the house purchase, renovation, and move I totally fell off of anything goal related or routine encompassing.  But we started back in September with "Power in the Blood" and now we are learning "Jesus Paid it All."  It's fun to see the delight on my children's faces when we are in church and there is a song chosen for which they know all the words!  I'm very glad I chose to do this, and I plan to continue next year.  I would also like to add teaching the kids the history behind each hymn...so I guess we will be expanding our Morning Time!

We have also started a weekly Bible Club in our home every Friday afternoon.  Our house is just two doors down from the public elementary school, so we invite the kids to pop in for an hour long Bible Club after school.  We have several moms who attend also.  I purchased a few pre-visualized songs for club, because I wanted the larger size.  But I opted to make a couple myself also.  Below there is a link for "Stop and Let Me Tell You."  I laminated them back-to-back, so that you have to flip them, just like the old stop sign version my mom and grandma had.  The kids enjoyed being a part of the flipping and sign holding last week in Bible Club.

Download Power in the Blood - pictures made for coloring in by the kiddos  (Forgot to clear the spell check lines before I made the screen shot)

Download Jesus Paid it All - full color, no coloring needed

Friday, October 6, 2017

Gospel Footprints and Unseen Moments

Last week was one of the busiest, overwhelming weeks in a long time.  I’m still trying to figure out the best schedule/order for homeschooling four kiddos on three grade levels, plus the addition of a precocious two year old who intervenes every 3 minutes.  We hosted a five-day Bible Club for the kids in our neighborhood, and we continued our free-coffee Friday outreach.  Saturday we had Bible Study, and Sunday was a full day at church.  Somewhere in there I need to fit piano lessons, Patch the Pirate Club devotions, art class, and monthly grocery shopping trip.  Not to mention that for the last nearly ten years the biggest place we have lived is 1,000 square feet…now we own a house with twice that plus a basement, porch, garage, and back yard.  (Huge blessing…huge responsibility!)

We really did have a good week in Bible Club, but there was a lot to prepare and do for each day.  On Saturday I was sweeping and mopping the floors in preparation for Bible Study, and I was reflecting on the week.  I thought about 13 different kids, whose footprints I was now removing, that came and heard the Gospel (plus my own four kiddos in attendance).  I was thinking of Gospel songs they learned that would be hummed through the day while they tried to remember all the words and tunes.  I thought of Scripture verses hidden in their hearts in not quite perfect King James English, but which the Holy Spirit can use to draw their hearts out to God.

And even though there was a lot of work involved – before, during, and now after, as I found candy wrappers under the couch and ants on the forgotten chips on the patio – it was a blessing to be a part of something that God is doing here. 

Sometimes {too often} I grumble at my housework.  Because there is a lot of it, and it’s never ending.  But I’m looking back at just shy of three months in this new home, and then considering how many people have passed through our doors and heard the Gospel or been encouraged in the Word of God.  I’m thinking of new neighbors who were an answer to prayer – they have kids!!! – and a family up the street who have the sweetest, friendliest girls.  I’m thinking of a girl at Bible Club today who gave me a hug and said, “Thank you for letting us come learn about God’s Word, and for giving my mom free coffee.”  Then it’s worth the housework.

It’s a bunch of unseen moments.  Even my kids don’t see it most of the time.  It’s a little sweeping here, and a load of laundry there.  It can even be grading that dreaded stack of homeschool papers and filing them away into portfolios.  But they are moments when I can wonder at what God is doing around me and through me. 

I’m reading a book called Unseen by Sara Hagerty.  Each chapter I crack is just what I am needing.  It’s been a few weeks since I last got to read it, but the half chapter I squeezed in tonight was balm for my soul.  I was reminded that I need to train my eyes to see God in the middle minutes, and that “when we cut ourselves off from attending to God in the quiet and the small, we’re cutting ourselves off from soul food.”  And this seemed the perfect description of the crazy that I have been feeling over the last handful of days.  “Cacophony is the soundtrack for my days.  Even the nondescript parts of my day make noise.  There is the constant buzz from the dryer producing piles of laundry that needs to be folded, the squeals and hollers of giddy children, and even the background hum of ocean waves [in my case it’s Nolan’s personal fan] from the white-noise machine in the upstairs bedroom—we often forget to turn it off… Quiet doesn’t just happen.  Ever.  Internal stillness takes practice.  It is the fruit of hiddenness—a life that’s lived looking at God, and life of wonder in Him—and it needs to be cultivated.”

I know that quiet and still moments are best when talking with the Lord.  But I am learning to see Him and talk to Him in the “middle moments” of life, when I’m wiping up muddy footprints or washing dishes or folding dishes.  I’m also learning {albeit ever so slowly} that sometimes I just need to stop working and sit with Him.  Sara says in Unseen that “I was looking at spending time with God as something that happened when all the work of life was complete, not something I could choose right in the middle of barreling through it.”

If you’re looking for a good read, I highly recommend Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to be Noticed.  And maybe you can look for some middle moments to behold the wonder of our God.  This week I learned to see the Gospel opportunities in the footprints on my floors.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Whitney's Farm

While Ben replaces the staircase at home, we came to visit Grandma & Grandpa in Pittsfield.  We enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon at the local pumpkin patch, Whitney's Farm.  All photo credits go to my talented sister-in-law Meredith!

There is a petting farm area.  Elaine loved on the horse a lot!

The boys discovered how to hang upside down...

Bean bag toss

On top of the tractor.

Too many pumpkins...too many kids...too few parental hands!

Oh my!  I love this picture!  He wanted to carry his own pumpkin so badly!

She wanted to pose.  So nice to have a kid that likes to get their picture taken!

He's smiling!


Not so thrilled with his picture...

Little feet

I love this one!

Elaine and Grandma!