The crazy life of the ClarkClan. Living a life of grace through Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Read Aloud Challenge–June 30, 2011

     Today is Thursday, time to join Debra from Footprints in the Butter for her Read Aloud Challenge.  This week Ben, Rebekah and I were able to finish reading Little House in the Big Woods.

     When we read out loud, I allow Ben and Rebekah to do quiet activities. Today, Rebekah was drawing pictures and Ben was playing with a few Legos. I glanced up during the chapter called “Harvest” and noticed that both of them had stopped their activities and were just staring at me. We had come to the part of the story in which Laura’s cousin does not want to work in the fields. He was being very naughty and deceptive with the end result being very painful yellow jacket stings.  I stopped after this chapter for a few moments and we had quite the discussion on obedience, working even when you don't want to, and of course how much we don’t like wasps.

     Since we have finished the Little House book, we are going to start another favorite of mine, Mr. Popper’s Penguins.  This book choice came about because we saw a preview of the new movie based on it coming out.  Now I can not authoritatively say the movie is not going to be like the book, but I have great suspicions that it won’t be anything like it. (as well as I do not like who is playing the main character) So, I thought we might want to read the book because in my opinion, the book is always better.

     I have fond memories of Mr. Popper’s Penguins. I remember reading it when I was a child. Then I read it aloud to Matthew and Sarah, who both loved it. Ben read the book on his own last year and Rebekah has not read it at all, but I imagine she will love it just as much as everyone else. They are very excited to get started on it tomorrow.

     Are you reading books out loud to your children? If you are, or want to start, join Debra at Footprints in the Butter and share your book choices.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Science Fun

     I have seen the fountains that can be created using Diet Coke and Mentos candy on YouTube, but I have never done it myself. Today we finally used our Geyser Tube. Sarah, Ben, Rebekah and two of their friends all had a blast with this kit. They did the fun and I took the pictures. It was interesting to me to hear the kids talking and speculating on what would make the highest fountain. They had five bottles of Diet Coke and tried the fountains five different ways. They decided the highest fountain was simply adding 7 Mentos to the Diet Coke.  What a fun activity on a hot summer day. Making a mess with your friends, nothing could be better!

2011-06-28 14.47.55

Sarah is fixing up the first geyser. I love the look of excitement on Ben’s face.

2011-06-28 14.56.35




Rebekah running away from the spray after she pulled the string.



2011-06-28 14.49.19



Benjamin in awe of the Geyser he made.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Power of a Book—Ben Style

     A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how Rebekah was affected by the reading of the book Owen. (You can read about that experience by clicking here.)

     Today it is Ben’s turn to be in the spotlight. On Thursday, Ben went to the library. One of the books he came home with is called The Dangerous Book for Boy’s. I can’t say he has been reading this book, it is more like devouring this book. All Thursday night, he lay pouring over this book, telling us little tidbits of information. On Friday morning, when I came downstairs, Ben was once again laying on the flooring reading the book. When I sent him up to get dressed for the day, he came down and told me he followed the advice in the book about what every boy needs in his pockets. It was a good thing he had cargo shorts on that day because when I asked what he had this is exactly what he told me. (I quickly opened my computer and started typing because it was too cute.)

Ben said, “I have:

One pencil

One pen—that works

two band aids

a pocket knife

a piece of paper

a handkerchief which is really a bandanna

a flash light

a compass with a magnifying glass attached..

A whistle (the book didn’t say I needed this, I just added it because it is fun.)

I decided that it would be best if I do not put the fish hooks in my pocket because they could poke and we live in a desert, so there is no lake to fish in.

I did not put in a box of matches, because I didn’t think you would let me, mom.

And I didn’t put in the needle and thread because, I thought it could poke me.”

     WOW! That is a lot for one skinny little boy to put in his pockets. And for the record, he kept all that stuff in both Friday and Saturday.

I love 9 year old boys, they are so much fun!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Read Aloud Challenge

     I love to read. My kids love to read. Not only do we each like to read on our own, we also spend time reading aloud. Well, usually mom reads aloud, everybody else listens.

     When I started homeschooling 11 years ago, I chose to use the Sonlight curriculum. I made this choice because I love the idea of a History Based Core program and because of all the wonderful books to read. One of the major aspects of Sonlight is the books scheduled for reading aloud. From the first day, I knew I had made the right choice. Matthew and I loved to sit and read together, a lot of times he would draw or play Legos and just absorb all the wonderful books.  So here we are 11 years later and still reading aloud. Since I have four kids, spread pretty far apart in age, I have read, then reread a lot of the books. It warms my heart every time I pull out a book for Ben and Rebekah and Matthew or Sarah pipe up, “Oh, I loved that book.”  Then they proceed to make sure they are in the room when I am reading so they can listen, too.

     But I will admit, that as much as I LOVE reading aloud, I will skip it at times. Sometimes we just get busy and lets face it, reading aloud takes time. I try not to feel too guilty that Matthew and Sarah had every book in the program read to them, and I sometimes skip a few for Ben and Rebekah. And summer, well it usually is just reading here and there. Then I read about a Read Aloud Challenge hosted by Debra at Footprints in the Butter. She is working on keeping herself accountable to reading aloud and letting us tag along.

     How have I done this week? I would say “fair to middling”. I am reading Little House in the Big Woods to Ben and Rebekah. We are about halfway through the book and they are really enjoying all the descriptions of life in the old days.  We read aloud so far about 4 times since last Thursday, which is when I first read about the challenge.  I am going to try and do better next week and get at least 5 days in.

     Don’t forget to visit Footprints in the Butter and read how others are faring with this challenge. And thanks, Debra, for hosting and reaffirming how much I like to read to my kids.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rebekah’s thoughts

      I was listening this morning to an album of songs that are all based on scripture verses. One of the songs was based on John 3, about seeing the kingdom of God.  Rebekah was eating breakfast, and then said “Mom, I don’t understand something.” She said ,”I know that I have been born again through baptism, but I don’t see (fingers pointing to her eyes)  the kingdom of God. Why not?” I answered that she can “see”   the kingdom of God. And then tried to explain it to her.

      I asked her a few questions to lead her along the path to understanding.

I said, “Where are you going when you die?”

She said, “Heaven”.

I then said,”You can see the kingdom of God, because you know this and can share it with others.

I then asked her if she could understand the Bible lessons from Sunday School.

She answered, “Yes, I can understand most of them.”

I said that this is another way to “see” the kingdom of God. 

     And then it was over. A three minute exchange that makes an eternal difference. Thank you Lord, for these wonderful opportunities.

Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Dress Code

     As many of you know, my husband is retiring from  the Air Force. There are many changes associated with this career change that keep surprising us. One of the changes that seemed minor at first has become bigger than we thought.  It has to do with clothing.  For almost 23 years now, he has been told what to wear. Most of his career it was his BDU’s (Battle Dress Uniform) and then the Air Force changed to ABU’s (Airman Battle Uniform) or his Air Force Dress Blues. Now he will have to pick out something different to wear each day.

     Matt  has never been one to worry too much about the clothes he wears. He has to wear a uniform to work, that is easy. After work it is just basically jeans,a t-shirt and tennis shoes or cowboy boots . He only started wearing a dress shirt, tie, and sport coat a few years ago when the church we were attending asked him to be an Elder.  He still only wears his “dress up” clothes on the days he is duty Elder, other wise it is back to his casual look.

     Within a week, Matt will be starting a new job. He called to ask what he was supposed to wear. She told him “business casual”. She also let him know that while they would be changing to a polo shirt (provided) and khaki pants, they are not there yet.  I looked over all his clothes and found he really only has one pair of pants and about two maybe three shirts that would work for “business casual”.   He will also need a pair of nice looking, but comfortable, shoes. Combat boots just will not work anymore.

      So today, we get to do something Matt really does not like to do. We get to go shopping for new pants and a few new shirts.  I figure he will need about three pair of khaki pants and about five to seven shirts total. ( I am hoping to win a nice Lands End polo shirt from Tim over at Families Again. Click on his blog name and you can enter his giveaway as well.)   We should have a good day. We are only taking Ben and Rebekah with us and have promised to take them out to lunch, which is a big treat.  To shopping we go. Let’s hope for sales!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

     It is summertime here at the Clark house. We are doing very light school, only silent reading and math daily. So the kids have to find things to fill their time, without driving their mother crazy.  I thought I would show the activities that they each chose today.

023Matthew has graduated from High School this Spring. Today, on his day off from work, he chose to write his Thank You notes.



019Sarah and Ben are playing a game together. It is a new game Sarah bought yesterday called Family Business.



And Rebekah is trying to brush the dog. I think he would just rather shake hands with her and be allowed to go back to sleep. But he is a very patient dog and lets her brush him.  Good thing Matthew stopped Rebekah from spiking his hair with mousse.  I certainly did not want to have to wash the dog today.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Faith Like a Little Child

     What does it mean to have the “faith of a little child “to me?

Matthew 18:3 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

     We are going through a major life change. My husband is retiring from 22 years in the Air Force,  a total career change.  With our oldest son entering college this Fall and three other children at home, this is a daunting time.

     To have the faith of a little child has been shown very plainly to me.  Our church had its Vacation Bible School last week.  I taught the pre-school class. We learned throughout the week many lessons about trusting in Jesus to “rescue” us.  First of all we started in the Old Testament and learned how Moses was rescued by God when he was a baby in a basket. The next day we learned how God rescued Moses and the Israelites when they were fleeing Egypt and there appeared to be no possible way to get away from Pharaoh and his army and God opened a path through the Red Sea.

     We learned to be a light in the world for Jesus on the third day of VBS. On the fourth day we learned that Jesus rose from the dead and conquered sin, death and the devil.  The last day we learned that heaven is going to be a beautiful place where we will receive a crown of life.

     Each day, as I was preparing and then teaching the lessons, I was reminded to have the “faith of a little child”. When you teach these lessons  to children, they believe them with their whole heart, no questions that God does not love them or take care of them.  I truly believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. This means that I need to not question God’s love or care for me.  I realized I could not effectively teach that God rescues us, and then spend my time worrying about how all my problems are going to work out.

     God’s ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts.  Faith like a little child is trusting that God will never leave me or abandon me. Jesus has promised in Matthew 28:20, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Faith like a little child means that I don’t know how my problems will work out, but I know that no matter what the trial, Jesus is walking through it with me.

     My problems are not going to go away, in fact, they very well may get worse. But, I know I have a Savior who is living and active and with me all the time.  I can proceed knowing that I don’t have to have all the answers or know what is going to happen. I can have the faith of a little child and sing with abandon;

Jesus loves me. This I know.

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me,

The Bible tells me so!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Ascension of Our Lord!

     Today is 40 days after Easter. In the Liturgical Church year, this is the day we celebrate The Ascension of Our Lord.  Jesus, who has risen from the dead, has spent 40 days among his disciples teaching them about the kingdom of God. Now it is time for the conquering King to ascend in triumph.

     In our sermon at church tonight, our Pastor talked about how before sin came into the world, all creation praised God. After sin, fear takes the place of praise, and God promises a Savior. Jesus is the Savior who came so the promise was fulfilled.  By the world’s standards Jesus was not worth much, yet we as Christians say “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain.”  We can go confidently forward in faith, knowing that the entire destiny of humanity, all of history, is under His control. We can have boldness in the midst of trials, because Jesus will help us remain faithful till the end. All of us have been touched by His grave and forgiveness. Through the Word and Sacraments, our Lord strengthens us in faith until we see Him in His glory.

     With all the trials going on in my life, this was exactly what I needed to hear tonight.

Acts 1
The Promise of the Holy Spirit
1In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.

4And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

The Ascension
6So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." 9And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.