Tag Archives: Family

Books Books Books!

Books books books

Hi Friends!

I have a stack of glorious reading for the summer here DownUnder and I’d love to share these with you.  Many of these are Christian titles, as I’m simply at a place right now where I’m wanting to feed my soul. 🙂 And the rest are history titles, my other great love when it comes to reading.

Multi award-winning historical fiction, The Chronicles of Iona is set in 563 AD and is the story of the two men who laid the foundations of the Scottish nation, an Irish monk, Saint Columba, and a Scottish warlord, Aedan mac Gabran.  Aedan is my direct ancestor, and I absolutely love this period of history.  What’s not to love?

Technically this is a homeschool title for my Fourth Grader, but no harm will be done if I read it too! This one takes a look at English history from  55 BC to 1611 (the year the King James bible was published) and how our language developed.

Hannah is said to have earned three reputations in her life: that of a playwright, a writer on moral and religious subjects, and a practical philanthropist.  She is said to have affected every level of 18th century British society.  I love a good inspirational biography.

A stunning introduction to this medieval book, with beautiful full colour pictures.  I bought this partly to accompany our homeschool medieval studies next year, but also because I love Celtic history!

It seems fitting to re-visit this treasure, and actually finish it this time, with the 200th anniversary of when Samuel Marsden first preached the gospel on Christmas Day 1814.  Keith has done a fantastic job of telling the story of our early history in this young nation of New Zealand.

Most know of William Wilberforce, the 19th century politician famous for the abolition of slavery. But few know of the other members of the group, known to us now as the Clapham Sect.  Hannah More was also part of this group, and others including the Reverend John Venn.  The Clapham Sect not only sought to abolish slavery but are also responsible for other endeavours (future blog post!).  I’m looking forward to reading more on this extraordinary group of world-changers.

I love learning about historical awakenings and revivals in the Church, especially those that have impacted all places of society.  This seems to be the one that is recommended on revivals, so I have this arriving in my mailbox any day now.  I also have a couple of Winkie Pratney’s on my wishlist, after hearing him speak on revival last Sunday. Brilliant.

Anything by Graham Cooke is going to be brilliant. In this book, the first of a three-part series, Graham packs this training manual/guidebook full of insight, examples, application and assignments.  If you’re a student of the prophetic, then this one’s for you.

Understanding the Seer gift of the prophetic is something I’m going after at the moment.  The seer dimension of the prophetic is simply a way of receiving revelation, it’s not scary weird stuff. 🙂 So since this is the recommended book by those that I look to for wisdom, so it’s at the top of my reading pile!

This book contains rare, never before published material of selected, transcribed, edited sermons delivered by A.W. Tozer.  I thought I should probably balance out all the modern Christian titles with a little of the classic.  This seemed like a good fit. 🙂

Undoubtedly I’ll be adding other books to my pile before the break even starts.  Do you have any recommendations for me?  What will you be reading over the holidays?

With joy,

Victoria

reading

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10 Years On – Remembering My Firstborn

10 years on - remembering my firstborn

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have just passed since our beloved son left us.

His pregnancy was difficult right from when I unexpectedly found out, through to when I lost him at 22 weeks. I was so sick that I lost tons of weight and at 12 weeks had to go to hospital from vomiting for days without holding anything down.

They decided to give me an ultrasound just to check how things were going, and after noticing something didn’t look quite right, I was referred to a specialist who gave me another ultrasound and with 2 other doctors, sat us down and gave us the grim news.

Our baby wasn’t going to live and I would probably miscarry very soon. They advised a termination, which we promptly declined. So they sent me home to wait for the inevitable.

Our lives went into a spin, and I can’t even begin to describe the range of emotions over the next 10 weeks before we lost our precious child. We still hoped for a miracle, and that was expressed to us over and over by many faith-filled friends. My stepfather was terminally ill, and the added stress on my mother and the rest of our family was hard to bear.

When no heartbeat was found at a regular check, my midwife sent us to the hospital for an ultrasound, which confirmed that our baby had died. The last movements I’d felt 2 days previous, that I’d smiled for joy over as they were so strong, and now that I’ve had subsequent pregnancies to compare to, were probably the moment in which he died.

The day I was induced and his birth that followed is still not yet something I can speak openly about. All I can tell you here is that it was utterly traumatic and heart-breaking. Our son, although 22 weeks, was developmentally behind in his gestational milestones so was more like a 16-17 week baby. I felt too overwhelmed to hold him, something I now regret, but his lifeless body just seemed too fragile and my heart couldn’t take the possibility of more trauma if something more would happen to his delicate body if I was to touch him.

After delivering our first child and spending some hours with him, we then had to leave the hospital with empty hands and hearts and prepare for a funeral. Those weeks and months that followed were raw and unbearable.

Gradually, life had to return to normal, a ‘new’ normal, and I had to allow my heart to trust God again. I’m grateful to those few who journeyed with us through that time.

There is hope in this story, and it doesn’t end with complete heartache and despair.

My Heavenly Father did walk closely with me through this time, despite my tendency to hold Him at a distance many times through it.

I discovered how unrelenting His love was towards me, regardless of how angry and raw I was towards Him.

I discovered that through such unbearable loss, I’m forever changed through this and can offer compassion and empathy to those that have suffered so much more than if I hadn’t had lost him.

I discovered that grief is not something that anyone can set the pace on for another person, and we should never attempt to shorten another person’s grief with our words.

I discovered a greater measure of grace was available to me, and that His loving hand will uphold me and comfort me, sometimes in ways I don’t necessarily expect.

I discovered He is incredibly patient, kind, loving, and tender towards me.

I discovered that sometimes there just aren’t answers for things we so desperately want to know. The ‘why’ question is rarely answered this side of eternity, but instead we can ask God to reveal more of who He is to us through our grief, our suffering, and also our joy and victories.

I discovered that the resolve in me to reach out to a needy world, desperate for love that actually looks like something, only grew and continues to.

I discovered a greater reality of this:

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. – Romans 8:28

I have my heart in sync with these words, and trust that everything in my life will come together and be used by Him to further His kingdom on earth. I believe it, because it’s the plain and simple truth!

The life of my son was and is a treasured gift to our family, and one day I will know the purpose God had for the brief time we had him.  Until then, I am determined to faithfully live out the purpose He has for my own life, and grow in my capacity to love and trust my Father wholeheartedly.  He’s always good, He’s always faithful, and He has an undivided heart.

May you know His relentless pursuit of you today.

Victoria

Home – The Heart of Homeschooling

Home the heart of homeschooling

Our family’s journey in homeschooling this year has been largely focused on establishing a rhythm that will be sustainable long term.

One of the things we’ve been doing is concentrating on our relationships with each other, particularly the children with one another (more on this another time).

The other thing we’ve been focusing on is keeping our home as the centre of our homeschool.

This is what I’m sharing at Lindsey’s website today.  I hope it encourages you.

“We’ve heard it said: ‘Home is where the heart is’. For homeschooling families, home is where our children’s hearts are. It’s the place where we intend to lovingly guide, equip, shepherd, and prepare our children’s hearts for the life set before them.”

READ MORE

Victoria

PS. A quick note from me – you will find me posting a lot less for this next season of life, possibly just once or twice a month.  If you enjoy what I write, you might like to subscribe to receive posts by e-mail (see sidebar on the right).  Thanks, and have a great weekend!

Choosing to Stand Tall

Choosing to Stand Tall

It’s taken years to be truly on this path to freedom, but here I am in 2014 finally able to embrace who I am, and whose I am. And I don’t plan on retreating back to where I once was!

We have an unfortunate cultural trait in our country called ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’. It’s common enough for there to be a name to it. When a person stands taller from the crowd, they are pulled down or cut down with words so they no longer stand tall. It’s sometimes overt and sometimes more subtle, but the outcome is the same – to prevent another person from rising to all they could and should be, so that another feels better about themselves. It’s the opposite than what Heaven intends for our country, which a culture of true honour, comradeship and courage, and a People that will cheer on others in their chosen path.

I have been on the receiving end of this, and without doubt I’ve probably hurt others in this way. I can only repent for where I have partnered with this myself, and pray the Lord keeps me sensitive and humble from walking in it again!

What we want in the Body of Christ is for EVERY PERSON to walk in fullness, and in that way we are all better for it! We can honour the unique voice of one another, and enjoy and celebrate the brilliance that shines from each person.

My Journey in Becoming a ‘Tall Poppy’

For many years, and more so since becoming a mother, I’ve frequently been on the receiving end of jealousy, cutting down, and revilement, because others have desired what I have or have been jealous of what I am capable of. It has caused me to withdraw, be silenced, and isolate myself from others. Sometimes, it’s been shrouded in religious language, or a ‘minor’ reason given instead of the ‘main’ reason that hides what it really is. Other times the responsibility has been put back on me, as though the cause is me – I’m causing insecurities to rise up in others, or intimidating women because I am skilled and gifted in areas that others may not be. I’ve been pressured to hide my light, to be less of myself, to enhance my struggles and shortcomings so that others feel better about themselves.

But do you know that excluding others, cutting off or cutting down someone, or withdrawing your friendship or care of someone because you perceive them to as the source for your discomfort, is really unloving and based on a lie?  And at times, the victorious life they lead might actually be the result of years of perseverance, cost and sacrifice? Or perhaps an outpouring of favour of the Lord they have grown in, to be celebrated and cheered on?

Here’s a snapshot.

I love my husband and children. I very rarely need time away from them. I do need time by myself to re-energise at times, but it’s not because I’m fed up with them. It’s because I’m an introvert that likes to sit and read, listen and think. So I don’t crave the time out of the home without my family that others might. I also love spending time with other families, and I don’t crave women-only get togethers. Rejoice with me that I’m different and what a change the Lord has brought about in my heart – when I first got married I wasn’t sure I wanted children, as I was still hurting from my parents’ divorce. What a transformation God has done in my life!

I don’t believe my way of parenting is the best/only/right way. Truly. I have many convictions about things that are right for our own family, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s the best way for your family. Those decisions that we all have to make about raising children, eating, Church fellowship, homeschooling or public school – they are all things that we can only be responsible for ourselves and not for others! I freely and joyfully love to help others, hence this blog as one example. But if you decide a different way, then go for it and be the best you can! So celebrate with me the victories and the courage it has taken to go against the mainstream, as we have pursued the best plan for our family.

I (usually) have a well-ordered and clean home. My mother set a wonderful example for me. I also learned young how to do this, as from 11 I lived without my mother under the same roof. It became necessary if I wanted clean clothes! Celebrate with me God’s redemptive purpose that has come about, and that he has brought strength and excellence into my life as a homemaker. It’s come at great cost.

I love to be home with my children and am glad for the blessing to homeschool them. I’ve had hard days. Really hard days! But the vast majority of the time we enjoy ourselves and my children are thriving and doing well. But the cost of living off one income is I only get a haircut once a year, we wear our clothes out (except the kids who benefit from a very generous Nanna!), we don’t get out of town to see family often, and a thousand other things we can’t afford to do. Worth it? Yes yes yes! So tell me I’m doing a great job and encourage me. Don’t tear down homeschooling because it offends your worldview or theology, or gossip about me because you see imperfection or you feel inadequate yourself. Be the best ‘you’, and encourage me to do the same!

I love to create a warm and hospitable environment for people to come to. It’s true – before you arrive at my home, I will often whisk around and pick up things that you might trip on, check the toilet for any ‘surprises’ my children may have inadvertently left, and perhaps wipe down the dining room table where you may place your coffee cup on arrival. Enjoy the place I’ve created for you to enter into. Embrace the English cultural background I come from, where you can sit and be served rather than the more common way in our culture of being told to ‘help yourself’ or ‘make yourself at home’( which is fine too). This is how I do hospitality – be blessed by it!

I love to create nourishing meals for my family and am good at it. I had to learn young, and at 11 I was cooking roasts and making school lunches. God has used those difficult circumstances and turned them into something good, something helpful, a blessing to my family, and also to others that have been on the receiving end of my generosity. Please, rejoice with me at His goodness expressed in my life!

I’m frequenting on the receiving end of the Father’s generosity and our family find ourselves with abundant provision that is beyond logic. Rejoice with me in the goodness of God! It has sometimes come at the cost of many times of enduring faith and hope, tears and prayer, and we ourselves have been generous with all we have in our hands, at times with extraordinary sacrifice.

You probably won’t catch me posting photos on Facebook of my messy lounge, my baking fails, or any other imperfectness – not because I don’t have those days like every other mother, but because I choose to celebrate the victories and strive for the excellence that I know is in me.

I’m not perfect. I fail daily. There is grace daily. I’m utterly dependent on Him.

I am a beautiful, gifted, beloved child of the Father. I love who He’s created me to be, and love my life, and I love growing in who I am in greater measure. Rejoice with me that God has taken brokenness and grief and turned it to wholeness and joy. He’s brought beauty from the ashes. I will no longer hide my light!

And He can do the very same thing with you.

“The church is God’s body, where every member is welcomed, accepted, loved and valued as a contribution. There is room for us to live in Christ while we are learning to be Christlike. This means we make space for the ugly and the beautiful in all of us to grow and change.” From MANIFESTING YOUR SPIRIT (Graham Cooke)

Tall poppy Monet

Introducing Solids to Your Baby

Introducing solids to your baby v2 small

I’ve sure come a long way on introducing solids since I began this parenting gig almost 10 years ago.  By the time my third child came around to this stage, the processed crackers and store-bought biscuits were history, and instead I was making homemade blends of vegetables cooked in stock and taking a careful, considered approach to how and when foods were introduced.

So here are some things I’d like to pass on that I hope will help you as you put together your plan.

Why Organic?

The most important thing for our family is that we choose only organic foods for these reasons:

  • More nutrition
  • No harmful chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic residues.
  • Free from additives and GE-free

If buying organic food is a stretch for feeding your whole family, consider buying organic food just for your baby, as the quantities are small enough that you shouldn’t notice much of a change to your overall grocery bill.  It’s just worth the investment to give your baby a head start to optimum health.

When to Introduce Foods

I introduce single foods and watch for any reaction over a few days before introducing the next one.  I also prefer to cook vegetables in homemade broths/stocks.

Here’s the basic plan I’ve followed, give or take a few compromises here or there.

4m + (minimal solids; ie. 1-2t per day)

  • Egg yolk
  • Mashed banana
  • Avocado

6-8m (single foods to start with, then gradually introduce blends, as well as meat and oil)

  • Cooked vegetables: sweet potato, carrots, parsnip, beetroot
  • Raw pureed fruits: pear, banana, avocado, apple
  • Cooked fruits: apple, dried apricots, peach, plum
  • Meat: Cooked and pureed lamb, beef, chicken
  • Broths: added to meat and vegetable blends
  • Oils: coconut and olive oil

9-12m

  • Homemade casserole/stew
  • Vegetable soups
  • Cooked vegetables: broccoli, peas
  • Dried fruits (small amounts): dates, raisins (soaked and blended in with other fruit)
  • Cooked berries (if tolerated)
  • Slowly introduce tastes such as ginger, garlic, onion, spices
  • A little of the juice from homemade fermented vegetables mixed with food

We introduced certain types of dairy slowly about this stage, such as kefir and yoghurt and a little butter, as our baby appeared intolerant to dairy from when he was a few weeks old (eg. nappy rash, green poop, unsettled when lying flat, reaction would occur about 4 hours after I’d eaten any).  We did a little cheese with him about 11 months.  We don’t do store-bought skim versions of any dairy with all our children.

Avoid until after 12m and then introduce slowly and one at a time:

  • White potatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • All grains and legumes (babies do not have enough digestive enzymes to handle them)
  • Citrus fruit and tomatoes
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Egg whites
  • Raw berries (pectin can upset tummies)

More Information

Bear in mind, this is all just a guide based on what’s worked for us.  You might have a different set of needs to consider for your little one.

Once you have your plan, print it off and keep on the fridge or somewhere handy to refer to easily.

All the best to you as you help give your baby a great start in life!

Victoria

Comforting A Friend Through Miscarriage

Comforting a Friend Through Miscarriage

This one is a subject close to my heart, having walked this journey twice before, and some of you will have too.  My best friend and her husband recently lost their little one, and it has freshened up those emotions again that never really go away completely.  As I’ve seen her courageously walk through this, my heart has ached for her grief, yet also rejoiced in the life that she carried for a short but significant time.  You are eternally changed!

I remember some of those things that were said to us that were so affirming and encouraging, and some of the others that, although well intended, just deepened the pain.

The estimate on how often a miscarriage takes place is usually either one in every four, or one in every five pregnancies.  Despite how common a miscarriage may appear, it can be a life-altering experience, and the loss bears its affects both physically and emotionally.

Let’s call it what it is: a miscarriage is the death of a child.  It is not merely a failed pregnancy, or nature simply taking its course.  Whether you’re 4 weeks along or much further, the loss is no less significant.  As with any loss, grief is something that is personal and different for each person.  You’ve also lost the hopes and dreams that you have carried for your child, regardless of the length of your pregnancy.

If you have other children, you may find that holding them helps to find a resting place for your love and longing, but they don’t replace the child you’ve lost.

A decade has passed from my first loss (of two), and yet still it has a deep and immovable effect on my heart.  I’m forever changed.

I look back on those experiences, and I’m grateful for the love and support we were given by those around us.  Not everyone knew how to help us or what to say.  For those that lose earlier on in their pregnancy, speaking about their loss carries some risk as not everyone will respond with a level of compassion or understanding.

Can I offer some suggestions as to how you can help comfort a friend through their loss?

What To Say

  • “I’m so sorry for your loss”.
  • “I’m praying for you”.
  • “I’m here for you”.
  • “How are you feeling today?”
  • “What do you need from me?”
  • “It’s OK to feel the way you do”.

What To Do

  • Be available to listen
  • Be patient with where your friend is at, and how long it may take to walk through their loss
  • Send cards, flowers, and words of acknowledgement for your friend’s loss
  • Drop off a meal and/or some groceries
  • Offer to help with housework or children
  • Send a text saying your thinking of them, but don’t expect a reply back.
  • Remember the first anniversary

What NOT To Say

  • “You’ll have other pregnancies”.
  • “When will you try again?”
  • “Try not to think about it”.
  • “At least you weren’t too far along”.
  • “You have your other children that you can focus your attention on instead”.

The thing that touched me more than anything, was when people used my babies names, and acknowledged them as precious and valued lives.

I also found the the simplest words, kindest gesture, and the ongoing words of love as time went on, were the most significant and helpful as I journeyed through our loss.  Sometimes people got philosophical, or tried to say too much, and it often made the pain worse.  If you don’t know what to say, simply say “I’m so sorry for your loss”.  If you don’t know how to help, just ask.  Be prepared if your friend doesn’t want to talk about it, or perhaps doesn’t want to hear about what is happening in your life just at that moment.

Just love them, listen to them, and offer yourself to be and do whatever they need.  Pray for the Father surround them with His presence, and be His hands and feet in their life.

Even if you don’t understand or can’t identify with your friends journey, you can still lovingly help them as they walk out their loss and grief in the days and weeks ahead.

Be blessed,

Victoria

Psalm 139 hwh

 

Magazines for the Whole Family

Magazines for the whole family

Here are a handful of my favourite magazines for some whole family reading.  I love to sit down in the quiet with a magazine and flick through short articles on all kinds of different things.  It’s definitely one of my favourite ways to re-charge.

HOMEMAKING

Seasons at Home

This is a great read that seeks to minister to homemakers and their families by providing encouragement for mothers, homemaking tips, DIY projects, homeschooling, recipes, crafts and more.

From Scratch

From-Scratch-April-May-2014-CoverWeb‘From Scratch’ is a free bi-monthly online magazine for the modern homesteader and for living life simply.  You’ll pick up heaps of great ideas for your home on gardening, food, DIY projects, homemade products and more.

HOMESCHOOLING

Answers

Creation scienceAnswers is the Creation Science magazine published by ‘Answers in Genesis’, and reaches 200,000 homes each quarter.  It’s packed full of relevant articles on the latest creation science news while also having an apologetics and theological perspective through which to understand culture.  While I don’t share all of Ken Ham’s theology in its entirety, I so appreciate the solid science and his dedication to defending a creation science worldview through the written word.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

TOSThe Old Schoolhouse Magazine is a free online magazine by The Old Schoolhouse that is packed full of homeschool encouragement and resources.   Read my review here.  They also publish a print version, which for 2014 has over 300 pages of homeschool goodness. I have a copy in my hands which I’m still not finished.  This edition features Deborah Wuehler, Todd Wilson, Heidi St. John, Andrew Pudewa and many other homeschool greats, including my talented online friend Bonnie Rose Hudson who is completely fantastic.

Nature Friend

Bobcat (Lynx rufus)

Nature Friend is a creation-based children’s nature magazine for the whole family to enjoy.  There is opportunity for your children to submit different contributions as well.  This is one we haven’t gotten ourselves yet but plan to at some stage in future.

FAITH

Voice of the Martyrs

We have joined the mailing list for the NZ branch of ‘Voice of the Martyrs’ and they send out a magazine a few times a year with the latest news and ways to partner with this mission.  I wholeheartedly recommend supporting their ministry if you have a heart for the oppressed and persecuted.  Visit the US website or NZ website for more information.

Relevant

Relevant

Relevant is another magazine that I haven’t physically had in my hands yet but I’ve been enjoyed the articles online for some time, plus some of the worship sessions that have been recorded by Relevant.  The magazine is targeted at the 20 and 30-something age group, and covers topics of ‘faith, culture and intentional living’.  The digital magazine is free to view, and the print version is a very small $6 for 6 months.

FOR CHILDREN

Answers for Kids

kids-answers-092

Answers for Kids is the children’s magazine from Answers in Genesis, and contains just 8 pages that fold out, with a theme each time that fills the pages.

God’s World News

gwnews24We subscribed to this super magazine last year and even with the international postage it’s still incredible value for a monthly magazine for each of my children.  The different editions cater for different age groups, and cover the same content but age appropriately.  This is definitely one of our favourite homeschool resources.

** Update on ‘God’s World News’ – the magazine have decided to halve the number of print editions per year from 10 down to 5, and in the month’s between your child will receive an e-mail instead.  There are less print edition options also.  The cost remains the same.  In my opinion, this is no longer the fantastic value that was offered before so I no longer recommend it, but you might still decide it’s worth it for your family.  **

Do you have any favourites?

Victoria

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures {April 2014}

Tips, Treats etc, monthly round up April 2014

The last month has flown by again, and we’re feeling like our family is in a relatively good rhythm going into the winter.  We have enough commitments outside our family life for now, and the kids are settled into some good routines.  Here’s hoping we can cruise a bit for a while, after a couple of months of some really stretching circumstances.  Love the outcome of faith having grown, but do not love the process as much. 🙂

In the Kitchen

Take a break from your gluten-free living and enjoy these simple Cornish pasties from Jamie Oliver.  I can’t imagine how a Cornish pastie would taste with gluten-free pastry, but if you have a recipe feel free to prove me wrong. 🙂

A simple recipe of melted blueberries with mandarin orange and ginger.  And let’s not forget the whipped cream with it.

What I’m Reading and Watching

Heartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson.

Praying Circles around Your Children by Mark Batterson

Trim Healthy Mama – it’s taken me a while to get hold of my own copy, but I’ve decided to give this a read and see what all the fuss is about.  So many people I know are using this eating plan.  I’ll let you know in the coming months what I think.  So far, I like the emphasis on increasing healthy fats in your diet.

New Discoveries

Here’s an informative article on agave nectar that I encourage you to read.

Last month I linked up a post at Wellness Mama on how to re-mineralise your teeth.  Here’s another well written post on oil pulling.

On the Homeschool Front

I’m going to be adding ‘Life of Fred’ Math to our homeschool curriculum soon.  I’ve only ever heard great things about these books, but we’re going to supplement our existing Math-U-See rather than replace it.  This series of books bring Math alive to children through stories.

We have switched things around a bit for a month (in case you missed it, read Mix it up May).  So far, all is going well and our learning times feel like they’ve freshened up a bit.  I recommend doing this if you’re children start to drag their feet behind them!

We’ve picked up our ‘All About Spelling’ again after an extended break.  This really is a great spelling program and I find my daughter instantly picks up the rules.  Here’s an article from All about Spelling on learning spelling logically: Spelling Can Be Easy When It’s Logical

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

Chareen has some great resource lists for free homeschooling.  My favourite is her Free Fine Arts Resources.

Have a read of this one: 5 Overlooked Cultural Sins Threatening the Church.

A Few of my Favourite Things

We were blessed to listen to Loren Cunningham twice yesterday, who is currently on tour with his wife Darlene in New Zealand.  He has a fresh challenge for us seeing a bible in every home, in every nation.  Listen in here.

You’ll enjoy this personality test – it totally summed me up perfectly which these tests rarely do.

All Sons and Daughters have released a new self-titled album.  Listen to the whole thing here at Relevant.

Quote of the Month

‘To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today’. – Unknown

I’ve got some posts tucked away and ready to go for this month on our ‘Back to Eden’ garden, Maestro Classics, Story of the World for Christian families, some of our favourite magazine reads, plus a few other things.

Thanks for taking the time to read.

Victoria

Tips, Treats, Topics and Treasures (March 2014)

Tips, Treats etc, monthly round up March 2014 We are currently enjoying the cool of autumn’s arrival, after a long, beautiful hot summer. March is my favourite month of the year.  Last weekend’s berry picking left us with just a small bag of berries, as the last of the summer berries have finished.  Soon will be root vegetables and casseroles coming out of the kitchen.

On that note, here are a couple of recipes that I’ll be trying soon.

In the Kitchen

I really like the sound of these sweet and sour meatballs from the talented Danielle Walker (Against All Grain).  

And same website for these gorgeous 7 layer bars .  Don’t be scared off by the many layers – most have just a couple of ingredients each.  Yum!

What I’m Reading and Watching

Have a watch of this music video where the singer is photo-shopped in real time.  You’ll never look at magazine images the same again!

I’ve been wanting to read this book the moment I read the Amazon preview.  The Book that Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization by christian philosopher Vishal Mangalwadi.

And this one: Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothin.  Read the Amazon preview on this one too!

An article on ADHD that you’ll find interesting.  I’ve been reading this for years, and read a particularly great book by Phillip Day that said similar things.  

New Discoveries and Great Ideas

Food Matters TV is here!  Head over to their site and watch over 300 health and wellness videos on demand.  

How to Remineralise Your Teeth Naturally (an article at Wellness Mama):    And if this interests you, purchase Ramiel Nagel’s book ‘Cure Tooth Decay’ for extensive guidance on healing your teeth naturally.

On the Homeschool Front

We’re enjoying Supercharged Science at the moment, and I’ll be posting a review next week.  This week has been about minerals and genetics.  We love our Apologia Science. But I’ve found Supercharged Science has given us a fresh boost of inspiration and new knowledge and perspective that has breathed life into our homeschool.  Perhaps we’ll keep doing both for a while!

I found this a really great read from All About Spelling (the spelling curriculum we use) on Why Copywork Doesn’t Always Work’.    They also have this free ‘Phonogram Sound App’ for all 72 sounds taught in their spelling and reading programs.

Hidden Treasures (great reads in the blogosphere)

I love what Heather has written about learning the Word with her children, and also putting their efforts towards bible translation work: End Bible Poverty

A great read on what really matters: When You Can’t Give Your Kids Disneyland 

A few of my favourite things

I enjoyed this really neat music video of a couple’s bump to baby progress.  It had over a million views in 2 days.

This month I’ve been enjoying worship from the fantastic Josh and Amberley Klinkenburg, and All Sons and Daughters.  Josh and Ambs have released an EP called ‘Our Love’, which you can pick up on i-tunes.   And All Sons and Daughters have released a live album available on their site.

Have a listen – you’ll be blessed.

Quote of the Month

And finally, some brilliance from Bill Johnson of Bethel Redding:

“When our passion for God fails to find its expression in joy, it will often find expression in legalism.” Bill Johnson 

I hope you find some great things to read, watch and eat on this post.

Have a great week friends!

Victoria

PS. Due to when the Review Crew due dates fall, you’ll be getting 3 days of nature study posts from me between 7th and 9th, then a science review on the 10th.  But then your inbox will have a 6 day break until the 16th.  I hope you don’t feel swamped!

This post contains affiliate links.

Captivated – The Movie: “Finding Freedom in a Media Captive Culture” {Review}

“Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by screens.  Have we entered a techno utopia or a virtual prison?”
(Producer and Co-Director Phillip Telfer)

Captivated DVD is Captivated the movieone of the most important films you will watch this year.  Media Talk 101 brings together a diverse range of experts and contributors from all walks of life in this documentary, providing insight and testimony to equip us in making sound decisions for our families.  You will hear an outstanding series of interviews and evidence to support the potential impact of modern media on physical, moral, spiritual, mental and emotional health.

An Introduction to
‘Captivated’

We all know that we are inundated daily by screens and media that demands us to give it our immediate attention.  Perhaps many of us have never stopped and honestly considered how much of our focus these things have really become, and more concerning, how much impact these things are having on our children.

Consider these statistics (from MediaTalk101 and Captivated):

  • The average person watches almost 5 hours of TV a day (53 hours per week).
  • By the time the average child is 18 they will have witnessed 200,000 acts of violence and 16,000 murders on TV.
  • The average mobile teen sends and receives 3,339 text messages per month.
  • 90% of children between 8-16 years old have viewed pornography online (most while innocently doing homework).

About the Film

Captivated begins with taking the viewer on a brief journey on the introduction of the telegraph, and the impact this had at the time.  You might find yourself surprised at some parallels to today, although the scale and digital sophistication has obviously changed considerably.

With a series of interviews with experts, authors, teachers and real life testimonies from regular people, it covers (amongst other things):

  • Brain development and functioning of infants and young people, the science behind attention systems, and the growing epidemic of distraction;
  • The change in what we understand community to be, and how we now do relationship;
  • The physical impact on nutrition and fitness, on sleep, and on mental and spiritual health;
  • The reinforcement of media appetite through excessive use, and its potential impact;
  • The history and consequences of the movie ratings system;
  • The saturation of social media and technology into our modern society, with the backing of research cited, expert testimony, and statistics.

Why It Matters

The film asks and discusses some essential questions:  whose voice is influencing your family?  What are you allowing in your home via a screen that you wouldn’t normally invite in with a real life person?  Scientific research backs up the parental instinct that the content of what our children are consuming is harmful, and that graphic violence makes children more desensitized to violence.  But even putting violent video games aside, consider even the seemingly harmless – what and whose values does it express?

Here’s a point that was expressed by Dr Jeff Myers:  every movie, video game, TV show and so forth, starts with an idea someone has had.  The media is not neutral.  I was freshly reminded that there are agenda’s at work, and according to research, these agenda’s are not Christian.

KP Yohannan suggests that anything that gets us away from focusing on God deserves to be examined.   What we see and hear affects what we do.  If we’re filling ourselves with what is good and pure, then it affects our actions and we become a blessing to others.

There is no doubt – media changes worldviews.  That is why examining this area of media consumption deserves to be courageously and honestly examined by every follower of Christ.

Captivated quote

Evaluation

This film promotes media discernment, and not necessarily its complete removal.  It does not tell you exactly what to do, or how much is enough, but encourages you to seek discernment and find what God has for you instead.

Technological tools are beneficial. But there are costs – culturally, intellectually, educationally, spiritually, mentally and physically.  I was left considering these technological advances as having their place as tools, but shouldn’t replace relationship, community, purpose, and identity.   When they become a lifestyle and the primary source of our ‘diet’, we have possibly stepped over into an area where we are no longer free.

I love the emphasis that one family, who did a month-long media fast, say worked for them.  They said they didn’t ‘take away’, but they ‘replaced’.  I believe this is essential, and we can allay our fears that we will somehow deprive our children if we take away or reduce the amount of time they spend with these ‘tools’.

The film eventually takes you in the direction of Christ as the one who sets us free from captivity and leads us into fullness of life.

Final Thoughts

This film is a tremendous resource for families and I wholeheartedly recommend it.  As parents, we simply must become better equipped and discerning in this area, so as to live intentionally on this earth, with purpose in our step, and hope for our future.

Unless we become intentional in this area, and possibly admit our own shortcomings and change ourselves, we could miss out on what is really available to walk in instead.  Let’s not have regrets.

Captivated quote

Further Information

The film is intended for adults but has been approved for all ages. Note that it does touch on some topics that you may not have discussed with your children yet.

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{Linked up at TheRoadto31, Hip Homeschool Moms}