Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Some Food for Thought

Boy, yesterday's comment section made me feel kind of sad. Hearing about preachers who hire babysitters to keep their young ones at home on church days....thinking about all the children who will one day have to adjust to sitting in worship after years of children's ministry...and oh, hearing about the changes in that little country church. It just makes me weary.

So today I'm going to link to some articles on the topic. I know we really didn't DECIDE anything yesterday. Of course, the decision is to make with our husbands...not here on my blog anyway. seems that things are really wrong.

Here is a 2 part article by Voddie Baucham on "Nehemiah's Nursery." I had never heard this argument before, but this is a good look at scripture. Part 1 Part 2

This article is worth scanning.

Children's Ministry isn't going away in my opinion. There are curriculum writers and lots of companies who make good money off of children's programs. Many parents EXPECT something great for their children when they show up at church. Children's ministry will morph as time goes on, just as it has been doing.

So clearly, we can't wait until everything is perfect and rosy to attend church. Ain't gonna happen. The bottom line is...each family needs to prayerfully and carefully decide what their response will be. In view of scripture, and in willing obedience...what will we do?

Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and experiences during this series!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Giving Up on Sunday School

This post is part of a series that began here.

This all started a week ago Sunday you know. I subbed in Little Bit's Bible class and boy did that get my mind racing. It has been enough years since I taught Bible classes on a regular basis that it was a really eye opening experience for me.

That got me to thinking about how all of it has changed since our country was founded. Sunday schools were started to educate the poor children and keep them off the streets on their only day off. Then public schools took over the task of academic training so Sunday schools focused instead on religious training. Then, flash forward many years here, the schools removed religion from the picture all together. Now I feel that the church is removing academics from the equation as well.

Where does this lead us?

Hopefully, it leads us to the conclusion that we, the parents, are responsible for our children. Even though the church, and specifically the tradition my family is from, has done a great job in the past of teaching God's word to children, we cannot rely on that. As was mentioned in the comments on the last post, we've spent too long thinking the church is going to do for our children what it did for us. That ship has sailed. That pendulum has swung. Those days are over. YOU might attend a church that does a stellar job of Bible instruction. I am so glad if you do. However, it does not remove your responsibility. In fact, maybe it's a good thing that many children aren't learning very much in Bible class anymore. Perhaps it will open more parents' eyes to the fact that they need to be about the business of instructing their children.

For several years now I have understood this. I began to understand that the Bible tells parents to train their children. Not school teachers. Not ministry volunteers. Parents. That is part of what led us to homeschooling. I did not always understand this. And even though I understood it--I still hadn't accepted it. My husband told me over and over, "We have to teach them here at home. Anything they get in Bible class is icing on the cake." I agreed. But I haven't really wrapped my mind around it until now.

I guess you could say my eyes have been opened and I can accept as fact that my children will not learn what I want them to learn in any children's ministry. No matter how awesome it is. Will they get something out of it? Of course! But not what I have had in mind all this time.

And guess what? They aren't really meant to. They are meant to learn here at home from me and their dad. This is why there are home churches and family integrated churches by the way. Once you get this--it changes your life. But what about those of us who do not home church or go to a family integrated church? What about all the Christian parents who weekly send their little charges down the colorful hallway to what was formerly known as Sunday school?

What are we going to do about it?

I'd like to hear from you before I go on...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

When Education and Religion Got Separated

In the last post, I told you there were two things that had happened since schools became the main academic teachers and churches became the main religious teachers. Whereas Sunday schools began as a way of teaching academics and training in religious instruction....the churches and schools had since split up those responsibilities. I also discussed the first of those changes and that was that religion left the public schools.

The next change is the one that we are still smack in the middle of today, in my opinion. And here is where I'm wading into the waters known as "trouble." I'm NOT trying to step on any one's toes here....just reporting what has occurred to me.

This next change, that is still ongoing, is that learning is leaving the church. Have you noticed this? In the 70s when I was growing up, we always had an "Education Minister." He was in charge of selecting the curriculum for all the classes from the nursery to the older adults. The 9:00 Bible hour and the mid-week Bible classes were his domain. He recruited teachers, made sure they had everything they needed, and kept the Bible classes running smoothly. In fact, the church we attended when the girls were really little had an education minister.

You don't see a lot of education ministers today. Mostly because, we don't have an education mindset when it comes to Bible classes. I know this is certainly not true everywhere in America....I'm just telling you what I see from where I stand. (And I don't live in Podunkville either--so I can see quite a lot from where I stand.) In fact, we have moved from "Christian Education" to "Children's Ministry." Do you hear the really big difference of focus in those two phrases?

To me, "Christian Education" implies that my children will learn at church. "Children's Ministry" implies that my children will be ministered to at church. Do my children need to be ministered to? No, not really. However, all the seekers' kids need to be ministered to. But surely they don't need to learn. That doesn't appeal to people. People don't want their children to learn at church. They learn all week. What they want is for their children to have fun and like church. I have known families who left their church home to find another and did....because their kids liked the DVD curriculum and upbeat activities.

In fact, we really don't even call it Sunday school or Bible class anymore. Now it's "Kid's Quest" or "Journeyland" or "Kingdom Kids."

So I know this little boy who goes to a more traditional old-school church (ha ha) and he can say all the books of the Old and New Testament. He's 6. It's really not that amazing...he just goes to a church that still believes in teaching. In general, what I see is that of course our children are still learning something when they go to Bible class, but they aren't learning a sequential scope and sequence set of things that you can be sure all 5th graders will leave the children's program knowing. We aren't set up like that anymore.

It's ministry, not Christian education. Will the pendulum swing back the other way? Maybe. But maybe it doesn't even matter. I'll explain why next time.

Last post in the series found here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Half Empty/Half Full

There's a lot of mess around here lately.....
table mess....

...homeschool room mess.... "get the paperwork piles in order fit from last week" mess....

...hallway mess... mess...

....laundry mess...

...give away pile mess...

...whew. That's enough. I need to find some beautiful things in all this mess!

Ah, here we go. A menu plan. Hastily done, but done nonetheless.

Husband's things all laid out for him to go mow after work. (His second job.) Including a map to a new yard.

The new light in the play room.

Oh, here's the best one. My favorite people in the world.

And they are worth all the mess.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Switch From Education

Part 1
Part 2

My interviewing hasn't worked out so far to find out how Sunday school was in earlier times. So we'll move on....

So by the time I was born it was understood that schools had the responsibility to teach academics and Sunday schools had the responsibility of religious training. Now two major things have happened to change this arrangement somewhat.

First of all, public schools do not include religious undertones at all. Fifty years ago, schools might have even read from the Bible to begin the school day. The Lord's Prayer and the 10 Commandments could be found on classroom walls.* When I was in elementary school around 1977, we began our day with the pledge of allegiance, a patriotic song, and a "moment of silence." This was done school wide on the P.A. system. When I was a teacher the moment of silence was gone. So, where as Sunday schools began as a means of teaching poor children how to read, using the's public school is still charged with teaching, but without any religious means of doing so.

And here is where, apparently, private Christian schools and homeschooling began to really come into play. Parents who wished to have their children's education NOT be separated from their religious education began looking at these choices more and more. Ironically, what began as a mission for poor children now did not serve them at all. Poor children have been left to the public school alone.

Next....the second change.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Christian Education in the Seventies

Post 1 in the series found here.

Before we dive into the 1970s, I have a question for you. If you read about the origins of Sunday school, and how it all changed when public education became more commonplace....then there is something else you must consider. Who taught children to read, write and do arithmetic before? Who taught them morals before? Who taught them religious theology before? Who was responsible for teaching children all this stuff before Sunday schools and public schools came into the picture?

Any guesses?

Now....let's move on and come back to that later. Just wanted you to think about that.

The reason I'm jumping all the way to the 70s is because that's what I know. I was raised in the 70s (and 80s) and my experience in Sunday school is what I can talk about. I grew up in church. Went every Sunday morning, every Sunday evening, and every Wednesday night. If the doors were open, there we were--and 20 minutes early to boot. I know your experience will be different if you grew up in a different type of church than I did, but here is how it went for me.

You started out in the Cradle Roll department. I have no idea why they called it that. They did not roll us around in cradles as far as I know. Promptly at 9:00 on Sunday mornings and 7:00 on Wednesday evenings, I was dropped off in the nursery and cared for by a lady named Mimi. Mimi kept babies at our church from the time Moses was a child until Paul the apostle was an adult. Or so it seemed. When you were old enough to sit up at the table, or in little jumpy chairs, you learned lessons from Winky Bear. I loved Winky Bear.
(That's baby S being patted on by Mimi in the cradle roll department, circa 1970.)

After that, you moved to the Preschool Department, then the Primary Department, then the Junior Department, etc. There were always teachers, songs, Bibles, a Bible lesson, prayers, memorization, stickers on a chart for remembering to bring things and do things, and even open house. I well remember putting on a skit of Elijah and the prophets of Baal for our parents on open house Sunday (they let the adult classes out early that day). I remember it well because we were in the 5th and 6th grade class and I got to be Elijah and S has to be one of the prophets of Baal and dance around pretending to cut himself. He thought I got the better part.

I should tell you this. Before I was born, or when I was an infant, our Sunday school changed DRAMATICALLY. My mom was one of the teachers or department heads on the Sunday they made the big change and she remembers waking up with a headache that morning because she was so nervous. Here's the deal: they changed from children sitting in rows of desks (yes, at Sunday school) and the teacher writing on the board in front of them, to "open concept" and "learning centers." They were way ahead of their time. Our church's education minister used all the current educational philosophy and transformed our Bible class time.

When I was in the preschool department, we moved from room to room (there were movable walls within the larger room to partition off separate rooms) and did different activities. I remember my mom led singing time in one room. Mr. John and Mrs. Mary Ann told the Bible story in the next room with a puppet that was a worm inside of a nest. If we were too noisy he got scared and wouldn't come out. They also used flannel boards. Then we went to the art center and cut out pictures from magazines and glued them on paper or something like that. Then we went to the play center and helped Mr. Norman take care of baby dolls while he talked with us about how God cares for us. The activities within each center varied. There were also puppets called Pibb and Charley and one of them got torn and Mom brought it home to sew it up and I thought we were clearly the luckiest family alive because Pibb and Charley were at our house!

Still, even with our radical new Sunday school format, many things remained from the old days. Like I mentioned: charts with stickers for attendance, Bible verse memorization, remembering your Bible, etc. We got prizes for memorizing the books of the Bible (Old and New). We had teachers, circle time, music time, a lesson, were divided by grade level, and took a paper home each time. It was a lot like school, only without a report card. Oh, and if you got in trouble, you got taken to your parents' class instead of the office.

Now, how much of this was a hold over from the original Sunday schools I do not know. It interests me to find out what happened in the 70+ years between yesterday's post and my experience in the 70s. Tomorrow I will share with you what I find out.

Next post in series here.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Let's Talk About Christian Education

I substituted in Little Bit's Sunday school class this week. I haven't taught children's classes, except the occasional helping out like this Sunday, in about 3 years. I wrote about quitting here. Anyway, after that long of a break, teaching again was eye opening and made me think about many, many things.

So I'ma gonna blog about 'em. And this series has the potential to get me in all kinds of trouble but here we go.

Before I delve into all the things I got to thinking about yesterday, I must make sure everyone knows the origins of Sunday School. Here is a link that has a brief summary. It may not all be 100% correct, but most of it looks like what I've read elsewhere. If you know of another source, please share!

Sunday school began to change with the beginnings of free public education. Oh boy is there a lot to talk about on the beginnings of public schooling! But that is not what this series is about, so I shall refrain. Here is some information on how Sunday school changed after public schooling started:

As the public school began to emerge and change to suit the needs of the entire American population, Sunday school was the agreed mode of teaching the specific doctrinal truths of different denominations. The purpose of this was to make the public school truly nonsectarian by taking religion out completely. According to McClellan, though, most families saw the public school and Sunday school as complementary. Public schooling was a way for all children to be trained in the same moral values, and then the specific theological beliefs were covered in Sunday school.

Read more at Suite101: The Role of Sunday School in Society: Education and Morality Training in America

Now Sunday school was no longer just about general "education" but specifically about religious education. So it is with this background that I will jump forward to the 1970s. In the next post. :)

Part 2 here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Old meets new....

Half-way there...

It's going to be great if I don't kill myself climbing over all this stuff....

Thursday, June 17, 2010


On Sunday, I got to see my husband baptize our oldest daughter, Sweetheart. She'd been asking about being baptized since about January and S had studied with her back then. She came home from VBS talking about some things she had heard and I could tell a talk with Daddy was in order. They studied a bit more last week and I just sat and drilled her with questions a few nights later. Boy, was I impressed with her answers and her understanding!

It was time.....
Praise God! It has made me marvel all the more at His grace and love for us.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thinking On This

I'll tell you, I'm loving this new site Raising Homemakers. I was excited when I first heard about it. I was glad when it launched. And I have been enjoying the articles so far.

Today's article had this statement in it:

Responsibility = Maturity. Early responsibility = increased maturity.
Minimizing responsibility = irresponsibility.

I must say, I agree. But it's made me think harder about how much responsibility I've given my girls so far. Sweetheart could absolutely do more, but she has a get out of jail free card in the form of a little sister. When they are playing together...I hate to interrupt. That leaves Little Bit without a playmate and I know the day will come when Sweetheart won't want to play.

And you just can't leave a Sheriff without a horse!

Little Bit gets a bit of a raw deal in the form of a big sister. Because Sweetheart is helping with something, Little Bit gets roped into it as well. I'll tell you, there is NO WAY Sweetheart was doing her own laundry at the age of 6. They are just growing up differently because of birth order.

It's just that I really, really agree with that quote from the article. I've seen the end result of kids without responsibility and it is not pretty. I've also seen (much less often), the result of kids with too much responsibility and it's not so good either. (I'm not talking about chores in this instance, but parental neglect where young children are left caring for even younger children because Mom and Dad are doing their own thing. It happened a lot where I taught.)

There must be a balance and parents must come to those decisions carefully, with prayer, and much consideration. I'd rather err on the side of a bit too much responsibility than not enough. In a home where there is joy and love....a lot of work is not such a burden. Too little responsibility really is never a positive thing.

So I'm re-thinking our girls' jobs. I'm re-thinking how much training I've given them and how much we work together. I'm re-thinking a lot of things. You know, I think if my family went back in time and met our ancestors......they would pretty much think my kids were ninnies. Surely children long ago had more responsibility and far less time to play.

Hmm. Any thoughts?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Worse Than Finances

I remembered something I hate worse than finances.....


Monday, June 14, 2010

I Could Go For Trading Seashells

I hate finances. I really do. Nothing used to get me more worried and stressed out than money, or the lack thereof. In fact, after I quit working full-time, I would imagine I lost a year of my life worrying about how we were going to make it.

Good times. Or not.

I have been home now for 5 or 6 years and I draw a whopping $50 a month right now teaching sewing lessons. I am thankful that I have that opportunity, but I wish I had more things I could do here at home to earn money. So, husband has a lawn care business and I've thought well, I'll just support that and get behind that and help him with that. And he is having the hardest time finding weekly yards to mow. I keep wondering what is up?

I mean, here we are....husband is perfectly willing to work this extra job so we can pay off debt and get ahead's just not working. God must have something He wants us to learn from all this. I'm thinking there is a good reason.

In the meantime, I'm reviewing credit card terms and making phone calls (it's not that bad--but I just want to have them paid off! We're certainly under the average family debt in America, but his root canal and my recent surgery didn't help matters.) Today I scooted all around the house rounding up change that I will turn in tomorrow to the bank. I've got grocery shopping down to a pretty frugal routine. I'm a crusader for lower electric bills this summer. (Little Bit: I'm hot. Me: Get some ice water. No mercy.) I'm trying really hard.

But we are blessed. SO blessed.

I really could go for the bartering system though. And I can't help thinking about Abraham Lincoln's father who could not read or write. When he owed a man money, he made a mark on the wall. When he paid him back, he wiped the mark off.

Doesn't that sound much simpler?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bam! There It Is

I never heard it explained like this before. Boy does it makes sense:

"...the difference in conclusions between Paul and the feminist movement of today is rooted in a fundamental difference in their points of view relative to the constitution of the human race. To Paul, the human race is made up of families, and every several organism — the church included — is composed of families, united together by this or that bond. The relation of the sexes in the family follow it therefore into the church. To the feminist movement the human race is made up of individuals; a woman is just another individual by the side of the man, and it can see no reason for any differences in dealing with the two."

The quote is from this article. And, by the way, it was written in 1919.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

One Room Down

VERY SOON I will blog about things other than this room switch. I promise.

But I just wanted to show you I'm all done with the playroom. Now, of course that means there are stacks and piles everywhere....the living room, the new homeschool room, the hallway. Ug.

But here? It is beautiful.
There will be a paper lantern hung between those two pictures soon. It's so dark on this side of the room. For some reason the air vent is centered and the light fixture is over by the window. Great planning home builders from 40 years ago.
Toy buckets.

And doll center. Those are the doll beds stacked on the right. The kitchen food and dishes are in the white basket. I'm hoping S will have time to make a little something to hold the food and dishes soon. The doll clothes are in all the drawers.

The best part is that this room is about half the size of the former playroom. The girls have decided it's going to be SO much easier to clean up. I agree since it's right by the front door and Mommy won't open the door to leave for anywhere until this room is picked up.

I kind of can't believe we used to homeschool in here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Because a Playroom Should Look Like a Playroom

Before.....(homeschool room)
And after....

Cost: $1.50 for the felt. A friend gave me the curtains.

They just make me happy. The stacks of junk on the floor do not.

Have a good weekend everyone!


I've reached that unfortunate place in the room switch where there isn't any more places to put things. The HUGE black IKEA shelves are obviously staying put until S has time to help move them. And yet, there isn't really anywhere to PUT them in the new room...yet.

And yet I really can't move the toys into the new playroom until that shelf is out of the way.


I think I'm stuck.

Send help.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A House for Everyone

Several things have happened lately to make me reevaluate how I keep house. First of all, I had outpatient surgery last week and that whole ordeal put me out of commission for a while. I hated running through the Sonic drive thru just so the kids could eat but I wasn't up to cooking either. Sure, Suzie Homemaker would have instructed husband to deftly pull a frozen meal out and heat it up while tossing a salad so her family could eat healthy even in her time of need.

Suzie doesn't live here.

Also, a good friend's husband died unexpectedly Sunday night. They are in their mid-30's. We think he had a massive heart attack. When something happens that close to home, it really hits you. What if a tragedy struck our family like that? I'll tell you the truth, this house isn't ready for tragedy or even a small emergency.

What I mean is, if friends and family had to sweep in here and take over for a would be bad. Could they find anything? Would there be any clean dishes? Would anyone have clean clothes? Would everyone be horrified?

This isn't about what people think, but about having my home ready enough that my husband would be able to function and function well within these walls if I were not able to help. As homemakers we sort of rule the roost. WE are the ones who know where the measuring cups are. WE are the ones who know how much soap goes in the washing machine. WE are the ones who know every one's schedule.

I think it's time to make our homes more user-friendly.

It doesn't have to be for morbid reasons....but what if you had surgery coming up? What if a new baby was on the way and you got put on bed rest? What if someone in your family was hospitalized and others came to take over your house for a while? What if you broke your foot? What if you just had company coming and you wanted them to feel at home?

Some ideas I've had:

  • Get a calendar and meal plan posted on the fridge or in a binder or somewhere that everyone in the family can see it. I've been using a calendar on the fridge for a few months now and it really helps S when he's trying to make plans because he can see what's already scheduled. It's not just all in my head.
  • Label!! I got a label maker recently and labeled all the shelves in the pantry. It helps my family put groceries away and it helps folks find things. What else could you label?
  • Teach your children to do things! Even if loading the dishwasher is usually your job, get a child to help you every now and then so they will have a clue about it. Just by helping you, they will learn where you keep the soap and they can tell Daddy or Grandma if needed.
  • Don't have a "this is MY house" attitude but instead, have a "this is OUR  house" attitude. Let everyone take ownership and stop doing everything yourself.
  • Be diligent. Don't take off and be lazy all the time. That's how you get caught with your pants down in an emergency! :) This article today was very good on that topic.
  • Get rid of stuff. Hotels are easy to move around in because they have very little stuff in them. You know someone, I know you do, whose house is so full you don't even know where to look. Clean out.
Any other thoughts on making your home more ready for others to use?

Today's Project

One effect of all the um, health concerns I've had lately is I have an awesome stash of toilet paper tubes. The last ones I bought were white and sturdy and I just thought, "surely there is something cool we can make out of these."

So I googled and here it is

I think they look kind of flower-y. Gonna get the girls to paint them and then we'll hang them from the ceiling in the new playroom/old homeschool room.

It doesn't get much cheaper than that folks. (hoping they don't look like t.p. tubes)

Monday, June 7, 2010

In Case You Didn't Accomplish Much Today

Enjoy my progress. And thank your lucky stars this mess is not yours. :)

The shelves are beginning to be emptied. I cannot--I repeat---I cannot put all of this back on these shelves. I must get rid of stuff.

These purple curtains (which matched Little Bit's old room) have been given away.

I will soon be moving these curtains to replace them.

After I paint. Wanna see the color?

It's supposed to be two shades lighter than a Tiffany's jewelry box. Sigh. Won't it be lovely?

Wait until you see the cute curtains that are going to replace these in the new playroom. Oh so cute.

Are you confused yet?

This stuff....

will soon be in this room.

And this stuff....

will soon be in this room.

Never mind. I think I just confused myself.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Confessions of a Room Schizo

It's official. I have a sickness. If you've read this blog for any length of time, you know I like to rearrange. Not just the furniture within a room, but rearranging whole rooms for whole rooms. The girls have moved back and forth several times between the two rooms in the hallway.....the homeschool room hasn't been the same for two years in a row ever....and if I could figure out how to rearrange the bathroom I promise you it would have already been done.

THIS TIME though....I have a really good idea. This time it's super important and absolutely imperative that I make this switch.

You know our homeschool room?
It's the first room on the right as you walk in our front door.

And the girls' playroom that WAS going to be their bedroom that used to be Little Bit's room?

It's a straight shot down the hallway from our bedroom.


Well, the homeschool room is now going to be the playroom and the playroom is now going to be the homeschool room.

I've decided that the reason the playroom stays so crapped up all the time is because it is just too big. By moving the toys to a smaller room (and therefore downsizing the toys too), I'm hoping to make it less overwhelming for the girls to pick up. Besides, they don't need all that space anyway.

That will give us a much larger room for homeschooling so I can include an art area and they won't have to junk up the homeschool room going in there to draw etc. when school is over each day.

The best laid plans......

The girls are attending VBS this week so that sounds like the perfect time to get started, don't you think?

Look for updates this week!

Friday, June 4, 2010


OK. So. Well.

We aren't having a baby. Let me get you caught up. On Thursday of last week I started bleeding. You never want to see that, but I know it happens so I wasn't TOTALLY panicked...but almost. On Friday the doctor had me come in for blood work---which of course would not be ready until Tuesday since it was the long Memorial Day weekend.

I think you know what a great weekend we had.

I continued to bleed...continued to pray and yes, even worry. I think I ran through every single possible emotion during the weekend. Twice.

On Tuesday it took all day for the results to come in and they weren't great, but they still gave me some hope. Wednesday morning first thing we went in for an ultrasound and it revealed a blighted ovum. I understand some people have never heard of that. I actually had as it happened to my college roommate after she got married. So my body was pregnant....but no baby ever formed.

The doctor said that the inevitable miscarriage was still a long way off and I had a lot of pain and bleeding ahead of me. She suggested a d & c to avoid all of that, which wasn't a hard decision as there was no baby involved. I went in yesterday morning really early to the hospital and had my first ever surgery unless you include my ingrown toenail in college. I don't...because I sat up and drank a coke through that and this was a little different.

If it sounds like I am talking calmly about this, it's because I am. I have a had a great army of prayer warriors praying for us and I have felt it. I had already had such an emotional weekend that to hear WHAT was wrong and that there was NO baby.....actually brought relief. One friend said it best: we are mourning what we had imagined would be. And I would add: but at least we are not mourning the death of a child. That's really is.

So, we are re-adjusting our plans and our dreams for the immediate future. Does God have a baby (which I have prayed for 2-3 years) in the future plans for our family? I don't know. But I do know I will continue to trust Him.