Monday, April 24, 2017

Watching Love in Action

I don't usually find parenting models in my back yard. I suppose our cat could challenge me with her faithful motherhood, but her stint is over in six weeks.

But last week, I watched parenting modeled in a way that challenged me. Actually maybe it wasn't parenting as much as a model of God's love. The kind of sacrificial, putting-others-first love this mom needs. In triple doses.

The Pioneers are a group of ten boys from the Alleghany Boys Camp plus their two leaders who they call "chiefs." They were on a Civil War bus trip and we were privileged to have them spend a week camping in our pasture. Each day they visited local historical sites such as Gettysburg and Harper's Ferry. 

Their days started early. About 6:30 I could see the chiefs gently shaking tents and boys emerging from their sleeping bags and huddling near the campfire. Each boy is assigned camp chores. They set up tents, prepared meals, cleaned up the campsite, hauled water, wrote articles, and showered in the outdoor shower built with a tarp and garden hose. 

But of course nothing happens without the chief's involvement. I know how hard it is to keep children moving toward a goal. "Herding cats" and "pushing rope" have been used to describe the challenge. 

I've also been camping. Sure there is fun, but also lots of work. And I've never been gone two and a half weeks. With TEN boys.

After a day of touring, two boys helped a chief cook their meals on a campfire. We invited them to share one meal with us, then later in the week, they invited us out to their campsite for a meal.

They shared the fruit-roll-ups, beef jerky, and granola bars that they had made for their trip. They also cooked a Chinese rice dish over the fire. Everything was delicious.

And I watched the chiefs. They have to be flagging. It been a long day. But they don't get a break. There are still more boys to push through showers, the van to clean out, and articles to look over.

The swing-set and the yard are full of shrieks of children for a few hours each evening. Our children loved the extra players for active games of tag.  One chief pauses between chores to spend a few minutes playing British Bulldog. I applaud his effort to push down his weariness and have fun and laugh with the boys.

The goal is to be in tents by dark but, even when starting early, the boys don't always settle down quickly. The boys are learning life lessons on respecting authority, having good attitudes, and dealing with anger. Their chiefs are walking with them, but it isn't always pretty. 

Night falls and I hear the strumming of a guitar and a lone voice singing and hope that it is as relaxing for ten boys as it is to me. Some nights it is 10:30 until I hear the chiefs getting their own showers - the first time all day that they have had a moment to themselves. Just like moms who can't find time for their own shower until late at night.

But these are not his children. The chief has no obligation to them. A talented twenty-two-year-old has lots of options for adventure - and for income. These boys don't always appreciate chief's efforts. They might call chief names and throw a fit when chief asks him to pick up his towel. They certainly don't mind how much work they are causing chief.

But he is making a difference. Ten boys are seeing God's love in action. They are experiencing love when they are acting unlovable. They are finding a love that doesn't let them continue their bad habits. They are being given a model of true manhood that will influence them for life.

Next time I want to complain about how hard it is to be a mother, I'll try to remember the view out of my window this week. If those two young men can love and serve without complaining, why can't I.

We both have the same grace-giving God who gives His love in abundance.

On Easter Sunday we all had a little sunrise service. Singing praise songs with the guitar while watching the sun emerge over the horizon was a special celebration of Christ's resurrection. 

And the resurrection is what gives me the hope to face the challenge to keep loving.

For more info on Alleghany Boys Camp.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Question: Modest Clothing Sources

A question I get often from Home Joys readers is where to find modest clothing. Since I make dresses for both my girls and myself, I am not familiar with good sources for modest clothing. So I'm turning to you all for help.

Where do you find modest clothing for yourself or your daughters? Are there brands, stores, or online sites that you recommend?

If you sew, what patterns do you like? Where do you buy your fabric?

I'm encouraged by so many women who are seeking to honor God by their clothing choices. Let's encourage each other by letting a comment to help others. If you are reading this by email or feed-reader, just click over to the website to let a comment.


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Modesty Series

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bookmarks: Book on Space for Children

This year our family has been studying astronomy with Apologia's Young Explorers Astronomy book. It has been a fascinating study and, of course, we have searched the library to find more books on the topic. Here some of the books we collected about space and some of the early astronomers. Note: Some of these books contain brief mention of evolution – i.e. millions of years.

Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn M. Branley, illustrated by Michael Rex
Why is it cold part of the year and hot at other times? This book will explain how the sun and the axis of the earth affects the seasons.

Nicolaus Copernicus: The Earth Is a Planet by Dennis B. Fradin, illustrated by Cynthia Von Buhler
Without even the help of a telescope, Copernicus made discoveries that changed the way people thought of the earth's place in the universe. An excellent children's biography with richly painted illustrations about an important man from the 1400's.

What's So Special About Planet Earth? written and illustrated by Robert E. Wells
How about a trip to the other planets to find the best place to live? After reading this book, you'll be glad to stay on planet earth. The perfect first book to learn about our solar system.

I, Galileo, written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen
Bright paintings share the story of Galileo's life in the 1500's in a way younger readers can enjoy. Learn about Galileo's many contributions to science and astronomy.

One Giant Leap by Robert Burleigh, illustrated by Mike Wimmer
Rich illustrations and active prose tell the details of the day the first man stepped on the moon. We know the end of the story, but imagine how nervous you would be if you didn't know if the men would return to earth safely.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 written and illustrated by Brian Floca
Poetic text combines with amazing watercolors to replay the historic journey of the Apollo 11 to the moon. This book is loaded with details and shouldn't be missed.

Reaching for the Moon by Buzz Aldrin, illustrated by Wendell Minor
Telling his own story, Buzz, the second man to walk on the moon, remembers the steps that took him all the way to the moon and back. Rich oil paintings bring color to the historic trip.

If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty, illustrated by Steven Kellogg
This fun book explains everything you'll need to know to visit the moon in your own rocket ship. Fun illustrations take you on this journey of a lifetime.

You Wouldn't Want to Be on Apollo 13! by Ian Graham, illustrated by David Antram
The dangers of a moon landing are no laughing matter, but this book is guaranteed to make you smile. Comic-style illustrations and wry humor made this informative book one of my son's favorites.

Look at the Stars by Buzz Aldrin, illustrated by Wendell Minor
Travel with an Apollo astronaut on a whirlwind trip through the history of man's fascination with space. Richly illustrated with brilliant paintings.

The next three are slightly longer books suitable for upper elementary students.

This fascinating book combines detailed accounts of each of the Apollo missions with the incredible paintings by one of the few men who actually walked on the moon.

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
Answering questions about the mysterious black holes in an entertaining way, this is a book for any young astronomer to learn about their universe.

Cars on Mars: Roving the Red Planet by Alexandra Siy
Travel to Mars and learn about the Mars rovers who enhanced our knowledge of our closest planet.

Destination: Moon by James Irwin
This book was a family favorite because, not only does it show real photographs of the Apollo 15's trip to the moon, but Irwin, the 8th man to walk on the moon, gives God the glory for creation.

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