Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review: 31 Days to Happiness by David Jeremiah

Thanks to the folks at Booksneeze, I received a copy of  31 Days to Happiness How to Find What Really Matters in Life by David Jeremiah.

In this volume, Dr. Jeremiah examines the Word of God as penned by the wisest man who lived: Solomon. As the Dr. works his way through the book of Ecclesiastes, he divides the readings into 31 chapters for closer examination. Each chapter ranges from 8-14 pages, and begins with a quote or story from current events and draws the parallel with the questions and pondering of Solomon to our present day struggles. Each chapter examines a new topic that fits with each and every part of our lives: from discontentment to financial gain, from careers to governments, from justice to wisdom. Jeremiah intertwines quotes from present day authors with his own observations, and the book reads like his easily relate-able sermons. As he moves through the book of Ecclesiastes from front to back, he never strays from the Scripture to make a private point. The book finds a delicate harmony between the words of Solomon and the crisis of our present times.

I was so excited to receive this book that I quickly recommended it to my book club, and we all read through it together and met over dinner to discuss it. Over pasta and dessert we each talked about what we liked best and what we didn't like. Namely, the title of the book was the biggest dislike. We felt it sounded like a fix-it course or a self-help book, rather than the reflection on life and the wonderful wisdom of Scripture applied. We each found something applicable in the insights and examples given, showing that with "then" and "now" compared, there really is "nothing new under the sun" (Eccl. 1:9).  We found encouragement for this life and gaining an "above the sun" perspective on it. So many of the quotes from the Scripture were well applied, and the quotes from other literature were well documented in the back of the book. I could tell Dr. Jeremiah shares my fondness for C.S. Lewis, and quoted him often.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone. It's not a speed read, but a chapter a day is quite do-able. It would be even better enjoyed, one chapter a week, taking time to ruminate over the concepts. I attempted to use it as a nightly devotional with my kids. My 5th and 6th graders were interested, but my younger ones were not. In the end, it became my own nightly bedside reading.

I hope you get a chance to read this book. If you enjoy the teaching of Dr. David Jeremiah, or if you just need a fresh perspective on life, from the oldest book around, you will enjoy this read.

*I received a free copy of this book ( a $15.99 value) for my review, even so, all opinions are my own. Please see the disclaimer above for more information about my reviews.*

©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WW: Hiking near the Oregon Trail


Fun hiking in January with my brother Chris:






Linked:

Wordless Wednesday on Only Passionate Curiosity

The Jenny Evolution

©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring has Sprung!

Happy First Day of Spring! To celebrate I'm sharing all my favorite spring cleaning tips for the farm! Hop over to Homemaking Organized to read it all!

Great tips including:








So get going! And leave a comment there thanking K for hosting us!


©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

WW: Skiing, for the first time as a family!





Favorites from our first family ski trip in January. :)


Linked:

Wordless Wednesday on Only Passionate Curiosity

The Jenny Evolution

©2012-2014 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In The Presence Of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham with Dean Merrill (Book Review)

I've really enjoyed a book club I've recently joined. We get together once a month and have supper and discuss a book we all read together. Mostly homeschool moms, we take turns picking the books, and the theme for the meal. It's been a huge encouragement to me, and I'm thankful to my friend for hosting it.

We recently read In the Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham with Dean Merrill. I picked up a copy from PaperbackSwap.com, and while there, got it on audio as well. I struggle with my schedule of work and homeschooling, and the audio book made it possible for me to keep up with the club reading schedule and keep up with my laundry folding at the same time. I LOVE audio books. My son loves his cassette "walk-man" that his grandma gave him. I had to borrow it to listen to this book. What a fun trip to my younger days using a cassette walk-man and headphones again.

The book is written from Gracia's personal perspective, and starts out with a good bit of background on how she and her husband got into missions in the Philippines. I discovered that her husband was in a Bible class with a pastor friend of mine, and their families were all within a short drive (in high plains terms) of where I live, so these were not some far off folks from some far off place.

Gracia tells of how she knew that God placed them there, and processes some of her "what-ifs" early on. The book unfolds day by day through their terrible ordeal as hostages of a terrorist group in the Philippines. Ultimately they spent over a year in captivity, an ordeal which her husband did not survive. But the day to day struggles, inwardly... as they kept their faith and prayed for their fellow captives and captors, and outwardly... as they physically fought the jungle, hunger, and grueling  pace of constant movement, were a testimony to the God they personally knew, who was with them all the way.

My entire book club enjoyed reading it, and we all had a different take-away. Each of our mother-hearts ached for her children losing their dad altogether, and a whole year away from their mom. We each wondered, how would I handle the same thing if I were in her shoes? After I finished reading the book I let both of my older kids (ages 12 and 11) listen to it. It is very intense at times, and there are descriptions of violence, but nothing else of an inappropriate nature is shared. The grief is overwhelming, but the peace of God triumphs. Both of my kids were glad to read it. I wouldn't recommend it for younger children, or children who struggle with fears.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend you get a copy. If you have paperback swap, I'll be re-listing mine, and you can request a free book there just by setting up an account. *I do get referral credits for telling you about my favorite free book swapping service!* Please see my disclaimer above for more about affiliate links.


©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Monday, March 17, 2014

Follow through with your chickens

This week my sis-in-law shared this article [You Absolutely Should Not Get Backyard Chickens] with me. I thought it was pretty well written, and worth sharing with you all.


We've had our flock for about 4 years now, and have had chickens come and go. When I first started, I'd sell off my older flock, to someone who wanted cheap laying hens, fully disclosing they had already laid eggs for 2 years. Then we decided we'd eat the non-layer, like our extra roosters and older hens. We quickly discovered that they were scrawny and tough, compared to the VERY yummy cornish cross meat chickens we raised.
Meat chickens, only about 6 weeks old.

Now we retire chickens systematically by butchering them once their laying slacks off, and putting them in the freezer. When I have a few saved up I fill up the stock pot and make stewed chicken and broth. This winter we all caught influenza A, and we were amazed at how much more quickly we recovered while sipping yummy home made chicken broth! It's always hard to decide when it is time to let an old hen go, but this is really part of the whole process here, and we have to follow through.
2011 Fair, T's favorite chicken.

I recently went out and put leg bands on the hens who were no longer laying well (having gone through about 2 molts), so my hubby would know who to take when he had time to work on it. I had to band all of the green egg layers, including a special fair chicken of my son's. I told Tyler about it so he wouldn't be surprised, and he seemed ok with it. Later he went out to do his chores and came back declaring that he'd removed her band. That hen has achieved pet status. :) Guess we'd better name her.

For the record, my kids name their chickens all the time, but it doesn't stop us from eating them. :) Wyatt named the entire meat flock "Wyatt Junior" once. I'm not sure how to take that! All I know is that my kids are really comfortable with where their food comes from. I've heard Emma coo to a soft fluffy chick... "Ooooh, you're gonna taste so good when you get big!" And I think I've shared here before that once Mayda was wearing a chick all around the house on her shoulder like a parrot. When I asked her why she confided in me that "I feel bad for him; he's a fryer."


©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com

Friday, March 14, 2014

100%

100%

I struggle so much these days with being 100% "with it." Take this week for example.

Work at the post office: get up early, wake the kids and get them started on their school day with daddy, then head to work to deliver the mail for my little village. With only two hours it is a struggle to get the mail sorted, the crisis dealt with (broken scanner! Eek!),  customers cheerfully greeted and served, and still lock up and get out of the office without going over my alotted number of hours. Reports and paperwork piling up on my desk, but I must clock out and hurry home because the morning is half gone and homeschooling awaits... Trying to give my job my 100% attention while I am in it. As I leave, I wonder, did I really listen to my neighbor lady as she told me about her woes? Should I have lingered a little longer while handing over her mail?

Get home and walk through the door. Greeted immediately with a pile of questions. "Can I do math after recess?" "Did I have to do this assignment?" "Did you notice Wyatt's eyes are red and itchy?"

I try and answer, to switch gears in my head. Looking over Wyatt's eyes, I call and check with the doctor's office. Pinkeye? Probably. Can I bring him in in an hour? Sure.

Sit down and try and get through a history lesson with everyone first. Bake some cabbage burgers so lunch can happen while I'm gone to the Dr. Be 100% here in the homeschool day. Be 100% here in my home life. Assess assignments, thank my hubby and sister for helping out. Find Wyatt's shoes and get off to the Dr.'s office.

Be there with him 100%. Play eye-spy while we wait for the doctor. Try and think of good questions to ask since he's not been in for a check up for a while.

Get the eydrops, get home, eat some late lunch. Phone call from my grandma. She's worried the weather (spring snow storm that day) will affect her dentist appointment tomorrow. Being 100% on the phone with her. Try and be sympathetic to her worries, without being frustrated since I know how hard it was to rearrange my work schedule to get the morning off to go to the dentist. Trying to be 100% focused on her needs. Try!

Off to bake granola at the coffee shop commercial kitchen I use. Be 100% on doing a great job making a great product that you are happy to sell in a local store. Bump into a friend there and take a moment to be 100% with her and appreciate her. As I leave I assess my 100%. Did I make myself enough of a help with the dishes and such to be invited back?

Home for supper and and evening with the kids, being 100% appreciative of my hubby and sister helping me get through a busier than normal day.  (What a blessing it has been that my sis is on spring break!!!) Snuggling the kids on the couch with devotions and prayer time, trying to listen 100% to their simple prayer requests: "that my kitties will do great!" (4 new kittens this week!)

Lord, I have invested my 100% about 1000 times today. Thank you that you keep filling up and filling up so I can pour out over and over. Help me to be 100% a vessel for you. Otherwise I feel so empty, so used up, so poured out and dried up.  Oh to be 100%...
In. Him. 100%




©2012-2013 Loving and Learning on the High Plains. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://www.homeschoolhighplains.blogspot.com
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