Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Favorites #11: Four Weeks Worth

Dear friends,

Oh my!  It's been four weeks since I compiled a Friday Favorites post. Well, life happens!  But not to worry, because I continued to "star" intriguing blog posts in my Google Reader, so it's just a matter of going down my list for what I want to include this time.  I've tried to include little snippets for most of them to whet your appetite for reading more!  There's a litta bitta everything here!

First, my own posts: 

  • A Spiritual Warfare Prayer - intercessory prayer for those we love
  • Weekend Gratitude: Lord, Have Mercy!  I don't need empty religion, but fullness in Christ.  Not everyone who teaches the Bible is Christ-centered.  So much of what we hear can be misleading and actually turn us astray from truth.  We need to know it for ourselves, reading Scriptures and meditating on what the verses say.  Even a paragraph or a chapter a day can make such a difference.   Nurturing our personal relationship with Christ will help us to endure the temptations brought by suffering, peer pressure, loss of spiritual emotions, the hypocrisy of other Christians, and our own failures and sense of unworthiness.  Since Christ has taken the punishment for our sins, we can be free to walk in a new life of victory as the Holy Spirit works in our hearts.  ~~ Bonus: "Lord, Have Mercy" music video
  • My Thoughts on CJ Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries - This candid post is the reason my main blog has had over 3,700 page loads in less than one week.  Yes, it is quite direct.  Yes, it is quite controversial.  But I hope that it is filled with both grace and truth for the hurting. If this post upsets you, be sure to read the one about bitterness by Wendy Alsup that I have linked below.  Friends, pray for us.  The SGM church movement, of which we are former members, is going through a time of severe turmoil, and their future is unknown to anyone but God himself.  An author well known to the home school movement, Josh Harris, is right in the middle of it.
  • On Mommy Blogging: Image, Identity, Authenticity and Freedom - The truth is that we all project our images.  We all have our identities – public and private -- and blogging is certainly intertwined with that.  Perhaps my blogs make it seem like I think I have it all together, that I have all the answers.  I sincerely hope I am not casting that impression.   
  • Weekend Gratitude In Advance: Anticipating Blessings - Micah's birthday gerbil, a party with dear friends returning to Italy, Independence Day festivities
  • Weekend Gratitude Sunday Edition: Jacob's First Birthday - You do want to see some adorable pictures, don't you?  My favorite is the cake frosting squished between his chubby fingers.
  • Weekend Gratitude: Lake Sybelia at Sunset, Lake Lily at Dusk - I love sunsets, clouds and lakes.  Put them together twice, and we have a very lovely evening.  This is an almost entirely photographic blog post.  You can see one of the pictures above. 
  • Happy Birthday to My Firstborn!  She's 24 now, and a mommy herself, but when she was just a little girl, as cute and sweet as she was, I got frustrated with her one day.  I snapped, "You drive me bananas!"  To which she instantly replied, "Well, YOU drive ME strawberries!"   That's her below when she was a toddler and then a few weeks ago at her son Jacob's birthday.

The “Bitter Card” has trump power. Pop that baby out, and you can dismiss the criticism. It’s played this way: person A has a grievance that he/she does not feel is being understood. Eventually Person A vents too often, too emotionally, or even sinfully, or gets too close to unsettling the happy delusion of the establishment and consequently in danger of getting too much influence. At this point, play the “Bitter Card.” This puts them on the defensive and, in the minds of the clueless, guts their argument. Plus it has the added benefit that you can say that their defensiveness is proof of the truth of your claim. Often people who play the “Bitter Card” employ Hebrews 12:15 and warn that the bitterness could result in the defilement of many. So, let me explain. Biblically. 

My friend Tonya Travelstead, a piano teacher and fellow blogger, composed the "Life Lessons from Music Practice" series as a women's devotional.  So good!
The Empty Bowl by Laura Parker at Deeper Story  (Laura, her husband and three children left their home in the mountains for the jungles of Thailand, where they currently serve as directors of a children’s home for at-risk girls.) 
While churches in America pass the plate, locals in Thailand fill the empty bowls. And this concept of the empty bowl is based on the belief that whatever the Universe hands the monk, will be enough for that day’s provision of clothing, food, and money. It is a dependence on Bigger Forces to supply the need. And I watch respectfully from my window in the early morning light, and I witness the curbside ceremony of giving, receiving, and blessing from a religion so new to my observation. And I am handed a beautiful picture of practical trust and simple dependence, played out by shorn-headed men and pajama-clad women.  

And, with that in mind an idea of giving from our American abundance to people around the world who have been affected by messy tragedy...

Cleaning Bucket Care Kits by Julie Druck at Life in Skunk Hollow

Last week one evening we had the privilege of spending several hours with 80 other believers packing 500 cleaning bucket care kits for people in natural disasters around the world. We formed several assembly lines and packed the buckets filled to the top with various cleaning items, trash bags, clothesline and pins, dust masks, bug spray, and gloves. What a blessing to stand around the stacks of buckets, place our hands on them and pray for those who would one day receive the kits. It is, indeed, a privilege to serve.

The Homeschooling Mom Derby by Karen Campbell at
What a tremendous lesson this tiny bit of southern history holds for homeschooling moms! Sometimes, especially at the end of a bad day or in the middle of some particular occasion when we brush up against an “Iroquois,” someone who is doing seemingly amazing things with his or her life, we are tempted to think that we have not done anything very great with our own lives, that others may think we have been “turned out to pasture” for choosing to be home to care for our dear husbands and our precious children!  We have not made a million dollars or won any race. In fact, sometimes we are not very good at just being in the human race! Often these feelings of inadequacy come at high school or family reunions where friends and relatives appear to be more successful than we are, planting doubts that we have chosen the right path. However, the truth is that most of us are much more like Bonnie Scotland! While we might not receive immediate treasures or rewards, our greatest blessings will come one day through the future generations of our children, through the eternal rather than the temporal!  Just think of that as you continue running your race today!

How to Become Your Spouse's Best Friend by Michael Hyatt Now become that person for your spouse. That’s right. Turn the table. Make this a list of the kind of friend you will become. I can promise you this: anyone who does half of these kinds of things will have more friends than he or she knows what to do with. But what if you focused this effort on your spouse? Think of the possibilities.

The Color Green by Sarah Clarkson at Thoroughly Alive 

Down I went into the green bowl of our valley with wet pines scratching the sky all round, their needles scenting the air. I got out of the trees onto a crest of hill from which you can spy out miles of mountain range, north to south, plain to peak. Behind me, the storm had hunkered into a navy sulk that flickered with lightning. Before me, the evening sun clung hard and bright to the foothills, spilling a last light into a wide, summered field all wet and 
green on my right. 

And by Sarah's lovely mother Sally Clarkson at (I'll be posting of review of Clay and Sally's wonderful big fat third edition of Educating the Wholehearted Child soon!)

And on that thought, what if we approached every holiday, every birthday party, every phone call with the desire to be a blessing?  What might happen in our families if we refused to be quickly offended?  If we were more interested in the other person's growth than our own gain or recognition or approval?  What if we showed up to serve rather than be served?  Might that begin to ripple out too and bring God-life to a family? I've always thought our ministry should begin - and be best - towards those whom God has given to us first.

One Potato, Two Potato by Cheryl Bastian 
The fresh smell of spring and the heat of summer bring gardens of plentiful learning activities. Seems like every time we turn around we are enjoying another experience involving fruits and veggies. Here's a sampling of our fun, with a few extras tucked in for good measure.

Well, I guess that about does it for now!
Until next time!
Virginia Knowles


        1. Thank you for mentioning my resources in your blog!