it’s never too early

Last week my parents returned from a trip to Idaho to visit my aunt and uncle.  They came back with some items for the kids from their alma mater, Northwest Nazarene University.  The first thing I said when they showed the kids the NNU merchandise was, “It’s never too early to start recruiting!”  College is a big decision and a big commitment, so we want our children so be comfortable with the idea of college.  Brent and I talk openly about our own  college experiences and about how God used those experiences to shape us and guide us.  We have found that the college years, whether you attend school or not, is a pivotal time for deciding what kind of person you will become, especially when it comes to matters of faith.  This phase of life may seem like it’s dominated by academics, but often it’s the very personal decisions that end up effecting us for the rest of our lives.  For me, I’m grateful for the environment that my school provided to support Godly decisions.  So even though it might seem a bit premature to start coaching our kids about where they should go to college, I say “It’s never too early!”

Teachers sometimes like to take what’s going on in the world and try to turn it into a “teachable moment”.  I am certainly guilty of this, especially when it comes to holidays.  This Valentine’s Day we had some fun with candy hearts and a math lesson.

sorting by color

making the graph

turning it into a bar graph

Everybody got into the act. Who wouldn't want an excuse to open up some candy hearts?

In other math news, Emma has his a big milestone.  She just finished her fractions book!  She has declared that it was the hardest math book she has ever had!  I was very proud of her as she I watched her persevere through all of the challenges of these new math concepts.  As many of us know, working through math can turn into an effective character building exercise.  You go girl!  And now she is moving on to a book about decimals and percents.  The math adventures continue!

math at our house

Teachers sometimes like to take what’s going on in the world and try to turn it into a “teachable moment”.  I am certainly guilty of this, especially when it comes to holidays.  This Valentine’s Day we had some fun with candy hearts and a math lesson.

sorting by color

making the graph

turning it into a bar graph

Everybody got into the act. Who wouldn't want an excuse to open up some candy hearts?

In other math news, Emma has his a big milestone.  She just finished her fractions book!  She has declared that it was the hardest math book she has ever had!  I was very proud of her as she I watched her persevere through all of the challenges of these new math concepts.  As many of us know, working through math can turn into an effective character building exercise.  You go girl!  And now she is moving on to a book about decimals and percents.  The math adventures continue!

valentine gift

This post is for my Aunt Pat (the one in Washington, not the one in Oklahoma).  She didn’t want to wait to find out what I got for Valentine’s Day, so here you go.  Besides, I wouldn’t want to pass up an opportunity to brag about how Brent is good to me.

If you know me, I’m not a big jewelry girl.  I wear my wedding ring and a watch.  Bracelets sometimes, scarves often, and necklaces rarely.  I don’t even have pierced ears.  I’m not sure I own one pair of clip-on earrings.  I do admit to having a tiara tucked away in the back of my sock drawer, but that’s another story.  A few months back, I noticed some jewelry that I liked.  Usually, I don’t even look at jewelry departments.  Then yesterday for Valentine’s Day, Brent gave me a set of this jewelry that I had admired months ago.    The most impressive thing about this gift is that he showed me that he’s PAYING ATTENTION.  I had forgotten about noticing this stuff, but he remembered.  Every girl wants to be noticed, even if she’s been married for more than 15 years.

The bracelet is from magnabilities.com.  This is how the system works:  you start with a base bracelet or necklace.  Then you can change out the center with different magnetic pieces to match your outfit.  The centers are about bottle cap size.  And now that I have the bracelet, it won’t break the bank to get a new center every now and then.  It should be fun to play with possibilities.

valentine’s day

Usually for Valentine’s Day, Brent and I do NOT go out.  It’s just too hard to get childcare and find a table and a restaurant and fight the crowds, etc.  So we just take the 14th of February as a day to relax with family and cherish those we love.  I’ll probably use another post to brag about my gift from Brent, but in the meantime, here are some photos from today.

nothing says love like a heart-shaped pizza

Lauren, Brent, Emma, Blake, and Uncle Will are ready to feast. We had some Cherry 7-Up to drink. The flowers were from Uncle Brad and Aunt Ruchita's wedding.

Emma made homemade valentines for everybody. She loves to give. I think she gets that from her grandmas.

We took a field trip to Powell's Sweet Shoppe. Thanks for the gift cards, Grandma and Grandpa. You can get a sugar high just by walking through the door! There is candy everywhere!

The kids each enjoyed a gelato at Powell's. They got to sit in the back of the store a watch a little bit of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Maybe the red eyes are from the sugar overload! Ha!

As we were walking down Wall Street downtown, we noticed one of our landmark sculptures had a little homemade valentine touch. So cute!

I just wanted to say that the best thing about Valentine’s Day, for me, is Brent.  I’m so grateful for the love of my life.  I often say that I am the most blessed person I know.  Brent is one of the biggest reasons why I think that.

The second best thing about Valentine’s Day is that now the corny jewelry commercials will go away!  Hurray!  Happy Hearts Day!

Happy Birthday Evelyn!

Yesterday marked the birthday of a very special lady, my mother-in-law, Evelyn Hofen.  Here is a woman with a sensitive heart and a generous spirit.  She’s also one of the hardest working people I have a ever met!  So does so many different things, and she’s never afraid to bring her faith into what she’s doing.  I think that’s because her faith in Christ is at the very fiber of her being.  She couldn’t be herself is she couldn’t be a woman of faith.

One of my favorite stories about Grandma Hofen took place right after her retirement from teaching computer classes at the regional vo-tech college.  Brent and I were visiting his family in Oklahoma and we were on a Walmart run.  As we were wandering the aisles, we overheard two young ladies talking about their class schedule at the college.  One student said to the other, “I wish you could have taken that class with Mrs. Hofen.  She was just awesome!  You would have loved her!”  Of course, Brent couldn’t just let that go, so he chimed in and said, “I totally agree!  She’s my mom!”  The young lady just rolled her eyes and said, “Hey, last what it’s like in a small town.  Everybody knows everybody.”

But I think that even if Evelyn was based in a big city, she would have the same reputation as a great teacher, as an encourager, as a Godly woman, and as a fabulous wife and mother.    In fact, I’ve always thought that she and Elwyn should write a book about raising boys, for they did a great job three times over!

Happy birthday, Evelyn!  You are a one-in-a-million gift to the world!  And I’m so grateful that I get to be a part of your life.

winter books

If you’re like me and you have an excess of children’s books in your house, you’re always thankful for a good excuse to use them.  So now that winter is here, I get to pull out some of the books that celebrate this season.  We’ve been reading a different book every day.  I think that books are one of the best things about winter.  What goes best with a cozy fire?  A book.  What goes best with a mug of hot chocolate?  A book.  What goes best with a warm fuzzy blanket (besides the one you love)?  A book.

A good book is never a waste of time, so we’re trying to make good use of our time will all of these great books.  Next week, we’ll be trying to memorize Robert Frost’s classic poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”  We did this with Emma years ago.  Now it’s Blake and Lauren’s turn.

This winter, don’t be in too much of a hurry.  Turn off the TV and the radio and the ipad and the phone and the kindle and the gaming system and whatever else is distracting you.  The long winter nights were made for reading.  Not a quick read, but a slow read where we savor every word and maybe even underline the parts that especially speak to us.  Don’t just try to get to the end, but instead have a great time along the way.  Make yourself comfortable and enjoy a good book!

February Bible reading

I actually wrote this post a few weeks ago, but for some reason, the publish button didn’t get pushed.  Oh well.  Even though it’s late, I still want to be accountable for Bible reading.  So here it is:

Last month, I finished Deuteronomy.  Great book!  It’s full of foundational instruction and warning.  For me, the bottom line of that book is this:  there is only one, true God who loves you and is always with you.  So stop wasting your time with anything else!  This world can offer many distractions from what is truly important, and reading this book helped me stay focused on my top priority: God.

It might seem early, but I’m already thinking about Easter coming in the spring.  To get myself prepared for that, I’m going to dive in to the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Now that February is here, I’m reading Matthew.  I’m looking forward to coming face to face with the life and ministry of Jesus (as if life and ministry are two different things).  It all starts with his genealogy, which I happen to love because Matthew goes out of his way to mention some of the women in Christ’s heritage.  Then I get to soak up the teaching from the Sermon on the Mount that begins in chapter 5.

My prayer for this season of Bible reading is that these Scriptures won’t become rusty or common to me.  Yes, I have read them all before many times.  But I want the Holy Spirit to open my eyes to these truths in a fresh way.  Maybe not new ways, for these truths have always been there.  They are constant.  But I don’t want to take them for granted or stop seeing how my life should apply or conform to them.  I’m excited to see what I learn.

I must admit that writing on this blog about what I’m reading in the Bible every month has helped me so much with accountability.  If a month goes by and you don’t see some kind of post about Bible reading, say something!  There are things in my life that can be put off for another time, or can wait for later, but Bible reading is not one of those things.  It’s important.  Now I’m ready to crack open the New Testament and dive into those Gospels. Happy reading!