Sunday, July 31, 2016

Words are powerful

I often get asked, "What do you call your husband at home?"

Obviously, I call him by his first name, Steve. But at church, or when talking to church members and others who only know him as a pastor, I always refer to him as "Pastor Anderson." Even when directly addressing him, I avoid calling him by his first name when others can hear. We have been in the ministry long enough to know that people who are too chummy with the pastor quickly become disrespectful and treat him as a buddy, not an elder as the Bible admonishes. This attitude then spreads like a wildfire.

I would no more talk about "Steve" to another church member than I would call him that to the kids when speaking about their dad, as in: "Please take this to Dad," and not "Give this to Steve". Married couples who refer to the other parent by their first name to the kids  show great disregard for the that parent's status of being an authority figure to the children, and not their co-equal. It is a passive aggressive way to show disrespect, and one the kids are certain to pick up on and perpetuate. These couples always have troubled marriages because they fail to appropriately honor the other out of a false sense of pride. A good wife who is interested in seeing her husband honored and succeeding will always strive to build him up in the estimation of others, and should never intentionally try to "take him down a notch", especially so publicly or to the children. 

In much the same manner, those who are legitimately on a first-name basis with the pastor but refuse to address him with his title of honor to those who only know him as that, do so out of pride, as well as a show-boating of the fact that they are in the pastor's inner circle. It doesn't get any closer than being married to the pastor, but I don't feel the need to rub that in to give myself more clout. 

I am thankful that when my husband first expressed his desire to be a pastor someday to our pastor at that time, the pastor's wife impressed the importance of this concept on me. In turn, I have tried to teach this to the wives of pastors we have sent out. My husband and I are both on a first-name basis with several pastors, but only ever address them as "Pastor so-and-so" publicly.

On my blog, which is read both by people who know him as Pastor Anderson as well as personal friends and family who know him as Steve, I avoid having to choose either by only ever referring to him as "my husband" which is neither awkward nor disrespectful. 

The words we use reveal much about ourselves and issues we struggle with, such as humility and showing honor to whom honor is due. 

Surprise Birthday Party

My husband and our seventh child were born on the same day, 31 years apart, which is why Stephen is named after his Dad. This year, their birthday happened to fall on Sunday, so with the help of many others in our church, we threw a surprise birthday party in my husband's honor.

Being married to a pastor, I can tell you that they work a lot more, longer, and harder than anyone would ever suspect. It's a lot like parenting - juggling hundreds of things all of the time, with rarely a break ever. When it's not one thing, it's another. And just like parenting, the benefits of investing in the lives of others, seeing them grow and mature (spiritually) makes it all worthwhile and enjoyable. I know my husband considers it a great privilege to be able to serve God in his capacity as pastor, but I also know how hard he works and wanted to acknowledge that on his birthday. 

We set a new Sunday morning attendance record of 295, which of course is always exciting. After the service, the men quickly turned the auditorium into a fellowship hall with tables and chairs, where we all enjoyed a wonderful meal together. 

A man in our church had a house-warming party last year to which we were invited. He served pork that had been slowly smoked all night in a fire pit he built. My husband absolutely loved that meat, so I approached this gentleman and asked him if he could make enough of this meat to feed 300 people. Thankfully, he said yes, even though I know it was a ton of work for him. He had to build a much bigger fire pit to fit three whole pigs, and tend the coals constantly for 24 hours, even during the night, while temperatures outside were in the mid 110s. His efforts really paid off though, because the meat was just superb, and my husband was very happily surprised by such a royal meal.

 "Stretcher coming through!"

 The master chef with one of his victims

 He's a nurse in real life, so that probably came in handy. Or maybe (hopefully?) not. 

 The taste test

 Passed with flying colors!

 The rest of our table hadn't been called to one of the buffet lines yet.

My husband was just thrilled with everyone being in church and then having a meal together, but he also received many gifts, all of which he loved and very much appreciated. One of his gifts was this award for being an SPLC-certified hate group ;-)

The kids in church also made him a super-awesome candy-gram.


There was a photo booth for the kids, cotton candy, birthday cake and desserts, and lots of other fun that day. Thank you so much to all who helped make this day possible!

Look at Boaz, the little man! I will have to keep my eyes on him!

35 candles - and he blew them out in one go!

I will blog about our family birthday celebration at home another time.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A doll for my dolly

A huge big THANK YOU to the Holliday family, who sent Chloe a beautiful handmade doll all the way from Kuwait!

Even though Chloe is still very young, it is clear that she loves looking at the doll. And I can understand why - look at that sweet gentle face! We have not named the doll, and will wait for Chloe to get old enough to pick her name herself. This is her only doll, and will no doubt have a special place in her heart for many, many years.

 She grabbed the doll like that on her own.

Aren't these tiny knickers just the cutest??! The tag says "handmade". The doll's dress is knit, and her hair is also made of yarn. She is just ADORABLE!


Also in the package was a beautiful handsewn doll dress, as well as a knit sweater and little shoes, for a bigger doll. These outfits fit perfectly on the older girls' dolls, and they have excitedly claimed them for themselves. Unfortunately, I have not yet had a chance to get pictures of the girls with their dolls, but will share them when I get to.

On a side note, this post reminds me of a favorite punny pastime of my husband: coming up with puns on the word "doll" when describing our daughters.

As in:

If she were a currency, she'd be the DOLLar.

If she were a First Lady, she'd be DOLLy Madison.

If she were a religious leader, she would be the DOLLy Lama.

He's come up with scores of these, this is just all I can remember right now. It's really sweet anytime he comes up with a new one. :)

Thank you for these beautiful gifts, and for brightening our day with such a sweet surprise!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Homeschool Tips: You can do this!

Having talked about not expecting too much of your young student(s), today I have another bit of wisdom to share with first-time homeschoolers: relax, you can do this!

You are already homeschooling

In fact, not only can you do this, but you ARE already home educating your child(ren). Presumably, long before you were getting serious about teaching your child his ABCs, you taught him how to say his first words, eat off a spoon, use rudimentary manners, and so on. There is a common and sad misconception that learning primarily takes place in school between the ages of 6 and 18. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth. The foundation of academic learning is laid during that time, true. But a foundation is just a foundation, leaving much room to grow in knowledge and understanding over the course of a lifetime. And academic learning is not the only type of learning there is. 

The examples above are just some of the ways in which parents teach their child physical skills, character, and the like. If you are capable of doing that, you are capable of teaching book knowledge. Just as you knew when your child was ready to go from rolling over to sitting up to crawling to walking to running to jumping, you will know when your child is ready to to from learning his letters, to sounding out words, to reading and writing, to literature and book reports. Each child is a little different, and YOU as the parent will know best when he is ready for the next step, will know how to best motivate him, will know when to back off and when to expect more. 

I know there are many people who received a poor academic education themselves. This does not disqualify them from teaching their own children. To the contrary, by educating them at home, these people will fill in gaps in their learning. Anyone can teach a preschooler, and from there, as the parent teaches, she also learns herself, and gets smarter and better educated over time. 

Even for those who did well in school, homeschooling has much to offer in the way of helping us grow in character. Every parent knows that children bring out the best and worst in each of us. Being home with your children every day is a sink-or-swim way of developing godly character. If you don't like being around your children, there is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Homeschooling teaches and grows the parents as much as it does the children.

Click here for more Homeschooling Tips

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Homeschool Tips: Young kids

With the new school year upon us, I thought I should do a little mini-series where I give glimpses into how we approach homeschooling in our family. For more info, you can also click on the "School Room" tab at the top of this page.

Today's post will focus on homeschooling the younger kids.

Teach your kids to read

Teaching your children to read is the most important lesson you will ever teach them. Reading opens the door to all other learning. It also enables kids to work independently in their future studies, as they can read instructions and do their work without you having to spoon-feed them everything. 

Even if you do not plan on homeschooling, teaching your child to read before they enter school will pretty much guarantee their lifelong academic success as they maintain that momentum of being ahead, and having the confidence that comes with that.

Let kids be kids

The most common mistake I see among new and eager homeschoolers is that mom, excited to teach and determined not to leave any stone unturned, does too much, too soon. This translates into having expectations that are too high on younger students just starting out. Sadly, this can crush the young child's love of learning. 

When in doubt, do less! For a kindergarten student, "school" sessions of doing actual bookwork should be limited to 20 minutes at a time, for a maximum of twice per day. If you or the child feel frustration rising, stop right there and pick back up another time.

As a general rule, I do not enforce any set days for school until about 3rd grade. In those lower grades, kids have little bookwork, which can be caught up easily during those times that they want to sit still and there are not more pressing issues needing to be dealt with that day. In those grades, I also do not force the children to work on subjects they don't like. 

Learning in the lower grades should be student-led, interest-based, and hands-on. Examples of this are: Ask your child what (s)he is interested in, and get books from the library on that topic. Have family story time before bed as often as you can. Do lots of art projects, science experiments, field trips, etc. Involve the child(ren) in the daily work of running the home, whether that be watering the dog or keeping baby busy by talking to it. Besides reading, learning in the lower grades should focus on creating a love of learning, building confidence, and training character. Academic achievements can wait!

Click here for more Homeschooling Tips

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

They do grow up too fast!

At this stage of mothering, I get to experience it all from newborns to teens on the cusp of adulthood and independence. It's sweet - but bittersweet. 

Ivanhoe and Lady Rowena


Having an almost 15-year old with a job makes me hug those little boys tighter while I still can. Their kisses and marriage proposals won't always be there to put a smile on my face. :)

Solomon, who was just a wee little guy yesterday, has a job now with someone in our church where he is working 40 hours a week during the summer. He rides the bus to and from work, and he has his own cell phone so I can get a hold of him if needed. (Note: It's a "brick" phone with no web access - I don't recommend teens use any smart phones or social media for a number of reasons.) And, yes, he likes girls (or more specifically, a certain girl that at this point is just a close friend). I have a sneaking suspicion Solomon will want to do like us and our friend Pastor Jimenez, and get married young. My husband was only four years older than Solomon when I was pregnant with him!!

In just a few more months, which will seem like the blink of an eye, Isaac will turn 14 (the minimum age to work in our state), and you better know he is dying to get a job, too.

On and on the down the line, they are growing up in front of my eyes.

Then there is Miriam. As the oldest girl, she is mature beyond her 9 years. She absolutely loves, loves, loves holding the baby. She has been a big help ever since Stephen, and then Boaz, were babies. Now with Chloe, she is quite the expert at calming a fussy baby. For the longest time, she has been wanting to get her own sling for carrying the baby in. I finally bought her the same carrier as I use (K'Tan), but in a size XS. I cannot tell you how thrilled she is with it! All day long, she jumps on any opportunity to put Chloe in it. Since Chloe sleeps wonderfully as long as she is in human arms, having Miriam able to hold her for extended periods of time has really freed me up considerably.

You know what they say, "The days are long, but the years fly by." It's so true! There is the endless, endless cycle of meals, dishes, laundry, errands - jobs that are never done. It feels like treading water, but then I turn around and I'm sending my oldest off to work, and his younger siblings are all right behind him. Every stage has its charms and challenges, but they all pass too fast.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Homophile Playbook, 101

Our church, my husband, and myself receive hate mail every day, to the tune of thousands of messages every year (sometimes every month). Homosexuals make up the largest percentage of these bullies, in spite of their grandstanding for tolerance, "Love Wins," and wanting to normalize everything and anything except for normalcy itself.

Yet in spite of how many messages we get, there is precious little variation in what they contain. In fact, they can be boiled down to just the same, lame arguments we hear over and over again, while the people writing to us actually think they are being original, intelligent, and thinking for themselves. It's like they are all following the same homophilic playbook, without realizing that they have just all been subject to the same brainwashing.

Here are the handful of tired old arguments we hear again and again, and my responses to them:

Everyone who hates homosexuals is a closet homosexual himself

This line of thinking basically boils down to saying that everyone either loves the homos, or is a homo (secretly or openly). By that same argument, I could say that everyone either loves our church, or goes to our church. Those who write to us saying they hate us and our church secretly love our church,and wish they could attend.

Of course, such logic (or lack thereof) is just not true in any area of life.

Also, why do these people who think being a homo is perfectly normal an acceptable always resort to calling someone a homosexual as their favorite insult?

You are so judgmental/intolerant/bigoted

Right back at you. It is impossible to call someone judgmental/intolerant/bigoted without being guilty of those attributes oneself.

You preach hate, but God/the Bible only teaches love

Not so. The Bible says there is "a time to love and a time to hate." Hundreds of passages talk about hatred that God has for certain things and people, and we are admonished to hate them that hate the Lord: "Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?" (Psalm 139:21)

It is impossible to love one thing, without hating another thing that would harm it. Hate is a natural, normal, healthy human emotion as much as love is. Every person in this world hates something or someone. These same people who condemn us for hating perverted predators sure have hatred for us. Which makes them not only hateful (that's okay), but also hypocritical (that's not okay).  

You are putting us back in the Dark Ages

Hardly. The video "Boys Beware" was released by the Inglewood Police Department and their public schools (in the Los Angeles, CA area) in 1961 as a public service. It was then remade in color in 1973 with different actors, but the identical script, called "Boys Aware." If that is what one of the most liberal municipal governments not only believed, but actively taught only 43 years ago, it stands to reason that public opinion persisted in that same vein for much, much longer. Just think of how today, the government takes a stance on issues like men in women's restrooms far, far left of the general population. Back in the 1970s, the Inglewood PD was still far left of public opinion, and yet they came down on the right side of the homo agenda because it's so far out in the left field that even the government was teaching right on it.

Today, a Bible-believing preacher is condemned for preaching what everyone believed and taught until just a couple of decades ago. I will go one step further and say that most people still believe the same way as we do on these issues, but are afraid to say so publicly. Just watch this video for proof:

Chances are one of your kids will "turn out gay"

This is ridiculous, and not based in science. It assumes that sodomites are "born that way," which they are not according to the Bible OR science. Not a shred of scientific evidence exists to show that there is such a thing as a "gay gene." Even so, let's say for the sake of argument that homosexuality is randomly caught like the flu. Since the percentage of homos is about 2-3% of the population, it would mean that if we had 50 kids, chances are one of them would be gay. So statistically, no, chances are NOT that one of our kids will "turn out gay" since we will never have anywhere close to that many children.

Being a homosexual is a choice, one borne out of a wicked heart and a filthy mind. To say people are born homosexuals is just as ridiculous as saying people are born murderers, rapists, and child molesters. Sadly, we are already seeing claims that the latter is a mental defect, and that people are born with a sick attraction to children that they just cannot help. Which, by the way, is the same way homosexuality was first peddled to the masses - as a sickness, not a sin (see "Boys Beware" above).

For our kids to turn out as homosexuals it would mean that we as parents completely failed to raise them in the ways of the Lord. It would mean that they set out on a path of wickedness, and continued thereon unchecked until at long last they reached the very bottom of that road, which is the cursed sin of sodomy. It would also mean that we failed to reach them with the gospel, as people become sodomites AFTER they hate God and don't want to retain Him in their knowledge, and He then turns them over to a reprobate mind to do those vile things that are in their hearts.

So while it is theoretically possible for anyone to become a sodomite, it is extremely unlikely to be the case with any of our kids.