Monday, February 28, 2011

Winner of the Family Strategies Webinar!

By random selection, the winner is . . .

J & A! She said:

Oh just let me tell you I am so excited about this. My hubby and I were not raised the way we are trying to raise our children and so many times we struggle to know the who, what, when, where, why and how of doing it. This would be such a HUGE blessing to have. I've seen this but due to finances we did not get it.

I can hardly pick just one I would like the best because I want to hear them ALL. Maybe I would choose the first one organization and family.

VF has so many wonderful items

Way to go, guys! You WON! Use my contact form to email me your:

full name
email address

I'll email you the Vision Forum 25% off coupon as well as the ticket to Family Strategies.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Book Review: Slave

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review.
I jumped at the chance to get the new John MacArthur book and I was not disappointed. "Slave" is an enlightening treasure, making sense of our relationship to Christ. John MacArthur discovered through study that most modern translations of the Bible, KJV included, use the word "servant" in place of "slave", entirely altering the meaning of the text. Before we come to Christ, we aren't servants of sin, we are slaves to it. When Christ saves us, we become slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:16-20) We belong to Christ and as such, we lovingly submit to Him as Master.
Our status as slaves, and not merely servants, has serious implications for how we think and act as believers. He has exclusive ownership and we are completely dependent on Him and accountable to Him. Unlike worldly masters, Jesus supplies all our needs, strengthens us to do His will, and gives us grace, sufficient to accomplish His purposes.
I was so blessed by all that I learned through this book. MacArthur brings all the scriptures together in one place to explain our true identity in Christ. He starts and ends with scripture; rather than making his point and taking scripture out of context to back him up. This book is solid.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: Changed By Faith

From the description of this book, I was really looking forward to it. And I was really disappointed. In the very first chapter, Mr. Palau's unbiblical theology is revealed. He talked about a 13 year old girl who came forward at one of his meetings, lonely and hurt. He asked her if she wanted more for her life and explained that God had a wonderful plan just for her. He proceeded to lead her in the sinner's prayer. He offered her a cure without ever explaining her disease. It was never explained to her that she was a sinner condemned to hell. It was never explained to her that she deserved God's punishment for breaking His holy law. She was just offered grace. Grace, which is meaningless apart from an understanding of what we truly deserve. I was crushed. This is the very reason so many "try out" God and then abandon their faith when life gets hard. Life in Christ is full of peace and joy, yes, but it is harder, not easier than a life of sin. It's easy to go with the flow, living in and loving sin. It's hard to fight against the current of the world and live for Christ.
Luis Palau preaches an unbiblical gospel. Please do not get this book for yourself or anyone you know.

Todd Friel, host of Wretched TV, confronted Mr. Palau at one of his evangelistic mega-events. Here's what he had to say:

I suggested he was giving the cure without explaining the disease of sin. Mr. Palau informed me that everyone has an overwhelming burden of guilt and it is not necessary for him to preach about their need for forgiveness.
Suspecting he might say that, I handed him a c.d. with a montage of people we interviewed on the street. We asked strangers, "Do you have an overwhelming burden of guilt?" The responses ranged from condescending disdain to outright laughter.
Mr. Palau ultimately patted me on the head and said, "Be careful that you don't fall into that Lordship salvation trap. Christians can be carnal."

That's not true!! You CAN NOT live like the world and still be a Christian. If you have been taught this deception, please, please go read 1 John.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

REALLY Cheap Entertainment

While I was blissfully reading on the couch, Elena was creating an alter ego for herself with paper, a little tape, and a Sharpie marker. When she prowled over to me, I was scared out of my wits and didn't recognize this burly heathen as my innocent daughter. Angry brows fool me every time.
Once I regained my composure and started breathing normally again, I offered her a proposition: maintain her pseudo identity on a mission to obtain groceries for the family, and I would pay her with a crisp one dollar bill.
Without negotiation, she accepted my terms.

All the Clarks piled into the van and headed to the store. I could hardly wait. All through the aisles, Angry Brow Man waved to anyone who made eye contact with him. His serious expression never failed him, he was a man on a mission! What we learned was somewhat disappointing: not many people make eye contact with other people at the grocery store! Each person who walked past Angry Brow Man without looking him in the eye made him bow his head in defeat. But he quickly lifted his head once again, ready for a new challenge. With each look, I bust out laughing. You really should have been there. I've never had so much fun from a single dollar bill in all my life.

One little girl, hand in hand with both her parents, couldn't keep her eyes off Angry Brow Man. She kept looking back, with trepidation and confusion in her eyes, as the whole Clark team tried in vain to keep their laughter silent.

Take the one dollar challenge. I double dog dare you.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Review: God Gave Us the World

I received this book from Multnomah Publishing for my honest review.
We all loved this book, mom and dad included. God Gave Us the World is a sweet book about a little cub who learns that not all bears are Polar Bears, they don't all eat the same food, look the same, or live in the same climate. His world grows as he learns about the creativity of his creator. I love the charming illustrations in this book. The mama bear speaks affectionately to her little cub, explaining to him about the God who loves him and created a whole world displaying His majesty and creativity. This is a new family favorite, especially for my little ones.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Death in the (Doll) Family

This is Niea. She was a dear friend to all the Clark kids, but especially Chloe. Despite her physical challenges (she's blind in one eye), she lived a full life.
Last year, Neia married Rookie, a Rescue Hero, and they conceived right away. We were all thrilled to find out she was carrying twins.

Unfortunately, shortly after the birth of her twins, she suffered from decapitation when she was rear-ended while resting on the couch. (She was sat on.)

Isaac and Daniel were the pallbearers. Niea was survived by her loving husband and children.

GI Joseph officiated the funeral, speaking many kind words of comfort. Many dear friends attended, including a passing thief, who stopped to pay his respects, and was subsequently arrested.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Blessings Don't Always Come Easily

It's been very interesting walking this adoption road with my sister. I'm hearing all the comments people were probably thinking when we adopted, but thankfully kept to themselves (most of time). When I recently told someone that Jamie is adopting, I heard:
Boy, they need to be careful! Oprah did a whole show about kids who are treated like throwaways in _____. Those kids don't know how to live in a family!
Ok, first of all, if you profess to be a Christian, why in the world are you watching Oprah? She denies the truths of Scripture plainly. Moving on. ALL children deserve to know the love of a family. Not just the cute kids who will readily accept your love and tell you how wonderful you are to rescue them. Please think of the alternative for these children.

Daniel threw a thrashing fit the first time I met and held him. He was not happy at all to meet me, the one who prayed for him, cried for him, and worked hard to raise a large ransom to save him from his hopeless future. But we didn't adopt him so we could have warm fuzzy feelings inside. We didn't adopt him because we were discontent and wanted to double our family size overnight. (Who would sign up for that madness? That first year was HARD!) We were very content with our three blond-haired, blue-eyed girls. We adopted this ungrateful little sinner for his sake.

And we have been blessed a hundred fold for our decision to obey God's call. These children, with all their issues and challenges, are such a huge blessing to our family.

Adoption is a blessing and a ministry.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Our Homeschool Day in Pictures

Our homeschool day starts with breakfast. I wake up (around 7:30) and eat breakfast before the kids wake up, so I can make this time productive. I wake up any sleepy heads at 8am. That's when our day begins. While they're eating their oatmeal (or whatever Kyle made for us), I read our Bible study. I read a Psalm, a Proverb, and whatever verse Pastor Jesse preached on the last Sunday. By this time, everyone's finishing up eating. Then we go over our memory verse a few times. Finally, we practice whatever poem we're working on.

After breakfast, I plop down in a kitchen chair to supervise table chores. I just sit there, but I am accomplishing much. The children stay on task when I'm present.

Maya and Isaac don't get easily distracted, but everyone else does. ;)
Maya will one day be sorry she didn't take the sponge rollers out of her hair when I asked her to. I tried to warn her. {giggle}

Daniel and Lydia are still responsible for the dishwasher, but now they are responsible for the silverware too. (I always make them wash their hands first. ;) )

Ok, now back to school. A lot of this happens simultaneously, so pay attention:
Round one:

Isaac has the least amount to do on this day, so he helps Daniel and Lydia with their 2 pages of phonics worksheets. (Get Ready for the Code.) Julia-the-Funky-Headed supervises, but doesn't help at all. She never helps anyone come to think of it.

While Daniel and Lydia are doing their phonics, I'm supervising Elena and Chloe's Latin lesson. (Maya and Isaac used to do this, but they kept mispronouncing the words, so I decided to have them wait. Reading and writing first, right?)

While Elena and Chloe are doing Latin, Maya is upstairs reading along to Robinson Crusoe while the audiobook plays. Her comprehension is very good, but her phonics is coming along very slowly. I decided not to hold her back from good literature.
Round two:

Maya is still listening to her audiobook; Elena and Chloe have finished Latin. Elena is now in my room doing long division. She cannot handle any distractions at all during math, but I figured out she also gets lonely being banished to my room, so I work out a time when I can sit with her.

While I'm supervising Elena's math, Lydia and Daniel start on their chores.

While Lydia and Daniel are doing their chores and then getting dressed for the day, Isaac is doing copywork. He is a perfectionist, but as a boy, he hates handwriting, so this takes him awhile.

While Isaac is doing his copywork at the table, Chloe's doing her math drill. She's currently taking a break from multiplication until she gets all her facts down.
Round three:

Elena has finished her math quickly, since I'm there and she's not distracted. So now, she reads Mother Goose to Daniel and Lydia. Each of the big kids get a day to read to the littles. We're taking our time working through Ambleside Year 0.

While Elena's reading to the littles, Chloe is doing her reading. She loves biographies, so I picked up a bunch of Christian Heroes for Young Readers. She loves these.
Elena has chosen Elsie Dinsmore, and Isaac has chosen The Frog and Toad Treasury. (But they're not reading right now.)
Isaac and Maya are taking turns doing math drills and getting dressed for the day.

Lydia and Daniel are now done with their school for the day. They're now upstairs playing while Elena does her copywork.

Ok, now the rotations part of our school day is over.

Daniel and Lydia are playing upstairs or outside, and I've just put Julia down for her nap. It's now about 11am. I gather the four big kids and we do our history and/or science readings. (Maya was taking the picture.)
We're wrapping up medieval history, and I'm reading The Whipping Boy. The kids are loving this book! After reading this for about 20 minutes, I'll switch to a picture book (currently Peter the Great) or nature study (currently Christian Liberty Nature Reader book 4).
They narrate back to me what they remember of the story after I read and we'll stop after each place I read about and I'll have them point it out on the map, i.e. "Peter the Great visited Venice. . . (Do ya'll remember where Venice is? Right, Italy. Isaac, show us where Italy is.)"
If you have a big map handy, it literally takes seconds to teach geography.
Later that night, around the dinner table, I'll ask: Who can tell Daddy what happened to Prince Horace and the Whipping Boy today?
Because they're creating a relationship with the book, they'll be able to tell you about Prince Horace a year from now. They haven't just memorized the dates and names in medieval history, they've actually learned it.

After reading time, we take a break and all have a snack.
Now it's about 11:45. I help Isaac with his phonics lesson (he does a lesson out of ". . .100 Easy Lessons", then he reads a chapter out of a Phonics Pathway reader.)
While he's reading to me, Maya is starting to prepare lunch and Elena is doing her reading upstairs. Chloe is getting dressed for the day.
When I'm ready to help Maya with her phonics lesson (She does the same thing he does), Isaac goes to get everyone else, so they can begin setting the table for lunch.

Lunch happens when all the school is done. Usually by 12:30.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A New Milestone

Julia has been standing lately. We all think she's the coolest kid ever when she just stands there smiling and clapping. I don't remember any other Clark spend this much time just standing. She doesn't want to walk yet, just stand. But when she does. . . oh my, when she does!

The kids all dance around her and sing to her. She soaks it in with all the humility and modesty of a peacock. Thus is the life of the baby of a big family. The world revolves around her. God bless her when she realizes it doesn't. What a harsh reality that will be!

Most of the time this is what she prefers. On hands and knees, this girl can move! You've never seen anything like it. No really; I'm sure you think your child is smart, but this baby is exceptional. Seriously. And I'm not biased.

No I'm not.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Teaching Children to Love Reading - School Age

When children get to school age, there's a temptation to ask them lots of questions about the book they're reading. DON'T DO IT! School teachers ask kids: Who's the main character? What was the setting? etc ad nauseum because they have no idea if little Miranda actually read the book or not. They have to ask these questions to make sure the child is actually reading the book assigned. That said, it does kill the love of reading.

You are home with your child, watching them walk up the stairs reading the book, watching them bury their nose in the book while they eat their snack, etc. You know they are reading it. Don't kill their love of reading by making them analyze the book. Let them develop a relationship with the book. This is how you teach your child to love reading.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What is a Living Book?

I haven't blogged about Charlotte Mason in a long time. For those who don't know what I'm talking about: living books are one of the main things that set a CM education apart. Living books are the opposite of dry textbooks.

When Susan Macaulay (daughter of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, author of For the Children's Sake) was asked: "How do you define a living book?" she answered:

Oh, that's easy! That's one where they say: "One more chapter, Mommy, one more chapter!" That's a living book!

I think she nailed it. And no sweeter words have ever been heard by a homeschool mom. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


My sister is adopting and I am so excited for her to start this walk of faith. She and her hubby are adopting "Wilson", who just turned 2 years and has Down Syndrome. As her blog title states, they are following God's lead and "caring for orphans in their distress".
I am learning a lot through this process with her. I'm having to come to the hard realization that most people just don't understand the heart of adoption at all.

I've heard more than once: Why isn't she content with her four children? Why does she want to adopt?
My initial reaction was: What does contentment have to do with adoption? But I've realized that the world's thinking about adoption comes only from a self-centered perspective. This thinking says that life is all about our convenience and our happiness. For the Christian, life is all about our sanctification. It's all about our becoming more like Christ. Because we adore our Savior, we desperately want to become more like Him. We don't become more like Jesus by making our life as easy as possible. Clearly Jesus didn't do that. We become more like Christ by doing the scariest thing of all: obeying Him.

Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the lonely into families. ~Psalm 68:5-6
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~2 Corinthians 12:9

Monday, February 7, 2011

Throw Back to 2001

Here's what the Clark family looked like in 2001. (We didn't have the energy to make a 2011 model.)
Last week was very unusual for us Texans. Kyle was home all day Tuesday and half the day Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Because of ice and snow. Texans don't know how to drive in the snow and I'm just fine with that. More family time!!

Have I ever told you that we live next door the Joneses? Not literally. They're actually the Simpsons, but we refer to them as the Joneses. They're out mowing their grass three times a week in the summer time. Half our yard doesn't even have grass. Too much shade. They were out bright and early the day after Thanksgiving putting Christmas lights on the house. We completely forgot about house lights this year. They have a beautifully landscaped yard, front and back. Kyle and I are both just terrible at landscaping.

But they stayed inside with their new baby, while we worked our tails off building snowmen. So. . .