Preschool in Pajamas

We did the letter M because I found it in the Letter of the Week preschool curriculum I got from Erica at www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com

It turned out to be all about M&Ms. Gary calls Emma “M&M” as a nickname. And I wanted Emma to practice her M’s. And we happened to have a bag of M&Ms, so it was a perfect lesson for us that day.

It looks like Abby’s left-handed here, but she isn’t!

Emma still has a hard time holding a pencil (or crayon) correctly. I just hand it to her with the point the right direction and she automatically puts her fingers in correct position. But when she picks it up herself, she usually holds it incorrectly and has a very difficult time figuring out the correct position. I don’t know why this is, but I’m confident that she will overcome this problem soon and be able to hold it correctly on her own.

Here she is holding it correctly (pretty much) after I handed it to her. Notice her tongue sticking out. Maybe that helps her hold the crayon right!

Sorting M&Ms by color and then eating them by the handful. Her mouth is full here. That’s why her face looks kind of funny.

Here’s what happens when I tell them to smile for a picture.

The lesson included cutting with scissors, which they both showed great improvement in. And they traced the M and m. They loved it. Short and “sweet” and to the point. A great start to our preschool/kindergarten class this year!

My Lapbooks

If you would like to see what lapbooks are and see the ones that we have made, you can join Lapbooklessons.com (it’s free to join) and go to my page and become my friend on there. I’m just known as “Penney” there. There’s a slideshow on my page that shows lots of the lapbooks we’ve done.

Lapbooks are lots of fun and very educational – perfect for hands-on learners or for those who like to write. If you have a child who doesn’t like to write anything, find a topic they are very interested in and find a lapbook or make one of your own about it. Then let them research the topic and write about it in interesting shape books created for the lapbook. We did many lapbooks together. Some lapbooks I had one or two kids do since they were more appropriate for their age or fell in their area of interest.

I have links to lapbook sites in the sidebar and some posts here on my blog about our lapbooks under the category “Lapbooks”. That’s under the category “Homeschooling”.

George Mueller: Hungry Orphans Fed Miraculously

“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.”

Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.

From Christianity.com

John Piper writes about George Mueller’s motivation for establishing the orphan homes and for running them completely by faith in God’s provision for their daily needs in this article. He had no money of his own. God provided every bit of money for them without George’s help in making appeals or working to earn the money for them.

George Mueller always denied that he had the gift of faith.

“Think not, dear reader, that I have the gift of faith, that is, that gift of which we read in 1 Corinthians 12:9, and which is mentioned along with “the gifts of healing,” “the working of miracles,” “prophecy,” and that on that account I am able to trust in the Lord. It is true that the faith, which I am enabled to exercise, is altogether God’s own gift; it is true that He alone supports it, and that He alone can increase it; it is true that, moment by moment, I depend upon Him for it, and that, if I were only one moment left to myself, my faith would utterly fail; but it is not true that my faith is that gift of faith which is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12:9.

The reason he is so adamant about this is that his whole life—especially in the way he supported the orphans by faith and prayer without asking anyone but God for money—was consciously planned to encourage Christians that God could really be trusted to meet their needs. We will never understand George Mueller’s passion for the orphan ministry if we don’t see that the good of the orphans was second to this.

The three chief reasons for establishing an Orphan-House are: 1. That God may be glorified, should He be pleased to furnish me with the means, in its being seen that it is not a vain thing to trust in Him; and that thus the faith of His children may be strengthened. 2. The spiritual welfare of fatherless and motherless children. 3. Their temporal welfare.

And make no mistake about it: the order of those three goals is intentional. He makes that explicit over and over in his Narrative. The orphan houses exist to display that God can be trusted and to encourage believers to take him at his word. This was a deep sense of calling with Mueller. He said that God had given him the mercy in “being able to take God by His word and to rely upon it.” He was grieved that “so many believers . . . were harassed and distressed in mind, or brought guilt on their consciences, on account of not trusting in the Lord.” This grace that he had to trust God’s promises, and this grief that so many believers didn’t trust his promises, shaped Mueller’s entire life. This was his supreme passion: to display with open proofs that God could be trusted with the practical affairs of life. This was the higher aim of building the orphan houses and supporting them by asking God, not people, for money.

George Mueller said:

“It seemed to me best done, by the establishing of an Orphan-House. It needed to be something which could be seen, even by the natural eye. Now, if I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained, without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House: there would be something which, with the Lord’s blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God besides being a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted, of the reality of the things of God. This, then, was the primary reason, for establishing the Orphan-House. . . The first and primary object of the work was, (and still is) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided, with all they need, only by prayer and faith, without any one being asked by me or my fellow-laborers, whereby it may be seen, that God is FAITHFUL STILL, and HEARS PRAYER STILL.

That was the chief passion and unifying aim of Mueller’s ministry: live a life and lead a ministry in a way that proves God is real, God is trustworthy, God answers prayer. He built orphanages the way he did to help Christians trust God. He says it over and over again.

Now we see why he is so adamant that his faith is not the gift of faith in 1 Corinthians 12:9 that only some people have, but was the grace of faith that all Christians should have. Now we are ready to see this crucial distinction he made between the gift of faith and the grace of faith. His entire aim in life hung on this. If Christians simply said: “Mueller is in a class by himself. He has the gift of faith,” then we are all off the hook and he is no longer a prod and proof and inspiration for how we ought to live. Here is what he says:

“The difference between the gift and the grace of faith seems to me this. According to the gift of faith I am able to do a thing, or believe that a thing will come to pass, the not doing of which, or the not believing of which would not be sin; according to the grace of faith I am able to do a thing, or believe that a thing will come to pass, respecting which I have the word of God as the ground to rest upon, and, therefore, the not doing it, or the not believing it would be sin. For instance, the gift of faith would be needed, to believe that a sick person should be restored again though there is no human probability: for there is no promise to that effect; the grace of faith is needed to believe that the Lord will give me the necessaries of life, if I first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness: for there is a promise to that effect. Matthew 6:33.”

I personally believe a bit differently about the healing part because I do believe that God’s word promises healing by the stripes that Jesus took on His back, but George Mueller’s faith for God’s provision for daily needs of life is very inspiring nonetheless.

The bottom line is that he proved to us that WE can trust God to provide for our daily needs, and it’s very wrong for us to worry or fret about having our daily needs met. In fact, it is sin. So let’s trust God and stop worrying. Remember Philippians 4:6!

Rees Howells – Standing in the Queue

Rees Howells was a man who lived in Wales from 1879-1950. He learned from the Holy Spirit how to be an extremely effective intercessor. Holy Spirit took him through a process step by step to learn how to trust God for everything he needed in his life. And He insisted that Rees die to the flesh and his own ways and fear of man and caused him to give up doing things that caused people around him to fear for his sanity! He had to fast a lot, he had to pray a lot (hours of each day), he had to go without wearing a hat (which was taboo in the culture of his time in the United Kingdom) and many other things that caused embarrassment and concern to himself and his family and his friends.

But God molded him into a vessel, a channel, that God could flow through and live through. He lived the life that Jesus would have lived if He had been the one in the body and life of Rees Howells.

Here is one story that has stuck in my memory and helped me through times of testing of our faith.

I read it in a book called Rees Howells – Intercessor by Norman Grubb.

This is from Chapter 23 entitled Standing in the Queue (A queue is a line you have to stand in to get service like in a train station.)

Rees and his wife had to go to London because they were going to sail from there to Africa to be missionaries. They had been given money by the mission to pay the expenses to London, but they needed to use it to buy supplies for their trip to Africa, so when they got to the train station, they didn’t have money to pay for their train tickets to London. People came to see them off, but everybody thought they were well-supplied with money for train tickets, so nobody knew the inward struggle they were having with wondering how they would get tickets for the train or how they would get onto the train without tickets. Holy Spirit had told them to never make their need known to people but to trust Him to get the provision to them.

They had ten shillings which was enough to get them to the next station but not enough to get them to London. They went as far as they could with what they had and then their “extremity would be God’s opportunity”. They had to change trains at Llanelly Station, about twenty miles from their home, and wait there a couple of hours. So without letting anyone know, they only booked as far as that.

Many friends went with them as far as Llanelly, singing all the way, and Rees had the thought, “I’d sing better if I had the money!” They went to eat with some friends at Llanelly but still didn’t tell anyone of their need. They went back to the station and waited for the train (and for God to provide the money for the train!). It came time for the train to come in and they still didn’t have the money. The Spirit spoke to Rees and asked what he would do if he had the money and he replied that he would stand in the queue to buy a train ticket, so the Spirit told him to go ahead and get in line. Here’s the way the Spirit said it to him, “Well, are you not preaching that My promises are equal to current coin? You had better take your place in the queue.” So there was nothing he could do except obey.

This is how Rees describes what happened next:

“There were about a dozen people before me. There they were passing by the booking office one by one. The devil kept telling me, ‘Now you have only a few people in front of you, and when your turn comes, you will just have to walk through.

You have preached much about Moses and the Red Sea in front and the Egyptians behind, but now you are the one

who is shut in.’ ‘Yes, shut in,’ I answered, ‘but like Moses, I’ll be gloriously led out!’

“When there were only two before me, a man stepped out of the crowd and said, ‘I’m sorry I can’t wait any longer, but

I must open my shop.’ He said good-bye and put thirty shillings in my hand! It was most glorious and only a

foretaste of what the Lord would do in Africa if we would obey. After I had the tickets, the people who came with us

to the train began to give gifts to us, but the Lord had held them back until we had been tested. We were singing all

the way to London!”

I hope this story lifts your faith the way it does mine.

Coming to Texas

We left Pennsylvania on Friday, June 29.

We had packed everything – absolutely everything – so we had to find things to occupy our time as we waited for somebody to come from the property management group to walk through the house. He never came. We waited as long as we could and then all piled into the van to go pick up Gary at the airport. Our friend, Tracy, stayed to start cleaning. I hired her to clean up the house after the movers were done on Sunday. We got to the airport about half an hour after Gary arrived, but we were excited to take off on our big trip to Texas.

We were having a wonderful time driving through the beautiful Appalachian mountains of Virginia. We realized that we were in the land of some of the greatest men America ever produced, such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Patrick Henry.

We enjoyed our trip, and the kids were great in the van.

Friday night, we stayed at a hotel in Virginia. Gary took the youngest kids out to the pool. All of a sudden, the wind started blowing really hard and throwing chairs around in the pool area. Sand blew into their eyes. They came running back into the hotel rooms. We had 3 rooms. I got the little girls to take a shower with me and the lights went out. Gary went from room to room checking on everybody. The girls’ room still had electricity except for air conditioning. Gary got the manager to bring a fan for the girls. Our room had no electricity, but our air conditioner kept trying to come on all night and the fan blew some air so that it was not sweltering. The boys’ room didn’t have any power at all. All they had was a dim light in their bathroom.

The next day we found out that the whole area had lost power. We drove on to the next town. We stopped to eat at a Wendy’s, but they had no power, so we had to go to the Arby’s across the street. We kept on driving toward Texas. We found out that the land we left behind was dealing with the devastation left by the storm. Thousands of people had no electricity and no water.

The men who loaded and moved our stuff stayed in Virginia two nights after we were there. They didn’t have any water in the hotel rooms. Jeff, our mover, took a bar of soap and jumped into the swimming pool. He needed to clean up after loading furniture and boxes for hours then driving for several hours.

As late as Sunday, July 1, we still didn’t know if we would have a house to stay in or put our stuff in when we arrived in Houston. We didn’t have an address to give our movers until Monday, July 2. We arrived in Houston Monday, July 2 and had to get two checks cashed. We were able to cash the paycheck at Walmart. But they wouldn’t cash the cashier’s check. We needed that money to pay the security deposit. Gary was finally able to take the check to the actual bank it had been drawn from and get it cashed. So we quickly went to the house and paid the owners the security deposit and first month’s rent. We spent the night in an empty house.

My new kitchen

The movers arrived with our stuff on Tuesday, July 3 and carried it into the house. Gary and I went to sign the lease while they were moving our stuff into the house.

Our move didn’t go the way we had hoped, but we saw God move again to provide for us in the nick of time.
One thing that seemed like a real bummer is that we don’t like where we are. The house is really nice and big. The boys even have a master bedroom and bathroom! The girls’ rooms are really big, too. Our room is very big, and we even have a little part where Emma and Abby could have their own bunk beds. But we don’t like living in the city and we’re tired of living in a subdivision, so we already gave notice and we’re looking for a house in the country.

Our jungle, er, flower bed
New house

I say it seemed like a bummer when we found out we can’t stand living where we are, because it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We all got really serious about praying that God would take us to our Promised Land. Each one of the children has been praying every night that God will give us a farm. Our prayer time has been rejuvenated. We have a battle plan and other people have joined our army.

We are looking forward with great anticipation to the land and home that God is going to provide for us supernaturally or by whatever means He chooses.