Family Get-together

This weekend we had a get together with some family that I don't often get to see, even though we live in the same town.  Actually, there were some there that I have never met.  It was a fun evening and I hope to do this more often than every five years or so.  Maybe some more family will get to come that didn't get to come this time. 
Lane was giving a thumbs up.
Great smile, Joah.
Lane crawled all over the gym.
Serious game of four square...
We celebrated Butch's Birthday with some cake and ice cream.
Gylene snuck some icing to Lane.  He wasn't sure about it.
Board Games...
Matasia is ready with the buzzer!
This was seriously the neatest thing I have seen in a while.  Carrie ordered these lanterns and she brought some for us to use.  It was just like the part in Tangled when I admit, I got a little teary-eyed.  haha.


Timely Birth

I learned something this week in our history lesson that I had never considered.  I learn something new all the time when teaching the boys, especially in history.  For some reason, my history education was lacking.  It's hard to cram all of World History into one semester.  Also, World History and Biblical History were two separate entities.  I love that my children get to learn it all as one and don't have to figure that out later for themselves like I am doing now.

We are finishing up our Early Egyptian History and we are currently studying about the Roman Empire.  This was in our lesson this week that I wanted to share:

"Jesus' birth was timely.  As a result of Hellenization, almost everyone in the Roman Empire spoke Greek.  This made it easier for the teachings of Jesus to spread throughout the empire.  Another thing that helped Christianity to spread was the Pax Romana  Throughout the Roman Empire a peace existed that the world had never known.  Travelers were able to go anywhere in the empire on the sturdy Roman highways without fear of bandits.

If Jesus had been born before Augustus' rule, the world would have been at war, and it is doubtful that His teachings would have spread very far.  If Jesus had been born a few years later, the political situation in Palestine would have lessened the impact of His teachings.  Approximately 40 years after His death, the city of Jerusalem was completely destroyed and many people were killed.  Roman troops swept throughout the province, taking almost every able-bodied person out of the country as a slave.  When the massacre was over, there were few people to teach."  (from Streams of Civilization, Volume 1 by Mary Stanton and Albert Hyma). 

I believe that God can change history and He could have made it work however He wanted, but the timing of the events made it the best possible time for His gospel to be spread.   I just found it interesting to consider how He can see everything from beginning to end. 


Luke Highlights

This has taken me an embarrassing amount of time to complete.  I admit, I have struggled balancing it all with homeschooling my two older ones with a baby, but it's no excuse.  I have read the bible to Logan and Lucas, but my personal inductive study time has been lacking.  When I finally got back into the Word for myself, I could feel a physical difference in my demeanor instantly.  It was like as if I was dried up and stagnant and then immediately renewed.  I say all this to encourage everyone to get in the Word yourself if you don't right now.  It doesn't matter how much you have studied in the past, it is a daily commitment and it's something we are told to do by the Lord Himself.  I say this to myself as well.  I know how much I love studying and learning for myself, but it is sometimes a struggle.  It is an ongoing battle, but the rewards are so rich when the enemy and my flesh don't prevail. 

A story in Luke reminded me of myself.  In Luke 10, Jesus was traveling when He entered a village and to the home of Mary and Martha.  Martha was distracted with all her preparations while her sister Mary was sitting at Jesus' feet listening to Him and enjoying His presence.  Martha was frustrated with her sister for not helping and she told on her to Jesus.  Jesus responded to her saying that Mary has chosen the good part and Martha was worried and bothered by so many things.  I find myself in this category often.  I am distracted and have a really difficult time just sitting and being still.  However, we are to continue to sit at Jesus' feet and learn from Him.  It is to be our priority and lifelong occupation.  It is everything that makes us what we ought to be and what enables us to do what we do.  

I wanted to put into words some of the things that I learned in my study of the gospel of Luke, hopefully in a coherent way.  Since the latter half is freshest on my mind, most thoughts will come from there. 

Luke 14 ended my hiatus.  Jesus taught a parable about the need to be humble and not exalt yourself in a place of higher position.   In the parable, there is a wedding feast and He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table.  Jesus said not to take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished may have been invited by him.  Then you will be disgraced when you are asked to move to a lower position.  I love weddings!  It's probably a good thing I didn't have pinterest at the time of my wedding.  When I read this parable, I thought, "Where were the placecards?"  This mishap could have been easily avoided if they had simply made placecards so everyone could know where to sit.  haha.  But seriously, in this parable, I imagine an obnoxious distant cousin coming up and sitting at the seats of the wedding party where he had to be asked to move.  That's quite humiliating, but the message of this parable was clear: "for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Chapter 15 has three familiar parables with a common theme...rejoicing over that which was lost.  In the first parable the man rejoices over his lost sheep.  In the second parable, a woman rejoices over her lost coin after searching the entire house over.  The third parable is probably the most known.  The parable of the Prodigal son is about a man with two sons.  One son asks for his inheritance early and he takes his money and leaves and squanders his estate with loose living.  Once he had spent everything, he finds himself eating the food the swine were eating.  He finally came to his senses and decided to go home and ask for forgiveness for his actions.  His father rejoiced over the return of his son and wanted to have a banquet to celebrate.  The other son did not feel the same excitement and joy, however.  He was angry that he hadn't ever received this treatment even though he was the one who had always been there and faithfully serving his father the whole time.  I have always felt sorry for this son but I realized that at some point or another, we are all in the position of the Prodigal son.  We are all unworthy because of our sin, but the Father welcomes us with open arms and takes us in no matter our past or how much we have messed things up.  "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:10)

The next chapter gripped me to the core.  It is a story that I have heard many times, but when studying this for myself, I realized the magnitude of it in a new way...

The Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)
“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores. “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

What I learned about hell from this text:
1.  It is a place of never-ending torment.
2.  The rich man was able to see Abraham and Lazurus in heaven from hell.
3.  The rich man wanted relief from the flames, but it was not given
4.  There is a huge chasm fixed so that those who wish to come over cannot cross.
5.  He asked for Lazarus to be sent to tell his family how to be able to escape this agony.

I don't have a high tolerance for pain at all.  If we are in pain at all, we can go to the doctor for relief with pain medication.  Also, when we suffer trauma or are in severe pain, God designed us to become unconscious and we don't have to experience the pain.  However, the worst pain we could ever experience here on earth will not compare to the pain that will be everlasting and unquenchable for eternity for those who do not choose Christ.  He is the only way through which we must be saved.  There is no other way, even though many believe there are lots of paths to get to heaven.  Hell is a place of never-ending torment with no relief...forever

Since the fall, part of the curse is time.  We are bound by time, but to God a day is like a thousand years.  When I try to think of eternity from a heavenly perspective, my mind is boggled, but if you think of an eternity separated from God in hell burning forever, our hearts should be broken for the many around us who will end up there unless they repent.  After studying this chapter, I was even more thankful for salvation which I do not deserve.  Our sins will be punished in one way or another.  Either we can repent and accept Christ allowing His punishment on the cross take away our sins, or we can spend an eternity in hell and pay for them ourselves.  There is no middle ground.  There are two paths and we are either with Christ or we are against Him.  What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and then forfeit his soul (Mark 8:36).  Ask the rich man, ask Lazarus.

Who then shall enter into the kingdom of God, according to Scripture?  In Luke 18:15-30, Jesus says it belongs to those who have faith like a child.  It is for those who are willing to put God first, even before their own personal things and wealth.  Faith and obedience seem to be synonymous when it comes to the kingdom of God.  If we truly believe, then we will do the things we are commanded to do by God.  Faith ought to obey, and true faith is seen in its works.

The next chapters are about Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, Jesus' betrayal, His death, and resurrection.  As I read this account, I saw how the multitudes praised Him, waving palm branches saying, "Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord." That same crowd quickly changed their mind and attitude because they were yelling to Pilate, "Crucify Him" condemning the very one they were worshipping just days before.

The Pharisees and religious leaders knew the Scriptures well, yet they could not see the One before them who was fulfilling hundreds of prophesies before their very eyes.  Instead their hearts were set on finding some way to put Him to death.

The disciples were the men Jesus called to be a part of His ministry.  These men weren't of formal training, yet they left everything they had to follow Him.  However, as soon as Jesus was led away by the guards, they scattered, running scared.  These are the men who witnessed miracle after miracle by Jesus.  They were also given the same power to perform miracles themselves, yet in that hour, they abandoned the One they left everything to follow. 

As I thought about all these different groups of people, I wondered where would I be if I were there?  Which group would I fall in?  Before I judge too harshly on any of these groups, I need to think about where I would be in their shoes.  I know I am weak and I do things I do not want to do and don't do the very things I want to do.  I would like to think I would have been one to follow Christ wherever He leads, but who am I to think I could do any better than the very ones Christ chose to follow Him. 

In my bible study, I was asked to imagine what it would be like to be in Jesus' place.  Here He is laying down His life for the sins of the whole world, and look at how He is being treated.  How does He respond?  He doesn't respond when He could.  If I were Jesus, I would have wanted to respond much differently than He did while He was on trial.  He asked His Father to forgive them because they don't know what they are doing.  What compassion...what love...how undeserving am I?? 

One last thought...When Jesus was resurrected, He was seen by many.  The disciples were still mourning His death, even though He told them on multiple occasions that He would have to die, but He would come back three days later.  When He came back to talk to them and show them He really did what He said He was going to do, they did not recognize Him and didn't believe it was really Christ reincarnated at first.  He was walking them with them and explaining to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.  They said to one another that their hearts were burning within while He was explaining the Scriptures.  How amazing would it be to have Christ Himself explain the Scriptures to us face to face?  He opened up their minds to understand the Scriptures.  We have the same thing when the Holy Spirit is dwelling inside of us.  Disciples continue in the Word of God; they have to, for it is the very bread by which they live.  It is the Word of God that sustains the life of Christ in us, bringing our love for Him to a white-hot heat so that we are not lukewarm.  "The people who know their God will be strong and take action" (Daniel 11:32)

If you would like to do this study of Luke, here is the link to the book: The Call to Follow Jesus: Luke by Kay Arthur.  I'm off to Daniel next. 



FIAR: Papa Piccolo & Italy

Before Christmas we did the book Papa Piccolo by Carol Talley.  

It’s the story of a Venetian alley cat who somewhat reluctantly adopts, or is adopted by, two orphaned kittens. He rises to the challenge of their mischief to become an excellent Papa.  The boys enjoyed reading this book.  Since the book is set in Italy, we did Amanda Bennett's Passport Italy Unit Study. 

Of course when studying Italy, the food is fun!  Lucas, however, doesn't like much Italian food.  Our first Italian meal was homemade pizza.  They really do like to cook and help prepare meals.
In our study of Italy, we watched this youtube video about how to eat spaghetti with a fork and spoon.  This is Logan trying it out...
Lane tried some noodles too. 
We went one evening to Mama Rosa's in Cookeville for even more Italian food.  It's one of my favorites!  We had some Stromboli, baked ziti, lasagna, and manicotti.
Lane liked the bread.
For dessert, we tried a cannoli.  The boys loved it!
We made gnocci one evening with baked ziti.  This was much easier than I thought it would be to make.  Here is the recipe I used.
 And for the main course, one of my faves, baked ziti.
We put together this 3D puzzle of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
    We learned about an Italian game called bocce ball.  I got a set and it will be a new family favorite.  One thing I know though, I will never beat Landon.  He beats me every time. 
 We also learned about several famous people from Italy including:
Leonardo di Vinci
Christopher Columbus
Marco Polo
Landon found a telescope on a mega sale and he got it since we were studying about Galileo since he made advancements on the telescope and confirmed earlier theories to support Copernicus. 

We also learned about Antonio Vivaldi.  In our unit study there was a link to a performance by children.  I was reluctant to watch because beginner strings sound like dying cats to me.  My strings class in college could make your ears bleed.  I was pleasantly surprised when I listened to it.  It's worth a watch...

I, of course, love music.  I want my kids to appreciate music even though I know they will probably not ever be intersted in it as I am.  I made them watch and listen to one of Vivaldi's most famous Four Seasons.  We listened to each movement...all forty-two minutes. 
You would have thought they were dying.  They were entertained by some of the musicians who were really expressive as they played.  They did some imitations that I wish I had recorded.

Lucas made his own cello with a ninja training sword and another weapon.  (Please note that he dresses himself).
I wanted them to hear me sing in Italian so I located a recording of my senior recital that had me singing an Italian aria.  Below is a video of the places we learned about with me singing Voi, che sapete from The Marriage of Figaro by W.A. Mozart.  You will need to turn off the sound at the bottom of the blog in order to hear the video.

This study inspired a design for a Valentine card for my etsy shop: