Romans Road to Salvation Cake

January 19th, 2015

romans-road-to-salvation-cakeI decided to make a Romans Road to Salvation cake because I wanted to illustrate the road to salvation visually in a way that would illustrate the sweetness of coming to Christ. I put sign posts along the way, with the steps on how to be saved.

How to Make a Romans Road to Salvation Cake

Step 1: Start by baking a rectangular chocolate cake. Frost it with chocolate frosting.

chocolate-cakeStep 2: Smash some graham crackers in a plastic bag. This will be the dirt. (I used the same technique to illustrate the desert in my Egypt cookies.)

graham-crackersStep 3: Sprinkle the cookie crumbs evenly over the top of the cake.

crumb-cakeStep 4: Snap some Hersheys chocolate for the bricks to lay down the road.

cake-with-pathStep 5: Assemble the signs and stab them into the road at regular intervals. Make sure the verses are in order. I printed the verses from the printer of my computer, glued them to black card stock paper, and taped toothpicks on the back.

romans-road-cakeThese are the verses I used for the signs (KJV). I purposely spaced them out so you could copy and paste these verses on a separate sheet of paper and print them out:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned,
and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love
toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.

Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe
in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
thou shalt be saved.

romans-road-to-salvationTo see the complete Romans Unit study, join the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

Rachel’s Surgery

January 14th, 2015

rachel's-surgeryI’m relieved that Rachel’s surgery is over and that we will not be needing a coffin or a wheelchair.

For those of you reading this for the first time, you can read here about how I handled the news of how serious the spinal surgery was going to be. Bone would have to be removed from her spinal column permanently to open up the spine itself and remove a lump that had been growing since birth. The lump was fused to her spinal nerves. If she didn’t get surgery now, by the time we noticed anything wrong with our daughter, it would be too late. So we made the decision to get the surgery.

Rachel has always had a strong and confident character. She’s 9 years old, and she has three older brothers. She loves cracking jokes. Before she left to the hospital on the day of the surgery, she struck a pose and said to her brothers, “Farewell, cold, cruel world! I’m off to meet my doom!”

When we arrived at the hospital, they put us in a pre-op room. Our pastor, worship leader, and another elder of our church came and chatted with us for several hours while we were waiting. I’m so grateful that they were there because it made the time pass faster, and they were able to pray with her.

pre-op

“Even if the worst happens, you will be with Jesus, and that will be wonderful!” I said to her. She answered, “But Mom, I still have to tell Kendra more about Jesus.” It was as if she was saying, “I’m not done with my work on this earth.” She regularly would teach the neighbor girl Bible stories.

They hooked her up to an IV, and even though she had been cheerfully cracking jokes while waiting for surgery, the moment they started wheeling her away, I saw sheer terror in her eyes. It was hard for me.

Then it was just a lot of waiting.

My husband’s parents arrived as well as some members of our church. We chatted in the cafeteria, waiting for the long surgery to be over. We were initially told that the surgery would last four hours, but on the day of the surgery, they said it would be three hours.

We waited.

surgery-2

Finally the surgery was over, and she was in the ICU. My dad took the picture that you see at the top of this post. I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t want to remember it. In fact, I had to look away because I didn’t want to have nightmares of her on the breathing tube.

My husband Alan didn’t sleep the night before the surgery. People must have been praying for me because I had a full night’s sleep, miraculously better than I’d had in the exhausting months preceding the surgery. Alan refused to go home to get some sleep because he had promised Rachel that he would be there when she woke up.

There were black circles under his eyes. He was an emotional wreck every time she became semi-conscious and tried to tear the tubes out of her face. We had to calm her down, and she obeyed everything we said. The nurse had her move one foot, then the other. Finding out she was not paralyzed was a huge relief!

I decided that I needed to stay with Alan so that he could endure the night. My mom and Alan’s mom both agreed that I should stay. So Alan and I each sat on opposite sides of Rachel’s bed, hearing the beep…beep…beep… of her heart rate and the steady, regular noise of the breathing machine.

breathing-tube

Looking across the bed to Alan’s face, I saw relief. We were both so glad that the surgery had gone well and that she could still feel her legs.

One time when Alan was alone with Rachel and she was semi-conscious, she made a motion with her hands for prayer and pointed upwards. She was asking her daddy to pray for her. She couldn’t speak because she had the breathing tube rammed down her throat.

Her stomach had to be pumped.

It was a long night. There was a room with a bed in it down the hall, and we tried to take turns sleeping, but it was difficult to do. Finally light dawned and I texted my mom to come. She said she could take a long shift, and that we should both go home and get some sleep.

Alan and I took turns for four days. I was there during the days and Alan was there during the nights. It was emotionally and physically exhausting. We had to help her turn over in her bed at first, which was easier for Alan than for me. When Rachel cried in pain at something I did to turn her over, it was hard.

The nurse asked if she wanted to listen to music, and what kind of music did she like. She said, “I like Christian music. Are you a Christian?” The nurse laughed, said yes, and that she was a little evangelist!

The breathing tube was taken out on the second day, and the catheter was taken out on the third day. That third day was the hardest for me because Rachel was in despair that her body would never work properly again, to go to the bathroom, etc. She wasn’t supposed to cry because of the pressure on the spine, so I had to continuously be cheering her up.

surgery-recuperation

She walked briefly on the third day. The first time she was so wobbly and dizzy. The second time she hardly needed any help. The third time she was walking on her own. Later in the afternoon the physical therapist had her walk down the hallway. She did well but needed pain killer afterwards. The physical therapist said she did not need any more therapy.

We were released on the fourth day. The surgery was on Thursday and we were released on Monday. She walked to the car. When she got home, she was even able to climb stairs!

I’m just so grateful to God for how well the surgery went. My sister is flying in tomorrow and will be with us for 10 days. Rachel gets her stitches out 10 days from the surgery date. She is not allowed to twist her back, run, or jump, all things that she normally does. Thank you to everyone who brought food, visited, or prayed for us!

 

My Top 10 Most Popular Posts from 2014

January 5th, 2015

most-popular-posts

Here are my top ten most popular posts from 2014:

Most Popular Bible Posts

My hands-on Bible posts are the top viewed posts from my entire blog. Apparently people want to teach their kids the Word of God, which really encourages my heart!

Most Popular Science Posts

I enjoyed writing two sets of science posts in 2014: one having to do with Earth science and outer space, and the other having to do with chemistry experiments. All of the posts are accompanied by demonstration videos, and therefore both of these sets were in my top 10 most viewed posts in 2014:

Most Popular Unit Study Posts:

My husband had been telling me that I needed to write a series of blog posts about unit studies. The Unit Studies 101 series was born out of that challenge, and they were the hardest posts for me to write because I had to assume that the readers knew nothing about unit studies. To go back to the basics paid off because the series was hugely popular! The other two posts were the most popular actual unit studies during the past year:

Most Popular Missionary Kid Posts

I have to say that I was surprised that these posts did so well because I thought my audience for writing about missionary kids was small. Was I ever wrong! When posting the “Loss and Grief for MK’s,” I was shocked to see over 1,000 unique visitors reading that post during the first two days alone. There was a spike in my stats that was incomprehensible to me, and my MK posts ever since have been hugely popular:

top-ten-posts

How to Organize Recipes

December 29th, 2014

how-to-organize-recipes

In this video, I show you how to organize recipes: the demonstration includes binders, boxes, and some of my favorite children’s cookbooks. My daughter loves to cook and wants to start her own recipe collection.

If your recipe cards are jammed and you can’t pull out a card without pulling out a whole section of cards, it’s time to re-organize your recipes. One way you can do this is to get a specially designed recipe binder that is similar to a photo album, but it has dividers for breads, meats, desserts, and other common categories you would find in a cookbook. You can get these recipe binders in most book stores or online.

recipe-organization

If you are low on money and want to create your own binder, all you need is a three-ring binder and some plastic sheet protectors. The thing I love about this way of organizing recipes is that you can tear out a recipe page from your favorite magazine and slide the whole page into the sheet protector. You might want to have a recipe binder like this in addition to your recipe box or whatever other method you use for organizing your recipes.

I showed you some of my favorite children’s cookbooks in the video, and the reason I love these cookbooks is that they are addressed to children and easy for children to use. If you can get your children to enjoy cooking at a young age, you will be instilling skills that will help them to survive for the rest of their lives!

If you enjoyed this video on how to organize recipes, you will love Organizing for a Fun Homeschool.

Faith Grows Through Fire: The Gift of Faith

December 17th, 2014

faith-grows-through-fire-gift-of-faith

People ask me all the time how I came to have the faith that I have. They see that I have a faith that can move mountains. I pray mightily in the Spirit because I’m certain of being heard. God has done so many miracles in my life that I’ve come to expect it. This is why people are befuddled and dumbfounded when they see my faith. It’s not actually my faith, by the way.

It’s God’s gift of faith, and He can take it away at the beginning of a tribulation in your life, only to give it back more strongly than ever.

Don’t be scared when you think your faith is gone. It’s at that moment that God is preparing you to receive more faith. Just wait calmly and put your trust in the Lord, even though you feel abandoned. Yield to God and continue to commit yourself to Him.

God stands outside space and time and knows all things. He is a good God. Even when it feels like He has withdrawn His tangible presence during the moment when you most need it, please wait…

You see, God won’t fill you if you’re not empty.

Over and over again in my life, the Lord has stripped me of every ounce of strength in my body, where if you were to look at me, you would think that my faith was gone. A raging fire was passing over me in my life, and suddenly somewhere in the midst of the fire, I was strengthened in the Lord and received a higher measure of faith.

How do you get faith? You have to be open to get it. You have to be yielded to God, to have an attitude of receiving. That’s how salvation is. You get it because it’s being given, and you’re willing to receive it. Having a greater faith in God is no different. Be open to receiving it. Ask for it.

As I was talking about faith with my husband one night, he said that he knew how to get faith. This is the progression:

  1. Believe God.
  2. Then you have to go through a trial that challenges that belief.
  3. In the end, you have to see that God delivers.

I am experiencing this in my life right now in several areas. I was working so hard to book a venue for the local homeschool conference that I’m in charge of, and nothing was working. I was under a lot of pressure, and it seemed like the harder I worked, the more nothing was happening. Vendors were asking me why the conference wasn’t booked yet. The keynote had agreed to work with us, but we left him dangling for weeks on end without giving him a reason why. The no-pay high-stress work that I was doing for the homeschool group drained me of every drop of strength I had until I literally collapsed.

At that moment, I went in to see the surgeon to discuss the procedure for removing the lump from my daughter’s spine. I saw that it was more serious that I had anticipated, that she would be unconscious for 48 hours and might slink into a coma, that bone from her spinal column would be removed in two places and never put back again, and that the lump couldn’t actually be removed completely because it was fused to the spinal cord itself. You know, the bundle of nerves that runs up your spine to your brain.

And then it hit me.

But my daughter was sitting there, and I wasn’t allowed to cry. I wasn’t allowed to scream in hysteria as a mother. No. I remained calm and wiped the sweat off my palms onto my jeans. I felt dizzy.

Later my husband took the kids to Costco for dinner, and I sat in the empty house. I sat in the dark, feeling abandoned by the Lord. Why did He not answer when I begged Him for a venue for the only Christian homeschool conference in this area? And now I could do nothing about it because I had no strength left, and why wasn’t I allowed to think about my daughter?

I screamed.

I wept.

I sat in silence before the Lord.

The next day I went to a prayer meeting with the Hispanic women I worked with at the women’s prayer retreat where I spoke in August. I plopped down on the couch and announced that the Lord had abandoned me.

After the initial shock of the statement wore off, the women’s eyes sparkled because God had given them Scripture for me. One woman told me that I was Peter, that I had jumped out of the boat and walked on water. And now I realize that it’s impossible to walk on water (what was I thinking?) and the waves are overwhelming me and I’m drowning. What happens next? she asked me.

God delivers.

Yes, but how would He deliver? How can He deliver without me doing anything? Because another woman quoted that God would fight my battles if I would only stand still. (Exodus 14:14)

The women laid hands on me and prayed for me. The fog lifted, and I had a supernatural peace and could it be… Joy! Yes, I felt incredible joy that was impossible because my daughter might be dead soon, and if the conference wasn’t booked, our group would never be able to have a conference again because of lack of funds. I felt responsible for the demise of the largest homeschool group in the area.

Nothing was resolved.

But I felt peace.

And I waited….

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.   Isaiah 40:31 KJV

The waiting was long.

I felt like a rubber band that had been stretched out of all proportion and would never be able to be snapped back to its original position.

And then it happened: a venue opened up, and would I come put down a deposit? As I walked around the venue, I had a lump in my throat because it was perfect. The price was also perfect. I wasn’t going to bankrupt our group and crash it to smithereens after all. The Lord delivered!

I cried tears of joy because this shows that God is still with me.

And now more waiting is required…

My daughter is going into spine surgery on January 8th, 2015. Will you pray for me, that God will continue to sustain me, no matter what the outcome?

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:6-7 ESV

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