My attempt at Chinese … and at video making!

I’ve been a VIPKID teacher for over 2 years now and LOVE it. I’ve been learning a little Chinese, but am making poor progress. But I sure love making videos, so when I heard about contest by Lingo Bus (the sister company to VIPKID that teaches Chinese with native Chinese speakers), I quickly jumped on board!

Could you like and share my video so I can win???

Xiexie.

An Unknown Future and a Well-Known God

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God

Corrie Ten Boom

I hope you enjoy this guest post from my one and only sister, Kristan, which she wrote last week on May 6.


I had never really heard this quote before, but during the quarantine I have been doing some coloring pages of Bible verses and inspirational quotes and this was one I had colored. Last week I gathered some homeschooling books to send to my sister Kim. (That’s me!) I went through the pictures I had colored and included this one in the box.

Yesterday, Kim posted on Facebook asking suggestions on how to honor Brady (Kristan’s son who passed away 23 years ago) and 2 others on “Giving Tuesday”. The first suggestion was a comment made by Bobby (her women’s Sunday School teacher) for a fundraiser T-shirt with that exact Corrie Ten Boom quote!

Wow! I immediately commented, asking Kim if she had received my box yet. She actually had received it, but hadn’t opened it yet, letting it sit for a few days first (Coronavirus craziness). She went and opened it and found the coloring page!

Neither one of us had heard this quote before, but in God’s amazing providence there it was, at just the right time.

It is amazing how God works! I had no idea, but God knew!

So in these crazy times, if you are feeling uncertainty, fear, or even grief, remember to never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a KNOWN GOD!

Micah 6:6-8 with a 21st Century American Twist

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow myself before God most high?

Shall I go to church every Sunday morning and Sunday night?

Shall I attend Wednesday morning Bible studies and Wednesday night choir practices?

Will the Lord be pleased if I post Bible verses every morning on Facebook and every night on Instagram?

What if I homeschool my children from birth to high school graduation or put them in the finest Christian schools?

Shall I wear long hair and long skirts and bake homemade bread and desserts for my family?

He has told you, O woman, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God.

To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. Faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.

See Micah 6:6-8, Matthew 22:34 – 23:39 and 1 Corinthians 13.

Moms as Missionaries

I love reading missionary stories, whether by myself or with my children. I love hearing about the gospel being proclaimed to the ends of the earth. I love to see the biggest to the smallest prayers answered. I love to see people set free from their chains to sin, pride and selfishness.

For many years, I’ve wished that I could be a full-time missionary on the front lines or that one of my children would be called to go to an unreached people group on the other side of the globe, but so far that hasn’t happened.

But, do you know what has happened?

I’ve still had plenty of opportunities to be a missionary on the front lines outside of my home, in spite being a full-time homeschooling mom. I’ve shared the gospel and seen people saved. I’ve discipled and seen people grow. I’ve prayed and seen God respond in mighty ways. I’ve spoken and written the words that God has given to me and I’ve seen people touched.

But I’ve also gotten to be on the front lines of my own home – a privilege NO ONE ELSE has.

My children have read and studied and memorized the Word – at my dining room table, in my queen-sized bed, and on my sectional leather couch.

My children have prayed bold prayers for themselves, for those they love, and even for those they’ve never met.

They’ve seen prayers answered and lives changed.

And they’ve learned how to share the gospel themselves and seen the power of Christ transform lives.

Moms, don’t lose heart. Our God is a God of eternity, of yesterday, and today and tomorrow. Make the most of today. Pick up one of the Christian Heroes books by Geoff Benge – maybe Hudson Taylor or George Mueller or Gladys Aylward – to read with your kids. Read “The Insanity of God” or “God Smuggler” or “The Hiding Place” or “Tortured for Christ” for yourself (or with your older children).

Read the book of Acts.

Memorize a verse or a passage or a whole chapter with your younger disciples.

Pray boldly and watch God move.

You are on the front lines in this battle between good and evil. You are training up warriors for God’s kingdom. God has called you to this and He will equip you to do it.

And I’d love to help you.

Some Resources for Families at Home

My heart goes out to the families new to homeschooling. I remember all too well how hard it was when I started 18 years ago.

I spent my first few years home schooling focusing on teaching my children that I loved them, that they should obey and that they should love God and others. That wasn’t my PLAN. My plan was to teach them to read. But God had better plans.

If your children learn that you love them, that you have their best interest at heart, that they should obey their parents and that God wants them to love Him and love others …. then homeschooling is a success!

In the process of learning these foundational principles, my children also learned to read, write, do math, learn about the history of the world and the science of creation, and yours will, too. Here are a few resources to start you on your journey.

These are great devotionals
for parents to read with their children.
The ESV Family Bible
is excerpted straight from the Bible.
Leading Little Ones to God gives you a great little study, plus some discussion questions,
a prayer, a brief Scripture to look up
and even a few song lines.
Nancy Guthrie’s devotionals are great.
I have her Dinner Table Devotional
to read with our children
as well as one for my own prayer time
Here are just a few excellent books to read aloud with your family.
Get your children ready – either snuggle on the couch or in bed, or get them some coloring pages or Legos or playdough so they can keep their hands busy while they listen,
or take everyone outside on the deck to relax while you read.
I’ll be hosting a ZOOM call
Tuesday, April 28 at 7pm.
Leave a comment if you’d like the link.
Do you follow me on Facebook?
I’ll be reading a chapter book aloud on Facebook live M-F at 1pm.

You can search my blog for my series called “Favorite Things” for more detailed homeschool resources. And check out my post from a couple weeks ago for 5 tips for laying out your day at home.

Of fishing, baits and lures

I grew up fishing. I fished with my parents on camping trips. I fished with my uncle in a pond on his farm. As the crazy little sister, I was the one who baited the hook with live, wiggling worms and I was the one who took the fish off the hooks.

In reading the Bible, there are lots of allusions to fishing. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus calls Peter and his brother, Andrew, to leave their fishing nets and to follow Him, that He would make them fishers of men. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter himself writes in 1 Peter 5:7 to CAST all your cares onto Jesus because He cares for you. This word CAST is the same word for a fisherman casting (throwing) out his net. It is active, hard work, this casting of nets and casting of cares.

Yesterday, my husband and I were studying James 1:12-15 with our small group.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (James 1:12-15 ESV)

According to Blue Letter Bible, that word “lured” [exelkō] means “to draw out” and “is often used in hunting and fishing as game is lured from its hiding place, so man by lure is allured from the safety of self-restraint to sin. In James 1:14, the language of the hunting is transferred to the seduction of a harlot.” Like the seduction of a harlot, temptation lures you off the narrow road and onto the wide one.

The following word, “enticed,” [deleazō] [G1185] is also a fishing word meaning to “bait” or to “catch by bait.” It comes from the root word dolos [G1388] which means guile, subtilty, craft, deceit.

Different lures attract different fish, and different temptations appeal to different people, but ultimately all kinds of temptation lead us away from our good Father’s good gifts and toward our own selfish passions.

Bait is designed to deceive a fish into thinking it’s something good, drawing it out from safety to hook it, leading to its demise.

Isn’t that like the deceitfulness of sin, the allure of temptation? Holding itself out as something good, something that will bring us happiness … and instead bringing despair, heartache and death.

Praying for my own heart, and yours today.

-TWIG

Birds Doing What They’re Made to Do

Make sure your sound is on!

My kids and I have been sitting outside, enjoying the beautiful spring weather, while I read aloud a great book.

The trees are giving us shade. The sun is warming us. The breeze is gently blowing. And the birds are singing their song. They’re doing what they were made to do.

And so am I.

What was I made to do?

I was made to bring God glory. I was made to enjoy Him, to love Him, to love others, to share the good news with others that they would enjoy and love Him, too.

The Heavens declare the glory of God, but so do we! I am God’s handiwork, God’s creation, created on purpose for good works which He prepared in advance for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

I can bring God glory in my own backyard with my own kids. I can bring God glory in the early morning hours soaking in His Word. I can bring God glory by encouraging a sister in Christ or by praying for my enemy. There are so many ways to glorify God.

How about you? How can you fulfill your God-given purpose today? I’d love to partner with you to glorify God together!

Today is a new day.

47 Things I did by Myself or With My Sister as a Latchkey Kid Growing Up

Some of you don’t know what it’s like to grow up without a bunch of neighbor kids to play with.

Some of you don’t remember having days on end without a mom or dad at home telling you what to do or entertaining you.

Considering all those parents who suddenly find themselves working from home and are looking for ways to keep their kids busy without devices and without friends and without your constant input, I thought these ideas might help you.

So … here’s 47 ways I occupied my time growing up as a latchkey kid in an urban area without electronic devices. Looking at this list makes me extra thankful for my sister. Even though we fought, I’m so thankful I had her.

Read books – lots of books – to my stuffed animals, to myself, outside, inside, in the attic, in the basement, in my bedroom, in the living room, picture books, chapter books, old books, new books, fiction, non-fiction, short, long … lots and lots of books.

Built forts with chairs and sheets

Made zoos with stuffed animals

Climbed trees

Jumped rope

Hula-hooped

Swung on our swing set

Made kites out of all kinds of stuff

Made paper airplanes 

Made paper snowflakes

Made signs and cards for my mom and dad

Played croquet 

Played badminton 

Played tennis at the high school a few blocks away

Played Connect Four

Played Guess Who

Played Pay Day

Played cards

Played school 

Played house

Played dress-up

Played with an old doll house

Played with my cat

Looked at old photo albums

Made a newspaper to sell to my neighbors for 20 cents each

Used an encyclopedia to write articles about animals I liked

Made up jokes and wrote them down

Recorded nonsense of all kinds on a tape recorder

Drew pictures with pencil

Drew pictures with chalk

Painted with watercolors 

Colored coloring books

Put together puzzles

Made stuff with wood scraps, a hammer, some nails and glue, and sometimes even my dad’s drill press and handsaw

Made-up crazy recipes in the kitchen

Made real recipes in the kitchen

Napped all over the house – on floors, in closets, behind doors, on couches – but rarely in my bed

Played piano

Fought with my sister

Made up with my sister

Blasted music and sang along, while acting out the lyrics, with my sister

Took care of whatever extra pets I had at the moment – hermit crabs, fish, turtles, frogs, mice, hamsters, gerbils, or stray kittens

Took a walk around my neighborhood 

Picked flowers 

Rolled down the hill next door

Played in the sprinkler in the summer or in the snow in the winter

Day dreamed on my front porch

As we have this time on pause, let’s give our kids some time to return to the simpler things, things that don’t have to be plugged in, things you don’t have to have a crowd to do, things that use your creativity and (dare I say) things that invite you to be a little “bored.” 
Being bored isn’t always bad.