Rebooting Writing

Halfway through my tenth-grader daughter’s fall semester, we made significant changes. We set aside the literature and social studies programs she had started the year with. Together, we chose an alternative—Sonlight’s 20th Century History and Literature curriculum. The variety of books in Sonlight’s program have provided a wonderful challenge and led to some great discussions. The most daunting aspect, though, has been the writing.

The Sonlight Student Guide outlines two or three writing assignments each week. When I realized how many hours my daughter spent staring at a blank computer screen, I knew it was time to intervene. I had failed to teach her the basics of writing. From prior experience, I knew that the curriculum which had empowered my son to write may not be the best option for her. What could I do?

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Journey to Israel & Homeschool History - St. Jerome

This year, the twins and I have been studying early church history using Mystery of History, Volume II. Six weeks into our school year we learned about St. Jerome’s translation of the Vulgate Bible. Jerome’s name sounded familiar. Didn’t I see something about him in Bethlehem?

The girls’ history lesson mentioned that Jerome had lived in Bethlehem for a time. He had stayed in a “cell-like cave” for many years. Wait, had I seen it?

A little online digging confirmed that I had caught a glimpse of it on our Israel trip. St. Jerome’s Cave lies beneath a courtyard at the Church of the Nativity.

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One Word for 2019

Twelve months ago, when I prayed about One Word for 2018, God gave me “Trust.” I learned so much last year about trusting God, family, and friends.

Last week, I started thinking about a new word for 2019. I wondered what God had in store for the new year.

While I was contemplating the idea, one of my twin daughters asked me a question. “Mom, when did you start to feel grown-up?”

Has your child ever asked you such a whopper of a question? Truth be told, I still don’t feel grown-up. Well, what am I waiting for? Maybe it’s time for me to grow up in 2019.

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Journey to Israel - Church of the Nativity

One night many years ago, angels surprised simple shepherds. They filled the night sky, proclaiming the news of Jesus’ birth.

“Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply echoing their joyous strains
Gloria in Excelsis Deo! Gloria in Excelsis Deo!””

After overcoming their awe at the angelic proclamation, the shepherds embarked on a mission. The scruffy, unkempt men headed into town. They were determined to greet the newborn Heavenly King, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

About six months ago, my husband and I made a similar journey. We traveled from the Shepherds’ Field into the city of Bethlehem to see where Jesus was born.

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Journey to Israel - Shepherds' Field

More than 2,000 years ago, wise men from the east traveled to Israel looking for a new king. For months they traversed the varied landscape, following a special star to the Holy Land. Upon their arrival, they went straight to King Herod’s palace in Jerusalem. After all, a palace is where a king, or even a prince, should live. But the new king was not there.

The chief priests and scribes searched their scrolls and found a prophecy about a great ruler who would be born in Bethlehem:

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days.
(Micah 5:2)

With this new information, the wise men continued on their journey. They followed the star from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, in search of the new king.

On our own journey to Israel nearly six months ago, we traveled that last leg of the journey to Bethlehem, just as the wise men did so many years ago. Like the wise men, we wondered, “What will we find there?”

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Journey to Israel - Knesset and Giant Menorah

Our tour guide, Mika, had promised our schedule on Friday would be more relaxed. The walking tour of Jerusalem the previous day had worn us out. We were grateful that the bus would carry us to each destination for the rest of our trip.

I was not particularly excited about the morning’s itinerary. We planned to visit the Knesset and giant Menorah, the Israel Museum, and the Yad Vashem museum. These locations paled in comparison to that afternoon’s excursion to Bethlehem. How could the morning’s attractions hold a candle to that?

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Family Christmas Traditions

From where I sit, I can see the lights of the Christmas tree. Festive blankets make our living room furniture seem cozy and inviting. With dreary, rainy weather outside, I’m content to snuggle indoors with my family, watch It’s a Wonderful Life, and sip cider.

The “Christmas spirit” has been slow to arrive this year. Now the lingering colors of fall have finally given way to barren trees and cooler temperatures. It’s starting to look and feel more like Christmas.

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