Bringing Every Thought Into Captivity — Part 1: New Beginnings

I can do nothing but praise my Savior! God has brought us many blessings this last week; however, they have been wrapped up as a secret package in some very challenging trials. Isn’t it funny how we often look at trials and complain, yet looking back we are able to see a clearer picture of the blessings that have come from these trials? Not that it makes them any easier to bear at the time, but we can truly know that through them we are being shaped and molded into His likeness.

A month and a half ago we moved in with my in-laws so that my husband could go to school full time. (It has been quite the sacrifice on all of our parts as all of us are all staying in one room, so it’s tight quarters. We are blessed, however, that we have a big yard for the kids.) We have been handed free schooling through a wonderful program called the Trade Act. He has decided to get his heavy duty diesel mechanics degree. Of course we couldn’t pass that up!!! He’s only been dreaming about this for years, but we have never had the money for the schooling, let alone the needed tools.

We got moved up here and got settled, and two weeks into school he started freaking out about needing a ton of money — that we don’t have as we are living off of unemployment for the next two years — for tools. What in the world? The Trade Act is supposed to provide the tools. My husband suffers from PTSD from when he served in the Navy during 9/11, and before converting from atheism to Adventism. Due to his PTSD he isn’t exactly the best of communicators. After weeks of frustration on my end, knowing something was wrong but him denying it, I found out that he didn’t have any tools yet and was starting to fall behind in the shop part of class. That didn’t, however, end the quest for a tool fund. Fortunately, at four weeks into his classes, he finally got his tools. In spite of the negative, it has been a blessing. He is getting quite spoiled with a new tool box, etc., so it was worth waiting for!

In every marriage there are issues, things that each couple has to work out, and things that bring them together to the same mindset — but often times it takes quite a bit of trials to get to that point, not to mention the pain suffered on both sides of the relationship. I heard it said once that couples’ biggest problems usually stem from sex, finances, or child rearing. I understand too well the struggle, and the area in our marriage has definitely been finances.

As we struggled this last week, we went to our in-laws for counsel as to how to solve some of the issue with the finances so that both our needs were being met. We originally decided to move in with our in-laws to save money to pay off debt, which met my need. Unfortunately, our unemployment was cut to the point that it became necessity. My father-in-law lovingly but sternly chewed me out and told me to find a way to make the budget work and to get my husband his tool fund. That really made me mad, especially since I knew he didn’t understand what we have gone through financially. (When we got married we were both out of debt and debt was not an option. As life’s circumstances dealt out, we ended up in debt — not a ton, but enough to be difficult to escape on a limited income.) I was so mad that I responded in anger.

I sat there on the couch, stunned as I listened to all of the anger at my husband that spewed out of my mouth. It seemed like a waterfall that had a huge dam that just wouldn’t quit behind it. I knew I loved my husband and was being faithful to the vow to love and obey, and yet I had so much hate in my heart toward someone I was supposed to love deeper then anyone on this earth. How could that be? How could I have hidden this much anger in my heart for so many years? We ended the conversation with me saying that I needed time to process everything. I went in and went to bed about 4 p.m.

That evening and most of the next day (which, praise the Lord, was Sabbath), I analyzed where the negative feelings were coming from, and what was truly going on inside my head and heart, and prayed that God would take the feelings of hate I had developed toward my husband away. I then talked to my husband and told him how I felt and what was going on inside of myself. I am grateful that I have a deeply committed husband and that in spite of all of my flaws he still is willing to work at our relationship and keep moving forward. (In spite of his own flaws, I do see Christ’s love for me reflected in my husband’s patience with me.) Today we are working on rebuilding and renewing our relationship, and it’s amazing how releasing the anger that I didn’t know I was harboring in my heart to Christ has made a dramatic difference in our relationship. Things I didn’t realize were broken are correcting themselves, and I’m beginning to see the blessing that marriage can be. I am sure being human that we will still struggle, but I pray that God will show us the true state of our hearts and keep any resentment, bitterness, etc., out of our hearts toward each other.

As I sit back and think about this last week, my mind is drawn to the Bible verse, “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who shall know it?” Jer. 17:9. I certainly had no clue I felt toward my husband like I did. He was my husband; I had waited for him for 26 years. I had dreamed about the things we would do together, about how we would serve the Lord, the children we would have.

Do we as humans intentionally deceive ourselves, or is it something that happens unconsciously? “From within the hearts of men come every evil thought, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,” Mark 7:21. So, how do we obey 2 Cor. 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” How do we bring every thought into captivity if we can’t know our hearts? What about Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Several years ago we were introduced to some videos called Who Switched Off My Brain, by Dr. Carolyne Leaf. I laughed watching the videos. I am not sure she is an Adventist, but she sure quotes a lot of Ellen White almost word for word. Dr. Leaf specializes in working with people who have had traumatic brain injuries, car accidents, coma survivors, etc. It is amazing the research that she has done. She approaches science as backing up scripture, and explains exactly how your body and mind work and the connection between the two.

Several months ago I loaned the videos to a friend of mine. She is a medic and struggles with PTSD when she is working. She sent me a book called Switch On Your Brain, by Dr. Leaf. Since using this program she is not only PTSD free but she said that her anxiety, etc., is completely gone. How does this program work? I’m going to explain in my next blog post. Dr. leaf teaches you how to capture every thought and bring it into captivity to Christ. If you are interested in teaching your kids this as well, I highly recommend finding the book online and ordering it. It is well worth the read.

As we are advancing in our new beginnings, I look forward to sharing how to master each thought for Him.

Foundational Resources

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We have been reading so much about character training as the foundation of true education, and it has enjoyably become the bulk of our homeschool focus with teaching young children (and some parental retraining)….

I loved the analogy I read on another homeschool blog speaking of character formation in an illustration of how much a mother watches diligently over a child who is sick. The encouragement was for mothers to be as diligent to the formation of habits, just as they would tend to a sick child. What a perfect picture!

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“The lessons learned, the habits formed, during the years of infancy and childhood have more to do with the formation of character and the direction of the life than have all the instruction and training of years after,” CG 184.

Did you catch that? Character formation is the most important lesson we teach our children, and from babyhood is the best starting place. What a beautiful responsibility we have in this.

I’ve been collecting character training resources for a few years now, and am excited about a group we recently were able to start in our home which we call Character Club. My post today will be to share with you what’s on my bookshelf under this subject.

First, I want to talk about how grateful we are for the free resources from www.characterfirsted.com, which we use on a weekly basis. Our favorite Self-Control-Downloads(1)part is the Family Connection pages, which we use to remind ourselves of what we “will do” throughout the day to display that particular character. A while back I made a poster on self-control with pictures of choices displaying self-control and also those associated with acting out in anger. I then included pictures of what those particular choices would lead to: consequences or blessings. I have yet to take this poster down, because it has been an awesome regular visual aide for us all (and many visitors have shared they enjoyed the visual themselves)! Even my 2-year-old can walk you through it when I need to bring her to evaluate her choices.

Character-Sketch---open-bookset_250x250I appreciate the three volume set of Character Sketches from IBLP and their booklets, as well as coloring books. These have added a rich depth to each animal and character we have learned about. How beautiful is God’s book of nature! It’s not just for the children, but often I find I could spend several evenings reading these thick books like a good novel all on my own. I bought all three of mine used on Amazon, but paying full price online ($140 for the set) still would be worth it for the value and information you receive from each.

powerLastly, my new favorite book was given to me by a friend, and I literally almost sleep with this resource. The Power of True Success can be purchased on IBLP as well, or Amazon for $35, and you will be buying many copies of this book to share with friends of all ages. It’s a priceless resource and guide for homeschooling parents! It lists all 49 character qualities taught by Christ, alongside quotes, Scriptures, applications, and evaluations for a greater understanding in how to assimilate these characters into our life.

Lastly, I’d like to share another FREE resource that I only recently discovered that has been excellent in reinforcing and expanding what I’ve been doing to build character in our home. Section one of the Ten Principles of True Education from Sonlight Educational Ministries is titled “Character Building,” and it is motivational to say the very least! It brings you through an excellent study of the Mount of Blessings and the rich/foolish builders. What character are you building in your hearts and the hearts of your children each day? You can find it on their website under Google Drive link in their Downloads: http://www.sonlighteducation.com/downloads.html.

I’d like to think of myself as a character building enthusiast! And, I hope you find some resources that can aide you in restoring Christ’s character into your homeschool. That all being said, I’d like to add one more thing. Wherever we go, we are exhibiting either the character of God who created us or that of our carnal nature. I am praying more and more it will be the first and not the latter.

Blessings,

Allison

Homeschooling Resources: Moore McGuffey Readers

Moore McGuffey Readers

Reading can be a challenging subject to teach, and challenging for some children to learn.

Reading was a fairly easy subject for my oldest three children to learn. Frankly, I don’t think my oldest enjoys reading all that much, or maybe it’s just that he doesn’t take time to read (I think he’d rather watch videos/documentaries or play video games than read). My two middle children enjoy reading.

I used Reading Made Easy, by Valerie Bendt, for my oldest three. I worked on it some with my youngest, as well. I even purchased the activity books on CD for him. It just wasn’t “clicking” for him. So, we tried other resources, which did help him finally begin to grasp phonics, etc.

For extra reading practice, he is using the Moore McGuffey Readers. He is still in book 1, mainly because we forget to read from it every day!

Cathy Duffy states in her review of the Moore McGuffey Readers:

“This reading series covers a wide skill level span so it must be used at a slower pace than other readers. Readers have excellent discussion questions. You will want to use more reading material than what is included here to complete your program. This is an updated version of the Original McGuffey Readers that are published by Mott Media.

“The First Reader is suitable for first and second graders, and for some third graders. The Second Reader should be appropriate for third and fourth graders, although some third grade level students might not be ready yet for book 2 because of the level of the comprehension questions. It also increases significantly in difficulty from beginning to end. Most fifth graders will be able to handle the Third Reader. It should be used for two or more years, being suitable for fifth through eighth or ninth grade levels. The Fourth Reader is appropriate for students in grades 10 through 12.”

You can also watch a video review on YouTube, by Oikos Family Ministries, if you wish.

Each lesson contains the story to be read, followed by a list of vocabulary words, which may or may not be suitable for spelling words, as well. Beginning in the second book, there are also comprehension questions for each chapter.

This set of McGuffey Readers, edited and updated by the Moores, offers culturally acceptable accounts, better word lists, and questions that require more thought, while retaining the original paintings in color for the first two books and providing a strong cloth binding. (By the way, the book covers are all the same color; the above graphic does not portray the color accurately.)

The books can be purchased, as a set or individually (book 1, book 2, book 3, book 4), through the Moore Foundation, or can be found used on Amazon.

You can read my reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew on my blog at Life at Rossmont.

Homeschool Resources: Understanding the Body Organs and the Eight Laws of Health

Understanding the Body and the Eight Laws of Health

One of the recommended courses for high school is health, so I went searching for something to use for my 10th-grader. I came across Understanding the Body Organs and the Eight Laws of Health, by Celeste Lee.

The book is divided into two sections. The first section explains in a simple, concise way the body organs’ functions and how they relate to one another. The second section discusses GOD’S PLAN, an acronym for the eight laws of health, explaining each one along with the many benefits to you by following the entire plan.

There are also several appendices discussing eating between meals, hot and cold fomentations, steam bath, and vitamins; and providing alkaline and acid food charts.

Table of Contents
The Heart
The Lungs
The Digestive System
The Stomach
The Small Intestine
The Large Intestine
The Liver
The Gallbladder
The Pancreas
The Kidneys
The Bladder
The Glands
The Spleen
The Skin
The Brain
God’s Plan
God’s Sunshine
Open Air
Daily Exercise
Simple Trust
Proper Rest
Lots of Water
Always Temperate
Nutrition
Appendix 1: Eating Between Meals
Appendix 2: Alkaline-Acid Food Chart
Appendix 3: Hot And Cold Fomentations
Appendix 4: Steam Bath
Appendix 5: Vitamins

I believe it would be a good idea to supplement with other resources to make it a full one semester course for your high schooler. Perhaps some print-outs of the body organs as they are discussed would be helpful, or have your student draw his own copies. You could also have your student learn more about the NEW START Lifestyle through Weimar Institute. There are some videos to watch on the website, around 20-30 minutes each.

Understanding the Body Organs and the Eight Laws of Health is published by TEACH Services, Inc., and can be purchased on their website. I actually purchased my copy on Amazon.

You can read my reviews for the Schoolhouse Review Crew on my blog at Life at Rossmont.

Resources for Preparing for Baptism

Every year, for the past few years, we have received an invitation from our Conference youth director for my not-yet-baptized child to take a series of Bible studies by correspondence, to earn a free week at summer camp and participate in the baptism on Sabbath.

The first few times, I was hesitant, because I felt he was too young to attend camp. With his developmental delays and speech impairment, I didn’t feel comfortable with his going, either. The past couple years, I asked him if he wanted to try it. He told me he wanted to be 13 when he got baptized. But because of his learning disabilities, etc., I would prefer he attended junior camp rather than teen camp.

He turns 13 this summer! So I’d planned to enroll him in the Bible studies this past winter (January/February), when the invitation came. That way he could technically still be junior age for camp. It didn’t come before we went to Florida for “spring break” though, so we began making arrangements with the pastor at my parents’ church there. (We grew to appreciate him in autumn of 2014, while my dad was gravely ill, and even spent time in hospice).

There were some resources he suggested for my son to go through. I thought I’d share them with you, in case you are ready to help your child prepare for baptism. They would also be helpful, even if your child is already baptized.

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Our first resource, which we began using in January, was Making Jesus My Best Friend. It is the baptismal preparation resource for younger children (ages 8-10). It contains 10 lessons, covering such topics as: the Bible is God’s word; the Sabbath; the second coming; death; God’s judgment; and the New Earth. Each lesson has a story to read, followed by questions to answer. At the end of the book is a list of the baptismal vows, for either the parent or the pastor to go over with your child.

I purchased our copy through Amazon, for $8.99. You can also purchase it through the Adventist Book Center, for the same price.

We actually finished up this book while we were in Florida, so the pastor went over the baptismal vows with my son. He was well satisfied that my son seemed prepared for baptism, and we even considered having his baptism then (near Grandpa’s birthday), but my son decided to wait for our next visit back to Florida.

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The next resource the pastor suggested is Step by Step: Learning to Follow Jesus. It especially helps children understand the principles found in the book Steps to Christ. It contains 30 lessons, containing a Bible verse, a lesson to read, followed by teaching tips at the end of each lesson. Some of the topics covered are: we learn God loves us, why He loves us, what God is like, being sorry when we do wrong things, we can believe God’s promises, and we learn to trust God’s plan.

I found this on Amazon, as well, currently for $10.07. It’s also available at the Adventist Book Center, for $11.99.

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Our next resource is What We Believe: Seventh-day Adventists Believe for Kids. It serves as an introduction and summary of each of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist church, in simple, easy to understand language for children. Each lesson contains a Bible verse, a lesson to read, followed by teaching tips.

I purchased it through Amazon, also, for $9.99. It is temporarily out of stock on the Adventist Book Center website, but you may find it at your local ABC. It is listed at $11.99.

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Our final resource is God’s Ten Promises. It definitely helps children understand the Ten Commandments, and helps us look at them as promises, not a list of “do nots.” This book is written more in story form; we are introduced to a set of brother/sister twins who learn one summer, through a series of family worship sessions and life experiences about each of the Commandments. The book actually contains 12 lessons, covering each of the commandments, as well as an introduction and a summary. Each story is followed by teaching tips.

You can find it on Amazon, for $12.99. It appears to also be temporarily out of stock on the Adventist Book Center. It is listed at $15.99 there.

By the way, my son’s baptism is coming up in just a couple weeks!

Although these resources are written for children, the pastor also suggested I share them with a young man our family has recently become acquainted with, who is in his mid-twenties, and has begun studying to become a Seventh-day Adventist (from a Catholic background).

I hope you find these resources as helpful as we have.