When Animals Die

Our dear Izzy is gone. That big, awkward, loving St. Bernard is no more. How devastated we all have been. And, though she was new to us, she was not new to this pre-existing community. She has been a part of this family for many years. She was rescued and had been much-loved every since. We came into her life in her latter years, and only had the privilege of knowing her a short while. But, that time was precious and anticipated every day.

Often we would open our front door, only to discover Izzy sprawled across the porch making it impossible to get out. We would gently coax her to scooch over some so we could exit the house. She would always [slowly] comply. Every day we looked for this scrumptious beast and felt welcomed when she would verbally announce our arrival as she saw our van pulling up the driveway.

When we got the news that her owners had to put her down due to a fall that had gotten worse, it was a deep blow. We somehow became very attached to an animal that we barely knew. I think that is so easy to do with animals. There is a natural attraction to God’s domestic creation. Perhaps because they love us so. For the most part, they are easy to care for, they do not ask for much, and they think we are the best thing since sliced bread.

But, what happens to these dear creatures when the Earth is made new, when Jesus takes His redeemed to their eternal home? Will they be resurrected, or will they be destroyed with the wicked? These are questions that parents will be asked by young children who must know what will become of their beloved pets.

I do not have a for-sure answer of exactly how God will restore, in particular, His four-legged creation, but the Bible gives some hints of His heart toward animals.

“Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD,” Psalm 36:6 ESV.

“And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left — and also many animals?” Jonah 4:11 NIV.

And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth,” Genesis 9:9-10.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?” Luke 12:6.

These are only a few texts that gives us a glimpse of how our Father feels about animals. I cannot image that when we get to Heaven we will be nothing less than satisfied with God’s perfect way in the dealing with the animals that we held dear here on Earth. We can tell our children that God will do what’s best, and we will be glad.

My Vow to Train Up a Child

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As many of you know, we recently relocated to a new town. It is a very rural area; I guess you can say country. Our reason for moving from our former comfort zone had to do with my middle daughter desiring to join the choir at Great Lakes Adventist Academy, which meant she would need to desert the past 11 years of her homeschool life and begin attending Academy, a decision my husband and I prayed heavily about. We made the decision that she would attend as a village student, thus the move. We have been here a little over a month and I am beginning (once more) to sense my race. I hate to have to write about such a subject, but in the past 12 or so years, it has clearly become my reality. As I grapple with the thought that this issue is quite prevalent in the Christian church, it grieves my heart.

While this is a very true reality, not only in the past few churches we’ve attended and now in our new community, I have determined in my heart that my children will not be subject to such an ungodly mentality; the thinking that forces them to believe that because one is of a different color, race, or nationality, that some how they are inferior. I never want my children to think that God is a respecter of persons. If Jesus does not consider us less-than if our pigment shade has added melanin, then why should we? I do not allow my children to refer to people as white or black, Asian or Hispanic. They are allowed to describe people as tall, short, young, older, red hair, blue shirt, thick eyebrows, etc.

I realize that our perception of people begins from the cradle. Babies do not emerge from the womb knowing any difference in skin tone or race. I realize I have a solemn responsibility to train my children right, to make sure they know and understand that God died on that cruel cross for all man; red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in His sight.

And, though I am concluding in my own mind that this may be a thorn I will have to contend with until Christ returns, I will be certain that my children will always treat their fellow man as Christ would have them treat him. They will not see color, but the heart, the character, the soul.

I purpose to have many conversations about what they may experience in this life, and the very real fact that in this world of sin, they may be thought of as different because of their golden tone, but that that is no indication of how Christ thinks of them. They will know that though they may be treated differently because of the extra tight curly texture of their hair, that this in no way lessens Christ’s love for them. They will be confident of their value and worth in God’s eyes, though others may see them as odd, strange, or uncommon.

With God’s grace, I will do my best to relay to my children their infinite significance in the heart of a God who left the royal courts of a perfect Heaven to come to a sin-ladened, pitiful, wicked planet to save — even them.

Auditory Learning

I love to teach. Maybe I should say, I love to talk. I love to give instruction and see my children follow it and benefit from it. And, now that I think about it, I am sure Christ felt and feels the same way. When he began His brief public ministry, He taught many, and as a result, lives were changed. The interesting thing about how Jesus taught is that He used stories to appeal to the hearts of the people. Stories have an incredible way of digging into the souls of its listeners.

My children love to listen to stories. As a matter of fact, a large portion of our learning is done through audio dramas. I have discovered many excellent resources in auditory form. Here are just a few that we love:

Adventist History
Pathways to the Pioneers
Dramatized history of the Advent movement. Available free on
http://www.whiteestate.org/pathways/pioneers.asp
You can also purchase the 22-volume set.

American History
Living Principles of America
Powerful dramatizations about America’s greatest heroes, their patriotism and belief in God.  Brings to life George Washington, Daniel Boone, Susan B. Anthony, Booker T. Washington, and many others.

Your Story Hour
Dramatized history series
yourstoryhour.org

YWAM (Youth with a Mission) Heroes of History Audiobook
Excellent stories of missionaries and notable Christian figures.
http://www.ywampublishing.com/c-101-audiobooks-cd.aspx

Creation
Jonathon Park
Dramatized adventures of the Park and Brenan families captivate listeners of all ages while teaching the truth of biblical, six-day creation. Each adventure is based on real places and scientific discoveries.
jonathanpark.com

Bible
Your Story Hour
Dramatized stories of the book of Acts and the Life of Christ along with almost every story told in Scripture.

Bible in Living Sound
Dramatized audio Bible stories.
bibleinlivingsound.org

Character Building 
The King’s Daughter and other stories for girls audiobook by J.E. White
Beautifully read stories for girls which focus on character traits.
Available free on youtube.com.
You may also purchase the 4-cd set.

Your Story Hour
Dramatized stories teaching character-building traits.
yourstoryhour.com

Lamplighter Theatre
The greatest stories we’ve discovered over the past four years. Dramatized stories with strong Biblical lessons. A must listen!
http://lamplighter.net/c/
http://www.lamplightertheatre.com/
Audios available on Lamplighter site, Amazon and Ebay.

Fun
Eric B. Hare
Great engaging stories told by Burma missionary Eric B. Hare, always containing valuable lessons.
Available at adventistbookcenter.com and Amazon.

Pilgrim’s Progress
Dramatized allegory written by John Bunyan.

Christiana
Dramatized sequel to Pilgrim’s Progress.
Both available at orionsgate.org

Brinkman Adventures
Exciting radio show that tells true, modern, missionary stories through the fictional Brinkman family.
brinkmanadventures.com

**Your Story Hour can be heard for free at: http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/your-story-hour/listen/
There are a few months available of archives on the site. Each Sunday a new story is uploaded. They are also available on youtube.

Your local library also may have some of these or may be able to order them from a borrowing library. If they cannot be found in your library’s district consortium of libraries, you can ask your reference person to look them up on worldcat.org.

I hope this list is helpful. Please share others that you have used for your homeschool.

Advantages of Audio Adventures (from the Jonathon Park site):

“Audio adventures are a more powerful and effective alternative to video for pure entertainment because listeners continually create stories in their limitless imaginations.

“Audio adventures are a more robust way to bolster your children’s education because science shows that they activate the critical thinking side of the brain.

“Audio adventures spark creativity in your children’s minds, unlike video which puts the brain on ‘cruise control.’

“Audio adventures are inspirational because your children can create their own custom movies in their minds.

“Audio adventures offer more lasting value than video. Since they’re not limited by someone else’s imagination, your kids will want to listen to them over and over — each time offers something fresh and new!

“Audio adventures are so convenient: your family can listen to them in the car, while doing chores, enjoying fun activities, or when your kids are settling down for the night (a great alternative to TV).”

~Happy Listening

Interruptions

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We recently relocated to another state. The traveling back and forth to secure the new home, packing, and thereafter cleaning our former home covered the space of about a month. During such time I was concerned that we would fall behind in school, as the month of September was slipping away. Once we arrived at our new home, there was so much to do. The new place needed a little freshening up before we unloaded our items, as it had been vacant for some time. Though it was cleaned before we arrived, I needed to christen the walls with my own elbow grease. All the while I kept thinking, “School should have started.” Being a very seasoned homeschooler, I knew quite well that we are not necessarily on anyone’s time clock; however, there was a constant gnawing that would not let up.

The excitement of our new surroundings offered many excuses for not beginning academia right away. The property afforded significantly more trails for bicycle riding, the company of horses, a very affectionate St. Bernard, new neighbors to chat with, many more trees to climb, and unlimited space to run and discover new hideouts. I soon began to realize that this is one of the beauties of home education, even if it is the nearing of fall. School can officially begin when school officially begins. I was reminded that we would not receive a truancy slip if our year did not mimic the traditional system. In addition, I was comforted knowing that we maintain a modified school schedule throughout the summer months.

My anxiety began to melt as I marveled at all of the adventures my children were having in this foreign land. There was initial hesitation by my youngest two about dropping all that was familiar and moving to the unknown, but upon arrival all has changed. The children have adjusted quite nicely, as I anticipated they would. They have thoroughly enjoyed their first church service, though we have not settled on where our permanent church home will be as of yet.

As I reflect, there have been multiple pauses in our homeschool journey, with several pregnancies, coupled with unbearable morning sickness, followed by post-birth recovery, a most recent family health crisis, and a few out-of-state uprootings sprinkled in between. Life has happened to us time and time again, as it does us all, but the Lord has granted us the grace to roll with the billows.

As our lessons have finally gotten underway, I look through the windows of our new dwelling and find rest in this new setting the Lord has placed us in for such a time as this. There is a joy that sits beneath the surface of pondering being a little off track from our school “schedule.” But, my heart is warmed in watching my children bask in this new place we have have begun to call home.

“And my people shall dwell in peaceful habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places,” Isaiah 32:18.

A Field Trip Adventure

Just recently the children and I took a summer trip to the East Coast of the United States. My husband was unable to attend as he stayed home to work. We journeyed by car and covered five states on a 2 1/2 week adventure. We tried to see every site we could and visit family and friends, which wasn’t the easiest plan.

We were in town for a wedding, but extended the trip to make a vacation of the excitement the Eastern states offer. Our trip included walking the cobblestone streets in Williamsburg, Virginia; touring the avenues of Washington, D.C.; strolling through downtown Philadelphia; getting a personal peek into the vaulted safe at the Ellen G. White Estate located at our General Conference Office in Maryland; and lastly, attending several high school graduations with family in New Jersey.

Being able to experience so much history was without price. It’s one thing to read about it in books or watch it on a TV, and yet another to see it first-hand, up close and personal. The children were in awe, for instance, being in such close proximity to the White House.

Our time in Washington, D.C., was all done by foot. When we got to the city, we parked and walked for 10 straight hours. The children were exhausted by the end of the day, but were filled to the brim with vivid imagery. The Holocaust Museum was our 16-year-old’s favorite. We were unable to witness all of the exhibits, as our younger children had listened to the Hiding Place too many times, and imagined the worst. They would not enter beyond the lobby. At the Smithsonian Institution we visited the Natural History Museum and American History Museum. I had no idea that the Smithsonian was a cluster of museums, not just one. We were surprised that there was such a smorgasbord, which made it hard to decide where to land. The view of the White House was a little disappointing, as there was so much activity in front of the gate, it posed a bit of a distraction; but, all in all, we loved it.

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In the City of Brotherly Love, my son was intrigued at the Rocky Balboa statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Lincoln Memorial was also a real treat. The Bureau of Engraving and Printing was another interesting site. To see the actual money we spend each day being printed from sheets of paper was quite fascinating. Our two younger children had the opportunity to participate in a simulated recruitment of the Continental Army. It was a hoot. Additionally, historic Philadelphia offers a free program called Once Upon a Nation, which provides storytelling benches scattered throughout the Colonial section of town.  A storyteller shares a brief glimpse into Philadelphia’s past with excitement and humor.

At our General Conference Office in Maryland, aside from the beautiful White Estate tour from in the basement, another favorite site was the depiction of the Story of Redemption displayed by a very talented artist. The pictures tell the story along the walls covering the majority of the inside of the building. We had a great tour guide and even ran into Janet Page, whom I had only conversed with by phone. She’s given many talks on prayer which can be heard on Audioverse and YouTube. It was a treat for the kids and me to be able to pray with her and receive many prayer materials to bring back to our local church.

My kids have always loved C.D. Brooks. Though they never met him in person, I would often play his sermons in the background during school time. So, it was no coincidence that his funeral ended up being on the very day we were scheduled to attend the wedding. We stopped by the viewing to pay our respects, then enjoyed a lovely wedding celebration. It still seems strange attending a funeral and wedding within the same day, but the Lord knows…

The children and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. On top of all of the touring, we were privileged to stay with an Indian host family where we learned so much. Anitha is not only a wonderful hostess, but an exceptional cook. We joined their family in early morning worship before her husband went off to work. We learned loads about Indian cooking, culture and the church.

We look forward to our next trip to places we’ve only read about in books — to hear, see, touch, smell, and taste all that the Lord has created with and without man’s hands is always a treat.