2/25/15

The Unveiled Wife, A Book Review


Through a happy turn of events, I was able to get on a team to review the book, The Unveiled Wife. I was excited about doing this because my husband and I had recently been to the marriage conference, Love After Marriage, which had completely transformed our life and our marriage. One of the interesting aspects of Love After Marriage is how the leaders emphasize honesty and vulnerability; the principle of not hiding things from your spouse.

After this conference, my perspective on marriage ministry was changed. It was no longer just about following some nice rules- wives respect, husbands love, but it was about letting the Holy Spirit lead us into a deeper level of intimacy and reconciliation.

Enter the book, The Unveiled Wife. It was beautifully written in the same vein as the marriage conference we had attended. Here was an author, Jennifer Smith, who was willing to expose the deepest levels of shame and pain that she had experienced in her marriage so that other marriages could be helped. She addressed some of the very tough issues that marriages face; issues such as sexual intimacy, pornography, and financial stresses. Not only does she address these issues, but in an achingly vulnerable way, she addresses them by sharing her own experience with these various crisis.

Some of the issues that she talked about were issues that we had battled with first hand in our own marriage; finally there was an author who could understand the trauma that happens in a marriage when communication breaks down and when our own methods of numbing our pain, inevitably dump salt in these already tender wounds.  Not only could she understand, but the hope and healing that she and her husband had experienced, confirmed my belief that with God, all things are possible.

Another aspect of the book that was so similar to Love After Marriage, was Jennifer's realization that her childhood wounds had affected her marriage. In The Unveiled Wife, she comes to realize that the events that had happened while she was a little girl, had affected her adult life in profound ways. This is a principal that I believe God is revealing to His worldwide body so that we as Christians can enter into greater levels of freedom as believers.

The Unveiled Wife, by Jennifer Smith, is a lovingly transparent story that is filled with hope, as well as being an incredibly helpful resource for marriages everywhere.

Click here to read the first chapter for free. 


About The Book:

Discover the deeper, closer connection your heart has been longing for!
As a young bride, Jennifer Smith dreamed of closeness with her husband—of being fully known and loved. But their early years together were marked by disappointment and pain. What am I doing wrong? Jennifer cried out to God. Why is this happening to us? It was as if a veil divided Jennifer from her husband, and from God—a barrier that kept her from seeing clearly and experiencing the fullness of love.
How did Jennifer’s marriage survive? What did she and her husband do when they were tempted to call it quits? And how did God step in during their darkest hour to tear down the veil once and for all?
The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story, one touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair in your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Join Jennifer to learn how God can remove your own veil and lovingly guide you to a place of spiritual transformation, true intimacy, and lasting joy.
“Whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away….” 2 Cor. 3:16


2/17/15

Homegrown With Children

I have always loved gardening. It could stem from spending my early childhood on a farm, where my siblings and I would race through acres of peas, harvesting a few for a snack, or, crouched together in the weeds, watch our mother gather in wispy stalks of dillweed.

Even as a young wife, we had a garden. My strong husband gathered chunks of broken concrete from the side of the road that we proceeded to fashion into a patio, complete with a beautiful slab of harvested granite that we used for a bench. Soon, baby tears and moss filled the cracks and a lovely plum tree grew in the corner of the small, fenced in yard.

Whether we lived in a condo, a suburb or on sprawling country acreage, we grew a garden. It might have been simply a few pots on a terrace, but always we have grown a little patch of food and flowers.


It has been natural to involve my children in the process. Sometimes it is a chore in exchange for a reward; "You fill up this bucket with weeds, and then you can swim", are words I have uttered many times. Sometimes though, their excitement about the process takes over and they stake a claim on a spot of land in order to plant some of their own seeds.


Seed planting time is upon us again. For a fraction of the cost of buying plants at a nursery, I can start tomatoes, peppers and eggplants from seed, so that when the days get long and warm, the plants are ready to put in the ground. My two youngest children saw the box of seed packets come out of the cupboard and eagerly joined in the fun.



I used empty egg cartons as planters for them. The type made from paper are ideal, as they will simply dissolve when planted, leaving the roots of the small plant undisturbed. The foam carton is fine also though, it will just take a bit more finesse to transplant.

I had some extra seeds which I gave them to plant. Some years, I will let my children start a variety of seeds, but with the time we had available I simply gave them each one type. They may have shared a little which will make the sprouting a fun mystery. I think I can tell cilantro and chamomile apart. I hope.


We typically plant open-pollinated seeds. This means they are not GMO. This also means that I can save my seeds and replant next year. I often have squash and tomatoes volunteer from previous years,  and my poolside becomes a small jungle of cherry tomatoes which have volunteered from previous years.

The only caution on using open pollinated seeds is that my squashes seem to be cross breeding. I started the year with zucchinis and pumpkins and by the next year I had a strange monster of a cross that we nicknamed pumpkini and promptly shredded for zucchini bread. We also planted melons and cucumbers but then ended up with some strange, sweet vegetable that looked like an oversized armenian cuke.



Aside from the discovery of new breeds of vegetables, there are so many benefits to be gained while gardening as a family. My children love vegetables. They love tiny carrots fresh from the dirt, and home dug potatoes, discovered like buried treasure. We learn to work as a team, and we see the wonder of Creation on display in so many lovely details.

Gardening can be hard work, but it is work that is so rewarding, and the rewards multiply when you have a few small friends to work with.

Our favorite seed companies;
Bountiful Gardens

Peaceful Valley Farms

A Great Book on Gardening With Children-
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children 

This post contains affiliate links.





2/11/15

Hearts and Pom-Poms



I love holidays, but I am no Pinterest mom. I like the idea of crafting with my kids and enjoying celebrations, but I am honestly not interested in adding the work of elaborate preparations, nor the expense of elaborate decorations, to my already full life.

          
             

This year, we have tried to make Valentine's day special with a few small celebrations. A pink drink party with cookies and popcorn, a crafting time, and a special story are all small ways that we have made this grey month a little, well, pinker.


                

The funny thing about crafting is that even the big kids, and the grandma, when faced with a table full of glitter glue, pom-poms and doily hearts, got excited about joining in. Crafting and creating is a sweet, media free way to spend quality time with the ones you love. It doesn't have to be elaborate. Just put out the supplies and let imagination take over.

            



Or Pinterest. I did let my little girl look up Valentine's cards on Pinterest and the one that got her really excited was the buggy crown. After she was finished, she gave it to her little brother, who promptly declared that he was ant-man. I don't know what cute little ladybugs and bees have to do with a super hero, but it made sense to him.

        

Celebrations don't have to be hard. This year was pretty simple. Dollar Store craft supplies and Trader Joe's heart shaped cookies with pink grapefruit soda were the high points of our celebration, but it was indeed a very fine celebration.

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day?
This is how one of my favorite writers celebrates. Simple and Fun, Flower Patch Farmgirl

Sharing with Casey Leigh's link up



2/5/15

Fun With Early American History

In our homeschool this year we have been studying Early American History. We have created bows and arrows while learning about Native Americans and cooked over an open fire. We sculpted clay maps of the United States and made tiny walnut shell boats. 


We studied about the Revolutionary War and the children learned how to sing The Shot Heard Round The World. We have also read some wonderful books. These are a few of our favorite books this year.

               In 1492

 



   

There are many other Early American History books that we love, such as Carry On Mr Bowditch and the Little House on the Prairie series but we are skipping those this year to read a few books that we haven't read in a while.



We have also been working on our timeline, both our hallway wall timeline and the book that my 3rd grade daughter is keeping. We love the Homeschool in the Woods timeline figures. They are well done black and white line drawings which are easy to color. Timeline work is a great task to keep kids listening while I read aloud. I also have the children color or draw pictures for their narration sheets.

 
For our project day we joined with a few other families to create tin can lanterns in honor of Paul Revere. Unfortunately, I didn't read the instructions very well. After our project day, I read the above post which suggested emptying your tin can of the contents, filling it with water and then freezing it so that when you go to poke the holes the can doesn't collapse like ours did. 

              

We also drew silhouettes of the children, which was also a bit harder than I had imagined! Try keeping a 6 year old boy still while you draw their profile. Not easy. This is a good project with girls. Older girls. Oh, and make sure you buy 11X17 paper because fitting a child's entire head onto a regular size sheet of construction paper is also a bit difficult.



One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is reading to my children and talking about books. I get to sit and sip coffee and we all get to learn about new people and places. On the flip side, projects are not my favorite aspect, which is why I try really hard to find people to co-op with so my children can learn from other mothers who are hopefully more creative than myself.


                 

History is my favorite subject to teach, I love learning about the past with my children and through the use of maps and timelines, connect people and stories with their place in time. There are many things to love about homeschooling, and learning history with my children is one of them.

This post contains affiliate links.

What are your favorite resources for teaching history?