Friday, October 31, 2008

A Biblical View of Halloween

Years ago, when I was a young mother, I dressed up my little sweeties in cute costumes and took them to a few neighbor's houses so they could "trick or treat," like all of the other neighborhood children. Later, I became a bit more "enlightened," so I took them to "Halloween Alternative" Parties at church on October 31st, where they could get bags full of candy in a "more Christian way."

However, one Halloween about 16 years ago, a friend shared with me a tape by evangelist John Muncy, which pierced my heart and changed my view of Halloween forever! Wanting to revisit that discussion, I recently discovered a booklet called The Tricks and Treats of Halloween by John Muncy that is available as a Free Download. I highly recommend this booklet, if you really want to get a Biblical view of Halloween, as time and space will only allow me to skim the surface here.

Over the years, the celebration of Halloween has exploded. According to my research, it is now the second most celebrated holiday in America! Halloween specialty shops have opened up in cities all over the US, where people can buy their ghoulish paraphernalia. I'm amazed at how many people go "all out" in decorating their houses and yards, even using orange "Christmas" lights to light up their houses for October 31st. Not just children, but teens and even adults, celebrate Halloween by dressing up in a variety of costumes, going to haunted houses, having wild parties and pulling pranks.

A Halloween bonfire

A little bit of research into the history of Halloween is very enlightening. Its pagan origins can be traced all the way back to the worship of Baal, while most of the practices come from the ancient Celts and Druids. Halloween has deep roots in the ancient Celtic tribes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany. On October 31, the Celtic tribes would celebrate the festival of Samhain, the lord of the dead. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead -- including ghosts, goblins, and witches -- returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would light bonfires (from "bone fires"), into which bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown to ward off evil spirits. Costumes and masks were also worn at the festivals in an attempt to pacify the evil spirts.

The term "Halloween" is shortened from "All Hallows' Even", as it is the eve of "All Hallows' Day", which is also known as All Saints' Day. It was a day of religious festivities in various northern European Pagan traditions, until Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the old Christian feast of All Saints' Day from May 13th to November 1st. This was quite common -- as Christianity spread across Europe, many Christian holidays were moved to dates that coincided with pagan holidays. The intent was to counter pagan influences and provide Christian alternatives; however, the result was the "Christianization" of pagan rituals. Thus, Samhain was absorbed into Halloween.

Most Christians today don't take the time to learn about the symbolism behind popular Halloween icons. For instance, the "Jack-o-Lantern" comes from an old Irish legend about a poor man named Jack, who died and was turned away from heaven because of his sins, but was also barred from hell because he had tricked the devil. Because it was so dark, he begged for a lamp to light his way, and the devil threw him a flaming coal from the fires of Hell. Jack put the coal inside of a turnip, and was condemned to wander the earth with his Jack-o-Lantern, perpetually searching for rest for his spirit. Many Irish today still light candles in turnips to ward off evil spirits. Because pumpkins are more plentiful in North America and easier to carve than turnips, most Jack-o-Lanterns in the US are made out of pumpkins.

In addition to its pagan origins, modern Halloween observances glorify Satan and the dark things of this world, rather than glorifying Jesus, who is the light of the world. They also throw open the doors to many occult practices, which are clearly forbidden in Scripture.

Consider the warning found in Deuteronomy 18:10-14:

"There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do."

It is common for Christians today to read through these verses without batting an eye, because we are unfamiliar with these terms. The booklet by John Muncy clearly defines each of these terms and shows how Halloween incorporates all nine of the forbidden practices! Also, it is important to emphasize that the passage above states that "all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord." God does not take involvement in these acitivies as "innocent" or "harmless fun." He says these occult practices are disgusting, detestable and deplorable to Him!

I love what John Muncy says -- A Christian celebrating Halloween makes about as much sense as a Jew celebrating Hitler's birthday!!

In this Halloween greeting card from 1904, divination is depicted:
the young woman looking into a mirror in a darkened room
hopes to catch a glimpse of the face of her future husband. -- from Wikipedia

So what's a Christian to do? Many Christians, having recognized the evil in observing Halloween, have embraced Halloween Alternatives, like I did as a young mother. However, I have come to believe that these aren't the best approach for Christians either. Consider the following article which I discovered while doing my research:

Are "Harvest Parties" for Christians?
originally published in the Colorado Christian News, October 1995(author's name not published)

"What are you doing for Halloween?" Ask a Christian parent this question, and be prepared to hear an answer like, "Nothing! We don't celebrate Halloween." Thunder crashes, and you creep away, embarassed for even asking.

"What are you doing ON Halloween?" Ask the same parent this slightly altered question, and their whole manner and response brightens. "Why," they begin, as birds begin to sing and sunshine breaks through the cumulus clouds. "We're all going to the Harvest Party at church!" A choir sings. A trumpet sounds. You feel privileged just knowing these saints.

Let's take a look at the typical Harvest Party.
It is a celebration.
It is chaperoned (usually).
It may have costumes.
Games are played.
Contests are held.
Food abounds.
Music blares.
Everyone enjoys themselves.

Certainly, nothing to get concerned about, right? The problem, however, lies in the billing. The Harvest Party is usually referred to as the Christian alternative to traditional Halloween hijinx. Alternative, however, implies substitute. It assumes our children need something to take the place of Halloween, since they won't be participating in the secular and pagan celebrations. It suggests our kids are missing out on something. And indeed they are, if we allow them to spend Halloween in celebration.

If we are to train our children to be soldiers in the army of Christ, why would we sign a pass for them to go on leave when the battle is escalating on the front lines?

As a child of four, I contacted the first of many spirit guides (read: demons) while playing with a Kindergarten classmates' ouija board at a chaperoned Halloween party. This spiritual assault ignited an intrigue with the supernatural that culminated in my lifestyle as a practicing witch: divination, necromancy, channeling, astrology, psychic ability, and spell working. It wasn't until I was twenty that I met the real Jesus Christ, and was released from the trap that Satan had set for this young prisoner of war sixteen years earlier.

There are too many casualities on Halloween and far too few troops fighing the enemy. Instead of partying on Halloween, teach your children how to fight. Keep them aware that the fight isn't against occultists, non-Christians, Christians who feel differently than we about Halloween, or institutions that promote Halloween, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers or darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).

How do we teach our children to wrestle spiritually?

Discourage them from participating in traditional Halloween activities (2 Timothy 2:4). Then tell them why.

Encourage them to pray on a regular, daily basis (Ephesians 6:18).

Let them know first hand the power that we have in prayer. All Christians should know how to fight on their knees.

Remind them to be alert and self-controlled (1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:6).

Give them the discipline of knowing it is their responsibility to keep watch. They, themselves, might also become casualties in the war.

Make certain they are prepared for battle (Ephesians 6:11). Do they know the truth? Stand on the Word of God? Have faith? Know the gospel? Are they righteous? Are they saved?…

Instead of celebrating, what's a Christian to do on Satan's feast day? PRAY! Intercession and spiritual warfare should be the first item on our agenda. It is NOT a last resort!

Join with other families in the church. Have the pastor announce a night of spiritual battle.

Organize a group of Christians parents and students from your children's school or homeschool group. As a family, designate the seven nights before October 31 as Family Prayer Outreach nights.

Pray for protection. Pray over both those who engage in prayer warfare and over those who will be out trick-or-treating or at Halloween parties. October 31 is a prime recruiting time for witches and Satanists…and a time for interested kids to experiment. Pray that the Lord keeps our kids from falling prey to those who worship the enemy.

Pray for discernment. Let the Holy Spirit direct you to specific prayer requests. Pray that the children who are "out there" will somehow "know" to keep away from certain activities. I have relatives who, even though they were not Christians, "knew" that ouija boards and levitation games were dangerous.

Pray that the Lord hinder the occult rituals. For four years, I lived in a building which over looked a cemetery where occult ceremonial markings were often found. ON certain occult feast days, usually between midnight and 3am, I would look down into the darkness and kneel at my window binding the demons that controlled the ceremonies. I'll never know this side of heaven what effect my prayers had. Maybe a potential sacrifice escaped. Maybe the occultists weren't successful in summoning their demon. Maybe a new, young recruit decided that this was not the lifestyle he thought he wanted.

Pray for the salvation of the occultists. Jesus Christ died for those whom Satan holds captive and deceived, for those who mock Him, who deny His deity or His existence. He doesn't want them to perish, but to come to Him calling Him Father, Lord. Pray the veil is lifted from their eyes, the Lord allows them to see clearly their spiritual condition and their only hope lies in Jesus Christ.

Pray also, about whether the Lord would have you take a more active role in bringing the gospel to Satan's servants.

Let your children know that this is effective warfare. They must know their prayers are heard and acted on by our Father. Let them know they can make a difference. Come October 31, they'll know they have a job to do.

This post linked up with:


Growing Home

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An Investment Opportunity with Guaranteed Growth Potential

During these difficult economic times, many people worry about the stock market and are fearful because they see their investments losing value. Fortunately, God has given us some great investment advice, which holds true regardless of whether the economy is booming or experiencing a downturn. This investment counsel is found in Matthew 6:19-21:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

Some dear friends of ours, the Johnson Family, understand these verses more deeply than many folks. They have chosen to lay up treasure in heaven by investing in the life of a severely handicapped boy who is considered Worthless in his homeland of Russia. They live in a modest home, made crowded by a large family, yet they have been willing to make things a little tighter by opening their home and their hearts to an orphan from Russia.

This young man, named Misha, suffers from a birth disorder called Arthrogryposis. This crippling disease renders his arms and legs severely twisted and basically useless. However, medical procedures available in the US can provide him with a chance for a somewhat normal life. When the Johnsons learned that Misha needed an American family to sponsor him for the surgery and six month recuperation, they pondered the logistics of the situation and prayed for wisdom. When God moved on their hearts and gave them an overwhelming desire to help Misha, they proceeded with plans for getting Misha from Russia to the US.

Fifteen year old Misha arrived in the US on September 24th and was immediately welcomed into the Johnson Family with open arms! He has become a part of their daily family life and has thrived in the fertile soil of their loving home, where his quick mind and amazing sense of humor have been allowed to blossom. And yet, because of his physical deformities, if he returns to Russia, this bright boy will be considered a "blight to society" and will live the remainder of his life in an insane asylum!

The Johnsons fervently desire to adopt Misha and to make him a permanent part of their family, while hopefully, eventually helping him to become a part of God's family as well!!

Adopting Misha will require nearly $27,000 and time is running out. Misha turns 16 on May 9th, and international adoptions are not allowed after the age of 16. That means, if Misha's adoption is not completed by this date, then he will be sent back to Russia, where he will be placed in an insane asylum for the rest of his life.

It is really hard to wrap your mind around that concept. After telling my children about Misha, their young hearts were moved with compassion for him and they wanted to know what they could do to help. We have set up a "Help Misha fund" where they can contribute as the Lord prompts them. For now, it has been agreed that all dryer change will be added to the jar and they are going to put part of their weekly "Checklist Money" in there. We have been discussing other ways that we can work to collect money for Misha.

If your heart has been touched at all, I encourage you to visit the Johnson Family's blog so you can learn more about this precious young man and how you might be able to Help Misha.

"Pure religion and undefilied before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." -- James 1:27.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dirt Roads

"What's mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved. There's not a problem in America today -- crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency . . . that would not be remedied if we just had more Dirt Roads, because Dirt Roads give character. People that live at the end of Dirt Roads have learned early on that life is a bumpy ride. That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it's worth it, if at the end is home . . .a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog.

We wouldn't have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along. There was less crime in our streets before they were paved. Criminals didn't walk two dusty miles to rob or rape, if they knew they'd be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun. And there were no drive by shootings.

Our values were better when our roads were worse!! People did not worship their cars more than their kids, and motorists were more courteous, they didn't tailgate by riding the bumper . . . or the guy in front would choke you with dust and bust your windshield with rocks. Dirt Roads taught patience. Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly, you didn't hop in your car for a quart of milk; you walked to the barn for your milk. For your mail, you walked to the mail box. What if it rained and the Dirt Road got washed out? That was the best part, then you stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony rode on Daddy's shoulders and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap. Most paved roads lead to trouble. Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole. At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August, because if we didn't some neighbor would fill it with too many zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road there was always extra springtime income, from when city dudes would get stuck, you'd have to hitch up a team and pull them out. Usually you got a dollar . . . always you got a new friend . . at the end of a Dirt Road."

--- Paul Harvey

This was quoted in our church bulletin last Sunday. We go to a little Baptist church in the country. It's a simple church that is surrounded by many dirt roads and attended by a few cotton and peanut farmers.

Before moving to Southwest Georgia, I knew very little of dirt roads! I admit to being a city slicker, who is still trying to adjust to rural life in the DEEP South!!!

But now, I know the Blessing of Dirt Roads!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eventful Weekend

We had an Eventful and Emotionally Exhausting Weekend. I'm just now finding the time to sit down and write about all that happened.

Friday evening, we traveled about an hour away to see our sons play football. Alan's sister, Janet, who was here visiting from Virginia, came with us to help cheer the Sherwood Eagles to victory! Here is a picture of Janet and me at the game, followed by a picture of the team.

It was an Exciting first half, and our boys went to the locker room with a commanding 19-7 lead. Unbelievably, they managed to squander that lead and ended up losing the game 41-19. It was a very tough loss to a team they should have beaten. Heartbreaking -- for players and fans alike.

I think the main reason for their demise was the collapse of their head coach during the second quarter. After he was taken away by ambulance, the team lost its focus and just fell apart.

"Coach Rock" is suffering from cancer, and shouldn't even be coaching, according to his doctors, but he is not the type to just sit down and die. He will fight to the end, and he will coach football to the end. Just prior to Friday night's game, Coach Rock had been featured in a 3 part series called, An Immovable Rock, by our local Fox News station. You will definitely be blessed to view this special series on Coach Rock, his family, his faith, and his fight with cancer. You will also get to see my son, Taylor, who was interviewed on part 2.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

It was an emotional night for everyone, seeing the coach collapse and be taken away in an ambulance, and watching the team self-destruct before our eyes. Also, Taylor injured his groin early in the game, but played through the pain. It was hard to see him in pain, and it was a long ride home for him, but some ice, some Advil, and a good night's sleep, did wonders for him.

We got home from the game about midnight Friday, and by 8 am Saturday, we were on the road again, headed for LaGrange, Georgia. My husband and I took Taylor to LaGrange College on a recruiting visit, where we joined a few other football players and their parents for a tour of the campus and the football facilities, a meal in the dining hall, and a Q&A time with the coaches. We were also given tickets to the LaGrange football game, which was fun, but lasted forever. I think I'm "footballed out"!! It was also a long day, which evoked a lot of mixed emotions for me as I thought about Taylor going away to college next fall and playing collegiate football somewhere . . .

We did enjoy our visit to LaGrange College though. A small liberal arts college with a beautiful, historic campus, LaGrange is situated on a hilltop in the heart of a small city by the same name. We were also impressed with the state of the art facilities for its young football team.

After the football game, while talking with the coaches, we received a phone call saying that Alan's Mom, who is 82 and lives in a little cottage behind our house, had fallen in the shower and that Janet had taken her to the ER. We quickly headed for home and wished we weren't 2 1/2 hours away . . .

When we got home, we discovered that "Mum Mum" had broken her leg in the fall. She was scared and in a lot pain. Monday morning, she was seen by an orthopedic doctor, and we learned that she has a spiral fracture of the fibula. She is now in a cast and not allowed to put any weight on that leg for the next 6-8 weeks. That means she is in a wheelchair and will require help with every aspect of her self-care. In other words, my responsibilites have just increased exponentially . . .

If the Lord leads, please pray for her, and for my husband and me, as we all work through this new challenge . . .

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Fun

Sunday was my favorite kind of day -- sunny, Carolina blue skies, 70 degrees F, with a cool breeze. So after church and Sunday dinner, I took the children over to Mark's Melon Patch for some old fashioned Fall Fun! There were hay rides, a corn cannon, a dunking booth, a moon walk, a group singing southern gospel style hymns, and pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes.

Here are some pictures from our Perfect Fall Day at the Pumpkin Patch!

Matt and Bethany picking the perfect pumpkin.

Christopher shows his "strength"!

Tiffany (23) among the sunflowers

Hannah - age 11 1/2

Bethany - age 4

Christopher - age 13

Luke - age 10

Matthew - age 6

Luke, Hannah, Christopher, Matt and Bethany

Tiffany and Matt

the Hayride

Luke, Tiffany, Chris, Hannah, Bethany, Matt

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cultivating a Love of History and Literature

For as long as I can remember, I have loved books and reading. For the past 23 years I have been cultivating a love of reading in my children.

When my oldest child was a toddler, I read children's books to her by the hour, until she had them all memorized and would stop me if I left out a single word! When she got a little older, we started reading "chapter books". Our early favorites were the Box Car Children Mysteries and The Little House Books. Later, we read the Grandma's Attic series, the Mandie series, The Bobbsy Twins, The Happy Hollisters, Horatio Alger and Oliver Optic books, books by Louisa May Alcott, many Childhood of Famous American's books, and many other biographies of missionaries and great Americans.

Through the years, we have spent many hours cuddled up in my bed or the childrens' beds, snuggled up on the couch, or just sitting around the meal table enjoying a book together. Often, I nursed a baby while reading aloud. Sometimes, I read the children to sleep, but more often, I read myself to sleep! Currently, I try to sneak in bites of food while reading to the children during our lunch break.

I have recently realized that my younger 5 children (ages 4 to 13) have not heard or enjoyed many of the books that I read aloud to my older 5 children (ages 14-23). So, we are starting over! I am re-reading some of the great books I read to my older children when they were young. Currently, I am re-reading The Light and the Glory by Peter Marshall and David Manuel. I had forgotten how much I loved that book! Interestingly, I was reading that book 13 years ago when I was pregnant with my son, Christopher. He was born on October 1st, but his due date was October 12th -- Columbus Day. While reading about Christopher Columbus and learning that his name meant "Christ-bearer", we decided to name our son, Christopher, in hopes that he would live up to the meaning of that name.

I also believe that our reading times influenced my oldest son, Taylor (18), who loves History and hopes to major in History and Political Science. He did not read on his own until he was 8 years old, but he listened to many great books prior to that time, which fed his rich imagination. He loved stories of the great frontiersman, such as Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. As soon as reading "clicked" for him, he started reading chapter books, such as Box Car Children Mysteries and Childhood of Famous Americans.

Then when he was ten, his love of history exploded. I never knew why, until reading this essay, which he wrote last week for a college admission essay:

The Gift

Childhood birthdays typically bring gifts that are soon outgrown and discarded; however, one gift I received was different.  When I turned ten, my grandmother gave me a computer game called Civil War Generals.  I thought at the time, "Oh, that will be fun to play."  Not only did I enjoy playing the game, but battlefields arrayed wtih Union and Confederate troops fascinated me.  When I managed to beat the game after a couple of months, I thought that was the end of that.  Little did I realize that this circular piece of software would change my life forever.

Suddenly, history captivated me. I would spend hours reading about Civil War heroes, such as Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jeb Stuart – all of whom I had encountered on my computer screen. Late into the night, I sat in bed reading until my eyes grew so weary that I had to sleep. When I wasn’t reading about these great men and their exciting exploits, I was acting out their battles with my brothers in the back yard.

My interest spread from the Civil War to other wars, like World War II, the American Revolution, the Alamo, Vietnam, the War of 1812, and the French and Indian war. Then, my love of war expanded to every facet of American history. Instead of asking for the usual array of toys and games for birthdays and at Christmas, I began asking for biographies and history books, so I could learn more about the men I admired and their adventures.

These heroes captured my imagination and ignited in me a love for my country. I was inspired by their courage in the face of death. Consider Patrick Henry, who stood and said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Then there was Nathan Hale, who became a spy for his country, knowing that if he were caught, he would be executed. There was also defiance of death, like when Custer was surrounded by the Sioux at Little Big Horn, and he stood unmoved as he was killed by the berserk Indian hordes. I longed to be brave and courageous like these men. Their devotion to the causes they believed in inspired me to become patriotic and passionate about my country. I even wished that I had been born to a previous generation, so that I could have been a part of the wars that were fought to keep our country free.

As I headed into high school, my love of history continued to grow. While I wanted to make A’s in all of my classes, I wanted to do more than that in my History classes. I had to know every answer; I could not miss a single test question. I wanted to know all the stories that make up our history. What happened? What was the cause and effect? How did it change the world?

Now, as I prepare to graduate from high school, history still captivates my mind and drives my interests beyond the school day. That is why I know I must study history in college and beyond. I want to learn as much as I can about our nation’s history and to visit as many historical sites as I can. I want to see where Pickett led that fatal charge. I want to see where 55 men put their name to a document that changed our destiny. I want to see where two lamps hung as riders went to warn the colonists of the approaching British. I want to see the beaches where Americans died to defeat the Nazi regime. I want to know what made America great, and then share my passion with the next generation, so they, too, can enjoy the gift I received when I was ten – a love of America and her history.

I love that essay, because it gives me a window into his soul! It also explains why he has spent the last ten years reading every Landmark History, GA Henty, and every other history book that he could get his hands on!! It also illustrates another way I've helped instill a love of history and literature in my children -- by having well stocked book shelves!!! :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chocolate Trifle

The Chocolate Trifle was such a success at the church dinner that I decided I would post the recipe. It is very easy to make, delicious to eat, and has an appealing presentation:

1 fudge brownie mix
3 small packages instant chocolate pudding mix
1 12 oz. container Cool Whip, thawed
6 Heath bars, crushed

Prepare brownie mix, according to package directions. Let cool and crumble.

Prepare pudding according to package directions, but do not chill.

Put 1/3 of crumbled brownies in bottom of 3 quart trifle dish. Top with 1/3 each of chocolate pudding, cool whip and crushed Heath bars. Repeat layers two more times, ending with crushed Heath bars on top.

Chill 8 hours, if possible. Serve and Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Super Hero Saturday

Somehow I've gotten the wrong idea about weekends. I've always envisioned weekends as a time to obtain a much needed break from the grueling work/school week, a time for tackling those occasional larger projects, and a time for fitting in some much needed rest and relaxation. Obviously, I'm not a member of the Cheaper by the Baker's Dozen Family, where they believe in Working on Saturdays!!!

In reality, my typical Saturday is packed so full that it requires the strength and endurance of some kind of super hero just to survive it!

Take this Saturday for example -- even though we were out late the night before, I was in the shower by 6:30 and out the door by 7:30 am, taking my son, Josh, to work at the YMCA. Before anyone else even realized I was gone, I had picked up a few items at the grocery store and come home and made a big breakfast for everyone -- homemade biscuits, eggs, and sausage. (I wish I had a picture of those mouth-watering biscuits!! You'll just have to do the old-fashioned thing and imagine them!) This breakfast was greeted with great enthusiasm by my husband and my big hungry boys. :)

After breakfast, the fellas devoured the daily newspaper, while I tackled the mess in the kitchen and sent the younger children to clean up their rooms.

Then my husband rounded up the shaggy-haired boys and took them to the barber for haircuts, while my oldest daughter, Tiffany, grabbed up the sales ads and left for some "retail therapy." While relishing the relative peace and quiet, I directed the remaining children at home to tackle their chores. Then, I rotated between answering emails, dividing and dubbing some BJ HomeSat classes onto DVDs, changing over the washer and dryer, folding laundry, and working on a SAMS list.

By then it was lunch time and I made up some bean burritos and set out the tortilla chips and salsa for my hungry crew.

After eating lunch, my husband took my son Josh golfing, so they could spend some quality, father-son time together! The other boys were watching football or playing with legos, and Bethany was resting on my bed, so Tiffany and Hannah and I "sneaked away" to Zaxby's for a special girl time (Tiffany's treat!) and then headed to SAMS, where we loaded up a shopping cart with enough food to feed our army for at least a day or two! :)

We got home about 3:30 and unloaded the groceries and put them away. Then, Tiffany helped Hannah sort through her closet and drawers, while I made some Terriyaki Meatballs and rice and put the meatballs in the crockpot to stay warm for supper.

Finally, about 5:00, with supper underway, the girls and I went to Kohl's to try to find some clothes for poor Hannah, who literally has Nothing to wear! Her body has grown and changed so much lately, that we knew we would have to abandon the Girls Department and branch out to the Junior Department, a change in course I did not relish. However, I must admit that I was not sorry to say Good-Bye to the Girls size 7-14 department, which I think has the absolute worst selection of decent looking, even semi-attractive, half-way modest clothing in every clothing store. However, I still approached the Junior Department with great reluctance, doubting it would be any better.

Despite my skepticism that we would find Hannah Anything Acceptable -- I was pleasantly surprised, and didn't even mind eating my words! We found her two nice skirts On Sale in the misses department - a size 4 black skirt, and a size 6 denim skirt, that formed the basis of her new wardrobe. Then, we found several shirts and little sweaters on the clearance rack in the Junior department to complete her new look. I was so grateful to find the poor girl some clothes that fit her changing body! New shoes are the next order of business -- but they will have to wait until next weekend -- or maybe next pay check!!

Hannah's new clothes . . .

Finally, at 7 pm, we dragged home, exhausted, and thankful that supper was in the crock pot and that we had set the table before we left! My husband had made the vegetables, so we were soon sitting down to a nice family dinner in the dining room.

Then, while the boys cleaned up the kitchen, Tiffany started tackling some housecleaning chores and I started making Chocolate Trifle for Sunday's Church Dinner. Everything went pretty smoothly, if you don't count the glass that got knocked off the counter and shattered all over the kitchen floor! :(

Tiffany cleaning . . .

Finally, at 10:30 pm, the trifle was made and chilling in the fridge, the kitchen was cleaned, the wood floors all mopped, the children in bed, and I could call it a day. Whew!

Friday Night Football

We spend our Friday nights sitting on bleachers, braving the heat and eventually the cold, the gnats and the mosquitoes, and even the rain, while cheering for the Sherwood Christian Academy Eagles!

Three of our previously home-schooled sons attend SCA and are involved with the Eagle's football team. Our oldest son, Taylor, is a senior and plays offensive and defensive tackle and center. Our second oldest son, Joshua, is a junior and is the team's tireless manager and the one who makes sure there is a Dry Football for every play! Then, our third oldest son, Joseph, is a freshman, who plays on special teams during kick offs and kick off returns and gets to play as a tight end when we are way ahead! :)

Friday night, Sherwood played Valwood, and came out on top 17-7! Here are some pictures from the game:

Bethany and me -- before the game

Christopher, 13, eating some french fries before the game.

Hannah and Bethany and Hannah's friend, Marly, playing with Polly Pockets before the game.

Luke, 10, eating his kid's meal before the game.

The coach's daughter - in a "reflective" mood!

Joy and Jennifer cheering for "McSwain, the Train!"

Coach "Rock" inspires the team before the game. The tallest guy is my son, Taylor.

The team during the National Anthem. They seem to know better than some presidential candidates how to show proper respect for our nation and its flag!

My son, Taylor, is the tallest one in the back, #96

I love the way the players hold their helmets in the air and the cheerleaders hold up their pom poms during the opening kick-off!

Bethany and her Beary!

The team coming out of the huddle.

Hannah, age 11 1/2, gets tired of the football games, but enjoys spending time with the girl friends she has made there. It is tough to be surrounded by so many boys and boy activities, especially when you are not a rough and tumble type of girl!

That's all for this week! Stay tuned for next week's game!

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