Friday, August 26, 2011

Snipp, Snapp and Snurr

These were a library favorite of mine in first grade. I'm so happy that my son loves them as much as I did!

Who could resist identical Swedish triplets with names and pictures like these? Snipp, Snapp and Snurr and Flicka, Ricka and Dicka have all kinds of nice adventures playing outdoors, helping others, and learning to work hard. The series was written and illustrated in Sweden by Maj Lindman in the 1920s and then published in the U.S. in the 1940s and 50s. They get pulled out often for reading. This week they were chosen again at bed time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flower Petal Suncatcher

Here's what we've been enjoying on our living room window the past couple days:

They only last a few days, but they're so fun to make and so pretty! I taped a piece of clear contact paper to the window, sticky side out. Then my son carefully placed flower petals and leaves on it that we had collected from outside: impatiens from the balcony, a sort of purple flower from a bush, some pretty little buttercups from a walk we took earlier in the day, and some rose petals from a bouquet. Then we put a matching piece of contact paper on top to seal it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Triune God in Psalm 23

Last week we had a married couple and a student join us for dinner and some singing. The student is a young man from Eritrea, a small country that gained its independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s. Between songs he shared that from ages 6-12 they have a class in school for singing. One of the main goals of the class is for the kids to learn the Eritrean song(s) of independence to mold and strengthen their sense of nationalism. At the end of the year each student has to get up in front of the whole class and sing by himself or herself for 5-10 minutes for a grade!
Pastureland in Friesland

The song we spent the most time on that evening was "The Lord is My Shepherd Forever". He sang a version of it in Tigrinya for us that he grew up singing. It was so beautiful! After talking about the song for a while we read a footnote in the Recovery Version of the Bible that really surprised me. It links "surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life" with 2 Corinthians 13:14, saying that goodness refers to the grace of Christ, mercy (or lovingkindness in this version) to the love of the Father, and follow implies the fellowship of the's the Triune God! I love seeing Him hidden (and revealed) in the Word this way. He is so rich and He is following us! It was definitely an enjoyable home meeting.

(The footnote isn't online, so here is a link to the life-study message with the same content.)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Anatole - A Mouse Magnifique!

He lives in a mouse village just outside of Paris with his dear wife and six charming children. Every evening he bikes into Paris to find food for his family. One night he overhears a lady saying that to be a mouse is to be a villain! Shocked and deeply wounded, Anatole seeks a more honorable way to feed his family. He goes to the Duval cheese factory at night and puts little signs on all the cheese in the cheese tasting room offering suggestions on how to make them better. His advice turns the factory's fate around and he becomes a "respectable business-mouse".
This became one our favorites a couple months ago when we were in vacation in French speaking Belgium, and we recently received three more in the series in a package from my mom. "A mouse magnifique!" is now a catch phrase in our house. The book was written by Eve Titus in the 1950's. There are ten in the series, with the first two winning Caldecott honors. The illustrations are done in grayscale with vibrant blue and red accents on many pages. A very fun set of books!
Our very favorite lines (which contain about 50% of the French I know):
"VIVE ANATOLE! Was he content to sit back and do nothing about our way of life? NON! NON! He is a mouse of action--a mouse of honor--A MOUSE MAGNIFIQUE!"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mandarin Boats

My son and I think mandarin slices look like boats. We decided to take it one step further and add a sail:
A toothpick, a triangle of paper, and a piece of scotch tape was all it took to make snack time fun the whole week long!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Scheduled Living

Last week I began to put something into practice for my 5-week old son that I should have been doing for myself all along. Getting up at the same time every day is supposed to be the most important element in establishing a schedule for an infant (...or a grownup!) We've been practicing now to wake up at 7am each day. It feels so much better starting the day this way rather than trying to stretch out the sleeping hours to make up for the lack of sleep at night. I really appreciate the Lord's mercy in supplying a little helper to get me out of bed and into my spirit each morning!
Drenthe, Netherlands
When my parents came to visit a few months ago my mom brought a Kindle reader for me. I have our hymnal on it and it's been so enjoyable going through it sequentially and singing the songs that I know. It keeps my son awake and engaged and it's such a pleasant way to greet the Lord in the morning. I'm in the section on the Lord's name right now. Here's part of one from this morning:

         That name I fondly love to hear,
         It never fails my heart to cheer,
         Its music dries the falling tear;
         Exalt the name of Jesus.

                         Jesus! oh, how sweet the name,
                         Jesus! every day the same;
                         Jesus! let all saints proclaim
                         Its worthy praise forever.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Frog and Toad - Cookies

While we were taking our first taste of our star cookies earlier this week, my son suddenly says, "We must stop eating these cookies!" Instead of having my conscience pricked (it was only our first bite!) I realized he must be quoting one of our favorite books. Arnold Lobel has written a number of our favorite books, but  Frog and Toad tops the list. I've heard so many people mention that they grew up loving these two friends.
The cookies story is in the second book, "Frog and Toad Together". Toad bakes some cookies and brings them over to Frog so he can see how delicious they are. In order to stop themselves from eating too many they try putting the cookies away in more and more complicated ways, realizing each time that they can always go get them and eat more. Frog finally solves the problem by feeding them to the birds. But, in a classic exposé of human nature, Toad goes off huffily to do some more baking. So much for will power and our own solutions!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Star Cookies

Earlier this week my son decided that we needed to make star cookies with sprinkles. He loves to help in the kitchen and I love the time with him and the math and fine motor skill practice he gets. What I don't love is the cleanup involved! I can still hear my mom's words in my ears, "I don't mind if you use the kitchen, but please clean it up when you're finished!" Maybe that's why my son had to mention the cookies so many times before I was willing to do it.

I'm learning the secret to keeping the house clean is to do it with the Lord. He's so much more faithful and detailed than I am. I was listening to a message from the latest Christians on campus conference in Texas and the speaker mentioned that the disciples must have known that Christ had resurrected when they looked in the grave and saw the Lord's cloth folded up. He had probably been neatly folding his bedding every morning since they had been with him. What a sweet, normal, human testimony!

So, we enjoyed our cookies and the table got a good scrubbing afterward :-) 

Traditional Sugar Cookies
3/4 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Heat oven to 400 (or 205 C if you're in Holland!) Roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick on lightly floured surface. Cut into desired shapes. Bake on ungreased baking sheet 6-8 minutes until very light brown.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Welcome Post

Like the blog's title expresses, my joy is where Jesus is. Right now for me Jesus is in Holland raising two young boys, caring for my husband, and caring for college students who are loving the Lord and learning to live their life to Him. We spend many happy evenings with students in our home for dinner, singing, and studying the Bible. When I was in college in Texas I was in an organization called Christians on campus. We may have a different name here, and we may speak a different language, but what we're enjoying has the same flavor, and I love it!

bridge near our apartment
Since most of my days are occupied with raising my boys I'll have lots to say and post about that. I think I'll try doing one post each week on a book my 3-year old and I are enjoying, one post on a project we've done together, and one post on something I've learned or experienced concerning the Christian life. I might also try to incorporate some things about life here in Holland.

I was touched recently by something I read in a Life-Study by Witness Lee. He said that he yearned to be with some who had learned the lessons in life. Am I such a person? Am I willing to be such a person? A quick review of my past lead me to repent and realize that even though I do love the Lord I'm still full of self-interest and often take the easy way out. But making the repentance lead me to turn my eyes to the Lord and let Him shine Himself into me as the one who is so ready, willing, and able to learn the lessons in life. Once again, Jesus was there, and so was my joy!