Archive for November, 2010

More on Harry Potter

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

Follow up post to My Comment About Harry Potter

Tonight we had one of the best family discussions I can ever remember. We discussed good and evil. We read scriptures. We read a couple of articles… all prompted by the third Harry Potter movie. We compared the protagonists and antagonists of HP v/s Narnia and Lord of the Rings. Where is God in this? Does HP glorify darkness? Should we allow ourselves to continue watching the rest of the movies knowing that these wizards take divination classes? Can there be good and bad sides of witchcraft? Are Potter and friends even practicing witchcraft or is it just innocent magic? Hmmm…………

So… will we keep watching the rest of the movies? Yes and no. I just don’t like them. Not only do references to witchcraft bother me, I’m really not a fantasy/fiction type of girl. These movies are long and I can hardly stand sitting through them. Two of our daughters (not including our youngest who has been put to bed for all of these) are bothered by them also. They closed their eyes through a good portion of tonight’s movie and they have no desire to see more. They are sensitive to visual images. They are my girls. For the fourth movie, we’ll have a knitting party in another room.

Our son (11) and our teens will watch the remainder of the movies with Daniel who really finds the story interesting. Any references to real witchcraft will be discussed just as it was tonight. They’ll have a blast and learn from them.

Movie #4 is next for the Jobes who are about a decade behind on the Potter craze. Plugged in (Focus on the Family’s movie review website) says this:

“Of course, this is film four. Families that consider the supernatural sinew that binds Harry Potter together more trouble than it’s worth probably put the kibosh on it a long time ago. The ones still with it have decided either a) sorcery isn’t a big deal, or b) while they oppose real-life witchcraft, non-stop spells and incantations are acceptable when used as a literary device.”

So… we’re a divided household on this one! If I know my non-HP girls, they will never ask to finish this series. Yet for those watching with Dad, I have absolutely no concerns.

The plugged-in review goes on to say…

“Even those in the “go with it” camp may find their patience tested with Goblet of Fire, the first film to warrant a PG-13 rating. It’s extremely grim at times and even features the death of a Hogwarts student. I was amazed at the number of small children seated around me in the theater. At what point will moms and dads who’ve been saying “yes” to voracious young Potter fans decide that things have gone too far? This could be it. Dumbledore warns Harry, “Soon we must face the choice between what is right and what is easy.” They’re not the only ones.”

Interesting. And I agree. I’m glad we ignored these movies existed until now. While I’m comfortable with our older children watching them with Daniel (and our oldest watching the new release alone), I’m glad Harry Potter was not a part of our lives when my teens and tweens were little.

My “Comment” About Harry Potter

Saturday, November 20th, 2010

Facebook status updates are a strange thing. I’m not one that likes to post what I’m doing, thinking, or where I’m shopping every moment of the day. If something makes me smile (especially my three year old who doesn’t get embarrassed) or if God reveals himself to me in an encouraging way… those things I share.

Not my teens. They post what they are thinking and what they are doing. They post what they are eating and inside jokes (that 221 of 223 of their “friends” don’t get.) Teens do that and are rewarded with no less than 20 “likes” or comments with each update. Sometimes I’m tempted to comment – like earlier today when my oldest child posted, “Off to see Harry Potter!!!!” I cringed. “Why tell everyone your parents allow you to see Harry Potter, dear?” my prideful self wondered. By the time I saw her status (and I’m the one who drove her to the theater), she isn’t “off” to see HP, she’s there!

Shortly after, I received a note in my inbox from a very sweet, dear friend of mine. I really appreciated her inquiry…

“I saw your daughter’s comment about going to see Harry Potter and I have to say I was a little surprised. I would have pegged you guys as anti-Harry Potter people. I don’t really care either way but with so many different opinions about the movies, I am just curious about your views.”

I’m not one to generally write about anything controversial. I view this blog to be a place of encouragement. However, occasionally I think it is appropriate to be real and admit that there are issues I deal with that are uncomfortable. So… here is my response to my friend (who has given me permission to post:)

“I saw her facebook update too and kind of wished she’d been quiet, lol!

Seriously, I am not a HP fan but my dislike of the series is from what I’ve heard and not personally researched. I prohibited the children from reading the books/seeing the movies for years. (More like I ignored they existed and they didn’t ask.)

Then, this past summer, our oldest decided she wanted to read the series. She asked Daniel to check it out for her. He did. I’ll admit it – I protested and let them know that even our pastor doesn’t approve of HP.

However, Daniel felt that for her, being 15, it’s a safe read. She’s mature enough to read and discuss issues. Forbidding HP from her would simply build her curiosity to the point of her wanting to sneak and watch them or make her feel untrusted. I think with teens, sometimes (certainly, not always) you have to let them just make their own decisions, and be there to bring to light any darkness that they, in their immaturity, may miss.

So… now many years after the first HP movies have been released, we are watching them as a family. We’ve watched the first two. So far, there hasn’t been much to “bring to light.” However, I’ve heard the later movies contain more obvious witchcraft. If that’s the case, we may stop or only watch with the older girls. Thankfully, the rest of our children completely take our word for what they should/shouldn’t see.

Our daughter has read all the HP books, so she is ahead of us. We let her go with her friends today and look forward to hearing her opinion.

I’m still probably not a fan, but thankful for my husband who makes some of the harder decisions about raising teens. If it were totally up to me, I have no doubt I would be overprotective and probably smother them with rules. Daniel balances me. He definitely has a much needed perspective.

When Daniel was in seminary, he came across a term – “approved deviance.” That sounds like an oxymoron to me, but the concept is that sometimes you should allow certain things with teens that you may not love but that fall in that “gray” area. Then when you really need to “lay down the law” (and for us we still have a huge list of “thou shall nots”), they will listen. Saying no to everything can cause major problems. So.. HP is on our “approved deviant” list, if that makes sense. We’re cautious because we know there are some themes we’ll need to discuss, but we’re willing to let her see it. For another child, our decision might have been different.

We’re at the beginning of the teen journey… just prayerfully trying to make these kind of decisions as they present themselves.”

I thought I’d publish my response, not because it’s right but because that is how we are approaching the years ahead… very prayerfully. I’m sure there will be many more Harry Potter type decisions to make. (Oh, I miss the days when my children didn’t even know what was playing at the theater!)

I was very tempted to say something (not sure what) under my daughter’s Harry Potter status update. However, I kept my mouth shut. I don’t fault her for excitedly announcing her plans for the day. But with the question in my inbox from a great friend, I couldn’t resist posting my thoughts – which obviously are a bit much for a facebook comment anyway!

Small Stuffed Knitted Bear

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Christina and one of her first knitted bears

For those who’d like to knit some bears for Operation Christmas Child, here is the pattern. These bears are adorable and the pattern really is quite simple! Just about any yarn can be used. Just make sure the needles are not larger than a size 9 or the bear may not fit easily in a shoe box!

Materials:
· About 100 yards of yarn in a worsted weight.
· Needles in the recommended size for your yarn (look on the label for the US size, not mm. A sample bear was made with size 8 needles.)
· Small amount of contrasting yarns for the eyes and necktie.
· Darning needle.

Bear body (make 2):
· CO 8 stitches.
· Knit 19 rows. This is one bear leg. Cut yarn, leaving about a 4” tail. Loop this through the last stitch to secure. Slide the leg to the back of the needle.
· CO 8 stitches onto the EMPTY needle. Knit 19 rows. This is the other bear leg.
· On the 20th row, join to the first leg and knit across.
· Knit 16 rows. This is the bear body.
· At the end of the 16th row, CO 10 additional stitches. This is one arm.
· Knit across (26 st), CO 10 additional stitches to the other side (the other arm.)
· Knit 12 rows. BO 13 stitches, knit across.
· BO 13 stitches, knit across. There should be 10 stitches left on the needle.
· Knit 1 row (neck).
· 1st head row: Knit 1, inc in next stitch. Knit across to last 2 stitches. Inc in next to last stitch, knit last stitch.
· 2nd and 3rd head rows: Repeat inc pattern of 1st head row.
· You now have 16 stitches. Knit 8 rows.
· 1st dec row: Knit 1, k2tog, knit to last 3 stitches, ssk, knit last stitch. Repeat dec row pattern until 4 stitches remain. BO.

Ears (make 2):
· CO 8. Knit 2 rows. Bind off 1st stitch of next 4 rows. BO remaining 4 stitches.

Anna's first knitted bear



Snout:

· CO 3 or 4. Knit 30 or 40 rows. BO, leaving an 8” tail.
· Thread this tail through the needle. Draw it through the long edge of the snout.
· Pull tight, secure, sew short edges together. (Makes ½ sphere.)
· Stuff with small amount of stuffing. Place on bear’s face just above the neck.
· Stitch around the edge
· Sew the 2 sides together leaving a 2” to 3” opening for stuffing. Stuff softly with small handfuls. Close opening.
· Sew ears to upper sides of head.
· Cut a 12” piece of contrasting yarn. Thread the needle and weave this through the stitches of the neck. Pull snugly; tie in a bow and double knot.
· With contrasting yarn, embroider the eyes to the face.

Key:
CO= cast on
BO= bind off
Inc= increase = knit into the stitch from the front and the back before slipping it off the left needle.
Dec= decrease
k2tog= knit 2 stitches together as one
ssk= slip 2 stitches, one at a time, onto the right needle as to knit. Insert left needle through them, knit.

Optional:
Make a Gingerbread man/woman or a doll by not adding the ears or snout and embroidering more facial features.

Bears for Boxes

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Every year our family participates in Operation Christmas Child (OCC). This wonderful ministry of Samaritan’s Purse (SP) distributes shoe boxes, packed with gifts for children as well as the Gospel message in his/her language, all over the world. It is a true joy to do something for others during a season that lends itself to materialism and often, especially in children focused on their lists for Santa, selfishness. To see my children exclaim, “Look, Mom… I bet a little girl about Sarah’s age would just LOVE this. Can we put it in our box this year?” is music to my ears. Through OCC, my children have learned a little of the joy of giving and blessing others.

Several years ago, we took this joy and spread it throughout the entire year in a slightly unusual way. My oldest girls had learned to knit. It began when my friend, Micki, showed me some little bears she’d designed. She was knitting for SP and knowing my girls’ love of knitting, asked if they’d be willing to make a bear. She showed my girls several of the adorable bears and they “oohed” and “awed.” They were new knitters and not sure if they could handle the pattern. They’d never knitted anything more complicated than a dishcloth. Could they really knit two bear sides, sew them together, and have them look nice enough for a child to want to love? We weren’t sure, but we sure were excited to try! My friend gave us a pattern and we all got started!

To our delight, the little bears weren’t difficult. Soon the girls were knitting like crazy and calculating how many bears could be produced in 8 months at the rate of a bear every two weeks. The girls were knitting with every spare moment of time they had and soon decided to enlist help! We invited several other knitting friends to join us and formed a group that met monthly. We met at a local yarn shop and our project was advertised. Soon knitters all over our county donated yarn for our project. Many donated bears. These little guys were so sweet. Who could resist knitting up one or two?

After months of knitting, donation day finally came. What a joy to discover we had over 150 cuddly bears! Every bear was unique. Some were pink for baby girls and some blue. Some were big and some tiny. Some had tails or little accessories like hair bows or vests. Though they were all different, they were all prayed over. As a group, we prayed for each recipient. These little bears were made with love by children wanting to bless other children whom they most likely would never see or meet. To donate our bears, all the knitters met at the OCC building of Samaritan’s Purse. What a wonderful experience that was! Our girls were given a tour of the facility and made to feel that their efforts would make a tremendous difference in the lives of over 150 children.

Our group on donatation day

A few months later, we received from a friend who went on a shoebox distribution, a hug from God in the form of a picture of a beautiful little girl. In one hand she held a picture of our group that we included in the box. In the other hand she held her bear made by our girls. That picture has been on my fridge ever since – a reminder that even children can use their talents to bless others. We pray that through that little bear, she will know of Christ love for her. That is the goal of Operation Christmas Child and the prayer of our hearts for her.

Last week, I received a letter from an OCC administrator asking if we’d be willing to knit bears for boxes again. Oh, I’d love to! If you are a reader and would like the pattern, please let me know. I’ll send it to you. We’d love to donate your bears. If you’re a local knitter who is ten or older and would like to participate, leave a comment. I’ll need to find a place to meet which can be a challenge, but I’d love to knit more bears for boxes!

Our Shoebox Video

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Three years ago, Samaritan’s Purse filmed our family packing our shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. It was an experience we’ll never forget! All the children still talk about this day – except for Esther who was born ten days later. Enjoy!

It’s that time of the year. Time to pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child!

17 Gifts

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience is one of my favorite authors. She ministers to me with her unique way of communicating beauty in the daily. After several months of reading her blog, it is clear that she has learned of the incredible blessings that comes through practicing gratitude. Not only has she written a book on thankfulness, but she keeps a Gift List, a simple running log of things for which she’s grateful…

“Too often I miss Him, oblivious, blind. I don’t see all the good things that He is giving me, gracing me with, brushing my life with. True, He is everywhere, always. But maybe, before The Gift List, I thought of Him as further off, not so close. When I started to see all the things that I love bestowed upon me, I started to see Him as near, present, everywhere, showering me with good things. Seeing the things I love all around me gives me eyes to see that I am loved, that He loves me.” Ann Voskamp

For the past several months, I’ve followed the Gift List where she lists her blessings… and I’ve been changed. I’ve begun mentally listing mine and praising my Father for them. And in so doing, I can almost feel his arms around me. I agree with Ann. The more I thank my Father for His good gifts, the more I see His love in the common things of everyday. Every day is indeed a gift from His hand!

I’ve decided to start a Gift List of my own. I can think of no better way to begin a new week than thankful so my goal is to add to it on Sundays until I get to (at least) 100. It is my prayer that my Gift List will draw me closer to the One who gives.

Today, November 14th, I am grateful for

1. A little note slipped to Daniel by our eleven year old daughter during today’s sermon asking a very thought-provoking question about something our pastor said. So thankful for my husband who leads our family spiritually. Thankful for spiritual questions from the children and the opportunity and privilege to answer them.

2. The sweet voice of my Sarah singing “Mighty To Save” in church today. I quit singing myself so I could hear her better.

3. A birthday for my youngest this week. I prayed for this child years before she was born. I am still amazed at God’s goodness in blessing us with a fifth daughter. She brings us so much joy!

4. Christina, who worked so hard on Esther’s cake.

5. A twirly dress. Yes, a three year old in a twirly dress is just cute.

6. My mother who bought the twirly dress. I think of her every time my little one spins.

7. My teen daughters who skipped to the van after church with locked arms singing “The Star Spangled Banner” in harmony. Their choir will be singing this at a basketball game this week and they were unashamed to practice in the parking lot. I’m thankful that they giggle with one another. So thankful.

8. “The First Noel“, played for over an hour this afternoon as a duet by two of my pianists.

9. Three ballerinas who shopped with me for glitter for their angel faces for The Promise. How I love them! I pray they never outgrow the joy of being girly and glittery.

10. My block where I can run while viewing the beauty of the mountains. It is worshipful indeed.

11. A no-cook Sunday. Our church served lunch to small group leaders and it was wonderful! We enjoyed leftover pizza for dinner. A day off kitchen duty certainly is restful!

12. My husband who washed the dishes after dinner. There weren’t many, but a no-dishes Sunday makes a no-cook Sunday all the better.

13. A late night talk with my oldest. It drew us closer and I am so grateful she will communicate “teen-agery” issues with me!

14. A compliment that my child is a good helper in the nursery.

15. A letter from a little girl in Ghana who received a shoe box (Operation Christmas Child) from Bethany last year. What an unexpected gift! We now have a young child in Africa to add to our prayer list.

16. Family movie night. I like all eight of us being in the same room.

17. (The best of all!) My son who just brought me a letter where he professed that for the first time ever, he not only has hope in God but faith in God. Today he knows he is a believer. Our pastor answered some deep and intellectual questions that my son has had and struggled with for years. Nathan knows he is saved!

Seventeen is an odd number to end a list, but I can think of nothing better than the contents of Nathan’s letter! So this week, I’ll end with 17 gifts!

Esther’s Special Day

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Esther turned three on November 12th. She LOVED her cake!

She also loved her birthday banner!

On Esther’s special day, all the big sisters had a five hour ballet practice to run through Emmanuel, The Promise. Even Esther attended the practice for about 45 minutes, during which all fifty or so dancers sang “Happy Birthday” to her. While big sisters continued to dance, I took Esther and two of her very special friends to Chick-fil-A and the park! This was huge fun for Esther. When you are child number six and have big siblings who’ve outgrown the park, extended swing time is hard to come by. The weather was so beautiful… a rarity for mid-November.

After picking up the dancing sisters, we continued the party at our house with cake, presents and more outside play.

Big siblings had a frog dissection lab in the late afternoon so the party was limited to about an hour at the house. So, between a huge ballet rehearsal and a science lab, we squeezed in a very sweet party for our little princess!

Happy birthday dear sweet Esther! You are a blessing!

Esther’s Pooh Cake (From a Coloring Page!)

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Esther turns three tomorrow and she requested a Pooh and Tigger cake for her birthday. She is going to go bonkers when she awakens and sees this…

I’m giddy right now over this cake’s cuteness! I’m even giddier that I didn’t decorate it! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having teens that enjoy making birthday cakes! Christina is the artist behind this creation. She used a technique for imprinting characters on cakes using a coloring page. A dear friend of mine taught me this technique (thank you, Brandy!) many years ago, probably when Christina was a tiny cake recipient herself.

First, Christina selected her pan. She decided on a 14″ round pan, a newer piece in our cake-making collection. This is a LARGE pan, but we nearly always make big cakes because we frequently send some home with party participants and we are a rather large family! This pan holds two cake mixes. I used to make two layers every time I made a round cake. I don’t anymore. Splitting layers is a pain. While I love the way a layer of icing tastes between cake layers, that is a step that can be skipped for three- year olds who only care about Pooh and Tigger on top! A nice feature about this pan is it has very tall sides. This makes for a pretty cake with clean, straight edges… perfect for piping!

After selecting the pan, Christina googled “Pooh and Tigger coloring page” and found this. Perfect! Very, very Esther…

Next, she placed a piece of waxed paper over the coloring page and traced Pooh and Tigger with chocolate icing dyed black (a gel icing would work great as well). She only traced the outside of the image because it’s best to do most outlining after you’ve colored the characters. Thus, Tigger’s stripes, Pooh’s eyeballs, lines in the clothing, etc. were left blank.

I am not a good photographer. I did not get a picture of the next step. However, I am sure you can figure it out 🙂 After tracing the characters, Christina turned the waxed paper upside down onto the iced cake. By lightly pressing on the outlined images, she transferred the characters. Notice the image is reversed but that is completely ok for cakes!  Every bit of black icing may not transfer. That is also ok also because it’s simple to fill in later. Once the image was on the cake, Christina had a blast coloring!  She used #7 tips, which are medium and round, on all the colors (a fairly easy coloring job!)

After filling in the colors, she went back and outlined more heavily with the black icing. Then some sprinkles, which we found in the clearanced Halloween section of Wal-Mart, were added for preschool pleasure. Lastly, she piped “Happy Birthday, Esther!” and added a shell border.

This is not a cake that Christina whipped out in an hour. It took most of the evening for her to  find the design, mix the colors, and decorate the cake. Thus, grocery store cakes have their place – most definitely! Such time is not always available – especially for moms! However, this cake is a precious gift. I was blessed to see the joy Christina received as she worked. Each step of the process, she kept her little sister in mind. “She’s going to LOVE this, Mom! It’s perfect! OH… I can’t wait until tomorrow!” were some of her expressions of anticipation, and I agree. I can’t wait either!

Esther IS going to love it! (More to come… 🙂 )

A Blog Award Nomination!

Monday, November 8th, 2010

I have been nominated for The Homeschool Post’s Best Encourager award! Wow!

I do not blog to receive nominations or blogging awards though I’ll admit this nomination is an honor. My blog is fairly new and I began it to keep family and friends updated on my dad who had a heart transplant earlier this year. From there, I began writing about things I find praise-worthy. It is an outlet for me to express the joy I have in my Lord and the daily things He teaches me through my life as a wife and mother. If you are new, here are a few posts that are representative of this site:

Toilet Training In Less Than A Decade

Someone Else’s Law

Teaching Children to Write

My Ugly Mother’s Day Cake

Homeschooling Kindergarten – You Can Do It!

If you are so inclined, please cast your vote for my blog. Just click here and scroll until you see The Best Encourager category. Click and you will see a list of blogs where The Jobe Journal is listed. Click in the little circle next to my name. That’s it! Each computer can only vote once.

Thanks for stopping by!

Preparing For The Promise

Saturday, November 6th, 2010

Today I hosted a work day for SHINE (Sharing Him IN Excellence), my girls’ dance group, to sew  costumes for their Christmas dance. All the girls are looking forward to Immanuel – The Promise,  a full length ballet in which the Nativity story will be beautifully expressed. Because this is the first year SHINE has performed in December, costumes are greatly needed. Thus, today we cut out twelve pairs of pants, several tunics, some angel overlays, sewed seven of the pants, made flags AND…. made a costume for my little Esther. She is so proud and so, so precious! I’ll admit it… I am proud too and so excited about the cuteness of the pre-ballets’ costumes. Can you imagine anything sweeter than sixteen adorable lambs dancing to Away in a Manger? My other girls did not begin dancing until they were much older (between 7 and 9) so I am loving every minute of dressing up my almost-three ballerina!

If you are a local friend, please put the evening of December 4th (time isn’t firm yet) on your calendar. The Promise will feature dancers of all ages, beautiful music, baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, shepherds, angels, and of course, lovely little lambs!!! It will be held at the Harvest House (Living Water Christian Fellowship). It is sure to be an enjoyable outing for the entire family as well as one that certainly will remind all that Jesus is the reason for the season!