Alphabet Praise

I couldn’t turn down a Bible study. Especially one that took place while I waited for the children to finishAWANA, their weekly Bible memorization program,. (AWANA stands for “Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed”). The Bible study was about praise. We went through a wonderful devotional book together, and what I took away from this study was what I call ‘alphabet praise.’ The idea is that you can praise God with words, not just in song. And you can think of a different word for every letter of the alphabet to praise Him. So I use this model for praise. You should try it. It really makes you concentrate on the Lord.

I start out my prayers with this exercise, and I will include one a month here.

This is my favorite for January, though it

was hard to choose. I tried a few metaphors, and

this one is an extended metaphor for the whole

alphabet, and it’s based on music:


Father, You are an accordion with endless beautiful combinations

You are a delightful melody , an excellent harmony

a fresh fugue,
with gorgeous development

a heavenly riffingeniously executed

a joyous chorus on a killer bridge

luscious chords,
music overflowing the page

quarter notes taking the stageripping serious strings

triumphing to the utmost violions warbling,

xylophones pounding, yellow zithers

Morning Time

Morning time is a nice ritual to start the day. During our snowpocalypse, we were able to do morning time three days a week—as opposed to our usual one. This means we were able to finish the words to our psalm, (we are writing) a nice metaphor of God and water, and we were able to start putting it to music. The last group music project we’d done was a hymn. We also got a little further in our read aloud, 

Prince Caspian. I like to read one family book, and one CC book aloud to the children. Our current CC book is called Johnny Tremain. I have also added narration to the mix. It sounds simple. I have the children write a

summary of the chapter I have just read. But I found out that some of them are not used to paying attention when I read. This has forced them to attend. I have heard that narration will pay huge dividends down the road. We’ll let you know how this turns out.

Read Aloud Revival Challenge

January is the month of the read aloud revival read aloud challenge. We tried it last year, but I didn’t have the energy to do the rewards. You see, this is a serious challenge. If your children commit to reading aloud for 10 minutes a day for at least 25 days in January, magical things are supposed to happen. And there are incentives. I signed up for the challenge, and then printed out a page of rewards. I decided that if a child read aloud for five days, then they could draw a reward every day they read after that. Chanya’s favorite reward was the surprise outing. I took her to Art Bayou, a ceramics store where you pick out a dish and paint it with glaze.Inaweek,youpickitupandit’saoneofa kind dish. We were buoyant for days after this


Chanya and Esteban were the two children who participated this year. Chanya managed to read aloud for 24 days (!), and Esteban read for considerably fewer days. It didn’t work magic, per se, but Chanya chooses to read more often now. She never really liked reading before. Esteban is able to read aloud with more fluency, so that’s a good thing. Quiet as it’s kept, I remember that Imani and Joy became more animated readers when I insisted they participate last year. I was still tired and not feeling well much of the time last January, and I asked the girls to do the reading aloud during

morning time. Joy even used different voices for the characters in The Hobbit at the time. I almost didn’t resume reading aloud…

Xay’s Almost Missions Trip

Xavier went to Kenya with a group of teens and adults in 2011. This was an 11 day trip that positively impacted his life. Besides leading testimony ceremonies, and getting to know joyful, faithful believers, the group saw a lot of the Kenyan countryside and went on safari. He got close to the other teens in his group; they are among his closest friends to this day. The next summer, he had a short missions trip to Kansas City Missouri to help their large Eastern European refuge community. He drew more close friends from this opportunity.

He planned to travel to Thailand this January for his first long-term mission. He would be there for six months. He was preparing to go when we found out that he would be alone for long stretches of time every day. This is quite a contrast from his previous missions experiences. The young man he would relieve is experienced in long-term missions. But the ministry had some challenges finding enough people to serve. It got complicated for awhile, and we all tried to find an option that would work, but it didn’t work out. He ended up having to cancel the trip entirely.


All through December it was dry and warmish, for us northerners, at least. Though some were panting for snow, I would’ve been content with a temperate winter and an early spring.

Then January hit. I can’t really blame the whole month, though. It really started around the 21st. All of a sudden, we were covered in snow, and the temperature was a single digit. Basketball games and practices were canceled. Last week, school was closed on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Wednesday was a freezing rain day. Then it snowed again, starting late Thursday. This week it’s only Tuesday, and schools were closed in advance until Thursday. Tomorrow threatens to be the coldest day yet. We anticipate car parts arriving for Curtis and Xavier to finish his car, just typical of how things have been going.

There’s nothing like mopey, snow bound children, let me tell you. But we have a full cookie jar today, so there’s that.