5 Star Links for Spring Break!

It’s spring break this week for Starlight School. And that means I’m not teaching today and doing my best to avoid spring cleaning, too. So of course I thought my dear readers would enjoy a list of 5-Star Links to check out during spring break. And don’t worry; I do plan to start tackling the cleaning and de-cluttering projects in earnest on Tuesday. Really, I do!

1. Check out this Scripture Memory System for the whole family — from Simply Charolotte Mason.

2. Then download these nifty little  index dividersa free download from ThePelsers.com — for organizing your family’s Scripture Memory System.

3. Be encouraged: Read “Don’t Give Up” — an article by Jon Bloom at Desiring God.

4. Make plans for March 27! On that day more than 550 theatres across the country will show Kirk Cameron’s movie Monumental: In Search of America’s National Treasure. Find out right here why your family should watch it and exactly where it’s playing near you!

5. Buy a t-shirt, change a life! Children’s HopeChest  — the orphan care organization through which we sponsor 7-year-old Dawit — has a brand new set of limited-edition t-shirts for sale. Proceeds from the sale of shirts will support two critical projects. All women’s t-shirt sales will support 37 children living in an orphanage in Pignon, Haiti. All men’s t-shirt sales will provide funding for eight survivors of human trafficking living at the Beginning of Life rehabilitation home in Moldova.

But wait; there’s more! For every shirt you buy, you will receive one entry into a drawing for a free mission trip. The winner receives a certificate that covers both land and airfare (max $3,000 value). The winner will be announced on Facebook, on Monday, April 2. So go buy a shirt already!

Happy spring!

5 Star Links: For the Church

My oldest daughter is getting baptized this Sunday in the lake! Oh, what joy! As parents, my husband and I are thrilled beyond words — and of course she is pretty excited about it herself.

Our church traditionally does baptisms in the lake during the annual church picnic. I think that’s a grand way to baptize folks — and much more sensible than the way the church did it years back. According to our pastor, our church used to do baptisms in the lake year-round. Now I understand the theology of suffering for the sake of the gospel, but can you imagine a full-immersion baptism in February? In the lake? In Minnesota? Evidently they cut a hole in the ice and went right ahead as usual. Yikes!

Speaking of church, I think we’re over-due for a 5-Star Friday, and this time around, I’m presenting links with a church-related theme.

1. 5 Ways to Make Your Kids Hate Church — The title alone hooks ya on this very convicting list by Thomas Weaver.

2. How Even Church Picnics Relate to God — Whether we eat or drink or picnic or whatever we do, we are to do it all for the glory of God, and in this article Pastor John Piper of Desiring God Ministries explains why church picnics matter for eternity.

3. Top 10 Reasons Not To Join a Church Plant — Church plants fascinate me; my husband and I have been members of two different “plant” churches, and this article by Justin Buzzard really nails it.

4. Young Children in Church — The “All is Loss” blog offers insight and grace for parents juggling small children in the pews.

5. A few months ago I purchased the Church History ABCs for my youngest daughter. We all enjoy reading this excellent introduction to key characters in church history. Augustine, Calvin and Vivaldi are our favorites so far. Here’s a great review of the book — and be sure to check out this site that has several activity sheets to go along with the book.

5 Star Links for Friday

June is my favorite month, and not just because my birthday happens to be in June.

I love June because of the peonies that bloom.

And I love June because of the fresh fruit that gets more affordable, the daylight that seems endless, and the general glow that accompanies nearly everything about early summer.

All that said, the first Friday in June seems the perfect day for another 5-Star Friday!

This time around, these links are especially for moms — because I am one, because I love many dear friends who are moms, and because motherhood matters to God — and not just in the month of May!

Below are links to some great reading (and listening) that truly encouraged me in recent weeks, and I pray these encourage you as well.

1. When You Feel Like You Just Keep Blowing It by Ann Voskamp

2. Why Motherhood Should Be Graded on a Curve by The Gypsy Mama

3. The Danger of Moralistic Parenting by Elyse Fitzpatrick

4. The Sons of Thunder (Mother’s Day 2011) sermon at Church on the Move by guest speaker Joe McGee (5/8/11)

5. “Hidden in My Heart” CD from scripture-lullabies.com is so sweet and peaceful and fitting for all ages. I ordered three copies — one for myself and two to give to moms with newborns. You can preview the songs online.

May God richly bless all you mom-readers!

5 Star Links for Friday

Woo-hoo! Today is a 5-star Friday! Time for me to share  links to great online reading, words that are edifying and share some true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy ideas.

1. Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom offers these “Good Words.” She’s right; words are powerful, as I concur in my own post: “Words I Can’t Edit.”

2. Kevin Deyoung’s “Parenting 001” really cracked me up. It’s so true-to-life, and be sure to stick with it to the last paragraph, which explains his noble aim in parenting.

3. Over at Heart of the Matter, Cindy West’s “Why Study Nature?” provides biblical reasons for studying God’s creation. Her intended audience is homeschoolers, but I think it applies to any parent at home with kids this summer.

4. Speaking of summer, it’s crunch time for making summer plans! In the first part of two, “Summer Goals for Family Fun and Growth” over at Mentoring Moments for Christian Women is an excellent resource when evaluating what to do and what not to do. I am eager to read the second part whenever it goes live!

5.  Another very admirable article on summer — and heaven — and how Christians should view both is “Summer Mindset” by John Piper. I adore this lovely quote: “That’s what summer is: God’s messenger with a sun-soaked, tree-green, flower-blooming, lake-glistening letter of love to show us what he is planning for us in the age to come—’things which the eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered into the heart of man, God has prepared for those who love him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9). Don’t fall in love with the video preview, and find yourself unable to love the coming reality.”

I pray that these words encourage and edify you as much as they did me. Enjoy the weekend and your summer, too!

5 Star Links for Friday


It’s 5-star Friday! Yay! Time for me to share some links to great online reading and/or listening.

1. Heart Condition (by Kasey Van Norman at Mentoring Moments) explains why the condition of our hearts is of greatest concern to the Lord.

2. Understanding the Unfathomable: God’s Unconditional Love (by Pastor Andreas Custer at Oakwood Community Church) reminds us how deeply God loves and encourages us to love one another.

3. The Most Needed Peer Pressure (by Wendy Alsup at Desiring God) urges us to love unconditionally when bearing with a loved one’s struggles.

4. 8 Tips for Talking to Your Kids about the Sermon (by Pastor Joe Holland) tells how little folks sitting in the pews retain more and understand more than you think they do and how we, as parents, can follow up with them after the sermon. Great tips!

5. Gaining Clarity on Women’s Roles Part 1 and Part 2 (by Leanne Popeko at CBMW) explains some key aspects of God’s lovely design for women in the church.

I pray that these words encourage and inspire you as much as they did me.

Also, may I ask a favor? I recently re-wrote my personal testimony as part of an assignment in the Bible study group I attend. The new version is much shorter and employs a very different format than the earlier version, which I posted years ago. If you would read it and perhaps leave a comment, I’d be ever so grateful to you. Just click here. Thank you!

“March on, my soul; be strong!” -Judges 5:21b

5 Star Links for Friday

Today is a 5-Star Friday! Woo-hoo! That means it’s time for me share the links to a few things I’ve been reading here and there online over the past week or two. All are articles that I rank as worthy of five stars. May these words encourage, challenge and bless you also!

1. If you’ve ever just felt insignificant or if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of powerfully encouraging words, don’t miss this article on encouragement by Renee Swope at Proverbs 31 Ministries. I’ll be participating in her Encouraging Words Wednesdays starting March 9 and continuing every second Wednesday of the month.

2. Grace is something I’ve been exploring and pondering more deeply in my Bible reading this year, so I especially appreciate this article on understanding grace, posted over at Mentoring Moments for Christian Women.

3. Speaking of encouraging words and grace, don’t we all need a Holy Spirit Spell Checker?  (It’s yet another great post from Mentoring Moments.)

4. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I love Marybeth Whalen’s idea of leaving Room for Cream — making space for the sweet, light and rich things in life. (Marybeth also writes for Proverbs 31 Ministries.)

5. Earlier this month, my husband was blessed to hear Pastor Joel Beeke speak about prayer at a Desiring God conference here in Minneapolis. Pastor Beeke offers this excellent advice in regard to prayer and busyness — advice we’d all do well to heed!

May God grace you with encouraging words, purposeful prayer and room for cream this weekend!

5 Star Links for Friday


It’s a 5-Star Friday! Woo-hoo! That means it’s time for me share the links to a few things I’ve been reading here and there online over the past week or so. All are articles that I rank as worthy of five stars. May these words encourage, challenge and bless you also!

1 Why You Need Words posted at Heart to Heart with Holley Gerth

2 A Good Laugh from the GirlTalk blog

3 Listening to God by Renee Swope at Proverbs 31 Ministries

4 Discerning God’s Voice also by Renee at P31 Ministries

5 God’s Grace for Everyday Situations from Mentoring Moments for Christian Women

5 Star Links for New Year’s Eve

What do you do on the last day of 2010? Here are some words — ideas, thoughts and encouragement — to ponder for the coming year.

1. The Vision Forum’s How to End the Year gives three important things to do.

2. Wendy at Proverbs 31 Ministries offers this New Year’s Prayer devotional.

3. Consider joining one of these clubs at GirlTalk to help you grow in spiritual discipline in 2011.

4. Resolve to memorize Scripture in 2011 and find encouragement and accountability from the lovely Beth Moore.

5. Ask yourself, where will I live in 2011? Then join Ann Voskamp in The Only Place to Really Live.

Happy New Year!

5 Star Links for Friday


It’s a dull, cloudy November day. Outside everything looks brown or gray. I could easily feel gloomy today. Instead I choose joy because today, joy is reading stories to eager little ears. Joy is tickling someone I love with feather. Joy is an impromptu pizza party. Joy is sharing everyday moments with friends who brightly shine Jesus’s love.

Here are some little online blessings — 5 Star Links — that I want to share with you. I hope they bring you joy today.

1. A timely lesson for the upcoming season —  5 Keys to Christmas Joy

2. Encouraging words — a lovely printable: 10 Point Manifesto of Joy for Parents

3. Help in memorizing God’s Word: Verse Card Maker

4. Buttery, Flaky, Buttermilk Biscuits — I tried out this new recipe earlier this week, and it will make you sing. Not that you should ever sing with food in your mouth…

5. But if you do feel musically inclined, may I suggest humming this catchy song: Oh, Happiness by the David Crowder Band? I’m completely in love with it! The upbeat tune is a remedy for my Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Blessings on your Friday!