Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe to our Blog feed in a reader

Search by keywords:

Advanced Search

Latest Products

Homeschool How-to’s Audio Thumbdrive Homeschool How-to’s Audio Thumbdrive:

Audio homeschool how-to’s by Renée Ellison on an 8GB flash drive.  More than 72 hours.  122 recordings;… more >>

Razor Sharp Teaching Tips for Homeschool Moms (Kindle version) Razor Sharp Teaching Tips for Homeschool Moms (Kindle version):

Reading this Kindle book, you’ll learn razor sharp tools to teach with cutting edge effectiveness.  It’s a… more >>

Razor Sharp Teaching Tips for Homeschool Moms (E-Book version) Razor Sharp Teaching Tips for Homeschool Moms (E-Book version):

Why you’ll love this new book:  you’ll learn razor sharp tools to teach with cutting edge effectiveness. … more >>

The world is past fixing

Monday, 11. May 2015 by Renee Ellison


Just like when the Egyptians pleaded with Pharaoh, “Do you not yet see that the land is ruined”—when he remained transfixed in his own illusions of continued world power (despite what he was experiencing), so, too, we, as a world have reached the point of no return.  This IS the last chapter.  Vain is the hope that the world systems are going anywhere but down, despite the best of human efforts from this day forward.

Even if we were to start today in earnest, able to clean up the world morally by having massive revivals, the best we could hope for would be scores of individual salvations.  For the systems/ economies/ ecologies/ anarchies of the world, however, this is D-day.  As in the days of Noah, this current world is beyond fixing; we are in a free-fall over the cliff.  We hurl headlong to the bottom for a number of individual reasons, each of which, in isolation, will be taking us down and is taking us down.  In combination, the synergistic effect of all those individual causes will bring us down, overwhelmingly and irrevocably.

In our defiance against God, at first we looked for idols made of stone but then we eventually found ourselves to be the better idol still.  We tinker with combining the DNAs of animals with plants, of humans with animals, and as a result our bio-ethics problems will be huge.  We sit on Mt. Zion, re-writing origins.  Sexual orientation and marriage have been re-defined by human oligarchs, whose assertions result in utter confusion for the “children” of those origins, who now ache past repair. And the blood of our millions of abortions now moan and howl over the years like a restless wind that cannot be hushed in the conscience of a nation.

The debt load
At a debt load currently sitting at 20 trillion, just for the USA, even if we stopped our borrowing habit today, stopped the Fed printing presses and began paying back debt in earnest—just our own USA debt exceeds the entire global GDP.  That means that if we were able to buy/ acquire/ conquer every country of the world and harness their combined manufacturing output, it would not touch the debt of just the USA.  This figure does not include our outrageous unfunded future liabilities: continued entitlements to the non-worker but also, other necessary things like promised social security checks to an army of now retiring baby boomers, swelling by the second, that came at our economic troughs like a swarm of locusts.  Nor does this debt include the vast worldwide derivatives bubble/ cauldron that is corroding every dollar with nothing but rust and mildew.  And because the economies of the world are hopelessly intertwined, as the USA goes (or Europe, or Japan—take your pick), so goes the world.  It is all beyond human fixing.

What the powers that be will attempt to do to fix it, soon, is to crash the old system and revamp the future world economy into a one-world banking system with a new cashless currency.  In the conversion they’ll ipso-facto wipe out individual wealth and private property—but the fix will be short.  It, too, will topple.  Its termination will be swift; its final window withdrawal will be met with by the “teller” at the top of the Mt. of Olives.

The nuke situation
Any number of rogue nations with messianic illusions of their own importance could finger the kill switch, on a godlike day.  North Korea sits next to that switch 24/7 now—and who knows how many minions in other nations sit with her.  We are in bondage to nuclear fissions and fusions.  Our toys have turned on us like an unforeseeable emergence of Frankenstein.  Most of the world’s continued existence is very iffy.

The EMP switch
Electronically, we are at the mercy of the use of wireless waves—oceans of them—coming from every direction.  We’re hopelessly dependent upon this new hidden, noiseless fuel for our every transaction.  Cut off our electronic fuel via a quiet neighborly EMP attack and that is the end of going anywhere.  The day a bum cannot get his EMT card to work in his ATM machine, will be the day that he comes to your house for dinner, and assuredly, he will eat before you will.

The Fukushima situation
In the book of Revelation it says that 1/3rd of the world’s oceans will be ruined.  When the Tsunami hit Japan, it broke open this prophecy.  Fukushima’s nuclear spills have not been able to be contained since then, and at this very hour that situation (never before seen or experienced), remains out of control, continuously belching additional copious quantities of alarmingly high levels of radiation.  Anything we could do would be a mere Band-Aid on this universal oozing gash.  Currently, the volume of dead sea animals washing up on the Western shores of the US because of interfacing with this radiation is unprecedented.  These animals maroon on our shores with gaping open wounds, burns, sunken eyeballs, endless repositories of radiation damage beyond belief strewn upon our shorelines.  The sea life was our first line of defense.  Those animals took it on the chin.  Our own thyroids are next, and our babies after that.

Let us get beyond looking for better days.  No day will ever again be better, on the corporate, worldly level. Let us saddle in for worse days, and darker nights, for this season of our lives.  But individually, if we proceed with humbly bowed head and contrite heart, under the blood of the only Savior the world has ever known, we can look forward to an individual spiritual bonanza, in the midst of it all.  Read most any chapter of the book of Isaiah to see the judgments and end time cataclysms juxtaposed against the Almighty’s secure protection of His loved ones.  We can look forward to gathering the spiritual spoils of a world in a catastrophic death-throw.  Our booty will be as large as our prayers and our union with the Almighty.  Let us not forget that there are TWO stories going on here.  One is going down; the other is going up.

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Relating to a dysfunctional husband

Friday, 24. April 2015 by Renee Ellison


When we express extreme anguish over a spouse’s disappointing or even bad behavior, the underling belief we have—which we don’t know that we have—is that our personal anguish will somehow touch the other person.  However, if the person lacks the ability to have empathy (a clinical condition; can’t conjure it up, can’t imagine it, lacks the ability to produce it) we have to look at that condition as if a piece of that other person’s DNA is missing, and change our own behaviors in relation to that immovable situation.  It is like dealing with any other handicap in any other person: the person can’t walk because they can’t.  They are in a wheelchair.  Likewise, we must view this emotional disorder as a mental wheelchair.

Our illusion is that if we could just explain it better, if he were to read the right material or get under the influence of the right person, this could be fixed.  Chances are that these hopes are ill-founded if it wasn’t fixed after reading the first book or having the first discussion.  Habit can clobber sane rationality/courage any day, if we one is dealing with a lifetime chronic situation.

Therefore, when we personally have anguish we need to come to see that we are wasting our own emotional capital, only ruining our own day.  It wears us out, but does nothing to the other person.  He may be having a fine day—oblivious to us.  When we figure out that this is in fact the dynamic we are living with, our wise, better course would be to conserve our own emotional energy via self-talk that goes something like this: “This isn’t fazing him a bit, so why should it faze me?” and get busy doing something very engaging that you love to do on you own.  Simply learn to unhook from the cause of the devastation.  Don’t GO there.  If HE is not feeling anything, why should YOU be?  If you remain a victim of chronic dashed expectations, you will forever be miserable.  If someone’s devious or underhanded behavior always takes our breath away, we will always be reeling.  If, on the other hand, we note the underhanded behavior and unhook, check-out, and expect it, then we can move past it and have a life of our own.

It might be quite life-giving to learn how to live in the moment better.  When things are going well, act like the big picture is good.  Pretend.  For your own sake, enjoy all of the gusto you can get out of the relationship while it is going well.  It would be similar to relating to someone who has periodic memory loss and doesn’t even know who you are.  You would simply learn to relate to him (or her) fully for those moments when his memory returns and he does know who you are.  Aim to obtain from the relationship your own momentary joys—and unhook from the rest.  Die to any and all expectations that it will ever be otherwise.  Live a life beside him for all of those moments when it is obvious that he is not in the relationship and doesn’t have a clue about how to get there.  Carve out of life your own quiet joys next to him.  This will revive your own emotional reserves and give you zest for living life wherever there is life—with other relationships and pursuits, for example.  And of course you always have a secret cathedraled life with God that you can retreat to for the most trustworthy, satisfying nurture a human being could ever want.  Go there and mental healing will ever flow.

Remember that the goal of this life is not personal happiness.  It is wanting to be conformed to the image of Christ, no matter what it takes.  It is submitting to whatever surgery is necessary to take on yet more of His nature.  We have this promise: “When we see Him, we shall be like Him” (1 John 3:2).  Saddle up.

Filed Under: Home management tips

Water resourcefulness at home

Monday, 16. March 2015 by Todd Ellison


Did you know, water was the one of the very first things the Almighty created?  Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  In the original Hebrew, heavens, literally, is “that which is water.”  Water represents life, and God is the author of life.  Water is the primary element astronomers are looking for as their craft probe for life on far-off planets and asteroids in outer space.  There is no life if there is no water.  (This is true spiritually, too.  If living water isn’t flowing into us on a regular basis, our spirits suffer, wither and eventually die.  The Savior cried out at one of the festival gatherings in Jerusalem, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”  The Apostle John on Patmos quoted him in Revelation as saying “To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”  However, the focus of this post is on the practical aspect of being good stewards of H2O.)

If an adequate supply of good, clean water is a scarce and/or costly commodity where you live, there are a number of ways to reduce your consumption. Most of them go against the grain of the rich lifestyle of the typical American—in comparison with that of most of the people on Earth.  Nonetheless, you may want to try some of these tips, because (1) there may come a time when you must survive on a very small supply of water, (2) using these strategies can be an eye-opener into the state of your health, (3) you may save money that you can better use for other ends [our City just doubled the rates for its “customers”), (4) this will give you a bit of empathy for the billions in the world who do not have access to even the basics of potable water, and (5) doing this will increase your appreciation for the Heavenly Father’s gracious, ample and timely provision of our needs.

Use biodegradable laundry detergent, use less than you think you should, and send the used wash- and rinse-water onto your lawn, especially around your trees. If you have hard water, try using Rockin Green (Vitacost.com is a possible source; if you haven’t been a customer of theirs yet, please email us to recommend you to them, and we’ll each get a $10 credit toward a future order; this is a good way of thanking us for the advice we offer you on this website—try using Coupon Code Bamboo for an additional 10% off); they have a kind (Hard Rock Motley Clean) that works great with hard water—and you use less than a tablespoon of the powder in a full load of wash.  (Abesmarket.com is another source for Rockin Green.)  Then, when you know you’re not polluting your water supply or your plants, you can direct the wash- and -rinse water outdoors instead of adding it to the load of the sewer system.  Pull your washing machine out from the wall toward you enough for you to reach the black hose that makes a turn down into your sewer system, and attach a hose to it or simple aim it into some 3-gallon buckets when the cycle is dumping water.  You can use that water to wash and rinse your cars.  If you find your rinse water coming out with a lot of soapy bubbles, you may be using too much detergent.  The downside of that, in addition to the waste, is that you’re probably wearing soap next to your skin when you put on those clothes.  Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so that’s not a good idea.  (The best thing to wear next to your skin is unbleached, undyed natural organic linen, which has some of the highest healing frequencies of any fabric; you can order that, in yards of fabric or made up into items for you, from LifeGivingLinen.com.)  Also, in terms of laundry: not everything you wear needs to be washed after a single use.  It is not a crime to wear the same shirt and pants for several days if they’re not dirty or smelly!  You can probably wash your towels once a week; bed linens, even less often, unless someone’s been sick.

Likewise, after you’ve washed your dishes (using the plastic-tub method Renee recommends—one for soapy water and one for rinse water, if you have a double sink in your kitchen), pour out your gray water onto your lawn.  This, of course, is assuming you’re using biodegradable natural dish soap too.  A good thing about the tub method is, you know just how much water you’re consuming, and you’re not sending good hot water down the drain (that could have been used for further rinses and for other purposes after the rinsing, too).  Also, your sink will last longer and you will have less breakage if you are inserting a tub into your sink when it’s time to wash the dishes.

To further conserve water, plant trees—not just any kind of trees, but ones that are suited for your environment.  If you’re in a dry climate, avoid a tree that needs a lot of water.  Once you get the right trees situated around your house (on the southern and western sides of your house if you’re in the northern hemisphere, and away from underground pipes and septic systems (because the roots will seek water in them and will clog them) and not too close to your house (because they can damage it when branches break off or the tree falls).  Having the welcome shade of trees in the right place in the hot time of the year can actually increase the amount of moisture in the air around where you live.  With shade, you’ll need a lot less water to keep your grass green than if it’s baking at full exposure to the summer sun—especially if your grass is a drought-tolerant type such as Wildflower Farm’s Eco-Lawn Grass Seed.  And, when you do irrigation your lawn, do it in the dawn and dusk hours (not in the middle of the day when so much more will evaporate) and water less frequently but more deeply so the roots grown deep.

Also, surround your trees, plants and garden areas with a thick layer of organic mulch (we get wood chips free from the City after they prune trees around town).  This reduces evaporation of moisture, nourishes the soil, increases the capacity of the soil to retain moisture, and inhibits weed growth (or at least makes it easier to pull weeds, because their roots aren’t as deeply entrenched).  You’ll need to replenish the mulch annually or every two years, because it breaks down and makes rich loamy soil.

Catch your roof drain water in barrels for reuse in your yard.

Speaking of septic systems: guys can urinate into a jug.  (By the way this is Todd, Renee’s husband, writing the blog this time!)  Urine is sterile.  Choose a gallon jug that is see-through and that has a good tight-fitting lid, 2” in diameter.  If you empty out and rinse out the jug regularly, it won’t be smelly.  Set your personal jug in a discrete area of your bathroom.  Assuming that you’re living on property that has land, not an apartment in a concrete jungle, pour it out along the base of your trees—if you’re eating well, it probably contains good nutrients and minerals.  Plus, it may deter deer and other wildlife from encroaching on your yard and chewing your plants and trees.  Do the math, and you’ll realize how much water you’re saving.  Even the highest efficiency toilets use up to 1.28 gallons per flush; some of the older toilets use more than 3 GPF.  According to ConserveH2O.org, “More than 45% of water use in the average American home occurs in the bathroom, with nearly 27% being used by toilets.”  A dozen flushes a day adds up to thousands of gallons per year per person and is far more than is necessary (if you’re a male).  Plus, you will be able to observe the state of your health by seeing the color of your urine.  It should be amber colored.  If it is dark, you probably aren’t drinking enough water.  The rule of thumb is to drink half your weight in ounces of water every day.

As for the remainder of your use of toilet water, reduce the water volume in the toilet tank by setting weighted plastic bottles or a float booster in your toilet tank.  Eartheasy.com explains (step 6 of their water conservation tips) how to do it and how to make sure you have enough water flowing to do an effective flush.

Another way to greatly reduce your use of water in the bathroom—and also to cut down on heating the water—is to attach a flexible hose spray head to your shower head.  You hold it in one hand and only turn it on when you’re actually needing water.  Eartheasy.com states that “a four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water.”  If you stand in a flat bucket, or plug the drain so you can scoop out the used water, you can flush the toilet with the water.  And, take a shower rather than a bath, except for occasions when you want to soak in Epsom salts or something like that; why sit in dirty water rather than have it do your ablution and run off?

Likewise, turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth, as soon as you’ve wet your brush.  Also, dentists recommend dry brushing every so often, because it gives the brush a better grip on your gums and your teeth.

Do you see a theme in these suggestions?  You’re reducing the volume of water that is leaving your property through the sewer pipe.  And, in many cases, you are getting double use out of your water.

Have you noticed in various areas of life, that the Heavenly Father provides just what you need, when you’re in His will and are acting responsibly?  Good stewardship of His wondrous gift of water—distilled from the oceans and dropped as rain and snow on the land for our use bit by bit—is a means for us as believers to express our gratefulness for His daily provision.

Got you interested?  WaterUseItWisely.com has about 200 tips for saving water.

Do you have water-saving water-reusing tips to share?  Send them to us as a Comment!

Filed Under: Home management tips

Bond with your children by reading the Bible to them every night

Monday, 09. March 2015 by Renee Ellison


Remember to bond your young child with his real, true God and Maker and Savior, by reading to him from the Bible every night.  The Egermeier children’s version is all in one book, has glorious pictures, is simple to understand, and is easily conquered because it tells the Bible story in just one volume.  smile 

Once when I taught someone else’s six children for seven months, I made sure to read the Bible to them.  I used just one simple volume so that we were able to finish it by the time they moved out of state.  When they left they were familiar with every single story.  They loved it when I read to them from it.  It was our closest bonding time.  It is an investment in their joy, because God anoints the reading of it and you can feel it in the air whenever the Bible is read—a small supernatural experience every day!  There is no book like it.  (For more resources, see this earlier blog post.)

Many a great man has said, “What I learned of God, I learned at my mother’s knee.”  There are only a few years of influence that you will have over your young child, and then the door begins to close.  The years FLY BY.  It is far more important to read to him from the Bible than any library book, when your time is limited to reading from only one book on many a night.  By doing it nightly, you establish a habit in your child’s little spirit so that he wants to reach out for God every day, to check in with the lover of his soul.  When the mama does this, it establishes a life time habit for the child—something many parents never give their children.  It is so much easier to establish this love of the Bible, right from the get-go, in childhood.  Many an adult wants to read the Bible but is clobbered in inertia and lack of habit, and never gets to it.

Just look at how beautiful the Savior is to us: from Charles Spurgeon’s devotions way back in the 1800’s, we read:

“Never did anyone have a brother like him.  Never did a spouse have such a husband as Christ has been to my soul.  Never did a sinner have a better savior.  Never did a mourner have a better comforter than Christ has been to my spirit.  I want no one else.  In life he is my life.  In death he is the death of death.  In poverty Christ is my riches.  In sickness he makes my bed.  In darkness he is my star.  In brightness he is my sun!”

Such a lover has never been—apart from the Messiah.  Acquaint your child well with Him smile and he will thank you all his life.  There is no better gift that you could give him.

With ya,

Filed Under: Spiritual tips

Response to the current “Tiny House” discussion

Thursday, 19. February 2015 by Renee Ellison


Everyone, simply everyone, has to conquer the housing issue in their life.  The sooner we homeschooling parents can ground our high schoolers with this immutable reality, the better.  Housing is like gravity: the need for it doesn’t go away even if we attempt to wish it away, or try to avoid facing it indefinitely.  Having an early strong financial goal of conquering this fixed need in our lives will help clobber the temptation to spend money on trivia (a tendency that can go on for several decades), or to waste money on rent, and will help to marshal our stray hours into a compelling purpose to get this “over with”.  Unbeknownst to most of the public discussion on this topic, it can be gotten “over with”—if we play our early years wisely.

Just the other day there was an article in World Net Daily that said, “How an emerging adult spends the first ten LABOR years of their lives will determine the rest of their lives.”  Conquering the housing/land problem early in life gives a person freedoms down the road that are unimaginable to him when he is still youngWhere we conquer obtaining this housing/land package is always important, but it’s not the most important thing initially; one can always swap/rent/improve/sell/trade up that starter position.  It is when one doesn’t work at building the starter nest-egg—that is what can sink someone into mortgage debt for the rest of life.  The root of the word mortgage is morgue—i.e. death.  A mortgage is an agreement with death.  The vast majority of our culture makes this covenant with death, which many often enter cavalierly as they eagerly sign their first mortgage, not realizing the full extent of what they are doing.

Now some thoughts regarding the current public discussion about tiny houses:
The sheer number of books and YouTube videos touting the glories of a tiny house indicate that the trend is mushrooming.  The Tiny House movement may be an over-reaction to our culture’s run-away materialism, and is certainly nothing new. The elderly have been downsizing for decades.  Let’s examine more closely what it belies.  Is it not evidence perhaps that the capacity to live is shrinking?  One simply doesn’t need more spacious housing if one’s productivity is slowing down, if one’s engagements are falling off, if one’s social life is drying up (visitors come less often), and/or if “taking dominion” over life’s possibilities and family building is not the goal.  Young adults could go about it the other way—building a large metal shed and then tucking a warm livable space into a corner of it—so that there is no limit on one’s endeavors.  In a warehouse, expansion possibilities exist from the get-go; there is no ceiling upon who one can become and what one can do.  Entrepreneurialism is fast becoming a smarter option than lifetime-debtor-slavery to colleges.  The excitement in living is to actually DO something.  To actually do anything, and to be home-centric in doing it—loving your own environment instead of living like a vagabond all over town—one needs space.

A tiny house works great for a single person who largely conducts business somewhere else and only needs a YMCA or youth hostel-type cot for the night.  The minute you put two people in such an arrangement, however—let alone one’s first squalling baby—all bets are off for its long range workability.  Tight living quarters will eventually (if not on the first day) create more stress for two humans—though flocks of animals seem to be able to handle it okay.

Therefore, might we be starting off the discussion about housing on the weaker end of the stick?  Let’s face it: a person can live in anythingIs not the more significant consideration the land on which the home rests?  This is something it seems we’ve forgotten, but something the pioneers heading west totally grasped.  We might need to re-discover this in our modern lives.  “If I can just get me a plot of land” was the insatiable appetite of the young in the early days of the development of any country.

One could build the most fabulous tiny house imaginable, but if the land issue wasn’t settled beforehand, perplexities will assertively present themselves the day after it is finished as to where to set it.  Here is the problem: if a person lives on someone else’s land (ostensibly for “free”) they’ll trade financial woes for relational woes.  Sure-shootin’.  They’ll walk around under constant guilt/anxiety about the hour when the relationship may go south—the love tires, grows weary, impatient, the landlords suddenly change, or the landlord’s plans change (e.g. he just lost HIS job, has to move to take care of HIS parents), and any number of unforeseeable variables.  Anxieties without number can begin to mount about all of the surrounding housing/living details: parked cars, the condition of the grounds immediately around the tiny house, the volume of the music, the use of drugs and alcohol, and whose responsibility it is to shovel the snow or repair the broken fence.  The responsibility fog/load gets murky in a hurry.  When one’s living situation hinges on the benevolence of someone else (one’s garage “free-land-lord”, or “free” driveway benefactor) one’s anxieties don’t go away.  Such a person trades mortgage anxieties for interpersonal anxieties and finds that he still is not free.

To be truly free, one could restructure the discussion to look for the land first.  Secure the plot, first, even if it is on the backside of a remote village.  And while beginning the search, look for one thing in particular—a good supply of good clean water.  Is its source secure?  Is the well or the supply infrastructure already secure?  Don’t settle for the hope of having water, or the maybe of having a future water infrastructure “coming to the area”.  Is the water polluted?  How polluted?  Before you plop down your first nickel, be sure of your water situation (and, additionally, make sure that the land is not built over a mine-shaft, a uranium deposit or an area where an oil rig may show up and start drilling).  In other words, don’t mince questions over what is underneath the land.  Nothing, however, is as important as the water issue.  Under an EMP attack, surely nothing else matters as much.  So disregard the gorgeous housing magazines and keep your head on.  You can’t drink a view.

Then build your tiny house—erect your tent—buy your RV; you can upgrade through the years.  By the way, in most cases, the only difference between an RV and your tiny house is looks, mobility (a tiny house is not intended for frequent movement, whereas an RV could move to a different slot each night) and the depth of your passion to control the configuration of the layout.  Die to your perfectionisms and you can save yourself a chapter of having to become a construction manager—a career/field most people know nothing about, will spend inordinate hours brooding over, and still wind up with mistakes and oops common to newbies in any field—to say nothing of having to wear a hammer on your belt for double the time you had planned upon.

The truly winning strategy to be financially free for a lifetime, in terms of your housing?  Start with where—and then, downstream, think through your what.  For more on this topic, read our 10 Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary People Who Got Free of House Debt and Sure Financial Steps for Beginners.

Picture source (and for more information): Cozy Tiny House.

Filed Under: Home management tips

The socialization dilemma

Saturday, 14. February 2015 by Renee Ellison


The question:

A customer wrote:

“At present I have an 8 year old boy who loves to go out and play around with some neighbor 11 year old boys who are not the worst but they go to school and love fighting and robber games, which we have as a rule not encouraged in our home. He is then acting up inside the home, and starting to display the beginnings of a sour attitude. He has always been a very gentle and sensitive child who responded well to discipline. I’m wondering how I can display the sort of words and smiles you mention here when really I’m worried about him - what have I done wrong? What can I do about him? It doesn’t help that we are labeled “exclusive” at our church because we homeschool, and we don’t come from Christian homes and have no support from either friends or family. The pressure is beginning to tell on us and our kids look as though they were wishing they could just do the stuff everyone else is doing. We have fun with our kids working together, reading and listening to missionary stories, going on walks and kayaks together. But it seems the world is pushing in on is so hard and we might lose the battle already. We also have two daughters aged 5 and 2. How can we display all the love we long to when we are having these pressures and worries?”

Some answers:
My friend Eileen, who has a large family with a spread of ages, nailed it with the “communication key”.  That is the top concept.  She wrote:

“We drive two hours to and from shabbat almost every week and we still come against bad influences.  The only thing that I find that helps is intense time before… giving instruction on what is expected behavior, and after… going through all that they experienced and discussing what was pleasing to Abba and what wasn’t.  We also have to immediately deal with things they have seen or heard when they are around others.  For example, families who don’t believe in discipline, is this right or wrong, what does Abba say?  The more evil we come against, the more time we must put in to counteract. More Bible memory and more cuddle time to increase a loving attitude toward mommy and daddy.”

I would add three things more, as well…

Continually point out to them cases of where bad influences and poor personal choices turned out poorly for the unwise person. Appeal to their own self-interest and their own future protection, sparing them grief, for their own future betterment.  Let them know that you want them “to ride on the heights of the earth” for their sakes, because you and the Lord view them as so valuable in His kingdom.  This has a different “feel” than “thou shalt nots.”  This is a “let’s run with champions” feel.

Also, at some strategic moments one can almost appear cavalier, as a parent, about telling them that it is for their sake and not yours.  You could make these sorts of statements: “I’ve already made my choices; this is your life, and only you will live with the results.”  Or, “We don’t want you to have the emotional pain so and so lives with, or the practical fallout and negative effects, or to suffer backtracking in this area.”  This heightens their anxiety, when they see you “checking out.”  Don’t over-use this tactic, but it is good sometimes.  It is just one more tool in your parental belt to wield when the moment is right.

Minimize the amount of worldly input into your children’s lives. Certainly there should be none at all in your home—and there should be shortened exposures outside of the home.  Have other children into your home, and almost never have your children in other people’s homes unless you are there, as well.

Go deeper with siblings. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s birth family did this to the max, as did Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s.  We can encourage our children to dote on younger siblings more and to adore older siblings more; this will prepare them to one day be able to extend additional kindnesses to one’s spouse.  There are inexhaustible possibilities for expressions of love within the family that most secular families know little about.  This extends the child’s patience with relating, and takes him into an understanding of “empathy.”  It moves children deeper into realizing the differences of others’ brains and wiring, and brings them into relational surprises of the good sort, as well as shaping in them the grace of loving endurance.  Because eventually there are hard patches of loving any human—a spouse, a child or a disintegrating elderly person under our care for months or years far past our patience—and for teaching them how to cope with a host of differing and difficult personality types in every direction in one’s larger life.

It is only an American concept that we can choose our friends infinitely and only waltz with those who delight us—and to dump them, on a whim, when they don’t.  Having 600 Facebook friends is the antithesis of loving in the “daily round of duty” with a few.  The hard work of love is exactly that—hard work—but what it wonderfully yields, what we ultimately come to understand, is that love is never about the object of our love, but about growing our own capacity to live out His infinite love in our own spheres.  It was not the beauty of us, or any other alluring attributes from us, that coaxed the Almighty into loving us; it was sheer divine grit.  That was infinite “God-ness.”

Entrepreneurialism vs. entitlement

Wednesday, 11. February 2015 by Renee Ellison


Our society has raised a generation of entitlement thinkers.  Children want something for nothing, and they grow into adults who want something for nothing.  In the American ghetto, sadly, we now have three generations who have sat around their family dinner table talking about their welfare checks.  Meanwhile, quietly, immigrants both now and from yesteryear rolled up their sleeves and got to work and worked themselves out of the American ghetto in one generation.  The immigrants slept on the floor in the back of their shops and now own the buildings that house those same shops…while their American counterparts continued a life of poverty and grew their entitlement mentality.

Dr. Theodore Dalrymple, a British psychologist who worked in the ghettos of the U.K., says that often “poverty is what we carry around between our two ears.”  It breeds itself in our thought life.  See his eye-opening book: Life at the Bottom.

As a nation, we are “hand-out-foolish.”  Think of how our country could be improved if we required commensurate work for every welfare check we handed out.  We could say as a nation, “Yes, you can have money: there will always be money for the individual who will give us work in exchange.”  How ‘bout that for a policy?!

Recipients of government benefits could improve our country’s roads, spotlessly clean bathrooms in all of our government buildings, plant trees, pick up trash along roads, pick weeds, do maintenance repairs on old equipment, etc, etc.

Here is the problem.  Entitlement programs work until you run out of taxpayers.  Then you have a disaster on your hands.

A few years ago, outraged college students took over their college president’s office because they wanted future students of The Cooper Union to continue receiving a free education.  The impasse lasted 65 days.  The institution was over-extended and in debt by $17 million through a series of poor decisions.  The ideology was unsustainable in the real world.  Free means someone hidden is footing the bill.  Nothing is ever free.  The president and the professors should have walked off their jobs, turned the lights out, and left the students with the bills, but they didn’t, because their own entitlement mentality got the best of them (the president thought there was nothing unconscionable about receiving a salary of nearly $800,000 and getting free use of an elegant townhome in New York).  Their fragile inflated salaries, fabricated out of cotton candy dynamics, were at stake.  While the fountain of illusion still flowed they wanted to be there to fill up their jugs.  And so the impasse remained an impasse.

By the way, US college student loan debt has surpassed a trillion dollars.  To put that into graspable terms: if a business started at the time of the birth of Christ, and was open every day since, and accrued debt at the rate of one million dollars per day, it would be 700 years from now before that business would have a debt of one trillion dollars.

Whatever happened to the biblical mandate, “If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat”?  Squeeze our current ideology, thoroughly wring it out for all its worth, and eventually we’ll be plunged back into the 19th century.  Someone has to work to make the raw materials, ship the raw materials, make them into salable products, retail them, etc.  If we lie down on the job anywhere along the line (as we’ve now done in our society) we’ll derail for good.

The root of this entitlement problem is that most youth (and much of the adult general population) of today have never run a business.  Start with entrepreneurial training of your children and you can turn this ship around, at least for your family.  It begins with the lemonade stand.  Teach your children that they never get to keep the whole dollar.  They have to work to get the dollar to begin with, but then they have to pay for their supplies before they walk home with profits.  Tell them before they set up the stand that you will be asking for money out of their profits to replenish your supplies—that they will be paying you for the paper cups, the sugar, and the lemons.  Teach them what economies are all about by encouraging them to have realistic experiences with small businesses of their own.  Then compliment them, inspire them, give them enlarging tips and opportunities, and you’ll have done your part to grow some business muscle in our nation.

Entitlement or entrepreneurialism?  Take your pick and live with your outcomes.  For a further impassioned discussion of this matter listen to Renee’s half-hour radio program on Sunday, 2/15/15 at 10:00 RMST on Messianic Lamb Radio or return to this site to hear the archived program at any time afterwards.

Filed Under: Home management tips

‘Tis NEVER too late to parent BETTER

Sunday, 08. February 2015 by Renee Ellison


If you are only just now seeing the big picture of raising godly seed, and a higher standard of parenting, do not despair about the years before now, that were not so well spent.  It is only the Enemy that tells us we are too late to really parent well.  It is never too late to bond well with our children and make a huge impact upon their lives.  Never too late.  You can begin afresh this very minute.

If you feel that the past has been a complete wash, start by focusing on what is most important: your own personal repentance and biblical imprinting on your children.  In prayer, tell God that you are sorry for your own misplaced priorities, that you didn’t “get it” about what a high calling this was and that now you want to make better decisions with your time and need His help.  Cry out to God for a turnaround in your own habits.  Trying to replace destructive habits without divine help is almost impossible.  Repentance opens up the heart to the working of the Holy Spirit—it grants Him permission to help you. 

On a practical level, replace the inferior habit (be it long phone calls, romance novels, TV shows, the idolatry of spectator sports, excess shopping, personal projects, or perhaps over-indulging a friend or relative to the harm of your own children who look to you but can’t find you because you are always preoccupied with someone beyond your immediate family) with a better habit that entices you.  If you can think of nothing else, replace all time-eaters /-wasters with family exercise.  This will start to turn your huge “ship of state” around in the waters.  Do it for 28 days straight and it will become a new, better habit.  Even if it is just a long robust family walk around the neighborhood, do it every day.  (Work up to three miles.)  This gives you bonding time with your precious children—positive emotional time not spent around chores or academics—and clears out the mental cobwebs for academic work when you get home.  Plus, it gets all of you into better shape.

Also, start massively imprinting your young children with the Bible by reading to them from Arthur Maxwell’s 10-volume The Bible Story and his set of Bedtime Stories.  Never skip a night.  Make this a non-negotiable.  We heard of one family who repeated this over and over for eight years; their children turned out phenomenally godly and holy.  This will serve as a third parent in its divine imprinting of your child.  It’s a great use of that special hour before bedtime.

Start there.  Then make to-do charts for each child and make them highly visible on a wall or door near you.  Delegate lots and lots of household chores so that you can keep your eye on the big picture of what each member of your family is doing, instead of you being down scrubbing that floor.  Have as many children as possible help you cook.  Don’t you be working in the kitchen while your children are hanging from the chandeliers.  Make them work with you.  Keep the speech upbeat and happy.  Pump the atmosphere with joy.  You want to give them joyful memories.  Was the greater bulk of the family atmosphere joy or harshness?  They’ll carry this impression with them for the rest of their lives, just like you do from your own childhood.

If you’ve completely lost control of the organization of your home, send your children and hubby away to your relatives for three days (if at all possible) and you stay home to get command of the organization of your house.  Work until you drop—‘til every muscle twitches—getting your house exactly the way you want it.

To recover lagging ineffective discipline with your children, start by saying the appropriate phrases and making loving comments with your own happy, cheerful voice.  If Johnnie is mean to Mary, you say the words Johnnie should have said—and be done with it.  For example, “Mary, I wouldn’t want to frustrate you.  I’m sorry, you’re my precious sister with whom I will rule angels in the next life.”  Then leave the room.  Johnnie will, no doubt, be left standing there with his mouth open.

Yadidahdidah—your objective is for your children to begin to feel a different energy in the home.  You, the mom, can be the example.  If the children are rude to your husband, run to him and throw your arms around him and say, “You are the best hubby and father a woman could want.  OHHHHHHH how I love you.”  Thus you indirectly correct your children by your own amazing loving example.  Start there.

The great surprise of homeschooling is that it not only conforms our children to His image, but conforms us (the parents) to His image, as well. Yup, homeschooling, done in the fear of the Almighty and by His grace, purifies two generations at once.

Tips for improving the functionality of your home

Sunday, 25. January 2015 by Renee Ellison


Here are tips for tweaking your home accessories to enhance your ability to work and teach more easily.  Make your home and its objects serve you, rather than you serving them.

Lap boards:
It’s handy to have a few stiff lap boards (12x12”) to use underneath each child’s work, while sitting on the couch with mama.  We just jerk the covers of old large children’s books from the thrift store to use for these stiff boards.  Reinforce the corners with a piece of duct tape to keep them from fraying.

Slant boards for kids:
Setting these on the study table lifts the child’s work up at a slant which makes it easier to read.

Card table and booster seat:
With a smaller child, use a booster seat and a grownup’s card table.  Mama scoots the light card table up to the child as tightly as it needs to be for the child’s easy arm movement.  This is far easier than attempting to move the already seated child up to the tablet.  Mama sits at the card table with her child for good tight focused learning.

Because a homeschooling mom is often working in the kitchen at the same time that she is schooling—double-whamming her time—let’s look at two ideas for the kitchen, too.

Kitchen trash can-ease:
Have two open trash cans in the kitchen, making it easy to toss trash in quickly without having to constantly open lower cupboard doors or mess with removing or tilting trash can lids.  The ideal size is 15x14x8.5”.  Why is that ideal?  Because standard grocery store checkout bags fit in these containers, saving you from having to purchase bags, and they are light enough for the children to carry to empty often (this teaches them responsibility at an early age) and to notice when it needs emptying, because it’s not hidden.

Set these two receptacles side by side on the edge between the kitchen and the adjacent work/dining/study room.  One of these cans is used primarily for kitchen garbage, the other for homeschooling paper trash and craft trash.  The secret bonus?  Both are available for either use, at all times.

“Easy-on-your-back” work surfaces:
Create three work levels in your kitchen.  One level is the height of a 5-gallon plastic bucket (actually use a 5-gallon bucket for that level, with its lid on; it will be 17” high).  Use this level to set your trashcan upon when in use to peel carrots or potatoes so that the peels fall right into the trash can; this eliminates the step of scooping peelings from the sink and it ensures that the peelings make it into the trash because it is right underneath you (impossible to miss).

The next level is achieved by using a little cart with wheels, ideally 26” high.  Place your blender upon this level.  This enables you to look down into your blender when you’re stuffing it with produce, and it allows your arm to fully extend downward when you’re hand-mixing a bowl of batter, for example—far easier and more restful on your arm than stirring with your arm bent at higher levels.

Your final work surface height is your normal kitchen counter, measuring something like 35”.  You’ll love transferring from surface to surface, depending upon the need at hand.

Any improvement that saves wear and tear on mama is worth it—especially when it uses something you already have or that you can find inexpensively, like these suggestions.

Filed Under: Home management tips

Remember the unborn—tomorrow, too

Thursday, 22. January 2015 by Renee Ellison


The nation’s pro-life remembrance day has past—but the problem has not passed.  [picture: fetus at 14 weeks]

More babies will be slaughtered today, and even more tomorrow.  Even though we pride ourselves on living in a civilized nation, we are as barbaric in this regard as the pagans who slaughtered their children for the pagan god Molech.  We are still passing our nation’s children through the fire.

The habit of making rationalizations is all about supplying reasons for what our spirit knows is wrong to do.  As a result of our insistence upon rationalizations, we have become a nation that swims in irrationalities.  We are so messed up in our logic that we have convinced ourselves that abortion—killing babies—is actually a good thing to do.  Why, then, do girls come out of Planned Parenthood, looking pale and sober, if this is so good?  Where is all that supposed joy?  I’ve not seen any of them leave the act with a smile on their face.  They mistakenly believed that death would produce life for them—or at least freedoms.  Instead, they traded their babies for life-time emotional baggage and subsequent haunting hours they never dreamed of.

When has slaughter (in these magnitudes of numbers, let alone one) ever been a good thing?   56 million have been killed since the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision made abortion legal in the US, 42 years ago today.  Pharaoh slaughtered the young on the birthing stool.  Herod enlarged his slaughtering to include 2-year olds and younger.  This was not a good thing, historically, nor is it now.  There was weeping and wailing, then.  There is grief, heartache, relentless guilt and shame, now.

When we tamper with God’s divine order and creation we unwittingly create horrific unbalances.  Over the past several decades China has slaughtered their baby girls.  Look, now, at the imbalance it has created.  How is this a good thing?  Now they have millions of frustrated men who can’t find wives, channeling their testosterone into joining the ranks of the military.  What does a nation do with several million unmarried men?  Do we not see the formation of Revelation’s army, perhaps?  The testosterone will be used somewhere.

When we abort our nation’s babies, we defeat even our own selfish ends.  When Satan kills the baby, he takes with it all the full-blown fruit of what that person would have contributed to our own welfare and happiness as a nation.  All the things that that person would have invented or discovered or contributed are now gone from us—these potentials by the millions benefit us not at all, die with the fetus.  Even our tax base gets destroyed, so that now the elderly outnumber the young and the shrinking emerging work force cannot sustain us.  These are alarming dynamics.  We encounter economic fiasco by destroying the needed ranks of the next generation.  We do not even reproduce ourselves, and so we as a people shrink.

How is it a good thing for an ob-gyn doctor to slaughter a baby in one room and rush to the aid of saving a baby of the same age in the next room?  Huh?  What are we thinking?  Getting a college education, without an unwanted pregnancy, has become an idol to us—an idol worth murdering for.  We must complete the degree, but not the child?  Huh?  What has happened to us?

In the last analysis, the problem is not a childbirth problem; it is an unbridled irresponsible sex problem.  We refuse to take the moral high ground in this debate and admit that we are working on the wrong end of the problem. Abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage always was and always will be the only real solution to this problem. A child belongs with committed parents.  A child is ultimately an emerging adult and needs a context in which to become as refined as possible for a chance at life, liberty and happiness—the same chance his mother had.

So, what tools can you use in this raging debate to help restore sanity on this topic, when caught in our nation’s debate about the unborn child?  Learn to supply rational reasons from Scripture and hard science, whenever you encounter this topic with individuals.  Here are some of the best arguments you can share.

Tools for logical debate:

Scientific tools:

Since the debate hinges entirely upon whether or not the fetus is fully human, ask your opponent to name the hour the baby becomes a human.  Let him (or her) pick the hour.  Then once he has planted his pole on that issue, according to his own whims, ask him: “What then was the baby five minutes before?  Also, what scientific chemical upset happened at that moment he chose to ascribe human qualities to, to make it so?  Is this cataclysmic collusion of supposed chemical activity verifiable under a microscope?

Next, ask your opponent what other animal or anything in all of nature changes its chromosome structure to shift from one thing to another at any time in all of its development?  You can’t name one.  A baby fetus sports 23 chromosomes; 22 sets are the same for both sexes—the 23rd set determines the gender of the child.  When did (or do) those chromosomes change from the moment of conception onwards?  The answer?  Never!

SLED is an acronym for your final strong debate points.  Nothing else is allowed life, i.e. spared from death, merely because of its S-ize, L-evel of development, E-nvironmental changes (living on the outside of the womb as a premie) or D-egree of dependency.  These are simply non-issues when it comes to whether a thing should live or not live.  [For more on this acronym coined by Stephen Schwarz, see http://www.caseforlife.com ]

Biblical tools:
The Bible gives us two outstanding tools to show that it was never God’s intent for us to view the fetus as anything other than a baby. 

One: Psalm 139 makes it clear that we were knit in our mother’s womb as a human being from the get-go.

And two: When Mary, the mother of Yeshua, visited Elizabeth, Yeshua was only recently conceived, perhaps the size of a pin by that point.  Yet the strength of his personhood was felt by John the Baptist who leaped in his mother Elizabeth’s womb at his presence, (himself being only six months old).  Yeshua was fully the Son of God and the Son of Man at conception.

The hour of our rationalizations has ended.  Judgment is leveled at us.  It is (and will continue to be) severe and irreversible.  Labor to withhold the scalpel in all of your discussions on the point.  Rescue the perishing.  It is a biblical command: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter (Proverbs 24:11).

Filed Under: Spiritual tips