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A waltz with plastic (an editorial on the use of credit cards)

Sunday, 28. June 2009 by Renee Ellison


Credit cards waltz many Americans straight into surrealism.  Taking another spin around the room in the arms of plastic, with sweet nothings being whispered in our ears, we whirl deeper and deeper into the night.  But the “financial-folly-of-a-dance” ends in the morning.  By the rude light of day we see the tables turned upside down; we hold only empty bottles and toys and begin to feel the headache.

In the old days, before plastic was invented and cut into sturdy little 2x3 inch rectangles, we had to FEEL real money, and we counted out DIFFERENT amounts for each purchase: one dollar, two dollars, three dollars.  At the checkout stand, people used to observe the size of the pile of cash required for each and every item they bought.  And AFTER a purchase, if there was any left, they put a DIMINISHED stash of cash back into their pocket…realizing that what remained was thinner, littler, and lighter.  They felt the transfer of stored sweat equity in actual greenbacks and clinking change.

But today, regardless of whether we buy a large expensive car or a small cheap loaf of bread, we put the SAME SIZED piece of plastic back into our wallet after the purchase; nothing is diminished in the palm of our hand.  We see no loss; we feel no loss.  This new financial modus operundus has led many of us straight into un-reality.  We know that reality still exists out there somewhere, but it is veiled and far away.  What we now feel is only the waltz, the beat of the music in the air.  The faster we spin, the higher we fly, until we don’t feel the tug of even the law of gravity anymore…financial gravity.  We have disconnected with natural laws.

Many think that we cross the line into surrealism when our credit card debt-load reaches $5,000, or $10,000 or $15,000, or whenever all hope of EVER paying it back seems past.  But the reality is that we crossed it with our first small purchase when we didn’t have the actual cash in the bank to back it up and we KNEW it, but did it anyway.  That is where we crossed the line.  Thousands cross this line every day.  It is a kind of financial mini-stroke, a trial run at financial suicide.  A shot of morphine.

By the way, what COULD persons do if they ever DO reach such a point of needing money when they have none?  They could do what people have done for centuries.  Stop purchasing!!!  Stop the financial hemorrhaging.  Don’t keep digging the same hole deeper.  Leave the grocery store, leave the gas station; instead, walk, bike, catch a ride with a neighbor.  Go out immediately and earn something.  Earn pocket change for just today, and then do it again tomorrow, until you can get a larger, more permanent job, based on your conscientious regard for the responsibilities of the small temporary job you completed today.  You then use this small job to get a quote, a referral, a recommendation for the future.  Go mow someone’s lawn, make a loaf of bread and sell it, or fix something for someone, babysit someone’s child, look after an elderly person, fix them dinner, wash their car, clean their house, or yard.  Do grunt work.  Clean someone’s “something” that they don’t want to have to clean themself.  Work at some little job for UNDER the going rate.  Do what makes you the most marketable immediately.  You can think about a more long range solution WHILE you work at SOMETHING to put food on the table right now.

Be exceptionally clean and well groomed.  You never get a second chance to impress a future employer, whether they hire you for a day, or a week, or a year.  Demonstrate by your LOOKS that you COULD care about someone ELSE’S details.  Poverty and elbow grease aren’t mutually exclusive.  Wash dishes in a restaurant.  Get a paper route, or fill in on a mail delivery route.  Take the lowest job of the low.  There is always room at the bottom of any potential work project.  And if you do it well, you’ll soon climb the ladder, within hours, even!!!

Just several short decades ago, even if a person’s own mother died, if they didn’t have the money to take the train home for the funeral, they didn’t go.  Period.  There was no WAY to waltz across that line of reality.  It was not possible.  No cash, no purchases.  For this reason, some of the Pilgrims daily rationed themselves with only 3 kernels of corn during the toughest moments of that first harsh winter.  They viscerally FELT the lack of vital resources, and it caused them to use their fleeting vital energy to find a way to reverse that reality so that it wouldn’t hit again tomorrow.  Money or the lack thereof defines a large part of our reality.  It tells us what we can and cannot do.  If one chooses to leave the path of financial solvency, finding it too narrow, one quickly ends up in the jungle, NOT on a larger path as one imagines.

Fiscal reality is not a bad thing.  It is a sure parameter around existence from its inception.  Earning money is a motivator for all mankind.  History has revealed the wisdom of it.  Without needing to buy bread by the sweat of one’s brow, one would choose not to sweat.  Most all of the great art and literature contributions made during the Renaissance were produced in response to a commission!  The artist had to eat, so he wrote the book, or painted the church’s ceiling, to get money for his living expenses.  Think of the art the world would have missed, had there not been the necessity of producing it.

Realistically, there are only two avenues to wealth.  Only two.  Spend less. And earn more.  That’s it.  That’s the secret formula in its entire splendor.  It is no great mystery.  The challenge of fiscal reality will always be to mobilize oneself WITHIN this construct, not seek to hunt for a different road.

Spend less.  Put pencil to paper… greenbacks in envelopes…record daily purchases/receipts/expenses in a financial log-book before you go to bed EVERY night, until you fully master yourself again in this area.  Even Ben Franklin did this.  He was carrying his own financial weight by the time he was 24 and then—by multiplying those efforts/successes through hiring others—by age 42 (the very same numbers flipped) he was CONTRIBUTING to the needs of the WORLD.

Become AWARE of EVERY purchase.  Rather than purchase in surrealism, totally oblivious to what you are ACTUALLY doing, wake up.  Take 48 hours to think before making ANY purchase that isn’t previously WRITTEN down, whether it is for groceries, medicine, projects, seemingly needed travel, clothes, etc.  Put it ALL down on paper.  Applying pencil to paper is the fastest route to control your income and outgo.

Earn MORE. One way to do this is to layer those income streams.  Do more than one job.  Pick up smaller jobs around the edges, and stay relentlessly steady at it until you return to total solvency.  Mobilize the entire family as a fiscal machine, if need be.  The Pilgrims did it. There is no other way.  Foreigners who come to our country do it, even now.  The entire family sleeps in the back of the storefront on the floor and works its way up from there.  Don’t stop when you are finally out of trouble – stop only when there is EXCESS in your wallet.  Savings is the goal, not just survival.

One may wistfully stand on the shore and WANT or even TRY another way to cross the Atlantic Ocean, be it by roller skating, hot air ballooning, or swimming, but only two ways will ACTUALLY, surely get you there.  It’s only possible to fly or take a boat.  We will not make it if we attempt to walk on water.  So it is with money.  Determine to grab yourself out of the current financial surreal world.  Live for the morning, and begin to feel financial gravity again as you return to fiscal sure-footedness.  If you’re in trouble in this area, the first step is to cut up the plastic and stop the waltz.

Filed Under: Home management tips

A homeschool mother’s job Is gigantic

Monday, 11. May 2009 by Renee Ellison


G. K. Chesterson likened a mother’s duties to those of a monarch.  You are presiding over a large, eternally influential kingdom.  Chesterson remarked: “How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about [arithmetic], and a small career to tell one’s own children about the UNIVERSE?”  [This means teaching general knowledge.]  How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone [having an outside career like a bank teller, doing the same thing hour after hour] and narrow to be EVERYTHING to your children?!!!  A mother’s job is gigantic!”

I know some of what you are going through.  For over 20 years I labored, training and educating between 20 and 30 children, every day, for the bulk of the day.  I did everything but feed ‘em and tuck ‘em into bed at night.  It is a thrilling thing to come up under child after child and lift them to lofty heights.  It takes all of your vital energy.  But there is no duty more glorious in the end.  To see your children reach adulthood, devoted to the Heavenly Father, thoroughly educated, accomplished, capable, refined in as many areas as is possible is a joy unspeakable.  Love and serve your children, be to them everything they need, and in so doing, He will be to you everything you need.

Just do the next thing, and stay focused on your great task.  Helen Keller said, “I long to accomplish some great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.”  If you have few resources and are stymied about curriculum, you can at least tackle these small tasks with your children:

  * Make sure that every child knows 1,000 spelling words.  Drill them day after day until they know them cold.
  * Make them know their multiplication facts to perfection.  Then go on and teach them how to thoroughly multiply and divide, up to three digits.
  * Print out just one map of the world.  Teach all seven continents today, the major oceans tomorrow, individual countries, rivers, mountains, cities…until they know the world in great detail…progressively, line upon line, more and more each day.
  * Print out a timeline of key historical dates.  Teach them one a day…until they know an overview of key events and dates of the entire scope and sequence of world history.  Review.

Teaching, line upon line, precept upon precept

Thursday, 07. May 2009 by Renee Ellison


The education of her own children should be a mother’s top priority.  Parents’ discipleship of their children is to be total, and is more important than disciplining any outsider or extended family member.

A child should be educated to his/her FULL POTENTIAL in as MANY areas as possible, engaging in a full spectrum of skills AND ever-developing mental capability.  It is not enough to only know how to read, or how to do math minimally, or to know only a few difficult spelling words, etc.

This education should not be casual, not random, not hit or miss.  It should be done line upon line, precept upon precept, every day…a full load…a non-negotiable routine/habit.

We would urge you to determine and resolve to order ACE as soon as it is humanly and circumstantially possible.  If funds are tight, first provide for the curriculum your oldest child needs, then move on down the line as the money is available.

In the meantime, proceed ahead with schooling at mach speed to make up for lost time.  You might find it really helpful to order our one page Academic Checklist (it’s a free download).  This lists all of the areas to attack inch by inch, incrementally, day by day, in whatever way you can muster at this point.  Every little bit of education helps.  For example: turn the computer off and have each child just learn now to type A with the CORRECT finger, today.  Then AB, tomorrow, then ABC the next day and so on.  Just inch them forward in every subject.  (Better yet, order our Zoom-Type course and conquer touch-typing this week!)  Tackle every subject this way.

Occupy all of your children MEANINGFULLY, to their enlargement, daily.  Here’s a basic suggestion for how to structure your homeschool day: mornings are for academics, chores, and exercise.  Afternoons are for making money and serving. 

Each day is a little economic unit of time.  What is not earned today means a “deer in the headlights” day down the road.

Following this daily pattern can lead to a life of no regrets.

Homeschooling, but tempted to not educate your children?

Monday, 04. May 2009 by Renee Ellison


The need to educate our children is not going to go away.  It only gets more intense and more demanding.  Unless you get your children started on a well laid-out comprehensive curriculum, you are into endless time-consuming decisions for yourself.  All the time spent in deciding WHAT to teach could have been spent DOING the subjects, no matter how inferior you consider the curriculum to be.  Trying to do all the curriculum planning yourself can result in losing years and years of critical childhood development time.

When parents put energy into finding/locating/purchasing/borrowing/returning an isolated book or two for each subject whenever they feel the need to teach it, burnout is just around the corner.  What such parents cannot see in the beginning, when their families are still young, is that truly educating a child involves a huge scope and sequence of GENERAL TOPICS that must be covered…just to give them the BASICS.  (By the way, if you are facing burnout as a teacher, order our helpful e-book on that topic.)

I know a family who didn’t homeschool their child well.  They practiced the GUISE of doing it, but they were only “teaching” whatever came along each day.  They got into real trouble, not with the law but with their child.  Their daughter rebelled super badly the minute she discovered she hadn’t been educated like some other gals she met soon after their high school years had passed.  She felt totally inferior, and felt like she had been gypped.  She became extremely bitter toward her parents.

We met an uneducated woman just the other day who didn’t know the location of Iowa!!!  Others don’t know that hydrogen and oxygen make water!!!  Others spell so badly that they cannot even fill out applications (alas for them, the spell-checker is not always available for many real-life situations).  It is important to spell the thousand most frequently used words PERFECTLY.  (We have a snazzy new CD that takes your student through the most challenging basic spelling words, without your help—it’s called Spell-Along!)

It is the Heavenly Father’s plan to educate His people.  Wherever the Gospel goes, education quickly follows.  Missionaries bring the alphabet to DELIVER people from being uneducated.  Being uneducated, or poorly educated, or randomly educated, or not OPTIMALLY educated, is NOT a blessing.

A mom THINKS she is solving the problem when she locates one more book or gets an immediate answer for a short health study or a study of the human body, or any other kind of study, but she misses tons of OTHER concepts that fall through the cracks, that are BASIC to just being an educated human.  Most moms, even those under the public education system, HAD the privilege of learning all these GENERAL things.  Many moms are unaware that their children don’t know half of what they, themselves know, simple because they just take it all for granted, because the mom WAS educated.  She mistakenly thinks subliminally that her children are in the same place.  They are not.  With each generation the foundations have to be totally built up again.

The tutors of the children of British Royalty were required to take the education of their little charges very seriously.  They had those children up studying history, taking fencing lessons to develop strong physical bodies, conjugating Latin, learning foreign languages, doing math, reading complex essays, writing analysis papers, drawing/sketching, etc., EVERY morning, without fail.  They did so, not because these subjects were important in and of themselves but because it develops mental MUSCLE.  It is a child’s RIGHT to be educated.  To not THOROUGHLY educate your children can be ranked right up there with not feeding them.  The Puritans and the Pilgrims made this their highest priority as soon as they hit the shore.  They were the ones who started the first American universities—Harvard, Yale, etc.

If a family cannot afford the curriculum now, a family CAN make plans so that they can afford it later, as their highest priority, as SOON as is humanly possible…because every month of childhood counts and is irretrievable.  The whole family can work hard at some money-making endeavor until they CAN afford it.  The family has to have the grit and the bite to make this happen, no matter what the obstacles, whatever it takes, wherever they go.  Even monks in the Middle Ages made this happen—without electricity!  They were highly educated because they WANTED to be, when the entire culture around them wasn’t.  They MADE it happen.

Abraham Lincoln made it happen, in spite of every obstacle.  He developed a logical, legal brain, by several HOURS of tough-hard-at-it mental discipline, daily, for years on end.  Childhood goes like paper in a fire.  You cannot get those years back, even if you search for them with tears.  Only you, as parents of your own children, can make this a priority.  Others cannot do it for you.

Being educated makes children feel TERRIFIC about themselves, and totally EXCITED about the day.  I’ve seen our daughter actually CLICK HER HEELS down the hallway at some exciting concept she just learned!  A person’s childhood is to a great extent shaped by—and at the mercy of—his or her parents.

Gentle mothering

Thursday, 30. April 2009 by Renee Ellison


The Heavenly Father “GENTLY leads those who are with young” (Isaiah 40:11).  It is a promise.  You can bank on His gentleness toward you, no matter what.  A mother can always flee to Him and find Him full of tender mercies toward her.  He never withdraws His presence or His love, no matter how badly she feels she just muffed up during the last ten minutes!

The shepherd king, David, said in Psalm 18:35, “Thy GENTLENESS hath made me great.”  Repeated exposure to the gentleness of the Heavenly Father, in the end, had a refining effect upon David. Gentleness is the primary agency through which He sanctifies us.  It is His trait of choice for making His children great.

So, too, in our parenting.  In the beginning we represent God to our children.  It is their first taste of Him.  Therefore, it is very important that we parent in a similar manner.  Our children must come to be able to BANK on our gentleness with them—that the lap and heart are always open—that they find that we emanate a steady, nurturing way with them, that we are encouraging, uplifting, and offering positive life-giving phrases to them.  We must become a SURE place to run to for them.  Our children must feel no tentativeness, no iffyness, in coming to us.  Their past exposures to our behaviors must build their confidence in how we will be with them today… and all of our interchanges today become the immediate past.

The Heavenly Father is not a poor investor.  He refines us by requiring us to refine our children!  If we have a rough patch (and all families have them) we must hastily return to the path of positive nurture.  “A righteous man falls seven times, and rises again” (Proverbs 24:16 NASB).  We get renewed by immediately looking at Him.  Repeated reflections upon HOW He parents us results in parenting in like manner.  After a squabble, swiftly return to loving—even in your next sentence.  Moms wield a power to allow no half-hours of brooding between anybody.  Maintaining short accounts keeps the household atmosphere clear.

Getting our children under control and disciplining them is only the foundation.  Then we must turn all of our vital energy towards gaining the heart, or we will lose their heart when they reach adulthood.  It is steadily, consistently won by positive phrases, day in and day out.  Their perception must be that:
• Mom makes life all better.
• Mom is warm.
• Mom is my favorite place to be.
• Being with mom is the best.
• I would rather be with Mom than anywhere else.
• Mom makes our home happy.
• I wanta tell Mom EVERYTHING…because she smiles at me so much…and makes me feel good about myself and my life.

Therefore, Mom must incrementally build her house, sentence by sentence, all through the years.  She begins with the desired end in view: to have her children WANT to live right next door when they grow up and marry…because they absolutely LOVE being around Mom, rather than wanting to move far from her.

Sentences like these build a home:
• You did that so well!
• MY ______ makes his brother feel happy.
• I love being with you.
• Wow! Today you remembered to latch the gate.
• You funny fellow.
• Come with me.  I have something exciting to show you.  [It could be a bird pecking at a worm.]
• Come here and let me look at you closer, you dearling.
• You are our very own.  How could we be so blessed?!
• Obedience brings blessing.  You have a blessing just around the corner, after you pick up your room.
• Go be like Jesus to your sister…she needs you.
• Show us how to do it, you tiger.
• The neighbor will be so glad that you came to help her.  She will never have had a helper as conscientious as you.
• We would have a big hole in our family, without your outstanding ability to .....
• I need you.
• You just showed Jesus to your father by the way that you came to his aid.

On and on it goes towards building a happy home.  Joy, humor, laughter, hugs, smiles all add to a winning mix.

A little kingdom, built with positive words

Tuesday, 28. April 2009 by Renee Ellison


As the world collapses down around our ears and implodes, remember that behind closed doors, buried in your own little casa, wherever that might be, you CAN have a little “Garden of Eden”, an “Earlier Heaven”, a “Kingdom of Endless Loving”, all built by the golden tone of the mama’s life.  She is the conduit of the steady, uninterrupted love of the Heavenly Father.

The Scriptures imply that the woman has a large influence over the whole of her domain.  “The wise woman builds her house” (Proverbs 14:1).  Since scripture says these exact words, it must be possible that the Creator has delivered this kind of power into a mother’s hands!  She accomplishes this, in large measure, by the use of a positive tongue.

Life and death are in the power of the tongue.  It happens in every home, in one direction or the other, by degrees.  It happened in your own home as you were growing up.  And the effect of the total sum of those positives or negatives was recorded in your own psyche.  Knowing how important this is, if a mom wants to increase her skill with this primary building tool, she will find that it improves if she can deliberately focus upon it for awhile.  As a little private game, she might ask herself after each sentence…“Would there have been a way to say the same thing, or get the same result, but ask it more positively, more upliftingly?”  She might even find it helpful to write down her sentences privately after she says them, and then look at them on paper objectively and ask herself, “How could I re-word that, to administer `life’ in my home, by my use of my tongue?”

In the beginning, as with ANY area of self-improvement, it takes some concerted effort to change old patterns.  Old habits die hard.  Wesley talked about this kind of daily, detailed self-evaluation.  He was tough on himself, going down a checklist every night, because he wanted each change so badly.  [You can order Wesley’s daily holiness checklist from us for a dollar.]  For every failure in shaping a positive sentence, every instance of having used a negative one instead, turn and instantly look upon the Holy One, rush there in secret prayer, and your next sentence will be right on.  It is a miracle on demand, at your disposal, each and every time you need it!

The goal?  To hoist far more positive than negative sentences into the air of one’s home.

The “warm-super-loving-home” concept can’t be stressed enough to beginning parents who feel preoccupied with behavioral problems.  Get your children obeying, yes, but then go ON to building a NURTURING home.  Having a wonderful life-giving, understanding home now is critical to having your ADULT children’s hearts later.  This is serious, serious stuff.  We’ve known family after family of well-known Christians who have lost their children…as in “left home early in rebellion” because something wasn’t right behind closed doors.

In contrast, there was a mother whose adolescent son often came and sat on the foot of her bed and WOKE her up, just because he wanted to tell her EVERYTHING after he got home.  That mother went on to be a grandmother whose fully grown grandson loved to come playfully sit on her lap!  Life was just somehow better with this mother/grandmother around.  A mother only gets one chance to make these memories—one era in which she can establish a thoroughly encouraging emotional climate in her home.  Childhood is a 100-yard dash across time and then it is over.  Then the opportunity is gone.

Equip your children by conscientiously educating them, and love them by speaking to them with unremitting kindness, not only in your CHOICE of words, but in the TONE of your voice, and you will HAVE your children’s hearts.

Biblical examples of the importance of aggressively educating your children

Sunday, 26. April 2009 by Renee Ellison


I want you to have a robust appreciation for what a deep value the Heavenly Father places on education.  A well-educated child is a glory to Him and brings luster to the Kingdom.  A casually or randomly educated child diminishes that glory.  Scripture describes numerous famous well-educated individuals whom we would do well to emulate.

Speaking of the craftsman Bezalel, Moses writes, “And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding and in KNOWLEDGE and in all craftsmanship” (Exodus 35:31 NASB, emphasis added).  The Jewish commentary in the Chumash mentions that Bezalel son of Uri was only 13 years old and had ALREADY attained all of this ability by that age!  Skill implies DAILY repetition, development, maturation in the ability through concerted, sustained, continuous, disciplined mental effort.  This is not just a matter of knowing Scripture.  This knowledge and ability is in the area of GENERAL EDUCATION.  [Image source: Paul F. Kiene, The Tabernacle of God in the Wilderness of Sinai (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Lamplighter Books, 1977), page 158.]

Moses himself acquired all of the knowledge with which noble youths in Pharaoh’s house were educated.  Again, this was GENERAL EDUCATION.  The Heavenly Father used this education to give Moses access and competent knowledge of Pharaoh’s court when he came back as an adult to lead the Hebrews out into freedom.  Moses’ mother did such a good job educating him as a little boy that he never forgot it when he was sent away forever, as a young child.  Daniel’s mother, too.  Daniel was abducted from under her influence while he was yet a youth, but already he knew all of the known knowledge of that day.  And he wasn’t the only one.  Daniel 1:4 mentions certain young Jewish men who were showing aptitude (NASB uses the word intelligence) for EVERY KIND of learning.  Verse 17 adds that “God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom” (NASB).  These youths were mentally qualified to serve.  The Heavenly Father gave them knowledge and understanding of ALL kinds of LITERATURE and learning.  This was not just Scripture that they knew (crucial though that is); this is GENERAL KNOWLEDGE about everything in the universe.

The Apostle Paul was meticulously educated by the Pharisees—not just in Scripture, but with a GENERAL EDUCATION.  The Heavenly Father used the high degree of education Paul obtained (both by being a Roman citizen and a Pharisee) to make him well able to persuade brilliant Greek intellectuals on Mars Hill.  The Father didn’t use the resident bum; He used the highest educated man alive in Christendom at that time.

Yeshua (Jesus) turned the heads of Rabbis by age 12.  He had developed mental muscle and abilities in logic and persuasion through the DAILY training He received at the hand of Mary his mother and (presumably) Joseph His earthly father.  This was not hit or miss.  On top of memorizing all five books of the Torah, He knew how to wield Scripture for specific spiritual purposes.  He had developed mental acumen which the divine Spirit was then able to anoint.

The Creator anoints the educated youth…and chooses Daniel to run a secular kingdom.  He chooses and anoints the SKILLED Bezalel to do the master craftsmanship for the Tabernacle.  The Father didn’t use the non-skilled youth of that day, but the one who had developed great abilities.  His practice is to anoint the work of the farmer, the writer, the builder…but He doesn’t plant the seeds for him, write the words for him, hammer the joints for him.

There is no sacred/secular distinction with the God of the universe.  After all, He created it with all of its governing principles.  Mathematical equations are possible because of the way He designed these numeric relationships.  He intends for us to uncover and study them.  Education is all His idea or He wouldn’t have made it necessary for man to grow from a baby to an adult.

To have a thought that “We will only do a little bit of education because we are focusing on the Bible” is foreign to the Heavenly Father’s mandate to take DOMINION over the earth.  The more a person understands about all of life, the more he is able to INFLUENCE it.  Isaac Newton was a deep believer AND a deep scientist.  Nearly all missionaries were mentally WELL educated, and exerted a phenomenal influence—not just spiritually but also practically—over the foreign cultures to which they were sent.

Get a burr in your side and grit in your resolve to FULLY educate your children as far and wide as is humanly possible, under any and all circumstances.  You are a steward over all of their potential.  Knowledge of the potential implies that it should be DEVELOPED.

Tips for homeschooling with few or no resources

Sunday, 22. March 2009 by Renee Ellison


Use your best and last money to educate your children.  However, if and when all money runs out, and/or there is a total collapse of the economy, here are some tips for how to teach on a shoestring, if money is tight or if the economy collapses.

For starters, use what you HAVE.  It is the old Biblical principle of the loaves and the fishes.  Just start with what you HAVE and your Heavenly Father will multiply other materials to you as you conquer the ones you already have, first.  If you are overseas, use any God-honoring book that was written in English.  You can read to young children from it; older children can take dictation from it, narrate back to you what they have heard, and write about it.  If they are young, they can learn the alphabet and how to read from it word by word.  They could even add and subtract by counting all of the words on the page, dividing them, multiplying the lines of them, estimating how many are on the next page, summarize a page of it at a time, outline it, etc.  Some moms might be prone to think with a sigh, “I don’t have COMPLETE course work for all of the children” and might use that fact to be tempted to do nothing at all.  But just use what you CAN get your hands on, until THAT is conquered.

Continue reading this blog: this 5-page article is available for you as a free download.

How to make SURE money by nightfall, TODAY, in a collapsing economy

Thursday, 19. March 2009 by Renee Ellison


Make and sell home-made bread.  We’re serious.  A number of families are trying this with success.  Recently when one family’s daddy lost his job, the couple went into the bedroom and got on their knees and cried out to the Lord, “Show us what we could do to bring in income for our family of seven.”  They “heard”, put your nose to the grindstone and make bread.

They got up and tried it.  Then went out to sell it to the neighborhood and were all sold out in ten minutes!  They used a darling old country basket, nestled some pretty fabric in it, stacked the bread on top, attached a label describing the healthy ingredients, put a ribbon around each loaf, and took their adorable children to the door with them, and they were in business.

This family goes out right at the 5 p.m. dinner hour, when everyone is home and hungry in their houses.  And “Lo and Behold”, here comes a knock at the front door and irresistible food right there on their front porch!  You can’t beat that marketing strategy.  Now, with an expanded route, the bread-making family is home in 45 minutes start to finish, where they then sit down to their own PAID-FOR dinner.  Hearing this story, a family in ANOTHER STATE tried it with the SAME terrific results.

The first family has since tweaked their utensils and tools, and are looking at a gradual expansion of their home business.  And, while they sell bread they also are making significant positive and recurring contacts with neighbors, who may come to know the bread of life through the gospel witness of this family.  Aha, hmm… wonder if God knew this, when He first suggested it to them!

Start Simple
The “loaves and fishes” story in the Bible is really a financial PRINCIPLE.  Start with what you HAVE.  If you have nothing, go buy some flour, add the other necessary ingredients, and come home and knead it with your own bare hands and go out and sell it.  Do it again and again.  Plow your profits back into buying a USED Bosch on E-Bay for kneading, and a Vita Mix™ (with the dry container) to grind your grain from scratch.  Voila.  You’re in business. They sky is the limit.  There is no end to neighborhoods or of hunger for wholesome food.

Make the bread WITH your children and you bump it up one more level: family togetherness around a productive, joyful, progressively enlarging enterprise that is WHOLESOME.  How many families have prayed for just this scenario?  You’re lookin’ at ANSWERED PRAYER.  It may be God’s little miracle for many of His children, who now need such an idea, to thread their way through the present economic collapse.  It may, in fact, become your young children’s OWN business, that they become capable enough to run by themselves, making ever bigger profits.  This is wonderfulness!  “At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV).

In business school, in marketing classes, they always say it is ideal to find a product that is UNIVERSALLY NEEDED and that involves REPEAT business.  Bread’s it!!!!!

This business works well alongside anything else you want to do for the next few years.  It could fund any dream you have.  If you make 20 loaves a day, you might earn $2,000 a month.  One family said that they could easily sell 50 loaves a day in less than an hour, if they just HAD them to sell!  (Of course, you will need to check with your local governing authorities to see that you are complying with any regulations for having a business, collecting sales tax, baking bread at home for sale, etc.)

To read more (including recipes for whole wheat bread and walnut chocolate chip cookies, and more tips on how to do it), open this PDF file.

How to expand the skills of your children

Tuesday, 17. March 2009 by Renee Ellison


Your objective in educating your children is to keep pressing out the edges of their mental abilities.  Work at this relentlessly, until you come to the outer edges of their brains and capacities and they simply are not capable of any more (at age 25 or so!).  The LORD said to “take dominion” over the earth, and He meant to the EDGES of everything – including educating your children.

Let’s look at how to do that with your oldest daughter first, just as an example.  This will show you how to move a child from area in which she is competent into a new area in which she is presently incompetent, so that she can expand into competence in many areas.

Let’s say your daughter is terrific at cooking.  She has that skill down.  Conquered.  You might have her now work herself out of a job.  Have her train both of her next younger siblings simultaneously.  In other words, stand there in the kitchen and DO nothing, just tenderly and patiently tell the younger ones how to make the meal and watch them, oversee them, until they “GET IT”.  She can still be head cook for many meals, but she might now do it less and less as all the children get trained in it more and more, down the line.

She should train them cheerfully and humbly like this: first she SHOWS them, then she does it WITH them, and lastly she just watches and verbally corrects them, on every single step, from cracking an egg to boiling oatmeal.  Have the two younger siblings rehearse and practice this same meal night after night, or every other night, or one week’s worth followed by the same menu next week, until they can do it with no elder’s supervision.  Then they can turn around and teach it to the next child.

Your second- and third-born children NEED this skill now, and your oldest needs to move BEYOND it.  As soon as they can master making seven evening meals (if they’re boys, this training will be helpful if their wives have babies and they need to cook all the meals for several months), then go find a new area where your oldest needs to be challenged and get her progressing on IT.  If the neighbor plays piano/flute, get them to teach her.  It doesn’t matter WHAT, just SOMETHING she has never done before.

Your oldest may fight you or balk simply because it takes her out of her comfort zone, but don’t give in to her.  Get her on the same page with you, mentally, by telling her how awesome you want her to become in EVERY area.  Get a local lady to teach her sewing, perhaps.  This lady can come to your house so that you can oversee the way that she tutors, in case you need to course-correct in some way.  If no one can come to your home, then get a sewing BOOK from the library or order it online and have it shipped to you, and have her go through it page by page until the new skill is conquered.  Obtain several books on additional topics for her to learn concurrently, or have her watch/get trained under other PEOPLE doing different skills.

She could also begin to write essays on Biblical topics, or persuasive papers on topics such as: What was the matter with the way Solomon ruled?  What was good about it?  Compare and contrast King David with King Ahab, discussing both similarities and differences.  Have her write on what she KNOWS WELL, whether it be Biblical topics, family topics, or historical topics.  Writing essays is vital to developing organized THOUGHT … which is needful for every major decision in life.  Every emerging adult needs to develop an organized logical brain, capable of thinking through things from many conceivable angles.  The final goal by the end of high school is to have your children read challenging, complex material; write essays competently on a variety of topics; and speak persuasively.  These are life skills, refined, cultured skills, God-intended skills.

Then correct these essays WITH her.  This is only ONE area to develop in becoming a brilliant capable adult.  There are scores more.  If you don’t want to have to dream up all of these areas on your own, using a curriculum will help considerably.  ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) covers all of this in a sequential, thorough curriculum, which we have found to be one of the easiest to use.  ACE has relieved millions of parents of this burden of doing it all yourself.

Over a million children are currently using ACE world-wide in 135 countries, enabling those children to gain the basic foundation that EVERY child needs.  This is not a luxury, it is a necessity.  Military families’ children and missionaries’ children have used them for decades now, to answer THEIR moms’ problems.  Mamas were never meant to have to figure our all of these mental disciplines from scratch.  The LORD wants your children educated even more than you do.  That is why decades ago he raised up two faithful old missionaries (a husband and wife team who were educators) to write this God-honoring program extremely well, putting in tons of hours, and field testing it and re-writing it over and over to perfect it, so that mothers everywhere could be relieved of this UNIVERSAL burden.  Using this curriculum (or any curriculum) frees you to teach your children valuable domestic and life skills…as many as you have time for!