Sunday, May 01, 2016

Sarah: Waiting for Answers

Sarah: Waiting for Answers

     “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
     The years of waiting were over. God heard Sarah's prayer and answered. Now at ninety-years-old, Sarah had her long-promised baby. Why didn't God answer Sarah's prayer years earlier and give her a child while she was young? Or even a whole houseful of children? The Bible doesn't give a reason, but God is in control of all things. He could have filled Abraham and Sarah's house with a dozen children right away. For some reason, God chose to make Sarah wait for the desire of her heart.
     God hears prayer. He answers prayer. Sometimes he doesn't give us the answer we want or give it to us on our own time schedule. You might wonder, "Why pray if God is going to do what he wants anyway?" That's a hard question and one that theologians have debated for years. What we do know is that God wants to have a relationship with us, and communicating with him is part of that relationship.
      God sees the whole picture of our lives, while we see only a section at a time. God knew how Abraham's and Sarah's lives would play out, and he decided how many children they would have and when. Perhaps he knew that if they had young children, they wouldn't have been as ready to obey and move. Or maybe God knew that by making Sarah wait so long, Isaac would be an extra-special child. 
     We don't always know the "why's" of God's answers.
     Are there things you have ask God for and not received? Keep praying. God may have you waiting for a very special reason.
Thinking it Through
     Set aside time to pray every day. Here is a good way to remember. Clean out an empty soup can and cut a piece of wrapping paper or colored paper to fit all the way around the can. Glue or tape the paper in place and decorate the can any way you like. Then write your prayer requests on slips of colored paper. Put them in the can, Every time you walk by the can, take out a slip of paper and pray for the request written on it. Once you've prayed for all the requests, put the paper back in the can and start over.

You can read more about Sarah and the other women of the Bible in The One Year Devotions for Girls: Starring Women of the Bible. Check your local Christian bookstore, and if they don't have it, order it HERE

Monday, April 25, 2016

Middle School Reading List

If I Were Making the Summer Reading List for Upper Elementary and Middle School, my list would be very different from most. For one, I think parents should never stop reading to their children no matter their ages, so it would be a parent reading list too. And I think everyone should read picture books no matter their ages.

So I've made my list. And it includes books with varying reading levels and book lengths because some kids get discouraged by the longer books. When you are struggling on page 3 of a 462 page book, it can seem impossible—so why try?

Of course, if you really struggle, simply check out the book on CD from your library along with the printed book and try to read along.

I've included some of the older award winning books as well as newer books. I've also include some books from various genres. I tried to include a genre with each book on my list, but honestly I’m not that great at determining genres so feel free to leave a comment.

These are not Christian books, so there may be some you object to. That's okay. Later I am going to do a reading list of Christian books.

My summer reading list for upper elementary and middle school is below. I know I’m missing some good books, but this is a start. I’ve also left off books that I know have lots of swearing or objectionable values.

* means there is a movie based on the book.
Sometimes the movies stay true to the book, other times not. Reading the book and then watching the movie allow you to compare and contrast. Think about the time, setting, character ages, details etc. How are they the same in the book and movie, and how are they different?

Blueberries for Sal     Robert McCloskey       picture book

*The Cat in the Hat                     Dr. Seuss                      picture book

Drummer Hoff                           Barbara Emberley       picture book

The Elf and the Shoemaker       Grimm                         picture book  
there are many versions available, choose your favorite

Green Eggs and Ham                Dr. Seuss                      picture book

Grandfather’s Journey              Allen Say                      picture book

*The Lorax                                Dr Seuss                        picture book

*Madeline (any)                         Ludwig Bemelman        picture book

Make Way for Duckling           Robert McCloskey        picture book

Oh, the Places You'll Go          Dr Seuss                         picture book

Song and Dance Man               Karen Ackerman           picture book

All-of-a-Kind Family                    Sydney Taylor                         historical fiction

*Because of Winn Dixie                  Kate DiCamillo                       realistic fiction

Behind the Bedroom Wall             Laura Williams                        historical fiction
This is a newer cover than the one I have

The Birchbark House                     Louise Erdrich                         fiction

*The Black Stallion                             Walter Farley                         fiction

*The Bridge to Terabithia                Katherine Patterson                 realistic fiction

Bud, Not Buddy                             Christopher Paul Curtis           historical fiction

Bunnicula                                       James Howe                             rabbit mystery?

By the Shores of Silver Lake         Laura Ingalls Wilder                 historical fiction
(And the rest of the series if you have time)

Caddie Woodlawn                           Carol Brink                              historical fiction

*Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  Roald Dahl                              fantasy

*Charlotte’s Web                               EB White                                 fiction

*City of Ember                                  Jeanne Du Prau                       early dystopian

Counting by 7’s                              Holly Sloan                              realistic fiction

The Diary of a Young Girl               Anne Frank                             diary/non fiction

Dr. Mr. Henshaw                              Beverly Cleary                        realistic fiction

Eight Keys                                        Suzanne LaFleur                     realistic fiction

Eleanor Roosevelt: A Life of Discovery    Russell Freedman          biography

*Ella Enchanted                                  Gail Levin                               fantasy

*Escape to Witch Mountain                Alexander Key                        fantasy

*The Giver                                          Lois Lowry                              early dystopian

The Great Gilly Hopkins                   Katherine Patterson                 realistic fiction

*Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone    JK Rowling                        fantasy

Henry Huggins                                   Beverly Cleary                        realistic fiction

*Holes                                                  Louis Sachar                            fiction

The Horse and His Boy                     CS Lewis                                  fantasy
*Inkheart                                                         Cornelia Funke                fantasy

*The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe         CS Lewis                            fantasy

A Long Walk to Water                                    Linda Sue Park                      based on a true story

Maniac Magee                                                  Jerry Spinelli                             realistic fiction

The Naked Mole Rat Letters                              Mary Amato                                realistic fiction

Number the Stars                                            Lois Lowry                                  historical fiction

Over Sea, Under Stone                                 Susan Cooper                                fantasy

The Phantom Tollbooth                                  Norton Juster                              fantasy?

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry                      Mildred Taylor                               historical fiction?

*Sarah, Plain and Tall                                        Patricia MacLachlan                         fiction

Touching Spirit Bear                                        Ben Mikaelsen                                  fiction

The True Confessions of Charlottte Doyle       Avi                                                    fiction

*The Voyage of the Dawn Treader             CS Lewis                                                 fantasy

Wringer                                                        Jerry Spinelli                                   fiction

A Wrinkle In Time                                       Madeleine L’Engle                          sci fi

Mature Middle School Readers

*The Book Thief                                                  Markus Zusak                                    fiction

*The Boy in Striped Pajamas                         John Boyne                                        historical fiction

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer                                   James Swanson                                 non fiction

*Divergent                                                            Veronica Roth                                 dystopian

*Eragon                                                             Christopher Paolini                          fantasy

*The Hunger Games                                         Suzanne Collins                                 dystopian

*To Kill a Mockingbird                                       Harper Lee                                       fiction

*Percy Jackson series                                       Rick Riordan                                       mythopia

The Illustrated Classics series is a good way to read the classics without getting too bored. Here are some of the many available.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer                         Mark Twain  
Black Beauty                                                      Anna Sewell

Call of the Wild                                                  Jack London

Heidi                                                                   Johanna Spyri

Journey to the Center of the Earth                      Jules Verne

Oliver Twist                                                        Charles Dickens

Peter Pan                                                             JM Barrie

The Red Badge of Courage                                 Stephen Crane

Robin Hood                                                        Howard Pyle

Swiss Family Robinson                            Johann Wyss

Treasure Island                                                   Robert Louis Stevenson  
White Fang                                                         Jack London                      

 Please leave me a comment and let me know if your favorite books are on the list or not. Which book related movies have you watched? Did you prefer the book or movie?

I am working on a Christian list next for upper elementary and middle school students. So about 10-14 years old. Leave me suggestions in the comments section.