Friday, July 11, 2008

Reading list for students

I found this great list of Essential Reading for Church Youth and Leadership from Tom's blog at

1st Grade:

The Lightlings, R.C. Sproul
The King Without a Shadow, R.C. Sproul
The Child’s Story Bible, Catherine Vos
The Gospel for Children, John B. Leuzarder
The Big Book of Questions and Answers About Jesus, Sinclair Ferguson

2nd Grade:

Dangerous Journey, John Bunyan, Ed. Oliver Hunkin
The Child’s Story Bible, Catherine Vos
Grandpa's Box: Retelling the Biblical Story of Redemption, Starr Meade

3rd Grade:

Against the World, Henry Coray
The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History, A. Kenneth Curtis, et al.
Heroes of the Reformation: Life-Changing Lessons for the Young, Richard Newton
Training Hearts, Teaching Minds, Starr Meade

4th Grade:

Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis (box set)
Luther the Leader, Virgil Robinson
Ten Boys/Ten Girls Who Changed the World (box sets), Irene Howat
Training Hearts, Teaching Minds, Starr Meade

5th Grade:

The Young Peacemaker: Teaching Students to Respond to Conflict God's Way, Corlette Sande (Kit, grades 3-7)
Visible Saints: The History of a Puritan Idea, Edmund S. Morgan
Survey of the Bible, William Hendriksen
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible, Graeme Goldsworthy

6th Grade:

Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom
The Gospel for Real Life, Jerry Bridges

(Interim Recommended Reading: Shelf Life: How Books Have Changed the Destinies and Desires of People and Nations, George Grant; Read Any Good Books, Sinclair B. Ferguson; and Invitation to the Classics: A Guide to Books You've Always Wanted to Read, Eds. Louise Cowan & Os Guinness)

7th Grade:

The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
Church History Plain Language, Bruce L. Shelley
Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations, Alex & Brett Harris
Chosen by God, R.C. Sproul
The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul

(Interim Essential Purchases: Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem; Concise Theology, J.I. Packer; and How to Read Slowly: Reading for Comprehension, James W. Sire)

8th Grade:

Crown & Covenant Trilogy, Douglas Bond
Confessions, St. Augustine of Hippo (Ed. Henry Chadwick)
The Heidelberg Catechism: A Study Guide, G.I. Williamson
Knowing God, J.I. Packer

9th Grade:

The Screwtape Letters & Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis
The Peacemaker (Student Ed.), Ken Sande
Humility: The True Greatness, C.J. Mahaney
Living the Cross-Centered Life, C.J. Mahaney
Basic Christianity & Cross of Christ, John Stott

10th Grade:

The Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther
Christianity and Liberalism, J. Gresham Machen
The Sovereignty of God, Arthur W. Pink (Baker Books edition)
Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer
Pursuit of God, A.W. Tozer

11th Grade:

Hostage Lands, Douglas Bond
Reading Between The Lines, Gene Edward Veith Jr.
Jonathan Edwards: A New Biography, Iain H. Murray
The Great Exchange, Jerry Bridges
The Truth of the Cross, R.C. Sproul
The Atonement: Its Meaning and Significance, Leon Morris

12th Grade:

Paradise Lost, John Milton
John Owen on the Christian Life, Sinclair B. Ferguson
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The Reason for God: Belief in God in an Age of Skepticism, Timothy Keller
The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross, Leon Morris


Day by Day with the Early Church Fathers, Eds. Christopher D. Hudson, J. Alan Sharrer
Day by Day with the English Puritans: Selected Readings for Daily Reflection, Ed. Randall Pederson
Heart Aflame: Daily Readings From Calvin on the Psalms, John Calvin
Help Heavenward, Octavius Winslow
How Great Thou Art, Steve Halliday
Morning and Evening, Charles H. Spurgeon
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions, Ed. Arthur Bennett
Walking with God Day by Day 365 Daily Devotional Selections, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Pre-College Prep:

How to Stay Christian in College, J. Budziszewski
Ask Me Anything: Provocative Answers for College Students, J. Budziszewski
Think Biblically, John MacArthur
Above All Earthly Powers: Christ in a Postmodern World, David F. Wells


Middle School/Junior High -

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, W. Phillip Keller
Christian Beliefs: Twenty Basics Every Christian Should Know, Wayne Grudem
Don't Check Your Brains at the Door, Josh McDowell
Growing Up Christian: Have You Taken Ownership of Your Relationship With God?, Karl
Graustein & Mark Jacobsen
More Than a Carpenter, Josh McDowell
Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control, Elisabeth Elliot
Thoughts for Young Men, J.C. Ryle
Understanding the Bible, John Stott
When God Writes Your Love Story, Eric & Leslie Ludy

High School

A Quest for Godliness: Puritan Vision of the Christian Life, J.I. Packer
All of Grace, Charles H. Spurgeon (Study Guide, Ch. 1-5, Ch. 6-10)
City of God, St. Augustine of Hippo (Transl. Henry Bettenson)
Don't Waste Your Life, John Piper
Francis Schaeffer Trilogy (The God Who Is There; Escape from Reason; He Is There and He Is Not Silent), Francis Schaeffer
Hard to Believe: The High Cost and Infinite Value of Following Jesus, John MacArthur
How Long, O Lord?, D.A. Carson
Knowing Scripture, R.C. Sproul•
I Am Not But I Know I Am: Little Me, Infinite God, Louie Giglio
In Understanding Be Men, T. Hammond (IVPress, 1983)
Lectures on Calvinism, Abraham Kuyper
Lectures to My Students, Charles H. Spurgeon
Now, That's A Good Question, R.C. Sproul
The Calvinistic Concept of Culture, Henry R. Van Til
The Case for the Real Jesus, Lee Strobel
The Cruelty of Heresy, C. FitzSimons Allison
The Devoted Life: An Invitation to the Puritan Classics, Ed. Kelly M. Kapic
The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, Tim Challies
The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, Kris Lundgaard
The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, John Piper
The Micah Mandate: Balancing the Christian Life, George Grant
The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell
Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity, Mark A. Noll
Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Ed. John Piper
Redemption Accomplished and Applied, John Murray
Your Mind Matters: The Place of the Mind in the Christian Life, John Stott & Mark A. Noll


Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards
The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbes
The Mortification of Sin, John Owen
The Mystery of Providence, John Flavel
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs
The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, Samuel Bolton

God’s Attributes:

Attribute of God, Arthur W. Pink
The Doctrine of God, Herman Bavinck
The Doctrine of God: A Theology of Lordship, John Frame
The Existence and Attributes of God, Stephen Charnock
The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. TozerPuritans:
Religious Affections, Jonathan Edwards
The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbes
The Mortification of Sin, John Owen
The Mystery of Providence, John Flavel
The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs
The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, Samuel Bolton


A Life of John Calvin, Alister E. McGrath
Augustine of Hippo: A Biography, Peter Brown
Calvin and Augustine, B.B. Warfield
B. B. Warfield: Essays on His Life and Thought, Gary L. W. Johnson
George Muller of Bristol: His Life of Prayer and Faith, A.T. Pierson
Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, Roland H. Bainton
J. Gresham Machen: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought, Stephen J. Nichols
John Bunyan - His Life, Times And Work, John Brown
John Owen: The Man and His Theology, Sinclair B. Ferguson
Jonathan Edwards: A Life, George M. Marsden
Jonathan Edwards - A New Biography, Iain H. Murray
Life and Times of George Whitefield, Robert Philip
Meet the Puritans, Joel R. Beeke & Randall J. Pederson
The Forgotten Spurgeon, Iain H. Murray
The Life of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (2 Vols.), Iain H. Murray
The Life of George Whitefield (2 Vol.), Arnold Dallimore
The Life of John Newton, Josiah Bull
William Tyndale: A Biography, David Daniell

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I love my parent's home. We visit my parents almost every week. It is absolutely one of my favorite places to be.

I want our children to feel that way about our home. I want them to feel like their home is a haven. I want us to have lively conversations about the Gospel, theology, and the church (growing up, we discussed these topics often and still do!). I want it to be their favorite place too.

I want to cultivate in our children a love for family and for home. I want to cultivate in our boys a desire for a wife and a family. In order for them to grow up and be good husbands and fathers, we will need to teach them how to be. Who better to teach them how to love and cherish their wives then their dad? Where better to teach them than in their homes where they have seen their dad love and serve their mother?

Same goes for our girls. I want to instill in them a love for their future husbands and children. I want them to have a desire to stay at home with their kids and not pursue any careers outside of their homes. The best way to teach our girls this Biblical model is for me, their mother, to teach them. They will learn by seeing me serve and submit graciously to their father. They will learn by seeing me joyfully serve our family through daily tasks like cooking and cleaning.

Most of all, Justin and I want to instill in our children a love for Scripture. We want them to understand the importance of establishing a God-centered theology. We want them to be fully devoted to the message of the Gospel. We want them to be bold, able to proclaim the Truth to their generation. Where better to learn the truths found in Scripture then from their parents in their home? Home is where they will be able to see first hand the effects of the Gospel in people's lives.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Latest

I was not able to cook much over the weekend. We spent some time with both of our families this weekend and they were kind enough to feed us a few times. Nothing ever tastes as good as my Mom's cooking. I call her quite frequently to get help on some of her recipes I use. In fact we ate beans tonight and the recipe was her very own. They didn't turn out as good as my Mom's usually do but they were filling. I made fried potatoes along with them. Yummy. Justin and I both could eat fried potatoes at every meal! I must say, the potatoes turned out very good.

Last night, which was Sunday night, I made fried green tomatoes (do we eat too much fried food?). I had been craving them for almost a month now and his mom finally had a few come up from her container garden. I was more than happy to take them off of her hands. :) I also grilled a couple of green and red bell peppers in a large grilling pan. They were sooo good. I love bell peppers! Fried green tomatoes and grilled bell peppers for dinner last night - how's that for a somewhat healthy meal. Minus the fried part of the tomatoes.

Tomorrow I am planning on trying a new recipe. Although, I need to use the rest of that spaghetti sauce I had opened so we may just be having regular ole' spaghetti.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mac 'N Cheese Skillet Lasagna

Tonight was experiment dinner #1. It went well. I think. My husband likes anything. He is not picky one bit. I know that no matter how these recipes come out he will sincerely like them. Although, thankfully, he will tell me if he thinks I should have added a little more of this or a little less of that. I am glad for the constructive criticism, however seldom it is. I need him to tell me what he likes and dislikes. After all, he is my husband and he is the main reason why I cook. :)

The menu tonight was Mac & Cheese Skillet Lasagna and garlic bread. Yummm, sounds healthy, doesn't it? I make no promises as to whether or not the recipes I will be trying are healthy. Since I am getting most of them from, you can expect a lot of the meals to include Macaroni 'N Cheese. So if you do not like Mac 'N Cheese, then you probably won't like several of the recipes I am planning to try. I like recipes like this one.. I can recommend it to busy moms. And you know the kids will love anything with Macaroni 'N Cheese!

Here is the recipe:

1 lb. ground beef
1-1/2 cups water
1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) Macaroni 'N Cheese Dinner
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) vegetable oil spread or margarine
1/2 cup spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella

Note: The original recipe on includes a lot of name brands. For instance, they call for Kraft Shredded Low-Moisture Mozzarella Cheese instead of regular ole' Mozzarella Cheese. I bought the cheapest kind possible. :)

Step 1: Brown meat in large skillet on medium-high heat; drain.

Step 2: Add water and Macaroni; stir. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer
7 to 8 minutes or until Macaroni is tender.

Step 3: Stir in Cheese Sauce Mix, milk, vegetable oil spread and spaghetti sauce. Reduce heat to low. Top with mozzarella cheese. Cook until cheese is melted.

I did one thing differently. Not on purpose, of course. Actually, I just realized my mistake while typing out the recipe. :) I used regular vegetable oil instead of vegetable oil spread. I'm not really sure if it made that big of a difference because the meal was still good. The next time I try it, though, I'm going to either add more spaghetti sauce or more cheese or both!

All in all it was a good meal. Quick and Easy. And my husband said he liked it - only because he won't say the word love when referring to anything other then me. ;)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The plan

Lately I have been looking up recipes trying to find cheap, healthy, and easy ways to make meals. We have been married over a year now and I feel like I am just now getting the whole cooking thing down. Simply meaning that I know how to follow directions. Simple directions. As in Macaroni 'N and Cheese directions. As a matter of fact, I always ask my husband to make the Macaroni 'N and Cheese because I have messed it up so many times before. Wow. OK, so maybe I'm not so good at following directions but I can make some yummy vegetables! I love, love, love vegetables. Any and every kind. I like to saute green beans, bake squash with some mozzarella cheese on top, steam broccoli, or cook any other vegetable I can get my hands on. I even like asparagus. One of these days, I'm going to learn how to make fried green tomatoes! (Obviously, I consider tomatoes to be a vegetable. You may not agree.) Yes, I would probably make a great vegetarian.

Now, fruit is a totally different story. I'm not too crazy about fruit. I like all the different colors of fruit. If I had to base my opinion solely on the colors of fruit, I would say that my favorite fruit would be kiwi. And strawberries. And plums. And, of course, the beautiful watermelon. I have not given up hope on my lack of taste for fruit, though. My husband likes fruit very much and is always persuading me to try some kind of exotic fruit... like pineapple.

I really want to improve my cooking skills (or lack there of). So I have been visiting several different websites along with a few blogs to get ideas on what to cook and how to cook well. So far I think my favorite website to find easy recipes is It is loaded with ideas, tips, and recipes for every occasion. Even the day-to-day, mundane, weeknight meal can get exciting with some of these recipes.

Anyway, I plan on keeping you updated on all the new recipes I'm going to try here in the near future. By blogging about what I'm going to be cooking, I figure it will give me motivation to post blogs more often. It will also give me a reason to let my mom and sisters know about my blog so that they can hopefully find a few recipes worth trying. Last but not least, it will keep me accountable in my pursuit of becoming a better cook.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A good book

I am reading A Voice in the Wind, the first of a trilogy by Francine Rivers called The Mark Of the Lion Series. Actually, I have already read the books. I am now reading them to my husband. We've been trying not to watch much TV, and I must say we've done a pretty good job of it. Besides the inevitable that we have to watch like Cardinal's baseball games and the NBA finals that are going on right now, we haven't watched any TV. So in an effort to keep ourselves from turning on the television, I am reading A Voice in the Wind out loud. Quite frankly, it's more for my enjoyment than it is his. I love the trilogy. I love the characters. I love the truths that are presented through the character's flaws and virtues. I love the time setting (right before the fall of the Roman Empire). It is my humble opinion that Francine Rivers did a brilliant job writing these books. Any Christian fiction that can intrigue a Believer to study the Bible, compel them to live more Christ-centered, and assure them of God's faithfulness is well worth reading. I found myself crying, laughing, and rejoicing over God's goodness throughout these books.

There is no missing the significant way Mrs. Rivers portrays God's sovereignty. She does this beautifully through the life of one of the main characters, Haddassah. Haddassah is a Jew who becomes a Christian at a very young age. Haddassah is perhaps the most significant and gripping of all the characters throughout the whole series. During a time in history when Jews and Christians were once again being persecuted, Haddassah remains faithful to the crucial truth that God is in control and He is good no matter what his sovereign will brings forth. The pagan's in the story cannot believe that she would still worship and praise the same God that had destroyed her homeland but Haddassah is not discouraged, for she knows her God is good and wills everything to His good purposes. You will find that she often quotes the Scriptures to reassure herself of His faithfulness.

I find myself inspired by Haddassah's thankful attitude about everything. Her family was destroyed by the Roman's, yet she is still thankful for them and grateful to be working for them. Even when she was starving and had little more than a few grains to eat she still rejoiced and gave thanks for God's faithfulness. At one point in the story we find that she has given away her only coin to a poor Roman mother whose son is away in the legionnaire fighting. When questioned why she would do such a thing when she herself had no money, she hesitantly replied that she had all she needed. She had a roof over her head, food to satisfy her hunger, and clothes to wear. Remember now that Haddassah is a slave, therefore she is treated as such. Her roof over her head could have been nothing more than a small closet to live in with a mattress as hard as a board to sleep on. Her master's were touched by this act of selfless kindness.

Haddassah is a slave and as such is required to do everything her master's bid her to do. But we find that Haddassah is more then just a common slave, she is a servant. She is pleased to serve her masters. She does not do only what is asked of her. She constantly looks for more ways to serve her masters. Not with a prideful attitude that says "look at how hard i work" (that would come easily to someone like me), but with a genuinely humble attitude Haddassah simply serves.

You may be thinking by now that Haddassah's character is beyond human. That her complete selflessness is something beyond our grasp. If you read the book you will find that to be quite false. I have failed to mention that throughout the story Haddassah does have fears. She does have raging emotions. She does feel guilt over sins. Believe it or not, she does sin. Haddassah is simply a depraved human being who has been graciously redeemed by Jesus Christ. And you never question her depravity. You never feel like she is just a character in a book that an author has created to be perfect. No. You will find yourself longing for that same deep conviction that she holds. The conviction that her God is good. Always good. And that He is faithful to those He has redeemed.

I recommend this series to everyone. I only hope that it will stir in you the same need for Christ as it so sincerely did for me.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

busy me

Apparently I am a lazy blogger. When my husband created this blog for me I thought I would be posting something three times a day (that could have been exaggerated), but at the least I figured I would post something every other day. So far that has not been the case.

We have been so busy lately. My friends and family are probably getting pretty tired of hearing me complain about our busy schedule. Quite frankly, I'm getting pretty tired of it myself. We have no one else to blame but ourselves. We have committed to so many things!