Tag Archives: History

Chinese New Year: Unlucky or . . .?

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1 (NIV)

According to a recent story on CNN, some would-be mothers in Asia are delaying pregnancy. This is because the upcoming Chinese New Year is the Year of the Sheep. The first day of the 2015 Chinese New Year is February 19th. They use a different calendar system than we do. It’s called the Stem-Branch cycle and is based on the Yin-Yang 5 Element Theory. 

It got its start in the year 2,697 BC. For you math lovers out there, that means that in China, this is year number 4,712.

Specifically it’s the year of the Wooden Sheep and as reported by CNN, it can be considered bad luck. As one folk saying goes, people born under this Zodiac sign have only a one in ten chance of finding happiness. Also, the superstition is based on the belief that “sheep babies end up with characteristics associated with their birth signs — docile and destined to be followers, not leaders.”

According to the Chinese Fortune Calendar, I am a “Water Rabbit” born in the year of the brown monkey. What does this mean to me? Not a thing. I’m not superstitious and don’t believe in astrology, but I find it fascinating that other people do. It helps me remember that not everyone thinks like me. Also, when I understand their culture and belief systems, it also helps me relate better to them.

Boston - sheep

As for being a sheep, I consider it an honor because for me it means I have a shepherd; his name is Jesus. Sheep can’t guide themselves, they have to be fully dependent on their shepherd. In turn, the shepherd has a duty and responsibility to care for and protect his sheep.

Just for fun, here are 5 facts about sheep:

  • Sheep are intelligent – they can recognize up to 50 other sheep faces and can recognize human faces too.
  • Lanolin, a product found in many skin care products and cosmetics, comes from sheep wool.
  • Sheep’s milk cheese has more calcium than cow’s milk.
  • President Woodrow Wilson used a flock of sheep to trim the White House lawn.
  • A sheep named Dolly was the first mammal cloned from a human cell.

In John 10:27 Jesus said, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

Your turn: Do you know of any culture related superstitions?

Movie Mondays: One way to turn Mondays into Fun Days

My teens HATE Mondays and let’s face it, many adults do too (myself included).

Lack of sleep and overdoing it on the weekends contributes to the energy drain and lack of attention I was seeing at the start of each new week. Finally, I had to let my frustration over the bad attitudes go. I decided to give us all a mental break and institute Funday Monday.

And you know what? It worked.

Now I choose one movie – that relates to something we’re studying – and we gather together in our family room, dressed in comfy clothes (usually pajamas). After all, what’s the benefit of homeschooling if you don’t enjoy learning together?

This semester one of our classes is World History and right now we’re focusing on the fall of Rome as we lead into the Middle Ages. So far we’ve watched Centurion . . .


and The Last Legion.

last legion

Bloody? Yes. Brutal? Yes. But wasn’t that reality? The movies themselves haven’t turned out so bad – they weren’t blockbusters and the special effects are sketchy – but we’ve all enjoyed them.

I want my kids to understand the world and atmosphere Jesus lived in. I want them to understand that despite the filth, violence and depravity, our savior managed to live a sinless life. Honestly, it amazes me that of all the times in history in which to be born, God chose this. Or that. “Whatev” as my kids would say.

In the end, all that matters is that we get it. And get to spend our morning having movies, popcorn and some amazing discussions about the world we live in.

Your turn: How do you make Mondays more fun?

Our Great Nation

I’m laid low in bed today because I have a chronic illness and it’s been out of control lately. However, I did get up and out for two very important things: A trip to my pain management doctor and a trip to the polls.


I hobbled to the voting booth today because I love my country and more importantly, I love teaching about it to the next generation. I want to be a good example to them.

In our school, Civics is as important as Math and English. I use every election cycle to educate them about their duty as citizens of our great nation because after all, they will be our leaders one day.

Deuteronomy 4:8-9 says: And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today? Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.

As the world leaders of democracy, we do indeed have a great nation. Many would argue that our greatness is fading but I’m not sure about that. However, I do know that if we don’t uphold the constitution, pray and teach our children to do the same, we contribute to our country’s demise.

So here are a few of my favorite hands-on tools for teaching Civics and American History:

for you they signed
This can be done as a devotional study and I’ve used it as a character study. It’s informative and fascinating!

foundations of character
These videos are fast-paced and informative – the kids and I learned many new things.
The copy I have also comes with document reproductions.

The National Constitution Center is also a great place for loads of information for kids and adults.

What do you say?: Do you have any favorite resources or tools for teaching Civics?