In Awe & Wonder Podcast, Book club, & YouTube

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I have several announcements and exciting things coming soon. I’ll explain an overview of the “In Awe & Wonder” podcast, book club, and YouTube channel all here. I’ll be releasing a new podcast episode that also explains it. Then the next blog post will contain more details about the book club with the schedule of reading and printable memory verse pages and bookmarks.

I have been working on this blog site, including all the static pages, (meaning that if you go to the blog page at http://www.kristen-hamilton.com, you will see a menu bar at the top of the page), you can click on any of those pages to read more about this ministry, what I believe, and who I am. I encourage you to go there, (I am making it easier by putting a link on the word About so you can click it), and particularly read the “About” page. The About page explains a lot of the new stuff coming up.

Hosting a podcast is something that I’ve been wanting to do for two or three years. I bought a cheap microphone and made a few rough test recordings. I played with editing them and even went ahead and released one episode on my own, without really knowing what I was doing. Things were hectic in life at that time, as we were trying to find my husband a new job and relocate from Maine back down to PA or even Ohio to be closer to our families. Things were so up in the air and I was feeling lots of stress, so it didn’t go any further.

Fast forward to just over a year ago, after we had found something for my husband and moved back to PA, I talked to a podcaster friend who was helping to start a community of Christian podcasts. I got excited about the opportunity, went through the process, and joined the Christian Podcast Community, part of Striving for Eternity Ministries.

Around the same time, I took a full-time job as a grammar school aide at a classical Christian school in our area. Even though I was only gone during the same school hours as my kids, it was too much for me in this season of life. I didn’t have time to relax, read, spend time in the kitchen (cooking and baking is one of my favorite things to do), blog, podcast, or do ministry with my church. Life was a cycle of running out the door to work, then later cooking supper, helping kids with homework and running them to after-school activities, and dropping into bed exhausted. I thrive on having a slower pace and some allotted alone time every week so I can re-charge and focus, and be the wife, mom, and “home manager” my family needs (and I love being). I loved the work of an aide and this school very much, so it was a hard decision, but I have chosen to leave that job.

Part of my concern was all the crazy surrounding the COVID pandemic. The private school had a different schedule anyway, than the schools my kids go to. Last year, all three of my kids were in different schools, which was crazy enough. This year, my oldest two are attending a tech high school and my youngest will be in middle school. The tech school is opening with a hybrid schedule, which means the two oldest will only be in school (in-person) two days a week, and working online from home three days a week! The middle school is offering full time in-person instruction, but has plans for closures (with students working online from home) if needed. I feel it is best if I am home with my kids when they’re home to supervise, make sure work is getting done, help with tech issues, and help if they have questions.

So, I’m planning (hoping) to have two days a week at home by myself. In those days, I am planning to do things that need done to run my household, help my husband with bookkeeping for one of his businesses, reading, and blogging, podcasting, and doing a live YouTube show. Basically, I’ll record a podcast episode on Mondays, though not sure if I’ll get it edited and uploaded the same day. Then I’ll be doing a live YouTube (if all goes well with technology) on Tuesdays at 1:00PM EST, beginning September 1st. {Update: I attempted a live stream on YouTube on Sept. 1st, but it failed. I will be recording videos soon and may attempt a live show again in the future.}


Podcast & Book club

You can visit my podcast page with the Christian Podcast Community to listen to the episodes I already have posted. You can subscribe from there to follow the podcast or bookmark that page and go there to download and listen (click this link) ==> In Awe & Wonder Podcast.

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From now through the end of 2020, I’m going to do a book club on the podcast. We will be going through and discussing topics from the book, “The Joy of Fearing God,” by Jerry Bridges. (Click the title of the book to be taken to Amazon through an affiliate link if you’d like to purchase it.) You may follow the podcast without the book, as I think the discussion will still be relevant and profitable. There is a study guide in the back of the book, which is useful for deeper study and will be used to guide some discussion.

I want to work on Bible memory verses throughout the book club, as I think it’s beneficial and important to memorize Scripture. Jerry Bridges suggests verses to memorize in the study guide, so those are the ones we’ll be using. I’ve made the schedule so that we will have at least two or more weeks to work on each verse. I’ll be posting a downloadable/printable sheet and bookmark on the blog with each verse as we come to them. They might be helpful in memorization. Also, I have heard that the app at BibleMemory.com is very useful as well.

There is a private Facebook group for women only, where if I have time, we will use for further discussion and questions related to the book, or topics in the book. Click on this link to request to join ==> In Awe & Wonder Facebook Group.


YouTube Live Show

The YouTube live is going to be most Tuesdays (because all my kids should be in school most Tuesdays, Lord willing), at 1:00PM EST, starting September 1st. I wanted to do a live show so that it will be what it is without the need to do video editing. {Update: I attempted a live stream on YouTube on Sept. 1st, but it failed. I will be recording videos soon and may attempt a live show again in the future.}

This may seem surprising or disjointed or out of left field, but the live show is mainly going to be cooking/baking, meal planning, saving money, special diets, food substitutions, etc., along with a time for sitting down with some coffee or tea to chat. My “Tuesday Tea” chats will be short times of reflection on a topic from the podcast, or Psalm, or Proverb, or section of Scripture.

You can head over to YouTube and click to subscribe to the channel so you’re set to get notified when videos start being posted ==> In Awe & Wonder YouTube Channel.


I’ll be doing another post with the reading plan for the book club and the first memory verse printable and bookmark.

If you would like to support this ministry, you can go to the Patreon page ==> In Awe & Wonder Patreon.

Finally, In Awe & Wonder is now on Instagram ==> In Awe & Wonder Instagram.

Let’s talk: What do you think of when you hear the phrase “fear of God”?

Keep reading your Bible!

Kristen

Gearing up for a return and podcast launch!

Sunset and Appalachian Mountains out our front windows. (All the sunset pics in this post are views from our home.)

Greetings!

I have not written on my blog in a LONG time! So I’m going to write this post in the form of a letter, like to an old friend, catching up.

The last post I really wrote was back in August, 2016! We had moved up to Maine in 2015 and I homeschooled our three girls for the 2015-16 school year. The following year, ’16-’17, I homeschooled our oldest and helped teach at our co-op, while the younger two girls went back to school. I had volunteered to blog about the Homeschoolers of Maine Convention, so I did a series based on the information they gave me to help promote it. That was really all the writing I did during that time, aside from maybe 3 or 4 articles on the Satisfaction Through Christ blog.

I was going through a season of spiritual growth and maturity all during this time, too. God removed some blinders on my “spiritual eyes” so-to-speak and worked on my heart to bring the gospel and theological issues to a new understanding. I will be sharing more about these things as I go. Right now, suffice it to say that I had gone from a place of mostly traditional/conservative evangelicalism, to a mixture of conservative and liberal evangelicalism, to charismaticism, and finally to conservative orthodoxy – which is how I’ll state that I came to find Reformed theology and the doctrines of grace – for those who may not be familiar. Looking back, it was a very weird and confusing way to get there, but in God’s all-knowing wisdom, that’s the way it went, and in some ways, I’m thankful for it. If it hadn’t gone like this, I wouldn’t have experience and appreciation of varying theologies and churches. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not meaning to say that I’ve “arrived,” nor that I’m now all “spiritually mature,” nor that I’m “holier than thou.” All of life is growing, learning, maturing, and being sanctified.

Birds-eye view of our new town from up along the Appalachian Trail in PA!

Now then, we sold our house in Maine in late 2017 and moved into a log cabin along a lake. God provided a magnificent place for our housing need. Everything worked out almost perfectly. Then we were able to move back down to our home state, PA – but a part we’ve never lived in before, last year. Moving 485 miles, settling into a new house, new schools, new town, finding a new church, and new routines has been a huge process, and several things, such as this blog, plans for a podcast, and social media, took a back seat while all these transitions were happening.

It’s been almost a year since our move back to PA. Our girls are getting older – two of them are teenagers now!!! And our youngest just turned 10! So in addition to settling a home, and finding doctors and where everything is, the girls are involved in extracurricular activities, a larger homework load, and making new friends – so it’s been a season where new routines, rules, and doing life in general, has had to be created. In addition, I went back to working in the school district as a substitute secretary, aide, and cafeteria lady. (I had done this for one year in PA before we moved to Maine.) Unlike the prior district, this one has a huge need for subs of all kinds. So I’ve been trying to keep it around 2-3 days a week, but it could easily be 4-5 days. It is difficult to plan ahead or have a routine being a sub, when sometimes I get called (a personal call) from a school in the morning, asking me to come in. So it’s been a bit hectic and the whole family has been adjusting to everything that comes with a big move.

The summer is almost upon us, which will mean another change in routines. I hope things will be a little less hectic and to get some more free time to read, write, and work on a new venture…podcasting! If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you’ll know that the last post I made was a recording that I reluctantly called a podcast, for lack of a better term. That was in 2017, and I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to commit to doing a podcast that would entail being locked into regular episodes. So I made the recording and thought maybe I’d do more audio than writing on the blog, but do it on no particular schedule. The recording was really long and the quality wasn’t the best. It was also my first attempt at editing audio…and let’s just say I had a lot to learn! (Still do!) I’ve removed the link to it from the post because of what I stated above, plus that I’ve now recorded 3 new episodes, and working on the 4th, where I’m re-launching and talk about many of the same things from that first episode, but in a more concise and polished way.

So, the exciting news is that in spite of a hectic schedule, new seasons of life, and settling into a new place, I’m going to push through and launch a podcast! Things are in the works behind the scenes and I have a wonderful friend who is helping me as a podcast mentor. All the episodes and episode notes will be posted here on the blog. I’ll start out doing episodes every-other week, so usually twice a month. Then if I have time and/or ideas for other topics, I will write and post them here. The podcast will be named the same as the blog: “In Awe & Wonder.” I also have a Facebook group for ladies to gather and study Scripture – it was called, “Tea & Scripture,” but I have changed the name to “In Awe & Wonder,” so that all the media is the same name and easier to find. My goal is for the three outlets – blog, podcast, Facebook group – to work in tandem.

I have ideas for things like a monthly Bible verse, which I hope you’ll join me in trying to memorize some verses; prayer request threads; encouragement; studying the Bible; and possibly a summer read-along/book club. On the podcast, one episode per month, for however long it takes, I’ll be talking about various attributes of God. I’ll post things here on the blog that goes along with all that. Basically, the podcast will be a way to learn and discuss “on the go;” the Facebook group will be to connect in community; and the blog will be like a compilation of those – a way to follow along, plus get additional articles and resources.

I hope to kick off in the next couple weeks! You’re invited to come along on this venture! Do you listen to podcasts? If so, do you find them convenient to listen to while you’re doing things like dishes, driving, or putting on makeup? Let me know in the comments and/or go request to join the Facebook group. {There’s also a pubic Facebook page, which you can “like,” where I share a lot of content from other sources.}

Your friend,

In Awe & Wonder Podcast!

Please note: This post has been edited to remove the link to the podcast recording. The audio quality and editing wasn’t the best – I had a lot to learn! And the episode was quite long. You can read my notes below that outline what I talked about. Join me for the new and improved podcast coming soon! (Updated on 5/21/19.)

Podcast Notes:

Welcome! I’d love to give the feeling via “podcasts” or audio on the blog that we are sitting down for coffee or tea together. I’m normally very quiet and do most of the listening, so to be on the spot for all the talking, there were some pauses and “um”‘s, as I processed through my thoughts. If we were actually getting together for coffee, I would for sure be letting you do most of the talking!

It’s been a long while since I have posted a blog. Many changes and adventures have happened. We moved to Maine in 2015, starting off renting a house on the ocean and homeschooling our three girls. Then we bought a house and moved more inland. Last school year, two of our girls went back to school and I continued homeschooling our oldest. This year, all three are in school. I’m digesting the fact that I am now a mom of a teenager!

Another change is spiritually. I have done a 180 degree turn in my theological and doctrinal beliefs. We began attending a charismatic church (unbeknownst to us) when we first moved to Maine. But due to disagreeing with many aspects of what they believe, I could not continue attending that church. We found a new one. In this process of getting back into the Bible, wrestling with some theological questions, and finding different preachers/teachers/music/podcasters to listen to, I have embraced the Doctrines of Grace and Reformed theology.

I renamed the blog, “In Awe & Wonder.” To help explain the new name and focus/direction of the blog/podcast, I read from the book, Awe: Why It Matters for Everything We Think, Say, and Do, (affiliate link), by Paul David Tripp. Here are the points I went over from the first chapter, under “Awe The Helicopter View”:

  1. Awe is everyone’s lifelong pursuit.
  2. God created an awesome world.
  3. God created you with an awe capacity.
  4. Where you look for awe will shape the direction of your life.
  5. Awe stimulates the greatest joys and deepest sorrows in us all.
  6. Misplaced awe keeps us perennially dissatisfied.
  7. Every created awe is meant to point you to the Creator.
  8. Awesome stuff never satisfies.

I read parts of an article by Jen Wilkin from Desiring God on July 14, 2016, called, “Women, Trade Self-Worth for Awe and Wonder.” (Click to go to the article and read it in its entirety.)

Bible verse I read on fear:

  • Psalm 2:10-12

Bible verses I read on wonder:

  • Psalm 9:1
  • Psalm 77:11
  • Psalm 77: 14
  • Psalm 78:4
  • Psalm 89:5
  • Psalm 136:4
  • Psalm 139:6

Bible verses I read on awe:

  • Psalm 22:23
  • Psalm 33:8
  • Psalm 65:5
  • Psalm 65:8
  • Psalm 66:1
  • Psalm 66:3
  • Psalm 66:5
  • Psalm 99:3
  • Psalm 111:9
  • Psalm 119:161
  • Psalm 145:6
  • Exodus 15:11
  • Exodus 34:10
  • Deuteronomy 7:21
  • Deuteronomy 10:17
  • Deuteronomy 28:58
  • Hebrews 12:28

New focus and direction on the blog:

  • Bible study
  • Biblical literacy
  • Discernment
  • Doctrines of Grace/various theological topics
  • Five Solas
  • Recommended Resources (there is a page I made for this on the blog)
  • Combining writing (blogging) with audio (podcasting)

I am open to questions, comments, resources, and topics for discussion and learning. You can contact me the following ways:

 

Thanks for stopping by! I hope we can learn and grow together!

New Beginnings

It has been six months since I’ve written.

I was homeschooling our girls this past school year, due to our relocation to Maine. We bought a new house that is about 25 minutes from the ocean, so we moved and have been settling in. Also, in any free time I’ve had, I’ve been digging in to Christian theology & doctrine and Church history. I’ve been reading books by John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and a classic by Jonathan Edwards. Great material as I’ve been refining more specifically what I believe and why.

NewBeginningsCurrently, I’m preparing to homeschool our oldest daughter again this year. She has dyslexia, or some kind of slight learning disability, and is still a bit behind. So I am going to work with her one-on-one this year and see if we can get her caught up to her peers, or at least closer. We’ve registered our other two girls back in school, so we’re rounding up supplies, planning lunches, getting the bus route figured out, and will be going to meet the teachers the week before school starts. They don’t start until September 6th, so a couple more weeks of summer.

I’m going to be teaching a class for the 5th/6th graders at our homeschool co-op this fall. It’s going to be creative writing, along with an introduction to what blogging is and Internet safety.

Around the house, I’m sanding, priming, and painting a dining set we got from someone on Craig’s List. It’s a round, expandable table and seven chairs. My goal is to get it done by Labor Day! My list also includes getting a kitchen cart that can be used for more storage/counter space, either along a wall or as an island. I’d also like a desk or table, along with some shelves to put containers for hanging files to keep all my stuff organized.

We’re plugging into a new church and meeting people there. And I am a new regular contributor on another blog: Satisfaction Through Christ. I’ll be posting there twice a month. The ladies who write there are great women who love Jesus, and I’m so humbled to be part of ministering with them. See below for an excerpt and link to visit STC and read the article.

Our family traveled down to our hometown in PA for my husband’s 20th high school reunion at the end of July. The kids and I stayed there for two weeks after that to spend time with family and friends. It was a great time! We went camping, swimming, kayaking, to movies, horseback riding, to an amusement park, to a picnic, and school shopping. It was jam-packed with fun!

This is a season of new beginnings. We’ve been in Maine for a year, but we’re still in the midst of new beginnings. New home, new neighborhood, new school and school year, new church, new writing opportunity, and new look on the blog. I’ve decided to call this space, “In Awe & Wonder.” This blog is a ministry for women, proclaiming the Gospel of grace, proclaiming the Truth of Jesus, giving glory to God, studying the Word, and topics on Christian living.


Heart Attitudes & Amazing Grace

I want to discuss Numbers 11 with you. It stood out to me in my Bible reading. In my Bible, this chapter is titled, “The People Complain.” I will go along and outline what happened, but I encourage you to go to your own Bible and read that chapter for yourself.

This event takes place as Moses is leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. But even then after they are freed, with their basic needs being met by God, they begin complaining…again. As if complaining itself isn’t bad enough, they dare to whine and cry that they wish they were back in Egypt…as slaves!

What’s at the root of all this? Their stomachs. Or their taste buds. My Bible says it was intense craving. God was miraculously providing manna for them to eat every day, again in response to their crying because they were hungry. Now it seems that isn’t enough for them. They long for the meat, fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic that they got to eat in Egypt. The people were weeping and said, “…there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!” (v.6) …

…Click over to Satisfaction Through Christ to read the rest of the article.


Let’s talk: What have you been up to this summer? If you have kids, when does school start for you? I look forward to chatting in the comments…

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For the Love of Beach Glass and Barbies

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I must begin by saying how happy we are to have visited Maine in the summertime and moved here at the end of August so that we can experience some wonderful beach days. So far, the climate has been about the same, if even a few degrees warmer than in Pennsylvania. Most days have been in the 80’s and even 90’s. It seems the sun is out more often here, too.

Our home in Maine

Of course, most houses here don’t have air conditioning. (We bought the house pictured above, after renting along the ocean for nine months. It didn’t have air conditioning either.) In fact, the house we’re renting only has one ceiling fan in the kitchen. Upon the advice of one of my husband’s colleagues who helped us unload our U-Haul, we have our two box fans, and otherwise rely on the breeze from the ocean and opening windows at night.

I do love that the house has a lot of closet space. I’m sure it will be to my hub’s delight…and perhaps all of us will appreciate it when winter hits, that every closet in the house has at least one or two blankets in it. We might be all wrapped up in cocoons unable to traverse the roads or handle the cold.

A walk down to the beach

We’ve been told it can be icy along the coast. The snow accumulation shouldn’t be too bad, unless a “Nor’easter,” as they call it, hits. They said if a storm is coming, stock up and it would behoove my husband to work from home if possible. We’re no strangers to snow. We were born and raised in the “snow belt” of PA – the dumping ground for “lake effect” snow from Lake Erie. Our hometown averages 106″ of snow each year! It’ll be just a little different if a “Nor’easter” were to dump 20+” in one day. We’ve been reassured by many that they keep the roads well maintained.

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I did impulsively purchase a 3-pack of boot socks in the $3 bin at Target the other day. It was one of the 90 degree days, but I was planning ahead. (At least that’s what I’m telling myself!) While on that topic, I have to say that I’m delighted to have Target and Kohl’s just 8 short miles away. The closest I’ve ever lived to those stores was in Ohio, when they were about 18 miles away, so I didn’t frequent them often. Anyway, my husband didn’t seem as excited.

Although I’m excited about being near those stores, I am having Aldi’s withdrawal. The closest one is over in New Hampshire. The savings I would get at the store would likely negate itself in the time and gas it would take to go there. So I’m exploring the three grocery chains here: Shaw’s, Hannaford, & Market Basket.

There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on every other corner in New England. So are dentist offices. I wonder if there’s any correlation?

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For now, though, we are soaking up all the sun and beach time we can. We’re in a routine with homeschool enough that we’ve been able to be done with studies by 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon and we bolt out the door for the beach. The girls absolutely love looking for beach glass, certain shells, and other beach treasures.

We’ve found marine hermit crabs, sea crabs, fish, mussels, lots of types of seaweed, cool rocks, and snails. I had no idea hermit crabs were so far north and in the population they seem to be here. The hermits are so cute and the girls have fun playing with them on the beach. (It is illegal to take them off the beach and these guys need saltwater to live. They’re different from the land hermit crabs we’ve had before.)

The girls each have an abundant collection of beach glass! We have found so much – blue, pink, clear, brown and green. I kept my jewelry making stuff accessible (not in storage) so we could perhaps try making some of it into jewelry.

Today’s trip to the beach included taking “The Pearl Princess” (a mermaid) and “Mike the Merman” Barbie/Ken dolls. For the love… being the mom of girls, it’s normal to tote dolls around, especially Barbie types and mini princesses. I had to rescue two of them from being left on the rocks – and was asked to carry a few around with me, which I knew would happen. Gotta love a walk on the beach with “Ken,” (aka “Mike the Merman”).

If you don’t know “Mike the Merman,” let me introduce you. (Click the link if you dare watch the video!) This dude’s real name is Prince Ken Triton, according to Mattel, a character in Barbie: The Pearl Princess. One day last year on YouTube, I came across a video featuring “Mike the Merman, Defender of the Sea.” I watched it and was in hysterics. I showed it to the girls and our oldest laughed along with me. But our middle and youngest actually wanted the dolls. Alas, for Christmas we did buy them each a “Mike the Merman” doll. And today he was introduced to the ocean!

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Jutting way out on the eastern edge of the Eastern Standard Time zone, we’re adjusting to an earlier sunrise and earlier sunset. That’s a little irritating to me – a night owl. I like dark in the morning and light later in the day. Not a biggie in the grand scheme of things.

We had a great time on our first homeschool field trip to the Maine State Aquarium last week with the Homeschoolers of Maine group.

Kristen

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