Thursday, December 3, 2009
Friday, November 13, 2009
This morning I was working with Micah on a Thanksgiving project. We have been studying parts of speech so I thought we would make a diary of thankfulness. We talked about a noun being a person, place, thing or idea. I asked Micah to name something or someone in each category for which he was grateful. In the "person" category Micah said he was thankful for God and Mommy. I asked him to list a few adjectives that describe God. He gave me a list of descriptors for God. I then asked him to list some adjectives that describe Mommy he said, "Well, maybe the same things."
Wow, the responsibility of being God's representative to my children hit me again in a very real way. Having a casual attitude toward parenting seems terribly irresponsible in light of the reality that is going on in the hearts and minds of my boys. It isn't only parents who are God's representatives on earth though, each of us who claim His name are charged with the responsibility of representing Him well. Having a casual attitude about our behaviors and attitudes seems equally irresponsible in light of the reality that we are the only Jesus some people will ever see.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"Then the lion said, 'You will have to let me undress you.' I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I've ever felt. The thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. ...Then he caught hold of me and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything, but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain was gone. After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me in new clothes." Eustace on his experience of being changed from beast to boy by the great lion Aslan in c.s. Lewis' "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader".
Friday, October 30, 2009
Now summer is gone, and it seems to have taken the sun with it. The rain is falling and the wind is blowing. The trees are more bare everyday. With each season comes it's own joy though, so I'll try hard not to dread winter. :) We started school again on Labor Day....seems twisted, but one must labor even on Labor Day. Micah started school officially this year. It's interesting home educating a second child. How do you answer the "what grade are you in" question? He's been "sitting in" with Josiah for two years. His work spans about 3 grades, tough to "place" him. He loves school though and is eager to learn. Siah is doing well with his studies too. He started Karate this year as well, he REALLY loves that. He also has a new violin teacher, as our dear Mrs. Mellado is in the process of retiring. Miss. Guan is a very thorough teacher. We have grown to love her as well.
I am also in the process of learning. I know this is a life time pursuit, or at least it should be. My mind has been turning over the process of "becoming". New forces enter my life as I age and circumstances change. These forces act as a mirror to my soul. I find myself questioning and analyzing my heart. Holding it up to the light of Christ. Overwhelmed at times, as the force of my flesh is so powerful. I am not hopeless though. I recognize that it is my Father's great heart and great love for me, that compels Him to ask more of me than what just comes natural. He shows me reality. Ugly as that is at times. It tells me that He has no intention of leaving me as I am, broken and helpless. He calls me to surrender daily to trust and overcome, to become.
It's so tempting to want to just be, without the discipline of becoming. My flesh kicks against the hard work of self control and self sacrifice. The obvious is that I'm not "making" myself. I know I will never "discipline" myself into His image. However, I also know He calls me to do my part, to partner with Him in my metamorphosis.
And so I am feeding my mind on verses like Ephesians 4:13-16 ...13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. And Philippians 3:8-16 8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, 9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12 ¶ Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
That's a lot for me to think on, so I'll leave you with that.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I miss you. I'm too busy, too lazy, and too Facebooked to pay attention to you, but really I do miss you. I miss the real conversation, the real thinking, and the real sharing that you offer. I won't make promises or plans, I'll just say that I'm feeling motivated. The "fastfood" of FB is leaving me hungry for the "meat and potatoes" of blogging. My appetite is wetted, we'll see what pans out.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Friday, July 3, 2009
Camp is quickly approaching. Matt and I are helping out with the Youth this year. We are working on lessons right now and I still need to revise the script for the play. It should come together pretty quickly though. We are so looking forward to leading the youth. They are such a great group of young people and we always enjoy "hanging out" with them.
Josiah and Micah are growing like weeks. They both spend MANY hours a week in our pool. Turning into very blond fishes basically. :) Josiah started Karate this spring and is loving it. He also has made the transition to a new violin teacher. It was a tough transition at first for he really loved his old teacher who retired. But, he is learning to love his new teacher too. His old teacher taught the Suzuki method and this new teacher teaches traditionally. I'm thankful for the Suzuki beginning though. Ms. Guan(his new teacher) comments on his "good ear for pitch". I know this is not a "natural" thing of Siah. As a toddler his singing was often monotone. However, the Suzuki training really helped with that. However, I do think the time was right for him to move on to more focused site reading. And he is adapting well. Although he misses "playing songs" as he is mainly working in a site reading book. The songs will come soon enough though.
Micah is still Micah and we love him for it. We call him our drama king. For a while he was getting up in the night a couple times a week. There was always some lame excuse. Finally, we put our "foot down" so to speak. We explained to him that he was to stay in bed unless he had to go potty or had an emergency. This is not only for our own sleeping comfort, but also for his safety(children roaming the house while parents are asleep? Not a good idea). He is sleeping better and so are we as a result. The other night though, actually about 4am we heard a knock on our bedroom door. Micah walks in and says, "I'm sorry for disturbing you, and I don't know if this is really important, but, (and here he starts to sound weepy) I keep trying to get my CD player to turn on and I try and I try and it just won't work and it's getting annoying!" Daddy led him back to bed explaining that this was, in fact, NOT important at 4am and it certainly wasn't an emergency.
Well, it's been awhile since I've done newsy update so here it is. I hope you are well and enjoying your summer.
Monday, June 15, 2009
The boys saw the weekend through totally different eyes. They think of our work weekends at Mode Camp as nothing short of a real holiday. We actually have them join in on some of the work, but that doesn’t for a moment inhibit their absolute joy any time we drive onto the grounds. I asked the boys what it is they love so much about Mode Camp and Josiah’s response surprised me. He said, “I love the freedom best.” I asked him what he meant and he explained, “I just love getting to walk around in such a big place on my own.” In all honesty his response perplexed me at first. Is it healthy at such a young age to desire freedom? Or are we smothering our children? I spoke with Matt about my concerns and he quickly informed me
Matt and I are not the kind of parents that leave our young children “on their own”. We would never dream of dropping them off for library time, homeschool group activities or music lessons. We think it is very important at their ages to closely guard influences and monitor their behavior. Our church doesn’t hold to the philosophy of segregated worship or learning. During the Sunday School hour there is a children’s class, but our young people join in with the adults once they are ready to leave the children’s class. And we see the benefits of multi-generational relationships as a result of this approach. Our family doesn’t do sleepovers with other kids or even much unsupervised playtime with other children. (Disclaimer: this is not an essay on how you should personally run your church or home. You have my permission to do things differently.) However, for 10 days out of the year we do send our kids off to “children’s church” and when the boys are old enough and mature enough they will be allowed to stay in the boy’s dorm during camp. Are we being hypocritical for 10 days? No, I don’t think so and here’s why.
Mode Camp is a safe place for our boys to “stretch their wings” a bit. What they perceive as freedom is still very carefully monitored. In all of the parenting material we have digested over the years we still come back to an analogy that we find so helpful from the book entitled “Child Wise”. It pictures parenting as a funnel. The narrow part of the funnel represents the child at birth. All of his choices etc. are made by his parents. There is no freedom or independence at this stage. But as the child grows, and as a trusting relationship with his parents deepens, the funnel widens. Until at last by the teen years there is very little restraint on the child from the parents, but he is now governed by self restraint and hopefully his relationship with God.
What better place then at camp when our boys are surrounded by our trusted friends to give a little room in the funnel? What an opportunity for Matt and I to observe and study our boys, watching to see if they are indeed ready for more freedom or how they behave when they think no one is watching. And oh how they love it. Not just the freedom, but the fun of spending hour after hour with so many Christian brothers and sisters young and old. And while admittedly at their ages the pews get hot and hard after a long sermon, their little souls are being fed. Maybe not so much from the sermons yet, but from observing the lives of those they see in the pews around them. At camp, relationships are built and strengthened in a way that the business of everyday life very seldom affords. I firmly believe that a relationship of trust is an extremely powerful tool with which to influence another for Christ. In light of that, even the "fun and games" of camp serves a purpose.
And so in reflecting on all that, I was reminded of why we do what we do. It makes perfect sense that we are spending beautiful weekends breaking our backs. And when I start to question if the work is really worth it, I have only to look into the faces of my children. It's definitely worth it.
Monday, May 18, 2009
a bulwark never failing;
our helper he amid the flood
of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
doth seek to work us woe;
his craft and power are great,
and armed with cruel hate,
on earth is not his equal.
our striving would be losing,
were not the right man on our side,
the man of God's own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth, his name,
from age to age the same,
and he must win the battle.
should threaten to undo us,
we will not fear, for God hath willed
his truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,
we tremble not for him;
his rage we can endure,
for lo, his doom is sure;
one little word shall fell him.
no thanks to them, abideth;
the Spirit and the gifts are ours,
thru him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
this mortal life also;
the body they may kill;
God's truth abideth still;
his kingdom is forever.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
As the infamous Forest Gump would say, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get." I’ve never seen the movie myself, but there is some truth to what Forest had to say. Life rarely turns out the way any of us planned when we were dreaming it out as young girls. And yet we do have a choice with what we will do with the reality we have. We can hold on to those youthful dreams and demand that life give us what we want. OR we can surrender those dreams to God and let Him give us a life that far surpasses anything we could have dreamed. Don’t get me wrong, I don't think that necessarily means an easy life or even a happy life. But experience has taught me that following God has led to the most fulfilling, joyful, peaceful life imaginable.
Another aspect of life we can learn from a box of chocolates is how our expectations can greatly affect our lives. For those of you expecting a caramel and you ended up with a fruit center didn’t you somehow feel a bit cheated? Your expectations led you to believe something that wasn’t true. Even if you enjoyed the fruit filling and even though the candy was given free of charge our emotions can end up sending us spiraling downward. I have to constantly remind myself when I feel disappointed or dissatisfied with life that I haven’t been cheated or let down by anyone. I have created a reality in my own mind that doesn’t exist. I’m trying to make the world around me live up to my expectations. This, my dear friends, is a recipe for misery. I heard a radio preacher once say, "Expect more from yourself and less from those around you." I think if we practiced that principle we would find ourselves living a much more contented life.
There are many lessons we could take from a chocolate box, but the one I’d like to focus on today is how a box of chocolates, can be like the Body of Christ. While I love the caramels in the box, a whole box of caramels would be unbalanced. Do you wonder if the chocolate almonds ever look over at the cherry cordials and say, "Wow, I wish I could drip when people bit into me like she does! It’s so much more valuable to be a cherry than an almond." I can hear the chocolate creams wishing they were as well shaped as the thin mint patties. The box of chocolate would never fulfill the needs of a whole family if they were all the same. And it is an insane waste of time for the orange creams to wish they were bon bons. It is the beautiful variety in the box of chocolates that helps make the package complete.
Paul admonishes the Corinthians in 2 Cor 10:12 …"but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise". While we share so many of the same values, likes, and dislikes not one of us is in the exact same place in life. Some of us have older children, some young, some none. Some of us are married, some single. Some of us come from large families and some of us are only children. We work at home, in offices, factories, hospitals the list could go on and on. The point is, we accomplish nothing by trying to compare our situation in life with somebody else’s. I find myself wishing to be as organized or as disciplined, or as creative, or as productive, or as intelligent as all of you. And where does that lead me? I end up trying so hard to be like somebody else that I’m not being all that God wants me to be.
Don’t get me wrong I believe there is power in being challenged to be more than what comes naturally for me. I know the slippery slope of being in a situation where you feel you are the "top dog". Here's a hypothetical: I go to the Dr's office and there are 3 other mother’s there with their children. Their children are wretched. Screaming, climbing and biting. There sits my "perfect little angels". Because of some strange aligning of the planets they are good today, sitting quietly reading books. The other mother’s look at me as if my super hero cape is flapping in the breeze. It’s tempting to think, "Wow, I’m doing OK here." That kind of thinking is just craziness people. The reality is my "little angels" have really devilish days too. Any "success" I may have in any area of my life is a result of the influence of someone else. I have been blessed to be surrounded by godly people who have helped me learn and grow. I NEED to be challenged. I need sisters in Christ who are overcoming in areas in which I am weak. I learn from your lives more than I’ve learned in many years of sermons. The search light of the Holy Spirit using your lives to reveal my own grim is much different than my own measuring stick of comparisons.
If we had time to ask each lady in this room "how together" she has her life, I’d be willing to bet every one of us is working hand in hand with God to refine some character trait in our lives. And every one of us has had a laundry basket unfolded, a junk drawer in chaos, or a frozen pizza dinner with no vegetable in sight to feed our families. By God’s grace we are growing together. Where one is weak another is strong. As a Body, or as a box of chocolates, we can delight in each sister’s strength, and use our own strength to bless others. We can use Christ’s measuring stick in our lives and be thankful for the encouragement we can gain from each other to do more, be more, and live more for Jesus.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Since I last blogged we've celebrated two birthdays, attended a homeschool convention, mowed grass, built hundreds of rocking chairs, visited with family and the list could go on and on. And so instead of going on and on right now, I'm going to go read your blogs and see what you've been up to.
Looking forward to being a better blogger in the future.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
On Friday several of us met in Lexington, KY and headed south to pick up Gaye and Kayla. This is the really cool state-of-the-art Welcome Center of TN.
Friday night we ate supper at The Apple Barn and then met up with Marty later that evening.
Saturday we went shopping. Kayla and Sonja found these BEAUTIFUL little....things. We ate at Bullfish Grill. Yummo! But mostly we did a lot of this.........
Even baby Emma laughed!
Each of us girls are care-givers of some sort. Combined, we care for and are responsible for over 200 people. That's a whole lot of pressure. While we are content with our lives, this weekend was a much needed time of low pressure and "being young again". We are so thankful for the fun time spent together.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Josiah was so excited. We were excited for him too. However, I must admit in my Mommy's heart I had a brief sadness. My boy is growing up. Oh sure, " it's just a tooth" you say. But next it will be his voice getting deeper, and then driver's Ed and ......Well, you know. I remind myself that the reason I work so hard everyday is to see them grow up to become men. Not just perpetual boys who hang on Momma's skirt and never fly from home. Who avoid work and commitment like a plague. Men who are grown in body and spirit. SO I say hooray for the "lost" tooth, which is hiding securely in a zip lock in the file cabinet. My boys are growing up and that's how it should be. :)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Why do we do that? Why do we have the compulsion to put everything into neat little boxes, especially when it comes to God? Perhaps we get overwhelmed by how big God is and how much we really will never be able to completely wrap our minds around Him. Or perhaps we feel the need of the security that “knowing” brings. I suppose our human answer is to categorize, outline and alliterate our relationship with Him into a neat package that can be put into a book, sermon, or theology class notes.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand more now than ever my need for true Bible study. Not just reading a few chapters and checking that duty off my list, but the need to bathe myself in the word. To eat, as it where, the bread of life and let it become part of me, to change me from within. To take in His perspective and let it change how I see life, how I think, how I act. But is it helpful to make our charts? Does it encourage me to question my heart and motives (which after all is what Jesus is most concerned with) to have an outline that I can check off and then go about my life? If I already have it all figured out and have given it my own man-made terms, then do I really come to scripture open and ready to conform myself to it’s teachings as opposed to making it fit into mine?
I know that as humans we are limited. We can only communicate with language, and so at some point there may be a need for charts and outlines. However, when I look at what a relationship ought to be, I can’t help but think how meaningless a relationship would become if we had to categorize everything. I can see it now. Matt and I have a contract, I do the dishes everyday, however on days that I am unwell, busy or otherwise predisposed he is to awaken early and unload the dishwasher. This is called prevenient love. On days when I unload the dishwasher, even if I’m not feeling well, all because Matt has provided food from which I gain strength to do the said task, this is called provisional love. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Takes the beauty of Matt and I both doing all that we can for the other simply out of love and trust, doesn’t it? The further danger is that the contract becomes our law, and so I only do what is specified in the contract, because that is all that is required in order to still be married. Furthermore, I have the “right” to be mad if Matt doesn’t fulfill all of my expectations of what I read into the contract. It turns beautiful acts of love and devotion into servitude, and it gives permission to do what I want within the bounds of the contract. Somehow we go from being focused on the other to being focused on ourselves.
What I’m learning is that I don’t need to focus on all the terms if my heart is where it should be. If I am completely surrendered to my Father’s will, if I wholeheartedly trust Jesus with my life , than the obvious desire of my heart will be to please him, to obey him, to study his life and teachings. My understanding at this point is that if I am there, if I am honest before my God and willing to do, go , or be whatever would please Him, than I am acceptable in His sight. Perhaps we should take the energy that we spend on terms and “what ifs” and do the hard work of examining our hearts, asking ourselves the tough questions, crying out, “Search me O God and know my heart today.”
Before I close let me add a disclaimer. I realize that ideas have consequences. Some ideas must be addressed because of the consequence of following after them. So often, terms and charts must be discussed for good reason. Even in this, the terms or ideas are not the focus though; the focus is coming to the place of a heart fully surrendered to God. But that is for another blog…..
Friday, January 23, 2009
Today we read, The Crow and the Pitcher by Aesop. Below is their Narration.
The crow and the pitcher (Micah)
One day the crow was getting really thirsty because he was flying hard and it was hot. Just then he saw a pitcher on the bottom of a cool patio. He went down and he tried to drink, but there was just a bitty bitty bit of water inside the pitcher. And so he tried to get it with his beak, but his beak was too short. And so he went out under a tree looking and thinking of what could help him. Just then he saw some pebbles, he said, “Oh, maybe I could drop them inside the pitcher and then the water would rise.” He dropped the pebbles in one by one. The water rised and he drank and he drank and he drank and he drank until he was full.
Moral: “Many hard things can be accomplished with stuff.”
The Crow and the Pitcher (Josiah)
Once upon a time there was a crow flying over cottages and he began to get thirstier and thirstier. At the edge of a little patio there was a little pitcher with a bit of water in it. The crow thought, “I will try to tip the jar over and drink what spills.” But the jar was too heavy. So the crow tried to stretch his neck as long as he could to get the water, but he still couldn't drink the water because his neck was too short. And then the crow sat under the shade of a tree so that he could think for a bit. In the cool shade of that tree he noticed by the patio a bunch of pebbles. And he said, “If I can put those pebbles in the pitcher the water will rise and I can drink.” And so he began, one by one, picking up the pebbles and putting them in, picking up the pebbles and putting them in. Sooner or later the water was high enough for the crow to drink.
Moral: Hard work makes joy.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Micah played the part of "The Angel of the Lord" and "The Constable". Josiah was the "Sheep who was allergic to cotton".
Becca and I had the privilege of directing the Play for the older kids (9 - 14year olds). We had a blast and were SO proud our "our" talented kids.
Detroit Louie and his side kick, Harry the Lift!
Our two Angels
Mrs. Aiken, Julie, a blind girl, and Mr. Varner. (Don't you love Mrs. Aiken's hair? What a blast from the past. :))