Thursday, May 26, 2011

Advice for Abigail....and Julia

In a letter to his dear wife, John Adams encourages her to parent their oldest two sons in his absence in this way....

"Take care that they don't go astray. Cultivate their minds, inspire their little hearts, raise their wishes. Fix their attention upon great and glorious objects, root out every little thing, weed out every meanness, make them great and manly. Teach them to scorn injustice, ingratitude, cowardice, and falsehood. Let them revere nothing but religion, morality and liberty."

What a challenge this is for me. It goes far beyond the ideals we as a culture have for our children today. A reckless abandon pursuit of "fun", Sponge Bob, and Grossology are what we offer our young boys. Then we wonder why we end up with "kidadults, as opposed to "great and manly" men. I'm not interested in putting 40 year old heads on my 6 and 8 year old's shoulders, fun is a staple at our house and an occasional game of Super Mario isn't forbidden. However, I think I stand to gain a lot if I reject the commonly accepted standards of our culture for our boys and seek the wisdom of the likes of the original "Adams Family".

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Recital 2011

Today was the boys Spring Recital. This was Micah's first recital. He played two songs since the songs were so short. Josiah played Minuet #3.
Hope you enjoy this Papa & Nanny(and Rach). :)

Micah playing Au Claire de la Lune with his teacher.

Micah playing Lightly Row with his teacher.

Josiah playing Minute #3 by Bach

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Confessions of a Wimp.

My name is Julia and I am an approval junkie. From as long as I can remember I have liked to be liked. I love waves in the ocean, but not in my life. I will go to great measures to avoid offending people unnecessarily. There I’ve said it. I’m a wimp by nature. Enter public school. Public school can be pretty tough on a girl who looks so completely different from her peers and all the while she’s craving their approval. Now this could be the sad end to my story, but my parents did something right. I have no idea what it was specifically, but no matter how much of an approval junkie I was I had no thought of compromising my values. I wanted approval, but God’s approval seemed to trump that of my peers. Thank God for that. However, I am a pretty creative little creature and so I figured out a way to have the best of both worlds. I was nice. And guess what? If you are nice to people, with only a few exceptions, they don’t really care how you look. And so public school went pretty smoothly for me. I had a few antagonists, but for the most part I was liked. I even won end of the year awards for being “cheery” and “funny” and all kinds of things that made me feel warm and fuzzy.

I was trucking along through life pretty well, but there were a few bumps on my smooth road of being liked. For instance, a few years after college a friend told me that she knew of a few people who “hated” me during college. Imagine my shock and dismay. Who? Me? Hated? Unbearable!! What had a I done? I knew there were a few who seemed a little cold toward me and I promptly ate lunch with them and started my quest of being entered onto their approval lists. She said(and I’ll modify the words here for public consumption), “You were so self absorbed that you didn’t even notice they didn’t like you.” OUCH! The wounds of a friend are faithful. She helped me open my eyes that day. I determined to be more aware of how I affected people, not just so they would like me, but because people matter.

Enter my babies. I didn’t understand the danger of my desire to be liked until one day my kiddos came along. I don’t even remember the specifics of the moment, to be honest I don’t even remember where I was. I just remember somebody wanted me to do or wanted me to let my kiddos go somewhere or do something that in my heart I knew wouldn’t be good for them. I’m not talking danger here folks I just mean, that little part of your brain that kicks in when you know this activity or whatever won’t kill your kid, but it wouldn’t be best. Anyway, the moment came and I felt this incredible pressure to send my kiddo into a situation I didn’t think best. Why, you may ask? Well, I didn’t want to offend the person who was asking. I didn’t want them to think badly of me. All of that went through my brain in a second and with my heart pounding and my stomach churning I smiled kindly and said, “No thanks.” I’m sure I did my dead-level best to smooth it over….that’s what we approval junkies do. But something changed in me that day. I knew that liking to be liked isn’t all bad, but when gaining self approval puts others at risk, well now that gets into the realm of evil. LIGHT BULB MOMENT!!

And so here I am up the road a few years, some time and experience under my belt. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that if you do end up standing up for what is right, some people won’t like you. And guess what? I still hate that feeling. I know it’s just a feeling and trust me I’ve prayed that this thorn in my flesh(being a wimp) would be taken from me. I long to be the kind of person who speaks boldly, one who does the right thing and walks away with shoulders squared and confident step, letting the chips fall where they may. But the Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for you.” And so I muster all my courage and do what I think is the right thing and limp away with heart pounding, stomach churning knowing full well I won’t sleep that night due to my worrying where the chips are going to fall. I guess my point is, wimp or not I’m accountable to God. Ultimately, it is His approval that I must seek. And whether it’s ever comfortable for me or not, I must love as He loved. That means my love for Julia and approval and all things warm and fuzzy has to be crucified.

Do I go out looking for confrontational situations now? NOPE! Do I seek to be abrasive? Not on your life. I still find myself diplomatically sharing opinions. I read people’s body language like a book to be sure that what is being said is being understood. I like being nice and friendly. I enjoy having lots of friends and knowing they like me too. But I have to keep that all in perspective. And you can just bet if I do or say something that causes waves, that it was done with much thought and prayer and to be honest, an agonizing wrestling match between my flesh and spirit. It’s not easy being a wimp, but by God’s grace I’ll be a wimpy tool in his hands to do with what He wills…no matter how uncomfortable.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Great Family Read Aloud Books!!

Several weeks ago Matt and I attended the Mid-West Homeschool Convention. While we enjoyed the speakers and all the challenging things that we learned, our favorite part of the convention is browsing the vendor hall. After we make all the necessary curriculum purchases we spend hours scouring book shelf after book shelf finding books we want to read, we want our boys to read and books we want to read to our boys. Children are NEVER too old to be read aloud fact, I can just bet you still enjoy hearing a book read aloud.

At convention we ran across a series of books that we thought looked like good books to read aloud as a family. Sadly we only bought one in the series because we wanted to see what they were about before we took the plunge and bought the whole set. Needless to say, half-way through the first book we went to Amazon and ordered the next two books in the series. The author Chuck Black weaves the story of Christ into this allegorical retelling of biblical history from Genesis to Revelations. There are discussion questions in the back for each chapter which make for a wonderful catalysis for conversation. If you use these books as a tool in family devotional times, I guarantee your kids will beg you for just one more chapter.

I just love running across great resources like the Kingdom Series by Chuck Black and I thought I'd pass the word on to you. Enjoy!!