Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tonight, I am going to share with you one of my pet peeves. It involves sports and priorities.
My son, JW, plays coach-pitch baseball. Tonight, as we huddled under the shed while the rain ended the play for the night, our coach announced that the team has an opportunity to play in a tournament in a couple of weeks. The tournament would begin on Friday night and end sometime Sunday.
How do you explain to the coach that as much as we want JW to enjoy his experience playing baseball, Sundays are off limits.
In our very small church (we average about 60 in worship on Sundays) I know of 4 families that have had to deal with this issue. For one family it meant that the Dad had to miss at least one service on most Sundays during the summer because his job required him to work the tournaments, but for the other three, it was simply a matter of choice. It is so sad to me that families have to choose between their children participating in sports and worshiping together on Sunday. And it is even more sad that Christian families head out in droves on Sunday mornings to "support" their children/grandchildren rather than teaching them that the day set aside to worship God is more important than whatever sport they happen to be playing at the moment.
I realize that I am treading on thin ice here, but I can't help but wonder what would happen to the current situation if even half of the Christian families just said no, we will not participate in any way on Sundays because that day belongs to God. Something tells me that things would change. Sports are too big of a business to lose the money contributed by Christian families.
So, how did we handle it? Well, for this time it was easy. We will be out of town on the weekend in question so that is all that Ronnie told the coach. If it comes up again, I am sure that it won't be so easy. We want our children to be able to participate in (limited and carefully selected)secular activities and we want them to excel at the things that they do, but I am not sure that these goals can co-exist with our responsibility to teach them that some things cannot be compromised.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
So, I am wondering how my neighbors must have felt when they woke up this morning. You see, I like to walk between 5:30 and 6:30 in the morning and this morning, while walking by one of the last houses on my street I could hear a strange buzzing sound. I had to take off my headphones to be sure of what I was hearing, but sure enough, it was some one's alarm clock going off. And it continued to go off for the duration of my walk, which was at least 30 minutes.
I am betting someone was late for work this morning, but since I don't have a clue who lives there, chances are I'll never know.
Today is a big day for our little school. At least it is for me ... not so much for the kids.
First, our new math curriculum should arrive today. This is huge for me since my daughter has been struggling with math for quite some time now. I have been feeling her struggle very personally since I believe that the root of her struggle lies in my own weak background in math. I chose this new math program based on the fact that I think I will be able to teach it better, thus helping her to learn better. We will begin this new math this summer, as soon as we get home from our vacation. We have never had school in the summer before, but I really want to see her get caught up in math, so I think it is worth the effort.
Second, I will take the kids to sign up for co-op classes with our homeschool group today. For the last 2 years LB has taken classes and I have taught high school lit/writing courses. For next year, LB and JW will both be taking classes, but I won't be teaching. I am looking forward to the break, but I will miss teaching. I enjoy working with the high school students; I had even planned to teach high school as a career before God changed my direction and called me to stay home and school my own children. One nice thing about next year's co-op is that I will have a few hours on a regular basis to spend alone with my little hurricane. We don't get that very often. Another positive is how much JW is looking forward to joining his big sister in the "real" classes. I think that it is going to be a good year.
For now, I must get busy finishing the devotion I will lead in our ladies' prayer time at church tonight. I have been working on this for several weeks now and am feeling a little nervous about it. I will probably post more about it later, but for now, if you are curious, the scripture I will focus on is Acts 17:6. I would appreciate any prayers offered on my behalf today ... I truly believe that God laid this devotion on my heart and I want to do His will in sharing it tonight.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
Outside my window ...
I am reading ...
I am going ...
I am hearing ...
A few plans for the rest of the week ...
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Author ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery
My original plan was just to read the first book of this trilogy, but since I enjoyed it so much and I already owned all three, I decided to read them all. So I guess I'll review them all at the same time.
The basic facts about the books are very simple. A young orphan girl, adopted by an elderly brother and sister, neither of whom had ever married or had much contact with children. Anne (with an "e") provides a breath of fresh air for Matthew and Marilla and they give her a stable home and love, two things that she had never truly experienced before. The first two books tell about her growing up years and the adventures she creates for herself and her playmates. The third book is about her marriage and the first few years after she moves away from Avonlea.
These books appeal to me because they are from a much simpler era. I always wanted to live like those men and women who lived simplistic lives without all the "things" that take up so much of our time today. I enjoyed reading about children who could roam the town and countryside of Prince Edward Island in Canada without anyone worrying about them unless they didn't come home for supper. As a young girl, I dreamed of times just like these, being free to enjoy the simple things of life without the demands or fears of modern society.
I loved these books. I had read bits and pieces of them before, but never all in one sitting, so to speak. I have seen all of the movies, and best I can remember, the first two movies were pretty close to the books, but the third was totally different and I think it even had a different name. Anyway, back to the books. There is one simple reason I loved these books: I can totally relate to Anne. No, I am not an orphan and I wasn't the child always getting into "scrapes" but I was the child who read all the time and could spend hours daydreaming and creating elaborate stories about people and places that didn't exist. Even as an adult, I still enjoy an occasional escape from reality.
I cannot say that these books were life changing, but they provided exactly what I was looking for at the moment. Well written, pleasant reading that would not leave me angry or questioning the world around me. Sometimes, it is okay to read good literature just for the pleasure of reading. Now that I have finished reading the books, I am looking forward to reading them with my daughter, who is definitely a kindred spirit in the realm of daydreaming.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Tonight, God reminded me of the blessings in the small things: home and family being the two that I take for granted most often. I am thankful, but it helps to be reminded every once in a while that I need to say thank you for these and the many other blessings I experience every day.
Bright and early Monday morning I took the kids to sing "Back at the Creekbank" with their home school group at a local assisted living home. I met one of the residents there who taught school for 40 years, first in the public school system and then in private schools. I'll be honest, I was a little nervous because former educators are not always accepting of home schoolers, but I was pleasantly surprised by her reaction to our group. She was very complimentary of what the children had presented and very positive about homeschooling in general. She also asked me some questions about what and how I teach. She was particularly interested in whether or not I am teaching my kids to put their own ideas down on paper and I told her that we have struggled in that area and asked if she had any ideas on how to get them to write. She did, of course, and I really like the way she did it in her classroom and plan to try it with the kids. I think that once we get a story written I will try and send the lady a copy of it.
The other side of this story is that my children are typically terrified of dogs and I had to take them to a place where the residents are allowed to bring their pets with them. I had to speak very carefully when I told them where we were going and that they must go in and they couldn't do anything crazy like climbing furniture (or me) to get away from the dogs, they would just have to be calm and know that they wouldn't have dogs there that would hurt children. I was amazed by the kids ... they didn't go berserk and they actually petted some of the dogs ... I think we have made a real breakthrough here.
I have had two very interesting meetings this week. The first was our local home school group mom's meeting. One of our members spoke about dyslexia. Both of her younger sons are dyslexic and it is the reason she is homeschooling them. The information she shared about learning styles and the importance of understanding how your child learns was great even though I don't have children with this particular challenge.
Last night, I met with our local "area team" for Operation Christmas Child. If you aren't familiar with what this is, it is a project of Samaritan's Purse (which is Franklin Graham's international relief organization). One of these days I will do a post dedicated to OCC. This is the mission project that I do all year long and absolutely have no doubt that God has called me to be a part of. Our group last night talked about goals for the year and ways to involve more people in the project and we listened to two people who were able to go and actually participate in shoebox distributions in the last year. It is amazing to hear these stories of how God uses simple shoe boxes to touch the lives of children and to impact their families and communities. Anyway, I am looking forward to the coming months and being more involved this year. *If you aren't familiar with this project and would like more information, just ask, I will be glad to talk about it!
Okay, now to my final bit of randomness for the week ...
What I learned in the garden yesterday ...
- I learned that I wish I had my Granny's knack for using a hoe. She made it look like an extension of her arm; I look like my 4 year old using a farm implement much too big for him.
- I learned that it is hard to tell the difference between weeds and cucumber plants.
- I learned that my 9 year old daughter really likes playing in the mud much more than she likes planting tomatoes and while she is pretty good with the latter, she is even better at the former. I really wish I had taken my camera to the garden to capture her hands covered in mud almost halfway up to her elbow ... so ladylike!
- I learned that my sons would much rather watch their uncle build a storage shed than help their Mama plant tomatoes. (Okay, so there is no big surprise there, which would you choose as a little boy, playing with a hammer or helping in the garden? That's what I thought!)
- Last, but not least, I learned that the morning after you spend 2 1/2 hours hoeing and planting 78 tomato plants, it is best to get out of bed slowly!
Monday, April 20, 2009
Outside my window ... a lovely spring evening, with a freshly cut yard and children playing for a few more minutes before they have to come in for the evening.
I am hoping ... for a return to "normal" this week and that this will inject some calm into what has been a chaotic couple of weeks.
I am creating ... a plan for our family page for the yearbook our home school group does. It is due tomorrow night, so I had better get busy!
JW's first baseball game ... he is so proud of his number!
Don't forget to visit Peggy for more daybook fun.
Monday, April 13, 2009
For Today... Monday, April 13, 2009
Outside my window... a bright and sunny morning and the promise of a nice week.
I am thinking... about calling a friend.
From the learning rooms... working on the final assignments for co-op (Friday is the last class) and just plugging along at all the rest. AND hoping to finish the art project we started last week.
I am thankful for... a wonderful Resurrection Day yesterday. We had a wonderful morning at church with two services with great messages and I was privileged to be able to sing the musical In the Presence of Jehovah with our choir. I am not much of a musician, but I love to sing HIS praises anyway.
From the kitchen... leftover blueberry muffins and plans for lots of easy meals this week since we will have to go somewhere every night again this week.
I am wearing... blue jeans and a navy shirt. No jewelry or shoes yet, and my hair is in a ponytail (where it will stay all day!).
I am reading... I’m still working through Mere Christianity. I am enjoying it, but it is taking longer than I had hoped. I should finish Anne of Green Gables today. I haven’t had much time for reading lately.
I am hoping... for a productive week … we have so much to do, I don’t want to get overwhelmed and not accomplish anything.
I am creating... not much, unless you count the art project the kids and I will hopefully finish this week.
I am praying … for the mission trip our church will be taking in a few weeks.
I am hearing... Here I Am to Worship and the kids playing.
Around the house... we need to clean out the remaining winter clothes this week and re-organize the kids clothes drawers and closets. Not to mention getting ready for a visit from Granny.
One of my favorite things... choir rehearsal.
A few plans for the rest of the week... JW’s first baseball game, the kids’ musical with our home school group (which means extra rehearsals), Granny and MeMe (my hubby’s mom and grandmother) coming in to visit and to see the musical and hopefully a baseball game on Friday.
Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Looks like fun doesn't it?
Visit Peggy for more daybook fun.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
bright and shining, strong and free,
like an ark of peace and safety on the sea of human need.
Through the hours of all the ages,
those tired of sailing on their own,
finally rest inside the shadow cast by Calvary’s love across their souls.
Calvary’s love, Calvary’s love,
priceless gift Christ makes us worthy of.
The deepest sin can’t rise above Calvary’s love.
Calvary’s love can heal the spirit
life has crushed and cast aside,
and redeem till heaven’s promise fills with joy once empty eyes.
So desire to tell the story of a loved that loved enough to die, burns away all other passions and fed by Calvary’s love becomes a fire.
Calvary’s love, Calvary’s love,
priceless gift Christ makes us worthy of.
The deepest sin can’t rise above Calvary’s love.
Calvary’s love has never faltered.
All its wonders still remain.
Souls still take eternal passage.
Sins atoned and heaven gained.
Sins atoned and heaven gained.
Sins atoned and heaven gained.
From the musical In the Presence of Jehovah
(Words and Music by Greg Nelson and Phil McHuh)
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The Apostle Peter is one of my favorite men of the Bible. I am sure that I am not alone in finding my connection to Peter in my own impulsive nature. When I was a kid, my Daddy loved to tell me that I should put my brain in gear before putting my mouth in motion. A skill I still haven’t mastered, by the way. But, it isn’t only Peter’s tendency to be a hothead that draws me to him. It is his sin.
If Peter had not spoken so arrogantly about his devotion to Jesus, and if Peter had not failed Jesus so completely, we would have missed out on a beautiful picture of forgiveness and restoration. You know what I am talking about … Peter told Jesus that he would go anywhere with Him, even if it meant his own death. Jesus then told Peter of the failure that he would experience.
I have tried to imagine what Peter must have felt that moment. Was he afraid or confused or just confident that he wouldn’t fail? I wonder if he felt as I sometimes do when faced with temptation and find my self thinking, it’s okay, I can handle it this time, I won’t fail this time …
And I imagine you know the rest of the story. Just as Jesus had told him, three times Peter denied knowing the Man he had pledged to defend to the death.
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. Luke 22:61-62(KJV)
It is at this point that I feel so connected to Peter. Times when I have emphatically said to Jesus, “no, I won’t do that (AGAIN), I am with you, you can count on me not to make that mistake …” and then before I know it the cock is crowing and Jesus is looking at me and I am looking for a rock to crawl under.
But, Jesus didn’t leave Peter in his guilt and shame. He came to him and restored the relationship. Peter denied Jesus three times and three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. I know that the Bible indicates that Peter was frustrated by Jesus’ repeated question, but for me, this picture gives me great comfort.
If Jesus didn’t give up on Peter, I have hope. I repeatedly make the same mistakes and feel so hopeless, just as Peter must have felt when he failed Jesus and then had to watch Him die. In my guilt I sometimes wonder at what point I will cross the line and Jesus will tell me, “okay, I’m tired of forgiving you for this or for that, you are own your own now.”
And then I remember Peter and I see how powerfully God used him even after he denied being associated with Jesus. I think about Peter and I am amazed by grace. And I am strengthened to continue this journey, accepting the forgiveness offered and praying that God will use me for His glory.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
They weren't too keen on having to actually do school work, but they survived and overall, it was a pretty good way to let off a little steam and gear up for the next week and a half of extreme busyness. Then things should calm down a little.
Monday, April 6, 2009
I am hoping... that the garden survives our cold snap and that the musical our church choir is supposed to sing on Sunday comes together.
I am hearing... the tv up front and my blog music.
My very nervous little guy waiting for his turn to bat. Truth be told, his mama is just as nervous!
I invite you to join in the daybook fun by visiting Peggy @ The Simple Woman. They are lots of fun to read or create.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Please excuse my understatement of these facts, but I'm trying really hard not to use the kinds of words that truly describe how I feel at this moment.
My mother has ovarian cancer and it stinks.
I am the only girl in my family. Mama and I have always been close, even through the rough teen years. We are still close, we are more best friends than mother/daughter. We can talk about anything ... except her cancer.
And that stinks.
I don't know why I want to talk about it. For her, not talking about it is the way she keeps from giving it power over her life ... at least that is what I think the reason is, but since we don't talk about it, I don't really know. For me, not talking about it seems to raise a wall between us that I can't penetrate. We can talk about every other issue under the sun, but the one thing that has changed both of our lives is forbidden, it seems.
I am not angry at Mama about this. I can't even begin to understand what she is going through and I certainly don't want to add any stress to her life, but the bottling of emotions for me is so hard. You see, for my whole life, my Mama has been my sounding board. Any time I have been angry, hurt, afraid, sad, etc. she was the first person I would call. Now I am experiencing all those emotions over and over again and I can't say a word to her.
And that just stinks.
I never knew before the summer of 2005 that cancer is a family disease, but it is.
And that stinks too.
I hope that this doesn't sound like I am whining. I am so thankful that after nearly 4 years of this, Mama is still with us and doing well. She is an amazing woman ... she still runs the business that she and my dad have built over the last 35 years and she still teaches the Sunday School class that she began teaching when I was a child. She has no question that God is daily granting her strength to endure this torture and she gives Him the glory for what she is able to do. And so do I. I also know that apart from my relationship with my heavenly Father, I would have no ability to cope with this situation. My faith has grown over the last four years. I can see God's hand moving in many ways through this. But, I cannot hide the fact that I still struggle, sometimes daily. I don't want to deal with this. I just don't. But, it seems, I don't have a choice.
I am not looking for sympathy, only a place to vent. And, perhaps, to find out that I am not the only person who has felt this way.
(I chose teal as the color for this post because it is the Ovarian Cancer awareness color)
With that said, let me tell you where I am.
I have finished Chuck Norris' autobiography ~ Against All Odds - My Story. This book was not on my original list, but I was looking for a biography of some sort and when I saw this one in the library last week, I decided to give it a try. I really enjoyed reading it. It is an extremely fast read, it took me barely 24 hours to read it. While I can't say that it inspired me to go out and take some sort of martial arts lessons, I did find it very interesting to see where he had come from. If you have ever watched his television show, you have seen many things about his real life reflected there. I admire his passion for his beliefs and found it refreshing to see someone in the television/movie industry who gives more than lip service to making a positive change in their world. And, while he is a Christian, that is not the whole focus of the book. He doesn't shy away from the mistakes he made, nor does he try to explain them away because of his alcoholic father and the fact that his family was extremely poor as he was growing up. Neither does he apologize for his faith or his political views either. All in all, I enjoyed the book. It wasn't life changing for me or anything like that, but it satisfied my desire to get a glimpse into the life of someone I'll never meet and for me, that is enough.
I should also add The Pearl by John Steinbeck to my list. I will be re-reading it tonight in preparation for my literature class in the morning. I have read it several times and I like the book, though it always makes me sad. I am looking forward to hearing what my students thought about the book.
I am still working on Anne of Green Gables and Mere Christianity and I have just started Pilgrim's Progress (the real version). We have been busy with school activities this week, so I haven't had too much time for reading. I can only read Mere Christianity in small sections because I have to work to digest what I am reading before moving on. It is NOT what I would call a fast read, at least not for me.
I am also working on the kids' reading list. LB is reading Sarah, Plain and Tall as I type. This is another late addition she picked out at the library last week. As soon as I finish this post, she and I will be reading From the Mixed Up Files .... When we finish, I might let her write a guest post and review the book since she likes it so much.
I am enjoying getting back into reading. It has been a long time since I spent this much time thinking about books and making lists of books I would like to read. So, with that in mind, l'd like thank Katrina again for hosting this.
Happy Reading everyone!