Saturday, February 27, 2010
Friday, February 26, 2010
First of all: Bees.
Now, call me crazy, but what’s irrational about being afraid of an insect that buzzes crazily about; you’re never sure where it’s going to land; and if it’s having a bad day, just might decide to inflict you with a searing sting? I avoid them if at all possible. Don’t you? Even the people who work with them dress in gear that looks like they’re avoiding the plague or getting ready to land on the moon.
Another on the list: Dogs.
Dogs have teeth, and some of them use them. After all, don’t we teach our children never to approach a strange dog? And some dogs, like mine, are ill-mannered, overly-friendly, humongous beasts that can either knock you out with their tails, lick your face off, or shove you to the ground with one exuberant hello. That’s enough to send any small child, or timid adult, into near-panic. Hardly irrational.
And finally: Clowns.
Um, Stephen King’s It, anyone? What child hasn’t gone through a phase when wigged, costumed, face-painted people that are loud (or eerily silent) scares them? At some point in their lives, children are usually afraid of Santa Claus too. Which is more irrational . . . being scared of the jolly guy who’s supposed to bring you presents, or the one who looks and acts like something exploded all over him?
These “phobias” seem perfectly reasonable to me, and hardly worthy of hours of some sort of behavioral therapy.
However, if you notice your child is afraid of marshmallows, butterflies or rainbows, you might want to reconsider.
--brought to you by apiphobic, arachniphobic, atychiphobic, musophobic, mysophobic, nyctobphobic mom
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
She recently had surgery on her foot for the second time – on the same foot – within a year’s span. Apparently, it didn't "take" the first time. She is not allowed to put pressure on it for at least six weeks. (Again.)
And yet, this is the state of my mother-in-law:
Notice that beautiful smile. It could be because her favorite daughter-in-law (ahem, only daughter-in-law) was waiting on her hand-and-foot today and will be again soon. I overheard her say as much on the phone to her friend -- just how much fun she's having. Surely, there is a certain amount of glee that could be had in ordering around the woman who stole your baby boy.
But I know that’s not really it. She’s just a fun-loving, joyful (and not bossy) person to be around. I like that about her. A lot.
She’s having that “give thanks in all circumstances” attitude off of the 1 Thessalonians menu. I need a serving of that, and I'll bet she'll share.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Now, I guess I could frame every single quote I’ve collected over the years and hang them. There are a couple of problems with this though. Either I’d have to print them off in very tiny letters . . . or I’d have to take down all the pictures of my kids and family. This might offend them. And my hubby wouldn’t like all the holes in the walls. I could leave the computer on all day and require a show and tell time to all my visitors, but it’s not necessarily visually appealing, and it would be pretty time-consuming.
Well, lucky for me, I’m a homeschooling mom and every day can be my show and tell. One of the things I have done for the past few years is share with my lucky little guys a “Quote of the Week.” At the beginning of the year I choose thirty-six quotes that I think would benefit them and set them aside in a computer file for printing off as the school year progresses. Sometimes they are terrific quotes from people we are studying, but more often they are thought-provoking gems.
For instance, from Teddy Roosevelt, “Courtesy is as much a mark of a gentleman as courage.” I think that’s a good one for my boys to learn.
And from Henry Ward Beecher, “Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.”
I also like funny quotes, as do my boys. Such as, “We’ll be friends until we are old and senile. Then, we will be new friends!”
And this one from Robert Block, “The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on.” Somehow, I think they can relate to that last one.
So the other day, I shared one of those thought-provokers from Oswald Chambers, “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” I asked my younger son, who is seven, what he thought that meant. He replied, “Follow Jesus.”
Now this is my kid who whenever asked what Sunday School was about would reply, “Jesus.” It didn’t matter whether they were studying the Old or New Testaments. It was always Jesus.
So I looked at him and said, “Actually, I don’t think that’s quite it. Try again.”
He replied matter-of-factly, “God’s the King and will take care of stuff ‘cause He’s in charge, and He can.”
Now that’s a keeper for my other invisible collection: The times when my kids “get it.”
Monday, February 22, 2010
For example, do you know . . .
evidence has been found to support that dinosaurs and people co-existed (and for a time, all dinosaurs were plant-eaters)? But after The Fall (in the Garden of Eden): Beware!
Do you know . . .
not one single missing link has ever been found? There have been times evolution-minded scientists thought they found something, but it was discovered later that either they were wrong or that they actually falsified their findings (ouch!). So, rest assured, your children really aren't monkeys.
Do you know . . .
there aren't several races? Just one. Acceptance of evolution only helped to perpetuate further division between people groups. And did you know all the genetic material we need to be totally human is present at conception? The acceptance of evolution and the false belief that we are only human once we are born has killed billions of babies through abortion.
Do you know . . .
evidence supports a catastrophic event of the earth, such as the biblical account of a world-wide flood?
Do you know . . .
that there are problems with radioisotopic dating methods? A rock that was known to be 11 years old (new lava) dated greater than 350,000 years.
Do you know . . .
lizards are surprisingly photogenic? (Sorry. He just looked awfully cute -- had to share. Besides, he's God's creation too.)
Do you know . . .
The Princess really wants a dinosaur? Too bad the flood killed off so many of them (and the extreme climate change afterwards did most of the rest of them in).
Do you know . . .
what you believe and why?
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The Galway Chronicles by Brock & Bodie Thoene – I loved this series! Set in Ireland in the 1840s these four books are a perfect combination of romance, historical fiction, and faith woven together. The titles are Only the River Runs Free, Of Men and Angels, Ashes of Remembrance and All Rivers to the Sea. Once you read the first, you’ll want to finish the series quickly!
Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis – see my earlier review Mushy Brain, Big Book
Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth, Jr. & Ernestine Gilbreth Carey – This was a read-aloud from our Sonlight Curriculum Core 4 that had us laughing out loud. It’s entertaining with moments that are endearing. (Some mild language – you might want to edit if you read it to your kids. You’d enjoy it just as much reading on your own.)
My Antonia by Willa Cather -- captures life for the pioneer in Nebraska. I can appreciate its literary quality – it’s an American classic, but it’s not one of my favorites. However it does give a realistic, yet still hopeful, picture of a brief period of time and place, and I think it’s good to read classic books written for another time.
What If Jesus Had Never Been Born? by D. James Kennedy – This non-fiction book gives an account of the many positive contributions made in the name of Christ. Our post-modern world tends to highlight the negative events done in the name of religion, so it is refreshing to read the beneficial impact Christ has made. Some of the book is redundant, but it was encouraging to read about the positive contributions in areas such as education, medicine, science, charity, freedom, morality and sexuality. The book does not shy away from the sins of the church, but confronts them with honesty (a heartbreaking 17 million killed “in the name of Christ.”) It was horrifying to discover that so many more -- 130 million -- have been killed in the 20th century alone in the name of the State. (This number doesn’t include aborted children, although that is discussed.) This is an important read for Christians, and would be interesting to share with people that are not believers.
Little Britches by Ralph Moody -- Another read-aloud from Sonlight Core 4. It’s a real-life account of a family who moves west to live on a ranch. Full of excitement and interesting details, it is also gives a touching portrait of a positive relationship between a father and son. (Some mild language – again you might want to edit if you read it to kids.) It inspired me to buy the rest of the series.
Heart in the Right Place by Carolyn Jordan – I bought this book because I have a place in my heart that belongs to the Smoky Mountains, and this memoir was about that place and its people. The author tells of the time in her life when she left her D.C. job and returned to her Appalachian home to help her father in his country doctor’s office. It made me laugh out loud and cry some too.
The Friendly Persuasion by Jessamyn West – I love the movie, so I thought I should read the book. It’s a charming story about a Quaker family during the Civil War era living in Indiana. Jess and Eliza Birdwell are endearing characters that obviously love one another. I enjoyed the humor and gentleness of the book; however, as rare as this is, I actually prefer the old Gary Cooper movie.
Friday, February 19, 2010
It happened again. Yesterday as the princess was blissfully napping, and I was researching presidents with my boys, I heard a loud thud coming from the vicinity of the laundry room. My hopeful self thought, “Surely not!”
Surely. The Tide is now my master.
I will not put it on the washing machine again.
I will not put it on the washing machine again.
I will not put it on the washing machine again. . .
(In case you were wondering, I used copy/paste for that. I only tell you that because I actually typed out half of the second sentence before I realized how stupid that was.)
This story really does have a point; I just went around the barn to get to it. I tend to find life lessons in trivial events. This was one of them. It left me wondering just how many lessons I’ve taken awhile to learn. Harder lessons. Not the kind that a few towels will mop up, but the kind that are drenched with tears and soaked with regret. My answer: Too darned many. How many times have I found myself repeating the mantra:
I will not ________________ again.
I will not ________________ again.
I will not ________________ again.
I will not ________________ again . . .
Lord, be my Master, and may I learn my lesson the first time.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
warm socks fresh from the dryer
Burt’s Bees Lip Shine
really fat real snowflakes
snuggling on the couch
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Because he just might be bringing home something to cheer you after a rough day. Oops.
2. The phrase “neither snow, nor sleet, nor rain, nor hail” no longer applies to the U.S. Postal Service – at least in my neck of the woods. It’s the second day in a row that I’ve been (impatiently) waiting for a package that holds a gift for my oldest son (that was supposed to be here for Valentine’s Day), and . . . nada. Nothing. Are there no hero mail carriers out there willing to brave the snow for the sake of commercialism? (sigh)
3. Some dreams never die. I still wish I could spin, twirl, float and fly like those Olympic figure skaters . . . and that my sweet hubby could pick me up and fling me across the ice so that I would land on my feet -- or better yet, on one foot -- with a smile.
Well, at least my flowers are pretty.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I’m reading a book right now by Beth Moore called So Long Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us. I wanted to read the book because I thought it might be a good one for my summer book club. I didn’t really think I needed it. I was wrong. The book is showing me that some of the little wounds I’ve received in my life are still sore. As I have read this book, words and moments that I haven’t thought about for years have come flooding back. Wounds have been reopened, and wounds can only be reopened if they’ve never completely healed. Most of these wounds were small. Words from people, for the most part, that I don’t even know now or ones I’m not close to. Events that I’m surprised I even remember at all because they seem so itty-bitty and insignificant. But when my heart rubs up against these memories, it smarts. I become that young girl again that felt . . . rejected. Moments when I felt I wasn’t pretty enough, talented enough, popular enough or just plain good enough. And I realize that I’ve spent much of my life, not even realizing it, trying to avoid ever feeling that way again. I’ve just been sticking bandaids on, over and over again, wounds that keep resurfacing.
Today, I’m praying for God to open more wounds, because I want total healing. I want the Great Physician to clean me out and stitch me up, so that I can really live and give, instead of avoiding and covering. I want these little big wounds to finally stop smarting and start helping.
So long insecurity.
Monday, February 15, 2010
10. I have an excuse to buy really cute over-sized bags.
9. I have a reason to carry said bag filled to the top with her things and mine. I have a place for everything!
8. I have a snack at my fingertips everywhere I go. Yes, I share with her . . . unless I can get away with it.
7. I have an excuse to leave any place I don't want to be, and in a hurry.
6. I have someone to read really silly rhyming board books to. My boys are thankful for this as they've moved on from Moo, Baa, La La La. I haven't.
5. I have an excuse to buy, and play with, brightly patterned nesting boxes, wooden blocks and cool stacking rings. (Not to mention dolls this time around.)
4. I have a viable reason for a messy home. It really is a reason, not an excuse. The girl is the Destroyer.
3. I get to have play dates with my mom friends.
2. I have a reason to sit down and do absolutely nothing at the end of the day (or the middle of it) because someone needs to cuddle.
1. I have someone in my life who literally lights up when she sees me -- every time!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
First of all, this museum boasts the world's best scale. When you step on the slightly padded square, at first you don't even realize that you're being measured and compared (which might be a little frightening if the scale was sizing you up against Cindy Crawford or or some young hot thing). But no. This scale, instead, compares you to . . . Ice Age Animals. No kidding.
The Dire Wolf
The Tundra Musk Ox
I noticed that the Woolly Mammoth wasn't on there. Apparently this scale has its limits. But I have decided I want one (the scale, not the ice age animal). Instead of shrugging off a few extra pounds, I would be smacked in the face with an image. I would have to ask myself, "Is this dessert worth looking like a giant beaver?" I'll know it's really time to get serious about breaking out the sweatpants when the picture is starting to read tundra musk ox. It might just get me motivated to keep my hand out of the candy jar and my feet on the treadmill to avoid looking like a tapir. Of course, right now I'm between a dire wolf and a giant beaver, so I'm not sure what that makes me. A giant dire?
Moving on to another part of the museum, I was confronted with this:
I want you to know I've had better friends. And if you never tell me I resemble a musk ox, I'll count you as one of them.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I have been blessed with two great parents, but today I want to focus on my dad. I have heard before that we tend to view God through the lens of our fathers, so I’m thankful today that I have been blessed with a good one. And I’m thinking that his faithful yearly Valentine gift surely wouldn’t be as meaningful as it is if it weren’t for the love expressed in countless ways throughout the year. Just this week he plowed snow out of my loooong lane at least four times. Also this week he took my boys on a hike in the woods behind our house through the deep snow to look for animal tracks. He spent much of last summer fixing up an area on his farm for a picnic site for his family, including building a shelter with the works. There’s just not enough space to tell about all he’s done (nor am I even aware of everything), but you get the picture.
His constant love led me to thinking about Another’s. One who is Faithful and True. One who for Eternity has shown and promises to show constant devotion. Sometimes we tend to forget how He daily sustains us and gives us each moment. We’re good at remembering at Easter or during times of crisis. Yet if we look closely, we can see His lovingkindness shown each and every day. And that makes what He did even more meaningful . . . the one time He appeared on the doorstep of the world as a gift in a feed trough. The Original Love in a Box.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
This made me realize that I'd better get crackin’, so I opened up my Family Fun Magazine to a super-cute, easy idea. The boys made these:
Then I told the boys that their writing assignment today was to write a love letter to Jesus. My younger son was pretty sure that he’d never written a love letter before and didn’t know where to begin, so that inspired me to find some verses in God’s love letter, some words that came directly from His mouth.
I discovered the original “Longer” song:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Found in Jeremiah 31.)
And I found the first “I’ll Be There.”
“You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior . . . Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you . . . Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” (Read more in Isaiah 43.)
And one more oldie-but-goody.
“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken.” (God had this recorded in Isaiah 54.)
Take a minute and let your soul sigh over those. . . Isn’t He something?
Now, I just need to work on a card for my hubby.
…Do you know, when you have told me to think of you, I have been feeling ashamed of thinking of you so much, of thinking of only you--which is too much, perhaps. Shall I tell you? It seems to me, to myself, that no man was ever before to any woman what you are to me--the fullness must be in proportion, you know, to the vacancy...and only I know what was behind--the long wilderness without the blossoming rose...and the capacity for happiness, like a black gaping hole, before this silver flooding. Is it wonderful that I should stand as in a dream, and disbelieve--not you--but my own fate?
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I love the home we built out in the country. It’s quiet. There’s little traffic and lots of room to play. We’re near family. The trip to the mailbox requires a good walk. And it has a great open view; we have front row seats for every sunrise and sunset. Unfortunately, some days it’s a little too open. When we built our house, we took down a couple of old, scraggly trees that had seen better days. The only trees on the property. So once again, I began to scrutinize every home I drove by. Only this time, I didn’t notice the siding or brick, the shingles or the shutters. This time I was, and still am, captivated by the trees.
bloom sweet-smelling flowers in the spring,
and block that cold, cold wind in the winter. Trees! I want them! All of them! And big!
My dad advised we plant trees early on, so we planted fourteen pretty little trees the following spring . . . even before we had grass, I think. Twelve have survived, and I love each and every one. My ornamental pears and crab apples displayed pretty blossoms this spring, and my little maple did it’s best to add color this fall.
And they’re all growing, bless their hearts. Yes, I love my little seven foot trees.
But it’s cold, and the wind is blowing like the dickens, and I’d really like a whole wall of the suckers at about sixty feet tall.
Monday, February 8, 2010
That’s the thought I was having when I sat down with my boys to read the sixth chapter of Joshua, and this was the first verse I encountered: “Now Jericho was tightly shut up because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in." There is evidence that Jericho was a city with great double-walls. Not just one brick wall, but two. I can relate. Sometimes I reach a point where there seems to be wall after wall standing between me and where I want to be. But here's the kicker. The second verse reads, “Then the LORD said to Joshua, ‘See I have delivered Jericho into your hands. . .’” (Now, I’d be thinking, “Really, LORD? Cause it looks like it’s pretty much theirs.”)
This was the reminder I was in need of. Even a wall (or two, or ten) doesn’t stop God. I look at situations that to my own eyes seem impossible or just too difficult to conquer with my resources, but God is not intimidated or limited. And He’s promised already that He has everything taken care of – our salvation, our now, and our future home. He has already delivered us. We just need to pick up the tools He’s given and get marchin’. That wall – well, it’s just a wide doorway-in-waiting.
So I’ve decided to pray for my friends that the doors and windows will be open wide as they go through their adoption process to bring home a precious girl from China . . . . . and that any wall, no matter how Great, will come tumbling down as well.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
And that someday the three of them, in fast forward, will God willing, (grow up go to high school go to college get a job be on their own get married have kids) be gone.
In the middle of the night, my princess awoke, which is unusual for her, and she was having trouble sleeping. A small part of me was secretly glad that I had an excuse to bring her to my bed and snuggle close with her. Because someday . . . she will be gone.