Archive for August 2011

Beautiful Photography

August 31, 2011

Naomi has posted quite a bit of photography since I was last on her site.  Someday maybe I’ll be  that good!  Click on the photo to jump over and visit her site, it’s well worth the viewing!

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A True Friend

August 26, 2011

A true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else.

~Len Wein

Take That, Gravity!

August 25, 2011

My brothers are pretty talented, but until I never knew how talented until they called me across the hall to see this.  They often play games like Monopoly or Life using their stuffed animals (more chances to win!), and on this particular day, one of the animals had chosen the horse and rider for his marker . . .

And during the course of the game it decided to stand on the edge of its pedestal!  Of course, I had to get my camera before it overbalanced!  I really needn’t have worried, though.

The piece stayed like that while we went and fetched Sister to see it.  3G might have been able to explain why it was sitting like this, but he was at work and missed it.  After I had all the angles I wanted, we tried to see if anyone could repeat the feat, but nobody could quite get it to balance again.  We’re still not certain whether there was a slightly sticky spot on the board, a small dent that it was sitting in, or if the piece just balanced this way.  The twin who set it down certainly wasn’t trying to make it do this!

One Gone, One to Go

August 24, 2011

It’s that time of year again, when school supplies are in every ad and kids are getting in gear for another year of learning.  My mom has been working on school plans as usual, but this year is different for her.

For one thing, she only has one grade to teach, so basically one set of school plans to do (she may have the twins doing slightly different things, but at least until next year they’re doing mostly the same stuff).  For another, she’s been terribly busy getting two college students ready to go out the door.

Yep, two.  My brother 3G left this morning for his Junior year at an engineering school nearly four hours away.  We don’t get to see him as often as we’d like because of the distance, but he does a pretty good job of staying in touch by email, snail mail, and weekly phone calls.  Because he’s going back to the same dorm he was in last year and has already done this twice, he already had a lot of stuff ready and knew pretty much what he needed.

On Friday, Sister is going to school for writing at a college about an hour away from us.  This being her first year, she and Mom have been shopping, shopping, and more shopping to get her everything she needs.  3G has offered some pointers, and if she is missing something, it’s not too big a deal for us to bring it down some weekend, but the attempt has been not to miss anything.  She’ll be close enough that some of us can visit every couple of weekends.  That’ll be nice, ’cause I don’t yet know how I’m going to survive without her.  She’s been the sunshine in the house for years.

Granted, I’m not saying that we always get along.  We have a tendency to get on each others’ nerves every so often.  Okay, honestly, I get on her nerves a lot more often than she gets on mine.  Sometimes even on purpose.  But I love her.  And no, I’m not saying this just because I know she’ll read it, but I’m even going to miss our friction.

Being a tight knit bunch of siblings and tight knit family in general, even one person missing was hard when my brother first went to college.  Now we’ll have two gone.  So we still have three at home; that’s still going to feel like less than half of us!  At least this time we have some kind of inkling what it’s going to be like so we’re almost prepared.  It’s taken a lot of prayer though.

I had a rough start to the week, days before either of them left.  Yesterday and today have been much better (although I did have a couple of tough minutes when 3G said goodbye this morning), and I can feel other people praying for me.

Thank you so much guys, and don’t stop!

Have You Sent In Your RSVP Yet?

August 22, 2011

I think I’ve mentioned before that I love the Cathedrals and that I’m a George Younce fan specifically . . .

I’m definitely hearing it!

So, your invitation was sent out 2000 years ago, but have you responded?  If you haven’t, I’d get right on that before another day goes by.  If you have, aren’t you excited?!  I certainly am!  This is one wedding that I wouldn’t miss for the world!!!

The Dream Giver – Latitude821

August 17, 2011

I never wanted to be a cowboy. That was other boys’ dreams. Instead, I longed to be a knight. There was something awe-inspiring in the way that the men in shining armor rode their horses into battle, killed dragons, and saved fair maidens in distress. It was just the kind of life for me. I even made a point of telling my friends how unique I was. After all, a knight’s calling wasn’t for everyone.   read more – Latitude821.

I’ve been impressed with Eric Novak’s articles from the first, and this one is no exception.  I fit the pattern too, having copied my mother’s housewifely and motherly actions since I was little more than a toddler.  She tells the story that when 3G was a baby and I was two, she would stand rocking him in her arms and I would stand nearby, rocking my baby doll the same way.

I’ve wanted to be other things over the course of my life, but a wife and mother seem to be the recurring ones . . .!  How about you?  What do/did you dream of being?

Divided

August 15, 2011

I’d seen references to this movie before, but it wasn’t until a friend in my family’s Bible Study recommended it that my parents and I watched it.  Divided is a powerful film showing Philip Leclerc and his journey through the controversy over youth ministry.  I recommend that if you haven’t seen it yet, you watch it before reading the rest of this post.  Some of the things I say will probably come better after you’ve had a chance to hear the arguments Philip puts forth.

Okay, so you’ve seen the movie now?  Good.  Hopefully you’ve been challenged in your beliefs about the church.  I was, and as I’ll explain, I come from a family-focused family myself.  I knew some of the reasons why I never participated in a youth group and left Sunday School at an early age, but my family has been in integrated churches so long that I’d never really gone through all these arguments and weighed out where I stood.  I was just riding on my parents’ coattails.

I went to Sunday School for several years, but when I was about seven or so, I “graduated” to the adult class where my father was teaching.  As my younger siblings grew older, they did the same thing.  Even when my dad was no longer teaching the class.  Our church at the time was big on programs, and by the time I was about to turn thirteen and be old enough for youth group, my family was experiencing some pressure because we were not participating in those programs.  It wasn’t enough that we were one of only two or three homeschooling families in a large fellowship, my siblings and I did not go to Sunday School, Children’s Church, VBS, or anything, and it had become known that there was no intention of my going to youth group.  We weren’t supporting the church’s ministries to its children and youth, and at that point, my parents made the decision to move to a new fellowship where we could support the church policies.

After a year and a half in a church that we eventually realized was too radical, too extreme in their focus on homeschooling as the way, the truth, the lifestyle and all others can go elsewhere, we finally came to rest in a small country church.  This family oriented church had two, family integrated services.  A “Family” School where parents and children learned alongside each other, and a regular service with a sermon.  We were there six years, the better part of my girlhood.  For about five out of those six years, my father taught Family School.  He has the gift of teaching, and we all loved to participate.  Dad has a way of putting the cookies on the bottom shelf, so to speak, of explaining doctrines in ways that even young people can grasp and take hold of.  That didn’t hurt the older generations one bit, either.

But then we began attending a new church, a larger church where there was a Sunday school program, youth group, and AWANAs ministry.  The change in fellowships this time was spurred by the need for sound scriptural preaching from the pulpit, and we found that in the new place, but we’ve been walking a thin line on the program issue.  My youngest brothers participated in the AWANAs clubs for two years, but neither they nor Mom and Dad want them in it again this year.  They each did well, earning the top awards both years, but they weren’t enjoying it as much as they could wish.  Most of the other kids cited the game time as their favorite — my brothers were more enamored of the counsel time.

And if it’s counsel time they want, they can get that at home.  Which they do.  My father leads a home Bible Study on Sunday nights.  He reads aloud to them (and my other siblings and I when we were younger) most nights, and often the book has been a biography of some hero of our faith or a history of the church.  Both my parents talk to us all the time about spiritual issues as well as all kinds of current events and how those two interact.  Because we’re homeschoolers, we get to bring up all kinds of things at any time of the day and be assured that Mom or Dad will help us search out the answers to our questions.  No disrespect to my fellow believers at church, but I’d much rather talk about these things with my parents than with just about any of the youth leaders in my current fellowship or in previous churches.  While these leaders may be great Christians, great leaders, whatever, when I have questions, I turn to my parents first and foremost.

So you see, I have a background of family focus.  And yet, I was challenged by Divided.  I think it’s because I’ve been taking my views for granted.  The film made me think about why I don’t believe in Sunday School as the end all to beat all, why I was glad that Mom and Dad chose not to let me go to youth group, why these programs are not working and whether they are just second best, or flat-out wrong.  I’m not going to say that everyone who has participated in them, led them, or supported them is bad.  Far from it.  Still, I think that this system, like the world’s dating game (as shown by Josh Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye and this article at Latitude 821), is flawed, and in some senses, yes, flat-out wrong.  We need to stop trying to make over the world’s systems for the church.

We need something better for our kids.

Even as a thirteen year old, I didn’t really want to hang out with kids who were more interested in each other than in Jesus.  I liked being around my siblings and parents a whole lot better.  Now, I’m glad that my parents, who led youth group themselves for a couple of years while I was a toddler, were wise enough to keep me with them.  I’m also glad that their training had primed me to follow their lead without a fuss.  I’m not saying that I wasn’t disappointed at first, because my idea of what youth group was and what it signified was skewed, but after talking about it with Mom, I quickly saw that youth group wasn’t all I’d pictured it, and I didn’t really want to go.

I’ve been blessed in my family, I know.  I have an amazing set of parents who are leaders and teachers themselves, but that’s not because they started out that way.  To all the parents out there who are thinking “but I don’t have the training,” neither did my parents.  They didn’t grow up with parents who were bastions of the faith (Mom is still the only one of her family to come to Christ, though Dad’s family are nearly all Christians).  They didn’t go to seminary; they studied the scriptures themselves.  They surrounded themselves with good teachers.  They took the step of faith, and once they got walking, well, I can see where it has gotten them, and I’m eager to follow the same path.

So can you.

Now I challenge you, whether you’re a parent or a child, married or unmarried, in church leadership or participating in the program, young or old, what is the basic building block of society?  Family.  Where should we feel safest to be ourselves and ask the questions that trouble us?  In our Families.  Who are the people who care most about us and have the most invested in helping us grow?  Our Families.  Why is the picture of our Father God so beautiful?  Because it’s one of Family.  Where is the best place to teach children the things of the faith?  Again, the Family.  I don’t say this just because I’m a homeschooler who was blessed to be taught at home by my parents.  God set this pattern in our hearts, and I think many would wish for it if they weren’t indoctrinated into believing that state or church education is the end all to beat all.  Some people wish for it anyway.

I have friends from both sides of this issue.  People whose opinions I respect.  But when it comes to what I believe, I have taken my stand with the Word, and with my Family.  And in case you want to know, my family is united — not divided.


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