Archive for March 2012

Yes, it was indeed

March 29, 2012

Monumental.

And yes, I would recommend seeing it.

I went to the opening night live event this past Tuesday.  Kirk Cameron’s quest for the formula that made our nation great was intriguing and thought provoking.  I encourage you, if this is in theaters near you, go see it, take your friends and family, tell your church, and be ready to be challenged.

I’ll admit, I already knew better than to think that the pilgrims were these religious guys in funny black suits with tall hats.  I was homeschooled, so I’d heard the real story behind the pilgrims’ journey to the new world.  What I hadn’t connected to it was the catalyst – an English Bible in English hands.

And I had never heard of the monument.

Of course, I know exactly why this monument is not highly recognized in a society that likes to make monuments to different events and people (note all the monuments in our nation’s capital, and all the work being put into Ground Zero).  Faith has become an unacceptable answer to the world’s problems, so this monument, which stands as a legacy from the only system which works, has been largely ignored.

And I’m very afraid that many who watch this movie will completely miss the point.  I’m not even quite positive that everyone involved in Tuesday’s production got the point.  I’m convinced that many in the audience I formed a part of didn’t completely get it, as evidenced by the discussion which started at the end when the live feed experienced technical difficulties in CA.  The point is, change doesn’t start with curriculum, it doesn’t start with homeschooling or a better education system, and it doesn’t start with better lawmakers.  You can’t fix the nation’s problems by staring at a monument, nor can you change a society if a society doesn’t want to be changed.

What we need is revival.  We need citizens who have Bibles in their hands; Bibles that have been read.  Bibles that have been studied.  We need citizens who are willing to follow this guidebook.  Only then will our nation be able to move forward by going back.  Until we see widespread revival in individual hearts across the nation, we will not see a revival of our nation as a whole.

Am I surprised that this is the key to a healthy nation?  Frankly, no.  My parents have taught me this since I was small.  I knew these principles long ago.  I’ve been living them as fast and as far as I can.  My family is a “liberty family,” for we have laid the right foundation in faith and built upon it morality, justice, and education.  This is the message of the Bible, which is why it worked for the Pilgrims, and why it can work again for America, if people will only choose to go back to the bedrock on which we were founded.

I can’t say that I’m overly optimistic about Americans as a whole embracing this idea.  I’m very afraid that our Post-Modern society is going to try to put the kibosh on the whole movement.  I’m not sure but what we will encounter opposition very much like the Puritans and Separatists did before they became Pilgrims.  But that does not mean that we should adopt a defeatist attitude.  Remember, the Pilgrims weren’t daunted by the many obstacles they faced.

Whether or not the “Monumental movement” turns our country around, we need to be doing our personal best to build our own lives on faith, and seeking to share this vision with others around us.  Revival begins in the hearts of a few, and only God knows where it will end.  Is the nation ready for a revival?  I’ve heard more than one preacher recently talk about the harbingers of revival, and how they are seeing them increasing.  Ready or not, I think the nation is shortly going to see an awakening.

The question is, what part will you play?  Are you going to be sitting on the sidelines?  Or will you be found among the infantry, living out your faith in your everyday life?  Will you be dragging your feet, or will you be lending a hand to help others along?  Are you going to bury your head in the sand and ignore the whole issue, hoping it will blow over?  Or are you going to take a stand for your faith and boldly follow the Lord’s leading, be it to stay behind or to sail treacherous waters to a new land?

Are you ready for revival?

And the days go marching on

March 22, 2012

I love seeing how my thought processes grow in circles.  In looking over some old posts, I found this one from two years ago.  Though two years have passed, my thoughts on most of the subjects have only matured a little, not changed dramatically.

These days my work includes space for more witnessing and sharing than ever before, but I am still very much a “live your testimony through an everyday life” kind of Christian rather than a “preach on the street corners” kind of Christian.  I am working for a Christian organization now, and the atmosphere is one in which spiritual things are easily spoken of, which has blessed me greatly.  I am growing and being challenged by my coworkers now, as well as at home and in my church fellowship.

What are my thoughts as a 23-year-old?  Some would raise eyebrows because I still live with my parents – don’t you want to show some independence?  Others in another camp might question my lack of a boyfriend – I thought you said you wanted to get married and have kids, but here you are, single at 23, not dating, and starting a career.  What gives?

God has all kinds of plans for me, and I am resting in His timing right now.  No, I don’t seem to have any desire to move out, and it will be hard when the time does come to leave the home nest.  I see no reason for me to have my own place when it’s much cheaper to stay at home.  My parents are happy with the arrangement, since I still contribute to the household wherever I can.  I am learning much through being a dependent, including lessons about depending on God for everything.  The last thing I want is independence in the way that most people mean it.

To address the second question, in my early teens, I used to hope I would be like my mother, who met my father in college and got married a month after graduating.  My situation is different, my story is different, and God has other things to show me first.  I wasn’t any more ready for marriage right after graduating from college than I was ready to live on campus right after graduating from highschool.  Of course, I had a much bigger say in that earlier decision!

Holding a full-time job has been teaching me things I couldn’t have learned any other way.  Someday I will be glad to have had this experience in the workplace when I am a homeschooling mom.  I will have a reference to relate to others who are working, even after I (hopefully) shift gears to my other calling.

Am I wasting my time by working full-time in a field that isn’t related to homeschooling?  Actually, human services is very much related to homeschooling.  My family has always made a point of volunteering to help out with things, and I think it’s important for kids to grow up involved in helping others.  My position as an administrative assistant is helping to equip me for my future role as general manager of my home.  I am by no means wasting my time.  I am spending it for Christ’s work as He is teaching me things He wants me to know before I take up the high calling of wife and motherhood.  Things that might be harder to learn later.

What have I learned in these last two years?  I think the biggest thing I’m learning is contentment with God’s timetable.  I’ll probably spend a lifetime growing deeper in that knowledge, but it seems to have been a focus lately.  With my personal future so sketchy and the times around us whirling like a stage between scenes, I find it imperative that I keep my focus on the One who knows where each sparrow falls and who numbers the hairs on my head.  He alone knows how long this world can last before he comes to claim His Bride.

Are you watching for the Bridegroom?

Scientifically Speaking

March 17, 2012

I realize I haven’t posted much in the way of homeschooling reflections lately, so here’s a long overdue post with some reminiscing.  One of the things I loved about homeschooling was that a kid who wasn’t particularly inclined toward most of the standard subjects was still able to do well in almost all of them.  Yep, personal experience!

Science was never one of my favorite subjects, but did that mean I didn’t take it seriously?  Hardly!

Science was where I learned what made rainbows, where trees came from, why ice cubes float, and how fossils form.  Science is exciting, though some may tell you otherwise.  I sometimes agreed with them when faced with a lesson in Physics, but I truly enjoyed Chemistry (okay, that’s largely because I loved the curriculum from Beginnings Publishing!), and I had fun in Biology (despite not being enamored of that curriculum – Apologia) because I liked investigating the concepts.

We used mostly library books for science until I got to high school.  In 9th grade I did a general science covering Biology, Chemistry, and Physics: Dr. Dobbins’ Rainbow.  Dr. Dobbins made the argument that science is taught backwards in the schools.  Usually students learn biology, then chemistry, then physics.  But the concepts actually build on each other moving from physics to chemistry to biology.  The reasoning behind the way schools teach science?  High school freshmen haven’t had enough math to handle physics yet.  Biology doesn’t require all the math, so it’s a good one to start with from that stand point.

I rather think Dr. Dobbins is right, and these subjects ought to be taught in the reverse order.  Still, after doing his general science, I proceeded to do Apologia’s Biology (fairly average as science texts go, which is dry).  I already liked biology, which was good, because the text would not have inspired me.  At least it didn’t totally kill my enjoyment of the subject.

In my Junior year, I was back to Dobbins’ material, doing his Spectrum Chemistry.  I loved it.  Dobbins makes the most complicated subject sound easy enough to understand, and that is half the battle.  Once you think you can understand something, it becomes easier to understand it.  If you go in thinking it’s too hard, you won’t be as likely to comprehend even the simplest part of something.  I rarely use the concepts I learned in Chemistry, but I still look back on that year with fond memories of dissolving packing peanuts and of washing all our beakers etc. in distilled water after every usage.  Of course, there’s another reason why I may have liked Chemistry.  I got to do it with 3G, who always liked science better than I did and understood it quicker.  There’s a reason he’s going into Electrical Engineering while my degree is in Human Services . . .

Since I had no plan to study anything scientific, many might have thought that I would skip Physics.  That’s not the way I saw it, nor the way my parents taught me.  I had no real interest in Physics myself, but I wanted to take the course for another reason.  I am going to be a homeschool mom one of these years, and with the genes in my family, the chances that at least one of my children is scientifically minded are pretty high.  Thus, I’ll probably be teaching Physics at some point, and I wanted to have some background with the material.  I know many homeschooling mothers will turn high school math and science courses over to their husbands, and I may yet do so, but I wanted to be able to answer simple questions and keep up with my students to some extent.  My mother sometimes referred questions to my dad, but in our case, my mom is a math and computer science major, while Dad is a mechanical engineer.  When Mom would get to the point where she couldn’t explain something any better, she’d refer my brother to Dad.  Notice I say my brother.  I usually didn’t ask the intensive questions!

Despite not pursuing a scientific field in college, I still took the Biology CLEP exam for my science credits, and I took a Genetics course because I enjoyed that subject when I encountered it previously.  So my science studies have already been useful in that way, and in conversations I continue to have with friends, scientifically minded or not, in which science plays a part.

I may not have been the most scientifically astute kid on the block (okay, so that’s a given with my brothers around), but I still enjoyed discovering the whys and wherefores of our natural world.  I encourage all you homeschoolers out there – stop saying science can be fun, and try saying science is fun!

To the students who aren’t likely to go into a remotely scientific field and therefore think science is a waste of time, think about how often it might be nice to understand what your scientifically minded friends are talking about, even if they have to put it in (to their mind) very basic terms.  And think about how interesting it will make your next walk in the park if you look at every tree and know how deep its roots must be.  And think about the times it will be useful to know the best place to put the fulcrum when you are trying to use a lever to lift something. And think how nice it would be to know why the river seems to be steaming in the middle of winter.  Just think!

Science isn’t just fun, it’s an exciting world to explore, especially for those of us who don’t have to memorize the Periodic Table but who can enjoy a hunt for the atomic number of Uranium for a crossword puzzle!

How Beautiful

March 11, 2012

Twila Paris has always been one of my favorite singers, and she has probably had the biggest influence on my voice and songs of any female singer/songwriter.  I sang two of her songs at a recent coffeehouse where my dad and I were providing the music, and this is one of them.  Like Twila, I have gained a strong sense of the unity that is meant to be found in the body of Christ, and I am always finding new depths to this beautiful song.

 

Of spring break and siblings

March 5, 2012

Is there anything better than siblings?  3G has his spring break this week, and Sister came home for the weekend so she’d get to see him (her break isn’t for another two weeks), so we had the whole seven of us together for 24 hours.  Saturday afternoon was hilarious, with a game of Spoons followed by Catch-Phrase.  The spoons (plastic!) were flying and so were the laughs.

Thinking about it today, however, I realize that my experience isn’t necessarily the norm.  It amazes me that in some families, siblings can’t stand being around each other, constantly fight, and prefer to find friends outside the home.  In other families, the siblings may not dislike each other, but they don’t have any kind of relationship, being too busy with their own activities to know what the other one is doing or feeling.

Siblings are home-grown friends!  While my siblings and I didn’t always get along perfectly growing up, we still loved each other and enjoyed playing, studying, and growing together.  We still get on each others’ nerves sometimes (all right, all right, mostly me getting on Sister’s nerves – sorry, Sis), but the best friends are people who can be themselves with each other, forgive the others’ mistakes, and encourage each other to grow past their faults.  My siblings and I love spending time together, whether it’s playing a game, eating dinner, or just a general gab fest.  What with two kids away at college now, breaks are usually full of jabbering to get everybody caught up (sort of!) on what’s been going on with everyone else!

Don’t read me wrong.  I’m not saying that siblings are the only friends you need, should have, or should want.  I have plenty of friends outside the family, between church, work, and volunteering.  Some of them even feel like family.  What I am trying to say is that I’m disappointed in families where the siblings can’t stand each other and the parents don’t seem to know how to encourage them to change that.

How does it start?  I don’t even know, having early learned that siblings are great playmates when treated with respect and love.  Is it because siblings are separated into classes at school, rarely seeing each other, and then vying for parental attention when they get home?  Is it because their school friends are jealous of their time and would rather snub all the other people in their own household and those of their friends in favor of spending time with the friend?  I doubt this is the only factor, because some children don’t seem to be infected by the general aversion to siblings.

I feel sorry for people of all ages who have never learned what a joy it can be to have siblings.  For the only children out there, hopefully you’ve found friends with siblings that you can enjoy, or have cousins that can help fill their place.  And God does have reasons for not giving everyone siblings, just as He has reasons for everything else He does.  For those of you who have siblings, I challenge you to cherish them this month, whether they (and you) are still in the home nest or not.  Think about what nice things you can do for them, how you can make your relationship more friendly if necessary, and just enjoy them in general.

Especially those that are home on spring break!


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