Archive for October 2012

Sharing

October 27, 2012

Yes, that skill taught to most toddlers (which few of them would master otherwise), sharing.  It seems you never stop learning to do it.

I’ve come in for some recent lessons on sharing.  Not that I have any trouble sharing my toys, my books, or my family.  I have learned to do that pretty well.  I even share my thoughts, probably more often than people care to hear them.  But in the last few months, God has been teaching me to share His music.

I have not made much mention of my music on this blog, and I don’t intend to make a big deal of it now.  The bare fact is that I sometimes write songs, both lyrics and melodies.  As to the quality, I can’t say much, although about half of my songs never make it past the first or second listener, while others don’t make it out of my notebook.  I have a quality control check for my music – if I play it for one of my siblings and they don’t “get” it or I don’t feel like my message was communicated, then either the song needs major work or it’s not worth pursuing.

Sometimes I have a good topic and I just go about writing it the wrong way.  Sometimes, though, a song will speak to me and to those preliminary sound boards (pun semi-intentional), and I give it some time to work out the kinks.  At that point, I have been willing to play some of my work for larger audiences, such as a coffeehouse kind of setting.  But God has been showing me lately that there’s more to it than just playing my songs for people.

Because they aren’t my songs at all.

The music I write is not mine, but His, and I am beginning to understand that as such, it has to be shared with His people.  This month, we attended the Bible Conference that I’ve written about in previous years.  Now two years ago, I wrote a song that, for me, embodied everything I love about the fellowship we share at the Conference.   A couple of months ago, I realized that it was time to share the song with everyone else there.  So I emailed the conference coordinator and asked if I could sing the song at some point during the weekend.  He was very gracious in allowing me to do so.

Now, I get nervous about singing solos, and that only gets worse when I’m singing an original song.  But when I stood up to sing, I wasn’t nervous.  I can’t say I was particularly calm either, but the song came out all right anyway!   I’m  glad now that I was able to share, because although I doubt I’ll ever write anything that would hit a Top-40 list, even of Christian music, what God gives me is meant for more than just myself.

I have the privilege of living with the music, playing it over and over as I hunt for the exact wording and melody that it should have, and gaining new insights into Him with each song I write.  The least I can do is share the end result with other people, and let them glean what they may from that.

So, what is it that God has given you to do?  Perhaps you also write music, or maybe you paint, stitch, write, speak, or carve.  Maybe your talent comes in caring for people.  Probably your gift is completely different from mine, but the principle remains similar.  He means you to share Himself with others, in whatever He has given you to do.

I Am a Homeschooler

October 16, 2012

Some would think that since I graduated five years ago and am not yet a full fledged 2nd generation homeschooler, I shouldn’t say that I am a homeschooler.  Many would have said “was homeschooled” instead.  Me, I stick with my “am.”

You see, homeschooling wasn’t just an educational option for us.  Homeschooling was and still is our lifestyle.  Although I am through formal schooling, including college which I did online from home, I still have a learning mentality and because I am still living at home, I am participating in homeschooling if only by being a reference for younger siblings.

Besides, I have every desire to become that 2nd generation homeschooler and bless my children with the same lifestyle that blessed me.  I realize that I’m not the only one with a say in that decision, but that’s beside the point.  God has fitted me to be a homeschooling mom in some very specific ways, and He knows exactly what He’s doing by preparing me for it, so I’m trusting to His timing for the rest.

I’ve often wondered where I would be if I had not been homeschooled.  People will ask, as one did recently, whether I felt that I missed out on things by being at home.  I first said no, and then qualified it – I did miss out, but only on things that I wanted to, such as peer pressure and bullying.  I got a wonderful education without all the negatives that the public school system has by virtue of sticking a whole bunch of kids the same age together and expecting one or two teachers to teach them what they need to know.  For that year.

Looking back over the years, I’m pretty sure that I would have foundered in the public school system.  I was a quiet, shy kid who enjoyed books, but who often had trouble talking about what she read.  I was the kid who took a little more time to work out mathematical things and would have been frustrated had not my mother given me the space to make mistakes and understand the concepts without always getting every problem correct the first time.  I was the kid who enjoyed drawing but wasn’t especially good at it as a child.  I was the kid who liked to learn about the way the world worked, but who wasn’t initially very scientific about it.  I was the kid who loved history, but who had a difficult time remembering all the dates involved.

Because my mom was able not only to take the time to work through difficulties, but also to tailor my studies to my personal interests in some places and my strengths in others, I ended up a very good student by the time I was in high school.  I fell in love with Algebra (which I still use every once in awhile, for those of you who think it’s not relevant to anybody not in the math or science realm).  I learned to express what I read in my own words as well as to express my own thoughts both in the written and spoken word.  I pursued drawing, acrylic painting, and several crafts which give me a wonderful release and are avenues for my creative juices (especially around Christmas time!).  I enjoyed Chemistry in highschool, which I never would have guessed, and I liked genetics well enough to take it as a course in college after fullfilling my science requirement with the Biology CLEP exam.  I eventually learned the essential dates through perserverance, but more importantly, I learned the grand sequence of history as well as the prominent characters within time periods, whereby gaining more from biography than I ever could from memorizing a list of dates.

I also overcame the shyness.  Mostly.  I have a feeling that in a public school setting, I would have been the mousy little girl who got picked on, while my studies would have suffered from that and from not being able to ask the questions I needed answered in order to thrive.  I probably would also have picked up a few bad habits from the other children.  You rarely learn how to grow up from your peers – you learn that from those older than yourself by several years or from adults.

All of this is why I am a homeschooler.

Living at Home

October 6, 2012

I’ve been blessed by the ministry of Rachel Starr Thompson in several ways, but most especially by her writings for singles. In the article I’ve linked below, she explores her reasons for staying at home during her single years.  Although my family is significantly smaller than hers, I still benefit from the same things that she does; for instance, instead of spending my money on rent and such, I have been able to save my money for bigger things, like buying my own car.

In her words:

We’re not here because we’re scared of the real world, lack ambition, or just can’t make it out there. Rather, we’ve discovered that living at home is an excellent way to lay a foundation for the rest of our lives. We’re doing our best to take advantage of it.

Read the rest here: 20-Something Reasons to Live at Home.

Busyness

October 2, 2012

Do you ever feel like you don’t have time?

Your day is stuffed full and there are still things that don’t get done because you run out of time.  Whether it’s correspondence, housekeeping, errands, phone calls, or (horrors!) blogging, something has to wait another day because this one has no room left.

Sometimes I feel like that at work.  I stuff everything I can into an 8 hour day, and there’s still stuff left for tomorrow or next week.  It’s a good feeling to know that I have plenty to do.  I like to stay busy.  It’s when I feel like I’m swamped at home as well that I begin to worry a little.

I don’t like feeling like my whole week’s schedule is so full that I don’t have any flexibility.  As you know, I am a homeschooler, so I’m used to being very flexible.  We could shift our schoolwork to another time of day at the drop of a phone call sometimes.  Mom would hear from someone that they needed help, and if necessary we would quickly rearrange our plans to accommodate.   Of course, we didn’t throw out our routine for little things, but we were free to change things on the fly.

I had one semester of school during my junior year of college in which I was taking 16 credits during the week and working 15 or so hours on the weekends.  For ten or twelve weeks straight.  The experience taught me that I need my family time, my friends time, and my hobby time if I’m going to be able to give my best in other areas.

If you are constantly on the go, you don’t get time to recharge.   You might think that you thrive on a fast-paced atmosphere and that you can handle the pressure, but I don’t think I’m on too shaky a limb when I guess that even people who feed off full schedules and interacting with other people need to spend some time apart now and again.

My biggest issue with full schedules is that they don’t leave room for spontaneous acts of kindness or for random phone calls or for chatting with your neighbors.  In a world where we are rapidly becoming connected with everyone except those closest to us – thanks to smart phones, email, and social media – I wonder how much busy-ness has effected our ministries.

I work for a Christian organization where people come first, and that includes employees as well as the people we serve.  I have witnessed my boss take time out of a very busy day to talk with an employee who just needs a pep talk, or who has a family situation they need to talk through.  I’ve tried to adopt this attitude myself, taking time to ask my coworkers how things are going, and being sensitive to responses.  Granted, I do have my own work to get done as well, and sometimes I have deadlines calling, but people come first.

I encourage you to think about your own priorities.  When someone calls you and needs to talk, are you available?  Or do you always have things going on?  I understand that you won’t always be able to take time for everyone.  Sometimes you are already having one of those conversations when someone else interrupts your busy day.  But is your natural response to say, “I’m too busy,” or do you look for a way to fit them in?  Think about it.

Jesus was teaching one day, and a whole houseful of people was listening, when the man with palsy was dropped through the roof by four determined friends.  Our Lord interrupted his teaching to deal with this man.  He could have asked him to wait until he was finished.  He could have asked the man to come back another time when He wasn’t so busy.  But He didn’t.  He addressed him then and there.  He answered the burning questions in the man’s heart when He told him that his sins were forgiven.  And then He told the man to rise and walk (in response to the things the scribes were thinking).  And Mark 2:12 says that those who saw “were all amazed, and glorified God.”

How busy are you?

Too busy to help a friend?  To chat with a neighbor?  To help out at church?  To get together with friends?

Or do you leave yourself time in your schedule for those unexpected ministries that God sends you?

Think about it!


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