Thursday, April 28, 2005

Womb for Rent?

I am so excited for the day when I hold my own flesh and blood in my arms. Pregnancy is a wonderful, beautiful and difficult journey, but well worth the joy at the end! The very idea of my body nurishing, housing, protecting and developing another human life brings me to tears.

Thus the reason I could not believe this story when I read it. There is NO way that I would go through the pains and joys of pregnancy for someone else. Not to mention five children all at once for someone else! Then to wave the $15,000 in the end? You have got to be kidding me! I would not rent my womb for a million dollars, let alone $15,000... and take nothing for it in the end.

I agree with a statement from Jeremy posted on the Queen's blog, "Even though I'm a bachelor I still can't imagine it. Personally if my future wife was to go through the discomfort, pain etc. I'd want the arrow in MY quiver! (See Psalms 127)"

I agree!

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Compact Discs I Love to Spin

These are the current CD's on my "must listen to" list:

1- "Share the Well" by Caedmon's Call (My action CD!)
This album is incredible. It reflects their experiences on the mission field in Brazil, Ecuador and India. They did a fabulous job conveying the emotions and feelings of a missionary. People that do not have a deep heart for missions or have never been overseas as a missionary may not understand why I cry through this whole CD.

2- "Soul Anchor" by Michael Card (My teaching CD!)
Wow. Michael has outdone himself this time. He wrote this album after doing an indepth study of Hebrews. Each song takes the listener through a section of Hebrews. It is perfect for me right now since I am studying Hebrews and faith!

3- "Arriving" by Chris Tomlin (My worship CD!)
Fantastic. This is the CD I listen to when I want to fall down and pour my heart out to God. The CD is full of honest God-centered music. Another CD that God has used to teach me of His unfailing love and supreme majesty.

If you are able to get any of these CD's, please do!!!

Monday, April 25, 2005

Flapping or Soaring?

Isaiah 40:30-31 promises:

"Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint."

I LOVE the Bible. These days I cannot get enough of God's precious promises. This passage is commonly quoted as an encouragement to believers to hope in the Lord.

It is easy to want a quick fix to our pointless flapping around. We want to soar, but truly have no idea how to get there. Well, at least this is true for me! What does Isaiah say is the key to soaring like an eagle? Hope in the Lord. Great! Seems simple enough, right? Not exactly. The more I learn, though, I realize how easy hoping in the Lord is when you remove your own idea of what hope should be from the picture. TRUE hope in the Lord is beyond what we can define.

I think that is why Isaiah put these two verses at the end of this beautiful chapter. What causes and encourages and gives reason to hope? Isaiah outlines that for us in the previous 29 verses. If you are going to read, PLEASE read it all to understand where our hope is based! (Emphasis added is mine)

Comfort for God's People
"1 Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the LORD's hand
double for all her sins.

3 A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be raised up,
every mountain and hill made low;
the rough ground shall become level,
the rugged places a plain.
5 And the glory of the LORD will be revealed,
and all mankind together will see it.
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

6 A voice says, "Cry out."
And I said, "What shall I cry?"
“All men are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
because the breath of the LORD blows on them.
Surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of our God stands forever."

9 You who bring good tidings to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
"Here is your God!"
10 See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power,
and his arm rules for him.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.

11 He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
or weighed the mountains on the scales
and the hills in a balance?

13 Who has understood the mind of the LORD ,
or instructed him as his counselor?
14 Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?

15 Surely the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
they are regarded as dust on the scales;
he weighs the islands as though they were fine dust.
16 Lebanon is not sufficient for altar fires,
nor its animals enough for burnt offerings.
17 Before him all the nations are as nothing;
they are regarded by him as worthless
and less than nothing.

18 To whom, then, will you compare God?
What image will you compare him to?

19 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it,
and a goldsmith overlays it with gold
and fashions silver chains for it.
20 A man too poor to present such an offering
selects wood that will not rot.
He looks for a skilled craftsman
to set up an idol that will not topple.

21 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Has it not been told you from the beginning?
Have you not understood since the earth was founded?

22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

23 He brings princes to naught
and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing.
24 No sooner are they planted,
no sooner are they sown,
no sooner do they take root in the ground,
than he blows on them and they wither,
and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff.

25 "To whom will you compare me?
Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.

26 Lift your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one,
and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing.

27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
and complain, O Israel,

"My way is hidden from the LORD ;
my cause is disregarded by my God"?

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."

Do you see the reasons to hope?!? If not, READ IT AGAIN! There are enough reasons in these 31 verses to abandon everything for the sake of knowing Christ. If all I had was this chapter, I would believe. How grateful I am for the THOUSANDS of other verses God's grace gave to completely blow me away with His character, love and reasons to hope!

Monday, April 18, 2005

Babies and Dr. Pepper

We cleaned the basement all day on Saturday. Remember my post about homeschoooling and mom making everything school?

She calls this type of cleaning....... science. Classification by grouping, of course. Put all the balls here, all the tools in there, etc. Most children clean their play areas for the end result of having a clean room. Not at our house. We clean for the end result of science.

So, I was in the crawl space putting away some winter clothes. I heard someone on the stairs, not sure if they were going up or coming down. I kept on putting the boxes away. It was really quiet in the basement, so I figured everyone had gone upstairs.

A few moments later I crawled out to find Samuel was still in the basement. He had his back towards me and turned around when he heard me. In his hand he held my mom's glass of Dr. Pepper. He had successfully downed most of the contents, soaked himself and the floor.

He smiled sweetly, putting the glass back to his mouth as I came to take it away. When I said no, he pulled the glass down.... and licked his lips.

It is one of those times you need to be firm... but cannot help laughing!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Grace and Peace

Yesterday I was listening to one of my school lectures. I am on the writings during the United Kingdom Era. These books include Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. While studying the Devotional Psalms, my professor made an amazing point. He said that every time you see grace and peace mentioned in the Bible, grace is always first. In every Psalm, in every blessing and every time Paul opened a letter.

Why? Well, anyone that has God's grace will have peace. It is impossible to have true peace without God's grace. God's grace says no to the punishment we deserve and yes to eternal life. There is no avenue to peace, which can be defined as complete satisfaction in God, if you do not have grace. If a person reject's God's gift of grace displayed in Jesus on the cross, they are still under the wrath of God. No peace can exist when you have no shield between you and the God of the Universe! Yet, when one says, "Jesus is Lord!" and believes in Him alone, God's grace then protects them from the wrath they deserve. Peace in the soul will flow naturally.

I deserve death. I deserve punishment. BUT- God's love for me provided a way to life through the sacrife of His Son, Jesus Christ. I believe in Jesus! Therefore, I am now swimming in God's grace. Ahhh.... where else can there be such peace??? I have peace that my sins are forgiven, I can know GOD and heaven is my home! What grace! What peace!

May you fully know God's grace... and peace!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Home Education Part 1- Socialization

Homeschooling is on my brain. I have been reading methods of homeschooling, reminiscing with mom about my schooling days, practicing my teaching skills with siblings and writing my own thoughts of what I will do in a journal.

I had a conversation with a friend recently about homeschooling pros and cons. I love talking to people about my experience as a home educated person and hearing their views. There are positives and negatives to being homeschooled. As I talk to fellow homeschooled people, their pros and cons are different from those of outsiders looking in, which I always find amuzing.
For example:
- Homeschooler con: Mom always turns everything into school.
- Outsider con: Homeschooled children are not socialized.

Negatives from Others
These are the most common negatives and insights that people who question or oppose home education give:

1- Socialization
How can/do children who stay home all day with mom and siblings make friends? How do they have fun? Homeschooled children are sheltered from the world and have less social skills. Children need to be with other kids their own age.

2- Child/Parent Differences
How do you meet the educational needs of every child? You cannot expect each child to do well homeschooling. Some children need to be put in a public (government or private) school. I am not organized enough to homeschool. I would kill my child if I tried homeschooling. How do you be parent and teacher at the same time?

3- Good Education
Do you have to be a teacher to homeschool your children? I want my child to get a good education. How does a mother teach things like chemistry or physics? I am not smart enough to teach my child at home.

4- Independence
Children need to be independent. Children should learn to submit to other authorities than just mom and dad. How can a child gain their own personality? How do you know your child will be able to make their own decisions?

5- Good Witnesses
We need to have our children around other kids so that they can be a witness for God. Children need to learn what's out there and how to stand up against it.

These questions are just the basics I have heard. Some people are more critical, others are just concerned. So how do parents that homeschool their children reply to these questions? What do I think as I look forward to educating my children at home?

Response to Questions
The following is what I respond when posed with the above thoughts, whether verbally or just in my head regarding socialization.

1- Socialization
What is the definition of "socialization"? Does being socialized mean that a child can interact with children their own age? (Doesn't that come naturally?) When a person questions homeschooling by saying that a child needs socialization, they are saying that children who stay home are not socialized and those who go to school are. Tell me, how does a public school provide skills for socialization? Is spending all day with people your same age socialization? In my mind that would only produce a less socialized child.

When I picture a well socialized child, I see a child that: speaks with respect to a 92 year old woman, knows not to touch the soft spot on a baby's head, speaks when spoken to, knows how to behave in a nursing home, has fun at a baseball game, knows not to crawl in a dress or suit, shakes hands, looks people in the eye, runs around with friends at the park, calls people Mr. or Mrs., does not yell in a library, does not touch things at a museum, etc. (Of course, you have to allow for childish behavior and teach social skills relevant to the age of the child) This, to me, makes a socialized child.

What is the definition of "friend"? Home educated children make friends in many areas! The world says that siblings are not friends and that friends are people my age. Homeschooled children have friends at home (mom, dad, brothers and sisters), church and extra-cirricular circles. Also, friends can be 45 year old men and 90 year old women. Yes, a child will not treat adult freinds the same as a child friend, but can still learn to love and care for an adult as a friend. There are support groups, dance lessons, music lessons, sports and drama clubs that give children more friends than they know what to do with! Over all, the family is the main place for friendships. If a child can have their family as their closest friends, they will feel secure and loved. Why pour energy and time into little friends that will move away, get "better" friends or grow up and disappear? Family friendships last forever. A friendship with mother lasts forever. Brothers and sisters can be your best friends. Friendships take time... lots of time. How can true friendships with mom, dad and siblings be built if the children are gone all day? Ahhh, but many fun memories that build friendships can happen between 8AM and 3PM- at home. It is pretty funny when mommy cannot remember 2x2 or when your sister drops the food coloring all over the floor while doing an experiment.

Is being "sheltered" a bad thing? Many people look at home educated children and call them sheltered. Sometimes I am not sure what they mean. Is not knowing slang words part of being sheltered? Praise God! Does being sheltered mean the child has not seen the latest movie? That's fine. Is being sheltered from the negative influence of other little sinners a bad thing? Character is not built by testing the strength of a child before they are strong. Character is built over many hours of devotion and love, tested once they are ready to stand alone. Sheltered means that a child is protected from the influences that would harm him emotionally, physically and spiritually. A parent cannot protect a child from these harms if the child is away from their lovingly watchful eye.

Final Thoughts
I will again say that homeschooling takes intentionality, hard work and selflessness. Mother and father have to be devoted to raising well-socialized children, whether they educate them at home or send them to public school. There is a need for friends of your own age, but being able to have friends of all races, gender and age is of greater value. Guarding the minds and hearts of children cannot be spoken of without serious thought.

There, as always, is much more I could say. I will leave it here for now!

Winter Wonderland Weekend

It started Saturday night as Colorado was sleeping peacefully.

We woke up to 8 inches of snow and blizard conditions! It snowed... and snowed... and SNOWED! It finally stopped at about 10:30 last night with a grand total of about 16 inches in Aurora!!! Some drifts are over two feet! Every year we get at least one storm like this and I was beginning to wonder if we would this year. I love snow!

Forcast for Thursday: 72 degrees! Ahhhh... I love Colorado!

Friday, April 08, 2005

Me: Single Old-Fashion Geek

You are single. You have your own car. You have your own checkbook. This is the time in your life when you need to be independant, free and experiencing new things before you get "tied down" with a home, husband and children. Do you know what I do when people say that to me? Smile and disagree. Then, depending on who it is, I may politely tell them what I think. Otherwise, God says to just live faithfully the way He has taught me.

So, call me a geek. Call me old-fashion. Call me stuck in the 1700's. I take it as a compliment.

What does this single old-fashioned geek do in her spare time? Read books on: Homeschooling. Heritage. Experiments. Courtship. Theology. Childbearing. Childrearing. Science. History. Philosophy. Homemaking.

Homeschooling and childrearing are the ones I am tackling right now. I have ordered some books from the library as well as dug some well-used ones off the shelf. They include Karen Andreola, Charlotte Mason, H.C. Trumbull, Douglas Wilson and Susan Schaeffer Macaulay.

Why Homeschool?

Why do I want to teach my children at home? Why do I feel so passionately in this area? There are many reasons. I want smart children. I want to raise well educated boys and girls. But the most important reason is above and beyond just having a "good" education.

I want to raise God-glorifying, Christ-exalting and Bible-knowing adults. Is 2 + 2 important? Of course! Is learning reading comprehension of great value! Definately! ANY school, private or public can teach that. What they will not teach is a God-centered world. Why do the plants grow? God! Why does 2 + 2 = 4? God! How do we see God in history?

Many parents have good intentions when they say, "Oh, we can still teach them spiritual issues at home and send them away to school." I agree on a very short term. They can. Will they? Even if they do, it will take more time to unteach what the child learns 6 or 8 hours away from home than if they had them home all day. Then who is the teacher? A child can easily become confused. "Mommy, you send me away to a school to learn. Daddy, now why are you telling me what they teach me is wrong? Mommy, daddy, who is in charge? Who really cares about my education? Who can I trust to teach me what is right?" My dad always says, "The minute I let my child, 5, 10 or 15 years old, out from under my authority, I am either endorsing every word that person says or undermining my own authority." This may seem extreme to people. To me it makes perfect sense for the rebellion of children and the "good Christian kids" that graduate high school as atheists.

People say, but you want your children to be salt and light, don't you? Of course I do! My question is, if their child is being "salt and light", where is the revival? Why are the churches not being flooded with children who have heard Jesus at school? Yet, research is showing that most missionaries, pastors and authors are coming from a home educated background.

So, for me, this is spiritual. Will I turn my little, formable, innocent child over to a teacher and other students who will do, say, and show my precious ones something I do not want them to know? Will I give my authority to a teacher, Christian school or public, who will not uphold my beliefs? Never. What will I do then? I will teach them at home. I will do role-play and "what if" situations that are age appropriate to prepare them for the day when they face them for real. I will teach them the truth until it is so ingrained in them that they are solid and able to communicate the truth well.

Home education takes A TON of work. It takes intentionality. It takes deep commitment. It takes a passionate love for God. It means being self-less. It means not wasting my life now on things that perish.

Thank you mom and dad.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Little One

Yesterday was the day! We went and picked up our Golden Retriever! She is darling! We do not yet have a name for her, but are pretty sure that it will be Ginger. Yes, we know that it is a common dog name. She just looks and acts like a Ginger. Her color is ginger. (Which my mom proved by getting the spice out!) It is nice to have an animal in the home again. Samuel loves her. Timothy plays with her. She bites Victoria's hair. Dad was cooing at her. She follows mom. She licks Ben's feet. She jumps in my lap.

We are all in love. As Timothy said last night, "Oh my goodness, I love her!"

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Busy and Satisfied

What a weekend! What a week to come! What a life!

The Weekend
The weekend was incredibly fun and very relaxing! On Thursday when I got home from work, we took off to The YMCA of the Rockies in Winter Park. We stayed two nights there, playing, relaxing and bonding as a family. We did extreme sledding, swam, roller skated, played basketball and got a sunburn. Dawn thinks it is funny that you can get a sunburn by sledding. Well, girl, come to Colorado in March sometime... :::Mischievous laugh and a wink::: We arrived home Saturday night exhausted and refreshed!

The Week to Come
Already this week I have accomplished so much! I have not been busy outside the house, but have been able to get so many imprtant things done. Called about life insurance. Called about health insurance. Called a friend in need. Did a test on the Judges stage. Studied for the final exam on the Judges and United Kingdom stage. Did my Bible study with Katie.

Things yet to do: TAXES. (Ahhhhh!) Puppy visits. Church tonight. Working extra tomorrow. Calling Melissa. Working extra on Friday. Calling Rachel. Calling Emma. Feeding Katie's cat Madison while Katie is gone. CPR class all day on Saturday. Mailing CD to Jake. Church on Sunday. Worship service Sunday night. Volleyball after the service. Checking on Madision again.

Wow, I have a lot to do... and eat and sleep somewhere in there too!

On top of all that I have done this week, I have been refreshed in another sense. The things that I have done, when you look at eternity, are nothing. It is truly all meaningless. There is one thing that is not completely worthless... that is knowing Jesus Christ.

I'll save my spiritual learnings for another post!