Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Flu

I love non fiction. I always have and always will. There's something about reading about real people in real circumstances that enriches me. Now, if the topic of a non fiction happens to be medical in nature, then it's all the better.

A few years ago, while browsing a library shelf I came across, "Flu: The Story of the Great American Pandemic," by Gina Kolata. My poor family was neglected as I delved into the intriguing book for a few nights. I enjoyed not only learning about the pathology of the disease, but accounts of individuals, families and communities that were affected. Yes, it was sad. It was disturbing in some ways. It was a stark reminder that our lives are but a breath. I've been revisiting some of those accounts recently at this website. Here you can read or hear testimonies of those who survived the flu and those who did not through their family members.

Of course, the recent occurrence of the swine flu around the world has brought this book back into my mind. I remember some of the "predictions" Kolata made in the book about a world wide pandemic revisiting the human race. If that is the case, I'm curious to see how a world interconnected through media as well as equipped with medical science will be able to respond.

As a Christian, should this particular flu pose such a threat, I will certainly do all possible to protect my family. It's likely that I would be called to serve our community as a nurse. It would be an amazing time to serve. But, ours is not a position of fear or overconfidence in science. God is not only our Maker, but our Sustainer. He is the Author of all of our days.

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"If I Perish"

I just finished "If I Perish", by Esther Kim, and have found myself preoccupied with many thoughts. This book chronicles the life if a young, frail Korean schoolteacher during the Japanese rule of her country before World War II. Being faithful to her God, she remained standing in a crowd of thousands when commanded to bow before a Japanese idol. That one act changed her life forever.

For a while she was able to hide from authorities and prepare herself physically, mentally and spiritually for the persecution ahead. Once detained God used her in amazing ways during the next six years of her imprisonment. Each short chapter recounts her interactions with other condemned prisoners (murderers, thieves, prostitutes, mentally ill), ruthless jailers, high ranking officials and how God used her to shine forth the light of the gospel in different ways. She writes honestly and humbly about her wavering faith and her faithful Lord. I learned most from reading about her prayer life and constant connection to God in petition and praise. It is truly a compelling and life changing story. Little did Esther know that her story had gone around the world. While she was suffering in a cold cell, The Church was praying for not only her rescue, but for her ministry.

This simple book has opened my eyes and now I'm asking myself these questions:
1) In what ways am I supporting and praying for the persecuted church?
2) How am I being told to bow to the idols of this world? Am I standing upright or trying to blend in?
3) In what ways is the Lord calling me to suffer for Him? Am I preparing for this or doing nothing and expecting it to never happen?
4) Am I reaching out with the Gospel of Truth to those God has put into my realm of influence? Am I willing to do whatever it takes love them with the love of Christ?

This book is most suitable for children. There is a small section at the end of the book that recalls the cruelty of the soldiers to the Japanese women after the war that I will skip over when reading it to my kids.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Funnies

Here's some of the recent kid talk going on around our house. Hope it makes you smile like it did me.

I overheard this while Grandma was reading a book to the kids:

G: Let's count the cattails. How many cattails can you find?

*silence* Blank stares.

G: Do you know what a cattail is?

Joseph: Grandma, those aren't cat's tails, those are corn dogs. I LOVE corn dogs!!

Kid's are hilarious. Read more at Tiny Talk Tuesday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Glimpses

Nothing momentous going on here. No big plans or projects in the works. Not much of anything new to report. But, life is full and God is faithfully leading us through each moment of every day. Here's some recent glimpses of His care and blessings-

Four little arms around my neck in the morning and sweet lips taking turns kissing me. "My mommy." "No, my mommy...." There's no better way to wake up.

A heartfelt talk with Hannah about expectations and miscommunications which ended in a long hug.

Excitement and jumping in the kitchen when Lydia learned that she will be going to 4-H camp this summer.

Elizabeth taking on the role of resident nurse. She bought her own first aid kit at the dollar store and has been treating wounds ever since. Her face just shines when she can help others.

Joseph learning to read and is so proud of himself. I'm proud, too.

Miriam crocheting up a storm. Last week she finished a scarf and wore it everywhere even though it was in the 60s. This week she made a draw string bag to hold her yarn while she crochets another draw string bag. Very cute.

Sean wrapping up the school year, which equates to not sleeping much. He completed his last contracted writing assignment. His last traveling engagement is to D.C. is this week. I love to watch him flourish at what God has called him to be and do. The Indiana State Superintendent of Schools came to his classroom for a chat on Monday.

And me? Reading some challenging books, considering switching out the winter/summer clothes and pushing through our last few weeks of school. But most of all, being content. Really, really content.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Encouragement

I thoroughly enjoying the homeschool convention in Cincinnati this weekend while Sean is occupied with his own Texas Instrument's conference. It really is quite an experience to be in a huge room with other like minded families. We may choose different curriculum, having varying expectations or hold to distinct convictions, but we all share a like desire. We strive to follow the Lord's lead to keep our children home for now and educate them to the best of our abilities.

So many days homeschooling seems like such an island. We get up every morning. We go through the daily routines and lessons trying to come out the other side of the day having learned a bit more about the world and God. There is the constant interplay of relationships within the family, the responsibilities at home and the complete uniqueness of each child to consider. No one but us truly knows what happens in a school day. The accountability is ours one to another. One hundred and eighty days of us. I wouldn't trade these days for anything.

This by far has been our best year of schooling and yet in some ways the most complicated for me. The children are growing in new ways now. Their personalities are emerging. Their preferences are strong. Their weaknesses are evident, even to themselves. This equates to constant flexibility on my part, as well as the integrity to require the hard things of them to keep them moving forward. It's a balancing act like none other. I question myself often and lean hard on the Lord for direction. Truly it is He that holds us together.

I've heard some thought provoking words this weekend. I hope they challenge you, too, in the raising of your children. I know that some of these words may seem quite stereotypical or harsh being plucked out of an hour long lecture. But taken in context, they are words to consider.

Regarding reading....."When character is low, comprehension is low."

"The Word of God is what changes our lives. Satan wants to occupy our time and mind with images, not Words."

Regarding purity....."Dads need to point out to their daughters what is modest."

"Cell phones and texting take away the 'blush factor'."

"Parental supervision is the difference between a child succeeding and failing morally. Why place your child in a situation that invites failure?"

Regarding God given passion... "The 'thing' that makes your child smile to accomplish is his passion. That passion is the joy of the Lord shining through them. Use your childrens' passion in schooling whenever you can."

Regarding kinesthetic learners and boys under eight in general... "They have to experience it before having it explained. They grasp the big picture before the details. They leave things everywhere. Feeling words often fail them. They repeat behaviors just for the feel of it."

Regarding anger in boys... "When a boy is habitually angry you must ask, 'How is his relationship to his father? And how does his father handle anger? Don't react. Start there."

On my reading list:

The Courage to Flee

Families where Grace is in Place

If I Perish

Do the Hard Things

The Disappearance of Childhood

Talent is Never Enough


That Printer of Udell (Ronald Reagan said this is the book that most impacted his faith and prepared him the be President.)

Wide Wide World

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Signs of Change

The first flowers of Spring, Lobella, have arrived.


This "cute" rabbit introduced himself this week. Don't be fooled, he'll be feasting on our plants soon enough.


Eating the last of last summer's zucchini from the freezer.



The repairs are finished and the bikes are ready for hours of riding.

Free Breakfast

The Indianapolis area has been chosen as a test market for some of Chic fil a's breakfast items. Beginning the week of April 20th, Chic fil a stores will be serving one free breakfast item to each customer as follows:

· Monday, April 20: Sausage Biscuit
· Tuesday, April 21: New Yogurt Parfait
· Wednesday, April 22: Chick-fil-A Chick-n-MinisTM (3-count)
· Thursday, April 23: New Yogurt Parfait
· Friday, April 24: Chick-fil-A® Chicken Biscuit
· Saturday, April 25: New Yogurt Parfait


**Note: I confirmed with the Avon store that these are the correct dates for the promotion. The recent newspaper article incorrectly reported the dates.**

Maybe we'll see you there?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ever so often I check my account with Statcounter and get a chuckle out of the ways and means by which people find this blog. According to the stats my most frequented posts relate to objects in kids' noses, wedding Scripture reading and our laundry room.

Here are some of the recent searches made:

altoid in kid's nose

white thing hanging out of kid's nose

her finger stuck in nose visit to ER

how to get a pea out of a baby's nose

toilet paper stuck in nose

weird thing in kid's nose

eraser stuck in nose

blowing nose so hard circulation cut off in hands

child has put playdoh up their nose

pea growing out of nose

Friday, April 3, 2009

No Spend Challenge Reflections

Looking back over the month, March flew by in no time. Comparing February to March spending, just by committing to not "browse" and be tempted to buy miscellaneously, we saved about $150. Hmmm... $150 times 12 months....for things we don't even really need... adds up to quite a bit of money.... to be intentional in giving, or saving or investing.

I did have to say "no" to the children quite a few times, but that's nothing new. No, we aren't going to WalMart (because I'll end up looking through the whole store). No, we won't just stop by Goodwill "just because". No, aren't going to Target to look for presents for Joseph's birthday right now, but we will go in April:)

It's good to say "no" on purpose in a world that constantly says "yes". It really is okay. And eventually, the pull isn't so strong. It actually begins to feel like a gain instead of a loss.

So, what did we do instead? We used what we had all along and had a great time. As I mentioned before, we didn't end the month with an extra $150 towards the van. But the money was there to cover some extra expenses and opportunities that will far outweigh anything we could have picked up on a whim.

Thanks for following our journey. Your comments on the blog and in person have been very encouraging.



Hannah broke out the Chess and tried her hand at beating her dad, but to no avail.



Joseph's Space Ship


Lydia in her art corner.


Even Joseph and Rebekah have their own version of chess.



The Greatest Show on Earth came to our backyard.

video