Tuesday, September 29, 2015

School's In!

I know it has been a while, but we've had a crazy couple of months.  Both of the kids were diagnosed with Lyme Disease this summer, and we've been dealing with all sorts of medications and doctor appointments.  We also finally got our summer vacation in the first week of September.  Oh, well - better late than never!  Anyway, we are now back to "normal" to some degree, and are a few weeks into our homeschool schedule.

It seems to be in vogue this year for people to post pics of their homeschool rooms.  Well, our homeschool room looks suspiciously like our kitchen and living room, so I'll spare you the visuals.  I would like to tell you about the schedule we're using, however.

This year, Rory is in 7th grade and Lily is in 2nd.  Obviously, they have different requirements for math and language arts.  I have found a way to do many of the other subjects together, though.  So each day we have two subjects that we do together.  I tried to figure out a weekly schedule that would cover all of the subjects in a week, but that has never really worked for us.  The problem I have is that some weeks we have to miss a week day and make it up on Saturday, or we only have half a day to work because of an appointment or field trip, or we get really involved in one subject and run out of time for another. 

Enter the "Loop Schedule!"  I figured out at the beginning of the year the subjects we were going to do together, and then figured out approximately how many times we should do each of these subjects in a week.  Then I put them together in a list, which looks like this:
  • Science (Insects)
  • World History
  • Science (Birds)
  • American History
  • Health
  • American History
  • Science (Benjamin Franklin Experiments)
  • American History
So for the first day I schedule the first two items on the list.  If we finish both, I go on to the next two for the next day.  When we reach the end of the list, we start back at the beginning.  This has worked really well so far!  If we only have time for one subject in a day, I simply move the other one onto the next day and go from there.  If we have a regular week, we can finish the list in four days and start again at the beginning.  If we miss a day, we simply continue the list on the next day we have school.  Each of my kids has four different books they are responsible for reading on their own each week, so I scheduled them in a loop also.  We spend around an hour on the together subjects, and then they each spend the time they need on their individual reading, math, writing, piano practice, etc.  Depending on the day, they may work on some of these things before we work together, or we may start out together and then they work individually.  Either way, they know what needs to be done each day and are getting very good at making sure their own work is completed. 

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into our day!  So here's the obligatory homeschool room picture -
Lily making a birdhouse with Dad in our other "homeschool room," the big outdoors!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Unfortunate Miracles

Two days ago, the brakes went out on our van.  There is no miracle involved with that.  Since the car is 10 years old and has almost 100,000 miles on it it's probably a miracle that the brakes didn't go out sooner.  The miracle about it is when and where it happened.

We had just returned from a week-long visit with my family in another state.  The trip there or back takes about 9 hours (8 without kids, but that's another thing), and is over 400 miles long.  So, we got home, parked the van in the driveway, unloaded all of our belongings, and started getting things organized.  At this point my husband realized he was missing a wire for his ipod, so we opened the van up to see if it had fallen on the floor somewhere.  When I opened the back door, I realized that the cover for the brake light that is in the window had fallen off.  Mike put it back on, but then thought we should check the brakes to see if the light still worked.  The brakes went all the way to the floor, and brake fluid shot out everywhere. 

Can you believe it?  All of the driving we had done, most of it going at high speeds on the highway, and this happened when the car was sitting still in our driveway. 

Of course our first reaction was "oh no, now we have to get it fixed" followed closely by "how much is this going to cost, and how are we going to pay for it?"

But after that, the realization hit that we were about 5 minutes away from a severe accident with our kids in the car.  If that had happened on the way home we could have all died.  If Mike hadn't misplaced his wire we would never have opened up the back of the car again before we drove it, and we would have been in a crumpled heap at the bottom of the hill near our house. 

Mike called it an "unfortunate miracle."  And then I got to thinking.  Most of the miracles Jesus performed were unfortunate miracles.  They didn't prevent problems, they fixed them.  The wedding party had run out of wine before he turned the water into more.  The woman had had an issue of blood for 12 years before she was healed.  Lazarus was in the grave 4 days before he was brought back to life.  And Jesus had known ahead of time that he was sick!

So many times I lament about my difficult circumstances.  I get upset because things are happening to me.  It is easy to look to heaven and cry out "Why me" and "Where are you, God?"  when things are going wrong.  But when things are going well, I tend to pat myself on the back about my abilities.

Psalm 23:4 says "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."  Do you see?  "Though I walk through."  Not around, or away from, but through.  God is with us through everything.  The rod and staff are tools used by the shepherd to guide the sheep and protect them without getting so close as to spook them. 

We need to stay near the shepherd.  He can tell when danger is near, and will protect us.  If we stay near, he will use his rod to defend us from evil.  He will use his staff to guide us in the direction we are supposed to go in. 

God never promised us a life free from hardship.  He did promise to stay with us when it comes.  He send his son, Jesus, and Jesus sends us the Holy Spirit when we commit to following him.  We are never alone, and we are never out of reach of God's protection and his guidance.

23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  (John 14:23-27)

Don't miss the miracles!  They are still happening every day.  Open your eyes, and you may be amazed at what you see!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What is Right?

"What do you mean I don't belong at the table?"
The world seems to be going crazy.  What used to be wrong is now right, and what used to be right is now wrong.  And what are right and wrong, anyway?  Can anyone really know?  Doesn't it depend on who you are, or where you are, or what you want, or what someone else wants?  What if what's right for me is wrong for you?  Or vice-verse?  Can't I just live my life the way I want to and you do the same?  How dare you say I'm wrong, anyway?  Who died and made you judge?  Doesn't the Bible say "don't judge?" then how can you tell me that I'm wrong?  If you can't agree with me, you must hate me.  What, are you perfect or something, that you can tell me what to do?  Well, you know what?  I don't need you anyway!  I have other friends who believe in me.  If you don't.....

I'm sorry.  I guess I got a little carried away, there.  But this is what I see happening around me.  The air is charged with animosity.  All in the middle of "Love wins" is this ball of hate.  It's as if people are looking for a fight.  With anyone.  With everyone.  It doesn't matter who.  Just poke me one time, and that'll be the last time.  I'm not going to wait for you to explain.  I'm not going to give you the benefit of the doubt.  I'm going to unload all of my pent-up frustration and anger.  So don't step wrong, or you've got it coming.

Double Rainbow         
 This double rainbow appeared outside our church a few weeks ago - in fact it was around the same time as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage.  It is now the law in the United States that people are allowed to marry others of the same sex, instead of marriage being defined as between one man and one woman.  Ironically, the rainbow has become a symbol of the LGBT movement.  Caitlyn Jenner is receiving an award for courage because "she" determined that God was wrong and made "her" the wrong gender to begin with.  So I'm wondering.  Is God wrong?  Is it possible that God is mistaken about all of these people and their sexuality?  And has all of this "love" and "acceptance" made life better for the people of the United States, or anywhere else on this sphere we call home?

We are studying the book of Judges now in our Bible Study.  The judges were leaders who were set over Israel by God after the death of Joshua and the elders who were with him.  We read in the second chapter of Judges that "there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.  And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and served Baalim:  And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger (Judges 2:10b-12).

This is disturbing.  The book which we had just finished was the book of Joshua, which ends with the victorious Israelites entering the land of Canaan.  They had defeated their enemies with amazing feats and with God's help.  Do you hear the trumpets?  Victorious!!!  And yet, the next generation - the children of those valiant men and women, KNEW NOT THE LORD!  How can this be?  How could they have gone so far to fall so low?  And you know what?  This happened OVER and OVER and OVER!!!  The book of Judges is made up of chapter after chapter of God raising up a judge over Israel who delivered them from their enemies and turned them back to God, and every single time the next generation went back to following other gods and back into captivity and oppression.  

Don't you want to yell across the ages - "Hey you!  Don't you get it?  You are supposed to do what God says!  He gave you rules and he told you to teach them to your children!  To write them on your foreheads and on your doorposts so you wouldn't forget them!  Hey you!  Why don't your children know what is right???"

Why don't our children know?  Why does each generation get farther and farther away from God, and away from His laws, and away from the laws that were set up by our founding fathers?  Why are we straying so so so far away?  Generations from now, when people look at our history will they want to scream at us as I would like to scream at the ancient Israelites?  Will they say the same thing:  "Why don't your children know what is right?"

Because they don't.  They know what they like.  They know what is politically correct.  They know what makes them happy.  They know that bullies are bad.  They know that religious bigots are bad.  But they do not know what is right.  They are taught that everyone is allowed to live the way they want.  They are taught not to say someone else is wrong, even if they believe something else.  They are taught that what they believe is their own opinion and it doesn't mean everyone else has to believe or behave the way they do.  They are taught that there is no right and wrong, only shades of gray.  They are not taught what is right.  

The rainbow was given by God as a promise and a reminder.  It did not condone the behavior of men.  It was a covenant with all of the people and animals which would ever populate the earth from then on, that God would not destroy the earth by a flood again. (Genesis 9:8-17)  It was rather in spite of the evil that man can do.  In Genesis 8:21, God said "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every living thing as I have done."  

I wonder, those people who have made their profile pictures rainbow colored on Facebook, who fly the rainbow flags and display the rainbow bumper stickers, do they know what that rainbow means?  It does not mean that what they are doing is right.  It means that God will not give them the punishment they deserve in this world.  But I fear for our children.  They don't know that this life is not the end.  That they have an immortal soul which will not die with their bodies, but will have to pay the price for their actions.  They don't know that the price is paid for those who repent, or turn away from their sins, and who follow Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  They don't know that going against God's will is sin, that sin is payable by death, and that they are in danger.  And they don't know that there is a way out, a way to freedom and eternal life with God.  Because they are not taught what is right.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...