Saturday, December 31, 2011

My final farewell to Facebook & Confessions of a FB addict!

This past summer I took a one month sabbatical from Facebook. Oh how I missed it for a few days. I quickly realized how much I had come to rely on Facebook to satisfy my longing for time with good friends. I was deeply moved to tears and realized I had better change my need for deeper friendships. 

I met with friends for lunch and coffee and filled my calendar for the next week. I had such a good time catching up face to face with my good friends.

Over the course of the following weeks I did not miss Facebook at all. My time was filled with many other things that I needed to focus on. I could not believe that I did not miss it at all.

After about 6 weeks of being OFF facebook, I decided to log back on. My husband travels a lot and I got lonely and decided to give it a go again. I loved it. 

I love seeing photos of my niece and nephew.
I love stalking people. 
I love commenting 2 times in a row. 
I love getting ideas from friends.
I love emailing photos from my iphone. 
I love posting a new status every few hours. 

Let's face it. Facebook is FUN! My good friend was back and I was having fun.

I quickly realized that I was indeed a Facebook junkie. I made a few comments that should have never been made and had a few fights with family members on private messages. I realized that life without Facebook had been refreshing and nice. I did not miss it at all (except for the first week). I made the final decision and promise to my husband that I would permanently delete my Facebook account at Midnight at the turn of the New Year.

So here I am!

In less than 2 hours it will be 2012 in Dallas. I am frantically saving and downloading all my Facebook history. I am posting farewells and gathering addresses and phone numbers from friends I re-connected with. 

Goodbye Facebook. It is an emotional moment for me and I seriously think that when I hit that final "DELETE" forever button I will shed a few tears. 

With the ushering in of 2012, I am finishing my second reading of The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge; "What is the Scent of Water? Renewal. The goodness of God coming down like dew". 

This past weekend my husband I cut down 2 trees in our yard. This book, The Scent of Water, is taken from the scripture in the book of Job that says:

"There is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughts like a plant."

I look forward to a year of Spiritual Renewal in 2012 and I do not think it an accident that I just read this quote from Goudge's book at the close of 2011 and I just cut down 2 trees this past weekend and I had committed to God and my family to delete my Facebook account. 

Here's a toast to "Renewal" in 2012.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What is Grace?

Grace is a gift. It is the Love of God wrapped in mercy and forgiveness. 
Mercy is Christ on the cross. 
Forgiveness is Christ resurrected. 
Love is the whole package.

Grace captures you, but first it pursues you. Grace is ever running towards you, around you, ahead of you. Will you let grace capture you? Are you running always; chasing after the wind? You cannot chase grace. Grace must capture you. When will you sit still long enough to be captured by grace? When will you call out to grace for its mercy, forgiveness and love?  If you are hiding, call out " here I am! Come find me. Capture me!"

God's graces are all around you. If you think you cannot see God, remember the sunrise you behold, the water you drink, the food you eat. There is beauty all around you. You are daily captured by the graces of this world that God created. But have you been captured by THE Gift of Grace?

Why not sit still and discover the one who pursues you and accept His Gift of grace? Let grace capture you and wrap you in its mercy, forgiveness, and Love.  You are a gift. God wants you. Sit still and let Him capture you.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On "A Moral Imagination"

Rallying The Really Human Things by Vigen Gurorian has helped me to understand the importance of cultivating the minds of children. To develop and feed the imagination of a child is inevitable. If we do not supply the child with quality literature to help their imagination form, something else will grow in its place. Each human being was formed to have a sense of imagination; to somehow make some sense out of that which does not. We exist in a world that does not make sense. 

If one does not purpose to train a child's moral imagination what will grow in its stead? According to Guroian, a "corrupted imagination" will take root in one of three forms: Idyllic, Idolatrous, or Diabolic.

In other words, whether you purpose to cultivate the imagination or not, inevitably, the imagination will grow. Unfortunately, if not cultivated properly, weeds will grow in its stead and thus, the person will lead a life with a corrupted imagination. 

Gurioan claims "The moral imagination is the distinctively human power to conceive of men and women as moral beings., that is, as persons, not as things or animals whose value to us is their usefulness." He goes on.."The principal office of life in which society invests and entrusts this care are the parent and teacher. Modern educators - a breed with which I am all too familiar - have not been good gardeners of the moral life. In their penchant to treat fact as god, event as illusion, individual as datum, person as chimera, norm as relative value, and human nature as social construct, they leave the moral imagination to perish." (pp. 55 Rallying The Really Human Things)

Gurioan contiunes to establish his claims when he concurs "In philosophy and literary criticism memory is often associated with the imagination, for memory is thought to provide the images out of which the imagination construes the ultimate shape and meaning that we attach to the world." (pp. 70 Rallying the Really human Things)

I am stimulated into the reality that we must tend to our children's minds. We must put before them fairy tales and stories with heros and saints. One must never stop with the pre-school stories such as Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. I am enjoying the adventures of King Arthur and his knights, Beowulf, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight with my teens. In fact, I am reading The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle for the second time. It is, by far, one of my favorite books and I would challenge you to read it to your teens. I promise it will stimulate the "moral imagination" as well as increase their faith in God. Pyle often challenges the reader to trust in the God Almighty and bring glory to Him in ones conduct.

Yesterday I began reading Hereward The Last of The English by Charles Kingsley. In the preface to the story, Kingsley is setting the stage to write a book about a lowland hero, so it seems. When I read the paragraph below, it immediately brought my mind to Guroian's book, as well as Gregory Wolfe's Book, Beauty will Save the World

In reference to the Scottish "low lander" who has not been exposed to the the "poetic and romantic elements". Kingsley lists that which "still remains in the Scottish Highlands; and which when it disappears from thence, will remain embalmed forever in the pages of Walter Scott. Against that half magical background of his heros."  Kingsley asserts that these "lowladers"  have attained "none of the background of the unknown, fantastic, magical, terrible, perpetually feeding curiosity and wonder…" In other words, the lowlanders have not been exposed to a liberal education and have been robbed from the cultivation of a moral imagination. The nightmare that follows such a tragedy is the loss of a belief in God, or the making of an atheist. Atheism will grow in the gardens of an uncultivated imagination.

Kingsley continues to assert the repression of the lowlanders who lack a moral imagination:

"He finds out, soon enough for his weal and his bane, that he is stronger than Nature; and right tyrannously and irreverently he lords it over her, clearing, delving, diking, building, without fear or shame. He knows of no natural force greater than himself, save an occasional thunder-storm; and against that, as he grows more cunning, he insures his crops. Why should he reverence Nature? Let him use her, and eat. One cannot blame him. Man was sent into the world (so says the Scripture) to fill and subdue the earth. 

But he was sent into the world for other purposes, which the lowlander is but too apt to forget. With the awe of Nature, the awe of the unseen dies out in him. Meeting with no visible superior, he is apt to become not merely unpoetical and irreverent, but somewhat of a sensualist and an atheist. The sense of the beautiful dies out in him more and more. He has little or nothing around him to refine or lift up his soul, and unless he meet with a religion and with a civilization which can deliver him, he may sink into that dull brutality which is too common among the lowest classes of the English lowlands, and remain for generations gifted with the strength and industry of the ox, and with the courage of the lion, and, alas! with the intellect of the former, and the self-restraint of the latter. - Prelude to Hereward The Last of the English by Charles Kingsley

I conclude this rant and appeal with a list of books that will cultivate the imagination. Books such as: Andrew Lang's Fairy books, Charles Dickens, George MacDonald, C.S. Lewis, Beowulf, as well as the other books I listed in this blog. I do not earn money on your clicks. I simply added the links to make it easier for you to obtain copies of the books I am recommending. Be challenged to read great books to your kids, not only for their moral imagination, but also for your own. You will be amazed at what a difference it makes in the building of a human being with strong character. After all, isn't that why we are homeschooling in the first place?

Friday, September 23, 2011

My 18 year old got his wisdom teeth out!

Feeding Calvin
getting him meds
getting him water….standing and waiting till he is done

so he does not have to hold the cup….
getting him gauze
getting him tissues
getting him ice packs...

…. Repeat ritual every 20 minutes.

I decided not to be a cup stand or end table, standing next to him all day.

I needed a table by the couch.

hmmmmm…..what to do? Brian does not want end tables…..?????

Go to Target find the 4 pack of wooden TV tables. On the way to the car after our purchase…

Me: "I cant believe in 20 years of marriage we have never owned these!"
Lydia: " that's because only Grandma's have these!"
Elizabeth: "Nuhuh! Zena has them!"
Lydia: "SHE's a GRANDMA!"
Elizabeth: :No! Zena had them BEFORE she was a grandma!"
Hannah: "Everybody has them!"


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ramblings from a Charlotte Mason meeting

"There is no escape for us, no short cut; art is long, especially the art of living." ( pg 315)

This was one of my favorite quotes for this evening's reading. "the art of living". We are living! We are God's masterpiece and he is still painting our life story as we live. We are HIS art. We cannot escape the master's hands. 

My next favorite quote here in the paraphrased version from page 326, Charlotte Mason is adding to her definition of what Knowledge is:

"The message we really need is, 'With all that is in you, get understanding.' In one sense, understanding is an active thing that the conscious mind does to assimilate knowledge. And that's relative--the mind can't do that if it hasn't already acted on the intellectual food that was presented to it. The Gospels keep repeating the poignant question, 'Why won't you understand?' This is what's wrong with our nation--we don't understand. I'm not just talking about ignorant people. Even educated men and women use erroneous arguments, rely on prejudices instead of principles, and mistake cliches for ideas. Perhaps these failures aren't ignorance so much as insincerity. But insincerity is a result of ignorance. Darkened intelligence can't see clearly. 'It's as bright as day for those who know,' but knowing doesn't come easily for those who 'cram to pass tests instead of to really learn,' as Ruskin says."

The scripture that kept coming to mind in reading these pages was Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Over and over CM was trying to make the reader understand what TRUE knowledge is and Proverbs 9:10 kept resounding in my mind. The Holy Spirit is the one who tells us what to learn and "know". 

Do we as homeschooling moms remember how important it is to let the Spirit of God teach our kids? It is our duty to present to our children great works of art, nature, literature, poetry, mathematics, biographies, science, music and history. 

But it is not our job to digest this knowledge for them. When we present this information to our babies, are we digesting it for them or are we stepping aside and allowing God's Spirit to come forth and nurture that seed we planted? Are we letting the Spirit make this written work become "knowledge and truth" to them? OR are we pre-digesting the information for them? True knowledge has to come from The Spirit according to Proverbs. We cannot be the Holy Spirit to our kids!

I used an example of vitamins in food we eat. My body might need vitamin c and your body might need more vitamin A. When you digest the food your body will take the proper amount of vitamins that it needs, whereas my body will take what it needs. Our needs are not the same! The same is true for our learning. Who are we to pre-digest the food for our kids and tell them what they should have learned from a lesson? Are we stepping aside and letting God speak to the heart and mind of our child? What does that look like? How do we do that?

I am learning so much from reading Charlotte Mason's books. She does such a wonderful job explaining how to do this. Thank you all for participating in this learning adventure with me!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CiRCE Institute Conference: What Is Man?

I attended the CiRCE Institute Conference on "What Is Man?" this past week.  I have walked away with a gem of information. I could narrate at least 6 different facets of information from my perception of that gem. The following is my meager attempt to narrate my perspective from 1 facet of that precious stone I now carry in my mind.

"What is Man?"...This is the chief contemplation we must consider when choosing to be an educator and  embracing an educational philosophy. The only way to truly honor our students is to take a firm stand on who they are as "humans" and embrace a philosophy whereby we can teach them well.

The three states of "man" as I see it:

  1. God Created Man in HIS image: Beautiful
  2. Man has sinned: Fallen
  3. God Redeemed Man in Christ: Glorious

These 3 parts of who we are as "humans" are critical to consider and they are part of MY narration. This facet of my gem of knowledge has been magnified. It was only one part of the conference and keep in mind that my perspective is taken from other elements of my personal life that I have explored and theologies that have influenced my behavior.

I discovered that I have been greatly influenced by a theology that focuses on the "fallen" nature of man. The central theme of this doctrine is that:

  1. We must realize that we are completely fallen and utterly detestable and unable to do anything good. 
  2. We are void of any beauty from the "original" creation; Therefore, rendered handicapped and unable to do any "good" thing.
  3. As "saved" and redeemed men we must pursue holiness and we are obligated to address sin not only in ourselves, but also in those whom we love. 

Over the past decade, this belief has eaten away at my ability to focus on the "beauty" and "glory" that God has put before me. I have turned into a critical wife, mother and sister.

This weekend at the CiRCE conference I was reminded of the miracles of God's creation and the beauty he has made. Even though all of creation suffers from the "fall", that does not negate the "beauty" that He put within each human being and all of creation. If indeed we have nothing good within, then even "unsaved" people would be incapable of doing beautiful deeds. If indeed all of creation has suffered as we have, then fruit trees would not produce fruit. If at the fall, we became 100% wicked and lost our "image bearing" then surely all of creation would have also lost all of its beauty as well and we would have no food to eat and no flowers to smell and all beauty would be gone.

BUT….because beauty and God's image has remained upon all of creation, and as humans we still bear His image, all people are worth loving and respecting.

I am now looking at my husband and my children through a different lense. Instead of thinking it is my "Christian Duty" to "help" them become "Godly" I am looking at them through a lense that makes them BEAUTIFULLY created in the image of God. They are fully humans who are in need of a savior, just as I am. But they are fully humans "made in the image of God" and bearers of the "glory of God" in Christ because they are Christians.

I am saying "Good-bye" to my critical eyes. I am putting on the eyes of Christ that allow me to see beauty and give praise to the glorious humanness of being loved and made in the "image of God". What a beautiful wonder to behold…. a human being!

Recommended books from the conference:


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baby Cardinal explores outside of nest

Today the one cardinal that survived has ventured out of the nest. We do not know if it is a male or female yet, but we sure are excited that it is hopping around in the tree today.

We also observed the male cardinal eating from our bird feeder and bathing in our new birdbath.

Photos below are of mom, dad and baby. They are blurry because we have to take the photos behind our glass window in our living room.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Baby Cardinals born

We have a family of Cardinals just outside our living room window. They laid 2 eggs the last week of June. Carly Cardinal sat on her eggs and protected them each day, rarely leaving the nest to go eat or get a drink.

July 8 baby #1 was born. July 11( my birthday) baby #2 was born.

Carl Cardinal has been coming and feeding the babies too!

See Carly feeding her babies! She loves them so much!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Baby Bewick's Wren: 3 days old video

June 27, 2011: a bird built a nest and laid eggs in our Begonia hanging basket on our patio. Not sure if all 4 eggs are hers. Suspecting the large one is a cowbird egg.

June 30, 2011: One egg hatched and the larger of the 3 eggs was pushed up out of nest onto the dirt. As of July 2 we are still contemplating if we should remove it or not 

July1, 2011: Dr. Chancellor identified our bird as a Bewick's Wren. We had been thinking it was a Nuthatch for 2 days. Thankful for Dr.Chancellor's expertise.

July 3, 2011: I snuck up and took a short video with my iphone right after the mama fed her baby and flew off. She usually is gone for 15 minutes at a time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Meaningless Words & Broken Covenants Introduction

I started the introduction of this book by Tim Coody today. The message is simple, yet profound. Quotes below will be what stood out to me. I hope it will challenge you to ponder as it has me.

Introduction quotes:

"Like tires contacting the pavement, words interface with our reality."
"...Our words are losing their grip. The tread is disappearing, and the meaning is leaking out."

With reference to our high demand for lawyers in America the following quotes come to light:

"They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements, therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field." Hosea 10:41

"We could not keep our agreements because we forgot the importance of honoring our words. Without Honor in our words everything falls apart sooner or later."

"We use more words now than we did in 1978 to do the same job. All these words assure us that people will keep their agreements right? Wrong. As solomon said 'The more the words, the less the meaning and how does that profit anyone?'."

"When words are rendered meaningless, so is everything else."

"We have become unwilling to pay the high toll that honor demands, and now we must face the consequence- meaninglessness."