Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Whisper of God

Where is the whisper of God? I cannot find his voice behind the dark walls and that surround me day by day, week by week, month by month. I find myself wandering in a dark maze, tripping on junk, stumbling into walls. Lost. Nowhere to rest, nowhere to hide, nowhere to ponder and listen. The noise is constantly chattering, clamoring; screaming from the walls that envelope me and sky that closes in over me.

The whisper of God. I have heard it before. In the sound of the rain and the drops of the sun. The coddling of a nursing babe at my breast. The walks with the trees, the murmurs of rushing water, the ramblings of robins, the brushes with nature. The cool breeze that rushes through my skin, the snow that brushes against my cheeks. The blue moon that lights up the crackling snow at midnight.The sounds of laughter from children. The back door open with muddy feet running in and out. The dog that says "I love you" when you come home. 

Where is the whisper of God? Somewhere I have lost Him. I do not know how to find him in the weeds, the noise, pollution, and walls of buildings. Nature is nowhere to be found in the clattering of suburbia. Lost, I am. Deaf I have become. I want to be with the trees again. The scorching heat, the stifling air, the sound of planes, the lack of beauty. It keeps me at bay. I stay behind my safe walls and hide. Dark in the cell, I have become a prisoner. Locked away, I hide and stare at this mess I have made and this mess I have become. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Homeschooling and Working Outside The Home: Why?

I have realized that I am fiercely committed to my family. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more important to me than my husband and my kids. I am devoted and passionate about my relationship and commitment to helping them each become the very best that they can be.

With that said, all of my life goals and decisions are centered around them. You might think that is crazy and insane that my entire life is wrapped up in my family, but honestly, isn't that the point of living? Being a supportive wife and devoted mother is the hardest and most fulfilling role that I could ever imagine. When my life is over on this earth, I want my children and grandchildren to remember me and I want my life to reflect the glory of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Last year I had to start working in order to help cover costs of college, ballet and piano lessons. I still homeschool 2 of my 4 kids and life is super busy for me. But, I can honestly say that I have learned a lot about myself this past year. I am tired most of the time because I still homeschool, I drive 50 miles a day for ballet lessons and I work 25 hours a week. But, I realized that I am fiercely devoted to my family.

sibling fun
So often, there is a pre-supposition that a working woman is not devoted to her family. I was a stay at home mom for 20 years and I loved it. But, now that I am working outside of the home, I am realizing that many women who work, really are doing it for the sake of their love for their family. The fierce devotion of wanting to give their kids the very best opportunities that they can is often a motivation of a mom who works outside of the home.
Rainy homeschool day
Sibling fun in Germany

I do challenge young moms that while your kids are young, do whatever you can to stay home.  Downsize and live on very little in order to stay home with them. When our kids were young, we rented a 2 bedroom duplex and lived close enough to a grocery store that I could walk since we only had one car. The bond and relationship that I was able to build with my kids will last forever and to this day I have a great relationship with all my kids and three of them are GIRLS ages 14, 17 and 19. How many moms of 3 teen girls can say that it is a joy? I attribute this to staying home with them, and not putting them in activities that kept us apart during the dinner hours. We did not start our kids in activities until they were older and I think that was a very good decision.
Me and my three girls

On a funny note, I am an events coordinator for a locally owned wine boutique. YES, when you have teens and you are a homeschool mom, drinking wine is a nice reward for the end of a hard week! For that matter, wine at the end of the week is good for anyone! Keep Calm, And Drink More Wine!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Reading To Your Children

Today it occurred to me that God has revealed himself to us through literature! Of course, it is not the only way we have revelation of His nature and reality, but His Word is a very significant gift that He has given to us. How wonderful that He created us to love stories, because we are part of the true story that He has written since the beginning of time. We are each characters in the story of life, as God created it!

God Spoke into existence the whole of creation. The first chapters of Genesis tell us that each day God SPOKE and it came into being! How amazing that a spoken word is how we were formed.

Words are powerful. God created us to speak and to be spoken to as creatures who can build relationships and bonds with one another! God has a relationship with His creation whether you believe it or not. Man is the creature to whom he has reached out to with His word!

"In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God and the WORD was God." -  John 1:1

"The Word became flesh and dwelt among us."John 1:14 

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword"Hebrews 4:12 

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."Matt 4:4   

"Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28  

"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."Romans 10:17 

For many years I have held the conviction that one of the most effective methods of teaching is to read aloud to our children. There are scores of studies and books published on how incredible reading out loud to your children is. It is the most powerful and effective method for teaching kids to learn. They have to learn to sit still, imagine, think, listen and order their thoughts. 

Reading out loud also encourages our kids to hear good words and connect with good and bad characters. In a sense they build a connection, or a relationship with these characters! When you read a good story, don't you begin to feel connected with the characters? You feel like you know them, and for a few moments you believe they are REAL. 

Why is that?

I believe it is because God created us to connect with words and stories. We are each a character within the story of life! God gave us His word (The Bible) so that we could learn about him and relate with him. 

So what is my point?

First, that it is critical to read out loud! Read the Bible, but also read other great literature! There are miriads of classics to choose from. Don't settle for the new junk, read the classics (click here for amazing books lists). They are classics for a reason! Reading out loud is effective and it is obvious from some of the Bible verses above, that hearing the spoken word is very powerful indeed. That applies not only to scripture, but even other pieces of literature! Again, studies have proven the power of reading to your children,

Secondly, Reading stories helps to build the imagination towards virtue. God created us to hear stories! He created us to have an imagination as part of our foundation for walking in faith without seeing! 

"This faith comes from hearing the Word of God" according to Romans 10:17

"Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

In the book titled Rallying the Really Human Things, Vigen Guroian asserts "The human imagination reaches out and seizes likenesses and analogies that establish relation and unity in a world of meaning. not an instinct but an attribute and and expression of our freedom, passion and reason." He goes on to say that "Imagination furnishes and supplies to religion and morality 'those larger ideas' and images which human beings need in order to envision an encompassing meaning and purpose for their lives." (pp. 53, 54)

In this book, Guroian argues that we all have been born with an imagination that has been bestowed upon us by our creator, Jesus Christ. The cultivation of our imaginations plays a critical role in our development of character, virtue, worldview and ultimately our faith. He attests that the development of a moral imagination is properly cultivated by reading fairytales and good literature to children. "Children want to explore just what it might be like to finally turn out 'whole' and all right, to be a good child, a good parent, or the best of rulers." 

For decades Guroian taught a college class called "Religion in Children's Literature". He discovered that most of his students had been depraved of the classics. "They were not introduced to most of the stories and books on the syllabus and their natural sense of wonder was starved." Books that he claims are "good for the soul. Books like Peter Pan, The Secret Garden, and The Wind in the Willows..." 

Cultivating this moral imagination is so important that if one does not purpose to cultivate it by the reading of great literary works and the speaking good words, one is in danger of the imagination becoming infested with corruptions and weeds. Where the correct food has not been fed to the imagination, starvation or rubbish will settle in, and the mind will fall away from virtue and truth. 

"What does the spirit eat? God's Word is the ultimate food of the spirit, but all words are food. Proverbs says they are a healing tree, a sword or a fire. Words have great power to nurture, to hurt, or to be like a medicinal balm upon the soul. We all speak many words every day, and billions of words over a lifetme. In this day of junk food of the spirit where trashy, vacuous, silly, and even obscene words are multiplying, we should be training ourselves to give life to the spirits of those around us through good words."- Barbara Mouser, Five Aspects of Woman; Lifegiver Created Lecture

Just as the spoken WORD of God brought us into being, so too does the spoken WORD of God sustain and create within us a healthy imagination. Not only should we read the Bible to our kids, but stories too! Reading stories will help to cultivate their imagination and stretch their minds to understand the reality of the human soul. It will help them to connect with the reality of Scripture and God's exstence. It will build their faith in a world that is real, but outside of our human capacity to "see". 

Let me close with this quote. "IMAGINE the possibility that a man might come along who does not die a permanent death but returns to life. One man did just this, and on the basis of his act and the church's memory of it, many succeeding generations of human beings have claimed the same truth for their own lives. The truth is not a postulate of pure reason, but it is an act of the religious imagination." 

Do you want your children to have an imagination that is so well cultivated, that they can have the faith of Hebrews 11:1, The faith in what we do not see? I implore you to devote yourself to the reading of great stories to your children.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Random Reasons why I LOVE Facebook!

Why I like Facebook:

1. Connect with friends
2. Meeting up with friends from out of town when they post that they are coming to Dallas
3. Movie and book suggestions from friends' posts
4. Filtered news that I trust, based on pages I "like"
5. Seeing photos of my kids
6. Finding out what my kids are up to
7. Posting photos for my family that is in Ohio
8. Laughter! I love the posts that make me laugh
9. Cool video clips
10. Education (from posts of cool videos to ideas from other perspectives)
11. Seeing photos of people I love
12. Meeting new people! I have friends whom I met through other friends, and I have never met them in person, but now they are my friends!
13. Encouragement
14. To post random thoughts
15. To encourage others
16. To stalk people
17. To find out prayer requests
18. To find out coupon deals from companies I "like"
19. Decorating and organizing ideas
20. Memes to post and blog posting for my Ready Set Clean FB fan page ( I have 260+ fans now)
21. To vent my political rants
22. To wish my friend's happy birthdays and anniversaries without having to "remember"
23. To write on my kids' and my hubby's wall when I am thinking of them
24. To make other people laugh or smile
25. Convenient way to instant chat to set up appointments and lunch dates

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Les Miserables and The Gospel of Jesus Christ

For years I have loved the motion picture, Les Miserables starring Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush from 1998. The screenplay and acting is superbly moving and clearly demonstrates the golden thread of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as I am sure Victor Hugo intended. I still strongly recommend this film, but...

Today I was astounded when I sat in a theatre and witnessed the most amazing musical on the "big screen" as a motion picture. Several times I had to reach for a tissue as I sat weeping. The acting on this new version was simply remarkable. For the first time I think I heard I Dreamed A Dream, the way it was intended to be portrayed.

Anne Hathaway will never be able to outdo herself. I think she hit something on the other side of eternity and we were able to witness on film a supernatural moment when reality shakes us to our core. As disturbing as the scene is at that moment, the reality of wickedness must be portrayed for us to really grasp the gravity of our need for a savior! Yes, we live in a world full of fallen men and it really is That ugly!

That moment  when Anne Hathaway's soul was stark naked for us to witness despair which words cannot describe;  I do believe that moment on the screen was akin to that horrible moment when Meryl Streep struck a chord in her masterpiece moment as a mom with a choice. That horrible moment in Sophie's Choice, Meryl Streep's acting hit a raw moment where reality and acting collide and explode creating within the human soul a connection that cannot be explained.

As disturbing as Les Miserables can be at moments, the redemption of grace and mercy are still greater. The golden thread of the blood of Jesus Christ being shed for us all is the glory of this story and this new musical rendition carried that key note throughout the chorus of the score. The Logos Incarnate is the key note on which the symphony is played.