Friday, December 22, 2006

The Innocence of Children

In the mornings I listen to an AM radio show called Quinn and Rose. Rose is a Christian, but surprised me this morning with a comment along the lines of 'All that is best in adults is the child which still lives inside them.' She may have been reading someone else's words rather than her own at that point, and I'm sure I butchered the exact wording, but nonetheless she expressed the sentiment with no qualifications and in seeming agreement.

Biblically, the idea is absolute nonsense. It's the humanist worldview that holds that children are naturally innocent and good and are only corrupt by the evil of society, because humanism rejects the concept of original sin. The Biblical worldview, as expressed in Proverbs 22:13 is that "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." Biblically, our adorable infants are steeped in sin, and though they may not have facility to make sinful choices yet, as soon as they are able to start making choices, the choices will be sinful and selfish.

The whole notion is nonsense even without a biblical worldview. Just by observing reality, how can anyone say that the best in us is our leftover child, especially around Christmas. Sure, kids love Christmas, and if you love your children, the joy they receive from Christmas brings you joy, too. But WHY do they love Christmas? Mostly because they're getting toys and candy and presents, etc. etc. etc. How can anyone watch a family, in which the children are primarily interested in self, and the parents sacrifice on a daily basis for the good of their children, and not see the truth? Of course, I'm referring to functional families. In fact, 'disfunctional families' are probably those headed by adults who still haven't left childhood behind.

Okay, enough. I've made my point, but boy, she should have known better.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Come out from them....

I was reading in 2nd Corinthians 6 today, and was struck by the end of the chapter. Just after the admonition not to be 'yoked together with unbelievers,' which is generally applied primarily to marriage, comes the following:

"What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?" (M note: Belial signifies the devil.) "What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God... 'Therefore, come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord."

I don't disagree with applying this to marriage, but I think it has much wider application than that. It makes me long for believers who send, or intend to send, their precious, impressionable children off to be trained, discipled, taught, and schooled by those referred to here by Paul 'unbelievers,' 'wicknedness,' 'darkness,' 'Belial,' and the 'temple of idols' to read and seriously consider this scripture in light of their children's education.

Final comment, 'temple of idols' really does seem an apt description for government schools these days.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Stuck in thorns

We had uncommonly warm weather here early last week, so one afternoon the kids and I happened to take a ramble in the woods near our home. (I actually intended it to be a walk the the lovely, paved path through the woods, but with my daughter Becky along, that was unlikely.

Thus is was that I found myself standing with Becky in front of me calling me forward, and Tim standing impatiently behind, while I had approximately half a dozen thorns attached to various parts of my clothing and anatomy. (On a side note, did you know that a thorn can pierce your fingernail and cause a little spot of blood to well up in the middle of it?)

So, this morning I read the following in Proverbs 15:19:

The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns,
but the path of the upright is a highway.

I can quite relate, especially as my daughter had offered to take a big stick and smash down all the thorns for me, but I didn't want to take the time. (After all, she'd slipped through it all quite easily, but that's another topic!)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Global Warming?

This is the 4th day in a row that's been warm enough to take my walk outside instead of on the treadmill in the basement... I've heard that some are saying that instead of global warming, we're actually headed for another ice age. I'd much prefer the warming, thank you. Bring it on!

Monday, December 11, 2006


Woke up sneezing and sniffling Saturday morning... I'm very grateful that it came when it did and not before!

Friday night. the kids and their cousins put on a Christmas play in our basement, complete with costumes, lighting, sets, etc. It's kept me quite busy for the last couple of months, so I'm glad I didn't get sick until afterward.

Took most of the weekend more or less off; now, it's time to finish Christmas preparations. After that, two more big projects (creating a 'bible study badge' program for the Keepers' group, and running a Valentine's Day party for our homeschool group) and then I coast for the spring!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


One of the (many) things I like better about living in Ohio than in Massachusetts is the sun factor. What I mean is that in spite of being approximately an 11 hour drive straight west, Ohio is in the same time zone as Boston, so we have more evening light and less morning light.

So, only in the shortest part of the year does Doug leave work after it's already dark, which is neat, but one drawback is that I see fewer sunrises. This morning I did, though and it's just beautiful.

Thanks, God.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I'm impressed!

I talked to my friend last night... She said that although she'd been floored by the diagnosis, she knows God isn't surprised at all, and she trusts that this is part of his plan for her... "He wants me to walk through this without complaining and with a smile on my face and that's what I'm going to do."

Praise God for his grace to us, and for his faithfulness which allows such a godly response.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Found out yesterday that woman I respect and have great affection for has cancer. She had an operation to remove her thyroid, and they found cancer not only in the thyroid, but also elsewhere in her body. I know quite little about cancer (for which I should be grateful) and no more about her case than I've mentioned, but it sounds like she's got a tough road ahead.

Memo to self: God is still good; God is still sovereign; This family is still under his care.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Small groups

Our homeschool moms' group met last night, and instead of a more focussed agenda busy with planning events, field trips, etc., we had a time of more free-flowing discussion. I was reminded again of how encouraging and beneficial it is for women who are devoted to the Lord and their families to be able to share freely about the struggles we have in common, and as well as the wisdom the Lord had given each of us.

It's made me wish that I had time and opportunity to be in some kind of weekly bible study with like-minded women...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sick kids

Friday was our 16th anniversary. My mother-in-law was kind enough to stay with the kids so we could celebrate. Doug used some hotel bonus points, and we checked into an Embassy Suites in exciting downtown Cleveland...

About 8 p.m., just as we were finishing dinner, the phone rang and our 11 year old was sick and throwing up with a migraine headache. So we checked out of our hotel and I spent the night watching over her...

On Saturday night we attended my husband's 25th high school reunion. We made sure that our daughter was okay before we left, but just before midnight (as we were getting ready to leave anyway) our son called.

Turns out he had a sore throat and didn't want to wake up his grandma. So, we directed him to appropriate medicine, and told him we'd be home in an hour. Hopefully, that's gonna be our quota of sick kids for a while!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Been a while...

Well, after a crazy month, I'm going to try to keep up again. Of course, with Christmas approaching, who knows.

We had a great Thanksgiving; Doug's mom and three of his brothers were here with their families. The one dark spot is that my 11 year old daughter seems to be getting frequent and severe migraines.

One of the few things more miserable than having one is surely watching your little girl have one!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


It seems common for those in the 'baby boom' generation (even one like myself who only barely falls into it and only identifies myself as such with great reluctance) to feel as if we're somehow only pretending to be adults.

It seems like a charade, from which we're frequently in danger of being unmasked. I have noticed, however, two rites of passage which begin to turn that illusion into reality, that is, which have made me feel like a real grown-up instead of a child playing a fantastical game of dress-up.

The first, not surprisingly, was having children. I've always said that nothing made me shed childhood and approach adulthood as it has. But just lately, I've found a new impetus in the direction of becoming really and truly a 'grown-up.'

Perhaps there is nothing that makes us mature like carrying responsibilities, and no responsibility has ever made me feel older than that of caring for a parent: worrying about what she eats, and whether she exercises, making sure she takes her medicine, reminding her to check her blood pressure, etc.

NOT complaining, just musing...

Proverb of the Day

verse 21

As charcoal to embers and wood to fire,
so is a quarrelsome man for kindling strife.

Friday, October 20, 2006

National Archives

The kids and I are in Virginia, staying with my mom while she recovers from another heart attack. She'll be coming home with us on Monday, since we don't want her home alone while my dad's away.

About one and a half years ago, we were here with Doug, and in a visit downtown (meaning Washington, DC) we tried to go there. At that time, we had two major factors working against us: it was spring break for a lot of schools, and the movie National Treasure had been recently released. If I remember correctly, the line was about two or two and a half hours long!

Today, we waited about five minutes in line for a bag check and went right in! What a difference timing makes.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


There are many injunctions in Scripture to be generous with the needy. It's a clear mark of those who serve God.

In America, it is difficult to know how to apply that. Certainly, we can, and should, give to agencies which offer international and local relief.

But it seems that a more personal involvement is called for, and that's where I struggle. If you visit any urban area, the needs become obvious, but the causes are more difficult to discern. How does one help the needy without enabling or even encouraging them to continue lifestyles which are destructive to themselves and those around them?

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 10, verse 31

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but a perverse tongue will be cut out.

Lemony Snicket

Ok, I have to say, the name always makes me think of candies... perhaps smallish hard candies with a coconut flavored shell and a soft lemon meringue flavored inside?

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Often the weather in Northeast Ohio can be thoroughly lousy, but sometimes you get these October days that are surely a tiny foretaste of heaven...

We had a picnic at the Hinkley reservior after church, and then went apple picking at the Hillside Orchard. I have a long-standing fondness for Empire apples, but they were picking Golden Delicious (Doug's favorite), Jonathans and Melrose today.

I may have replaced Empires with Jonathans as my new favorite, but I've heard that they're not as good for baking as they add too much juice when they cook. The Melrose apples taste very good, also, and apparently are equally good for sauce and baking.

So, I'd say we made out like bandits!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Proverb of the Day

verse 13

Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life.

Just a homeschool gripe

My 8th grader is doing a Literature Analysis course, which I in general usually appreciate. BUT, sometimes it's decidedly over the head of junior high students. For example, this week's lesson discusses the concept 'theme,' and the student is expected to write an essay on the theme of a certain book.

So far, so good. Here's the problem. The sample essay, which presumably was included to be helpful, has the following as its thesis statement regarding the theme of Huckleberry Finn: "It is a biting satire of the American penchant towards sentimental Romanticism." It ends with, "The journey of Huck, then, is the quintessential American journey."

These may well be true, but it sure doesn't help a 7th or 8th grader understand how to write an essay on the theme of Call of the Wild! It's just too far over their heads to give the students direction for their own essays.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Proverb of the Day

verse 11

Wisdom will protect you,
and understanding will guard you.


As a general rule, I have great respect for our pastors, and am impressed by their preaching, but I was surprised when one of them gave 4o AD as the date the first letter to the Thessalonians was written.

The letter certainly seems to be written after Paul's 2nd missionary journey, which, unless Luke didn't adhere to a chronological timeline in Acts, came after the Council at Jerusalem.

If you look at the letter to Galatians, Paul refers to that council as being at least seventeen years after his conversion... This places Paul's visit to Thessalonica no earlier than the late 40's.

If we went to a smaller church, I'd love to ask him about it -- maybe he meant 50? -- but I guess I'll just keep scratching my head.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Proverb of the Day


Do not move an ancient boundary stone
set up by your forefathers.


Kids seem to think their parents 'have it all together' somehow. If I could use an analogy for spiritual maturity from the fairy tale of evolution, I'd try to convince my kids that I'm just crawling up out of the slime!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 20, verse 29

The glory of young men is their strength,
and the honor of old men is their gray hair.

(My husband likes this one!!!)

Get US out of UN!

I remember those bumper stickers you used to see from time to time.

Now, I think I agree with Chavez who said, "And maybe we have to change location. Maybe we have to put the United Nations somewhere else; maybe a city of the south. We've proposed Venezuela."

So, let's do what Chavez said and get UN out of US! And while you're at it, let's get US and our $$$ out of the UN, too!

Chavez' transcript

If you want to read his comments for yourself, here's a link:

Monday, September 18, 2006

Proverb of the Day

He who find a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.

Pope's comments

Let's see: Islam is portrayed as being evil and violent, and they respond by being... evil and violent.

Ho-hum, nothing new here.

Except that, has anyone ever noticed the similarity between radical Muslims and two year-olds throwing tantrums?

ABC Movie

We watched the ABC movie about 9/11. I gather that how accurate it was depends on who you talk to...

Overall, it leaves me with one strong impression. The primary fault belongs to the whole country for being reactive rather than proactive, and that is one area that hasn't changed. We still close the barn door after the horse is gone!

They hijack airplanes -- we increase aviation security. Then we hear that they've attacked subways -- we increase our public transportation security. I'm sure that after whatever their next attack is, we'll defend against it, too.

Perhaps after they bring dirty bombs into the country, we'll finally realize that it's worth to massive effort required to control who crosses our border!

Of course, I have to say that I think both the overall weak response of the Clinton administration combined with the low calibre of his appointees contributed as well.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Two girls....

I've been dividing my time between two little girls today. The first is Becky, who has been sick for several days. The problem is that any time she gets a fever, her little tummy tends to reject any food or drink recently acquired. Her method of preventing that is an ICE COLD washcloth applied and FREQUENTLY reapplied to her forehead. She also likes potpourri, which I heat on the stove and set near her. It seems to be working so far...

The other little girl is a recent acquisition. After the extremely upsetting but necessary euthenasia of my favorite cat in the world last February, we've been in the extraordinary position of having no cats. Our other cats have been strays, whom I like to think of has having been brought to us by God, so I was disinclined to go get a cat.

Doug's brother called this morning, and had rescued a stray from the towpath trail, but since they have a dog, thought we might be interested. So, now I have an adorable little cat learning to be less afraid in the basement, and spreading a few fleas while she's at it, unfortunately.

That's all for now. I'm sure one of my little girls in lonely and needs company!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Verse 20

He who walks with the wise grows wise,
but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Ever wondered why?

In recent years, I've found my mind returning again and again to a question. Why has God raised up the homeschool and Christian school movements in this generation? I'd love to see numbers comparing the percentage of Christian children in public school now compared to 30 years ago. I'm sure it must be dramatically lower.

And I'm sure that's a good thing, but I just can't help but wonder why sometimes. What is God preparing them for? Is He going to use them to usher in a glorious, worldwide revival? Or will they need to stand firm for Christ in spite of terrible persecution and worldwide chaos?

Or is this a revival in itself, and one that won't fade out after a single generation like so many in the past?

Whatever the reason, God is doing something, so if the anti-Christian bias of everything taught in the public schools hasn't been enough motivation, think about this and get those kids out of there!

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

A few short comments on the date:

I hope people remember to fly the flag today. It seems quite appropriate.

Other than that, how should we observe this anniversary? Certainly, not with a 'celebration.' Nor, however, should it be a time of mourning and sorrow that leaves us feeling defeated. It should be a time of remembrance, but remembrance mixed accompanied by resolve and firmness, with perhaps some defiance thrown in for good measure.

Finally, it's too bad the 19 men didn't know the proverb quoted below.

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 11:7

When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes;
all he expected from his power comes to nothing.

Radio Stations

I wish I understood more about the way radio stations 'travel' so far at night. When we first moved here from Boston, I occasionally would listen to Red Sox games on the big AM station which reaches the Cleveland area sometimes after dark.

When I wake up in the morning, I like to listen to an Akron station (we live partway between Cleveland and Akron.) But since they turn their power down at night, and I get up before the sun, I can't ge the station at night. I can, however, listen to a station in Wheeling, WV which carries the same morning show...


Friday, September 08, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Verse 34 -- spoken by 'wisdom'

Blessed is the man who listens to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.

Weight Loss

I was one of those who had trouble losing the last ten pounds after having kids...

Sometimes I'd 'diet,' which I define as a temporary, drastic change in eating styles. Other times I'd try to get more serious about exercise. Finally, after watching the results in others, I decided to give Atkins a try. And, I had about the same result that most others did: weight loss in the short term, weight gain in the long term.

So, then I ended up with more than 20 pounds to lose. I think I have finally found a two step (VERY SLOW) strategy for weight loss. The first step started more than ten years ago. I recognized a dearth of wisdom on my life, and began praying for wisdom (part of which is self-control) and reading Proverbs daily.

The second part began about 7-8 months ago. It involves what the experts always said, but since I'm still working on the wisdom thing I had to learn for myself. I have found a few small changes to make which are sustainable in the long term. I'm not on a diet, but I say no to sweets and 2nd helpings a little more often than I used to, and I walk for 20-30 minutes most days and lift light weights a few times a week. It works out to losing only a pound a month, which is hard to get excited about, except that I *think* I've finally found a long-term solution, and now I'm down by 8 pounds or so. Give me a year or so, and I'll be a happy camper!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


First day of school yesterday

God is good. I am always overwhelmed by the Grace which brings a non-kid, non-domestic person like me to be able to make the choice to homeschool my kids, and then gives me all I need to accomplish that to which God has called me.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 5:22

The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him;
the cords of his sin hold him fast.

Romans 8:28

I heard something interesting in church Sunday... One of the teachers in the adult classes pointed out that the promise in Romans 8:28 appears to be conditional, 'for those who love God.'

He then asked how we know who loves God, and for an answer reminded us of Jesus words that those who love God are those who obey him. In effect, he was warning us that if we're choosing not to live in obedience to God's ways, we cannot expect that 'everything will work for our good.'

I'm still processing that one! It's a new concept, but seems biblically sound.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Ok, here's my entry for the World's Worst Recipe contest...

Sweet and Sour Vienna Sausages:

Put 8 cans drained Vienna sausages in slow cooker
Combine 2 cups each grape jelly and ketchup
Pour mixture over sausages and stir lightly
Cover. Cook on high 1 hour, and on low for 5 hours.

I'm NOT kidding. I found this recipe in a cookbook. I didn't make it up!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 1:32

For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them,
and the complacency of fools shall destroy them.

(NASB this time--I don't feel like going upstairs for my NIV)

"Take care of yourself first"

That's the advice often given to moms these days. I don't always agree with it.

It the advice is merely to live one's life in such a way as to stay healthy and fit, well... of course. Unfortunately, it often means something else entirely--something which can look a lot like the selfishness we humans so easily slip into and rationalize.

Consider what Jesus said, "Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed." And, "Greater love has no man that this: that he lay down his life for his neighbor." In fact, isn't the whole message of the Bible to love and give and serve without thought for our own needs, let alone making sure that we 'take care of ourselves first?'

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Beloved Proverbs 31 Woman...

This is my distillation of the qualities referred to in every woman's favorite passage of the Scripture. She...

works with her hands
is discerning in her choice of materials to work with
is eager to work, not begrudging her time and effort
is willing to go the extra mile to get good food at a good price
is an early riser
provides meals and clothes and cares well for her family
invests wisely and is effective at business
isn't half-hearted or sluggish in her approach to her work
keeps herself physically fit
isn't above menial tasks
is skilled at domestic tasks
generous and hospitable
contributes to her family's income with her skills
speaks wisely
is a good teacher
isn't idle
is prepared for the future


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Verse 33

As churning milk produces butter,
and as twisting the nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger produces strife.

(Anyone want to try that middle line and let me know if it works?)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kelley's Island

I like islands, I used to like camping, but boy, am I getting tired of getting rained on!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Verse 28

Like a city whose walls are broken down
is a man who lacks self-control.


The world is a dangerous place today... or is it? Either my memory deceives me, or I used to bicycle, roller skate, even occasionally skateboard, and I didn't even own a helmet.

I went to playgrounds with metal slides, and boy, did they get hot on a sunny day! I have no recollection of squishy mulch beds under the playground equipment. Sometimes it was grass, usually it was just packed dirt, occasionally cement.

I was probably an adult before I ever wore a seatbelt. Having the heart of an explorer from a young age, I used to regularly roam the neighborhood, creekbed, woods, even restaurants alone from the time I was in early elementary school.

I was definitely an adult before I ever tried anything other than white bread!

Am I writing all this to say that my parents were neglectful? Absolutely not. I imagine that most people 'of a certain age' would have a similar tale to tell. (Can you imagine how much the poor kid who wore helmet and pads like they do now while skating would have been teased when we were young????)

I'm writing this because I've noticed an astonishingly inverse curve between the protection we give our kids' bodies and the protection we give their hearts and minds. As surely as the parents of yesterday wouldn't have felt it necessary to 'protect' their kids from all the above-mentioned 'hazards,' so they would never have dreamed of allowing their kids to watch, listen to, and play today's popular tv shows, music, and video games.

I take the opposite approach, though I'm perhaps a little more protective than my parents were, especially about my kids roaming alone at a young age. Probably because parents have allowed their kids to wallow in filth from the time they're in elementary school, there seems to be more creeps out there.

But, we own a trampoline, and not only does it not have a net, the springs aren't covered! (I figure they'll be safer in the long run if they learn to be cautious about the danger, instead of being totally protected from any possibility of injury.)

My daughter rides a scooter with no protective equipment at all.

However, one of the reason I was so vague about the mental, emotional, and spiritual dangers of tv, music and games is that my kids are as protected from that stuff as much as your average roller skater is with a helmet, shin pads, elbow pads, little glovelike hand protectors, etc. etc.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Who's training your children?

One of the most clung-to verses in the Bible is in today's chapter of Proverbs...

Verse 6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (From memory, so perhaps not exactly perfect.)

It's often claimed as a 'promise' from God. But is it really a promise? It's in the book of Proverbs, which are wise sayings, and generally, but not exhaustively true. For example, while gray hair often indicates wisdom, it's certainly not universal! And the righteous GENERALLY, but not ALWAYS leave an inheritance... etc. etc.

So we can't blame God for breaking His promise when children grow up in Christian homes and then turn away from God as adults.

However, even if it were a promise, how are most kids in Christian homes trained, anway? Let's see.... at least 35 hours a week in public schools, being trained by peers and government educators. Add to that another ten or so being trained by television/movies, and perhaps another five (note that I'm fairly conservative with my numbers here to give us the benefit of the doubt) listening to secualar music. That comes to 50 hours a week being trained in the ways they shouldn't go!

Trained in the way they should go? Well..... maybe two hours on Sunday, and two more on Wednesday (although the peer interaction often causes this time to be of VERY questionable value!) What about time reading the Bible, praying, discussing life from a godly perspective with their parents? How does that stack up to the 50 hours a week being trained from an ungodly perspective?

So, back to Proverbs... With training like that, it's no wonder that the percent of our kids walking with God as adults is so low, and only by God's grace that it's as high as it is.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Roller Coasters

I went to Geauga Lake again this weekend -- this time with my family. Fortunately, I've been a fan of roller coasters for over 30 years, so I don't mind going two weekends in a row. Fortunately, my husband and kids also like them, so we had a good time. But, for the first time in my life, I've found a roller coaster I don't like.

I've been trying to understand why, and I'll TRY to explain. The ride is called the X-Flight, and its gimmick is the position riders are in. After getting in and being strapped down, the seats lay back so the riders are on their backs, going head first, kind of backwards. Then, as the cars start up the hill, they're almost sitting up again, due to the angle of the track.

It's going down the hill, and most of the rest of the ride that caused me a problem. The track flips over so that the rider is now hanging, face-down, with no support other than the restraints that have you buckled in. Now, I know in my head that those restraints must be trustworthy, but I couldn't make myself trust them and just enjoy the ride.

Every other coaster I've been on, most of your weight, for most of the ride, was supported by the steel car you were sitting in or on. If I ever try it again, I'm going to pay a LOT more attention to the restraints so I can either decide I trust them or not ride....

Proverb of the Day

Verse 23

He who guards his mouth and his tongue
keeps himself from calamity.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Warning: Politics

Don't read this if you don't like political commentary that uses the L-word, but this is what I was thinking about this morning -- in the shower no less! I worry about me sometimes...

Taking into account the differing levels of ethics in individuals, it still seems clear that liberals are both more willing to cheat to win elections, and more likely to be sore losers about it. So, as I scrubbed diligently between my toes this morning (or not!) I was pondering why this seems to be the case. I think it is less a reflection on their character than on their values.

Let me explain. A conservative (at least by more modern standards, and I'm not going into the whole paleo-, neo-, classical mess) believes in less government and more freedom and responsibility of the individual. In terms of elections, this has two effects. First, conservatives want more power to rest with the people and so are more likely to accept their choice. Second, and perhaps more importantly, government is overall a less important construct to conservatives.

Now, consider liberals. Liberals believe that the answers to human problems and difficulties is best or at least most likely to be provided by governments. For governments to truly take care of people the way they need to be taken care of, governments should have more power and people must give up some of their liberties. (The Patriot Act is an interesting twist on this drama -- more comment about it at the end.)

So compared to conservatives, liberals as a whole are more prepared to take an 'end justifies the means' approach to elections because the 'end' -- the power of government -- is seen as so much more important by them. Secondly, they're less willing to accept the decisions of voters with equanimity because they have less faith in the abilities of individuals to make proper choices without the guidance of people who've devoted their lives to studying such choices.

The Patriot Act is an odd issue. The Democrats are saying it gives too much power to the goverment and the Republicans are saying the government needs to take away certain individual liberties so it can take care of us. So how do we reconcile that with what I've written above? First, I was speaking of liberals and conservatives, not Repubs and Dems. It can be argued that the two parties in Washington today consist of liberals (GOP) and hyper-liberals or socialists (Dems.) There are some conservatives who have painfully gone against their party in opposing the Patriot Act because of their principles.

However, out of the myriad of activities our government engages in, national defense is one of the few which is actually authorized by the Constitution. Therefore conservatives, who have great respect for the document as it was originally written and legally amended, are inclined to accept the exercise of governmental authority related to defense issues.

But why on earth would the Democrats oppose something that gives the government more authority? Go back to the 'sore loser' issue. They've never accepted the voters' choice to elect Bush, and therefore they've opposed him every time they thought they could get away with it.

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 18, verse 17

The first to present his case seems right,
till another comes forward and questions him.

Disappointment (sort of)

I heard back from one of the two publishers I sent a proposal to... The sample chapters are 'not strong enough.' If I get a similar response from the second place, I'll do some serious rewriting and perhaps even pay for some editorial advice from someplace like Writer's Edge.

But despite the title of this entry, I'm not terribly bothered by it. As anyone who has ever looked at this more than once or twice can tell, I'm a real devotee of Proverbs. I especially love chapter 16, and find great peace in the first verse, which says something like, 'In his heart a man plans his steps, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue.' I'm going to assume that goes for the reply of the keyboard as well, and truly, if my Lord doesn't want this thing published, or doesn't want it published yet, neither do I.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 15:20

A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.

Trusting Christ

If salvation is trusting Christ for what happens after we die, recognizing that we have no hope and no help apart from his all-sufficient grace, then perhaps sanctification is trusting Christ for what happens before we die. Might spiritual maturity, then, consist in dependence, in trusting Christ as our all-sufficient and gracious Lord?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Herding Cats

Saturday I took five 13 year old girls from church to Geauga Lake, a medium-sized amusement park near our house. It actually went quite well, until it was time to leave... that's when it became herding cats.

I felt quite bad about it, as I was almost half an hour late returning the girls to church where their parents were waiting.

I'd forgotten something about 13 year old girls, though. They RUN from roller coaster to roller coaster.... pant, pant, huff, huff as I chase along after them trying to keep up!

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 14, verse 15

A simple man believes anything,
but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.

Civil War Re-enactment

We visited Hale Farm and Village yesterday -- it's a historical village set in 1861. They were having an annual Civil War battle reenactment so we decided to go see. My daughter, of course, was more interested in the weaving and spinning display. Even though she's quite old enough to understand it wasn't real, she didn't like the 'soldiers' fall down like they'd been shot.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Verse 19

When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.

Bagless Vacuum

Ok, when I first heard of these, I thought they sounded neat. No more going store to store trying to find discontinued bags for vacuums more than two years old!

BUT.... I've discovered that what it boils down to is this. Instead of quickly and easily pulling a bag out once or twice a year, I have to take the thing apart, dump it, clean a filter, and try not to strangle on the dust once or twice a MONTH!

Never again....

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 9, verse 10

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Homeschool Objections

The most common response I get from other mothers of school aged kids is, "That's great, but I could never do it." The most frequently offered reason for not being able to do it is, "My kid(s) won't listen to me."

Homeschooling isn't just about education. It may not even be primarily about education, although a great education is usually a by-product. One of the things it IS about is teaching your children to listen and respect their parents, their family's values, and especially the Word of God more than they respect peers and unbelieving adults.

It's about Romans 12:2 - 'Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.'

And if a child doesn't listen his parents, that's all the more reason to bring him home and train him in godliness and respect for parental authority. It's better than taking the chance that he won't listen to you during his teen years, when the stakes are so much higher!

(Another frequently mentioned reason is inadequacy on the part of mom -- as one thoroughly inadequate mom, I can say that homeschooling becomes a wonderful and terrible adventure of trusting and leaning on God's grace day by day. I've gone from struggling with consistency in daily time with God, to eagerly seeking the grace I need each day.)

I may do more blogs on this, but what I really need to do is add a homeschooling page to my website!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Hudson River Valley

I just got back from my cousin's wedding in Cold Spring, NY. (Congratulations, Fred and Keri!)

I've always loved paintings I've seen by the 'Hudson River school' of painters, though the only one I can name is Thomas Cole. What a beautiful part of the world!

You can see small prints of some of the art here:

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Goals for my kids, part 2

So, after all that, what are my goals for my kids?

I mentioned #1: that they love and serve God with all their hearts (implying salvation, of course.)
I think #2 would be that they live wisely and well.
#3: That they are instrumental in building the Kingdom of God.

Last, or perhaps combining all the others, that they someday stand before the Lord, and hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Proverb of the Day

Verse 7

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Are we a nation of rich fools?

In Luke chapter 12, Jesus said...

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.... The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop... He said "...I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones." ... But God said to him, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you." This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God... Seek his kingdom... Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven... From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded.

Wow! Those are some tough words! So why am I still sitting here in my air-conditioned 2350 square feet (I think) house, surrounded by possessions?

Because I'm trying to reconcile those words with these:
- Proverbs 31 - clearly the wise woman makes sure her family is provided for adequately.
- Proverbs 13:22 - A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children...
- 1 Timothy 5:8 - If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

So what do we do with these? Clearly, one can't sell everything, especially as a parent with children to provide for. I think the answer is to try to live with less in every way you can tolerate, remembering that what each person can tolerate is different, and don't judge each other.

For example, one might live with heat and ac settings more uncomfortable than others in order to save money and increase their giving, while another who can't take the heat forgoes the latest fashions. If we stop looking at our money as our own, and actively look for ways to have less and spend less so we can give more, I believe the Lord will help and direct us, and bless us (not necessarily with more money, unless we're truly faithful at giving more, or perhaps as a test, but with more of Himself, which is greater by far.)

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 2:12

Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men,
from men whose words are perverse.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Goals for my kids

I imagine all parents have 'goals' for their kids' lives. It's a good idea to spend some time thinking hard about what those goals are, and then check to see how well your parenting matches up to them.

For example, my absolute, #1 goal for Tim and Becky is that they grow up to love and serve God wholeheartedly. Is this more important to me than whether or not they have a good job? Yes, without a doubt. But do I communicate that to them?

For example, if time is limited and a choice has to be made between daily devotional time and finishing schoolwork, do I encourage my child to blow off the Bible and do their schoolwork instead? What message does that send to them about what's most important?

We as Americans are so focused on academic (leading to professional) success, and unfortunately, our children are going to pay the spiritual price for that if we're not careful. Let's remember what Jesus said about rich men, heaven and the eye of a needle!

I want to encourage my children to be and do their best, but I want them to know that I'd rather they be godly, faithful garbage-collectors (or insert lowly job of choice) than a president, doctor, lawyer, rich business owners, etc.

Monday, July 31, 2006


Heard this at the Ohio homeschool convention...

Those of us who were part of the church in 1976 may remember that in all the excitement of the nation's bicentennial, believers were quoting the verses in Chronicles where the Lord says that if his people will turn and seek him, He will heal our land.

I do remember a lot of claiming that promise, a lot of people praying for the nation based on it. What came of it? One possibility which might have been claimed in the past is the resurgence of people of faith into conservative politics. Like many others, though, I'm somewhat disillusioned with politics these days.

What was pointed out at the homeschool conference was that the late 70s and early 80s is when the homeschool movement began... That's food for thought!

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 31 (Sorry, ladies. -- it's July 31st) verse 26

She speaks with wisdom
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Great memory verses for kids

Of course, it's important for kids to have a handle on the basic theological verses (e.g. ten commandments, 'Romans Road,' greatest commandment, etc.)

But I find that 'Mom says' isn't as effective as 'God says', nor should it be.

So, some great verses for kids to learn:

Eph 6:1 - on obeying parents
Phil. 2:14 - Do everything without complaining or arguing
Prov. 15:32 - He who ignores discipline despises himself....
Prov. 17:14 and 20:3 on quarreling
Romans 12:17 - Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
Col. 3:9 - Do not lie to each other.
James 1:19 - ... quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger...
1st Thess. 5:16-18 - Be joyful always, pray... give thanks...
Phil 4:8 - Whatever is true, noble, right, pure..... (great for beginning to teach discernment in entertainment choices)
Prov. 29:11 - A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control
Prov. 11:12 A man who lacks judgement derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue.
Rom. 8:28 - In all things God works for good...
Phil. 2:4 - Look not only to your own interests, but also to others...
Heb. 12:7 - Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.

One disadvantage

I appreciate my husband's career. He's an aerospace engineer, which means he often has interesting things to tell me about his work, and he's never been unemployed.

But... there is one disadvantage. One movement I love within the homeschooling community is a growing tendency for family businesses, and for fathers to mentor their children in their line of work.

My husband can't even take us to see his office since there's so much classified stuff going on! (I hope I'm allowed to say that....) Even if he could, it's not the sort of work you can learn through 'apprenticeship' unless you've already got a B.S. or M.S. in the subject.

Proverb of the Day

Verse 20

Do you see a man who speaks in haste?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Friday, July 28, 2006

On my own

The kids and their dad are camping, so I have the house to myself tonight. If it lasted very long, I'd start missing them all terribly, but it's nice as a rare occasion.

Proverb of the Day


A faithful man will be richly blessed,
but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.

Too easy to vote?

It seems the momentum is all toward making it as easy and painless as possible for anyone and everyone to cast a ballot...

I'm not sure I agree with that, to be honest. Wouldn't the country by better served by voters who had to educate themselves about the election and make an effort to vote, than by making it, more or less, an afterthought?

I just don't know that 'motor-voter' registration laws and the like are a wise choice. Perhaps, more accurately, I'm not sure that those for whom voting is as important a choice as picking out a stick of chewing gum will make wise choices in the ballot box.

And then where will we be?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I think my favorite musical instrument is probably the violin. I wish I were both more talented and more literate musically, so there are probably lots of other wonderful instruments I'm not remembering.

But, there is a sweetly piercing quality to the notes of a well-played and well-made violin that reminds me of times of prayer or worship when I've felt the presence of God draw near.

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 26, verses 18 & 19

Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows
is a man who deceives his neighbor and says,
"I was only joking!"

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

What to do about church?

Our dilemma:

We like our church -- it if were just my husband and I, we'd stay there quite happily. But we're not sure it's the right choice for the kids. Our kids are 11 and 13, and both are fairly strong in who they are. At this point, I'd say they're not terribly affected by peer pressure.

So, I think it's safe to say they're not being dragged down, though I'm not sure that will be the case as we continue into and through the high school years. Unfortunately, it's equally true that they're not being 'lifted up' very much either. Being a very large church, with a fair number of newer believers, and primarily public schooled kids, the aim in children and youth ministry is fairly low.

Of course, we strongly believe that the primary responsibility for teaching and training our kids in the things of God is ours, not the church's, so perhaps as long as they're not being pulled down it's o.k. if the church isn't helping with our job.

As is evident, we're trying to figure out what to do about church. I think if there were a good, largely homeschooling church closer to us rather than further, we'd probably go. But our church is farther away than we like, and the other options we've found are farther yet.

Thanks, God, for promising to guide us.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Verse 9

A generous man will himself be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor.

Where does global warming come from?

According to NASA, the sun's radiation, which is what keeps us from being a frozen block of ice like Pluto, has been steadily increasing. See

This might explain the melting ice caps (I'm referring to the ones on Mars!) Ideally, it should cause those who are willing to sacrifice the economic prosperity of millions in their attempts to prevent global warming to think twice, but that's not likely.

Friday, July 21, 2006

How TV contributes to debt and bankruptcy

The current rates of debt and the rising incidence of bankruptcies is both distressing and frightening. It would be saddening to examine the homes of the newly-declared bankrupt, and see furniture, clothing, and appliances that seem to have come from places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill, but it would make sense. "Here," we could say to ourselves, "are people who tried to be frugal, to use their money wisely, but the mountain was just too high for them to climb."

But, much of the time, that's not the case. Astonishingly, the 'bankrupt' often have homes loaded down with the latest goodies and fashions. So, I ask myself why. Why do people spend all of their money (and then some!) on things they may want, but don't really need?

The answer I came up with is television. It used to be that keeping up with the Joneses meant acquiring the same quality of goods and services as your neighbor. But your neighbor was just that: someone who had been able to afford a home in a similar price range to your own. Rarely would this stretch a family's income to the breaking point.

However, now the 'Joneses' we're keeping up with are from the whole world, and most often exist only in the mind of wealthy Hollywood types. This can and does break down budgets and probably families, too.

What a horrible little box from hell the tv often seems to be!

Proverbs for two days...

Chapter 20 for July 20, verse 17:

Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man,
but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel.

Today, Prov. 21:9

Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Big Dig

Having lived in the Boston area for over 13 years, I am sympathetic to the plight of commuters after road closures due to problems with the Big Dig.

But I'm not surprised. One of the things which was so offensive about living there was the rampant corruption among elected officials; another was the utter foolishness of the choices made by the majority of voters.

As the project drew on, and the years which is was late in completion piled up almost as fast as the millions of dollars it was overbudget, it was clear that there were a lot of fingers trying to get into that pie.

Again, I'm not surprised. One of the reasons I believe in small government is that it seems that whenever the money pot gets big enough, the greedy and the thieves find a way to get at it. Large bureaucracies only make it easier.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Knowledge, Foolishness, Wisdom

Knowledge directed by the fear of the Lord leads to wisdom.
(See Proverbs 1)

Knowledge which defies or denies God leads to foolishness.
(Go to any of the ivory tower type campuses and have the professors explain how, according to their postmodern worldview, truth is just a socially constructed concept, and "What's true for you isn't necessarily true for everyone." Huh?)

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 19:11

A man's wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

David and Goliath

Of course every Sunday School child knows the story of David and Goliath: David, a young Israeli fights the overwhelming champion of the Palestinians... oops, make that Philistines, and defeats him with God's help.

Why were they having to fight for their land so many generations after coming to Promised Land? Here are the instructions they were given: "When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you....But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you live." (Numbers 13: 52, 55)

I guess the consequences of disobedience can last a long time.

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 18:13

He who answers before listening--
that is is folly and his shame.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Crazy Pastor Doings

Sometimes our pastor pushes the envelope, but I love it!

Yesterday, he preached about Joshua and the battle of Jericho--a very effective sermon with the main point being that, instead of asking God to work out our plans, we should ask Him what our part is in His plan.

Illustrating how we, like the men of Israel, often feel bewilderment and frustration with God's plan, Pastor Joe called all the men 21 and older to line up along the walls of the sanctuary, and then, after telling the women that they'd return in 6 minutes, he led them in a march around the outside of the building.

This, of course, during the heat wave! I think the men got the point he intended; some of them (not knowing yet the point of the sermon) were heard to ask why they were doing such a thing.

The women got a different point. It's hard to explain, but I think most of us acquired a more vivid appreciation than is normal in modern America for the role of men as protectors and warriors.

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 17, verse 9

He who covers over an offense promotes love,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Highlights of our trip

All four of us seem to have a different 'favorite' part of the trip. Mine is unmistakable -- the birthday party which began it all... Leaving here on a Thursday, we drove eleven hours that day and the next, and about three on Saturday, rushing to get to Denver before noon for my grandmother's birthday party.

We made it on time, but after checking into our hotel and changing clothes, we were among the last to arrive. For me, the best part of the trip was that party. I walked in and immediately saw and greeted my grandma, but after that, it was as if every direction my head turned and every place my eyes focussed, I saw people coming over to hug me and say hi, most of which I hadn't seen in years, and some in more than a decade. After my grandma, I saw my parents, my sisters, aunts and an uncle, cousins, cousins, and more cousins, a niece, nephew and even a 'grand-niece' if there is such a thing.

I'm still smiling at the memory!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 15:17

Better a meal of vegetables where there is love,
than a fattened calf with hatred.

Our trip in a nutshell....

-5210 miles
-16 days
-9 states (including Ohio, which we had to drive most of the way across twice!)
-6 campgrounds
-3 hotels
-1 night at my sister's house

I'm glad we got home on a Friday so we have the weekend to unpack and REST!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Everything's ready! 4500 miles, 6 campgrounds, 3 hotels, Grandma's birthday, Christian publishers' conference... here we come!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 27, verse 7

He who is full loathes honey,
but to the hungry, even what is bitter tastes sweet.

Kids' Books

I find so many of the books for kids, especially teens, to be very disturbing. It reminds me of the school of painting -- I think in the early 20th century -- which consisted of painting real life pictures of the worst aspects of life: streets full of trash and the wrecks of human lives. I think it was called naturalism.

Perhaps the authors of these books have no hope, and so they're describing a world with no hope, but it sure is depressing. I just read a news article saying that unprecedented numbers of freshmen come into college already on anti-depressants and other psychotropic drugs. Connection, anyone?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 26:23

Like a coating of glaze over earthenware
are fervent lips with an evil heart.

God's still faithful!

Over the last year, I've begun to have doubts about my ability to continue homeschooling as my oldest approaches high school. I was especially concerned with math and literary criticism. For math, I had an excellent curriculum (Singapore's New Elementary Maths) but as it's designed for math teachers, I was finding myself getting in over my head.

So at the homeschool conference last weekend, I went to a presentation on Videotext Algebra... I think it will be about as good as Singapore, but doesn't require me to fill in gaps left by the text. I'm a little sad at abandoning Singapore, but it just wasn't working anymore. (Anyone want to buy my books?)

My real find was an author named James Stobaugh, who writes Jr. Hi and High School level texts which are so good in so many ways for us that I don't even know how to begin to describe them.

Thank you, God!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Verse 11

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Homeschool Conference

This weekend is the CHEO conference. I think CHEO stands for Christian Home Educators of Ohio. It's interesting to see how my purposes and goals have changed over the years of attending these conferences; first, MassHOPE in Massachusetts, and now CHEO in Ohio.

Initially, of course, I was intimidated and nervous about this idea of homeschooling and was just looking for help. I went to every workshop that seemed even remotely to offer it, and wandered around the exhibit hall in a daze. I didn't even know what to look for.

Then, for many years, I went primarily to visit the exhibit hall. I was looking to buy curriculum without having to pay shipping, and occasionally looking for a new approach to some subject I wasn't comfortable with in my current approach.

Now, it's as if I've gone full circle. My oldest will be in 8th grade this year, and in one year I've got to be doing the high school thing. Once again, I'm nervous, intimidated, and just looking for help. I'll be going to workshops looking for help; I'll be scouring the exhibit hall looking for help; maybe I'll just collar people in the hallways... (OK, I'm kidding about the last.)

So, hopefully I'll be able to report that I had great success, and am no longer quite so nervous about it all!

Proverb of the Day

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Charity vs. Love

In places where the old KJV version used the word 'charity' newer versions now use the word 'love.' The word charity has, of course, changed meaning from 'a benevolent goodwill toward humanity' to the acts of giving which proceed from that goodwill.

The word used by the newer versions of the Bible, love, doesn't really work as well. Charity implied a lack of self-interest which the world love, as it is commonly used and understood in our society definitely does not imply.

And that's the real problem. We don't have a word commonly used in English which means what the old definition of charity meant: a focused goodwill toward others, with no self-interest.

And if we have no word for something, how far are we from having no concept of it either?

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 21, verse 9

Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

On being a reserved person

I've always thought of myself as open and friendly, and it's true... up to a point. Just in the last few weeks, I've come to realize that my openness hits a barrier not too far below the surface. I think this isn't what the Lord wants, but I'm not sure what to do about it yet.

Today I realized another side of this. With the rare exception of my husband, I won't cry in front of people, not even on the phone, which means that whenever something is really upsetting me, I can't really talk to anyone about it, because of course, if I talk about it, I'll start crying.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Mother, Child, Womb???

Fingerprints of feminists are all over that one!

In case you didn't see the news reports, the gender-obsessed folks are offended by 'Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,' so the poor misguided PCUSA (PC can stand for Presbyterian Church or Politically Correct - no real difference between the two) offered them the above abomination as an alternative.

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 20, verse 9

Who can say, "I have kept my heart pure.
I am clean and without sin"?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

A long time ago, probably back in high school, I remember someone telling a youth group that people's first understanding of God as a Father was deeply coloured by their experiences with their own fathers.

For some, it became a hurdle they had to surmount before they could trust in the father heart of God. I was grateful then, and am even more so now, that my father made it easy to understand, believe in, and rely on God's love.

Because my father disciplined me when I needed it, and yet showed in a myriad of ways his love and concern, I could understand that when God allowed painful or difficult circumstances in my life, it didn't mean that He doesn't love me.

Because one of my dad's characteristics was always that of creatively looking for and finding fun things to do, I understood that God's love isn't passive: He's actively looking for ways to bless me.

I'm grateful to God for giving me a wonderful dad, and I'm grateful to my dad for being such a good picture of the father heart of God.

Almost there

I have to be ready for this conference before we leave on our vacation in 11 days... That's involved formatting my manuscript with double spacing and such the way publishers like it, writing a cover letter, and writing a synopsis for the sequel.

It's finally done, so now I just need to get it all printed up. I've decided that it won't cost much more to just have it printed than use the toner and ink on my ancient 12 year old printer.

Proverb of the day

verse 9

One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.

Jacob's Blessings

Our pastor said something interesting today... The sermon was about Jacob wrestling with God. When Jacob asks God to bless him, he's asked, "What is your name?" I've heard before, and it was mentioned again today, that there was some confession involved in his answer... his name means deceiver and supplanter, and that is how he'd lived his life. However, today our pastor also pointed out that the last time he'd gotten a blessing, Jacob had lied about his name... saying that he was Esau in order to steal the blessing. I found that pretty interesting.

As an aside, he had his son come up on the stage. Joe (the pastor) isn't a wimpy guy or anything, but his college-age son is pretty big and pretty strong. So the kid stands behind his dad and grabs him from behind, leaving Joe unable to do much of anything except thrash his legs around. I think his point was that was Jacob's strength in relation to God's, but it got a bit lost in the general hilarity.

I looked at my 13 year old son, who's small for his age, and then at his 6'1" dad, and tried to imagine the coming role reversal. It's pretty weird!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 16

A man plans his course,
but the Lord determines his steps.

Not exactly a fortune cookie

With the kids away overnight, my husband and I went out to Chinese food, which we love and they don't... After living in northeast Ohio for almost three years, we finally found a decent Chinese place! Yippee!

There were lots of things I didn't like about the Boston area, but there were several good Chinese restaurants there, without even having to go downtown.

Fortune cookies have been changing, of course. Now you see 'lucky' numbers on them, for the ubiquitous lotteries, I guess. Occasionally, and more interestingly, they'll have phonetically rendered Chinese phrases. But last night there were no cheesy fortunes. They were... proverb cookies! With my fondness for proverbs, I was impressed. They weren't biblical proverbs, of course, but there truly is only one source of true wisdom.

My cookie said, "He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still." It reminds me of a biblical proverb which says that self-control is better than taking a city.

Doug's said, "Character cannot be purchased, bargained for, inherited, rented, or imported from afar." True, but unfortunately, these days character isn't valued much.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Now I begin to be a disciple

That's what Ignatius said as he was on his way to Rome to be executed for his faith. He also requested that the Christians in Rome do nothing to hinder him from martyrdom, and said of the lions that he would entice them to devour him quickly, but if they would be afraid of him as of some they did not touch, he would force them.

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 15:1

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

Bugs vs. insects

In light of all the wonderfully disgusting things the kids have been seeing at their nature camp this week, we had a discussion in the car as to whether bugs are the same as insects, or a subset or superset of them. I said bugs are small, yucky living creatures, and being the least science-minded in my family, I'm not sure what constitutes an insect. My kids quickly left me behind with a discussion of arachnids and arthopods, which aren't insects, but might include some bugs among them...

Speaking of yucky things, one of the highlights of their camp so far has been watching a snake eat a living frog... seeing the legs hanging out of its mouth, kicking, and the lump in the snakes body still moving for a few moments.

YUCK, YUCK, YUCK! That has to be among the things creation is groaning about as it, too, waits for redemption.

This week

You'd think with the kids gone from 9-4 every day this week, I'd have more, not less time to devote to the blog....

The main reason that's not been the case is that I've used to time to get ready for our trip in a couple of weeks. Besides planning driving distances and stopping places each day, etc. etc., I've been working on a synopsis for my book and cleaning up the manuscript font, spacing, and such. While we're out west, I'm attending a conference where I hope to be able to present it to publishers.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Proverb of the Day

I missed yesterday... ooops

Chapter 12, verse 1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid.

Double minded

I dropped off my kids this morning at the Hiram College Nature Camp... which I've heard only good things about, BUT... Although they're 11 and 13, although I've got more tasks to fill the time while they're gone than are possible without a slight miracle.... driving away was a little difficult.

I've been planning all the things I'm going to get done while they're gone this week, but I'm just not used to them being away like this...

Oh, well, I'll do my proverb, and then get to it!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 10:5

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

Chapter 10

I always feel a sense of relief on the 10th day of the month -- not that I don't like the first nine chapters of Proverbs, but they don't seem as meaningful to me as the rest.

Probably, that just means that I haven't yet grasped the true meaning and importance of those chapters.

A life of service and sacrifice

Paul refers to being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from the Philippians' faith.

That phrase has stuck with me, and one of my goals is to learn to live a life of sacrifice and service. I've had my eyes opened recently to better understand how God desires for me to do so.

As any wife and mother knows, much of our day-to-day activities can seem... well, dull and unrewarding? Recently, I came to the realization that my attitude toward yet more cleaning, cooking, laundry and grocery shopping wasn't exactly 'rejoicing in all things.'

God, in his gentle and gracious way, spoke a word of conviction to me, and helped me understand that the very things I was grumbling about are his blessing to me -- a blessing because I know how he wants me to serve today. I've heard many people agonizing over not knowing what God wants them to do, and I've had great concern about it at times in the past myself.

So, when I feel myself being inclined to grumble over aspects of my life, I'm trying to learn to remind myself that 'this is how God wants me to serve today,' and to be thankful for the knowledge.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Proverb of the Day


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Been given much?

Different understandings of Luke 12:48, in which Jesus says, "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded."

A communist: From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded by the government and redistributed to whoever the government is currently in favor of.... but mostly to itself.

An American: From everyone who has been given much, much vacation and leisure hours will be demanded to properly enjoy it all.

A liberal: From everyone who has been given much, much guilt and expressions of hatred for oppression and unfairness will be demanded.

A Christian: From everyone who has been given much (this means me), much will be demanded, therefore I ought to freely and joyfully give as the Macedonian churches, 'as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.'

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 7:2

Keep my commands and you will live;
guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.

Dented Soap

I don't know if I'm clumsy or what, but it seems like the first time I ever use a new bar of soap in the shower, I drop the thing, and it gets a big dent in one of the corners. Feels rather Charlie Brown-like...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 6, verse 23b

The corrections of discipline are the way to life.

From Foxe's Book of Martyrs

Foxe pointed out two interesting parallels:

First, the Roman Senate rejected the deity of Jesus Christ when Tiberius Caesar brought information he'd received in letters from Pontius Pilate about Jesus' life, miracles, death, and resurrection. Jesus was rejected on the grounds that people were choosing to believe in his divinity without it having been first proclaimed by the Senate - a violation of Roman law. The divinity of the emperors was duly proclaimed by said Senate.

Second, the Jewish leaders rejected Christ's kingship, saying, "We have no king but Caesar."

In the first case, Tiberius, who'd been a moderate, temperate emperor, became later a tyrant, and was proceeded by tyrants even nastier, so that the list of decent emperors for the next 300 years prior to Constantine is short, and grows even shorter if you look for decent, competent men. (Make that man - Marcus Aurelius may be the only one, although Diocletian tried.)

In the second case, within 40 years, the Caesars chosen by Jewish leaders instead of the True King attacked their city, razed their temple, and killed thousands of their people....

Moral of the story: Reject Christ at your peril.


Why do so many of my 'news' sources on the internet tell me about celebrities' love lives and unfortunate babies? I don't want to know who these people are!

Why does anyone want to know about them?

Why don't those two uber-rich folks give their money to charity, instead of having the unmitigated gall and arrogance to sell their baby photos, proceeds to be given to charity?


Monday, June 05, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Prov. 5:21

A man's ways are in full view of the Lord,
and he examines all his paths.

Age of Opportunity, by Paul David Tripp

Along with Shepherding a Child's Heart, by his brother, Tedd Tripp, Age of Opportunity is one of the best books for parents that I've ever read. Our cell group is studying it, and last night discussed chapter 10, which talks about the effect of culture (the world) on our families and children.

Tripp describes two families, one on each extreme of engaging/disengaging the culture. One keeps all 'worldiness' out, while the other is virtually undetectible from the culture at large. I definitely lean more toward the first variety, but hopefully without making the error he points out, that of leaving the impression on my kids that evil is outside us, as opposed to rooted in the sinful nature inside us.

What's interesting is that this morning I was reading Matthew 5, in which Jesus refers to salt losing its saltiness and then to lighting a lamp and putting it under a bushel. It occurs to me that Tripp's fictional families could be described in those terms as well. The family whose children live firmly in the world are clearly in danger of losing their saltiness, while those who avoid the culture to 'avoid being polluted by the world' -James 2?- are in danger of putting a bushel over their light.

Testing Week

Last week was our final week of our normal school schedule, and this week the kids will be taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. In Ohio, you have the choice of taking standardized tests or submitting a portfolio of your child's work to certified teacher who then signs a statement indicating that the child is working at grade level.

Since we moved here in 2003, I've chosen the first option. One reason is that the information you glean about your child from the standardized test scores can be occasionally helpful. However, for me the greater reason is that I find the idea offensive that someone who was an education major in college and takes additional education classes occasionally is more qualified to assess their educational progress than I, who lives, works, and breathes these kids' education.

The most common choices for standardized tests are the Iowa and Stanford achievement tests. I chose Iowa initially because it allows the parent to test at home, and that seemed much more convenient, especially because at the time we were just moving to Ohio. I've stayed with it largely because it's helpful to compare scores year to year, but the comparison would be meaningless if the tests were different. I like the Iowa, however; they have a good scoring method.

NOW, before anyone questions how the tests can be valid when I give them myself, let me say this: I don't even look at the test booklet until the day of the test, to make sure I don't happen upon something that I don't think we've covered and allow it to affect what/how I teach them. And in no way do I help them during the test. Our scores are completely valid, though I admit the opportunity is there for those who lack integrity to cheat.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Proverb of the day

Proverbs 4:18

The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

One thing we learn from being parents...

Perhaps one of the reasons God gives us children is so that we won't take it for granted that he continually extends love and forgiveness to us, his incessantly erring and unlovely children.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Proverb of the day

Chapter 3, verse 7

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and turn away from evil.

End of the school year!

Yesterday was our last day of our normal school subjects! I guess we're not entirely done, since next week we're taking the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, but it's different enough that I feel like we're finally finished with school. I think homeschool moms look forward to summer more than most moms....

The following week the kids are going to a science/nature camp at Hiram College. Five days of slopping around in marshes and muck.... yippee! (Better them than me. I'm not looking forward to the laundry, but I think I prefer doing the laundry than doing the slopping around part....

Friday, June 02, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 2:6

For the Lord gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Advice for young moms

Three things I've learned along the way...

1) It's all grace... When I try to be a good mom in my own strength and ability, I'm an abject failure. But when I trust and lean on God's strength, his grace is indeed sufficient. Thirteen years ago, when my first was an infant, I was counting the years 'til I could send him to kindergarten and get my life back. I could never have looked forward and imagined that I'd be finishing my 8th year of homeschooling... (Here's a bonus lesson- don't look forward or backward too much. Just put one foot in front of the the other!)

2) Find companions. Since we no longer have moms, sisters, and grandmas living in the same house or at least within a short walk, and few of us are lucky enough to have like-minded neighbors, you'll need to make a special effort. Find a MOPS group, or some other group for new moms and make attendance a priority. Sometimes the toughest days can be lightened just by knowing you're not the only one who feels that way!

3) Finally, believe it or not, this is just a season of your life. Two events helped me understand that. First, one Halloween I heard a child outside complaining at his father's insistence on accompanying him trick-or-treating. He didn't seem much older than my own son, but I couldn't imagine Tim (maybe 6-7 at the time) rejecting our company, especially walking down a dark street at night! And for the first time, I wasn't so eager for him to grow up and away from us. Second, watching my mother-in-law go through the lonely journey of widowhood made me aware of how much what felt to me at times like an excess of love and family togetherness would be a such a blessing to her. So, hang in there, and don't give into the temptation to quit and find an easier road. I'm still believing and trusting that, in the end, it will be well worth the years of sacrifice.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Prov. 1:1-2

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;

May's Average Temperature

O.K., I finally get it. When the paper says the average temperature for May is 70 degrees, it means that half the month is 50, and the other half is 90!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ted Kennedy and Proverbs 31

Reading Proverbs 31 this morning, I was thinking of Ted Kennedy as I read the first nine verses...

He's not a king, but is a ruler of sorts, in the American fashion, and it occurred to me that he might do well to heed parts of it... Verse 3: "Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings." Also, verse 4: "It is not for drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer..."

I think Sen. Kennedy would claim that he does the latter verses in this section: speaking up for the rights of the poor and those who can't speak for themselves (except the unborn, that is!) It's made me think a little as to what 'rights' were being referred to in Proverbs 31:8.

Postscript: Since Proverbs 31 is primarily known for its description of the impossibly virtuous woman, I imagine the title of this piece could raise eyebrows... ; )

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 31:8

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute

The Choice

O, receive the gentle, humble King of Kings,
and receive all that is good;

Or, reject the terrible, sovereign Lord of Lords,
and by Him be rejected.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Response to something Rush said today

Rush seemed to imply inside knowledge suggesting that the White House strategy is to snatch portions of each of the key Democratic voting blocs... and that this explains, at least partly, the administration's tactics on immigration.

The idea is that they want to make the GOP stronger by doing things which appeal to Democrats, I guess. Three thoughts: 1) Who wants a GOP that appeals to Democrats? 2) It won't work -- they'll lose at least as many voters as they'll gain, and 3) I thought they were supposed to pick their policies for the good of the country, not the party.


Proverb of the Day

Prov. 30:8-9

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;

Give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise I may have too much and disown you
and say, "Who is the Lord?"
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

Ohio weather this year

I have always resisted running either heat or AC in (supposedly) mild weather months like May, and also resisted turning one of them on until after the other had been off for months...

Well, this May, I had to turn the heat back on a few weeks ago when we were getting into the 30s at night, only only the 50s-low 60s during the day. Now it's in the upper 80s and we're sweltering. I haven't given into the temptation to push the AC button yet, but I'm weakening...

This on top of gas prices, we don't need!

Monday, May 29, 2006

DaVinci Code lies

Just one quick note on a blatant falsehood in the book:

The so-called expert smugly informs one of the other characters that Jesus didn't claim to be divine, his followers didn't believe he was divine, and he only gained divine status when the Emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicea to discuss it and "by a close vote," as Brown's expert says, the Council agreed to consider him so.

However, anyone with internet access can discover that the vote in Nicea was not WHETHER Jesus was divine, but if he was divine from eternity, or only from his incarnation. And the "close" vote? 300-2, that Jesus was eternally pre-existent with the Father.

More on the rest later....

Proverbs for 2 days

Better a poor man whose walk is blameless,
than a rich man whose ways are perverse.

Whoever flatters his neighbor
is spreading a net for his feet.

Memorial Day Parade

I was impressed at the turnout for our little Memorial Day parade. It drew from 3 very small towns and one larger one that form a school district together. The parade route was lined with people as far as I could see in both directions.

It was very well done; veterans at the front, an excellent representation of the tomb of the unknown soldier, police and firemen, the highschool marching band, boy and girl scouts, and near the end, trucks full of kids representing every group imaginable -- all flinging candy at us. The kids, needless to say, were quite pleased.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 27, verse 1

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Yankees, anyone?

I'm somewhat of a sports fan, at least I really enjoy baseball and football. My daughter, on the other hand, isn't. She enjoys going to the local minor league games, but takes the idea of 'winning not being the important thing' a bit farther than I do. She scolds me for expressing disappointment when the Indians or Red Sox lose.

She also takes great joy in applying the scriptural admonition to have "malice toward none" to my feelings about the New York Yankees. This morning I had to follow my husband out of the room and whisper my glee that they lost to the Kansas City Royals (currently the worst team in either league)...

Friday, May 26, 2006

Sesame Street isn't good for kids

When people discuss the problem of kids watching too much t.v., there always seems to be an assumption that Sesame Street is fine. I beg to differ....

What does a child see when they watch Sesame Street -- and most other so-called educational programming? The biggest problem is that the picture and topic change so frequently that it's as if they're (unintentionally) programming attention deficit disorder into these kids. The music is frenetic teeny bop rock, and colors and images flash across the screen for a second or two, and then change.

How are we to expect kids to go from that to sitting still, listening to a teacher with no flashing images, exciting music or special effects graphics?

Mr. Roger's Neighborhood is one of the few shows that move slowly enough to avoid contributing to the epidemic of ADD in this country. I'd include Barney, Theodore Tugboat, and Thomas the Tank Engine as some of the few harmless shows, also, from what I remember.

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 26:14

As a door turns on its hinges,
so a sluggard turns on his bed.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Why American students lag behind

According to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today, American students do poorly in science compared to the rest of the developed world:

This is also true for math. What's interesting is that the longer American kids stay in the government schools (aka public schools) the worse they fare compared to students in other countries. Results of these studies can be found here: (I found it under Overheads.)

A couple of reasons: America is one of the few developed countries which allow the education of our children to be controlled by a government/union monopoly; also, we are more interested in how kids 'feel' about school than in whether they are receiving an excellent education. One quick piece of evidence... Eighth grade science classes were videoed in the US and in countries with high achieving students. Games and entertainment occupied a much higher percentage of time in the US classes.

As a homeschooling mom searching for curriculum for my kids, I have to wade through lots of curricula full of fun games to find quality material that just teaches without trying to entertain.

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 25, verse 9-10

If you argue your case with a neighbor,
do not betray another man's confidence,
or he who hears it may shame you,
and you will never lose your bad reputation.

Idol - Living the American Dream?

A confession first: I've never watched the show American Idol, and I'm not actually interested in who wins or loses, BUT, the guy's face is all over the news websites so I kept seeing this quote from him: "I'm living the American dream!"

The American dream? Since when is the American dream being rich and famous? I thought the American dream was freedom and the opportunity to make as much of yourself as possible. Fame and wealth are actually somewhat un-American, since the whole concept of elites in society is what we rejected when we left Europe, with its nobles and aristocracy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Our Celebrity Culture

People used to value heroes: men and women who make the world a better place as a result of the courage and personal virtue. Now it seems that we value those who make the world a more vulgar place as a result of their immorality and lack of virtue.

Those who worship at the altar of the latest actors and musicians should think hard about the proverbs below.

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 24:1

Do not envy wicked men,
do not desire their company.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 23:3

Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
have the wisdom to show restraint.

School's almost over

One big difference between moms who homeschool and those who don't....

Homeschooling moms are often at least as eager as most kids for school to be over!

Monday, May 22, 2006

I've always wondered...

... if fiction writers plan out their whole plot and then start writing, or if they just figure it out as they go along. For me, at least, it has definitely been a case of figuring it out as I go along. In my vast experience of one book written and one in process, I start with a sense of where I want to end up, and perhaps a few key scenes in mind. After that, it almost feels more like finding the story than creating it. And, to my surprise, it's FUN!

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 22:9

A generous man will himself be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hiking boots

So yesterday I bought my first pair of hiking boots. We're taking a trip out west this summer, which will include hiking at the Grand Canyon. Now, to break them in, we're going for a hike in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, which is wonderfully close by.

Until we moved here, all I knew about the Cuyahoga River was that it had caught fire some time in the 70s. I was quite surprised to see how beautiful it's become.

Proverb of the day

Chapter 21, verse 5

The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.

Why kids program our VCRs

I think I've figured out at least part of the phenomenon wherein intelligent, competent adults ask their kids to handle certain technological tasks...

A few months ago when we finally got a DVD player, my husband set it up, and my 13 year old son read all the manuals and played with it constantly to learn all about how it works. I, on the other hand, don't have time and couldn't care less about learning how the thing works. Thus, when it came time to watch a DVD, it was, "Here, Tim, turn this on for me, o.k.?"

I guess it's otherwise known as the path of least resistance.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 19, verse 3

A man's own folly ruins his life,
yet his heart rages against the Lord.

Learning to Like Clouds

For the last three years (almost) I have lived near Cleveland, Ohio, which is the 3rd cloudiest region in the U.S. A few months before moving here, I got a hint of that fact from my mother-in-law. We were living near Boston at the time, and she came to visit us in February. I noticed the frequency and intensity with which she commented how wonderful the sunny days were. I realized then that she hadn't seen the sun in awhile!

In a place with so many clouds, I'm coming to love the complexity of their layered patterns. Clouds of differing shades of gray, white, even hints of blue, purple and green, and with widely varying textures pile up in front of and around each other to make beautiful mosaics.

So, I'm learning to like clouds...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Proverb of the Day

Two since they're related....

Proverbs 18:2

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding,
but delights in airing his own opinions.

18: 13

He who answers before listening--
this is his folly and his shame.

Trying to create a website

I'm not sure which is more difficult; the building of the website or trying to figure out what to put in it. I've been trying to learn HTML, just for fun really, but I think I'll probably end up using the tools that do it for you. I guess I'm just lazy!

I'll make a link when I get it going.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Miss Marple

I wonder if I could write a murder mystery? Thus far, I've confined myself to the historical fiction genre. I wish I could, however, because I think the world needs another delightful old lady detective. I have the character fairly well formed in my head. Unlike Miss Marple, mine wouldn't be a spinster, but a widowed grandmother, with some bright kids who help her solve mysteries...

One concern is my ability to come up with the requisite plot twists and turns, and the other whether writing about murder is consistent with Philippians 4:8, "Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."

Of course, I read them, so perhaps its straining a gnat and swallowing a camel to say that perhaps I shouldn't write them.

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 17:1

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

C.S. Lewis

At the moment, Lewis is more popularly known for his Narnia works, but of his fiction, I like the Space Trilogy better. I'm amazed at his foresight in predicting today's liberals, even writing in the early 1940s.

My comment today has to do with one scene from the final book, That Hideous Strength. In it, Merlin (returned from Druidic times) sees Jane, a young, recently married woman, and refers to her as the "falsest lady of any at this time alive." His reason is that by practicing birth control, she has prevented conception of "a child by whom the enemies should have been put out of Logres for a thousand years." (He meant a child who'd have been a great asset in the fight of good against evil.) He said further that, "For a hundred generations in two lines the begetting of this child was prepared..."

Lewis was Anglican, not Catholic (I'm assuming this because he was British, and they got rid of most of their Catholics by one means or another!) The Anglicans have not taken a stand on birth control (or much of anything else, especially lately!) but it seems as if he were against it.

I have to say, it certainly seems the more 'Christian' way -- to put your trust completely in God's sovereignty and will for such a matter, but it's beyond me to do so. I suppose Merlin would wish to have my 'head cut from my shoulders,' also.

Proverb of the Day

Prov. 16:4

The Lord works out everything for his own ends,
even the wicked for a day of disaster.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Parenting without 'harsh words'

The quotes around 'harsh words' in the title are because it was the topic of today's Proverb -- see posting below this one.

It got me thinking. What is it that makes it so difficult to parent without raising your voice or speaking in anger? (There's a book I want to read but haven't yet, called "Homeschooling with a Gentle and Quiet Spirit" by Terri Maxwell. (I may have somewhat butchered title and/or author.)

But without reading the book, I think the cause of much 'angry parenting' comes down to a few things. First, and probably primarily, a lack of understanding of true discipline. Discipline is NOT: When my kids make me mad enough, I'll punish them. It is also NOT: I'll tell them again and again, ignoring their disobedience, until I finally lose my temper and yell.

Discipline IS: 1) Making sure the expected standards are understood by gentle, persistent instruction; 2) Immediately giving age-appropriate and situation-appropriate consequences for EVERY violation of standards**. (Caveat: yes, I know the goal of disciplining EVERY time is pathetically unattainable, but you'll come closer if you have the goal than if you don't!) Part of the discipline should be requiring any necessary apologies; and 3) following up the discipline with expressing your love and forgiveness for the wrong they've done.

How does this keep a parent from being an angry parent? The anger that results from allowing a child to disobey and disobey and disobey until you finally lose your temper is eliminated if the disobedience is dealt with gently and firmly the first time.

The other issues which can bring up parental anger are a lack of patience and understanding with the fact that sometimes, the way children behave isn't bad, but it is irritating to adults. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with it, as long as they're not being ill-mannered. (It's okay to explain after the umpteenth "Look at me!" that it's not good manners to demand constant attention and you're done looking for now. It also helps them begin to grasp that they're not the center of attention.)

I may follow up with more later. See the note below on what I meant by age/situation appropriateness.

**By age-appropriate, I mean something that will prove effective without being overly harsh. For example, don't tell a two-year old who just hit a sibling, "You can't have dessert tonight." That's age-inappropriate because a 2 yr. old can't think that far in advance to care about dessert tonight, and situation-inappropriate because dessert has nothing to do with hitting a brother.

Proverb of the Day

Chapter 15, verse 1

A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

What to do on Election Day?

O.K., I know November is quite a ways away, but I'm still so frustrated with the primary process that I'm thinking about it now. This is probably a quandry with which left and right can both identify!

Here's the question: Since it's all but impossible to defeat an incumbent Senator or Representative in the primary, do you hold your nose and vote for them in the fall, or do you try to unseat them and hope for a better candidate to win the next primary?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Family is a good thing

After living in Massachusetts for 13 years, and having to drive 9-10 hours to the nearest family members -- that was my parents in the DC area, and it took driving through NYC to get there, blech! -- we have been happily ensconced in Northeast Ohio for the last 3 years.

My husband's mom and three of his brothers' families are within 30 minutes. Of course, this is only a good thing because I am blessed to have such terrific in-laws.

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 14:1

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Too Much Stuff!

Why do we Americans keep gathering more and more and more stuff??? We don't need it. Often, half or more of it gets put away and forgotten or, at best, rarely used. We fill up garages and storage units, and someday, our children and grandchildren have to go through it all, throwing huge amounts of it away, and trying to figure out who wants or can use the rest.

Surely there is a better use of our remarkable prosperity than this?

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 13:4

The sluggard craves and gets nothing,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Why Proverbs?

Chapter One of Proverbs says that the purpose of the book is for 'attaining wisdom and discipline.' I've read Proverbs off and on since my teens... after all it's supposed to have been written by the wisest man who ever lived.

In a sense, as I read them in my younger years, I was standing alongside, reading and somewhat smugly agreeing, "Oh yes, this is wise. I agree." About ten years ago, I finally realized that I was lacking in wisdom and discipline, and began taking a different approach to reading Proverbs. Instead of standing alongside and reading with a critic's interest, I asked God to use it to change me, and began reading with an eye more critical to myself than the text.

What a difference it made! Very soon, I realized that many of the passages about 'the fool' (and there are a lot) were actually describing me. The first one to open my eyes was today's proverb below. These weren't pleasant revelations, but it was the beginning of a real change for the better in my life and primarily in me.

So, I'm going to continue sharing some of the wisdom in Proverbs each day.

Proverb of the Day

Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool seems right to him,
but a wise man listens to advice.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Proverb of the Day

From the 11th chapter of Proverbs, verse 2:
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom."

Kids' Birthday Cards

My niece is turning 5 this week, so I went to Walmart to buy her a birthday card last night. Have you ever tried to find a birthday card that doesn't send one of the following messages?

You're special! (Well, no. Actually, we're all pretty much in the same boat.)

You deserve to be spoiled rotten just because it's your birthday! (Again, no.)

There is no higher goal in life than to have fun and get more stuff! (This, alas, seems to be all that's left of the once-noble American Dream.)

Party! Party! Party! (No comment needed, I hope.)

What about a card that expresses love for the child, and encourages them to grow in goodness as they grow in age? Or a card that wishes a joyful day for the child and his family? Why must birthday cards encourage the innate self-centeredness of children instead of urging them toward a better path?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gospel of Judas

It's interesting to note what was said about the 'gospel of Judas' by one who was considered a disciple of the apostles themselves. Irenaeus, one of the most prominent Christian writers of the second century, detailed some of the teachings of Gnostics of his day, and had this to say about the proponents: "They produce a fictitious history of this kind, which they style the Gospel of Judas."