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!