Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
My Mom is here visiting, so we've been doing so many things...went to see the Kit Kittridge movie (I think I cried about five times...it was so sweet), played at Wonderscope Children's Museum, took all the kids to the dollar movie this morning, played games with Grandma and showed her all our cool VBS moves, and Rowan and Joseph and Grandma have played 'Babies'--imaginative play of choice--many times. Kevin and I've gone out to eat several times and enjoyed a nice walk around the new lake that just opened near our house. As I write this, Mom and Keely are cooking up a surprise in the kitchen. What fun days with Grandma! (Hope Mom will forgive me for posting the top picture...she has on no makeup as it was taken early this morning, but I think it's a beautiful picture!)
Friday, July 25, 2008
And they told of strange and wondrous things that greeted the news of the Child's journey. Around the world, global temperatures began to decline, and the ocean levels fell and the great warming was over.
The Great Prophet Algore of Nobel and Oscar, who many had believed was the anointed one, smiled and told his followers that the Child was the one generations had been waiting for.
And there were other wonderful signs. In the city of the Street at the Wall, spreads on interbank interest rates dropped like manna from Heaven and rates on credit default swaps fell to the ground as dead birds from the almond tree, and the people who had lived in foreclosure were able to borrow again..."
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
On another note, we are so excited that after two weeks of cruising in the gas-thirsty mega-van, Kevin has bought a car! Yay! It was really neat to see how the Lord answered this prayer. Last Friday, Kevin and I were both praying that we might be able to find the right car through someone that we know. Kevin had been spending lots of time searching for cars and was a little discouraged/uneasy about the results. Buying from someone we knew just seemed so much safer, as was our experience when we bought the Miata from friends who were moving. Not to mention that your options are narrowed greatly when you have a set amount of money to work with and are committed to paying cash. That very morning Kevin got a phone call from his friend Doug, whose co-worker was selling a Honda Civic.
The very car that we'd been hoping for because of its excellent gas mileage. At a price that fit our budget.
We've had it checked out by a mechanic and it only needs a couple of minor things done. The tinting is bad and it has some ugly decals on it, but nothing we can't get fixed.
So, praise to our Heavenly Father, Who knows us intimately and gives good gifts to His children.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Annesley is unimpressed with rice cereal. I cannot get this child to eat it! I'm thinking of skipping it altogether and trying sweet potatoes or something instead.
Good thing her bib is long. It makes a nice shield for all the cereal she was spitting in my direction.
1. I am a very lazy reader. The flowery and antiquated language in this book requires discipline for me to focus on.
2. I don't quite know what to make of Brianerd's 'melancholy'. Is this depression, or was this man so aware of his own sinfulness that it practically paralyzed him at times? Should we be more like this? I'm wrestling with this one...I know I don't see my own heart as it truly is: wicked and sinful apart from the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. But, I don't think that God's desire is for us (Christians) to be so focused on our own wickedness so as to be in almost constant turmoil and despair. I want your thoughts on this. I'm not sure what to make of it. Comment away!
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
"[Woman is surrounded] with very young children, who require to be taught not so much anything as everything. Babies need not to be taught a trade, but to be introduced to a world. To put the matter shortly, woman is generally shut up in a house with a human being at the time when he asks all the questions that there are, and some that there aren't...."
"[W]hen people begin to talk about this domestic duty as not merely difficult but trivial and dreary, I simply give up the question. For I cannot with the utmost energy of imagination conceive what they mean. When domesticity, for instance, is called drudgery, all the difficulty arises from a double meaning in the word. If drudgery only means dreadfully hard work, I admit the woman drudges in the home, as a man might drudge [at his work]. But if it means that the hard work is more heavy because it is trifling, colorless and of small import to the soul, then as I say, I give it up; I do not know what the words mean…. I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people's children [arithmetic], and a small career to tell one's own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone, and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman's function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness."
Monday, July 14, 2008
Don't Mess with the Moral Order
China's Unwanted Men
July 14, 2008
In late June an angry crowd, estimated at 10,000 people, set fire to a government building and police cars in southwestern China. More than 150 people were injured, and it took 1,500 paramilitary and riot police to restore a semblance of order.
The crowd was protesting the "alleged cover-up of a teenage girl's rape and murder" by three young men, including the "son of a local politician."
While news agencies cited the incident as an example of unrest over corruption and injustices, there is another Chinese problem highlighted in this story: "China's testosterone problem."
That's the term the New Republic used to characterize the social problems caused by the male-female imbalance in China. As writer Mara Hvistendahl tells us, China "has the largest gender imbalance in the world . . ." There are 37 million more men than women in China; and "almost 20 percent more newborn boys than girls nationwide." In some parts of China, there are 60 percent more male children than female!
The imbalance is the product of China's infamous "one-child policy," in which the government told villagers, and I quote, "YOU CAN BEAT IT OUT! YOU CAN MAKE IT FALL OUT! YOU CAN ABORT IT! BUT YOU CANNOT GIVE BIRTH TO IT!"
Many villagers complied, but with a twist: They made sure that the "one child" would be a boy, who could earn more than girls could. As a result, a researcher at the Chinese Institute for Social Sciences estimates that 10 percent of Chinese men will be unable to find wives.
Of course, frustrated men will make their presence felt, as Beijing is learning. After the first generation of "one child" boys hit adolescence, China's juvenile crime rate more than doubled. Chinese officials complained about young men committing crimes "without specific motives, often without forethought."
Sound familiar? History teaches us that unattached, unmarriageable males are "disproportionately responsible for drug abuse, looting, vandalism, and violent crime." This was true of "frontier towns," "immigrant ghettos," and our own inner-cities. There is no reason to think that China will be any different.
And the worst is yet to come as the imbalance grows larger. Government officials worry about the "hidden threat to social stability" posed by a cohort of "hopeless, volatile men." Wars have often started, historically, when men tried to find wives elsewhere.
But the best the government can come up with are slogans like, "Boys and Girls are both treasures." Meanwhile young Chinese men gather in bars where they pay $15 a minute to assault the waiters. Yes, you heard me correctly. Even more ominously, if the customer prefers, the waiter will dress in women's clothing. No wonder ordinary Chinese are worried for the safety of their daughters!
It is hard to find a better example of the consequences that arise from defying the moral order that God has written into His creation. China thought it could create a harmonious society where every child was wanted; now unwanted men threaten its very stability.
China fears its own sons and worries about its daughters all because it followed a false worldview, ignoring God's design.
Last Thursday was 'Take Your Child to Work' day at Sprint. I'm aware that the philosophy behind the creation of this day was probably 'Don't let your daughters grow up to be homemakers.' However, we use it as an opportunity for each of the older kids to spend a special day with their Daddy. Keely has gone before, and Noah, and this year Kevin took Lily. She got to meet Kevin's co-workers and play on the computer in his cube while he did some work. He took her on a walk around the campus and they ate lunch together in the cafeteria, which has really good food. I think there was also some coke and candy involved somewhere, which comes standard when the kids spend time with Daddy. There was a movie showing all day, too, but Kevin opted out of taking her because he wasn't crazy about the themes and messages in it.
On the way home, Kevin accelerated to pass a car, and heard a loud noise followed by equally loud banging under his car. He was able to coast onto a median, and thankfully, they were able to wait safely for the kids and I to rescue them. We were aware that the car was on its last little leg and fixing it would involve more money than it was worth. So, on Friday, Kevin listed it on Craigslist and within two hours it was sold. So, now Kevin's on the hunt for a new (used) car. I'll let you know what we end up finding. Thanks, Mark and Pam, for selling us your Miata! (Or 'Mata', as Joseph used to say.) It served us well for three years. I figured out that since we never had to do any major repairs to it, it ended up costing us about $45 a month to own. Not a bad deal, don't ya think?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
For Keely, who's in the 5th grade now(!), we'll be doing the following:
- Saxon Math 6/5
- Spelling Workout E (Modern Curriculum Press)
- We'll be finishing up Rod and Staff's Grammar 3
- Story Starters, by Karen Andreola (creative writing)
- Understanding God's World Science 4 (ABeka)
- The Story of the World, The Middle Ages
Noah, who's a 3rd grader this year:
- Saxon Math 3
- Spelling Workout C
- science and history (above)
Lily, who's a first grader (sniff):
- finish Phonics Pathways primer
- read, read, read!
- participate in history and science as much as possible
- finish the fun Rod and Staff workbook from last year
At this age all of my kids have been begging to 'do school' like the bigger kid(s). Rowan was soo excited when I brought home a big Preschool workbook from the Homeschool Conference in April. I don't think workbooks are all that necessary, except for handwriting, but she is having fun carefully completing the pages and putting them in her Hello Kitty folder. We'll work on beginning letter sounds and recognition more this year, too. I also try to read aloud to her daily.
Joseph, age 2
Joseph will spend his days getting into mischief, playing with the older kids, building with blocks, coloring, climbing on furniture, etc. He does still have 30 minutes of 'alone time' each morning, which is helpful to us both, I think.
Annesley is not yet mobile, so she's easy. :)
A few things I didn't mention are our co-op classes (weekly), Keely's piano lessons starting in the fall, and our read-alouds. Right now I'm reading Charlotte's Web to all the kids (Keely and Noah have heard it several years ago), and Caddie Woodlawn to the older three. Also, on Monday we tried something new that I thought went really well. I turned on a classical music cd and had the kids quietly drew using our 'how-to' drawing books. They loved it! And I loved it because there was no talking! They informed me that Franz Liszt's music is gloomy and they don't like it, but it was fun to listen and draw in the living room. Oh--and the kids all help with chores, which I consider 'school', too. All the laundry they're helping put away has to be instilling some positive character qualities, don't you think? We also try to start our school day with singing, prayer, and Bible memorization.
If this sounds like a lot, you have to realize that we don't do everything every day. I see the value in a schedule and have drawn one up, but this year I refuse to be a slave to it. A goal in our schooling is to prepare the kids academically for life, but it isn't the only goal, nor is it the highest one. Kevin and I want to disciple our kids in the midst of the daily-ness of life and enjoy the amazing world around us with a heart of thankfulness toward our Creator. We want to encourage them to use their gifts and knowledge to glorify the Lord and further His kingdom. And we want to build the kind of relationships with them that are solid and loving and close. These are our aim, and we struggle and fail and become discouraged and have successes like everyone else. I love the mercies of God, and the faithfulness of our Heavenly Father who has promised to never leave us!
And, one last thing: I think it's easy to look at someone's public life or the pictures of their family on a blog or webpage and really construct an unrealistic idea of a perfect family where everything practically glows with peace and loveliness. I have struggled with comparing myself to others that I look up to. I don't want to present that false image and cause anyone to be discouraged. We have bickering and fighting at our house. I get frustrated with the kids and sometimes yell at them. Yesterday, for example, during our Bible memorization time I got really snappy with the kids and frustrated with them because they weren't paying attention. Nice, huh? "Love is patient, love is kind---would you SIT STILL and STOP bothering your brother!!" So, take heart, mothers everywhere: Perservere, and don't compare!
Last Wednesday Keely spent the day with a family that we love and respect, cooking a meal with their girls for our families. She had a wonderful time and of course we all got to reap the benefits at dinner time! They made Mexican food: a casserole, rice, black beans, queso, hibiscus tea, salsa, and tres leches cake. They even sliced limes for our drinks! It was a delicious and colorful meal. My friend Michelle (the Mom of aforementioned family) is a person I aspire to be more like. She is gentle, soft-spoken, kind, giving, creative...I could go on but I'm sure I'm embarrassing her.
Monday night we enjoyed having our friend Amy Praisewater over. She's spent the last two years in Thailand ministering to young women who have come out of a life of prostitution. She will be going back to Bangkok in a matter of days and will be teaching in an international school there. She shared dinner with us and helped Kevin translate some Thai for a brochure he's working on for another missionary. I admire this lady greatly for her commitment to the work of the Kingdom and her contentment in her singleness. I love the fact that our children get to know 'real' missionaries and see that they are real people. I hope that this knowledge makes them bold in their desire to serve the Lord with their own lives, instead of being intimidated and feeling inadequate about this kind of service. All believers are only earthen vessels; yet we have God's power and enabling. What an amazing and humbling truth!
And, lastly, we are 'back to school' already! We are trying more of a year-round approach this year, taking breaks as we need to for traveling, vbs, special events, etc. I'm going to try to write more later about school and our plans for the coming year. But, right now I hear some screaming downstairs and it's time to take Joseph to the potty, so it's time for me to go...
Monday, July 07, 2008
Saturday, July 05, 2008
One of the extensions we use is an add-on called Adblock (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/10). You'll also want to install their filter updater (https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1136?id=1136).
I forgot what a great job this little tool does until I saw a group on Facebook entitled 'Petition to get the sexual images off the left side of Facebook!'. I had to think for a moment about what they were talking about until it dawned on me. Oh, yeah. I don't see 'em... Yea!
One other thing, if you see an image you don't like just right-click on it and from the bottom of the menu choose 'Adblock image'. Voila.
If you use Firefox + Adblock, or start using it, please let me know your experience. Happy, safe surfing! :)
Friday, July 04, 2008
We've thoroughly enjoyed having Nana here and have done some fun things together. Monday we went to the wonderful Deanna Rose Children's Farmstead in Overland Park. We spent over 4 hours there, and it was so much fun. The day was beautiful and we took our time looking and playing. Kevin and I also went on a date this week, in addition to going to the grocery store by ourselves a couple of times, which, sadly, is also exciting. :) Now, if we could just figure out how to get Nana to move to KC....(Shhh....I don't want Kevin's sister Mandy to try to thwart our plans.)
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Though probably written with a 'seeker' in mind, I enjoyed the clear affirmation of Christianity presented. There were many parts where Stott illuminated scripture so wonderfully that I wanted to re-read the paragraph several times. Here's one example in which he discusses Revelation Chapter 3.
The context of the verse [vs 20] is illuminating. It comes at the end of a letter addressed by Christ through John to the church of Laodicea, situated in what is now Turkey. Laodicea was a prosperous city, renowned for its manufacture of clothing, its medical school where the famous Phrygian eye powder was made, and its wealthy banks.
Material prosperity had brought in its wake a spirit of complacency which had even contaminated the Christian church. Attached to it were professing Christians who proved to be Christian in name only. They were tolerably respectable, but nothing more. Their religious interest was shallow and casual. Like the water from the hot springs of Hierapolis which was piped to Laodicea by conduits (the remains of which can still be seen, they were (Jesus said) neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, and therefore distasteful to him. Their spiritual tepidity is explained in terms of self-delusion: 'You say , "I am rich , I have prospered, I need nothing"; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.'
What a description of proud and prosperous Laodicea! They were blind and naked beggars--naked despite their clothing factory, blind despite their Phrygian eye-salve, and beggars despite their banks.
We today are no different. Perhaps we say, as they did, 'I need nothing.' It would be hard to find any words more spiritually dangerous. It is our self-contained independence which, more than anything, else, keeps us from committing ourselves to Christ. Of course we need him! Without him we are morally naked...blind to spiritual truth, and beggars, having nothing with which to buy God's favour. ...Apart from [Christ], and until we open the door to admit him, we are blind and naked beggars. (pgs 122-123)