Archive for November, 2005

Rebecca’s Narnia Poster

Sunday, November 27th, 2005

Here is a picture of the poster which Rebecca recently entered in a contest.

Rebecca's Narnia Poster

A Journal Entry from My Education Class

Saturday, November 26th, 2005

Some Thoughts on “The Toolshed Muse: Creative Minds in Process” from Your Child’s Growing Mind by Jane Healy, PhD.

The last chapter of Jane Healy’s book, Your Child’s Growing Mind, was thought-provoking and informative. I especially enjoyed the section on “Creative Parents”, wherein she lists some things that parents do to foster creativity in their children. As I have mentioned in a previous journal entry, I have, off-and-on, homeschooled my children. When the children were younger, I sometimes worried that we were not covering enough “academics”. After reading this book and especially this chapter I feel “validated” that I did many things right, after all. Here are some of the “tips” offered by Jane Healy, and applicable examples from our homeschooling experience:

“Provide discipline and structure to give children security to explore.”

Both my husband and I sought to train the children, lovingly, to do what was right and especially tried to teach them how to love one another. Some examples of the structured environment I tried to provide are:
• The children had healthy meals and snacks on a timely basis.
• We (the children and I) would first do morning chores together to care for animals and get the house neat, before attempting any “school” work.
• We had a framework of “routine” activities each day; the children knew what to expect.

“Set realistic standards and encourage pride in achievement.”

I very much tried to stay away from comparing the children with one another. My husband and I, and the children, recognized areas of great talent and creativity in each child, and would seek to encourage that child in his or her individual endeavors. The children seemed to understand from an early age that it was not necessary to match up to brother or sister, but only to be oneself, and to develop one’s own talents. Of course several children could have the same talent. We have found that they encourage one another to excel. For example, our younger children are looking forward to following in the footsteps of older brothers and sisters who excelled in the “Running Start” program.

“Show active interest in a child’s thoughts and creative efforts.”


Oh, My Sore Back!

Thursday, November 24th, 2005

Since Tuesday morning, my back has been oh-so-sore. I have needed to lie down quite a bit, and can’t stand up quite straight; I’ve been shuffling along like a little old lady. I haven’t really been able to lift anything or do my usual motherly, wifely work. In the course of this little trial, some things have come to my attention for which I am thankful:

  • I am thankful to my children for “taking up the slack” so that I can rest without fretting about things not getting done.
  • I am thankful to my husband for bringing me cups of coffee, and for not telling me that I sure look like a little old lady, shuffling along, bent over!
  • Thank you, Rebecca, for cooking a wonderful dinner today: turkey (Rick prepared that and lifted it into the oven.), whipped sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and stuffing! Nummy!
  • Thank you, Sarah, for the delicious gingerbread with lemon sauce. Very tasty!
  • Thank you, husband and children, for your heart-felt sympathy! I’m sure it is helping me to heal sooner. 🙂
  • Thank you, Lydia and Seth, for helping Rebecca to keep the house neat, and for helping so willingly, without many reminders at all!
  • Thank you, Philip, for volunteering to drive Kayla to work tomorrow at 5:30am, so that I don’t have to do it.
  • Thank you, Michael, for helping, too, with clean-up. I know you’re busy with school work.
  • Thank you, Debra, for bringing me breakfast in bed this morning, so I could take it easy.
  • Thank you, Kayla, for helping here and there at my request. Also, I’ve enjoyed watching your latest art project evolve!
  • I am thankful for Lucy cozy cat to sleep by my feet when I rest.
  • I am thankful for interesting books to read while I’m down: You, the Owner’s Manual, Positive Discipline, and Your Child’s Growing Mind.
  • I am thankful to the Lord for the love which He has put in our hearts for one another.
  • I am thankful for those early years of homeschooling, when I worried that I wasn’t doing enough, and it turns out (at least according to the books which I am reading on child development), that I did the right! things for the children’s optimal development, emotionally and intellectually. And, I enjoyed that time, too!
  • I am thankful to the Lord for food, clothing, shelter, and safety from harm.
  • I am thankful for the interesting class I’ve been taking at Bellingham Technical College. I’m learning a lot, and doing a lot of thinking.
  • I am thankful we have enough money to pay for music lessons, art supplies, books, skating lessons – the things which enrich the homeschool experience.
  • I’m thankful for Internet access. It’s a great way to keep in touch, and I’m enjoying all your blogs!
  • I know I’m thankful for many more things, but it’s late, so Goodnight!

P.S. – Laura, you and Darren are busy building your own life together, so you’re not as involved in our day-to-day life here, but please remember I’m thankful for you, too. Thank you for suggesting the author Ross Greene, who has so many insights into helping children learn to obey. You know I miss you, my latte/mocha buddy!

What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?

Sunday, November 20th, 2005

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, question 19.

All mankind by their fall lost communion with God, are under his wrath and curse, and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever. (emphasis added)

Ephesians 2:2,3 is cited in the Shorter Catechism to substantiate this teaching:

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind: and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Also quoted is Galatians 3:10:

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

One does not need to look far to notice the miseries of this life:

  • Natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes
  • Acts of terrorism in Lebanon, Israel, Iraq and other places
  • Wickedness in high places, such as in the Argentine military and police being prime movers in the cocaine trade
  • Dear children being murdered before birth by the express wishes of their mothers and fathers
  • Dear children being neglected or mistreated once they are born into this world
  • Sickness bringing suffering and finally death to loved ones
  • The sorrow of beholding injustice done to the righteous, or the wicked prospering in their sin
  • The sorrow of beholding the low, broken state of the Christian church in our lands

One could go on and on, naming the miseries of this life. However, it would be a sad mistake to focus one’s attention on these sorrows, without considering what we are admonished in Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if therebe any praise, think on these things.

The Lord is not instructing us to pretend that things are lovely, like Pollyanna, when they are not. Rather, He is instructing us as to what we should focus upon, what we should meditate upon.

  • The things that are true: God’s Word tells us what is true about ourselves, our condition, and how we may be right with God. God’s Word tells us the true or right way to live our lives.
  • The things that are honest: When we see honesty and honor in people, let us take note of it with thankfulness, meditate upon it, and thank God for it.
  • The things that are just: When true justice is done in a circumstance, likewise, let us praise God for it.
  • The things that are pure: Of course it is true that no person is totally pure, or without sin, in this life. However, God’s true children have been cleansed from sin by Him, and lead lives which are purposefully pure.
  • The things that are lovely: I thank God for the beauty of His creation, for the sweet dearness of family, for signs of graciousness in fellow Christians.
  • The things that are of good report: “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Proverbs 25:25. When there is good news, let us take notice of it, and rejoice in it. When things go well for others, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice” Romans 15:15a.
  • If there be any virtue: This could be “morality”,” moral excellence”, “a commendable quality or trait”, or “chastity”, according to Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary. Though virtue may be rare in our society, let us recognize, appreciate, commend and encourage virtue whenever we do see it displayed.
  • If there be any praise: Let us not be niggardly or stingy in giving deserved words of commendation, to our children, our spouses, our brethren, and to others we meet on life’s journey. Let us think about what is praiseworthy, and commend it specifically, meaningfully.

Yes, it is oh-so-true that we sinned in Adam and fell with him in his first transgression (Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”). As a result we are indeed made liable to all miseries in this life. Yet it is comforting, nonetheless, that our dear Heavenly Father (if we are indeed reconciled to Him through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:10,11) would have us to focus our attention, not on “the bad news” which is all too evident around us, but on the light, the lovely, the good, that which has been touched by His blessing.

Praise God, for teaching us what we should think about! Proverbs 23:7a:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.