Friday, March 31, 2006

Life in Mayberry

We live 11 miles out from a rather small town. Life in
a town of 1900 and something is fun and interesting.
We have a running log of stories we entitle "Life in
Mayberry...or things that could only happen in
Doniphan."

Today as I was chatting with one of the librarians I
was reminded of one of my alltime favorites. She was
quite harried as I was checking out my books and
made the comment that the Library circulation has
doubled in the 8 years she has been working there.

I know that after we had only lived here a few months
I could call the library and ask a question without telling
my name and they would know who I was...but onto the
story.

One day I went to town and did all my normal errands;
I went to the gas station, bank (maybe a couple of banks),
the Post Office, Fred's and the grocery store. After I
returned home I got a call from the bank. "Mrs. Harding,
did you leave something here." I thought a minute and
then replied, "Oh, my keys!" I have two sets in my purse
and I just dug out the second set without thinking when
I returned to my car.

I didn't think to wonder how they knew they were my
keys. Then the phone rang again and it was my mother
at the library. "Laurie, I heard you left your keys at the
bank, shall I pick them up for you?" I, of course, was
amazed. How did she know?

Well, the library had just changed to a new way of checking
out books that required a little card with a bar code on it.
I hung my card on my keyset. So the bank called the library
to find out whose card had my bar code...then they knew to
call me. Then, right after they called the library my mother
happened to walk in, and, being Mayberry, they knew she was
my mother, so they told her the whole story.

I have been off a party line for about 10 years, but some things
never change in Doni, oops I mean, Mayberry.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Homeschooling the Highschooler

Homeschooling the Highschooler: From Transcripts
to Graduation by Paul and Gena Suarez is a very
thorough and extremely useful book for anyone who
is currently homeschooling a highschooler or who
has one coming up through the ranks in the near
future.

Homeschooling the Highschooler sets the stage by
encouraging the parent. The fears that many moms
and dads feel as they approach the highschool years
are addressed. One by one they are discussed and
the reader is left with the following thought, "The
most important thing you will gain from homeschooling
through highschool is time-precious time to ground
your child in Christ."

The many true life stories, which cover the quite
different styles of homeschooling, as well as the many
options presented, let the parent know that there is no one
way to do highschool. It frees the family to seek God's
direction on their own personal journey.

Homeschooling through Highschool addresses curriculum,
distance learning, co-ops, how to include activities in the mix,
transcripts, researching colleges, apprenticeship, really just
about anything that a person could think to ask about. They
also have an extensive list of resources scattered throughout
the book.

If you are considering homeschooling during the highschool
years this will be an excellent resource for you to have.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sports and Family Life

Where sports and other activities fit into family life is
always an interesting question, and can lead to quite
violent disagreements among friends.

When my children were all little my family felt like an
amoeba. Wherever we went we were always together
and though one might be a little ahead or behind we
were always bunching up and spreading out. But as
the kids became teenagers and beyond the craziness
of scheduling became a reality. Just keeping up with
all of the different schedules created by jobs, activities
and friend gatherings can be exhausting.

When my third son Tyler was small we had him in
gymnastics. He was very good. He came in first in
the state when he was 7 in Class VII. We live in a rural
area and were driving 40 one way to the nearest facility
that he could train at. When he was eight we reached
a turning point in our lives. There was no place less
than 2-3 hours drive from our house that could train
him any longer. Either we would have to make a
tremendous investment in time and money or we would
have to let it go. It was a heartbreaking time. After
countless discussions and some tears we came to the
conclusion that it would not be right for us to do this
to our family. We have three other children, each just
as needy as Tyler. And we felt that to invest so much
in this one aspect of our lives would turn our focus from
Christ and His people.

Since then the direction that our sports lives has taken
has been a lot of fun for all of us. (We have to include
sports of some sort because the competitive streak
is very strong in the family.) Five out of the six of us
play on a church volleyball league. Hattie will play when
she turns 10. It is great fun. We all go together one night
a week, the five that play are spread out on three
different teams and we watch each other when it is not
our turn to be playing. We go to a church where you have
to play volleyball to belong to the church. Not really, but
over half of the church plays. In the summer we play on
a church softball league; same deal, the five that play
are spread out on 3 different teams, and we are all there
and watch each other.

The other fun thing about these leagues is that our best friends,
who are also our church family, are involved in these. We have
a blast together. The guys in the family also go on Monday
nights to play pickup basketball with a group of guys from the
church and the community.

We have also taken up tennis as a family, and we love to swim,
ski and boat. Of course we have a trampoline in the yard and a
basketball hoop in our driveway and then there is always wrestling.
Boys, especially those in my family, have prodigious amounts
of energy...and little girls who try to be like their brothers do
too.

Tyler does play baseball for the local highschool. Even though
I homeschool we have allowed him to attend the highschool on
a part time basis so he can do this. Hattie plays ball in the
summer for the city league, and they have all been part of
the city league soccer teams.

But for the most part, by keeping the lion's share of the sports
to ones that the whole family participates in, we have combined
a lot of fun, competition and fellowship with some great family
moments.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Orthodoxy and Joy

I finished reading Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton.
I wonder if Tolkein read this book; it seems likely
that he would have.

In The Return of the King Pippin and Galdalf are
talking and Pippin is gazing at the face of Gandalf.
At first all he sees are lines of care and sorrow,
and then, under those he perceives a great joy. He
sees "...a fountain of mirth enough to set a kingdom
laughing, were it to gush forth."

G.K. Chesterton, in the last paragraph of his book
Orthodoxy, says much the same thing of Jesus.
He contends that while Jesus showed us His
sorrow, and he let His anger shoot out, he masked
His joy.

He says, " There was some one thing that was too
great for God to show us when He walked upon
our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was
His mirth."

Perhaps, in our present state we could not handle it,
what a hope we have in looking forward to it.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Accidents Will Happen

We just had a little excitement here on our little mom
and pop farm. Kent was out with number two son
loading some wood to be cut. He went to throw a
large log on the outside woodburning stove and
hit his hand on the door slicing three fingers. One was
a good scrape, but the other two were deep slices.

Enough blood was gushing out to make it look like he
completely cut them through. It probably took about
15 minutes for the icepack to stop the bleeding enough
for me to put a butterfly bandage on each of those
fingers. Then I wrapped them in a large bandage.

His main fear is that they won't be healed enough to
play in a volleyball tournament on Saturday. We are
hosting a tournament to raise money for a Mexican
Missions Trip we are going on in July.

I used my last two butterfly band-aids on his hand. I
need to replace those this week because living on a
farm, and having four extremely active kids, plus a
husband that works hard, they can be the difference
between an emergency room visit and a good home
remedy.

That reminds me of a story my grandma (95) tells. She
was alone with her little son Bill, when he cut his foot
to the bone with an ax. She lived way out of town,
where we do now, but she had no way of getting to
the doctor. So she stuck his foot in a pan of kerosene.
It stopped the infection and healed the cut. Later a
doctor told that that was the best thing that could
have been done.

Just for fun-my 8 year old daughter just came in and
said, "I know you said to not ask you if I could read
another chapter, but I only have one left to finish
this book, and it is so exciting." Well, I am a softie
in a few areas, and reading is one of them. "Yes,"
I said, "you may." She immediately threw her arms
around me, squished her nose next to mine and said,
"THANK YOU, you are the best mom ever." You gotta
love it.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

Since the Jerusalem council in Acts 15 the Christian
Church (as a whole) has come up against controversial
ideas. The study of church history is so fascinating
with seeing how over and over the church leaders
got together over coffee and doughnuts and decided
to stay staid on the side of orthodoxy.

Believers know that God has promised that His
church would never be defeated.
...and on this rock I will build My church
and the gates of hades will not prevail
against it. (Matthew 16:18b)

It is easy for us, however, to fret when a movie like
The Da Vinci Code is released. We fear what it will
do to people's faith. We fear especially for the "seeker"
and the "babies".

With the truth of God on our side, there does not need
to be any fear. I appreciate the way Campus Crusade
for Christ is meeting this challenge head on. If you
would like information to answer questions that your
family and friends might have, go to the following
site which is maintained by Campus Crusade.

www.davinciquest.org

There you can order materials that will help in
answering the challenge that Dan Brown has thrown
down. You can also send questioners to the
following CCC site.

www.JesusAndDavinci.com

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Family

Time to tell about the family. I'll start with my husband's
side. Loud, fun, robust, playful...that about sums it up.

However if you want a little detail to get a clearer picture-
here goes. Kent's family cannot get together without some
sort of wrestling match. Sooner or later there will be an
attack of some sort (physical). My sons, of course, have
inherited this to the nth degree. Kent does join in from
time to time, okay, Kent starts it usually. I have come to
understand that it is a major form of male bonding.

My third son, Tyler, and his paternal grandfather, Opa, used
to play a game when they were together. Each was allowed
one slap on the face sometime during the day. This sounds
like torture to me, but it was the funniest thing to them.
You'd hear Ty said "Opa, look at that (fill in the blank), and
then you'd hear a loud slap, and then, just as loud, laughter.

Our extended family get-togethers are characterized by loud,
fun competition. We have a large Peanuts (card game)
tournament every year. We also play Round Robin (ping pong).

Every Thanksgiving we have a "Turkey of the Year" award.
The family loves to tell stories on themselves. The winner has
to do a turkey dance and get the ugly turkey to keep in their
house till the following Thanksgiving. This year I won. I was
pulled over for suspected drunk driving; I kept crossing the
center line. When I explained that I had been singing "Little
Bunny FooFoo" with hand motions, he let me go...but I could
tell he thought I was definitely batty. I learned my lesson-no
more hand motion songs while driving. I'll be glad to get rid
of that Turkey.

Being part of Kent's family has been a joy for me. I have learned
many social graces from them.

They love the Lord, (most of them) and they love life. It is a
privilege to be part of them.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Poor Me

One of the most difficult issues to deal with in raising kids
is when they get the "poor me" feeling. It comes mighty
natural to them. Everyone else has more than them, and
everyone has an easier time than them.

My sixteen year old gave me a classic example of this when
he was 7. I was pregnant with number 4 and Tyler had been
the baby for 7 years. He was having a bad day and he said,
"You're mean to me, Daddy's mean to me, Joel and Billy are
mean to me (his two older brothers), Opa and Oma and Papa
and Mama are mean to me (the grandparents), even that
baby in your tummy is mean to me!"

Dealing with this is not easy. It takes time and lots of love
and talking. The bottom line is that the child must be
brought to a point where they understand that everything
they receive is priviledge. Nothing is due them. God does
not owe them; life does not owe them. True thankfulness
has to enter into their frame of reference for them to come
to a point where they do not feel that the rest of the world
has one over on them.

When my children have grateful hearts (and when I, big gulp)
have a grateful heart, life is so much less of a burden, and
so much more an adventure we share together.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The difficult art of forgiveness

There is a special grace about forgiveness within a family.
It is so easy for us to get our little feelings hurt and our
fluffy feathers ruffled. Sometimes we act more like alley
cats than a loving family unit. But all it takes is one brave
soul who will swallow hard and say, "Please forgive me",
and suddenly the cattishness disappears and the joy of
living returns. In the past week 3 of my kids and
my husband have all apologized to me. And you can bet
I have apologized to them and more than once. It makes
this adventure of living together all the more exciting!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Reading, Riting and Ramblings

My goal in reading has always been to only read the writing of a person who can write better than me. Luckily that leaves me with a wide field. I can get so irritated by ramblings with no point, or by repeated conversations in fiction. Say what needs to be said and move on.

But I love it when the twist of words suddenly rush up and cause me to gasp with pleasure. And I especially love it when an idea explodes from the pages with such force that I have to close the book or magazine and spend some time getting acquainted with the reality I've just been shown.

Ponder this quote by G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy

But all the optimism of the age had been false and disheartening
for this reason, that it had always been trying to prove that we fit
into the world. The Christian optimism is based on the fact that we
do not fit in to the world. I had tried to be happy by telling myself
that man is an animal, like any other which sought its meat from
God. But now I really was happy, for I had learned that man is a
monstrosity. I had been right in feeling all things as odd, for I
myself was at once worse and better than all things. The optimist's
pleasure was prosaic, for it dwelt on the naturalness of everything;
the Christian pleasure was poetic, for it dwelt on the the unnaturalness
of everything in the light of the supernatural. The modern philosopher
had told me again and again that I was in the right place, and I had
still felt depressed even in acquiescence. But I had heard that I was in
the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy, like a bird in spring. The
knowledge found out illuminated forgotten chambers in the dark house
of infancy. I knew now why grass had always seemed to me as queer
as the green beard of a giant, and why I could feel homesick at home.

Philippians 3:20 (NKJV)
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait
for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,....