Wassup Wednesday – 13 Giving Thanks, etc.

Big News:  I accepted an offer for a full-time job.  It is an administrative position with a large church.  We are thankful for the opportunity.  If you think of it, pray for all the adjustments to our family life in the weeks and months ahead.

Kids: Girls will hopefully go back to their school of last year.  We’re working on the details.  The boys will both stay home with Mark and continue homeschooling.  As I said, adjustments . . .

Thanksgiving:  We are thankful for many things this year.  The new job is one, but we are also so grateful to God for the way he has consistently met our needs by providing Mark with writing projects these last 6 months.  We are praying for more of the same.

We are also thankful for family and friends who care for us.  So many times we call on people for help, and they come through.  God uses people graciously in our lives, and it is a blessing that can’t be overlooked.

A little less important, but on my mind–I am thankful for the delete button on my e-mail application.  If I couldn’t delete all these ads for Black Friday specials, I would have to cancel my e-mail account!

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!

Biting My Tongue

Lately, I have noticed that I am biting my tongue more than I have done in the past.

For example, this past summer because of a misunderstanding regarding one of my many children’s activities, we ended up missing a fun outing for the family and paying for it.  I was soooooo upset about this.  I wrote an e-mail expressing my frustration about what happened, and the board for the organization considered refunding our money.  I found out later, as I suspected, that they would not refund us.  I wanted to give them a good tongue lashing about their lack of concern for their members.  I started to write about 6 different messages.  Finally, I just wrote, “Thanks for asking the board about this.”

I find myself holding back my thoughts more and more as time passes.  I have finally started to realize that saying everything that comes to my mind will not always make things better and is not always necessary.

We start out as children saying any and everything that comes to our minds.  Then some of us get shy and don’t say much of anything.  There are others of us who continue speaking our minds with wild abandon, and we wonder why we have trouble getting along with people.  Pop-psychology encourages us to “communicate,” “get everything out in the open,” “make sure our feelings are known.”  This sometimes opens up the shy person and it affirms the others who already value telling all.  Yet, it seems there is still some value to filtering what we say.

It is an idea worth consideration.  James wrote a lot about it:

James 1:26
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

James 3:1
[ Taming the Tongue ] Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

James 3:5
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

James 3:6
And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.

James 3:8
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Some people, perhaps, have more natural, or built-in, filters of what comes out of their mouths.  But I suspect most of us have to learn to use discretion. As we get to know Christ and come to a fuller understanding of what is important, the filter begins to form. As Christians, I think some of this has to do with the idea of “bearing each others burdens,” too.  Hopefully, as we mature, we learn that sometimes, we need to keep our hurt feelings and bruised egos to ourselves in the spirit of Christian unity–thus biting our tongues for the sake of others.

Wassup Wednesday 12–Life is Complicated

Kids:  So we are coming to the end of one semester of homeschooling all four kids.  Are they doing ok?  Yeah.  Are they learning as much as they did at school?  Maybe.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it my number one choice for their education? No.  Am I learning anything in the process?  Youbetcha!

Some good things are happening on the school front.  Today, referring to a book he is reading as part of his schoolwork, Calvin said, “This book is sorta hard to stop reading.”  He doesn’t mind reading, but he’s not a voracious reader like his brother, so this is big for him.  I think Charis’s reading is improving, too.  Teaching it to her is just turning my hair more gray every day 🙂

On another kid note, football is finally done!  Can I hear an Amen Sista!!!  This is the second week in which we have just been beside ourselves looking for things to do in the evenings instead of taking a boy to football.  Of course, Monday nights and Saturday afternoons we still have to take Calvin to basketball practice, but it is like a walk in the park compared to football.

Me:  I was a little sick during the month of October, and now, midway through November, I feel significantly better.  We have also been evaluating our life situation, and we have come to the conclusion that I probably need to work full-time.  Just today, I completed a fourth interview for a new full-time position.  It has really been a pleasant interview process, and, of course, I am wanting the job.  But if I don’t get it, I am trusting God for something better.

If I get it, there will obviously be some changes to the education process at our house.  But for now, I continue to be a homeschooling mom.

Books: Still in HP4 and Simply Christian.  I don’t have  much to say because I am so darn slow about reading lately.  But did I mention I have done 10 loads of laundry in 2 days?  The basement floor is visible now.  That’s something, right?

In Conclusion: This seems like a bailout post, but it will have to do.  Over and out until next Wednesday or until something significant happens before then.

Wassup Wednesday 11 – Veterans’ Day, 2009

In honor of Veterans’ Day, I am posting today’s poem from this book, Poem a Day.  I picked up my copy of this book for 25 cents at a thrift store.  I don’t read each day’s entry, but I do pick it up a few times a month.  I have enjoyed it as it provides me with a little literary thought to ponder now and again.

Gethsemane (1914 – 1918)

The Garden called Gethsemane

In Picardy, it was.

And there the people came to see

The English soldiers pass

We used to pass–we used to pass

Or halt, as it might be,

And ship our masks in case of gas

Beyond Gethsemane.

The Garden Called Gethsemane,

It held a pretty lass,

But all the time she talked to me

I prayed my cup might pass.

The officer sat on the chair,

The men lay on the grass,

And all the time we halted there

I prayed my cup might pass.

It didn’t pass–it didn’t pass–

It didn’t pass for me.

I drank it when we met the gas

beyond Gethsemane.

                             —Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936)

The armistice ending the First World War was signed on 11 November 1918.  Kipling’s son John was killed in the Battle of Loos on 27 September 1915.





Parental Encouragement

For oh, so many years, I have felt like an octopus in church–or at least like I needed to be a creature with 8 arms to keep my little people in some modicum of decent behavior as our family attempted to worship God.  For 6+ years, I was doing most of my pew gymnastics solo as Mark was preaching every week.  Many Sundays, I felt like it was not worth it.

Something happened in church yesterday that confirmed my efforts were not in vain.   Immediately after the worship service, our oldest son, now 13,  said, “Mom, did you or Dad call Pastor and tell him about everything I have done wrong this week?”

I laughed and said, “No, why?”

“Well, this is the third week in a row that it seems like he was talking about stuff that I did,” he replied.

“Maybe God called Pastor about you, ” I said.

I laughed because only a kid thinks the world revolves around him so much that the pastor of his church would direct his sermon to him.  But the emotion that overcame me the most was joy because this means for at least the last 3 weeks, my 13-year-old has been paying attention to the sermon.  I also must add that after years of unwelcomed prodding to participate fully in worship by singing vigorously and to become fully engaged while reading the liturgy, he, along with his younger brother, can both be heard clearly by their fellow parishioners.

With this experience fresh in my mind, today several friends on facebook linked this article by Pastor Doug Wilson that encouraged me further in my parental efforts in the pew.  I am nearing the end of my physical struggles to parent in the pew, but I still have a pretty rascally 6-year-old daughter who needs some gentle prodding regarding behavior during worship.  So this encouragement is still needed to get me through to the end.  But I also need it because while the physical struggles are ending, the emotional and spiritual struggles are really beginning to heat up.

I now see why people want to keep their kids little forever.  As I see mine starting on the visible path to adulthood, I get more and more driven to pray for them. It would be so much easier if I could just keep wrestling with them to keep them still and quiet during church.

Wassup Wednesday 10 – Late again!

Being late twice in 10 weeks is actually not too bad.  Right?

Reading:  Not to page 200 yet in HP4 and have re-read the first page of Chapter 2 in Simply Christian 10 times.  Let’s just say reading has fallen by the wayside this week.  Hoping for more time in the next week.

I have been thinking about re-reading a book I read about 6 years ago–

Home is Always the Place You Just Left is a memoir of a young woman who was raised in an evangelical home by a homemaker mom and busy often-absent pastor dad.  Betty Smartt Carter is vulnerable with her readers about her deepest fears and concerns as she grew up trying to understand how to live out the faith her parents led her in.  It wasn’t until she was a young married woman that she really came to understand how God could really work in her life and give her the home she always longed for.  I liked this book because I related so much to Carter’s struggle–her discomfort within her own skin.  I want to read it again to revisit how God led her to a more contented life.  If you like memoirs, you might enjoy this one, too.  (If you’re a member of a PCA church, you might also appreciate some of the details Carter shares about her father’s ministry as he was one of the founding pastor’s of the denomination in the early 70s.)

Kids:  Halloween was the big event of the week for the kids.  I don’t have any really fun pictures of the kids dressed in costume because we just didn’t get ourselves together.  We did attend a great block party on the street of one of Nevin’s friends in the Webster Groves area of St. Louis.  This was quite a shindig.  The family lives on a cul-de-sac, and everyone from their street and a couple adjacent streets join together to have lots of great food, games, pumpkin decorating, a hayride,  a pinata, a scary storyteller, and a balloon artist to entertain the kids.  After the festivities, our three younger kids trick-or-treated in Webster and brought back quite a haul.  Calvin and I headed home to hand out candy, and we didn’t get one trick-or-treater.  It was sort of a downer after our fun day.

Here are a couple shots I did manage to get:

Charis (dressed in pioneer dress/apron) at Halloween Party being pushed by a martian

Action shot of Calvin and Nevin playing ball at Halloween Party

Charis & Evangeline the night after Halloween playing battleship with Mom

Football:  Calvin played his last regular season game on Tuesday night.  He got to start, and he played more than he has all season.  There are 2 post-season games for him, and one post-season game for Nevin, and then we will be done with our foray into the gridiron.  Next year, we hope Calvin is playing for some high school program, but Nevin will be taking a break with football until he head to high school himself.

Lots on my mind and my plate:  I have a lot of stuff going through my head right now, and several activities to keep track of, but I lack the energy and the know-how to share it right now.  Perhaps next time . . .