Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not-So-Surprising Facts about Bush

As President George W. Bush's eight years of service come to a close, I have been thinking about what his service means to our country. Polls have not been kind to this man. Hopefully, history will be more so.

I know the press and all that they have to say about the President. I read an article that appalled me with its disrespect for both the man and the office. There is no more shame in our society, no more decorum, no more manners. I'm not ashamed to admit that I voted for Bush, rooted for him to overcome Gore in 2000, was pleased when we didn't have to fight for our vote to be counted in '04. I'm relieved that there are no attempts on his life known to the public while he was in office. May God spare him as he lives out the rest of his days.

I can't help but believe that if a President wanted to be popular instead of right he could work the system and gain some popularity. There is incredible power in that office, and popularity and polls are easily garnered, if one so desires. There is something to be said, however, about a man who can continue to do a job when the whole world (literally) is not just against him, but is maligning his character, mocking him, throwing shoes at his head...

In the last month of his term, we learn this about President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. Bush committed troops to an unpopular war, intended to protect us from terrorists. As someone who witnessed 9-11 from the window of my house, I'm inclined to support his choice. We know a lot about the war, about how difficult and unpopular decisions were made, about the toll it's taken on our country, but what we did not know was that the President and Vice-President, in old-fashioned gentlemanly fashion, were taking responsibility for their decisions in a very personal way.
For much of the past seven years, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have waged a clandestine operation inside the White House. It has involved thousands of military personnel, private presidential letters and meetings that were kept off their public calendars or sometimes left the news media in the dark.

Their mission: to comfort the families of soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to lift the spirits of those wounded in the service of their country...

Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching - balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin - that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.

"I lean on the Almighty and Laura," Mr. Bush said in the interview. "She has been very reassuring, very calming."

Mr. Bush also has met privately with more than 500 families of troops killed in action and with more than 950 wounded veterans, according to White House spokesman Carlton Carroll. Many of those meetings were outside the presence of the news media at the White House or at private sessions during official travel stops, officials said.

As I said before, in the office of President of the United States, it can't be that hard to gain popularity. But when a man does his job outside the scope of the public's notice and goes beyond the call of duty, this is someone who cares more about what is right than about being popular. I hope history rethinks the polls--I don't regret my votes.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Like This...

If you're wondering if you're doing right by your kids by homeschooling them (you're not really wondering, are you?) then take a look at this website . I can't help but feel a little smug that so many incredible thinkers came from educations at home--and this is a SHORT list. Enjoy...see if your favorite homeschooled person is there. Mine is Pearl Buck.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ready for a Break, Counting Blessings

It has been a wonderful fall...but I'm ready for the holiday season to begin. I enjoyed a post at Himhimthem the title of which is particularly apropos for this time of year. She seems to have a right attitude toward the the season.

Blessing #1 - It has been the most fruitful and exhausting term of homeschooling for me, yet. Fruitful because my son has developed that "love of learning" and is passionate about things like math, history, science, language, reading--wait--that's everything! Exhausting, because he has become passionate about all of those things and wants more, more, more. Our school days used to end with lunchtime. Now sometimes I have to call it off at 3:00 p.m. because I need to pick up and think about dinner and oh yeah--breathe.

Blessing #2 - It has been my joy and privilege to host three men of God from Uganda in our home this year, not the least of which was Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi, a man who is without a doubt a prophet to the nations in our day. I was forever changed by these visits, left with a sober realization that our myopic point of view is so shallow, so limited in its scope. I only wish I had more time to spend with them. They became family to us.

Blessing #3 - I am so thankful for my beautiful family. I think sometimes I may be misconstrued as boasting about them, but because my heart and my mouth are so closely connected, it should not be taken as such. Rather, I marvel at them, and in my words appreciate them for who they are and all the wonderful things that they say and do and give. They are not perfect, but they are entrusted to me for a season, and I am delighted with this arrangement!

My heart is so full of thanks, so full of praise to our Father in heaven who has lavished his grace and mercy and love on us. The words to express it don't exist.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Science Museum Trip

On November 7, we took a field trip to the Science Museum of Virgnina. The kids had a great time, as the museum was very hands-on, and they had lots of friends to run with. I wish I had taken more pictures, but the ones we have turned out quite well.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Practical Homeschooling in the Fall

Fall in Virginia is definitely worth staying for. I've come to the conclusion in the last three years that the last week in October through the first week of November is really the peak of color, at least in my neighborhood. Out a little bit west of us in the Shenandoah valley it was probably a couple of weeks ago, but in the Potomac River basin, it's been just the past week that I've really been impressed. The maple tree in our back yard is very intense. The woods behind our house are always a delight in the fall. One evening I looked out and saw six deer standing at the edge of our woods--two yearlings and four does. We also have frequent rabbit and squirrel visitors and lovely songbirds, woodpeckers, and even birds of prey in abundance. We have a good number of bluebirds throughout the year, and we've built a couple of nest boxes and posted them to the fence in the yard in hopes of attracting them next spring. In a few weeks we will begin our new Apologia Science curriculum, which starts with zoology and flying creatures.

Now that baseball is over with, life has taken on a lovely pace. We seem to have finally hit a groove with lessons that doesn't drive us crazy. Matty is coming to the understanding that he's not a first-grader anymore and is working past lunchtime with increasing success. I'm starting to find a balance between the things I want to do to make school a success. I seem to have settled on a blend between the classical / Charlotte Mason approaches, and so there is both hands-on and a good amount of memorizing. I've also been able to really start doing things with Molly--whatever Matty is doing, I simply include her. She has her own notebook, has colored a map of the Louisiana Purchase, just like "Bubba," a picture of Sacajawea, a prairie dog (for the Lewis and Clark expedition study), and all kinds of body parts, since we are discussing human anatomy this semester. She hangs right in there and when brother does phonics, she learns letters. When he reads, she colors and listens. When he does math, we count teddy bears and do flash cards. (shameless boasting) She's three and a half. Not a genius, but stinkin' smart. Loads of fun. Thank God for my blessings...

We all seem content--the transition of finding a new job is past, Matty is maturing in his attitudes toward school, I am enjoying completely my role as wife, mommy, and teacher. There is a peace in our home that we all sense--I pray it continues.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Critical Realization

I came to a critical realization about two or three weeks ago. I was discussing some issues of my son's lessons with my husband, and concerned as to whether I was doing the right thing for him, I was planning his lessons with excitement about what the next days and weeks would bring, I was considering new resources...and I was having fun. I loved it. I absolutely loved what I was doing and would not, could not consider changing one little thing.

I looked back over the last three years (pre-K, K and 1st grade) and realized all the "running" I had been doing. Something in me felt incapable of taking on this task of educating my children and I was doing everything I could to avoid it, without actually appearing to avoid it. I was struggling with other things as well--at first it was a new baby and a new home, getting settled in a new community, then it was facing uncertain and emotional transitions in our family life, and then it was demons from my past coming to rear their head at me. Nevertheless, God gently and lovingly guided me through it all, though it wasn't without pain. Somewhere in there I found peace. I catch myself saying, "I'm finally at peace with myself," but this is utterly incorrect. Perhaps for the first time in my life, albeit a long life of devotion to God, I am at peace with Him.

When I looked around myself and saw myself enjoying my husband, my home, my kids, the work I'm called to do as a wife and mother, I thought, "what on earth is different here?" Actually, nothing is different. I'm different. Much different. I am at peace. I still believe that this journey of profound service to our children is a call to deeper relationship with God and of healing...I hope for all of us that we can learn to submit to this process and not resist.

So You Need to explain "Redistribution of Wealth" to your Kids?

This is hilarious. Perhaps you've seen it. A perfect illustration of how marxism slips through the cracks in our society.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dirty Money to Clean up Education

Last night i saw a disturbing ad on television (Yes, we do have television service until the election is over and I can't wait to get rid of it). It was an advertisement that was decrying the exit of dollars from Maryland into West Virginia and other states by means of slot machines. Oh, dear. What are we to do? Marylanders are funding other states' education systems by pouring Maryland dollars into their greedy little machines. The voice narrating the ad was sincere and gentle, and it exhorted citizens of the state to vote "yes" on question two on the ballot in the upcoming election. Doing so will bring the money back into Maryland and fund their own education system by approving slot machines in their own state.

Ah yes. A secular state gently and lovingly chides its citizens to bring their money home so they can fund their secular schools with money obtained by morally questionable means. This is most certainly the solution. Call me weird, but I have a thing about "dirty money." I see money that is obtained by immoral means, be it gambling, organized crime, preying on people's inability to pay their debts, being as good as dirt. Yes, a dollar is a dollar and it pays the bills, but the spiritual implications of such money are huge. Funding an already crumbling system with money obtained from the crumbling morality of our society is a recipe for disaster.

Leave it to me to look below the surface of an issue. I hope anyone facing such a ballot issue this fall will vote "HELL no..." because that is just where we're headed these days.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

On Classical Conversations

I'm so excited...I just ate an ice cream cone and didn't even taste it, I'm so excited. Spunky linked to my blog! I'm almost famous! But what makes the deal even sweeter is that she linked to us in reference to Classical Conversations. Apparently Spunky attended a one-day parent practicum in Ohio. Parent practicums and training events are one of the cornerstones of CC. They serve to inspire and educate parents who are interested in educating their children following a classical model.

I have to admit that my reasons for joining CC were not all clear to me at the time, since I was just starting out and had no idea what "philosophy" of homeschooling I would eventually adopt. I didn't attend a practicum and sort of went into the school year cold. It was first grade for us and I really had no idea what I was doing. However, after the first class, I called my husband at work as I was driving home and through tears of relief said, "I think I can do this, honey...I really think I can do this!"

"Classical Education" sounds so lofty and unattainable, but truthfully, it is the simplest, most natural approach to teaching children that is available. The painfully slow demise of our school system is happening in large part to the total abandonment of just such a simplicity. However, I had the opportunity to hear Leigh Bortins (the founder of CC) speak at a 3-day practicum held at Great Wolf Lodge, Williamsburg this spring. I sat through the two days that she spoke, and with each point she made I felt more inspired and more convinced that this is the way to go for our family. She pointed out that when things get crazy and complicated and there seems to be no way to convey what needs to be taught, it comes down to this: If stranded on a desert island or living in a third world country, and all I had was a stick and dirt, how would I educate my child(ren)? This point resonated deeply with me. We tend to think that teaching our kids is so complicated. The truth is that they are equipped with everything they need to learn, and while we do somersaults trying to explain concepts and encourage them to be creative writers, they're happy just memorizing the ad jingles they hear on tv, memorizing their phone number, memorizing all the new words they hear, memorizing the letters that make the words that they like...memorizing is what kids do best. CC helps parents to lay a foundation of facts that children learn. These become the building blocks for later when they are ready to integrate, ask why, and then produce their own creative thoughts on a given subject. (see Susan Wise Bauer's The Well Trained Mind for a great education on understanding the trivium.) Nothing is wasted. I use every bit of curriculum that I buy in connection with CC, because the trial and error has already been done. I feel I am equipped to do the business of educating, and I'm not "playing school." Did I mention that my son loves it? It gives him a bit of classroom time with me there supporting him, as well as clear direction for lessons during the week.

The other thing that makes CC such a blessing in my life and that of my children is that it provides a natural community for our family. The other mothers who attend with their children are all on the same page in terms of educating, we sort of speak our own "language" with regards to the system that we use, we struggle and laugh and share and fellowship with each other. We build relationships with each other as families, and it feels really safe. Our moms have begun a monthly night out together to deepen the relationships amongst us. It feels safe, and as our group is more and more established, so will these friendships be.

In essence, I believe that God has really gifted Leigh Bortins with an incredible vision for this organization, and the overwhelming response of home educating parents everywhere who desire this type of community is proof that there is a deep need for what CC offers.

So thanks, Spunky-hopefully people will look into this more deeply and benefit from CC as we have.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reduction, or Why Shouldn't Everyone Homeschool?

This is an article I wrote for my local homeschool group's newsletter. I post this after my last about being called to homeschool because if we end up answering that call, made by the Holy Spirit, and embrace the job that is before us, we all will come to this point. Either we will embrace it to His glory it or resist it, to ours and our children's detriment. These words are more true now than they were when I first wrote them.

I like to cook. Really, I do. Now, let’s face it, I don’t like to cook under pressure, when the family day has had too many things packed into it and my husband is heading home from work and I’m asking him, “what do you want for dinner?” knowing full well that it’s going to be a scrounge night.

The kind of cooking I like to do is leisurely—I’ve browsed through some cookbooks, been inspired, have a menu and a plan and an apron, and voila! Dinner is done, the family is happy, I’m the perfect mother, and God is smiling. How often does this happen? Probably about as often as it happens in your house, if you’re honest.

If you’ve ever made a reduction glaze, it’s rather simple...brown some chicken in a pan, take the chicken out, add some wine and allow the beautiful browned bits to simmer with the wine as it cooks away, add some seasoning and (to quote Emeril LaGasse) BAM!…you’re left with a beautiful sauce for your meal. Any food that requires reducing must be done over a low heat, and seasoned later in the cooking process to avoid over salting. It must be tended carefully to watch for the texture and thickness of the sauce. I see an analogy forming here…

I write this from a different perspective than most of the moms reading. I’m just starting out with homeschooling. I have a first grader and a toddler, and I’m in my late thirties. Most of the moms my age have at least one child who is in third or even fifth grade, or possibly even teenagers. They are what I’d call “seasoned” homeschoolers. I’m a keen observer, however, and have watched through the years as friends of mine, including family members have homeschooled well, but unfortunately I’ve also seen families crash and burn. It’s a strange dichotomy. One does not expect to see the children of Christian homeschooling families run away and get pregnant, have children out of wedlock, turn to blatant homosexual lifestyles, use drugs—but I’ve seen all of that. What far outweighs these results, however, are the kids who begin to pursue God at a very early age, assume positions of leadership, cooperate and relate with people of all ages, and display character traits that put most of us to shame.

Most of the moms who undertake the task of home educating have a myriad of noble reasons—they like the results they’ve seen in other families, (i.e. “her kids are practically PERFECT!”), or they don’t want the indoctrination of the public schools to prevail, or “my child should be raised by me—not a classroom of five-year-olds,” or they want the lifestyle, or they want to have devotions with the kids every day, morning and night. All of these are good and noble reasons for homeschooling and if you look back on your journals in the days before you made the decision, you’ll probably see many of these being examined in some fashion or another.

Proverbs 16:9 says “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.” These reasons, intentions if you will call them that are the course that we plan, the menu for our children’s lives. The sauce is thin and watery with no seasoning, as yet. What I am discovering on my short journey into homeschooling, however, is that the steps that the Lord is determining for me are the process of reducing me to ONE THING…this homeschooling is not just about me. I’m not even sure how much of it is about my children. I’m becoming more and more convinced that this journey is about healing and drawing near to God’s very tender heart. His purposes are so much larger than our own we can’t begin to see how far out the ripples will extend when we drop that proverbial pebble, so the focus must be inward, on the “sauce,” and how it is to turn out. In order for that ONE THING to take place, I must be completely surrendered to the Lord, completely broken, and completely fulfilled in Him. I must allow him to come into my dark places and heal what is broken, bind up my wounds, and comfort my sorrows. It is a process that must be walked out every day, a simmering on low heat, a latent addition of salt and herbs.

The decision to homeschool does little for our children no matter how noble our intentions. It is the attitude of our spirits, our “broken and contrite hearts” that will ultimately be teaching them. It is from this place of brokenness and healing that we can protect and raise our kids. If we reduce our desires in homeschooling to that ONE THING, I believe that no matter what transpires in our day-to-day, the Lord will honor and redeem our efforts and bring our children into the place that we desire they go—a deeper relationship with him, and a journey of their own into eternity. May you be encouraged today to place yourself in his tender care, be reduced to ONE THING, and walk out your own journey of healing.

How do We Lose Flavor?

My family and I are attending a weekly small group this summer where we are discussing Ken Ham's parenting study called "Genesis of a Legacy." Now, before you get all excited one way or another that we are listening to Ken Ham, renowned defender of Creationism, considered a nut by some and a prophet by others, this is not about him or his organization or even my opinion of him. This is about something he said in one of his lectures that made me stop and think really hard. On the tail of my last post it is meant to call you to THINK about what you're doing with the gift of homeschooling that we've been given, and if you're not homeschooling, then ought you to be? Far be it from me to say that you should be is up to each of us to decide for our own families, but what he said served to drive the proverbial peg further down into the board, even more firmly establishing our own decision to educate our children ourselves.

Ken Ham is an interesting Aussie who is not afraid to be mocked by men because he knows his God and would rather face him having defended his faith with all his heart rather than worry about what men think of him. He talks about vegemite, a bizarre substance made from yeast and salt which tastes well--nasty for lack of a better word. Australians eat this on toast and they love it. They begin giving it to babies on the end of a spoon in infancy (proof that this culture has some brain-washing going on in it!) and the kids grow up loving the stuff. The point is that they are raised eating this black smarmy paste from tiny-hood and they love it—they have an appetite for it. When children are raised with excellence and an appreciation for it, they cultivate an appetite for it. When children are raised with the Word of God, they have an appetite for it. When they are raised with prayer and sincere godly living, they have an appetite for it. When they are raised with t.v. and computer games and relativism and shoddy attitudes and tolerance for others’ sin all around...I won’t finish the sentence. You get the point. An old poem my mom had on her wall while I was growing up was called “Children Learn What they Live.” But beyond that, they love what they learn—they internalize it, own it, act it out, become it.

The first time I ever had the thought that I might need to homeschool in order to be certain of giving my children the best chances for Godliness in an ungodly world, I had just read The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson. It still stands as one of my favorite books on parenting. My copy is underlined and marked, and the binding is starting to separate. In her chapter called The Teaching Mother, Sally says:
All of us have times when we're resistant to truth, and that includes children.
Faithful, repetetive teaching of the biblical principles of right and
wrong--plus a gentle but firm insistence that the children act on those
principles--is what helps to build familiar pathways in their minds so that
when they are mature, they will have a reliable basis for making decisions
about what is right and what is wrong (p. 168).
One page over she quotes Galatians 6:7-8
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows from his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life."
When I think about this, I have to consider: what am I sowing in my children? Certainly my deepest desire is that they inherit eternal life and pass on a legacy of righteousness. But how? I only know one person that I can trust to provide that for them and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, and he has entrusted me with the job of guiding them to that end. Next I have to ask the following questions: are the people who produce programming for t.v. as concerned with reaping in my children as I am (see post? The answer is yes--they would like to harvest a consumerism mentality that will line their pockets, and the means justifies the end. Certainly the means justifies their end, and they will use any means possible, but the appeal is to the flesh and not to the Spirit, to be sure. Are the people who are running the public schools as interested in reaping in my children as I am? The answer is most certainly YES! Their objectives appear to be a bit loftier--they want to raise "good citizens" who are tolerant of diversity, good team players, able to be reliable workers and "do good"--by whose standards? I haven't heard that they are preaching a gospel that involves moral absolutes and high standards of conduct in the schools. On the contrary, all things Christian are being systematically removed and are being replaced with yoga, "world religions" and relativism. One of Sally Clarkson's famous lines is "In the absence of biblical conviction, people will go the way of the culture." The schools stand for nothing these days. I was told as a child "stand for something, or you'll fall for anything."

If I consider seriously what Sally Clarkson, not to mention God’s word says, how careful am I being to sow the maximum amount of good seed into fertile soil? The sowing of seed is only part of the equation—the working of the soil is the other, and it is up to me to do that, as well, to see that the Holy Spirit’s water has every opportunity to reach those precious seeds. If I allow t.v. to sow the seeds, I reap a greedy consumer who is absorbed in selfish desires. If I allow the culture to sow the seeds, I get someone who is unable to stand on anything for lack of absolutes and certainty because sin is subjective and people who say they know what sin is are hate-mongerers.

I choose to homeschool for a myriad of reasons, but the primary reason is that I want my husband and myself to be the primary seed-sowers in my child’s life. I recognize that friends and their families, life experiences, and other teachers who enter my kids’ lives are going to sow seeds as well. Some will be just as good as what we can sow, and some will be weeds. I know that we will sow some weeds ourselves, just by virtue of the fact that we are sinners. Nevertheless, the more our children are in this loving and nurturing environment, the more they will love that path of righteousness that we seek to put them on, by God’s grace. The quantity and the quality are of equal importance.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Called to Homeschool?

There seems to be in the homeschool movment extremes in either direction which give the reasonable majority a bad name. Of those I would suggest that there are those who believe that homeschooling is the be-all and end-all, the salvation for our futures and our nation; in essence those who "evangelize" others to homeschooling and believe that all Christians need to be doing so. In today's entry from Spunky of Spunky Homeschool, she acknowledges that there are these people out there, and homeschool conventions are a good place to find them. She recognizes the only salvation for any of us...Jesus. I love how she puts it:

Homeschooling is not the salvation of our culture. Jesus is. Homeschooling will not make a family successful. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a child from rebellion. Jesus does. Homeschooling will not keep a marriage strong. Jesus does. And the minute I think that homeschooling will do any of these things is the day I begin the slide toward defeat. Homeschooling will not build a successful family any more than a hammer will build a successful house.
Classical Conversations has been a huge help to me in sorting out my homeschooling philosophy, and one of their recommended titles is Douglas Wilson's The Case for Classical Christian Education. While this book is not in itself a "homeschooling" book, it is heavy on the philosphy of why Christians need to be educating children in a particular way. It is very compelling, and I found myself riding the proverbial pedulum in the direction of "every Christian is called to homeschool" or at the very least, be highly selective about the environment in which they are educated, all "Christian"schools not being equal. So I tested this philosophy / new-to-me thinking out on a few of my more experienced homeschooling friends. I think all three of them were smiling inwardly at my naievety. One of them, however looked down at my kitchen floor and said, "no comment." I said, "Comment, please." She replied with, "I would never share that point of view with anyone." This being a friend that I deeply respect I felt an inward "uh-oh." She pointed out the legalistic pitfall that this point of view creates, and ultimately provides a platform for judgement and division amongst Christians. Touche. So simple--why didn't I see it?

So no, I do not fall under that extreme, and I hope by reading this you may be encouraged to give grace to your brothers and sisters who do not share your point of view. Successful Christian homeschooling families tend to be strong families and the world needs more and more of these. What we need to do is pray for the families within the body to be healed and to be strong, and possibly, as a natural byproduct, we may see more homeschoolers arise--but not necessarily.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Faith of our Fathers

Posted by PicasaOn this July 4th weekend, I found this photo in my library that I love. I took it at the Jefferson memorial in Washinton, D.C., one of my favorite sites in the city. "Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that justice cannot sleep forever."
--Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, March 15, 2008

What I Need

The reasons for the long absences from blogging are many-fold, complex, and tiring to even think about let alone explain. Suffice it to say that 2007 was the year Mom tried everything in her power to be super-mom. Suffice it to say that "her power" wasn't nearly enough, and God had to step in, take a few things off of the plate, and replace them with a hearty serving of grace. Thankfully, my family is chiming in on that, and we are happily uncommitted at the moment to anything but learning and living.

When I got so busy that I felt depressed, I realized that I needed my kids perhaps even more than they need me. I need their simplicity, their happy delight in just about everything, their lack of concern for material things, their constant desire to paint, sketch, play, giggle, tickle, read books together, play pretend and eat popcorn. I didn't need to wear business attire, attend meetings, pound the pavement, suggest alternatives or make projections. I was emotionally stretched by the tension, not to mention the other two or three major family and personal issues I had brewing in the proverbial pot.

The attempt to be super-mom, and the subsequent abandonment of said effort has left me with a super-strong desire to do the spring cleaning and organizing and to get ready for next school year. I want to purge, simplify, reduce, focus. Whenever I have a few moments, I find myself going through things and throwing stuff away without any thought for sentimentality or if I may be sorry later. It's all gotta go! (The good news is that I usually do make the right call on not being a's rare that I throw away something that I'm sorry for later.)

This is what I have learned from all of this--we tend to fill up on junk, grasp at things that we have no business holding on to, seize control of things that we really have no control over anyway, so it's like trying to steer a runaway train, and worry ourselves to death over things that mean little. I heard in a sermon recently: "Our greatest fear should not be that we not succeed, but rather that we succeed at something that doesn't matter." Last year I filled up on junk, held on to empty things, ran around trying to succeed at something that was not my calling, and ended up an exhausted heap. Then the Lord asked me if I was ready to let him handle things. (chuckling to myself) oh, ya...That's what I need.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Resurrecting the Blog, Weighing in...

Wow...I just realized how long it's been since I last blogged. I've been very deeply ensconced in figuring out what is truly important in life, and somewhere, tripping merrily along (and sometimes not so merrily) I lost track of blogging. I've missed it though, and aim to return here, with some regularity.

For some reason, the issue of global (and especially childhood) obesity always gets my attention. Indeed, it is an "epidemic"--pandemic, if you ask me. It's not from lack of excericise. It's not from too much junk food or McDonald's. It's not from watching too much television or drinking too much coke. Well, indirectly I suppose it is, just as booze is indirectly the cause of alcoholism, or guns are the indirect cause of murders. It is all of these things in the hands of the users that get blamed on one level or another for a major problem. Alcoholism appeared to be a problem in the early part of the century, so the do-gooders decided that prohibition would be a good idea. Bad idea. Rising crime rates led another set of do-gooders to decided that gun control would be a good idea. I'll let you decide on that yourself, but as for me and my house, we like the Constitution. Now that the problem is FOOD ITSELF, what are we going to prohibit? Who are we going to punish?

I'd like to offer a suggestion. If mothers would choose to stay home with their kids, cook meals, take them to parks, read books to them regularly, teach them about healthy living, take them to church, teach them personal responsibility and global awareness, and love them with all they've got, then I wager that a major part of the problem will be improved. Is it the food that's the problem, or the emptiness inside that people are trying to fill with even emptier calories?

Oh, I know...I can already hear people jumping all over me saying, "what about the poor people, what about the people who HAVE to have two incomes, who don't have the time to eat with their kids? It's okay. I grew up in a single-parent, below-poverty income household. We lived on soups and stews and food that could stretch as far as we could make it stretch, but we sat down together every night, and my exhausted mom made us breakfast every morning, and taught us how to be healthy and use common sense when we ate. None of us is fat.