Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Holy, Holy is He.

We are caught
between visions and reality.
A Golden City. We saw it once
at sunrise
cresting a ridge in New Mexico
waning star light shimmering on
windswept high prairie
suddenly morphed in to the lushness of the Rio Grande Valley.
A jewel in it's midst- Albuquerque - bathed in the sudden surprise of dawn in the desert
Pale Gold
the rich velvet curtain of night pulled back
sun struck splendor took one's breathe away.
Visions of what's to come.

Old and Ancient promises
revealing secrets of deep magic
and magic deeper still
a King and His court
Gathered singing praises. A single note sung by millions to One. Pure. Distinct.

Joy in the singing. Breathe stolen by beauty.
Desire for all else stolen
by Him.


We are chosen to gather round.
O, Lord
We are overwhelmed. Heads bowed in awe at the honor.
Joy in the singing.

Visions. Bringing us back. Taking us there.
Round the throne of Him who was and is and is to come...

Friday, September 25, 2009

blah blah blogging

While I've had lots to blog about I've had little time to do so. Here's a taste of what we've been doing lately. Enjoying the gorgeous fall weather and our blooming fleurs.
Enjoying my girlie, who's enjoying her kitties.
Enjoying the site of the woodpile gaining girth.
Enjoying the fruits, and vegetables, of our summer labor.

Enjoying all of the breads and cookies KB's been baking. Bosch's are the (kitchen) bomb!
Enjoying the study guides we're using from Memoria Press. Feche-boy during an especially inspired moment.
Enjoying the camaraderie that is developing at TDA. In this action photo, History guru Ms. Hickey is contemplating who should get the talking penguin.
One more for the road- or rather from the road. What we view from the car on our frequent rides to town.
For more quick takes, check out Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

WW: Orange & Yellow

These zinneas and daiseys came from our yard. They were absolutely glorious this year. KB took the awesome cool pic. Flowers, photos and cool kids- life is good.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Claiming Truth

small. feeble. crumpled. frail.
I am crushed by 2 manys.

2 many doubts, fears, demands, what ifs.
Too many worries
hopes deferred
dreams gone rancid.

My trust is week. feeble, like myself.
I turn from the obvious.
Knock at the door.

Wind words blow and the stench of fetid 2 manys
festered wounds
selfish weakness
my own sin
are blown away.
To the east and to the west.
I stand because He spoke.
Life. Truth.
A pebble for a gift
and on it is written
A new name.
No longer
But now
beloved child
hope restored

I stand.
Religion for a crutch? I laugh at the accuser.
Christ for My I Am.

I am won. By Him.
I am one. With Him.
His glory - covers me.
His light -restores me.
His path- guides me.
His breath - cleanses me.
The One.True. Living. God.
I claim Him for my own.

Little idols made of sticks and stones.
I bury them with Jacob under the Terebinth tree
and choose I Am.
Trusting. Hoping.
Claiming my new name.
Claiming Him.

Friday, September 18, 2009

WR: Learning Curves & Cat Herding

We had another very full week, between homeschooling on Monday and Friday, working in the garden, hauling and stacking wood last week-end and going to, running and teaching at The Daniel Academy (TDA).
Tuesday's and Thursday's at TDA are dedicated to academics- Math, History (ancients this year), science (plants), Latin, Christian Studies, English (phonics, copywork, dictation, literature), memory work, Apologetics.
Wednesdays are our Fine Arts & Daniel Track. Fine Arts take the majority of each Wednesday morning and contain Art, Drama and Music instruction. We have some awesome teachers in these areas and it's by far the favorite time of the week for most of the kids. We are going to add in Timeline's to Wednesday's schedule using Amy Pack's CD of historical figures.
Wednesday afternoons we spend time reading outloud (currently reading Little Pilgrim''s Progress) which the kids enjoy. While we read, they get big sheets of paper and can create whatever they dream up. This week we concluded read-aloud time with several paper chains, and paper crafted creations. The kids art boxes contain glue sticks and scissors and they are eager to use them!
After the read-alouds we play math and phonics games or work on manner's, review Veritas Press' time lines, which we are committing to memory; we are doing the Ancients pack- Old Testament and Ancient Egypt- along with the entire set (160 cards) of the Biblical timeline- 4 from each every week. We'll complete the Ancients Pack 4 times this year. The kid are memorizing titles on the cards as well as dates or Biblical reference.
Then gym time, intercession and closing.

It's been a learning curve for everyone the past month. We have families that have public schooled and utilized day care for years, families who have, in many ways, unschooled classical educators, etc. Now we are all coming under the same roof to create something, that is hopefully, better than what we could come up with on our own. The dedication of the parent's has been a huge blessing. The kids are great and it's been fun to get to know them, their quirks, strengths and struggles. We are going to implement a behavior chart beginning next week so that we can moniter behavior and group interactions, and to give us some objective measures of improvement. The kids all want to talk at once, or offer their suggestions or tell each other, and the teacher's what to do, put their feet on the table and interrupt some more- imagine that!!? Some days it does feel a little like herding cats, but there is more order each day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Abounding Contentment

Twice in the past month friends of ours have been hospitalized for mental illness. Twice in the past couple of years we've been at the bedside of friends dying of cancer. Just recently friends, and less recently family, have buried babies. Life, and what we assume it will hold for us, is more tenuous than I think most of us realize.
I have been struck, more and more, with thanksgiving for what we have today. Health, mental and physical. Homes. Heat. Food. Clothing. Kids that are well. Spouses that are committed to marriage and love.
I find it easy to feel discontent. I am naturally a melancholy person with a gift of criticism. I can usually, and in living color, see what could be done, improvements to be made, areas to ramp up, improve upon and embellish. And frankly, we live a somewhat, if by our own choosing, complicated life- in an older house, on an acreage, homesteading to an extent, parents of 5, owner of animals. There is always something(s) not working, needing fixed, unsolvable. Always areas of discontent that we deal with daily.
But I am growing more and more content. More and more grateful. More and more, admittedly, sappy. More and more in love with my middle aged, slightly balding, bossy, intelligent, gentle, wise and hard headed husband. More and more thankful for my 5 intelligent, troublesome, always hungry, demanding, beautiful, amazing children. More and more grateful for a country that allows us freedom and choices and clean water and the privilege to disagree and bear arms and vote and worship. More and more at peace with the friends and family God has gifted me with; younger, older, beautiful and normal, brilliant and average, close by and far away.
Life is never what we expect. But for now, for this minute, it's good enough. And I thank God for that.
"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:11 -13.
I pray that in whatever circumstance you find yourself in , that Christ finds you there, and all joy, all satisfaction, are yours.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Biet Midrash - Genesis 24

This week in Bible Study we read and thought deeply about Genesis 24- the rape of Dinah. It's not a chapter that you go over much, teach the kids in Sunday School or most likely dwell on. But it was one of those chapters that brought me up short, made me catch my breath, and has given me pause. Let me "splain (you know the accent- the Spaniard on Princess Bride).

The prince of the heathens, Shecham, a Canaanite, rapes Jacobs daughter by his tolerated wife, Leah (as opposed to his loved wife Rachel). The prince and his dad go to Jacob, confess, apologize and ask for Dinah's hand in marriage (this is a good deal for a raped women back in those times because at this point she's soiled goods and no self-respecting man will want her) say they'll pay whatever price is set as the dowry. Jacob agrees to the marriage with the caveat that Shecham and the other men in the city agree to be circumcised. They all go along with it. That's some smooth talking. Shecham and his father claim that they'll have some new folks to trade and intermarry with if they can entice Jacob and his clan to stay so the other men of the city agree to the plan; everybody (supposedly) is happy. Shecham gets his girl, Dinah gets married to a man, who, while he initially acted dishonorably, is now smitten with her and wants to make it right, Jacob and the clan get to settle and the city gets some revitalization.

Jacob, having just wrestled with an angel of the Lord, having just claimed Yahweh as his own, has the opportunity here to convert this city of heathens. Perhaps that's even his plan. But before the plan goes very far, Jacob's older sons take matters into their own hands. These are his sons by Leah and his concubines and they are righteously angry about the rape of their sister. In their anger, they murder Shecham and the other men of the city as they are recovering from circumcision, plunder the city, take captive the women and children, enslaving them all for the sake of honor. Perhaps they are sensitive to what honor means or doesn't mean because of how their father has treated their mother, and even them- sons of a marriage that was based on deceit and fraud, sons of concubines.

Opportunity lost. Jacob must now flee the land, as his sons behavior has created a situation that endangers them all. They flee the area.

We were left wondering how many times we've destroyed something in our righteous indignation, how often we've trampled a new work because of past hurts or grievances or jealousies. How often we've wounded and destroyed when we were called to create and birth. I was overwhelmed with the implications of this chapter. God could have used Jacob and his family to convert the city. It could have been the start of Jacob's life as a priest and one who builds up and restores instead of gets what's his. Jacob's past as deceiver, his history of not loving Leah and what God did and birthed through her, his own lusts, come to haunt him, his sons, 2 of whom don't become leaders of tribes due to this event, and his daughter, robbed of a husband and of restored honor.
I'm more like Jacob than I want to be. We all probably are. Our prayer at the end of the study was that we would be willing to give up our rights to be right, to be justified, to determine the end result and let God be God. No easy task.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Daniel Academy

Our lives have changed this year in a significant way. For the first time in 19 years we've joined forces with some other like-minded families and have launched a Family Partnership Private School. I have been referring to The Daniel Academy as a University Model School, but I like the Family Partnership (FPPS) label better; it's more descriptive and gives a better sense of what we are about. It's been good. Intense, fun, exhausting, challenging and a blessing. We hit a good groove this week with the schedule, we have some amazingly gifted teachers, parents that are invested, kids eager to learn - a winning combo.
The core of the program is the Daniel Track, components of which are sprinkled throughout each day of the program, drive 1/2 of Wednesday's schedule and direct parents as they lead their families throughout the week at home. Three days a week we join together for worship and intercession as well as for 1/2 hour of meditative prayer. I have been awed by the talent of our Pastor's wife, Kristen Hickey, Kristen Hickey – prayer this week. She is a gifted teacher. Seriously. Gifted. I've met a few of those in my life, my father in law, Viking Man, Sr. Damien in high school; they are a rare and precious breed. She's in there. Patient and creative and fun and funny. She is leading the kids during the meditative prayer, as well as teaching history (we are doing Ancients this year). She is Object Lesson Queen Bee.
1/2 Days on Wednesdays is the "Daniel Track." During that time we are reading a devotional; first up is The Little Pilgrim's Progress. It's a younger kids version of Pilgrim's Progress and actually very engaging. Feche-Boy and I read out-loud for an hour this week and kids didn't want us to stop! They were busy coloring a 7 Days of Creation booklet and totally engaged in the story and totally immersed in color marker heaven. Reading aloud is great learning on so many different levels and it was probably the most focused hour we had from everybody all week long. We are also doing, what I thought would be, a short lesson on manners. We started with Introductions. Too funny, but the kids thought this was too much fun. We spent way more time on this than I thought we would, but they were fascinated by practicing and play-acting the formal, and correct way, of getting introduced. And, of course, we are doing an at least bi-weekly Bible Study using Memoria Press' Christian Studies, book 1 -the Pentateuch. As I've mentioned before, it's excellent.
During the week, the families commit to praying together 2-4 hours per week (depending on how old their kids are).
We are starting a Parenting Class in 2 weeks as an important component of TDA titled, "Creating a Beautiful Family Culture" because education is about so much more than just academics; it's about culture and religion and relationships and ties and themes and seasons, and we will go over deliberate parenting, stewarding our children's spiritual lives, the Cycle of Discipline. the importance of family prayers and parental blessings and so much more. Dr. Viking Man is going to take the first several classes. This is the stuff that he breathes. It will rock.
Already some of the kids prayers have blown me away and it is so sweet to see them in the morning, being led by our talented worship leaders Megan and Ellie, with hands raised as they sing "Oh Lord we Lift Up Our Hands." There is nothing sweeter than to see children of all ages, really engaged in something bigger than themselves, innocent and trusting, and eager.
The vision is that this is a long-lasting, life changing, hot house of training for the next generation. That they emerge ready for the Call, equipped, encouraged and eager to Serve the One True Living God.
We've launched. Now the task will be to stay pointed True North.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

On Preaching...

Gospel preaching always requires great courage, both to execute and to tolerate, for it must ever needs be a running toward a lion’s roar. ~Chalmers

Monday, September 7, 2009

Past & Present

"Uncertain about the future? Look to the past.
It is a ready and reliable guide."

~Winston Churchill.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wise Words

From Miss R's blog: Written By Regina Brett, 90 years old, of The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio. "To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.It is the most-requested column I've ever written."

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's,we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift."