Monday, December 21, 2015

A Love of Reading

A major theory of my homeschooling is that if I teach my children to love reading and instill a love of learning, they will be students their whole lives. I will never, ever be able to teach my kids all there is to learn. It is impossible. But, for the most part, if they love to read and enjoy learning new things, I feel I have done my job. And at this point, with a 1st grader, 4th grader, 7th grader and a 9th grader, I have done that to varying degrees.

This week I had the privilege of continuing to teach my fourth child to read. As we struggled through a sound she has heard at least a dozen times before I had, what I thought to be, a profound thought. This isn't easy. And it really isn't intuitive. It is. But it isn't. The English language is fraught with exceptions to the rules. And crazy letter combinations. And as I got a little frustrated teaching some of those rules, I really understood how frustrating it can be for a little one to learn to read. Just when they have a sound figured out, a rule comes in. And then the rule changes.

As adults, for the most part, we take reading for granted. We just do it without much thought. I want each of my children to get there and to be honest, I am amazed when any child gets there. In my humble opinion, it is nothing short of a miracle when a child learns to read.

Having taught all four to read, I understand that some will struggle more than others. But, I feel I have done my job well, if there is a desire to read. And, for the most part, I think I have done that. We continue, almost every night, to read together. We have read some amazing stories. It is even cool now that all of us can read the same books but independently and I love sharing that with my kids. I have even seen my baby, beginning reader, reading books to the dog. I call that success . . .

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Guitar Recital

Little Man strummin' it up at his first ever guitar recital. He started taking lessons back in August. He really likes it and hopes to have a band with his friend.

He was super nervous and at one point wasn't going to perform. But, he saw his friend up there playing Silent Night and that motivated him so he was resolved to get up there too! 

He played Away in a Manager. And he did great! I was proud of him for learning the song. But, I told him I was most proud of the way he didn't give into his fear. We prayed together before he played and I didn't notice his hands shaking a bit. He told his daddy that once he started playing, he was fine.

It is so funny, because two weeks prior, he was singing on stage and had the lead role in our church's children's program. His teacher told me it is because it is something new. The wife of his teacher told me that some people just never get over the stage fright. They just learn to deal with it. 

I guess only time will tell. All I know is, he did great and he is ready to keep on learning. . . 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Didn't Make the Cut

Because we had the great family picture from my sister's wedding in April, I almost considered not having our annual pictures done by our photographer/former babysitter. But, as I was on the computer the other day, some of the old pictures popped up and I just knew we had to do it. And, of course, I am so glad we did. It is a tradition. And, I just love our photographer. 

The following are just  few of the about 60 pictures that didn't make the cut for this year's Christmas card.

I just love them . . . .

Saturday, December 5, 2015

God Isn't Fixing This

The above title of my post and headline, according to FB, was in a NYC daily newspaper. I read it two nights ago before bed. Mistake. I am a thinker and I don't need to be thinking right before bedtime. And, the Packers were losing again so there wasn't much of a distraction. The headline really bothered me. It showed pictures of four well known Christian conservatives and quotes of them saying how they would pray for survivors of those horrific acts of violence.

I couldn't help but think how empty those words must be to those who have lost loved ones recently. Especially if those individuals did not have a foundation of faith in God. And Jesus. Those things trouble me. I ponder these things. Life is short. There are no guarantees. A good family friend buried his father this week. He was only 61. I saw a lady at Target on Saturday. She buried her 14 year old daughter in February. It has been a year since my husband's shift partner was killed. I could go on.

Where is God in all of this? I am not a theologian by any stretch. So when I ponder these things it is on a purely homeschooling, wife, mother just trying to get the laundry done perspective. But, I ponder with heart and soul and with all of my being for answers. The beauty of it is, my God, the creator of Heaven and Earth is so much bigger than all my questions and always shows up to comfort me. To let me know He is here. In the midst of all the chaos. Big and little.

The answer I got this morning, as I pondered why isn't God fixing this, was in my quiet time. I am reading through Romans. Our pastor challenged us that if we want true heart change it has to begin with a constant input of the word of God. We fill our minds and hearts constantly with Fox News and CNN. But that isn't truth. Truth comes by the reading and hearing of the word of God. And viewing the world around me through that lens. A worldview. Everyone has one.

The truth spoken to me this morning was this:

Romans 10:21-"All day long I have stretched out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people." He wants a relationship with us. He desires to be with us and inhabit our hearts. But, as a nation we have turned our backs on God. I won't go into detail about the many ways we have taken God's commands and trampled on them. How we have turned against the love He so freely gives. We don't love and honor Him. And we sure don't love and honor each other. But, we expect Him to "show up" and fix the problems we have created by our sinfulness. We want the blessings and protection of God but we don't want to give up our freedoms and selfish desires. We don't want to give up our "rights" and we want to be able to give our opinions. When I get those feelings I go back to the Cross. What if Jesus, on His day of crucifixion, instead of saying "not my will but Yours be done", said heck with this I am living for me. There truly would be no "fixing this." No hope. Ever. For eternity.

As believers in Christ we are called to Romans 10:15 "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace." And as followers of Christ I am not sure we are doing that either. In Matthew we are called to love God with all our hearts, souls, mind and body. And to love others as ourselves. The 10 Commandments boiled down to those two. As Christians, we need to live those two commandments loud and clear.

I am sure God's heart is breaking. He gives us the answer. The answer is Jesus. But, are we willing to accept it, believe it and trust it? As a nation, I don't know.  It boils down to a choice that each living human being has to make. It is up to each one of us to accept the challenge of trusting and excepting the truth of Christ. And then living a sold out faith in Christ. God has chosen to help us by making us, human beings, the conduit of His love. Until we accept that and embrace it as a world, I am not sure how much fixing there will be. But, I do know this. Some day this world will burn away. And Christ will come back riding on the clouds. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is King. Then it will be fixed for good. Hallelujah, what a glorious day that will be . . .