Monday, March 30, 2009

Heard any good jokes lately?

I need a good laugh. It's been a rough week. Yes, I know it's only Monday.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Dozen Church-related Wishes

Once in a while, I'd love to experience the following at my own church on a Sunday morning.

1. a completely a capella worship time in place of instrumental accompaniment
Nothing beats the beauty of 500 voices singing God's praises in unison.

2. the tithe collected in silence, with only music playing
Tithing is, after all, an act of worship.

3. no one getting up to leave or return from their seat for a whole five minutes
Be still and know that I am God. Be still.

4. dancing...and I don't mean jiggling or swaying
Neither counts.

5. a dresses-only day (for women and girls, that is)
Not a conviction, not even a habit, but I enjoy seeing ladies dress as such.

6. all men in suits and ties
I love suits. My man in a suit and tie especially.

7. congregants bringing hand-held percussion instruments with which to worship
The children would be actively engaged here...a very good alternative for non-readers.

8. the service led by mature teens who are doctrinally sound, articulate, and passionate for God
I have someone in mind.

9. a men's choir
Remember angels in the Bible had names like Michael and Gabriel.

10. a very big orchestra
My favorites would include trumpets, violins, flutes, and a harp. I know electric instruments are practical and even sound good when skillfully played, but I'd rather see the volume increased by the number of instruments, not by the turn of a dial.

11. a drama
The talent in our midst is only being tapped annually. Time's fleeting!

12. a time of turning to one another and greeting them, cued from the pulpit
I appreciate this practice most when I visit another church. Takes the tension out a bit and helps me feel not ignored. Some folks (me included) just need to be prompted.

Sweeter than Chocolate Cake

I'm glad God gave me Joel. It's been too many years since I got to hear sweet nothings semi-often from my offspring. Last night my baby gave me this precious verbal gift.

Monday, March 23, 2009

It Would be Hilarious if I Didn't Think He Meant It

Joel has been learning about coins and dollars, and is quite fast at the math involved with money.

He has this toy cash register that my mom gave him a couple years back. It wasn't half as much fun then as it is now that he understands the value of money.
More or less.
The cash register has a battery-operated scanner, an attached microphone, bills and coins, and--sadly--a credit card. (It was cute to see Joel had recently signed his name in cursive across the entire back of it.)

Saturday morning he asked, "Mom, will you play money with me? I have a store and this is your money. You can buy whatever you want. Spend it all. You have to spend it all before the game ends." He handed me a stack of ones, fives, tens, and twenties about two inches thick.

"Okay, I'll buy this pencil, this mug, a deck of cards, and a pair of shoes."

He rang up each one like this: 1.00, 2.00, .50, and 9.00. All right. Fair enough.
I still had a lot of cash left.

I then bought a half-used scented candle, a napkin holder, a plate, and a piece of fridge art.
Still had a lot of money left. After a few rounds of spending under 15 bucks, and seeing that it could feasibly take till lunch to blow through my bills, I started racking up what I thought would be larger tab.

"I'll buy this atlas which I think is $30--"
"No--my store is cheap. It's only $20." he informed me joyfully.
Rats. I wasn't looking for a bargain.

"Okay, I'll take the piano," I said, hoping to lay out 300 smackers.
"The piano is also twenty dollars," he said.

"What? Are you crazy? The piano and the book cost the same? "

"Yup. Nothing in my store costs more than twenty dollars."

Oh. Okay. I can play that game, happy to see an end in sight.

Well, once I shelled out my last buck, I thanked him and told him he was a good businessman and smart cashier. I got up to head out of the "store."

"Wait!" he exclaimed, waving the plastic Power Card at me. "You still have a credit card! You can buy anything you want. You don't even need money to pay for stuff!"

I think I saw the ghost of Larry Burkett frowning at me from the dining room.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mistakes in our Favor

A brief update on what came from the heartstopping scare that Applebee's gave us. (Remember the sheriff's office had called at 11:35 accusing two of my children of skipping out on a tab? Come to find out, it was a bar tab that someone ELSE had dodged and the guy had rudely pushed through Sarah's crowd to leave the joint.)

When Steve wrote a letter to corporate, the guy profusely apologized and said it was the first he'd heard of it. The man sent a formal letter of apology and a 40 dollar gift certificate. I have resolved not to give this particular establishment (the one in Churchville) another dime. I'm not all that pleased with the Sheriff's Department, either, but I know who to call about that. I have connections:) Now that my heart has returned to a normal pace...


Another error in our favor. We took Ben to PF Chang's today for his birthday. This was the PF Chang's in White Marsh. My parents and sister joined us for lunch. Halfway through his meal of Shrimp with Melons and Candied Walnuts, he spotted a piece of metal. It looked like a metal twist-tie from a wrapper.

The waiter was so embarrassed and the manager came out quicko-pronto, apologized up one side and down the other, ordered a replacement which was better than the first AND she took 30 bucks off the bill. Our server wasn't so great (kind of a jerk, actually, once he lost face with the manager, fellow server, and us). But the way the manager handled the situation was 180 degrees different from the Applebee's treatment. I applaud her. She made up for less-than-stellar service from the rest of the staff.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Feeling the "Good Kind" of Tired

I'm whooped. Totally worn out from our day at BizTown. It was a great day, completely "Bizzy" every moment of the day. Too tired, in fact, to detail our day, but I hope to get permission from the parents so I can show our " citizens" hard at work. I wish I had put dinner in the Crock Pot before leaving this morning. It sure would have been nice to come to Karen's delicious Pork Chops with Cranberry-Apple Butter Glaze and stuffing. (Karen, you must post that recipe. It was such a hit with the whole family, even Ben who doesn't like "sweet" with "meat"!)

Speaking of Ben, he turns 21 tomorrow. He has big plans to celebrate with friends at a local restaurant. I love the way his age group does birthdays. They just text each other and say, "Wanna hang out on my birthday? We're going to meet at {restaurant}at {time. See ya." Everyone goes Dutch, they might or might not do cards (they're guys, so "might not" is more likely!) and so the planning is about as minimal as you can get. Oh, to adopt that mindset:). The parental units are completely out of the picture. We'll take him out Sunday or Monday or "whenever." He's just really excited at how well the Terps are doing so he can watch them on his birthday. To each his own. It impresses me that God takes details like that into account. God knows I wouldn't care who was winning what on my birthday, but if I didn't get flowers and a cake and a professional massage and a great dinner and lots of cards with actual writing (not just a signature) and calls from my parents and my sisters, and a gift from Barb, and ....and....and...well, I am just a big baby that way, so good thing I only have one birthday a year, huh? And good thing it's not coming up any time soon. They seem to come closer than 12 months apart.

Now, time for a nap!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Altar of Ego

Today I was listening to an old CD by Carolyn Arends. On it is a song I'd forgotten about, but so readily identify with. Though I seldom publish lyrics here, I want to put the ones on it that I find especially relevant today, after a long time journaling and pouring out my helplessness to the Holy One.

Verse 2:

I've got four friends I will let advise me
Me, myself and I and the evil twin inside me
We talk each up and we bring each other down
'Cause there's nothing we like more than the ever present sound
of the voice inside my head, once again it's led
To losing all the things that matter


I don't want to be here again
Bowed at the altar of ego
I've sacrificed most everything
Here at the altar of ego

I need a touch of love, I need a thrust of grace
A push, a shove, a slap in the face
"Cause I have gazed too long at the person inthe mirror
As I turn away, I'm finding things clearer
I will set my sights on Someone so much higher
Nto on what I want, but on what I require
To travel to the place where at last I can embrace
All the things that really matter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Migraine from Missing the Man?

Yesterday marked the third migraine Joel has had that's been severe enough to make him throw up. It also was third time that corresponded to one of Paul's business trips. Joel's first migraine about six weeks ago happened on Paul's day trip up to Boston. The second he was in Florida for four days. Yesterday he was in Atlanta for the day. All three times, Joel has developed a migraine in school, and sometime around dinner he has "lost his cookies."

Can someone tell me if this is a common tendency with migraines? In other words, can even the change in routine for a day (ie not seeing Dad and riding to school with him) upset one's system so much that he vomits from a headache? I am thinking that I won't tell Joel the next time Paul takes a day trip. I'll say he left early for work and will be home late; that's the truth without the whole airport news.

Or could this more likely be mere coincidence?

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Not-So-Little Drummer Boy

Reasons to rejoice abound daily. This past week we've received kindness upon kindness from God in myriad ways.

A bit more than 17 years ago, I asked God to make the baby in my womb a musician with the skill level and passion for the chosen instrument that was surpassed only by his passion for the One for Whom he played. Naturally I made sure he got piano lessons. Of course I was delighted when he showed interest in the guitar. But passion? Oh, boy. Only the drums became an object of his musical passion. Thankfully I hadn't closed the door of my heart on that one, but I have certainly closed the door of his bedroom countless times!

He had a few lessons by the drummer at church, who has been drumming faithfully every single week for a long, long time. Not only has it been a major sacrifice for Matt to be the sole drummer for the band, but Leanne (his wife) was driving separately month after month, or going with him and hanging out for a couple hours every Sunday, I'm not sure which. So, last summer, when we asked if he'd give Stephen lessons and for how much, he agreed to a ridiculously discounted rate-- "selfishly". It was a savvy move to offer an unbeatable incentive: prepare Steve for music ministry sooner rather than later:). Thanks, Matt! You're a good man. And Leanne, I'm giving you a standing ovation as I type this!

Stephen was recently asked to join the Sunday morning worship team practice, which honored and scared him. Within short order they asked him to play on March 15th. Whoa. He practiced hard and took advice from Paul. I peeked in on them Saturday night. Father/son jam fest in Stephen's tiny room, which has three pieces of furniture: a bunkbed, a bookcase, and a drum set. (The dresser is in the closet; the room is that small.)

He told me the next morning he was extremely nervous, but we assured him it was normal. He was afraid he was making it more about himself than about God; hence the excessive nerves. So we prayed for him , again. I didn't notice any flubs in his playing, but then again, my eyes were not glued on him the whole time. He was doing such a good job enhancing and blending with the music that he didn't stick out. Bravo. Only afterwards did he tell me that, when he was practicing, he changed the lyrics (in his mind) of a popular song, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord. He sang something like, "and if I drop a stick or lose the tempo, blessed be Your Name."
He said both happened that morning, but he kept right on worshiping.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Math

Here is an entertaining look at why I don't teach math.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Culinary Failure and Redemption

It's so tempting to post only the recipes that turn out great, especially the ones that, as Joel says, "come out of my own head."

So tempting, in fact, that I believe I have never posted a culinary failure. A dose of honesty and humility is in order, lest I lead thee to think more highly of me than thou ought to think.

Therefore...may I present....

Exhibit A (sans photo) Pork Chops with Couscous, Hot Tomatoes, and Cheese

It was a bad variation on a good theme. My family likes pork chops with rice, spicy tomatoes, taco seasoning, and cheese, which all gets put in a 9x13 (add 10 oz water and cover), and baked for about a half hour.

Well, I had pork chops, cheese, and spicy tomatoes, but I forgot about needing the taco seasoning, and I substituted couscous for the rice since it's all I had. What was I thinking? I must not have been.

My poor family. I had to tell Joel it was pretty much like chicken, which he loves, because he hates pork chops. Paul wondered if next time I could add some seasoning. Stephen, who--bless his heart-- almost never complains, asked, "Do we have anything else to eat?" I sat there and ate it, saying to myself ,"Missionary food. I can eat just about anything, but this is pitiful. " I had gratitude only for the portion, not for the pleasure, for there was none to be had.

So I redeemed it the following night. Stripped all the couscous and icky cheese and not-so-hot-after-all tomatoes. Cut the meat up into bite size chunks, dumped them into a pot and poured almost a whole bottle of bbq sauce plus about an inch of water and a whole sliced onion into it. Boiled it till the onions caramelized, and simmered it till people started coming from hither and yon wondering what the good smell was.

Please fess up. Misery, after all, does love company. What was the last culinary failure you experienced, and if there was redemption for it, how so?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sign of Maturing: Letting Go of Stuff

The main thing on Joel's List from Dad on Saturday was to clean up his toy corner. That's what we affectionately named the growing pile of stuff he plays with in the family room, a corner that threatened to become the family room. Legos, Clone helmet, action figures, stuffed animals, and nearly 100 matchbox cars, plus some toddler toys still there from the last time we had wee ones visit us.

A few weeks ago, when Joel got straight A's for the second time in a row, I bought him a 5-drawer organizer on wheels (thanks, Laurie, for the suggestion you posted). This organizes all 22,489 legos by color, with the deeper drawers also holding finished or nearly-finished productions that he doesn't want to dismantle yet.

Saturday morning we brought the toybox out of Sarah's closet (it was holding blankets--okay, fine--and unused pillows--why??--). The heirloom Jenny Lind toybox got vacuumed out by Yours Truly, and hauled into the family room by Mine Truly. I learned long ago not to just let kids throw anything and everything into a big toy box , the Great Abyss of Junk. So I insisted that Joel keep stuff inside containers inside the toybox:

-large red plastic bin for big vehicles
-metal lunchbox for little cars
-cardboard bootbox for stuffed animals
-plastic lidless box for action figures

Toddler toys and board games headed back to the basement. Trash? Obvious. Clone Helmet sits next to the toybox, out of sight, but within easy reach.

I prayed for grace; I had to. I am not one to stay on task when it comes to organizing. Forty-five minutes is my decision-making limit, and then my patience wears down with my energy. God honored my prayer, and the result amazed me.

The most incredible thing was that when I told Joel he had to get rid of 27 things--trash, toys, or a combo thereof--he said cheerfully, "27? Okay." No whining, no complaining. I was there to help him, that's all he'd asked for.And he started with his cars.

He came up with two criteria on his own for keeping a car:

1. It had to look cool.
2 .It had to be able to run from one end of the toybox to the other.

I was impressed with the simplicity of his downsizing strategy--and his perseverance. One by one he tested each car. If it faltered, he threw it into the Goodwill bag. If it was broken, it went into the trash. Well, 27 came and went and he was still chucking cars that didn't pass inspection. All in all, my boy got rid of 38 cars and kept 45.

I started to say, "I'm so proud of you," but he gasped. He reminds us not to be proud, so according to him, we should say, "I am so pleased with you," :)

He also put a Leap Pad into the giveaway bag. Does anyone want it? Second grade level, I think. Needs battery. Speak now or watch it peace-out.

I kept thinking, and finally told him, "Oh, Joel, you are growing up. I remember the days I had to do this all by myself. Otherwise you would cling to everything I tried to toss out or give away. You would say, "No, I like that!" Or "I have to keep this one. He's my friend."

Fifty minutes later, my energy was nearly spent, and my patience had been well exercised. But we still had stuff to deal with. A prayer of repentence and a deep breath, we kept at it. I have to say, I was the one who had to pray. Joel was doing great! Still cheerful, only slower. We finished in 70 minutes. What a great feeling! What a sight to see!

So, gals, if you are up to your ribcage in uncaged toys, take heart. A day will come when your kids, with your help, will learn to let go of treasures. Work at it in stages. Set the timer for 15 or 20 minutes, or --like I did--give him X number of toys to get rid of, then he can quit. My magic number is 27 when I set out to declutter.

Remind them that there are children in the world who would love to have just one of the toys they have 100 of. Remind them that it's easier to take care of stuff when there's less of it. Remind them how grown-up they will feel to make grown-up decisions like what to keep and what to give away. And reward them generously for their efforts. A trip to Rita's, an hour at the playground, a shiny quarter, whatever puts winds in their sails.

And don't forget to pray for grace, and thank God for it when the task is over.

A Fool's Obituary

Ever heard of Nabal? I hadn't (or hadn't remembered) but a few weeks ago in my Bible study, the instruction was to write an obituary for him. He was a cruel alcholic who disrespected God and his men, namely David. God put an end to Nabal's foolish ways and days, simultaneously.

For the record, I think the proper Hebrew pronunciation would be "Ne-BAHL," but that's harder to rhyme, so I was thinking "Nabal as in rhymes with table." Here goes the obit I wrote:

Nabal, Nabal was unstable
Harsh and foolish, drunk at table.
Got too surly with God's anointed,
So here he lies as God appointed.
I learned a lot from this fun little exercise. Try it next time you want to remember a certain character. I think I'll use this to have my students remember a president or some other figure in history. If you want to take a stab at it, let me offer Louis Armstrong as a prompt. Care to compose in my comment box?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Joking with God

I grew up with a mindset that you can have fun with humans, but you ought to be totally serious with God. After all, He can do anything to you that He wants.

But I know Him better now and have come to appreciate His sense of humor. And He might be the only One who appreciates mine, I'm not sure. The jury's still out on that one.

Today I had a funny little thought I shared with God. (Not that He isn't always "in" on my head chatter .) I was too sick to go to school. Slept almost the whole day, but still had an appetite. As I was nibbling on some crackers at noon, I was thinking how good it was to sit in a quiet house, away from the noise and confusion that my classroom becomes at lunchtime--and several other times throughout the day.

"Lord," I said to Him, "when I asked for a job filled with glamour, did You think I said clamor?"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

IEW Curriculum Gets My Vote

'Tis the season most homeschool parents start perusing the curriculum fairs for next year's picks. Most of the time my "hunts" were successful once I had figured out what I liked, what my kids enjoyed, and what I could stick with from year to year.

A writing curriculum I can highly recommend is Institute for Excellence in Writing. We use it in our school, and the co-op uses it as well (at the high school level, I believe). It comes with videos, writing samples, explanations, and more. As easy and fulfilling as I find writing, it's the hardest subject for me to teach and the one that takes the most time investment to do well.

This curriculum is designed for either the teacher who has a basic idea of how to teach writing or for the one who has no clue. If you know what you're doing, I recommend using a few of IEW's built-in source material but mostly your own. I believe in doing "double duty" with history and writing, or literature and writing, or science and writing. In other words, if you are reading about Louis XIV, find some source material about him to gear the writing assignment toward. (Okay, that was a poor sentence, but I shall go on.) If you're studying about moles (either the rodent or the skin type), it's easy to adapt with IEW.

I recommend previewing the first few DVDs before teaching your kids. Get the material this summer and do it during some down time. Once you get the hang of it, you can simply watch it with them (provided you decide to use the built-in source material).

My two caveats:
1) Don't let your kids become "formula" writers. This curriculum is heavy on 'dress-ups" ("ly" adverbs, who/which clauses, adverbial clauses, preposition openers). That's fine if your kid always starts sentences with nouns or pronouns, but using anyone else's style too much will hinder a development of one's own. I'm all about giving your writing a "voice." Your voice, not your teacher's, not your best friend's, not your favorite author's, and certainly not the voice of everyone else in the same writing class. You want to avoid "ese" of any kind. I also prefer strong verbs over "ly" adverbs. (Which one is better? "She bit her fingernails and tapped her watch as she waited for the 1014?" or "She waited nervously for the bus." ?) I am trying to break my students of the habit of putting an "-ly" adverb before or after every verb. It's overkill, but they've been trained on IEW.

2) Prepare to groan a few times through the video teacher's corny lecture style. I have no room to talk, I know, but have you heard the line from "South Pacific" about being "corny as Kansas in August"? That's Andrew Pudewa.

Check it out. Since you can use it on multi-levels, it's a worthy investment. Since the materials are built-in as well as flexible to your own, it's a double-good investment. As for the humor factor, that might kill the deal for ya.

Monday, March 09, 2009

New Poll for Bibliophiles

I'd love to know how other readers keep their bilios "filed."

Yankee Doodle Dandy of an Explanation

I kid you not. This conversation actually happened in my classroom this past Friday. It's one of the classic moments a middle school teacher says to herself, "Hmm. Somewhere between kindergarten and now, they've gotten some mixed-up facts about history!"

Here's how it played out. We're talking about the decade of the 1920s.
Me (handing out two articles, one on Warren G. Harding, the other on Calvin Coolidge):
All right, class, start by taking a look at these articles and tell me which president was born on a holiday.

Students: (skimming)

Student 1: Coolidge! It says here he was born July 4th, 1872 .

Me: That's right. How "cool" idge dat?

All: (groan)

Student 1: (picture lightbulb over his head) Ah! So THAT'S why we celebrate the 4th of July! It was Calvin Coolidge's birthday.

Me: (furrowing brows, stifling laugh)

Student 2: Nuh-uh! That's not why!

Me: You're right, it's not why. The 4th of July is Independence Day. Why do we celebrate it?

Student 2: I think it's got something to do with Britain, but it's not because of Calvin Coolidge's birthday!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Reading Rewards

For the past two summers, we have offered Joel rewards for reading x number of books.
This past summer he wanted Blendy Pens as seen on TV. They were cheaper at Target, but he agreed to read 50 books to earn them. The summer before, he read 50 (shorter, but age appropritate) books, to get a Star Wars sticker book ($12.00 or so at Barnes & Noble).

He could read alone, to, or with someone, but he had to do the reading. We kept a list. It was so gratifying to all of us. His sister, Sarah, was especially elated. I remember her words before Joel was born: "I'm going to make him a reader. I won't let him ruin his mind with dumb video games." (To which his brothers voiced their values: What's wrong with video games?") Funny thing now is, when his brothers catch him gaming, they say, "Hey, Joel, don't you have anything better to do than that? Like read or play football or something?")

At any rate, Joel found something at a store not long ago that he wanted instantly. I said no, also instantly. I don't remember what it was (something Star Warsy, I'm sure). But I do remember his next question: "Well, if I can't have it now, can I read for it and get it later?"

Big hugs all around, a smacker on the soft, soft cheeks, and a "Sure, you can!" sealed the deal. I need to go ask him what it was. I'm sure he'll remember.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Ideas for Mini Retreats?

I am feeling desperate to get away from the same-old same-old, and to meet up with sisters in Christ for a couple/three/20 days. To sing, laugh, sleep, cry, talk, read scripture, eat, and repeat as necessary for the refreshing of my spirit.

Our church's ladies' retreat is every other year. This year we were supposed to have one and I could hardly wait. Then it got cancelled because of scheduling and fiscal hardships. I didn't realize the depth of my desire for a retreat, nor the depth of my disappointment until a few weeks ago. I haven't been able to shake the desire. I know I must hold it loosely lest I idolize time with the One who commands me to have no idols!

Yet,I don't want to give up. I think retreats are good and necessary. Jesus rowed away from the crowds from time to time for the sole purpose of praying.

I envy women whose husbands "send them" on personal retreats or "send them" to have quiet times at cozy restaurants or peaceful parks. My husband is not a sender. Not of that sort, anyway. He sends me to Home Depot for furnace filters, he sends me to Arby's for Beef 'n Cheddar sandwiches, he sends me to Walgreen's to pick up prescriptions. But he has never "sent" me on a retreat that I didn't already plan on going to.

So I am making mental plans to send myself away:)

I need ideas. For the record, I don't think I'd do well to go on a personal retreat alone. I am more likely to be encouraged by others than to sit alone somewhere for a weekend.

We have the money. That's not a big hurdle, so feel free to suggest overnighters that aren't dirt cheap. Part of my being refreshed, by the way, is going to places where other people do the cooking and cleaning. I don't enjoy camping one bit. Roasting marshmallows ? Fine. Singing "Kum Ba Yah"? Tolerable. But sleeping an inch from a bug-infested dirt floor? No thanks. My youth retreat days were over with my youth.

Any suggestions for a mature, beautiful, relaxing, faith-inspiring getaway place? I'm good for up to 4 hours away. Four-hour plane rides included.

A Psalm of Grief

Death has come
and is coming
for parents of sisters
and brothers I love.

Most of my children
don't need me anymore.
My husband deserves
a better wife.

I want to retreat,
to curl up like a baby in
her Father's arms
and hear Him sing over me,
and let me cry,
cry hard. till the rivers of grief
that flood my soul
flood my pillow instead.

I keep holding back my
I hate feeling weak.
Jesus loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
Tell me again, Jesus, tell me
You love me
and You are strong.

I don't need to be needed.
I want to be needed
and cherished
and to feel what it is
to be free of

Abba, Daddy, hold me.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Why I Like Thursdays (in 22 Words)

Thursdays mean longer coffee breaks with God, a cleaner home, upper level writers here, quietness, and solitude. Thursdays are unique and welcomed.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Waiting On" God Means "Hoping In" Him

Maybe I'd heard it somewhere already. When you're as old as I am, and been in church since the womb, you hear things but you don't really hear them.

Such is the case with Isaiah 40:31. This was the verse of our cheerleading squad when I cheered for the Harford Christian Eagles in the 1900s. (Back when I was more engine than caboose.)

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."

I think I had heard in more than one sermon what the phrase "wait on God" meant, but what stuck in my head was "wait for God." Endless waiting, it seemed, at times. Waiting for explanations, waiting for healing, waiting for direction, waiting for relationships, waiting for babies, waiting for ...God to do something in the future, and the sooner the future could get here, the less I hated waiting.

But Beth Moore's book study, A Heart Like His, has sealed the meaning in my mind. Thank You, Lord, for Beth Moore. Her style of writing and teaching is so perfectly matched to my way of learning. She explained that "wait on God" means "hope in God."

Hoping is active; waiting is passive. Hoping gives me something to occupy my heart with. It's Godward, not selfward. (Is selfward a word? If it wasn't yet, it is now.) I can hope in God right now whether He grants me my petition or not. I can hope in God because He has never failed me. I can hope in God because He gives me grace to hope in Him.

Hoping in God also sheds proverbial light on this axiom from the OT: Hope deferred makes the heart sick.... I used to think that meant, "If what I hope for seems to never happen, of course I'll be sick about it. My heart will wither to nothing." However, I do believe that I have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to never defer my hope--never put it off till I have more faith or till I see a glimmer of that far-off thing. Rather, I can always hope now. Right now. Hope in God because God is here, God is now, God is faithful, always has been faithful, always will be faithful, so ...what am I waiting for? I'm not! I'm waiting ON God!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Never Mind

I'm not going to read any "real books" for the 20s with my students. Rather, I am going to do something unprecedented: stick with the textbook and accompanying workbook. That is so unlike me, I can hardly bear to go public with the news. :(

I took time after school today to plan the next 2 weeks of history. The only thing above-and-beyond I did was make a Harding and Coolidge worksheet based on two articles in the teacher's manual.

BizTown was cancelled today because we had a 2-hour school delay. Before I ventured into the lion's den, though, I made sure I had a new date to announce to the pride. I would've been their afternoon snack without it!

Help Wanted: Books on the 1920s

Anyone know of some excellent books or other resources or idea for communicating to middle schoolers what the decade of the 1920s was about? Sure, we can read from the textbook--and we will--but I love "real" books more. Any suggestions?

We studied the 20s when Ben was in 9th grade. He's now a junior in college, so my mind's foggy. And what I'd let a homeschooled highschooler read and what I'd want 5th and 6th graders who don't belong to me are two different things.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Why Law School "Appealed" to Me (in 22 Words)

"Courting" the notion of researching precedents, studying forensics, questioning witnesses, using criminal psychology, ascribing motives, and incarcerating scumbags really "appealed" to me.

Hunkerin' Down

Friday morning I pointed out some darling little yellow crocuses barely peeking their heads out their skinny, green shirts. Joel saw them and began with his, "Aw, they're so cute! Aw, aw...aren't they so cute, Mom?"

Then last night I heard a forecast for 6-10 inches of snow to start this evening. As I type, it is starting to fall. We made a trip to Aldi after church and plunked down almost $200 for the ensuing blizzard. (Well, the blizzard and the next week and a half of meals!) Paul has declared he will stay home tomorrow, no matter what. Sarah rented a stack of movies. Ben lamented that his classes are Tuesday and Thursday; why couldn't they be on Monday this week for the joy of having them cancelled? Stephen put his 4-wheel drive Jeep at the top of the driveway.

I have meatloaf in the oven and potatoes on the stove. It's one of Paul's favorite dinners and true hibernation food.

One of my students (the one I spoke of who was so excited to be the beverage manager--and yes, he got the job!) said to me at church, "Mrs. Zubrowski, I'm praying we don't get snow. Normally I would want a lot of it, but I really don't want to miss BizTown because of snow." His face was beaming with mixed emotions--love the snow/can't wait for BizTown. (It's scheduled for Tuesday.) I told him, "Well, I'm sure that even if we get snow, we should be able to postpone BizTown. Don't worry. Just enjoy it either way." And he said, "I will. I just would rather have snow after BizTown."

*Picture is from last year's biggie snow.