Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I've been working hard on putting together this class for the past couple of weeks, along with giving the girls exams and nursing them (and myself and Mr. Honey) through colds. There has been a lot going on, and I just haven't felt the inspiration to write.
On Sunday we had a Bible study in which we talked about who wrote the Bible, among other things. As we discussed the process and people God used to pen the Bible, our pastor brought up an wonderful definition of the word inspiration. He pointed out that it literally meant that God breathed the writing into the authors.
Another definition of the word inspiration is: the act of inhaling.
I love that.
I want to inhale God. I want the Lord to breathe out around me so that I have to inhale Him. Oh, that is so glorious.
Anyway, I was thinking about that in terms of teaching all these children this week, and in terms of raising my own girls. I often get nervous in situations where I am put on the spot, and I can't think of being more put on the spot than in front of a lot of children who all expect you to know something. Think Maria in The Sound of Music. But I don't want "Confidence in Me," as she sings. I want the Lord to deliver me, oh yes. I've seen me, and I've done me, and when I rely on me, I really fall on my face.
The class is going quite well, as I said before. I entirely attribute it to the Lord, because when I have been tempted to begin thinking it was me, I have made funny mistakes.
Oh, that I could extend my faith in God, make it one seamless line of love, obedience and trust from birth to death, with no tangents toward fears and doubts. But despite my fearful hiccups, it is grand when the Lord delivers and carries me through in little and big ways. He still loves even me.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Summertime, and the livin' is easy.
And all that.
I estimate this will shave at least 10-20 minutes off the amount of time it takes for me to get Ready for the Day. Not my favorite activity, but highly necessary.
(This is why I like having a blog. I can get excited over simple things and nobody rolls their eyes. Or, at least, I don't see it if they do.)
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
In conclusion, let me say that the education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions––a running fire of Do and Don't; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way, and grow to fruitful purpose. The gardener, it is true, 'digs about and dungs,' prunes and trains, his peach tree; but that occupies a small fraction of the tree's life: all the rest of the time the sweet airs and sunshine, the rains and dews, play about it and breathe upon it, get into its substance, and the result is––peaches. But let the gardener neglect his part, and the peaches will be no better than sloes. p. 134
(Sloe: a tart, plumlike fruit)
This must be the measuring stick for habit training-- for those of us that feel more secure with such a thing. (That would be me.) How far do the kids follow good everyday patterns when you let them alone? And what bad habits do they fall into when you are not saying Do and Don't?
(I am reminded of a lady that I once heard chastising her daughter for some breach of good manners in public-- she said, "Have you forgot your home trainin'?!" Almost completely off-subject, but that is how my mind works.)
The next quote:
Here, again, is an illustration of that fable of the anxious pendulum, overwhelmed with the thought of the number of ticks it must tick. But the ticks are to be delivered tick by tick, and there will always be a second of time to tick in.
Hello, my name is Mother Auma, and I am an Anxious Pendulum. (Hi, Mother Auma.)
But I am working on it. The thought that there will be a second for each 'tick' reminds me of two sayings used by the eloquent family of Queen Shenaynay:
"The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cannot keep you."
"Now is not forever."
Last night as we read this, a friend quoted Zechariah 4:10--
"For who hath despised the day of small things?"
This is the section where Charlotte comforts us mothers, not only with the reassurance that there will be a second for each 'tick', but that training children in good habits is habit-forming for the adult as well as the child-- the teaching of good habits eventually becomes a routine and a pleasure.
My fragmented brain went to the movie Finding Nemo at this point in the discussion. Dory is one of my favorite characters-- she suffers from short-term memory loss, but although this shortcoming leaves her with very little control in even everyday situations, she tends to trust that things will be fine. (This is where the movie falls apart in terms of redeeming qualities, imho. The Lord is never mentioned,and if she doesn't believe in the Lord, how can she think everything will turn out right? However, everything does work out, so I tend to think He just wasn't mentioned-- faith, but not according to knowledge, you know. Yes, I realize it is just a movie. But I digress.)
The dad fish, Marlin, is a frantic basket case, even before he loses his son. But Dory, with all her issues, actually helps him to let go and trust. She is fond of saying, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming." Hey, we sing this at our house some days. It reminds me to keep going, take a few steps every day, even when it seems nothing is going right (seems being the operative word here-- I tend to be a little dramatic when something is not going well). My dad sometimes says we are responsible to the Lord for process, not results, and I think that applies here.
Some days I feel like all we are doing is treading water, standing in the same place, but habits do eventually get built-- we have not yet "arrived", but I do speak from experience. I also know from experience that there are always many more pesky little faults waiting in the wings to be worked on! But isn't that the story of the child of God? We all have another sin to combat once we conquer the first besetting sin-- they peel off like layers on an onion, with something else to work on underneath (sometimes my layers come back on with a slap! much to my frustration, and I have to work them off again!). What better way to train our kids in the Christian life than to quietly and persistently lead them in the formation of good habits?
We talked about so much more, but I will leave this post as is-- it is getting lengthy. Perhaps I will sit down later and write out the rest.
Oh, but I almost forgot about the post title. Let me throw in these two quotes and the definition of the word develop:
A vigorous effort of will should enable us at any time to fix our thoughts. Yes; but a vigorous self-compelling will is the flower of a developed character... p. 139
In this part, she is talking about learning the habit of attention. Most young children are almost completely without vigorous self-compelling will. It is there-- a seed-- but strong character must be formed in order for it to flower. This is where the gardener (mom/teacher) must prune and weed and feed gently, and allow the sun and rain to do its work as well.
But it cannot be too much borne in mind that attention is, to a great extent, the product of the educated mind; that is, one can only attend in proportion as one has the intellectual power of developing the topic. p. 146
In other words, learning breeds attention, which breeds learning. This is so important for mommies who are starting with little ones. Attention develops as the child learns, and it is gradual. Our job is to make sure the lessons are age-appropriate, and short enough that the child doesn't learn the counter-habit of inattention. And, especially at the beginning, we form the implied 'must' in the background.
And my favorite definition of the word develop: To bring from latency to or toward fulfillment.
This is how I want to help my kids-- bring their good intentions and capabilities from latency toward fulfillment.
(And because we are doing the cultural literacy thing in this post, here is a favorite line from one of my favorite Dan Fogelberg songs:
"His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand."
Amen and amen. I sure want to understand that!)
Note: My apologies to those of you receiving this post on feeds-- I know you will probably get hit with it multiple times due to my unfortunate habit of editing after hitting publish. I just have a hard time envisioning what it will look like actually published. I don't know why that makes such a difference.
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compact together:
Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the LORD.
For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.
For my brethren and companions' sakes, I will now say, Peace be within thee.
Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
2. If you persist "further in the habit without lapses, it will become second nature, quite difficult to shake off"--
3. Continue the habit "through a course of years, and the habit has the force of ten natures-- you cannot break it without doing real violence to yourself."
(Taken from CM Series Vol. 1 p. 110)
That last step reminds me of a caller I heard on Dave Ramsey's talk show once. This man and his wife had lived a life of financial wisdom, worked steadily, saved and denied themselves luxuries, bought a home, put kids through college, saved for retirement-- all without incurring debt. So why was he calling Dave? Because he had a much higher income now that he was retired (all that saving paid off) and he just couldn't change from being frugal to splurging once in awhile! Years of habit are very hard to break.
What habits do you hope will be difficult-to-impossible for you or your kids to break thirty or forty years from now?
Monday, May 14, 2007
In the words of Mariel:
Today we decided that it was the time to eat the sugar crystals. We had a lot of failures, but I was still ready to try it again if it did not turn out right-- but Mom wasn't. The sugar crystals look like big bunches of sugar. We found one that looked like a perfect diamond, only Triss ate it. We had a lot of trouble doing the pictures because we could not keep the string still. Then after we finally got the pictures done I broke off a little bit and tasted it. Mmm, it was good! It tasted like pure sugar because it was pure sugar, only bigger. Next time we do this experiment, I want to do it just the same way, only colored.
Previous Rock Candy Post
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Cornflower joined the church and was baptized today.
Such a blessing.
Lord, how delightful 'tis to see
A whole assembly worship Thee;
At once they sing, at once they pray;
They hear of heav'n and learn the way.
I have been there and still would go;
'Tis like a little heav'n below;
Not all that hell or sin can say
Shall tempt me to forget this day.
O, write upon my mem'ry, Lord,
The text and doctrine of Thy word,
That I may break Thy laws no more,
But love Thee better than before.
With tho'ts of Christ and things divine,
Fill up this foolish heart of mine,
That, hoping pardon thru His blood,
I may lie down and wake with God.
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
"Like everything you've heard."
This line-- from the movie, "Chronicles of Narnia--The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe"-- always sends a shiver of joyful anticipation up my spine.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
And look what happened!
I think it is a hackberry butterfly. Anyone?
Another Update: Okay, I'm not sure it is a hackberry now. Javamom has got some beautiful hackberry pictures at her place, and the wings of ours just don't look right.
'Nuther update: Javamom says that the wings of the hackberries are looking a little scraggly lately, so I guess this is one.
We walked down the hike and bike trail to the mown walkway through a field of wildflowers that leads to our little corner of the lake, and then back. We took lots of pictures, but these are the only ones that turned out:
Update: Phyllis helped us out by mentioning that it looks like a Red Admiral. It looks that way to me, too! (Thanks, Phyllis!)
Monday, May 07, 2007
The girls and I got to go to Fredericksburg with my mom not this past weekend, but the one before. It was a good time-- we drove down on the highway, and saw so many wildflowers-- some I had never even seen blooming in Texas. Here is a partial list:
bluebonnets (of course)
coreopsis (lots and lots)
wild foxglove (we had to get out of the car and use the field guide on this one.)
false cotton (woolly rose mallow-- we saw fields of this-- amazing.)
pink evening primrose
several kinds of yellow flowers we couldn't identify-- I think some of it was goldenrod.
(I do have pictures, but, to tell the truth, I am too lazy to post them. Some blogger I am, lol!)
And at the wildflower farm we saw poppies. A whole field of brilliant red poppies with dark, dark centers. And a bed near the front of the farm with poppies of white, pink and red. Gorgeous.
When we arrived in Fredericksburg, we got the key to the cottage we would be staying in, and drove into a little neighborhood. The house looked very small from the outside, but had quite large rooms. It was built in 1910, and had wooden floors and walls, a front and back porch, and a large yard with many trees and a big patch of bluebonnets. We opened the doors and let the breeze waft through the house. There were vents that allowed the draft to refresh the side rooms as well as the middle ones, and I just wonder why we don't build our houses like that any more. (Of course, this isn't August.)
The kids ran and played outside while Mom and I drank tea and visited on the screened back porch. It was idyllic.
We ate homemade pizza in the dining room and then the kids watched a movie while Mom and I visited some more. The frogs croaked an amazing choral symphony down in the creek next door. We couldn't figure out what it was at first.
Then I started seeing occasional flashes of light. I was sure they weren't fireflies-- this was the end of April! But finally I called Mom's attention to it and we both watched carefully. They sure were fireflies! We called the kids to come see the fireflies and hear the noisy frogs.
We put the kids to bed in the big four poster beds (done up with the finest of comfortable comforts)-- except Triss, she got the hideaway-- and Mom and I watched our own movie before going to bed ourselves.
We finally got our bluebonnet pictures Saturday morning in the backyard! (You "have" to have bluebonnet pictures if you live in Texas.)
Then we reluctantly left the cottage, well aware that we had plenty of shopping to do in the few hours before needing to drive back home.
This home reminded me of a Victorian house we once visited at a historic park. That house was complete with period furnishings and plentiful warnings to the children about keeping hands off! This home had enough period decor to feel old, but enough sturdy items for comfort and ease. There were pictures of the family that used to live in the house, and a guest book in which previous guests shared their impressions of their visits.
As for our shopping time-- we only got up and down Main Street, but saw plenty! They have a lot of signs with sayings on them. They were very attractive, but I couldn't bring myself to commit to having a saying on my wall forever. I like to post quotes and things on the fridge for a time, and then when I stop noticing that they are there, I remove them. I would feel guilty removing one of these nice wooden signs. So I am going to stick with my printouts of quotes in pretty fonts that I make on Word. (I do a lot of that. I sometimes wonder if my family gets tired of it. But I just really like reading the fridge and the mirrors and the sides of the computer armoire. What can I say?)
What did I buy? Books, of course. :O) I bought a beautiful children's cookbook called Look and Cook by Tina Davis, and a book on being ladylike by Candace Simpson-Giles. The lady book makes for interesting reading, as it is about how to be a lady in the 21st century. Triss and Cornflower bought clothes for their dolls. Grammy bought treats for her girls. Of course. :O)
(Oh, I forgot. I did buy something to furnish the house. It was a stand for cookbooks that looks like it is made of twigs with leaves on them.)
We had tea at a beautiful tea room off of Main Street, and then found some things for the girls at a kids' consignment store. Then we slowly meandered back to our car and started the drive home. (We stopped at the wildflower farm-- isn't that an oxymoron?-- on the way home.)
It took awhile to get home-- we didn't make it in until late Saturday night. But it was so much fun. Mom and I talked and talked and talked, and the girls got to ooh and ahh over all kinds of cute things.
(Edited several times to add and fix things, because I don't seem to realize what a thing looks like 'published' until it actually is. My apologies.)
(Thing, thing, thing. Then, then, then. There.)
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
She has interspersed inspiring quotes about saying yes and saying no, mainly from here.
A life without "yes" will never be lived. Don't be the one who withholds it. It's spring. Go outside and feel the sun and think "Let there be light." Do something incredible today.
Go and see!