Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I am going to the Charlotte Mason conference, oh yes I am.  Aravis wanted to attend as part of her graduation gift.  Perhaps I will blog some about it.

We left from church Sunday afternoon and drove to WestTennessee.  The next day, we drove into East Tennessee and Aravis got to visit friends she has loved for years and never met.  The visit was too short, and I forgot to take pictures, but it was still worth it.

Some beautiful people in Kingsport, Tennessee opened their home and their hearts to us, and we have been visiting with them the last day or so.  So many great conversations have already taken place, I feel the conference has already started.

This morning, we will complete the drive into Virginia.  They tell me the conference is exceedingly edifying.  Even if it is not, I have already been fed.

And here is a fabulous post by Cindy on school planning.  Just because it is restful and now is a time for rest and renewal.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Where We Are

(It is tiresome to read someone's apology for not posting and resolution to write more, so I won't say anything about my hope that I will be a more dedicated blogger this summer.)

I mostly want to write about where we are in our homeschooling.  My two youngest are still finishing this year's schoolwork, but Aravis has officially been handed her diploma and is now a high school graduate.

Mariel and Cornflower will do math all summer.  We are also doing a neurodevelopmental program.  I am learning more about how the brain works, which is very interesting: visual/auditory processing, hand/eye/ear/foot dominance. That sort of thing.  It goes on for four months and then we will see whether the results are worth the effort.  I mostly hope it will help with short term memory, organization and sequencing.  The girls are being good sports about it.  I promised Cornflower we would get her some workout clothes. :)

We take daily walks as part of the program.  We are going to get pedometers and once we have walked a total of 450 miles, we are going to visit friends that live 450 miles away.  That will be our reward for sticking it out.

Our work has changed too.   The Warrior Poet is working in a warrior shop now.  He sells guns and that sort of thing.  It's more his style than selling soap.  He is happy. This past year has been confused and frustrating, like a whirlwind, but the Lord has set us down in a good place.

I teach more private music lessons now, three afternoons/evenings per week.  I enjoy teaching music.  Funny how I always feel renewed after working with individual music students for a few hours.  I must be meant to do that sort of work.

We are still adjusting to the odd times of the Warrior Poet's retail and my after-school teaching schedule, looking for those golden hours when we are all available for family time.

Aravis still works at the Walgreens on the corner, although that may change once she gets her schedule for her first term at the university.  Mariel just started a job as car-hop at the nearby Sonic.  Cornflower aspires to work as well, and actually did have a twice-a-month gig this school year, teaching music-readiness activities to two of the brightest and sweetest little boys you ever did see.  They are off for the summer, but will begin again in the fall.  In the meantime, she plans to volunteer at the library.

Here are the books we read this year. An asterisk (*) means we are still working on it. A bold title is one I read also.  Italics means we read it together (at least some of us).  I am not including outside courses or curriculum-type things.  These are real books we read. We also did ALEKS math, Apologia sciences, Lost Tools of Writing, the Hillsdale online Constitution course, fine arts co-op, an outside Spanish class (Mariel), dual credit courses (Aravis), a personal finance course (Aravis), drama club, and orchestra/music lessons (Cornflower).  And we read the Bible together every school day.  Now.  These are the books we read:

Aravis (a cobbled-together Year of Ancients)-

The Iliad
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Vanity Fair
The Greek Way
The Roman Way
The Portable Greek Historian
The Portable Roman Reader
Heroes of the City of Man
The Christian Imagination
The Odyssey
Quo Vadis
The Blood of the Moon

Mariel (AO/HEO Year 9)-

A History of the American People
Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington
*How to Read a Book
Land of Little Rain
Marie Antoinette and Her Son
Miracle at Philadelphia
Mozart (biography)
Salem Witchcraft Trials
She Stoops to Conquer
*Simond's History of American Literature
Reflections on the Revolution in France
Tale of a Tub
The Four Loves
*The God Who is There
*The Jesus I Never Knew
The Problem of Pain
The School for Scandal
The Sea Around Us
The Vicar of Wakefield
*Undaunted Courage
Poetry of Byron, Pope and Phillis Wheatley

Cornflower (AO Year 6)-

*Be Ready to Answer (updated version)
God's Smuggler
Age of Fable
Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity
Animal Farm
Augustus Caesar's World
Carry a Big Stick
Genesis: Finding Our Roots
It Couldn't Just Happen
*Little Women
*Never Give In
School of the Woods
Secrets of the Universe
Story of the Greeks
*Story of the Romans
Story of the World Vol. 4
*The Bronze Bow
The Story of David Livingstone
Poetry of Alfred Noyes and Robert Frost

I've been feeling kind of down that we aren't finished with school yet.  That is a common small-talk question currently: "Are you finished yet?"  Well, no, we are not.  And it made me feel somewhat down, like we hadn't worked hard enough to get things done on time.  But we did a lot.  Maybe I shouldn't plan so much of everything next year.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Many Things

I don't know how to trust God.  My screensaver bounces with the words, "Trust God, Trust God".  I put that up months ago, hoping it would somehow seep into me, perhaps by spiritual osmosis.  I think in some ways it has, but not really.  It HAS.  But it also hasn't.  I mean, there's a long way to go.

It's silly to trust someone if you don't talk with the person.  I want to pray, but then I think He knows everything already, and He knows what is happening with me.  He knows my secret thoughts and motivations that I don't even understand and couldn't express to Him.  Why do I have to pray? He already knows.

Then I hear C.S. Lewis, in the voice of a Narnian horse, "He likes to be asked."  Well, really.  He likes to be asked.

And I know He doesn't have to help me.  I haven't done anything to be worthy of help.  I believe He chose me and saved me and I am safely in His eternal care, and if He never did anything else for me, He has still done way more than I deserve.  Why would He do more? He saved me from eternal torment, didn't he?

But He DOES help me.  Even when I forget to pray, He still helps.  I feel Him reminding me that I am His child, and He loves me, and will do for me, and when things are so hard, so hard, He is there and why don't I talk to Him?

I don't want Him to hear the angry things.  Why do people have to deal with so much pain, why is there so much cruelty, and it goes on for so long?  Why doesn't He just take us to Heaven right now?  Why doesn't He get my life in line with my expectations?  Always short something, always unsure what will happen next, always wondering.  Why does He love such a self-absorbed me?

And I'm so silly.  Does He really want me to pray about the worn carpet, or the disheveled flowerbeds, or the broken vacuum cleaner and lawn mower?  How I feel alone in a room full of people, with my own family even, and how I hate and love our screens and devices that bring so much to us and take so much away?  Or my feeling that I may dehydrate and shrivel up if I don't get my coffee obsession under control?

How embarrassing it is to need help.  We're supposed to be self-sufficient, right?  Well, I am not.  My life overwhelms me.  And he helps.  He really does.  Right now I could name at least ten providential mercies that have occurred in my life in the last six months, even when my prayers were apologetic struggles... Lord, sorry, but I'm not keeping it together.  I need You AGAIN.  I really want to keep it together so You can help the people being martyred for loving You, and the people perishing in floods and tornadoes, and the people dying with terminal diseases.  And all the terrible stuff happening in Washington.

Oh goodness.  I'm limiting God.  Like He can't do it all.  I know what it says in the Bible, and I believe it, but I don't really believe it. I know it is there, and obviously it is true, but I don't feel the truth of it.

You know what's funny?  I do not think He can do all the work set out for him in the world, and yet I think I ought to be able to take care of every thing that passes in front of me, and I want to rally my troops to take care of every thing that passes in front of us because then God will have more time to deal with the important stuff, like martyrs and cancer victims.

But sometimes just mowing the lawn or getting started on schoolwork feels like an inhuman struggle to me, and I am so ashamed of that.

And you know, He doesn't fix everything.  He leaves some things as-is for whatever reason.  He could leave me and my life as-is, but so far He hasn't, even when I can't pray.  He is merciful to me.  And yet I worry and do not trust Him.  Maybe He will decide not to be merciful next time.   And what if He does?  See the paragraph above regarding His eternal care.  Or maybe my idea of mercy is not the same as His.  Maybe His thoughts are not my thoughts.  Let the unrighteous woman forsake her thoughts.  Let her return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on her.

The key to this is to focus on Him and not on me.  I am not sure how to do that.  I am so self-centered. Who will teach me this focus, to keep turning myself back to Him when I realize (almost every moment of every day) that I am focused on me?

With all this failure, I know He still loves me and will love me forever.  That is such a miracle.  Why does He love me?  He is a good God and loves His children, even though they don't deserve it.  Can I accept something I don't feel I deserve?  If I can't, then why not? Must be pride.

How does one practice simply trusting God and accepting His gifts?  That nagging guilt, that ugly lie of Satan, "You should not have this.  You have not worked for it." It needs to be silenced.  Go away, devil! My God says I may have it, and therefore it is okay.  It is a beautiful, sacred thing that He has given me because He loves me.  Love isn't about work and earning things.  It is mine, and He is mine, and you are a liar.  I can relish His good gifts and and trust Him, and rest from guilt and shame.  There is no condemnation.  Have you read Romans 8?  I am free from the law of sin and death.

Oh, that I could live in the Spirit!  Lord God, give me that.  That's what I want.  Lord Jesus, I can put up with the lawn mower and the schoolwork, and the questions about good and evil, but teach me to live always in the Spirit!