Monday, April 28, 2008

Strange things heard at our house recently

"No, Timmy. Eat your potatoes first. Then you can have more broccoli."

"No, Johnny. Finish your ice cream first. Then you can have more olives."

Those quotes both came from a parent (I won't say which one). The following quote is even better. It came from another child.

"NOOO, Timmy!!! That's MY broccoli!!"

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What a public-schooled kid has to say about home schooling

I'll continue with the topic of time management with computers, but first I wanted to tell you about my cousin, Elizabeth. I first met her when she was about 6 weeks old, when I spent a week with her family. Over the years since then I have enjoyed watching her grow-- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

Elizabeth has been public-schooled her entire life, including some of her college training. On the surface, she appears (to those who don't know her) to be a career-minded person currently working on her doctorate in music. She is very talented in piano and is working toward the goal of being a concert pianist. She is also teaching piano. She is single, she travels the world, and has the world at her feet, so to speak.

But there is another side to Elizabeth. Actually, I don't think it's "another side." I think it's the real Elizabeth. You don't have to spend too much time with her before one characteristic begins to stand out: she is very family oriented, and would love to have her own husband and children with whom to love and serve God. If and when God chooses to bless her with a godly husband, she plans to be a stay-at-home, home-schooling mom. I asked her recently why a public-schooled kid would be so positively FOR home schooling that she would be against any other kind of education for her children. Here is her answer:

#1 I want my children to learn about God, Jesus, the Bible, and to not feel afraid to pray out loud, and worship God as we were created to do. And I certainly don't need the school principal suspending them because they have infringed on their peers "freedom of religion"

#2 While every child needs to know how to function and get along in the real world, there are a few things I think my kids can go without learning about until they are older. Such as? Well, violence, sexual promiscuity, bad language, etc. I can share several stories of children saying things to me as a kid that caused me to learn about things no child should be learning about. In fact, at one point, a group of boys I went to school with were threatened to be suspended from school because the things they said to be on a day-to-day basis were so terrible. I remember HATING waking up in the morning and going to school because if I stood up for myself, the teachers would reprimand me, instead of the people verbally abusing me.

#3 Children have a right to wake up, go to school, learn, and never be afraid that the school might blow-up because someone brought a bomb to school. Think I'm exagerating? No! I have memories of sitting on the school hill-side in Michigan, on a regular basis, because of bomb-drills, waiting to make sure the school wasn't going to blow-up, before we could go back inside. About 6 years after that I was living in WV where book-bags were either not permitted, or only those that were see-through or mesh. We also had a team of police officers that swatted us down as we entered the school doors, to make sure we weren't armed. And when we did have actual bomb or other violent warnings at school, we were not permitted to call our parents and be picked up. Instead, we got out of classes early to sit in a gymnasium for a pep-rally, led by the school principal, to convince us that whomever was making the threats couldn't scare us or keep us from going to school...not very comforting!

#4 Kids don't need to wake up at 6am, go to school from 7-3, and then spend all night doing homework. It makes more sense to me to teach school, and get the homework done by evening. This way you can actually spend family time doing other, music, going to a museum, taking a walk, doing things kids like to do, like going outside to play!

#5 The home-schooled people I have known have always been smarter, on average, than most public-schooled kids I have known. I think it's fair to say a lot of home-schooled seniors (in high school) are smarter than most college grads I know. They also seem to have better work-ethic when they are on their own. Maybe part of this is because many public schools have eliminated having to read entire books, and writing essays. Everything is so dumbed down that many college students don't even know how to write a college-level paper.

#6 Home-schooled kids are only sheltered if parents make them that way. They can have social skills equal to public-schooled kids, as long as the parents make an effort to involve them in church activities, home-school umbrella groups, and other activities. They get to develop social skills without parents worrying as much about their kids picking up un-Godly habits.

#7Children spend less time sitting in class while the teacher struggles with the "troubled students" and more individual attention, helping each child meet their potential.

#8 More flexibility with scheduling. If the family wants to take a vacation, have a reunion, or whatever, we can take our work with us, and pick up when we need to. We don't have to worry about driving to school on bad snow days, or getting behind on school work because of it. We can work things around our schedule, instead of the other way around.

I probably sound very idealistic explaining my feelings. I realize that kids will pick up bad habits, do things they shouldn't, and just be kids, no matter where they go to school. But, if I can do something to assure that my kids grow up happy, healthy, safe, and with a knowledge of God, they have a greater chance of being happy, healthy, and most importantly, Godly, adults. And while I was public schooled, and yes, obviously had to work through my issues, there are many things I wish would have been different from my school-days. The grass is always greener on the other side, but in this case, I think the grass actually IS greener.

Oh yeah, lastly, #9 I think home-schooling will be fun, and educational for both them and me!

I couldn't have said it better myself. If you want to learn more about Elizabeth, visit her blog here.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Should I be on the computer now?

I quote myself from an earlier post:

Are there better things to do with my time than being on the computer? That depends on the time of day. I have chosen to allot a certain time each day to be on the computer, rather than being on randomly throughout the day. This way my computer time does not interfere with what I should be doing in my home or with my family.

This specifically regards internet use, since that is where I tend to spend a lot of time. You probably know how it goes: you're looking something up for some specific purpose. Maybe you need a recipe, or you're doing some type of research, or you're ordering something from an online company. Somewhere in the process something catches your eye and you click on a link. That leads you to another link, and another, until suddenly you realize that an hour has gone by and you've gotten totally sidetracked from your original purpose for being on the internet.

If you visit my blog regularly, you've probably noticed that I did not post at all last week. I was on the internet some, but never really had time to post. My priorities are shifting from inside the house (the winter mode) to outside the house (the spring clean-up-the-yard mode). I am also determined to finish school ON TIME this year! So I decided to limit my computer time to 15 minutes a day. The rest of the day is filled with normal every day stuff (laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.), home school, and spring cleaning. Also, it's that time of year again when I go through everybody's clothes and list what we need to buy/sew before summer. Oh, and let's not forget all the time it takes to nurse a hungry newborn!

On that note, I leave you with this verse, that states what our very first priority should be:

"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." --1 Peter 2:2

Sunday, April 13, 2008

How God ordains the affairs of men

God doesn't do things the "normal" "simple" way. No, His ways are lots more interesting.

We were running late tonight, so I was not really happy to hear the van make a strange, not-good sort of sound when I started it up. Tom came out and listened to it, looked over the engine, checked the dash to see if any warning lights were on, and decided we'd probably be okay. So we left for church. We went a different way than Tom because we needed to pick up three sons who had started walking. Tom went on the freeway.

We were almost to Cornwall when suddenly I could no longer accelerate. In fact, when I pushed on the gas, the van actually went slower. So I just sort of drifted along, thankful that there wasn't much traffic. I was trying to get closer to town so that we wouldn't have too far to walk to get to a phone. Then the engine just stopped. The steering went stiff and I couldn't use the brakes. So I pulled off the road and coasted to a stop.

Josiah offered to go call Tom, and Sarah and Ben decided to go with him. They got out of the van, and Josiah said, "Hey, Mother, you have a flat tire!" Right. When do you get a dead engine and a flat tire at the same time? I hadn't even noticed any thumping. It must have gone flat just as I was pulling over. Maybe I ran over a nail or something.

So those three left to go find a phone while Elijah and I stayed with the three little boys at the van. Elijah decided to try to change the tire while we were waiting. Meanwhile, I got Samuel out of his carseat and fed him. While I kept watch for Tom, I noticed a silver car pull into the park behind us. It turned around and came up behind our van. A man got out and asked if we needed any help. There wasn't anything he could do, so we started talking. The conversation went like this:

Man: "Are you a Christian?"

Me: "Yes."

Man: "I just wondered because I noticed your long hair. Are you Pentecostal?"

Me, chuckling a little: "No."

Man: "Well, what are you?"

Me: "Baptist."

Man, his face lighting up: "Really? What church do you go to?"

Me: "Cal--"

Man, interrupting me: "Calvary Baptist Church?"

Me: "Yes."

Man: "On Pitt Street?"

Me: "Yes."

Man: "That's great! I'm on my way there; I wanted to visit tonight."

As we continued our conversation, he told how he had called the church but got the answering machine. He tried to find our church, but couldn't figure out how to get there since part of Pitt Street is one way. So he was wandering around, trying to decide what to do. When he stopped to see if we needed help, he was way off course. As I was trying to give him directions, Tom pulled up.

It was getting too close to service time, so Tom decided to leave the van there. He had picked up the three who had called him, so there was no way to get everyone in the car. Our visitor graciously offered to take some in his car. Between the two cars there was exactly enough room.

Why does God do things this way? I mean, He could easily have gotten our visitor there the normal, quiet way visitors usually come to a church. He could have held our van together and not let the tire go flat. We could have gotten to church without any mishap, just like usual. Why did He arrange our paths to cross this way?

I don't know why. But I am rejoicing that God has a sense of humor. I love to see how God works this way. Some day I'll tell you how God used a bumper sticker, a can of beer and some missing laundry detergent to get us into Canada in the first place. But here's another little story I just thought of.

Some years ago while we were living in Texas, a man visited my dad's church in Pennsylvania. My dad got to talking with him and found out that this man was from Texas. My dad said, "Really? My daughter lives in Texas. What town are you from?"

Well, as most people know, Texas is huge. The odds are very slim that this man would be from anywhere near where we lived. So the man answered, "Oh, I'm from a really little town in Texas that you probably never heard of: Elmendorf."

My dad says, "Oh, that's the very town where my daughter lives!"

As it turned out, we knew this man. He went to our church.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

George Street and Mr. Genor

I found this link on another blog this morning. I've heard this before (thanks to the same blogger) but it definitely was good to hear it again. Out of gratitude to God for saving him, Mr. Genor committed his life to witnessing to 10 people a day as much as he was able.

Go here to hear the story.

Friday, April 11, 2008

On a side's a question

The Young Ladies Christian Fellowship has a website. Now I know that there is such a thing. I never knew that before. On their website, they have a page or two of courtship stories. Somebody put Tom and me on there. There is our picture, and a link to my blog posts about our courtship and marriage. I found this out because I finally took the time to look at my visitor stats this morning. In the last two days at least 8 different people accessed my blog through that link.

I don't necessarily care that this was done, but I wonder: Who put the link to my blog on the YLCF site?

To my brother Clyde (and anyone else who wants to know): If you want a stat counter and a way to know who visits your site, I use Go there and follow instructions for setting it up on your site.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Time with computers

Well, I definitely was last post generated more comments than I've ever gotten for one post before. And the hit count for my blog jumped. Did I hit a nerve? Or did I just happen to hit on a hot topic?

Several thoughts come to mind, which I'd like to think about more in future posts.

1. Are there better things to do with my time than being on the computer? That depends on the time of day. I have chosen to allot a certain time each day to be on the computer, rather than being on randomly throughout the day. This way my computer time does not interfere with what I should be doing in my home or with my family. (Note to other bloggers: if my IP address shows up on your visitor stats more than once or twice a day, kindly remember that other people in my family use my computer for internet use. :) )

2. Does visiting other blogs and/or websites count as "wandering about from house to house" as described in 1 Timothy 5:13? I'm going to suggest that depends on what your purpose is in visiting all those sites. It also depends on what you could (or perhaps should) be doing instead, as mentioned above. And I think we need to consider the particular women who were doing the wandering, and why they had that opportunity to wander, whom Paul was addressing. In other words, we need to look at 1 Timothy 5:13 in its context.

3. Is this an area that requires "balance" and "self-control" or is it an area that should be completely cut out? I think we'd all agree that each person needs to answer that for herself. Personally, I find it much easier to be an "all or nothing" kind of person (either feast to the max or fast totally) than to exercise self-control (eating neither too much nor too little). Yet self-control is what I need most to practice.

These are thoughts I plan to explore in future posts. I am not sure which I will tackle first. Stay tuned, if you wish.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Life with computers

Did you ever time yourself on the computer? I am going to do that for one week. For me, that includes everything done online, all DVDs watched, some CDs listened to, as well as all offline computer work. The DVD player is attached to our computer because we don't have a TV. I know I spent more time on the computer during the last three months or so than I usually do. I chalk this up to not following a regular routine due to sickness and childbirth.

Have computers changed the way we communicate? If so, is this good or bad? Here are a couple of observations:
  • I don't get very many snail-mail letters anymore. I don't send very many, either, since usually it's all old news by the time the letter gets there.
  • Certain children I know don't bother much with learning to spell since either they use spell check, or they figure everybody knows what they mean anyway.
  • I asked God to help me communicate better with my oldest daughter. We started exchanging thoughts and observations and even a few apologies via blog-land. This proved to be a good stepping stone, and now we communicate face to face very well (in my opinion).
And here's a true story: Several years ago, my son Nate was IM-ing his grandma and his cousin, who were both in the same house but using separate computers. His grandma asked him to remind his cousin to take out the garbage. In other words, Grandma-in-Pennsylvania asked Nate-in-Canada to remind cousin-at-Grandma's-house to take out the trash.

Recently my good friend Twinklemoose gave me something else to think about. Like a lot of women, I have a list of blogs I visit regularly. If you're like me, here's a question to think about:

Could wandering around the internet count as "wandering about from house to house" as mentioned in 1 Timothy 5:13? More about that in a later post.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Monstrous Regiment of Women

Thanks to Paul from Tennessee for alerting me to the video, The Monstrous Regiment of Women. I have not see the full documentary, but this trailer looks great. If you are not a feminist, you will appreciate this all-female cast video. If you are a feminist, this may open your eyes to some things you never thought of before. In fact, some Christians who say they are against feminism may find that they've adopted some feminist philosophies without realizing it.

Here's the trailer: