Friday, March 29, 2013

Christians on Social Media

Easter is one of the two times of the year when most Christians post overtly Christian things on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media; the other time is, of course, Christmastime. I'm not even sure how to put my thoughts into words about this topic, but I'm going to try.

I don't think there is anything wrong with posting pictures of the cross, verses, hymn lyrics, words of praise and thanks for Christ's death and resurrection now at Easter time, or all of the relevant things at Christmas: mangers, angels, baby Jesus, wise men, shepherds, and all the pertinent Scripture. I'm not bothered by anybody posting those things; it's nice to be edified by seeing other believers share their thoughts. What I wonder is: Why do Christians post all of those things for about two weeks, or less, out of the year, but then seem to ignore them the rest of the year? Sure, there are a few people who post Scripture verses on a regular basis, or who reference the Lord in their status updates, but the emphasis on Christ's incarnation, death, and resurrection only happens twice a year. The rest of the time it seems that most Christians on various social media don't refer to their beliefs much, if at all. The impression the rest of the world gets is that Christianity only matters at these two major holidays.

Shouldn't we be celebrating Christ's death and resurrection on a daily basis? Isn't that the gospel? That Jesus Christ died for our sins, was laid in a tomb, and on the third day ROSE FROM THE DEAD? This is what we are to be preaching to the world on a regular basis, not just once a year. I am resolving to post something about the resurrection on a weekly basis on Facebook this year. Maybe somebody will ask why I'm posting about it, since it won't be at Easter, and I'll have the opportunity to share the gospel with them, the gospel that is for all days, not just one weekend a year.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sometimes Things Happen....

Caroline's car blew its head gasket. This is an example of the things that happen in life that just really smack you up-side the head. Sometimes I want to say "Okay, Lord, I get it. We have to trust You and only You."  But it must be that I haven't really arrived yet spiritually, because He keeps testing and then showing His faithfulness. We have all stayed calm with this one and are in the process of figuring out how to pay for the repair. The Lord has always provided for our family, so I know He will provide now.

On a positive note, the two younger kids and I are taking a bit of a break this week, since we don't have co-op on Friday. I'm having them do math every day, but nothing else. I spent most of Monday dealing with Caroline's car, but today I was able to do some house cleaning and organizing. I'm still teaching piano this week, so it's not really a total break.

Next week I'm starting a brand new piano student, a little girl whose older brother has been my student for two and a half years.  That should be fun.

More from the still-cold-and-wintry South, later.

Friday, March 22, 2013

On Being a Grammar Cop...

Today in my Spanish 2 class I heard a student say "Me and Jordan....."  It really bugs me when people use incorrect grammar. I try not to let it, but it does. As a former English teacher I have to bite my tongue and just let it go when people abuse our beautiful, wonderful, versatile language. I think I need the T-shirt I saw once online with this printed on it: Warning: I'm mentally correcting your grammar as you speak. Or.....maybe I just need to stop worrying about it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Still Recovering

In my last post, We Survived Camping, I touched briefly on the subject of my difficulty actually sleeping in a sleeping bag on the ground. Even with two foam pads and an extra sleeping bag under me, I had a lot of trouble getting sleep. Two nights of tossing and turning cramped up in a sleeping bag left me with a considerable sleep deficit and an aching lower back and hips. I'm still recovering from that. Even though the last three nights I've been in my own comfy bed, sleeping seven or eight hours a night, I still feel tired and achy. The older I get the longer it takes me to bounce back from losing sleep. I really need to figure out something different for our next camping trip.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

We Survived Camping!

Mary and I got back about an hour and a half ago from our camping trip. It was a great weekend, but I'm looking forward to sleeping in my own comfortable bed tonight instead of in a sleeping bag on a tent floor. I've been unpacking and putting things away ever since we got home, and still have a few loads of laundry to do, but I decided to take a break and write. Here is how the weekend went:

We left immediately after our homeschool co-op on Friday, which gets out at 2:30, and came home to finish packing the van. Our goal was to leave the house at 4:00, and we pulled out at 4:03.  Yay.
We had Mary's friend Kylynn with us, who is also part of the AHG troop. Another young lady was supposed to be with us, but she was sick. We stopped for gasoline and snacks, then hit the road. At about 5:45 we arrived at Black Creek Scout Reservation, the local Boy Scout council's camping area. It's a beautiful facility that is still under development and construction. It has a small lake, tent camping areas, and a swimming area that is still not finished (and in any case, it wasn't warm enough to swim yet.) It even has an excellent bathroom building with 12 individual bathrooms with toilet, sink, and shower! All the comforts of home, which we don't always get on AHG campouts. (Sometimes we have to use pit toilet/outhouse things...)

We set up our tents and kitchen gear, and got acquainted with the campsite. By the way, scout rules are that a parent cannot sleep in a tent with a child who is not related to them, so we had to take two tents. Mary, Kylynn, and a couple of other girls who had come with their dads all slept in our family's big tent, and I slept in our little tent by myself. A perfect setup, in my opinion! The girls were a huge help setting up the tents since by now they are old hands at it.

We went on to have a wonderful time. The weather was perfect; it was in the 70s during the day and down into the 50s at night. It didn't rain at all, there was a nice breeze, and it was sunny and warm enough that some of us got pink on our noses and cheeks! We did a lot of walking around the lake, exploring, cooking yummy meals, hanging out with friends (I had several homeschool-mom-friends who were there) and sitting around campfires. The girls made s'mores each night; well, actually, Mary doesn't eat s'mores but she hung out with all the girls while they made them. She and her friends also spent hours playing games and laughing.  I got to meet several homeschool moms I had never met before because along with our American Heritage troop, the Boy Scout troop and Cub Scout pack were camping, too, and I didn't know some of the moms. There were about 75 people, total, so it was a large group!

I love everything about camping except the sleeping bag part. And before you ask, yes, we own an air mattress, but #1) it's a double-bed size and won't fit in our little tent, and #2) it has a leak and you wind up on the ground anyway. This time I took two foam mats and an extra sleeping bag, but still had trouble with back and hip pain each morning. Also, I tend to sleep on my stomach with one knee up, or on my side, rolling back and forth during the night; both are nearly impossible in a sleeping bag.

Sleeping difficulties aside, I love being out in the fresh air (as long as I've taken my allergy meds,) cooking on a camp stove or over a fire, sitting around with friends talking and laughing, walking in the woods or around a lake, playing games, singing, and everything else that goes along with camping. This morning our Pioneer/Patriot unit (the girls I help lead) assisted in leading the whole group in "Holy, Holy, Holy," "Amazing Grace," and "And, Can it Be?" during the worship time.

So we had a nice weekend, although we missed Eric, Caroline, and Bobby. We're glad to be home!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Time for Bed

I got almost everything done today. Things actually went very well all day long, thanks to the Lord's wonderful grace and mercy, and the blessings He has given me in my husband and kids. The only thing I didn't manage to do yet is pack my clothing; I can do that in the morning before co-op. Cooking, cleaning, schooling, teaching lessons, grocery shopping, loading up the van with camping gear, packing food and cooking gear, and even the laundry are all completed. Eric and the kids helped a lot. Oh, and I prepared to teach tomorrow, too.

I just remembered another thing I didn't have time to do: write up next week's lesson plans. Not a big deal; I got all of their lessons from today graded, so I'll just do the plans Sunday evening or better yet, early Monday morning.

Please pray for me, if you read this, as I drive to the camping area tomorrow and set up two tents. It's not my favorite thing to do.

If any of you prayed for Caroline, thank you. She is starting to feel better.

Off to bed.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Too Many Things to Do

Yesterday was a much better day weather-wise here in Savannah. It was sunny and breezy, and fairly warm. Last night it went down into the 30s and today is supposed to be cooler, but still sunny.  I can handle this sort of weather!

I really want to make a habit of writing something every day, but it doesn't seem like a realistic goal. I simply have too many things to do each day to be able to carve out the time to sit down and write. Even now, I should be doing other things which I am neglecting to be able to write this. I need to figure out how to have guilt-free blogging time.

Today my to-do list is extensive since Mary and I are going camping this weekend with her American Heritage Girls troop. Here's my list:

1. Homeschool Mary and Bobby, making sure they are prepared for all their co-op classes tomorrow. Grade all of their daily work today, and write lesson plans for next week. I could put off the lesson-planning until Sunday night, but I'll probably be too tired.
2. Prepare to teach my two classes at the co-op tomorrow. This one is mostly done already!
3. Keep the house clean.
4. Cook meals. Assign clean-up duties in the kitchen.
5. Teach piano for two and a half hours.
6. Go shopping for the all the food for the campout, as well as easy-to-fix food for the rest of the family to eat while we are gone.
7. Laundry. (that's an every-day thing!)
8. Get all the camping gear out of the shed and load it in the van.
9. Pack up the food and all other needed items for camping in big Rubbermaid containers.
10. Pack my own clothing, etc. for camping; be sure Mary packs hers.

I hope I haven't forgotten anything. Also, let me admit that my children will help with a lot of these, and Eric will help with the camping gear when he gets home from work. I'm not a one-woman show; my family is wonderfully willing to assist in all these duties. But I'm the organizer and director, so I have to keep the list in mind.

One other thing: my oldest is suffering with a bad head cold. If you read this please pray for her. She's pretty miserable.

Off I go. I'll write later about how it all worked out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gray Day

Looking out our back windows this morning all I can see is gray. Gray clouds, gray mist, grayish rain, and the pond looks gray as it reflects it all. It's so easy on a day like today to feel down and dismal. There is no cheery light coming in the windows. It seems like a good day to crawl into bed or curl up on the couch with a book and a cup of tea. But there are things to be done: home schooling, preparing for American Heritage Girls tonight, cleaning, grading Spanish tests for Friday's co-op class, and teaching piano this afternoon. 

My solution? Open up the front door. We have azaleas blooming by our front door...

...and our neighbor across the street has more:

Even on such a dreary day these promises of Spring can cheer the heart and lighten the mood.
Now I just need to play some nice music on either my CD player or on Pandora...

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fighting something off...

Yesterday my husband felt sick all day (stomach issues) and now today both girls and I have been fighting something off.  Not fun.

I'll be back on here tomorrow. Time to get some sleep.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Privilege of Teaching

I didn't post yesterday because we had Kingdom Builders Homeschool Co-op all day, and then when we got home it was time to cook supper and spend time together as a family. My day today looked like this: get up, eat breakfast, make up a grocery list, go grocery shopping, come home and bring in all the stuff, put it all away, eat lunch, do several loads of laundry, deep clean both bathrooms, sweep and mop the dining room and kitchen, vacuum everywhere else, sweep the front entry and walk, clean up the back patio, bleach-clean our four white plastic patio chairs (they were nasty from sitting around all winter,) re-do the peanut-butter-and-birdseed pine cone that I have hanging outside my kitchen window, (the nuthatches are thrilled!) cook supper, (chicken pot pie and a tossed salad,) and now I'm on here for a few minutes before I have to go direct the troops in the kitchen cleanup, and fold more laundry. Whew! This was a good, productive day. But that isn't what I want to write about today.

At Kingdom Builders Co-op I teach two classes of Spanish: Spanish 1 and Spanish 2. I have ten students in the first and fourteen in the latter. I love teaching them. I have always loved teaching. Even when I was little I liked helping out other students, explaining things to them and enjoying that moment when understanding lit up their faces. From 1989 to 1997 I taught high school English and Spanish, and although it was difficult to juggle having children and working full-time, I always enjoyed my time in the classroom with the students. In 1997 I quit teaching just before having Mary, our second daughter. A few years later I began teaching piano lessons from our home, and since then I have taught piano for all but two years, and I love doing that, but it isn't the same thing. There is something dynamic and energizing for me about classroom teaching with a group of students, and being able to teach one day a week at co-op is a real blessing. This is our fifth year in the co-op, and over the years I've taught Biology, AP British Literature, Expository Writing, Spanish, and Sign Language. It has been lots of fun. It is a privilege to take part in the students' lives.  I pray for my students every day, and have seen the Lord at work in their lives.

I plan to continue teaching at the co-op for at least four more years after this, until Bobby graduates from high school.  After that, who knows?  I still haven't decided what I want to do when I grow up my kids are all grown up.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Embracing Middle Age, or When did I get this old?

About ten years ago asked my mother (or my mother-in-law, I can't remember which, and that's part of the point of this whole post) When do I have to start taking a bunch of different pills each day? The answer was vague: Some time in your 40s.....

I will be 46 next month, and I'm already at the pile-of-pills stage. Allergy meds, thyroid hormone, vitamins, fish oil, herbal remedies for pre-menopausal issues....Oh yes, I take them all.

I also have started having to write things down in order to remember them. This is because I'm juggling homeschooling two teenagers, teaching ten piano/voice students, teaching two classes of Spanish each Friday at our homeschool co-op, and co-leading Mary's unit at American Heritage Girls. Oh, and tutoring two teens in English/writing. There are just too many people and too many subjects to keep straight in my head. Ten years ago I could do it.

The other middle-age thing I'm experiencing is the need for bifocals and/or reading glasses. This actually happened in the fall of 2011, but I'm still in denial. I had to get bifocals. I tried doing the bifocal contact lens thing, where you wear a lens in one eye for distance and in the other for reading, but my brain just couldn't make it work. So when I wear my contacts I have to use reading glasses. When I got my bifocal glasses, the lower half (the reading part) was a +1.5 and so I used reading glasses of that strength when I wore my contacts. I have now had to increase my reading glasses to +2.00, so the lower part of my regular glasses isn't strong enough anymore. Occasionally I do the really old-lady-ish thing of putting on my reading glasses in front of my regular glasses. Mostly I just wear my contacts and keep a pair of reading glasses on my head, holding my hair back like a headband. Then I forget where my reading glasses are. I think it's time for another trip to the eye doctor...

I keep wondering when did I get this old? How did this happen? Then I realize that my eldest child is 19, and I have two other teenagers. My hair is starting to go gray around the temples. My joints occasionally ache for no apparent reason. I am not "cool" anymore and don't care. Yup, I'm middle-aged.

Now, I'm not complaining, you know. There are definite perks to middle age. My children are fairly self-sufficient and are good at getting their schoolwork done and helping with chores around the house. They are also really fun to hang out with. My marriage is wonderful, going on twenty-two years now, and my husband is my best friend. I don't have a lot of drama in my life and I like it that way. I am blessed with good parents, parents-in-law, in-laws in general, and friends. God is good, even though He didn't stop my aging process at 29. 

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

What I just listened to on Pandora

I really like using Pandora online radio.  Right now, as the kids and I do homeschooling, I have a channel on that is hymns and praise songs.  We just listened to Louise Stead's "Tis so Sweet to Trust in Jesus."  I really love that song!  Whoops, gotta go, "Praise to the Lord the Almighty" just came on...

  • ’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to take Him at His word;
    Just to rest upon His promise;
    Just to know, Thus saith the Lord.

    • Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him,
      How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er,
      Jesus, Jesus, Precious Jesus!
        O for grace to trust Him more.

  • O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just to trust His cleansing blood;
    Just in simple faith to plunge me,
    ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood.
  • Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
    Just from sin and self to cease;
    Just from Jesus simply taking
    Life, and rest, and joy, and peace.
  • I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
    Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
    And I know that Thou art with me,
    Wilt be with me to the end.

  • Source:

    Tuesday, March 05, 2013

    This Homeschool Year

    One of my friends, Jamie, recently started blogging here, and she has inspired me to start writing again on a regular basis. I may not have much to say, but I think I need the discipline of writing daily or at least several times a week, even if it's just a short post. So here goes...

    Since I haven't posted on here since last June, I never wrote about what we are doing this year for our homeschooling. Mary is in 10th grade and Bobby is in 8th, so I'm already planning for next year when for the first time I'll have two in high school at once. That'll be interesting.

    This year Mary is studying: Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2, Apologia Biology, Lifepac American Lit, Lifepac American History, Switched-On-Schoolhouse Spanish 2, Easy Grammar Ultimate Grade 10, S.O.S. Physical Fitness, and Mixed Media Art (co-op class.) Bobby is studying: Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1, Apologia General Science, S.O.S. Civil War History & Spanish 1, literature as determined by me, Easy Grammar Ultimate Grade 8, Music Appreciation (co-op class,) and two half-year classes at co-op, Art 1st semester and Cooking this semester.  Their days are full, and so are mine! In addition to teaching them and helping them with their co-op classes, I teach both the Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 classes at co-op each Friday. I also teach piano three afternoons a week.  We stay very busy, and I love it. Off to do more homeschooling......