Candid Reflections

October 23, 2009

Considering Lilies

Filed under: Mindful Reflections — candid reflections @ 11:28 pm

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          Our Little Kinsmen
           ~Emily Dickinson~

         Our little kinsmen after rain
         In plenty may be seen,
         A pink and pulpy multitude
         The tepid ground upon;

         A needless life it seemed to me
         Until a little bird
         As to a hospitality
         Advanced and breakfasted.

         As I of he, and God of me,
          I pondered, may have judged,
         And left the little angleworm
         With modesties enlarged.

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August 21, 2009

happy

Filed under: Mindful Reflections — candid reflections @ 10:41 am

This video makes me feel happy.

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December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Mindful Reflections — candid reflections @ 8:31 pm

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November 5, 2008

A Little Perspective

Filed under: Mindful Reflections — candid reflections @ 6:17 am

“I do beseech you to direct your efforts more to preparing youth for the path and less to preparing the path for the youth.”      ~Ben Lindsey

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November 3, 2008

A Path

Filed under: Mindful Reflections — candid reflections @ 4:36 pm

 

“If you begin the day with love in your heart, peace in your nerves, and truth in your mind, you not only benefit by their presence but also bring them to others, to your family and friends, and to all those who draw across your path that day.”

~Author Unknownpath

July 9, 2008

A Little Shout Out

Filed under: Mindful Reflections — candid reflections @ 6:10 pm

Happy 37th Wedding Anniversary Mom and Dad!  Woohoo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You truly are an inspiration to us – your children and your grand-children.  I will always be grateful to you – for your love, and for the example that you are.  There’s something about YOU that makes the rest of us want to make you proud.  You’re wise, fun, caring, and patient (well, mom definitely carries the torch on that last one) – and together… you are everything we could ask for.  Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

March 23, 2008

What am I celebrating today?

Filed under: Mindful Reflections — candid reflections @ 3:19 pm

Sometimes I get caught up in the happenings of the day and become distracted from the things that truly matter. 

Take today for instance…Is it really about the goodies and baskets…traditions created by man – or about the One who created all things for a purpose?    Should my focus of this day be the Easter attire and our “Sunday best” – or should it be to the One who looks past the outer appearance and into the heart?  Should the majority of my time be spent preparing feasts and filling my mouth, or preparing my heart to be filled with His unconditional and undying love? 

Something about understanding what Jesus did for me helps put everything into perspective.  His voluntary suffering and death on a cross provided the sacrifice that covered my sin, something I couldn’t do for myself no matter how good I tried to be.  He made a way for me to live eternally with Him.  Knowing that I am loved in this way brings such enjoyment to a day like today.  Remembering the gift that God gave in the sacrifice of His only son Jesus, and then His triumph over death make this a day of celebration.  I look forward to the day when I will be with Him forever! 

Examining my heart and motives isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it results as the most liberating thing to do.  The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, and putting my trust in Him brings the freedom that I can find nowhere else. 

There’s nothing like a little perspective eye opener.  I love this summary written by Carole over at Thoughts of Home, of a lecture given by a New York pastor named Tim Keller.

Here’s what she wrote:

The following are notes that I took while listening to a lecture on “Reaching the 21st Century For Christ.” Some of it is word for word and some is paraphrased:

We all know the difference between the Gospel and irreligion (where you just go off and do your own thing), but most of us don’t see a difference between the Gospel and religion. This is critical to understand. Unless you distinguish the Gospel from both religion and relativism in your church, from both traditional moralism and liberal relativism, newcomers in your services will automatically think when you are telling them to come to Christ that you are calling them to be religious.

Religion: I obey therefore I’m accepted.

The Gospel: I’m accepted therefore I obey.
That means the motivation of a religious person is based on fear and insecurity, whereas in the Gospel motivation is based on grateful joy.

Religion: I obey God in order to get things from God.

The Gospel: I obey God in order to get God. I want to delight in Him, I want to resemble Him, I want to be close to Him…

Religion: When circumstances in my life go wrong I am angry at God or I am angry at myself since I believe that anyone who’s good deserves a comfortable life. “If I live a good life then I deserve a good life.” When suffering comes it’s either “I hate Thee or I hate me.” I either beat God up or beat myself up.

The Gospel: When circumstances in my life go wrong I struggle, but I know all my punishment fell on Jesus and that while He may allow suffering for my training He will exercise His Fatherly love within my trial. I am deeply aware that Jesus lived a perfect life and He didn’t get a good life. What makes me think I deserve a better life than Jesus?

Religion: When I am criticized I am devastated because my whole self image is based on the idea of being a good person. When criticism comes either I am incredibly furious or I am devastated.

The Gospel: When I am criticized I struggle but it is not critical for me to think of myself as a good person. Ultimately my identity is not built on my record or my performance but on God’s love for me. So not only can I take criticism – it’s how I became a Christian! What does it mean to be “born again”? It’s to take criticism. However, a lot of people don’t see it that way. A lot of people think “I gave my life to Christ” means, “I’m going to try really hard to live according to Christian principles.” They don’t see that it’s a complete change in the way that I build my identity not on performance but on Grace.

Religion: Prayer consists largely of petition and only heats up when I’m in trouble because my main purpose in prayer is controlling the environment.

The Gospel: Prayer consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration because my main purpose is Him, getting God.

Religion: My self view swings back and forth between two poles. When I am living up to my standards I feel confident, but I am prone to be unsympathetic to failing people. When I am not living up to standards I feel humble and I’m very sympathetic to other people but then I feel like a failure. I can be bold but not humble or humble but not bold.

The Gospel: My self view is not based on myself as a moral achiever. In Christ I am simultaneously sinful and lost and yet completely loved by Christ. I’m so bad He had to die for me, I’m so loved He was glad to die for me – at the same time! This leads to deeper humility and deeper confidence at the same time.

Religion: My identity and self worth are based mainly on how hard I work or how moral I am and therefore I have to look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral.

The Gospel: My identity and self worth are centered on the One who died for His enemies who was excluded from the city for me. I’m saved by sheer grace so how can I look down on those who believe or practice something different from me? I have no inner need to win the arguments.

March 4, 2008

Learn It, Live It, Love It

Filed under: Homeschool, Mindful Reflections — candid reflections @ 12:19 pm

I love to study the history of our world, it’s my favorite academic subject.  I didn’t always feel this way however.  In fact, I rather loathed the subject during my own school days – it was the cause of much agony and mortification to my juvenile little existence.  Even now, my palms moisten when I picture my schoolgirl self standing in front of the history class, butterflies ripping apart my insides, praying that my oral question would turn out to require a multiple choice guess rather than having to pull out some random fact from between my ears and humiliate myself with my ignorance.  My route to learning history as a kid was kind of a hodge-podge:  Start with a glimpse at the Native Americans during this grade, throw in a  little state history here, a bit of wrestling there, and now she’s ready for some American history, good…that about does it, she should have the gist of it!  By the time I graduated from high school, what had I but to conclude that, despite a few incidental cavemen, some fire, and a wheel; the world began when Columbus discovered America and the rest of the universe pretty much revolved around America.   

By the time I began homeschooling my children I had learned enough about my own learning style that I knew I needed to come up with a plan, and it needed to be good.  My pea-sized brain hadn’t been able to sort and efficiently incorporate the events and eras of history that were randomly presented to me, so how could I expect my kids to?  To be able to really appreciate and understand the material, it had to make sense to me.  I’m a big picture sorta gal…I need to know where things fit in and how they relate to each-other.  I can’t describe how excited I was when I’d stumbled across a book called The Well Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer.  This book, among others, describes the classical method of education and gives a great format in applying it to every subject.   When I read the method for teaching history classically, the clouds parted and the birds started singing…”of course,” I thought, “you start at the beginning!” What a revelation!

We’ve been homeschooling for seven years now and we’ve just begun to break through the tip of the iceberg in the history of our world.  We divide history into four periods, spending a year on each one: Ancient, Middle Ages, Late Renaissance/Early Modern, and Modern.  In each period, we take a look at the whole world.  If we can gain an understanding of the people on each continent, we will better understand their reactions to one another as our study of history unfolds.    

The first year we study the Ancient world, beginning with creation.  We study the ancient civilizations and we marvel at their wisdom and accomplishments.  We love to see the many ways that our world today has been affected by ancient peoples as the Greeks and the Romans.  During this year my sons make spears and shields, they play that they are Vikings at sea, Gladiators fighting in arenas, or Barbarians – just being themselves.   

Second, we study the Dark and Middle Ages.   Wow!  Starting out very gloomy with oppressive crusades, famine and plague, but ending hopeful with exploration and dreams of independence.  During this year my boys are knights defending their kingdoms, and sentries on lookout duty.  One day I saw one pretending to nail something to the door, when I asked him what he was doing he replied, “I’m just nailin’ up the 95 Thesis.” 

Third, and currently, we study the Late Renaissance and Early Modern times.  Thanksgiving is fun when we are studying this era, they have a pilgrim and a Squanto costume, of course.  They’ve already lead many an exploration expedition in the forest that surrounds our home.  They’ve informed me that things are well on the home-front.  Oh, and you can imagine my relief when my oldest son fulfilled his obligations in the war of 1812 without even a scratch!

  

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I had to tell him that no one ever reads this blog in order to be able to post these pictures.  In case you were reading though, he wanted you to know that this hat is his version of a shako.  I can’t verify the spelling, it’s straight from his mouth.

Finally, we study Modern times.  They love to draw pictures of the Red Baron and study about the Wright brothers.  Then there’s the World Wars, the advancements in arsenal,  the Iron Curtain, Koreans, Vietnam….so much to study, so much to take in.  They love to see the advancements in travel: ships, aircraft, automobiles.   They have all the camo they could hope for, and my yard becomes a land mine during this phase of history. 

We began this outline of study when my oldest was in first grade.  After we finished all four years, we simply jumped back to the beginning and started over again.  The first time through we get exposure and begin building a foundation just looking at the facts, the second time through (beginning at 5th grade) we really immerse ourselves in the material, making connections to demonstrate our understanding.  The third time through (9th grade and on) we gather the knowledge we’ve previously learned and apply it in an expressive way, demonstrating our own ideas and understanding about what we’ve studied.  So by the time my kids graduate, they should have studied world history about three times through.  Maybe I’ll know me some History facts by the time my youngest graduates, do you think?   (You can google the word trivium if you want to gain a better understanding of the three stages of learning theory.)

I want to package up the big picture for them.  I want them to understand History and learn from the mistakes of men.  I want them to live peaceful lives and appreciate the lives that were given for the freedoms that they experience.  I wish that every child might truely understand the importance of History, to learn from and be transformed by it.  And I thank God that He is here to direct us and protect us through it, when we simply ask.      Amen.   

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