Saturday, May 21, 2011

My Spring Blooms


This is one of the most exciting times of my year. Even more than Christmas, I dare say. We are emerging from our hibernation dens, breathing in the fresh Spring air. Newness of life is highlighted in Easter and the chirping morning birds. The end of a full school year is in sight. Our yearly homeschool conference is marked in bright red on my calendar. I have to rein myself in to prevent jumping into the next year before this one is completed. I am not the best finisher in the world, but understand that it is imperative to finish well. My mind is shifting from the practical to the philosophical.

The new curriculum catalogs draw me away from the test marking like a temptress. My old, tattered schedule hangs by a thread, while I begin drafting a new and better one. Change, improvement and progress are in the air. It calls for a new outfit. Why it calls for a new outfit, I have no logical explanation for...it just does...maybe it's a woman thing.

Evaluation of books and methods are done while I add one more new challenge to my job. I love this job. My kids make me love this job. They are not empty buckets waiting for me to robotically fill them. They are heavenly bodies filled with unlit fires, waiting to be kindled. How warm is the glow I get to experience when one is lit and their little eyes sparkle with wonder and excitement. My budding scientist of 9 years is captivated by the dancing raisins of a little experiment we did this week. All he can think about is CO2 and raisins...a mind designed by God. Both of my youngest are constantly (finally) unlocking the secrets of road signs and book covers as they realize their ability to read. My little princess cuddles books and shows early signs of fashion design...bright red cowgirl boots with sparkly short skirts are worn to homeschool...while the boys, in their pj pants, stare at her analytically.

My second oldest is basking in his artistic success. He finally painted the flowers he has made several attempts to created on a tired canvas...which now proudly hangs in our "gallery" stairway wall. He has also finally remembered the formulas for the area and circumference of a circle...mental block removed...tired muscles. Also very proud of his understanding of what "per second, per second" means (thank you Gramps). My oldest has finally purchased a professional drum set...graduated from a starter kit! Serious drumming is now underway. He delights in baffling me with his mathematical skill, drum lingo and precision in dissecting an earthworm. He has also left Calvin & Hobbs and Garfield in the bathroom in exchange for... less furry characters to study. Another fire lit and burning...my job is done here...well not exactly...I must hang around to fan the flame lest it begin to smolder from the suffocation of media and laziness. What a privilege to watch these flowers blossom.

Although we are not immune to the typical relationship struggles and moral failures, the fact that all four of the kids want to pile on our bed at the end of the day, to cuddle and talk about pretty much anything from NHL scores to who God is, makes me very glad. "The saints are just the sinners that fall down...and get up." I still see a DESIRE for Christ likeness in all of them...praise God. He draws and keeps us.

I guess this is my version of a report card. I've never been very good at assigning a grade to educational achievements. I think a thermometer might be a better measure than a letter grade. The higher the temperature of those little fires, the better. Passion for learning and determination to conquer tough obstacles is the name of this game. I can see the fires that need a little billowing and praise the ones that have been well fed...including my own.

School year end. Spring...Assessment, evaluation and planning. New life. Flowers blossom. Change and progress...and most importantly... A NEW OUTFIT...I'm going shopping...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Baby Bear's Bed


Yet another election in Canada has come and gone...GONE, for a good few years...that is a mental and financial relief for all of us. I guess that might be what you call "too much of a good thing". Politics is not the first thing that comes to mind when reading Philippians 4:8,

"...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things."

My mind doesn't rest very well when bombarded with debates, nasty commercials and off the cuff, partisan digs from people on the street. I'm so glad we have elections, and I'm so glad this one is over.

When I was in Jr.High school, I ran for the student council executive, not having two clues what that really was. The title of vice-president was mine in grade 8 and then the big president in grade 9. Although much of that experience is a blur now, I do remember the sense of victory and accomplishment, the responsibility of organizations and the pressure of feeling like I had to please everyone...and couldn't. It was a great experience for a young, sensitive girl who needed to "toughen up" a bit. Not too hard and not too soft, as Goldilocks discovered, slipping into the bed of Baby Bear. Taking on similar jobs in high school continued my "political education". The older I got, the nastier it became. The nastier the opponents became, I should say. I do believe, I might crumble into a million pieces if I had to walk in the shoes of any of our Canadian party leaders. Or, at least I'd be nursing one wicked stomach ulcer.

I think it takes a strong, special person to endure...and even love...such positions. For that, I have great respect for each of them and their families. The thing I just don't get is the lack of logic or inconsistency of thinking when one loses such races. All of a sudden, democracy's definition is changed, numbers don't prove anything anymore and the enemy's success is attributed to the position of the moon or the value of a toothpick in Madagascar. We rationalize away truths we can't accept. Everyone does it to some extent. Ignorance is only bliss for a short while. Eventually the truth hits you in the noggin and must be dealt with. Better to take the mental effort to think through it early, to avoid making humiliating statements, engaging disrespectful arguments, making poor choices and missing great opportunities. I know this because I am a recovering lazy thinker who has had to pry her stinkin' foot out of her turbo charged mouth too many times to be ignored...and now I take the risk of WRITING my thoughts! At least this process is slower and allows for the beloved delete button before it's out there.

I don't want to get caught up in anything so much that the loyalty overrides the very principles that gave it life. I think Jesus' disciples James and John struggled with this in Luke 9:54-56. After having experienced people rejecting Jesus, their loyalty to Him and defensiveness got carried away:

"...when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, 'Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?' But He turned and rebuked them, and said, 'You do not know what kind of spirit you are of; for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them'."

I am pretty sure that none of the political parties on our ballot want harm to come to Canadians waving a different colored flag than they are. They are just really sold on their way of thinking and want to help their country. There are exceptions, I'm sure, with evil motives and drunk with selfishness...God will deal with them...He delivers justice in His wisdom. May God tame our wonderful passions so that He can use us to bring about His good and perfect will. May we face our opponents with the eyes of Jesus; confident, determined, controlled and full of grace...weather we have lost or won.

I was only going to post a short part of this, but it's too good to edit, so here is the whole blessed thing:

"If"
by Rudyard Kipling

f you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;
If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son.