Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Of Dinosaurs and Creation

As I knew that would happen with the prospect of homeschooling, I knew that there would be topics that I would need to discuss and teach my kids that would require a firm stance, a way of believing and also a way of teaching that could rile some people but also prepare my kids for real questions that they might encounter. I just didn't think that it would happen this soon.

Here are my two examples:

First, dinosaurs. Frankly, J loves 'em. Can't get enough of looking at books and pictures of the things. Is even starting to be brave enough to visit some museums that have skeletons (although they are still pretty big and scary.) In my opinion this is one time that I am glad that he can't read, because I am not ready to explain all this stuff.

But here's how I stand on all of that. First, I believe that there really were dinosaurs. I have seen their bone in rock and fully believe that God created them. I fully believe that God created this world with his Hand. It is a beautiful creation and I am thankful for that. But what I don't know is the history of that creation. We have been given a story that explains it to us in Genesis, but I am not convinced that it is a literal telling of God's creative acts for a few reasons. First, the earth is old. Rocks and mountains and valleys and oceans--they are old. How old? I can't answer that. Second, It is mentioned in the New Testament that God's understanding of time is vastly different than our very limited human one.

(You know the old joke, a man asks God what a million dollars is worth. God replies, "a penny." Man then asks, how long is a million years? God answers, "a minute." Man asks, thoughtfully, "can I have a penny?" God answers with a smile, "in a minute.")

But I have a very hard time swallowing the years that are given for approximate lifetimes of said dinosaurs. 350 million years is just a conceptually tough thing for me. And there are lots of things that we don't know--so it just seems like wallowing in the unknown. But I am not sure how quite to explain all of that that is God honoring, not stupid-ifying, and comprehendable to the kids. Thankfully, I haven't had the questions yet.

The second example of something I have encountered that I wasn't prepared for is:

Popular "Greenism" I don't know if this is what it should be called, but you all know exactly what I am talking about. My kids have heard some pretty harmless stuff (that I have supervised and know about) that comes from an environmentalist perspective. I thought it was all okay until one of them said to me. "Mommy, we can't chop down any trees or else we will all die." This raised serious alarms for me.

In all things I want our attitudes, actions and reactions to be God honoring. But I don't think this is it. I have long been thinking about what a Godly approach to our environment should be and the other night my dad helped me hit it on the head. The environmentalist thought thinks, "We are harming the world. We need to save it." While yes, humanity has done great damage to God's gifts to us, I can't find anything scripturally that calls us to save the world. Instead we are called to be carers, responsible stewards, this theme is repeated in a few places that I can thing of. While some actions may be the same, the thought process behind the actions has shifted signifigantly.

An aside: if we begin to think of the world and our corporate Christian responsibility to be stewardly of all God's resources to us, it is a shame that it is scientists leading us towards these thoughts and not the churches.

So, I have been started to think seriously about how to begin to shift the kid's thoughts on God's creation, so they aren't caught up in the consumerism (and built in panic and fear) of it, but instead in the stewardship and responsibility of living fully as God's redeemed people who honor Him and reflect His love on the whole world. I haven't yet come up with any great ideas, but I will be sure to let you know when I do.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Can't I Be Wonder Woman? Just for the day?

That's what I want to know--please, just for the day, make me the kind of woman who really can do everything--clean the house, take care of the garden, play and engage the kids in ways that encourage them, prepare fantastic food that everyone loves, love on my husband, take the needed time to be still before my Creator, build relationships with other people, learn a few new things, do a hobby or craft that encourages me and perhaps even relax a little. That's all I'm asking!

Oh, and I'd like to have enough patience to not yell at the kids for an entire day.

Am I asking too much? Of course I am.

I am on my way though, I can know things that I don't even see--like, J has just slammed the door to keep OG out of the room or is sneaking some food. (There are some talents that just come with being a mom--like the whole eyes in the back of the head. Yep, I've got them!)

And then, even though I know that I am asking too much, I still feel guilty about all the things that I never accomplish in a say, let alone a week.

But then I stop and think truly about this request and I realize that really I don't want to be Wonder Woman, I don't look that good those boots and don't have piercing blue eyes. So I guess that I will settle for being me--fuzzy, gray flyaways, semi clean clothes, house littered with books and dust bunnies--and full of God's grace and love.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Road Less Travelled

Sometimes, when I have a spare brain cell or a moment to think, I wonder why in the world am I doing all this. Why do I lead the life that I do, make the choices I make or even think about certain things? Why do I care to live in the city, have genuine concern for my neighbors, love my husband deeply, care about the way in which I mother, think honestly and realistically about homeschooling, and act the way that I do? Why don't I just walk away when I am frustrated with my kids and the way that they are acting, instead try to calmly teach the appropriate behavior?

I admit, part of it is a sense of responsibility that I have. And honestly, a great deal of it is a calling, a very personal one that I have chosen to accept. But that doesn't keep me from being frustrated, sometimes very deeply--I get frustrated by my inability to complete projects or even basic cleanings, I get frustrated when I feel that I am getting the losing end of the deal, I get tired. Sometimes, I just want to quit.

And when I think about all the things that I don't do well, or don't do at all, or I hold myself to some impossible standard that no one sees but me--well, rightly or wrongly I get discouraged.

But God has a funny way of pushing encouragement at us when we least expect it (but when we need it) and where we don't imagine finding it. Today I found mine in the juvenile poetry section from the library in a small collection of Robert Frost's poetry for people of all ages.

So here is today's encouragement:

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both the morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Today was the big day. J had his tonsils removed, and boy, was he a little trooper. Our day started very early (for us 5:30, for him 6). He was the first surgery of the day--we had a fantastic nurse, who was beyond words, great with J--made him feel at ease and explained everything, whether he needed it or not. He started the day dancing, seriously, he was dancing in the room. It was goofy and cute. When it was time to go, he hopped on the table to receive his anesthesia. But that's where the fun of the day ended for him.

After waking up from anesthesia, he was inconsolable. Lucky, his daddy is a calm spirit who also happens to be a nurse, so the recovery nurse trusted Eric enough to calm his own son. J looked so sad right after surgery. But after the meds kicked in, well, he was on a role.

This afternoon, we honestly had to force him to take it easy. He wanted to run around the house looking for our borrowed Diego video, he didn't want to take a nap or rest on the couch--he wanted to play. Sweet little man. And he was definetely jiving on the popsicles, gum, ice cream, and pop. So much so, that he took in way more sugar than he is used to (even though we used juice popsicles and plain ice cream) and ended up with a uneasy tummy. And honestly, thats been the hardest part so far--do we really have to eat that many popsicles? and ice cream? and clear pop? whenever he asks? And really, i shouldn't set limits on videos and games? Ahh, it so goes against every fiber of my being. But I know it is just for a week and in a few days, I will be allowed to not turn the tv on and make him play.

As we turned to evening, the glow of medicine and the tiredness of the day began to set in. I am rather confident that tomorrow will be much bumpier than today.

But today was good. God was good--he surrounded us with many, many people praying and supporting us. I am sure that's why we had such a good day. I pray that we have as much support tomorrow and over the weekend when it's not as fun!

Oh, and pictures are coming later--they're sweet, but the reader is not working right now.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Today has been one of those days. How do I know? Well, it is currently 9:35 p.m. EST and none of the three kids are asleep--in fact all three claim that they aren't even tired. It sorta figures after the day that we had.

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a day where I feel a bit more successful in this dual job of mothering and home-keeping.

Look What I did!

I'm a little proud of me, hopefully not in a vain, prideful conceited way, just proud of my accomplishment. What did I do? I made my daughter her Easter dress. As in I sewed, clothing, on a machine! I think I am so cool. (For full disclosure, OG was supposed to have a matching dress, but honestly, I'm not that good! I couldn't get both done in time.)

So here are the progressive pics. I ordered a kit from a cute little etsy shop that gave me everything I needed, including the fabrice already cut out and marked, so all I had to do is follow the instructions and voila, a dress. I haven't worked with my sewing machine in eaons. J & K wiped quite a layer of dust off of it. So in about 5 hours total time, I made a dress with cap sleeves and a cute ruffle!
And finally, my super-cute, slightly relcutant model. Beautiful, don't you think?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

That's It, I'm Done. . .

. . .With diapers!

After five years, there are no more diaper children in this house! OG transitioned to big girl underwear yesterday and so far, there has been only one accident (on K's pillow last night, but no major trauma caused!).

Technically I know that I could wait a good long while to do this, but really, OG is very ready and I just needed to be done with it.

We had the potty day yesterday, complete with teaching Dolly how to use the potty, a time to throw away diapers and a celebration at the end of the day with ice cream sundaes and presents to celebrate the big girl! The most challenging thing about all this is the two extra helpers that I have. Sometimes its great, I can ask J or K to read OG a story while she is sitting on the toilet while I deal with some other emergency. Sometimes, it's not so great when they want to play "potty training" or answer the questions for OG. Regardless, its challenging, but its also sweet. They always want to be in the bathroom reading stories with her, encouraging her, even prompting her to hurry. Also, I have learned how much I have chilled since we trained J to use the potty. Before, it was all drama and struggle--this time, it's much more chill and "well, accidents happen." But then again, we are only on day 2!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Days without Daddy--An Epilogue

Yeah! After some days that seemed without end, Daddy came home, right on time as expected on Tuesday! And things in this house are so much better. And we all know it.

We realize that life is good (and now we have the t-shirts to prove it!).

Every night at dinner, we do a "day-in-review" process together where everyone is asked (and gets the chance to answer) two questions: What was the best part of your day? What was the worst part of your day? While Eric was gone, there weren't too many "best parts" instead we had lots of "I didn't like all the whining and crying." But when Eric came home and we were sitting around the table on Wednesday eating a plain old normal dinner, K had the best answer. In response to the best part of the day, she said "This, dinner with our whole family" and as to the worst part "There wasn't a worst part."

I think that says it all.