Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesdays with Words

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: Sawdust in our Souls

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that my friend Heather and I were reading through Sally Clarkson's Own You Life a while ago - a year? two years? (she's since moved her blog!) I don't really remember. It's been a while.

I keep looking at Own Your Life and think I should finish it just for the discipline of finishing it.

I put it aside because I was struggling with some of the ideas, not sure I entirely agreed with where Clarkson was going.

But I've been listening to her At Home with Sally podcast where they were going through the book and things were sounding more agreeable to me, so I thought maybe I'd give finishing the book a shot.

I took it with me to piano lessons on Monday and was able to read a little despite the beautiful setting and weather.

I was pleasantly surprised with the section on "The Power and Choice of Love."
Yet as our culture has come to prize efficiency, utilitarian values, competency, and materialism, we have become isolated and alone. We have drifted further from the very foundation of life that sustains us--the need and desire to be loved, accepted as we are, and validated for our own uniqueness. And so we have settled for sawdust in our souls. (page 181, emphasis mine)

Sawdust is what is left when you cut pieces of wood. When you divide and divide and divide to a specific purpose - when we fit a person into a specialized box (a cupcake tin, a cookie cutter, a specific nut or bolt) where their function is so narrowly defined, we leave behind the detrious of what God intended yet we cut and grind away as rubbish.

This is not to say that we don't leisurely, carefully, painstakingly fit pieces together. Oh, no. There are rough edges to be smoothed. But not, I think, to the point that a progressive, utilitarian world would have us believe. Not to piles of dry sawdust rather than a beautifully polished piece of artistry.
If I could give you only one encouragement in this book, it would be to measure your life by how well you have loved. In the moment that you love well, you are the most like Jesus.
God is much more concerned with your love than with your service. If you truly love HIm, then acts of service will naturally follow. However you can do works of service without loving Him or anyone else. As the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, such good deeds will only be like a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.
She finishes the section most convictingly:
[Love]'s a choice that you often have to make in the inconvenient moments of life, or when the people in your life are irritating, frustrating, or immature. You must own your choice to allow love--both your own and Christ's love--to be extended to others through you. (pg 182)
May you and I learn to love in this way. I know I often express love badly toward those closest to me who are irritating, frustrating, and immature - my children and even myself. Learning to stop, breathe, love rather than blow up. That's the challenge I can take away from this.

Wordless Wednesday: Outside the Arts Castle

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook for Monday, September 12, 2016

For Today... Monday, September 12, 2016

Looking out my window ... the sky looks like my son described a similar day recently, "It looks like someone took a single color and painted the whole sky with it."

I am thinking ... about the rest of our day - piano lessons, grocery store, and dinner without Daddy.

I am thankful ... that my husband is able to serve our church as he does.

One of my favorite things ... hearing my kids read aloud to one another.

I am wearing ... olive drab khaki shorts and a magenta 3/4 sleeve peasant style blouse. I might wear my orange tennies when I go out ...

I am creating ... a grocery list on the menu plan I made last week.

I am caught up listening to the At Home with Sally podcasts. I'm confused if that's the end or if they're on hiatus. Sally sounded done, Kristen sounded like a break.  We'll see.

I am hoping ... to accomplish the plan I put together last week for the next five weeks. It is going to take a lot of patience, hard work, and consistency. I hope it works out.

I am learning ... about adding delight and fun in natural ways into my homeschool. A podcast. A blog post. Both very much worth your time.

In my kitchen ... I made box mac and cheese for lunch. Yum.

In the school room ... we started a new biography of Lilias Trotter and I enjoyed it very much.

A moment from my day ... on our way to church yesterday

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Our Weekly Amble for August 19-September 2, 2016

Last week was the final week of our term. WooHoo! 

We walked almost every morning before school.

We did Whatchamacallit every day. I've been very pleased with how it has been going. I love the three sections: devotions, academics, and beauty loop/read aloud. I think we've learned the parable of the Good Samaritan well enough to choose a new passage for the next term. We switch over hymns by month, so we finished 'The King of Love My Shepherd Is' and started 'All Creatures of Our God and King.' We are working on the fourth question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism. We've been reading about snails and modesty. We reviewed adjectives, Latin vocab, and multiplication tables. We finished our Opal Wheeler book on Schubert, studied another Velasquez painting, We finished The Good Master.

We read about snails then watched them on YouTube. Who knew?!
One morning during Whatchamacallit, entirely on their own, they decided to get out their paints

We did math. R-girl is working on three digit numbers and Roman numerals. N-boy is working on geometry and measurement. M-girl is powering through negative numbers.

We did Latin. Since we generally do a Latin for Children lesson in two weeks, and we only had one, we switched it up with some Ecce Romani for the week. My MIL had given me a copy years ago and we generally just use it on the last day of the week. I like it though, so I ordered used copies of it for the kids and a used teacher book for me. I might've spent $20 for all of it - most of that in shipping. I like that Ecce Romani is more about immersion than the grammar and makes a nice complement to Latin for Children.

We did four countries in our Geography book ... France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. I like how easy it is to assign and accomplish. And the children think Europe is easier than North Africa (which we just finished).

We finished AO Term Year 5 Term 1. I'm so excited that we finished Of Courage Undaunted and Wild Animals I Have Known

The children are also working on free reads. I only got pictures of two of them.

M-girl decided to start practicing piano even though we had to find a new teacher. We'd been off since July, so getting back into practice was a wise, mature move on her part. 

Soccer season is in full swing - we just had practices during the week - but it was good.

We finished our first set of Spiral Notebooks. This scheduling practice has rejuvenated our homeschool and really helped us to move forward in a consistent way. I did a scope about how I'm scheduling here.

On Friday, we went creeking with friends.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Wednesdays with Words: The Joy of the Lord

All of us struggle. Sometimes its with our emotions, sometimes with our worries, sometimes with our family members, sometimes with our own expectations - even ones we pile upon ourselves.

We were coming up on two weeks until the end of the term and I was struggling. Oh, not with anything in particular, just in general I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders and unlike Atlas, I wanted to shrug.

It was the middle of morning worship - the congregational prayer in particular - when I remembered a verse from Nehemiah. I don't know if I had heard it on my Bible podcast around that time, but my mind definitely brought to the forefront Nehemiah 8:10:
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (emphasis mine)
This is in a passage about reading the Law, grieving over our failures, and celebrating God's goodness. Kinda perfect for during worship. But the reason ... the reason they could go and celebrate and share with others is the joy of the Lord is your strength.

That phrase is used exactly once in the ESV. In Nehemiah, in the context above. It was exactly what I needed to hear. All those things I was concerned about, I didn't need my strength - I needed to rest into the joy of the Lord. I needed to remember the overflowing joy of the persons of Trinity in relationship with each other ... that joy has to be my focus not my own strenght. The Lord's joy will overflow and give the strength - to hear and obey the Law, to celebrate, to share, to rest in Him.  It isn't about me or my strength but His joy.

And we made it through the end of the term to break week.

Wordless Wednesday: Creeking at Shale Hollow with Friends