Friday, July 31, 2009

Review – Blue Like Play Dough

Blue like play dough

Ever feel “squished and stretched” by the demands of motherhood?  Then Blue Like Play Dough is for you.  In this book, Tricia Goyer explores how God has used the ups and downs of motherhood to shape her.  We are allowed into Tricia’s life to see her inauspicious entry into motherhood as a frightened teenager and see the glimpses of God working her “like play dough” through the years of mothering her children as toddlers, school age children, and teens.  Through all of it, we get to laugh and cry with her, but always see that God is the one working the clay and molding her life to make her more like Him – and encouraged that God is doing the same with us, if we will let Him.  I found this a very pleasant book to read and definitely recommend it to the moms in your life!!  Go here for more information on purchasing this book.

Tricia Goyer is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including Generation NeXt Parenting and the Gold Medallion finalist Life Interrupted. Goyer writes for publications such as Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family, speaks to women’s groups nationwide and has been a presenter at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) national convention. She and her husband, John, live with their family in Montana.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We Have A Winner!!

First of all, my apologies for not doing the drawing for the book on Friday as planned.  Things got a little derailed by a migraine last night.  But, we had two entrants, one on Facebook and one here on the blog.  And, the winner of the book, A Perfect Mess, is Jean!!!  Jean, I’ll get you your copy ASAP!

This Year’s Curriculum

I think I finally have our curriculum choices finally made.  Yeah, I know I already did a post on curriculum, but a girl can change her mind!!  This looks to be one of the most structured years we’ve had.  The kids requested, and I agreed to, an annual schedule that pretty closely matches the public school schedule.  (The one difference is that I work in full weeks only – not a day off here and a few days off here – too messy.)  Both kids will be taking classes at the school, so they will be following that schedule anyway.

Rosie Girl is in 9th grade now and is going to be working quite independently.  I’m in the process of making up her schedules so she knows when her work is due, but she’s responsible for making it happen.  Wild Man and I are going to be working more closely this year on Language Arts.  Now that he’s really reading, he’s ready for more spelling, grammar, and writing.  So, here’s the plan:


Rosie Girl – Sonlight Core 100

Wild Man – Sonlight Core 3+4

Language Arts

Rosie Girl – Sonlight Core 100 Literature, Wordly Wise 3000 Book 8, Analogies 1, Daily Grams Junior/Senior High School, WriteAtHome Online Composition 1 (OK, I know in this post, I said I was sticking with Sonlight for writing, but when I told Mr. Math Tutor and Rosie Girl, Rosie Girl spoke up and said that she didn’t want to do Sonlight and actually gave some very good reasons.  So, after some long discussions and research, we’ve decided to do WriteAtHome’s Composition 1 this year.)

Wild Man – Sonlight Core 3+4 Readers (I don’t know how many of these he’ll actually be able to read this year, but we’ll give it a try!), Explode the Code, All About Spelling with Spelling City online for extra practice, Getty-Dubay Handwriting, Grammar Ace.


Rosie Girl – Life of Fred Beginning Algebra – Mr. Math Tutor is officially in charge of all Math stuff in this house!  Rosie Girl loves the Life of Fred books.  Mr. Math Tutor also loves them, but for different reasons.  I’ll get him to review them one day.

Wild Man – Math Mammoth – also chosen by Mr. Math Tutor.

Foreign Language

Rosie Girl – PowerSpeak Latin

Wild Man – PowerSpeak Spanish


Rosie Girl – Sonlight Core 100.  The Bible portion looks pretty good to me.  Rosie Girl turned her nose up at it when she saw it.  I told her that if she found a Bible study that she preferred, I’d certainly consider it.  She never went looking, so this is it.  The Core 7 Bible Curriculum was pretty good, too.

Wild Man – Bible Quest: Promises Fulfilled (Luke and Acts).  This requires a good bit of reading and writing, but I think it will be OK if I do it with Wild Man.  The Core 3+4 Bible was too juvenile for him.


Rosie Girl – Singapore Science Biology with Castle Heights Biology Lab.  I’ve put Singapore Science Biology into the first 25 weeks with some of the labs.  Then, she does several weeks of just dissections.  She ends up the year with a couple of weeks of reading on evolution and Creation.  (Singapore Science presumes evolution, but doesn’t actually cover origins.)

Wild Man – Crime Scene Investigations.  This looks like fun, but is a little intense on my part.  It’s very laboratory-intense, but that’s why it’s going to be fun.


Rosie Girl – Piano lessons and Chorus at the local public school.

Wild Man – Percussion in the local public school band (perhaps with supplementary lessons)

Physical Education  (Activity)

Rosie Girl – Dance classes, daily physical activity

Wild Man – Dance class (?), daily physical activity

Electives – Rosie Girl

Fantasy Literature – This is a self-directed elective in which Rosie Girl is reading a variety of fantasy literature.  She and I have an agreement as to how many books she will read and how many papers she will write to receive 1/2 credit.

Study Skills – Rosie Girl will be going through the book Learning on Purpose.  She will also take a partial practice SAT or ACT at home once a month to get used to standardized test-taking.

So, that’s it.  Right now, I’m knee deep in trying to get everything planned out in some reasonable fashion.  I am looking forward to a really great school year with these kids, though!

Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others are planning for this year!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thirsty Thursday – July 23, 2009


Before we go any farther, you need to go read this post and sign up for the cool book giveaway which will be on Friday, July 24!!

This is my first time to participate in the Thirsty Thursday meme, but I figured that since I love homeschooling and love to write about it, it would be easy.  But, alas, no.  This week, I perused the Sonlight Core 100 forums, as I am wont to do on occasion, and came across a thread about Core 100 language arts.  The mom who started the thread was quite unhappy with the Core 100 Language Arts.  Many of the responses were other moms telling what Language Arts curriculum they had substituted in place of the Core 100 Sonlight Language Arts.

And all my confidence for this year’s curriculum went down the drain.  We haven’t used Sonlight’s Language Arts for several years, but I thought I had researched it pretty carefully this year and really wanted something that integrated literature and writing.  And, now, all these other moms were saying that I must be wrong.  Right?

Wrong.  Those moms were writing about their experiences with their children while I have to choose what to do with my kids.  After going back and looking at the Core 100 Language Arts curriculum, I have to agree that it isn’t a seriously structured writing program like some others.  But, I chose it knowing that.  Rosie Girl is already a very good writer.  She can structure ideas well and uses words better than most adults.  I already have plans to have her do her research paper with an online writing coach, but otherwise still think that Sonlight is a good fit for her.  I’m pretty sure it won’t be for Wild Man when he gets to be this age because he’s wired so completely differently.

So, my plan is to stick with Core 100 Language Arts this year.  If I’m not happy with her writing at the end of the year, then I’ll probably do something more structured the next year.  In the meantime, I need to remember that I know my kids best.  As my hubbie reminded me – A bad day at home school is better than a good day at public school.  We are committed to homeschooling because it’s the best thing for our kids, not because of the perfect curriculum, but because of the time spent with each other.

Check out Thirsty Thursday for other great homeschooling posts!


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Fill-in-the-Blank Letter – WFMW


Before we go any farther, you need to go read this post and sign up for the cool book giveaway which will be on Friday, July 24!! 

My 11 year old son is at summer camp this week for the first time.  EEK!  I’m sure he’s having a blast and will have tons of stories to tell us when he comes home on Friday.  Rosie Girl and I mailed him cookies and a letter on Monday.

The camp information recommends that we send some self-addressed stamped envelopes or postcards to encourage kids to write a letter home.  In seven years of camp, I think Rosie Girl has written us all of two letters, but I thought Wild Man might actually want to send us a note since it’s his first year.  The problem is that he’s not much of a writer (largely because of his dyslexia). 

I solved the problem by writing a fill-in-the-blank letter and putting it in a SASE envelope.  All he has to do is circle the correct answers and fill in a few blanks and then mail it.  Easy, huh?  Mr. Math Tutor suggested I not use this for a WFMW post until we see if Wild Man actually sends it back, but I still think it’s a great idea.  You can use it for family vacations when you want the kids to write notes back to family, but don’t want to have to sit with each child to do a dictated letter.  You can also send it with kids when they leave home to encourage the fine art of pen-and-paper correspondence.

Here’s what the letter looked like:

Dear Mom and Dad,

Hi there. I love you very much – yes/no. I’m having a good/bad time here at Outpost. My favorite food we have had here has been _________. My favorite activity so far has been ____________. The name of one of my new friends is __________. We like to do ___________ together.

One of my counselors’ names is _________________. My speaker’s name is _______________. He is talking about __________________. I have been swimming – yes/no. I have been on the slide – yes/no. I have been on the bipod – yes/no. We played __________________ at the all-camp games.

I miss you – yes/no. I can’t wait to come home -yes/no/maybe.

So, have you ever done anything like this to encourage correspondence with/by your kids?  Did it work?  Check out We Are That Family for more Works For Me Wednesday ideas!!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Perfect Mess – Book Review and Giveaway

a perfect mess A Perfect Mess – yep, that’s my life and that’s the title of Lisa Harper’s new book.  In this book, Lisa shows us from the Psalms how God loves us and wants to stick with us to transform our messiness into His beauty through His grace.  Using a selection of 12 Psalms, the author samples the richness of the psalter while weaving in stories from her own life experience.  In addition, there are interesting sidebars with tidbits of information about the Psalms, such as their classification or insights from theologians.  The end of each chapter includes some questions for personal reflection and/or group discussion.

Lisa Harper has given us an excellent book to help study several of the Psalms as well as encourage us in our walk with God.  I read a chapter of this book each night and enjoyed it.  Not only that, I found myself challenged by her insights.  I was particularly struck by her chapter on Psalm 51 and our need to confront our sin as well as the chapter on Psalm 23 and God’s rest for His people.  My one qualm with this book is that Lisa’s writing gets a little “flowery” for my taste.  I tend to prefer that author’s use a more simple vocabulary when possible.  Frankly, that’s a minor issue in an otherwise outstanding book.  I very highly recommend it.

As a funny little aside, Lisa Harper notes in one chapter that she used to be a lifeguard at Lake Swan Camp in Central Florida.  From what I can figure, she may have been a lifeguard there one of the years that I went to Lake Swan in high school!  Pretty cool, huh?  Well, because it’s summer time and there’s that really cool coincidence about summer camp, if you would like to win a copy of this book, just leave a comment, preferably telling me something about summer camp to do with you or your kids (or, you can just be boring and say hi).  Fair enough?  I’ll do the drawing on Friday, July, 24, when my son comes home from camp – how’s that for a theme?

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of this book, check out Random House.

Lisa Harper is a master storyteller whose lively approach connects the dots between the Bible era and modern life.  She is a sought-after Bible teacher and speaker whose upcoming appearances include the national Women of Faith Conferences. A veteran of numerous radio and television programs and the author of several books, she also is a regular columnist for Today’s Christian Woman magazine. Lisa recently completed a master’s of theological studies from Covenant Theological Seminary. She makes her home outside Nashville.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.” Romans 5:3-5

When I’ve read and meditated on this section of Scripture before, I’ve always focused on verses 3 and 4 that talk about how our suffering produces hope. And that’s important, especially when we’re in the middle of suffering (i.e. this recent week-long migraine!).

Tonight, though, I was struck by verse 5 - “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.” Wow!! From our suffering we eventually get hope – which doesn’t disappoint us because of God’s love.

God, the almighty Creator of the Universe, poured out His love for us by giving us Jesus for our salvation and then by giving us the Holy Spirit for our constant comfort. What an amazing promise that is! There are not words enough to express the magnitude of what God has done for us.

In the middle of our suffering or in the middle of our happiness, we have the hope of God. God has poured his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Whatever is going on, God bathes our hearts with his love by the Holy Spirit. Amazing. Stupendous. God – who is beyond time and space – cares enough about each of us to love us. There are no words (although I’m sure trying!).

Whatever God has put into your life right now, remember to rejoice because God has given you hope through his Holy Spirit. There is nothing better than that!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hanging On . . .

Remember the posters of the kitty cat holding on the knot at the end of the rope with the saying “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on!”? That’s how I feel right now. I’ve had this migraine for three and a half days and I’m kind of hanging on. I had an appointment today with my counselor and another with my doctor, both of which were very helpful. Since then, I’ve been thinking a little about hanging on – getting through an acutely difficult phase in life. Here are some of the things that help me.

1. God. I know that there are people out there who manage to cope with chronic pain exacerbations who aren’t Christians, but I don’t understand how. I truly believe that my faith in God gets me through a lot of days when I would otherwise hide under my covers. Even when I feel like (*&%*& and can only pray the simplest of prayers, God is there and provides comfort. (I still wish He’d just take away the headaches, sometimes, though.)

2. Family. My husband is the most supportive guy in the world. He never makes me feel guilty for being in pain (which is good since I do an excellent job of that myself). He very willingly steps in to help when I can’t do what I need to do. He asks how he can help. I don’t know where I’d be without him. Even my kids are great about my illness. They don’t fuss when I ask them to adjust their activities because of how I feel. Wild Man has been very understanding about my missing some of his baseball games because of the headaches.

3. Counseling. One great thing my counselor and I did was to work through a book called The Chronic Pain Care Workbook. I learned a lot about myself, how I react to pain, and how I can structure my life to deal with pain. One of the best things about seeing a counselor, though, is having someone outside my situation to help me “reframe” things. I was in bad shape when I went in to see her today because I was still in pain and felt like everything else was out of control. She helped me see that this headache was not just the normal long migraine; it started after camp, so the house is a mess, we are out of groceries, and we aren’t in a routine. Once I was able to see that, we made a plan for me to get more pain medication (which I was trying to avoid) and to ask Mr. Math Tutor for specific help around the house and to do the grocery shopping. My head still hurts, but I can see the situation more clearly and it doesn’t look nearly as hopeless.

4. Friends. I communicate with lots of my friends on Facebook. I have gotten lots and lots of promises of prayer which makes me feel truly loved. There is nothing like it!

5. Being outward focused. Pain makes me selfish. Basically, I hurt, so I think only about myself. One thing I’ve learned to do to combat this inward focus is to pray for others. Since I don’t sleep well when my head hurts, I get lots of time to pray for others. I have a list of people right now who need specific prayer and the last few days have provided plenty of opportunity to focus on someone else’s needs besides my own (if only for a few minutes).

6. Keeping busy. How can I keep busy when I’m in pain? Well, as long as my pain is below about a level 9 (out of 10), I can usually read or knit. I have to make sure to knit only easy stuff or I’ll have to fix it later, though!! Generally, when I’m in pain, I have to read novels or histories that are pretty easy reads. Theology or other heavy-duty stuff has to wait until my brain is in better shape!

So, I’m hanging on. I’ll be productive again when this migraine has eased up. Until then, God is still good and Jesus still loves me.

What about you? How do you hang on when you reach the end of your rope?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Basket Making

[OK, migraine is still present, but overwhelming feeling of hopelessness is past.  Life goes on, even in a supremely messy house!]

One of the funnest (according to spell-check, that’s not a word) things I did at Family Camp this year was making a basket.  Every year, one of the camp staffers offers a basket class that takes an entire day.  Until last year, I wasn’t interested because I was too busy with nature classes and other stuff.  Last year, Sandy didn’t offer the class because she was getting ready for one of her kids’ weddings (as I recall).  But, this year, the class was offered again, and Rosie Girl asked if we could take it together.  How could I turn that down??  And, Grandma wanted to take it with us.


We started by making the bottom of the basket.  Not too hard so far!

IMG_0465 IMG_0466







Now the fun part – making the sides!


And adding the color!


IMG_0480And, we’re done!! 





They’re all the same, but a little different!




So, that’s it!  Our basket-weaving adventure for 2009!  I think I’ll be using mine to carry books and knitting around when I’m shuttling the kids to piano and dance.

It’s My Birthday and I’ll Cry If I Want To!

Well, actually, yesterday was my birthday. And it was yucky. Because I had a migraine that started the night before. Thankfully, my kids did the cake on Monday, so they did the whole “Happy Birthday” thing before the migraine got real bad. But I still have the migraine. And, I’m not happy, and I’m crying even if it IS the day after my birthday!

This feel so unfair sometimes – OK, most of the time. I usually get through the bad headaches OK because I have a wonderful hubby, great kids, and an amazing God. I’m feeling pretty depressed right now, though, wondering if it’s ever going to end. I’m tired of trying to talk myself out of being depressed.

So that’s it. There’s no great spiritual lesson or encouragement right now. I want my @%^#$^% head to quit hurting and to quit having to take medicine that doesn’t work very well.

Rant over. I’ll be fine in an hour or so – I’m going to go “have a little talk with Jesus”. You may now return to your regularly scheduled internet surfing.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Swimming at Camp

I’m sorry that I don’t have any pictures to go with this story, but the story is just so good that you’ll have to make do without pictures.  Before we went to camp, I had intended to take Wild Man to the swimming pool and make sure that his swimming skills were up to par because he planned to go swimming in the deep part of the lake and even go off the bipod (rope swing).  The swimming area is well life-guarded, but I still wanted to be comfortable about his swimming competence since he declined to take swimming lessons this year.

Well, as things worked out, I had something like four migraines the week before camp, so we, of course, did not get out to the local pool.  The first several days of camp were a bit chilly for swimming, although Wild Man and Mr. Math Tutor did go out boating a couple of times.  On Thursday, though, Wild Man came back from the beach in his swimsuit and told me that he had jumped off the high dive!  WHAT?!  He assured me that he had been swimming with friends, so he wasn’t alone.  Yes, they were in the deep water, and he went off the high dive several times and really enjoyed it.  An hour or so later, he went to the beach again with his sister.  When he came back, he was very proud to tell me that he had been off the bipod three times!  Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling well that afternoon, so I hadn’t been down to the beach, so I don’t have any pictures, but I have assurances from Rosie Girl that Wild Man did, indeed, go off the bipod three times and swim quite well.

Yep.  He’s a Wild Man!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Gardening Update – July 12, 2009

Well, after a week of being out of town, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the garden.  A neighbor watered for us every day and there wasn’t really anything else that the garden needed.  We were pleasantly surprised at how much everything has grown in the last week!

One thing that didn’t please us was finding nettles growing among some of the other weeds.  Of course, not being native Northerners, we didn’t know anything about nettles, but Mr. Math Tutor and I both got stung while we were pulling a few weeds this evening.  A quick internet search showed that we were, indeed, stung by nettles.  Even with the hydrocortisone on the skin, the area still hurts a little, six hours later.

Here is how things are looking so far:


These are the tomatoes and cucumbers being grown upside down.

IMG_0563Onions are looking good.

IMG_0564Green beans – they’re starting to get little white flowers.

IMG_0566 The very first broccoli plant.

IMG_0567Broccoli plant #2 was planted about six weeks later.



IMG_0570Summer squash

IMG_0571This is my spinach which is a dud so far.  I planted it too late and it got too hot so it’s going to seed.  I’ll try again in the fall.

IMG_0573Our first carrot – I think they need a little more time, yet.

IMG_0574Corn – I know I chose a short variety, but it just looks a little peaky to me.  We’ll have a prayer service over it soon.

IMG_0578Cilantro – of three squares of cilantro, this is the only one that seems to have taken.

Now that the garden is established, it really doesn’t take too much maintenance.  I can’t believe I didn’t take any pictures of the lettuce.  That’s the one thing that I have been harvesting for salads so far.  I have three squares that are still empty, so we may try some more herbs or something if it’s not too late.  I also want to try another broccoli plant.  We should have time for another planting of carrots and another attempt at spinach.

The one thing that is still not done is the trellis.  Mr. Math Tutor is going to do that this week since the pumpkin vine might need to be trained in the near future.  We have also learned to wear gloves even for casual weeding because of those silly nettles!

It has been an interesting year with the garden this year.  The kids have been pretty helpful – and Wild Man enjoyed eating his first tiny little carrot!  I really enjoy sitting outside on a warm (not hot) day with a book, enjoying the lovely plants.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Death Of A Birch Tree


I learned something interesting this week at camp. When birch trees rot, they rot from the inside out. This means that when you see a birch tree lying on the ground, the bark may be completely intact, but the inside could be completely rotten. The two trees in the picture above look pretty good except for where they’ve been stepped on. Once someone steps on the rotted birch tree, it’s pretty clear that the tree is rotted – and the person probably has a twisted ankle to show for it.

So what’s the significance? We can be like this – rotting on the inside, but making sure that our outside looks nice and alive and healthy. This is a particular temptation for control freaks like me. I need for the rest of the world to think I have it together. Even now, when I may have only 2 or 3 productive days a week, I would love for friends and neighbors to think that I still manage to serve healthy meals, keep a clean house, educate my children with exciting and interesting techniques, read fun books, and keep up a fascinating blog.

And, maybe I can keep up that facade – that birch bark outside – for a few weeks. Then someone steps on it accidently when life gets a little stressful and then it becomes obvious that the reality isn’t a beautiful, vibrant, living tree.

No, I need to be honest and take on only what I can handle, giving God the control of each day – actually of each minute(Isaiah 40:31, Jer 6:16, Phil 1:6, Phil 4:6). I have to quite worrying about how things look to other people. I answer to God. His standards are incredibly high, but they are high in the areas of holiness – have I loved my kids, have I been careful with my words, have I been diligent with the time and energy I have? God’s standards for my house and the kids’ educations are different than mine. So, I need to listen to the Holy Spirit every minute and pay more attention to the inside of my life instead of the outside. After all, I’m me – not a birch tree.

Are you a perfectionist or control freak? Does the story of the birch tree resonate with you? How are you learning to work through the perfectionism? How do you listen to the Holy Spirit on a constant basis (especially those of us with kids)?


We’re home from Family Camp!!  We had a blast this year, as usual.  And, as usual, we came home exhausted.

This was our seventh year going to Family Camp and the speaker this year was the same speaker as the very first year we went.  Funny story:  In our first year, I was kind of hesitant about the whole idea of going to camp and having Bible Study sessions five or six times during the week (yes, I was young and stupid at the time).  Then, the speaker got up the first night and said that he was going to talk through the first six chapters of Romans during the week.  I thought he was crazy!!  What in the world was I going to learn in a week of sermons about Romans in the middle of the Northwoods?  The answer: quite a bit.  That week ended up being just wonderful and the first six chapters of Romans spoke to me much more than I expected (OK, God spoke to me through the first six chapters of Romans).  Not only that, every single year, I learn something new and interesting and God speaks to me during Family Camp.  This year, the speaker (Larry McKenzie) spoke about Genesis 1-2 and about how it’s not intended to tell us how God created everything, but rather to tell us about God.  You can go to Fort’s website and listen to his messages (they aren’t up yet, but I guess they’ll be up by next week).  I loved listening to him!

I’m sure I’ll post more later in the next several days, including some rather serious thoughts that I had up in the Northwoods.  Right now, here are some random facts about our week:

Wild Man did not take a shower all week.  He did finally go swimming yesterday, which cleaned him up a little.

Rosie Girl was part of the Junior Drill team again this year.  It’s the only time she rides horses all year long, and I’m always impressed with her ability.

Wild Man and I went to a Lumberjack breakfast where we had yummy pancakes cooked on a griddle out by the lake.  Rosie Girl, Grandma, and Mr. Math Tutor went (on another morning) on a Wrangler’s breakfast where they rode a horse-drawn cart to another lakeshore and had eggs and potatoes.

Mr. Math Tutor and Wild Man both won the archery tournaments for their age groups.

Mr. Math Tutor, Wild Man, and Rosie Girl were all eliminated from the carpetball tournament on the first round this year (Mr. Math Tutor has won several previous years).

I had a migraine on Saturday night (when we arrived) and then not again until Thursday night and today.  The rest of the time I just had my usual headaches.  I definitely felt more involved in camp this year than last year.

So, more pictures and stories later.  We’re all pretty wiped out right now.  We need to clean house tomorrow and I need to go grocery shopping.  Wild Man also has a baseball tournament during the day.  Gonna be a busy weekend.  I think I’ll go read a book.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Off To Camp!!!

We’re in the process of packing up so that we can go to camp tomorrow!!  They now have Wi-Fi at the coffee shop at camp, but we’re not taking a laptop, so I will be completely unplugged for the week.  Wow.  Pray that I survive!  I’ll be back with lots of stories, etc. in a week!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

I Don’t Get It

So, I don’t “get” prayer. I mean, I do it – I pray quite a bit. But, I don’t really understand it. I’ve been a Christian for almost 32 years now, and prayer still perplexes me. Why? Here’s why:

  • All 6+ billion of us here on Earth can pray to the same One God.
  • Any space aliens (a la’ Madeleine L’Engle or C.S. Lewis) can also pray to Him (I assume).
  • At the same time.
  • And God listens.
  • And answers – although not always the way we want, apparently.
  • You can pray at home, in the car, in the bathtub, anywhere.
  • You can sing, yell, say, or think your prayers.
  • There are prayers in the Bible to use as examples.
  • Many people (myself included, at times) pray specific prayers at specific times (The Daily Office).
  • You can pray completely spontaneously.
  • Jesus prayed to the Father – even though He was the Son.
  • When we can’t figure out what to pray, the Holy Spirit helps us out. (Romans 8:26)
  • Our prayers are in bowls in Heaven (Rev. 5:8).

I pray more now in the last three years than I have in my entire life, but I understand it less. Crazy, huh?

I used to think that prayer was something that I was supposed to do first thing in the morning during my quiet time out on the porch with a cup of coffee, my Bible, a notebook, and a Bible study book from Lifeway. Then, I’d have that little chore taken care of till the next day. There are a few problems with that scenario: I don’t do mornings (my devotional times now are after everyone else is in bed), I don’t have a porch, I don’t drink coffee, and I rarely use Bible study books (I generally just use a commentary). Then there’s the huge problem that the entire picture is something cultural that God never actually intended.

Prayer is something far more mysterious and powerful than just something to do with your morning coffee!! Now that I’ve given up the silly stereotypes, I’ve learned much, much more about communicating with God. Mostly, I’ve learned that it’s a privilege and an honor and not a duty to be crossed off my list.

Sadly, I think chronic pain has been the impetus to my truly learning to pray. I wish I had learned sooner – and under less dire circumstances. Nonetheless, the last three years have taught me so much in terms of communicating with God that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There’s much I don’t understand, but much more that I enjoy despite (or, perhaps, because of) the mystery. I’ll probably be sharing more of my thoughts about prayer in the future, so stay tuned. In the meantime, pray without ceasing!!