Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our Week In Review – 10/30/2010


Tomorrow’s Halloween!!  This is the first year that neither of my kids is going trick-or-treating, so I’m feeling a little bit old.  Nonetheless, it’s always fun to give out candy to all the neighborhood kids.  I bought tons of candy – hopefully, we won’t run out this year!

Wild Man

Wild Man learned about Korea this week.  We read a couple of books and watched an excellent National Geographic special about North Korea.  He wrote (dictated) a really nice paper about his reader, The Kite Fighters.

I’m pleased that Wild Man’s spelling seems to be improving even though we’re still reviewing.  We also practiced using and recognizing prepositions and prepositional phrases.

Wild Man is also learning to play drum kit in a teen worship band at church.  All of the other kids are beginners on their instruments, so Wild Man actually is in a good place.  He’s also loving being part of the Junior High group on Thursday nights.

This week Wild Man went to the Nutrition Site without me.  He said that he only did a few things, but he was helpful and he had a good time.

Rosie Girl

Chemistry is turning out to be Rosie Girl’s Achilles Heel.  She doesn’t enjoy it and it requires more effort than usual for her to understand it.  Thursday night was a particularly rough night for the two of us.  But, we got through it and I have a few ideas for using online sites to help her get other perspectives on the topic.

I’m very proud of Rosie Girl’s writing.  She got a perfect score on her Write At Home essay this week.  She has also been preparing to play piano for a ladies’ Christmas tea at a local church.  She’s putting together her piano music and getting a piece ready on ocarina.

Rosie Girl helps our worship director at church on Wednesdays.  Last week and this week, her job was to put together the packets of music for the team for the next week.  She’s being useful as well as enjoying her time there.

And there’s more evidence of Rosie Girl’s growing up!  She’s going to take Driver’s Ed in January, and we’re hoping to do a college visit in early December.  Yikes!  Where did the time go?

How was your week?  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more weekly reviews!

Friday, October 29, 2010

James 2:1-7


My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism.  Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?  Gut you have insulted the poor.  It is not the rich who are exploiting you?  Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?  Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?

James 2:1-7

When I read this passage, I immediately think of the local church and body of believers of which I am a part.  The good news is that I don’t see much in the way of discrimination against others based on their social class.  Yet, we still need to take this passage seriously so that we don’t become like the Pharisee who prayed, “Thank you, Lord, that I am not like this sinner.”  As soon as we look down on anyone for any reason, we have sinned by showing favoritism.

We may feel proud of ourselves that our churches don’t openly discriminate against those of other social classes, but this verse can be extended into many other areas.  Are our churches open to those of other races and other cultures?  Do we prefer to welcome those who look most like us – perhaps even discriminating the other way against those who have more money and are of an upper class? 

In our area, racial discrimination seems less of an issue because most people are Caucasian.  Nonetheless, there is a significant Hispanic population that doesn’t seem well-represented in our church.  Are we too lax in our outreach to this population?  Yet, I know that our missions team sees this population as one that we could reach better.  What about your church?  Does everyone seem to look like you?  Is this OK?  How can the body of Christ truly reach these other populations that don’t show up on our doorsteps?

James is trying to get us to see here that we are all one in Christ – a sentiment echoed throughout Paul’s letters (Galatians 3: 28 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”).  I think in our current church culture, we may transgress this commandment by gravitating toward those who seem to have a particular gift that can be used in a worship setting – e.g. musical ability, speaking or teaching ability, etc.  Yet, we are all one in Christ, and we all have gifts that are necessary to the Body of Christ.  We can’t afford to play favorites.  Someone who plays an instrument is no more necessary to the proper function of the Body of Christ than someone who sits with the grieving family or someone who makes it their job to pray regularly for those in need.

As an individual, I can make it my business to expand my circle of acquaintances into those who are different from me.  I can also make sure that I am using my spiritual gifts in the way God wants me to.  As a church, each church body needs to regularly make sure that they (we) are open to using everyone and their gifts and that no group of people gets special treatment.  This may also mean expanding outreach to make sure that every segment of the local population has the opportunity to hear the Gospel, not just the ones who come to church on Sunday.

Lord, help us to love everyone, no matter their color, social status, bathing status, hair color, etc. and give us the courage and words to share the Gospel with all – not condescendingly, but lovingly as people whom God has saved.

Thoughts?  What more can we, as individuals, do to avoid showing favoritism?

7 Quick Takes Friday – 10/20/2001



1. I’m in the middle of Christmas knitting!!  Since my friends and family read my blog, I won’t go in to any details, but I’m having a great time learning new techniques and making fun things!

2. It’s getting chilly around here!  The high today was about 50 degrees, so we’re breaking out sweaters.  I haven’t checked yet to see if the kids’ coats fit.  Sigh.  They keep growing!

3. Wild Man (to Rosie Girl): “May the cucumber be with you!  (yelling) And don’t go to the tomato side!!”  I think he’s had a little too much Star Wars and Veggie Tales.

4. Wild Man is learning to play drum kit as well as other percussion instruments in our church’s teen worship group, which is more like a workshop since all the kids are learning their instruments.  He enjoys it and he’s learning a lot!

5. Rosie Girl won “The Grind’s Got Talent” – the youth group talent show – with her ocarina solo.  I’m so proud of her!

6. It will be a miracle if Rosie Girl and I survive Chemistry this year.  I remember a good bit of Chemistry, so I’m the one teaching her.  But, she has very little interest in learning it.  It could be a long year!

7. I bought a TON (well, almost) of candy for trick or treaters this year.  We have run out every year that we’ve been in this house, so I hope I bought too much instead of too little this year.  We can always save the extras, but I HATE to run out of candy for the poor kids whose parents can’t take them out till later than the other kids.

That’s it for our week.  Check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Friday!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

ACK! They’re Not Little Anymore!

I don’t think I can handle this.  It seems like just yesterday that they were elementary school age.  But not now.  They’re growing up entirely too quickly!!

Rosie Girl was asked this Monday to play piano for a women’s Christmas tea at a local church in December.  The woman who called left a message on Rosie Girl’s cell phone.  Rosie Girl had to call her back to tell her that she could do the performance, but she was very nervous about making the call.  I’m so proud that she did it and accepted the offer to perform and is now working on setting up the music for it.

Last Friday, the high school writers’ club met.  They want to get sweatshirts with their name and logo on them, so Rosie Girl offered to do the legwork.  Yesterday, she walked to the shop after art class and got a quote from them.  When she got home, she realized that she was unclear on the cost of each shirt, so she had to call the shop back to clarify things.  Again, this was a hard thing for her, but she did it!

Last week, I told the Nutrition Site coordinator that I wouldn’t be trying to come every week, but just on the monthly birthday party day.  However, Wild Man still wanted to go.  This morning, I slept in late because of last night’s migraine, so PWM drove Wild Man to the site and I picked him up almost two hours later.  Wild Man said that there wasn’t a ton of stuff for him to do, but he had a good time.  Most jobs that he does up there are with one of the senior citizens, so I’m glad to see that he’s enjoying his time with them.

One of the things that I read in The Endless Adolescence is that teens need to be part of “real” adult life and not trapped in the “teenage bubble”.  I’m so glad that my kids are willingly embracing these growing steps – even if it makes me nervous!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Our Week In Review – 10/24/2010


What a week!   As my counselor told me, I was going through “re-entry” into the family system.  Yeah.  Whatever.  I tried to catch up between migraines, but still have a suitcase in my bedroom that needs to be emptied.  Sigh.  I’m writing this while I prepare next week’s schedule, so it’s later than usual.

Wild Man

We spent this week learning more about Japan.  We finished reading Commodore Perry In The Land Of The Shogun and watched some Netflix movies about Samurai.  We also talked about some more serious issues when he watched a Netflix show about Hiroshima and read Sadako and the 1000 Cranes.

Wild Man and I went to the Nutrition Site for the monthly birthday party on Wednesday.  We both enjoyed working in the kitchen and he loves to play Bingo after lunch.

Band has been going quite well for Wild Man.  Not only is he playing percussion in Band, but he has joined a youth band at church where the kids are all young and are just learning their instruments.

A couple of weeks ago, I broke my hand mixer.  Instead of throwing it away, I asked PWM to cut the plug off.  On Monday, Wild Man took the mixer apart and looked at how the motor worked.  He also unwound all the copper wire and rewound it for Rosie Girl (although he did charge her $1 for the labor involved – maybe we’ll say he’s learning business, too!).  Oh, and he’s wearing the eye patch because one part of his vision therapy is to do some fine motor activity with one eye patched.

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Rosie Girl

Rosie Girl wrote a very nice paper on the development of the Church in Southeast Asia in the early years after Jesus.  She also turned in a final draft of an essay to Write At Home.  I’m pleased with the feedback that she’s getting from her writing coach.

On Friday, Rosie Girl went to Writing Club after school.  She loves hanging out with other writing friends.  They are all going to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) starting November 1.  This time, I’m not even going to try to do it!

Rosie Girl was a little unhappy with her Chemistry this week because I made it a review week.  I’m glad I did because she seems to have a much better understanding of bonding.

I couldn’t find an online Japanese course for Rosie Girl when we started the year, so she has been using the free program from the library.  I think she’s learning, but it’s hard for me to evaluate.  At a wedding this past June, a friend told me that her son used the online BYU Japanese class.  Rosie Girl and I checked it out and I’m going to sign her up this week!

This next week Wild Man will be learning about Korea.  We’re also going to spend a little more effort on Language Arts.


Friday, October 22, 2010

James 1:12

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”  James 1:12

“James says that if the Christian meets the testings of life in the steadfast constancy which Christ can give, life becomes infinitely more splendid than it ever was before.  The struggle is a way to glory and the very struggle itself is a glory.”  William Barclay

I have been reminded in the last few days that the path of sanctification or becoming more like Jesus, while it is a process that requires God’s activity, also requires significant effort on our part.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

James 1:1-3

I’m now in a women’s Bible Study that is going through the book of James.  I totally love the book of James!!  Believe it or not, though, Martin Luther thought that James should not have been in the canon of the Bible.  Apparently, he thought that it’s emphasis on works diluted the idea of salvation by grace through faith.

The book of James, though, has a specific role to play in the New Testament (from what I can tell).  It is a book written to Christians (probably Jewish Christians) to encourage them to pursue holy living.  The writer assumes that his audience knows about Jesus’ sacrifice that pays for our sin.  Now, he wants to help us pursue sanctification (being made holy).

James 1:1-3 (NIV)

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To  the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:  Greetings.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith developed perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

According to my trusty Barclay Commentary (thanks, Dad!!), the Greek word used for testing implies that the testing is directed towards an end.  Our testing is to make us stronger in our faith.  Then the Greek word for “perseverance” is sometimes translated “patience”, but it really is a more active word than that.  We are given what we need to not only bear the trial, but to turn it to glory of God.

James is making it very clear here that our trials are not unknown to God.  Everything that happens to us is of use in making us more like Jesus, if we face these trials.  Yet, I can do nothing in my own strength.  So, I’m constantly relying on the Holy Spirit to get me through each minute of each day.  It’s kind of crazy that bearing up under trials is more than just endurance – it brings glory to God.

Martin Luther may not have been real happy with the book of James.  In fact, I would get rather disheartened by reading all that James tells us to do.  However, on further study, I find that James’ emphasis on works is not misplaced.  When we come to read James as believers who know that God is always at work in us and that our service to Him is only because of the strength He gives us, the book is an encouragement to rely on God to make us holy.

I want to live a holy and perfect life, but I can only do so in the strength given me by God.  Yet, I make choices every day – essentially, they are choices whether or not to allow the Holy Spirit take control of that set of actions.  So, God and I work in cooperation for my sanctification.  And my becoming more holy then spurs me on to even more good works and, hopefully, makes me more sensitive to the needs around me.  It’s a win-win.

Just my thoughts on trials, God, and sanctification.  I’m sure I’ll write more as we get further into the study.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Our Week In Review – 10/16/2010



Since I didn’t do a weekly report last week, I’m going to try to summarize two weeks tonight.  ‘Cause there’s no way I’ll get three weeks worth done next weekend!

As noted in yesterday’s post, I spent Tuesday through Thursday of this week attending my aunt’s funeral in Dallas.  Because of that, I was busy all day Monday with packing.  When I got home Thursday afternoon, I realized that I had packed my CPAP machine without emptying the reservoir (that allows me to breathe humidified air).  When I finally dared to turn the machine on Thursday night, it was not working properly.  I did manage to sleep after about 3am.  On Friday, we had to drive into Appleton to get a rental CPAP machine.  I took a very long nap Friday, slept well last night, and had a short nap today.  I think I’m close to being caught up.

Here’s what’s up with the kids:

Wild Man

Bible and Math – still doing well with PWM.

History/Geography – He didn’t do the New Zealand map that I had wanted last week, but we moved on to Japan this week.  Theoretically.  Actually, we’re reading The Master Puppeteer and he’s watched some Netflix shows about samurai.  He didn’t have any of the read-aloud work done this week, so I tried to read some to him this afternoon, but he fell asleep.  We’ll try again tomorrow.

Vision Therapy – Wild Man didn’t have an appointment this week, but he has been doing his exercises regularly.  He made spaghetti for dinner last night with a patch over one eye.

Reading – He finished Born In The Year Of Courage as well as The Big Wave.  He’s motivated to read his “school” books because he has been reading The Guardians Of Ga’Hoole series of books in his free time.

Community Service – I’ve been having a really hard time getting to the Nutrition Site the past few weeks.  I think I’m going to just go on the weeks when they’re having the birthday party.  Wild Man says he still wants to go help out even if I can’t make it.

Science – Wild Man and PWM did some science reading last week.  Otherwise, we’re behind where I’d like to be in the reading.

Rosie Girl

Bible – She’s still in the Old Testament, but sticking with it.

History – Her main book this last week was The Church In The East.  I thought it would be about the Eastern Orthodox, Syrian, and Coptic churches, but it’s actually about the early spread of Christianity to the Far East (India and China).

Rosie Girl wrote a very nice paper about The Flames Of Rome.  I asked a friend of mine who teaches writing at a college to take a look at it and she felt like it’s about the level she sees in entering freshman.  That’s quite encouraging.

Writing – I’m quite pleased at how she is doing with WriteAtHome.  Her writing coach is giving her good feedback and she seems to have a better sense of the five-paragraph essay now.

Math – PWM gave her a few days off this week, but she’s been doing quite well.

Chemistry – Rosie Girl isn’t a fan of Chemistry, but this week was really tough for her.  She asked me to help her today with her workbook exercises.  It’s pretty clear that she doesn’t really have a good handle on this chapter and possibly some of the previous material.  We’re going to do a review week next week where I’ll have her watch some Khan Academy videos and then answer questions in the Singapore textbook (as opposed to the workbook).  She may not be planning to be a science major, but she definitely needs a basic understanding of this material.

Art and Music – Coming along swimmingly!

Extra-curriculars – She played her ocarina for the youth group talent show a few weeks ago and did quite well.

The last two weeks have been kind of a blur, so I hope that things are calmer this next week.  I don’t have anything special planned, but I will be spending more time with Rosie Girl on Chemistry and trying to catch Wild Man up on his reading. 

Check out Weird, Unsocialized, Homeschoolers to see how others have done this week!

Friday, October 15, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday – 10/15/2010



This week’s post can be subtitled “The Extended Family Edition” or “How I Took Almost 200 Pictures In 48 Hours”.

1. My mom’s sister (one of 8 originally, but one of 4 at her death) died this last weekend at the age of 79.  It wasn’t unexpected, but it was still quite sad.


2. I didn’t know my aunt very well (Mom was the youngest of 12, so I only knew/know a couple or her siblings really well), but I went to Dallas to be with Mom for the funeral.  So, I was on a plane from The Great White North on Tuesday morning and arrived in Dallas around 2pm.  I left Dallas Thursday morning and got home around 2pm.  And, yes, I’m tired – emotionally and physically!


3. My aunt is buried in the second-largest private cemetery in the US.  Wow.  It was just huge!

070 072

4. My aunt had been in the military when she was in her 20’s (I believe), so she was buried in the military section of the cemetery (from what I could tell).  It’s actually kind of cool that she was in the service at a time when that was not a common option for young women.

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5. During my time in Dallas, I got to meet all 7 of my aunt’s children, which I don’t think I had done before.  I also met several of her grandchildren, one of her sisters-in-law, and lots of members of her church.


6. One of my cousins rented a car and she had brought her TomTom (GPS system) with her to help us navigate the city.  Our hotel, the church, and the cemetery were all very close together, but it was still a challenge.  On Tuesday, I sat in the passenger’s seat, so I was the navigator – which should have been no big deal since I navigate for PWM all the time.  However, I think the driver lost her trust in me after I had her drive the wrong way on a one-way street!  Thankfully, God was looking out for us and we didn’t get killed.  (I think I acquitted myself in the navigation department later that day and the next.)


7. One very interesting thing about this week was learning how many of my cousins actually live rather close to me (within a day’s drive).  Most of my family is in the South, but my aunt had married and lived in the Twin Cities afterward.  I have several cousins living in the Wisconsin/Minnesota area – pretty cool!

Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to! 


Friday, October 08, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday


1. I had a great time at the Women’s Retreat at Fort Wilderness last weekend.  I hope to post pictures soon.

2. As Rosie Girl, PWM, and I were leaving church on Wednesday night (I’m going to a Wednesday night Bible study now), a young man told Rosie Girl good-bye.  She was a little ways ahead of us, but still heard me say to PWM, “That boy spoke to our girl.”  He answered, “Yeah.”  My response: “Why is he still alive?”  Rosie Girl: “Mom, that’s supposed to be Dad’s job!”  Me: “We have a united front!”

3. Wild Man and PWM started Tae Kwon Do this week.  PWM did it in high school and was a green belt, but it’s brand new for Wild Man.  So far, so good!

4. Wild Man has eye exercises to do every day.  It’s actually pretty interesting to see what they have him do – following lists of letters up or down with just one eye, eye-hand coordination activities with one eye patched, etc.  It’s early to see progress yet, but he’s diligent about doing them.

5. It’s Homecoming Week in our little town!  PWM and I took a stroll to the library this afternoon and ended up being on the business block of Main Street right before the parade came, so we stayed and watched.  Fun!  Rosie Girl stayed at school after her class today (which was short since it was a half-day) and went to the pep rally.  She joined us for the parade and then went to the first half of the game.  She wasn’t optimistic about her team’s chances, but she said she had fun.

6. It’s October, so I’m knitting up all the Christmas presents!!  Obviously, I’m not going to put on a public blog that my family reads what all I’m going to do, but suffice it to say that they’re going to like them!

7. On Wednesday night, the Grind (the youth group) did a talent show, so Rosie Girl played Amazing Grace on her ocarina.  With an accompaniment that she had found that afternoon online and burned to CD.  With a key change.  So she learned the whole thing in just an hour or two.  Wow.  (And the other kids in the group were impressed, too.)

So, check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others are up to!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The “Joys” Of Womanhood

pink ribbon

One day when I was in medical school, my mom called me and started to ream me out as a representative of the medical profession about how terrible mammograms were.  It would be almost 20 years before I could truly understand her angst.  And now, every year, I get to wish I could find an errant radiologist to yell at about mammograms.  Not that he/she invented the screening exam.  I just feel like I need to fuss about the “joy” of being a woman.

I had my mammogram done yesterday at the clinic where I used to work.  They do a great job of customer service as well as medical excellence.  The tech (with whom I used to work) gave me a nice warm gown to put on.  The exam was short and as painless as possible (I’m sure).  And the report came back today – normal.

Yes, I’m complaining.  But, I will continue to get my mammograms every year.  Two of my friends were diagnosed with breast cancer this year.  Breast cancer isn’t really preventable (although you can decrease your risk factors), but it is clear that early detection improves the outcome of women with breast cancer.  So, I’ll get my annual mammograms.

And pray regularly that MRIs (or some equally painless procedure) can be used for screening very soon.  ‘Cause my “girls” aren’t thrilled about doing this every year.

So, go get your mammogram.  Now!