February 27, 2010
February 25, 2010
Thirteen years ago today, Eric and I sat at Tang’s Chinese Restaurant in Grayslake, Illinois. We had returned the previous Sunday from a four-day cross country ski trip and it was the night for the monthly meeting of the Bicycle Club of Lake County. At the time, I thought we met there because he actually liked the restaurant, but I think it was because it was on the way to the meeting for both of us. It is not a restaurant that I would actually recommend for their food, unless you want to feel the residual magic from our encounter there. I have no idea what we discussed except for one thing: We talked about the cross country trip and that a spark seemed to have been struck between the two of us. And he told me that he wanted to “pursue a relationship” with me. That night, after the bicycle club meeting, we exchanged a first kiss, or two, or possibly more. Yowza! On March 3, 1998, which was 372 days after we first decided to pursue a relationship, he proposed to me in front of the Kilauea Light House on the island of Kuai, Hawaii. He didn’t have a ring, but he did quote the following scripture: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” (Proverbs 31:29,30) We were married on August 29, 1998, six months later.
Eric is an answer to a specific prayer that I prayed to God roughly two weeks before that fateful cross country ski trip. I told God that I would be willing to exchange my extensive, highly detailed list of things I wanted in a husband if He would only provide me a godly man. Eric is a godly man, which does not mean that he is perfect. However, he will apologize to me for his part in an argument or if he has said or done something wrong. He is also very quick to forgive me, even after some of my ugliest moments, which he has witnessed many times. He forgives little things and big things and forgets them. He encourages me to keep trying when I fail, and to try new things. He never has put me down and doesn’t allow me to put myself down. He listens as well as any man I know. He is the only one outside of my family that has demonstrated unconditional love. He is also a hopeless goofball. His most recent example of humor is faking a heart attack every time we pass by a restaurant called “Organ Stop Pizza”. If you don’t get the humor, it is probably a good thing. His humor does tend toward word play and puns, but he will totally degrade himself with pseudo-melodrama in order to get me and the kids laughing. He keeps me from being too serious and defuses serious situations with humor. He is a gift from God and living proof that God loves me and not only wants what is best for me but knows what is best for me.
February 20, 2010
February 18, 2010
I have received some feedback that the audio on Kyle's recitation was pretty low. He had a microphone near his mouth. He tends to speak quietly when he is a little nervous. However, when he is upset or playing, he gets REALLY loud. There is no moderation with him. I might try and re-record Kyle, asking him to speak up a bit. As an additional side-note, Kyle has chosen a second poem to memorize which is four lines long and is a mouse lullaby. He is already finished with that one.
For Jessi, I chose "The New Colossus" because it was about the same length as Kyle's poem and really highlights that most of the people who emigrated to America, including the Pilgrims and Jamestown settlers, were considered "losers" (in our vernacular) by their contemporaries. What makes this poem difficult to memorize is that it doesn't have as obvious a rhythm as "Concord Hymn" and some of the sentences end in the middle of a line. (BTW, if you listen carefully, you will hear the boys yelling in the background and me telling them to be quiet. They were actually upstairs and I spoke to them from the bottom of the stairs. I wish I had one of those "red lights" to make my home a silent zone.) I will include the words to "The New Colussus" with the video. Jessi has chosen for her new poem to memorize, all on her own, the poem "Barbara Frietchie" by John Greenleaf Whittier. That one is much longer
The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame,
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
February 16, 2010
By the rude bridge that arched the flood
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled
Here once the emattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world
The foe long since in silence slept
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps
On this green bank, by this soft stream
We set today a votive stone
That memory may their deed redeem
When, like our sires, our sons are gone
Spirit, that made these heroes dare
To die and leave their children free
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
This shaft we raise to them and thee.
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
February 14, 2010
I woke up in darkness surrounded by silence
Oh where have I gone?
I woke to reality losing its grip on me
Oh where, where have I gone?
'Cause I can see the light before I see the sunrise
Chorus: You called and You shouted
Broke through my deafness
Now I'm breathing in, breathing out
I'm alive again
You shattered my darkness
Washed away my blindness
Now I'm breathing in, breathing out
I'm alive again
Late have I loved you
You waited for me
I searched for you.
What took me so long?
I was looking outside
As if love would ever want to hide.
I'm finding I was wrong
'Cause I can feel the wind before it hits my skin.
Bridge: 'Cause I want you yes I want you, I need you
And I'll do whatever I have to just to get through
'Cause I love you, yes I love you!
When I first heard the chorus, I suddenly pictured Lazarus lying in the tomb, hearing Jesus' voice and taking his first breath since being raised from death. Would it be a deep, gasping breath, like the kind that Wesley and Buttercup took when they emerged from the lightning sand or the kind of quick breath you take when you suddenly realize that you have been holding your breath for too long. Or would it be more like the first deep breath you take in the morning while you are stretching after having a really good night of sleep with vivid, peaceful dreams? Would he have had fleeting visions of life after death still hovering in his mind as he awoke. Would he be experiencing the stifling, smelly grave or feeling the breeze and the sweet scent from the Holy Spirit breathing life back into him? Would he be wondering "Where am I and why can't I move very easily? Regardless of his first impressions, I am pretty sure that he was never the same man before he died and was buried. How could he be? How could anyone let him forget that he was once dead and that his friend, Jesus, the Messiah, brought him back to life?
Then I wonder if he was present during Jesus' crucifixion, if he actually witnessed his friend dying. It was a high, holy festival, a time when most Jews would have traveled to Jerusalem. However, according to John 12:10, the Jewish leaders were out to kill Lazarus because so many people believed in Jesus because of his resurrection. So maybe he decided to stay home. However, if he was there, how much he must have suffered seeing the One who healed him from death dying on the cross or dead in the grave. Would he have had any clue that his resurrection would be a foreshadowing of the glorious resurrection of the Messiah, the Redeemer? Or would he have been one of the most hopeless of Jesus' followers? And then, of course, there would have been the inexpressible joy and awe at seeing his friend, his Lord and Savior alive again.
Every Christian, the moment they put their faith in Jesus Christ as the only way they can be made right with God has a Lazarus moment. They see the light, they feel the touch of the Holy Spirit breathing new life into their sin-deadened body. It is what I experienced when I first prayed "The Sinner's Prayer" when I was 12 years old. I experienced it again when I returned to God after a time of turning my back on Him because I was mistaking His people for my only counselors rather than Him as my Wonderful Counselor. The second time was even more overwhelming than the first because I felt as if I had betrayed God and yet, out of the bounty of His great love, he welcomed me back with open arms as the prodigal daughter.
Interesting how a two minute song can bring all that up. By the way, I looked up the name "Lazarus" to see what it meant. It means "my God has helped." Praise God!
February 5, 2010
History: We are studying American History. We started with the discovery and exploration of the Americas up and have now started reading about the beginnings of the American Revolutionary War, which, as was pointed out in "Drive Through History", was originally considered a civil war. In between, we learned how the British, French and Spanish extended their European Wars to the colonies and how the British ended up "owning" most of the 13 colonies. Part of the discussion was how the British colonists changed the landscape from woodland to farmland, destroying the Native American's hunting ground. We also discussed how the Native American's fought back, usually in sneak attacks that usually, thought not always successful. The French were not necessarily farmers in the lower colonies, choosing to hunt and trade with the Natives as friends, though they tried to start colonies up and down the Mississippi. I have really learned a lot more about our country's development, which I really enjoy. Elizabeth has mentioned that she really enjoys history.
Science. We are studying flying animals. We started with birds and bats and are now studying flying insects. We are trying to hatch butterflies from catepillars, using a kit, but have not been incredibly successful. Of five catepillars, only one chrysallis survives and it, too, might have a dead pupa. If this doesn't work, we will order some more catepillars and try again. The principal refuses to have an ant farm, which sounds a whole lot easier at this point, although it does seem counter-intuitive to encourage ants to develop in the house when we usually work hard to keep them out.
Language Arts: We have been studying poetry after reading two novels before Christmas and discussing the elements of a good story. The kids have written some of their own poetry and have read from _Runny Babbit_ for fun, _The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere_, some Native Amerian poetry and haikus. We will be finishing it up by having the kids memories two poems each, one of my choosing and one of theirs. My choosen poems are the following: Kyle is memorizing "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jessi is memorizing "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus and Elizabeth is memorizing "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Once they are done working on those poems, I will let them choose their own with very little requirements. I am trying to memorize them too. The kids are progressing nicely with spelling and grammer. They have written some haiku's and some specialized poetry, as well as miscellaneous writing assignments. Jessica just finished reading The Wind in the Willows and Elizabeth is reading Robinson Crusoe, which I am also reading for fun to the kids.
Math: Elizabeth is going through fractions this year and is now learning about Greatest Common Factors and how they can be used to reduce or simplify fractions. Kyle is over halfway through his book of addition facts. Jessi is working on her single-digit multiplication facts, but soon will be learning how to multiply with more than one digit.
We listen to classical music and are looking at the Roccocco period of art because that is the art of the 18th century. We will also be looking at folk art and engravings, because that was pretty popular at the time. The kids are also baking.
Elizabeth is progressing in her Latina Cristiana latin studies and all three are working on Spanish through bilingual books and a Spanish matching game and storytelling game.
Elizabeth and Kyle want to learn how to whittle. The principal tells them that they need to read up on knife safety first.
Their homeschool group, Veritas, organized a field trip to an turn of the century house in downtown Phoenix, where they learned about how people slept in Phoenix in summer before air-conditioning was invented. The answer is that they moved their mattress out on the porch. There was no answer to how they survived in their petticoats and long sleeves. In the next two months, they will be visiting the "Hall of Flame" and the Museum of Mining.