January 26, 2011

Catch phrases

During a really frustrating day of homeschooling, each kid used their catch phrase on me which, in some ways, gives you a glimpse of their character.

Elizabeth: "Well, that is my own style (of writing/pronunciation/penmanship/etc.)!"
Jessi: "I can't find it!"
Kyle: "I will never finish it!"
John: "I was just being sarcastic."

Of course, summaries don't really adequately describe anything, just like you can't really know a song just by listening to the 30 second track on Amazon/Emusic or you can't really enjoy a book by reading the Cliff Notes or even an "Illustrated Classics" version of the book. For instance, Kyle is very concerned about doing a job well and if he can't do a job well, he doesn't want to do it and will use any excuse to avoid doing it. Once he has started it and finds it is not as daunting as he originally thought, he is very enthusiastic about finishing it and doing his best work. Jessi is so good at making people feel welcome and loved, but, as a result, she is not task oriented. Therefore, if I ask her to do something, like put her spelling and vocabulary words in her binder where she will be sure to find them when she needs them next, she may or may not do what I ask. She is easily distractible by people, books and any random object and can be waylaid on her way from the kitchen/living room to the office where her binder is kept. Elizabeth is definitely very artistic and does like to create her own sense of style, which currently reflects tomboy sensibilities. And style is a matter of personal choice/opinion. She is learning, however, that not everything is a matter of opinion. Even though John is my class clown, which means that even homeschooling moms are not immune to having them, he is very artistic and quick to pick up the phonics.

I also have to remind myself that these catch phrases have some hint of me in them, too, which of course, is completely humbling. Humility is a good thing because it keeps me teachable.

And people, unlike individual books or songs, don't ever stay the same (generally speaking). So these catch phrases that I hear from my kids now is not an indication of the adult they will become or even the person they will be next year. Just as they look slightly different from their baby pictures and I am not the same person I was when I was busy being a prodigal daughter. That thought gives me hope and inspiration to continue homeschooling my kids and loving them for who they are, with all their glories and faults, which is just how God feels about me.
"...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Phillipians 1:6

January 23, 2011

Dealing with Cultural Irrevelance

Last night, we watched "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes," a Disney flick from 1969, two years after I was born. It is part of our plan to "educate" our kids on the cheesy movies with which we grew up. So far, the kids have watched "The Apple Dumpling Gang," and the original "Absent-Minded Professor" with Fred MacMurray in addition to the latest. At the beginning, we had to pause the movie to explain that the four or five huge boxes in the movie with the huge bank of buttons and rotating circles known as "tape drives" were parts of a computer that in real life would have less than 1% of the capability of Elizabeth's new iPod Touch (which is another story altogether). The star of "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" was Kurt Russell, known in the 1980's for his dimples, cornflower blue eyes and wavy hair and his ability to star in either "cult classics" or bad rom-coms with his significant other, Goldie Hawn.

As I was helping out in the church nursery this evening, we were talking about old movies and I mentioned Kurt Russel's name. The college student helping us out said "Who is that?" The father of three smiled, mentioned that he had HEARD of Kurt Russell but that he wasn't familiar with that particular movie. Did I feel old! I realized that few of them probably had heard of Michael Jordan, Walter Payton (can you tell I have spent a LOT of time in Chicago), Bee Gees or even Billy Joel! It started a great conversation about what TV shows were our favorites. The college age kids fondly remembered "Fresh Prince" and "Boy Meets World" whereas I remember "Giligan's Island,"Happy Days" and "The Love Boat." I told them that in another thirty years, they would be sitting talking to a high school or college age student reminiscing about Justin Bieber or Will Smith and the student would look at them blankly and mutter "Who?" As I was looking at recent pictures of the male movie stars that I thought were "hunks" like Kurt Russell, Jeff Bridges, and Harrison Ford and realized that they are starting to look like a bunch of old men I realized that it means that I am old and possible culturally irrevelant. It is tough becoming culturally irrevelant. It almost makes me want to sign up for the Junior High Youth group. And if you want to see a cute set of dimples and don't care how bad a movie is, rent "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" from Netflix.

January 21, 2011

Cute kid quotes

I try and capture the cute things my kids say in a notes application on my iPhone. Here are some of the things I have heard them say over the past month:

Elizabeth: The context is the last season of "The Amazing Race", of which we have watched three episodes so far. One team, a couple who are covered with tattoos and peircings readily admit that intelligence isn't their strong suit, but that they are strong and athletic. And there are times when they display a lack of knowledge. However, so far they are patient with each other in difficult circumstances and I admire them because they know themselves pretty well.
"I think that the tattooed couple were smart before they got all those tattoos."

Jessi: (wearing a shirt that is only slightly big on her) "I am glad that this shirt is so loose. Now I can flex my muscles without worrying about splitting the shirt. "

Kyle: He made a comment while we were playing in the icy snow in Flagstaff that was so funny and true. He was on a playground set and Eric and I were lobbing snowballs at his "fort". All during this time, the girls were busy transforming the bottom half of a snow man into a chair. When he got tired of the game he asked us to stop. "I have to go and taunt the girls now."

John: While we were listening to our huge collection of Christmas songs, Elvis' "Blue Christmas" started playing. After listening to the song for a few minutes, John asked "Is this a girl singing this song? It sure sounds like a girl!"

My apologies to anyone who has a tattoo or several and to any Elvis fans out there. Rest assured that I made sure that Elizabeth realizes that there is no connection to tattoes and intelligence and John knows that Elvis is a boy, not a girl. However, it is safe to say that there are no Elvis fans in this house.

January 16, 2011

Pictures from Flagstaff

Eric created a slideshow of pictures from our trip to Flagstaff that you can access here.

The first few pictures are of our room, then we switch to our snow play, followed by our trip on The Polar Express. One of the pictures show John laughing and me with a funny face. At that time, we were playing a game where he blew a kiss at me and I pretended that the kiss landed in my eye, blinding me. Elizabeth was determined not to smile in any of the pictures. I will have to say that the servers on the Polar Express really enjoyed themselves the whole time (or at least put on a darn good show). I told Eric that when we retire, I want to be a server on The Polar Express.


January 7, 2011

What's in a Name?

When traveling along Highway 40 to see my folks for Thanksgiving (over the mountains and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go), we saw a church called something like “Unified Penticostal Fellowship of Holiness.” That church seems to be working too hard to specifically define itself, isn’t it? We also had fun going through a section of Oklahoma where they called the river going through it the North Canadian River. I checked a map later and found that it doesn’t even originate in Canada! My guess is that someone directionally challenged named it :-). Our old church changed it's name from Vineyard Community Church to Trinity Community Church while we attended because it broke off from the fellowhip of Vineyard Churches.

We gave careful thought to each of our children’s names. With our first born, we started looking at the brothers of Joseph for a boy’s name. We wanted to skip Judah because it is more common, but the problem was that most of the other brothers had horrible blessings or horrible names. Friends and relatives alike were relieved that we had a girl because they all like her name, which means “Oath of God”. Jesus changed people’s names a lot. Simon became Peter (The Rock), Saul became Paul, and he promised to those who persevere in Revelation 2:17 that he will give them a new name written on a white stone. I think God wants to show in a very tangible way that He never leaves us the same when we invite Him into our lives. I like that and I can't wait to see what my new name will be.

A few months ago, our church, to which we recently became committed as members, announced that it was merging with another church in the area. It is a merger and not a corporate takeover because both churches changed their names. Our church which was known as “East Valley Bible Church” and their church, formerly known as “Praxis” became “Redemption Church” on January 1st. During the announcement, the leaders basically admitted that, other than God’s leading, there seems to be no earthly reason for these two rather large churches to combine into a mega church. Since we decided that we trusted the leadership enough to become members, I have to trust that they know what God's will for our church is. Besides, I really like the name. East Valley Bible Church is pretty long and usually referred to as evbc. However, “Redemption Church” will help me remember the purpose of Jesus Christ coming to the earth, dying on the cross and being resurrected. It is like a name and a mission statement all in one. I really like it even if I will have to work at remembering a new church name!

January 6, 2011

Happy Epiphany!

My sister-in-law introduced me many years ago to the idea of celebrating Epiphany. Her family celebrates it instead of (or is it "in addition to") Christmas. Epiphany is the date that the Church set as the date that the Wise Men brought their gifts to Jesus. It is celebrated on the twelfth day after Christmas, which is probably where the song "Twelve Days of Christmas" originated. So a few years ago, I decided to try and celebrate the holiday in a very low key way--have a cake on January 6th and give kids verses that Eric is given when he prays for the kids.

When Elizabeth was about two years old, God inspired us to pray and ask Him for verses for our kids for each year. Then, when they became adults or left for college, we could give them their life verses. I bought a scrapbook for each of the girls to make the verses really pretty. When the boys were born, we added scrapbooks for them and gave them verses. There is a gap of two years around Kyle's birth in which Eric was too busy to pray, mainly because at that time we were traveling at Christmas. It was one of the many reasons we decided to stay at home for Christmas. Initially, we would present them to the kids as the first Christmas present. However, when a pile of presents is waiting for you, a gift from Jesus that involves words is not that impressive. Eventually, it became the reason we started celebrating Epiphany, so that Jesus wouldn't have to compete ;-).

The really interesting thing is how these verses have sometimes been so timely. For instance, the Christmas before all the upheaval of Eric's layoff hit us, God gave Elizabeth, who was probably most affected by the move in terms of friends, Psalm 34:15 and He gave to Kyle the verses John 6:32-33, to remind us of His provision. Jessi's verse, Psalm 119:108 encouraged us to praise God through it all, and John's verse, Romans 3:22, reminded us that God's best provision for us was His righteousness, which we didn't deserve on our own merits.

It is amazing how faithful God has been in giving Eric verses for the kids and how faithfully Eric has been praying every year for his children. Good job, honey! I love you!

Does anyone else celebrate Epiphany?