Smile for the Joy of Others

Smile for the Joy of Others

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday

That #23 is my man!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Monday, March 27, 2017

Rambling Reveiw from a Reader...Teaching from Rest

I read this book in 3 days with a highlighter in hand. As a homeschooling mother, this book resonated with me on multiple levels. But I think moms, homeschooling or not can resonate with Sarah's perspectives of mothering. We, moms, struggle with balancing our children's education and life whether we homeschool or not. She understands and tries to help parents see that our children are images of God with souls and hearts to be ...nurtured even through education. They are not images of a curriculum nor images of a grade level nor images of test scores.

She also encourages mothers to trust God with the final result of who our children become or how they yield to the education they've been given. We plant the seed, we cultivate the seed, we encourage growth through love, prayer and diligence but we do not nor can we force it into the final fruit it bears. What a release of burdens to know that by trusting God through obedience of His will, He holds their future results...and that is Teaching from Rest.

I highly recommend this book to homeschooling mothers or anyone who may be considering it. But it's also a great encouraging book for any mom.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rambling Review from a Reader...The Prophet

The cover of this book alone exhibits the emotions I felt when reading it.

God has truly blessed Francine Rivers with the gift of putting emotions into a written story.  Biblical fiction, when written rightly with the right intentions, helps make the stories of the Bible come to life.  This isn't to take away from what God reveals to us when we seek Him in His Word but I believe God gifted some with the ability to write stories that help the reader relate to the humanity of those God used.  And this is exactly what Francine did with this story of Amos.

Amos was a shepherd by trade.  He was not educated by the scribes and priests of his time though he was an intelligent man. This story of Amos reveals the great lengths a good shepherd goes through to protect his flock as it parallels the lengths Christ as the Good Shepherd went through for His flock of sheep.   At one point in the story Amos must intentionally injure one of his little lambs in order to protect the flock because it kept wandering putting the whole flock at risk.

"It's this or death, little one." Amos took a stone from his pouch, weighing it in his hand.  Too heavy and it would kill the lamb; too light and it would not serve to discipline him...   Tears burning, Amos went to the wounded lamb and knelt, 'I am here, little one.  I would rather wound you myself than see you come to greater harm.'....'You belong with the flock, not out here on your own where death will find you.'  He ran his hand gently over the lamb's head. 'You will learn to stay close to me where you're safe.'...Amos sat on a flat rock that gave him a full view of the pasture. Lifting the lamb from his shoulders, he held it close.  'You will learn to trust me and not think you can find better forage on your own.  I will lead you to green pastures and still waters.' He took a few grains of wheat from the scrip he wore at his waist and shared his food with the lamb. 'Sometimes I must wound in order to protect.' He smiled as the lamb ate from his hand.  'You will get used to my voice and come when I call.'  He rubbed the notch in the lamb's ear. 'You bear my mark, little one.  You are mine.  Let me take care of you.'

The story of Amos being a shepherd isn't detailed in the Bible but the author of this book gives a descriptive point of view of what it meant to be a good shepherd of Amos' time so that we can understand how Christ came to be the Good Shepherd and also how Amos came to see God's people as God's flock. 

As Amos came to see the sinful pride God's sheep lived day to day, God softened Amos' heart so that Amos grew to love God's sheep as he had loved his own.  In the story, you experience Amos' heartache as he sees the people reject his warning to repent.  Amos' knew what would come if they didn't repent.  God had revealed to him the destruction of judgment He would pour out on Israel if they didn't repent and Amos' heart broke for the people.

"Amos cried, weary, heartsick.  A year ago, he wouldn't have cared about what happened to these people.  And then he had prayed and God answered.  Now he cares so much that his heart broke every time he thought of Jerusalem, every time he entered the gates of Bethel, every time he looked into the faces of the people who could not stand before the judgment of a righteous God, least of all he.  God was holding the nations accountable for what they'd done against His people, but the Lord would also hold His people accountable for the way they live before nations."

I cried, throughout the whole book.  What conviction to know that I, too, am an Israelite in need of repentance yet I'm also called to be an Amos among God's sheep.  I am to love in truth no matter the cost.

The Bible doesn't tell of Amos' death but history tells of a violent death at the hands of Jeroboam II.  The story ends with Amos' death and in his death, The Good Shepherd takes him home. 
When reading Biblical fiction stories, the reader needs to understand that the story is built around Biblical facts with a mix of cultural history of the time. Not all details and descriptions are Biblical fact though the event is...Amos was a prophet who was sent by God to Israel to warn of God's judgment that was to come if they didn't repent of their sins. The story around Amos' daily life is fictional based on the culture of the time.

I will be using this book as a read aloud with my sons.  It presents wonderful discussion opportunities that are relevant to our lives of today.  There are elements of mild gore from the physical persecution Amos suffered at the hands of the high priest he prophesied to. The priest of the time saw Amos' prophecy as blasphemy against them...revealing of the just how corrupt God's people had become. 
5 Stars.  I consider this a must read as a book to help the Bible come to life and further reveal Christ's love for us.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Perspectives to Ponder

Perspectives to think about:

In today's modern theology of education, the word "rigor" or "rigorous" has become a popular description of the education goal at hand.

"After Common Core, States Set Rigorous Standards"

"Remember the three Rs – reading, writing and ’rithmetic? Get ready to add a fourth: rigor. It’s the buzzword in education"

" “include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills” – the concept of rigor will be a mainstay of the education agenda for the foreseeable future."

"Ever since, the idea that with the right support all students can master rigorous content has dominated public policy discussions and put a new spotlight on the idea of rigor."

The word "rigor" is Latin, meaning: "numbness, stiffness, hardness, firmness, roughness, rudeness. Rigor mortis derives from this meaning which is "the stiffness of death".

I read the above statement from a homeschool book (Teaching from Rest) that encourages a peaceful education experience. Obviously, applying a rigorous aspect to a homeschool education wouldn't likely contribute to a more peaceful experience, at least not in our home.

The author goes on to use the word "diligence". This word comes from the Latin word "diligere" which means to "single out, value highly, esteem, prize, love; aspire to, take delight in, appreciate."

Now, applying those 2 theories into education whether it be at a traditional school or homeschooling, to the students can result into 2 very different types of students. The word "student" also comes from Latin, "studium" meaning "zeal, affection, eagerness." Based on the above meanings, do we want our children to be "rigorous students" or "diligent students"?

As homeschooling parents, Jeremy and I must choose which theory to apply to our boys as we create an education lifestyle. Rearing "diligent students" is more appealing and pleasing than rigorous. Neither are easy but the consequences of both make for very different perspectives of life. My goal in rearing "diligent" students, is that our boys will find that learning, however that's defined by them, will be enjoyable as they grow into being who God has purposed them to be.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Baseball Season Begins

Tournament baseball...I have a love/hate relationship with it.

I love that CB gets to play. I love to watch him improve and play a sport he loves. I love the parents on his team. I love that his coaches are truly there to coach these kids into better players, not to make a name for themselves or for their own kid. I love his fellow teammates. These fellow sportsmen exhibit the same class, sportsmanship and gratitude of their parents...they make their parents proud. And ...I certainly love the lessons CB is learning in both the failures and successes.

I love seeing friends from former teams or friends on other teams who also make this game an enjoyment. There are some parents who are doing it right...keep on my help keep the sport family friendly.

What I hate is that many parents allow this sport to bring out the worst in them. Some coaches can't seem to keep a realistic perspective of why the game is played and who is playing the game. Some players think they are the next MLB MVP as much as their parents do and it's exhibited in their cocky/hot-headed attitudes (not to be confused with confidence). Although, this weekend's tournament didn't present any of the negative behaviors I just mentioned, the season is young.
And I hate just as much when the ladies' bathrooms run out of toilet paper and baking in the sun when mother nature turns the thermostat to "southern heat/hell degrees"

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

A Tale of Which end is the Tail...

Another tale of...

A puppy whose hair was do flowing
He really had know way of knowing
Which end was his head...
Once stopped me and said,
"Please, sir, am I coming or going?"

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Rambling Review from a Reader...Secret Daughter

Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

My sister knows my love for reading.  She calls me from Georgia when she's shopping at her local thrift stores and allows me to shop for books.  This is one of the books that came from my over-the-phone shopping in GA.

I consider this book to be an average read with an exceptional story. The writing doesn't mirror the storyline which keeps me from giving it 5 stars.

The story takes place between 2 families, one in America and one in India with 3 of the 4 main characters being Indian. Somer and Krishnan are an inter-culture couple who met in med school in America. Somer is American and Kris is Indian. Somer's first visit to Kris' home country, India, was to adopt their daughter, Asha. The story unfolds with the lives of Asha's biological and adoptive families and how being oceans apart isn't the only literal difference. The chapters are vacillating tales from each family.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Indian culture entwined in the story. One of the reasons I enjoy reading as much as I do is because a good story can take me to places I would otherwise never be able to visit. This book took to me to India where I was able to vicariously experience both cultures of India...the poverty stricken culture as well as the wealthy culture. Living in America, I hear about other cultures such as India but books like this give a better understanding when it's tied to characters the reader is able to connect with. This book also taught me the unfortunate acceptance of infanticide and sex-selection abortions within the Indian culture. Due to poverty, girls are not wanted as children. Dowries and the cost of living are deemed a burden for families with girls. As a result, there are generational shortages of girls in the population.  The daughters who do not become a victim to infanticide or sex-selection abortion become "secret daughters" in the adoption system.  Most mothers simply leave their daughters at the doorsteps of the orphanages with no more info than the child's name, and even then, a name for her daughter is rare. India is not friendly to international adoptions so many of the girls grow up without a family and age out of the system around sixteen. Boys are desired because they can help earn money for the family and dowries paid to the family are considered an income for the future. Education for most of the impoverished families is minimal at best and doesn't particularly serve to improve one's future. The reader experiences all these circumstances through the book's characters.

There are a few mild curse words but it's not a common theme throughout. There are no sexual scenes nor innuendos. Issues that some may find sensitive within the story include: pregnancy loss, infertility, infanticide, abortion, adoption, poverty, religious gods, inter-cultural marriage, mild spousal abuse and women as inferior citizens.

I give the book 3 stars because the writing doesn't necessarily beckon you to read it but the storyline is one that any reader can be transported to another place in this world experiencing the culture. If you read for the mere aspect of learning, this is a great book and deserves 5 stars for this merit alone. But, as I mentioned, the writing and choppy chapters doesn't help the best cause of being a great book.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Homeschool Happenings

Brother B: "Do we have detention in our homeschool?"

Me: "yes. It's called 'go to your room'!"

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Picky Pooches

Apparently, they didn't appreciate the carrots I added to their food...