Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Vacation

Our family decided to take a Christmas Vacation.
It's one of those new fangled "Stay-cations" so popular since the recession set in.
We stayed right at home, cuddled up and did what ever we wanted.
Daddy took off work.
Mommy took off from her diet.
Kiddos took off from getting dressed ;).
Good stuff.

Louisiana snowman- Plastic wrapped hay bales on the lakeside.

We did have a bit of a bump in the road with dueling throat infections but two doses of antibiotics put those to rest. But not before Mommy and Claire missed the Folks family Christmas at my in-laws house- bummer.

We watched the Nativity Story - which I highly recommend.
The Christmas Miracle of Johnanthan Toomey- Which is a winner on every level.

We also watched a zillion episodes of our favorite TV shows on Netflix, shopped with our gift cards, opened presents, ate steak Daddy grilled for us and way too much dessert.

I can also definitively say- Stratego is a great board game and table top Air Hockey is always a good investment.

First time that I can ever remember we did not go anywhere on Christmas day.

Hope you take the time to spend a lazy day or two with your loved ones.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Praying: Before & After

I like everyone in the US spent sometime this weekend discussing the events in at Sandy Hook Elementary this weekend.
We don't have broadcast TV or cable so I just kept up with the story online and my kids heard very little. I did take some time out to talk with them before school today about what they might hear and field any questions they might have.

When anything like this happens a sure bet is that crazy stories or ideas will immediately begin to fly around as though they were the pure truth and must be repeated. I know my kids will hear some of that and I wanted to arm them with healthy skepticism and let them know Mom would be happy to talk with them about anything they hear.

I personally am still numb about it all, because it hardly seems real.
Maybe I don't want it to be real.

My husband said he teared up when he heard the news. He wanted to see our kids.
I did not cry a single tear. I felt perfectly secure that my kids were safe at school. Denial? maybe.

My first feeling was anger.
I am definitely more of an anger person.
I totally understand the instinct to blame.
I understand the search that immediately begins after some tragedy to find the person or persons who could have prevented this.

I thought about that this weekend. I read and heard the angles.
"Gun Control is the problem"
"Evil is the problem not guns"
"Lack of God in our culture is our problem"
"Bad parenting"
"Inadequate mental health care"
"Inadequate school security"

I really did not think I had anything constructive to add to this discussion so I just prayed this morning.
Then and idea struck me so convicting I knew it had to be God.
What if I was the problem?
What if it was people like me?
People who see or knew the kid who never fit in.
The too quiet kid, the not easy to befriend kid, the mentally ill kid, the kid who did not get what he needed at home, etc...
The people who knew that kid or kids, who knew God was their only hope and who never prayed for them.
Maybe we are the ones who dropped the ball.

Even as I sit here now, I can picture two, no wait, four boys who would fit into one of those groups. Do I pray for them daily? No.
Do I work to befriend them or their families? One family I do but not the others.

Here is the blinding truth that God put on my heart:
Satan can over come gun control, time spent in Church, good parenting, medication, friends, or any other fix we try to use EXCEPT..... GOD HIMSELF.

Sometimes what an Adam Lanza needs is a miracle and only a miracle.
Sometimes what we who call ourselves "Christian" need to do is to pray before the tragedy not just after.
Ask God to put someone on your heart who needs a miracle, then pray every day for that person. The unreachable, the truly troubled, the one lost in the shuffle, etc....
Yes, act to show love and kindness but more importantly pray, pray, pray.

The only sure way of defeating Satan is the pleading of the Holy Spirit from the mouth of the child of God.

As we truly should be praying for the families After this tragedy also let us begin to be more faithful to pray Before such can occur.

James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Teach yourself

I am a substitute teacher.
You know, the person every child either dreads to see coming because of busy work or the person every child loves to see coming because of the challenge of doing as many wrong things as possible in one class.

I spent the last two weeks filling in for the same teacher.
This particular teacher taught 7th grade Life Science (I am a huge science nerd so I loved this), 6th grade Spanish (I learned some fun Spanish words) and 7th &8 grade Spanish.

7th & 8th grade Spanish is not a fun class to sub for if you don't speak or write Spanish.
They had to write paragraphs in Spanish about different topics. For all I knew they were copying the glossary from their book.

Some students spent most of their time crafting the illusion they were working, then never actually turning in a paper.
Hey, academics aren't for everyone but if you want to advance in just about anything in life you have to learn how to teach yourself.

I think the best students learn how to teach themselves.

It's like eating. You can wait for mom to spoon feed you but things go much faster and you get what you want if you lean how to do it yourself.

How do you teach yourself?

1. Read
If you want to learn more about a subject read about it. Often and much. Watching videos is another great way to take knowledge in.

2. Ask questions.
You have to be brave do this one. You have to want to learn so deeply that it overcomes your fear of "the stupid question" and drives you to root out knowledge and understanding. You have to make it okay in your mind to not know or to be ignorant. My Dad was big on repeatedly telling me that being ignorant was not a bad thing, it was just a state of not knowing. Jump in and get some "knowing",

3. Experiment
You have to try out what you are learning. Act out what you learn- on a test, in writing, behavior, etc...

4. Repeat
Again, and Again until.... you leave the Earth.