One Plus One Equals Three

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“There are three kinds of people in this world. Those who are good at math and those who aren’t.”

My friend once posted that quote on Facebook, and it made me laugh because I’m a journalist married to a mechanical engineer. Math certainly isn’t my favorite subject – but it sure gets discussed plenty in this homeschool family.

And while I chuckle because that quote just doesn’t add up, it reminds me of another quote that doesn’t seem to add up either.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 – “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

This story continues over at The End in Mind.

 

Let It Shine

Holding small, battery-powered tea candles in their chubby little hands, my two daughters sang along to “This Little Light of Mine” as we sat in the dark. They were ages 3 and 6, and “light” was the big topic of the week in our homeschool.

After the song, I read aloud Matthew 5:16, in which Jesus says: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

With the lights back on and candles put away, our Kindergarten-level discussion quickly led to the question: “What are good works, Mommy?” I don’t recall exactly how I answered, but a few days later, God made the answer clear. Our family was driving about a mile from home when we came upon a car with a flat tire. My husband pulled over to help, and as soon as he left the van, our youngest daughter started the seemingly endless interrogation that characterizes many 3-year-olds.

“What are we doing? Why are we here? Why are we stopped? Who is that? What is Daddy doing? Do we know that lady?”

Continue reading this post over at The End in Mind.

Please Do Disturb Us

Having a flexible schedule is a benefit that ranks high among the reasons moms love homeschooling. It’s the joy of cancelling the day’s math lessons so that you can spend the first warm spring day at the park. It’s the freedom to postpone your first grader’s reading lessons until the quiet hour when your toddler takes her afternoon nap. It’s the empowerment to call off handwriting lessons for two whole months while your third grader’s broken right arm heals in a cast.

Continue reading Please Do Disturb Us over here at The End in Mind.

A Hard Road Paved with Grace

At a crossroads. That’s where our homeschool journey began. By God’s grace, we felt peace that the public school path was not an option for our soon-to-be Kindergartner. But still two paths remained: private school and homeschool.

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The private school option seemed like the most obvious route, especially since our oldest daughter was already attending preschool at the local private Christian school and enjoying it.

Click here to continue reading “A Hard Road Paved with Grace” over at The End in Mind.

The Writing on the Wall

When I was a small child, I loved to play quietly, all alone in my bedroom. Sometimes I’d play there contentedly for hours. My mother used to say that’s when she would worry about me most. Evidently, sometimes I was “up to no good” all alone in that pink room at the end of the hall.

On one such occasion, I was up to no good with my crayons, happily drawing pictures and letters on my bedroom wall. I thought I was decorating it beautifully. But when Mama found me, she spoke in quite an irritated tone, with her hands perched squarely on her hips and her jaw set back in an under-bite. “What do you think you are doing? Why are you writing on the wall?”

Continue reading this story at The End in Mind…

The Writing on the Wall

This Day is Golden

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The warm October sun shines vibrantly through our maple tree’s leafy red flags, cautioning me that winter is just a few miles ahead. The season is changing quickly, but I want to play traffic cop. I want to make it park right here next to this red octagon at the end of the street. Stop. Just s-t-o-p. Stop the clock already.

But so many of the other maples are waving their brilliant, glowing yellow flags at me as I drive by. “Slow down!” They cry. “Slow down, pull over, look up and enjoy this beautiful day.”

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The earth keeps spinning, and I suppose time is still going as fast as it always has, from one season to the next.

So why do I feel dizzy? Why do I feel like we are spinning and speeding from one week to the next in a racing blur of activity? In my dizziness, it seems I forget where we are going and why.

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I study my young dancers. These dancers, they spin and twirl and they don’t get dizzy because they fix their eyes on something that isn’t moving. A focal point.

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Yes, Hebrews 12:2. I need to stop spinning in distraction and fix my eyes on Jesus. He’s the steady, immovable One, and His love for me never changes. Colossians 3 says Jesus is seated above at the right hand of God, and that’s where I need to set my heart and mind — on things above.

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Looking up I see that’s where every good and perfect gift comes from. The Father of Lights, He sends these gifts down to us, and unlike the golden leaves on the maple trees, He never changes and He never leaves us.

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So yeah, dancers don’t get dizzy because they know where to focus. And dancers know where they are going because they count. They count the time in each measure of music so they can move with the music. Not way out ahead of it. Not far behind it. With it. To stay with it, they must count.

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So when did I stop counting each day’s gifts? Because counting the gifts from above, the joys, the ways God loves me, that’s what helps me keep in step with Him. That’s what helps me remember where I am going and why. That’s what slows me down.

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Ann Voskamp’s wise words taught me the only way to slow down time.

“Life is not an emergency.

And this, this is the only way to slow down time:

When I fully enter into the current moment with the weight of all my attention, I slow the torrent with the weight of me all here.

Weigh down this moment in time with attention full, and the whole of time’s river slows, slows, slows.

In this space of time and sphere, I am attentive. I am aware. I am accepting the whole of the moment, weighing it down with me all here. This giving thanks for one thousand things, it’s that too, an invitation to slow time down with weight of full attention.” -Ann Voskamp

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Lord, the leaves glow a golden yellow and this day is beautifully golden! Thank You for making this day. Thank You for reminding me that this day is frail and fleeting. Help me slow down. Help me give this day the weight of my full attention and help me love those around me with my full attention.

Thank You for the vibrant fall colors that reflect Your glory. Thank You for these memorable moments with my lively little girls playing in the leaves, dancing in the autumn sunshine and strolling off to their piano lessons. Thank You for Your steadfast love and great faithfulness. Amen.

 

 “This day we’re given is golden; let us show love. This day is ours for one moment; let us sow love. This day is frail – it will pass by. So before it’s too late to recapture the time, let us share love, let us share God, before this day is gone.”  — from Point of Grace’s song “This Day”

 

Robin Says, ‘Cheer-Up Y’all!’

Today is the first day of spring, and much to our delight the girls and I saw our first robin in the maple tree out front! The girls saw him first and ran into the house to tell me. I grabbed my camera and followed them to the driveway. At first the robin was a bit shy, almost just a silhouette hiding in the shadows.

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But then he must have realized the honors and title we were bestowing upon him as First Robin 2014. He moved to a closer branch in the sunlight and started to chirp, “Cheer-up Y’all!”

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And then he hopped to an even closer branch, turned his body, and posed for a perfect profile shot. What a dear!

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A robin that perches long enough for me to grab my camera and document the monumental occasion — that’s a winning robin, indeed. I don’t ask much. So this year’s First Robin really set the bar (branch?) high for next year’s contest.

To be clear, we had caught a brief glimpse of a robin high up in a tree in the next-door neighbor’s yard a few days ago. But of course that didn’t count as an official sighting in our tradition. To be official, the First Robin must be in our own yard. We’re rule-followers, you know, and every contest must have its official rules. Once the First Robin appears, we commence the planning of the Annual First Robin Tea Party.

The robin sighting this evening topped off quite a lovely day, part of which was spent at the Arboretum, exploring the tapped maple trees there and soaking up the sunshine ourselves. But that’s a story for another day.

In the meantime, it’s officially spring! And the First Robin 2014 says to tell you, “Cheer-up, y’all!”

Maple Miracles, Part 2

Mr. Masters said the sap was running today! So we just had to go check out the sugar maple trees and see it firsthand, even if it was late in the evening.

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It’s only been a week and a half, but so much snow has melted since our first maple sugaring adventure. The woods feel like a different place already.

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Tonight we moved much faster from tree to tree, and Michael didn’t even wear his snow boots.

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Some of the buckets had no sap, but some had a bit of sap. Maybe Mr. Masters had already emptied and collected some of the sap earlier today.

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As we left, the setting sun glowed across the frozen lake. And we were glowing a bit, too. Tomorrow’s forecast includes 3 to 6 inches of fresh snow. A sugar snow!

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“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” -Romans 1:20

Maple Miracles

It’s March, and even without their colorful leaves, the maples still look majestic.

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Mr. Masters is tapping the sugar maples this morning, and he invites us to grab a bucket and come along to help with this first step in the maple sugaring process.

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It’s my first time on snowshoes, and the snow in the woods is still so deep I sink down knee-deep. I feel like Big Foot. Hiking through the woods is going to be harder than we imagined.

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We reach the first tree, and Mr. Masters drills the hole and then taps it, connecting the hose to a 5-gallon bucket.

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The sap isn’t running yet.

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But with tomorrow’s high of 41 degrees, we are all hopeful it will be running soon.

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The time to tap more trees is now, and tapping more trees means Mr. Masters needs help drilling and tapping and fetching buckets.

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It’s a beautiful, warm day, and the maple miracles are coming soon.

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So on and on we march through the deep, deep snow — waiting with great hope for all the goodness that is to come.

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“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

-Psalm 27:13-14

Steadfast Love on Valentine’s Day

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I’m still working on the next post in the steadfast love series. The next passage we’ll study is another one from Genesis — featuring God’s steadfast love for Joseph.

But in the meantime, Valentine’s Day is upon us — and if ever there was a time when the world tried to paint a colorful picture of what love is — it’s now. Love is all sparkly diamonds and red roses and pink candy hearts, the world says.

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But sometimes these things — or the lack of them — leave our hearts feeling unfulfilled, disappointed or deflated on Valentine’s Day. The ladies over at the Girltalk Blog have these wonderfully encouraging words about redirecting our hopes on Valentine’s Day. Be sure to read it!

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Also, I just had to pass along this great prayer about feasting on the steadfast love of Jesus. The prayer, written by Scott Smith over at the Gospel Coalition, references Psalm 143:8, which says, “Let me hear in the morning of Your steadfast love, for in You I trust.”

Click here to link to the prayer.

Today I am praying God reminds you of His unfailing, never-ceasing, steadfast love for you, a love that endures forever.

Happy Valentine’s Day!