My photo
wife. mom. adjunct professor. we homeschool. i'm a little bit OCD. i love math. bright colors and geometric designs make me drool. we live with a medical rarity, and Jesus saved his life. through that, Jesus is changing us. The american dream and status quo is overrated...and sometimes just plain wrong. our lives, our family, our careers, our faith are all now filtered through a new lens-- thank you Jesus. welcome to our crazy. feel free to take some of it with you, we have plenty to go around.
It's not the load that breaks you down; it's the way you carry it.
-- Lena Horne

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.-- Jesus Christ

Friday, September 7, 2012

bulging bookshelves (in my) brain

I love to read.

love. love. LOVE to read.

so when I realized I hadn't posted anything in oh...a MONTHish, I thought,  hmmm...what's been kickin my rear the most recently?  Books.  These books I've been reading are just real butt-kickers.  So, if you enjoy a good chastising, or if you think nothing could possibly need changing in you, or if you know there's a lot that needs to change, or...if you just don't even know what in the world to read at all but you have no aversion to non-fiction, here are some dandies.  I didn't say you'd want to kiss them because they make you feel fantastic about yourself...they are honest, hard, and will pierce at your (and by your I mean my) sinful black heart...or your (and by your I mean my) kind of stagnant brain.

in fact, you might hate them love them.  hove them. late them.  i mean, your relationship with them will be bittersweet in a fantastic way, and you might want to punch the author (s) right in the liver (thank you jen hatmaker for that mental picture in a previous blog post (of hers)...  don't read jen's blog?  you should....she's so honest you will want to weep at your hideous soul when you read some of her posts...but she's also DANG hilarious.  so, here- this is the most recent, and you will LAUGH AND LAUGH:  I don't know her personally but it's okay for me to act like I do, bc I like to think if I lived in austin, we'd be bffs. I know we would.  That or she'd have to get a restraining order to keep me away from her awesomeness.)

Okay. So in no particular order, here ya go:

Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We TolerateRespectable Sins by Jerry Bridges

so...that's straight to one that will kick you in the teeth.  I'm not quite finished with it yet, but it is fantastic.  FANTASTIC.  It covers things from worry and anxiety to anger (with people, at people, at God, etc) to whatever.  Sins that possibly you have thought of before, but other "kosher in today's world" behaviors that for the believer are actually just NOT holy.  Too much to cover here, but for example...anxiety, discontentment, frustration, unthankfulness...  short (and mega vague) story on anxiety for me-- I was anxious about a vaccine for Ridge--  something that "needed" to be done (according to the secular and believing world alike).  I didn't have a peace about it it, but I'm weird, so I figured it was just me being a weirdo (in the interest of full disclosure, we do NOT fully vaccinate, and we DO use a spaced out schedule for the vaccines we give. This questioning began when Ridge was ill and had some TERRIBLE issues after some vaccinations...I'm not really interested in discussing anyone's vaccine opinions, though.  Educate yourself, decide what's best based on that education, and do it for your family.)  ANYWAY, I wrestled with this decision for a week or two, before deciding, well, everyone (not everyone.  but most everyone) thinks you have to do this, so we're going to do this.  So...I embark.  On the way to the health department, I completely miss my turn (I KNOW how to get there. I LIVE near there.)  I turn around, get there early, and seriously have to go to the bathroom SO badly I have to leave (they weren't open yet, and i wasn't going to use that bathroom anyway. I have an aversion to public restrooms in general.  Anyway, seriously? I JUST left my house and I can't even make it 5 till they open, 5 mins to get R his vax, and go back home?  nope.  this NEVER HAPPENS TO ME.  EVER.).  I go back home.  By the time I am BACK at the health department, literally like 5 minutes later, it is crowded. I have to wait.  Which is fine, but that's why I got there early.  So we wait and wait and wait, and finally it is our turn and then....there are some glitches.  Some questions about records, some questions about his medical history, blah blah blah (routine stuff).  The whole while, the kids are restless, I am getting more and more irritated and anxious, and nothing is happening.  We are just waiting.  Doctors offices, the health dept, the hospital, all of these places gross me out.  Germs everywhere, I am certain.  Finally, we are alone in our little room, the nurse has gone to find out some info, and Ridge says, "We are NEVER coming back here again!"  I'm sure he just came up with THAT on his own.  I say, "you are right. never ever ever."  Then, I feel my frustration building up in me, and I feel that anxiety, that worry, that concern, that "things aren't going the way i thought they would" and THEN by divine intervention i realize, I am not resting. I am being restless and discontent.  So I correct my speech with my kiddos and say, "Boys. I have prayed for weeks about this, that the Lord would help us to be wise in this decision. That his sovereignty would be apparent.  That we would acknowledge that He is in control.'  Of course, they didn't know what that meant.  But I did.  And when the nurse came back and said she couldn't give us that vaccine, I started crying.  Not because we couldn't get it, but because the Lord had put so many roadblocks in our way that very day. I missed my turn.  I almost had an accident, and I don't mean with my vehicle, and then, after being asked questions I'm NEVER asked about Ridge anymore, even when we have gotten vaccinations, even when he was doing BADLY, I am denied.  I know everyone in the medical community probably thinks I'm a quack, but I don't care.  The Lord was clearly sovereign in our day, and I was able to know that that decision was NOT correct for us on that day.  So even though I wasted an hour of my morning, I was taught a lesson that even in "routine" things, things that we might normally not even bat an eyelash about, we are to trust in his sovereignty and provision. My worrying and anxiety about everything, my trying to make it all work, that was sin. It wasn't resting in the fact that he will provide EVERYTHING we need, and that he has the power to intervene in our lives.  I talked way too long here on this one thing. Read the book. It will definitely change the way you see yourself at least in some regards. 

Next up (I will keep it short from here on out):
Nevertheless, I LiveNevertheless I Live, by Mona Adkisson

I grew up in church with Mona. Her oldest son is about the same age as me, and her second son was my sister's age. Her third son was younger than both my sister and I.  This is a book of pages that tell the story of a tragedy I remember well, even though I was young in both instances.   Mona's second son died suddenly at age 3, and a few years later, after she'd had her third son, he died at age 5.  She and her family have walked through a  dark valley...twice.  The Lord has sustained them.  I could not read this book without bawling my eyes out- sometimes because I remembered the emotions....I was only 7 or so when her first son died, but it was on a Wednesday night at church,  and I remember her tears and her crying out to God.  I was not sitting far away from where she cried and prayed, and while I do not have a lot of memories from that age, I vividly remember a lot about that night.  In this book, Mona is transparent-- about her grief, depression that followed, and the grace of the Lord Jesus to carry her family through such such tragedy.  Anyone should read this book, but I definitely recommend it if you have lost a loved one.   I read the book in about a day...and make sure you have tissues nearby. I have linked to amazon, but it is also available from Tate Publishing. 

The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical EducationThe Core, by Leigh Bortins

I am not finished with this one yet.  BUT, I think ANY parent, grandparent, or educator should read this.  Whether you educate in the public school system or in a private school or at home.  This book is fantastic, and it really has opened my eyes to some of the pitfalls in our current methods of educating.  It also made me more aware of the parental responsibility to educate, EVEN IF YOU ARE A WORKING PARENT.  We can NOT leave the education "just" to the teachers.  I WAS a public school teacher, and I did my best, but I was one, and they were 20-30, and you can NOT reach them all.  Parents are not always helpful, and oftentimes at the secondary level, because parents do not know/remember the material, they are not helpful at ALL.  Sometimes parents will hire tutors, which is great, but oftentimes, the student is left to struggle alone because he/she is 17 and is going to have to figure it out at some point...or they are to come in early or stay late, and sometimes it just isn't enough.  That's not even really what this book touches on, I'm just addressing for a moment as  a former public school teacher, the need for parental involvement-- not just support, but INVOLVEMENT in their education. Confession:  before we decided to homeschool, I honestly didn't think about THIS as a parent.  I knew I'd check my kiddos' homework and talk to them about their day, but I wasn't thinking, "I need to be involved in their education. They are learning about the pyramids, so maybe I should learn about them, too, so that we can talk about it at home and I can enhance their learning so they can retain it."  Probably everyone else out there thinks that way about their kids, but I didn't, so I'm going to confess it.  But I think it is OUR JOB TO DO THIS KIND OF STUFF WITH OUR KIDS.  It is no one else's responsibility to help them retain their knowledge.  What they get in a classroom is NOT enough for them to retain it (I promise. If it was enough, I'd remember everything I'm teaching my eldest child currently...but instead, I'm learning it all as if for the first time!), even though they probably have the most rockstar teacher in the entire universe (I am being serious.  I have nothing but love for teachers.  I was one, and i am one, so I'm not pushing hate here.)  But seven hours in a classroom (or several) with subjects spread out, and distractions abundant, with 20-30 students per teacher...It just isn't enough; I know because I was that teacher.  And I loved my job. But occasionally I'd have a student whose parent DID understand the math we were doing, and it was fantastic to hear that student come in and say that their dad sat down with them and showed them the lesson this way or whatever.  YES! That is what we need.  Take an interest in what your kiddo is learning, not just because they don't understand it and need your help, but because you are their parent and their education falls under your authority, not the public school system's!  Again, this book covers way more specific things than this, but it is written truly in the spirit of FAMILY educating their children, regardless of WHERE the child goes to school (although, let it be disclaimered that Bortins is a homeschool mama...which is great with me!  But I've read about half of this and I see it as a pivotal book for ANY educator). 

Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the TrenchesLoving the Little Years, Rachel Jankovic

This is a FAST read. I'm about 70% finished and just started the other day.  I thought it would be funny, but at first it wasn't.  THEN, it was.  Sometimes, my kids make Jankovic out to be a liar, like when she says in trying times to look at the clock, and do what you need to get done, and in 20 minutes, that crazy time will all be blown over.  This isn't the my house.  Eventually it has blown over, but maybe 40 minutes. or 200 minutes.  Whatever. Anyway, there are parts of this book that are laugh out loud funny....and if you are a mama to young children, you need to read this.  Oh, you need to read it-- for the heart warming practical advice and also for the laughs.

and lastly,

Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and MotherFeminine Appeal, Carolyn Mahaney

I saved the doozy for last.  This is a really fast read, I'm almost finished with it and I just started it Monday or Tuesday (it's 9 chapters)... But it will kick your behind, ladies.  And some of you probably will hate it because you probably completely disagree with Mahaney (but I don't know who reads this blog.  So maybe I'm wrong.  I completely agree with Mahaney but I also want to punch her in the liver through most of this book.)  This book talks you through Titus 2, and principles applied from that passage such as loving your husband and your children (whaaaat? :) ), self control, purity, working at home,  (and I haven't read this far yet)- kindness, submission (don't freak out), margaret's story.  I can't speak on those last three because I haven't read those parts of the book.  But I can tell you this-- 1) I didn't know that when the Bible references a wife's love for her husband, the greek used is phileo, which is a more personal type of love, as in close friends/supporters.  And we all know that's what our husbands need is a close friend and supporter, and for many women (I'll raise my hand) that isn't always what comes easiest for us-- but our husband is called to agape love us-- and agape is the type of love Christ had for us, a self-sacrificing type of love...which is something wives usually have less issue with-- we can do laundry or dishes for our husband even if we are upset or annoyed with them.  We can't/don't always easily cheer them on in something that we don't really have an interest in.  Anyway, I just found this interesting (not that we are not obligated to love our husband sacrificially, but the direct statements in scripture regarding a wife loving her husband uses the term "phileo"....Also, same is true of our love for our children! We are to support and encourage them, with a phileo love. Here is my favorite passage from the book so far:
(on the kind of love we are to have for our littles): "What is the ultimate purpose of a phileo kind of love? It is nothing less than the salvation of our children's souls. This is the chief end of mothering. Our goal is not that our children be happy, fulfilled, and successful. Granted, we may desire these things for them, but our highest objective should be that our children would repent from their sins, put their trust in Jesus Christ, and reflect the gospel to the world around them."-- Carolyn Mahaney, Feminine Appeal

Anyway, as you continue to read, Mahaney may irk you. She isn't trying to, but your pride and sin might just get in the way and you might start to kind of despise her.  No, you probably won't, but I might.  I did. I do.  But it's not her, it's me. 

These books are a good kind of burn.  The kind that settles in your soul and gives you a hunger to know more of God.  So...I say read one today!  What books are you reading currently? Feel free to share in the comments, please!!!