Sunday, February 28, 2010

Youth Ministry - A Controversial Topic

I had no intention of blogging tonight, but this is what happens sometimes after reading other blogs.

The headline on the blog Colleidoscope caught my eye: Youth Ministries: Wasted Opportunities. The article basically quoted the following two articles:


I am going to go on the record as saying that I am absolutely, 100 percent in agreement with both of these articles. I have made reference to this opinion of mine in a past post.

The second article in particular makes some very strong statements. It calls Youth Ministry a "new invention in the history of the church" and a "50 year failed experiment".

One quote also particularly draws my attention:

"This age segregation allows for the real possibility that children and adults can be completely "socialized" by the greater culture in which they live instead of through parental discipleship and be void of any firm foundational understanding of truth of the world around them."

My first homeschool conference was when I began to form this very strong opinion. Since then I have come to a full-throttle-absolute-unwavering belief: Parents (with the guidance, of course, of the pastor and the preached word of God) need to disciple their children. Not other youths. Not other youth leaders. I am not criticizing youth leaders. I do believe (in general) that most have just followed in the footsteps of their predecessors and led youth in such a way that they were led. By-in-large, I do not believe that it has worked.

I believe that youth need to have fun. I believe that youth need to laugh until their sides hurt. But I do not believe that any of this needs to be done at YOUTH ONLY activities. They can be done with PARENTS ONLY. And they can be done with PARENTS, joined by other youth and/or church activities. They do not need to be segregated continually.

Thank God for youth leaders who have truly dedicated their lives - with the most honourable of intentions - to the youth. But it's really time for the parents to step up to the plate, involve themselves in their youth's lives, teach them the foundations of truth, build a strong relationship with them, and become their child's role model.

Because, as most homeschooling parents say (about teaching): That's really the job that God gave ME, the parent.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bits & Pieces

Seth was playing in his room when he called to me excitedly.

"Mom, come and see my Cowboy Pooh!"

Apparently the binoculars you see under the stool are Pooh's "tail lights". The rest......I really don't know. Although Seth does, I'm sure.

We had been out and about later and Seth had been a toad, pretty much disobeying me everywhere we went. I informed him that he would be going to bed when we got back home, much to his dismay. He hates going to bed. When we arrived home, I had something on my mind and, in all honesty, there was a good chance that I would have forgotten what I had promised.

My son hadn't.

"Am I still going to bed, mom?" He apparently has yet to figure out that there are times when it is to his advantage to stay quiet. I told him that he was, amid his protests. So, he went straight to his room and hopped into bed. When I went to check to make sure he had obeyed me (for a change), this is what I found:

He consoled himself by making a bed in his castle.


I recently changed math programs for both of my kids. Hannah had been struggling a little more with math this year, so when I went to the homeschool conference, I attended a session on Math-U-See. I had already pretty much made up my mind to use this curriculum because it comes with rave reviews from so many of my homeschooling friends.

On the advice of the Math-U-See representative, I stopped Hannah's old math curriculum immediately and began the new curriculum this week. Math-U-See is a different approach and requires some "unlearning" of the typical math approach. I was told I could wait with Seth until next year to start his because he is just at the beginning stages of math anyway. However, I was finding it very difficult to do this with him because once he saw the manipulatives that are used in Math-U-See, he wanted to "do his math" that way, too. So, I decided to start Seth on his Grade One curriculum and see how it went. I could always stop it if it proved too much for him.

It is a BRILLIANT course. Especially for boys. Especially for boys who want to "make chairs and tables" when they grow up.

As you can see in the picture below, Seth had a blast. The best thing about it? Instead of finding different rewards daily for his accomplishments, he is totally satisfied with being rewarded by being able to build his own house AFTER he is done his work.

I think it is a police station. Or fire hall. Or something. Whatever it was, it had a huge deck out front......

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lion King

It was early morning. Mom and dad were still asleep. Suddenly, from out of nowhere a lion cub pounced on them. The cub found his way in between mom and dad and snuggled up to mom.

"Meow," the cub said.

Mom ignored him. The little lion continued his cries.

"Meow, meow....."

Mom finally found the energy to scratch the cub's back. The lion purred in contentment.......until he remembered something important.

"Lion cubs don't get scratched on their backs," he whispered to his mother. However, being torn, he decided to break the rules. He remained in that position so that his back could continue getting scratched.

After a while, he whispered to his mama.

"Dad is a primate lion. You are mama lion. Did you know that?"

Mom stifled a chuckle.

She wonders what other mysterious jungle creature will awaken her tomorrow morning.

As long as it's not a snake.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yeah! For Homeschooling....

I spent the weekend attending my fourth homeschooling conference. And really, I don't get tired of going. In fact, I suspect that as my children get older I may volunteer my time with these conferences. Perhaps even with my provincial homeschool organization.

My passion for the benefits of homeschooling rank second behind my solid belief in Biblical truths.

This year was doubly nice because my husband attended it with me for the first time. I got tired of coming home, inadequately trying to repeat some of what I had learned. I feel pretty confident that he may even attend another one at some point.

For me, the conference has become my camp meeting for homeschoolers. Like camp meeting every year, we get together with people of like precious faith and come home with a renewed energy and purpose.

I realize that not every homeschooling parent is "into" the conference. However, if you've never been to one, I encourage you to try it. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From The Heart

It's late. I should be in bed. Once again, I can't sleep.

First off, I want to say thank you. Thank you to those people who have gone out of their way to compliment me about my blog. It is always unexpected, and although the main purpose that I keep this blog (as I have said in times past) is as a diary for my kids, I will confess that the kind remarks about it sometimes really, REALLY lift me up. And to those of you who pass along compliments through my family.....I appreciate your kindness as well.

I say this tonight because I just need to. I need to because for this particular post, it's the readers of this blog that I have chosen to bare my heart to.

Although I have very strong opinions - which I state semi-regularly on this blog - I have tried very hard to keep things private that belong private. I find it very distasteful when folks just spill their guts on a regular basis, assuming that the whole world wants to know every miniscule detail of their lives. However, I am going to break my own cardinal rule and become public about "the private". Simply because I am discovering there are more people out there who care about me than I realized.

I have had the most difficult 6-8 months since I began my Christian walk 27 years ago. I have tried to hide this fact because I have discovered I have bucket fulls of PRIDE. In fact, it's amazing what else I have discovered about myself in these months that I really never knew.

I realize how very little I trust God. I know I have little trust for myself. It's amazing how long one can travel on this journey without really understanding these things.

I have this bad habit of deflecting any encouraging messages preached as being for others.....since surely all this good stuff must be for the better Christians. I have the same bad habit of taking every serious message as being directed at me. It wasn't until fairly recently that I realized how much I really did this. It's hard to be encouraged by the Lord if you don't believe it was meant for you. I somehow got it into my head that I was VAIN if I took messages like that personally......after all, who am I?

As a result, I have been suffering from severe anxiety for the last 6-8 months, spiraling downward in the last couple of months in particular. I have quit driving school bus - primarily because I was beginning to have panic attacks while driving, and for the safety of the kids I had no choice. I have quit singing (as part of the worship team) because I was finding it difficult to sing when I couldn't breathe, and it was affecting my worship to God in general. I did not want to dread going to church because I was scheduled to sing. I have quit driving EVERYWHERE but this city. I DO NOT drive on the highway. At all (and I used to drive everywhere and not want to be a passenger).

I have become a cripple. And I tried very much to hide it from everyone, because after all, Christians should not suffer from anxiety and panic attacks. They should trust God.

Yup. Exactly.

A good friend recently suggested to me that, at least in part, some of my freedom from this debilitation may come when I stop trying to hide it, since part of my anxiety has been that "everyone will find out". That is another reason why I am "telling the world". I do realize that however much I have tried hiding this for the past few months, it is becoming apparent anyway. God only lets us hide so long.

So now, here I am. Wanting.......needing desperately to get my life back. Trying to push pride aside. Realizing that everything that God is showing me is ultimately a GOOD THING (even if it's hard). I really don't want things so hidden beneath the surface they aren't dealt with at all.

I want to learn to LET GO.

I want to learn to TRUST GOD COMPLETELY.

I want to learn to LIVE JOYFULLY.

I want to truly understand that GOD LOVES ME. Even in spite of my weaknesses.

And I'm baring my heart to y'all. Because I know some of you will care enough to pray for me.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Valentine Box

It began with the suggestion of my girl.

"Hey mom, wouldn't it be neat if I just left this empty box outside my door to put Valentines in?" she asked.

Thinking it was "cute", I couldn't help but wonder......whose Valentines? And I left the box there.

It just so happened that her dad, who happens to be an expert Valentine-picker-upper, picked up a couple of cards for his kidlets (I already got them a little treat a couple of days ago). After the kids were sleeping, I told him about the box and suggested we put the cards in there. With a smile on our faces, and thinking of the delight of my girl in the morning, I picked up the box - opening it - only to find several homemade Valentines already in there.

My heart melted at the sweetness of that lovely girl-o-mine.

We stuffed in the cards, along with a bunch of little goodies courtesy of their Auntie Laura, and closed the box. Then while I soaked in the tub, I thought how cute it would be to put my own cards (I couldn't decide, so I got a sappy one and a funny one) to Dave in the "box". Since he was already sleeping when I got out, I crept stealthily into the kitchen, pulled out my cards from their super-secret hiding place (that he discovered earlier in the evening), signed them and opened the box. Lo and behold, what do I find? That my husband practiced his own stealth while I was having a bath and put my own card from him in the box. Not that I looked, of course.

And I smile in delight.

I wait in anticipation of tomorrow morning.


P.S.: At 6:00 IN THE MORNING!!!, I am awakened by three bandits creeping into my room with a flashlight. In their hands are even more cards..........I try to prop my eyelids open and feign express wonder at my surprises. Seriously, I am impressed. I'm just not sure why it had to be 6:00 a.m., that's all.

Until my son - still half asleep - states his supreme happiness.......

"This sure was a good Valentine's Day, wasn't it?"

Yes, it was. Tired as I am.

That husband of mine one-upped me........AGAIN.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


When asked this morning what he wanted for breakfast, a very tired, cranky boy answered,


Hmm. Nuffin'......? Trying to exact a translation, the mom of this cranky boy looked up the definition of this word.

Nuffin': (From the Urban Dictionary)

1. A lack of muffins;
2. What you get when you're finished with a muffin; the absence of a muffin;
3. A muffin that does not contain (throughout its inner cake) any of the ingredients displayed on the top of the muffin. Term can be applied to people in an organization who appear to do work but who achieve little;
4. (From the dictionary of motherhood)......Nothing, as said by a little boy while hanging his lip low during a pout.

The mother of this crankpot concluded the likely definition was that of #4. So, she set about to do just that. When the unhappy boy sat down to breakfast, he was surprised to find a whole bunch of........nuffin'. He paused for a short time to wonder where in the world his breakfast was. He finally asked,

"Hey....where's my breakfast?"

"You said you wanted nuffin', so I gave you a whole plate of.....nuffin'," was the mother's reply.

The young boy managed to crack a smile. In fact, he managed to laugh out loud, as did the boy's sister.

And miracle of miracles, his mama even managed to whip up sumpin' for her boy for breakfast..........:)

Monday, February 8, 2010

King Frog & Queen Rose

Seth with "King Frog", so called by himself.

Hannah with "Queen Rose", so named by herself.

I was an impetuous decision to buy these while at the store this morning. Would you believe the frog cost twice as much as the rose?

So here I have my little Toad and my beautiful Rosie. What can I say? I think they suited my kids.

Call it an early Valentines treat from mama.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Relax Mom

My almost-six-year-old son just told me, his MOTHER, to RELAX.

His nose has been in the new library books since we got home. I told him to get his jammies on. He ignored me. I repeated myself (apparently he is hearing impaired). He informed me that he was reading. I let him know that if he did not stop right then to get his jammies on that he was going to bed immediately. He sighed deeply, wary in his spirit.

A couple of minutes later I moved my chair to get up to do something. My son became concerned when he heard the movement and yelled to me from his bedroom:

"RELAX, MOM! I'm getting my jammies on."

"What did you say to me?" I asked.

"I told you to RELAX," he answered.

What can I say? I stifled a laugh because I have no idea where he got that word from he comes by it honestly.

I'll RELAX him, alright. After I ensure that his earlobes hang an inch lower.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Future Ambitions II

I'm getting old(er). I feel that way because my youngest-of-my-four-old-nieces has moved out into her own little, darling apartment.

When she first heard that Jenna was moving out, Hannah was quite concerned.

"Why would she want to move out, mom?" she asked.

So I explained the natural progression of life, and that eventually even SHE would want to leave home. That was how God intended it to be. She assured me quite emphatically that she WOULD NOT want to ever move out. I secretly smiled.

That lasted until yesterday. Yesterday she informed me that she intended to work hard in school every year, and work ahead so that she could completely finish school when she was......16!

"And then what do you intend to do?" I asked.

"I plan on working for two years," she stated.

"You have no plans to further your education?" I asked my 7-going-on-16-year-old.

"Do you have to go to university to be a cook or make clothes?" she asked.

"No. Not to university anyway," I replied, very impressed at her lofty ambitions.

"Well, then I plan to work for two years and save up enough money so that I can move out - like Jenna - when I am 18," she informs me.

"I thought you weren't ready to move out," I can't help but ask.

"Well, mom," she says with a dry tone. "Not now. I'm not ready to move out today. But I will be when I'm 18."

And I am comforted.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mr. Webster II

I actually very much enjoyed school today. I say that with some surprise because it has been a little more of a struggle as of late.

After slacking off school somewhat over the last couple of weeks (because of all of the activity surrounding our upcoming special services), I spent some time with Seth in review. I was going through the double consonant rule, the double vowel rule, and certain blends. Then I was having him read words that applied to these rules.

After he read the word, he began to explain - without any prompting from me - what he thought the word meant. Here are some examples of his definitions (always beginning with "is something like"...):

load: "Is something like when you get suitcases on a plane...."

peep: "Is something like you peep with a horn...."

shut: "Is like a safe. Or a couch that is open...."????

stone: To which I had the entire story of David and Goliath repeated to me, blood and gore and everything.

And my personal favourite.....

pleat: "Is something like pleating a trap." Huh? On further questioning, he explained the whole story about how Freddi Fish com-pleated the trap to catch the ghost.

Hannah and I were in stitches over this.

My post entitled Public School Never Looked So Good......well, I take it all back. Imagine what I would miss if I didn't homeschool?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Personality Traits

Last Wednesday, we had the last service in our old church building. We are going to be moving into our new building this coming weekend and we are all excited about it.

Hannah was trying to wrap her mind around never going back to that church. She was becoming a little nostalgic before we even got to church Wednesday night.

"You mean I'll never have Sunday School in that room again, mom?"

"I'm really gonna miss this church, mom. Why do we have to leave it anyway?"

So, after church, she went downstairs and looked around, taking her time. She went into every room, and in every room she bid farewell.

Such is the personality of my lovely girl.


Likewise, on Sunday night we were having special services in a rented facility to celebrate the anniversary of our pastor and his wife. I went earlier, taking Hannah with me. When Seth and his dad arrived, he was in fine form, having actually gotten a little sleep in the afternoon.

"Mom!" he exclaimed. "I'm just gonna stick out my tongue and close my eyes. Then I'm gonna look at everybody through my tongue! But don't worry, I won't MAKE FACES at anybody," he reassured me.

I was immensely relieved.

And such is the personality of my lively boy.

Question Of The Day

From Seth............again before my eyeballs were open from being glued shut after an exhausting weekend........

"Mom, when God made us, did he knit us?"

I love these questions. They make my day.