Sunday Sharing

Welcome to Sunday sharing, the place where I share my favorite articles, You Tube videos and quotes from what I’ve been reading this week!

First up is Counting the Cost–And Determining to Build Your Home.  This one is an excellent reminder that you can’t have it all, and the decisions that you make are ones that you need to be prepared to pay the costs for.  I don’t think I clearly understood that when we became parents 🙂

Another interesting article is this one on Do We Really Have to Politicize Everything?.  I found it really interesting because I’ve been exhausted by how every purchase or thing corporations do is politicized over the past couple of years.

For a long time, homeschooling was my hobby, but I eventually realized that wasn’t healthy.  So, I really enjoyed this article on Why Mama Needs a Hobby. Also, I have struggled (and still struggle) with saying no to people, things and opportunities.  The Power of an Unequivocal “No” was very helpful to me!

I have a friend who believes in positively affirming her prayers in a way that sometimes makes me uncomfortable, but I couldn’t figure out why until I read this article called Portraits of Superstition: Jeannie and Her Bottle.  I love how clear this author made this issue for me.  Along those lines is the article Death, the Prosperity Gospel and Me.  I’ve also listened several times to John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel and his Why I abominate the prosperity gospel.  I did not realize how dangerous this false doctrine is until recently. I also did not realize how much I had internalized  a milder version of this heresy. If you don’t realize how entrenched the prosperity message is in American Christianity, maybe The Great Lie America Sent to Tanzania is the article for you.

If you’re wondering why you can’t copy someone else’s homeschooling methods and have it work perfectly for your family, you might find the article Imitation is the Sincerest form of Ineptitude to be helpful. It’s our own personal takes on homeschooling that make us the most successful. Speaking of which, I really appreciated this article To My Oldest Homeschooler . . . I’m Sorry because it took us a few years of experimenting to really find our groove.

I recently attended a discipleship conference, which has me thinking more intentionally about spiritual parenting.  So, the article Mothers in the Church was very meaningful to me this week.

“Beauty and the Beast to feature an “exclusively gay moment” is an older article on the topic, but I’ve still been wrestling with whether or not to allow my children to see the movie, and these words slay me. “I am not going to let a movie studio communicate to my children that sexual immorality is “normal and natural.” This movie will no doubt be packaged in a narrative and a production value designed to capture their imaginations, but it will do so in a way that conceals a false and destructive message. To let them see this material would go against everything that I am trying to teach them about the good, the beautiful, and the true. If these reports are accurate, this movie would powerfully subvert that effort.” If you’re still on the fence this is a good article.

That’s about it for this week!  Hope you guys are having a great week!!

Different

Different: The Story of an Outside-The-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved HimDifferent: The Story of an Outside-The-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him by Sally Clarkson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When my second-born child was three, she suddenly came to an awareness of the end of daylight savings time. Before daylight savings time ended, her father would come home from work before dark every night. For the next three months after daylight savings time ended, every single night, when her Daddy wasn’t home by dark, she would pace from window to window looking for his car, knowing that something horrible had happened to him.

When she was five, she ended up sitting in the hall during Bible study as part of our Bible study group’s response to a tornado warning. She was so traumatized that she still prays each night that we won’t have any bad storms come through our area. She sleeps with the radio on, and if she is ever awakened by a warning on the radio, she comes to wake me up so that I can tell her if the warning was for our area.

I could tell you so many other stories about my dealings with my “different” child that you would sometimes laugh and sometimes cry. However, to preserve her privacy, I will not. Let’s just suffice to say that dealing with a child who suffers from anxiety and perhaps a mild form of OCD can sometimes be exhausting. (And I don’t even need an official set of letters at this point to know that she’s different, but not at a place where she’s clinically in need of help–at least not at the moment.)

That’s why I was so delighted to be able to read Sally and Nathan Clarkson’s book “Different.” In this book, the Clarksons team together to share stories (from both of their perspectives) of what it is like to live with OCD and what it is like to raise a child who is OCD, ADHD and has a few learning disabilities to boot. (My different child has also been one who has bloomed very slowly in her academics.)

As a mom, I found myself relating to Clarkson’s exhaustion, to her struggle to understand, and to her feelings that she has blown it more than she has succeeded in dealing with her child. I appreciated seeing how she was able to enjoy Nathan, but how she often needed a break to reset herself so that she could have the stamina to mother in a manner that was building up instead of tearing down. These are struggles that any mom goes through, but they can be intensified in a child who is not easy to deal with.

I think any mom of children who might be wired a little differently than average (and all children have their quirks!!) would find Clarkson’s perspective to be valuable. She often writes from a place of telling what works, and she doesn’t dwell on what didn’t work, and that is something that I find encouraging. I also found that, after reading her perspective, I also have more peace on the idea of whether therapy or medication might be appropriate and when it might be appropriate in the life of someone who is struggling. That’s the kind of advice that I really found to be so helpful.

I also found myself truly enjoying hearing Nathan’s perspective on the stories. I found how often things that would be so frustrating to deal with or that a parent wants a child to just “snap out of” would be something that he couldn’t control. I have more sympathy for what my child deals with after reading the incidents written in the book from his side of the story. I am grateful that he was willing to share his perspective.

All in all, I found this to be a very helpful read. All children have their quirks and their difficulties, so I think that most moms would find this book affirming and reassuring. However, it’s a lifeline for those parents who are wanting to love “different” children better and trying to help them to be the people that God has called them to be.

The Disciple-Making Parent

The Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus ChristThe Disciple-Making Parent: A Comprehensive Guidebook for Raising Your Children to Love and Follow Jesus Christ by Chap Bettis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Every parent wants the best for their children. We want to see them as well-behaved, productive members of society. We dream of them going to our alma maters, following their dreams and obtaining all that they ever wanted in life. We dream of having a close, loving relationship with them as we age. For parents of any religious faith, this also includes the desire to pass on our faith to them.

As Christians, we wonder how best to bring our children up “in the fear and admonition of the Lord” because we love them so much that we want to see them have the close relationship with God that guides our own lives and to have a future home in heaven. But how do we do that?

There are hundreds of parenting books out there that give hundreds of different answers for passing on faith, and many of them give great advice using the usual prooftexts from the Bible on parenting. Chap Bettis argues that, while these ideas are great, that these texts miss the point of parenting. In that vein, he says that the most important passage on parenting is Matthew 28:18-20. From his view, the way that we parent should be to always attempt to disciple our children, just as we would any other disciple that we mentor.

After laying out his initial premise, Bettis goes through a whole slew of topics to both explain his point and to provide practical help for parents who are right in the thick of parenting. These chapters can be uneven and provide many lists in them of things to do. To tell the truth, each of these lists could almost be expanded into a whole book of its own. It’s an overwhelming book, and I often felt like I was “drinking from a fire hose.”

I also found that in the plethora of information, I would have liked more practical application and examples. This is not the most practical parenting book that you will read. Bettis is huge on ideas and ideology, but he often does not come in with practical examples of how to bring his lists into your parenting.

However, in the end I decided to give this book five stars because of the deep conviction and understandings that I had gleaned from it. The portions on parenting as a pharisee and on indwelling sin (a topic that inspired me to a blog post) were worth the price of the entire book for me.

I also truly appreciated his address of Timothy, and his explanation of the “two-fold” conversion that we see of children who grow up in the faith. They may make a faith commitment when young, but they only later come to an understanding and confirmation of their path. Contemplating this and his exegesis of Timothy’s upbringing, gave me a great sense of peace in the paths that my children are taking as they begin making baby steps toward Jesus.

There’s a lot of good stuff here, and it’s definitely a parenting book worth the time it takes to read it. It’s also probably a book that would be an excellent one to keep around to refer to when you need a little inspiration on what it truly means to disciple your parent. It’s a good work that parents are doing, and it’s a wearying work, so this one belongs on your shelf to help keep you on the right path.

Tough Questions

Reading The Imperfect Pastor has me asking myself some hard questions. Eswine implies that the Fall might have been caused partially by boredom with the perfect place that God had given Adam and Eve and with their longing for “more.” I can’t say that I agree with his exegesis, but I can say that I can relate to the longing for more.

Sometimes, I find myself thinking “I could do so much more.” I’m “too limited” by the job that God has given me to do. God doesn’t value my talents. Honest words from me, but they really make me realize my own arrogance and pride.

One of the things that Eswine does get right in his account of Eden is that Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God was driven by their refusal to abide by God’s limits for them. Whatever the motivation was, they wanted to be like gods, and they refused to abide by the good limits that God had set for them.

I have often refused to abide by the limits that God has set for me in life, leading me to pain and unhappiness. This might be from natural consequences. This might be from a consequence so surprising that only God could have caused it. Either way, I find myself reeling from the realization that I have limits and that I have arrogantly attempted to be like God once again.  Here are some of the questions that Eswine poses.

If I am bored with ordinary people in ordinary places, then am I not bored with what God delights in?

If I think that local limits of body and place are too small a things for a person as gifted as I am, then don’t I want to escape what God himself gladly and daily inhabits?

If I stare at a face, a flower, a child or a congregation and say, “but God, not this. I want to do something great for you!” Am I not profoundly misunderstanding what God says a great thing is?

Why don’t you try asking yourself some of these questions and seeing how you answer?

……………..

I know I haven’t posted any book reviews in a couple of weeks, and I know that’s what many people follow my blog for. We had a conference at my church last week, and I got behind and haven’t started catching up yet.  I currently have seven books finished and not written reviews for yet.  I’ll try to write a couple of reviews before the end of the week 🙂

Sunday Sharing

Welcome to Sunday Sharing! This is the place where I will be sharing my favorite articles, quotes and YouTube Clips each week.

First up this week are a couple of resources on Brutus of Troy.  I’ve started a whole family study in our homeschool through An Island Story by H.E. Marshall, and the first character for study was the mythological first king of Britain, Brutus of Troy. We watched this short historical documentary and read Brutus of Troy: First King of Britain or Just a Myth?.  I also assigned my older two a paragraph to write on whether Brutus was real or a myth, and they both came back to tell me that he was a myth because the Marshall story had mermaids in it. (They were both like, “Of course it’s a myth.”) I’m still pretty intrigued because I had never heard the stories before, but there’s all this folklore about him that is totally new to me.

Another article that I really enjoyed this week was Please Stop Saying–“God Told Me.”  I think this is an important issue because so many of us are looking for God’s audible voice and not feeling like God’s revelation in his written word is enough.  Why do we look for this? Is God’s word enough? Both the article and the comments are very interesting reading.

I also really enjoyed this article on The Responsibility of Dependency. We are all dependent to some extent on each other, and both sides should model independence and responsibility with money. Great thoughts for me.

I also really needed this article on 3 Marks of Righteous Anger.  I may need to read this book!  While I’m thinking about anger, I have to admit that there has been a lot of anger and fighting between my children lately.  This article on Dealing with Siblings Fussing was a great help for me.

I have really been pondering What is the Relationship Between Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility? of late.  It is a very complex question, and yet, I find myself enamored with John MacArthur’s simple answer.

Reading “The Jesus Storybook Bible” Turns 10: The Story Behind the Bestseller reminded me of a magical time in our homeschool where my children were all small and I would sit and read a story or two from this book every morning as part of our homeschooling.  It is a beautiful Bible storybook to share with your children.

As my older children are starting middle school, I’ve begun to spend a lot of time thinking about my goals in education. So, even though we don’t use the Easy Peasy Curriculum, I really appreciated this article from the creator called The Key.

I also appreciated this article on Why the British Tell Better Children’s Stories Than Americans.  I disagree with the title because better is in the eye of the beholder, but this is an interesting (and satisfying) read about the differences between American and British children’s literature.  While I’m on the topic of books, this article of How to Read 200 Books a Year gives some great advice!

Desire for Reward

Tonight, I was trying to write my lecture for my CBS class, and it was like I was writing through mud.  I’ve learned that I can’t rush the lecture process (a blog post for another day!), so I put aside my planned three point lecture and picked up a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while called The Imperfect Pastor.

Seeing as how I’m a woman, and obviously not called to the pastoral ministry, you might be wondering why I would pick up such a book. It was the subtitle and some of the reviews that convinced me that I needed to read it. The subtitle is “Discovering Joy in Our Limitations through a Daily Apprenticeship with Jesus.”  I’m convinced that God has been trying to teach me temperance over the past couple of years, so reading a book about “discovering joy in our limitations” is all about where I’m at in life.

I also grew up as a youth minister’s daughter, and my husband is heavily involved in ministry, so I have all the requisite cynicism and baggage about what ministry entails.

So far, only a chapter into the book, the book is a balm and a lifeline into how life feels and how soul sucking ministry can be as we imperfect humans thwart ministry with our own desires.  We find that in ministry we retain the same imperfect human desires for fame, prestige and the pride of life, along with the lust for power and the horrible desire to be imperfect and to “change the world.”

However, there was one sentence I read that completely undid me.  It was this one.

Many of us are confused about what it means to have true joy if we have to embrace a delayed gratification amid the slower speeds required by the things that matter most to Jesus.

Some of us go into ministry roles wanting “the word” to be elevated, evangelism to be front and center, and we forget the brokenness of the people we serve. We can’t have true joy because we are impatient. We forget that we got into ministry to serve people, and we are more worried about writing the best lectures, sounding smart, and gaining praise from people than the actual service that drew us in.

Another line from the book that really spoke to me was in a gentle discussion that Eswine had over the passage in Mark chapter 10 where Jesus is discussing those who want to be great in the kingdom. In verses 43-45, Jesus says, “But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” As Eswine discusses this passage, he says:

Servants give their days to small, mostly overlooked tasks over long periods of time with no accolade.

I am so selfish that I can not even delay my need for gratification enough to perform tasks as a servant.  I want the praise and the reward now.  It’s not enough to wait for my Father to see and reward me for my service.  I want my reward from people too!

I pray to be more like Him and to be able to serve without expecting in return. I pray to be better at giving, not just to those that I teach, but also to my family and to those who I am in relationship with as friends or mentors. I hate that so much of my desire to serve is stolen by my desire to be praised and to be noticed for what I do. Instead, I pray that I will do everything for the glory of God, and not to be a pleaser of men.

Resources We Used With An Island Story Part 1 (Chapters 1-5)

When we started using  An Island Story for history this year, I longed for a list of simple resources that would go along with the stories to gently add just a little to the stories. There wasn’t a complete one that I could find, so I finally decided that I would just make a list myself.  So, whatever path you took to get to using An Island Story with your children, I hope this helps a little bit if you’re wanting to add some simple things to it.

One note is that you will notice that many of the resources are video resources.  We are a video loving family, so this is a great way for us to connect with the stories.

The second note you need to know is that this is so long that I’m breaking it into parts, so each part will cover five chapters (usually a week or two in history for us, depending on what kind of side trails we take off on).

General Resources:

For each story we completed a note booking page for narration, and for each historical figure, we completed a simple biography page.  My goal was to have written narrations for each chapter and a simple dictionary of historical figures from the book. We did not put any dates in our timeline notebooks unless the date was specifically given by the texts.

Chapter Resources:

The Stories of Albion and Brutus

For this, we used this short historical documentary on Brutus of Troy and read the article Brutus of Troy: First King of Britain or Just a Myth?. I additionally assigned my older two children (11 and 10 respectively) a paragraph writing assignment on whether they thought that the story was true or just a myth.

I’m so interested in this story, I’m thinking about buying some books for further study for me. 🙂

The Coming of the Romans

(We didn’t use any additional resources with this chapter. Some days are just narration and moving on.)

The Romans Came Again

We chose here t0 focus just a little on Julius Caesar. We did this by watching a couple of videos on YouTube. Because we did this lesson just before the Ides of March, we did this by focusing on his assassination. The TedEd video The Great Conspiracy Against Julius Caesar was excellent.  We also really liked the Crash Course History video The Roman Empire. Or Republic. Or….Which was it?

How Caligula Conquered Britain and How Caractacus Refused to Be Conquered

We had already done a mini-study on Caractacus when we studied Beric the Briton, so we did not truly focus on him in our chapter study of him.  I can recommend one YouTube video though that does a great job with his speech before Claudius.  When we had previously studied Caractacus, we read the book The Captive Celt.  It’s a quick read, and I feel like it really adds to the picture of the kind of people the Celts were.

We did talk some about Caligula.  The story of him and the seashells is just so ridiculous that you have to spend some time talking about how crazy he was. We used this Daily Motion video from Horrible Histories to help the kids picture it in a funny way. While we were there, we couldn’t resist watching the video about him making his horse consul.

The Story of a Warrior Queen

This a chapter covering Queen Boadicea.  It’s a great place to stop and spin off for a week or so into a unit study if you’re looking to do that. I can’t recommend highly enough the Heirloom Audio Production Beric the Briton. It really brings this period in history to life, and comes with a free discussion guide that has great topics for discussion and a few fun activity suggestions.  (I’m not an affiliate, and I don’t get any money for you buying a copy, but I just really love their work.)

When we studied Beric the Briton, we read the Horrible Histories Book The Cut-throat Celts, and that gave more great pictures of the Celtic people.

There’s also a great video in the Decisive Battles of the Ancient World that really helps to understand this revolt. This Barbarians Rising: Boudica, Warrior Queen was a really helpful video too.  There’s also a Horrible Histories Episode called Bolshy Boudica, and I have tried to find it, but I can’t even find it on Amazon’s listing of episodes right now.  I must be overlooking it.

My five year old still needs something to color sometimes when we study to help her listen, so I was really pleased to find this Queen Boudicca Paper Doll to help her with her fidgetiness.  Even better was when we could playact about Boadicea later.

That’s the first five chapters for us.  Check back in the next week or two, and I’ll be sharing resources from chapters 6-10. Also, if you have any resources you want to share on these five chapters, just go ahead and share them, and we’ll all learn together!