Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Stuff Going On (Marathon Post)

Welcome back to my blahg.  I really do need to make it worth your while and post something interesting... You know how it is when you feel like you're just taking up space on the planet?  Well, that's me lately, but I know God made me for a better purpose than to merely take up space. So, let's see if I can make a worthwhile contribution to life today.

Our little mission church is steady at about eighteen when everyone's there, and we have started a Sunday School class. I totally understand one of the the challenges of a pastor's job, in feeding the mature sheep as well as the babies.  In my Sunday school class I have Emily, who has lived in a Bible-loving pastor's home all her life, and who reads her own Bible daily, and three children who hardly know "Jesus Loves Me".  One precious "old" sheep and three precious little "lambs".   :)

While we are not big on age-segregated church, I look at a Sunday School class as a way to bless parents who want to and need to be able to attend to the preaching of God's word without distraction, and without their child being a distraction to others.  Before the kids can be trained to sit still, the moms and dads have to be trained to do the training. We are so far gone from the days when both adults AND children could pay attention for an hour; it won't ever come back in a general sense. This generation is visually oriented and dependent on activity to hold our attention. But children can still be trained to sit quietly and to listen, and even to take something home with them from the preaching. This can't be accomplished by a Sunday School teacher, though. Their parents have to work with them at home.  That's another blog post.

But Sunday School is not a baby-sitting service.  I want my sweet little students to see themselves as God sees them (either in Christ or without him), to learn to love Jesus and his word, and to desire to do right and go God's way when they are faced with decisions.  We sing a few songs, including "I'm In the Lord's Army" (because the kids love it and it's good for getting rid of wiggles), work on memorizing a practical Bible verse together, and have a Bible lesson.  I am not good at doing this while having to interrupt myself a dozen times with, "Sit down," or "Come back here," and "Don't touch that," but God will equip me. He has probably equipped me already for every challenge; I just need to take a good inward look at my God-given talents and instincts to see what's still useable, and dust those tools off.  I also need to put away, some of my non-useable clutter, such as impatience and rigid expectations.

You know we have a graduate. Yay! The other academic students, well... that end-of-the-year initiative has disappeared into thin air.  I was hoping to be finished with school before we go to Family Camp, but that is just not going to happen.  It's my fault -- I have about as much motivation as the girls do.  Algebra fell by the wayside along about last February.  Integrated circuits are not holding our interest in the least.  Spelling is too easy.  And English... arghh! English! Why can't we just learn to speak properly, and forget about sentence patterns, voice, and direct objects???  Is there a curriculum that focuses just on usage????? It will be a big challenge to find the right fit for next year.  That will require some prayer.

Betz is planning to self-publish the novella that she wrote for the 2011 NaNoWriMo, and the editing is my job.  It's the perfect way to see if our kids have a handle on English grammar.  I see we need to work on quotes -- where the commas go, how to avoid a splice, etc.  How much better it is to learn these things as we use them. Writing works great.  I have a deadline... must get that finished soon.

In the school of life, things are going great.  Alison and Amy and I signed up for our town's first annual Citizens Academy.  We are learning all the ins and outs of local government, and it has been very fun and informative.  Last week we learned about our little police department.  I am happy to say we are under-patrolled, as there seems to be a correlation between the number of policemen and the number of crimes, and it's not what you might think.  When the police force grows, the crimes increase, as was the case in a different small town where we lived in the early 90's.
Traffic Stop Scenario
 An "alarm" has gone off, and an outside door is open.
Cute Mrs. S. conducts a building search, with some tips from the officer.
We have also learned about the tax levy and how it is determined and spent, other ways the city makes money, what all the administrative people do, what the planning committee does,  how the waste water treatment plant works (that is actually quite fascinating!)... and how all these departments work together. Our assignments are to find a way to reduce the levy by ten percent and to design a master twenty-year plan. We graduate in two weeks and will get a polo shirt for our perfect attendance, along with our mugs in the local paper.

Also in life school, Amy is just as determined as ever to hone her skills as a future photographer.  Having a camera is now helping tremendously! Knowing how to do photography without using a camera is a little bit like reading up on how to play the piano, and saying you can play. Amy diligently saved her "mom's helper" money and did TONS of research (good skill, that one!), and she finally bought a very nice DSLR -- too much camera for me.  I just need a little point-and-shoot for memories' sake. You know, so I can store all those photos on the computer somewhere and never look at them.  The old 35mm cameras did have their advantages.

Furthermore, the man of the house enrolled in Nathan Maxwell's ITonRamp Computer Essentials course. Alison and I are also participating by watching the weekly webinars and doing the assignments. Between the three of us, certainly we will have enough know-how to fix our own computers when this course is over, and maybe we'll even be able to fix other people's computers. That's the goal, anyway.  One of us will get A+ certification, and hopefully that will open a door to generate some extra income and to be a blessing to others.  We certainly have been blessed by other people's techie knowledge; it would be a thrill to be able to pass that along.

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Certainly most important of our recent goings-on is the Lord's working in our hearts.  I am thrilled when I see my girls growing in the Lord.  This is evidenced to me mostly by their continued interest in the preaching of God's word and in their willingness to provide the special music for church, and also by their kindnesses to others.  I, too, have had the Lord working on me (he's never finished, though!), drawing me ever closer to him, drawing me away from my own pride and selfishness one millimeter at a time.  I do so wish I could "lay aside the weight which doth so easily beset [me]" by the miles, rather than in millimeters. I think that's probably what God intended... my immediate and generous obedience.  Funny how the lessons we try to teach our children come back and get us, isn't it? Today I finished reading aloud to Emily, The Quest for Thunder Mountain, by Ed Dunlop, our of our family's favorite authors. See my old post. The theme of the story is the joy of finding God's will for one's life, and all the angst that can also come with that. I probably benefited from it more than Em did. I could greatly identify with the character who feared the king's will for his life might be something dreadful.  :)

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One more thing:  Rob Robin has been awfully territorial lately, chasing our other bird visitors from the feeder.  As it turns out, Rob is really Robynne Robin, the mother of several babes still in their eggs in a nest under the deck!  She has been protecting her treasure.  I wonder if this is the same pair we had last year?  Do robins return to the same nest?

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Thank you all for staying with me, if you are still with me.  Wow, I haven't talked this much at one time in ages.

Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise:
and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. 
Proverbs 17:28 


  1. Growing churches takes time like growing kids. Sounds like you are doing a great job. Also sounds like you have your hands full with your own family and so I'm glad you are just sitting around watching TV and eating bom boms because that would make me envious. :)

  2. I agree with LynnMarie, above. Growing a church is a huge deal, so I can see how you'd not have lots of time to blog. I also like how you are doing neat adult learning things together, taking advantage of community resources. I think Robins do come back to their previous year's home. The Robins in our yard have a tough time raising young because of the Blue Jays and squirrels eating the babies. Makes me so mad! But, God loves them too. (grumble, grumble)

  3. I think you are doing a great job in getting your church started...I know the challanges you face and all things considering, it's a miracle in the works. As far as Sunday school goes, I'd just smack the kids, but then again, I'm too old to be patient, teehe. Just think, you are on your 1 yr. anniv. here, Happy Anniversary My Friend. Who would have ever guessed.

  4. I loved the marathon! Thanks for the snapshot of your lovely, full life in the nortland. Wow, congratulations on your graduate--that's a marvelous achievement for your both! Next we'll be graduating our two together before you know it.

    Great catching up with you--all that was missing was the tea! :-)


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