Lauren and Mikaela--identical twins living on opposite coasts--blog about the story of life and their adventures in faith.

5.28.2013

Sawdust

Lauren and I were six and needed cold, hard cash. Since McDonald's wasn't hiring, we went to Papa, and he offered to pay us for vacuuming out the two family cars. In my six year-old mind, this was a large job (just like changing my bedsheets took 2 hours and then two weeks to recover), but the payment was generous, and so we accepted. My mind was already working through the pros and cons of each car, and somehow, I managed to work it out with Lauren so that I got the smaller of the two vehicles.

Very pleased with myself, I vacuumed the front and the middle in no time at all. Then I opened up the back door, only to be confronted by sawdust scattered across the carpet. I vacuumed. Then I vacuumed again. Then I vacuumed some more. Imagine trying to separate a Velcro fastener with suction power--that's how I felt as the sawdust stubbornly clung to the fuzzy carpet. Finally, I had to go get Papa to help me with the impossible job. I still remember both of us standing there, looking at the back of the van as he said, "I knew this van would be a tougher job, but I wanted to just wait and see who would pick it."

That gentle rebuke remains in my mind long after the memory of just how we managed to separate the sawdust from the upholstery, or how much I got paid, or what I spent my money on.

I remember this lesson when I selfishly want to choose the easy or more desirable thing and leave someone else the lesser.


Two Paths

 
 
Most importantly, however, I've come to equate those two vehicles with the choices we all have. There is always a soft path winding through a lush green park. Or there is the rocky, treacherous path scaling a mountain. When my mind is made up, God always lets me choose. But no sooner do I choose the easy path, then do I run into a huge pile of sawdust. God gently points me back to the rocky path; He knew all along which was the better path for me, but did I ask? Did I listen? Did I care? I asked my flesh--I listened to my emotions--I cared only about the temporal. So I repent, humble myself, find the rocky path, and hike it with joy!
 

The good that God works for in our lives is conformity to the likeness of His Son. It is not necessarily comfort or happiness but conformity to Christ in ever-increasing measure in this life and in its fullness in eternity [1].

 
Our Abba Father already knows what is best--why would we want to choose what looks easiest? The pleasures soon crumble into sawdust, and the mess we are left to clean is a painstaking process. Die to yourself today and choose to risk ridicule, or serve others, or make the hard choice. The view at the top of the mountain is amazing--and the hidden rewards of God's good for our lives bring satisfaction indeed.

 
Photo Credit: sunflower_gal
[1] Bridges, Jerry. Trusting God. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1988. p. 120. Print.

5.21.2013

Top 10 Reasons I'm Grateful I Was Homeschooled

 10. I thought it was normal for a twelve year old to write a novel.

9.   I memorized the Beatitudes for school. 

8.   My younger sisters and I could handily enter our make-believe land of the Eightabagilians on our lunch break, and then go right back to math when our time was up.
      
7.   School bullies got spankings.

6.   I learned that if I could get along with my seven year old sister who just tore apart my dolly, socializing with anyone would be a breeze. 

5.   I learned botany by planting a garden, home ec by making dinner, physical education by running a 12k, and literature by devouring every book in sight.
 
4.   Peer pressure doesn’t have a grip on me: calling me a chicken won’t convince me to budge down that cliff on my sled if I don't want to do it, and daring someone to eat a crushed-up candy on the sidewalk will only give me the urge to throw it away. 
 
3.   I would have flunked algebra in public school.  I also would have exhausted those poor teachers with all my questions.  (If you still believe there are no stupid questions, then you haven't met me yet!)

2.    I’ve never been to a football game in my life.  (-:

But my number one reason I am grateful to have been homeschooled is…

1.   I was discipled by my parents on a daily basis to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  They taught me that “Christian” isn’t a robe you put on on Sundays.  They taught me that “Christian” isn’t a blindfold you take off before the blinding light of intellectualism.  They taught me that following Jesus Christ is a Sunday through Saturday endeavor that encompasses novels and algebra and little sisters and peer pressure and eventually harder things like death and sickness and disagreements.  I thought I was just doing school, when in reality I was learning life and learning Christ. 
 
If you were homeschooled, what do you have to add to this list?
 

Photo Credit: thejbird

5.14.2013

Mum's Day

 
"Mother's Day is really about God, because celebrating Mother's Day means that you are celebrating that men and women are created differently by God and that children are a blessing and that those children should be honoring and blessing their mother." --Mr. W. in our church's Mother's Day sermon

We get some of the best sermons on Mother's Day and Father's Day, and this year was no exception!

Jonah, Melanie, Lauren, Mama, Mikaela, Susanna, and Micah
 
We spent the day together as a family, rejoicing in each other's company, reflecting on the immense blessing of our mother, and reveling in God's beautiful creation.

At the Elk Rock Garden of the Bishop's Close, we scampered up rock stairs, thrilled at tiny delights of dwarf trees and succulent gardens, and ran breathlessly between the rain drops.

Jonah
We found a room in the rock wall...
Mel
...and a room made out of this incredible wisteria!
Susanna

What is the meaning of this?

The shocking realization!

Sisters: Mikaela, Lauren, Susanna, and Melanie
Chelsea Clinton was recently asked in an interview, "Your mother has been an extraordinary champion of women's issues. Do you call yourself a feminist, too?" To which she replied, "Of course. And everyone I know is a feminist." What a narrow circle of friends! I'm thankful to know both feminist women and feminine women. And perhaps because I do know both, I'm even more grateful that my mother has embraced her calling as a wife and a mother--a truly feminine and strong lady. She has taught me that God created men and women different and that we have different roles and different purposes, but neither gender is lesser than the other. I can't think of any better reason to celebrate my mother and every mother on Mother's Day!

Micah

Father and son
The paths dripped with abundance, and the little hills rejoiced on every side (Psalm 65:11-13).



God is good all the time; it was a good day.

5.07.2013

Music Teaching Love, Giveaway Winners, and a New Giveaway!

Ahhh....Music Time
I love teaching music, and if you know me, you know that is no secret!  I had an hour and a half long session last week with a beginning music teacher, attempting to share what I've learned over the past six years of teaching.  It was like cramming the ocean in a medicine bottle.  In a word: exhilarating! 

I love the music, I love the kids, I love the learning process for me and the learning process for them, and I especially love those moments where the students realize that success is possible.  That giddiness is addictive, and I experienced it last week.  I had sent one of my students home with a new gadget to try out.  She is one of my most talented students, yet finds it difficult to channel that talent into constructive practice.  So I sent her home with a metronome on steroids--the brand new PractizPal--to test drive for a week. 

For the first time in a long time, she returned not only with practices accomplished, but with music made.  I was one happy teacher. 

This metronome on steroids, you see, is not only a metronome that gives you a tuning pitch, date, and time, but also a digital practice journal.  You see that large treble clef button?  You press it to start your practice, and then when your practice quota is met (the teacher can change the quota), it cheers for you and practice time is over! 

I love that you can pause the practice session, I love that you can view a bar graph of a year's worth of practices, and I even love the rubber grip on the bottom that helps it stand up on the skinniest of piano ledges and the clip on back to hook it to a music stand.  I also love that it can double as a timer to keep me on track with my teaching schedule!  (Yes, I'm a chronic behind-schedule kind of teacher.)

I already faithfully use some fantastic (albeit slightly complicated) practice charts on which students can check off daily practices.  For most students that has worked just fine, but for some, it has hardly budged their bad practice habits.   Then along came this practice gadget beauty which manages to drive those students to practice more.  This success was partly because the accountability of me looking at the bar graph for the week was so effective and partly because it was so fun to use! 

The only negative comments I've heard were from one student who said that figuring out how to view the bar graph was confusing.  (But once I gave her a quick tutorial she discovered it really wasn't that difficult.)  And one parent suggested that it would be very helpful to be able to log different children's practice time separately on the same device. 

However, all other feedback has been resounding love!  One student said, "Seeing my progress was helpful."
Another boy told me, "It's cool!" 
Without fail my other students have noticed the bright "Amadeus Aqua" metronome, have asked for the chance to try it out, and then decided that it is pretty awesome. 

Don't just take my word for it, though--I'm quite excited to share the love because PractizPal has offered to do a giveaway for you guys!  So check out the rafflecopter widget below, and if you try the metronome out, you'll have to let me know what you think!  After you've done that, scroll down to see the winners from the last giveaway.


Perhaps Mikaela's post from last week clued you in to a possible reason for why we have been so neglectful of declaring the winners from the giveaway for our blogoversary. (wink, wink!) In any case, I truly am sorry for keeping you in suspense for so long!  So without further ado, the winner (via random.org) of the book It's Not That Complicated is Elizabeth Kilpatrick!  And the winner of the earrings is Ruthie H.!  Congratulations, ladies, and I'll be in touch with you shortly! 

Photo Credit: theirhistoryhttp://www.flickr.com/photos/22326055@N06/4181823128/http://www.flickr.com/photos/22326055@N06/4181823128/
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