Tuesday, August 24, 2010

wfmw -- book reviews

I love a good book. The problem is finding one.

I also love reading good books to my kids, but sometimes we find ourselves knee deep in a great plot, only to discover that it isn't really so great. The main character displays less than honorable character, the relationships take on a physical focus, violence flares, the language needs editing, and I either find myself editing out parts as I read (or fast forwarding the audio CD) for the kids or wrapping up the book early.

Now, there is a solution. The Book Guardians has started a book review website to evaluate books based on 10 key areas that parents might want to be made aware of before reading a book or handing it to their child to read. Another homeschool mom had the great idea for this site, and I'm just one of many working to help out parents looking for a good read for their children.

The site is just getting going, but you will want to return as time goes by and watch the list grow as you look for more great books to unashamedly recommend to your kids.

Handing my kids a book I know I can trust, definitely works for me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Choosing to find joy

We've had a week, quite a week.

Sometimes you have to choose. Even though I feel like flopping on the floor and crying, I make the choice, the hard choice to find joy. To treasure the little things.

That perfect package of strawberries was just right for dipping in chocolate. So we ate our chocolate strawberries and tossed out the stems.

I could focus on the stems, but they have no value. It does no good to dwell on another day of sick kids and the endless laundry, carpet cleaning, and toilet paper refills in which it results.

Instead, we enjoy the quiet day at home. Not fretting over canceled plans, but instead enjoying the three somewhat healthy ones playing happily together with Legos.

Not dwelling too long on the eleventh birthday spent in bed (poor girl, I do feel for her) :( but looking forward to the celebration that will not be missed, just put off a couple days.

Relishing the warm cake, and laughing over the strip we have to throw out because it melted the candles. (note to self: wait for cake to cool before inserting candles)

Finding joy in the little things . . .

  • the drips of blood from the runny nose came clean, (thank you, Lord!) even though I forgot to wash it right away.
  • the dog couldn't eat all 1000 pieces before we finished getting them into the puzzle.
  • pajamas make life more comfortable, especially mid-afternoon.
  • my husband works close enough to pop in for a minute.
  • a full refrigerator
  • summer fruit
  • a large load washing machine
  • a God who knows when to whisper
  • and, of course, chocolate covered strawberries.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Verse of the week -- Proverbs 10:11, 12

Elementary age kids tend to have a heightened concern for justice. They want life to be fair. They don't want people to get away with things. They perceive many judgment calls as black and white with very little gray.

I can relate.

When someone slips through the cracks, but I get held accountable I feel slighted. "Big" sins cannot go ignored. Sinful people don't deserve blessings. I secretly think karma should exist.

God pulled me aside and whispered these words in my ear from Proverbs 10:11,12, "11The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. 12Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."

Love covers all sins.

Sometimes I need to bring more mercy to the "woodshed" and less harsh criticism. When love taints my actions it also soften others' reactions. Hatred definitely has no place there as it only brings negativity and defensiveness.

The story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery came to mind as I contemplated this. I dug out John 8 to reread it for myself. Woman in sin. Stones raised in accusation, but also to test Jesus' response.

Jesus remains quiet. Stoops, waits for the crowd to disperse, some need the quiet point made, "Go ahead, those of you that have not sinned, start the stoning." The older, now wiser and humbled, individuals walk away.

Jesus refuses to condemn. Jesus loves. Was she innocent? no, just forgiven.

He sends her on her way with an encouragement to change her ways. Likely she did.

How would my kids respond if I wrapped each interaction in love, and left the condemnation elsewhere? It isn't always necessary to point fingers. More often than not, they know what they did wrong, and what they deserve.

I can give mercy a little more often than I do. Especially as they grow, a gentle word of non-condemnation will likely accomplish more than a "thrown stone". Even as they wallow in a perspective of extreme justice, they can begin to see a radically new viewpoint, one of mercy and love. Not ignoring the sin, but recognizing it as forgiven, paid for.

God is so good to me. Not forgetting my faults, but taking care of them Himself. I can step in and model the same to my children, and understand God's love a little more in the process.

"11The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked. 12Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins."

~Proverbs 10:11,12~