Party Like It’s 1773

Party Like it's 1773
I wrote up some thoughts on yesterday’s Tea Party Protest and posted them over on WORLD Mag Online.

We told her, "No."

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I’ve never been much of a political activist. OK, scratch that—I’ve never been a political activist, period. About all the protesting I’ve ever done has been in front of the TV, and with the crazy amount of money being sanctioned as OK to spend lately, I’ve been doing my fair share of yelling at the television.

That’s why, when I heard of the Nationwide Tea Party Protest and that there would be a version of it in St. Louis, I knew I had to go. My girls and I have been studying American History this year, and since we learned about the Boston Tea Party, I knew I would be a homeschooling idiot to not take advantage of this prime teachable moment.

According to the #TCOT Report, I wasn’t the only one: Citizens in 50 cities participated in the nationwide protest against government (over)spending, and more than 25,000 people showed up at the tea parties yesterday.

Bill Hennessey, author and a conservative blogger in St. Louis, heard about the tea parties and organized one for our city. Word went out through local blogs and light television coverage. Bill expected 50 people to show up; estimates are that 1,000 did.

As my husband is a full-time teacher, I went with my girls. The main thing I wanted them to experience was that, though we disagree with the direction the government is taking us right now, we live in a country where we have the right to assemble regardless. We can meet together, we can voice our complaint, and we can try to do something—anything—about it. I made sure my girls knew there were places around the world where this right isn’t guaranteed, and after seeing those thousand people, the lesson wasn’t lost on them.

After the rally at the foot of the Arch, we went over to the river and “dumped” tea into it, symbolic of the colonists of 1773. It wasn’t nearly as exciting as I imagine the original one was in 1773, but the spirit was certainly the same.

Do I think anyone in Washington really cares what we did yesterday? I don’t know. But I saw how easy it is to actually do something instead of sit at home on my duff waiting for someone else to do it for me. Maybe one day, instead of yelling at the television, I’ll be on it . . . or my kids will be . . . fighting with the freedom others fought for on our behalf.

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7 Quick Takes Friday

1. My brain is totally convinced tonight is Friday and tomorrow is Saturday. I don’t know why, other than I spent time this evening preparing for the St. Louis version of the Nationwide Tea Party Protest we are participating in tomorrow. Here are the signs we’re taking with us (except that I did go ahead and redo the sign I’m going to carry – it just needed to be done).

The girls are trying to convince me that attending the protest is school enough for a Friday. Part of me agrees; the other part of me sees the lesson plans I took the trouble to write out this week and wants to check them all off. Guess I could just go over there and erase everything for Friday and write in “History Re-enactment/Current Political Educational Event” or something. Then I could check it off. We’ll see.

2. This week I found out we were picked as one of two winners of five free sessions for online math tutoring via Click and Climb. We haven’t had an actual tutoring session yet, but I was contacted immediately by email about how to set up our account, and then received a phone call the same day to set up our orientation meeting. We had to install Skype and something else, so now we’re all 21st century and stuff and you could call me on Skype and I might know what to do with it. The chances of my answering are completely dependent upon whether or not I’ve had time to shower yet and if I’m still in my jammies.

Anyway, back to Click and Climb: totally impressed by what I’ve seen so far. I haven’t had to track them down to set this thing up – they keep initiating with me! Orientation tonight was great, and M10 is pretty pumped about it. We have another meeting with her academic advisor tomorrow, and then we will set up the actual tutoring sessions with her personal live math tutor. I have a feeling I’m going to be sad when the five sessions end.

3. I’m still in the process of figuring out the whole Twitter thing, though I’m finding I’m sort of liking it. The thing I can’t figure out is all the proper Twitter etiquette. It seems I keep getting followed by spammers and I just go and block them. Is that okay? Is it considered standard to “follow” someone who “follows” you? Are you supposed to “Direct Message” somebody to thank them for following you? I’m so confused.

4. Craig thinks my blog background is too pink. I just needed some change, as I get antsy when I don’t move something around for a while. Our living room really isn’t re-arrangeable, so I’m left with the blog background. I don’t know how to customize it myself and haven’t had much luck finding affordable blog designers who can do the job, so I’m settling with occasionally changing the themes Typepad offers me for free. Craig need not worry – I’ll get bored with this soon enough and switch it to something else.

5. When we lived in Colorado Springs, we got to know some of the folks at Summit Ministries. Last fall when I was doing a bunch of research for God’s World News, I asked one of the Summit gals what they thought about teaching biblical worldviews to younger children. She told me they had developed a whole curriculum for kids on this. I got a copy under the guise of “research” but really I just wanted a copy (don’t worry, GWN, I didn’t put this on an expense report!).

I went through a few lessons with the girls last year, but it got shelved when we moved into the new house and started a bunch of new things. I’ve recently started doing it again and am really impressed with the concepts taught. The teacher’s manual is a bit clunky and somewhat hard to follow, but it is manageable – I just have to make sure I read over the whole thing a couple of times before presenting it to the girls (you know, like a good teacher should). It’s not as good for those among us who tend to “wing” it most of the time.

Anyway, this week, my girls learned the differences between theism, polytheism, and atheism Even Millie can tell you right now. The gospel is clearly presented, and it might seem funny that I would care, but here’s why I do: we talk about biblical truths fairly frequently, and yes, I’ve shared the gospel clearly with my kids. But they need to hear it more than I share it. I love that these lessons provide such natural ways of reminding my kids why we believe the things we believe. It’s good stuff. (Both the curriculum and the gospel. Of course.)

6. I’ve been emailing with the coordinator of this combined CSA group for this year. I’m tempted to join, but after my last not-so-great experience with a CSA I’m a little nervous. Anyone in St. Louis have any info for me on the Fair Shares Combined CSA? Pros? Cons? Anyone maybe interested in splitting a share?

7. I posted chapter 2 for the book discussion Through His Eyes; God’s Perspective on Women in the Bible by Covenant Seminary Professor Jerram Barrs just a little bit ago. Such a good book – totally worth checking into if you haven’t already.

That’s it for me! I need to get to bed so I can be ready to protest with a smile tomorrow! Night everyone.

Through His Eyes, Chapter 2

Through His Eyes; God’s Perspective on Women in the Bible by Jerram Barrs
Chapter 2: The Second Face of Eve: Eve at and after the Fall

It has been a couple of weeks since I actually read this chapter, but I did highlight quite a few areas of it (mostly because it’s on sin and, well, I can relate to sin).

Right off the bat on page 25, Jerram says:

“We sometimes work very hard at seeing faults, and we appear to think it is very biblical to search out the sinfulness of people around us, both the sins of our fellow believers and, in particular, the sins of unbelievers. But that is not what Scripture calls us to do. We are indeed to recognize people’s moral failures, especially our own, but we are called first to recognize their glory as persons made in the image of God.”

I love this reminder because I’ve experienced so often in live or blog conversations a consistently low view of people in other believers. I want to see people as people made in God’s image first. I want to place a high value on their lives because they are human. I need to do better here.

Talking about Satan on page 27, Jerram writes:

“His purpose on this occasion [in the garden of Eden] is to turn Eve and Adam from their worship of God alone; to turn them from their trust in the Lord as their Creator, Provider, Helper, and Friend; to turn them from their contented knowledge of who they are and to make them dissatisfied; to turn them from their glad acceptance of their status as creatures in God’s world and to cause them to become distrustful of God’s good intentions toward them.”

I’d say mission accomplished, no? How often am I so easily turned from a contented knowledge of who I am in God and simply dissatisfied with my life and surroundings? Often. How often am I distrustful of God’s good intentions toward me? I think I’m growing in this area, but I have to be honest and again say often. Way too often.

Okay, here was the big kicker for me, from page 30:

“There is nothing more unreasonable than the choice she [Eve] makes. But all sin is like this. We all need to admit that this unreasonableness is the nature of any sin, any disobedience against God. There is no excuse for sin. Sin cannot be justified, excused, or explained away. No matter how we hold sin up to the light of rational inquiry, no matter which way we look at sin, sin makes no sense. Sin is absurd. We may ask, “Why did Eve disobey?” or “Why did I turn from God’s commandments?” “Why did this woman or this man forsake her or his marriage vows, commit adultery, and wreck her or his beloved children’s lives?” We are desperate to be able to give a rational account of sin; we want to give sufficient reasons to show why Eve, or why you or I, make such a choice, but there are none.

There’s more. There’s so much more. But I’ll stop for now and see if any of you want to chime in thoughts from chapter 2.

The main thought I walked away with from this chapter (and the thought that has been resonating through my head and heart for the past two weeks) is this: How would my life and the lives of my husband and children be different if every day I woke up and asked, “what would dying to myself mean today?” If I asked that question everyday (and then acted on its answer) for a whole year, what would happen? I think amazing things. It’s not an easy question and I haven’t asked it every single day for the past two weeks, but I have been asking it of myself quite a bit lately, and it is changing my thinking very little by very little.

Okay, anyone else have thoughts here?

 

Because This Was Right at the Top of My List of Things to Do Tonight

So here I am, getting all ready to enter the world of political activism. We had a bit of a reality check tonight when Chloe asked us if we might get shot. No, Sweetie, this isn’t going to be like the REAL Boston Tea Party. We’re not going to get shot (at least not with a gun). We’re going to pack a lunch. It will be like a big picnic in the park…with media.

Craig can’t get out of school tomorrow to go with us, so he played his part tonight by coming up with our protest sign slogans. Here I am hard at work on one:

Working Hard on the STL Tea Party Protest

Here’s the sign Maddie will carry tomorrow:

M10's Protest Sign

The sign Chloe will hold:

C8's Protest Sign

Katie’s words of protest:

K7's Protest Sign

Millie’s foray into the political fray:

E5's Protest Sign

And finally, my own sign of discontent (though I’m not entirely happy with the spacing of it and will probably redo it in about five minutes):

MY Protest Sign

Here we go! Will I be more nervous tomorrow? As it is, I can’t stop laughing.

Two Things

Thing 1: An actual blog post I’ve written. I know, I’m surprised too. Maybe I’ll remember I have a personal blog soon.

Thing 2: You all heard of the Nationwide Tea Party Protest taking place tomorrow across the country? There will be one here too.

I’m planning to go. The only real form of protest I’ve ever participated in has taken place in front of the television screen. The girls and I studied the Boston Tea Party earlier this year and this is a fantastic practical application if I ever saw one. I’d be a homeschool idiot not to take advantage of it.

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Once a week, we participate in a cooperative learning experience known as Classical Conversations. All of the children are expected to give a presentation to their respective classes each week. The older kids are given instruction to share about a moment in history or a family tradition; the younger kids’ assignment is basically “show and tell.”

Our third daughter turned 7 a few weeks ago. One of her older sisters gave her a Hula-hoop, but she has had trouble figuring it out. Let’s just say Hula-hooping may not be her calling in life (though she still has fun trying). Our 5-year-old, however, has perfected the art of Hula-hooping, practices non-stop, and plans to take it Monday for her presentation.

There is value in this. While my older girls are learning to research information, formulate an outline, and speak in front of their peers, my younger girls are sharing what brings them joy in their lives. True learning, of course, involves both. And yet, as a homeschooler, it’s so easy to fall into the “check-it-off-and-you’ve-accomplished-it” trap.

Why is it more difficult to be intentional about education that brings joy instead of just following obligation? Why do the two seem mutually exclusive so much of the time?

My 5-year-old (as do most 5-year-olds) gets the blending of the two. Granted, not everything she comes up with is reasonable (she just walked up to me with some Chinese money she found and asked us when we were going to China), but more show-and-tell brainstorming could be justified if I would just let go of the check sheet for an afternoon.

If coverage is the enemy of education, checklists are too often its allies.

To Lent or Not to Lent; That is the Question

Actually, I really haven’t given it much thought until just now, and since I haven’t posted anything since Friday, I wondered if maybe I should give up the blog for Lent? Still, it seems the point is to give up something that would be a struggle to give up. Giving up the blog right now would be like giving up laundry – not so much of a struggle (except for that whole needing to wear clothes thing).

Truthfully? I didn’t know it was Fat Tuesday until about 45 minutes ago. I didn’t grow up observing the church calendar as such, and still have only a vague idea of what it all means (though I like Advent, at least in theory more than practice as we didn’t actually do many of our Advent activities this year). In the Baptist church we had Christmas and Easter: no Advent, no Lent.

Anyway, I’m not sure what my point is, so I’ll stop trying to make one.

I’m home tonight instead of in class: the girls are all coughing today, and I’ve had a fairly severe backache most of the day, so it just seemed to make sense not to inflict the coughing children on the family who watches them for us every Tuesday (have I mentioned we have friends who are saints?). It also made sense not to sit in a classroom chair for three hours when I’m as achy and stiff as I am now.

It could be all the running around of late: 5-hour drive on Friday, 3-hour round drive on Saturday with an 8-hour meeting sandwiched in-between, followed by another 5-hour drive on Sunday. I directed our Classical Conversations group on Monday, which meant preparing all Sunday night and getting up early on Monday. I’m about to run out of gas (could also be why I slept until 8:15 this morning). Sleeping until 8:15 a.m. feels super-duper until it is 5 p.m. at night and you are still cramming history reading with your girls because a late start equates to a slow start and one in which we just don’t punch it very efficiently throughout the day. But then that could also be because swimming lessons are not happening this week and, because of the coughing, I didn’t take E5 to preschool today, so we were all pretty much in our pajamas all day, which usually leads to a slow, lazy school day.

I wanted to see how long I could keep a sentence going there. Maybe I should give up run-on sentences for lent?

So, all that to say that I really just felt the need to check in tonight and don’t really have anything of value to say. Surprised by that, are you? If you made it this far, you really do love me and I thank you for that, because I know this was just a bunch of drivel.

I’m planning to get together my thoughts on Chapter 2 of Jerram’s book very soon (maybe even tonight, as this post needs some fast redemption), but for sure by tomorrow. If you haven’t had a chance to read the small starter-discussion from Chapter 1 yet, please do. I haven’t responded to any of them yet, but really should.

Okay, enough of that. Hope those of you Fat-Tuesdaying are getting it all out of your system. Hope the rest of you don’t worry about it too much.

Peace out…

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Last week’s conference attendance came about like this: I have a history of seeing conference brochures come in the mail, tossing them at Craig and saying, “We should totally try to go to this!” I spend 15 minutes planning the logistics of how he could get out of whatever he’s supposed to be doing and who we could ask to watch our kids. I then forget all about it. We never end up going. That’s what made Craig’s decision to send me such a surprise.

In keeping with tradition, though, I have to say I wouldn’t mind attending this one either. Craig, you have a teacher in-service that Friday. We could totally make this work. *wink*

2. Having said that, I’m not exactly looking forward to spending all day this Saturday in a training meeting for Classical Conversations directors. Granted, it will be better than the way I went through training last year – six hours on the phone – but I’m rather dreading the time, actually. Okay, dread is a strong word. Maybe I should say instead that I’d rather spend that time with my sister and her family. That’s where my girls will be. I’ll be sleeping there two nights but won’t get a lot of time with them and that makes me sad.

3. And all that leads up to this: Craig rented a man movie for tomorrow night and invited some guys to come over here and watch it with him. That just cracks me up on so many levels. Here’s to them and the leftover chili they plan to eat for dinner tomorrow night. More power to them. Please get all those movies out of your system before the girls and I come back on Sunday. *grin*

4. I’m considering declaring March “Spring Break Month”. Anyone with me on this?

5. I have no idea why this happens, but I’m continually surprised by the amount of laundry generated by my family. I don’t have a good system right now which means that every six days or so somebody comes to me worried because she no longer has any pants to wear. Every time this happens I’m all, “Really? Already? Didn’t we just go through this last week?” I then scramble to wash everything we have in the house. I spend an entire day folding it and putting it away. I then retreat back into my normal state of laundry denial for the next five or six days. Wash, rinse, repeat. I have a college degree. You’d think I could figure this out by now.

6. It’s still only February, yet I’m already dreaming about when it will be warm enough to go camping again. Camping! As if going once makes us experts or something. But when you’ve had as many bad vacation attempts as our family has had, only to have one of the first really good ones be a camping trip, you sort of want to go again. The girls do too. I’m thinking April. Think that’s too early?

7. The YMCA homeschool swim class has been one of the best things we’ve participated in. The first time we did this I met two of my neatest friends, both of whom I still do stuff with. Our kids all like each other. It’s nice. We then took a year off and rejoined last month. It’s happening again. Something happens at the Y while the kids are swimming and the moms just wait around and start talking. It’s a good investment on several levels. That one is a keeper, me thinks.

A Painful Decision

I signed up for a table at the next city-wide homeschool used books/materials sale. A lot of stuff I’ve been hanging on to because I keep thinking I’ll eventually use it or because technically Millie isn’t even in Kindergarten yet and there’s still a good chance I will use a lot of this with her. A lot of stuff I’m just hanging on to because I spent money on it and it holds financial value in my mind if not practical value.

I’m digging through software right now. Right next to me is the dreaded homeschool planning/hour tracking software I just bought one year ago. It has brought nothing but trouble to me, but since I didn’t know that within the 14-day window, I can’t return it. They won’t let me sell it. It won’t work on my system. It’s worthless to me. And yet I’ve still had trouble just throwing it away. I don’t know why.

But here’s the thing – every time I see the plastic box my stress level rises. I see it and it reminds me of the hours of frustration spent at my computer and the back-and-forth not-so-nice email exchange I had with the company. It reminds me that I wasted $70. So it makes no sense to keep it. I can’t use it and the only thing it does is cause me to sin in some direction and towards somebody (either myself or the company or the poor innocent person to cross my path next while I’m in the midst of the remembering).

I’m putting it behind me.

$70 in the Trash

At the same time I’m wondering what other kinds of junk, whether physical tangible junk, or emotional baggage I carry around for the perceived value I think it gives me.

It’s time to let go of all of that which so easily besets me, the sin that so easily entangles, and run with perseverance the race marked out for me.

I’ve been sitting in the stands for too long. Time to get on the track. Oh, and empty the trash…

Through His Eyes, Chapter 1

Through His Eyes; God’s Perspective on Women in the Bible by Jerram Barrs
Chapter 1: The First Face of Eve: Eve at Creation

I know that probably nobody has this book yet and thus you are not ready to discuss it, but I’m ready to begin processing it, so I thought I’d just start. I also hope that by starting it might spur some of you on toward going ahead and getting the book!

This can take different forms as more of you begin reading it and interacting (if indeed anyone does!); until then, I do best by just pulling out some quotes and talking about them a bit. There are some reflection questions at the end of each chapter, so we can work on those a bit, too.

There were sections of this chapter I highlighted, but the one I thought I’d start with is on page 18. Jerram says,

     “Eve is as fully God’s image-bearer as is Adam. There is therefore complete equality between the first woman and the first man as we reflect on their fundamental nature as persons made to be like their Creator. This full equality means that there is no hierarchy of being between a man and a woman.
…our relationship with God is even more foundational to us than any human relationship. This means also that our relationship with God takes precedence over any human relationship, whether it is a relationship between wife and husband, mother and child, father and child, sister and brother, friend and friend, ruler and subject, employer and worker, teacher and student, or pastor and church member.
Every one of us is answerable first of all to God, for we, each one of us, were made by him and for him, and each one of us will have to give our own account to him. When we answer to him, there will be no other human intermediary between each of us and him. Each woman will stand before God directly, giving her account of herself and her life to him, for she is his image-bearer made for fellowship with him and is therefore answerable to him, just as every man will stand before God giving his account of his life and choices.”

That last paragraph in particular is what began kicking my tail last week when I started reading it. Of course somewhere deep inside me I know this, but for someone to just plainly say it like that made me realize it that much more.

I’m really appreciating here that this foundation of who we are in Christ really isn’t about male or female. It’s about individuals and God. When I answer to God it won’t be me peeking around from behind Craig, hoping Craig will assume responsibility for my actions here on earth. I will stand square before God myself, accountable for my own actions, my own sin.

I’m still thinking about more of these things, and especially in reference to other things from chapter 2, but I’ll wait until I hear from someone else. Anyone have time to get the book yet? Your thoughts?

Oh Monday, Where Art Thou?

I knew today would be of the long and tiring variety. The weekend was indeed one of rest and many other things. Among those many other things included complete mental exhaustion. I still need to process the time. It’s hard to process time like that when you hit the ground running again, though.

Funny, but the laundry didn’t go away over the weekend, nor did my responsibilities with the homeschool group today. I still need to teach the girls tomorrow and I have class tomorrow night. Someone needs to go to preschool, two others have swimming lessons and life just picks right back up again. Exactly where I left it.

But for now I’m attempting some small changes. Small because I can’t attempt big ones and expect any kind of long-term consistency out of them. I’m trying to go to bed earlier than I usually do (don’t laugh, I know it’s 11:15pm right now, but if I shut this thing down in five minutes, read my Bible for 15, and brush my teeth I will still be going to bed earlier than I usually do). Small steps. Small, but progressive steps.

Here’s to trying. It’s about all I’ve got.