Monthly Archives: October 2013

H is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsH is for
“He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and a buckler.”
Psalm 91:4

A Hymn to Impart“Under His Wings”

A Sweet Little Prayer“And God Said”

A Poem to Share: “The North Wind Doth Blow”

How Our Week Was Spent

On the way to Gideon's first camping trip with Mauna Kea in back

On the way to Gideon’s first camping trip with Mauna Kea in back

We went camping at Volcano National Park. We brought the whole family and Gideon too. We saw beautiful plants and birds (by Sam, 4)
Running down cinder cone
We took a bird-watching hike around a cinder cone and saw an I’iwi Bird. We climbed up the cinder cone and ran down (Nate, 6).
I'iwi Bird by Nathan

I’iwi Bird by Nathan

Mom woke us up at midnight and we hiked to the edge of the Volcano so we could see the lava-glow (Joel, 8).
Glow sticks and Hot lava

Glow sticks and Hot lava

This week we read about the Bristle-thighed Curlew. They live in Hawaii. They leave their babies in the nest and then fly 5000 miles away. The chicks have to feed themselves and then they all flock together and fly by themselves to where their parents are with no one showing them how (Titus, 9 1/2).
Bristle-thighed Curlew
Teacher’s Two-Cents
My mother-in-law (or in-love, as she’d prefer) sent us this link about 18 things you will never regret doing with your kids. I loved them all but have a couple more of my own to make it an even 20. #1-I will never regret waking my kids up in the middle of the night to go see the glow of hot lava coming from a nearby volcano and hear the powerful roar as it surges with heat from the center of the earth. I didn’t regret it the first time and the boys were excited to do it again (although I wonder how the story will go when they’re older…probably something like, “Remember when Mom used to drag us out of bed in the middle of the night and make us hike for miles just to see this little ol’ trickle of lava?”) I’m telling you the grogginess you may feel in the morning is 100% worth it. Here are some links to posts from last year about more night time adventures (Star-Gazing, ISS, Snorkeling, Tsunamis, Night-Hikes, Mauna Kea Sunrise).
#2- My financial advisor might say otherwise, but I will never regret sacrificing a cushy retirement savings in order to travel with our kids while they (and we!) are still young. Even when money was at it’s tightest we have always managed to scrape enough together to show our boys some other part of God’s creation. We eat out of ice-chests, camp along the way, and fill those little minds with the wonder of nature. My husband and I laugh that we’ll just have to live off of beans and great memories when we are old. Hopefully our boys will still be laughing at being dragged out of bed by then. I know I will be.


G is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsG is for
“God said, ‘Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” Genesis 1:20

A Hymn to Impart“All Things Bright”

A Sweet Little Prayer“And God Said”

A Poem to Share“Something Told the Wild Geese”

How Our Week Was Spent
G is for Gallery. We learned about John James Audubon. He was a wildlife artist. I like to draw and paint too, so I made a gallery. I sold all my pictures to Mom (by Titus, 9 1/2).

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Teacher’s Two-cents
It was Ironman weekend here in Kona, which is pretty exciting. We’ve made it our little tradition to get up early and go watch the start which is touted as being the most famous starting line in all of sports. All the condos around us are filled with athletes from all over the world so at any given time a plethora of foreign languages drifts through our windows. Of course all of those athletes were up far earlier than we were to get ready for their 2 1/2 mile ocean swim, 112 mile bike-ride, and 26 mile run. Ironically, it was I who after shlepping an infant, our breakfast, and some token cowbells with my husband and 4 other boys quite a ways from our parking spot to the swim start and then up the road to the bicycle start and then back to the car, shuffling through tens of thousands of on-lookers all along the way; it was I who collapsed into the front seat of the car and exclaimed, “Whew! That was a workout!” Obviously I felt pretty silly and pathetic as soon as I said it, considering the iconic event we had just witnessed.
Ironman Kona
The Ironman Triathlon is an extraordinary test of endurance but nothing compared to the amazing feat accomplished by the tiny Arctic Tern every year as it migrates from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again. Now, that takes endurance. God has equipped these little birds perfectly with everything they need to survive such harsh extremes. Not so the Ironman athlete. God has equipped them pretty much the same way He has equipped me. But there is no way I could ever accomplish what they do in a day. Neither could these athletes if they didn’t train for it. And by train, I don’t mean going out for a jog every morning and doing a few laps in the pool. Swimming, biking, and running is their LIFE. It’s all they do. Every minute of their day, every bite on their plate, every twitch of a muscle, revolves around this race. But when they cross that finish line and hear themselves proclaimed an Ironman to the defining cheers of onlookers, it is all very much worth it.

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

I was thinking about Hebrews 12 in reference to parenting this week.
“Let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or faint hearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
No, but I’ve come very close to wanting to shed somebody else’s! Parenting is very much a test of endurance and this week I was growing quite “faint hearted” in my struggle against the childish sins in this household. At times it seemed to be a battle of Me versus Them and Their Sins. Me versus Them and Their Bickering. Me versus Them and Their Selfishness. Me versus Them and Their Refusal to Eat Tomatoes. Quite simply I had become so entangled in my own sin of impatience and weighted down by worry over how these boys were going to turn out, that I failed completely in “looking to Jesus” and not just the future joy set before me but the present joy that surrounds me. The fact is, I am not the Perfecter of my boys’ faith. Christ is. It is not my job to produce sinless kids. It’s my job to love very sinful ones and to do that in spite of myself and to do that with JOY. I don’t want to parent like an Ironman, relying on my own strength and training to endure. I want to parent like an Arctic Tern, trusting in the Lord and in His Spirit which has equipped me for this good work, to follow His leading over the unknown distance.
Oh, and I almost forgot to brag a little. This past week Ironman sponsored a mini aquathon (ocean swim and run) for kids and Nathan competed for the first time. He’s a great swimmer, just like his Dad, and has to be the cutest little Ironman ever!

F is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsF is for
“Four things I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden.” Proverbs 30:18,19

A Hymn to Impart“Eternal Father”

A Sweet Little Prayer“God’s Love”

A Poem to Share“The Eagle”

How Our Week Was Spent
F is for Flight (by Joel, 8) We got to watch a movie on the computer. It was called Flight. It was about how birds could not have evolved. They had to be made.

F is for Frigate bird (by Titus, 9 1/2) Last week we saw a Frigate bird. At first we thought it was another Albatross but then I saw that it had 2 long tail feathers. So we looked it up and then we learned all about Frigate birds.

Frigate Bird by Titus

Frigate Bird by Titus

F is for Finches at our Feeder (by Nate, 6) Lots of birds come to our bird feeder now. We have seen Java sparrows, 2 kinds of doves, 2 kinds of cardinals, and now there are 2 kinds of finches there too. One is yellow and orange and the other is red and brown.
Boys watch as a Cardinal waits it's turn at our feeder

Boys watch as a Cardinal waits it’s turn at our feeder

Teacher’s Two-Cents
If you haven’t read this week’s little bird poems click here and make sure you do. They are a study in contrasts. This has been a big theme for me lately. The boys got a big kick out of comparing the soaring majesty of the eagle with the grounded comicality of the ostrich. At the same time as I’ve been reading through the Bible to the baby (what else is there to do when you’re nursing for hours a day?) I can’t help but notice how often the Lord is making distinctions between His people, the Israelites, and the foreigners whose land they were occupying.
The church we attend is well known for being the first Christian church in Hawaii founded by the original missionaries who came to these islands almost 200 years ago. The church is open everyday to tourists and I finally got the chance to attend the training sessions to be a docent and tell the amazing story of the arrival and spread of the Gospel throughout the islands to some of the tens of thousands of people from around the world who pass through it’s doors. It’s a story full of centuries of God’s sovereign hand preparing the way for the reception of His Word in the hearts of these people. The Hawaiians were a people enslaved to a cruel and violent religion that demanded much of them, often their lives. Punishment for crimes such as a woman eating a banana were punishable by death and human sacrifice was widely practiced (in the case of human sacrifice, women could be very glad that they were considered so worthless that not even the gods wanted them, so they were exempt). Imagine how the gospel of Jesus Christ would appear to them. What a contrast!
From inside the old Church
This week I had the luxury of some early morning quiet times which I spent in the crumbling stone ruins of another church founded a little later by the same missionaries. It sits just across the road from a popular snorkeling beach and directly on top of a former temple used for these human sacrifices. That’s where this lesson in contrasts came head-to-head for me. I opened to the Psalms and immediately my eyes fell upon these words from chapter 40 verses 6-8 “Sacrifice and offering you have not desired, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required. Then I said, “Behold, I have come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me: I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Wow! Think about what good news that must have been to them! A religion not practiced through demanding rituals but written on the heart. A loving God who Himself provided the necessary sacrifice and gave up His own son rather than requiring theirs!
That’s a radical difference!
My favorite quiet time spot
As I thought about these contrasts I wondered how they might be played out in our own home. How is it radically different from the homes of our neighbors? And how is what I teach on a day to day basis radically different from what my kids could be learning in a public school? Because I think it should be radically different or what’s the point in spending my efforts? The focus of what I’m doing has to be far greater than better math, better spelling or better history. It has to be as significant as the difference between truth and fiction, wisdom and foolishness, the eternal and the temporal, the sacred and the profane.
Unlike the ancient Hawaiian gods, our God requires of us to be “living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to [Him].” This is our “spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:2 continues by urging us not to be “conformed to this world” but to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind.” This has to be the key to my daily instruction, the radical difference between a Christ-centered education and a secular one. My goal isn’t the FILLING of my child’s mind, but the RENEWAL of it; not the CONFORMING to a set of humanist standards, but to daily immerse my child’s mind in the knowledge of the TRANSFORMING power of an awesome, real, and living God.

E is for…

A Verse Hid in Our HeartsE is for
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:31

A Hymn to Impart“In the Garden”

A Sweet Little Prayer“God’s Love”

A Poem to Share…”Hope is the Thing With Feathers”

How Our Week Was Spent
We learned about feathers and that on all the little hairs are even more little hairs and some of them have little hooks to zip the feather hairs together (Nate, 6).
Mynah bird feather
Cowbirds don’t take care of their babies. They lay their eggs in someone else’s nest and let other birds, like sparrows, take care of them. But when the cowbirds grow up they know they aren’t sparrows and find other cowbirds to live with (Titus, 9 1/2).
Albatross are bad landers. Sometimes they land on their nose and do 1 or 2 somersaults. They are bad taker-offers too (Joel, 8).

Teacher’s Two-Cents
My favorite chapter in the Bible is Genesis 1 but Isaiah 40 has to be a close second. I can’t read it without the words drifting into the haunting melodies of Handel’s “Messiah,” so we wore our all-ready-well-worn CD a little thinner this week. Verse 11 has been especially dear to my heart throughout this season of my life. “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” This tender, nurturing picture of our Shepherd is sandwiched between depictions of the Lord as mighty Ruler and all-knowing Creator. Verse 9 cries out, “Behold, your God!” This same God who “has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span,” holds me and my little ones close to His heart showing special care to “those that are with young.” What sleep-deprived mother hasn’t felt in the wee hours alone and forgotten and thought like Israel in verse 27 that their “way is hidden from the Lord…and disregarded by my God?” Oh weary Mother of little ones! “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord [our Shepherd] is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to [the tired mommy] who has no might he increases strength.” Wait on the Lord, allow yourself to be gently led by our Good Shepherd, and your strength will be renewed. The morning will come and you will soar like an eagle!