Saturday, August 19, 2017

When Is a Statue a Gospel Problem?


After the horrific violence and hatred that was displayed in Charlottesville, Virginia last week, I was originally encouraged to see many of my Facebook friends denouncing white supremacy, as all of us should, especially those of us who hold to a Christian worldview. However, with their next breath, many of these same people began to post rhetoric about how Confederate statues should continue to stand in public spaces in the interest of 'preserving history'. This viewpoint is problematic and hurtful to many in our country, especially many people of color. To begin, I want to share some words from a wise Christian woman that articulate perfectly my thoughts on keeping Confederate statues in public places:

T. R. writes: "It is extremely important to remember our collective past. But let's be honest. We erect statues as a form of veneration. There are certain historical figures, events and epochs that should not be venerated or celebrated though they SHOULD be remembered so that we never repeat them. We should remember through discussing, informing and educating. But we should not maintain statues to them. We give honor when we erect statues. That is their purpose.



Saying that Robert E. Lee had many good, redeeming qualities such as being a solid Christian (which, honestly, should have been enough to encourage him to resist, not violently uphold the institution of slavery) is not reason enough to maintain a statue in his honor. In Emancipation Square no less. Do we not see the horrible irony in this? I can never hold this man up as an example to my children of a great Christian. He behaved in a patently unChristian manner through his fight to maintain a system that enforced the brutal subjugation of others. When my Christian peers advocate so strongly for this it hurts my heart."

Keeping this viewpoint and the reminder of my friends' and neighbors' pain at the forefront of my mind, I have been thinking and praying about what my response should be to this subject. As I prayed, my mind was drawn to the thought, "What is my purpose in this life? Why was I created by God? Why was I called by Him and gifted this incredible grace for salvation? What is my purpose as it relates to statues, politics, and racial reconciliation?" Jesus answered this question in Matthew 28:19, when he tells Christ-followers that our purpose is to "Go and make disciples of all nations." It's all about helping human beings see that they have a need to be reconciled to God, and He desires to draw us all to Himself. Sharing the Gospel with my words and with my actions, THAT is my purpose. THAT is the reason for my existence. 

In light of that purpose and calling in Christ, how should I feel about a Confederate statue? As Tanya stated, her heart (and many other hearts in our country today) are being broken over and over while Christians choose to place more value on statues than on the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ. How would this represent Christ to my unsaved neighbor of color if I were to advocate for a statue of a Confederate leader who wanted their ancestors to remain enslaved? Would my neighbor then be willing to listen to me, in the next breath, tell them how much Jesus loves and values them? Could this be a stumbling block to my neighbor coming to salvation? If a statue is standing in the way of my neighbor hearing the Gospel that I'm speaking about Jesus, there is no other option than to tear the statue down! 

One more thought - If a statue, which is not eternal, has become more important to me than the eternal lives of the human beings around me, if I am finding myself more passionate about advocating for a statue than I am in advocating for human lives, then that statue has become an idol in my life. Lord, let me be willing to tear down every idol in my heart, to be willing to tear down a thousand statues in order to reach my neighbors, who are made in Your image, with the Good News that Your Son died for them because their lives matter infinitely to You! 

--1 Corinthians 9:19-23--

Monday, March 6, 2017

Homeschool Day In the Life: Carrie's Day with a 9, 7, and 5-year-old!



These Day in the Life posts from Jamie over at Simple Homeschool have been my FAVORITE thing since I discovered them!! A few years ago, I had just a couple of friends who homeschooled. They were amazing and so on top of everything with their kids! When I couldn't keep up or didn't feel like what they were doing was working for my family, I felt like I was failing or falling behind. After meeting many more homeschooling families in the last few years, I am learning that every family's unique situation, homeschooling goals, every parent/teacher, every student/child, their ages and personalities, are SO different and require different scheduling, focus, curriculum and instructional approaches to lead to meaningful learning! These posts have been so encouraging along that vein - every family homeschools SO differently and that's okay!

So I decided to write my own post about how we do homeschool! This is patterned after an imaginary 'normal' day, in which my husband works a normal (opening) shift and we do not have to run any errands or be anywhere at any certain time. Guess how many days a week this routine actually happens in this way? :) Well, Monday is grocery shopping and library day. Tuesday we have a really great co-op that we all love in the afternoon, so we just try to get phonics and math in before we leave for that. Wednesday, we have church small group in the evening but usually nothing in the day. Thursday and Friday, my husband usually has one day off (which we use as our Saturday/family day with no school, no matter what day of the week it is) and the other day, he usually closes, which means he's home in the morning and gone in the evening. Saturday, we do school, but there's often something going on that we work around!

So, on this 'typical' day, I usually get up between 6:15 and 6:30...worst case, 6:45 to get a shower in before the kids are allowed to come downstairs at 7:00. They usually wake up around 6:30, and they're allowed to go to the 'Kid Zone' they created in the bonus (toy) room upstairs and hang out together at 6:40.

At 7:00, we gather in my room or on the couch for Bible time - Natalie and David are doing Quiet Time Diaries from Word of Life, and Zachary reads a daily devotional in his Sports Devotional. Then we pray together - we've recently started using the PrayerMate app - any time we hear of a prayer request, we enter it into the list to be prayed for, along with all of our family, friends, neighbors, church, government, etc. The app divides it up into a manageable amount per day for us, and it's been a good tool to help us in our prayer time!

We finish prayer around 7:30, and now it's cleaning time! We turn on some fun music (VeggieTales channel on Pandora has been making our mornings lately, or possibly Lecrae or TobyMac), and the kids go to work cleaning the area they spent the afternoon quiet time in the day before. I work on laundry or other cleaning around the house until 8:00, when I start to get breakfast together, and Zachary (9) starts working independently on his Easy Peasy math and reading at the laptop at the kitchen table.



When Natalie and David finish their cleaning, they play inside or outside or help me get breakfast together. Today, Natalie wants to read a book, so David 'helps' me in the kitchen, which means we have to clean up some spilled cereal, but he's so proud that he poured it into the bowls all by himself...

We eat breakfast together around 8:30 and during breakfast, I review my Beth Moore SSMT verses (Natalie especially has been loving helping me with these this year!)


Then the kids and I review our Charlotte Mason verse box - any time we memorize verses, we stick them in this box and then review them by day of the week and month! Pictured are the two we're working on now!


When we finish, Zachary goes back to his computer work. One thing he has been loving in his curriculum this year is the Scratch website where he learns to code and animate projects and interacts with other kids who are also coding or learning to code! Here are a couple of cool projects he has made lately: Peanut Butter Jelly Time and Save Pico Game.

Natalie and David start their chores for the day, and I clean the kitchen and help them/encourage them to start their chores.


When they finish, they decide to play a card game in the living room. You can tell they also have some kind of play food store or lunch counter set up on the couch behind them. 


Around 9:30, Zachary gets up to do his chores and Natalie (7) sits down at the computer to start her online first grade Easy Peasy math and reading work. She is reading well now, but she still often likes to have me look over her shoulder for math, spelling, and grammar and to help with game instructions. David usually plays outside or upstairs during this time. The weather is nice today, so he heads out to swing in the back yard. We do pretty well sticking to our schedule up until this point in the day, but after this is where what comes next is anybody's guess!



Sometime between 10:00 and 11:00, David (5) does his online Easy Peasy kindergarten with my help.



He's also doing Handwriting Without Tears and a dollar store '1st grade' math workbook.




We also read library books aloud, and there is an online logic game at ABCya.com called Wheely that David loooooves to play when he's finished all his work!



If I can, I like to finish cleaning the kitchen during this hour, too, and I try to give them a short outside recess before we come together at 11:00 for Bible, social studies, science, and other special subjects like art and music.

At 11:00, the kids grab a snack and I grab my coffee and we all sit down at the table together. We read our Bible passage from from Easy Peasy (we're on Year 2 this year) and discuss the questions. Then we read our social studies lesson - right now, we're studying Lewis and Clark, so I read the chapter to them, and we peruse a map of their expedition together. There is an optional map activity, which Zachary wants to do, so we watch him work on that. Many days, we have lapbook pieces to complete for science (we're studying animals this year), but today, we have a fun 3D Bingo game to play about what animals live in which zones of the ocean!




By noon, we're done with today's formal stuff, so the kids go out to jump on the trampoline and play in the yard while I finish some cleaning and make lunch, and we eat around 1:00. (On an errand day, I would fit our errands somewhere into this section of the day here - sometimes before lunch, sometimes taking a picnic/car lunch with us).

After lunch, the kids play till 2:00 or we read library books together if we haven't gotten around to that yet. 2:00 is quiet time, so the kids each find their own area to be quiet in, and I settle down to work on the computer (I transcribe from home part time for Rev.com) with hopefully minimal interruptions until 4:00. Zachary finishes up any writing assignments, worksheets and his Spanish lesson with Duolingo on the iPad during this time. He's also recently started studying Italian and German! Natalie also finishes up any handwriting assignments she has, so I do see each of them when they finish or need help. Zachary also LOVES to bake cookies during quiet time! We limit his cookie ingredient usage to once a week, but he would bake every day if he could - and his cookies are increeeeedibly delicious!!


At 4:00, we eat a quick snack and either finish up any of our Year 2 work if we didn't get to it before, or go outside for a walk or to play with neighbors until I need to start supper! My husband usually gets home between 5:00 and 5:30, and we eat dinner together around 6:00. Then the kids get ready for bed at 7:00. I clean up from dinner, finish up any Rev work I might have to do, and then get to sit and hang out with my hubby for a little while before bed! Sometimes I use this time to fold laundry or mix up something quick for tomorrow's breakfast, but mostly we just hang out, chat and watch TV.

Before I head for bed, I click open each of the kids' tabs for tomorrow's schoolwork and look it over, print any worksheets that need to be printed (I usually print the week's work all at one time, but always check just in case I missed something), and input all of Zachary's assignments into his Wunderlist account - this helps him to be accountable and aware of what I specifically want to see from each of his assignments without me nagging him during the morning. I also like to do my daily Bible reading and read my daily Ann Voskamp email before I head for bed! And that's a whole day in our family's homeschool life!

Does our day sound familiar or unusual compared to how your family does homeschool? Feel free to share in the comments, and don't forget to check out all the other Day in the Life posts at today's linkup over at Simple Homeschool!!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016: The Year In Smiles


As I reflect back on the last year, as always, God has done so much for our family and in our family! 2016 brought *another* move, just an hour down the road, but to a whole new community, which we are falling in love with more every week! So here are some smiles and memories from our family in 2016!

January: I'm so thankful that Georgia 'winters' allow for exploring outside pretty much all year long! But we did have a couple days of snowflakes, too!

 No automatic alt text available.

No automatic alt text available.

February: In February, we found out we would be moving to Macon. The kids and I took a trip to Greenville to see Emily, Silas & Judah!

Image may contain: 5 people, outdoor

Image may contain: 4 people, outdoor

March: March was a BIG month!! Family vacation to Myrtle Beach, getting our Hampton house ready to sell, trip to Iowa to see the Harriss family and Grandma Cheatum for Easter, ETC!!

Image may contain: one or more people, tree and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people, beach, ocean, outdoor and water

Image may contain: 3 people

Image may contain: 3 people, outdoor

Image may contain: 9 people, people smiling, people sitting, living room and indoor

Image may contain: 3 people

April: In April, we moved to Byron, GA and said goodbye to our Hampton friends.

Image may contain: 5 people, outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people

Image may contain: tree

Image may contain: 5 people, people standing, outdoor and nature

May: In May, we started getting settled in Byron, and enjoyed some first field trips in the Macon area!

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, sky, cloud and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people, beach, outdoor, water and nature

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling

June: In June, we finished up our school and did a lot of fun stuff at the library and $1 movies, and water fun!

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and child

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting, outdoor and nature

July: In July, we took the whole month off of school to do LOTS of fun things!! Zachary passed his swimming lessons! The kids and I even got to take a trip to NY for Zachary to go to youth camp, and David celebrated his 5th birthday while we were there, staying with his grandparents Hart!

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, sky, tree, twilight, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 2 people, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, tree, child, shoes, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people, child and outdoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting, tree, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, basketball court and outdoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, tree, plant and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, child and indoor

Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

August: We came back from NY in August, and then got to take a family trip to see the Harts in New Jersey!

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing, mountain, child, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing, people sitting, car and outdoor

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing, hat and child

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, standing, shoes, child, table and indoor

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, table and indoor

September: In September, we went back to school full-force, did some field trips and joined a homeschool co-op in our area which we have LOVED!! We also really started to get involved in New City Church and our MC group, who have meant so much to our family, especially while getting settled here!

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people sitting and text

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting, table and outdoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, tree, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, child

October: October brought more school and I got to take a trip by myself to see my niece Ava and the Harriss family in Iowa!! We celebrated Halloween with a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Harriss!

Image may contain: cloud, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people, tree, child, shoes, plant, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, child, tree, hat, grass, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 1 person, sleeping, sitting and baby

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

November: In November, we had a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Hart, then we settled in, doing school, and celebrated Thanksgiving!

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and indoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and indoor

Image may contain: sky, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting

Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, christmas tree and indoor

December: December is a busy month with TWO birthdays and Christmas!! Zachary turned 9 and Natalie turned 7! We enjoyed some holiday fun with friends and a short break from co-op classes! We finished up by celebrating Jesus' birth with our New City family!

Image may contain: 1 person, food and indoor

Image may contain: 3 people, people standing

Image may contain: 3 people, people eating, child, outdoor and food

Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting, people eating, child, shoes, table, food and outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, stripes and outdoor

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, tree, closeup, outdoor and nature

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and indoor

Happy 2017 to all!! Praying for another year of smiles, different than the last!