Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Thursday, April 7, 2011
April 6, 2011
Note: I’ve heard it said, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” 1 The truth of the matter is, if one person’s freedoms can be taken, then no one’s freedoms are safe. You may or may not agree with home-education, but if you value the freedom to raise your children as you see fit, and if you value the freedom to serve God as you feel convicted, then you should be concerned when a district Judge steps outside the law to violate someone’s privacy and rights. And besides, that’s not really what this article is about. J
On April 2, 2011 all homeschooling families in Mississippi’s 13th district received a letter of notification that could very well have been the first step of the proverbial “Slippery Slope” - a slope that might endanger the rights of parents to home-educate their children in Mississippi. I wasn’t particularly concerned for my own “student” who only has to legally be enrolled one more year. 2 I was more upset about the intrusion into my privacy and the threat against this beautiful freedom we enjoy. I was concerned about my future grandchildren’s education and if my children would even have the right to home-educate if they so chose. I saw an injustice in the making - an overstepping of the judicial powers of big government, and I was not a happy camper. My first course of action? Worry. (Which always seems to be my default response.) Prompted by fear and indignation I began contacting other home-schooling families to see what they knew. Upon pooling our information it became clear that some counter legal action was needed. But what kind? How would you go about that? Who should be contacted? How much would such a thing cost? My anxiety level was on the rise.
Enter Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
For twenty-five years HSLDA has been defending the cause of America’s home-educators. For a nominal yearly fee they stand on guard protecting our rights and advocating on behalf of those who find themselves in legal battles over trampled civil liberties in the area of home-schooling. Always in compliance with State laws in a home-school friendly state I’d never given HSLDA much thought – until now.
Yesterday morning I called HSLDA and joined. By evening I received a kindly phone call from their legal team telling me what they knew about the case and assuring me they had been hard at work on the issue. All necessary papers had been drawn and filed. All parties involved had been notified of the intent to fight this rights violation. They had everything under control, and there was nothing for me to do but relax and let them handle it. I can’t describe my relief. They were knowledgeable about what I didn’t understand. They had power where I was powerless. They had contacts where I knew no one. A weight was lifted. Someone in the know was in charge.
As I breathed one more sigh of relief and gratitude this morning I thought about another Advocate3 I have. One I should turn to at the first sign of trouble but don’t always. One Who is powerful where I am weak, knowledgeable about all things, and has connections all over the world and beyond. One Who patiently waits to intervene on my behalf if I will just ask. He says to me, “I have done all that is necessary. I have everything under control. I’ve been working diligently behind the scenes. You don’t have to do anything except relax and let Me handle it.”
What a relief! And He paid the fee Himself!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”4
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”5
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Facebook had numerous mentionings of it. Several are actually surrendering Facebook during this 40-day period before Easter; others are sacrificing, well, the list is endless and doesn't really matter. Lent’s about sacrifice, right? Giving up something important as an act of worship, a reminder of Christ’s sufferings on our behalf, a clearing of “life-clutter” to create more time to focus on Him? I think it is a wonderful thing: self-sacrifice in order to grow closer to Christ. And the lists of things to give up, sacrifice, or fast from (however you want to word it) are legion. Facebook, television, secular music, Internet, alcohol, cigarettes, fast food, meat, sweets, soft drinks, new shoes, or anything that robs our time with God or replaces Him in our lives are good choices for the chopping block called Lent.
But I’ve been wondering….
What might please God more?
Giving up shopping trips or giving up grudges?
Forgoing Face Book or forgoing gossip?
Feeling chocolate cravings or feeling an overwhelming burden for the lost?
Leaving the TV. off or leaving our comfort zone to share God’s love with someone out of our social standing, religious convictions, or racial class?
Last year the Christian radio station K-Love gave a 40-day challenge to “do everything without complaining.” (Philippians 2:14) I opted out of the challenge. It was summer time in Mississippi and I knew, “It is SOOOOO hot!” would come out of my mouth numerous times. Giving up chocolate would have been easier.
This brings us back to the question. What am I relinquishing for Lent this year? I haven’t yet decided. Maybe nothing at all. (Just being honest.) I like what Barbie Bassett said, “As a Christian I am to deny myself daily.” Hmmmmm…. 365 days is a lot longer. Maybe I should choose sacrificing for Lent instead of daily for the rest of my life. (Is that even an option?) Also, if something has such a grip on me that it is worth giving up for 40 days, should it be in my life at all? These are the questions that plague me.
As I search for answers I’m reminded of two things:
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6
“If I give all I posses to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3
Hopefully I’ll get it figured out before Easter.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
What would happen if you bought a medium size waterproof container, filled it with cheap trinkets, hid it somewhere outside, determined its GPS coordinates, and then posted those coordinates on the Internet? People from all over would come and find it! They would sign their names on the log book you included in the container (because you want to know who found it), they would take a trinket from the container and leave something in return, they would later report their find on the internet, and they would go off to find other such hidden containers. Oh, and they would call it Geocaching! (“Geo” meaning “earth” and “cache” being a collection of things.)
I wish I could take credit for devising such a clever hide and seek game, but I can’t. I can tell you to visit www.geocaching.com to learn all about this high-tech scavenger hunt. (That’s where you find and post coordinates and log in your finds.) I am fairly new to the geocaching adventure, but I can tell you it is great fun, educational, and highly addicting!
1. It’s fun!
2. It’s fairly cheap as far as hobbies go. You probably already have what you need: Internet access to geocaching.com (where you can sign up for a free account), a GPS, gas in your vehicle, and a sense of adventure. Of course, like any hobby, you can spend lots of money on geocaching too. You can invest in special GPS’s and/or smart phone apps, you can pay for a premium membership, you can purchase special trinkets to place in caches and “official” gear, and you can drive all over the country. But you don’t have too. Chances are there are hundreds of caches within a day’s drive of where you live.
3. It’s cross-generational. I love it, my 16-year-old daughter loves it, and my 69-year-old father loves it! Because it is an ageless activity it creates great opportunities to bring families together.
4. It gives you something to do on those beautiful days when you want to be outdoors but you don’t own a boat or a membership to the country club.
5. It is educational. Well, it isn’t ALWAYS educational, but many caches are hidden in or around historical areas. One of our best “finds” wasn’t the actual cache (which was too small to contain anything except a log to sign), but the nearby church that was built in the mid-1800’s. We were able to go inside and sit in the slave balcony on the original benches. That had a profound affect on my 16-year-old and sparked some great discussion. Also, some variations of the geocache are non-traditional ones which aren’t containers, but places including geological treasures and historical sites. Because of this…
6. You never really know what you will find or where you will end up! That makes it quite adventurous!
7. It creates great memory-making opportunities… like going caching with good friends along the bank of the Mississippi River. Or when you and your daughter give up the search for a cache deep in the woods but your dad refuses to give up and you think he is truly lost because you can’t hear him any more. (He does make his way out only to trip over a fallen tree and land flat on his back. He’s ok though.)
8. You get to see some beautiful places. If you like photography then this is the hobby for you. Like I said, you never know what you will find. It could be that previously mentioned old church, or a beautiful sunset, or a most unusual magnolia tree, or gravestones marked CSA (Confederate States of America).
9. I’ll let you fill in #9!
Friday, February 18, 2011
Hmmmm....I feel another inspirational thought coming. :-D
Thanks for all the well wishes.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
My son is in New Orleans today running his first ½ marathon. I’m impressed! This is the son who loves chocolate chip cookies for supper and hates vegetables. This is the boy who hid his spaghetti under a bookcase when he was five and always has a little milk with his chocolate. Yet for months he’s been working out and training for this event. Even watching what he eats. (To some extent) I have no doubt he can do it, and I’m cheering him on all the way…from home. I want to be at the end of his 13.1-mile journey through the French Quarter to greet him at the finish line and applaud this accomplishment. I want to tell him how proud I am of his hard work, determination, and resolve to keep going. But I won’t be there. Obligations beyond my control prevent me.
I said this was my son’s first ½ marathon, but it isn’t his first race. When he was younger he decided to run the race of faith set before him by Christ, a race I myself started years before he was born. It too requires hard work, determination, and resolve to keep on keeping on. There are distractions, detractors, and detours on this path. Some places are smooth and scenic, and others contain rough, ugly terrain. And unlike a ½ marathon, we don’t really know how far it is to the end. We just have to keep our eyes on Jesus and run with perseverance the race set before us. Two things are certain, I know he can do it, and I will be at this finish line to welcome my son and applaud his accomplishment.
This is the most important race of our lives.
I love you, Kyle! See you there!
Friday, February 11, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011