Book Binge

I have a problem.  Fiction can consume me.

There’s been two main thoughts going through my mind the last week.  What has to be done (feeding kids, house chores, sleep, school) and what can be sacrificed to allow a complete book binge.  I try very hard to moderate this addiction to the fictional world.  Usually that works pretty well, but every so often, I spiral out of control.  I mean allow my children to play Wii all day, no baths, junk food for breakfast, lunch and dinner out of control.  

I do pretty well if I can locate a book that is not a part of a series.  The longer the series, the more I’m trapped in it.  For a single book I can usually minimize the damage by consuming it in one crazy day (or night).  Give me a 3 or 4 part series…well, I’m on damage control since it requires at least a day for each.

The last week (maybe closer to two) I’ve hopped between two 4 book series.  Both I’ve read before.  Ahem.  Twice.  You would rationally think the power of the written word to transport me to Forks, Washington and the fantasy land of Lothion would be negligible.   Not so.  It still consumes me like an Alabama vs Auburn game consumes its fans.  Unfortunately, reading is not a social event like a good rivalry football game.  Perhaps that is why I love it so much, since it calls to my sense of adventure in a very introvert way.  An oxymoron, I know.  Yet isn’t that what fiction is in many ways?  An adventure where you never have to risk anything?

I see the light at the end of this tunnel.  Book 4 is ready to be devoured and fortunately (or unfortunately) Book 5 has not yet been released.  My nose will be out of my books very soon.  Until next time.

Grammar part deux

Grammar. Just the thought gives me the creeps. In spite of my love for writing and reading…this is not an area I shine in. I think parts of speech and sentence structure were covered in middle school for me…maybe half a semester? By the time I got into high school, my very own english teacher mother attempted to review things for me since it didn’t stick the first time around. It was disastrous to say the least. We agreed to disagree. My brain just couldn’t grasp what was trying to be communicated. I could “fix” my writing, and I could tell when what was written was right but if you asked me to identify parts and structures and why I’d melt into tears.

Fast forward to now. Enter fourth grade language arts with the daughter I’m trying to teach grammar to. Yeah. I’m a bit in over my head here. I’m reading the textbook ahead of time. I’m chanting adjectives describe a noun, adverbs are added to verbs in my head. We’ve only just begun. And here’s the kicker folks. I’m teaching this in-depth, hard-core, sentence-diagraming, structure identifying process for the next 8 years. Three kids. I’m hoping by the end of that 8th year, y’all will be seeing much better grammar and writing here…because that is a ton of grammar review. Perhaps in 8 years I will be able to finally learn all that I should’ve learned back in 6th grade.

I’ve claimed this as I’ve walked this path of a public school parent teaching a home school child…I’m redeeming my own education. Things that have been forgotten, perhaps were never taught, I get the privilege of re-learning as I teach my own children. Every teacher will tell you, you never really learn something until you have to explain it. Nursing has its own motto of this as we trained: see, do, teach. I laugh now because it’s just a spin-off on the Classical model that then I never knew, but now I see all around me. My favorite girl, as we work through our material, will often ask why I don’t have something memorized and yet I expect it of her. I am always quick to tell her that I’m teaching her the way I wish I had learned. Even as a good student in school so much would have been better fixed in my mind had I been taught this way.

So, as I look at banned words (some of which are in here), strong openers or closers and sentence structure…I keep telling myself: see, do, teach.  And there’s grace in the process.

Into the deep end…

Tomorrow I dive off the diving board.  It’s the first day of my new “job” as Classical Conversations director, the first day of our new community, the first day of being thought of as in charge.  There’s a part of me in panic overdrive.  Full on freak out.  An introverted soul curled up in the corner of a padded room saying this is all a dream, this is all a dream.  Then there’s this other part of me…the one that fools people into thinking I’m an extrovert, the one which stares out with supreme confidence and declares I can do this!  

Guess what?  They are both wrong.  I’m taking the opportunity to call bs on both of them.  Because, full on freak out me is not walking in the faith that God has brought this and will equip me for this in His strength.  And, the overly confident me is not walking in the humility that God asks of us in all that we do for Him.  Both of them are horribly wrong.  One allows fear to overrule the power and grace of God while the other shuns the power and grace of God in favor of its own.  It’s schizophrenia of the soul.

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard to: Tell the difference between what is real and not real;…

The difference between what is real and what is not.  Ever thought of your spiritual battle that way?  I hadn’t.  Not really.  But the bottom line is I’m a soul schizophrenic.  Both tendencies in my personality look at what is not real.  They exclude (intentionally or not) what is real.  God is real.  His grace is real.  I need to walk in Him and in grace every moment of my life.  Emotional highs and lows are perceptions, not truth.  His Word is truth.

The truth is God will provide.  Feast or famine…He is in control.  My best efforts still need grace.  My worst moments have grace already provided.  My hope comes from the Lord alone.

Into the deep end we go.

Crazy…

I’m not where I wanted to be.  As I sit here, I’m surrounded by my 3 kids, each working diligently on the school work that was on my list to do during July.  I sigh.  I feel guilty.  I cringe at the thought of being behind.  I wonder if I had been more diligent this summer, if I had said no to some of the fun things, would we be farther along?  I start to feel a bit frantic and think I have to catch up.

And then I stop.  Because it’s so darn easy to guilt-trip myself into utter despair, I’m not paying attention to the most important things.  I’m sitting here, surrounded by my kids, each diligently working.  Is there something better than what I’m doing at this moment?  Is there a more rewarding enterprise to be desired than having my 3 children, 5, 6 and 9 all learning together and me intimately acquainted with what they are learning and how they learn?  I know that my math approach has failed my daughter’s learning style and am watching eagerly to see if we have hopefully made the necessary corrections to give her her confidence back.  I know Isaac is a smart boy who will easily get discouraged if I teach him like I teach his sister.  As a tactile learner, his challenge (and mine) is having  a love of reading when it’s an auditory and visual skill.  And I watch my Jake, as he insists on holding his pencil completely wrong, but makes good letters doing it.

It’s crazy to freak out.  It’s crazy to sit here and guilt myself over content when the substance of what is happening is life long learning.  It’s shaping souls, letting them see that goals are set and sometimes they are not met.  It’s starting a book or path and realizing part of the way that it’s not the best.  It’s asking questions, crying over math concepts together, reminding myself and my kids that we learn because it is our glory to do so (Prov 25:2).  It’s hard.  But that is okay.  Our culture has become so fearful of hard.  With ads stating they make it easy, or we believe in easy…we become so brainwashed that if a thing is difficult it must be wrong.  Or we focus on the hard parts and become so discouraged that we don’t see what good things are staring at us.

Dare to look for them this week.  I know I am.