Ben Franklin Class

I’m almost finished teaching a homeschool co-op class about Ben Franklin to a group of six 7-9 year olds. Homeschool co-op is one of the great blessings of homeschooling, and I enjoy it as much as the kids do. Each class ends up differently than I expect at the beginning. For instance, the class dynamics are such that I have three high-spirited boys, one fiery, smart girl, and two sweet, studious girls. Half of the hour involves being quiet and listening to me read a chapter or two from Robert Lawson’s book, Ben and Me. This is a great book which I’ve used as a read-aloud at home several times already, but it’s difficult for those boys to sit and listen. So, I let them draw. Well, then they started drawing pictures of the girls… you get the idea. It’s a little crazy sometimes.

I ended up doing more with electricity experiments than I intended. My library lets me check out Snap-Circuits, so I brought that in for two weeks, and that was a really big hit. Yesterday, we did a static electricity experiment with balloons and soda cans, which was simple and fun. We also worked on a Magic Squares math puzzle, which my teacher aide enjoyed. The kids did quite well, really getting out their math skills and trying to figure it out.

The girls especially liked the art project I did about symmetry. (We were talking about Ben going to the Palace of Versailles in France, and there’s a lot of symmetry in that palace and gardens.)

I always learn new things, too, each semester I teach. I appreciate Ben’s genius more. He had quite a lot going on in his brain at most times. I think he liked to challenge himself. He also knew the importance of smart friends. He had societies where he sat down with smart people and shared ideas. I need to remember that I feel much more inspired to challenge myself and my children when I’ve had time to be with smart, caring people. Much of my writing work is done in private, but that needs to be balanced with those times of social inspiration.

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Year of the Black Pony

Today I finished reading Year of the Black Pony by Walt Morey (1976). I started this as a read-aloud, but after a couple chapters the kids thought it was weird and didn’t want to continue. I, however, had a hard time putting it down. It’s about a boy whose dad dies, and his smart mama figures out a way to support her children by convincing a neighboring rancher that he needs to marry her. There’s a black pony, too, of course. The pony’s fate is important to the plot, but, as usual, I’m more interested in the characters. The adults are very well done, I think. Mr. Chase, the mama’s choice for husband, turns out to be a really nice guy. The mama is shrewd and practical, and she loves her children very much, but she’s also stubborn. Even though the children grow to love their new daddy, through the entire book the mama stays on her side of the house. There is a satisfying ending, but the fun in the book is watching the characters change throughout the story.

Walt Morey’s more popular book is called Gentle Ben, about a big, tame bear. We all really liked that one. Ben reminded us of one of our cats. (Our cat is much smaller, though.)

I recommend both of these Morey stories for a good, old-timey book.

A New Chapter

I’m trying something new here on my blog. Well, it’s old and it’s new. I’m still going to write and be honest, but I’m changing my focus a bit. You can read more on my About page.

For those old followers of mine, you know I’ve been in a bit of a marriage mess. I still am. No doubt about that. I’m not clear-minded or understanding my next move at all. I’m still going to counseling. I’m still hanging tight to my church’s counsel and help. I’m still relying on the prayers of friends and family.

I’m also still homeschooling. I’m still a mother of three lovely children. I’m still a writer. I’m still an artist (at least, I like to think so). I’ve been instructed to not think too far ahead. My future is unknown, but my present is something I can handle, right here, right now.

I’m going to write for myself. This is a form of therapy for me. It’s a way to keep myself out of the gloom. It’s also a way to keep myself focused on what is true.

This is a post of explanation, but I also want to say that I’ve been inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe today. She knew a beauty, and she knew how to share that beauty with others. She resisted the influences of others and made something entirely unique. I see her as strong-willed, knowing herself, and doing what she needed to do. Did you know she was born in Wisconsin? I didn’t, until today. I also didn’t know about the husband she left in New York while she went to New Mexico to paint. I should find a good biography of her life and read it. Here’s an O’Keeffe picture to admire.

“Series 1, No. 8” by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1918

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Thank you all for reading. I am going to take a break from writing here. My husband believes I make things up. I say that with sadness, but no anger or anything else. Maybe I do. I love to write. But apparently writing is not something that is helping him. He wants me to leave him alone in a way. And yet he wants me to love him for who he is. I still have that to figure out, and I guess I am taking advantage of this last post to do so.

God is good and doesn’t need me to work out His plan. He shall be greater and I shall be less.

Please pray for my kids. My husband says it is ridiculous that I don’t trust him. Maybe so. Maybe he is okay with the kids. But I still am very concerned about their safety, no matter what anyone says, and I will pray and pray and pray for them and their physical, emotional, and spiritual safety. If anything gets me back on here it will be because I need to be their advocate.

Being Reconciled

New Year’s blog posts written by thoughtful Christian moms are nice reading material. Some people choose a word to concentrate on during the year. Some people find larger meaning in small things that happen to them around the holidays. Some share their favorite books of the year. I wasn’t really planning on writing a New Year post this year, but I heard a great sermon this morning (best sermon of the year, so far!), and it got me thinking…

The minister asked if I was Reformed enough to believe that when God sees me, He really sees Christ. I am a good child of the Reformation because I understand total depravity (I am sinful since conception) (The T in TULIP). Why do I bounce back and forth between hope and despair? (And I do.) I should not separate myself from Christ. I am in Christ, and therefore the broken relationship between myself and God is restored, and it cannot be broken again.

In human reconciliation, the person who does the offense needs to bring about reconciliation to the offended. I honestly didn’t know that. And that’s important to me right now. But God does something different. He is the One offended against, but He offered up the means of reconciliation (Christ).

Once I am seeing myself in the light of Christ, I can look at everything and everyone through that different and new lens. I need to be a peacemaker as much as it is possible. There’s that word again: peacemaker. Not peacekeeper. I know from my counseling and Boundaries reading that being a peacemaker means hard things.

If I was going to pick a word for myself this year, I’d probably have to go with “peace.” It’s one of those big concepts: you want it but you’re not sure how to go about getting it. And God promises it. So you’re supposed to have it, and you probably do, somewhere. You just haven’t learned how to recognize it yet. Or you haven’t unwrapped it.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you find God’s peace, too.

Support in Marriage

I have lots of life and relationship issues to think about right now. Writing them out is part of how I think through them. I have a private blog I use for the more confidential and emotional things. But I decided to write this one here because I’m thinking more people want to know how they should be supporting their spouse.

My husband claims I do not support him. Okay. Whether or not that is true, I want to find out what supporting a husband looks like. So, I do some research and come up with this article by Boyd Bailey. I feel like what he says is true. Here’s a quote:

A man needs to know his wife trusts his decision-making and his ability to provide for his family. Her confidence in him propels his self-confidence to higher levels. Your belief in your husband builds him up to believe in himself. It is difficult for a man to rise any higher than the opinion of his helpmate.

Bailey also writes about being patient with him and trusting him to the Lord when things aren’t getting done. Pray for him to be the leader God wants him to be.

How do I stand up to these things? I think the question is more like, how have I stood up to these things in the past, and how has my situation changed recently? I think I did trust his decision-making and his ability to provide. Until I couldn’t anymore. And I did believe in him. Until that became foolish. I still find myself rebuking myself for not believing in him, for not being more supportive. Because I know that’s what wives are supposed to do.

But I read on to the husband’s instructions, and I learn what they are supposed to be doing, and it is written for my husband. I wish he would be more interested in me and my blog and what I’m interested in so that he could read this.

As a husband, it is imperative in God’s sight that you lovingly lead your wife and children. You may feel your wife is more qualified, smarter, and more spiritual. These all may be very true. However, God’s plan is for you to take the position of leadership in the home. She is looking for you to do whatever God has told you. Prayer is your mantle of responsibility. See it as a privilege to enjoy and not an obligation to tolerate. She will trust you more and more as you remain trustworthy.

It takes time to overcome a track record of distrust. Remain in the process of listening to God, following His commands, and then leading your family to do the same.

Track record of distrust. That sounds so nasty. But that’s what he has, and he seems to expect me to try to win him back somehow. He expects me to make him fall in love with me again. But really, he needs to be praying and listening to what God is telling him, and how can he be doing that if he’s blocking out his spiritual leaders from the church? He needs to be leading in love. He wants me to lead him in love.

How do I love him right now? I pray for him. I do what I can to show him that he needs God’s guidance. There’s not much I can do. My support is nothing if he’s not leaning on the same God I’m leaning on.

In a way, the revelation of writing this post is disheartening. I can’t fix things. But in another way, it is hopeful. I can’t fix things, but God knows all about this, and He understands what my husband is supposed to be doing. He understands why I can’t support my husband the way a wife supports a trustworthy husband. He gets it! And He can help me.