Oh, goodness. Overnight One begins and the second hardest Monday of the year commences! What is the first hardest? Staff training, of course!

At this time of year all sorts of forces: camp, busyness, heat, satan's attacks and MY SIN all collide into this swarming whirlwind of potential calamity. Take note that I capitalized MY SIN, because the first responsibility, the first instigator of the trouble is really me.

This is my 21st summer of camping, I served eight summers on staff here, eleven total of staffing and this is is my 3rd as a straight-up camp wife and Mommy. The Caedmon's Call lyric from "Thankful" rings true, still!

I ran across an old box of letters
While I was bagging up some clothes for Goodwill
You Know I had to laugh that the same old struggles
That plagued me then are plaguing me still
I know the road is long from the ground to glory
But a boy can hope he's getting some place

The same old struggles, indeed! One would think that after all this time, I'd have gotten somewhere in this. Deep internal sins like pride, selfishness, resentment, jealousy, comparison and even envy pop up. Maybe the circumstances change slightly, but the roots don't. In my heart of hearts, I want the glory and the focus and my comfort and it's all ME, ME, ME. Having an attitude of humility like Jesus, living for God's glory, being a helper for my husband (instead of expecting him to accommodate me) and focusing on my three sweet campers, can easily fly out the window.

It was also easy to lose perspective. Ultimately, this was one or two weeks of challenges out of a whole year of blessings. Once camp gets going and we are in a routine, it is WONDERFUL. Tuan's job and the amazing privilege of living here and sharing in the camp experience are something I thank God for almost every day. I am amazed that we get to serve God and his kingdom in this way.

Last summer was especially hard and I failed to fight the good fight early on. As the year went by, I kept on thinking about my sins during this time and how ashamed I was at the attitudes, words and actions that came out of my heart.

I wanted this year to be different.

My sweet Bible study small group was enlisted for prayer back in February and I have been praying and thinking and talking with Tuan about my struggles. He didn't need to change or accommodate me, but having my sweet husband know and understand more ahead of time was important. A dear "Older Sister" was praying. I also planned for strategic baby-sitting, so it would be possible to participate in some of the fun things and good speakers happening.

The week leading up to staff training was lots of fun as it always is. We have a small group of early staff and take turns feeding them and getting to know them, but the entire time I could see the storm on the horizon. It was coming! (or, as Homily said with a shudder in The Borrowers: "Winter!")

By the grace of God this was a much, much better "No. 1 Monday". It was a day of struggles for sure, and it seemed that the harder I fought to not wallow in sin, the more temptations flew at me. I am thankful that in God's grace, I was more able put Tuan's needs and interests above my own, focus on the kids and at the end of the day we were able to have some unexpected fun with the staff.

In college, I had this quote from Jonathan Edwards on my dorm room wall:

"Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be."

I had become comfortable with my sins and forgotten how vile they really are, I had forgotten to look to Jesus (It was MY sin that put him there) and be motivated by his amazing love to fight the good fight.

Today (No. 2 Monday), is only beginning. I'm sure it will be full of challenges and lovely temptations to wallow. By His grace, I will fight. Today, like every day, I covet your prayers!


5,345 Reasons to Homeschool Part I

This could take many posts to cover. I weekly have the "no we aren't doing preschool or kindergarten, but we've started homeschooling" conversation. I usually try to sum up all our reasons and just cannot encapsulate them into a few neat sentences. So hear come many paragraphs in no particular order on the subject!

I've spoken of not sharing my real opinions about things with folks in a past post and I'm about to share some real opinions, here. Some of the best advice I ever heard was from a lady in our church who said that just because something is a good choice for some families, it may not be the best choice for YOUR family and you and your husband need to prayerfully make choices apart from what others are doing. (paraphrased : ) ). Some of these things I feel strongly about, but I recognize that EVERY family is different. In sharing my opinions, I'm not judging others for their different choices and reasons!

1. I love my husband, my kids love their daddy and we like to be together as a family. Tuan has one of the coolest jobs in the world. It is a perfect job for him, but it has crazy hours, and seasons of normalcy. Sometimes we see lots of Tuan, sometimes we don't--especially when school is out: Spring break and all summer from May through August and MANY weekends he works long hours. In fact, he can easily work 35 hours from Friday through Sunday morning alone, meaning our "weekend" is often Sunday/Monday. With normal school attendance, we would not have much quality family time, let alone a family vacation!

2. Tuan occasionally travels for work and we like to go with him. If he is taking a course in NC or TX, by all means we are going! Those trips always occur in the bleak winter or lovely fall. Have you ever swum in an indoor pool with a blizzard outside the picture window? It's marvelous! (I digressed)

3. Our school choices are limited. We are in a rural school district and the nearest public school is 17 miles (24 minutes) away. Private schools are even further and our budget is not one amenable to private schooling. : ) Nor do I have an desire to drive to and fro twice a day (1 1/2 hours of driving a day! Minimum!), nor am I putting my babies on a school bus in the wee hours of the morning--with who knows what going on. Amen. I know there are the possibilities of carpool, but we carpooled 1-3 grade, 30 miles round trip and as a child I hated it. Loved the people; hated the carpool. : )

4. I'm a loosey-goosey free spirit. I admit it. I LOVE the freedom homeschooling offers. Whether it means taking a day to read, dropping everything for a field trip, having night school one day of the week, or working on an art project for four hours straight, I am all about it. Honestly, the idea of being forced to stick to a school calendar and getting kids to school at the same time every day with no flexibility makes me need fresh air. It's like caging a wild animal. Seriously.

5. I'm a believer in sleep and lots of it for children and babies. I LOVE the fact that I rarely have to wake the kids up in the morning. They can sleep as much as their little bodies need to. Of course as they get older that will change, but in these "growing years" sleep is important.

6. I know many schools are different, but making my little boy sit still and quiet in a desk for hours when he was created for motion and filled with God-given energy and enthusiasm and conversation bothers me. Don't think I'm an advocate for loosey-goosey parenting. I'm all about discipline, correction and training, but boys need to be boys.

Whew. Only six out of the 5, 345 reasons. More to come!


Opinions of a Peace Faker

The more that folks mention that they read my blog, the less I actually say--as in actual opinions. I'm a "peace-faker" at heart. Even though I have VERY strong opinions about things, I often hesitate to share them for fear of rocking the boat, or insulting people. Today, however, I am going to share this observation, because it kind of tickles me.

The thought of the day is the Bible and the "gifting" of Bibles. I am drowning in Bibles and realize that this is such a blessing and freedom that many believers don't enjoy. What I cannot understand is why Bibles are so often gifted to people in recognition of milestones or achievement.

I had a Bible as a child, then I made a profession of faith and joined the church and was given a Bible, then I was interested in a more of a study Bible, so my parents bought me a Bible I really wanted. Then, I graduated from high school and my church gave me another Bible (were they trying to tell me something?), then I was given a copy of the Reformation Study Bible (which I really wanted), and someone else gave me a slimline purse copy of the KJV. By the time I was twenty, I had six Bibles to my name and only two which were truly used with frequency.

I see the purpose of having a study Bible and access to multiple translations, but just gifting and handing them out for every milestone seems redundant. At least ask if the person needs one or would prefer a commentary or concordance!

At the hospital, the Gideons always come by with a NT/Psalms/Prov for our newborns, which is soon supplanted by the one our church gives every baby born (a sweet, thoughtful gesture--I am NOT complaining!), meaning that at birth, our kids are already in possession of two partial Bibles.

Did I mention that someone gave me a gift bag when Miss A was born containing a Bible--for me!

Is someone trying to tell me something?

My favorite instance is when someone memorizes the Westminster Confession of Faith or the Shorter/Longer Catechism--and is given a Bible. You would think a person who had tackled that would be in possession of Scripture already---just recently a Seminary student at church successfully memorized one of the above and was given a copy of the Bible. I felt like the unspoken message was, "wow, Son, you've really impressed us with your interested in the summary of Reformed doctrine, now how about you take a look at where it all came from? You'll need this in Seminary. " Now, I know that wasn't really what was being communicated, but it did tickle me.

This, dear readers, is an honest and surely flawed opinion from a recovering Peace Faker--clearly suffering from First World issues.