Happy for the Phoenix: 3 thoughts

LauraAll Posts

1. A song from my college play-list still comes in useful these days (however *feminist* it might be). A certain sentiment in Ani Difranco’s “32 Flavors” still comes to mind every now and then:

” …God help you if you are a Pheonix
and you dare to rise up from the ash
a thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy
while you are just flying past…”

I reckon I’ve both soared and smoldered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsP2TheK0iQ

2. This afternoon, I cried over the final pages of Enger’s Peace Like a River, aching over countless gorgeous moments in the story. One that took up residence in my spirit was a scene in which the 11-year old narrator, Reuben, responds to his father’s complete humiliation. Reuben burns with anger as the repulsive superintendent, Mr. Holgren, spits false accusations at the God-fearing janitor (Reuben’s father) in front of all of the students, ultimately firing him. Just when Reuben is sure that his father will raise a hand to slap Mr. Holgren’s disease-infested face, his father instead gently reaches his hand out and heals the man. In front of all of the students, Mr. Holgren’s face is instantly transformed its red, blotchy repulsion into a healthy suntanned glow. Reuben can barely face his father afterwards, wrestling with his father’s choice to love his enemy; not just “forgive” him, but to aid in his betterment. To be the source of his soaring.

3. Then I think about the conclusion of sermons about the prodigal son and his faithful father. You know, the sermons that use the final five minutes to recognize the older brother who whines that his rebel brother is forgiven and blessed so easily. Five minutes doesn’t do justice to a common struggle amongst all of us in God’s family. Too often, we who say we love God and the Church, want the most blessing, the most favor, and the most honor for ourselves; and it’s genuinely difficult to consistently rejoice when our brothers and sisters are rejoicing over blessings… especially when we really don’t *like* them to begin with. Or, especially if we helped them to be reconciled to God but suddenly they’re soaring beyond us. (Do I write as if I have some experience in these matters?) To what do we owe this struggle? A false sense of entitlement? A misunderstanding of unity? An imaginary competition (see Donald Miller’s thoughts about the life-boat phenomenon in Searching for God Knows What)? Perhaps the credit just goes to that pesky sin nature that we are to be constantly putting away from ourselves. Perhaps one of the deepest layers of our sin nature is our jealousy of other Christians. May we continually walk away from its smoldering eyes.

If I am a part of the Bride, why wouldn’t I want all of her to soar? And consequently, to soar, too.

 

from Galations 5 

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

 19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Book Report: Peace Like a River

LauraAll Posts, Books

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Leif Enger’s Peace Like a River

Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.  This is the best fiction I’ve read in a very long time.  A dear friend explained Enger’s writing best when she said, “You have to stop and read his sentences aloud just to feel the words rolling around in your mouth and spoken with your own lips.”

Munch, munch

LauraAll Posts

Last night, while Vivienne and I played games in the car, Ryan ran into Lowe’s to get a crow bar (he’s replacing our front and back door today… pictures will follow). Minutes later, he popped back in the car, crow bar in tow. I said something like, “Nice crow bar!” From her back seat, Vivienne asked enthusiastically, “Can I have a piece of Daddy’s crow bar?” Knowing that she inherited my sweet tooth, I realized immediately that she assumed a crow bar must be a crunchy nougat doused in a chocolate coating with a sweet coconut dusting. If only…

What Would Jesus Sing?

LauraAll Posts

This morning, Vivienne was rifling through her little NT Bible with determination. Back and forth, back and forth, obviously looking for something. Finally she said, “I can’t find it! I can’t find it anywhere! I’m looking for the verse about Jesus liking calm music, but I can’t find it in my Bible anywhere!” (The more traditional churches in town surely trembled at this moment. But I have a feeling that she was just wondering why the Tigger song is so much more fun than many of the songs we sing in church, even though it doesn’t mention Jesus.)

I really don’t know why that was on her mind, but it was a great opportunity to explain to her that Jesus likes all kinds of music that come from the person who loves Him. “In fact,” I remembered just in time, “He even says that He lives inside our praise songs!” (Psalm 22:3) On our way to the grocery store, we sang calm and upbeat songs of praise to God… After her nap, I might just have to play that Tigger song (over and over again, I’m sure) and teach her how to use it to praise Jesus.

Lovin’ my little Berean, already searching Scripture for answers to life’s toughest questions (Acts 17:11).

God made ME!

LauraAll Posts

“Your hands have made and fashioned me…” Psalm 119:73

This week, I traced Vivienne on wrapping paper, cut “her” out and hung “her” on the door. Then the real Vivienne chose the fabric, stickers, and yarn to complete the masterpiece. Can you see the resemblance? 😉 Ryan calls the girl on the door “Hip-Hop Vivienne.”

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This week’s unit included the life cycle of a person, discovering that God has great purposes for us at each stage of our lives. (Vivienne was SHOCKED that Aunt Em- is a still a teenager! “She’s a TEENager?!” she gasped in disbelief as if she were an experienced psychologist or something. I had to explain, “Well, she’s a mature teenager who’s almost an adult…” and then I quickly came up with a more believable example.) Vivienne’s quite pleased to identify herself with the preschooler on the time-line (after all, he is dressing himself and we all know that buttons are hard work!). (I hope you’re appreciating her repertoire of *smiles*!)

 

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Tea for Three

LauraAll Posts

Vivienne and her two girl friends enjoyed a tea party, a dance party, and a piano recital in one morning’s time.  I love that Vivienne is learning how to prepare a beautiful setting for her guests, welcome them into our home, and make sure they have all the “cream and sugar” they need.  I also love that for half an hour, the little girls sat at the table and busily mixed their tea, nibbled their cookies (gluten-free!), and passed the sugar.  It was a beautiful “little girl” kinda day.

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The months, days, and counting to 30(1)!

LauraAll Posts

Teach your little one the months, days of the week, and how to count to 30 (or 31) with this simple tradition:

Each morning, flip through a calendar together reciting the names of the months. (During the first week or so, it might help to spice it up by having your child repeat after you with different volumes, accents, moods, etc.) Have your child “celebrate” in some way when you arrive at this month’s page, but keep going to December. Then, back on this month’s page, point to each day of the week as you sing “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…” in any old melody that is simple and catchy. Then, using a fun pen or a doll, point to each number and count from 1 to 30 (or 31). Finally, find today’s square and have your child repeat after you, “Today is Wednesday, October 3, 2007!” while she colors in the block. Some children will be content with scribbling in the square, others may want to draw something that reflects the weather, etc.

I bet you’ll be surprised that in one- or two- month’s time, your child will know all of the months, days of the week, and numbers from 1 – 31, while having a better grasp of time (yesterday, today, tomorrow, etc.). And, if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy the reminder that each day is a unique gift from God, worthy of joy!

* Adapted from our darling curriculum, Learning at Home by Ann Ward

Your Toddler: Mozart?

LauraAll Posts

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Here’s a simple way to encourage your toddler to compose music with you:

Do ya remember the repetitive chords to “Heart and Soul”? You know, the duet that all the kids plunked out on Aunt Gerty’s piano during every Christmas party? Well, consider it useful knowledge! You will play the bottom part of the song while your toddler plays any of the “white notes” that she wants. (For the toddler who wants to know “WHY?” simply explain that since this song is in the key of C, the white notes will sound best.) While you repeat the C, A, F, and G chords (you can even get fancy and change up the speed, etc.), your toddler will compose a beautiful melody! Actually, you could probably play a duet with your toddler using any other song in the key of C (no sharps or flats). Play on!