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Whatever happened to community?

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So the year is coming to end for most homeschoolers. I’m not in the do school year round camp. Keep your “gifted children.” I’m making memories with my kids. That being said a lot of blogs are talking about how easy it is to homeschool. Hmm. I totally disagree. Nothing ever worth anything should be easy. If it doesn’t cost you something, it probably isn’t worth doing. I guess I don’t think homeschooling through seizures,dyslexia, back surgeries, job changes, sickness or lack of family very easy. Maybe I just don’t have that supermom status going for me. Homeschooling might have been easier if I had something essential for all humans, COMMUNITY.
com·mu·ni·ty
kəˈmyo͞onitē/Submit
noun
1.
a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
synonyms: district, region, zone, area, locality, locale, neighborhood; More
a body of nations or states unified by common interests.
2.
a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
“the sense of community that organized religion can provide”

I just went to a homeschool get-together and one friend wanted me to meet another friend. Apparently we live close and this person wanted to have homeschoolers in the area do stuff together. So I walked up to the woman introduced myself. “Hi”, I said. “So and so told me you live close and wanted to get together with homeschoolers. Blah blah.” The usual conversation of what curriculum do you use( which could be a turn off) . So she says,( now remember she wants to get together) “Well maybe some time we could do something in the evening. I am soo busy with blah, blah, blah.” I smile. Nod my head.( Seriously it’s a good thing people do not hear my thoughts) Then today on a homeschool forum/group a woman was complaining about how her kids need friends and she did not want to travel 30 mins to meet people.?????? TRANSLATION- My life is so important and I am SOO busy I really will not make time to connect. I am only complaining but never want to take the time to actually do anything about this. Here’s a little tip for you. You have to leave your house, it helps. The reason you are milk white is because you have forgotten the outdoors exists. (Sarcasm completely my own.)

Now some of you will think I’m being a mean. You got it. I am so sick of excuses. Actually let me give you another scenario. Recently my husband was sick with C-Diff. I have never seen him so sick. I mean he’s usually unstoppable. There’s nothing he won’t get involved in. From being a linemen to farming it’s pretty much open. The last few months he goes to work and comes home to sleep. That’s it. Kind hearted, well meaning people say” if there’s anything we can do for you, let us know”. I know they mean well, but you know what? Do you think I am going to say, “Hey would you fix our broken lawn mower?” How about, “The tree fell in our back yard, will you cut it up?” If we are all honest we don’t want to burden anyone as much as they really don’t want to be burdened. So imagine my surprise when I look out my back window and see a 67 year old man cutting up the tree in my backyard.( who was just diagnosed with Lyme disease) Then imagine my surprise when two more neighbors (who are close to 70) grew and gave us plants for our garden. They knew my husband was sick and took it upon themselves to grow and give us plants. Community.

There was a time Long, Long, ago when people helped each other, WITHOUT being asked. Somewhere along the way we have forgotten that we are not the most important thing in the world. God actually does not need us. Amazing thought. You can be replaced. I love homeschooling and I am a Christian, but I think it’s sad that Christians can be the last ones to actually have community. Seriously the homeschooling community can get so involved in their all important busy lives that they forget that there are needy people, and life is not all about them.( Who knew?)

People often say that New Englanders are cold. I hear it all the time. (I live here in North Western PA. Cold is an understatement.) I’m from CT. When I lived there I regularly had invites to dinner, parties and fellowships at church. We laughed and hung out till late in the evening. Here the only invites I get are from , well no one. I know tons of people and have many”friends”. TOO BUSY? Do you know there is not a weekend that goes by where someone is not at my house. Do you think it’s because we are super Christians? Haha. Nope, I just know that everyone needs someone. We cannot thrive as islands. We are needy people and if I can do one thing to help someone on this journey called life, then that’s what I will do. I want to be clear. I am a Christian. I love Jesus, the Bible and God’s people…but we all need some improvement in this area. Don’t preach that we are the hands and feet of Jesus and then sit on your hands and feet. Get off your butt and change the world.( Please stop saying we have to get together sometime. You are a liar. You don’t even mean it) How about that neighbor down the road or the friend who is going through a divorce. Okay, so you don’t agree with divorce( most people don’t until they find themselves getting divorced) Do you honestly think they thought it would turn out like this? Help them move. Send them cards. Please don’t say I’m praying for you and never connect again. Life is hard enough. Stop asking what can I do for you and go do it.
hos·pi·ta·ble
häˈspitəbəl,ˈhäspitəbəl/Submit
adjective
friendly and welcoming to strangers or guests.
“two friendly, hospitable brothers run the hotel”
synonyms: welcoming, friendly, congenial, genial, sociable, convivial, cordial, courteous; More

I also want to add what it means to be HOSPITABLE. We had missionaries at our house. It’s common at our house to make a basket up for vistors so they don’t feel funny always asking for food or drink etc.. We also make big breakfasts and homemade food for meals. You get our undivided attention. We do not keep doing what we always do. We stop and we make you the focus. That’s what I thought others did too, but people we need to go back to Hospitality 101. These missionaries thanked us profusely. They said the last 5 places left them donuts and granola bars for breakfast. Not that they were un-thankful but, Hello, used tea bags anyone? They were left alone until it was time to preach. Now come on. We preach that to help the least of these is serving Christ. The preacher gets up and announces the missionary and we all assume they have been taken care of and the Pastor knows the missionary well. Is it really that hard to stop being a self centered and focus on something besides yourself? If our lives are a vapor and we are made from dirt, who in the name of all that’s good do you really think you are? I guess making eggs is so laborious, and making a salad or some homemade meal is incredibly hard. My husband and I were just talking about places we went to where it was as if we were not there. I mean we knew we were there but our”hosts” apparently were so important that they could not even take time out for us.Their daily lives could not stop. I mean what would happen? The world would fall apart if you did not( fill in the blank.) God forbid I ever do that to someone. Remember
mayaangelou

Silence is complicity.

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Part of home educating my kids is that I have opportunities to address issues that show up. We discuss these issues at length. Some issues are more adultish in manner , but I have never talked to my children as if they are intellectually inferior. They are adults in the making. I am not raising children. I am raising adults. Sometimes the hard issues come up. Sometimes I am forced to talk about things I don’t want to talk about. I can’t talk about. I think its time though for me to finally just address this kind of issue.

I am originally from Sandy Hook, CT. A virtually unknown place until the tragic murdering of precious innocence. I lived about two minutes from the school. I rode my bike past that school many times to go to the Deli( where I bought candy) or the pizza place. Everyone says Newtown is a safe town. That tragedy never happened there. As if evil had passed over it because, well didn’t you see the news? The picture perfect town. Postcard image. Except I lived in a 550 square ft. house in the less fortunate side of Newtown. My parents were divorced and well sometimes my life was not a picture perfect postcard. The thing with safety is it’s deceiving. Silence from evil does not mean it is non-existent. I have hidden a secret the whole time I went through the school system. No-one knew.
I had been molested by a 16-year-old babysitter . He also threatened to kill me and to make sure I knew it( and because he was sick and crazy) threw me in our dryer and turned it on. Don’t worry though everyone said I wouldn’t remember. Oh and that teenager.. the social worker said he was a good boy. I don’t have all the pieces as to why the Newtown police department did not arrest him and throw him in jail but let me assure you, your brain NEVER forgets.

Two days ago I was scrolling Facebook , the internet etc.. and an old video from Sandy Hook showed up. I watched it just because my heart breaks for Sandy Hook. I hate evil. Almost to the end of the video a man says“I am for strict gun control…blah blah blah….” I look below at the description of the interview. He looked familiar.His name. Oh God. There he was. Speaking about gun control. My hands were shaking so bad, I felt sick. I immediately thought of his sister, whom he also molested. I heard from an old neighbor that she took her own life. I wonder why. Here he was free. Yet when someone has had trauma, or abuse forced upon them they are never really free. The mind is an amazing thing. It remembers the things you ignore and pretend never existed. Which I did.

So our conversation, the one my children and I have been having is about Silence. Can you hear it? I walk out to our field every morning with my daughter. We feed our horses and cow. It is a refreshing walk down the trail into the field the neighbors called “the hidden field” . Our dog Rocky comes with us. He bounces around chasing all the things we can’t see because they are hidden in silence. Every once in a while a deer will come flying out of nowhere and bound off it the woods. She was there, the whole time, but we never saw her. Silence in the face of evil is not standing up to the evil , it is complicity to the evil. Pretending it is not there does not make it go away. Trust me. I tried. To say to someone who has been abused don’t talk about it, we’ll just ignore it, is just allowing the evil to continue. Do you know that a monster shows up when you least expect it.In the darkness. Let me tell you he’s shown up in my life more than I care to say.
The statistics out are 1 in 4 for females to be sexually abused before the age of 14. Seriously people does anyone not just inhale and forget to breathe here??? This is happening in our churches as well. When Pastors are told not to report the evil, I think the world has gone mad. The church should be the refuge for the broken, the abused, instead you will find time and time again the women silenced and the perpetrator is allowed to continue his deeds. The fact that my two best friends have similar pasts and that about a month ago a man sat at my table who was sexually abused by a PASTOR, makes me want to VOMIT. Heres the thing, if you think I protect my kids. This won’t happen to them. Uncle, Grandparent, babysitter and Pastor. Anything here about a psycho pedophile? Does he look creepy with dark eyes and tattoos? No, he is someone you know. He is your friend, your relative, your trusted advisor . When females remain the object for man to buy and sell. When hollywood and the world makes the female a commodity she is only good for one thing, her body, she is marketable. It does not matter if they tell you to have self-esteem. The Victoria Secret models flaunt it for all the world to see’ Here I am come buy me”. Prepare your little girls too. Make men desire them. When our tv and Movies just show females as nothing but a body, no wonder a depraved mind can’t get his fill. He will not be reformed. They never are.

Please do not tell me just Trust God. I cannot even tell you how much that is a cop-out. Please tell me, What the heck does that MEAN?? When I wake up in the middle of the night and my monster was real, can you please tell me how that will clear my mind? Does that help me when I’m in an MRI machine and all I can think is,” I’m being cooked to death. I can hear it.” Does that help me when you tell me some horrific story about child abuse and I want to scream at you and say”Stop! Stop! I can’t listen. Don’t tell me.” I instantly have a wave of fear and panic come over me. Does it help me not feel his breath when I kiss my husband? Stop saying stupid things. Christ has been the One light in my life, but don’t use Christian clichés as an excuse to not help the struggling and abused. We think you are an idiot.

So here’s the thing everyone always says you have to talk about it. That’s funny. The more I have been talking about it , the more I have been getting SILENCE.Yes you’d think support, but people either don’t want to feel guilty or they just don’t care. So here it all is. Once it’s out there it’s out there. I hate it. It’s vulnerability and that’s something I never want to be. Ugh. I did this for the start of my journey to stand up and stop being quiet about the things that matter. There are other little girls and boys out there who have been silenced. If my two closest friends have the same background and I have met them at different points in my life , can you imagine the others. It really needs to stop. The condescendng talk towards women in general needs to stop. I will not teach my kids to be complicit. This is also for them. They get to be free from monsters. Stop being silent. Women are just as guilty as men, especially in the church. If you know someone going through any kind of abuse emotional, physical, sexual they need you.They need counseling from a professional. Encourage them to go. Don’t say” I don’t want to get involved.” Don’t agree not to talk about it. Stand up . Speak out. SILENCE IS COMPLICITY.

For such a time as this.

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I usually write just for myself. It’s my time in the morning to get clarity. The kids are sleeping. The house is dark. I actually can barely see the keys. I make plenty of mistakes, but I do it for myself. I enjoy it. Today not so much. Today my heart is a mixed load of sadness and blessings. Today some very important people in my eldest sons life are moving. Don’t get me wrong they have a great opportunity. God opened a door and I think it’s great. Sometimes someone elses blessing can become your trial..in a good, bad sort of way?

The first time my son came to the teen group Daniel was unsure and hurt. His once happy full of life self had been defeated and we were unsure if we should even let him go. Mr. B took Daniel in and made him feel right at home( a choice he may have regretted:O) Daniel would come home from teen group every Wed. and discuss the lesson in the car. He’d ask what we thought. He was totally engaged. He never felt like a teenager was to be silenced or at any moment was going to be rebellious, because we all know that’s what teenagers are. Mr. B talked to Daniel like a human being. Like he was important. If there was anything in this world he could not miss it was the teen group. It wasn’t because of the teens, it was because of Mr. B.

The one thing I appreciated about Mr. B is his willingness to allow the kids to question. To ask those hard things every teen struggles with. He did not shoot them down as heretics or unchristian. It was okay to just say I don’t know. He laughed and smiled and the teens loved him. He didn’t prove he was a man by strength or outward things, but by love and an inward love for God. He did not pretend to be who he was not.

I know Daniel was challenged intellectually. He looked for the loophole. He never just accepts the Christian answer. He always will challenge. Mr. B allowed(most) of his challenges.(If he allowed all, they would be there all night, Daniel can Talk. Haha) That led Daniel to a deeper study of God. Had he quieted that in him. It would have turned him away.

His wife Sarah gave just as much as he did. She was always baking and doing things for the teens. The teens became part of their family. I know Daniel felt awful because he wanted to say something to you publicly on Sunday. So this is his forum. I’ve seen his struggles. I know the real truth. I know how spiritually broken he really was when we came to you guys. I also know the tears he cried when he found out you were leaving. Daniel is not ashamed to cry. I want you to know that you have impacted lives here. My prayer is that you go and impact more Daniels. Thank you from a grateful mom. Thank you for showing my son, The Savior.

Go outside and play.

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My husband and I had a visit to the ER yesterday. We knew this one was coming . It was only a matter of time. When you encourage your kids to “get off their butts and live”( that means go outside) . Something is going to happen. If something is going to happen it’s going to happen to Joel.

Winter all around has been extremely frigid. I don’t mind snow. I don’t mind cold. I do mind temps. below 20 degrees. It has been brutal. The kids go out for ten minutes and they come right back in ,of course that leads to the most ridiculous fighting you have ever heard. If it’s not a fight, they make one up. Thank God for winter activities (indoors.) Anyway usually when one of our children pulls a really dumb stunt, we the parents get scrutinized. You know it’s better to allow your child to sit and eat chips while playing Grand Theft Auto ,than let them climb a tree. ( I don’t recommend jumping off bridges into snow piles, on frozen ponds. BAD IDEA). I was pleasantly surprised yesterday.

I walked into the room and the doctor told me his name. I took a deep breath. My husband was still parking the car. He said, “so Joel how did you hurt your foot?” Joel’s smile is infectious. It makes me smile. He says, “I jumped off a bridge”. The doctor looks at me. I smile. It’s a nervous habit. I know he’s picturing the George Washington Bridge,George_Washington_Bridge_NY but really it’s just a little bridge on a country road. So Joel tells him he was jumping in the snow with friends. He’s the only one who hurts his foot.The doctor says,(with kind eyes) “Well I am sorry your foot is hurt but kids should be outside in the snow. We see a lot of kids who play outside regularly. That’s how it should be. Let’s get an X-ray.” His foot ended up being broken in two places. He’s pretty tough when it comes to things like falling from trees, being chased by bulls, making a goal running full speed on a 95 degree day . Joel just has endurance. If he can’t walk. He broke it.

I think back to a conversation and a video. We were watching this :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYw4meRWGd4
Joel watched this and said “I want to be the first one to break his record.” Thinking about that now I don’t know if he was serious or not, but I’m thinking I might be on a first name basis with the ER doctors. It’s going to be a long 8 weeks. Long enough for him to finally sit and take the photography class I tried to get him to take. Yes, that means no pictures hanging upside down from trees, or in the middle of the swamp, but I’m sure he can find something to film on crutches…..Joel Barker 2014 029

All credit goes to Joel. Who sees beauty in everything.

Instrument for You.

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It’s been one of those days. I know you have had them. When everything you have tried to do just seemed to fall apart. . My car broke, I had to cancel a doctor’s appointment, we had some homeschooling “issues” and on Facebook everyone had a comment on everything. If you didn’t line up exactly , well you must not be a fill in the blank. What in the world is wrong?

The cold weather is biting like a bee sting. Something inside feels off. I read it in people’s posts. The perfect homeschool post, the perfect christian post, the post in response to the post I posted post, diets, curriculum, politics, confusion, is there a God? On and on the madness ensues. Meanwhile my friend’s life is falling apart( while I get to homeschool my kids and have a great marriage) and all I can do is pray.Is this really how it should be?

But I have to just let the madness continue. Sometimes ignoring what others think and say is the only way to be an instrument for You. Approval is overrated.I don’t want to be an instrument for a cause or denomination. Just You.

Tonight I saw His sunset and felt His crisp air in my lungs.I couldn’t help but think, Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. Psalm 150:6

“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” ― Martin Luther

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“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”  ― Martin Luther

Today is January 10th.I’m publishing this on Monday, Jan 13th because I was unsure if I should post this. I prayed about it and decided I can’t stay in my comfort zone forever. Wait, I never do anyway. So, welcome to individual liberty, haha! I got my son’s History book in the mail.( we finished our first History already)Ironically it’s the anniversary for Thomas Paine’s Common Sense. That just gave me goose bumps. I’m reading it first. It’s The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution by Kevin Gutzman. You might as well know it. I love History and the Constitution.It actually started in 5th grade because of my teacher, Mr. Wilkinson who took the time to make History come alive. He taught in Newtown, CT. He was involved in reenacting and collected civil war and revolutionary War artifacts. I have been fascinated since. I’m a Christian Libertarian. Yep. I love Ron Paul( gasp) , Tom Woods , the Tenth Amendment Center and Chuck Baldwin etc… Now I know I break the stereo type because Blimey Cow said, “most Christian homeschoolers are Republicans.” . Sorry. Not me. Not anymore. About 6 years ago The winter was terrible here in PA.( Noticing a pattern?) My kids were crazy from the snow. Some guy got on my Facebook by accident.( when I remember who he is I owe him a huge debt) My kids somehow added him as a friend. He shared a video called ” What If” from Ron Paul. We did not have fast internet and I was so bored. It took 3 hours to download. So.. I watched it. I was so sick to my stomach. I watched it over and over. Have I been wrong all this time? I had to know. The next day I took the kids through the snow, to the library. I got the book Liberty Defined and any other Ron Paul book. Some I had to order from other Libraries. I live in PA, but I went to Conneaut, Ohio(which is very close) to the Library. My husband and I devoured the books. Then we were given a Mother Earth News Magazine and I saw the fair coming to PA. I had to go. My husband and I went. We heard Joel Salatin(Lunatic Farmer, Christian Libertarian) speak. Our lives were changed. We also heard Ron Paul speak in Pittsburgh. We left there like we had been sold a bill of goods our whole lives and finally someone had just freed us. Yes I know we should not get involved in politics, lets all just pray, it’s worked so far.I have heard God does not call people into politics and all people really need is Jesus. I am so thankful George Washington and all of those men, did NOT share these same beliefs. I would not be sitting here today typing this.Now please. I am a Christian. I tell people about Jesus. Let’s all just forget that those first colonist and revolutionaries preached against the government from their pulpits. . Still in America it is not okay to be a free-thinker. Free thinkers challenge the establishment, whether that be politics or religion. My brother had been on me for years. He would tell me all this stuff . I would just tune him out. He’s a Marine and oh, could he just be quiet for two seconds. I cannot take anymore politics!). He realized something that everyone needs to realize on their own, though. You see he could not make me aware. It’s like a spark that ignites a fire. Until it catches, it wont fan the blaze. I needed to catch it on my own.” What If” did it for me. That is part of the reason I homeschool.It’s hard for people to break away from what they have always known. When everyone around you believes the same way and speaks the same things, you get caught up in the whirlwind of ideas. When you step out of the whirlwind, you are labeled rebellious and unsubmissive. The founders were like that. They would rather have free thought and be labeled trouble makers then follow the herd, even if the herd told them they went against God.Thank God they did. I want my kids to know the real History. To know there are still men who will fight for the Constitution. That strength is not what makes a man. That men like Ron Paul. Tom Woods, Kevin Gutzman, Thomas Paine, Chuck Baldwin, Joel Salatin etc.. even though I may not agree with some of their beliefs, are those kind of men. I have heard people say( and probably I was one of them) Well what do you want me to do? I think if Martin Luther could start the Reformation by nailing his 95 Theses, maybe, just maybe you were born” for such a time as this.” Watch this. It just might change your life too.

Just as I am.

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We all sat around the table drinking coffee, sharing in holiday goodies and chatted.I listened to an all too familiar story. I can see his face, feel his shame. I’m so stupid.( I want to go back, go back andtell him. You are not stupid.You are created with a wonderful gift. You do not have a learning disability. You have a reading and spelling disability.Jesus does not care if you read the Bible out loud. Find your gift. Excel in it.) That’s what he knows though. That’s what they have told him. No-one spoke it. They did not say it out-loud. No words are needed. He sat in class. He had to read out loud. Because of course what would happen if he just sat there and listened ? I mean we are the church, we could not possibly come along side the struggling and help them. Do we see the need and stop the shame or enforce our control and insist, no demand perfect obedience? Because we all know every child is disobedient who does not want to participate, right?Did they consider how he would feel reading in front of his peers? Now it’s too late. The damage done. Facing them is worse than reading. Now his parents take the hit. ” Why is Dyslexia so strong in our family? We had him come out of that class. He was so embarrassed.” I brushed away the tear and shook my head. “I am so sorry. This happened to us too.“I sure wish I had the answer to that one. I know it’s hereditary, but really? To watch certain children struggle is so hard. . We didn’t know that it would affect all areas of life. People are so ignorant. Dyslexia is real. I will always fight for my kids. I will always teach my kids to also endure hardness. People will be ignorant and I can’t help the way they respond. I honestly don’t need my kids to be under the influence of controlling, ignorant individuals. I’ve taught my son it’s never going away. Allow them their ignorance. Be better. Love better. Rise above them.I think back on our struggles and I watch my son ,just when I want to give up on people (and I think some people should spend a little more time trying to use Google) an older fellow comes over to my son at church. He puts his arm around him and says, “I wanted you to know I’ve missed you.” He smiles. Someone misses him. (and that’s all he needs to know.) That’s all it takes. There is no shame in Dyslexia. Only shame in Church leaders who can’t see past their pride in taking in the least of these. eeyore http: