Monday, May 19, 2014

May in Pictures

May came quickly and already it feels nearly behind us. There has been little time to write and, to be fair, little desire to write as well. It has been a sort of heavy month in some respects: Weighty decisions, hope, and sharp disappointments; some long days of waiting for news, wondering, and waiting on God. And because of God, hope endures through it all.

(Soon I hope to shed some light for those who read these posts of mine...)

I felt rather beat up arriving at church today. I sat quietly feeling stained by the week, blood ready to ooze from fresh wounds inflicted by temptations to doubt. I've wondered about giving up, about getting off this road I've been on, to just run back to the safety of a more normal life while I still can. Now would be a good time to do it. Now before the real trials come. I've wondered at the significance of all the things transpiring, and especially at what is not transpiring. I've wondered at God's logic in it all.

We sang words that seemed hand picked for me, reminders that my stains are washed away, that Jesus makes me whole, and in Him is my hope and peace. Yes! With surprising swiftness, my mind is informed and truth settles into new crevices of my heart.  My dirty stains, my broken pieces, my mess-- they are no more in the eyes of God because of Christ Jesus. I don't need to go around feeling broken and stained! The battle is already won and I get to simply run toward the prize of the upward call! How quickly I forget the basics, how often I need to hear it again. But God in His great love for me has opened my eyes to this wonder once again, not just in a theoretical way but in the most immediately practical way. When my thought process is instructed, my feelings begin to follow.

Providentially, we studied James 1:1-4 which says, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

A few notes from this morning regarding this verse~

"Count it all joy" does not = feel good about trials. Rather, it is an intellectual, conscious decision, a commitment to receive trials with joy.

Each trial in the Christian life is subservient to God's ultimate purpose of changing me.

The purpose of trials is to perfect me. This doesn't mean I become sinless now, but mature. This maturity reflects my commitment to the upward call, to running the race with all endurance.

Trials give us an eternal perspective.

Trials expose what/who we really love, perhaps exposing idolatry.

The one whose faith is found to be genuine is the one who persists, who continues in faith and obedience, who hopes in God and runs to the prize. In other words, trials are tests of my faith: If I pass the test, my faith and perseverance is increased and I am stronger for the race.

And the crown of life that Christ won for me awaits.


Back to May.

More generally speaking, I like May very much. Right now the anticipation of summer is motivating one last strong effort because freedom is almost within grasp. It's my most favorite month of schooling because so much of our work has been completed, and we get to enjoy the process a bit more as we tie up loose ends. I am sure we are feeling the rewards of the year's work more now than we will in June when school days are behind us.

Here are snippets of May around our place, mostly on school days:

For those who can concentrate, why not study out in the sun?

He doesn't like to color, but he enjoys painting...

Jacob's face reminds me of Jon here...

She has done so much reading for school this year. She learns well, and retains so much with an amazing degree of detail. 

I don't make my kids take many tests (because I already know whether or not they know their stuff), but I do like them to show mastery at the end of the year. Here, Michael taking a unit test for math...

...but he never takes school super seriously! He did well on it because he wants summer!

We studied the various systems of the human body this year, and recently the boys made these little paper guys. The way they each colored the faces makes me laugh at how their personality comes through. (Keep in mind that my three boys are color blind. If they care about getting the colors right they have to depend on Olivia or me.)

Andrew: The eyes are aligned, the hair color and skin color are right, eyebrows included. He tried to make it look like himself. He is the realist, the perfectionist.

Jacob: The eyes are intentionally crooked, the hair was colored green (until Olivia noticed), and he made a tiny crown for himself. He is silly, happy-go-lucky, content in his ability/disability.

Michael: Total out of the box thinker. This is not his face because, after all, I never told him it should be his face. One can never assume with Michael. Study of the human body has not interested him, so he figured he may as well create something of greater interest. And he was very happy with it. I have a feeling Jon was the exact same way, so this gives me hope!

Olivia is past these activities with paper, scissors, and glue. This is a painting which was hanging next to the boys' work. She loves to draw and paint. For science, we'll all be dissecting animals and animal parts later this month. Some are more excited than others.

Jon was away this week, so Jacob used his home office space a bit....

...until he got bored of that and took his math worksheet to the bath tub. Sometimes I make him work in a normal spot, but it really doesn't matter as long as the work gets done. There's are many reasons why the traditional schoolroom doesn't work well for boys, and sitting still in one place is one of them!

After school, the pool. Early in the month it was cold, but with two recent heat waves it is warming up.

Later dinners outside...

This image is becoming the norm by evening time...

May is also for blossoms and strawberries. These climbing roses given to me by a friend several years ago have moved a couple times with us. It's fun to see them thriving.

Boys and their injuries are a constant. No, wait. It was Olivia whose knee dripped blood through a bandage during this Saturday's football game! Here, Michael somehow flipped over his handle bars and got badly winded. He was impressed by the smear of skin left on his shirt. According to Jon, we needed to snap a picture.

 After swimming the other day, I let the kids mess around with a few fun ingredients: Baking soda and vinegar foams up, and cornstarch and water makes a neat solid-liquid.

Jacob was singing. I love all those little hands exploring together.

Somehow it got really late, really fast. Monday is here!

Good night.


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