Saturday, November 19, 2011

Five tips for...

....communicating with those who suffer from hearing loss.

In light of my last post on changing the world, I talked about hearing loss. I want to share five tips with you on communicating with those who can't hear as well as most:

1) When you speak, let them see your mouth. People compensate for hearing loss by using their eyes to "hear" you. They read your lips.

2) When they say "Pardon", don't shout. Usually they can't hear you because you are not speaking clearly. Pronounce your consonants clearly. Don't say "I wentodebeachthismrnin". Say "I wenT to the beaCH thiS morNiNG." Don't say, "Sure-all lave some coffee". Say, "Sure, I'LL haVe some coffee." Pay special attention to the last letters of each word as those are the consonants we tend to drop the most.

3) If you have enunciated your consonants carefully, and they still don't understand you, you may have spoken to fast. Slow down and enunciate.

4) Our ears are more amazing than we realize. We are able to tune out background noises in favour of the conversations we're having. Hearing aids can't do that. If you are drumming your fingers on the table as you speak, the person will hear your fingers drumming just as loudly as you are speaking because hearing aids amplify ALL sounds. Asides to others as a person with hearing loss attempts to carry on a conversation in the same room will cause the one with hearing loss to not understand any conversation--again because hearing aids amplify all sounds.

5) If someone suffering from hearing loss does not laugh after you've told a joke, it usually doesn't mean they have no sense of humour. They just missed the punch line because they didn't hear all you said in the first place.

Give yourself a special challenge of seeing just how much less often someone who can't hear well needs to say "Pardon" to you! Knowing you are understood will give you confidence in forging relationships with most older folks and will thus give you a whole knew world of friendships to gain, wisdom to accumulate, and jokes to share!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Changing the World!

My mother managed a household of eleven children with a calmness and efficiency that not many people seem to be able to emulate. Coupled with that, she was gifted with lots of godly wisdom and patience. Since I am the tenth child, I was born when my mother was in her forties. Many kids in my classes at school had grandparents the same age or a little older than my mother. As I accompanied my mom on some of her errands or visits she made with people, I was able to observe other people's reaction to her. As I got older I began to notice that people would respond to my mom in what I thought was a very odd manner.

It would begin with a normal conversation. Then the person would look puzzled at my mother, then uncomfortable, and then finally ignore her or begin to talk down to her. For a long time I was puzzled by this but then began to realize, "Mom can't hear what was just said. She is responding but not to what was said but what she thought was said." You see, when my mom was in her early fifties, she began to suffer hearing loss. Her hearing degenerated until she needed hearing aids. Gradually, my Mom would begin telling people she could not hear but that made barely any difference. They would talk LOUDER but not more clearly. I am sorry to say, there were a number of people that were not able to see beyond the loss of hearing into the wise, godly woman my mother is.

As human beings, we do not like people or are uncomfortable with people who are different. It really does not matter what the difference is:

-hearing loss
-a physical disability
-a mental disability
-a different race
-a different first language
-a different upbringing
-a different way of viewing the world

And this is just a small list of the differences we often barely tolerate in others. We strive for uniformity while yet convinced that the way we are and what we do is the best.

When Jesus tells us to love others as we love ourselves, does He mean that we only befriend people once they have become enough "like us"? (whatever that is) I would venture to say that this is precisely the area where the Gospel should make such a radical difference.

Of all people, Christians should be showing the world what it means to 'love one another'. We need to love each other as Christ has loved us.

Christ came down from heaven to earth. Think about it for a moment:

He left His Father's house, where He was the beloved Son, and came into the world despised and        rejected by men. The very people He came for, rejected Him, and when they began to believe in Him never fully appreciated what He did for them. Those of you who confess His Name: are you perfectly appreciative of what Christ has done for you? Do you fully realize what He gave up to come to this earth and be a man? Are you 100% thankful, all the time of what He gave up for you?

This Christ, this Christianity, knocked the worldviews in vogue during those days flat. This small thing, begun in a stable in a little dusty, nondescript town, grew into a big world-changing behemoth. I wonder if it was because of the equalizing effect of the gospel. The early church consisted of wealthy Romans, Jews from the upper echelons of religious society, despised tax collectors, slaves, beggars, the 'mob'.

James emphasized the need for absolutely no favouritism to be shown to the rich and famous in Christian assemblies. Poor, despised Jewish fishermen became the leaders of the Christian church. What if they had said, "Hey wait a minute, un-unh not good elder material here, lousy fisherman, uses bad grammar and did you see his manners? (or actually lack thereof?) Jesus hand-picked these leaders and we know He makes no mistakes. He molded them and taught them and that is what made them good leaders. They were taught of God.

Jesus had time for the poor, the weak, the despised, the rich, the infamous. He had time for them all.

What would the world around you be like if you began to live this way? How about challenging yourself to begin to really love a 'different' person today?

How about taking the time to build a relationship with your immigrant neighbour?

How about beginning a friendship with someone other than your usual group you hang out with?

You may be surprised. That person who didn't respond "right" in that social setting may not in fact, be  a weirdo but may have a very good reason for responding a little differently.

That other person who doesn't seem too impressed with your clean windows and "perfect" children may have other things on their mind.

That immigrant may actually be a lot smarter than you ever will be. He or she may know five languages, have seen much more of the world than you have, and may have about 100% more life experience than you do.

That mentally challenged individual may know way more about the Father love God has for His children than you could ever comprehend in your lifetime.

That person in the wheelchair is probably not as slow or stupid as you may think and may be perfectly aware of how crookedly her legs are resting on the foot rest but not be able to do a thing about it. She usually likes talking about other things than how she is doing physically.

Being popular in a certain social set gives one no 'brownie points' with God. Taking up your cross daily is what is required of you. Making disciples of the nations, not of just one group of people, is the command given to the church. You are commanded to serve Christ. You are commanded to love your neighbour as you love yourself.

Impossible? Yes, of course! Can it be done? Yes, of course!

I can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens me.

Let's set out to change the world, God's way!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Teaching Long Division

Growing up, math was not my favourite subject and in our family, like mother, like daughter. Elnora will write stories, compose poems, make up new languages and new alphabet symbols, draw pictures to her heart's content, learn her science, love her history but when math time rolls around, somehow, she just is not quite so enthusiastic.

I have caught her using math regularly in her day to day life and often remind her of the fact when she wonders why she has to do math. For us, Math-U-See has worked very well. While Elnora still does not really like math, she understands it quite well. For this, I do not credit my fine teaching skills but must give credit where credit is due so let's have a round of applause for:

Math-U-See!

For those of you who have a child like Elnora, I would like to share a strategy I used besides Math-U-See to help her master long division. As Steve Demme, the developer of our math program says, place value is an extremely important concept for children to master if you want them to understand math. Elnora had a tough time with a typical long division problem written this way:
   ____
5 | 345   She could not figure out where to begin to write her answer and how to keep everything in order even though she uses graph paper to work out her problems.

Remembering Steve Demme's sage advice, I colour coded the problems like this:
   ____
5 | 345

This helped her to see the hundreds, tens, and ones. I then coloured each column and told her to do the problem. When she finished it looked like this:

      69
   ____
5 | 345
     30
       45
       45
         0

I don't know my keyboard well enough to create all the lines but you get the general idea. Elnora only needed to do about 6 problems this way before she caught on.

Do any of you have ideas for teaching certain math concepts? Happy teaching!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A New Year

Normally we celebrate the beginning of a new year on New Year's Day. In the world of education in North America, the new year begins in September. For teachers it begins in August.

For us as a family, the new year began yesterday. Mr. Beaver went back to school. I think it's been the hardest on little Lucy so far. At 18 months, she thinks 10 hours is forever. She cried when her daddy left in the car and at intervals during the day we could hear her say, "Daddy vroom-vroom. Daddy? Daaadddyyy! Daddy vroom-vroom." Needless to say, she was ecstatic to see her Daddy again when he came back home!

Since Mr. Beaver started back to school, I decided to begin our year of home schooling as well. Elnora is in Grade 5 and doing Core F with Sonlight. This year is different because both Bob and Bill are doing Sonlight K. We basically did school work all day long. Having had a number of years of experience, I had expected that. The first few days of school are always extra long because we are all trying to find our groove.

It may sound crazy that we did school all day and didn't the kids hate it? No! Since Sonlight is such a great combination of seatwork and snuggling on the couch reading great literature together, the kids are usually quite perturbed to stop 'doing school'.

"Just one more chapter, Mamma."

"Please read more!"

"Are we done already?"

"Can't we do more school?"

I don't mind those comments at all! I also enjoy learning new things with them and seeing their eyes light up when they understand a new concept for the first time.

If you throw an 18 month old into the mix, school has many interruptions.

I read about Martin Luther to the boys today and they listened very hard. The book isn't particularly exciting and it uses difficult vocabulary but the boys were enthralled and remembered to tell Daddy about him when he came home! Reading that story gave me the chance to remind the children that they are all on this earth for a special reason and that salvation is a gift and can't be earned. What a privilege!

In spite of one of the kids spilling my coffee which had to be mopped off brand new books, the day went well. (Note to self: no coffee cups on the school table)

What helped as well was the fact that for the last 3 weeks, Mr. Beaver and I worked into the night every week day just to purge junk from our house and create a good learning environment for our school room. I am so glad we spent all that time doing it. It has paid off! With the school room and our living room boasting new book cases from Ikea, the house is in ship shape order.

I hope and pray for a smooth school year for all us home school moms out there! It is definitely a full time job!

Monday, August 29, 2011

This Vale of Tears

I know, I know. It's been almost two months since my last post. Life has a way of becoming very busy. My family comes first and this blog has to play last fiddle in most instances. :-)

This summer has been a sobering one with Mr. Beaver's principal being diagnosed with ALS and, as a result, he is no longer his principal. This school year will be different for the entire school as they begin their search for a new principal and the VP's will have their hands full as they take on the additional workload required of them this year.

My mother has been diagnosed with polymyositis (sp?) which is an autoimmune disease. The medication hasn't been helping her too much yet. It is sobering to see my mother, so full of vitality, lose a lot of her independence over the summer. My mother has taken excellent care of 11 children, shown a continued interest in their lives and in the lives of her 40+ grandchildren. Now it is our privilege to care for her.

In both cases, we know that the Lord has been supreme in their lives and that they find their hope and comfort in Jesus Christ.

That doesn't take away all the sadness from us and we groan with them as we see them suffer. It is also a reminder of the brevity of life and how our health can change so quickly.

Thankfully, our hope is not pinned on this life but we know we have a brighter future to look forward to, one where there is no sickness, pain, or tears. May we all be found in Christ on the last day with our 'hope built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness.'

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Five Important Pieces of Advice

When you have a child who gets around in a wheelchair rather than in the usual way of putting one foot in front of the other, you need to be creative about your living space.

1. If your driveway is slanted towards the road at a 90 degree angle, you probably would want to move.

2. If you love throw rugs scattered here and there on your floors, now is probably a good time to remove them and give them to your mother, sister or best friend. (Possibly giving them to an enemy would be sweet revenge.)

3. If you have a vanity in your bathroom with a cupboard right beneath the sink, just ditch it and clear the space underneath the sink.

4. If you have a split level home with one room per floor, see number 1

5. If you live in a bungalow with a walkout basement, a beautiful deck, a level backyard, and an enormous sand box, laugh with delight, hug your family, and DON'T bother trying to find another house.


Edging Past Writer's Block

I didn't post last week. In fact, I haven't posted since June 20th. So, no, I haven't posted my required three posts per week. If you feel like doing the math, you can tell me how many days it's been.

So what.

I'm posting now.

Thanks for stopping by and reading this.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just So Stories


In my last post I referred to Elephant's Child. I borrowed that expression from Just So Storiesby Rudyard Kipling. As a family we have really enjoyed reading Kipling and listening to his stories read on CD. I especially like Kipling's focus on wild animals and far away India. His stories carry one far away to exotic places where anything can happen. Combine this with a great sense of humour and an impressive command of the English language, who can resist the books written by this master storyteller?


Thursday, June 16, 2011

'Satiable Curtiosity

http://4umi.com/kipling/justso/elephant1.jpg

As you may recall from my first post on this blog, I have given all my children nicknames for privacy purposes. Upon further thought, rather than naming Bob, Bob, I should have called him "Elephant's Child" on account of his insatiable curiosity. The other name I could have used is "Curious George" and, yes, we do call him George every once in a while.

I have never heard a 5 year old ask so many questions.

Perfect strangers at the door, sidewalk, store as well as family members are often taken aback at being accosted by a small boy firing questions at them with no end in sight.

The past few weeks have given Bob a big chance to ask his fill of questions.

Our bathroom is being renovated. The guys coming in and out of the house doing their work seem to enjoy Bob, who, perched on a chair right by the bathroom, watches and asks questions, and asks, and asks, and asks....

B: What are you doing?
W: Renovating your bathroom.
B: Why?
W: Because.
B: What are you holding?
W: A hammer.
B: Why?
W: So we can take apart this counter.
B: Are you going to crack it?
W: No, we are trying to keep it in one piece.
B: (to worker 2) What do you have?
W2: A grinder.
B: I have a grinder too.
W2: Great! We just might need it.
B: No, you can't use it. It has no batteries. What are you doing?...........

Yesterday:

B: What are you doing?
W: Laying tiles.
B: Why are you taking that outside? (pointing to a tile)
W: To cut it.
B: What do you use to cut it?
W: A grinder.
(Worker coming in with cut tile)
B: Where did you cut it?
W: Here
B: Why did you cut it?
W: So it will fit.

And so it goes on. If the workers don't answer because they are too busy, Bob doesn't mind. He sits there, watching, biding his time until the guys have a minute to answer yet one more question.

Thankfully, no one has yet spanked him for his 'satiable curtiosity as was the case with Elephant's Child.

As an aside, people often think Bob is older than 5. His knowledge of things surprises them. His diverse vocabulary impresses them. Perhaps one maxim of education should be, "Ask questions; you'll learn a lot that way".

As Bob has the physical limitations that spina bifida imposes on him, he definitely makes up for it with his voluble nature.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Math 4 Preschoolers

What does one need in order to teach the little ones math?

1. The tiny book written by Dr. Ruth Beechick called An Easy Start In Arithmetic.

2. Manipulatives. I bought these cute bears at Scholar's Choice.

3. Wooden numbers. I bought mine at the Dollar store.



4. A relaxed attitude. It's amazing how much kids learn while playing!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Of Bush Tea and Self Knowledge

Every once in a while, I come across a book or series of books that has a special impact on me or resonates with me.

Having spent my early childhood in Africa, there always seems to be a piece of me that is distinctly "African".

A few years ago, someone recommended a series of books for me to read. She informed that as a TCK*, I probably would particularly enjoy those books.

That is how I became a fan of Precious Ramotswe and her friends, relations, clients, and opponents. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith has given me lots of laughs, triggered many memories, and carried me to the country called "Nostalgia".

Not only have I read all the books but I have also listened to some of them read aloud on CD. I can't remember the name of the narrator on those CD's but I love how she reads with such a true accent that greatly increases the sense of nostalgia for me.

This past week I read the latest book in this series: The Double Comfort Safari Club.

Following is an excerpt from the book filled with a truth that is presented in McCall Smith's inimitable humorous style. It's on page 5 of the edition I read.

"That was the way the world was; it was composed of a few almost perfect people (ourselves); then there were a good many people who generally did their best but were not all that perfect (our friends and colleagues); and finally, there were a few rather nasty ones (our enemies and opponents)."

Isn't that priceless? :-) So just know, all you people who 'generally do your best but are not all that perfect', if you don't agree with me that this series is delightful, I may need to move you to the "rather nasty" category. Thus speaks the 'nearly perfect' one. ;-)

Seriously, if we are honest with ourselves, is this not how we often think? That is probably why Paul needed to write that we need to "esteem others better than ourselves" because our natural response to others is that we are better than they.

Now, my dear blog readers, brew yourselves a cup of bush tea, put up your feet, and enjoy a visit to Botswana with Precious and co.

*Trans-Cultural Kid

Friday, June 3, 2011

What did we learn this week?

This blog was supposed to be about home education as well but I have written one, only one lone, post on that so far.

Well, let's remedy that!

We are on our last few weeks of the formal part of our home schooling for this school year. This week was supposed to be one of those weeks where lots of this book learning happens. We did three days.

Why?

Just blame the sun. After an extremely cold, wet spring we finally got a whole week of sunshine! I confess, I let the children play outside.

They got dirty in the sandbox.

They hunted for bugs.

They built a fort out of branches we had trimmed off one of our trees.

They blew bubbles.

They spent an inordinate amount of time on the swings.

They planted 'gardens'.

They tracked in lots and lots of sand and needed many baths. Their clothes got soiled but they've got sun-kissed legs, arms and faces. They are sleeping well and long at night and the amount of food they have consumed and water and juice they have sipped has risen astronomically.

I have been able to spend extra time organizing my home and preparing for our bathroom renovation starting next week.

I'm sure you're wondering how I can say this post is about home education! Ha, thought you'd never ask! :-)

I can tell you in one word: F L E X I B I L I T Y

Teaching my children at home means that I can allow them to take breaks like this from time to time knowing that there will be days in the summer when the kids don't know what to do. Sitting down then with a few books is no punishment especially if they are taught that education does not happen just during the school year and on week days.

Doing 30 minutes to 2 hours of 'school' per week during the summer is no hardship and allows the children to much better retain what they have learned throughout the year and not come back to school in September having forgotten so many things over the long summer. It also takes care of the days when they just need some one on one time with me.

This week I got a much needed break and so did the children. I would not be surprised if they learned nearly as much this week as in 'normal' weeks of book learning. They learned different things but they were still learning.

They learned how to get along with each other so they could stay out longer.

They learned to include Bob, who has spina bifida and can't walk. They helped him get on his plasma car, and on the swing. They brought the bugs to him for him to see and hold.

Bob learned to be patient and is now realizing that he doesn't need to worry about being left out.

Little Lucy is getting better at walking on uneven surfaces. :-)

These are just a few of the things my children learned this week. I think those are valuable things, don't you?


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What Christians Can Afford

Once upon a time, there was a deep ravine. The bridge that spanned the ravine was a narrow log.

One day, two mountain goats needed to cross that ravine. Naturally, being nimble of foot, they had no problem getting on that narrow log to cross over to the other side. There was just one problem.

The goats were on opposite sides of the ravine. Unnoticed by each other, they both stepped on the log at the same time and began to cross this chasm.

What was going to happen when they met? Closer and closer to each other they walked.

Amazingly, one mountain goat lay down right on the log. The other goat stepped over him and continued his walk to the other side. The mountain goat got up and also continued his journey.

They both got safely to the other side because one was willing to be stepped over.
This story is attributed to Martin Luther.

Our pastor used the story above to illustrate the sermon he preached on Philippians 4:5.

"Let your reasonableness be made known to all men, the Lord is at hand." ESV

As you can see from the portion that I copied from an online lexicon (see bottom of this post), reasonableness in this context means

"seemingly,
suitable,
equitable,
fair,
mild,
gentle".

Because of certain happenings in my life this week, this sermon has remained with me in an especially powerful way.

Our pastor told us that he once heard a rich man say, "I can afford to be generous."

Just like that rich man can afford to be generous, Christians can afford to be fair. I can afford to be gentle when treated unfairly. I can afford to be fair in my judgment of others. I can afford to be gracious when things don't go my way or when others are unkind to me.

It is not a bad thing to be stepped on as a Christian because Jesus is coming. He will bring justice. I don't need to take vengeance in my own hands. When it comes to my name, my comforts, and my ideas, I don't need to spend my time, money and energy quarreling with others and focusing on being 'right'.

When truth is at stake or when Christ's honour is at stake, I don't need to be passive. However, I can still choose to be gracious, fair, and gentle in my battle for the truth.

How often have we not justified angry outbursts, hate-filled speech, contemptuous looking down on others, scoffing at or mocking those who are not as 'enlightened' as we are by claiming to be fighting for the truth.

Boldness does not equate harshness. Standing up for the truth does not mean trampling on other believers.

The law of love is what should govern our actions. Christianity is real when we are able to respond in a Christlike manner when a bad temper, harshness or despair would be our natural responses.

Christianity is not about a religious system but is all about a relationship with a Person. A relationship which transforms our entire life, especially our character.

Christ is so patient with me every day. I can afford to be patient with others.

Every day, Christ forgives the sins I have done over and over. I can afford to forgive those who have hurt me over and over.

Christ has shown a tremendous grace towards me. I can afford to be gracious to others.

Christ has and continues to shower me with love and mercy. I can love others extravagantly and be merciful to my fellow brothers and sisters.

And when Jesus comes back, He continues to show me His love by taking me to live with Him and by making me perfect and wiping away every tear. How can I not afford to be like Him?

Epieikes

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon

Strong's Number: 1933
Original WordWord Origin
epieike├čfrom (1909) and (1503)
Transliterated WordTDNT Entry
Epieikes2:588,243
Phonetic SpellingParts of Speech
ep-ee-i-kace' Adjective
Definition
  1. seemingly, suitable
  2. equitable, fair, mild, gentle
NAS Word Usage - Total: 5
gentle 5
NAS Verse Count
Philippians1
1 Timothy1
Titus1
James1
1 Peter1


Total5
Greek lexicon based on Thayer's and Smith's Bible Dictionary plus others; this is keyed to the large Kittel and the "Theological Dictionary of the New Testament." These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information

Thayer and Smith. "Greek Lexicon entry for Epieikes". "The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon".. 1999.


Friday, May 27, 2011

A Way of Seeing

When you have a child, especially a toddler, it is not hard to see the world through their eyes. Our Lucy is now 15 months old and seeing her in action is very entertaining.

A few weeks ago our daffodils finally began to bloom. They were a little late because of the cold, wet Spring we've been experiencing here. One evening I took little Lucy out for a walk. She had just learned to walk so she held tightly to my hand as we crossed the bumpy lawn.

Suddenly she began to squeal with delight and began toddling as fast as she could to the flower bed. She stood right in front of a delicate yellow daffodil, touched it gently, and laughed. I looked at the daffodil and at Lucy and smiled.

My little one had given me a gift that evening. Completely subconsciously on her part, she had given me something to treasure. I saw that daffodil with fresh eyes. There it was, a piece of golden sunshine, swaying in the wind, beckoning me to laugh with delight just as Lucy did.

What a reminder to consider the lilies of the field, who neither "toil nor spin" but are dressed more splendidly than Solomon in all his glory! How much more will God not clothe me?

With little Lucy completely trusting that she would not fall if she held tightly to my finger, she was free to enjoy that flower. Trusting completely in my heavenly Father's provision for me leaves me free to enjoy Him. After all, that is what He wants from us as the Westminster Shorter Catechism states so well: "Man's chief end [main purpose or goal] is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever."

What a privilege I have to nurture these little people living in my home and one of the side benefits is seeing the world through their eyes and being reminded of the great lessons God has revealed in His Word!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'm Back!

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted! I justified myself by saying, "I'm a busy mom; I just don't have time right now, etc. etc." While that is, indeed true, surely I can take a few minutes to compile something, can't I?

Many things have been simmering in the back of my mind and every time I would think to myself that it was worth blogging about but somehow those posts just never materialized.

Why?

Perhaps I was looking to write the perfect post. Is the grammar correct? Is the subject matter interesting enough? Do I have a picture to go with it? When I look at creating posts in this way, I quickly find something else on my 'to do' list which is long enough anyway.

When one has a tendency toward perfectionism, the tendency can be to do nothing rather than to do something wrong. Somehow, that does not seem like the right response, does it? So, if you, my dear readers, can put up with less than perfect posts, I will attempt to begin posting regularly. As a way of holding myself accountable, how about I start with three posts per week. Does that sound doable?

What do you do to motivate yourself to do things that seem daunting to you?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

He Hideth My Soul

Over a decade ago, (doesn't that make me sound a little more shall we say, mature? p) a good friend of mine and I went on a holiday. We filled her little car with our bags, she grabbed a handful CD's, and we were off. In hindsight, my friend needn't have brought a handful CD's since we listened to one and one only, the entire road trip. On that CD was the song I have decided to use as my quote of the week. That was the song my friend and I both particularly enjoyed listening to on that trip.

We did lots of exploring and we even visited some members of my rather large family. We also went to some caves in Collingwood, Ontario. The caves weren't as "cavish" as we naively expected. We were thinking more along the lines of Carlsbad Caverns, hah! However, while not as dark, deep or scary as we'd hoped, they were interesting and we learned a little about how the native people used them. There was one part of these caves in which there seemed to be a crevice in the rocks. Really, it was just a perfect place for one small person to squeeze into and hide. As a looked at that 'cleft', the strains of the following hymn filled my mind. The story is not done yet....

A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord,
A wonderful Saviour to me;
He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock,
Where rivers of pleasure I see.

A wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord--
He taketh my burden away;
He holdeth me up and I shall not be moved,
He giveth me strength as my day.

With numberless blessings each moment He crowns,
And, filled with His fullness divine,
I sing in my rapture, "O glory to God
For such a Redeemer as mine!"

When clothed in His brightness transported I rise,
To meet Him in clouds of the sky,
His perfect salvation, His wonderful love,
I'll shout with the millions on high.

He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, thirsty land;
He hideth my life in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.

-Fanny Crosby

The story continued:

We were not the only tourists in that particular spot of the caves of Collingwood. A group of tourists from the United States was there as well. One of the members of that group began quoting the chorus of this hymn in a mellow, resonant voice.

"Amen, Brother!"

"Praise the Lord!" a number of people in the group chimed in.

To this day I wish I had had the courage to go up to these brothers and sisters and talk together about our wonderful Saviour. That man had no idea what a blessing he was and how his words have not been forgotten. Every time I sing this song I also think of him.



Thursday, March 31, 2011

Home Education

Our family is one that home schools, or if you prefer to put it this way, we are home educators. I suppose you could say that we do school at home but that would actually not be quite accurate. We don't do school in the traditional sense. My children have very few work books. Most of our time is spent sitting on the couch reading books together. While my children are not constantly doing 'busy work', it is amazing to me how much they retain from the living books we read together.

The curriculum we have chosen to use for the time being is Sonlight. There have been times when we've seriously considered doing other programs but we always come back to Sonlight.

Mr. Beaver and I have attended numerous home school conventions, we have read extensively on the subject, and we have been privileged to learn from veteran home educators. Based on this research and on our own experiences thus far, we have come to the conclusion that for us, home schooling is not an activity we watch our children do or that we merely do with our children, home education is a way of life for our family. Every day we have an opportunity to learn things together as a family.

I plan to blog more about our journey as lifelong learners. Buckle your seat belts and get ready for an exciting ride!

What's With the Title?

You may have been wondering why I would have called my blog Coney's Crevice. What's a coney and what is it doing in a crevice?

In the King James Version of the Bible Proverbs 30:26 reads as follows: "The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks".

I am not a mighty, powerful person. I am definitely not on any "who's who" list :-) My job is not glamourous neither do I have spectacular titles. I am an ordinary wife and mother but I serve a great King. Even though I am weak, I am strong in Christ. Conies aren't strong, yet they build their homes in rocks.

One of my favourite hymns is "A Wonderful Saviour is Jesus my Lord.....He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock...." Another word for "cleft" is "crevice"; hence the title "Coney's Crevice."

I found the following definition of coney, a.k.a. hyrax on thefreedictionary.com

Noun1.hyraxhyrax - any of several small ungulate mammals of Africa and Asia with rodent-like incisors and feet with hooflike toes
eutherian, eutherian mammal, placental, placental mammal - mammals having a placenta; all mammals except monotremes and marsupials
family Procaviidae, Procaviidae - includes all recent members of the order Hyracoidea
Procavia capensis, rock hyrax, rock rabbit - hyrax that lives in rocky areas
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2008 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

What Matters

When all the smoke clears or when your life becomes uncluttered;
When push comes to shove or when the rubber hits the road;
When you've reached the end of yourself or when the crisis is over;
When the argument is done and you know that nobody has changed their views but each have become more firmly entrenched in their own ideas;
You realize that what matters is:

Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength
and your neighbour as yourself.
Let Jesus be your all in all and do the next right thing.

In the World but not of the World

Because of various things going on in my life, I find my creative well has dried up for now. However, the last few days, I have been very encouraged by the blogs of others and would like to share one of those with you today.

I frequently read the blog of Tim Challies: http://www.challies.com

His "a la carte" posts give many links to interesting sites. Sometimes a post will stop me in my tracks and cause me to think deeply and re-evaluate my established thoughts and world view. Other times a post will as it were 'say my thoughts out loud'. The following post did the latter for me today.
Check it out and see what you think.

http://mrlauterbach.typepad.com/gospeldrivenlife/2011/03/parallel-universes.html


Monday, March 7, 2011

Becoming familiar with Blogging

Hmmm, yesterday I typed the sermon notes out in a "new post" so I wouldn't forget the sermon I heard but then I hit "publish post" accidentally. I was supposed to check it over and then publish it today, oh well. I am slowly getting the hang of this blogging business....:-)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Obedience

Have you ever noticed that the word obedience has the word die in the middle?

obeDIEnce

Our pastor brought this to our attention on this Lord's Day morning. In the life of sanctification the Christian dies to sin and obeys Christ.

We let go of something in order to serve our Lord more fully. Something needs to die, needs to give, needs to be put off, in order to put Christ on. That something is sin which stands between us and the Lord.

In Philippians 1 we read how Paul longed to be with Christ, which he said was far better. Our pastor also used a ship to illustrate his point: when we die, we are like a ship which sails out of a harbour. The ropes which have tied the ship to the shore are loosened one by one. When a believer dies, his ties to sin are loosened. Therefor, it is far better to be with the Lord than to be constantly sinning here.

Here are some of the thoughts I have from hearing that sermon this morning:

This definitely puts a new perspective on death, doesn't it? Now we can understand why Paul thought it would be far better to be with the Lord than to keep living here on earth.

However, Paul did not die at that time. The Lord still had work for him to do. The reason why Christians here are still alive is because the Lord still has work for us to do.

What work has He given you and given to me? Are we doing it or are we being distracted?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

True Riches

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."

-Jim Elliot


Friday, March 4, 2011

Introducing the Cast of the Crevice

I am Lidia. You should be finding out more about me as the days/weeks wear on, 'nuff said.

The rest of the cast have been given aliases for privacy reasons.

My better half is Mr. Beaver, a man of outstanding character, who helped pick his alias. The name comes from the Chronicles of Narnia.

Our oldest child is Elnora. Her name is derived from the books by Gene Stratton Porter. The Elnora of Porter's imagination loved nature and in particular insects. Our Elnora is no different.

Our second child is Bob, named for Bob the Builder. He likes tools, obviously.

Bill is our third child. For some reason when the boys play construction, farm, or any other imaginary games, this child usually calls himself Bill. So Bill he is.

Lucy is our fourth child. Lucy is a sweet name, and child number four is sweet. (So are our other children, we think, and no, of course we are not biased.)