Thursday, September 03, 2015

Revel in Wonder

It has been several months since I posted about *revel*, my 2015 word of the year.

That doesn't mean I haven't thought about it.

In April, I thought about writing Revel in Rest after the convention. Karen from living, unabridged recommended that.

In May, I didn't think about much of anything because I got sick.

In June, I considered writing about 'Revel on the Way' because our Associate Pastor has been preaching through Mark and emphasizing the life of the disciple walking on the way with Jesus. If you read closely in Mark, Jesus and the disciples are always setting out on the way.

In July and August, I realized that going back into June - and before - I kept posting about Wonder.

I was talking with Mystie recently and she said "Wonder really goes with *revel*, doesn't it?"  Yes, yes it does. And, really, all of those ideas ... rest, the way, and Wonder all go together to build *revel*.

Let's think back, lo these many months, on the definition of *revel*: "to take great pleasure or delight."  In June, I wrote this:
To *revel* must certainly start with a sense of Wonder. When we find deep joy and satisfaction in something we wonder. Can we *revel* without a sense of wondering at the good, the true, the beautiful? I think that's an idea I'd like to consider more deeply. I like the idea that to *revel* is to go beyond the prosaic and see mountain streams of Wonder and truth.
Let's ponder.

The word Wonder can be used as a noun, adjective, verb, and adverb.

Wonder is a marvel, a thing that astounds us. It is a thing which causes us to pause and contemplate.  A Wonder can be concrete - a beautiful place, an ant, a person. A Wonder can be abstract - an action, gravity, God's love.

Something wonderful or wonderous is splendid, worthy of considering, amazing, divine.  When we use the term wonderful we are praising it.  Sometimes we are announcing awe or astonisment that it could be true.

We can actively Wonder. I wonder when dinner will be ready (I suppose I ought to cook it!) I wonder if this tree will survive the winter. I wonder how God measures the seas.  It isn't always just a question, either. When I express awe at - when I Wonder at - the creation, I'm not simply questioning the hows and whys and wherefores but I respect, drop my jaw, yea *revel* in God and what he has wonderfully (adverb!) made. That adverb pulls all these senses together.

I've been thinking a lot about Jain and Clark's spiraling paradigm - Brandy called it the 4 Ws last week - of Wonder, Work, Wisdom, Worship.  I'm pretty sure the spiral begins with Wonder.  This is the joy of childhood.  What is that? Why? How? Children express their Wonder - in both the noun and the verb - as they question the world around them. They are intrigued by the marvel and they want to know about it. As we age, we seem to lose this. And sometimes, as parents, we kill this sense of wondering.

Martin Cothran wrote about children's wonder in this old article, The Rhetoric of Amazement: What children's literature tells us about the world

Anthony Esolen talks about this in his book 10 Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child :
If we loved children, we would have a few. If we had them, we would want them as children, and would love the wonder with which they behold the world, and would hope that some of it might open our own eyes a little.
The question is can we recapture it?

I want to learn to *revel* in this amazing life God has given me. He has shown me many marvels, many Wonders, and I have glimpsed but few.  If I want to *revel*, I have to pay attention and become as a little child who seeks the Wonders which start the spiral toward worship.

We Wonder, then we Work, put in effort to gain knowledge and fear of the Lord which is, of course, the beginning of Wisdom and this increase of Wisdom causes us to Worship which feeds back into Wonder of God's character, being, creation, providence ... this paradigm is naturally, restfully walking along the way in discipleship.

Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder by John Newton

1 Let us love, and sing, and wonder,
Let us praise the Savior's name!
He has hushed the law's loud thunder,
He has quenched Mount Sinai's flame. 
He has washed with his blood,
He has brought us nigh to God.

2 Let us love the Lord, who bought us,
Pitied us when enemies;
Called us by his grace, and taught us,
Gave us ears, and gave us eyes.
He has bought us with his blood,
He presents our souls to God.

3 Let us sing, though fierce temptations
Threaten hard to bear us down!
For the Lord, our strong salvation,
Holds in view the conqueror's crown,
He who washed us with his blood,
Soon will bring us home to God.

4 Let us wonder, grace and justice
Join and point to mercy's store;
When we trust in Christ our fortress,
Justice smiles, and asks no more.
He who washed us with his blood,
Has secured our way to God.

5 Let us praise and join the chorus
Of the saints enthroned on high;
Here they trusted him before us,
Now their praises fill the sky.
"You have washed us with your blood,
You are worthy, Lamb of God!"

Let's *revel* in that.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: Surrender ... Take On

I'm very slowly (very slowly) reading Sarah Mackenzie's Teaching from Rest. A couple of weeks ago I posted a quote from the Introduction.  Now, I'm posting from early in the first chapter. Seriously, slowly.

But, the ideas from her words make an impact and require mulling and turning over and over - at least for me. And I'm not what you would generally call "Type A."

Those who know me laughed out loud at that.

No, I'm pretty laid back, almost to the derelict of duties rather than the gung-ho accomplishing of them.  So, in this case, Sarah's words take on two meanings for me.

First, in school, I am kinda get 'er done, do what I planned, don't derail me. I do lose my temper kinda too quickly.  So for Sarah to tell me to surrender my plans to God's providential plans for the day because he trumps me.  Well, that is fantastic.

But she doesn't stop there, she goes on to tell me to get off my duff and take on, energetically, purposefully, actively do what God has planned for the day.  

Teaching from Rest is challenging me to meet in the middle.  To plan my route, yes.  To be ok when switched onto another track, yes. To follow the rails to the Lord's destination, yes. We have the same destination in mind - that Celestial City - but he knows the best route. Like writing this post, I had a different graphic all made and this verbal image of the tracks overrode my original image.  I'm letting the first go.

Here's the deal, I think you could replace the word "homeschool" out of the above sentence and it would make as much sense: The ideal homemaker's day. The ideal child's day. The ideal blogger's day. What if you took the modifier out entirely? "Surrender your idea of what the ideal day is supposed to look like ..."

But she challenges us.  We don't only surrender. We don't give up entirely.  We take on.  There is work set before us, and we must do it.  I like the emphatic "with both hands" too ... not lackadasically do we take on the day that is, but with joy and enthusiasm we take that day on.  

And, now you know why I'm reading very slowly.

Wordless Wednesday: Welcome Home, Buck!

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Simple Woman's Daybook for August 31, 2015

For Today... Monday August 31, 2015

Outside my that royal blue sky that indicates that it's morning but the sun hasn't quite risen, yet. 

I am thinking... about Adam and Jesus. Adam was made to have dominion, Jesus has it. Adam was sent out - his face was turned away from God, Jesus was abandoned - God's face was turned away. Adam was clothed, Jesus was stripped.  Adam was cursed, Jesus bore the curse.  Stuff like that.

I am thankful... for excellent teaching at our church which starts me off on such rabbit trails. The love our pastors and officers have for us, opportunities for fellowship and communication abound.  

I am wearing... Buckeye shirt! It's football week!

I am creating... a 31 days series coming in October ... here's a sneak peek:

I am going... to R-girl's first soccer practice. Her's was the first coach we heard from but will be the last team which practices and we meet.  Games start September 12.

I am wondering... how Buck will get along with Sandy.  We met a new dog on Saturday who will probably come home with us today or tomorrow depending how his surgery goes today. 

I am reading... Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. I read just a little at N-boy's soccer practice on Saturday and it was enough to make me think about our days and the tension between reality and expectations.  How that tension keeps us from truly resting in Christ's accomplished work and providential care.

I am hoping... to read some more of it this week, but I'm savoring, not rushing, through this book.

I am learning... if you clean every week, it's easier to clean. If you plan every week, it's easier to plan. If you rightly order your days, you can rest in God's faithfulness when your ordering isn't accomplished.

In my kitchen... I made crockpot lasagna and pasta salad for the church luncheon yesterday.  There's pasta salad left, but every drop of lasagna was eaten. I win!

In my garden... we have some green tomatoes on our completely neglected plants.  We'll see how that shakes out!

In the homeschool... I'm praying for another solid week like the last two.

A favorite quote for today...
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (Psalm 103:1-5 ESV)

A peek into one of my days... this is Buck, I think he'll be coming home with us! He's a Plott Hound.  

One of my favorite things... church luncheons, so much good food! Too many choices!

From the board room... To go with my 31 Days series, I've started collecting pins for Surviving Sports Seasons Sanely ... particularly meals I want to try.
               Follow ladydusk's board surviving sports seasons sanely on Pinterest.    

Post Script... Heidi Scovel, at Mt. Hope Chronicles, is exploring language as she prepares to teach CC Essentials this year (Check out her series Language Love, Cosmos and  Logos). While I don't want to do CC, I do want to take Heidi's class.  This seems to be the next best thing. Her post, 5 Common Topics Go To The Beach shows us how valuable a tool the 5 common topics are.  Excellent stuff. Read everything ... her booklists are amazing.

Linking up with The Simple Woman.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Our Weekly Amble for August 24-29, 2015

We had a week that improved as it went on.  It started out rough, as it often does, and improved to Friday's excellent day.

Sometimes in homeschooling that groove is important.

I was so thankful that I had done planned out the week for both Circle Time and the rest of our lessons.  I want the children to get into the habit of checking assignments off their list so they aren't always asking "what's next?" or "how much do I have left?" or "what chapter of this book?"

We started Couch 2 5K this week, and ran/walked three times.  We did our pilates video one day.  We walked after dinner with Daddy most nights as well as reading from our dinnertime read-aloud: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I think we're all enjoying it more than we expected.  This has become a nice pattern to our days. M-girl had soccer practice twice, N-boy once (Saturday morning), and R-girl's begins on Monday.  Games don't start until September 12, but the season is gearing up.  At N-boy's practice this morning I planned out my October 31 Days series: "Surviving Sports Seasons Sanely." It'll be a wild ride!

Grovetime went relatively well.

We were a bit behind in our reading of George Washington's World and Kidnapped, but I think we've caught up with that, so we can ease back on the readings this coming week.

We've all been enjoying - and following - A Midsummer Night's Dream as I've been reading it aloud more than we did as even the Librivox audio recording.  I think both reading the names of the characters and reading a scene each day has helped with the continuity of the reading. I want to do more thinking on this, though, because sometimes those readings are long.

The children did some Index Card a Day but also did paper airplanes (guess which I prefer?) We did the assigned AO readings on Monday then filled in the rest of the week with Proverbs 1-3.  We also are reading one letter of Psalm 119 each day and will cycle through those.  We finished learning "How Firm a Foundation" as our hymn and are all looking forward to our next hymn: "It Is Well With My Soul." I've waited on some of those until N-boy could manage singing parts, which he now can. Yay! (All of our learned hymns are here.)  Our Bible memory work is John 1:1-18; this week's focus was the first two paragraphs. We went through the whole Catechism for Young Children this week.  Monday will be the last day of readings from my eBook. I'd like to start thinking about habits next.

We read about reptiles in general, then three kinds of snakes from the Handbook of Nature Study.  We learned about garter snakes, milk snakes, and water snakes.  We've continued with Emily Dickinson poetry and memorizing 'Sea Fever.' This week finished a cycle of reviewing all the poems we've memorized so far, so next week will be back to 'Ooey Gooey.'  I love doing grammar and math memory work and studied dictation during Grovetime.

For our studied dictation I selected from the Ambleside Online copywork group for Year 4. We spent the week thinking about the spelling of words in the selection as well as the punctuation (commas, semicolon) and why the author made the choices he made. Then on Friday, they got a clean sheet of paper and wrote as I dictated.  This photo is of N-boy's dictation from yesterday.

As I said, we read a section from George Washington's World each day this week, through George marrying Martha.  I think we'll slow down on that now, though.  We also read Proserpine from Age of Fable.  Oh, and I read too far in Madam How and Lady Why. The children were disappointed by this. We had some good discussions from this section, because I disagree with Kingsley and think that our souls are much more tied to our bodies than Kingsley indicates.  I wonder if others have issues with that section.  (I disagree with CS Lewis' statement "You are a soul, you have a body." too.)

Copying Catechism questions and answers.
We ended up listening to Kidnapped in the car a couple of times because I really want to keep Grovetime to 1.5 hours, and we just ran out of time. I hope this changes as we ease back on some of the readings.  I also want to get more Latin in as we only chanted two chapter's lists each day (our current chapter and one review, moving in reverse through the chapters).  We need to move forward.

So, Grovetime happened every day this week.  We have decided that Thursday's will be a cleaning day: home economics. A nice way to ease into the weekend and reset for the coming week.
They were planning a play, this was his costume,
he came to math dressed so.

This means that math, copywork, geography blobbing, and other readings happened only four days.  But, they happened.  N-boy is working on a section dealing with symmetry.  R-girl finished up multiplying by 9s and is doing some review of multiplication and order of operations. M-girl is reviewing long division and order of operations.

The children each did piano practices and had lessons this week. Instead of a spring recital, we did recordings of them playing which I hope to have to share soon.



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wednesdays with Words: The Wild Thyme Blows

We have been reading such good things in school, working our way through Kidnapped and A Midsummer Night's Dream in particular.  I posted pictures of my commonplace book last week with quotes from both; one I liked the ideas within and the other two quotes the poetics of.

I mean, the assonance and near rhyme that Scott and Shakespeare used for setting a mood - of drearieness or amusement - are subtle when read to oneself and much more blatant aloud.  Read "The nearer I got to that, the drearier it appeared." with a Scots accent and it becomes eerie.  And, poor Bottom, extempore roaring? He is so unaware of the humor he provides us.

But these quotes are not the one I have chosen for today.  I choose one not new to me - but new in context - from our Shakespeare reading.  A verse I was first introduced to reading Ken Ludwig's How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. It's lovely and breezy at first, but becomes much more devious - in a way to move the plot along - as Oberon decides upon his trickery.  The first part is so lovely, though, so gentle and descriptive:

Wordless Wednesday: Eating Out

Hot dogs.

Root beer! A special treat.