Monday, March 30, 2009


I had to warm up leftover coffee from yesterday. I made a choice to procrastinate on buying a new bag of coffee. Now I'm suffering the consequences.

We all have choices to make. This weekend I chose to take my kids to a special worship program at another church instead of attending our regular service. Today I'm choosing to have lunch with my son at school instead of going to yoga. You chose to read this blog instead of doing your dishes. Bravo!

Sometimes the consequences of our choices leave us with a bad taste in our mouths - like this stale coffee. Do you ever feel guilty for making one decision over another? A friend of mine spent the afternoon with her daughter selling Girl Scout cookies outside a local grocery store. Later that day, she felt bad that she had missed a church event. Which choice was the right one for that day?

I'm inclined to believe that it is a good choice to invest in relationships with our kids. On the other hand, we need to allow them to have space and be self-reliant. Ultimately God is "judging the thoughts and attitude of our hearts" as well as our actions.

Today when I skip yoga, I am making a sacrifice to be with my son who needs a little extra time with mom today. But on Wednesday, I'll go to yoga with the assurance that I also need to care for this temple that God has given me. They are both good choices.

And even though sometimes I make the wrong choice, I am thankful for grace. Just like the sweet smell of fresh coffee brewing, God's mercies will be new tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Medicine for my Mood

Spring Break is supposed to be a wonderful family time. Not this house - not this year. Not only were we plagued with a stomach virus, another much more serious strain of sickness hit us with a vengence.

These were not your ordinary sassy comments. My children made criticism and hatefulness a real sport this week. It starts quietly. Siblings are really good at this strategy. It involves mumbling under your breath and paying close attention to what direction mom is looking. A casual "bumping into someone" which no one can prove was done on purpose.

Then it escalates to complete infestation. It was raging out of control before I knew what happened. There's a huge correlation between those pesky bugs that cause tummy troubles and the ones that infiltrate our spirits.

Now we don't use official foul language in our house, but words like jerk, dumb head and big baby were heard often. I tried all the standard methods of discipline with the exception of spanking. (They're all a bit old for that, but I was tempted!) I was horrified. It was a viral bullying that was running its course.

By the time I went to bed last night, I was completely exhausted in every sense. My body and my spirit were worn out from the battle. But today after my coffee and prayer time, I read something that God used to speak to me. Billy Coffey (love the name) posted a wonderful article about prunes. Prunes are not a good thing when you're suffering from the stomach flu, but this object lesson shows how something small can affect the big picture.

Lisa Whelchel has a great book called Creative Correction that uses object lessons like Billy's prune story to teach kids important lessons. Lessons like these aren't just for kids. They aren't just for Sunday School. They remind all of us about the truth.

And the truth is.... I need more coffee.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In Defense of the Good Old Fashioned Book

The coffee pot is making its final gurgling sounds as I type. I know. How can I possibly blog without my mocha in hand? Well, let's just say I got a late start.

I stayed up late reading in bed last night. I've been looking for some Christian Chick Lit to read and finally found one I could dive in to. So there I was at 1:00am still turning pages and I began to wonder about ebooks. Many of you know that the world of publishing has turned to things like ebooks and kindle. (If you didn't know that, you should spend some time searching the web.)

In some ways, the world of e-publishing is wonderful. It's a green industry, saving trees and landfills. Accessing ebooks is very convenient. No need to leave your house to run to the library or bookstore. Publishing time can be reduced.

But as I turned the crisp pages of my new book, I realized that I will never be a total ebook convert. You see, I love browsing the aisles of the library. I love wandering the shelves of the local bookstore, pulling out the titles one at a time and perusing their pages. And when I've made my selection, I can cuddle up with my new book. I love to stare at the covers and soak in the details. I love to see my progress from a full stack of pages in my right hand to an ever growing pile in my left.

Not only that, I have collected these treasures over the years. We have shelves of multicolored memories. As a homeschool family, we've read some of them aloud and enjoyed the experiences at home and on long trips. My friends and I have shared the discovery of a new author and then raced to collect his works. A few of our books, novels and non fiction alike, have marginalia in them. (Marginalia (mar jin a' lya) - notes we write in the margins of books)

And then, on a rainy day I can skim the shelves in my house and find the perfect selection. Oh sure, I've read it before. But there's comfort in the familiar, comfort in holding the paper and print in my hands.

You can call me old fashioned. I won't mind a bit.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Homeschool Physics Fun

I'm an eclectic homeschooler at heart. I've tried Classical education, Textbooks and other methods. Seriously, I just want to load my kids in the van and take a field trip whenever I feel like it.

My kids complained recently that we just don't go anywhere like we used to. One of my teens said, "Remember the time we drove to Grandma's and had to stop at a thrift shop because we didn't pack anything?" Honestly it was loads of fun! We woke up at 7am and left the house at 8. Those were the good old days.

Now that I'm old (my kids keep reminding me), I have to PLAN times to be spontaneous. Next month we are going to go to Six Flags "on a whim."Six Flags in Arlington (Dallas/FtWorth area) is hosting Physics day on April 17th. We are going to make a science lesson out of riding roller coasters. Now that's my kind of homeschooling!

Download this free workbook appropriate for high school kids. It includes schematics of different rides, problems to solve and more! Woohoo!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Writing Cave

In the fog of early morning - the kind that comes from lack of caffeine - a signal shines on the ceiling. The silhouette of a writing quill beckons from the darkness. Who will rescue the people from passive voice verbs?

To the bat cave! Er... I mean... To the writing cave!

If only it actually worked this way for writers. Our goals of writing 2000 words a day never seem like a matter of national emergency. Instead loads of laundry and a list of errands interrupt productivity.

So what's a writer to do?

First, call yourself a writer. Say it aloud with me - "I am a writer." When I fill out forms at medical offices, I no longer write "homemaker" in as my occupation. Once I started calling myself a writer, I defined my daily purpose. My keyboard is priority number one.

Rachelle Gardener, literary agent, describes the life of a writer with a book contract. "What are you doing to prepare for the reality of being a contracted author?" Gardener asks. She offers suggestions for streamlining household duties and using your time and resources for your career as a writer.

Once you call yourself a writer, it's time to act like one! When Batman is wearing those ridiculous tight pants, his entire persona shouts superhero. I'm not suggesting that you waste time creating a costume and fake name. But what if your "writing cave" housed tools of the trade like a cool filing system, books of secret tricks, and a password.

Batman knows that his mission is important. Do you act like your mission is valuable? Today when you sit down to tackle that article or devotion or 90,000 word novel, compose your thoughts as if the world depends on it.

Holy Word Count, Batman! It's time to write!

(Hmm... I think extra espresso is a creativity enhancer. Or it just makes you have flashbacks to your childhood.)