Saturday, March 5, 2011


On June 23, 2009 this is what I wrote:

Broken To Breathless: The Beginning
I have no idea what I'm doing. If this is the right thing. If this is even the smart thing to do. You hear so many stories of internet exposure (although, I don't foresee myself risking that kind of exposure) and comments taken out of context. I don't want to get carried away with this and find myself breaking the story of Brangelina-Gate or compromising who I am and what I believe for the nuances of "the blog". But I'm reaching out. I have a story to share, and what I've found as I've shared with others is that they know my story. They have lived one very similar to mine, or are trapped in a place I was, or know someone just like me. Others have shared with me their stories, and I have found bits of myself in those. If in the telling of my story, or the sharing of my thoughts I can encourage one person or extend one element of praise to the God who has made this possible and His Son Who has redeemed me, then I am doing the right thing.

God has worked for me.  I don't mean that as some understatement of His power or grace; He is not a self-help program or pill to be taken long enough to get you over the hump.  He is God Almighty, Creator of all, Savior and Redeemer, Judge.  However -- and this is a biggie, don't miss it -- HE IS LOVE!  His perfect love reached down and sought me for a relationship; He desired a relationship with me.  He desires the same for you.  If you are reading this and you remain unmoved, no questions, no convictions -- go out and enjoy the weather.  But, if you have the slightest inkling that what I'm saying could be true -- read on.

As my profile says, at some point my life was jacked up.  I've been homicidal; I've been suicidal.  I've been an addict and a Holy Roller.  I've poured myself into my relationships; I've torn them apart.  Nothing worked.  That is, until Jesus.  I can't tell you why He was a last resort, I only know I'm glad I'm here.  No disrespect to counseling or AA or retreats or medications or even church -- many times they work, some of them even by themselves.  But JESUS NEVER FAILS.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Schooling the Homeschooler

Here's the thing, I have homeschooled for over ten years. By some accounts, I am a novice. But throughout the years I have noticed things about other homeschoolers -- not all complimentary.

For instance, I know God "looketh on the heart," but can anyone tell me why homeschoolers insist on dressing like circus freaks? Mismatched knee socks, baseball caps (on women, at the orchestra)dresses that should have been earmarked for Goodwill in 1960, Birkenstocks or clogs, and anything knitted. I know having a parent at home requires forsaking the two income model of today's society, and many homeschoolers sincerely believe a woman's work is the home -- strictly mother, wife, homemaker. That's fine; I don't knock it, I envy it. However, does it literally mean a moratorium on all clothing made after 1981? No one's looking for America's Next Top Model at Renaissance Capture the Flag, but is it such a crime to be taken seriously?  Besides, do they realize they are drawing attention to what's on the outside?

Secondly, why do homeschoolers think discipline, courtesy toward others and some acquaintance with social graces, need to remain outside the parameters of home education? True, installing filters on our children does inhibit learning and development -- learning rudeness, developing arrogance, eventually learning the pain of isolation and developing a reputation as a disease. I want my children to experience the joy of others' company, as well as the gratification and acceptance of being good company. I want them to enjoy museums and theaters and parks and tours, but not as if they are the only ones present. How does screaming like a banshee, standing on theater seats, or constant interrupting create a learning environment for anyone?

For years I watched other homeschoolers and fretted that in some way I was holding my children back. Should I allow them to blurt out lengthy stories of their adventures searching for owl pellets while a patient docent tries to explain dendrochronology? Should I be sitting with the rest of the moms chatting up Charlotte Mason while my four year old streaks through the lunchroom of The Franklin Institute? Should I concern myself, and teach my children to concern themselves, with looking presentable, or do I ignore the floods, the unkempt hair, and the slippers?

I can’t. I have to go with my gut on this one. Organization and housekeeping has not stunted my growth in any way. Neither has discipline or respect for others, thwarted my children’s desire to learn or achieve. Their clothes match -- and fit them -- and they like being able to occasionally indulge some items that are current and stylish, as well as modest. I force my children to remain quiet when others are speaking and hold their questions to the end of the lecture; so far they seem normal. We try to keep whining and self-absorption to a minimum; that’s a good thing, no?

Christine and I joke that you can spot a homeschooler at a country mile. I’d like to be wrong a little more often.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Forgotness: So Much More Than Forgiveness

Madison is not the confident, fearless extrovert that Olivia is; she tends to move a little more slowly, observing and testing over and over before actually proceeding with caution to the edge of the waters.  So when it came to church and age-appropriate groups, we thought it best not to plunk her down in a room full of strangers, give her a peck on the head and tell her we'd be back in an hour or so.  By the same token, we all needed structure -- she in a class that met her needs and offered Biblical education; Scott and I side-by-side praying and sharing the Scriptures together, without monitoring the noise level in our pew or taking kidney shots from a fidgeting 10-year old as we leaned forward to pray.  Happily, she has made the transition with no permanent scars or defects.  In fact, just last night, she and Olivia performed their "Fruits of the Spirit" song for me after dinner!  Can't beat that with a stick!  Anyway, on one of those pre-conventional Sundays the pastor was speaking about forgiveness.  Madison, ever pensive, says to me, "Did he just say, 'forgotness?'"  Wow.  Although my answer wasn't "yes." it probably should have been.

That day I spent a lot of time thinking about "forgotness."  I even went home and began writing about God's work in my life -- teaching me forgiveness little by little, day by day.  I wrote about those I struggled to forgive, how I had been trusting God to lead me through the process.  Realistically I never expected to reach "forgotness."  But God is good. 

When I read the letters I wrote that day, I find it hard to believe those words poured from this heart.  I see circumstances in which I was judgemental and naive, blatantly sinning against God, and disregarding common sense; I understand my role in some of the pain I experienced and the hurt I caused in return.  I also see where I was wronged, deeply, for no other reason but the selfish ambitions of others.  Today, none of that makes any difference.  God has filled me with so much more than forgiveness, it is uncomfortable for me to speak specifically of incidents or disparagingly of those with whom I have had issue.  This is not some form of denial; this is not repression.  This is healing!  This is God's grace and mercy at work!  This is God's power to change a heart, change a life, change evil for good!  The facts remain, if only for the purpose of telling my story to others, and for the glory of God, but I summon them without feeling -- merely words on a page, lackluster technicalities.  But the pain is gone, the anger removed, the betrayal unimportant. 

Yes, Madison, he said forgotness!  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Precious Love

So, it's Oscar time again, and as usual, I'm on top of things!  Last week I sat breathlessly through the Oscar nominated movie, "Precious."  OK, a mere 365 or so days behind, but some movies are just meant to be seen alone, at your own pace.  In case you're one of the four or five other people left who have never seen it, this is the gist: obese, illiterate, inner city kid coping with motherhood, pregnancy, and eventually HIV, victimized sexually by her father, abused emotionally and physically by her mother, struggles to overcome her disadvantages, finding love and self-worth along the way.  Some criticized it for being "over the top" -- too many stereotypes, too may social issues addressed in one film, and too much drama for one character.  Fine, deny its reality, but you can't deny its premise -- one victimized at every twist and turn, one struggling for "normal" in an environment so dysfunctional that "normal" has been expunged from existence.

Point is, I found myself, probably like most who saw it, knowing darkness and struggle exists in our society, but not wanting to believe it.  The dead walk the streets of our cities and towns; the empty sit next to us on buses and benches.  It's that moment when we first ask ourselves, "How can anyone live like that?" that we choose to ignore.  Its answer eventually leads to a desperate need for action, and who, but ourselves is there to take up that action?  So, we emerge from a darkened theater and reject the existence of such defect, or shake our heads in disgust before retreating to the safety of busy schedules.  The truth is, there are many "Anyones." The reality is, change begins with the "Ourselves."  Our wonderment needs to move beyond empathy or disgust, out of our hearts and minds, onto our lips, and into our hands and feet.  Which, by the way don't belong to us.  God gave us tools with which to serve others and bring glory to Him.  We are His servants and ambassadors in Christ Jesus.  History has shown, as well, the blessing that we receive when we help others; God has promised to prosper those who do His Will.  Let us not ever forget Who ransomed and redeemed us, Who put us here with purpose, Who blessed us with our very next breath, and Who calls us to love as we have been loved - with action, with selflessness, with His very hands and feet.