Sunday, July 24, 2016

174: meshing homeschool and public school expectations

Yesterday and today (mm, it's past midnight, so yesterday and the day before yesterday) I volunteered at a homeschool convention so I could get in free and listen to speakers and buy really cheap books downstairs where all the leftover books from the June curriculum swap are available for donation only. I left with 68 books. . . and with some really good thoughts and ideas shared by the speakers.

I wrote a status on Facebook tonight that seems to accurately encompass my thoughts this eve. I re-post it here so I won't lose it. :)

"I'm thankful I work in a school where my class size is so small and the administration is so flexible that I can implement homeschool-style methods and even be Spirit-led/seize teachable moments. I am thankful that this season of life is the next best thing to being a homeschool mom myself. I am thankful that I can have a job that is fulfilling and encourages creativity and grows skills that I will always benefit from having learned. It's weird though because I feel like I ride the fence between the world of homeschooling (my heritage) and the world of public schooling (our "competition"). Between "let God lead you as to what is best for your child" and "do not be bound by the world's educational goals" on one side and "excellence is following research-based best practices" and "how does this align to state standards or common core?" on the other. Both sound good. Both are good. But they ARE different. They approach education very differently. And then there's my little classroom, where I mesh all the ideas flying in my brain and the voices of both sides telling me what to do, and figure out what I'm capable of doing with my abilities and what I'm expected to accomplish. 3 weeks til I go back."

Friday, July 8, 2016

173: date-turned-Mormon processing

I want to write more. Originally this blog was supposed to be a place for me to write my thoughts without trying to tailor it for an audience. Maybe I can get back to that more.

So many thoughts.

To tell you the truth, when I see the date-turned-Mormon profile pic, I still feel a pang. The day before he was supposed to turn Mormon I talked with him again on the phone and told him about two articles I read by Mormons about Mormons. I told him what I had learned and why I disagreed. At his request, I sent him the articles and also added the Scripture verses I had brainstormed refuting the main points I had culled from the articles. He said he'd read them. But he still became Mormon. I haven't heard from him again. He joined LDS singles groups on FB.

When we had lunch, he had talked about Mormonism, but I didn't think he was considering joining them. I thought I was talking to a believer--I didn't realize I was engaging in apologetics. When I told him on the phone that I didn't want to touch Mormonism with a ten-foot pole, I didn't mean that I was ostracizing him because I couldn't philosophically deal with someone becoming Mormon. I meant that I couldn't go there relationally, that emotionally I couldn't even continue a friendship with him because it would be too much a temptation to crush on an unbeliever. I am too weak; I HAD to set my boundary. But did he recognize that? Is there anyone in his life that can still dialogue with him about what Scripture says? Not to tell him he's wrong or that Mormonism is stupid, but to truly dialogue with him like he so enjoyed.

The church. Where was the church as the LDS missionaries drew him in, counseled him? One of the main things we talked about in our lunch was how Mormons disciple new converts and keep them accountable and follow through. And the church is so lacking in that area. I know personally that if I want accountability or fellowship, I have to seek it. And I have the spiritual maturity now to be able to seek it. But what about someone who has only be saved a few years? Why are we--why am I--not encouraging one another to follow the Lord? Oh sure, we "fellowship," as in, we hang out, we talk, we "do life" together. But how often, how RARELY, do I discuss with someone how they are doing spiritually, how they are doing at obeying Scripture's commands to love one another, and then follow through the next time I see them, instead of dropping it like the only point of bringing it up was to have a deep conversation, not cultivate TRUE Christian fellowship? And how defensive and shallow do I feel when someone asks me what I am reading in the Word these days or some other spiritually probing question? Are we a community of believers, or are we really just a social club? And what part am I playing in making it one or the other? Because he was looking for something, and the Mormons had it.

What was the draw to Mormonism? That question has plagued me. Because there are similarities. They claim to follow Jesus. But they do not believe that God is God and man is man--that line is blurred--and they do not accept the sufficiency and inerrancy of Scripture. Those are biggies! And yet, they're "moral." When I asked a friend about why he might have been drawn to Mormonism, she suggested that people are drawn to the idea of "secret knowledge" and a more works-oriented salvation.

The one thing that I am challenged with through this is to better live out what I believe. To more fully live out Scripture. If I am going to be a light, then I need to continue to let Jesus take over more of my life and not worry about what is popular (or even what is old-fashioned). My date was not looking for what was popular. He was looking for depth. My prayer is that he becomes disillusioned with the "secret knowledge" in Mormonism and comes back to basic Scripture as truth. Oh, Lord, open his eyes!

I mourn the loss of a possible friendship and the loss of a brother.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

172: online dating bloopers

Christian Mingle had a sale I couldn't turn down. So amid much prayer and emotions (and despite everything I've said about not being cut out for that world) on Easter I jumped back into the pond. As I told one fellow, "It really is nice to get to know other people, even if only for a couple exchanged messages."

One big positive to online dating (if you don't happen to meet your future spouse) is getting to interact with lots of people you wouldn't otherwise meet and be influenced and spurred on by what they write on their profiles or in exchanged messages. I've had some good e-mail conversations with guys I am truly honored to have virtually met.

But sometimes . . . sometimes you just have to laugh and groan.

I didn't know whether to interpret this comment as a bash on my photos or a compliment to my real self--or maybe he was just trying to say not to judge him by his own photos: "I just got my photos approved so you have an idea what I look like. But like myself, I'm sure you look better in person :)"

A homeschool grad in his late 30s made me realize how weird homeschoolers are if you actually write out everything you think, believe, and want, on screen, for other people to read.

One guy's profile name, with extra symbols removed, is "Love Me." Desperate much? I'm not replying to his smile.

With another guy, after a single chat session about the weather and listing where we've traveled, I was offered his e-mail, FB, Skype, and text contact info. Kudos for being pro-active! (no groaning here, just amused surprise)

Another fellow chatted with me and begged me to ask questions about himself so he could prove he was a good guy. I had never doubted he was a good guy, but he was quite put out when I wouldn't agree to call him the next day after our one chat and two previously exchanged short e-mails.

How soon is soon? "hope i can know about you more. beacause im looking for a person with a good heart and soon to be my partner for the rest of my life." Too soon!

First message: "and dont worry im not a bad guy or a stranger :)" I think we define "stranger" differently.

My profile pic shows me hugging my dog with the caption "tormenting my dog?" A guy replied, "If that is tormenting your dog, torment me too!" A little much? Just a little.

I often get the conversation starter "Hey, beautiful." And I ask myself, would he really walk up to a girl and start a conversation that way?

One guy took out his frustration over me cutting off our brief conversation due to a theological difference by asking me when I was last in a relationship. I soooo wanted to write him back and justify my prospectability, but I refrained.

My coworker likes dubbing the guys I write: "Sketch," "Walt" (he liked Disney), "Red Head," "41 year old."

I had put on my profile that I wasn't going to do much on CM until summer (that ended up being a falsehood), so one guy--who actually seemed like a pretty good guy--wrote this introductory message (ellipses his): "I'll wait until you are ready... I love your profile and find you gorgeous sincerely... Your fan right here..." (I'll admit, I might have felt some flutters despite the hyperbole feel.) When I replied and slightly chided him for assuming so much from a few words on a page, he didn't write back and my coworker chided me upside the head for rebuffing a good guy. *sigh* Apparently I've got issues too.

Acadia National Park, Maine

Book Review: No Way Up by Mary Connealy

Not too long ago, a friend introduced me to Sarah Sundin. Set in Boston during the beginning of World War 2, the Waves of Freedom series has me hooked on this new-to-me author. I finished Anchor in the Storm, thoroughly entrenched in the era, only to have to turn to a book I needed to review, No Way Up by Mary Connealy, a Western. How do you switch on a dime from the 1930/40s to the Old West? I'll tell you how--you get yourself a Mary Connealy, book because she never fails to capture your attention and hold it!

Third page into No Way Up there is an avalanche, people get hurt, the crisis begins. Connealy is a flawless storyteller. She consistently weaves action, romance, intrigue, with a twist in plot. I don't know what else to say! No Way Up had all of the above and kept you moving til the end. If you want a plot summary, check out the description on Amazon!

It also looks like a novella (The Boden Birthright) explaining the father's background is available for free on Kindle, which should be really good because it involves a marriage of convenience. (No worries, in No Way Up they are thoroughly in love with each other.)

Two solid novels in a row. What was I to do next? I had picked up a debut novel at the local Christian bookstore during a 1/2 off sale--Where Treasure Hides (2012) set in World War 2. I went from Sundin to Connealy to Johnnie Alexander, and again, totally hooked!

Happy summer reading!

"Everything that was male in him seemed to awaken all that was female in her. As if she'd been in a deep sleep her whole life...until now." -No Way Up

Disclaimer: Both Sundin and Connealy put a lot of kissing in these books.