Thursday, March 25, 2010

Desperate Times

As a rule I don't do bumper stickers, yet I just found myself carefully, ever so carefully, positioning a political statement on my van. It's painful. I hate bumper stickers, yet feel I need to do more than write a check to the campaign I support. AND this is a good friend. Jesus laid down his life for his friends. Me? I'm just swallowing my pride (for a few months anyway).

But, do you notice my shiny, scratch-free bumper? That would be compliments of Progressive and the inattentive driver who bumped into me a few weeks ago.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Attention Please!

We will now take this moment and break from the horrors of the healthcare debate to look at that pale blue form from the government that arrived in your mailbox last week. It seems pretty straightforward, but is it? How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? But they sent the form several weeks prior to April 1. Do I wait until April 1 to fill it out, so I can answer definitively? Oh, but then I received a card in the mail saying, hurry up and send in your census form or you're going to be fined (okay, so it didn't say that exactly, but something to that effect). So I suppose it's okay to assume none of my kids will run away in the next week, and I can simply write a six in that first box.

Question number two seems superfluous or insulting. I'm not sure which. Either it's redundant or insinuates I'm an idiot and don't know how to answer question one.

Question three is the one the is leaving me scratching my head. It reads:
Is this house, apartment or mobile home - Mark ONE box.

Owned by you or someone in the household with a mortgage or loan? Including home equity loans?

Owned by you or someone in the household free and clear (without a mortgage or loan)?


Occupied without payment of rent?

I can understand having this as a sentence completion - but why is it a question? Do they mean to say "mark the box that makes a question to which you can answer 'yes'"? That seems awkward. Why doesn't the form say "This house, apartment or mobile home is....and then give the previous choices. Since the census bureau never specifies WHAT the answer to the question is supposed to be, just for the fun of it (okay...just to be spiteful) am I allowed to mark any box (because I could just answer "no" to three of the four choices) to create which ever question I feel like answering?

Okay...that's probably enough of my snarky attitude for today. You may now resume whatever it was (probably something productive) you were doing before you wasted your time here.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

One for the Ages

The following facebook dialogue needs to be preserved for the ages! If you had told me 10 years ago that MY Hannah would be giving parenting advise and thanking me for requiring first time obedience, I probably would have fainted. I'm NOT kidding.

Sarah Burgess Rath 1st time obedience. This will be a difficult week for this Moms heart but I know it is the right way because it's God's way.

about an hour ago via Facebook for iPhone · ·
Hannah Eades
Hannah Eades
Even though it it hard keep doing it!! Your children will thank you some day( from personal thanking point of view)!
about an hour ago
Natalie Rath Eades
Natalie Rath Eades
You can pay now, or you can pay later...either way it's gonna cost you something. The price now is much lower than it will be later. If you need encouragement, I'll be your biggest cheerleader. I'm here for you!
about an hour ago ·
Sarah Burgess Rath
Sarah Burgess Rath
Thanks both of you. We are taking a great class at church and had just returned and of course an opportunity presented itself pretty much immediately. I feel like an idiot in not really knowing discipline as it was meant to be done but feel much better now that I do.
48 minutes ago
Hannah Eades
Hannah Eades
Obedience- right away, all the way, with a happy spirit...Delayed obedience is not obedience!!
43 minutes ago
Ruth Ann Mack Schroeder
Ruth Ann Mack Schroeder
Hannah you are too wise for your years, is this a voice of experience. Love you, girl.

After Hannah pressed "comment" to submit her "delayed obedience is not obedience" bit of wisdom, she looked at me and mused, "This is probably going to come back to bite me."

Gulping vs. Savoring

For as long as I can remember, I've loved books and reading. As a child, I remember lazy summer days spent reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie series and then devouring my set of Trixie Beldon mysteries. I've never had much self control once I'm off and running with a good book. Once when Alyssa was a baby, I remember finishing a book and anxiously awaiting her to wake up from her nap so I could dash off to the bookstore to buy the sequel. As far as I was concerned, books were for inhaling as fast as time allowed. The more the merrier, right?

I've also have never been a fan of re-reading a book. I've always figured with so many books out there, why would I waste my limited reading time on a book I've already devoured. Well, turns out I'm beginning to change my mind. Yep, it's true...I'm having a paradigm shift.

It all started with Hannah's reading schedule for the year. I decided to have her roughly follow the recommendations of Ambleside Online for 7th grade - particularly the history, literature, and devotional books. When we started, I was skeptical how Hannah would do with it - reading multiple books at a time, but only in measured doses. Turns out she doesn't really like it much more than I expected...but I keep reminding her that this slow pace allows her to really interact with the book, soak it up and let it become a part of her (while I mostly believed what I was saying, I was secretly glad it wasn't me reading those books at a snail's pace).

But then, during a book club meeting a few weeks ago, I asked the kids a question about a book I had assigned a couple of weeks before. One girl piped up and said, "I can't remember anything from that book. I read the whole thing in one night". Hmmm...not exactly the results I have in mind when I assign a book. Ambleside Online (and their Charlotte Mason approach to education) really is on to something.

Then my book club started reading The Chosen by Chaim Potok. It's my second time through what I've long called one of my all-time favorite books. I really started re-reading it just to refresh my memory for the discussion, but honestly, I'm sucked in just like I was the first time I read it...only more. While I've heard others expound on the merits of reading books two or three times, I just didn't think that a book could be good enough to captivate me a second time. I simply hoped the merits others talked about outweighed the boredom of reading the book over again. Turns out I was dead wrong. I'm noticing even more the brilliance of Chaim Potok, the beauty of his language, the countless ways he uses literary devices, and how tightly and intricately woven his story is to his theme.

So, after 17 years of education and 12 years of home schooling, I'm finally realizing the gems that can be mined if I'm willing to slow down and savor books rather than gulping them down as quickly as time allows. I'm seeing the merits of a more vertical education, digging deeper in few places rather than scratching the surface as we wander through large stacks of books.

And yes, all this should have been evident to me years ago, but I suppose I'm just a little slow. So, pick up an old favorite and read it again. I bet you see it in a whole new light.