Saturday, July 21, 2012

Check it out!

I was asked to be a part of the "I was Homeschooled" series of videos on a newly launched site called The HEV Project.  The creators are excited to get the word out about this project which currently has over 300 videos on various topics for youth and families to explore and learn from!  Many of the videos you can view for free, for the rest, you can choose several membership options.  For anyone who reads this blog, they've offered 20% off the yearly subscription when you input this code: hevbloggers. Hurry, though, the code expires August 31st . . .

There are other great resources and opportunities there as well, like book reviews, book lists and coming in September there will be:

Videos on how to debate 
with a forum to help youth practice their skills. 

A writing critique forum 
where youth can submit things they've written to be critiqued by other aspiring authors.  

Monthly contests 
for inventions, music composition, poetry etc. 
with cash prizes!

For doing the video I was given a year of membership (wahoo!) and my kids have enjoyed this week watching videos in the World Geography and Guitar sections.  You should check it out!  

P.S. Shh....For those who read to the end of my posts (and the small print at that) there is a giveaway for a free month of membership on The HEV Project - just be the first to email  and I'll give them your name and email so they can register you :).

Friday, July 20, 2012

It Isn't About Jealousy

Have you ever had someone push their friendship on you?  Maybe you have felt before what it was like to want a friendship more than the person you had a desire to be friends with? You call them and they are always in a hurry to end the conversation.  You find over time that you are always the first to initiate any contact. You feel the more you try to be their friend, the more they push away or distance themselves.  You might hope to share an idea with them, might see how fun it would be to work on a project together that you both have interest in, but it's always, "Someday, sure."

Maybe you want to help that friend?  Maybe you have found some answers to problems they are facing and try to offer advice or guidance, but you can never get to the heart of the matter because they take your words lightly and you feel how fruitless it would be to go further.

Maybe they let you step in when there are times of great need, when their life is in crisis, but in the little daily interactions, you don't feel welcome or wanted. You just hope someday the help you give in a crisis will open the door to a deeper bond.

How does it feel to be in this situation?  Do you usually relent and give up, or at best, you wait in the "background" of life, your hand "stretched out" ready whenever they have a desire to come to you?  Do you learn to let them lead? Do you decide to let them choose how deep or shallow your influence or your relationship with them will be? 

I believe this is how God feels.  He wants to help us; wants to be close to our thoughts; to have influence on our life; to work with us on a common goal. Yet, we place other things before Him.

Relationships boil down to time spent 
and we make very little for Him. 

I believe the commandment against idolatry is not about God being jealous. I have come to believe it is rooted in the principle that, ". . . if there be no faith among the children of men God can do no miracle among them."  I think God would say to us, "I can't help you because you've placed your time and trust in things less powerful than me. You've reduced my power over your life." God won't push himself on us.  He waits for us.  He values our agency too much.

Where this comparison breaks down is that God isn't like other friends.  No matter how good, they will never know us like He knows us.  No other can feel not only sympathy, but real empathy for our sorrows, trials and pains; for the consequences of our mistakes - none like Him.  The more we trust God has the power to deliver us, the more we believe he is omnipotent - all powerful - the more we will find there is nothing he cannot deliver us from.

Yet, with our finite minds we think we know the best way to be delivered.  With our limited vision we always want to reach the destination that we can see.  God, though, sees beyond the horizon. He knows what form the best deliverance must take.  Will we trust Him?

When he asks us to endure longer, do we believe His timing is in our favor?  If he asks us to drop our "pack of supplies and run," will we trust that He will provide a better and more sufficient sustenance ahead?

We will . . . only if there is a relationship.  I've found it begins by giving God the benefit of the doubt.  It begins by believing he has joy for us as his goal.  As I do that, I grow to see the evidences that prove that belief true.  Just as with a friend, unless you already know and believe what you've been told about them by others, you won't believe they are worthy of your trust without first giving them ample time and opportunity to "show you their colors." The more time you give, the deeper the trust, the greater the influence and power to change your life.

I guess it all boils down to one thing: Time 

Will we give God ours?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Of Bikes and . . . Music, of course!

I went on an outdoor bike ride this morning all by myself.  How have I let a decade pass since doing more than just biking to the park with kids?!  The joints and cartilage in my body don't seem to have much staying power so the kinds of exercise I have been reduced to doing is low impact, strengthening or stretching types of activities - all of which are convenient at my local recreation center, but I think I've sheltered myself for too long.

After spending an hour fixing inner tubes,
taking off old child seats, failing to fix training wheels, adjusting chains and helmet straps yesterday so that my children and I could go on a little bike ride - only to turn back after ten minutes - I felt like a need had been bottled and a large cork shoved into it.  This same thing happened the day before when we took the kids up the mountain with my aunt, cousin and parents, only to turn back before getting very far.  I felt fit to burst.  Every effort to exert myself in the beautiful summer weather, among the trees and grass and flowers had been thwarted!  It was a real feeling of pressure building inside me from this unsatisfied desire that was only growing stronger.  So... I took off!