Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Funny Language

Being a lover of English, though I may not always use it correctly, I found this post very entertaining: Click Here

Since it's considered a blogging no-no to copy an entire post, I'll just give you some teasers & you can go to Lissa's blog for the rest:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

Her last part about "up" reminds me of a joke that goes like this:

A Texan goes to Harvard (no, that's not the funny part!). He's looking for the library, so he asks a student, "Can you tell me where the library's at?" The student retorts with an indignant voice, "At Hah-vad we don't end sentences with prepositions." The Texan rephrases his question, "Can you tell me where the library's at smart aleck?"

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Of Lice and Women

A week ago we discovered we'd been exposed to lice and indeed did have nits on Bethany's head. Yuck. Gross. EEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWW! But, as I told some friends, after the year we had last year with TWO friends diagnosed with cancer and losing one of them, lice is simply an inconvenience. It isn't life threatening. It's just, well, GROSS!

After a week of treating, olive oiling, wearing caps, washing sheets, washing clothes, washing towels, washing more towels, washing more clothes, and so on, I THINK we are nit free. Tomorrow night we will do the lice shampoo one more time. My head is itchy, but it's always itchy. I seem to have a reaction to something I'm using. No nits for Nat. NICE! Phil, well, he doesn't keep his hair long enough to get lice.

Here is a story I shared with some friends. I heard it years ago & Phil reminded us of it with this lice attack. It is from THIS website, Mystery of God (never heard of it before but I found the story there).

Did you ever read the book ‘The Hiding Place’ by Corrie ten Boom? When they were taken to the Ravensbruck concentration camp during WWII, Corrie and her older sister Betsy found that their barracks were infested with lice. Betsy insisted that they thank God for the lice, since we are enjoined to give thanks for all things. Corrie struggled with that, but was obedient. The book goes on to tell how the sisters had an unusual freedom to read the Bible and pray in the barracks at night with the other inmates, in spite of the repressive practices of their Nazi guards. Corrie said, ‘The blacker the night around us grew, the brighter and truer and more beautiful burned the word of God.’ Why were they given such freedom? After a while they understood -- the lice! Another blessing in disguise.
What a reminder to give thanks in everything. In the midst of all trials we are to thank God. His love and grace are sufficient even when all else fails.

Have a blessed and LICE FREE day!

Conformity part 2

This is the second of a 3 part sermon series. ha, ha! It's just the 2nd post on this topic so if you just popped in & are clueless about what I am talking about go back to THIS POST.

You know by now that in our family that the only conforming we are to do is to God's standards. That sounds so clear cut, thought not necessarily easy. Yet, within God's standards and among believers in the Lord Jesus Christ there can be great differences that don't go against Him. This is wear it can be hard for any young adult (or old adult at times) but for someone with social struggles anyway, this really is confusing.

In the book I mentioned in my first post, Stargirl, the fictional character who was a non-conformist, wore long skirts to school. It sounds like what she wore would have looked like something Laura Ingalls Wilder would have worn. I have friends who only wear skirts or dresses, but they don't look like they need to get into a covered wagon & head west. The girl in the story didn't just look a little different, but apparently VERY different. She also had a pet rat she carried with her to school (which is totally fictional as no school would allow a non-service pet). I hope I am painting the right word pictures here. I'm also smiling because one of my dear friends who is likely reading this wears skirts & used to have a pet rat. I am PRETTY SURE she never walked around the school cafeteria playing the ukulele while singing happy birthday to all the students. : )

So what happens when your child wants to wear something that doesn't go against Scripture or your standards but is very different from the norm? A few years ago we took our Girl Scout troop to a pioneer farm. One of my favorite "other daughters" (a friend's daughter who is also my daughters' friend) bought a sunbonnet, the kind from the Little House days. She was determined to start a new trend in our homeschool co-op. I thought it was so cool that she was willing to step out of the boundaries. And after a few nasty sunburns on my face and neck, I'm about ready to wear a sunbonnet! Another girl we know often had on the most unusual outfits. They were things I might have told my daughters not to wear, but they were okay by her mom and not bad, just different. I've noticed some things coming back in style that I love: floral prints and bows. I am of the Laura Ashley generation. I loved that our generation had styles that could have easily been worn, with some adaptation, in an English novel written in the 1800's. Not Charles Dickens, mind you, but more of the Jane Austen type. Natalie likes some of the floral prints. Bethany likes hair bows. She likes the BIG hair bows that are in style now. She also has some interesting tastes. She has some neon pink sunglasses that flip up and a plain clear lens is underneath. I actually have owned clip on sun shades for my glasses that did that. While I thought they were not attractive, they were highly practical. Of course mine were not neon pink, either.

There is a phrase I used in the last paragraph that is where difficulty seems to arise. The phrase is "in style." Who are these people who determine what is "in style?" Who decided in the 1920's that feed sacks would be made of pretty fabrics that could be turned into dresses? Who decided in the 1950's to put a poodle on a skirt? Who decided to put strings on a cotton shirt, dip it in different colors and produce the tie-dye look? I have no clue. I have no idea why people follow certain trends. I just know that when something is introduced, it might catch your eye, or it might not. It might grow on you over time. Or you may think the thing is hideous forever.

Back to the question of conformity. If you think your child's choice of clothing or maybe even an activity is within God's standards and you are okay with it, do you allow your child to wear the clothes or do the activity? Maybe it's dressing like Laura Ingalls Wilder or maybe it's a boy who wants to sew. Chances are the child will be ridiculed, not only by other kids but by adults, as well. Sometimes a sister could possibly be the one ridiculing your child. Not that we've ever had THAT issue in our house. Ahem. Or it could be a relative or a friend or someone totally different. On the other hand, you might have someone say, "That is a really cute bow in your hair," when you are at the craft store because the people there are, well, crafty and creative.

We have enough social behavior issues to deal with that I generally don't care if the girls choose something, within the guidelines, that I would never wear or that I might find unstylish. I DO try to let them know if I think an outfit might be criticized so they are not in shock. When I'm dealing with issues like getting a child to go through a buffet line on her own (she won't do it) or to stop correcting other people's grammar or other type of behavior (an issue we deal with frequently) or to learn that just because something may be true or may be your opinion, you DON'T have to share it, then I honestly am okay if my child wants to wear purple and neon green striped socks. If she isn't worried about what others think, then why should I be?

Of course, now that summertime is here (yes, Virginia, it is summertime in March in Texas) we have the issues of finding modest summer clothing. Since we are a family of mile long legs and arms stuck on a body, and since we ARE okay with wearing shorts (it's just plumb hot here), it's the ongoing battle of finding long enough shorts. Bethany is so put out with stores making shorts so short. Natalie has always worn her pants lower than her waist (with LONG shirts) and she has less leg than the rest of us, so she can get away with most shorts, but it's still a struggle. And finding swimsuits? Well, THAT is a whole topic for non-conformity that I won't even address here!

I'd love to read your input on dealing with issues like these: when your child wants to do something that is God honoring but might bother others or might cause ridicule for being different. Do you let them do it? Do you encourage them not to? What do you think?

Edited to add: If my child is under someone else's authority at a certain time, such as in a class at co-op or staying with grandparents or friends, and they ask them not to do something, I expect them to comply. If the thing they are asked to do were to go against our rules, I'd probably go get them and bring them home. Thankfully, we have great friends & the girls have terrific grandparents! Bethany has had to take off the neon pink flip up glasses in a class setting where it was distracting to the teacher. We just bought some neon pink shorts for Natalie. I hope THOSE aren't too distracting in a class or she's in trouble! LOL! On the bright side, B. said, "I'm so proud of Natalie for getting something neon!" : )

Conformity part 1

"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:2

Recently, my younger daughter and I read a book together for her literature class. The book, titled "Stargirl," (apologies to the sentence police; I don't know how to underline words on my blog) tells the story of 2 high school students. One is a well-liked, well-known student who is "pretty much" like everyone else in the school. the other is a young lady who has been homeschooled up til the story takes place, and appears quite eccentric. Gotta watch those homeschoolers, you know. At first the student body is uncertain how to respond to this girl (she dresses like someone from Little House on the Prairie, it seems, and plays the ukulele at lunch, specifically Happy Birthday, along with song, to anyone having a birthday that day. She constantly does random acts of kindness for people all over town and all over the school. At some point she does something to make the students think she is a great asset to the school. One of her acts is to cheer for the other team during a sporting event. This eventually causes the fickle teenage students to turn away from her and shun her completely. The young man has now fallen in love with her, become her boyfriend, and finds himself part of the shunning. He coaxes and coaches her to become "normal." However, this plan backfires. She changes her wardrobe and behavior, yet the students still don't like her and she loses the one friend she has because she has now become a "fake." In the end she goes back to being herself, the boy stops dating her, and after one last party where she ends up stirring things up in a good fun way, she moves out of town never to be seen again.

It's fiction. Yet, in real life I wonder how often our kids, or even we, deal with this issue of conformity. I have to admit, as I read the book and discovered the character has no clue of what is socially acceptable or that people have shunned her for her behavior, I kept wondering if she had a form of Asperger Syndrome. When you live with a child with this mild autism you start thinking even your goldfish has it. Actually, we are pretty sure our goldfish has ADHD and identity issues, but that's another post for another day. Then I thought that it's not just my child with autism who struggles with the issue of fitting in or not fitting in, choosing to be like the others or be her own person, choosing to wear clothes that might seem weird but aren't bad, and other conformity issues in life.

In our family, the issue of conformity in any form has to first & foremost pass the test of the Scripture at the top of this post. Is my choice conforming to the world's view or God's view? Does my choice please God? Will my choice make another person stumble in their walk with God? Since God's Word says that children are to obey their parents while living at home under their authority, our kids' choices need to pass the Mom & Dad test. In our house Mom & Dad don't always have the same views on things, so this is always interesting! LOL!

I find it interesting that in Scripture, apart from being told that we need to obey the authorities, kids are never told they have to obey other adults, especially if it contradicts the parents' choices and more importantly God's choices. The even bigger issue that most kids struggle with is that of conforming to their friends' choices. As homeschoolers, we don't deal with that as much as when I was a student in school, but it does come up. We've always tried to teach the girls that different families, even Christian families, make different decisions. While we may let our kids watch a certain TV show, another family may not let theirs. Likewise, their friends may be allowed to wear certain clothes that our family does not wear. It goes back to the PARENTS having that choice, not the friends, not the parents of the friends, and not some stranger on TV who suggests kids should do something.

This topic of conformity has been dancing in my head since reading that book and I have more I'd like to write about if you are up to reading more. Though I don't expect you to conform to what I say. LOL!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why you should hide your camera

The other day Natalie was using my computer. She found me and said, "Mom, this is why you should never leave your camera out on your desk." She handed me the camera & I found an assortment of self portraits. Apparently she only left one on the camera. And, since she did, AND because I am such a kind loving mother, I am posting it for all the world to see. Isn't she beautiful?

Monday, March 14, 2011

46 years ago today

I've noticed a lot of moms blog on their kids' birthdays. They start with "16 years ago today," or whatever age the child is turning. My mom doesn't blog. She will read mine, though, so I thought I'd post my own birthday blog. LOL!

46 years ago today that pitiful looking little girl in the picture was born. She didn't look like that at birth. Actually, she had black hair. Here you will read some fascinating and perhaps unknown facts about her first 46 years.

Okay, I can only write in third person about myself for so long. Yes, I was born with dark black hair with a hint of red. Apart from immediate family, I don't suppose anyone I still know has ever seen me as a dark brunette. I can't find a picture of me as a newborn, so you'll just have to pretend. Besides, the pictures are all in black and white from the Stone Age so we all looked like we had black hair, I'm sure.

I was born 10 days before my next older brother's 5th birthday. I'm sure a baby sister was JUST what he wanted for a present. ha, ha! My oldest brother (there were just 3 of us kids) was almost 8. They were into playing with boy toys, like army men and G.I. Joes. We actually still have one of the GI Joes somewhere. Greg (the oldest) was also into the "rock" music of the day, which meant Beatles. He would later collect the entire Beatles collection and still plays the guitar today. Steve was into doing anything that involved scaring the "living daylights" out of my mom. When he was 2 years old he pulled the Christmas tree down twice & broke lots of ornaments. When he was 3 or 4 he asked if he could sit outside and wait for Greg to come home on the school bus. When Greg got home Steve wasn't there. I THINK this was the time he had walked down to the corner store and the police called Mom because they'd found him there. By the time I came along he had a habit of going next door to the neighbors' house in his pj's on Saturday morning, climbing into bed with them, and watching cartoons. These were grandparent aged folks, not kids! They loved having him around. He was also the reason I am so much younger than my brothers. When mom was pregnant she or dad said, "This one can't be more difficult than Steven." The other replied, "No, but it could be just as bad." Steve passed away at 17, so Mom now says she understands: He had a lot of living to do in 17 years!

Apparently, I was the easiest baby. I liked to nap. Hmmm, old habits die hard as I still like to do that. I didn't walk til I was about 14 or 15 months old. I didn't do ANYTHING until I could do it just right. However, Mom also says that I did talk early & would tell my brothers what I wanted. Since the boys were in school during the day, I suppose for mom it was a bit like having an only child for a few hours.

This picture is when I was about 2 years old, I think. Mom calls it the "Poor Pitiful Lori" picture. Apparently I did NOT want to have my picture taken that day. See the blond curls? THAT is what I have had most of my life. It's darker now, but still pretty much blond with some red in it. Trying to picture myself with black hair is just beyond weird!

I was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and we lived in Portland. If you've been to Corpus, you'll understand this statement: Mom says I was almost born on the high bridge! From then until I graduated from High School, we had moved 19 times. Two of those were out of the house to a different location, then ended up moving back into the unsold house. Still counted as a move! I stayed home my freshman & senior years of college, lived in the dorm one year & apartment one year. I lived in 2 different apartments as a young single teacher. Since Phil & I married we've moved 11 times. No, my dad wasn't in the military & no, neither is Phil. I suppose I just have a propensity for moving. I'm not exactly sure of the meaning of propensity, but it's a big word that makes me sound smart. LOL!

My parents made sure we were in church every Sunday. Though me moved a lot, we always found a church to attend quickly and got involved. I can remember being the last ones out many a Sunday, especially in my junior high days (remember, back when it was junior high instead of middle school?) at Cypress United Methodist Church. Though I had wonderful teaching, it wasn't until I was in college that I really understood that all my church going and learning wouldn't get me into heaven, that I was a sinner & needed to be made right with God. I discovered that only through trusting Jesus to be my Savior could I do that. That was the biggest decision of my life & one that will last for all eternity.

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a dancer. I was on the dance team at Smithson Valley High School. Only because they let anyone join. I was okay as a dance team member, but probably wouldn't have made it in a big school. My dream of being a Rockette in New York was not to be. ;-) My first 2 years of college my major was German. I wanted to be a German teacher. Somewhere along the way I decided it was more prudent to become an Elementary teacher. I've taught in 3 different schools as a paid teacher, taught and been an assistant director for Sylvan Learning Center and now homeschool my own kids. I hope to teach classes like sewing or cooking one day. We've lived in Zaire as missionaries where Phil flew airplanes and I was the "control tower" (aka talked on the shortwave radio when he was flying) and accountant---in 3 languages---only 1 of which I spoke. Neither job was one I trained to do. I was ALSO supposed to help with children's ministry. I didn't exactly have a lot of time left to do that. We moved to Nairobi Kenya and I worked as the "head teacher" for a small group of homeschoolers for a few months. I thoroughly enjoyed that job. I guess teaching is in my blood. I also worked doing things like stuffing envelopes at home when I was pregnant and the dr. thought I might be losing the baby.

Since being back in the states I've had my most important job: MOM. It's the lowest paying job I've ever had, the one that takes the most time, the one that causes the most frustration, and the one that brings the most joy. I would not trade this job for anything in the world.

I'm so glad my parents didn't trade that job for anything in the world, either. I'm glad they didn't stop at 2 (like Phil & I have done). Mom read a book in college called, "The Third Child is the Easiest." I'm glad my folks took a chance that the author of that book was right. I don't know that I've been the easiest, but I'm glad I'm here!

Thanks Mom & Dad for giving me life!

P.S. Maybe it wasn't fascinating or unknown, but if you made it this far you can pretend it was!