Educating Myself

One of the benefits of being a homeschool mom is that I get to educate myself along with my children. Yesterday’s history lesson was about the early Egyptians. We read about Khufu, and how he was the pharaoh that commissioned the Great Pyramid in Giza. I remembered him from when I learned about Ancient Egypt as a child, but I remember him by the name Cheops.

I recorded a program on H2 (History Channel) a few weeks ago called The Lost Pyramid. The children and I watched it yesterday afternoon while I folded laundry. As it turns out, the program was about a ruined pyramid that was commissioned by Djedefre, who was Khufu’s son. The program fit perfectly into our lesson for the day. I enjoyed it immensely. The children liked it, but as children do, they would run around and play every now and then.

Along with the magazines that I regularly read, I try to get library books for myself and read some sort of biography, history book, or classic novel each month, when I can. Reading is my favorite hobby and I read something for myself everyday. Currently, I am reading A Patriot’s History of the United States. A-Patriots-History-of-the-USI bought it a few years ago when I owned a Nook ereader and started reading it but never got past the middle of the first chapter. I got it from the library last year and I don’t think I made it past the first page. It is not a difficult book, and it is an enjoyable read, but it is a matter of wanting to read a long, non-fiction book. I decided the other day that I wanted to go ahead and read this book, so I downloaded the Nook app onto my phone and I’ve read my way into Chapter 2. I’m not a big fan of reading books on my phone, but I don’t want my Nook purchases to go to waste, and reading on my phone is much more practical than sitting at the computer and trying to read. Also, reading on my phone is much easier than trying to carry a 1,000 page book around the house, or trying to hold it open or turn pages when I’m nursing the baby.

For about ten years I have read mostly fiction, primarily recent novels with some older ones. I read five and a half of the Anne of Green Gables books last year and I read Anna Karenina this year. During college I read a lot of Christian fiction since I worked at a Christian bookstore and would use my 20% off employee discount to buy a lot of books. Recently, I have been much more interested in non-fiction books and biographies. I would like to read some classic novels, though, so my goal is to alternate my reading between a non-fiction book and a classic novel. I’ve been wanting to read Jane Eyre, so I think I’ll tackle that next. Granted, it may be November before I finish A Patriot’s History, because it is basically a textbook and it may take me that long to read it.

Psalm 46

God Is Our Fortress

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.

46 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

This world is a turbulent place. We hear of wars and rumors of wars. We see sin and corruption and witness it playing out in countless acts of violence and terror among the peoples. We weep and groan and cry out, “how long, O Lord?” As the cruelties and sufferings of this world continue to pile up and weigh down our bodies and minds, we cannot help but feel hopeless and lost. 9-11 crossBut in the midst of the rubble and fallout we find the cross of Jesus Christ. In the midst of pain, suffering, and sin we find one who also endured pain and suffering but knew no sin. Through His own horror we find our peace with God. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection God makes wars cease.

God is our refuge. Through the pain and suffering we can cling to the cross and find our peace. The Lord of hosts is with us and will bring us through the sufferings of this life to eternal peace and rest in the life of the world to come.

Dirty Work

As I was eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee this morning I read this article in WORLD Magazine. The article talks about getting our hands dirty when we are given work to do. The author mentions that she had pests in her garden that she tried to rid with insecticidal soap, but ultimately had to get down on her hands and knees and pick the destructive bugs out of her plants one-by-one.

The only way I found finally to defeat the harlequin bug was to get on my hands and knees in the lettuce bed, face down into the green leaves to pluck the little pests by hand, one by one, sometimes feeling their tiny pincer legs and their slime run down my grimy thumb before dropping them into a bucket of hot soapy water. I had to examine each leaf, up close, and sometimes chase the little bugs with my fingers through the dirt.

I can relate to that story because we found a destructive green worm in our garden a week or two ago. Fortunately, we found it early before it sapped the life from our tomato plant, or any other plants in our garden on which it may have also decided to munch. Again, fortunately, I had my husband to do the dirty work for me. He plucked the worm from the plant and dropped it into soapy water so that it could do no more harm.

Earlier in the article the author, Mindy Belz, mentions a story about how St. Paul’s Cathedral survived the London Blitz in 1940. A group of firefighters, called St. Paul’s Watch, looked after the building to ensure its preservation. StpaulsblitzThey got their hands dirty to preserve something that was important to them. The Cathedral would not have survived the Blitzkrieg’s bombs and the fires of London without the sweat and handiwork of those people.

Belz concludes her article with this thought:

In the incarnation of Jesus Christ—the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14)—we have the miraculous coming of God into the mire of life. In the coming of the Holy Spirit we His followers become His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16), His hands and feet. Our translation even in this life gives us freedom to move toward people, toward problems. And sometimes to get our hands dirty.

The work God has given to us in this life is important. We need to get our hands dirty resisting temptation, serving our neighbors, and in doing such serving the Lord. But our work  will never be as great and glorious as the dirty work that Jesus accomplished on our behalf. He became one of us to redeem us. He took on lowly flesh to cleanse all flesh through His death and resurrection.

Thanks be to God that He loved us enough to come into the dirt of the world and save us.

Psalm 8

How Majestic Is Your Name

To the choirmaster: according to The Gittith. A Psalm of David.

8 O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
    Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Yesterday morning during the Divine Service our 5 month old daughter sang along in her baby way during the Te Deum. It always brings a smile to my face when my children actually participate in service, even when it is a loud, slightly late, but hearty “amen!” Little children and babies, though insignificant in contributions to the world, are precious to the Lord Jesus. Though human beings are small compared to the vast expanse of outer space and the amazing wonders of extraterrestrial creation (e.g. planets, supernovas, galaxies, etc.), Jesus took on our flesh and became one of us. He used that flesh to redeem us. And even little babies can sing Him praises.

Review: Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had never read this book before, but I had seen the Disney movie. Also, my children had seen the movie. I thought it might be fun to read the book, especially in light of Disney making a movie about the making of the movie Mary Poppins.
I had no idea that there was no real overarching plot to the story, but that each chapter was a relatively stand alone adventure. The book was quite different from the movie, but both are enjoyable. My children and I enjoyed the magical adventures of Mary Poppins and the Banks children. I don’t think I would call it a classic or add it to a must-read list, but it is certainly a fun children’s novel.

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