Category Archives: Family

The Trail Mix

Trail Mix

I like to have something to munch on when I write, so I got ambitious and made my own trail mix. I thought it would be cheaper than buying the ready-made stuff at Trader Joe’s, but it isn’t, so I might as well save myself the effort from now on. Lesson learned.

But this bag of trail mix got me thinking. It’s kind of like the church. Really. Take a look at the individual ingredients.

Peanuts: the average, regular ones who always come out, get involved in everything, work hard, and mind their own business.

Cashews: a little bit uppity, selective in where they appear, sometimes hard to locate.

Chocolate chips: the life of the party, you always know when they’re around, but they can be prone to meltdowns when things get hot.

Sunflower seeds: usually good for you, but can be so irritating when they’re stuck in the wrong place.

Raisins: so sweet and encouraging – they build you up.

Almonds: they like to be toasted and coaxed along, made to feel like they’re really wanted.

White chocolate chips: these are the ones who say one thing and do something else – they act like chocolate, but they’re not.

Craisins: they sometimes pretend to be raisins, but their sour nature comes through eventually.

Peanut butter chips: the comfortable ones who sincerely just want to be your friend.

When you put all of these ingredients into a bag and shake them up, the result is a very tasty treat. The flavors and textures compliment each other.

Just like the church.

We’re individuals. We all have different characteristics and talents and gifts. But when we come together as one church body, the power of God through Jesus Christ shakes us together and creates a family that can do mighty things for His kingdom.

Delicious!

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Things Not to Say at the Dinner Table

We have a big family and we have a lot of family dinners at our house. The mealtime conversations can go from one extreme to the other and everything in between.

I’ve heard that sometimes, however, in the middle of eating dinner with a mouthful of pasta, all of a sudden someone says something so horrific/embarrassing/depressing/uncensored that you’d rather crawl under the table than sit upright in your seat. Of course, that never happens with us. Right? (insert raised eyebrows)

Family dinners should be about family bonding and catching up with light, funny banter. Key words: should be.

I read these rules a while ago and thought I’d pass them along. Learn these and never forget — no matter who you’re sharing a meal with, because there are certain topics you just need to avoid when eating. While I’m pretty sure that all of you know know the general rules of thumb when it comes to table manners (don’t chew with your mouth open, no elbows on the table, etc.) you should be very aware of where conversations can lead if you open up the floor for discussion.

So without further ado, let’s talk — or not talk — about the things you shouldn’t say at any dinner table.

  1. When are you two getting engaged?: If you’ve known the couple long enough, you know enough about the status and/or length of their relationship to know that a proposal is either on the horizon or it’s not. Also, it’s most likely a discussion they’ve already had and don’t need to be reminded of. If they have something to share, they will.
  2. What exactly is this?: No, no, NO. Even if you have a genuine curiosity, just wait for the host or hostess to explain what’s for dinner because nine times out of ten, your question will sound rude.
  3. I can’t do this anymore: Whatever it is — live at home, date your girlfriend, talk to your parents — have this conversation after dinner and somewhere in private. It’s just going to create a super awkward atmosphere for everyone else otherwise.
  4. Man, this ____ is going to go right through me: This should be a given. No one wants to hear about your bathroom woes. Ever.
  5. Heard you got a raise — that’s awesome. How much?: Never, ever ask someone about their money. A big, fat NO. If they want to share, they will.
  6. Haven’t you had enough? / Someone’s hungry: If they want another serving of mashed potatoes or pasta, who cares? Let it be.
  7. Can I take your plate? If they have a fork or spoon still in their mouth, chances are they aren’t finished eating. So let them throw their napkin on the dish and set their utensils down before asking them this question. And while we’re at it, it’s also rude to get up from the table when other people are still eating, so sit down!
  8. That looks . . . interesting: Even if you really mean it, use the word “good” instead, otherwise your chef for the evening will assume you mean it looks unappetizing.
  9. Oh my gosh, did you hear about that gross _____?: Thanks for ruining everyone’s appetite, jerk.
  10. Your father/mother and I are getting a divorce: Who wants to eat after hearing that? No one.
  11. I’m on a diet. / I’m not hungry: Sure you are. And please tell us how what we’re eating is horrible for our bodies while you’re at it.
  12. This is great, but it would be better with _____: Do you want to cook? No? Then shut up.
  13. Who are you voting for? This is an easy one and will never end well, so just avoid it and say “How about them Yankees?”
  14. Whispering: Everyone else at the table is going to assume you’re talking about them. Like the saying goes, “secrets, secrets are no fun, unless they are for everyone.” Boom.
  15. Nothing at all: Silence speaks volumes, and even worse are facial expressions. No raised eyebrows or scrunched faces ever.

Great guidelines to make those dinners a success.

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Home Schooling

We home schooled our kids. Not as long as we would have liked to – or as long as the kids would have liked to – but we did what we could. And it was a good thing for our whole family. A very good thing.

Twenty-five years ago home schooling was a fairly unusual concept in the area where we lived. We were ridiculed, criticized and laughed at for embarking on an adventure that we felt was the best thing for our children at the time. Even the public school system (from whom we had to obtain “permission”) didn’t know what to do with us. But we persevered and it worked.

I would do it again in a heartbeat.

I read the following article and I hope it encourages anyone who is, or is considering the home school route.

18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children

by KATHLEEN BERCHELMANN, M.D. on MARCH 25, 2013

I’m going public today with a secret I’ve kept for a year—my husband and I are homeschooling our children.  I never dreamed we would become homeschoolers.  I wanted my kids integrated and socialized.  I wanted their eyes opened to the realities of the world.  I wanted the values we taught at home put to the test in the real world.  But necessity drove me to consider homeschooling for my 2nd and 4th graders, and so I timidly attended a home school parent meeting last spring.  Surprisingly it was full of doctors, lawyers, former public school teachers, and other professionals.  These were not the stay-at-home-moms in long skirts that I expected.   The face of homeschooling is changing.  We are not all religious extremists or farmers, and our kids are not all overachieving academic nerds without social skills.

An estimated 2.04 million k12 children are home educated in the United States, a 75% increase since 1999.   Although currently only 4% of all K12 students nationwide are educated at home, experts are predicting an exponential boom in homeschooling in the next 5-10 years.  Most states even provide free online public schools, known as virtual schools or virtual homeschools for K12 students.  An information site called College@Home provides some useful information. 

For a year I was afraid to tell any of my work colleagues that we were homeschooling.  People would stereotype me as a right-wing kook.  My boss might assume that I couldn’t possibly be committed to an academic medical career.  I wasn’t sure I could homeschool my kids well.  I feared the whole year would be an academic failure and emotional nightmare.  I was so unsure about this homeschooling experiment that I even kept a spare school uniform in case I had to send my kids back to school at the last moment.

This week our kids are finishing their standardized curriculum and we will spend the rest of the school year doing enrichment activities.  Alas, I think we can call this success.

We’ve had our kids in both public and private schools, but homeschooling has turned out to be the best option for our family.  Here are 18 reasons why we have joined America’s fastest growing educational trend:

1)      We spend less time homeschooling each day than we used to spend driving.  With four kids in four locations last year (including a newborn at home), school drop-off and pick-up took four hours, on a good day.  We’d get home at about 4:30 and still have homework, music practice, sports, chores, dinner and bath to fit into the 4 hours before bed.  Now we spend about four hours per day homeschooling, instead of four hours in the car.

2)      We can’t afford private education.  Even on a doctor’s salary, private education has become unaffordable, especially for larger families.  Which choice would you make: save for college, save for retirement, or pay private school tuition?  Few families can afford for all three, and most can only afford one.  As educational debts loom larger for each successive generation, this financial crunch will only get worse.

3)      Our kids are excelling academically as homeschoolers.  Homeschooling allows us to enrich our children’s strengths and supplement their weaknesses. The kids’ education moves as fast or as slow as required for that particular subject area.  They are not pigeon-holed and tracked as gifted, average, or special needs.

4)      Homeschooling is not hard, and it’s fun!  We bought a “box curriculum” from a major homeschool vendor, and all the books and the day-by-day curriculum checklist came in the mail.  We have a lot of fun supplementing material through YouTube and online educational sites like Dreambox, Khan Academy, and others.  Our kids do about half of their math online.

5)      Use whatever public school services you like.  Need speech therapy, the gifted program, or remedial academics?  Homeschooled kids are still eligible for all these services.  Some homeschoolers come into public school daily for “specials” like art, music, PE, or the school play.  Your kids can even join high school sports teams once they are old enough.  Our kids are still in sports and scouts sponsored by their old schools.

6)      I like parenting more, by far.  As a mom of school-aged kids, I felt like my role as parent had been diminished to mini-van driver, schedule-keeper, cook and disciplinarian.  And there was no mercy from the schools– six minutes late for pickup and they’d be calling my husband at work, unpaid 5 cent library fine and they’d withhold my child’s report card.  Every day I’d unpack a pile of crinkled notice papers from three backpacks and hope that I didn’t miss the next permission slip.  I was not born, raised and educated to spend my days like this.  Now, I love being a mom.

7)      Our family spends our best hours of each day together.  We were giving away our kids during their best hours, when they were rested and happy, and getting them back when they were tired, grumpy and hungry.  I dreaded each evening, when the fighting and screaming never seemed to end, and my job was to push them through homework, extracurriculars, and music practice.  Now, our kids have happy time together each day.  At recess time, the kids are actually excited about playing with each other!

8)      We yell at our kids less.  Homeschooling forces us as parents to maintain a loving authority in the household.  We stopped spanking our kids.  You can’t get your kids to write essays or complete a large set of math problems if you don’t have their respect and obedience.  Spanking and corporal punishment establish fear, not effective, loving obedience.

9)      Our kids have time for creative play and unique interests.  Once my kids entered school, they seemed to stop making up their owncreative play together.  They didn’t have time for creative play during their busy evenings.  Now they build forts and crazy contraptions, play dance parties, and pursue their own unique interests.  My eight-year-old has taken up computer programming and taught himself how to play the organ.  My six-year-old is learning to cook.

10)   We are able to work on the kids’ behavior and work ethic throughout the day.  My son’s poor work effort at school was nearly impossible to address.  The teachers didn’t have time to make my son repeat work they felt was average quality.  We wouldn’t see the work until days after it was completed.  Finally, we’ve been able to push him to his full potential.

11)   Get rid of bad habits, fast.  Dirty clothes dropped on the floor?  They used to stay there all day.  Now there is no recess until they are cleaned up.  I never really had the time to implement most behavioral techniques when my kids were in school.  I knew what I needed to do to get my kindergartner to dress herself, but it was easier to dress her myself then deal with the school complaining that she was improperly dressed or late.  Now, if she takes too long to get dressed, she misses out on free play time.

12)   Be the master of your own schedule.  Homeschooling provides a great deal of family flexibility, which is a tremendous asset for our busy family. For example, we save a lot of money on plane tickets because we have the flexibility to fly almost any day of the week.  Zoos, children’s museums, libraries, parks, etc., are far less busy on weekdays as they are on weekends.  Scheduling anything is eons easier—doctor’s appointments, piano lessons, vacations, etc.

13)   Younger children learn from older siblings.  For larger families like ours, even toddlers are learning during school time. Our four year old sits at the same table during school time as our six and eight year old.  He wants to do his worksheet, too.  Some of that math and phonics work rubs off on him, and he’s learning how to read.  When chore time comes, he asks, “What are my chores?”  And our one-year-old recently tried to clean a toilet.

14)   Save money.  Committing to homeschooling requires at least one parent at home for most of each day.  Although you may lose an income with this commitment, you save (a lot) of money since younger children don’t need daycare and older children don’t need private school.  We also save a lot of money on gas now that we drive less.  Many homeschooling parents still work part-time.  We pull off homeschooling because I work nights and my husband works part-time from home as an independent IT developer.  I know many families homeschooling on family incomes of 40-60K.

Homeschoolers save tax payers money, too.  According to The National Home Education Research Institute, homeschoolers saved the taxpayers $16 billion in 2006.

15)   Teach your kids practical life skills.  Homeschooled kids learn parenting skills, cooking, budgeting, home maintenance, and time management every day.  Time management skills are learned out of necessity.  Our kids have to keep their own schedules and budget their own time.  If they waste time, they have less time for play and their own special interests.  We use old smart phones with alarms to help teach time management.  Our kids help with younger siblings while under our direct supervision.  What better way is there to learn parenting?  I learned to write a fake grocery budget once as a home economics exercise.  My kids write real grocery budgets and help me shop.

16)   Better socialization, less unhealthy peer pressure and bullying.  Our kids no longer beg for video games we don’t want them to have or clothes we don’t like, or junky snacks they saw at school.  One of our children struggled socially in school, and his schoolmates were ruthlessly mean.  Despite a school anti-bullying policy and our best efforts to work with the teacher, nothing changed.  Last year he played alone on the playground everyday.  Now he’s organizing playground games at our homeschool co-op, and he’s smiling again.  No one has ever said an unkind word to him at our co-op, because every child is there with his or her own parent.  Our kids have plenty of time with friends, but without  the unhealthy peer pressure and bullying.

Research continues to show that homeschooled kids do well socially.  Our kids have no shortage of time with friends—each week they attend homeschool co-op, scouts, sports, dance, choir, piano, religious education and have plenty of time to play with neighborhood friends.  Add in the birthday parties and homeschool field trips, and we find ourselves having to decline activities so that we can get our homeschooling done!

17)   Sleep! A research study by National Jewish Health released in March, 2013 showed that homeschooled students get more sleep than their peers who attend school.  The result may be that homeschooled kids are better prepared to learn.  Parents get more sleep, too!  Now we don’t have to get up early to meet a bus schedule, prepare sack lunches, etc.  Our mornings are great times together to snuggle with our children and talk about our plans for the day.  No more “Hurry up and get your shoes on or you’ll be late for school!”

18)   Teach kids your own values.  According to the national center for education statistics, 36% of homeschooling families were primarily motivated by a desire to provide religious or moral instruction.  Our family is not part of this 36%– we never objected to any values taught in either our public or private schools.  Nevertheless, we’ve really enjoyed building our own traditions and living out our family values in a way that wasn’t possible before homeschooling.  For example we make Halloween a little holiday without too much decadence, but we spend an entire week celebrating Easter.  When our kids were in school, the Halloween parties went on for 2 weeks and they had a Halloween vacation from school.  In contrast, they didn’t get any time off for Easter, and there were no Easter celebrations or even decorations at school.

Homeschooling isn’t right for every family or every child.  I can’t even predict what the future holds for our family—will we continue homeschooling through high school?  I don’t know.  But for now, we’ve found a way for our family to be very happy growing and learning together.

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500 Blog Posts

Can you believe I’ve posted to this blog 500 times? FIVE HUNDRED! Five-zero-zero. I know, I know, it’s quite shocking.

In honor of this momentous occasion, I wanted to write something profound. Except that there is not much profound about me. I’m pretty much a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of person. I used to try to be what other people wanted me to be, but that didn’t work. I was unhappy. Uncomfortable. Always on edge, wondering if I was measuring up to the expectations of people whose opinion didn’t matter anyway. I wasn’t me.

So I stopped getting my hair cut and I let it go gray. I invested in a bunch of flowing peasant dresses and a good pair of Burkenstocks. All in a non-literal sense, of course. My hair is still short and I admit that I cover the gray. I don’t own a single peasant dress, but I would love the Burkenstocks.

The point is that I realized I needed to be the woman God wanted me to be rather than some psycho corporate workaholic, perfect homemaker, flawless socialite kind of woman that stressed beyond reason while trying to please everyone. God showed me that the people who were most important to me were the only ones I needed to be concerned about. My husband. My family. My closest friends. Aside from doing my best at my job and serving faithfully in my church, the opinions and expectations of the rest are on an I’ll consider it basis.

There is such freedom in doing that.

The key is walking daily with the Lord. Reading the Word. Prayer. And then following the direction He sets before you. He gives you strength to say no when you need to say no. He shows you a different route when the one you’ve been following leads you into negative situations. He has the answer when you find yourself at the end of your rope.

On this day of my 500th blog post, I can say that I think am more me than I have ever been in my life. Thanks to an awesome God who is so very patient with me.

And at the end of the day, His opinion is the one that matters.

 

 

 

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What’s in a Name?

There is a lot of name calling in my family. The good kind. But if  you don’t pay attention, you could easily become confused.

For instance, I am a grandmother. One set of grandkids call me Grandma. Another set call me Namma. And the third set call me Mama. Then there is my dear husband who is known as Grandpa or Papa, depending on which kid is calling him. Try keeping all of that straight when you are signing birthday cards.

I guess it runs in the family because I called my Mom’s parents Mother and Gramps. Don’t ask. My Dad’s parents were the traditional Grandma and Grandpa. But our own kids called my parents Mama and Papa.

Are you confused yet?

Then there are the nicknames. Our oldest daughter’s name is Julie, but she has been Auntie Jewy, Dewy, or Dulie to various nieces and nephews. Our son Michael gets shortened to UncaMike, all one word. Don’t call him Mikey or he may beat you up. Our daughter Jordan tried to teach the kids to call her Auntie Jordie, but they couldn’t say it, so it became Auntie Dodie (or Didi, for one in particular). Now everyone in the family refers to her as Dodie. Or The Dode. I stress the word family where this name is concerned. Our youngest daughter, Kelsey, thought up her own nickname at the age of two when she couldn’t pronounce her own name. She has been known as Tessie ever since. Incidentally, the name Tess actually means “fourth child”. Who knew?

Some of the grandchildren got nicknamed too. Emily became Emmy Lou, Caleb became Caleb-Doodle, Reece became Reecie-Peecie, Nikolas became Nikky-Noodle, and Jairus became Jai-Jai. Joshua and Elijah will be thankful one day that their names didn’t become distorted.

I suppose every family has their quirks and I’ve just shared one of ours.

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The Birthday Boy

Today is my husband’s birthday. It’s not a milestone year or a particularly significant age. Just a birthday. Everybody has them.

But my birthday boy has had some pretty cool things happen on his special day.

1. On his 20th birthday, in 1975, he asked me to marry him. Twice. Not because I said no the first time, but because I was in shocked disbelief and in order to make sure I had heard correctly, I asked him to repeat the question. Poor guy.

2. His 23rd birthday presented a new challenge. I had an art class that evening and we had just had our first baby nine days earlier. Dear Husband had his maiden voyage into taking care of a newborn all by himself. I think he cried more than the baby did. He survived, however, and so did she.

3. We bought a new car on his 30th birthday. A 1984 Ford Crown Victoria – navy blue, with all the bells and whistles, such as they were back then. We drove that car for 15 years.

4. I threw a surprise party for him one year (can’t remember which birthday that was) and invited a bunch of our closest friends. Except Dear Husband was sick (one of the three times in his whole life). Well, everyone else had a good time.

5. We spent his 26th birthday moving from Saskatoon to Regina. Lesson learned: don’t move at the end of February in Saskatchewan. It’s cold. Very cold.

6. I managed to snag a couple of scalped tickets to a sold-out Detroit vs. Vancouver NHL hockey game a few years ago. The game was on his birthday and he was thrilled to see his long-time favorite Red Wings play.

Today we’re keeping it simple. Dinner at Swiss Chalet for whoever can make it.

See you there!

 

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How To Do Family

We have a big family. Our four children are grown up and adding to the numbers on an almost annual basis, so our original 6 is now 15 and I’m sure there will be more. We spend a lot of time together and we actually like each other. But we’re not perfect. Far from it. We’ve simply learned how to do family.

People often ask me how that happened.

I don’t know. Well, I do know, but it’s not a magic formula and it was (still is) a lot of hard work. Here’s what we did:

1. Always, ALWAYS keep open communication, right from the start. All of our children, at one time or another, tried to close themselves off from us, but isolation was not an option in our family. We encouraged them talk about what was going on in their lives, even when they didn’t want to. We knew they didn’t tell us everything and we didn’t expect them to, but the point was to make sure they knew that they could. Sometimes it was parent/kid dates. Or a notebook that got passed between mother and daughter when the subject was sensitive. Or just a simple after school conversation. The open communication still happens today. Voluntarily.

2. Have fun together. We indulged in many Family Adventures. These were activities – usually free – that all of us enjoyed. Playgrounds (when the kids were little), picnics, museums, long drives to see if we could get lost, hikes, movie nights, inviting another family to join us. Everybody was always up for a Family Adventure.

3. Go to church together. Church attendance was non-negotiable for our kids. I can’t stress enough the importance of  worshiping as a family. It creates a unity that doesn’t come any other way. There came a time with each of our children when they didn’t want to go to church anymore – around age 13-15 – but our rule was that as long as they lived in our house, they had to abide by the rules of the house. And the rule was that everybody goes to church. No exceptions. Today, all of them are active in the churches they attend with their own families.

4. Pray for and with your family. I don’t even want to think about where our kids would be today if they’d had no prayer covering. I know that God saved them from a lot of heartache, physical danger and bad situations that could have sent them down the wrong path, and I am so thankful for His protection. He has kept us a strong family unit.

5. Love your kids unconditionally. No matter what they say or do. When they get married, love and accept their mates the same way. I’ve said many times that I love my in-law children just as if they had been born into our family. Really.

We’re not a model family. We haven’t escaped hard times. And we do argue periodically.

But when all is said and done, we are there for each other.

And that’s family.

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One Week Until the End of the World

Apparently, it’s one week until the end of the world. You know, the whole Mayan calendar thing that has so many people counting down the days until time as we know it will cease.

I don’t believe it. Not even a little.

But let’s pretend for a moment, shall we? What if we actually knew the exact date for certain? What would we do in the time we had left?

I know I’d be taking stock of my life and eliminating a lot of inconsequential things. I’d be spending a lot more time with my husband and family. And I’d definitely be in serious consultation with God to make sure I was doing the things that are important to Him.

So why is it that we don’t do that all the time? Why don’t we live every day like it’s our last?

I’ll leave you to ponder that one.

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Frank Peretti on ProLife vs. ProChoice

Author Frank Peretti recently posted the following on his Facebook page. It’s well worth the read.

PROLIFE vs. PROCHOICE; the Issue behind the Issue.

The material I’m going to present now and in the days to follow will explore a pro-life argument that I hope will carry us past the surface debate to reveal a deeper issue I’ve never heard anyone talk about. For too long – forever? – we’ve framed this whole debate in terms of the rights of the woman versus the rights of the unborn child, forcing us to bicker about whether the child is really a child, and so on, but deep down under all that back-and-forth is a crucial issue we’re all missing. I’m going to argue that, if we are to speak in Truth and Love, we must observe and affirm that the rights of the woman and the rights of the unborn child are not two rights in opposition, but one right, and this is because …

How we view the unborn child determines how we view ourselves.
When you undermine the sanctity and rights of the child, you undermine the sanctity and rights of the mother … and the rest of humanity as well.We’ve heard the debates and how the arguments are cast, including this popular Question flung by the prochoice side: “Do you believe in a woman’s right to choose?”A woman’s right to choose.So freedom-loving, so American-sounding. An artillery round fired from the public forum high ground. In our soundbite world, who has time to develop an argument that will stand up to such a Question? The issues cannot be debated in depth, and our arguments run no deeper than a catch phrase on a bumper sticker. Slogans, labels, and emotion work; Truth takes time we don’t seem to have anymore.

Well, we have time and space here, so let’s explore the Question more carefully. Let’s find the layers of meaning and conflict that lie beneath and see whether Truth and Love have an answer, especially for the woman – after all, this is her issue more than anyone’s.

First of all, let’s get one point that should be obvious but is not, out of the way:

CHOICE, in and of itself, does not make something right. I may choose to spit in public, drink and drive, lie, steal, rape, or murder, but choosing to do so doesn’t give me the right to do so.
So, CHOICE is not by its own virtue a sacred, inviolable right. The “right to choose” depends entirely on what is being chosen, and as Alan Keyes put it, “No one has the right to choose what is wrong.”
Okay, now we have that officially said.

So now let’s hear the Question again …

“Do you believe in a woman’s right to choose?”

… and explore in a deeper way what the Question is really asking.

At a surface level, we could expand the Question to this:

“Do you believe in a woman’s right to choose whether to end or continue her pregnancy?”

Even at this level, the Question often evokes ambivalence, a certain discomfort in people:

“Yes, she should have that right, but it’s a difficult decision.”
“We must provide abortions, but work to make the need for abortions rare.”
“Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way.”

Difficult decision? Make the need for abortions rare? Intensely personal, with the involvement of family and clergy? Perhaps abortion isn’t as morally neutral as some try to think it is. Perhaps, deep in the conscience, it bothers the woman, her family, her doctor and her clergy.

So go ahead: Ask why.

Well, the Question is really asking, “Do you believe in a woman’s right to end a human life?”
Yes, I’ve already loaded the question with an assumption that the fetus is a human life, but only because that whole issue is going to come up any time an abortion is considered, like it or not, and the same debate is going to ensue: When does human life begin, is the fetus human or a potential human, and on and on. But the fact that we are even having such a debate indicates an assumption lying beneath the Question that we can phrase this way:

“Do you believe in a woman’s right to arbitrarily decide what a human life is and what it is worth?”

Now we’re getting close to the heart of the matter because every woman’s decision, whether she wants to admit it or not, hinges on the above phrasing of the Question. Also bear in mind that at this level we can no longer limit the Question to only the woman. Now the Question touches everyone: the woman, her family. her friends, and ultimately our whole society. This is because, in even asking the Question at this level, we assume a still deeper level:

“Do you believe that the value and definition of human life are arbitrary?”

Do you believe that anyone anywhere can decide for him- or herself what a human life is and what it is worth?
Do you believe human life is sacred, or is it open to definition and valuation by anyone, anywhere, at any time?

In the days ahead I’m going to argue that a moral landmine lies beneath that “bumper sticker” Question, something so huge and devastating that it is not just a choice by one woman regarding an abortion; it is a decision being placed before our society that will dictate how we view ourselves.

More next time.

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Filed under Blogging, Family, Hope, Life, Writing

The Log Cabin Dream

For as long as I can remember, one of my dreams has been to live in a log cabin in the woods somewhere. Not too far from civilization, mind you, but far enough to have peace and quiet. There are members of my family who laugh about this dream of mine. And I chuckle along with the secret knowing that they don’t have any clue at all about what really goes on inside my head.

There are few with whom I share my most Cherished Dreams. Very few. First of all, it’s nobody’s business except mine and God’s. Second of all, I don’t need to hear people making jokes or discouraging me about what I hold close to my heart. And third of all, I am careful to guard the dreams others share with me because I know how it feels to have them shattered by careless words.

There is enough doubt and fear in the world to chip away at your confidence without having someone else steal the dream God placed in your heart. Thoughtlessly spoken words can bump you so far off your expected path that you begin to question the validity of that dream. You may even be tempted to give up hope completely. But if you yield to the pressure of those words to abandon your dream, you may well forfeit your unique destiny. And you will rob yourself of the fulfillment that only your destiny can bring.

Every God-given dream has a significant purpose. That’s why the enemy shows up early and repeatedly to shift your focus. His goal is to overwhelm and intimidate you until you’re either immobilized and stuck or moving in a direction that’s ineffective. He will challenge your call, cause you to doubt your dream and question your capacity to deliver on the vision that consumes you — until eventually the fire in your heart flickers and fades away.

No matter how long it takes; no matter how many times you have to tell the devil to take a hike; no matter how many friends call you a nut and forsake you; no matter how it hurts when your family comes against your dream with their love for you—hold fast to the vision God has placed in your heart!

Hebrews 10:23 tells us to keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. We are encouraged to hold fast to what God has spoken to us, not what our family or friends say.

Now go build that log cabin.

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Filed under Being Creative, Blogging, Dreams, Family, God, Hope, Writing