Thursday, August 28, 2008

fan club

so, tonight i'm studying vocab with peace for a quiz tomorrow. he comes to the word
"coquette", and i ask, "peace, who's the flirtiest girl you know to help you remember the definition of this word?"

peace replies after some thought, "mom, I don't know any girls like that."

i internally grin, because he's not so cognizant of the feminine gender besides the ones he considers friends. i've been told by a few sweet older girls that he's so very obviously crush material, but i have my doubts. he does not try in any way to impress anyone. i'm red-faced to say it, and i socially die a little each time he does it; peace still makes a mourning dove bird calls with cupped hands when he's walking in public.

after another pause peace continued our conversation, "well, there is the peace fan club..."

"what?? what fan club? you have a fan club?"

"uh huh," he mutters.

i grill him with my eyes squinting and wagging my pointer finger, "come on. you are joking me,"

"no, i'm not. in honors physics there is a group of girls who call themselves peace's fan club," he defends himself.

get out! it could be some tortuous mean girl joke, which fortunately he'll totally miss, or peace has something girls like: a scientific mind.

we'll just see won't we?

maybe i should start sniffin' his backpack for perfume.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Real Church

Softly the rain caresses the tin roof in the beloved silence.
Noone need speak though there is a small hungry crowd.
Together we are moved in the Presence.
Tears fall, but we cannot know all behind the workings and the whys.

A shout, “Let it rain” breaks the quiet.

Melody creeps into the sacred moment.
It starts to rise and build, like the spire on a cathedral.
Still no words are necessary as we hold the song in our flowing hearts.
The music begins to thunder and crash under the Weight.
I've experienced nothing like it before, and it is a wonder.

Lyrics become essential suddenly in the swell, “Let it rain.”

Time stands still.

We cry out together, “Let it rain!”
One proclaims, "Lift up your heads, oh ye gates, that the King of Glory may come in!"

We drink deeply from the Well.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Where do Hardin Valley Academy students go to smoke?

Outside the Fire Department right in front of the school, of course.

The irony!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My son's high school English teacher, Ms. W. has been corresponding via email to parents. In her last email, she assured parents that we are not to be embarrassed of grammar mistakes when emailing with her. I arrogantly thought to myself, "Oh, brother. I'm a writer, and I can write simple emails without grammatical errors. Why is it so difficult for other parents?"

Then I ate crow. Big black feathers and all.

Ms. W. sent a reply to my email with the text I'd written still attached at the bottom. I felt the blood rise to my face as I examined the multitude of question marks strewn throughout my note to the teacher. Suddenly, I felt a need to explain to Ms. W. that I have absolutely no control over the misplaced punctuation- that my computer randomly inserts these questions marks, and it's not something I do to create literary intrigue and mystery.

A word to the wise: smugness never pays.

It's official. We now have two teenagers living, I mean consuming every bit of food in our cupboards.

Happy Birthday, Tater.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

A Mother Responds to Another School Shooting

In light of my post on "A Call to Anguish" yesterday, I have prayed fervently for the victim of the school shooting, the shooter, the students, the families, and the administrators this morning at Central High in Knoxville. Yes, my son attends now a Knox County High School, which added urgency to my petition. Other high schools were put on lock down. I'll find out this afternoon, if Peace shared in that lock down experience. Occasionally he calls me during lunch, and I hope he does today.

Sometime around when Buck and I decided to put our son in public school, a friend casually mentioned lock down as a possibility. I freaked that day saying, "What the heck is lock down? What are students asked to do? Why exactly does the school lock down? What do parents do in the case of lock down when I can imagine all they can think about doing is driving to snatch their children from the jaws of death?" Thankfully, our conversation gave me time to get answers to those questions before today.

As I listened to the news this morning, parents were rushing to Central High School to find their children, yet they were being turned away. The perimeter of the school had been sealed. A nearby church across the road opened a shelter to take families in as they waited, and the school officials gave updates there. Buck dropped off Peace around the time we heard the first report. The shooting occurred in the cafeteria, the place where students hung before school began. I wondered about the students who witnessed this callous act of murder. How will they feel about returning to the cafeteria or even school at all in days to come? A witness said something like this, "The shooter walked into the cafeteria right up to his victim, shot a boy in the chest, and walked out leaving the victim in a growing pool of blood with no remorse."

I thought about the hesitant hands, mops, buckets which have cleaned or will clean up that crimson crime scene. I considered the vulnerable and frail humanity of the principal, and the work of healing of a multitude he or she will have to undertake in the next while. I mulled over the fear of parents asking themselves, "Could it be my son?" I hurt for the parents who have lost the child they once held in their arms, diapered, and bathed. I speculated about the police persons on duty handling hostile, angry, and scared crowds. I pondered the teachers who have gone home this morning shaking their heads in wonder instead of carrying out lesson plans.

None of it makes sense. None. We live in such a sad and violent world. We are not guaranteed out next breath,and we should not take life for granted. It's as fragile as a candle easily snuffed out. I cry out to the One who holds all these things in His Hands for mercy and justice.

On another note. I do not regret for a second putting my son back in school this year, even after today's serious events. We prayerfully decided to home school him all these last years and prayerfully decided his star would shine brightest with inspiring everyday teachers who love the subjects they teach. We'll treasure Peace even more as we pick him up this afternoon, as we should.

Buck burns through another year



Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My buddy Jake keeps handing me CD's at the gym to listen to in my car. Maybe he gives me them, because the words have moved him. Maybe Jake thinks I need to hear them.

I do.

The CD's are of old sermons he's found valuable. Sermons outside of church service are not exactly my cup of tea. Until now. The recordings are not high quality or even necessarily from this decade. However, the common theme running in all of them challenges me to trade in culture and my own good ideas and live a radical life of faith. Not because it's the right thing to do, but because Jesus is worthy.

Today's sermon titled "Call to Anguish" by David Wilkerson brought up concerns I have felt to be profoundly true but have not given voice. He states that the best prayer comes out of genuine anguish. He asks us not to look for the easy road, but the path of pain to find the heart of God. It's something I heard in my own morning prayers concerning myself today- that I have been seeking an easy road rather than Jesus as my greatest desire. I've been walking around practically sulking about life lately until I made this confession this day. Isn't stunning to have something like that reinterated in the very same day through a random sermon? Wilkerson says after a baptism of anguish, the voice of God and His Will becomes faster to discern. I have to agree that if I become passionate about a prayer cause, I get to God's justice and heart far more rapidly than items on an everyday prayer list.

You can download the sermon here.

Others Jake has recommended and I have totally dug are here and here.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Got a surprise visit from a childhood friend, her children, and her lovely parents this morning. I spent a great deal of time with these folks at their home while we were in elementary school. They are still as kind and funny(!) as they were then. When my family decided to move as I entered fifth grade, I mourned the loss of M.B., her parents and siblings as neighbors more than anything else in that move.
M.B. and I attended fourth grade together, and I am sure I spent every waking moment possible with her. I wonder how many meals they fed me as a ten year old? Looking back, I learned much about families from them.
Our children played together like old friends too. Isn't that sweet?

Friday, August 15, 2008

I've read this list before, and thought better of posting it. Not today. Today it happens to make me laugh.

And I need a good laugh.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Here's the lastest news from the Vynes.

My oldest son, Peace, began public high school Monday after the last seven years of home school. I'm driving an insane amount to his particular high school, but I believe it will be worth it. Peace is loving it. He's already working harder and taking more initiative than I've ever seen. He organized his notebooks and began developing his own homework-and-things-to-keep-up-with list. He's gone above and beyond his homework assignments, a trend I hope will continue. He wrote a short but strong paper for English yesterday. He's reading his science book for fun! His art teacher has already asked him to teach some of the origami portion of class coming up soon. I can't believe art class began with paper masks. If my son's art star will shimmer and shine, it's in 3-D paper art. Peace knows a fair amount of students from scouts (especially leadership camp), church (including the mission trip to NYC this summer), soccer, and home school cooperatives. Apparently a number of other home schoolers have jumped ship for this same unique opportunity of a new academy oriented public high school option.

The funny thing is that I thought finally school would be free after years of shelling out the big bucks for home school books and materials. I've written over $200 in checks for his sundry public school fees. Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining, since we're out of county without paying tuition. I'm just surprised at the expense.

Wise One, Pooh Bear, and Tater began hitting the books a few weeks ago for home school. Man, have I seen some necessary backtracking as a result of not working with Pooh Bear this summer. You'd think she's never read most of her sight words from last year. I'm praying her skills will return quickly, so we can make appropriate strides this year. One item of good news is that Wise One's assignments have him stepping up and stretching himself as needed. I don't know what to say about Tater at this time. His brokenness gets in his way of school so often, God help him.

Personally, I quietly struggle with things I dare not blog. I want this particular public forum to bless and never tear down already difficult relationships. Just so you know, I am not alone in hard stuff. I do have some big fans including my husband,my mother,and dear friends who champion my cause and hold me up through the pain.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wise One and I watched the opening ceremonies of the Olympics last night. In a word?




And one more?


Did you watch? What was your favorite part? The little girl flying with the kite may have been mine. However, the people who operated the printing blocks and the modern dancers painting with their bodies on the scroll amazed me. And what about those 15,000 magnificent costumes? No doubt about it. This opening ceremony beats all for me.

And, oh! Doesn't it totally rock that a 41 year old American woman is contending for gold in the 50 Free? We're practically peers (except that she's a real live Olympian and I'm a pretend farmer mom). I wonder is she has four children?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008



Twenty years ago today, I married my man.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Once John Ortberg asked author Dallas Willard how to bring new spiritual life to himself. John reported that Dallas' reply was “shocking in its simplicity.” Dallas Willard spoke quite deliberately while looking John square in the eye, “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life, for hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our world today.”

Oh, God, that I could live this principle. Even just for today.

Monday, August 04, 2008

This morning I woke up so anxious. I began to worry about how in the world I will be able to do all the things this year has for me to complete. I'll be driving my oldest to and from high school quite a ways away from home. In between, I will also home school the other three. Then there is the matter of feeding my family and keeping our home. I also have dates I need to work out to be out of town to teach on my great love- children's spiritual formation.

What does it prosper me to wake up and worry? I went for a run and looked for peace. It came when I remembered a CD I needed to return of a sermon by a man from India who does missions in the 10/40 window. His words about Christian families in remote parts of China tearing the one Bible they have for their church body into pages and passing them around to one another reminded me of something essential. What is planning the school year for my children compared to this? My whole life is full of opportunity, choice and abundance.

I am amazed at how quickly I get down and discouraged, because a plan isn't working out just the way I thought it should. Boy, do I need to keep perspective on this privileged life I lead.