Monthly Archives: August 2007

Lessons from uncle Arthur

This is an old post I made on a long-lost forum a few years ago. I edited some of the time references so as not to be too confusing. ūüôā

We had a visiting speaker a while ago…uncle Arthur Burt, who is around 96 years old now! He has been a preacher for 78+ years!

We always love it when he comes…he has such a way with words. Sometimes he gathers the children together at the front and tells them a story first before they go out to their sunday school classes. His stories are riveting and has the kids hanging at his very word.

I could never tell this as well as he did, but he shared an analogy with us that I thought I’d share with you.

This guy was piddling about (I just had to use this word in the American sense…in South Africa it means something altogether different…although you can piddle in a garden and many young boys do it at least once in their lifetime!) his garden in late winter when he noticed a cocoon attached to a plant. He decided to bring it inside, to his warm and comfy home, to see it develop into a butterfly. For weeks and weeks he watched the coccoon. He knew the time was getting near. Finally one day he saw the cocoon move. He watched, fascinated, as the butterfly’s head popped through a tiny hole in the coccoon. At this point the butterfly seemed to really struggle to get any further. His head was out, but no matter how much he struggled there seemed to be no progress. Fearing that the dry air inside his home could have affected the butterfly’s ability to emerge form the cocoon, the man got a pair of tiny scissors and carefully snipped the hole around the butterfly’s head to make it larger. The butterfly plopped out of the coccoon and dragged itself pitifully across the table, leaving a pool of water in its wake. It died shortly afterward.

So the man thought he should ask an expert what had gone wrong. The expert was aghast when he heard that the man had snipped the hole in the cocoon bigger. “Don’t you know,” he asked “that the very struggle to get out of that coccoon is what forces the water into the butterfly’s wings to pump it up so that it can fly?”

How many times do we seek an easy way out, when it is the hard times that equip us for flight? And how many times do we release others (I’m thinking of my kiddos here) from their struggles in life and in doing so we rob them of the opportunity to “find their wings?”

Uncle Arthur put it like this: “Have you ever been kinder than God?”

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jes’ ramblin

I don’t have much to say but I feel chatty…which is always a bad sign. It usually means my house is messy and needs attention, or that there are some other pressing things that need me. Hmmmm has the hubby been fed yet? ūüėČ

Actually I just fed him. I fried some Tilapia in a lemon-herb-garlic butter. I love seafood. Do you? There is quite a shrimp industry here on the east Coast where we live. We consider shrimp luxury fare but there is nothing like fresh shrimp prepared the way my dad does it. I’ve tried to copy him and I get it almost, but not quite, right. He makes it with the usual garlic butter and herbs but he adds a shot of brandy (or is it whiskey?) to it. Yum.

I am starting to crave a good home-made paella. I’ll have to plan to make one soon. Maybe sometime when we have company.

We had a rambly kind of day today in which some things that needed to get done did, and many didn’t. We had that rainy stay-in-bed kind of weather this morning and so we got a late start. I managed to go to the library and get some shopping done.

On the way to the store we drove past a lady that always walks her bulldog down a street near our house. The sight of the two of them always brings a smile to my face. The bull dog is fat and moves heavily, with his head hanging low, his tongue almost touching the ground, and his short legs waddling underneath his weight. His owner is stocky and walks in almost the same way. They are a perfect match. ūüėÄ

I think the bulldog is ugly, but my middle son thinks it is the cutest thing he has ever seen. To hear him croon over it and swoon over it’s fat little legs and the cuteness of it all, you’d think he’s talking about a labrador puppy. There’s an Afrikaans saying: “mooi van lelikgeit” and I think it describes the dog perfectly. It translates badly in English, but it means roughly “to be beautiful because you are so ugly”. ūüôā

No time for bloggin’

I have been super busy, but in a happy kind of way. The boys, and my eight year old in particular, seem to be happy at school. He told me in his serious, philosophical way on Tuesday that he doesn’t know why, but he just seems to connect with kind people and his teacher is one of those kind types. ūüėÄ

Today was their first homeschool day and it went well, considering. Considering the duck was taken out by a predator last night and my middle son discovered the carnage outside. ūüė¶ Considering that the oldest has a nasty cold and couldn’t concentrate well but forged ahead with his work anyway. Considerig that Jenna is resisting pooping in the potty and gets fussy, wanting me to hold her when her tummy hurts.

The middle boy has been doing ‘The Whipping Boy’ in Total Language Plus this week and it has been a joy. It is my first experience with this curriculum and I love it! The boy actually begs to do reading. He still takes a good deal longer to do his school work than most, simply because he loses focus so often. Sigh…I dread to know how our days will go with a full work-load. We haven’t started math yet, we are waiting for his manipulatives to arrive.

I have been reading some interesting verses in the bible that sparked some thoughts I wanted to share…but time is a luxury right now. Right now I am very miffed. I have been wanting to sell some things on Ebay to raise money for more curriculum but…after 2 hours of waiting for the stupid thing to load all the pictures and typing out my detailed description, the server failed me and all is lost! Ugh. Talk about a waste of time.

peace…

My current favorite song: (Dana, it’s for you)

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School today

I have just said my goodbyes to¬†my oldest and youngest boys. They will be going to a school that is a combination of private and homeschool, they will be at school for 3 days and home for 2. This is a new environment for them…the expectations and standards are very high at this school and there will be some things they will need to get adjusted to.

The school requires a lot of them, both academically and morally. The oldest had to sign a¬†affadavit¬†¬†that he won’t date while he is in this school, for instance. The application and screening process to get into the school is quite something, and I am exhausted just from getting all our ducks in a row for today.

My¬†middle¬†son will be homeschooled again this year. I have been so busy getting things ready for the other two,¬†that I am not as planned out for his school as I want to be. I think this will be a ‘homeschool lite’ week, while we adjust to all the changes around here and I catch my breath.

I received a great blessing this week! I have had to fork out plenty of $$$ for the curriculum and uniforms and haircuts and school fees for the two sons who are going to school,¬†and there hasn’t been much left to buy the math curriculum¬†I want for the middle boy. I have been scanning Ebay but I seem to miss the auctions I need to win. Anyhow, on Friday I called a dear friend with whom I have very¬†little contact. We had a delightful conversation and when I mentioned that I was looking for this curriculum she said she has it, has finished using it, and will mail it to me free of charge! It arrived in the mail on Saturday! Isn’t God faithful? I will need to buy the manipulatives still…but this is a huge saving!

Anyway, I have written far more than I intended. The computer¬†will be¬†turned off until the evenings from now on… it is too distracting when I need to focus on the kids’ schooling.

Please say a prayer with me for my two children that are in school today. I pray that they will adjust quickly and make new friends. My oldest is particularly shy in new surroundings. I am grateful that this is a school that has very friendly students and parents.

Should have…

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to stand in for someone to do Sunday school. It came as a last minute request which didn’t leave me with¬†any time to do planning. So, I decided to ‘wing it’ and took along my old standby for filling in the time…playdough. For some reason it is a great favorite with my sunday school class and can keep them happily occupied for a long time.

An idea for a lesson only came to me during worship…we sang a song about giving our burdens to Jesus because he cares for us. So I crammed a bunch of two-liters in a shopping bag and the children carried these burdens for some distance before giving it over to Jesus. We discussed the feeling of relief that came when we no longer had to carry that heavy weight ourselves, and had a great time of sharing about those things that can weigh our hearts down.

Anyhow, I digress. The playdough was a birthday gift to Jenna only a week before, so when a little girl came up to me at clean-up time asking to take some home I said no.¬†Jenna probably wouldn’t have missed it but if I had said yes to the one piece of playdough I would have had to dole some out¬†to everyone.

Anyhow, I was a bit taken aback to see the little girl roll the playdough up into a ball, stick it under the table, and¬†proceed to innocently clean up until everything was packed away. When clean-up was over she retrieved the ball of playdough and marched out the door with it, thinking I hadn’t seen a thing. I regret what I did next….which was absolutely nothing. I let that little girl¬†walk away¬†scot free.

Why I did that, I don’t know. Everything in me was screaming to run after her and call her¬†bluff.¬†Her family hung around for quite a while chatting with other people after church. I was¬†deeply ¬†offended by the wrongness of what she had done yet the issue had taken on a new dimension…to go and confront her after all that time in front of her family¬†might have been interpreted as having racial undertones …by then the playdough seemed a small issue and I felt that people might think I am blowing things out of proportion.

I stewed on this for quite a while afterwards. I finally decided that it was a great lesson for me. Confronting the sin straight away would have helped me and the girl. It would have released me from the sense of offense and resentment at being taken advantage of, and it would have freed her from the guilt of getting away with something she knew was wrong. It would have been a redemptive thing…for us both. I did nobody any favors by trying to avoid a scene.

I am reminded by the passage in II Cor. 7 where Paul talks about how sorry the Corinthians were after they had read his first epistle. Although it had made him sad to sadden them he rejoiced over the fruit that came out of the whole thing. He mentioned that because they had a godly sorrow over their sins, it worked such great things in their hearts:

what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation , yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Has it ever happened to you that you felt constrained to speak out against unrighteousness but you decided not to rock the boat? Sometimes rocking the boat can be a good thing. As always, I suppose we need to check our motives. If we can’t speak the truth ‘in love’ and out of a heart that desires only the best for somebody else, it is perhaps better to say nothing. It is only when mercy and truth can meet together in your confrontation,¬†that righteousness and peace gets the opportunity to flow into¬†the situation.

Psa 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

I should have spoken up. I robbed myself and the girl of the opportunity to see how the forgiveness and mercy of God can change something ugly into a blessing.

In the lap of luxury

Hubby and I are so blessed! We arrived late last night and thought we would have to make do with the worst hotel room…the¬† left-overs after everyone else had taken their pick. Well, sure enough, all of the hotel rooms were taken when we came, and the only one left was an executive suite! We don’t have a hotel room, we have an hotel apartment! The view is gorgeous. I can only kick myself that I didn’t bring my camera. ūüė¶

We had breakfast in our hotel room this morning, and then hubby went off to ‘work’. I have been putterin’ around, enjoying the peace and quiet, reading my bible, and wrapping up some Ebay stuff on the net. I will be going down to take a look at the pool area soon. I can see it from my hotel room, and it is gorgeous. There is a lazy river with lots of bays and a ‘whirlpool’, plenty of tropical vegetation and water features with waterfalls (not for swimming in!) etc.

The kiddie area looks so great and I am sad that my kiddos could not be here to enjoy this. We couldn’t have afforded the extra hotel room for them though….not to mention the cost of feeding everyone. My glass of milk this morning alone cost $3. Hubby’s meals are paid for by the conference, but mine are going to cost a pretty sum, I am sure.

I had a precious time of worship this morning, all alone in my hotel room. I marvel that the magnificent, glorious God who made all of this beauty would actually see my company as something worth having. It is one of those things I cannot find words to express….how amazing it is that he wants to be my friend!

The last time I went on a conference with hubby in such wonderful surroundings I got a bit me-myself-and-I-ish. I think it is easy when you are feeling so pampered, to give your flesh an occasion to glory and become a bit more self-focussed than usual. I am praying that it will be a totally different experience for me this time around. Hopefully I have matured somewhat in the Lord since then. I hope that I will be able to say with Paul, that I can handle having abundance and having lack equally well to the glory of God.