Monday, July 28, 2008


I haven't written in a very long time.

So much has happened.

Jon went to camp and came home with a girlfriend. I think girlfriends are not too bad if they are long-distance. We never had to have rules about this sort of thing before, so this caught us off-guard. We may need to do some careful thinking and come up with some rules.

There was VBS. I had the honor and privilege of teaching the Bible study portion of the meeting we had for the mothers of VBS children. It was a precious time and I met some delightful people. One of our pastor's wives led us through a craft--we painted boards with Bible verses, and they came out beautifully.

Jon is at camp again; this is the camp he went to last year and loved very much. I hope he has a great time and is challenged in his faith.

David is making a surprising amount of money playing his saxophone this summer. I don't feel so bad that he didn't have a summer job.

I may get a job teaching English at a local private Christian school. Actually, it would be teaching English and Bible, which is basically my dream job. Plus I could take Jonathan with me, and he would get free tuition.

The way I've seen God working in this is downright scary. It's my dream job, and the answer to many of my prayers. At the same time, it is truly frightening. I don't have a degree in education. I have taught lots of Sunday school, Bible studies and VBS, but never every day of the week, long-term. One week of VBS usually nearly kills me. How could I survive the schedule of teaching through a full school year?

I am a little bit scared of teenagers. Less than I used to be when I WAS a teenager, it's true. I love my kids, and they have some wonderful friends. But teenagers, in general, are a somewhat intimidating to me. To be honest, all the kids I know are great; maybe it is the other teachers that scare me. At this school, the other two teachers in the English department are in their mid-twenties, nearly twenty years younger than I am. And yet I am the one with no experience. That's scary.

I like shopping at off hours--getting groceries in the early afternoon on Tuesdays, never Christmas shopping on the weekends, that sort of thing. I won't be able to do that anymore if I get a job.

If I get a job, how will I handle dentist, doctor and orthodontist appointments? It has been complicated enough trying to get the kids out of school for appointments. With a job, I would also have to figure out how I could get myself out of work to pick them up. And what about my own appointments?

If I get a job I will have to do my hair, wear a small amount of make-up and buy a whole wardrobe of presentable clothes... not just three or four decent outfits to wear to church and on special occasions.

If I get a job, my systems for cleaning, laundry and meal planning will have to change radically.

If I get a job, the dogs will be home alone a lot--other people will have to kick in and take more ownership in feeding them and letting them out.

HOW will I do DJ's graduation party next summer if I am teaching???

The pros?

I would get to do what I originally wanted to do (teach English) and what I have recently developed a love for (teaching Bible).

It might be really good for Jonathan; it might be where God wants him.

I would have a reason to get up early in the morning, which might help me shift to a better time clock for my body.

I would have more opportunities to be with people and to make friends.

I might get to have a lasting, positive, godly influence on young minds. This amazes, excites and frightens me, all at the same time.

I would have an opportunity to make a small financial contribution to our family. Unless I lose it all to taxes, which might be the case. I hope I would make enough money to cover the increased cost of living (gas, clothes, convenience foods, etc) that would result from my having a job.

Whatever the Lord wills, that is what I need to do. I need to not let laziness and fear influence my decision.

I pray that God will show me clearly what He wants me to do. If they don't offer me the job, that will make it easy. If they do offer the job, I pray for a clear sign of direction.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I am trying to figure out what I am supposed to teach for the Bible study this coming fall.

Or if I am supposed to teach a Bible study at all.

Or if I should go back to college and get a teaching degree.

Shawn mentioned to me while we were are Lake Placid that he thought I should go back to school. I am not sure how he meant it. I was sharing with him that lately I feel stupid and left behind in life. I think about my friends who became doctors, surgeons, researchers, professional people who travel and have a professional jargon and know how to rent cars and turn on their own televisions. I guess maybe I'm having a mid-life crisis, looking at all the things I didn't do and have not become. Anyway, Shawn said that he thought I should go back to school.

I need to talk to him about that, because we are supposed to do what our husbands tell us to do. I need to find out exactly what he meant when he said that.

If I go back to school, I will have to give up teaching the Bible study, and that has become one of my greatest joys in life... to go every Tuesday morning and find this wonderful roomful of beautiful women who want to learn about Jesus. They are there before I am, many of them, like a miracle. They bring delicious breakfast foods--fruits and breads and baked egg dishes--and one or two of them set a beautiful table with flowers to serve from. They mingle and chat and have breakfast while I get my materials in order, and then we pray, and dive into the Word of God for over an hour. We finish by praying more--they share their requests with me and I have the privilege of lifting them up in prayer.

It is a time when I feel the presence of God and the love of the saints. It is the high point of the week. It gives me a reason to study during the week, a reason to depend on God and cling to Him each day so that I will be able to bring them something from His table.

It has been a relatively painless way for me to grow spiritually. And we all know that most spiritual growth happens in times of suffering and trial, so it has been a bountiful, abundant blessing.

I have never made any money. I have made less than $20,000 in my entire life. I have contributed nil to my family's financial situation, unless you count that I do my own housework and serve homemade meals most of the time instead of getting take-out or fast-food.

The things I love to do, I do not want to do for money. I want to study and teach about Jesus. I want to pursue Truth and Wisdom.

I would not mind teaching high school students to think. I would not mind teaching literature and asking different questions from the ones the students are usually asked. It would be exciting to open young minds to thoughts they have never had, to ideas they have never pondered, to point them, even in a secular American public school, to the idea that there might be a God and that He might be worth seeking.

But going to college costs money. I have a child in college. After next year, I will have two children in college, and the year after that, three. If the Lord wants me to go to college, I hope and pray that He will make it very clear and provide a view of the path for financing it so that I can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I am following His plan.

Teaching the Bible study doesn't cost money. It pays in rich spiritual blessings, and I love doing it. I will have to give it up if I go to college.

Right now I do not know what I would teach in the Bible study. Last fall we did the book of Matthew, and from January to June we did 1 & 2 Kings. I was thinking we would do 1 & 2 Peter this coming fall, but as I tried to get a start on it, it wasn't coming together.

Then I started to have the idea that perhaps I am supposed to teach on Job. Suffering. There is so much pain in the world, in people's lives. And Christians can easily get thrown by pain when they have a mistaken idea that belonging to Jesus means they receive automatic protection from pain.

This morning I did my Bible reading, which included Job 3-7. Afterwards, I went online to listen to Colin Smith, my current favorite Bible teacher. Strangely, the message was untitled, which is unusual. But as Pastor Colin started to preach, he was in the beginning of Job, referencing verses I had read yesterday and this morning. I wondered if this was a hint from God that I was on the right track in thinking He wants me to teach Job instead of 1 Peter. Then Pastor Colin referenced some verses from 1 Peter about suffering.

Maybe I am supposed to teach about suffering.

I need to keep praying about this. I am scared of teaching the book of Job, because I don't understand all of it very well. I know that there are places where Job's friends say true things, and also places where they say things that are not right, things that made God angry (we know this because of what God said to them in Job 42:7). I do not feel confident in my ability to discern where they are speaking truth and where they are wrong. I am afraid to try to teach this book.

So should I just go to college and become an English teacher?

What is God's purpose for my life?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anniversary getaway

Well, June is over and July is here already.

I think I missed the summer solstice. I am quite disappointed. I love to celebrate the light of the longest day of the year.

Shawn and I went on a little trip to Lake Placid in the Adirondacks, to celebrate our 21st anniversary. Last year our anniversary was eclipsed by Shannon's graduation, and next year it will be by David's, and the next year by Laura's. When we got married back in 1987 in Minnesota, I never imagined that our anniversary would end up conflicting with our children's high school graduations. In Minnesota, people are done with school and on to much better and brighter things by June 27.

It rained on us in Lake Placid. Generally, it always rains whenever we go anywhere. Being introverts and not enjoying crowds, we have learned to look on the bright side and make the best of it. Rain reduces a crowd quite drastically. As long as it doesn't rain too hard, and the rides are still running, you can do very well at an amusement park on a rainy day... the lines are usually very short.

However, we had been hoping to hike. It is not so much fun to hike in the rain. Especially in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack trails are primitive and rocky. Sometimes you can hardly tell where the trail goes. When the rain cleared on Saturday afternoon, we set out on a modest hike--2.5 miles didn't sound so bad.

Let me just say, there are 2.5 miles in a neighborhood, or at a nature preserve with mulched paths, or at a state park where they build the trails like a sidewalk through the gorge, stone steps and all. And then there are 2.5 miles of rough, steeply inclined Adirondack "trails" through rocky forest with nary a level inch on which to place your foot. Take one of those, and then make it really, really wet, so that where it might have been almost level at one time, what you have is a bog of sticky mud through which you have to skip from stone (slippery when wet) to stone if you want to keep your white sneakers white. Which you won't be able to do. And when you are up on the rocks, out of the mud, you might think it would get better, but again, the rocks are slippery when wet.

We got some strenuous exercise for about an hour and a half, but we didn't get near the summit. I pooped out and told Shawn I thought we'd better head home. He, gentleman that he is, agreed kindly. About 5 minutes after we turned around, it started to lightening and thunder and then rain, so I didn't feel quite so bad about my big wimp-out.

We enjoyed the canoes at the place where we stayed on Lake Placid. For those who may not know, the Town of Lake Placid is not built on Lake Placid. It is built on Mirror Lake. We stayed on Lake Placid, which some say is less pretty, but I like it better--it's less crowded.

We also had two nice dinners out, the prices of which were ridiculous, because a lot of filthy rich people frequent Lake Placid, and also New York City people and wealthy Europeans. I am trying not to worry about how much we spent on those two dinners. I had fish both times, because it is soft and I can chew it, even though my teeth are loose and sore in my braces. The second place we ate was really gorgeous, with huge cathedral windows overlooking a mountain and a trout brook. They played cascading piano music to match the running water in the brook, and the food was fancy, though not as good as the prices should have warranted. We got better service at the Bob Evans where we ate lunch in Watertown on our way home. Shawn thinks it's because we didn't order wine with our dinner. It was definitely a wine-with-dinner kind of place, but honestly, should we be discriminated against because we don't drink? Anyhow, we probably won't go there again. Not that we're in the neighborhood all that often.

A weekend away is tricky, because you don't have all that much time to unwind. And by the time you start unwinding, it is time to go home. We did have a lovely canoe ride after we had checked out of our cottage. We were supposed to keep the canoe in the bay where the dock was, but Shawn isn't so much for following those kinds of rules, so we went out into the bigger part of Lake Placid and saw Whiteface Mountain shrouded in mysterious clouds and wondered who lived in the amazing mansions with boathouses with "garages" for up to five boats.

I think, when you are a mother, you never quite relax when you "get away" from your kids. You are always wondering how they are doing, and if they are safe, happy and healthy. Their phone calls are like iced lemonade on a hot, dry day.

It was a nice weekend. It was also good to get home.

The very best thing--the kids cleaned the house while we were gone! I came home, and they had even dusted and vacuumed our room! Never have vacuum tracks been so exciting! (Sorry about all the exclamation points, but I really mean them.)