Tag: homeschool

Still, My Soul, Be Still

8 years ago, we were living across the ocean on the Big Island of Hawaii. I was expecting our fifth son and was busy trying to keep our four other little boys under control in our rented third floor condo in an upscale beach front resort (Long story how we ended up in such an unlikely housing situation for a growing young family). But anyway there I was surrounded by my boys and retirees and tourists all day while Tom was off at work. Pretty much not a day went by that I didn’t find myself sitting in front of the computer with tears streaming down my face wondering how I was going to manage life with a new baby, while singing along through my sobs to a Youtube video of the Getty hymn, “Still, My Soul, Be Still.”

A month ago my oldest son arranged a version of that same hymn for my Birthday. He finally put his performance up on Youtube and it couldn’t be more timely with all the election madness we’re experiencing today. Be sure to read the lyrics as you listen. Also be sure to like and subscribe to Titus’s channel. Click here

Still, my soul be still
And do not fear
Though winds of change may rage tomorrow
God is at your side
No longer dread
The fires of unexpected sorrow
God, You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone
Still, my soul be still
Do not be moved
By lesser lights and fleeting shadows
Hold onto His ways
With shield of faith
Against temptation’s flaming arrows
God, You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone
Still, my soul be still
Do not forsake
The truth you learned in the beginning
Wait upon the Lord
And hope will rise
As stars appear when day is dimming
God, You are my God
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew
A steadfast spirit within me
To rest in You alone

Tolle Lege: Stack Attack

Enough is enough. The stack must be mitigated. I owe it to Crossway and Baker to at least mention that they sent me a couple of books, I added them to my stack, I failed miserably at consuming them in a timely manner and now I have to rearrange the literary rampart to retrieve them, review them, and reassess my reading strategy.

I suppose the best way to attack a library pile would be alphabetically.

So first: “Anyone But Me: 10 Ways to Overcome Your Fear and Be Prepared to Share the Gospel” by Ray Comfort. I love this guy. I’ve binge watched his evangelistic Youtube videos and followed his work with Living Waters Ministry. Our family has even handed out copious amounts of his tracts. But I’d never read one of his books. Can I just say, his message loses just a tiny bit of attraction without the New Zealand accent?

Although the accent may be missing from the book, the blunt, methodical, somewhat sarcastic style remains and is an easy going, albeit sometimes uncomfortable, delight to read. Ray Comfort can pierce your conscience with daggers and make you like it at the same time. This book is full of great stories that illustrate practical methods of evangelism but makes you squirm for liking the stories so much while having very little intention of learning the hard lessons from them.

But that discomfort is a good thing. As he says on p136, “Pain and discomfort often lead to action.” I can’t imagine anyone finishing this book and not being changed by it.

And now “An Introduction to John Owen” by Crawford Gribben. I’ve read biographies of puritans before and loved them. In fact one of my most recommended books ever is the 2-volume set “Memorable Women of the Puritan Times” by James Anderson. I thoroughly enjoyed Iain Murray’s “New Biography of Jonathan Edwards” and consider Leland Rykan’s “Worldly Saints: The Puritans as They Really Were” a must read for everyone. So I truly believe reading ABOUT the puritans can be a weighty delight.

Gribbon’s take on Owen however, I found neither weighty nor delightful. One would benefit far more from just reading another book BY Owen then this one ABOUT him. The format however was intriguing. Gribbon divides Owen’s life into four sections: Childhood, Youth, Middle Age, and Death and Eternal Life. As one would expect the author chronicles all the major events, both personal and political, of each of those eras. But Gribbon further utilizes that framework to introduce some of Owen’s writings by cataloging their subject matter according to these relative life stages.

For example when writing about Owen’s birth and childhood, Gribbon takes the opportunity to survey Owen’s writings on baptism and the education and catechizing of children. And when delving into his latter years he covers Owen’s writings on suffering, grief, the resurrection and the glories of heaven. This format added just enough interest to the otherwise dry compilation of facts to make the book bearable but not much more than that.

So with the obligatory reviews out of the way, what’s left in my personal reading pile? To begin with there’s Thomas Sowell’s “Charter Schools and Their Enemies” for going to war against our homeschool hating governor, Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” for reading on the water whenever I’m near some, and Joe Rigney’s “Strangley Bright” for reading with the women of Sheologians book club. Plus there’s all the stuff I’m reading aloud for the younger boys: “Story of the World,” “Exploring Creation Through Zoology,” Ogden Nash’s “Zoo” plus “Ave Ogden” cause if you’re gonna read Nash ya might as well do it in Latin. Then there’s all the High School material I have to cover for the older boys: German, Government and Econ, American Lit, History… it all adds up. Attack the stack, people! Tolle lege! Veni, vidi, vici and all the rest. Whatever. Just read. It’s good for you.

July Fly-by

We started the month celebrating a somber 4th of July. Why did it feel more like a funeral than Independence Day? Could it be that here in California we’re all basically under house arrest? Except for our convicted criminals. They’re being let out of jail by the thousands. Anyway, I thought Titus’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner fit the mood. Here’s the link.

Joel and Nathan got to take a road trip with their Opa up to Idaho to visit cousins. Besides an amazing show of hospitality by Tom’s middle brother and his family, Joel finally got some good catfish-ing under his now 15-year-old belt.

My IG Birthday greeting to this remarkable boy read like this:

“Happy Birthday to my fish catching, game hunting, piano playing, fly tying, snowcave sleeping, omelette flipping, anything high climbing, board shredding, highest peak in the lower 48 summiting, Gospel sharing, bike jumping, poker winning, truth loving, schoolwork dodging, gun toting, arrow sending, Bible thumping, trouble making, thrill seeking, wilderness surviving, double daring, son Joel. And that just describes the first 2 years of your teens. I can’t imagine what God has in store for you in the years to come. He obviously custom made you for adventure.”

Unfortunately, he and Titus have been unemployed since March. Tom, thankfully still has a job, but the camp being shut down for 5 months has obviously been a hardship. Keeping a houseful of 3 teenage boys, and 2 that might as well be, busy and in order with no work, no school, no camps, and limited interaction with friends has been a challenge to say the least. Mainly they’ve just been running wild in the woods all spring and summer. But honing those wilderness survival skills isn’t such a bad idea given our current political climate.

I was able to reign them in briefly to do some night-sky gazing recently. Jupiter and Saturn have been stunning this month. Our telescope was able to give us the first clear view of Saturn’s rings we’ve ever had. And of course, there was the Neowise comet. I think there might be one or two nights left to catch a glimpse of this 3-mile wide space rock orbiting our sun. You can find it right below the Big Dipper. I’m reposting some illustrations the boys did back in 2019 of the various kinds of space rocks and a poem to help you remember each kind.

“Dirty snowball out in space

with smudgy tail making chase

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Ice melts off and leaves behind

Dirt and rocks that sometimes find

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Their way through Earth’s thick atmosphere

But burn all up before getting here

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Except for sometimes they crash on through

And hopefully don’t land on you!”

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The End.

Titus wasn’t interested in our childish bit of poetic nonsense so here are some more accurate definitions from him.img_3536

Anyway, hope your July has been star-spangled and that August will still find us all fighting for the land of the free and the home of the brave.