Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Summer Goals - When You Are Fourteen

I have noticed that days make themselves wings and fly away. Lazy summer days are an especially flighty sort. A flighty sort that calls for a certain amount of goal setting, lest we miss an open opportunity because we are too busy sitting on the couch. You've been busy in that way too, haven't you?

When I mentioned to Ally that I thought she ought to form some summer goals, she had already made a long list. I was impressed and saw no reason to ask anything more of her. Her summer goals:
  • Sew her first quilt, all by hand. (Personally I consider this nothing short of torture, but these are Ally's goals.)
  • Type up recipes and organize a recipe notebook.
  • Compete in the Bible Bee.
  • Read books. A rather extensive reading list, too long to be finished. Beginning, and ending, no doubt with Dickens.
  • Fit in 300 hours of drawing.
  • Mow the soccer fields with her father and earn a dollar or two.
  • Use those hard earned dollars to spend one glorious week visiting old friends.
Today we were out and about in the real world, far from this sleepy, small town. We bought supplies. We stocked up on the stuff goals are made of, and here she is tonight already at work on her first quilt.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Bible in Bee and in Life

This week the girls are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Bible Bee materials. They are excited. This is the fourth year our family has participated, and with time immersed in the Word, we have borne fruit. There is the obvious fruit: the the sheer number of verses memorized (hundreds). There is fruit that sweetened and ripened into a Bible Bee Bible shared with an unbelieving friend. There is the sweet fruit of encouragement, watching other families take the Word of God so very seriously. We are not alone, in fact, we fall well behind the efforts of others.

The most enduring fruit has been that treasuring of God's Word in our minds through our summer days, poured over into all the rest of the year. Because my kids have worked so hard to know verses word for word, I now have a stack of memory verses of my own. A pile of ordinary index cards, hole-punched and on a binder ring, I carry it around and attempt to bind those passages to my heart. My mom, too, now has a stack of memory verses. The kids have spurred us on.

A hundred years ago, when I was in college, I had one professor whose course left a lasting mark on my life. He was old, probably close to retirement. He had frizzy hair and wore the same clothes he'd worn for the past 20 years. Truthfully, he was kind of boring. There were plenty of other professors, young, handsome, hip, entertaining, who seemed to overshadow him. And so, at the time, I felt like I was simply enduring his class on Romans.

Time, sifting the memory of college experiences, has allowed that out-dated professor to stand out among so many others. Every time that funny old man, that godly theologian, wanted to reference a scripture passage he quoted it from memory. There, before a sleepy class, meeting a Bible requirement, he quoted verse after verse of Scripture. When he missed a word, he was upset with himself, not quitting but running back over the passage again and again until he could run past his stumbling block.

The lasting legacy of a Christian University education, which didn't come cheaply, mind you, was that humble unpretentious man, steeped in the Bible. All his years of study and teaching both undergrads and seminary students was surpassed by what he chose to do in the quiet minutes of his days, and years. And that rich legacy, the wealth of wisdom from the Word of God, is ultimately free to us all, costing only hard work and much repetition.

I would give much to be out-dated, out-moded, by-passed by the hip and the culture shapers; yet able to recite verses and passages, chapters and books of the unchanging, eternal Word of the Lord.

Here is a blog post from my alma mater, The Easiest Way to Memorize the Bible that has spurred me to press on, and challenged me that even now I aim too low.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Good Running Wild

“And the more I considered Christianity, the more I found that while it had established a rule and order, the chief aim of that order was to give room for good things to run wild.” G.K. Chesterton
I want, today, to make room for good things to run wild. Chesterton asserts that room is found by following the laws we think restrain us. We make room by adhering to the principles that are narrow. Wildness is found in obedience. When sin is restrained we come out into a wide place. And good can run wild.