I just finished Orson Scott Card’s “Enchantment” this morning and that is exactly how I felt when I closed it, enchanted. I fell in love with this book immediately when I picked it up out of a box of books my friend was giving away. I love it because it blends a bit of history with fantasy, a little time travel, a little magic, and a happy story.

There were so many great pieces of the book but I don’t really want to get into it because I’ll give away the magic. Here was my favorite quote from reading today!

Speaking of the magic of being pregnant, “As he grew, his power was part of me. For those months, I felt like the goddess of creation. And then he was born and became his own man, and I was just myself again.” This touched me because I’m at that point in my life as my sons become men. I’m left alone, being myself. It’s a difficult transition to make, going from creating and nurturing life, through supporting it, and then letting it out into the world to do what God created it to do. It’s good to know I’m not alone in this feeling. It is magical.

I’m not all that fond of the use of Christianity as just another magic in the world, but I’ll let it slide since it’s fiction. I would have liked to see Christianity have a stronger influence, a stronger magic than that of this world the people were using, but I get that it’s not a Christian book per se. I can see some Christian readers not liking it for that reason. But I felt throughout the book that, like in Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”, there was some deeper magic going on here! Even though it wasn’t explicit, I knew where it was coming from.

This is a spoiler in my book, so gloss over the next paragraph if you think you’ll read the book!

The priest uses his Bible and the commandment “In the name of Christ” to stop something bad from happening. Some may think that this is a condemnation of the power of Christ. I do not. I believe it is a condemnation of the power of religion and superstition. The priest did not love others as God does, he lived in the time he was in. He saw people only as they were useful to politics, to keep the church in control. He was from a different land, a missionary to this place. He did not live as one of the people.

Hold on! I just realized something as I was typing this idea out. I’m currently studying at online seminary that talks about this very thing. Their hope is to train up people in Christ among their own people and culture so that they will “bloom where they are planted.” It’s the opposite of the Catholic idea of separating people who are felt called by God to lead, training them in isolation, and then planting them in foreign places where the church thinks they are needed. I honestly think this has more to do with politics than spreading the gospel of Jesus. The idea of Christian Leaders Institute is to share information on the internet for free so that people can be trained in what the Bible says and lead others to Christ where they are. It doesn’t make for a strong central church or any real power, but it does help bring the love of Christ to more people, in my opinion.

Wow. I’m continually amazed at how everything that comes across my path ends up being related and how it leads me to wonder at the power of God. This book is filled with that idea. Who brought these people together? And why? What was the bigger picture? We really don’t know, but we use what have to build where we are. It’s truly wonderful.

Where will I go next? Where will my life, my study, my passions take me? Who will come into my path? Which leads me to what I read in my class this morning. “See the potential in people without pre-qualifying them.” That’s what we are called to do as Christians. Every single person on earth was created and is loved by God. Each one has the potential to do great things. I could have set this book aside because its author is a Mormon, not of my faith, but I didn’t. It, as every other thing, has potential to move my heart toward God and this surely has. Working and living with people is the same. Everyone has potential to do God’s work, whether we see it or not. Mentor them, offer them the love of Christ through you, and watch what God does!

I just read back from the beginning of this post and realized something. He was born and became his own man, I say, the minute he was born, not after her grew up. Our children are born as whole individuals, dependent on another’s support, yes, but fully formed with their own innate potential. We should be treating our children in this same way, as “potential without pre-qualifications”. They don’t need to be filled with certain things by us to become their own person, they are born that way. Ours is to see the potential and mentor it until they can be independent of us.

Finished Locke


I’ve already written about this reading before but I finished it the other day and had to add one more comment. There was a great part about how we acquire language and it really cleared something up for me. It was in Book III, Chapter 11, about the difference between physical and symbolic language and how we learn those words in a similar way, how vocabulary we learn as we experience the world can be very different depending on our childhood.

It starts in childhood when first begin to use words. Our parents don’t point to things and say “This is a chair.” We learn in a roundabout way what a chair is. We hear the word. We see people use the thing and we apply that word in ways we believe it works. A cute example would be a small child pulling up a lazy dog and sitting on it, exclaiming “CHAIR!” We giggle and say, “No. That’s a dog. We can’t sit on the dog.” We’ve refined our understanding of the word chair and learned two new ones, “dog” and “can’t”. We’ll refine those later in life.

But symbolic words are even harder to learn and use. We hear our parent say “This is mine.” and we attempt to use that word when we have a precious toy in our hands. “This is mine.”, we say. And our parent says, “No. It belongs to Suzy. You can’t keep it.” This means very little to our young mind. What we think the word “mine” means is “in my hands”, “I want it.”, or “I’m using it.” After much use of the word in different situations, we refine the use of “mine” and use it in ways most people think are appropriate. Or do we? It’s very complicated this learning symbolic language. We may come across people that understand the term “mine” very differently in the future.

This is the trouble with language. We really do need to define terms when we are really trying to understand each other in a deep way. It’s fine to gloss over words like “love” and “freedom” when we are just chatting and getting along. But when we begin to make rules for each other or attempt to come to an understanding of a different point of view, we cannot just throw around words and phrases and assume everyone is using the same definition. My view of the word “right” may be very different from yours, so when I say I have a “right” to something and you firmly disagree, I react negatively because I feel you are a bad person to think I do no, much like a child uses the word “mine” and is very upset when you take the toy away. The strange part is that we could possible agree on the meaning but not the word. We could agree that everyone should be “able get a doctor’s care”, but we disagree on how to get it, calling it a “right”, or who should pay for it.

I find this so amazingly relevant right now because I read what people post online and listen to what they say in conversation and on TV and radio. I hear so many people yelling back and forth about what’s right and what’s wrong, who’s to blame for the evils of the world, and what others should do about it. And then, when I hear someone say “Well, hold on. What do you mean by ‘freedom’?”, the others around them get very defensive and angry that he would even try to “derail the conversation” by stopping to agree on terms. It’s strange to think with all the ways we are able to communicate with the world around us, we are still no closer to understanding each other or are really even willing to try.

Memorial Day Thoughts

This is another one of the “federal” holidays that makes me stop and think. I was hoping that is what it was meant to do but as I scroll through Facebook today I find posts asking why the carnival that was over the weekend isn’t running today, why there is a celebration at the cemetery with bounce houses, and how we are all celebrating the holiday. My first reaction was how are we supposed to celebrate a day of mourning? Isn’t that what Memorial Day is? It isn’t even close to a memorial for a family member that has died of old age or a natural disease. That would be something close to a celebration. We are sad they are gone but celebrate the fine life they lived. But this is a memorial for those lost to war, something we all hope never has to happen, something we should be working so hard to avoid. I don’t want to celebrate a person that “gave their life for our freedom”. I am mourning the tragic and horrific loss of a human being that shouldn’t have been taken. And not just those that have died on our side, all of them. Today I mourn the loss of every human being that has been killed in senseless violence in the name of king and country, over territory, resources, or “interests”. I mourn the fact that more will continue to die in the future and that many will sign up to continue the battle and take up space in our graveyards far too early and for no good reason.

War is not something we should be rooting for or celebrating. Being a soldier is not something we should be striving to be but something we acquiesce to in times of severe trauma after all other options have been thoroughly searched out and we have no other way to defend ourselves but to kill or be killed. It isn’t a profession that we spend our lives perfecting. It’s a duty we honor when our home is being attacked, not when our government’s money is being wasted. War is not honorable, wanted, or striven for. It is not a game with sides to cheer. It is a horror of this fallen world that we should be hoping never comes to our door.

The pictures and posts I see on the internet don’t reflect that feeling to me. It seems to me that people think this is necessary, that someone has to do it, and it’s good that some will “give their all” for what really matters. It makes me incredibly sad.

Today I mourn the loss of men, women, and children, both military and civilian, those that volunteered, were drafted, or caught in the middle. I grieve for the lives destroyed by war. I remember them. I weep for them. I pray for their families left behind. I pray for peace and a day when no one dies for “what they believe in” or “our freedom”. But I do not celebrate or honor any of it.

An Assignment – Part Three

And here it is! The final installment. Thanks for sticking with me.

12. Leaders who love peace. NIV “not quarrelsome” KJV I can’t find the correlating word.

13. Leaders who are not covetous. NIV I can’t find the correlating word. KJV “not covetous”

The book seems to separate “peace” and “covetous”. In the NIV it says “not quarrelsome”, which would mean “peaceful” to me. And in the KJV, in the same space it says “not covetous”. I think the words are related but the authors of this book separate them into two different traits. I’ll treat them as the same in my comments here.

The book says we should desire peace instead of being right most of the time. Homosexuality comes to mind. From a Christian point of view, it is a sin just like anger, covetousness, lust, etc. We may feel it but we are not to act on it. But, in our current times, most people don’t believe this. Some Christians think that maybe the notion is out of date or past its usefulness, that maybe we should let this one slide. And some say the translation of the idea of the sin itself should be different, that they are really referring to sexuality infidelity and immorality rather than the sexual act or inclination. Should we fight for it? Should we make a stand and tell people that they are dead wrong and living horrible lives, that they cannot be loved by God because they are living in their sin? Would this be a peaceful way of living? I think we commit a sin of our own if we do this and have no righteous place to stand if we do. Our commandment is to love each other, to show the love of Jesus to everyone regardless of who they are or what they are doing. It is God’s job to judge and change hearts. That is how we practice peace.

As to covetousness, the book says we should not want for more or for what others have and we do not. This is a killer of peace in my thinking. Covetousness can kill your joy and make you act out in anger or violence instead of peace, so the two are connected. Can we be jealous of God’s love for others even when they are living what we believe to be a sinful life? How can they be happy and content if they are so wrong in their thinking? Here we are doing right, living as we believe God commands us, and then that guy is gambling and chasing after women….and God loves him too? That’s just not right. In our jealousy and covetousness, we act out in anger against our neighbor. That’s a human thing to do. But we are called to be more. It’s infinitely difficult, but with God we can do all things.

14. Leaders who lead in their homes and are respected. NIV “He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. KJV “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;”

Here’s another one that looks a little different in this day and age, right? This is where I go to what the author was trying to convey underneath instead of the literal. Where does a “well-managed family” come from, instead of look like? Is my home out of control? Do my children respect me? Does my husband have faith in my ability? Today it doesn’t look like children obeying and being in subjection to their parents. At our home, it looks more like a dance of respect. They’ve been raised with capable, strong, loving, and respectable parents when they were younger. And as they’ve gotten older, their growing independence has been encouraged and respected. It’s kind of its own story and much different than how most people raise children these days, or don’t raise children really.

I think the author of this book hit the nail on the head in the video presentation by saying, “The family is a microcosm of the church and the world.” It made me stop and think. If my home life is mismanaged, if I cannot earn the respect of my family, if I’m constantly whining, unsatisfied, and blaming others, or taking people’s attitudes personally at home, that WILL translate into my ministry as well. I can already see it when I interact with people in the community. And I’ve had it effect my attempts at service in the homeschool community but didn’t see it until now. It’s something I will definitely be keeping an eye on in my life and learning to do better.

15. Leaders who are settled in their walk and doctrine. NIV “He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.” KJV “Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.

A tree needs deep roots and fresh branches not to be destroyed in the wind. I wouldn’t consider myself “settled in my walk” just yet. I’ve only been a Christian in the true sense of actively believing, searching, and being born again, since 2004. It’s a lifelong walk and process. But I can see where I was years ago and see it in others as well. We are so excited when we learn the truth and the way and we want to immediately share it with others. Our lack of experience in living and loving in that truth leads us to do things that aren’t necessarily good for others. We think we know, but really we don’t and need more training. My hope is that this study will help me continue on that path in a more constructive way.

16. Leaders who are respected in their community of relationships. NIV “He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.” KJV “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

Do I come across people as someone to be trusted, loving and kind, helpful, and respectable? I can only hope that I do. I know that I do try my best to be so and sometimes, even though I do my best, someone believes I am not. I guess that is where the saying comes from, “You can’t please all the people all the time.” Sometimes I feel my efforts to help or be fair are seen in a negative light, as if I’m being stubborn or stingy. I want to stand up for what I truly believe, to have principles, but that can be misconstrued or at least misunderstood.

That’s a lot to think about! I think I’ll print the short version out for myself to remind me of my goals. We can’t be perfect in all these areas and I don’t think we are expected to, but knowing what the goal is shows us where our weaknesses are. I won’t stop trying to be a leader in the world because I have too many weaknesses, I’ll only try to shore up where I’m lacking and know to reach out for help and support when I feel I can’t live up to expectations.

An Assignment – Part 2

Here is the second part of my assignment. I’ll be writing the last part today, so hold onto your seats for the exciting conclusion! 😉

  1. Leaders who are friendly to everyone. NIV “hospitable” KJV “given to hospitality”

The Greek word is Plilao-Xenos, meaning brotherly love of a stranger or immigrant. I just read a great article here http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/true-biblical-hospitality-loving-immigrants-strangers-and-enemies/ about what the word really means. When I first read the word hospitality, I thought, “Yes! I’ve got this!” but the Greek word means more than the English word. Hosting a fine BBQ with friends and family is not what it means. The book says something along the lines of being welcoming to strangers, treating them as if they were your brother. That’s something I tried to get people to do at our homeschool group. Time and time again I asked people to watch for newcomers, ask them where they are coming from, and introduce them to others. I tried to make that my mission at our weekly park days and other events. At the pregnancy clinic, the director is showing me through her actions true biblical hospitality. She’s a beautiful example that I watch closely to learn from every time I’m there. I believe that I have the seed of this character trait and that, with help and courage, I can make it grow.

  1. Leaders who are willing to teach or mentor. NIV “able to teach” KJV “apt to teach”

The first thing I thought when I read the difference between the NIV and KJV words was, “Is able the same as apt?” By definition, it really isn’t, although people do use both terms loosely. Able means having the skill. Apt means being inclined to do. So am I able to teach or apt to teach? I’d say a little of both sometimes. I do want to share what I know with others, but sometimes I lack the skills to do so in the best way. My hope is that through a program like this one I’ll learn more of the skills that will help me to pursue my desire to share what I’ve learned. I like what the book says about preaching or teaching. There are more ways to “teach” than to be a preacher or school teacher. We share the love of God with others in any walk we are on. We teach others through our actions whenever we interact with people.

  1. Leaders who are not given to addictions. NIV “not given to drunkenness” KJV “Not given to wine”

The KJV says “given to wine” and the NIV opens it up to “drunkenness”, but the program’s books opens it up further to “addictions”. What did the original authors want us to know? I think this is one of those times when we can open this up and use the words metaphorically pretty safely. When the passage was written, wine was probably one of the main sources for drunkenness and addiction, although I’m sure there were also addictions to some drugs, sex, and even more benign things like gossip. Applying this passage to our current time, I’d say we can’t be great leaders if we aren’t “given to wine” but we escape our troubles by locking ourselves away and playing video games or scrolling through Facebook instead of interacting with the people around us. “Addiction” seems to be a big problem in our world today and it was back then as well. Personally, I’ve never been an addictive personality. I believe some people are prone to addiction and some people are driven to it, but it is always prompted by some situation or event a person is trying to escape from. Solve that problem and you typically can stop the symptom of addiction.

  1. Leaders who are not violent. NIV “not violent but gentle” KJV “no striker”

This one is pretty straight forward. We are not violent. We do not hit. Anyone. We cannot call ourselves a leader if we are apt to angry outbursts, if we use our fists instead of words. Love does not hurt people. I’ll admit that I have lost control of my temper in the past. I have always regretted it and it has never served me well.

  1. Leaders who are not greedy misers. NIV “not a lover of money” KJV “not greedy of filthy lucre”

The Greek means “base or selfish gain”, not literally cash. We can earn money, use money, even have a lot of money, but we aren’t to be motivated by money. Am I looking to learn God’s word, to learn to communicate and share in a better way so that I can get a high paying job and support my family? No. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that. I study to become a better person so that I can better serve my family and the community. I want to be a resource for the pregnancy clinic I volunteer for. I want to support the private homeschooling movement. I want to be someone people look to for help in times of trouble. Will it bring me financial security? No, but it will bring me peace and closer to God.

  1. Leaders who are self-aware of their gentleness NIV “not violent but gentle” KJV “but patient”

This one is confused in the text to me. It seems to be an extension of “not violent”. Patience is something you need to be gentle. We can’t force people to listen or do what is right. We can only model love and kindness in the hopes that they choose well for themselves. The book says the word is “appropriate”. One thing I’ve learned through meditation is to be aware of my feelings and give myself time to think before I react. That seems to be a helpful part of being gentle and patient in any situation. I’ve learned, and am still practicing, to breathe, listen, and think before I react in any way, in word or deed.

An Assignment – Part One

I’m writing this as an assignment to “self-assess” but I thought I’d post it here and see if I can get any feedback, or just post to space for giggles. I was going to wait and post it all at once but changed my mind (because it has become extremely long) and am posting it as I write. Enjoy!

Qualifications of Called Revival Leaders

From 1 Timothy 3:2-7

NIV “2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.”

KJV “2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

There’s always an interesting difference between the King James and NIV translations. I like to know them both. NIV may be in a more current language, but the KJV is typically more precise its use of words. There is a difference between “faithful to his wife” and “the husband of one wife”.

First of all, what is a “called revival leader” in my heart? The author of the book refers to an “overseer” as a “called revival leader”. And the KJV calls it a “bishop”. I’m not interested in becoming an “overseer” or any type of formal pastor, but I am interested in how I can develop biblical leadership skills to make my own life an example to those around me indirectly. If and when the need arises in my life, I want to be able to say “I’ve got this. I’m ready.” So I’m studying as if I plan on leading some day. I wonder if more people should do this. Instead of pushing aside any study for leadership, religious and secular, we all took some time to learn good leadership skills if only to know what good leadership is and use it in our own lives and homes.

Do I have the skills that this passage lists? I’m not sure. I believe I have some of them naturally and some I may need to develop further. That is what study is all about, right? I’ve decided to list them out and comment on how they pertain to me and my life, what I believe about them at this moment. I wonder what I will think of these words a year from now?

  1. Leaders who stay out of trouble. NIV “above reproach”, KJV “blameless”

What do they mean by “stay out of trouble”? Those are the words the author and president of this school use in stead of the biblical words, but all are a bit vague. Do they mean “out of trouble” with the law? The church? The family? If I break a law because I believe it is unjust, I may get into trouble, but is that what they mean? I’ve always been one to naturally want to stay out of any trouble. I’d say I’m “trouble averse” and it hasn’t always served me well. I tend to not do things I believe are right or good for fear of getting into trouble. But then, it did serve me very well when the police came knocking on my door. Due to my clean record and lack of anyone that would speak against me, it was easier for my lawyer to get the charges against me dropped. So I’d say I do stay out of trouble. I certainly do not go looking for it.

  1. Leaders who do not practice polygamy. NIV “faithful to his wife”, KJV “the husband of one wife”

The first thing I notice is that I’m female, so should I just turn the words around? I believe so, yes. The authors were coming from a culture where only males would be even thinking of anything like leadership outside the home. Women had children and homes to take care of for most of their lives, focusing outside of that realm wouldn’t be prudent for anyone. I’m of the same mind, actually and wouldn’t be looking at this course of study if my children were younger. In fact, I did put aside quite a bit of outside study and work when I was newly married, learning to care for a home, and raising young children. That was where I felt my limited focus should be. If I looked too far outside of that, all my efforts suffered. I couldn’t do it all and everything I had a hand in was done less well because of my lack of focus. But I’m getting beyond that time now, as many women can in this age. Our roles can change throughout our lives because technology makes it easier for us to care for our homes and husbands. We also don’t have as many children, so there comes a time in our lives when we aren’t needed at home 24/7. That’s when it becomes appropriate to begin to expand our focus outside of our homes. So here I am, applying 2000 year old words to my modern life.

But why would they put these words in there? Why “one wife”? Many societies were polygamists back then. It was nothing new or wrong. Why would we shift from polygamy to monogamy, and why would the new Christian church make such a big deal of it? That’s what I plan on learning through more of this study.

  1. Leaders who are sober or temperate in attitude. NIV “temperate” KJV “vigilant”

The book says this refers to good judgment, not taken to jumping to conclusions, being balanced in thinking. This is something I would definitely work on, and have been working on for the past several years. It is not my nature to be cool headed. I am one to act first and think later, to judge others by their outward actions instead of wondering more at their intentions. I honestly believe this can be a learned skill.

  1. Leaders who exhibit moderation. NIV “self-controlled” KJV “sober”

The Greek word for sober means “safe mind”. This seems related to the temperate and vigilant. They could all be lumped together, and it still something I’m working on. Again, I tend to speak before thinking things through. I “think out loud” and that isn’t always conducive to helping people. It can produce more damage than silence.

  1. Leaders who act orderly and respectable. NIV “respectable” KJV “of good behavior”

The Greek word for “order” is Kosmos. Is orderly “respectable” and “good behavior”? Is that what the bible means? Do they mean that someone who has their life and things in “order” would be respectable? If so, then I would say I’m exhibiting this trait. I’ve spent the last fifteen years attempting to being order to home and thinking, and I believe I do a fairly good job of it.


For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having a recurring thought. Do we not have a common understanding of language? Are we using words in the best ways? I’ve never been very good at using vocabulary, especially when speaking out loud. Sometimes when I’m explaining something, I just can’t seem to get my meaning across. My words fall short of my thinking. When I’m writing, sometimes I can take the time to find a better word or phrase, re-think,to and re-write, but when I’m speaking it just comes out badly. My sons are the first to draw my attention to it. They are much better at getting to the bottom of things, really finding the meaning.

A while back, while I was driving I had this same thought. Are we all using the same driving rules? We all talk about how bad other drivers are, how unsafe and illogical they are. There is no one I’ve talked to that thinks other drivers are doing fine. Then I wonder, am I driving the way I think I am? By the way, here I am, not getting my point across very well at all. I’ll try again.

When I say “people drive like they can’t see more than ten feet in front of them”, do I go out and drive in a similar way not realizing that I’m doing it and the people around me are thinking the same thing I was thinking? When I say people are driving “unsafely”, do we all agree on the meaning of “unsafe”?

I was thinking the same thing when talking to some people about “responsibility”. When I say “people aren’t acting in responsible ways”, “no one takes care of their own responsibilities, they always want someone else to pay for their lives”, do we all have the same definition? I’m starting to think we don’t. I’m starting to think that we need to write out definitions when we are trying to get our point across. We could exchange dictionaries before we have a conversation, or have a glossary of terms for everything we write! Sounds a bit tedious.

Here’s the interesting part though. This week on my Great Books reading list was Locke’s “Concerning Human Understanding”. I’m not reading the whole book, just certain chapters. I found this quote today.

“The chief end of language in communication being to be understood, words serve not well for that end, neither in civil nor philosophical discourse, when any word does not excite in the hearer the same idea which it stands for in the mind of the speaker.” Chapter 9, #4

Well, there you have it! Even if we are both speaking American English, we may not understand each other. We all have different experiences that make up how we feel and how we see the world. When I say “responsible” it may not mean anything like what you see as the meaning I’m trying to convey. It is especially bad for one or two line posts on social media. I could say “Responsible parenting is what we need in this country to bring us closer together.” That could mean anything to anyone! All those words could have completely different connotations to each individual reading them.

I’m also reading an awesome book I’d never heard of but I found it in a pile of used books a friend was giving away. I just saw “Orson Scott Card” and picked it up. I loved “Ender’s Game”, this should be interesting. Little did I know it would amaze me so much! I’m in love with it before the end of the first hundred pages. Today I came across this gem.

“There was no way he could even begin to discuss such concepts with Katerina. Even if he had enough Old Church Slavonic to speak these thoughts, he doubted she’d have the philosophical background to understand them.” Enchantment, page 78

Earlier he had said to her “Look.” when he wanted her to listen to what he had to say about the situation he had found himself in. Something as simple as that can get twisted around and become unclear to someone you are trying to communicate with.

I guess what I’m coming to find out is that it isn’t that everyone around me has lost their minds or that we are all so stupid or self-centered that we can’t listen to each other. I’m finding that we, our own country and more widely, the whole world, has moved more toward misunderstanding than away from it. Yes, we have the internet to disseminate information and more people are literate in the world than every before, but we aren’t understanding each other. And worse yet, we think we are. Most of us don’t even realize that we are speaking a different language, that we don’t agree on the terms and definitions.

Whoa. Hold on. Remember the story of Babel? Did we begin to build a tower and say in our hearts, “We will be more powerful than God!”? Did advances in communication and science begin to replace our faith in something greater than we could ever know? Has our language been confused and our people scattered?


Today I started the Introduction class at Christian Leaders Institute. I plan on working on it for one hour at least five days a week. I listened to the “Tips for Success” video this morning and found my “trigger”, my weakness, my fear embodied. He said, “Find a mentor. A real person. Someone to talk to.” Aye, there’s the rub. What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, I’m afraid of people, especially ones related to the church. Of course, the problem has a trauma associated with it and I’m hoping these courses might just help me heal that scar up for good.

I fell in love with Jesus at Shoreline Baptist Church about 13 years ago. I attended regular Sunday services. I went to Ladies Bible Study and desert after. I helped at Sunday school from time to time. I was even baptized, for real, in front of God and everybody! And when something terrible happened to me, I turned around for support and there was no one there. The church had let me down. And I was crushed. Something like this may have turned me away from God, blaming Him, but it didn’t. I blamed His children and I haven’t been back since.

Sitting at my kitchen table, listening to the video, I started thinking about it again. It seems ridiculous to be so hurt by a group of people and not trust the church again. Do I not trust that God will do what’s best for me? Ultimately, the betrayal was good for me. I am no longer naïve. Humans do bad things even Christians. They are not to be hated but loved and prayed for in the hopes that we all learn and grow. Maybe I was beginning to fall in love too much with the Church itself and not so much with Jesus and the word of God. In my pain and loneliness, I turned to the bible, study, and prayer. I felt better but alone.

Since then, I’ve always longed to be a part of a church family. I want to go to Sunday service, be a part of what goes on but I just can’t bring myself to go. I don’t want to go alone. I want a friend that already goes there to take me with them. And I have very few friends, let alone in real life ones. So I sit and wait for God to lead me to His children. I have found a small leaf of fellowship since I started working at the pregnancy clinic in town but they all have their own churches and I haven’t been invited. I’m only there once a week. And then I think, what if they did invite me? Would I go? Would I feel overwhelmed by having one more thing to do? What about just going to a women’s bible study instead of service? What about a Wednesday night service instead? I don’t know. I’m scared.

If I could change anything about myself it would be my mistrust or fear of people. I’m constantly worried about social situations, if I’m doing it right, do they think I’m weird. You’d think I’d just stay away but I crave it. I want to be part of the group. I want to belong but when I’m there I feel out of place and desperate to leave. It’s therapy worthy.

Oh well. I’ll keep up with my classes and see where it goes. I’m sure the Lord has got this if it’s His will for me to use this knowledge. The right person or place will show up just when I need it. It always happens that way for me.

Milton’s “Paradise Lost”


I usually check out Wikipedia first when I start reading a book on my list. It helps me get an overview of the author, the period it was written in, and what the book is about. I may find links to other information as well as learn a little about the political climate the book was written in, which is always fascinating to me. This time the thing that stuck out to me was that it was published about twenty years after Galileo died. That puts the work into my own mental time line. I wasn’t excited to read this at first. It’s “epic poetry” and that isn’t usually my favorite, but this ended up being very different. I couldn’t put it down. It just flowed so well while reading it. I could see the story in my mind and it brought me much joy. I realized quickly that this poem was kind of like today’s “fan fiction” in that it took a story from the bible and expanded on it, adding details and imagery that weren’t in the original work. I loved it…until it got toward the end and he put a lot of his current views on the role of women in the story that I don’t believe were in the biblical accounts. When I read the bible, I don’t see the negative, “less than” roles that people put on women. I see help-meet, equal, loved/created by God, not as man’s servant but as his partner. I don’t see a patriarchal system set up by God.

While reading, I wondered where Milton got his imagery of Satan and started looking into it. There is a whole lot mentioned in the bible about Satan, his physical appearance, or where he came from, from what I remember. I started reading a site called https://christianity.stackexchange.com/, it led me to some interesting discussions.

There were some amazingly wonderful scenes and descriptions. One of my favorites is the Fall of Lucifer and how he became Satan. And the rise of Sin and Death. It goes something like Lucifer fell because of Sin, Sin has the key to Hell, Sin gave birth to Death, Death has no one to consume in Hell so he tortures Sin, Satan goes to this new world to find some place to set Sin and Death free. Yikes! Sounds like a Greek myth, doesn’t it?

What’s interesting to me is that none of this is in the bible, so where did these ideas come from and why do have them so set as Christian doctrine, or at least in our minds as such? That’s what I’m aiming to find out! I’ve started new online classes at https://www.christianleadersinstitute.org/ I’ve always wanted to take seminary classes and this is free, online, and self-paced.

I’m so glad I read this book! It was a wonderful read. I may even read it again some day!

And now spinners are going to ruin the world.

I logged onto Facebook yesterday morning to find several “friends” sharing articles about how a small non-tech physics toy is going to destroy our children. Really? It was pretty alarming not because of the toy but that seemingly normal people would come to a conclusion like this.

People. Stop for just a moment. Think. You’re talking about a toy. A small bearing, like the ones in your old rollerblades, that you hold in your hand and watch spin when you’re bored out of your mind. Yep. Sounds dangerous for sure.

Here’s the thing. Boredom is real and seems to be happening more and frequently in a child’s life. And I’m not talking the summer time “I’m bored because my time is usually taken up by school and friends and now I’m stuck at home with my brother all day.” kind of boredom. I’m talking soul-sucking, incessant, mind altering boredom, the “This meeting is going on forever! He’s saying nothing I haven’t heard or read. And if I don’t get out of here I’m going to explode!” kind. And it’s being done to children at a younger age every year. We expect children that are way too young to sit still, listen, and follow directions way too much and too early. They have few, if any, breaks. They are compelled to learn too many things in a way that is far from developmentally appropriate and then we sit and scratch our heads why more and more children are becoming depressed, anxiety ridden, overweight, and aggressive. As these kids age, we wonder why they are becoming withdrawn, outwardly angry, and obnoxious. It’s amazing to me really.

And it’s not just schools. Parents at home are attempting after school to direct every move a child makes. And expecting children to comply with these directives and not ever be sad, angry, slow, or inattentive. I see it at the playground, at the grocery store, and in restaurants. It’s depressing really.

Let the children play! I know you want to just get through the grocery store, but you gave birth to a child and now that child needs you. I know you want to sit through a dinner out and have a conversation, but you have a two-year-old. It’s not going to happen, well, not without damaging the child and the relationship.

And then there is the amazingly alluring bandwagon of “Whatever Children See as Entertaining and Fun is Inherently Evil”! I swear if kids didn’t want a toy, parents and educators everywhere would be asking the government to set up a program to make sure all kids had one and were required to use it so many hours a day. Kids like things that adults usually don’t. It’s a fact of nature. Get over it. Yes, you think it’s stupid but they don’t. Try an exercise in seeing things from someone else’s point of view and engage your children, find out what is attractive about the thing. Children are humans with their own set of needs and wants that are just as important as yours.

And finally, is a spinning distracting toy the first thing any bored person has every played with to pass the time and ease anxiety while waiting through something horribly boring? No. When I was a kid we folded up pieces of paper and flicked them across desks, we’d bend paper clips so that they’d flip open and bounce, we’d tap pencils, and slide them through our fingers, we’d spin spoons around on the table or flick pennies so they’d spin like tops. Then our parents/teachers would give us “the look” and we’d put them in our pockets and try to bare through another dinner with Aunt Janice or lecture about why we’d need the Pythagorean Theorem…again…God forbid that a child try to pass the time with some fun, or attempt to quell the anxiety welling up inside them as they listen to a teacher talk about something far from their interests. I wonder if a kid had made one of these fidget toys it would be ok. Is it just that someone manufactured them and marketed them? Probably.

Yes, there are some kids that naturally sit still and listen attentively. I personally believe those are the kids you need to watch out for, something creepy and less intelligent in my opinion. Most kids need to move. They need to get busy. They need to be active agents in their lives with adults to support and encourage their exploration. I bet if you got rid of the classroom, most of the anxiety would disappear. I know I hear people saying we (as a nation) need to “keep up” with China and Japan when it comes to math and science, but at what cost? Do we really need to? That’s a whole other post.

Leave people alone. There is no toy on the planet that will destroy the world, unless maybe it’s nuclear powered or something. How about this? If you or your child seem to have a lot of symptoms of anxiety that need to helped by fidgety toys, drugs, and therapy, maybe you should look at what’s causing that anxiety and see if you can get rid of it. You don’t keep spraying air freshener and never go find out where the smell is coming from and remove the item!

I googled “fidget toy bad” and found all kinds of crazy articles. The one at the end of this post was my favorite. Also, I think I’m going to go out and buy one just to see what the craze is all about. Oh! One more thing, my sons knew about these toys before me. They are homeschooled and don’t have a lot of schooled friends, or friends at all really. They aren’t sequestered or anything, they’re just introverts much like their Dad, Grandfather, Uncle, etc. They just aren’t interested in a lot of socializing. They knew about the toy because they are mentioned in memes and videos. When we were at the observatory last week, they were amazed that they really are everywhere. They marveled at people spinning “in the wild”! There were several middle and high school field trips that day and just about every other kid had one spinning. Crazy.