Pay Particular Attention.

I remember Andi Ashworth saying at one of the women’s retreats for our church to pay attention because everything is important. I’ve tried to be better about that, with a mixed level of success.

 

Some days when the hustle is too frantic in the morning and the list of to-do’s around the house is too large and the distractions in my mind too loud…it is difficult to think it is all important. Some days it all seems rather mundane, or just chaotic.

 

Those are the days I need the reminder, though. Those are the days I need the check to remember that even that day is important.  We don’t get many, after all.

 

My Uncle Barry is in his last hours. He has been struggling with Alzheimer’s and now is nearing the end. His children are with him and are waiting and watching, and praying for God to bring him peace and take him home. Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust.

 

There is something very holy about one approaching their death. There is nothing mundane. Every moment is important. Everyone is paying attention.

 

It is folly to think we could live that way continually…we would exhaust ourselves. However, back to Lent, it is possible for a short season to attempt to pay deeper attention. To do things a little differently. Whether it is abstaining from sweets or from FB…it is an attempt to create something different in our routine. To force ourselves to pay attention.

 

Regent College posted an article yesterday that I thought was really helpful in getting started on the Lent journey.  This one paragraph especially caught me:

 

And so Ash Wednesday sends out the call to pay particular attention during Lent. Particular attention to the way we’re spending our lives. Particular attention to the Word of God. Particular attention to the journey of Jesus toward the cross. Particular attention to our souls and to being human.

Go read the rest of the article by Stacie Gleddiesmith, and check out the rest of her blog…it’s great reading.

 

So, today…I’m trying to pay attention. Not to trivialities, but to where the eternal meets the mundane. A man walking to the desert…a savior preparing to fulfill the prophecies. A man dying a criminal’s death….a God rescuing a people.  Pay attention to a Savior approaching His death. And….well, we’ll get to Easter, thankfully…

 

Pay particular attention.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust…

Many who participate in Ash Wednesday have their head marked with ashes. This is an external sign and reminder that we are simply dust.

Lent for many is about austerity and suffering.

It is our time to mirror when Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray. A time of sobriety.  And yet, we do not suffer to gain our own salvation or to even gain favor with God….so, how do we take this?
It struck me today as I was thinking on this that we don’t walk the same path of the desert with Jesus in this time…we watch Him as He goes on His way of suffering. We are witnesses to this.

We do not have to suffer the cross, we do not have to suffer the turning away of God.  We get to walk in the Resurrection without having to drink from the same cup as Jesus did.

That is pretty astounding.

So, Lent….this year for me it is a time to witness more quietly Jesus on His path to Good Friday and, Praise God!, Easter.

Still…today. Ashes.  We are but dust. Jon Trott from Jesus People USA shared this article yesterday. It is a difficult article to read if you are in the midst of watching someone suffer with Alzheimer’s or demenita…but it also sparks some healing and thinking about what today marks.

http://livelydust.blogspot.com/2010/02/good-bye-daddy.html

Lent Begins

Today is Ash Wednesday. The start of Lent.  The start for many of a season of fasting.

Sometimes the fasts are silly, or may at least appear silly from the outside.  Sometimes they are truly sacrificial fasts that last the full 46 days…fasts that most of us wouldn’t be able to sustain.

What is the point?

I’m fasting from FaceBook. Seems a little, silly I know. And actually, I didn’t think to do it until a good friend posted on her wall she was doing so. And apparently she got it from someone else (at least so Reuben claims 😉  ).  Why, though, would I take a fast from FaceBook and does it actually accomplish anything?

Well, I’ll let you know after Easter if it accomplishes anything.
I’ll tell you what it is not…it is not a desire to impress God. It is not a desire to follow some rule or law or to make myself somehow better.  Those things tend to fail.

It is an attempt to focus.  My days tend to be noisy and sometimes things like FaceBook provide a light-hearted distraction and a good chance to keep up with friends…but they add to the noise.

Easter is an amazing reality. Amazing.  God conquering our barrier of sin, God Incarnate dying. And raising from the dead.

That is astonishing. Reality changing. 

And yet, so often it is just part of the ritual for me.

So, this year I’m going to fast from a little of the trivial in my life. The hope is that in the space that is freed by this there will be time to pray and to think and to be impacted by the reality of what God has done.

I hope to journal a little of that here…not every day, but bits and pieces.  Today’s bit is quick and short….hopefully they will become deeper and richer as the days progress.

To be impacted by the reality of a Holy God who has changed everything.  Want to join me?

The Start of a New Adventure….

So, for a variety of reasons, we’ve decided to begin homeschooling next year. One of the contributing factors is that we have seen some amazing kids who are homeschoolers…I mean truly wonderful kids. 

I homeschooled Zachary for one year, back in his 2nd grade. We did okay, but I know we could do much better. I think the main thing that I want to do differently is to be more intentional and a bit more structured. I know that I can be lazy, and I need the structure to keep me honest.

We also are going to use an enrichment center this year. I’ll have Zachary in 6th grade, Nate in 4th and Sammy in 1st. If we get the classes we are hoping for, each of the kids will be taking art, Sammy will take music and there will be a couple other classes. I’m excited for those additions.

I’m also planning on Fridays to reserve a room at the local library (great little library!) where we can do testing and the boys can get library books and Zach can work on learning to do research. We’ll have a friend watch Maddie on that day.

I’m also thinking that during the dreary days of winter when we’re wiggly and not having recess…we’ll head to Monkey Joe’s (bouncy place) or somewhere else where they can run like mad for an hour or two.

Those are my initial ideas.  Now. I need help. We’re still thinking on curriculums and structure.

Those of you who have some experience under your belt with homeschooling, answer a few things for me….

1. What is the biggest danger / shortcoming / failure  you’ve faced in homeschooling. What tripped you up?

2. What is something that worked really well / surprised you / you would never leave out of your homeschool routine?

3. What about curriculum? Especially those of you with older kids…do you like video curriculum, do you use the same across subjects…tell me what you like.

4. What’s the biggest wonder and joy you’ve found in homeschooling..

5. Tell me one structural or practical thing that you didn’t know going in, but that really helped.

Okay…go!

 

OH! And…I sent a note to a few of the kids of friends who have been homeschooled….would really love to hear your take on the questions.