Monday, August 26, 2013

What good can a 16 year old do?

 At 16, Can anyone expect more than to dabble with nail polish, collect knick-knacks, and display pictures to her friends on facebook?

In 1739 Eliza Lucas assisted her father by managing their family's large estate, while her father was on military travel. 
 Due to her ailing mother, Eliza was the main overseer of inventory and production of three farms.  The daily business transactions would have been the full time job of any man and she proved herself as competent without the goal of trying to prove competency.  She engaged in a work to help her father.
We see the most about the character of someone when we read their own words, as Eliza's letter to a friend reads:
“I think myself happy that I can be useful to so good a father, and by rising very early I find I can go through much business.” 
One aspect of maturity is ambition, a desire to achieve something difficult. 
Another aspect of maturity is diligence, a concentrated effort to complete a task.
She diligently rose early in the day in order to accomplish what needed to be done.

Cultural eyes zeroed in on her family's fortune may miss what this character can teach our youth. 
Those with abundance in resources and those who lack material resources can possess ambition and pursue diligence.  Indeed they must.
 As 1739 unfolds, Eliza's father sends a variety of seeds for trial crops.  One unusual seed was Indigo, and as she experimented time and again for three years, she eventually developed Indigo and shared it with others. It became a cash crop of the South.  Her impact on the economy of the colony of South Carolina led to her fame as the first woman to be listed in South Carolina's Business Hall of Fame.
 Her eighteenth century "letterbook" revealed that business was only one work of her hands and in her heart she was busy about the welfare of others.  Scores of letters were sent to encourage her father and her brothers.  She tutored her younger sister and other children on the plantation.  From her studies of law she was able to draft legal wills for her neighbors.
Eventually she married, weathered the American Revolution, and passed from this life as the mother of a cosigner of the United States Constitution and Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates.  President George Washington was a pallbearer at her funeral by his own request. 
How she started off at 16
led to an incredible story of success.

She seized the current day while it was called today.
She prioritized serving others.
She planted hope and inspiration in others.  
And in that regard, any 16 year old can live up to that example.  And who knows where your story could lead!

Eliza Lucas Pinckney. The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739-1762. Ed. by Elise Pinckney and Marvin R. Zahniser. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1972

Friday, June 21, 2013

Making time Mom-to-Mom


There’s something special about being a “mama”

Photo by Tambako the Jaguar/creative commons

We stole a second, just the two of us, time enough to lightly touch her elbow.   How are things going? And she knew the things to which I referred.  Mamas have words and clues they give to one another, but only when they feel it’s safe.
  I can’t say now, she signaled with her eyes, darting around the room, conscious that overheard whispers could wound without her knowing.  All she wanted to say was that things were better, but lately every word she spoke was received as a dagger. 

Hi, I’m calling to see if you knew of anybody that, OH No!. . . One child threw up on her, while the dishwasher door broke off in her hand, smashing another child’s infected toenail.  She couldn’t remember what she was going to say.

If she could take it back, she would.  There are some things that young women don’t understand, nor can relate to, and she forgot who was standing right there.  She felt sick.   Though no one said a word, a hammer slammed a nail; judged.
Mamas.  They don’t need a whole lot.  Just a safe space every now and again, room to sigh or sing with another that knows the song. 
Seldom will someone else seek you, to see if you need to be rescued.  It's up to you.
Plan time for just mom-to-mom in your life.
Call another mom up on the phone and ask, Would you like to get together?  She'll probably say YES!

photo credit:">Tambako the Jaguar
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Monday, April 15, 2013

Yay! for Play!

You know what the nursery rhyme says about
All work and No play...

it makes Jack dull.

And that goes for Jane, and Jill, etc. etc.

Noticing some weary expressions?
What's worse is blank expressions.  
That's when I think *warning*  It's the dullness setting in. 
Not dullness like Oh I have nothing to do, but dullness as in lack of sharpness, wit, love for life.
That's one of the many reasons to school at home.
Play is part of life and at home you can purposefully schedule that in.  It creates space in the brain.

I've been known to find a tree swing and ...swing myself.

Let 'em play.  There's learning taking place even then.

"Play is still the primary occupation of children and shouldn't be pushed out of a child’s daily routine because of a lack of time or structured extra-curricular activities and a long school day.
" Jean Wetherilt

photo credit: ToniVC">ToniVC
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Monday, December 03, 2012

Women in History: Still talking about LILAS TROTTER

I'm writing about Lilas Trotter again today.

Product Details
Her story began with her family, what her interests and talents were, and how she spent her time.
Her family traveled extensively and even after her father's death, at age 10, apparently they still traveled.   She and her mother went on one trip that included Venice, where by happen stance her mother hears that a famed art critic, John Ruskin, was also in the same hotel.  After efforts to share Lilas's paintings, Mr. Ruskin became a long time friend and mentor in developing her skill as an artist.
A magazine of the day published a poem that characterized John Ruskin in a nutshell, which my daughter and I have now memorized with smiles:
            I paints and paints
            Hears no complaints
            And sells before I dry,
            Till savage Ruskin
            Sticks his tusk in,
            And nobody will buy.
Apparently he was something else, which also speaks of the skill level of artist Lilas Trotter.  
Under John Ruskin, for a few years Lilas divided her time between helping the down and out and expanding her art .  Two extremes, one talented woman.
"The one thing is to keep obedient in spirit, to do otherwise would be to cramp and ruin your soul.”
These are words from a woman who submits her love of beauty to the supreme will of One greater, recognizing that any other course would damage her very creativity anyways.

During the time when public transportation converted from stagecoach to the railway, Lilas was plodding on faithfully in her works of passion in helping others.  She wanted to make a difference for eternity.  She prayed that God would bring passion to her like she saw in others that she admired.  She was a student of D.L. Moody and attended many of his conventions where he preached and then gave the students on the job training in downtown ministries. 
“we ourselves are saved to save---we are made to give.”
The crisis of her mother's death brought grief and heaps of emotion.  But through the struggle, her life came into focus and it was there that she made a decision.

To the disappointment of John Ruskin, she felt her life couldn't hold both art and ministry, so she left the art field to concentrate on reaching the lost people of the world.  

As I thought on this crisis and her eventual decision I made an observation: Emotions do not have to lead us to do irrational things.

 Times of pain can lead us to think more clearly.
Often our eyes see the true size of things in our lives when a crisis comes our way. 

I'm enjoying the story of Lilas and gaining much from her life,  I hope you are too! I still have more to say...for another day.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Women in History - Lilas Trotter

My daughter recently researched a woman of whom I had not heard.

Lilias Trotter

Noelle Piper, in her book,
Faithful Women and their extraordinary God,

which I have yet to read in entirety, whetted our appetite to know more about this woman missionary to the Muslims.  There isn't a whole lot out there on this woman, but one book was a great find.
I'm stealing moments here and there to find out more about the girl born into a wealthy family in the elite estates of London, during the reign of Queen Victoria, 1853.

She was educated in travel and culture, tutored in French and German
languages, and familiar to being raised by governesses.  Yet her parents were grounded in biblical virtues, intrinsically involved in the rearing of Lilly, one of their many children.  They sounded like wonderful people from the quotes and the situations I read about.   I wanted to hear more about them too!
But it was obvious that they purposely instilled a love for Jesus and for obeying his calling on one's life above all else.
Reaching out to their community and their involvement with the thinkers and shapers of the culture of the time was part of their routine.  But with the death of her father when she was age 10, the heavenly father became Lilias's comfort and strength as she grew through childhood.  

The event didn't push her further from God, nor was she embittered by her lost, but it drew her closer to God, noticeably so to others who knew her.

In her early twenties, she put her mother's teachings and her father's example into practice as she witnessed troubled women on the London streets, making choices of desperation. She recognized each soul having a hunger for God and thus she began to transform a run-down nightclub into a hostel for women.  She worked to help them to get proper employment, not just shelter.  From what I understand, this sounds like it became known as the YWCA.
Around the same course of years,  the business women of high class shops came to her home for Bible studies.  (It was these same women years later that would become her core financial support when she went to North Africa)
In her earlier years, her family was extensive travelers and even after her father's death she and her mother went on excursions. 

I find it interesting.  This is part of her story, what she did with her family, what her interests and talents were, and how she spent her time.  
Sometimes we microscope our lives and think, "Lord, nothing is here.  I only see..."
But all of it is tallied up, rendered and used to bring about your unique story, His unique story using little ole you.
I'll have to stop here for now, but I'll pick it up in a couple of days because there's much more to ponder in her story.


Thursday, November 01, 2012

Women in history

Who doesn't like playing dress-up?
The last few years I've discovered the love for history.  We have read many books, but the stories we remember are those that really happened.
From " National Archief"
And to take time to dress up and re-enact the part, history education can't get any better.
But there's a curious thing I've noticed.  Maybe you have too.
There's quite a few less biographies about women.  
Ever wonder why?
One gal I asked said simply, "well, women don't do anything interesting."
"Yeah, they are usually just married and having children."
hmm.  Loving your husband is pretty important, and if women didn't bare children civilization would be sparse. 
Sometimes there seems to be a message that those things don't count in the grand scheme of life, but they do.
What really makes a hero?
I for one think that these unsung heroes need some songs about them.  They are part of the story!  They are part of the picture! They are part of history.
I would love to see more people research and tell the stories that we've never heard or have forgotten.  If you have a daughter, find those stories to inspire the woman within her
- to love God when others turned away, 
-to work heartily when others said it couldn't be done, 
-to remain faithful when others waned.
The trees in the forest that fell when no one else was around definitely had a sound.  Why? Because natural cause and effect proves true.  So, if there were men of importance to note, there were women worthy of studying also.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Theology Matters

Theology.  Sometimes it hurts your brain to think so hard.  
A big God? A really big God?  One who knows me better than I know myself, the same who put the stars into place and the one who fashioned my neighbor next door; this God is more than I can understand.  Yet He delights in my meditation on and my contemplation of Him.
And although I can't figure it all out, it will shape how I live my life.  How I make decisions.  Where I live and who I spend time with. And how I spend my time.
Theology. It matters.  
What you believe, what they's worth the effort to find out a little more.  

Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Disciple

Luke 12:1-8

Previously, the scribes and the pharisees, were trying to get him to say things, waiting to catch him, waiting to step in and make their move to prove their point.
In the middle of this, comes verse 1-8.
While the scribes and pharisees were in the thick of it,
at the time when many had gathered, piled up on one another,
Jesus started talking to his disciples first.
He said, Watch out for the leaven of the Pharisees; that is hypocrisy.
I think this says something of discipleship.
While the problem was right there, he started teaching his disciples about this problem.
In common speech, it might have been like this,
"Look here"
"See what's happening? Beware of this- the hypocrisy."

He didn't wait for another time.
His concern was for who it could damage.  His priority was to teach the truth.
He pointed to the problem underneath the hypocrisy.
"It is deceptive."
"Watch out for it; mark it as dangerous."

This is discipleship in action.
This is my model.
Want to know what to teach your children, when to teach your children, how?
Live and walk together and teach as situations present themselves. 
And don't be shy on the "Bewares." Jesus wasn't.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Existence of God

Amy Carmichael once referred to in one of her books the constant of mountains and stars regardless of a cloudy night, when human visibility was low.

Totally separate from whether she could see the mountains or not was the fact that they were there.

The existence of God is truth eternal you don't have to feel him for him to be there.
He just is.

Monday, March 28, 2011 a termite to joy within the spirit

Worry has a way of gnawing down a path and eating away at Joy.  
Like a termite would chew it's way through a wood beam.

I have been reading from a journal of mine, I believe written more than 10 years ago.
 ...remembering Corrie Ten Boom's analogy of the grace and strength that comes in time of great need.  Miss Ten Boom's father, when she was a small child, would stand at the train depot with her.  This is how they traveled in those days.  He would wait with her for the train to come.  He never gave her the train ticket until it was time for her to climb aboard.  When the time came, she received just what she needed to make the trip.  She spoke about this when people said things like "I could never do what you did," or "if terrifying times come, how will I know that I'll survive?" She would recall the memory and verify that this holds true for the heavenly Father.
I have thought on this before.  For me, I struggle to be one who rests and patiently waits for "the ticket."  I've fretted and searched for "tickets".  I've pleaded with God to give it to me ahead of time.  I've sat and worried about how I would probably lose it anyways, brow-beating myself over events that might, possibly happen. 
I've been tied up in knots and worried myself into a frenzy.  This seems to come so naturally.  But what a waste! A waste!  Worry for nothing.  I get aboard and slump into exhaustion from the workout, ride until my next stop, and fret all the same at the next boarding. I'm only realizing this now.  He is faithful every time to give me the faith, grace, strength, endurance that I need in the time of battle.
I'm only realizing now that I've missed the joy of standing in the waiting line.

I spoke there years ago, of the joy that was missed.  I had missed the conversations with my Father, my heavenly Father, about important things while waiting to go where I was to go.  I had missed the tender moments of shared affection and new discoveries and pleasant surprises, all because I was busy talking and pestering him about the ticket.

Oh Lord, Thank you for the times of waiting.
I desire to see them truly as part of the journey.  I rest in quiet confidence in your ability to be faithful.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Laundry Room Smiles

The other day as I was doing my routine, hamper to washer, washer to dryer, dryer to table for folding. I smiled as I folded a newly cleaned tablecloth.

I lined up the edges, smoothed and folded it in half, lined up the edges, and more folding until it reached the size that would fit into the cabinet. My hands and arms did the physical work but my thoughts were on the little faces around the table that weekend. My mind replayed the clip of seeing little feet dangling over the edge of chairs and smiles with crumbs from a brownie in the corners of their lips. Small fingers were grasping spoons, giggles and chatter abounded. Hmmm...I could see them all here again as I folded this tablecloth.

The act of doing laundry isn't about fabrics,soaps,and water. It isn't about staying clean and cleaning up. It's about preparing for more happy memories. It's about helping those you love have an enjoyable experience as they walk through this life.