Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I have a young homeschooling friend who takes a class at the public school, an advanced placement class. We were chatting a bit and I felt like it was a very interesting conversation... he told me several very interesting things, and so I thought I would post some thoughts on that conversation here for consideration. It is about homeschooling, public school and freedom of the mind to actually think.

In this particular class, (note: at this time is had only been about two weeks into the school year) they happened to be studying the Bible as literature. and this young man, a Christian young man, is rather bold in his beliefs. Having the opportunity to give a talk before the class he told them that he was a Christian and that he believed the Bible to be literally true.

Imagine that. He reminded me that this was something the teacher could never do without loosing her job, but as a student it was something he could do. Needless to say, he then continued to tell me about various encounters with people in school and what being in school was like. He said it is oppressive, much like a prison.

He told me how he had been to Russia as a visitor last year and he compared the look and feel of the people there to the look and feel of the people "stuck" in school...

Now I have not been to school recently myself, but I have known people who went to Russia, even the same cities that this boy had been. They saw what he saw in Russia. They explained it the same way. How interesting that he saw this same dynamic in his experience at the school.

Homeschooling is freedom exercised. Freedom to choose the kind of education you have and use... freedom from the clock, freedom in how you spent or do not spend your day, your week, your calendar of things to do. It is also freedom of the mind to think, observe and question, to seek answers and to gain an understanding of the more important things in life, your family, yourself, your world and your creator, the one who loved you and gave his life so that you might live eternally in freedom from sin and death, Jesus Christ, (and you can even talk about him freely.) Public Schools, they are like "a prison." Truth is, if the son sets you free, you are free indeed! Homeschooling in America is the free exercise of many freedoms.

Yet there is school, mandatory school, we are told, a person "has to "get an education.

This all has me curious. What does one learn in school? and...Who exactly runs the classroom?

Is it law? Is it the NEA? The Union? MacGraw Hill or whatever textbook manufacturer has given the US government the lowest common denominator.. I mean, bid? If not the Bible in American schools... then what morals and values are upheld in school who decides? Who manages what is thought... and NOT? What is the "plumbline" or "objective" of public education, concerning morals, stealing... respecting authority... assault... cheating... swearing... and what will happen when you break the rule or fail to learn what IS (or maybe is NOT) being taught? What in a classroom makes right right and makes wrong wrong? Is it the textbook? The teacher?

In this case the textbook just so happened to be the Bible, but they were not looking at it as truth... and the teacher, was not the teacher but the student was giving credence to the book. A homeschooling student, a student on loan to the public school from a local homeschool at that!

This student all his life had not been to a public school. He was homeschooled, where his teachers at home were actually free to teach him things that are true and right, noble and good. Free people in the USA, free to talk about, to believe and teach their son about something better than anything he would ever learn in school, the true and living God.


So he told me too.. (and keep in mind this is a smart young man. He has not only been around the block, but around the world. He knows his history, his knows his English pretty well, he reads and writes and is not afraid to speak out or speak up in a class...) He told me that after he had been in school a couple of days he was called into the principals office.

He was not in trouble or anything. The principal simply asked him, "Who are you?"

It reminded me of this verse:
Phi 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

And then there is Buddy...

Buddy, not a human but a companion none-the-less deserves to be mentioned as I think of individuals who are inspirational in my life. I am sure that Buddy is not the only inspirational dog that ever lived... after all dog is said to be man's best friend, but I just want to mention him in this blog because he is cool.

Buddy is patient and protective and he is really really smart! I know because I have seen him in action all these years. He is also obedient, most of the time. Less now that he is so old and hard of hearing. (I think he is about 15 or 16 now, and in dog years, it's right up there!) Besides, my young friend Jason, who studied animals and loved dogs once told me that he learned how dogs that have a large bump on their skull, like Buddy does, are the ones to look for when getting a pup, because, he said, it's indicative of the dogs intelligence. For him, Buddy was an example of what he had read.

Today Buddy was getting an inspection of his fur and it was discovered that he had some kind of mass on his neck. To get a good look at it he had to have the fur clipped and what was under that mass of clumped fur was some kind of fleshy thing that made the fur clump with blood. Kinda gross and I am glad the boys are tackling it. Definitely a "boy job" to see what is wrong with Buddy. I am amazed at Buddy's utmost cooperation with it all. It's definitely a four season kinda thing, after all, he was just getting an inspection. There was no sign of distress in the dog... he has had a cough and a runny nose, but we were really just going to give him a bath. It has become quite a project.

Did I mention, Buddy is an awesome dog?

It was several years ago that Buddy, clear out of the blue, went blind. It was so strange having a blind dog all of a sudden. He was so needy and I was not so sure I wanted to be so needed by a dog. But at the time, thinking about what a faithful friend he had always been, by my side when I was working outside, hanging around and keeping an eye on the kids... barking at strangers, I really didn't mind, but I was worried about how life would be with a blind dog. I took him to the vet.

The vet sent me to a doggie ophthalmologist. I had never heard of such a thing. (I guess that I thought vets did everything at their offices for animals.) I can tell you, I could hardly wait to see the eyechart on the wall devised for dogs.

The ophthalmologist was a really nice Christian man and that made me happy. We didn't get to use the eye chart because Buddy couldn't see anyhow... (just kidding about the eye chart) The doc had no idea why Buddy had lost his vision and said it could be a number of things.. he could have gotten into some poison or something. He didn't know if any treatment would work but he put him on prednisone for a few days and some other medication ... four times a day for a while to see if that would work.

I was officially a doggie nurse leading a blind dog around, making sure he didn;t run into things and giving meds around the clock.

Miraculously, it worked! Buddy regained his vision after a while and I was very glad. It was like having a dog again. The meds were discontinued..although the doctor told me that Buddy probably had some immune issues. He offered us to do some doggie chemotherapy, but I declined, mostly because I had just been through chemotherapy myself... and my dog was well, well, at least well enough... after all he could see again. The doctor however warned me that he probably would not live too much longer.

That was in 2004. Now it's five years later and Buddy has some weird growth on the side of his head that the boys removed today while I wrote this story. I really couldn't bear to watch because I thought for sure the dog would bite them as they cut it off, or bleed to death. Neither happened. He was a perfect patient.

That's Buddy for ya, not to mention a great "vet."

We decided not to send the specimen to the lab. Buddy seems really happy and is doing quite well for an old dog. He's a little like my friend Irma who has a great attitude about life and just keeps going, dispite the circumstances or the odds.

There are some good lessons we can learn from our dogs.

This is perhaps a perfect time to post this email I once received:


.1. Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
.2. Allow the experience of fresh air and wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
.3. When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
.4. Especially when it’s in your best interest, practice obedience.
.5. Let others know when they have invaded your territory.
.6. Take naps and stretch before rising.
.7. Run, romp and play daily.
.8. Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
.9. Be loyal.
10. Never pretend to be something you are not.
11. If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
12. When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close and nuzzle them gently.
13. Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
14. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
15. On hot days, drink lots of water and lay under a shade tree.
16. When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
17. No matter how often you are scolded, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout, run right back and make friends.
18. Bond with your pack.
19. Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
20. And, make happy memories.

I think it is anonymously written, I do not know, but I know it was not me. However, they must have had a dog, like Buddy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A glimpse of Irma

September 5th is Irma's birthday and this year, yesterday in fact, she turned 101 years old!

Irma is probably one of the most incredible people I know, not just because she is old, but she is also wise. She has a way of looking at life that simply keeps her going, and going, and going. Today I told her that I want to be like her when I grow up. She laughed.

I guess that what I admire about her is her love of simplicity. She is a hard worker and she has a lot of nice things, a house kept as perfect and orderly as anyone I have ever known, but she just doesn't get caught up in the frill of things. She is as real as real gets.

There she is, 101 years old, spunky as ever. She works in her garden every day, she does her laundry as as an artist, she still does painting,with oil paints even though her eyesight is going bad. She makes her bed, does her dishes, takes her bath, washes her hair, even does her cooking( with a friend.) She doesn't drive and she has a secretary (as she calls her) to help her with her banking and she has someone to take he r to and from the store, but 101 years old and she lives alone.

She tells me, and everyone else, she doesn't need anybody's help. She is a no nonsense gal, you might say she can even be a little stubborn, but she has a great sense of humor too. A sign on her kitchen wall reads, "It's easy to give up!" She is not lazy and she is not a quitter.

Some well-meaning friends suggest she sells her home and move into one of those places where she would have the kind of "help" they think she needs, a place where she would "have a roof over her head." Irma tells them, "Well, what do you think I have here? I have a roof over my head right here."

Over the years I have known Irma, she has filled my head and heart with so many stories that made me smile when I would get a glimpse of Irma and the woman she was, the woman she is.
It's remarkable that people can be so old.


She has lived through a lot, seen a lot in her days, and as I listen to her stories and see her simply embrace this thing called life, I am really quite amazed. She is quite beautiful... amazing....