Monthly Archives: August 2008
Alexander Kai Campbell
Announcing the birth of newest Campbell Grandbaby born on August 22, at the crack of dawn. He weighed in at 8 lbs 8 ounces and as yet has no name! I will update with a photo and more information as it becomes available. In the meantime, I didn’t want anyone thinking that that poor pregnant woman from last week’s picture was still suffering! In fact, all is going well after Janell’s 3 hour labor and delivery at home! More info on the way…..
“In my mind, this is how we are to parent, gradually giving our children more responsibility along with more opportunities to fail. And to enjoy each age they are in, not raising little adults who parrot us but growing ever maturing vines that one day will bear fruit for the Lord and for His kingdom, not ours.” Listen here to this week’s podcast entitled Militant Fecundity vs Seeing Children as a Blessing from the Lord, Part Three.
or so says Nancy Drew in The Sign of the Twisted Candles. With advice like that I could easily send Nancy off to college with nary a worry.
Child #4 leaves soon for school, 18 driving hours away from home, responsible to cook for himself, excited as all get out that this day has finally arrived. I spent yesterday shopping with him for new shoes, clothes, “lifetime warranty socks” from the Clarks store. What a great idea, though I don’t think their socklife policy applies when said sock is wrapped around the drum of the washing machine, smirking to himself as he joins the other singletons in the laundry abyss.
Once again my life will change in a major way. I am always really sad the first few weeks that the older child is gone, missing the adult conversations we share over coffee or tea, longing to hear their “particular noise,” the sounds only that person in the family makes. When Mollie used to head back to school in the fall, we would all miss the several hours of piano practice, Bach, Mozart, Gershwin, their notes that wandered through the hallway and down the stairs, a live concert for free. My mom would always say “Mollie is gone now. It is though a light has gone out of the house.” She probably won’t feel the same way about the White Stripes, Ryan Adams, and the Gorillas when they are safely tucked inside the i-pod and out the door.
Child #5 already has dibs on the cool attic room where all the brothers before him have lived. He already knows where he is going to put his flag collection and where the speakers will go for the best surround sound. I love that room too. It is so cozy under the four gables and sky lights let in the morning and evening sun, rainy days drawing you back under the covers as the drops pound the roof. Oh what I could do with that space! Built in drawers for craft supplies, a large quilting frame, nooks and crannies full of scrap paper, collages in the making. By the time it is available to me, my knees will not take me up the two flights of stairs.
We never begin school before Labor Day. Somehow everyone feels like they are getting a real vacation when they see the yellow school buses rushing past our house for a good week and a half before we move back into our own routine. Is there anything more decadent than knowing that you can drink hot chocolate whenever you want and mom’s hugs are always available? Or that it isn’t weird to be 17 and still like to hug your mom? These are the things our superintendent of schools knows nothing about!
This year we will be studying geography and are continuing through American History after World War 2. The boys hope to finally pour over the stacks of genealogy work my father-in-law compiled before he died. We will read and research and Grandma will join us for the travelogues when they arrive from Netflix. I can see a great year on the horizon.
This time of year is usually difficult for me. I am not a person who takes well to change, though fall is my favorite time of year. But all the really difficult, life-changing experiences in my life have started in the fall. And since my birthday is right around the corner, thoughts of my birth mother are pretty much near the surface all the time and will be during the next few weeks.
Over the weekend I received a copy of my adoption records from the Florence Crittenton Home in Peoria. Since the state of Illinois only allows “non-identifying” information to be given to adoptees, the records are sparse but full of information that is intriguing and new to me. This was the first time I ever knew anything about her physical appearance. She was 5’1″ tall. She had brown hair and blue eyes, just like me in my pre-gray hair and L’Oreal days. She was only 15. She had no mom or dad at home, only a stepfather and step siblings.
My parents knew only a few things about her, one of them being that she came from Coles County about 2 hours south of where I was born. My mom happened to see the piece of paper where that was written down the day they were in court and her attorney saw her and snapped “you weren’t supposed to see that.” She remembered it and told me years ago. It came back to me as I read that this young girl came to Crittenton Home six* months pregnant and was too far from home to go back for her clothing.
I found out that there were three high schools in Coles County in 1953 and that my birthmother finished 9th grade. Yesterday I talked with the librarians at all three schools and they are each sending me a copy of the pages with pictures of the 9th graders that year. I am anxious to see them but a little frightened, too.
I will keep you posted.
*I had originally written “three” here but realized this morning that she was really only 3 months from delivery when she came to Peoria. I am guessing that she had to finish out her school year. Can you imagine the shame to have been in her situation in 1953?
I tried, I really did, but when Clay saw that I was cutting and editing enough for a couple more podcasts, he protested and wondered why I felt compelled to limit my thoughts on such an important topic as seeing children as blessings from the Lord. Since I had no good answer for him, I have decided to continue with parts three and four of the topic of Militant Fecundity vs Children as Blessings from the Lord on August 22 and 29. Stay tuned…
“Truly, you would be sorry that you made this decision. So I must tell you, no, I will not do this surgery.” I came home, devastated and very angry that this doctor would not comply with my wishes. Surely I could find someone else who would give me what I wanted, but, in the back of my mind, I kept wondering what I would do if I actually could never have another baby. That was the beginning of the Lord prompting me, asking me this question “Karen, do you love children?” Listen here for this week’s podcast entitled “Militant Fecundity vs Seeing Children as a Blessing from the Lord, Part Two. (And please take note that parts 3 and 4 will be aired on August 22 and 29.)
“Among the thoughts that come to an old man before he enters heaven, the most plentiful are those that had before visited him when he sat upon his mother’s knee. That which made Dr. Guthrie ask for a “bairn’s hymn” when he was dying, is but an instinct of our nature, which leads us to complete the circle by folding together the ends of life. Childlike things are dearest to old age. We shuffle off a portion of the coil that surrounds and hampers us, and go back again to our more natural selves. Therefore, the old songs are on our lips, and the old thoughts are in our minds. The teachings of our childhood leave clean-cut and sharp impressions upon the mind, which remain after seventy years have passed. Let us see that such impressions are made for the highest ends.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
In the past few weeks I have really been enjoying a series of sermons that my pastor has preached on the smaller epistles in the New Testament. So many of the things he has talked about has spurred me on to further study and reflection. I hurry into the pew each week, my notebook and Bible in hand, anxiously ready to absorb a new truth or to remember something I have learned in the past, eager to apply it to what is currently going on in my own life right now.
Unfortunately, I haven’t always been so excited about studying Scripture or learning new spiritual truths. Over the 45 years I have been a Christian, there have been times when I was indifferent to the Bible. Other times I have found the study to be dry and tedious and have only read from routine. But other times I have approached the study of God’s Word as though I was on a treasure hunt, looking for the rare and precious truths that I know are waiting for me to find.
In our earliest years of parenting I assumed that these sorts of truths were for older students and that most of it was supposed to come from Sunday school and Bible clubs. It wasn’t until we began to really think through our responsibilities as parents and the incredible privilege we had been given, that of making disciples of Jesus, that I could understand the importance of teaching Spiritual truth to our children ourselves and to begin early.
While most of what I want to share today ought to be applied to both sons and daughters, I believe it is especially valuable to consider the importance of teaching our daughters the importance of being Bible students as they prepare for marriage and for all of life. Often we tend to think that only the fathers in the household will be the ones teaching spiritual truth to our grandchildren. In fact, Scripture calls us to teach them about God in this way: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Since moms are the ones who are spending the majority of the time with children during the course of a day, fulfilling this command, it naturally makes sense to me that our daughters, the future mothers of our grandchildren, will be prepared for the task.
As we prepare them to do this, I would identify three areas where we must prepare them for this most important service: Bible knowledge, sound doctrine, and application of Biblical truth. Here are a few suggestions for teaching our daughters these things:
Bible knowledge ~ Frequent reading and memorizing Scripture is where you start gaining Bible knowledge. Choose a version you are comfortable with and it helps if the whole family uses the same one, especially if you memorize together. As each of our children were learning to read, family Bible reading time became another way to give them practice and to encourage them to read the Bible themselves. Awana clubs and Kids for Truth are also great places to enhance what you are teaching at home and Bible quizzing and other Scripture memory and Bible knowledge programs can also further their learning.
When my children were junior high age, I introduced them to a Strong’s Concordance and taught them how to use it, how to cross-reference, how to look at the verse in the context of the passage and how the exact words were used in other passages of Scripture. Keeping a dictionary handy, we all increased our vocabulary and began to recognize patterns of phrases and writers’ styles and we studied the Bible text.
Sound Doctrine ~ Each family will have their own beliefs regarding Bible doctrine and the non-essentials of the faith. When our children were in high school, one of the things we added to our curriculum was reading and discussing some of the writings of R. C. Sproul Sr. and Francis Schaeffer. Always central to whatever we presented was the doctrine of God’s sovereignty and what that means in the lives of our children. Here are a few of those tools which we found helpful:
Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine by H. Wayne House
Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament by John H. Walton
Chronological and Background Charts of the New Testament by H. Wayne House
Chronological and Background Charts of Church History by Robert C. Walton
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Berghof’s Systematic Theology
Sermons of Charles H. Spurgeon
Westminster Confession of Faith by G.I. Williamson
Westminster Confession of Faith in Cartoons by Vic Lockman
Catechism for Children
Online Resource Bible Gateway and Bible Crosswalk
Also, having them keep a personal journal of their faith walk will be a source of strength and encouragement to them in the future when they face decisions and times of crisis. We did this by having them write down insights from daily Bible reading in a notebook and asking them to include how that passage applied to them at that particular time. Seeing how God has worked in the past will help them to face the future, even during those most difficult times when they are struggling to understand how God will make everything good in its time.
Application of Scripture ~ This is the most important aspect of training our daughters to prepare for marriage and family life. as well as for working or volunteering. Relationship skills are crucial to living a productive life, whether it be at work or at home and I think that, frankly, this is one of the most lacking skills our children have. Most homeschoolers stress character training and that is certainly a part of applying Scripture to life. But simply memorizing character traits isn’t enough. Godly character can only be developed as we practice applying God’s Word to daily life and as we observe it being applied by others. Reading biographies about men and women who were used by the Lord is one way to “observe.” Also, planning specific projects for your children will give them a training ground for applying Scripture and will purposefully give them an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to speak to them and through them in many ways.
Here are some of the books we have used and have found helpful for planning specific projects for each child:
The Practical Works of Richard Baxter
Encyclopedia of Bible Truths for School Subjects
A Homework Manual for Biblical Living by H. Wayne Mack, 1 and 2
Suffering: A Biblical Survey to use with the book Joni
Memory Verses for Daughters on the Path to Womanhood by Doorposts
Polished Cornerstones by Doorposts
When Life and Beliefs Collide by Carolyn Custis James
Lost Women of the Bible by Carolyn Custis James
Spurgeon’s Sermons on Old Testament Women, 1 and 2
Spurgeon’s Sermons on New Testament Women, 1 and 2
As we prepare our daughters for life, building them up in the faith and giving them tools for understanding God and who He is, I pray that we moms will also be built up and encouraged, strengthened ourselves for the days ahead. I would love to hear from any of you and the resources you have found to be helpful either when you were a young homeschooled student or now that you are training daughters (and sons)!