Imparting a classical education at home. Check out the Edwards Academy.

Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Definitely not the logic stage


Why is it that when preschoolers are extremely tired they are much more willing to expend great amounts of energy resisting and raging? Temper tantrums at five o'clock result in sleeping three-year-olds at the dinner table.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

When it comes to judging judges...

Perhaps you've heard before that President Obama believes that a well-qualified judge is able to show empathy. If not, consider this quote from Obama's July 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood Action, as quoted by NR Bench Memos: "And we need somebody who’s got the heart—the empathy—to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old—and that’s the criteria by which I’ll be selecting my judges."

With today's nomination of Judge Sotomayor in the news, I was reminded of God's commands about judging. I know that the civil laws given to Moses don't apply to our nation, but I think it is useful to remember what God expects out of the practice of law (my emphases):
You shall not fall in with the many to do evil, nor shall you bear witness in a lawsuit, siding with the many, so as to pervert justice, nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his lawsuit. (Ex. 23:2-3)

You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the LORD. (Lev. 19:15-16)

Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's. And the case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it. (Deut. 1:16b-17)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hodgepodge

Off-label imaginations....

Remember nearly a year ago, when I posted about my kids' off-label imaginations (Part 1 and Part 2)?

Here are a couple of the latest off-label uses around here...

This coat-hanger only looks like that to you because you lack imagination. It is actually a motorcycle's handlebars, complete with dials and gauges. Edwards boys somehow are able to coax a lot of power out of these babies! Vrooooom!

If Lane decides he wants something that we don't have he dashes off to his school table in the basement for a while and then re-emerges with his own hand-made solution. In the picture above you see his basketball goal that he put together from some boxes.


...and miscellaneous happenings.

Finally, I have to tell about our walk around the neighborhood with our beloved dog, Jessi (shown above with Sydney at her birthday party). If you don't know Jessi, she is a very gentle and calm Vizsla. Yesterday evening I took the kids and Jessi on a long walk. We had Jessi on the leash and Toby in the wagon. I felt like exercise, so we took a very long route around our neighborhood. Jessi is a pointer and we were having a good time watching her notice every living creature we passed: robins and other birds, bunnies, cats, dogs, even the horse and pony.

But we were totally shocked when a bird flew by and she leapt up and nabbed it!

I probably screamed. The bird screamed. Jessi shook her head back and forth. The bird flapped and tried to get free. I tugged on the leash, my heart sinking.

Jessi dropped the bird. It proved to be a young but full-fledged bird--we think it was a Western Kingbird--and it lay dying on the sidewalk. The kids stood around the poor bird as it gasped out its dying breaths. It was nothing short of awful to stand there and watch, knowing my four kids were watching death's sting for the first time. The little bird finally gave it up and lay still.

"Is it dead?" someone asked.

"Yes. Let's go." I advised, worried the kids would want to pick up the bird. Sydney hugged Jessi and said something like, "How could you?"

Sydney asked, "Do birds go to heaven?"

"I don't think so," I answered.

"That's right." Lane put in. "They don't have souls."

"But the Bible tells us that God knows what happened to that bird just now. He saw it." I told them. We walked on.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wingnutty Fun

Last night Grandpa and Grandma shared free Wichita Wingnuts tickets with the kids, the cousins, and me. (Mr. Edwards was at BSF sharing night, the last of the year. My sister was recovering from surgery and her husband, as you know, is deployed with the Army.)
After a pre-game cookout provided by a sponsor we staked our our general admission seats about thirty minutes before game time. The advantage: good seats together. The disadvantage: kids are restless before the first pitch!

The Wingnuts are a local professional team, but in case you don't pay attention to American Major League baseball, the Wingnuts are not a big MLB team. Nor are they are minor league farm team. Still, it was the first professional game my kids had ever seen. For that milestone, I thought it was a good stand-in for major league baseball. (Although one of these years we'll have to go up to Kansas City to see the Royals.)


We stayed until the end of the 5th inning. Here you see it was all tied up after the top of the fifth, but we saw the Wingnuts come back in the bottom of the fifth and take the lead. By this time the majority of our party was past ready to go. 
It was a lot of fun to watch the game with Lane, however, who began to follow the game. What fun it was for me to provide the play-by-play for him so that he could appreciate what was going on! We left with four innings to go, so Lane dashed out the driveway this morning for the paper to read the final results:
Wingnuts turn tables on pesky Canaries.
Wingnuts 6 Canaries 4
Lane read the headline and called out, "We're Wingnut fans now!"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How Tweet It Is

I'm not sure why, but I'm tweeting now. I'm a reluctant social networker, but I started a Twitter account in order to follow some others. 

If you use Twitter, you can find me at @VeritasatHome.
If you are a regular "Veritas at Home" reader, you might get a kick out of seeing me limited to 140 characters per post!

Am I the only one that worries that all this blogging, Twittering, Facebooking, and the like, are aiding and abetting us in living self-centered lives? I seek to glorify God and submit to Him in all I blog (and now tweet). But I am well aware that it is a high-risk endeavor. 

"Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41)

Nine! Part 2


The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Psalm 138:8

The birthday girls with their parents and grandparents. Because someday they will want to see what we were like when they turned nine.

(My hair is pulled back in a clip and I see now it was sticking up oddly!)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nine!


Our daughters turned nine this past week. To celebrate we asked four of their friends to join us for a Faerie Slumber Party. Hope and Sydney had such a good time! It was a typical Kansas day in May: the tornado sirens sounded about forty-five minutes before guests were due to arrive and an angry line of storms was due to pass over our house right at six o'clock! Although we ended up only getting rain, we spent some time in the basement before we were sure, so I was late getting their pizza dinner ready. It made a memory!


The girls with their cousin and friend, Holly.

Sydney and Hope open gifts from their friend Joanna.

Sydney, Evangelyn, and Hope

Sydney, Addy, and Hope

The six girls gathered for pizza and dinner conversation.

We made fairy-wings for each of the girls. Throughout their time together they played fairies, horses, and a mix of fairies, horses, and Pegasus. How wonderful that eight, nine and ten year-old girls love to make-believe together! Hurrah for rich imaginations!

After dinner, gifts, and birthday cakes, I got the girls settled on our family room floor with sleeping bags and pillows and put on Peter Pan. Edwards kids love Barrie's Peter Pan. (The Disney version really is a poor substitute. They enjoy it too, but the original book is so much richer.) They were very excited to show their friends this wonderful film. (Watch a preview here.) This movie uses quite a bit of Barrie's actual language, and is reminiscent of the stage play when they all chant, "I do believe in fairies!" I heard the girls repeating this line together Saturday morning as they played. (If you're a regular blog reader, you're probably suffering Peter Pan fatigue! Sorry!)

We also read The Lightlings, a beautiful picture book by R. C. Sproul (illustrations by Justin Gerard). The allegorical story helps kids see why God made us for the light, not the dark, and wants us to live in the light. The little lightlings look a lot like fairies and the story tells of Eden and Bethlehem at Christmas through allegory.

Hope Katherine and Sydney Marguerite, Daddy and I are very proud of you and so thankful to God for the grace that He has showered on you. We give you this challenge:
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-24)

We love you!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Not of this World

I woke up this morning with a pulled muscle in my back, a pain in my foot, and sunburn stinging my neck and ears. Yesterday was our homeschool group's Field Day, and between that and shoveling in the yard on the weekend, I'm feeling the pain of being out of shape.

So when I read 2 Corinthians 4 this morning, I understood Paul's words:
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
I've been thinking recently about the fact that believers in Christ are not citizens of this world, but of heaven. We are sojourners. I feel it. I ache for Christ's glory to reign in me and in this world.

It is easier and easier to feel the truth of this as my body shows signs of growing older (and I'm not yet 40!). But yesterday as I shared a devotion with the Field Day kids about the glory of God, urging them to seek God's glory, not their own, I noticed how difficult it is to comprehend the truth of this when youth and vigor and privilege and security envelope a child. On the one hand, it seems easy to tell kids about the Gospel, but on the other it is incredibly difficult to convince a child to yearn for heaven.

Last Sunday night our family was discussing with our kids what it means to be a citizen of heaven, to be an alien in this world. Suddenly the words to a song that I hadn't heard in years came to my head:
We are pilgrims in a strange land
We are so far from our homeland
With each passing day it seems so clear
This world will never want us here
We're not welcome in this world of wrong
We are foreigners who don't belong

(Chorus)
We are strangers, we are aliens
We are not of this world
We are envoys, we must tarry
With this message we must carry
There's so much to do before we leave
With so many more who may believe
Our mission here can never fail
And the gates of hell will not prevail
Jesus told us men would hate us
But we must be of good cheer
He has overcome this world of darkness
And soon we will depart from here
Do you remember it? Petra's Not of this World (lyrics by Bob Hartman). Here's the iTunes link: Petra - The Ultimate Collection: Petra - Not of This World

Children blessed with a loving family, plenty to eat, shelter and clothing, even toys and amusements, don't sing "And soon we will depart from here" with much conviction. Some day their circumstances will change, however, and I pray that the truths about this that God is sowing in their hearts will come to their minds and that knowing His truth they will be able to say with deep meaning:
I am afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed by the puzzles of this world, but not driven to despair; persecuted by those who are enemies of the cross, but not forsaken; struck down by pain, hardship, disappointment, but not destroyed.
(Based on 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9, italicized words added)
Images: Toby gets a high-five after receiving his ribbons (top). Sydney and Hope and their Field Day ribbons (middle). Lane stands next to his rocket, just before launching (bottom).

Field Day post from last year: 2008 Field Day
Scriptures in ESV.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mother's Day Challenge


This challenge to women appears in John Piper's essay "A Vision of Biblical Complementarity: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible."

The essay concludes with a 15-point challenge for women and a parallel (but different) challenge for men. You really should read all 15, but for now consider (for the women) points 7, 10, 11, and 13:

7. That you be totally committed to ministry, whatever your specific calling; that you not fritter away your time on soaps or women’s magazines or unimportant hobbies or shopping; that you redeem the time for Christ and his Kingdom.

10. That, if you have children, you accept responsibility with your husband (or alone if necessary) to raise up children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord-children who hope in the triumph of God-sharing with your husband the teaching and discipline they need, and giving them the special attachment they crave from you, as well as that special nurturing touch and care that you alone are fitted to give.

11. That you not assume that secular employment is a greater challenge or a better use of your life than the countless opportunities of service and witness in the home, the neighborhood, the community, the church, and the world; that you not only pose the question: career or full-time homemaker?, but that you ask just as seriously: full-time career or freedom for ministry? That you ask: Which would be greater for the Kingdom- to work for someone who tells you what to do to make his or her business prosper, or to be God’s free agent dreaming your own dream about how your time and your home and your creativity could make God’s business prosper? And that in all this you make your choices not on the basis of secular trends or upward lifestyle expectations, but on the basis of what will strengthen the faith of the family and advance the cause of Christ.

13. That you develop a wartime mentality and lifestyle; that you never forget that life is short, that billions of people hang in the balance of heaven and hell every day, that the love of money is spiritual suicide, that the goals of upward mobility (nicer clothes, cars, houses, vacations, food, hobbies) are a poor and dangerous substitute for the goals of living for Christ with all your might and maximizing your joy in ministry to people’s needs.

The essay itself is chapter one of Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. The full text of this book is available to read free online at The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW.org).

Happy Mother's Day!
Pictured in the photo are, left to right: My mother-in-law, Mrs. Edwards; me; my mother, Mrs. S.; and my sister, Mrs. C. Taken on Mother's Day, 2005.

Lines of Literature: Peter Pan

In honor of Mother's Day, enjoy this passage from J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan:
For a week or two after Wendy came it was doubtful whether they would be able to keep her, as she was another mouth to feed. Mr. Darling was frightfully proud of her, but he was very honourable, and he sat on the edge of Mrs. Darling's bed, holding her hand and calculating expenses, while she looked at him imploringly. She wanted to risk it, come what might, but that was not his way; his way was with a pencil and a piece of paper, and if she confused him with suggestions he had to begin at the beginning again.

"No don't interrupt," he would beg of her.

"I have one pound seventeen here, and two and six at the office; I can cut off my coffee at the office, say ten shillings, making two nine and six, with our eighteen and three makes three nine seven, with five naught naught in my cheque-book makes eight nine seven---who is that moving?--eight nine seven, dot and carry seven--don't speak, my own--and the pound you lent to that man who came to the door--quiet, child--there, you've done it!--did I say nine nine seven? yes, I said nine nine seven; the question is, can we try it for a year on nine nine seven?"

"Of course we can, George," she cried. But she was prejudiced in Wendy's favour, and he was really the grander character of the two.

"Remember mumps," he warned her almost threateningly, and off he went again. "Mumps one pound, that is what I have put down, but I daresay it will be more like thirty shillings--don't speak--measles one five, German measles half a guinea, makes two fifteen six--don't waggle your finger--whooping-cough, say fifteen shillings" --and so on it went, and it added up differently each time, but at last Wendy just got through, with mumps reduced to twelve six, and the two kinds of measles treated as one.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mom's Wisdom (!)

This afternoon I found myself saying,

"Lane, it is foolish to sit in your room, on the carpet, and scrape the mud off the bottom of  your cowboy boots!" He grunted at me, unconvinced and irritated, grasping a long stick and surrounded by little clods of mud. Now he is preparing to vacuum. As for me, the word of God that filled my head doused the fire of my anger before it started to blaze. I will bless the LORD at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth!

Meanwhile, I glanced outside and saw Hope, leisurely pedaling her bike around the cul-de-sac....and reading the book Breadwinner as she rode.

"Hope!" I called. "It isn't a good idea to read while you're riding!" I turned back to cooking dinner. Hope soon entered the house.

"But Mom! I want to ride my bike and I want to read Breadwinner!!"

If that doesn't tell you that Breadwinner is worth reading, I don't know what will!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A New Affection

I am bereft, humbled
Poured out, empty
Weeping, trembling
Joyful, ecstatic.
Glorying in His grace,
By His grace I see His glory.

I wrote these words last Friday while I was attending the Children Desiring God conference. Not great poetry, but it gives you a sense of how I felt Friday night after singing praise and worship music. I sat down, jotted down those words, and then listened to Paul David Tripp deliver the plenary session for Friday night.

There are so many things that I could tell you about the conference, but it is overwhelming and can't possibly carry the weight in my retelling as it did in the first telling. The combination of prayer, Scripture reading, Bible teaching, theology studying, and worship singing cannot be reproduced here.

However, I would like to share a few key thoughts that will stick with me and shape the way I think about God and His God-Centeredness and how that should impact all we do, especially when we teach children.

John Piper's Keynote Address, Thursday, April 30.
Pastor Piper spoke about the God-Centeredness of God and what this central truth means to us. "If you make much of God because He makes much of You, than you are making much of you." (According to my notes from Piper's talk. Read the notes (nearly a transcript) from his message, as posted on the Desiring God website, here.)

Bruce Ware, Plenary Session, Friday, May 1
Bruce Ware's talk, Biblical Foundations for the Centrality of God, is well summarized on the Desiring God blog post here

His talk left me thinking: Am I really embracing the full revelation of God in Scripture? Or do I form my understanding of Him on only common passages? Am I willing to accept His full revelation?

In this session, Bruce Ware recommended "The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God" by D. A. Carson for help in understanding God's love.

Paul David Tripp, Seminar, Friday, May 1
Later on Friday I attended Paul David Tripp's seminar on "Conflict." A few of the notes that I jotted down (these are more or less quotes from Dr. Tripp, hastily written as I listened):

Introduction
If a set of instructions were enough, Jesus wouldn't have come. We deny the Gospel in our approach to children's ministry and don't even know it.

There will be a time when threats no longer motivate. There will be a time when manipulation no longer motivates. (For example, offering an ice cream party for the Sunday School class if they memorize the Bible verses teaches a skill for moral economics and cost/benefit analysis. He learned the verses to stimulate himself, not out of his love for God. Me here: I agree with this principle, but also know that God's word in kid's hearts is valuable, even if their young and immature motives were not selfless.)

Conflict
James 4:1
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?

When it comes to conflict, I am my greatest problem. My anger comes from an intrusion on me.
James 4:2-3
You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
  • Human conflict is rooted in spiritual adultery and idolatry.
  • I get angry at people who are in the way of what I want.
  • You will never get over anger unless you embrace the theology of James 4.
James 4:4-5
You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"?
  • I serve a jealous Redeemer who will fight for the allegiance of my heart and rescue me from myself. Dr. Tripp stated forcefully: "Your Redeemer will not share your heart!"
  • He'll put difficult people in your life to expose how idolatrous your life still is!
  • Conflict is not solved horizontally. The problem is not that I don't love you enough; I don't love God enough.
  • We need worship re-alignment, not anger management.
Four Things that Happen if You Don't Embrace James 4
1. Moments of ministry turn into moments of anger.
  • God always puts difficult people in our life in His grace.
  • Children fighting exposes their need for God's rescue.
2. I personalize what is not personal.
3. I will be adversarial in my response. (Respond to sin with sin.)
4. I'll settle for situational solutions that don't get to the heart of the matter.
  • Your goal is not to enforce peace (in your classrooms or home), but to be an instrument of the Prince of Peace in the hearts of children.
  • Don't give lectures, but ask questions that lead the children to heart understanding.
  • Our goal is to rescue them from the bondage of the moment.
Bruce Ware, Seminar, Friday, May 1
I also attended Bruce Ware's seminar "Big Truths for Young Hearts." The seminar title is shared with the title of his new book, Big Truths for Young Hearts. This book is a compilation of theology talks that are meant to be read aloud to our children. Dr. Ware wrote the book after many people encouraged him to put into a book all the talks that he had with his daughters over the years, as he taught them theology each night before bed. Although they were young when he began, he didn't shrink from teaching them at bedtime the big truths that he taught seminary students during the day.

In the seminar Dr. Ware presented the progression of truth that takes place in children (and adults) as they come to faith in Christ:

Knowing Him -----> Loving Him -----> Living for Him (Applying His Truth) 
----> Transforming your Habitat (our cultural environment)

If we skip from knowing God to applying His truth without loving Him, it is pharisaical, hypocritical, and legalistic. And yet, it is the knowledge of God and theology (the study of God) that provides the fuel for loving Him, fuel that is ignited by the Spirit and burns as love (a Jonathan Edwards illustration).

Thomas Chalmers, a 19th century preacher, gave a sermon entitled "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection." In this sermon Chalmers teaches that godliness is not something that we achieve by aiming to avoid evil and worldliness. Instead, as we are filled up with the love of God we find there is no room for our old affections and loves of the world.
The best way of casting out an impure affection is to admit a pure one; and by the love of what is good to expel the love of what is evil. Thus it is, that the freer gospel, the more sanctifying is the gospel; and the more it is received as a doctrine of grace, the more will it be felt as a doctrine according to godliness. (From "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection" by Thomas Chalmers.)

Paul David Tripp, Plenary Session, Friday, May 1
Excellent notes on this talk by Dr. Tripp are posted on the Desiring God blog here. You will definitely want to click the link and review "Five Things That Are True About Every Child." Number 3: They are Worshipers. All children worship. But what are they worshipping?

David Michael, Plenary Session, Saturday, May 2
2 Corinthians 4:1
Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.

Notes on David Michael's closing address here, on the Desiring God blog.

As I write, audio is not yet available on these sessions, but after they are posted on the Children Desiring God website, I'll add the links to this post.
UPDATE: Audio has been added to the Children Desiring God Conference 2009 web page.
Scriptures from the ESV.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Children Desiring God

I'm in Minneapolis for the Children Desiring God conference. Notes and resources from the conference are being blogged here. Bookmark the site and check back for audio downloads of conference speakers.

God's glory is so amazing! May He be forever praised and may His will be done!

Update: I posted my notes and reactions to the conference here.
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