A few things Francis Chan’s Crazy Love has taught me.

If you know me in real life, there’s not a lot you may know about me currently. I’ve been Facebook and Instagram free for awhile now and it’s felt, well, wonderful. I met a woman yesterday, and we were talking about a homeschool group that’s exclusively on Facebook and she made the quiet comment that she’s not on Facebook, expecting me to give her the “ARE YOU INSANE, LADY???” look but when I said I wasn’t on Facebook either, our eyes locked and it was like we were transferred back in time to a period where people actually took two seconds to truly know each other. It was refreshing. So what have I been doing? Homeschooling my daughter, for one. It’s been an amazing roller coaster ride of perfect moments shuffled in with the imperfect ones (think a Vegas card dealer who doesn’t know what he’s doing). But overall, a great experience and the way she looks at books now is the exact way I look at books. So mission accomplished. I’ve also been writing. I’ve given up on novels, and I’m allowing myself to be okay with that. I know. How dare I. But every time I attempt one, I frustrate myself, and if the end result of me trying to write one is me being angry with the world, then I think I’ll pass. I have, however, been writing poetry. I have, however, grown in my relationship with God and have struggled with the idea that I am a Christian. I’m not a fan of your typical Christian who enjoys their Starbucks lattes, oversized SUVs, and smacking an “I Vote Republican” sticker on the back of their bumper. So you can imagine that having to say those words out loud is a little like biting off my own tongue. But I AM a follower of Christ and have seen how He changes lives, my own included. Thankfully, Fancis Chan is a reasonable, logical Christian and I kind of just love what he has to say in his book Crazy Love:
Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or beacuse some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation.” – Francis Chan, Crazy Love
That noise? I do believe it was the mic dropping. Dude. YES. For the longest time I didn’t want anything to do with Christianity because I thought it meant I had to be like the typical smug American Christian. And maybe that’s not fair, but you have to admit there’s A LOT of them walking around. But you know what’s wrong with my assessment of people like this? They’re not Christians. They may call themselves that. But they’re not. Something else I’m taking from Chan’s book is the fact that I must ALWAYS be running towards God and self-assessing my own life. If I get too fat and happy, I’m doing it wrong. So really, this whole country is doing it wrong. You can’t love Christ and your big screen TV. You have to take up your cross and follow Him. And if you’re not going to do that, then okay. But stop calling yourself a Christian. It’s just getting embarrassing at this point.

I know, no social media, and I get all up in arms about everything. But I promise I’m not cranky. I’m just finally getting IT.

So now, a prayer. That all of us walking this path can find love in Christ. In others. That we stop kidding ourselves, believing the safe path is the best path. If things aren’t confusing, uncomfortable, or the opposite of everything you’ve ever wanted, it’s time to pray. To find out what God truly wants. And to set aside those creature comforts and your need to prove yourself to other people in order to prove yourself to the only One who matters.
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Book Review: The Well-Adjusted Child

I’m absorbing Rachel Gathercole’s The Well-Adjusted Child: The Social Benefits of Homeschooling through my pores.

This book consists of all the thoughts I had no idea were whirling around inside my brain matter.

Out and About

My first fear (as is the fear of a lot of parents on the brink of homeschooling) is that Ava and I will be trapped captive at our kitchen table, longing for companionship and counting down the minutes until Matt comes home to describe the colors and sounds of the outside world.

Gathercole’s book dispels that monster of a myth.

If anything, homeschooling seems to be the social mecca we’ve both been craving.

How so? Well, the typical 8 AM to 3 PM schedule is tossed right out the door since as the teacher, principal, and superintendent of my own school, I can create a schedule molded to the way we think and play. Plenty of breaks, trampoline time for my ADHD student, and a break up to any possible monotony with the promise of museum trips, pool time, and volunteering put a pretty attractive period on the end of the sentence.

Academic Adventures

Academically speaking, homeschooling is on point simply because of the smaller child to teacher ratio, not to mention the emphasis on learning because you want to learn, not just to do better than everyone else in the class.

I like this approach. I like the idea of finding new ways to learn and new subjects to tackle with the only thing potentially hindering us being the finite number of moments in a day. And I also kind of love that I can fully explain the love Christ has for her and how she can impart positivity and kindness to others because of this love instead of, you know, just showing off the new Nikes she just got.

Social Butterfly

But what about other kids?

Easy. Homeschooling co-op. By doing a simple Internet search, I found a co-op that offers field trips and meet up time as well as bi-weekly classes like sewing and American Girl history all for a VERY minimal yearly fee. Ummm…yes, please.

I like the idea of Ava engaging with kids of various ages and that those interactions, while happening intrinsically, can still be monitored by a parent who loves her fiercely.

Putting an End to Bullying

In school, there was too much bullying, too many hurt feelings, and no way to gauge how to walk that path all on her own.

And I know proponents for traditional schooling might say, “Well, she’ll have to learn some day how the world really is.” But have we ever stopped to think that maybe the world is the way it is because we aren’t guiding our children the majority of the day? We’re essentially offering them a Lord of the Flies type existence and are surprised that we’ve birthed a generation of Kim Kardashian wannabes.

Gathercole puts this another way: just because she’ll one day be living on her own in an apartment working to pay the rent, doesn’t mean I’m taking her apartment shopping any time soon. Just because one day she may need to put a fire out on the stove doesn’t mean I’m going to overheat the coconut oil and tell her good luck. Things should happen as a child can fully understand and handle them. And this is the very reason we parents exist in the first place.

So ultimately, I want her to learn the tools necessary to appropriately navigate her feelings and tend to the people who incite them. And Gathercole’s book gives a myriad of reasons as to why homeschooling lends itself to this kind of learning. I highly, highly recommend giving it a read!

Thinking about homeschooling? Want to pick my brain? Reach me via the contact form.

 

Snake

girl jumping on trampoline

I’ve written
everything
for God
and nothing
for the braided
spine
linking
my past
with this moment.

No. Lies.
Because everything
snakes
from the beginning
to end and
Even when you
cut off the head,
the body still thrives
if only for
a
heartbeat.

Ugly

There’s your face
Cheek to my skin
And nobody even
Knows the shade
Of all the colors
Bleeding into
The hollows of your
Cheeks,
But I feel it goes
Beyond the white
Of my outsides
and the grainy
Hash of my
Innards.

If I had
All the beauty
In the world,
I’d spoil it
By losing my name
and Yours, too.
And as our breath
Mingles,
You taking
Everything
From my reach,
And all I have left
To touch
Are the hollows,
those colors.

Problem

Problem

 

I guess

there are

things I think

about.

Who wouldn’t

with hair

in your mouth

and a whole

world in your throat?

But I don’t deny

the fact

that love

was never

an issue.

Quite the opposite.

And that,

my friend,

is the

problem.                                           -e.c.

What happens when my brain splits in two.

dear hearts

Unkept may be the two sides of my brain, but Dear Hearts is the two sides of my heart.

It was difficult to write, not only canvassing the pain that comes when infidelity inflicts a marriage and family, but writing from the perspective of a man who loves said family and adores said marriage yet has an affair with another man? Well, all I can say is life is gritty and Mitch’s life? It ain’t no exception.

Each word sheared away a piece of my heart.

Mitch and Elena are characters that are deeper than characters. They’re a pulse, working together and withering apart. They are victims to their own love story, craving happy endings when understanding what true, devotional, Godly love is has never glimmered on their radar.

They’re the prime example of what happens when life shuffles its cards and you’re left empty-handed.

What can we learn? Appreciate everything you have, even when  life feels like a single grain of sugar boring through a tooth.  Talk openly, honestly. Do no judge but do not blindly accept either.

Love with a sacrificial heart and an expanse of pure dedication.

Know that we only flicker here for a little while. So use every moment.


Dear Hearts is for the over eighteen crowd so please keep that in mind. Also understand that this book is not a promotional platform for any particular viewpoint. It is an examination into the human mind and heart and the struggle life brings when you leave God out of the picture.

You can read Dear Hearts for free here on Wattpad.

Click here for the ebook.

Click here for a paper copy.

Dear Ava,

I’m a horrible mother. And a terrifically good mother. And a no nonsense mother and a spastic, nonsensical type of female who keeps parking crookedly and forgets the word for fork sometimes, and then other times I feed people my brilliance.

I don’t think any of us were meant to be good at this.

But I think that’s okay. I think for the first time ever, there’s no good mother Olympics, no gold to be won.

There are mistakes and bruises and tears and the way she looks at me like she’s known me before she was born and wishes she’d never met my face.

It’s the same way I look into the mirror sometimes.

But there are those other crystal clear moments, a love abundant, a love like Christ’s, where I can feel it all weaving together, broken skin healing and that sound she makes when she breathes.

Step one, we are alive.

Step two, start living,

Step three, write down, paper to pen.

Dear Ava,

I’m sorry.

But dear Ava,

You now know the truth.

Mountain


The scraps

Fall from

Your mouth and I

Mound them

Into my

Little mountain,

Conquer

The peak

Of all

You’ve

Discarded.                          -e.c.

Evolution

IMG_3822

Here’s your
March
Of time
And Evolutionary
Progression
But burning
Your offspring
And tasting
The sharp note
Of blood
When nobody
Loves you
Is like a sweet
Reminder
That your
Death
Is the only
Real truth
You know. 

– e.c.