Church, camp, and other random things

March 23, 2008 at 2:08 am (My life) (, )

   Hey, everybody! Welcome back! 😀
   My life has been very busy, yet very good this past week. Not only has God shown me some things that I needed to see, I have also been blessed in numerous ways. Certainly there were trials mixed in with the blessings, but they were few. 

   As you all know, my family has been looking for a church to attend. When we went through this process a few years ago, we went to a Woodside Baptist Church one evening. It was dark, and the church is rather difficult to find, so we were late. That on top of it being a not-so-wonderful day to start with really didn’t help our good opinion of the church when we found that there were no parking spaces left because of a Missions Conference they were having. No one came to the door to greet us for awhile, and when someone did come, they just handed us a bulletin and left us to find our way around. We left. But…

   Last summer up at camp, I was privileged in being able to spend some time with folks from Woodside. A few times I heard things mentioned about a revival in the youth group, and I was also VERY impressed with everything I saw of the youth group. Naturally, I told Mom and Dad about it when the week was over. That and a few other things brought us back to try again. This time was much better. We were blessed by the music, the sermon, Sunday School, the people – everything! And although we tried a few other churches on Sunday mornings… we kept going back to Woodside for the evening service. Each time this happened, we were blessed again by every aspect of what went on. So, it is with great joy and relief that I tell you this — we will probably be joining Woodside Baptist Church! Dad hasn’t said it for sure yet, but everything is pointing that way. I am so happy! 

   This week I went to the chiropractor. It was quite the visit. I have several problems, but I really don’t care about most of it. The thing that burst on me like a sunrise up at camp was… the chiropractor told me that he may be able to help me get rid of my pimples! The drawback? My friends, I still don’t know how to swallow pills. This is really frustrating! I know how easy it is, yet I always make it so difficult. Maddening!

   On a lighter note (that was the one trial that has kept me from having absolute joy this week) — I got my glasses! They’re awesome! I love them!

   Camp is only about two months away! I can’t wait! One thing that I’m really hoping is that Woodside will be sending their teens to Pine Ridge again. 😀

   Anything else? Nah. I guess I’ll be back later! Oh… don’t forget the Book Bomb!

   Soli Deo Gloria!

   P.S. Here is one of those emails that gets passed around:

After starting a new diet I altered my drive to work to avoid passing my favorite bakery.  I accidentally drove by the bakery this morning, and as I approached, there in the windows were a host of goodies.   I felt this was no accident, so I prayed … “Lord, it’s up to you, if you want me to have any of those delicious goodies, create a parking place for me directly in front of the bakery.” And sure enough…

on the eighth time around the block, there it was!

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Bond… or free?

March 21, 2008 at 6:55 am (My life, Walk with God) (, )

  [Taken from Galatians 4, KJV] …thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

Pay special attention to that last part. That’s me. I know – or am known by – God… yet I have caught myself desiring to be in bondage. Yes, I know that the things that I allow myself to be in bondage to are weak and beggarly, yet I still fall into the trap. No, I don’t. I’ll be honest. I LOOK at that trap and say, “Wow! That’s great!” and jump right into it. Stupid? Yes. True? Unfortunately.
   When I realize what I’ve done, I feel stupid and— what’s the right word? I guess I just realize how undeserving I am of God’s goodness. You see, I don’t jump into too many traps. Almost none. Except for this one thing that I just can’t seem to conquer: My imagination. Every time I think that I’ve conquered it, I see something admirable in making my escape from reality by imagining something about myself that doesn’t exist. And I jump in again.

   This week, I discovered my problem. I was praying and getting God’s help when I would quit again, but I have never involved Him afterwards. Once I’ve gone a few days without imagining things, I say, “Okay, I’ve got this thing under control.” — and I stop asking God for His assistance! How dumb is that? But it’s true.

   For me, my imagination is an addiction. It’s an escape. I’m being transparent, people. I need your prayers. I think that I can do it this time: I know that God will help me – and CONTINUE to help me as I ask Him to. I’m free in Christ! I don’t need to serve my old masters! I— AM— FREE!

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California Call-to-Action

March 16, 2008 at 7:04 am (Uncategorized) (, )

I meant to post this a few days ago, but didn’t get around to it ’til now.
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CALIFORNIA CALL-TO-ACTION
(written by [Crystal Paine’s] husband and attorney, Jesse Paine)

Much ink has been spilled over the last few days over the California Court of Appeal’s recent decision over homeschooling. Some of it has been hype, some measured warning. In light of all the attention and potential broad affects of the ruling, I decided to read it for myself and present my own call to action.

The Decision
On February 28, 2008, the California Court of Appeals handed down a ruling effectively turning back the clock on home education for thousands of parents in California. The case was part of a complex series of appeals to the Court of Appeals from the juvenile court in Los Angeles County.

In the underlying case, a complaint had been brought against a family of eight, where it was alleged that the father was physically and emotionally mistreating the eldest child. In the course of investigating this complaint, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services discovered that all eight of the family’s children were being educated at home by the mother and were not being sent to a brick and mortar school.

During proceedings in the juvenile court, attorneys representing the children asked the court to order that the children not be educated at home and instead be enrolled in a public or private school. The lower court, however, declined to make such an order, and instead observed that the parents had a constitutional right to homeschool the children, despite the fact that the education they had been receiving at home was, in his words, “lousy,” “meager,” and “bad.” He further observed that, as a matter of policy, children should attend brick and mortar schools because of socialization concerns, opportunities for professional counseling, and exposure to various forms of diversity.

The case was appealed to the Court of Appeals based on the sole question: Is it legal to homeschool in the State of California?

The court determined that it was not legal to operate a home school under the compulsory attendance laws of the state. Under California’s education milieu, a minor child must attend a public full-time day school, unless the child is tutored by a properly credentialed teacher for the grade being taught.

The court reasoned that a mother teaching a child at home is not a properly credentialed teacher under the law and that attendance at any form of school other than a brick and mortar school was insufficient under the statute.

The court also noted that, although the family was a member of an independent study program (ISP), California law only recognizes ISP’s as a tool of the public education establishment for directed learning, and not as a vehicle for conducting home education, especially because it failed the traditional “brick and mortar” test for a “school” under the law. As such, the ISP was acting in conjunction with the family to skirt the compulsory attendance law and was illegitimate.

Additionally, the court completely disregarded the family’s federal constitutional argument that they were educating their children at home because of a sincerely held religious belief. This in and of itself was the most disturbing part of the case for me, due to the light treatment it received by the court.

The Effect
This decision is a blow to home educators across the State of California and the rest of the country. In California, the case could in theory expose families to truancy prosecutions punishable by fines, according to the decision. But reality does not always follow theory.

If the decision does stand, criminal prosecutions and civil contempt penalties (for failure to obey court orders) will probably be relatively few and far between. Last I checked, California had other criminal problems more pressing than homeschool parents. Because it is a published opinion (more on this below), this decision could have devastating effect in those states were homeschooling is protected only by a mutual understanding of all parties not to enforce truancy laws against homeschoolers because of their good-faith efforts at actually educating their children.

While this case is a California case and may only be binding in California state courts, it may nevertheless (as long as it remains published) be cited by edu-crats and the education establishment as “persuasive authority” to adopt similar standards in other states. Basically, they would be saying, “Look, California has gone the way of the caveman, and this why and how, and we should adopt California’s reasoning and methods and go the way of the caveman ourselves.”

The Call-to-Action
This brings us to the call to action. With all that has happened, what can we do? What should we do?

1. First, and foremost, you can and should PRAY. Pray for the family involved in this litigation. Pray for the attorneys involved (for wisdom for the attorneys appealing to the California Supreme Court and for confusion for the state’s attorneys). Pray for the judges hearing the case. Remember, God is still sovereign and on the throne. He holds the heart of the judges in His hand and can change it on a moment’s notice.

Finally, pray for peace amongst the homeschooling community. I have seen a lot of hand-wringing over this case in recent days and a real need for the peace of God that passes all understanding. We need to keep our eyes focused on Him and trust Him for the result. As I said before, this did not catch God by surprise–He is in control.

2. If you haven’t done so already, sign the petition from HSLDA. Do something–even if it’s a small thing. Go here to sign the petition:
https://www2.hslda.org/Registrations/DepublishingCaliforniaCourtDecision/

3. Write to your local paper or online in support of home education. One of the striking parts of this decision is that it totally ignores any result-based method of looking at what constitutes a quality education. I guess in California, you can only get a quality education if you sit in a classroom with four walls with 20 other children your own age for 6 hours a day. Let your community see otherwise; let them see the positive opportunities and experiences that are everywhere in home education!

4. Do not lose heart! Remember the brave families that faced real threats and prosecutions in the 1980’s so we can stand where we do today. To them, decisions like this were the norm. It is because of their strength and fortitude that we can stand today and decry this opinion as an aberration. Be strong and of good courage. Do not give in to the education establishment. It is your parental right and your parental duty to provide what is best for your children. And contrary to the California Court of Appeals, the State does NOT know best.

5. If you are in California, contact your state legislators and ask them to support Assemble Concurrent Resolution 115, a resolution introduced by Assemblyman Joel Anderson condemning the Court of Appeals decision. While this is in no way binding nor a change in the law, it nevertheless could be used to send a strong message of solidarity to other members of the legislature that homeschoolers are in it for the long fight and will not stand by to see their liberties trampled upon.

6. VOTE. In many jurisdictions, judges are elected by popular vote. Educate yourself on the issues surrounding judicial elections and judicial appointments and vote them out of office or vote to not retain them (if on a retention basis) if they have not been faithful in upholding the rule of law in their particular jurisdiction.

Finally, help support the rights of parents to direct the upbringing of their children in this country. This decision in California may only be the tip of the iceberg if the November elections give liberal Democrats a 2/3 majority in the U.S. Senate. I say this because of the looming United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, signed by President Clinton and never acted upon by the Senate. If approved, this treaty will be the law of the land, on equal footing with the Constitution, and will greatly undermine the rights of parents in training and discipling their children.

There is a movement toward introducing a federal constitutional amendment protecting such rights from encroachment by over-zealous state government officers, like those in California, as well as international demigods in the U.N. If you want more information, go to http://www.ParentalRights.org.

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Artemis… foul?

March 14, 2008 at 1:06 am (Book reviews) (, , , )

I recently became part of our local library’s home school book club. It was actually just started, so we have a long way to go. I think that I’ll do a review on here of every book that we read. We’ll see.

The book that was chosen for this month was one with which I was unfamiliar: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. I would rate the book 0. It was not worth anyone’s time, and I’ll state my reasons below. [Note: I did not read the whole book due to what the librarians call, “Moral objections”]

Reason #1: Artemis Fowl, the main character, is a criminal.

   Why this is wrong: Ephesians 5:11 ~And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Reason #2: The witch

   Why this is wrong: Leviticus 19:13 ~Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.

Reason #3: Evolution

   Why this is wrong: Genesis 1 or John 1:1 ~All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.

Reason #4: Swearing

   Why this is wrong: Ephesians 4:29 ~Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Summing it all up: Philippians 4:8 ~Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;… think on these things.

I realize that these references are by no means the only ones that would apply to these problems, but they were the first ones that came to my mind. I also did not address all of the problems that I discovered. There was drunkenness, lying/deceit, crude humor, and some environmentalist ideas that were getting frustrating. All of this in less than half of the book! I’m actually ashamed that I stayed with it so long, but now I know better. Thankfully our selection for this month is Dr. Dolittle. 😀

[Another quick note: I’ve been asked why I read the Chronicles of Narnia if I won’t have anything to do with Harry Potter or other such things. The reason is that there is a major distinction between the good and the bad, and the bad loses. In books such as Artemis Fowl, there is no good side. Also, the Chronicles of Narnia are allegories, and I am constantly reminded of Christ by reading them. No such thing with Artemis or Harry. Is that a good explanation?]

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Never a dull moment… almost

March 13, 2008 at 6:05 am (My life) ()

   Hello, everybody! Or should I say, “Anybody”? Not too many people have been around. Ah… I’ll have to see if I can visit some of you so that you can return the favor.

   Yesterday I went to America’s Best to get my eyes checked. As I suspected, my right eye has gotten worse. My left eye hasn’t changed at all, though. So I’m getting new glasses next week! At America’s Best, you get two pair, and Mom decided to spoil me and let me get my second pair with transitions lenses. I’m really excited! Is that dumb to be excited over new glasses?

   By the way, for those of you who haven’t: Please go to HSLDA and sign the petition if you can. If you’re not old enough, I encourage you to remind your parents about it!

   Hey! Here’s something else for you to do! Go to The Rebelution and take a look at their plans for a “Book Bomb” on amazon! I plan on taking part, if I have the money… which I should. 😀

   That’s all for now! I have more to say, but I don’t know if I should say it yet. I’ll be back soon, though!

   P.S. I just listed my very first items on eBay! It was incredibly easy! And… if you’re looking for Saxon Math, go buy mine! 😀

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Life continues

March 5, 2008 at 10:46 pm (My life) (, , , , )

   Well, everyone, I’m back! I’m sorry that it’s taken so long. So many thing have happened since I last posted that I really don’t know where or how to begin. So I’ll just let my fingers ramble a bit so that you can get a picture of what my crazy life is doing.

   First of all, we’ve left our church and are searching for a new one. I think that most of you already know that, but for those of you who don’t know… well, now you do, so you’ll understand future posts a little better. We’ve visited three churches so far: Northern Ridge Baptist Church, Good Shepherd Bible Church, and Woodside Baptist Church. I’m praying that God’s will is Woodside, but I’m also praying that He will change the desires of my heart if that’s not where we need to be. The whole family loves it, though!

   My birthday was pretty good. We were all sick that week, so we ended up saving birthday dinner and dessert until… several days later. (I don’t remember exactly how long.) Thanks so much to those of you who sent me gifts! I was completely spoiled this birthday.

   One birthday gift that I have really enjoyed – but that has also caused some major frustration – is a 4 gigabyte iPod Nano. My grandpa was kind enough to send me an incredible $200 to take to Best Buy for a nano. I felt a bit like I was wasting his money, but it’s what he wanted to give me, so I’m not going to complain!

   Due to Mrs. B leaving the church as well, Pastor Smith decided that he wouldn’t have anything to do with the Joy Club anymore. It was a huge blow, but God is still good. Pastor was providing transportation for most of the kids, so we went from 20+ to 4 in one week. Last week we only had two. We’ll see what happens.

   On Saturday my counselor from camp in 2006 had a birthday party. She had invited me, but Mom said I couldn’t go ‘cause she didn’t want to drive me there, then have to come pick me up again. Gas is just too expensive. So Margaret invited me to spend the night and go to church with her family in the morning. Dad was planning on going to Tri-City soon anyhow, so I was allowed to go! I had so much fun. Sometimes it’s just nice to do something out of the ordinary. Life can start to seem dull if there’s nothing new.

   [Quick clarification: Tri-City isn’t really an option as a church we might attend. I think that we all enjoy going there occasionally, but it’s just not the right place for us. (Even though Uncle Brian goes there)]

   Seth is still steadfastly refusing to be potty-trained. I’m getting more impatient with Mom than I am with him, sad to say. This may sound incredibly stupid, but please pray about it. You see, we’re all frustrated with Seth for his attitude about it, but I’m also becoming upset with how mom and dad are handling it. Potty-training a little tyke ought not ruin family relationships!

   This is long enough, so I’ll quit. But I’ll be back soon!

   Emily Rose

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