Monday, February 28, 2011

The Hole in Our Gospel: Day 2

Focus of the day: water

Personal action suggestion:  invest 12 hours in experiencing a day without water
  • I started my day with one cup of hot tea and breakfast, then took my vitamins with a glass of water.  Since then, I've been without water for the past 12 hours.  I expected this to be very difficult, as I drink a lot of water and tea throughout the day.  Some of the time I was busy and hardly took notice of my fast.  At other times, it was on my mind almost constantly.  It is nearing the 12-hour mark, and I absolutely cannot wait to get a glass of water to drink.  (It doesn't help that I exacerbated the issue by having some salty chips at dinner--wow, am I thirsty now!)  As Mark mentioned to me, an exercise such as this certainly brings the issue of clean water availability to the forefront of our minds, but never could we truly know the suffering and deadly effects of a lack of clean water without living it daily.
Statistics from today's lesson:
  • one in every six people worldwide do NOT have access to clean water
  • in the Central African Republic, the life expectancy is 39 years
  • 85% of its population is without clean drinking water
  • unsafe water and sanitation causes 80% of all sickness and disease and kills more people than war
  • women and children walk for hours to find water, missing school and work (the water they find is hardly what we would consider drinkable)
  • clean water is available underground--they simply need the resources and training to build and maintain water wells
  • 1 well = water for 400 people lasting 20 years
  • no other humanitarian intervention has more impact than access to clean water
Our workbook includes this startling fact:
A child dies every 21 seconds from a water-related disease.  This amounts to nearly 6,000 deaths, or the equivalent of 20 jumbo jets crashing every day.
And we've been content to turn our backs on situations such as these??  I have been.

Until now.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Hole in Our Gospel

Today, our church is embarking on a six-week quest to study "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision.  I am so excited about this study and have been praying for weeks for all that God is planning for our church.  It is my prayer that we will all be open to what God wants us to hear during the next six weeks AND that we will be willing to change as a result.

I first read this book after receiving it back in the Fall at a Women of Faith Conference.  I signed up at the conference to sponsor a child through World Vision and was given a copy of this book.  I brought it home, immediately began reading it, and soon my life was changed.  I am so looking forward to reading it again while going through the small group study with my Sunday School class and working my way through the Personal Action Journal that accompanies this church study.

I have decided to share some of my experiences on this journey here on my blog.  Some posts may be on a sentence or two from the book that really spoke to my heart that day.  Or I may share with you about the "Action" suggestion that was given for that particular day (I know for a fact that I will be stretched through those Action suggestions--I've look ahead and read some of them!).  No matter what I feel led to share here about how God is working in my life, I hope and pray that God will use it for His glory, however He sees fit.

I'm putting on my seat belt because I have a feeling I'm in for a wild ride!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

"Beauty and the Beast" and Homeschool

One of my favorite parts of homeschool is that I can incorporate the happenings of our life into our schoolwork.  For instance, tonight, we are going to see the Broadway production of "Beauty and the Beast" (can I even tell you how excited I am about this?!?!).  So part of our schedule for school today looks something like this:
  • Read aloud "Beauty and the Beast"
  • Watch clips online of what we can expect of the production
  • Research online and learn about theater etiquette
  • Hannah's handwriting practice: write "Beauty and the Beast", "Belle" and "Gaston" while reviewing the use of capital letters in names and titles
  • Benjamin's writing assignment:  write a paragraph about theater etiquette
  • Beauty and the Beast activity sheets and coloring pages (isn't the Internet a wonderful tool?)
I thank God everyday for calling our family to homeschool, and days like today, where we incorporate "life" into our schoolwork make me all the more thankful.  It's so much fun!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In Control...Or Not

I guess if we let it, life can be an on-going lesson about something, can't it?  I had an interesting learning experience following my appendectomy (see previous post) that was rather revealing to me--about myself.

First of all, the somewhat-emergency appendectomy was the first surgery I've ever had--except for the tonsillectomy I had at age 3, and needless to say, I don't remember much about that experience.  (Though I do have a few very vivd memories that would make a good post for another day...)  Throw in a couple of dental procedures that involved that nasty gas, and that is the sum total of my experience with anesthesia.

After I came home from the hospital and slowly turned back into a person again, I began to realize there were many holes in my memory from the experience that began in the emergency room and ended in the operating room and later, a hospital room.  For beginners, I didn't know what took place in my home not long after the adventure all began.  When I began getting sick that Friday evening, we didn't know how serious an issue we were dealing with, so I started out by going to our after-hours clinic at the hospital.  Mark didn't want me driving myself, so he and the kids dropped me off, and he returned home with the kids--to either await my call to return and pick me up, or make arrangements for someone to stay with the kids so he could join me at the clinic.  One exam led to another, and one test led to another, and following a few text messages and phone conversations, I was moved from the clinic to the ER and then Mark was by my side.  After that, things got a bit crazy as we were told I needed my appendix removed, and we needed to decide what hospital we would go to (our small town hospital doesn't do appendectomies and such), and here, we'll give you some medicine that will make your transport more comfortable, and...what about my kids?  Who will take care of my kids?  (insert dreamy music as my head begins floating through La La Land as the drugs take effect)

As I began replaying all of this in my head while recovering, more holes became apparent.  Did I say goodbye to Mark and my parents as they wheeled me into surgery?  For that matter, when did they even put me to sleep?  I didn't even remember the trip down hall, much less going into surgery.  What did Mark do/think while I was in surgery?  What about after the surgery--when did Mark first get to see me?  Was I in recovery or back in my room?  It began to really bother me when I couldn't remember what had happened or realized that things happened as I was under the influence of anesthesia and other drugs that I was not aware of.  I felt a need to get answers and fill in these holes before I could be at peace with the whole experience.  I needed to get all the pieces to this puzzle in front of me so I could get it all put together and be able to take in the whole experience.

That was such an odd thing for me--to have so many things that were involved with that weekend that I did not remember or know what had gone on.  And that doesn't even take into account the time I was away from my kids and they were in the care of hands besides mine.  What were they thinking during all of this?  Were they ever scared?  (There isn't much that hurts my heart more than to think or know that one of my kids is scared.)  What did they eat?  Who did they play with?

For several days that following week, I was constantly asking Mark and the kids questions so I could get this all figured out.  I finally realized...this is the controlling part of me!  I don't like to admit that!!  But I really like it when I know what is going on now and what is going to go on in the future and how it is going to go on and...I just like to have a sense of control.

I've grown a lot in this area over the past few years, and I really do believe I have a healthy desire for control and order combined with an intense trust in the One who is really in control of it all.  I wasn't frantic about figuring everything out...but I certainly wanted to learn what I didn't remember or know about all that had taken place.

When it was all said and done, I came to terms with the fact that I may not have been prepared for all that went on, and I was in control of very little of what went on.  But NONE of it was out of the control of the One who has EVERYTHING under control, all of the time.