Tea and books

24 10 2009

I’m sitting down this afternoon with a cup of black tea and a pile of books. I have an hour or two while my little ones sleep and Asher works quietly at his desk. My husband is going on a bike ride and I am going to ignore the piles of laundry. There are always piles of laundry. I will also ignore the dishes in the sink and the cereal on the floor.

I am in the process of reading a stack of books about everything from theology to homemaking to triathlon training. This is a lot of literary juggling, especially when I can hardly keep my eyes open at the end of the day. It is exhausting to be the mother of three little boys. Life seldom slows down and my hands are very full. But the books paint a picture of what God is doing in our lives. 

The first  book is Triathlons for Women by Sally Edwards. Since the Kirkland Triathlon in September, I’ve been recovering from this season and planning for next year. This little book is inspiration to keep me focused on my goals, including an Olympic distance race next summer and a half-iron in 2011 or 2012. Many people have asked how I have time to train when I have three young boys. In all truth, I don’t know how I could have enough energy to be a mom of three boys if I didn’t exercise. Mothering is a physically demanding job and my triathlon training makes everyday easier. Not to mention the hours I spend running, swimming and on the bike provide much needed time for prayer and reflection.

The second book is Shopping for Time by Carolyn Mahaney and her three daughters. The book claims to offer practical wisdom from the Bible to help women be fruitful rather than just busy. The first chapter is about the seasons in women’s lives. As I am moving from a season of childbearing to a season of raising preschool and school age children, I know I need to refocus my priorities. Mark and I together need to figure out what we will do (and what we will not do) so that our family is fruitful rather than just busy.

The next book is Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning by Robert Littlejohn and Charles T. Evans. One of the biggest decisions Mark and I are praying through is how we will educate our boys. Over the last three years, I’ve spent a lot of time researching schools, but relatively little time considering the underlying principles guiding the methods for educating our children. We find ourselves between a few rocks and a hard place. The local public school is good as public schools go, but I am not sure this is right for our children. We love the private school where Asher attends preschool, but the tuition for elementary school is expensive. I think homeschooling is admirable, but it terrifies me. So what do we do? And why? And how?

Although I am just a few chapters deep in this book, I find the authors argument in favor of a classical liberal arts education both grounded in a Biblical worldview and relevant to the culture compelling. One of our primary goals for our children’s education has always been that the boys would use the gifts they have been given to love God, serve people and steward creation. The authors suggest that the goals of education are wisdom and eloquence, that children would be prepared “not only to make a living, but also to make a profound difference in the world.”

The fourth book is Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. I am reading this book in response to what God has been doing in my heart. As I’ve been reminded of God’s concern for the poor and his passion for justice, I am praying about how God would lead our family to live, love and serve differently. Did you know that nearly 30,000 children will die today as a result of hunger or disease caused by poverty? As a Christian, I read the Bible and it is clear that God expects His people to do something about children dying as a result of poverty. The question we’re pondering is what should we do. My husband and I have been reading Adopted for Life by Russel Moore. We are praying about whether God would lead us to adopt, possibly a little girl from Africa. I recently finished Melissa Fay Greene’s stunning book about Ethiopia, There Is No Me Without You. Ethiopia is a country with a population of about 75 million people where nearly 5 million children are orphans. Approximately 1 million children in Ethiopia have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The Bible is clear about God’s compassion for orphans; the question is how will we respond. 

One other book sitting on my bedside table is Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper. This is a biography of several women whose lives declare what it means to be a Christian. The books is about women who were ordinary in many respects, balancing the responsibilities of marriage, motherhood and homemaking. Each of these women were faithful to God, trusting that he would give them strength to serve and love in extraordinary ways.

There are several other books sitting on my desk and beside my bed, including a few about sewing by Amy Butler, several cookbooks and another book about homeschooling. I have more books on hold at the library and I’m trying to track down Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper. And of course the Bible sits on top of these piles. I’ve been studying Luke, Ruth and Esther. I love to read, but more importantly I am also excited to learn and prepare for this next season of my life.

While I’ve blogged, I’ve had two cups of tea. I’ve tucked Micah back in to bed three times. And I’ve stepped on more than a few cheerios on the floor. The laundry and dishes are still sitting where they were an hour ago. Asher is still busy at his desk and I will now turn off the computer and open a book.

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3 responses

25 10 2009
Natalie

We too have been steeped in the Classical Christian Education mode. The book I have liked the best so far is The Well Trained Mind. Just one more to add to your reading list.

25 10 2009
Amber Weiseth

We too have decided to homeschool. Emelia is on the wait list for columbia virtual academy. It is a public school that gives you money to homeschool your kids. It’s pretty cool! It is exciting to see how God is continuing to call your heart towards adoption.

26 10 2009
Kelly

i love your thoughts on here. and i love that each book gives a different angle on what is going on in your heart and your family. i feel like i know you a little better now and really want to chat more on these things soon.

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