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Finals Round One

This week is finals week for my 6th grader.  It is his first finals week ever.  I have tried not to nag him about studying, but sometimes you just have to say something.  The school puts out a calendar of when the finals are and reminds you that your student may not have homework, but he or she should be studying.  I can also access all of his grades online.  Thank you technology!

Anyhoo, I asked WonderBoy if he had brought home his stuff to study for his Science final.  I really only asked because he told me he did terrible on his last test.  Here is our conversation:

Me:  Have you studied for your Science test?

Him:  Ummm…Mom you know there is more to life than school, right?  

Me:  Not during finals week.  It is one week of your life.  Get studying!

Him:  Well, I don’t have my Science binder.

Me:  (Thinking to myself:  It’s gonna be pretty hard to study for a final when you have nothing to study.)  Why didn’t you bring it home?

Him:  That thing is too heavy to carry around.

Me: (Beginning to get more than slightly annoyed) You know they give you all your stuff with prepunched holes and tell you where to file it in your binder so you have all your materials ready for test time.  

Him:  (Silent.  Eyes glaring at me.  I was waiting for an eye roll but he had enough sense not to do that.)

Me:  It’s going to be hard to study without any notes.

Him:  I have a couple of my old tests, but I don’t know the right answers because she doesn’t write them on the test when she grades it.

Me:  (Getting ready to go over the edge.  Temper boiling)  Bring the tests to me and I’ll help you figure out the answers.  Isn’t your Science book available online?

Him:  (Stomps off looking for old tests.)

In the meantime, I find the Science book online.  I help him find the correct answers then offer him the laptop to review the chapters they have studied this semester using the online book.  He stomped off to his room without the laptop.  He did take the old tests.  I can’t wait to see the grade on this test.  Oh my!

I think I might have won this round because my last words before he stomped off were “If I see a C or below on that test, your XBox is mine for 9 weeks.”  He knows I mean it.  I’ve done it before.  I saw a little fear and trembling ensue so I’m counting it as a victory.

Finals Round One:  Mom – 1,  WonderBoy – 0 Finals Grades – TBD

For Your Listening Pleasure

Fitz and the Tantrums!  Put on your dancing shoes!

Review: I Am Half-Sick of Shadows

I Am Half-Sick of Shadows
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Flavia de Luce is becoming one of my favorite characters!! She is an 11-year-old chemist/detective/genius that I desperately want to meet!
Loved this book!

View all my reviews

Broken

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Ps. 34:18 (ESV)

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath. Ps 34:18 (The Message)

Sometimes it seems that all we hear is bad news.   The bad news just seems to pile up and pile up until we aren’t sure we can take it anymore.  Sunday started with the news that my brother-in-law is being laid off from him job of twenty-three years.  I cried and prayed and cried some more.  I made it to church and of course, God always know just what we need to hear.  The sermon was on Lamentations 3:20-26.  (Look it up!)  In a nutshell, He is exactly what you need; He is the hope to keep you going; and He is the help you are seeking.  (Craig Groeschel)

Later that afternoon, I got word that the four-year-old sister of one of my son’s classmates had died.  She had some medical problems in the past, and passed away due to a heart condition.  The news felt like a punch to my stomach.  How do you tell a 12-year-old that his sister is not coming back?  So, you know what I did?  I cried and prayed and cried some more.

Today, I came home from a meeting to find my delightful house cleaner hard at work on our house.  I asked her if she was ready for Christmas and her face fell.  I thought maybe I had miscommunicated.  She doesn’t speak that good of English and I speak absolutely no Spanish so we have some interesting conversations.  She handed me her cell phone and I got on the phone with one of her sons.  She has five sons.  Her son told me that the family had suffered a tragedy and that his 29-year-old brother had committed suicide on Friday.  I was shocked and yes, I cried.  I went to my house cleaner (I wish I had a better word to call her but I don’t want to use her real name.  She is much more than a house cleaner.  She is a wonderful person who happens to clean my house.)  and told her I was sorry and then we cried together.  I had no words.  What do you say in the face of such loss? I told her to take the day off, but she refused.  She wanted to keep busy and not sit at home.  I went to my office and cried and prayed some more.

I then logged onto check my email and I saw that my brother-in-law had posted a tribute to his friend who passed away last night.  You can read it here.   My heart broke again.

I have not felt so much brokeness in a long time.  There have been many times in my life when I let things happening to other people just roll off my back.  It didn’t happen to me so why should it bother me.  This time is different.  The tears roll freely and my heart breaks.  It isn’t much fun, but it signifies to me that maybe I have begun to change.  Maybe God is doing a new work in my heart.  I have been praying Psalm 51:10-12 a lot.  The first part of verse 10 says, “Create in me a pure heart, O God.”  Maybe that’s what He’s doing.    He’s taking out my old calloused  heart and putting in a new one that is softer, more compassionate, and more empathetic.   I’m praying more and worrying less.  I’m learning that He is there no matter what.

I’m praying for all these people I’ve mentioned.  (And, I’m not just saying that, I really am!  Another change for the better!)  I’m sure they’d appreciate your prayers, too.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)

P.S. If God can change my old hard heart, He can change anyone’s!

Review: The Litigators

The Litigators
The Litigators by John Grisham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Grisham’s books and this one didn’t disappoint. I love his writing style. This book is about mass-tort litigation which is fascinating to me.

View all my reviews

Jesus

Jesus

God’s son

Heir of all things

through Him the universe was made

the radiance of God’s glory

the exact representation of God

Sustainer of all things

Purifier of sins

Sits at the right hand of God

Superior to the angels

Firstborn

Savior.

(Based on Hebrews 1)

What Should the Church Look Like?

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily. Gal. 2:21 (The Message)

I have been thinking a lot about the universal church since I began my study of Acts. I am amazed at that first church in Antioch. They met in homes and took care of those who couldn’t take care of themselves. They told the good news to whomever they encountered. They had struggles and disputes. Should the Gentiles be forced to follow Jewish traditions? Should the Jews continue to follow Jewish traditions? The clear answer is that our righteousness can only come through Jesus Christ. We cannot make ourselves righteous by following traditions and rituals. None of our actions can save us. We have a choice – reject Christ or accept Christ. That choice determines our destiny. Only Christ can make us right with God. If not, then why did He bother to die in the first place?

The church today has all sorts of traditions, rules, and rituals. Where did they come from and why do we continue to follow them today? I understand that a lot of the traditions and rituals are meaningful to us. They bring us comfort and a feeling of being at home. They are important to a lot of us. I wonder, though, how the church would look if we really focused on what Jesus called us to do and not on the traditions, rules, and rituals that we feel are so important. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… Love your neighbor as yourself. ” Matt. 22:37-39

Perhaps the even bigger question is what would my life look like if I really lived out what Jesus called me to do. My life would certainly look different than it looks now. It would be other-focused instead of self-focused. Things that seem so important now wouldn’t seem all that important in the light of eternity.

Glorious by Paul Baloche

I have spent more time that you want to know trying to find this song.  We sang it at church and I was determined to find it.  I love the words as well as the melody.  All I could remember was “whoa whoa beautiful.”  Well as I found out that wasn’t exactly correct.  I asked my 10-year-old if he knew what it was.  He sang “whoa whoa glorious.”  That’s it!  I quickly googled those lyrics and voila!

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