Golden QuillMay 2011 Newsletter

If you are looking for my examination of the uncut Cultures of Revolution video, click on this link to go to the MAVI MARMARA report.

Spring is my favourite season. My heart thrills to see purple and yellow crocuses nestling around trees, promising warmer days to come. I love it when I don't have to wear leggings under my jeans and loads of other clothes when I go outdoors, and the days are sunny without being sweltering. Where were you this month, Spring? You wore your pretty hats of blossoms on the trees, but most of May's days were chilly and grey. I was grateful, though, for the few days that were warm and bright.

As usual, I looked after the grandkids a lot this month, Connor in particular, and it was wonderful. Heather and I recently discussed the differences in the boys' personalities. I described Connor as an exciting river of rapids and waterfalls, and Jake as a refreshing, burbling stream. Jake is a rest compared to Connor, who is very active and requires almost constant attention. It is only this year that Connor finally let me take a couple of good naps when he was around. Jake, on the other hand, can play quietly by himself for hours and he has been letting me take good naps since he was two or three.

When Connor was three, I had to close him in my bedroom with me, if I wanted to take a nap, and I knew that the room would be totally trashed when I got up. I had to seriously need a nap in order to take one when he was around. My dozing would be interrupted every fifteen minutes by him jumping on me. Jake, at the same age, just quietly knelt by my bed and played with his cars and trucks until I got up.

I love Connor's personality. It is fun and exciting, but I don't think I could have handled it, if Jake was like him. I used to have to chase Connor around the church and wrangle with him to get him behave, but I never had trouble getting Jake to sit still. I could keep him in the service, cuddled up in my lap like a little koala, so snuggly and sweet, his big eyes intent on the pastor as he preached.

Jake is not an introvert, though. He is an extrovert. He will talk to other kids in the library while I am browsing through books near by. When neighbours passed by Heather's patio in the housing project where she lived, he would skip over to the railing to visit with them. He is not quite as outgoing as Connor when it comes to performing in front of others. He feels comfortable singing or reciting only in front of people he knows well, but oh what a show. He learned the phonetic sounds of the alphabet through a computer program and it sure is entertaining when he goes through it.

I am so relieved that he finally knows the alphabet. Connor and Jake were similar to Andrew and Heather, in that regard. When Andrew was two and half, he learned to recognize all the letters of the alphabet in only a couple of weeks. Heather had no interest in learning the alphabet. The only letter she could recognize was O. I assumed that Andrew was more intelligent.

I found out later that it was simply a matter of personality differences. Andrew is of a more intellectual bent, whereas Heather is very social. Scholastic achievement was not something that she cared about when she went to school. She just wanted to hang out with her friends, but I could tell by her sense of humour that she was smart as a whip. She had to be in order to be so witty, and also to get my jokes right away. At a young age, she was also keenly logical, when it suited her.

When Connor came along, I was eager to give him a head start on learning. I lived with Heather for a while when Connor was a baby, so there was lots of opportunity for that. I bought cards about shapes, colour, numbers, letters, and words, and tacked them up on the kitchen walls. Connor loved it when I showed him the cards and told him what they said. He soon imitated me, prefacing his replies with, "And this is", like I did when I told him what it was. Edward, Heather's Chinese landlord, loved the kid because of his sparkling, intelligent eyes and used to bring him whole cakes and bags of cookies.

Though he got that early start on learning the alphabet, Connor was three before he could recognize all the letters. I figured that something more had to be done about it because this was taking too long. I made a Powerpoint presentation on my computer that taught the alphabet in an entertaining way and told him that, for every letter he could recognize, I would let him play on my computer for a minute. Only a week later, he went from being able to only identify O to identifying 13 letters. He sure wanted to play on my computer! And he loved the game. Every time he identified a letter correctly, I enthusiastically told him that he had got it right and he would sit on my lap shaking with excitement, as if he was on a TV game show playing for thousands of dollars.

Yes, there is a wealth of memories of fun with Connor. After Heather weaned Connor when he was a year old, she handed him over to me to take care of at night. He felt he needed a bottle of formula every three or four hours, and there was nothing I could do but drag myself out of bed and stagger into the kitchen to get it for him because he had such a high-pitched screech. Edward and his wife needed their sleep and I didn't want Heather to get kicked out.

One morning was particularly funny. I was asleep and a bit of a song from one of Connor's videos went through my mind. It goes, "There's no escape from cranky grapes; we are the grapes of wrath!" Then I became aware that Connor was in his room screaming. I laughed as I got up, figuring that Connor's guardian angel must have stuck his finger in my brain to trigger that song because his little charge was awake and needed his bottle and a diaper change.

Connor was an entertainer from the start. He quickly picked up on how to make monkey sounds, to give Tarzan's call, how to do a karate kick, to show us his big muscles, etc., and he did the whole repetoire for anyone at the drop of a hat. Heather and her friends and I were always laughing our heads off at him. Then I would tell him to take a bow and that was hilarious, too, because he would bend at the waist and try to touch the floor with his head. Heather recognized that he did it this way because, when I demonstrated a bow to him, my long hair was loose and touched the floor.

Connor's messes were legendary. Heather heard Connor screaming in the kitchen one day. She hurried to see what the matter was and found him standing on top of the microwave oven. At only a year and a half old, he had climbed onto a stool and then up onto the microwave to get at a dish that was hanging on the wall. It was a whiteware display of fruit that I had painted so realistically that Connor thought the bananas were real and he wanted them. Unfortunately, there was a jar of cocoa mix on top of the microwave that Connor also investigated. He got it all over the bananas and himself and some of it went down into the microwave's vents, so the microwave oven had to be discarded after that. Having discovered that he could not get the bananas off the of plate, Connor was finished with his business up there, but discovered that he could not get down on his own. Hence, he screamed to bring his mother running.

Heather was astonished when saw what he had been up to. She lifted him down to the floor and then stood with her hands on her hips and a smile twitching on her lips as she asked him sternly, "What did you think you were doing?" His eyes widened with the notion that he was about to get a spanking, though Heather had no intention of giving him one, and he took off into the living room. Heather screamed in horror because she and her boyfriend had cleaned the carpet the day before. Right enough, Connor got cocoa powder on the carpet and then on the couch as he scrambled up there. When I got home from school, things had settled down, Heather had an interesting story to tell, and I had the job of washing the cocoa marks off the kitchen walls that told the tale of Connor's progress around the room.

It did not matter how many times I warned Heather that she needed to always put the hook back in the lock on the pantry door, she would forget. Then Connor would get into the flour bin and there would be a huge mess to clean up. Even at eighteen, Heather was an excellent cook. I, on the other hand, disliked cooking, so it worked out between us that I looked after Connor quite a bit and did the housekeeping while she took care of the cooking. She also washed the floors because I disliked that chore, and I mostly left it up to her to clean up the flour when she had forgotten to lock the pantry door.

One day we were sitting at the table eating some Mexican food she had prepared that usually was very tasty. Heather asked how I liked the food. I puzzled over it, telling her that the tortilla was really salty. Heather tried it, too, and agreed. We sat there wondering what had gone wrong with her recipe. Then the same thought hit us at the same time and we looked at Connor, who was sitting between us in his swing chair, unconcernedly sucking his toe. We both exclaimed, "Connor!" as we realized that he was the culprit. He had dumped a box of baking soda into the flour the last time he got into it. The whole bucket of flour had to be thrown out.

Heather has always managed to laugh about his antics later, and she laughed again the other day when she spoke of the differences between her two sons. I had brought up the matter of how entertaining Connor is with his tricks and she rolled her eyes as she said, "Connor and his pranks! How would you like it, if you turned the tap on and water squirted in every direction because he had stuck some gum in it? He saw that done on that TV show about pranks and he has been banned for life now from watching it." I agreed that one would be hard to take.

No, our little Jake has never done any of that kind of stuff to us. He is so easy–going and obedient. Heather tells him to clean the laundry room and goes in there a few minutes later to find all the boots neatly lined up in pairs. He begs her to let him help her clean the house, and when she says she wants to do it herself, he cheerfully says, "Okay, I'll go clean my room!" When he visits me, he always begs me to let him vacuum, and he does a good job of it. He takes it upon himself to make the beds. He is the sort of guy who could run a janitorial company.

He sure has speeded up in learning his letters. I didn't make the mistake I made with Heather in assuming that he wasn't capable of learning as quickly as Connor. I recognized that he just wasn't as motivated, yet. I chided him from time to time that he ought to know his alphabet, and pointed out sometimes the advantages of knowing how to read. He finally decided it was important when he played on my Paint program on my computer, and when he asked me how to spell this word or that word that he wanted to put in the picture, I replied that I wasn't going to tell him how to spell any words until he learned the whole alphabet. It seemed only a week later that he could go through all the ABC's in the right order and recognize all the letters, so I had pull myself away from whatever I was doing to help him spell his words.

After that, the kid took off running. Frequently, without prompting from anyone, he is found practicing writing out words, sounding them out himself. He hasn't even started kindergarten, yet, but he can write out quite a number of words, including baseball bat, though he spells it baseboll bat. Connor taught him that one, so maybe that is why he spells it that way. Ha ha! I have been on Connor's case about his spelling.

Jake isn't as quick when it comes to reading, yet. Last week, I said that I would read to him. He grabbed one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and hurried to my bed, so we could snuggle up there for a read. He said something about it, and I thought he was telling me he would read the book. I said, "Good! It's about time a kid read to me, considering how much I read books to kids." He rocked with laughter and said, "Good one, Gramma!" I insisted that I meant it and opened the book for him to read, but he wasn't quite so fast sounding out words that he is not familiar with.

I sure love that Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The books are hilarious. The boys and I have had a lot of good times laughing over them. The author's irony is apparent to them; they know he is poking fun at the characters' selfishness, not advocating it. Rowley, the sweet, innocent kid whom Greg takes advantage of, usually gets to come out on top. The boys also know that if they start behaving like the bratty characters in those books, I won't read them to them.

The kids struck gold last week. Connor wanted to go to the library, so we headed over there. As we were passing through a back alley, Connor spotted some stuff that had been left out with a sign saying that it was free. He lit over there pretty quick to claim a beautiful bike that was just right for his size and looks like it is new. He wanted Jake and me to wait for him in the alley while he took it back to my place, but I told him we would go on ahead and he could take the bus to meet us at the library.

Jake and I continued down the alley and, a few yards later, we came across a big pile of pennies sitting on a wall behind the gas station. Someone had obviously left them there for whoever passed by after cleaning out their car with the vacuum, as it was on the other side of the hedge. I was delighted that Jake got blessed, too. He said he wanted to share his pennies with his brother. I said, ""Connor got the bike. These pennies are for you. We will put them in your piggy bank." He kept insisting that he wanted to share them with Connor and said that he wanted us to go to McDonald's and buy ice cream with them. I relented. I don't want to discourage Jake from being generous, when it is a legitimate impulse. Ordinarily, I act as his trustee and refuse to let Connor borrow money from him because Jake adores him and always says yes.

Connor and I counted out the pennies at McDonald's after our visit to the library, placing them on a tray in stacks of ten. Jake had $2.08 from his haul. I offered to take the pennies to the counter, figuring that it might embarass Connor to have to pay for ice cream with so many pennies, but Connor insisted that he wanted to do it. As his teacher says at Connor's new school, Connor is NOT shy. He loves to have the opportunity to talk to people. Jake headed over there with him, they ordered their ice cream, and the girls behind the counter started to count out the pennies. It was cute picture; an, excited, little boy with huge eyes looking up to his big brother who was explaining to the servers what they wanted, and then the boys watching the patient servers counting out the money.

The kids returned with the biggest ice cream cones that I have ever seen served at McDonald's and a tray of pennies. A nice lady who had been waiting to order had handed a toonie over to the kids, to keep the servers from having to go to the trouble of counting out all those pennies. Also to speed up her own order, I am guessing. Jake got to put his money in his bank after all. It sure paid off for him to be generous.

God sure does bless those kids. One time in a small church service that I took Connor to, a lady felt like giving him $20.00. Connor insisted on spending half of it on me. We went to Value Village and I bought a pile of stuff with my own money, as I had a coupon that gave me a discount. After I paid for my things, Connor said he wanted to buy me something, but I said I didn't need anything more. He insisted that I go over to a jewellery counter and tell him what I liked. I pointed to a sparkling necklace with matching earrrings that cost more than what he had. He offered to pay $10.00 towards it, if I would buy it. I really didn't want to pay $21.00 of my own money towards something that I didn't need, but it would have been wrong to resist the beseeching look in his eyes. I think he also bought something for his little brother at that time.

In any case, we were on our way home from church some time after that, and I told the man who was giving us a ride about Connor's generosity to me and his little brother. Victor said, "Well, you know, Connor, what goes around comes around," and he handed him $20.00. I am so grateful that my grandkids have met such nice people in church.

Kind people are all over the place. When I gave Connor his allowance the other day, he said he was going to pay one of his teachers back for a hot dog that he had bought him. I asked him, "Why? Did you borrow the money from him?" He said that no, his teacher had just bought it for him as a gift, and he wanted to pay him back to show his appreciation for it. I said, "No, don't do that. If you do, you will take away his joy from having given you a gift. I would be offended, if I took you to McDonald's and you tried to pay me for it afterwards. It would take the fun out of it. If you want to show your appreciation, be more attentive when he is teaching you, because that is the kind of appreciation that teachers appreciate." By the look in his eyes, I think it got through to him.

Boy, I wish I could watch him unobserved in his classroom to see him doing that. He talks to me alot about what he is learning in school, which is really amazing when you consider how most kids, when you ask them about what they learned that day, will say, "Nuthin'." I know the teacher already thinks a lot of his writing skills, considering him more advanced than the other kids in that area because he has such a vivid imagination. It's probably also because he has seen me do a lot of writing and used to have a little desk right beside mine in my home office when he was three, where he made his first attempt to imitate me in that regard, covering a paper with little chicken scratches that I recognized later as his idea of what words looked like.

Kids like Connor are sometimes wrongly considered to have an attention deficit disorder, but it is because ENFP's see the world as full of wonderful possibilities and are so curious that they want to explore everything and do everything. I have spent a lot of time around him, so I know that he doesn't have ADD. Even when he was little, he could spend a whole hour playing with his Lego and chirping away aloud as he spun his fantasies. When he was nine, I caught him on my video camera still doing it, talking to himself while he played with Lego. And he listens for hours and hours when I read to him.

Connor has this other series of books that he is into now, as we have almost exhausted the Norah McClintock mystery books that I consider fit to read to him. He brought a book to me when we were at the library and asked me to read it to him. He likes the way I dramatize stories when I read. I saw that it was a spy story and said, "No, I'm not going to read spy stories to you. Spies tell lies, they steal, and they kill people." He urged me to take a closer look at it, telling me that the main character in the story was only a kid. I looked it over again and said, "Well, if I read this story to you, will you promise me that you won't fantasize about being a spy and become one when you grow up?" He said, "I agree to the second part, but I can't promise you on the first."

I figured that was fair enough. It isn't right to try to police what people think. The story was not as bad as I thought it would be and now we are almost finished the whole series. It's about a 14–year–old English kid who was raised by his uncle until his uncle was killed in a car accident. Alex becomes suspicious when he sees a lot of strange people showing up at his uncle's funeral. He had always thought that his uncle worked for a bank, but his former business associates don't look like bankers.

Curiosity runs in his blood and other things are suspicious, such as how he finds his uncle's office totally cleared out when he gets home from the funeral. He tracks down his uncle's car in an auto wrecking place and sees that it was shot full of bullet holes. He wonders why the police did not tell him and his caregiver about that. This discovery leads him to his uncle's office at the bank where he worked, but it is locked, and he manages to get into it by climbing around outside the building.

It turns out that his uncle was a spy, and his employers become curious about Alex when they see how tenacious he is about finding out the truth about his uncle's death. After watching on camera how he broke into the office, they realize that his uncle has been training him from babyhood to be a spy, teaching him several languages and getting him involved in extreme sports. M16 then compelled him to finish his uncle's mission that got him killed, threatening to put Alex in a rotten private school unless he complied, as they were now his legal guardians. Alex reluctantly falls in with what they want of him, saves all of England's schoolchildren from being killed by a deadly virus, and goes on to save the world several more times from deadly perils.

I like to tease Connor about the stories. His second name is Alexander, so I have put him in the role when getting him ready for school by saying, "Hurry, Alex, hurry! You have to reach the outside hatch and get out of here before the bomb goes off!", as I pushed him towards the door. Or when he was handing me a perfume bottle cap that had fallen on the floor, I pretended to have difficulty reaching for it, gasping and saying, "Alex, I can't reach it! I can't reach it! The diamond is going to fall!", as if there was a great chasm beneath us. Connor thought that drama was particularly annoying and dropped the cap, refusing to play.

The thing that makes the stories work is that Alex doesn't know everything and he makes mistakes, and, though he is tremendously athletic, sometimes it is just plain dumb luck that he scrapes through his adventures. It also appeals to me that Alex does not want to be a spy. He just wants to go to school and have an ordinary life. It shows that there is something very beautiful and valuable and wholesome about being allowed to live an ordinary life, and not have people trying to kill you, and that spies have miserable lives, full of suffering and treachery. Alex is frequently beat up, hungry, and deathly tired, but he still has to keep on going because, otherwise, millions of people are going to die. I often remark to Connor when I am reading the stories about the disadvantages of being a spy, to help put him in closer touch with reality.

Connor and I like Alex's witty remarks. He shows great aplomb among adults, even when he is speaking to people who intend to kill him. The villians are mostly Dick Tracy/Batmanesque types; hardly any of them look like normal people. I felt particularly sorry for one who had been pieced together by some Albanian doctors after he was injured by a bomb he had been carrying. I wondered what would happen if someone like that in real life was prayed for in the name of Yehoshua and restored to perfect wholeness. Would it draw them out of being a psycho, or would they carry on as before, taking God's mercy for granted? It would be interesting to see what developed, if something like that happened in real life.

As always when reading books to Connor by non-Christian authors, I edit out stuff that could be a bad influence on him, such as taking God's Name in vain, profanity, racy stuff, and junk about evolution. Alex's girlfriend's name is Sabina Pleasure, but I read it to him as Sabina Smith, and the Alex I present to him is a bit nicer than the Alex in the book. Connor's Alex is classier; he never swears, no matter how angry or dismayed he is. I have read all the books ahead of time and know when something is coming up that needs to be skipped over. In one of the books, Alex made a bit of a dirty joke to Sabina, but I skipped that.

The series is a lot of fun to read. The characters have different accents and I do them pretty well, but I got a bit stuck on an Egyptian villian. Connor imitated how an Egyptian friend of his speaks, so we got over that hump. Connor came home one day and spoke enthusiastically of how his teacher reads stories to him, doing the different accents, so I know he finds it really entertaining to hear me do them, and his ability to do accents is improving.

Reading to Connor is a great way to get him to do what I want. If he doesn't throw his dirty socks in the laundry, I say, "Okay, I'm not going to read the book to you tonight." The socks go instantly into the laundry. In the morning, when he is ready for school but it is not time to leave, yet, I read more of the current story to him. It is bliss to have him cuddled up to me in my armchair, listening intently. I am one happy Grandma. God told me the day he was born that Connor would bring me more joy than I ever dreamed of, and this is true.

It is true of Jake, as well. Two different personalities make for two different relationships, each special in their own way. In the same way, our relationship with God makes each of us His favourite kid. We can find similarities among ourselves, and sometimes it is very delightful when we discover someone who is a lot like us, but even if two people are almost alike, there would still be something different about them that makes them unique, and uniquely delightful to God.

I was meditating earlier today on how Yehoshua kept company with sinners who were interested in learning goodness from Him. What drew them to Him was that they could tell that, in spite of their sinning, He could see past it to their good qualities and appreciate them. He didn't put a label on them and shun them, the way the religious people did.

No, the Creator saw the person that He designed them to be, and He saw how, though they had become hookers and pimps, extortioners, thieves, druggies, and homosexuals, and even murderers, that they still had some glimmers of His light in them, that they had not totally turned their ears away from hearing God when He prompted them to do genuinely good things for others without any self–interest. A Pharisee would have curled their lip to see a prostitute give a few coins to a beggar, figuring that she was just doing it to soothe her conscience about her sins, but Yehoshua would have thought it was a sweet thing to do. He was not one to crush a bruised reed or quench a smoking flax.

One of the books in my personal library explains what a bruised reed is. The author lived in Israel as a missionary before it became a nation again. She said that shepherds frequently made little reeds to play to amuse themselves while they looked after their sheep. If a shepherd came across a broken reed that had been discarded in the road, he might pick it up and tenderly repair it, because it would still be able to produce music.

Yehoshua doesn't write people off, though they have made serious mistakes in their life. He can take a pedophile and make something beautiful of their life, if the person will surrender to Him and be healed of their bitterness. He can take a girl who has behaved like a slut, and make her into a respectable wife and mother. People in a strongly judgmental culture might think that a woman who isn't a virgin when she marries is a disgrace forever, but God does not take that view. Yehoshua showed us that He can give people a new start in life. The repentant woman who washed his feet with her tears was lifted up with the command that her story of gratitude to Him should be told everywhere that His Gospel is preached.

It's neat to reflect that when His eyes fall on His saints who are standing around His Throne, and He sees that woman who used to be a prostitute, God thinks, "There's my favourite child!" Then He looks at the person standing next to her and He thinks again, "There's my favourite child!" The look He directs their way is a caress and makes them feel as if they are the only two people in the room. When He looks at me, He thinks, "There's my favourite child!" I like a Dad who lets all of His kids be His favourite child, even the ones who are the least talented. He thinks all of us are lovely and clever and sweet.

That is because He sees us, not only as we are now in our imperfection, but as we will be when He is finished helping us conform to how He initially designed us to be. God does not despise us for having fallen out of the box in pieces, some of them badly broken after being shaken; He feels compassion for us. He is like the shepherd who picks up the discarded reed and tenderly repairs it until it can produce the music it was designed for.

Along the way, love for the Father grows in the hearts of His children. We become more mature and begin to comprehend more the sacrifices that He has made for us. Where once we did only little things for Him to show our love, like a toddler who offers a dandelion to his mother, we progress to things that cost us more, but might be equivalent to a kid giving his mother a hideous vase that he thinks looks cool, which she receives with enthusiasm like she did the dandelions. Then God's kids progress to giving Him gifts that they have learned are more in keeping with His self–sacrificing character.

With great delight, God watches the progress being made as we develop more character. He might tell the angels, "Look at that! My child there endured torture for months and then gave his life for my sake, today!", but even in the excitement of this great deed, He also points to another and might say, "And look over there! Dimitri cheerfully let his neighbour use his phone. He never did that before without grumbling. My son is growing in my grace!"

There is a song that says, "He walks with me and He talks with me, and tells me that I am His own, and the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known." It is one of the great blessings of redemption to know that God loves all of us equally, and in a unique way that nobody else knows. In our relationship with Him, we come to know God in a way that no other saint can know Him until we share it, because God has designed us all to understand some aspect of Him better than anyone else. For us to get the whole picture of God, all the saints in His Kingdom are needed. That includes the ones who came off the streets, who used to be homeless, uneducated beggars.

Stories about Christians who came out of great disadvantages, such as Stephen Lungo's testimony, delight me for that reason. There was Stephen, a little boy who had been abandoned in the street by his mother, who cried out to God one night when he was sleeping in a tree, and God answered and helped him, just as He promised in His Word to help any widow or orphan who cried to Him. It didn't look like anything happened for a while, but God saved Stephen from committing suicide when he was fourteen by bringing some women along in time to cut him down from the tree where he had hung himself. He continued to live hand to mouth and was eventually recruited to be a terrorist, but God convicted him to give his heart to Yehoshua, instead of bombing a tent meeting, as he had intended. When he went to his usual spot under a bridge to sleep that night, for the first time in his life, he felt loved, and it did not make him feel lonely to look up at the stars.

Shortly after that, an evangelist took Stephen under his wing and civilized him, buying him the first new clothes he had ever owned, teaching him table manners, and that he had to take his clothes off first before he took a bath and not get water all over the bathroom, and how to read, and how to ask God for what he needed. Another evangelist took over and from there taught him to not be intimidated by white people, and also to be able to speak to the heads of countries. Terrifying lessons, but Stephen learned them. God also gave him a respectable, godly, faithful, loving wife who worked in a bank, but still married him when the only things he owned were the clothes on his back.

I read some parts of the book to Connor when he was seven years old. He looked so cute laying across my knees, kicking his leg as he laughed when Stephen described how he used to eat with his mouth wide open, the food going around and around in his mouth like clothes in a washing machine. The bath scene was pretty hilarious, too. The only baths Stephen had before then was when he dipped himself in the river, and he never took his clothes off to do it. It shows the great tenderness of God's heart towards orphans in how He heard Stephen's cry, and took him from sleeping under a bridge to having an international ministry and speaking to heads of state. Stephen shows us one of the many facets of God's exquisite nature through his story.

Well, May was a good month, in spite of the weather. The kids and I adjusted to the weather and found plenty to amuse ourselves indoors. I downloaded some videos that show how to do stuff. Connor needs his tire fixed on his new bike because he put too much air in it, and it blew. I figure it is a good thing that happened. It shows him that he shouldn't assume that he knows what he is doing, and it motivates him to learn the proper way to do things.

His Uncle Don offered to fix the tire for him, but I said that I want us to see if we can do it ourselves first. It gives kids confidence the more skills they learn, and Connor ought to know how to fix a bike, seeing as he is likely to be all over the place on his as Heather and I let out his reins more and more. Connor watched the video about fixing a tire yesterday, so he has the general idea, but we don't have the tools. I will tell Uncle Don that we need him after all, but ask that he let Connor do the work while he instructs him.

No doubt, after he fixes that bike tire, Connor will consider himself an expert. He tends to be that way. Heather was like that, too, at his age. After a few piano lessons, when she was twelve, she told me that she could play the piano. She made it sound like she was ready to do a concert in Carnegie Hall.

My special thing with Jake is that we watch videos on how to ride horses. I have gone riding only a few times in my life and don't know much about horses. Connor is too into his own thing to sit still and learn just for the sake of learning. He watches only the videos that relate to what he wants to do now, like how to drive a car, how to cook, how to dance hip hop, how to handle various situations with people, and how to fix bikes. Being of a quieter and more patient disposition, Jake sits for quite a long time next to me while we watch how to saddle a horse, mount, hold the reins, etc., though we don't have a horse. Heather says she will take him horseback riding this summer, though.

I downloaded some videos about how to ride a camel, too, and an elephant, because yah just never know. Actually, I had a dream years ago where I was on a dangerous missionary trip, riding a camel, and I was so excited because I got to ride a camel, but I didn't dare let the other people in my party see that I was enjoying it. The Lord told me that He has given me a spirit of adventure to get me through hard times. The weather was really hot and the terrain was barren and rocky; the other missionaries all felt thirsty and grumpy. They would have gotten crabbier, if they saw me grinning. Hey, when I finally get to ride a camel, I want to know how to do it. How I will ever get the courage for such a trip is in the Lord's hands. You got to start with what you can do.


February 2010 Newsletter
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Page modified by Lanny Townsend on May 30, 2011

Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.