Friday, June 19, 2015

Seeing Stars

I keep meaning to mention that the sweet girl and I have started a mother-daughter review blog. We're talking books and movies together over at Seeing Stars, where we're known as Obi Mom and Jedi Teen. Come on over and visit if you're so inclined!

End of Another Year

Well, we've done it! Today was homeschool evaluation day, which for me always feels like the official end of our school-year, even if we finish actual schooling earlier. This year the sweet girl has had dribs and drabs of things to finish, mostly in math, so she's actually been doing a bit of "summer school" (about an hour a day) but even that is almost over now. With the official sign-off from our terrific evaluator, who loved seeing how much S. has "grown and matured," 7th grade is DONE! Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Typing, Naming, and Praying

Once a month I type up revisions to my parish's prayer sheet. This is a sheet that gets distributed to the congregation each month with updated lists of people to pray for: people in need of healing, people we work with in church outreaches, local and national community leaders, missionaries and ministry workers connected to our church in some way, people being persecuted for their faith. It's a long list. Included in it are also diocesan and international prayer cycles: we pray for various bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people at work in our diocese, in our national church body, and in the wider Anglican communion.

I long ago discovered that it's easier for me to type in the rotating lists of names than to try to lift them from online sources and paste them in. That's particularly true for the communion-wide list, which is printed online in such a way that moving names via copy/paste would wreak formatting havoc with my document, leaving me with lots to clean up and reformat. Despite the fact that it may seem a little tedious to have to type all names in one at a time, especially when some of the names are unusual to this English speaker and not easy to spell, it's still faster and tidier than doing it any other way, in my humble opinion. But more than that, it gives me time to think, ponder, and pray my way through the list as I type.

There's something wonderfully grounding and connecting about typing in a person's name (and making sure you've spelled it accurately). Even though you may never have seen or even heard of this person, typing their name somehow gives you a tangible link with who they are. Since all of the names I'm working with are names of leaders, mostly bishops and archbishops, I know that each one of them has a challenging role and a lot on their hearts, no matter where they serve. Some of the names I type in with ease, and some I stumble over, breaking them into unusual syllables and then putting them back together, wondering if my mental pronunciation is anywhere close to how you actually say the name. Some of the bishops are in countries torn by war or where Christians face daily persecution. As I type their names, I find myself lifting each of them to God and praying that the Lord will watch over his servant.

And I love the names. Some of them have three or four names, many of them biblical. Then there are names (first, middle, or last) that evoke a picture: names like Godson, Maker, and Coffin (all fascinating names for bishops, I think). There are African names like Aladekugbe and Asian names like Iso. There are names that bring to mind Irish, Scots, or Welsh saints.

Sometimes  I confess I am tired when prayer-sheet revision time rolls around, and part of me doesn't feel like taking the time to scroll through the lists and type in the letters. But most of me realizes that by the time I'm done, I will feel more in tune and more connected with people of God all around the world, and more gratefully aware of the myriad of stories that are all connected just in this one slim chapter of the story of the communion of the saints. I know my typing in these lists is just a tiny service but it's one that refuels me every month to remember what a privilege is it to be part of the worldwide body of Christ and to pray for my family.

Monday, June 01, 2015

It Must Be June

We turned the calendar to a new month today. To all intents and purposes, our school year is "done" -- at least officially. I've tallied up attendance records and we've hit our requisite number of days. All that should be left is portfolio and evaluation.

But S. still has some things to wrap up: she's still writing her final research paper for her writing course, she's got a review unit still to do in math, a few stray grammar lessons to finish up to complete the workbook, and some ongoing work in Spanish (ditto). What makes me happy is to see her willingness to keep going with all of this, in a good, disciplined way, even though it's June and we're both oh so ready for a break. The nice thing, of course, is that she can tackle these things pretty systematically on her own and still have plenty of time leftover to begin some relaxation.

The other nice thing is that we're not feeling rushed in the mornings. Which, wonderfully, means more chances to explore learning trails. This morning we lingered at the breakfast table and had an awesome conversation about missions history and the shifting of the Christian world from global north to global south, which got her so excited she actually did a little cheer for our "missionary God!" (which made my heart want to sing, naturally). At lunch, we tackled the Smithsonian magazine that arrived on Saturday and I read her the Pluto article while she ate. She did a big paper on Pluto last year, so I knew she'd find it fascinating, and she did. We're excitedly looking forward to July 14, the big NASA encounter with the dwarf planet.

So must be June. Learning continues, but it does so in a more relaxed, chasing-your-passions-down-learning-trails way. That's good for us both.

June also marks the beginning of the summer diaconate course I'm teaching, along with four independent studies. Considering I'm still grading for spring, I'm feeling like I'm not getting much of a breath, but grateful for the work. I've got final edits on some S&T work too, and a doctor's appointment this week. Never a dull moment!