Friday, November 26, 2004

Packing is nearly done
We will leave VA Beach some time tomorrow - head south to the sunshine state. Gave thanks with our friends Emily, Lee and their other invited guests, broke bread and remembered our Lord Jesus together.
Later, under a moonlit sky I strolled down to the beach, it was windy probably close to 40 degrees, deserted and breathtaking in the moonlight. The ocean roared and I bid farewell to a place I have enjoyed and feel the nearness of my Creator. Signing off....until next time.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Those who Travel tend to travel more
This past Friday my children and I traveled to Washington DC about a 3 1/2 hour drive from VA Beach 8 days before moving back to southwest Florida. Some may think I am crazy and perhaps I am but making the trip was worth it. Our destination the National Museum of American history for The Price of Freedom Americans at war exhibit. War is a part of our life, not one that many of us like but this is a reality that I hope never becomes a TV show. Our military history is significant and worth learning about the conflicts, the impacts and of course, the cost.
This was a very sobering display of military history. There were not a lot of children. (at the entrance there was an advisory concerning the graphics of some displays) It was pretty quiet as so many were reflecting and taking things into their hearts and minds. I was moved on a number of occasions.

Our country was birthed through the pains of war. The first part of the exhibit had a combination of film, statutes and actual muskets among other things for the Battle of Lexington. I believe the film was from the Lexington Concord reenactments which I had been to as a kid with my Dad and siblings. (I grew up in the neighboring city of Woburn) Michael was fixed upon this scene intently and I intently upon him from a short distance. Our boy has talked about serving in the military. Some may think we ought to discourage him but I want Michael to be able to follow his heart and his Lord. I was praying that he would see the high cost that so many pay to serve in such a way.

Shortly after entering the Civil War section there is a circular exhibit with a great big picture of Lincoln (if you would like to see our pictures online send me an email and I will send you a link) and next to it his Gettysburg address. (Grace has always loved our 16th president, if you want to know anything about Lincoln ask her) Grace read it aloud to me at my request. Those powerful words say to me, there are some things worth fighting for and dying for...... it was a most tremendous loss of life but those veterans were honored.

Katie brought me to the Medal of Honor exhibit. "Mum," she said, "there has only ever been one woman to receive the medal of honor." We read about Dr. Mary Edwards Walker who during the Civil War was a nurse and surgeon. Her Medal was rescinded but she refused to give it back. It was however reinstated in 1977.

Vietnam, the war that I still don't understand brought me to tears. I have a friend back in Marlborough who is still suffering from his tour of duty over 30 years ago. Some of the photos showed me why the pain runs deep and wounds have a hard time healing. There were items that were selected from thousands of personal affects that have been left at The Wall of the Vietnam Memorial over the years. The most moving part of this was the video of a nurse who rescued an abandoned Vietnamese baby girl who ended up being adopted by an American couple and were recently reunited. The nurse has a classic Boston accent and it made me miss home and she also had a heart (haht) of gold. She remarked that this little girl was one of the good things that came out of one of the most horrendous wars.

Each major conflicted that the USA has been involved in was shown in this exhibit. Steel columns from the 17th floor of the World Trade Center from 9/11, a laptop, ID tags and a cell phone from an embedded newsman from NBC who road with a crew in Iraqi Freedom. Nothing was omitted. There is a time for war and a time for peace. There are different reasons for wars. The war on terror that we are in now is not easy to define or understand. The question is are we justified?
Signing off from VA Beach. The next time I write will probably be either on the road or from FL.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Remaining Teachable
Dan and I had a rare day of going to a museum with just Michael. Today's visit was to Naticus, The Naval and Maritime Museum in Norfolk VA. It was a fun educational day for us all. The traveling exhibit right now is Playing with Time. One of the features was how things grow over time. When Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980 nearly 200 miles of the surrounding landscape was changed forever. In the exhibit they show 9 years of growth in a high speed 42 second film. "The first plants to emerge from the ruins were the pioneers. These plants can grow under harsh conditions. They set the stage for other plants by providing shade, containing moisture and converting raw material into nutrients." Initially, I thought about those radical homeschoolers who started in the late 70's and early 80's. They really set the stage for the rest of us. Opening the way for us to choose a better way of life for our family (if you know me than you know how bias I am :-). The thought of this is still ruminating in my thoughts.

Following up on the Home Education theme. Another exhibit demonstrated to us one of the ways our brain works. We have what is called persistence of vision. "Our brains are really good at filling in any gaps." The experiment to test this persistence of vision actually shows how the brain fills in the gaps through our vision. It was fascinating. Of course my brain thought of the parents who are educating their children at home who are worried about leaving gaps in their children's education. If our brain can fill the gaps for our vision by design, don't you trust that the Lord will fill in the gaps that may be in our children's education? I am trusting in Him!!

Lastly, the three of us went to an interactive presentation where we got to be a part of a design team for building battleship X. We had to vote on certain aspects of the design of the ship. Michael took a thoughtful approach to the matter. He is a very logical thinker. To say the least he was a slightly astonished by the other kids in the room who are probably his age who were fooling around, voting joinly with their friends (when it was suppose to be an anonymous vote), and just not respecting the process. These group of kids were not very respectful and Michael notices.
To our delight Michael was thrilled to have his Mum and Dad all to himself. Exploring, learning, laughing and having sweet fellowship together. We pray that God will fill in the gaps where we falter in our parenting. Yes, we are very aware of our need for God's grace in this area of our lives. Thanks for letting me continue to cherish this day with our youngest who is in the later half of his 12th year of life and on the verge of entering the teen years.

May my heart and mind remain teachable. CM

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Still Rockin' On
Steve Tyler singing the National Athem for the Boston Red Sox. He is still rockin' on and I believe he may even be old enough to be my father, if not him at least Mick Jagger is. Well, last night I found myself rockin' on at The NorVa ( with Grace. It was suppose to be with K too but she got sick so it was just Grace and me. Headlining for the evening Switchfoot. The band from San Diego CA who rock with meaning. The bands who opened for them definitely had lead singers who were Steve Tyler wannabe's. We tolerated them.

The NorVa has a 1500 person capacity, the majority of which is a dance floor that allows the kids to pack in like sardines. Grace wanted to be a sardine and I did not. We split up. Grace found some fellow Switchfoot lovers simply by being packed in, actually it was the kids who we sold our extra ticket to - go figure. I was glad that I gave them a deal which simply means I made my money back. I was not out to make money off a teenager. I went upstairs where they had tables and barstools where the majority of parent-loving-teenagers were hanging out. There were 2 ladies sitting at a table with 2 extra barstools. I said May I join you? They said sure. Kim and Sharon were wonderful company and they were there with their kids aka sardines.
As some of you know I already saw Switchfoot this year in West Palm Beach. I had no desire to go but I wanted K to be able to go with her sister. It just didn't work out that way. The Lord helped me to adjust my attitude and both Grace and I had a good time. Switchfoot needs our prayers. They have made a place for themselves in this world now let's pray that the world does not make a place in them, that these guys would maintain their integrity and stick to their message. Life is hard, and in their own words, "in a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt, I was trying so hard to fit in til I found out - I don't belong here - it is The Beautiful Letdown" They ask the hard questions, "are you who you want to be?" "What's it gonna take to slow us down, to let the silence spin us around?" Their declarations of hope, "We want more than this world has to offer." "I want more than just okay." "Life is more than hundred dollar bills." "Life is more than money. Time was never money." "One salvation"
Experiencing life along side my kids but mostly experiencing life. CM
Part II
After I initially put up this post I started talking to Grace about what was going on upstairs. There were moms resting their heads in their hands, others yawning and one of my compadres noting that it was after her bed time and Switchfoot had not even come on yet. We laughed about back in the day bc (before children) when 10 pm was early, the night was still young. The great thing is that there are other parents out there that want to be there for their children.

Another great thing was Grace being sure of who she is in Christ. I know that she was bummed about K not being able to go but it didn't stop her from going. It was OK that it was the 2 of us and it was OK that we both split up. We made friends for a night of enjoyment. What a testimony of forgetting about ourselves and just being in the moment. God is so good, growing us up in the places we wouldn't think of planting ourselves.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Less Boxes, more maps
Didn't I just empty these boxes? It seems that way our time here in VA is drawing to a close and today I started packing. We will definitely have less boxes this time, as the pruning process continues in our lives. Traveling can be an art form and it is really a much more with less. Learning to live with less things is a good lesson for us.

For right now we are heading back to FL which actually doesn't require more maps at this time since we are returning to where we were last winter. More maps will be needed once we leave FL for a destination yet unknown. We have somewhat of a welcoming committee of friends and relatives who will make us feel at home once we arrive. Florida has become somewhat a home away from home. Hopefully we will get some more visitors in FL this year.

Maybe I will get another box packed before the evening is over. CM