Learning Is My Thing

8-27-17

The novel Edge of Eternity by Randy Alcorn, where a man named Nick Seagrave faces “undeniable evidence of a spiritual world” & “must finally consider the God he claims not to believe in,” taught me 2 great lessons that are no-question worth sharing just while reading today at a point that’s a little more than halfway through the book:

◊ Referring to life’s challenging journey, says character Shad, “Momentary ease isn’t the answer. The daily hardships of the road sharpen and deepen the man.”

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◊ Character Nick (a man whose wife & children left him because he wasn’t there for them as a husband & father), who is just learning about the immeasurable value of following the path of Jesus, talks to men who don’t believe in God. “All men die once, are judged once, and are relocated once.” One man counters by saying he’s bothered by the “wishful thinking” he thinks people have who follow Our Creator & “pretend” there’s a Heaven.

Nick is traveling on a challenging excursion where the bad parts, including a flying beast & scorpion, mentioned in the place he’s visiting are representative of evil things making life hard, along with the “chasm” as a symbol for deciding to make the monumental life-altering leap for the better, which is changing your life’s direction to live for Christ, Who paid the cost for people by dying in brutal unimaginable pain as a sacrifice for our sins. He gives a response I love:

Nick says: “Wishful thinking? If I were to wish for something, do you think I’d have wished for a flying beast so deadly, a scorpion so horrid, a web so hideous, a chasm so vast, a cost so great? Never in a million years would I have believed or wanted to believe such things. I would have wished for something easier, and if I had made it up, it would be a lot more attractive and a lot less costly. But the universe isn’t governed by my wishes It’s you who practice wishful thinking.”

Nick further explains by saying the man believes in no God so he can “make up” his “own rules and get away with it,” not being “held accountable for your choices, that you wouldn’t have to answer to someone after this life. You wish there was no creator because you don’t want to face a judge. It’s not my belief that’s wishful thinking. It’s your unbelief.”

Throw-Jack Thursday

“His name is Jack,” announced my niece as we pretended we were camping in her bedroom. The infant boy doll that we cared for at our campsite needed a name but my suggestions were rejected. I just don’t know why. Accompanying us were her older & younger brothers & younger sister. The littlest sister of 1 quietly played along.

“Can his middle name be “in the box”?”

“What box?” she asked.

“Like Jack In The Box,” I explained to the wholly-not-impressed 6-year-old.

“Of course not,” and without a moment’s hesitation I was shot down.

“Don’t worry Aunt Amy,” assured the boy of 3. “I got this in Puerto Rico.” The thoughtful youngster was intentionally calming my initial concern over our playing in the darkened bedroom – in order to fulfill their shared desire to reflect a true camping experience – by showing me his orange frog flashlight.ORANGE FROG 001.JPG Soon after that the subject was somehow broached of babies. I think it’s because either we played with baby doll Jack or as of June 16 we have a new baby boy in our family.

“I want my Mom to have 2 girls,” declared my niece. Then her massively musical older brother chimed in. His astounding memory allows him to hear a song once & already have an impressive grip on repeating the lyrics; plus the boy’s got moves. Thus, no surprise to hear:

“I want 3 more boys so we can have the Mies 5.”

More good times were born as my 4 adorable nieces & nephews & I continued to play our combination camping/spying trip. My eldest nephew opted to spy so we did that first. So the 2 oldest children & I sprawled on our bellies while gazing intently out the large bedroom window as we scoured the land for any sign of movement. Next, hearing my clever niece one up her older brother was quite comical. Victory came with her surprise response.

Said my niece: “See, there’s somebody out there.”

“Where?” immediately inquired the 8-year-old who took his spy game very seriously, unknowingly plummeting feet first right into her trap.

“Nowhere!”

The End

By Aunt Amy

6.22.17

“The Flip”

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“I could ruin your life or get a guy out,” he threatened me. It was, literally, a “game-changer” as we competed in a zippy game of “Trouble.” I waited to watch his next move.

His current choice? Either land on one of my blue pieces with his yellow one which would send me all the way back to the starting point, or begin one of his players moving around the board to travel safely home. A few minutes earlier as “Trouble” started I said:

“I’m going to shut the TV off because even though I’ve been looking forward to my favorite reality show for months, you are more important.” I wanted to really drive the point home that spending my time with my nephew was infinitely more valuable to me than viewing the twenty-fifth season of “Dancing With The Stars.” My ultimate aim is to help show these children – my nieces & nephews – I see regularly what the treasured things are in life, including choosing people any day over anything else like a game or something on television.

“Vengeance!” erupted an exclamation from the boy that arrived on the scene later after sending one of my game pieces back to the beginning – I’d done the same to him several times prior.

I tested the nearly 9-year-old’s knowledge, pretty certain the sharp third grader already knew the word’s meaning since the term was unsurprisingly used in exactly the right context. “What does vengeance mean?” So he provided a thorough spot-on explanation of the word including telling me the term is a synonym of “revenge.” Why do I even bother? . . . 

We enjoyed a casual conversation as the game progressed.

“My favorite number is 3,” I said after rolling the number.

“Mine is 7, wanna know why?”

I love him & the way his well-oiled wheels are astutely turning seemingly nonstop!

“My favorite number is 7

cuz when you flip it down

it’s an “L” & “L” stands for Lucky.”

The End

By Aunt Amy

9-18-17

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THAT’S a Friend

She inspires me with her life stories all influenced by her colossal faith in God, reminding me that I must make a much greater conscious effort than I do presently, on living to honor our Perfect & Powerful Lord and Savior. The cool thing is, my best friend Jessica lives her life with the utmost integrity while relying on her faith in God to steer her in the right direction, His direction. How remarkable is that!

I love hearing the massively wise words exiting her mouth without her even trying! That’s because to her, living to honor God with every decision she makes – for herself, as a wife, & as a remarkable mother to her 5 children – is as natural as breathing.

One piece Jess shared from our morning conversation is that the Apostle Paul in the Bible continued to live for & worship God despite being imprisoned, under house arrest, & enduring mistreatment during his life while spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. She realizes that serving God doesn’t automatically put you in a blissfully perfect life, but one where you constantly have to CHOOSE TO ACT TO HONOR GOD despite any & all inevitable hardships.

Jess knows she doesn’t know it all & tells me of books she’s reading & learning a lot from. Everyone’s just a work in progress.

An important take-away? It’s an immense blessing to have a friend in your life who is wiser than you, where you can learn from the person’s incredible example, & always leave your times together feeling better than before!

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The coolest thing about Jessica just might be the fact that she doesn’t even realize how cool she definitely is.

Choosing which pictures of us to post got me choked up as I realized that Jess never made me feel gross or ugly, only loved & special, even when I was in my worst health condition.

“The ‘X’ Factor”

 “I confuse myself cuz I think too much,” he divulged as I helped him understand & complete his algebra one homework. (Testing into algebra one in just seventh grade – Yowzers!) He was right. Sitting there helping him complete his algebra assignment, he explained to me how he often goes too far in thinking about a math problem without realizing how truly simple the answer is to find.

Aunt Amy can spot a teaching moment a . . . textbook away. “Don’t let yourself get stressed if you ever don’t understand a subject, not just math. If you don’t get it, & you’re really smart, a lot of other kids don’t get it either.” (And I had to add for good measure): “And those math word problems they say you need to know cuz you’ll use it later in life? You’ll never use ‘em.”

The eldest of my 6 nephews who will become 13 in 9 short days, was over Thursday afternoon with his 10-year-old little bro.

I showed the almost teenager how to solve the equations that involved “a,” “b,” “c,” & “x” where “x” is the variable to isolate & determine its value.

Both boys, before anything else, planted themselves at the kitchen table to complete their homework. I was happy, as a school-lover myself, to help as needed. So I gladly stepped in to do some algebra-one assisting.

Grandma was putting together yet again her famed craisin scone recipe. The 2 busy brothers had missed out on the last batch that was devoured in a flash, & therefore had no intentions to let another chance slide by.

It came as no surprise, then, when each boy wasted no time in snatching 3 wonderfully fresh scones for himself right after they came out of the oven & were safelyalbeit barely! – warm.

The eldest even went a step further & took it upon himself to snatch 1 of the 3 scones – with no shame right in front of us, mind you – his thoughtful Grandma had set aside for his magnificent mother.

The growing boy was not fazed in the least as his mounting appetite firmly held the reins.

“I think 2’s enough for my Mom,” declared my nephew to justify his 5-finger discount. “She’s done growing & I still need to grow.”

Jordan & Tyler eating scones 9-14-17

The End

By Aunt Amy

9-14-17

 

“Gak”

Unsurprisingly, the young boy of 8 wasn’t aware of just how cool he looked, in his orange with a little grey sleeveless Nike shirt paired with black Nike shorts. Kudos to his Mom for the trendy threads. But he has her back as well as his Dad’s, too – read on.

Hugely to the little guy’s credit, he did mention his Mom constantly while making a play-dough-similar yellow product called Gak with his artistically talented & adored Grandma. Earlier that afternoon he & Grandma bought a book offering 365 activities for children to do, for only fifty cents at the local Plymouth Library. Blending a milkshake was the first activity the soon-to-be third grader & his Grandma created together from a recipe in the book. Constructing Gak was the second. GAK

“I bet she won’t believe me cuz it’s not a cookbook,” he gushed excitedly of his future plans to personally make his Mom her very own shake.

“But what if your Mom doesn’t let you use the blender?” I wondered, but my always-thinking nephew had a ready reply.

“I’ll tell her the recipe & she can make it!”

Enthusiasm was personified as he drifted towards euphoria, thoughts on what else could be inside the pages of his new book. “I can even make dinner for everyone!” exclaimed the boy with twinkling eyes.

Several – albeit spectacular – siblings of his are known to devour goodies (like a milkshake) faster than a speeding bullet!

Ostensibly, the youngster is also acutely aware of this frequently recurring phenomenon:

“I’m just gonna make Mom & Dad a shake cuz I don’t want to waste a perfectly good tub of ice cream.”

The End

By Aunt Amy on 6.29.17