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I’ve heard that you have to get fed-up enough wih something in order for things to change. So, I guess I got fed-up with being argued with this week. I read The Heart of Anger, by Lou Priolo a few years ago, and  I found his advice on dealing with this issue very helpful.  However, I haven’t put it in writing and posted it on the fridge until now.  Every once and a while we realize as parents that we have slipped and  become sloppy in some area of our parenting, and our kids have taken full advantage of our slippage. You give them an inch, and before you know it they have taken a whole mile. So, despite the fact that I have attempted to implement Priolo’s “Making an Appeal” method before, it has become apparent that without having it in writing as a Cannoy Family Rule, we get tired and overlook too many “Buts” and “Awwws” and end up costing ourselves time and energy and ultimately robbing our children of the opportunity to reap the benefits of obeying Ephesians 6:1. So, here’s what’s hanging on my fridge:

How to Honor and Obey Your Parents

Honor and Obey your parents with your words, actions, body language, and tone of voice

Answer them with “Yes, Ma’am,” or “Yes, Sir” when they ask you to do something, and do it right away.

Any sentence beginning with  “Awww…”,  “But….”, “Can’t I just…” or anything of that nature is an Improper Appeal.

Improper Appeal = extra chore

Forgetting or failing to respond is disobedience.

Disobedience = extra chore

Making an Appeal

Most of the time you need to obey without making an appeal. However, occasionally you may have new information that your parent might not know about. Make sure it is NEW information! If you need to give your parent NEW information here is how to do it:

You:  “May I make an appeal?”

Parent: A.“Yes, you may” or “No, you may not”

(Remember, your parent had the right to decline without explaining to you why. Asking “why?” would be an Improper Appeal).

You: present your new information respectfully and calmly.

Parent:  A. may reconsider and change their mind   B. may choose to deny your request.

You: Listen and obey

Warning: If your parent notices you are making too many Appeals or too many Improper Appeals you will be put on Appeal Probation.

Appeal Probation = Not being allowed to make Appeals until your parent decides you have had enough practice in obedience

Remember your parents love you and are doing their best to be fair and reasonable.

Ephesians 6:1

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”[a]

I also printed a list of extra household chores because part of my problem was a lack of ideas for consequences of disobedience. Now I just go to my handy-dandy chart and pick something, and my kids can count on a lovely consequence to any badchoices they make.  Already, after only one morning, I am enjoying my children’s company so much more. I have had to assign a few extra chores because kids didn’t do what they said they would, so my house is also getting cleaner! They did a great job on the extra chores and have received the bonus of praise from their mother and the satisfaction of a job well done!

I haven’t posted in a verrrrrry long time, but I thought some of you might be interested in seeing my plan for homeschooling with 5 children. Peter is in 5th, Alonna in 4th, and Ethan is in 2nd grade. Maddie is 3 and Taran is almost 6 months. Every new school year begins with high expectations  – and sometimes unrealistic expectations – and things always need to be re-worked eventually. So, here’s attempt #1 for the year at attempting to maintain a peaceful, organized, productive school day:

Fall Schedule

8:00 – Breakfast

After breakfast chores

9:30 – 12:00 – School

–          Circle Time/Bible

–          School with Ethan

–          School with Alonna

–          School with Peter

(This is part of a new plan to give each school-age child a designated time when they have undivided attention in hopes that they will not interrupt so much)  

Prepare lunch – lunch at 12:30

1:30 – 3:00  – School

–          Return to what you need to finish from the morning or begin another subject

–          P.E. (Soccer exercises, ballet exercises, playing ball, etc…)

–          Peter and Alonna will return to school activities until 3:00

3:00 – 5:00

–          Snack

–          Free play

–          Clean up time

Dinner

Bedtime – 8:00 for Ethan and Maddie – 8:30 for Peter and Alonna

(The following is a list of activities that kids can do during school hours when they need to occupy themselves and I am busy with another child.) 

Activities:

–          Coloring books/school books

–          Mosaic Mysteries

–          Help prepare lunch

–          Cube game

–          Teach Madelyn about shapes/colors/numbers/letters

–          Practice piano or recorder

–          Math problems

–          Spelling words

–          Do origami

–          Reading

–          Journal

–          Practice manners with a tea party

–          Knitting

–          Watercolor painting

–          Any lesson assignment that you are able to complete on your own

This is a typical Weekly Schedule:

Mon. – Soccer 5:30-6:30

Tues. – Library, Daddy’s bowling league

Wed. – Ballet 5:00-6:00 and Soccer 5:30-6:30

Thurs. – Small Group 6:30-8:00 (Leave the house by 5:45)

Fri.

Sat. – Ballet 11:30 – 12:30, Soccer games TBA

Sun.

Ultimately, at our house and with the ages of our children, character development always takes priority. If we’re not getting along we stop to work out our issues with each other – or if we need a day off we take one. We’e been reading a book called The Heart of Anger (1) which we have found very helpful with inforcing Godly discipline.  So, I’ll try to check in in a few weeks and let you know how it’s going! I think it just might work……

(1)The Heart of Anger by Lou Priolo, Calvary Press Publishing.

A Grain of Wheat Must Die

I was having a difficult time coming up with a green painting to go along with the blue and red ones from the other courses. Then I remembered John 12:24-25 (The Message):

“Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever real and eternal.”

Essentials Green focused a lot on developing the inner life, and I have always loved the way plants and trees give a visual picture of how important the inner life is to the outer life. Without a good root system and water and nutrients from the soil the plant will die. And when a seed that is planted in the ground is given what it needs to grow, it grows into a plant that produces more seeds in order to reproduce itself many times over. What a great picture of what happens to us when we are rooted in God.

My hope is to reproduce all three paintings on a larger scale to display at church. The latest idea is to paint them on some sound buffers made from burlap stretched over frames, so they will, hopefully, be attractive and serve a practical purpose as well.

Project for Essentials Red

Project for Essentials Red

 

After doing an art project for Essentials Blue, I knew I wanted to do one for Essentials Red as well. However, the idea for this one didn’t come until a few days ago. I was reading through the Essentials Red course text where it talks about the meaning behind the color red. Dan Wilt mentioned sunsets as being associated with red, and I realized that a sunset also captures the time aspect of this course. The sun rises and sets and is a sign that time is passing. The sun has been faithful to rise every morning since the beginning of the world.

At the very end of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:2 (The Message) says, “But for you, sunrise! The sun of righteousness will dawn on those who honor my name, healing radiating from its wings.” I believe this is speaking metaphorically of Jesus as the sun and is referring to the future and what we have to look forward to. So, I would hope that this painting would remind us of Jesus and His promised return. In that case this would be a sunrise – not a sunset – although, growing up in California, I tend to picture the sun setting over the ocean.

Other thoughts I had while painting was that I was attempting to make the sun feel somewhat “other-worldly”. It calls us to want to follow its path over the water, which, come to think of it, is a reference to baptism. Also, in Narnia, Aslan’s country is found over the water, and Aslan is referred to as “the emperor beyond the sea”.

I think we do “throw the baby out with the bath water” when it comes to wanting to try something new when the old no longer seems to be working.  I have noticed that church leadership is often tempted to start fresh with a new way of doing things.  I suppose sometimes it is necessary to do away with the old in order to breathe new life into a ministry.  However, I think it may happen more often than it should.  We are presently heading up the Alpha course at our church, and it has been an up-hill battle this time around because we’re at the point where interest and attendance is low. But according to Alpha experts, if we just keep at it and don’t give up, it will grow into a thriving ministry.

 A big reason for letting go of old ideas in search of new ones is that people seem to get bored and lose interest when it isn’t something new and cutting edge anymore.  It’s our short memory spans and impatient lifestyles causing trouble again.  One thing that struck me while reading Ancient Future Time[1] is how participatory the services were.  The congregation has a key role to play most of the time, usually by responding verbally or by standing, kneeling, kissing, or touching.  How do we bring that sense of everyone doing their part back into the worship service in a way that makes people feel like a vital part of what is happening?  When I attend an event and I have some expectation of what will be asked of me, I am more likely to come prepared with an answer.  It challenges me to grow and to prepare my heart for gathering as a church body so that I will have something to offer.

What if we began to embrace our senses instead of trying to suppress them?  I think we would dance more, kneel more, bow more, sing more. We would linger over our meals more, fill rooms with good smelling things more.  We would put more thought into our surroundings – including things that are necessary, but also recognizing that something that is visually pleasing is just as important, and something that is an eye- sore should be dealt with.  We would be excellent about the quality of sound we are producing with our instruments and be more intentional about what we let ourselves listen to.  We would embrace each other more, and look each other in the eye more.  We would put money into things that aren’t necessities, like art supplies and new instruments and fresh flowers, more.  We would put more thought into the words we speak instead of speaking without thinking.  We would leave room for silence more.  We would become more aware of each breath we breathe.

I think finding ways to acknowledge that the spiritual and the physical world are linked is a key to restoring longevity and meaning to what will otherwise become outdated and meaningless.  We need to hear the story of where we came from over and over.  It’s not repetition, it’s remembrance – remembering where we came from and where we’re going.  We need music and art that tell the historical story of God’s redemption, and we need music and art that speak of the hope and joy to come. Otherwise we become consumed with the present moment, and the worries of the physical world overpower us.  The spirit reminds us that God isn’t bound by time, and we are worshipping with our ancestors and our grandchildren when we gather in His presence.

[1]Robert E. Webber, Ancient Future Time (Michigan: Baker Books, 2004)

I have been thinking a lot lately about how to make holidays like Christmas and Easter more meaningful.  This last Christmas we tried very hard to fight the spirit of materialism that so easily ensnares us during that season.  We weren’t perfect, but I think we did make some drastic changes.  Not having a lot of money helps! 

My biggest motivation for wanting to find deeper meaning is my children.  I want them to look forward to Christmas and Easter not because they’ll get “stuff”, but because there is wonder and excitement in understanding the true meaning behind why we celebrate.  I want to instill reverence in them and the ability to take time to enjoy the simple things. 

I have noticed that I personally need to be reminded to slow down enough to remember why it is that I am working so hard.  I need to stop and meditate on the moment and on what God is teaching me and showing me.  I haven’t read much yet, but it seems like that is what learning the “language of time and space” [1] is all about.  If I don’t slow down and remember what God has done for me, my life will eventually lose all its meaning and sense of purpose.

I have never really acknowledged the season of Lent before, but I keep feeling a need to do it this year.  I haven’t decided what to give up yet.  I will let you know when I decide…..

[1]Essentials Red Online Studies in Worship History and Creative Vocation with Dan Wilt, M.Min

The Church

The Church by Lórien Cannoy

The Church by Lórien Cannoy

For my final project for Essentials Blue, I painted a watercolor painting on canvas.  In Simply Christian N.T. Wright talks about the church and compares it to a river and a tree[1].  This is my attempt to combine both concepts into one.  The church is like a tree in that it all started with Jesus – the seed – and the Body of Christ has grown from that seed and branched out in communities and individuals all over the world.  The church is also like a river because it is made up of people and groups from different locations, backgrounds and races, but  – like a river – all the streams flow together to unite and create one big river which is the worldwide family of the church.  The church is diverse but we are united with one commone goal and destination.  And, at the same time, we all originated from the same place – accepting Jesus as our Saviour – and from there we are called to extend God’s love to the rest of the world in our own unique ways.

So, I imagine at first glance this looks like a tree, but I hope that after a closer look people will also recognize that it’s a bunch of little rivers coming together to form one big river.  Yes, it is intentional that for Essentials Blue I have painted a picture primarily in blue.  I tried to keep it simple since I have a tendency to “overwork” my pieces.  We (Donny and I) had a little bit of trouble with the color while pasting the picture back together after scanning it in sections.  This was a first attempt to see if my concept worked.  I tried to give the branches the mannerisms of rivers, and I think I succeeded.  The real test will be hearing other people’s interpretations.  I hope to paint a bigger version and give it to my church.

[1]N.T. Wright, Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006)199-201

For: The Institute of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies, St. Stephen’s University, Essentials Blue Online Worship Theology Course with Dan Wilt