The Millennial Homemaker

The musings of a Stay at Home Mom

The Discovery of Science

Every life form on earth is a discovery. It is fascinating to watch the birds fly through the air, or to see a fish swim in the ocean. From the tiniest forms of microscopic life in our intestines to the outermost limits of the universe, “science” has been there in the midst of it all, trying to explain it, to understand it, to save it. But, what is it exactly? How do we know that the objects of observation deserve more than just our attention, our analysis, or our gratitude?

In my experience of studying science I have become more narrow-minded in my search for the truth of existence. As a child I enjoyed reading the stories of how babies are made, or the National Geographic versions of biology, geology, astronomy or chemistry. Yet in all my studies there is one thing that stands out beyond all other descriptions of scientific origins. The passage below is a quote from the apostle Paul in the New Testament which states, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, NKJV)

Why would I interject a verse from the Bible into this glimpse of my “world view” of science? Isn’t that trying to combine religion with science? Isn’t that a form of non-political-correct behavior? Well, for those of you who do not share in the same faith, then the answer would be yes. For those of you who do hold to the same beliefs as I do, then again, my answer is yes. Before you decide to exit the page, shut the book, or curse at my words, please let me explain (in simple terms) why faith and science go hand-in-hand.

As a person goes through life, she usually sits behind a desk at the local school and listens to the designated teacher describe the science lesson from the prescribed textbook publisher. If she happens to be enrolled in a class that allows for “out-of-the-box” instruction and experiments, she may be receiving an additional form of knowledge that most science teachers do not feel obliged to share. Most children grow up and find that the study of science is boring and unrelated to their current needs. What a shame! The educational system has an opportunity to expand the minds of the students and encourage the opportunities for exploration and a deeper knowledge of the world.

For someone to take a teacher’s spoken lecture at face value, or even delve into the words of the textbook, the student must have some starting point of faith when understanding science. I am not speaking of a “religious” faith per se, but I am pointing out that science must be evaluated through a lens of faith. If a teacher says, “E equals M C squared,” do we take it at face value or do we try to prove it? What if the teacher says, “the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell,” but we have no way to see it or examine the process without a microscope? Do we just take the teacher’s word in faith, or do we want proof? Yet, in all of the classes I have taken in science, I have been expected to take the teacher’s lecture at face value and believe every word from the textbook publisher. Something is wrong when I choose to believe so naively that it is automatically true, rather than trying to prove the truth through my own research. The educational system is telling all students to have a base measure of faith to assume that all of the textbooks and lectures are true. What a shame!

If a person wants to be truly educated in science, it is only for the betterment of that person to go out into the world and research every possible angle of that particular subject. Do not conform to the ways of the world by believing the first person who tells you that the Earth is round. Go out and prove it for yourself!

In return of the above-mentioned verse, I have to say that my faith in God has only solidified my passion for science. As I study the process of creation, the vastness of the universe, or the depths of the oceans, I am more firmly convinced in a Creator who is the CEO of science! The whole decision to study and believe the methods of science come down to a choice in faith: do I choose to believe what the world has deduced regarding science, or do I choose to believe the simple scriptures that point to God as the almighty Creator? I choose to take option number two: it is the road less traveled yet more ridiculed by scholars and laymen alike.

In the post-modern society our “educated” people have been trained to believe (through an unknowing and underlying faith) in a different perspective of science than those science scholars who lived before 1850 AD. The world has changed drastically in the past 150 years. A complete polar-shift has occurred in how science works and defines life on earth and life in space. If you disagree, and that is okay, take some time to study the lives of respected science scholars like Johannes Kepler, Ferdinand Magellan, and Galileo Galilei. These men lived hundreds of years before now, and their “world-view” of science was founded on their belief in a Creator. In spite of the so-called conflict of religion versus science, they are still well-respected in the scientific communities for their discoveries, their beliefs, and their legacies.

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The Beauty of Art

I recently completed an Introduction to Art class at the community college. I envisioned a tactical approach to the subject, and I had hoped to incorporate some hands-on experience in the process. Although the class literally “introduced” me to the world of art, I learned to appreciate the subject due to the learning of its history.

As a child I did not consider myself to be creative. Although I could play the piano through hours of practice, I was not able to write my own songs. Although I used to read for hours on end, I did not ever pick up a pen to write my own novel (but I was a great pen pal). One day I was snooping in the hallway closet next to my bedroom, and I came across a set of artsy-looking pieces of chalk. I inquired about the discovery, and behold, my mother told me of the days when she used to draw and paint scenery.

I don’t remember the exact day I decided to step out of my left-brained comfort zone, but I found an old card that displayed a picture of an angel with yellow hair. I spent a few hours in my room trying to replicate that card. For a first attempt at expressing my newfound creativity I thought I did a good job! I have the artwork stashed in my files somewhere. And I still believe that angels have yellow hair.

I have learned that art is more than just a drawing, and that is more than just the ability to express creativity. Art is an extension of our natural beauty, and it is expressed in many forms. Whether the finished product is a canvas painting or a sculpture made from clay, the beauty of art is unique to the creator and the beholding eyes.

I am no longer afraid to step out of my left-brained zone. I desire to try and express my uniqueness in the form of art. I am sure that I will need a few more classes (and a great instructor) to help me fine-tune my projects. My personal motivators have been my children. They have emptied many bins of computer paper in their attempts to create their masterpieces. I have a portfolio in safe keeping for those precious creations, and it’s a wonderful experience to look at their growth spurts on paper.

As I take the time to observe the world around me, I find that art can be found everywhere! It’s masterfully created in graphic designs, the structures of buildings, digital photography, classic film, theatre productions, and classrooms! The world of art tells a story to those who are willing to listen and learn. The history of art is fascinating, for it opens the door to the past. It teaches us about the people who lived before us, and left their images of life on the walls, in the buildings, and under the ground. All we have to do is discover, appreciate, preserve, and pass it forward.

Every school should be excited to expose their students to the world of art. If financial hardships occur due to political changes, there should be passionate artists who are willing to step forward and volunteer their time. I only wish that my school had taken more time to develop the skill of art within me. I probably would have tried to create something rather than shy away from the possibility of success. There are plenty of people out there who are creative, and they are hiding their talents. It would be so nice to see a huge influx of appreciation for art within the community, and it should be accessible for all who would like to try.

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The World of Literature

One of the first books I learned to read was the Bible. I still cherish the moments when I can pick up this ancient book and read some of my favorite passages. I had taken my Bible reading for granted when I was younger, but I know that it is too important to overlook and gather dust in these turbulent days.

My husband is an avid reader. He enjoys reading novels from all genres, particularly the mystery and science-fiction fantasy novels. I have never had trouble reading during my youth, but I realize now that I didn’t have the mindset to always process or comprehend the material set before my eyes. I can remember reading the biography of Doris Day when I was in elementary school. I do not know what inspired me to pick up that particular book and read, but I do know that I was fascinated with the actresses of the 1950s and 1960s. I remember vague details about her troubled life, and that is all. In high school my senior English teacher decided to “expose” us to world of subliminal messages through literature of the future. I remember reading strange novels such as “The Old Man and the Sea,” “1984,” “Animal Farm,” and “Fahrenheit 451.” If I had taken a serious step toward comprehension I may have appreciated his push into the unknown. Little did I know that it would take another 16 years before I realized that some literature is meant to be strange and obscure.

Upon my return to higher education in 2002 I have picked up many new interests in novels and textbooks. I have found that many of the school-suggested textbooks are dry, dull and lifeless; however, there are many other resources that convey the same message in a passionate, imaginative tone. I became a fan of the local bookstore, and managed to navigate my way around the online book warehouses.

I wanted to share my newfound love for literature with my children. At the current time of my enlightenment to the written word, they were still too young to read or comprehend the books I placed in their laps. Going to the library for “story time” was out of the question. Imagine the ordeal I suffered by trying to convince three squiggly, rambunctious boys to sit still and listen to the “story lady” sing songs and read some books. I envied all the other moms who were able to sit with their quiet, well-mannered children and not break a sweat during the story hour. Those children must have been medicated!

I began to research different ways on reaching my children through literature, and another new love was born: the rebirth of the home-schooling movement! I borrowed as many library books as I could on this subject, and I continued to study this “narrow-road” approach to education. I didn’t plan to find a passion in teaching my own children through my discovery, but I wanted to find a way that I could encourage my children to learn to love reading as I did.

While I will reserve the topic of education for another day, I do have to say that there is more to learning than sitting behind a school desk and listening to a myriad of teachers drone on and on about a subject that seems so lifeless. The world of literature is so vast and abundant with books that are brimming with life! These real-life “twaddle-free” books are created by authors who have passion for a particular topic. They have a story to tell, and a textbook publisher cannot hold a candle to the authors who pour their lives on the paper.

It has taken me 35 years to discover the sheer awesomeness of imagination that awaits me in the pages I touch. I have steered clear of some of the more recent, popular books, so I may re-learn to appreciate the depth of the classic novels. Works by C.S. Lewis, J.D. Wyss, or Roald Dahl have captured my attention and awakened my imagination. Though it may take a lot of time, I hope that the next few years will find me still reading these classic novels. The bookstores are full of them, and I am eager to fill my library at home with these treasures.

If a person is at a loss of where to begin in the world of literature, my first suggestion is to pick up a book that relates to your present interests. Whether it is cooking, automobile repair, fitness, gerontology, genealogy, medicine or education, a person should be able to find a perfect fit (or a similar match). I hope that we won’t ever have to experience any form of book burning, as represented in the book, “Fahrenheit 451.” Literature should be a joy to consume, and its impact has seared the hearts of millions for years. The ability to read is a privilege and a right, and every man, woman and child should have the opportunity to experience the joy of the written word.

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The impact of music in my life

My interest of music began at the age of five years. I used to watch my mother play the piano with ease and joy. One day I climbed up next to her on the piano bench and said, “Teach me, Mommy!” She admitted that she had only taken nine months of piano lessons as a child, and she didn’t feel confident to teach me the rules of piano.

A few months later I was introduced to my first piano teacher, and I began to study basic piano instructions. I still have my first textbook in my possession, and it’s dated “June 22, 1978.” I continued with my weekly lessons for the next ten years, until I decided that enough was enough. I was fifteen years old, and I was stubborn.  I was tired of driving to and from the lesson each week; I wanted to pursue something else of interest.

As I look back on the years of those lessons, the dreaded hours of forced practice, and the intimidating competitions and recitals, I have bitter-sweet feelings of those memories. A part of me wishes that I had continued with the study of piano through the college years, and a part of me wishes that I had branched out to other forms of music. I did try to take voice lessons at the community college, but I didn’t have the vibrato to accompany my pitch and range. I tried to step back into the world of piano lessons at a private college, but since I had forgotten so many years of practice I decided to quit before I embarrassed myself out of the major.

Although I believed that my experience in piano was merely a “skill” and not a true talent, I have realized that there is joy to be found in the art of making music. Beautiful music is enjoyed by millions around the world every day. There are countless versions of music within each culture that define the people who connect to that form of beauty.

Music is a trance, a hug, a silence breaker, and a mood-swinger. It drives men to its knees, and causes waves of emotion to build in the soul. Music is a life force, and it creates a bond between two people. It comforts the lonely, accuses the guilty, elates the happy, and completes the spirit.

The essence of music has saved my life. In times of deep despair I have turned to music for comfort, for encouragement, for laughter, for opening up my mouth and expressing my joy. Music has the ability to stir up the body to movement, and brings life into the dull surroundings. I cannot imagine a world without music.

I have to say thank you to the teachers who spent countless hours training my brain and my hands to play those 88 keys. I have to thank my parents for providing the funds and the time they sacrificed for my lessons. I have to thank the men and women who used their knowledge and creativity to write the tunes that would become a beautiful song.

I admire the talents of the people who can create a new song from their mind. I admire the people who have the strength and determination to perform the music for others to enjoy. I wonder if they feel the way I do, where I know that music is embedded into my bones and my soul. I just haven’t figured out how to make the music come out of me the way they have. I admire their desire to share their passion and provide that joy.

Music is a form of beauty that is subjective, objective, passive, aggressive, colorful, and unique to each composer. Music will be passed down through the generations, yet portions of it may die with a change in a culture. Throughout the ages the essence of music remains; it is alive and life-sustaining for those who embrace it.

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The end of school; the beginning of education

I didn’t plan on tutoring any children but my own. I enjoy teaching my children; in fact, I prefer to teach them more than I prefer to teach myself. But, through all the joys and trials of child raising, there is nothing better than a home-grown education. I made the mistake of putting my children back into public school this year. It was a choice they made, and they requested to go back. We have endured another year of the “governmental babysitting institution”, and as much as I would like to say that they have succeeded (which they did) I believe the school system has fallen way short of my high standards. The end of the school year is dated for May 21, and boy oh boy, we are all looking forward to that day!

Call me crazy, but I am looking forward to summertime. I want my kids to sleep in, to eat a nutritious breakfast, and to savor all the moments at home. We have a loving and close family, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else (except for heaven). My boys are unusual because they actually enjoy each other’s company (most of the time), and they look forward to being at home, playing games, reading books, watching movies (not TV), and the occasional wrestle on the floor. My little 2 1/2 year old girl wants to join in on the fun, and we include her in many of the activities.

Back to tutoring… well, I discovered that there is a need. Our neighborhood is full of children who are suffering from public school syndrome as well. They have parents who care about them, but the parents don’t have the inclination or knowledge to help them make it through the next level. So, one by one, I am answering the call to help the children. I have even created a flyer to designate my newfound, home-based business/ministry. I am calling the tutoring service, “School Escape Educators”, or SEE for short. My heart is, and has always been, for children.

May God richly bless each of you who reads this post. If you are a believer, I ask for your prayers. Education does not solely occur in a classroom, sitting behind a desk, and listening to a lecture. True education is every day, every minute, and every opportunity. If we could all have this attitude toward learning, there may be more children out there who will begin to see their parents teach them at home, too. Until then, I gladly accept the challenge of reaching out to the children in my neighborhood who need a little one-on-one attention and understanding. Ciao!

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