Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Beauty of Home Education - A Recent Homeschooling Day.

There are a lot of advantages to homeschooling. Some are the obvious ones such as freedom to choose the curriculum that you like. Freedom to teach about God. Not having to deal with the negative social influences that public schools often have. Being able to work at the speed of your child and give one on one attention. I could go on and on.

One advantage that is not always touted is that your time is flexible. That advantage alone is worth it all for us. Since we have two children on the autism spectrum, being flexible is a must. The rigid schedule of a school would not fit well with either one of our children. To use two old clichés, we need to "strike while the iron is hot", and "know when to fold them" with two of our kids.

There are some times of the day that just don't work with our boys. Early in the morning or when they first get up is not a good time for homeschooling for either one of them. We know the general times that are good homeschooling times, but then there are moments when you can just feel that it is a good time to learn and you have to "strike while the iron is hot". That also means that you have to be ready to pull something out right at that time. I do that a lot with Joshua. I can tell when he is in the mood for learning and I'll give him an assignment.

After I do give an assignment and work with them for a while, I also have to "know when to fold them". There are times with both of our younger boys when enough is just enough. It is time to quit! There is no use trying to pull another chapter out of the book, another question off of the worksheet or another rabbit out of the hat. It just won't work. When that happens you just have to put the books down and wait for another opportune time.

Joshua and Jacob are a lot the same, but they are also a lot different. Sarah teaches Jacob and I mainly work with Joshua. Both can work in the evening, but I need to watch Joshua especially to see when he has had enough.

All of the things mentioned above are reasons why we really like homeschooling. All of those usual things are great as well, but the fact that we can choose when to study and how much we can study is a real plus for us. Joshua especially would have a really hard time in a regular classroom. Plus, in a regular classroom, you take all classes with all of your other classmates on that grade level. Joshua is way ahead of grade level in geography, but is way behind in math. Where would that leave him if he went to a public or even private school? It just wouldn't work.

Here is a typical homeschool day for us.

Because Joshua often has a difficult time sleeping, he tends to sleep in late. When he finally does get up it takes a while for him to get fully awake and for his medicine to take effect. We might not really begin our school day until late morning or early afternoon. Lately I have been giving him a language arts writing assignment to do first. We have been using a great program that I am presently reviewing with him and it is working wonders with his writing and language skills. We watch a video together, and I will often stop the video to explain some things to him if he misunderstands. Then he begins on the writing assignment. The other day I had to leave for work early, so I left it up to him to finish the video and do the writing assignment. The video lasted another hour or so after I left and he diligently watched it and took notes but had no energy left to tackle the writing assignment which was okay. I had no idea that the video would last that long and praised him for sticking to it. When I got home form work it was after nine, but Joshua was up to the challenge so we did math and vocabulary with two more programs that we are reviewing. All of the above we will probably continue using because he likes them so well. You may notice that geography, history and science are missing from the days work. That is the beauty of homeschooling year round. If there is a day where we just can't get it all in, we just make sure we get it the next day. Remember, though, that geography and history are his strengths and things he likes to explore on his own so even though we did not officially work on the geography curriculum he is using, I can assure you that he did work on those subjects and we did, indeed, work on science the next day.

Jacob is an evening person as well. Sarah does a great job of working with him for long periods of time when she gets home from her part time job. He is really advancing in his reading skills, and has taken off with his math skills. I have been adding in science and social studies with another program that we are reviewing.

Although our homeschooling day often takes on many forms, the above description is very typical. There are days we get more done than this and there are days we get less, but it all seems to balance out in the end. I keep track of what we do and where we are with each subject. They have really been learning and doing well lately. We thought that our newly added part time jobs would effect our homeschooling negatively, but our recent homeschool days have been some of our best so far this year.

Homeschooling does have many advantages. Some are well known, but there are just as many advantages that are unique to different homeschooling families. Kids are different and so are families. Homeschooling allows people to adjust and do the things that work best for their situation. That's the beauty of home education!

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Will Give You Rest - Scripture Sunday

28“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 (NASB)
I was looking at my blog this evening and I couldn't believe it. I missed my Scripture Sunday post. Since I began blogging again I have never forgotten to write one. The reason why, however, was not hard to figure out. I am tired.
I have been tired for a few weeks now since I started my part time job. Most of you know that we are full time missionaries but the ministry building and house that we were blessed to use for free was recently sold. The owner is getting older and he didn't want his wife and children to have to worry about his rental properties so he is liquidating many of them. So, we had to find a place to live and a place to store all of our ministry things. Then, one of our major financial supporters, Sarah's grandmother, passed away. So we not only had to deal with the loss of a loved one, but also the loss of some financial support. That and the added expense of rent has forced Sarah and I to both find part time jobs until either some bills are paid off, or we raise some more missionary support.
So, for the past six months we have been moving almost non-stop. We have moved ourselves and our ministry, dealt with two deaths in the family (Sarah's mom's boyfriend who was like a grandfather to our children also passed away), had to reorganize our ministry and are now running it our of our small apartment, and have taken on part time jobs.
I'm tired. It seems like I can't get ahead and can't get enough done. My ministry is lacking because I just don't have the time I had before. I am asking all of my readers to please pray.
As I was thinking about this post, the above verses came to mind. Right now the only thing that I can do is trust God, take on His yolk and give my burdens to Him. I need to trust that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Really, that is all I can do right now. I need to trust that it is going to get better. That is the only thing that is holding me together right now is that faith.
I am asking you right now to please strengthen me. Not only me but my whole family. We are tired. We know and really feel that our ministry needs to continue. Please forgive us for making unwise decisions financially and help us to be able to pay off some bills. Please send some faithful financial supporters to us - sooner rather than later. Thank you that for all of these years you have loved us and supplied for all of our needs. We love you Lord.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Aleks Math - Throwback Thursday


So, why am I featuring an old homeschool product review for my Throwback Thursday post? Well, because this is one of our absolutely all time favorite products that we have ever reviewed with the TOS Review Crew. Aleks Math has been a lifesaver when it comes to John Allen and high school math. We used Aleks Math for a little while in middle school during and after this review. Then, when we were struggling with Algebra a couple of years later, John Allen remembered Aleks Math and how much he enjoyed it. Sure enough, it was a great success for his high school math and we have used it through Algebra, Geometry and now Pre-Calculus. This is my original review from six years but the prices haven't changed and, although the one month trial isn't available, there is still a free trial option. Enjoy the review and know that we probably love it even more now than we did back then.
Friday, 21 August 2009
Aleks Math
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Homeschool Product Review
I have always been skeptical of online homeschool curriculum. I don't know why really. I guess I like the personal interaction that I have with my child. At least when I am teaching, I know what he is doing and keep track of his progress. I have used different computer programs to supplement my child's education, but have not found a program that I feel can do as good of a job teaching as I can with personal one on one time with my child. Until my son tried Aleks Math!
I have always liked math, and enjoy teaching it to my children. The oldest, John Allen, doesn't necessarily like math, but continues to plod along, learning what he needs to get by. Thankfully, homeschool curriculum tends to be advanced, so he is learning more than most kids, but has never made any great leaps in his learning, nor, really liked it. I was pretty sure that Aleks Math would be the same way. Boy was I wrong!
This math program is for grades 3-adult, but an advanced first or second grader, or even a very advanced kindergärtner could use it as well. I signed John Allen up for the "Middle School Math Course 3" which is for a 7th grade student getting ready for pre-algebra in 8th grade. To insure privacy, John Allen was given a login name and password for whenever he signs in to continue working on his math studies.
The first thing that he did was take a pre-test to determine what he knew and didn't know. The immediate results told us that he knew 11% of what this course covered. The program is set up so that a student doesn't need to relearn things that he already knows. Will he have to review those things? Yes, but he won't have to go through a class where something he already knows is tediously taught step by step. If he were in a regular class, he would have to do this for all of the students who still need to learn those concepts. Even in a one-on-one homeschool environment, we would have to look over each lesson and try some problems before determining whether or not to move on to the next lesson. Aleks does all of that for you.
Next, we were presented with John Allen's pie. However, the "pie" isn't something that he can eat, but a pie graph that tells what John Allen already knows and still needs to learn. His pie was divided into six slices Whole Numbers and Integers; Rational Numbers; Measurements, Proportions, Percents and Probabilities; Variable Expressions and Equations; Functions and Graphs; and lastly, Geometry. The darker portions of the chart represent how much he has learned, and the lighter portions tell how much he still needs to learn. As he progresses through the course, more and more of the pie will become darker until, hopefully, sooner or later, the pie will be completely dark, which means he has completed this course. When John Allen presses on a piece of his pie, it gives a selection of topics that he is ready to learn. He can press on any topic, and begin the teaching process.

The teaching process is very user friendly. A screen will appear with a problem or a group of problems on it. You simply choose an answer from a multiple choice list, or put the correct answer in a box using your keyboard. They are very encouraging and tell you nicely to try again or congratulate you and ask you to try another problem. When you have answered several in a row correctly, they will end that particular topic and encourage you to try another. After going through this with several topics, they will give you an assessment to make sure that you have truly mastered that topic. Occasionally you will press on a piece of pie that will tell you that there are no topics for you to learn in that area until you master one or two topics from another slice of the pie. Of course, with some things, you have to have a pencil and paper handy to figure a problem with, but that is really all of the outside equipment that you need. They even have an online calculator that they allow you to use with some types of problems! Every thing is easy, efficient, and very encouraging! They even send the parent a weekly progress report or, they give you a password to check on his progress any time you want.

I must admit, that when we were first given a one month trial to evaluate this product, we were on vacation and not able to use it right away. Then, when we were finally able to begin, we were given another math review program to evaluate as well. All in all, John Allen has probably used this program for about two and a half weeks, for only about half an hour a day on average. Which is much less than he would normally spend on math, but we had to make time for the other review program as well. I tell you all of this because after only about 9 hours of use, John Allen now has 22% of the course mastered! He has doubled his knowledge! If he were to keep up at this pace, he would finish this course in only half a year! All without fuss - he actually likes it! In fact, he asked if we could sign him up for the whole year.
If you would have told me a year ago that this would happen, I would have thought you were joking. Now, I am sold on this product. I heartily recommend Aleks Math. But, don't take my word for it, sign up for a free month's trial today and see for yourself. Just click here:

Visit ALEKS for 1-Month Trial

Aleks Math can be used as a complete math program or as a math tutor for students who are struggling in a regular math class. Although Aleks may be a little more expensive than a regular homeschool math curriculum, it cost a lot less than a math tutor or one of the tutoring centers that you could take your child to. And, when you think about the gas that you could spend to take your child to a tutor or center, it makes the price a little more bearable. They give you several options for purchasing. It can be purchased month-to-month for $19.95 per month, or $99.95 for six months, or $179.95 for 12 months. Family discounts are available for 6 and 12-month subscriptions when purchasing for multiple students. We're already planning on signing John Allen up for another month and see where it goes from there. He actually asks to do math now. This is the happiest I have ever seen him when it comes to math. And, as they say, you can't put a price on happiness! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What's On My Bedside Table? My Summer Reading List!

Actually you don't really want to know what's on my bedside table. It is a mess. However, if I were like many of my friends, all the mess would be gone and there would be a stack of books that I have as my goal to read this summer. Oh, the stack of books is there, it's just that there is some added junk along with the stack. Anyway, let's skip that part and just get on with the list of books.

As you can see, since there are 13 books listed, I don't believe in bad luck. You can also see that there is a diverse type of books that I am reading as well. Some are biographical or autobiographical, some are Christian, some are motivational, some are just good old fashion fiction, a couple I've read before, others I began a long time ago but had to put down for one reason or another and, still others, I have never read. I'll explain a little about why I want to read each book underneath the pictures.

Remember, though, that if you click on the picture it leads to my Amazon affiliate page for that particular book. If you should choose to purchase anything at that time, I will get a small percentage of the proceeds. Again, thank you ahead of time if you should choose to purchase under my affiliate. Every little bit really does help. If you should choose not to purchase through my affiliate, you may exit out of Amazon and, when you go back to the Amazon site, my affiliate link won't be there anymore.
I don't think it's any secret what my political affiliation is. I am a republican, however, I have been known to vote otherwise from time to time. At any rate, with the crowded republican field this presidential go around, I really have no idea who I might vote for. Although I may or may not vote for him, Ben Carson does intrigue me so I found a used copy of his autobiography, Gifted Hands, and am presently reading it. It's very interesting! 

Yes, I know, if you look at my list of books from a few months ago, Life Without Limits, was on it. This is one of those books that I began reading but had to put down for one reason or another. It is an excellent book and is one of John Allen's favorites. I enjoyed what I read and am looking forward to picking it back up again.
I can't remember at what point in my life that Amy Carmichael became one of my favorite historical missionaries. However, she and another female missionary, Mary Slessor, are at the top of my top 10 missionary list. I have read different biographies about each one and have taught missionary stories in Bible Clubs and camps about each one. A Chance To Die, by another great female missionary, Elizabeth Elliot, is a great biography of a great missionary. It's not often that I read books twice. They have to be really, really, good for me to do that and this one is.

The Magic of Thinking Big is another one of my "started reading but life got in the way" books. It is a really great book that helps with goal setting, thinking positively, being creative in your thinking and dreaming and more. This is definitely a motivational book and I know that in the world of self-help books a Christian has to be very careful that these type books don't go against what God says in His Word. Although, I have not read this book all of the way through, I have not seen anything that is totally wrong yet. I will let you know if I do.

Many, many years ago I read Knowing God by J. I. Packer and loved it. I don't recall everything that it said but I do know that it made a big impact on my life back then and am very much looking forward to reading it again at this stage in my life.

Another motivational book that I have perused and saw nothing totally against God's Word. I have also watched videos of Brandon Burchard, the author, and really like him. As with any motivational book that is not totally Christian, I would encourage you to do your own research before buying. I'll let you know what I think about The Charge after I get done with it.

Although John C. Maxwell, is a motivational speaker, he is very much a Christian. I have read other things by him and really like him so I have no qualms at all about recommending Failing Forward. Many of you know what is going on in my family's life right now, and although I know that we are not failures, I'm sure this book with help in dealing with our emotions.

No, I am not disappointed with God, but I do wonder at why He does things sometimes. I know that He knows what is best and we just need to trust Him. Sometimes trusting without seeing exactly what the future holds is difficult. Disappointment With God was either in some donations that we got for our ministry or I found it at a used book store so I snatched it up. I read the first chapter and am hooked and can't wait to finish it.

Yes, I know, some people would consider the above to books as "rag" books that are useless to read. Let me explain my love of Phyllis A. Whitney though. Some of the first books that I read were from the children's series "The Bobbsey Twins". When I got into the older elementary years, though, I wanted something a little more advanced but still in the mystery genre. When I was at the library one day the librarian recommended the mystery books that Phyllis A. Whitney wrote for young people. I checked one out, loved it, and was hooked from then on. Although some of her adult mystery books may be classified as romance, they really are not. There is little romance in them and certainly not any inappropriate scenes or language at all. The fact that the books are written in travel destinations and/or historical places all over the world also drew me into the books. Each place and it's history is always described in great detail and always makes me want to visit the destination. So, anyway, call them what you want, but every once in a while I just want to read something that doesn't require me to think and put forth any effort except enjoyment. That's why The Stone Bull and The Turquoise Mask are on my list of books to read this summer.

This might also be considered a useless book to read by some, but Eugenia Price wrote excellent Christian historical novels. I have read many of them and loved them. The Waiting Game is another book that I picked up at a used book store for next to nothing and can't wait to read.

A couple of months ago I read and loved Christie, the novel that the popular TV movie and series was based on. I absolutely loved the book that was loosely based on the life of Catherine Marshall's mother. Julie, is loosely based on the life of Catherine Marshall herself so I it is a natural progression that I should read it as well. I know it is going to be just as good.

If you want a good Christian adventure novel that is also accurate in it's portrayal of the cultures and situations involved, you cannot go wrong with a Jeanette Windle novel. She is so accurate in her research that government agencies have questioned her to see if she had access to classified information. I'm sure the fact that I personally know her has nothing to do with me reading this autographed copy of Veiled Freedom. *Smile*
So, there you have my summer reading list. I'm sure I won't get to all of them and I'm sure the list might change a little bit as the dog days of summer go by. What's on your reading list for the summer? Leave me a comment and let me know. I may publish another post including the top picks of others. At any rate, have fun reading!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Mothers Of My Life - Scripture Sunday

Proverbs 31:25-31
 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
There have been many women in my life that I would consider mothers. So many that I couldn't include them all in this post if I tried. There are some that are mothers to me even now that there is just not room to include. However, the five women in my collage above are probably the most influential and possessed the qualities listed in the above verses from Proverbs 31. They are strong, dignified, and wise mothers. They are good keepers of the household affairs and are not lazy. They are kind and loving to their spouses and children. They fear the Lord and honor Him above all else.
Let me tell you why each of them are so influential in my life.
The one pictured most prominently is my wife Sarah. She is the love of my life and of my children. We have been married for nearly 22 years and have been through so much together. She has stuck by me through thick and thin. I love her with all of my heart and am looking forward to the next 22 years and beyond.
The one in the upper right is my mother Dorothy Rose Tinkel. She was truly the matriarch of our family. Strong and hard working. Very loving and devoted to her husband and children. I love her dearly and miss her dearly.
The second one down is my dear mother-in-law Carolyn Adcox. I love her just because she has put up with me for the past 26 years through the tumultuous dating years of me and Sarah and through our crazy marriage. I also love her because she was and is a fantastic mother to my wife. She is a wonderful lady who raised a wonderful daughter.
The next one down is my sister, Carol Cover. I can't believe that I have no picture of her on my computer. I will definitely have to remedy that and will update this post soon. Carol is 15 years older than I am and has always been like a second mother to me. I value her opinion and her counsel and love her very, very, much.
Finally, there is a lady who is related to me in no way but is just as much a part of the fabric of my life as any lady that is a relation. It is my dear God mother Waneta Finster. Waneta was my babysitter when we lived in Indiana during my preschool and early elementary school days but remained extremely close even after we moved away. She and her husband were probably the best friends that my parents ever had and was a tremendously influential and special lady in my life. I love her and miss her terribly.
So, those are the five ladies that have influenced me the most. There are more special ladies the had and still have a great impact on my today. Some that I almost included and, although I may write a part two post, they are definitely not second tier but rank at the top with the ladies listed above. Frankly, the reason they weren't included is because there just wasn't enough room in the collage above.
Happy Mother's Day to all of my special mothers.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Father and The Son - A Mother's Day Story

A few years ago I was reviewing a homeschool unit study when I came up with this story. It has been revised into a short story but is basically the same as when I originally wrote it. I really enjoy the characters, "The Father" and "The Boy" and have written a number of stories and reviews featuring them. I would really like to write a book of short stories featuring them. Who knows? Maybe someday. Until then, enjoy this story which I have dedicated to my wife, my mother, and my mother-in-law.

This was originally written as a review for a homeschool unit study. I have since revised it into this story.

The father and his son sat together in the shade, leaning against the trunk of the old oak tree. It had been a hard day. They were both tired from working in their large garden and doing yard work. The air was sweet with the smell of springtime honeysuckle and roses - especially the smell of roses.
The yard was full of rose bushes. They were tucked between the azaleas and the hostas. They were planted beside the clematis and the iris. There were seventeen to be exact. Nine his dear mother had planted. Father would buy her one every Mother's Day. The other eight were the ones that father silently picked out and planted on each Mother's Day since she died.

The boy glanced over at the newest rose bush planted just days before. It was a pink variety that he knew that his mother would have loved. He didn't remember much of his mother. She passed away when he was only four years old. His father talked of her very little so the things that he did recall he clung to like a rare treasure. Still the memories were becoming foggy in his mind.

In the dimness of his memory was the picture of a kind but strong woman. She was full of life and vitality. Always doing for others, but never too busy to love and cherish her own family.

The boy also remembered the day of the accident. He recalled the last time that she hugged him and kissed him. His thoughts turned to the knock on the door and his father's rushing out while the kindly neighbor woman enveloped him in her arms and took him to her house to spend the night. The days that followed were a blur. His father's grieving - the confusion of a young boy who realizes that his mother is never coming back. Those were dark days.

The days had changed however. His father was always a cheerful man who loved living and loved his family. Although things were different, the father soon threw off the appearance of sadness and acted his cheerful self again. The father loved his son and wanted the best for him. He knew a sad home was no place to raise a young boy. So, with the Lord's help, he determined to make their home a happy home. And he did. The boy and his father were extremely happy and loved each other immensely. Still, occasionally, the boy could see a small wisp of sadness in his father's eyes. He knew that at those times Father was thinking about Mother. Those looks became more frequent in the spring when the roses were blooming and especially around Mother's Day when it was time to plant another bush.

The boy glanced at his father. Father's eyes were pointed toward a beautiful orange rose bush but his mind was far away.

"Should I?" the boy thought. "Is now the time?"

The boy had always longed to know more about his mother, but lately he was yearning to know more about mothers in general. For most of his life he'd had no mother. What were they like? He watched his friend's mothers and how they reacted to their sons. It always seemed to him that a mother's and son's relationship was a special one. He loved his father deeply and never wanted to hurt him, but their relationship was not the same. His face reddened slightly as he thought about the kindly neighbor lady who tried so hard to give him some motherly affection. His lips curved up as he thought about the embarrassing pecks that she would plant on his cheeks and the sudden hugs that she would give him. He knew what she was doing and loved her for it. Still, she was not his mother. She had her own brood to care for and to give her motherly love to. What was a mother truly like?

"Father," he suddenly blurted, "What is a mother like?"

Father's eyes came back to life and he glanced at his son.

"Mmmm? Your mother?" he said. "Oh she had soft brown hair and your beautiful green eyes..."

"No, Father." interrupted the boy. "Not my mother, know...mothers. What are mothers like? What is it like to have a mother?"

"I mean," stammered the boy as he stumbled for words after his sudden outburst, "We just celebrated Mother's Day and I don't even really know what a mother is. Oh father, I don't want to hurt you, but..."

The father didn't have a harsh bone in his body, but somehow his face softened even more than usual.

"Oh my son," he exclaimed as he wrapped his boy in his arms. "It is I who has hurt you. I have tried to be everything to you but in doing so I have failed to teach you about a mother's love."

They sat in silence for a few minutes and then his father unwrapped his arms, smiled and said in a matter-of-fact-tone, "But, it is not too late!"

He leaned back against the tree. "How do you teach a boy about mothers?" he mused as he plucked a long blade of grass and stuck the end into his mouth.

He thought for a moment and then suddenly jumped up and exclaimed, "I know just the thing! Come with me."

He scurried into the house as if on a mission with his boy hurrying behind him. “We're going to do a unit study on Mother's Day this week for homeschool.” he said as he sat down at his computer.

“What do we know about putting together unit studies, Father? We've never done anything like that before.”

“I'm sure it can't be too hard. Look at this!" He said after he had typed in a search for Mother's Day, "Look at all of the things we could do. There are web sites on Mother's Day crafts and Mother's Day recipes.”

“And,” he said excitedly, “here are some fun Mother's Day worksheets that we could complete!”
"Let's keep searching! I'll bet we can find a lot of fun ways for us to learn about mothers. We'll learn together." said Father enthusiastically.

And so they did. They had a wonderful time watching the videos and listening to special Mother's Day songs. They worked on the worksheets together and enjoyed learning about the history of Mother's Day. Each day they read about a different Biblical mother and what the Bible has to say about mothers. The boy even coaxed his father to tell him about his grandmother. He laughed at the stories his father would recall from the days of his youth. As the week went on, the boy began to understand what a Godly mother was, but, as each day passed, the boy became sadder.

The father noticed the change in his boy's demeanor but didn't know quite what was wrong. Finally, on Friday, while they were watching another video, the boy could stand it no longer. Before the movie was even finished he jumped up and ran from the house. Father found him beneath the same oak tree where they were sitting a few days earlier. The boy was sobbing uncontrollably.

The father put his arm around his son and held him close. He waited patiently for the lad to calm down enough to talk.

"What is it my boy?" he asked softly. "What is troubling you?"

"Oh Father," exclaimed the boy as he fought back another round of tears. "I have enjoyed learning about mothers so much...but...each day we seem to read about different things that we could do for our mother." "But, " he hesitated and hung his head, "I have no mother." And with that a fresh stream of tears began to trickle down his cheeks.

"My son," said the kind father. "Did we not learn about Ruth and Naomi in our studies this week? Ruth loved Naomi and left her own country to travel with Naomi back to the land that she had come from. Do you remember why she did it? She did it because Naomi was kind to her. She treated her as if she was her own daughter. She was the Godly mother that Ruth had never had."

As the boy listened he stopped crying and looked into his father's face with an inquisitive look.

"Son," continued the father, "You may not have a biological mother here on earth, but you do have mothers. Mothers that are kind to you and that love you. Think of Miss Esther, your Sunday School teacher, who always has a kind word for you and congratulates you when she hears of your accomplishments. What about dear old Mrs. Finster who always bakes two pies or two batches of cookies ~ one for herself, and the other to be sent home to us? And then, don't forget Mabel the kind lady who lives next door. She has five children of her own, but never seems to run out of hugs and kisses for you whenever you are around. They have already shown you what being a true, Godly mother is all about. They are your mothers."

The boy sat and thought and then, suddenly, his face brightened.

"I can't be sitting around here anymore, I have work to do." he exclaimed as he jumped up.

"Where are you going, Son?"

"I'm getting ready for Mother's Day. I know that the holiday is over, but shouldn't mothers be celebrated more than just one day a year? I'm going to honor my mothers today!"

And so he did. He used the ideas from the unit study. He made a special Mother's Day card for Miss Esther, his Sunday School teacher. He baked some heart shaped cookies for dear old Mrs. Finster. He lovingly made a Mother's Day craft for Mabel, the kind lady next door.

That evening his father helped him deliver his gifts. The boy sat with each recipient and thanked them for "adopting" him and being the mother that he didn't have. It never failed that as the boy and his father left, there were tears in the recipient’s eyes.

As they arrived home and the father was passing the kitchen table he noticed one more wrapped package sitting upon it.

"Son," he called, "Did we forget to deliver one."

Unbeknownst to him, the boy had silently entered the room behind him.

"No," said the boy softly as he picked up the gift, "This one is for you. You see Father, all of those dear ladies have been Godly examples of what a mother should be, but since Mother died, you have been both my father and mother. You are the one most deserving of my love on this special day."

The father carefully unwrapped the gift. Within the paper were the workbook pages he had completed in the past week's study on mothers. They were lovingly bound together with ribbon that the boy found among his mother's old sewing kit. Many of the pages had asked the student to describe different aspects of their mother. For some reason, those pages caught the father's eye more than the others. Suddenly he realized why. On each one of those pages his son had not written about his mother at all, but about him. As the father slowly closed the book, he noticed that on the front was a beautifully drawn picture. It was of a rose bush.

Now it was his turn to cry while his son placed his arms around him.

That night, as the boy lay in his bed, it dawned on him that he finally knew what a mother was. And, somehow, the memories of his real mother became all the more clear to him again.

This story is lovingly dedicated to:
My wife, Sarah Tinkel, whom I dearly love.
My mother, Dorothy Rose Tinkel, who passed away on February 14, 2011.
My mother-in-law, Carolyn Adcox, who has been a dear mother to me for the past 19 years.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Amazing Attraction!


It's no secret that I'm an old softy. It's also not much of a secret that I am an occasional fan of Britain's Got Talent. Well, those two non-secrets met up a few years ago when a fantastic dance group auditioned for and eventually won Britain's Got Talent. I wrote about it then, and thought I would resurrect the post once again since the original was posted about three years ago right around this same time. I just watched the video again and was just as moved today as I was when I first posted it. Here's the original post.

Okay, I know that was a corny title, but there is nothing corny about this video. There may be some place in America where  a person can watch Britain's Got Talent live, but not at our house. I have to watch it via video. I'm not necessarily a big fan, but over the years I have enjoyed some of the youtube posts of some of the fantastic artists that have competed. Of course Susan Boyle was one of my favorites, and, more recently, Only Boys Aloud. I just saw my first post from this seasons crop of potential winners and it is another great one. The groups name is "Attraction" and they do shadow dancing. DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL! Before you click off of this post thinking it will be totally boring, think again. I was quite moved and I think you will be as well. Enjoy.