Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Prayer: Asking God to Be What He Is

With the way we see prayer, it seems kinda goofy for us to pray that God be what He already is.  We usually think of prayer as giving God information, asking for help, requesting stuff.  But look at what David prays in Psalm 31:
Be my rock of refuge, a fortress of defense to save me.  For You are my rock and my fortress.
Do you suppose maybe there really is something to that thing about prayer being when we speak back to God the truths that He has already given us?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Driving and Brain Speed

Maggie doesn't drive.   When she was approaching the age when kids are allowed to take drivers' ed, I couldn't put my finger on the reason why we weren't going to allow her to get behind the wheel.  After the psychological evaluation she had recently, now I know why. 

If your brain processes things slowly, it's hard to take in all the things you see when driving, consider not only what's happening but also what is likely to happen in the next several seconds, then make decisions about what to do with your couple-of-tons of metal, and then do it.  And that would be even harder when there's extra traffic or when you're driving in an unfamiliar area, trying to watch for stop signs while navigating unknown roads to your destination.

After our IEP meeting, I've been wondering if there's something that can be done to help Maggie increase her processing speed.  The IEP which the school offered doesn't really have anything designed to achieve higher processing speed.  The remedial reading, writing, and math they're offering look to me as if they're trying to help her catch up to closer to "where she should be" according to the school's timetable.  When I look online for information about increasing neurological processing speed, I am skeptical.  Someone provides a service that purports to help increase a student's processing speed.  Will it work?  Or are they hawking a service that will line their pockets?  How can we know? 

Too often, I've seen "tests" which purport to measure a certain aspect of a person's ability.  The test is supposed to represent/reveal how a person performs in one area of thinking.  Then the person is trained and drilled and drilled and trained.  The person improves his score on the test.  But (!!!) does that mean the person has actually improved in thinking ability or reasoning ability or brain speed?  Or does it just demonstrate that the person has trained his brain to do a particular task quicker?  I found an online exercise for "increasing your brain's processing speed."  But I'm suspicious as to whether practicing this exercise will actually increase the speed of neurological connections in any area except the one which has been rehearsed and drilled.

So what's the solution?  Do we just keep plugging away with the kind of activities and books we've been using?  Do we assume that trying these therapies might actually change Maggie's brain speed instead of merely speeding her up on the exercises?  Will increased speed in one task generalize to increased speed in hearing & decision-making & academics & overall problem-solving?  Or will this kind of therapy just take time away from activities that might be more interesting and beneficial in the long-run?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dad on Moving Day

Last night, Bethany phoned.  She and Evan were moving.  The day was getting away from them faster than they had expected.  Could we help with unpacking the U-Haul?   Of course we could!  We love them, and we've been altogether too little help and support to them in the 10 months they've been living in Wisconsin.  (Besides, it meant a glimpse of their apartment and neighborhood.  For some reason, it's terribly important to me to have a picture in my mind of the home where my loved ones are living.)

When Katie and Nathan moved to and/or from Indiana, we had help from Rheins and Caseys and a few other friends.  When Katie and Nathan moved to Texas, Nathan's dad carried a lot of furniture.  Bep and Evan had help from parents when they first moved to Wisconsin.  When we moved here, our father-confessor took charge of packing the truck while we carried stuff out of the house to the driveway.  As the mom or dad, you don't want to do too much bossing around when the grown-up kids are moving.  And yet ... you want to provide assistance (and the experience you've gained through your previous moves) to the couple who's moving.  And on moving day, the more assistance, the better!

My dad carried a lot of book boxes in his day.  A lot of mattresses and couches and freezers.  A lot clothes boxes.  A whole bunch of boxes filled with toys.  He tied things down.  He packed things in tight.  He made sure items were safe during transport.  He didn't do it just for us and my siblings, but for other people too.  It seems to be just one of those loving things dads (and substitute dads) do.

Happy Paper Clips

I see more paper clips in one day at work than I used to see in a whole year of being a stay-at-home mommy.   On those rare occasions we ventured into an Office Max in years past, I didn't understand why anyone would want to pay extra money for fancy-schmancy paper clips.  They're just paper clips.  They clip paper.  Big whoop.

But now ...  I've changed my mind.  Those zebra-striped and tiger-striped and candy-cane-striped paper clips bring a smile to my face!  I don't know why they're so cheery, but when I come across one, it sure does brighten my day!


As we've been reading Mark recently, we keep coming across crowds.  There were crowds of people coming out to hear John preach.  Crowds of people listening to Jesus.  Crowds wanting to be healed.  Crowds spilling out of the houses were He was.  So many crowds that He couldn't go into a city but had to preach outside where there was more room.  Crowds crowding around Him so that He couldn't get away to eat supper. 

My car needed a new battery last weekend.  That means I need to re-set the pre-sets on my car radio.  So this week I've been scanning radio stations, trying to hunt up which ones should be tagged by my radio buttons.  This morning I was checking out a station which turned out to be a Christian radio station with a Bible trivia quiz.  So I stay tuned for a couple of minutes.  The show concluded with a kids' Bible song about how important the Bible is, how we love the Bible, how the Bible is our delight ... because it shows us how God wants us to live. 

That's it?  That's what they think the Bible is full of?  Rules?  Behavior guidelines?  Things to do to make God like you?  And that's why they love it?

Those crowds (in Mark's gospel) weren't crowding around Jesus so that they could hear rules.  They got plenty of that from the scribes and Pharisees.  This Man did not teach like the scribes and Pharisees.  He preached something different, something they hadn't heard before, something for which their hearts yearned.  And the crowds poured out of the cities to hear more.