Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bound For Canaan

My current reading is a fascinating book called "Bound For Canaan: The Epic Story of the Underground Railroad, America's First Civil Rights Movement" by Fergus M. Bordewich.  Not a lot is known about the underground railroad but the reason for the lack of written documents is unknown.  The underground railroad wasn't very secretive.  In fact, the more well known the "conductors" on the underground railroad were, the better it was for the fugitive slaves.  Slaves would flee from their masters, some knowing that help was available and some having no clue about the "conducters" and "stations" on the underground railroad.  The ones who knew a little about it usually had a tip as to who would help them, or what type of people (Quakers led the movement for many years), or at least what town might be sympathetic to their cause.  The ones who didn't know just stumbled across people who were willing to help them.  And the ones who fled north and didn't have anyone to help them?  We know very few of their stories because most of them were caught and returned to their plantations where they were most likely sold into the Deep South, never to be heard from again.

The book also describes the national feeling toward slavery in the North and South and how it changed over time.  A lot of people in the early 1800's, even slave owners, felt that slavery was a bad thing.  But the slave owners weren't willing to give up their slaves to change it and many in the north weren't willing to state plainly that slavery was a sin and should be erradicated.  There were a handful who spoke loudly and boldly though and because of their voices, the people in the north who were already feeling convicted started to realize that they needed to take a real stand and do something about the horrible evil.  As abolitionists in the north got louder, the backlash against them grew more vicious.  Many were harassed in some way, some were jailed, a few were murdered.  But the belief that God created all men equal, regardless of the color of their skin, continued to grow until the country was deeply divided.  (Interestingly enough, there were several women who joined the fight for abolition because they believed that if people changed their minds about all men being created equal, why not all people?)

And all of this brings me to a point.  Many people who were against slavery in theory but not willing to speak out against it claimed to be Christians.  They knew that by freeing their slaves or demanding that slave owners free their slaves, almost the entire economy of the south would collapse.  Many northerners also benefited from the cotton and sugar trade and, until it was outlawed, the slave trade.  These people were not willing to be inconvenienced for the sake of what was right.  They weren't willing to lose their jobs and income, be maligned and harassed, and possibly lose their lives.  It's not an easy thing to do, standing for righteousness.  But it's so necessary.  "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?"  (Matthew 16: 24-26)   

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Appointed Path

Today is rainy and cooler and I love it!  Rain in the summertime always gives me hope... hope that it won't be such a long, hot summer; hope that all my plants won't fry and die of thirst; hope that, as much as people seem to mess up the earth and it's ecosystems, God still cares for the animals and plants and trees.  Last summer was the mildest and wettest summer we've had since I moved here.  The summer before that was the hottest, driest summer we've had since I moved here so this summer could be anything.  It seemed to be heading for the hottest/driest type but the last few weeks have brought quite a bit of rain and cooler temps so who knows. 

Daniel's first week in his new position was long.  He didn't get home until 7 a couple nights last week and he worked from home for part of the day on Saturday.  Their system is set up so he can access his work desktop and documents from his home computer so hopefully he won't have to go in on Saturday's, even if he does still have to work.  At this rate, he'll be putting in between 50 and 60 hours a week at work.  I'm a little sad that he has to work this much because we don't get to spend as much time together but there's something I've come to realize over the last few years of marriage.  There are seasons of life when the options that you have are less than ideal but you make do with them because you know it's just a season and things will eventually be different.  The season of our life where Daniel has to work long hours will probably be a long season.  The responsibility of breadwinner will rest on his shoulders alone until our children go off to college.  He's well aware of this and he's worked hard to advance his career so he can provide well for his family (which he does).  Our decision for me to be a stay-at-home mom and homeschool our children also means that the majority of the parenting responsibility will fall on my shoulders, along with the responsibility for our home.  Its very important that neither of us allow resentment to creep into our relationship.  Are there days when Daniel would like to sleep in or take a nap (as I sometimes get to do)?  Of course.  Are there days when I'd love to get dressed up and go into a job where a child isn't hanging off my leg screaming or constantly making messes?  Yes.  But this is the path that we believe God has appointed for us and we know He will give us the strength to endure and that knowledge brings joy and contentment.   

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Grandpa's 90th Birthday

I haven't blogged in awhile so I figure I should catch my 2 readers up on what's going on in my life.  Well, the toddler and I got home from Phoenix last night.  My Grandpa lives in Sun City West and his 90th birthday was on Sunday.  For over a year now, the whole family has been planning on being in Phoenix last weekend to celebrate with him.  And almost everyone was able to make it.  Grandpa's 5 children and their 4 spouses and 1 girlfriend; 8 grandchildren (1 of my brothers wasn't able to make it) and 3 spouses and 1 fiance; and 4.5 great grandchildren all flocked to Phoenix.  We had a wonderful time catching up with everyone and it was good to see that my grandfather is still doing quite well (physically and mentally).  Since Daniel was starting his new position on Monday, we flew down to Phoenix together on Friday morning but he flew home on Sunday afternoon and I stayed there until Tuesday to get some extra time with Grandpa and my parents and litle brother. 

Two points I want to make about this trip.  First, I would take 100 degrees in Phoeniz over 85 degrees in Wichita any day.  I know people think the "dry heat" thing is a joke but it's really not.  When you walk outside into 85 or 95 or 105 degrees here in Wichita, you feel like you're going to melt and externally combust.  It's not the same in Phoenix.  Yes it's hot but it feels so different (and much better) without the humidity.

Second, traveling with a toddler is difficult.  Traveling with a toddler who is headstrong, who doesn't like anyone but Mommy or Daddy, and who has two teeth emerging is... even worse.  He didn't want anyone but me to hold him.  He wanted to be held A LOT.  He fussed a lot and at one point, spent 45 minutes screaming at the top of his lungs in the car.  He also spent a good 25 minutes screaming on the plane before we took off and he fell asleep.  But even with all that, I'd still do it again.  It meant a lot to Grandpa to have all of us travel there to celebrate his birthday with him.  And I wanted Josiah to get to meet his other great grandfather and have pictures of the two of them together.  It was a good trip and I can't wait to go back for his 95th!