The “D” Word

bumgardner2013:

It is not always about what is technically correct, but more about what will better promote understanding.

Sorry, Robert, but this post is only from my second favorite aspie. My very favorite aspie turns twelve this month, and as frustrated as I get at times, I would never “fix” his uniqueness. I have been blessed with a gem, a treasure.

Originally posted on Simply Robert:

hazmat

Hazmat is ready!

A couple weeks ago, a couple news agencies earned some Internet ire over their use of the term disease when referring to autism spectrum disorders. (See here for one example that has been since updated to remove the language.) Immediately, I saw my Twitter feed fill up with individuals decrying use of the term in reference to autism, but, objectively speaking, is the criticism justified?

Just the Facts

Following the highly scientific method of asking Google to define disease for me brought up the following definition:

  1. a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, esp. one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
  2. a particular quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or group of people.

Furthermore, Wikipedia’s entry on disease says the following…

View original 617 more words

Unseeing Eyes

Have you ever read something for the hundredth time, only to discover bridges linking it to other stories or pieces, at least in your mind? This is one of the myriad reasons why I love reading good literature. I love discovering similarities in myself or seemingly disparate characters across varying genres. Often humanity and fraility, vulnerability and faith convey the same basic truths even through vastly different voices.

Recently I re-read Willa Cather’s “Old Mrs. Harris.” It is a slow-moving penetrating story, a peering through a side window into a midwestern family at the turn of the century. In it we see the final portion of an elderly woman’s life, a woman who lived in a time when the female gender was marginalized particularly as they were widowed and grew more feeble. In it, we also see the beginning of a young girl’s life, a girl who desperately wants her life to be different. The story reveals the psychology of familial relations during this era in American history.

“When they are old, they will come closer and closer to Grandma Harris. They will think a great deal about her, and remember things they never noticed; and their lot will be more or less like hers. They will regret that they heeded her so little; but they, too, will look into the eager, unseeing eyes of young people and feel themselves alone. They will say to themselves: ‘I was heartless, because I was young and strong and wanted things so much. But now I know. ‘”

Why do we still marginalize the elderly in the West? I even see this neglect in churches. Instead of taking advantage of the wisdom, knowledge,experience, and love they have to offer, I have seen us ignore them, discount the weightiness of what they still may offer. Have I been heartless, because I wanted something so much? Myopic because I found urgency in the wrong thing?

And here is the bridge my mind built. It connected Willa Cather to, of all people, the apostle John. Not to the young man who followed Jesus around, and leaned up against him during their final meal, but to the aged man, living in Ephesus, who had survived isolation.  Now, as a revered church leader, decrepit, elderly, he is carried daily to the city center.

There is a church tradition, which says, that when John was evidently an old man in Ephesus, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples. At these meetings, he was accustomed to say no more than, “Little children, love one another!” After a time, the disciples wearied at always hearing the same words, asked, “Master, why do you always say this?” “It is the Lord’s command,” was his reply. “And if this alone be done, it is enough!”

 

It is difficult to imagine that the beloved apostle was ever marginalized or pushed aside, forgotten, or trivilialized. After all, he had been with Jesus! Do you know someone who has been with Jesus? Someone who is continually with him, and has been for decades? May we never underestimate what is behind a failing exterior. May we never demand something more complicated from life than what is. May our eyes be forever seeing, our ears always listening.

Building a Nest

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Of all the picture books I have read with my guys over the years,  An Egg is Quiet is quite possibly the most engaging to me as an adult.  It is a beautiful work in nature studies.  Written with a palpable sense of awe over the natural world, the illustrations are breathtaking, rivaling any naturalist’s notebooks.  Birds, fish, amphibians, crustaceans and insects are represented within the colorful pages.  First we meet them as eggs.

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Later, we learn how colorful, clever and giving these eggs really are.  Nature is created so intricately, which leads us to the conclusion that nothing is insignificant.  Through three-year-old G’s eyes, it is all beautiful and funny and wonderful.

Spring2014 044 Finally, we are able to meet the active, noisy by-products of these quiet eggs.  The colors are striking, and there are never-ending possibilities of games G and I can play directly from the pages: Name the creature- birds, fish, or insects, sight words, I spy, animal habitats, shapes, colors and textures.

Today, however, we take our inspiration from the page below.

"Hummingbird eggs are the size of a jelly bean.  It would take about 2,000 hummingbird eggs to equal the size of one ostrich egg."
“Hummingbird eggs are the size of a jelly bean. It would take about 2,000 hummingbird eggs to equal the size of one ostrich egg.”

With that short description, our activity with the book is obvious – we are making our own hummingbird’s nest.  I stared at the illustration, knowing a hummingbird typically uses cotton fluff or spider webs, and shredded wheat with melted marshmallows instantly came to mind.

Here’s a rough approximation of our recipe. (I am not good at  measuring while cooking.  I tend simply to eye-ball it.)

EDIBLE BIRD’S “NEST” (makes about 3-4 tiny “nests”)

1 C shredded wheat, coarsely crushed

2-2 1/2 C marshmallows

2 T butter

Melt the last two ingredients on medium-low heat until sticky.  Spring2014 042

Remove from heat and stir in shredded wheat.  Let sit for a moment before forming into “nests.”  We found that if we spray our hands lightly with cooking spray, the mixture was much easier to manipulate, and didn’t simply stick to our fingers.

Definitely do not forget to add your jelly beans for the tiny eggs.

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And maybe a bird.

Spring2014 048 You may wish to click here to watch a stunning video of a mother hummingbird slowly building her nest.  You will be mesmerized.

Also, by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long, and in the same vein, is A Butterfly is Patient, and A Seed is Sleepy.

The birds of the sky nest by the waters,

they sing among the branches.

Psalm 104:12

Lift up your eyes

These have been days that have tried my patience and virtually exhausted my goodwill toward my children.  I have attempted to teach perseverance when I have been on the verge of giving up,  myself.  I have longed to model strong character and kindness while my head felt like it was going to explode.  My soul feels tapped out while I attempt to fill my boys with hard work and integrity.  Or maybe just math equations and a turkey sandwich.

I particularly feel the pressure of all this as I just returned from the 2014 Hearts at Home event, a Christian conference for mothers, with authors and speakers providing sessions on parenting, faith and family issues.   I shared this time with some amazing women from my church family, so it seems a significant blow to return to poor attitudes and complaining among my own children.  What did I expect?  My children would be miraculously perfected upon my return from Illinois?  I would be transformed into such a gracious parent that my children would want to obey my every request…even before I verbalize it?

My children still have the same weaknesses.  And so do I.

I am tired.  Physically sometimes.  Often emotionally.  Home schooling is difficult, and I am frequently perplexed why I am surprised by this.  Not every day is draining, but these lately have been.  Thank goodness He sees me and gives me grace, and the energy I never thought I could muster.

“To whom will you compare me?  Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?  He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name…

Why do you complain…Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40:25-31

South Sudan: a unit study

A Long Walk to Water written by Linda Sue Park takes place in what we now know as South Sudan, two separate stories, converging in a satisfying way by the end of the book.  It is based on a collection of true stories from children who walked miles daily for the day’s water, for water which was contaminated.  It is the true story of twelve-year-old Salva Dut Arik who fled his village, his home, his family, his country to find freedom from war…and eventually discovered his purpose in returning.

A couple of Christmases ago A Long Walk to Water was on A’s wish list.  I had not yet read the book about war-torn Sudan and debated whether or not to get it for him.  I was unsure how graphic the book was.  Whether due exclusively to his Asperger’s, or just his personal sensitivity, A is somewhat emotionally immature for his age, and has a difficult time knowing how to interpret grim information.  So, when earlier this year a friend handed me the book to pre-read, I took it with A specifically in mind.  Finding it completely appropriate for 9-14 years old, it passed the test.  Initially, I was just going to hand it to him to read on his own, but because we were in between our projects in literature and grammar, I decided we could create an excellent unit study.  A, S and I all read the book together.  It provided us with extra time together in the day, and allowed for periodic discussions over historical events and particularly emotionally difficult sections.  Here is what we did with the book:

GEOGRAPHY-

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We brought out the maps.  Our home is filled with maps and globes.  We located the country of Sudan on the globe, wall maps and the markable map, which we purchased last year from Sonlight.  We put together the GeoPuzzle of Africa.

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The boys drew their own map of Sudan and South Sudan with neighboring countries.  We reviewed the countries’ capitals.

VOCABULARY-

We defined concepts such as

  • culture
  • cultural assimilation (and discussed its implications, e.g. is this a purely positive or negative phenomenon?)
  • culture shock
  • immigration
  • emigration

We tried to give as many examples of each concept in the course of our conversation.

MUSIC-

Like most parents, I harbor a love-hate relationship with Youtube.  In these instances, however, love is stronger.  We found some fantastic music videos from both the Nuer and Dinka tribes.  Click here and here to listen to both folk and religious music.  G loved joining us on this day.

SOCIAL STUDIES-

National Geographic education  has discussion questions depending on the age of the students.

I wanted A and S to have an understanding of the continuing story, but did not want them subjected to some of the serious (and extremely violent) films recently issued.  As an adult, you might find these informative.  The films are entitled God Grew Tired of Us and Lost Boys of Sudan.  Fortunately, 60 minutes featured these “lost boys”and their emigration from Sudan.  Detailing their journey from refugee camps to their settling into life in the United States, it provided enough material for reflective discussion, but also some humorous bits.  For example, we saw one of  the young men as he learned to drive a car for the first time.  We also found a clip of Salva Dut Arik , which you will find here, explaining his organization.  A and S were enthused to learn he was indeed a real person, alive….and that he looked younger than their mother.

www.waterforsouthsudan.org is a fantastically inspiring website.  Coupled with Park’s book, it shows what can happen when one person steps out to invite others to join him in humanitarian efforts.

Take a look at Water for South Sudan’s website.  It introduces an H2O challenge my guys and I are considering.  Give up all beverages, with the exception of water, for two weeks, or a month, etc. then donate your savings to the fund.

This was an eye-opening study for all of us, which I hope will encourage A and S to think more globally, openly and compassionately.

Other books to consider by Linda Sue Park are A Single Shard and The Kite Fighters.

NATURE boys

Admittedly, I have been complaining with the majority of my region about the harshness that has been this winter.  I do hate to complain, given the fact that I live in a home which protects me from the elements, and is more than adequate in size.  My family has not missed a meal, nor have we suffered from any illnesses.  However, it has been a trying winter, the winter of our discontent, if you will.  (Here, I give a nod first to Mr. Shakespeare, and now to Mr. Steinbeck.)  We have been outdoors far less than is typical for us, even in the winter season.  The constant battles with snow and ice, coupled with some ridiculously frigid temperatures have taken its toll on us.  The fact that the five of us have been living nearly 24-7 under one roof is another tale.  Remember, my husband works from home?  Enough complaining, right?  What do they say?  If you can’t beat them, join them.  So, out we go to find the trees.

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All three of my guys love being outdoors, which was why it was surprising when A started balking at my proposal for a nature walk in nearby trails.  I was also more than a little annoyed, because I genuinely thought all three would jump at this idea after being cooped up, and frankly, I have already had to deal with too much whining and bickering this winter.

“WE ARE GOING.  GET YOUR NATURE JOURNALS.”

Of course, once we were all out the door and in the car, spirits rose.

Here is the profound lesson I Iearned while on this nature walk with my three guys.  Ready?  Here it is: boys do nature walks differently than I do.  Yes, that was it.  Astounding isn’t it?  Even though it does not seem like it to my adult sensibilities, they do appreciate nature.  There are differences in appreciation, however, just as there are different personalities and learning styles.  While I was sauntering through the wooded trails, gazing upward at sky and trees, they were…well, where were they?  They were here just a moment ago.

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Making tracks in the tracks

Oh…there they are, tearing through the dead underbrush, up the side of a hill, now sliding backwards into ice and snow.  Sigh.  Yelling and whooping, and well, just creating noise pollution.

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Later,  A finds a tiny trail which leads to a sizeable creek.  Sandy patches freckle the snow leading up to the water.  A young, slender hickory gracefully sways in a chilly current, its entire trunk caught in a wintry breeze.  S turns to me for a moment as I admire it.  Quietly, I share this encounter with him.

“Oh, it feels so calming,” he agrees.  Then, immediately, he has turned back towards the water and is hurling fistfuls of snow into the creek.  “I am helping out the eco system!” He yells back at me.

Honestly, I thought about being disappointed at our nature walk.  The world was still and gorgeous, and I felt they were missing it.  Then, I realized that thing about differences in appreciation.   Here are some ways children might appreciate nature:

  • Children are not passive in their love for nature.
  • They must directly engage in it.  It may be enough for me to sit quietly while a bird sings and breathe in spicy, earthy aromas of dirt, but my children need to touch it.
  • They love it by interacting with it, moving in it.  They dig in the dirt, chase after the birds, lift fallen branches, collect favorite pieces….whack things.
  • PLAY is a child’s way of being in and loving nature.

I know.  We already knew all of that.  And yet I learned it again.  Profoundly.  While watching them enjoy a day in early March, I remember more of those trails, because of the play.  Without them, I would have missed the creek.  I don’t think I would have chosen the trail that A did.  He showed us the Red-breasted woodpecker high up in the tree, putting on quite a show.  G located tree cavities I never would have noticed otherwise.

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There was a child went forth everyday,

And the first object he look’d upon that object he became.

And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day,

Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.

~Walt Whitman from 103 in Leaves of Grass

In Season

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of each.

                                 -Henry David Thoreau

If I may take this quote horribly from its context, I enjoy its apparent sound, severed though it may be from its original body.  Our family lives in a part of the world which truly experiences the variety of seasons.  While we struggle at this time of year not to complain and bemoan being shut up indoors, or shoveling the driveway yet again, I am inspired by God’s creativity and regularity in fulfilling his promises of creation.

The day is yours, and yours also the night;

you established the sun and moon.

It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;

you made both summer and winter.

Psalm 74:16-17

We may be covered in snow and ice, yet the daffodil and crocus are indeed slowly rousing themselves from an exceedingly long winter’s slumber.  They may not be visible here in the Midwest, yet we have the promise of their existence.  Their return is imminent.  By faith and hope I look forward to a dot of yellow appearing in between the browns and greys. Even now  I smile as I notice the buds swelling, coloring the trees out front.  Sandhill cranes have been spotted.  The robins have returned, not in full numbers, but occasionally they sing their sweet songs in the mornings.

G has been wanting to step outside a bit more.  I ache for the day – may it be soon-  when we can walk through the wooded trails, seeking out newly migrated birds, shoots and buds about the trees.  The boys are ready to mount their bicycles and taste a bit of pre-teen freedom.

While we praise the Creator for all his handiwork, we are particularly mindful at this time of changing seasons, transformative times.  Good and Holy One, may you renew my heart as the rest of the world awakens from its dormant, frozen state.

And so, here are a few preschool books on the wonders of the changing seasons which G and I would like to share with you.  All four of these gems are beautiful in their brevity, as well as inviting illustrations.  There is so much to draw readers in on each page that G and I can write our own stories through our discussion of the pictures.

First Comes Spring by Anne Rockwell moves the reader through each season with Bear Child.  The same neighborhood scene is displayed for each season and the same question is posed, “What is everyone doing?”  G loves to name everyone’s activities.  “They are jumping in puddles/camping/ picking pumpkins/sledding.”

Circle of Seasons by Gerda Muller is a gorgeous book with a nostalgic feel.  The illustrations have an endearing 1940s flavor, although the book was originally printed in the Netherlands in the mid 1990s.  The text is simple, focusing on the cyclical nature of seasons.  G and I drew circles in the air to show how spring always comes back around.  The children’s expressions as they laugh, play and learn make you want to join right in.
City Dog, Country Frog is a story told by Mo Willems and with watercolor illustrations by Jon J. Muth.  These are among two of my favorites creating children’s books today, but usually with very different styles.  Here we have a sweet story of friendship wrapped in the context of the changing seasons.  There is a bit of a surprise ending that could help initiate some gentle discussions with your preschooler.
Finally, Carry Me! by Rosemary Wells is a lovely, shimmery bedtime read.  Written in sections, the author encourages parents to carry, talk and sing to their children throughout the seasons of the year.  This book has quite organically become part of our family vocabulary.  Once I wrap G up in his towel after bath time, he invariably asks, “Carry me.”  As we dance down the hall to his bedroom we sing together, “Carry me over the river.  Carry me under the sea.  Twirl me away in the evening air.  Fall asleep with me in your chair.”  Sweet memories regardless of the season.
Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air…..
Spring, we eagerly await your return.  We already love your every leaf.  May we be compared to a
“tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3

Happy, Appy Friday: Geography Version

Like many homeschoolers, I suppose, Fridays are frequently field trip days.  We pack a lunch or eat out, and don’t slow ourselves down by schlepping around heavy books.  Instead, we try to read a chapter en route, take time to appreciate a brief observation in nature, and, of course make real use of our ipad.  Netflix, Youtube and a variety of learning apps have been a wonderful way for us to supplement our day, or refocus when things go awry.  The boys’ favorites are the geography apps.

All apps listed can be purchased for only $1.99 or $.99.

GeoBee Challenge HD by National Geographic

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Do you think  you know geography?  This will whip you in shape whether you are looking to kill a few minutes waiting in line, or seriously preparing for the National Geography Bee.  There are three types of play with this app.  The first is a series of constantly new, multiple choice questions.  The second is pinpointing the locations of countries and cities on the global map.  The third, and most challenging level, is identifying the location of unidentified photographs.  Some are landscapes, others are famous landmarks.  There is currently a problem with the second level freezing, but they should be fixing this soon.

Geomaster 2

iPhone Screenshot 1

This was our first geography app, and none of us are tired of it yet.  Geomaster quizzes you on the locations of countries, cities, regions and flags.  Not only are you timed, but you also acquire extra points the more accurate you are.  I dare you to pinpoint Djibouti, Djibouti with 100% accuracy.

Stack the States

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This is S’s favorite app.  It is probably the most visually appealing to a child, and gives plenty of incentives.  Once you sign in you are able to collect states as you answer questions on  states, capitals, flags, and landmarks.  Be careful you stack the states properly or they just might topple over.  There are different games you can open once you pass various levels.

Stack the Countries

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S plays Stack the States, but A enjoys the extra challenge of Stack the Countries.  This app is set up precisely the same way but with a global focus.  Photographs of scenes from around the globe serve as the background.

A Montessori  Approach to Geography

iPad Screenshot 1

Montessori has a series of wonderful geography apps to familiarize children to maps and the globe.  With standard Montessori colors, this app teaches and quizzes the user on the shapes, names and locations of countries, continents, rivers and oceans.  The image shown is just for the Europe app.

Geography remains an important subject to study.  It allows younger students a greater understanding of who and where they are in the world.  For older ones, it facilitates a larger interest in humanity.  Geography encompasses not only the study of maps and  topography, but also anthropology, religions, politics, cultures and languages.  For my aspie, geography provides a field of study which encourages flexible thinking.  If we can accept another’s way of life across the globe as legitimate,  perhaps we can tolerate the person down the street, as well.

Primarily, however, we study geography for the same reasons we study nature and science and history : it is all part of God’s creativity.

“The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,

the world, and all who live in it;

for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”  Psalm 24:1-2

Dale Chihuly Spaghetti

Chihuly hanging sculpture in the entrance to a Glendale, AZ library
Chihuly hanging sculpture in the entrance to a Glendale, AZ library

Artist Dale Chihuly wears an eye patch.  Sadly, this is from losing an eye in an automobile accident several years ago, and yet, this only adds to his cool factor for little boys.  Think pirates.  Mr. Chihuly is famous world-wide for his colorful blown-glass sculptures which can be found in city parks, in front of museums, in private homes and inside museums and libraries.  My three know his work intimately from the nation’s largest children’s museum in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Not only has he contributed a  massive scultpure which extends up four levels in the center of the museum, but there is also a wonderful exhibit attached.  Children can create their own Chihuly-inspired sculpture using plastic replicas of the glass pieces, and can try their hand at virtual glass blowing on the computers.

Chihuly's Fire of Glass

Chihuly has provided us with some truly impressive views as we make our way up the ramps at the museum.  It is more than just something to look at on our way from the Dinosphere to the Science Works.

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And I thought dusting around the crystal in our china cabinet was tedious.

This piece is entitled Fireworks of Glass, but G has always referred to it as “Chihuly’s Spaghetti.”  It does look a bit like wiggly pasta strands.

This naturally led to the epiphany of  cooking our own “Dale Chihuly spaghetti.”  I have seen so many postings and photos of colored spaghetti, but we have never done it ourselves.  G was very excited about the idea.

colored spaghetti

We simply used several drops of food dye in our boiling water for the pasta.  It did not turn out as brightly colored as I was hoping, but it worked for our purposes.  G (and his brothers) were impressed and wanted to taste it.  I tossed it lightly with a capful of oil so the noodles would not stick together as they cooled.

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My neat and tidy G was fairly tentative at first about digging his hands in to the mess.  He generally does not like to get dirty.  Although, after a bit of coaxing, we finally convinced him to go for it.

 

 

Dale Chihuly spaghetti

Here it is: our Dale Chihuly spaghetti.  I liked this sensory play even more since we were able to connect it with a specific artist.  It was more meaningful for him, and it will give us something to talk about and remember the next time we head to the Children’s Museum.

Skilled and Chosen

His hand holds the grey drawing pencil at an angle.  He sweeps downward, then across.  Now he leans in to work more closely on a detail, his wrist hovering in barely perceptible, clock-wise movements.

At ten years old S is capable of something I never will be.  Through his black and lime-green frames he sees clearly, notices and observes.  The pencil is under his control as he manipulates it.  A half circle of the wrist and his left hand moves and lifts up slightly off the paper.    The knight’s chain mail is completed carefully in tiny, individual circles, yet appearing coehesive, virtually impenetrable as the thirteenth century boasted.

It is a skill.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri from the tribe of Judah….I have filled Bezalel with the Spirit of God and have given him the skill, ability, and knowledge to do all kinds of work.  He is able to design pieces to be made from gold, silver, and bronze, to cut jewels and put them in metal, to carve wood, and to do all kinds of work.  I have also chosen Oholiab…to work with Bezalel.  I have given skills to all the craftsmen, and they will be able to make all these things I have commanded you: the Meeting Tent, the Ark of the Agreement, the lid that covers the Ark, and everything in the Tent.”  Exodus 31:1-7

God has chosen.  God has given.  God has filled.  Here is the first time in Scripture someone is said to be filled with the Spirit of God.

How did these men learn their crafts?  Were they artisan slaves to Pharaoh back in Egypt?  Did the Lord miraculously teach them to work with their hands with no prior experience?  Surely they had melted gold down before.   Certainly their hands knew how to hold a chisel against wood, a press for the olives, the needle for the fine tapestries and textiles.  Regardless, His very Spirit filled them with the knowledge and creativity to complete these tasks for the sake of beauty and worship.  As Bezalel carves floral designs, birds or fruit into the wood, gilding them with the gold, covering them in silver, I realize I am also filled with His Spirit, expected to leave a decorative and practical imprint on His holy temple.  For we are His temple.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

And here before me are three temples, entrusted to me to show off all my artisan skill, all for His glory.  The responsibility weighs on me mightily.  How could he entrust me with so great a task?  However, Bezalel and Oholiab speak quietly through the pages of Scripture and through their hard labor.  If God commands, then He will also enable.  If God expects, then He will also inspire.  If God gives, then He will do so abundantly.

What tools has God placed in my hands?  For what purpose has He chosen me?  Do I understand that I am filled with His presence?  The task is too beautiful and too daunting.  I am equal to the task of teaching fractions and literary themes.  I do not quake at the thought of lessons in cooking and folding laundry.  Chosen.  Skilled.  Filled.  Yet, how is it possible to carve empathy into another human soul?  How do I chisel gratitude for God’s grace into my child’s heart?  Where will I find the needle and fine thread to create something so skillful, so beautiful, so worthy of the worship He deserves?

Never will I comprehend.  A pencil in my hands is hardly a tool.  Although S may create worlds with it, never will it bring to life anything from my efforts.  It is merely for scratching down a grocery list, jotting down a Bible verse, demonstrating a division problem.  But the Spirit between us is the same.  My ministry, his temples, are before me daily, hourly.  I gaze on them, overwhelmed at times with the sheer magnitude of the task.

Were Bezalel and Oholiab overwhelmed?

Then, I know.  When God commands, He also enables.  When He chooses, He also provides the skills.  May we all know His presence.