Whew! It’s been a very full but very fun holiday weekend for us. We just took our oldest back to the airport this morning — always a little sad to see him walking into the airport alone. But this time he’ll be back in a month for Christmas.
Carrie suggested some “getting to know you” questions for a post today, so I’ll jump in to answer a few..probably most of them.
Do you attend church and, if so, what denomination are you a part of?
Yes. We’re members of an independent Baptist church.
What social issue are you the most passionate about?
Right to life issues, on both ends of the spectrum: the unborn and the elderly or disabled. It’s God who gives life and should be God who says when it ends. Life is a gift that is not ours to take away from anyone else. God has a purpose in every life He allows.
There are some thorny issues when it comes to turning off machines, etc., that are keeping a person alive. I’d highly recommend Joni Eareckson Tada’s When Is It Right To Die? for thoughtful treatment of the difference between sustaining life and prolonging death.
Do you home school/use the public system or enroll your kids in private school? Any particular reason why?
My oldest two went to a private Christian school except for four years when we home-schooled. They both went to a Christian college. My youngest went all through school in a private Christian school but is now attending a state community college.
My husband and I both loved school and thrived there so we saw no need to home school. The four years we did so were when we lived in an area that had a couple of Christian schools, but for various reasons we weren’t comfortable with them. I read a lot about home schooling at the time and there is much I liked about it: knowing exactly what my kids were learning and experiencing during the day, shared experiences and increased family time, opportunities to pursue other interests, etc. But it was also overwhelming to me, and they didn’t much enjoy it. I had a one year old when we started and the older two were beginning 5th and 2nd grades. I think if we had started when they started school or kept with it longer I would have eventually found my footing. For instance, because I was insecure and didn’t want to “mess up” their schooling and wanted to prepare them for eventually going back into the classroom, I was very classroomish and kept closely to the teacher’s manual. But if I were teaching them now, it wouldn’t matter to me whether capitalization was in chapter 3 for one of them and chapter 7 for the other — I’d teach them together, rearrange the coursework to what best fit our family, do more with unit studies, etc.
We also tried video school for a while the A Beka curriculum. It was adequate, but, frankly, boring. It did free me up to be involved as little or as much as I wanted to be, but I don’t think it was the best choice for us: it would have been better for just one or two courses, like Algebra, that I wasn’t comfortable with.
We’ve been pleased with Christian schools. They are not perfect, but nothing is. My kids have been blessed with some very good teachers and great friends. Yes, a couple of times we ran into situations with less than ideal peers, but we ran into that at church occasionally, too, and at some point in time it is something they need to learn to deal with before they are launched out into the world. It provided good conversations about why we do and don’t do certain things.
I could not in good conscience put my children in public schools. I was in public schools from 3rd-10th grade, heard dirty jokes as early as 3rd grade, was subjected to other unwholesome influences in older grades. Yes, we need to train children to be salt and light in the world, but in their formative years we need to protect them and give them a good foundation.
How long have you been married? How many kids do you have, or want to have? Have you ever thought of adopting, or have you?
We’re coming up on our 33rd anniversary in December. We have three kids, all young adults now, only one still at home and one is married. I only briefly considered adoption when we were waiting for our first child: we were married for five years before he came along and were just beginning to wonder if there was a problem. I wasn’t really ready to think about adoption yet: at the time I felt I would only consider it if there were no possibility we could have children biologically. Nowadays I know people who have biological children but still consider adoption as a ministry, and that is wonderful, but it is not something we have felt called to pursue.
What is your greatest personality strength? Weakest?
Hmmm. That may be something I should ask my husband. Off the top of my head I’d say maybe that I am detailed and analytical. If I have a job or ministry to do, the details and the fulfillment of it are very important to me and I won’t do a slipshod job. On the other hand that drives me crazy sometimes.
Biggest personality weakness? Either cowardliness or struggling with self-control.
What is your favorite Bible verse or passage? Why?
There are far too many excellent ones to have just one favorite, but one that has ministered to me often through my life is Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
What is your real name? What does it mean?
My real name is Barbara and it means “stranger.” Whenever this topic would come up when I was growing up. I’d always hear lame responses like, “Well, you’re the strangest friend I’ve ever had!” I was named after my mom’s sister (and my middle name is after one of my dad’s sisters). I didn’t really like it until my pastor preached a message on Christians being “strangers and pilgrims” in this world, and that infused it with new meaning. Then I came across Deuteronomy 10:18-19: “[God] doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt,” which helped, too.
Just please don’t call me “Barb.” One meaning of Barb is sharp, mean things people say to one another, and I know people aren’t thinking of that when they call me Barb, but it still makes me cringe. And “Babs” makes me nauseated – no offense to any Babses out there. I knew a very nice and capable woman called Babs, but when I first knew her it was almost more than I could do to say her name.
Are you a bold and trendy dresser, or are clothes “not your thing?”
I’m somewhere in the middle. I’m definitely not bold, and I see no need to follow after all the latest fashions, but I don’t want to look several decades behind the times, either. I do like nice clothes, but what I think of as nice and what the modern world deems nice may not always match up.
If you were to write a book, what genre would it be?
I discussed what kind of book I might be interested in writing here: probably nonfiction or biography.
What is your favorite thing about where you live (country, neighborhood, etc.)? Least?
Eastern TN is beautiful country, especially during autumn. And I love seeing mountains from different vantage points. The Knoxville area is a nice size — not as big and busy as Atlanta or Houston, but big enough to have some shopping and diversions close by. The thing I like least is the false idea the rest of the world seems to have that TN is full of “hick” or dumb people.
Bonus question of my own: what is your favorite hymn and why?
This is almost as hard to choose from as a favorite Scripture, but one of my all-time favorites is “Before the Throne of God Above“, especially the stanza:
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.
Set to this melody:
But I also like “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” (both the old version and the new), “The Sands of Time Are Sinking,” “His Robes For Mine,” “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” and many, many more.
I’ll close with a couple of photos that probably won’t make it into the Christmas cards but that were fun anyway — I almost enjoy these as much as the nicely posed ones.
This one will probably make it into the cards, though we had a hard time getting Grandma to look up, much less smile at the camera:
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