Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Review: David Teems' "Tyndale"

"Culture grew within and around the Church.  She was the watchful parent.  And membership was not optional, "It was not a mattter of choice, it was compulsory and without alternative, which gave it a hold not easy to dislodge."  
The renaissance, however, with its discovery of the New World with its reinterpretation of the cosmos and man's reassigned place within it,with the downsizing of the great myths that had driven culture along, allowed man to reimagine himself.  And becoming self-aware, he didn't necessarily need nor want a demanding mother.  Such an evolutionary state in the progress of man could not help but create a powerful tension.  It is within this tension that our story lives." 

Wow.  I included a quote at the very beginning of this review because I wanted to give a glimpse of the author's writing style as well as the content of the book.  I think this quote sums it up nicely.   When I requested this book from Book Sneeze, I was hoping to find a good book that would be useful for my homeschooled students, which indeed this book will be.   However, I was surprised at how inspired and intoxicated I would become with the deep and thorough taste of the time of the 1500s.   The book is not what I expected of a biography, its far less linear and takes some liberties in style for sure.  But i appreciate the authenticity of the author's clear desire to tell the story of one massively influential man of God. 

Inside David Teems'  book "Tyndale"  you will find 303 pages of fascinating history.  This book is a biography, and while it definitely feels a bit disorganized to me, I appreciate the author's expressive, almost lyrical writing style.   The story of Tyndale is one that is so monumental, yet so seldom told. 

William Tyndale, born appx 1494 was a writer, and one who has impacted life as we know it immeasurably.  He's most well known for translating the Greek Bible into common English, a crime according to the Catholic church of the Middle Ages and one that would eventually result in him being burned at the stake.   Additionally, and no less impressive, he is responsible for many of the words we use today in common language.  His Biblical and linguistic achievements make him a pivotal figure in history, yet so little is know about him.   Teems, consequently, has approached this book as something of an adventure tale, a true one- including bits of the lives of contemporaries such as Thomas More, Martin Luther, and the saint that led the way for common people to access God's Word in the 1300s, John Wycliffe, who is well known for first translating the Latin Vulgate into English, also a "crime" resulting in his remains (he died of a stroke) being exhumed, paraded around, and burned.   

While "Tyndale" wasn't quite what I was expecting and did come across as a bit fragmented and scattered, I was really pulled in to the story by the author.  I really learned a LOT from this book and am happy to recommend it to others.  I'll also be incorporating it into my homeschoolers' history studies.  

Thanks BookSneeze for providing this copy to me in exchange for my honest review.   Are you a blogger that would like to review books? Check out  Book Sneeze  I've really enjoyed reviewing books for them! 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Update on Annabeth and Deep thoughts...

So I think I forgot to mention, (or just got bogged down and didn't have time!) that we were planning to pull Annabeth out of school and start homeschooling her again. The change came as we started to notice that her normal upbeat, cheerful personality had been replaced by a sullen, sad, easily upset, and often in tears little girl. It was baffling. I KNEW her teacher was awesome and her support people, special ed, etc. people were doing a great job with her, classmates were occasionally harsh with her, but she wasn't being bullied and the teachers were taking care to try to help her resolve issues with others, so I didn't know what we could do to help her, but as time progressed, it became very clear that we HAD to do something. We were about 50/50 as to whether to pull her out or leave her in, when her therapist indicated during vision therapy, that taking her out would be a great thing for her- her stress level is so high because she has brain integration issues and she has to work SO HARD to do things that normal kids just can do! And she's SO compliant and SO desirous to do her best and make everyone happy. And after all day of that... well, she's worn down to nothing.

So we did it! We took her out of school, and it was not without reservation. She was getting small group and one on one or one on two assistance twice a day, speech once a week, math assistance daily, she really had a LOT of support! Not to mention her teacher is simply a gem. She's kind, always seeks to support annabeth, is funny, just perfect, I couldn't have imagined a better teacher for her. The whole school was just awesome. Her principal always went out of her way to be helpful to Annabeth. Anyway, it was a hard decision.

The first day of homeschooling her was rough. She followed me around like a lost puppy and I was starting to get that feeling, like i needed some SPACE. She cried a lot. When Leif won their game of memory, she burst into tears and finally i brought her to my room and snuggled her and talked to her. I explained to her that she wasn't always going to do perfectly, and that was OK! She cried and said "I want to win, i want people to tell me i'm doing good!" Ahh... i realized what was going on, and i recognized it all too well! I remember growing up and feeling like my worth was tied to my performance. I easily pulled down straight A's and it made me feel like i was worthwhile. But the problem with that mindset is that the compliments and the outward approval doesn't come nearly enough. You simply will NEVER get enough approval to make you feel worthwile- and that's BECAUSE our real value lies in being created by One who is PERFECT and being created in His image and being loved by Him, simply for who we are! I explained that to her... not sure if she was taking it in, knowing we had a LONG slog ahead of us... But hey, at least I was able to peg what was wrong and start working on it! There's something to be said for being around a child long enough to actually KNOW what she needs.

So, i was feeling a bit discouraged as the first week continued. but as the week progressed, I noticed striking and remarkably FAST changes in Annabeth. By the end of the first week, i noticed that her bubbly personality had largely returned! By God's grace, it seems i have my baby girl back. And she's doing great. I know we have a lot of work to do, but she's where she's meant to be, and I feel so good about the way things are going!!!


On an entirely separate note, someone very special to our family died yesterday. Lisa Evenson was Chloe, Annabeth, and Leif's 4yo sunday school teacher. She was a wonderful, cheerful, giving, selfless, gentle, compassionate woman who really contributed to our childrens' lives. I remember with Chloe, in particular, at 4 she still didn't talk, was very timid and a little fearful, and Lisa was right there to get down to her level, and gently encourage her and support her in just the way she needed. Annabeth was especially sad when we told them, tonight, about her death. They were all happy that she was with Jesus and her two babies she'd lost in her life, but it was a jolt, and Chloe still doesn't want to talk about it. Its hard to deal with death at such a young age.

As we had been following her progress, I've been thinking a LOT about her and about mortality and death and life... I was thinking to myself, what would "I" have regretted as a mom if it was I, in my prime, on my death bed. Needless to say, it gave me a LOT to think about. How often do i snap at my children, fly off the handle, get impatient. How much less do we read aloud, make happy memories, and bond than i'd like. I need to work on that. We need to not take this wonderful life for granted, because we are not guaranteed any more than this very moment. I was really convicted that I need to be preparing my children, that we need to be walking in truth, and studying the Word and reading good books and not wasting time with meaningless activity.

But as i pondered I also realized something really cool. As we homeschool, we are building up something very valuable- TIME. If i DO die tomorrow, my children will have still spent so much of their lives with me. From rising in the morning to bedding at night, we will have spent most of our days together. I LOVE that. Because i know that if "I" were a young child, losing a parent, i'd want to have had every second possible with that parent. I love that we have finally figured out where we need to be. I pray that God gives us many many years to continue to learn and grow and bond together. But if not, at least we have that! Please, if you read this, say a prayer for Mrs. Evenson's lovely family. It must be so horribly hard for her husband and daughters to go to sleep each night without their mama. It makes me cry when I even begin to think of it. Its so overwhelming.