INSIGHTS
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Ann Frailey

Ann Frailey is a widow and homeschooling mother of eight. She lives in rural Illinois.

Posted 9/22/14 at 7:37 AM | Ann Frailey

You Shall be Known by Your Fruit

There are a lot of fruit themes in history. Genesis begins with a garden setting and the command: “You may eat of the fruit of any tree in the garden except the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Not even attempting to dissect the motivations of why God would make a tree that He summarily tells His people to shun – I still have the opportunity to glean something from the whole fruit imagery. Jesus refers to the same theme when he says in effect: “Good fruit shall come from a good tree and bad fruit from a bad tree – you shall be know by your fruit.” Other than avoiding the proverbial apple – where does this leave us?

Well, this actually is one one the most profoundly solid pieces of advice that God ever gave us. We live in a world where we have lost our moral compass to the point that it is very hard to discern what is good and what is evil. By “good” I mean something that leads us toward a relationship with God and a healthy interaction with others. By “bad”, I mean something that separates us from God and breaks our relationships with others and even with our very selves. FULL POST

Posted 9/19/14 at 7:32 AM | Ann Frailey

Is the Apocalypse Theme Getting Boring?

1) There are a lot of ways to die – but if you’ve gone to the movies recently you’ve probably seen at least 2,465,399,753.2 of those ways, including ingenious new methods of going through buildings. Not to make fun of death. Death is real and not something to joke about. But really, I am about apocalypsed out. The daily headlines are scary enough. I need some good news.

2) Sooo, in my little contribution to world happiness, I am going to look at what is going right in my world. First of all – as I mentioned in my blog review of Christian movies – God’s Not Dead and Heaven is for Real. I find it kinda interesting that those two movie titles form a complete thought. I am very glad to see Christian movies on the rise. I think they contribute a lot to our human conversation – especially when we are struggling to remember our humanity in a world dealing with some really inhumane situations.

3) Great books written by Christian authors are also on the rise. See my reviews and check out the Catholic Writers Guild: http://blog.catholicwritersguild.com/ for some talented men and women who happen to be wonderful fiction and non-fiction authors. FULL POST

Posted 9/17/14 at 7:47 AM | Ann Frailey

The Hope of Redemption

I’m always wondering how I got myself in the latest fix, even when the latest fix isn’t really my fault at all. Like when the power goes out, or the phones don’t work, or the water filters get clogged. I find myself wondering if I did something to deserve such a rough day. When I have actually done something wrong, I don’t always feel the consequences right away – but somewhere in side of me – I just wait – knowing that it’s coming – probably when I least expect it.

I know a lot of good people, but I don’t know any perfect people – close maybe – but not quite perfect. And I’m rather grateful that I’m not standing alone in my stupidity and sinfulness. But even more, I am grateful that there is a way out of bad days and sin itself.

Bad days need to be lived through. Sin needs to be repented. Repentance comes at a cost. It usually breaks a person into a million pieces and then puts them back together again…better than they were. At least that’s how it usually works with me. FULL POST

Posted 9/15/14 at 7:56 AM | Ann Frailey

Rising from Despair

I love history and I’ve read enough of it to realize that there are themes which seem to haunt humanity. One of the most striking themes is that we can’t be happy for long without some kind of trial creeping upon us. Reading the recent news I have a feeling we are in for more than a little trial in the near future. In fact, I believe we are facing a challenge to our very characters as human beings. Again.

I do not say the word “character” lightly for I know that I draw a great deal of inspiration from characters of the past – people I read about both real and fictitious. Real people are written about by other people who can only know a part of their story. You never really “know” that person as God knows them, or as they might have known themselves, but still, you can draw strength from them. Characters in a book may be made-up, but well-drawn characters tell us something important about ourselves and our world. In fact, they might lead us toward a truth we desperately need to remember. FULL POST

Posted 9/12/14 at 7:31 AM | Ann Frailey

A Little Get Away – to Mars Perhaps?

1) Actually getting to Mars might be a little tricky, but I can see why there is some fascination with leaving this world to visit another one – any other one. Sometimes it seems that the troubles we face here are so overwhelming we can’t possibly get past them, while the challenges of a new life somewhere else seem soooo remote. The fantasy of “what if…” outweighs the fears of “what is…”

2) But then there would be the whole “building-a-new-home-on-a-distant-rock-without-a-proper-atmosphere-thing” and trying to convince your family that you are not legally insane. Still, the fantasy of starting over – and perhaps – since there isn’t any atmosphere to speak of and there aren’t any critical Martians to laugh – you’d suddenly be known as the greatest thing to land on the forth planet in history.

3) Once you get your little Quonset-hut-thingy built, and hopefully you had forethought enough to bring along a couple trusty robots, you can send them out to plow up some kind of garden in the dust. Or in a worst-case-scenario, you can always eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner out of freeze-dried bags which don’t expire for another three centuries. Suddenly, hamburger helper, which had seemed like slumming on a limited income, might start to seem a little more alluring. But forget that. We can do the dust-gardening-thing. Or the robots can – surely. Kale can grown anywhere… FULL POST

Posted 9/10/14 at 7:54 AM | Ann Frailey

Heaven is for Real & God's Not Dead

There has been a definite improvement in Christian movies lately. They are better quality than ever before and they have integrated more of the current culture into their story line. I have heard numerous times from Christian authors that, rather than focusing on writing great Christian books, we should focus on writing great books written by Christians. The emphasis then becomes more about the artistic reality of a well told story than pushing a Christian agenda. And I definitely agree with that. Not because I don’t think that stories involving Christian characters can’t be every bit as interesting as a story told about an atheist or someone who simply hasn’t awoken to the realm of the supernatural reality of God, but because I suspect that God does a whole lot better job reaching us if we simply tell a story involving the truth - a slice of the reality we know best. In truth, in the honest reflection of our struggles, God leads us.

The other fear has been that Christian books and movies are simply speaking to the choir. Christian authors aren’t engaging the larger culture because no one but an interested Christian will pick up an obviously Christian book or pay money to see a Christian movie. But as I watched Heaven is for Real and God is not Dead I reevaluated the worth of that easy dismissal. Frankly, Christians in this country, and around the world, have been under heavy fire, literally as well as figuratively, for a long time. In many environments to even mention your faith in Jesus Christ is to invite an embarrassing silence or a smirk…or worse. The choir is battle weary, exhausted, and needs a little encouragement…perhaps a lot of encouragement. I think that is what Heaven is for Real and God is not Dead do. They offer some encouragement from Christians to Christians. Keep the faith. Don’t give up. You’re not crazy for believing and your are not alone. FULL POST

Posted 9/8/14 at 7:45 AM | Ann Frailey

A World Worth Saving

Recently, I read that there have been several cases where surrogate mothers discovered that they were carrying babies with downs syndrome and they were told to abort their babies by the biological parents, but they refused and decided to keep the babies. I have also read, that Richard Dawkins believes that it is immoral to allow a “Downs Syndrome baby” to come to term. Notice, for him, the syndrome comes first, not the humanity of the baby. For him, abortion is the only moral option. I have to wonder at this current attitude in face of the barbaric cruelty of ISIS. After all, they believe that killing infidels is the only moral option. Sometimes, those infidels are little children.

The other day, as I was walking with my son in the late evening, mourning over the recent gruesome tragedies inflicted by ISIS, my son asked me how come it was gruesome for ISIS to behead men women, and children, but there was little moral outrage when babies in the womb were dismembered and beheaded. Abortion is every bit as violent as ISIS but it is state and federally funded with US tax dollars. Millions of babies have been brutally murdered through abortion in the last thirty years. It is so horrifically common, but just not aired on You-Tube, that it seems to slip by people’s conscious thought. Every day in the US we basically behead innocent babies. FULL POST

Posted 9/5/14 at 7:34 AM | Ann Frailey

Home Schooling Gifts

I find it hard to believe that Germany (or any country for that matter) would outlaw home schooling. Not only is home education a basic human right, but it is a wonderful benefit to society. Here are some of the gifts I have discovered during my 13+ years of home schooling.

1) I will start with something many consider an optional part of our children’s education: worship. I see our relationship with God as one of the strongest motivating factors toward a good education. When we see our life as a gift and our education as a part of a vocational call from God – then learning ceases to be a mere burden and becomes something far more valuable. When our children own their worship and see their education in context of fulfilling their mission in life – it draws them toward ownership of their education too. Very motivating.

2) There is music that uplifts the soul and there is music that assaults the senses. In a home schooling environment we are able to experience many types of music and we discern carefully what music can do for as well as to us. At this point, most of my children favor classical, religious, theme music from great movies, Irish/Celtic and some types of jazz. We prefer music that draws us up. Again, very motivating even on the hardest day – especially on the hardest days. FULL POST

Posted 9/3/14 at 7:42 AM | Ann Frailey

A Deeply Disturbed Ocean

Occasionally there are electric moments while reading the words of another person, when you realize that though that person may have lived years before you came to reside upon this earth, you two share something – a deep abiding interest, a concern, an insight, a hope, or a fear.

So I discovered such a moment recently while reading about the life of Winston Churchill. He was a man who appeared to have failed, much like his father before him failed, but in the end he triumphed and he brought the world with him in that triumph. His words before that triumph planted the seeds of his future success. It was in his heart and soul to believe that right was right, truth existed, and that we must not lose our way in this world. Here are some of his words which struck me very forcibly this week. They echo loudly into our world today…

“We are a race doubtful of its mission and no longer confident about its principles, infirm of purpose, drifting to and fro with the tides and currents of a deeply disturbed ocean. The compass has been damaged. The charts are out of date. The crew have to take it in turns to be Captain; and every captain before every movement of the helm has to take a ballot not only of the crew but of an ever-increasing number of passengers…” (Mr. Churchill by Philip Guedalla p.242) FULL POST

Posted 9/1/14 at 7:40 AM | Ann Frailey

The Picture Christian Project

Since last writing about the Picture Christian Project it seems that all hell has broken loose in Iraq and Syria and I fear more violence lies ahead in the future. Jeff Gardner has been over in Jordan and has interviewed several families to get the background information so as to bring the plight of these people to life for us. His new book, Exiled, does a wonderful job not only telling the personal stories of people who have had to flee from their homes or face abuse and death, but in showing the faces of the men, women and children who are still living with the haunting reality of what a group like ISIS can do to humanity. You can look over the book, read their stories, learn some history, and even offer your prayers directly to them. Please, do not forget these people. Pray for them. Fast for them. Support them in any way you can. As Christians we must never forget – what we do for the least of our brethren – so we do unto Him.

Here is a link for more information: http://www.picturechristians.org/

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