I had a wonderful time with our class last evening, although, I apologize that the room did get a bit stuffy with all of you lovely people sitting around on the couches, floor and extra chairs pulled in from the dining room! ;-)
What a delight to share our love for language as it relates to developing our skills as writers and speakers! I'm working on pulling together the power-point slides for you, as well as occasionally recommending a book that I think will help you hone your skills or help your children develop theirs. We had a few technical difficulties with our first session -- thanks for your patience and understanding. We hope to improve in these areas every week.
A few of you have sent suggestions, questions, and even some of the poems and stories you wrote tonight about Jane and her little black lamb! Great response! We'll get to as many as possible and try to get back with you. If you had technical difficulties, I'd advise sending your questions to Vision Forum's customer service department since our tech skills are limited here at home, as you could probably tell from a couple of issues we had during the first session. If you have trouble getting through to Vision Forum, let us know and we'll field the question as best we can. One suggestion we have heard is that if the sound was low on your computer, you may need either head-sets or speakers that will connect to your computer.
Here are my suggested assignments for the week:
1.) If you don't already have one, set up a regular Bible reading program for yourself and /or your family. As a part of this program, keep a Bible dictionary, Strong's exhaustive concordance or another good concordance, and notebook nearby so that you can write down favorite verses, suggestions for further study, interesting new facts and words or whatever the Lord brings to mind. Also, write down any questions you have and ask your pastor, husband, elder, or you dad -- whoever is in authority over you -- to help you find answers. As you read the Bible, ask the Lord to show you ways you can take the truth of His word and improve your skills as a writer to bring Him glory.
In connection with this suggestion, remember my recommendation to find a copy of the Westminster Confession of Faith and its Larger and Shorter Catechisms. We memorized the Shorter Catechism when I was growing up and all of my children did as well. It's a wonderful practice for everyone in the family to work on one catechism question a week, look up the Scripture references and discuss it at breakfast or dinner. As you read it, notice the very concise way the men who wrote these documents phrased their sentences. There is no 'fluff' in their writing. Instead, they wrote to encourage Christians to rely on Scripture alone for their beliefs, not the opinions of men.
2.) Review basic grammar -- parts of speech, sentence structure, punctuation -- if you're older, all those things you learned and do by rote now, but may have become a little rusty applying on occasion. If you're young, now's the time to drill these into your head. I'll be recommending some of my favorite books that will help you learn the basics using interesting methodologies in a few days, Lord willing.
3.) Journal! Write as much as possible, in complete sentences, and with expanded vocabulary. Try to think of new ways to say the same old things that bring new life to your thoughts. Check out famous diaries from the past and learn from them. Create a blog, even if it's just for yourself or a few friends, but make it worthwhile, not just idle chat. Write about recipes, the weather, your hobbies. If you're married with a family, write about your children, your pets, your interests -- whatever the Lord has given you to do. Then expand your interest a bit into other areas -- test out a few new hobbies, things your parents or children enjoy that you've never really tried -- see how this will awaken new areas of your brain and make your writing more interesting. Also, consider keeping a separate prayer journal. As you pour out your heart to the Lord, write honestly, but carefully :0, remembering that you don't want to embarrass either yourself or future generations who may read your writings! As you read back over your prayer journal, you will be amazed to see many times how God answered your prayers, not by granting what you thought you needed at the time, but by giving you something better -- a sense of His presence and love through times of trial.
4.) Write real letters! Instead of an e-mail, send a friend or relative a real hand-written letter. Use beautiful paper, a nice pen and language that is real but lovely, with thoughtfully chosen vocabulary. More on this in another class. Check out Vision Forum's offerings in these areas -- I know they have a beautiful box with calligraphy pens and other related items for sale.
5.)Check back tomorrow for a possible new link to my blog. I'm having a little difficulty with this site. When I get it set up, I'll list recommended books with a link for easy purchase which will give you a head-start on the next few weeks of classes.
Until then, God's blessings on you. I'm praying for the Lord to make Himself real to you in all you do this week, for His glory.