Saturday, July 27, 2013

Cleaner, Cheaper...

For over a year now, I have been making my own laundry detergent. I started doing it out of curiosity, and have continued because I am truly impressed with how well it cleans and cares for my family's clothing. And the cost simply can't be beat! If you're interested, here's my recipe. I know there are a lot of similar ones out there on the internet.


This is the oil I am using presently.
Grate the soap and put it in a large pot.  Add 6 cups water and heat it until the soap melts. Add the washing soda and the borax. Stir it up until it dissolves. Remove from heat. Now add 1 gallon + 10 additional cups of water and stir. Shake a few drops of essential oils in until you are satisfied.


Decant the laundry detergent into smaller, easier to handle containers and allow it to gel. I add 1/2 cup of the mixture to my front load washer.
The large opening funnel came from the Automotive Department at WalMart.
This detergent works very well, and is extremely low-sudsing, so it doesn't mess up my front loader. The only additives I use, and only occasionally at that, is powdered OxyClean for organic stains and whites and Purex crystals if I have really stinky laundry. One batch fills five Simply Orange containers and lasts our family quite some time. It is also very quick to make.
Voila!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lee Strobel

This past Wednesday night, Christ's Church was the place to be, as Lee Strobel, the famous Christian writer of many books, most notably The Case for Christ, came to talk about his faith journey and his book. Personally, I have found this particular book to really resonate with my understanding of the authenticity of Christianity. Mr. Strobel gave a compelling talk about what he called the "Four E's," which I'll list below:


  1. Execution - This states that it is an undisputed fact that Jesus was, indeed, executed.  He did die.
  2. Early Accounts - This asserts that there wasn't enough time to elapse for legends to develop. Lee stated that Jesus is agreed to have been crucified around the year 30 A.D. In contrast, I Corinthians 15:3-6 is generally agreed to have been written about the year 54-55 A.D.  Written by Paul, it is agreed to be an early creed of the Church, and is expressed in this manner... "For what I received I passed on to you as of first imporrance:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen aseep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." (NIV)
  3. Empty Tomb - Here Lee offers three arguments, or "proofs" if you will.  They are (a) the Jerusalem Factor, which is the site of Jesus' tomb, which was known to Christians and non-Christians alike, (b) the Criterion of Embarrassment, in that women were the first to discover the empty tomb, which lends to its authenticity, and (c) Enemy Attestation, in which the argument at the time is that the disciples stole the body.
  4. Eyewitnesses - Where Jesus appeared to more than 515 people, of which there are nine early ancient sources which confirm this.
I really enjoyed hearing him talk about his life and the path he's been traveling. If I've at all piqued your interest, I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of this fascinating book!
Lee and me!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My Own Personal (R)evolution

Daughter's Kool-Aid Chianti Shawl
I've been a Crafter as long as I remember.  And from the first, my interests lay in a decided direction... fiber. I remember sitting on the floor of my grandmother's farm house in Marquette, KS with one of her crochet hooks and some yarn (probably Red Heart).  She had just inducted me into that wonderful society of fiber artists by showing me my first move, the chain stitch. That's pretty much it, but I was delighted and diverted, and contentedly sat there chaining away to my heart's content. I had no idea how to turn that wonderful chain into anything meaningful, but it didn't matter. I was creating!

Fast forward a couple of years. As a young Girl Scout, I found I loved to earn badges. One of those badges was knitting. When I learned of a lady in our community who was willing to teach this mysterious method of turning yarn and pointy sticks into sweaters, scarves, and mittens, I became ecstatic. Grandma, slowly slipping into the abyss of Alzheimer's, was no longer able to mentor me, so here was another door opening up for me. Dutifully, for four weeks I showed up, along with two other Girl Scouts, to this lady's apartment where she attempted to teach me knitting. I'm thinking I was around nine years old at the time. Unfortunately, although my brain understood what I was meant to do with my hands, my hands had alternative plans of their own and steadfastly refused to cooperate. I never finished that scarf.

I turned my attention to other fiberly directions. Mom was a wonderful seamstress, and in Junior High, she, along with my Home Ec teacher collaborated to teach me how to sew.  Either because I had matured, or I was just naturally better at it, the sewing thing caught on. For the next fifteen years, sewing because my standard fibery pursuit. I sewed clothing, accessories, and home items. I still love and use some curtains from this particular period in my life. Sewing was fun, and I still love it, but it took up space and required time, neither of which I had as a young married woman working a full time job, so once I began my professional life, the sewing dried up to a trickle. And when Child Number One was born, the stream dried up entirely.

I stopped working when my baby was born.  My world was suddenly filled with diapers, feedings, burpings, and lullabies. I stayed away from sewing the entire time with the exception of the tiny infant layette I sewed in anticipation of his birth. Two and a half years later his baby brother joined him, and I was busier than ever. But I had learned something else. I needed a little tiny corner of creativity just for me, or I shriveled up inside. I dabbled with jewelry-making, even purchasing a torch to make lampwork beads, but while I enjoyed that craft immensely, it just didn't satisfy me in the way that fiber did. During that time, I visited my husband's Nana in Alabama, and she and my mother-in-law visited one night. Somehow, fiber entered our conversation, and she pulled out her yarn and crochet hook. That very night, those sweet ladies reintroduced me to crochet, this time showing me how to turn that chain into something else. Something useful. Something beautiful. A baby blanket.

I spent the next couple of years delving deep into crochet. As a left-handed crocheter, I found patterns to be confusing, so I did my own free form crochet. I checked out a book from our library named Left-Handed Crochet and happily worked my way through several blankets and quite a few granny squares. I even spent a great deal of time putting tiny lace edgings on handkerchiefs! Yep, I was smitten again, but it was just going to get better, as it wasn't long after that, my mother-in-law introduced me to knitting again.

This time, I took off. It's as if my brain had never ceased working out how to make my hands obey, and this time they got it right. I jumped right into knitting blankets and scarves, and leaped right on over to hats and sweaters. A couple of years after that, I dove headlong into lace, and it's been love ever since. I can't even count the number of shawls I have knit, along with mitts, blankets, or lace washclothes. Eventually,  I
Sakaki shawl, given away to a dear friend.
jumped into designing shawls and knitwear for myself and to sell, but I digress somewhat, because my next adventure was spinning.

For me, the means of introduction to the spinning world was a top whorl spindle that I purchased on-line from Simple Market Farms.  Now out of business, the small company made quality "beginner" spindles that didn't cost a fortune.  By this time, Baby Number Three had joined the ranks, and I had a certified toddler/preschooler who loved to help me learn by spinning the spindle for me, so I could concentrate on my hand movement.  Like my earliest forays into knitting, my mind knew what it wanted to accomplish, but my clumsy hands wouldn't obey. It took weeks of patient practice for me to finally work out how to spin, but by then my skills were well on their way!
Here is Simple Market Farm's littlest spindle, the Briar Rose, nesting in a soft pile of Pachuko cotton.
I spun and spun and spun on my spindles, for about five years before I ever got a wheel, so once I did, the wheel spinning was easy peasy. To this day, I'm undecided about which experience I enjoy more, my wheels (Majacraft Rose and Little Gem) or my spindles. Each one is special, and as I spin on them, I feel my stress slip away with each rotation. It's better than therapy, and cheaper to boot!

My most recent venture in the fiber arts world that has stuck (I tried weaving, but it just didn't call to me like the rest) is dyeing. At this point, I have chosen to dye with food grade dyes, like Kool-Aid, Paas Easter Egg Dyes, and Wilton cake dyes, because frequently, my daughter, now a fiber artist in her own right, likes to join me.

Kool-Aid Dyed Yarn

Close Up of the Yarn
I have so enjoyed introducing her into my fiber arts love. She now sews, knits, crochets, and dyes like a professional! This blue yarn was special, in that it was destined for her shoulders as a sweet shawl, the Chianti Shawl.
Skeined!
So we come back around. The ever-revolving fascination continues, for myself, and now for my daughter. It is a true delight, and a joy, and I look forward to continuing my learning in this wonderful medium!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Road Trip! (and a side of knit!)

On Sunday, I got to do something special.  I drove my oldest up to Hilton Head, South Carolina so he could have some friend time with his bestie from Ohio.  These two boys knew each other from the cradle.  In fact, our two families had back to back pews, and I remember the boys entertaining each other while we listened to the sermon.  It was very handy having babies to look at each other.  Fascinated with each other, they typically remained fairly quiet for the duration of the service, a fact for which both our families were grateful.

As things would have it, our family left Ohio about five years ago.  It was very hard to leave, and I know it was hard on the kids, but I am so grateful the boys have managed to keep their friendship.
They've changed a lot since they were babies!
When we heard that they were going to be vacationing in our area, there was no question but that the boys would have to get together!

The drive from Jacksonville to Hilton Head wasn't as long as I thought it would be. It turned out to be just under four hours drive time.  That meant it was four hours of captive Mom/Son time!  My oldest had just gotten back from a missions trip to Nashville, so I enjoyed hearing him tell about his experiences along the trip.  We started listening to The Great Gatsby, as read by Tim Robbins.  And we drove through a monstrous monsoon and made it out alive!

I greatly enjoyed visiting with my friend, Ann.  I was very relieved to know that rather than having to turn right back around and drive four hours to get back home, I'd had the foresight to get a hotel room about 30 minutes away.  I took myself off to The Hampton Inn in Bluffton, where I promptly locked myself in a quiet room and began to work on a new design and knit.  I wish I could show it to you, but it has to remain a secret for the time being.  I can say this much:  it's a shawl and it has a watery theme.  I'm still working on some basics, but I think I've essentially figured it out.

After a sleepless night (long story, but it was basically about my other son being stuck in flight delays in Atlanta due to weather), I hauled myself out of bed to begin the long drive home.  But then I stopped and thought.  Savannah, Georgia was just a short drive away!  Now, I have always wanted to visit Savannah.  A few years ago, my mom and my sister had made plans to visit this city for a girl vacation that never happened because of Mom's health.  It didn't take much pondering before I decided to take a side trip to this beautiful city, in honor of Mom.
On the back roads to Savannah
I took the back roads from Bluffton, and only 30 minutes later I had arrived!
Live Oaks Abound!
I made my way over to a fiber shop that I'd learned of via Knit Map.  One of the shops I pulled up as being in Savannah was Wild Fibres.  I showed up just prior to opening, at 10:00.  Parking on the street was metered, and after searching for silver, I found I had exactly .45!  That was enough to buy me about 30 minutes of shop time, and while I would have loved to stay a bit longer, I was still able to visit with the friendly employee (or owner?  not certain!).  I was thrilled to see that the shop prioritized spinning fibers in the front of the store, although yarns were well-represented as well.
Wild Fibre is up the stairs, in a lovely shopping district.
I ended up selecting some cotton for spinning, and I'm hoping to tackle it a bit later on today with my spindle.
Weighing the cotton
The photo fails to capture the greenish tint.
Too soon, it was time to go.  I've decided my sister and I definitely need to get away for a girl's trip soon. Mom would have loved it!

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Poem in Honor of My Boy, Courtesy of Walt Whitman

I was pulling materials together this afternoon for the upcoming school year, when I came upon my old college Norton Poetry Anthology.  As I held the heavy tome, I remembered the joy I felt as I came across new to me poems in Mary Klayder's English 210 class.  I flipped through, lighting on this particular one.  I thought my kiddo would understand.

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
By Walt Whitman, 1865

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

I think that says it all, don't you?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting Dirty

When my hubby and I first decided that we were financially and emotionally prepared to have children (it makes me laugh to think I could ever be "prepared"), I imagined idyllic days spent with children who were pretty much exactly like me.  At the time, I confess I never even thought about homeschooling as a lifestyle choice.  I simply imagined spending time with them reading, discussing ideas, and enjoying each other's company.  And after the typical period of time, my journey into motherhood began.

The first child, a boy, pretty much satisfied my assumptions about mothering.  Outside of a massive case of reflux, this kiddo seemed to appreciate the same things I did.  He enjoyed my music (of course he was only a few months old, so he didn't have much say in the matter), and was perfectly delighted with spending copious amounts of time in the glider reading Goodnight Moon, The Big Red Barn, and pretty much anything by Eric Carle.  He was a quiet, introspective little boy, and I knew with certainty that I was an excellent mother.

A few years later, hubby and I were ready for another baby.  After all, we had already demonstrated that we had done a pretty good job with the Baby One, and couldn't wait to have another opportunity to have another.  Almost immediately we found we were expecting, and I excitedly counted down the days until our next precious arrival was due to arrive.

Arrive he did.  Late by one week, he burst his way into the world lustily crying and weighing in at a respectable 9 1/2 pounds!  It truly was love at first sight, and I couldn't wait for the brothers to meet.

Over time, I found that while my new little guy enjoyed books, he really enjoyed playing with them the most. Once his brother would go into his room for afternoon quiet time, I would pull out those well-loved precious volumes to share with baby brother, and he would happily listen, but not for long.  You see, this guy was an EXPLORER.  Not content to sit back and passively receive information, my little guy learned to move early, I think just so he could savor more of life!  And while he was a better napper than big brother, I suspect it was primarily so that he could store up extra energy for his hands-on learning activities.

This little guy happily helped me reorder my CD collection (all over the floor), He loved to sample robust flavors (his favorite food as a little one was calamari and avocado).  And he liked to make noise.  Lots of noise!  Needless to say, it was clear pretty early on that this little guy had a personality much different from me!

This has been a continuing challenge for me in more ways than one.  My learning style is totally different than his.  My boy craves hands-on experiences.  Not content to just do basic school work, he is always questioning why something needs to be done and what relevance it will have to his future life.  More than once, I have been stymied by his questioning and unable to give him an answer that would satisfy.

Frankly, stymied is a word that describes our relationship a lot of the time, even today.  As an active 13-year-old, this child wants to DO and EXPERIENCE.  Not content to listen to lectures, dissatisfied with meaningless (to his way of thinking) school experiences, and frustrated by the slow pace (at least to his eyes) of life, I am torn at providing what I feel is a strong foundation in the "basics," and allowing him to "specialize" to his heart's content.

This is the kid who wants to work in fiberglass, own a 3-D printer, get a welder for Christmas, and start a business via Shapeways.  He has picked up more ancient computers at the local thrift store than I can count, and loves to upgrade them and bring them back to useful life. He taught himself Java, and I can't even begin to keep up with him in the subject of programming or computing.  While I'm the sort of gal who likes to dip her toe into the waters to see if the temperature is comfortable, he's the type to want to run and do a massive canonball splash into the water, yelling "Cowabunga!" the whole way down!

It has to be terribly frustrating to be a 13-year-old entrepreneur living in a home of 9-5ers, but he manages it, and gives me grace daily. But this week, this week is DIFFERENT.  You see, this beautiful boy of mine is staying with another like-minded soul who gets what he wants and needs. This week, my boy is with Grandpa!
Yep, the boy is welding!
Grandpa totally gets this mystery child of mine. He knows he needs to experience life in a meaningful way, and thanks be to God, he's helping him to have these tremendous experiences I could not provide for him here. Not only has he been welding, but he's managed to do many other "real-life" shop experiences as well. And he's having the time of his life!
I have no idea what it is, but isn't it awesome?!
Grinding away...
No idea, but it looks like he's having a grand time!
Seeing all of this fun my boy is experiencing seriously makes me want to chuck the whole city life and move out to the country, just so I can have a big shed and fill it with experiences for my kids.  As that is unlikely to happen any time in the near future, I am so thankful my dad is there to fill in those gaps.  Seriously.  I get teary just thinking about it.

So what's next on the agenda? According to the guys, it's some fishing later on tonight.  Perhaps tomorrow they'll be able to drive a tractor out at a friend's field.  Or maybe they'll have another opportunity to hang with Norm and his fellows out at Dauer Welding.  Or perhaps drive the Polaris.  Anyway you slice it, it's going to be fun!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bag Ladies

Most of you know that I am a Knitter.  It's one of those defining words for me.  Some other definitions (in no particular order of significance) include:  Christian, wife, mother, homeschooler, reader, writer, animal lover, and spinner. As a Knitter, there is a certain amount of tools and supplies that I need in order to be organized, keep my projects clean, and be the best I can be in my craft.  Among these items is a system to hold my projects.

It has taken me many years of trial and error, but I have finally found a container system that works:  Tom Bihn bags.  A little over a year ago I bought my first Tom Bihn bag, an Imago.  I had also considered the Swift, which is specifically branded as a knitting/crafting bag, but being a cross-body bag wearer, the Imago appealed to me more.  After debating color choices and fabric choices (ballistic nylon or Cordua nylon), I decided on a Navy/Cork Imago with the Wasabi lining.
Imago, open and ready for travel!
My Imago has served me well ever since I purchased it.  It has traveled as far as Scotland, carried many different knitting projects, and kept me organized as well.  I know that it was money well spent.

Since I've purchased the Imago, I have gone on to purchase the Synapse 19, the Swift, the Side Effect, as well as many organizing accessories.  Each of these items has given me a great deal of pleasure in using them, but here's one thing I didn't count on getting from them - a friend!
Meet Michelle, also known as Appliejuice!
Here's how it happened. I was at the library a couple of weeks ago waiting for my daughter to finish up a craft project. While I was waiting, I took out my knitting from my Swift and proceeded to while away the time in my usual manner. I hadn't been there long when this lovely lady came up to me and asked me if she could join me. Well you guessed it, this was Michelle!

While we worked, we talked.  She noticed my knitting bag right off and asked me how I liked it. I then began to sing the praises of Tom Bihn. Some of those praises included how the company is located in the U.S.A., and it pays its workers fair wages. I also appreciate how they source virtually all of their materials from domestically produced fabrics. The designs are very well considered and extremely functional, and they are built to last as well.

I pointed her to the Ravelry group, and suggested she check out the company. We talked about other things as well. I was excited to learn that she also homeschools and actually has a child older than mine!  Yay! A mom who has wisdom! Oh yes, and she blogs. And unlike my little baby blog, she has a respectable audience! I recommend you check it out!

So, I guess the long and short of it is, get yourself a Bihn bag and take it out on the town with you.  You may just find that you make a new friend, which is a precious thing indeed!
Photo courtesy of Appliejuice.  She's a great photographer!


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Growing Up

Today was a special day in our family.  Today was my son's 16th birthday.
Making the birthday cake
It has been such a joy and a privilege to watch this child grow up (and up and up!).  I know it's cliche, but I can't for the life of me figure out where the time has gone to!  At one point I was rocking him, and the next moment I look, he's driving me around!

This year, in order to mark this special milestone, I asked him what he'd like to do, and he said, "Make a 7 layer chocolate cake with you, Mom."  Of course, how could I say no to something like that!  So that's exactly what we did yesterday.  It is a time commitment, 7 layers, but during that time, we got to talk, listen to cheesy '80s music, and create a masterpiece.



It starts with butter and sugar (of course)
 Over the two to three hours it took to get this cake made, we laughed, I sang (Son doesn't), and had a general good time.
How many eggs??!!?

 The time went a little more quickly than usual, thanks to Nana's generous legacy of her cake pans.  This was Nana's cake.  When she passed away this past year, I was so thankful to not only receive her cake pans, but also the sweet knowledge that she, herself, had shown me how to make this special cake.
Hard at work cutting out parchment paper for the cake pans!

Now that's not to say that Nana told me exactly how to make it the first time.  She held a little secret ingredient out.  I remember telling her one time that I was disappointed that my cake just didn't taste quite the same as hers.  After double checking that I was using the Lily White flour and no other, ("Yes, Nana.") she kind of smiled, and mentioned that she had perhaps forgotten to mention one little ol' ingredient that I might not have known about.

Now, she told me, but apparently it's Southern tradition to guard family recipes carefully, and never share them with others.  After all, if ya'll know how to make my special 7-layer chocolate cake, I diminish in my overall usefulness to the community at large.  So, I could tell you what this ingredient is, but then I'd have to kill you, so let's just not even go there, ok?
Just know there's lots of flour!

 Well, we got all the ingredients added, and all the cakes baked, and then it was time for the icing.
I never quite understood why it was called a 7-layer chocolate cake, when the batter obviously isn't chocolate, but there you have it.



Baked 3-at-a-time for efficiency!


Count 'em.  Seven!
 The icing is another slightly different combination of ingredients, but you can finally see why it's a chocolate cake!
Premixed, before it goes on the stove.

 It's a little tricky to work with.  It needs to be spread at just the right temperature.  Too hot, and the icing soaks into the cake and runs down the sides.  Too cool, and it isn't spreadable.  I tend to spread it slightly too hot, but oh well.
Freshly iced, and still glossy!

Well, we got to cut into that lovely cake today, and it was a hit all around.  I'm certain it's the best one I've ever made, and I think all that extra sweetness came because I made it with someone I love.



 Happy Birthday, Son.  I love you.  You have given me so much.  The gift of motherhood.  The practice of patience.  The delight of discovery.  You, your brother, and your sister are my delight, and I know I am blessed to have you all in my life.


De Leon Springs State Park, FL

Monday, July 8, 2013

Touring

As many people know, thanks to the proliferation of media talking about Lance Armstrong and his problems with doping, the Tour de France is now in full swing.  As I write this post, riders from all over the world, the elite of the elite, are in full-on competition mode to see who can claim the yellow jersey.  And I'm right there competing along with them!

Now, this competition requires no Cervelo bicycle, costing several thousands of dollars (upwards into plus $10,000!), Rather, all it requires is some fleece, and some means of turning said fleece into yarn.  For many of the competitors in the Tour de Fleece, that means is a spinning wheel (hence the reason for the competition, the wheel), although there are plenty of individuals using only spindles.  This year, my first year ever, I am one of them.

"Competing" in the Tour de Fleece is a bit of a stretch.  The winner of the competition typically gets a new skein of yarn (you guessed it, the one she spun!), but really it's about having fun in the greater community of spinners.  People are coming together, both online and in person, to spin, talk, and enjoy each other.  And I love it!
Here's my setup for the competition.  Note the Tom Bihn Travel Tray holding my roving!
 Now, the wheel I'm using for this year's competition is my Majacraft Rose.  I named her Charlotte, after my grandmother, and I love using this wheel.  It's smooth, versatile, and attractive.
Frabjous Fibers BFL
 I decided to go stash diving for this year, and selected some Blue-Faced Leicester to spin.  It's one of my all-time favorite fibers to work with, and for its staple length, is very soft, given its small micron count.
Fiber turns into lace
This is only the first stage of the spinning process with the bobbin.  I still need to fill another bobbin and ply them together to have a more stable yarn.  As I am only spinning 10-20 minutes a day, I'll be lucky to finish before the competition ends, given that I'm spinning lace-weight.  Nevertheless, I'm having a great time, and falling in love with my wheel (and spinning) all over again!

As I Understand It

Having a 15 (almost 16) year old in the house is endlessly entertaining and occasionally exhausting.  My boy, my baby, now at over 6 feet tall, has always been my quiet, compliant child.  When he was little, he was the type of boy who wanted to please his mama.  If I asked him to do some work for me, he gamely attempted it, even if he had no clue how to accomplish the task.  As a peace lover, he never really questioned my assertions about life and why and how things have happened.  That has been a sobering and sweet thought lingering in the back of my mind all these years, and I have taken my responsibility to him (as well as his siblings) very seriously.

But that has all changed.  I don't mean that he has suddenly risen up, angry and defiant, boldly challenging my requests and assertions.  But he is challenging me in his own sweet way.  Classical educators would understand this to mean that my child is living in the midst of the rhetoric stage of his education.  As a semi-classical homeschooler, I totally get that.  I just didn't understand how challenging, exhausting, and occasionally threatening that reality is to this mama.

No longer does my dear son accept my assertions about life, politics, religion, or (heaven forbid!) literature without question. After working so hard all these years to light a fire for knowledge under him, I fear I may have laid a little too much kindling! This kiddo, who never questioned my political leanings before in his life, is actively questioning them now, and watch out if I don't have a plausible, well-thought-out answer! He no longer just accepts that just because I believe in something, that it must be true.

The same goes for religion. I am a Creationist. Although I never considered myself anything but a Christian when I was a child, it took until adulthood for me to really claim that identity for myself and be baptized.  I chose to live an active Christian faith after a great deal of questioning, challenging, and praying.  I came to see our beautiful creation not as a slow, accidental expansion of the complexity of life, but rather as a deliberate design lovingly crafted by an all-powerful God.  This has been a matter of debate in our little household as of late.  My son has taken to looking up articles in Answers in Genesis and then attempting to analyze them critically to see if the writer is using any fallacy to underscore his assertions.  If he finds one, he enjoys discussing them with me, sharing with me the writer's flaw in his argument.

All of these situations I believe could unseat any mama, but I have chosen instead to enjoy this beautiful child of mine and celebrate his intellect.  I realize that the Lord gave him his mind, personality, and abilities.  And I acknowledge that a faith claimed simply through inheritance, isn't as strong unless it is tempered in the furnace of struggle, doubt, and questioning.  I continue to pray for this child, this blessing, my son, and I know that he has had the benefit of a grace-filled Christian home.  I don't believe that my personal theology is unassailable in all points.  I believe that Christ covered my sin by his atoning death on the cross, and I believe that His grace is available for us all who cling to His name, regardless of how old we believe the earth, moon, and stars to be.  Does that shock you?

One of my favorite quotes out there comes from Madeleine L'Engle.

"Those who believe they believe in God, but without passion in the heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, and even at times without despair, believe only in the idea of God, and not in God himself."

I'm not 100% certain, but I believe that quote comes from Walking on Water.  Feel free to correct me if I have attributed it incorrectly by letting me know in the comments.