Let Me Sum Up

by Jamie Bonnema

“Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

If you know this line, then you are probably a fan of the movie The Princess Bride. As I write this article, I am thinking to myself that there is too much going on in my mind for a blog, but perhaps writing a book may be more appropriate. But I will trudge on anyway, doing my best to sum up. Spoiler alert: If you have never watched The Princess Bride, but intend to, you may want to watch it first before proceeding.

Let’s begin by relating to the storyline of this movie. A poor man named Westley, who is employed as farm help, falls in love with his employer named Buttercup, who is a beautiful woman (the most beautiful woman on earth) with no apparent wealthy status. When Buttercup realizes that she loves Westley, Westley goes away to make money so that they may marry. This is the start of a beautiful love story. It would be “inconceivable” that anything would keep them apart.

Enter pain. Buttercup gets word that Westley has been killed, and she has been forcibly taken as a bride for Prince Humperdink. Buttercup is kidnapped as part of a plan for the instigation of war, then rescued by a masked stranger. She soon discovers that her rescuer is Westley, who had never died. At this moment all seems hopeful again, until they enter the Fire swamp, to avoid Humperdink’s army, where the challenges force them to face possible death again.

This is the part in the story where I feel like I visit too often. I see the headlines. I watch the legislative processes. I read the proposed bills. I rub my eyes, wondering if it is all really happening while we are watching. And like Buttercup, the thought creeps in, “We will never survive.” The issues seem too big. They threaten the very lives of our families and children. I wonder what a person like me possibly can do to stop this huge giant in front of me should I try.  I think of getting sucked into quicksand, burned by the bursts of fire, or attacked by a rodent of unusual size. While these are elements of the movie, we see the parallels of the threats and dangers in real life. And this is where I tend to pause, facing my own thoughts like Buttercup.

Read more

Where Did You Go?

by Jamie Bonnema

It seems that the ink in the pen has been dry for quite a while. The fluid thoughts and heartfelt responses to everyday life came to a screeching halt when suddenly more was on the plate than anyone expected. The moments in which ideas did began to form were stolen by the harsh reality of the aggressive type of reactions that were happening so frequently—by people we love, by colleagues, by neighbors, by friends, by family members, and by people we have never even met, too.

And so, many, many blogs ended with only a first paragraph, and abandoned with more disheartening thoughts, adding to the already heavy burden: What if this is taken the wrong way? Will this be taken out of context? Will people understand the heart behind the thoughts or will they read it in their own tone and apply their own pre-conceived perspective to the meaning? For someone just trying to do good, provoke thought, and challenge our own thinking, this has been a writer’s dream (with so much to write about) and nightmare (I am opening myself up to attack) all in one.

There are times when God gives us a message and we just go. Other times we second guess that message, maybe deciding if it is safe to proceed or not. Subconsciously we are weighing the cost. But all too often, we forget to weigh the cost of not acting—and those consequences we may not even be able to imagine. But God knows the cost from all angles. He also knows the blessing should we follow Him.

Read more

2020 Matching Gift Challenge

by Renee T. Doyle, Headmaster

Dear Friend of Genesis Classical Academy:

Christmas greetings from the Board, staff, students, and families of Genesis Classical Academy. What a different world we live in since we wrote last year!

And yet, at Genesis Classical Academy, we have received many blessings in the midst of this most difficult year: a beautiful campus on five acres, the addition of 9th grade, completing our first quarter fully in-person and on-site, highly-qualified new staff, our own hot lunch program, an expanded music program, and a developing athletic program. And 91 beautiful students.

Read more

New Spaces – and New Faces in 2020

Genesis Classical Academy has just completed the first quarter of the 2020 – 2021 school year on our new campus at the edge of town, and we are settling in nicely to our new spaces. We also have added many “new faces” this year, including 24 new students and several highly-qualified teaching and support staff.

Read more

The Star Thrower

by Judy Ness

I just ordered a new poster for my wall—a modern-day parable. In many ways, it defines the work of our dedicated staff, families, and volunteers at Genesis Classical Academy.

There are multiple versions of this modern-day parable in print, but all are based on “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley, an American educator, philosopher, and natural science writer. Here is one adaptation of Eiseley’s original story:

Read more

Equipping Our Children

by Jamie Bonnema

If I had written about a chapter of my life, specifically of the past year and a half, I would have begun the chapter by describing how challenging life has become. As this chapter drags on, I would say life is no longer a challenge—it is an intense battle. I think we can all agree that we long for a new chapter to begin soon. Hopefully, this part of the story is similar to stepping out of the desert, leaving behind slavery, plagues, and hearts that wander aimlessly away from God. Life lately has become about reflection, and part of looking further inside involves my responsibility and privilege as a parent.

Our parenting has always been about raising our kids to be good stewards of what God has given and helping them find their identity in Christ. All of this, plus keeping them alive and healthy, seems like an enormous undertaking that can break at any point. Our family depends on God’s grace every moment.

Read more

The Real Enemy

by Jamie Bonnema

Nearly two months ago, I found myself in situations where I’d rather not be. I reacted to what was going on around me, responded to an opinion, or took a stand and ended up walking in front of a crowd to be stoned. It happened over and over again. Please don’t pity me—I make my own decisions, right or wrong, and make them with good intentions. Good intentions don’t always lead to friendly places, though, and can lead to misunderstandings that may cost relationships or reputations. Good intentions can even reveal differences that cannot be reconciled while also holding onto God’s best for our lives—but that is another topic for another day. But whether it was filling up with too much reality (or social media), or if I was just feeling too many stones hit me square, I got to the point where I couldn’t look around and not be angry. I had to walk away to examine the condition of my heart. I needed to reassess my actions and the reasons for my choices. Knowing that so many others are feeling the same thing, this is what I wrote then, and I’ll update you at the end:

Read more

Surviving the Storm

by Judy Ness

My husband and I enjoy sailing as a leisure activity. He grew up learning to sail, but for me it was much later in life when I fell in love with the sea. We have been blessed to sail the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean on several occasions.

On a trip this past year, we enjoyed sunny skies, balmy breezes, and gentle seas. But then, the weather changed abruptly. Although we were not in any real danger, gusts of wind heeled the sailboat over uncomfortably. The wind seemed to shift without warning, and the sea swells came from every direction. Although there is no proof, a panicked first mate MAY have pleaded with the captain of the boat to “DO SOMETHING!”

Read more

Gardening Tips for Playing in the Dirt

by Sarah Stensland

The past few weeks and months have brought a lot of changes, and even fear, to our lives. Our idea of “normal life” has been drastically changed. Rather than living in a life of fear, I suggest we spend our time planning and producing. As I have been limited in my trips to the grocery store, I’ve been comforted by the thought that soon my garden will be up and running, and I’ll readily be able to shop for vegetables in my own grocery store in my yard—my garden.

Read more

Alone in the Wilderness

by Connie Clay

I sometimes enjoy watching television after supper. It feels good to relax after a day of work. Tonight, my husband, Dennis, and I were weary of the news—all of the fear and all of the distress in our world, caused by a virus we can’t even see. So, I suggested we watch one of our favorite DVDs, called Alone in the Wilderness. It is the rough captured video of a man in his fifties, who left the Midwest to live by himself in Alaska. It seems he needed a change. He lands by plane in the wilderness with some gear and treks over to a mountain cabin owned by a friend, where he will remain until he can get his own cabin built.

Read more