Wednesday, December 19, 2012

After 13 years of Marriage

Paul and I had our 13th anniversary yesterday.

And, we finally had a communication breakthrough... last week.

Paul assures me that this must be a Missouri thing, because I grew up in Illinois.

For the last 13 years I have been asking questions like, “How does this look?” Or, “what do you think of this meal?” And, Paul would frequently answer, “It’s not half bad” or “not too bad.” Sometimes he says, “It’s decent.”

Well, after 13 years something in me snapped. And a few weeks ago I cried when he said my new recipe was “not too bad.” He did not know what he did wrong. And, I thought, something very charitable, like, “How could he be so mean and dumb?” Well, he explained that his family talks like that when they actually LIKE something! And, then he said, “You mean we’ve been together 13 years and you didn’t know what I meant by that all this time?!” And, I said, “NO! Every time I asked if I looked good, or my clothes looked okay, or my hair, I would think you were saying, ‘It is adequate… or, it will do.’

I can laugh about it now… kinda.

Today at lunch (13 years and one day married), I asked Paul, “Would you like some coffee?” He said, “I might.” Then it hit me… With voice a little elevated, I said, “You mean you might? Or is that a funny way of saying ‘yes, I do.’” To which he answered, “I would like some coffee please.” And, much to my great pleasure, he added, “I really need to work on my communication skills.”

So, there you have it… only 13 years of thinking Paul never liked my meals, hair, clothes, etc.

I am sure I will laugh about this later… maybe 13 years from now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Sure I Have a Favorite! (Humor)

You know how psychology textbooks talk about birth order and parents having a favorite child and all that? Well, I can’t say that I care one bit about what the textbooks say… but I do have a favorite.

Yep, today my favorite is Nelson, because last night when I was singing him to sleep he told me that I sing better than most of the people on the radio, and asked if I could become famous. When I put him off modestly he insisted, “No, mom, really, you could be famous.” So, today Nelson is my favorite child.

Then there was that time last week when Rebecca asked me, “Mom, which were you born in, the 80s or 90s?” That day Rebecca was my favorite.

One day a few weeks ago Lydia kept kissing me all day. That day she was my favorite.

Another day, Nelson decided that he would “work circles around Rebecca.” He worked SO hard all that day. Often he did chores without being asked, and it seemed he was reading my mind. That day Nelson was my favorite.

Then, there is Joshua. (Get out your Kleenex girls…) We just recently learned from the eye doctor that he is so far-sighted that he can see nothing up close. We had to “max him out” on the highest glasses prescription that he could handle. (In six months, he will be raised even more and be “maxed out” again.) I teased him on the way home saying, “Joshua, that means you don’t know that mommy has freckles. Will you still love me when you see that I have freckles?” He said, “Mommy, you don’t have freckles.”
We picked up his glasses a few days later. In the office I reminded him that I have freckles. He looked at me earnestly through his new glasses for at least 20 seconds. But, more adjustments needed to be done and his attention was taken away.
At home that night he walked up to me and said, “Mommy, I want to look at you.” He stared into my face for a full minute. I don’t think he said anything. But, it was just so precious to know that he could see me for the first time!
That day Joshua was my favorite.

Back when I was fully dependent on caffeine, Becca would bring me Mt. Dew or coffee in bed before I was able to crawl out in the morning. On those days she was my favorite.

Last week I was “sick” with a terrible tooth abscess (It was all the way into the jaw bone, so swollen that I could not remove the tooth for a few days). Long story short, I actually had to take antibiotics… and Tylenol Three. Wow, I was zonked for days. I forced myself to go to church Sunday (mostly to keep my mind off of the pain). When we came home I was a mess. Nelson took off my shoes and socks and tucked me into bed. That day he was my favorite.

Sometimes Baby Jeremiah is extra snuggly. On those days he is my favorite.

Josiah often climbs into bed with me in the morning and “pets” me. He will pet my face and my arms while he breathes his warm stinky toddler morning breath in my face. On those days he is my favorite.

These are just a few examples. As you can see… I clearly have favorites.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

At the library 11-28

I escaped for a few moments of freedom at the library. I was hoping for a computer with little hole-thingy for our memory card to slide into. (Hey, I know the use, even if I don't know terminology). But, alas, no-can-do. I will have to locate my USB cable for the camera and download any newer pics onto my flash drive... one of these days.

We are all well.

Biggest event in my life - we are now using wood heat. This is my first time ever with wood heat, and we started Saturday night. I could write volumes. Instead, I will just tell you that I think that by the time our lease is out I ought to know how to use a fireplace insert.

I peeked in at a few of your blogs, but did not take time to comment. I am counting my precious minutes here - literally....

The house is working out very well for us. We are SO, SO, SO glad to be out of the parsonage! Some of us are much healthier and happier!!! And, we really like our new home. It suits us. If only I had internet...

Paul is working crazy hours with UPS peak season. He started going in at 2 this week. Bah humbug. And, he will be picking up another seasonal UPS job. And he is still with U-Haul. He's a busy (tired) boy.

Bye for now. Hope to check back again soon. You can leave comments, but I may not be able to read them for a long time.

Friday, November 16, 2012

very quick update

we are all moved into the new house. no internet connection there. no time at present to get to library to post. sorry for the brevity of this post... just wanted to let you know we are happy, healthy, and safe. email is NOT a good way to stay in touch. If you need me, Call me instead.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


Our family has found a rental home at a reasonable price and we will be moving Friday. My parents are coming in to help watch the children. We hope to have help from some friends as well... but only one confirmed "yes" so far.

Please pray for helpers, safety, wisdom, efficiency of time, finances, etc.

One big praise - since Paul is working at U-Haul they are going to let him borrow one of the big trucks without charge! Thank you, Lord!

I cannot get these pictures in the order I like... oh well. Click any picture to enlarge it.

Fireplace in Living Room, Dining Room beyond that

Larger than it looks

This area was designed and built as a dance hall to hold 3 circles/rings of square dancers.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Neither here nor there

The most exciting event in my life right now is working towards potty training the 2 year old. (He will be three at the end of December). He is at that point where he can choose to withhold his "deposits" as long as I have him in underpants... and as soon as I diaper him or put him to bed he will make his deposit. So, if I force myself to look at this from the glass-half-full perspective then I can rejoice that he is making progress! Or, if you catch me just after I had to pull off soiled underwear (and stick my finger in poo) then I might just tell you to go out and buy me ten years worth of diapers - because I don't have it in me to potty train another kid. Tell me that I am not the only one who has contemplated how old a child would be before he could actually train his own self to potty. (I am joking, of course, please don't call child services)

Meanwhile the Baby has started cruising along the furniture. We have wood laminate floors so he has taken some tough falls. But, on the bright side, he figured out how to fall onto his bottom (rather than his head) at an amazing rate.

I am sticking to my school year goals fairly well. The kids are doing more work than they have in years. God has been good. Still... there are some rough spots. I have at least one child who tries to drop out of school at least once a week. That one child is quite the arbitrator. He can come up with more reasons to quite school for the day than I can rebut. When all else fails, "Because I said so..." sometimes works. If not, the threat of "what will Daddy think of that?" can usually curb my little man.

We are still praying about housing. No new leads. God is disciplining us in the area of patience and contentment. So, I need to hurry up and learn to be patient so that this lesson will be over. Right?

But godliness with contentment is great gain,  for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 
1 Timothy 6:6-8 ESV

Monday, October 8, 2012


... if you should decide to take your kids out to a conservation area to see a meteor shower...

... and if you take all your bean bags and blankets...

... and if you live in mid-MO...

... just remember that there could be feral hogs nearby...

...because feral hogs are more active at night...

...and they might squeal so loudly that you just about pee your pants and your heart stops...

...and your five your old son might scream like a piglet too...

... while the kids make record time loading into the van...

... and you and your spouse will have to gather all those bean bags 
(while wandering where the hog went and how close it might be)...

...hypothetically, of course...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

About School and Life

Our school day began and ended earlier than usual today - so I have a few minutes to write.

I think we have finally found a routine that works for us! Hoorah! There are still some afternoon hours that I need to constructively fill... but for now, with an impending move and all, Andy Griffith is a very obliging entertainer. The kids have discovered The Andy Griffith Show. It drives me crazy. I can't stand silly. So, I sort, or pack, or nap.

The kids have been making bike ramps out of dirt. That has been a two-day project. Everything was going well... until someone decided that we needed a ramp on the hill "for the little kids." I truly hope that the inventor of such a plot did not intend the chaos that followed! A certain five year old madman rode down the hill full speed - Yikes! He lived. Come suppertime he will be bragging about his near-death-and-dismemberment escapade. For the time being, I am still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that ANY boy can live to be as old as he is - be that 2, 5, 8, or 37. No one who has raised boys, had brothers, or married a boy can ever doubt that we have "ministering angels!"

We have more or less given the garden over to the dog. With packing and all I do not have time to do a garden. And, I needed to pack and clean up the yard too. So, we took down our fence and cleaned up our garden area. We left the tomato plants, pepper plants, and 3 cantaloupes. The dog will undoubtedly eat the maters and melons. But, we will probably get a few more hot peppers.

Baby Jeremiah (now 8 months) is growing like a weed. He has been grumpy lately since he is cutting his top teeth. But, his grumpy is not all that bad. He is a happy baby. (This, by the way, is a huge contrast from the colicky baby he was the first 6 weeks of life outside the womb!)

That about sums things up. So, if I go another week or so without having time to write, you know that everything is fine. Just busy with school, packing, looking for housing, kissing boo boos, and playing ball...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paying Attention

It is absolutely amazing how big your sphere of influence 
enlarges just because you open your eyes and pay attention.

So much of the time I am tired, so I tend to run in "survival mode."

[Insert] I am picturing a computer that is running in black and white "safe mode." The computer is protecting itself from bringing up programs that are infected with virus. Safe mode in my computer is a temporary "fix" while I am able to go examine files to look for and extract damaged files and viruses. Sometimes, without meaning to (and sometime intentionally) we Christians operate on safe mode long term. [end insert]

I have been living more intentionally. I have been expecting God to use every mundane act of life to bring me someone to witness to. I pray as I drive to the gas station or grocery store, "Lord, I am open to being used by You. Show me what to do, where to go, and what to say."

Today at the gas station (the same station that I mentioned before) I was able to talk with one of the employees that I have been gradually and intentionally building a relationship with. Here is how it all began a few weeks ago - I saw her walking funny and asked if she was in pain. She answered. I told her I would pray for her that day. The next time I saw her I remembered to ask about that previous issue. My one question of concern opened her life to me! She now anticipates that I care about her and welcomes my prayers. Today she will have some medical testing done to determine the cause of some of her troubles. She asked me to come and see her again tomorrow.

All this, because I took time to pay attention.

Another example - in the ER waiting room there was a woman alone and in great pain. I went to her and asked if I could pray for her pain. She happily received my prayers. And within second she was talking to me about all kinds of things and I had a big smile over the fact that her pain was clearly forgotten!

Other examples:
- servers in restaurants, and medical staff (and many other folks!) wear name tags. Many people have Bible names and do not know it. I like to tell them the story behind their name.

- Does an old person need help in the grocery check out line? Often they do!

- visit the same gas station every time you need gas or a coke

- In a small town grocery store you can choose the line of one cashier every visit.

- The librarian you see every week

There are just so many ways before us to serve people and to tell them about Jesus - if we just pay attention!

There are seasons of our life where survival mode may be a necessity (new baby, sick kids, etc), but let's not stay there forever. Let's be a people who watch for opportunities to bless others and show the the Love of our Lord!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Living without Strife

I have been considering how to make life more "livable" in our home. And, I have been asking this question about almost everything we do -

Does the benefit outweigh the cost?

When you start looking honestly at your life and asking that question with God's Holy Spirit to open your eyes... things will start changing. Some of the below examples are not all from my own life, but rather what I know that other moms are dealing with.

Homeschooling - In my family, the benefits of homeschooling CERTAINLY outweigh the costs on my body and time. It is hard, but it is good. And, I enjoy it. AND, when thinking about the possibility of Christian school - the costs FAR outweigh the benefits. (Driving time!, having to get up earlier and run on a real schedule, packing lunches, financial strain, etc.)

Breastfeeding - For me, this is worth the toll on my body. It was a real challenge while Baby Jeremiah was cutting teeth, but he is back to sleeping through the night now! And I hope/plan to nurse him all the way through his first winter. But, if nursing a baby causes you to live in a constant state of fatigue and sin - then you need to give it a lot of prayer.

Books and Blogs - I really don't have much time for these. I have not been reading for months. And, each blog I post is usually in progress for days or weeks before I publish it. It is far more important that I am with the children. We have periods of free play or rest. But, that is when I choose to nap rather than read or play on the computer.

Animals, Gardening, Homesteading - We still have many goals and daydreams. But, these will have to wait for another season of life. We did not plant a fall garden, because it would have been too much for us. I am happy with this decision. I would rather buy canned veggies than wear myself out gardening and answer my children with malice or wrath because of sheer exhaustion. The goals we have - they do not have to happen over night... or even in one year... It just does not seem that important in the grand picture of life.

Missions/Evangelism/Good activities/Scouts/Homeschool co-op/Etc - Teaching Sunday school is a good thing... but not if it taxes you so much that you sin against your family! If you are too tired to serve in any area of life without continually falling to some of the same pitfalls of sin week after week - then it is probably time to let that activity go. Make it a matter of great prayer! 

Food - I am making some cutbacks in this area. Homemade bread tastes delicious and it is cheaper than store bought, but it far more time-consuming. But, there is more to it than that. The other day we made bread and by the end of the process we were all getting really snippy with each other. Homemade bread is not worth that! Also, I went to Sam's and bought many easy-to-prepare foods... many of them not containing meats, since I still try to steer clear of hormone-tampering meats. Yet, for this season of my life, some less-wholesome foods are allowed.

Here's the thing, Is it better to grow all of your own foods and prepare meals from scratch, but you yell at your kids because you are so tired and overwhelmed? Or, is it better to give them some junk food and put a lid on some of your complaining and fighting?

Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. Proverbs 17:1 (NLT)

Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:17 (NIV)

This is just for a season. Life is short. My years with my children at home are short. Yes, I want to instill good eating habits. Absolutely. But it is far more important that I instill in them good character! I realize that there are people reading this who think that I am willingly serving my children cancer-causing foods... I do see where you are coming from. BUT, there is a greater cancer in this life. Open sin that we justify is a cancer. Making excuses for our sin will make us both physically and spiritually sick. Living in guilt over your constant sinning will make you sick. Stress can cause cancer. Being overly worried about foods can cause cancer.

I honestly believe, friends, that I am at a far smaller risk of cancer than some of my cooking from scratch peers (though they may eat all whole foods), because I do not live in stress.

I am truly free from worry about the foods we eat right now! God the Father is far more concerned about His children loving one another than He is about whether or not we are eating the perfect diet.

So - what about you? In your life - are there areas where the costs outweigh the benefits? Pray about it. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the areas that need some attention.

I also blogged about Meals Without Strife on July 15, 2011.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thoughts on Homeschooling and "Socialization"

My intention in writing this post is two-fold: 1) to educate/inform those who are less familiar with homeschooling, and 2) to encourage those who are already homeschooling.

If you were to meet my children anywhere - be it church event, Gospel concert, Wal-Mart line, library, etc - no matter your age, my extroverted children will strike up conversation and my introverted children will grin big at you. My oldest, Rebecca, has "the gift of gab." (And, I totally believe that God means this gift for use in His Kingdom!) She can easily talk to anyone about any topic that seems interesting at the time. I know that this characteristic has caused some adults to feel sorry for her, thinking something like, "oh, that poor girl is really lonely." Sometimes I sense that this is what people are thinking, at other times the older person has spoken it.

What a sad place that this world has become - that older people no longer feel the sense of honor that their age brings them! We WANT our children to freely converse with adults (with our supervision, of course!) because they will learn so much from them! It is not a sign that my kids are sick because they WANT to talk to adults or to do nursing home ministry! It is a sign that this world is sick that most children do not want to be around adults and older adults!

Yes, my kids love to run and play. Yes, they enjoy playing ball with kids their own age. However, they also have the ability to mingle and/or play with children that are not their own age, adults and older adults. This is not a sign that we are doing something wrong, or that my children are not socialized. This is an indication that my children are interacting with people in a perfectly healthy way... though I admit it is certainly "abnormal" by 21st century standards.

My kids are friendly, but not starving for attention. If you come to my home and you do not bring kids - then, my children will visit with you in a very grown-up manner. I consider this to be a GOOD thing. And, if you come to my home with 1 child or with 10 children, my kids will probably spend more time with the children than with you, the adult. And, I consider this to be a good thing as well.

To any adult who knows me personally and knows my kids in "real life" - Be not alarmed that my children interact well with adults. They do spend time with other children. They do get to play kids' games. They are also being taught to speak with adults and older adults. We think we are blessing them by teaching them to value people in all age groups and not just their own. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

God Has Changed My Heart

God has changed my heart. I used to be too busy judging hurting people to try to help their spiritual needs.

Today I witnessed to a whole bus of college aged kids who were living a life of open sin and rebellion (against God and authority). I spoke to them in love and I told them about my Jesus. This conversation is missing some sentences here and there. I spent more time with them than this post shows. Oh - and Rebecca was with me within earshot. She was in the van.

I offered to help them if their bus was broken down.
They gave me some beads, because I was "so nice."

I said: "What do these beads mean to you."
Girl: "They mean we love you."
Me: "Thank you, I love you too."
I asked if they were a church, because their bus had a church name on it... (though I asked more as a leading question than anything else. I could pretty much tell they were not a church). The kids were pouring out of the gas station with cases and cases of beer and ice.

At this point I was going to walk away. But, I heard them saying that I did not know what they really were. (Because they were in a church labeled bus). So, I turned back around.

Me: "It does not matter to me if you are a church or the exact opposite of one. I still love you all. And, I would still want to help you."
Girl: "Aww, you're so sweet."
Boy: "Give her more beads."
They gave me more beads.
More and more kids coming to the bus with beer and such.
They said, "Hey, this lady offered to help us."
Other boy: "You should come with us... join our church." (Said with a sneer.)
Me: "No, man. I have a better church. I have God in me. I don't have anything against alcohol, but I have something better - Jesus in my heart."
At the mention of Jesus there was a sudden outburst of loud and violent swearing and crude speech.

The conversation was over.

I put gas in my van and went inside to pay. (I took Becca in with me.)

I prayed for them as I drove away. God has broken my heart for them. I wish I could have snatched the girl away from them. But, God will in His Time. I did my part. I sowed a seed. Now, I am asking God to water it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Analogy For Looking at the "Big Picture" of Scripture

I think this will be a great "children's sermon" idea or a homeschool Bible lesson. But it is not just for kids... we all need this reminder.

Props needed (to really make this lesson come to life): world map, globe, or both and a Bible

I will write this like I am speaking to my kids (and I am speaking to American pupils. You will have to change the story according to your geographic location).

Can any of you children point to the Pacific Ocean for me? (Pick one child. He/She will most likely point to the West coast of America) You are right, Rebecca. That is the Pacific Ocean... but only part of it. Did you know that the Pacific Ocean wraps all the way around the globe (or on a flat map "appears on the far right side")? We usually look at the Pacific Ocean as being just off of the coast of America, but it is also just off of the coast of Japan as well. In fact, if we had a little boy or girl from Japan here, he or she would probably have pointed to the Pacific Ocean being right near Japan.

Here is another question for you - who can show me where the Atlantic Ocean is? (Pick one child. If the child is older and intuitive, he/she might have learned from the previous answer where to point more accurately). That is right, Nelson. The Atlantic Ocean is East of the United States... but that is only part of the Atlantic Ocean. Children, do you know that the Atlantic Ocean stretches between America and Europe and even over to Africa? In fact, if we had a little boy or girl here from Africa, he or she would probably have pointed to the Atlantic Ocean as being right near the coast of Africa.

You see, children, most of us understand the World from what we can see and what we know best. We live in America, so we understand where places are in the world as it relates to America. This is completely normal. However, we always need to be learning to look at the whole picture, the "Big picture." One of the ways that we will learn to see the "big picture" is to read history books. For example - if you read the history of World War 2, especially about Pearl Harbor Day, then you will realize that Japan and America both have a border on the Pacific Ocean. Or, if you read about how Christopher Columbus and others went searching for a "New World," then you will better understand that Europe and America both have borders on the Atlantic Ocean.

Now, children, this lesson is not just about world geography - though I hope you did learn something new today. This lesson is also about how we read our Bible. Our Bible is divided into two big categories: The Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament tells stories and history from the Beginning of the World (or "Creation") until about 400 years before Jesus came to the Earth. Then, the New Testament is the Story of Jesus being born, dying, and coming back to life. Actually, both the Old and New Testament are One Big Story about Jesus. All of the stories in the Old Testament and New Testament are about how God loves people so much that He sent His Son to die for us. 

Just like with the globe, we sometimes forget to look at "the big picture." Sometimes we forget to read the Old Testament. Sometimes we forget to read the New Testament. But, we need to read all of the Bible, because that is the only way we can make sense of the whole Story of God's Love for us.

So, children, next time you are looking at the map or a globe, I hope you will remember that we want to try to understand "the big picture" of how much God loves us. And, to do that we need to look at the whole Bible and read from both The Old Testament and The New Testament.

Let's pray - Father, Thank you that You love each and every child here so much that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to die for their sins. Please help us to remember to read all of the Bible. Thank You for giving us Your Holy Spirit to help us understand what we read so that we can see the Big Picture of how much You love us. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Busy Days

I have not been writing much because I have been too busy living. Today I just want to put a few thoughts on "paper" about this school year. I write this with two main intentions: 1) inform my parents and family what we are doing; and 2) help other moms who are like me... always comparing curriculum options.

I have already decided which areas need the most work. So, now I just need to figure out what that looks like in real life.

I think I started Rebecca on Veritas Press Phonics when she was 5. So, I am still new to homeschooling - only 5 years under my belt. (Or, if you add all the childrens' collective schooling - only about 10 years.) Anyway, I am always looking for what works best for our family. We are eclectic homeschoolers with a little bit of "unschooling" when I am too sick to teach the traditional way. These titles don't matter a whole lot. What is most important to Paul and myself is that our children are taught every subject from a Christ-centered worldview.

All that to say, we change "curriculums" often. And I am okay with that. Actually, I am better than okay! I LOVE the flexibility of homeschooling! So, I will tell you what I am currently planning to do, but it is subject to change at any given time. I am not confined to one text for an entire year.

Math - Continuing in A Beka for the oldest three... at least for now. I am planning to switch the oldest to Practical Arithmetics in the coming year. I like A Beka. It has been fun. But, it is flashy. And, I still do not feel like my kids are able to take the concepts into "real life" usage.

History - Continuing Rebecca in A Beka - which she loves. For the younger ones (and sometimes Rebecca too) I read a lesson a day from The Mystery of History.

Geography - Not sure about this one. I am thinking that we will listen to the Geography Songs CD and look at maps. And, we plan to travel more this year than ever before. But, I do not have a curriculum in mind. I will probably find some great free geography resources through Old Fashioned Education. (If you go there be sure to look at the left-hand sidebar at all of the subjects offered! It is a valuable resource!!!) Thanks to the comment from Dawn we will also be using Sheppard Software!

Science - Our official curriculum for science is Rod and Staff, which we all love! We supplement that with real-life outings, star gazing, books from the library about whatever strikes our fancy, etc.We also have a vegetable garden, and this provides hours of real teaching time!!!

Language Art/Phonics - I think I am finished using Veritas Press Phonics Museum. I am not sure that it ever taught any of my kids to read... really. What worked best for all of them was flashcards and drill with hands on work. So, that is what I will do from here on out... I think. Joshua will be starting kindergarten and the idea of beginning him with VP Phonics Museum is not pleasant to me. So, I will not do it. The other kids did best with using puzzle pieces and homemade games to learn to spell out words. I use the flashcards and sounds as suggested in The Writing Road to Reading. (Though I would not necessarily recommend that whole program to children.)
Rebecca has been using Pathway Readers for a few years now. We move slowly through the grades as they are hard for both of us. 
I am not sure where I want to go with this subject this year. I think I might just "lay low" in this area and stick to reading out loud!

Latin - I plan to start Rebecca on Latin. A friend sent me the curriculum for Latina Christiana 1. I plan to get the DVD that goes with this curriculum and learn right along with Rebecca!

I am sure that I left something out. The joy of homeschooling is that it does not need to be set in stone from day one. I have an end goal and I let that be my guide. Come to think of it... maybe it would do all of us good if I write about "my end goal." Maybe I will do that sometime.

Have a blessed school year! Grace and peace - to your lessons and studies - in Jesus Name!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Tired Christian Moms, Repeat After Me

"I am SuperMom, because I am indwelled by a Supernatural God."

Repeat as needed!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, 
and those who love it will eat its fruits. 
Proverbs 18:21 ESV

 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 ESV

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Random Updates

Paul's health and jobs- His back is much better! He is considering cancelling his appointment with the orthopedic specialist. He is working UPS every day on the preload and delivering second day air packages.
ALSO, He spoke with his boss at U-Haul and he is going to try to work there 10 hours or so a week. That works for them and for us.

Transportation - we bought a used Ford 12-passenger van. It is air conditioned! We can travel in a reliable vehicle now!

Food - I tried to buy cheap meat... I tried to buy cheap foods... I just can't do it. Cheap beef makes my kids STINK!!! Their body odor and waste smells terrible when we eat cheap beef. AND I keep seeing all of these little girls younger than Becca all filled out and I just CANNOT do it! I cannot feed my kids cheap beef/meat. I will continue to buy local, pasture-raised poultry, and grass-fed, grass-finished beef. We will go back to eating only one to two pounds of beef a week and I am very happy with that! (We do eat some cheap foods at potluck and such, but once a week is not too bad. I can live with that.)
ALSO in the food subject - I joined a "buying club" with UNFI about three months ago. I am able to order organic (or non-organic) foods/ingredients at a good rate. I recommend finding a co-op or buying club in your area. I think it is fun! I enjoy the work of unloading the truck and sorting orders. I am usually the last one to leave... It's fun. If you are in my area, let my get you hooked up with my club (pick up is in Columbia), because more orders = more savings.

School - You know how your kids usually know more in any given subject than their current book actually reflects? (Please tell me that I am not the only one...) Well, Rebecca's math book is WAY below her actual level and I need to amend that. We usually spend more time on real-life applications than the written exercises. I see more value in the real-life applications, but I also see that I need to have the right book on hand too. I will get the right book in time. No hurry though... I have no doubt that she is learning!

Have a blessed day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why We Don't Send out Family Photos (HUMOR)

If you give a mama a camera, 
chances are she will want to take a picture of her kids.
So, she will wash off the peanut butter, jelly, syrup and whatever else is on the two year old. 
Then, she will want to dress the kids in "good" clothes.
At this point, the four year old will announce that he has not had clean underwear since Sunday. 
The eight year old will have trouble finding any pants without holes in them.
After these crises are averted Mama will go upstairs to get the camera.
Chances are, the camera is missing. 
After looking for the camera for an hour, she finds it under the toddler's crib. 
Upon rejoicing over the lost camera, Mama discovers that the battery is dead. 
Mama has to recharge the camera for two hours. 
Just before lunch, and before the baby gets more food in his hair, Mama will want to try to get a picture. 
Now that the camera is charged, the display shows that the memory is full.
Mama thinks that it will take just a couple of minutes to empty off the hundreds of pictures taken of walls and toilets that were taken in the previous days. 
But, chances are, when Mama plugs in the camera the children will want to watch the videos the made the day before. 
Mama will be stuck watching this nonsense for an hour before everyone announces that they are dying of starvation. 
So, mama will make lunch.
Chances are, the baby will get mashed potatoes in his hair
 and will need another bath. 
After his bath, the baby is rubbing his eyes 
and Mama will decide to try again later.
Chances are - when the baby and toddler are awake from their naps Mama will want to dress them up again in good clothes. 
At this point, Mama will go grab the camera before they 
can get into anything else. 
When Mama gets to the place where she left her camera chances are
it will be gone. 
The children used it to make new videos during nap time.

This, my friends, is why we rarely send out family photos.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Canning Season

Instead of canning with jars I am experimenting with freezing my produce this year. I do realize that this is not a "sustainable" solution... but for this season of my life I am okay with that.

I did check out a few helpful books at the library on home preserving (including freezing), but I would not have attempted this method were it not for MamaHen. She makes it look so easy that I had to try it myself! (MamaHen, you are an inspiration!)

So, I have been "dicing" my tomatoes in the food processor and dumping them into bags. That's it! I am growing 3 types of tomatoes this year but in the end I am mixing them together. I think it will be like the philosophy I use with apples - using different varieties together improves flavor.

We also put up corn for the first time ever! Paul did the entirety of this task because my hands were too cramped up. I cut the first ear or two, but he did a few dozen! I am a little surprised at how little corn you actually get from one year! No wonder my kids need 2-3 ears per meal. Anyway, if I can get my hands on more corn I will try to put up more. Five dozen ears did not amount to much. MamaHen, is there a formula to this? Like so many ears per bag? Or so many cups per ear? Or, do you just wing it? We just eyeballed it.

We did not get to the peaches y-day. We plan to put them up (freeze them) today. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Odds and Ends

First of all, before I forget, our summer meteor showers in the Northern Hemisphere are this coming week and in August.

Secondly, Paul has been to UPS each day this week. But, the pain is getting worse in his hip each day. Monday afternoon he went to his chiropractor who believes that the lymph node swelling was/is due to damage/injury in the spine. The chiro is supposed to be setting up an appointment for Paul to see an orthopedic doc soon and get an MRI done. (No news yet on when...)
PAUL QUIT his U-Haul job. The Lord has used all of these troubles to show Paul that he was overworking himself. He will miss the mechanic work. (He cannot physically work 12 hours a day right now... much as he wants to...) We are praying for wisdom for where to acquire our necessary income.

On parenting - Let me tell you, friends, parenting ain't for sissies!!! 'Nuff said.

On gardening - I echo the previous sentiments - it ain't for sissies. Sweat dripping into your eyes. Arms itching from the contact with tomato plants. Pet dogs who destroy your crops when you are not looking... and sometimes when you are. The tomatoes you do not lose to the dog are lost to drought and/or blossom end rot. Chiggers. Coming in from the heat shaking - on the verge of passing out... Gardening a large plot is not to be entered into lightly! Do not do it unless your family is well!

On animals - I mentioned a few weeks ago that we would be building livestock housing. Well, that did not go exactly as planned... nothing ever does. I did build 2 rabbit cages with the children. And, we did get a baby mini rex. We got the rabbit free. We were supposed to get two, but the other boy bunny was overheated and I was afraid he would die that night and break my kids' hearts. Anyway, we got the rabbit for its manure - thought it would help our garden. BUT, this particular rabbit came from an air conditioned house. It has been pampered in my garage for two weeks. We have now realized that it is impossible to keep Bunny's water cool in summer. And HOW ON EARTH will we keep it from freezing in the winter? I do NOT want an indoor bunny. So, we might have to give the little guy back. But, he is terribly cute and cuddly.
ALSO - we were planning to get a feeder pig just a few weeks ago... but Paul's sickness came on. I realized in a hurry that I would not be able to take care of a pig by myself. The whole decision making process was an emotional roller coaster. But, in the end, it is obvious that a pig which gets fattened up to 250 pounds, is not for us right now...

School - Joshua (who is five now) wrote "Mom" yesterday. Yep... that was pretty big.

On appliances - HOORAY! Cuisinart sent me a brand new mixer to replace the one that "took up smoking." It took a while for Paul and I to scrape together the $30 to ship our old one back. But, the turn around time was very quick!

Not all appliances come with such a lovely warranty and customer service... my Jay Kordich juicer which broke after only 2 months of use!, has not been fixed. Their customer service stinks! DO NOT buy a Jay Kordich juicer!!! (I will stand behind the health benefits of juicing 100% - talk to your doctor first - but NOT with THIS juicer!)

Next post - how will I ever find the energy to put up gallons and gallons of tomatoes, 4 dozen ears of sweet corn that I bought from a local farm - and I was "lucky" to come by it at that - there is a drought here y'all!, 1/2 bushel of peaches from a local farm, potatoes from my garden (if they are not already rotten), and more... Um, yeah, it will take a miracle! Honestly, I am actually grateful that the dog ate my green beans! With all of our sicknesses this season I would not have been able to get to them anyway. Come to think of it, she has saved me a lot of work overall... All the same she is one melon away from the pound.

OH- and we do not have A/C in either of our vehicles. We are praying for wisdom and another miracle. (And, yes, we already tried the $30 can of "recharge" at the auto parts store. Did not work.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Update to Paul's Health

Paul was able to return to work at UPS today. He did not go to work at U-Haul. The swelling in his lymph nodes was down significantly yesterday. I would not say that he is well or healed. But he is better.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Paul's health

After 6-8 weeks of GI sickness my stomach calmed down...

Then  my back was out for two weeks, with one of those weeks on complete bedrest (with Paul at work!)...

Then I went to the chiropractor and got back on my feet. Slowly and steadily getting back to my full range of motion.

THEN this past Sunday Paul woke up with a little "knot" in his groin area. It was uncomfortable, but he went about his day. No strenuous labor or anything. Just normal Sunday activities.

By Monday the area was swollen to the size of a child's fist and angry red. Paul could hardly walk to the phone in the other room to call into work. Monday morning I took him to ER. We assumed that he had a hernia. The triage nurse thought it was a hernia. And, after waiting in the waiting room for 4 hours the doctor said it looked like a hernia. But, he wanted an ultrasound to make sure.

The ultrasound showed the lump is NOT a hernia. It was one swollen lymph node. They assumed that it was/is caused by infection and sent him home with painkillers and antibiotics.

The next day Paul was still miserable and made an appointment with his primary care physician. That doctor took some blood to see if we could get to the root cause. The blood count shows that Paul's white blood cell count is NOT elevated... it is at the low end of normal. He is not battling a bacterial infection. The doctor was/is pretty certain that the blood tests show we are not dealing with cancer/lymphoma.

But, Paul is not better. He is still swollen. He still cannot do even light duty work around the house. (He cannot hold my 15 pound baby.) He has now missed a whole week of UPS and U-Haul. The primary care doc does not want to see him again... said that he thinks Paul will be well soon. Paul had to practically beg for another work release.

Paul cannot receive any kind of disability from UPS unless he can show there has been a work-related injury. At this point we don't even know there is an injury. We know nothing!!! I am stretched beyond the limits of my own sickness here! Paul and I have talked about me getting a job, but obviously that would not be a good short-term solution. Most jobs don't pay for a few weeks. And, hopefully by then he will be back to work.

Friends, I am at a loss here... I feel a bit like I am drowing... Please pray that I will keep clinging to my Strong Tower - The Lord. Comments are disabled. You can call or email me if you want to talk or pray with me.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Morning Freshness

I woke up surprisingly early this morning and my first thought was to get outside! Yesterday we had a cool front come through AND RAIN! We all praise God for rain and ask Him to please send more soon!

This morning I enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the morning dew! Click on any photo to being up the enlargements page.

Sunflowers at full height 6-8 feet tall. 
The dark blob in front of one of the middle heads it is a humming bird.

I did not plant this watermelon.
It showed up as a volunteer a few weeks after I planted my garden.
The original "seed leaves" were unidentifiable. 
But when I recognized the watermelon leaves I decided not to "weed it out," but to let it grow.
I took this picture to show the dew on the grass!!! Dew, friends, we had a dew!!! 

Before sunrise.

Baby cantaloupe. 
Already the size of a softball.

Bean Trellis. I put cardboard underneath to prevent weed growth. 

My happy little garden.
The bare spots were lettuce and potatoes that have been harvested.
We will manure those areas just as soon as I can wield a shovel again.
We will replant for a fall garden very soon!!!