Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Long Night

Man, last night was soooooo long! Brian tossed and turned. Once he came back to bed--I hadn't known he was gone. Then he began snoring--like I have NEVER heard before! And Brian regularly wakes me with his snoring. This was different. I almost laughed, but I was too tired to. I took mercy, remembering the sleeplessness he'd had earlier in the night and spared him my usual 'quick kick.' Instead, to our puppy's delight, I got in my son's bed--he usually is on the floor.

Dog thought it was play time with Mommy in a new bed, so I didn't sleep really well, but at least the snoring was less noticeable with two closed doors between us.

What I really wanted to write about was my dream. I feel like I lived a lifetime in my dream last night. And now I can only remember images. I can't believe it! It was so real and vivid, I didn't think it possible to forget and it is fading away!

Dh woke me when he left for work, and I got back into my own bed after taking the dog out for the third time that night (she never gets up in the night anymore! And she wasn't going potty; she was going for a run!). I was so foggy in my dream, things blended and I kept getting confused about where I was, what time it was, WHO I was (Geri!! I just remembered that. My name was Geri!)...

Kids came in bed with me. I still couldn't get lucid. It took forever to shake myself up and then I woke with a KILLER headache.

It's like I was on drugs, huh??

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nice Day

I had a nice day today. I started out thinking we would have friends over. That didn't work out, so I told the very disappointed kids that we would school instead--who wants to do school after thinking you were going to play with friends all morning?

Then I thought we would get together with the church this evening--the kids are really wanting that, as well. But dh worked ot (PTL!!!), so we bowed out of that meeting.

The day started with wiping plans clean and doing different things. Not always a good thing if you are counting on the former plans. But today was really nice, since we rolled with the punches.

Different friends came over to hand out awhile, we watched Babe and ate marshmallow popcorn. No fuss about making dinner, or bread, or cleaning. lol I did clean, but not out of pressure, which makes the job easier. I got cuddle time with the kids and now I am off to read Bartholomew's Passage to the kids. My girl is such a daddy's girl and is missing her Daddy so very much.

Thank you, Lord, for days you plan. Thank you for warm fires, sweet treats, and people who make movies about you and your love. Amen.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A pocket

My girl just told me that thinking about her having been born here and never moved makes her think of this house as being a pocket that holds something special.

I asked what is the special thing it holds. She answered, 'me.' lol I asked what would happen if she hadn't been born here, or if we move. She said that then the other house would be the pocket.


There is that topic again!

I am not sure there is another fine, Christian, conservative, homeschooling family who talks about sex as often as we do! I hope there are, but I am not sure!

Yesterday we began our school day as always, praying for families we love. As a result, we got into a long conversation that began with my explaining the complexity of adoption. I told the kids that there are several reasons why someone may be adopted--they are orphaned, abandoned or the government has decided the care they are currently receiving is not good enough. It is this last scenario that is the most complicated.

We talked about the parent who is losing their child. We talked about how God made everyone in the situation, and while a decision must be made, we must pray with loving compassion for all involved--there are no bad guys.

My boy said he understood why things are so involved when there is a parent fighting to keep her child, but he said he didn't understand why people aren't allowed to just grab orphans and bring them into the family with a lot less fuss. I explained that there are people who would want to grab them, but not to love them and give them a bright future in the Lord.

My boy's other concern was HOW could ANYONE just leave their child. This one completely stumped him. Enter our family's apparently favorite topic!! I talked about how many people call having a child is starting the family. That mindset shows that we have (1) put a whole lot of pressure on a little person who herself depends on others for everything of life (2) nearly abandoned the idea that family begins with two people joining together in marriage. Because many children are conceived without already belonging to a family, there is not the support or structure to help with the pressures that come with caring for a new person. As a result, people give up and walk away. especially young men, since they carry in their body no consequence, leaving a child before she is even born can seem like the easiest thing to do.

My boy said he'd never walk away. I told him that if he decided to have sex with someone before marriage, the choice may not be up to him. If he joins with a girl who knows sex outside of marriage is a sin, she may prefer abortion over telling her parents.

The conversation continued--it really is a conversation, with both kids talking as much as I do. we talked about how it is possible to get pregnant the first time you have sex, but also it is possible to not get pregnant or sick even if you do it 4000 times! (I can hear friends gasping whenever I have these conversations! lol)

I quickly told them that pregnancy and sickness aren't the only things that can happen with sex, though. there are things that happen each and every time we have sex: we give ourselves, and we make memories. We talked about how when we go to McDonald's, we have memories of being there with other family and friends. When they are there with good friends, they will tell stories of being there with cousins, and vice versa. the same is true with sex. If you have had it with one person, and then on your wedding night, you are with your new partner, there is someone else there with you in bed who does not belong. This is a painful reality that you cannot take back. There is only one first. You have only one body. And the greatest gift to give your dh or dw is to offer that gift with no other memories, pure and untouched on your wedding night.

See? I only corrupt them a little! :)

Christmas is coming

We have been blessed by some sweet cards and sweet treats dropped at our house the last couple of days. It is so nice to feel loved! Sometimes it embarrasses me that my love language is gifts. It is the 'greedy' love language. And the one that is used as an example of not-love. You know, the rich parents who get there kids everything, but never really loved them? The absent dad who sends the coolest toys, but won't bother to visit?

But I sure love gifts. I love getting packages. I have felt so loved by ladies dropping by homemade treats for my family.

I am so thankful for the friends I have and the connections we've made over time. Sometimes my focus is so wrong, and I am humbled this time of year when people take time to remember family and friends. I am remembered among them, and it blesses me!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Schooling

I am trying to be faithful to schooling each day, but it is such a struggle. I blame the holidays, knowing full well it has nothing to do with it. We aren't doing anything for the holidays that would take us away from schooling. I keep hoping that there is something on the computer to keep me from getting started with our school day.

The fact of the matter is I just have a hard time getting started. I love school. I know it is better for my kid and family to do it. I am really looking forward to what we are learning now, and what is to come. And I still have to fight myself to get started.

Why do I fight good things? Paul said he struggled with it. I believe him, but the personal struggle is just so...personal! It feels so unique. I feel that although I know with my head others struggle with choosing right, that my fight is the first and only of its kind. I am ashamed.

And I know better. I KNOW BETTER. It is a soapbox issue for me, the idea of people claiming their pain or motives or feelings can't be understood by anyone else. I believe God gave us feelings--all of us the same. We feel the same feelings in any number of situations. He made us for community, and we divide ourselves with lies of pride that our pain is ours alone.

And, I come back to feeling so alone and helpless in my battles with self-discipline. Maybe because it is something I must fight alone. No one can actually make me school. No one can force me onto the treadmill. No one will push my nose between the pages of Scripture. These must and should be my choice to engage. There is no point if it were any other way. If I were compelled by some outside source, the joy would not be mine, either.

I praise You, Lord for making Your mercies new every morning. I sure need them!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


It is so easy to live life taking care of needs. I think the catch phrase is 'tyranny of the urgent.' Max and I just talked about this the other day. We have priorities and we say that certain things are decidedly more important than others, but it isn't reflected in how we spend our day.

I think, for me, it is more than just tyranny of the urgent. I am not running around taking care of things that can't wait all the time. More often, I am screwing around in front of a screen--until something urgent comes up. :) So, I am a lazy procrastinator! *sigh*

It is hard for me to fight that tendency and live life on purpose every day. I do well for a while, but slip so easily in to the old habits. I wonder if habits are only bad? I don't feel that I have any good habits. Perhaps I am right. Maybe by definition an act that is for good can't be a habit. Who wants to be loved by habit, anyhow?

So, I gotta try harder, get back on the horse, nose to the grindstone and...what? dig in my heels? Any other phrases apply? More journaling here, get back to walking, more time with my wonderful man, more time with my wonderful savior who loves me just as I am.

I have been a little down in the dumps the last few weeks. Better now, but I wonder how much of it is just to keep pushing through. Things got hard, and I did push, I stayed diligent. But then I felt that maybe taking a break would refresh me. I think it is when I took that break that things actually got worse, but I was so down I couldn't even notice.

Lord, help me to push. Help me to keep living, moving through water, rather than lying down to have it wash over and drown me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

flattering...but no good! (a very shallow post)

My girl has been asking for bangs for a while now. I keep putting her off. Her hair is so pretty. And I fear she will have my bangs--horrible! I think she sees her friend's pretty bangs and imagines hers will be as pretty.

So, I just told dh about this, and he went in to talk to her. She told him that she has been trying to tell me for so long something, but I keep breaking in. Tattle tale! LOL So, dh called me in to let me know that she has been trying to tell me something and that I need to listen. Goodness! So, I sit and am ready to listen.

She says, 'Mommy, I like your bangs. I think they are pretty.'

geez. They aren't. They are wiggy! They go every which way and are very uncooperative.

Anyhow, our deal still stands. I told her to wait until the end of the month and if she still wants them, I will give them to her. *sigh*

Can't protect them from everything, can we?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

what a busy and fabulous week!

The week flew by! Katie came on Monday and gave Brian and I a date--much needed because we were NOT connecting the previous week. That turned into quite a blessing, because when we were walking through Wal-Mart--a classic Susanville date--we found our next book for book study!

Tuesday was our quarterly planning meeting. That went well, with the usual pandemonium that goes into preparation. I also made 7 meals that morning. Wednesday was the regular dance, Lego Club and the second of three rehearsals. Thursday I did school with the kids in the morning with all five kids and then it was supposed to be a haven day that I got to spend with my sister. the eye of the storm, peace and a moment of just us time. Nope. The kids all of a sudden became needy as all get-out. Interruption after interruption. I was so frustrated, and kept telling myself to not be such a baby!

Friday was our first day of Holiday classes. There is no one better to have by your side in a classroom than Katie. She did the crafting of the gifts while I ran kids through the skit. It was good, but more chaotic than I like. And the boys were not listening well at all. I don't like being a meanie, but I like chaos less.

Saturday was a four hour rehearsal. Stupid Vet's Hall triple booked their building and we were essentially corralled in the basement for 45 minutes while they figured out what to do with us. The most frustrating thing about that is the amount of money it costs to rent the place. Susanville and buildings!!!! Don't get me started!! It is shameful and disgusting how building owners behave.

Then the recital was that night. Almost until 10 pm! I couldn't get out of my head that there are four year olds in the show. And at the end there was this love-fest between the sick owner and the teen dancers. It was too much, too intimate, too sloppy and TOO LATE!


Madi was FANTASTIC! She smiled through every dance. She was beautiful and beautiful and beautiful. I had fun in the basement helping the girls with costume changes and keeping them happily quiet while waiting their turns. I am very proud of her.

Sara couldn't make the recital and sent her such pretty roses in her place. It was such a surprise and so kind of her. The Thomases did make it, and brought her flowers as well. The kindness of my friends humbles me and makes me walk on clouds!

By Sunday, there was no longer a haven of dog-hair free zone in my house. Katie was really suffering. She was a mess, barely able to breath. I sure wanted her to stay, but hated her being in misery. But she did stay! We had Assembly at my house and it was a nice meeting.

Yesterday, Monday, Katie and the kids went home, I attacked the kids' rooms and laundry and rested up.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

She has too sweet a demeaner for me to call her a smart a**

We are finished with school today, and after schooling comes chores. My daughter asked what she could do to help clean. I gave a a job and walked back to my room. As I passed her room, I called up to her with, 'Honey, you really need to tackle your room.'

She called back, 'but doesn't it already looked tackled?'

I was grateful by then to be several rooms away and out of earshot!

Friday, October 9, 2009

sick, sick sick

I can't believe how much time the topic of illness has occupied my thoughts this season. Swine flu and Strep are going around. Everyone is so worried about swine flu, but strep actually concerns me more, only because I have had it.

I would like to say I am not worried at all. But the truth is, a friend's daughter got it and had a fever of 105 the hospital had a hard time getting down. That is scary and I don't want my kids to get that.

That said, I feel that I am more in danger of thinking myself or my kids sick at this point than actually contracting anything. I have to admit getting a little irked about KidsROCK activities coming under such scrutiny for fear of germ spreading when we have families with multiple kids in soccer, AWANA, 4H, charter school activities and other classes. Those activities bring kids in contact with a wider variety of kids, including public school kids who are themselves exposed to kids who MUST attend school when a little sick because of two income families. Soccer is meeting a new group of kids three times a week, running around in the cold, minor injuries and then slapping hands with everyone!

I mean, come on!! Then Club PALS comes around and we have an hour conversation waffling back and forth over a clear running nose. Come on! So far, we have had sick kids in the group, but none with the same thing, including our one family with swine flu. But KidsROCK is treated like a petrie dish of germs. I don't get it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

HE DID IT!!!!! Never has the g sound been so sweet

My boy has had speech problems from the beginning. He used 'sa' and 'da' for an impressively large vocabulary. I took him to speech therapy starting at age three 90 miles away to the University.

It was such a frustrating experience. Aside from just being a mom worried about her kid who couldn't effectively communicate all that was inside him (and showing little to no improvement as he grew), the people at the therapy center gave me so few of the answers I was desperately seeking. They failed to recognize his vocabulary; how would they know that when he said, 'sa' that time it meant car and this time it meant bear? I wasn't allowed to be present to translate. And all they would tell me was that he had a serious problem and would be in therapy until Junior High school!! Well, with my three year old, that felt like an eternity we could not afford. Not to mention a couple hundred a month in cost, gas and food!

So I pulled him out and began working with him at home. Not without tears, teasing, and 'helpful' suggestions from others that he suffered from all sorts of problems from hearing impairment to autism. And we continually fielded the concern of family and friends because we were no longer seeking professional help. I did seek help from the local schools, but never got any, so we continued to work on our own. Slowly, but surely, he grew to be able to speak intelligibly.

The last and seemingly permanent hold outs were the K sound and the hard G sound. I basically resigned myself to the idea that he had a physical problem we would not be able to overcome.

About nine weeks ago I bought a homeschool speech therapy book and implemented it into out day. Even at ten, there were tears--more sad and hopeless now. He had to fight gagging as we did the exercises together.

But today...today, October 4, 2009, my ten year old said, 'G...g...girl.' What can I say? What can I say? I praise the Lord!! I wracked my brain, shouting in my head, 'WHO can I call???' "WHO knows?' My big sis!

So, she got to hear 'g...g...girl.'

I am telling you now I deserve a medal of valor for finishing the last of the school assignments, greeting Daddy and watching his reaction to 'g...g...girl,' waiting for him to change clothes before I went to my bed and sobbed. I just cried it all out. No words came to my head--how delightful! And I reached for my Bible. I am not big on the whole idea of opening the Book and reading a magic message, but I did let it fall open, and found Psalm 34.

Life goes on. There is still work to do. He is still needing to be more patient with his sister. The house needs cleaning, they haven't memorized their poems for school yet. I need to do the grocery shopping. But this is big. This is our big. And I praise Him Who loves us and gives us all good things.

Just Keep It In The Family

So, I am putting on my makeup, getting ready to go to one of those rowdy, hundred-kid birthday parties and I hear Brian talking to the kids about literal and figurative definitions. I am not sure what they are defining, but there is a dangerous amount of cackling.

As I finish and head up the hall to join them I hear it: dork. Oh, great! I used to use the word all the time, so Diane went to look it up (never acknowledging that the very act of doing so made her a dork) and found it meant whale penis. So, now I know the source of all that cackling. I put on my shoes and begin the lecture.

"OK, kids, so we know that there are some things we can talk about with friends and other things that really need to stay just between you and Daddy, right??"

Brian puts his ankle across his knee, and spreads his arms the length of the love seat and innocently asks, "like what?" We talk, with lots of laughing.

Next I called my girl to help get her ready for the party and told her to sit on her tail. She, of course, must let me know she has no tail. As I am brushing tangles from her hair, I tell the story of my little sister's child hood belief that all boys had tails--and we are back to the penis talk.

I told the story of when my grandpa visited us and fixed our sprinklers. At the dinner table that night he announced in response to the complement of his hard work that he 'worked his tail off.' My sister's already saucer-sized eyes reached their limit to match her gaping mouth. My kids loved the story and we decided to call Aunt Katie and ask her if boys have tails. Bless her for playing along.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

OH, my!

We were at the supermarket, checking out and Madi and Brian were fooling around. I said, "take a pill," to Madi. She didn't understand, so Brian explained it was take a chill pill from the eighties. And he said it was something we used to say when we were growing up.

And Madi, asked, 'together?; And Brian said, no. We are in Susanville, so I knew that was a possibility. So I wasn't upset by the question. But then she said, 'because you're brother and sister.' Right at that moment I had my hand out, accepting change from the cashier. Our eyes met, just as Madi said the words with less question in her voice than I would have liked.

I froze for a moment, and then exaggeratedly said, 'WE'RE NOT!'

Sunday, September 27, 2009


There are so many ways that we mark our journeys in life. Some by the calendar, some by accomplishments, some by seemingly arbitrary things. I remember in high school my goal was to grow my hair to my breasts. Insanely important, this was to me. I remember the day I realized I reached my goal, I came out of the bathroom in glee and announced, 'My hair can touch my boobs!' I was generally very private, and didn't speak that way, but, I felt I could make an exception because, come on! I did it!

I like to think my goals a little loftier these days.

I do like milestones. I am a checklist kinda gal, and wouldn't think of not adding something to the list just to cross if off. I loved report cards, I got mad a college teachers if they took too long to return my assignment, and don't even get me started about the profs who didn't bother writing anything other than A on the paper. I wanted praise and critique throughout the paper! I am big on assessment!

I have four weeks each school year set aside purely for assessment. Not that I wait a whole nine weeks to check my progress in teaching my kids! I like December and January because it is a time to look back and forward to see goal reached and to set new ones. I like April because I get to reflect on the years of my firstborn. May and June mark the end of the school year, and ordering the curriculum to come. August --ooh! time to get the curriculum in order, line up the books, make the lists!

Well, October is a special month for me, too. Some significant milestones have happened this month in the last mumblemumble-teen years. We moved three Octobers (in a row!). And, most important in the scheme of things, Madi was born in October. This is a natural time of reflection for me. I get to remember little fingers... little toes... constant nursing... little teeth... oh! Not all memories are painless!

My girl is turning 8. My baby is turning 8. *sigh* She is quite a young lady. She loves to craft and dance and get dressed up. She is earnest and silly and strong. Truth be told, the youngest in our family can give every last one of us a run for our money in a wrestling match--which she would never turn down. She is a special young thing growing into a remarkable older thing and I am so divided in my feelings about it all.

I am still a momma of babies, but I look around and there are no babies to be seen. How did that happen? I remember moms of older kids saying things that I am thinking, and feeling that I would never be there. I would know to cherish the young years so that the old years would come with no regrets. They come so fast. I am still a momma of babies. I just know it.

The other day at dance I was sitting next to Carla with her baby. I looked down to see a colorful plastic butterfly for teething babies. I almost asked, 'oh! Is that mine? I'd wondered where it went!' Hello!! How can time pass so differently for me than it does for my kids?

I have a secret. I used to say October was a special month because every October something big happened--a milestone. Truth is, none have really been reached in the last too many years. I mean, sure, we moved other friends in October, but that really isn't the same thing as moving, buying a house, having a baby... But for me, I am still there. These last years are like one. It can't really be eight Octobers that I had a baby, can it?

Monday, September 21, 2009

School daze

What a overused title! I am working out our school plan. We are doing so well in school this year--positively our best year ever! I want to figure out our coming years. I have some choices about keeping the kids on the same program or splitting them up. I want Max to make it through all the Sonlight levels because I like them so much. I want him well equipped for college, and I think Sonlight's lessons can do that.

Having them both in one course has made everything so much more streamlined and I wonder if splitting them to get Max back on track (he is in 5th grade doing level 2 again this year) will put us back on the frantic pace we've been on in the past.

I could just keep Max on Madi's pace, and keep up an accelerated pace because it would be so easy--Max would finish at 18 and Madi at 16. OR I could do level 5 next year with both of them. It would be very challenging for Madi, but because they would be doing the same thing, I would have tons of extra time to give to her to help her through. OR I could put Madi in 3 and Max in 6. That would put both of them more or less on track, but would have them on totally different lessons, nearly doubling the length of the school day.

Decisions, decisions...

I am leaning to doing level 5. I think we will be starting the new year long before Katie finishes hers and she has my level 3! That may be the biggest factor after all!

We made it!

Brian made it home safe and sound last night, and the house and living things in it were spic and span and overjoyed to welcome him. We got in lots of school, play and cleaning while he was gone. I hope I can keep up the pace with him home another week. I get so lazy when he is around!! :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

We are having a good week

Not as much school as I'd originally planned, but having a good week nonetheless. We took today off just because we needed the breather and I got in some good cleaning. Tomorrow we do school again. I am looking forward to staying in! Tuesday we did dance, dinner and council meeting--plus two days' worth of school and washing all the bedding. Too much for my family.

I awe at the families who do soccer for just one kid, though so many have different (full) schedules for each kid. Then they add music, church, AWANA, 4H and God knows what else to it all. No wonder they homeschool! They wouldn't have time to get to those classes on top of everything else!

My family used to function similarly to that and I am so thankful that Brian put his foot down. I get busy with KidsROCK, but it is all KidsROCK. The significance of that is that I am not juggling hats or schedules of several unaffiliated organizations. That may not seem like a big deal, but to me it is everything.

But I digress...

Yesterday was too much for US, and today I knew we were doing Lego and dance. I also knew I wanted to get some things organized and finish with vacuuming and bedding, so we took the day of rest and I am thankful for it. Eager to school, without chores weighing on my conscience, tomorrow will be a good day, I pray. :)

God bless me and my kids, my dh half my skinny state away, and all whom I love and hold dear. Amen!

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Great Day

Madi is ready for bed, but thanking me for the great day we had today. She began to list the things we did and said, "I wish I had my diary." She ran off to get it, and I remembered I have something similar for me to record this great day, too!

Brian left yesterday to spend a week with his brother. I was very sad to see him go. My computer broke Friday, so Brian spent all that time working on it, bless him. He didn't want to leave me without the computer. He loves me, but as the time neared for him to leave on Sunday, I felt panicked that I had wasted the weekend and not soaked him up enough.

So, with that under my belt we began the week. We have taken two weeks off from school, and I plan to school this week to help stay productive and to pass the time. So, we did school this morning, and ran to Wal-Mart this afternoon. I got a couple of things I needed, but also grabbed a couple of special extras.

We had boring peanut butter sandwiches for dinner, but made our own cold stone creamery in the kitchen for dessert! We got peanut butter, chocolate, Oreos, chocolate and graham crackers with vanilla ice cream. Each of us made our own concoction and we started an instant-watch movie on the computer from Netflix--From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankwieler.

A very nice day. Now the kids are bedding down in the living room, ready for another full day of school, then Madi's dance class.

Father, thank you for these days. Thank you for the blessing of just being together. Amen!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The kids that play together grow together?

Since Madi's birth, my kids have always been 10 pounds apart. No different today when I weighed them. It is a fun little factoid that doesn't do much but tickle my heart. Except...this means that when one has a growth spurt, so has the other. I have never spent a lot of money on their clothes. In fact, the first many years, I spent close to nothing on clothes thanks to a never ending (I thought) supply of hand-me-downs.

But this year!!! This year! In May I spent money on a new batch of clothes that they needed. But, here we are in September and I need to buy more!! Madi's legs, man! It is crazy how they just keep hanging out of her skirts, dresses and pants.

And Max looks like an orphan in clothes that show more skin than any self-respecting boy should ever show! LOL Friends are even telling us that perhaps it is time to go shopping! lol he looks like an orphan in clothes 2 sizes too small that are full of holes.

It is fun and neat and I will try to focus on that, rather than the ever-more-quickly-slipping time. *sniff*

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What a wonderful evening! And, am I old??

We had a great time last night playing at the park. We played Catch Phrase. There were five families there and the kids all got along for the most part--no small gift where there are 16 of them! I am thankful we were at the park. My house would have been too cramped with so many big kids.

We used to do that many in the house countless times without batting an eye. But they were all smaller--they literally took up less room. I used to think that big kids needed less room because they were more grown up and weren't bouncing off the walls. Maybe that type of 'big' just hasn't happened yet for us? lol

I have been thinking about the passing of time lately. We have all these new members to KidsROCK, made up mostly of families with kids around the age for Kindergarten. That is how old Max was when we started KidsROCK five years ago. I remember them being that young and thinking about families like the Osborns with "old" kids. They seemed so far ahead of us that they were almost irrelevant. I felt like barely touching worlds when we talked parenting or schooling together.

All of a sudden, I am on the other side. And I know my kids aren't all that old! lol I see the looks of the ladies with babies and preschoolers ask the age of my kids and I see myself just 5 short years ago reflected in their eyes. A polite turning off--an, 'oh, OK, well I hope there will be someone in the group with whom I will relate.' I want to say, 'they aren't that old! It happened so fast. You'll be here, too, before you know it!'

I am not all that old, but I just registered a woman in our group who's, like, five years younger than my little sister!!! I was caught up short and tried to play it cool as I transcribed her birth date. Oh my gosh!

I am comfortable with birthdays, getting older, and don't even cringe on the inside when I say I am 35. No problem. But I hadn't considered this one factor of getting older: having to consider people ten or fifteen years younger than I am as peers!!! Oh, my!!!

Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Off to play

We are going to the park today to meet with KidsROCK families for a potluck BBQ and to play games with the adults while the kids play on the playground. Two new families will be there, and I am excited about getting to know them better.

Last week, we had many more signed up, including a total of 4 new families and one other family who has a member who doesn't play games in a way that is fun for me. I was really nervous because Carla was going to be gone camping. So, 4 new families, us and this other family. I didn't want to be representing KidsROCK that way.

But Brian was wonderful to me, encouraged me, helped me lay down some plans and helped to be less concerned about our image being tainted by a single person. I felt much better and then Carla told me that they weren't going camping after all!! All that worry and upset for nothing! I hate being such a fickle baby, claiming to trust the Lord when all is well, but falling apart at the first sign of trouble.

Lord, I want to be more faithful to you, the way you are faithful to me. Help me to cling to your promises in your word and to rely on the character you've already revealed to me personally time and again throughout my life. Bring to mind those things when fear and frustration seep in, so that I might be a little more 'water-tight' and send those feelings that aren't from you packing! In your name, Amen!

OH, and be present this evening at the park. Keep the kids safe and kind on the play equipment and allow for new relationships to grow among the adults. Let your grace and lovingkindness rule our day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

speaking power

I haven't written here in a while. I have thought about it often, but I feel like I am still processing things, and to write down something feels premature. I am in a state of flux, and 'speaking' here feels like I could betray my final position. Putting something into black and white feels very permanent, and I am anything but permanent right now.

KidsROCK is growing so quickly. It is exciting and a little overwhelming. I feel blessed and ...not burdened, but responsible. I have been praying for KidsROCK for years, and for the last six months of so, I have been praying specifically that God would bring to KidsROCK people looking for community and support in homeschooling. I have faith he honored that request in his perfect timing. Generally, we say God's timing is perfect when we are trying to be patient, because God is moving slowly in our opinion. But in this instance, I feel like things are moving quickly.

I want to be sure I am right with God, and not leaping ahead just because everything is going so quickly, that I just pick up the acceleration.

Anyhow, I am loving welcoming new people and the prospects that are coming ahead. I just want to be able to stay faithful to others so that I might not lose this wonderful gift.

Monday, August 24, 2009

My girl calls it 'crumbly'

That is how I am feeling. I am overwhelmed and feel disjointed or disconnected. I don't feel like I am communicating well and things are coming out wrong. I feel like I have been putting out fire after fire, surviving, rather than living. It is catching up with me. I hate feeling this way.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How do I feel?

So, Max was playing a game on my computer the other night. It was getting late and I told him he'd had enough time on the computer, it was time to get off. He was a good boy, and got off without complaining. But then he ran into Brian in Max's bedroom to let him know he couldn't play anymore. What? Brian was playing with his brother, Jeff. I hadn't known MAX was playing with the two of them!! I reversed my decision and Max had to hustle to get back on and catch up with the guys.

Brian has played computer games with his brother about once a week for our whole marriage. I always am thankful that Brian's hobby keeps him close to home. Max of course loves computers, too, able to log on and start disk games before he was 2 (during midwife appointments). And Brian has played games with both kids before. But this felt momentous. Max was playing with Brian AND Jeff. Jeff is not a kid person. That Max was good enough to keep up with them felt...well, that is just it. I don't know how I feel.

First I feel silly making a big deal out of obsessive computer gaming. LOL Second, I feel that it is really cool and some post-modern rite of passage into manhood for Max to join in--even in the fact that Max felt like a tag along. Third, I feel a little sad about the whole thing. LOL

My baby is growing up to be a full-fledged geek!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Some changes need to happen

We just found out that we are losing the $120 a month we get for being in a rural health care area plus we will have a 10% tax on us now. Sneaky way to cut our pay ten percent without furloughs or a straightforward pay cut. They are certainly creative about getting around the law.

That is another several hundred dollars. I need to get a job, or we need to move out of this place and get into a rental. But I looked at some rentals and they all prohibit pets! Wow! It has been 8 years since we rented, and I hadn't thought about Bailey being a problem.

Lord, please provide for us!

Conflict makes me sick!

Our Field Day was a decided hit! Everyone showed up, a couple of extras did, too! No injuries, no crying. everyone worked hard and played hard. Lots of complements came through on the email and that is very nice.

But just as we were about to begin welcoming families a big school group showed up. Turns out is was Head Start. The leader is named Linda and she had been incredibly rude to me in May when I called for advice regarding how many fliers to print. She told me no one would come to our booth, that the Fair is about kids so I shouldn't try promoting myself. Anyway, she was in fine form yesterday. She showed up with her body and face taught, ready to fight. She called Parks and Recreation because we wouldn't leave. We told her we made reservations.

It got ugly. Their kids tore up our obstacle courses, One dad from the other group started yelling at me, so another dad from our group stood up for me. Such a mess. I was shaking like a leaf!!!

Things smoothed out after the leader left the area--the group was using the park, horse corral, and the Pizza Factory. The other parents were polite and we coexisted peacefully enough.

I just heard that poor Carla was last to leave and her battery died!!! So, with 6 kids, including a 5 month old, walked to the Pizza Factory to call her husband for help. Ugh! What a day. Good, but really trying.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Field Day

I am getting ready for our first annual homeschool field day! It looks like we could have just about 70 or 80 people there!! And we thought it would be more like 50, but at the last minute a whole bunch of registrations (of large families) came through. Carla is working super hard and I am praying that she doesn't burn out.

The cool thing about this is that just in May, we did the Children's Fair. At that event, Carla and I had to depend on our out of town sisters to help us with preparation and execution of the event. This time around, however, Carla sent out a food list and it was covered in ONE DAY!!! I know Carla may not feel it, because I played lead at the Children's Fair and she is playing lead with this, so her work load is massive. She may not be able to see what a huge change has happened in our group. And I may see it as larger than it is, going from lead to not, so my load is significantly less.

Either way, I am praising the Lord for the change, whatever the size. I am so happy we have members investing in KidsROCK.

I pray that today is a success. I know that with 50 kids we will have poor sportsmanship, owies, hunger, and general crying. But I pray that the adults stay calm, peaceful and positive. I pray that the strangers will see a community based in Christ. I pray that everyone goes home feeling terrific and tells SOMEONE that KidsROCK is a good thing.

I also found out something about a family. Something that others could use to be mean and judgemental. I pray, pray, pray that our members will rise up and shine Christ instead. That the temptation to judge and to rest in pride will be resisted every time. I pray that this family is blessed and astonished by the grace present in KR.

I pray everyone stays healthy!! We have some babies and pregnant mommies. Some are very afraid of germs in general, and the swine flu looms large for them. I pray that they are kept at peace.


Friday, August 14, 2009


We tried to catch some more of the meteorites the night before last (we watched last night, too, but only saw three or four). We some some wonderful, spectacular things!!! We quoted Bible verses and prayed together in wonder of how very cool God's fireworks are. We got in some science, too, talking about why they all streaked in the same direction.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

See the Stars?

So it is meteor shower time. I haven't ever taken my kids out to to see it. It is always late--of course--and ...I don't know. I just haven't.

Well last night we gave it a try. KidsROCK has had lots of chatter about it, so it seemed a good time. And we are doing Astronomy for school!

But we got out with a blanket on the trampoline and were laying back, looking at the sky, and it happened! I remembered!! I hadn't even remembered I had forgotten, but it all came flooding back as I strained to 'see what I could see.'

I was seven again. Everyone would shout with excitement, 'see it??' What? Where? I don't see it!

IT was meteors. IT was stars. IT was mountain ranges. IT was horses, cows, trees, the car in front of us. *sigh* I couldn't see IT.

So, here I am, cuddled under a blanket with a kid snuggled under each arm--with a dog straying in and out of us with random licks and ear snuffing--and realizing that these poor darling trusting children are so sweetly unsuspecting that they have been saddled with the worst person ever to get anywhere in this bold endeavor. (It takes a great pity-partier, to do it on behalf of others!)

I don't know if we saw anything. I thought I did. But the harder I looked, the less I saw. Stars faded from sight as I stared. Is that a star? Is it a planet? I never got that planets were colors. I mean, I understand their atmospheres reflect back colors, and with special equipment you can see it, but with the naked eye, I just don't see color from so far away!

I marvel at the other person's human eye! I marvel at the wonders of the heavens--from my couch, looking at beautiful pictures in books. :(

Sunday, August 9, 2009

small testimony

So, I was reading Matthew where Jesus calls people to Him who are weary and heavy laden. He says His yoke fits and is light. I rolled over to pray immediately. I told Him I didn’t feel like it is so easy. I had just watched STUPID movie called Confessions of a Shopaholic and there was this scene that caught my attention. This girl has run up debt shopping for fashion and it all catches up with her in a major and public way. Her loving parents whisk her away. The mom walks up to the dad and shows him a book and asks if it is too late. The book is titled something like how to raise financially fit children. My breath caught in my throat. There is SO MUCH to do!!

I felt overwhelmed. I feel panicked, like I am missing the boat, behind, neglectful, less than. I have to raise kids who are fit spiritually, academically, socially, emotionally, physically and financially. I am sure I am missing some -ciallies! So, there I was, praying about feeling like I just can’t do it all. I go through the day painfully aware of my lacking, while being too lazy to do much more about it than feel guilty and self-loathing.

Right at that moment, Brian walked in and asked if I wanted to go for a walk. It is a small thing, but I felt like God was telling me I am not alone. Not only do I have God, but I have Brian, too.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What a day!

Yesterday we rose at 5 am to get ready for a tour to the Shasta Caverns. We found out the day before we left that our planned route had been shut down because of fire, so we scrambled to let the group know we had to leave an hour earlier to take a longer route around the fire.

We got to bring the Wests in our car, and that is something of a treat for us. She is great company and our kids get along really well--and there is not a bad traveler of the four of them!

When we got there we ate lunch and then worked to buy the tickets. There were just under 50 of us, and Carla and I had a rough time getting numbers to add up. We checked it over and over, but still didn't have enough money. I still don't know what happened, but we just paid and got moving.

All over the place were posted signs that backpacks, food and drinks were not allowed. I had each of us saddled with backpacks and water, but we put them back in the van, and it made me worry. It is hot, and I know I need water, and I thought the kids would struggle not having any, too.

Well, I was right. Climbing and descending over 500 stairs took a toll. Then we waiting on the bus while they looked for our driver for 10 minutes after the tour--we baked! I thought the cool breeze of the boat ride back would give me enough to get back to the van and drink, but it wasn't.

The group wanted to do pictures on the waterfront, so I stood for them, but my legs wouldn't stop shaking. It had happened before, but I can't remember when--I was a little foggy. Anyhow, of course, I fainted. And we had a new family and I was standing next to her. And the guy taking pictures got one of me on the ground. *sigh* People focused on me, and really, I think Max was in as serious shape as I was. He was unable to sit on the boat. Once we all got back up the hill closer to the van, he downed 16 oz so quickly, I was afraid he was going to throw it up.

So, is the lesson 'break the rules'?? After we got back up top, I was a little surprised by all the people who had backpacks and tons of people brought water. I was trying to be a good girl!

We had originally planned to do dinner with the group, but everyone had had enough, and so the families dispersed and made their way home separately. It turned out to be a good thing. Instead of Red Robin, we hit Denny's in Red Bluff and kids ate free!! Cool Deal. And I think we made much, much better time.

I can't imagine being gone from home longer than we were--13 hours. The longest we've left poor Bailey. When we came up to the house, we could hear her howling. She was so loud she didn't hear us approaching. So, I opened the door and she was on the back of the couch , nose raised to ceiling, crying her heart out. That was so very sad!!

Glad we went, don't imagine doing it again any time soon. :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Thunder! Lightning!

We got quite a show last night!! Man! The power of thunder and lightning inspires awe. It is so silly, but I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't God! It would arc across the sky (once with no room to get the 'one' in my 'one mississippi') and the thunder would roll on for over a minute. I would say in my mind, 'wow, God, I hear you.' Or, 'you are so powerful.' He is powerful, but I felt like I got a taste of how and why people worship His creation. It is pretty awesome stuff!!!

I am thankful God has revealed Himself to my family line and that I learned about Him so early in life. I am thankful I can see beyond His creations--even if just by a tiny measure--to know there is a Maker of these wonderful things who is so much more than any one of them.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Gearing Up

Life goes in cycles, doens't it? Last April was busy and hectic and exciting--though pretty demanding. The Children's Fair was coming, The Quarterly Planning Meeting fast approaching and I was going to watch Katie's kids for a week in May. I was thankful by the end of May that things were going to calm down. I was a little miffed in June that it didn't feel like we had calmed down. It still felt busy.

But, here I am again, QPM approaching in a couple of weeks, Club PALS picking back up in September, Field Day before that. I now know that no matter how it may have felt I hadn't been busy in June. I am not yet busy, but on the precipice now. It is exciting, and a little stressfull. Just holding al the thoughts in my head seems to be the biggest challenge. And, as always, money. I think if it weren't for the nagging question, 'how are you going to pay for that?' I would be able to throw myself into what is approaching more fully.

But Field Day, Planning Meetings and Club PALS cost money. No one has any. I have to go shopping for supplies. The date isn't as far as I pretend it is. We are going to break KidsROCK's bank Tuesday with a field trip that just better be worth it, because I still don't have what I need for coming classes, and will be getting fancy with my own checking account to make it all work.

Man, money stinks!

But being active in the events of KidsROCK doesn't. I am excited about the regularity of Club PALS. The ladies in our group are really neat, and I have missed seeing them over summer. I am looking forward to seeing who shows up at the Field Day.

I think it is our second litmus test regarding how much work we put into raising our profile in the community. We bust our buns to pull these types of events off. If the showing isn't good, we knowthat the effort isn't needed. We haven't prayed as diligently about God bringing to the Field day people looking for friendship to the park. I will do that right now.

Father, please be the head of KidsROCK, guiding our activities and membership. Bless those involved, water and grow relationships for either a season or a lifetime--Your will, Lord is what we want. Help us not to do things in our own strength, or follow our own paths. Keep us from running ahead or slipping behind the pace you set for us. Amen.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Money, money, money

Have you seen Mama Mia!? We watched it, and with the exception of someone--whose only excuse could be a terrible state of inebriation--thinking it was a good idea to have Pierce Brosnan sing, we really enjoyed it.

There is a song called Money, Money, Money with a line that says 'it's a rich man's world.' I hate how important money is. I know the warnings Jesus made shoot right to my very soul. It is so easy for me to make it an idol--a god who consumes and hates me. I spend an embarrassing amount of time dreaming up what I would do with money. I fantasize about being financially independent and moving on with 'real life' from there.

I am so thankful that my Lord is the true provider. Not just of our physical needs, but He has even provided the warnings against relying on money, against storing up things here on earth. He has provided wisdom and resourcefulness so that we can make the most of what we do have.

I praise Him and grip to Him, especially when the mortgage goes up and the pay goes down.

Truth as Fact

So I wrote last night about the idea that we are pushing ourselves and our kids into unnecessary challenges for the sake of the lessons learned from making it through.

We all know recognizing or admitting a problem is only the first p resolving it.

So I know we worship adversity and the triumph we hope it brings Why? The root is still love, wanting the best. We have declared in order comfort and encourage that those who've been through truly harrowing trauma will be OK. They will be better than OK! They are stronger and wiser for this horrible misfortune.

Well we want to be strong and wise, too! We want our children to be strong and wise, right? We sold that recovery by sheer will is so possible that it has clouded the truth that it is possible and desirable to become strong and wise in other ways, too.

So, if it is not through adversity that we gain these valuable and coveted character traits, the how?

And these truly are valuable character traits. Real Adversity does exist and to have generous helpings of strength and wisdom sure would help!

For our children, let's try equipping. Arming them for the inevitable battles that will come about without any foolish wanderings into the darkness. Again, how?

Well, first, set a good example. You avoid needless adversity and make it through the unavoidable trials with your integrity in tact. Show them the wisdom it takes to see trouble before your up to your waste in it. And if it besets you, don't panic. Keep your eyes on Christ, move carefully, don't abandon principles of character. Do your best and admit your failings.

Another thing we can do is teach Truth as facts--as the only facts that really matter. Teach them right from wrong. Teach them about God and Jesus. Teach them about eternal perspective. Teach them about the sermon on the mount. Move their focus outside themselves. Soften their hearts to the plights of others. Teach them to rely on Christ for all things. Teach them the importance of family, and that saving face with friends, or preserving a friendship by doing something wrong isn't worth the friendship.

That will give them roots to which they can confidently grip when the wind blows.

Some who have learned by adversity swear by it. I know people who can't seem to learn any other way. They don't see other people's mistakes as warnings. They don't see red flags. They just have to touch the stove to see if it is really as hot as everyone says it is. I grieve for these people.

While adversity may be an excellent teacher, think about this: not everyone recovers from every addiction, affliction or abusive relationship. Some never return from the woods. Some do, but with scars so deep that they are forever unrecognizable from the person who first entered the forest.

And for those who emerge better, strong, wiser...the time they spent clawing their way out, going to the school of hard knocks, how else could that time have been spent??

Learning? (You know--something other that drugs are bad, you can't change mean and selfish people, that kind of thing. I mean learning about Shakespeare, Fibonocci and Madam Curie.) Growing? Developing into healthy well-rounded people? Serving??

Serving!! You mean, focused on someone else?? Crazy! Aren't teens supposed to be terminally self centered? Isn't that normal? Maybe, but it sure ain't healthy and the mindset does nothing to protect them against needless adversity. Normal has never been a lofty goal--unless your life has been one trial after another, that is.

Get them into service. Let them see the pain of adversity. Let them help those who need it. Let them learn by seeing the consequences second hand. And being in service works as a nice time filler--meaning less time is available to go getting into first hand trouble!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Triumph over Adversity

Triumph over adversity. Sounds good. In fact, in our society, it seems often to be the very meaning of life. And there is plenty of adversity to go around, so if you triumph over one, don't you worry! There is another opportunity for victory right around the proverbial corner.

Two major categories for adversity are addiction and abuse. Toss in a little depression, and you have encompassed most sources of adversity quite succinctly. And if you are a little bored with alcohol and drugs, just peek behind them and you will see that there is a list the length of the road to hell filled with objects of obsession. From video games to food to sex, we can ruin anything!

And who hasn't been abused? I find the longer I live, the more difficulty there is in finding people who have led lives free of physical, emotional, verbal or sexual abuse. Speaking of hunting for healthy people, too often I find myself in a stark minority as a woman who has never taken antidepressant or anti anxiety medication.

So much adversity. We must triumph! Defeat is not an option!

As a society, we have grown sensitive to all the pain and suffering of our neighbors. That is a good thing! I mean this sincerely. I know it is not long ago that women were trapped in hopeless, fearful marriages from which there was no escape. Children, too, have long anguished at hands with too much power. Those afflicted by addiction have received compassion and mercy rather than being left in the dark to battle demons alone.

In our haste to affirm, protect, heal our loved ones, we have created new laws and counseling programs to bring people from the pits of death. We say it is not that person's fault these tragedies have befallen them. We have trained for physical strength to symbolize the emotional strength needed to stay free, to be triumphant.

We celebrate conquest with such joy and primal pleasure. So much so that just defeating the shackles of an addiction or abuse is reason to publish a book, do the talk show circuit and choose which actress will play you in the Lifetime premier movie.

Good things, all. Needed things. Please don't misunderstand my words below to be in any mocking or belittling the vital importance of swaying of the heart to lift up and empower the weak.

But have we gone overboard? Have we lost our way? I think so. I think the pendulum has swung too far and we have forgotten the focus. Have you ever wondered why there are so many addictions? Why are there so many social-emotional medications out there??

Suppose there is one more to add to the list of addictions. Suppose we have come to need triumph. And how do you get that? Ding, ding, ding, ding!! That's right: Adversity, with a capital A!

I cannot believe how frequently it is offered and with what validity it is given that children should go to public school so that they will face Adversity!! We seek Adversity, not just for ourselves, but we lovingly thrust our children--those with whom we are charged to raise and protect--straight into the jaws of Adversity.

Without Adversity, how else shall we triumph? And what is life without triumph? Apparently not enough. There is an old saying. Perhaps you've heard it. It goes something like this: fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on....who? Oh, yes! ME! You jump into Adversity, it is your own damned fault! Why on earth do we celebrate and affirm it isn't your fault when you picked up the 10th beer, when you went home with the loser, when you stopped showing up at work?? I don't get it.

I don't get it, and I just am not buying that we are better human beings if we walk headlong into danger. Here is something: I pray my kids will grow up to never have been bullied! I pray they are never sexually assaulted. I pray that no one they would ever call friend would even offer them a drink, a cigarette or anything else illegal and unsafe! Imagine!

With the current societal climate, you'd think I was a hateful mom for wishing and praying such things on my kids. We have gotten so lost in affirming those who have been genuinely beaten down by genuine affliction that we have come to a place where we worship that very affliction!

We hate the idea of anyone feeling disadvantaged; we say those who've been through the gauntlet are better for it. They are stronger and wiser. Now they are equipped to face anything. It sounds so nice! And, really, what else should we say? It is truth, we pray.

There is even Biblical principle in this attitude. Joseph said to his weaselly brothers that God meant their evil acts for good. Paul says we suffer so that we might receive comfort from the Holy Spirit to share with other sufferers. Who isn't going to get in line for comfort from the Holy Spirit, after all?? That's good stuff!

But does that mean it is right to start at comforting someone for surviving evil and go to choosing or advising someone to invite evil right into the center of life? I don't think so, but I think that is exactly what we have done. College parties--oh, let's be honest here--high school parties (and the phenomena seems to be starting earlier and earlier all the time) are a virtual Petri dish of addiction and abuse. Couple this with the permissive, 'blind eye' being turned by parents, teacher, and even law enforcement, and you have the perfect recipe for young people to be dragged down into Adversity.

"Experimenting" in drinking, drugs and sex is portrayed as healthy and normal among even young teens on countless shows depicting and targeting their real-life peers. By the way, just how much do you have to do before we drop the euphemistic "experimenting" tag? Either way, this is considered more than normal. It is healthy and normal!

How many times does a life have to be derailed before we know that getting on the train will lead to pain? Well, I propose we have reached that number, whatever it may be. And I propose that it isn't just the experimenting that parents are permitting. It is the adversity. We don't arm them. We don't teach right from wrong. We don't equip them. We send them to adversity and trust they will triumph and be stronger and wiser for it.

So, who is the wiser, the one who climbs out of the pit, or the one who threw a log across and crossed it unscathed?


I am feeling very restless. Or expectant? I don't know. I can't even yet tell if it is from God or flesh. I can't tell if it is just part of the fickle tide on which my emotions ride, or a mark of something real and deep and not to be eschewed.

Whatever it is, here it is. We are halfway to retirement from the prison system. Ten years in, ten to go. Ten to go?? That puts Max at age 20, Madi at 18. We will be 'done.' I don't want to be done! This is the point where my chest tightens and I don't feel like I can quite get a full breath. I feel claustrophobic--both by time and space. I don't want my kids to grow up their whole time like this. Like what? I am no sure.

I can tell you I am tempted to sell the house, buy an RV and spend at least a year traveling the country, talking to the people in national parks, museums, historical monuments and libraries. That sounds nice and big and open, huh?

Then my husband stretches out to grab my ankles and drag me back down to earth by asking, "How will we pay for gas, food, flat tires, entrance into the museums and camp sites?" Geez. I say that he can audit lectures as we travel to different universities and invite professors of religion, philosophy and such out to lunch. "How will we pay for lunch?"

So my old dream returns to me.

I have off and on thought about running a retreat center of sorts. The nature and focus has changed from time to time, but essentially, I want my family and one or two others (think: church) to run a center for retreat and camps. We live on the property, have the freedom of supporting ourselves—solar panels, windmills, well, large garden, animals—and welcome people for weeks and weekends for education and refreshment. Definitely Christian. Catering to special groups like pastor couples. Brian could host (not lead) round table discussions on philosophy and apologetics. I could run programs for women and children. Together we would put on family events like hiking and horseback riding. Music nights, talent shows etc would be standards. And people would have built into their visit working the land, and being with animals.

Then I saw this website—they host three-week-long high school Christian perspective science camps. Their money page thrills me. Anyhow, got me to thinking that we could play the homeschool slant, and offer something like a week-long Club PALS. We could do outdoor ed, and other weeks and weekends focused on smaller subjects: computers, writing, a country, etc. There are a gazillion sub-subjects in science and history, we wouldn’t have to repeat for years—not that repeating would be bad!

Anyhow, I am all dreamy now. J

But I know my dreams continue to beg the question: how? Do we give up the retirement Brian has already earned? How do we buy property to host retreat guests? How do we feed them? (and ourselves??) How? Is this a human, fickle, fearful worm wriggling in my ear, nudging the escapist in me? Is this Christ moving me to ministry? I now a good answer is to wait for Brian to be moved. Man!! Sometimes that just takes so lo-o-ong!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First Entry!

Well, I am the least disciplined person I know, so I don't know if I will be able to keep this up. But I am trying not to quit before I start just for fear of failing. :) Diane says I am the consummate blogger because my kids are at the perfect age, doing funny things everyday. I can't argue about the kids!

I don't know if I should introduce myself, or if only people who already know me will be reading this.

So, I am married to Brian and we live in NE CA in the high desert area. I have two kids, Max and Madi.

We were getting in the car to pick up Brian at work. He'd been gone a couple of days, and as consolation, I had taken the kids to the Dollar Tree to get a little toy. Madi got a bear and was being very maternal with it. So, when it was time to pick up Daddy, Madi began to narrate to the bear about what we were doing.

She talks for the bear, of course, and it seems the bear was surprised that there was a family member she hadn't met yet. Madi was explaining that while it is true that there are homes with only one parent, this one had two: a mommy and a daddy. Other homes with only one usually are that way because of divorce or death. !!

At this point, Max interrupted her and tells her to stop. She asked why. He said, 'next you are going to start talking about orphans!'

She jumped on this and said, 'oh, yes! Then there are some kids called orphans and BOTH of their parents are dead.'

Max stops her again and clarifies, 'your bear is a baby, right?' She confirms that the bear is a cub. So he continues, 'then you need to protect her from those things!'

Madi retorts, 'it is REAL. It really happens. Divorce happens, death happens. I have to tell her the truth! Like when soldiers cut off hands of the enemy so they can count the dead bodies more easily.' (I can't even remember if I taught her that from the Bible or Greek History!!)

Max is exasperated. Madi is matter-of-fact. I turned on the radio so they wouldn't hear me laugh!

This reminded me so clearly of a time a couple of years ago when we needed to buy a new dishwasher. At the store there was the line of washers up along the side wall, arranged in order by price. Brian and I stood back in wonder as we watched our kids gravitate to opposite sides of the display line. Madi stood pressing herself from knee to cheek up against the most expensive model, caressing it and begging to get the 'so pretty' one. Max was down at the other end, fist on hip, finger wagging, 'Madi, that one is over one thousand dollars! This one is 200. We need to get this one!'

What is it called when you see ghosts of the future? lol

Anyhow, after we were home from picking up Brian, I got some time alone with Madi. I wanted to figure out some more about her ideas regarding teaching kids and divorce. So I asked her when was a good time to explain to children about divorce and death.

She answered so diplomatically, 'well every mom should be able to choose if they want to tell that stuff with the kids are toddlers, older or teenagers. It is the mom's choice.'

I saw that I needed to get more pointed. 'So, when do YOU think you will share that stuff with YOUR kids?' She said she wants to teach them young, as toddlers, because she wants to start school with them right away. I didn't push any more. I had more to explore.

I asked her if she thought she would ever get a divorce. She answered that she would if she chose the wrong guy! I asked her how she would know if he was the wrong guy. She said if he didn't want to spend time with the family or if he didn't like homeschooling.

I caught that one and ran with it. 'What will you do if your husband doesn't want you to homeschool?' She was quiet a long time. She got a little embarrassed and finally said that she would homeschool and get a new husband. lol

So, I grabbed her and we sat down on the couch together. I told her that her husband is more important than homeschooling, and if he wants her to put the kids in public school, she should do so cheerfully. She was so sad!! lol She said that she wanted to teach about God. I told her that she still could when they are home and that she would need to be in the classrooms with her kids, getting to know what is taught, the friends and parents and the teachers.

I think she was really surprised by all of this. I told her that it could be avoided if she talked with the man before they talked about marriage, and let mommy and daddy become friends with him. If we all found out that there were some important things he didn't agree on, then she could tell him that they were just going to be friends. That seemed to placate her a bit. :)

OH, I am so bummed!!! I started just pouring out memories, thinking I could copy and paste them somewhere else and them post them piecemeally here again, with proper subject lines. But it won't work!!!! So now here is this long ol' post no one will read. Grr..