Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Here we Go!

We have got a very exciting week in store.  Contrary to our normal ways of doing things, my family will be splitting up to do some it.  Tomorrow, Wednesday, we head to my dad’s house, who lives right between my sister’s place and mine.  She will be making her way to Dad’s with her kids, as well.  My husband will drop the kids and I off and return home to the dogs and work.

My sister and our kids will spend the night at our dad’s.  Early Thursday morning my dad, his wife, and the two oldest boys will road trip their way to southern California for an astronomer’s convention.  I am dealing with a bagful of issues ranging from momma bear to memories with my dad from my own pre-teen years.  This is a real test for me and I struggle daily to put my boy in my faithful Daddy-God’s hands.

Meanwhile, the rest of us at the house will spend the day and another night being girls, plus my youngest nephew.  Friday after work, my sister will go back to her place and my husband will fetch our daughter and I.  To continue to give our girl special time in the absence of her brother, a cherished friend is going to give her a sewing lesson on Saturday. 

Monday, we will join up with another set of cherished friends and drive to my sister’s place to spend a couple of nights.  At some point we will collect the two boys from star camp.  My husband will tour the fire camp there for work and the rest of us will just hang out.  We come home Wednesday.  Phew!!

Pretty exciting, huh?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Closing Ceremonies

Today Club PALS is over.  I really love Club PALS.  With my unconventional views on church, I can easily become lonely and frustrated.  Much of what Club PALS offers satiates the hunger I have for true body life.  Whichever families are placed in my group are families for whom I grow to love.  I feel a responsibility and I pray for each one all through the week.  That can only result in love, right?  At least that is my experience.

This session was a month longer than sessions past, which gave me even more time to grow attached and invested in them.  I am truly humbled that these busy ladies allow Club PALS into their weekly scheduled.  There are so many established programs out there like AWANA, scouts, sports and charter school classes.  It isn’t easy to compete with all of that.  So when a family chooses to opt in to Club PALS, I feel a deep desire to make it worth their while. 

I want them to be confident in the academic instruction their children are receiving.  After all, if there wasn’t that component, many wouldn’t feel their time was justified.  But my driving motivation is to feed the hearts and souls of the kids and parents. 

This component is far more important to me than anything else.  But so many families don’t feel free to take the time to nurture relationships or spirits.  There are no check boxes, so I guess it seems wrong to spend precious hours on something that can’t be quantified.

But now it is ended.  Summer is around the bend, and families will begin the flurry of vacations.  I need to get writing Cheerfulness for Autumn and see what the Lord with do with that!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Have We Got a Show for You!

Who can say it better than Veggie Tales?  There were some opportunities for some major problems, but everything worked out really well.  The kids did wonderfully in the play and their individual presentations were so polished, they looked like old pros!

It was neat to see the families come together with food, serving, preparation and clean-up.  We worked together like a well oiled machine.  I hope each child felt special and loved yesterday.  I really pray the church that hosted us saw no problems!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today is The Day!

We have our End of Year Show today.  I am really excited about it.  The kids are in a play, my son is showing one of his stop action movies, my daughter is playing “’Tis So Sweet” on the recorder and then dancing with some friends at the end.  There is a friend’s son who went to Jerusalem a couple of months ago and he has a slide show presentation about the trip.  I can’t wait to see that!

My true prayer is that everything is peaceful.  I don’t want any stress about time, order or nerves to color the afternoon with friends.  One of my biggest problems with performances of any type is the tension and drama behind the scenes.  The desire to be perfect can ruin things. 

And the narcissism frankly grates on my nerves.  How much stage time, how many lines, how many mistakes, me, me, me.  I really struggle with the right-ness of it all.  It seems one way to feel important is to employ frantic whispers, rushed bustling and barely contained energy.  I understand the excitement, but the wrong motives and focus can make ‘excitement’ just plain ugly.

This is one of my personal hang-ups.  My problem.  I handle it by avoiding these situations as much as possible, especially while my children are still young and impressionable.  I do not want to raise them with such an unhealthy focus on self.

But there is the whole baby and bathwater deal.  Sometimes there is something very good about the sense of accomplishment that a performance can supply.  The kids have worked so hard memorizing lines and learning the subtleties of acting with the play they are doing.  To get the opportunity to work with others and complete something is an awesome experience.

That is why we are doing this.  I have purposely kept it informal.  Kids not currently on stage will sit in the audience with parents—I hope one way to eliminate back-stage drama is to eliminate the back stage!  I will be introducing each presentation while they are getting set up.  I hope this will avoid the self-important bustling.  My hope is that the whole thing turns out to be a relaxed evening with small-town kids showing what they have learned this year. 

I know I can’t take the self-consciousness out of someone else. I can’t stop all the me-talk and competitiveness that will happen.  I will just have to let that go and try to steer my kids to remember Whom we are supposed to be glorifying all the time.  And maybe work on my own self-righteousness! 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Why is Life so Expensive?

When it rains, it pours, right?  That has been the nature of May for us this year.  Since it is a spring month, I suppose it is fitting.  But I would prefer actual rain rather than our personal checking account providing all the precipitation.

Along with the standards, we also have our boy going to an astronomy camp at the end of the month—why, oh, why, are trips EVER planned at the end of a month?  Our van broke down, which was bad enough, but ended up costing more than double the initially quoted price.  Our dogs are badly in need of a vet visit for check-ups, shots and heart meds, but we had to put it off until next month.  One dog seems to be limping and has a growth on her ear.

But just now my kids brought in that same dog who won’t stop sneezing.  It seems she sniffed something up that is irritating her nose.  The plopped her on my lap and Bailey just snuggled in and nothing seemed to be wrong.  And then!!  Bloody dog snot is amazingly grosser than it sounds.  What am I supposed to do?

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Last night I had a dream that we had a baby.  A month later, our little one had developed into about a one year old, walking, babbling, signing and even playing at potty training.  In my dream, no one seemed to notice the rapid growth except for me.  I started doing the math and realized he was just a month old.  I asked my husband if he thought there was anything unusual about a  walking one-month old and he said that all our children were fast to develop.  I think the incongruity of the whole thing is what finally woke me up.

While making breakfast with my girl, I shared my dream with her.  Her only comment?  “I hope I have girls.” 

So I told her how I had really hoped her older brother had been a girl.  Not so much because I wanted to play dress up—though that was certainly a factor—but because I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to raise a boy.  I only have sisters and my dad was out of the house by the time I was seven.  Boys were a little scary to me and I didn’t want to be responsible for screwing one up.

So, how did my girl respond?  “Will you learn how to raise a boy soon?”  Nice, huh?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Last Day of Instruction

So sad!  Yesterday was the last day of instruction for our Club PALS class on Awareness.  This has been a richly wonderful group and I am so sad for it to end.  The connections made were such a blessing to me.  There were five families participating, though we never got all five together after the first week.  That sounds like it could be a bad thing, but the rotation of missing people worked so that everyone saw everyone else with enough regularity to establish a good relationship.

The conversations with the kids during circle time blessed me personally as we discussed God’s laws v. man’s laws, showing love for one another in practical ways, respecting differences while standing strong on Truth, developing skills in discretion and integrity …and so much more!  I love hearing them process and build off of one another’s contributions.  I think I will be missing circle time the most. 

We also got some good singing time in, with a focus on rounds and harmony—to develop our ability to be aware.  It was fun watching the kids and even the parents become more confident when singing different parts.  Our corporate prayer time was another area of growth.  We began praying for one another, which drew some children who often opted out of praying aloud to speak up in the group on behalf of a friend.  This demonstration of a soft heart for one another was really neat.

Plus we got to do all the centers.  PE is always fun.  Science was cool as it explored senses in greater depth than the traditional cursory look.  Art also followed a path of teaching elements and techniques for effective self expression.  Language had some surprisingly popular activities, even among those children who are famously-non-writers. 

Next week is our closing party.  I am so looking forward to it, yet also so sad that it marks the end of this remarkable time with wonderful ladies and their children.

Monday, May 16, 2011


For school yesterday we read 2 Kings 17.  One particular verse really captured my attention.  2 Kings 17:15 says  

They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their ancestors and the statutes he had warned them to keep. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, “Do not do as they do.” (emphasis mine)

Wow!  We got to talking about the paintings on our walls and their worth.  Since we have works by not-so-well-known artists, most of our wall hangings are probably valued between $20 and $100, with the frame being more than half the expense.  But there are pieces of art done by artists like Michelangelo or Da Vinci which are priceless.

We are just the same: our value is in our Maker.  It is not what we do or say that makes us cherished.  We are worthy based solely on the fact the the King of Kings, the Creative Potter put His holy Hands to us.  He made us fearfully and wonderfully and that fact alone makes us priceless. 

What makes us different from other works of art is that we have free will.  As it is, the statue of David and Mona Lisa can’t decide for themselves to whom they will belong.  They can’t disobey…and the can’t obey, either.

But we can and do both.  In 2 Kings it says the people worshipped worthless idols and made themselves worthless in the process!  Each of us can hop ourselves off that potter’s wheel and claim another owner of our own choosing.  But doing so changes our own worth.  We better choose carefully!

What do you think of that?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

It is snowing up!

While preparing lunch today I was watching such a pretty sight outside the kitchen window.  The wind was blowing and tiny little snowflakes were fluttering every which way, including up! 

I know many are more than ready for warmer weather.  I have certainly enjoyed the spring, with rising temperatures and cool breezes.  But I can’t turn my nose up at this last little taste of winter!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ava!

Today is our little puppy’s first birthday.  My kids are excited to celebrate.  I am not sure what we will do just yet.  My darling husband will come home at 2 after working through the night, so I imagine sleep is on the agenda.

This little Beagle has been a blessing and a challenge to our family since we got her around November.  She is the best cuddler ever.  She gets right in close and just loves with her whole body.  She is our older dogs faithful companion.  I don’t know what either would do now without the other. 

But Ava has a dark side.  She is stubborn in a way our first stubborn Beagle can’t even compare.  She can’t really be called potty trained.  And she still chews our shoes.  A couple of times we were pretty sure that beloved Ava wasn’t going to survive in this home.  But just as we would lose hope, she would seem to get herself together and become a cherished little darling.

I had no idea going from a one-dog-family to a two-dog-family would be such a roller coaster for us, emotionally and…what is the right word…materially?

Friday, May 13, 2011

First ‘Looker’

Yesterday was our first day back to the routine of school after a two week break taken for vising family and cleaning and purging for the pending sale.  First days are always rough for us, and it is usually safe to assume we won’t get much accomplished.

We started late in the morning, managed to get in our prayer time and the phone rang.  A real estate agent was setting an appointment to bring in clients to view our house.  That was fast!  The appointment was two hours out—not enough time to school.  So we put it all away, managed the last minute cleaning and set our sights on an early lunch.  I had managed to pack three bins of things I knew we could live without for several months, so I needed to get those stowed in the garage.

Imagine my surprise when I opened to door to our youth pastor!  What a teeny, tiny place we live in.  I felt my cheek pressing up against the glass of the fish bowl as this sweet young couple repeated how ‘beautiful’ my home is.  I know my home can be warm, welcoming, lived-in, comfortable and fun.  But no one has EVER said my home was beautiful.  It was a little embarrassing.

Our youth pastor also happens to be the nephew of my dear friend, so I shot her a message when they left challenging her to guess the names of our first house hunters.  Crazy!

Thursday, May 12, 2011


So, I quit blogging.  Things got too hard, too personal.  Too private.  I couldn’t at the time really expose myself to some of the consequences of ‘putting it all out there,’ because I wasn’t strong enough to take the criticism.

But the name of this blog is Adventures at Home, and we are about to go on one momentous adventure.  So I am back.  I don’t want to forget the blessings I know are coming our way.  I want a record of this adventure.

At the beginning of this year, the furloughs and increased insurance payments combined with surgeries and injuries finally sealed our financial situation.  We could not make our mortgage payments any longer.  Yesterday our house went on the market for a short sale.  We are pretty upside down and are just praying that the government doesn’t decide to tax us for the ‘income’ we make in the sale—we are actually walking away with nothing.

Lots of people in this area are doing or have done the same thing.  But what I hear is that they live months in their homes without making any payments, save up a substantial stash and all is well.  I have to say that is not our experience.  If we had money to put into savings, we would be paying our mortgage.  We don’t, and we don’t.  Nothing is in savings.  I would love to save up enough for first and last months’ rent, plus moving expenses before the place sells.  I don’t know if that will happen.

My nine-year-old girl was born in a pool on our dining room floor.  It is safe to say she is attached to the place.  To our surprise, she initially was among the most excited about the prospect of moving.  My boy was the most reticent.  While he has lost his hesitancy, he hasn’t shown any eagerness yet.  My daughter, on the other hand, has pendulum swinged from her excitement to extreme sadness and nervousness over our future.

Today someone is coming for the first time to view the house.  She cried at the news.  She cries at just about anything these days.  The fact that she is on the brink of womanhood with hormones racing through her system doesn’t help matters.

See?  We are on an adventure!  Let’s see what God has in store!