Monday, October 31, 2011

Our House

We are short selling our home.  What an adventure this has been!  I am so thankful for the help we have received from our real estate agent.  She has a great personality that helps put us at ease through this whole ordeal, but she is also knowledgeable and experienced, so we feel pretty safe in her hands.

We got an offer on the house in August and were told that in 17 days the banks would respond.  Well…  That isn’t quite how it happened.  We waited and waited for a response from the bank regarding the offer, while fielding two to three letters per day, I kid you not, about foreclosures.  We even got a second offer for higher than the first and in cash, but still no acceptance from the bank.

Finally—October 20th, if anyone is counting—we got word that the bank counteroffered and the buyer accepted the counter on the same day—that is how to do it, folks!  We signed papers for that and now we are waiting for … I can’t even remember what the next step is.  The bank has to make another reply, I think.  When they do, I believe we have 30 days to move out.  It is our goal to be completely out of the house no later than January 18, though I don’t know how we can actually move that along.

It is nice to have some sort of a timeline now.  I have learned a lot about waiting this year, but hope that I can graduate and move to some other theme for the year 2012.  I feel plenty refined in this particular aspect.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


I can’t understand it!  We don’t visit my sister with any sort of regularity.  But EVERY time we do, one of my dogs goes into heat.  What is with that??  How do they know?  This time we aren’t even bringing them along, but one decided to go into heat anyways.  Ugh!  Once the money is settled with the move and the house and debt, we will finally be able to afford to fix these little darlings.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Road Trip

We just got back from a little road trip.  We ran to Reno for the day to have some family fun.  I grabbed some new hand soap from Bath and Body—my favorite little store with wonderfully nice people.  We always hit the game store, though most of the time I manage to stall my husband from buying anything by showing the online price of whatever has caught his eye.

My son has been walking on the threads of his sandals for longer than I care to admit, so we also hopped over to the shoe store to grab him some real shoes.  We bought him some inserts in the hopes of prolonging the life of the poor things.  He is famously rough on shoes, so I eagerly wait to see if these will be effective or not.

We rarely go to Reno without visiting Barnes & Noble, which was doubly necessary this time because my daughter had a gift certificate to spend.  What would she buy at a book store other than three stuffed animals?  Makes perfect sense to her.

We grabbed some food and litter for the rabbit before heading home.

Nothing exciting.  Just a day out of town, away from screens (our best and worst friends) and enjoying one another.  *sigh*  Contentment!

Friday, October 28, 2011

My boy

My son is amazing!  He is smart as a whip and is so incredibly creative.  I fear letting him down because he has exceeded me in the field of computers.  I work to keep up and provide for him the necessary challenges to keep him moving forward in his education.  It is no easy task.
We have downloaded a few programs for him to create worlds and games.  The problem is that in less than a week he is already running into the limitations of the program.  We are now trying to go a more creative route and inviting Max to play games like Civilization and Empire Earth to play with the world elements.
But I think we are just going to have to bite the bullet and start teaching him how to use code.  I am not sure how to actually go about that, but we are going to have to figure it out somehow.  He deserves the best!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Chatting with my girl

I had some time to just hang out with me girl the other day and we watched an episode of Monk.  In the episode a man was waxing on about the girls from Paraguay being the most beautiful in all the world.  My daughter looked up at me and said, “We are very pretty and we aren’t from Paraguay!”

Just before that I was doing her hair and I told her to be sure she marries someone who is as good as daddy.  She said, ‘Oh, I will!’  Then she asked what about marrying someone better.  I replied that I didn’t know if that was possible.  She quickly agreed and said that daddy always protects me and she wants her husband to do that, too.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The You-Tube Haze

Are you familiar with this phenomenon? I go to for one particular thing: a science project or to hunt down a song.  And then…a whole hour is gone!  Does this happen to you?  I just click and click and click on the related videos down the right side of the screen and lose time.

Most recently it happened with this link:


Funny, and a good reminder to ‘sing’ what we mean.

I showed it to my husband, then I showed another and I could see him fading into the vortex.  Clicking, clicking, clicking…But I was too jealous for our time together to let him go too far, so I whined until he handed the smart phone over and cuddled me instead!!  I’m such a baby! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


My husband is my hero.  You know when people first fall in love and they are intolerably cutesy?  At that stage of our relationship we gave one another nicknames.  I am Sweet Pea (nice to meet you).  And my husband is my Hero.  We still use these names routinely and exclusively for one another.  It helps us remember the fiery obsessive love we had at the beginning of our time together, and allows us to carry some of that into our forever.

They say words are powerful.  In this case, I must agree and go further to say that my husband’s moniker was prophetic.  He is such a man!  A real man who seeks God with abandon, loves me with passion and raises his children with tenderness and wisdom.  He has a work ethic that centers around respect and integrity.  He is generous to friends.  He is a man and I love him for it. 

This week has presented two major incidences that have served as worthy reminders of just how crazy awesome my husband is.  The first was more private and painful and I can’t really talk much about it here.  But the point is that my husband stepped between me and someone who threatened me.  He put an end to it, even with me shivering behind him whispering doubts at him.  He protected me, fully, even from myself. 

The second was when a neighbor who has never spoken to us before hollered across the street something, as my grandma used to say, sour-castic about our dogs.  My husband didn’t understand him at first and needed the man to repeat himself.  Then he was taken aback so much that he just sort of laughed and came inside.  We were unloading groceries at the time, so when he finished my husband slipped on his shoes to walk over and have a conversation with the man. 

Can I just say, ‘hamina hamina!”?  How sexy is that?  A man so calm and unafraid, respectful and loving in his actions, handling problems as they arise… So healthy!  I just love it!  Anyway, he came back and all is well.  Brian apologized for our barky dogs and the neighbor apologized for handling the problem the way he did.  How lovely! It is amazing the peace with which we can live when at least one person can behave like a grown up.  And often that one person is my man-hero!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Long Week

So last week Brian was in training.  They only train Monday through Friday.  But Brian’s regular days off are Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  So, he started work on Thursday and kept going all the way to the following Friday for a total of nine days.  We do it once a year, along with all the other CO families who have weekdays off.  The week is a marathon.  But the cool thing is when the week is over.
When training ends of Friday, we get a normal weekend off, then Brian works on Monday (a one-day workweek) and then we get another weekend!  Celebrate!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What a scam!

Today my daughter told me her breasts were feeling a little tender.  First, I have to say how wonderful it is to have a girl so honest and unselfconscious.  Somehow the lesson that there is no shame and nothing to be embarrassed about when it comes to bodies actually sank it.

I responded with a sympathetic nod and before I could say anything, she asked if it something I went through when I was little.  Isn’t she precious?  I laughed and said, ‘Honey, it is every month!’  Her expression was priceless.

Why do we tell them becoming a woman is so awesome??

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Here’s to you, my readers

I have a hundred diaries.  The best might be half full.  Most have just a page or two written in them.  It’s embarrassing, really.  They serve as a testimony to my faithlessness. 

It also testifies to my deep desire to eventually become faithful to the practice of writing my thoughts, feelings, prayers and happenings.  There are untold benefits to journaling.  I often think of the blessings I have received when I have been able to read my own words months and years after writing them.  To glimpse myself in this way, I glimpse the future, as well.  I see what is constant—God’s love, my personality traits and passions.  I also see what is finite—and it gives me what I need to face current frustrations with perspective. 

I knew I wanted to journal, I just had to find the trick to sticking with it for a meaningful length of time.  Then my sister started this blog for me.  She loved hearing about my kids.  In her ‘older-and-wiser’ wisdom, she knew they were precious, but to-be-forgotten moments.  Every time I told her anything about the kids, her response was, “blog it!”

I resisted, like I always do.  But when I finally gave blogging a real try, I found I loved it.  I like the ease of typing over handwriting my thoughts.  I like making it pretty to fit the seasons and my moods.  And I like looking at the stats.

The stats are really what changed me into a faithful writer.  I loved challenging myself to post each day.  To be able to review my stats and see how long since I missed a day was the perfect motivator for me to move beyond my usual excuses.  And for a while I was doing great!  Months and months of faithfully posting is my gift to myself.

But things got rough earlier this year.  Days turned to weeks, and then to months and I didn’t post.  My heartache was too full and I didn’t want to remember.  Also, I really didn’t want to be negative.  So I just quit.

But I lost more than just the chronicles of our days.  I lost a valuable outlet for my thoughts and feelings.  I got pulled under swirling water and became hopelessly disoriented.  I realize now that when everything is tossing about, throwing the anchor overboard is a stupid idea.  But how was I to know that blogging was my anchor?

I have figured it out now.  I know that the benefits for me go beyond mere posterity or discipline.  Blogging allows me to work out my impressions, to sort things out and to better understand life.  I am not perfect.  That shows in all my posts.  I don’t intend to convey an image of perfection or of having all the answers.  I am just me, wretched and flawed.

I thank you readers who come here to meet me and accept me as I am.  When you see I am wrong, I thank you for loving me and praying for me.  Thanks for not trying to change me.  Thanks for being patient with me (and my God). Thanks for letting God be the one to grow me, as only He can, into the perfection He intended and in His perfect timing.  I will keep trying.  I will keep blogging.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I was never poo?

Did you know that?  I am not sure that I did—or do!  I am so aware of my wretchedness.  I know that there is so much to be burned off of me.  I see the blessings of friends and families around me and I am so happy for them.  But there is this unspoken feeling in me that I shouldn’t hope for blessings like ‘that,’ because I know God has to refine me.  Basically, I don’t deserve anything.

My sister was alternating between yelling at me and encouraging me as she saw these feelings manifested.  She reminded me to look at myself in the way that I look at my own daughter.  She also reminded me that Jesus died for me before I was made clean.  As she put it, I was never a worthless pile of poo.  Even steeped in my sin, broken and unlovely, He loved me.  I was worth His life.  And now, I am made clean.  I can be worth something.

When will this ever sink in with finality?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My plan

We started school a few weeks ago and we are loving the new year.  I do want to finish the 36 week course in 36 weeks, though.  That doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for vacation, sick days and family visits.  So, I have a plan.

I have looked ahead at the daily schedule and made minor adjustments to the assignments to turn each five day week into a four day week.  One day we might double the Bible and poetry assignment.  Another day we will double the read-aloud.  The next we will double up on History.  No single day will be overwhelming, but just 20-30 minutes longer than usual—which will be the new usual.

With this plan, we should gain a day for each week of school we do, totaling a good 7 weeks in the end.  This should be enough wiggle room to accommodate most of our yearly distractions from the routine of school.

We will see how a possible move plays out when the time comes, but I do think this little plan should be a help in getting me near my 36-week school year goal.  I make my plans, but He directs my steps.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New Book!

I just recently finished a Ginger Garrett book called Wolves Among Us.  I really enjoy her books because I learn so much about Truth and history.  This book was set in sixteenth century Germany during the witch trials that took the lives of more than 23,000 women—something I hadn’t known.

In the Afterwords—an element I enjoy almost as much as the story—the author shared about her visit to a modern day witches’ meeting.  I was convicted as I read about women rejected by the church, seeking love and understanding, falling in with the only people who accepted them as they are.  I realized that witches are another group of people the church sanctions members to righteously reject.  I wonder how many witches came from abuse. 

Another topic Ginger Garrett explores is that of gender roles in the church.  Reading this section left me feeling under-informed to such a degree that I knew I wasn’t even fully comprehending her message.

This book and the Afterwords were very thought provoking for me.  Truth seeking.  I found it unflinching and unrelenting.  I like that.  I don’t want to be distracted by the trappings of this world, treasures of which will be ashes in the eyes of eternity. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Veddy Interesting!

We are studying Egypt in school right now and I am probably getting more out of it than my kids are.  I feel like I am learning things for the first time, even though we have done Egypt with Sonlight Core 1 twice already. 

I am also reading Exodus as part of my morning devotion.  This morning I caught something and understood it in a way that I never have before.  God says that Moses will be like God to Aaron and Pharaoh and Aaron will be like a prophet.  I have read this a hundred times before.  A human god is an impossibility in my mind, so I have just brushed passed it as a literary device—a simple simile.

But something that struck me this time came to me with the help of lessons we did in school last year.  We learned how the ten plagues all had a specific purpose related to revered Egyptian gods.  The One God was besting them in a very clear way.

So, this morning I remembered that there is another god the Egyptians worship: the Pharaoh himself.  So Moses the man as a god was something the people would truly understand and accept.  Now I see that it was more than just literary flair, but God v god manifested in the fleshly, material world!

God is amazing!

Monday, October 17, 2011

My Ten Year Old

My baby turned ten!  I happened to have labored with her three nights in a row until she was finally born a Friday morning, so several days leading up to her birthday—not that she wasn’t counting down long before—we reminisced as a family about what we were doing ten years ago now…and now…and now!

For her party, we kept it wonderfully simple.  We had two of the sweetest girls over.  We all played a game together (Cranium Whonu) and ate pizza with Daddy as entertainment!  Who can beat that?  The girls and our boy laughed hysterically as my hero offered an impromptu juggling and magic trick show. The kids joined in by doing their own trick, playing assistant to the juggler and trying their own juggling skills.  So fun!

Our non-traditional element came with the the birthday cake—or didn’t!  Instead of cake, my daughter originally wanted crème brulee for dessert, but then changed her mind to the Korean cinnamon roll/doughnut hoedeuk and ice cream.  Her guests were game to try something new and it was a hit!

I love my daughter so very much and I walked through the week with great awareness of how blessed I am to have been given such a treasure that is my girl.  She is funny and smart, compassionate and talented.  To be an intimate witness to this beautiful young woman is more gift than I ever deserve.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Worthy Pursuits

I wrote yesterday about education.  It is a highly valued commodity in our country.  If there is any doubt, all one needs to do is ask an adult without a college degree.  Like money, those who have it say it is just paper.  Those who do not have a greater appreciation for its importance in getting around in modern society. 

I am torn about it, though.  I can’t in good conscience deny the benefits to a good education, but I struggle when education becomes all-consuming.  I suppose that is true with anything; anything that is good can destroy when it becomes an idol.

I own and run a small homeschool support and enrichment organization that is currently gasping its last breaths.  I have talked with members who are attending fewer and fewer activities to discover why interest in the organization is waning. 

What I understand is that KidsROCK (the name of my homeschooling group) is too much about fun and get-togethers.  Parents say that as children grow, time is more precious and it can’t be wasted on activities that aren’t ‘transcript-approved.’  Even among those families who don’t heavily document or aren’t quite ready to worry about official transcripts seem to have adopted the same mentality.  If it doesn’t fulfill a checkbox requirement, the time can’t be afforded.

In the classes, tours and events we offer, more than academics are covered.  I look at the activities planned and see the less-easily-quantified-but-at-least-as-important elements of development being offered, like character, leadership, discernment and the importance of relationships.  But these things aren’t even on the Charter schools’ radars.  As a result, they don’t matter.

The loss grieves my heart.

Looking past that, I have just this year been able to witness two ladies my age sacrifice nearly all they have in order to achieve the highest academic achievement: a PhD.  One friend let her marriage go.  She pursued this goal of success to the exclusion of all else.  Did I mention my heart grieving?

Another lady has just begun her own journey on the same path.  She is finishing up her undergraduate requirements and will then transfer to gain all she needs to get her own PhD.  She is a homeschooling mother and, from my perspective, has already lost most of her time for family and friends to research and writing papers. 

I have to ask why.  I just don’t understand.  I realize that education is not wrong.  My own husband wants to go back to school and I want that for him with all my heart.  But not enough to allow him to leave me!  Not enough for him to become a stranger to his children!  Is it really worth it?  What if this woman gets her PhD?  Then what?  She goes to work so that she can earn a PhD-level salary, which she’ll need to pay off the student loans?  Where do her kids come into play, I wonder?  Her marriage?  Her forgotten friends?  And all in the name of education and success.

I don’t think anyone intends to sacrifice relationships when they first decide to pursue a time consuming goal.  In fact, I am sure most people weigh the options and decide as a team that relationships will surely survive some lean years.  But we are so often proverbial frogs in a pot, unaware of the rising temperature until it is too late.

Sometimes this world confuses me beyond measure…And my heart grieves.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Testing, testing…

I am a homeschooler.  One of the first reasons we decided to homeschool (among many) was to offer a superior education to our children.  Not only was I confident I could do this, I knew that by the very act of homeschooling I could do it with less effort than the effort expended by both teachers and students in an institution setting.

I still believe this, as a cold and emotionless fact.  Being able to tailor to personality, strengths, weaknesses, learning styles, circadian rhythms and individual interests makes learning so much easier, so it happens with less effort.  Being able to school to a limited number to children whom you’ve known intimately from birth makes the number of hours needed to deliver lessons fewer—often significantly so.  Homeschooling simply offers elements in education that public schools cannot by their very nature. 

I am not condemning public schools.  Nor am I dooming the students in public schools.  I know full well that there are schools, teachers and students who will exceed homeschooled students in every possible category—it just takes more effort!

I say all this to convey that quality education is important to me.  I want my children to be advanced.  I want them to be high achievers.  I want to be sure that they are properly equipped to move from my home and into whatever field the Lord leads.  This is important.  A haunting thought that plagues me (and other homeschoolers, I know) is that I will fail my kids in this area.  ‘What if I miss something?’

Now I have this other side of me.  This is the side that whispers, ‘What is advanced?’ ‘What is a superior?’  When I allow this side more voice I have to admit that I use common, but subjective, terms when describing my academic goals for my kids.  Who decides how to measure any of this?  If you hop over to our virtual neighbors, the public school system, and the only thing clear is that no one seems to really know.  We know tests don’t tell the whole story, we know teaching to the tests is counter-productive, we know training kids to perform rather than learn squashes natural curiosity and creativity… We also know that curiosity and creativity aren’t easily measured and so become less relevant when trying to evaluate what makes a quality education or how well a child is advancing academically.  Numbers are so much easier to use when quantifying values.  But reducing learning to numbers is reducing learning to nothing. 

I am reminded of Wesley’s line in The Princess Bride, “Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.”