Saturday, November 26, 2011


Block ChoresWho is a super big fan of chores?  I can do them and have fun doing them, but I am just as happy to skip them or let someone else have fun doing them.  My kids seem to feel the same way, magnified.  While I don’t leap for joy over dishes or laundry, I prefer them so much more over fighting with my kids to get them to do theirs!

We have had different systems over the years.  The first week or two often goes pretty well.  But it doesn’t take long for them to cut corners, do slip-shod jobs and to flat out skip the chores and mark them off as finished.  When we get to that point, I really struggle with keeping my own reaction under control.  We aren’t talking about socks under the bed, now.  I am dealing with dishonesty.  That is a big one for me.  There are a few things in our house that are simply not tolerated.  Fighting with sibs and lying are at the top of the list.  I just have no patience for it.

Too often my response is avoidance.  Not of the lying—rest assured that Preacher Gal is here!  They hear plenty about that.  But I do avoid the chore score keeping.  We move along with relative peace for a while and then I get fed up about something and start a new chore program—and the cycle begins again.

The latest program is less about chores and more about money management.  We are going through a financial overhaul of our own and hope to give our children a practical education in finances that will prepare them for real life.  Enter the chore program.  The kids have chores they must do as part of the family.  Once they are done, they can do extra jobs around the house to earn an income.  It sounds so cool and easy.  We have all these pretty charts, organized banks to keep track of savings and givings, goals for spending money.  So cool.  We read these books and listened to these audio programs.  So cool, right?

Wrong.  I paid the kids the first two weeks less than half of the minimum we had allotted for them to earn.  And I haven’t paid them a dime since.  That isn’t to say they haven’t lifted a finger around the house in the last month or more.  They have.  In fact, they have enjoyed tackling new tasks for money.  But the problem is that the chores aren’t getting done.  Cleaning Supplies

So now here I am micro-managing every step of these stupid chores to ensure they are getting done.  The time it take for me to inspect each task makes the day longer and more arduous.  We aren’t experiencing the joy and pride in a job well done.  We also are so sick of chores that no one is particularly interested in doing anything extra to earn money.  So, while the chores are being done now, life pretty much sucks.  The whole purpose is completely defeated. 

What do I do?  I haven’t any idea.

On a lighter note, I can say that I knew going into home-maker-hood that I would be responsible for laundry, dishes, meals, budgets, correspondence, the family schedule and the like.  However, there are some chores I wasn’t expecting.  Like what? Giving a hair cut to the vacuum under carriage comes to mind…

Friday, November 25, 2011


Our blanket is the same one that we got when we first got together over 15 years ago.  It is a comforter and the stitching is mostly gone, so the batting inside is all bunchy in random places.  Our pillows are feather pillows that are on the other side of surviving vindictive puppies who peed on them to teach us a lesson. 
Our mattress pad and fitted sheet were never meant to go on an extra deep mattress, so each night—EACH night—we wrestle both into place before going to bed.  Why, I don’t know, because they just spring off in the middle of the night to snap us in the face.  What’s the definition of crazy again?  They are both torn and ratty.
Speaking of, our towels are just embarrassing.  We have a few that are literally see-through!  The real kicker is when we brought our own pillows with us to Monterey on vacation.  I threw our ‘white’ pillow onto the hotel bed and was aghast at the shocking contrast between our ‘white’ and their white.  I mean, they wouldn’t even use ours in a bleach commercial because the audience wouldn’t buy that our pillowcase was EVER meant to be white. 
It’s all rather disgusting, and I probably shouldn’t be sharing it with the random world, but there it is.  Our stuff is all old and tired.  Money is pretty tight these days, but I am hoping that in spite of that we will work our way through our various linens to achieve a fresh start.  We need new pillows, bedding from the bottom up, and towels.  I made the first purchase this week and I can’t wait for our first night on truly clean pillows with a mattress pad that won’t cause random injuries.  Doesn’t that just sound dreamy?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

If I were to spend the entire twenty four hours of Thanksgiving Day to listing the blessings of my life, I wouldn’t get a quarter of the way through my list.  But that is no reason to not take some time to list a portion!  So here goes—in only a rough order of priority.

I am so thankful for my Lord and Savior!  Eternal life that began at the moment I accepted Him is everything.  I can’t imagine going through this world’s highs and lows without the Spirit to guide me, comfort me and celebrate with me.  Who better to direct me than the One Who knows all and infinitely loves me?  I am truly blessed beyond the curse.

I am thankful for my family.  The family into which I was born loved me and protected me.  My sisters are still my best friends.  They love me for who I am, even in my ugliness.  The family I have now is so tailored to me I can hardly believe it.  My husband loves me and cares for me.  We enjoy spending time together and hosting friends in our home.  Our goals and interests are perfectly matched—we have enough differences to keep things interesting and enough in common to pursue activities that please us both.  And my kids are a joy to my heart.  I learn so much from them and delight in their personalities.  I anticipate the future because of my family.

I am thankful for my friends.  Some have come and gone.  Some have brought enormous and crushing pain.  Most have made me laugh until my sides hurt.  Many have seen me through rough times.  The majority have taught me many lessons.  A few have been so noble and rare that I have been humbled to my knees just to know them.  Many have inspired me to strive harder in my own life to live with more meaning.  Others left me with the too-late discover that I was wrong to trust.  I have loved them all.

I am thankful for technology.  Without it, keeping in touch with family and friends would be so much more difficult.  I have a sister in Texas and another 3 hours away—too far for regular visits.  I have friends all across the nation.  But we are so close, thanks to phones, email, digital photos and internet.  Technology gives us YouTube, CDs documentaries and educational sites that I use in our schooling and discovery. 

I am thankful for our dogs.  They sure give us plenty of trouble.  But they are so very sweet and full of affection that we let them live day after day.

I am thankful for homeschooling.  My life is so much richer for it.  I have learned far more than my kids have, I know.  My relationship with my kids would be unrecognizable if we had chosen a different life style.  I have the gift of seeing my kids overcome obstacles and challenges; and that is priceless.

I am thankful for my possessions.  While I know they are ashes from an eternal perspective, for now they give me pleasure and comfort.  My grandma’s table reminds me of her priorities, her mannerisms and her love for me.  my Mickey Mouse blanket was handmade and a Christmas gift our second year in Korea.  I love having something so old from a magical time in my life.  Jim is such a cherished big teddy bear that no true family member would deny Jim’s place in the family.  I still pull him out when I need comforting.  My leather couches are easy to clean and comfy.  I remember sitting on them at the store pregnant with my girl, knowing I needed a couch that I could get out of when I was huge.  My books take me far beyond this ‘poor provincial town.’  I can dream, explore, rejoice and get scared all from that comfy couch thanks to my books.

I am thankful for my relatively sound mind and body that assist me in moving through this life. 

I have been sitting here for an hour writing this post.  That is crazy!  I don’t usually take so long.  I am so full of thankfulness, that trying to fit it into a readable post has been far more challenging than I realized.  What a good exercise for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Check it out!

Hey, I have some great friends who are going through the adoption process.  I have learned so much about the process.  I have also learned about grace, patience, perseverance and faith.  This couple is truly amazing to me.  She keeps a blog regarding their journey and I would like to share it with you.

piggy back two

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Star Trek

Are you a Treky?  A Trekker?  I am not sure that I can confirm or deny any of the fun titles.  I have been to a convention or two, and have seen probably every episode of most of the later franchises.  I can hardly stand the original, though, which makes me an unworthy geek in the minds of the die-hards. 

I haven’t watched any of the shows in a very long time, but right now I am watching Voyager with the kids.  I tried it a while ago and quit because of some of the sexual content.  Now we are trying again.  The kids are older and the sexual situations are conversation starters now.  They don’t come up too often, and the real treasure of the show is present in almost every episode.  What is that?  Oh, just more conversation starters, which are worth their weight in gold to families like us.  There is nothing more exciting than a good ‘what would you do?’

Even in situations that are more adult or significant to cultural references that don’t apply readily to our lives, I jump at the opportunity to let the kids receive bite-sized samples of those references with lots of time for questions and explorations. 

So, what would you do?

Monday, November 21, 2011

A favorite

Today I get to do one of my new favorite things.  I am so excited and I look forward to each first and third Monday nowadays.  What’s the fuss?  The Young Marrieds Group!  It is so fantastic, these meetings.  The book we are currently discussing is the Five Love Languages, from which we get a lot of enjoyment and learning.  The kids are welcome and get along nicely at all the different houses, which is a real blessing.  And the people!  They are a real treat to us.  So much so that we, as the ‘leaders,’ feel a little guilty because we are having more fun than we probably should with them! 

There are just two other couples in the group, and all three couples (including ourselves) are in very different places in life and in marriage.  All our personalities are different and we share just a few interests in common.  Nothing on paper says that this group should be anything but awkward or boring.  Thankfully, with the Holy Spirit in the mix, nothing could be further than the truth!  This group has the best dynamics and I delight in each wonderful person.  I really delight watching each person delight in all the others.  These meetings would be cheesy mutual admiration adventures, except that all the delighting is authentic and spontaneous.

I have come to really love and care for this group and I can’t wait to gather with them.  I am counting down! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Forrest Gump

We watched this movie the other night, inspired by the restaurant Bubba Gump we visited while on vacation. I saw it once when it came out in 1994, and so had my husband. After less than fifteen minutes, we sent the kids out of the room so we could do some parental screening.

Oh, my gosh, I am so glad we did that! Jenny’s story is tragic! While Forrest manages to be at a humorously improbable number of historic events throughout the 60s and 70s, Jenny lives life on the other side of the coin.  Forrest’s luck doesn’t end at witnessing major events.  He goes to Vietnam and saves a number of his fellows-in-arms by running into the fray and carrying them to safety.  He wins a medal for that, affording an opportunity to meet ‘another’ of the US Presidents.  Back home, Forrest’s boat is the only one to survive a hurricane, allowing them to monopolize the shrimping industry.  Then his friend invests his money into Apple, so he never has to worry about money again.

Then there is Jenny.  Her dad abuses her, and she seems to drift from one abusive man to another for most of her life.  She is addicted to drugs, poor and hopeless.  Her ‘happy’ ending is marrying Forrest after getting what I presume is AIDS and dying in his mother’s bed.  Her life breaks my heart!  I just bawled.  Brian kept telling me it isn’t real. Men!


Her life seems an analogy for many lives.  Forrest plays the role of Savior.  He loves her and would do anything for her.  And she leaves him.  Over and over and over again, she just walks away.  Why do we do that?  How broken must we be before we finally surrender to His perfect love, protection, guidance and provision?  So tragic!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

What is your color?

For school today we were discussing methods of teaching and churching. Specifically we were exploring the many benefits of mixing ages, abilities and interests for mutual learning and edification. The analogy that came to mind as I explained it was that we each have a color. As we interact with one another, we share our color.

At some point, we are asked to paint a picture. If we are limited to all pinks (if our interactions happened to be limited to ten year old little girls, for example), creating a vibrant landscape would be a challenge. But if we were able to meet with people of many ages and with a variety of experiences, we not only would collect a beautiful range of colors in a wide variety of tints and hues, but we would be able to create brand new colors by mixing what we had gained from others.

I am so glad that we have been able to expose our children to many colors and I pray that they will encounter so very many more!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Sew-master

100APPLEIMG_0492Oh, the projects we have done!  My girl has just been floating on air since our friend gave her a sewing machine.  The thing has been smokin’ making everything under the sun.  The princess has created her own concoctions for her stuffed animals and has practiced decorative stitching on scarves and home-made hats.  She has, with the blessed aid of that cherished friend, also made several skirts.  For her Frontier Girls Troop membership, she made her vest and helped a friend learn how to sew her own, as well.

Her latest big project was a neat one.  It took longer than others, required several steps and lots of repetition, drilling the basic skills into her.  And she donated her work to the church for the craft fair fund-raiser.  I like the idea of her creating something to give away without thanks and being involved in the community.  Anybody wanna buy a potholder?


Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Jehosephat was a great king of Judah.  He loved the lord. At one point, this enormous army comes to attack. We know that we are supposed to pray first in all things, but there are just some things that trigger a reaction. Any sort of attack is one.  We convince ourselves that sometimes we can't help but ‘act first, think later.’ Jehosephat resisted any temptation to handle the crisis himself. He prayed.

What a great example! But at the end of his life he got into bed, so to speak, with the wicked king of Israel. They worked on a joint venture of trading ships. Was there anything wrong with the project itself? I personally doubt it. God certainly had no problem blessing his obedient people. Trading is a common way to bring blessings to a country.  No, I believe God didn’t care much about the project itself, but cared much more about the person with whom the king was partnering.


As I read the passage with my kids, we paused here to discuss why God sank the ships and destroyed the business. I asked them how they might feel if their own child asked to marry a drug addict. Both emphatically said, 'No!' Why? They were able to understand the difference in the relationships of partner from friend or ministry.

When we form a partnership in business or marriage, a joining, vulnerability and surrender or submission are required.  You hand an element of your life to your partner and spouse. Imagine pouring cups of water into a larger bowl.  How would you pull out only the water that was in your cup?  When you are merely friends with someone, you have more control.  You may choose to share a little water, splash around a bit and move on.  With some you share more, and with others less.  But very little is required, you are still holding your cup with your water.  When in ministry, you willingly pour from your cup, but you pour directly into the other person’s cup.  You take nothing. 


We continued to read and encountered Jehosephat’s son. This is where the tragedy is made clear. This new king had been raised by a wonderfully godly man. But when he is established on the throne, he kills all of his brothers. They weren't a threat. They'd received generous inheritances. He just killed them. He was wicked. From where would such influence come?

Then he married a godless Israelite princess, from the family of his dad’s partner. In total, he reigned eight years, received a prophesy that he would die a painful death just six years into his reign and when it came to pass, the whole country was glad to see him go. He didn't even get buried in his 'rightful' place.

Let's go back to the scenario of a son or daughter marrying a drug addict. Initially my kids saw problems with this union because the addict could harm their children in pursuit of drugs. They wanted something better for their kids. But we got to see a new layer of tragedy that springs from unequal partnering. When a child is raised by one ‘good’ parent and one ‘bad,’ they are under at least equal influences. And a child may not as easily discern truth, especially when wicked behavior is often more flashy, dramatic and sensational. When so often the ‘good’ parent relents for the sake of peace, all the excitement increases when it looks like that sort if behavior is met with success!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What a year!

The year my husband and I met is what I call our Year of Grace—capital letters.  We were foolish and did wild things.  We sure had fun doing such unadvisable things as sharing a hotel room with a stranger-guy our girlfriend met online.  

Both my husband and I were leaving home at a much older-than-normal age and needed to slough off some of the pain and unhealthiness that came from those homes.  As we alternated between meticulous research and haphazard choices, we reviewed our identities, priorities, beliefs and world views to see what to keep and what to leave on the side of the road.

But God was there as we discovered each other and rediscovered ourselves that year. He protected us from our brazen fearlessness and cavalier activities.  He provided for us home, friends and trusted (and patient) family members.  He guided us to a stable Rock on which we could build the new rest-of-our-lives.

That crazy-awful-wonderful year is the only year to which I can apply any sort of theme: our Year of Grace.  Until this year.  Maybe as time passes, the title will change, but this year is decidedly themed.  At first I thought it was the Year of Waiting.  As we come near the end (and most of the waiting is over), I see it as a Year of Loss. 

The list of what we have lost is too long and depressing for me to remember in one sitting.  I have said that I have lost everything.  But even as I say it, I am chagrined.  It is a lie.  I haven’t lost everything.  I’m no Job.

While I lost my church, many friends, my home, my business and ministry (as I thought it to be), I maintained—through no credit of my own—my family, true friends and opportunities for new ministries, new experiences, new lessons and new friends.  I am humbled and awed by the people who have stood by me through the various losses.  I am thankful beyond telling that my husband has been such a steadfast rock in a quaking world.  My children have been growing into such fine budding adults that my heart swells to think of them.  And friends.  I have too many to count!

I don’t know what the next six or so final weeks of 2011 may bring, but I realize as I process the losses—and great they have been—that when I lost ‘everything,’ all that was left was all I ever had in the first place!  The dross has been burned off.  The gold remains and I am rich!  My God, my life, my family, my friends, Truth and Peace that reach into eternity.  I am rich.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I live with a bunch of clowns.  All of them love to be comedians, and I sometimes I just work to survive the hilarity, especially when we venture into the land of pratfalls and slapstick.  But more often than I like to admit, they really crack me up.
The other day my husband and I were watching TV together.  Our son came running into the kitchen to grab a towel, mumbling that ‘that was gross.’  Alarm bells went off when he began rubbing the carpet at the head of the hallway. 
My husband asked if he had thrown up.  Our son said that he hadn’t, but he was coughing with Gatorade in his mouth and… 
My husband said, ‘so you spit up?’ 
My son answered, ‘well, not technically.  Really I didn’t spit it.  I dropped it.’
Brian clarified, ‘…from your mouth!?”
Max affirmed, ‘Yes.  I dropped it from my mouth.’

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Commandments

100APPLEIMG_0709We have a pretty neat Bible study book for school this year—we do every year, thanks to Sonlight.  Our assignment this time was to answer this questions:  What did God do to show the law was important. We were to read the chapter in Exodus (15 or 16, I can’t remember) and make a list.  First, God said if the people obey, they would be his holy people forever.  That is a pretty good motivator to get to know the law, huh?  Then we hear about the preparation to receive the law.  The people were to clean themselves for two days, abstain from sex and stay away from the mountain.  This is where I got distracted with a new thought of wonder. 

God’s power was descending to earth. This is a concept I haven't taken time to consider. The closest thing to which I can compare it is to have the sun coming to rest on the mountain that starts three blocks from my house. Even where it is, looking at the sun from this great distance can blind someone! Not because the sun is cruel or prideful, but because it is just that awesomely powerful. Now the One who made that powerful star (of many) was going to alight on a mountain! The people needed to keep some distance because our bodies simply aren't designed to withstand that much power.

When He came down, the mountain shook.  Of course!  This was a phenomenal thing.  God, Creator, Greatest of All was containing Himself to a bump on a marble that He kept on course through the vastness of space.  Imagine!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Monterey Trip

100APPLEIMG_0703100APPLEIMG_0706We had a WONDERFUL time on our mini family vacation.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers free admittance to homeschool families four or five days of the year and we jumped at the opportunity.  It took seven hours to get there, but we got an early start that afforded a trip to Dennis the Menace Park, pizza dinner and a couple of hours to swim before bed.  Not bad for our first day. 




100APPLEIMG_0599100APPLEIMG_0634The park was an unexpected treat for me.  My dad used to take me there when I was a kid and I just loved the place.  I didn’t know that it was in Monterey, just a mile from our hotel, no less.  I love sharing my childhood memories with my now-family, so I was thrilled.



100APPLEIMG_0644The next day we spent at the Aquarium.  While waiting for it to open, we learned a little about the history of that area.  The kids got a chance to pack sardines as quickly as possible to get a taste of life on Cannery Row.  100APPLEIMG_0650

Then the main aquarium door opened and we were on our way!  Octopus, rays and seahorses, oh my!!  We watched feedings, touched starfish and made friends with penguins.  It was a lot of fun.









100APPLEIMG_0707100APPLEIMG_0667We lunched at Bubba Gumps, a seafood place inspired and devoted to Forrest Gump.  Our waiter was a terrific sport, friendly and helpful.  When the day out ended, we all hit the pool.  To contrast Bubba Gumps’ waiter, we next went to a popular diner for dinner, where it took an hour to get our food and the waitress stood over Brian demanding he write the tip on the receipt before she processed his payment.  Nice.

Our Bay excursion ended with a drive to my sister’s in the foothills, by way of the Jelly Belly Factory.  Minus the ticket for not having enough cash at the toll booth, that was also a fun trip.

We spent one night at my sister’s before heading home to our beloved pets and home sweet home!

Friday, November 11, 2011

May the Lord Bless Us and Keep Us

I am thankful the Lord gave vision for freedom to those who formed this country.  I am thankful to those who have fought to preserve that vision and way of life.  I believe with all my heart that freedom is the foundation of life as God gave it to us.  Why else would He have had that tree in the Garden?  We must be free to choose, or life loses all meaning.

Many lives have been lost to preserve this God-given gift.  Many families have been bereft.  Men, women and children sacrifice to be sure that we can choose when to pray (or not), where to pray, how to pray and to whom to pray.  We have freedom to educate and raise our children as we see fit, and this particular freedom is so very dear to my heart.  Each day we are free to choose our lifestyles and what (or Whom) they will glorify.  These are blessings beyond any measure or treasure!

Thank you, Veterans, and all who have loved them!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lost dog

I went to bed last night composing in my head a play by play of one of the longest afternoons we’ve had in a long time.  When I woke up, I sent this message to a friend and realized that I could convey my thoughts slightly more succinctly. 

We lost our dog Ava for about 4.5 hours last night. I know it is no big deal and there are bigger, 'real-er' trials going on in the world, but it was scary and brought lots of tears to our family.  November and December 2010 083

It was good to talk with the kids about the loss and the fear in terms of our faith. For example, while looking for Ava, I could hear Madi softly saying, 'Come home, Ava. Please come home." I told her to quit praying to Ava. She can't hear or understand. God can do both AND can actually answer the prayer.

China Treasure Chest 2011 007Later Max and I were talking and he asked why this had to happen. I reminded him that God works all things for the good of those who love Him. That means that this didn't HAVE to happen, but that God WOULD bring good from it no matter how it turns out. We can trust that. So we began to list some of the good that we could already see--friends volunteering comfort and help, understanding how much one person can hurt family, etc.

We got our first snow of the season while Ava was missing.  Something we usually celebrate was received with foreboding.  Praise the Lord that Ava came to our doorstep, shivering and filthy, before bedtime.  We bathed her and bundled her and cried in thankfulness. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Happy Birthday!

We recently celebrated our son’s spiritual birthday.  If you know me, you know how much I love birthdays and celebrations, so we honor the days our children chose to be baptized.  They both gave their hearts to Christ before they were baptized, but the day they were baptized was the day they made one of their first decisions to obey for the sake of love of their Lord and Savior. (This is just a day for us to enjoy, not take on doctrinal debates. Smile)

Here is Max’s story. 

Max chose to be baptized after a church meeting in 2007 after thinking on it for about a week and talking with me. When Brian approached him after work, saying, 'I heard some good news. You are thinking about baptism.' That was all Brian said, and Max walked right into the bathroom and pulled back the curtain.  Brian quickly got out of uniform and the family squeezed into our bathroom to pray, sing and baptize Max!  Happy Birthday, Son!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The advice I give

So we went on this terrific vacation to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  The difficulty came when we had to leave our dogs.  The friends who took them are terrific.  She loves dogs and our beloved little girls know them.  There was no reason to fuss, but I sure did.  I even cried the night before we left and couldn’t be part of the ‘dropping-off procedure.’

The kids were braver than I, though, so they did help deliver them at our friends’ house.  My girl came back in tears.  We hugged and prayed while the men loaded the van with our bags.  Our first stop on the road was the gas station to fill up and stock up on snacks.  My daughter still hadn’t perked up, so this is what I told her.

Remember when King David had the affair with Bathsheba and a consequence of David killing her husband was that the baby they had conceived was going to die.  King David mourned and grieved.  He fasted and lay on the floor inconsolable.  When the child was lost, David saw the servants whispering about whether and how to give the news to their King.  He figured out his baby was gone and got up to wash and eat. 

I told my daughter that we worried and wondered if it was ok for us to go on this vacation for months.  But the doors opened and stayed open for us to do this.  Now is the time for the fussing to be over.  The dogs will be ok.  We need to wash and eat a meal.

I told my sister that this was the advice I’d given Madi to help her mentally move to vacation mode and she laughed.  I guess it is a little unusual to call upon a tragic story of loss and punishment to get into a celebratory mood.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Who should homeschool?

I once believed that everyone could and should homeschool.  God has a way of using life to humble all those ‘shoulds’ and ‘oughts’ right out of my spirit, so I got rid of that notion pretty quickly.  But I still hung on to the the idea that just about anyone is capable of homeschooling with success. 

There are obvious reasons why homeschooling isn’t right for everyone, and I don’t think academics even make the list.  For example, if both parents don’t agree, then homeschooling isn't going to bless anyone.  I have also met some ladies who struggle with unreasonable expectations of themselves or their children.  This makes for an unpleasant living environment and often counteracts any possible benefits to homeschooling.  And of course, if the primary teacher would prefer to be doing anything else over schooling, homeschooling isn’t going to be much fun.  I hesitate to even mention that parents who do not like their children are probably better off with an alternative homeschooling.  Sad as that is, I know this situation is out there.

Homeschooling is a commitment, most people know.  But it is also a passion.  And passion makes commitment so much easier.  Lacking that passion, the commitment is a heavy burden.

I recently heard from an essay the idea that there are two types of people: some love to learn, see it as a lifelong pursuit and have an innate and insatiable curiosity.  These people make great homeschoolers.

But if someone lacks the excitement for learning, there really is no point to homeschooling.  If school is just about getting it done, completing the minimum and checking the boxes, then it probably is best to hand that duty (because that is all it is) to another person.  Why introduce an element of friction to relationships between parents and their children?  Send the kids to school, and then soak up good family fun when the school day is over!

Sunday, November 6, 2011


In both school and my private devotions, we are studying 1 Chronicles.  At the end of the book, David asks the Lord if he could build a permanent temple for Him.  He is so eager to do this, though.  It is almost funny.

David is told that he cannot build the temple, so in his excitement he can bring himself to obey only the letter of the law.  He draws up the building plans and gathers the supplies from all over the land.  He donates his own wealth and encourages others to do the same for the cause.  From fundraising to deciding the weights of the forks, David is the picture of micromanaging. 

David so anticipates the building of the temple that he appears to even abdicate the thrown!  Most kings die before their sons are crowned.  But David crowns his son and commissions him in front of all Israel to get to work.  That is dedication lacking all pride.  The Lord’s temple was more important than David’s kingship—something that hardly came easily to him.

In today’s society, these are considered negative traits and behaviors: controlling and micromanaging.  But I see in the response of Solomon a genuine and humble respect and shared love for the Lord.  Solomon carries out David’s plans and gives his father due credit for his efforts with the temple.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


A while back I heard DJs on the radio talking about the joys of childhood. They were asking listeners to share what would be their iconic items to embody their positive memories from the past.  I didn’t need any more prompting to take a trip down memory lane.

As I listened to the radio, the dining room came flooding back to me.  My mom, two sisters and I lived for five and a half years with my maternal grandma.  Her role in the house was more like mom, while my mom worked hard and served in the more traditional father role.  My grandma created a safe haven for me in the wake of my parents’ divorce.

I don’t even have to close my eyes to see the wall paper in the dining area with the pitcher and platters of food repeated in such a pleasing pattern.  I can smell the battered fried fish that was a rare and favorite dinner of mine.  I can even hear her voice telling me to be patient while she prepared the meal. 

I had many chapters to my childhood and I am thankful for them all.  But the time with my grandma was pivotal and wonderful. 

I don’t think that there is a week that goes by without my thinking about my grandma.  She shaped my life.  She loved me in a way that I never doubted.  In fact, she may be the only adult in whose love I was and am always confidant.  Even now, when I go through trials and triumphs, I know she would say her piece and love me just the same.

We have her table in our kitchen today.  It is Grandma’s Table.  Our meals, our crafts and games all take place on that table.  And silly as it may be, I feel her love pouring out on me because of it.  I think about her hollering about the paint I can’t get off of it or grumbling because I don’t use the wood polish enough.  I imagine her being proud of who my kids are as they write, play and create at that table.  I feel her praise when I make a meal that my family devours.

What would my childhood be without my grandma Mac?  I don’t even want to imagine that! 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Interesting revelation (to me, anyway)

My daughter joined a local Frontier Girls troop.  She is having a blast earning badges and learning through hands-on activities.  She is cooking, baking, picking up litter, taking more responsibility with her pets and sewing.  Sewing.

I am proud of her and am so happy that she is feeling accomplished.  She is learning about food safety and expanding her culinary repertoire.  And sewing.  She has learned a lot about the needs and tendencies of both rabbits and dogs.  And sewing.  Dancing, geography and music badges are also coming her way.  And sewing.

You know what I have learned while my budding flower has been blossoming?  I hate sewing.  That is not overstating it, either.  I am not saying that I just prefer not to sew.  I am not saying that it is too hard for me.  I am not saying that it just isn’t my thing, or that I prefer other activities.  Nope.  I hate sewing.

100APPLEIMG_0492Don’t worry; I feel the proper amount of shame for choosing to eschew the poster ‘child’ of homemaking.  Sewing is great.  It is all about creativity, good stewardship, talent and skill.  You can make meaningful gifts for loved ones, contribute beautiful items to charities and provide the quality basics for your own family.  How can I pass on that?

Well, I can.  And I do.  I am grateful my girl likes it.  I am doubly grateful for our dear friend who teachers her—doubly is understating it, actually.  But I, I…I do not like sewing.  Not one little teeny bit!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Way to Save!

We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a free homeschool day!  We so often back out of these outings because of money and our dogs.  This time we just gritted our teeth to resist our natural tendencies.  We want our kids to have these experiences, so we scraped up the money in the midst of the chaos and took them to see the fishes.  And we praise the Lord for new friends who were willing to take our doggies for half a week.

More on that in another post.  What I want to share here is a miracle of money.  We planned this trip in tandem with my sister and her family.  She made the reservations for the hotel.  I got a call less than a week before we left.  She told me that she noticed the prices for the room went down, so she canceled our bookings and made new ones.

Then she called me an hour later to say that the priced dropped again!  Even better, the super cool room that they were getting was $10 less than the standard room I was getting, so she upgraded us to be her next door neighbor! 

So, before we even left our house, we saved $40!  Isn’t that cool?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Hey, didja notice?

My hit count passed 3000.  My side has been visited over three thousand times.  Not too bad for a girl in a teeny town!  That is pretty thrilling to me.  I know it doesn’t matter too much and I know others are far more popular, but it is a cool moment for me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Our prayer

Our big prayer right now is in regard to Brian’s position at work. It seems the state is working out a major reshuffling of personnel on a statewide basis to bring balance to the staffing of each institution. Some are grossly understaffed, which means ridiculous (read: unsafe) amounts of overtime. Others are apparently overstaffed. Having only served at the former, I can’t even imagine what that is like.

So, in December the state is supposed to open all the vacant positions throughout the state for bidding based on seniority. That means it is possible that we could be leaving the area at the same time that we need to move out of this house!!

Before this possibility presented itself, it looked like we couldn’t even dream of leaving this area until 2014. We love so many people here and we are blessed with fantastic activities. But there are issues from which we can’t seem to move beyond because we live in such a small community—a small community with a prison mentality, no less. When lives are small, insults seem big. When there are no prospects beyond ‘these four walls,’ it suddenly becomes totally rational to stab a dude for eyeing your pudding.

And I guess I look at a lot of pudding. I am tired of glancing over my shoulder for the various ‘lifers’ who seem to have nothing better to do than involve themselves in the pettiness of small town prison life.  I want to be free!

Relying on the state to carry this out is nothing short of foolishness.  But I can rely on my God.  Will you pray with us?  We want a fresh start, more opportunities for our growing children and to be closer to our siblings.  This job transfer is the ticket.  Please pray for His will and His timing and for our faith and hope to grow.  Thanks!