Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Funny

In school today, daughter #3 (2nd grade) had a riddle as part of spelling. The riddle went something like this:

I clean your clothes.
I clean your body.
What am I?
(the answer is supposed to be "soap")

Son #1 (kindergarten) quickly answers: "I know...the answer is Mom!"

I couldn't argue with that!

On another note, daughters #1 and #2 are headed with me to Little Rock tomorrow! We are all so thrilled! On the other hand, Ben is not as thrilled to be here with the three youngest all by himself. I think he has proven many times over that he is perfectly capable...even more so than I am. I am remembering when daughter #2 and I went to Europe for three weeks last year and when I came back, it was evident that he didn't need me at all! He is remarkable and highly resourceful. I have complete faith in his abilities.

I can't wait to see many of you tomorrow! It is the highlight of our fall season.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Expectations, Rights, and Cinderella

This is the new question that Ben and I are asking each other lately..."were you expecting something?" or "did you have an expectation of something?" or even, "do you feel as though your rights were violated?"

Part of why we are asking these questions is a joke. I have been doing this Bible study and this was the topic of one week's work...yielding my rights, and not having expectations. The jist was that our anger and frustration over situations comes from feeling like I have rights and expectations of things happening a certain way.

Ben and I have discovered over the years that when God is trying to teach us something we really need to learn, it keeps coming up and then we discuss it ad nauseum, ad infinitum and then we incorporate it as jokes into our discussions.

The funny thing is that that is when we know that we are really embracing a point God wants to make with us.

So...Ben is driving down the road and begins to get angry that the car in front of us is going slower than the speed can actually see the smoke beginning to curl out from his ears, then his nostrils. The eyes are beginning to go red and it seems as though all the drops of blood in his whole body has rushed to his face. I don't know how he even has enough blood left in his hands to feel the steering wheel! Then, I pop up and say, with a smile on my face, and a voice like Cinderella's..."Is that person violating your rights? Did you expect him to behave differently?" Then, like magic, he is actually a white man again, back from his red man status! The fire has gone out of his belly because the smoke has disappeared from view, and oh my goodess, I think I see him really breathing again!

I could share a similar, but uglier, story from my life, but I think that sharing one of Ben's is more least for me! And I have always wanted to be Cinderella anyway...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What's Up With The Difference Between Boys and Girls?

So you know that we have a grand total of three boys and four girls in our house. This, in itself, is cause for much tribulation and gnashing of teeth! The world tells us that boys and girls are the same...our Christian friends tell us that boys and girls are very who is telling the truth?

After we had three daughters, we had a son and all of our Christian friends asked the very minute he was born if we saw a difference. Well, to be honest, no we didn't see a difference. They both were sweet, cried, dirtied lots of diapers, and believed that the world revolved around them! And they were both right...for a time the world did revolve around them.

Then our son hit about 13 months! The activity level was not just upped a notch, but exponentially...the food consumed was enormous...his ideas of "gentle" and "fun" were completely foreign to us...except Ben somehow understood. hmmm.....

We have a large four-poster bed that the kids have played on forever. The girls would wait for us to hold them up as they held the top rail and we stood there while they swung on the bar, pretending it was gymnastics class. Our boys climb up on their own, swing from the top bar with no "spotter" and then swing out and land on our loveseat at the end of our bed! It's wild to watch them do this!

Just tonight one of our girls was sitting on our couch when all of a sudden she woke the dead with her scream! She jumped up from where she was sitting landing in my lap half a room away and began crying! "Why?" you might ask? A bug had apparently come inside on her shirt and she had just realized it. Ben, being the man that he is, was really startled by her scream...didn't I say earlier that she woke the dead? He instantly got a bit angry since he was so startled. She cried..he fought the urge to what's with the difference between the boys and the girls?

I think all of the troubles in our house are because of the differences between the boys and the girls...the way we think...the things we think are funny, scary, weird...our reactions to things.

All I can figure out is God. We have decided that our Christian friends are correct and the world is dead wrong!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Homeschooling Adventure

For 14 years or so, we have been on this wild ride in our family called "homeschooling"! And boy has it been wild! When we first started, we told people, and ourselves that we were taking it a year at a time. And we meant it...sort of. I think it was more like, if God provided money for private Christian school, we might consider homeschooling the rest of the year, and then placing

our kids in Christian school after that. But as the years kept building up, and we were still homeschooling, and God hadn't provided money for private school, we stopped saying that we'd take it year by year. It just became who we are.

So the first three or four years of our adventure, we only had one child. Sadly, she became our "test child". We heard comments over the years about whether we were making the right decision. All the focus was on our first child and how she was doing. If she knew something that was beyond what "normal" kids her age knew, then it was great...if she didn't know something that others thought she should have known, we heard the "tsk, tsk, tsk" of naysayers.

I must say that the naysayers have been much more absent lately as our oldest, who was homeschooled all the way through, has begun college and is now in her second year! Others view her as a success. We view her as a success also, but not always for the same reasons as others do! She is a woman of God and is following what He tells her to do and how to live her life! We are very proud of her.

There are four others involved in our adventure these days, and we are having a ball! They sit at the kitchen table and laugh, argue, tease, play, and oh yeah, they learn to read, do math, read maps, and create all sorts of things! Yesterday we learned about the four layers of the rainforest, and then for lunch they were Brazilian rainforest Indians eating rice and meat with no utensils! It was great! They won't forget it.

I will never regret spending all the time I have with my kids! I know them well and love them individually and certainly know their quirks, strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. I have been the one to teach them to read! I have been the one to teach them their math facts! I have been the one to teach them how to write a story and poetry. I am the one who gets to teach my children our faith and who God is. Why on earth would I want to give that privilege to someone else who might like my child but doesn't love them like I do? It is the greatest honor I have had in my life.

I might hear from God one day that He wants me to put a child of mine, or even all my children in school...and I will obey...but until I hear from Him, I will keep on teaching my children and loving it.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Columbus Day

In my never-ending quest to live up to my mentor's goals for me, I decided we would really celebrate Columbus Day today in homeschool. Now, you'd think this wouldn't be such a huge task for me having been a for-pay honest-to-goodness teacher in some real schools, and now having homeschooled for at least a kazillion years (ok maybe just 14, but who's counting?)! The idea of celebrating a "day" is always more elaborate and wonderful than the reality.
This year I was determined to change that!

I thought of several things to do and even was prepared ahead of time with most everything I needed.

I had planned for all but my oldest to participate, since she was at school herself. Then my girls got a better offer: to go to lunch and a movie! (Come to find out the movie was sold out and they got to go shopping!) Who could say no to that. So it was just Two Boys and me.

Well, we had a big time! We started out by reading a book about Columbus.
Then we had lunch and ate all Italian food, since Columbus was born in Italy. Two Boys ate, and scarfed up, I might add, fried ravioli and gelato! They thought this was a real treat since we only have ice cream, or it's appropriate substitute on Saturday nights!

After lunch, Rawley went for a nap and Rainey and I drew a picture of Columbus' three ships and he memorized the very short poem about Columbus sailing the ocean blue. He drew the holes for the cannons, thinking that any great sailor would have really BIG cannons to fight off the pirates!

You can't see it, but Columbus is actually manning the wheel on the Santa Maria, the largest of the ships and the one he really was on! There is also a shark making his way toward all the fish under the water.

After the expert drawing, we went outside and taped it onto our garage door for all to see. He loved that I put it out there! I made him just a little bit happy! (referencing a post a couple of days ago)

Then we realized that Columbus needed binoculars to see the land after all those days of sailing, his crew getting really grumpy, and the food going rotten. So we made a set out of toilet paper rolls and Rainey spent the rest of the day peering through them!
Rainey had a ball and Rawley loved the part he was up for! It was a great day. It made me think of the bravery of Columbus and all the explorers to go against the common thought of the day to sail out in faith. Tonight we watched the movie Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium and in it Mr. Magorium made a comment I will always remember: You need to face tomorrow with determination, joy, and bravery. That is just what Christopher Columbus did! And I am going to try to do that tomorrow as well...determination to do what's right, have joy in the Lord, and display bravery to face whatever God allows in my life with dignity and integrity.

Get There Before They are All Gone!

I just wanted to let all of you with children know that Talbots Kids is going out of business. They are selling their clothes for an extremely ridiculous price! You could even stock up on bigger sizes and hardly notice it in your wallet. Go to and click on "outlet", then on "kids" and you'll see the great deals!

Thought you might want to know.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Two of my kids said things today that made me was more of a grimace, wince, but a deep down chuckle...the other was a broad smile that made me thrilled to be a mom!

The grimace-like smile first...picture this-after eating dinner outside, I am over at the swing set pushing two boys on the swings...Darby is inside putting the dishes in the dishwasher and out runs Kally yelling, "Darby is doing her chores and we are out playing on the playscape! I love this world!" Now the question is: where have I gone wrong that one of my kids gets really excited at the sight of one of her siblings working diligently, while she has nothing to do but swing?!

Now for the proud-moment smile...we were at co-op today and Rainey's class, made up of 4-5 year olds, was studying the fruits of the spirit. They made cookies and delivered them to various older classes to demonstrate kindness. Rainey delivered his cookies and then told his teacher, "That makes me a little bit happy because I like doing good things for other people." Now how awesome is that? Just hearing that made me a little bit happy too!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Creatively Inspired

We all felt creative today apparently...The day was, once again, beautiful, albeit a bit on the warm side. The kids were playing well with others, which doesn't always happen, and at least, in the morning, there was the hint of crisp fall quickly vanished into the dog days of summer, but it was there, I promise!

Several weeks ago, I bought many pumpkins for kitchen decorations. As the weeks have gone by, I have had to sniff out various heinous smells coming from some obscure corner...each time, the pumpkins have been the culprit. Great looking from my vantage point, but picking them up unearthed the rot that was happening right under our noses! So we have three left and the girls decided to give them a bit of class. Not that giving a pumpkin class would take much, but you see the results here. They do look great...don't they? Soon, they too will be part of the trash heap, but we are thrilled with them for today.

Our second creative endeavor...last week I was asked to provide a dessert for a charity golf tournament as part of a raffle give-away thingee...I am not thinking too clearly at this hour. But you get my point...So I decided to make a pumpkin out of bundt cakes. At this point, I could recite the lines from My Big Fat Greek Wedding about bundt cakes, but I won't.

I baked two bundt cakes from box cakes. Then I leveled off the bottoms to make them flat.

I "glued" the two halves together to make the pumpkin with icing.

Then Ben made orange-colored icing and we drizzled over the cake. The color is more orange than it seems in this picture, but trust me, it's really cute. I only have to put some greenery in the middle to complete the pumpkin theme. At this point, I could once again say some lines from the previously mentioned movie about "fixing the hole". I am going to pretend that it will go for lots of money in the raffle...don't burst my bubble and tell me when you see it in the trashcan! Let me have my great creative day!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Tale of Two Lives

The weather yesterday was amazing! The sun was shining and there was not one cloud anywhere in view. I like days like that! I know that God has placed me in the south for that very purpose. I couldn't live where weather like that was not the norm. At least at this point in my life, I couldn't. So it was a perfect day for our air conditioner to go kaput and make it so that we had to
open up the house! It was beautiful!

As the afternoon wore on, I noticed a pattern in my home that made me laugh. The kids were all in the backyard and

scattered throughout the living room just hanging out enjoying the great day. There were smiles and laughs, running races, and how-high-can-you-swing contests.

There was reading by older kids to the youngers and everyone savoring the moment.

Then I realized that one was missing...Ben! He was out in the front yard, having just mowed, weed-eated (is that a word?), and fertilized. He was sweating and thirsty and cleaning up the mess in the yard by washing it away. He didn't seem to have the same living-for-the-moment mentality as the rest of us.

I was glad to be on the back side of the house and not on the front side! :)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Great Fall Craft

You need a medium sized pumpkin or gourd and a tealight. This one is from Bath & Body Works pumpkin scent. (On sale right now for $4.50 for 12) The gourds came three in a bag at WalMart for $2.98 for all three. That makes each of these about $1.38! Not bad.

Trace around the tealight tilting the pen a little inside the circle the tealight makes. Trust me...I really made three, but one of them I held the pen straight up and made the circle and the tealight falls in right to the bottom beautifully! Take a knife and cut out around the line. It's easy to pry up the piece. Then clean up the inside.

Place the tealight in the hole!

Light 'em up!

In my never ending quest to find all things spiritual in my life...I cleaned up the insides of the pumpkins and placed it all on this paper towel. How disgusting! Slimy, wet, not so great smelling, seemingly rotten, not good for much. So, is my heart like that? The Bible says my heart is deceptively wicked and also that all that I think of as good works are like filthy rags. Gross! I do think that most of us are like this. Cute as can be on the outside, clean, pretty, etc...but really needing a good clean-out on the inside. Praise God that Jesus is in my life, continually cleaning me heart, working on me to be more like Him everyday.

Friday, October 3, 2008

God is Good...All the Time!

I have been involved in a Bible study called Lies Women Believe and we met last night. We get to meet every two weeks and though it seems like forever until we get to meet again, I love the amount of time so that I can actually get my lesson completed to my satisfaction and have time to meditate upon the lesson and what God is teaching me.

We met last night.

The subject was on the lie that God isn't always good. You know how the world thinks about it...and sadly many Christ followers...if God is so good, then why does ______happen? Fill in the blank with whatever disaster, hard time, catastrophe you want.

The truth is the God is good all the time! I do mean ALL THE TIME!!!

We have been the recipients of so many blessings in our lifetime, but our family has experienced an abnormally large amount of blessings within the last two months. Why? I don't know. But I do know that God is good all the time. So you say..."easy for you to say that when you have been getting so many blessings. What about me? Everything is going wrong in my life!"

I still say that God is good all the time. And so should you. Are you able to look around and find others worse off than you are? Do you live in America? Do you have freedoms that other countries don't have? Do you have enough food in your pantry to cover not only today's meals, but tomorrow's as well? When you flip a switch does a light come on?

If you feel like you are a modern day Job, try this trick. Take a poster board and write Blessings on the top of it. Every day write down EVERY blessing you can think of for that day. Every meal, every Sonic drink purchased, every bill that got paid, every laugh you heard your child get the point. You will so quickly fill up that board and you won't be able to not smile when you see how your Heavenly Father loves you and takes care of your every need. Pretty soon you, too, will be saying God is Good All the Time!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our New Pumper!

Here is Darby with her diabetes educator, Chandra! Darby is such a trooper and Chandra is amazing with the info she gives and the manner in which she is able to pass it along.

Here it is! A small sticky patch attached to a really small tube and then the other end attached to her pump. (look at next pic) she is totally attached! She is now what they call a "pumper". We are thrilled that God enabled her to have this amazing technology so quickly after her diagnosis. We go back in one month to get her sensor! Wait until you hear what that does.....!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

12 Weeks Til Christmas!

12 weeks until Christmas and so far I have stuck by my plan to be prepared! OK, so it's only been one week, but hey, it's a start!!!

Last week I made cookie dough and put them in the freezer...chocolate chip, sugar, white chocolate macadamia nut, and biscotti. I did not make all I wanted to make, so I am finishing up this week...more chocolate chip, ginger snap, and maybe one more. The real task for this week is to decide upon the gifts for all the extraordinary people in our lives...AWANA leaders, SS teachers, homeschool teachers, get the idea. So I have decided upon a couple of things, I think.

I like making the jar gifts where you have all the dry ingredients for something like brownies, soup, cookies, etc. I also want to make chocolate covered pretzel sticks. You know, the big, thick sticks. You cover most of the stick in chocolate and then roll them in nuts, sprinkles, etc.

I have purchased most of the things needed for these gifts! I really feel like I am going to be better prepared for Christmas than I ever have! Tell me what you are doing...what are your ideas? I could use all the help I can get.