Monday, September 17, 2012

How is that homeschooling thing going?

Everywhere I go this is the question I am asked lately. It's probably the most logical question one could ask at a time when I am starting my first year ever of homeschooling. This is a question I should expect to be asked and have an answer prepared. And yet, I've got nothing!

How is it going? I haven't a clue!

Let's preface this conversation with a little background information about myself. I like to be knowledgeable about what I am doing. Reading and research dominates my free time on a wide range of subjects from nutrition/health, religion, history, finances, and other more bizarre topics. Homeschooling has been no different and the stack of well-worn homeschooling how-to's, curricula, and philosophy books proves I've done my homework.

Unfortunately no amount of book knowledge replaces the value of experience and experience is what I lack. Although numerous friends homeschool I am not in there house day after day to see what it really looks like. And my personal school experiences have been outside of the home. Therefor I haven't a clue as to "how we are doing." I have no ruler on which to measure our experience by.

This is where the veterans come in and say, "It looks different at every house. You just have to find out what works for you and your family." Drats! This is similar to the advice I give my clients who initially seek nutrition counseling and ask, "Can't you just give me the written diet you give everyone else that will cure all my problems and make me healthy?" No such diet exists! Everyone's body has different needs, various past medical histories, and personal preferences. Numerous times I have told overwhelmed newbies that they will have to learn to listen to their bodies and together we will figure out the details of the diet. "You just have to find out what works for you and your family," I tell them. And now I see their frustration.

But being frustrated over a truth makes it no less true. It's easy for me as the expert to see the wisdom in my advice but the novice wants the knowledge handed over in a neat little package. The package that they are seeking is experience and it comes in neither form of neat or tidy. Nor can it come from a book.

I am the novice in this story. I've read the books, formed a plan but I still lack the experience. And in my frustration I question if I am spending too much time with my student or not enough. Are we spending too much time on curricula and not enough on Real Books? Or are we wasting our days away reading too many Real books and neglecting the curriculum? Should I be able to maintain my household chores easily? Is my two-year-old getting enough attention while I am busy with my student? What if we are done with school early in the day? Did I not plan enough work? Does this mean we are slackers? What if we are not done with school until after 3? Shouldn't homeschoolers be done with school early in the day? Am I overworking her? We are having fun but are we having too much fun and not doing enough work? Or are we not having enough fun?

Who in the world knows! But I suppose we will figure out what works for us over time. At least that's what they tell me. For now, I know who in the world knows. God knows. So although my fellow homeschoolers will not relinquish all their secrets and answer my mounting questions I know One who will show us where we need to be. My questions will go to Him. His grace is sufficient for me an my little homeschooler.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The truth is...

I heard a discussion at church the other day that there was difficulty in finding people to work our AWANA program. "People don't want to volunteer their time because they think the kids aren't really learning anything. They may memorize the verses but they don't know what they mean. And they probably don't even remember them after they walk out of our church doors. The kids only remember the verses long enough to get credit for them," it has been said. Someone even mentioned the good old days of GA's and RA's (Girls in Action and Royal Ambassadors).

Brainstorming in my head turned into a stroll down memory lane to my own GA years. I didn't get all of my patches by 6th grade because I failed to memorize all those verses. My memory cannot recall all the verses I did memorize with the exception of one or two. A memory that is clear as day in my head is of me looking at the "Be-attitudes" that I was suppose to memorize and thinking, "Oh, crap." However, I don't actually remember if I got over that, "oh crap" moment and memorized them.

Was the program a failure?

Past the memories of the legalistic parts of the program my memories get a bit meatier. Camps at Mount Lebanon where older teenagers and even college students took time out of their oh-so-cool schedule to mentor us come to mind. And how about, "Love in Any Language,"? That was the theme song ONE year (not every year) of camp and to this day if one of my fellow HRBC childhood friends begin to sing the song we all chime in. I think I even remember some of the hand motions. (We actually did this at Rachel's baby shower where all of her post-childhood friends stared oddly at us.)

But deeper than "Love In Any Language," I remember missions (I just got goose bumps as I typed the word! That's an important memory right there.). Missionaries who shared their amazing stories of salvation and God's provision, their books I read over and over again, and famous missionaries we studied about but never met who had a depth of passion I could not fathom. The impact was HUGE! GA's gave me a heart for missions that has ached inside me for decades. I've begged God to call me to far off lands to do "mission work" but in recent years I am realizing that the mission field is all around me. That realization too is fed by my roots in GA's.

Bringing it back to AWANAs I can tell you that I have sat amazed and watched as High School girls have told me stories of using scripture memorized years ago in AWANAs at our local schools. Debates happen with atheists, agnostics, and kids who just don't know what they believe. And time and time again our girls have been bold enough in apologetics to back their beliefs in scripture. Sometimes it's a verse they have memorized and other times they pull their bible out of their back pack and search a bit for it. But they know it is in there.

At the age of eight we probably don't have the full understanding of bible verses but it plants a seed. And as kids experience grace, trust, mercy, bad decisions, and good ones they will begin to understand the depth of those words they memorized. This part can't be taught.

I'm not writing here to campaign for one children's program over another. I'm only trying to remind myself of the truth that our "work for the Lord is not in vain" 1 Corinthians 15:58. Many times I have wondered if I am ever making a difference in the ministries I participate in. There are days when God feeds me with people telling me I have made an eternal difference in their life but that doesn't happen every day. There are seasons when I put forth so much effort with NO FEEDBACK. Has this ministry had an impact on anyone? Is it worth it?

The truth is...we won't know this side of heaven. One can never know what is going on in someone elses heart. So we press on and stay the course (and follow all those other wise "Paul sayings) because we can rest in the truth that our work is not in vain.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Book List for 2012

This is more for my own documentation.

So far this year I have read:

July 22nd:

I finished the BIBLE! Yea! Every time I was in between a bible study for the past few years I caught up on my reading-through-the-bible project and a few weeks ago I finished. It brought to light things in a whole new way and raised questions as well. Both are good things. I even found a few nooks and crannies in there that I had not read before which I didn't think would happen since I have been in church all my life.

Kisses from Katie which I already posted here. Here are the highlights of what I took away: I need to trust God more, say yes more, and treat my town like a mission field. Seriously, what would I be doing differently right now if I were a missionary in Africa? Many of those same problems are just a neighborhood away. My buddy Katy and I are praying and brainstorming ideas of what we can do to be Katie-like which is actually Christ-like.
July 8th:
I know I haven't posted in a while but last week was our first full week at home since Memorial Day. For 5 weeks straight we were only home a handful of days. That my friends (all 5 of you out there reading this ;) is craziness. I read a few non-fiction books that did not meet our family's needs therefore I won't be discussing them here. They weren't bad books. They just didn't apply to our family at this stage of the game therefore I'm not in a place to talk about them.

Illusion by Frank Peretti  I like christian fiction but sometimes I feel like it's the same tale over and over again and only the names and places are changed. It all boils down to the lost being saved. That's not a bad plot but I need a bit more variety. Peretti is a christian author who writes suspense. So I can have the adventure that I love minus excessive cussing with the bonus of a relatable character. For example if Peretti were writing about an alien attack (there is sci-fi in this book but not aliens), the main character might think, "I am running for my life from the aliens. Should I lie to get away? God I don't want to lie but how do I get away?" Minus the aliens, I have conversations with God like that every day and if I were being chased by aliens, those same thoughts would run through my head! I can relate! This was my first book of Peretti's to read and hopefully I will be enjoying more of his works this summer. For some reason this is my favorite time of year to read fiction and let my brain rest!

Story of the World, Volume II by Susan Wise Bauer This may be a history textbook for a second grader but don't underestimate it's worth. I read this while we were relaxing on the beach for a week (Savannah was had already been listening to next years textbook on CD so I had to catch up with her!) and could not put it down! Periodically while reading it I would catch myself saying out loud, "oh! I never knew that!" or "Oh! So that's why..." or "Wow! Now everything I heard in school makes sense!" First of all you must realize that the book contains history of the Middle Ages in story format making it a very palatable tale for readers young and old. There is a concentration on relationships and dynamics instead of dates and facts. And part of history is literature, food, culture, and religion not just wars. Although difference in these things can lead to war! And understanding where people where coming from helps one also understand the war.
The book begins with the fall of the Roman Empire the dives into the spread of Christianity, birth of the Muslim faith and it's spread, and the start of Hindu. Getting into the truly dark ages you learn about the crusades and the birth of the nations that we know today such as France, England, Spain, China, India, Japan, and numerous others. It so fascinating that I ordered the adult version (and much larger) by the same author, The History of the Medieval World and plan to read it soon!

May 17:
The Judgement by Beverly Lewis Sometimes I have to take a break from educational material to prevent my head from exploding. Fiction is my method of mentally checking out for a while. The last time I indulged in christian Amish fiction was 2 1/2 years ago when I was pregnant with Arch. I read the first book in this series (The Rose Series) and then forgot about it. Luckily by the time I remembered it not only had the 2nd book been published but also the third. All of Lewis' books are light weight easy reads. Also this book if the first of hers that has not made me want to do nothing but bake bread, quilt with friends, and have babies. And that's a good thing. The plot goes beyond baking, babies, and quilting.

The Imagineering Field Guide to EPCOT As a rule of thumb, I am not into theme parks. But the level of detail and story built into everything single thing from rides to trash cans at the Disney Parks fascinates me. This book is a behind the scene look at EPCOT through the eyes of those who designed it, the imagineers. My attention was captivated but frankly speaking, I am a nerd. Tip: this would be good educational reading for kids who have a trip to WDW in the near future. There is much to be learned in the fields of design, engineering, architecture, horticulture, customer service, and more.

In Their Own Wat by Thomas Armstrong, PhD I am curious if any of you teachers out there have read this and what your thoughts are. I found the book interesting although it concentrates most on children who have been diagnosed with ADHD or other learning disorders. I did pick up a few things from the "multiple intelligences". But some of his tips for classrooms seem down right impossible. I'd like to know someone else's thoughts on the book.

April 21:
Wicked by Gregory Maguire Oh, what can I say about Wicked? Well, it was an awesome musical that I saw on Broadway. Wait, that has nothing to do with the book! OK, suffice to say that most folks in my circle of friends would not enjoy this book. I am not a book critic nor do I want to or have the authority to slam an author. In fact I purposely do not report any nutrition books I read that are terrible (I recently read one with no bibliography!!! Do you understand what I am saying? A book proclaiming "truth" in a science field with absolutely no bibliography! I was shocked) just to avoid publicly degrading someone. And I am not saying anything bad about this author but the unusual sexual escapades and views on religion (society needs it even though it is false) do not fit the tastes of most of my friends. I only report on it now because the musical is so popular that someone like me might pick up the book thinking it would be something they might enjoy.

The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman This was funny and insightful. Of course it was entertaining. It was written by a baby of his family! Now I know why Savannah wants to do 4th grade math in first grade and why Archer thinks its funny to say "yellow" when I ask him what color the red apple is (meanwhile I am thinking about preschool tutoring!. Just kidding, kind of.) It even helped me understand myself.

What Every Sunday School Teacher Should Know by Elmer Towns This was given to me on teacher appreciation Sunday. It's an easy read with lots of helpful hints and reminders. I love my girls and I pray I am making a difference. I wish this guy would write a larger book. It wouldn't hurt for me to read a 900 page manual on teaching high school girls Sunday school!

The Well Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never had by Susan Wise Bauer.

Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman. This book is all the rage in the world of Christianity so I felt a little guilty when I found the book annoying. The first half of the book struck me as another one of those scare-you-into-thinking-you-are-not-really-saved speeches (everyone else loves it so I'm sure it's just me). But the last half of the book is very convicting about how we live out our christian life. Periodically God pushes me into an area where I am uncomfortable. But I have noticed that lately I have become very comfortable. I'm still in all those areas that were once uncomfortable but they no longer are stretching and growing my faith. This book gave me the little shove I needed to branch out yet again. Overall it's a very good read!


The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon
This is the 5th book in her Outlander series. I almost quit this series because the foul language from one of the main characters is so distracting. But I must say it lessens with each novel in the series. Her writing is brilliant. That said, her books are not an easy read which causes you to go slow and linger over words and imagery.
The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
Historical fiction
Cleopatra, Ceasar, and Mark Antony are all stories we have heard. But considering the Roman Empire eventually won, the stories are often told from a Roman point of view until now. The craziest parts of Cleopatra's life are actually well documented as true. She was a bigger than lifer kind of person who has forever changed the Shakespearean image of the old man Ceasar into on of a hottie. Yeah, that's right. I call Ceasar a hottie (what I like to call old man hottie. Think Sean Connery and Harrison Ford).
The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise BauerA great read whether your children are going to a public school, home school, or private school. Invaluable information lies within it's pages.
Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo
This is about a 4 year-old boy who almost dies. Over the next year he says a few odd things to his parents and eventually they realize he has been to heaven. The boy's description of what he experienced forever changed my view of heaven and our Savior. A caption for the small little book would not do it justice and derives it's own post. We also read, Heaven is for Real for Kids.
Thou Shall Prosper
A Jewish Rabi shares the reasons the Jewish community tends to prosper financially (hint: it has a lot to do with how they view life)
Quitter by Jon Acuff
Funny! And informative.
Seeds by Priscilla Shirer
Great bible study

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper. I was on a heaven kick after Heaven is for Real! Not a bad kick to be on :)
National Geographic Traveler: New York: My first travel book to read by them. Great information but not as all-inclusive with information as Frommer's guides are. If this were my first time to travel to NYC I would probably still pick up Frommers.
NYC Free and Cheap: This one is great. Of, course! It's by Frommer's.
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis on cd in the car with the kids.
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis on cd in the car with the kids.
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis on cd in the car with the kids.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Kisses From Katie

Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

Imagine you have just graduated high school and instead of heading off to college in the fall you fly halfway around the world to Uganda. You think it's only one year of mission work then your back in the old US OF A to get a degree, marry your high school sweet heart, and finish your fairy tale with a happy ending.

But instead you stay in Uganda, adopt 14 children by the age of 22 as single mom and start a huge ministry while living amongst extreme poverty, disease, heartache and filth.

Let's see now. I am trying to think back to my own college years and how I used that time. Not well my friends. Not well.

As I read Katie Davis' story in book, Kisses From Katie I began to notice at every crossroads in her life I would have chosen opposite of her.

College or Africa? Well, you can do more good in the long run if you have an education.

Get married or Africa? Well, if I go back to America and get married I could probably still run my ministry and raise more money and awareness from there than in Africa. And two are better than one.

Adopt children in Africa or just run my ministry? If I adopt children here in Africa I can never bring them to the USA therefore I am committing to living here forever. Is that fair to me or these children? No. Especially since I'm not even married. I should probably just run my ministry.

Should I still allow sick people into my home with AIDS, scabies, worms, lice, skin diseases and other serious illnesses now that I have children? No. God gave me these children and I have to protect them first and foremost. That work will have to someone else without young children at home.

Should I still cook for the 200 children in my ministry who come over on Saturdays for praise and worship now that I have 14 children? No. That's too much. I need to cutback and put my family first. (I cannot imagine having 200 children in my home on a weekly basis!)

So now you have seen my answers to questions Katie has had to answer, And basically, I suck.

The truth is she has gotten an education by staying in Uganda that no university could provide. And although she may not be married, she is loved by thousands and even better, has the deep love of her 14 children. And do you know that her house is a refuge for the sick in which she nurses them back to health. She turns no one away and each time God protects her children from disease. The food doesn't run out, every answer is yes, and God continues to bless.

She has done so much at a young age. Was I not called to do great things or have I just answer incorrectly to God's calling over and over again?

Her faith amazes me. She was more spiritually mature at 18 than I am today. She calls me out on my many flaws of mothering without even trying to. The wisdom in her voice is that of a woman far beyond here years and more to the tune of an elderly woman who has already seen all of life.

"My knees are dusty orange, stained by the soil into which they press for hours as I beg God for mercy and strength to continue. My tears flow in puddles that do not soak into the red, parched earth of Uganda. The puddles and the color of my knees remind me that I was not to leave this life unstained or unscarred. Even Jesus kept his scars after the resurrection. My stains are beautiful to Him and as I become dirtier and more beat up, I am hoping to become perfect, transformed into the image of the one who made me. And I am thankful." -Katie Davis

When I grow up I want to be like Katie Davis. I am praying I grow up today.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Big Apple Anniversary/Part 2/Food Tour

The first night we arrived in New York we got off the plane starving. Our plans were to try the much raved about, Eataly. This is an ultra sleek and trendy market and home of numerous restaurants (coffee, pizza, gelato, paninis, pasta, wine and cheese, these are all individual places to eat not just what they offer! Choices abound.). It's huge, crowded, and chaotic. We walked in hungry and overwhelmed during the 7:30 dinner rush. Once we got our barrings we put our name on the list (every place had a wait) for the restaurant on the roof. Excellent Italian food and a view of NYC were an appropriate way to start off our anniversary trip. We will certainly be going back to Eataly on our next visit. But this time we will have a plan as to avoid the deer in the headlights experience of this trip.
The next morning we headed out fairly early to the Lower East Side where the Tenement Museum was calling our name. But as we strolled through Little Italy on our way, we could not pass up the chance to grab a bite at Ferrara, a 100 year old Italian cafe. Mark and I each had an Italian pastry and split a savory panini with coffee. I personally don't do well with sweets for breakfast but when in Rome (and when they are this good) why not! Just as a side note, wherever I go I am always aware of how people generally eat in the area. A few locals in the cafe caught my attention by their sweet coffee drinks with whip cream and massive amounts of pastries. I would pass out of a sugar coma if I ate all that with no protein, aspecially at breakfast. I'm curious if this is a daily routine or if they do this every once in a while. You can take the dietitian on vacation but you can take the dietitian part out of vacation. Sorry.
After a late breakfast and a busy day of museums we were not hungry for lunch until about 2:30 or 3. We had made our way to SoHo in search of Housing Works Bookstore when we stumbled upon Back Forty about a block from the bookstore. This is a locavore/farm to table restaurant, not something I expected to find in the middle of an enormous city (there definition of local I'm sure is more than a few miles radius ;). We were quickly enticed to try the appetizer of green chili pork faee nuggets which were bits of pork jowl fried with a green chili sauce served with a pickled red onion. Have you ever had a combination of food that was so well thought out that it brought together flavors in ways you could not have imagined? Mark and I could have ordered platters and platters of these. Instead we moved on to the main course where each of us had a grass-fed burger. And I must say it could have been the best burger of my life.
Day 2 led us WAY uptown to The Cloisters. But before we got to 191st street we stopped in on the Upper West Side and ate breakfast at Vive la crepe! By the 3rd bite Mark wanted to open up a Vive la crepe in our own town! He had fallen deeply in love. Mark had some kind of omelet in his crepe and I had gruyere and ham. Did I mention that these crepes are folded into a cone so you can carry it away and eat on the go? This is a version of fast food I can handle. For dessert Mark and I split a dark chocolate crepe that oozed deep, rich, melted yumminess.
After visiting the Cloisters we made our way back down to Uptown and sought out a place for lunch. Once we noticed we were starving, we simply looked around for a place to eat. One does not need to search far in NYC. There sat Cafe Fiorello with outdoor seating available on a perfect sunny spring day. We split a margarita pizza and each had salads. The food and service were great but the experience was more than that. The temperature was perfect with sunshine but still comfortable in jeans and a 3/4 sleeved shirt. Patrons around us seemed likewise to be having a wonderful day and we all exchanged chatter. Two ladies a table over announced to the rest of us that they had not seen each other in over 20 years and had just run into each other by chance. Another charming couple beside us were from Mexico and in NYC wrapping up a 3 week honeymoon which they spent mostly in Europe. The whole afternoon was nothing less than delightful.
I must note that people everywhere were like what I just described in the previous paragraph. Tourist and locals alike were always very friendly. Mark and I experienced the same thing both trips to NYC. Many times a New Yorker would joke with us Texans about how rude they were. And I would think to myself, "Rude? Here you are talking to a stranger." Don't tell the New Yorkers but their bark is bigger than their bite.  They are a friendly bunch whether they admit it or not.
Saturday we tackled the monstrous Metropolitan Museum of Art. And once again we suddenly noticed we were starving. I knew if we left the museum for lunch I would never get Mark back in. So we dined inside at one their many restaurants. The food was good but not necessarily memorable. But the setting was gorgeous as I ate facing and enormous wall of windows 3 stores high overlooking Central Park.
For our last night in NYC Mark and I chose to eat at our favorite restaurant, Les Halles and celebrate our 10th anniversary. Our waiter greeted us and then noted that he was completely doped up on allergy medicine. I was a bit worried about his server capabilities at this point. But he came though with flying colors and the meal was a hit. Mark secretly asked the waiter if we could move to an outside table for dessert seeing how it was a beautiful night. He obliged gladly assuring us it would not mess up his tip for us to change tables. There we met yet another friendly couple at the table next to us.
Some moments in like are so picturesque you feel like you are in a movie. Most of our trip felt this way. It was great to be together, just the two of us like it was in the beginning 10 years ago.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Big Apple Anniversary/Part 1/The Museum Tour

Mark and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary with a kid less trip to New York City. And what better way to celebrate never ending love than with an near-endless parade of museums! Hey, don't knock it. It's my love language.

Day 1 began with The Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. This building was condemned in 1935 but never torn down. And there it sat for decades as a time capsule. This is the BEST museum in NYC if you want a real taste of the city. You literally get to step into the lives of immigrants and see how they lived and follow real life stories. The two families we followed lead right up to real people living in New york today. As we walked the stairs we touched the banister that about 7,000 immigrants used between the 1800's and 1935. But the side effect of such amazing stories of triumph is that you will leave there feeling like your own generation is a bunch of whiny, spoiled wimps! Hard times are not when you are unable to buy the newest iPhone!
Later that day we ended up at Francis Tavern in the Financial District. You may ask how a colonial building from the 1700's survived amongst the skyscrapers shinning of modern prosperity in the financial district? Well, George Washington took his men here for a celebratory meal at the end of the Revolutionary War. In a city that has been remade and torn down for bigger and better time and time again, only I would search out for the oldest and smallest! They are still serving food and there is a museum inside.
Day 2 sent us WAY up to 191st street! Tyron Park is beautiful in the springtime. And nestled in the back sits a hidden Manhattan gem, The Cloisters.
This museum incorporated recovered architectual pieces from the middle ages into it's building. Although they are all well labeled, the conglomerate is really seamless and you feel transported to Europe all for a $2.10, 20 minute subway ride.
Religious art reigned here with several pieces of architechture from cathedrals (1500's-1600's). Even the windows were stained glass from ruins.
And then there were the infamous medival unicorn tapestries. If your kids read the Magic Treehouse books. This is THE ONE!
Day 3 we hit the Metropolotan Museum of Art which is bigger than my neighborhood. There is so much more museum to the left of this picture that I could not fit in the screen. I suppose this is about half the museum. And no, we did not see it all. That might have prevented an 11th anniversary.
We hit the Greek and Roman art since we've had a lot of that time peroid around our house this year. Here is old Cesear himself.
And we couldn't pass up Ancient Egypt. Here is Queeh Hatsheput (she is the only woman who got to be Pharoah!). She is a favorite of ours.

Next up: Part 2/Food Tour

P.S. My spell check seems to be stuck or not working at this time. I'm sure there are a few things wrong in this post but I am kind of over it at this point so you will just have to live with it! :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cliff Jumping Is a Viable Hobby

Sometimes you just need to jump off a cliff. How bad could it be? Some even say it's a thrill of a lifetime.

When I look back at my life there are a few cliffs I wish I would have jumped off. In college I wish I had taken the time to go work at Walt Disney World for a summer. Instead I took heavy loads of classes as a summer pastime. Disney World does have a college internship program and I seem to have genetic material in place that makes me immune to the song, "It's a Small World." Seriously, I can listen to that song over and over again without losing my mind. Clearly I missed my calling. But still I did not take the time to explore the opportunity.

Another wild seed I never did sew was in college degrees. My love of literature and history made me consider these as options for majors in college. But since I had no desire to be a school teacher it didn't seem practical. Yuck. I have a bit of disdain for the word, "practical." Because all too often I am more practical than I want to be. I fear it's a side effect of trying to be wise. In hind sight I could have taken the time to minor in one of these subjects but I was too goal oriented on my career path to see this as a viable option.

I could go on about missed opportunities but instead I'll pause here to carpe diem and jump off this cliff before it too passes me by. You see we absolutely love the school Savannah attends. It's one of those situations where you walk in the door, meet the people and think, "This is home." As far as schools go, that is a rare find. But this voice inside me (AKA, God) began to whisper notions of homeschooling this past January. I thought this voice to be a bit of a jokester at first since we are content where we are. What would be the point of leaving?

But as Mark and I began to talk about it, many reasons came to light as to why it would be wise to take this year off and home school (hey, maybe it can be wise to jump off a cliff!). And finally we got a deep-felt peace about homeschooling next year and dare I say...even excited about it? What it all came down to was this question, "Twenty years from now would I regret taking her out of a wonderful school for a year? Or would I regret not taking a year off for us to journey together through learning and spending time together with each other and extended family?" The hardest decisions are when you have to wonderful choices to choose from.

Casting off fear of failure and knowledge of being within God's will we are leaping off a cliff with joy into the adventure of homeschooling for 1 year!

P.S. I have no idea what's going to happen next. And that's ok.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Dinosaur in Our Kitchen

Archer: Cake.
Me: What?
Archer: Cake. (As he points to his mouth)Yummy.
Me: Did you eat some cake?(I know for a fact that we have no cake in the house because if we did, I would be eating it!)
Archer: Yes.
Me: Where did you get the cake?
Archer: Kitchen. Dinosaur.
Me: You got the cake from a dinosaur?
Archer: Yes. Kitchen. Big one.
Me: You got cake from a big dinosaur in the kitchen.
Archer: Yes. Yummy! (said with a big smile.)

Alrighty then.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Carry a Tune

Archer's version of "Jesus Loves Me"

"YES, (loudly) Jee zus of's ME (even louder)!
YES, Jee zus of's ME!
YES (even louder) Jee zuz of's ME (perhaps the loudest)
The baba ta me SOOOOOO! (practically screaming the last word)"


Well, you get the idea.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Amused and Bemused

Although today is Mark's birthday, I can't ignore that I am about 6 months behind in blogging. So instead of doting on Mark in cyber-space I will have to do it in person later. Because today I am working on a 2 month old post, Archer's birthday.

I have said many times that Savannah never ceases to amaze me. The wheels in her head are always turning and her brain is on fire! Yes, Savannah amazes me daily and Archer well, he amuses the heck out of me! From the day he flew out of the womb (and he did, but his birth story is another tale) he has bemused and amused me.

Mr. Arch spends his days singing at the top of his lungs Jesus Loves Me, ABC's, Jingle Bells, and Old Mc Donald. The funniest is Jingle Bells, "Jinga bell, jinga, bell, jinga bell...HEY!!!!" Loud emphasis on the "HEY!!!" If at some point in time you hear this in your living room, know that I am running with him in the stroller somewhere within a 3 mile radius of your house. He's that loud!

His next favorite pass time is making out with his mom. And honestly I can't wait until he is 16 and I get to tell him that! Since infancy he has required, sought, and given more hugs and kisses than I ever dreamed a human could need. I complained about my neck hurting after a busy stressful day the other day and Archer came up to me and kissed my neck saying, "all better." So sweet. That's just the way he rolls. He will spot any "boo boo" on me and seek to make it better with kisses. Likewise he makes up numerous boo boo's of his own that need to be kissed. However sometimes they are real like just a few days ago when he took a bite of spicy sausage. He stuck out his tongue and said, "Hot, boo boo, kiss it." Laughing I told him I wasn't going to kiss his tongue and then he was of course heart broken. Needless to say, in the end I kissed his tongue!

Bemused. Everything about him has been different from Savannah. And I don't mean this in a good verses bad sort of way but more of a what-in-the-world-do-I-do-about-this sort of way. I found myself at square one with child two. That means that when you see I have not blogged in a few month, I am busy trying to figure things out. The funny thing is, he is getting easier every day. I forsee a day when we will enter a new stage where he is the easier of the two children. But for know I am madly in love with this cuddly ball of amusing challenges.

P.S. Archer's counting this week, "7, 8, 9, 10, 11, A, G, Z, B." Man, and I was beginning to be very impressed. Well, at least he got part of it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I am a Toddler

Wednesdays are usually Archer's favorite day. Why? Because he get's to rock out like nobody's business at Kindermusik class with one of his favorite people, Mrs. Donnis (and me! I'm there too of course!) There's singing, dancing, instruments, friends, loudness, and sillyness. What toddler would not love such a weekly opportunity.

But this paticular Wednesday morning. Archer was happy playing in his room at his train table. I called him over to me so that I could put his shoes on.

"No." he firmly replied. (Poor child, he still thinks that's an appropriate answer to my commands. He will learn!)

Still being patient I called him over again and assured him he needed to get his shoes on so that we could go to his favorite thing, kindermusik.

"No," this time with dramatic head shaking.

Five minutes later of this charade I was holding him down while he cried as I crammed his shoes on. He kept yelling "train, train, train, no shoes, no shoes, no shoes."

Without any sympathy I wrestled him into the carseat threatening his life if he did not cooperate and off we went to Mrs. Donnis' Kindermusik class. At this point we were both in less than a party-like mood. But I knew once we got there he would have the time of his life even if it took him a while to get over his fit.

We pulled into the parking lot and his face lit up, "kinmusik, kinmusik, instamints (instruments), fun, fun!"

Frustrated and in my best I-told-you-so voice I said, "Archer, I have been telling you all morning that we were going to Kindermusik. That's why I wanted you to put your shoes on, so we could go."

And he did have fun. That boy seriously does rock out in class. And then the rest of the day he repeats, "Donnis, fun. Donnis, fun."

I put him down for a nap and opened my bible study and noticed this week was labeled, "control." Great. Let's learn about relequishing our plan and submitting to God's. Yikes.

Suddenly this morning's events played back like a movie except I was the 2 year old. I literally saw myself throwing a fit over God's plan. How many times have I been so distracted by the mild nuseance of putting on by shoes that I failed to see the purpose was so I could go somewhere great. Well, that number is not for public knowledge. Sufice to say, way too many.

And how many times have I been so content playing with the same old toys (good toys no less) at home that when God tries to move me to something new (and far beter) I hesitate because it was not my idea or I am fearful? If I could look up from my own personal desires (ultimate sign of a toddler) then I would see God was leading me into something far better, even if it does enatil a mundane car ride and getting out of my pajamas or even a little discomfort.

Fear, control, self-centeredness all describe my toddler and myself.

The remedy? Faith and submission.

Exodus 4:10
But Moses pleaded with the Lord, 'O Lord, I'm not very good with words. I never have bee, and I'm not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied and my words get tangled.' Then the Lord asked Moses, 'Who makes a person's mouth? Who decided whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see?' Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with youas you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.' But again Moses pleaded, 'Lord, please! Send someone else.'