February 29, 2008

Where I'm From-Home School Version

On December 10th I posted a "template" for a poem I found at this site:
http://www.fragmentsfromfloyd.com/archives/2005_02.html#003144

I also posted a poem on December 10th using that template. It was an easy and fun poem to write and I've wanted to write another one ever since. Today I decided to write one using our home school experience as the topic:




Where I'm From
I am from bookshelves stuffed with books, from Alpha Phonics and Saxon Math.
I am from the house of boys, camo clothing and muddy boots.
From strange pets, rancid smelling aquariums, and science experiments gone wrong.
I am from feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, and seeing God’s incredible Grace as our sons have grown to love and serve Him.
(And succeed in college and the work force to boot!)
I am from sibling rivalry, and strong-willed boys;
from Benjamin, James, Alec, and The Bear.
From “Why do I have to learn this?" and “He’s looking at me!”
I am from soggy, wet, freezing camping trips, miles and miles of hiking, and catching crawdads in the streams.
From pizza on Friday nights if school work was completed and cheesecake for nearly every birthday.
I am from “I love you mommy!” and “Thank you for home schooling me.”.
I am from laughter and teasing and boys who are now some of my best friends.
I am from crayon drawings, playing games, wobbly pottery and blood-stained wood carvings.
I am from a house that is less messy than it used to be and one that grows quieter with each passing day.

February 28, 2008

Shoes

Once upon a time there was a tiny girl. She loved to run barefoot through the grass and let mud squish between her toes.
When she was a little older she moved to the mountains of SUNNY Colorado. There she roamed the mountains in hiking boots.
On her wedding day she wore little white ballet slippers. (Not Nikes. She wasn't planning on running away from her groom.)
For her first Christmas as a newly married woman she wanted to surprise her husband. She bought a little black dress and some black heels. They were going to Denver to see the Nutcracker and she wanted to look mature. Instead, she looked like the person she really was. A young bride, used to wearing hiking boots, wobbling down the sidewalk hoping she wouldn't fall off one of her high heels and sprain an ankle.
Over time the Lord blessed this girl with 4 boisterous boys. Black heels? Not on your life. Sneakers became her shoe of choice. Sneakers and blue jeans. Practical. Comfortable.
Finally, those boys grew up. They wanted to bless their parents and give them a night to remember. They all pitched in and bought their mother and father tickets to the symphony!
Now the girl-grown-up had a problem. What to wear. Could she....would she dare.....the temptation was great. She wanted to wear her sneakers and blue jeans. Reason won out and she once again decided to don a dress. A friend had given her a beautiful, black, flowing skirt. So, a little black sweater and another pair of black heels were purchased.
Saturday night this girl-turned-middle-aged mother will once again try and impress her husband. Her sneakers will be tucked away in the closet. With black shoes on her feet, she'll wobble down the sidewalk, hoping she won't fall off one of her high heels and sprain an ankle.

February 27, 2008

Paul Again

Every morning, before Alec starts on the 3 R's, we spend some time reading the bible together and then a chapter from another book. Sometimes the book we read is fictional; sometimes an autobiography or a biography. For the last few months we've been reading Paul by Charles Swindoll.

This morning Alec and I read about Paul and some of what he endured as a follower of Christ, and how. It was soooooo convicting, and encouraging. (Convicting because I am nothing like Paul. I'm more like Nebuchadnezzar-"Would ya please just go away and let me eat some grass?!"

Anyway-I know several people who are going through some very difficult things in their lives right now. I'd like to share with you what Swindoll said about suffering and I hope and pray it encourages someone out there.

Swindoll starts the section by quoting 2 Cor. 1:8-9. "For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves....."

Swindoll goes on to explain that Paul was experiencing pressure from opposition. Pressure from rejection. Pressure from physical strain and pressure from emotional strain. Paul said that he was burdened excessively to the point where he despaired of life. He was at the breaking point.

2 Cor. 1:9-10 says, "Indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us...."

Chuck Swindoll points out exactly what Paul is saying: God has delivered us. God is delivering us. God will deliver us.

I'm going to just quote directly from the book for a moment because it's so good!
Paul focused on God's ability to handle the circumstances from start to finish. That freed him to lean on and tap into God's power alone. I think the apostle reached the place where he realized he wasn't capable of altering anything. He wasn't competent enough to fix the problem or smart enough to solve the mystery. His confidence drained away to the point he despaired of life itself. At that critical juncture he found supernatural strength by looking up. He said, "Lord, right now I am unable to go on. I'm not capable. I'm not competent. I'm not confident in anything in myself to relieve this pressure. I trust You and You alone."

I'm probably the last person on earth who should be saying this because I fail at it more often than not. However, I'm going to say it anyway.
Go get a bible and your journal. Read Psalm 37:3. What's the last line say?
"Feed on His faithfulness." We need to remind ourselves that God is faithful. No matter what.
That's why I said to go get your journal. Not to write in it. To look back and see all the times the Lord has been faithful in your life.
Don't have a journal? Then just flip through the bible and feed on the faithfulness of the Lord-every page shows you how capable He is. How much He loves you. How His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

Swindoll says it all filters down to Surrender. Just tell the Lord you are in over your head and weary. Tell Him you can't do it one more day. Chuck says that is what the Lord is waiting for. Your surrender.

February 26, 2008

S.A.D.

I found the info below on this website:http://www.lumie.com/help/quick-guides/sad


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and winter blues
Animals react to the changing seasons with changes in mood, metabolism and behaviour and human beings are just the same. Many people find they eat and sleep slightly more in winter and dislike the dark mornings and short days and this is commonly referred to as 'winter blues'. For some, however, symptoms are severe enough to disrupt their lives and to cause considerable distress. These people are suffering from SAD.
How does SAD affect people?
Symptoms tend to start from around September each year lasting until April, but are at their worst in the darkest months. Symptoms include:
Sleep problems - oversleeping but not refreshed, cannot get out of bed, needing a nap in the afternoon
Overeating - carbohydrate craving leading to weight gain
Depression, despair, misery, guilt, anxiety - normal tasks become frustratingly difficult
Family / social problems - avoiding company, irritability, loss of feeling
Lethargy - too tired to cope, everything an effort
Physical symptoms - often joint pain or stomach problems, lowered resistance to infection


I have it. Bad. Hey-I have SAD, bad.
Lights aren't working.
Would someone please tell me a joke or a riddle. Something. Anything.
My brain needs to go on life-support. I can't take the gray much longer.
Yes, I am using my very own, personal blog to vent. Vent, vent, vent.
There. Now I feel better.

February 23, 2008

Baby Einstein

I'm not at all sure what he was thinking....they were deep and heavy thoughts for a 6 year old little boy.
This afternoon Barrett, (our 6 year old), myself, and my husband were out running a few errands. Barrett and I decided to sit in the car and wait for daddy during one stop. I was daydreaming, probably about climbing Mt. Everest, when Barrett stopped my climb dead in its tracks.
"Mommy, what would happen to me if you and daddy and my brothers all died?"
Whoa, that took me off guard.
"Well, sweetie, you'd go live with Joey and Nancy in Oregon."
Barrett looked puzzled, so I went on to explain that Joey is his cousin and Nancy is his wife. They have 3 children close to Barrett's age. I told him they would love him and raise him like he was one of their kids. He would have 2 new brothers and a sister to play with. I went on and told him they love Jesus very much and would take him to church and teach him all about Jesus.
"But mommy, how would they find me? How would they know you were dead?"
Now there's a good question. How would they find out? Where would Barrett be when we died?
Who would take care of him until Joe could get here? I was over tired and my sleepy brain rushed all over the place, imagining several scenarios, not to mention thinking this is an extremely odd conversation to be having with someone who only left the world of diapers and nursing 3 years ago.
Once again he interrupted my musings. "Mommy, when we get home would you show me where their phone number is?"
"Yes, I can do that..."
"I'd have to bring a lot of stuff to their house wouldn't I?"
"Well, yes you would. What would you like to take with you?"
Deep in my heart I was bleeding for my little Worrier. I can't leave you yet. What would you do without your mommy to comfort you? I need you. I'm not ready to leave you.
My thoughts went on as I stared at his sweet little face. Would he like Oregon? Would he even remember Indiana? How long would it be before Nancy was "Mommy" and he'd forget I was the one who had given him birth? Maybe he'd want to take all the scrapbooks I've made with him so he could remember his family. Would he want to take one of my blouses as a "blankie" to cuddle with?
No. Instead he took me off guard one final time, this time with his usual logic.
"I would have to take all my workbooks for school, Mommy."

February 22, 2008

The Strangest Thing

I carried them in my body and gave birth to them.
I nursed them on demand.
Cared for them when they were sick.
Taught them their numbers, their letters, and the colors that brighten their days.
Together we learned about goats, turtles, chickens, Lewis and Clark, and the seasons.
We pulled buckets of water out of the pond and looked at tiny creatures under the microscope.
We made candles and a solar system than hung from the light fixture in our dining room.
We've learned together how to study the bible more effectively and have shared our hearts in prayer.
We sat together on snowy days, their faces content and interested as I read thousands of pages out loud to them.
We've laughed squillions of times together over the silliest things. And we've cried together over the loss of pets, friends, and family.
We had a medieval feast complete with banners, games, knights in shining armor and food fit for a king.

And now? Now they're grown. Now they can rest their cheeks on the top of my head for a moment before they rush out the door.
It's the strangest thing......

February 19, 2008

Now You Know Why I Yam the Way I Yam

My dad was born in 1924. He grew up an only child. He had a very event-filled life that included divorced parents, going to live with his grandmother when he was a young boy, serving in the military in WWII, being shot in the foot in a hunting accident, and raising 6 sons.
One day when he was in his 50's his dad called him.
"Frank, are you busy?"

"Not particularly. What do you need Dad?"

" I need you to go to a funeral with me this afternoon."

"Sure thing, Dad. Whose funeral is it?"

"Well, uh, that's the thing. It's your brother's."

"My brother's? I don't have a brother."

"Yes, actually you do. He's been living in an institution all his life because he was crazy and he died. Will you go with me to his funeral?"


True story. I didn't tell Mike about this until after we were married.

Quote of the Day

Home schoolers can be compared to the underground church in the former Soviet Union. There, even as the nation was listening to the Communists shout, "There is no God!" the old grandmothers would whisper into the ears of their grandchildren: "Remember, we are believers. There is a God and we believe in Him!" Like those old Russian grandmothers, we home school moms are building a counter-culture beneath the rotting structure of today's American Society. Our faithfulness is creating a sound structure that, by the grace of God, will last even after the rotting outer shell of our culture has crumbled away. We are not "abandoning ship", rather, we are building a lifeboat.

Paul Weyrich & Vicki Farris

February 18, 2008

2 Thank You Notes

Do you like the new header for this blog?! "Big Doofus" volunteered to help me and I love what he did! I wanted something bright and happy and colorful but just couldn't manage it on my own. Thank you soooooo much B.D.! I may now be tempted to live at this desk until spring just staring at my blog. I've been experiencing severe "color deprivation disorder" here in Indiana. Gray trees. Gray grass. Gray skies. Gray roads. It's wonderful to see something so colorful!

I also wanted to thank my husband for a few things. He spent Super Bowl weekend rearranging our furniture. A couple times! And that includes the waltz he did around the perimeter of our living room with a 75 gallon aquarium. "No....it doesn't look good there. Try it over there on that wall.....no...still not quite right....how about over there?" (I'm not sure who looked the worse for wear, Mike or the fish.)
My husband also brought home a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me on Valentine's Day! More color!!
Then yesterday Mike spent the day building a corner desk to put in our bedroom. Know what that's for? Scrapbooking!! I will have my very own spot to create in.
Thanks so much you guys! You are both appreciated and I feel spoiled rotten. :-)

February 13, 2008

Marriage Matters Part 3

Well, Good Morning! I'm not at all sure what kind of writing this will be. Our 2 older sons kept us up until 11pm talking and laughing and our youngest woke me up this morning at 4:30 sounding croupy. At this point I am feeling "woozy"!

However, I would like to try and write something today. Just bear with me, OK?
The article my friend showed me was truly stunning. At least to me it was, and here's why. I think the author has at some point spent considerable time with Mike. She knew him better than I did. She wrote all about him! Described him to a "T". I just couldn't believe it!

(Before I go on I'll give you some info about the article. It was an excerpt from a book called Created to be His Helpmeet by Debi Pearl. Have any of you read that book? If so, then you'll know what I'm going to say. I have not read the entire book-just this excerpt.)

I think what I'll do is very loosely paraphrase a bit of the article and then tell you to go beg, borrow, or steal a copy of the book and read what Debi actually says.

The article starts by saying that there are basically 3 types of men:

-Mr. Command Man
-Mr. Visionary
-Mr. Steady

They all have strengths that mirror God's character.

Mr. Command Man: They are born leaders. Military commanders, politicians, preachers, heads of corporations and managers of businesses. He sees the bigger picture and strives to help the greatest number regardless of the cost.

Mr. Visionary: Debi's description of this kind of guy was funny so I'm going to copy the first bit completely-Some of you are married to men who are movers and shakers, changers, and dreamers. These men get the entire family upset about peripheral issues, such as: Do we believe in Christmas, should we use state marriage licenses, why a Christian should opt out of the Social Security System etc....these men have tunnel vision...they will easily pick up and relocate without any idea of what they are going to do for a living at their new location.
This kind of man might be an inventor, street preacher or a political activist. He's spontaneous. He may be consumed with a need to communicate through music, writing, voice, or actions. He knows how to do nearly everything and is readily willing to advise others.

Mr. Steady: This is who I'm married to. Caring, faithful, avoids controversy. A servant. Wise. Gentle and thoughtful.
He's the guy who will quietly raise his family, content to let his wife do it her way. He will give his wife a sense of peace and safety. Debi said that there are more "Mr. Steadys" than there are any other type of man.

The article goes into way more detail on the strengths and weaknesses each type of man has and talks about the blessings and trials of being married to any one of them. It is a 17 page article and needless to say I haven't gone into a whole lot of detail. The encouraging thing was seeing that Mike was "normal". The convicting thing for me was seeing that all of his strengths were the things I'd been praying for in husband-I'd just started taking him for granted. Debi even talks about the frustrations and reactions a wife might have being married to any one of these types and what her attitude should be in order to love and support her particular husband.
I saw myself in the article too. As I read it I realized I mirrored every mistake and bad attitude a wife can have in regard to her spouse. The Lord used it to teach me so much about Mike and who he is, as well as renewing an appreciation for all of his many strengths. It really helped me see the "uglies" in my heart and showed me that I'm not the only one in our marriage who has needs.
I should also add that I have a very hard head. Reading the article did not revolutionize our marriage. I sometimes forget what I read and start to get annoyed and frustrated with Mike and pick up my blankety-blank attitude all over again. I keep the article in my bible and when I notice I'm slipping back into confusion over who I'm married to, or I feel a lack of respect toward him I go back and read it again. It helps every single time. It was/is wonderful to have Mike explained. :-)

If you don't want to buy, borrow, beg or steal a copy of the book I would be more than happy to do any one of the following:

-Write more info here

-Make a copy of the article and mail it to you for FREE!

-Get together and discuss it over coffee. (Especially if you live in the Bahamas)

-If you don't like any of those options I know how to email too! :-)

February 12, 2008

The Wisdom of the Aged

Tonight I sighed as I finished cleaning the kitchen.
Mike looked at me, concern in his eyes. "What's the matter?"

"I'm not going to tell you."

"Why?"

"I don't want to."

"Why don't you want to tell me?"

"I just don't want to."

From the couch, where he's been wallowing in snotty sickness for 2 days, our almost 16 year old enters the conversation. The following is the speech he gave his parents, explaining what a man goes through when he hears his wife sigh.

When a man hears a woman sigh, and he asks her, 'What's the matter?" and she says "Nothing." he immediately thinks, "Oh my goodness. Have I failed to compliment her on something or did I forget an important date? Does she really expect me to know why is she sighing even though I don't know? Is this going to lead to a huge fight about something she really expects me to know and I really don't know? Will this lead to me sleeping on the couch tonight?"
He panics and divorce becomes a new possibility. All from that one lousy sigh.

So tell me. Do you think this is this true? Does all that really go through a man's mind when he hears his wife sigh?

February 8, 2008

Marriage Matters Part 2

Things didn't actually change for our marriage one dark and stormy night. It was a subtle shift in my attitude that took place during hot, sunny days, snowy winters, rainy nights and warm, muddy springs. Over time I gradually started comparing Mike to other men and he just didn't match up.

I guess I took the gift Jesus had given me and said, "Hmmm. You could've done better, you know." All the reasons I fell in love with Mike, all of his strengths, over time became his weaknesses. I would look at his stability and think, "What's the matter with you? You are so wishy-washy." Most of the time I could/can do no wrong in his eyes, and that annoyed me. I wanted some hills and valleys in our relationship. Some explosions. A good yelling match would've been fun, and they say making up from one of those is ....well, I won't go there. Anyway, our relationship was just plain old steady. His unconditional love even irritated me. He is always willing to give up his time to help me with a project or rearrange the furniture or run to town for something we need. He very rarely takes a day just for "Mike". To me, at that time, I stupidly looked at Mike and thought, "Are you a wimp? You let me walk all over you. You always let me have my way." I didn't see his love for what it was and deep inside I didn't feel safe with the safety of Mike.

I guess I just didn't understand him. He'd always been my best friend but the longer we were married the more he confused me. I wanted someone who would take charge. Be aggressive. I wanted him to set goals-be a mover and a shaker. I didn't appreciate who I'd married and I started treating him with less and less respect.

Eventually my attitude started to leak out into conversations I had with my friends. I'd whine and complain about Mike, or cut him down. Most of them just looked at me, mute. But I did have one friend who was willing to step in and help. She knew Mike and was even married to a man similar in nature. One afternoon as we were visiting together she mentioned an article she'd just run across in a magazine. She told me it was an incredible article that had really helped her understand and appreciate the man she'd married and she just knew it would help me. Sure it will. Right....

Pardon me? What did you say? This post is getting too long and you have to clean your toilet? Oh. OK. I'll finish this some other time.

February 6, 2008

A Little Detour & A p.s. for Mike D.

The problem: Cabin Fever.
The solution: Completely rearrange the furniture in 2 1/2 rooms of your house.

The problem: Discovering you had way more junk than you thought you did.
The solution: Spend 3 more days rearranging furniture, vacuuming and dusting under, over and around said furniture. Not to mention 2 more days purging, purging, purging.

The problem: Realizing you are an emotional, sentimental packrat.
The solution: Still working on that one.

The problem: Not wanting to blog until the "cabin" is back in order.
The solution: Hurry and get things done.

The problem: 2 kids to teach, laundry, ironing, cooking etc.
The solution: Run away from "cabin".?

The problem: Deep depression and confusion because while the "cabin" does look soooooo cozy and homey, mom has lost her scrapbook area.
The solution: Cry, eat chocolate, stare at the space that used to be mom's scrapbook area.

As good ole Arnold said, "I vill be back."


A note for Mike-I can't get my emails to go through to you. For some reason they keep coming back as "Undeliverable Mail". I just didn't want you to think I hated your guts or something.

February 2, 2008

Marriage Matters- Part 1

A few months ago a friend of mine asked me if I was ever going to write about our marriage problems. I've been thinking about that question ever since.
We are well into our twenty fourth year of marriage and I guess we have had our share of problems. I am not going to discuss the 2 that marriage experts say are the main causes of stress in every marriage. You know what I'm talking about.
(sse....cough..... and mmon..splutter, cough) Those 2 issues are things Mike and I will only discuss with our probation officers and our psychiatrists. *

So, moving on. Strangely enough, we have discovered other areas of our relationship that weren't perfect. We thought, on our absolutely wonderful, romantic, smooth-sailing-saying-your-vows day that our marriage would run pretty much along the same course as the wedding day itself. However, 24 hours after Mike said, "I do.", he was probably saying, "What on earth have I done?"
I blubbered my way through the first day of our honeymoon. So far I'm the only female I know who has done that. By the following day I had regrouped. Things progressed nicely from there and for the next few years there was peace in our valley. The Lord used Mike to bring huge amounts of stability and healing to my wounded heart.

I grew up in a very unstable atmosphere.

-My parents divorced when I was 7.

-Our country was experiencing horrendous change. (60's and 70's) America was changing politically, morally, and spiritually.

-2 of my brothers went marching down the hippie trail-drugs, Eastern religions, etc.

-One of my brothers died in a motorcycle/car crash when I was 12.

-Schools were experimenting with how to educate kids. "New math", open classrooms, etc. etc. That means if you were not a "motivated" student, it was very easy to get lost in the system and not learn a thing.

-My mom was a Real Estate agent, but not really. I think all in all she only sold 1 1/2 houses. As a result, money was something that I knew very little about.

- Visits with my dad were few and far between, and he had a new family he was trying to raise. I felt lost in the shuffle.

When I was old enough to start dreaming about marriage, I made a list of qualities I wanted in a husband and then proceeded to ask the Lord to please bring "him" along. In His time He did. Mike is solid and dependable. He's stable. He loves me unconditionally. He's funny and sweet. He is quiet and safe and gentle. He is my best friend and everything I never experienced growing up.

But then, one dark and stormy night.........

(*This is a joke. While Mike and I may have contemplated murdering one another, we've never actually attempted it. And, the closest we've ever come to employing a psychiatrist was when our boys hit puberty - and that was for them. )