Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Off to church we go....

 Finding a church home can be a challenge these days.
  We are all human, with human frailties, therefore none of us will ever be perfect. Each of us has different ideas on how "the perfect" church conducts itself. Having said that, Jeff & I have drawn a line in the sand of biblical issues our family will not bend on and the church issues that are of less importance to us. Some ideals are merely opinion, or more clearly stated, they are tradition. Some areas God clearly lays out in scripture. God has taught us not to box Him in. To truly define what belongs in each of these categories. Pastor George Posthumous and Mrs. Carol Mckercher have been very  instrumental in helping us come to terms with this. The funny thing  is, I'm sure neither one of them are aware of that.
  Searching (through trial and error) we have found a lovely church we can call home.  We made the decision to leave a few years ago, not because of some terrible catastrophe rather due to the 45 minute drive it took to get there. We began searching for a church closer to our home. We did indeed find a church, unfortunately that church fell apart. In the return of the mountain folk we now find ourselves driving 45 minutes yet again. We are back at Riverpark Bible Church where the teaching is sound and the worship is delightful. Where child and adult alike are biblically, scientifically, historically, theologically and philosophically challenged. The Pastor here is going deaf. He has shared his deepened desire to give the congregation all he can before his time runs out...what a neat man to sit under.
  We have many wonderful opportunities available to us via this church such as the Crown Financial seminar Jeff & I attended last weekend. All four of us have found our little spots. Ricky is in the Jr High Sunday School, Youth Group & Small Group. Billy is in the High School Sunday School, Small Group and Youth Group. Jeff & I are in a multi age Sunday School class and Small Group together. Jeff is in a Men's Bible Study and I am in a Women's Bible Study. Once a month I will be attending a Homeschool Moms Meeting sponsored by the church. I hear there are around 40 families that homeschool attending this church...wow!
 The world...and the church have a tendency to push fragmentation of the family. I suppose most people seem to be okay with that. I'm of a strange breed who disagrees. Now, don't get me wrong, I want my boys to do things on there own...I encourage it. However this type of splitting up of the family I cannot stand behind. I am not going to make a big stink about it, for the most part I will play the game. However we will take a stand and sit TOGETHER and worship our Lord Jesus Christ as a family in the sanctuary! Again, there is no perfect church.
    I choose to ask my self where this lines up in light of eternity.

Photo's another Back-to-School Tradition

  A few weeks ago we headed on over to Fashion Fair in hopes of hunting down two shirts for school pictures. It wasn't the best of days to embark on such a journey being that cat fights tend to break out in the heat of "Autumn". However this would be our only chance to deal with it prior to the picture date.
  Ricky's wardrobe was fine as it sat due to previous shopping trips (although in the end he wore the same shirt from last years photos...nut!) It was the dreaded Billster we had to shop with. FYI teen guys do have strong opinions about what they are wearing...its not just a female issues. Nuf said.
  At any rate we shopped and shopped until teenage finickiness finally met with parental money choice. Ahhh, sweet relief, and so it was shirts for both CHEFA, which happened last week and BEST which happens next month were acquired. Ta-da! Budget and fashion meet.
  I go through this activity , in which my head explodes, for the Grandma's most especially. Yet the kids do need their pictures in the yearbook as well as an updated version for our wall. The ID cards are kind of a joke. We've never really needed them, at this point its more of a collectors item then anything else. Although we did use them when we first started homeschooling around ten years ago. This was during the curfew law drama. Who knows , maybe a need will arise this school year....playin' it safe. Affidavit filed, check. HSLDA membership updated, check. BEST, CHEFA & CHEA memberships updated, check, check, check! and last but not least ID cards ordered, check.
  *Oh, this year we had to fake our annual "1st-day-of-school-photo" because I was not much more than a lump of snot due to a bad head cold. I didn't even think about it until well after the day had come and gone, darn! Oh, and yes they cooperated with me on this and also with the photographer last week.

*Happy thought* At least we have moved beyond the little guy stage of this endeavor. I heart cooperative children!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When parents get sick...and kids don't

 Oh boy....Jeff & I were sick, I mean really sick for over a week. The worst part was that I woke up to all this yuck the first day of our school year. So besides stealing a glance every now and then, I was of no use to my students. "Son I'm sorry I cannot access my brain today, I have the duhs"

 I do have to make you aware that each boy knows what is expected of him, even on the first day of the new school year. This is because individual calendars and day planners are reviewed each weekend...before the school week. So this was done before I knew I was sick. I also need to give props to my guys. They cleaned, they cooked and they did as much of  their school work as they could. They really did try their best. Wow, that's awesome! Just when I think I'm going to put them in a box in front of the grocery store (free to a good home) they come shining through. You gotta jump, even if just internally, at times like that!

 Now some silly people have said, "oh but you homeschool so what's the big deal...just bump it forward". As nice as that sounds, its not that easy! We have a schedule and try very hard to stick to it, there's always going to be lots of life going on and we do have sick days set aside, but come on!  All mom's everywhere want to yell out "sorry, I'm too busy to get sick, call back later".... it's no different for the homeschool mom. We are needed, that is that. When we are down life doesn't run as it should...the end. It's just not the best way to start off the year.

 What really stinks is this makes the second year in a row this has happened. I've had it suggested "its because the public and private school have been in session for about a month before we start. They have that time to spread germs all around and let them trickle down to us as we begin to start our own schooling".  Whatever the reason it must stop!

 Now, two weeks later I am still dealing with the aftershock of it all.  I'm adrift in a sea of to-do's. It's amazing how far behind we get when missing just one week of the chaotic game called life. I've been realigning the school work that was clear as mud to the poor guys trying to work it out on their own (with no direction while I was out of commission) and so it didn't get done. As well as correcting and filing school work that was completed during that same time period. I'm finally finding some post-sickie relief and a little zest is back in my step.

 As a family we rock! We cleaned this whole house! Wall, cabinets, sofa's, bathrooms...everything got sanitized! I've been pumping the vitamin cocktails into everyone and heavily pushing the hand sanitizer! B&R seem to have been able to skip over this virus. Thank you Jesus!

 On to better...healthier days we march!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"Part of life is learning to accept the limitations of any given situation" Susan Shaffer Mucaulay

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Back to School Picnic

This was quite the learning experience. Bringing an interesting test of character and strength. Shedding light on who people "really" are & where they "really" stand.

I was able to draw strength from the godly people around me in the school group and in my own home. I really enjoyed getting to know a new mom to the group. As would be expected, this was my first time working with her. I was just hoping I didn't need to micro-manage her and that she didn't get the wrong idea about how homeschoolers conduct themselves. She brought much more than I ever asked of her to the table...WOW, thank you Brooke.

 After much drama and grief the day finally arrived. The weather was nice, for summer in Fresno. Especially once the sun went down and the gentle breeze picked up. We had a decent turnout, I guess. The food was plentiful and all seemed to have fun with the root beer floats and cookies. Brooke & I played old fashioned picnic games such as water balloon toss, over under sponge relay and sack races with the little ones. Meanwhile Kelly oversaw a volleyball tournament and Jeff manned the giant home made slip and slide.

Oh and yes, we did try it out at home before we brought it to the party. We were told to pour dish soap to make the slide more "slippery"...well I guess I put too much on the first time because Jeff & I flew right off the other end of the slide. Yep...right into stickers and dry wild grasses ( we have the giant scratches to prove it!) Thanks for the idea Jacki!

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Back up the pineapple this luau's over!"

Though we have enjoyed our wonderfully, lazy, much needed 3 months off, we have succumbed to emerge from the fog of the summer lifestyle where calendars mean nothing and clocks are ignored. We move into the responsibility of it all, joining the ranks of all those already "in" school. Which means I will be on somewhat of a computer sabbatical. I know that is going to be hard, because I have been playing on F.B. so much that people look for me there to inform me of this and that. Note to self, realign communication avenue.

The school year has been trickling upon us. Billy began physics at the beginning off August, he really likes his class by the way. Ricky began choir two weeks ago. Which was like going to a giant family reunion-what fun for everyone! Next Billy will add Bembe and Ricky will add Boy Scouts to the schedule (in about a week). Both boys will start Art Appreciation/History with our homeschool co-op. Each guy also begins a youth group at the church we were going to in Fresno & have now returned to. As you can see the momentum is picking up fast.

We've cut hair, bought clothes, school supplies and curriculum. We have a nice & orderly school space. We spent a few weeks getting our bodies and minds acclimated to our new schedule and completing our final preparations. It is now time for mind-work and routine physical endurance. So look out year..here we come!

Oh and to all those apposed or puzzled by my delaying our start date, I have this for you......

Back off Jack, your not the criterion in this town! I enjoy milkin' summer, squeezing every last drop. My boys have in the past and will continue to have a solid education-complete with 180 hours of each subject taught. I take their education quite seriously. More importantly I take their whole person into account. So....Labor Day to Memorial Day it shall remain. Please, please think before you assume neglect! I really am paying attention. I really am being responsible.