Sunday, September 5, 2010

Children Won't Wait by Helen Young

There is a time to anticipate the baby's coming, a time to consult a doctor;
A time to plan a diet and exercise, a time to gather a layette.
There is a time to wonder at the ways of God, knowing this is the destiny for which I was created;
A time to dream of what this child might become,
A time to pray that God will teach me how to train this child which I bear.
A time to prepare myself that I might nurture his soul.
But soon there comes the time for birth,
For babies won't wait.

There is a time for night feedings, and colic and formulas.
There is a time for rocking and a time for walking the floor,
A time for patience and self-sacrifice,
A time to show him that his new world is a world of love and goodness and dependability.
There is a time to ponder what he is - not a pet nor toy, but a person, an individual - a soul made in God's image.
There is a time to consider my stewardship, I cannot possess him.
He is not mine. I have been chosen to care for him, to love him, to enjoy him, to nurture him, and to answer to God.
I resolve to do my best for him,
For babies don't wait.

There is a time to hold him close and tell him the sweetest story ever told;
A time to show him God in earth and sky and flower, to teach him to wonder and reverence.
There is a time to leave the dishes, to swing him in the park,
To run a race, to draw a picture, to catch a butterfly, to give him happy comradeship.
There is a time to point the way, to teach his infant lips to pray,
To teach his heart to love God's Word, to love God's day,
For children don't wait.

There is a time to sing instead of grumble, to smile instead of frown,
To kiss away the tears and laugh at broken dishes.
A time to share with him my best in attitudes - a love of life, a love of God, a love of family.
There is a time to answer his questions, all his questions,
Because there may come a time when he will not want my answers.
There is a time to teach him so patiently to obey, to put his toys away.
There is a time to teach him the beauty of duty, the habit of Bible study, the joy of worship at home, the peace of prayer,
For children don't wait.

There is a time to watch him bravely go to school, to miss him underfoot,
And to know that other minds have his attention, but that I will be there to answer his call when he comes home,
And listen eagerly to the story of his day.
There is a time to teach him independence, responsibility, self-reliance,
To be firm but friendly, to disciple with love,
For soon, so soon, there will be a time to let him go, the apron strings untied,
For children won't wait.

There is a time to treasure every fleeting minute of his childhood.
Just eighteen precious years to inspire and train him.
I will not exchange this birthright for a mess of pottage called social position, or business or professional reputation, or a pay check.
An hour of concern today may save years of heartache tomorrow,
The house will wait, the dishes will wait, the new room can wait,
But children don't wait.

There will be a time when there will be no slamming of doors, no toys on the stairs, no childhood quarrels, no fingerprints on the wallpaper.
Then may I look with joy and not regret.
There will be a time to concentrate on service outside my home;
On visiting the sick, the bereaved, the discouraged, the untaught;
To give myself to the "least of these."
There will be a time to look back and know that these years of motherhood were not wasted.
I pray there will be a time to see him an upright and an honest man, loving God and serving all.
God, give me the wisdom to see that today is my day with my children.
That there is no unimportant moment in their lives.
May I know that no other career is so precious,
No other work so rewarding,
No other task so urgent.
May I not defer it nor neglect it,
But by the Spirit accept it gladly, joyously, and by they grace realize
That the time is short and my time is now,
For children won't wait!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Secrets of Adulthood & My Personal Commandments

Okay so I was supposed to finish "Part B" of the curriculum posts, and I will get to that.

First I want to share something I've been working on for the last little bit. My friend Shirin over at has challenged me to read "The Happiness Project"

Though I excepted the challenge it took me a while to order the book. Money just had to be spent elsewhere.

However when I finally did get it ordered, and delivered, I devoured it. Now I am going back through the book & starting my own "Happiness Project".

Thus far I have written my "Secrets of Adulthood" and "Personal Commandments" lists. I have them here below for you to read. These are supposed to be vague enough to cut across life's dilemmas. Maybe you will find some use out of my lists. Maybe you will be challenged to write your own.

This was much harder than I originally though it would be. I am fairly happy with the end result, although I may tweak parts of each list a bit. After I let everything gel for a while I am going to print these in a nice font, on nice paper and frame them. Look for them when you come to visit our home.

Secrets of Adulthood
1. Everyone has struggles, be nice.
2. "Be still & know that I am God".
3. Their fun does not have to be my fun.
4. Make the choice you know is right, it's worth it.
5.Work hard, so you can play hard.
6. Only God remains the same.
7. Keeping score is petty & weak.
8. It is what it is, make peace with it.
9. You will never be a master gardener, and that's okay.
10.Vengeance is better left in the hands of God, let it go.
11.Take time for simplicity.
12.Never lose sight of the legacy you want to leave.

My Personal Commandments
1. Don't let fear dictate
2. Focus
3. Stay in touch
4. Trust your instincts
5. Surrender
6. Experience the moment
7. Go to the green, water is life
8. Choose love, no exceptions
9. Show gratitude, always
10.Look into the eyes
11. Don't wait, do it now
12.Remember to have fun

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer = Burning Pencil Muscles/ Insuring Ideas Come to Fruition....with teenagers

    I've been filling calendars & placing  papers into my sanity keeper binder. This has been done with the notions/ideas and skill-sets in mind that I want to bring into my little school. I've been reflecting on the things that I want to see accomplished as well as guarding planning specific times for a decompressing margin. I have spent much of June & July buried in a sea of curriculum, travel guides, teaching resources, web-inars, paperwork and books.

No.  I am not done.

  Over the last few months I have heard many comments from my co-home educators about how I choose to home school...and how I spent my summer plan for it. Some are words of encouragement...others not so much.  I am okay with all of that though. You see in the last ten years I've witnessed many different ways to home educate. As the saying goes, "The only thing homeschoolers have in common is the fact that they home school". Yes we are a diverse group indeed. We are an untamed people. We are not afraid to color outside of the lines. Jeff & I  love this, we embrace it whole heartedly. Having said that, is it any wonder that we have raised two sons with enormous opinion? I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I am..every day right now. I am shocked by their intellect, vision and application. I have two teenagers who have been raised to have a voice...and boy do they use it!

  We interview our kiddos every summer in regards to the previous and up coming school years. We ask them questions such as  "what did you think of the year?". "What did you like about it"? "What changes would you like to see take place?" What would you like to add...release"? Now please don't assume they have total power over the situation. They have thoughts, desires, concerns and we want to know what they are. This is a trust building activity on both sides (parent & child). It has been a good way to get many important issues out on the table for discussion. That and a built in excuse for drinking some ice cold sweet tea with giant handfuls of frozen cheese-its (the boys), Ritz with avocado slices (me) Wheat Thins and cream cheese (J).  Um yeah anyway back to what I was saying...When they were little guys this was so cute and  they were so easy to please. As every year passes this gets harder and harder to deal with. Quite honestly as they have become teenagers I question the sanity in raising them to express their own thoughts. Haha...

  At the end of the day I am glad they are willing to talk to us, oh what color they bring to an otherwise dull world!!! You see our boys are very adventurous. I get announcements such as "Mom I want to have a sled dog team, swim with sharks or join an ethnic band and travel to exotic places". "Mom, I've decided I'm going to trek across Alaska and then sail around the United States, then settle down to train others to explore all of creation". Oh and they don't just say things like this, they embrace them whole heartedly...they live out load for sure!! In all honestly I'm glad that they can test/check and argue with authority if needed.. I'm glad they dream big. I'm glad they have creative minds. Given carte blanch I wouldn't change a thing.

  I took a break from working today to come up for air. On a whim, as I passed a cranky teenager in the hallway, I squirted him with shaving cream...I missed, go figure. Let's just say it ended with shaving cream all over the bathroom floor...we were "skating" and laughing...good times!! I will miss them terribly when they are gone. They make me smile. I am blessed to be "Mother". I know this deeply. Life may be much easier... with less bathroom mopping jobs. I will certainly have my summers back. Dare I say I may even experience stillness and quietude in serenity on a regular basis? Nah....

Saturday, June 26, 2010

What curriculum do you use? Part A

 I have been asked this question many times over the last little bit, so I decided to write it all down here as a reference point to those who want to check it out. I think this will be easier for everyone. This will eliminate the need to email the same information every few months. I won't have to remember titles on the spot and those who want this will have instant gratification! How's that for a win-win situation!
  I have listed my top choices for as many subjects as I could deal with right now. I will have another whole post soon, Part B.  I hope you find this and the next installment helpful.

*Apologia Sciences
*Home Training Tools
*Tobin's Labs
*Answers in Genesis
*Institute for Creation Research

*Learning Adventures
*Veritas Press
*Lamp Post
*Beautiful Feet
*Streams of Civilization #1 & #2

*Blue Stocking Press
*Teen Pact Leadership School
*Vision Forum
*Generation Joshua
*Constitutional Law for Enlightened Citizens

*Economic Thinking
*10 Talents
*Blue Stocking Press (yes you just saw this in the Government selection)
*Foundations in Personal Finance
*A to Z Home's Cool

*Horizons Math Series\
*Fun Books
*~Harold Jacob's Math Curriculum (can be bought from the website listed above, not just fun supplements)~
*Ask Dr. Callahan
*GW School Supply (wonderful manipulative)

*Sequential Spelling
*Wordly Wise
*Board/Card Games
*Free Vocabulary: Simply write out the words your child doesn't quit those
*Free Spelling: Simply keep a running list of words your child miss spells...create tests from that

*Jump In: A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers
*Story Starters
*Veritas Press
*Writing Strands
*One Year Adventure Novel (Notes: I have not used this one however it comes highly recommended by many dear friends)

*Mc Guffey's Readers (Oral Reading, Dictation & Narration)
*Grammar Rock (School House Rock CD & VHS)     //
*Building Christian English Series
*Poetry, Shakespeare and Guides to Literature
*Study Guides for Literature     //

*Explode the Code Series
*123 Read
*Noah Websters Reading Handbook
*Five in a Row Series    /
*Reader Rabbit CD Rom Series

*Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing
*Handwriting Without Tears
*Spencerian Penmanship Series
*Classically Cursive
*Draw Write Now Series

*Latina Christiana Series
*English From the Roots up
*Rummy Roots
*Supplemental Readers
*Prima Latina Series

*Introductory & Intermediate Logic
*Bluedorn Book Series
*Art of the Argument Series
*Classical Rhetoric with Aristotle
*Five Minute Mysteries Series

Sunday, June 13, 2010

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow" Mary Anne Radmacher

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You Want Me To Do What?

                                 Take a bit of time to reflect on these verses.

Titus 2:3-5 
 3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
 4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
 5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

        Now stop.  Stick the car in reverse. Read these verses again.

Well I don't know about you, but when I read these verses I question myself. My family is my song, my heart station, but do they know that? Do my children think I'm a good Mom? Does my husband take joy in me as his bride? How does the world see me as mother, wife? What will I be remembered as, what is the mark on my life? Does it say loving wife and mother? Does it say wise counsel? Does my home show that I am happy to be in my station?

  Titus two women are supposed to be the older (wiser) ladies of the "church". Their role is to counsel and nurture the younger women and new Christians of the "church". You know the "walk with the wise and you will grow wise" routine? They are supposed to show by example how we should strive to conduct ourselves. In light of that I became frustrated as a young bride/mother. I wanted mature godly women in the community of believers I could turn to for guidance. I longed for such women to just appear in the church I attended. I mourned for the lack there of.

  Eventually I learned "older" is a relative term. I began to notice like minded individuals regardless of age. I learned that "wise" came in many forms. I began to have ears to listen and eyes to see. I was being softened and molded by God as I went about my life. I had a million questions, well I still do, don't you? I wanted to know efficient ways to clean, wonderful recipes to try, the best place to buy this, how to schedule for that. I wanted the secret for how to "get it all done" and to also "guard my time".  What I did learn in these categories I picked up from many different people and sources. Some were a far cry from the sweet little elderly ladies I had pictured in my mind.God showed me how he can use the most unlikely of individuals to do his good works.

           Take a few minutes to read the lyrics to the following song.

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ... it wouldn't matter much
I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world 

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy 

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy
Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one... 

Legacy/Nichole Nordeman

I have the chorus of this song on my facebook side column. This is where you are invited to write something about yourself.  I also have a hand written copy on the cork board in our school room. We all say & do things we regret, or in time come to regret. Having these lyrics posted is a daily reminder for me of who I want to be, how I want to live my life and how I want to be remembered. For me, this song is a pointed arrow right to the scriptures mentioned above. It is a reminder to me to be kind even when I don't want to. A prick to extend myself, so that others really do know how precious they are to me, A humbling message to  go about my duties with joy "as unto the Lord". A message to strive for consistency.

 God has pressed even further, He has made it clear that I am a Titus two woman. I am to be what I always longed to have. 
How can it be?
I'm not old? 
I have so much more to learn. 
These are the words that I silently screamed. God waited while I threw my fit, then He lead me to this simplistic truth; we are all Titus 2 women. You are never too young. It does not mean you are super woman or some ultra holy being. In fact I think if you puff yourself up in self professed wisdom you will fall hard off of your pedestal. I think those that act as though they never lived through trial are missing the whole point. I think turning your nose up at someone with less understanding than you have attained is like spitting venom at God himself. 
  God has made it clear that refusal to be a Titus two woman isn't really among my choices. Little children, youth, adults, they will all be watching and evaluating my conduct whether I want them to or not. Likewise I clearly have no grounds to complain if I refuse to do anything about the problem. Therefore I have set out to purposefully strive for self control, moral character and honorable stewardship. I aim to encourage others in godly choices. To pray for whatever need is brought to my attention. My aim is to give comfort, to uplift a spirit, to lighten a load.
  I certainly don't have all the answers, who but God does? However I have lived through many trials, more importantly I am willing to humbly share what I learned along the way. Sometimes I made right choices, and sometimes completely wrong ones. I have gleaned wisdom from both. God has shown me who I am. I still stand in wonder that he knows me better than I know myself. Oh how clearly I see that truth looking back, you know...after the fact. 
 When my spirit was pricked in this direction I wondered  if I really had enough to offer anyone. I realized I have enough peace to love, enough patience to listen and enough strength to carry on, which is given through His grace. I need no special training, just a willingness and an alertness. I have come to realize Christ will place people right in your path. You just need ears to listen and eyes to see. I have had moments when I didn't feel like my efforts were worth my time or my prayers. God is gracious. I have had a few people, not many, but enough to keep me going, express their gratitude. I, of course gave credit to God, but it was also confirming to me that I was walking down the right path. I was thrilled to know my yielding and humble obedience was a help to someone, it is  a righteous, not lofty confirmation.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dictation not Dictatorship. Run, don't walk...get a dictionary quick!!

The lack of comprehension in basic vocabulary never ceases to amaze me. In example I was blown away when recently discussing with an acquaintance "how I do it"...meaning homeschool my guys.  Nameless, as the acquaintance will from now forth be referred to as, was appalled that I would teach my children via dictatorship.

For real? Muwahaha you are in my house now little boys!!! Charity, Mother of two thought-squashed boys... ...Yeah, no!

In the interest of protecting the freedom of homeschoolers everywhere I will attempt to explain dictation. I will do so now, so pay close attention. It is the art of hearing something and repeating that knowledge orally or in written word. Dictation is a skill-set achieved over time, through training and experience. It is useful throughout life. It is an awesome tool, so awesome that I will now show you how it played out in our little school.

   I began incorporating dictation into my homeschool when my sons were quite little. Most of the time I would sit one boy at my right and one at my left on the sofa. We would cuddle up real close and I would read. However when I wanted to teach dictation I would set them before looking at pictures. I would read the little stories to them while they drew or built etc... They were instructed to create what they heard me reading. After I finished the story they would show me their masterpiece. They would tell back the story as they explained whatever art medium lay before us. This is a form of narration, which is the precursor to dictation in my opinion. This was great for memory retention and listening skills. I loved, loved, loved it!
   When they grew a bit older I still read those amazing picture books, however the boys were required to write, not draw, exactly what they heard. I read slowly. I stopped often. I started with just one sentence. We worked up to the point of dictating about a paragraph worth of information by late elementary. Both sons now dictate whole essays.
  After the boys write out their assignment they are given the original piece. With this they're expected to go back and correct any misspelled words or grammar misuses. Before handing it back to me they write a final copy in their best handwriting, or type it up depending on the instructions I give.
    Dictation has proved to be a wonderful training tool. My boys have been able to use this in note taking at church and in classes they take outside of our home. This endeavor has enhanced their proofreading skills in a way I could never teach with a grammar text. I don't necessarily agree with those who claim dictation takes the place of formal spelling and grammar. However I do find it a brilliant way to test comprehension and to reinforce those formal skills in a hands on/real world way.
   So...yeah, Nameless, what I'm really doing is EMPOWERING THEM, not squashing them. Grrrr......amazing. (Charity straightens back in confidence)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

*gasp* short girl say what?

   A sage once opined that one should know where he is from before venturing out to explore new lands. I, for one, take that to heart. I want my sons to know where they live. I want to give them that before they leave my nest. That my friends is right here, right now!
  Before I go into all that let me just get this out. There's a funny little myth floating around against Fresno.  People are always Fresno-bashing. I know what you are thinking...and you're right. I bash as well. However I don't perpetrate Fresno's nothingness. I don't like the heat...okay I hate the heat. I think a huge majority of the architecture is shameful. True, true I could, and often do say much more. However it must be said that although I would never choose to live here, I do like several aspects of Fresno. There I've said it, and I feel good about it.
   Now that we've gotten that business out of the way, we can move on. We were in downtown Fresno three times this week. Three days in a row. Although I could extol the many virtues of downtown... I'll limit myself to sharing our three days with you.
  Let's start with Tuesday.  Ricky, along with the rest of the PSCA choirs preformed in Courthouse Park. They were at the always touching, annual  Police Memorial Service.  I told my kids for the umpteenth time about my Grandma working in a bank downtown, how they tore down the beautiful courthouse and built this funky thing etc.... all as we sat under the delightful canopy of trees waiting for the service to begin. Afterward we walked across the street for the luncheon provided for the performers. Extraordinary kindness at its best, making you question everything you thought you knew.  We had a simple meal and visited with lots of friends while inviting trees were swaying in the breeze all around us. The pavilions, courtyards and outdoor dining areas really are quite lovely.
  Now on to Wednesday. We parked our car and walked the Fulton Mall. We were exploring the historic art sculpture collection. These are dotted all throughout the six blocks or so of the outdoor mall. Then we hoped in the car and drove all around taking photos of downtown's great buildings of yesteryear. We were saddened that a few had been red-xed. I told my boys many other stories as we drove from location to location.
    Our next stop brought us to the Tower district. This is another great Fresno area, yet still downtown. Here we had the finest pot pies I've ever had the good fortune to taste. We were at the famous Chicken PieShop . They're good. I mean really, really good. Jeff asked for a menu so we could call ahead and order a dozen sometime soon. Billy and Ricky got a kick out of the swanky restaurant. As we were leaving the building we turned to get a great shot of the Tower theater lit up at night. I , of course told my boys story after story. We showed them where my Dad used to live, the Mexican restaurant where my sisters and I sat on stools and visited with the little old couple who ran the joint etc...
  Thursday, as in today...was a day of touring galleries/studios. We were traversing through the downtown section of Fresno's Art Hop. This is the time when artists open their doors for free. It occurs on the first Thursday of each month in Downtown. There are other areas in Fresno doing the same thing on the third Thursday of the month. We toured six smile inducing spots. The favorite of the night was Kliszewski Glass hands down. The boys were positively giddy watching the craftsmen work with the fiery hot glass. I was thrilled for them, they loved the demonstration.We ended our evening with a quick stop to grab some yummy ice cream.
       Three fun-filled, basically free days. Most of these stops were for our Spanish, Photography and Art classes. With these particular destinations we got more intimate with downtown Fresno. We were on an old building/art genre scavenger hunt of sorts.'re alright.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Dwelling on Spring and Hiking Food

  Well the wildflowers have been popping out and trees have been blooming. They have been teasing us for months now.
We've had a traveling respite. We've only ventured out a bit over the last few months. Although the break was needed, we are ready for some outdoor action!
 We want to embrace the green while it's still here. It's a Spring thing for sure!
  Life on Charity Lane is pretty frantic as I am trying to wrap up our school year etc. etc. etc..... However the windows have been open. I've been listening to tantalizing Spring sing it's song. The last thing I wanted to do today was to  be responsible. I wanted to relish in the beauty of spring in California. In the blink of an eye it'll be gone.
  I didn't get to go hiking or even just out for a mountain drive, how sad. However I did sit and day dream about doing so real soon. While I was so happily thinking on the subject I wrote a list to share with all of you. The following is our preferred outdoorsy foods list. What are yours?
  • V8 Juice Boxes
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cucumber sticks
  • All Bran Bars
  • Kashi Bars
  • E mergen C
  • Pears
  • TLC Bars
  • Fruit Leather
  • Cashews
  • Kern Nectar Drinks
  • Carrot Sticks
  • Celery Sticks w/ Peanut Butter or Goat Cheese
  • Jerkey
  • Peanuts
  • Popcorn
  • Wheat thins W/ Cream Cheese
  • Olives
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Strawberry & Fig Newtons
  • Cliff Bars
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Baguette W/ Salami & Cream Cheese

Okay so I'm brilliant

According to a pass-me-down magazine I received from my mother in law, who is great for the pass-me-down magazines. Every now and again she surprises me with a biggo bag of happiness. I get to sit down and veg out finding treasure amongst the pages. Check this out........

"Yellow, the brightest color in the spectrum, promises optimism with its positive energy. Serve breakfast on a bright yellow plate (I have both cereal bowls and plates that are yellow) to give your whole family a cheerful start to the day. Boost your mood with yellow (I have yellow bits of this and that in decor around my house)

You see yellow is my favorite color. I love yellow things.  Apparently I am brilliant....and, um... I host such positive energy!!! Teh-hee

Saturday, April 24, 2010


   I like mornings, before the rush. I am almost always the first one up. It makes the day run so much more smoothly when I am able to take a few minutes to breathe...ALONE. I start the coffee, let the dogs outside and leisurely go about the house doing whatever must be done to make each particular day run most effectively.
   I like that we have time to patiently care for our animals needs. That they aren't abandoned and yet expected to behave regardless of hours spent alone.
  I like that we homeschool our boys. I like that I hold the key on deciding if they need to be blasted out of bed with a fog horn or if they need extra time to rest. Life gives us all the need for both, a mother knows how to monitor this best.
  I like that we have lovely mornings with bible studies lasting as long as we can push the envelope. We can eat our breakfast and calmly sip our coffee...or whatever, while we are mulling over life's complexities.
  I like that we have time to exercise together. It is fun to do with others and a great way to start the day.
  Of course we all shoot out like rockets after the morning rituals. The neat thing is we individually get to carry the joint morning experience away with us. Mornings can make or break our day. A good one gives us energy. A bad experience is tough to compensate. I agree with those who say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I'd like to add to that statement. I think we would do well to consider mornings being the most important time of the day.

Monkey Pod Games

    A few months back, you know before our world went noodles, "Monkey Pod Games" asked if I would be willing to review a few of their games.

   I am here at last, full of's the story.

   I agreed, HELLO who in their right mind would turn away  free family night activities. Well we thought it was awesome. As a matter of fact Ricky said he was going to get on the blog he shares with his brother and write reviews on all the activities he loves most. Of course he was banking on an array of bliss-filled packages arriving on our doorstep. That was short lived.

   The games arrived. We played the games. Life went nuts. We packed the games...and the laptop.

  We are now, obviously back to our normally scheduled program....well enough to share our experience with you anyway.

   The first game we tried out was "Ludo which is basically "SorryTo put it simply we loved it! It's easy to set up, easy to understand! This game is great because you can grab some quick snacks for the game table, set up the game in a giffy and you're ready to go! This provides some great time w/ the fam. without the gloom of "a game that will never end". No fear of brain cells that are too overwhelmed to "get the instructions" Understand I am  not insinuating that it is without challenge. It is a game of wit and strategyThis particular version is actually a wooden box. When you open the lid, where the pieces are stored, it becomes the game board.  It latches shut with loops of red rope and two pegs, which is brilliant.  We have enjoyed sitting on the back patio sipping blueberry tea and playing this new awesome wooden game. Because of its travel ease, we've also taken it on a picnic with us. We plan to take it camping this summer.

  The second game we tried out is called the Soma Cube. Like, Ludo it is a wooden game. Both are aesthetically pleasing earning them a position on the wooden games shelf in our living room. You know vs the second class citizen shut away in the closet... umm the cardboard and plastic games.

    Anyway....Soma Cube is a set of wooden pieces, your job is to take them apart and put them back together in 240 different ways. The first day we played we where on the middle of the floor. The two boys and I had our heads in a triangle. Our bodies were shooting out from the game that lay in the center of said triangle. After reading the instructions several times we finally figured out the step by step directions for the first construction. The next step was going through the process alone with only the figure of a finished construction pictured. This proved to be MUCH harder. That day we only found two more solutions.  The next time we pulled it out we placed it in the middle of the table. We were stumped on a particular figure. One by one through out the day we continued to go back to that table trying to find the new solution. We needed a new way to build. We couldn't conquer it, so we'd walk away. It followed our thought's, so we'd go back and stare at it. This game is kinda like a cross between the family jigsaw puzzle endeavor and the let's try and conquer the Rubic's Cube generational curse.   We loved it! We hated it! We wanted to pull out our hair, We wanted to throw the pieces across the room. Non-the-less when we finally did feel the victory of conquering one of the figures we were on a natural high!

   Thank You Monkey Pod Games for giving my family these beautiful, sturdy, mind stretching games!!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cleaning, books and other important things in life.

   Speaking of spring, that is... in my previous post, I have been "enjoying" the annual spring cleaning phenomena with a bit of a twist. Riding on that wave of energy I have a nice orderly home. I have purged the clutter, well except for my secret life long hoarding project.

Okay, fine! So the issue has been well documented! Yeah, so maybe it's not all that "secret".

For the few of you who have somehow escaped the knowledge, I hunt books. I save books. I have a mission to replace a great number of stolen books. Seriously, if I don't what will my grandchildren read? I mean have you been to a book store lately? How about the public library-a sad state of affairs, I'm sorry to report. Despite the enormity of my collection and the you've-got-to-be-kidding-me look on the faces of those who helped us move all-those-boxes-of-books, I really do give away boxes of books every year. Can I get a witness? Come on Jenny, Jacki, Claudia...anyone?
   At any rate this is the time of year to open windows and listen to the rhythm of spring....and do some serious cleaning! As I alluded to earlier, the endeavor went a bit differently for me this year. We moved, yes again and only four months later! That is a huge MESSY story that will have to wait for another post. For now let's just say it made getting rid of un-needed clutter, freshening everything up, completing projects and restocking much easier.
   Not that I'm advocating a move every four months. The stress of moving is enormous, especially when it's not your choice, when the decision is made for you. Casa de Vincent went noodles for about a month, and is only starting to recover. We have been placed in a very difficult situation. Scheduling has been, well...interesting to say the least. Moving at the end of the school year after moving four months previously during the holidays is umm....NOT FUN!!!

Did I mention that we homeschool, run a home business, have two sons with spring birthdays and our baby is graduating from 8th grade...WHILE WE ARE MOVING!!! Can you spell EXASPERATING???

     While discussing a totally unrelated issue with a sweet friend of mine...who doesn't even know she gave my spirit (that also needed some spring cleaning) some wonderful words of wisdom. She reminded me that I am glad we homeschool. We had no losing of friends, because there was no changing of schools. I am blessed. Another spirit cleaning friend, whose words ring in my ears even as I sit here, reminded me of what others all around us are living through and have no choice but to "deal with". I am blessed. Thank you Jesus for loving me through my tantrums. Thank you for looking to my needs (and a home that can house my books). Thank you Jesus for your majestic rule. Thank you for my cleansing rejuvenation.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thank you God for Spring

It's Spring! With that comes gorgeous blossoms & absolutely wonderful rain....and errr, um.... hailman building hail storms, warm evening picnics, watch through the window thunderstorms, sunny swims &  kite flying wind.  Ricky has been keeping a weather log for Physical Science this month, it has been hilarious! Hooray for the wild ride of springtime! Hooray for the sights, sounds and smells of a quintessential Spring day, which to me means the magic of the unknown. However I mostly adore the sweet aromas from those lovely releases of green and the freshly pounded dirt. These are restorative actions for the earth and my spirit. 

"The day the Lord created hope was probably the day he created spring"~Bert Williams

.....and although I loved the beautiful weather of a few days ago heading out for a walk around the new neighborhood, sitting out in the yard lazin' around with a book, cloud watching with Ricky, some great conversation with Billy in  the garden, conducting schooling outdoors at the picnic table, leading to evening meals placed there as well.  I also love the movie watching snuggle time & the game playing that stormy days tend to bring. Rain brings a calming peace with it.  Let the rain, rain, rain come down, down, down!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

“If there is any boy or man who loves to be melancholy and morose, and who cannot enter into the regions of fun, let me seriously advise him to shut my book and put it away. It was not meant for him.” —R.M. Ballantyne, from the preface to The Coral Islands

So why do you Homeschool anyway?

As I sit here today munchin' on some roasted edamame and sippin' some strawberry tea (it helps me think...the munchin' and the sippin') I've got this sugar cookie flavored scenty plugged in right next to my bed. An inspiring smelly-good for that wet dog cooped up wintry house smell (thanks Mom). I'm listening to my new Tal & Acacia CD (Thanks Mom-n-law) Aren't Moms great? I've got my toes tucked into my nice warm blanket and a pile of books at my side...the phone rings. It's another inquirer asking me to tell them about "this homeschool thing".
I have found myself on more than one occasion here lately stating "boy I'm glad we homeschool" Today was another one of those days that reminds me why we do what we do. So I was already all jazzed up before picking up the phone, not to mention completely comfortable with all my goodies and such......So why do we homeschool anyway? This is a question asked so often you would think by now I would have condensed my answer. In all honesty quite the opposite is true. The longer I home educate, the more dragged out my speech becomes.
I really never have minded the questioning. I have always looked at it as an opportunity to shed some light for others and a constant refresher/reminder for myself. It doesn't take very long to find out if the person asking is truly inquiring or just out to fulfill an agenda. Often times those who are indeed acquisitive never really get my full answer as parenting often interrupts conversations. So....this is for you. All those curious somebodies who want to know why we do what we do.
  • The liberty to teach history from a providential perspective. That is to acknowledge God's divine hand in all times, with all people for his purpose.
  • Also to teach history chronologically in a cyclical manner ever increasing the knowledge level as the years go by. To teach history with a text book as a mere spine of reference. To teach history with autobiographies, biographies, historical fiction and non fiction alike replacing the fragmented boring textbook. Purposely including actual all to often forgotten subject. To teach history by visiting museums as well as historical sites. To teach history by watching movies and incorporating hands on activities. The joy in showing the why, the who and not just the date.
  • The opportunity to teach science through both the evolutionists and creationists point of view. To teach about God the creator of heaven and earth. To take God at his word, that is "all was created in literally six days". However to also teach what evolutionist believe to be in.. yes we read books like Origin of species by Charles Darwin. To teach that the evolutionist and the creationist believe in the same science. It is the faith of the evolutionist and the creationist that differs, which ultimately draws very different conclusions. Neither the evolutionist or the creationist was present to provide scientific fact for the question of origins, this is why we go to the words of someone who was there. We relish the freedom to do just that through the book God has preserved for us.We take joy in teaching an appreciation for Gods wonderful array of colorful people (physical as well as spiritual). Each as completely different and carefully crafted as the tiny snowflakes we all take for granted. So special is each human life that we take time to teach about the rights of even the tiniest, sickliest and oldest. To teach free from abortion & euthanasia propaganda. To teach our children to love their neighbor whether red, yellow, black, white, handicapped, gifted, rich, poor. To be the one who teaches them about sex education free of homosexual propaganda.
  • Also to teach science through  hands on, real life experimentation and  in a lab with other students or at home. To teach science through back yard astronomy and kitchen chemistry. To teach science through nature studies as in observation and drawing, journaling  or diagramming findings. To teach science through fun kits growing lady bugs, earth worms, silk worms, butterflies, moths and frogs. Watching with intent as kittens, puppies and chicks are born. Nurturing goats, rabbits, birds and rats. To teach science by growing gardens, crystals and mold. To teach about biomes by visiting caves, great valley grass lands, deserts, high mountain peaks, canyons, oceans, lakes, rivers, creeks and streams. To teach science through visiting Dad's clients, occupational field trips, museums, theme parks (physics) zoos, farms and rescue shelters. To teach science by building things and home improvement projects.To read wonderful books and watch fascinating movies.
  • Power to pursue and cultivate God given talents, skills and aesthetic endeavors. No homeschool parent I know is arrogant enough to believe they can do everything on their own. However they do know what they can do well. An intricate system of bartering goes on trading subjects as needed and fits within each families dynamics. This is also how many co-ops are started providing holiday parties, graduation ceremonies etc. Not to mention the plethora of tutoring, private lessons and community classes that are available. This is Free Enterprise at its best.
  • Togetherness. Our family is a team. Yes sometimes our days are completely frustrating. As someone once said "giving air to why tigers eat their young" Yet other times our life is radiating with joy and hysterical laughter. We have so many memories we hold in common. Yes we are a typical busy family. However homeschooling allows us to grab time when others are locked away in school. Dinner is hard for us...yes I know typical. Yet we have breakfast and lunch together. We have time for devotional every morning with Dad. We have days on our calendar set aside for just the four of us. We hold our secret days in close regard.
  • One of the blessings I love most is the independence to go on little mini learning adventures. Freedom to break the chains claiming learning happens in a certain time frame, on a certain day, at a a classroom. Learning is happening all around us. Weather we are sitting around the dining table, watching a movie, walking to the park or driving around town, learning continues, it is a natural flow. A love of learning is born when you break away from methods that cause kids to burn out well before middle school. For the record, yes we have a school room. It houses a TV with cable, DVD & VHS for school media. Science equipment, an atlas and globe can be found in the room. We also house workout videos for raining day PE, dictionary, thesaurus, art supplies and office supplies in there. Of course that's where the school day could take place...and it does at times. At home schoolwork is also done floating in the pool, laying in the hammock, sitting on the roof or up in a tree. Yet school work is also done away from home sitting at a beach, resting on a boulder, with toes wiggling in a pond or driving in a car. I love finding new places to explore with my children.
  • People. Yes I list people as one of the blessing of home education. People who pour themselves into the homeschool movement. People who dedicate countless hours organizing, planning and carrying through all sorts of wonderful opportunities for others to enjoy. People who pioneered the modern homeschool movement, which allowed me to come into the picture with ease. Thank you for your sacrifice, time in court and diligence to get companies to sell us curriculum...and actually write some of your own. People I've never met, thank you for my freedom to homeschool independent of governmental dictation at the expense of your families. People who make the decision to homeschool so much easier because you choose to mentor. People who listen to  crying spent mamas' and then reel them back in. People who write books, speak at seminars and create co-ops. I couldn't...probably wouldn't do it without you clearing the path.
  • Desire to alleviate stress by allowing each of my sons to grow at his own speed. We have one who flies through most everything and one who needs lots of extra time...homeschooling allows for both. To learn without the restraints of bells and schedules set in place to herd a room full of kids. To remove busy work meant to silence a flock of burned out, bored students. Joy to learn in a way that reaches each child best. Battling the daily grind without breaking the child's spirit.To learn at whatever speed needed in each individual subject without unnecessary pressure and in effect enjoying the learning process. Yes time to complete each task well. There is no need to move onto the next spelling test just because its Monday. To learn without the lack of restrictions in moving forward in a section of a math text even if someone else couldn't keep up, in example.
  • Freedom to be a boy. Boys aren't meant to sit still  day after day, week after week, year after year. Could this be contributing to the national problem with (mostly boys) and ADD/ADHD?? Homeschooling allows freedom to run laps or jump on a trampoline between each subject taught. Brilliance is setting up a schedule with plenty of physical endurance (sports and home improvement) and lots of time to explore the outdoors for boys. 
  • To nourish and cherish brotherhood. Our boys fight...HELLO! However they are also truly friends. They have such a great time together exploring and learning or simply hanging out.Homeschooling provides time to tend to this.
  • The right to teach phonics instead of the sight word mumbo-jumbo. To use phonics as the building blocks they are meant to be. Time to read, read, read! Oh and reading is so much more enjoyable when you are ACTUALLY taught to read! To start teaching Grammar AFTER phonics is learned. Lots of time to write, just to learn to express ones self. Appreciating the difference in this and  the refining skill of the eloquent written word. Teaching true logic and then the classic method of rhetoric. Giving real skill sets no longer taught in most schools.
  • Teaching self motivating skills. Striving for self starting skills gradually growing into the natural process of independence.
  • To foster great character. To teach wisdom and discernment. Christian homeschool kids are not immune to the sin curse, of course. Likewise they are not hidden from all sorts of evils prevalent in this world, we all fall short.  We aim to show mercy, grace and compassion. We strive to promote fellowship with their peers...yes. Yet also to seek ways to show kindness to those much younger and quite older then themselves. To take notice, to be aware and to act accordingly. Homeschooling allows for time to grow into the "salt" and "light". Giving them strong legs to stand on so they won't be swayed to and fro with every passing wind by saturating them in the ways of God.
  • To teach governmental law, civics and economics by studying speeches, sitting in on council meetings both local and at the state and going to tea parties and the like. Again by reading great books, watching outstanding movies, keeping up on current events and going on plenty of field trips. Teaching public speaking through debate and speech club to give voice in defining ones morals and standards. To insure they know their constitutional rights. 
  • Time for unrushed prayer. Using a prayer board that we pin names or pictures on to remind us of all the people we want to lift up. By keeping a prayer and praise journal as an easy way to release our troubles and also to recognize Gods blessings. 
“Boys [should be] inured from childhood to trifling risks and slight dangers of every possible description, such as tumbling into ponds and off of trees, etc., in order to strengthen their nervous system... They ought to practice leaping off heights into deep water. They ought never to hesitate to cross a stream over a narrow unsafe plank for fear of a ducking. They ought never to decline to climb up a tree, to pull fruit merely because there is a possibility of their falling off and breaking their necks. I firmly believe that boys were intended to encounter all kinds of risks, in order to prepare them to meet and grapple with risks and dangers incident to man’s career with cool, cautious self-possession...” —R. M. Ballantyne

Friday, February 5, 2010

They really are tasty little morsels

Brussels sprouts.
Yes I'm serious.
I can't even begin tell you how many people have suggested they "smell like dirty socks & taste even worse".  I've never had that experience myself. Out of curiosity I did manage to get a few ladies to share with me the way they were taught to serve these yummy veggies up.
Interesting fact.
They all made them the same way.
I recently bought a bag of Brussels sprouts. I did something I've never done before. I flipped the bag over to see if cooking instructions were provided. Sure enough, there read the same ol' recommendation I've been hearing about time and time again.
Well my dear sweet readers this is one instance I am going to insist you don't listen to your elders. Just abandon their Brussels sprout ideals. Do not fear the outcome instead rejoice in the freedom of a new day, a new way! Step away from the old plan all you Brussels sprout haters.
Yes it's true there is another way, you don't have to boil them. My Grandmother taught me how to make Brussels sprouts while spending a weekend with her, when I was a young girl. That is how I've continued making them all these years later. It never occurred to me that Grandma's way wasn't the norm, I didn't get the memo. As a matter of fact Regina is the only friend I've ever met who cooked hers up "like Grandma used to make." Go figure.
So what did Grandma do anyway? Well. She cut them in half and sauteed them in butter, minced garlic and salt. That's all folks.
Sometimes butter really is the only answer. Go ahead give it a try...I dare you.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

If you don't know...well now you know

   I love me some game playin'! I 've been known to get a little excited while at it too. I'm probably the most exuberant of the bunch, like a crazy person at moments. Yes, she of the Vincent tribe is a real game goober. So it's great that I married a man who also enjoys an impromptu flee to the game closet...or bookcase, cuz that's where the pretty ones are stored...or that one over on the side table. Psst...I love you Jeff! Oh! Is it any wonder that we have raised us up a couple of gamers?
    Now I'm not talkin' bout this highfalutin' new fangled video game phenomena. Rather I'm referencing the plethora of card games and board games available to families. Games where wisdom is dispensed, brains are stretched and families conversate therefore bonding. Yeah, that type.
   It's amazing to me when I hear that families don't play games together anymore. Especially when you consider the games on the market for every age and any personality. I remember watching my Grandfather play Parcheesi on his front porch with the neighborhood men, I tell my boys this every time we play. I'm sure they rolls their eyes. I remember playing the memory game with my Grandma as a little girl. Then watching her play the same game with my sons. Now I watch them play the same game with their toddler cousins. Then reminisce with their older cousins about "games" gone by. My brother, Eric, bought Billy & Ricky a game called "Don't wake Daddy" when they were little. It was kinda like their real life, because Daddy worked nights at the time!
  Apparently word leaked out that Billy likes playing games. For every year that he was part of We Got The Beat, a children's percussion group, he received a Connect Four game. Yes. Every year. Not only that, but one year he also received a Connect Four game from my brother Jimmy, My Mom and the Shugert family. Although it was a pain to return each and every extra Connect Four game we kinda miss the "tradition" now that Billy has out grown the game. Speaking of  little ones, when Ricky was just 5 and 6 years old he played with CHEFA's Chess team. I still remember my tiny guy carrying his own chess board. He was so serious about his "appointment". This was big time! I remember playing Hi Ho Cheerios, Candyland and Go Fish. Too bad no one will play those anymore. They are still fun. P.S. Isn't it funny how many little kids call Go Fish "Gold Fish"
  Though none of us have enough time to do a Chess club or any thing of the like we still find time here or there to play a game. Both boys look forward to games night with friends and family. These can be well planned out or super last minute. Games are just fun. Come on you know its true. Just give yourself over to them. Of course pretty much every American knows the joys of classics like Uno, Twister and Stratego. Maybe you've even heard about Swap, Blockus or Settlers of Catan. If you've happened by our house and stuck around long enough for the games to pop out you've probably been harassed persuaded to play those along with us. If you've ever been on a road trip or camping with us then surely your have played candy poker, Hit the Deck or Charades. The last game night we went to Ricky played Categories and had a blast. None of us had ever played before. Hmmmm, Grandma's take note!

  *Side stepping for a sec. The Grandma's buy games at Christmas that are not to be tampered with until New Years Eve. This is an  awesome  tradition that started when we had tots we needed to entertain on a long night.

   We always enjoy ourselves. However the best times are on rare lazy days and it kinda just happens. Hang out with my teenagers. Eat food. Play cards. I love that!

These are only a few stories I chose to paint. We have enough for a gallery. If I have succeeded in convincing you to grab your people and get your game on. A nice thought of gathering around a table in time for some Super Bowl half time bonding. Here is our list of THE 12 BEST GAMES EVER (and also how my boys were introduced to each game) for you to utilize. No. I mean it. Go for it baby!

  *Battleship (a few tutorial lessons from Bobby & Henry , then it was passed down)

  *Uno (from me!!! "All is fair in love & Uno")

  *Hit the Deck (Meme put it in their stocking)

  *Swap (Bought to play with my aging Grandmother. We we searching for a way to enjoy spending time with her. Most especially time for her to share with my boys before God called her home....She cheated at that game, I tell ya she did. That turkey!)

  *Apples to Apples (Again Meme one Christmas. This game is played almost every time the kids have a party or sleep over)

  *Monopoly (Uncle Jimmy. This is like the longest game known to man kind. They play it every time CJ comes to stay with us...for the week. Or when we used to go to the beach with Jeff's parents...for the week!!

  *Risk (Granny bought this for Christmas in a nice wooden box...she is responsible for all the wooden games on our shelves)

   *Clue (Another Granny Christmas purchase. She even bought them the movie "Clue" which just made the game even more fun)

   *The Memory Game (Grandma T. (as B&R call her) gave me the original one she played with my siblings and I when we were little. Hey come to think of it she had a game closet too. Maybe this is all her fault influence. You know I do realize my kids are too big for this game. However I say it belongs on this list do to its sheer power to get them to sit still FOR A VERY LONG TIME!)

   *Blink (A stocking gift from us. I was Billy has passed me up. Someone please go buy this game and study hard. When you at once become awesome, come immediately to my house and give Billy a proper beating! I will provide food)

   *Candy Poker (Papa Jim & Aunt Ceci taught them how to play a few different games actually. The fire caught and now they host gatherings with each guest bringing their sweet of choice, basically everyone ends up with a trail mix of sorts.

    *Chess (Papa Jeff, Dad (Jeff) and Aunt Mary all added to this knowledge. My sister Bethany bought the game)

Monday, January 25, 2010

We moved...and this is why

   We are not fans of the valley. Most of that is due to weather, but there are a few other reasons as well. For now lets just stick with the weather aspect. We have always wanted to move out of California. After much research and even a trip to check it out in person we decided on Maine. Try as we might that goal has never been reached. Almost four years ago we settled on at least getting off the valley floor. We moved up to Coarsegold, in a rent-to-own home. Unfortunately the owners made some bad financial choices, and we had to move on. At that point we moved into another rental...still in Coarsegold. Before the year was up we knew we would have to move back down into the valley.

   Many factors went into that submission. Here's that story.

  You see when making the intentional decision to move up into the foothills Jeff's business was still new enough that he had clients in every which direction. There was no such thing as convenient. So it was an easy choice to move where our spirits were rejuvenated. However very rapidly his client base was centered in Fresno.
   In hopes of transferring as much of our lives as possible to Coarsegold we left the church we were attending in Fresno for one in Coarsegold. The pastor at that church made some very shameful choices. Apparently before we moved into the picture he had begun "cleaning house" in the church. Which inevitably caused a church split. That's about when we started attending. He continued to realign the church according to scripture. Yes that does sound good. However he stomped on people in order to accomplish it. He compromised for his own personal comfort. At this point we decided to slip out of the church. We enjoyed a few months of sweet home church, just the four of  us.  Then we began, once again, to attend the church down in Fresno. Which meant even more time on the road to and fro.
    Just a quick side step: Jeff had developed a friendship with the pastor and had called him to breakfast on occasion to talk about the church no avail. Most disappointing of all, the pastor secretly applied for positions in other other states. It was a devastating blow to the church, which was left in shambles.
And yet another side step:
  As we studied in our current church on Sunday I reflected back on the Coarsegold church. I thought about how God puts us through the refiners fire. How painful it is. How beautiful things turn out in the end. My thoughts transferred over to that Coarsegold pastor. I thought about the cleansing good works he started in the church. I thought about his methods in doing so. I especially thought about how he abruptly left. Our Lord will never leave or forsake us rang in my ears. The amazing picture I had on that Sunday morning will probably never leave me. I thought of

1 Corinthians 3:10-13 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, a  wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: Every man's work shall be made manifest: for day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

      "Gold and silver" melt in the refiners fire...but are not destroyed. God's authority causes the "metal" to be formed into something of beauty to show the world his sovereignty. I thought about the pastor of this church, who I think started out trying to do right by Gods law, but in the end turned to the call of his flesh.
   So? Because of this (in my minds eye) I see a clump of gold/silver that has been left to fall where it may. Heated and totally abandoned. Yet not all hope is lost. It is not wood that has turned to ash. It is still a metal..all be it ugly, that CAN be remelted and reformed by the refiners fire. That is hope.

 Okay. So back to my tale. So far you know we moved for work, a church and time on the road. The next issue that I want to address is the home school atmosphere. We joined a group up in Coarsegold and limited greatly any activities in Fresno in regards to home education....but then that group quickly dissipated as well. If someone where to have told me that Fresno was more anti-government than a little mountain town..well I would have laughed long and hard. However that is exactly what I experienced. I met family after family who could not imagine conducting school with out the governmental monies and programs...enter the Charter school movement. Such a wild difference. Wow. Just wow! Not to go into another side tracked tail spin....but I don't respect that movement. More on that another day.
  At any rate, that made up the majority of the home educators. That and the group of individuals who add rules to scripture. Who live extra-biblical practices and push those beliefs on others. It was a very judgmental, very pinched, angry, self righteous group of people. Can you say Pharisee or how about Sadducee? Now I never went to blows with anyone up there. However a saw a whole lot of pain. I witnessed many hurts caused by self praising bitter hearted fools. I just want ride in a small  airplane over the whole area with a giant banner stating....
Romans 3:9-20 "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: There for none that understandish, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable: there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways And the way of peace have have not known: There is fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin"

.....and drop little note cards stating God repeated himself many times in these verses so you would understand that he was including you as well!

 I'm sure you guessed by now we returned to the homeschool movement in Fresno...which meant even more road time. 

 So there we sat at an emotional impasse. We knew we needed to move. We didn't want to. We disparately clung to the mountains.

 Regardless we set out trying to convince "the bank" that a person with no credit cards, who is self employed and is wanting to buy a home for the first time can be trusted....they laughed, we scared them.  We ended up renting. However getting into a rental was also a chore. No one wanted our two big dogs to come with us. To make matter worse we were asked by rental agents why we were renting. Stating we clearly had the income to buy..yeah haha, real funny!
   As it turns out God used this waiting, this time of no answers, to make us long to move to Fresno. Yes you read that right. Long for the convenience. Long for the oppurtunity. Long for the time OFF the road. We ended up jumping at a rental that excepted our dogs, sight unseen. You know what? It turned out fine! The house has a pool, volleyball court, horse shoe pit and fruit trees in a BIG yard...for city living. Landscaping for front and back yards as well as pool service are included in the rent. It is a 4 bedroom, which means we don't have to rent office space for Jeff & we get a school room. It has a living room and a family room, which means plenty of room for books and instruments. We got into our neighborhood of choice. This is a nice neighborhood, within five minutes of basically all we do and there are lots of lovely trees to view! All in all God showed himself to know best. I accept living in Fresno now. However I hope to one day own a time share in Maine. For like June-August...Tee-hee!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

required decompression...and dogs don't mix

   I woke up very early this morning...4ish. I couldn't sleep due to overwhelming thoughts about my sisters. Rebekah-gone. Bethany-misery. Elizabeth-compromised. Melissa-stranger. So I did a little house work, read a few blogs, worked through a bit of school paperwork and made some coffee. Then I got my guys up & out the door to their Chitudo practice in Coarsegold..and then demo in Fresno.

If you don't realize....let me clear it up for you. I needed to be alone with my thoughts. Today had the potential to give me that clearness that only comes from being alone in the stillness.

 It all started out well, me isolated in quiet, dogs sleeping in kennels.  However as soon as I moved they begged to be let out. They eagerly searched the house for the guys. When they could not be found they panicked, as they always do. Now I had two watch dogs with puffed out chests perusing the joint. Which translates: NO MORE ENJOYING TIME ALONE.

 They become super heroes when all three guys are gone. I don't know why, but both dogs feel an intense need to protect me. When my guys are home they slack off. When it's just me and the out world.

  Sweet you say? Yes I will give you that it makes me feel mind blowingly special. However let me draw you a picture. I tried to do an exercise video, but from what I could hear they just about jumped through the front window. They sounded particularly gruff. So after stopping the tape, because I just had to make sure, and dressing appropriately for neighbor viewage, why do I have all the blinds open anyway, I walked out into the living room to see the mailman walking off our porch, I should have known better. Sweating and gross from the video I decided to go take a shower. I only had 8 minutes left to the hour long thing anyway. As I got in the shower they started up again. I told myself to ignore them...that it was just a squirrel or something. I did finish the shower, but it was not the long steaming therapeutic one I had dreamed of. You see because I ignored those two doggies they upped the anti. They came into the bathroom and sat at the shower door and cried until I got out. Then once I was dressed they parked themselves back in front of the living room window. Giving a careful eye to possible danger. Sweet? Yes. Peaceful? NO!!!!!

Sigh- so be it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hello, it's me.

  I'm sitting here sipping some amazing steaming hot ginger tea with a bit of lemon and honey. I'm Cuddled up in my warm fuzzy blanket with a book I've just read at my side and this laptop on my lap. I'm reminded of the following quote by C.S. Lewis, "You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me".  I have been catching up on my own personal reading this week including that of my bloggie friends. Most everyone has been diligent in updating their blogs with holiday recaps and New Years resolutions including my sons. Although I do have to interject here that my boys are told to "go and write something" and that their schedules are organized for them to have time to do so. I only point this out because a few un-named individuals have teased me about the diligence of a Mother vs her sons.

Moving on.

  I do have guilt about not being able to get to this blog, so here I sit today. Much has happened since I last blogged, far too much to be covered in one entry. Of course a good amount of that has been written over at Billy & Ricky's blog. They have done a fine job of talking about the holidays, so I won't back track on that except to say New Years Eve ended up completely wonderful.      You see for us New Years has always been a new games (received on Christmas from the Grandma's) fun activities and great food night. Always spent with our little four pack. This year due to a somebody-smack-me-now moment we almost joined the crazy rubble of a big party. You see at the youth meeting for our homeschool group I told of a homeschool group from another state. I shared about our friends enjoying a themed new years party each year. It sounded fun. Before I could come to my senses I even said I would run the debacle. What is my damage! Anyway it was canceled do to finances freeing us to resume our regularly scheduled program. Tee-hee!
  So we played new wii games, card games, board games & watch new movies. While we played we ate candy, chips/dip, nuts and the most amazing bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. I found the recipe at recipezaar. For dinner we had new york steaks, baked potatoes with all the fixin's, a green salad and some yummy bread. The house smelled lovely as we had wassail for drinking. Yep.  It was simmering all day long.
   Just before midnight we readied the TV for watching the ball drop in New York. We counted down and then it was crazy time! We toasted (with sparking cider, grape skewers and donuts...because I was told you haaavvvee to have donuts as your midnight snack on New Years Eve) to a new beginning and kicked 2009 out the door. We shot each other with silly string, blew into party blowers, popped party poppers, threw confetti, and ran outside to shout into the night air all while wearing our gorgeous party hats and Billy-Bob teeth!
   We did have a few mishaps. First the dog ate the peanut brittle..yea all of it and yes I made it. The second thing is that I accidentally picked up a bag of huge wild party blowers instead of fireworks. Although those were one seemed to suffer. I just heard a lot of oh wells and then it was a throw fest as confetti and smoke filled our driveway. This year my brother Eric and his girlfriend Crystal as well as her son Nathan joined us....that was a real treat!!
  We don't do New Years resolutions over here so I will leave you with a quick years glance of life with my two sons.
January: Billy shaves for the first time
February: Billy and Ricky add Sierra Summit to their snowboarding endeavors
March: Ricky re-begins guitar and piano. He self teaches through bks, DVD's & CD Roms until we move. (He is now receiving lessons for both instruments)
April: Ricky Becomes a Teenager
May: Ricky decides to get as much country yard activities in before moving to Fresno. He was very busy.
June: Billy Becomes a Scuba Diver
July: Billy plans a camping/ hiking expedition all by his lonesome
August: Ricky returns to his true love, Choir
September: Billy adds Jewish Music to his repertoire
October: Ricky attends the first of many Boy Scout camp outs
November: We move to Fresno
December: Billy passes Drivers Ed (time to move on to the permit)