Thursday, July 31, 2008
A team of our friends from the Pregnancy Center we helped start almost 10 years ago are in Bolivia ministering beside another center. The purpose of the trip is to get to know our "sister" center better, encourage Patricia, the Director there, and to speak & minister to many in the city of Santa Cruz about the center and abstinence.
Our team even spoke to a group of women in prostitution about abstinence. Check out their blog and please pray for them.
Cancer Treatment Trips
Please also pray for my sister in law, Mary today as she starts radiation treatment for colon cancer. Our family and friends let out a collective sigh of relief when we found out Tuesday the tumor in the colon is the only cancer the doctors found. Apparently this type of cancer is rarely found as the original site in the colon so the worry was that the cancer had already metastasized. We are elated to find out this isn't the case!
However, it's still bitter-sweet since we now have to watch Mary undergo six weeks of daily trips for radiation, then she'll start the chemo regimen (mostly by pill). Our family has been emotionally and spiritually occupied by this heaviness while trying to stay updated (and keeping extended family updated). My brother can't take off work for six weeks, so we're all trying to mobilize and figure out who can drive Mary the 60 miles to treatment each weekday. I'm sure this strain (which we'll gladly bear for her) is nothing compared to the emotional work my brother & sister in law are going through. I covet your prayers for them-for healing, for peace, and for them to draw near to God like they never have before.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Thanks to my friend Terrie for posting these writings on her blog!
It's Just Common SenseRuth Beechick, Curriculum Specialist
My favorite thing about homeschool is you homeschoolers yourselves. I love to read homeschoolers on chat groups exchanging creative ideas, asking and answering questions, encouraging one another. You all are the freest people on earth, and are using your freedom wisely. You are a great hope for our future. Feeling somewhat isolated in your house, you probably have a hard time seeing that; but from my particular vantage point, that's what I see. Please don't get discouraged and quit. Well, maybe you'll get discouraged at times, but please don't quit.--Ruth
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
This weekend was busy-I cleaned out about 25-30 storage totes of the girls clothes (newborn all the way up to size 10 in little girls), Jaybird decided all on her own to finish up potty training when she heard me say I wouldn't buy any more diapers and she'd have to wear cloth (which she hates). She even went to Wal-Mart in big girl panties! She also plays Nintendogs on the DS, by the way. She must be a genius.
Shane & I had a big talk (on our new satin sheets he bought at a garage sale! Very funny-silver satin sheets under a country looking quilt, lol. Not sure we like them but it was fun-the girls wore their silk pjs and slid around a lot). Oh, the talk-it was about our housing situation. Thanks to those of you who have been praying about this, it means a lot.
I went to church solo yesterday since some of our crew was sick. On the quiet half hour drive there I was thinking about our debt and our housing needs. We are in total bondage to the credit card debt. It takes 1/4 to of our monthly income to meet the minimum payments each month. If we had that money in our pockets, we could easily make a house payment on an adequate (but not huge) house. It's so frustrating.
That's when it hit me. If we were in a tangible bondage, we'd be doing anything we could to get out of it. Since it's financial, and somewhat abstract, it can almost be ignored.
As I look to our future, I think about Ashlyn going to college in 6 years or so. (!!!) Once she starts, we'll have at least one child in college for the next 16 years! I'm sure during this time, the weddings will start, then grand babies will be on the way...and what if we're still in this bondage? We'll be heading straight for retirement with all these credit cards still looming over us. Neither of us want that.
We see that we have two choices:
1. Put a repossessed manufactured home on the land and spend the next few years paying off the debt. Depending on how much we decide we need to help our kids with college and where they go, we might could build a house then. It'd be fun to give the mobile home away or something...
2. Sell our land. This is a little heartbreaking, as we've spent seven years yearning for the day we could live there. We think (but would verify before moving forward) that we can get enough for the land to pay off all the debt and have a nice down payment on a new (to us) place. The downside is that we'd have to wait for it to sell and that the few properties we've thought were basic (3 bedroom brick home with a few acres) are in the $250K range-which is NOT in our budget even without the debt. We need to do some more looking before we put our land on the market for sure.
I know this update is less than earth shattering, but something this big during an economy this poor takes a process to work through. Well, for families that are serious about having mom home to take care of the kids/homeschool it's big.
Thanks for listening, carry on with your own processes going on in your heads...
Thursday, July 24, 2008
And I have a great prayer request. We need a house that fits our family. And our budget. The two seem to not mesh well and I know it simply has to be the Lord who works it all out. We're trying to be especially careful not to put ourselves in a financial bind, especially with this crazy economy. I know it's also important for Shane to have the time to invest in our daughters' lives (not the company's bottom line) since research has shown for years that dads being close to their daughters means the daughters don't have the need to get close to boyfriends. So, we've spent the last few weeks looking into several options: Building on our land, putting a manufactured home on our land, and even buying a home in a different location while waiting out the economic storm. We looked today at a dream house (mostly for kicks) that if we could buy, we'd just sell our land and live there. We're basically testing all the doors to see what God will open for us. It's starting to feel there is no place for us (except government subsidized housing, lol) but I know that's not Truth. Please pray for us to find the right door and have the faith to walk through it.
Grace to you!
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Why I can't wash dishes -Jaybird always wants to. She also picks out her own clothes...
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Until a few years ago, I didn't mind buying Wal-Mart clothes. It is the only place in town, but it seems their quality is just going down the tubes. Their stuff is too thin or unravels as soon as it gets washed. The George label seems to be okay, but I've sworn off most all their other clothes. I've even stopped buying the basics-like undies-there. I did buy a bra a few months ago but the underwire is already poking out. So I decided to go shopping online for those girlie necessities. I didn't know exactly where to start, but a google search landed me at http://www.herroom.com/.
I needed a good bra for the rest of this pregnancy and Wal-Mart rarely has the right combination of cup & band size for me--especially as my rib cage expands in the last months. I'm trying to move away from frumpy clothes (even those no one sees) and have a little more fun, so I was also seeking some new underoos.
At Her Room, I easily found my size and what a selection! They have a ton of categories and once you click on an item it shows views of each item from the front & back. If you're looking at a bra, it will show you overlays of common collar cuts so you can see if it will show if you wear a V-neck, for instance. My favorite part is that there are ratings & comments on each product. The commenters also tell you their body size so you can see if other women with your similar shape loved or hated an item. Isn't that so cool? It's like shopping with a girl friend but not ever leaving the house!
So, if you need some new undergarbs, you now know were to go. I know, I know...you don't have to thank me. I take it as my job to keep you covered on all the important things in life :)
Editing to add: I must recant the "For Girls Only" part...not only does it just mean the boys will have to read it, but I just saw there is a "His Room" part of the site...just please don't tell me guys if you order any of those swim suits-especially the pink one-are those ribbons hanging down?
Monday, July 21, 2008
Our bed is now only occupied by me (and occasionally Shane) at night. Jaybird has left the nest. When I went to Austin, she obviously didn't sleep with me (since she didn't go) so the week after, she slept with her sisters for a few nights. With much protest on the first 2 nights, by the way. The 3rd night was much better, she just demanded that Ashlyn let her "walk the dogs" on the Nintendo DS. A lot. Those are now some lean dogs! Then Saturday night, we put together the VW Bug toddler bed some great friends gave us. She wasn't thrilled with the idea, but cracked a little smile as we tucked her in. Back in my bed alone, I cried. I missed my snuggle girl and knew she missed snuggling, too. The next day she took a nap with Shane (in our bed) and refused to move off his arm to her own pillow! She had to soak in the snuggle time!
This morning, about 6:30, she crawled in bed with me. Her toes were frozen, so maybe that's why. I kind of hope that's why. I love her in there, but I'm preparing for life with a newborn and need my other kids to stay put once she's here.
In other news, we saw Dark Knight last night. We tried to watch it Saturday night but it was sold out. We drove over an hour and just ended up going to Target. So yesterday we bought our tickets online. I wouldn't have given it 5 stars like the reviews I read did. It wasn't great but wasn't horrible either. It was too drawn out but Heath Ledger did a fabulous job as the Joker. My opinion, wait for it on DVD.
Today is my brother in law's 29th birthday. When Shane & I met, he was 12. Wow.
We found out last week that my sister in law has colon cancer. She starts radiation this week. My heart is heavy for my brother and sister in law-this is (thankfully) the first serious thing they've ever faced.
Also found out a dear friend has Lyme disease. Lots of health related prayering going on at our house!
I have about four weeks of work left. I know it will be a bitter-sweet transition.
I have about 15 weeks left before we meet Audrey (no middle name yet). I'm starting to get a little uncomfortable-heart burn, breathlessness and so on. The broad ligaments are a pain-they hurt more often than I remember. Other than that, I feel great. I only get nauseated when I'm in the heat and it passes fast. I've gained seven pounds.
Still no sugar in my diet since June 9th. It's easier than the first weeks. Mostly I don't think about it. When I need something sweet, a ripe peach or a Kashi cookie does the trick (Kashi doesn't use refined, white sugar).
I'm reading Timothy again. Boy Paul is opinionated and long winded. His sentences go on and on and on...it's good stuff though.
Grace to you (as Paul would say)!
Friday, July 18, 2008
I've been trying to analyze my habit of being home more than "out and about". I am realizing that I'm home more than anyone I know, and I like it that way, but it tends to collide with other people's plans sometimes. It also makes me feel a little backwards, so I'm blogging about it to work it out in my own mind. Keep in mind working part time paired with school in the mornings takes up a lot of time.
First to consider are the logistical aspects of me getting out. I have five children here, essentially a set of 2 year old twins (my cousin's Adri is only 6 weeks older than my Jay). If we are out during Shane's work week, I'm the only adult. Being outnumbered is no fun in my eyes. I don't have a friend who's single, kid free, and ready to go run around at a moment's notice, so there's very little fun involved in the whole thing. Quite the opposite. My children have well thought out debates regarding who gets to sit where in the van. Even Jay has started fully rebelling against her car seat (to no avail, but with much spanking sometimes). Getting all the diaper bags and stuff (Polly Pockets, DS game, whatever) to the car and then back out once we get home is another chore I don't exactly cherish. You know that stuff grows while you happily (or not so happily) move on down the road. It takes 2 trips to get it all out!
Maneuvering around nap time is also a challenge. We don't go by strict schedules, but the babies sleep until roughly 10ish and then go back down in the afternoon. It ain't pretty to mess up a 2 year old's nap-and surely it is miserable to mess up two 2 year olds' naps.
So, how about just running a child or two to another person's house for a few hours? Sounds great and very normal. Yet my first thoughts are to reject this idea at all costs. I know part of this is totally my own issue (yet I don't really know why yet).
This is what has really made me think about my home-habit. What I've come up with so far is that we are really busy at home. (What is everyone else doing? How do y'all have time to spare???) We are still doing some light school work most week day mornings. When we're working through a family read aloud, that's an evening thing, so one of the older girls being out means no reading that night. Karate 2 nights a week and life group takes 3 nights out in a row for family reading. Maybe I work my kids too hard (I doubt it though), but they have responsibilities at home. Keeping Adri is mostly their job, they have animals to tend to and we work throughout the day at keeping the house semi-clean. Our biggest pursuit right now is to keep Jay from biting Adri. This takes man power and when my men, ahem, girls, are out, I feel the loss.
Also, there's always the after effects of an older sister being gone. I guess because we homeschool they aren't really used to one sister being gone while they have to be home. While I completely understand that at times it's very appropriate for only one girl to be invited somewhere, I catch a lot of flack from the sisters who have to stay home.
So, to tally that up, it means I'm left with one less big girl helper and the ones left behind whine to me and bite each other. Sounds peachy, huh?
The ironic thing is, I don't necessarily love being home. If given a choice of a day at home with Shane or a day running errands, exploring the town's little shops, and hanging together, I'd easily choose the out and about day-with no children :) I don't have a home I relish being in all day, but it is the easiest way for us.
Even the entire family going somewhere fun for the day is a huge sacrifice-it takes up many of the few precious hours we get with Daddy and our ongoing need-to-get-done list only gets longer. It has to be a really great thing for all involved or it probably won't happen. Not that we're slave drivers and stay home to get things done every weekend, but without a husband home & able to do stuff in the evenings, it's just reality that we end up hanging around the house on his weekends-both the get stuff done and just to enjoy each other in our own environment.
As I re-read what I have tried to explain, I realize it's pretty much all about me! I don't like the hassle of taking a car full of kids all around town, I don't like being left with the ankle biters, and I don't like our to-do list being neglected. I have agendas for most days and I want to stick to them (rarely happens perfectly). So, is it just "how I do it" or is it selfishness?
Just and edit to add that I was talking to a friend on the phone this morning sharing my little struggle about this and she and I touched on the aspect of it being a totally different dynamic taking your 11 year old to a friend's when I also have little bitty ones in tow. Most people have kids in a closer age range. Not sure this makes a difference to anyone but me, but there ya go ;)
Monday, July 14, 2008
Seriously, we only need a handful of things and to be very open, we don't need a whole lot of things-like blankets, for example. We have a full to the brim storage tote loaded down with beautiful baby quilts. We've not opened it in years-since we continue to circulate the same dozen or so we've received with our last babies. Yes, this baby can have a few of her own, but that's all we'll need. Same idea for clothes, bibs, toys, and so on. We try to live simply and are currently squished into a 2 bedroom/1 bath house. Besides, don't most of you moms of many realize with each new baby you truly need less and less stuff?
On the other hand, it was quite fun to put together a small registry. I've not done that since our wedding days! This is probably my last one...so have fun with it, too :)
FYI: I put some nursing clothes on there and will probably go update it as the fall clothes come out.
Do you think less of me for putting this out there? Don't answer that :)
Edit: Just so you know, the original link took you right to my own page with my full name. I altered the the html code and now it just goes to the page. You have to know my first & last name to see my registry. The friends' password is baby5
So, aim each day to have simple home, with the TV off (and the game stations, iPods, Radio Disney, and so on). Have on hand fun learning toys-not expensive ones, home made play dough will do just fine. Make it together for even more fun! Some good things to have around (for little ones):
Cups for filling/dumping in the sink
Fun music like Veggie Tales CDs (We like the worship CD & the Campfire Songs)
Art supplies: finger paints, safety scissors & construction paper
Board games like Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, Memory
Dress up clothes-find great additions at thrift stores and on sale after Halloween
Make a regular time to read to your child. The earlier the better. Remember, it's not the point to get through the whole story, just to make books fun. Until mine are around 3-4, we just read the little one-liner board books and spend much time pointing out butterflies, moo-cows, birds, and trees in the pictures. A tickle time or a favorite snack paired up with reading will help your child associate good feelings with books.
As you go about your day, include your child. Talk to him or her about what you are doing. Even from an early age when they're too young to even understand, they can learn the sounds of the English language, it's rhythms and cadences. They love to hear you talk.
When you're at the store and your child points at the oranges, say, "Yes, that's an orange. Feel it's skin." Point out colors, shapes, names of things, and textures. Don't worry about what the couple behind you might think, they're thankful your child is getting attention and not causing a scene by throwing a fit (all of ours do at times, by the way!).
As you observe things in nature-trees, birds, the moon and so on, point them out and say, "That's the moon, and God made the moon. God also made Mommy & Daddy, and you!" Later you can quiz the child and say, "Who made you? Who made Mommy? Who made the stars?"
Teach little ones (even around age 2) that we pray to God. Involve them in prayers, ask them to bow their heads (but don't expect it to be done the whole time, every time) and expect them to be quiet during prayer time. We pray when we hear a siren near our house, and all our children take turns praying for the situation, as well as blessing the food at meals and praying for other needs as they arise. Jaybird may not know what we are doing when we pray, but she will insist we hold hands and bow our heads before we eat-a habit that will grow as she understands more later.
There are several things you're tying to accomplish in the very early years: obedience to your authority, a love of learning, and a love for God. By creating a calm, peaceful home full of learning opportunities and by pointing out who God is at every turn, you'll easily reach the second two goals.
Does anything about this make you feel silly or nervous? You must get past your own hangups if this is to be a lasting endeavor in your home. Pray about your misgivings-God is not the author of confusion, he wants you to master this! Remember your authority and responsibility to teach your child. Get started and don't look back! It's the best investment you can make!
I want to say thanks to my friend who so openly shares her struggles with having the confidence to teach her young ones. I appreciate her honesty. She's helped me think through this process and hopefully together we can break it down so it's not so scary!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Our pastor has been heavily convicted that parents are the key to the best spiritual teaching of their children. He explains that there is a connect that happens when it's the parent teaching that is absent when the teacher is not the parent. Our church leadership is looking at spending resources on equipping parents to do this instead of keeping all the plates spinning for a Sunday School program.
At the conference I went to this week, the speakers all said over and over that the best way to impart the purity message to children is to have the parents do it.
As a homeschooling mother, I do wish everyone would take these ideas one step further. If parents are the best to impart both spiritual & sexual values, then why not academics as well? I'm not saying everyone should homeschool, I'm just asking for some credibility for homeschoolers and more involvement in the schools for public schooled kids. There's nothing different from teaching social studies than teaching Bible stories.
Our culture has adopted some faulty ideas. We've exalted our experts to too high a pedestal. We don't take much ownership of our health care since, after all the doctor is the expert. Same thing with our children's education. Many parents blindly hand their children to the school system at the ripe age of 4 and go about their days fully trusting that whatever the school system does must be okay since they are the experts at education, after all.
The Bible says marriage was meant to create godly offspring. It doesn't say the church and school were created to make godly offspring. If God trusted parents with the most important education of all (a spiritual one) than why do parents buy into the lie that they can't do it?
Parents, not only can you teach your children the most important things in life, but you (we) have to! Look at our culture-do you want the culture to teach your children?
Be involved, be educated about the issues, trust your instincts! Don't feel like homeschooling is for your family? Fine, but be like my friends and get involved in the school you child is in. Don't just leave it up to the overworked and underpaid teacher. She's part of your tool chest of resources, but it's not her job alone. Need help teaching your children spiritual truths? Resources abound on great sites like Focus on the Family and CBD.com. Feel your child needs more help? Get good people around you to strategize and find solutions, don't just shrug and expect the teacher/doctor/youth leader to fix it.
How's that for a soap box? You can tell it's a huge issue for me when parents stick their heads in the sand on the issues I discussed above. Our kids deserve to have informed and involved parents. Don't you think so?
Friday, July 11, 2008
I'm here physically, but my heart is still in Austin. I guess it's more of my mind still being in Austin. Our Pregnancy Center board send four of us to the Medical Institute's annual conference. We learned a lot about sexual health issues and abstinence education. Our brains are bulging with new ideas & information to use in our center...our bellies are bulging from all the good food we enjoyed! We took a few minutes to visit the State Capitol and of course, toured the mall :)
Kat, Summer & Bonnie eating breakfast on the first day. Notice how perky and alerty they are!
We ate lunch in a little park right between our Hotel and the famous 6th Street in downtown Austin. This little guy was brave and pestered us until we gave him some lunch of his own.
Our beautiful State Capitol building. The picture doesn't do it justice at all.
Summer pretending to be a bum at the State Capitol. She doesn't pull it off well, although we were so tired by this time, she probably felt like a bum on the inside!