It's always fun to be the "birthday girl" -- no matter what your age! :)
Monday, August 31, 2009
It's always fun to be the "birthday girl" -- no matter what your age! :)
Sunday, August 30, 2009
That was all I could say when I saw the newspaper this morning and discovered that our article was on the front page!!!
We thought it was going to be safely tucked away in the Lifestyles section!!! Not on the Front Page of our city's newspaper. What a shocker!
I felt like I was in an elevator that lurched and dropped ten floors in half as many seconds.
However, after reading the article, most of my fears where calmed. The reporter did a fantastic job with the article, and presented our family in a very positive light. He also included some pictures taken by the staff photographer, plus some pictures that were taken a couple years ago by a creative local photographer, Tammi Nowack.
(By the way, when the reporter came back out to interview Alan and the boys on Saturday, I remembered to snap his picture! So, here it is!)
However, I still feel a little . . . vulnerable, I guess. We shared transparently about our family and our convictions about children and our beliefs about education. Certainly, not everyone who reads the article will agree with our convictions or our choices. But that is OK. We only have to please One.
However, I would ask you to pray for us, if you feel led to do so. My husband wisely reminded me that Satan hates children. He hates families. He hates those who have a good testimony or a good name in the community. He wants to destroy families and godly men and women and capture the hearts and minds of our children. It seems that each day brings a new story of one who has fallen. Please pray that we would be on guard in the days ahead. "Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." -- 1 Corinthians 10:12.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Yesterday afternoon a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed me and the children for an article he is writing about our family. I was a little nervous about it, but he was so nice and personable that he quickly put us all at ease. We enjoyed talking to him and answering his questions for over an hour and a half. Then, before he left, we served him a piece of whole wheat bread that Josh had made earlier in the day.
I'm not sure he has ever met anyone like us before! I guess we are a bit of an "oddity" in our modern day society! :) I think he was intrigued by the idea of having such a large family! Just like I might be intrigued by what life is like for the Duggar Family, who has almost twice as many children as we do!
I meant to take a picture of him talking to the children or furiously jotting down notes, but I totally forgot to. So, I post anyway. Without a picture . . .
Now we wait for the article to come out. What slant will he take? Will we be pleased with the article? Will there be things we wish we hadn't said? Or things printed that we are confident we actually did not say?? I guess we will find out on Sunday.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Note: This serves six, so I doubled all ingredients for my family.
I love the colorful fall leaves, crackling bonfires, apple picking, sipping hot chocolate, pulling sweaters out of the back of the closet, baking bread and smelling soup simmering on the stove. There is defintely something delicious about fall!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Tiffany told me that she had prayed that morning that God would provide a rocker for her, and I believe He did! He provided a beautiful rocker, in her price range, close to home! Here is a picture of her "new" rocker and the cozy reading corner she created. She has six carpet squares arranged in a semi-circle around her rocker for her students to sit on during reading time!
Josh started at the local community college this week, where he is doing dual enrollment. He is truly excited to be spending his senior year getting a head start on college. He has a full schedule of classes on MWF -- English, Economics, World History, Weight Training, and Anatomy and Physiology; then he spends TTh working at the YMCA, lifeguarding and teaching swimming lessons. But the icing on the cake for him is this -- he made the college swim team!!! This was totally unexpected, because he has never swum competitively before! He is lapping up this opportunity with great enthusiasm!
Joe is the only boy still at SCA, since his brothers have moved on. He is a sophomore, with a busy school schedule that includes three Honors classes, and a busy after-school schedule, that includes Football, Basketball and Baseball -- each in season, of course, plus some Saturdays working at Chick-Fil-A. He is looking forward to playing tight end/defensive end on the Varsity Football team this season. He started on offense last night for the pre-season scrimmage game, and did very well. It is going to be so much fun watching him play this fall! As I heard someone say at the game last night, there is just something special about Friday nights in the South, where high school football is Big Stuff! :)
Tiffany is also back in the classroom. She completed her first full week "back in the saddle" as a 5th grade teacher and Elementary Music teacher at Byne Christian School. She will also be the Elementary Spanish teacher this year, so she has some very busy days ahead of her, especially when you add in her graduate classes and piano lessons and practice! She is excited about her new little group of students, and feels a bit more confident this year, after making it through her first year as a teacher! She is such an enthusiastic, caring, and creative teacher, that I think her students are Blessed to be in her class!
I love this picture taken the week before school started when I dropped Hannah off to help Tiffany get her classroom ready for Open House. She said she wouldn't have made it without Hannah's help!
Bethany and Matt both require a lot of oversight and one on one instruction time, so it was a LONG week for me, but also a rewarding one. They are so cute and enthusiastic about learning, and it is such a privilege to be able to teach them!
Chris and Hannah are in 8th grade, and they watch their classes upstairs in the bonus room/school room. Luke is in 5th grade (but doing some 6th grade classes) and he watches his classes in my room. They would try to beat each other every day in finishing their classes first, and then would converge in the dining room to do their homework! It was certainly a joy to see them sitting there working diligently every day! I love these pictures I snapped of them as they worked on their homework.
If you are a homeschooler who has resumed the school routine, how was your first week back?
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I felt Sad when he left. But . . .
Honestly, I was ready for him to go. It was time. He is yearning to be independent, to make his own decisions, to do things "His Way." As I shared "war stories" with a dear friend and mother of eight this week, she shared an incredible insight. She revealed how she had always loved being pregnant, and had enjoyed feeling her growing child moving and kicking within her. Yet, she always reached a point where it just got too crowded in her womb, the baby too active, and her body so heavy-laden and miserable that she was ready to go through any amount of labor just to have that baby out!!! She likened that to the process we go through with our young adults. She said that we reach a point when our "baby" just grows too big, and it is too crowded under one roof, and we are just ready to have that "child" Out!
I think she has a valid analogy. It seems that there comes a time when it is natural for our young adults to venture out on their own, and to "try their wings," so to speak. If they do not go forth naturally at the appropriate time, it may eventually require an "induction" or even a "surgical removal" of the overdue fledgling, which is definitely more painful for all concerned!
This is not to say that we love this child of ours any less, but it is time for our relationship to change. It is time for him to learn to breathe on his own, while allowing us to breathe a little easier. Weaning is never easy, but there comes a time when each child must quit turning to his mother's breast for nourishment, but learn to eat solid food, and then eventually learn to feed himself, no matter how messy it may be. A few years down the road, he must learn to not only feed himself, but to prepare his own food, then to procure his own food, and eventually to provide food not only for himself, but also for his family. Just like weaning a nursing baby, this process brings the most satisfaction and the least amount of pain and complication if it is handled gradually, rather than abruptly.
Our son has just taken that first natural step toward independence.
It reminds me of something that Noel from Bloom Where Planted said earlier this week:
"Throughout a parent's time raising children, we must remember one thing - we are raising them to be adults and leave home. Too many parents either aren't raising their kids at all, they just have babies who grow up without guidance and training; or they expect them to stay small forever and are hurt when the young adult breaks free from the training wheels their parents have saddled on them to begin their own lives."
It was a perfect reminder to me that we shouldn't be hurt as parents when our young adults want to "take off the training wheels" and ride on their own. Of course, we know they will fall down a time or two; there will be skinned elbows and knees, and in extreme cases, even a broken arm, but we would be very foolish and short-sighted as parents not to allow our children the opportunity to learn to balance and pedal on their own. It is part of life.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Obviously, she loves and admires Ashlyn and wants to be just like her, so she wants to do the things that she sees Ashlyn enjoying. That is why she got up and put on her "running shoes" and some shorts and a T-shirt -- she wanted to dress the same way she sees Ashlyn dressed when she goes running. (What a blessing that Ashlyn isn't one of those girls who run down the streets wearing only short spandex shorts and a sports bra!!!)
After running, "they" rode bikes "together."
Later that evening, when Bethany opened her gifts, she was delighted to receive these pajama pants for her birthday. Why? Because she sees the big girls (and boys) wearing pajama pants around the house and she wants to be like them! That is also why she wants to "hang out" with her older brothers and sisters, "text" Joe on her toy cell phone, and sit beside me on my bed typing on her pink "puter."
That is why God has instructed us to follow our Heavenly Father in the same way that children naturally imitate their parents: "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children." -- Ephesians 5:1 (KJV).
I just wonder if we are confident enough of our example to say as Paul did, "Be ye followers of me, even as I also [am] of Christ." -- 1 Corinthians 11:1 (KJV). And then again here: "Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern." Philippians 3:17 (NKJV).
It is very sobering to think of all the eyes that watch us as we live our lives. Our children and eventually our grandchildren, our nieces and nephews, our neighbors, the youth and young women from our church, even readers of our blogs -- these are some of the folks who observe our habits, our words, our attitudes, our passions . . . and may be following us.
After just posting last week about No More Excuses, would you believe I have been mentally rehearsing all of my excuses for this week??
It all started when I chose to attend a Booster Club Fish Fry last week, and there was NOTHING on my diet to eat, so I ate very small portions of fried fish, fried shrimp and cole slaw, all of which are Diet No No's of course!
Then, I went to LaGrange College with Taylor on Thursday and Friday and ate in the school cafeteria -- and we all know how high fat cafeteria food is!
Follow that with Bethany's birthday this past weekend, when I was pretty careful, but I did eat a sliver of her birthday cake.
Yes, it was definitely not a Good Week to be on a diet! So, it was with great fear and trepidation that I stepped on the scale this morning. Would you believe I actually lost 1 more pound this week?! Wow, what a relief!! :)
I think my secret weapon this week was not having an "all or nothing" mentality. You know, you mess up on your diet, so you figure you might as well indulge in everything you have been missing out on, since you are now officially "off your diet," and then "start over again tomorrow." How many times have I followed that line of reasoning in the past??? It is so easy to rationalize like that! However, this time I took a different approach. I reasoned that sometimes life gets in the way and will prevent me from eating perfectly, but that I would make the best choices I could in the situation, and keep on going without guilt or condemnation.
I could have chosen to skip the Booster Club Fish Fry, knowing that it would not be a low carb or low fat event, and I actually considered that, but I would have missed an incredible blessing!!! The speaker was Siran Stacy, a former football star from the University of Alabama, who shared a powerful message about his faith in God, which had been shaken to its core, after a drunk driver took the lives of his wife and four of his children in a horrific accident in November of 2007. His testimony was so powerful, and 5 or 6 athletes came forward in response to his invitation to give their lives to Christ. It is my prayer that their lives will bring forth fruit that is evidence of true repentance!
Anyway, there will be times when we can't follow our diets perfectly, but life is about more than just eating and drinking, so we just need to do our best, and go on, not letting an "all or nothing" mentality derail our efforts! "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." -- Romans 14:17
Monday, August 10, 2009
This week, as I have been doing some school planning, it suddenly dawned on me that in the normal scheme of things, I would be preparing her to leave my home and enter school in the next few days. That was a very shocking thought! She is so sweet, so innocent, so full of life, so happy at home with her Mama and her brothers and sisters -- I really couldn't fathom the idea of putting her on a big yellow school bus and sending her off to school . . . I can't help but shudder at the thought. Fortunately, she gets to be my sweet little girl for a few more years, safely tucked under my wing. I know from experience how quickly little "chicks" outgrow that spot!
Ashlyn, who is Bethany's "special honey" came home for the weekend, to help her celebrate her birthday. Bethany had a list of activities planned for them to do together, including -- eat breakfast, go swimming, take a nap, go for a walk, go for a bike ride, run together, and just "hang out!" Ashlyn tried to do as many of these as possible.
Bethany requested "chicken bones" (drumsticks!) and macaroni and cheese for her special meal.
Here is the big pile of chicken leg quarters that Josh smoked on the grill. You should have smelled them cooking! He has really learned the secret to success, as the chicken was so Moist and Delicious and just about melted in our mouths! Soon the pile of leg quarters was reduced to a pile of bones!
After dinner was eaten and cleaned up, Bethany was presented with her big pile of gifts to open! (There are some advantages to being the baby of the family!) Matt took the job of picking out which present she would open next and handing it to her.
Matt was most excited about this gift -- because he picked it out for her, and if truth were to be told, I think he imagined playing with it himself! :)
Ashlyn bought Bethany a pile of clothes from a consignment sale, so she acquired quite a few new outfits.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Here are the directions:
1. Spray a muffin tin with some cooking spray, such as Pam.
2. Crack an egg directly into each muffin cup.
3. Spoon one teaspoon of half and half over top of each egg.
4. Sprinkle each egg with some grated cheddar cheese.
5. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
6. Pop eggs out of muffin tins onto plates. I plopped them on top of a piece of Canadian Bacon, for a Delicious, high protein breakfast!
EDITED: I have started baking these at 400 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes. I prefer the lower cooking temperature for my eggs. At about 12 minutes, the yolk is just softly cooked and the white is set. Bake 15 minutes if you want them cooked a bit harder.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Taylor and I left home at 6 am this morning, arriving at LaGrange College at 8:30 for Freshman Orientation. The orientation staff scheduled a full day of informative sessions, for both parents and students. While Taylor took placement tests, set up his college email account, got a picture ID, and obtained his first taste of college life, I listened to advice on how to support and encourage my college student, including when to parent and when to step back, and was reassured (along with many other parents) that my son would learn to manage his time and be responsible for getting things done on his own. However, we parents were warned not to be surprised if our sons didn't wash their sheets all semester . . . (Gross, I know!)
Tomorrow morning Taylor will register for his classes, and then we will head for home. But, in just a little over a week, he will be back to stay . . .
While a bit apprehensive about sending Taylor off to college, I'm also excited about what I've seen at LaGrange and feel like it is going to be a good fit for him. I have been very impressed with every encounter we have had with the LaGrange staff. They seem to do everything with excellence and professionalism and top it off with a good dose of southern hospitality that makes you feel very welcome and "at home." I was also encouraged to hear about the extra accountability that will come from being a part of the football team. Apparently, the coaches keep close tabs on the player's grades, class attendance, and overall attitude and behavior, holding the athletes to a high standard. I'm all for that!! :)