Saturday, October 31, 2009

In a strait between here and there

Do you ever read something that really strikes a chord with you?

Something that makes you want to point and jump and yell "Yes! That is EXACTLY how I feel! I just didn't know how to say it!"?

Yesterday, it was Philippians 1:23-24

"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."

That is where I have been this past year, that is where I am now-- betwixt the two.

Sometimes my balance will shift wildly from one side to the other before settling into an uneasy equilibrium.

You see, my vision and hopes look to there-- to Christ, eternity, Heaven, being reunited with Christian, being reunited with other beloved family members and dear friends, DEPARTING TO BETTER.

And yet my feet are planted here with my husband, my Austin, my Noah... where I can be of service to God until He calls me home.

It's not that here is horrible. I have an amazing husband and kids and an incredible life! I am closer to God than I have ever been and I have a renewed appreciation for an eternal perspective.

I guess I'm just tired. Tired of missing Christian. Tired of crying. Tired of my heavy heart. Of being burdened for hurting friends and lost loved ones. Tired of worrying about my boys coping. Tired of being strong. Tired of being weak. Emotionally tired.

I am not depressed. But reading that up there does make me realize that perhaps I am too ME minded right now.

I need to think more about HIM.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
-Psalm 121:1-2

I want to be where God would have me be and right now, it is here. My thoughts often wander to yesterday and my dreams anticipate there, but I am here.

In this day.

I will rejoice in this day that the Lord has made. I will be glad in it-- no matter if the day be warm and joyful or dark and bittersweet. I want to have His sweet peace in my heart and to glorify God in every situation, every circumstance.

Right here.

One day we will know and say "God knew best." If we will only walk by faith and not by sight!

One day the curtain will be lifted, questions answered, and faith rewarded. God will never disappoint. So take courage, never lose hope, and keep looking up.
-Ruth Bell Graham

What will you do while you are here? Will you lift up your eyes to the hills no matter how low or hopeless your situation might seem?

Don't give up. Finish this race. Finish it well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The New Deal

There was lots of this going on around our house yesterday and today...

What?! Reading?

Of their own volition?

And without a full moon?

It's a simple formula, really.





The best part is that they have been reading books that are over 200 pages long! Ones that *I* want them to read!

A little computer or video game time for reading sounds like a great deal to me. And they are finding out that some of these books really are interesting!

So, am I the only bad momma that uses bribery special incentives to encourage reading?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Although it's only October, NOW is the time to pick up your boxes for Operation Christmas Child!

We picked up our FREE boxes at our local Family Christian Store. You can also use your own shoebox to participate. Just visit Operation Christmas Child's website to find out the details, as well as watch some video clips from last year's operation.

National Collection week for the boxes is November 16-23, 2009.

This was a fun way to get the boys involved in thinking about other children. It showed them how you can find joy and blessings in GIVING to others!

Austin chose to make a box for a 2-4 year old boy and Noah chose to make one for a 5-9 year old boy. We included things like candy, small toys, shirt, pencils and sharpener, crayons, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste and a comb.

To see how Samaritan's Purse uses this ministry to share the gospel, you can watch the videos HERE. Better yet, watch them with your kids! I bet they would love to get involved!

Friday, October 23, 2009

This scares me

It really does.

I KNOW you didn't just laugh at my weights.

I'm a delicate and fragile flower and don't need mongo weights to make me look like Starla.

But if Emily can do it (The Shred, not look like Starla!), surely I can at least try. And geeze, look at Laura!

I guess I should take it out of the plastic first. It's been taunting me for the past month.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I want to be a tree

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified."

-Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV (emphasis mine)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

An aglet through my heart

When David got home tonight, Austin bent down and touched the end of David's shoelace.

A: Hey daddy, you know what this part of your shoelace is called?

D: No, Austin. I don't.

A: It's called an aglet. You know that plastic part at the end of all shoelaces? Those are aglets.

If he had stopped right there, I would've been impressed.

But they NEVER stop right there, do they?


A: You know where I learned that, daddy? From Phineas and Ferb. We learn most of our things from tv shows and video games.

Ahem. Thanks, Austin. I appreciate that. You learn absolutely zero from mommy. Thanks for shooting that aglet right through my heart.

BUT he might be right! Look... it IS called an aglet!

And remember when Noah said his nemesis this year would be Language Arts? Yup, that was also from Phineas and Ferb.

I never dreamed that I would have to compete with a cartoon.

(Although I do admit that that particular cartoon is one of my favorites.)

[PS The picture up there has nothing to do with this post. I threw it in here because
1.) it's fun and 2.) I must have at least one picture in a post!]

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Field Trip: Finest Art of the Museum

The other day, my boys went to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts to learn about... THE MOON!

(ha! I bet you didn't see that coming.)

One thing I love about these classes is that it brings all kinds of homeschoolers together for a common purpose. And kinda makes you feel normal.

Look how NORMAL they look!

See how the school bus in the background almost makes you think there might be hope for these kids? It kinda gives the impression that they might be socialized (Socialized?). I mean, how else could they possibly get out and experience things like the fine art museum? You certainly can't if you were... *gasp!* homeschooled!

Okay, so "normal" lasted until I heard "Hey mommy! Take a picture of me!"


I don't know if he's trying to be serious and cool or if he's trying to be a goofy statue. Do I praise him or laugh at him? It would be a shame to do the wrong thing in this case.

So I did nothing.

And then he does this...

...Which is better than mooning me or who knows what else. Austin always has a way of making me smile in his general direction... yah, that's it. :)

Once a month, the HMFA offers workshops to homeschoolers for the low price of $8 per family. This price includes admission to the museum, instruction on the subject matter, and a project that your child can take home. You just can't beat that price for what you get!

Most museums offer low cost, high quality educational classes to the public (this goes for art, history and science museums), as well as free educator workshops and lesson plans and kits. I'm just sayin.

We visited the Moon with a very enthusiastic Montessori teacher. I appreciated the art, history and science that she included in her presentation.

When we returned to the classroom, the boys were shown this picture of The Moon Man (because I can't remember the exact name of this sculpture. does anyone know?):

The students were told to create their own version to take home.

So they cut,


and concentrated.

Oh, can't forget GLUED. Gobs of glue!

And came up with these masterpieces.

One child is a little more abstract in his art than the other.

Which do you think looks more like Moon Man? And which one makes you chuckle just a little, sigh, roll your eyes and just smile at the clownishness of it all?

I love how God made my boys so very different!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

WW - When boys decorate cookies

Forget flowers or dots or prettiness...

This is what cookie decorating looks like when my boys are in the kitchen.

A big giant blob is all it takes for them to impress themselves!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chris Klicka went home today

Chris Klicka went home to be with the Lord today. You can read his wife Tracy's update here. He took his last breath surrounded by his wife and children.

The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be forever.
-Psalm 37:18

And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
-John 16:22

Please pray for the Klicka family.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

10 on the 10th

I saw over at Melissa's blog that Meredith is doing 10 on the 10th! While I don't think I can come up with a theme of 10's, I can come up with a list!

I love me some lists. Especially when I can mark out all the "done" items with my Sharpie. Because a line with a regular old pen doesn't feel quite as completed or final as the bold line that comes from a fresh, saturated Sharpie marker!


1. I laugh when I have to tell a certain someone "There is no fighting in Chess Club."

2. I laugh even more when that certain someone is the only kid I know that would require first aid due to injuries sustained in CHESS CLUB!

3. I wish there was a fun song about persimmons like there is about beans.

Beans, beans, the musical fruit.
The more you eat, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you feel.
So eat more beans with every meal!

4. I have had songs from The Sound of Music running through my head this week. First from I Heart Faces and their My Favorite Things theme. And then whenever I visit my friend Lainie at MishMashMaggie. The web names for her kidlets are Leisl, Brigitta and Kurt. Does that not force you to come up with ALL of the Von Trapp children's names?

5. And NO CHEATING by googling it! Go ahead... I can wait. I have often called my sisters in the pre-google days because trying to remember the names was driving me CRAZY.

6. I had to throw away an entire chuck roast today because it was hiding in the back of my fridge, still in the Kroger bag. I hate wasting, especially meat!

7. I am a stickler when it comes to expiration dates on meat. That and #6 is the reason why I am cooking babyback ribs at 10:00pm on a Saturday night.

8. If you bring some beans, I'll share the ribs. We can have a magical dinner together. :snort:

9. We listened to the audio version of "A Cricket in Times Square." I was not impressed. I mean, it was entertaining and good enough for driving around town, but it wasn't stellar (like Narnia, My Father's Dragon, By the Great Horn Spoon or Henry Huggins). I really am shocked that it is included in so many book lists!

(There is such pressure with #10. I feel like it HAS to be better than all the others! Like the piece de resistance. But this is all I could come up with, so adjust your expectations before continuing.)

10. Twice this week, my boys have BEGGED to have ramen noodles for dinner. Honest. I said okay but told them not to turn spoiled by such magnificent feasts from my kitchen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Field Trip: Pick Your Own

And I don't mean NOSE.

While those of you in the Pacific Northwest are picking apples, we have a different fruit in season here in Houston.

Can you guess what it is?

Nope, not oranges.

Look closer.

Sometimes called the fruit of the gods, these are persimmons! This particular variety is the Asian (Shizi) Persimmon found at the Matt Family Orchard.

It was a breezy, muggy, mosquito filled morning but worth it! They gave us gardening shears to cut the bright orange fruit from the branches.

With 1,100 persimmon trees, we had many a branch to choose from!

Talk about YUMMY loot!

When I was little, my mom would get these from Ko-Ko's market. I had a hard time distinguishing this deliciously sweet fruit from a tomato. (Hey, I said I was little!) I didn't learn the name of this fruit until I was an adult.

And now I can eat as many as I want! Because I'm a grown-up! Woohooo!

Even though I'm sure my mom would still tell me to eat only one so I don't get a tummy ache.

To find a pick-your-own farm or orchard in your area, visit

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

WW - I ain't 'fraid of no ghost!

I ain't 'fraid of no ghost!

That movie was a classic. I think the first one was the best of all.

Trying to not think about anything at all is incredibly difficult. Just try it. Are you thinking about the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man right now?

I wonder if I'm the only one that had a thing for Dr. Egon Spengler...

(Did I just nerdily admit that publicly?)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Favorite Things: Vanity Edition

It is a non-contest week at one of my favorite photography sites-- I Heart Faces. This week's theme is "Favorite Things."

I'm focusing on favorite things from my Vanity.

Vanity as in the sink in my bathroom.

(As opposed to the vanity that means being vain or having excessive pride in one's appearance. At least not this time.)

I've been in a bit of a fresh smelling kick lately and it shows with all of those green products up there.

These are a few of my favorite things de la Vanity:

1. MAC fragrance in Creations Hue: Greenify
2. Serum de la Mer (doesn't have much of a scent but is supposed to be "the lifting face serum")
3. Mary Kay Lotus and Bamboo nourishing body lotion
4. Unforgivable by Sean John (I love how this smells on my hubs!)

And I can't leave out this not-pretty but VERY useful item for those of us that are lazy about washing the ick of the day away on the super-tired nights...

I am a bit sad that I am to the point of searching out anti-aging and anti-wrinkle products. But I'm not going to wipe away the tears!

Because rubbing on your face causes wrinkles, y'all.

What are your favorite vanity items?

Friday, October 2, 2009

And we're off! School Day 1

Yesterday was officially our first day of school! Woohooo!

Yes, I realize it is October.

We started our morning off with a breakfast at McD's. Not because I'm a plan-ahead kind of mommy, but because David was running late for work so we decided to take him (faster than him going to the employee lot, taking the shuttle, etc).

And the only reason I'm including that tidbit up there is to have a record of being a "fun" school marm. Kids, now you can't say I never did anything spontaneous with y'all.

With our bellies filled with the nutritious goodness that only a McGriddle can give, we began our school day.

I had planned on doing block scheduling again (M/W focus on language arts and history, T/Th focus on science, Latin and art). But feeling defeat in the LA department a short while back has spurned me to try the every subject, every day approach. Sure it's more hassle for me, but it will hopefully work better with my boys' retention issues (or lack thereof). That's what I get for saying "we will definitely be keeping" something in the first place!

A few weeks ago, I picked up this chore chart and decided to modify it for use in our homeschool.

It adds zero value to record-keeping or anything like that, but for some reason my boys really ENJOY being able to mark off charts and track their daily progress. An added bonus is being able to deflect the old "what else do we have to do?" question!

Are you impressed with my high tech homeschooling techniques? I'm cutting edge, I tell ya.

All in all it was a great day. We completed spelling, math, handwriting, language arts, history, and Latin. Science got put on hold due to a lack of seltzer water for our science experiment-- so much for "common" household items.

For a list of what we're using this year, check out this post. The only difference is that we are using Switched On Schoolhouse for the language arts portion, while continuing with the Sequential Spelling.

Noah's take on Day 1 and our plans for the year:
"Mommy, I think my nemesis this year is going to be Language Arts."

My response?
"Noah, an 8 year old that can come up with the word nemesis and use it correctly in a sentence should have no problems with Language Arts!"

If you're homeschooling, how is your year going so far? Anyone getting an off-season start like me? If you are not a homeschooler, how is your family adjusting to the back-to-school routine?