Sunday, December 30, 2007

Something to think about

I was talking to a friend the other day and she said something that has really struck a chord with me. She was talking about an opportunity that she had been offered to make some money from home. Most of us would jump at that chance. The thing is, she's a very busy woman and a very smart one too. :) When she got the details of what the work would entail, she found that it was ultimately lacking in value--to anyone. And she asked herself this question:

Do I want to give up any hours of my life to do this?

Wow. That really struck me. The importance of realizing that we are trading a limited commodity (the time we have in Our Life) for anything that we choose to do.

A good question to start asking ourselves as we make decisions about how to spend our time in the year to come. Is it worth giving up hours of your life?

Womb for Rent

I read this interesting article today. What do you think?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

For me, cooking is a means to an end. A necessary evil in daily life. I don't look forward to cooking anything. If I could hire a cook I would. The funny thing is...mealtime just keeps coming around and I'm still here with 8 people to feed. (I may not like to cook, but I do enjoy eating, as does the rest of the family.) I have this crazy idea: Maybe I could learn to like to cook. Maybe there is some other approach or perspective that I could grab ahold of that could transform cooking from a chore to an enjoyable pursuit of some sort.

So tonite I started looking on the internet, and decided to check out what Rachael Ray might have for me. She has a nice web site full of fun, good stuff. One jackpot I've just hit on is this page where you can specify what type of meal you want to make, what main ingredient you want to use, and the method of cooking (including your choice of 15, 30, or 60 minute meals). This looks like a great resource for somebody like me that often gets to 4 or 5 pm and is thinking, "Well.....I have chicken.....what could I make???"

This pursuit may die off before the first "inspired" meal makes it to the table. But, something needs to change here, sooner or later. It'll be years and years before I'm to the point where there's nobody to feed, so I can just eat a Larabar for dinner. And, there aren't any $3.99 Senior citizen Early Bird Specials anywhere around here, either.

I will tell you that I have a wonderful recipe for a Tomato Bisque soup that I have on my health and wellness blog. It's pretty easy to make, but my favorite thing about it is that I make it once and have it available to eat all week long. That's one kind of cooking I can get into. :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 End of the Year Meme

This is my fourth year doing an end-of-the-year meme!

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Opened my health and wellness business,and self-published my first two books.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I kept my resolutions. I lost and kept off approximately 20 pounds. I met and surpassed my business goals. Definitely have more goals for next year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes! A dear friend just had her 5th child, and first son, on December 15, all the way on the other side of the world! And, my niece had a baby girl, making me a Great Aunt.

4. Did anyone close to you die? Thankfully, no.

5. What countries did you visit? None.

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? There are lots of things I would like to have in 2008, but not because of a feeling of lack. I'm pretty satisfied with most things from this year.

7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I don't know the exact date, but reconciling with my best friend after more than a year of estrangement was definitely a highlight.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Relational reconciliation, authoring the books, and going back to homeschooling some of my kids.

9. What was your biggest failure? Can't think of any. It's been a good year for the most part.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not that I remember.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I didn't really "buy" this, but have received it because of some decisions I have made: Financial peace for my business, because of how I run it debt-free. It is giving me a wonderful new experience with money, which in turn is giving me a new motivation and vision for our regular finances.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted?

14. Where did most of your money go? The usual places--bills. But some got to go into expanding my businesses, and a couple fun things too.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? My books and my businesses.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007? Better Together by Jack Johnson

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? happier!
b) thinner or fatter? thinner!
c) richer or poorer? richer! (slightly)

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? Probably sleeping.

21. Did you fall in love in 2007?

22. How many one-night stands? What a stupid question.

23. What was your favorite TV program? Brothers and Sisters, Kid Nation, Survivor, Big Love.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? I don't do hate.

25. What was the best book you read?

26. What was your greatest musical discovery? Jack Johnson

27. What did you want and get? a Bodhran

28. What did you want and not get?

29. What was your favorite film of this year?

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 36 this year and don't remember much about it.

31.What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying? Having a live-in cook and housekeeper. :)

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? The smallest wardrobe known to North America.

33. What kept you sane? Running my businesses, and achieving some goals. Also, keeping things simple.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I don't "fancy" too many celebs. Reece Witherspoon is still a favorite, though.

35. What political issue stirred you the most? I'm not stirred by much, politically.

36. Who did you miss? I've missed being able to call my grandfather. He died a few years ago and I still think of things that I would like to tell him. I also always miss my mom and siblings. Don't get to see them often enough.

37. Who was the best new person you met? Probably Kim and Claudia.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007. Take chances.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Yesterday I had energy like I haven't had in probably more than a year. I changed an entire room from an abandoned bedroom into a playroom, I caught up on laundry, tackled mountains of clutter, did a somewhat heavy chore, vacuumed, moved things, reorganized, and purged for probably 12 hours yesterday. (seriously!) I was On. Fire. It was awesome. I'm feeling pretty good this morning, so am hoping that my energy whirlwind will keep going.

The only thing I can think of that might have caused my energy to increase so much is some new vitamins and supplements that I started taking the day before. They are items that I am considering selling at my health and wellness site, but I like to try things out first and see if I think they are worthwhile. I think we have some winners here! (**You can now buy them here and here)

Despite healthy eating (even to the extreme), working out (when I was), various vitamins, etc. I really haven't felt good for a long time. I always feel tired (nap time!) and about one step away from getting sick. Some things that would supposedly help me feel better (eating more protein and less fruits and grains, exercise, taking a vitamin that other people raved about) actually made me feel worse--and not just for a day. I mean that even after weeks or months of consistently trying to give it a chance. So, this is very fun to have felt so good yesterday.

We will be celebrating Christmas tomorrow since my husband has to work on the 25th. Of course the children are very excited, and I guess the parents are too. :)

When I was growing up we knew a family whose mom had an unusual way of handling Christmas gifts. I don't know if her husband really stunk at choosing gifts, or if he didn't get any at all. Either way, she ended up buying herself the stuff she really wanted, and would then nicely wrap the stuff and sign the gift tag, "To Marsha, with all my love, Jack." I guess it became a family funny--I don't think her husband had a problem with it.

Although I haven't gotten desperate enough to have to do that, I did order some books for myself for the kids to give me. (they didn't know what books, nor how to order. I saw them on sale and asked my husband if he wanted to get them and he said, "Yes! Order your Christmas gifts!")

One thing I did this year was I bought myself a gift. I guess I could have heavily influenced my husband to get it for me, but I knew what I wanted, and in the spirit of trying to be kinder and love myself more, I decided to give myself this gift, with love. It's been wrapped and hidden away for weeks now, and I am really looking forward to opening that tomorrow.

I almost freaked out and sent it back twice, because it's not a necessity, and because I wondered if I had spent too much money on myself. (which was ridiculous because it wasn't really that much, AND I used money from my business account to get it) The thing that caused me to keep it was realizing that if my husband had shown an interest in this item, I totally would have bought it for him. So, if it would be ok to buy it for someone else, why would it not be ok to buy it for myself? Surely I'm as deserving of a special gift as anyone else.

So, there is my Love Yourself holiday story for you. :) I hope you all have a great Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I found out about this funny homeschool family video today. Very clever. What a hoot. Be sure your speakers are on.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jack Johnson: Better Together

Another recent discovery that I loooove!


Maybe I should just change the name of this blog to 'Random' because it seems that's all I do here these days.

First up--Creed. I've heard about them for years but never listened to their music. Discovered their song Lullaby and really love it. This video isn't worth watching, but at least you can get a feel for the song. Just. Beautiful.

Other than that, things are marching along here. Homeschooling has it's daily ups and downs. Fortunately, it seems that we mostly have ups, or at least even days, so that's something to be thankful for. Now I'm thinking about "what-ifs" for next year and my other kiddos...

While some of the country was buried under snow and ice, we enjoyed a gorgeous 78 degree day here this week. What fun!

I've been thinking, again, about our ideas of how God is involved in our lives. Here's something I don't understand. Let's say that something terrible happens to someone. As they walk through this difficult thing, they may say something like, "But I'm so thankful to God for helping us because if this had happened (earlier/later/last year/next week) it would have been so much worse." Now, explain this to me. We're supposed to believe that God got involved to the point where the event was scheduled in a somewhat helpful way (as if tragedies ever are....), but didn't get involved to the point where the tragedy was avoided? I guess God can do whatever He wants to. But, honestly--when crappy stuff happens, why would we think that God got involved only to an extent, but otherwise chose to leave us with a bad situation?

It's stuff like that that boggles my mind.

My own experience with bad things happening caused me to feel almost like I had to attribute any ray of sunshine, anything helpful or encouraging at all, to God. I think it was partially out of shock (and therefore habit), and partially out of desperation to not feel alone, and perhaps even superstition that a bad time is not the time to start questioning God (might get zapped!!). I understand that we grab ahold of whatever brings us comfort, and that's worth something. It just doesn't seem really honest, though. (for me) I'm still searching for answers--I'd honestly like to get to the point where I can feel an honest satisfaction about my beliefs. Otherwise I just feel so inauthentic.

Christmas plans are coming along. We made the tough call to not travel to my mom's this year. It's a 12-hour trip that would have to be sandwiched in between almost no time off for my husband. He's been working 3-6 24-hour shifts weekly since May of this year, and the poor guy is just wiped out. Between his own need for a restful break, and finances, staying home was the more reasonable choice for us. But the closer we get to Christmas the more sorry I am that we won't be seeing everyone. :( (boo hoo!)

I spent last evening wrapping gifts after the children went to bed. It is starting to look like we will have quite a large avalanche of gifts here. I guess with 8 people in our family that's kind of inevitable. The children are getting very excited, of course. Less than a week left of school days, too!

We still need to go to The Southern Lights at the Kentucky Horse Park. This magnificent drive-through Christmas light display has become one of our favorite family activities for December. After we drive through and see all the lights, we get to walk through the petting zoo, the model train exhibit, and see lots of other neat things there. Very fun!

We will also be going out to purchase ornaments for this year. Before we were even married, my husband and I decided that rather than just purchasing boxes of ornaments, we would just accumulate ornaments that had special meaning to us. So, on our first Christmas we got "Our First Christmas Together" type ornaments, plus "baby on the way" ones too. :) Since then, each year we get each child a special ornament that they like. We all look forward to this, and it makes decorating our tree really special. The kids love being reminded of what they picked in years past, and we remember trips we've taken (we buy ornaments or souvenirs that can be made into ornaments when we go places) and so on. it's really fun. Our tree is really getting full now, with so many kiddos. I can remember when we only had about 6 items on our tiny little 18" seedling tree. :)

The parties have begun. Two of my kiddos will be attending a party tonite, we have 3 different places for family members to be tomorrow night, and there is an open house for my husband and I to attend on Sunday. Monday night is my oldest son's band concert. Tuesday is school parties. :) I'm not ready!!

Good news--Big Love Season 2 is now out on DVD! I was delighted to get the first disc here on the day the series was released, and it was very fun to get to see what was happening since the big cliff-hanger from the end of Season 1.

Now I'm off to do grocery shopping and get ready for my busy evening. I think hot cocoa may be in our future as well....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Help this little girl get a liver

It's not every day that we have an opportunity to save a life, but today is one of those days. Jessica is a little girl in need of a liver transplant. An online friend of mine is spearheading a benefit sale to help this family with their medical expenses. Lots of great gifts for you if you participate, and of course a wonderful thing to help with. Check it out here.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Random Update

So my blog has become sorely neglected. What can I say? My blog is mainly a tool for me. It's not a job or a responsibility. So, although it's nice that a few of you stop by every now and then to see if I'm written anything new, life tends to crowd out blogging these days.


Back in August I wrote about my feelings about a lost friendship. Within about a week of writing that post I got a letter from that lost friend. It wasn't a good letter, but it prompted a painfully honest and raw reply. Communication happened. Apologies were made. Miraculously, a restoration has taken place.

For several months now I've thought about posting something to let you know about this, since so many of you emailed me privately to tell me how sorry you were to hear about that loss. I've tried to form some deep, meaningful, profound post in my mind, and even sat down to write it a few times. It has never really flowed out of me in a way that seemed fitting for the depth of the experience. So, tonite you get this understated announcement to let you know that miraculous redemption is possible. (saying it that way seems almost ridiculous, except that I really did not think this could or would happen) It's a good thing.

A month ago I told you that I'd started taking cello lessons. Well, it was a short experiment. I decided not to continue. Driving 60 miles round trip for the lessons and worrying about a $1300+ instrument in a house full of kids turned out to be the straws that broke this camel's back. However, what I learned was that I still do love the cello, and that I will still be looking forward to finding the time in life when I can more comfortably and realistically pursue that.

I finally had my quiet retreat! I started planning it back in September, and it finally happened. I had 5 days of solitude here at home while my family went on a trip without me. I had really been looking forward to it. But, what I felt about it was different than I expected. I wouldn't call it a great experience. I wouldn't call it a bad experience. It was something that I felt (and still feel) mostly ambivalent about. I did enjoy the quiet (although not as much as I thought I would), and I did enjoy getting to do whatever I wanted to whenever I wanted to. However, I missed my kids more than I expected that I would. And I didn't want to do anything productive at all, so I didn't.

I think it was good for me to take the opportunity that I had to do this, both to satisfy my interest in what that would be like, as well as to let the rest of the family see that they can survive without me for a few days. :) But, I don't know that it was an experience I'll be craving to repeat for awhile. Just...kind of a quiet shoulder-shrug kind of a response to the whole thing. Which is surprising to me. :)

That's about the size of it. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Swap your DVDs

If you've read here very long you know that I just looooove Paperback Swap. We've also enjoyed using SwapACD. Now they have Swap-a-DVD too! How fun!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Freedom Writers--Movie Review

Tonite I had the pleasure of watching the movie Freedom Writers, starring Hilary Swank. I always love inspirational stories about educators that inspire kids that would have otherwise gone in a bad direction. This true story is one of those, and I loved it. Highly recommended, though not for young children.

So I FINALLY got the satisfaction of seeing SOMEONE on The Bachelor be realistic! Bachelor Brad ultimately decided to choose neither woman at the final rose ceremony. Thank you, Brad, for having the integrity to not make false promises.

But the audience of women at the After the Final Rose show.....what a mess! Here's a perfect example of what's wrong with women today. They don't get it that it's BETTER for a woman to be alone than to be with a man that isn't wholeheartedly wanting to be with her. What is UP with that?!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gardener Follow-up

Two months ago I told you about The Gardener in my community and how I wanted to somehow say thank you for the way his garden has filled my all-around-town drives with beauty. Well, yesterday was the magical day! During preschool pickup I saw both of the guys out working on their yard (putting up tall, skinny artificial Christmas trees in white, pink, and purple! what a hoot!) so I decided to take the opportunity. I raced home and put together a bag of sample sized Larabars, wrote them a note, and bravely drove back over there. I was feeling pretty nervous about it because the one guy does look very intimidating, but I felt strongly that their garden was also a true reflection of the people they are, so who wouldn't want to meet people like that?

They were still out in their yard when I came walking down the street. I introduced myself and told them how I had admired and been blessed by their beautiful yard all year long, and I gave them the gift. They seemed very surprised and appreciative that I stopped by. I got to learn some about their plants (many are transplants from the intimidating-looking man's grandmother's house, which is also right in town--she no longer lives there, but the plants have deeper significance for him than just garden store purchases), how they find time to do such extensive gardening (intimidating-man is currently out of work on disability, the other man is a student and takes classes on the internet, so they are both home a lot), about their careers (intimidator used to be a school teacher! The other guy is getting a social work degree), and their five dogs. (I had since realized there was more than one dog, but did not notice so many!)

Overall, they were very warm and friendly, very kind and appreciative. The intimidating looking man was very well spoken and gentle in his speech, and I felt so glad that I had been brave and followed my heart on doing something so simple as letting a stranger know that they have made a difference in my life. They invited me to stop by anytime. :) It's definitely on my list.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Guitar Hero

Just in case you're wondering what I've been doing tonite--I'm playing Guitar Hero with my kids. They have given me the "Very Cool Mom" award for learning to play. It's quite fun once you get the hang of it! :0

What are you doing this evening?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Catching up

I've been busy new books sold well on the official opening day last week, so that was exciting! Unfortunately I discovered that my web site is not working as it should be, so the process was not as reliable or simple as I expected it to be. Of course we always find these things out on the day when we have more sales than ever before! ugh. Nevertheless, it will get straightened out eventually.

We had good news this week. My grandmother had been given a preliminary diagnosis of breast cancer, but the biopsy results came back negative. Needless to say, the entire family is very relieved about that.

In the past I mentioned my desire to play cello again (I played for 2 years as a child). Well, the opportunity presented itself recently, so I have decided to give it a try. I got "my" cello this week and have had fun practicing and getting reacquainted with such a wonderful instrument. I'm not entirely confident that this is going to be the best opportunity for me, though. The timing for the classes is not turning out to be very good, I am not feeling very sure that the teacher is going to work out well for me, and I am having some pain in my hands that I have struggled with for probably 10 years. Glucosamine sulfate has helped the pain in the past, so I will try it again. Right now when I use the bow my hand starts to hurt and cramp up. It may be related to the way I'm holding the bow (possibly not doing it right) but it's a familiar pain that I also get if I have to grip small objects and so on. I have paid for the month of November so plan to at least stick with it for these weeks and see how things progress and how I feel about the entire situation by the end of the month.

My next musical adventure that I am looking forward to is playing the bodhran. I first learned about the bodhran by reading about it in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, and then got to watch and listen to a bodhran in a video that we have, and then live at the Glasgow Highland Games in June. I have fallen in love with this drum! Here's a sample of bodhran playing:

If this 10 year old can do it, surely I could learn. Right??

Today at church I had the funny experience of finding out that
1. a friend there had also just gotten a cello this week (I had no idea he was interested in cello)
2. another friend there has taken bodhran lessons while in Ireland for a semester in college. How fun!

Bodhrans aren't expensive and I've been told by my friend at church that it's not difficult to learn the basic techinque. I am thinking about buying one this week and giving it a try. I have been dreaming of this for months and it seems like a fun thing to work on during the winter months. My businesses have actually been profitable for the last couple months so we've not only reaped some financial rewards for our family, but I have some wiggle room to enjoy these little musical bonuses as well. What a nice feeling! And a good experience for me, because I often have difficulty spending money on non-essentials.

I read this interesting article about a couple that is married but chooses not to live together. I haven't heard of many people that do this, but honestly--I kind of like the idea. What appeals to me about it is the ability to maintain a little more mystery in a relationship. Sharing the bathroom and hearing somebody fart just doesn't translate into know? I have imagined that once the kids are grown it might be kind of fun to have my own apartment someplace else. The idea of having my husband pick me up for a date, come over for dinner, or get a sexy invite to spend the night sound like very appealing novelties to me. Of course, the fun might wear off after a few months, but the idea of an experiment like that interests me. What do you think? Can you imagine a scenario where you might enjoy being married but not living under the same roof?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Two Books Down!

I found my groove and got two of the books done!! Yay!

Now I have to peel myself off the computer chair and go take a shower....

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gathering Wool....

In her book Bird by Bird, writer Anne Lamott talks about her practice of forcing herself to do some writing each day, even if she doesn't feel like it, and how a lot of the time she gets started by "gathering wool" This, of course, is a cute way of explaining the random stuff we do when we are supposed to sit down and do something, but instead go off on tangents, trying to avoid the task at hand.

And that's what I'm doing right now.

A couple weeks ago I enjoyed the thrill of having completed my first ebook...for about a half hour. And then I discovered that the file was too large to upload anywhere. So I spent hours resizing all the graphics and photos and tried again. No dice. So then I decided to break the one large book down to several smaller books, which in theory would work out well. In reality, though, I'm struggling with it.

I didn't want to just chop up the book into smaller sections as sell them that way. They need nice covers. And introductions. And if I'm going to break them into smaller books, I have to decide which sections get which essays that I had sprinkled throughout the big book. And, some of the smaller books made me think that I could actually add one or two or three or more additional items to them, because, you know, who wants to sell a dinky ebook that's only 10 pages? Some of the books would require quite a bit of rewriting because of the way I would market it.

So I'm sitting here with so much hard work done, but needing to press through to finish. I have some good marketing opportunities open to me if I can finish any of these before the end of the month. Ideally, I would finish them by then. My second choice deadline would be to finish before I have my quiet retreat in a few weeks, because I don't want to spend my retreat feeling like I should get stuff done that's on my To Do list. The third choice deadline is that this simply HAS to be finished by the end of the year. I'm sick of having this hanging over my head, and have a lot more projects I want to get to. These have to get done.

And I'm sitting here at the computer in my pajamas, with a child watching a stupid Thumbelina video a few feet away.

As I'm said before, I just don't do well at tasks that I don't feel inspired about. Sometimes if I just get started on something, the inspiration comes and I get on a pretty good roll. I'm hoping for that today. So far, though, I'm just gathering wool....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

I had never heard of IBC until today when my mom sent me this link. Later today, we found out that my grandmother very likely has it. Tests will be in next week.

Until then, please take a few minutes to watch and learn. Afterwards you can learn more at this site.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Marching Band Excitement

I had a busy weekend attending my son's state semi-finals and finals for marching band. It was a gorgeous day--not a cloud in the sky, perfect temperature...flawless! Our band got their highest score ever during semi-finals, and then beat that score in finals. Very exciting. They came in 3rd in their division and 6th in the entire state. A good day. Glad I could go. But today, it's nice that there's no band practice after school. :)

Benefit Sale

A gal on one of my egroups is a farm owner, and their family and farm has really suffered this year because of the drought. They have put together a humongous benefit sale to help save their farm. They have tons of cooking resources, some amazing looking real estate/repo information for people that are interested in good properties to flip, and lots more. You can check it out here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Media Roundup

I keep thinking of various books, movies, or TV shows I've wanted to comment on, so today you get the hodge-podge.

In homeschool today we finished reading The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare, which is my favorite book so far this year. It is the story of a 12-year old Matt who is left in his new cabin in the wilderness of Maine while his father goes to bring the rest of the family to their new settlement. Matt has to overcome many obstacles while surviving alone, and becomes friends with some local Indians. Much time passes, and Matt's family is long overdue to arrive. Winter is setting in, and we have no idea what has happened to Matt's family, and what his fate will be. There is a lot of neat information woven into the book about how survival can happen without guns or metal tools, and there are a lot of things to talk about with your children all along the way. The ending of this book was just what I love about so many of the books in the Sonlight curriculum. I was all choked up crying toward the end--it was really a moving, emotional end to the story. I highly recommend it.

Anybody else here been reading the Twlight series by Stephenie Meyer? I finally got ahold of Eclipse (the third book in the series, and last one available while we wait for the next two) and gobbled it up within a few days. If you haven't read it yet and don't want a spoiler, skip the rest of this paragraph. I finished the book with the opinion that I think the story is good, but I don't think Meyer is a very good writer. She fails to give the reader the visual cues that would help the story come alive in the imagination, and she fails to make her main premise of the story (that Bella and Edward can't live without each other) believable. However, the story has several interesting twists, turns, and layers that I enjoyed. (I love a book that can surprise me...usually) I finished the book in tears, bitterly disappointed that Bella would not leave Edward and go be with Jacob instead. Vampire life is boring and pointless, and I no longer believe that Edward and Bella need each other as much as we're supposed to believe. Jacob has so much more to offer Bella, and it's only because she's young and stupid that she has chosen Edward. Sucker. I'm hoping this travesty might be corrected in a future book, but I'm not counting on it.

If you've already read Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and need a little something to take that idealistic edge off of your thoughts, go read The $64 Tomato. What a funny, witty book! I'm not finished with it yet, but I'm loving it.

I missed commenting on the new season of TV shows. Although we don't have TV service here, I do manage to watch some (many) shows online thanks to ABC and the like. I need fewer Netflix, since I can watch many of my favorite shows at my whim from the computer.

Although I was thoroughly annoyed by Andy and the last shmucky season of The Bachelor, it's like a car wreck--I just can't take my eyes off of it. This season's bachelor is less annoying than Andy, but I still find myself puzzled about the mindset of these young women. I had no idea that so many beautiful, educated, employed young women were so desperate as to go on national TV with the hopes of falling in love and getting married. These girls are so into the "Pick Me!!" mentality that it seems they haven't even considered that they might not be interested in picking this guy. What. On. Earth?! Do they really think that they are going to learn anything important about this guy under the nonsense circumstances they are living in? Don't these gals know that there is more to marriage than "I just want someone to love me"? I don't understand this. Absolutely ridiculous. And, honestly, girls....WHY ON EARTH would you want to be with a guy that doesn't know for sure that he wants to be with YOU? I would NOT want to end up with a guy that had to go off and cry and get special counsel from his best friend in order to decide between me and some other girls. If you don't know you want me, you don't want me enough, bub. (Insert everything else I said about how aggravating I found The Bachelor last season) My suspicion is that Brad and Jenny have the best connection, and it would be nice to see a clear front runner emerge solidly and have him just send all the others home. Playing that show out to the end is just....gross. (but I'll be watching every week)

The new show Pushing Daisies is very interesting and worth a look-see if you like quirky and fresh shows. It's got an interesting premise, is visually fun, and I like the actors. I think it has potential.

Private Practice is the new spin-off show from Grey's Anatomy. Addison Sheppard has a new life in LA, and aren't we all so glad that she's not moaning about McDreamy anymore and getting a real life? I hadn't planned to watch this show, but gave it a shot and like it. The medical practice that she works in is very interesting, since they take a more holistic approach to the patients. The combination of high-tech medical, mind-body connection, midwifery, surgery, psychology, etc. makes for an interesting and entertaining show. It's much more interesting than the usual medical/hospital drama. And the characters are evolving in an interesting way as well. Check it out!

Brothers and Sisters is one of my favorites. The combination of a big, close-knit family, the political issues (on all sides of the spectrum), current events, and various issues is interesting. And with the exception of one actress (the one that plays Rebecca--ugh. Unless, of course, Rebecca is meant to be so annoying, in which case she's a brilliant actress!) they are excellent and convincing. Many more adult issues in this show, so some of you may not appreciate it as much as I do.

That's all I've got time for today. What have you been reading/watching?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Maybe a change is needed....

Every night I try to get my younger kids to bed around 7pm, and my older ones around 8. (not counting the 15 year old, of course) what usually happens is that they goof around for awhile before I finally get them tucked in, prayed for, with drinks of water given out. And then they goof off some more and basically ruin my entire evening's plans of watching a movie, folding laundry, or getting any work done. Most nights I go to bed at 10, frustrated that I wasn't able to get more things done.

Although bedtime is running a little more smoothly now that it's getting darker earlier, I'm wondering if maybe I should just shut the whole house down around 8pm and go to bed then myself. I could get 8 hours of sleep and manage to get up at 4am, and then get up and do all the things I would like to get done while kids are asleep.

Years ago I read about "super early risers" who did this sort of thing as a normal course of events. One interesting thing I read was that for every hour of sleep you get before midnight is twice as restful as every hour past midnight. I have no idea if that's true, but it sure sounds cool, eh?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Quick -n- Cute

Said by my four year old the other day:

Mom, my nose is leaking!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


And just as soon as I declared my book written, I was back to the drawing board. :)

First my file size was too large to send or upload. So I spent several hours resizing photos and reducing the resolution. All to end up with a file size that was still too large.

And then I decided to try another idea I have been considering for awhile, which is to make several smaller books in a series, rather than one large book.

So tonite I've taken notes and worked on moving some things around. It's not too hard, since the book definitely does lend itself to some obvious divisions that will work well for several smaller books. But, this process also reveals some gaps and needs that I will have to work on.

I'm not discouraged about it. Actually, once I was able to see the book process a little differently, it felt pretty easy to finish it, and I don't feel intimidated by the process any more. So, a hurdle has been jumped, and it feels great.

It's 1am. I've been waiting up for my oldest to get home from a school dance. I guess I have a bunch more years of that to look forward to, eh?

Friday, October 05, 2007

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Free Halloween eBook

You can get a really cute and fun Halloween eBook that features lots of fun recipes, games, and activities here. You can feel free to spread the word.

Free Netflix

If any of you are interested in getting a free one month trial of Netflix, let me know. (send a comment with your email address. I won't publish it, so nobody else will see it.) I've got 3 coupon codes to share that expire at the end of this month.

One nice thing is that netflix now has instant viewing available for some movies, which means you can click and watch right on your computer. It's not their entire collection that's available, but we have found some educational stuff on the spur of the moment when we wanted to learn more about Christopher Columbus, mammals, etc. You get as many hours of instant viewing each month as dollars you spend. (so, $19 per month=19 hours instant viewing, in addition to your regular movies coming to your home).

Monday, October 01, 2007

By George, I think we've got it!

So my preschooler continued to be unhappy about going to school. His reasoning was that he was too tired at school. I believe him about that, because he almost always falls asleep when he gets home from school, and on non-school days he typically takes a long nap.

I talked to his teacher about it and she gave me a great idea--switch to the morning class!

We've had 1 or 2 kids in this preschool class for the last 4-5 years, and the morning class has always been filled to capacity, so I hadn't even considered that as a possibility. Wow!

So today was our first day of morning preschool. He had to get up dark-and-early, which wasn't too great since we had a church party last night that made all the kids late to bed. He complained a bit, but was out the door quickly. We started school very early and are already done at 10:30! Yay! Seems like a perfect solution from my point of view. In a few minutes I'll go pick him up and see if it worked out as well for him as it did for me. I hope so, because this schedule will be wonderful for the rest of us.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Great Videos

My 9 year old son has started his own blog, which features his favorite You Tube finds. You can check it out here.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fun Videos

My oldest son has some friends at school that own and operate Black Mamba Production Studios. These kids have already won awards for their videos. My son is working on a Star Wars Lego movie with them these days. Until we have the finished product to she you, here are a few of our favorites that they did before we got to know them.

Fun Poetry Class

I don't know if I've mentioned it here before, but I am quite unsatisfied with Sonlight 3's choice of the book Classic Poetry. It's everything that children expect poetry to be--dreary, boring, and difficult to understand. I have no idea why Sonlight would choose this book.

So, we've been reading Shel Silverstein poetry, which they gobble up and beg for more. Of course.

And then we found something neat and I used it to do two poetry classes this week.

Over at Great Homeschool Videos they have three YouTube videos depicting Robert Frost's poem The Road Less Traveled. (though some called it The Road Not Taken...) First I found the poem online and read it to the kids and we talked about what it meant. Then we watched each of the videos and talked about what we did and didn't like about each, and how each one did or didn't convey what we felt the poem was saying.

Another day we did the same thing with Robert Frost's poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening.
We did the same thing with that one.

What I really liked about this was the way we could dive into one simple poem, understand it, and then see how others saw it or told the story. It was fun for variety as well. I had never thought about You Tube as a possibility for poetry lessons, but I will be looking for more of this kind of stuff in the future. It looks like there is a lot more to choose from there.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Edward and Bella

I forgot to tell you that after seeing folks like Jessica over at Kerflop and others mentioning their newfound love and obsession for Stephenie Meyer's Twlight series, I decided to check it out. No surprise--I'm hooked. I read Twilight and New Moon within about a week, and then couldn't get ahold of the third book, Eclipse until today. Ah, bliss! Now I need to carve out some time to read it! ha.

Monday, September 24, 2007

It just wouldn't be a homeschool day if somebody didn't end up in tears....

Today I've hit the jackpot, with both of my little homeschoolers crying during school time. If things keep going like they have been, I might burst into tears myself, thereby achieving a homeschool hat trick.

Despite the good curriculum I have, my complete unwillingness to make my children to meaningless busy work, my good sense of humor, having things be totally quiet here from 10:15-2:45 every day....STILL somebody starts crying about something.

My son cried because of his math, spelling, and language arts. He's now acting like I've asked him to swim the English channel with one arm tied behind his back because I asked him to write his remaining spelling words three times each.

My daughter cried because she got one word wrong on her spelling test, and later because she did not like it that I was going over her mistakes with her from her Wordly Wise book. Last week she complained that I was not doing enough actual teaching. This week she is complaining because I dared to try to teach her something.

A few minutes ago she came down here, red-faced and teary-eyed, to read me the two essays she just wrote. The first was entitled "Why Homeschool Stinks" and the second was "Why I Miss School."

To contrast that, my preschooler is now on a campaign to drop out of school. Most little 4 year olds might say something like, "I don't want to go to school tomorrow" before they go to bed, and you get them to stop talking about it by saying something like, "Well, let's think about it and we can talk about it in the morning" and then by morning the kid has forgotten all about it. I don't have one of those kids. I have the kid who comes to me first thing in the morning, rubbing his sleepy little eyes, and says, "So. Did you think about letting me stay home today? Because I still don't want to go to school." And here I am doing one of the things I never wanted to do, which is basically coercing/forcing a 4 year old to go to school even if he doesn't want to. And WHY am I doing that? So that I can homeschool the kid that writes "Why Homeschool Stinks" essays. Yeah. Good times.

**Adding some more info now. My daughter's main complaints about homeschooling are directly related to the differences between the way she was taught at school as compared to the way we do things here. She is missing being graded (which proves she is smart and learning, or so she thinks), having her time regimented, and things like that. It's a normal thing for her to feel this way and I completely understand. But I have no intention of giving up on her or our homeschooling.

After she calmed down a bit I went to ask her what things we could adjust to make homeschooling better. Once she got past her initial answer that absolutely nothing could make homeschooling bearable for her, she had some very school-ish suggestions. (start school at 7:35 am, keep grades for everything, have specific class times and schedule, etc.) Then the phone rang and her best friend called. When she got off the phone she was looking kind of funny and said, "So. Guess what they studied in science today? Reproduction!! I am SO glad that I wasn't there for THAT!" hahahahahaaha I love it that she got that reminder of why the grass isn't always greener on the other side....

Starting a new book today

This is what I'm starting to read today. With all of my business plans and wishes, and personal goals, it seemed the logical choice. :) have to go watch this

I just stumbled across this today and thought it was brilliant, beautiful, and something I needed to hear. (My husband has been telling me this for 16 years, but I don't think I entirely *got it* until now.) Follow this link to watch.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What would life look like if we followed the Bible's rules?

This guy did an experiment for a year where he 9tried to) obey every rule in the Bible. Interesting!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Working my plan

So a week or two ago I told you about the inspiring concept of Addition by Subtraction. I've been doing a lot of thinking about what could stand to go in my life, and where the clutter is (both physical as well as emotional, mental, and schedule clutter) and trying to reduce it. So far I've managed to:

-arrange carpooling for picking up the elementary school kids: I now only pick up 2 days a week!

-found a friend that is willing to swap childcare so that I can get some time off if needed (not entirely sure how well this will work since her kids are younger than mine and require more effort to watch)

-found a situation where I could have my preschoolers babysat in the mornings before school any time that I need that (like if I want to take the homeschooled kids on a field trip that needs more time than I have when I need to get the preschooler on the bus)

-worked through every item that I had previously mentioned here as being on my Plagues and Nuisances list plus some. (Don't worry, though. There are even MORE items on the list....but I'm getting there!)

-worked on having my marching band kid get rides home from some of his practices so that I don't have to pick him up every. single. time.

-I rejoined Flylady and am doing what I can to get those baby step routines going

-I've been faithfully working my Addition by Subtraction plan for my businesses as well, and am having a very profitable month!

-I'm now planning to see if I can find 4 other women in my town that are willing to set up a Supper Swapping arrangement with me. The idea behind Supper Swapping is that on one night of the week I make dinner for my own family plus the 4 other families in the group (in other words, make 5 of the same casserole or whatever), and on the other 4 nights, someone is making dinner for us. I do not like to cook or shop or anything that goes with making dinner. if I could hire a cook I would love it. If my business ever starts making a boatload of money, I'd hire a housekeeper and a cook. Definitely. For now, this seems like a good possibility. (and better than my previous idea of trying to do freezer cooking for myself, which would end up costing more and being more work, which doesn't seem all that appealing) You can learn more about Supper Swapping here and here.

-I have wished for a quiet retreat for myself for years, but what with life and family getting in the way ;) I haven't been able to make that happen. I decided that I definitely needed that break (seeing as how my husband worked about 250 hours over the past two weeks. Seriously.) and have now planned it for later in the fall.

-I have also lined up a quiet place I can go to work on writing my book. not sure when I'll have time to go....but I'm working on it. :)

And, now I've got to get back at it. I just went out to let the chickens out of their coop and found that one chicken has been injured and bleeding. Poor girl!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

P&N: Down by 5

Just a quick hello to say that I've actually *made progress* accomplishing things from my Plagues and Nuisances list today and last night. I have been diligently beating back the paper monster from my To Do list also. Feels good! I'm going to keep at it and see how much I can get done today. Yay!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Gardener

So there's this man who lives right near the elementary school, and he has the most amazing landscaping/garden going on in the front of his house. His entire front yard from porch to street is probably no more than 10 feet, and he has managed to fill it with amazing, gorgeous plants. The big, luscious ground cover leaves spill right over the yard onto the street in a way that makes you feel like all that beauty is just trying to reach out and touch you. The whole place is just a breath of fresh air, and you can't help but be struck by how lovely it is when you drive by. (which in my case is about 4 times a day)

More interesting than the garden itself is the gardener. The man that tends to these plants so faithfully is probably at least 6'4", appears to have a shaved head, goes without a shirt most of the time. This reveals his very fuzzy red hair on back and front, and some pretty large and interesting tattoos. He is a rather fierce looking man, and his nose ring (a big hoop that goes through the middle of his nose, like a bull ring) and earrings and nipple rings add to the look.

And there he is in all his huge, fierce, tat-and-body pierced glory, living across from the elementary school in a small Kentucky town, tending to this magnificent garden decor, and sometimes walking his small doggie.

Really, he fascinates me. I enjoy it when I can manage to be a little bit of an enigma, but this guy seems to have really gotten into the spirit of it! I've been thinking for awhile that I would like to hop out of the car someday when I see him working in his yard and introduce myself and thank him for making his little spot in our town so beautiful. I've considered taking him a card or a gift certificate to a garden catalog or shop. What I think I've settled on, though, is a note and some homemade banana bread.

In the book Bless and Be Blessed the author talks about the importance of telling people how you feel about them while they're able to hear it. (rather than saving up all those nice things for saying once somebody's dead) There have been many times in my life that I've made a point of doing that, and I can't help but think that this intimidating-looking man who apparently loves small dogs and lovely plants is offering something really wonderful to the people of this community, and I want him to know that we appreciate it. I have to pick up some more wheat so I can make my bread the best way, so it may be a week before I get to it. (and then the trick is catching him at home and working outside while I have fresh bread with me in the car!) I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully it won't be too awkward.

Oh, and for those of you that are worried that he may think I'm flirting with him, I'm pretty sure he's gay, so no worries. (NO, I don't think he's gay because he likes to take care of plants! I'm pretty sure he lives with another man. That's all.)

Post Modern

Actually...unanswered questions do bother me, but I feel like the journey involved in getting the answers I need will help in the long run.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Homeschooling at the Speed of Life--Book Review

Marilyn Rockett is the encouraging big sister that every homeschool mom

Whether you're new to homeschooling, or just need some fresh inspiration,
Marilyn brings it to you in her new book Homeschooling At The Speed of Life.

With an encouraging, accepting, and inspirational style, Marilyn shares from
her ups and downs raising four sons and homeschooling. She's so great at
respecting that each family really needs to find what works for them, while
also offering up tricks and tips that have worked for her through the years.

I started homeschooling 10 years ago, so have pretty much "read it all."
However, Marilyn's book had the combination of ideas, reminders, and
inspiration that I needed to refresh my journey as a wife, mom, and home
educator. The complimentary CD-rom that comes with the book is super-easy to use and has a ton of helpful forms to help you get organized, stay organized, and keep your focus.

I highly recommend this book to every homeschool mom, whether you need help getting off to the right start, or if you're a veteran homeschooler that would appreciate some encouragement and a breath of fresh air!

You can check out Marilyn's web site and book here.

I came across this quote this morning, and it confirmed my belief that I need some time alone and away from my regular duties in life:

"Every now and then go away,
have a little relaxation,
for when you come back to your work
your judgment will be surer;
since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgment.
Go some distance away
because the work appears smaller
and more of it can be taken in at a glance,
and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen."

~Leonardo da Vinci

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Crisis of Faith

I've been struggling with a crisis of faith for some time now. Here's some things that I don't get:

Why is it that if God is all-powerful, that He turns His back on His children? The Bible asks the question, If a child asks his father for bread, will he give him a stone? Sure looks to me like a whole lotta God's children get stones for supper....

Why is it that the Bible says God will heal us, and people believe this through cancer or other disease, and they still die, leaving behind young children and spouses that needed them? Before the person dies everyone involved claims that they've heard from God that they will be healed....and after the person is dead, we're told that they go their "ultimate healing" instead. Well, um, no.....dead people aren't healed. They're DEAD, for cryin' out loud.

The more I live and read and hear and see, the more I feel like the whole God thing is set up to make excuses so that God can always come out on top. God didn't use His love and power to heal your God has a "better" plan and gave you "ultimate healing." God doesn't step in and save his children from poverty, sickness, crime, or torture very often. So, then those people are supposed to thank God for withholding all that power from them and leaving them to suffer. Right.

As I teach my children about Native Americans and early Indian people and we read about the "myths" that they used to explain how and why the world works as it does, I find myself thinking that many of their explanations are just as good, if not better, than what we've got for God.

In the book Blue Like Jazz the author talks about his former perception that Christianity was a bunch of falling apart pieces that the Sunday School teacher tried to hide behind her back with one hand, while doing a felt story board presentation with the other. That's exactly how I feel.

In reading the Bible I see liars, cheaters, and schemers rewarded by God (Sarah and Jacob for two examples), and others left in dire circumstances (Hagar and Ishmael, Esau) even though they did nothing wrong. We see men considered good hosts for offering their virgin daughters to would-be gang rapists. We see God-honoring people left bereft and despondent while God looks the other way for a time, seeming to take for granted the devotion of His followers.

Does this seem loving? Does this seem like a religion you'd really want to sign up for? Does this seem like a situation you really want to get on board with?

I still believe that Jesus lived, died, and rose again. I still believe that the example of the life of Jesus is one worth following. I've got no beef with Jesus. What I can't reconcile is why would I want to worship a God that I constantly have to make excuses for?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Busy Week

It's been a very busy, intense week here, so there hasn't been much time for blogging. My husband worked an unusually high amount this week, so I've been flying solo. Doing that even with one kid would be enough.....but six kids, band competition and practices and pick ups, business issues arising left and right, homeschooling, and the house hitting rock bottom in the disaster area category have made it far more exciting than is desirable. Still, I made it through in one piece, and all the kids are alive. And that ain't nothin', as they say.

I rejoined Flylady and my house is already happy about that. (I started getting the digest version, so now I just scan one day's worth of emails, make a list, and go and do. No more inbox clutter!) Some days my brain is so fried that just having someone else tell me Do This really helps. And, as I always say when I get back with the Flylady, it's amazing how much you can get done in 2, 5, or 15 minutes.

I have had some good business things happening, and some other interesting possibilities coming along as well. It's nice to see things on the upswing.

My husband surprised me with a very nice new all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax machine the other day, because he had seen me struggling with my former printer. Very sweet! He said it was important for me to have good equipment to run my business. :) He also bought a digital camcorder, which I've been too busy to even take out of the box. Maybe he can figure out how to use it over the weekend.

The marching band has another big competition this weekend. Not sure if I'll be able to attend or not.

Homeschooling is marching right along. We're finally reading a book that I really like (Sign of the Beaver) and I decided to give the kids come poetry that speaks to the heart of a child a little better than their stinkin Classic Poetry book does. (most of those poems *I* don't even understand, nor do I see how they help children think anything positive about poetry!) So, we're now reading Shel Silverstein's book of poetry Where the Sidewalk Ends, and they are always begging for more. He's been a favorite of mine for over 25 years.

I had an idea to start accumulating the books for Sonlight 4 via Paperback Swap, and already have probably half of them in a stack on my shelf now. A nice way to homeschool inexpensively!

That's about the size of it for now. How are YOU?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A good place

I had a really happy moment in our small town tonite.

Today our marching band had their first competition of the season. They won first place for their division, their color guard won whatever the top honor was for that group, plus they won Grand Champion of the event! The buses were escorted back into town by 8-10 police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks--all flashing their lights and running their sirens.

I was so thrilled for those kids. It must feel pretty cool to have all that teenage energy and excitement after working hard as a team and then experiencing an achievement like that. To get that kind of support and enthusiasm from your community has to be a major bonus.

A lot of people wouldn't want to live in this town. We don't have a shopping mall or any cool restaurants. A lot of our downtown store spaces are empty. It's not what you'd call "economically thriving." Most of the kids in our schools qualify for free or reduced lunches. Up until just before we moved here 7 years ago, the high school drop out rate was right around 50%, or so I've been told. But the schools and the community have worked hard to give these small town, rural kids vision and purpose, and a whole lot more of them are graduating now.

In the middle school every student is required to be in a club. If they don't have a club you want, they'll help you make up your own. But every student has to be a part of something. The marching band has been gaining momentum for several years now, improving every year. It was interesting to see how many of the other bands were from MUCH larger schools, but had much smaller bands.

There might be more perks at bigger schools, or better funding. I wouldn't know too much about that. I graduated from a small Christian school. My graduating class consisted of a whopping 36 students. Including me. Being in a small pond can be really nice, though. Without a ton of competition for every team and activity, there's room for every kid to be able to try out the things they're interested in, without getting set aside if they aren't the best of the best.

That's how I feel about our town. It feels like wide open possibilities for the kids, with a community full of people that will get off their easy chairs to drive fire trucks through the town square on a Saturday night to celebrate their their children. It's a good place.

Friday, September 07, 2007


I just found out that you can get $300 worth of ebooks when you sign up for Living on a Dime's newsletter. They have lots of great money-saving ideas there, so it would be well worth your while to get in on this deal and spread the word. Check it out here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


(I thought this was so clever it had to be shared)

The recent hurricanes and gasoline issues are proof of the
existence of a new chemical element. A major research institution has
recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to

The new element has been named Governmentium. Governmentium (Gv)
has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198
assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons,
which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles
called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can
be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes
into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction
that would normally take less than a second to take over four days to

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; It does not decay,
but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the
assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact,
Governmentium's Mass will actually increase over time, since each
reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to
believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical
concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical
morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes element that radiates just as much energy as
Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many

Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's my Blogoversary!

Today marks three years that I've been blogging here! Woohoo! It seems like we should have some sort of party......

So I've got music!


And you can drop off your presents over at Zoe Children's Homes, where they work hard every day to rescue children from the evil practice of human trafficking. These people are literally waiting for your donations to be able to take in one more child. A child that will be loved, cared for, fed, given medical care, educated, and in a family environment permanently. They keep these kids til adulthood and continue to be their family even after they have gotten old enough to graduate from the program. So, save a child's life today. What could make a party more worthwhile?

The contempt shown to parents of large families

I found this interesting article today by a Rabbi about the attitude in the West toward large families. He makes many good points. You can read the article here.

Spontaneous Outing

What I didn't tell you last week, while I was sick and hoping not to get sent to jail, was that my husband was out of town on a business trip for 6 days. So, lots of excitement there.

To celebrate being home, he came up with the idea of taking us to Cumberland Falls on Saturday. Being a good sport, I said yes.

On the way we passed a decent-sized Flea Market. Seeing as how I now want to grow up and be like the gal over at Eyes of Wonder, I got all inspired and said OOH! OOH! Can we stop?! So he turned around and took us back to the Flea Market.

Let's just say this. A rural Kentucky flea market doesn't seem to have *quite* the same type of goodies as Mrs. Eyes of Wonder has in New England. Which is not surprising.

Rather than finding homey items that would enhance my life I saw

old baskets (not cool ones, just junk ones)
die cast cars
guns and weaponry
apple head chihuahuas (real ones)
produce (which never goes out of style)
old computers
junk toys
and many, many tables of odds and ends that were nothing like what I'd been hoping to see

I will admit that it was a pretty well organized flea market. Even booths that sold stuff I didn't care about did a very god job of grouping like items together and trying to make a good presentation. So, it's not really that it was all lousy stuff, it just wasn't the vintage loveliness that I had hoped to find.

I did luck out by wearing my sunglasses while touring the flea market pavilion. Normally when I go to things like flea markets or farmer's markets, because I am a person who makes eye contact, I get suckered into talking to people or feeling like I should buy things that I don't want. If you just want to look and not feel bad, wear your shades, don't get too close to the tables, and keep moving. (If you can bring six kids along they help deflect people's attention away from you. So try that too, ok?)

The people watching at places like this is pretty interesting. Lots of smoking, tattoos, dogs on leashes, obvious health problems, etc.

The one small adventure I had at the flea market was when I went to the bathroom. Oh. My. Goodness. I kid you not, when I say that in the potty stall the door was no more than 10 inches from the toilet. It required some interesting finagling for me to get in the stall, close the door, and try to high-step around the toilet in order to cover the seat, then sit (knees akimbo) on the potty which was wobbly... At least it was relatively clean. They even had a bar of soap (not pump soap) for every one of us to share with each other. Yay.

Thankfully, Cumberland Falls was nicer than the flea market. Here are some photos that I found online:

Since we've had so little rain this year, we were able to walk through the riverbed on exposed rocks. It wasn't too hot of a day, so it was pleasant enough to do a little hiking around to see the falls and the amazing huge rocks and caves in the area.

Overall a good day. :)

Cash for Books

I found out about this cool site earlier today. You can sell them your unwanted books! Although I enjoy swapping books on PaperBackSwap, this is a good option for those of you that need to declutter and get some money NOW!

Addition By Subtraction

In the September issue of Body + Soul magazine there was an interesting article in the Life Coach column about being able to add to your life (make your life better/more of the things you want for your life) by subtracting the things that are cluttering it up.

I've been doing some thinking about this issue, and trying to figure out what needless clutter is in my life. I have a lot of physical clutter, which I'm taking out of here one bag and box at a time. But I'm also thinking through reducing activity clutter and mental/emotional clutter (my Plagues and Nuisances list, for one).

This morning I found out about a conference call that was recorded by an online business contact of mine, and many of the things she talks about on this recording dovetail nicely with this Addition by Subtraction concept. Although some of what she talks about has to do with being an entrepreneur, there is MUCH to be gained for anyone looking for more balance in their life, particularly if you have children or homeschool. You can go here to listen. Just scroll down a short way until you see where it says Click Play to Hear Mary Jo's
Call About the Course. It's probably 30-40 minutes long, but you can pause it and come back to it if you don't have a chunk of time to devote to listening. I got a whole page of notes and a bunch of ideas that I think will be a big help to me!

Another recent organization inspiration came to me here. I am a list maker, but I also lose my lists. Constantly. In the past I set up one of Flylady's Control Journals, and it quickly became a big, heavy thing to carry around, which was not user friendly. This simple idea of having a 3-ring binder with my menu list, places to jot down what I need to get next time I go to the store, errands to do, calls to be made, things to mention to my husband, etc. has encouraged me so much!

I already have a spot on my desk where our huge Sonlight binder lives, so that I can see what needs to be done next. So, I think it's realistic that I could also have a place for a home organization binder to live as well.

Now the trick is to find time (and paper....anybody have any loose leaf paper???) and put it together. I'll get there....eventually.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Greetings From the Jailbird

I SO badly want to write a post that weaves a fictitious tale of how I was arrested for failure to appear at jury duty orientation. I have thought through how fun it would be to get people all riled up and having the word spread around the internet. What a great publicity stunt it would be!

But, you know, I don't know enough about being arrested, going to jail, or the legal process to keep it up for very long. (though I guess I could have called a family member or three to ask for details....hahahaha) So, instead, you continue to get the truth from me. It ain't glamorous, but that's what I've got.

After spending almost 24 hours worrying about the cops showing up at my house, I finally got ahold of the proper person to apologize for and explain my absence. She was very nice. I even got to tell her why I had been asking to be excused (even though I sent them a full page letter weeks ago!). After I got through Phase One of my excuse (the kids, and homeschooling, and not having any local relatives that could help me out) she said, "HOW many kids did you say you have?!" "Six." "That's what I thought you said. Wow." And with that she let me off the hook, easy as can be. It was too late for me to officially be excused, so instead I was put "On Call" which, she told me technically means they can call me in if they run out of other jurors, but she says that's never happened here.

I thanked her for being so nice, apologized again, and then said that although I had been a little worried about going to jail, I figured it might have been a good break for me. She laughed quite a bit at that.

Too Funny (adults only!)

I thought this was SO funny...particularly for all of you who have been married long enough to know a little about what he's talking about....

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

So...Do You Think I'll Go To Jail For This?

As you already know, I've been up to my eyeballs in snot and sneezing and kids and stuff all week. (and that's only the stuff I've actually TOLD you about!) Today I was feeling a little bit better so was trying to get caught up on homeschool, business, and emails. And around 4:30pm I noticed a paper on my desk. What paper, you ask? Oh.....only the paper telling me that I was summoned for Jury Duty TODAY at 9am!

As soon as the notice came several weeks ago I filled out the return form, plus typed up my own explanation of why I was requesting to be excused. I sent it out the next day. (honest. seriously, for sure. I put it in the mailbox myself.)

And then I never heard from them.

And last week I started thinking about that, so decided I better call to make sure that I was excused, so called the "Jury Call In" phone number MANY times, only to get busy signals or endless ringing. So, of course, I knew I would need to call later.

And of course, being human, and continually getting put off by their non-working phone line, it didn't get done. And I haven't even been aware of what day it is. But when I saw that paper I checked the date, and OF COURSE, here I am, having not showed up for my civic duty.

And right at the top of the paper it clearly states that if you fail to show up for jury duty they can fine or JAIL me.

So....that's kind of uncomfortable. The logical part of me knows that no sane person is going to come and arrest me. The paranoid part of me is thinking of what wild news coverage the story would get if a homeschooling mother of six was arrested for forgetting to appear for jury duty. On the one hand, it would suck. On the other could be AWESOME publicity for my businesses! And maybe I would learn something wonderful and important about jails that would open up a whole new arena of opportunity for me! (can I put a silver lining on a cloud or WHAT?!)

So, you know, I'm indulging in playing out a few scenarios in my mind, while I keep glancing out the window toward the driveway, looking for flashing lights.....

I am The Champion, My Friends!

This morning was a huge success for getting my elementary school kiddos up. When I went in to wake them I just said, "Good morning! Time to get up. And today you will get a prize if you get up like a good boy!" and then I walked away.

They both made it out of their rooms, to the bathroom, got their stuff together, and I didn't have one second of trouble out of either of them. Awesome!

They were both delighted with the teeny-weeny Hershey bars that they stuck in their pockets to enjoy with their lunch. What a bargain!

I always love it when I can find conflict-free ways to get my kids on the straight-and-narrow. It's not that I fear conflict or am afraid to discipline them. It's just that there are certain things that I think should not have conflict attached to them. To me, bedtime, getting your day started, and meal times should all be nurturing and peaceful. I want those memories to be good ones for my kids, so I do what I can to set those times up to be as positive as realistically possible. Obviously it isn't always realistic to avoid conflict, but with creative thinking and advance planning it can go fairly well.

What God Sees When He Sees You

(I enjoy receiving daily emails from Wild at Heart Ministries. You can go here if you want to sign up to get them too. I thought this one was very much worth sharing today.)

Your sin has been dealt with. Your Father has removed it from you “as far as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12). Your sins have been washed away (1 Cor. 6:11). When God looks at you he does not see your sin. He has not one condemning thought toward you (Rom. 8:1). But that’s not all. You have a new heart. That’s the promise of the new covenant: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws” (Ezek. 36:26 –27). There’s a reason that it’s called good news.

Too many Christians today are living back in the old covenant. They’ve had Jeremiah 17:9 drilled into them and they walk around believing my heart is deceitfully wicked. Not anymore it’s not. Read the rest of the book. In Jeremiah 31:33, God announces the cure for all that: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” I will give you a new heart. That’s why Paul says in Romans 2:29, “No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit.” Sin is not the deepest thing about you. You have a new heart. Did you hear me? Your heart is good.

What God sees when he sees you is the real you, the true you, the man he had in mind when he made you.

(Wild at Heart , 133–34)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

No Thanks to YOU all.....I figured it out.

Just as I had to go kamikaze with incentive prizes to get my kids potty trained, I have decided to do the same for both going to bed, staying in bed, and getting up in the morning.

SO....I went to the store and came home with some little prizes like bouncy balls, rubber lizards, Whoopee cushions, etc. (OK, fine. By etc. I actually mean CANDY. OK. There. I admit it.)

The deal is that they have to get into bed by their bedtime. (I help them get ready plenty of time in advance) If they are in their bed they can have one of the toy or book prizes. (no candy--I do have some standards) BUT if they get out of bed for any reason other than having to go to the bathroom, I will take that prize away.

In the morning, for people that get up and cooperate and are ready to go when the bus pulls up, they can choose a prize (even candy for their lunch boxes).

I happened to have a pack of about 6 books in hand (in hiding) that I had gotten on some great bargain, so tonite I just gave each little boy a book. They were thrilled, and it gave them something to look at while they were winding down. They seemed to understand the deal that they can only keep their prize IF they stay in bed. Of course, they always have to throw their big toes over the line to see if I reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaly mean it. So, now two of them know I do, because their books are back in the prize box. :)

Wish me luck! (I'm hoping that the candy will work wonders for my morning troubles. And thankfully, it'll only take a couple weeks of this to get them trained in the right direction, and then the prizes will fade out.)

Hard Night, Hard Morning

Remind me now....which medicine is it that you're supposed to take for "sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so-you-can-rest"? I need some.

I've been feeling this illness creeping up on me for a couple days. My first thought was that maybe it was allergies, so I took a sample Zyrtec and felt better. The next day I took another one and sort of felt better. And the third day it didn't help a bit. The fourth day I took a Claritin, which also didn't help a bit. and last night I took a sudafed, which also didn't help.

It was one of those nights where, if you want to sleep on your side, you need a small towel to catch the drip-drip-dripping of your nose. I might have been able to deal with that, if I hadn't started sneezing and sneezing and sneezing some more!

Eventually I realized that if I slept on my back on a fluffier pillow than usual, the snot stayed in my head (where it belongs?!) and I was able to sleep, even though this is not my preferred sleeping position.

This morning I woke up dark-and-early to get my two elementary school kiddos up. Izzy man has really been giving me a run for my money in the mornings lately. He doesn't want to get up, and is really, really causing my mornings to be very frustrating. I'm almost always doing the morning shift alone, so it's not like I can get my husband to put a spring in his step. Since I have at least one other child waking up at the same time, I don't really have the luxury of focusing on one reluctant riser.

So, we had a pretty ugly scene in his room this morning, and eventually I told him to just stay in his room. (Which of course then he didn't want to do. Too bad.) I do not want to spend my mornings fighting with my children.

For the last couple of years they really loved to go to school and would bounce out of bed every day. This year neither of them seems happy. There are probably at least a couple homeschoolers reading this right now, thinking that I should be homeschooling these kiddos. I've considered that, but really feel that everyone's best interests will be served by the arrangement we have in place for this school year.

So, what do you suppose is a good way for me to help this child turn his behavior around so that he can wake up like a civilized person? He has no trouble being an early riser on Saturdays or Sundays, and he goes to bed early enough to get plenty of rest, so I don't think he's too tired to get up.

So, what's on my agenda for today? Figuring out what to do about my wayward first grader :), keeping an eye on our lame chicken, trying to figure out what I can take or do to help myself feel better, try to get through a full day's schedule of homeschooling, hopefully get a nap. Try not to be jealous, gals.

Monday, August 27, 2007

White Cochins

So our chicken has a hurt leg. She started limping yesterday, though we don't see any wound or obvious break. Out came the Encyclopedia of Country Living, which assured me that chickens can recover quite nicely from a broken leg if you restrict the space they have to run around, and put a splint on their leg. So, now we have a popsicle-stick splint on our dear chook. Hopefully she'll recover soon. Chickens are so social, they hate to be separated from their flock. We fenced her in under the shade of an apple tree, where she would have lots of fallen apples and bugs to choose from. But, she was sad to be so far away from the other girls. Ah! The adventures never end here.....

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Have you seen this article about the doctor from Hurricane Katrina that was accused of murder for the way she handled patients during the aftermath? I'm shocked and saddened that a person would be put on trial for what she did.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Wiped. Out.

This has been a tiring week in many ways. (physically, emotionally, health-wise, relationally, etc.) By 8:54pm on a Friday night I am just. plum. tired. We've just finished our third week of school and the kids still aren't back to their previously easy bedtime routine. (that's what a summer of loosey-goosey will get you!) I can see that starting Sunday night I'll have to get one of the books off of my To Read pile and park my butt in a chair in the hallway outside their bedroom door. Then I can pop them right back into their beds consistently, night after night, until they're back on track. I'll probably get in an hour of good reading time every school night for a week with this method. (and I'm so far behind on my books, that this will work out good for me!)

Days like today make me long for Daylight Savings Time. Once it's dark earlier, it's loads easier to get everyone on the straight-and-narrow for bedtime.

For now, I'll have to settle for the belief that if I have to do so much of this job of parenting alone, the very least I could do for myself is to make myself "Off Duty" come about 8 or 8:30 every night. Obviously, I'll still be here, so I'll not truly be off duty, but at least if I knew that once the magical hour appeared, I'd be able to have some peace and quiet, that would make things easier. Surely easier than this whack-a-mole process I go through for an hour or two every night since school began.

So, I'll be spending my spare brain space trying to psyche myself up for getting the kids back on the straight and narrow. For tonite, they're now all in bed ( knock on wood)(not counting the teenager) and I'm going to watch one of these Netflix movies that has been waiting for my attention for a week or more. I don't even know what it's about or why I added it to my queue.....

Something I'm pondering today

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of being selfish and of having ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It is never between you and them anyway.

(Harvard Student Agencies, 1968)

(Thanks to Lisa Samson, for posting this on her blog. That's where I found this.)