Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bits and Pieces

I challenged myself to spend one hour working on my book tonite. Did it! I would love to get it finished this summer, but it seems like a huge goal even though probably 80% or more of the book is already written in rough draft form. How do you know when it's good enough? When do you stop tweaking??

Finishing my book is just weighing on my mind, so I've told myself that I need to treat the project like a school assignment and just force myself to work on it until it's done.

My husband worked over 120 hours this week. I'm so thankful for a man that's willing to work! But it's been hard for him to be away from home so much, and although I am pretty good at keeping things going here on my own, I do get tired. At times when my husband has been away for a couple days or longer I often think of single parents and wonder how they manage to keep all the plates spinning without any of the relief that comes with a partner in the process.

My businesses are growing, so that's great! The growth is causing me to have to figure out how to handle various issues like when to reorder items, when to bring in new products, etc. Also, how to keep it all going plus add in homeschooling once August arrives. Ha! Should be interesting, to say the least.

We apparently have a leak somewhere in our water line on our property, which means that we have to fix it without any help from our water company. Ugh! I have been boiling our drinking water for over a week now, we have been waiting for days for someone to come and start digging up our yard, and my husband spent time in his smidgen of time at home trying to dig to the water line (3 feet under ground) in hopes that maybe he'd find the leak easily and we could fix it ourselves. Now we have piles of dirt in our yard, and have transplanted hostas that needed to move out of the way.

At least one of our chickens has now laid two eggs! This is quite exciting for us since we were not expecting any eggs until October at least. Today's egg laying was even witnessed by my daughter, husband, and myself. Cool and gross all rolled into one! :)

I have several (at least) organization and household projects that I would like to get done before I start homeschooling. My suspicion is that these may not get done until public school starts up and I have some quieter time during the day. School will be in session for at least 10 days before my preschooler will be going to school, so I was kind of thinking that I probably wouldn't start homeschooling until preschool begins. So, there's a time buffer possibility there.

That's about the size of it. Til next time....

Friday, June 22, 2007

So, I've been out of town....

and that's why I haven't been posting. We made a 14 hour trek to my husband's parent's home and were gone for a week. We got to meet our new great niece, and saw another niece get married. Also had dinner with a longtime friend (25 years!!!) and visited with some other old friends. So, overall a good trip.

Got home to some sad news, though. Liam, whose mom writes Sweet Salty, has passed on, as have three of the Morrison sextuplets. All of these babies have been on my mind and prayer list, and it was tough to see what had happened while I've been away from the computer.

Nothing else to report. What can a person say following news like that?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Born Into Brothels-movie review

I watched the documentary Born Into Brothels eariler this week. This film follows a photographer that lives in the Red Light district of Caluctta, India, and gets to know the families there--including the many children. She begins to teach the children photography, and then we get to see their lives through their own eyes.

Seeing how these children and their families live is one of those eye-opening experiences. I don't know how many times I found myself with my hand clasped over my mouth saying, "Oh. My. Goodness."

Generations of families are stuck in a life of crime, drug use, prostitution. Their children have all the charm, sweetness, intelligence, and wishes of children anywhere....except their realize what their life is going to become. I heard 10 year old girls talk about how the older women would ask her, "When are you going to join the line?" (meaning, start working prostitution for a living) The little girl's response? "I guess it won't be long now......"

It's a moving film, with some tragedy and inspiration both included. Worth watching.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Katy, Katy, Katy....

I can always count on Katy to provide subject matter for me to discuss! Today she asked:

hi there Dollymama...just wanted to check in...say hi...and ask you about your church out of sheer curiosity (and the fact that hubby and I are rethinking our church right now)...did you say that you were a member of an emerging church...I have no idea what that is and am currently "collecting" people's church experiences

OK. Well, if you ever send me your email I would send you a link to my church so you could go take a look and even listen to sermons. Just so you know, I have the comments set to moderated all the time now, so you can send your email without me having to publish it for the rest of the world to see. :)

I don't know if my church would count as emerging or not. I think we share some of the same goals as some emerging church stuff, such as striving to be relevant to a culture that thinks they don't need God or Jesus. However, we have a huge emphasis on uplifting the relationship between parents and kids, so that's different from most emerging church type stuff I think. (or so says my lead pastor, when I asked him if we were "emerging" :) )

Our church was started just a couple years ago and it's structure is based on a lot of cool ideas. Many of these ideas were inspired by or modeled after Andy Stanley's church. We do KidStuf on Sundays, which is loads of fun and helps parents and kids learn together. Never before have I known what my kids were learning about in church, or had any shared experience relating to the subject matter to inspire conversations about these things. Now we do, and that works very well for us.

For us, with a growing family, it was always a struggle for us to be a part of churches that laid on tons of pressure to "be faithful" by attending every. single. event. they had going on. If they planned it, we were expected to be there. While it can be nice at first to have lots of church activities, for us it lead to burnout, and then discouragement at realizing our church structure was kind of sucking the life out of us, asking us to not do the best thing for our kids (like get them to bed at a reasonable hour--we actually heard from the pulpit at one church that when you put your child's bedtime before a church service, you are teaching your children that God is not important to you...), and making it nearly impossible for the church attenders to have real relationships with each other since they were all so busy working at church. When we realized our choice was either to have no friends, or make friends while working the "fast track" at church, we took a hike. Now we have a church that only meets on Sunday mornings. No Sunday night. No prayer meeting. No weekly youth group. No weekly Bible study. Just room. to. breathe! We do have optional small groups available, and you sign on for those for a set period of time (like a year, 18 months, etc.). After that time is up, new groups are available, so hopefully you get to know some other people too. We did a small term group (7 weeks)that met weekly, an 18 month long group that met weekly, and now are only doing youth group (which is for parents and their teens!) which only meets monthly right now which is better for our current schedule.

Is it a perfect church? Nope. There's no such thing. But it's unique and meets a lot of the needs that we have.

Here are some of the particulars from our church, since you said you were interested:

Who We Are

Our church was started, because we saw the plight of American families. Ripped by divorce, financial instability, and relational conflict, we came to see that the way we were doing church actually made it tougher on families. We were telling parents that we could give their kids everything they needed morally and spiritually in just an hour or two each week, but we never had enough resources, volunteers, or time to make it happen. We also asked families to come to church many different times throughout the week…and scatter to different parts of the building. Parents had to “pry” what their kids were being taught out of them, often unsuccessfully.

So we started asking questions. What would a church look like that assumed a supporting role in the moral and spiritual development of kids (instead of the primary role)? What would a church look like that empowered parents to do what they are uniquely positioned to do: shape the hearts and character of their own children? What would a church look like that helped single parents who are strapped for time make the most of their time in their schedule and with their children? What would a church look like that pared down its programming and scheduling to something more “synchronized” and less “schizophrenic?”
We’re not simply different because we dress casually or use guitars and drums in our corporate worship (lots of people do that today). We’re different, because we believe that the way we’ve been doing church isn’t working anymore. We’re committed to making church work.

What We Believe

If you’re familiar with the Apostle’s Creed, you’ll recognize our statement of beliefs.
We believe in: The Bible as uniquely inspired by God, without error, and the final authority in all matters of faith and conduct. One God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ, His Deity, virgin birth, sinless life, vicarious death, burial and bodily resurrection, His ascension to the right hand of the Father and His personal return to consummate history. The sinfulness of mankind and salvation only by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. The present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life. The resurrection of the dead; believers to everlasting life and unbelievers to everlasting judgment. The church as the body of Christ, of which Jesus Christ is the Head. We believe the church is comprised of all who have trusted by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Here’s how we put that into practice: In essential beliefs, we have unity. In non-essential beliefs, we have liberty. In all our beliefs, we show charity.

Our Values

Intimacy with God
– We don’t want people to be religious. We want them to be intimate with God. We believe intimacy (in any relationship) requires three things: (1) unrushed and unstructured time, (2) transparency with our feelings, (3) mutual submission.

Strategic Service – We think too many churches are doing too many things. We ask people at our church to apply their hearts and hands to the place of greatest demand (our Sunday environments). We believe everyone needs to find a place of service.

Authentic Community - We believe accountability, care, and a sense of belonging are critical to balance and progress in our spiritual journey. These three things are best achieved within the context of a small group of like-minded, relationally-connected believers. That’s why we have groups instead of classes.

Relational Evangelism – Evangelism isn’t a program that a few people do. We believe that all believers have the responsibility of living out their faith within their sphere of influence.

Biblical Authority – We believe the Bible is our authority for how to live life and how to be free. Even though no one likes to have someone else tell them what to do, we believe that freedom can only come by living one’s life under the authority of the Bible (and what it teaches).

Passionate Walk – We believe the one thing God wants, more than anything else, from a person is that person’s heart. We want to see people following Jesus by giving God everything…and holding nothing back.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

New Autism Resource

Timberdoodle has been one of my favorite homeschool resources for a decade. Now they have a special autism website that looks like it will be helpful for families and friends of autistic children. Check it out here.

Beating Back the Mess

My house is getting out of control. Although the main areas are generally clean, all around the edges we have a mighty pile-up of papers, boxes, junk, and stuff!

Yesterday my husband called from work to ask me to try to find something for him that is missing (and important!). Looking around at all the possible spots it could be, I felt really overwhelmed. Too many hidey-holes of clutter around here!!

I feel like there is just never enough time or energy for me to get a handle on everything and keep it nice. Obviously with eight people in my family, we ain't gonna be Martha Stewart..... But, I never quit trying to nip and tuck and improve things. Will it ever amount to an orderly home??

I spent a couple hours with the kids in my employ this morning, having them put things away, clear clutter, and generally spiff things up around here. The area we worked on looks good, but there's so many more.....

I've been taking some new vitamins for a couple weeks. I do think I have more energy, but not as much as I could really use.

Still haven't found that thing for my husband, either. But I burned the midnight oil last night, cleaning til 1am, so now am ready for a nap while the kids watch a movie. Do you know where the bank bag is?? If so, let me know! Thanks.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Autism Cases Going to Court

Here's an article about parents of autistic children getting their day in court. There are quite a few additional links pertaining to autism and vaccination there as well.

And Another Thing....

When it comes to concerts, I do not know why people attend bootie-shakers and refuse to shake (or even lift!) their booties! I felt so sorry for the entertainers at the Highland Games. Here they are, putting out tons of energy, giving us a great show in the blistering heat, sweat flying off of their bodies, and people are reluctant to clap, stand, or dance. I think it must be hard to provide an energetic show if the audience isn't giving something back.

Frankly, I went to the concert to ROCK! I don't get out much, y'no, and I wasn't about to miss my opportunity. So, if anyone from the concert reads this, I'm the thirtysomething woman that actually got up and danced the whole time Need Fire played. (there was a younger gal that joined me, so that was fun--sisters united in our mission to shake it!)

If anyone doubts the validity of "vibes" I want to tell you that they're definitely real. The woman sitting behind my husband and I was giving us the mental daggers because she didn't want anybody standing in front of her. I could feel it loud and clear! When I got up for the entire Need Fire concert I actually left my seat and went off to the side so I wouldn't block anybody's view. But as the night went on more people filtered into the open space at the front (near the stage) and were dancing. We were just in the second row, so even if we had been inclined to sit, we wouldn't have been able to see a thing. So, us sitting wasn't going to help her any. She kept shoving my husband's lawn chair into the back of his legs and clearing her throat just to make sure we got the message. A real fun-lovin' gal, she was!

So, if you see another blog with someone complaining of a guy in a red-orange kilt and his wife standing in her way of sucking the energy from the room at the Concert Under the Stars last Saturday, just let me know. I want to go by and say hi!

Honestly, I do want to be respectful of other people being able to enjoy the concert in their own way, but I was not willing to live with the memory that I had gone but forsaken having fun thanks to an old fuddy duddy. I'm thinking that people that want to sit and have nobody get up and dance at a concert probably should get front row seats or stay home.

(I've just made some cookies for my kiddos, and have been enjoying my new Need Fire CD all day. Fun!)

Save Time and Money with Menu Planning

Hey Gals!

I found out about a great new online service that helps you with menu planning (even healthy recipes and vegetarian menus!) and ready-to-print shopping lists! You can check it out and get some great freebies here.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Great Scots!

Hi all! My husband and I have just returned from a fun little getaway to the Glasgow Highland Games in Glasgow, KY. I took him to this festival as a birthday gift. Can you believe that this is our first time getting away without children EVER in 15 years of being parents?? Wow! We had our wonderful neighbor and long time babysitter stay with the kids while we went, so we knew they were in good hands. It was so nice to be at the stage where all of our kids are old enough to not be sad when we took off for a day and a half. A couple of years ago we would have walked out the door with tears in the background. Now they all just took it in stride.

The festival is a fun one if you enjoy Celtic/Scottish type things. We haven't gone to any events like this before but I knew my husband would love it. I borrowed a fab Utilikilt for him to wear and he looked positively yummy in it. ;)

We got to see lots of cool things like leather shields, bodhrans (my new favorite instrument), awesome hand-carved bows, knives and swords of various lengths and styles, and we got to drink homemade root beer (which is not very much like regular root beer). The people watching is the best, though, with lots of Rupert-type guys going around with amazing tattoos, braided beards and hair, huge wide belts, kilts, etc. I'll tell ya...if ever you thought kilts were for sissies, I dare you to go to a Highland Games festival and say that to someone's face. As the popular motto goes, "A Man in a Kilt is a Man-and-a-Half!" :)

My husband found a traditional wool kilt in an unusual orange/red plaid that we bought and looks great on him. I got some pretty, dangly earrings. We also had fun buying souvenirs for our kids.

The best part of the trip was the music! All day there were two music pavilions with artists and groups rotating through them. We got to see some awesome and fun music groups perform multiple times through the day, plus we went to a nighttime concert where we heard more. The ENERGY these people have is just.....fantastic!

We saw the Celtic Rock group Seven Nations. I guess they've been around for a pretty long time. Here's a youtube video of them:

We also got to hear Father, Son, and Friends. They sing more traditional Scottish music.

We also got to see the AWESOME, PRIMAL, TREMENDOUS group Albannach. WOW! This video can't possibly do justice to the sights and sounds of seeing these passionate performers blasting out their percussionistic delights! Fortunately we were able to purchase a DVD of Albannach performing live so that our kids could get to see a little of what it's all about. Hearing isn't enough!

My very favorite group was Need Fire. This is a great group to see in concert. Their fun personalities shine right through the performance, their music is catchy and fun for bouncing around, and they have a really nice polish to their live show. You can listen to clips of lots of their music here. I was so glad I was able to familiarize myself with their songs beforehand, because concerts are way more fun when you can sing along! :)

Some especially fun tidbits about this band: Lead singer and guitarist John is Dad to lead fiddler Dylan. Dylan is an amazingly talented 19 year old guy. He plays the fiddle, the piano, and the dirigidoo. I just LOVE LOVE LOVE to see bands using unexpected instruments. What a treat to hear the haunting, wacky sounds of dirigidoo combined with guitar, bagpipes, drums, and bass! Too. Cool. Dylan is a pretty cute kid with a fun personality, so I'm thinking it's probably a mighty good thing that he has his dad along to keep things with the girls under control. They get positively swoony over Dreamy Dylan. :)

Need Fire writes most of their own songs. I was impressed to see that many of my favorites were written by Dylan. Really, he's so impressively talented. It made me sorry that I didn't take my own 14 year old along to drink in the inspiration. At least I bought him a Need Fire t shirt and got all the guys to sign it. :)

Here are some YouTube videos of Need Fire.
This one is just a full length song:

Here are some concert vids: