June 2008


This morning, Babycakes, Daddy-man and I spent a few precious moments in the back yard chasing bubbles…this in itself is not such a remarkable thing but, you see, for the last week we haven’t been able to go outside for all the smoke in the air…California is burning!  Over 1000  lighning caused wildfires are burning throughout Northern California (there are a few in So. Cal but truly not nearly as many as in our neck of the woods).

Watching Babycakes chasing her bubbles was so soothing…there is something life giving in watching innocence in action…her whole body was just focused on catching those bubbles…her shrieks of delight each time she accomplished her goal were life sustaining to this tired momma’s heart…this little one…my last little one has rocked our world…most days she spends her time crying…this she has done since birth—we don’t know why.  there is no medical reason.  She is  just a very fussy, not easily comforted child.  Her constant crying has really gotten to all of us…we  have little patience for it and her most days…but then we have these windows of her that are just joyful…she has a hearty laugh that  grabs hold of her listeners and draws them in.  She can charm the socks off of you with her smile and oh-so-dear voice.   She loves climbing into laps to read a book or eat a meal and she loves to twirl and march with anyone who will follow…and still she cries. Alot. Everyday. For hours. Everyday.  But this morning it was just Babycakes, Daddy-man and me and a bottle of bubbles.  And I can still hear her laughter.

Coram Deo,  Lola

Ah, the first taste of summer today…swimming at a friend’s house for 3 hours. LaLa, Mimi, ink and Babycakes enjoyed themselves immensely! It was Babycakes first foray into the world of swimming and she LOVED i t! She showed no fear as she jumped in, reaching for the “noodle”, kicking her feet and turning her little body toward the pool’s edge just to haul herself out to start all over again! And Tink did great given her memory of her near drowning accident a few years back…both little one’s wore their life vests and weren’t hampered by them in the least. Laughs and smiles were the rule of the day! It was good to see them having fun in the sun! Mimi and Lala were just happy being able to swim with two of their friends from our local homeschool group..and best of all they live just down the street!

I’ll try to post a couple of pic’s soon.

Coram Deo,

Lola

We have been homeschooling for almost five years. When we started The Boy was eager as was Mother Hen. We couldn’t wait to make new discoveries every day. We LOVED learning at home! Quite a bit has happened since that first day in September 2000. We have added two more chicks to the school roster. We sold a home, bought a home and had a baby (in a whirlwind two week period). And we got lost along the way. What I mean is we lost our joy. School became a drudgery, a very painful drudgery. We weren’t having fun anymore. The chicks grumbled. Mother Hen grumbled. The Daddy-man grumbled becasue we grumbled…which made the chicks grumble some more…ackk…what a vicious cycle. This was not what I envisioned for our homeschool. In the early days I pictured Daddy-man coming home at the end of a long day only to find yours truly in the garden (wearing a floppy hat and flowing dress) surrounded by smiling faced cherubs. We would greet the Daddy-man with a smile and a kiss and stories of how beautiful our day was; how much we had learned reading together in the shade of our trees. Segue to reality…Daddy-man tripping over toys, shoes, and mountains of laundry just trying to get in the door. Children crying and fighting with each other and yours truly yelling like a drill-sargeant from the kitchen ( wearing holey jeans and stained t-shirt) for everyone to HURRY -UP and pick-up BEFORE Daddy gets home…and I mean NOW!!! No stories of what we learned just stories of how much we didn’t do because “he did this and she did that…so there!” Oh my! How did we get to this place…I really don’t like it…not one bit!! So…I have determined to get back the eagernes, the joy in our days…we really NEED some fun. I am hoping that some changes will help. We are loosening some of the structure of our days while still getting the basics done. I am trying to read aloud more (not easy as Tink takes my voice as her cue to talk REALLY LOUDLY) and get us outside more often. I am trying to allow the chicks to explore activities that are important to them (not easy becasue if it doesn’t look like school is it really school?). I want to foster a passion in my childrens’ lives. I want them to lean more on the Lord and less on a schedule for the order of their days. I want them to be EAGER for learning and joyful as we learn together! I wish I could start our homeschooling journey over again…but I can not…so I must endeavor to make all things new again…I can not do this alone…fortunately, I don’t have to. There is Someone with me all the time…I can hardly wait! “and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Matthew 1:23b

first  posted April 26,  2005

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” Proverbs 25:11 Yesterday while window shopping with my four little chicks in tow I stopped into a home furnishing store. This particular store on this particular day seemed to be THE place for moms with children to be shopping as a mere two feet from me was a woman with a stroller occupied by twin boys, oh about 1 year old. Standing next to the woman was a sweet curly haired girl of about four and on the OTHER side of the woman was a bouncing future man of that age (around 2) that should NEVER be loose among the breakables. Well, as I looked at some faux flowers Mimi decided to pick up an uncommonly LARGE candle wrapped in a clear plastic sleeve, presumably to prevent it from being marred by rough handling. Unfortunately, the sleeve slid and the candle crashed down on the display shelf. Nothing broke; the candle was gently slid back into its sleeve and THE LOOK was cast in Mimi’s direction. As I straightened up, my eye caught the other woman’s eye. She was trying to corral the sweet girl and bouncing boy. I gave here that knowing “I’ve been there” smile when she commented to me, ” Gosh it’s times like this that we should practice population control!” My initial reaction was not charitable nor lady-like however, I hid it completely. I just gently laughed and replied:” Oh, I wouldn’t trade any of my children. They are all such blessings!” I turned to leave as did the other woman. But as I started to usher the chicks away the other woman turned back to me and quietly said, “these are my grand-children and I wouldn’t trade in any of them either.” Did those children understand if not the words their grandmother spoke but the spirit in which they were spoken? I pray they did not. And I pray too, that my children did hear the spirit in which I spoke my words for they were true. How easy it is for us to make comments that don’t really reflect our true beliefs. Hopefully when we do there won’t be any fall-out from our careless words. “For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.    How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,[a] and set on fire by hell.[b] 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,[c] these things ought not to be so.” James 3:2-10

first posted April 23,  2005

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mother hen1.

Teaching your own children is a delight and sometimes it is excruciatingly painful . It is a delight when you get to see their eyes light up as they finally grasp a concept. It is painful when you realize you have spent the last week, month, semester, year attempting to teach something that your child is just not ready to learn (this is usually accompanied by much tears and heartache–on the part of child and mommy). We experienced both facets of homeschooling this week. For months Mimi has HATED math! Every time I brought out the math book she cringed. Whenever we started to work on math facts she ended up in tears. Yet, I pushed on, sure that she was just stubborn; convinced that she just wanted to do something more fun. After all, how hard are basic math facts? She had been doing them for months! Deep down inside me I felt like we should back-off, take it easy, slow down. Unfortunately, my children have be given a Mother Hen who does not like to give in to anything. If the schedule says we are to do math facts then math facts it will be! Fortunately, however, this Mother Hen also has some very wise friends. At a recent meeting of my Classical HS group Magistra-Sheri related an incindent in her youngest daughter’s early struggle with math. It sounded remarkably like Mimi’s struggle. You know what Magistra-Sheri did? She backed-off, took it easy, slowed down. She waited for a while and when her daughter was ready they reintroduce the “dreaded” math and it worked…no more tears, no more fear! Well, Mother-Hen FINALLY listened to that still, small voice (thank-you Sheri). We have switched gears in math and Mimi couldn’t be happier. We are now focusing on learning to tell time, count money and skip count. She feels great about it and there are no more tears. Her eyes light up when she looks at the clock in our family room. She KNOWS what time it is ( and she LOVES to announce it to everyone–frequently)! This has been an awesome week in the life of Mimi. She proudly told her Daddy-man last night at dinner: “I sure have accomplished a lot this week: I can tell time, I learned to pump my legs on the swing, and I learned to play golf!!” And Mother-Hen accomplished something this week, also. She learned that it is O.K. to back-off, take it easy and slow down. Life does not come not come to a screeching halt if the schedule is not adhered to completely. In fact life becomes so much sweeter! “Shout for joy to God, all the earth; sing the glory of his name; give to Him glorious praise! Say to God, ‘How awesome are your deeds!'” –Psalm 66:1-3a

Psalm 103:15
Why am I here? This is a question that has haunted man for generations. Philosophers have spent lifetimes trying to reach an answer. Countless books have been written on it. Sermons too numerous to count have been preached on it. Lives have been changed in search of it. Yet, no-one ever seems to really grasp that the answer is right at their fingertips. We are here for one purpose only: “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Even my 7 year oldknows this. So why do I still wake up most mornings and wonder “Why am I here?” Is it really my purpose to spend another long day cleaning the bathroom, cleaning the kitchen, and cleaning the floors (for the tenth time today)? Is it really my purpose to spend another day washing the laundry and washing the dishes, picking up toys and putting away books? Am I really supposed to cook another meal that on any given day at least half of my children will find something about which to complain? Am I really supposed to spend another long day attempting to teach my children, refereeing their squabbles and kissing their hurts? This is not how I thought my life would turn out. I always thought I would travel to far-away places, eat exotic foods and stay in grand old hotels on the Continent. I’ve been to Canada–absolutely beautiful, but not what I had in mind. I’ve eaten Moroccan food–in a little restaurant in Berkeley, California. I have stayed in old grand hotels–in San Francisco and Victoria. I traded in a travel bag for a diaper bag. Not necessarily an even exchange! Am I disappointed? Sometimes, but not often enough to change this life of mine. Mundane as it is my life does have purpose. I get to take walks in the yard with my toddler as she takes walks with her “baby”. I get to see my son’s eyes light up as he shows off the latest fly he’s tied. I get to watch my daughters play make believe games, oblivious to all around them, lost in their imaginations. I get to live–something one can not help but do when children are involved. And by living this life God has blessed me with I can fulfill my purpose–I can glorify Him in all I do. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Today is my fourteenth wedding anniversary. Those of you who know me well enough may be wondering what I am talking about seeing as how I was married in 1992. A little quick addition will show that I have in fact been married only 13 years. Well… it seems that my Knight in Shining Armour has a belief that marriages, like high rise buildings, should not have thirteenths–either floors or years. Now, I am sure you are scratching your head in wonderment and thinking :”WHAT is the Knight talking about!” Only two things come to mind: First, Mr. Knight is trying to drive me nuts! The poor chicks keep correcting Daddy-man, only to be told that it is Mother-hen who is mistaken. Second, …well, there is no “second” reason. I really don’t know what he is trying to do. However, I do know that he can make me laugh like no-one else. My heart still does a little flip when I hear his voice. I LOVE his grey hair (yes, My Dear, you did read that correctly!) I hate it when he is gone, even for a little while. And after all these years (20 and counting…he took his time popping the question) I love him more now than I did when I was 17. He IS the Love of My Life…I am a truly blessed woman. “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” –Song of Solomon 6:3

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