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Sunday, May 27, 2007


Friday, May 25, 2007

First Day of Summer Break!

I can't believe that we have made it to the end of our second year of homeschooling...first full year! It feels good to say that I no longer feel like a rookie at this!
It has been a great year. When I stop and really think about the things that my children know now that they didn't know a year ago, it makes me feel successful. I worried about how I would teach Patrick his multiplication facts....now he knows them so well. Carter has learned to multiply and divide. Madison can label the 8 parts of speech in a sentence and has graduated from using 4 squares for writing to note cards and research. I feel so good about all that they have learned about American History and our government, as well as their overview on the rest of the world...where we are in relation to it. As always, they loved Science..so did I. Carter is no longer behind in reading comprehension. He reads very well and comprehends as well as the other two.
These are the kind of things that I look back on and feel success because of, however, I also look back on the fun that we've had. We have laughed some days until we cried. We've made messes and messed up things that should have gone smoothly. We've winged it some days because school went a different direction than what was written in my book....these were days when we often learned more than any other time.
I've had days when I wanted to shut myself in my room and cry...days when Patrick did.....days when Madison would rather run laps than do math.....times when Carter took his failures(as he saw them) out on me. There were days when I took my moods out on the kids and days when we had about as much success with staying on task as we could have in the middle of an amusement park.
But then.............
There were the days when we spread all of our books out on the school table or school room floor and everything just fell into place. There were times when the day ended with books and papers all over the place, yet, a contentment in knowing that the kids had learned new things because of it. We have learned to stick to schedules that we set for ourselves and learned that it's okay if sometimes we don't. At times, I have overheard my children repeating to someone a bit of something that they learned from me.....times when I've heard them thank God for their teacher....their mom.
Yes, I would say that our second year of homeschooling was a success, but like all children, they are ready for summer break.
I let each one of them invite one friend over for the day to play and swim. Afterwards, Jeff and I took the three of them to the movies to see Shrek. I remember when school would let out for the summer..how significant it was. I wanted to make this day special in the same way.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


It is the dark presence that hangs over a person, stealing joy...telling its victim that she is never good enough.
While those who do not try have more reason to experience it, it is to those who try too much that guilt is attracted. It seeks out those who set their expectations for themselves so high that no amount of success can fill the void.....guilt creeps in. Success in one area is smothered by things left undone...loved ones disappointed...expectations hanging in the air like thick smoke, guilt feeding them like oxygen to a hungry fire. A mind full of intention leads to a heart squeezed tight and lungs that find it difficult to take in a good, clean breath of air. Nothing feels clean when stained with guilt.
How does a person fight guilt when she has already given so much of herself? To give more would breed resentment, another sustenance for guilt to feed upon.
Does a person lower her expectations? Will the guilt grow more freely where there is disappointment in goals unreached, or will it thrive better when a person does not even try to pretend that she can do it all? Do others cause guilt to feed upon a person, or does she invite it in herself?
Can a person's everything ever be enough......enough for what? Is she trying to make those around her happy or trying to chase away the ghosts? Does she even know herself?
It is the dark presence that hangs over a person...it is her worst enemy...everything will never be enough to appease it. Trying to satisfy it is like adding coal to a fire while trying to extinguish it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

AWANA Mystery Trip

Our church had a mystery trip for all of the children who finished at least one AWANA book this year. All three of mine were able to go and had a GREAT time! I have to admit...I did too. I played laser tag for the first time....who knew that I was a laser master(highest rank)! The trip was to a new amusement park that we have in our town. We hadn't taken our kids there before, so it was a real treat for them.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Only Girl I'll Share Him With!

Perfect Timing

There are smells that, for every person, take him back to a place and time. One of those smells, for me, is the sweet, unmistakable smell of a gardenia. My mother loved gardenias. We had a little gardenia bush in our yard that, when it bloomed, would bring smiles to her face....smiles that were like candy to me.
A few years ago I planted a gardenia bush in my front flower bed...right outside my kitchen window. The first summer I waited and waited for it to bloom. It never did.
I was so excited the following summer when the first tiny white bloom opened up to release that little piece of childhood for me. I cupped it in my hands, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. For that moment Mama was still alive.....a few steps away in our home..sitting in her chair with her ankles crossed crocheting and laughing with Lori. Vicki was beside me with her bare feet and dirty knees. For as long as I held the scent inside of me, I was there.
Since that first bloom, I have watched many more come and go from my kitchen window.
This year, just as I began to wonder if it would happen, the first little bloom opened its white petals to the sunshine. It happened on a day when my every thought was consumed with motherhood. My heart was full of my children and Jeff as I was once again humbled that God allowed me to be a mother. My heart was also empty, with a longing for a mother who I will never touch again. There was a longing to hear her sweet, childlike voice and to be wrapped in her mother's love. There was a longing to be mothered. It was on this day that my gardenia bush bloomed.
It was Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Spiderman 3...What Symbolism Reveals

I finally took the kids to see Spiderman 3 today. They wanted to go see it as soon as it came out, but we waited so it wouldn’t be so crowded. While I liked Spiderman 1 and 2 better for their storylines, I really enjoyed the symbolism in this one.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to wait before reading this.
One of the main antagonists in the movie was a black substance that, once attached to a host, was almost impossible to shed. Peter Parker became engulfed with it at a point in the movie when he was consumed with anger at the man who killed his uncle….a different man than who was originally thought to have done it. As he lay in bed haunted with nightmares that were spurred on by anger at his uncle’s killer still roaming free and guilt for having killed the man originally thought to have done it, the substance engulfed him. It became the black Spiderman suit that changed Peter Parker into the violent, uncaring character in the movie. Once the evil suit became him, it began to destroy him. While he hurt others in wearing it, it was himself that suffered the most.Isn’t this so true of what anger and guilt will do to us? There have been many times in my life when I have worn anger or guilt around like an article of clothing. The very power of my mind’s ability to fuel the anger or justify the guilt prevented me from shedding it. I struck out at others, while dying inside, begging myself to let it go, yet finding myself incapable of doing so. Only when Peter Parker realized what the “anger” was doing to him, was he able to shed it….free himself from it.
The same substance that presented itself as anger and guilt with Peter, consumed another character for his unwillingness to forgive. As with Peter, the substance engulfed him and turned him into an evil, revenge seeking character. However, this character did not see the substance for what it was and allowed it to consume him completely. Although Peter was able to pull him from it, he was drawn back into it and killed by it because he never made the decision on his own to let it go. Although anger and guilt are hard emotions to carry around, I have learned that nothing eats away at a person’s very being the way that unforgivness can. I have tried to let it go by beating it to death with revenge, only to feed it with the guilt that follows. I have claimed to forgive, while only hiding the unforgivness….afraid that by letting it go that I have somehow justified the cause of it. The character in Spiderman chose die for the sake of hanging onto that black, evil suit of unforgivness. I thank God for teaching me that, only by forgiving, can I free myself from it.
One more illustration of symbolism that really stands out to me focuses on a person’s choice to choose between good and evil. Harry, the Green Goblin of Spiderman 3, struggled throughout the movie with his need to avenge his father’s death by killing Spiderman verses his loyalty to Spiderman, born from a lifetime of friendship. While this struggle was prevalent throughout the movie, it manifested itself in a material way when Harry became severely scarred on one side of his face as a result of his attack on Spiderman. Only when Spiderman came to Harry begging for his help in saving Mary Jane, did he see Harry’s face, terribly disfigured on one side while remaining untouched on the other. At that point, Harry had to make the decision to hang on to his need for revenge, or do what his heart was pleading for him to do…reach out to his friend during his moment of need. This internal division of his conscious was so perfectly symbolized in his outward appearance….good verses evil….right from wrong…..the beauty of that which makes a heart feel clean, hidden in the shadow of something so hideous that it is impossible to ignore.
I think every Christian can relate to Harry’s internal struggle. It didn’t take me long to learn, after becoming saved during my first year in college, that God uses a person’s conscious to speak to him on a daily basis. I grew up knowing right from wrong, but never felt the consequence of making wrong choices as strongly as when God began to use my conscious to show me my sin….a constant mirror revealing to me the person that God desires me to be compared to the person that my sin nature causes me to become. It was in personally knowing this struggle that I could relate to Harry. The evil that was unpleasant to look at on Harry’s face perfectly depicted what is even more painful to feel in a burdened heart.
So, while Spiderman 3 did not “wow” me as the first two Spiderman movies did, I will remember it for much longer. What it might have lacked in plot, it made up for in what it revealed to me about myself. While an audience may not be able to relate to super heroes and villains on a personal level, if it can grasp the symbolism so evident in this movie, then it will feel like it has connected, in some way, with the characters….not because they are “super”, but because they are not.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

First Fishing Trip of the Summer

Biggest Catch of the Day

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Our Weekend

We've had a full, exciting weekend. How things change when you have children. I remember when I was single and even when Jeff and I first got married and still had no children. I would look at families running around doing things with their children and wonder how it could be fun to them...it just seemed so busy and crazy. Oh, little babies looked fun enough to me, but I just thought it looked hard when they got older. I was so selfish with wanting to do what I wanted to do and couldn't imagine doing things like sitting through ballgames and other functions. Was I ever wrong. I don't know if my heart just changed after I had children, or if I just grew up because of them.
Carter had games both Friday night and Sat...they won both of them :). After the game Friday, we all met to have a pizza party. Try to picture about 15 little uninhibited, excited from winning the game, 7-8 year old boys with music and pizza. Yep, it was fun to get caught up in that.
Saturday's game was great! Carter caught his second pop up behind the plate and batted well. The team did an excellent job!
Saturday evening, Jeff's parents took the kids to a college baseball game....Carter was SO excited! He left with the goal of catching a ball...he came home with one thanks to Jeff's Dad who managed to get a ball thrown up to him! Carter was still talking about it at church today.
What did Jeff and I do while they were at the game? We went on a date :). We went out to eat and then to shop for a while. What a man to take me shopping on a date!
The kids had their Awana Celebration tonight at church to end Awana for the year. They got to spend their Awana bucks, eat pizza, and receive their awards for the year. Madison and Patrick both received certificates and their book awards. Carter received a certificate, two book awards, and a "top ten clubber" trophy. Carter also won a raffle! The kids all loved trying to spot themselves on the video they showed of the Awana year. Jeff also received his 1 one service pin, and I received my 5 year pin. It was fun.
Unfortunately, Jeff missed the Celebration because he had a singing, but I know he will be proud to come home and see all of their stuff. He knows they have worked hard this year. Once again, I felt thankful tonight for having moved to this church. The kids have been so involved with Awana and Children's Choir. Within the year, we have watched both of our boys come to salvation and follow in Baptism. Of all the things that we try to give our children, none of it means anything compared to our desire to see them saved. It has been a great year. Thank God for it....thank God for filling our lives with children!

Thursday, May 03, 2007



Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Game Ball

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Living Proof

I am proof that the Wii system is interactive and encourages exercise!
Jeff brought one home last week. I've played bowling and tennis on it some and woke up this morning with a very sore right arm and shoulder. I kept trying to figure out what type of work I had done to cause the soreness....then it occurred to me that it was the Wii. I told the kids and Jeff that I was sore, and they all said that they were too! So, I have officially tagged the Wii as a guilt-free game system. If it causes you to exercise enough to make you sore, then it has to be good for you!!