Friday, December 05, 2008

Six Word Biographies

I was looking at old blog posts and found the one with six word biographies... and now Bekah is clamoring for one so here goes:

creative, cat-lover, reader, razor-sharp wit, sleeper
kazoo playing, book reading, gum chewer
silliness, unique, logical, creative, talented girlie

We are having a debate here on the hyphenated words. Do they count as one word or two??

artistic, kind, musical, witty, helpful, fairy

I will work on these more later as the girls have now lost interest and drifted off..
fickle.. that could be a word to describe a teen...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Ties That Bind


Family.... we are blessed with family. The family we are born into, the one we marry into, hopefully the one we make (our children and our spouse) and then we have the family we adopt.. those friends who ARE family.
Family is loving someone warts and all.
Family is where you spend your vacation time.
Family is:
Who you call when you want to share news... good or bad.
Who helps you when you have work that has to be done.
Who listens to you tell the same story forty times until you feel better.
Who lets you make a complete fool of yourself and then tells you it will be okay.

I am so blessed with family... of each of the above mentioned variety. For that I am so thankful.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Ann

The summer before high school the incoming freshmen would meet so that the seniors could teach us how to march (in the band.) That is when we met, Ann and I. We both played saxophone and so we were in the same squad. (Remember John Gegg and Pat Divietro??) Our squad leaders were pretty tough. We were in a military style band. No make-up in uniform, no jewelry and a full inspection before every performance. If you failed you had to work it off. The guys were tough... and we became friends.

Since that time, Ann and I have been through Band and boys and babies. We have laughed and cried together for years. Ann has this wonderful ability... to make me talk.. I have been able to tell her stuff I would never tell a living soul. A LIVING SOUL! and yet, she knows.

We have lived close by and far apart and thank goodness for e-mail because that has kept us connected when we couldn't chat as long as we would have liked on the phone.

Ann is creative, intelligent, articulate and beautiful. She is athletic.. she RUNS... and likes to do it! She is a fabulous Mom and loving wife. She is talented... and she is MY friend.

I love you girlie. Lots and lots and I can't imagine my life without you in it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Animal Farm

My girls, and a couple of their friends, read Animal Farm last week (by George Orwell). We had a book discussion on Friday.

It was fabulous. The girls did a great job recalling detail and describing the actual story. Some even drew parallels to slavery in America and even Obama's name was mentioned (without any prompting, I might add). When I asked them to consider the holocaust and this book... the lightbulb went on and they went bananas. They saw the similarities between characters in the book and Hitler and the Jewish people and the German people and even the SS troops.

It was all there and they "got it". Discussing a book is wonderful ... the sharing of ideas is exhilarating. The give and take and immediate feedback is quite rewarding. I enjoyed it immensely. I think the girls enjoyed it too.

We are going to watch The Crucible on Friday. I wanted to read this "classic" and I am having difficulty finding copies. I own my own tattered copy from high school, but I truly thought it would be in every library.. not so. As it is written in play format... the movie may be an acceptable alternative. I thought this would be interesting as the main characters are girls who accuse others of being witches when they themselves are caught doing what they shouldn't.

The power of words, doing what is right and good even when it isn't easy, taking responsibility for ones actions... all good topics for discussion.

These are the moments when teaching is fun!

Hours reading history in front of the fire while my girls knit and sew... that was our afternoon today and it was lovely.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Knight's Tale

Okay... so here I am about to post for the second time about something I saw on T.V. This may lead you to believe that I watch a lot of T.V. I would say that this is not true. I do sit down in front of that machine for a few minutes every night... but not usually until after 9:00. I promise I do not sit around all day watching... having said that... here goes.

Last night after we got back from seeing Rumors at the Sager Creek Arts Center (it was very good, by the way) I turned on the T.V. for a few minutes and I got to see the end of A Knight's Tale.
I LOVE this movie. We own it. None-the-less, I sat there and watched the last few minutes.

A brief synopsis for those of you who don't know the story... the movie takes place during the middle ages. It is the story of a boy whose father is a thatcher. The son is destined to become just like his father.. a thatcher. A peasant. When the boy is seven or eight his Dad apprentices him to a knight. Sending him away, he tells the boy, "Change your stars." During this time period the caste system was firmly in place and no one had the chance to elevate their status.

The boy is with the knight for years. He is a squire. The knight travels around and competes barely providing a living for himself and his attendants. When he dies.. the boy teaches himself to joust so that they can continue competing and therefore earn a living.

At the end.. where I came in... and I hate to give this away so if you haven't seen it... stop reading.. watch the movie and come back

At the end... he has been found out. The "authorities" are coming for him because he has been passing himself off as a person of higher status than his actual lineage proves him to be and all of his attendants... his friends .. want him to run. But he won't.
I LOVE this.
I would run. I hate to admit it.. but I would definitely run. He WON'T. He knows that once caught he will face dire circumstances but he won't run away from who he has become.

Later... when he is in the stocks, people are throwing food and becoming quite rowdy. His band of friends come and try to keep back the crowd. They are greatly outnumbered and yet they bravely stand together in defense of their friend.
I LOVE this!
Against all odds they are loyal.
I want to be the kind of person that stands by a friend no matter what. Later when the prince comes he says," Your men are loyal to you, If I knew nothing else about you, that would be enough."
I LOVE this. He is brave and beloved (is that a word) by his friends.

I won't tell you the rest just in case you have never seen it. If not.. do... if you have... watch it again. If you have children.. their is one very suggestive scene. You can fast forward through it and not miss the plot.

I am inspired by his bravery. His courage to "change his stars" and to become the person he KNOWS he is.

So.. there it is.. go forth: be brave, love your friends, and be who you were meant to be.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

I am addicted.. I admit it. There was a time when I wouldn't even allow it in my house. My children were too young and I just didn't want it here... I didn't have time, but then, well....

Intrigued? I am talking about Grey's Anatomy. When it first came out, my children were younger and I didn't want to have it on in my house. I didn't watch it the first two seasons, but then they switched to 9:00 on Sunday nights and that was a little more doable. My friend Ann was a fan and so I checked it out. I became hooked. I even got seasons one and two for my birthday one year so I could catch up.

Now... I never really watched soap operas. A few girls watched Ryan's Hope or something when I was in college. It just wasn't my thing. I did watch All my Children with my Mom EONS ago... but really... nothing for the past 25 years. But I fell hard. I watched, I read the blog. I like the way that the patients ailments tie into the personal lives of the characters somehow. I know it is WAY out there and extreme, but still.. I watched. Then, Shonda Rimes didn't let Mer and Der get together and I staged a one woman boycott. I quit cold turkey and didn't watch at all. (Surely she could feel my wrath all the way in Hollywood??) Perhaps no, but I was done.

Then my mom would call and ask did I watch? No! "But," she said, " I hear that Meredith and Derek are definitely going to get together." So... I did my research, I read the spoilers and the promises were indeed made. I watched back episodes online and caught up in time for the season finally last year. Wahoo.... I'm back.

I am not able to watch in real time and I still don't really want it on in my house. I realize that if I can't watch it in front of my kids I probably shouldn't watch it... but this is a confession so.. just know... I know. I do enjoy it though. Their drama is so over the top. It is so far from my life...
but McDreamy is pretty cute!

I watch it late at night on the internet... just me basking in the warm glow of my computer... watching it all unfold. Then I check out the writers blog... checking their insight into the latest episode. I am hooked.

Oh... the guilty pleasure...

Monday, November 10, 2008

A new day... a new post

It seems as if the busiest part of our fall is completed.... whew! I now welcome a little time spent at home... getting back into a routine... although I confess we have just luxuriated in the stillness this morning.

I found this format on another blog... and I like it so I may use it from time to time. I think it will be interesting to look back on some day. Here goes:

Outside my window:
It is raining and the leaves have all turned colors. Many if not most are on the ground. It is cool, as in cold, outside.
I am listening to:
Katie give Caleb a piano lesson. She is a great teacher. He is a somewhat reluctant student, but he IS learning.
I am thankful for:
My family, my friends, my home.
From the Kitchen:
I made biscuits for lunch and I am planning to bake some pumpkin here in a bit. The boys are hoping for pie but that may have to wait until tomorrow.
Prayer Requests:
I pray for our country and the incoming administration that God will guide them and that He has a plan that I do not see. (What I mean is that I don't see one... but I truly trust in Him.)
I am wearing:
Old clothes. We get to go feed pigs later this afternoon.
Towards REAL education:
Katie is TEACHING Caleb, Noah spent over and hour reading to Caleb... my kids are are working with and loving each other.. that counts as REAL education don't you think?
I am creating:
Many memories of fun things we have done this past two weeks. We have seen 3 plays.. all good. Singin' in the Rain was the best though!
Bringing Beauty to my home:
Hmmm... I may clean later... does that count do you suppose?? Of course, I may fall into another book and then the cleaning will have to wait!
I am Reading:
I read The Wednesday Letters this morning. (I said I needed a break!) It was very enjoyable. Fluff... but oh so good.
I am hoping:
To reestablish our school routine.. or some semblance of it.
Around the House:
Remember the part about cleaning... yeah.. hoping that will happen
One of my favorite things:
Reading... a whole book in one sitting. It is decadent and delicious.
A few plans for the rest of the week:
We are going to be working on the farm this week, hoping to go see Rumors with Brian and Mom and Dad on Friday. Discussing Animal Farm with the girls on Friday. Pumpkin pie is definitely in our future. Oh and that cleaning thing keeps nagging me... so that too.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Indiana Jones


Luke Skywalker

A Fairy.

Girlie was a pretty witch for Trick-or-treating and..

she was a hippie for "costumed" bowling.

We had a lot of fun. The fun thing is that we had most of these costumes on hand. We did buy new wings for the Fairy, a hat for the witch and I made the little vests the girls are wearing, but other than that... we dressed out of our closets. What does that tell you about us??

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Good Mornin'

Good Mornin', Good Mooorrrrrnin', It's fun to stay up late, Good Mornin', Good Mornin' to you.

Okay.. you can't hear me sing that as I type it.. but it is a song from Singin' in the Rain.
John Brown University is doing a production and Noah has a tiny, tiny part so we have been up there this evening watching a dress rehearsal. We loved it. The cast is very good. Caleb is loyal and said he loved Noah's part the best. (yeah little brother). The girls were just delighted and would like to see it again. So.. maybe I can talk someone into staying at tomorrow's rehearsal too..
hhmmmm we'll see.
If you live here in town... I would recommend it. The kids have put an incredible amount of work into it. The costumes are fabulous and there are several changes for almost every character. They(the cast) are truly getting a shot at "real" theatre. Lots of fun.

My kids have been to a plethora of different performances and gave a pretty decent critique I thought. (Knowing who the stand out performers were and why.) Interestingly, both girls said that if they were given the opportunity to do this show... they would want to be Lena Lamont... the "mean" girl... not the cutesie lead.

Okay.. that's all for tonight. Like the song says.. We talked the whole night through...
I can't afford to do that so I must go. We'll talk soon?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mommy Habit

My dear friend Mrs. Judie gave me several (5 or 6) long, linen Mommy dresses (from the 90's).
I think Oprah called them Mommy Mall dresses. They have no waist and are full length. I wouldn't say they "do" anything for my figure.. but I am not all that thrilled with my figure anyway. I wasn't sure at first if I was going to keep them. I thought my teenage daughter would have a fit. She loves What Not to Wear and I know Staci and Clinton would throw them out!
I wasn't even sure my mom would like them... but here is the deal, they are VERY comfortable.

These dresses have no tight fitting waist to bother me. I have always loved dresses, particularly long ones. In the winter I can put a long sleeve t-shirt underneath and warm wooly socks. In the summer I could wear them with sandals. So... I thought, I would try them out and see how people reacted.

The first one was plaid. My mom and Bekah both hated it. Brian was okay. He likes me in a dress... even a big sack of one. Okay... I tried another one on. It is a slightly different style.. still big and sort of sacklike but no one screamed in terror. Today I tried a third and again.. not so bad.

Why am I wearing these dresses??? Well... it is more than mere comfort. Like I said , I have always liked long dresses and so I feel very feminine in them. I struggled for a moment with the fact that they are somewhat out of style.. but, we are a society that screams, "Go GREEN!" We are supposed to recycle and reuse! Jut not when it comes to fashion. Does that strike anyone else as a contradiction?? I am supposed to buy a NEW, GREEN t-shirt made from hemp or organic cotton (or whatever type of clothing). How about wearing the ones I already own?? These dresses are linen and they are in excellent condition. There is still much life in them.
I could give them to good will for someone else to buy and wear... or... just wear them myself.

Here is the other factor. My sister-in-law is a Sister. She is a Dominican Sister in Nashville. She wears a full habit all of the time. It is the clothing of her order. The sisters wear habits because each piece is symbolic somehow. They also wear habits to be recognizable and also to make things simple. I have been testing the idea that these dresses are somehow a Mommy habit. I don't have to think about what to wear or how I look. Those of you who know me (and all of you who are reading this do) know that I usually wear capris and a t-shirt. A few years ago my "mommy habit" was overalls and shirts. Before that jeans and t-shirts. I even had a year where I only got out of flannel pants for church. (Not particularly proud of that.. but that is where I was at that time.. so... ) I love the idea of being a "put together" mom. I don't always pull that off although I think I have been doing better lately. Still... even my former priest told me I was frumpy. I don't want to wear the dresses to BE frumpy... I just really like them. I like the way they feel and I somehow like the idea of them. I like the idea of a mommy habit.. and the fact is.. my jeans just aren't so comfortable these days.

This doesn't mean you will only see me in a long dress... but, the fact is.. you might see me in one. At first I promised to only wear them around the house. I have since worn them (gasp) to town. This could be a fad with me.. or it could last. The good news is that I AM trying to fix my hair and wear a little make-up and jewelry. (that helps with the "put together" part.)

So, now you know the story. When you see me and wonder... why on earth is she wearing that?? You will know. I am just in my "habit".

Monday, October 13, 2008

What we did today....

We are trying to do some art history... and the beginning of art history is monoliths and stonehenge and the Easter Island statues.
I found a great website with information about the island. The kids all did the reading and then we or actually they made Easter Island statues. We used soft green floral foam that the kids carved and then spray painted. I think they look amazing!

Katie was talking to a friend today and she was gushing about school... the science experiment we did and the art activity. We did poetry at lunch. So even though our day was somewhat unconventional... lots of learning took place. For that I am thankful.

I am learning

Okay... so I am starting to make changes to my blog. This background is not my own design, but it was free and is quite lovely I believe. I am learning to make a few subtle changes and I love that.
I think this goes along with my post about the need to create. Unfortunately, what I need to create now is supper for my family. So... I am off. I hope you like the new changes but don't be surprised if I change again. I hope to post more pictures too.. and dazzle and amaze you with my intellect and wit... he he! Til then...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I did it

I did it. I just got in my car and drove to Tontitown yesterday. I didn't panic and I didn't once think, " I can't do this." I DID make sure that I had a good place to turn left (at a light). I did park in the " wrong", meaning further away, parking lot because that was where I came in by turning at the light, but still... I did it.

Why, you may ask, is this a big deal?? Because I hate to drive. I have never liked it. I was the odd teenager who didn't really want to drive. I drove my little brother around only until he could drive and then he drove me. I didn't have a car at college (and I was okay with that.) Brian drove a standard and I only drove it twice the entire time he owned it!

When we moved here to Siloam I knew I would have to drive. Brian got me a minivan and it sat in the driveway for at least a week before I even got in. I said, "Thanks honey, but who is going to drive it?"

Now, I drive a big ole' honkin' suburban. It is huge... and I do alright. Especially around town.
Still... the kids will tell you.. I have been know to drive out of my way to make a right turn instead of turning left. Also, until recently, I hadn't driven to Springdale. I now can drive to the Jones Center and back. (wahoo!) I haven't yet tackled Fayetteville or Rogers though. I did drive to Bentonville once when I was on Jury duty.

So... why then, for a girl who hates to drive so much, do I find myself in the car so often?? FOUR KIDS. Need I say more?
Still, Trish gets the prize because she is out and about several times a day to take her kiddos to band. Bless you Trish.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The need to create

From the beginning of time...... okay, so maybe not the beginning, well, yes..
From the beginning of time, man has had the need to create. (Not Procreate... that is another blog entirely) but to create. Form is indeed important along with function. Egyptians made beautifully painted urns and pots etc.., even when the African people were kept as slaves in America they made beautiful pieced quilts. Women and men have always had a NEED to express themselves artistically in the things they have created. True, for a long time they only had time to make things that were necessary, but they also tried to make them beautiful.

I have discovered Etsy. Actually, Ann told me about this magical place a while back and I have just now had time (taken time) to check it out. Etsy is the Ebay for all things handmade. I checked out papergoods as that is what I create. There are a bazillion items out there. Truly.. a bazillion and yes, that IS a technical term.

I am inspired. I want to play hooky and make paper. I want to create beautiful cards and journals and notebooks. However, I didn't even get out my "stuff" until too late tonight and so only made a few goodies. But, I am thinking and planning and plotting for when next I can make more.

Instead, tonight I played games with Caleb. We are pretty busy around here as everyone is this time of year. It is way to easy to just collapse on the couch in the evening. None-the-less, I am trying to keep the t.v. off (except for Grey's and Boston Legal- my guilty pleasures!) Last night we played Jenga. Tonight we played Don't Break the Ice, the balancing moon game, and Memory. He is really fun to play with and we laughed so hard he had the hiccups.

So... I will have to wait a bit to work on my creations. But I feel fired up and passionate about what I want to do. I have always loved teaching... but this is different and oh so much fun.
What is your passion? What do you create?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Busy Day

Busy day... busy , busy day... but a good one. We have had more than our share of routine (eye) doctor and dentist visits this week. Add the chiropractor, gymnastics , soccer and facials with our Mary Kay lady (Thanks Sylvia!) and the girls went to a play (Thanks Judie for driving) and our week has been full. But, we have been productive and having as much fun as possible. My littlest guy is sick, but in such great spirits. He hasn't been able to talk for two days... which is odd. He just makes signs and whispers. He IS on the mend though and should be up and about by this weekend.

Noah, the girls and I have been twirling flag a little bit in the yard. It is absolutely amazing that I still remember as much as I do. My arms are a little sore.. but in the right places (you know the saggy part) so I figure it is good for me. Noah likes to practice and works very hard plus the weather has been so lovely. So.. I wrote a little routine to our fight song. Don't be surprised if you are forced to watch if you ever stop by. The kids are quick learners and are coming right along.

We read the Declaration of Independence out loud today. I am not sure that I had ever read the whole thing before. (Isn't that sad.) It really is powerful and well-written. (plus it uses great words like usurpation and despotism!) The kids seemed to "get it" too. We are having some really great discussions. Too often I will tell you that we aren't doing enough, that I am fearful that I am not providing enough... but this week we have had some great discussions about religion, history, art and politics. I am challenged and inspired by these topics and by my children. What a blessing that we are learning together. They have definite opinions and great ideas.

So, yes.. we have been VERY busy, but man, am I enjoying the ride!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Invisible Mother

My Mom sent this e-mail to me. Hopefully I am not violating any copyrights by adding it to my blog. I don't see any author to credit or contact... but I loved what this had to say. Perhaps it will resonate within you too.....

Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,

the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the

phone and ask to be taken to the store.

Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking,

or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the
corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible.

The invisible Mom.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this?

Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands;

I'm not even a human being.

I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer,

'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the

eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude -

but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return

of a friend from England .

Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going

on and on about the hotel she stayed in.

I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.

It was hard not to compare and
to feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe .

I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her
inscription: 'To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what

you are building when no one sees.

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book.

And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths,

after which I could pattern my work: No one can say who built the great

cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.

The passion of their building was fueled by their
faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral

while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam.

He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving

that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it.

And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place.

It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you, Charlotte.

I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on,
no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile

You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now
what it will become.

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction.

But it is not a disease that is erasing my life.

It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness.

It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder.

As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see
finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend
he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, 'You're gonna love it there.

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals.

We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.

And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Figuring out this picture thing

The Shoes
Okay.. so we are uploading pictures from Photobucket and we are having some technical difficulty.
Having said that, Bekah wants me to assure you that Photobucket is VERY user friendly. You can really play with your pictures and pop your pictures onto other bodies etc.. (She has one of me and Patrick Dempsey!) We will try one more time to get a picture of the shoes.

The Girl

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">The Boots

So.... for Bekah's birthday we did her all-time favorite thing... Shoe Shopping!
She very happily came home with a trendy little pair of boots and a pair of "Penelope" shoes.
(If you were able to see Penelope, she wore these very stylish maryjane heels).
My girl is very happy. We had fun and Caleb, the only boy to go with us, was a trooper!

Monday, September 15, 2008


I am struggling.

I had a long, whiny list of all the areas I am struggling with... but who wants to hear that?
I don't want to hear it and I am the one typing it.. So... enough, forget it.
Instead I choose to be thankful. I am making a conscious choice NOT to be whiny. I choose the be thankful for my wonderful friends. I choose to be thankful for my wonderful family. I choose to be thankful that I have a computer on which NOT to complain on. I choose to be thankful that I don't have to turn that last sentence in for a grade as the grammar is questionable!

So... perhaps tomorrow I can post something lovely... but for now, know that if you are reading this.. I am thankful for you! (and I will be even MORE thankful if you leave a comment!!) ha ha ha

Friday, September 12, 2008



We are continuing our study of famous artists and the methods they use.. but our first art project of the year was simply to make a mask. We had this roll of tinfoil that was out with the
grill, it was kept underneath in the cubbie, but due to moisture had developed a nice patina finish. It was no longer food safe (I don't think...) so we had this whole roll of metal to work with. I wish you could see the detail on Katie's mask in particular as she did some embossing on her foil (as did I).
We had a lot of fun and I thought the kids were pretty creative. What a luxury to have this "ruined" roll of foil to play with. We have made a couple of neat things. What fun!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Country Girl?

I am a country girl. At the very least, I am a small town girl. What I am not is a farm girl. True, when I was younger we had gardens and canned and froze lots of vegetables. This was definitely the case until I was 12 and we moved south to Louisiana. Even though we lived in Bossier City for several years, I have always thought of myself as a smalltown country girl. I was so pleased to move to Siloam Springs. I am thrilled that Brian has embraced small town life. He comes from (gasp) the city. (North Little Rock)

When we moved from northern Michigan to Louisiana when I was 12, I remember driving through Little Rock. We thought the skyline was enormous!

All of this is to tell you about what I have been doing the past couple of mornings with my son, Noah. We have been driving to the farm of a friend to feed their pigs while they are in Minnesota for a funeral.

The pigs are both girls, Mary and Chiquita. They are , I don't know, upwards of 60 pounds I would guess, probably about 70-80. They stand almost to Noah's waist.
If you are a farmer and do this kind of thing all the time... please forgive my naivety.
For those of you who don't... you can picture this maybe??
We go in the morning and mix the food in a 5 gallon bucket. Noah has to scale the pen and heft the bucket over so he can go and dump the feed in the bowls in the pig pen. These pigs are hungry and friendly. They nibble at his shorts and he has to literally shove them out of the way to try and get the food to the pen. They try to eat the food out of the bucket as he is trying to pour it. My job is to throw marshmallows at a distance away and try to keep the pigs busy so that Noah can get in the pen without being knocked over. This morning we brought apples off the ground from our tree (to distract the pigs) and Caleb to throw the marshmallows so I could help heft the bucket over. (Noah barely made it yesterday... and their pen is VERY muddy.) Well.. we were only somewhat successful in our distraction techniques, but happily the pigs are fed. (and sunscreened, they get burned and so get treated!)

It is a really neat experience to have with my boys. Noah takes his job VERY seriously and follows the directions given to the letter. (I always KNEW he could even if he doesn't always show that around here!)

So we have a few more mornings of helping out at the farm. Noah said he likes it. Who knows??? Maybe someday he will be a gentleman farmer. I am just enjoying the adventure with him.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Why is it?? that I can remember the words to bazillions of songs (at least some words to bazillions of songs... I do a lot of humming too) and I can't remember what I am supposed to do next?
I truly TRULY forget things. I have a good memory for events and things that have taken place but if you ask me to do something, I will tell you yes, of course, and then completely forget. (Not maliciously or intentionally, but forgotten none-the-less) until later when it hits me like a ton of bricks.
I have to make lists to remember ANYTHING... but I do remember the words to songs.. specifically to the songs on my list here. I have had so much fun making a playlist. I keep thinking of songs to add. Brian was even helping out this weekend. I feel 16 again when I hear some of these. Being 16, that I CAN remember!
If you want to make your own playlist... go to and just follow the instructions. It really is a lot of fun!
I want to keep blogging just so I can hear my songs... tee hee! Good night girls.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Shack

This morning I read the book The Shack. This "novel" reads like a non-fictional account of a man who has an encounter with God. The main character has a difficult childhood, to say the least, and then suffers the tragic loss of one of his children. He is angry and depressed (understandably) and feels distanced from God. He then has the opportunity to spend a weekend visiting with the persons of the trinity. What he learns is enlightening and encouraging and very thought provoking for the reader.

The message that I got from the book is that we are called to Love and to Serve. This is not a new message to me. I have believed this for a long time. Knowing this and living this out everyday fully are two different things altogether, however.

This book challenges the reader to truly look at his/her relationship with God, their thoughts on organized religion and what it means to be a Christian. While I didn't necessarily draw all of the same conclusions as the author, I did find the book to "ring true" on many counts. I know I will spend the next several days mulling over several of the books ideas in my mind. I may even have to reread several passages for clarity.

Thanks Mom for suggesting this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Next up... Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh to be a princess....

I have spent the most delicious day READING. The kids entertained themselves, the dishes went undone and I read The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. I just finished The Constant Princess also by Philippa Gregory and I am hooked on her books.

I was looking for a little fluff to end the summer with. I thought perhaps a little historical romance.
What I found are books that are well written and extremely well researched. Certainly they ARE fiction, but they are definitely based on actual people and events and Ms. Gregory does her best to be as accurate as possible.

We just finished reading about Henry VIII in school and so I find these books most interesting. They are very detailed and are very plausible as to the character development.
What fun.

I DID take a little break and worked on some logic with the kids. We are to study logic this year and we started today by solving a mystery. I bought a book called one-hour mysteries. It provides clues and logic puzzles that you must analyze and work through in order to "solve" the mystery. It did indeed take us just a little over an hour.. and would have taken less if I would have had all of the copies run beforehand. I think the kids enjoyed it. I know I did. I look forward to working on more of these type of problems with them. A lot of deductive reasoning.
Katie and Noah enjoy this especially, although Bekah was a most willing participant.

Okay, it is extremely late and I must go to bed. Tomorrow I must actually do something USEFUL, although I DO have the next book... The Boleyn Inheritance. It all started when I told myself I could read while I walked in the morning (on my eliptical machine). I did... but then I never put the book down. I shall try again tomorrow... but only while I walk.

Do you believe I can do it? Or rather not do it?? (read all day) We shall see.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Okay... the joke around our house is that Brian is going to make me a bed. See, we had a headboard way back in Florida about 9 years ago. We didn't love it and the mattress we had was so hard it was HORRIBLE, so when we moved we didn't bring it with us. When we got into our little house on Holly Street we went down and bought new mattresses and box springs and a frame but no headboard. What does this have to do with books?? Keep reading.

So.. I, of course, would like a headboard for my bed. My dear, darling husband replies,"I can make you one." First he cut down a tree. (no joke) Then he milled the tree into boards with the milling attachment on his chainsaw. Next he stacked the boards in our garage to "dry". They have been there for at least two years.

Here's the deal (you've been waiting right?). I no longer want the bed. I want more bookshelves.
I already sleep well at night. The bed won't really feel that different with a headboard (okay, I would love for my pillow not to fall of the top but after nine years, you adapt.) What I have decided I really want is more bookshelves for my piles of books. One on each side of the bed.
I can even put one of those little swivel reading lamps on the side.

I have been cleaning out my classroom all week trying to get ready for school. We have TONS of books. I said I would clean out and get rid of them. I did part with a few. But we are readers and we love books. I suppose at some point I won't need more bookshelves. I can't imagine it, but I guess it could be so. The girls asked what I would do with the classroom when they all went to college... I can't really say. Perhaps by then one of them will want to live down there in the "apartment". I don't know. I suppose I will eventually part with all of the curriculum.. but not the classics. Not the friends I have back there on the shelves. I hope to read and reread everything I currently own and of course there are so many more out there. I don't have enough hours for all of the books I want to read.

So... I have told Brian to skip the headboard and make more shelves. He of course embraces ANY wordworking project (at least in theory). But I believe we already have the wood for this one!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Guinea Pig

Well... if you would have told me that we would have multiple animals in our home.. I would have told you that you were crazy! and yet... tonight we drove to Fayetteville and purchased a Guinea Pig for Katie for her birthday. The pig's name is Sadie. She is sweet.. as sweet as a large rodent can be. She truly is cute and Guinea pigs are supposed to make very good pets. We will have two living areas so that we can take her down to the classroom and she can also be at this end of the house in the evenings with the family. I pray she adjusts well to the cats. Right now we also are dogsitting for Tyson... my brother's lab/boxer mix. (Just til my folks get home, then they get him back until James returns for him.)

At any rate, this is many more animals than I ever thought possible in one Karp household. Four kids and three pets... whew! (plus Tyson)
I am going to let the dog out one more time and go to bed.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ooooh It's late!

It is WAY too late and I am up and working on .. what else?? School stuff.
I am trying to lay out some plans for the year. I am working on pacing. I have a software program that will help me keep records. Those of you who know me well know how much I HATE paperwork. Loathe, detest, abhor... paperwork. I am quite prepared to pay the bills because I HAVE to do it. I am qualified. But... I don't seem to be able to maintain much beyond that. Will a magical program do the impossible??? Develop in me a bit of self-discipline?? Methinks not.
Still, it does produce a rather grand looking transcript so I will at least use it for my gradebook whether or not I use if for planning remains to be seen... (who am I kidding?? I will use it for grades and transcripts... NOT planning. I am a paper and pen kind of gal. I LOVE notebooks. Especially decorated ones.

Now that would be fun... decorating all of the kids notebooks. I bought a ton of 5cent ones at Wal-mart. TONS. hhhhmmm
Well, anyway. For now I am off to bed. Tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Okay... my friend Ann did one of these and as it is late on a Sunday night and I can't really think much I thought it might be fun to do this "meme" list. Here goes....

What were you doing ten years ago?
Ten years ago my girlies were one and three and we still lived in Florida. Brian worked at a little company called Sims Machine and Controls. I was staying home and at this time of year I think I was just about to be pregnant with Noah!

Favorite Snacks?
I love salt. I CRAVE cheddar and sour cream potato chips although I have sworn off of them several times over the years. I keep trying to quit. I like any salty snack though. I can pass up sweets (although I enjoy them too) to eat salt!

To Do List
1. Exercise (Bekah is telling me I always say this but never do it... still, it is on the list)
2. Clean
3. Get ready for school

what I would rather do..
1. Read even more than I do
2. Stamp!

Job's I have had:
worked at the mall: Miller's Outpost and County Seat
waitress, teacher, tutor
(these are the paying jobs here.. not the ones I do all the time)

Places I have lived
Ossineke, Michigan
Bossier City, Louisiana
Ruston, Louisiana
San Antonio, TX (0ne summer)
Spring Hill, Florida
Siloam Springs, AR

Bad Habits:
Too much time on computer
lack of exercise (that isn't a bad habit but more of a lack of a good one!)
I am too often late

5 Random things people may not know about me:

1. I play the accordian (okay most of you know that.. but it IS unusual-- weird!)

2. I like westerns and baseball movies (at least the more modern ones... some old ones too)

3. I would love to be published.

4. When I dream at night I am very athletic. I can't fly... but I can swing through the trees like Tarzan. I can also run very fast and jump very high. I am very, VERY agile and quick!

5. I love pickled bologna.

CD's I would take on my stranded island

Michael Buble of COURSE!
Dixie Chicks
John Denver

What I would do if I became a Billionaire

1. Pay off my house and finish fixing it up. I would PAY someone else to finish it so that Brian could just do the parts he likes like making the furniture.

2. Pay off my parents house and make sure that all of their needs are met.

3. Go on a family vacation somewhere. Probably Disneyworld because Caleb really wants to go there. I would stay right there in a hotel and be there for a week.

4. Send my kids to great colleges!

5. Billions of dollars??? I would move all of our family up here (brothers and families on both sides) and start a family business.

6. buy more books!

Okay guys... that is me... what about you??

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Joyous asked for a discussion on schedules. Well... I am the queen of making lists and plans and then failing miserably. It is even more difficult now because of the skepticism of my teenager.
Still..I am forever optimistic and we try! We do more of a routine than an exact schedule. In the morning the kids are expected to get up, eat and get dressed. They each have a morning chore before school. Then I have tried having an lunch chore too.. but that doesn't always work. They help in the kitchen after supper and do whatever other chores I assign. Ideally they would just know what has to be done and do it... that works with ONE of my children. The rest of them have to be asked.. sometimes more than once I am afraid. We are definitely a work in progress.
Anyone else have something that works great??

Thursday, July 24, 2008

At long last: Curriculum

Curriculum: the materials used by a teacher for the purpose of instruction. WIDELY available in every format imaginable from hands on manipulatives, trade books or text books to software, there is truly something for everyone.

To understand where I am coming from I must tell you that to me, curriculum is like a PROMISE in a box. Sort of like that new box of crayons that will let you be an artist... books can take you ANYWHERE.

In the spring, right about the time that I am trying to decide how much we will ACTUA
LLY accomplish this year, I start to think about next year and all of the promise that it holds. Next year, perhaps, I will get it right. Next year, will be THE year that everything clicks and our schoolroom is a remarkable place of learning. I will provide the proper setting and offer the best materials. Materials I have read about and researched; asking all I know if they have used them and liked them or found them lacking. I pore over catalogs, high light articles, make notes in the margins and build my castles in the sky.

You see, while I love to talk about curriculum, writing about it here puts me in a vulnerable place because I have to admit that I haven't used all I have purchased. Every year I go through this process carefully selecting exactly what I think will be the best for my children and yet.. we don't always complete what we start. I have TONS of books. If I stopped now and just used what we already have... I am sure we would be fine. But, like the new box of crayons, you know the ones with points? They write sooooo much better than the worn ones that are broken and the paper is torn. Or do they?

Well, here is my plan. I have been looking at what I already own. I am reusing as much as possible which is good. I AM getting some new things, but they are consumables or subjects that I haven't taught before. I have ordered Rosetta Stone Spanish. I also got several Mind Bender books and a course on introductory logic. I also splurged on two art books for an art appreciation course. FUN. I know that the kids will do the Spanish and that I will love the art books no matter what. We will do history together and I got some really great Mapskills books that are a bit challenging but are pertinent and useful. I use books from Beautiful Feet for history. We read aloud a lot and then the kids will all be assigned books to read too that will count towards history and literature. I am getting a Spelling program as I haven't really taught spelling. I hate memorizing spelling lists as I don't think that improves spelling in a poor speller at all... we have worked more on phonics rules and exceptions, correcting errors in what we write. But... I am going to give this a try. (They promise it only takes 15 minutes a day).

We are going to do a LOT of writing this year so I got myself a book to help in correcting a writing paper. One of the selfish best parts of homeschooling is how much we learn ourselves.

So.. I am still trying to get my ducks in a row. I am reading novels that will be required for my kids this next year. I am taking and making notes. I am trying to organize and repurpose my materials.

With all of this preparation and planning what I know to be true is this: whether or not we have finished every text that we have started we .. my kiddos and I.. are working together. We have been introduced to a lot of things! We have read a great many books and will read a great many more. We have done projects and made crafts. We have seen plays and been in them! We have cooked and cleaned (okay not enough, but some) together. We have volunteered our time and spent time with those we love. Our homeschool may not be perfect.. they (the kids) are so limited by their teacher"s strengths and weaknesses.. but I don't think that I have ruined them yet. I surely know that I wouldn't trade what we have for ANYTHING in the world.

Now it is time for me to stop daydreaming about how perfect my school may (or may not) be in the fall and spend my time enjoying my days with my kids. I want to stop looking for the PROMISE in new books and find SECURITY in the KNOWLEDGE that we have all we need
right here at home.

I even think that I will make a new life for that drawer of old crayons... melted and molded into new ones!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Well, yesterday morning I went Blackberry picking with a friend. Now this is not the picking I remember as a child. As a child we would pick wild blackberries which, quite frankly, you really have to work for. The bushes are very scratchy and prickly and you have to wear long sleeves in the middle of the summer to protect your arms. Still, we would pack a lunch and make a day of it and then, if we had time, we would go by the falls on the way home and get wet in our clothes! (as somehow it was never a planned activity and we never had our swimsuits)

Next we would go home and stay up late cleaning and preparing the berries to be canned. Nothing is better than canned blackberries (which is basically berries in syrup). On a cold Michigan morning, it was such a treat to be able to get a jar of blackberries to eat. We would have a bowl of blackberries and toast. They are WONDERFUL and are something I remember so well from my childhood.

So, when Rebekah called yesterday and asked if I wanted to go picking I didn't hesitate for too long. We went out to Taylor Orchards. This is how EASY it was. We drove right up to the bushes that are heavily laden with luscious berries and they practically fell into our buckets. No thorns, no scratches. In a little over an hour we had picked 24 pints of berries. AMAZING.

Today I will make freezer jam. I found the recipe to can them like we did when I was young, but as I had to PAY for these berries I am not sure I can afford to set myself up to can too. (Jars, lids, a canner or whatever that big pot is called). Still, it should be fun (to make the jam), it WAS fun (to pick them and EAT them. I probably ate a pint while I picked) and I am so thankful for the opportunity.

Friday, July 11, 2008


Hello!! It has been so long since I have written. But life is great here in Karptown. You may have noticed I changed the template of my blog. This is not what I want, but it will do until I can learn how to do this on my own. Who knew that I would ever be interested in designing something for the computer. I have a brother in law who is VERY knowledgeable and I may have to take a little class from him to figure things out.

So... yesterday we went to the movies to see Kit Kittredge an American Girl. It was fabulous. But the most fabulous part was that my girls (almost 12 and 14 ) and their friend (almost 13) all took their dolls! How incredible. It was so much fun. The boys even liked it though they may not admit it.

I still want to talk curriculum and that is coming soon... (sorry Mom). But until then just feast your eyes on my gorgeous creations.

Blessings to you all friends!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Oh and one more thing

Random thoughts on everything:

*I think I may change my blog layout. I don't want to lose my pictures but I don't like the gray background. I like the notebook paper but it would be better if I could add stuff to it.
Wendy, you totally customize your blog. How??

*Trish, I really liked reading about what you are doing. I like the way you write.
I have been having a lazy week. I was supposed to de-clutter two rooms this week, but I have been stamping and reading. My house is a WRECK. The kids are going a little bonkers and don't quite know what to do with their time. They have been playing a lot of piano. I unhooked the table and changed the living room around so they have no t.v. (only movies). Ha
I have a long list of want-to-dos and a somewhat shorter list of have-to-dos.
Now I just need to DO something on each list. I could read and stamp the summer away, but I don't think the kids will go for that. We are to go swimming tomorrow. We went to Koala park today for the first time since they have torn down the castle. The new equipment is very interesting and the kids enjoyed it. I do, however, miss the castle. It was very amazing.

*My brother is coming. Well, my other brother is coming from Montana and is staying at Mom and Dad's for a week. It will be great to see him.

*I really want to talk about curriculum. Is anyone really interested and up for that? I think I tend to get a little boring when I talk about all of my plans and dreams for school.

It is time for bed. Good-night


We had a card swap tonight and it was great. I spent the better part of the last two days making cards and I had a great time. I love to stamp. I love the opportunity to be creative and make something. I love to work with paper because it is inexpensive and quick and easy to work with. I can see results very quickly and have something I can give to someone I care about. We had a great time. Thanks gals.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Finally... the beginning of Summer

I realize it is late to be saying this... but I am at last ready for summer to begin.
The kids have finished their camps. We have had a VERY successful VBS that is done! (Can I hear a big Wahoo here.) So... now I am ready for summer. I have eight delicious weeks laying before me with only my own whims and fancies to fill them. What will we do??

1. Swim. I have promised my kiddos that we will swim at least twice a week. Plus this gets me out to my Mom's to hang out which I love to do too.
2. Summer reading program at the library. My boys are the big readers this year... Bekah is too old and Katie has been too busy. I expect her to catch up though!
3. I want to craft and create. This is the year I actually make paper. I have talked about it for 10 years... this summer it becomes a reality. I have a few other projects too.
4. I want to clean and declutter my house. One room at a time~~ (that means two a week)
5. I want to catalog ALL of the books in my classroom.
6. I want to READ.... some fun stuff, some school stuff... I just want to read.

So.... first I will clean the mess my house has become after not being here for over a week to do anything. Then I will box up my brother's belongings. He and the mini-kids have moved on.
Then..... I will plan my days around doing the things on my list. Oh yes... and I WILL find some time for exercise in there too. That is, unfortunately, on my list... but until then.. remember my motto:
Tanned fat looks better than white fat! (it's true. Use sunscreen of course. but it IS true)

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Word for the Year: BALANCE

I have a word for the year... or the season, or just one word to focus on until I feel the need to move on. Last year... (or so) my word was surrender. Not submit. There is indeed a difference. In fact,
we use these words to explain some discipline and respect issues to our children.

As children, they must surrender their wills and desires (I want to eat only cookies and cake) to our requests. (That they eat healthier foods too. for example) If they choose not to surrender their own will then we have the responsibility as parents to make them submit. (and can do so with the loss of privilege etc...)

To surrender your will is a choice. In a life of love and service, the chance to surrender comes along quite often. I haven't exactly mastered this completely, but I think I do much better at recognizing when I need to SURRENDER. Surrender in an argument when being right is not really what is important. Surrender my selfish will to stay up all night and read and instead go to bed so I can work in the morning. (okay, if Brian ever chooses to read this... I RECOGNIZE the need to surrender this... not that I always am successful. =P ) We are all called to surrender our own will to God's will. To surrender is not a weakness.... it is a choice and is thereby empowering. Still, it takes practice.

So... I have moved on to my new word. BALANCE. Balance is difficult. Balance is challenging.
Balance is as ever present as SURRENDER. How much is enough and not too much??
The opportunities for balance and the lack there-of....
family time? vs. the mountain of maintenance that owning a home takes
cleaning? vs. every other thing I would rather do... but I MUST get rid of the clutter! I keep thinking that will make things easier.
READING?, time on the Internet? EXERCISE (this I never do... but the mere thought overwhelms me. I can and should do SOMETHING... but I don't have to be a tri-athlete. Have you seen those commercials for P90X??? Somewhere between me and the people on those commercials.. that's my goal .. BALANCE.
Enough extra curricular activities to have my children enriched... but not enough to (literally) drive me crazy and keep us in the car every day.

BALANCE. That is my word to focus on for now. If you have achieved this in your life.. let me know how. I am an unstructured gal who needs structure. I have made every list and chart possible to help me get there. (Just ask Brian. ) They never last long. (Why?? WHY?? I am rebellious I guess. That goes back to SURRENDER though.) Does anyone else struggle with this?

Okay... so, what I can do right now is only what I can do today. Today. Today I can fold laundry and clean out my stamping room. For today that is enough.

I hope that today YOU have balance. Some work, some play and lots of love.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thankful for:

I am thankful for friends. I am blessed BLESSED with good friends and family and people that I love and who also love me. My cup runneth over. I am constantly amazed, and humbled and am grateful that I have such wonderful people in my life.

I am thankful for beautiful children. Even though they fit in the above category.. they get a category unto themselves. We sang tonight and read the book Something for Nothing in our very bad Jewish accents. Good book. Great kids. Noah sang the alleluia over and over (it has two parts) trying to get it right.

Good books. I am thankful for good books. Books that teach and books that entertain, ones that make you laugh and those that make you cry. Most especially the ones that you read over and over and visit like a great friend.

Here is a not so secret secret about me. I collect reading lists. I make my own too... but I constantly gather lists about books... good books, great books, recommended reading lists. I have a whole binder full of them. I mark them and make notes. It is quite ridiculous really. Yet, still, I add to them. Someday... I will read them all (or most).

Where Have They Gone?

I am doing a lot of preparing for next year. I am trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I will have a daughter in high school. I will also have a boy "officially" in kindergarten. Caleb has done some work this year... but not regularly. Next year is the real deal. Four kids in school. Look at the cuties in this picture. Where are they?? Caleb wasn't even born yet.

In this picture the kids were doing a play that they wrote. How much fun is that?? They still do this kind of stuff. Of course, now, they work their own camera. Still... I can't believe how fast the time has gone.

High school. I swear I just graduated. I mean REALLY. It can't be over 20 years. But it is. (only ONE year over twenty for those of you who would believe me even older than I am!)

I remember my first week of high school. I got asked on my first date. (two actually) (My parents didn't let me go on either one... thank goodness). Guy somebody.. played tenor sax (remember Ann?) and Roger Stanley. Goodness.

Well... that is enough reminiscing for now. Mom says we have to live in the moment. This moment is telling me that it is late and I need to crawl in bed. Katie has an 8:30 doctor's appointment.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

random thoughts on love

Okay... so I have read over the course of the past few years, some disturbing articles in magazines like Oprah and Cosmopolitan (okay... once in the past 10 years have I read anything in Cosmo but a few in Oprah's magazine)..
anyway, these articles are telling women that they need to be wary of the men they may marry and things to look for. Important (not) things like leaving the cereal bowl unrinsed on the counter. If he does then he is not marriage material. The article in Oprah's magazine told women to hold onto the thought that divorce was an option.

Just hear that and take it in.... hold onto the thought that divorce is an option.
amazing isn't it??? This is so foreign and disturbing to my way of thinking that I have been stewing on it for a while.

Recently, our Pastor, Fr. John Antony, was over and we were talking about a mini-retreat he is planning for married couples. One of his talks is on what heaven is like. He mentioned that marriage is preparation for heaven. I am not sure I will get this completely right, what he was trying to say... but he said that loving our spouses was preparing us for heaven. I believe that what he was trying to say was that the unconditional love we have for our spouses is just a glimpse of how much God loves us. Marriage is an opportunity to practice perfect love. (notice the word practice here!) He also made some comment that we wouldn't have romantic love for one another in heaven.. that it wouldn't matter... I am not that evolved yet I guess because I can't imagine not loving Brian as I do and having him as my partner.

I have known for a long time that Love is the answer. I may have even written about this before. Truly.. we are here to love one another. But that is too simplistic. We love ice cream. We love going to the circus. When we say LOVE we think of something warm and fuzzy. Yes... that is love. But that is not the love we are called to.

When you are young and you get butterflies in your stomach when you see someone walk by.. you think you are in love. That is attraction. It can be powerful. And fun stuff. I crushed on a bunch of boys that I never even hardly spoke to when I was a young girl. Still... I "loved" them.
You've heard is said before that love is what is left when ,we'll say, attraction wears off.

Love, the real deal, means sacrifice, service and surrendering. That is the kind of love we are called to. To practice with our spouses, our parents, our children, our siblings and friends... the mean girl that says you look pregnant when you aren't!

Almost... every time I have had a disagreement with someone in my family, what they really wanted and needed was love and attention. Plain and simple.

So.. instead of having articles in magazines telling us that if he leaves out a bowl or dumps whiskers in the sink... that we should leave him. We need to be hearing that yes, sometimes you will drive each other crazy, but that is when you have to love each other more. You can CHOOSE to love each other more. We made commitments to each other. We agreed to live in union with one another. To be married means you will compromise. That is what I want my children to know. That the wedding is just the beginning of a lifetime of marriage. Prepare for the marriage. I am so blessed. I have heard everyday for almost 17 years that I am loved. That is powerful and affirming. Doesn't mean we don't both do things that drive the other batty... but at the end of the day we are together.

The same goes for all of the people you love. When you truly love someone you will sacrifice for their benefit... out of choice, you will serve them because you love them and surrender your will... (at least sometimes) for the same reason. That is how we are to love God. We get to practice on each other. Preparing ourselves for Heaven and in the process finding a little heaven on earth.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What's going on?

Okay.. you people want to know what is going on in my big crazy household?? Here goes.

James and Dylan are sick. Presumably with the same cold that the rest of us have had... but they are feeling pretty punky with it. So... they are being pretty quiet.

Lexi and R.J. are at school and doing pretty well there. I am really proud of them.

Here in Karptown... we are trying to finish up school. We are working fast and furiously on the kids books. They are "due" today... so I don't think we will make the official presentation... but they will be done by next week so we can have our own little "reading" of the books. Yea! I told Bekah that they will NEVER get their own books until I die. That is sort of my paycheck. I love them. The girls each have written four and the boys each two. Very cool. It is really neat to see the progression of storyline and illustrations over the years. For Caleb's we use pictures which are just too cute. I really love these books.

Katie is about to get braces. Today I have to call our sweet Dentist and tell him that we are not going to use him... that we sought a second opinion and that we are going to use him....
The second opinion is A LOT MORE EXPENSIVE... but he is going to try and save her teeth, while the first guy wanted to pull 4. Katie is much relieved and is actually ready now. She will be in braces for about two years. Then she will wear a permanent retainer for another year, and then you are supposed to wear a retainer at least at night... for life. So... I am excited and can't wait to see her new smile.

Noah, who started wearing glasses in January, now needs contacts because of his sports playing. He is the goalie for his soccer team and has been hit too many times already. It is very interesting trying to put them in. His eyelashes are as long as Katie's and he is squirrely about me putting them in. Once in,however.. he is great. We have a fabulous eye doctor too... so that is really nice.

I guess the biggest news of the day is that we need new lateral lines in our yard. Does anyone know what lateral lines are??? NO?? I didn't either, until I needed them.

Well... lateral lines are pipes that stretch out from your septic tank. Only the umm... solid waste stays in your tank. The water waste is leeched out through these lateral lines to drain into your yard. (feel free to say ew gross here, I did). Evidently, that is the way it is done. Here is where it gets interesting though. You can't just order these puppies up. My sweet plumber guy... came to diagnose the situation. He did all he could... but evidently there was no cleaning out the existing ones... we need new. I said I would wear a shirt that says "I Heart my plumber" if he would try to move us up the line to get this done quicker. Evidently that isn't possible.
FIRST, we had to have independent contractors come and scope out our yard and dig a BIG hole and test the soil and decide where the lines can go. They can't go in our front yard over the existing lines. They can't go in our back yard because we have a separate septic tank back there for the back end of the house. NO.... our lines must start in the front and then run 85 feet to the back down the hill into the treeline where they will then have three 85 ft lateral runs. (Did I mention you pay for this pipe by the foot??) How about the fact that I will lose an entire section of trees in my back yard including the one the treehouse was begun on. Thank goodness it isn't completely finished. I guess we will move it further down the hill.

So... I know all of this because I payed the contractor man $475 and we haven't even begun yet. Now the county has to come out and approve the system. Then they will approve a permit and send me the plan at which time I call back sweet plumber man and begin the real work.

Did I mention we have 10 people living in the house??? The good news is that sweet plumber guy cleaned things out enough that we can still use our system. I can honestly say that we here in America take indoor plumbing for granted.

I feel this post is long enough so I will close.
Next time... How Brian fixed the Washer.
or maybe...How I found the Wordly Wise Vocabulary lists for free.... over 4000 words for my kids to learn!! Wahoo.

Can you stand the excitement??