Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Homegrown Revolution

My friend Heather shared this you-tube video about a family who grows most of their food on a small urban lot in California. It is an amazing story of what they grow. Toward the end they talk about using hand powered appliances like washing machines, blenders, wheat grinders.....well um I am not quite there but definitely into growing my own food. I have always wanted to live rural and have chickens, goats and a big garden. Like they said...it creates freedom
They talk about eating and buying locally which I think is important. We as a family are working toward increasing what we buy being close to our home. We have started by buying our meat from local farms and I am getting better at trying to buy produce locally grown especially in the summer....there is really no excuse not to.
It's a few minutes longer but worth it. I am now inspired to plant a garden on my "city" lot even though it will be small and limited because of exposure. I am even considering growing things in winter this year.

The family on the video has a website called Path to Freedom.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

John Piper Tells it Like it is!

I came across this video tonight in my reading. It's a must see. It is so refreshing for someone to call the prosperity teaching what it is...."crap"! I felt like standing up in my living room (with no ceiling) and cheering out loud. The "prosperity gospel", in my opinion is one of the most harmful teachings in the church. It makes Jesus with all his grace and mercy into a cheap car salesman.


I really have nothing to say....my brain is mush lately with the craziness.... but I miss blogging. So I thought I would point you too other people who do have something to say:o)

I have so been blessed by following Stacy's journey in adoption and fostering. If you don't already visit, it is well worth your time.

Tracy is on a similar journey and I am so encouraged as I watch both these women really care for orphans.

My friend Steph posted about knowing the source of our food. I found the video a little disturbing. We really should know what we are putting in our mouths. Steph and I go to the same little farm for our meat (thanks to her recommendation). I am glad the cow I eat lives close and walks on it's own:o)

This post by Tami was a great encouragement to me. Tomorrow has enough trouble of it's own. Living in this 24 hours as been helpful for my sanity lately. Cars breaking down, ceilings falling in, dental surgieries for 4 year olds....oh my! Teach me contentmant Lord in all my life circumstances!

I read this article about a 13 year old girl with Autism. It is a fascinating break though in communicating for her. We can never write someone off becasue they don't fit the norm. I tutor a young boy who is high functioning autistic. He is a joy and a bright little man! Seing people just as they are is so important.

I read this post at Radical Womanhood about a mom battling with career vs. being at home. She watches her children at daycare over a computer screen and daily wrestles with if it's the right thing.

Monday, February 18, 2008

I've been tagged

My friend Mel tagged me along time ago and I am finally getting around to posting this.

1. Were you named after anyone? No, it was totally random.

2. When was the last time you cried? My miscarriage last fall.

3. Do you like your handwriting? I do, and I prefer to hand write every thing.

4. What is your favourite lunch meat? Turkey

5. Do you have kids? Yes, 2 in my house, three in heaven and maybe more.

6. If you were another person would you be friends with you? Yes! I would have a person who thinks just like me.....why would I not like that.

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Occasionally

8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes

9. Would you bungee jump? An emphatic NO!

10. What is your favourite cereal? Grapenuts

11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? No

12. Do you think you are strong? Depends on your definition :o)

13. What is your favourite ice cream? Chocolate Fudge Crackle

14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Their eyes and smile, then if they are interested in engaging. That was three things wasn't it?

15. Red or pink? Red

16. What is the thing that you like least about yourself? The areas of my life where I am not orginized

17. Who do you miss the most? Some very close friends I made as a young Christian. The kind of friends who know it all and still love you.....they are so far away. I miss them so much. I long to have closer friends where I live now.

19. What colour pants and shoes are you wearing? Black lounge pants and green crocs

20. Have you ever re-gifted? Yes

21. What are you listening to right now? My daughter practice piano.

22. If you were a crayon what colour would you be? Hot Mustard (does crayola have that color)

23. Favourite smells? Coffee and Cinnamon

24. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? My husband

25. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes, she is a real life friend who I wished lived closer!

26. Favourite sports to watch? If I had to watch sports...it would be soccer.

30. Favourite food? Umm.....a bit difficult to narrow it down but chocolate, really good rye bread, sweet potatoe soup, a good smoothy.....shall I go on?

31. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings...I have bad dreams too easily.

32. Last movie you watched? The lastest Queen Elizabeth Movie (can't remember the name)

33. What colour shirt are you wearing? Rust

34. Summer or winter? Spring and Fall.

35. Hugs or kisses? Hugs

36. Favourite dessert? Brownie type something.

39. What book are you reading now? Humility by CJ Mahaney

40. What is on your mousepad? Office Depot logo

41. What did you watch on tv last night? Our TV is in the closet right now.

42. Favourite sound? Leaves rustling together in fall, on the east coast.

43. Rolling stones or Beatles? Beatles

44. What is the furthest you have been from home? Depends on what I call home. Right now I live almost as far away as I could from where I was born. But the Dominican Republic might fall in their somewhere.

45. Do you have a special talent? No, well maybe snorting when I laugh hard.

46. Where were you born? Florida

I tag: Tami, Cara, Heather, Stacy

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Personal Tour

I thought I'd post an update. Nothings changed. Hows that for an update! It has been an interesting week negotiating with our landlords. They are not the most go-get'um type people. We now, finally, have someone coming to look at the ceiling to give an estimate but not till Tuesday. This is going to take a looooooonnnnnnnggggggg time. We also want to ensure they are fixing it to a safe level and not doing a patch job. Fortunately, we have some rights though we hope we don't have to go down that road. To their favor, they are nice people :o).

It seems that when the house was reno'd a few years ago the entire ceiling was installed improperly. We have vaulted ceilings. They installed the insulation flat against the interior roof. We live where it is wet and moist all the time....big no-no! On top of this mistake there was a vent pumping outside cold air between the vapor barrier and the drywall. The warm air from inside rose. It essentially created a sauna in our ceiling. There are 3 other such vents on our roof. The entire interior ceiling needs to be replaced, re-insulated to provide proper ventalation. They may possibly move and or seal some or all vents. It is a big job. There is no way we can live in the house while they do it. We have been assured they want to fix it properly but I will wait to 100% believe that once I see a contractor in here actually doing it. I do feel for them but it's their house. I just hope they don't fix it them decided to sell it:o( All the while we could have avoided reno's and moved.

I am trying to live in this 24 hours :o) I thought you might enjoy a little tour of our world.

This is the plaster and drywall that came down first.

This is the first 4ft by 8ft hole where the drywall used to be. Notice the plaster that is missing. Makes a nice 8ft diameter bulge.
Pretty ain't it!
All the water was on the underside of the plastic vapor barrier.
Too bad the sauna wasn't in my masterbath room instead of the ceiling:o)

This is the same shot of the above picture after the rest of the wet drywall came down.
It just keeps growing!

Just another angle.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Bulge

Let's just suppose you were sitting on your living room couch snuggling with your kids. It was a peaceful relaxing moment. You happen to look up and see this huge bulge in your ceiling. Imagine with me, a generous eight foot diameter swell over your head. I can only assume at this point you would say to your husband "Honey does this look normal to you?"
Your husband would reply "No, dear I don't think so."

Then of coarse your hubby, as all men would, proceeds to push in the bulge. It would move and concern you more. You would probably with a steady pace find your phone and call your landlord. They would, like any good landlord should, come right over. He too, as a man, would have to push on the bulge. Only this time if you'll imagine with me.....his hand going through the plaster on the ceiling. Now you would have a bulging hole

You would go off to bed being told a contracter would be called in the morning...still quite uneasy about this eight foot bulging hole in your ceiling. You would probably put a bucket under the hole just in case but wouldn't think to move any stuff out of the room. Why would you need to do that?

Saturday morning comes, sleeping a bit late (because you couldn't get to sleep last night) your greeted by your new friend in the ceiling. You give in to the overwhelming demand for homemade pancakes. You happily make them for your family,watch them devour them thankfully, all the while peering over your hot cup of coffee staring down the bulge. Your husband decides to call Dan the drywall man, (names are real to show our gratitude) who happens to be seconds away from our house. You would scurry into your room to change and when you returned Dan the drywall man is standing in your living room. It might feel akin to a Star Trek moment....."Beam me up Scotty". "Did he vapourize" you would think. Not realizing at the moment how crucial his timing would turn out to be.

Then Dan would touch the ceiling as every other man in this story has, but at his touch, you hear a strange noise. You think you hear cracking and see a dark circle form in your bulging ceiling and then hear a crash. As you look down you make the connection that the plaster on your living room ceiling has just landed on your floor, couch, piano and many other furniture type items. You would be slightly shocked I would gather. Your immediate instincts would be to thank God your children were playing in their rooms and then to grab the brand new mirror over the mantle, that you just bought that week. As you are removing the mirror you would here Dan the drywall man say "Wow! Thats bad and dangerous" as he looks at wet sagging drywall. Then you would hear a cracking sound, wondering what it could be, then it hits you....almost literally, that your ceiling is coming down. It does with a loud splat! You wouldn't be able to believe your eyes.
You would immediately feel anxious and yet grateful for Dan the drywall man who knows what he's doing. As you peer up at your ceiling there are is a 4ft by 8ft rectangle missing with debris at your feet. Could this really be true, you would be thinking...did my ceiling just splat onto my floor. You would haul all your belongings including an upright 1920's piano from your living room with great haste, all the while hoping no more drywall is coming down. Then as any sane women would do, you would gather your children and leave while the men finished ripping down the rest of your living room ceiling.

This story is completely non-fiction. Suffice it to say, I've been a little distracted:o)
What is hilarious (NOT!) about all this is that we moved from our formal rental for the same problem last May. Two leaky ceilings in one year....go figure! I guess we are special.

Will follow soon with pictures and more details!

Please forgive spelling and grammer mistakes....I'm too tired to care.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Homeschool Resources and Stuff

I'm sure many of you know about Donna Young's website. It has a whole new look and I am sure new resources. It is one of my favorites and wanted to pass it on. You can print the George Washington' s Rules of Civility copywork booklet. I will be all over this once we hit American History :o)

My friend at Stepping Heavenward brought a new writing program by Susan Wise Bauer to my attention. Many people I know are looking for good writing material for the elementary grades.

I receive Jennie Fulbrights newsletter. She also has a blog. She had a great article about keeping spiritual training at the forefront of our home education and to be careful not to put so much emphasis on the academics, forgetting the core reason we have them at home. I think you can do both well, but I know my tendencies to major on the academics almost to a fault at times. Her solution of an hour of devotions wouldn't be the answer for everyone but the challenge to think through this article is well worth the time.

Academics Attack
We all desire great careers and lives for our children. Yet, if our children grew up to be doctors and lawyers but didn't have a relationship with God, a heartrending pain would surely permeate our lives. Our relationship with our adult children, even if strong, would be marked with a deep, unutterable sorrow: both for their soul and because we couldn't talk about the most important thing in our lives. Certainly they would require us to curb religious discussions if we wished to continue a good relationship. Sadly, this is the case for those I know with unbelieving adult children - children that abandoned the faith of their youth when they left home to pursue their academic endeavors. I began my homeschooling journey with a deep conviction that this was God's call upon my family. Many of you felt that same calling. As I stepped out in faith, I discovered an exciting new world: a world of curriculum, educational philosophies, supplementary activities and courses, academic endeavors, field trips, and opportunities abounding for the betterment of my little protégés. With a thrill, I realized that I really could give my children a better education! Only one major problem existed: fitting it all in. So, if we were going to do it all, we had better get on the stick!
Can you guess what fell by the wayside in our zealous efforts? Bible reading, morning devotions, deep spiritual discussions, heart training, and even our dear Lord Jesus. Sadly, I caught a terrible case of "Academics Attack", a malady that strikes many a homeschool mom. Indeed, my quest to provide my children the "best" education and the "best" enrichment resulted in an attack on our true purpose for homeschooling.
Though I believe God desires our children to do all things with excellence and to infiltrate every arena with light, including fields of study and trade, we must intentionally bear in mind our true purpose as home educators. If we are not proactive, we'll pave our homeschool highway with good intentions unfulfilled. There is a way that seems right to man, and focusing on academics and achievement would seem to provide a bright future for our offspring. Yet, in God's economy, we must continually seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things shall be added to us as well. Seek ye first.
Our first priority should be training the hearts of our children to love the Lord, to love others and to really, really know God. We should be diligent to make heart training the important first in our day - a quest we purposefully and actively pursue, rather than just waiting and hoping for teachable moments to arise. Frankly, academic or extracurricular interests can quite easily become an idol to our hearts and to the hearts of our children. We find ourselves devoted to these pursuits, dedicating most of our thoughts and attention to these things. It's quite a task to make heart training a priority, but God promises that our diligence to do so will yield tremendous results: He will take care of everything else on our behalf - He will do it. He will fulfill His promises (Psalm 138:8).
When a love for God is truly cultivated, everything else, including academics and other endeavors, will fall into place. In fact, if we neglect the spiritual training, the other pursuits won't yield the fruit that God intended.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
John 15:5
Apart from God, all our efforts come to naught. Nothing. Zip. Zero. A law degree? Maybe. But in God's eyes, it's worth nothing apart from Him. If we genuinely focus our homeschooling on spiritual training, it will produce fruit, fruit far superior to that which we could ever manufacture through our own efforts. Spiritual maturity produces academic success with less effort. Spiritual Maturity allows our students to be led by their Maker into that which they were created to be, and it's always better than what we could plan or hope for.
After a year or two of relentlessly working to provide the best education and enrichment for my children - putting spiritual maturity on the back burner, I was at the end of my rope. I found myself driving slowly by the public school. Needless to say, things were not going well. My kids were fighting constantly, no one enjoyed school - including me. I realized that all the field trips we took were just an excuse for a day off and no one learned anything, no one wanted to do their work. Each day we were frantically rushing through the school work because we usually had somewhere to be in the afternoon, and anger was the flavor of ice cream I served up on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. Yum.
Finally, in silent desperation, I did what we do when we find ourselves in a deep, dark pit: I gave up and fell on my face before God. With fresh revelation, I got up with a new plan - morning devotions instead of school. Yes, for a while we just gave it all up and only did devotions. We did them for more than an hour every day.
Within a short time, our entire family life changed. Peace reigned where chaos was once our dictator. Kindness marked our attitudes, and diligence began to sprout in my children's little hearts as they completed their assignments and did what they were asked. When I said it was time for school, I no longer heard the familiar groans. No amount of begging, pleading, rewarding, or threatening to call dad could have produced this behavior. It was the fruit of my children's renewed walk with God. Their faith grew as their prayer lives matured; they began to regularly pray on their own - in every situation, especially before subjects that were the most difficult.
There have been times over the years where we have fallen out of the routine of devotions - either we couldn't find a good devotional book to read, or we went on vacation and couldn't get back in the groove, or I just allowed busyness to distract us. Invariably, within a short time of neglect, things would begin to crumble again. Unfortunately, we simply can't coast on the manna we received last month - we'll ramble along for a bit before we begin to slide downward into another "Academics Attack."
If I could tell moms only one thing that would help their homeschooling, having regular morning devotions would be it. Truly, nothing else has blessed our homeschool experience more.
Over the next few newsletters, I'll be sharing ideas for implementing devotional times and how you can use these ideas to make your morning devotions special. Look for these tips and ideas in the articles entitled Daily Devotion Ideas.
I'll also be sharing about various devotional materials our family has enjoyed and giving "curriculum" (devotional and Bible study) reviews. Also, if you have any great devotional ideas or books you would like to pass along, please email me at

Believing God's Word for Our Children Being the primary educator for our children sometimes fills us with fear and trepidation. The enormity of that responsibility could overwhelm even the most faithful servant of the Lord. Yet, we don't have to experience fear because God has given us many promises for our children.
The question we must ask is: Do we believe God or do we believe our doubts and fears?
Let's look at some promises God has given us to stand on:
1. God thought about our children even before He created the world. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Eph 1:4
2. God knows our children and has already planned and purposed what they will do and be. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Eph 2:10
3. God has plans for our children, plans for a great and hopeful future wherein they will prosper. For I know the plans I have for your declares the Lord, plans for a hope and a future. Jer 29:11
4. God loves our children and will guide us daily as we seek to raise them in His ways.
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. Psalm 48:14
Don't let fear and doubt rob you of the peace, joy and confidence God wants you to have in your homeschooling. He has great plans for your little ones. Let us not put our faith in our fears, let us put our faith in God's truth instead!
"The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever"
Psalm 138:8

Friday, February 01, 2008

Thrift Store Find

Ridgway of Staffordshore England 1792
Country Days
I found this plate at a thrift store over two years ago. A set of three of them, unfortunately one was broken last year. I love these plates. I like it because it tells me a story. The flowery pinkish china has never appealed to me. I much prefer a darker brown, gray or black. These are nice reddish brown...not sure the picture does it justice.
I found this little bowl last week. It is of a little village in the same color and theme.
It was free because it has a chip....can't beat that!
I think I have found my new hobby:o)
I found this cup and plate set last week too. I cannot tell you how much I like this one.
The color is perfect and the detail on the saucer is just my style.
It has a Shakespeare quote on the back of the plate. And the beveled circle on the plate makes it all the more enjoyable.

" As it Fell Upon A Day In the Merry Month of May"