Friday, April 29, 2005

mmm... Those Were Good...

Well the only discovery that I can admit we made today was that three females can eat an entire pan of brownies on one day, even if two of them are under four feet.

The weather kind of dictated our day today. It was a perfect February/March day, the only problem - it is almost May. So we made brownies, put up the girls' inside tent and curled up for a day watching Disney flicks. The only chore I did was turn on the full dishwasher. I have not even emptied it yet.

MB did write a note to her grandmother which we stuck in the mail. That was it.

Once the weather warmed up some we headed outside to try to burn off the chocolate. We met the neighborhood kids down the street and I watched a daring game of bicycle tag take place.

We came back home to see daddy before he headed out to clean one of the pools he takes care of in the summer. Boy was he disappointed when he saw the empty pan with crumbs, "Not even one?" We will make some more for him tomorrow.

Off to stick pork chops in the oven for DH and I.

Enjoy your evening.


Thursday, April 28, 2005

Decision Made - "Hands Off"

There are now only 9 more days of preschool. Yeah - celebrate! I will be so happy when I no longer have to deal with the morph-child that results from her preschool days.

Today I got to school early to pick her up and they were out on the playground playing so I went in to talk to her teacher for a few moments. I wanted to find out if they had been having any issues with her at school. There were only two things that were noted. First is that she is very competitive and feels a need to be the first to finish anything. The second is that is if she is corrected about anything she falls apart. I wish that I could say that these two traits were a result of preschool, but unfortunately I have to admit that these are two things that DH and I have constantly been bewildered by with MB since she was a toddler. Of course I am a little irritated that this is the first I have heard about her doing these things at school and she is almost finished. Everyday I pick her up I ask the teachers how her day was and get a smile and told that it was good. This isn't good, these are things I try to work on with MB constantly, but here I am told that it has been ongoing at school all year.

So, I have been thinking the last few days about our schedule and what we have been doing. I have also been looking at whether or not I am contributing to some of MB's behavior issues and stress. The nature kit (see below) was a wonderful success, both in the girls' enjoyment of it but also because I could sit back and really watch MB take the lead in her own learning. With the information I learned today and my observations lately I have decided to institute a hands-off approach until the end of May. I am not going to insist on Math or Phonics each day. If MB wants to do one of the lessons, we will do it. But I am not going to push it right now. I want to sit back and watch what makes her tick, see how she teaches herself. At the end of May I am going re-evaluate my approach.

I still love the classical approach. I like the trivium, I like the history and literature flow. But I don't want to stress MB out. If I can find a way to still go with the classical approach, but maybe instill a more guerrilla approach, per poppins.

I will say one thing, hearing that MB is still struggling with her competitiveness and emotions at school has reconfirmed for me the need to homeschool her. For a few years at least I can remove her from a competitive school environment and let her approach her studies in the best way for her. And hopefully over time DH and I can show her that learning isn't a competition. It's not who finishes first.

The next few weeks should be interesting. I will be writing....

Peace to all,


Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Backyard Treasures

We have had a lot of fun today with the bug nets and such in our own backyard. So much so that we blew off phonics and math today. Unfortunately for MB we have had so many cool days recently that the bug selection is not what it will be, so she really had to hunt for the bugs she found. We did manage to snag a moth today

We are saving it to show to daddy tonight then we will release it to continue eating all the other little bugs.

The other exciting find was our first snake skin of the season (Yes, we share our yard with snakes during the summer).

I am not sure exactly what kind it is, but based on the head shape I am afraid that it may be an immature copperhead. The other kind it may be is a black rat snake. DH will have to identify it when he gets home. I am okay with snakes in the yard and they really are interesting creatures to study. I am just not much on actually touching snakes.

MB, K and a neighbor spent hours today exploring our yard. MB looked for everything from insects to wildflowers. She even traveled around the yard studying the new wildflower identification book. Her grandfather, a huge wildflower buff would be so proud :).

Days like this I really understand the whole relaxed homeschooling approach. Why does it matter that MB cannot functionally read yet. She is learning and loving so many science and math topics.

We also had a lot of fun thinking of various uses for this stick:

I have been worried lately about the fact that since MB started preschool this year a lot of her creativity has been replaced with the things that her peers like (i.e. superheros). She used to come up with the most creative, descriptive stories and pictures. In the last few months her pictures and artwork have regressed to scribbles and brief descriptions of superheroes. So I have been focusing on her creativity. She found this stick in our yard and I saw her out waving it around in the air. So we had an impromptu "How many things can it be" game. This stick has many lives including a magic wand, a sword, an ant bridge, a walking stick and even a seat belt on a roller coaster.

Tonight we have to head over to a local fast food place for a fundraiser for the MB's preschool. I generally avoid these things but DH is working late tonight so I agreed to meet a friend there.

Peace to all,


Update on snakeskin: DH says it is a garter snake based on the black markings on the skin. Also he saw a garter snake in the same area of our yard that was about that size this weekend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Nature Science and other Goings-On

My children have a love for nature. A love, that I enjoy nurturing. So in that vein I spent this evening, my normal evening for attending a bible study, out shopping to create a nature science kit for the girls and I to use this summer. My intent was to collect in one bag all the necessities for examining and studying the local insects and plant life in our yard and when we go on our walks. And I give myself a thumbs up for tonight. My plan was to purchase some insect nets, collection boxes, magnifying glass, a small notebook, mechanical pencils and various identification books. At Dollar Tree, gotta love the stores where everything is $1.00, I was able to purchase 90% of the items. Granted they are plastic and if they actual survive the entire summer intact I will be amazed, but with my girls it doesn't seem to matter how much I invest and I would rather lose $1.00. After that success I decided that I couldn't call it a night so I headed on over to the bookstore to look for the identification books. Another success, although not nearly as cheap. I managed to find just about every book that was on my wish list. And, bonus, ran into the local homeschoolers group that I had lost contact with since March and had never been added to their contact list. So I was able to talk to the president for awhile and give her my information to be added to the mailing list and find out where the next park day was going to be.

I came home to find all girls in bed. Good Daddy!! So I actually get to sit and relax a little bit tonight.

MB and I have been working on this butterfly study and I believe that this is going to be our long term, summer project. When I start to think that her interest in it has waned, she suddenly comes up with more ideas. Her latest is for us to cut out a basic butterfly pattern from construction paper, but then take toothpicks and paste them down on the wings to simulate the veins that run through butterfly wings to keep them stiff. We ran out of time and energy today to get to this, but hopefully it will be our project tomorrow. It really psyches me up when she comes up with ideas like this, it reinforces that her creativity is still there even though it seems to have been missing over the last few months.

The phonics stuff is beginning to take shape. Today I experienced one of those AH-HA moments. During the lesson MB kept playing with my watch which has a stopwatch feature. After sounding out the little story one time she wanted to just be done and not do anymore. She wanted to play with my watch, basically. I asked her if she wanted me to time her to see how fast she could read the story the second time. She agreed. MB did GREAT! No stumbling, no pausing. Just read through it. This is the second time that I have noticed that when she stops thinking about the individual mechanics of reading and just reads she does great. Now I just have to convince her of that. So my job is to figure out how to best use this bit of information.

The past two days I have even managed to make a little more time for interaction with the younger girls. Things I have read about homeschooling with toddlers around say to play with them first, give them something special to do during the 'class' time for the older children. It is a wonderful idea, but in my case it it the opposite. K and little EM, so far show a much greater ability to entertain themselves than my older child, MB. So I have tried to make a point of getting MB started on some project each day that can occupy her for some time, then I can go do things with K or EM. We are not talking about large periods of time here, as their attention spans generally run 5-10 minutes. But still I am able to get down and do something with them without MB getting right in the middle of it. Even so, I have heard a couple of times "When do I get to do something with you?" Then I have to remind her that we just finished X, Y or Z together, and it has worked.

K is really starting to show an interest in her letters and we have spent some time with the magnetic letters naming and tracing them. She has also gone from reciting her numbers 1-10, to counting objects. So the more little bits of time I can have to reinforce is wonderful. MB has been helpful in showing K different things and I can truly see the possibility in the future of MB helping me teach the younger two. Today I over heard MB teaching K how to do a front somersault. It was such a sweet moment to my ears, considering how much time they do seem to spend 'poking' each other's buttons.

I am off to put together the nature kit while everyone is asleep.

Peace to all,


Sunday, April 24, 2005

A new world view and attention craving

Ahh, the world from a 2 1/2 yr olds point of view. Imagine the scene, a 3-foot tall girl climbing to the top of her slide and standing with arms stretched up, "I tall. I touch the sky."

Unfortunately that is about the best I can do today. Our household, which I must admit managed to make it through the winter sick season with no doctors visits has been laid low by this spring cold. DH, myself and little EM are admitting our illness and as such are trying to take it easy. Unfortunately, MB and K see being sick as an inconvience and as such do not slow down, but just become cranky. Hyper and cranky.

I am actually doing much better and I believe that K and EM are also on the uphill. DH and MB just started the symptoms yesterday, so they will probably be out of sorts for 3-4 more days.

MB and I took ourselves to church this morning. I wanted to go by myself and leave all the sick ones here with hubby, but MB "really" wanted to go to children's church. So we went and MB ended up in my lap for the entire service as she was suddenly too tired for children's church. It was probably for the best as we were sitting where we would have limited contact with others.

I think she probably wanted the one-on-one with mommy more than anything. This, is really hard for me to understand as she probably gets more one-on-one with me than anyone else in the family, including dh. But she constantly craves more. The other two are generally fine either way, but not MB. MB is not clingy, I have never had a problem with her not wanting to leave my side to play with other kids. But when she wants time with just me, she will do just about anything to make it happen. She is so pushy about it that I really feel a need to start putting some limits on it. I have to be able to spend time with the others without her butting in, or creating a disturbance. To be honest, I feel like I have spent a lot of her life telling her to entertain herself, trying to create activities for her to do on her own and so on, because otherwise she would be in my face constantly.

Please don't get me wrong. I love my daughter, and I love to spend time with her. In fact we spend time together in the morning fixing breakfast, we spend time together doing phonics practice and math. She gets one-on-one attention during nap time for the others. Then we always spend some time together before she goes to bed talking. But, if I try to focus on either of the other two for any length of time, she is right there. She will not entertain herself!

This is actually one of my hubby's concerns for Homeschooling. He is afraid that I will not be able to give the younger two the attention that they need also. And I have to say recently, that it is a thought that is nagging at me. What is the best way to lovingly tell your child to go find something to do for a little while? And no you may not watch TV (slackjawed on the sofa) or ride your bicycle in the street by yourself (these seem to be the two things she will ask to do, no matter how many times I say no).

Man, I really went way off into left field. I did not realize that this was bothering me to this extent. I probably screwed up somewhere early on, but I really need to find some way to deal with this personality quirk.

I am looking forward to this next week. Nothing exciting happening, but maybe that is why I am looking so forward to it.

Peace to all,


Friday, April 22, 2005

No Catchy Title

The hardest part of writing a post is trying to come up with some sort of catchy title.

The visit to urgent care last weekend for MB's head has resulted in three of us (myself, K and little EM) coming down with a nice spring cold. I gave up last night around 8:30 and crashed.

Schooling has been wonderful these last couple of days.

Wednesday, MB took a piece of candy outside to watch if the ants would find it. This was after reading "Ants Attack" a grade 1 science reader. This was really cool as it was totally child-led and implemented. Of course I was thinking that no one would ever believe that this was actually school.

Thursday we continued discussing parallel and perpendicular lines. MB really gets into the geometry aspect of math. The Kindergarten RightStart Math is really too easy for MB, especially here in the beginning. So I am mainly doing a review and then moving right into the geometry material they have in each lesson.

We also just spent some time outside just making up various games with a ball. I would make-up a game, then MB would make one up, then K and so on.

Today we breezed through the phonics lesson. Every lesson MB seems to retain more and more of the skills. Today she was able to read the entire story with no mistakes or coaching from me.

To continue with our butterfly unit we made a model of the butterfly lifecycle. This was wonderful for me today because the project took up a lot of time that I did not have to be "in action." We made the salt/flour clay dough, then she sculpted the various pieces. Then they had to bake. After that the MB and K spent a good hour plus painting their dough creations.

Here is a picture of the butterfly lifecycle. It turned out well.

We have also spent some time today playing Sight Word Bingo. MB, for the first time, wanted to actually draw and read the cards. Big step for us, voluntarily reading something that doesn't have pictures!!

Little EM, although a little snotty, has also been part of the action for us today. She is constantly trying to roll over. She gets up on her side and is content to stay there playing in that position.
I can just see her infanthood flying away!

The day has gone quickly. I must get some housework done and the girls are begging to go outside.



Wednesday, April 20, 2005

School Experience

Today MB's preschool went on a field trip to see a Kindergarten class. I thought about just keeping her home today, but MB expressed a desire to go and I thought that she should a least have a reference for what a K classroom and elementary school is like. Also, I admit it was easier since I had already scheduled EM's check-up for today.

Conversation upon picking up MB from school:

Me: "How was the trip?"

MB: "I was good, I didn't talk or run around."

Me: "Well, what did you see? What did you do?"

MB: "I don't remember."

Me: "Okay"

Later in the car....

MB: "I remember something."

Me: "Yeah, what was it?"

MB: "There is a library in the school. Isn't that neat."

Me: "That is neat."

MB: "But it isn't as big as our library."

Me: "Did the school look like fun?"

MB: "Uhn-uh." Shrugging Shoulders

So I guess I shouldn't have worried so much about her going to visit the school. It doesn't seem to have made much of an impression on her.



Monday, April 18, 2005

Beautiful Baptism

The Baptism for little EM was beautiful on Sunday. The pastor did a wonderful job acknowledging what happened and then moving on into the Sunday worship time. We had a packed house, and I really felt the love from my church family for our little EM. The family said that it was nice and I am doing my best to believe them and believe that they too enjoyed the service.

Little EM will be 4 months old tomorrow. It is hard to even imagine what our family was before she was born. She is a total gift to everyone. I admit that it also helps that of my three she is really an easy infant. She sleeps 10-11 hours straight every night. She doesn't really cry, but more fusses in order to have her wishes known. Her two favorite things are to play with MB and to 'talk' to whomever will sit and hold her and carry on a conversation. She is working on sitting up by herself and rolling over.

Here is the picture of little EM we took following the baptism.

Here is an okay shot of the family. For some reason I can never get good shots of all of us.

Of course the finale of this past week would not be complete without some crisis. While playing at grandmommy and granddaddy's house MB fell out of the tailgate of their jeep onto the driveway. She has a nasty bump on her head. We did take her to be checked out and she is fine, lucky actually. If she had to hit her head like this it was the best place.

We finished the week at a cookout for the bible study I attend. That was NICE. To actually relax and hangout. I have to say that I am glad last week is over. I know that it is making me a stronger person. But ready for a little downtime now.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming

After letting the girls sleep in a little this morning we are back to running a regular schedule. We planted the garden this morning. We will have to see how it grows. My husband selected for this years crop: Bell Peppers, Seedless Watermelons, Cucumbers, Oregano, Basil, Broccoli, and Carrots.

We have watched a children's video on the Solar System and a 'Potty Time' video for K. The big girls are outside pretending to fix their bicycles.

When K goes down for her nap we will knock out phonics and math. Then hopefully curl up for some fun reading. The weather outside is so nice it is tempting, but I think that we all need a rest time today!



Saturday, April 16, 2005

Dropped Posts and a Surreal Week

I know that it seems as I have neglected this blog. I tried on Wednesday to post two posts that were dropped, one by Blogger and one by my own inattention. Before I could get back to try again my life took on a surreal quality for the rest of the week.

Wednesday MB stayed home from preschool. The weather was cold and damp and we just all took a nice vacation from the manic outside play and home improvements. We did some school. I actually took all three children together to the library for me, a first in little EMs life. The girls were good an we found some great books which we promptly brought home and curled up on the sofa together with for a marathon read.

Unfortunately, that afternoon I received a call from our church that our beloved pastor and a friend of ours was being removed from our church. That night there was a church board meeting with the provinicial council at our church. The reasons were administrative in nature and really had nothing whatsoever to do with our functioning as a church. But we are a new church and a growing church and the removal of our pastor at this time would truly be detrimental and may possibly even mark the end of our church. To make a long, emotional story short we have managed to convince the council to reconsider their decision an hopefully we will have an answer next week.

What it has done is lit a fire under the membership of our church. We are now aware of things that we need to do better in communication and relationship building with other churches of our province. We also cannot be so self-centered any more on our particular church. Like I said we are a new church and have been concentrating on growing new members, building a building and outreach to our immediate community. We we have been lax is in outreach to other Moravian Churches and attending functions at those other churches. I don't think it has necessarily been wrong to concentrate on our church's immediate growth needs, but we forgot an important element of community within the greater Moravian church family.

I spent the entire day on Thursday at the church helping with various projects that needed to be done and also helping with all the children of all the other families that had come to lend a hand. Besides MB attending preschool we did no school on Thursday. I personally was to emotionally spent and so stressed that I could not sit still and concentrate on anything.

An additional facet to this whole thing is the little EM was scheduled for baptism this Sunday. We had scheduled it three months ago which took a lot of juggling then to get the important attendees (the godparents) to the event. The godparents are directors of the church camp and their weekends are most often extremely full of activities and often cannot get away. Just changing weeks is not a reasonable option for us. After much prayer and discussion we decided to go ahead with the baptism. My dh and I decided that we would not let our life become hostage to this decision or indecision.

Friday morning I thought everything was finally calming down. The uproar was down to a quiet murmuring and I had actually gotten sleep the night before. We began math to make up for the day we lost when I received a phone call from my FIL asking that we postpone the baptism. That it wasn't an appropriate time to hold a baptism.

I lost it. I had not cried all week. I had been angry and frustrated but had not cried. When he said that he and my MIL, and basically all of my dh's family would not be comfortable going ahead - I lost it. I hung up with him and cried. Everytime I looked at little EM I cried. I cried and I waited for dh to return my phone call.

Thankfully my husband was the one who was strong and adament about the baptism continuing. He was the one to stand up to his parents and tell them that we are going to have the baptism and we would like for them to be there, but if they couldn't we understood. At that moment I felt such love for my husband.

So we are going to have a very joyful baptism on Sunday! And it can't get here soon enough!

So that is where I have been this last week.



Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Cute Pics and other stuff

I took these pictures about a week ago and found them very endearing in a mother sort of way. We were out flying a kite and MB had come back out wearing this outfit. Two thoughts went through my mind; first was that she would make a wonderful Pippi Longstocking, and the second was that boy she is looking so grown-up. Of course, K had to have pink ribbons in her hair also.

Of course, K had to have pink ribbons in her hair also.

On other news at this moment our chimney is being stabilized and we are on the road to getting our house painted. It only took two years for it to happen :)

DH finished laying the brick patio last night and now we are waiting for some rain to help with the settling and to see where it may need to be tweaked.

Schooling yesterday was wonderful. It felt like one of those days when all of us were really on! Our math lesson took on a life of its own and we spent most of the rest of the day looking for triangles and quadralaterals. MB also sat with me while I was looking through some stuff on the net and asked for some extra work for me to print. She loves butterflies, so she has picked out a couple of projects to do on butterflies this spring and summer. I just wish that I had a sunny spot in our yard to plant thos flowers that attract butterflies. We will just have to live with examining butterflies that we see in walks around the neighborhood.

The only challenge I am having right now with K. Trying to find time to devote only to her. I don't want her to feel so much like a middle child, but it is difficult with the needs of little EM being somewhat immediate and then MB is the perfect example of an extroverted oldest child and is constantly "in your face" be with me personality. K, is to a great extent very happy to go off and play by herself, but there are times I can tell that she just wants Mommy. When I do make the time and try to go spend time with her, she tends to push me away or wander off after only a few moments.

I wonder sometimes if I am doing the right thing just to let her go be by herself, but I know that I enjoy my alone time also. So I am really challenged in finding things that motivate K, interest her and also spending some individual time with her.

All-in-all things are good right now.



Monday, April 11, 2005

Monday, already

Another beautiful weekend flew away. I was shocked from my sleep this morning to my dh's alarm. "Monday, already!"

This weekend was filled with more house stuff, lots of play outside and dh starting his weekend work, which will last thru the summer.

Our house, being what it is (a late '60s ranch) is not really worthy of much monetary investment. But to me it is our HOME and not just any house. Unfortunately before we can get to the fun redecorating that needs to be done we have had to deal with some fundamental, foundation issues. The good news on that ended up being that we just need the chimney stabilized instead of the entire foundation being reworked. The fear of the 20K-30K foundation work was leading dh to begin figuring how much we would lose by selling the house an returning to apartment living. Once the chimney is stabilized we should get rid of the water drainage issue into our crawlspace.

The floorbracing issue we were worried about was also good news in that if dh wants to tackle it, it is something he can do (he has done it before). Otherwise the cost was not prohibitive.

YEAH - Our home is not going to fall down around our ears.

While all that was being worked out we almost finished our brick patio off the front porch. We have one more row of pavers to lay. We would have finished it Saturday night, but when dh went back to the home improvement store they were out of paver sand!! I guess we were not the only ones in the area to get this idea.

What he did pick up at the store were some baby pepper plants and seeds for the garden. I really had not given much thought to doing the garden this year. Since we had been going back and forth about the house and with Little EM, I didn't know if I wanted to tackle one this year. But, I guess we are. On Sunday I raked the debris away and turned over the soil. I need to pick up another 3 bags of soil and some fertilizer. It just feels so late getting the garden started this year.

In the Spring, Summer and early Fall dh is able to pick up some extra work on weekends. It started this weekend. He doesn't know how much longer he will continue to do this, but this year with all the home improvements he figures that we need it to pay for those. The first few weekends are always a shock to our family's system. MB and K wonder why their daddy isn't home on the weekends, and myself I look forward to an extra adult around here a couple of days a week. Our whole schedule ends up shifting this time of year.

A neighbor passed down a tricycle to K this weekend. We spent some time with K trying to teach her how to pedal. It was very sweet watching MB try to show K and talk her into pedaling. MB is a little mommy and really gets a kick out of caring for and teaching her little sisters. K did not really get it this weekend, but it will come.

Today is the last nice day we are to have all week. I figure we will knock out our schoolwork today and go to the park. I need to run some errands too.

Peace to all


Thursday, April 07, 2005

On the Uphill

Things are improving for me. I have prayed and talked to my bible study mentors about my struggle. I have also had a conversation with the other person involved and feel guardedly hopeful. The other person is willing to make some changes and try harder. But there are some fundamental issues involved that I am worried may take a while, if ever to change. I am going to put my hope in Jesus for a change of heart in this. Thank you all for being in this cyberspace.

On the homeschool front, things have been clicking along. With the warm weather, we have been experiencing a lot of hands-on, impromptu learning which is always fun. Since the only things I am focused on this Spring are Phonics, Reading and Math practice, it is fairly easy to get those knocked out and just have fun.

With K I have been focusing on trying to spend more time one-on-one with her. I have been trying to distinguish her motivations for behavior and learning. Trying to discover what kind of makes her tick. Now that she is 2 1/2, her personality is developing and there has to be something that will tell me the best approach. To be honest this is much harder than it was with MB. So far I have not found that magic thing. She always was one that I had a hard time distracting when she was little, and now I found I have a hard time motivating her. Otherwise we are just playing and trying to pick up the 'basics.' Things like appropriate behavior in different situations and the ABC's and counting to 10.

Little EM is going on 4 months an is 'huge' for one of my children. Everyday she is getting stronger. Her head is very stable for her age and she is constantly trying to pull herself into a sitting position when we hold her, even if she can't hold it for very long. I think that she is a lot like MB in personality. She craves eye contact and conversation. She is also extremely active in play and really tries to get her arms and legs under her during 'tummy time.' MB walked at 8 months and was a lot like this at 3-4 months.

That is what is happening right now.

Peace to all,


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

A personal journey

The following post is PG for adult issues.

I have been inspired by Kathy over at Our Life to write a little

about my journey to faith. This has also been reinforced by things

that are going on right now that are making me think about my life and

the journey I have been on.

I believe that I have always been searching for God in my life. The

Father that will love you no matter what.

As a child my family attended church, but that was all. It might have

been the church that meet my family needs, but it didn't fit for me. I

didn't get it there an since I wasn't getting it at home, I wasn't

getting it. This has lead me as an adult to truth #1 - Coming to faith

is like educating a child, one size does not fit all.In teaching

children about faith and God it is probably more productive for the

family to do it, than to depend upon some church (even if it is an

absolutely wonderful church).

As a young child, about MB's age, I already felt distant and really

unattached to the people around me. But also as a young child I needed

someone who would want to be around me, who liked me. And like any 5

yr old I was a people pleaser. This of course left me open to some bad

things to happen in my life over the next few years.

I was also a questioning child, and found it very hard to take things

at face value. When one explains how God's love is a father's love to

a child who has really never felt like she had a father's encompassing

love, it won't get through.

At 11 I was allowed to make the choice to

not attend church anymore. I didn't know what God's love felt like,

therefore I didn't feel it.I also already felt like a sinner, but not

sorry about it, so obviously I could never have God's love.

For a hundred reasons, I began to act out in so many self-hating ways

- drinking, drugs, relationships. (Yes, at 11). And so would go my

teen years. I hated myself, my family, school, God and church (as in

the larger christian church).

I managed to hold it together long enough to get into college and move

away from my family. But within the first year of school I had a major

breakdown and drinking binge. This lead me to be introduced to a

therapist who really began my journey out of the darkness. Shortly

before college I had begun self-mutilating my body by making razor

cuts on my arms and legs. This activity, along with my drinking and

drug induced blackouts concerned the therapist so much that she went

to the point of having me commit myself to a mental health hospital.

Although it really took me another year to achieve any lasting

sobriety, I eventually hooked on to a 12-step program. It was through

this that I began to learn about God and reach out to Him again.

During my very last binge, I also learned that He had never let me go

and was ready for me when I could give up the alcohol that was taking

His place in my life.

I meet my wonderful husband, who had a church that he attended

somewhat regularly and had grown up in. But I think it took him three

years to get me to attend with him. I was sober but still somewhat

miserable in my life.

We married in the church, and when we had MB we had her baptized in

the church, but I had never joined the church. It was having MB

baptized that led me to determine that I needed something more. I need

to find out what God meant to me. So I went through joining the church,

and meet the new assistant pastor and his wife that had been brought

in to help create a new church that was needed in the area. I felt a

draw to the to of them but did not know why.

At church one day I happened to spy the therapist that had set me on

my way back to health. She was the mother of the asst. pastor's wife.

This was to me a statement from God affirming that He had never

forgotten me and that He had always had a path for me.

I joined a small group bible study, started keeping my journal

regularly again and praying. I finally got down on my knees and asked

God for forgiveness for all the wrongs I had done. The spiritual

growth began.

Every day since I can feel the growth happening. I can tell that I am

coming closer to being the woman God wants me to be. Because of my

personal experiences, I know that God has a path for me, one that I

can choose or not choose. I also know that He speaks to me, in so many

ways throughout the day.


I write this today because I am really struggling with anger I am

feeling towards someone very close to me. I have given up asking that

the anger be removed, but instead that it become a "working anger" one

that will move us toward whatever God wants us to do.

It is also an anger that brings up a lot of my insecurities and

issues. I am struggling with not stuffing my anger down and moving on,

but instead confronting in a loving way. God will give me the

strength, but I have to take the step.

Peace to all,


Monday, April 04, 2005

Ahhh Warmth

We are back from our weekend away. It was a wonderful trip and great to get away for a long weekend.

We went up to the northern North Carolina mountains where my in-laws have a summer home and stayed with them so that we could attend my bil's birthday celebration. I packed for the forecasted weather of mid '50's. I should know better. On the way up the mountains we were greeted with cloud formations like this...

which I thought were odd enough that pictures needed to be taken.

By the time we reached their house which is at about 3500' we were in the clouds and the temperature had dropped 20 degrees. That night we stayed in the clouds, which became so thick that one time I stepped out and became so disoriented that i began to feel the affects of vertigo. I could not see three feet in front of me.

The next morning it began to snow.

Let me pause here and let you know that I had packed for the girls and I long sleeve shirts, jeans, a zip-up sweater and a raincoat. No heavy, expecting to go play in the snow type of clothes.

When it began to snow, the wind began to blow at about 50-60 mph. Thankfully the snow did not begin to stick until late in the afternoon, mainly because the snow was flying sideways instead of coming straight down. But it was brutal outside.

Saturday night we had to go down the mountain to the town nearby for the party. Which was so wonderful that I cannot do it credit here. My BIL is the director for our church camp. He and my SIL have always been very involved in church, music and theater. (A little history: When my BIL and SIL both turned 40 they and their friends began holding big celebrations for that birthday and would pass on the "Cane of Aging" which would be signed and held on to until the next one in the group turned 40. Now that group is basically turning 50 - so what would they do this time).

The held a "Reaffirmation of Aging" Celebration, which was a parody on the Moravian church service "Reaffirmation of Faith." We had hymns, which were played by the church brass band and had the words rewritten to reflect the night. Then a rewritten liturgy was performed and even the minister of our local church, (also one fo the group of friends) stood and offered a 'sermon.' Then the "Reaffirmation of Aging" was held. The night was hilarious and I really cannot do it justice in words. But there is nothing like having a birthday party overtaken by a bunch of creative, artistic and musically inclined people.

After the party we had to go back up the mountain to get 'home.' While we had been enjoying ourselves, the snaow had been piling in ernest. We managed to get up the steep drive to the house (barely) in our mini-van, although I am not sure about our transmission now. Then we watched my FIL and MIL struggle up in their 4-wheel drive Jeep. They almost did not make it and dh and I were getting ready to head out with the snow shovels to clear the drive so that they could get traction, when with a roar they managed to pull in.

The next morning we woke up to beautiful skies an howling winds (even stronger than the night before).

Since this was the most snow my girls had seen all winter I did let them go out to play in it without the appropriate attire. Every few minutes one of them would run back in turning blue and shaking, she would warm up and run back out. This continued for several hours.

The weekend was relaxing and with grandmommy around I did get to relax some and just do some reading, but let me tell you that I was glad to get off that mountain an come back to where Spring is in bloom. Today we are expecting temps in the mid-70's and I plan on enjoying it (between loads of laundry, errand running, phone calls to make and school). Ahh vacation - it is so relaxing :)


A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.