Saturday, 21 November 2015

Boys not Girls

  There was a time when my little homeschool consisted of all girls. It was a sweet time.  We talked about the characters in our favorite books and how they really felt.  Every missionary story ended in tears...actually only I cried.  We read poetry and worked on lovely crafts. It was all happiness and sunshine and I felt I had control.
  That was then. Now my days consist of teaching a large pack  of boys. I have one daughter still here, but she is deft at escaping. I don't fault her for that, it's called survival. Their eyes glaze over when we read poetry; they twist their bodies into strange shapes when I read to them. They assume that the only feelings that book characters have are the urges to wrestle and punch, which is their deepest desires. Now my want to cry comes only from the varied and numerous smells they emit. I KNOW I don't have control.
  As a good teacher I realized that our curriculum might need a little tweak - or a shove.  
  Now, we shoot rubber bands at targets on the wall to decide who goes first.  Our journal topics consist of superheroes and gross bodily stuff.  Science has moved from the book to outside, encompassing anything that pops, fizzes and bangs. This week we spent a long time mixing vinegar, baking soda in ever increasing amounts to see just how big an explosion we could generate. 
What did we learn?  A little about acids and bases and lots about why learning isn't terrible. 

Friday, 16 October 2015

Jesus Like a Cigarette

  I recently began thinking about this when my son prayed for about the millionth time, "Jesus, please help us have a lovely day." There's nothing actually wrong with the prayer and goodness knows I love lovely days, but that's all he prays. 

Like ever. 

Upon further questioning he revealed that our family prayer time in the morning was the in-total of his conversations with Jesus. Okay. That's not good.  So what should this talking with Jesus look like? And then it came to me....

It should be like a cigarette.

I don't smoke....anymore.  I haven't actually had one since Grace's adoption day - 20 some years ago, but I remember it all. If you've never smoked you'll just have to take my word on this. And if you do smoke, you should quit but not till you're done reading this.

First thing in the morning. You MUST have a cigarette.  It's been all night with no nicotine. It starts the day off right and makes your breath smell so great when mixed with that first cup of coffee. 

Within seconds of waking I realize that the day ahead will bring people and problems and I already feel tired. Whisper to Jesus, "Help me get through this day, doing what you need me to do."

Right before you start a big project you light one up and think through your plan. Smoking gives you that little break time to figure things out.

A friend has sent me a message on facebook and wants my advise on something she's dealing with and I have no idea what to tell her "Jesus, what should I say that would help?"  I listen with my heart and begin to type.

When you're stressed-mad-hurt and ready to explode, you light a cigarette and it calms you down. Although cigarettes kill people, I believe there are an equal number of people who are still alive because of the a fore mentioned soothing properties of smoking.

I am so sick of explaining how to add fractions to them again for the hundredth time and  they're not even listening and I'm so mad.  They'll never get this and they have a bad attitude! I should just walk out and slam the door. "Jesus, I really- really am done with this. Can you give me patience with them one more time?  Can you help me not injure any of my kids?" (slight exaggeration)

And then there's all the in between times. When you sit back and relax and just enjoy life for a few minutes.  That's one of the best smokes of the day.

"Thanks Jesus for letting me survive this day.  This really is a beautiful place you let me live in and thanks for my family and  their strange little lovable quirks and for someone inviting us over for dinner (this is my story and I can add that in too) and for loving me again."

Smoking is bad but Jesus is a glorious addiction!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Mountain Top

Recently we purchased some acreage in the middle of no-man's land, top of a mountain, West Virginia where the kids could run and explore and shoot guns and ride 4-wheelers and not mess anything up. There is an old, old, very yucky house on the land and we decided to strip it back to the stud walls and start it over.  Friends came up a couple of weekends ago and helped us work.  It was awful - not the friends, they were amazing. Shoveling insulation from the walls and ceiling into a giant the rain. We were tired and sore by the end, but the work is bearable when you walk the woods and see the stream meandering along its path.
 I have visions of the boys off on their adventures and I'm in a hammock in the shade reading book after book after book.
Thanks Buster and Frank for all your help!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

God Speaks in the Garden

For the third summer in a row, we've planted our couple of tomato plants close to the back door for easy picking.  Easy for us and harder for the deer.
Each morning for most of the summer I've walked out and God would say "Here's your one beautiful big tomato for your egg sandwich today." There is nothing like slicing a tomato and eating it while it still thinks it's on the vine.
Some days God would say, "Here's your tomato and another for your mom and dad".  It was all really wonderful.

Then a few days ago I went out and He said, "SALSA." 

There were tomatoes everywhere!  You can't ignore 30 tomatoes sitting on your counter no matter how hard you try. We picked all the jalapenos and I got to work canning. The salsa is delicious although the onions and peppers give it and your breath a kick!

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

I'm Sure I Am

Do you know the moment when you realize that you might have a compulsion or two or three......? 

Maybe you've eaten cheese puffs for lunch every day for years weeks and the orange finger tips and smears on your book pages don't bother you any more.  

Maybe you have five unopened packs of black- already sharpened- Ticonderoga-the best pencil in the world, hidden in your desk.  And you want more.

What if your collection of "I've been there magnets" has outgrown every metal surface in your kitchen?

Or you might have stacks of 4 x 6  unruled index cards       (not 3 x 5 ruled-NO!) near you at all times so that you can write grocery lists and assignments and math/science cards and labels. 

That might all be weird. 

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Harvest Time

 Harvesting the fruit trees is my signal that summer is on its last legs and fall is creeping in. (The other sign is that the kids refuse to go swimming. You can't keep them out of the pool in April, but by August they act like I'm asking them to go into a vat of acid.)

The kids got to climb our incredibly tall pear trees which made me more than a bit apprehensive. 

I think pruning their height for next year might be advantageous to life and limb and prevent my having a heart attack.

Elijah took the top and handed down to Emma while the three littles held the ladder down. To make the entire event even more dangerous, the ground slopes away in the orchard and the ladder wasn't touching the ground on the high side.

 We ended up with a couple of baskets full of pears - most with some blemishes. 

I hauled out the canner and we now have some caramelized pear butter to try later. Side note...I thought these jars were strange but some how appealing. 

Monday, 10 August 2015

Love that Lets Go

  About once a year, we get together with three of our boy's birth mom and their little sister.  She lives a fair distance away, but I promised her a long time ago that she would always be part of their lives.  Patty made the decision to let the boys grow up with us and I am always amazed and thankful for her unselfish decision. Life is still hard for her but she loves her boys completely.

  After lunch we headed to the park and the kids got to play and visit and catch their mom up on their lives. We headed home with bags of goodies and sweet memories. 

She's a hero kind of 
mom to me.