Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Just a Treat

30 years ago today I missed Halloween. I had the candy ready to hand out and we had pumpkins carved but our first daughter Kirsten, decided to be born and everything was forgotten.

I was thinking about that day and realized that her birth had been the catalyst of so much of what my life is now. I never much liked kids while growing up. Baby-sitting for me was purely a money making activity but not anything I really enjoyed. When my husband asked me to marry him I said "yes" with the caveat that he didn't expect me to have any children. Four years later on Halloween they placed Kirsten in my arms. I don't know any other single time in my life that I felt such complete joy! From that moment to this day, God has placed a love for children in me that I can't explain.
Kirsten has opened my heart more each day of her life. Even now I see her now giving up things that I don't know if I could, to go on the mission field in Africa.

Today is Halloween and we can't be with her and her family to celebrate....and I know she would about LOVE this cool fall weather right now! (What's it like 102 in Chad today?)
Happy Birthday Kirsten Jan and thank you for being my pumpkin.

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Birthdays and Anniversarys

Yesterday was a day of celebration.

Our granddaughter Aysha turned one and our marriage turned 34.
Aysha is a delight and we all adore her. She's smart and wonderful and full of life.

Our marriage has always been the best thing about me.

Watching the family yesterday, all together, laughing and loving each other, I realized that God had taken two ordinary people, and brought them together to do a job.
I could tell you how kind James is (and he really is) and how well we get along (we do!!) but the best part of "us" is the work He chose us to do. Every grandchild gives me a glimpse into God's plan for our families to pass the "Good News" of a Savior to each generation.
Happy Birthday Aysha! I love you James forever.
Click here to see the rest of Aysha's birthday pictures.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Wait, Let Me Get My Apron On!

It's back to the grocery store again today because it's time to think about dinner and I haven't bought anything to make it with. How can that be possible when I, or someone from this family has walked through the Wal-Mart doors at least once, often more, each day this week? It's not because I'm saving so much money each time I go. I've had carts loaded down with all the stuff that a large family needs but I somehow missed the meals. There was a ton of toiletry and paper goods and many many boxes of cereal and cat food and lunch snacks and laundry detergent and a crib sheet and a new moisturiser, but nothing that you could dump together in a pan and call everyone to sit down and eat. I didn't make a menu for the week. I hate making menus because I can't think of anything new to make and if I did, well I really wouldn't want to cook it anyway which is probably the real reason there are no dinner ingredients at all. I've looked at the Every Day with Rachel Ray magazine and everything looks so yummy. I read the recipes and dream about someone coming over and cooking it all for me.
Looks like another pot-luck night!

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Parenting Tips for Teens

Just recently I was congratulating myself on some small but significant successes both as mom and teacher. Grace and Anna Claire had shown progress in things we had been working on forever.

Grace has bilateral hearing loss which translates to her as "I have to wear a stupid hearing aid in both ears. The audiologist forms a soft mold that fits in her ears and the mechanical parts sits outside and behind each one. When Grace was younger she thought the hearing aids were cool and ordered her molds in hot pink and white swirls. Now at 14 she's going for a more sophisticated look. All of this is to explain why for the past few years we've had an on going battle with her to wear them. The more she wears them, the more sounds she hears and the clearer she speaks.

Another totally unrelated area that we've been struggling with is the girls willingness to work at school subjects that are difficult for them. Learning doesn't come easy for either one of them and I haven't been able to make them understand that working hard can overcome a lot of the problem.

For the past few months Grace has had her hearing aids on every single time I see her. I couldn't believe it. When I asked her what prompted this sudden change she explained that Anna Claire had told her that her speech was sounding much clearer when she wore them. (Wow, like that was some new revelation.) Also, the girls have been studying like crazy and they've been getting 100's - even on their science tests. I was happy with all this and feeling like all the nagging, I mean encouraging had paid off. Then the girls shared the truth with me.

I teach a science class for homeschoolers every year. This year we have 17 kids and 6 of them happen to be boys that are between the age of 14 and 17. That was the catalyst for all this positive change.
So, I'll put away the rough draft of my book entitled, "How to Motivate Your Child to Become All They Can Be" and leave it to the age old process....Girls like boys and boys like girls, girls want to impress boys.....

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Log In My Eye

This past week in our very excellent Veritas Press Bible class we were reading about the fruits of the spirit and decided to look at them up close. The first fruit we looked at was gentleness. The definition we came up with was - being calm, not wild or harsh or stern or rough or abrasive or caustic. To be soothing and tender to others.
The first few days I watched everyone and noted when they were not being gentle. I really wanted to point it out to them it was so obvious. Then about day three I was disciplining one of my kids and I just didn't think they were getting my point. I had to make them understand what they were doing wrong so I spoke a little louder and made my point in a way that they could see what I meant and how I felt about it and basically implied that what they were doing was going to ruin their life forever. It was something like forgetting to feed the cat. I was harsh and stern and oh yes- rough and caustic. There wasn't a tender word in the whole exchange. Seems the fruit had fallen right off my tree. I was seein
g the grapes in everyone else's eye and missed the watermelon in mine.
Also this week each of our girls received a gift of a book cover and apparently only one of them knew how to use it appropriately.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Off to School

This week, our now 3 year old, started preschool for kids with special needs. We were nervous as he can be a little.....unpredictable. We dressed him up in his cutest clothes, oohed and ahhed over him and sent him on his way. He was excited about the whole thing and so were we.
This morning as we home schooled, it was eerie. It was quiet. We could concentrate. Nobody was climbing on anything they weren't supposed to and it was WONDERFUL! He came home happy and tired and we were refreshed. This is going to work out well!

Saturday, 13 October 2007

2 Times the Fun

Haven't been able to blog the last few days. Our almost two year old granddaughter, Layla, has come to stay with us for six days while her parents have gone on a business trip. (I'm hoping for a new grandchild out of the deal.) Layla has teamed up with our two year old, taken the house over and left us very tired but happy by the end of each day. I'm sure Layla is delighted that her grandparents have toys and diapers and strollers in stock and an "uncle" to play with. We may be very old parents of a toddler but we're so very young grandparents . I think someone spiked the babies' apple juice today as there was a four in a row disgusting diaper thing going on with both of them but everything else was just peachy. Gotta go sleep before they wake up!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Is the Earth Off Course or Something?

All day I've been in a really bad mood. I don't know why.
Tonight, when my children spoke to me, I had this urge to plug my ears and yell, "Be quiet". I kept a nice mom look on my face but I was ugly inside.

Someone was eating popcorn on the couch with me and they were taking a hand full and holding it against their mouth and gnawing it. I could feel my hands wanting to wrap around their neck.

Some of the people in my family made me mad when I just looked at them.

I think it's because Fall has let me down so completely. It's been 90 degrees in West Virginia for the past two weeks. It's cooler in Florida than here. That's so wrong. I love hot in the summer but this is ridiculously past summer. I want to wear pants and stop shaving my legs. I'm sick of under arm wetness. I want to wear sweaters and not flip flops.

So basically I'm in a bad season mood. Is there such a thing?

Monday, 8 October 2007

A Little Respite

This weekend my husband and I slipped away alone to Gettysburg, thanks to our daughter Lane who not only happens to be a great sister and everyone was thrilled to have her here, but she's also a renal nurse and could do Grace's dialysis! (God was probably going...."This is going to be so perfect!", when he brought Lane into our family years ago.)
We stayed in the Gettysburg Hotel on the main square downtown across from a room where Lincoln stayed and right around the corner from the train station where he arrived at to give the Gettysburg address.

Touring the battlefields was sobering, realizing how many thousands of young men died and the impact those battles had on forming our country as it is today.
We had quiet time to talk, some wonderful meals, long walks - we hiked up to a water fall and best of all......H.G.T.V. in our room!!
The perfect weekend!

Friday, 5 October 2007

Hugs for the McKenzies

This evening after dropping the girls off at cheerleading I met my daughter Kara and her husband Nate and my youngest grandaughter Scarlett at Walmart. They were passing through town and so we shopped together for an hour or so. As I held Scarlett I couldn't help but miss my other 5 grandkids who are about to leave France and move to Africa. I want to hold them too. Please pray for them as they make their final preperations. Here's my son-in-laws most recent update.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Sugar and spice and a tongue like a knife

We have a "force" in our family. They are our dear 14 and one 15. They're the best of friends and rarely do anything without the other close by. They can be thoughtful and sweet, lots of fun unless they gang up on someone. And lately their 17 year old brother Steven has been their hapless victim. If he utters a single word, both of them roll their eyes and look at him as if he just came off the bottom of someones' shoe. They obviously find him to be beneath themselves in every area. He looks, acts, speaks and even chews wrong. It's been getting out of hand. I've spoken to them about how unkind they're being, we've looked up verses about being loving and humble; there's been some small attempts to correct their attitudes but mostly they're just nasty to him. Tonight at dinner one of them answered Steven with a look of pure disgust. Their father at that very moment decided that he needed to step in and help with this problem. The offending daughter was sent to her room for the night, no movie with the family, no Youth Group. I won't say which girl it was but I will say that Grace should be done with her 9 hours of dialysis much earlier than usual tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

And for my next trick....

Our two year old has been learning new things in leaps and bounds. Just a little over a month ago when he came to live with us he didn't do much more than lay on the floor rocking his head back and forth. Our family in just being itself is apparently very stimulating for the little guy and he's decided to get up and join in the ruckus. This week he's added "the slide" to his favorite things. He's still a little cautious but he's letting go!