Sunday, January 29, 2012

They Always Know

I've told you before how Amy's first word was "chocolate".  She has not changed an iota since she was a year old. She can smell chocolate a mile away.  Her supernatural hearing can discern the sound of clandestine chocolate candy wrappers behind closed doors.  She knows how to ask direct questions to find out if I have any chocolate stashed away and makes me feel guilty for having it, unless I share. 

We went to Target after lunch today for some Tylenol, and my family was content to wait in the van for me.  As I stepped out the van door I was vocally barraged with a list of other things to pick up while I was in there -- a newspaper (for the coupons I keep forgetting to pick up each weekend), some TP, a box of tissues, some milk, etc.

As soon as I entered the store I added my own important item to that quickly fading mental list, a bag of cordial cherry M&M's, available only at Target.  The slightly obsessive thought of my M&M's instantly blocked out the rest of my list.  Now, what else did I come in here for?  I stopped for a second, retrieved the Tylenol from my good but very short memory (not difficult, considering the headache I had at the time), and went straight to the H&B section.  Next stop, Valentine candy. Only one bag, because it's not on sale yet.  I am exercising restraint. Where to now?  What was I forgetting?  I knew there was more.  I got almost to the checkout before remembering the trash bags.  Of course those are at the opposite end of the store, but walking back all that distance did not help me remember to get tissues and TP while I was back there in the paper goods section, or milk, as I passed the groceries for the third time. I checked out, deciding we can live for the rest of the month without whatever else I was supposed to pick up. 

My kind driver pulled the van pulled up to the curb and I got in.  Amy's first words, "Mom, did you get chocolate?"  I actually considered lying to my child, but, with the Lord's help, I answered honestly and deliberately, "I got trash bags and Tylenol."

"And chocolate," she says.

How does she always know?!?!

Now they ALL know.

Does sharing one's chocolate count as hospitality?  Because I read in my Bible today, Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 1 Peter 4:9.

I think I'm in trouble.

No.  Be MINE, all MINE!!!

Oh, and predictably, I forgot to get the weekly coupons.  Again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Just Because :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another First

The world's best dad handed me $20 and told me to go buy four sleds.  Are you laughing already?  I got to Wal*Mart and picked up TWO cheapo plastic sleds for $30. Isn't it ironic that the 2012 swim suits are already on the racks next to the winter coats, but the sleds aren't on sale yet?  While all the kids in town were all stuck in school, we took advantage of the nice polishing job they had done on the hill at the city park the day before.  (Another great reason to homeschool -- you get the sliding hill all to yourself!)  Alison was busy taking the GED and sadly, she missed out on most of the big event. 

Emily learned early that when you get your face full of snow, you have to just brush yourself off and keep going!

The big hike back. (There's a price to pay for so much fun!)
The parents forgot their age for a moment.
This looks like a posed photos.  Honestly, we are zoooooming past the camera!

It was such a good day that today we went back for more, and this time we brought Alie along.  Everything is so much more fun with all four sisters. :)

*Feeling a twinge of envy at that jacket in the background.  Fleet Farm didn't have THAT color when we bought jackets!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Looking Unto Jesus

The other day I decided to tackle the boxes of piano/violin/viola/ocarina/harmonica music that have been hiding behind the couch since the day we moved in.  All that stuff belongs downstairs with the piano, but there really isn't a place to store it other than in the cardboard boxes it was all moved in.  Over the weeks and months since we moved, the music has been rifled though and mixed with the contents of other boxes that have also been hiding back there, open boxes of audio recordings, new Bibles, good reads for Christians and lost people, ancient sermon notes, and an inch of dust.  The paper stuff seemed to be multiplying, and, fearing it would gradually take over this end of the house, I reached way down into my reserves of motivation and initiative.  Summoning all that was necessary to do a one-hour organizing chore, I dived in.  

And I was rewarded!  A piece of paper that had been lost between Leila Fletcher Piano Course, Level 1 (with cover missing) and Babylon Mystery Religion fluttered to the ground.  An ancient, yellowed grocery list, with a few unidentifiable phone numbers scratched in, and the word "surgery".  Something caused me to turn it over.  (Who would check the back side of a grocery list?  Why didn't I get the gene that says, "Trash.  Throw It Out?")  A sharp intake of breath.  Lo!  It was my dearly beloved, and lost (but not irreplaceable) copy of Charles Spurgeon's devotional from his Morning and Evening, "Looking unto Jesus", from Hebrews 12:2.  It is now taped inside my Bible for safe-keeping. These words on the sufficiency of Christ speaks volumes to me:

It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument-it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee.
"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name." 

Looking unto Jesus...
Hebrew 12:2

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Synesthesia Strikes Again
It is very important that we homeschoolers teach our children how to communicate.  Communication is vital  for survival in this world.  Communication involves wording your ideas in such a way that other people understand them, in addition to receiving information from other people in the way they meant for you to understand it.  Communication involves both speaking (or writing, or art, or music, etc) and listening (or watching or reading, as the case may be.)  Obviously, it really helps if both parties are literally speaking the same language.

For the most part we do very well here in the communication department.  I am especially pleased with the way our girls have learned to write, effectively putting down on paper what is in their hearts and minds. And other than Alison mumbling to herself in Hebrew, which none of the rest of us understand, I think we do pretty well with speaking.

However there is one area in which we are experiencing the big fail.  

You know how it is when you ask a woman where it hurts. She will give you a detailed description of a pain. It burns or stabs or it feels like electricity, or there's stiffness.  She will tell you where it's located -- down her upper arm or leg, behind her eyes, or just to the left of her belly button.  This type of communication is complete.  The woman explains the pain, and the listener, presumably her doctor, understands it and knows what to do about it.

With men this isn't so.  Men will just say it hurts. "Where does it hurt?"  "Moannn. I don't know, it just hurts!  Am I dying?..."  (This is sort of related to the insidious "Man Cold".)  This type of communication does not help you to know how to treat the thing that is ailing your man.  It is one-sided.  The idea is being transmitted, but it is not being received clearly.  The communication is incomplete.

And then there's my Amy and Elisabeth, who also describe their pains with incomplete communication, in colors and shapes.  How is a mother to interpret this??

"My stomach doesn't feel good.  It's a gray-blue cube."

"My chest feels funny.  It's a light brown strip, about two inches wide, with a sandpapery surface.  It runs vertically and has a light blue border."

Blue mouthwash leaves a yellowish aftertaste.

Cuts are red, bruises are yellow, and a dull ache is blue-gray.  

Elisabeth was certain that everyone "sees" their pains.  She and her sisters were flabbergasted to know that this is not so with the general population.  

So.  How do I learn THIS language?  What ever will we do when "a green and black oozing blob with knives" turns out to be acute appendicitis?  What is "dark red with silvery jagged edges"? Is that a migraine?  Truly we have a communication breakdown!

This must be another manifestation of their synesthesia.  Weird stuff, that.

Birthday Blues

Unopened gifts   :(
Thank you all for wishing our daughter a wonderful day, but Amy got a fever for her birthday!  It was a Very Sad Day.  Amy missed out on her specially requested spaghetti and meatballs supper. No one ate Amy's traditional Oreo birthday dessert. No one opened presents, not even one.  The shades stayed shut.  Sisters tip-toed around the house, and one sister even cried because Amy's special day was ruined. 

The next day we forced her to open her gifts, because if Amy couldn't celebrate, we could!  And besides, getting a can of Pringles sour cream and onion chips from your sister is bound to put a smile on your face, even if you are sick.  :)  We ate her meatballs and her birthday dessert and we had a wonderful time. :)  She still hasn't recuperated fully, but she's on the mend.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Dear Amy

Amy turns 15 today.  And what a lovely lady she is becoming!  This year found her volunteering her time weekly at the local nursing home, babysitting free of charge, and teaching piano lessons.  She is also working as a mother's helper for two different moms, and she LOVES the work!  These teen years are so fun.  I am so enjoying seeing my girls mature into wise and helpful young women.

To see the spectacular birthday of Amy's dreams, go here.  Wishing we could make it real!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lacking Nothing

Reprinting (and adapting) from our 2008 church newsletter:

Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, 
so that they lacked nothing:"
Nehemiah 9:21

The children of Israel abode in the wilderness for forty years, having nothing with them but what they brought from Egypt.  I can think of some things I would like to have along if I had to flee this prairie: my coat and mittens, and clean clothes, and food and water.  And soap, too, just in case we couldn't get any while we were running.  And money, but the children of Israel did not need money in the wilderness.  And, of course, it would be nice to have my Internet and, most especially, a good stash of chocolate!

But the children of Israel had no extras, certainly not chocolate or email.  They didn't have television or board games to occupy idle time.  No new clothes or shoes, no new dishes, no variation in their home decor.  No vacation.  No flower garden, no music collection, no pedicure.  But God's word says they lacked NOTHING!

Did you know that it is possible to have nothing and everything at the same time?  For it was the Lord Jesus Christ who sustained the children of Israel.  HE was the source and supply of their every need.  I have a feeling that if we were brought to a place where the only things we had were those that God gave us directly, we would find a new definition of the word "necessity".

How many of life's extras can you do without, and still feel like you have everything?  Is Jesus Christ everything to you?  While some women might seem to have it all, without Jesus they really have nothing at all.  He is made unto us "wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption".  In the eternal scheme of things, what more could we ask?

I thank God for making me a woman who has it all!

Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
2 Corinthians 9:15

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year

2012 began just right, with a blanket of snow!   I finally have some very contented kids in the house!  3" doesn't sound like much, but if it's enough to build a fort, it's enough.

Sadly for them, however, it is going to be 45 here Thursday.  I just don't understand it.  Everyone kept telling us how cold it is here and how were were just going to FREEZE in Minnesota... I am all for global warming if it means temperate Januaries (Januarys? January's?)  in the north country!

The 2012 bicycle race between my husband and his dad is already in full swing.  The rules are complicated; read them here.  My FIL, being 71, has a goal of riding 100,000 miles before he turns 80.  He is well on his way, with 24,000 miles since his 69th? birthday.  We heard a rumor that he is not riding at all for the next couple of days, so my competitive husband (like his dad!) will be sure to get out today for a few extra miles.  In this race which is so dependent on the weather conditions, he is already behind!

My nebulous goals for 2012:

1.  To be more gentle, especially with one particular child, this in keeping with Courtney's Gentleness Challenge.  But I need a quantitative way to measure gentleness.  Any ideas other than, "Today I will only yell THREE times"?  lol

2. More Bible!

3. To cast EVERY care on my Lord Jesus, because he cares for me.  I think one of the major reasons why so many women are on anti-depression meds is that they have never learned to PRAY.  I'm working on it! 

4. Be a better friend to my best friend, Monocogman.

5. Lose 17 lbs, one and a half pounds a month.  I can do that, right?  Anyone could do that.  Even me.

6. Read out loud more.

7. Learn how to do something.  What?

8. Keep in touch with the real people in my life.

That's enough goals for now.  Maybe I'll post an update sometime.  #1's coming along nicely. :)

Art Blog

Holiday Amigos
For those of you who homeschool or whose children enjoy art projects, the Rum River Art Center, located in Anoka, MN, now has a terrific blog. Larry Weinberg, who is a wonderful, motivating art instructor, posts a daily assignment/project, along with instructions and photos. Elisabeth and Emily and I enjoyed Larry's drawing class last fall and we plan to enroll again in the spring. Check out his blog here.

Animal Drawing: Goldfish Project
Modiglani "Bride and Groom"
Animal Drawing: Koala Bear

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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