Thursday, October 18, 2012

Art Day 1

Amy, Betz, Emily, our neighbor girl, Winter, and I had our first of three days of Barry Stebbing's art instruction (How Great Thou Art) this morning. Wow! That guy has every detail figured out. We had a class of about 80, ages 5 and up.  It was amazing. And fast!!!  It was over before we knew it. The pace was so quick that we had no time to compare our own work to others' who were sitting at our table -- I think Mr. Stebbing planned that to help us all keep a good attitude. Comparison is the enemy of contentment, you know, and there's nothing like looking at someone else's talent to make you feel like you have none. We blended colored pencils, mixed paint, drew lines, shaded, played with perspectives and backgrounds, and learned about some of the classics.  All in 2 1/2 hours!

Tonight's homework (yes, homework!) was to draw and color an apple with colored pencil, a penciled self-portrait, an exercise in contrast, and a pen drawing of a scene from the Bible. It's a good thing I had already planned to take these days off school. Here are a couple of our homework assignments, minus Amy's. Amy has been busy editing photos, and she will have homework to do tonight! 

It will be fun to see what great arteests we are after three days!
Charlie Contrast singing in the shower

Betz's apple

Betz's self portrait

Peter and Andrew at work

Mom's apple

Emily's self portrait

Peter finds a coin in a fish's mouth
More artsy posts to come.

Friday, October 5, 2012

My poor, neglected blahg.  (I'd better not ever get a puppy...)

In the recent life of the Diamonds in the Rough family:

Yesterday was Alison's 18th birthday. I am both rejoicing and mourning! But mostly rejoicing. We are blessed beyond blessed to have an adult (eek!) daughter whose heart is attuned to the Lord and who sparkles inside and out. A woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised, Proverbs 31:30. This year Alison has come out of her shell and become much more outgoing, confident, and comfortable with herself. I feel very humble (and relieved and thankful) to see what God can do with a child who has a less-than-perfect mother. And I am very much looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in her future (all except the part about her leaving home someday!) Alie is still playing violin, teaching lessons, cleaning house for a friend, and working at Culvers four days a week. Add to that the music ministry of our little church, and time spent distributing church flyers. That Culvers job has been great experience for her, and we are thankful for this opportunity. She just loves her job and her co-workers and her work environment. Having so many nice people working all in one place has been a blessing to her (and to her parents), but then, it should be no surprise -- this is Minnesota, where everyone is "Minnesota nice".  :)  The one downside of Alison working is that she can't be involved in many of our home and family activities, and we miss her. She misses us, too! That is the perfect lesson for a young woman. If you are going to work outside the home, there are some important things you will not be able to do!

Sara, unedited
Amy spent an afternoon taking photos of her friend for portrait practice. They turned out gorgeous! Of course it helps a lot that her subject loves having her photo taken and has a beautiful, natural smile.  Fortunately they kept this appointment on one of the very last brilliantly colorful -- and warm -- days of fall. Today the wind is howling and all the beautiful reds and oranges are now on the ground rather than in the trees. Someday our resident photographer will have a business. She just needs a bit of business confidence, and a new laptop for editing photos, which she ordered today with her hard-earned babysitting/shopping-assistant/photo-editor money. In case you are wondering when Amy has time to do school, that is a good question.  Lately she has been squeezing a week's worth of math, English, science, vocab, Bible, and social studies into the weekends.

Elisabeth (Betz) started piano lessons about a month ago, as a birthday gift to her Daddy. This is huge! Betz has resisted music lessons her entire childhood, but she has made big strides already, and I am so pleased with her personal victory in this endeavor. Music lessons are very hard on perfectionists, but good for them, I think. There is such a thing as "good enough".  Betz is still volunteering at the nursing home and enjoying the company of the old folks, as well as babysitting regularly and writing when she can find the time. She has grown up so much this year and has become a fun and happy young lady.

Emily will be nine next week. When I started blogging she was three! I am finding it difficult to wrap my head around that fact. She is still a little girl in so many ways, but she is maturing so much! She and Alison have worked out a point system for dessert. They each reward themselves with one point every time they complete a half hour of music practice (and for Emily, each time she washes the dishes). Ten points buys a dessert. It's sooo hard, but Emily has stuck with it. Good for her! (I need to put myself on their plan!)  She has been working on her birthday list for the past 355 days, as well as her birthday menu. :)

Tuesday we had a sizable grass fire right near our house. There was no reason to fear, since God was right there, his wind blowing the fire to the only area where there were NO HOMES... But still, we began packing up a few things that would not be replaceable, just in case the fire should get out of hand and we would be evacuated.  It made me realize just how unprepared I am for such an emergency! I went to bed wondering if the fire had been started by vandals who might come back at night to finish the job... and four of us dreamed of fire that night.  After driving by the burn area and smelling blackened marshmallows, I decided it was not arson, but possibly stupidity...?

Later this month three of the girls and I will be taking Barry Stebbing's How Great Thou Art three-day art class.  I am excited, not only for the art instruction, but also to meet other homeschoolers from the area and to see others whom we have not seen in a while. Just as we seem to get a routine going, we do something like this and destroy the routine, but for us, this is what life is made of!  As for the rest of school, Apologia is the big winner this year, having converted Amy from a science-hater to a science-lover. :)  (Yayayay!) Ed. Correction: Amy does not love science; she only likes Apologia.  We are now doing both Saxon and Teaching Textbooks math, each being a good fit for two different kids. Vocabulary Cartoons is boosting our use of the American language, and ACE mostly fills in the rest. After reading PlainJane's very informative and complete posts on compiling a high school transcript (Part I, Part II) I am thinking I would be wise to attempt to put something together for Alison, just in case.  I'd have been wiser yet to keep track of everything while she was still in school, which I must do now for the other girls.

Church: Our little church plant is not an event, but a process, and that's where we are. In the process. We'd love it if we could start a church with seasoned, mature Christians who know their Bibles and who are committed to a local church, but the scriptural pattern is for churches to be started with NEW Christians who know nothing but Christ crucified and risen again. Yes, a process!  A church plant can't help being missions oriented, because it IS a mission. A dear friend sent me a link to a blog written by a church-planter's wife, and there is a ton there for me to learn.

Misc: I am miles behind in my correspondence. A dear friend was advised by doctors to say goodbye to her teenage son three weeks ago, but still he lives and is growing stronger. Praise God for answered prayer. I met a man last week who says that while he believes he will go to heaven, he can not say why, and that bothers him. He does not understand the new birth, why it must take place at a given time. The Lord gave me a wonderful opportunity to witness to him. We have made some new homeschooling friends, and found some new music for the girls to sing at church. No, we did NOT watch the debate. I think Romney will win, only because we are given no alternative. And that's pathetic. I have been taking notes with my Bible reading lately, having some questions answered and asking others. Also reading a devotional book that has given me some good food for thought.

But as my little devotional book reminded me this week, God knows my future and has the entire thing, completely known to him, in his hands.  He dispenses it to me one moment, one day at a time, and that is all I need to know or handle right now. Nothing that comes to pass in my future will be a surprise to him. For that I am grateful.  God is good and nothing but.

I wish all you friends out there a warm and wonderful autumn.

Til the next time I feel inspired to post ~

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