Friday, July 24, 2009

Happy Friday!

I have no plans this weekend...besides church, a little cleaning, and hopefully, some scrapping...and that makes me very happy! I'm a homebody, so every weekend that we're gone running, I feel like I never really had a "weekend". Anyway, that's just me...

When I wrote last, I commented that I was worried and stressed. Well, God spoke to me on Thursday morning, and I thought I'd share...

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you." Isaiah 43:2


"But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

As a Christian, I know that life is not promised to be easy. But no matter how bad it gets, I just need to trust in Jesus. I know that. I just need to remember it, and live it. It certainly helps when he gives me little reminders. :)

I started a new "morning time God-time book" this morning... "The Life You've Always Wanted" by John Ortberg. If the first chapter is any indication, it should be good. Just a taste... a quote by Soren Kierkegaard... "Now, with God's help, I shall become myself." When I look back to how much I've changed,, actually, in everything... I realize it's part of the metamorphosis one experiences when they give their lives to God.

In reading the book of Ruth for my Bible study group, a question touched on the divine providence of God...His guidance that keeps us on His path. When I thought about it, I could cleary see how He's taken care of me, and guided me. For example, here's one connection:

1. I was saved...born again in Christ.
2. I made the decision to homeschool...the first decision I made prayerfully, with God.
3. Erin was diagnosed with diabetes. I don't know how I could have handled this trama without God in my life. And I couldn't imagine sending her to school afterwards...
4. Because of homeschooling and the time spent with my kids, I was able to see the physical, mental & emotional problems Alana was having. This, along with my focus on my kids health (brought on by the diabetes) I read tons, researching possible causes and treatments (God blessed me with a love of reading, and a passion for convenient!)
5. When Alana was diagnosed with asthma and prescribed an unending cycle of drugs, I knew from my research that there were better answers and solutions to be had. This knowledge led me back to the Bean Lady (the nutritionist that helped Barry with his inflamation a couple of years ago...another link in my chain).
6. Our new diet helped Alana drastically and immediately (without drugs), helped me to lose weight and become healthier, and has given us an additional way to help Erin.
7. Throughout all of this, I've learned that I am powerless in this life, and that I can only succeed through the Lord. It has created in me a passion to know my Savior and to follow His path for me.

Sorry to bore you with all this. It just does me good to lay it all out in writing. And maybe my experience and testimony can be a light to others.

What else am I reading? My bedtime reading is another Lauraine Snelling series, The Return to Red River... a series about Norwegian immigrants in South Dakota during the 1890's. This week I began reading Little Women to the girls (believe it or not, I've never read it!) and they keep referencing Pilgrim's Progress, which I've also not read yet. The girls agreed that we should read PP so that we can understand the references in LW, so we started a simplified version this am.

And here are a couple of very recent, and one older...that I did for my friend Jenn's etsy shop. I couldn't remember if I posted the Halloween one yet or not? Anyway, have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Busy Weekend = More Pictures

Let's see...I'm trying to remember back to the weekend. Thursday afternoon I treated the girls to a trip to the pool. There were no other friends there, so they were stuck with each other...which was a good thing. Trouble comes when there's a "third wheel" and one of them feels left out. But they had a great time...and mama had some quiet reading time! :) The weather was perfect...sunny, warm, but dry.

Friday the boys went fishing and the girls and I went grocery shopping (I totally got the short straw on that one!) Saturday we had the girls t-ball tournament. It was COLD! Well, for July anyway! The girls played really well, and thankfully, their team won their third, and last, game. I think they both had a fun time, and we made it home in time for lunch. (Meals on the run get a little tricky when you're dealing with diabetes AND a special family diet).

Sunday, we were back to warmer weather. After church, we were back to the ball field for the church softball tournament. Luckily, they had enough players so I didn't have to play. :) And I had friends to chat with...while the girls had friends to play with. Our team did very well....we won our 1st, 3rd, and 4th games (our 2 losses were to the same team). Barry was injured in the 4th game....the first baseman missed a throw and the ball hit him in the calf, putting him out for the rest of the day. Tony played very well and had a great time, too. We were very tired by 6pm, to say the least!

We've been unschooling since last week. It's pretty much gone the way I figured it would...besides doing devotions first thing...and them reading 30-60 minutes in the afternoon...they haven't done anything really. Of course, we've watched a dvd on ancient Roman cites, the normal Animal Planet and Discovery shows, and played the new games I picked up on Friday, Boggle (my favorite!) and Scrabble Slam. The problem is that kids usually need time to decompress and get bored before they really dive into independent learning. Surprisingly, Barry is totally on board with this! I'm shocked. I asked him to read a book on unschooling for his thoughts, and apparently, he thinks it could work. He worries about math, though, which I do, too. However, today I found a program/website called "Living Math". It sounds like it's right up Alana's alley.
I'm currently working on deciding what curriculum to order for the coming year. I'm eclectic in that I order different from different companies and programs for each subject. And, like most homeschoolers, I'm always searching for the "perfect curriculum". It's sad that I can't trust myself to lead them on my own. I'm working on it. And driving myself nuts....
Kinda cranky today. My Bible study was canceled, so there goes my much-needed fellowship time. And the state of the nation/government is truly testing my faith. I worry. A lot. I'm learning to hand them over to the Lord. But I fail. A lot. At times I feel like we're being "handed over to Babylon" as punishment for our country forgetting & defying God. And at other times I feel as though we're entering the end times. My friend Martha reminds me, "Jesus is comin', Missy. Jesus is coming!" I know he is, and I know where my eternal home is. But until that time comes, I have children to protect. So, I worry. And then I pray. A lot.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Photos galore!

Like many bloggers, I feel like a post just isn't a post without at least one picture. That's actually what keeps me, many times, from posting...I don't have a picture ready to go along with it...or I'm too lazy to download and upload. :) But that's not the case today! I'm loaded!

Ok, first, we bought a "new" van this weekend. We had gone to EC shopping on Friday, and I told Barry we could stop and look at some vans. We've wanted a van again for awhile. But I really wanted a Honda or Toyota, cuz they're always ranked #1 and #2 and apparently are very reliable. I was raised to buy used, and pay it off. If Barry had his way, we'd lease a new one...but that's another story! We had convinced ourselves that we couldn't afford a Toyota or Honda, because in order to get it into "my" price range, it would have a LOT more miles on it than Barry was willing to accept. So, we were planning on looking at other makes.

Well, we ended up at the Honda dealership, where we drove two vans...a 2000 Honda Odyssey with 182k miles, and a 2002 with 203k on it. The 2002 was cheaper at $5500 because of the miles (well within and below our budget). After thinking on it overnight, reading reviews, etc., we decided to go back Sat am for the 2002. Yes, it's a lot of miles. But, supposedly, the Hondas go 300-400k, and we don't put many miles on our vehicles. Besides, at that price, we're still ahead of the game. So, we now are happy van owners again! The kids are THRILLED...they have space to spread out, they have plenty of cupholders, they think the automatic side doors are "awesome", and they have their own REAR AIR CONDITIONING!!! Yeah!!! So, here's the new member of our family...

Today starts a homeschooling experiment. We're going to try "unschooling"...otherwise known as "child-led learning". After doing mucho research, I've come to peace with a trial period. Basically, the idea behind unschooling is that the kids decide when and what they want to learn, instead of being "spoon-fed" what some bureaucrat says they should know at what time. Theoretically, everyone, especially kids, have a natural-born curiosity and desire to learn what they want to know. Even though my heart agrees with this thought process, my mind is still "school-trained", hence the trial period. :) Alana has been showing unschooling tendancies for some time. She LOVES animals, wants to be a vet, and really wants to have a farm! So, when she decides she wants goats, for example, she'll read about them. In the picture below, she's looking on to find a puppy...then uses the map of Wisc to see if the town the dog is in is close enough to go look at. That's unschooling.

Yes, I'm a bit petrified. So, I've installed certain rules. No more tv than they've watched before. They must read an hour a day...30 minutes of non-fiction, and 30 of their choice. And they need to keep a daily journal. And we keep morning Bible devotions as before. Math worries me more than that may go back to being "regulated". Part of my support for this idea comes from our lifestyle. My kids live a very controlled life currently. They are with me 24/7. They are told when and what to eat...way beyond the limits of "normal" Americans. I feel like they should have some kind of control or choice put back into their own hands...before they burn out or rebel. Besides, if I'm going to try an experiment like this, I should do it when they're this young, so that they don't lose too much ground. And, it IS summer afterall...this could be considered their summer vacation.

This is a picture I snapped of Alana last night at soccer. I think she's beautiful....
Speaking of was Erin's last game last night. Her team did not win a game. Poor thing. That's tough for Erin to take, too. Unlike Alana, who's laid back, Erin is VERY competitive and serious about sports. Last year her soccer team won every game. But, I think it's good for her to learn how to lose...and besides having a few episodes of "I made the team lose!", she handled it very well. Here are a few highlights from the season...

By the way....she's SO fun to watch. And she grunts when she kicks the ball (totally reminds me of Serena & Venus playing tennis...I love it!)

And it was extra fun this year because her best friend, Claire, was on her team...and her dad, our friend, Corey, was the coach...seen here doing a very important equipment adjustment! :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Already half-way gone????

Summer I mean. Wow. Actually, I'm kind of glad. You see, around here, we're pretty used to moving at our own pace. So June has been a bit crazy for us with swimming lessons, church softball, t-ball, and soccer. Swimming lessons are done, t-ball will be done on July 18, church softball on July 19, and soccer next week. :)

We enjoyed a mini-vacation at my parents' this past weekend. Friday we spent in the boats fishing, swimming, reading, etc. We even enjoyed a little picinic (and some shade) at a little park on the lake.

We always have a camp fire there and roast marshmallows and make smores. Mmmmm, smores. Of course, this year, they were NOT on the menu. So, I wracked my brain for something yummy to replace them...just to give the girls a bit of "fun eats". I came up with roasting little weinies...and it was a HUGE hit. :)

We also had fun with a new bean bag throw entertainment. As usual, Cassie ran/explored/played herself into exhaustion....

Saturday morning, Erin went fishing with the boys, while Alana, Grandma and I visited a craft fair and book sale in Balsam Lake (which is also where we go for fireworks). Mom and I both came home with a wooden to come soon...while Alana stocked up on trinkets for her and Erin. Saturday afternoon, I walked the girls across the highway to the winery (yes, a whinery in small town Wisconsin) to watch a polo match. (Obviously, my first ever.) :) It was interesting...enough so that Erin decided she definately wanted riding lessons. Anything to compete! Alana just wanted to buy the horses that were for sale.
Saturday night we journeyed back to Balsam Lake for the fireworks. I believe the last time we were there, it rained and we watched, disappointed, from the truck. And the time before that, Erin started screaming immediately after they we watched them while making a hasty exit back to the car. (sigh) But this year we made it through its entirety...and the mosquitos weren't even bad! (For once!)

Here are a couple of recent layouts I did for my friend Jenn's etsy store...her blog is here She makes the coolest journaling spots for use on cards and layouts! She's mega talented!

I've been debating and praying about venturing onto etsy to sell my cards online. It probably isn't that big of a deal to most people, but to me, it is. Firstly, I don't wanted to get sucked/trapped into spending too much time with the causes me to neglect my greater family and school. Second, it would mean totally putting myself out there, risking failure. I don't like failure. At all. Third, I'm working really hard to live my life according to God's plan. His way is perfect, afterall. I still haven't received a clear answer, so I'll keep praying. In the meantime, I've been creating cards. Below are from a couple of card packs I made up. You can see the entire sets from my other blog

Well, gotta end here. It's lunch time...and I haven't started it yet! T-ball after that...hopefully a nap for mama....and then I meet with my Bible study group again this evening. Yeah! Tonites topic: Miriam.
Have a great week!