Friday, November 14, 2008

Bailout Please, If You Don't Mind.

The Discovery
I've come to a brand new understanding and the prospects of it are so exciting. I will explain. As I was growing up my parents had times of financial comfort and many more times of financial hardship. I learned from them that if one spends more than they earn, life can get very uncomfortable. I learned that when times are lean you eat a lot of potato soup and turkey legs, you doctor yourself at home when you are sick, and you can keep warm gathered around a kerosene space heater. So in following my parents misguided example we have avoided the overuse of credit cards, we drive a paid-for-less-than-perfect car (yes, you read right I said car!), we have set a precedence with our children that a few gifts are a joy and a pile of gifts are overwhelming and excessive. We have unnecessarily lived under the bondage of responsible spending and careful living. What liberation we are finding in our new discovery!

The Plan
Matt and I have signed up for a new, higher limit credit card(maybe two). We are excited about the prospect of buying many many Christmas gifts for friends and family this year. We are currently shopping for a brand new SUV, even thinking about a Hummer, just cuz driving a Hummer would be SO cool! My wardrobe has really been pathetic since the boys were born so no more Walmart and thrift stores for me. It is only the finest department stores and boutiques from now on. After all you get what you pay for...or shall I say, I get what you pay for?

The Solution
The first place I planned on getting our I mean bailout from(for we surely will need one after implementing our new plan)was the federal government, but I quickly realized the chances were slim. The government just bailed out the banks and will probably soon be bailing out the auto industry. Then this morning I heard on the radio (don't worry, the big flat screen blue ray TV is on order) that several large US cities are requesting bailouts as well. I knew even the govenment may run out of bailouts before they got to us. That's where you come in. If each of my blog readers would send us just $100. per month we could maintain our new lifestyle. Really it isn't much of a sacrifice on your part to ensure our financial liberty. After all, how could we possibly wear $200. tennis shoes, drive a hummer and pay our mortgage without your help? So please keep those cards, letters, checks, and money orders coming this way. I can even set up a paypal account if that would be more convenient for you. Thanks in advance for helping us live the American Dream.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Josiah and David

Since Josiah is not the "exhibitionist" his brother is I don't have opportunity to post video of him as often as I do of Micah. However, I know there are family members out there who would like to hear from Siah too. So I asked Josiah to play a few of his violin songs for Nanny(don't worry, I won't post them all). Enjoy Mom!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Of Entrepreneurers, Miss Austen, and Salsa

What is a mother to do? I do so long to encourage creativity, perseverance, and entrepreneurealship in my offspring, but alas where does one draw the line? Our boys have oft times come to the door with one scheme or another on how to build a machine, earn money, or trap an animal. I find myself saying again and again, "Actually guys that won't work because......." I grow tired of being the discourager of their far-fetched dreams. So I try to encourage and think of ways to make their schemes reality...when I can. But before you judge me too harshly let me share a few of the schemes I've had to decline.

The boys came to the door the other day and asked for two bedrooms, two beds and an organ. They were building the Swiss Family Robinson's tree house and needed these items. I logically told them that it was impossible to send out such large items. Micah replied, "Okay, we'll just take the Clavanova."

Just a few days ago Micah opened the door and asked for money. I asked why they needed money. Micah replied that they were going exploring and needed funding. I declined the request and he promptly said, "OK, but we won't be able to discover gold and bring it home to you." None-the-less I am NOT Queen Isabella and they can fund their own excursions. This leads to my present quandary. They took me at my word and decided to earn money on their own. They promptly went to the woods, collected fallen branches and set up a table at the end of our driveway so they could sell their "firewood". The real dilemma is that our drive is off of a private drive, the only people who drive by the "wood stand" are our neighbors and their friends. Our boys stand at the side of the driveway and flag these dear people down and then sell "firewood" at the insane price of $1.00 a piece. They've made $4.50 so far. The $.50 was from a dear neighbor who didn't have a full dollar with him and begged to get a small piece of wood for half-price. We've told the boys they may not "hit up" the same person twice, but I still question whether we should let them "hit up" anyone at all. Then again, they are working to collect the wood and becoming quite the little salesmen. Then again, our dear neighbors are buying goods they need not, simply out of compassion. These photos are of our friend Joy. She kindly came by Saturday and bought 2 pieces of wood.

Well the DQ club is still in full swing. We read Pilgrims Progress this summer, but were too busy to actually meet and discuss it. We are currently reading Gulliver's Travels. This is an interesting book full of political satire. In fact, it confirms my belief that we can learn a lot from history. If one did not know that this book was written in 1726 one could oft times easily believe they were reading a political analysis of our current political condition here in the US. While Gulliver has been MUCH easier to read then DQ, I am looking forward to moving on. Miss Austen's Pride and Prejudice is next. I had a credit on my account, so I uploaded the unabridged version of Pride and Prejudice. I have never read Austen as I assumed she only wrote romance and as this is not my favorite genre of literature I was not interested. After listening to the book, I am a confirmed Austen fan. The story line is gripping, the historical content and cultural information is fascinating and the language is inspiring. The movie does NOT do the book justice. So run out and get a copy of Pride and Prejudice, it's worth the read.
Many irons have been in the fire around here of late, thus the lack of attention to my blog. With Fall here, life is slowing just a bit. Several weeks ago my Mom visited and helped me "put up" several quarts of tomatoes and corn, make salsa, freeze green beans and she also made two batches of strawberry jam. Yummo! It was so wonderful to have Mom here. She is truly a dear friend. Added to that she was a ready and willing built-in babysitter and kept the wash machine humming and the laundry folded. Boy do I miss her. :)

This photo is of Mom and the boys shucking corn.

Tonight at church we start practice for our annual Christmas Drama. This year we separated into two groups as we have close to 25 children/young people participating. We like to be sure everyone has a part and finding a script with 25 characters is difficult to say the least. Becca and I are directing the older kids drama and are excited about the fun of working with them. They are such talented young people and are all such a joy to be with. We are doing the play, "Christmas Comes to Detroit Louie". I know in 1990 the HS Academy did this play. If any of you who participated in that have an extra copy of the video sitting around that I could borrow or if you want to make a copy I'd be glad to pay for it. I think it would be really helpful to have our kids watch it.
Well, Josiah is done with handwriting and Math and as these are the only subjects I can give him to do without my assistance I must needs fly.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bedtime Song

Micah wanted to sing me a bedtime song tonight, I was so entertained I asked him if he would sing it again so I could video it. I thought the sage advice he gives in the song are words to live by. Enjoy and sleep tight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's True!

I've heard it said that if one works too hard and doesn't sleep enough or eat the right

foods it can actually speed the aging process. It has been at least 10 years since I had a

photo taken of myself. So I thought for the sake of my kiddos and history I'd run

down to Olan Mills and have a picture taken. When I got the pictures back all I could

hear in my head was, "Pictures never lie!" I knew I had been busy, but this photo was

a real wake up call for me.

I'm slowing down!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Myriad of Thoughts

So is your summer as busy as mine? I'm sure it is. I've had so many, "Oh, I need to blog about that moments", but sad to say there has been no time to flesh any of those things out. I will give you a brief run down and perhaps you can wander into the world of those ideas without me as your guide. (trust me, you'll be better off for it. ;))

1) A few weeks ago on Wednesday night we did a word study on Worship. Really interesting considering the current hysteria with all things "worship". The most common usage in the NT really conveys a attitude of contrite prostration, a total submission of ones will to another. Hmm, seems that worship should go beyond a liturgy, praise bands or even a Sunday morning service. Really thought provoking fcr me anyway.

2) I just downloaded an audio book to my MP3 that has been great. It is entitled, DO HARD THINGS, by Alex and Brett Harris. It really is technically a book for teens. So why is this 30-something reading it? Well, one Sunday Night a month at our church we all take turns leading the service(this is nice for variety and gives our working pastor a break too). Anyway, I ran across this book and the corresponding website online( The topic fascinated me and has challenged me too. It would be a GREAT read for any young person you know, in fact, I wish I had read it 20 years ago. I think it will help me be a better parent as well. Perhaps after camp I can give you all a little book report. But for now...

3) Speaking of Camp. Our Church Camp starts this Friday. I'm looking forward to it, but my kids are ecstatic! I remember loving campmeeting as a kid. Sure I heard some of the wackiest sermons in my life at Campmeetings, but the fellowship was sweet and I did gain a tender heart toward the things of God. Our camp is good in that we really are wacky evangelist free(well, except that one year Tarrra y D-riko came). If I were an artist I'd draw a little "No Wacky Evangelist" sign and put it up here for you. TEE HEE HEE!

4) As most of you know, the boys and I started to study history this past school year. My eyes have been opened to the significant role history plays in the decisions we make today in so many areas. I know we've all heard that "nothing is new under the sun", but even problems akin to our current political struggles have been faced and handled. The problem is our politicians and certainly the common public haven't read much about history and certainly feel qualified to have opinions without the historical knowledge to form a balanced opinion. In fact, Susan Wise-Bauer has said(my paraphrase here) that our children have been encouraged so much to have opinions and develope "creatively" before they have the back ground knowledge from which to form educated ideas. Therefore, we end up with adults who form their opinions and even beliefs based on how they feel and not from a true understanding of the topic at hand. And so we stumble ignorantly back into the same blunders again and again. At the Home School Convention I attended this year Jim Weiss told a story about Vice-President Truman. He was the last president in US History to not complete college, he came from very humble beginnings, and yet he led America through some of her darkest times after the death of President Roosevelt. After his Truman's presidency he was interviewed and the question was asked how he made his decisions even though he didn't have all the advantages of his predecessor. He took the interviewer over to his library. He pulled out a book and said, "This here book was written 2000 years ago by a Greek feller named Pluto. And this book is full of stories about Greek and Roman leaders of the ancient world. So when I ran into a problem I didn't know how to handle I'd take down this book and I'd read to see how those fellers handled things. If there was someone I needed on my side I'd come to this book and pretty soon I'd find someone in here like the person I needed on my side. Then I'd do what they'd do and 99 times out of 100 it would be the right answer. You see Son Human nature doesn't change." This inspires me to continue to learn and to pass on to my children the value of knowing where we come from and how to learn from those who came before us.

5) I was mowing the other day thinking about the way God sees fit to provide for us. I grew up hearing stories of miraculous ways God answers prayer. How folks would pray for healing or sell all they had in "faith" and then blamo, God would give them a better job or a million dollar check would show up in the mail or they never felt sick again. Now before I start sounding too cynical, please don't misunderstand. I trust God, I have no doubt that He is more than able to do these things. My question is, does He always or even mostly? I'm sure there are cases where God has miraculously provided for the physical needs of his children without any effort on their part, but is that how He usually works? It has been my experience that when a need arises, I without fail talk to my Father about it. I trust Him to help us. Then guess what? We work. And you know what? We are thankful for the work. I've been mowing a lot this summer and it's been nice. While I would prefer to stay home and care for the needs at home full-time, I'm also thankful for work that doesn't take me away from my kiddos all day everyday. I'm thankful for a flexible schedule. I'm thankful to be able to help supply the needs of my family. I'm also thankful for the unexpected joys too. While I mow I have a lot of time to think, to pray and to listen to uplifting music and books. This is such a precious treasure for a mother of little ones. I often think of you while I'm mowing and pray for you. I think about how I can be a better friend and ask our Father to help me with that. So for those of you out there who don't get the "easy answers" from God that we've come to expect, try to see the joy in where you are. See the blessing in how He has chosen to provide for you. Think of our brothers and sisters who have it so much worse than we do. And remember that God is concerned with our souls and eternal destiny, perhaps the difficulty you are facing is what will help conform you into His image. Perhaps it is your difficulty that will help you to show his love to someone else in trying times. And so go out today my friend, knowing that this week as I mow I will mention you to our Father and I will be thanking Him for so many blessings.

6) Another topic that has been wallering around in my mind is the idea of how powerful influence is in determining where we end up in life. This was another topic of discussion at a Wednesday night service and I wish so badly I could just play back the whole discussion for you. It wasn't all brand new information for me, but it defiantly helped me organize and solidify some basic beliefs. I can't communicate it all in this space, but here is a basic "jist" for you. Our actions are a result of our values. So,what determines our values? Our values are determined by what we allow to influence us, be it people, media or ideas. This is pretty basic and in some ways a no-brainer. However, so often we unknowingly develope a value system based on influences we are not aware are having such an impact on our lives and especially the lives of our children. I see this so keenly with my own little ones. While I have years of experience and information that have formed solid beliefs, my kiddos don't have that yet. And if they are exposed to influences that I easily reject, they are probably not filtering the influence in the same way I am. This helps me to vigilantly guard the influences that my little ones are exposed to and to help them filter the ones that they have no choice but be exposed to. Why? Because these influences will help shape their values and in turn their actions. In the same way positive influences are powerful and I diligently seek these out so that they are exposed to the positive shaping these can bring. This is truly a simplification of where the discussion went and where my brain has been. But like I said, perhaps it will spark your mind to explore the idea on your own.

7) I'll end today with a disclaimer. I was looking back over my old posts and saw a comment that was written for my close girlfriends who know me well. However, I remembered that not everyone who reads my blog may know me well. As I know I can't possibly cover every misunderstanding, I do want to correct anything that may communicate a world view that I do know share. I posted a few pictures of my boys. and I said that I posted them because I was a "proud momma". Let me clarify that I believe it futile to be "proud" of my children simply for how they look. Since I really had no control over what DNA strands may have combined to produce the children I have. I am proud of my boys when they make wise choices or go above and beyond what I've asked of them, but that is a whole different situation than being proud of something that takes no effort on the part of an individual. I use phrases like, "A proud Momma" or "You done good" very lightly and my close friends would understand that. It does not however, reflect my true understanding of what one should gain pride or identity.

So there you have it, in a nut shell that's what has been on my brain. ( A nut shell is more than adequate space for my brain.) Blessings on you all today.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Days

I've been working my brain lately on a couple of topics we have studied in church lately. I'm not quite ready to blog anything on my thoughts, I'm just too short on time to do that. I will, however, leave you with a few more photos of the last few days.

July 4th was a rainy day. We had plenty of outdoor projects needing to be accomplished, but alas Mother Nature had other plans. However, there is ALWAYS the pressing need to fold laundry around here(Tara you know my weakness). We are trying to teach the boys different chores around the house this often takes more time, but hopefully will pay off in the end....

July 5th Keith, Rachel, Matt and I hosted a July 4th Celebration, complete with fire works ala "Super Keith", for our church family ".

This week is going to be busier still. Yesterday Rachel and I did some landscape work up at our church camp. Today "Lil Guy" came to visit and the boys have been having a wonderful time. Our neighbors are finally home from their vacation and the girls came down to take the boys berry picking. These two young ladies have no idea what a break they give this Momma when they come over to "play" with the boys. They are so gracious! Combined the kiddos all picked enough berries to make a pie! Micah is looking distressed because he cut his finger in the woods while picking berries.

I hope you have a lovely week enjoying the beautiful warm summer weather.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Happy Independance Day!

I know, I know, I haven't blogged in forever. I really do miss you all, but you know how it goes. Busy, busy, busy. This summer I am mowing for 3 hours about two days a week, I help a friend out in her office one afternoon a week and sometimes if it's crazy busy at the rocking chair plant I go help out there. So you add a couple boys and a house to that mix and presto, you don't blog. I will be back though, I do so miss staying in better contact with you. Until it slows a bit I will leave you with these pictures that my dear friend Lora took of the boys. Why? Well, cuz I'm a proud Momma, that's why. :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Meet the Presidents

It has been a very busy summer, thus explaining my absence from the blog world. Lots of mowing, lots of chair building, lots of running in general. We are now in the midst of trying to prepare our back yard for a bigger pool this year. And so the "To Do" list never ends. I'm not complaining, I know this is the phase we are in at this point in our lives. Find me a 30-something aged couple(especially with kiddos) and I'll show you a couple of insanely busy folks. Someday when the boys are gone and our landscape is done and our house is clean, we'll look at each other and say, "I wonder if the kids need help with their yards?" I know we will miss the constant questions about some new creature they have found and brought to the door for inspection.

Speaking of creatures, I am officially calling this the "Summer of Creatures". I have unsuspectingly answered the door to find the following creatures in the hands of a boy..... a dead rabbit, turtles, spiders, worms, ants, and I'm sure there have been more I just can't recall. I started washing out peanut butter jars and leaving them in the garage for our explorers to place their charges. We also decided after several creatures into the summer that we should start naming our creatures after the presidents(this is a tricky way to teach your kids). So without further ado, I introduce to you.....(drum roll please...)

GEORGE WASHINGTON(btw, that's Matt's boot, so the spider is covering that much area on an adult male's boot!)


Thursday, June 5, 2008

Photo Journal Part 2

OK, where were we? Oh yes, we were at Disney World on Tuesday. On Wednesday we went down to the Treasure Coast. We met Harold, Kayla, Landon, and Dillan at MFI and got a tour of the facilities. MFI and the work the Martin's do there is so practical and yet really is a part of reaching the world for Jesus. If you don't already support Harold and Kayla on a monthly basis I would encourage you to do so.(Pardon the shameless plug for my friends.) After our tour we all went to lunch at a delicious little Mom and Pop place called the Red Barn. They serve the best fresh squeezed OJ you've ever tasted. We then headed on down to HS and the boys spent the afternoon splashing together in the pool. Later Kayla invited her parents, Gay, and Vernon's over for a cookout. It was so good to be with so many dear friends. I don't have many pictures from Wednesday because my camera is very willful and so was in a mood. grrr. Kayla and I on the back porch of her beautiful new home.

Matt and our boys checking out the cockpit of the DC4 Harold flies.

On Thursday we went back to Central Florida and spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool.

Well, some of us relaxed!

Now you know why I love this man so much!

So much like his mother.

The rest of our time in Florida was spent with Family.

My brother Larry's family at Steven's graduation party.

Micah and Maria.

Carl and Tamme with Steven at his Graduation Party on Saturday.

Carl's Family at Steven's Graduation last Sunday.

A very proud Aunt!

Well that's it. I hope you enjoyed a photo journal of our vacation. We send our best wishes for a blessed summer to you and your families.