Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Here are some comical attempts at trying to get pictures of Ty's FPEA Graduation experience.
All the boys were told to wait in this room. We're not sure if Ty's in here or not. The girls were in a different room.

Some Mom snuck in there. Let him go, Mom . . . . let him go. . . .

This was the "line" the Family was asked to stand in. The doors to the ceremony are actually to the right. We were surprised that no one in Orlando, the line capital of the world, knew how to use velvet ropes to make orderly lines for a crowd! Tyler's friends came! Jeremy has some problem with his tongue, as you'll see in later pictures.

Ok, we're safely inside and seated! This is as close as we could get to the grads walking down the center aisle. See the banner? Fortunately, they had a camera and huge screens showing the grads during the processional.

At this point, the camera became useless. Tyler was on the END, in the BACK, and not 50 feet from us, but we could not get ONE DECENT PICTURE of him! I had Zach and Stephen getting up from their seats (a big no-no according to the parent meeting), running up to an empty seat that was closer to Ty, trying to take his picture. As you can see above and below, all in vain.
Finally, we resorted to getting pictures AFTER the graduation. You can tell by our expressions that we're extremely tired and hungry at this point! It's 10:30, we haven't had dinner, and we're not sure where we're eating yet. We still need to catch the shuttle bus back to our cars!

There's Jeremy's tongue problem again.

All in all, it was an experience. He seemed pretty happy about the whole graduating thing!
I love how Glenna's peeking around her brother on this one. She was/is SO proud of him! She beamed the whole evening.


I keep dreaming of our upcoming vacation. I can't wait to get away! I can't tell you how welcome this break will be. Here's a picture of the cabin we'll be staying in. We'll be in the one on the left, and the Scarboroughs will be in the one on the right. The Lieberts will be right down the hill.

For years we've camped together every July 4th at Fort Wilderness, Disney. We'd haul all our camping equipment (which grew into a larger and larger pile every year) and sweat it out. It was actually a lot of fun; riding bikes around the Disney property, swimming, fireworks, etc. Two years ago, however, we'd all had enough.

Last year, we went to Ashville, NC and stayed in KOA Kabins. This year, we've decided to see what Tennessee is like! Poor Kelly gets to drive up to Tennessee and back with us, then up and back with the youth group a week later. It will be her "summer in the car" experience!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Home School Convention

Well! Another home school convention is under my belt! As predicted (and hoped!) I have come away renewed, recharged, and convicted. I AM doing this because I feel God has called me to home school my children. He WILL NOT expect me to do it without His help!

One of the major "jewels" I came away with (and the strongest conviction) was that I have lost sight of my original goals for home schooling. I brought my children home to school because I wanted to start our day with the Lord and point them to Him all day. I wanted them to love learning. I wanted them to receive an excellent, one on one education.

We've had some great experiences over the years, but the minute I joined an umbrella school for record keeping, it was no longer about learning but about GRADES. Granted, high schoolers need grades, but Kelly and Glenna certainly didn't! I became the Mom who ranted, "Finish the book! Finish the book!" instead of taking the time to LEARN the material. This is so hard to admit!

Since Glenna will only be in 6th grade, I can still get away with not giving letter grades to her. She will get a "P" for Pass or a "N" for Needs Improvement. That's it.

Kelly will still have to get letter grades, but it will rightfully be on the work she has accomplished, NOT the work I have planned by the minute and maybe she didn't get to!

The students in my class, however, will get letter grades. ;-) Or maybe they won't, if they're not in high school! High schoolers will get the worst of me when they don't turn in assignments on time. [heh heh]

Coming soon: blurry pictures of Ty's FPEA graduation ceremony!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Price of Disorganization

Today, I'm cleaning out "that pantry." How many times have I walked past "that pantry" and pledged to clean it? It's in the same area as our washer and dryer, so it had begun to spill over into the laundry area, which made it difficult to get near the washer. I found myself leaning way over to put clothes in or to switch the laundry. How frustrating! How silly to continue that way.

I have prided myself on my care of the family food budget, and thus is the key to my downfall: pride. I've discovered today that I'm not as careful with our budget as I thought! My cheeks were burning as I thought of tribal missionaries carefully counting each item to make sure they had everything they needed until the next plane drop. I thought of my grandparents living in the coal mining camps of New Mexico, waiting for their water and coal to be delivered by wagon. Don't get me started on the relatives who lived through the Depression!

I have THREE same-sized bottles of white vinegar. I have FOUR bags of lentils, and I rarely make anythiing with lentils since they're not John's favorite. THREE bags of black beans sit next to the container of white, powdery substance (is it flour? Is it pancake mix?). I KNEW I had a jar of Dijon mustard; I KNEW it, but I couldn't see it, so I bought more. RATS!

The buck stops here, and I take full responsibility. I would dearly love to blame the kids because they put the groceries away and toss things willy-nilly, but it's my responsibility to train them and follow up on their work.

I will also take another look at my spending habits at Costco. Do I actually have room for those bulk items? Do I NEED to have three gallons of bleach at one time? Am I hording, and not trusting God to supply my needs? I'll admit, this is a long habit from the days of John's self-employment. We never knew when we would be paid, so I would buy when I could and stock up. This is no longer the case.

How much of it is laziness and not wanting to go to the store when I need something? This comes from having to cart young children to the store with me. This is no longer the case. Granted, I certainly don't want to get into the habit of running to the store for every little thing, either. There must be a balance somewhere.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Two-fer

I know I already posted one blog today, but here's another.

We are finishing our 9th year of home school this month! Ty wants to move on, and here he has THREE celebrations of his graduation. One for our church seniors, one for State Home School graduates, and one for our umbrella school. Man! I wish we had all just taken the month off. He seriously is only going through with everything for me. Nice kid.

At the end of each year, I take a few minutes to ponder the "regrets" of things I didn't get to, the celebration of our accomplishments, and the resolution to "do things differently" next year! My sincere hope is that our school room will be finished by the time school starts next year, so there will be less mess in our home and I'll have everything in one place.

*[School room update: the part needed for the nail gun finally came in the mail, and John's putting it in right now!]

I'll miss Tyler, but I certainly won't miss having to home school him. We would get along so GREAT during the summer, then struggle the rest of the year. This year was our best year yet with his efforts and attitude, for which I am so grateful.

I hope to focus more on Glenna. Kelly's such a great self-starter and I never have to worry about her finishing school, while my sweet Glenna is the one I have to constantly pull out of the tree or dirt and call her back to task. We had one glorious semester where she would do all her school FIRST, then spend the rest of the day being a kid. I loved that! This year, teaching the English classes here was a new experience. I'll know more of what to expect.

The home school convention is next weekend (along with Ty's graduation ceremony). I look forward to the encouragement and recharging I get each time I go! I love getting the things I need for next year (without paying shipping!) and talking to other home school families. I'm reminded again and again WHY we made this most difficult choice to bring our kids home and teach them ourselves. It's the hardest thing I've ever done; it's the best thing I've ever done.


Hooray! I'm getting some cleaning and laundry done today!

Yesterday was the first band practice for VBS. It went well, as far as first practices go. Beth Anne says they always sound horrible and then sound great at VBS time. True.

I got a little frustrated with the guys. I'm trying to talk and they're playing guitars. I'm trying to get them to listen to music and they're talking to each other. I finally got after them (I don't need to listen to the songs, THEY do! I already know them!) and they were better.

I appreciated Tyler so much! He kept the guys in line for me and kept things moving. He even offered me some comic relief that only I saw, which I'll treasure! I just feel the music this year is of the quality that we really could make it outstanding if they put effort into it. I pray they go home and listen and practice. We'll see. I'm so excited to have Kelly and Aleah helping with vocals! They're really listening to their parts and working to figure it out.

Graduation stuff: Really ready to ditch it all. It's not so bad, but I don't want to forget anything and let people down. I hate that more than anything. I feel like I'm spinning dishes on poles, or trying to keep six volleyballs underwater at once. I know something's going to get away from me and I'll have to chase it down. I can't wait to see my Dad and his wife, and I'm so looking forward to John's Mom being here!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Causes of stress

Maybe this is simply a perfectionist tendancy, but I don't necessarily feel busyness is a cause of stress. I think activity keeps us vibrant and alive, especially if we're doing the work God has cut out for us!

No, the stress comes when busyness doesn't allow us to do things the way we really want to. This is especially true if we find out we have let down people who are important to us because of a crazy schedule and lifestyle!

Case in point: Daniel Halladay's graduation celebration. I had this on my calendar, I told him we'd be there, I was so looking forward to celebrating his accomplishment after praying for him for so many years. Thursday evening, I remembered it. Friday morning, I absolutely forgot it. I can't tell you how much this sickened me.

Another case in point: Making a nice dinner for my family. I'm not talking about throwing some meat in a pan and boiling some pasta, I'm talking about having something green and healthful with the main course, sitting down at the table, and enjoying conversation with each of them. Each of us has a different schedule now, so this is getting harder to do. When I know someone's grabbing a PBJ or the pizza man is called, it stresses and I know I missed the mark.

I want to send out a general bulletin to all my friends and family: If I said I would be there and I'm not there, CALL ME. It means I forgot! The embarassment of having you call me is less than the horror of forgetting all together. I won't always be like this, but at this time in my life I could use a little help!

Now, off to train myself to look at the calendar as often as I look at the clock.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Classes Ending

My last English class was today! Now I have a few easy papers to grade, two tests to give out, and I'm DONE until August!

John's out of town, Ty's working, Glenna has been sent to bed, and Kelly has crashed on the floor at my feet. A peaceful, quiet home is actually an enjoyable one. Kelly and I are both frustrated that our home is never "company perfect," but Kelly and I agree we have a family that loves each other and doesn't snap at each other over things like housework. I'll take that over a spotless home any day.

Today I headed up to Ty's room. I ended up sitting on his bed while we listened to music and he shared different bands and songs with me. It was so nice to sit there without any agenda or school work or schedule and just chill. I needed that.

I don't know about anyone else, but the fires around here have wreaked havoc with my allergies. I am SO stuffed! Sinus headaches, aching ears; it's enough to drive me batty! We could use a few more rainstorms to wash everything clean.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Murphy's Law, Welsh version

Here are some random observations:

If you have clean laundry on the couch, including underwear, that's when the band comes over.

If you don't put your make-up on because you'll "just be working at home today," you'll have to run errands or drive your kid somewhere.

If you say something you shouldn't and then try to fix it, you'll just make it worse.

If you work all morning and get a ton of stuff done, but then sit down at the computer to take a 5 min. break, that's when your husband will come home.

When you don't feel like talking to anyone, the next five phone calls will be for you, AND, your kid (pick one) will have a question every five minutes or less.

If you go to sneak the last piece of cake, you'll find someone beat you to it.

If you put off cleaning the bathroom until "later," three guests will come and ask to use it. (If one of them in Cindy Pilling, you'll also be out of toilet paper for some strange reason we've never figured out!)

If your evening dinner plan is to just throw stuff together so your family won't starve, you'll end up feeding the youth pastor, also. (He must think I'm the weirdest cook, ever.)

If you're feeling grouchy, your kids will make you smile by the end of the day (at least mine do)!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Last night's concert went really well! There were about 140 [?] people there, so a lot of funds were raised for the mission trip to Mexico. The visiting band, Beth, was great, and I heard Year After Year for the first time (the drummer is 14 and plays really well!). My boys, of course, were excellent, but this concert was a true test of their "professional" skills as musicians and showmen.

Everything was going GREAT and the guys sounded fantastic. I didn't see what happened next, but somehow Jeremy did a guitar fling-thing and ended up hitting Zach squarely in the mouth. Now, I hurt for Zach, but I felt so badly for Jeremy! He chipped Zach's front tooth pretty badly and knocked Zach to the ground.

Amazingly, Zach kept playing his guitar, got up, and kept playing. Ty mouthed, "Are you all right?" to him, but then Zach showed him his teeth. All three of them were pretty shook up at this point (I don't know when Brendan finally knew what had happened) but they all KEPT PLAYING. Zach talked to the crowd like he always does, but kept his mouth hidden or turned away from them. He had to sing three more songs! He would put his upper lip on the microphone to keep it over his teeth while he sang. Zach told me later he was so scared about what his mouth would look like (he picked the piece of tooth up off the stage) and all he wanted to do was get off that stage, but he FINISHED. I was so amazed at that kid, all of them, really - but Zach's got game! He said it would have been much easier to do if Aleah hadn't been freaking out in front of the stage! (Proof that Aleah loves her brother, Zach! LOL)

Anyway, I just love their new stuff and they sounded so fantastic. I talked to one kid in my English class who was "strongly disappointed" because they only played ONE of their old songs and he didn't care as much for the new ones. I know this is because he's not familiar with them . . . if he had a chance to hear them, he'd love them. The guys are eager to get some songs out as soon as possible so people can start hearing them and learning them. Let's face it; fans like to sing along!

It's so hard (and not humble) for me not to go on and on about Tyler. I know I'm his Mom, but I just love to watch him play! He's so talented and skillful (I warned you)! When he plays, there's not a bit of nervousness or akwardness about him -- he's completely in his element and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it! I love talking to him afterward to hear what's going on in his head while he's playing. He gives us the comical insights to the band and the performance, plus any areas where they may have struggled.

It's truly my hope that they'll be able to do more with their music, especially now while they're young and don't have wives and children. I think it would be great to go on at least one tour. Beth (opening band) plays at many different venues and hopefully, now that they've heard Evangelin, will want to do some shows with them. It will be exciting to see what God's will is in this.

As for Zach's tooth; he'll probably end up with a crown, but it's highly fixable. We teasingly called him "Bubba Zach" for now. He'll have his beautiful smile back in no time.


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