Saturday, June 30, 2007

50's Glamour Party

Kelly and I were invited to Caitlin's Sweet 16 party. We were told to dress in 50's "glamour," but that includes too much cleavage so we opted out. Instead, we were more 50's Night on the Town.

I had so much fun dressing up with my girl! Isn't she so lovely?

I wish you could see how incredibly blue her eyes are. She got those from her Daddy, for sure. Mine tend to change with the weather (or whatever storm may be brewing within! :-) )

Caitlin's party was lots of fun, and her Daddy had a big surprise for her! Here she is, freaking out big time.

Now she's attacking her Dad:

And here it is!

She jumped in and shut the door, and we could all hear her screaming and screaming. Her face says it all!

One happy girl, happy friends, and a new Toyota Matrix. Happy 16th birthday, Caitlin!

Oh, and I handed my camera to her older brother, Brandon, to hold. It came back with this on it.

And this, of course, is his "Blue Steel" face. He said I wouldn't be able to handle the Magnum face.

Friday, June 29, 2007

They're finished!

Due to arrive after we return from vacation. Aren't they beautiful? This is a picture of his actual kit, posted on the Truth site.

The entire family can't stop smiling! Happy 18th AGAIN, Ty!

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I wanted to write about Dad. Hopefully he won't be reading this, because every time I write about him he says I'm writing his eulogy. Dad came into my life when I was three years old, then finally married my Mom (after shacking up for 30 years ha ha!) when I was 33 years old! All my life I've called him Jeff, but when he married Mom, with great relief and pride I started calling him Dad. So now I have Dad and My Dad.

Here, you can see his wheels turning. He's coming up with something really important to say, and you know it's going to be a doozy. That's why I kept the camera up and clicking. What he said here at first was, "You know, I've been noticing something about how you and your Mom are so alike. . . . "

In these pictures, taken at this time last year and the ones to follow in future posts, Dad's 85. All my life this man would tease me unmercifully. He never stepped into a "father" role with us kids, but I think that's because he didn't want to usurp My Dad. Still, I learned more than he ever intended! I also knew he would be there for me in a heartbeat if I ever needed him, but boy, I tried so hard not to need him. I couldn't handle the five weeks of teasing that would follow! I'm learning this is a definite cowboy trait. Comedians, all of 'em (see and read about her pesky brother-in-law, Tim).

So, he continues his train of thought of Mom and I by spreading his hands out:
" . . . both of you are THIS wide!"

Now, just look at the smugness on his face here. I can hear him laughing! Yes, when I married Himself I weighed 93 pounds. Now, I've turned 40 and . . . I do NOT weigh 93 pounds. I'm in the healthy range for my age and height, but do you think I tried to tell HIM that? Of course not! He wouldn't have listened, anyway. Just because HE has jeans he wore in his twenties and can still wear them . . . . Not kidding. He has jeans so old they have completely faded to WHITE, and he still wears them. Cowboys don't give up on a garment just because there's some age to them. I've also never, and I mean NEVER, seen him wear a short-sleeved shirt. He's worked in the sun all day, all his life, and he's the whitest man I know except for his hands, neck, and face. More on that, later.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Disciple or Pharisee?

This is the time of year when we home school moms go through the process of narrowing down our curriculum choices. What to use? What NOT to use? What could I live with/not live without? Trust me; marketers have discovered a goldmine here, but home school parents are usually on one income and oh, so savvy when it comes to letting go of those dollars. If you have what we want and need, we'll gladly plunk the money down. If you don't, you'll be sitting in your booth at the curriculum fair alone.

Through the years, I have seen trends come and go in the home school world. There's usually a buzz word which people latch on to, and they buy anything and everything with the buzz word on it. One year, it was "Character Based." Another year, it was "Classical Education," which was followed quickly by "Trivium," "Chronological History" and "Timelines." These last ones have actually disturbed me the most.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a strong supporter of "classical" education in the truest sense of the word, which is more along the lines of a Charlotte Mason educational method -- using whole books, lots of reading, great literature, lots of exploration of the world around our children, notebooking, narration, and dictation; real learning instead of a dumping of facts for rote memorization. Over the past few years, however, there has been a trend in "classical" education that is morphing into something else entirely. I couldn't exactly put my finger on why it was so disturbing, but the message in church on Sunday hit it on the head!

The "Classical" education today encourages knowledge for the sake of knowledge. There's a big push to learn "Socratic dialog" (*more on that later) and to teach history chronologically. The book lists, classic literature, and foreign language lists are impressive. In fact, the entire scope and sequence looks quite impressive! You'll definitely have one well-educated little tyke if you're able to follow it completely!

If we look in the Bible, who else was considered well-educated? In fact, who were considered to be the most educated of anyone, and they knew it?

That's right; the Pharisees.

The Pharisees were so puffed up with their own knowledge, it was almost impossible for anyone else to live with them. Jesus had so much to say to them (Matthew 23), and His words were not kind. Specifically, he used terms like hypocrites, blind guides, serpents, and brood of vipers when he spoke of them. Far from applauding their work in Matthew 23, over and over He said, "Woe to you"! He chastised them for working so hard and traveling on sea and land to make one convert, then that unfortunate convert became, "twice as much a son of hell as yourselves." (Matt. 23:15)

Except for one, that is.

John 3 introduces us to a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, who was actually wanting to know. He was afraid of what the other Pharisee leaders would say about him, so he came to Jesus under the cover of darkness. It's implied that what Jesus was doing must have been so wonderful and so disturbing to him, that he couldn't let it go. He had to have some answers! He understood that Jesus had to be from God, because no one could do the things Jesus had done unless he came from God (John 3:2).

During their conversation, Jesus rebuked him as he had all the Pharisees, but this time his rebuke was gentle. "Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?" (John 3:10)

To paraphrase verses 5-12: You mean to tell me, Nicodemus, that you have studied and studied and yet you still don't get it? And you call yourself a teacher of all things godly? Dig deeper! All your studying is useless unless it leads you to a deeper understanding of God. But you can't understand God unless you have been born of the Spirit. Only the Spirit can open your eyes to spiritual things. Know this, and you will truly know everything.

Our pastor summed it up this way, "His vast education had not equipped him to understand the things of God."

I swore I'd never home school. I thought home schoolers were crazy and ruining their children. Yet, like Paul on the road to Damascus, my eyes were opened when I saw what I wanted most for my children, godly character, was the least of what they were getting each day. I saw the photo album of a home school mom here in Florida, and every subject they studied led them to an understanding of the character of God, whether that subject was historical, scientific, geographical, or anything at all. I actually gasped out loud! I went home and cried and cried, because I knew I would have to home school my children and I had spoken so harshly of it for so many years. It's so hard to die to self!

Simply put; knowledge that does not lead to a deeper understanding of God, or cannot be used to His glory, is useless knowledge. Dear home school Mom, on what are you spending your hard-earned dollars? On what are you spending the short season of time God has given you to train your [His] children? Are your goals for home schooling, truly, strictly academic?

I would consider the academics a bonus, and they will come if you trust God with your children and your school, because they can obviously be used for the glory of God. Their knowledge and understanding of God, however, can only come from you. You are the one God has appointed as teacher, no one else. You are the one responsible for the training and instruction of His children.

Psalm 90:12 - Teach us to number our days aright, that we might gain a heart of wisdom.

A "heart" of wisdom, not a "head" of knowledge.

1 Timothy 1:5 - But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.

What is the goal of your instruction? Is it to have a disciple, or a Pharisee?

*In the book The Golden Age of Greece (sorry, I can't find author!) we find out what happened to Socrates and the ones who studied under him. These young men learned "Socratic dialog" so well, that they would argue for the sake of arguing. They would enter a "discussion" with their elders for the sole purpose of making them look stupid and feel foolish. When Socrates was executed, part of their accusations were, "You have turned the hearts of our young men against us!" This may not have been the intention of Socrates (I truly believe he wanted them to question until they understood), but this is definitely what happens with the "puffing up" of knowledge.

Paul, the disciple, was also a Pharisee. His "head" knowledge he considered as garbage compared to his "heart" knowledge. I Corinthians 2:2 he wrote, "I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." Also in verse 4, "and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power." [Emphasis mine]

Why did he say this? Verse 5, "so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God."


Saturday, June 23, 2007

He Can't Win

Himself came up next to me the other day. He had read my blog, then clicked on my other pictures to the right. He came over and gushed, "Honey, I was looking at the picture of you and SS, you know, where you're on stage and your hair is longer and brown."

"Yeah? And?"

"Oh, um. . . . it's just that you look SO much better now."


The rest of the night went like this for him. He'd try to say something nice, but it would turn into NOT being a compliment at all.

Now he's steppin' lightly.

Poor guy. Can't win.

The Desk

Ok, remember this? Sad, pitiful site. Look especially at the second picture, the one of my desk.

Well, today I have conquered!
Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Whatever you do; while you're facing this desk, do NOT turn around!

This area is next. Used homeschool books, anyone?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sample Pictures File and Home Schooling

Something tells me this surfer is in the Pacific. The two clues are:

1. He's wearing a wetsuit because the Pacific is COLD.
2. The wave is big enough to ride the curl. Atlantic waves are so small.

I found this by browsing through the sample pictures on my computer while looking for a certain picture to post (one I still haven't found, I might add). I think I'm missing California today, or rather missing that one carefree summer I had before marriage and moving to the desert. I'll bet a lot of people have this same photo in their sample pictures!

BA came over last night to go over our home school calendar for next year. I think she left completely overwhelmed, and she said repeatedly, "I feel so stupid." Ack! Not my intention! She forgets I've been doing this for 9 years, so I can "see" where things are going more easily. I can also relax, because I know learning will happen. I was convicted to home school, and I have seen that I can trust God with the education of my children when I am in obedience to His will. They have thrived and learned in spite of all my clumsy efforts, migraine days, and "let's ditch and head to the zoo" days.

Our first year of home school was the worst. At the end of the year, one of my kids was evaluated to be in the same place as when we started. To say I was discouraged is an understatement! I struggled and struggled with this child, read the experiences of other HS moms, then decided readiness was the issue. We backed off, read books together, did crafty-type things, and explored the world around us. The next year, this child was ready and everything began to click. The evaluation revealed a leap of two grades to land exactly in the right grade level! I learned so much from this experience, such as home school works to allow children to learn at their own pace, AND God is in control. I love when God is in control. Or, should I say, I love when I remember that God is in control!

Of course, home schooling does this to you:

Note the exhausted sag to the shoulders, the untidy kitchen, the upward roll of the left eye, the "I am not amused that you're taking my picture" glare I'm giving my hubby. Yes, this is what Himself comes home to.

Our children are worth it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thankful Thursday 13

This looked like such a positive thing to do, I just wanted to jump in there! I hope I'm not breaking any blog etiquette rules or anything, but there are many invitations to join. Here goes! Besides, who could resist something with such cool alliteration? ;-)

Thirteen things I'm thanful for:

1. God. Apart from Him I can do nothing.

2. Himself. For the past 18 years he has solely shouldered our financial burden so I can be home with our babies.

3. Being home with our babies. So the oldest is now an adult, the middle is now a sophomore in high school, and the youngest is almost 11! My days are full and rich because they are in my life.

4. Our Home. I choose not to see the failing roof or failing drain field. I'm so happy to live here.

5. My friends. What a feeling to know help and encouragement are just a phone call or keystroke away!

6. Jack the Schnauzer. He just adds so much to our home, and I mean that in a good way.

7. Home school break! Too bad it has to come with humidity. We should school during the summer and take ALL of spring off! If it weren't for the classes I teach . . . .

8. 14 People currently in Mexico. I can't wait to hear of our church's youth group and their experiences in Mexico! Sunday can't get here quickly enough.

9. Medical Insurance. Understand, that I have been married 21 years and have only had insurance for the last 2! What a blessing it has been with broken arms, and now wisdom teeth removal.

10. My car. According to my son, it has the BEST stereo. I'm thankful it has air conditioning, four doors, and no oil leak.

11. Brandon P. This kid mows our lawn, but he does so much more than that. He makes my yard a beautiful thing to come home to. He keeps us moving forward with landscape design, instead of having to use all our (short amount of) time on maintenance. This kid does BEAUTIFUL work!

12. My church. It's our second home.

13. This laptop. It's opened a whole new world! Yes, I can go crazy now that it's summer, but not during school. I'm calling it "research."

That was fun, and a very good thing to do!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Jack's Landing

My friend Matt Snyder took this picture of our schnauzer, Jack. I'm sorry it's so tiny! Anyway, it perfectly captures his personality.

He's sitting on what we call "Jack's Landing," which is the landing of our stairs. We haven't opened the blinds for him, so he sticks his head between the blinds to get a good look outside. This is where he'll sit while we're watching a movie, then he'll bark and throw himself against the window if a dog or stranger goes by, which of course gives us all a heart attack.

How could anyone not feel safe with Jack on patrol?

Blog World

Man, there's a whole new blogworld being opened up to me. Unbelieveable! It puts myspace to shame!

(Actually, the only reason I have myspace is to keep tabs on the youth on our church. THEY invite ME to be their "friend" on myspace, which means I get to read what they write. Right?)

I wish I knew how to do all these cute blog things people do. Cute little buttons, adorable backgrounds, etc. I did find one site that has some nerd tips. I just need to find time to go through them.

Hey, I'm caught up with laundry and I've been cooking every night. I'm allowed.

Update: Look! I added a clock! I am so proud of myself!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Summer Scents

The girls and I were at the mall the other day. Bath and Body Works was having their semi-annual BIG SALE, so it was time to stock up!

I have my "summer scent" now; Coconut Lime Vernesia. It smells just like vacation and sun and exotic drinks with little umbrellas. Yum!

Kelly has a new scent, too. I'm not sure, but I think it's Brown Sugar Figs Passion Fruit. I can't decide whether to put her in a dessert or a fruit salad!

Glenna, however, uses whatever shower gel is in there and ignores all things lotion-y. She did find an American Girl pack on clearance (that's my girl) and bought that. It's impossible to describe the scent, other than "clean." I'll take that over "sweaty Glenna" any day!

Kelly, Glenna and I also went shopping for bathing suits. The mall is the WRONG place to do this, and so is Khol's, though we found one for Glenna right away at Sears. There were no modest ones in my size (unless I went over to the "plus size" suits, which I thankfully am not that size). The good news is, I am not a large. The bad news is, I'm wanted to give up bathing suits forever. I tried just getting a top to wear under a shirt, but I am at the age where string bikini tops cut through the flesh and I WON'T wear that, even if it IS under a top. Kelly kept asking if I was all right when she heard the hysterical laughter coming from my fitting room booth. By the way, don't you think "Fitting Room" is a misnomer? I tell you, nothing fit!

Kelly didn't have much luck, either. The only modest top we found for her was $52 (Land's End) and we still weren't sure it would come all the way to her board shorts. Arrrggghhh! We came home and decided to exercise, right after dinner and dishes. Trying on bathing suits will do that!

Yesterday, God directed us to suits fitting our sizes AND our wallets. Hooray for Ross! Hooray for TJ Max! Hooray for Beth Anne, who patiently waited and cheered on our efforts! We're now ready for our vacation, coming up in a few weeks.

Oh, we're no longer going to the cabin posted here. We're sticking to North Carolina, and found a cabin to share with the Liebert's. It's much cheaper than KOA . . . we may never go back! I saved a picture of it, but now I can't find it.

Friday, June 15, 2007


It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since Blaze died. The house was so empty without her. It was too easy to walk from point A to point B without having to step over her, but it was too strange.

I don't miss the mess she made; hair everywhere, dirt everywhere, huge brown spots on the wall wherever she leaned against them, but I do miss feeling safe because she was around. No one came near our house without her letting us know. No one.

Of course, her last few months, this wasn't true. I once walked into the house, walked into the kitchen, and stood right next to her without her knowing it. She finally looked up with this startled glance as if to say, "Whoa! When did you get here?" Still, people would hang back when I opened the door because of her size. We never let on how sweet she was, though she WOULD take you out if you went after one of her kids!

Another thing I miss is the way she would put herself between people and her family. Everyone thought she was coming over for scratches and attention, but she would carefully stand between anyone and us. She did this all the time.

The one thing I never tire of telling, and the thing that endeared her to me forever, was when Glenna was an infant. John flew out to Florida to see his friend Steve (little knowing it would eventually move us here). That night, I looked all over for Blaze before I went to bed. I called her and called her, and I could hear her tail hitting the carpet but I couldn't find her. Finally, I walked into the nursery.

Blaze had planted herself under the baby's crib. I told her to stay so she'd stop thumping her tail and possibly wake Glenna! She did that every single night until John came home, then she went back to sleeping in the living room.

She was large, she was neurotic, she was a pain.

I miss her.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sinful Cake

So Kelly and I made this cake the other day. It was so easy. We messed up several times (let's just say it didn't look like the pictures as we were making it) but it still turned out soooo good!

Yes, today I have a headache.

It was worth it, though.

I've tried many recipes off the same site and they've all come out good. I'm dying to make the cinnamon rolls!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


What is it about a man wearing a toolbelt?

I can tell you what it means to ME . . . . a project is closer to finishing!

John has been working on the wiring in the classroom. This makes me so happy. VERY happy. I pray I can teach classes without melting or freezing this year. Dare to dream!

This is the storage area, all framed and ready for drywall (or sheetrock, as they call it out here). No, it's not big enough for our storage. I'm trying to talk him into getting a shed. He's most reluctant.

Since the walls were to be covered anyway, all year I encouraged the students to write on them. The messages are so interesting! Song lyrics, movie lyrics, nonsense, even messages from one class to another have all been added. The students liked it so much, some who are returning next year have begged for a wall to write on. I'm thinking of using chalkboard paint, but it will be the wall at the BACK of the class. Too many students sit there, slackjaw, staring at the wall, not hearing a word I say. :-D

This is a flower that Kelly drew. I should have placed an item next to it so the size would be more obvious, but it's bigger than my hand. It's probably bigger than my head, even. Oh, and my congrats grad message to Ty. :-)

I also added a few family slogans, like the one I adopted from the president of DTS for our home school:

My kids like to roll their eyes at that one, but I'm telling you, it's sound theology all the way.

Below is one of my favorites, and it's for all you Anne of Green Gables lovers out there. Recognize it, Jess? I've posted it exactly as it was written.


Yesterday was actually productive! If you scroll down to the picture of my desk, that HUGE pile of paper in the corner is now GONE! In its place is a pretty willow basket with a red liner. In fact, the pretty willow basket also had to be emptied. I about wore out the shredder and my allergies went crazy, but it was worth it!

John was wondering WHY I wanted pictures of my messy house. I said something like, "Don't you read my blog?" which brought snickers from Tyler. To quote: "Blogs are stupid." Of course, see the "That says it" blog to understand where he's coming from. :-D

I love blog. I love this form of creative expression! I like it so much better than myspace, which has a lot of filth on it. I need to learn how to add things more effectively, though.

Of course, once school starts in August I'll be on line less often. For now I'm planning and plotting for next year and getting summer reading from the library.

The band is coming over today, so I think we WILL hit the library and make ourselves scarce.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

VBS Recovery

This is what VBS does to your home:

After a long morning of singing and acting, I am greeted by this when I come in the door.

Yes, I see you, portfolios waiting to be organized. I see you, desk that has no surface. I see you, last homework assignment that still needs grading for two English classes!

Stop calling me, Red Mammoth couch! I can't take a nap on you right now. Small dog, I know you haven't seen us and have forgotten what we look like.

Here sit the drums after the night at the bar. They're such a fun addition to the decor. Himself walks by and nudges them with his foot, as if that will magically transport them upstairs.

And here is the dreaded PS2, already spewing games all over the floor.

We've since made progress; the portfolios are done! Laundry is almost caught up! I've made dinner for my family!

For Phyllis

Phyllis, as much as I could figure out, this is Glenna, dressed as a babushka!

She took her apron and tied it up and over her head. She put on her sundress, her brother's shirt, and tied her Daddy's tie around her waist. Add Daddy's slippers, and viola!

You can see her brother and his friend coming in the door. They were quite puzzled. She later added some of Daddy's black socks and buttoned up the neck, since no self-respecting babushka would have bare skin.

How did she do? :-D

Monday, June 11, 2007

Kelly's PC Paper

I'm putting together the portfolios of my kids' work, due TODAY. I'm almost finished. I have a love/hate relationship with portfolios. I love to look back on all the work we accomplished, but I hate going through the piles of paper! One year, I did the portfolio work every Friday. I LOVED being current on them, and my kids HATED that I knew right away when they were ditching their work (only two of the three actually had anything to fear!). Tyler dubbed Friday, "The Day of Reckoning."

I came across this paper Kelly wrote and she gave me permission to post it here. The assignment was to turn a fairy tale into a politically correct fairy tale. She chose the Grasshopper and the Ant. I laugh every time I read it!

The Farmer and the Fiddler
by Kelly W.

Our story opens on a wide field of wheat bending beneath the wind, waiting to be harvested. An other-than handsome person named Mart was at one end of the field, laboring fiercely, harvesting. Down the road near where Mart was working went Jappedo, the fiddler. Jappedo loved to fiddle, and unfortunately that tended to block out the not quite large amount of genius in him. "Here we go again," mumbled Mart when he heard the merry tune approaching up the street. "Mart, my friend!" bellowed Jappedo. "Why must you work so when such a fine day has dawned?"

"Oh, Jappedo," Mart responded, "although I would find it narrow-minded and restricting to a person's free mind not to accept your view on working for food, I must suggest to you to do a bit of preparation for the cold days ahead as I myself do at this moment, instead of perhaps not using your time to the greatest advantage."

"HA HA!" laughed Jappedo. "Surely you must see me as dull! I shall survive by being joyful and fiddling the days away instead of cutting down innocent plant life as if they were soulless beings!" With that last remark, Jappedo continued to frolic down the road, fiddling all the while.

Three months later, as Mart ate a warm loaf of bread (with a smidgen of guilt from what Jappedo had said in the past about cutting down blameless plant life), he heard a gloomy song floating down the way. Following the mournful tune out the door, down his walkway, and along the path a ways, Mart met up with Jappedo and his fiddle by the road. Jappedo lowered his fiddle and admitted, "Perhaps I should prepare a bit ahead of winter, so I shan't perish from lack of food." Mart, who now felt terrible for destroying the lovely wheat plants, tossed down his bread and added, "Yes, and I must find a suitable diet that does not so impose on the beauty and pride of the magnificent nature of this earth." From that day forth, Mart and Jappedo opened up their minds to other views, and never again were they narrow-minded and intolerant.


Sunday, June 10, 2007


This is Lisa, my best friend from high school. I have about 20 pictures of her similar to this, where you don't see all of her face.

Right now, she's probably plotting my demise for posting it on my blog, but it's her fault for sending it to me. Man, I love her glasses. I want them. Badly.

This is the person who knows the entire Bagel story. She knows who the TBW were. She knows as much as I do about Uncle Bobby, now known as "Anthony." She's ridden with me in The Yellow Iguana, which later became my car and lasted until Ty was a year old. She even knows it wasn't yellow!

After 12 years of begging and pleading on my part, Lisa FINALLY has email! We've been emailing, and it's funny how differently we remember those two years of high school when we were inseparable. My take is: She was quiet and wonderful, I was loud and obnoxious. She was/is the smartest person I've ever known, I ditched homework like it was diseased. She plays the flute beautifully, I faked it and had an airy tone. (We both switched to sax for Jazz Ensemble, though! That was fun! Except for Danny Miller. What an oddball.)

We didn't have any classes together except for band. It took me years to figure out this was because she was an honors student; I just thought it was bad luck. I remember INSISTING that I type her report for her (this way I didn't have to go home so she could do her homework) and she probably had to do it all over after I left. I kept typing "perhaps" as "prehaps," and there wasn't a backspace or delete key on a typewriter!

Her Mom, pictured below, was so wonderful to me. She, too, will probably plot my demise after this. It's Lisa's fault!

That's it. I'm calling Lisa and Mary to come with me to pick out glasses. I can never find any this cool.

This woman let me stay at her house while they were scoping out houses in Ohio because I had a license and her sister (the adult with an adorable baby) didn't know how to drive a standard. THEN, she let me use her car. A convertible VW BUG! My dream car! I got to drive it to the beach and everything! I was supposed to have the idle checked while she was gone, but I never was good at homework assignments.

Anyway, I was always staying for dinner. She would say, "Are you staying? I need to know how many plates." She would make this big pot of spaghetti sauce, which is how I make mine now, and she wouldn't use a bit of salt in anything she cooked. I'm sure I highly insulted her when I asked for the salt and kept pouring it on, but she would smile and say, "I don't use salt." She would also have this counselling group over all the time, referred to as "the Sickos" by the rest of the family. I can't tell you how much I learned from her, especially about my own family. She taught me to see things from THEIR point of view, especially when it came to one of my brothers. It didn't make their actions right, but it sure gave me understanding, which allowed room for grace.

I used to call their house "early" in the morning (9:00) and they would pick up the phone and hang it up again. Thank God there wasn't caller I.D. back then! Here's where I first admit it was me, but I really only did it once. Or twice.

Two weeks after we graduated, Lisa's family moved to Ohio. I haven't mentioned the rest of her family because I'm already on the hit list of two of them. I'm sure one of the unmentioned has connections in New York and I should be very afraid. When I said goodbye to Lisa, I cried all the way home. Her Dad drove me and was so, so kind, allowing me some silence. I didn't want him to feel worse than he already did! I have been missing her ever since. Two weeks after she left, John moved to the desert (a 2.5 hour drive). I was completely lost, but I know those years were for my growth and I don't regret them.

I flew out for her wedding with Ty when he was 8 months old (she called him "The Sack"). I also ruined her honeymoon because I was too scared to call a cab, so they came and got me and drove me to the airport. That's the last time I've had a hug from her.

Now we're still pretty far apart, but the Internet puts her RIGHT HERE. I'm so thankful! She keeps me real. She puts up with me, has seen me at my worst, but loves me anyway.

I am and always have been thankful for her friendship. Now I want to introduce her to all my friends here, so they can know how wonderful she is, too.

Don't deny it, Lisa. You da bomb.

And you need to blog, so people can see how funny you are when you write, and they can laugh out loud like I do. One of my favorite Lisa lines on a letter she sent referred to the scented pen she used. She wrote, "Does this smell like dungeon moss and rotting chains? It's supposed to smell like grape."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

VBS Day 4

After years of keeping it away, a Play Station 2 has entered my home.

Tyler told me that's one of the things he was going to get when he turned 18. It was such a funny day as I tried to discourage him from buying one all during VBS. I reminded him of how well we've done without one and how happy he's been.

"Play Station will make me happy, my life will be complete."

I thought his friends would confess that video games take up too much of their time, cost too much, didn't make them as happy or their lives complete, etc. Paul chipped in with, "I was always happy before I had video games. Then I got a video game, and I was much happier." :-D

So, we went into the "den of sin" and he bought the PS2. He got a really good deal, some games, blah blah blah. He was giddy! He couldn't wait to get home to set it up, but then he had to go to work.

John pretended to be yelling about his horrible choice from his office while Tyler was showing it to him. "Son! How could you! This is awful!" However, I was close enough to the office to also hear him say quietly, "Sweet! Let me check it out, dude!"

The girls made sure they got their comments in as well. We were teasing Ty about how he was going to hell in a handbasket. Hard rock music, staying up all hours, playing at a bar (another story), buying a PS2 were all sure signs of his demise. Kelly piped in with, "Mom, Dad, would this be a good time to tell you Tyler has a girlfriend?"

We all laughed so hard!

He doesn't.

At least, I don't think he does.


He doesn't.

I think.

Tomorrow's the LAST day of VBS! I woke up this morning so tired and so DONE with VBS. I just didn't want to play anymore, know what I mean? Thursday is always the hardest. The kids are used to the routine of VBS and are harder to handle. Everyone's exhausted. It's also the day they hear the gospel message, which explains why it's so rough on everyone. As far as we know, 10 children wanted to know more about Christ and pray. That really makes it all worth it!

Still, I'll be glad when tomorrow is over and I can get some serious sleeping in, laundry, and cleaning done. I also need to do the dreaded school portfolios, due Monday, so I can vacation at last!

Actually, I need to get Tyler enrolled for fall semester at Valencia. THEN I can relax.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

VBS Day 3

First off, I want to give a shout out to a famous (in my mind) and award winning film maker in New York. I always liked you, you know! Good thing your family never broke your habit of not living in the real world, I say! ;-) He-man, anyone?

Today's VBS went well, but it was pretty hard. It's supposed to be for kids from 4 years old to 6th grade, but all these teens (and adults) keep showing up to "help." Problem is, we can't have just anyone working with the kids because of insurance, liability, and needing to do background checks on everyone. Anyone who shows up has to be approved and screened first, which needs to be done ahead of time and not on Monday, the CRAZIEST day of VBS registration. Pastor Ron had to tell the teens that if they have not been approved, they can't come. :-( I wish I could just let them all stay with me, but that was given the "no," too. Not only do they eat the food put out for the kids, but it becomes more of a "youth" event and we really want to focus and love on those younger ages.

SO, do you hear me, you terrific teens??? Register early next year and get checked out! Come to the meetings so you know what we're doing and hear all the rules! Ok? That will make it all better, I guarantee!

Highlights today, but also from yesterday -- an aspiring drummer, age 11, came up to Ty for advice. Tyler ended up taking his broken kick drum home, fixing it, and showing him how to tighten things properly.

Paul sat in on guitar since Jeremy had to work. He did such a GREAT job! Now I know, Paul. . . . I'll be calling on you in the future!

Kelly took over Jake's group and had such a blast. She just LOVED tuning in to those kids and lovin' on 'em. She was made for stuff like that.

There were no major sound meltdowns, and I actually remembered the skit!

I wish I had some cute pictures to show. I'll have to wrestle the digital camera from Himself tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

VBS Day 2

What a blast! It seems like there were so many more kids there today. I actually made it through the skit with Shane and didn't forget any lines (the hardest part for me). Snyder was so good on bass today!

Highlights: I'd been complaining to the band about the tempos being too slow. One of the songs, they agreed, was "ridiculously" slow! We were ready to start a song in the afternoon and they purposely started it twice as slow as it's supposed to go, waiting for my reaction. :-D They should know better than to mess with my mind like that!

One of the JVers actually started asking me a question during the afternoon session (a BIG no-no and rule #1: Don't talk to Mrs. W once we start!). I looked at him and said, "You're TALKING to me???" The look of horror on his face when he realized what he was doing was so priceless! I proceeded to beat him with the papers in my hand and hollered out to his mother, "I'm killing your son!" He ran out of reach pretty quickly. [heh heh]

Monday, June 04, 2007

VBS Highlight, Day 1

Day One of VBS is always chaotic, but it wasn't so bad today. I kept telling the JV "STOP TALKING TO MEEEEEE!!!!" and they finally got the hint. There's so much for me to memorize and do that when all 40,000 JVers come up and ask the same question, it really wears me down. At the end of the day we regroup, I assure them that I love them, remind them of the rules, and off we go!

Today's highlights:

While I was in the craft/snack area, I looked over to see Zach sitting next to this little kid. The little kid was beaming like you wouldn't believe because the GUITAR PLAYER was actually talking to him! Zach's got such a great heart.

Josh Harris dressed like a sherriff and threw Tyler in jail. About 20 kids came running up to me with, "Mrs. Welsh! Mrs. Welsh! They threw Tyler in jail!" I finally decided to go over to the "jail" and added some teen-embarrassing drama to boot with, "No! Say it izn't so, son! Tell 'em! Tell 'em you didn't dew it . . . tell 'em yer innocent . . . . "
Tyler looked me square in the eye and said, "Lady, I've never seen you before in my life." :-D I love that kid!

I also found out I'm horribly out of shape. I was sweating like a pig up there! I feel sorry for Rebekah Rigel who has to hug me during a song, but she's such a sweetheart, she'd never say anything.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Scarlet Letter(S!!!)

I want to be well read. I do. I want my girls to be well read, too. (I think Tyler gave up reading when he picked up his drum sticks.)

So far this 2007, I've read Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Diary of Anne Frank. I read them for content before I pass them on to Kelly, and Glenna gets such classics as Carry On Mr. Bowditch, Farmer Boy, The Bronze Bow, and Strawberry Girl.

I'm about 20 pages into The Scarlet Letter and I've realized something; the man is babbling.

I kid you not!

He rambled on for at least three paragraphs about his friend's fond rememberances of delicious dinners. Three paragraphs! I have learned from past experience that just because something is labeled a classic in literature, I can't just hand it over to my daughter to read. I read through them, put little sticky tabs on the places she should avoid (and she does -- she trusts me), or I tell her to skip the book all together. But this book -- this book is driving me crazy with all the babbling! Yet, every reading list recommends it for high school.

It's not making my job easy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Last Convention photos

Here are some last photos from the Home School convention. The girls had plenty of time to walk around while John and I were at the graduation meeting, then we had to wait until 7:00 for the graduation to start.

This is Steve Demme. For the last 9 years, we've been using the Math-U-See curriculum. Each week the girls watch Steve Demme on their math DVD, then do the lesson for the rest of the week. On the DVDs he has some hair! This guy is brilliant and saved my life by writing this math curriculum. Thanks, Steve! (I also worked in the booth next to him one year in Jacksonville. He's a hoot!)

Not to leave her out, I also had the girls stand with Sherri Seligson! Talk about brilliant! Sherri is a marine biologist who left her profession to become a stay at home and home school mom. As each of her children reached certain science levels, she invited other home school kids to join them. A couple of years ago she wrote the Marine Biology edition for Apologia Science curriculum!

Sherri is just one of the examples of how God provides for our children's education. Tyler studied Biology, Chemistry, Marine Biology, and Physics with this family. Kelly has taken Physical Science so far, is signed up for Biology next year, and will hopefully do Marine Biology the following year. Fortunately, Sherri also has a child Glenna's age!

Here we are in the lobby of the Rosen Shingle Creek hotel, waiting for graduation to start. My Mother-in-love had bought me this home school comic book as a present for graduating my firstborn. The comics were hysterical, but probably only to home school families. (Zach and Kaley read them and didn't even smile; Kaley isn't home schooled, and Zach either doesn't understand what his mother goes through or has no sense of humor.) ;-D

Here's Glenna with her Grandma! For all of you who know us, this is the woman that lived an entire year (to the day!) in a teepee with five kids and a large dog. She has fought more battles than I would ever care to! Now she's working for a company selling crypts, funeral plans, and viewing places for urns after cremation. Ask John for all the jokes; he's got a million of 'em about this. Mom calls them "plans and properties." Sorry you didn't meet her on Sunday, but we were all exhausted and stayed home from church.


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