Monday, April 30, 2012


Every day, I remind my clan that as children of God, we have access to the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit, we have the fruit of the spirit, and with the fruit of the Spirit, we have no excuses.

And sometimes, God lovingly taps me on the shoulder and reminds me that the same goes for me.

So when I say, "I'm running out of patience", its a lie. I have all the patience I need, I just must choose to accept it, use it, and refuse to play a victim.

Love Joy Peace Patience Kindness Goodness Gentleness Faithfulness Self Control

As I've mentioned, I would never go camping on my own will, but my family thinks otherwise. I love campfires, fishing, being away from home, and nature.... but I do not like a lack of plumbing and a cozy bed or sharing small spaces to sleep with my entire family.

The children were extremely excited, except for the threat of ticks and asthma. As we drove, we said a prayer to be filled with the Holy Spirit, healing for allergies and asthma, and NO TICKS.

That night, I was the last to go to sleep. Because I had forgotten a pile of pillows and blankets amidst the chaos of packing in the morning, and even though my friend had lent me two extra blankets, all bedding was being used by my family, who were sound asleep.

I didn't want to disrupt the sleep, so I first tried to go to sleep without any. I thought I was tired enough, it just might work. Nope. I tried using a very small sweatshirt for my head and a baby blanket for my body. What seemed like forever later, I decided I would risk waking Brooke. I ripped off her large blanket that she had wrapped around herself like a cocoon, then covered both of us, and laid on her pillow. Brooke never noticed. I got some sleep.

However, when it started raining, I woke up in terror. What if my children woke up to this in the middle of the night??? What if they had to go to the bathroom??? What if they started screaming and woke up the entire campsite??? I looked around several times. I was freezing. Weren't they? How are they sleeping through this? And the thunder rolled.

At home, they would be awake and screaming in my bed. Yet, they lay still.

No coughing, wheezing, screaming, or need-to-potty-ing.

Max woke up and wanted to sleep with me. I held him as he whimpered a little. As I touched the back of his neck, there was a tick sized bump, but I didn't want to rip off a tick in the dark. So I let it be.

And in the thunder and rain and threat of terrified children with a husband that may just sleep through it all while I held my precious boy that had a tick infestation, I prayed for day to hurry up and come... which I knew was a selfish and silly prayer because some people in this world were enjoying their sleep.

Then, my spirit sang.."I will praise you in this storm..." So I did. I thanked God for the peace he gives. Max went back to sleep, and so did I.

I woke up a few more times, and the rain kept coming. The tent stayed mostly dry, the children kept sleeping, and the morning was nearing. As we arose, there was a break in the rain. I immediately looked at the back of Max's neck. It was goo from roasted marshmallows.


I laughed to myself as I was reminded of God's faithfulness, and how my fears are conquerable. (And sometimes comical.)  We would have missed out if I would have chosen a comfy stay-at-home weekend.

Thank you, God for the fruit of your Spirit.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


 I had a crazy thought today. The last nine years have flown by so quickly, I'm sure the next nine will go at least as fast.

And then she'll be 18.

Happy Birthday, Savannah!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

These Days

Every month, there is one day where I am certain that my world will crash into a billion pieces and I will live the rest of my life in torment. I don't know why, but even with spending any energy I have left on logical reasoning, prayer, and searching for relief, my emotions don't care. They don't listen.

That was today.

My first possible blog post of the day was "Deadlines Only Drive Me To Craziness". I have about 20 things to do...pick up Savannah tomorrow, get ready for camping, prepare for a garage sale in a few weeks, sort clothes, move into new bedrooms...and don't let the laundry, dishes, or weeds get too out of control. Most days I can tolerate how behind I am, but today I had deadlines in my head. Deadlines that no one else cares about.

Secondly, "Everything Ticks Me Off". Facebook posts, mail, my children, and old memories. I'm sure there would be more if I had allowed myself more exposure.

Next, "DON'T Socialize Me". These days I argue and fight and scream inside at my demons left from being different. I know I am. Others may not see it too much because I've been told and trained to dress, act, speak, and think a certain way (which mostly sufficates me)... and if I open up to someone (mostly everyone) that has a normal brain, I am "corrected". Today, I wish that I would have had the luxury of learning to appreciate who God made me before anyone else could have told me that I was broken. These things are so hard to overcome.... on these days.

Finally, "I May Just Have A Panic Attack Because I Spent $260 On JUNK At Walmart". I must first say that when we were first married, I had to pinch every penny. Our circumstances have changed, but there is an emotional remembrance of the fear of spending money. Most money I spend is a need or a very reasonable want. It does not matter what is in the checking account, I still am scared. Especially when the bulk of my purchases were hot dog, chips, and other junk food that will be used up on a weekend of camping. If it was avocados and spinach, I might have felt better about it. Of course, this experience was exponentially worse since I was having "one of those days".

But we are, I'm sure, going to have a fantastic time camping. God heals my wounds, even when I allow them to be ripped open again. Tomorrow I'll realize all the things that ticked me off weren't really that bad, and....the work will still be there, and life will go on.

And by the grace of God, my children are still smiling and hugging me.

Thank the Lord, these days are days that I know what is in my head is not the truth and if I hang on, no matter how I feel, the peace will return.

Writing about this makes me feel better, but to thrust another jab at the lies in my head, I will end with four super things:

1. Sook insisted that we go somewhere again today. At first, I was mad that we had to do this because I have deadlines. But there was a small voice that told me it would be better not to fight it.
Today, it was the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum in Leavenworth, KS. Another on in the 8 Wonders of Kansas. This carousel ride was much better than any other I've experienced. FYI: They are having a birthday celebration on Saturday...but we will be camping.

2. Even though they try me.... I am so thankful for my children. And out of the blue they do things that make me love them even more. They have taught me so much about love, sacrifice, and innocent joy.

3. My husband sometimes makes me so very mad and I'm not sure how I can spend another second with him, but God never condemns him in my thoughts and does not allow me to complain to Him about Sook. And then I remember the grace God possesses and am in awe of how He is not mad at what he did. This only grows my love toward both God and Sook. Grace is the best thing I have ever known, on both the giving and receiving end.

4. I need people around me that force me to do things (camping) that I would never agree to if I didn't have to say "no". I'm trusting this will be better that I am imagining. Even if I am forced to eat hot dogs. The kids are beside themselves with crazy excitement.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What You Have

As I am a student of my Father, I am learning that I have spent way to much time complaining about what I don't have. But He says to me that if I want more, I must recognize what I already have, make usefulness of it, and enjoy that. Only then will I have need of something more.

So my challenge as of now is to fully use what I already have.

  • The living space I have presently
  • The bottom line I see today
  • The talents and gifts I possess right now... not in a perfected matter, but with the knowledge I currently have.
  • The resources around me
  • The people in my life...some to encourage me, some to give me opportunity to give back, some to learn from, and some to practice patience and forgiveness! All are gifts. All are blessings.
  • This includes the husband I have today, not what I wish he was or wasn't
  • Natural resources. Clouds lift my spirits, the songs of birds do not require batteries, the smell of flowers grace us with their gift, and every other creature and plant serving a proper purpose.

With this persective, endless possibilities seem to open up.
  • I can take an inventory of what I have and ask myself if and how it can be used. This is a perfect way to use some creative thinking. It is good to think outside the box, but make sure it is really something useful. I think it always help to pray about it before..."God, what could I do with this?"
  • Look at my budget. Is there any spending I can eliminate? (We just recently got rid of Netflix) Am I using these resources the best possible way? Can I give more? Can I buy and give at the same time by buying from companies that give back?
  • Can I rearrange my furiniture to meet my needs better rather than buying everything new?
  • Do my kids really need so many toys? I find that without toys, they still play...even if it is with sticks. Find a stick and draw a face on it! Call it Mrs. Stick and then see what they come up with next. Exercise their creative brain.
  • I evaluate what I can buy used instead of new. Books are a good example. Dress up clothes.
  • Make playdough, or many other artsy supplies.
  • Since I have aleady paid for my recycling, I might as well use it to open up more space in my trash can. I need to ask myself, "Are there any other services avaliable to me that I am not using?" (library, community discounts, city parks, etc)
  • When planning birthdays, find ways to celebrate without several gifts. We have gone on trips and made memories, bought pets, shared experiences.... whatever is proper for that individual person. Use this opportunity to take some time to just celebrate, but don't always think of things. (Savannah's gift from Grandma this week is time with her and swimming lessons. She is THRILLED!)
  • I always need to be reminded what promises I have from God. This alone is all I need. Just as I'd rather have a chicken that lays golden eggs than a few golden eggs, I'd rather have the promises from God that I am blessed than a few blessings. This is the most important possession I have and ever will.
Yesterday we visited the Overland Park Arboredum, which does not cost a dime.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Start

I'm resting a bit before I finish up the kitchen, so I'm gonna write some more.

Since I've started focusing on homemaking, my house has gotten much more cluttered.

I'm blaming it on the nice weather.

But I know that I need to focus on the positive, so there are a few things that I am already doing that I think are a benefit to this household.

1) Composting. I started a compost pile several years ago because I didn't want to fill my trash with organic things like grass clippings and leaves. This year I finally dug out the dirt. I had a blast.

I am starting to add some items from the kitchen as well...egg shells and coffee grinds and parts of veggies and fruits we cut off like the ends of cucumbers or asparagus, and I plan to shred our paper that we've been throwing away.

This is also a great lesson for the kids in how amazing our world is made and how many resources our own backyard can provide.

2) Treating dessert as a luxury. I've often heard people say that eating healthy is so expensive, which is true in some sense. However, if we evaluate what we buy, we may be able to eliminate some expensive unhealthy items to make room for the healthy ones.

Before I was married, I always wanted to end a meal with something sweet. If I didn't have dessert, I at least had a piece of hard candy to satisfy my cravings. Sook eats differently (better) than I do and being around him helped my break that habit. It does go away over time, but there needs to be a shift in mindset. Here are some possible ways to cope:

Set aside one day of the week that is dessert day. Make it fun, involve the kids, be creative. Never buy dessert pre-made. Making it yourself reduces cost and makes it less convenient or tempting. Don't keep it around the house. Your craving usually will go away over time, but if it is right there you will most likely eat it. Be disciplined to eat only one serving size. Since you won't be buying it pre-made, the label won't tell you this. Two small cookies. One 2" square brownies. 1/8 of a pie. 1/2 cup ice cream or pudding. Again, your body will need to get used to this.

3) Experimenting with making your own cleaning supplies. I hate spending money on cleaning. Therefore, I love this idea. It reduces cost and somehow gives me more satisfaction.

4) Always keep in mind that, as a homemaker, your job is to make your home a comfortable place. To ME, that is no clutter or dirt. To the kids, it is extra hugs, reading books, and listening to their stories that seem to never end. To my husband, cleanliness is important....but I think that even more important is happy wife and happy kids. Cleaning should not be stressful and people are what is important. (Mary and Martha).

Here's a start....along with making beds in the morning. I have to admit, I'm kinda liking my home project.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kudos to Daddy

Daddy has been saying, "Let's go somewhere" quite often lately.

We are loving it.

At the homeschool conference, I learned a little about writing a family mission statement. We are going to spend some time on this and Savannah is out of town this week, but I asked Sook his thoughts on it. His first response was, "I want to have fun together."

Good. So do I.

Here are a few things we've done together the last few days.

Saturday: Kaw Point Park, another check off the 8 wonders of Kansas: Geography.

Lewis and Clark stayed her for three days

with Clark's personal slave, York.

The Kansas (Kaw) River joins the Missouri. Downtown KC, MO is in the background.

And the cotton from the cottonwoods blew around us like snow.

Finding this place is like a maze through industrial KC, KS. Quite different from what Lewis and Clark saw!
Today it was our old standby, Deanna Rose Farmstead. But we don't get tired of it :)

Thank you, Sook, for joining us. It makes the day more fun...especially for me!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Washing Clothes, Deep Thoughts, and Drawings From Ethiopia

On Thursday, We went to Mahaffie Farmstead and Stagecoach Stop , which was excellent hands-on review from all the pioneer stuff we've learned this year. And we were also able to check this off in our 8 Wonders of Kansas book.

Everyone said that their favorite activity was washing laundry. Oh, I wish that were true at home. Maybe we should start washing by hand....
The second favorite was the stagecoach ride.

This is the last operating stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe trail. Another treasure in our backyard that we have failed to patron until now. But I'm sure it won't be the last time!
And finally, the game "Graces".
Yesterday I attended the Midwest Parent Educator's Homeschool Conference.

Oh man, I needed that, to be around people going through the same struggles. To calm my fears, to encourage me. I won't get everything done. I have not completely ruined my children by keeping them from the masses, which (some of ) the masses like to tell me.  And taking on homeschooling inevitably means putting my four a priority over everything, cleaning, and keeping up with whomever is doing something better than I.

These are my observations, coming from a completely biased and indoctrinated mama:

1) Everyone needs to drop their stereotype of how homeschool families look. Yesterday, not one jean jumper. There may have been one, I just didn't see it. Everyone looked "normal", like as if you were in the grocery store...a good mixture of all types of people, even some mix in ethnicity. Now, I know that everyone has seen a real weird lookin' homeschooler, but I've seen 50 weird lookin' public schoolers for every homeschooler. Just sayin'.

2) The only difference than the grocery store is that everyone was smiling and kind. Probably because they were getting a break and encouragement from the actual work, but so kind none-the-less.

3) The kids that volunteered to help were so professional and curtious, and the adults were patient and curtious to them. Very refreshing after our stop at McDonald's for ice cream on Thursday.

4) I am overwhelmed with information and possibilities. Now, I realize that most people are uninformed about the homeschool resources avaliable. Just like I am uninformed with how you train for golf. I don't care at this point, so I don't choose to become informed. However, it is tiring to hear this criticism from the uninformed. Like the checkout lady that said, "I thought about homeschooling but I wanted my children to be smarter than me. I don't know everything they teach in school." Not in a question form but a don't-you-know-what-you-doing-to-your-children type of way. I have to turn down super activities and curriculum simply because I can't do it all. If I don't know something, there is always a way to figure it out.

5) What is even more important than how we look, if we practiced enough math, if we are advanced in reading, if we are in enough activities, or if we make a ton of money is that they know who they are in Christ, and not according to their teachers or peers. That they have the integrity and character to use their very personal gifts for God's glory, and to help people in need. To build a strong family support and vision for certain direction and accountability. Basically, to have the freedom to accomplish more than they could imagine under God's direction.

I am pumped. And overwhelmed....with gratitude and resopnsibility.

I love that our country thus far allows freedoms in choosing which education is right for each family, and pray that this will continue.
And on a completely separate note, I recieved a letter from Ethiopia!!!!!

I've gotta admit, I'm one proud mama, aunt, and sponsor!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Butterfly Hunting

I have been reading more about learning through play.... I love the concept. Most of the blogs I read have to do with pre-school, but I think there is room for it in grade school as well- in addition to the core subjects.

Children's play is an art that no adult can replicate perfectly. The whimsical imperfection of stuffed animals, child clubs, pretending, and investigation somehow fill in the gaps we never knew were there.

The other day, Savannah got out her butterfly net and started catching, observing, and identifying these beauties.

So we've been hunting and identifying butterflies as of late.

And today we found a few more interesting things.

I barely had a zoom on this one. I don't think I've ever been this close to a deer....

We are attempting a butterfly garden. So far the ants are the ones that really like it.

When Bear, Max, and I sat down to talk today, he immediately told Bear about how he saw a deer. Next, he pointed to the other end of the room, gasped, and said, "Wook! Deer!"

I assumed that Bear would want to make friends and talk to Deer, so that was my natural response. I was wrong.

Max decisively grabbed Bear, leaped off his bed, ran to where Deer was, and put Bear's mouth to the ground, smacking his lips.

Bear had eaten Deer.
Max looked up, flashed a smile, and said, "doiagain".

And Bear ate deer for the second time.

Apparently, Bear likes to eat.

And obviously, his boy play is different than the girl play I am accustomed to.

Even mamas can learn through play.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Talking to Bear and Other Fun Things

First of all, I think the smell of lilacs just put me in a good mood.

 Almost all of my flowers right now are purple...not on purpose. But the last of my tulips make me smile. The little tree shoots in the background do not make me smile, but I'll ignore them right now.
 Painting is always fun.
 This pot art courtesy of....
 Ellie. Happy, happy, happy day.
 Frisbee with Max.
 Sidewalk chalk...the entire box used up. And I'm so blessed to have a friend that gets right down with my kiddos. and looses herself in their play.
 Future artist, no doubt. I love watching her work.

 And talking to bear. Bear is my hero. He can change my son's mood almost instantly.

"Let's talk to bear!" It has to be one of the best activities to do, right under eating a sucker.

Bear is very talented. He reads books and can jump into bead. He calms down Max when he is hurt. He is our mediator when I can't get through to Max. Max will tell bear anything.

Bear lets him bite his nose and leave him on the floor.

Bear plays fair.

When Bear is tired, Max will go to bed.

And will accommodate any sleeping position.

But he gets the best kisses from Max.

Talking to Bear is a perfect way to end a great day.