Monday, May 31, 2010

The Only Way

...I can blog today...'cause all my energy is drained away...I sure do hope you read my blog this way...BULLETS!
  • It all started with my lovely but never plentiful enough asparagus.  Then some lettuce and spinach gave us garden fresh salads.  Then some English sweet peas were eaten by children right out of the pod.  A few new potatoes would then be robbed from the potato plants. A couple of cherry tomatoes (yellow what a pleasant surprise) ripened and were promptly devoured.   AND NOW, squash, zucchini and cucumbers make their debut.  I love the garden.  Especially my scaled down smaller and easier to maintain garden.  My only regret is that we aren't producing enough to share-at least not in the large scale sense of sharing.
  • My weight loss is only surviving because I am still faithful to aerobics.  My food intake sucks and the quality of food I am letting pass my lips is NOT GOOD.  Mello Yello, with its new retro can has become an almost daily indulgence.  If only I could find the track, I would attempt to get back on it.
  • Summer is in full swing!  Birthday season is just around the corner.  Camp necessities are slowly being purchased lest they break the budget in the knees.  I have already experienced, "I'm bored!!!!" on too many occasions.  The heat, oh the heat, is sweltering.  But, I'm lovin' every minute of it and I have already finished two books.
  • Erik gave me the green light to buy the remaining curriculum I needed.  I love Amazon with all my heart.  Clicking the checkout button makes me smile.  I love getting big boxes of school goodies.
  • I'm planning my life away for next school year.  Oh how I enjoy the planning.  I know that makes me a total nerd, but I love mapping out the school year.  It is so much more fun than trying to desperately to finish the map without killing the children in May.
  • Lilly's room has been decluttered and boxes and bags are in the corner of the living room waiting for somewhere to go.  The forced decluttering of Lilly's room prompted the other two girls to get their butts in gear lest Mom help them declutter too.  I HAVE THE POWER!  (Yes, it is only an illusion or maybe an elusion.)
  • I have the best in-laws in the world and I laugh at the rest of you. We have had a nice weekend of fellowship that was much like the fellowship of last week-but a bit happier since there was no funeral involved.  I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.  Fellowshipping with my side of the family is just so much harder (DRAMA!-not always, but often) and makes me appreciate the calm, comfortable fellowship that my in-laws provide.  It is an interesting study of contrasts.  I love both sides of our family and the juxtaposition makes for my children being VERY well-rounded.
  • Tomorrow is unplanned and fluid...I'll see how I feel when my eyes open in the morning and we will go from there.  Summer is very mood driven...and much to the dismay of my children, it is my mood that does the driving, literally AND figuratively.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Too Good Not to Post!

DIRECT QUOTE from The Daily Gut because this is so true, it made me a little weepy:

"So according to new research, today's college students are 40 percent less empathetic than kids their age thirty years ago. The students are now less likely to agree with statements like, "I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective," "I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me," and "Greg Gutfeld's new book, 'The Bible of Unspeakable Truths,' is supersexyawesome." But look, the study is half right. Empathy has taken a hit, but it hasn't evaporated -it's just been misplaced. Empathy has shifted from people who matter, to abstractions that don't. I blame parents and teachers who let toxic strains of feel-good self-esteem and phony sentimentality invade their homes and classrooms. The end result: people thinking it's cooler to care for strangers than their own families. It's okay to divorce your wife of twenty years, as long as you volunteer at the homeless shelter. You owe thousands in rent to your roommate, but no worries: you helped build a latrine in Peru. This new self-love created a driving hunger for recognition - and your caring soul lets you be a jerk to the people who matter. And now it's egged on by the web and it's infectious blanket of social networking - which creates an illusory sense of intimacy that was once sated by the real intimacy of a neighborhood. You have people paying more attention to a stranger across the globe, than their aging mother. Thank God her nurse isn't on Twitter, or granny would have no one to talk to. In the new egalitarianism,you must forget the concentric circles of real people around you. And you shouldn't love your parents more than any one else. And, really, why should your money go to feeding your offspring, when the world's a mess? We're all in this together! Even if I've never been to Greece. Although I loved "Mama Mia." And if you disagree with me, you're a racist homophobe made of cat poop."

Thursday, May 27, 2010


When I was about 15, I was pretty sure I knew everything.  Then I got my first job, as a dishwasher in a restaurant.  That job taught me I had much to learn.  I worked as much as a high schooler can possibly work and still go to school.  During summers, I worked that job plus a couple more.  I did not love to work, but I worked hard and loved the freedom that those jobs provided through income. 

At 18, I moved into my own apartment with a roommate.  This roommate was separated and DEFINITELY getting a divorce.  Almost, as soon as our lease was signed, she reconciled with her husband.  That really taught me I had alot more to learn!  I went to college full time and worked a full-time job.  It was very difficult but I really enjoyed my independence-probably a little too much.  I was a poster child for why 18-20 year olds need guidance and nurturing from the responsible adults in their life, even thought they think they don't!

At age 20-ish, I moved back home because I was really tired of working like a dog and still being broke and hungry.  I learned I was not very well prepared to be an independent woman.  I moved home, paid off credit cards, saved money, bought a more reliable car and got my house in order as much as my 20 year old self could.  My oh my did I think I knew it all then.  I was only beginning to learn some hard lessons.  I was, in fact, gaining wisdom.

Wisdom is what you have at the end of a battle with life when life not only wins, but completely kicks your backside.  By the time I was a little older, married with two children, I was pretty sure I was the smartest person on earth.  My wisdom was vast.  I was smarter than my husband, my family, and pretty much everyone I knew.  I strived to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife and the perfect Christian.  I worked to train my children and husband in how to be perfect as well.  I had many painful years of learning ahead!

I feel sorry for late 20-something Janice.  She was so delusional.  She was also maniacally controlling, abysmally unhappy and obsessed with keeping up appearances.  She had much to learn...much wisdom to gain.

So, here I sit at the ripe old age of 38.  I now know that trying to control other people is not only futile, but it can make you 3 shades of crazy.  I no longer try to keep up appearances sometimes not even my physical appearance, instead I am focused on being authentic-real-transparent.  I have learned that I will never be perfect-mom, christian,wife or anything else-and neither will anyone else AND that comforts me.

Wisdom acquisition is very interesting.  Having a little bit of it just makes you realize how much more there is to collect.  The more I know, the more I realize how little I know.  Right now, I feel like I have learned many lessons.  But mostly, I've learned that as soon as 6 months from now, I will marvel at just how much one can learn in 6 months.  I love this crazy roller coaster ride called life.  Sure there are exciting top of the hill moments and lose your stomach plunges, but it is never boring.  Each and every day brings a little more wisdom and I am so thankful because I don't need anything as much as I need more wisdom.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Summer Ti-i-i-i-me

Summertime, time, time,

Child, the livin's easy.

  Belt that out just like Janis Joplin, cause that is how I'm singing it.  Be thankful you aren't here to hear...I was not blessed with the gift of singing...but it's still fun to sing.  Come to think of it, Janis Joplin wasn't really blessed with a beautiful voice either.  Maybe that is why I like her, that and because we share the same name.  I can really clean house with Janis's greatest hits or some Meatloaf (Paradise by the Dashboard Light) playing for background music.

Lilly managed to finish up her work last Friday and we declared it our last day of school.  Thank goodness, I thought we were gonna end up with 200 days of school instead of the required 185(technically 175).  Now I get to spend the summer lazing, reading, and planning for next year.  We also tend to participate in most every summer activity we hear about.  The kids have camps and daycamps planned.  We will have playdates.  We will have days when we do not leave the house.  Let the good times roll...another song, life IS a song. 

There are many organizing and decluttering activities I have planned for today, so I need to go offline and work.  I will miss you, my internetties.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


I keep telling myself it is a good day.  We have had fun this afternoon.  We have visited with friends.  Lilly finished ALMOST all of her school work. I really have my fingers crossed for tomorrow being her last day of school but since I planned on the 13th, then the 18th, I am not setting a date anymore.  When the work is all done, school will be finished.  I predict that not all of my students will finish on the same day.

So why the bad day?  I am in full PMS mode for sure.  Grandma's visitation is tomorrow and the funeral Saturday, that is not something to look forward to.  Although, I should be celebrating a life instead of feeling so sad.  I'll try to get there, but for now I just miss her.  The next two days will be very difficult.  Tomorrow is also Erik's birthday...time marches on, doesn't it?

The weather is bad today-GRAY and raining-but my garden needed a good watering and then the sunshine that will follow it up.  We have lots of lettuce and spinach.  We have tiny baby squash and zucchini.  We have the beginnings of pea pods-but the kids usually nab those as soon as they mature and eat them on the spot.  That is why I plant them.

Tonight, I plan to hibernate and read.  I need a time out.  Thanks for allowing me to share my bad mood with you, hopefully it isn't contagious!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

James Dorothy Beard

Grandma went to be with God around 5 am this morning.  She slipped away peacefully in her sleep which is all we could hope for.  She had not been able to respond to us at all the last few days.  It made the few days before even more bittersweet.  I am so saddened by her passing, but at 95 years young, it felt selfish to pray for more time.  She lived a wonderful life.  She was a blessing and a handful.  She is loved and missed by 4 generations.  She was more my grandparent than any of my blood grandparents.  My kids adored her.

The first time she met me she greeted me with, "Oh, you're a big girl!"  This endeared her to me forevermore.  I had met a fellow lady with no filter.  The filterless must stick together, LOL.  I know in my heart she thought of me as family, not just married into it.  She was a delight to be around and she loved her family exclusively.  She liked other people OK, but her family was IT.  She did allow a few non-family members into her family...and it meant alot to have that distinction.  Her church family was just as important to her.  She went to every service except when she just absolutely could not-like when her back was broken.  She went at times when it was physically painful, because that is what you do. 

She said exactly what she thought-if you had gained weight, she noticed and told you that you were fat.  Then she offered you some cake and a coke.  She loved to call people a 'hussy' when she didn't like what they did.  I don't think she knew it wasn't a nice word until I told her.  She tried not to say it...unsuccessfully, I might add.  She called herself, 'the old lady that lived in the shoe' and collected all kinds of shoe knickknacks.  Until one day she announced-ENOUGH, no more shoes.  Now she wanted coca-cola stuff. 

She loved motorcycles and had memories of riding them when she was a young girl.  She was from the city and moved to the country when she got married.  She didn't love it.  She had a hard life in many ways, but she was always content and made up her mind to be happy.  As the girls and I cleaned for the last time the other day, my eyes watered alot.  She really had nothing fancy at all and she was content-she didn't want anything...except better hearing.  Health.  Visits from her family.  She spent Mother's Day surrounded by her three children that live here.  I am positive she spoke to her son, Roy in Texas, by phone.  Her house was filled with flowers, cards and presents.

She lived independently in her own home until this stroke.  She wanted to be independent.  She had some setbacks in the past few years, but she did return home to care for her own needs.  She was mom to 4 kids and grandma to, hmmm, a bunch, and great-grandma to, hmmm, a bunch and a great-great grandma as well.  She was our matriarch.  The glue that held all of our family functions together.  The holidays revolved around her.  Today is a very sad day for us still here, however, I know the angels are rejoicing to have her home.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Making Sense of Autism

I have been asked to review Part 1 and Part 2 of the award winning TV series entitled Making Sense of Autism.  It features Joni Earickson Tada of Joni and Friends TV

I read Joni when I was a pretty young girl and found her to be an amazing person.  I felt like a sniveling brat for ever complaining about anything.  I also realized just how lucky I was to be whole.   There are so many in the world who are crippled in some way, by birth or an accident.  I hope that if I were ever to be disabled that I could be as positive and influential for Christ as she is.

Through the Joni and Friends TV Series, Joni asks hard questions and tries to get to the bottom of the things.  In these two episodes, she tries to inform us what the myths are about autism and what we as churches and Christians can do.  One of the statistics thrown out is that 1 in 150 children is diagnosed with autism.  I had no idea the numbers were so high.  I also learned that very seldom are there ever two cases that present in the same way.  The patients run the gamut of low-functioning to very high functioning.  It is truly a baffling disease.

I was particularly interested in what the research says about what causes the disease.  To hear the media and many parent activists, you would think it is linked to immunizations-but there is not a shred of evidence that supports that theory.  The truth is, doctors and research specialists have no idea what the cause is or why some families are unaffected and other families have more than one child with autism.  It is truly a mystery disease and one that is beginning to gain momentum in other countries as the US.

I found this 2 part documentary to be very factual, compassionate and encouraging.  The episodes are each 28 minutes but also have bonus features.  There are two study guides, one for each part.

I am hoping to really bless someone who either faces autism in their own family or has a friend who would benefit from this 2 part series.  I am giving this DVD set away in hopes of spreading some accurate information about the reality of living with autism.  This would be a terrific thing for a small group/classroom study.

Just leave me a comment-any comment and I will put your name in the hat.  Feel free to link back here to my blog if you want to help spread the word about autism.  The drawing will be on Tuesday, May 18th.  I plan to let this post remain until then.

****Cheeseboy, it was close, but it looks like you win!!****

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Confessions of a Homeschooler

Some of you think that all homeschoolers are alike-cut from the same cloth, with that cloth being a denim jumper.  We are not all alike.  However, there are some things that seem to be 'normal' homeschool things.  Today, I will confess to you all the ways I break the rules.

  • My husband and children arise and call me blessed-as in bless her heart, she is still asleep.(For you non-southerners, all things that begin with bless her heart are insults.)  In other words, my children get up before I do.
  • All three of my children know how to cook because, while I don't mind serving them from time to time, my goal IS to work myself out of a job.  I'm not one to wait on my children and be thankful for the opportunity to serve.
  • I got my tubes tied after my third child.  I do not want to see just how many children the Lord wants to bless me with.  I believe the Lord allows medical advancements for birth control and I am happy about that.  ( I must confess though that I am awed by people who feel that way and maybe I am a tiny bit jealous...but it passes rather quickly.)
  • I do not own a denim jumper or even a denim skirt.
  • I do not make my own bread unless it is Schwan's frozen bread dough.  I buy wheat bread of any brand that is on sale.  I tried making my own bread and biscuits, I determined I am an excellent cook but no so hot at baking.
  • I strongly dislike Story of the World.  This is decidedly un-homeschoolmanlike.  It is loved by nearly every homeschooler in the world.
  • Ditto Saxon math.
  • I sometimes use public school used textbooks-on purpose.
  • I do not own any Cathy Duffy books.  I never have.  I browsed through one not too long ago-100 Top Picks for Homeschoolers.  A friend told me there was a test in there to see what kind of teacher you are and also what kind of students your kids are.  Yep, I already knew.
  • I do not limit my children's reading to historical fiction. (I do encourage it though!)
  • I allow them to read Harry Potter and other unapproved homeschool materials.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Every Mother's Day, I have a long held tradition of getting the moms and grandmas corsages.  When the tradition first started, I would get them for my girls too. I only got the girls one a couple of years and then I stopeed.   Then my dad and stepmom got a divorce and for a few years, I got her one still...then I started just getting her I don't do anything and have guilt over it.  I digress, this year I did not get one for my mom.  Last year I got her one but she has pretty much decided she is not able to go to church anymore and so she doesn't.  I also did not get myslef one.  Our church is very casula these days and it feels a little weird to wear a corsage and jeans or capris.

I DO still get them for Erik's mom and grandma.  Saturday was crazy busy and I wasn't sure I was even going to be able to get them bought and delivered-but I determined I would and it was worth every bit of juggling I had to do to do it.  So, Sunday night as we are visiting with Erik's mom, the phone rings.  Grandma had a stroke and the ambulance was on the way.  She is not doing well at all, isn't expected to wake up and at 95 we don't really want her to have to work so hard to recover back to normal.  My heart is broken because I love this woman like she is my own grandma.  I am so thankful that Saturday morning I delivered her a beautiful corsage(that she looks forward to, I might add), gave her a kiss and told her how much I love her.  She wore that flower proudly to church and as she visited with her children after.  Odds are good that it was her last Mother's Day and possibly her last time to go to church.  I tear up when I think I almost missed it because of 'busyness'.  Traditions are a very good thing.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Water Anyone?

Click the pic to see the graphic.  ( :
Presented by Online Education
The Facts About Bottled Water

Hat tip to

To Bless and Not Curse

There have been so many times in my life when I have not only NOT been a blessing to someone, I have been a curse.  It hurts me a lot to admit that.  It hurts to looks back over attitudes and actions and realize where I am flawed.  But if I am not honest with myself about it, how can I ever hope to change and be a better person.  Part of taking a fearless and moral inventory of my behavior is to buck up and take some of the blame for the things I have done/am currently doing wrong.  It is easier by far to sit back as the 'pot' and call the 'kettle' black.  I think The Bible refers to it as noticing the speck in your neighbor's eye before you notice the plank in your own.  Guilty, guilty, guilty.

However, I don't want it to just be a fresh wave of guilt for me, I want to be different.  I am on a path where life is finally getting better for me.  A path where I am responsible for my life.  No one can make me happy, but also, no one can ruin my life either.  People just shouldn't have that much power and control in another's life.  I used to think that relationships were all about finding the other half-be it a best friend or a spouse.  The person in the world who completes you like puzzle pieces fitting together.  Not only is that a load of crap but it produces load of crap thinking.  If someone is my 'other half', I will constantly be obsessed with how they behave because it is a reflection of me.  I will constantly be hoping I am still good enough to be their other half and that will feed my insecurities.

On the other hand, if two wholes come together, they can complement each other.  Steak and gravy, peanut butter and jelly, man and woman, spender and saver, high strung and low maintenance...things that are different and when they are together, they are still different but better.  Even if they are a rough fit, like people often are, they can still choose to bring out the good in one another.  They can build a life based on the separateness that calls for sacrifices sometimes, but not the type of sacrifice where you lose yourself.  In my life, I have always been willing to become what I needed to be to please the significant people in my life.  Of course, it has always sold me short for certain, but I don't think I ever fully grasped how short I was selling the other folks as well.  It feels good to know that my sacrifices these days are a choice without expectations-sacrifice, not martyrdom.  That I am still me when I make a sacrifice.  That I believe who God says I am, not the criticism of the day.

At 38 years of age, it feels good to know exactly who I am-flaws and all-and love myself.  The best blessing of all is that in loving myself...I am finally free to love others in a way that doesn't smother them or pressure them to make me happy.  AND THAT kind of love is a true blessing to give and receive.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Today I have the comfortable ache I have grown accustomed to.  The ache that means I went to aerobics the day before.  I keep thinking that I will get used to it and it will no longer make me sore.  However, day after day, week after week my muscles still ache.  So now I embrace the pain.  Befroe I started aerobics, I had different pain-my right knee hurt all the time and sometimes my left would join the chorus.  I have decided that pain is just part of almost every way.

I am having a good week, so far.  There have been many moments over the weekend that I was extremely proud to get to be the mom of these girls of mine.  It's like God knew I was at the end of my rope and feeling like a total failure as a mom.  He then gave me some tiny glimpses of what HIS girls are growing into.  Sometimes I forget and think they are merely an extension of me and forget that they are each their very own unique selves with God given gifts and plans for their lives.  I don't know why he decided to entrust them with me, but I feel confident they will turn out just fine, either with some guidance from me or despite guidance from me-not sure which one applies.  I think it varies from day to day.

Today, I am really working on getting some household chores done.  Mount Washmore is only a small mountain but all other chores are off the charts out of control.  I'm so pissed that this is how I spend all my free time excited to show love for my family by being a maid servant.

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Good Morning!

So far it is a good morning.  No one is dead yet.  We are all getting along as well as usual as we do the hard work of starting our day(week).  While I love Monday morning and getting our life back on track, my children do not feel the same at all.  They are pushed, pulled and shoved into the new school week.  Resistance is futile. 

I have big plans for the day.  Plans to accomplish much.  I probably need to get off ye old 'puter to make it happen.  Happy Monday to you.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Wow, what a weekend. I'm kind of tired. It's the good kind though. The kind where you are satisfied with the way your time has been spent. I have accomplished some things today, had fun, prioritized, and let a good many menial tasks go undone. (Laundry and dishes will be done right after this post. Other menial tasks will be postponed to another day.)

My oldest sister Sue Ann's child, Jason, will be 32 this October. His little brother, David, will be 29, I think...I should know this! I know I was 6 when Jason was born but I don't remember how old I was when David was born. (BAD AUNT!!!!) All these years later, there are the second round of grandkids. Linda's (my youngest older sister) child, Rayburn, will turn 15 tomorrow. He started something. He was so stinking cute(and of course fond were the memories of Jason and Dave) that before the year was finished I was pregnant with Erika. Before Erika could even get here, my sister Pam (one year younger than Sue Ann) (who swore she would have no children) was pregnant as well. So Rayburn is 15, in August Erika(mine)will be 14, Reed (Linda's)will be 12 in June, in July Kayla(mine) will be 13 and Quenton(Pam's) will be 14 in Lilly(mine) and Bethany(Pam's) will both be 9 this summer(June and September respectively). When did our children get so old? Jason has his own child(Noah, one and adorable) for goodness sakes!! I am a great aunt. AND, I don't mean that in the excellent way, which is certainly true, but in the my sister is a grandma way.

All this is on my mind today because Rayburn had a family birthday party today. It was nice, he is turning into a fine young man as are all my other nephews. We have seen our kids go from wild and crazy times...when they were toddlers that was a large group of toddlers to be actually being friends. They are not the best of friends because they pick on each other, but they have always been close and each year as maturity replaces immaturity, I see the good strong friendships that only cousins can have developing.

Since my dad is the youngest in his family and was a later in life surprise, we did not have 1st cousins our own age. Rather, our 2nd cousins were our age and most of them lived pretty far away. I hope my children realize just how blessed they are, especially in this day and age of people choosing few or no children. Family can absolutely drive you bonkers, but it also makes you rich in a way money never will. The events you share-holidays, reunions, milestones-are some of the most bonding moments.

I feel very blessed today.

Saturday, May 01, 2010


I have spent the last few days reflecting on something I have been taught my whole life:

Doing the right thing should come naturally (easily) to Christians.

To that I must say unabashedly...and with the same vigor as my high school history teacher...HOGWASH!

Doing what is right is not easy. I think I would have to say it is always harder than coasting along doing whatever you want. Thinking of others before yourself, following the teachings of Christ, forgiving people who wrong you, being honest and trustworthy, and generally living a life that IS making the choices that Christ made. AND, don't kid yourself, he WAS human and it was hard for him too.

I have had a very tough week. It has been tough to make some right choices in the face of other people not holding to the same principles. It would be easy to pat myself on the back and feel superior. EXCEPT for the fact that as many times as I may have gotten it right this week, I have gotten it wrong also.

This is a tough road we are traveling. It isn't a nice world we live in. People are hard to live with. I am hard to live with. I have spent the last few days being very thankful for grace and the forgiveness I receive that allows me to pass it on to other people...even when I don't wanna.