Monday, December 10, 2012

Hatch School Diaries - Entry Three

This morning it struck me that my favorite time of our homeschool day is the very beginning.  I procrastinate getting started every morning.  Need just one more cup of coffee.  Look through my plans.  Curl up under the quilt with the dog.  And finally realize we simply MUST get school started if we are to count it for a day.  So we gather on the couch.

And we pray.

At first we all went around saying things off the top of our heads.  The boys eventually ended up fighting over who got to go first because they tended to have the same prayers, but neither wanted to appear to be copying.  Now we say one thanksgiving, one plea for forgiveness, and one prayer.  So this morning, I was struck that despite all the hemming and hawing over starting our day, it really is one of the best parts of homeschool.  Today went as follows:

Patty -

Thanksgiving - A beautiful tree, home, and always for my family (I was looking at the tree all lit up just as we were starting.)
Forgiveness - Impatience and a lack of grace extended towards others
Prayer - Reminders of Christ's presence, guidance, and His love for those in need

Key -

Thanksgiving - Family and food (This prompted a talk about how a Liberian family we know of told our church that they eat when they have food; not when they are hungry.  We tried to imagine.)
Forgiveness - Being disobedient and disrespectful
Prayer - The military, Sadie our dog, and for a good day

Kelly -

Thanksgiving - Family, our dog Sadie, our tree (Kelly's favorite holiday by far is Christmas.  I cannot emphasize how much this kid loves all things Christmas.)
Forgiveness - Being mean to Key
Prayer - For the Liberian priest's family, and those going through bad lives, you know, those in darkness, Mom?

Last week we talked about Rwanda during prayer time.  It is the one point in the day when we take that pause to think outside ourselves, and we are grateful, and I would not have this if we weren't homeschooling.  Because of our prayer time each morning, I know my children's hearts like I have never known them before.  As much as we talked and I tried before homeschooling, being with my boys day in and day out changes things in a way I did not begin to picture.  I am truly grateful for this time with them. 

Oh, and we always end the prayer time with the Lord's Prayer.  (Vocabulary lesson for the day - why we say trespasses and why Presbyterians say debts.  We've been attending a Presbyterian Church.  Stepping out of our box.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Yesterday I got up early, well, for me anyway, and went to the center where they squish your breasts and take pictures.  This being my first time and all, I was understandably nervous.  But once I got there, had the courage to drive over and walk through those glass doors, I was greeted by women.  That got it.  That knew this was my first time, and showed me kindness and grace.  And the nurse, she told me she knew what it was like to be me, because she had been in my spot.  Had gotten this same test done.  Had gotten the results that said come back.  Knew how I felt.  Her test had turned out fine in the end.  But her sister, well now, she had been battling cancer spreading for eleven years now.  When the sister first found out, she prayed to see her daughter graduate.  Now that daughter is twenty six and getting ready to graduate.  For good.  So the sister is nervous about the answered prayer that has been honored all these eleven years. Is it all, this fight, going to end?  I told my nurse that God answers so much more abundantly than what we even know to ask for.  Who knows the days on Earth or hairs on her sister's head?  And she said yes. 

The sister has survived with this cancer ridden body for so long because of experimental testing and drugs.  She has been the guinea pig for any study they accept her to.  Her reason?  If they can learn something from her own struggles, it might help her daughter one day.  So she keeps signing up and she keeps pressing on.  I ask my nurse if her sister has had quality in those eleven years?  And she said yes.

The weight has come and gone and come and gone.  Along with the hair.  But most of the time, yes, it has been good.  Not easy.  Worth it.

I got back in my car and I started driving home, and suddenly tears sprang up, and I couldn't figure out why.  Until I thought back and I realized how many women have died being the help for the next woman to fight the fight.  Never before had it struck me so intimately how much these women sacrifice so that I can have the better chance, the better treatment, the better quality drugs.  So to all those that fight in any form - not just for second base:) - thank you.  Truly.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hatch School Diaries - Entry Two

My laundry had overtaken the hallway, so it just gets even dirtier as the temporary backdoor floor mat.  The bed is unmade and the clock reads  My dining room is school central, hence any entertaining is done in the kitchen until further notice or college acceptance.  I have hung exactly one picture in my whole house and three windows are still uncovered for all peeping toms interested. 

I absolutely love homeschool.  Love it.  I keep asking Key if he is getting more out of school now, and then I look at him waiting for what has a correct answer.  He figured that trick out early, so he always says that why yes, homeschool is much more indepth in its learning.  I have no idea what the true answer is, but I do know that we feel productive, and so far this is what we have accomplished:

In 28 days we have.......

Kelly -
Learned to read simple books
Gets the hang of word families with short vowel sounds. 
Finished twenty pages of phonics
Read seven books in whole on his own
Completed box one of The Bob Books
Made 40 or 50 word flashcards which he practices several times a week
Copied page after page of words, sentences, dates, and favorites stories
Currently copying his reader b/c Key copied the Declaration of Independence (Kelly cannot be outdone)
Finished fifty math lessons
Made flashcards for addition facts through his twos
Listened to lots of history books
Listened to Johnny Tremain on CD
Illustrated 11 out of the 13 episodes of The Revolution on Netflix
Dictated four pages of knowledge about the colonists
Labeled our map of the 13 colonies
Dated the first half of our timeline for the Rev. War
Helped make Johnny cakes
Designed a farm out of building blocks
Visited Brattonsville
Visited Augusta's Rev. War sites, including George Walton's house
Designed and created a boat out of recycled materials
And that's off the top of my head.

Key -
Read Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
Read Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
Read Indian Captive by I can't remember
Completed two of the three book reports
Tested out of or completed 45 math lessons
Practiced math facts
Played on Khan Academy
Copied the Declaration of Independence
Learned how to diagram subjects, predicates, predicate nominatives, and articles
Written a blog entry on his knowledge of colonial life
Taken notes for 11 of the 13 episodes of The Revolution on Netflix
Listened to lots of history books
Read lots of history books
Described events for the first half of our timeline for the Rev. War
Visited Brattonsville
Visited Augusta's Rev. War sites, including George Walton's house
Designed and created a boat out of recycled materials
And that's also just off the top of my head.

But what's even bigger than all that stuff I listed, is that at the heart of this adventure, we are getting to know each other.  I know so much more about their learning styles, what makes them click, how beautifully they are becoming young men, what frightens them, what their desires are, what they pray about, who they have become and how much I hadn't noticed until now.  I am finding also how much I do not know about so many things, and I am learning with excitement and anticipation about math and science and history.  Our world is fascinating and until now I had not taken the time to truly explore it.  And wow!

What is hardest is letting go of public school and all its trappings.  Its standards and its resources and its schedule and its order.  Those things feel safe, but outside that safety is this experience that our family is living into.  Today we looked through their yearbook from last year.  I miss those kids and those people.  But I don't miss that day.  The one that starts early and frantic and stressful and involves me turning the boys over to others and exhaustion by Thursday afternoon.  So letting go is my theme.  And it is harder than just the physical act of walking away.  I am, in essence, deschooling my brain. 

But homeschooling/ unschooling/ schooling is turning out to be one of God's greatest blessings to me so far.  We'll reevaluate come those long cold days of February:)....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Hatch School Diaries - First entry

For those of you that said you wished you could be a fly on the wall of my house when I announced our decision to homeschool....

The Hatch School Diaries

We have logged thirteen days, (we need 180 each year) and none have been exactly the same, but generally, for those curious, a homeschool day so far goes as follows:

9am - We begin.  Breakfast has been eaten, beds made, teeth brushed.  I have had at least one cup of coffee and possibly taken a walk.  Possibly.

We meet at the dining room table and start with prayers.  All of us take turns offering up our praises and requests, then we recite the Lord's Prayer or I say a simple prayer to get us moving.  (I had to put a stop to the daily request for more Legos.  That was my little Kelly's constant heart's desire.)

After prayers, math is first; This just felt natural to all of us.  At 10 o'clock we take a short break, then move into language and reading.  That carries us until noonish.  Break.  I make lunch and they go run around outside, do their soccer drills, or play legos.

By 1pm we are sitting in the living room where we listen to a book on cd that Key is reading.  It relates to our history unit, so Kelly gets information from listening as well.  Then on to history, which is currently colonial times and the Revolutionary War.  They have assignments to do and I assist with each as needed.  Around three we tie things up and turn our house back into a dining room and living room.  I have a closet, a big wooden tray, a stack of books, and a portable bin to help us attempt at containing clutter. 

I collected my school lessons from a variety of places - stores, used book sales, friends, and online.  I have found tons of great resources are free on the computer once I get to digging.  The library has become a staple for us at least once a week.  I chose various curriculum from advice of friends, teachers, and veteran homeschoolers.  Some of it I like; some of it is getting scrapped as soon as I find a better alternative. 

For the social aspect and special interest classes, we have lots of options.  There are two support groups here in town and four total in my county alone.  I haven't researched them to tell you details, but some do play dates, field trips, etc.  Some do weekly teaching co-ops and prayer groups.  We will pick one eventually.  The boys both play soccer and are out at the fields four or five days a week.  We have neighbors with children, and we have friends from school last year that have made a point of coming over to visit.  For music and art, those will be incorporated into their education as we get more comfortable.  So far they have been listening to Bach during math, and will read about him this week.  I also have planned crafts for both of them, but for truly educational art, we will probably do more further into fall. 

Also, you'll notice I have left out science.  No worries.  I decided to try concentrating on either history or science, but not both at the same time.  So first a history unit, then a science unit.  The two overlap at times and we will certainly let that happen naturally.  For the year we have four units for each subject ahead of us, and the Revolutionary War unit has proven fascinating.  Next up will be a unit focusing on biology.

If you ask the boys, they are happy - really, and while I am a bit overwhelmed with all to be done, I love having the time with my children.  I know not everyone has this opportunity, and I am grateful a million times a day for mine. 

And p.s. - It is wonderful, but we are not perfect.  Things go differently than planned all the time.  Today we made Johnny Cakes for afternoon snacks, and I just about set off all the smoke alarms.

Any more questions?  Ask away!  I'll try to answer all that I can.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Worshipping Air

We moved.  To the most precious town this side of heaven.  Sorry, I know that's cheesy, but we are still the newbies and are completely enamored with the growing season and the farms and the food and the people here.  My new favorite person is this little old lady with dentures that I met at church last Sunday that told me if I sat next to her at the potluck, she promised I wouldn't leave wonderin'.  Town is a five minute walk and farm country is a one minute drive in the opposite direction.  We are the third to last house before the sidewalk ends, so either way, you get to go somewhere.  And it really is beautiful here.  Green.  Trees.  Flowers.  Interesting historic homes with porches.  Southern homes.  Old trucks.  New trucks.  Lots of trucks.  Churches.  One two doors down and across the street and one on the other side of the neighbors on the right.  And land.  Land in every direction, just about.  You could call it God's country, could easily hear Him breathing there.

So...Yesterday I was driving home in my newly repaired vehicle through a not so attractive part of a city near us.  We go to the city for big stuff and for things like a CarMax car warranty.  So when we hit it, the edge of the city, and we kept driving in, my oldest leaned forward. 

And he said. 

Mom, we don't fit here.  And it is, I don't know.  Just.  I don't fit.

And what he meant was that the place was run down and ugly and tumbling and had weeds all over but no trees and lots of empty strips of stores ran together and it just looked like a place of little hope.

Made me appreciate our new home and big yard and the tree lined sidewalk into town.  A place where my boys can roam and wrestle with the neighbor's dogs and swing on ropes hanging from trees.  A place that for us, offers new hope after a long hard haul.

And then, I thought of a dinner we went to once where I had to explain God to a group of Hindu women.  And they told me about the Catholics in India that were surely more serious than me.  They worshipped nothing.  No statue or picture of their God.  They worshipped air.


And I thought, God, He floats even in a place looking like little to no hope.  In places where a picture or a statue or a fancy replica would not belong.

May not be my version of heaven.  My pretty new house with my quiet corner and grass growing in the proper places.  My place to breathe Him in.

But God, well, He still floats there.  Just on the edge of the city.

Just like He floats near me.

(And He floats in India too.)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Settling in York - hopefully

Helen of Troy and Joey of Friends (Troy and Joey) are cutting through the side of my current residence.  I can feel the vibrations of the saw on my feet as I sit inside my hopefully permanent home.  And oh, how I pray this is it.  We really like it here.  No more moving from house to house, touring the potential of places but not seeing it all into actual reality.  We want to get to stay to use this house.  Fit into it.  Pare down our things.  Make it simple, uncluttered (except for the boys' rooms), beautiful.  Our new beginning in this old city. 

This house sits in downtown York.  Besides moving home to be near Mom and Dad, York is the best place on Earth.  At least, for me it is.  We can walk everywhere if we want, or we can drive and get there faster.  A trip across town?  Five minutes.  Fifteen walking.  Restaurants (a chicken BLT pita slathered in ranch dressing to die for), a theatre, flowers, gifts, outdoor store, antiques, churches, etc., all just down the street.  A very pretty street, at that.

And how could I not mention Walmart, one of only two choices for groceries?  Walmart?  Why yes please.  Boys got their haircut there just yesterday while we talked to the sweetest young couple that had come into the city from Hickory Grove, a place too small for its own stoplight, much less its own Walmart.  When we left, I saw them walking around the store still holding hands.  Ahh, you have to love Walmart and young love.  (I would like to find a local barber in support of small business, but Miss Ann at the Smartstyles captured my boys' attention, so we may be going to Walmart for awhile longer.)

And the people.  Oh, so welcoming.  So kind.  So willing to let us make York our home.  We haven't found that everywhere.  Feeling accepted so early on truly is a blessing not all towns give.  Our neighbors?  Two Texas ladies with British accents in the big yellow house on the left and a family with their three youngest out of twelve still living at home on the right.  The ones on the right cut our grass and feed our kids almost every day.  I'm going to have to go back to Walmart soon to restock their juice box fridge they leave open on their porch.  (I told my boys not to go up there without permission, but Miss Debbie told them to have all they want, so you can guess who they keep listening to.) 

So, back to you, Helen of Troy and Joey of Friends, please do a good job on that side of my house so that we (being Michael) can actually buy it once and for all.  Like I have said already, I really like it here.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our life since the move....


1.  Eden Terrace house, aka rental home - Needs WAY too much work to make it a reasonable investment.  So a BIG no. 

Must find a new home....

2.  Bethelfields new build neighborhood - Cannot find lot that will fit house that fits our needs.  Fizzles out.

3.  Hunter's Place foreclosure - Shifty real estate agents on both sides kills the deal.

Hired new real estate agents and tried again.  Still shiftiness from other side, so no go.

4.  Millcreek Falls new build - Dishonest sales agent that price gouges.  No deal.

5.  Peaceful Creek foreclosure - Bank unwilling to negotiate.  Nope.

6.  River Hills foreclosure - Beautiful, but again, bank unwilling to negotiate.  Finished.

7.  River Hills estate sale - Good deal, but horrible inspection, and two closings costs for a renovation loan.  Over budget.  Gone.

8.  Peaceful Creek foreclosure take two - Price fell, so put in our offer.  Again.  Bidding war.  Denied.  No accepted.  Too much running us around.  Nadda.

9.  Lynwood Dr. Judge's house - Owner financing that really just meant we pay down their mortgage until they get back on their feet, then they sell the house at a premium.  Bad financial conditions.  No.

10.  Current deal, the Congress St. house - Postponed closing and move date four times, bad inspection, shady real estate agent/ seller/ contractor try to cover up problems, caught in lies, new contractor, more inspections, and a last minute prayer.  If repaired correctly, it is to finally be our new house.

Searching for a home has taken over a year and lots of money.  Lots of inspections. 

Silver lining = I know this county better than the average citizen, and I've seen the insides of all those homes people wonder about.

Very tired.

Whole family emotionally drained.


School = Wrong educational choice for us, but good teachers, and we all made friends.  Mixed bag of tears and blessings.

Starting homeschool this August as result.


Soccer Club one = Disaster.  Emotionally exhausting, bad training, unhappy and miserable child.  Must switch to...

Soccer Club two = Successful spring season.  Good new friends.  Team falls apart for next year, so...

Soccer Club three = Potential fit.  Time will tell.


Church One = Differing views on lots of things.

Keep searching...

Church two and Church three = Nice services, but still on a search.  Long drive and out of our community.  Too difficult to participate.

Church four = Again, far away, but possibly worth it.  And....nope.  Too far from future home.  No ability to participate.

Church search stopped until we find a home = No church for quite a while.  Lots of sleeping in, but lots of struggling with prayer and faith.


Michael's job = SUCCESS!!  Thank you Jesus!  At least we got one thing right first time around!  Of course this is our third town from job changes, so maybe third time's a charm is a better statement for this one.


Supposed to move this coming Saturday, but the repairs are to be finished a mere two hours before closing on Friday, so we could easily end up in a short term storage and corporate housing complex while we continue our quest for a home. 


Prayers would be much appreciated.

**The above year is the reason this blog is on life support.**

Thursday, May 31, 2012

To the teachers

This is to all the folks out there that I didn't talk to before school ended and to all those I did.

Thank you. 

My children thank you too. 

It's hard being new, and you made it just a bit better for the boys.  You made our mornings tear free.  And that's big.  You made the idea of school ending a little bitter sweet.  You made them smile each day for 185 days. 

You loved them.

You taught them.

And for that, again, thank you.

And to all the others that make a school run, a big thank you to y'all as well.  For every note they carried to the office and were greeted warmly, thank you.  For making paperwork easy, THANK YOU!  For caring about the kiddos enough to learn their names - all 700 of them - thank you. 

And to Gordon and Chad, my kids never knew keeping care of a place could be so cool until they met you.  All of us mommas should be shouting thank you for that lesson right there. Thank you for every bag of trash you carried and every high five you gave and every laugh you drew out of those little ones.  They love you.  They truly do.

So, to all, again, thank you.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Days 20-21: Miracles, Miracles everywhere

Do you believe in miracles?  Have you ever heard God's voice?  Has there ever been a moment when the unexpected practically drops you to your knees in wonder and gratefulness?

I love days like that.

It used to be, these things happened, but I must have brushed them off as coincidence and luck.  I think I am just becoming less blind in my older age.  Thicker glasses.  More awareness of my inability to truly control a darn thing.  Enough stuff that I've survived to have an acute awareness of my need for community.  Mainly of my need for Christ.  And my desire to be good friends with Him.  It's the friendship that makes Him easier to hear. 

So...Two days ago, on the same day I found out about sweet teacher, my husband had to take our old car to the shop.  For a new transmission.

We have been saving up to buy a house, and had just put an offer on house number five.  Houses one thru four fell through.  So point being, as we are waiting to hear about buying said house, our car starts begging for some attention.  This would not be the month or season we want to have to pay attention to old car.

Well...Between the car and the house, I called good friend to ask what God might be thinking?  Had he, perhaps, let her know and just not told me?  She didn't have a clue either, but she also told me about sweet teacher.

And that just ruins my day a little bit more...I mean seriously?  Why? 

I love sweet teacher, as you know.

And....wait....heres the good stuff.

God finally decides I have waited long enough.  No more torturing me with my own pit of wallowing self pity and doubt.  (And, yes, I know I made that pit all by myself...)

Husband calls.  The car shop decided to hook up old car to the computer, found a transmission leak, fixed it, and filled up the fluids.  For free.  But only if we come back in a week so they can check it again to make sure we are safe.

Real estate agent calls three hours later.  We got house number five.  No counter offer.  Just - we got it. 

Twenty four hours later, friend texts.  Sweet teacher is sitting up and eating.  Going to make a full recovery.  Doctor is still in awe, because he has never known another in his whole career to survive the rare stroke sweet teacher endured.  Never.

So, Praise Jesus.  Praise God.  Praise the Spirit.

I really do love miracles. 

And... my thicker glasses are pretty cool too.

Matthew 13:16

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 19: Sweet Teacher

Dust to dust, and between the dustings, we are to be Jesus to each other.  I wrote something similar last year at Lent, and that has stuck with me, turning round and round in my head, and popping back to the forefront from time to time. 

This morning I found out that a sweet, vibrant, young teacher in my boys' school suffered two strokes yesterday that may indeed take her life.  She is being held here with life support for the moment.  She is much younger than me and single, her whole life supposedly ahead of her.

Yet we cannot know God's plans.  We cannot know our time.  And we cannot separate ourselves from death, try as we might.  If I wanted to, I could ask about sweet teacher's family genetic history or health issues that could differentiate me from her.  Show why she might die that I live to see today.

But I would be fooling myself.

There is no difference from me to her.  From you to me.  The one certainty of life is death.  In this we are not separate, but together.

Yesterday I heard the question posed that usurps all other questions. 

What do others think you feel for them? 
a.  They know I love them.
b.  They think I care about them.
c.  They think I do not care.
d.  They think I hate them.

The only correct answer is a.  It is the only one that truly shows our neighbors, our family, our friends, and even our enemies, Jesus.

If I am honest with myself, there are probably more people in the b, c, and even d category than are in the a category.  And it makes me pause to wonder what I have been doing between these dustings of mine.

So, it stands to question, that between sweet teacher's dustings, was I ever Jesus for her?  Even for a moment?

I pray today for her.  For her family.  I pray her world is filled with a's, and I pray that wherever she journeys, she knows it.

And this is His command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.  Those who obey his commands live in him and he in them.  And this is how we know that he lives in us:  We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
I John 3:23-24

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Day 12: Hymn - Give Thanks

Give Thanks

by Henry Smith

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
give thanks to the Holy One,
give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son.

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
give thanks to the Holy One,
give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son.

And now,
let the weak say "I am strong."
 Let the the poor say "I am rich"
because of what the Lord has dome for us.

And now,
let the weak say "I am strong."
Let the poor say "I am rich"
because of what the Lord has done for us.

Give thanks.
Give thanks.
Give thanks.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Day 11: Laying on of hands

Sunday we went to church.

We heard a sermon.

We prayed.

We took communion.

And then.

My favorite part of the service comes right after communion.  Everybody is singing praise music and the priest stands front and center.  He holds this little vial of what appears to be lip balm.  It's really an ointment he rubs on the forehead of a person wanting healing or prayer - not actually lip balm.  He doesn't say a thing.  Doesn't have to.  No altar call.  No nothing.  Just standing there, people flock to the front and lay hands on each other and gather in a mass, heads bowed, all praying for each other.

I play the role of spectator each week, being that I think if I stood up to walk down front I would be way too self concious that everybody in the room would be staring at me wondering what is wrong that I would need healing.  It is what I wonder about everybody already up at the front.  Of course, I am not noticing their panty lines or whether their shoes match like I am so concerned that they would notice with me.  So, every week I sit and watch and pray.  Usually I get teary eyed because it is such a touching scene, and there is always some sweet child up there with his hands on an older person's back.  Seeing those little fingers reaching up out of that mass of people always gets me.  Just does, and I can't help it.

So there I am, spectating like usual, and I feel a little hand.  Right on my shoulder.  I look over, and there is my little Kelly being Jesus to me.  He can tell without words that I love the healing and that I am not about to walk up front no matter what.  And so, he lays hands on me right where I am.  Right there in our seats.  I ask Kelly if he wants me to pray with him, and he just nods yes.

And so we did, Kelly laying hands on me and me praying for him. 

Sweetest thing of my whole darn day...

Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Acts 13:3


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Days 7 - 10

Dear friends,

When I committed to write every day, I thought it would be like last time.  Difficult, but doable.  Highly motivating in my reconnection with God.

Instead, it has been sporadic and difficult and a bit short of doable.  And on days, such as today, when I have the time and inclination and access to my computer (my main hurdle this week), I feel nothing useful to share.

But I have felt God around me.  And I have seen Him all week in others.

Wednesday I found out that the bible teacher is planning to teach one more year while he plans to move to Azeria.  I think that's the place.  It is in the middle east.  Of the continent, not the U.S.  Moving to the middle eastern U.S. wouldn't be cause for concern.  But the middle east next to Iran and a bunch of other muslim countries that don't particularly like us a whole lot?  Much more need for prayer and preparation.  He and his wife and his infant daughter will be going as missionaries.  I find that particular life choice to be quite daring, and I have realized that while I can pray and collect stuff and send care packages and dollar bills, I am not a drop everything and go kind of gal.  Luckily, the Lord has use for all of us.

Thursday I had the pleasure of helping friends work out differences before they started solving issues with fists.  And, being I was teaching third grade, I had the surprise of being told that one child was explaining S.E.X. to the other children in the class.  One boy was upset at such a word, and while he admitted he wasn't sure what that word meant, he wanted me to make the others stop talking about it.  Apparently one girl's parents had decided to have "the talk" with her, and she felt inclined to share her newfound knowledge with the rest of the third grade during lunch.

Friday I got to join the fifth grade once again, and since I have been with these students a few times, we really did have a fun day together.  They are at that awkward stage where they are preparing to grow up soon, and they roll their eyes at me while asking me to pray for their pet dog that has a cold the next.  I love fifth grade.

And all throughout this week, my husband and I have tried, in vain, to buy a house, and my kids have had endless soccer lessons.  None of us has been home, and I think the kids have worn the same t shirt for three days now.

But we're happy.  We have prayed together.  We are leaving our future in Christ's hands.  And we get to go to church tomorrow for the first time in four or five weeks.

So, there's an update on Lent.  I pray in all of your daily journeys, Christ is meeting you. 

Love and blessings,


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day 6: Bullies

I have been too angry to write.  Hence, the real truth for the sporadic Lenten writings thus far.

The thing I gave up for Lent last year has all but consumed my Lent this year.

And all the anger started on Ash Wednesday.

I have felt very much attacked by Satan.

So, today, I chose to read from my devotional bible in the hopes that I could find something to give me perspective on bullies.  Because it is bullies in various forms that have stoked my anger.  Bullying that is completely unjust and unfair and yet still allowed to continue that has caused me to fester with indignation.

Therefore, today, finally, I needed to know. 

How does God deal with bullies?

Please, God, tell me you can't stand bullies.

And this is what I found:

Nahum - Just the whole darn book

I could summarize it here for you, but it really is such a good read.  And humbling too.  Makes me take stock that I can put my trust in Him.  Makes me realize how long I have taken to turn to Him in all of this...

Nahum 1:3 

The Lord is slow to anger and great in power;
the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
and clouds are the dust of his feet.

You really need to get out your bible and read the rest.

It's good stuff, I tell you.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 5

It is Monday night, and I have writer's block.  So, tonight, I just pray for each of us, that we sleep well in God's hands and wake to do His work.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 4: Wading in the Water

Two days ago I posted the words of an old spiritual.

Wade in the water 'cause God's goin' to trouble the water.

I feel like I have been walking alongside the river bank, thinking for a long time about jumping in that water.  I've been looking and thinking and looking again.  I keep trying to figure the best way to get in that water.  Do I jump in?  Do I tiptoe?  Do I go get friends to walk in with me or do I get in when no one's looking?  How on Earth do I get in that river safely?  And am I walking between two rivers and need to choose one, or is all the water in just one river?  What if I get in, and God troublin' the water means a current too strong for me?  If I get in, can I get back out?  And is wading meaning just gettin' in up to my knees or do I need the proper suit for all this wading?  I am at a point of crisis in my inability to get wet.  

And, in the meantime, God's gettin' all worked up.  So much so that He's just decided to start shaking the ground beneath my feet.  Just shake me right into that water.  And here I am, still standing on the edge, looking at my reflection in that water, trying to keep my balance til I figure out how to get in.  How to get in and introduce myself to the reflection looking back at me. 

So today, I pray that God will go easy on me.  Show me the way into that water.  Clothe me in the proper suit for such an adventure.  Give me the strength to survive the current.  Help me find the joy in gettin' wet.  Love me enough to keep shakin' that ground...  Protect me when I eventually just fall on in...


Day 3: Journey

I need to apologize to all for not writing yesterday.  I have several very good excuses for not writing, but in the end, I did not write.  And I promised to write.  And so, I am sorry.

However, this Lenten exercise is a journey.  Christ knows we will fail in our attempts to be like Him.  It is the whole reason He himself journeyed to the cross.  For our failures. 

So, instead of giving up on day three because I did not follow through on my promise, I am here.  Asking for forgiveness, recognizing my struggles, and moving forward. 

I continue on....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day 2

Wade in the water.
Wade in the water, children.
Wade in the water 'cause God's goin' to trouble the water.

Wade in the water.
Wade in the water, children.
Wade in the water 'cause God's goin' to trouble the water.

See that band all dressed in white, God's goin' trouble the water,
the leader looks like the Israelites, God's goin' trouble the water.

See that band all dressed in red, God's goin' trouble the water;
looks like the band that Moses led, God's goin' trouble the water.

 - an old spiritual

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday 2012: Day 1

Luckily, this year I did not give up anger.  If that had happened, I would have already failed miserably at Lent.  Instead, I took up praying - which, between cursing under my breath, I have made half ditch efforts to do today - and writing.

With this shoot bang start to Lent, I declare the word work for the day is abundance.  Friendships do not need be either or.  Christ offers His grace to us all - even our enemies.  Love does not have to be only when it's easy.  Christ loves us - even when we don't follow His rules.  Forgiveness is not a finite number.  He forgives us over and over and over again.  And so, His abundance should overflow out of us and into this world.  Should.  It's just that sometimes this abundance smells a bit like responsibility, and we tend to shy away from such odors.  And in our selfishness and our inability to let our cup run over, we cause hurt and loneliness and anger.  We become unable to see the abundance constantly shed on us.  We become blind.

So today, I am reminding myself that God is abundant.  Abundant enough to give us His son.  Abundant enough to love us when we loved Him.  Abundant enough to love us when we hated Him.  Abundant enough to keep forgiving us no matter what.  Abundant enough to grace us with blessings through all of it.  Abundant enough to be enough.  Just enough.  More than enough.  Enough to flow over.  Overflowing abundance.


And the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners - of whom I am the foremost.  But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost,Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to beleive in him for eternal life.  To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen.

I Timothy 1:14-17

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's that time again: Lenten planning

Lent is coming.  It's a time for contemplation and sacrifice.  It's a time of patience.  It's that time in the dreary days of the end of winter when the cold weather is no longer a novelty and overcast days just make a person care that much less about wearing pajamas in public.  Everything feels gray and gray seems to have no ending.  Any snow on the ground is brown.  That is when Lent, a time of penitence, rolls in. 

Wierdly, it is usually my favorite time of the church calendar, because there are many deeply enriching traditions in my faith that go with the season.  Pancake suppers, ashes in the shape of a cross on the forehead, sacrifice, devotionals, Wednesday soup dinners, Bible study, palms branches and singing, stripping of the Cross, foot washings, Seder meals, stations of the Cross, candlelight mass, a break the fast party, and then glorious Easter Sunday.  All that crammed into forty six days.

However, this year I am not feeling it.  We are a soccer family, and soccer games keep falling on Sunday.  We are emptying ourselves and struggling to fill ourselves back up.  I frankly feel a bit unmotivated and a bit downtrodden trying to be Christ like when I'm not even going to church to get reminded again why I need to behave like Christ.  Which makes me realize that this year more than ever, I need Lent.

Last year, we gave up anger and shopping, and I wrote here for forty days.  This year I don't feel strong enough to give up anger and shopping, and though yes, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, I'm still not up to it.

So here's this year's plan:

1.  We will have nightly devotionals as a family.
2.  I will again share daily on my blog for forty days.  (This means Sunday is still a day of rest.)
3.  I will pray.
4.  We will give up meat on Fridays.  Sushi is just considered bait in York County, SC, so we might have some on the occasional Friday....

***Please feel free to join us in any or all of our journey this year.***

Cupcakes - The good ones

Last week I got to substitute in a third grade class.  And it was a birthday day.  And the kid whose birthday day it was had the kind of mom that brings cupcakes from the special bakery to school with the good juice boxes and little plates and napkins and even a balloon for the birthday boy.  And we all got to participate.  And the birthday boy got to stand up in the middle of the lunch room while we all sang the birthday song. 

The cupcakes were delicious.  The birthday boy - pleased as punch with all of the attention.  The other kids - excited to get the good cupcakes with lots of icing.  The parents of the birthday boy - sweet as could be and beaming proudly at their son.  Me - thrilled to be included.

And then comes the best, bitter sweet moment of the whole scene.  The class lines up to go back to class, and as we are walking away, I hear this child lean forward and say to the birthday boy, "You know the only reason your mom did all of that for you is because you are an only.  If you had brothers or sisters, she wouldn't do all that.  She wouldn't have time."

And the birthday boy, a bit surprised, said back, "Yes she would.  Why wouldn't she?  She'd love them just like she does me."

And the other one, "Nope.  Once there's more than one, your parents don't do all that.  It's too much to do."

And I thought, he's right.  What he states is true.  It is too much for us to accomplish when we have to spread ourselves around.  There's only so much of us and only so much time.

But God, well, this is what makes Him so incredible.  He can do it all for all of us, and He can do it abundantly.  And that just makes me smile.