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Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Franciscan Benediction

I found a portion of the following today when visiting THIS blog. A google search brought it up in it's entirity:

A Franciscan Benediction
May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.

May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

An Old Dog Learning New Tricks

In this case I'm the old dog, and the trick I am trying to learn is to learn a new language at the ripe old age of almost 40( I still have another month or so!)

Experts always warn that the best time to learn a second language is before the age of five or so. But, I don't think my parents ever had any reason to think I would need to learn Haitian Creole.

One of my favorite language programs is Rosetta Stone, but unfortunately, they don't have a Haitian Creole program. Unfortunately, not many of the bigger named programs do.

I did find Logos Language Institute which offers several languages all reasonably priced. I am happy with my purchase and the method which is a book and CD. But at this time they only have the introductory level available which is very, very, basic.

Yesterday, I was very pleased to find byki which offers FREE downloads of several languages. I tried it right away and was VERY impressed! If you are interested in learning another language, or are a homeschooler looking for a basic program for your children, check this one out!

The free download is a series of word and phrase lists on flash cards. After you have time to review them, there is a variety of ways to learn them. Front and back of cards, then they flash the word in English and you write it in the language you are learning, in my case Haitian Creole. A little easier is the word flashed in Haitian and you write it in English. My only complaint about this part is it is VERY picky about how you write it, including capital letters and punctuation. But there is a way around this. If you have the word right but didn't include a period or whatever, and they tell you it is wrong, they give you three options, to accept your answer this one time, to always accept this answer, or....oh gosh, I forgot what the third was, but I usually opt for the second option.

There is an extended version you can purchase for around forty dollars, which I may do as money permits. The free version is good enough to get started on for any beginner to a language and you can always buy the extended version later.


I would like to start my school aged children on the Spanish version soon, and am curious to see if it will allow me to download two free versions or not. I will let you know, as I know there are many homeschoolers that have many children who each may want to learn different second languages.

Overall, especially considering the price, I give this one high marks! In my case, not only the price, but the fact it is one of the few programs out there offering Haitian Creole, it gets even higher marks!

Famous Homeschoolers

I copied this list from the Teaching Home Newsletter.

Stacy Conradt wrote "10 Famous Homeschooled People" for Mental Floss magazine. Her list includes the following people, four of whom were taught by their fathers.
1. Agatha Christie, a painfully shy girl.
2. Pearl S. Buck, whose mother taught her English in China.
3. Alexander Graham Bell, homeschooled by his mother until he was about 10.
4. Thomas Edison, who would probably be diagnosed with ADD today, was homeschooled by his mother after three months of public school because his mind wouldn't stop wandering.
5. Ansel Adams was homeschooled by his father after being removed from the classroom at the age of 12.
6. Robert Frost, who got literally sick of school.
7. Woodrow Wilson, who studied under his dad and didn't read until age 12.
8. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who was educated by his father while touring Europe.
9. Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was homeschooled until her parents settled in the Dakota Territory.
10. Louisa May Alcott, who studied mostly with her dad.
Hat tip to HSLDA.

There are many, many more. HERE is one list with several.

Clearly, homeschooling works!

Monday, April 27, 2009

In A Country Not So Far Away

I've tried to share on here numerous times the struggles of children and adults alike in other countries, but none touch me quite like the plight of Haiti. I lose sleep over it and when I do sleep I dream of Haiti, sometimes good, sometimes bad, but Haiti is rarely not in my heart or on my mind.


There are countries all over the world that struggle greatly with things like poverty, corrupt governments, endangered children and more. While there are some in America who may struggle with such things I beg to differ once again that it is a BIG BIG difference between American poverty and that like you may find in a place like Haiti. Don't believe me? Check out a previous post HERE that shows pretty well some of the differences.


I think one of the most troublesome things for me is how close Haiti is to us here in the U.S. They are practically in our own backyard and struggling in ways most of us can't even begin to imagine. Maybe it's hard to imagine because they are JUST far enough away it's not in our face. Let me put it in your face for just a moment, if you will....


First, Haiti is only 500-700 miles off the coast of Florida(different sites and maps are giving me different figures.)


Five hundred miles is really just a drive across a state or two for many of us. But this short plane ride from Florida to Haiti is like entering a whole other and quite different world.
Let's take a look at a typical American home, there are probably many like this in Florida, so close to Haiti. I am sure there are nicer ones as well, I am just going for "average" here:


I know there are plenty of much more humble homes too. I myself live in a modest three bedroom cabin that measures just under 1200 sq. feet. No matter how humble your home is, can you say it is as humble as this typical Haitian home?




Now in all fairness, this is most likely a rural Haitian home, shall we then take a look at a city home?



Again, there are nicer homes, and as hard as it may be to believe there are worse homes, I am going for average or typical here. Makes you feel a little better about your modest home doesn't it? Of course that's not what this is about; using others poverty to feel better about ourselves. I am just trying to show you the stark contrast in lifestyles in two places that are only divided by 500 miles or so of ocean.
What's a stroll in your neighborhood like? Maybe something like this?
Let's take a brief stroll around an average Haitian neighborhood, barefoot, just like most of those living there have to:
Let's take a look inside these homes now. This is probably typical of most average middle class kitchens:


A bit nicer than mine for sure, maybe nicer than yours, want to trade for a Haitian kitchen?

I didn't think so. Neither do I. I have watched numerous videos, read several books, and viewed many pictures, and this is indeed a very typical kitchen. Even in some of the orphanages and schools, this is very typical.
Let's get a little personal and talk toilet needs. Again your average American toilet:


Nothing fancy, just your basic toilet. Here's one of the nicer Haitian toilets I've seen:




I am not exaggerating when I say this is one of the nicer ones I've seen. Most are a hole in the ground surrounded by curtains, and in some cases a brick wall.
What kind of clothing does your child wear? I have four boys, but I bet if I had a girl she'd be dressed something like this:




Cute huh? I love the accessories. Here is a fairly decently dressed little Haitian girl:

Many Haitians clothing is far worse. We're not talking about a country where the people prefer not to wear clothing, they do, they just lack it. Often children will share one outfit, one staying in while the other wears the outfit, or one wearing the bottom while the other wears the top. I've seen men in pink for lack of anything else.

Chances are many of you dress your dogs nicer than this precious little girl:

What about toys and playtime? What kinds of things do your kids like to do? What kinds of games do they play? There aren't alot of children with fancy toys in Haiti. Jacks seems to be a favorite and some lucky little girls are fortunate enough to have a baby doll. Here, one little boy gets creative:

If your an average American, this toy chest is probably a bit modest, but I chose this to show what may be an average child's toy cabinet:

Again, if you like many Americans love your pet, he or she has more toys than your average Haitian child:

What kind of school does your child attend? Public? Private? Homeschooled? Over 90 percent of the schools in Haiti are privately ran meaning there is no free public school for them. Here in America EVERY child is entitled to a FREE and appropriate education, meaning if there are special needs to be met, the government is required to provide that even if it is a private school or tutors or aides, whatever is needed for an appropriate education. But for the average American public schooler, your child's class probably resembles this one:

As I said, there are no free public schools in Haiti, so most children don't get the privilege (which is a right and requirement here in the states) of going to school. Many programs such as Compassion and several others though, run schools at their projects or provide uniforms and fees so the children can go to school. Most of the schools are extremely over crowded with all grade levels sharing one building often divided only by curtains. :

Let's talk about the essentials of life; Food and water. If you have clean running water in your home, you are far better off than most of Haiti. Most Haitians have to carry their water, where they get it from dirty areas.

It's no secret that most Americans over eat. I know I do sometimes. Here's your average American meal:

Many of us will down a shake or soda with that too! In Haiti, many if not most families are very fortunate if they get to eat ONE meal a day. That meal usually consists of rice and beans:

Usually those that get one full meal a day are those who are in projects, schools or orphanages, not every one gets to eat everyday. I have seen video after video and read account after account of a family not eating for a day or two, then getting 1 cup of dried beans to feed their family of six, and what do they do? They take half for their family and give the other half to their neighbor to feed his family! Over and over I have heard of this. Haitians are known for sharing. We who have so much have such a hard time letting go of even a little, and here these beautiful people are who have next to nothing, yet they freely give.

I love my pets as much as the next gal, and I am known to spoil them a little, but something is terribly wrong when little children are starving(I could show much worse of photos, but I wont)

And we spend more money on pet food items than we will freely share with our neighbors. The store aisles are just full of every kind of pet food and treat imaginable, and they are only there for one reason: people buy them, and lots of them.

There is a Tshirt that Compassion makes that says it all for me:

I feel if I have money to keep pets and buy treats and such for them, I obviously have more than enough. I have three square meals a day, a clean home, running water, and my children are free to be educated as I see fit. Yes, I have more than enough. Now it's my job to share with those that don't. They aren't too hard to find, you just have to open your eyes(and heart).

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

SamuraiGirl

I was very happy tonite to receive some new photos of my granddaughter from her foster mom. These are the first we've had since our visit in December. She sure has grown and appears to be very happy and well cared for.

Thanks to all of you out there that care for foster children, you do make a difference not only in the children's lives but those who care for them as well.







All's Well That Ends Well

I thought I should update you all on how things turned out with all of our crashed or broken vehicles. It certainly could have been much worse and we're thankful it wasn't.

Other than needing a new front tire(which isn't in the budget just now) and some minor bumper damage, it appears the van and driver will be fine.

The Jeep just was plain old out of gas and something about a vacuum line according to my husband.

Oh, and I did eventually get that Monster drink after all!

So while yesterday things seemed overwhelming, today I can actually laugh about the fact that what were the chances of our "rescue" vehicle running out of gas at the worse time possible, and even find the amusement in the fact that I was caught out walking about Anza in my hot pink house slippers! Probably not such a strange sight for these parts anyhow.

So really in the end it is all okay and just adds to the stories we will use to humiliate our dear son when he first brings home that special someone!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Haitian Children in Need of Sponsors

For weeks I have been so thrilled that there have been just a handful or less of Haitian children in need of sponsors posted, as that means they are being sponsored almost as quickly as they get posted!

Today I checked and there are nearly forty girls and boys that have just been posted. Many of these children are much younger, three to four years of age. They are all so adorable and precious. I wish I could sponsor them all!

If you've ever thought about child sponsorship, especially from Haiti would you please go and take a look HERE and see if one touches your heart?

I plan on visiting Haiti in 2010, most likely in November rather than March as originally planned. If you sponsor a child from Haiti, chances are I will be able to visit him or her and bring a gift from you and photos for you of your child. Wont you please consider just taking a look?

Three Out Of Four

It's just been one of THOSE days....to say the least. It all started rather routine until my oldest son started to struggle with his Algebra and I offered him a break in exchange for him getting our mail and him and I a cold energy drink from the market.





Seeing as his car is pretty much broke down, he took my van. Not more than 2-3 minutes after he left I get a panicked call that he has "crashed." I take our old rusty yet reliable Jeep down to get him and assess the damage. This is what I find:



Now this picture just doesn't give justice to the situation. You can't see the front where the whole drivers side and the underside are buried in this dirt. The other thing to understand is that my son was on the OTHER side of the road and somehow ended up over here. I am not sure what happened. He claims the van started shaking really bad then he went to press the breaks and they went all the way down while making a grinding noise and wouldn't work, and some how he ended up here.

I tried to pull him out with the Jeep as it is a four wheel drive and usually quite dependable in such circumstances, but it was a no-go. Even after spending a half an hour digging and digging with a shovel.

The nice thing about living in a small rural community is that people are kind, and stop to help. We had several people offer to help and one sweet guy stayed just about the whole time, digging and trying to assist. He then called a friend with a hefty four wheel to pull us out, all I had to do was move the Jeep. No problem....until it just died right then and there! I was worried about running out of gas and that seemed to be the case.

So these guys all push my Jeep to the opposite side of the road which is no easy or safe task as this is a very curvy, windy road. The other four wheel pulled the van out in a snap. Of course, here I sit typing while both the van and jeep sit down the hill still. Why? Well, the vans front tire blew out and the tire jack is here as well as the gas can(I should interject here that I had no choice but to leave the sleeping toddler and nine and twelve year olds here alone) so we had to walk about a half a mile (in my house slippers, UP hill) to come get everything.

We take my sons Geo Tracker back down which has not been starting, and if you do get it started, you can't turn it off, or it may not turn back on again...anyway, long story short, we put some gas in the Jeep and it still wont start, yikes! I come home, and my son remains down the hill trying to get a spare tire on the van. I'm only hoping and praying there isn't any further damage than the tire on the van, and that the jeep isn't a goner either!

So, for now at least three out of four of our vehicles are either broke, crashed or plain old unreliable. Not good considering the one working one is gone with my husband at work thirteen hours a day, leaving me at home in the middle of nowhere with four overly active boys which regularly warrant trips to the urgent care!

My life is never dull, that's for sure! And the walk will only increase my calorie burning, so I guess not all is lost. And I did learn it may be a good idea to invest in another cell phone to stay at home in such circumstances as I was panic stricken the whole time that they were getting worried when we were gone so long as they've never been home alone.

And the moral to the whole thing is that I really need to give up this no good Monster Energy Drink habit, it causes nothing but trouble!!

The Results and Some Perspective...


After just under two weeks of using Jillian Michaels two newest workout DVD's I have the most noticeable results yet!





I have avoided weighing myself for a while as I find the scale to be my worst enemy. My mood and motivation can quickly change based on the numbers it gives me. Since my slow weight gain over the last year and a half I have crept from 102(which is just too thin for anybody IMHO) to 120. Well, I thought surely since picking up the fitness routine with these videos which promise up to five pounds of weight loss a week, I should at least be down under 120. I would have been happy even at 119.9, anything under 120. Imagine my surprise, shock, and horror when the scale read 121.6 YIKES!! I was devastated and felt like giving up. How can I work so hard and yet gain?

Now at 120 I am not overweight by any means. I just want to look and feel my best. How I could have gained weight was beyond me, I mean I have noticed my arms are becoming much more defined, and even my abs are looking noticeably more cut although I am still somewhat bloated due to my cookie habit. I thought by looking my hips seemed trimmer too. So today I took out the old trusty tape measure as that will rarely lie.

The results? In just under two weeks, I have lost an inch and a half on my hips, almost back down to my pre-weight gain size! My waist has lost close to an inch!!

So I can't explain the weight gain other than possible muscle gain, but the tape measure results in my opinion are impressive in just under two weeks!

These DVD's work! I HIGHLY recommend them. I have read mostly glowing reviews all over the web about them, although a few have commented that they are boring. I have to disagree. They are simple in the fact that they are workout DVD's, not dancing DVD's like so many other so called cardio or aerobic workouts. I am not looking to learn new dance steps or to become a hip-hop dancer, I want to firm and tone and be healthy. I have never been one to be very coordinated when it comes to such things as dancing, and if I wanted dance lessons, I'd take them. I just want a no nonsense workout and THESE tapes deliver!

While I admit I slightly obsess over my weight and body, I also struggle with that about myself. I wonder if my sponsored children in Uganda and Haiti or their mothers worry about such things? I am almost sure they don't, as they are just worried about if they will have enough food to eat each day, not whether or not they have six pack abs. This makes me feel guilty at times. Here they don't have food to eat and I am spending money exercising off my excess!

Really when you think about it, it is kind of sad. How much money here in America is spent on weight loss programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers? There are many places in the world people are literally starving...to death from not enough, while here we are spending a small fortune to try to learn to eat less. It just doesn't make sense does it?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Another Great One!


I finally got a chance to try Jillian Michaels No More Trouble Zones. It is another challenging, yet good one! This one unlike Banish Fat Boost Metabolism utilizes weights which is normally my preference. Like the Banish Fat tape, it consists of several circuits, each repeating twice. I really like this method, especially the repeating part, as it gives you plenty of time to catch on to the moves and become comfortable with them. Like the Banish Fat workout, the moves are all fairly simple to learn and follow, no fancy footwork or dance moves. This one is serious though! You can really feel your muscles burn!


I think these two tapes together make a great combo. You can alternate days so that you are giving your muscles time to rest and recover after this one, but keep up the calorie burning with the banish fat one on the alternating days. Doing these two five days a week total, I'd be really surprised if you didn't see results within two weeks! They are both intense and effective, yet doable.


Both of these had exercises I saw and thought I couldn't do, but I tried anyway and was pleasantly surprised that I could do them! So, my advice is to just try, you might surprise yourself.


While I found this one a bit more challenging as far as the intensity required, I found it a bit easier than the Banish Fat one to keep up with without tiring out too quickly or becoming breathless. But I am a bit more sore afterwards with this one, so I am sure it is quite effective. I think this one is fine for beginners and those who can complete level one of the 30 Day Shred.


Both are great, and I highly recommend both. They are reasonably priced at around ten bucks each at Amazon. If you could only afford one right now and are looking to drop pounds, both would do, but I think I'd go with the Banish Fat one. If you are more looking to tone and define and maintain what you have, I'd go with this. But if you really want something effective for calorie burning and toning and don't want to worry about any other exercising, both are a perfect package deal and will deliver results!


Of course, my personal preference is to add in 40-60 minutes of Yoga following each, just for that extra stretch and some added flexibility. But it is not necessary at all.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Someone forwarded the link to this video to me this morning. Very compelling, I don't know how one can not be moved by this one.

What really sticks out to me is while I am sad for this family and fighting back the tears, they seem very grateful.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Have You Ever Noticed?

Have you ever noticed that those who seem to have the least are often the most generous? This has often been my experience. I think of the widow and her mite. It was all she had. Today more than ever I am convinced this is the case after reading this:

A “children’s church” of more than 40 neighborhood kids in St. Marc, Haiti, learned about North Korea one Sunday. The teacher said that North Koreans are very poor, often sick, and do not always have clean drinking water.
The children in Haiti understood. Many people in their country are poor and sick, too. But the teacher explained that North Korea is different. North Koreans cannot go to church when they want to, own a Bible, or learn about Jesus. The Haitian children said they would be very afraid without God to help them through their struggles.
One boy handed the teacher a Haitian dollar, worth about 20 cents in U.S. money. He could have bought a meal with the money. Other children gave more out of the little they had. The children asked the teacher to send the money to help VOM float Scripture balloons into North Korea so the people could learn about God. (The balloons are launched from nearby countries.) “We Haitians need to learn to be a lot more thankful,” said one child.



Imagine, here these Haitian kids are, many of them literally starving and THEY feel they need to learn to be alot more thankful? Wow, kinda puts us in our place doesn't it? Surely we who have so much in comparison can learn a powerful lesson in compassion and generosity...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

After having success with Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred but wanting a bit more variety I ordered her two newest videos. Today I tried her Banish Fat Boost Metabolism. All I can say is WOW!! It is a workout for sure!

This one is about 50 minutes with warm-up and cool-down versus the 20 minute Shred and you move non-stop! This one requires no weights or extra equipment(although I personally prefer weights!) and unlike the FIRM video I wrote about the other day this one doesn't have any complicated moves. All of the moves are pretty simple in theory although they are tough, but no fancy footwork which turns me off in other videos.

I wouldn't recommend this for beginners. If you can do level one and two of the Shred, then you should be fine with this one. Many of the exercises on this are similar to level two as well as many kick boxing type circuits(those are fun!) Also, if you have weak knees or ankles you may want to modify many of the jumping moves(there are alot of them!) She doesn't offer as many modifications as she does in the shred, but there are a few and I took advantage of a couple today as this one nearly kicked my butt!

I can hardly wait until Monday to try No More Trouble Zones(which has weights, yea!) and I will write about that one then as well.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hands and Feet

The more I am learning about the Hands and Feet Project in Haiti the more I am falling in love with it and the guys of Audio Adrenaline.

Here are some videos I found at the Hands and Feet MySpace site that share far better than my words can, just the kind of work they are doing there:

If you can do this...




Hands & Feet Project [2008]


I hope you take the time to watch them, and are as touched as I am. I am now praying for a way I can go there as well as meet my beautiful sponsored children.

Now That's Customer Service!!


I cannot recall if I've ever shared about Redbox here or not before. But before I give you the details(as I am blown away at how many have not heard of them yet!) I have to give them a big plug for outstanding customer service.

We went to return a video and the Redbox machine was broken. My husband called while still there not wanting to be charged for extra nights, when it is their machine at fault.

Not only did they assure us we wont be charged, they gave us codes for TWO free rentals for our "inconvenience." That is totally cool and above and beyond in my opinion.

Now, for those that don't know about Redbox. It is a DVD vending machine of sorts. They are all over, inside of Walmarts and other retailers, outside locations such as our local Circle K, drive throughs and more.

They offer movies, many new hits, plus some older favorites for $1.00 a night! No late fees, just a dollar a day period.

If you sign up for their newsletter, they will send you a promo code each Monday for a movie totally free of charge! We have even gotten one on a Friday which totally surprised us and we quickly used.

You can go to their SITE to see if there is a location near you.

So, just how do they fit all of those movies into a vending machine? They look like this:

I am in love with this place and think it is a great way to cut costs on entertainment expenses. We can get a movie for the grown ups and one for the kids for less than the rental of one video at the video store.

I have never had to wait more than a day or two for a popular new release. I am not sure if they are stocked that well, or if it's just because ours is in a rural location and not well known yet. They also have online reservations, so if your movie is in stock your can put it on hold until 9:00pm the following night.

Go see if there's one near you and give it a try. Even if you just take advantage of the Monday freebie and an occasional rental, I am sure you will be more than pleased. And the customer service can't be beat, all of this from a vending machine! Impressive!



Wednesday, April 8, 2009

As If I Didn't Already Think These Guys Were Great!!


One of my favorite Christian rock bands has always been Audio Adrenaline. Their music is so sincere and real, not just sugar coated feel good stuff to get a Christian label put on it. Sometimes the lyrics are inspiring, sometimes uplifting and sometimes challenging. These guys are the real deal. At least I always believed so, now I KNOW so!

One of my favorite songs has always been Hands and Feet.


In my search for information on Haiti and for those who are there trying to make a difference a good friend told me about Audio Adrenaline's orphanage Hands and Feet! I was so excited to see someone I have a great deal of respect for have a heart for Haiti!

I quickly went to Amazon and purchased their book by the same title.



All I can say is WOW! And WOW!! I finished this quick and easy but quite inspiring read in two afternoons. I was near tears in parts as they talk about so much about what I often try to say, but they say it so much more eloquently than I. Not just about Haiti and the need there, but about Christianity, the Church today and more! I wish every Christian I knew would read this. I think even non-Christians would do well to read this. It is a wonderful look at what Christianity lived out as it is meant to be(rather than how often it is)really looks like. Pure and Faultless(James 1:27)

The book was a great insight into the motivation of these people to start this project a window to their hearts, and it was truly refreshing. It also gave a brief and interesting history of Haiti, for example I never knew the US briefly occupied Haiti. It also gave information on taking your own short term mission trip either to Haiti or elsewhere, very good information for those of us that are considering this, yet have never done so. It also spoke so beautifully of their love of Haiti and for the Haitian people.

It is refreshing to see these "rock stars" who are willing to step outside of themselves and do things that really make a difference in the world, and encourage others to do the same. Five big stars for this great read! And five even bigger stars for those involved in Hands and Feet!

For those wanting more information on the Hands and Feet orphanage, they have a WEBSITE and on there a link to their blog as well as a sign up for a newsletter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Get Chisel'd


After seeing some results with the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred, I was wanting to add a little bit more variety to my fitness routine, but keep the weights in there as well, so I recently purchased the Firm Get Chisel'd.



It is a pretty good workout about 40 minutes long. I definitely feel it the next day! Mostly on my bottom and abs, so you know those are getting worked! My only complaint is that like many aerobic videos there is a lot of footwork that I find hard to keep up with. It moves pretty fast from one exercise to the next not giving those who like me are not very coordinated time to catch on before the instructor moves on to the next move, then by the time she comes back to the previous, I still haven't got the hang of any of it!



I think this would get 5 out of 5 starts if she'd either slow down and give time to learn the moves before moving on, or if she'd show them in an introduction prior to the workout. Because of the lack of this I will only give it 3 and a half. It is still a good workout and probably those who are used to faster paced aerobics would catch on quicker and really enjoy it.



I currently have Jillian Michaels two new workout tapes in my Amazon shopping cart and am hoping they will be as good as the 30 Day Shred, but give me some of the variety I am yearning for. I will be sure to review them here once I order them and give them a try!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Even When Times Are Tough

I am awed and amazed at the generosity of others even when we are going through such rough financial times these days!

The other night when I found Ismaline, the newest little girl I sponsor from Haiti through Compassion, there were at least twelve little girls from Haiti needing sponsors. Besides Ismaline, there were two other very young girls that tugged at my heart a little and I was determined to find them sponsors as well.

So, yesterday when my brother was here, I went to the Compassion site to find them and encourage him to sponsor one of them(even though I have child packets here of children I am seeking sponsors for) Well, imagine my surprise and joy when I find they were both sponsored. There were still six or more girls, mostly older needing sponsors.

I just now went to Compassion to see if any new children have been posted, and not only were there not any new ones, but ALL of the girls in Haiti were sponsored!! There is not one little girl in Haiti posted on the site at this moment! Oh how I wish and pray it could always stay so!

I don't know, but I just find that amazing that ALL of the posted girls found sponsors! Praise God! Wow!!

There are lots of little boys in Haiti seeking sponsors still. And of course there are always children, boy and girl alike all over the globe in desperate need of sponsors.

Bi-Lingual, Tri-Lingual or ???

I have been listening to lots of homeschool conference tapes this weekend trying to find encouragement and motivation for these next several years I have left of educating my children at home.

I have heard lots of encouraging talks, learned alot and heard several things that really make you stop and think.

One was on one of David Hazell's talks. He says there is a quote that goes something like this: if you speak two languages, you're bi-lingual, if you speak three you're tri-lingual, if you speak one, you were born in America.

This is actually something that occurred to me years ago when we use to take in foreign exchange students and just observing our friends who have moved here from other countries. Many of them speak not only their native tongue and English, but at least one other language as well. Most seem to be taught this in their schools. What about our schools?

A few years back I very seriously considered putting my oldest son in public school. We went as far as talking to the school counselor and looking at classes. So my burning question was what foreign languages are offered? The answer? Spanish or.....Spanish. What?? When I was in school we had lots of choices, I don't remember them all, but a few I do remember were of course Spanish, but we also had at least German and French to select from as well.

I agree here in California, Spanish is almost a must, but to limit it to just that....well I just don't know.

Just one more reason I am glad I homeschool. I have students who want to learn Chinese, French, Japanese, and myself Haitian Creole. Here at home with the great materials available to us, we can do all of those and some!

It does make you wonder though, why in America so little value is placed on learning other languages. It's obviously not impossible as I know many, many people who speak several. Meanwhile the other nations are learning several languages and clearly surpassing us educationally. I wonder if there is a connection? Hmmm...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETTY!!

Today is my sponsored child from Uganda, Betty's birthday. She will be turning seven! I so wish I could be there to share her day with her. I wonder what it will be like? I don't suppose it would resemble the birthday celebrations we are used to attending here in the U.S.

Will she have a cake? A party? Gifts? If so, again I doubt it will be much like our own children are used to. Last year she used the birthday money I sent for a pig for her family to raise, and some other necessities, before using a little amount on candy for her and her baby brother.

Her Christmas money was about the same, staples such as grains and sugars, although she did get her self a new dress and shoes, which makes me glad to know she has something special and new just for her!

I wonder what she will use it for this year? I am sure to get a letter in the next few months explaining just how she used it. I love these letters as it shows me how she is maturing and how caring and generous she is with what little she has. It provides a good lesson for my own children, not to mention myself!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BETTY!!