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Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Road Trip....To Haiti????

Not quite, but close. As I have shared many times on here, it is my biggest desire to go to Haiti. Compassion is planning an Advocates Tour in February of 2011. I have been planning on this trip for months since first seeing it mentioned in their magazine.

Out of the blue last week, my ten year old decides that God wants him to make this trip too! My first thought was no way. Haiti is not a place for the faint of heart. It certainly is not a vacation destination. Over the past several days he has managed to convince me that he really believes he too should make this trip. I told him he'd have to earn the money himself as it is not a cheap trip, and I am not even sure where I am getting the money for my portion.

He has eagerly taken on side jobs and is planning various sales and other fundraising opportunities. He has even started taking Haitian Creole language lessons with me. This is actually helping me, as we can practice conversing with each other! All this has shown me his sincerity.

While a trip to Haiti is certainly nothing to be envious of, I was concerned other members of the family would feel left out as they see Daniel and I talk about our plans, so we came up with a fun plan!

The money for our trip does not include the airfare from California to Florida where our flight to Haiti leaves from. So....ROAD TRIP!!

We are planning on taking three weeks and driving first to Arizona to visit some dear friends of ours, then Texas to visit family and hopefully visit the church of a favorite pastor/speaker of mine, then off to Florida to visit another friend or two and get a good nights rest before flying off to Haiti.

From there, my husband and other two boys can go to North Carolina to spend a week with their grandma and other family who have all moved out that way!

Of course all of this is contingent on Daniel and I raising the money we need for our trip, plus the extra for the road trip. To look at it all on paper it seems impossible in our current financial state, but we really believe if the Lord wills it He WILL help provide a way, and we are just having to trust in that, not to mention getting creative with raising the funds. Luckily we have time on our side as well.

So, to family and friends that will be learning about this from this post, yes it's true, this is the plan for now. Please pray we can work it all out as we get closer..Be prepared as we will be invading your homes soon!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Farewell, My Favorite Furry Friend...

This past Sunday goes down in history as one of my worse days ever. We were getting ready to leave for church, literally walking out the door, when I went to the couch to check on something and saw my favorite cat, often referred to as my best friend in the whole world, laying there quite comfortably. I hated to disturb his sleep, but I needed to check on something I thought was under him, and went to lift his tail, and thought it was odd his whole hind end followed. When I released his tail, I notice his whole body very stiffly just dropped. The thought that perhaps he was dead passed my mind briefly, but I thought I was just imagining things and went to pet him to assure myself all was well. I was horrified when I realized he was indeed dead.



How or why this happened, I will never know. He was a very healthy and young cat at only three years old. He had all of his shots and has never been sick a day in his life. Here is a picture taken of him just earlier this year.
I have taken this pretty hard. Some people think it's kind of silly I've reacted so strongly as "he's only a cat." True, he is not human, but he had characteristics that were more human and compassionate and easier to love than most humans.



I purchased him the week my mother died as I really thought it would be nice to have something to cuddle up with and soothe my broken heart. Because of this, I probably had an even stronger emotional attachment than most people do to their pets, as he signified so much more to me.



But, even without that extra factor, there was just something special about him. He was somewhat of a snob, and I admit not the most friendly creature in the world. He commanded a certain respect with his size, beauty and attitude. He wasn't a cuddly cat that would let just anybody pet him, you almost had to earn the right to do so. It never happened upon the first meeting. When finally he did allow you the privilege of petting him it made you feel quite special.



I've had many people tell me in the past, they just didn't like him because he was so unfriendly. But once they got to actually pet him that first time, they ALL fell in love with him. He made them feel quite special after all that hard work!



He was also the best Yoga partner I've ever had. Each morning he would sit nearby and patiently wait while I did my weight training or aerobics, careful not to disturb me. But the minute that yoga mat was rolled out he was right there! Not a morning passed that he did not join me for yoga. Sometimes that meant attacking my ponytail while I was in downward dog, and other times it meant actually doing downward dog next to me, but he was always faithfully there each and every morning. Have you ever had such a faithful workout buddy? Probably not.



As much a snob as he was, he knew how to be gentle when it came to the smaller children as shown in this picture.


He would never tolerate this from an adult or older child, yet he put up with it quite well from the toddler. As a matter of fact, I think he even liked it!



We would run to his rescue, just sure he was being tortured, as he sure made a lot of noise like he was, but once he was free, he'd lick his paw casually and lay down a foot or two away and let the baby climb on him all over again, and the process would repeat itself over and over.


He used to go outside with the toddler and just sit on the porch for hours while he played. When the toddler came in, so did Neko.


I miss him something awful and have a sick feeling in my stomach that hasn't gone away since I found him Sunday morning. Some people have tried to make light of it, even mock me. But then again, that's why I loved Neko so much, he lacked those qualities that clearly make the rest of us human; greed, mockery, anger, and so many other ugly, nasty things. He possessed what so few do today; unconditional love.


Goodbye my friend....

Billy's Boot Camp; Cardio Live!

With this week being a recovery week from P90X, I have a little extra energy to burn and gave Billy's Boot Camp; Cardio Live a try.

It is part of the Boot Camp series but can be purchased alone for under $6.00 at Amazon.

This is the only Tae Bo tape I've tried thus far that had absolutely no warm up what so ever. But at just 30 minutes long, there really wasn't much time or the workout would be too short to be effective.

The first half is a pretty good cardio routine, followed by the second half which uses the Billy Bands for some resistance training along with your cardio. This was actually a bit more challenging than I expected! In some of his other routines that involve the bands, I have found them to be a hindrance. I just am not coordinated enough to dance around and not trip on the bands! But this workout was fairly simple and the bands were a nice touch. Following the bands there was a very brief ab segment.

The cool down wasn't more than a couple of minutes.

Other than the lack of warm up and a proper cool down this DVD is pretty good for a quick total body workout. I wouldn't use it for my only workout on a regular basis, but for those days you are short on time and want to get in some cardio with a little resistance, this is perfect!

I plan on holding on to this one for such occasions!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Those Pesky Door Knockers


I am sure you have experienced being in the middle of something really important only to be interrupted by one of those pesky door knockers. You know who I am talking about; it's either the two neatly dressed young men on bicycles with ties and name badges wanting to share a book with you, or the young family wanting to share one of their two magazines with you. Better known as your local Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses.


I have had only one experience with the Mormon variety. Considering I live very near one of their temples/churches I am surprised I haven't had more. It was actually very pleasant. Two young men came to my door offering me their Book of Mormon. I explained I already had a faith of my own and wasn't interested, and that I was quite busy at the time as I was trying to find transportation to the Doctor for my sons pre-surgery appointment.


These two young men who had never even seen me before offered that transportation! I didn't accept as it felt kind of funny, but it touched me. I agreed to take their book and read the beginning and agreed to let them come back and discuss it.


When they came back I very nicely explained that I just couldn't buy it, that I found it interesting, but no thank you. They were very kind and asked if I needed any help with my son and our situation, I told them no, but thanks for asking, and that was the end of that. They weren't pushy, they weren't rude, they were very nice young men, period.


I have much more experience with the Jehovah Witnesses. For one, I have family that belong to that church. Also, for some reason, no matter where I move they manage to find me and visit often. I have dealt with them in several different counties, at several different addresses. I have even done their "study" with three of them, in three different cities.


I should state here, that I can say with certainty I will never become a Jehovah's Witnesses, but while that may be the case I have a deep respect for them. They really live what they preach. They are out doing what I believe all Christians are called to do, which is share the Good News with all. Most Christians are uncomfortable even sharing their faith with a co-worker or friend, but alone a stranger. What they are preaching may not be what lines up with main stream Christianity, but at least they bravely do what they believe they are called to do.


They train their congregations very well. They have many Bible classes a week and even classes in how to counter the most common objections. What if all Christianity did the like? Most main stream Christians can't even explain what they believe and why but alone give an argument to those who try and counter us.


Several years ago when I broke my ankle the church I was involved with(not my current church!) knew about it and that I had four young children at home, yet no one called, offered any help or anything. You know who did? The JW's I was talking to at that time.


My first experience outside my JW family with a witness was nearly 20 years ago. This poor woman came to my house shaking, in tears, as she had just been literally chased off of someones lawn being cussed and sworn at. I offered to let her come in for some water and calm down.


I get so upset when I hear people brag how they chased a JW or Mormon away, or brag about how rude they were. What gets me even more upset is when it is Christians who take such pleasure in being rude and belligerent. Is that really how we show Christ's love? If you really believe these people are lost and need to be saved from the deception, do you think this sort of treatment is going to make them come running to your denomination?


Then you have the Christians that want to prove just how wrong the Mormon or JW is and invites them in only to get into a debate and show them just how wrong their religion is, and how perfect your own is. First, other than a theology major you will be hard pressed to win a debate with a JW, they are that well trained in what they do. Secondly, if you do win, all you're going to do is show that you may be right, but without the love and sincere desire to help this person, they most likely will never come back again, so what did you accomplish other than proving you're right?


My point in all of this is that there is no need to be rude to these people. They are just doing what they believe they are mandated by scripture to do. In 20 years of dealing with JW's in particular, and my one experience with a Mormon, I have never, and I do mean never come across a rude or pushy one. If I am really busy, I tell them. Sometimes I will accept their literature, sometimes I wont. Often I invite them in for a chat. I don't try to prove that my religion is right and theirs is wrong. I just ask questions that perhaps might make them ask their own.


These people have feelings. They are somebodies son and daughters. How would you feel if someone treated your son or daughter the way many treat the Mormons or JW's(slamming doors, being rude, etc..)?


What about offering them a drink(water in the summer, something warm in the winter) you don't even have to let them in.


That would be the nice thing to do, but at the very least, just tell them nicely, no thank you, I'm not interested and please don't come again? That doesn't take much longer than slamming the door now does it?


I find it very sad, that any human would take pleasure or bragging rights in being cold or rude to another. Christians in particular should feel especially ashamed for such behaviour.

Hurry up and Wait

I thought I should give a quick update for those that have been following our saga of my sons enlistment into the military.

We are a bit frustrated at this point as we are playing the "Hurry up and Wait" game that was joked about so much at MEPS.

After all we went through to get to even go to MEPS we certainly didn't mind the Hurry up and Wait routine one bit, we were just thrilled to finally be there.

See, anybody else would have gone, talked to a recruiter, got a MEPS appointment and finally swear in. No, not us. You all know the whole awful story I wont bore you with the details again. For those that don't know all the details, just click on "military" in my sidebar under labels and you can read all about it.

After all that trouble, and extra testing and requirements my son was finally scheduled to talk to the career counselor and swear in on August 4th. We should have been all done with the whole ordeal and ready to scream VICTORY !! But no, my dear son had to go and get himself a traffic ticket on the 2nd. We had hoped seeing as it hadn't even filed yet it would be no problem. But they asked him if he had anything come up since his background check and he admitted to this ticket. Well, everything came to a dead stop right then and there!

We were told my son couldn't even talk to the career counselor, but alone swear in until this was resolved. His court date isn't even until October!! We didn't stress too much, we just figured he'd plead guilty and pay online as soon as it posts to get it done and over with. We figured a week maybe two. Nope, not that easy. Nothing ever is for us!

We've been waiting, and waiting and waiting some more. We've called the courts and the Highway Patrol and one said it was the other who could help us and vise versa. So we continued waiting, sure it would post any day. My husband got a citation for a cracked windshield on my birthday several weeks back and it only took 3 days to post online. Here we are two weeks later and nothing.

Then it came in the mail, a letter from the Highway Patrol. Like fools we thought maybe just maybe it was a notice saying for whatever reason they weren't going to file the ticket. Wrong! It was a notice informing us there was some missing information on the original citation(missing court info)

So, here we are still waiting for the darn thing to post...

I am angry at my son for getting the ticket, he was speeding slightly, it's his fault, but come on! He just wants to swear in and serve his country, and now we are at the mercy of this officer to file the ticket and the court to post it.

After all we've gone through to get to where we are in this process this is more than frustrating!

I will post as soon as we get this cleared and he swears in. Hopefully that wont be too much longer. I am sure glad I haven't been holding my breath this whole time or I'd be blue in the face by now!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Autumn

We've had some new pictures of Autumn for a while now, but have been slow in sharing them. She is getting SO big and cute!! The Brown and Pink outfit is from Grandma-ma and Grandpa!

The dress was her 4th of July outfit. She seems to have a special dress for every occasion, she is one loved and pampered little girl!
















Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Nationwide Study Confirms Homeschool Academic Achievement

HSLDA just released THIS article showing the results of both public school and homeschool students average standardized test scores. I think the results are quite impressive, but not surprising.

I was interested to read the extra statistics on items such as parent/teacher education levels, money spent per student and other relevant information. Many homeschool parents worry that their own level of education or amount they are able to spend on curriculum will effect their child's education, not necessarily so according to this study.

Compare these results with the results of my local public school: HAMILTON where in many subject areas the students are not testing anywhere near 50th percentile(try the high 20's to 30's, YIKES!!)

And yet people still dare to ask why I homeschool????

Edited to add: after writing this, I went back to the GREAT SCHOOLS site and found the local high school's SCORES as well. YIKES and double YIKES!! While the 9th grade scores weren't impressive, they weren't too bad, but the higher the grade level, the lower those scores got! The Sciences seem to be where this schools strong suit is, the Math is just embarrassingly terrible!

To those that ask why I homeschool: Do you still really need to ask???

The Top Five Reasons Not to Send Your Kids Back to Public School

I love Voddie Baucham, he says what I think and feel so much better than I ever could. Check out his recent article on why NOT to send your children back to government school this fall:

TOP FIVE REASONS

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back To School Thoughts

As Back To School season is in full swing, I can't help but think of the state of public education. Education in general really, as there are plenty of private schools that are not up to par either.




I found THIS clip on YouTube this morning. It made me laugh as it reminds me of those street scenes on one of those late night TV shows where they would stop people and ask them a seemingly obvious question, and most people couldn't answer. While it's fun to get a laugh at anothers expense from time to time, I have to admit I am becoming more and more frightened of America's education or lack thereof.




HERE Ben Stein tells of a conversation he had with two young adults. While parts are amusing, it is also sad. I know I have had VERY similar conversations with some young adults myself, so his experience is far from isolated.







As a Christian my reasons for continuing to homeschool go far beyond the books and academics, but I have to admit to beginning my homeschooling career strictly for secular reasons. The school was desperately failing my son, and many others in his class in first grade. I am not a genius by any means, but it didn't take a whole lot of brains to figure out the situation wasn't going to improve. For me, it meant deciding to homeschool my son, for another wise parent it meant demanding her child be appropriately placed, even though she faced alot of opposition from the school officials. I wouldn't be surprised to learn she is a homeschooler today!




But how many parents DON'T stand up and demand their children get what they need? How many parents even know what kind of education their children are getting or are not getting? It amazes me how many students graduate high school not at all prepared for college(the numbers are much larger than you may guess) and the parents had no clue. Aren't they looking over the child's actual work or are they just looking at the "passing" grade not caring or thinking to look at the work itself. What about just talking to your child? All it took for me to figure out one of my sons friends needed some extra help was sitting down to a game of Scrabble. Don't families talk or play together anymore?




I wont lie, I am a homeschooling advocate. I really don't believe Christian children in particular should be in public school, period. But I am also a realist and am aware that many parents are going to send their children off to government schools anyway. Parents, please at least take the time to go over your child's work each night, make sure they really know what they are getting credit for. I have personally seen far to many students recently who either admit to me they don't know what they are being taught, but pass anyway, or claim their "giftedness" in certain areas, but upon further investigation(by me looking at their writing or finding other ways to dig deeper) can't write or spell any better than a third grader(we're talking Jr. High and High School students here!)




Everyone thinks it's not happening in their schools, let me assure you it is. Don't look at test scores, I've already showed you news articles explaining how failing schools get those passing scores. Talk to your child, play some educational games, have them write a paragraph now and then to check their spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Don't take it for granted because the school says they're passing that they really are learning anything.




I found THIS site today and found it quite interesting. It is a film documentary that follows one male and one female student each, from America, China and India. It is rather eye opening. HERE is a trailer for the film:



I have to admit to really loving the BLOG as it gives so many statistics and articles showing exactly what is going on in America's educational system.

School wasn't that great when I was in it twenty something years ago, but it is far worse now. If you must place your child there, or for whatever reason WANT to, at least educate yourself to what is really going on there. I do know plenty of public school students who have done quite well for themselves, even in the worse schools in our area, but they had VERY, VERY, involved family members who volunteered at the school, stayed on top of homework, and supplemented when necessary. You can't count on the schools to do what they're suppose to, and unless you have a highly motivated child, you need to be the one your child can count on!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

30 Day P90X Photos and Stats...

These are a few days late, these are taken at 40 something days rather than 30 as I had VBS and company during the week I should have taken these. I am not sure there is much of a noticeable difference yet, but I do know I am feeling stronger, can do three times as many push ups, a pull up or two and have had to double my weights since starting.

I have managed to gain and lose and gain the same 5 lbs or so several times since starting, so there hasn't been alot of progress to record there.

My measurements are a bit odd too. I have lost an inch on my thighs which is nice, as well as an inch on my hips. My waist on the other hand, I've gained half an inch! I am not happy about this one! My chest also has gained an inch. I've also lost an inch on my arms.

Front Before:


Front: 30 Days

Back Before

Back 30 Days

Before

30 Days

Before:

30 Days:

Monday, August 3, 2009

Our Plan for 2009/2010


Life with my 3 Boybarians is hosting a Not Back To School Blog Hop. This weeks feature is curriculum. So, I figured now would be a good time to post our complete plan for the upcoming year. After a lot of back and forth, I finally have decided on what we're doing and completed all purchases.


My oldest son just graduated , and the youngest is not yet school age, so for the first time in a while, I will only have two "doing" school this year.


Our hands down favorite History/Literature curriculum is Sonlight. We have used this for most of our twelve years of homeschooling. This will be our second time using Core 5, which is the Eastern Hemisphere. I am looking forward to it even more this second time around as I was our first. This is by far my favorite core in the program. While complete as is, I chose to supplement with some items from Geography Matters and Amazon to make it a little more hands on for my younger child.

Geography Through Art:




Global Art:





Eat Your Way Around The World:





Uncle Josh's Outline Map Book:


So, both boys will be working on these together as well as their Bible which consists of; Training Hearts Teaching Minds.



And Luther's Small Catechism:






While I love combining as many subjects as I can, so both boys are working together, it is getting more difficult with the age difference. So, for the remainder they will each work on their own subjects, with individual help from me when needed.


For 7th grade:


Language Arts: Learning Language Arts Through Literature(Green Book)


Math: ACE Paces


Science: Apologia General Science



For 4th Grade:


Language Arts: BJU English, Spelling, and Reading. Handwriting without Tears.


Math: Rod and Staff


Science: Exploring Creation With Zoology 2


So, we are all set for the new year to begin, although we are still working on completing some loose ends from this past year. I am looking forward to starting afresh soon with all new materials. One thing I am most excited about was a brand new to me recent find:

The Well Planned Day Planner! This is great! I will probably write a full review here in the next day or two, but let me say, THIS is the planner I have been waiting 12 years for! I am so excited about it. I just received it in the mail this weekend and have been going over it. It has everything you will need for planning your school year(for up to FOUR children!) all in one handy place, as well as space for personal and household items as well. The layout is beautiful. You can go to the site for sample pages to download. The price is more than reasonable for all it includes. My personal opinion is that this is a homeschool MUST!(no, I am not affiliated with the company in anyway, nor do I personally know the makers, I am just one extremely happy customer!)

Be sure to check out all of the blogs participating in the blog hop, you are sure to gain new ideas whether you are a new homeschooler or seasoned. Plus, it's just fun to read what others are doing!




NBTSbloghop

Sunday, August 2, 2009

FREE Phone Fun!


I had to replace my cell this weekend thanks to my adorable grandson beaming my old one across the room on my hard floors.

I was debating whether or not to dish out the money to add on all my ring tones and Tinkerbell wall papers when my sister told me of a GREAT site for FREE phone applications. I assure you it is totally free, and no catches, not even any spam mail.

There are far too many fun tones to select from, plenty of wallpapers and more.

WARNING though, you could end up there for hours!

Check it out at: Phone Zoo