Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Friday, November 24, 2017

Transition - Part 2

Transition is pretty much just a fancy word for change.

Most people don't like change.  Change is hard.  It is unknown and unpredictable.  Even changes that we want and look forward to, like learning to live as a married person, or getting a new job, or having a new baby, can be difficult to navigate. 

I am in a pretty intense season of change, of which our daughter H moving out is only one part.  It is really hard and painful at times, but also really, really good.  The Holy Spirit is showing me, mercifully in bits and pieces, how many bad habits I had developed, particularly when it came to how I related to my children and how I attempted to resolve conflict.  And there just hasn't been a lot of time and mental space to learn to do things differently until now.  The crisis of the week (or day) took most of my time and energy.

So I am very, very grateful that God is so patient with me.  Patient in timing.  Patient in revealing things when I am ready to see them.  And patient with me as I process the information and suss out what He wants me to learn.  He is so very good!  What a good, good Father we have in God.

I am also very grateful for such a patient husband, and such patient and resilient children, who love me in spite of the mistakes I make with them!

Here is some of what I am learning:

~ how secondary trauma has affected the way I view the world

~ how having anger directed at me by one person has affected the way I anticipate interactions with others

~ how those anticipations and assumptions are almost always wrong

~ how forgiveness is the perfect antidote to anger

~ how to put healthy emotional boundaries in place

~ how to better see things from another person's point of view without getting defensive

These are BIG things to learn.  GOOD things!!  But it is a process and I am not finished yet.  (again, thankful for God's patience!)  It is a really wonderful thing to be 55 and still learning new things. :)

Transition is hard.  But it can lead to better than before.  That is what I want.  That is what I am praying and working for.  And by God's grace, that is what is happening in my life.

Thursday's Thankful Things

Our traditional Thanksgiving morning breakfast....cinnamon rolls and tangarines.

Card games with the cousins.

My view while making pies. :)


Daughter G's job has always been to set and decorate the tables.

I love each person around this table!

My nephew and soon to be niece-in-law.

Post dinner nap.

Somehow we manage to make room for dessert. ;)

So many blessings.  My heart is full of gratitude to God!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Our Week in Review

Did you know that the Alamo and the events depicted in Les Miserables took place during the same year?

Yep, they did.  1832.  We studied both of them and for Friday night movie night we introduced Little Man to the wonders of the 2012 Les Mis movie (we had him cover his eyes for two scenes).  His siblings had all seen it previously and go around singing the songs quite frequently, so Little Man could sing along with almost all of them even though he was seeing the movie for the very first time.  We are big Les Mis fans here, so it was a delight to share that with our youngest.

Do you have a favorite Les Mis song?

I am so in love with home schooling!  God has been renewing my home schooling joy this year, and I am so, so thankful.  There are always new things to learn, and it is such a delight to learn together with my children.  I am doubly thankful that after 17 years God is giving me fresh excitement for the task of teaching my children at home.

When looking at the big picture we are definitely in the home stretch.  Only 5 more years after this one and Little Man will graduate.  I know these next 5 years will fly by.  So my focus has shifted from active teaching to facilitating and cheerleading as my children take on the responsibility of learning for themselves.  Our days (and my priorities) have changed so much over these past 17 years.  It's kindof surreal and awesome and humbling to reflect on this journey we embarked on 17 years ago, and see God's faithfulness to us in so many ways.  He is good!

Little Man, checking his math with dad one evening.

And me, on a college planning lunch date with son L.  We had a very productive time, gaining clarity on a direction to pursue, if not a specific college yet.  I love him so!  He wants to be effective for God's Kingdom, and I love that about him.

We also got to attend another wonderful wedding this past week.  I love weddings!  They are such a beautiful picture of God's love for us (which of course is what God's Word says they should be!).  When I am at a wedding I spend as much time looking at old married couples in the audience as I do at the young couple up front.  Young love is beautiful and exciting and sweet, but old love is deep and rich and has gone through intense heat to make it more pure.  Older couples who have lived out their vows through "richer or poorer" and "in sickness and in health" inspire, challenge, and bless me.  I am thankful this beautiful young couple has such good examples of marriage to pattern theirs after!

In other news, son C's winter soccer season has begun.  This is not indoor soccer, which is played on a smaller field and you can hit the ball off the walls.  This is outdoor field sized soccer which happens to be played inside a big dome.  His select team is playing winter soccer for the next 4-5 months, until the outdoor fields are ready to be played on again in the spring. some ways it will be a long winter. ;)  This is a new team for son C, and he has lots of new things to adjust to.  But he is excited because this is a dream of his, and I just want to support him any way I can ("facilitate and cheerlead", remember?).

One day this week I looked out the kitchen window, and there in the back yard were Little Man and 18 year old college man (son G) choreographing a light saber battle with two lit up light sabers.  I just stood at the window and watched them for a long time.  It was something that probably wouldn't have happened if we weren't home schooling (and hence Little Man being home during the day around son G's college schedule).  It made my mama's heart very full and so, so thankful.  We are rejoicing that son G has TWO part time jobs now!!!  He had experienced quite a few closed doors of employment before these two opened, and we are (again) thankful!  So very much to be thankful for.....

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

New Office

As promised, here are some pics of our new office.  The only thing missing is the beautiful new shade I plan on ordering for the window, but it has to wait a couple of paydays.  The futon couch folds down into a full sized bed.  Daughter G slept on it when she was last home, and has declared it "very comfortable!"

One of the baskets in this cube storage unit holds the sheets for the bed, and pillows and blankets are in the closet.  Because we started with basically an empty room, we got to put in only those things that were useful and/or meant something to my hubby.  So there is a place for everything, and everything in its place.

We love it!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Our Week in Review

I need to say, again, how much I love home schooling.  These last two weeks we have had the BEST discussions during and after our morning devotions.  I so love the opportunity to hear the perspective of my boys, to discuss life issues from a Biblical worldview, and together, to apply Biblical truth to things in our culture and our lives.  LOVE IT.  So, so thankful that home schooling affords us the luxury of time and opportunity to do this.  It makes the hard days totally worth it.

Another reason I love home schooling is the opportunity our boys have to spend time with each other during the day.  Son G and Little Man are no longer room-mates, but had shared a room for 10 years and have a really strong bond.  Here college man is explaining fine points of the Star Wars movie franchise to Little Man.  All our boys are anxiously awaiting the release of the next Star Wars movie in December!

Last weekend daughter G came home.  Yay!  Here is the artist in her studio space at college.

Some of her recent work.

This is what a "printing" station looks like....

....and it produces work like this.  Basically you paint the glass with black paint, and then wipe OFF the "picture" that you want, then lay paper on top of this and transfer the remaining black paint to the paper.  It is an interesting study in looking for the "white" instead of the "dark."

Daughter G came to both her brother's soccer games to cheer them on.  Her cheering must have helped, because they came away with a win and a tie!

Also while she was home we took the opportunity to do our annual tradition of painting pumpkins.

I love this time amongst the siblings!

Their finished work!

For son C's Spanish class, they were to draw and label (in Spanish) all the parts of a house, and the teacher said she would give extra credit for a 3D house rather than a sketched one.  Son C rose to the challenge and spent hours building a lego replica of OUR house!  It was two stories, and the top story lifted off to show the kitchen and all the other rooms on the ground floor. It was amazing!

Here is the sliding glass door from our family room to the patio.  The door actually slides!

In his brother's bedroom he even put a guitar in the corner. :)

I absolutely loved this little detail....on a shelf in his own bedroom he put a tiny replica of a Pinewood Derby car and a soccer trophy.

In history last week we learned more about the presidency of Andrew Jackson.  Boy, he was a super popular "man of the people" president!  After his inaugural speech he invited regular people into the White House to celebrate with him, and they got so rowdy (climbing on furniture to get a better look at President Jackson, and breaking glasses, etc) that White House staff had to carry huge tubs of ice cream out on the lawn to lure all the people out again!    Can you imagine if that kind of thing happened today?!

He had some really big issues to try and resolve during his presidency.  Two big ones that did not get resolved completely were the United States' relationship with Native Americans, and the slavery issue.  As we know, the slavery issue would grow more and more tense until a civil war broke out over this issue about 30 years later.

Little Man read all about the history of the state of Texas, from American settlers first going there, to Mexico's independence from Spain, to Texas's War of Independence from Mexico.  Very interesting, with lots of interesting characters.

In other news, our beloved youth pastor got married.  He is 38 and had given up on the hope of marriage, when the Lord completely surprised him by bringing a lovely, beautiful, caring woman into his life.  We are all so happy for them!!  Here are our boys at the wedding....they clean up pretty well, don't they?

God is good!  Looking forward to what this next week holds.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday's Thankful Things

Today I am thankful for....

My wonderful counselor, and the opportunity I have to pursue counseling.  It is so helpful for me during this intense period of transition.

The Bible Study I have joined on Wednesday nights.  We are doing this study, and I am gleaning so much each week.

Fall.  I love that God made four distinct seasons for us to enjoy!  They are each so beautiful in their own way.

My husband.  His job has been very stressful of late, but he is the same even-tempered, patient man we all know.  I love him so!

The new office I created for him.  The children nixed calling it the "study," claiming that made it sound like a room for an old person, so we are calling it just the office now. :)  It is almost completely done (waiting on the rug and window shade I ordered).  It's peaceful and calm and clean and beautiful.  I love it and hubby does, too!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Our Week in Review

Reason #67 why I love homeschooling....on an 80 degree day in October, you can do your school work outside!

This week in history we focused on the presidency of John Quincy Adams, and all the reasons why even though he was an excellent and experienced statesman, his four year presidency was pretty ineffective.  I absolutely love history!  It's so amazing to find connections between current events and events of long ago.  We tend to think that political events and contentions of our day are unique, and they really aren't!  When John Quincy Adams was elected in 1824 he ran against 3 other men, and none of them got a majority of electoral votes so the House of Representatives had to declare the winner!  Sound familiar?  Hanging chads, anyone?

After his term as President was over, John Quincy was elected and re-elected to the House of Representatives and served there for 18 years.  He was the first former President (and only one other has done it since) to later serve in Congress.  He also practiced law in his retirement, and as a very old man was co-counsel on the landmark Amistad case that was heard in the Supreme Court in 1841.  If you are not familiar with the Amistad story, you should be.  It was a Spanish slave ship whose slaves broke free, killed many of their captors, and forced the surviving sailors to head the ship back to Africa.  But the sailors secretly managed to steer the ship north instead, and it was captured off the coast of Long Island.  The slaves and the ship were then held in Connecticut while people tried to sort it all out.

The Spanish government claimed the slaves as their property and wanted them returned.  The ship owners claimed them as THEIR property and wanted them returned.  At that time, even though slavery had not yet been abolished in the United States, slave trade from Africa had been.  So some compassionate U.S. attorneys realized that the slaves, having been born in Africa, were actually free men and should be returned to their homes.  The ensuing trial was an important step toward the abolition of slavery in the U.S.

We watched the excellent movie "Amistad" for movie night.  It is rated R for violence and brief nudity, so be forewarned if you decide to watch it.  The violence of the slave revolt on board ship is very graphic, and so is the violence of the slave captors toward the slaves while aboard ship (that is also where the nudity occurs).  It made me weep to see the injustice of it.  I'm so thankful that we can learn and talk about such important historical moments together as a family.

Also this week Little Man finished a story about King Arthur and is now working on an original Medieval themed story about a boy named Ben.

He also began working on his home-made Halloween costume with my hubby's help.  He is creating a robot suit out of cardboard and some $2 goggles. :)

I spent a lot of time prepping and taping walls to prepare to paint daughter H's bedroom, which we are turning into an office/guest room.  I have decided to call it the "study."  Pics coming soon! 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Our Week in Review

We are slowly settling into our new school rhythm.  I say "new" because each year is new and different than the one before.  Our weekly studies are a combination of work we do for mom and work we do for co-op classes, but history remains our "spine."  This week was kindof interesting because I combined three weeks of our Year 3 Tapestry of Grace curriculum into one discussion.  We wrapped up our reading of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, learned about the push for independence in South American countries, and studied President Monroe and his famous speech which became known as the "Monroe Doctrine."


Three days this week we just sat in the family room and read history books together.  Much of our high schoolers' work is rigorous and intense, so it is nice to be able to just sit and read with each other sometimes, and spontaneously share what we are reading about.  I love that as a homeschool mom I have control over the curriculum, and not the other way around!

Before discussion today I prepared a lunch of some foods that Lewis and Clark would have eaten on their long journey west to the Pacific Ocean (beef jerky and sausage, which they would have made from buffalo intestines, but we just bought at Kroger!), as well as a traditional Chilean food called stuffed empanadas.  For the empanada recipe, go here.  We ate, we read, we talked.  Delightful!

It was hard keeping the dogs away from our food, haha!

Science and foreign language classes are all taken at our co-op now, but I am still the primary English teacher for all my boys, and I absolutely love doing IEW writing with Little Man!  He is working on a narrative story of King Arthur and doing a fabulous job.  He is quite a good writer already! 

He is also doing IEW's "Fix It" this year, where every day he fixes a sentence or two that has deliberate spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors, and then rewrites the correct version in his best cursive handwriting.  By the end of the year he will have an entire story, perfectly edited and written out by hand!  Fix It spans five years (six now, but my old version only has five), so he has four more stories to do after this one.   Here is a sample of his corrected Fix It writing from this week.  He is working on "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer":

This weekend we are looking forward to two soccer games, painting a bedroom, and singing in a worship choir this Sunday.  What are you looking forward to this weekend?