Monday, March 31, 2008

Home Education Week Post #2

I haven't announced this formally over here on my blog, but I am now a monthly contributor over at Heart of The Matter Online's magazine. (There is a button on my sidebar.) My newest post will come out on the 8th of every month. The name of my column is "Because Life Happens."

So what does this announcement have to do with the question for Home Education Week, day 2:

Describe yourself, your family or one of your children. What is it like to be home educated in your family? What is “normal” for you?

It's that we are constantly searching for normal. Every time we reach a level of normal, it gets adjusted. Why? Because life happens. And life, as I said yesterday, is what homeschooling is all about.

As I type this, the two year old is handing me a stack of books. And she stinks. A minute ago she was improperly shutting down the computer. I was busy trying to ignore her because I was typing my blog. My husband has not left for work yet, the 11 yo is home from school sick (yes, some of ours go to school but that is a post for another time), he and the five yo are watching "Inspector Gadget," a maid is here cleaning our house because my realtor offers this service and I am not too proud to take her up on it, and I am laid up with a broken foot. That's our life. For today. Tomorrow it will be different.

When I first started homeschooling I struggled against the forces of nature trying to make every day go a certain way. I wanted things to be "just so." I mapped out beautiful schedules and posted them on the wall. The kids would laugh and poke each other, telling their dad, "Mom's got a new schedule. Let's see how long this one lasts." It took awhile (and several more children) for me to understand I had to let some things go.

And so, there are absolutes every day: you will do your assigned work, the house will get picked up to some degree and maybe even cleaned. But there are varying degrees of how that will play out. And I get that now. I let things go and I trust that God will fill in my gaps. I embrace His will (most days), and I don't get all caught up in what the future holds. Because I can't control tomorrow anymore than I can control today.

That has been a long lesson in coming, but I am letting it settle in a little more every day. What is a normal homeschooler? I haven't found out yet-- and I am realizing I never will.

Want to see more answers to this question? Go here.
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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Home Education Week Post #1

Share your personal history…before you were a home educator. What was life like? Think about things you miss and things you and your family have gained.

Before I was a home educator, I was a young mom just trying to get a handle on being a mom, period. I was not especially qualified or capable, so the thought of being called to do this job for more than the requisite five years, sounded crazy. Why would I want my children around for longer than they had to be? School meant a break in the noise and craziness, right? That sounded good to me!

And yet, there was something about homeschooling that intrigued me.

I first learned about the concept of homeschooling when my son was an infant and we moved to Wisconsin (in January, I will add-- not a good place to put a southerner at that time!). I only met a handful of people during that time, and one was a woman named Sue. Sue was a Creative Memories rep I read about in the paper and called to learn about scrapbooking, which was to become a passion of mine as well. When I went to her house to see her supplies, I was greeted at the door by the most polite 8yo boy I had ever met. He was unreal. I marveled at this kid and his sisters. To say they impressed me is an understatement. I went home and told Curt all about this crazy woman who had four kids and was pregnant with the fifth and homeschooled! Who has that many kids and then doesn't get rid of them when she can?? I questioned aloud.

I imagine God had a good laugh that day.

The more time I spent around Sue, the more I learned about this crazy idea of homeschooling. It was an election year and she and her children were busy volunteering for candidates and taking part in some pretty amazing life lessons. She and I would scrapbook and she would share with me why she thought that homeschooling was the best thing since sliced bread. She gave me some books and magazines. (They have magazines for these crazy people? I marveled.) And I dutifully read them. Curt would see me reading them and he would say, "You can read all that crazy propaganda you want to read, but we are not doing that. You are not making my son weird." I would tell him that I was just fascinated by the whole thing-- I certainly would never do it. I reasoned that it was like a sociology project. (I was just out of college and apparently still in that mindset.)

One thing I decided in all of this was that homeschooling, while it was interesting and I had observed the differences in Sue's children, was a uniquely northern thing. Surely people down south didn't do this. We returned home and Sue promised to keep in touch. (To this day she does-- we still exchange Christmas cards. That 8 yo is now 23, married and working in the sports industry. Yikes!) Imagine my surprise when I was driving down the road and saw a sign by THE CHURCH I GOT MARRIED IN that said, "Homeschool Book Fair." I made a U-turn and went in. I am not kidding. I pushed my son around in his stroller and talked to people at the booths. I was discovering how big and growing this homeschool thing really was, and that there was a network of folks in my hometown who were also, apparently, as crazy as Sue.

Though I didn't know it at the time, that string of events was part of the story of our family as it was to become. That crazy concept of having lots of kids like Sue? We did it. That crazy concept of not sending them off on the yellow school bus when they turned five? Yep, did that too. Curt and I both say that God used homeschooling to shape and mold us in so many ways-- on a personal level as well as on a parenting level. The conferences where we were challenged by great speakers helped us dare to be different in a society based almost entirely around conformity. The community of likeminded folks empowered us to keep on keeping on, even when being different felt too challenging and exhausting. We learned to seek God's will for us, first and foremost-- even when people called us crazy and even said ugly things. For someone that had lived her whole life seeking approval, this was especially hard for me to do. I know without a doubt that I am the person I am and our family is the family we are due to homeschooling entering our lives. In hindsight it is clear that it had very little to do with choosing an educational method and everything to do with choosing a lifestyle.

Want to read more answers to this question? Go to
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Friday, March 28, 2008

Venturing Out

Thanks to my sweet, longsuffering husband, I ventured out today. He hired a sitter and took me to Barnes and Noble for a writing day. I could not have done it without him. Being out showed me that I am not ready to try to go alone. He had to hold bathroom doors for me and drop me off at the curb, not to mention dealing with stairs a few times, which still totally scares me to do. By the time I got home, I was exhausted!

But I have to say that after several weeks of being cooped up inside all the time, the inside of a Barnes and Noble is a beautiful place! And of course anywhere that is filled with books is beautiful anyway.

Last week in one of my care packages from my P31 friends was a Barnes and Noble giftcard. So today I got to spend mine. I walked in, took my seat at a table and looked up to find the book I wanted right away. It was serendipity! Right within my line of sight was Beth Moore's new book-- To Live Is Christ. Since I have been studying Acts at CBS this year, this new book on Paul's life will be the perfect icing on this study. I have put it next in line to read-- just as soon as I finish Debbie Macomber's Knit Together. I am savoring having both of these gems by my bedside. To make things even better, I got the new Sonlight catalog today AND the new Above Rubies.

And so, I am going to stop my writing frenzy tonight and leave myself several hours to snuggle up with my books in my cozy bed. Getting out was great-- coming home was even better!

ETA: I was wrong. That book is NOT Beth Moore's new book. It was published in 01. But it is new to me and the timing of the subject matter was perfect for me!
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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Home Education Week


I found out about this week through one of the ladies who is on Heart Of The Matter Online. She has organized Home Education Week that homeschool bloggers can participate in by writing according to the subject for each day, then linking to her blog so we can all read each other's thoughts. Fun! Head on over there to check it out. I plan to post on as many of the subjects as I can. Can't wait to see what everybody writes!
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Teenagers And Cell Phones

Today I had a revelation.

As the parent of a 13 and 15 yo, I am just beginning my journey through these years of raising teens. And so, I am coming to these revelations slowly, with much more to learn. In a way, raising teens is like starting all over again as a parent. The rules change and the stakes get higher. The pressure mounts as you know there is no time to waste-- that tomorrow (the thing you have a lot of with little ones) is slipping out of reach at a rapid pace.

And so, back to my revelation. I talked to a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) this morning. She vented to me for a bit about discovering some of the uncouth texts boys have left on both her daughters' cell phone. And what she did about this discovery. She and her daughters had a pretty tough conversation with dad present. Some boundaries were laid out that before had not existed because she thought that she could trust her daughters' judgment. She wanted to believe her daughters had more self respect than to let a boy talk to them the way these boys did. And yet, because of peer pressure or what they perceive as "normal," they let it go. And reduced their standards in the process.

I thought about this conversation a lot after we hung up. My friend reminded me that "random text checks" are a good idea, even with a kid who appears to be living a nice, obedient life. Just saying to the kid, "Hey, let me see your phone" on the spot, and then scrolling through their last texts is a good idea. You might be surprised what you learn about their secret lives.

Just a few minutes ago, our house phone rang. It was a friend of my son's-- a kid named Ryan who I don't know at all. But he clearly knew my son and wanted to find him. As I hung up I thought about how odd it was for my son to have friends I don't know-- and how dangerous it is. Because that is why God gave teens parents-- to help them make moral decisions, to offer wise counsel and to instill boundaries in their lives. And yet, cell phones make it entirely possible to have a child who has a whole network of friends and plans we are not privy to. This bothered me.

My son is currently without a cell phone due to some disrespectful behavior he has been having. (For an example of how pleasant he can be to live with, check out his face in the photo of all the kids before church on my husband's blog.) We took it away and told him we would no longer be paying for this service that is, quite frankly, a luxury. We told him that we would buy him a prepaid cell phone with the first couple of minutes and he would be buying the rest after that.

And I know the argument that cell phones are for safety and it's nice to be able to get kids on the phone wherever they are, etc. But I have to say they are also dangerous. Because a cell phone gives a teenager the opportunity to live a life that is wholly separate from their parents. Maybe I sound old when I say this, but when I was growing up, all my calls came though my home. My mom, then, was privy to who was calling, what plans were being made, and what I was up to-- whether I liked it or not. She was in my business, and I needed her to be. I wasn't ready for the complete and total freedom to give my number out to just anyone. I had to really think about it-- because I knew that she would ask me, "Who was that? How do you know him? Why is he calling?" and all those other mom-type questions.

But cell phones cut out all that pesky parenting stuff. They make it possible for illicit texts to pass between them-- alluding to things that they have no business dabbling in. They make it possible for plans to get made away from a parent's earshot. They take parents out of the equation-- which is exactly what teens think they want. They foster that illusion of having their own life-- complete with their own phone number.

And why have we as the majority of parents allowed this? I will raise my hand and be the first one to admit that it was not because I was concerned about their safety or because I needed to get ahold of them when they are out-- there are a million other kids with cell phones they can use. Or (gasp! horrors!) they can use the phone of the place they are at. I let mine have cell phones because they bugged me like crazy until I gave in under the pressure. They used everything from whining to begging to bargaining. They used guilt: "How would you feel if something happened and I couldn't call you?" They used manipulation: "All the other kids have them and you are making me look bad to my friends." And in the end, I caved. Not because I really put a lot of thought into it. But because, plain and simple, I am a sheep. And sheep do whatever the rest of the flock is doing. If the rest of the flock walks over the side of a cliff, the sheep will get in line and march right over the side with them. That is why the sheep need a shepherd. And my Shepherd has been whispering to me today to stop the madness. To stop blindly following and be set apart-- and to raise kids who are set apart in the process.

Parenting teens today is hard. And this is just one of the reasons why. Today I realized that our position on cell phones is "weird" by our kids and the rest of the world's standards. But that is okay. If it means helping our kids emerge from the teen years holy and healthy, I am willing to be weird. May God give us the strength to remain steadfast in the many years we have ahead of us. Because being weird isn't just weird-- it's exhausting. It's easier to just pretend we don't see and hope for the best. Tragically, that's what too many parents are doing. If it weren't for God getting my attention on some issues, I would most definitely be one of them.
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Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter At Our House

Easter at our house was great! For pictures from our day, go to my husband's blog.

I had my doubts that it would be great with me being a cripple right now. But it was truly one of the best Easters I remember having in a long time. Probably because I had very little to do with the production and was able to just go and enjoy. A benefit to being sidelined I had not anticipated.

First, I had nothing to do with the preparation of the kids' Easter baskets. Leann and Zoe took over that project and had stuffed the kids' baskets with an unimaginable amount of candy and stuff. They loved it. THANKS LEANN AND ZOE!! Your generosity was so appreciated. To see these beautiful baskets, go to my husband's blog and scroll down.

Second, I was blessed with not one, but two beautiful bags stuffed with goodies for me! Chocolate, flowers, magazines, a Barnes and Noble giftcard, and even a box of Chef Boyardee pizzas waited inside to delight me and cheer me. Do these girls know me or what?? Thanks to Lysa and Renee and Leann (again) for this treat! It sure was nice to be remembered this way.

Yesterday was my first day back at church since "the incident" and I have to say that it went off without a hitch. I was allowed to go in before the crowd so I didn't get trampled. Everyone was so nice and caring-- and I even ran into an old friend from childhood who now lives in LA. You just never know who you will see at Elevation! Pastor's sermon was awesome, which didn't surprise me because it always is! Best line from the sermon? When he said, "You might be thinking, 'This isn't a very nice Easter sermon.' Well too bad for you! It's the sermon that needs to be preached!" I love his boldness and the way he lays it out without being concerned about stepping on people's toes. In a good way, of course.

After church, we went to my in-laws house for a delicious Easter lunch with all the trimmings-- ham, green beans, cooked carrots, rice casserole, jello salad, rolls, corn-- a feast! For dessert there was ice cream cake and strawberry cake, plus assorted other goodies. We all went home stuffed. But before we went home, there was the Easter egg hunt in the yard. (I stayed inside during this and trusted Curt to take pictures.) The kids love this because there is money inside some of the eggs! With seven of the eleven grandchildren ages 6 and under, it is always a circus around there-- and yesterday was no different. Especially with lots of candy involved!

Last night we went home and vegged. We all watched Martian Child, which was a good movie with some good quotes about parenting. It had a sweet message about the power of an unconditional love that lasts forever. A good message for Easter sunday, a day to think about how Christ's love was the ultimate example of that.
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A Subtle Shift In Perspective-- Is Horton Anti-Homeschooling?

I received this email from a list I am on this morning. After reading it, I felt angry about the movie and was ready to get on my blog and tell you all not to see it! Here is what I read about Horton Hears A Who:

I would like to spare you all the onslaught and ask you not to spend your dollars supporting the new Fox movie "Horton Hears A Who." I've never experienced such a blaring underlying message DIRECTLY against homeschoolers from start to finish as in this movie!!
The antagonist, Kangaroo, is very early on identified as a homeschool mom who "pouch schools so they don't wrongly influence her joey". She is portrayed throughout the entire movie as a gossiping, intolerant, fear-inducing rabble-rouser who is stirring up trouble in the jungle & persecuting, to the point of hiring a hit-man, "poor Horton", who is portrayed as the tolerant, fun-loving, faithful, believing in all things, TEACHER of the rest of the jungle children. (Horton is the public school.)

This Kangaroo is found throughout the movie spouting off many of the things we as homeschoolers stand for but twisted in a very negative light. By the end of the movie, she has persecuted Horton into a Ancient Roman days-like scene where she has incited a mob, and they are forcefully w/sticks and ropes forcing Horton into a cage and are going to boil the "Whos in a vat of boiling oil if Horton doesn't recant his belief in the Whos' existence". It all ends when the Kangaroo loses the heart of her joey, and he rebels against her saving the Whos. In the very end, they are all happy and singing together when the Kangaroo gives up her beliefs and joins the group.

Please do not spend your money supporting this movie where the producers have taken everything we stand for and painted us as the bad guy persecuting them!!

And then I read this response, which identifies the same exact elements in the movie as the above, but from a different, more positive perspective:

I just wanted to add some light to the discussion since we did see the movie this weekend before hearing about any controversy. I thought, overall, it was a really good movie that had what I thought could be some very Christian themes. The story was pretty true to the book, which is one of my favorites. Horton is the only one who can hear (because of his big ears) the miniscule people on the speck of dust he encounters, and he makes it his mission to protect them. No sooner does Horton begin believing in something he can't see, then the evil opposition has organized behind the villain Kangaroo to snuff out his silly speck and hence his belief. It certainly speaks to the kind of dilemma most of us as believers find ourselves in and (on a cartoon level) the kind of mindless hate and persecution that can occur because of it. Without giving away the story, Horton shows what faithfulness, friendship, and persistence, looks like. Other characters in Whoville (the speck town) exhibit similar good qualities.

As far as the homeschooling issue, I think the initial implication felt like a "jab" at homeschooling, but honestly, it was referred to as "pouch-schooling" not homeschooling. The joey kangaroo never left the pouch and was shoved back inside any time he exhibited anything like curiosity or initiative. This is the exact opposite of what most homeschoolers look like; it is either a blatantly ignorant portrayal of all of us, or a characterization of what the mainstream fears is a small twisted segment of our group. I definitely did not equate what Horton was doing with the children as a promotion of "public school"! I didn't even think of this until I read that excerpt in the review. His character took the children out in the world to learn about real life and encourage their interests. In my mind Horton was the homeschooler and the Kangaroo was the one forced to stay inside all day (sounds like ps!) In my opinion, this part of the movie is a good segue to discuss the fear and misinformation surrounding homeschooling with our kids and those around us who may not get it. It was hard to be offended at the implication when it looked nothing like our family. My kids didn't even mention it, but after hearing this controversy, I may discuss it with them.

I think we can all learn from this second perspective. Society expects Christians to get up in arms and announce boycotts and write angry letters. What if we showed them our love instead? What if we looked past that initial urge to get angry and fight back and found instead a way to be encouraging?

Let's face it-- Horton Hears A Who was the number one movie for at least two weekends running. They aren't going to go broke if we don't see it. So, instead of getting angry and looking for ways to ruin them-- let's look for the good in it, as this second person wrote about. Let's see the spiritual overtones in this movie as this woman saw-- because glimpses of God's Truth are everywhere, if we learn to look for them.

I am not saying to keep silent when something is blatantly wrong. And I am not saying to accept lies as Truth. But I am saying that sometimes we can overreact-- and our actions can convince people that they don't want to buy what we're selling. I know too many people that have made their mind up about Christianity because of mindsets like the first letter. I am glad there are people who see life as the second person does-- looking for the good instead of the bad. Believing the best and not casting the first stone.
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Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Quote From My Devotion This Morning

One of the things I have been trying to grasp during this trial with my foot is what God has for me within it. The day the orthopedic surgeon told me that there was nothing else he had to offer was a low day for me. I told Curt as we drove home, "This is one of those moments where I don't want to hear that God has something for me in this. This is one of those times where being a Christian and trying to hear from God is just exhausting."

In a matter of a few days' time, though, my attitude has shifted back to a more rational, more focused perspective. I desire to learn whatever God has for me to learn. I desire to hear from Him. I want to draw from this experience His riches and His insights. I want to be that refined silver that reflects His image. His mercies are indeed, new every morning.

And today, as I woke up in that state of mind, I read this affirmation in my Streams In The Desert devotion:

"As Joseph did, we should be more careful to focus on learning all the lessons in the school of sorrow than to focus anxious eyes on the time of our deliverance. (Note: what I have been doing since this began.) There is a reason behind every lesson, and when we are ready, our deliverance will definitely come."

While I am still focused on deliverance from the pain and limitations of this trial (I watch the people walking together on these beautiful spring days outside my window and feel a longing for something so simple yet for me impossible. I feel sad looking back at all the grand plans I had to celebrate Easter with my children this Holy Week, now lost in the shuffle of merely surviving each day.), I am also focused on what God has for me in this trial.

And so, I continue to covet your prayers for healing, for grace, and for perspective that looks past the here and now. And for Curt, who is shouldering so, so much right now without my help.
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The State Of US Education

While I have no affiliation with this organization, nor am I especially politically active, I did think this video offered some sobering statistics about the state of our public education system. Go here to watch it. It made me realize why so many folks are turning to homeschooling as an alternative.
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Disneyworld Mom Blogger Mixer

You may have noticed that I added yet another blogroll. This one will include the wonderful ladies who will be participating in a very special weekend event. Several of us found each other yesterday and decided to connect via each other's blogs and websites to create some sort of network. Thanks to Shari for giving me the initial tip that sent me clicking from one blog to the next, scouring out the participants for this most exciting adventure.

Remember when I wrote about how last Wednesday was one of the greatest days I have had in awhile? Well, last Wednesday out of the blue I got contacted by someone at Disney inviting me (little ole me!) to participate in the first annual Disney Mom Blogger Mixer-- a weekend of fun and relaxation just for moms. No kidding, I wrote back and asked if this was a hoax. Things like this, I thought, just don't happen to me. She wrote back with assurance that it was not a hoax and that I would be contacted with details soon. Sure enough, within hours I was contacted by a travel rep who arranged my flight and a letter welcoming me to the event. This weekend is an all-expenses paid time to check out what Disney has to offer families and to let Disney find out how they can reach their audience through moms who blog.

It sounds to me like blogs are being noticed as wonderful tools of communication more than ever! One article I read recently said that blogs are like talking to a neighbor over the back fence-- hearing what products really work, what books are really good, what movies are worth seeing, what vacation spots are worth the money. I know that most of my information about what's going on in the world comes from the blogs I frequent. Most all the books I read were recommended on someone's blog. Disney recognizes that power and, apparently, is willing to invest in it.

We will be staying on the property in the beach resort with our own rooms. We will be welcomed with a special reception and the letter I received said they are still putting the finishing touches on an exciting itinerary focused on the best of what Disney has to offer. All of us moms agreed yesterday in a flurry of emails that we're all about the time alone, the shopping, and the food. Everything else is just a bonus!

For a few days this week, as I was in the pit of despair (anyone ever seen The Princess Bride?), I really thought about not going. The trip is April 18-20. By all accounts, I will probably still be hobbling around in a boot. Who wants to do Disney in an ugly stormtrooper boot? I want to run and frolic-- not stagger and slow my group down. And, after all, I don't know these people. Why in the world would they tolerate a cripple in their midst? Yesterday they assured me that they still want me to come. Stephanie from Adventures In Babywearing says that she was worried she would be a party-pooper because she is pregnant. She assured me we could hang out and be slow together. After hearing from these girls and seeing their passion for blogging and motherhood combined, I know that I have found some new friends that I am going to have a blast with at Disney.

If you are coming and are not listed in my blogroll, leave me a comment with a link to your blog so I can add you. Through the power of the internet, we are slowly but surely finding each other! Ladybug and Her Blogging Mama has also started a Mr. Linky to help us connect. (She also designed the adorable buttons to add to our blogs!)

And so, with my husband's blessing and with a newfound excitement for going-- ugly boot and all-- I am headed for Disneyworld. Ready or not, here I come!

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

She Speaks-- Don't Delay!

We got an email this week warning us that She Speaks registrations will soon close. Very soon, they will start taking a waiting list.
If you have been thinking about signing up for She Speaks, I urge you to go ahead and do so. Don't delay! This year promises to be bigger and better than ever. With sessions devoted to blogging, great publishers taking appointments, and lots of informative workshops on a variety of subjects that relate to ministry, writing, speaking, and life in general. Oh yeah, and the P31 team will be there too! But of course, you probably already guessed that. You can hang out with these crazy girls I write about here and get your purse critiqued too!
It promises to be a whole lotta fun-- not to mention a life changing weekend. The stories that we hear about what God does in women's lives through the course of this weekend are always filled with hope, renewed perspective, laughter and tears. Far from being yet another writers and speakers' conference, this weekend is about seeking God's will for you, discovering His call on your life and pressing into Him. I hope to see you there.
To register, go to or call the P31 office at 704-849-2270.

ETA: I just received an email notifying us that She Speaks registrations are now closed. Proverbs 31 is taking a waiting list if you would like to get on that. They will notify you if spots open up.
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I Always Knew I Was A Mother Hen... Just Didn't Know What Type!

What type of Mother Hen Are You?
by Educational Resource

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Today I spent some time with my new friend Teri. She came over to bring us dinner and stayed to visit. It was nice to have the company. In fact, we had such a good time that I made her late to pick up her son from preschool! Tomorrow my friend Shari is coming over to keep me company-- though she has already warned me that she will NOT be bringing dinner! Shari has a passion for fashion-- not cooking! Anyone else out there bored and looking for a place to hang out and pass the time? I would welcome the company!

It has been so great to have friends who express their love in many different ways. Some call or send emails. One sent me an ecard. One showed up yesterday with half of Sam's in her car! (Thanks Luann!) Many have brought meals. Some have brought take-out, some frozen foods, and some have cooked elaborate dinners. What they bring isn't important-- it is a blessing all the same. One is taking on the HUGE task of coordinating meals. (Though I think she has regretted it since agreeing to do it!) Yesterday, my friend Luann knelt in our kitchen and prayed for my healing and strength for our family. My mom was even there to pray with us, which was a blessing. I saw the tears in her eyes and all I could think of is how happy that must make her as a mom to see her child being loved on and cared for by so many.

All of this has caused me to think about what real friendship is.
Proverbs 27:10 says, "Do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father."

John 15:13 says, "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

Proverbs 17:17 says, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."

The note in my Ryrie study Bible for this verse says, "When you are in trouble, you see who your friends are and how helpful a brother can be." I can say that this week I have seen that. I have felt the love of my friends and I know just how much I have needed their help. I could not do this alone. This has been a great lesson to me of what love in action looks like. These same people could talk all day long about what good Christians they are (not that they would)--but it is so much more impactful to see it lived out loud. In this busy day and age, it is hard to make time for friends. It is hard to take action when so many other things demand your attention. And yet, in reading these verses, I see words like "forsake" and "lay down your life" and "adversity." Friendship by God's design is about sacrifice. I have seen that a lot this week and I have learned through the examples of my friends.

And because I can't resist...
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One Week Ago Today

One week ago today, I was having one of the best days of my life. I found out I had been selected for a speaking engagement and I got some good news about another event as well. I was happy and content and fulfilled in both my role as mom and writer/speaker. This is so rare for me. It was a day that everything just felt balanced-- neither side was weighted in a concerning way. I was doing life well. The cinnamon bread was baking in the oven, the kids were pleasant, the weather was spring-y (my favorite time of year!) and I was looking forward to our first small group meeting that night.

Ever have those days? I will admit that with a passle of kids, and life in a fallen world to navigate, those days are rare for me. There is usually something nagging at me-- a concern about money or the rifts that invariably happen in relationships; debating some life choice I have to make because I am a grownup now, after all; stressing about working out and losing weight-- you know... life stuff.

And so, I was appreciating that day for the gift that it was. I was literally going around in a constant state of praise to God, thanking Him for how wonderful things were. I really thought that nothing could make that day turn bad. Of course, I hadn't accounted for that hole in the yard that ultimately was-- literally-- my downfall. Before the end of my great day, I was writhing in pain, knowing that something wasn't right about this particular injury. Praying that with some rest the pain would go away and life could go on as before. Totally ignorant of what the coming days would reveal. Last Wednesday was a great day. Last Thursday was one of the longest days of my life.

My life today looks much different than it did last week at this time. The Bible is right:

"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, 'If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that'." (James 4:13-15)

And now my prayer is, If it is the Lord's will I will get better and rejoin life. Quickly. I haven't lost hope in the good days to come. And I have been sobered by how fast life really does come at you. Of course, none of life's surprises are a surprise to God. And in that truth I must find my comfort.
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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

If You Ask A Five Year Old To Get The Mail...

You might never see it again. This is yet another little lesson I am learning as I continue lying in bed asking my kids to do things I normally do.

Earlier today I asked my 15 yo to get the mail. He left with his friend and forgot to do it.

Then I asked the five yo to get the mail. He didn't for reasons that remain a mystery.

I asked the 8 yo to get the mail but she got started talking to me about some girl at school who has dreadlocks and dyed bright red hair and the story distracted her, which is understandable.

I asked the 13 yo, but she was on the computer and couldn't do it because she had already done so much for me.

Later, I asked her again-- after she had been on the computer for a bit. Because she did have some time coming to her, seeing as how she has done so much for me lately. This time she did go out to the mailbox, only to come back and say that it's not in there. I figured perhaps guilt had gotten the best of the other folks I asked and someone had gotten it after all. I sent her in search of it. She came back and said she doesn't see it.

I feel most certain we have mail-- it is rare that we get none at all. This is just an example of how life (and the house) has gotten out of control with me out of commission. Also, we have lost two library books since I fell. We never lose library books because I am the library book nazi when I am up and around and can keep up with such things.

In the meantime, I am learning to let go of my urge to control my surroundings. It is a hard lesson. Especially when getting the mail is one of your only contacts with the outside world. Oh well, it was probably just bills anyway.
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And Now We're Back To My Foot

Today I left the house for the first time since I went to the Urgent Care on Friday to find out that my foot is broken. Today's destination was also the doctor's. This time to an orthopedic surgeon. I expected one of two things from the surgeon:

1. Walk in the office and say something to the effect of, "I took a look at your x-rays and your foot is not broken. You should expect to feel better in the next few days and I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. Go home, enjoy a few more days of healing and rest, and then resume normal living. Don't worry about all that silly 6-8 weeks of healing nonsense you were originally told."

2. Walk in the office and say, "Hey, I took a look at your xrays and your foot is broken. However, I can do a very simple outpatient procedure that will not be very invasive and will have you back up and around very soon."

However, neither of these two options were offered to me. Instead, all they offered me was a big, ugly stormtrooper-looking boot. However as the nurse tried to put it on me, I broke down and started crying-- it was that painful to try to make my foot go in the right way. I can't explain it very well except to say that the angle of the boot caused a lot of pressure on the bone in my foot that is broken. I couldn't stand it so they removed it and re-wrapped my foot in an Ace bandage and sent me home.

Exactly the way I came in.

That was not what I was looking for. I came seeking a miracle cure-- a way out-- and I found more of the same. I left feeling like a balloon someone had just let all the air out of. I am still trying to figure out the same thing I was trying to figure out on Friday-- how can I do this? How can we do this for six weeks? I know that once I can tolerate the boot on my foot (they want me to try it again in a week) I will have more mobility. But I will still be in pain and will not enjoy "normal life" that I had before breaking my foot.

I hope to have a better perspective tomorrow. But for today I am throwing myself a pity party with a guest list of one. I invited my husband, but he didn't want to attend. Imagine that.
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Monday, March 17, 2008

An Attempt To Talk About Something Other Than My Foot

Yesterday afternoon, we got a call that they wanted to show the house. Now, seeing as how off kilter our home is right now, that is a pretty big request. We have considered taking our house off the market, but we reasoned that we are not really getting that many showings to be worth doing that. And so, yesterday as I sat around and observed, Curt and the kids cleaned the house and got it "show ready." Then he left me at home while he took the kids out of the house for the supposed showing. I say "supposed" because the people never showed. We were stood up. This would only have been our second showing, so we were semi-excited to have one.

When Curt got back, I really did not want to tell him that he had gone to all that trouble for nothing.

Today my realtor called to check on us and to apologize for what happened (even though it was totally not her fault of course) but she just felt bad. She offered to come over if we get any calls for showings and help me tidy up the house especially if it was during the day when Curt is at work and I am home alone with the kids. It wasn't but a few hours later that I got a call that an agent wanted to show our house. I hung up the phone and immediately called our agent to find out how serious she was. Not only is this my first time alone with the kids since I found out it is broken, but now I have a showing thrown in the mix!! She assured me she would be by to help. I am so grateful right about now for a great agent who is not afraid to go the extra mile to try to help us get our house sold.

So, if you all think of it, would you please pray for this showing today around 3-4 eastern time? I would love to sell this house-- even though, as my mom said, that might be the worst thing that could happen seeing as how I would be NO HELP AT ALL with moving. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Just Like That

Just like that, my attitude shifts. From seeking the blessings to wallowing in self pity. Last night I cried myself to sleep as I tried to go hang up the phone and stumbled (because you can't hold a phone and a crutch at the same time, try as you may), landing on my broken foot. This morning I did not wake up with a refreshed attitude. I woke up feeling locked in this prison I can't get out of. I want to go for a run. I want to jump into the car with my husband and grab a cup of coffee. I want to enjoy a beautiful spring day with my family. I want to go to church together.

Instead, I am here. My behind is hurting from sitting on it for the last several days. And yet, walking exhausts me as the crutches hurt under my arm and my "good foot" gets sore from supporting all my weight.

And so, I post this just to show you that I am not handling this as well as I would like. And I am not always super spiritual and super positive. Some days I just feel absolutely awful. Today is one of those days. I told my husband this morning that if the orthopaedic doc tells me surgery will speed this up, I will take it. Because I just don't think I can go six weeks or more like this. I just don't think I can.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Not That I Believe He Works Like This But...

Tonight I informed my husband that I had written just shy of a whole chapter in our financial book during the course of the day as I sat here in bed. He looked at me, incredulous. "You mean to tell me that you wrote an entire chapter? In one day?" I nodded. He shook his head. "Well, there's one way to get you to write. I wonder if God looked down from heaven and thought, 'That girl's so busy, the only way I am going to get her to slow down long enough to write is to break her dang foot.'"

I don't actually think God broke my foot, but I can see already how He is using it to work all things together for good. Well, back to writing!
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Finding The Blessings

It is hard to find the blessings in a broken foot. But I feel that that is exactly what God is challenging me to do. So, Lord willing, each day while I am an invalid I am going to get on this blog and find a way to praise Him. Some days might be harder than others. I know that. Especially the weekdays, as I am trying to parent while being immobile. If any of you are bored and want to come over and hang out with us, I will be able to use an extra pair of hands any time you are willing! (Of course, this does not apply to those of you who don't live in town, unless you are in the mood for a roadtrip.)

And so, here are my blessings for today:

A scrumptious dinner brought over by my dear friend Zoe. Zoe brought enough food for dinner tonight and tomorrow night-- a double blessing! Tonight is beef burgundy over egg noodles, salad, rolls and brownie bites for dessert. Tomorrow night's is chicken divan, rolls, black eyed peas and lima beans.

Emails, comments and calls from people who care.

My friend Paige volunteered to coordinate all our meals as people are volunteering to bring food. That is a load off as I try to keep up with the different groups and individuals who have contacted me to offer help.

Those precious people who have offered to keep kids, make meals and run errands. My friend Zoe even offered to make up my kids Easter baskets, as she guessed correctly that I had probably not started my shopping yet. Zoe, you earn the friend gold star today!

A stack of movies and library books brought to me by my husband, who cared enough to go out in the pouring down rain, missing his ACC basketball game, and get some things to keep me entertained.

The newest TEACH magazine and the NCHE conference bulletin came in the mail so I will have that to go through.

Time to work on my book-- I wrote most all of one chapter today!

Today was an easy day to appreciate. And for any of you who might feel envious of my immobility-- don't. What I wouldn't give right now for the ability to walk around freely, to not need crutches just to go to the bathroom, and to participate in life. I am grateful for what I have been given in the midst of this, but I am also wondering if I can make it through the LONG period of time I have left to get through. Six weeks sounds interminably long. When I really think about it, I get really sad. And so, I combat that by focusing on my blessings. And thanking God for friends and family who are loving me through this.

Please pray for my husband-- I watch him doing all he has to do with me out of commission, and I marvel at his capacity to handle it all. He will need some serious prayer to sustain a good attitude and the energy level he has had to have!
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Friday, March 14, 2008

Now You've Really Done It, Part Two

Well, we just got back from the doctor's office. Ever heard that saying, "Be careful what you wish for?" Well, I am feeling that adage right about now as I sit here trying to absorb the ramifications of the visit to the doctor. We found out that my foot is broken in two places. When the radiologist told me, I started to cry. Partly from relief that there is actually something wrong and I am not just being a drama queen. But partly from the question: What in the world am I going to do now??

They told me that because the breaks are in the base plate of my foot where the entire weight of your body is centered, I absolutely can not put any more weight on it. (And yes, the past day and a half where I have been trying to walk on it was probably not smart in hindsight.) He also recommended that I see an orthopaedic specialist soon and find out if I need PINS put into it. Pins, people. He said I could probably avoid that, seeing as how I am not an athlete and I am just a mom. (Yes, he really said that.) He also said they might cast it-- right now I just have an Ace bandage and one of those ugly shoe/boot looking things.

So, prayers appreciated. And anything else you can think of!
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More About My Foot

Because I know you all are on pins and needles just wanting to know...

I spent yesterday lying in bed. Literally, I could only walk as far as the bathroom, then back to bed. And walk is a loose term. Stagger would be more fitting. I provided lots of comic relief for my children, who I kept home from school to help me. Because I literally could not figure out a way to take care of my little ones alone. I needed my 13 yo to help me-- and what a great help she was. She wrote her perspective on her new blog she started. Go here to read it, and please leave her a comment telling her what an awesome kid she is for jumping in and helping the way she did!

Yesterday afternoon, I got a call from my sister-in-law, Jennifer, who is one of my faithful blog readers. She wanted to know why in the world I did not call on the family for help. (Why is it when I just wrote "the family" I felt like we are in the mafia?) Anyway, she fussed at me good-naturedly and then informed me that, since I had not called on my in-laws, she had done it for me. She also insisted I go to the doctor. I told her I did not think it was necessary. She said we would see about that.

My in-laws did end up coming over after work and bringing that lifeline of all lifelines-- pizza. They fed the kids, read them stories, talked to them and got them ready for bed while I continued to lie in bed. By the time they left, Curt was close to getting home. After he walked in the door, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. The Cavalry had arrived! Although, after a long day, I am quite sure he was not feeling like The Cavalry. But he sure looked like it from where I was sitting.

This morning, we are headed to the doctor, against my better wishes. It seems The Family has weighed in and decided that I will be getting my foot x-rayed, just to get a diagnosis and perhaps some insight on what kind of recovery we are looking at. I am not one for running to the doctor-- and I am really not one for shelling out money just to hear "It's badly bruised." Because I have had that happen. I hope that isn't what he tells me this time. Because a bruise just sounds silly-- and not nearly as monumental as the pain I am dealing with.

I will keep you posted.
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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Now You've Really Done It

Remember how yesterday I boldly wrote that this week was a normal week and I could use a little normal?

I should have realized that it was Wednesday as I was writing that and not to get ahead of myself.

Last night as we were walking into our small group meeting, my foot went into a hole in the neighbor's yard and I twisted my ankle really badly. I stumbled my way into their house and sat through the entire meeting with ice on my foot. My foot kept time in the meeting, throbbing out its own little rhythm as we discussed what our generation has to offer other generations. While I enjoyed the meeting, what I really wanted was to be home in bed with my foot propped up.

Because it is not my ankle that is bothering me, it is the top of my foot. There is a definite knot on my foot and putting any weight on it at all is not possible. I literally have to stumble my way around, dragging my foot behind me.

It is pretty to watch.

As I was going to bed, Curt told me that I just needed sleep which, bless his heart, is his answer for everything. In my mind, I was mentally canceling all the things I have to do today. Because I knew that getting "out and about" would be a tall order if my foot wasn't any better.

This morning when I woke up, I timidly went to stand on it, only to be met with worse pain than last night. I am in sad shape and the day stretches out ahead of me. I am still not quite sure how I will run this house when I can barely walk.

And so this morning I have a new appreciation for the things I was doing just yesterday without a thought: things like emptying laundry from the dryer, unloading the dishes, exercising, and, well, walking around. I am praying this day goes by quickly and that God will supply all my needs when I need them. Right now I need coffee but the walk to the coffeepot just sounds too hard.

Should be an interesting day.
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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Homeschooling A Kindergartner

We have been doing pretty well with our consistency this week for homeschooling. The week before was The Week Of The Vomiting and the week before that was The Week Of The Carpet People. And so this week has just been a normal week. Thank the Lord! I needed a normal week.

Not that any of my weeks are really normal. So take that for what it means. Normal is a relative term, as we all know.

Right now I am supposed to be showering and making cinnamon bread to take to our very first ever meeting of our small group tonight. Instead, I am sitting here writing this post and reading various other blogs. Because I got my son Bee Movie at the video store today and he begged to watch it. And even though we haven't done school today, I relented. Because I figure that he is learning about insects after all. And that's worth something. I mean the movie opens up with a quote about how bees are not aerodynamically supposed to be able to fly. See? Educational.

So instead of actually homeschooling, I am going to write about what we have been doing. Because one of you might want to know. And I realize that one is a pretty optimistic number.

So, here goes: The Kindergarten Report

Homeschooling one kindergartner is not hard. That is the first thing I will say. Now, for those of you who are just embarking on this homeschooling journey, do not let that statement put you off. I remember laboriously searching out curriculum and planning elaborate lessons when my firstborn was a kindergartner. But that was long ago and many children ago. Now that same kindergartner is 15 and I have gained some perspective. Schooling the upper grades is hard, because there is no time to waste and you can't count things like park days and Bee Movies as school anymore. You have to actually do stuff. Educational stuff. You don't hardly ever get to play around and call it learning.

So I have enjoyed this time with my little five year old son. I have noticed how much learning does take place in the course of a day spent with him. Today he helped me make egg salad. A life skill that some people value. Later we might do his "official school stuff." Might. Depends on his mood and my energy level. Not that I am playing fast and loose with his education. But I am also not hyperventilating about every moment anymore. Because one thing about kindergartners-- they have nothing but time. What they don't get this year, they can always catch the next year. As the years go by, you get to a place where you can't say that anymore. And therein lies the pressure I was feeling last year when I suffered a complete and total case of burnout.

This year, then, is about healing and perspective.

To that end, here is what we are doing this week:

  • Reading through Stories That Jesus Told: Parables Retold For Children by Patricia St. John (This is in preparation for our Easter study, which we will dive into next week. I am posting separately about those plans, as I know that one person who wants to know is out there, somewhere.)
  • Reading Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose Treasury (both the kindergartner and his two year old sister love this!). I will admit that I feel compelled to organize a unit or go purchase a whole workbook on Mother Goose, but I am resisting. Because that compulsion is, I think, what drove me to quit homeschooling in the first place.
  • Working in his Number Skills Practice book on beginning addition
  • Doing simple drawing assignments in his Baby Lambs book
  • Working on a few pages a day of Explode The Code, Book One (I keep reminding him that his siblings did this book in the first grade, just so I can see that little smile/smurk of pride cross his face again)
  • Doing a page of I'm Going To Read Sight Words
  • Doing a lesson in Simply Phonics
  • Doing multiple pages of Can You Find Me? (I think he would do this all day long, but I get bored after about twenty pages.)
This week I have gone through and made a list of the books we have on our shelves that I would like to read aloud to the two year old and five year old that I am quite sure they have never heard. These are the books that were read to their older siblings back in the day that I don't want to make the mistake of overlooking just because I have read them before. What I did for one, I try to do for all. That includes introducing them to a love of books and literature. It includes taking time to read aloud often-- because I have never regretted spending my time doing this. Though there are a lot of things I can say I have regretted spending my valuable time on, reading aloud is not one of them. And the cozy, peaceful feeling I get when I am snuggled on the couch with one of these two on either side of me is about as close to perfect as I think I am ever going to see this side of heaven.

Here is what we are going to attempt to read through the rest of this year, starting with the Mother Goose Treasury and moving on to:

The Read Aloud Treasury
The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter
Mad About Madeline
A 20th Century Children's Book Treasury
Poems To Read To The Very Young
Read Aloud Rhymes For the Very Young
Eric Carle's Animals, Animals

If reading aloud appeals to you, check out Cay Gibson's book
A Picture Perfect Childhood
I highly recommend this book so pick up a copy-- this one isn't just for homeschoolers. It is designed for all parents who want to capture every moment possible to indulge in books with their kids, building a lifetime of memorable moments spent reading together.
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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Too Exhausted To Blog

I was going to write this hopefully witty and entertaining post about how busy my day was and how wowed I am by my own ability to take five small children to the dentist for two hours and still come home and put a reasonably nutritious meal on the table. I was going to sing my own praises for a bit right here on the old blog-- because if I don't, then who will?-- but alas, it seems I have run out of steam. All my witty and entertaining thoughts on how much junk food I fed the baby to keep her entertained in a small dentist office waiting room for two hours have taken flight. All my musings on how having a maid is really not overrated and walking into a house that is totally clean ALL AT ONE TIME that you DID NOT HAVE TO CLEAN is really something to behold. Because the words to describe even that bit of loveliness are now failing me.

And lest you think we have suddenly become independently wealthy overnight and are now hiring me some much-needed staff, oh no. No, no, no. The realtor we hired offers a maid (she says "cleaning service") to come and clean your home every other week while your house is listed with her. When we interviewed her, she had me at "I will hire you a maid."

She came over and did her whole sales pitch they do when they are trying to convince you they are, in fact, the best realtor in your area, bar none. And she covered everything she would do while she was our agent. And "maid" was merely one of the things she talked about. But after that, I didn't hear anymore. I heard "marketing" blah, blah, blah, and "market analysis" blah blah blah, and "contract negotiation" blah blah blah-- but mostly, I was back on maid. I was picturing me with a magazine on the couch while the maid vaccuumed around me, pausing while I lifted my feet in the air so she could vaccuum underneath them like my mom used to do. Yeah, that was a good fantasy. Which will never happen. Because today while the maids came, I was at the dentist. Locked in a small waiting room. With a two year old. For two hours.

Did I say that already?

Oh yeah, which brings me back to why I am simply too exhausted to blog tonight. I will be back later. When I have more to say. Because clearly, I am at a loss for words tonight.
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Monday, March 10, 2008

More About The CA Homeschool Case

Some good things have been happening with the CA homeschooling case that I wrote about last week. Below are a few lengthy articles I have either been emailed or found about the case. For those of you who feel like wading through them, it will help you be more informed as to what exactly is going on. As the last article states, there has been quite a bit of hype and rumors surrounding this, and that makes it hard to know what to believe. I have included this information to do my part to squelch some of the hype. All in all, I can see God at work in what could have been a bad situation.

Go here to read about Ah-nold's (the governor's) support of homeschoolers.

And here is an update of how God is continuing to move, with some tips on what we all can do:

I am thrilled to announce that we have been offered help by two of the best law firms in the state (and country). The firms will be helping us on a pro bono basis. That means they will donate (very expensive) attorney time to help us figure out the best strategies for dealing with the court issues, and they will help us prepare and file the letters and briefs that we need.
Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, which is headquartered in Palo Alto, will be representing HSC. They had helped HSC back in some of the dark days of Delaine Eastin's time, and their thorough research helped us feel more comfortable that the advice we were giving the world about private homeschooling was correct. In the spirit of full disclosure, you should know that I worked there for many years, but they made the decision to go forward because they think the case presents interesting legal issues and they'd like to be on our side.

They will be working very closely with another firm, Baker & McKenzie, which has 150 offices around the world and, conveniently, one across the street from WSGR in Palo Alto. Jerry Salcido, who has been a member of the HSC legal team for several years, is an attorney at that office, and his firm has graciously agreed to donate their services as well. Because we couldn't have two firms working for HSC, Baker and CHN have agreed that CHN will be their named client.

We believe that HSC and CHN's interests in this case are very similar. We have similar membership profiles, we want the same results, we both think that help from professionals in dealing with the Supreme Court will be invaluable. The firms will consult with each other to make sure they are not duplicating efforts, but that they also aren't leaving any important arguments out. They will also try to coordinate their efforts with the other groups with which HSC and CHN have been working, HSLDA, CHEA and Family Protection Ministries.

I am very excited by this development. I know we're all a smart bunch of people, and maybe we could put these papers together ourselves, but experience here can make the difference. These firms have the experience. I hope you'll continue to support what we are doing.

What Can YOU Do?
by Kim Cameron-Smith, HSC Secretary

Some suggestions one of our members came up with are:

-- Write a letter to the editor to your regional paper.
-- Write an opinion essay on the controversy for publication somewhere.
-- Be proactive in communicating with your friends, family and colleagues; make sure they hear the pro-homeschooling story FIRST.
-- Make a donation to one or more of the legal teams preparing the official strategic action.
-- Make a proud, flaunting display of your homeschooler status, like a bumper sticker, t-shirts, etc.
Again, thanks for your support and prayers.

Appellate Court Case, Please Remain Calm
By Debbie Schwarzer HSC legal team co-chair

I have been astonished about the hype about this case. So many have been making sensational claims that parents will be criminally prosecuted, etc.
Please rest assured about a number of things. First, the law, other than this court's interpretation, hasn't changed. Parents involved in a truancy prosecution might face criminal charges, but only after a rather lengthy series of hearings and court orders, and only if the parents failed to comply with the orders. It would be a criminal contempt charge, which isn't nothing but doesn't land you in Pelican Bay.

We have never known conscientious parents ever to be prosecuted under truancy laws to the point of contempt charges. It's highly unlikely.

The media also appear to be saying that no one can teach their children without a credential. I am not certain that the holding is that broad, and I also doubt it would survive legal challenge.
The holding really applied to private ISPs (there are persistent mistatements, that began with fact statements in the case, that the family was enrolled in a charter. Obviously a school with the name "Christian" in it wouldn't be a public charter. It was a private ISP). It could be read by someone reading broadly as applying to any situation where the child is not continuously in the presence of a credentialed teacher.

The court started on a very slippery path of appearing to think that some situations were OK and others weren't, effectively trying to enact an entire code of regulations for governing this situation from the bench. He hasn't been given the constitutional authority, of course, to do this.

How do we get rid of this case?

There are a number of paths. One is seeking actual review by the Supreme Court. HSC and at least several of the other major groups' legal teams aren't in favor of that. Even if you could get the court to accept your petition (they only take 3-5% of cases), the chances that it will be decided the way you want aren't real good. It's a very dangerous road to take, because if the Supreme Court were to affirm the appellate court ruling on either of the main points (constitutional or statutory), there aren't many options left. The constitutional argument, of course, could be appealed to the US Supreme Court, but the statutory case about the proper interpretation of the California Education Code could not. California Supreme Court is the last stop on that road. If that happens, then you have two bad choices that I'll discuss below.

There is another much easier choice, and it's the one we want, as well as the one being trumpeted in the HSLDA petition. You ask the California Supreme Court to depublish the opinion, or, in other words, have them say that while this might have been the right result in this particular case involving this particular set of facts, the court finds that the reach of the opinion is overbroad and should not become law for the entire state. That is the choice we all (meaning HSC and, I believe, the other groups) want.

You get this by filing a letter with the Supreme Court in compliance with the applicable rules of court. While anyone can file one by stating their interest, we DO NOT think it is an appropriate use of grassroots activism. We DO NOT want every HSC member or HSLDA member or grandmother or irate citizen dashing off their letters to the Supreme Court. There are sober, measured, legal arguments to make about why depublication is appropriate, and those arguments are made after researching the applicable standards, etc. The Supreme Court will not be swayed positively by public outcry. In fact, it could backfire, and backfire badly.

If the Supreme Court affirms on the statutory points, then the two bad choices are to either seek legislation or to do nothing and hope that a further case is brought that can involve a better set of facts and better explanation of the issues (and reaching a better result). Both are very dangerous. Legislation isn't the answer because of the extraordinary strength of the teachers' union. It is unlikely we will see any legislation ultimately pass that gives us the freedom we have today. And the second choice is dangerous. I know lots of families that would make terrific test case defendants -- they're conscientious, they actually get their kids educated, they follow the laws. But we don't get to pick who the family is. As a friend of mine said, we couldn't have gotten a worse set of facts for this case if we had a contest.

We are trying to get one or more of the fanciest law firms in the state to help us on taking the fangs out of this case. We know what we're doing. Please let us do our jobs.

I would be personally, professionally, and, as a representative of HSC, globally grateful if everyone on this list would calm down and ask others to calm down. Specifically, I would ask people:
a. Not to write to the Supreme Court or any court.
b. Not to talk to their legislators or make any public statements about a need for legislation.
c. Tell their neighbors, friends, lists, groups both of the above and to educate them about the choices available and about how panic isn't necessary, marches on Sacramento aren't necessary, etc.
I wish this were the type of situation where we could put the fury, passion and energy of the members of this list to good use. Trust me, if we end up having to go the legislative route, we will have that situation at some points. But this isn't that type of situation, and too many folks stirring things up hurts instead of helps.
Thanks for listening.
Debbie SchwarzerHSC Legal Team Co-chair
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Friday, March 07, 2008

Inspiring Friday Thoughts

Remember my post about the episode of Franklin? Well, today in my daily devotion time, I found this quote that goes along with that lesson perfectly:

The greatest challenge in receiving great things from God is holding on for the last half hour.

That reminds me of a quote that is painted on the walls of my gym:

90% of failures occur because someone gave up too soon.

And then there is this, the most important Word on the subject of all:

We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly to the end the confidence we had at first.
Hebrews 3:14
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Homeschooling In The News

The news report that CA has now made homeschooling illegal for parents without a teaching certificate was very disheartening. I have been watching this story unfold and was grieved to hear the outcome come through my email. Regardless of whether you homeschool or not, this ruling should terrify any parent. This decision marks a control the state should not have.

So what can we do about it?
Please sign this petition in support of the families in CA who will be affected by this decision.
To learn more about this by listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast, go to this link.
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Thursday, March 06, 2008

My "Other" Blog

Some of you already know that, in addition to blogging here, I also am one of the "Real World Moms" who blog at At first I struggled to find a focus for that blog, as this blog is such a brain dump for me that pretty much everything goes in here! I knew that to have two of those would be pointless. So I decided to make that blog more specific. I talked it over with the nice folks who run that blog and they agreed that I could make it about balancing writing and motherhood as long as I made it inclusive for any mom who is balancing any kind of dream and motherhood.

Does that sentence even make sense?

If not, feel free to read it as many times as you need. It's not you, it's me. My brain is not working right because all the vomit is affecting my brain. The smell goes into my nose and seeps into my brain and makes it dizzy and addled and prone to crazy, nonsensical ramblings. Like this one. Did I mention that the two year old got better but now FOUR MORE have it? Can you say vomitrocious?

But I digress. You don't want to hear about vomit, do you? But we're all moms, here, right? (Except for a few men who read-- but I suspect they are dads and as immune to talk of vomit as we moms are.)

Back to the topic at hand. What was it? Oh yes, my other blog. All of this to say that I did decide to make it about writing and motherhood and how the two can exist in harmony (mostly). And about priorities and balance and pursuing the dreams God has planted in your heart in keeping with the role He has given you to play. That's the subject matter of that blog. It is truly one of my favorite things to talk about, think about or write about. So it fits.

For awhile I was saying I would post every weekend. But after several weekends devoted to home improvement and house hunting, I have found that I don't have the time I thought I would have on the weekends. So I have settled on Thursdays. Which is today in case you didn't know. And I did post today. So hop on over there and check it out. And keep checking back because, Lord willing, I will be posting there once a week, on Thursdays.

Even when I have vomit on the brain.
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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

More On Lapbooking

Remember that post I wrote on lapbooking? Well, I discovered this site that is like a mini-lesson all in one place. Plus, she includes TONS of links. I could be here all day!

Check it out here.
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A Great Post To Check Out

This post really inspired me today. This is exactly where I am in my motherhood journey right now. I love it when I read something that so eloquently describes something I am personally dealing with. I hope it inspires someone else-- and maybe even challenges some of you to see "me" time in a different light. I have always said I am a better mom when I am simply immersed in my children. This author echoes my own observations.
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Apparently Randomness Is All I Am Capable Of

1. Last night I had the chance to meet up with some homeschool moms from Elevation who get together once a month for coffee. Even though Curt was out of town last night, I was able to hire a sitter and go. I looked forward to it all day. Relished it. Savored it. Anticipated it.

Just as we were really getting into a great conversation, my cell phone rang. It was my sitter, calling to let me know that the baby had just thrown up everywhere. Like any concerned, compassionate mother, my first question was, "Where did she throw up?" To which the sitter replied, "Don't worry, it wasn't on your new carpet." Phew! And so, my long awaited evening got tragically shortened to a mere hour. And I got to come home to a stinky, whiny baby as the icing on the cake. Ah, the joys of motherhood. I will admit that, after I got everyone to bed and she and I snuggled on the couch, I really did experience the joy of motherhood.

2. We had our first showing today. Woo hoo! I tried to have a positive attitude even as I negotiated the vomiting two year old, getting the kids ready and out the door to school and cleaning up the house for the showing to boot. I prayed really hard that she would not vomit in the car. Because I have had kids vomit in the car and I really can not stand cleaning that mess up. There is just something about hosing out a carseat that has been drenched by vomit that just makes things seem even worse. And so, I am happy to report there was no vomiting in the car when we went to school or when we had to leave the house for the showing. Hooray! Again, looking for the silver lining here.

3. God can speak to you anytime, anywhere. We all know that. Today He spoke to me through a Franklin episode. I wasn't watching it, mind you. My children were. I was walking through the house putting things away as I heard this line come from the tv set: Some dreams just take longer than others. And I thought about my writing and how long that dream has taken. Do you have a dream that is taking a long time to come true? Don't give up! Some dreams just take longer than others. Let God speak to you as He spoke to me today.

4. Our real estate agent came yesterday with her stager and they rearranged our house quite a bit. It is taking some getting used to. I love what they did, as it makes our house look more like a model home does (if that's at all possible with six kids) but at the same time, it feels less like home. Does that make sense? Again, I am hoping and praying for a quick sale. Oh, and, the dishwasher is fixed. (Pause for a moment while I sing The Hallelujah Chorus.) Oh boy did I miss that dishwasher!

5. Today as we were riding home, my five year old said to me, "Mom, remember when we used to pray?" I didn't know what he meant. But the question hit me smack in the chest. My thoughts raced ahead of me and suddenly it was me, at the end of my life, with my now-grown son asking that question. "Remember when we used to pray?" I want them to hold onto the memory of us praying together. And so, I didn't like how he was putting it in past tense, as though we did once but we don't now.
He explained that, at the beginning of the school year, I used to pray with them as we were driving to school. Sometimes I would have them pray for each other, assigning each one someone to pray for. It was my way of calming any anxiousness on their parts as they adjusted to school. Somehow, as they got adjusted, I stopped that. And his question convicted me that I should persevere.
When we got home, he asked me if we could pray for his baby sister to not be sick. I showed him how we could both place our hands on her and pray for her. So we did. (She thought it was a bit wacky, you could tell.) But you know what? She hasn't thrown up again! I don't believe that God is a genie in a bottle that we can ask for something and He will automatically do it. But I do believe that He listens to our prayers, and He honors those who earnestly and faithfully ask in accordance with His will. And most of all, I think God knew that a certain five year old little boy needed to learn a life lesson about the power of prayer, and going to God with our needs. And so He blessed me abundantly, and reminded me why I am homeschooling this child. Because I would have missed that precious moment and that eternal lesson.
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Monday, March 03, 2008

Some Randomness

1. Our house is on the market, the sign is in the yard, and we are not near ready for showings. We worked hard all weekend (hence my silence here on the blog), yet I still can't seem to get the house "show ready." It is a frustrating process. I don't remember it being this hard last time! I will be sure to post when we have our first showing. I am excited and trusting God for a quick sale!

2. In order to reveal our complete wishy-washyness, we are having a guy come today to price an addition. This is something we keep coming back to. Yesterday after we drove out to look at a neighborhood and another house that looked promising, and resolved that these were not a fit either, we drove home discussing an addition. For about the millionth time. It will all depend on how much an addition will cost. The thing is, we love our location, we love our neighborhood and swim club, and our neighbors. So why leave that? If we can do what we think we can and spend what we think it will cost, we will spend less than the new houses we are currently looking at and have the same square footage as those houses. Decisions, decisions.

3. Church yesterday was awesome. I love our church. I know I say that a lot, but I just think it bears repeating because it is nice to feel that way about a church. I know so many people who are disgruntled in their churches, and it is just good to contradict that-- to know that it is possible to find a church you love, to go to church with people you love, and to get completely and totally filled up each Sunday at the same time. Not so you can get all puffed up and fat and happy, but so you can go out into your community and give it away. If you are looking for a church and live in the Charlotte area, check out Elevation. It is so fun to see so many familiar faces each week as more and more people we know are checking it out. If you want to check out pastor's sermon from yesterday, go to his blog and click on the little link in the top right hand corner to take you right to it. It should be up by Tuesday. Yesterday he preached to the "older generation" and it was so good and inspiring to know that we might be at the halftime mark of the game, but as he said, many games are won in the second half.

4. Last night we went to Group Link at church and signed up for a small group. I am very excited about this and it is a big step for us to commit to. We have always been hesitant with our kids and our busy lifestyle to commit to a weekly meeting. Yet we know that small groups are key to our church's structure and we are missing out on a big part of it by not being involved in one. Our friends Lori and Matt are leading, which definitely adds to my comfort zone. I think this group is going to be an awesome thing for our family and for us as a couple. Every Wednesday night we will get together for discussion and fellowship. We need that. Who doesn't?

5. Our dishwasher broke this weekend. So we have been hand-washing dishes all weekend, which is part of the reason I have not been able to get much done. I have literally spent hours standing at the sink washing and drying dishes. There was lots of other things I could have done with that time and I was realizing what a gift that simple piece of equipment is in my life. Like the old Chicago song goes, "You don't know what you got until it's gone." Thankfully, the repairman is coming today. I am praying he will be able to repair it in short order! Incidentally, it was warm enough this weekend (gotta love living in the south!) to turn on our car air conditioners... and guess what? Neither of them are working-- not in Curt's car or mine. Isn't that fun? I just love spending money to fix broken things!

6. And speaking of broken things, remember our pretty new carpet? Well, this weekend while I was washing a stack of dishes, the baby got away from me and snuck upstairs where her sister's purse held some very exciting eye shadow. The new carpet made the perfect palette for her artistic expression with said eye shadow. It is a miracle that Curt and I did not just sit down and have ourselves a good cry when we saw it. The good news is, Curt was able to get it out with some hot water, OxyClean and good old-fashioned elbow grease. You can bet we had a serious conversation with all the children about taking care of this new carpet. That was not a fun moment at our house!

7. That's all the randomness I have on my brain for now. I am sure more will occur to me that I will post here on the blog. Thanks to all of you who said you would pray for our house sale. We need those prayers! I know you all will be glad when this chapter of my life is over so you won't have to hear about it all the time. I will be, too!
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