Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Fantastic Science Moment!

November 14 has long been marked on the calendars of the Gilbert home -- the official inauguration of squirrel and dove hunting season! The boys got their first guns this past year (we have awesome grandparents!) and have been practicing their aim.

Using his birthday money, Johnny had already purchased the hunting ammunition necessary to begin their hunting adventure. Yesterday, they perched on a huge oak tree and surveyed the land. Jeremy came running in with east to west smiles because he had made the first kill.

Suddenly, the reality of my promise overtakes me. "If you kill it, I will cook it." Ugh. I have to cook a rodent. I really hate rodents. I have to bring a squirrel into my house on purpose!?!?

Jeremy loves his mother and maybe the enthusiasm helped a bit too, but he skinned, cleaned and cooked using his acquired knowledge. He has been hunting recipes for a couple of months. He took care of everything and served it up with peppers, onions and an omelet. Delicious! Yes. I ate it. Tastes gamy. And yes, it tastes like chicken!

Now, for the science portion. Today, Samantha was the successful predator and I bucked up a bit. We actually went outside and examined the innards. I was thrilled. I got to be teacher. We checked it out from every system, a great example as the elder boys are working through and anatomy unit study. Adding to the joy, the creature had a tapeworm. A great example as we just finished up a parasite week with the little brothers and both sisters. Incredible exercise in organs, digestion, skeletons, and bodily design as we explored the exterior too. What a great time. Talk about hands on science!

WOO HOO! Go Gilbert Gang!

The Unexpected Feelings of Loss

My tia (aunt) was taken earlier this year in a completely unexpected fashion. One of those stories you read about and can never really come to peace with. An out-of-character moment from someone else beloved that leads me to this post.

I remember her at the oddest times and the sorrow fills my heart. Walking out of the grocery. Driving down the road. Seeing someone who looks like her. Just thinking about my goals as teacher and mother.

I see her pictures on Facebook and I smile, but am still filled with sadness. I guess there is a place of disbelief. I can't believe I won't talk to her again, I won't see her again. It's unreal. I can't really break down and cry. It's more of a slow and crawling pain that makes its way from my mind to my heart and sometimes back to my eyes.

I miss you, Tia. Your beautiful laugh. Your amazing smile. And your desire to foster love in all you do. I miss you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Memorization Just in Time for Turkey Day!

I Ate Too Much
I ate too much turkey,
I ate too much corn,
I ate too much pudding and pie,
I'm stuffed up with muffins
And much too much stuffin'
I'm probably going to die.

I piled up my plate
And I ate and I ate,
But I wish I had known when to stop.
For I'm so crammed with yams
Sauces, gravies, and jams
That my buttons are starting to pop.

I'm full of tomatoes
And French fried potatoes,
My stomach is swollen and sore.
But there's still some dessert,
So I guess it won't hurt
If I eat just a little bit more.

by Jack Prelutsky

Visit this site, Ambleside Online, for some great Thanksgiving Day poetry. I plan on having a nice recital on our special day with friends!

TOG update

Well...TOG. My 2nd favorite resource ever. It not only gives me what I need now, but reminds me of where we need to be later. We've revamped again. Sigh. Wish I could just leave those kiddies to get their work finished, but in truth, they're just not ready for that much independence. Boo hoo for me! A mom and teacher can dream. I need to spend a bit more time with 2 of the gang to get them closer to our destination.

On the bright side, on of them, the one I wouldn't guess, it doing well enough to keep on his own schedule. He is really excelling in TOG just the way we're moving! We have added some rhetoric reading for him, at his own request (insert proud momma smile)SO, to get to our change!

We will now take TWO TOG Weeks and create a Unit that will last 3-Calendar weeks. At this rate, we will finish Years 3 and 4 by the end of 2012 school year! Putting the Eldest in position to enter full-time college enrollment :)This gives them an extra 7 days, including weekends, to finish the same amount of work. I need the depth at this point for the older group, so cutting back reading is out of the questions. We're going to focus on evaluating what we read and then writing in depth our analysis. Whew!

It also means more time for activities with the little ones. Nothing major, just more narration. They need the practice.

We wrap up this week by finishing Y3Wk2 before the Thanksgiving break. We'll return, ready to begin our new rotation. I'm hoping this will bring back some joy in our schooling for the 2 who need it!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Buffetting

For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good.For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man,but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.Wretched (wo)man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Romans 7

Thank you, Paul for articulating my very state of mind. If there is a place in the Bible that I deeply understand, indeed, this is it: the constant buffeting between my two natures. Currently, my battle is against laziness (lol, only currently, tee hee). My mind and spirit wage war constantly volleying doing what is best and just making it work. Sigh. The battle carries on and currently I have been forced back around the mountain. I will stand tall and fight back, taking the stronghold of higher ground. (Deep breath)God's speed to me.

My time is short with my children. We have so much to accomplish, so much room room for growth regarding their two natures. It's only by grace I can both walk and teach the road. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day 2009

A humbling day to be a person who benefits so greatly from so many who sacrifice daily what I often take for granted. Thank you, veterans and your families, for that which you give offers others such lives as blessed as mine. May we never forget.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pondering the Green Grass and Paved Streets

The bliss of green grass and beautifully curbed streets
Reminds me of friends past and what could have been.
He does this, she does that:
Banking, accounting, engineering, healing,
Marriage, divorce, children, games.
I think of where I could be.
Would I love it just the same;
Or does this life without the frills suit me best of all?
Have I grown into what I could be,
Or should be?
Or neither of those at all.
In the end, I sigh in relief and smile,
As the man I love lies beside me
And our children sleep sound and tight.
My life is enough.
I survived.

What's going on in our TOGland?

Seems like I should not sign up for a blog roll since I'm terrible about posting, but I'll give last week, well, the last 2-3 weeks a shot! We have wrapped up Year 2 and started Year 3. We ended by finishing up our poetry project. The unbound project will end as a book with proper tables of contents, glossary, etc. and include works from the older 3. To their shock, they have enjoyed this project.

Diva has written all the articles for her Colonial Newspaper. I still need to help her organize it in Word (a lengthy learning process), but she did a great job of designing her paper with some fun, ads and interesting writing. This is her first major project of this kind. The other will be contributors, even the little guys!

The Littles have focused on a few famous persons from that period of time. I am hoping they will simply grasp the purpose of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

Everyone has memorized some of the Declaration. We will continue to do so until the older four have memorized until the list of complaints against King George begin. The younger boys have memorized the famous, "We hold these truths....pursuit of happiness." They presented their orations during our family night and unit wrap up. We did not sew costumes this time, instead dressed in red, white, and blue and enjoyed some modern American cuisine. It was a nice evening. They did a super job in presentation. I may have them present their work in its entirety to a local veterans community. We love our vets. Thank you for your service!

Geography is rolling along. We're pretty solid there. I added a new drill time by using www.purposegames.com . The website has some neat games we can use for geography practice. Just perform an on site search and find what you need for drilling. Works great!

Speaking of online drill places, we have added two websites to our daily studies: Spelling City and Quizlet We use Spelling City for our spelling list and we use Quizlet for a variety of vocabulary words. The wonderful thing for the teacher, many lists are already available from other users! AWESOME! Time saving and easy practice. The dc love being on the computer, so why not! This, of course, heightens my need for another computer. The current "Children's Computer" is, well...ancient. Running on Windows '98 and s u p e r s looooooow! It's not the greatest for videos of any kind! AND, I hate when they use my computer! Selfish, yes. And?

So, I think that's really about it. American history is alive in our home. Something amazing to see are the parallels, and often lack thereof, of modern America and the founding of our nation. Although there is much secular history to our nation, there is also a great deal of Christian heritage. On a modern front, both "sides" try to deny the other, but in truth, there was much representation of both. The truth, as I see it, we are about Religious Freedom, more than religion or not. Worship how you choose. Some things notably different, though narrowly include: using bibles in public schools; many of our founding fathers and signers of the first four legal documents of our nation were either ordained ministers, seminary graduates, or religious leaders in their time. Along the same lines, I have learned there was great divide then too! Not everyone signed the Declaration immediately. Not everyone voted for the constitution happily. And most shocking, delegates actually spoke these words paraphrased, "We need to hear what our people think!" Can you imagine? Politicians actually voting for their constituents. Wow. If only that were the case today. Then again, apathy was probably just as high then as now. I enjoy history. I should have been a political science major and ended up on tv as some talking head. Hey, I like to talk!

That about sums up history. I AM getting a camera for Christmas, so I'll be able to have lots of pictures again! TTFN!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Boy, oh Boy Scouts! I'm really gonna like BSA

So, my boys started Boy Scouts last month. I had heard, twice in fact, that having the Eagle Scout was comparable to a National Merit Scholar designation. Wow! That's a pretty big deal and seems like it will also entail some very nice benefits -- like understanding of outdoor living for one! So, we went to the local troop and liked what we saw. Strong leadership, active and ready to encourage anyone willing to work and learn a great deal about the wide world of scouts. With help from our loving grandparents and by the free grace of God we were able to get uniforms and other things they needed to get started. The boys came home one week ready to do an individual "special project," keep track of five chores, and the following week a family chore all in preparation for the Family Life Badge. I really like Scouts (big cheesy grin!) Last night was our family's first Court of Honor.

Court of Honor is held about every six months to acknowledge the growing accomplishments of Scouts and Leaders. We started with about an hour of eating. Still lovin' Scouts! They brought the Publix fried chicken, families brought the rest. We watched a video of the past 6 months camping adventures. I can't wait for my boys to get out there and live in the wild! We ended with award ceremony and the Scouts had to clean up. Now, I really love Scouts! Boys cleaning up...did you catch that? I don't know about you, but all the other group activities I've participated in end up with Moms and a few dads cleaning up. Scouts is rackin' up the points for this old girl! I look forward to the day I get two Eagle Scouts wrapped up, with the third not too far behind!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Things Which Humans Are Capable

So, I really wanted to end my title in "of" (The Things People Are Capable of) but I just. couldn't. do. it.
Anyways, I recently discovered a new Team/Detective/Drama, Criminal Minds; what you might expect, team consisting of common personalities: nerd, black hottie, chubby/quirky chick, rule follower, super smart older guy, hot caucasian, so everyone watching is both pleased and irritated. The "catch" for this show, is coming from a profile/psychological perspective...you know, psychobabble..made for nerdy folk like me. I like the show and catch re-runs from 9-11.
Anyways, I was watching at 9pm in bed last night (helps me get in chill out and sleep mode..tv is brainless) and I said to John, "I am continually amazed at the horrific things humans can do." He says, "Tina, men wanted to have sex with Angels in the old testament. We've always been a twisted race." Ouch. I hate when such harsh things are true. Anyways, I know we are capable of many, many beautiful and lovely things, but seriously, it is beyond my understanding the equally monstrous things that come out of the human mind...truly sick we can be.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Week in Review 9/14--9/19/09 TOG Year 2 Unit 30

I'm hoppin' on the wagon...here's our week in review for school and I'll save the best for last!
We have begun studying the Revolutionary War. What an amazing time in our nation's history! I see the independent nature of this country and why people fight so hard to keep capitalism alive, as entrepreneurship was in many ways equivalent to survival in the days before America was called America. I love teaching history. I am learning so many things...if only I could borrow George Artman (a reference to my favorite history teacher, ever).
We are making connections to, "There is nothing new under the sun." via The Sugar Act, Stamp Act and Townshend Acts. In other words, government needing money and/or control; therefore, taxing citizens, who weren't (yet) crying for a break from their government, but becoming stir crazy because they felt no representation amongst their government leaders. De ja vu. The names were changed, Parliament not Congress, King not President, Whigs/Torys not Dems/Republicans. I must admit concern for the next step...Revolution. I digress, sorry...I really have been pondering such. Anyways, back to lessons!
The little guys are mastering their geography. They can find the states and major cities of Colonial Times, talk about the French and Indian War/Seven Year War fairly well. We read The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds -- what a GREAT book. It really gave a living understand of what it meant to be afraid your home would be attacked and burned. The little guys get it. They drew pictures, gave narrations, and enjoyed some youtube demonstrations of matchlock guns. They also read about the Boston Tea Party. We practiced our own tea dumping by making some sweet tea for lunch...not really the same, but we talked a lot about tea and the East India Company over our sweet tea lunch. It was fun. Finally, using America in the Time of George Washington, by Sally Senzell Isaacs, I think we are painting a picture of history well.
Middle child, Danni, has really enjoyed learning about Paul Revere and continuing the experiments of Ben Franklin, via The Ben Franklin Book of Easy and Incredible Experiments. She's currently creating a weather station, full of gadgets Ben Franklin would have made. I'll post pics when she's finished everything. She also really like The Arrow Over the Door by Joseph Bruchac. She actually doesn't have to be finished with that until next week, but didn't put it down.
The boys and Sam, who is unhappy about her promotion into Dialectic, continue with their spines, George Washington's World by Genevieve Foster (thumbs up), The Struggle for Sea Power (haven't heard yea or nea), Streams of Civilization, Vol. 2 (my 2 concrete thinkers J, S like it, while JJ likes the biblical references) and The Story of the Thirteen Colonies, by H.A. Guerber (which I love and they all dislike). They have, enjoyed their literature selection a great deal, Early Thunder, by Jean Fritz. Fritz's work has oft been enjoyed in our home. A great combination of quality and adventure. I highly recommend it.
Ongoing projects include: History of Colonial Fashion for Sam, Science experiments for Danni, History of the American Flag for JJ, and a replica of the first American flag for Johnny. The boys are finishing up a replica of the Liberty Bell this afternoon..pics to follow! The little guys projects are cooking, mostly. We made Johnny cakes (which we ate before I photographed), tea and coming next week, pumpkin soup (fingers crossed for that one!). The book Hasty Pudding, Johnnycakes and Other Good Stuff by Loretta Frances Ichord has been yummy!
A nine week newspaper project for Danni is coming along and I have required each student to contribute, as well, one article. Sam is being smart and using her writings on Colonial Fashion for her project and newspaper submission. They boys haven't decided where to go yet; although I'm encouraging some military strategic information. They love the topic, it makes for interesting reading, and I enjoy it, too!
We sang Amazing Grace all week as recommended; a plus for Antonio, who needs to learn our hymns.
We also saw the ten year build up over taxes and individual control come to a peak as the First Continental Congress left states in agreement to train citizens for war...ominous music is heard in the background.
We got our first peak at the industrial Revolution too...Gotta share this! Sam,especially, enjoys sharing what we're learning with her dad via little quizzes, so she can show her daddy how smart she is, so she says, "Daddy, do you know who invented the first steam engine?" Oman, "Stanley Steamer." I rolled over that one! Sorry, James Watt, although you made the most effective power source of your time, that changed the course of history, we'll never forget Stanley Steamer now!
Finally, we touched on what was happening in France, Prussia, Russia and Poland. It seems the absolutism of the monarchs was in jeopardy as war was breaking the banks and silly notions of young rulers were creating angry people. I look forward to our next trip here history so I can really hit hard Marie Antoinette with Samantha. She's an interesting character in HiStory....it was a great week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Updates, revisions and the ongoing process of Scheduling

Well, as with any program, with home schooling we must revise, revise, revise. I'm at a point in home schooling where I can tell pretty quickly when I need some revising in a subject, curricula or schedule. So far, our choices for the first two are working very well, but the latter was in need of some tweaking. So, I'll post our revised schedules. I am so fortunate that my oldest can work well independently. All those years of instilling and hand holding have finally paid off in full, at least it appears that way :) Ya never know though until the fat lady sings (that would be Me...at high school graduation :) ).

I am also dumping the Workboxes. I have no need for them, so they're just taking up space on my lovely shelves. Great idea, just not necessary since I have so many other things for organization. I am pleased to reclaim the space for the things I use in that area...like my teacher's manuals :)

Let me know if you have any better ideas for those schedules or if you'd like some suggestions for yours :) Happy home schooling!






Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Well Done My Good and Faithful Servant


In 1997 John, 1 y.o. Johnny, 6mo. old Jeremy and I moved from Atlanta to Florida. Our plan was to try and buy our first house. I told Oman I wanted a house with a fenced in back yard so I could have a dog. In my mind, a family just isn't a family without a dog. Low and behold, I got my wish and we moved to a little place in Largo with a nice backyard, just spacious enough for a picnic table, swing set, shed and room for a puppy to grow along with the little children. We signed papers on September 9, 1997, moved in on the tenth and picked up our pound puppy by the end of the month. We also made baby #3 by the end of September! It was a very busy month!

Welcome home, Sabrina, a rescued stray shepherd/setter mix from the Pinellas County Animal Control. We spent a couple of days looking at local places and finally decided on, Sabrina. I loved her big ears! She was so cute and sweet as she could be. Kisses abound. Gentle with the toddler. She was the one. We brought her home.

Like most puppies, we struggled through some chewing and potty training; we even had to take her to the emergency clinic once as she chewed through a lamp cord, electrocuting herself. The way she swayed back and forth, shat on the floor, foamed at the mouth...scared me to death. I thought she had rabies! I called John at work, locking myself and the babies in a bedroom. He came home and found the cord. Poor, stupid, puppy.

One time she even chewed up Omans 2-day old cycling shoes...to the tune of $250+ for a pair. Let's just say, she never chewed any shoes after that day...Oman was Not so happy.

She loved to knock over all of our diaper babies and bolt out the door for an afternoon run of the neighborhood. I was too busy trying to figure out how to train children, much less spend any training time with a dog! In time, though, she mellowed out and became a wonderful family dog that would not leave our sides and stopped runnin' the streets!

She never like other dogs much. She hated when we gave any attention to another beast. It made her a nervous wreck. The shepherd guard personality was strong in her. She would run the perimeter of the fence and herd the children. Once a friend tried to hop the fence and Sabrina grabbed him by the seat of his pants and pulled him back in the yard! She was not letting any of her babies escape - not on her watch!

Through the years, she was a faithful evening companion to Oman. He worked late and she would Always greet him with wagging tail and whimpers for affection when he came home. Always. She loved her daddy. He loved his good girl. She guarded our home when he was not there, always sitting between the family and the door. I believe she would have given her life to death for us. I know her purpose was to protect her family. She was a good dog who did give her life, faithfully to her family, every day.

She got hit by a car when she was young. Right in the hips. She was fine, but the spot grew arthritic fairly early and that seemed to slow her down. Over the past couple of years, she's gained cataracts and we noticed her hearing slipping away. Finally, this past year, she lost weight, got some bumps, and her skin was so irritated that she never stopped itching and scratching. Her health faded very quickly over the past few months. Today, when Oman came home, she didn't even get up to greet him, she just laid in the middle of the floor, tail wagging, whimpering, waiting for him to come and love on her.

We decided it was time to end her pain since she could hardly sit without crying, never came to the door, didn't hear cars pull up anymore, and barely ate. It seemed like the humane thing to do. Humane, but still hard. This morning, Oman took her to be euthanized. It has been a tearful day.

My children do not know life without her. They can't remember a time when she was not in their lives. They have some beautiful memories. She helped them love animals. She protected them. She helped them learn responsibility and caring for those less than themselves. She showed them unconditional love better than I ever could and she epitomized the words faithful servant. Well done, Sabrina, our good and faithful servant. We love you. We will miss you dearly. You have done well.

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Test Drive..maybe


I have long known I made a terrible mistake when I freaked out on poor Oman and pushed for the big V (vasectomy). Huge mistake. I miss not having a baby and I feel guilt each time my dear daughters mention we should have another baby. I took that baby from them :( I digress, but I may have a small shot at redemption.

In addition to my new student, there is a chance I will be caring for his two little brothers come November. Today, being a national holiday where their child care facility was closed, yet their mother had to work, I took them in and had a trial run. All I can do is....blow into my fist and rub it on my shoulder! I was so made to have a lot of chilren! I had a great time schooling the lot. I pulled out a few old tricks, multi-tasked with baby in tow and toddler enjoying Starfall.com and building, coloring, and play dough. Meals went off well and nap time, thus the blog post, has been smooth. I am the old woman in the shoe, except, I know what to do!

I hope this trial run does reflect what it may be like in the near future. I know not everyday will be so smooth, but this one was fun, tiring, but fun.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Honesty - my top 20.

Well, how does one start such a post? Have you ever known the appropriate response, but not taken it? Well, call me that girl. So often I know the truth, know the best response, but still go right on ahead and just be little ole fleshly Tina. I believe it is the human condition. Thanks to God for saving us from ourselves. I know I surely need the saving.
I'm about to list off many things that I Know about myself. Blogland readers may, or may not know them about me, so don't comment on how wonderful I am (okay, you really can comment like that - lol!). I really do not have self esteem issues, and more than that I know I am loved and redeemed by my savior and Lord. I'm just puttin' this out in cyberland so the truth about me is known. I'm as imperfect as they come, living my life under a shroud of grace and hoping daily to be like Jesus and less like, me. So here's my Honesty List. For easy reading sake, I'll number them, but rest assured I know the list won't be totally inclusive, just what I think of for now. I may even add to it over time!
1. I'm lazy. Really. I know you're thinking, "All you do with school and managing your home? No way would I call you lazy." I am. I have to Make myself do all those things. I would be perfectly content to sit down and read a book or watch a movie, all day, every day. I don't like house cleaning at all -- not even a little bit.
2. I procrastinate. So badly that I have learned to get all of my lesson planning done in the summer, or it just won't get done. If left to my own devices, I'd be late and last minute for all things.
3. I Am STUBBORN. Probably not the biggest surprise on the list! I am as hard and bull headed as they come and it takes a compelling case to change my mind.
4. I have very little patience, particularly for adults. I have grown into a patient person with children, but I still struggle with adults. People get on my nerves when they behave "stupidly"
5. I am a know-it-all. When I belive something, I believe it to my core. It's tough for me to waiver.
6. I hate political correctness and often rebel against it. Words like Tolerance and Multi-culturalism make me cringe.
7. I have a sick sense of humor. I really love stupid movies, especially those that really don't encourage the precepts of my faith. I just can't help it. I could watch Harold and Kumar marathons.
8. I am a brat. I was raised to be so spoiled, that it is easy to fall right back into throwing fits when I don't get my way.
9. I yell at my children a lot more than I ever thought I would and when I *hear* myself, I feel terrible, although, sometimes, I do feel they deserve it, which leads to guilt for feeling that way.
10. I can escape on my computer and completely tone out the rest of the world. It can be a problem.
11. I love to cook, but hate being required to cook, so I often put off dinner until 30 minutes before I need to get it on the table. Stupid, b/c I really do love the process of cooking. So on days where I can cook b/c I want to, I cook a lot and freeze. That helps with my procrastination.
12. I have a love-hate relationship with my husband. I love him more than any person on this planet. He also makes me angrier than any person on this planet. I have broken things in my anger for him, thrown things (expensive things like a $4,000 bike), thought terrible things about him, cursed, spat and mocked him more times than are reasonible. Yet, at the same time, I have offered more patience and love for him than any other person (if only he could see that, I don't think he does) which leads to #13.
13. I'm presumptive. Always gets me in trouble.
14. I'm enthusiastic to the point of band wagon. I get so overzelous, then I fizzle out. Not a good example for my children.
15. I overeat. I love food. It's a problem. Enough that my weight is out of control and I follow the roller coaster diet pretty much all the time. Do well. Don't. Do well. Don't.
16. I hate exercising. It's a necessary evil for me so I don't turn grossly obese, but I really hate it. Don't find anything about it appealing.
17. I lean towards a dirty mind. I am forever finding falic comedy pops in my mind. It's a terrible shame. Something I really keep to myself (except for now)
18. I can be very mean. I know how to cut through a person and have been known to carve away. (I really hate this about myself)
19. It is easy for me to put others before my family, as I can be a people pleaser.
20. Although mild in comparison to others, I have lived my share of promiscuity and partying. Never too over the top, but enough to know I want better for my children.
That's my current top 20. I am far from ideal. Nowhere close to perfect. I know this about myself and have been shown much from the Lord on judgement, or rather how judgemental I can and have been. Really a shame. I am so far off in so many ways, I really have no business to sit in judgement of anyone. I know this and while I walk in constant imperfections, I have an example before me. I am so thankful Jesus has saved me from myself.

I Get Tickled Pink


When I look at this picture of Derik because Johnny looks so much like his big brother, only younger and skinnier! Handsome boys we have.

Now, don't laugh, well, okay, you can laugh, but let me tell you how my twisted mind works. When I was pregnant with baby #4, I told Oman, "This baby is going to be ugly."
"What?"
"All of our children are beautiful. There's always one ugly duckling in every family. She's going to be hideous."
"You're crazy."

Well, I have since seen my Ugly Duckling Theory proven wrong many times over, but I surely did mean it then. When Danni was born, she was beautiful, and she still is! So much for my scientific prowess.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Workboxes for my Lil' Boys

I love to be organized (although, I must admit sometimes my theory is better than my practice). Well, I happened upon all the rage in home school organizations, the Workbox System. As per my general m.o., I am currently adjusting it to fit my space and needs and am to date only doing one box per day for my 1st and 2nd graders, as opposed to one per subject. In the box, I put the activities they have to do daily. We have a "Completed" box, so as they finish the objects, they put them in the Completed box. When their box is empty, they know they're finished for the day. I actually fill up the boxes on Saturday or Sunday evenings for the coming week by using a file folder in each day. Their paper assignments (math, science notebooking) go in the daily folder. Then I place the library books, labeled with a post-it note in the box too. I have used 3x5 index cards for the subjects that I keep in my cubby. So far, so good. It's not as cool sounding as the actual Workbox System, but it is definately helping me to be organized and encouraging the little guys in their school work.

Here's what was in our boxes this week, our first week back, so very light:

1. Science notebooking pages, including a daily spot for narration, mapwork, and animal picture printouts to place in the notebooks

2. Math flashcards - 20 each per day.

3. Library books for history read alouds.

4. Assigned reading (books or stories related to our Zoology studies)

5. Drawing or Writing Journal (They rotate daily, doing both for 15 minutes)

6. Card for Spelling

7. Card for Geography

8. Card for Reading aloud Science

9. Game to play together (like Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Letter cards to spell words, Puzzles)

I'll add photos of my new book shelves from my sweet friend (thanks J.K.) and the new dry erase board I scored for $12 (thank you wtm forum for your know how) b/c I'm very excited about both!

So far so good. Everything went very well in our first week of school!
If you like this idea and would like to see an example of someone who stuck to the original idea, check out this blog. Her boxes look great!

A Novel First Week of School

Well we officially started our 2009-2010 school year this week, although it seemed rather unofficial. For starters, no girls. My foster parents took my dear daughters home on Saturday and have had them for the week, so instead of them starting with me, I sent them with some reading. It worked out, as I had planned to review the last chapter we completed in Zoology anyways, and Danni has been doing her math for 2 weeks voluntarily. Samantha is ahead an entire workbook in her math (she's a math whiz) and we haven't added our electives yet, so it was really a blessing. They have had a blast and my foster Mom and Mom L has gotten to celebrate her cancer recovery with my baby girls. I miss them though. Not nearly enough estrogen in my house when they're gone!

Their absence has allowed me to spend some much needed time with my new student, Antonio. He's a charming and intelligent 6 year old. Let's just say I am NOT impressed with the education he received in his K year of public school. According to what the Gilbert Academy standards have set for K, they didn't teach him squat! Fortunately for him, he had a great K4 eduacation at a nic church school. Fortunately for me, he's a quick study and I only anticipate this inconvenience for 6-8 weeks. He has been a pleasurable student, actually better behaved than my youngest, who is flexing his "I get my way" muscles. Yeah. Not pretty. We're gonna nip that in the bud Real quick!

Our plans for the next month or two will be to add in the little pieces of our school day each week. Thusfar, we're hitting the basics: History, Science, and Math for all, with Phonics and Spelling as remedial work for the lot. I have the older child reading aloud and practicing geography with the little boys so I can finish my lesson planning. I still have a bit to plan and I intend to do so each afternoon for the next month. Not really following Tha' Plan this week, as I have spent extra time on phonics and spelling and have enjoyed some time with friends in the afternoon. It'll be back to business after this weekend though. Having the girls back will force me to be SCHEDULED simply b/c if I'm not, I won't get it all in. Sigh.

It's gonna be one heck of a hefty school year. I'm not excited about the hard work, but I am thrilled about the content: Revolutionary and Civil Wars, Zoology, Chemistry, Literature studies from Little House and Marguerite Henry, and a deep, connected understanding of language arts; and, although I'm not happy about Algebra, the very idea that I have three dc in three different programs pleases me because it means I am teaching to their needs, a goal that is often easy to toss aside for convenience sake.

Before I know it, this year will be a blurr. They all are. I am just pleased that a)I can still home school. It is a great joy for me. 2)I don't have to work this year. Nuff said. iii. I have great kids. They're not thrilled to work so hard, but they are showing signs of understanding that our hard work is not in vain. They are beginning to see the light of college at the end of the tunnell and all the benefits their thourough education will bring them later. For that clarity, from teenagers, makes them great enough for me!

Happy home schooling friends and may my publically schooled friends be active, involved and an advocate for their child's education. Any child can be successful in school, any school, so long as the parents are on top of it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The World Has Lost a Beautiful Person

For my tia, Maria Rodriguez.
Numbness fills my heart. I'm sad, but still too numb to feel it fully. Shock. Disbelief. She was beautiful. Something hard to find today. A beautiful person who gave all she had to those she loved. Generous. Kind. Lovely. Dedicated to her family and her students. The one who only wanted to keep the family together. She wanted peace and happiness for those she loved. A success in the things she touched. An amazing young girl who turned into a beautiful and accomplished woman, despite hard times, despite tragedies of youth. She raised three boys who love each other, love their parents and love life, searching for eternal happiness in all they do. She taught me about having a favorite child -- all of them -- only my children are in on the joke.

I love you, Tia. I'm sorry your were taken from us. You didn't deserve this. You were an amazing woman. I feel like I've lost an entire family -- you were my life line to a heritage long lost and never mine. You gave it back to me with such open arms and joy. You shared stories with me and helped me love those that lingered no more. You were so lovely. So wonderful. You made me want to be a better mother, a loving wife, an excellent teacher because you were those things. I don't understand. I can't fathom anyways. How do I understand this? How could anyone take you away?

My heart and head spin for mis primos. Your worlds were so intertwined, I can't imagine them without you there too. May your spirit rest in the hands of God. May you enter His city. I pray you knew how much you meant to me. I love you, Tia. Sleep well.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Our Path to the Phonics Road to Reading and Spelling (a favorite curriculum in my house)

I traveled a different road with my oldest children and by the time the 4th grade exit came up, we couldn't quite get off the highway. Gaps here. Gaps there. No understanding that language arts is one category with many parts. We had no idea there was a connection to all the work we were doing. Many subjects, too many purposes, too many parts, not too much joy or love of learning.

We could read, although we were kinda weak in phonics. What was supposed to be EZLessons created tears and made sounding out unlearned words difficult because the lessons winded about, with no clear interstate highway-- things were just not connected. Then, when we finished, where to from here? It was like coming down a 100 mile road and winding up at a dead end.

We knew a little language from some First Lessons and followed through by not sparing the Rod. After one year, we had given the tried and true a new name. Dare I say the Staff became Rottin'. We gained a ton of knowledge, but also a dislike for grammar. Eeeww grammar! What a rottin' stench!

We could write without tears, but the time flew by so quickly we could only practice through arbitrary dictation and copywork. Neatness wasn't really a focus b/c it was just too easy to fill in workbook pages and tuck it away for the day.

And spelling...well, list by list still left us with no understanding or Power to comprehend of the rules of the road. Next, A Bucket of letters and rules down another winding road with no clear destination. We could read the signs, but we had no idea what the signs meant and how they could cross over from one list to the other.

Then, a friend mentioned an uncharted road. I got lost in the grid of a convention hall and came across our saving grace, The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading. No more gaps. We don't fall into anymore sinkholes in language arts....just smooth, straight, nicely paved roads! It was like a map fell from the sky and we finally had directions that all led to the same place...Language Arts Successville where love of language arts is on every corner and joy comes in 30 minute sessions! We're even learning a little about the construction business as we travel The Phonics Road.

there are references to several curricula in this, all italicized, no offense meant, just having some fun playing with words and sharing a secret to our success :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gilbert Academy School Schedules 2009-2010

It's that time of year. Many over on the WTM Forum are posting their schedules for the upcoming school year and/or asking for advice to make theirs. So, here is what's up with the Gilbert Gang.

You'll notice some open gaps in the schedules of the older 3. We're trying something new this year. They have checklists with Independent Studies that are required daily. I am allowing them to work on the subjects of their choosing, just so long as they finish them per day as prescribed. Hopefully, they'll be successful!

Otherwise, it's elementary, dear Watson, for the little two as we endeavor to enjoy our 10th year of home schooling. May the wind be at our heels and God's hands guide our feet! Only 9 years to go!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sometimes a girl needs a little spontaneity!

After a full day of chores, exercise, shopping and laundry, I decided at about 7:30pm that we should go to the beach for a quick evening of fun. I hadn't even considered the glorious sunset we would witness. It's amazing at how HUGE the sun looks, then disappears into the sunset as a sinking egg yolk into the sea. The children were amazed at how bright the sky still was, although the sun was "gone."

We went with our friends, the Greens. The water was shallow, so the big kids went pretty far out and the little guys, Axel and Antonio, body surfed for a long time. The baby (just over one) screamed and splashed in pure joy and Alexander, the 4 year old, just ran and laughed the entire time -- except when we buried him! He kept saying, "Bury me, Daniele. Bury me!"

I was standing in the water and felt something bump me. Not slide over me, like a fish, but bump me with a bit of weight. I looked around and right about that time, Johnny said he saw and felt a nurse shark. After a moment or two, or three, he headed back in, remembering our Marine lessons and that nurse sharks are docile. It was exciting to come into contact with an amazing little, although sharp toothed, creature. In all my years in Florida, this is only the second time I've witnessed a nurse shark. I'm not scared, but completely fascinated.

We ended the evening with our friend, Mr. Joe, jammin' on some glow sticks while Antonio broke down the beat with some old school beat boxin'...I can still hear his jam in my head. It was a great celebratory evening spent with good friends. What a wonderful world we live in! Enjoy the slideshow!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Recently, I participated in a thread on my favorite home school message board. I wanted to post this, so people would get to know me on my blog a bit.

Quote: So is it wrong to expect that the adults who show up to church and do absolutely nothing but listen to the service should help the church in some way? I know they can't be made to, but is it wrong to step up the request for more help?

I've heard before that someone said they hadn't felt lead to do something, but I don't think God necessarily yells in our ear to do something...when instead he might be sitting back wondering why more people aren't doing the right thing.

I truly want to understand this....we have an awesome preacher and service, but volunteering seems to be stinky...and I'm not saying it all has to be for the kids...I'm saying those that come in repeatedly and do nothing to help the church.

So am I wrong for this to aggravate me, is there a different way I should be looking at things?


My response: The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord. So, Yes, I believe a person should be led by God and will have it placed upon his/her heart to volunteer. God gives us the desires of our hearts -- I know some people think this means, I want a new car, so God will give it to me. I think that's a Gross misinterpretation. I think the things we love, deep down, are there b/c God puts those loves on our hearts.

IMHO (which is probably unpopular) I think churches very easily fall into the "ministry" trap. Since in Western churches the custom is to have senior ministries, young adults, couples, newly married, children's church, worship teams, ladies bible studies, mens bible studies, teens, middle schools, nursery the list goes on and on and on.....I'm not convinced those are always God's ministries, but what "Man" thinks will provide a nice Church Community for its members. More like a country club with scheduled activities than a place for all to come and worship in one spirit, in truth ---- there for God, not themselves.

I do believe the body should be ministering to each other, so I ask you to consider this. How does the Lord minister to you? My answer to that question is: on a personal level. One on one, providing my needs individually. To me, a non-system where a woman in church comes to me and says, "Please let me enjoy your little one during service today." is much more of God's ministry than dropping off my baby to a teenager, paid employee, or volunteer whose there b/c of the weekly guilt announcement. Or my son noticing that our neighbor is elderly and needs her grass cut. He doesn't need to start a lawn mowing ministry, he just needs to move on those ordered steps.

You never know if those who just come on Sunday aren't offering themselves as living sacrifices to many within the body the rest of the week. God's ministry is not limited to activity between walls on Sunday/Wed service.

I mostly volunteered b/c I felt led to do so. Sometimes I did it out of guilt. When it was guilt -- it never lasted and I found myself judging others who weren't "doing their part." As if I know what their part is? Like I'm God who can decide who will be suited for what j.o.b. in the church.

To summarize, I guess I have a fundamental disagreement with the System that is Modern American Christian Organized Religion. God is surely a God of order, but I think men like little systems we can understand and facilitate. I don't see God as being facilitated. I see Him as a moving spirit, going to each of us individually fulfilling our needs.

If the people won't staff the ministry, then the ministry shouldn't exist.

Just my honest opinion. I mean it to be encouraging.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sometimes it's so hard to be a "doer"

I am a doer. I like to put words to action and fix things right up. Granted, my solutions are not always the right ones, but at least I am ever searching for an answer.

You don't like cursing, then don't be around cursing people, or tv, or radio.
You don't like eating sugary foods, then don't shop at a convenient store or better yet, don't buy sugar!
You don't like drama, then don't hang around dramatic people.
You want to step up in the world, then stop being with folks that hold you down or back.
You want to be better at anything, change something, or improve something, then take steps to improve the situation. If you're not sure what those steps are, ASK GOD! He'll show you! Just be prepared that you might not like his answers and they will probably require you, YES YOU, to make a change.

If you aren't willing to do any of the above, then shut your mouth! Stop complaining! Stop talking, talking, talking, about how you want things to be different, but keep walking around the same mountain on the same trail. Gongs and clanging noises!

Can you tell I'm over it?! I am and I'm gonna make changes to bring about the best my Lord has for me, cuz I'm tired of talking and I'm even more tired of listening to fakers, wannabes, posers, call 'em what you will. I'm sick of hearin' people talkin' smack, but still bein' the same old people year after year, after year. Good bye smack talkers. I'm so done with you!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Did you know Anteaters

have a 2 foot long tongue that can go in and out of a mound 150 times in one minute?!?!?! Well, just for fun, we decided to be anteaters and see how many times in one minute we could stretch out our tongues in one minute. It was easy, fun school!

My Boys ROCK!

Johnny and one of his closest friends, Tyler, practice the guitar a lot. In these photos they're playing,Supernatural and Jesus Freak, both as played by D.C. Talk. It's very cool to watch these boys grow up together. They've been friends for 5 years strong and hopefully, as Tyler heads to high school, that won't change. We think of Tyler as one of our other sons, so we wish him the best. I'm proud of both of them, they work hard at their guitar, at least hard for the two of them (wink, wink).

Axel's First Stitches

My brave boy had a bit of an accident today. While jumping out of Daddy's work truck, Axel cut his arm on a protruding tool. While it hurt initially, by the time we got to the E.R. and he was with the Practitioner, he was cool as a cucumber. 5 stiches. 0 tears. He was perfectly still and so very polite to his helpers. I'm so proud, sniff, sniff. My baby did a great job. Now, to keep it clean for the next 10 days...that will be the hardest part. That boy is rarely happy when he's clean, he prefers the fine aroma of dirt and sweat!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We Love the Beach...a great reason to Live in Florida

The first half of these pictures were taken last April (2008). We spent a great day at the beach, then headed to Taylor Park for a wonderful afternoon out. We came home, had lunch and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon reading quietly. It was magnificent and reminded me of a few reasons we enjoy the Sunshine State.

The second half are from this spring at the same beach, Indian Rocks. What a gorgeous place. Nice waves for the kids to play in, sunshine, and silky white sand. WOW! It's nice living here...we really are spoiled!

One Reason We Love Florida, Taylor Park 2008

After the beach that day, we decided to stop at Taylor Park before we headed home. It is amazing to be that we can travel from one ecosystem to another in about 3 miles. We are so fortunate to live in this beautiful place.

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Actually taken a few months ago, these great shots were from a windy spring day at Largo Central Park. The City of Largo is a Great place to live. We are conveniently located about 2 miles from the library at Central Park, so we often ride our bikes there and enjoy the park and the library at the same time. What a beautiful, song inspiring day! It reminded me of the Mary Poppins song, Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Mr. Banks:
With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You're a bird in a flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Oh, oh, oh!
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!

Bert:
When you send it flyin' up there
All at once you're lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze
Over 'ouses and trees
With your first 'olding tight
To the string of your kite

Londoners:
Oh, oh, oh!
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Let's go fly a kite!

Not because we don't have enough to do, but prolly cuz we're spoiled!

Well...the plan was to own our house, then get a new dog, but you know, plans don't always work out! Meet Toby. Some dear friends became Toby's parents when he was just five weeks old. They named him, Zeppo, and loved him very much. Then they realized their lives were probably too busy to take care of him and during casual conversation, I mentioned, "Give O-man a call if you decide to get rid of him." I said this in passing, really not expecting the call, but it came the very next day. With some very sweet eyes, six pairs of very sweet eyes, and promises to properly love, take care of, and train a puppy, Toby joined us yesterday. So far, he's already learned to stay in the house and not leave through the front door (which is wide open), that Sabrina is the boss (she's a 12 year old German Shepherd and Not interested in playing), his new name, and that Daddy is the boss of our pack. He's kind, good natured, obedient and will be a great addition to our family, not because we don't have enough to do, but prolly cuz we're spoiled!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some Easy Fun to Explore the Early American Colonies



Well, it's been ages since I've updated my blog with school stuff. I hope someday to have the presence of mind and time to post the many things we do in school, or at least the highlights. Some weeks are notably more fun than others, but overall, we have a descent and balanced time of fun and diligence in our studies.

This week we are on Week 20 of Year Two in Tapestry of Grace. We are learning about the Early New World Colonies and Eastern Europe. As we focus on Jamestown, Pocahontas, Powhatan and remember the explorers that made the colonies, our weekly projects were a combo of games, food and soon to come, costumes. Early colonists played Dominoes, a game similar to Scrabble, Find the Thimble and Charades. We will include those in our family night this week. We also played Shooting Marbles, made Bilbo catchers (JJ wanted to add bilbo means sword), sock dolls, and spinning tops. Lots of little games, made of items commonly available to the colonists. No Super Wal-mart back in the day! We're due to start working on sewing projects soon, and I found a pattern for colonial attire on clearance, so I picked it up. When those are done, I'll be sure to post pics. I am sure the kiddos will be proud of their sewmanship when they're finished.
Our menu, pictured above consists of Southern and Maryland Fried Chicken, collard greens, french-style greens beans, mashed potatoes, hush puppies (aptly named) and peach trifle for dessert. Each child was responsible to be assistant chef for one portion of the meal. The meal was DELICIOUS, although not so nutritious! Lots of butter and fryer action that night, followed by tons of sugar in the trifle...but still DELICIOUS! You can email me for recipes...very tasty!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tag, I'm it for Julie and Tracy :)

My eight things, etc. list. I've been tagged twice, so I guess I'd better get on it!

8 things I look forward:
1)scared, but looking forward to the Lord's return.
2)Time alone with my husband.
3)Growing old with Lisa :)
4)Axel's high school graduation.
5)Lazy days with my kids at the beach
6)8:31 pm (lights out at 8:30 around here!)
7)Snuggling up to a good story with my children.
8)The hugs and kisses the children in my life dole out each day at random

8 things I did yesterday:
1)planted a vegetable garden
2)took a nice walk on the trail with my husband.
3)laundry -- lots of laundry!
4)Taught my children about Elizabeth I, Queen of England
5)did some reading on the trampoline for myself and with Axel
6)hung out with Alicia for a bit in the afternoon. It's always nice to enjoy my favorite Greene!
7)reheated lasagna
8)Prayed

8 things I wish I could do
1)read more adult focused books
2)spend money freely
3)Have more hours in the day
4)lose 50 pounds without diet and exercise
5)grow old and be alone with my husband faster
6)Take more family vacations
7)be quiet and patient all day
8)while John rides his bike and races, travel around in an RV and do school wherever we go.

8 shows I watch:
1) American Idol
2) Smallville
3) 24
4) Terminator: Sarah Conner Chronicles
5) Grey's Anatomy
6) Private Practice
7) Scrubs
8) So You Think You Can Dance

I'll tag Kim, Lisa, Alicia, Gwen (even though they don't blog, I'll shoot for an email!

Monday, April 6, 2009

A Garden of Perfect Timing







A few weeks ago I was reading someones blog and saw pictures of the caterpillars in their butterfly garden. I sighed and thought, "Okay, what did we do wrong?" We planted a butterfly garden this past fall for our dearest daughter D and I haven't seen much action, but before I finish this, I want to let you know a bit about Daniele (D).

D has an amazing gift -- she recognizes beauty. The kind of beauty that surrounds us all each day, but we're too busy to notice. D finds impressive color groups and notices the way light changes them so you can see shades of purple and green. She comes home with wild flower bouquets worth buying. She takes the time to stop and smell the roses.

While we love this about her, this gift sets her apart in many ways, in particular by making her appear really girly, contrary to the household as a whole, where black and white thinking rule the roost and Boyland is obvious. I am girly, but still have that Plain Jane/Tomboy side to me. I have prayed how I can nurture each of my children's gifts and believe I should nurture this one too, this love of beauty in my daughter, by showing her the beauty behind God's creation as the most mystifying, most amazing, and most beautiful of all. I hope this will teach her God's creation is everlasting, with phases of live and death, and renewal. My hope is to raise a person who is beautiful inside, because as beautiful as she is outside, beauty fades just like trees appear to die each winter ~ it is inevitable.

So, back to that garden. We planted in the fall just outside of our front door, and my office window. It's kind of trafficy, not ideal for butterflies, and also a bit shaded. I was worried too shaded, but it was a nice size and at a place I will not neglect, the front door, so I went with it. We planted, knowing we'd have to wait 'til spring before we got any real flying insect action. And now to those photos on someone else's blog. I was disappointed and assumed our attempt, although growing well, had failed because there were few to no butterflies. I guess I'm not just blind to beauty, but also to butterfly eggs because the other day I walked through the garden to check on the local aphid population and discovered about 20 tiny caterpillars! I was very happy and proceeded to call out the troops so we could all enjoy them. Today, as I look out the window, there is a viceroy enjoying some milkweed and a colorful lot of striped caterpillars ~ and boy are they big and fat!

I gather from this lesson that God's timing is perfect. I looked at what another had and wanted it (I'm a coveting coveter who covets)and when the timing was right, I was perfectly touched by the beauty in front of me. How many times do we walk beyond the beauty and look elsewhere for fulfillment? My dearest D has the gift to see the beauty when it's there. She can hope for the new blossom, but she still enjoys "just the leaves." I am thankful that she shares that gift with me and am sure it makes me a better person. She is really a lovely creature all by herself.

As an ode, we'll be reading, The Hungry Caterpillar today. Of course, since I know I have a gift for language, we'll be reading the spanish version (wink)! We all gotta share our gifts if we're to better understand all the beauty that surrounds us. Y me gusta leyendo en espanol!

I thank God for Danni. She is her very own beautiful butterfly and living with her helps me to enjoy the process of patience I find in a garden of perfect timing. Te amo, Skootch. Tu estas una hermosa mariposa.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Oh, How I Love Light Days

Just wanted to be excited about something today. It's 11:36 a.m. and Axel is about 20 minutes away from being Finished with school today! YEAH! It's so nice when every now and then, there are no science experiments, no tests, the reading lesson flies by, phonics is fast, and everything else just turns out to be a light day. Sigh. It's so nice to take it in....heck, I even enjoyed P.E. today! It's a glorious day in the Gilbert house! Hope your day is full of blessings too!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Times They Are a Changin'

Well, I'm not working anymore. This brings me much joy and an overwhelming sense of freedom and relief. It also carries with it, the unknown. Times are tough for us right now. Broker than broke. I can handle not having much, that's the story of my life, but the penny squeezing has really kicked into gear. I have begun trying to save by:
1. hanging laundry
2. cooking scratch meals
3. cutting back on services
4. planting a garden
5. using both sides of computer paper
6. not buying anything from Wal-mart by using lots of substitutes with all the stuff I have around my house
7. planning a yard sale

I would appreciate any new ideas as saving money will now be a priority like never before. I have begun studying to do in-home child care. That will help. but will probably not roll out for 6 months or so. Looking for some bright ideas here...thanks :)

A Spelling Snot

Okay, so I realize it's no life changing post but... the wordS A LOT are are, indeed, two (2) words. Please spell them correctly world at large!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Thoughts after reading 2 historical fictions

As I look through the sliding doors, I see the shadows and light in a different way. The failing fence and the shadows it casts amongst the fruit trees; the fading towel, long dry from the sun, now wind blown to the grass, meets the rejuvenated grass, as spring returns and shines her bright, strong sun upon the earth. I recognize the color of light, how it differs from corner to corner in the yard I have recently referred to as “junkyard.” Even there, where tussle meets my disdain, I see beauty, never hidden, but just now revealed to me as my understanding deepens.

I am moved by the story of I, Juan de Pareja, although much imagined by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino, I feel the depth of the artists, and how with such skill, with such beauty and remarkable accuracy, an artist, so humble, can paint truth, so deep, so real, so rich revealing the depths of the soul, my definitions of beauty are changed. How da Vinci, interpreted by E.L Konigsburg in The Second Mrs. Giaconda, contains the same gift, that of identifying truth, depth, no matter the beauty, and how each seems tortured to bring about their great work. How both da Vinci and Velazquez, perfectionists complete, struggle, yet patiently observe, so often in silence, then with the strokes of hand, and minds eye view, create that which is already in front of them, humbly, with no desire to over-beautify. How could they improve on the beauty of what was created by the Ultimate Artist – God Himself? They seemed to understand this.
I am in awe; reminded of my own shortcomings. How often I choose to improve. Then I am humbled that although fictionalized, both of these amazing, talented, off the chain men, served and loved those whom served and loved them and I am reminded of the obligation of Grace. I am moved. I am reminded. I am ashamed. Might I remember the quotes I so regard in their writings in such a way that I may portray the beauty in my own life, finding just the right light. I only hope that I may someday, someday soon, be received as a woman with layers.

“I would rather be first in painting something ugly than second in painting beauty.”
Diego Rodriguez de Silva Y Velazquez

“Salai sat there on the couch on tip of the heap of jackets and listened to them. They were not worth Leonardo’s attention. But there he was, repeating the same answers to the same compliments. There he was accepting praise from this unrefined, uneducated bunch of men, no more grown up – except for height – than Salai himself. They were deaf men praising a concert. No. They were worse, for they could hear, but they would not. They were overgrown puppies standing between a saucer of meat and a mother’s teat: knowing that the saucer is full of nourishment but too lazy to chew, content to be told what is in the saucer as they continue suckling and telling each toehr how close they came to tasting solid food.” From The Second Mrs. Giaconda, by E.L. Konigsburg, pg. 34

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fillers

I read an interesting bit of wisdom on Facebook today. An old high school friend had a great note passing along the wisdom of many clients he has had who have all lived over 100 years. There was some excellent wisdom, of course. One that has stuck with me today was about fillers....gossip, talking just to fill time. I am ashamed as I think about all the fillers I have in my life, and how even some helpers may have turned to fillers. I think I have so structured some things in my life, that my children lack common sense. Some days I wonder if they can do anything without being told by either me or some system I have established (I admit to being anal retentive to the point of color coding many things...ouch). I also wonder if the structure was created so I could have more filler time. I am missing my children and think that I have enough time not to miss them, I am simply caught up in fillers. John and I are considering getting rid of cable, internet and land line. We could save some $$ and I get the added bonus of fewer fillers.....hhhhmmmm just thinking out loud. I can't help but wonder how much I have already missed b/c I was busy on the computer, on Facebook, on my blog, watching some Hospital Drama or amazing Sci-Fci-Hero thriller-filler....again I ponder. I'll go to bed now, much too late to be up anyways, and before I fall asleep, I'll pray for filler removal, which I suspect will make me a much less empty person, and one more likely, properly full. Nighty night.

Friday, January 23, 2009

My loving, tender daughter

So I forwarded an email to my children that was one of this, "add your own info." kinda emails. Samantha came out today and asked me, "What does significant mean?" I replied, "Important, worth noting." In that email, it said choose one word for your significant other. She put, "Mom". I, of course, in my current emotional state, started crying. I love my little, but really growing, girl.

My amazing son

So, I've been struggling through a few things and since my children are with me all day, and I tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, plus the fact that I speak openly about my spiritual struggles with them, they all know I am working on my walk daily, just like they are. All that to say, I got a great email from my son, Jeremy. (odd, I know since we are together all day, but we email school work all the time from computer to computer, so sometimes we send little notes too) Here is what he found on an old file on his computer, which has my old hard drive.
Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master. He had no degree yet they called Him Teacher. He had no medicine, yet they called Him Healer. He had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He committed no crimes, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today. More than all that, He loves you and died so that you might live.
That's pretty amazing, but so true and is giving it all to THE LORD!

What is also amazing is how my son, at 11 years old, has the spiritual presence to send his mother encouragement at just the right time. I may not have much money, but what I do have is far more precious than gold. My family is amazing. My Lord is so gracious.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Waiting in Silence

I sit. I wait. I ponder. I contemplate. So much going around inside my mind, yet I am waiting in silence. I remember Joseph. Eight years he tarried before the time to move forward arrived. I sit impatiently. Eight years? How? My wait is unsettling. I ponder what if I...I contemplate maybe he.....The truth revealed in a flash of remembrance. Pain comes from my lack of self control. So, I sit. I wait. I ponder. Hoping he'll ask. Praying for wisdom and guidance to cover him. Sigh. I bite my lip and wait for later, whatever later brings.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Welcome to Kiev, FL

Our studies this week take us to the High Middle Ages of the Rus (Russia). We have studied music, architecture, and general history from their beginnings as Vikings, Vladimir, and on to Ivans, the Great and the Terrible. To celebrate the Moscow of old, also known as the Third Rome (Constantinople being Rome 2nd), we made a pot of steaming hot Borscht. This soup, made with beets, potatoes, carrots, onions and cabbage has fed Russians for centuries. Well, I'd say for the next few weeks of winter, it'll feed a few Floridians too! For the most part, it was a hit; although 3 of the 7 of us could do with fewer beets. We rounded it out with some kinda Russian food, rye bread grilled cheese. The bread is Russian, and I thought I'd add the cheese just in case the soup wasn't a hit. Over dinner we enjoyed some Russian Sacred Choral Music I wish I could have included a picture ~ the soup is beautiful and vibrant with all the rich vegetables! Mmmmmm good...we'll be eating Russian for lunch tomorrow too! Off to finish the evening with some American Idol...back to the USA!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Story of O-man

Who is O-man? Well, my dear husband, also called John, will be O-man on my blog. The name precedes our time together, but I like it so much it sticks. Years ago, O-man had no car and rode his 10-speed to and fro(really more speeds, but whatever). He would often go from working in the kitchen at Levrock's Seafood straight to a club ride (large group of bike riders). On such a day, when one of his duties at the restaurant was to cut many, many pounds of onions, he finished work and went straight to the club ride. He stunk, reeked in fact, of onions. This became a regular routine and thus the name, Onion Man became his. This was later shortened to O-man. He is know as O-man throughout the St. Pete cycling community. His custom Cannondale is inscribed,O-man (and Yahweh rocks). Thus the tale of O-man is revealed and you will no longer wonder, "Who is O-man?"

A Sweet Story about a Sweet Story

When my boys were small, I read Will You Take Care of Me? by Margaret Park Bridges again and again so my boys would always remember I would be here for them forever. Well, I continued that tradition with my girls, but somewhere along the way, the book got buried amongst the masses of books collected and dear Axel never got the chance to enjoy the story. Well, while purging recently (my big 6 book purge) I came across the book and read it to Axel. An instant favorite! He wants it in his book basket for bedtime stories. Sweet already, I know, but the candy just keeps coming.
Today, for his reading practice, Axel and I were deciding which book to read and he asked if he could read Will You Take of Me? I said sure and we snuggled up on the couch. I read the Momma parts. He read the little kangaroo parts. I could cry. It was so sweet and such a precious way for me to continue enjoying a story I have surely read 100 times.
For the future, I plan on saving this book and giving it to my first grand child. Then I will promptly find other copies to give to the rest. These are the sweet things I think of when I think of family.

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