Monday, March 31, 2008

What in the Hay?

Where are my children?
Down in the barn!What in the hay?
I mean...
What's in the hay?


Miss Tig and 5 brand new babies!

That explains it!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Fun Friday Foto

"Well, now that my mane looks gorgeous, how 'bout I brush that hair of yours?"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dispelling Untruth

It is a common occurrence that always leaves me smiling inside for my kiddos. And on the flip side of the coin, it leaves me grumbling at the skeptical nay-sayers.

My kiddos were enjoying this sunny, Spring afternoon riding their bikes in a neighborhood not our own. In no time at all, one of them came to me asking if they could play with another kiddo who was hanging out alone in her front yard. All within view of where we were working, we were happy to "ok" the opportunity to make a new friend.

Four girls who'd never previously met, spent a fun afternoon visiting, playing and getting to know each other. Everyone came away happy and smiling.

So why do I grumble? I grumble because one of the more frequent comments heard by the skeptics ... critics even... of homeschooling is {read with your best nasally, whiny voice}, "what about socialization?" If you are one of those, you might want to stop reading now because I'm about to offend you. You've been warned.

That whole "socialization issue" is the biggest bunch of garbage! In my opinion, those who bring up the issue are simply regurgitating mindless nonsense they've heard from uneducated resources. That's right... I just went the long way around the word "ignorance". I always want to respond, "you ought to watch less television." I don't. But I want to!

I watch and listen to my children interacting with others- other children of all ages and other adults- and they are far from socially inept. It's not just my children. We met with a large group of homeschooling moms and kids (Sonlighting moms rock!) at a park in October. There were over 25 kiddos from infants to teenagers and they all were able to make friends and play. In fact, there were far less "age boundaries" among this group of "unsocialized" homeschoolers than observed in other settings. They're not perfect and they need guidance from time to time, but they do remarkably well- often exceedingly so. (Obviously, there are children with disabilities and special needs but surely we don't need to debate that!)

Funny too... there's that whole "Peer Pressure" issue. That issue is a valid issue and can have both negative and positive connotations to it. Most often, the connotation is negative and rightly so. Does it make sense to think that 5 year olds can teach 5 year olds how to properly interact in social situations? Come now! It doesn't take a high IQ to see the error in that thinking.

Children learn how to act and interact in social situations best from those who have already learned those skills themselves. In general, those good lessons will be from those older than themselves. It starts with mom and dad.

So after one of our daughters returned to play after a potty break, I said to my good-man-Charlie-Brown, "Ha! Our children sure need some socialization, don't you think?" and we both enjoyed a hearty laugh!

Socialization... Grab that shovel over there and let's muck out some stalls, shall we? ::wink::

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Why... oh why!

Why, I ask you! Why, oh why!!!??? Do you see that roll of toilet paper? Do you see it perched on top of that EMPTY roll? Look at that bare cardboard! It doesn't even sport the leftover remains of toiletpaper. So WHY!!!??? Why is it still there?

"It's too hard for a child to change those rolls", you say?

Oh noooooooooo. I beg to differ. Here! Let me show you!

Do you see that? There is no springy rod to be contracted in order to replace the empty tube with a full one! No sir! That is the very reason I love these kind of TP holders! They are so simple and so easy to change that even a child can do it! Slide the empty roll off. Slide the new roll on.

But do they?!!!

::deep breath::

I suppose I shouldn't complain. I mean... there was a full roll there, right! It could have been worse! I could have been STRANDED.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

This makes me smile!

Since you're peeking in...

I thought I should alert you to the fact that I'm a little strange (as if you hadn't already noticed!). LOL One of my favorite comedy routines was by a Christian comedian popular in the 80's named Mike Warneke. He pointed out that what is strange to a strange person is normal to a normal person. And what is normal to a strange person is strange to a normal person. Mr. Warneke delivered it with great humor. But it's so true.

It occurred to me the last couple of days that grief and I don't form a normal picture. At least, not what *I* think is normal.

To the onlooker... looking from the outside... it may appear that I am cold and stoic. In fact, I am quite the opposite. I'm a very sympathetic and sensitive person... too much so at times. For some reason, when facing loss and the resulting grief, I go into a shock state for a while. Maybe it's not shock. Possibly it is denial. Or could it be a combination of the two? No matter, it takes a while for the full influence of grief to hit me.

The really annoying thing is that it usually hits me at very inconvenient times. You know, like while driving. It's not really conducive to safe driving methods to suddenly burst into shuddering sobs. Or in the middle of the grocery store! Now that's just not pretty! Thankfully, my good-man-Charlie-Brown does the grocery shopping (he can stick to the budget better than I ;) ). While playing the piano for a church service... not dangerous but extremely annoying. Breaking down in any public place is humbling to say the least.

I can think back to the losses in my life and see this pattern flawlessly marking my life. Sometimes it's hours. Sometimes it is days. At some point, the dam breaks and it all floods out in a torrential, rushing... blubbering... snotty mess!!

Yet, when it happens to others... I don't think them strange. Not in the least. In fact, I find it difficult, if not impossible, to restrain myself from wrapping my arms around the person and lending my shoulder (small as it may be) for them to snot on. I mean... I have children... it's not the first time I've had snot deposited on my shirt. I'm sure it won't be the last. If you need sympathy or a shoulder, I'm your girl!

And I WON'T think you strange. On the contrary, you're quite normal... because... after all, what's strange to a normal person is normal to a strange person! It's true! Think about it!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Farewell Jack

March 16, 2008
Rest in peace, Jackson.
We will miss you!

[Edited to add]
Yesterday (Sunday) we lost a good and loyal friend, Jackson. By our best & semi-educated guess, Jackson was 11 yo. He was a dependable watchman... a dog I could absolutely count on for keeping the coyotes out of our yard and away from the other animals. A dog whose bark I could rely on to actually be alerting us to a visitor, a stranger, a delivery, an unwanted animal visitor, etc. (unlike the unnamed who bark at the grass blowing ;) )

Jackson always escorted us up or down the driveway (it's l.o.n.g.... say 600 ft or better). He'd trot beside the car or truck, happily wagging his tail as if he was the traffic controller or the parking attendant.

He was the best mutt I've ever know next to my grandparents dog, Shnoodle. We figure he was a mix of German Shepherd and Beagle maybe. No matter, he was a great dog! Whenever the kids are outside they are always surrounded by our dogs and our cats... always! Jackson was no exception. I could count on him to be watching out for them.

Yesterday, the girls were outside playing and enjoying the brisk Spring day. I was inside trimming the stairwell I've been meaning to paint. Suddenly they came in a panic... hollering for me to come help! "Jackson is getting hurt bad!"

A young boxer had come on our property. The girls say that Jackson was barking and went out to where the dog was. The boxer attacked.

I'm going to refrain from telling the whole, detailed story here. Needless to say, it was the most horrific thing I've witnessed. In the end, both dogs were put down. The injuries were serious and the aggression was grave.

We're sad. The girls are sad and mad. All understandable emotions... even necessary in the face of grief.

We're missing our Jack-y-boy. His absence was notable today.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wrong Way Again

A moment to stop, finally!

As you know, we love our animals! I am supposed to be working on reducing the number of horses we own but I've gone the WRONG WAY again!

Meet Meah (me-uh).

We were given the rare and gracious opportunity to adopt Meah since her owner is moving from the country to the city. Just a good home where she'll be loved and enjoyed is what Meah needed.

It seems that ponies like Meah are rarely found listed for sale and most often are lifetime members of the family. On occasion they are adopted by another growing family. My own childhood pony was actually loaned to us until we no longer had a use for him. (He was special too!) While still being "pony", they know their job and they love kids.

Meah is no exception. She really seems to have an affection for "little people" and a very gentle soul. I anticipated that she might take a moment to consider getting into our strange-to-her horse trailer. On the contrary, she tickled me by following our 9 year old right in without batting an eyelash.

Meah took that bite of grass she wanted but then she did give in to the little girl on the end of that line. She walked along patiently. They're already figuring each other out! :) They all love her!

But this child...

...this child's heart is involved!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


There is a man who graces the local Steak 'n Shake with his presence on a regular basis. He is a dapper gentleman who walks with a cane and has celebrated his 90th birthday. He still lives in his own home in town. With the assistance of a cane, he is quite capable of getting himself from place to place and is still capable of driving a vehicle. He dresses cleanly, wearing black slacks a button-up, collared shirt all under a clean, black overcoat. The hair on his head is absent. Quite possibly, that is the only thing absent with this man named, Ike.

We met Ike Sunday evening when we filled one side of the local Steak 'n Shake for dinner. After working hard together all afternoon, Mom, Dad, my brother, sister-in-law, two nephews and our household of five decided to grab a bite together. If you've read my aunt's blog, you already know that my father knows no stranger. He loves people and everywhere we go, he seems to know someone. Dad had already met Ike at sometime in the past and after visiting with him for a few minutes, he invited Ike to meet the family.

You see, Ike carries in his coat pocket two very special tools- his harmonicas. He loves to play them for anyone who will listen. This thrilled "Charlie Brown" and I, as Charlie Brown's grandpa used to play the harmonica ("Sally Got a Wooden Leg" -Grandpa's fun song).

Ike played beautiful hymns for us. He played them just as if the harmonica was his own voice. Not as if just singing the words, but as if those words were the expressions of his heart... passionate and full of emotion. It was beautiful and for me, quite mesmerizing. I hardly remember eating my food.

Between the songs, Ike shared bits of his life with us- of his brother who died when he was 18 (but Ike can still hear his brother's tenor voice singing a favorite hymn), of his service in WWII, of his wife who went to be with the Lord just a few years ago- but mainly, he shared Jesus with us.

You see, Ike is much like my father. He loves people. He cares enough about people that he is not afraid to be "Jesus with skin on". He shared the verse that he has chosen to write on his heart this year. It is Romans 1:16 & 17 which he quoted from memory without any hesitation. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith."

This beautiful flow of Living Water, straight out of the heart of a 90 year old man caused my eyes to squirt! (And I wasn't the only one whose eyes were squirting!) It wasn't just the man that moved my emotions. It was the application of living scripture so real and tangible in this man. I had asked him to share a favorite scripture verse. That was the verse that he has not only memorized, but has put to work in his daily living. There is nothing quite so beautiful I think.

Ike played many, many songs for us while we ate. One of the last songs I remember him playing was "Jesus Loves Me". We sang along as he played.

Yes, Ike is a great example of being "Jesus with skin on". I should live with as much concern, compassion and caring for people.

If I am not fortunate enough to visit with Ike again on this earth, I hope I get to worship the Lord with Ike & his harmonica in heaven.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Inside my windows

I have a house full of girls! Of course, that includes myself! I was once asked if my house was loud. Isn't that like asking an elephant if it is big?

We are emotional. We are passionate. We are emotional!

We are complex. We are smart. We are fascinating. We are complex!

We can be loud. We can be soft. We can be gentle. We can be loving. We can be loud!

We are female!

Say a prayer for my good-man-Charlie-Brown! :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008



I'm an out-of-the-box, not very normal kind of girl. Maybe that's why I feel right at home with bloopers. It seems I'm always committing some crime against social correctness. You know, like picking up the wrong fork to use for my salad! Or chewing gum on my wedding day! --Yes! I did! I was nervous and I didn't care ONE BIT about social correctness. I still don't!

Don't confuse this with bad manners. Admittedly, the socially correct will point their bony fingers at me and declare me guilty. There is a difference between being considerate of others and following social protcol. I will say please and thank you, chew with my mouth closed, and refrain from burping or passing gas... the list goes on. But don't expect me to conform to the text book of social correctness.

Not exactly what I was going for... but it's pretty anyway.

I have discovered that I often resemble a blooper. I'm ok with that. I mean really... who decided that one fork was only fit for salad? They are both forks! I think using two forks just makes extra dirty dishes. Someone has to wash those extra forks! And what's the crime if I chew gum on my wedding day? I was smiling and happy and chewing gum kept the butterflies in my belly from flying out. Wouldn't you rather I did chew gum?

And who decided that these things... these social "rules"... were worth being important? Most are very silly when you consider what is really important in life. People... each one unique and special... created by God and loved by Him... people are important. Forks aren't!

Even repeated, it's still pretty.

I guess I'm a rebel!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Snow day!

A common question our homeschooling family is asked is whether or not the kids get snow days. My answer has always been, "No. But they do get sunny days."

It has always seemed better to go ahead and do school on bad weather days. After all, we have no where else to go since the weather keeps us home. And more often, it keeps us inside too. So why not save those "snow days" for times when the weather is great and we want to be out?

Today is different. I looked out at all of that snow last night... UGH!... Double UGH?... I feel whiny again! I woke up knowing that my-good-man-Charlie-Brown had taken the truck to work. Early this morning, I heard our incredibly thoughtful and generous neighbor plowing a path up our driveway with his small tractor. My bed was cozy and warm and I made a quick decision- the girls get a snow day today!

This was a first for them. I waited for just the right moment to spring the news on them. I decided to spring it on our youngest first. She was getting ready to begin the getting-ready-for-school routine.

"You know," I said, "I have decided that you guys get a snow day today."

There was a momentary pause while I think she was absorbing what I'd just said. Once the initial shock was over, there was a little gasp followed by a huge leap off my bed.

"I have to go tell the girls!" she yelled.

I heard her run down the basement stairs. "GIRLS! Guess what! Mommy says we get a snow day today!"

This was followed by much whooping and hollering. It reminded me of my and my brother's celebrations when we'd hear our school included in the school closings over the radio.

I'm glad I could give them the experience today. Heck! I needed a snow day too!
The sun is shining! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008





I think I belong closer to the equator!

Check it out!

In case you haven't looked at the links in the sidebar... I don't want you to miss a new link over there! My aunt just started her blog and you really should go check it out!

Thoughts From the Deep End

Memories of Sunday

Apparently no one got to the door quick enough to let Spring in. Therefore, Winter has decided to extend his stay.

At this very moment, my children are immersed in their math books and I'm listening to sleet pelting my windows. It's downright depressing. After bringing in wet and shivering horses last night, they are even staying in the barn today. UGH!

Can we just close our eyes and go back to Sunday? Sunday was beautiful! Sunday was warm. Sunday was sunny!

Jackson enjoyed Sunday!

Ben enjoyed Sunday!

Milton thought Sunday was Funday!

Ok... so it was muddy! But it was still sunny!

Boy! I feel whiny!

Monday, March 3, 2008


Could it be that Spring is on our doorstep?

Someone please get the door! I'm tangled in my blanket and thermal underwear!
Please! Quick! Let her in!