November 30, 2005

She's Crazee Like Mee


Conversation this afternoon...

Me - "Why are you crying Morgan?"

Morgan - "Sometimes I cry un-needable."
(I chuckle and marvel at how estrogen has started it's debilitating work in my baby who isn't even seven years old.)

She begins to write her pen pal a letter.

Morgan - "I hope my pen pals don't find out how crazy I am."
I laugh.

Me - "It's OK, Morgan. Some people in life will like you JUST BECAUSE you are crazy."
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Lots of Blog Awards

Blog of Beauty Awards
Finalists Announced at Two Talent Living

Evangelical Blog Awards
Nominations are being taken at The Evangelical Underground

Homeschool Blog Awards
Nominations being accepted for the below categories at Spunky Homeschool

Here are my nominations for the homeschool ones:

Best Homeschooling Mom Blog - Christian Home School Teachers' Lounge

Best Homeschooling Dad Blog - Isn't It Rich

Best Homeschooling Family blog - Shades of Pink
(I would nominate Spunky for this also, but she said she is not taking nominations...)

Best Homeschooling Teen blog - The Rebelution

Best Informational Homeschool blog - From Cindy Rushton's Desk(TOP!)!

Best Inspirational Homeschool blog - The Joy of the Lord is my Strenth
(I will have to say that not only are her posts inspirational, she is a blessing to all when she comments on their blogs as well!)

Best Homeschooling Humor blog - Obstreperous Heart

Best Team / Group Homeschool Blog - Beauty from the Heart
(KUDOS to their mission and efforts!!!)

Best Homeschool Curriculum / Business Blog - KONOS
("The Grandaddy of Unit Studies" - This was a no brainer!)

Best Homeschool Blog Template Design - Amy's Humble Musings

Best Canadian Homeschool Blog - The Joy of the Lord is my Strength
(forgive me for nominating her twice, but she's the only canadian homeschooler I know!)

Best International Homeschool Blog - I have no idea... ???

Best Current Events Homeschool Blog -
(run by a homeschooling dad)

Best Homeschool Arts Blog - SoulPerSuit
(this is run by a homeschool mom who uses KONOS Curriculum - not sure if it is technically a blog?)

Best Homeschool Photo Blog - Bioluminescence and Wittingshire

Best UNCOOL Homeschool Blog - Sprittibee
(OK, so this wasn't a category, but I just wanted to nominate myself for something!)


November 29, 2005

Praise God for Little Cannon Perkins

A fellow Christian family is celebrating today, after their son, Cannon Perkins had a liver transplant yesterday. Cannon is not yet two years old, and already has been in the hospital more times than most of us ever will. He was diagnosed with Glycogen Storage Disease Type 4, and doctors at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston recommended that he receive a liver transplant to save his life. He has flown back and forth to the hospital for the transplant to take place, only to find that the liver they thought would work for him was not the right size or wouldn't work. Finally, yesterday, Cannon got his new liver, and the surgery was a success.

Please go visit Cannon's website and read about him on the web. If you are led, donate a little to help his parents with the long hospital stay, travel expenses, medical bills, and all the other financial difficulties that have arisen through this ordeal. Please praise our Lord for this sweet child, and pray for his quick healing and that his body accepts and nurtures his new organ for the rest of his life.

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November 28, 2005

I'm Just Not Cool Anymore

Romans 14:4 - Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One day you're up, one day you're down. This Saturday night, I was certainly on the down side. As if that wasn't a kick in the stomach, somehow I went from Mammal to Bird in the ecosystem this weekend as well. I am de-evolving - a puddle of cyber slime. We all need a little humility lesson now and then. Trouble is, I seem to be one who is in constant "schooling" in this area. I got quite a lesson this weekend.

We did our budget Saturday night, or rather, our budget did us - talk about raining on your holiday parade. I decided, before we were heading out the door to go see "Chicken Little" with the kids... that we should at least pay a few bills first. We discovered that even with our huge scale-backs (apartment vs. house, no traveling and gasoline cut back since we're now living as one family and no-longer commuting, eating at home rather than eating out, etc.) that we are still going to be living on the razor's edge of "paycheck-to-paycheck" or worse. My sweet husband (who I don't deserve) brushed off my offers to get a seasonal job or a part time job and said that if need be, we would get rid of one of the vehicles instead.

We also got introduced at church as the new members this weekend. After my prayers to God over our finances the night before (and skipping the movie to save money) we were delighted to find that God was about the business of answering our prayers the very next morning at church services. The class, the worship service, the introduction as members, and even the people who came up to talk with us after church seemed to all have something from God to tell us. Before we even got off our pew, we were invited to a Dave Ramsey financial peace course starting in January. It was one of those "feeling like you are in the center of the universe" moments.

Even the beginning of the morning at church in our class was "geared towards us"... the teacher in our class was discussing how God used flawed and sinful people to work His will out in the past (Noah got drunk, Abraham lied and gave his wife to other men because he was afraid of being killed, Moses killed people... and David was an adulterous murderer!). The point was that even when you're sinful and a "BIG LOOSER" (like we've been feeling lately in our exile)... you can still be used by God and do His will.

If that wasn't enough, we got a great sermon in service that kept the lesson moving forward. I could almost feel God whispering, "This message is for you" in my ear as the preacher spoke. The sermon was about how trials and setbacks are going to happen to you that will shake your faith, (death of a loved one, financial collapse, loss of a job, death of a child, etc.) and during those times you need to keep moving forward in honesty with the Lord - to force yourself to do the things that will bring you closer to God. Our tendency (mine for sure) is to fall away and melt into the woodwork when life deals us these blows. The preacher said we need to PRAY even when we feel like God isn't listening, READ our Bible even when it's message rings hollow, FELLOWSHIP even when we would rather be alone, and GO TO CHURCH even when we would rather be anywhere else.

I have to admit that over this past year, as much as I have wanted in my heart to be close to God, it has been a really trying time for me. I have fallen away from my personal study time, Bible reading, prayer, and church attendance. It was easier to get overwhelmed and wrapped up in all the trails than to try and take control of them by prayer and fasting.

Speaking of prayer and fasting... I ran across a verse yesterday that I wanted to share....

In Mark 9, a father pleads with Jesus to heal his son who has been sick since birth with a demon who has made him mute and thrown him into convulsions. Jesus had given the power to cast out demons and heal to his apostles, yet they were unable to heal the boy. When the apostles asked Jesus privately why it was that they couldn't cast it out, he told them:

Mark 9:29 - And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

I think that some troubles and some lessons are so deep and hard that only a committed effort and bond with God will help you dig out of them. Maybe it is time for me to pray and fast.

In this same chapter, the father who is pleading for his son makes the mistake of expressing his doubt to Jesus that He could heal his son. "IF you can", he says. "If I can?" asks Jesus...

Then comes the moment of truth... "I DO BELIEVE. HELP ME IN MY UNBELIEF!" This is where all the talk is swept away, and the action starts. I can pretend I believe that God will fix things all day long. But when I empty my heart and honestly express my doubts to God, it is then that HE will go the extra mile to truly bring me out of my doubt and into His light.

I may not ever be "cool" again (and that's OK), but I will be on the other side of this test... and my Lord can make me stand victorious.

Praise God that He can use fault-ridden sinners like me.

November 25, 2005

Blog Block and "T" Words

Didn't want you to think I was forgetting about my blogging duties... after all, why start a blog if you aren't going to write regularly, right? Although a bunch of fascinating things have happened since I last wrote... and I always make a mental note, and later erase it for more important things like say... What year it was when George Michael came out of the closet (yes, this actually came up in a conversation I had today - please don't judge me!). Or... What happened to that top sheet for the king bed we've been missing since our move? Or... simply, the relentless laundry pile that seems to have a life of it's own. I usually even manage to think of a catchy blog title for my mental posts as well. On the way home from our nice visit with family in Texas today, I had a post title in mind that was really funny. I am amazed I haven't forgotten that, too. It was "Choose Life - Drink Caffeine". It was mainly about getting white line fever on our little day-trip and having to stop for coffee at a truck stop. Reeeeal interesting stuff, I'll tell you!

I was "brain-blogging" while everyone in the car was in various stages of sleep. An idle mind is a scary thing. There must be something wrong with me.

These glassy, bloodshot eyes can't lie. I'm not up for Pulitzer material tonight. I will tell you about my quaint little family-of-four Thanksgiving feast, though. It turned out almost as perfect as I could have hoped (you know, us girls always have a romantic image of how the holiday should be - food and all - even if we don't like to admit it). This year, I was not so damaged by high expectations. I cooked (all by my little self) a yummy baked chicken (turkey was too big of a bird for so few people), scrumptious sage stuffing, ("to-die-for") sweet potato casserole, tasty broccoli-cheese-rice casserole, black-eyed-pea salad, (canned - OK, I did cut a corner here) cranberry sauce, wonderful sautéed green beans (a twist on the usual casserole), and good caramel pumpkin-pecan pie with whipping cream. Yes, even ex-drug addicts without an ounce of genetically hereditary domestic skill can pull off Thanksgiving dinner with God's help and a few trustworthy recipes! Move over Martha Stewart. My husband even ate TWO helpings of my sweet potato casserole. I couldn't believe it. He hates sweet potatoes. It was my favorite recipe of all the great ones I was working from for the day... I need to re-name it "Sweet Potato Bliss". It can be found on my Gathering Manna blog (last sweet potato recipe on the post). If you like sweet potatoes, I would definitely bookmark that link and bake it for Christmas. You'll be the hit of the holiday meal.

I think I may raid the refrigerator when I'm done here and pass over the pumpkin pie to pull out the sweet potato stuff. It beckons...

...Oh, yes... and the other thing on my mind tonight as I tried to keep the vehicle between those glowing white lines without falling asleep... Homeschooling. I've been planning our next Konos Unit. According to our schedule, we've managed to cover most everything on our list so far except Trust: Flight & Airplanes, and Trust: Ships and Floating. That is what we had planned during the 4 weeks we took off before Thanksgiving due to our move. I may make up one of those over the Christmas holidays. I think Kev will have to work during the Christmas holidays anyway, and we won't be traveling to Texas, either. Continuing to school will keep us busy and help us avoid the "rush" and "frenzy" that engulfs us most years. I'm excited about meeting other homeschoolers near me, also. So far, I've met some great moms who live reasonably close to us and may do a Konos Co-op with us after Christmas. This is great news and an answered prayer. We truly miss our co-op days with Kelly, our Texas Konos buddy.

I hope you are all basking in the glow of sweet Thanksgiving memories you made yesterday with your families... and I pray that the turkey and trimmings you'll probably eat (in the form of left-overs) for days to come don't make your jeans cut your circulation off (like mine are right now). This time of year is my favorite... the weather, the scenery, the silver bells and lights... but most of all, the focus on Thanksgiving and Jesus - God's Christmas present to us. Now THAT's a reason to be THANKFUL. I'll have to do a post on my favorite Christmas music soon... I've been listening to not much else for over a week now. Happy Thanksgiving (it isn't really "over") to each of you reading this every day for the rest of 2005! You don't need sweet potato casserole to be thankful for what God has blessed you with.

Hopefully I'll be able to get out of my blogish funk soon and come up with more interesting things to talk about than travel woes, Texas trips, and Thanksgiving foods! Until then... this will have to do.

November 22, 2005

Thanksgiving wouldn't be the same without some sort of sweet-potato dish on the table. Mosey on over to my foodie-blog and print out the latest recipes for your Turkey-Day Feast!



It WOULD happen after I leave Texas...

Article by "FOX NEWS 7 - Austin", forwarded to me by a Texas friend today...

Texas Supreme Court Rules Property Tax Unconstitutional

Associated Press Writer

AUSTIN (AP) -- Texas school districts illegally tax property owners to pay for public education and the state must find a new way to fund schools by June 1 or classrooms will remain closed in the fall, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Tuesday. Texas' highest civil court ruled that the property taxes for schools have become an unconstitutional statewide property tax and charged lawmakers with repairing the $30 billion funding system. State funding would be stopped if the deadline isn't met.

The nine-member Republican panel agreed 7-1 with one of three arguments in a lawsuit brought against the state by hundreds of school districts, but found the system meets constitutional requirements for "adequate education" and equitable facilities funding. Justice Scott Brister dissented and Justice Don Willett did not participate.

June 1 is an extension of an earlier court deadline set in the long-running case, and one lawmaker said it this one is much more serious.

"This time the Supreme Court has ruled. There is no back door," said Texas Rep. Dan Branch, R-Dallas, a member of the House Public Education Committee. "This deadline is a real, hard, firm deadline. At that point, you can't finance schools the same way, you have to make the system constitutional, otherwise you run the risk of not being able to open schools in August."

The court declined to offer its own solution, pushing the issue back to lawmakers.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry praised the ruling and said he plans to call lawmakers back to Austin to take up the issue in a special legislative session "at an appropriate time before that deadline." The Legislature has failed to remedy the system during the last two regular sessions and three 30-day special sessions called by Perry. "I'm also pleased to see that the court agreed with a position that I have long advocated: simply pouring more money into the same system will not alleviate the property tax problem," Perry said."Our entire tax system needs substantial reform to make it fair, more modern and that will ensure schools have a reliable stream of revenue."

The court has been considering the case for months on appeal from a district court in Austin. Property-rich and poor districts sued, claiming the method for funding education did not meet requirements set in the state constitution.

State District Judge John Dietz in September 2004 agreed. He ordered that the three problems get repaired or the state would have to halt funding for schools Oct. 1. That deadline was suspended pending the high court ruling.

The state appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that changes to the system should be made by the Legislature, not the courts.

"The court recognized -- as all Texans recognize -- that we can and should do a better job of educating students in Texas," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office represented the state in the case. "But, just because we can do a better job does not mean that the job being done now is unconstitutional."

The Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiffs' argument that the system is unconstitutional because so many school districts are forced to tax property owners at the maximum limit of $1.50 per $100 in property value. That amounts to a statewide property tax because districts don't have room to set their own rates, the high court ruled.

Districts argued that to fund all state and federal education mandates -- such as the 22-student per class limit and minimum teacher salaries -- they must tax at the legal limit. The property tax cap, they said, had become both a minimum and a maximum rate.

Money for the Texas school system comes primarily from property taxes and a loophole-ridden franchise tax. The business tax probably will be overhauled to make more entities pay.

While the court said that state spending on education satisfies the constitutional requirements of an "adequate" education, the ruling cast doubt on the future of the system if there is not "increased funding, improved efficiencies, or better methods of education."

"The court is obviously worried about the future of the system," said Scott McCown, a retired state judge whose decisions helped shape Texas' school funding system.

Perry has appointed former comptroller John Sharp, a Democrat and former political rival, to head a commission that will recommend how to restructure the tax system that pays for schools. It met for the first time Monday.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


My comment: FINALLY. We were almost sank last year over property taxes. I paid $4,780 in taxes on my 2,400 square foot house. Now, tell me, is that fair? My kids don't even go to public school! "Restructure" is right. They need to go to a flat tax across the board - tax everyone the same, and no more than 10% of your income in ALL FORMS of taxation combined. Cars, Sales, Income, Property, whatever... it all needs to equal a TOTAL of 10%. I shouldn't be giving the government more than I give the church! My worry is that even with these changes, they will find a way to "sock it to us"... but it is nice to think that this ruling is a step in the right direction for Texas.



"Make sure your blog readers and your congressman know all the facts on the differences between H.R. 4194 and H.R. 1606. Your freedom of speech could depend upon their knowing the difference."
Read up about H.R. 4194 and 606 at Tappscott's Copy Desk.

Evangelical Blog Award Nominations Have Begun! Stop over at Eric Ragle's "Evangelical Underground" to read more about the categories, and nominate your favorite blogists.

"Instead of lowering the age to twelve, they ought to be raising it to the level of other states or even higher. No wonder Arkansas has the highest high school drop out rates and the lowest standard test scores in the nation. It's pretty hard to take the SAT test when you have to get a babysitter or can't even spell S-A-T. No wonder our former president had to ask what the definition of "is" is!"
Read the entire article: "Arkansas Lowers Age of Consent" at The Spoof!

National Motor Vehicle License Bureau web site - offering a free searchable database of over 121 million U.S. driver's license photos and license information. Go see if your image is online!



"When you are in deep trouble, say nothing and try to look inconspicuous."

I got this via email and I thought this was very handy information to have... it is the best site of it's kind I have seen as of yet.
"Here's a website where you can enter your street address, and it will show you a map of where sexual predators live. It shows who they are, what they did, where they live in relation to you and a photo. Check it out and pass it on."

Here's a free desktop calendar that you can use to help keep your schedule on your screen-top. I have not used it, so I don't endorse the product, I just wanted to pass this link along to other moms who might be interested. I have also been told that 3M's Post-it® Software Notes is good. I tend to use my MS Outlook's Calendar and my trusty Cell Phone Calendar (including reminder alarms) to help keep me on track... but these software packages look very interesting indeed!

Someone passed along a whimsical little list of "What a 4 Year Old Should Know" that I thought I would share with you moms of preschoolers and toddlers. The website has other preschooler links and lesson plans as well. Here's an excerpt from the front page:
"This site was born out of my desire to share ideas and celebrate the neat parents out there. In an age when kids are getting scoliosis from toting home such heavy backpacks and people are trying to teach their infants French, I thought it was high time there was a place that focused on plain old happy, goofy, silly, leisurely life for our children."
Here's a List of History Books that incorporate the Charlotte Mason Approach.... and likewise, a List of Geography Books that does the same.

Here's a wonderful site celebrating the literary icon: Jane Austen.
"Jane Austen is a well-known British author who wrote her literary works during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, although several of her manuscripts were not published until after her death. Her most famous works include Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and Emma. I have developed this web site to provide some background information on her life as an author and her works. Within the Resources page, you will also note some information pertaining to the time period in which she lived. These sites include timelines for British history as well as sites on the manners and etiquette the ladies and gentlemen of her time period followed."

Here's a Homeschool Article from Mothering Magazine that was passed along to me recently. It has a great deal of research data backing up facts behind the myths related to homeschool... Homesschooling's true colors: investigating the myths—and the facts—about America's fastest-growing educational movement

"abcteach" is offering 3 months free of their membership. They have wonderful worksheets, etc...They even have middle school work. Go to the "abcteach" website and enter the promotion code : LMAG10 .

Here's a library book lover's dream-tool... OCLC's WORLDCAT (Worldwide Library Cooperative). I have not used it, but my friend Kelly says it is "FANTASTIC". Here's what she said in her email to me:
"Here's how it works:
search for any book or subject
they give you lists of books that are published
choose which one you want
enter your zip code and they tell you which libraries in your area have the book
If your library doesn't have it, just go to them and ask to do an ILL (inter-library loan) and they will get the book for you."

Amazing Sidewalk Art

Akiane: An 11 year old art prodigy who's paintings are so wonderful they can make you CRY

November 21, 2005

Back 2 School Update


Well, we're finally plunging in after our month-long moving hiatus. The kids and I have already read the Bible and they are doing Math and Language worksheets while I check email, blog, and sort the bookshelves out. We're going to finish up the Military Unit we've been doing, and we're going to do some Thanksgiving activities and read some Thanksgiving books.

Hopefully soon, I can finish up my promised 2003-2004 School Year posts and get that checked off my list.

This week is going to be a busy one, since for the first time EVER, we are having Thanksgiving by ourselves. That means I have to cook the entire meal... and we are used to going to eat with family where there are many dishes to pick from... including sweet potato casserole, sautéed green beans, broccoli-cheese-rice casserole, turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, raspberry-pecan Jell-O salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, etc. I'm not sure we'll have everything on our usual menu, but at least most of it. That means I'm going to be cooking from Wednesday morning until Thursday afternoon! I'll let you know how it goes.

I have been saving up a bunch of links to post about, and will be posting them tomorrow (or late tonight). They include homeschool links and articles, funnies, artsy links, book links, family links, etc. Be sure to stop in tomorrow for those.

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone! Stop by and see the Thanksgiving Greeting on your way out!

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November 18, 2005

Not Jesting

I took The Who Would You Be in 1400 AD Test... and here was my score:

The Harlequin
You scored 39% Cardinal, 48% Monk, 44% Lady, and 40% Knight!

You are a mystery, a jack-of-all-trades. You have the king's ear, but also listen to murmurings of the common folk. You believe in the value of force and also literature. Truly you are the puzzlement of the age.


I think I could handle being upper class in those days, but man - that was before indoor plumbing and DEET mosquitoe repellent! If you really do some research into Medieval Times (History of Britain DVD Series is great fun), you realize quick how good we have it in the 21st Century (AD - none of that Circa crud for me)! God knew what He was doing putting me in the land of porcelain toilets and beepy computers... just another reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving!

November 17, 2005

Do I have to be LARGE???


Job 8:21 - He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

Somehow over the weekend, my blog became a "large mammal". I'm accepting emails if you want to tip me off on the secret of how that happened? Shhhhhh... I had better not say anything or they might retract my status. I like the rank, don't get me wrong... it never hurts to think someone might be listening to you... but I check my site meter every now and then, and I can't imagine with as few visitors as I have, that I could be considered large... unless you're speaking figuratively... maybe a mouse-lemur or finger-monkey? Anyway... I came in here to thank the readers or linkers or clickers out there in cyberspace... or those who stumbled in during a drunken night of Google-surfing?

Side Note: I actually did have someone find my site once doing a Google search for "Nazi". Yep - it was a warm fuzzy title to a previous post about Katie W. that drew whomever that was in to my web. Poor little skin-head.

Side Note #2: You really want to know where that photo came from? OK. I'll tell you. I asked my dear husband for an oatmeal cookie and he defaced the cookie like so... and brought it upstairs to hand to me (so I would have a complex about eating it). Ha! It didn't work. I ate it anyway. But first, I shot that photo... because after all, it was really funny. He got a kick out of seeing it again tonight.

On the topic of LARGE... I have just not been feeling small lately. With Thanksgiving around the corner and the taste of turkey and dressing from Luby's still fresh in my memory from tonight's dinner (yes, I cheated)... I really am considering making this a no-sweets holiday season (you can cry for my children now). Granted, we have been eating out every meal for months and months on end... but that is no excuse to rip a pair of jeans (I try and remind myself that they were almost three years old to make me feel less worthless) and pick out and finish off every Special Dark chocolate bar in the bag.

Stress doesn't help. Moving tends to unsettle even the robo-movers like us (this is our 20th move in nearly 13 years of marriage). I am thinking that a great Christmas gift to eachother would be a gym membership. What in the world would I do with the kids (this has always been my excuse when "I'm allergic to exercise" didn't work)? Maybe they have kiddie-gymnastics at the same time they have ladies aerobics? For sure it wouldn't hurt to at least lay off the sugar. Hard to do during the holidays... when even the candle "flavors" make you hungry (pumpkin pie, sugar cookie, gingerbread, etc.).

Something you can do to reduce stress this holiday season (which in turn could possibly help trim your waistline)? LAUGH. Yes, laughter is truly great medicine. My husband sent me this email tonight that literally had me falling out of my chair. As corny as it may be, I just have to post it here for you to read... (that way no one can accuse me of spam - since you came in here of your own free will). I hope you enjoy it like I did.

GET A GOOD LAUGH (As Seen in Your Email Box!)







































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November 16, 2005

"The Stars At Night..."

Thursday Challenge: "Pattern"

I have a Christmas ornament from last year at the Texas Capitol. It is of this lovely dome. This slightly off-center shot looks much better as a wallpaper on my computer... and much better in it's original size (I drastically reduced it and copied and pasted it into a few programs to get it to fit in my blog). You'll have to forgive the blur. If you stand directly under the star at the capitol building and clap, it echoes through the building like a gunshot. It is really neat. Each year, the capitol puts out a different Texas Christmas ornament.

This year's looks lovely! Hope someone mails me one for Christmas!

God Bless Texas.

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Still Alive

In case you were wondering, the title speaks for itself today. I'm digging out of boxes in my tiny cracker-box apartment... trying not to bruise myself as I sandwich corners around our furniture (some of said furniture probably should have been left in storage)... and the slowly eroding mountains of boxes (some of said boxes definitely will be going back to storage). My eyes were bigger than the apartment. I am ever so thankful to be out of the hotel room, though. We have a tiny two bedroom apartment and a little balcony. The children's twin beds nearly take up their entire room, and one of the beds has to be against the wall (I hate making a bed that is pinned against a wall). But, at least they have their own room. Not sure I can say the same for their toys... who will loose the battle to their clothes jockeying for a spot in the tiny closet. So far, the toy boxes are on the bottom of the agenda - even though I am hearing the natives moan about it endlessly.

We are still on "holiday" as far as school goes. This is our fourth week off. This means that either July or August just got absorbed into the school year. Fine with me. We are hopefully starting back up Monday, Lord willing. I am going to try and get the apartment completed so we can cook and eat at home, do laundry (the apartment plugs are three-prong and we're having trouble finding a converter), and get school started again. So far, after two solid days of unpacking, we are nearing a light at the end of the tunnel. Sorry for the delay in "checking in" with you blog-reading buddies of mine... but our internet connection just got enabled this afternoon, and my husband's computer is up, but mine is not. Therefore, I'm just typing a quick message and won't be adding links or pinging anyone... sorry Technorati, Homespun Bloggers, etc.

We spent almost all of our paycheck and a few hundred from mom on our trip to Texas, but it was sure nice to see friends, eat at our favorite restaurants, and get a few missed belongings from storage. We have pretty much all we need to survive here out of state now... aside from silverware, which so far, has not turned up in the box hunt. I have two kitchen boxes left, and then we'll be making a trip to Wal-Mart. We have only had to buy a floor lamp (seems older apartment buildings don't have lighting in bedrooms or living rooms?) and a couple of shower curtains so far. It is nice to have all the other items we need to save us money. Hopefully by next month, we can start to try and recuperate from the expenses we've been accruing. I don't see a Texas trip in the near future for Thanksgiving or Christmas. That will be difficult since it is the first year we've ever been away from family, but hopefully it will help us in our goal of getting completely debt free in a year or two.

I hope to be back blogging on a more regular basis soon. Until then, I appreciate you stopping in to check on me! God bless and Happy Thanksgiving... we have so many reasons to be thankful!

November 11, 2005

Sneaky Late Night Post

I've decided to head home. Yup, I'm headed back to Texas. We checked into renting furniture and it was the same price (per month) as a rental truck would be (once). I don't have to be great at Math to figure that a one-time payment of over 300$ would be better than a monthly payment of over 300$. Right? So, we're headed home to sort through storage, and hopefully we can get some family and friends to help us load the truck up Saturday.

Sara? You out there? :)

Anyway... I'm packing up my computer tomorrow... and I'll be on the road for a few days. Happy Trails to me. Until we meet again. Don't worry, my little blogish friend, it probably won't be much longer than Monday or Tuesday... hope to "see you" then.

November 10, 2005

Pioneering the Fight for Parent's Rights: The Wernecke Family

Back in June, when my blog was young, I found out about Katie Wernecke and how she had been ruthlessly taken away from her parents by CPS (click HERE to read my previous posts: 1, 2, or 3). What crime had Katie's parent's committed to have their children taken away? They disagreed with a doctor's medical treatment suggestion and wanted to get another opinion for their cancer-stricken daughter. It made me so upset to hear of this case that I did what her father pleaded with readers of her blog to do... I wrote everyone from senators to famous people and newspapers, begging for everyone to stop the state from this tragic action against parental rights.

I was delighted to find that Katie has finally been returned to her family (five long months later), but like an innocent man suffering years he did not deserve in prison, there is no way to return these past five months to Katie or her loving parents. The destruction of liberty and freedom in our country is born of these seemingly small cases... although the case is a mountain of pain for the family trapped in it. The facts are simple. Katie Wernecke was wrongly taken prisoner by the State of Texas.

You should thank Katie, though. She is the sacrificial lamb on the alter of parental rights for the future of Texas, and likely America as well. Her case is going to the State Supreme Court. There, the bogus CPS charges of medical neglect (I pray), will be dismissed from her parent's record. I pray that Katie never has to live in another foster home, never has to have surgery and radiation that she does not want, and never has to feel the grief of being separated from her loving family again. My prayer is that the nutritional therapy she will receive will increase her chances of a quick healing (thus proving the money-hungry doctors WRONG). May she not suffer in the future from the radical radiation the doctors performed on her (against her will). I pray she has a long life, and that her case will wake us up from our comfortable apathy and return us to our senses. I pray that the Texas Supreme Court has the wits about them to see that we will not stand for this kind of parental rights violation by state or federal government.

I urge you to keep an eye on this case and let your thoughts be known to the authorities that be. Of course, the main authority being our Lord in Heaven - please remember to pray for Kate! You can keep tabs on Kate through her blog that includes the latest updates in her health, family life, and legal case: "Prayers for Katie".

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November 09, 2005

Things are Falling Together

Quick Update
Finally, we have an apartment picked out, a light bill scheduled to be turned on, and a date for move-in... this Friday.
A light at the end of the tunnel is shining!!!

Tomorrow, I'll be renting furniture... something I've never done before. Even old dogs can learn new tricks. I'm wondering what would be cheaper... to travel back to Texas and rent a small U-haul and sort through our storage to pick a few things to bring back.... or just to rent a few pieces of furniture and buy everything else new from Wal-Mart? What do you do when you have no pots, pans, towels, sheets, etc.? This move has really been like starting over for us (from scratch). Humility at it's finest. God be praised, because I certainly don't need to be thinking it was anything I ever did that got me into my 2,500 sf house we sold. Pride is bad. The pain we go through when God strips it away is worth it. Maybe I can hit some garage sales this weekend as well. Hmmmm?

Thank You
I just wanted to check in to say thank you for allowing me to rant and rave in here while we've been going through our house sale, relocation, and lodging search. I know it hasn't made for very interesting blogging, so you get lots of blog-brownie points for reading anyway!

Foodie Stuff
I'm going to add a recipe or two to my Gathering Manna blog tonight... so stop in for some fall-ish fare.

Photo Link
And here's a link for tomorrow's THURSDAY CHALLENGE photo for the contest entitled "FAST". This was a previous post that came to mind when I heard this week's subject.

Today's Prayer Highlights
Praising God for the Texas Voter Results on Banning Gay Marriage last night (sad that the KKK had to stain the victory with their retarded Austin rally, though), for our apartment we're moving into this weekend, and for my husband's job. Praying for my friend at Routon Family Homeschool who's in a bit of a funk, for my friend Ammie's dad, for Cannon's liver transplant surgery (he's a little boy from Austin who just found out a liver is available), for my mom, my friend Christi, my cousin, and my financial difficulties of late... and for us to be able to get back to homeschooling soon!

God bless you and yours. Have an awesome Wednesday, and early Thursday! I'll probably not blog again until tomorrow afternoon.

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November 08, 2005

Hotel California

Ok, so maybe I'm not in California... but I've unfortunately been living out the famous Eagle's song's lyrics - at least the last verse - "You can check out any time you like, but you can NEVER leave". To spare you the gory details, I'll just sum it up by saying that my husband's previous employer (out of spite?) "erased" him (their term, not mine!) before he was cut his last paycheck (which should have been direct deposited last Friday). That meant that we were CASHLESS at the end of last week, and had to cash our apartment deposit money order to live on for this week. Since last Friday, though, we found a wonderful church in a different part of town, and found a nicer apartment complex across the river. So, we are glad that God is pulling our strings, even though we often get very weary of the dance. For every setback, we have to remind ourselves that God has a master plan in effect... and what we see as a trial is sometimes just a training course to make us better Christians. Thankfully, my loving father-in-law paid for us to stay in our hotel another week... or we would have been pitching a (borrowed) tent in the nearby state park!

The hotel internet is intermittent at best. It's also very slow when it's up and running. We lost connection Saturday morning, and just now got it back. I am sure it was something simple like a server needing to be reset.... and my husband (being a computer nerd - and I say that in the most loving, affectionate way possible!) was wringing his hands yesterday over it. They sent someone out here last night from their "internet service provider"... and walla! Today we are able to surf. Me thinks Kevin was right about the server needing to be reset.

The tree out my window is loosing it's leaves now. It is almost entirely red. The streets here have lovely red leaves everywhere. It is almost as if there are rose petals fluttering across the streets and skies. The yellow leaves are falling as well, and the oranges are fading to browns. We took a lovely drive half way across the state Saturday, and stopped at a Fudge shop. I love the new scenery, but every time I get behind a Texas license plate, or see something that reminds me of the Lone Star State, I get misty. The other day, we ate at Luby's and the cup said: "Tastes Like Texas. Feels Like Home." I get watery eyes just typing that! You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the girl! (*sniff, sniff*)

The nice homeschool moms I met on Friday at the park day we attended also live in the area near our newfound church. We are getting an apartment near the park they meet at. I am hoping that we can also join a gym and get plugged in to some activities for the kids. We're going to make up these 2.5 plus homeschool weeks in the summer, or maybe regain a few of them through the holidays (Thanksgiving/ Christmas/ Spring Break).

I have been trying to relax and de-stress myself - being homeless has it's tense moments. This morning, I opened my Bible before the kids got up and felt a load lift off of my shoulders. I exhaled a deep breath and said a prayer. I read a little about the glory of God appearing to the Israelites in the desert and consuming their offering with fire. I think the message was respect. Living in a crisis doesn't give me excuse to disrespect the Lord by ignoring Him or trying to live by my own strength. Sometimes a crisis is the best time to be a good example. The children and I read the story of Uzza reaching out to right the Ark of the Covenant also, and although Uzza was trying to prevent a fall, he failed to remember that God is Lord of ALL (even Lord when we're in a pickle). He deserves our obedience, even if the ox cart is about to tip over. After I read about this, I flipped aimlessly backwards and opened the Bible to Psalm 25. It was so awesome, it made me cry.

I found a lot of Psalm 25 that I could personalize to my situation right now. God always has a fresh word for us when we turn to Him. Sometimes, even when we don't know what to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede for us (Romans 8:26 - In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express). I know lately I find myself just speaking His name, through tears, and not knowing what I need to pray. I am glad Jesus knows what I need, even when I don't.

Psalm 25
(Of David.)

1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;
2 in you I trust, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.

3 No one whose hope is in you
will ever be put to shame,
but they will be put to shame
who are treacherous without excuse.

4 Show me your ways, O LORD,
teach me your paths;

5 guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.

6 Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.

7 Remember not the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you are good, O LORD.

8 Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.

9 He guides the humble in what is right
and teaches them his way.

10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
for those who keep the demands of his covenant.

11 For the sake of your name, O LORD,
forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

12 Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD ?
He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.

13 He will spend his days in prosperity,
and his descendants will inherit the land.

14 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them.

15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
for only he will release my feet from the snare.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.

17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied;
free me from my anguish.

18 Look upon my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.

19 See how my enemies have increased
and how fiercely they hate me!

20 Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.

21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.

22 Redeem Israel, O God,
from all their troubles!

New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

November 04, 2005

Today's Texas, Homeschool & Blog Links

Today, I've got a park-day to get to know some moms here, but I had to stop in and leave a few great links I've come across:

1. For you Texas voters out there: In case you're an out-of-state voter like me... on an extended vacation, living in a hotel, whatever... here's a great post about the Texas Constitutional Bond Ammendments from Voice in the Wilderness. By the way, if you don't mail your ballot today or tomorrow, you'll miss your chance to vote. It is already too late to request a mail-out ballot... and early voting is over. Election day is the 8th! Get out and vote! But first, READ that POST!

2. For you parents and homeschoolers out there: Ever wanted to join something like American Girls for you daughter, but just felt like it wasn't such a great idea? I have. I have always wanted a Christian alternative to either club. Spunky Homeschool wrote a great post recently about an alternative to American Girls that sounds GREAT. I also will vouch for the great online book store she mentions in the post.

3. For you Christian Bloggers out there: I read a post yesterday about the 2006 Evangelical Blog Awards. Seems there's not enough interest regarding the awards for them to be put on this year. If you ARE interested, get on over to the Evangelical Underground and read the post that lists the nomination categories. Send Eric an email or comment to let him know what you think. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

Have a super Friday! Hopefully tomorrow we'll be moving into our apartment and getting some rental furniture. Keep voting day in your prayers... and the people in India and Pakistan also.

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November 03, 2005

Nazi America Alert: Relieving Parents of Rights

Do you have the right to say what your child learns about sex (including when and how)? Well, the United States Government seems to think not. Read this disturbing article on and see how your parental rights are being systematically stripped away...

Picture your FIRST, THIRD or FIFTH grader.... and imagine (at the tender ages of 6-11)....

Now look at the questions the PUBLIC school asked them without parent's consent:

The questions the parents objected to asked about the

“Touching my private parts too much
Thinking about having sex
Thinking about touching other people's private parts
Thinking about sex when I don't want to
Washing myself because I feel dirty on the inside
Not trusting people because they might want sex
Getting scared or upset when I think about sex
Having sex feelings in my body
Can't stop thinking about sex
Getting upset when people talk about sex”

I would have SUED the school, also! Disappointed does not do justice to how I feel about our judicial system right now. If these parents aren't homeschooling already, I've got to ask - WHAT'S STOPPING YOU NOW???

Lego Man


This is Kaden - the Lego Man of our family. Thursday Challenge was "Creative" (which Kaden certainly is), and while the photography in this picture may not be wonderful, the subject certainly is!


November 02, 2005

Woeful Wednesday

You might say that the inspection went dismally awry... or you could just say that we are two-hundred dollars lighter. I'd say that it was a well-spent two-hundred, though, considering the repair issues we would have been stuck with had we not hired someone today. The half-basement on this house had a crawl space behind it that faced the sloping hill the house was built on. Inside this space, we discovered a natural spring coming out of the ground, a pool of water and a muddy, broken sump pump, some foundation step-cracks in the concrete blocks holding up the garage, and a river and mud pit where the French drain under the garage entry was leaking under the house. Not to mention we found termite damage that was so extensive that the foyer floor and some other wood under the house would have to be replaced. The water heater was manufactured in 1977. It was rusting out from both ends and had a leak in a pipe. One of the sinks downstairs wasn't working, although the pipes looked new. There was no pantry (something I'm not sure how I overlooked the first two times we saw the house). Although the heater man was there to service the heater, and it did come on, he notified us that the unit was at least thirty years or older, and he knew it was only a matter of time before it needed to be replaced (to the tune of three or four thousand dollars). The roof also had some buckling because of poor ventilation, and there was some kind of animal droppings up there. The attic crawl space was very tiny, and the drainage on the back of the house needed to be revamped. The repairs were around or over ten thousand dollars worth - not including the barely functioning heating unit. For as much money as they were asking, we could have bought a slightly smaller NEW home, and saved ourselves the worry of never being able to re-sell it again. I don't want to be stuck out of state forever... and with our last house being in "NEW" condition and taking over eight months to sell... I'm just NOT feeling the love.

So, it looks like we're moving next door to some apartments near the hotel. I went by and looked at them today. Not a SUPER area, but not the ghetto, either. I'm considering this a credit card punishment... and a lesson learned. Cracker box it is.

On a light note (Lord knows I need to focus on the positives right now), I've been watching a particular tree out of the hotel window for two weeks now. When we pulled in the tree was green with the top leaves barely showing a slight orange tint. Over the days, the tree has been changing before our eyes. It is varying degrees of orange and red, and the top is almost entirely a cranberry wine color. Behind it, there is a tree that is entirely yellow. I've seen a lot of lovely red Japanese Maples as well. I think the tree outside our window is a Fruitless Pear Tree. We had two in our front yard at our last house. I am pretty sure those are not turning the same colors these are. I also saw a Monarch Butterfly this morning. It was soaring effortlessly like a bird. I am a butterfly lover, and I also love the autumn season.

Keep us in your prayers. I almost skipped blogging today because I've been a little somber. With the Lord's help, we will pull out of it soon!

Anyone else have the urge to eat a Special Dark Chocolate Bar?

November 01, 2005


"He makes his home where the living is best." - Latin Proverb

August 31st we moved out of our house ... and here it is, November, and we are finally in another contract. Our closing date is set for the 21st (the week of Thanksgiving), but hopefully it will be earlier because the property is vacant and both parties are in a hurry to close the deal. This comes as a relief after three offers on three different houses and plenty of tiresome searching for just the right home.

I am excited that we'll be in a house that has plenty of space, but I am also apprehensive about an interest-only mortgage payment in a risky market that experts say is near bust. The news today of the tax strategy to eliminate breaks for homeowners was not welcome news. Never has the economy looked so gloomy as far as I'm concerned. For a family that lives on the proceeds of one wage-earner's salary, the cuts to the "middle class" are close to the quick... and could mean the difference between the middle class and the "tragically financial-impared class".

My prayer is that not only will God more than enable us to sustain our living expenses here, but that He would bless us richly and prosper us so that we are able to completely dig out of the bondage of debt... and we are able to be a blessing to others for Him. We commit our ways to Him, sink or swim. If it is the Lord's will, we pray that this house will close and we will be legal residents of our new state in November of 2005.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."


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