Tuesday, July 15, 2008

loving it...

Have you guys heard this song yet? Its called the Revelation Song. We just sung it for the first time this past sunday in church. Its one of those songs that I literally cannot get out of my head and I have been singing it for 3 days now. Its awesome. Here are the lyrics:

Worthy is the, Lamb who was slain Holy, Holy, is He Sing a new song, to him who sits on Heaven's mercy seat

Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord God Almighty Who was, and is, and is to come With all creation I sing Praise to the King of Kings You are my everything And I will adore You

Clothed in rainbows, of living color Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder Blessing and honor, strength and glory and power be to You the only wise King

Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord God Almighty Who was, and is, and is to come With all creation I sing Praise to the King of Kings You are my everything And I will adore You

Filled with wonder, awestruck wonder At the mention of your name Jesus your name is power Breath, and living water Such a marvelous mystery Yeah...

Holy, Holy, Holy Is the Lord God Almighty Who was, and is, and is to come, yeah With all creation I sing Praise to the King of Kings You are my everything And I will adore You

I'm sure this song has been around for several years. Have you guys heard it before? Do you love it as much as I do?

Monday, July 14, 2008


Last night Matt came downstairs for something. He saw that Noah had pushed a kitchen chair over to the coat hooks beside the front door. This is where I hang my purse. As Matt came down the stairs, this is what Noah said, "I'm not...um, I'm not....um, I'm not getting bubblegum from Mama's purse!"

Isn't that great?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Weighty Responsibility

Have you ever stopped to think about the responsibility that we parents have of raising our children properly. I mean REALLY think about it. Its heavy. It can really overwhelm you if you let it. A major portion of your child's personality, manners, and disposition rests on you as a parent and the upbringing they are given as a child. Sometimes I think I'm too strict, then other times (especially when I'm tired or frazzled), I feel like a pushover. Its a difficult line to walk. You have to set boundaries without totally smothering a child. You have to discipline, but not crush little spirits in the process. I admit I'm learning as I go, but aren't we all? There are times I look back and feel I should have handled things differently. Perhaps I was too harsh. Perhaps I let something slide that I shouldn't have. I shouldn't have raised my voice like I did...you know what I mean.

Perhaps an even heavier responsibility is that of raising a Godly child. One that truly loves Him and follows Him. Sometime I wonder if I'm up to the task, but then I am reminded that God does not give us more than we can handle. A real effort has to be made to not only live right before your children, but really make them understand Jesus and His ways when they are young. I've heard many times that 80% of Christians come to Christ by the time they are 18. After that age, opinions are well formed and its tougher to break through to people. They have often deadened their senses to God.

I want my children to be well rounded citizens of this great country...polite, loving, fun, patriotic, family oriented children. But more importantly, I want them to be followers of Jesus. I don't want to screw them up. I don't want them to be luke warm or apathetic. I want them to follow God with their whole heart because they adore Him. I want them to have their own relationship with God, not try to mimic mine or Matt's.

It would break my heart for my kids to turn their back on God. Ultimately the decision to follow God has to be their own, but its our responsibility to show our kids the real God. The real God is loving and fun. Yes, fun. I think God must have an incredible sense of humor (after all...just look at us!). God is not all about rules and regulations. Yes, there are things we should not do, but that is for our own good, not just for the sake of having rules. God does everything out of His love for us. We have to show that God, the real God, to our children. With the blessing of children comes a responsibility to raise them right, and its a heavy, weighty responsibility, but it should not be a burden.

That's just been what I was thinking about today...how about you?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

10 years!!!

Its hard to believe, but 10 years ago on June 20th, 1998 (I'm a few weeks late for this post, I know!), I married this handsome guy. (By the way, I'm not loving this picture of me as it really shows I'm still carrying some baby weight in my face...ugh...oh well!)

It was one of the happiest days of my life, and other than accepting Jesus into my life when I was a little girl, my best decision ever! He's my best friend and soul mate, and I couldn't imagine my life without him in it! He's one of the funniest guys I have ever met, although he complains that I don't laugh at his jokes often enough. He's so kindhearted and compassionate and wise beyond his years. God has really given him many gifts, but he's a great leader and very intuitive and can hear what God is speaking to us. He's a wonderful father and I know my kids often think of him as the "fun parent", although I'm no stick in the mud. He's a hard worker and does what he needs to in order to provide for our family. He's about as laid back as they come, and so we rarely argue or squabble. We were taught before we were married to "never go to bed angry", and we have practiced that. Even if it meant staying up until 3:00 AM in order to work things out.

Just today, I was talking with my friends Missy, Carole and Cindy, and I said that I almost settled for a loser boyfriend before Matt and I dated. I said that it would have been like settling for the Ishmael instead of waiting for the Isaac. I'm glad I finally saw the truth, and found my "Isaac". Life has never been the same, and for that I'm so thankful!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

I'm a "socialization snob"!!

I found this on a friend's blog. I loved it so much I stole it...thanks, Kim! This, in a nutshell, explains why we homeschool Rylee and will homeschool our other children when they reach Kindergarden age. As Kim said, this is not meant to offend anyone who reads this who sends their kids to public school, as it absolutely does not mean your child will not turn out to be an outstanding individual with strong morals. It simply mirrors my own thoughts on why we are not personally comfortable sending our kids to a public school.

Homeschooling's socialization snobs
Posted: July 05, 20081:00 am Eastern© 2008
Note: This column includes adult language.
Ask any homeschooling parent why they homeschool, and you're likely to receive as many different replies as there are families. Some of the common reasons include religious freedom, academic improvement, one-on-one tutoring and increased family closeness.
But for us, the single biggest reason we school at home correlates to the single biggest criticism homeschoolers get: socialization. Yes, it's largely due to the "socialization" children get in public schools that convinced us to homeschool.
Homeschooling allows us to be socialization snobs. We can filter out kids whose behavior offends us. We don't discriminate on the basis of race, creed, nation of origin, or other such nonsense. No, we discriminate on the basis of morals. If your kid insists on talking about the number of boys she slept with in the last month, I really don't want her around my kid. Call me fussy.
It's been said that too many rats locked up together in too small a cage will soon start tearing into each other. Same with kids. Schools force children to associate with other children based strictly on age. They are locked into cages containing dozens of rats … er, kids with one powerless and overworked teacher who is expected to be psychologist, counselor, nanny, babysitter and, oh yeah, teacher all rolled into one.
Manners are not expected and certainly not reinforced. If one child gets snarky with another, the other children encourage him until the snarkiness turns to meanness, which often leads to violence. This is the breeding ground for public school socialization.
I've been to homeschooling groups with up to 30 kids ranging from older teens to newborns. Everyone associates with everyone. Teens dandle babies. Twelve-year-olds play gentle tag with 5-year-olds. If one child gets snarky with another, there are five or six moms (as well as older kids) around to see the bad behavior and instantly correct it, so it seldom gets out of hand. Manners are expected and reinforced. This is the breeding ground for homeschooling socialization.
Why is this concept so difficult for the critics to grasp? I don't get it. I don't get it at all.
Recently, my husband came across a blog entry by a middle-school teacher that was so shocking that he waited until our kids were out of the room before calling me over to read it.
The blog entry [warning: obscene language] related a conversation this teacher overheard as she left school one afternoon. She passed a group of several boys and one girl (about 13) waiting for the bus. One of the boys had a plate of cookies. The teacher heard the girl say, "I'll give you a blow job for one of those cookies."
(Pause for a moment to marvel at how the heck a 13-year-old girl even knows what a blow job is.)
My husband e-mailed the teacher and expressed sympathy for the toughness of her job. The woman e-mailed back a weary verbal shrug and said it was all in a day's work.
Yes, all in a day's work to hear a child offer an intimate sex act in exchange for baked goods. And what does "all in a day's work" imply? That this type of social interaction is nothing unusual. Pretty typical, in fact. The teacher was just as horrified as we were, but she saw no solution. And people still have the gall to criticize homeschoolers for their … socialization skills? Or to criticize us for our parental desire to protect against this kind of exposure? I don't get it.
OK, so meanness, lack of manners and precocious sexualization are some of the "socializing" factors rampant in public schools. What about peer pressure and bullying?
We all remember bullying from our own school days. The fear of gym class. The avoidance of certain parts of campus such as the cafeteria, bathrooms or locker areas. The stomach-clenching dread of facing yet another day in which you were teased, threatened, snubbed or beaten up.
Kids have it tough. The desire to conform to peers is strong – strong enough to overcome parental influences, particularly when those parents are removed (by choice or by state) from being active in their children's lives. But even the children of good, involved parents can get mixed up with the wrong crowd at school simply because they desperately want to fit in. If you're not bouncy and pretty (as a girl) or athletic and handsome (as a boy), then you'll do whatever it takes to be accepted by the bouncy/pretty/athletic/handsome types, even if those types are bad influences in other respects.
"Homeschooling" implies that someone is at home. There are no latchkey kids. There are no after-school hours of "free time" before mom gets off work during which a 14-year-old with burgeoning hormones can get in trouble. Homeschooled kids are guided through the time of life when they have adult bodies but childish minds, a time when they can mature into competent adults or descend into horrifying mistakes. And yet people still have the gall to express concern over homeschoolers' … socialization.
Homeschooled kids don't live in a vacuum. While their publicly schooled peers are locked in a classroom for most of the daylight hours, homeschooled kids are out interacting with adults and children, picking up useful, well, socialization skills. And remember, one of the chief purposes of education is to teach children to become adults – productive, mature adults that contribute to society.
Academics are important, and studies demonstrate that homeschooled kids excel in this area. But there's more to life than academics, and that's one of the "balance" things homeschooled children learn in abundance. These are things like faith, honor, morals, patriotism, volunteerism, responsibility, family values, self-control and citizenship.
We sometimes hear the criticism that we cannot duplicate the benefits schools offer children, whether it's sports or music or chemistry labs. To which I reply, "You're right. We cannot duplicate your environment. We are merely trying to exceed your results."
Especially the results of socialization.

Lots of things....

Its been quiet here in blogland, but not for lack of things to write about. Simply, I have been busy, and I didn't want to post some things without the corresponding pictures. Said pictures are in camera, awaiting being downloaded into my husbands laptop. The camera is only about 8 months old, and the laptop less than a year old, so I'm still learning how to really use it.

Everyone here is good...just busy as usual. Maria, our Fresh Air child has been here a week already. Is that possible? Wow. She will be here another month before heading back to Brooklyn and her sweet family. We love having her here. As she was getting off the bus last week, a videographer from Channel 13 news asked me if I would mind answering a few questions for him. He told me our clip would likely be on the 5:00 news and possibly the 11:00, and very likely to be on the web. Well, we didn't see ourselves on the 5:00 news, although they did report about the Fresh Air kids arriving in Rochester. I assumed they decided to not use us for the story. I checked the web and we were not on there. The next morning I get an email from a friend saying she was surprised to see us on the news. Me too! Well, I have had plenty of people tell me they saw us. I wish I had seen the story so I could assess how much of a dork I made myself look like! Hopefully not too bad.

Last week when Maria arrived, I told my niece Madyson that she could spend the night if she wanted to. Her little brother Brock wanted to come as well. Not a problem as he and Noah are such good buddies and he usually just goes with the flow. When we got home, the neighbor kids, Peter and Emma saw that Maria was in town and they were excited to see her. We invited them over to play after dinner. Fast forward an hour or two...I now have 8 kids here at the house, and we all decide its a great idea for them to all have a sleepover together in Rylee's room. They all enjoy a dip in the hot tub, I make strawberry smoothies for them, and they all were great. I seriously did not even have to tell them once to quiet down and go to sleep. It was too easy! I wish I took a picture as they were drifting off to sleep. The 3 boys were on the floor together, Maddy and Rylee were on the lower bunk, and Maria and Emma were on the top bunk. Before heading off to bed myself, I checked on them. Peter was sitting up. He said he was "protecting the boys from the coyotes so the coyotes won't get them. Its OK, their safe!" How cute is that?

Yes, I did mention a hot tub in that last post, didn't I? Those who know me well, know I love a good bargain and can be quite the "deal finder". I have wanted a hot tub for years, but didn't really think it was in the budget. Yet I would still tease myself and search for hot tubs nearly every day on craigslist. Well, one day I saw there was a hot tub being sold at an upcoming estate sale. People were demolishing their cottage on Conesus lake and were rebuilding a new cottage in its place. They were selling all their stuff, including a working hot tub. Assuming it was out of my price range, I still contacted the people for more info. I was told it was an older model (about 12 years old), seats 5 to 6, and is in good shape other than the wood needing to be stained, as it has been left unstained for a while and has thus weathered. It even came with a cover. The man said he was asking $50. Yes, you read that correctly...$50. I immediately replied back that we wanted to buy it. The next morning I drove the 30 minutes to his cottage, checked it out, and paid him. Two days later we returned with help and moved it. (By the way, that was an adventure. Lifting a very heavy, large hot tub off of a deck, onto a trailer below, then pushing the trailer up a steep hill to the car, knowing the car would not be able to make it up the hill on wet grass, towing a heavy trailer.) It sat in our yard for 2 weeks until my very sweet cousin, who is an electrician could hook it up for us. We have since been loving the experience. Even the kids love it. Matt put our screen tent over it and we can now enjoy sitting in the hot tub without bugs divebombing our head.

The rest of this week is busy...a trip to the library, having some good friends over with their kids for a playdate, having one of my best friends and her husband over for dinner, having dinner at another good friends house on saturday with our husbands and kids. Good stuff! Hopefully, I can get Matt's help and can put up some pictures in the near future.

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