It seems I've been finding little time to blog lately. That's a real bummer because I've been counting on my blog to be our online scrapbook that I hope to one day print. It's just hard to find time to do it. Even now my 20 minute time limit I gave myself to write this post is long over and I need to get to meal planning. Meal planning is the chore I dread the most. It seems to take hour upon hour. First I have to clean out fridge/freezer. Then I have to inventory fridge/freezer and pantry, writing everything down---so I can plan our meals according to what we have and figure out what I need to replenish. Then I make a grid for the period of time I'm planning for---usually at least 2 weeks. Then I look at the calendar and see what all we have going on so I can plan accordingly. Then I figure out what meals go with what ingredients I already have, and then after all that---I think of what meals we will have and then I make the grocery list(s). I shop at Dekalb Farmers Market, Costco, Wal-Mart and even Kroger/Publix at times. I can't seem to find a way around that. But meal planning is not what this post is about. It's just a general update. I have to squeeze a lot into one because I surely won't be back for a while.
Our oldest son just turned 16. So hard to believe. They do grow up so fast. He's talking about going into Information Technology which is exciting because that's the field his dad is in. It would be neat to see them working alongside each other one day. This boy has incredible musical abilities that are largely untapped at this point but to get him moving I'm looking into buying him a chanter. His life long dream is to learn to play the Scottish Highlander Bag Pipes. Hoping to one day see that dream turn into reality!
We took a trip to JAARS (Junge Aviation and Radio Services) in North Carolina to visit friends of ours. Here the boys are learning how to rivet. Riveting is the method by which the metal pieces of airplanes are put together. They had a lot of fun.
Micah and Andrew went up for an airplane ride which of course they loved. These airplanes are especially fitted by JAARS missionaries to be able to take off and land in very difficult and remote locations. They can take off and land in as little as 150 feet! They can almost hover in mid-air. So neat.
We went to JAARS on "JAARS DAY", where they had lots of different events and activities going on. I highly recommend a visit. You can stay on campus like we did for super cheap. We had a 4 bedroom house that we paid only 70 dollars a night for.
One of the funnest things was just sitting in the hanger watching the airplanes come and go. Not to mention being surrounded by missionaries---mission work is so exciting---the thought of being used by God to share the story of what he did for his people by sending his Son to the cross---- is such a thrill. Andrew talks now, since this trip, of wanting to be a pilot and work for JAARS. We will see if that is just a boyish ambition or if God ignited a passion in him!
Little Benjamin and Samuel got to go too. They were so excited! I almost ran out to the plane to scream "stoooop!" as visions of a plane crash flashed in my head as they taxied, but of course I didn't. I have a very vivid imagination and truth reminded me that they would not die until it is God's time for them to die--and JAARS wouldn't be offering these rides if they weren't entirely safe. Taking my thoughts into healthy "control" is a theme of what God is teaching me lately.
They obviously had a great time! The couple behind them are headed as a family to do full time mission work in Papua New Guinea. It was neat talking to them.
Back at home, I was able to take Samuel on a field trip to our favorite local farm and family, Thompson's Tree Farm. We've known this family for several years and they have become dear to us. They let me tag along with Samuel on one of their pumpkin themed field trips and it was sweet to have that time just with Samuel. In a family of 8, that is rare. Looking at this picture I notice I'm holding Samuel. That also is rare. At least when I'm standing up. I am having significant pelvic girdle issues since having Jacob. This kind of injury is so odd to me. I've never had any health struggles like this before. I'm in physical therapy weekly (trying---but not hard enough to do my exercises on my own three times a day---ha!) and going to the chiropractor twice a week. I wonder if I will get better. Month after month of pain, and I really think I might not. But that's in God's hands. I just can't wait for Heaven. And I can't expect this world that is under the curse to be Heaven on earth. Not yet. But soon.
Micah just completed his first season with the Georgia Force, a local football team for private school and home schooled kids. He had a blast.
This boy just turned nine and had a mouth appliance installed in his mouth to enlarge his palate to make room for more teeth--and eventually braces. This is our first experience with braces for our kids, and probably not our last.
For his birthday we let him invite lots of friends and we even rented (for the first time ever) a big blow up slide. They had a blast! Andrew started school this year (3rd grade) for the first time at Dominion Classical. He has beyond enjoyed it---school starts at 9 but they can be dropped as early as 8:40 and he begs in the morning for us to leave the house early enough for him to get there at 8:40 on the dot. When he gets home from school he immediately sits down to do his homework. He just loves it. Dominion is a GREAT school.
These two have such a sweet relationship. Yes they wrestle and fight, but not a lot. Benjamin's temperament is completely different now that he is gluten free. There are occasional outburts, but he has a softness and a sweetness generally that doesn't exist when he eats foods with gluten in them. I don't understand how that all works, but I have just seen the very marked difference when he is eating gluten free and when he isn't. So we will stick with gluten free. A few minutes ago I tucked Benjamin in and I said, "I love you so much" and he said, "I love you too." then he smiled and said, "and Samuel, and Andrew, and Micah, and Isaac, and Jacob and Daddy. I love everyone in this neighborhood." So sweet.
This is Florence and Jacob. Florence is the daughter of our friends from Kenya. About 8 years ago I noticed the man stocking vegetables at the Publix shopping center had on an African beaded belt. I asked him what country he was from. He said, "Kenya". We had just had a Kenyan missionary visit us at our church so I invited this man (whom I then learned had a wife and three children, one of them being a baby the same age as our baby-Andrew at the time) to our church with his family and to dinner at our home. And the rest is history. They became members at our church and I couldn't have asked for better friends. Florence is our baby-sitter and she is such a blessing. We love her dearly. She is in college and we hope she sticks around and continues her studies locally!
This was a nice thought but alas---the shadows. I take some pretty good pictures here and there---but so many don't turn out well---because I have no---zero---understanding of the technicalities of light, shadows, exposure, etc.etc. Maybe one day I'll take a course and learn. Too busy for that now.
Our new chore system. We've tried a zillion. I looked at some ideas on pinterest, thought and thought some more, considered what we've tried and why they failed, and came up with this. I just bought some boards from Home Depot---had them cut to fit this wall, sanded, stained and poly'd them, Screwed in the little hooks and put a nail at the end. The tags were bought from Hobby Lobby. On each tag is a chore and written at the bottom is when that chore is to be done (approximately). When that chore is done they move that tag over to the nail. So at any given time they can look at their "board" and see what's done and what's not. At the end of the night if everything is done they get a check for the day and that check is redeemed on the weekend for 20 minutes of screen time for the possibility of 2 total hours of screen time over the weekend. (they typically use screen time to play video games/computer games) This system has worked really well. They all like it. Benjamin even has a board and his own tags and he kept asking me today for more chores and more tags. He really likes doing things and then moving the tag to the nail. Just like his momma. :)
Since the boys have been in school I really haven't rested as much as I thought I would. I'm finally able to do all the projects/cleaning/organizing that have built up over the years of having ZERO time for anything but homeschooling/cooking/cleaning--just the basics. I'm hoping to get to a point of resting (relatively speaking---I still have a toddler and a 3 year old at home----resting looks like--to me---like 30 minutes of sitting down in the mornings as opposed to NO sitting down). This picture is of the organization I just did of our art supplies. They are all in the various baskets above the bookshelves. Based on my research--the cheapest baskets are at TJMaxx. Just FYI.
Books--I sold most of our home school books (official curriculum that is---we have a zillion historical books/science books/art books/biographies/living books,etc. that we will keep as long as possible!). If God calls us to that again I'll have a blast shopping for new curriclum. I'm one of those curriculum junkies. But actually, if we were to go down that route again, we may do it a bit differently. I recently listened to an interview of a homeschooling family whose children begin highschool around age 9 and college by around 12. You can learn about them here. I'm intrigued!
One thing that is brand new for me since the boys have been in school is having a quiet time with the Lord again. This time is absolutely possible when your homeschooling, I just never made it the priority it needed to be. Now, from 2 to 3, I do rest, on the couch, usually with a cup of tea. This time is so centering to me. We have been going through some extremely difficult trials and without centering my heart, my mind, my thoughts on God and His Word....I think I would be a basket case. Just recently, me and a couple of girlfriends decided to start this Bible Reading program. I'm SO excited about this. It's going to be life changing. It's just the Bible so it's for all denominations. I encourage you to check it out. My friends and I will be meeting once a week to talk about how God is working in our lives, to encourage one another and hold each other accountable to be making God the Rock that we stand on, and pray for each other. I'm so thankful for them. (If you do endeavor to take up this Bible reading program, and if you have a phone that you can put "apps" on, there is one called Bible 10 that is perfect to help you along). In this program you read 10 chapters a day (or you can adapt it to 5 a day which is what we are doing). Here is a short summary of the plan: "Reading ten chapters a day, in the course of a year you’ll read the Gospels four times, the Pentateuch twice, Paul’s letters four to five times, the Old Testament wisdom literature six times, the Psalms at least twice, Proverbs and Acts a dozen times, and the OT History and Prophetic books about one and a half times." This man has been doing this for over 20 years and he essentially knows the Bible, the entire Bible by HEART. How awesome!
And lastly, I've been lighting my "church" candle to remind me, my home is His sanctuary.
May we live each moment in the way of worship.
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being.