Tuesday, October 29, 2013


We've been pretty busy, enjoying and living life, and I just haven't made time to write.  So, here are a few quick thoughts for now:

1.  I've got two out of three kids who are playing with Legos and singing Mulan's "A Girl Worth Fighting For" at the top of their lungs, with dramatic vibrato.  I love having them home so they can have these moments.

2.  Disemboweled Gourds, Costumes, and Candy Day is two days away.  I've got the candy but we're still working on costumes, and our gourds are woefully intact.  Tomorrow.  We'll work on it all tomorrow.

3.  Three dentist appointments and four optometrist appointments in four business days means not much school gets done.

4.  Mastermind Toys offers a teacher discount.  They do not include Home Educators on that discount.  And now I know.

5.  It's always good to have extended family around, even if you only get bits and pieces of them.  (My parents are trying to buy a new-to-them car, so they have been car shopping these last few days while staying here.)

6.  I am continually reminded to be in prayer for marriages around the world.  Life works so much better when we stick to God's plan for our lives.

7.  My youngest loves singing "Roarin'...  Roarin'...  Roarin' like a lion" over and over.  I just love that he's actually enjoying singing anything.

8. My youngest is on page 126 of a 497 page book.  Most of the time, it's nearly impossible to get him to read.  But, in the last week, he has read 1/4 of Eragon, by Christopher Paolini.  I thank my nephew for introducing our family to this book, and another nephew for letting us borrow the movie.  It's exciting to see my seven (nearly eight) year old enjoying such a book.

9.  The history and science books will not read themselves.  So, I'm off to read with the kids.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Darth Pharaoh

I taught Sunday School this morning.  We're doing a series of lessons on Moses and the Israelites.  This week was all about the escape from Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea.  I found a craft to go with the story...  It was simple, but a great visual to help the kids remember the story.  The plan was that I would read through the story, we would make our craft, and then I would read through the story again as the kids manipulated Lego characters over the parted waters of the Red Sea.
Except that I remembered that I wanted the Lego figures about two minutes after we left our house.  So I called the cousins from the road and asked if we could borrow theirs.

An hour later I opened the bag that they brought and saw about 30 mini-figures: Yoda, C-3PO, R2-D2, Jar Jar, Han, Leia, Lando, Storm-Troopers, Luke, Darth, Clones, Rebels...  They were all Star Wars figures!

We went through and read the story.  Next we made our craft.  Then I got out our Star Wars heroes and villains and proceeded to retell the story of Pharaoh and Moses and the Israelites and the Red Sea.

The Israelites enter the parted waters as the Egyptians follow closely behind them.

Moses-Yoda leads the Israelites through the parted waters.
Somehow we ended up with Yoda holding up his arms as Luke and a Rebel pilot finished crossing and Darth Vader and his ilk drowned in the papery curves of the Red Sea.  It was very dramatic.

The Egyptian Storm Troopers get crushed under the waves as the Red Sea closes back up

We improvised and it made for a memorable story.  And a good time was had by all.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

More on driving

I sat at a red light this afternoon, looking at the white Toyota in front of me, waiting for its brake lights to go dim.  The alien sticker on the top left of the rear window told me this driver was probably in their 20s or 30s. The skull sticker on the bottom left of the rear window told me that this driver probably didn't care too much about following a pesky thing like the speed limit.

The red light blinked off and the green light turned on.  Anticipating a speedy departure by the car in front of me, I took my foot off the brake and began to inch forward.  The white car hadn't moved.  The driver appeared to be looking just away from center. Eventually, the car in the oncoming left lane decided to go ahead and turn.  The white Toyota eased forward and accelerated...

... to 40 kph in a 50 kph zone.  (That's about 25 mph in a 30 mph, for my American friends.)  We continued at this very legal (but slower than expected) pace until we reached the next traffic light, which was once again red.

The red light blinked off and the green light turned on.  Once again anticipating a speedy departure by the car in front of me, I took my foot off the brake and began to inch forward.  Once again, the white car hadn't moved.

I peered into the front seat of that car to see if I could figure out what was going on.  Was it an older driver? Was there something wrong?  Eventually, the white Toyota moved forward and accelerated to about 42 kph.

I was starting to get frustrated, trying to hold off some road rage.  Whoever was driving this white Toyota, they were clearly not paying attention.

The next light was red.  The driver turned the blinker on to move into the left turn lane.  I eased my way by, turning my head to see who was driving and what they were doing.

The young 20-something in the driver's seat was engrossed in looking at her cell phone.  I would assume she was texting someone but she might have been updating her Facebook status or looking for a good restaurant nearby.

Please, pay attention when you are driving.  I recently read that up to 80% of accidents nowadays are caused by some form of distracted driving.  Please don't risk being the cause of one of them.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


I just handed my youngest his freshly laundered fleece blanket.  I saw him snuggled on the carpet with it over his head.

"Does that feel nice, buddy?"

"It feels like warm pizza!"

To quote my husband (whose similes are suspect), "That's a homeschool simile!"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Apologies and Anatomy

Our white board at the end of lunch today

(I can see that this will one day make me laugh.  I'm hoping that, a few years from now, it will also encourage my children to see how far they've come.)

Last night I read a really good article about bullying.  I lamented to a friend that parents just don't care enough to get involved in their kids' lives to head off bullying.

And then, this afternoon my daughter told me that her brother called her "Poo-Face," as he often does when they're playing at the park (news to me), and told her and the older brother that he hates them.  Great.  My child is a bully.  Apparently you really can't get away from it, even in your own home.  But, the difference is that I care enough about both the bullied child and the bullying child to correct this right away.

This, of course, lead to a lengthy conversation.  The youngest cried guilty tears, certain he was going to be punished.  I did not punish him as he expected, instead telling him that I would rather talk about what he had done, trying to change his behaviour, than punish him and let him do it again.

The consequence of his actions was that he had to write (and then read) sincere letters of apology to his brother and sister.

I guided him in his composition.  I figured it was a great way to reinforce the anatomy lesson from earlier in the day.

I now present an apology from my youngest:

Sister I'm sorry
for calling you a name
and saying I hate you.
The thuruth (sic) is your
face is made of epithelial tissue
and I love you.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Begging for Candy

Well, it's that time of year again...  Candy-begging season.  I haven't entirely broken my children of this habit, and it seems that being away from public school has not deterred them from their interest in dressing in costume and accosting the neighbours, demanding candy.  At least they're reasonable enough to wait until the day that most other kids participate in this same activity to start knocking on doors.

About ten days ago my husband bought a 90 count bag of Halloween candy.  It was gone before the week was done.  The ferocity with which we devoured that candy has me wondering what we'll do to handle the tonnes of candy I anticipate being hauled in on October 31.  To manage the previously purchased Halloween candy, I used it to bribe the kids.  Actually, it was the youngest's idea.

"Mom, maybe we could do like at Family Camp and get a candy every time we say a memory verse!"

I thought the little one was onto something.  "Sure!  That's a great idea!"

So the kids could earn one candy per day by reciting the memory verse.  The elder two children dutifully earned their piece of candy while it lasted.  The youngest, the one whose idea it was to do this, went without candy for three days.  He stubbornly refused to memorize the verse and recite it back, probably to make me miserable. Because he didn't get candy.  And that would make me miserable.  At least you would think so if you were seven.

So I ate his candy.

Anyway, I'm thinking that we'll do that this year.  The kids can earn up to two pieces of candy a day by memorizing and reciting back to me verses from the Bible.  So, I have these so far.  I'd love to hear your favourites so I can add them to the list.

John 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Romans 3:23
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”

Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Hebrews 13:8
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

2 Corinthians 4:18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Proverbs 3:5,6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Psalm 19:14
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.

Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:11
I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Friday, October 4, 2013


I'm reading Daniel 10 tonight.

Daniel prayed and fasted, waiting for a response from God.  The response came from an angel.  But it came three weeks after Daniel started praying. The delay had nothing to do with Daniel's heart, or his ability to fast, or God's desire to answer.  The reason for the delay was that spiritual warfare prevented the messenger from getting to Daniel.  The prayer had been heard and the answer dispatched immediately.

1) Daniel kept praying, even though there was no answer.  He knew that God was faithful to answer him eventually.

2) Daniel continued his fast until he saw answer to his prayer.

3) The messenger/angel that came to Daniel did not have a lot of support from the other angels, saying specifically that only Michael supported him in his struggle against other spiritual beings.

4) The appearance and voice of the angel caused Daniel to fall into a deep sleep.

5) Daniel did not have the strength to receive the answer from the angel.  He had to be strengthened by the words of the angel before he could receive the answer to prayer from the angel.

6) 21 Days...  The angel wrestled against demonic powers for 21 days in order to deliver the message to Daniel.

I find the whole story fascinating.  I'm sure as I think on it and read it again, I'll find more to chew on.

But in the meantime, I'm just in awe at what happens behind the scenes as we pray for God's power to be unleashed in our lives.

Thursday, October 3, 2013


This morning I had a little pre-orchestra going upstairs.  The Girl is on Day Two of ukulele lessons; the younger Boy is on Day Two of trumpet lessons, and the oldest Boy has been perfecting (and I use that word loosely) his pitch on violin.  It sounded like a zoo in Hawaii in my house today!

I was able to capture a bit of stealth video before they realized the camera was rolling.  (I can't get the video embedded right now, so you'll have to click the link to see it.)  I plan to fully enjoy the fullness of this video, justifying it by saying that they'll enjoy seeing it years down the road.  I think the boys will enjoy seeing that they were obsessed with Star Wars at this age.

The girl was getting frustrated that she couldn't play a certain chord.  She had just learned it and 30 seconds later couldn't play it.  I wouldn't say that tenacity is her strongest character trait.  She came to me and said, "I want to learn the violin instead of the ukulele."

"No.  The violin will be harder.  Don't give up on the ukulele yet."

"Well then I want to learn the trumpet."


"Trombone?  Then I can go *insert slide playing motion by frantic 9-year-old*"

"Uh, no.  Don't give up.  You can get it.  You just have to keep trying.  I still have a hard time with lots chords on the guitar."

Three minutes later she was playing the problem-chord.

It's a music day today.  I have to laugh at the exuberance with which they are making noise ("pre-music.")  In another hour or so we'll head off to meet with other homeschoolers for group learning.

This is my kind of day.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Road Rage

I used to be an angry driver.  I would get mad at people when they did dumb things as they were driving.  I'd exclaim, as someone pulled in front of me unexpectedly, "Oh my goodness!  Would you use your brain when you're driving?" or some such silliness.  

Eventually I realized that they can't hear me.  (Ya...  That took a little longer than it should have.)  And all my yelling did was make me more upset.  So I've tried to stop that.  Now I just take a deep breath and smile when someone cuts me off.  If I'm especially saintly that day, I'll pray for them to have a good day.

Tonight, I backed out of my Walmart parking spot.  (There are so many things wrong with that statement.  I didn't pull through the spot like I usually do because I didn't want either of the car doors in that tight spot to bang my van. And I was lazy enough to pull in instead of backing in...  I nearly always back in.  It's easier in the long run. And Walmart?  Really, Wanda. Really?  Yes, I tried other stores but they didn't have Sour Skittles, and I needed Sour Skittles.  And WALMART didn't even have them!  But I digress.)

So tonight I backed out of my Walmart parking spot.  As always, I double-checked for traffic before I started, and then I backed up slowly, just in case someone was coming that I couldn't yet see.  I'd moved maybe two feet out when a car came screaming around the corner of that lane in the lot.  The driver leaned into his horn to express his displeasure at my occupying the space into which he was about to careen.  I braked.  He went by.  Another car went by.  The latter car sat behind my van waiting for the first car to turn out of our lane.  Eventually I resumed my departure from the spot.

I briefly felt my blood pressure rise... and then the next track came on in my van's stereo.  And I had to smile and get over it.  Because you can't help but smile when Ecce Gratum from "Carmina Burana" comes on.

And all was right in my world again.