Monday, August 28, 2006

The first of many

Lainee was dressed this morning before breakfast. To say that she was ready for school to start is an understatement. The child never does anything in the morning before eating.

I had to "hold her off" from starting before 9:00.

She seemed to enjoy the things I had prepared for her to do. We did her reading/phonics and I let her do some sight word practice. We took a break, had a snack, and came back for a twenty minute math lesson. We were done with the school day before lunch started.

Somewhere along the way she asked me if she would get to have recess.

Jonathan was not interested in doing school when he got up this morning. So I let him do his thing. He's only three, so I am not forcing anything. Yesterday I told someone that if he didn't want to do schooling I was confident he'd find a way to entertain himself. Then I joked that it would probably be in the toilet.

So, I was a little off.

He joined us later in the day to do some shape-matching, which he seemed to really like.

Bethany was a bear. I don't know exactly what to do with her. But mostly things went well. My expectations for the first few weeks are pretty low as I try to figure out what works for us.

Thanks to all for your interest and concern.

It's 7:30 a.m.

I have been up for an hour.

This is not like me. (Extremely understated.)

But I am ready.

Let the homeschooling BEGIN!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Much Bigger Picture

God works. Even when we don't realize it. God is always working.

Boomama has a post up about how God was working through different people to provide a leader for a church plant in Tupelo. It's made me think about the times when God was doing something way, way beyond me. And about the times I have had the privilege of getting a glimpse of what he is doing. So, to carry on the theme of The Great Ms. Boomama, I thought I'd share a story of my own with you.

I traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan in the summer of 1998 to be part of a 6 week project, sharing the gospel with English-speaking students. It was slow work. The long-term "workers" who were there were low on contacts, and we were doing a lot of the footwork. Our strategy was to go out in groups to one of the many universities around the city, and try to find English-speaking students to talk with. We would try to get to know them in whatever time they were able to chat with us, and we would invite them to a Bible study later that week.

It usually wasn't hard to find people we could talk with, though finding people interested in Bible study was much more difficult. But, on one particular day, we were getting nowhere.

I was on a "campus" with the two other girls from our project, Shari and Alicia. They were both college students, Shari at Ohio State, and Alicia at Indiana U. We'd been to all the places we could think to find people to talk to - the cafeteria, the library, wherever we saw students loitering. For some reason, we weren't even able to start any good conversations.

We went outside, and sat on a concrete wall, trying to decide what to do. Shari and Alicia decided to go try the cafeteria again. I stayed put.

That was where I met two girls that we would end up spending a lot of time with over the next few weeks. Sabina and Leyla sat down right next to me. So, I just started talking to them. And soon enough, we were talking about the Bible. I had mine out on my lap.

While we were talking, a friend of Sabina's and Leyla's approached us. I'll call him "E." He looked at the Bible and asked us what we were talking about. After I explained the gist of our conversation, he said, "you know, I have a lot of questions about that."

But he had to go. He was on his way home to pick up a paper he'd forgotten that was due that day. I didn't think too much of it.

I don't know how much time had passed, but Shari and Alicia had returned, and the five of us were quickly becoming friends. Imagine my surprise when our group of five turned into six. E was back. And he brought his questions with him.


He approached us with a list that he retrieved while he was at home. A list of questions he had about the Bible and some church practices. It was obvious from the list that he had been around some other Christians at some point. So, we asked him.

"Yeah," he said, "I was an exchange student in the US for a year. The family I stayed with was a Christian family."

Naturally, this lead to other questions. Namely, what town he'd lived in.

"Oh, you probably have never heard of it. It's really, really small," he said.

But we insisted.

"Clyo, Indiana."

Alicia smiled right away. "NO WAY!"

"Why?" E asked, "are you from Clyo?"

"No," Alicia answered. "But I go to Indiana University. And it just so happens that I fell in with a group of friends who are all from Clyo."

Then, half way across the world, E and Alicia, who had just happened to meet in a city of six million people, began to name off all their mutual friends. The people that E had met in his high school exchange program were the people that Alicia was hanging out with at IU.

Immediately, there was a bond. It seemed E trusted us. What does that say about the witness of those high school kids from Clyo, Indiana? What does it say about God?

We hooked up E with some of the guys in our group. We all became great friends with him. And the guys showed him Scripture to help him answer his questions.

Before we left, E had made a profession of faith.T he seeds had been planted in E several years earlier. We harvested something that had been ripening for a long time. God put us there for that reason. As far as I knew, that was the end of what God was doing.

But a year later, we learned that E lead his younger brother to the Lord and was leading a campus ministry of over 50 students. See, despite my myopic vision of the work God was doing at the time, he had a far bigger picture in mind.

I don't know how God orchestrates these kinds of things. It blows my mind to think of all the things that had to come together for this to have happened. How E's heart had to be endeared to his friends from Indiana and softened toward the Lord; how that would make him feel comfortable sharing his questions with us; how we were at THAT school talking to HIS friends; how there was one degree of separation between E and Alicia.

And on, and on.

It just reminds me that God's Big Picture is much bigger than I really understand. And it is humbling when I remember that I was a very small piece of that puzzle. I think of all the details God put into place, and I can't help but think that if I had not been where I needed to be at that time, then God would have made it happen without me. Easily.

But when I think of how much joy I get just to have been that tiny little piece in God's huge work, I remeber that I would prefer to be used - even if it is in a very small way.

And I remember that God's Big Picture is much bigger than anything I could possibly imagine.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Better than any Meme

I just went to a movie for the first time in.... well, Paul and I couldn't remember the last time we went to a movie in the theater (other than taking the kids to see Curious George, but that doesn't count. I hope.) Suffice to say that we aren't "movie people." I am fine with that.

But, back when the girls (Theresa, Robin, Addie, and Boomama)* were making plans for the trip to Savannah, someone mentioned that we might go see the movie Lake House. I was totally up for that, but as it turned out, we didn't go see the movie. (And I was fine with that, so don't think I'm upset about it, ladies.)

Anyhoo... that movie has been on my mind since then and last night, when I saw that it was at the second run theater, I mentioned to Paul that I'd like to see it. That's what we saw tonight.


I'm practically giddy, I loved this movie so much. I want to go see it again. Now.

I suppose I could tell you that you must all go see this movie. But I figured that if my taste in books is any indicator, not everyone is going to love this movie as much as I did.

However, if you really want to get to know me, then go see this movie. Then call me up so we can chat about it afterward, cuz that's what I do after movies like that. Seriously, you'll learn more about me by watching that movie than any meme could ever teach you.

(And now that I have seen it, I must say that the chat after the movie would have been great fun with the girls on the Savannah trip. But, Paul and I got some chatting done too. He's nice to me like that.)

* If these links don't work, I am not republishing. Blogger does not like to publish my link properly. Sorry.

Advice, please.

A few things on my mind. In need of advice. Do tell me what you think about any or all of the following:

1. Mopping. Has anyone used a mop that they think is FABULOUS (or awful, for that matter)? I am in the market for a new one, and I'd like to get one that actually cleans well this time. The last three I've bought have been disappointing. If you have one you really like, where did you get it?

2. What product do you use to clean the floors? The stuff I have been using has been leaving a film.

3. Has anyone out there forsaken paper towels and/or napkins? In an effort to cut back on waste, I am seriously considering this. My only question is how to handle messy kids after a meal. Do you just take them all to the sink every time you need to clean them up, or is there some easier method?

4. Can anyone tell me why my new favorite browser (Firefox) does not open an updated page whenever I check on a bookmarked site. (ie, I have to "refresh" to get the new stuff.) Do you know how to fix this?

Thank you for all of your time and assistance. I look forward to reading your comments, as always.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

E-mail alert

I was scanning through the e-mail that has been deposited in my Bulk folder. Where do these come from? Do people really know someone named Silas Shoe or Odysseus Lanterman? Are these names supposed to look like someone I know, or is someone out there just laughing hysterically with the rest of his 8th grade buddies as they launch these things into cyberspace?

Of course the subjects aren't much better. What about "aggressively bristle," would make me want to open this e-mail?

I didn't waste my time with the trio of messages entitled "Re: new si," "Re: new do," and "Re: new ha." C'mon! I haven't e-mailed anyone in at LEAST six months about my si, my do, or my ha, so this doesn't fool me for one second.

And Cyril Contreras sent me a message about "two-tone gassy." (?????)


But it is important to check the Bulk folder every so often, just to make sure that a legitimate message didn't somehow slip through the cracks. And I am so glad that I did. Otherwise I wouldn't have received that e-mail from Margaret Wilkinson about bomb disposal.

Phew! That was a close one!


Monday, August 21, 2006

A Disappointing Meme

First Bev tags me for cleaning tips, now Brenda has tagged me for this meme. I think she is going to be very disappointed with my answer. But I will do it because I like me some Brenda. Here it is:

If you could write a novel about any subject, what would it be?
(Just the subject. Don't give away your plot idea!)

Plot idea?

Let me just explain this to you: If I tried to write a novel, I wouldn't get two pages done before I ran out of ideas. I just don't like making up stories. (That's why playing Barbies never interested me as a kid.) Real life has almost always been more interesting to me.

If I wrote a book, it would be nonfiction. I could see me writing a Bible study. Or a collection of humorous stories from my experiences as a mother. Or maybe even a text book or collection of research essays. But a novel? Never. Gonna. Happen.

Check out the reading list in my sidebar. Nary a novel to be found...


Saturday, August 19, 2006

Big Time

I bought a pocket chart.

I own sentence strips.

And a classroom calendar is mounted in our kitchen.

Big time, people. BIG time.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Hello, My Peeps... for now

Just wanted to stop in and say that I've been kinda busy lately. WAAAAAAAAy behind in the blog reading... I might just have to "mark all read," if you all know what I mean. And as for the writing. Have mercy. (Boomama, you are rubbing off on me. I simply do not say things such as "have mercy!")

But I digress...

The thing is, homeschooling officially starts for Ms. Boo on August 28. And Mr. Bug wants in on the action too, so I need to throw him into the plans. But, (unless I want to sit down on our first day together, stare blankly at my daughter, and start my lesson with "so, what should we do today?") I will need to get on to some serious planning. I have been working on things (most notably, and most beneficially, downloading a new web browser) but I am still not ready.

All this to say: Blogging is getting a back seat.

But I still have church discipline on my mind... so I don't figure I could be gone for too long. So, STUDY UP (Brenda) cuz...

I'll be back.....

Oh. My. WORD!

Y'all, I have been trying to get some things together for Ms. Boo's schooling that has required I go searching for clip art.

I almost threw my computer out the window when Internet Explorer closed itself for the 573rd time.

It even closed while I was in the middle of downloading Firefox.

I was undaunted. Firefox I wanted.

And Firefox I got.

Um, HELLO! What in the world have I been doing using Explorer all this time?

And now I am off to delete all shortcuts and uninstall all programs Explorer related.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Did it

Well, this morning at church I saw "her." She's been on my mind for a while, for reasons I have mentioned here before. I walked across the sanctuary and sat down next to her. She looked surprised (we've been in Bible study together a time or two, but have never had much of a relationship beyond that) but she greeted me with a warm hug.

So. I asked her. "Have you ever discipled someone one-on-one?"

She shook her head in the affirmative, saying, "I've done that a few times."

I don't know why that surprised me. But it did. Yet it encouraged me tremendously.

So. I asked her. "I was wondering if you would be willing to disciple me."

She looked really surprised. I thought my first question made the second pretty obvious. Maybe not.

"I'll pray about it," she said. Which is exactly what I expected her to say.

"I'm flattered," she said. Which is exactly NOT what I expected her to say.

She doesn't know that I would be terribly flattered myself to have her as a mentor. And blessed, to be sure.

And now, I just feel nervous. Because what if God tells her "no." That would be what's best for me, if that was the case. But I really want him to say "yes." If He does, I am pretty sure she'll comply.

Hey, God. Please say, "yes."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Not to Muddy the Waters, but...

Boomama has got a post up that has people talking.... 100 comments and counting... about the sovereignty of God. The topic has been floating around in my noggin for a while and, while I think I am comfortable with my views on the topic, I am not so sure I could adequately explain my beliefs to someone else. (Maybe no one can. It is a weighty topic. But I think it is worth a try nonetheless.)

So, I am anxiously awaiting Leslie's posts in response to this. Her fist one is here. She always gets me thinking. Me gusta Leslie.

And you may want to go read at least Boomama's post before continuing....

But all this has me thinking (again) about something that happened several months ago. I was in the pediatrician's office with Bao for her well-child check-up. After the exam, the doctor was "chatting" with her. After making some kind of comment about how her parents were taking good care of her, he said something like this:

"You sure are a lucky girl. Someone must have had a great plan for you."

The "someone" was supposed to be God. I'm pretty sure of that.

Not desiring to engage in a lengthy theological debate with the pediatrician, I just let it go. Well, I let HIM go. But anyone who knows me for, like, 7.8 seconds, knows that I most certainly did NOT let "it" go.

The comment didn't sit right with me: the implication that it was God's plan all along for Bao to be surrendered by her birth parents and to grow up with us. I just don't believe that. Why would God make families in the first place if we weren't meant to be raised in them? But, for whatever reason, God allowed Bao's birthparents to relinquish her, and for her to be brought into our family.

I DO think she is the child that He wanted here, otherwise she would not be. But did He originally plan for us to raise her? I think no.

And herein lies the problem. I cannot, off the top of my head, quote Scripture to back up my beliefs. (So perhaps I should not believe this way at all...) But it is something that I have on my "list" to study. (It takes me a long time to flesh out things like this, but I wanted to speak now while everyone else was. I am hoping the conversation will lead me toward a more biblical understanding of God's will.)

So, if you feel like weighing in, I'd love it. Agree or disagree, just be civil. And if you could point me to actual scripture, I would sure love that.

And, just an FYI, I know the concept of permissive will. But I don't know, scripturally, where that comes from.

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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Lighten up

Thanks for the comments on the previous post. I am still formulating my thoughts about this one. But I must say that some of you have come at it from an angle that I had not yet thought about. So thanks.

Next topic: church discipline.....

In the mean time, I would like to point you to a fun little place where you can determine the value of your blog. Seriously. You can find it here. I put a few URLs in there the other night just for fun.

Should I be concerned that Addie's blog is worth more than my house?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Mixed Thoughts

Well, I thought I might throw this one out for you all to gnaw on. A friend of mine once said this to me, though I don't know if she "got" it from someone else. I have mixed thoughts about it.

Here it be:

The will of God is not as much about what you are doing as it is about who you are becoming.

Wondering what you think.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy Day, Everybody.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Oh, Yes I DID: Part II

I got a lot of comments during the tour of homes about my PEZ dispensers. I get a lot of that when people come to my home in real life too. It is kind of, well, odd. But anybody who knows me knows that I have this goofy PEZ collection. (And some of the people who know me have even been involved in an elaborate plot to free said dispensers when they were kidnapped and held for ransom... but that is another story for another time.)

But, the people who know me in real life almost all know one other little PEZzy detail that you in blogdom don't. So, in light of all the comments the dispensers garnered last week, and the fact that Paul and I just celebrated our seventh anniversary, I thought I'd let you all in on that last little detail.

The cake topper from our wedding cake:

Oh, yes I did.

And the only thing that would have made it more cheesy would be if I had adorned it with teeny-tiny flashing lights.

Oh, wait, I DID THAT TOO!

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I'm a regular defensive lineman

Okay, I know I said I'd be gone for a while, but I lied. I am taking this "Tackle it Tuesday" thing to heart. Or maybe I just felt motivated this morning. As I sit to write this it is 9:23 a.m. So far today, this is what I have accomplished:

~the dark laundry is in the dryer
~the white laundry is in the washer
~the living room floor is clean and vacuumed
~cleaned the windows on the front doors
~wiped down the smudges around all the doors in the living room and hallway
~wiped down the dusty baseboards
~emptied the dishwasher and loaded with the breakfast dishes
~cleaned off the stove top
~vacuumed the cobwebs from the living room
~vacuum dusted the ceiling fan in the living room
~vacuum dusted the air intake vent for the AC
~vacuumed the candle wax that Jonathan scraped off my three-wick candle
~vacuumed under the cushions on the big couch (Jonathan wanted to do the loveseat, but I think he got sidetracked...)

And I'd like to add that my kids are dressed.

I'm not. But at least they are.

And, here is the "after" picture of my entertainment center that I was trying to post last night.

(Really, isn't that HUGE space for our tiny TV just goofy? What were we thinking?)

Alright, NOW, I am going.

Later, PEEPS!