Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Home alone

The girls went to their regional fashion show today. But it's not just a show. They also have classes on different topics, do a craft, and work on a community service project. Today they sewed bags with pockets to attach to wheelchairs or walkers so people that use those things can carry around their supplies.

I dropped the girls off at noon and then Fred and I did some errands. Then he went to work. I had a total of three and a half hours HOME ALONE! That just never happens for me. I am usually never apart from my girls, and even if I was, Fred would be home. I was kind of excited about this unexpected time.

So what did I do? First of all, I ate a bowl of ice cream and picked up the book I've been trying to find time to read. Pearl of China by Anchee Min. That was a very nice treat! Then I took advantage of the quiet to read the book of Titus and spend time in prayer. Convicting verses in that passage of scripture.

To catch up on housework, I decided I would try to do at least one project per day this summer. Homeschooling moms just never seem to find time for house cleaning. It's not just me with a messy house at the end of June. So I cleaned my room--dusting, mopping, getting rid of clutter. Then I scrubbed the tub in one of our bathrooms. Next, I made dinner for Fred to eat when he gets home. I folded laundry. The UPS guy delivered hay I had ordered for the guinea pigs. And then my time was up. It was a long drive to the fashion show, and I wanted to get there early for a good seat. It was a novelty to have time alone at home, but I missed my girls! Life would be so boring without them.

It was an exciting night. Girls from nine counties modeled their outfits. What amazing clothing they had created! It is unbelievable that children so young can sew so well. And the high school girls? Even more spectacular. They made prom gowns, coats, suits, and office attire like silk blouses and wool pencil skirts. Truly awesome outfits. My girls in their little cotton dresses didn't stand a chance.

First the winners of the juniors were called. Juniors are ages 8 to 12. It is Arielle's last year as a junior. Her name was announced! Immediately after, Liana's name was called! We were shocked. This is Arielle's fourth year at regionals and she never won before. Liana did not win last year either. I took home two happy girls. They are already dreaming of next year's outfits.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Here comes summer

Summer is here! It comes when the schedule clears and we enjoy time at home. Summer comes when the Rose of Sharon bloom. I can see these beautiful flowers from my kitchen window. Early this morning I ran across the lawn in my pjs to snap pictures as the sun rose and the blossoms opened to the light. Later in the morning after the girls dressed for church, I got another picture of with their beautiful shining faces.

Summer is here when we bring in the first cucumbers. We made our first batch of Sweet and Sour Cucumbers, my mother's recipe, and we ate them all in a day. Here is the recipe if you would like to try them. Just mix all this together:

3 cucumbers, sliced thin
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. oregano

Summer is here when we get to read. Now that most events are over, the girls and I are going to try to have daily reading time. D-E-A-R. Drop everything and read! Dropping my compulsion to complete tasks is the hardest. But we did it--all three of us in the living room, silently reading as we snuggled on the couch. It was heavenly! We're also going to do some read-alouds together. I bought a book at the homeschool conference just for this purpose. It is the true story of Olive Oatman who was captured on the Santa Fe Trail by Yavapai Indians in 1850. But Arielle discovered the book and she is almost finished with it, so I guess I will just read it to Liana. I love when we all read one together though.

Summer is here when Lana spends the night! She had a great time playing with Liana and vice versa. Those two are lost in their imaginary world for hours at a time. At 10pm last night I had to gently tell them the toys would have to wait until morning because they had to get to bed. But their eyes weren't opened for 30 seconds the next day before they were back playing. Neither one said to the other, "Let's get up and play." They must just think alike because they both awoke and ran to the kitchen without a word. Jon is worried Lana plays with toys too much. I told him they are little girls for such a very short time. Let them play!

Summer is here when we have A DAY WITH NOTHING PLANNED! Hurray! That's tomorrow. I can't wait.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Camp and the Guinea Pigs

Posts by Arielle

We just finished a whole week of Camp Little Bear at our church. It was a fun time to be with the kids, but I am soooooooo tired!!! I was working with the young three year olds. Liana and my mom were working with the snack block. They served snacks to the campers and counselors. My little niece is going to sleepover tonight so she can go to church with me. I am going to help out with the little kid classes, so it works out perfectly. Usually I go to my own classroom for my grade, but tomorrow I will be helping.

All four guinea pigs are fine. The boys are getting bigger and bigger. We are still waiting for a bigger cage to come in for them. When Liana and I were at camp we pretended that the guinea pigs went to Camp Baby Pigs ( like Camp Little Bear). LOL. =) I will put some pictures and a video of them on the blog later.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Moving on

It bothered me that I haven't written in awhile when the last thing I wrote was titled "a defeated life." How depressing just to look at it. No, we are not defeated. We are moving on to other things.

School finally ended, the portfolio was completed and taken to the evaluator, books were labeled and packed for the used book sale at the homeschool conference, the girls finished their dresses for the 4-H Fashion Revue, Fred's medical problem is resolved for now, and CENSUS WORK ENDED! Thank you, Lord! I'm not complaining. God gave me the job just when we needed it and it got us through a tight spot. But the job was not fun and I am glad to see it end. Although it probably isn't really over. I was approved to go on to "Phase Two," whatever that is. I just hope there is no more door-to-door. Oh, the stories I could tell. But can't. The census is confidential!

This week we are going to church each morning for the preschool camp. Arielle is a junior counselor and Liana and I are working to serve all the kids snacks. We are mainly going for Arielle because she just loves working with the little children.

On Saturday the girls had the county fashion show. They modeled the dresses they have been working on for the past five months and won ribbons and qualified to go on to the regional show. Yes, the girls were excited about winning at the moment, but both of them were quiet and subdued on the way home as they thought about the girls who did not win. None of us liked seeing the sad faces on those girls. Arielle said she would be willing to give up her spot in the regional show so one of the runners-up can take her place. I don't know that her 4-H teacher would want her to do that though. We'll see what happens. Both the girls did a great job and worked very hard so I wanted to post their picture.

When is summer actually going to start? Those lazy, hazy days of summer...I don't want to miss it. I think I'm missing it already. It's almost the end of June!

Friday, June 11, 2010

A defeated life

I realized that all week I have been living in defeat. Fred has me very stressed out with all that is going on with him. I've been waiting for the next catastrophe. What else will happen to him? Besides the broken leg incident last October and the dental thing now, I didn't even write about his torn rib cartilage and our middle of the night escapade with that. We're all on edge. But is this the way to live?

Consider the plans of the evil one. If he can't get us to lose our faith, he will discourage us so we live in defeat--frustrated, joyless, tired, trudging through our day. Falling into bed at night, another day gone. Another day gone? We have limited days! We can't waste even one! And what are we teaching our kids? Scripture says, "Let no man steal your joy." In our case, we should let no circumstance steal our joy.

I need a reminder that God is in control! This is his battle, and it's a spiritual war. The enemy is without, but the enemy is also within--our negativity and our hopeless attitude. I've been reading a daily devotional from the words of Charles Spurgeon. He says, "The battle is the Lord's and he will deliver his enemies into our hands. With steadfast foot, strong hand, dauntless heart and flaming zeal, rush to the conflict and the hosts of evil shall fly like chaff before the gale."

Today I will look around at all the gifts I've been given. When trouble comes I will call upon the one who has already won the battle. He is the sword and shield of his people.

So here is what I did today: Fred called me on his way home from the hospital, concerned about the two rows of lima beans that never germinated. He said he planned to replant them when he got home. He can't do that! What is that crazy man thinking? But I know how he is when he gets an idea in his head. So the girls and I put on our gardening clothes and got out the hand tools. I don't know how to use the rototiller. I took an old-fashioned hoe--great tool--and set to work on that end of the garden. The sun was hot and the ground dry and hard. I beat it until my muscles ached. Bugs tormented me. But I conquered. I raked the plot smooth and planted new beans. I pulled the radishes and picked the spinach and arugula. Tasty gifts. I sat in the dirt and weeded the onions. I hilled up the potatoes. Life is back in order.

I read this today: "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." Psalm 127: 1, 2.

Rest and sleep, beloved.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What could have been...

Do you ever stop and think about things that could have happened but didn't? You have a near-miss with another car on the road. A child takes a bad fall but doesn't get hurt. Someone has an illness that could have been fatal but wasn't. How many times God intervenes to spare us and give us more life! We have no idea how many close calls we've had in the course of a lifetime.

This morning was one of those times. In a most bizarre accident, Fred ended up once again in the emergency room. It was scary-- but it could have been much, much worse.

At 6 in the morning Fred was getting ready for one of his jobs and had a sneezing fit. He has allergies this time of year. As he inhaled sharply to sneeze, his dental appliance was forced into his throat. I awoke to him shouting, "I HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL RIGHT NOW!"

Yes, he was speaking. A good sign that his airway was not blocked. Of course, I didn't know what had happened but I jumped out of bed and into my clothes. Then he said he swallowed his "tooth." This tooth is attached to a plastic, sharp-edged plate about the size of a half dollar. Even if the plate wasn't in his trachea, it could not be good to have it in his esophagus. The girls woke up and we all headed to the hospital.

Thankfully, X-rays determined the plate was not anywhere in his throat or chest. So it had to be in his stomach. "It will pass," the doctor said. On the way home we kept thinking of what could have happened. If he had inhaled it, instead of swallowing it, he would have choked to death. That plastic would have sealed off his airway and prevented any breathing. God is merciful. We are grateful.