Saturday, May 31, 2014

Another Milestone

My little girl is driving!  I can hardly believe it!  She passed her permit test--no questions wrong--and I took her out driving the same day.  It's a little scary.  But Arielle is a cautious person and I know she will be a good driver once she has some experience.  Since she plans on doing dual enrollment at our community college senior year, this is the first step in that direction.  Independence, freedom, growing up.


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Always a Princess

 My daughters were everything a mother of four boys could hope for--they were girly, they liked to dress-up, they liked nail polish and hair bows, and they liked dancing!  Oh, how we enjoyed them when they were little!  The singing and spinning and tutus and princess gowns.  That's why Steven Curtis Chapman's song "Cinderella" always made me smile.  (And cry.)  Listen here if you don't know it.


The first part of his song:  
She spins and she sways to whatever song plays
Without a care in the world
And I'm sitting here wearing
The weight of the world on my shoulders
It's been a long day and there's still work to do
She's pulling at me saying, "Dad, I need you
There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited
And I need to practice my dancing, oh please, daddy, please..."
So I will dance with Cinderella while she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella, I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight and she'll be gone...

We had plenty of Daddy-Daughter dances at our house, and plenty with Mom too.  And ballet recitals?  Oh, what fun we all had.  But now we come to the second part of the song:
She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of the dress
She says, "Dad the prom is just one week away
And I need to practice my dancing, oh please, daddy, please..."

My little princess is transformed into a beautiful young woman and she's off with her nice guy and it's sad but it's wonderful.  What a day it was!  Since the prom was near Steven's house, Fred and I drove her there.  We'll never forget that ride.  A sudden storm blew in and we were in the hardest rain I've ever seen in our area.  The roads flooded and then the hail come--pounding hard and fast.  Arielle calmly put on her make-up in the car while Fred and I worried our windshield would be shattered.  Once we got to Steven's house, the sun was bright and warm and we were able to get our treasured pictures.  Then we said good-bye to our princess daughter as Cinderella went off to the ball, stars in her eyes.

Arielle is planning her future.  She'll be a junior this fall and we are forced to think about the next step in life.  She already has one foot out the door and so much wants to be independent.  

But she came home today with a ring on her hand
Just glowing and telling us all they had planned
She says, "Dad, the wedding's still six months away
And I need to practice my dancing, oh please, daddy, please..."

Okay, that part is long way off but time flies and that time will come.  
So I will dance with Cinderella while she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh, I will dance with Cinderella, I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight and she'll be gone
She will be gone...
I don't want to miss anything.  Our joyous, precious daughter will soon be dancing out of our lives to make her own way.  What a privilege it's been to raise our daughters!  We have been so blessed.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Good Quote


"When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught how to fly."
(Patrick Overton)

"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.."  Psalm 18:2 

"Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint."  Isaiah 40:31

But the quote is lacking a great promise from Jesus: "I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."  John 8:12

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Perfect Day

The dogwoods are blooming in Valley Forge.  It's a glorious spring day.  High clouds float by in a deep blue sky.  Bird song mingles with the chatter of Liana and her friend as their voices are carried on a soft breeze.  The girls are doing a photo shoot, as always, practicing their skills at different events and different locations.  They even dressed up for the occasion anticipating pictures they will post here and there.  Earlier at our house Arielle and Steven studied algebra out on the deck, heads bent low over their work.  Liana and Carina sat side by side on the piano bench, playing songs and singing together.  Fred fired up his chain saw to cut firewood for next winter, and when I look out the window, I see he is smiling.  It's that kind of day. All is well in my world right now.  Peace.  The stress is washed away by these good kids in our home and my dear husband, always working so hard.  

The Christmas hymn comes to mind, "All is well, all is well..." and then I hear "Our God reigns!"  All is well because he reigns even when we don't feel the peace.  But today--ah!  I do feel it.  It's quite a precious gift.  This whole day is a gift.  After the relentless storms of winter burying us in snow and ice and the endless bitter cold, but, now!  God makes all things new.  His trees survived and so did we.  The dogwoods revel in their pink and white blooms and we rejoice with renewed hope.  We know winter will come again, but today we dance.

People across the park are finding benches or patches of grass, and they just sit quietly in awe of the beauty around us.  Tomorrow we will rush around and fume and complain.  Today we let it all go, resting among the fluffy, fairyland trees with warm sunshine on our faces.

The sun is dipping lower and I don't want this day to end.  Can we stop it right here?  Hold this moment?  Many minutes and photos later, the girls are laughing.  Arielle and Steven have joined them after hiking halfway around the park.  They are all still full of boundless energy.  They climb in those gorgeous trees and take more pictures.  Arielle has a pink bloom in her hair.  Her heart is full.  

These winding paths and majestic trees hold abundant memories for me.  I remember so much of the hours spent here through the years.  I don't believe there was ever an angry word spoken here and never did darkness lurk in my heart.  In this place, only joy, only peace, only light.  My little boys, my little girls.  Now my big girls are here making new memories to capture and keep.  Liana will record them with her photos, I with my words--all inadequate to express enough gratitude to God for the joy we have today.


Friday, May 02, 2014

Good-bye for the Summer

Last week of co-op.  So sad.  I have six seniors graduating, so I will probably never see them again.  This has been a rich, full year.  My students have blessed me in so many ways.  They are cheerful and fun and we have laughed hard and often.  What characters they are!  What unique and special gifts each one has.  They are serious and inquisitive, and I hope I have taught them well.  I've seen these kids mature and grow through the year, and hopefully, our little school will be bursting with new and returning students this fall.  Since last September our lives have revolved around the co-op.  We survived a brutal winter and and welcomed spring like never before.  Liana made a new good friend, and I met some great families.  A boy liked Arielle (and she liked him back).  We have all grown and changed this year. 

Our year in review:  Freshman biology.  I lugged microscopes and dead animals and various jars of this and that to class most every week.  We hunted fungi in the forest and did a little geocaching on the side.  We grew bacteria.  One boy swabbed his foot, and as we looked at his culture under the microscope we realized it wasn't bacteria, but another fungus!  That was a running joke the rest of the year.  We dissected frogs and fish, flowers and crayfish.  We extracted DNA from peas and made pH indicator from red cabbage to demonstrate why leaves are different colors.  We collect protists and watched them swim on our slides.  The kids made posters and gave reports--our favorite from a reserved boy telling us about the courtship rituals of snails.  As the rest of the class roared with laughter, he was surprised to find he was such a comic.

Anatomy and Physiology.  We also did a lot of microscope work--tissue slides of lung and stomach and nerves and muscles and liver.  The students memorized vast amounts of information and I can only hope some will remain in their brains.  Two seniors were preparing for future work in the medical field.  We did a lot of coloring--if you have never seen a college-level coloring book, you would be surprised.  The pictures are very complex, but the book is a very good way to learn and remember.  We dissected sheep hearts, cows' eyes, and fetal pigs.  Everyone got over their squeamishness.  One guy was absent during the heart dissection, so I gave the heart to him the next week to take home.  He forgot it.  It ended up in the lost and found for weeks. I think it might still be there.  The kids also were brave enough to stick themselves with lancets, collect their own blood and determine their blood types.  I think that might have been the favorite lab.

My girls also participated in the county science fair.  Arielle's project was on autoimmunity and Liana's was photography.  They spent many hours preparing their reports and display boards and learned a lot in the process.   We had sewing classes and made huge messes. The kids planned baking days and shared their goodies with the whole school.  They all spent a lot of time outdoors, singing and playing music with their guitars.  So much to look back on.

Every Tuesday the day ended with dance class.  The kids learned polkas, square dances, waltzes, swing dances, and line dances.  Boys would be given cards with girls' names on them, so partners were random.  There was some trading around if a someone really, really wanted to dance with a certain girl.

I always have trouble with transitions.  School will come to a sudden end tonight after the big talent show.  Then I'll be lost.  But it is time to focus on Fred and his new office and finish up teaching my own girls at home.  (Will geometry ever end?)  Arielle has a prom this month to look forward to and we have a family overnight trip to Lancaster.  Then a wedding in July!   Summer will fly by.  Then we'll be right back into our crazy routine.