Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekly Recap 7/19-7/30

It's been a crazy week here.  The majority of the time my weekly recap is all about the children and school.  This week I'm going to go totally off track and make the weekly recap all about me.  Life since our summer vacation has progressed in a way that is anything but normal.  I played single parent for a month.  He came home.  We enjoyed a weekend as a family before the next event.
On Tuesday of last week (7/20), I flew to Minneapolis to visit with my sister and enjoy Tastefully Simple's National Conference.  Both activities were well worth while.  I loved connecting with my sister, exploring Minneapolis and learning more about the amazing company that is Tastefully Simple. 

Last week I shared that I was going to hear a presentation given by Sarah Ban Breathnach.  I did hear that speech and I must admit that some of my concerns were unfounded.  Ms. Breathnach presented herself from a Christian perspective.  She even used the word "God"much more often than was comfortable for some.  Despite her out-of-date publicity photo, I found her presentation to be straightforward and faith oriented.  Not in an existential, disconnected way but in a way that I could grasp and share.  While her book has been severely edited to be universally appealing, S.B. Breathnach, in person, seems to share my beliefs and find it part of her mission to glorify God.  I am still reading her book with an awareness toward using what works and discarding the rest.

At the Tastefully Simply conference, I found two inspiring messages.  My best days are ahead of me and dream big.  Danny Gokey and Lana Boner were inspiring.  As role models, I think I've found two worth imitating and heard a call to action.  To follow your passion, believe in yourself and know who you are, that is worth emulating.  I love both the messages but I'm not sure that Tastefully Simple is the place where I will accomplish either mission.  As much as I love the company and the sense of belonging to something bigger, I'm not sure that is my place.  Sometimes, I think that inspiration and intention have no relationship at all.  Whatever happens from here, I know that I've been part of some companies, moments, experiences that have been enriching and worthwhile.  I have been blessed.

You never know where you will find inspiration or fulfillment.  The key is paying attention to everything.  Live in the present so when you find what matters you recognize and appreciate it.  I've been fulfilled by my years with Tastefully Simple.  I run a $250,000+ business.  That's impressive.  What I do makes a difference to many people.  Sure, it's sales and it's beer bread and it's meaningful.  I am a sales professional.

Upon returning home, I spent time with and helped my two oldest children pack for a visit with their grandparents.   The flight was, reportedly, uneventful and the girls are having a wonderful time. Turning loose was hard but I pray the relationships that are built and strengthened during this time make the separation worth while.  The rest of the family has been home trying to figure out what it means to be a family of four. It's a strange situation.   

During the Tastefully Simple conference I made commitment to turn loose of things that weren't enriching my life.  I'll be more mindful in the future of saying yes before I am willing to commit.  It was a hard lesson but telling people "no" this week gave me a sense of release and freedom.  It's good to cut myself loose of things that were causing stress and providing no joy.

I've grown as a person this week.  I am more focused and can't wait to see what's next.  That's a good feeling.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Source of Joy

I have the opportunity this week to hear Sarah Ban Breathnach speak.  I bought her book Simple Abundance a few months ago but I must admit that I really haven't done anything with it beyond opening and scanning.  I also admit that I'm a sceptic. 

I like the idea of being more joyful but I have a difficult time with finding my joy within.  I suppose that it has to do with my religious upbringing.  One of the first verses I memorized in church was, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10.  If that is the truth (and I believe it is) then how can I be the source of joy.  It's a sticky wicket for me.  It's also a conundrum that some would say is merely semantics.  I disagree.  I believe it gets to the heart of the separation of God and self.

In my experience, these kind of authors/speakers tend to blur the line between God and self and they do it in a way that is so benign and logical that it may not be noticed until after the damage is done.  Their message is about finding self, creating joy and sharing the best with others.  How can one argue with such a lovely message?

I've got my copy of Simple Abundance packed in my bag.  I'm going to try to take a closer look at it before I hear S.B. Breathnach give her speech.  I'm intending to listen with an open mind but I don't intend to turn off my brain while I listen.  There is a difference between listening with an open mind and listening with no mind at all.  I am hoping that I find something of value in my weekend and in the words of S.B. Breathnach. 

The most lovely part of my trip will be spending time with my beautiful sister and her husband.  This will be the first time I've gotten to spend a period of time with her, in her home, without my husband or children to distract me.  I am so excited about the opportunity to get to know her better.  No matter what happens during my conference or during the keynote speaker's address I will have joy in the presence of my sister because she is a gift from God to me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Continuing Conversations

Part of my self-education this summer has been a summer bible study entitled, 5 Conversations You Must Have With Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney.  This is the last week of the bible study and I'm glad that I participated.  I think the study made me consider more deeply some of the assumptions I've brought to parenting and whether those were godly assumptions or worldly.  I'm still struggling with that question. 

I also found it helpful to have the author's perspective of the five most important topics we need to address with our daughters.  They are: You are more than the sum of your parts.  Don't be in such a hurry to grow up.  Sex is great and worth the wait.  It's o.k. to dream about marriage and motherhood.  Girls gone wild are a dime a dozen - Dare to be virtuous.  I'm not sure I would have chosen the same topics, the same order or the same emphasis but I've found the study to be worthwhile in that it has gotten me to think about what I emphasize for my children daily and how I can be certain that all my sound bites stay on point.

One of the issues that has cropped up several times in the last few days is making godly choices.  My middle daughter has decided to write a book.  She wanted the book to be about a witch that falls in love with a mortal.  This raised all sorts of difficulties for me.  I don't want her spending her creative talents in a world that I believe to be ungodly, creating a heroine that is ungodly.  My feeling about her choice leads to the discussion of why she can't write about witches but she can read about them.  Well, really I'm not thrilled about that either.  I have allowed it though.  Do I back down concerning writing about witches or do I take a firmer stand about all things witch related?  When is a witch bad and what do I do about the good ones?

Also, on the issue of clothing.  I want my children to make choices based on modest as well as comfort.  My daughters are beautiful girls.  I don't think they need to hide their God given beauty but I also want them to pick clothes that allow them to be attractive, mostly covered and look their age.  That's sometimes a difficult feat to achieve in the retail world of tighter and skimpier.  Thankfully, jeans seem to be moving back toward the natural waist and shirts are getting longer than they were a few years ago.  Unfortunately, everything is getting skinnier or tighter.

I know that I'm called as a Christian and as a parent to "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:16) God desires that I live such good lives among  the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:12).  I doubt anyone looking at my life or the lives of my children at this time would accuse us of doing wrong or of glorifying God.  We've fit into the world too neatly and adopted it too completely.  It's a comfortable fit and I'm not sure where to even begin to change it.  I do stand convicted that change is essential.  I suspect change begins with prayer.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our twenty-first anniversary.  It's been a different sort of anniversary.  I'll probably always remember this one.  The others kind of blend together.  We don't do gifts or make a really big deal out of it.  We quietly mark it and the world goes on. 

This year we've celebrated it on two different continents.  He's in Australia and I'm here at home.  That makes any kind of unified celebration a bit tricky.  Our days and nights are out of whack.  It's was our anniversary much earlier for him that for me.  Halfway through the day yesterday he was wishing me happy anniversary.  Now, it's tomorrow for him.  Our anniversary is over in Australia but it's only half way through here. Was it a really long anniversary or a half anniversary? 

Either way it marks the end of another year and the beginning of another year.  Twenty one years, four children, two dogs, one guinea pig, an untold number of gold fish, eleven addresses, six states, one argument repeated in various versions over and over, an endless supply of patience and understanding, so much grace and, of course, love.

I think that sums up the important stuff.  I married the man of my dreams twenty-one years ago.  I married my best friend.  I married the only person I could imagine wanting to be around day in and day out.  I married the love of my life.  We've both grown and changed so much over the past twenty-one years.  Physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually.  We, literally and figuratively, are not the same people we were when we got married. 

But you know what?  Thinking about seeing him at the airport tomorrow makes my heart flutter and my palms get sweaty.  I'm actually second date, excited, nervous about it.  And if he asked me to marry him.  I'd say yes, in a heartbeat.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Here's to You - 21 Years - I Love You - Cheers!

2010-2011 Curriculum and Planning Complete

I am thrilled to announce that, for the most part, I have finished planning our 2010-2011 school year.  Of course, planning has little to do with what actually happens.  I know that all my best plans may go horribly astray when we actually get started with school.  For now, I'll just enjoy my perfectly planned year and delude myself with the notion that all will go according to plan.

We will all be participating in our Community Bible Study program this year.  The topic is The Acts.  It's nice that the bible study will go along with our history to some degree.  That worked so well for us last year.  The children also plan to participate in the homeschool choir and drama group.  Everyone enjoyed that last year and this year we are going to try to do a production of The Sound of Music.

K13 is taking three classes at the local high school this year:  Algebra, French I and Band.   At home she'll be taking English 9, Medieval Literature, Medieval History, Physical Science and Latin.

H11, S8 and M5 will be taking all their classes at home with the exception of private music lessons.  We are following The Well Trained Mind recommendations.  The style and goals are really in line with what we want for our children and our homeschool.  If you want to see the details you can find them listed in the sidebar under Curriculum 2010-2011.

My challenge over the next few weeks will be to find the literature I need for K13 and explore what is available through our local library systems pertaining to the Middle Ages and our physical science topics.  I'm thrilled to have so much done and a month of summer left.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Harder Than Watching a Movie

I've spent the last few days perusing the newest additions to my stack of 2010-2011 home school curriculum.  I've also spent untold hours reading forums, blogs, syllabi and websites that give information about homeschooling high school.  I've got a pretty good idea what I intend to cover with K13 for her ninth grade year.  I am even a tiny bit excited about getting started.

A few minutes ago my dad, who is visiting for a week, came upstairs to see why I wasn't with the rest of the family watching movies.  I explained that I was working on getting K13's high school stuff ready.  He said, "So you have to keep track of all that you do?"  
"No," I replied, "for the state, I only have to show an attendance record for 180 days of instruction if asked.  Now we are in high school so it's not the state I'm concerned with, it's the potential colleges."
"Oh," said Dad, "That sounds harder than watching a movie." 

Significantly harder.  I've watched lots of movies but I've never written a transcript or a syllabus.  Much less three syllabi.  I know all about objectives and rubrics.  I've been searching for examples that resonate with me.  Thankfully, I've found a few.  It's good to have a starting point.  A launching pad.  It's good to know that there are many who have traveled this road before and to benefit from their experience.  It's good to have proof that this can be done.

There's a talk I give my kids that I've been repeating over and over to myself recently.  Just because something is hard doesn't mean it's not worthwhile.  Sometimes hard things are also good things.  It's a good lesson because most people never learn it.  They get to something hard and give up.  Lots of things are hard. That doesn't mean we shouldn't do them.  It just means we'll have to put in more effort or more time, maybe both. It's a lesson I hope to teach my children and maybe, along the way, I'll learn it myself.

Homeschooling is hard. Homeschooling high school promises to be really hard. That doesn't mean it's not good. That just means we have to work harder. I have to work harder now and K13 will have to work harder when we get started next month.  It's going to be a challenge on a variety of levels.  I'm excited about some of those challenges and terrified of others.  The thing that I know to be true is that we can do this.  It may be hard but we can do this.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Weekly Recap 7/5-7/9

Our favorite activities this week:
K13 - spending time with Grandmomma & Grandpap
H11 - spending the night with a friend
S8 - attending camp for three nights (Sunday-Wednesday)
M5 - playing at a friend's house

We have finally had a week that feels like summer vacation.  We spent most of the week at home and, while we have company, the days have been long and lazy. 

I made my first attempt at fresh pasta.  You can check that out here. I'll be trying again and hoping for an easier, more rewarding time.

I've also spent considerable time this week with my Amazon order.  K13s books are here and I'm trying to figure out how to work everything into our school year without making us both lose our minds.  I'm sure I'll be writing more about that later.

For right now, it's summer time and we are enjoying the heat and the pile of books we have from the library.

The Count

There are a lot of unanticipated side effects that come with parenting.  An especially annoying one is never being able to identify the needed child by their name on the first try.  I usually have to say two or, sometimes, three names to get the one I want.  I even throw in the dog's name on occasion and I almost never intend to ask the dog to set the table or practice piano or clean his room. 

Another parenting tick that I never anticipated was the constant counting.  Whenever we are in public I am constantly counting children to be certain everyone is there.  This may be because I know I won't be able to call their names correctly if under pressure.  It may be the beginnings of an obsessive compulsive problem.  Whatever it is, I find myself doing it in the grocery store, zoo, library, mall, parking lot, hotel elevators, getting in the van, getting out of the van, in church, anywhere really.

The chief irritation about this habit is that the number is not set in stone.  For the last year, I've been counting to five.  Now, I only need to count to four.  Last week when ds8 was at camp, I only needed to count to three.  You'd think that I'd be thankful for less counting.  After all, counting to three is easier and less time consuming than counting to five.  And, in theory, you'd be correct.  I should be thankful for less counting except I forget.  I forget that I only need to count to three and so I start my count, get to three and my heart stops for a moment, gripped by panic because I know in my soul that my count is five and there are two not present to be counted.  Once I breathe, I remember why I'm not counting to five today but the damage is done.  I've have that sinking, breathless feeling and I'm trying to feel in balance again.  Three, I remind myself, three not five.  Everything is fine.  And it would be, if twenty minutes later, I didn't count again and forget to stop at three and have the whole thing happen again.  Thankfully, the second time, I can let it go more easily.  The recovery time is faster and I don't feel sick to my stomach, just sheepish for forgetting so quickly.  The third time I just stop at three, take a deep breath and quietly chuckle to myself.

As my children have grown, the need to count hasn't gotten to be any less a habit.  I count the 13 year old and the 18 year old just as I count the 5 year old.  I don't have to count them quite as quickly and I can usually find them more easily.  When we are together they are always included in the count.  I'd be willing to bet that while we were visiting Disney in April I counted to five a thousand times a day.  That's a lot of counting.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


One of my goals this summer was to learn to make pasta.  I didn't want to do anything fancy really.  Ravioli seemed pretty straight forward.  It's just squares with cheese.  Similar to a tiny grilled cheese sandwich.  I make those all the time.  No problem.

Every cookbook I looked at had a basic pasta recipe that involved flour and eggs.  Again, straight forward and simple.  Only two ingredients.  How hard can that be?  Most of the cookbooks also had a sections that explained how to mix pasta by hand or using a food processor and how to cut the pasta using a pasta press or by hand.  There was nothing in the books that made me question my goal or my plan.  I could practically taste my ravioli.

I spent Sunday and Monday pouring over the cookbooks.  I made a list of the ravioli recipes that sounded really tasty and discounted others.  I wasn't interested in ravioli made with wonton wrappers.  That defeated the purpose of learning to make my own pasta.  I even decided that if I was taking the trouble to make the pasta, I  should also make the sauce.  How could I pollute perfect homemade ravioli with a jar of store bought spaghetti sauce?  I narrowed my ravioli choices down to three recipes and made my grocery list.

Tuesday, I did my grocery shopping.  I found pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes, red wine, ricotta, parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino romano, parsley, yellow onions, roma tomatoes.  I was set.  I even stopped at the farmer's market for eggs.   I picked basil from my garden.  I read my recipes again and decided that if I was going to do this I needed a pasta press. 

Originally, my plan had been to make my first pasta with as little cost as possible.  I didn't want to invest in any equipment until I was sure I liked to make pasta.   After my visit to the grocery store and the cost involved in all the ingredients I decided it was crazy not to invest in the one tool that could really make this endeavor a bit more manageable.  Wednesday morning found me at the local kitchen outlet store purchasing a pasta press.  It was the best decision I made during this pasta experiment, other than buying extra wine.

Wednesday afternoon found me pouring over my cookbooks again and preparing to make pasta.  I got off to a pretty good start.  I looked at my three different ravioli recipes, the clock and my cabinet of wine and decided that I needed to pick one recipe and double it for this first effort.  Three different kinds of ravioli at once was just silliness and I wasn't feeling particularly silly.  I chose a chicken stuffed ravioli with a homemade tomato sauce to begin.

The sauce was pretty straight forward.  A bit of chopping and mixing and I had a lovely tomato sauce simmering on the stove top.  The filling came together easily, as well.  Chopped chicken, cheeses, basil, garlic.  Impossible to go wrong with those ingredients.  I was certain that if the pasta was a flop my kitchen would still smell delicious.   I measured flour onto my clean counters, made a well and added the eggs.  Everything at room temperature, of course.  The flour and eggs mixed beautifully. The dough was a good consistency and fairly easy to manage.  I'm a baker and love to kneed so that was no problem.  In no time I had a slightly shiny, elastic ball of dough ready to be transformed into ravioli.  In fact, because I doubled the recipe, I had two balls of dough ready to be formed into ravioli.  Unfortunately, none of my books had warned that when doubling a pasta recipe, keeping the pasta moist can be an issue. 

Figuring out the press presented my first real challenge.  I read the instructions that came with the press first.  I was commanded to run the dough through the press 5-6 times on the widest setting to help kneed the dough.  Lack of moisture in the dough was becoming even more of a problem and I hadn't actually made any pasta yet, just dough.   I continued to run the dough through the press and was frustrated by dough that would pull apart or not feed through evenly.  I had lots of jagged edges and nothing that looked like I'd be able to make lovely ravioli from it.  Reading and rereading the instructions for pressing my pasta from my instruction manual and three recipe books led to throwing them all down in disgust.  I began experimenting with the dough on a quest for the perfect press technique. 

As I was ready to move onto the next step of pressing my parents arrived.  Dad pitched in with the pasta and together we moved on to the next set of instructions, begin to run pasta through press again. This time we were told to dial the press smaller with each roll.   More jagged edges and uneven feed but we could see progress.  Pressing was still a very slow process and I began to wonder about all those recipe books that said rolling pasta by hand was an acceptable option.  I said a prayer of thanks for sanity and my pasta press and swore I'd make it a priority to spread the word that pasta should not be made without a press.  Any attempt by amateurs at hand rolling pasta is potentially dangerous and just plain silly.

I filled the ravioli and sealed the edges while Dad continued to roll the noodles.  We made a pretty good team.  Despite lots of interruptions, a bit too much help and a spilled glass of wine, we were in fairly good spirits when it was time to boil the ravioli and put dinner on the table.   The ravioli was experimental to say the least.  They were not of a uniform size or shape.  I couldn't figure out how much stuffing to put in each piece.  Some of the edges didn't want to seal.  Even with all their imperfections they made it into the pasta pot and onto our plates.  It was an elegant meal due to the time rather than to the presentation.  Crusty bread, watermelon, chicken ravioli and tomato sauce.  Salt and pepper were necessary to pep up the taste.  I'll be tweaking the recipes as well as the pasta cutting technique but no one left the table hungry.  After dinner we took the remainder of the dough and cut it into spaghetti noodles then left them on the counter to dry.  Those will provide a nice lunch later in the week.  Dad and I were both pleased with how much easier it was to make the long noodles than it had been to make the ravioli.  The dough was dry enough by that time that some of it would no longer feed through the press at all.  I'll need to research the best technique for keeping dough moist.

I am now, officially, a pasta maker.  So is my dad and I'm pretty sure that wasn't anywhere on his list of things to accomplish this summer.

Here are some of my most important lessons learned from my pasta making experience.

#1  Frozen ravioli is cheaper and more tasty than my first effort at homemade ravioli.  That's okay.  It was worth doing anyway.

#2  If a job is worth doing, it's worth getting the right tools to do the job.  Making pasta without a pasta press is not a good idea.  If someone you know suggested this possibility, they are not truly your friend.

#3  All pastas are not created equal.  Spaghetti or linguine is a much better place to begin making pasta than any of the stuffed pastas.   Even if your ultimate goal is stuffed pasta, start simply.  Get use to the process and progress to the more challenging pastas.

#4 Buy plenty of wine.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Lesson in Trust Part 2

Today, I have a guest writer.  As a consequence of K13's behavior that I shared previously, she had to write a paper outlining what she'd done, why it was wrong and how her actions lined up with  God's expectations.  I've been given permission to share her paper here.

It is important to think over your decisions before you make them. Ask yourself is this safe? Why am I doing it? Would my parents approve? If you are about to do something that endangers your life or someone else’s life (by even a little bit) do not do it. Are you doing it because you want to or are you doing it so you do not look scared or stupid? Just because other kids are doing it does not mean you have to. Trust is important. You need to have a trustworthy relationship with your parents. To keep a trustworthy relationship, you must make decisions that you know they would approve of.

On June 22, 2010, I spent the night at my friend’s house. At around 11:30pm we snuck out of her house and walked to her boyfriend’s house. If you are about to do something that is past curfew without your parents’ or another adult and your parents’ permission, do not do it. In Indiana it is against the law for children under the age of 18 to go out without an adult past 11:00pm on weekdays and 1:00am on weekends. The punishment for this the first time is a warning and ride home. The second, third, fourth and so on it is a $500 fine and 90 day jail term.

Once we were at her boyfriend’s house, he and a couple of his friends snuck us into the house. It is also against the law to trespass on private property. There is no punishment for trespassing once on property that is not marked private property. But, if the same person continues to trespass on the property, there is a fine and possible jail time. Just because you won’t get in trouble the first time does not mean you can do it. Do not take the risk. It is against the law, so, do not do it.

One of the boys that was at the house had a an illegal drug with them. Tens of thousands of people die annually from the usage of illegal drugs. Using drugs especially as a teenager is bad not only for you but the people around you to. Drugs make you do thing that you shouldn’t do. In Dodge City, Kansas five teenagers high on marijuana. Killed a stranger for no obvious reason. In West Palm Beach, Florida three teenagers mixed beer, rum, cocaine, and marijuana. Then they kidnapped a tourist from Brooklyn and set them on fire. Drugs also cause problems in our country such as violent street gangs, family violence, the spreading of ADIS, and babies born with cocaine dependency.

There are a lot of teenagers that do drugs. The average age for kids to first try drugs is 13. Two-thirds of all American teenagers try drugs before they finish high school. one in sixteen high school seniors smoke marijuana daily.

Just because some teenagers don’t go to church that is not why they are doing drugs. In fact, the percentage of teenagers that go to church and do drugs is not very much lower than the percentage of teenagers that don’t go to church and do drugs. 61% of teenagers that do marijuana and/or cocaine don’t go to church but 49% of them do.

In the Bible, it has some things to say about drugs. In Exodus 20:12 it says "honor your mother and father". Do your parents want you to do drugs? If yes, then you might want to get someone else’s opinion. In Galatians 5:19-21 it says, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft [which includes the use of drugs]; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

The boys had been popping pills before we got there. Drugs are sometimes used for medical reasons but, unless your parents or a doctor give them to you, don’t use them. They can be very harmful when used in the wrong way. Don’t over dose on the drugs that you have permission to use. That can be especially harmful. Just because most people say that using medicine in a way that it is not meant to be used in is safer than using drugs or drinking does not mean they are right. In fact they aren’t. One in five teenagers abuse medicine and the numbers are growing. One of the reasons that the numbers are growing is because medicine is easier to get. All that teenagers have to do is take them from the medicinal cabinet. Using medicine can make you high. The long-term effects are bad withdrawal symptoms, normal side effects (for the medicine that is being used) and addiction.

Two of the boys were smoking. Another growing problem in American teenagers is smoking. 80% of smokers begin before the age of 18. Of those about 3,900 smoke every day and of those 1,500 become regular smokers. 90% of smokers begin before age 21. In 2005 23% of high school students had smoked with in the last month. A way to tell if someone is smoking is they will have secondary behavioral issues such as violence, they are more likely to use drugs or drink alcohol and have a high-risk of sexual behavior. There are many reasons that teenagers start smoking. It may be because of low self-image or self-esteem, the availability of cigarettes if there parents or siblings smoke or the lack of parental involvement in their lives. Smoking is bad for you and the long term effects are not worth looking "cool" in front of your friends. Here are some of the long term effects: reduced stamina, chronic cough, bad breath, yellow teeth, stinky clothes, and it is an expensive habit, A pack a day could add up to $1000 a year. A lot of kids smoke but that does not mean that you have to.

It is not safe to go out without an adult, there are some very confused people that could hurt you if you do. There are about 2,000,000 child molesters in the United States of America and around 55 in southern Indiana. Almost 800,000 children go missing each year most are from family abductions but around 58,000 are strangers that abduct and demand ransom for the child’s release. Most of the children that are abducted are recovered but the small percent of children that are abducted and murdered are dead within three hours of the abduction. The short-term and long-term effects an abduction has on a family are emotional impact, stress, guilt and mourning. If I would have been abducted my family would have been very upset they would have had to call the police, report a missing child, and then they would have to just wait until the authorities found me, if they did find me. During the time that I’d be gone the whole family would be very worried and upset. It would break their hearts that someone had taken me from them. I am now aware that when I was picked up by the state police it was a blessing. If I had been abducted or raped the impact that it would have had on me and my family would have been terrible. It would have crushed me and my loved ones.

On our way home we were pulled over by the state police. We were given a warning and a ride home. What we did was very dangerous and I thank God that it was the state police that picked us up and not someone that could have hurt us.

This verse has some information that applies to what I have done. 1 Peter 1:14-16 says that do not do what is evil in the eyes of the Lord "Be Holy, Because the Lord is Holy." This means that we should follow in the Lord’s steps and, be as much like him as we possibly can because if we do what is right in his eyes we do what is honoring our parents.

Other verses that apply are Ephesians 5:1-17. The verse in this that is think applies the most is 11-12 it says do not walk in the ways of evil for even speaking of what they do in private is shameful. By making choices that I knew were wrong I was walking in the way of evil. Hebrews 12:5-11 reminds me that I am disciplined for my own good and it leads to peace and righteousness.

I would like to close my report by apologizing again for taking your trust for granted and doing things that I know you would not approve of. I love you very much and hope I may earn your forgiveness and your trust back.

I hope you approve of my report and know that I will never do anything like that every again.

The People Affected by My Decisions

1.My Family

2.Briteny’s Family

3.Ricky's Family

4.Oma and Opa




8.The Police Officer



11.Lucy Lane


Information I Used for my Report







Heyman, Richard (2001). How to say it to Teens. Prentice Hall Press

God Concerning Marriage

It seems as if I keep finding myself bumping into preconceived notions and expectations and wondering how they got that way.  This past week my Bible study has been talking about sex and teaching our daughters about sex in a healthy, Christan manner.  That's a pretty challenging topic and it's caused me to think about what God says about marriage and sex.

Last week I had a long talk with my sister about marriage and God's plan for one man and one woman.  Admittedly, I like marriage.  It works GREAT for me.  I, personally, can't imagine why any man or woman would need or want more than one partner.  Personally, I can't think of a more miserable situation.  Yet, in the Bible there are books full of those situations.  I guess that leads me to wonder how Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.... David, Solomon.... got so far off base and why God didn't mention to them that they weren't following the rules. 

So where are the rules?  There seem to be lots of rules about sex in Exodus and Deuteronomy about who can't have sex and the payment for sexual consequences but no mention of marriage.  Deuteronomy 24 talks about what happens when a woman finds no favor with her husband but it doesn't talk about the act of marriage.  Matthew 5:31-32, 19:3-9 and Mark 10:3-12 talk about divorce.  And just to set the record straight, Sarah, in Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9 Jesus does say, "What God has joined together, let no man separate."  I'm glad I found those references because that part of the wedding ceremony had been really bothering me.  Having been in situations where a Christian prefaces a personal opinion by saying, "God told me...." I needed to know that the "What God has joined..." line really had Biblical authority.  At least that's one concern addressed.

My question then becomes what part represents God's joining?  Is it the leaving and cleaving?  Does that mean that when we choose a sexual partner, that is God' joining and we'd better stick with it?  Does it mean that a ceremony that represents the leaving and cleaving is God's joining?  Is God's joining dictated by the societal norm or am I really missing something more important?

How much of what we understand as marriage today in our culture was shaped by society rather than by the original intent of God?  That's a mind boggling question and it will join the ever growing list of questions I can't answer.  I can only say that I am thankful for the man with whom I am joined.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

One of my favorite things about our home and our neighborhood is the 4th of July fireworks.  From our deck you can see a variety of fireworks.  Some professional.  Some extremely amateur.  All lovely.  Awe inspiring.  Patriotic. 

I love the luxury of walking out my patio door and snuggling with my children in the hammock to enjoy the firework extravaganza.  The only downside is that with an unplanned, unchoreographed firework display you don't really know where to look next.  You have to trust the sound and the light and turn your head quickly.  This can lead to a sore neck, head ache or lots of missed fireworks, if you aren't careful.

Just in case you don't have the chance to see lovely fireworks live from the comfort of your own home, I thought I'd make sure you had the opportunity to take part in that glorious 4th of  July tradition.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Recognizing Joy

Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves
 to recognize how good things really are.                        
    - Marianne Williamson

Today, I had the joy of being with my children.  Of course I did, you might be thinking.  I'm always with my children.  And, you would be correct.  I am always, almost always, with my children.  But sometimes, it's not a joy. 

I know.   It's a shocker but it's true.  Sometimes my children are not a joy.  Sometimes they are a serious pain and must be tolerated simply because they are children and, most importantly, they are mine.

Today, however, it was a joy to be with my children. 

At the request of H11, I got up early and made chocolate chip coffee cake.  I figured, with the day I had planned, I'd better be sure everyone was happily fed before we left the house.  My strategy worked.  All four children rose happily and quickly to enjoy one of their favorite breakfast treats.   After devouring the coffee cake, we enjoyed a local production of Twelfth Night.  It was a two person show, not counting a few (four) puppets.  We were all very pleased with the performances and enjoyed the show immensely.  I've found that my children really like Shakespeare.  I'm constantly underestimating my children but I'm not the only one.

In fact, when we stopped for lunch later in the day, our server looked very much like one of the actors in Twelfth Night. M5 commented on the resemblance and our server asked which play we'd been to see.  The children told her and the server told M5 that she'd performed in Romeo and Juliet but never in Twelfth Night.  The server then bent down to tell M5, in a sort of babyish, somewhat condescending tone,  that Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night had been written by the same man.  "Shakespeare?"  M5 responded.  The server looked surprised at M5's knowledge.  Really though, if a 5 year old is bright enough to enjoy a play by Shakespeare why wouldn't she be bright enough to know the name of the man who wrote the play?

After the play and lunch, we did our grocery shopping and then hung out at the house for the rest of the day.  S8 is leaving for camp tomorrow so we got his bags almost packed.  M5 is excited to have her pink room back.  K13 is excited for M5 to be gone from her green room so we spent some time moving clothes, books, furniture and Barbies.  Lots of Barbies.  Everyone even took pity on me and participated in a 15 minute pick-up which left the entire house, except S8's room, neat.

Even bath time was pain free.  And bed time, relatively so.  If you don't count a very sharp meeting of nose with forehead.  No one was permanently injured but tears followed.  I cried because my nose hurt so much and M5 cried because she'd hurt me.  I am fairly certain there will be bruising.  M5 and S8 even got to enjoy neighborhood fireworks out their window.  They were especially spectacular with all the lights out and experienced after M5 and S8 really should have been in bed.  How can you refuse to let children watch fireworks on the 4th of July weekend though?  And in M5's words, "They are gorgeous!"

My feeling exactly, about the fireworks, and about the four amazing children with whom I have the privilege, the joy, to share each day.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Weekly Recap 6/28-7/2

This week was a mixed bag.  Fond farewells, a visit from my sister, fun at the zoo and some quiet time together.

We put our foreign exchange student on a flight for D.C.   After a few days there, she'll leave for Istanbul.  In fact, I think her flight leaves today.  I didn't realize, I don't think any of us did, how much we'd come to accept her as part of our family.  Cleaning her room was a very sad thing for all of us.  While my youngest M5 is thrilled to have her pink room back, I think she'd be just as happy if G were here with us.

My sister and her children arrived on Tuesday afternoon and that was a welcome distraction.  We had an orthodontist appointment for K13.  Unfortunately the canine replacement we were hoping would solve some of our expensive orthodontic issues isn't going to be possible.  We were all a bit disappointed but understand the need for a healthy bite.   K13 is worried about the cosmetic issues while dh and I just know it's going to create some large dental bills down the line.

Wednesday, we went to the grand opening of the new seal and sea lion exhibit at our zoo.  It was fun to play in the water, visit the animals we love and see what's new.

Thursday was art class for M5, S8 and H11 plus to neighborhood girls at our local library.  The kids came home with neat foil sculptures and proceeded to empty another entire roll of foil with their artistic endeavors.  After art, K13 and S8 decided to make pizza for dinner.  I was pretty impressed that they pulled it off with minimal help and everyone agreed that the meal was delicious.

Today, we spent part of the morning getting ready for the play we are attending tomorrow.  There is a free performance of Twelfth Night at a local park.  We loved seeing The Tempest a few weeks ago and are really looking forward to Twelfth Night.  The kids were thrilled with the story and were even able to relate it to the teen movie She's the Man.  I was pretty pleased and impressed.  I figure we'll be watching the movie before the night is over.  I also worked with M5 and S8 to complete the challenge sheet for our local library reading program. 

I'm also really excited that I placed an order last night for the final materials I needed for next fall.  I can't wait until it all gets here.  It'll be like Christmas!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Price of Independence

As a child it never in occurred to me that parents  pay a price for independence.  I was working so hard to achieve that hard won status and believed the cost was mine.  As a parent, I understand that my parents paid a price too.  Last week, the price was the heart stopping realization that I'd misplaced my trust and taken too much for granted.  This week the price is much cheaper.  Really, it's a lesson in tolerance and perspective.

My kitchen is an absolute disaster.  Flour covers almost every surface, the floor and two of my children.  Olives and other bits of debris litter the floor.  I could go on to catalog the mess and the irritation.  I could lament the fact that I'll spend way more time this evening encouraging and cajoling my children in the clean up process than I would have spent if I had just made and cleaned up on my own.

Why go through it?  Why grin and bear the flour coating my recently cleaned kitchen floor?  For the payoff.  Six children, enjoying pizza that they made with no real help from an adult.  That kind of pride in accomplishment and budding independence can't be bought or taught.  It has to be experienced.

You know what else can't be bought?  A clean kitchen after a cooking adventure.  That has to be earned with hard work and effort. 

Two life lessons with pepperoni and extra cheese.  Pass my plate.