Wednesday, October 27, 2010

He's not gonna like it...

MotorMan is not going to like it.

But I had to do it.

Thanks to modern medical advances such as antibiotics, nasal spray, and Diet Coke, it has become routine for people in the civilized world to pass the age of 30, sometimes more than once.

So, MotorMan... Here's to passing 30. 
For the 11th time.

And looking so good while you do it!

I love this man!  Happy Birthday, Smoochie!

Monday, October 25, 2010


We've a very special visitor this week which I'll tell you more about later.  For now, enjoy this post from the archives...

I've had an idea for a post on separation that I've been sitting on for a while. Sometimes, when I get an idea, I think on it, pray about it, and think on it some more. The idea is like a rough stone that must be sent through a tumbler repeatedly before coming out shiny and smooth. The crazy thing is that ONLY I am the one who is expecting a 'shiny stone' when I blog. I guess I just need to get over having everything "perfect" and just post what God has laid on my heart. So, without further ado...

As a military family, we frequently experience separation. Deployments, detachments, cross countries, etc., etc., ad nauseum...

So, when our most recent separation began, I realized that there was a similarity in my personal situation with my spouse and my eternal situation with my Savior.

Stay with me here... You see, being separated from my husband is difficult. For practical purposes there is one less person to help run the household. For personal purposes, my best friend is gone. Yes, there is phone calls and emails, but nothing can take the place of face to face communication and connection. While most of our family's separations have been due to my husband's job, none have been chosen by us. We'd rather be together.

However, my separation from God was ALL my CHOOSING. I chose not to KNOW Him. I chose not to acknowledge the truths that He'd so clearly written to me in His Love Letter, The Bible. And, had I not come to KNOW Him, to turn my life over to Him, I would be eternally separated from him.

Imagine separation from your kids, spouse, family, loved ones -- then expand that. We have a loving God sent his ONE and ONLY Son. Imagine the separation anxiety. He knew what he was sending His Son to endure. To die for us. Separate myself from my one and only son? Nope. Not me. I couldn't do it. No way, no how.

A Heavenly Father that loves you so much He'd send His son so as to avoid eternal separation from you? Yes. A God that loves you so much that His one desire is a relationship with you? Yes. He loves us exactly where we are, but also loves us enough to refuse to leave us there. That's BIG love! I can't imagine being separated from that. Not for a moment. Not for a day. Certainly not for eternity.

I pray for you, my friends. If you haven't already done so, turn your life over to God. Remove the major separation in your life. You will find your cup filled to running over with blessings!

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."  Romans 8:38-39

Separation at our house: 
TheBoy  put his Daddy Doll in MotorMan's spot in the bed, "So you can remember of Daddy."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Loving one of the Few

Being married to a Marine pilot has its perks.

One of which just might be

a semi-private demonstration

by the Blue Angels.

Uh, yeah.  We're that cool.

Not really.

Today is Tuesday.

And on Tuesday, the Blues do their regular demonstration practice.

And on this Tuesday, MotorMan was not flying.

And so he took us up to the flight line.

To watch the Blues.

Up close.

And personal.

Oh, the perks of loving one of the Few.  The Proud.  The Marines. 
(Well, of loving MY Marine!  I don't love all of 'em.  I like a whole lot of 'em I've met, however  I reserve the love for one Marine in particular.)

 Photo Credit:  CraftyGirl

Friday, October 15, 2010

50 Hours on the Treadmill is SO Worth It!

Our field trip was fun.  

Super duper sugar filled, (think doughnuts and Coke) but fun.

After our tour, learning how they make bazillions of donuts a day, we tried to take a group picture.

Notice I said TRIED.

And after we finished our sugar splurge, we went to the only place that is a good follow up to Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.  Nope, not the gym.  Guess again.

You know, the only place that you'd want to take a bunch of kids when they're sugared up.  Wired.  LOUD.

Yep, you guessed it.

The library.

(I'm going to assert that the reason my pictures are blurry is because I was shaking at the thought of sinking my teeth into a "HOT.  FRESH.  NOW." treat.  Either that, or I was shaking after I had sunk my teeth into the fresh doughnut and was going into sugar shock.  Sugar coma.  Sugar deliciousness.  Whatever.  I'm off to the treadmill now.  For about 50 hours.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thing 1

I love homeschooling.  I love the many, many opportunities it affords us.

But what I really love?

The F-L-E-X-I-B-I-L-I-T-Y. 

That means that though the workboxes are loaded,

and we could go ahead with this day as any other,

today we're not gonna..

Today, we're outta here...

Semper Gumby!**

**Many, many years ago, when I was but a youngster married to my Marine, a "salty" wife told me that I'd always have to be flexible -- Semper Gumby -- a play on the Marines' motto "Semper Fi" -- Always Faithful.  Honestly, it was one of the best pieces of advice I ever received in regards to being a military wife.  Much more helpful than knowing how many calling cards I'd need (like, 2 -- I have 498 left -- any takers???) or how to host the perfect tea. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Knowing OF vs. Knowing

I was digging through the archives today and found this post from a year ago.  I still feel it is one of my strongest posts, and one of the biggest epiphanies that I've ever had.   (The photos, however, are from this past weekend.)

The other day I was showering (I know, TMI. But that's when I get some of my best, uninterrupted thinking time in!) 

Let's try that again...

The other day during my shower, ahem, some "uninterrupted thinking time", I was struck by something. There is a HUGE difference between knowing OF someone and knowing someone.

For instance, I know OF  President Obama. I know a few superficial facts, but nothing meaningful. For example: What does he like on his pancakes? Is he a buttermilk-only kind of guy, or does he like blueberries or chocolate chips in his pancakes? Darn, does the man even EAT pancakes? (Not that any of this really matters -- don't get lost in the President's pancakes here.) What I'm saying is that I KNOW OF him, I don't KNOW him.

For most of my life, I have known OF Jesus. I went to Sunday School as a child and heard the stories. What do I remember most from those days? The noodle necklace I made for my mom.

As I grew, I knew OF God. I believed that He watched out for me and loved me -- in a a sort of "yeah, yeah" way (my thought, not His). I never spent much time thinking about Him, nor spent time with Him. I lived a life with the philosophy that if I was doing something wrong, God would let me know. I used Him as my back up plan. I had no idea how much I was missing out on...

So, my epiphany in the shower: There is a HUGE difference in KNOWING OF God and KNOWING God.

God wants us to KNOW Him. Not KNOW OF Him.

I looked up the definition of KNOW and my breath was taken away.
-- to perceive or understand as fact or truth; to apprehend clearly and with certainty.

To apprehend clearly and with certainty. Wow.

What I know is that God desires for each of us to KNOW him. In order to do that, it requires a relationship. Time spent together. Talking together. Sharing dreams, hopes, worries, concerns. Time spent listening. To KNOW Him clearly and with certainty.

So today, my friends, I challenge you to look at your relationship with God. And I ask you: Do you KNOW my Jesus?

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10

Friday, October 8, 2010

An "Extra"

One of the 'extras' we use in our workboxes that seems to be a big hit is sorting with tongs.

We have a box of foam blocks that I bought at Target for a buck a bag.  I think I bought about $2 worth, but I really wanted to stuff all the little baggies with foam blocks in my cart and roll away with a maniacal chuckle.  I mean, they were a buck!  Muah, ha, ha...

Today, I had the kids sort them by color.  

Today, the kids happened upon this "extra" on their schedule strip block thingie at the same time.

 Today, they are learning several things:

 working together

 using different tools

 to get a job done

 color discrimination (good for TheBoy who is color blind)

And, when it's all done,

fingers are allowed.

To create a "rainbow."

Side Note:   This is a spin off of something I found at Confessions of a Homeschooler.
Another Side Note:  Yes.  We do have school in our jammies.  More days than not.  Just sayin'...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Workboxes Part 4 -- The Lesson Plans

If you're just joining us, you might want to look back over the previous posts to learn more about our classroom/school work organization system:  Workboxes.

I'll wait here while you read.
Twiddling thumbs...
Painting toenails...

Welcome back!  On to the lesson plans -- or the LPs as I call them...

I quickly realized that in order to "load" the boxes quickly, efficiently, and with the correct (and all of) the schoolwork that needed to get done, I had to have good lesson plans. 

We use Sonlight for part of our curriculum, and it comes with it's own LPs.  We also use a Geography curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler which has LPs.  And, believe me, that's great.  However, for workboxes, I found that I needed it all in one place.  One location.  You know what they say..."Location, location, location!"  Okay, that's for real estate -- but I would argue it's important for workboxes too!

So, I created a Workbox Lesson Plan sheet.  I have one for each kiddo, as they each have their own set of workboxes, and they each have the own curricula.  (And yes, I'll insert a disclaimer here -- I already KNOW I'm type-A.  So, yes, the LPs are color coded for each child.)

Basically, I list each item (one subject per box) as I will put it into the box.  Knowing how many times I want the child to work on a specific subject, I put that subject on the plan.  For instance, each child does Math five times a week.  So, that's on the lesson plan for each day.  Next, I put in all the other subjects.  I also supplement with "XTRA" activities -- the "fluff."  

So the kiddos can have little breaks, and to get some other skills into their day, I use extras -- poster center, puzzle center, folder games, music, Art, building center, Science center, P.E., reading with Mom or with their sibling, listening to books on CD, etc.  Each one of these extras reinforces something we're learning, or something I want them to remember.  It's not really fluffy stuff.  It's education.  While the kiddos think they're playing, I know that they're actually learning!  Heh, heh, heh!

On the LP, I have also added columns for the group time activities that we do:  Bible, Calendar Math, Geography, Science,  Read Alouds, etc.

As you can see, we begin and end our school day with group time.

In our state, Florida, the law states that each homeschooled child must be evaluated yearly, either by standardized testing (blah!) or by review of a portfolio.  We've chosen the portfolio route, which must include copies of the lesson plans.  

Because this is our first year, and because I'm Type-A, and just because I wanted to, I've included a few other things on the LPs...

So lets recap:  after adding the bones (Math, Grammar, Handwriting, Reading, Spelling) and then some extras --  wah-lah!  A lesson plan that helps me fill the boxes.  And keeps the kids interested, motivated, and excited.  

I'm all about interested in school.
And motivated.
And excited?  Yeah, I'm all about that too!

(If you want to use my lesson plan sheet, please feel free to download it and do so.  Modify it to fit your curricula and your kiddos.  Enjoy it.  And, reap the rewards of organization, excitement, and motivation!)

Saturday, October 2, 2010


In looking back over the peaks and valleys that we've had with this house, I can see it no other way.  It is a testament.  A testament to God's mercy, grace, and goodness.

In 2006, we decided to build a new home.  We had a perfectly good home.  One with a very reasonable mortgage payment.  But we saw a modular home going up in our neighborhood, saw what it was priced, and thought, "Gee!  We could have ALL that for the same as we're paying here!"  And the greed/desire/insistence that we HAD to have a bigger home set in.

We searched for a piece of land.  We found a builder.  All the time, doors kept closing on the project.  We did not -- not once -- pray about our decision.  We did not seek God's plan for us to build a new house.  Looking back, I can see so clearly all the doors closing.  And yet, we kicked them open and walked right through.

The entire process was riddled with problems.  We had problems selling the older house.  We finally sold it for $25,000 less than we'd planned on.  Our builder went $30,000 over the budget.  We were misinformed about what fixtures and finishes were going to be in the new house, and so put close to $50,000 on credit cards to pay for lighting, counters, appliance, flooring, landscaping, and driveway materials.  

All these things combined to make for one really awful scenario.  You'd have thought we'd begin praying about it now, right?  Uh, nope.  Not us.  Still being thick headed.

Once we finally sold the old house and moved into the new one, we realized that our "best case scenario financial plan" was not at all how things had turned out.  We had a mortgage that was double our old one, debt up to our eyeballs on credit cards, and we weren't really that happy in our new house.  

It was at that time that God began to bless us through our hardship.  While we'd been attending church all through the building process, we'd not once prayed about our decision to build, or the problems were had faced, or the financial hardship we'd created for ourselves.

But God is good.  His mercy never ends.  Sitting in church one Sunday, an ad for Financial Peace University came on.  We were in so much pain financially, that I was willing to try anything that might help.  So, while MotorMan was deployed, we went through FPU.  We rearranged our finances.  We finally made a budget -- and stuck to it.  And blessing followed.  We seemed to have money coming from everywhere.   Each month, we were able to squeak by.  Only by His provision.
In December 2009, we knew we'd need to get the house on the market, as MotorMan was expecting Permanent Change of Station orders.  So we listed the house.  And prayed that a buyer would come quickly.  And so began the wait for God's perfect timing.

And we waited.
And showed the house a time or two. 
And lowered the price.
And waited some more.

And had anxiety, worry, and stress about the whole thing.  But I kept surrendering it to God. 

And then, we waited some more.

In June, we went to our new duty station on house hunting leave.  We had prayed and knew that we'd need to rent.  We looked over our FPU budget and knew what we could afford.  And then -- GET THIS:  we decided to rent for LESS than we could afford.  I know, I know.  New concept for us.  Apparently, learning was occurring!

In July, we moved.  And the house sat vacant.  While we paid it's mortgage, and our new home's rent.  In addition to two sets of utility bills.

It became pinch time.  Our savings was quickly dwindling.  We knew we could not hold on to the house much longer.

And that is when God showed up for us -- big time.  We had used all of the money we had in savings, and knew that we could not support the house any longer.

And that's when it sold. 

In looking back, I know that God was with us during the entire process of building, living in, and selling the house.  I also know that He was merciful when we were rebellious and disobedient.  I know that it was His grace that brought us a buyer, and at just the right time.   

"It is finished."  Jesus declared this on the cross.  He was stating that the payment for our sin was paid.  The debt was no longer.  Jesus paid it all.  It was finished.  Forever.  Even in instances where people (us) don't heed God's voice and choose to disobey.  The debt was paid.  We ask for forgiveness and it's given.  It's finished.

God is good.
All the time.
His mercy and grace abound.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God..."  Ephesians 2:8