Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Water, Ministry, and the Teachable Twos

The sun is out today. Maybe it will dry up all the water - or not. Central Iowa is once again experiencing flood conditions. This just happened 2 years ago and 15 yrs prior to that! Things aren't quite as bad in 2008, but they're pretty close. We have the run-off from Lake Red Rock on the outskirts of Swan. It has crept all the way up West St. and half our city park is flooded again. The water is all over Hwy 5, which is our only way to Des Moines. So, now we have to detour through the Palmyra Township, which adds a good 10 minutes to our drive. Thursday should be the worst day. It's been dry and sunny all week and if that continues, then things shouldn't be as bad as they could be.

Last Wed. night Paul was called to go fix our neighbor's AC. They are such nice people. A couple of weeks ago, the husband, James, stopped his truck on the road and talked to me for a bit and it occurred to me then that I really ought to make more of an effort to go visit he and his wife. So, I got home from church Wed. and I ran over to their house while Paul worked on their unit. Well, I had to detour since the rottweiler down in the Swan "slums" was barking at me, salivating, and I couldn't be sure that he wouldn't jump the fence and eat me. So once I walked clear around, I got over to their house. Charlotte and James were thrilled to see me, which made me feel so bad. I should have made an effort long before now to go visit with them. They both have such severe health issues and are pretty much home bound. I know they're struggling financially, but on top of paying Paul, Charlotte pressed a ten dollar bill into my hand and told me to go buy ice-cream for the boys! I am going to make an effort to visit with them more often. They're lonely. I walked away feeling pretty convicted about how I let my busy life get in front of ministering to others.

I have decided that I just don't care about Iowa's gubernatorial race anymore. After the primaries when Bob Vanderplaats lost, I thought that I would probably be voting for Branstad this fall just to ensure that Culver doesn't win again. But I've changed my mind. Two things happened that changed it for me: Bob gave his first post-election interview last Friday on WHO radio. I listened to the whole thing and was filled with utter disgust for Branstad. Bob was not trashing him, simply relating things Branstad had said to him and now there's no way I'll vote for him. And then Branstad went and picked a Sarah Palin wanna-be for his running mate. It's laughable, how he is trying to appeal to another side of the voting public, by picking a woman, a conservative, and very attractive, to boot. It's not going to work with me. I have decided that I just do not care who wins this election. I can't see that Branstad will be all that different from Culver, anyway. And it bothers my conscience greatly to think of voting for someone for whom I have deep disdain and mistrust. I've always been more of a pragmatic voter. After all, elections are held for the purpose of electing someone and I've always thought it pretty silly to write in a candidate, knowing full well that a third party will not win. And, I suppose, overall, I am still more of a pragmatist. But not this time. Like I said, I just don't care anymore. I'll vote, but it won't be for Chet Culver and it certainly won't be for Terry Branstad. I don't know who I'll vote for.

I've been having some good success lately with my "cheapness." I've been on a mission to cut expenses around here and I shared recently how I bought all these little 1/2 C containers and have been making my own individual fruit, yogurt, and pudding servings. Here are some of my other recent successes: homemade bubble bath, dishwasher detergent, taco seasoning, baby wipes, buttermilk, evaporated milk, and waffle mix. I bought a cheap binder this week and I'm going to type these household "recipes" up and put them in the binder so I can keep them handy. Not everything I have tried has worked out, but I'm pleased with the amount of success I am having. I actually did come in under budget when I did my bi-monthly grocery and Walmarting this past Monday. Now, I don't think that is solely because of my penny pinching ways, but it was a nice feeling since I usually go over!

I should get back to my to-do list - and my children. Sam has been especially demanding lately. He screams when he doesn't get his way and expects his brothers and me to attend to his every whim. When we don't do his bidding, he throws a tantrum. When we were in Council Bluffs over the weekend everyone kept making comments about how cute Sam is. It's just the hair. I think human beings are naturally drawn to blond curls. But I don't even see the hair anymore - all I see is this little dragon monster who wants to engage in a battle of wills with me every single day! Every single suggestion I make to Sam is met with, "No! Don't want to!" He refuses to eat his cheese unless it's a perfect square. If a corner gets broken off, he claims it is "broken" and won't touch it. He won't potty train, insisting to me that he is "empty" every time I put him on the toilet. But yet, two minutes after I get him off, he's wet his pants - again. He makes messes that he won't clean up. But if I scold him, then his chin quivers, his mouth turns downward, and he cries and cries, so then I feel terrible and end up spending a lot of my day holding him (all 38 pounds of him) and assuring him that everything is ok. I feel like a first-time mom all over again! He is just so unlike I remember the other boys being when they were two! It makes me wonder if we've given him so much attention that we've spoiled him a bit. Or maybe he's just two - that age when babies turn into little boys.

And I suppose, as I think about it, age two is not a whole like unlike age 13. That's when children start pulling away, while at the same time still desperately needing you, as they try to step into adolescence. It's a raging stream that they need to cross. You can't carry them across, but you can be right behind them in case they slip. So, every so often, they're turning around to check to see if you're still right there and you're nervously hovering, wishing you could just scoop them up and carry them to safety, while knowing it's a process that they have to manage alone.

So that's probably what is going on with Sam. He's shedding his babyhood and stepping into boyhood, trying to figure out just what he can get away with. He's only two, fortunately - there's still plenty of years left of hugs and childhood fun with him, as long as I survive age TWO!

Off to make lunch for the troops and to make sure that I only serve Sam a perfectly square, unbroken piece of cheese (oh and another one of his quirks - he insists on eating the same lunch every day - a piece of bologna, cut up, the cheese, and chips. But I get in trouble if I put the chips on his plate. Those have to be served on a napkin, placed to the right of his plate.) Am I creating a monster?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

SW Iowa Weekend

So much to catch up on! I'll start with our last weekend. We went to the annual Heywood Family picnic. That's me at left there, chatting with Paul's cousin, Eugene's, new girlfriend. It's a good snapshot of what the whole picnic was like.

We arrived out at his parents' around 3 on Sat. afternoon. There were all these cars parked all over their property and all kinds of people milling around. We had no idea a pre-picnic was in the works! Saturday it was broiling (heat index of something like 105 degrees) so most were in the air conditioned house. I was meeting all these people I'd never seen before in my life.

Sunday was the actual picnic. I still haven't figured out why it was such a big deal this year, but it was. The local paper even did a write-up about it. And get this - I just now figured out that there were 17 kids in Paul's dad's original family. All these years I've had it in my mind that there were only 16. But Paul's cousin corrected me. I didn't believe her so I went to one of the family books they have printed up that list each child and all their offspring - and sure enough, there were 17 of them! Although, when you're talking about that many children, I guess one more or less really doesn't make much of a difference!

The Sunday picnic was much more enjoyable, weather-wise. It was cooler and there was a good breeze. I missed the beginning because Dorothy forgot her potato salad that she had made and I volunteered to go get it for her. That was fine with me because I always get stressed out in potluck situations, trying to get Ben and Sam's food, along with mine. This way, Paul took care of it!

So, the whole thing was not as miserable as I was anticipating. It doesn't mean I'm anxious to go back next year, but I managed to make it through this one. Ben spent his time swinging and Sam and David spent the entire time on the playground.

The only thing that marred the picnic for me was some disturbing family news I received from Paul's brother. I'm not trying to be secretive and I wish I could just blurt it all out in my blog so I could work through it with writing, which is how I best think. But not everyone knows yet, so I'd better keep quiet for now. Actually, I'd probably be safe here talking about it because to my knowledge, nobody on Paul's side of the family reads my blog! But on the off-chance that they would suddenly develop an interest today and do so - I'll be quiet. I'm heartbroken at the choices I see being continually made in this family, on both sides. And I'm equally upset with the cavalier attitude that seems to be adopted by those that see it. Sin is not viewed as sin anymore and many innocents are being harmed and propelled into their own lives of self-destruction and despair. Ambiguous enough for you? I'll post more when I can.

So that was pretty much our weekend. Paul did repair a couple of air conditioners while out there. While he was doing that on Sat. evening, our 29 yr old nephew took Will out for supper and even let him drive clear to Bellevue (south side of Omaha). Chris has always been my favorite. He's pursuing a pharmacy degree and living with George and Dorothy while he goes to school. I guess he and Will were up past 1 am playing video games, too, which might explain why Will was so droopy on Sunday!

He's droopy today, too. It's almost lunchtime and he's still sleeping. Of course, he did get up at 6:30 for weight lifting this morning. Next week Will will be back up at camp - no more late nights and sleeping in for him!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wisdom From Pete Seeger and King Solomon

Here's my second fiction piece that gave me my first, first place win. You'll find a lot of "me" in this one, although, ahem, Will was born a full 20 months after we got married! ... But, like the heroine, my babies came quickly and with some regularity and I hated to even be asked back then about how my writing was coming along. It wasn't! The only thing I got written in those days were grocery lists. Early motherhood was so overwhelming and I remember feeling as though my dreams of writing were probably gone because of the life I had chosen. It was my mom that told me I was "collecting life experiences" to write about later and I inserted that into this little story. I've never forgotten that and it was such an encouragement to me at the time because it was so hard for me to envision a "later."

I wrote this last week while Paul and the boys were away at camp. Sam was sleeping and it was just heavenly to be able to write in piece and without any interruptions! I am starting to dream dreams of having my own laptop computer and a cabin far away from civilization (well, at least a mile - I don't want to be too far from fast food or pantyhose, though!) where I can escape and lose myself in my words. Someday!...

Our assigned topic was "The Writer's Challenge." I mulled on that for a few days and then thought about what my greatest challenge is as a writer. The story tumbled out from there!

Wisdom From Pete Seeger and King Solomon

“Mommy! Max’s eating his crayons again!”

Oh no! Tena hurriedly finished wiping Baby Sophie’s bottom and slapped a fresh diaper on her. Depositing the baby into her bouncy seat, she ran out to the living room, where three year old Max was, indeed, chomping away on his crayolas.

“Max, no! You can’t eat these - remember, we only eat food!“ Tena plucked the crayon away from her son, sighing as she did so. If rescuing Max from eating inedible (and often indigestible) items wasn’t an almost daily occurrence, this might have been funny. But it was just another strange behavior that Max’s autistic mind produced.

The television set suddenly blared to life as Max punched the buttons. Tena quickly lowered the volume, but had to laugh as she watched the furry puppets on Children’s Television dance and sing the old 1965 hit by the Byrds. That song was older than she was! As Tena hummed along, she thought about Ecclesiastes 3, the passage of Scripture from where the song was derived. Solomon assured his readers that seasons come and seasons go and there is a time for everything. But Tena couldn’t help but think she was stuck in an eternal season.

From the time Tena was young, she knew she was destined to be a writer. Her teachers raved about her literary talents and sent her to every advanced writing class the school offered. By Tena’s senior year of high school, her future was planned--four years of college pursuing a journalism degree, a job writing for one of the country’s leading news sources, marriage to her long-time boyfriend, Nick, and somewhere --way, way, down the road--maybe a baby or two. Tena vaguely thought she might fit in motherhood while cranking out a few best selling novels.

But a positive pregnancy test shortly before high school graduation, followed by a quickie wedding, and then nine pound Luke a few months later, changed everything. Tena never went to college, but stayed home changing diapers and coaxing finicky preschoolers to eat while Nick worked in the lumberyard by day and attended college at night.

Tena mourned for what she had lost. She knew God was One of grace and forgiveness, but it hurt to know that her dreams had to be set aside. Tena still had no doubt that she was supposed to be a writer, but how could she do that now? There weren’t enough hours in the day to care for three young children, tend to the house, and take care of Max’s special needs. It was a challenge to just take a shower most days, let alone find time to write! While Tena loved her family, she fought to not feel resentful at times that they were taking away the time from her that she was supposed to be spending contributing to the world and developing her talent.

Shaking off her gloomy thoughts, Tena retreated to the kitchen, hoping to get a start on dinner before chaos would erupt from the children. As she prepared a casserole, the words from Pete Seeger’s hit continued to run through her mind,

To everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn)…

Tena suddenly smiled as she remembered something Nick had said to her recently. She had been wailing to him about her endless days and how hard everything was (this was after Max had turned on the garden hose, snuck it through the front door, and had sprayed the living room). He had commented, “You know, Tena, I think you’re just living the experiences now that someday you’re gonna write about!”

Tena didn’t know what the future held. She hoped it would involve writing, although it now seemed unlikely she’d ever be contributing to the big news syndicates, like she once dreamed. But you never know! Somehow, though, that dream paled beside reality. She glanced out into the living room where her three children were. Luke was busily coloring his picture, Max held a small car upside down in his hand and gazed intently as he spun the wheels, and Baby Sophie had drifted off to sleep.

This season of life was what God had given her. Another season might bring other things, perhaps even the opportunity to write. But for now Tena could be content as she waited.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…Ecclesiastes 3:1

First Place Smiles

Never mind me in the photo - just look at the gorgeous flowers! I have a head cold at the moment and it shows. So do my flabby upper arms, now that I look at the photo. Man - I really need to do something with weights. Those arms are going to be the size of tree trunk and the consistency of pancakes by the time I'm 60, if I don't do something about them. The boys came back from camp with germies crawling through their systems and have been sneezing and hoarking all week long. Sam is too, and sure enough, my Vit. D wasn't enough to ward off an attack of this magnitude. I just hope I'm feeling better by Sunday. That will be miserable if I'm suffering through a picnic on a hot summer day and feeling achy and stuffy-headed on top of it!

Paul brought me flowers tonight to say "Congratulations." He's so sweet! He's saying congratulations because my latest FaithWriters piece got FIRST PLACE!!!! I could not believe it. I only got 3 comments on that story and I've come to believe that the more comments a piece get, the better the odds are that it will place well. At least, it's been that way with my other pieces that have gotten in the top 5. And I thought the competition was a little more stiff this week, too. But I still got FIRST PLACE!!! Not that I'm excited or anything...

Now I will be competing at the 3rd level, which is called "Advanced." So, I'll be starting at the bottom of the heap again. Or maybe not. Yeah, probably. When I went from Beginners to Intermediate I went straight into the top 5 right away and I don't think I've ever placed below that the times I've entered. That sounds braggy, doesn't it? I'm just thinking outloud here. The competition will be more fierce, though, because I'll be competing against better writers. So, I have to be realistic.

This is actually my first first place win. The rule used to be that once you made it into the top 3, you could then advance to the next level. So, it was with my first third place win that I went into the Intermediate level, sometime this winter. But then they changed it and now you have to have a first place win to go on.

Are you tired of reading about me talking about me yet? I am!
I am just immensely surprised and pleased. It means a lot to me because you all know how nervous I was about submitting fiction. It's an art to be able to write that genre - one that I always aspired to, but never knew if I had the capability. So it's validation for me, as well as encouragement that someday I may, indeed, realize my writing dreams. That's enough hope to keep me going, I guess, as I raise this quadrant of males and look forward to free-er days.

Oh, I suggested to Paul today that I would very, very much like to plan on attending the FaithWriters conference next summer in Michigan. He was immediately agreeable. So, now I have that to plan for and look forward to!

I'm going to post my two fiction pieces now. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Muggy Musings

Sure is muggy out today. We had yet another thunderstorm this morning. This rain just has to stop! The run-off from Red Rock Lake is creeping up West St. here in Swan and into the city park. The stop sign at the end of West St. has only about 5" to go before it's completely submerged. There hasn't been this much water in town since June '08, when there was tons of flooding across the Eastern half of the state.

I've pretty much been up since 5 am when the storm awakened me. I hurried out to the back room to shut off the computer. Then, I couldn't get back to sleep, which was probably good because David had to come in my room twice to seek assurance that we weren't about to get blown away in a tornado. Then, I heard Sam from the top of the stairs, "Sam scared shunder!" Ugh. They both got settled onto the couch and then fell asleep there. I finally drifted off to sleep and then my radio came on at 6:30 - breap! breap! I always have it set on the radio, but some kid messed with it yesterday and had it set on the alarm! I had it set early because I had an 8am hair appt. scheduled (why do I do that to myself?). I was so tired by then I decided it really wasn't important that I walk in with freshly washed hair, so I laid on my hearing ear for another half hour, trying to block out Dr. David Jeremiah talking about the Millennium on Paul's radio.

Well, I haven't gotten any more comments on my latest FaithWriter's story. I think I had better resign myself that I'm not going to do as well this week. Or maybe everybody is on vacation and can't take the time to check in an comment...I think I'll go with that one! :)

That's Ben and David a couple of weeks ago on Promotion Sunday with their Sunday School certificates. With a certain amount of fear and trembling we had Ben promoted this year to the Jr. High class. He's using deodorant and it won't be long before he has to shave, so we needed to get him out of the Jr. class! But we are going to delay having him start youth group for one more year. There's enough new stuff coming at him right now.

Last week Sam was running around the house, naked on his bottom half. I was doing something outside while he was in the house alone (I know - not necessarily a good idea!). When I came in I told him it was time to get a pull-up on. I got one out of the drawer, but Sam lifted up his shirt, which had been covering his lower half, and announced, "Already got one, Mom!" And sure enough, the kid had gotten his own pull-up out of the drawer and put it on all by himself!

Later that same week, I spent a laborious half hour matching and folding socks (I think I'd rather clean the bathroom than do that chore!). I got several neat stacks of matched socks and carried out a number of them to the back room where the laundry baskets were. I put the socks in their respective baskets and in walked Sam, arms full of my previously-folded socks. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, honestly! All that work...but he was so proud of himself, being a big helper!

Well, that's all I know for now, I think. We're headed to Council Bluffs this weekend. It's the annual Heywood Family picnic, which we don't really make a point to attend. I don't know the majority of people there, honestly. Paul's dad is one of 16 children and that alone would make it hard to keep track of who is who. But now most of those kids are already great-grandparents so there are multiple generations that show up at this picnic, plus there's all kind of divorce and remarriage situations, so I have no idea who belongs to who. But for some reason, they are making a really big deal out of it this year and all kinds of people are coming into Iowa for the picnic. I'm really not sure why. But, since we haven't been back since December, we figured we'd go. Have I mentioned my intense dislike of being outdoors in the summertime, particularly when I'm expected to eat outdoors? Yeah, I'm not much of a picnic person...

I have to figure out our camping trip, too. With Will working, our summer weekends are just disappearing. To save money and because Paul doesn't have as many vacation days as he thought he did, and because time is at a premium with this basement and addition project, we're only taking a long weekend for a camping excursion. We're just going to go to Lake Red Rock and then take the boys to the Knoxville Race Track. That one doesn't really excite me either! But I'm a little out-voted in this family...However, Kathy and I are hoping to meet up in Omaha for a shopping day before school starts, so the summer shouldn't be a complete loss!

Well, I need to leave shortly to take Ben to Social Skills. I should try to get Sam down for a nap, too. He's been awfully demanding and whiny the past couple of days. That, in turn, tends to make me demanding and whiny! Well, that,and Ben has been up to his old tricks the past few days...grr - that kid! If he lives to adulthood, it may be a miracle!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I just discovered that my brother is now reading my blog, or at least here and there. Wow, that makes me feel great! And my mom has let it slip that she checks in every so often, too. I must be getting popular!

Speaking of feeling great, this week, I felt tremendous when I discovered that I won second place in the most recent FaithWriter's challenge! Oh, what a feeling! This was my first-ever fiction piece and I was a bit anxious over how it would be received. Fiction is tricky because not only does the writer have to get a point across (in 750 words or fewer) but believable characters with believable dialogue have to be developed, too. I submitted another fiction piece for this week - I'll find out this Thursday how I did. I already read through the other entries in my level - I think the competition is a little stiffer this week. But I did get my first comment on my story just this morning. The person that left it said that she enjoyed my "tender" story. I hadn't thought of it in that term before, but I can see it. I am just excited at how well my story from last week went over. I didn't make it yet into the "Editor's Picks" which are the pieces that will be published at year's end, but it's coming...sometime.

I went to the NICHE (homeschool) conference yesterday. This is the second or third year in a row now I've gone without Paul. It would be more helpful for me if he could make it one of these years. I found it somewhat stressful this year because I completely switched over the boys' curriculum in everything. We aren't using Bob Jones or Abeka anything this year, which is a first! The hardest thing for me was deciding on math for the boys. They both needed a change. The program I found that I really liked was also really expensive (Teaching Textbooks). It took me forever to decide - what should the deciding factor be? Should my children's' education or my bank account win out? I ended up compromising. I switched Will to Math U See for Alg. 2. I think it will definitely be a better thing for him than Abeka, which gave him fits this year. It's more audio teaching and they show every problem at the back of the teacher's book - the steps that it takes to get the right answer. And if he still has trouble this year, then I'll buy the other program for his Geometry next year. But for David, I went with the Teaching Textbooks. The price difference between that and Math U See, which he's been using for quite a few years now, wasn't that big. And you know what? I get home and that grouchy kid pouts, "But I wanted Math U See!" I could have smacked him, after all the mental energy I spent, deciding what to do.

I picked up two other books for Will that I wasn't planning on purchasing. One is called, "The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution." I am excited about this - in fact, I plan to read it first. The book is fun to read and written from a Christian standpoint. I don't even fully understand the US Constitution. But if a person listens to the media long enough, they're going to come to believe that it's a fluid, ever-changing, open-to-interpretation document. And that's simply not true. So, I think it's important that he read this book. They had a bunch of "Politically Incorrect" guides - the the Vietnam War, the Civil War, global warming, Islam, and etc. I would have loved to buy them all!

I also bought him this book on recognizing bad reasoning (and thereby developing good reasoning skills, I would assume). It's so important that we're able to see through what people assert and be able to make wise judgements on it. So I think that will be good for him, too.

David was a bit irritated that I bought him a handwriting workbook (he was really grouchy last night!). I can understand that it's written for the beginning writer, but I cannot read David's handwriting, even though he is older. He is so gifted with writing and words and I find it terribly frustrating to try and read what he has to say. And then he gets offended when I tell him, "I can't read this!" So I think we need to go back to basics for awhile and get that mastered. Otherwise, how will he ever be able to write love notes to his future wife?

The conference outgrew its former location and was held in downtown Des Moines this year. I loved the new facility, but hated where it was located. It was difficult to find a parking spot and then I got hit up for money by a homeless woman on my way out. I could do without all that. But it was really nice to have all the vendors in one big conference hall and not have to wend my way throughout this huge church where it used to be held.

And of course, I got to see my friend, Kathy. We seriously had not talked since early Dec. when we went shopping last. We were marvelling about that yesterday, how we are so close, but hardly ever talk to each other (we're too busy for the phone and she's never on the computer). I told her, "I talk to people I don't like more than I talk to you!" So her husband left us alone and we had lunch in the skywalk together. And then last night she called me when I was already at home. She had two bags of clothes for Sam that she had forgotten to give me earlier that day. So, Paul and I drove up to Fazolis, met Rich and Kathy, and had a nice supper with them, which was an unexpected treat.

I'll close with probably the highlight of yesterday. I was wandering through the curriculum hall when I ran into a mother from my church. I was so surprised to see her there because I know she works full time and her kids go to public school. I expressed my surprise and asked, "Why are you here?" (duh!) She looked at me with tears in her eyes, and said, "I have to get my kids out of public school." She and her family are going to be making tremendous sacrifices to make that happen now. She was overwhelmed with all the curriculum choices and isn't even sure how she's going to make this all work. But she's stepping out in faith, believing that this is God's will for their family. That touched me so much. This past year I really struggled with keeping the momentum going with homeschooling. It was probably a harder year for me than even the year that I had Sam and was recovering from the stroke - and that was hard! I think a lot of my struggles had to do with Ben and the ordeal of getting him back into school. But I let my focus slip this year and found myself more concerned about how hard it was to do all this, rather than the why of it. This conference I didn't attend a single workshop or session where I'd find my energy and purpose renewed for homeschooling. I didn't need to. Mishelle took care of that for me.

Camp Week

So much to blog about - I'll probably have to break this up into smaller posts.

This past week was probably the highlight of my entire year, which is going to sound really awful when I tell you why. 2/3 of my family was gone all week long and I LOVED it! It was the week of Jr. Boys camp and Ben and David were camping. Hoping to have Ben enjoy a better camp experience than he did last year, Paul went as one of the counselors. And then Will ended up working at camp (more on that later) that week. So it was just Sam and me all week long.

It was so fantastic to not have to break up any arguments, cook, or be constantly cleaning. When I did do some tidying up - it stayed that way! I rented a bunch of movies and got through 4 of the 6 I got. I got to stay up late every night and watched "My Name is Earl." That show cracks me up so much, but it is totally inappropriate for children, so I never get to watch it - which is not necessarily a bad thing. I would love to have another week like that!

I had no idea how much Sam could talk until this week. He's just a little jabbermouth. I did my bi-monthly shopping on Tuesday and oh, the energy of this kid! I was completely worn out by day's end, but he was still going, like the Energizer Bunny! Evidently, I've had no idea just how much Will, Ben, and David help out with him. I also found that he's a bit demanding. I think that's fairly typical for 2 yr olds, but it was just something that had escaped my notice until now. He was not willing to "wait" as I would tell him for whatever it was that he needed. I hope that has more to do with being two, anyway. If not, raising him might be a little more of a challenge than I was anticipating!

The guys all had a great week up at camp. Paul didn't have any seizures, which was my main concern. Ben had a good week, even. He was bothered when some kids were asking him how old he was and then when they found out, wanting to know why he was a jr. boys camp instead of jr. high. I think Paul was a little appalled at how mean some of the kids up there were - not our church's cabin, but there were enough incidents that had him really shaking his head. And then they have tornado sirens go off on Thursday night during Chapel. That freaked David out, naturally. But nothing happened. They got all the boys in the basement and the danger passed.

Now, about Will: He wasn't supposed to have a job this summer! Paul needs his help on the basement. But for the past 3 summers, Will has wanted to try out at camp for a job. They assign kids weeks to work based on their experience, maturity, and work ethic. I think I explained all this in an earlier post. Our pastor all but assured us that Will would not get any weeks to work because he hasn't been baptized which does indicate a heart condition. Plus, he'd never tried out before and this year they had a record number of teens trying out for positions. So we let him go to Water and Work week, knowing that he wouldn't get any weeks, but this way he could still have the experience of trying out. And Paul would have him around to help on the house. So, I go to pick up Will last week from getting back from Water and Work week and he tells me, "I got 3 weeks!" What?!? Evidently, he impressed them enough with his working abilities!

One of the weeks he got was Jr. Boys. We were so confident that he would be home this last week, that Paul already had a list of tasks he wanted Will to work on while he was gone with Ben and David. I was planning on Will watching Sam for me so I could go to the Home School conference, which was this past Friday and Saturday. So I had to put in an emergency, "help!" call to my folks because I had to get to the conference for at least one day.

This will be good for Will. He's washing pots and pans (which cracks me up because he thinks I'm being terribly unfair when I ask him to wash the dishes here at home!). Maybe it's different when you get paid to do it. In addition to getting paid, the camp will also take $75 off his Sr. High camp cost, for which I am thankful. Will will be gone for all but one week of July. He didn't sign up for anything in August because of football practice.

I just had to laugh last week after getting Will from church after the try-out week at camp. He was SO tired and only wanted to go to bed. But he couldn't because of the softball games (once again, an ordeal for poor me - have I mentioned just how much I dislike the final games and picnic of the softball season? If so, it bears repeating!) He wailed, "I only got 8 hours of sleep every night!" Oh, to be so put upon that I would only ever get 8 hours of sleep a night...

So, that's the report on this last week. Now we're all back together - for two weeks, anyway, until Will goes back up. As I tackle this ceiling-high pile of laundry my men brought back, I keep telling myself, "It's a good thing, it's a good thing!" If I say it long enough, maybe I'll eventually believe it?!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


You know it's going to be a rough day when the first sound penetrating your consciousness is that of your children bickering. Actually, "bickering" is too mild of a word. How about, "If Mom wasn't in the next room I'd have my hands around your throat and be bashing your head into the floor" That's more like it. And it hasn't gotten any better since I've been up. Sigh...

Well, I did it. Last night I wrote my first piece of fiction since 1993. I just remember the year because I started a story (and never finished it, of course) in the early months of our marriage when Paul was working all day and often all evening and I had not been successful in finding a job yet. I was bored silly, so I remember sitting down with a notebook and pencil. I never did it again until last night for FaithWriters. It really was not that difficult. It's just a silly, 750 word piece about a 30- something gal hoping to find love. I'll be curious to see how it's received by the FaithWriter's community. After that foray into fiction, I may find myself scurrying back to the comfortable land of Devotionals!

Paul got his check today, and as is customary, he called me with the numbers. Things have been so, so tight since the first of the year, and especially in the last couple of months since we started paying these higher insurance premiums. We're regularly dipping into Savings just to cover bills. And that account won't last forever, particularly since that's where the basement funds are coming from. It's beyond stressful. At the same time, my expenditures have gone up. Normally, I budget $350 for food and necessities for every two week period. It's not enough anymore. I know we're not alone and I don't want to sound whiny, because God is providing. In fact, with the last paycheck we were more than $600 short and within 2 weeks Paul had earned more than that in side jobs. So, it does work out - usually. Nobody's starving here yet and we're current on the mortgage. But I've just seen a real shift since I started handling our money two years ago. The shift is not a pleasant one, either! I suppose it's a combination of the economy, as well as increased expenses as the boys are getting older. And it's the insurance, too. Anyway, Paul's numbers today were good. It was so nice to be able to go through our expenses for the next couple of weeks and to not fall short at the end. I get so worked up over finances and it was a blessing to not have that this pay period. Paul sold three AC systems, which was a big help! We'll probably be back to scrambling by the next pay period, but I'm just going to enjoy this one...

I bought Paul some new underwear the other day. There's nothing like getting ready to go out of town to bring on the underwear buying! He's going to camp next week with Ben and David and I suddenly realized that he probably wouldn't have enough undies to make it through the week (I do laundry almost daily here at home, so it's not really an issue here). I ended up having to do the same with Will last Sunday. He's gone this week at Water and Work week and informed me he didn't have any underwear. I strongly suspect they are hiding with his socks, no doubt balled up and stuck between his mattress and the wall, or in the corners of his bedroom...but anyway, I bought this package of undies for Paul. Sam saw it laying on my bed and pointed it and said, "Daddy diapers!" I thought it was cute!

Oh, and back to God's provision: UPS delivered a box this week, which was a surprise to me because I haven't ordered anything lately. It was from Paul's sister. She sent a bunch of her 18 yr old's outgrown clothing, mostly shorts and jeans this time. Will loves it because it's brands that we can't (won't) buy - Billibong, Tommy Hilfiger, Hollister, etc. I'm always grateful for the hand-me-downs and between her and other families from church who pass along their kids' outgrown clothes, there's not a whole lot I have to buy for the boys. We just got several sacks last week, too, that time, mostly for Sam. We do the same thing with the stuff that the boys outgrow. I can't bring myself to sell anything because of all we've been given! Plus, the thought of sitting outdoors all day having a garage sale does not appeal to me at all!

Although, I did sell my diaper pail this week on Craig's List. But that wasn't a gift - I did buy that originally. Sam isn't fully trained yet, but that thing took up so much space in the bathroom that I just wanted it gone and figured we could get by with the regular garbage.

I do have more to write, but I need to get back to my buns. I'm making homemade hamburger buns today. I'm back on my "frugal" kick and I'm trying to figure out ways to save money by buying less. I know buns are only $1.17 for 8, but still - it's cheaper to make them! I also made my own all-purpose cleaner this week and I plan to try to make some bubble bath later. One thing I did was to purchase a whole bunch of 1/2 C size ziploc containers (bowls). I had gotten into the habit of purchasing a lot of prepackaged fruits and pudding cups. They're very handy because of the size and I liked how the boys would actually eat fruit if it was ready to go in the bottom of the fridge. So, I bought these re-usable containers and filled them up with my own pudding, jello, and fruit. They're eating them and it was definitely cheaper (and healthier, I'm guessing) to do it this way.

I'm getting to know the neighbor gal better these days. Her 6 y r old is over here all the time because we have boys at our house and he only has sisters. She just came to the door wanted to know if she could take David with her kids to go see some buffalo at a wildlife refuge nearby. I didn't know we had buffalo in Iowa, let alone so close! He'll enjoy that and best of all, it will separate he and Ben for awhile.

Well, back to my buns!

Lacking Good Manners

Well, it happened again - only worse this time! You may not remember, but I vividly recall venting in a past blog post about the quality of written thank you notes. At that time I was highly irritated because I had received a note from a high school graduates mother (I recognized her handwriting) thanking me for the gift for her son and then signing his name as if the graduate himself had written it.

I am trying not to be grouchy about this, but it's not working well. We sent some money to a recent grad, and this week we got a card that had "Thank You" enscribed across the front by the card maker. On the inside, in the mother's handwriting, was "for the gift. Love _____" Argh! Where do I even begin with that?! I suppose I should look at the bright side - at least we got a thank you. I cannot tell you the number of times that we have given gifts and never were given an acknowledgement. And I know that is not the reason we are supposed to give gifts. At the same time, there is a social courtesy expected from the recipient of the gift and it just grates on me when I see high school graduates (or recently married people) apparently not having the brains to be able to compose a note or the gratitude to even take the time to express their appreciation.

Is this not taught in school anymore? I can remembering laboring over pretend thank you notes in elementary school. We were instructed on the proper format of the note and then required to express appreciation for the pretend gift, issue a statement about the gift itself, or if it was money, how we intended to use it, and then wrap up the note with a warm statement. Then we used the proper ending of "Sincerely" or "Love" and signed our names. Etiquette books still say that only handwritten notes are proper, but honestly, anymore, I'd be content with an email or a phonecall. Ok, I said I was trying not to be grouchy. I'm quickly crossing the line into grouchiness, so I'd better change the subject...

We had a date last Friday night. We went to the Olive Garden. I don't think we had been there since before we moved in '04. But first, we had to go to some people's house, where Paul had a side job of fixing their AC. So, I chatted with the husband and wife for 2 hours. That's not quite true. I listened for 2 hours to the husband and wife talk. I think I got asked 2 questions the entire time I was there. Otherwise, it was all about them! I even got to look through their wedding album and wedding pictures from their son's marriage. They must have been lonely and I honestly did enjoy my time with them. But just the same, I hope I'm not that self-absorbed in 30 years.

Ben had his social skills class this past Tues. One of the girls in the class is about his age and she has obvious problems of controlling her temper. She has special needs, but I would say her biggest need is self-control. She's had outbursts from time to time when we've been there, but Tuesday she was over the top. Ben's group meets in a room with the door closed and we could hear this girl screaming in anger. I had David and Sam with me and David immediately became fearful, convinced this girl was going to come out and attack him. Sam had been busy playing, but he stopped, his little nose twitching, as he nervously waited to see what would happen next. The girl ended up running out of the room and down the hall. Different staff members attempted to calm her down. And then she came out to the waiting room where we were. I thought David was going to have a heart attack on the spot! It really, really bothered me. Three times this girl exploded in anger during class and I determined that if she did it again, I was going to march in there and take Ben home. I don't want him exposed to that obvious lack of self control. Besides, what if she attacked Ben in a fit of anger?

That ended up being it and we stayed for the rest of class. But it still bothers me to think about it. I ended up using it a teaching time for the boys, explaining to them that if this girl does not get her temper under control she will eventually probably end up in jail. We do not allow the boys to throw tantrums like that and I don't want them, Ben especially, thinking that it is ok. I understand that kids on the autism spectrum have problems with self-control. We've dealt with that with Ben and I've blogged about it before. So I'm not sure what to do, if anything. The whole purpose of that class is to teach kids on the spectrum how to handle their intense feelings in proper ways. I don't think that girl was listening. And I'm afraid that all the other kids learned more from her Tuesday than they did from the teacher.

A couple of weeks ago Ben's teacher, Mr. K, had to take a couple of days off work to go be with his mother who suffered a mild stroke. I shared with him how I'd been through that and a few things for him to watch for with his mother. I then wrote him an email because I had a question about some dates he had sent me regarding summer classes for Ben. At the end of the note I let him know that I was praying for his mother and I understood the position he was in, having responsibilities here, but needing to be available to his mom, as well. I didn't think anything of it, other than pausing at the "praying for" part. But I put it in anyway. We've got no reason to hide our Christianity just because we're dealing with a public school. When he came back, Mr. K ran out to my van one day and just repeatedly expressed how grateful he was for my note and for my prayers, especially. I think he was really touched! And that, in turn, touched me. Maybe being a witness is the whole reason Ben is in school.

Oh, speaking of strokes - my left side has been so achy and dead since I had that big mini-stroke 2 weeks ago. My face isn't quite right, my eye is straining again, and my left arm is weaker than normal. It almost makes me think I should call my dr. But what could he do? I had that MRI and EEG last summer and it showed absolutely nothing. And I'm still paying on those tests! Now that our deductible has gone up 2.5 times, I really have no desire to have more testing done, especially if it doesn't yield any answers. I have noticed that the symptoms are worse the more tired I get, so I'm pretty sure there is a connection. That mini stroke was a little odd because I got so dizzy with it and that's never happened before. But there's nothing left to test! So, I don't know. Maybe it will go away. I've been a little heavy lately on the junk food so I probably should ease up on that, too. Overall health is going to definitely affect these spells, I would think.

Well, the sky has darkened. I bet we're in for some rain, which means these kids are going to be tracking mud into the house :(

The boys have their softball games Sat. and the picnic. I dread that Saturday more than any other throughout the whole year. But, there's a possibility it may be rained out this Sat. It's going to be hard to keep from grinning if I have to tell the boys their games have been called off! Of course, I won't be grinning if I'm already out in the fields and then the skies open up, drenching me. That has happened before, by the way.

Back to my to-do list...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Political Play

I have about 5 minutes before I have to make the boys' lunch, eat, and get Ben ready for school - and then take him to school. So, I'll fill it with one of my favorite activities!

Saturday was a really neat morning for us. We went to see Chuck Norris at a Bob Vander Plaats rally. It was raining that morning so Paul ended up not having to work. The extra time would have been nice, money-wise, but I was thankful to have Paul driving, since I wasn't sure how big of a crush this thing would be or what. It turned out to be located right across the street from Loziers! We all just stood around for awhile as people milled in. They soon set up some chairs in the front row and when I heard they were for the elderly and handicapped, I had Ben sit down. I was really grateful they were doing that because I wasn't sure how long Ben's legs would hold out. Well, when I had Ben sit down, I was quickly informed by one of the people setting up that these chairs were not for my kid. I nicely informed him otherwise, and he was then tripping over himself, apologizing. I assured him it was ok. I don't expect people to be able to tell Ben has needs just by looking at him. Generally, it's his behavior that tips people off, anyway!

But anyway, Ben had a nice seat and we were able to stand by him. The rally was terrific. I had so much fun watching David, who was literally quivering with excitement as he waited for Chuck Norris' appearance. He had told me all week long he wanted to get Chuck's autograph and I had warned him that was really unlikely to happen. I envisioned us in an auditorium of some sort, stuck in the balcony in the back row. But it was just this big open building on a campground. But we were right up front and afterwards, the Vander Plaats and Norrises made their way across it. David got his autograph, and as you can see, Will even got picture with his hero!

One thing I thought was neat was when the Vander Plaats got to Paul, he told them how we had been able to watch a dvd of them that had been recorded in March at a church in Indianola (not our's). The dvd was simply Bob telling the story of his severely disabled son, Lucas, and how that experience led him into a personal relationship with Christ. He could have used that Sunday morning appearance to campaign, but he didn't. Paul and I watched it and, as Ben's parents, it really touched us. Well, when Paul shared this with them, both Bob and Darla wanted to meet Ben, so we pushed him up to the front. They shook his hand and Darla commented on his curly hair.

We got out around noon, went to Burger King, and then to Menards. It ended up being just a really nice family outing.

Now, unfortunately - for us, the state of Iowa, and the nation - Bob didn't win last night. Terry Brandstad got it. I haven't heard yet the final percentages, but when I went to bed there was something like a 10 point spread between the two. I'm disappointed and a little fearful. I think Bob Vander Plaats would have really done something for Iowa. I don't believe Branstad will do anything. And, what's frightening, is that many Democrats backed him and contributed to his campaign! Paul says he absolutely won't vote for Branstad in Nov. I don't know what to do. I don't want to vote for him - I know I'll feel like I'm participating in something unethical and dirty if I do. But yet, I don't want to risk Culver getting re-elected, either. So, I'm going to have to do some praying on this one between now and Nov. 2 (which will also be Will's 16th birthday - hope it's a good day for everyone!)

Now I need to - sadly - go pull my Vander Plaats sign out of the front yard. He would have been good, he really would have.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Life Well-Written

Here is the piece I wrote a few weeks ago that won 3rd place at the Intermediate level for FaithWriters. I had tried for so long to break into that top 3, and this is the one that finally did it. I haven't entered anything since because they've had very odd topics to write on and my brain has been too preoccupied and my time too short to ponder my way around a difficult topic. I actually was going to enter one week and it was going to be my first attempt at fiction writing. And then I got home and our power was out, due to a storm! So, that one is still half written in my head. Now this next week I am thinking I might be able to enter. Our topic is "library or bookstore" - intriguing. I'm already having some thoughts run through my mind on those topics. Maybe I'll actually enter a fiction piece! That, by the way, scares me to death. I can do devotionals, but fiction, and (gasp) conversations frighten me. I guess it's too easy to screw up.

Anyway, here's my piece. We were given the topic of "The Manuscript" and I took it from there in, evidentally, a unique way, as so many pointed out to me.

A Life Well-Written

I am a reader. I have been in love with words since my preschool years when I taught myself to read. While my first grade classmates struggled to sound out the simple syllables that would describe Dick and Jane’s antics, I had already read ahead and discovered that the sibling duo didn’t get any more interesting as the reader progressed!

My childhood summers were spent curled up on my bed as I delighted in the antics of Nancy Drew, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Trixie Belden, and Heidi of the Switzerland Alps - just to name a few. By the time I was an adult I had consumed hundreds of books. When my brothers acted up, they got sent to their rooms. When I acted up, I lost my books! I didn't act up often.

As an adult, my love affair with reading has continued. My husband has snorted in disgust more than once after he thought he was talking to me, only to discover that I had my nose buried in a book the entire time. I keep a book in nearly every room of the house and my chief luxury is my nightly bubble bath, reading material included!

So, it’s not surprising that I tend to think in “literary” terms. One thought I’ve had frequently over the years is about how I regard my life. When a new beginning occurs, I’ll comment, “A new chapter has begun.” Just the same, when I’ve come to the end of a season of life, I’ll think in terms of, “A chapter has ended.” Just like the books I devour, my life is a manuscript of sorts.
As I think about this manuscript of my life I can’t help but ponder about how I want it to read. I have read some books that were so wonderful and convicting that I thought about them long after I had closed the back cover. A few I have read numerous times because they were so thought-provoking. Some inspired me to think differently and even to make some life changes. I want the manuscript of my life to be the same.

The beginning of my manuscript starts the same as everyone else’s, with the date and description of my birth. It will end the same as everyone else’s will, too, with the date of my death. But it’s the pages between that will tell the story. My greatest desire is that when my story is read, my readers will see Jesus. There are numerous chapters in my manuscript as events changed in my life. There are sad parts of the book, exciting parts, a little adventure, and probably a bit too much drama. But through the changes, the constant factor has been my relationship with Christ and how He carried me through, chapter to chapter. This is my deepest desire as my manuscript is being written, day by day.

Thinking along these same lines, it also occurred me to me awhile ago that while my own life is a manuscript in the writing process, I am also writing four other pieces. You see, I am a mother and while my children are mine, particularly during their growing-up years, I am writing upon their lives. Ultimately, my children will be responsible for their own manuscript. But I like to think that they are also my message to future generations. As I “write” upon my children - passing on my values, instilling character within them, training them to love and serve the Lord - I am influencing not only them, but their children and their children’s children. It is an awesome responsibility and so often I wish I had a bigger “eraser” for all the mistakes I have made along the way.

So what are you writing today? Will your manuscript be one that is a pleasant read, but perhaps one without a great deal of substance? Or will etched into every line be the story you want handed down to your descendents - the story of a life surrendered completely to the One who created it?

Write wisely.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


There's Paul, laying blocks. He and Will got quite a bit done on Monday, which is so nice. We still have a big hole out there, but now it looks more dignified, like we have a plan! Paul hasn't gotten any more done this week because we've had rain and he's been on call. But hopefully, he will this weekend.

That means that I'll probably be taking the boys to see their hero alone, which I am dreading. Chuck Norris is coming to Des Moines Saturday morning to stump for Bob Vanderplats, who wants to be governor. I am planning to vote for him in the primary anyway, even without Chuck's encouragement. But when the boys heard about this, they were wild to go, so we're going. I am fearful it's going to be a huge crush, though and a nightmare with parking and getting into the arena.

I heard an interesting opinion on the radio the other day. The speaker - and I can't even remember which conservative talk show host it was - said that if Vanderplats gets the nomination, then it will ensure Gov. Culver's re-election. Culver is awful and not just because he's a Democrat. He's spineless, brainless, gutless, and spend-happy and he needs to be a minor postscript in Iowa's history. So the Republican powers that be have dusted off an old Iowa relic of Terry Branstad, who was governor for 16 years back in the 80's and 90s, persuaded him to give up his half a million dollar salary heading up Des Moines University, and pushed him back into the arena. We don't want him! But he is the favored candidate right now for the Republican nomination. But it's not over until after next Tuesday, so I'm not going to fret about it until then.

I ran across an interesting verse this week in a Christian novel I was reading. It's a verse I've heard gazillions of times, but it really struck me in regards to my thoughts that I posted last week regarding Ben. Isaiah 55:8: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways, says the Lord." It fits with the direction that my thoughts were beginning to roll on Sunday night. Our pastor just started preaching on the minor prophets and he started with Hosea. Now, I have had an interest in that book ever since reading "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers, which was a more modern day take on the book of Hosea. As I sat there listening to Pastor the question ran across my mind, "Why would God ask Hosea to do such a thing (marry a prostitute who would cheat on him continually in their marriage, even giving birth to children that weren't his)? Yes, it was God's message to Israel, but why did He make Hosea have to go through so much suffering just to relay His message? Couldn't there have been a way that wouldn't have involved so much personal suffering on Hosea's part?

And then I read that verse a day or two later and my thoughts have just kind of been snowballing. What if our situation with Ben is for a greater purpose than we can see now? More than likely, it is. If God needs to use our family and our lives to do something, then how can I protest? Maybe this doesn't have so much to do with us or even Ben, but for something far greater than we can see. Our lives are such a blip in time, that really we ought to be at God's disposal for whatever he needs to do. Just some thoughts...

And I suppose this has been a good week to have these thoughts because after our 2 week hiatus of Ben being heavenly, he's back to being his awful, rotten self. I've had several rough days with him this week and I am already dreading the end of ESY after next week! Today was his first day of that. In fact, I have to leave in a few minutes to go pick him up from that.

I got some good news on Will's Language scores this week. I talked with a veteran homeschool mom at church the other night and she suggested that we switch to another curriculum. She told me we only have to have Will take 3 years of English, unlike the 4 I thought he was required to have. What she has used with her kids with good success is a program called Alpha Omega and apparently it's just a series of workbooks. If I start Will at the freshman level again and have him work through the summers then we should be able to get through all 4 levels by the time he graduates - and if we don't, that's ok, too. So this way I'll be able to just keep his bad grade off his transcript.

And that will be good because I called State Farm this week to find out if we had to insure Will now that he is driving alone with his school permit. We don't. He's covered under our insurance until he turns 16 this fall. But they went on to tell me that they give discounts for young drivers completing some safety programs they offer, as well as having consistently good grades. So, we need to keep those grades as high as possible! I figured I'd tell Will that we'd pay the discounted rate, but if he ever no longer qualified for that, then he'd be paying the difference!

We had our first co-op pick-up Tuesday and it went really well. I ordered everything just right - so relieved! Now I don't have to dread this again for another 8 weeks!

I had to buy Will some new tennis shoes yesterday. He's been getting his shoes for several years now at Walmart because they are usually cheaper than Payless. Right after Christmas I bought him some really, really cheap ones they brought in - for $12. They didn't last very long, so he was still a size 13. We bought some better ones yesterday (well, higher-priced, anyway. They all come from China, so it's hard to say if they're any better quality) and I got to looking at the shelves. Walmart doesn't stock their shoes higher than a size 13, which is what Will is wearing now. Where are we going to go another 6 months from now when he's outgrown this size? I would assume some of those athletic shoe outfitters out at the malls would carry larger sizes, but that's going to really up the price - ugh! He got his big feet from me. Paul only wears a 12. But it's funny. Last night a family at church gave us a bag of clothes that had been through their 3 boys, the youngest of whom is almost 12. Will can almost always wear what they give us. And he's 15 1/2! And I don't think he's a super-slender kid, but he's smaller than some people, anyway. But not his feet!

This week Sam has been grabbing pieces of paper, scribbling on them, and then showing me, saying, "See! It say 'Sam Heywood'" He even wrote on his arm yesterday, telling me the same thing. If he wasn't so cute and smart, I might be more worried! I may look at some preschool materials at the homeschool conference for him. I'm not a big preschool advocate and I have no desire to push kids into learning before they need to. But, if Sam is ready - why not? If I do anything, I'll be very loose about it, though. If he has an interest and wants to do something with workbooks, that's one thing. But if he'd still rather spend his days playing, then that's perfectly ok, too. He won't even be three until late October. David didn't read until 9 1/2. There's plenty of time for formal education yet and I've learned enough now to know that you can't be very successful about forcing learning if the child just isn't ready.

Well, it's time to go get Ben. Tonight I have a city council meeting. I'd like to get out and paint my window trim today, but I don't want to be all messy for the meeting. So maybe I'll wait until tomorrow. Until later - meditate on the above verse this weekend. I know I will be.