30 November 2008

Setting the Captives Free

Jesus came to set the captives FREE! Did you know that there are millions of slaves in the world even today? And that many are children in the sex trade? This broadcast on Family Life Today was a real eye-opener for me. We talk about "freedom" and such in very general terms, but I'm sure these people in true bondage could tell us that that's not really what it's all about. If you have a little extra time, I'd strongly encourage you to take a listen to these broadcasts. God bless ya!

29 November 2008

New Addiction.

Click to Mix and Solve
Have you tried online puzzles? I went to this site and you can adjust the puzzles from very easy to impossible. What I like about them is that they don't force-fit. I'm one of those people who will bend puzzle pieces all kinds of ways until they fit. If I think they fit. :]

28 November 2008

Scrolls. And Blueberry Bread.

We needed some berry juice to make this ink, so we made blueberry bread. Our scrolls are some paper that came with packages, held by two sticks. Emperor's reads, "Flee from temptations," but he rolled it up before it was dry. Elf wanted to write something very long but I dissuaded him, thinking it would be practically impossible to write a lengthy piece of prose with a straw and some blueberry juice. I find, however, that his writing is reasonably passable and he may have been a good pioneer student with a quill pen. Poor Emperor. He's so very smart, but so very energetic. I have gotten upset at him several times for charging through the kitchen while the stove is on. Mom let him know that when he flees from temptation next time, he has to do it slowly when the stove is on in the kitchen.

27 November 2008

My Linty Coat.

Well, I've been taking this lint shaver and fixing up my coat for winter. D came in and said, "That would be GREAT to use while you're wearing it!"
"Aargh," I told him. "The directions SPECIFICALLY tell you not to do that. It has razors inside it, for crying out loud! Don't you know you could CUT YOURSELF doing that? That would be reeeeally stupid to do."
D comes in and claims maybe the lint shaver would be good for his beard instead.
"AAargh!" I said. "The directions SPECIFICALLY tell you not to do that. It will pull your skin in and cut it! Don't you see these big holes on the bottom! That would be really dangerous!"
D comes in and says the lint shaver would be good for hedge clipping.
"Have you been reading the directions so you could come in and bug me about each thing you're NOT supposed to do!?" Wait. NOW I've caught him! He's pulling my leg because we don't have any hedges! Silly D thought he could fool me but I was too smart for him!

25 November 2008

Cranberry Sauce

******* Today, we made real cranberry sauce using cranberries, water and sugar. The children hate the canned cranberries that aren't perfectly jellied, but they'll eat this kind they made at home, which is pretty much the same thing. Only fresher. We were going to use a recipe for "ink" we found online using berries, but cranberries just do NOT fit the bill for that. Their juice is entirely too light.

How About YOU?

"What is the hardest place to take your autistic child?" asks the Bishop's Wife.

For us, that depends on which child we're discussing! G is perfectly fine just about anywhere, but saves all of his "difficult moments" for our at-home time. Usually he strongly prefers to give us unending trouble during long breaks or other "unstructured" time. Then at church or around town we're asked how we ENJOY our Christmas break. It's lovely, thanks...

BEST of all, he gets himself into so much trouble that we can't let him play Nintendo or other games during this long, awful break. I wish he'd just nod his head and say "Yes, Ma'am," like the oldest does when he disagrees with me. You know, just pretend to go along with whatever... so I can feel respected, and then he can go off and do what he wants to do? Kind of a trade thing. G doesn't deal in that currency, though. He just notices when HE is feeling disrespected. Rather tough to "respect" the kid who screams at the top of his lungs, calls you a jerk, jumps and flails for hours about how no one loves him and everyone just wants his vast wealth of $2 per week (before tithe!). We're out to make money off him, ya know.

Sigh. Glad we're not in one of those bouts right now. :] Things are actually going pretty well on the G front. He has signed up for wrestling, which combined with his two-mile walk home gets some of that extra aggressive energy out. We get "tired" Mr. G here at home now. I like him that way LOL!

Elf, on the other hand, is very easy to deal with. He just doesn't handle other people very well, or rather, other people don't quite know how to handle him. He has to have the same seat each week. Please don't change the routine. If you think he might get upset, that's a good time to talk about how the Keebler elves deal with the situation (no, I'm not kidding).

How do you handle "outsiders" who have no idea what is going on and offer "advice?" Usually I tell them to go *$*# off, with appropriate hand gestures and threats of butt-kickin' if they keep staring. OK, that's just what I FEEEEEEL like doing but of course would never do. I usually meekly tell them that they must be right... and oh, fish oil and snake tongue helps your second cousin's best friend's autistic kid? Oh, and biofeedback ABA therapy with a twist of lime? Wonderful. Next time I have $20 grand sitting round in my pocket, I think I'll take your advice! Thanks so much! So good of you to share how that kid is "cured" and we're only messed-up because we didn't do things your way!

Oh, ok, ok. Really what do I do? I pretend to listen to them and say I'll bring it up to the doctor or hmm... nice thought. Then I'll get home and BLOG ABOUT WHAT JERKS I DEAL WITH. Then I will yell at my kids for embarrassing me.

Then I will realize that God uses situations like this to show me how messed up *I* am. In the end, it isn't about my kid's autism. Or anybody else. It's about God and how His standards are impossible to live up to, at least for really bad people like me. It's a real shame that Jesus calls people into accountability for their attitudes as well as their actions. That's the really hard part! That I have to forgive people who are mean, rotten and nasty instead of calling the ol' fire down from heaven. Bummer.

Did you read this whole thing? Wow.

22 November 2008


Picked this book up at Michael's craft store for about $5. It has "how to" step-by-step instructions on drawing monsters. After we drew some monsters, I had the boys make and cut out their own symmetrical monsters, draw background and tape the monster down. Elf's monster has glasses because Elf got very upset thinking about how this large monster can't see people, and keeps stepping on them and killing them... *sniff* because he can't see... Well, I think I've fixed it because Emperor had some pink paper left over. Elf thinks pink is a strange colour for the monster's glasses but I assured him that NO ONE would make fun of his monster's glasses considering that the frog-monster accidentally squishes very tall trees without them. Emperor's monster must see very well (with all those eyes!) and lives in the lava.

21 November 2008

Oh, My Word, I'm A MAN!!

Who knew?? Well, my blog has been analyzed as being 52% likely to have been written by a man. So all y'all out there who were wondering about me, there ya go. Hat tip: Holy Coast blog.

It's Too EASY.

I have taught Elf and Emperor to play Clue. Naturally, I'll act all suspicious of "Colonel Mustard" when I have his card right in my hand. Elf will about BUST because he KNOWS I have Colonel Mustard there and can't tell. I can make some offhand remark about how, you know, it's really probably that Professor Plum character we need to look out for. Because Elf is making his way to the ROOM where the murder happened. And we both know it.

Elf is mad when Emperor jumps to "suspect" Professor Plum in the next turn... pulling Elf's character all the way across the board away from the ROOM in question. I laugh gleefully. Next turn I 'suggest' that Colonel Mustard is the bad guy in the dining room, and wouldn't you know Emperor shouts his ACCUSATION against the Colonel during the next turn?

Bwa ha haaa. He opened the envelope in the next room. You could tell each card was a tragedy. NO!!! he'd yell. Then silence.



"But I got most of them right!" he smirks as he enters the kitchen again. This leads Elf to make a faulty accusation in the next turn. Nope, he didn't bother to "suspect" first, either.

This is too easy.

20 November 2008

Elf Wins!

Apparently, since Dad got his hand pictured on the blog after he won against Mom at Parcheesi, Elf is entitled to a photograph and several reader comments as well. His pieces are, of course, the green ones. Elves like green, especially if they're little woodland elves who work in the Keebler factory.

Insufficient Funds.

Well, we have to have spending priorities, or we're going to see that phrase a lot. Worse still, having "insufficient funds" doesn't get you out of the overdraft charges. Oh... and even worse still, in this beautiful day of electronic banking, your checks can get bounced about a billion times before you figure out what's going on and do whatever it is you have to do to rectify the situation.

I find the financial world befuddling. Perhaps that's why I vote more on social issues than whether my economics trickle down from some rich guy who buys property in Montana. I'm figuring if you're honest, forthright and moral, you can't go far wrong. Though I'm sure there are plenty of honest, forthright and moral people in poverty. I just like to think that they don't maliciously pass bad checks in their personal lives, and wouldn't want to bankrupt our country. Well, I think that.

Now, I'm not saying there aren't certain economic principles out there that really work. More that, the more I understand about markets and demand, the more I realize that these experts are really just taking educated guesses when they appear on TV and tell us how "the economy" is going to do.

"The economy." It's just so nebulous to me. Suppose about ten million people make Big American Widgets at various US companies, but no one wants to buy widgets this year from American suppliers. OH NO. The companies spent years designing the thing in their own versions and rigging the assembly lines across the US to make this kind of widget. They can't just make a different kind tomorrow, or tell their workers they are now earning three dollars an hour because that's all their labour is really worth in this market. ("Hey, supply and demand, baby. Tough noogie." See how well that goes over with the Feds... they get picky like that.)

They need some help from the government or they're going to go under. Let's not kid ourselves and think that it won't affect YOU when all those workers can't buy groceries or pay their mortgages.

But we can't stop there. Big American Mortgage companies and "Home Equity" companies and "Home Improvement" companies need money, too. People need to get back taking out Big American Mortgages and "Home Equity" loans so they can go back to buying Big American Widgets. BIG AMERICAN WIDGETS needs help NOW!!

And you know, I don't think that by "widgets," I mean just fancy cars. I think the problem comes from overspending, period. You want what you don't have and use credit to get it. I know I sure do, or I wouldn't have a house to live in. I'd be in some slummy apartment, paying way more than the place is really worth on a month-to-month basis because I couldn't scrape together $150,000 cash to plunk down all at once.

So here's what we did. We figured that we'd take a chance and buy a house. (Well, we got a mortgage and I guess we own about half of it now. Um... maybe a lot less if things keep going downhill.) We knew when we bought the house that home values could go down. Yes, we did. I don't know where all these stupid people the newscasters come up with went to school, but it's just such a basic concept that no one should leave the eighth grade without understanding that commodities can go up or down in value. "Value" simply means, "what others are willing to pay for something." And guess what? At least so far here in America, no one is mandating that I personally go out and buy a product or else.

Oh, wait. Yes, they do. It's called auto insurance. Well, scrap that. You knew what I meant, though.

But widgets! What's the solution to get everyone to buy American products?

A Recent Pic of Emperor.

Emperor's a bit of a duckling right now. Can you see that he snipped his hair, right next to the scalp, in the middle? Around it are my attempts (feeble) to even it out. He has lost two teeth on the bottom and the top two are wiggly. Lookit those cheeks, though. His skin is soft and perfect, too. He could never be ugly. We'll just say that he's going through an awkward phase, though.

19 November 2008

Pioneer Log House.

If the pioneers were all about seven, and had to build their log cabins out of pretzel sticks and peanut butter, not many of them would have survived the long, cold winter. This is in part because little children like to eat candy houses. How did the wicked witch in the Hansel and Gretel story ever make it through a good hailstorm? It's what I want to know. Thanks, Zimms Zoo, for this fun idea. It was too cool to wait 'till Tuesday to make.

Snuffly Girlie.

I follow her around with a hot washcloth to wipe her nose. She sees me coming and tries to hide her face... but I'm stronger than she is. Poor lil kiddo. Do you see she's getting two teeth on the bottom and has just eaten squash? I'm not sure how we're going to marry this one off. She's messy and prefers her brothers' clothes. But she likes talking and just sitting near friends. She is a wonderful imitator of sounds. I will be asking Woodjie, are you DONE with food? DONE? DONE? And I'll hear DONE... but it isn't Woodjie. It's the Girlie. She will be talking for him before long.

18 November 2008

How To Frustrate Mathies.

Little mathies like Emperor would HATE public school. He's the kind who instinctively get the answer correct, but couldn't tell you how he did it. Or worse, he can tell you how, but you don't understand the explanation because it makes no sense. (Would YOU multiply 55 x 13 by multiplying 13 by 50 and then adding it to 5 x 13? In your head? Or do long division like that and not show your work? Me neither. But I guess he likes doing it that way, which is fine until we get to 52834 x 234, in which case he will learn that he should have listened to Mom and done it her way. But I think by then he'll have figured out some other strange method. Love him.) Lefty gives us the rundown on how teachers "ration" grades so that everyone feels warm n fuzzy about themselves and get a nice, average B. Level the playing field. A little snippet:

1. Don't collect homework; leave it up to kids to hand things in. Many smart but disorganized children will lose points to this.

2. Grade via inflexible rubrics that contain at least one "visual" dimension (color, creativity, neatness) that disfavors the artistically impaired. That way, no matter how well a smart, non-artistic kid does on the more academic components, he'll still fall short of a top grade. All the better if you design the entire assignment to strike both smart kids and their parents as inane. That way many of these parents won't bother to make sure their unmotivated children fulfill all the requirements.

Like it? Pop by and read the rest. She's also the mother of an autistic child, so I "hear" her in other academics as the young man's teacher, unfortunately, does not.

I Deal With This a Lot.

Emperor wants all the baby things. He wears bibs constantly in the house. I've found him tucking bibs up under his shirt to bring to church. "Everyone loves babies!" he reasoned. "If I wear a bib, people will like me and forget how annoying I am." Awww. I took the bib away anyway. And, yes, I heard reports later about how "annoying" he was in church, too. He has just lost two teeth and given himself a haircut. A more recent picture would be considerably less flattering. This one is from last week.

17 November 2008

Financial Stimulus Voucher!

We done gots ourselves a free key with this here financial stimulus voucher package, too. If the key works, it's OURS. D pointed out that since they sent the key in the mail, it's ours anyway. But look! Doesn't it look like the car place is trying to put one over on the not-so-sophisticated shopper? You know, the one who might think that he's getting some sort of bailout?

Building Log Cabins

***** Snow is going to be flying soon, so what better time to imagine Frontier living? We tried stacking some sticks to make a resemblance to log-rolling, but that sure didn't work. I think the pioneers had to have been very careful as to which logs to select. Apparently you need reasonably straight ones to make a house.

So we tried making our own home with brown paper, milk cartons and a construction-paper roof. I think that worked out a bit better, although it wouldn't hold up very well outdoors. Note the attempt at a "wood shingle" roof and the boys each wanted to colour the pioneers' garden that our book tells us had to be planted the SECOND year the settlers were there. The first year is all about selecting a homesite and getting those walls up before the cold weather traps and freezes you on the open prarie.

15 November 2008

Parental Accountability and School Marketing?

Oh, boy.

I was following this link that was posted on Dennis's blog to learn more on "how to restore order and respect in public schools." And Dennis did an awesome job of presenting a positive synopsis of the major problems and methods for handling discipline in large suburban and urban schools. But what struck me was that some of these educators started discussing parental "accounability" and hopes that the Obama administration was somehow going to teach to the "whole child." Frightening, indeed.

More than that, at least one discussed how local media needs to be "marketed" to so that it portrays public schools in a good light. We don't want any negative attention on the public schools, you see. That makes the public unhappy with local schools and demand that things change. And by the way, administrators who keep misbehaving children in class rather than disciplining them make the schools look better on paper... Well, until the next school shooting, anyway.

But the forum kept coming back to the PARENTS. It's the PARENTS. How do we involve the PARENTS, etc. It bothered me, honestly, to see such foisting of responsibility. During the school year, my older children spend more time with the public education system than at home. (If you don't count sleeping hours, anyway.) As a parent, if I've sent my child to a public school, I am contracting with that school to provide the education he needs.

Sure, I can be supportive. I love my children and want them to do well, and I sure don't want them to act badly. But my interactions with the school are positive, negative or something in between depending upon the "attitude" I think I get from the staff. I know it's a lot of work, but please don't just call me when there are problems and tell me how bad things are. And a general "Dear Parent or Guardian" letter telling me that "We're off to a great start!" doesn't count as positive input at the beginning of the school year. Sorry. And don't expect me to join the PTA when it partners with the NEA to advocate for social issues that are patently unbiblical. You will need to restructure your parent organizations so that they are issue-neutral if you want my participation. Happy to come to the meetings when you do, but until then, my dues money is in my pocket and not yours. It is UNFAIR to ask parents to "participate" and get involved, but then tell them they have to do it only through these groups.


Assistant Professor of Education Jeff Abbott had some things to say in this forum that had me waving the hankie for joy:

"Many schools, particularly secondary schools, resemble military training camps more than institutions of learning. It is a rare school that gives students (and their parents) a meaningful choice in their schooling. First of all, we force kids to go to school between certain ages—e.g. ages 6-18. Second, we restrict their right to select a school that interests them. We force upon them arbitrary school boundaries based upon school district facility and transportation needs. Then we tell them what days and hours they must attend school. School administrators hand down unilaterally developed student behavior rules. We don't give them a choice in who will teach them. Nor do we give them much choice, except in high school where there are a few electives, to choose their course of study. On top of that, we don't even give them a choice of textbooks. There is not much, if any, real freedom for kids and parents the way we have designed public schooling."

Oh, yeah. But then I looked at a pdf document of a paper he wrote and noted that he thinks distributing lunches and breakfasts are one of the six KEY elements of his proposed "Freedom Schools." Um, yeah. You know, I was a reporter on a daily when this free breakfast idea came out and even in the much poorer districts in Indiana, it wasn't accepted readily. People KNEW they were giving up freedom just a little at a time when they accepted such "help," and yes, some of these children did NOT eat regular meals at home. But now that this breakfast program has been in place about 15 years, try to find a bunch of poor folks who would like those things "taken away." Yes, now they are dependent on these free breakfasts.

I'm sad for our country when it makes people dependent through taxpayer "gifts." I'd have much rather seen that money make a few hundred more jobs so that their daddies could come home proud each night and momma didn't get the social-services "backpack" full of food each week from the schools. Depressing.

I don't mean that I don't care or don't want to help... just... not like that. "Doing onto others" to me means there must be dignity in receiving help just as in giving it.

But back to the topic of this forum. I think it very telling that these educators, every single one of them, seem to come from the perspective that there has to BE an education system and that it should look like this or that. And most of the teachers and administrators, I think, will continue to blame economics, social problems, parents or (lowest of all!) students on their poor performance.

I don't mean to suggest that all teachers and administrators are the bad guys. More that, the "culture" of the public ed. system seems to be such that the blame can never be turned inward. It's always the government standard, the tax base, or "you name it." For what it's worth, I've also seen strange arguments in the homeschooling community blaming the rise in homosexual behaviour with taking prayer out of the public schools. Are we such wishy-washy Christians that we NEED THE SCHOOL to set aside a few minutes every day so we remember to pray??

Ok, that's another post for another day. God bless ya!!

Jesus in Japan.

How to tell your Japanese friends the Good News? Sue explains in this post, which I am quoting from just a tad here:

"There is no cultural reference for the concept of only one God. Japan is the 'land of 8000 gods'. Our God is considered a foreign god -- the Western god. This thinking is very hard for Japanese converts to go up against. They must find a place in their minds and hearts where they can be Japanese and a Christian at the same time. Do they have to completely throw away the Japanese culture to become a Christian? This is sometimes a controversial topic among Japanese Christians even. How much of their culture do they have to give up?"

You know, the more I think on these things, the more I wonder which path is the one which would lead to a closer walk with God. Is it easier spiritually to be a true Christian when everyone around you seems to profess, but the culture is evil? Or would it be easier when the line between YOUR God and the gods of those around you is starkly drawn? Either way, believers need to be in the Word and applying Truth every day. It can be a lonely road sometimes.

14 November 2008

Elf is Worried!

Please don't take him to the doctor for this rash! The doctor will think his mommy doesn't take good care of him and he's scared the doctor will give him nasty medicine! And it will taste bad! You wouldn't bring him to the doctor if YOU were his mother, would you??? Mean old Mom made him go. It turns out he has an allergy to Baby Magic shampoo. I thought I'd save $1.50 instead of buying the Johnson's stuff, because non-baby products hurt his eyes. Now I'm out a $25 copay and have an unhappy Elf. Lookit all the money I saved by switching brands, though. Sigh.

The EVIL House.

Ever sit down and talk to a missionary who serves in a faraway land? Ever hear strange stories about the power of God, and of evil? Yes, I've seen the wackos on TV claiming that God can give you gold dental fillings if Pastor Richdude touches the prayer cloth you send in with your "best gift" of $2,000 or more. No, I mean... real missionaries. People who have given up just about everything you could think of to go live somewhere just about nobody wants to live.

I've heard stories. Usually they're not as dramatic as the ones you hear ninteenth-hand about the minute the church in the US prayed, this big legion of angels scared natives away who were planning a raid on missionary settlements. And there were the exact number of angels as there were praying on the carpet at Whatever Baptist Church at 3 p.m., etc. That story's about as overused as the preaching on the frog-in-the-pot. But I've heard dramatic stories about people who really ARE demon-possessed, and the spiritual darkness you can just FEEL in some places of the world from some missionaries, and even laypeople. Go ahead and laugh.

But I have been in a place like that.

In Kearney, Missouri.

No, really. I'm not given to weird stories and claiming victory for Jesus by marching around affected buildings seven times and that kinda stuff. But one day, when I was househunting with my husband about 12 years ago, I encountered a house with something in it.

We were househunting this way: One of us would go in while the other stayed in the car or yard with our small children, Patrick and G. Then we'd switch so both of us would get a chance to look at the place without our children making silly comments or getting into the cabinets. So I went into a place with my realtor.

Have you ever just KNOWN someone was staring at you, and felt uncomfortable? Well, oh, it was odd... but there in the living room, I could FEEL something staring at me. It was as if someone were standing RIGHT IN FRONT of me and glaring. I wanted to back out, but thought I was a silly. Because stuff like that isn't real. The living room looked totally normal, but the carpeting was a bit outdated and the curtains were those old thick plastic-lined ones with the tweedy fabric on the side facing indoors. Icky, but hardly anything to freak out about.

Silly me.

Further into the house, I'm doing a little chat with myself. I mean, I REALLY like the layout. The kitchen and living areas flow around in a circle through to the TV room. You know the older houses I'm talking about like that. And then a stairway upstairs and a doorway down to the basement. Looking back, my, was everything dated. But that sort of thing really doesn't bother me so much as it does other people. In fact, it's kinda nostalgic to see those white countertops with the goldy flecks in them. You remember when that stuff was en vogue.

But the basement was ... something. I have never seen the like ever before or since. Maybe I wasn't so silly.

The walls were painted black. Skulls were drawn on the walls. There were black candles and blood drawn on the walls. Some sort of table with things on it and my mind has blocked out what on earth it was. I just remember it bothered me. The realtor was a bit uncomfortable and started to talk about a nice coat of paint and you could let your kids play down there. He was shifting funny on his feet when he said it, too.

I started thinking of getting my pastor to please walk through the house with me with the anointing oil and pray, pray, pray. I mean, no weapon formed against us can prosper and all that. It was a good price, even if it smelled vaguely of pot.

Outside, there were a couple teenagers and neighbourhood kids hanging out with their parents. They looked like normal enough people, though these parents let their children draw on their clothes and smoke. But otherwise about like anyone else. I liked the house and the neighbourhood and told D maybe we should make an offer and then call the pastor?

D hated the place. He thought I was nuts for even suggesting it. He said, you know, it isn't so much the place, because the PLACE is nice, but there are probably all kinds of people used to hanging out around here. Well, he's probably right on that one. Ok, then, on to the next house on our list...

But ever since then, our car didn't work right. We even had the GM dealership servicepeople working on the phone with National Headquarters trying to figure out what on earth was wrong. The house is evil, D tells me, and it messed up the car. I'd be inclined to agree with him though I know how SILLY that sounds. Imagine, scary house killing your car. I mean, that's silly.

But if you were there, maybe you would believe me that it's at least possible. It was very creepy. D refuses to even drive down that street EVER AGAIN because of the power he thinks that evil house has. And that was TWELVE YEARS AGO.

Now, I don't get "into" stuff like that. I've never called people over to look for ghosts or thrown up demons in a bucket or any of the really weird stuff you might be thinking about. It wasn't like I started my day just then looking for the paranormal.


Can I tell you about another house? This one is up the street from me. NO ONE on our street would even be paid to live there, so far as I know. It is, as my Catholic neighbour put it once, jinxed. EVERY family that has ever lived there for 40-odd years has gotten a messy divorce or one of the spouses killed themselves. OK, it's a bad place to my knowledge, but I've never been in it. I just know what people have lived in it over the last 12 years or so haven't been upstanding citizens of the community. I'm not sure that the house is jinxed, or if it's just that the house keeps going up for sale and it's a bargain... and you know, if someone just shot themselves in the house before you bought it, you'll get it for cheap.


13 November 2008

McCain Nation

Acre for acre, McCain won the land. Do you notice the pattern here? Large cities and some of the coastal areas went Democratic. "God's country" voted Republican. I live in the red area just above that blue dot in western Missouri. This link has many interesting maps, and different ways to view the presidential election, including shades of purple maps and state-by state maps. Hat tip: Daddy Forever.

Do You Overparent?

"Overparenting is kind of a way of life around here, whether in directing your every energy to taking care of a disabled son whose communication skills are—-while better with each day—-minimal and not always verbal; in writing daily emails to his teacher to explain all the things that he doesn’t; in strategizing how to spend another long afternoon together in a (hopefully) at least semi-productive way."

"Again, I’m not sure I could adequately take care of Charlie without being over-scrupulous, closely considering (if not obsessing) about minute details of his education, health, reactions to food and things that happen, sounds, the weather."

-- Excerpt from Kristina Chew's post on Overparenting.

It's very hard to know when to let go and when to step in even if you have a child who meets all developmental expectations and functions well in social situations. Do you call the mom of that nasty bully? Do you phone the school? Do you let your kid "tough it out," reasoning that there are plenty more like that bully in the "real world?" Give him karate lessons and hope the bully gets what's coming to him next time?

But if you have a child whose needs are beyond what you thought you were signing up for, you know how tough this is. You're going to have to overparent in ways you thought were never possible, and underparent in others. YES, I let G go outside in 30-degree weather in his shorts. Do you have any idea the sorts of fights we'd have otherwise? And is it really worth it? This child is two inches taller than I am and just lifting him and putting pants on his kicking legs, or making him sit and telling him "no" until he obeys isn't happenin'. Come to think of it, um, it wouldn't even be appropriate to change his clothes for him any more, would it?? So every now and then, he'll run back home for a pair of pants *quick* before the bus arrives.

I am afraid of social services coming over and getting into my business if a "concerned teacher" makes a phone call about seeing his skinny, muddy little knees in the freezing weather, but I also am a realist. I could hide his shorts, maybe, and deal with "wrath" like you wouldn't believe... but I'm not up for it this week. Anyway, more likely than not crowded foster-care services aren't going to want to take in another kid like this, so the social worker would probably let things slide. Hope so, anyway. I sure can't say his extensive needs aren't documented through the public schools, and who wants to take on that, with hormones?? (Any takers with large working farms may have a visitor, after wrestling season. He'd have his bags packed tonight and ask every five minutes if it's time to leave yet. And yes, he can drive a tractor, pick up cow poo and clean up fallen limbs like nobody's business. He loves it. Well, ok, not the cow poo so much.)

And Elf. I love Elfie McMelfie, but he's nearly nine. And he still REALLY BELIEVES he is an elf who works in the Keebler factory at night. If you tell him that he isn't, or that elves are not real, he will break down and cry. You're saying that *I'm* not real, he'd sob. Sigh. Ok. It's cute... he's really cute, but can you imagine what's going to happen if he puts "Keebler Elf, 17 years" on his job application later? Or says, well, I can't come to work today because I know more than two people will be in the office and I can't handle that? Or, I'm scared today... can I bring my Mom and sister so I feel safe? Or hiding under his desk and going "eee" when someone new is introduced? (That would work. Mm-hmm.) So later on, watch me go to his first employer and talk about how we have to make "accomodations" for his disability. Which, as Patrick would probably quickly point out, is really "just giving him whatever he wants so he doesn't get all upset."

All upset. Freaking out and being unable to handle things. Yes, I spoil him so. But what will I do later when staying at home isn't really practicable? He will, at some point we hope, take classes with someone other than Mom during high school. Maybe not all of them. But something. Somewhere. Maybe a small co-op or online classes? I'd like him to be able to be taught by someone else, or learn from someone else... somehow. At least a little so that I'm not everything to the child when he becomes an adult. And eventually, I should also be able to stop telling the children that their tests are "brought to you by the Keebler factory" to motivate Elf to work. Eventually, I won't have to tell Elf that I'm sure ALL the Keebler elves learn long division in third grade.

And little Woodjie. My heart is broken, but the child doesn't like speaking. He's friendly! He likes people. But please don't ask him to speak - he gets very upset. I can't even think ahead to tomorrow with this child. He's precious, but I know as he grows he will need unique parenting as well.

12 November 2008

Church Membership.

Ok. Going to open up a can of worms, leave the comment section open for a bit and see what you think. Rick recently posted a story about the Catholic Church sparring with the Obama administration on the abortion issue. "I really don't understand why the church doesn't just toss people out who actively promote ideas directly contrary to the church's doctrine," he writes. "It's one thing to complain about the apostates, but without action the complaints are meaningless."

Last I checked here in America, nobody MAKES you become a church member. So, if you become a member, you're agreeing to adhere to whatever rules the church makes up, right? I'd like to think the church rules are based on biblical principles and etc. etc. But, the bottom line is, if you ask to be a member, you're agreeing to certain things the church teaches. If you don't like it, there's the door and quit calling yourself a Catholic. It's a brand name :]. You can be "lapsed Catholic," or "culturally Catholic" if you have lots of those thin blondie Jesus holding a sheep pictures staring at you from your living room, but you can't very well say you're a Catholic in all honesty. I mean, yeah, you CAN, the same way I could call myself a man if I wanted to, but doesn't make it true.

(As an aside, no matter how often my father admonished me to "throw the ball like a man" and not a sissy, or "lift this like a man" and etc., I don't think I'm too terribly traumatized or um, changed. I DO throw like crap, though. But at least I no longer do it like a girlie sissy, and when I miss, I miss HARD and overhand. Love you, Dad! I know you're reading!)

Anyway, on with the post. Ahem.

It would be silly for a church, any church (I'm NOT picking on Catholics... it's just that this story interested me) to open up membership to anybody and everybody no matter what they believed. It would be even more silly for them to allow a member to go off and blatantly violate basic precepts of the church while proclaiming his or her membership.

But I've also heard of a chilling effect some legal suits have had upon "church discipline," so I can understand a church's reluctance to act concretely and publicly. Say that Mrs. Jamison ran off with Mr. Montague, but they were still members of the church and living that lifestyle. Well, at some point, the Bible makes it clear that these things are to be ANNOUNCED to the church, and you can imagine the lawsuits that result. It's kinda embarrassing to have your name and special sin called out like that, even if you've been warned first that it was coming up unless you repented.

One mega-church I had been involved in gets around this by doing that sort of stuff at the end of very boring, dry and dull hours' long business meetings in which outlays for toilet paper and glitter for children's church is discussed in excruciating detail. Then only a couple accountant-type members are left to hear whatever really juicy stuff they must spill at those times. (Imagining it's juicy, anyway, though it may be just as boring.)

But then, this same church also will NOT accept prayer requests unless it's for you or a minor child that YOU have custody of. God forbid somebody, somewhere gossips about something in a prayer request and then the church gets sued and all the money is gone. They're also literally giving church members inch-thick handouts on who can say what, when, and give the advice to NEVER touch a child. Well, you can shake his hand, but there had better be a couple witnesses. Sigh. How sad.

I've also seen other places go to the opposite extreme. Members are "disfellowshipped" for moral failings, which are announced from the pulpit during services. Say that Sister Sarah has gone off and fornicated and someone found out about it. Well, NO ONE will speak to Sister Sarah for a certain period, say three months, outside church. They'll say "hi" in the grocery store in passing, but you can forget about spending any time with her at her house or letting her kids go to your place for your daughter's birthday party. Explain THAT one to little Janie. Good luck!

There will also be lots of prayer requests and crying out to God to cleanse Sister Sarah from her adulterous ways. Tsk. You know, I think it all started out when she stopped going to church for Wednesday service, Tuesday and Thursday prayer, and the Ladies' Bruncheon on Saturday. Well, I'm not sure. I think it's that husband of hers. You know they weren't married when their first child was born, and Bob's cousin just went to jail for mail fraud, and that apple doesn't fall far from the tree ...

Yeah, that's harsh. But to the gossip about this semi-fictional "Sister Sarah," I'll add that any time she feels like it, she doesn't have to go back. Sure, her whole extended family probably goes to this very insular church. Sure, she won't have any friends or help when she runs into difficulties. Sure, they'll all talk and "happen" to visit her house and workplace. (Like they're not anyway?) Sure, she's going to hell if she doesn't go to THIS church.

I think sometimes churches can have too close a stranglehold on their parishoners' lives. Though I would not be ok with Sister Sarah fornicating. I just think maybe Sister Sarah has a lot going on and needs Jesus. She needs more love than she's feeling or she wouldn't have gone and done that.

Where is it? Where's her love?

I'm not advocating the sins that are so obvious to everyone. I'm not excusing the sins, blatant ones, that Christians commit. But I can't tell you how many times I've read about this minister or that church member doing something stupid and unChristian and seeing the old "hypocrite" label thrown around by people inside the church and out. It's hurtful. We're ALL imperfect, and we know what Jesus looks like and don't measure up. We're ALL hypocrites to some degree. I hope most people who call themselves (see? it's not a brand name) Christian could be judged a bit more fairly.

So, where should the line be on conduct that is not becoming a member of a church? And how much of a difference is there between "church membership" and a person's Christianity? I've seen varying opinions on this matter. Often I see the opinion that IF you love Jesus, you will WANT to follow what He would want in your life, and obviously that means dedicating 10 percent of your money to this church. Only it is never put quite so bluntly. Other times, I see the "pray this prayer and you're done" mentality, and you never have to worry about your salvation again. Salvation is quicker than online banking, even. No codes but John 3:16 needed! (Forget about that pesky John 3:17 - 20. Shh.)

Your opinion?

11 November 2008

Frontier America

The American Frontier map will help us put times and places into perspective. We'll be learning about the settlers moving west, the Trail of Tears, and related notable people in this unit.

Teaching History

We're learning about how Lewis and Clark made it to the Pacific, and at great peril. One book we read mentioned that easier ways to get from here to there have been found.

But did you know that that way was found by James Beckwourth, a black man who became a scout for the army? And that there are a pass, a mountain, a town AND a valley all named for him in Nevada? These are things we weren't taught when I was in school, but I think important parts of history. Think how many lives this pass saved, when the mountains are practically impassable otherwise. I think that's really cool, and maybe something to look into a bit deeper. I just looked ahead a bit, and it looks like we'll be talking about him for at least two more days.

I probably never would have come across Beckwourth were he not mentioned in our Bob Jones book which presents American history, and from a Christian worldview at that. I couldn't imagine teaching my children about him ONLY because it's "Black History Month" and I had to pick a black person to learn about. I think the criteria for learning history should be whether the events are factual, and whether the general course of study would give glory to God.

And this curriculum certainly does it, although we will probably NOT focus on American history next year and look more into geography. My tertiary goal would be that the children know where many other countries are located in the world, and a brief overview of cultures and history. We have an almost complete set of fourth-grade Lifepacs, a Story of the World book, a globe and a library card. Think we're set for a while yet.

10 November 2008


Girlie is Very Sick.

She started in with a bit of a fever and nausea on Friday night before last. She hasn't kept down ANY formula since then. None. The kid has been living on Pedialyte, Cheerios and baby food since then. Any tiny taste of formula will send her into horrible retching all over everything, everybody, and all her clothing and blankets. Truth to tell, it's been an awful week and a half.

I thought it was the shots she got on Friday. Stupid DTaP. I don't like giving her shots, but especially with the older kids in public school I go ahead and do many of them anyway. Two years ago, there was a pertussis outbreak in the schools as well. I'm not a purist either way about it because I see both sides of the debate as being a bit manipulative. I note that some of the harshest anti-vax critics want to sell you a book or a vitamin system. Whatever. Balance in all things. Which wouldn't comfort me very much if she were permanently affected by the shots, or got a disease that I did NOT vaccinate her against... Sigh.


So she's been very sick and literally losing several pounds. Finally I have taken her back to the doctor for the second time and he is surmising that it is the iron in the formula that may be making her ill. So she is on regular milk... the regular stuff that you buy for children to put in their cereal. Hopefully she will be well now. But at nine months, it seems a little early. I like this doctor, though. He isn't nosy. He takes one look at the kid and says, looks ok, and then out the door we go. The previous "pediatrician" would ask all kinds of personal questions about car seats, how often we feed bottles and how much of what is in there, whether my homeschooled children are socialized, etc. Now we just go to a family doctor who doesn't even have a scale for Girlie. I have to weigh myself holding her, and not holding her. They do the math and take a good guess. :]

I hope she feels better soon and life can go back to normal. Do you know how hard it is to have a very ill child for that long? It's been tough. I've even drawn blanks about what to blog about, which shows that I've been severely affected. :]

08 November 2008


I don't know how he did it, but Elf actually dragged his mattress almost all the way down two sets of stairs. Since D had to work ALL night Friday, it was time for a sleepover. All five of the boys ate pizza and popcorn and stayed up watching videos. The house is totally trashed, but I was able to wrap a couple Christmas presents for the children and catch up on some friends' blogs.

A Teachable Heart.

Do you have one? Or do you call the people who want to correct you "judgmental and self-righteous?" From A Pondering Heart blog:

"It seems no longer can Christians correct one another in edification. You can no longer tell your brother or sister in Christ anything without them either getting upset with you or being viewed as judgmental. You are supposed to 'love and accept' everyone for who they are. Yes, we are to love one another as Christ loved us, but no, we are not to accept everyone as they are in their sin. That is of a new-age religion mindset. We are not suppose to accept sin. We are suppose to turn from it. Paul makes that clear we are not to keep company with those who don’t keep the Word, and we are to not count him as an enemy but admonish him."

That being said, I don't take correction very well. I think it's because I've lived through many, many instances where the person doing the "correcting" is really trying to be manipulating. I've seen instances where whole church bodies magically feel "convicted" on this or that issue because the pastor pretty well browbeats 'em into it. Do I need to get rid of my television because, say, the pastor WXYZ's family has a hard time controlling its television viewing... so he feels convicted... so he tells his parishoners to get rid of the "hellivision"... so I would hem myself in in an area that is not a struggle for me at present... so it becomes a doctrinal issue when it really isn't? All of pastor WXYZ's parishoners, bless them, ought to leave the TV off when he and his family come to call, but correcting and exhortation should be saved for the "biggies."

Ah! The biggies must be homosexuality and abortion, right? Well, I don't see a lot of that. Maybe people keep that closeted up pretty well 'round these parts, and I think a lot of people who do these sorts of things as an ongoing lifestyle aren't even Christians who need correcting so I'm not even worried about that. What is the point of exhorting someone to righteousness if the person in question doesn't know Jesus? There would be NO moral framework upon which to base your assertions. I'm NOT (not not not) saying someone who is not a Christian is an immoral person any more than the rest of us; just that the framework for understanding God and sin and why sin is bad is NOT there in a non-Christian.

But I *do* see a lot of gossip in Christian circles, oh my goodness. I *have* seen, more than just disappointment in the election, a lot of hateful things said about the lazy, socialist, godless, terrorist-supporting, secretly Muslim AND closeted gay rights Democrats and this and that who voted him in. (Did I leave any epithets out? Hm. No, I think that about covers it.)

And I've seen real derision for Obama in places. Ok, I dislike him. A lot. But it would be nice if that fine line between political satire, a good joke and outright mockery weren't crossed so definitively so often. Do you remember what it was like to see "kill Bush" on sidebars and hateful things said about "all those fundies" and Republicans in liberal blogs and news stories over the last eight years? Well, I don't want to be that puerile and resort to bashing and stereotypes like they were. Thanks.

But back to correction. When do you think it is warranted, and who should be doing it? I don't think I'm above correction, but "anonymous" or some dude who has never commented before writing after a post that I'm stupid or don't follow the Bible or have a totally wrong idea isn't going to be taken to heart. Maybe an online friend or acquaintance telling me something is amiss would be. I think my temperment is such that in that case, my feelings would be hurt and I would have to think about what was said first objectively. For days. I think David was very unique in that he recognized and was convicted of his sin instantly and repented right away.

Here's Some "Change We Need!"

A little funny stuff from Japan. I'll bet you have NEVER seen Obama so well impersonated LOL!

07 November 2008

Elf Speaks a Foreign Language.

This is the kind of thing I have to hear all day, every day. The very worst part is when two or three children get together and speak this language. Can you tell Elf is a little nervous and excited that he gets to tell all of you this "information?"

YES! And... No.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright has come out and told everyone in the media that the media used him.

Yep. And I'd agree.

Sure, people ran really old clips of the guy saying some stupid and outrageous things. Well, maybe it's possible to say some of that was taken out of context, though I'd have to wonder if "out of context" really means "outside this audience because YOU weren't meant to hear it." And sure, nobody agrees with everything their pastor says. But you betcha if my pastor said we all need to convert to Bahai next Sunday or silly things like that more than once every zillion or so years that I'd be staying home instead or sending my money to "real" evangelists like Benny Hinn. (no, not really! But I wish I could see the look on your face when you read that...)

But does no one remember the dog and pony show he put on not too long after video after video hit the web? I about cringed every time I saw him smirk as questions were being read to him. He loved the attention. He wasn't really used and abused by the media; he could have just as easily issued a statement and played the "no comment" game as long as he wished. Certainly, when he wanted to be left alone later in the game his name didn't show up so much on the news, did it? It wasn't as though he ceased existing for the past six months.

And... Milford, Connecticut? What is Wright doing there? When I was a kid, my best friend used to have a beach home in Milford. A priiivate beach home where the likes of you and I are not allowed to step on the sand and sully it. That whole section of ocean is theirs. I wish these news stories gave a bit of background. Did he get a beach house of his own? If he did, I'm jealous because it's very pretty there. Thousands of little stinging jellyfish, though. If you don't mind being stung by jellyfish and turning patches of red, it's a great beach.

Action Needed?

I'm signed up for the school district's "news" emails, mostly so that when school cancellations occur, I'm able to find that information in my inbox that morning. Today I'm just sharing some excerpts from a mass-emailed letter I received today.

The county's health department occasionally inserts items of interest into the letters I receive, which is fine if there are measles or diptheria cases in the county that parents need to look out for, etc. I get a little tired hearing about every little thing that might go wrong and how health this or that is so important... I signed up for this stuff so that I could see *school news* and cancellations, not to be harrangued. Even if I enjoyed getting the "health news" part of the newsletter, I think we're going over the line with wacky statistics WARNING parents to TAKE ACTION to PROTECT YOUR CHILD'S HEALTH NOW in big capital letters... with the following:

Last year, 9 out of 10 children who were seen for the flu at local hospital emergency rooms never had a flu shot. This year, the Centers for Disease Control and the (name of county) Health Department are encouraging entire families to consider a flu shot. Regular Wednesday flu shot clinics began (date), at the (name of county) Public Health Center, (address). (Cost info and hours here.) Vaccine available for 6 months of age and up. No appointment necessary. For more information, call (number). Clinics will run each Wednesday while vaccine supply lasts.

Around these parts, the flu shot is NOT mandated for children and most physicians I've encountered have discouraged them. So having "9 out of 10" children who have flu complications necessitating ER treatment being unvaccinated doesn't really move me into the ACTION the county health department wants. In fact, I'm suspicious that far fewer than one in ten children are vaccinated against the flu locally... so why would one in ten children get that ill if the shots are so effective...? And unless you have a sickly child or an asthmatic, or Grandma is in frail health and lives with you, why would you even consider the flu vaccination? They contain thimerosol, FYI. Just saying, though I'm sure there are plenty of other bad things out there like Satanic Donuts and Evil Pop-Tarts and we do get overworried about vaxes sometimes IMO.

But I think regardless of your feelings on whether vaccinations in general are good for your own child, I think you'd agree that if health departments and physicians want laypeople to vaccinate their children, they're going to have to do two things: Be selective in which vaccines are required/mandated, and be selective in your warnings to parents to take ACTION. Otherwise, people like me get mighty jaded mighty fast, and it's just like the little boy who cried wolf. Someday you're really going to NEED parents to take ACTION against a very real public health threat, and they're going to not heed warnings even if they're written in caps and bold type. Incidentally, that's one of the problems I have with some of the insane number of warnings on everything, so maybe I shouldn't be so harsh with the health department. Can I not drink a cup of water without five paragraphs of single-spaced WARNINGS all down the side? Oh, guess not. I wasn't warned that the water might be wet and I think I'm gonna sue.

Next up, a message from the school district about the campaign I made fun of previously titled "Not in My House." I joked that the party is really at Davey's, not my house ... I think the interesting thing is that the district likes to go by surveys of children "volunarily" disclosing facts about their drug use or home life. Hm. That's really reliable, yup. BTW, I forbade my children from participating in even remotely in these "voluntary" surveys, and I could care less about whether state funding is tied to my children participating. I'm the parent. Bug off. Oh, and I'm putting that last phrase nicely... See why lots of nice Christians don't like to link to my blog? Excerpt:

While driving around town, you may have noticed yard signs that say Not in My House. This is part of a local campaign sponsored by (city name) Alliance for Youth, Inc., a coalition of local volunteers working to reduce alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, violence, and other negative behaviors and improve the lives of all (City) citizens.

The purpose of the Not in My House campaign is to reinforce that parents and adults should not allow or provide alcohol to minors (Duh, really??). Here are some statistics (Oh, good, because I'll need those to justify why I'm obeying the law to my friends and kids! Thanks!):

Adults in (City) deserve some applause, 98% of them don't allow minors to drink in their homes. These adults know 98 They Can Wait. (Wow. You people must be way more qualified to teach English than I am. Just the comma separating the two full sentences alone convinced me right there.)

More than 40% of youth who start drinking at 15 or younger develop alcoholism.

98% of adults in (City) say to alcohol and minors - Not in My House. (Wow! I wish I could speak without quotation marks like that! And begin sentences with numbers rather than writing out "Ninety-eight" like such a conventionalist! I hope I don't come off as overly critical, but the school is "writing for publication" here. So what if it's just an email? About 10,000 people get it after the "send" button is pushed. I thought the district was supposed to "Empower Excellence" and whatnot. Maybe with some synergy, diversity, and proactive edubabble thrown in. Can ya at least do it with good grammar?)

Alcohol kills more teenagers than all other drugs combined (Source? And how many people like to do "all other drugs combined" on a regular basis? They're party animals!!) - keep telling minors - Not in My House.

Okaayyy... I applaud this idea that we shouldn't get kids soused... but do we need yard signs and dopey slogans? Do we need to email parents this rah rah stuff every week? And what kind of statistic is that ... 40% of kids who drink at 15 or younger "develop" alcoholism?? I always thought that alcoholism is something you HAVE whether you ever take a drink or not. Haven't you seen cheesy re-enactments of 12 Step meetings on TV?

If you never drink, I suppose you never learn if you have it... but... it bothers me that an institution that purports to give information to students and parents so that they can make informed decisions would twist facts in that way. I guess we have at least evolved from the frying egg "this is your brain on drugs" silliness. I think a few wikipedia searches on some of these drugs should be enough to scare kids straight before they ever go down the crooked path. And if Mom and Dad let their kids have booze parties and friends over, so what if they're only two percent of the population??? They can invite the other 98% of the kids to the party if they wish. Here's hoping the other 98 percent of children have the sense to "just say no."

Here's also hoping that schools get a clue that there are some children TRAPPED in horrible homes where drug use is the norm. This campaign starts with a faulty premise! It isn't those rebellious teens who are always to blame for parties, overdoses and the whole works. In fact, I know several upstanding children in bad situations. Those kids need some love and prayers and a nice place to visit with friends. I'd like to say that that would be "in my house," but SOMEBODY was naughty and our friends can't come over until early December. I do that "giving kids consequences for their bad attitudes and actions" thing because I'm too old-fashioned. :p

06 November 2008

Because I'm High-Class.

I wrap Christmas gifts in the brown paper I find stuffed at the top of the boxes they come in. This is an "Ancient Egypt" stamping set and little book for Elf. Emperor will get a "gladiator in a box." I have also purchased a Jonathan Park CD set for Elf and Emperor just because it looked like so much fun. The little children are difficult to buy for because Woodjie throws everything or eats it, and Girlie wants to play with everything nicely, but Woodjie will take it away from her and throw it or eat it. Really. Girlie can't even have a hairbow without Woodjie chomping on it after he rips it out of her hair... The older boys want mega-expensive stuff like an entirely new game system, and that just isn't happening this year. It may be that I just hand them money and say, this much is from this set of grandparents, this is from us and this is from the other set... go buy your own gift... Yes, I am very high-class indeed. I think the masking tape just adds that je ne sais quoi... final touch sorta thing.

05 November 2008

Thoughts From Terry.

This post is one of the most thoughtful I've seen to date on the election results:

"The reality is that our current president has done much to speed up this nation’s descent further into socialism. He has done it in the name of protecting from foreign enemies. President elect Obama will take the train to the next stop in the name of protecting us from our incapable selves. The church, by and large, has embraced the materialistic, me first, mindset embodied by this culture that has lead to this current climate of looking to Washington to do for us that which we have been too lazy and greedy to do for ourselves. Now is the time for us to get back to Bible basics: fervent prayer, sacrifice, caring for others, strengthening our families, working hard, and simplified living. We need to be the salt and light that we claim to be so that those who don’t know the Savior will be drawn to the only hope of salvation."

You really want to read this one for yourself in its entirety.

Got Hope?

I hope that I'm wrong in concluding that Obama will do our country much harm in leading it away from some of the precepts of our fathers:

The right to be left alone. I'd like to continue homeschooling without any interference from the state "just checking to make sure everything's ok." Hey, I have two children in public school and like the almost all the staff who deal with Patrick and G. I just don't want bureaucrats to have any authority over my homeschool. You have your kids, and I have mine. Good luck to ya. Our family decided public school was best for the older children, and the younger ones are at home. Not that that's any of yer bizzness if you run the local school. :p

Thou shalt not murder. Kinda a basic precept, and not one the Bush administration followed, either. (just saying... OK, now all my Republican friends are gonna jump me in the comment section) I'm not eeeeven going to get into Leviticus or the New Testament, because a lot of "that stuff" has been legal here for some time and has nothing to do with Obama. (just saying... OK, I'm really going to get pigpiled now)

Thou shalt not steal. Sure, LEGALLY, it's perfectly OK to take all of Jason's money and give it to Grandma, Grandpa, Joe, Jack, Jacob and 5,000 other people if Grandma, Grandpa, Joe, Jack, Jacob and 5,000 other people voted for it and only Jason voted against. But it's wrong. Past a certain point, you have to admit things get a bit ridiculous. I'm nowhere near rich (at all!), but I have to say just another small tax and another and another, and you're going to kill a lot of enterprising businesses in this country. And I want my husband to be able to keep his job and not rely on Jason for everything in this world.

Hey, though it would be even nicer if Jason were generous and GAVE us his money, but I dare not hope for too much... I like to at least pretend to be grounded in reality. Sometimes.

First Amendment rights. I firmly believe that freedom of speech, and of the press, and the freedom to worship as one chooses are all part of the First Amendment for a reason. Expression of religious, political and philosophical ideas are all related. Hey, if my pastor wants to endorse Obama in the next election, I don't see why he can't do that on Sunday morning without any troubles from the IRS. It's still a free enough country that if I don't like what I'm hearing in my church, there are about 20 others in a ten-mile radius I could attend. Maybe more.

All men are created free and equal. We have not arrived at perfection, but can we at least get to the point where *most* people in liberal circles will admit we don't need affirmative action programs? Obama got in to the Presidency, and last I checked that wasn't an affirmative action position for which he received preferential treatment. Sure, there are probably a couple racists out there not giving out jobs to black folks. But bet ya there are a few black racists not giving out jobs to whites. Can we please all be Americans now? Does Obama have to *just* be the "first black president?" Can't he just be "President Obama?" I mean, I understand the significance of his election, but sometimes, I look at the news and go... isn't that patronizing? As if to say, oh, Obama did a nice job getting elected... for a black person. Well, maybe I'm the only person that bothers, but I think that's just a little condescending.

I appreciated Obama's comments during the election process when this or that would come up and people would squawk that it was unfair, that he knew it was "just politics." I appreciated that he didn't ask for special treatment because of his colour. The fact that there were some harsh jabs on BOTH sides of the political spectrum during this process, I think, sheds light on the fact that most of us saw past the exterior and voted for the people we thought would most reflect our values. For that, I'm proud of our country. I just wish a lot of people made a different choice.

Do you have a hope list? I'm sure I have more, but Woodjie has a squishy bottom and needs a change, bless him. So I'm logging off for now. I think his toes need nibbling, too. :]

04 November 2008

Aboard the Elf Express

Elf is pushing G all over the place. I think G might be just a little too big for this car he got for his third birthday. But no, it's HIS car, thank you.

Beep... Beep... Beep.

That's the sound of me backing up a little bit in our math work. Time to review some concepts and get strong before we move to the next level. I've discovered that the children could use some review in long division, multidigit multiplication, word problems and tally graphs. I think every now and then, it's useful to throw a review sheet at the children and see how they do. It helps me to know where their areas of strength and weakness may be on work we covered recently.

We have an anniversary coming up! We will have been homeschooling two years as of November 18. I bought little bottles of bubbly cider and we will make a cake! Elf wants *extra homeschool* to celebrate; can he have (shaking) mooorrre worrrk pleeease? Well, maybe if you're really good, kid.

Elf just learned to do long division. You see, it LOOKS hard, but it really isn't if you line your numbers up correctly. We need our math so that we can work at the Keebler factory properly, doubling and dividing recipes and all. I can't believe that still really works on Elf. I'd tell him about how all elves are naturally good at (fill in difficult subject), and he usually works very hard on it because if all elves can do it, and he's an elf, that must mean HE can do it! He has not yet asked me to back up my assertions with any data, which is just as well. I am sorely tempted to make a pretend blog about elves for that inevitable day. Once when Elf was sleeping, I put cookies in his hands and woke him up. He was so happy that he brought those cookies home from the factory for breakfast!! Oh, I'm mean, but I have so much fun being that way. The kid is going to be nine next year, so I'm enjoying these moments while I can. Note to self: make sure the cookies are KEEBLER brand, not Nabisco, next time. The joke doesn't work with Nabisco cookies as well once he gets into the light.

Emperor has been enjoying the McGuffey reader I bought at the Jesse James farm. He likes the pictures and wants to be first to read the story lessons. I think his favourite so far is a poem about a little white kitten that goes out and gets dirty playing where it shouldn't. Emperor's nickname during homeschool is the "Peanut Gallery." He will know all the answers instinctively. Even some longer division answers, he doesn't need paper to do. It's very annoying. Sometimes, though, in his haste he will multiply when division is called for, etc. So I'll ask Elf if he's going to listen to the "Peanut Gallery" or come up with his own answer. Usually, the Peanut Gallery is correct, though. I don't know how you can jump, twist your body around and generally not even be looking in the right direction and still get the answers right. Love him, though. Emperor has asked for only a half day on the homeschool anniversary. :]

03 November 2008

The Food Groups.

This dish is one of the few Tupperware things I bought new years ago. This dish was new when Elf was a baby. I can't imagine ever relegating it to "storage;" it's just that useful and handy. Sure, it separates baby food, but even I could see myself eating from it on occasion. Since I'm a fatty, it would help with portion control, too. Can you see that all the important food groups are represented in this meal for Woodjie? (Guess what we just got finished studying in science?) Woodjie's food is on a towel because I took several pictures for a laminated book for him, and it needed a white background.

Woo-Hoo! I Was Worried.

You Should Be Allowed to Vote

You got 14/15 questions correct.

Generally speaking, you're very well informed.

If you vote this election, you'll know exactly who (and what) you'll be voting for.

You're likely to have strong opinions, and you have the facts to back them up.

This website says I should be allowed to vote! I'll just tell the nice lady at the registration desk that when I show up tomorrow. Hat tip: Luke. I'm still wondering which question I missed.

Studying Indian Civilization.

Or Native American, or Amerind, or some other entirely different name, depending on your textbook. I think it's rather like studying "White Civilization." The little I read about this matter indicates to me that just as I have little in common with the Finnish, it isn't really fair to do a unit JUST on "Indians" as a general one-month topic and leave it at that. And yet, that's just what I'm doing during this year's studies. Still, it's a month "off" our curriculum, in addition to some work we're doing on Lewis and Clark. It seems that most curriculum I've seen kinda skips over Indians entirely, or confines them to a short two-week period in November. I think it's more important than that. I also think that it's easy to demonize the white settlers as greedy when in reality, history is never so simple. We're reading about farming people and hunting people, and the fact that people living by the oceans will have a different diet than people living on the plains. And we did the obligatory noodle necklace for art. We got a very different view of the Indian peoples through our reading of the Little House series last year. It wasn't too flattering. Any ideas for short studies or games on the internet would be helpful this month.

D Wins, Finally!!

Literally, we could play the Parcheesi game for years and D would always lose every time, just by a little bit. When he won yesterday, he insisted on having this photograph taken for my blog so that all my readers will see real, substantiated photographic evidence that he won. (once, anyway...) Do you see how close the game was?

Woodjie's Roller Dance Routine!

Only a few people were selected to perform their routines at a recent club fundraiser.  I went to upload this video and was pretty shocked...