Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's My Birthday!

I was going to post a quick little thank-you and a birthday update on Facebook but I ran out of room ... by about 1,001 letters ;)

So here it is here. Birthdays don't have to be fanfare and organized festivity or a ton of gifts and recognition.

Of course, it would have served me well to hear that little mantra for the last 20 years or so ;)

Birthdays have to be about gratitude. For me, I have found the best birthdays have had a perfect formula of almost zero expectation coupled with a heaping dose of gratitude.

Enter, my birthday #38 (originally posted on facebook):

I had a wonderfully normal day with an average amount of poop diapers, the nappers took relatively good naps, the dog threw up but NOBODY crawled through it, heard a rousing rendition of "Blessed Be the Name" from a very enthusiastic 7-year old, and an equally rousing rendition of "Go Go Go Joseph" from a nearly bald but still cute 2-year old, was given a beautiful homemade card from my beauties where they each thanked me for driving them somewhere (I guess I have mentioned that chore a bit much lately, huh?), and then taken to dinner by my handsome and chivalrous husband (oh, yes my friends ... A DATE!) to Anatolia Grill in Chester (Turkish & Mediterranean) a YUMMY little place where we ate a weeks portion of meat, then he took me to Kohl's where I perused the *jury* section for no less than 47 hours while he waited patiently on the papaw bench, then (does this birthday ever end???) the heaven's opened up and we went to Target with 45 MINUTES TO SPARE! I am telling you I couldn't write this one to suit me any better unless there were several loads up laundry folded and put away while I was gone ... yes! The sweetheart sisters put the younger set to bed AND did laundry and cleaned up the house!

It was a happy day indeed.

I am 38 years old. 19 years ago my mother had her very last birthday ... she turned 37. It is not lost on me ... that each day, including birthdays are truly a gift.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Homeschooling Q & A ... Part 3 and a Glimpse of Summer

Today is a 2-for-1 special here at Mercy Days! Being as how the summer is being true to it's reputation and flying by, I figured I should at least record a glimpse or two of what we've been so busy doing.

But first, I'll answer an easy question from my previous Q & A series (I like to say, "series" like I am the sort of person who writes a "series"). HA! It would do some of you good to know me in real life because the collision of appearance and reality would really make you feel good about yourself ;)


The question from the comments was, "What would I have done differently my first year of homeschooling, now that I am a seasoned veteran?".

I love to approach things like this imagining the whole situation with hindsight and hope that I don't come away discouraged or regretful. With marriage and parenting I must say that usually hindsight leaves me feeling a might regretful and wishing I had grown in grace sooner but that is never the right approach. I know that the grace came from living through the experience and God giving it to me as I needed it.

Same with my first year of homeschooling.

I don't regret anything but if I could tell myself one thing it would be to relax and enjoy the ride ... and just a few more for good measure:
  • Get up earlier and go to bed sooner. (Note to self: Do this now)
  • Choose a writing & math curriculum that is both rigorous AND one that you love to teach because rigorous alone will get you nowhere fast.
  • On the subject of writing, I would write more. If there is anything I plan on doing differently with the younger set, it would be to write more (journal, letters, stories, etc.).
  • Spend a great deal of time before the Lord in prayer and study and don't rely on yourself for all the answers and especially for all the strength. (Another to self for the here and now)
Honestly, that's about it. I truly do love doing this and I am already itching with desire for planning our AMERICAN HISTORY EXTRAVAGANZA for the year 2010-2011. Sam and the girls will all be studying the same time period and several of our friends will too. I hope to plan as many field trips as possible since we live in the mecca of American History. I would also love to meet up about twice a month with our elementary set of friends and do a hands-on project that goes with our study for those weeks.

Now for the Crazy Ol' Summer of 2010!

  • We had 30 days of visitors from the end of May through the month of July:
Gigi & Papaw Smith - May
Papa Voiles - June
The Fergusons - June
The Jollys - June till July 4th
  • Emma had her dance recital.
  • Sam lost a second tooth and his baseball team won the championship!
  • Clara started crawling, pulling up to stand, says, "Mama, Da-Da, Bye-Bye" and blows a mean raspberry.
  • Hannah is racking up the babysitting hours and loves it! She also saved up her own money to buy her very own DSLR Nikon camera.
  • Benjamin is talking a blue streak, weighs a whopping 40 lbs, and is still quite possibly the cutest child that ever walked the earth.
  • We went to the Great Wolf Lodge.
And while the Jolly's were here we went to:
  • Kings Dominion
  • Jamestown
  • Yorktown
  • Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Food Lion, Kroger, and Martin's cause we like to eat!
  • Inflation Nation
  • The pool
  • Toy Story 3
  • My early b-day dinner
  • Fireworks
And we ain't done ...
  • Baseball practice
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Sam's piano recital
  • HEAV convention!
  • Church picnic
  • My early b-day dinner with friends :)
Deep breath ...
  • The pool some more
  • And the pool for swimming lessons each night this week and the next
  • Free summer movie (Space Chimps ... ya'll that movie is funny!)
  • Drama camp for the girls every day for two weeks ... production week next week with shows on Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night.
We have a bit more planned and while this is busier than I like to keep our summer days we are blessed and have made precious memories with family and friends! Uploading pics will take me forever so here is a slideshow instead ...

*After clicking "play" arrow, click bottom right (four arrows) click to expand ... description in top right of page.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Update on Jason

My cousin has been moved to Baylor Hospital in Dallas to begin his rehabilitation which I believe will last about 6 weeks.

He has made great progress in the last week and I am anxious to hear how his first day of rehab (today) goes! Learning how to deal with the paralysis is a huge process for the entire family so please continue to pray for their renewed strength and that they be encouraged along the way.

The community and their friends and family have really cared for them in ways both big and small ... from meals and mowed grass to providing tires for Steven (his brother) to have on his truck as he makes a lengthy trek each week from Lubbock to Dallas to visit his brother.

There are details about God's provision throughout this whole event but one I want to share is about this horse that they had purchased recently, who unbeknownst to them, lays down on the ground when given the proper signal (and also speaks spanish instead of english but that is a whole other issue ... now I am thinking that might have been what was wrong with my ornery horse when I was a kid!)

Ya'll, the horse lays down on the ground.

And this was somewhat of a perplexing ... even odd problem that they had.
Until now.

My aunt and uncle and their boys have owned, raised, trained and ridden horses all their life. So now this crazy-spanish-speaking-laying-down horse has the ability to be trained for something like this:

I would love to post pics of Jason and his precious friends that have all but camped out at the hospital but since I don't have those yet I will post the ones I have from our trip several years ago.

We love you Craig family!

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Prayers for Jason

My cousin, Jason, was in a horrible car accident this past weekend. Because of the damage to his spinal cord, he is paralyzed from the waist down. So often I read prayer requests like this and I am able to skim past the information ... pause for a bit and move on.

I hope I can get you to pause a bit longer and get to know this boy and commit to pray for him and his family ...

He is 17 years old.

He is about to begin his senior year of high school.

He has dimples to die for.

He is the apple of his momma's eye.

He is his daddy's right-hand man.

He loves to play football for the Alvarado Indians.
He is #86.

But he really loves to rope and ride.

They are brothers ...
If you have a brother then words are not necessary.

He is 17 years old.
Steven, Jason, and Randy (dad)

"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

-Psalm 34:18

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Friday, July 02, 2010

Good Words ...

From a friend on facebook ...

"I notice that our culture is very fascinated with blood and love that is eternal ... I am too. The blood I am fascinated with is alive and comes from the only One who completely captivated me with a love that is endless. This Man's blood connects me to a life with the God who designed and created me. Ancient, limitless and timeless."

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