snorting laughter

As I’m investing myself wholeheartedly in my daily dose of this, you slide over and sweetly romantically half whisper, 

“I’m so glad that you married my Dad... I’m so glad that we have him.”
Instantly, tears come flying out of my face without warning. I force a laugh-out-loud to assure you this is a “good” cry. 

I begin to bask in the connection of our hearts, how you must be feeling the same things I have been feeling at a heightened level these days. 

I revisit my shoebox stuffed with memories of times I've been certain that you could read my mind. I slide this moment inside and proudly shut the lid. 
I get all the way to the part where my heart is gloating over how incredibly insightful, splendid, and well expressed you are... and then the needle rips across the record cutting to the blunt sound of your point, 

“if we didn’t have that Dad, we for sure wouldn’t have an XBox.” 


Finally the dead silence is broken by my snorting laughter. 

You are a riot!



I've heard a hundred homeschool experiences that all lead to the conclusion homeschooling is like raising kids; 
it takes time, patience, and lots and lots of screw ups. 

Most publications practically encourage a homeschool mom to just jump in wherever they're comfortable and prepare to make changes daily, monthly, yearly... it's an ongoing process that molds itself per family, per student, per teacher. 
And that's one of the reason why I love it so much. 

I recently attended a four day homeschool conference. I have been waiting years to be close enough to the starting line to justify the time and expense of getting so involved. 

I was like a kid in a candy store in the vendor hall with over 100 programs laid out on tables, grade by grade, before my eyes and finger tips. 
It was like meeting celebrities I'd known of for so long as I feasted on curriculum after curriculum.

And then I heard David Hazell speak in a workshop called "Combining Classical Education, Charlotte Mason, and Unit Studies with a Christian Perspective." 
Where I'd placed a single star by all the other workshops I had chosen to attend, this one had a star AND a heart next to. It was the one I was most shocked and thrilled to see available. 
Someone who was not only thinking what I was thinking, but enough so to present on the topic!?

It turned out to be even more straight from God•awesome•miracle•mega exciting. I honestly cried when I learned that Mr. Hazell and his wife have created an entire K-12 curriculum based in and around their brilliant master plan, tried and true through their own nine, grown up, homeschooled children. 

I'm excited about combining this incredible curriculum with our favorite Math-U-See program for what we are calling your "Kindergarten year" beginning this fall. 

As far as our state is concerned we won't be able to legally call you a homeschooler for another two years! Your fifth Birthday will miss the cut off by 29 days which would have put you first entering the government educational system at almost six years old. 
Great head start for such a spongy, intelligent, fully reading, adding in the hundreds place, story writing, spanish soaked, lover of learning.

The good news is that we have the legal right to let you learn and grow at the exact pace you are wired to do so, and you have been doing "school" for two years already; Pre-school two years ago and Kindergarden this year just past. And the jump start you do have will allow stretching time and space for the future. 

I'm so anxious to get this next year's schooling mapped out for us that I jumped the gun a bit and bought the entire MFW Kindergarden curriculum. 
After investing a couple of days in learning and revising it accordingly I was sad to find that it isn't quite the right for you. With letter recognition and writing, sounds, very early stages of math, and even some shapes and colors reviews throughout, we're pretty sure it would be holding you back more than we are comfortable with. 
We're pretty sure it would tick you off, actually. :)

So, we are ordering the FIRST GRADE curriculum. Still with the plan to begin Alpha/first grade Math-U-See as well as incorporate some of the relevant and just plain fun Kindergarten material from the MFW we have now. 

We will call it "Kindergarten" for your sake. I'm not exactly sure how this all works out in the long run with the state not recognizing you as a schooler until 2012. I don't think you can legally begin first school on paper in first grade in a second grade curriculum???

But you can be as smart as you are, and you can master and excel as quickly as you do. I just don't know how that all works. Yet. (AUNTIE PAM!) 
I have plenty of resources to confer with between now and your graduation, so I'm not too worried about it. 
Beginning time lines, experiments, Bible reading, copy writing, narration, unit studies... I'M SO EXCITED I CAN HARDLY WAIT UNTIL SEPTEMBER!!! 

There will surely be more. More than you will care to have documented. More about my excitement, our choices for your next steps, and lots more detail about where we are heading for your 2010-11 school year!!! 

We are just wrapping up THIS year and I am this silly about next year... it's gonna be a long summer. :)


changes and choices


I typed this about three weeks ago:

Our little world has been seeing some pretty big changes lately. Gradual, but good and important. 
It all started with a book that your Uncle Levi told me to read called, "Loving Our Kids On Purpose" by Danny Silk. 

God used the book to show me through some tough realities about my foundation of parenting and mostly at first, my control issues. 
I never realized how very very controlling I am. 

The road to understanding how to replace external control with taking control of myself, to stop enabling and coddling the people in my life, to stop using my words and actions to bully people into giving me what I want when things get really bad, and to work on "creating a culture of honor" (another amazing book), is winding, twisty, bumpy and long. 

But why just work on one issue at a time?!  

There is more. A new perspective on parenting. What we are doing with you and why. How we have been such "drill sergeants" and "helicopters", shelterers, baby-ers, bosses, stiflers, thieves... we have taken most of your opportunities to learn good life lessons at a low cost and snuffed them out through what we thought was "taking good care of you". 

We have both treated you as though we could and should make you do whatever we expected from you... as though you should be who we imagine you to be. We've let other people (even complete strangers) sway our choices, and we have not been willing to sacrifice for your gain. We thought we were doing the right thing. Of course.  

So now, we are moving forward, healing and transitioning toward something we really believe in. Today, your Dad blew me away with his rendition of the process. And I am coming along, too. Slowly.

We really do want the best for you. I am grateful God is pointing things out and molding these changes. Everyday is another step further.

Thank You God. 

Today, this process is in a different stage. I feel like things are coming along well. I still screw up, but less often. And I don't beat myself up about it nearly as much. I can SEE this working itself out in us. In more ways than just parenting.

But as I get closer and closer to representing who I am regardless of other peoples' choices and actions (including yours), my calm and self-controlled behaviors freak you out more and more.

It is sad how much you would prefer to be snapped at and told what to do. 
It is sad how much I have disrespected you all the while looking for some respect from you. 
It is sad how much you believe you can control me because I have let you for so long. 
You had grown quite accustomed to my strange balancing act of control and enablement.

I think (I hope) that you are coming to the head of your struggles with our new changes. You are not used to being in an environment that requires you to be in control of your actions and be responsible for "cleaning up your own messes". 

And to help us along, God has included a few other people now and then to assist me in our training. Mine and yours. 
Smiling people with love in their hearts. Together we are showing you something you have never seen before. And it is breaking you down.   

You have gone from blatantly asking me not to give you anymore choices, to a screaming hair pulling meltdown, to finally admitting to me that "people are treating me right and being nice, but I DO NOT FEEL GOOD ABOUT IT."

In my absence you told your Dad the other day that you wanted me to stop. You explained to him that I'm not really giving you control and choices. I'm just telling you two things I would like you to do and expecting you to feel in control. :) Daddy says you are on to me. 

But this is good stuff. 

I heard you very calmly reassure a good friend of yours who was (innocently) trying to manipulate you the other day, "you cannot control me"...almost as if to remind yourself. And you BELIEVED it. 
Finally. Taking care of yourself like you are watching Mommy take care of herself. 
Be In Control Of You. :) I love it.

I take every opportunity I get to sit with you in empathy and talk about what we are experiencing as a family. I tell you how I was wrong before. How my past decisions as a parent put you in the place you are struggling away from now. How very very sorry I am for doing that to you. I am being honest with you. I know that you are smart and will process through this best if you can see the whole picture. 

And I've told you this already. But I'm SO proud of you. You're so strong and wise beyond your age. And I now understand exactly what my own Dad was talking about... 
I absolutely adore growing up beside you.  

Love, Mom



it feels like i'm standing here grasping soaked newspaper. and yet He continues to plant firm confirmation day after day that this is the direction i am to take. 

art on a serious scale?
for me rather than for you.
as a soul quenching instead of a manufactured product.
an interpretation of me rather than an imitation of someone's original...

art. really? 

to me it's always rated so frivolous and piddling.

not that creating art is bad. 
i've just always slotted it in the same category as going to a movie alone, working on an old car that may likely never be finished much less used, or fishing early on a saturday morning before anyone else is awake. somewhat selfish. a little indulgent. like a hobby. not necessary enough to happen often but personal and quiet enough to feel good and be okay.   

i'm starting to see that original art requires being alone. personal time with you and your own concept. yet it's so hard for me to obtain without human assistance. 
zeek does it flawlessly. he uses his teeth to create of his pancake. a stick to create in the dirt. legos, blocks, candy, and tracks. not to mention what he can do alone in a room of paints and paper. it's still there for him. he trusts his own whisper. 
he hasn't lost it. he's got his own form of real art living inside. and it's true.

in my experience creative and artsy people have most often been those looking for an excuse. lying under their brush strokes, notes, and welding. those who dig their toes into bouts of ego depression and pity parties. people who will be waited on by others who love to shroud themselves with the needy so they can be needed. or more sadly, people being waited for by those who really love and need them. 

i've chalked up divulging in "art" with putting aside what is truly beautiful to prioritize a fabrication.

cutting off ones own ear.

drama and melancholy do not mix well. 

i'm not going to lie. when i hear ARTIST i don't think of healthy, aware, alive, coherent, motivated, inspiring, selfless, reliable... 
i hear starving, lazy, voluntary misfit, checked out, self-absorbed, uncommitted, loose, drifty, spacey, dropout. 

this has kept me from taking it too seriously. ever. 

harsh, i know. but i think it's good to say where i'm at right now, because chances are i'm about to have a revelation of sorts. 
soon enough i'll be laughing at my formerly uneducated opinions and generalizations.

or i'll just be the jerk who said artists are lame. 

whatever it is, "i'm going Your Way" plays over and over in my head and on my heart. 

I'm going Your Way.
I'm going Your Way.
I'm going Your Way.

and as i put away the "inspirations" piled high, close the lid of my laptop, squeeze my eye lids as tight as i can, and take a deep breath of You
i know You are right here, breathing me in just as deeply. 
never letting me down. 
always holding me close. 
waiting on me, who you really Love.       
trying to show me something new. again. 

blow my mind
can't wait 
i love it


reading alone

I thought the sound of your voice coming from the living room had a different
rhythm than that of your usual play-time noise making,
or you speaking to your pug.

I thought the sound was a little like the sound of someone reading!

This was the second time I'd seen you reading on your own. 

And the first time that you read to yourself out-loud enough to be heard. 
Such a special mile-stone for you. and me. 

When I was little I was allowed to stay awake as late as I wanted 
as long as I was in my bed, reading.
I spent countless nights reading book after book 
until I couldn't keep my eyes open.
My own Mom would buy me boxes of books at rummage sales. 
I remember those boxes being place beside my bed 
as I read through them one by one.

Last night I gave you permission to enjoy 
the very same after-bed-time reading freedoms. 
You were so excited to be set up with your beginning readers 
and your own reading lamp. 

I was so proud of you. 
After taking ample pictures...
your Dad and I sat downstairs in the living room 
listening to you sound out your stories in your room 
as you read yourself to sleep for the first time.


Every growing. Never slowing. My dear boy.



once i created a horse stable with stalls, dutch doors, and windows. with wood shavings, buckets of feed, sweet treat and fresh hay. i connected a picket pasture and opened the doors for the stalls to be filled.

one by one their names were tacked up in rows each above their own place. daily i would suit up in my equestrian gear to make my way from one end to the other tracing their faces as they stuck out from their stalls. i would breathe them in deeply, learning their shapes, colors, patterns, markings... sometimes they came willingly to the openings but often they hid in the shadows. sometimes they would burst out - saunter, graze, gallop, and whiny freely. at this i would watch wide eyed with excitement and often shed tears in awe of a magnificence that only comes from such a creature.

i loved my time spent in the stable. it had a life of its own crafted out of early mornings and late nights. it provided a shelter and a safe place for me. a place to hide in my own shadows. i was moved revived enlightened humbled blessed inspired... i laughed and cried and learned and changed and grew.

i spent time inspecting and repairing wooden fence that had been broken down or worn over time. sometimes I replaced it with barbed or electric wire, sometimes tape or braided rope. i repainted the outside of my structure over and over again. i worked the ambiance to my favor season after season.

and then one day He called me. revealing a vision where within stood firm certainty that my stable would soon be abandoned. i shuttered at the thought. i begged and pleaded that He would take the cup from me. that it would pass. but i knew deep down the kind of guts He has; my Deity who made good in turning His face from His own righteous blood stained Son in the flesh on Sacrifice row. i knew He had much to ask of me. i knew that He wouldn't show me what i've seen or give me what He's given if He had no intention of asking me.

and so, eventually, i let Him remove me.
and the stables became a faded rusty old passion of dust and webs.          and i became new.

He beacons me to seek His face, His voice, His shelter, His pastures. He offers His protection food water shadows light... He welcomes me into His perfect Place. He roots in His promise that my name is already there. that i have a right and even a role.

still i wander. and wonder. where is it again? who am i?

and what about that old abandoned red barn? wasn't that okay? couldn't that do? maybe just one more round? a walk through... a visit... a tour? 

sweetly and consistently He repeats ~
just come. put it all down and come in.

but it feels like falling out. like opening the doors and flying away to a life where vast love looks more like immense void, freedom daunts great room for error, and fear-bound crowds out thrilling trust. and i never quite get to the door.

how could i not trust You by now? how could i not live out what i have seen and know about You? why am i so locked down and so tied up? and by what? a wall? a chord? a strand of hair?

each of which You have complete power over.
God. Take Hold and Have Your Way.

bring me out.


Zeek talk:

me: what would you like for breakfast?
zeek: some fiber-ish, buttery, cimenon-ish toast.
me: okay, baby. 
zeek: make sure it has a great deal of butter on it.

"This song is nerdy. And it’s not about God. I don’t like anything that’s not about God. I love God. More than anything. Even more than you."

"Mom, would you mind taking that call in the living room?"


“Mom, am I going to have to tell satan to leave every day
for the rest of my LIFE!? I’m so sick’a him.”  

You are learning that you can either tell him to go away, or you can speak a relevant scripture because Truth will trump him just the same. I reminded you about how Jesus only used scripture to combat the enemy in the desert.

Later, you were working on your memory scripture for the week when you stopped and said, “I just wish satan wasn’t alive.” As if
then you wouldn’t need to memorize Bible verses. :)

I always tell you that you are enticing me with your cuteness, and I want to crawl all over you and snuggle you up!
This morning you were standing with your back right in front of me. You turned to me wide-eyed with a smile and assured, “I’m not trying to entice you!”


The other night I asked you to put every pillow in the house back where you dragged it out from. You did not think this was fun at all, so you began yelling at me about how you didn't have to, weren't going to, expected "at least some help", etc... I ignored you through the drama repeating your least favorite words over and over, "probably so". I then explained your options and went on to ignore your combativeness leaving you a few minutes to make a decision. 

A few minutes later I noted that you must have chosen not to pick up the pillows, and explained that you were to go to your room. I told you that I was going to clean up the pillows downstairs in exchange for you hanging up and putting the pile of clean clothes by your closet away while you were up there.

As I was walking under the bridge I could hear you talking to yourself through squealy sobs. I stopped to listen with my hand covering my mouth knowing this could lead to some giggling on my behalf. You were saying the craziest stuff! Things like, 
what kind of a mother makes a child put away his own clothes? A mother should put away the clothes. Never a child! This should never happen. Not to a four year old! Who does this to their own KID!?"

Last week you told me that you wished you were never born.
You will make statements in exasperation like "My whole LIFE is going wrong!" or "Nothing in the world is right today!" 

My little drama king. 
Oh to be four. 
Ooops, sorry... four and a half.

Never a dull moment with you, dear.
Probably so. ;)


We love the wildlife sanctuary.

We love to walk and talk - visit and learn about the animals -
photograph to our hearts content...

The name Sanctuary could easily be followed by the words Rescue and Restoration 
in this natural habitat preserved and delegated to provide just that. 

And although it is clear that their focus is the wild-life, I have come here since I was a 
teenager to soak in more than my share of all three promises.

I find it significant that this is the place your Dad asked me to marry him eleven years ago.
A marriage that has proven itself right from the start to be (sometimes only following a battlefield) a Sanctuary of Rescue and Restoration.

It's funny, our church is the same way. 
Taking in mostly the injured; rescuing, restoring, and giving sanctuary.

And loving you has done and is constantly doing the same with me. 
Rescuing me from myself-my past-my faulty foundations, 
and causing me to seek sanctuary in healing, there finding restoration in God. 

It's no wonder we love the WLS.

On this week's visit, you took to this one particular goose. 
He has an injured wing, and you insisted that you follow and feed only him.

I wanted to stick to the "one bag of feed per visit" rule, but what else could I do when I saw the 
compassion in your eyes as you struggled in the tension between your heart to serve and 
your desire to obey?

We just had to go and get another bag.

It is so awesome to sit on the benches with you and wrap ourselves in a blanket of 
God's incredible work. 
It is awesome to watch you grow bigger and bigger in size and heart waddling on the same rocks 
I've been waddling and growing on for over a decade.

It is awesome to have yet another place in your life where brokenness is beautiful, 
love and trust are pivotal, and peace is abounding.

Only in Him could our lives be full of such splendor.