Thursday, February 26, 2009

Subscribe to love to paint

The way the RSS feed at the side works is that if you scroll down the the last option with just the funny symbol it will add it to the top of your tool bar when you open your web browser I think or to your bookmark list. Let me know if you try it if it works. =)

New Gadget

I'm not exactly sure if this will work or not, but I tried to post a link on the side of my blog that will link to my reviews that I've posted on Amazon. I've been starting to post several lists. One of them is a list of our favorite picture books. The second is our favorite read aloud chapter books. Please let me know if you click on it if it works or not. The link takes you to all of my reviews and then if you click on the tab for Listamania lists, you can see the lists I've made. =)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Getting a Grip =)

From the Message by Eugene Peterson
from Hebrews 12
"So don't sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!

Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you'll never get so much as a glimpse of God. make sure no one gets left out of God's generosity. keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.:

from James 1
Faith under pressure "Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second though. ...

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life."

Mornings are hard, but afternoons are easier. This morning was really hard. I just didn't know how I was going to do this and then I sat down to make a list of how to cope with Molly and potty training.

One of the things that came to my mind was potty training my own girls. The first few days, I almost gave up every hour--not knowing how it was ever going to get done. And then within a week, each of them were potty trained. I just had to hang on and persist.

And now, with Molly, I need to hang on for dear life and persist--oh, and also simplify my life as much as possible until this has passed!

History Lesson

Part 1
So many students ask why we study history--it is so we can learn from the past--know what happened and try not to make the same mistakes again.

If my children will listen some day when they are grown, I will advise them this way: Do not get a puppy when you have a baby. Do not get a puppy when you have a baby and other children. Do not get a puppy when you have a baby, other children, and are homeschooling =) There is only so much that one person can juggle in a day.

I hope some day they will listen to me.

Part 2
Having a puppy is like having a second baby before the first one is weened. Except--you can't put diapers on them! That makes life a little more complicated. You have to take the puppy out no matter what. You can't let the second (the puppy wait) if the first one is eating, etc. or else you will have an accident.

And this trial too shall pass...
or so they say =)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Adventures with Molly

On Friday afternoon, Molly came home with us from the breeder. She is a beautiful Golden Retriever Puppy. She is almost 8 weeks old. She is very sweet and playful. One of my friends at church on Sunday said she was looking forward to reading about our adventures in puppydom on my blog. Well, here's the first lesson I learned (aptly at 1 am this morning).

#1 Turn off the house security alarm before you take the puppy out to go potty. =)

You can guess what happened this morning at 1 am. =) at my house.

That lesson is very obvious. And although I get up 2-3x a night to feed Eli, getting up with a puppy is harder I discovered. It takes more cognition to remember to turn off the alarm. And unfortunately, Eli was on his way to sleeping through the night. Obviously, he woke up. I won't forget to do that again!

Well, my load just got a lot bigger between my 10 month old, 3 year old and 5 year old and homeschooling, so I need to run, but that's the first lesson I've learned.

I have a lot of things I want to post that our vet told us, but I will save them for tomorrow =) He's great. He's a traveling vet and has appointments on Sundays so my husband will be able to be there. So much easier than trying to take a puppy and 3 kids into a vet's office! Thanks God =) for making that easier on me.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I realized when my good friends reminded me of balancing blogging that I was fishing for what I wanted to hear. I know we all do it at different times =) We want to be told no, you're just fine. Or no, it's okay. But, the truth spoken in love is what we need to hear.

I had written that entry because I had heard that someone was surprised by how much I blogged. It hurt a little. I don't think I blog that much, but everyone has a different definition of a lot =)

One of my friends was concerned that I was up at 3:30 am blogging. And no, I wasn't, but thanks for being concerned that I was =) The time stamp is from PST. I'd be crazy if I was doing that! =)

In any case, these are my random thoughts while my 10 month old is crying pulling on my arm--telling me it's time to sign off. I hope you have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Do I blog too much?

Do I blog too much? I realize that I am home so much, but don't have as much time to talk on the phone since I'm homeschooling and have a lot to take care of--so I blog all of the random things I want to tell my friends =)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Facebook and People

So, the president or director of Facebook (I don't know which he is) stated that if Facebook were a country, it would be the 6th largest nation in the world. Wow. Pretty crazy.

Facebook helped me learn something interesting this week. Please forgive me if I've written about this before. I was looking at a friend's page and I was surprised by what was on it. Surprised in a different way than I had by others I had seen in the past. I realized that I assume that the way a person is around me is the way they really are. I discovered that that isn't neccessarily true. For example, I assumed that if someone doesn't cuss around me that they don't usually cuss. Not true. This I discovered. I only see one side of a person when they interact with me. Now that may be how they are all the time or even most of the time. But, it also may not be how they are or how they are when they feel free to be how they want to be. Facebook gives an interesting sense of freedom that way.

I think I have a strong personality =) and I know I'm strong willed. I have found that at times I have unintentionally stepped on toes because I am so strong. There was an interesting question in my Shepherding a Child's Heart Bible study this morning. It asked how I convey to my children that they have to agree with me to obey. interesting question. I have caught myself in this trap before. I want my children to have their own opinions, but sometimes I have realized (after they have made choices I didn't want them to) that I shouldn't have given them that particular choice to make. Then, I am faced with 1) take away the choice and tell them what I want them to do or 2) persuade them to see things my way. Neither one is a very good option really.

I want my friends to be real with me and I think the best way to find out who someone really is--my children or my friends or even people I meet or casually know--is to be "quick to listen and slow to speak" from the book of James. =)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Eating Humble Pie

Inwardly, I have had the joy of eating a lot of humble pie this year. At the beginning of the year, I started off thinking I really knew a lot about this homeschooling business because I am a certified teacher and what it was really going to be like for us as a family.

In comes the humble pie...

I had a chat with a good friend at the beginning of the year, and although I respected her opinions, I thought to myself, "But we're so different, I will expect more or different things of my kids." Ah, the pride of youth!! Today I was blessed to get to talk with the same friend (with humble pie in my stomach) and I was so encouraged by her experience and what she shared with me about her adventures in homeschooling. I have so much to learn from others--I knew I did, but I don't think I knew or even now know how much!

Part of our conversation today pointed out one of the best things about homeschooling--it's not done by a calendar to mark time the way public school operates. It's done in the pursuit of understanding. I need to always keep this in mind so that I am not just checking off a list of what needs to be done, but rather completing our tasks in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding--pursuing the love of learning =).

It's late, so this entry may not make sense and for that I apologize! =)

Opening Doors

In the past two months, we have had two people come to our door after dark. The first a tall man asked to use our phone to call for pizza--to what later we found out was a fake address. Then on Friday, a woman came to the door asking for money for gas. My husband lives with cynicism and genuinely tries not to be. So, both times he opened the door. And both times, we felt robbed of our sense of peace afterwards. The second time, I simply prayed for protection for my husband. You see, the local paper has run several articles lately about people getting broken into or harmed by people taking advantage of the kindness of people like my husband. Later that night, I realized we should have called the police right away and made a report. If it ever happens again, 1) we won't open the door and 2) we will call the police.

The interesting thing is that the incidents in the paper have been reported all over the county--not simply the less expensive places to live (like ours). It isn't concentrated where we live. And actually, none of the incidents that I've read about have been where we live.

It grieves me to be robbed of our feeling of safety in our home. It also grieves me to have that belief reinforced that we can't trust people. But, we have to be shrewd and wise of snakes in the grass. It doesn't mean we can't trust people--just that we have to be wise about it. I thank God for protecting us in both of these incidents--and I believe that He did.

Also, dear friends, please be careful about opening your doors up after dark if you don't know the person.

There is a reason why we as people want the right to bear arms to protect our homes and have dogs. And no politician will ever be able to nullify that reason--because people are sinners and do horrible things. I agree with the mantra that it is not guns that hurt people, but people that hurt people.

Losing it =)

I had something I wanted to write down, but now I've already forgotten it--and it's only been 3 minutes since I thought of it! Ah, the craziness of being a mom. People say you lose your mind when you get older. I'm starting to think that you actually just lose it over and over again!

My oldest daughter read her first book this morning. Real book. I was sitting upstairs and I heard her open up a book that we haven't read for a long time. I just knew she was reading. She wasn't reciting what she'd memorized. It was very cool.

Last night, I had a realization about homeschooling. I need to step back and realize this is my job. It is a job--just as if I was teaching school in a public school. I need to immerse my whole heart and mind in it as I am doing it and not rush through it or check off a list. I've been reading the design a study books to get perspective about the whole picture of science and reading comprehension. They're too vague for me to use as my whole curriculum, but I like them as a supplement. Often I find I am trying to get through things quickly while Eli is sleeping and make sure we cover everything. I think I need to stop worrying about that and simply do what we can and more importantly help her to understand and enjoy what we do.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Puppy

Dear friends, 1) I discovered yesterday that my friends read my blog. Thank you! =) It made me feel special. Sometimes I think it must seem silly that I blog--that I'm writing to myself. But, I try to write down all the random things that I would tell my friends if I had hours and hours to talk =) I miss having that time. I still have some time to talk--but I know I used to be a real talker (on the phone!) ! =)

2) Do you know of anyone who's dog is having puppies? We would like to get a puppy, rather than a grown dog. I want to trust this to the Lord that he will open the right door at the right time. Please let me know if you hear of anyone or have any recommendations. =) Thanks!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pampers and Diaper Rash

Eli has had diaper rash for several months now. Rather than medicating for it, I have had several friends recommend trying a different type of diapers. I was a little skeptical, but I thought I'd give it a try. I just switched Eli to Pampers fulltime a few weeks ago. I had been using Pampers at night time (the ultra absorbant Cruisers) and Luvs during the day until I used up all the Luvs I had. I'd seen some difference with the nighttime diapers so I swallowed my frugality and bought Pampers to use during the daytime for him. (Pampers cost 30-40% more than Luvs per case at BJ's). So, here's the good news: The Diaper Rash is GONE! My friends were right--thanks friends =)


I'm left thinking two things. 1) The cost of the diapers is worth it in the long run because I won't have to put cream and antifungal cream or hydrocortisone cream on his bottom. 2) I feel so bad that I didn't try switching when Sami was a baby and had horrible diaper rash. =( I feel bad for that.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Vaccine-Autism link is rejected

I have had so many conversations with my friends about autism and vaccines over the past few years. So, whenever anything is in the paper, I make a note of it.

This morning, in the Baltimore Sun, this was the title of an article. The gist of it is that basically there were three test cases brought before a special federal vaccine court seeking payments because the families believed that it was the MMR vaccine that caused their children to become Autistic. The court concluded in all three cases that there was no evidence showing a link between autism and the MMR vaccine.

Most scientists, public health officials, and pediatricians (in addition to the main medical societies) say there is a great deal of evidence that vaccines are safe. My pediatrician and the other doctors in her practice won't actually accept patients who don't get their vaccines. She explained to me that the only reason people are able to not get the vaccines is that they are benefiting from the vaccinations of others. But, in communities where a large number of children are not getting vaccinated, there have recently been outbreaks of the disease that children now are supposed to get vaccinated fro. My pediatrician does not mind if a parent chooses for the course of vaccinations to be slowed, but not halted. The reason that the pediatricians in the practice don't accept patients who don't get vaccinated is that they do not want to put their other patients at risk. I appreciate this--because these diseases are very contagious! I have appreciated all of the discussions about this that I've had with my pediatrician.

A few months ago, there was a case where it was found in favor of the family in the case. Interestingly enough, the father of the little girl was a Johns Hopkins trained Neurosurgeon. His daughter had a very rare condition (which I can't remember) that would have been identified very shortly after birth--the signs of it appear at birth if not shortly after. Because she was ill when she was very young, she was given too many vaccines at one time and it did produce a reaction in her. So, her parents sued. But, and this is a big BUT her father said in the article that he would still give her the vaccines--just much more spread out. I think that is very important to note. That he would still do that. He is a well trained doctor and his child has had complications from the vaccines and yet he still believes they are vitally important.

Interesting. Hmmm...

Oh, and of course, the article was somewhere around page 12 of the Baltimore Sun--buried in the paper. But, I'm glad I found it =)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Indelible Grace and Wondertime

2 separate things.
1) Indelible Grace. My husband and I have struggled with Christian music for a while. So often it feels that it is so similar to secular pop. My husband also struggles because it is often not as good as secular music--whether it is the vocals or the instrumentation of the songs. I've recently learned that we have several friends who play now or have played on worship teams at different churches that feel the same way. So, I wanted to let everyone know about Indelible Grace. The website is: The group has taken old hymns and reset them to modern tunes. My husband thinks the musicians are very good and it has encouraged him a lot.

Hymns are beautiful because they are about God--rather than about us and what we get from God as it seems most modern worship songs are. A wise friend in Georgia once shared that with me. I watched a movie about one of the great hymnwriters from the early 20th century and she was quoted as saying that most people get their theology from hymmns. So, we have to be wise about what we are listening to--even when it comes to Christian music. If we listen to repetitive choruses that are all about us and what God does for us, then we can come to see that as the point of salvation--ourselves. But, if we listen to songs that point us towards the Lord--His beauty, Grace, Creation, etc, then our eyes will be taken off ourselves and put back where they belong--on Him.

Besides good instrumentation and vocals, we love good lyrics. There is a group called the Square Peg Alliance. It is a group of really good musicians who all are very honest in their music. Andrew Peterson, Jill Phillips, and Derek Webb (formerly of Caedmon's Call) are all a part of this group. Andrew Peterson and Randall Goodgame have put out one of the funniest children's albums I've ever heard--Slug and Bugs and Lullabies (I think that's the title). My girls love it and so do we.

So, if you're looking for something new to listen to. Go check out Indelible Grace and The Square Peg Alliance. You can purchase the cds for Indelible Grace at their website or through Amazon or if you're in Maryland, there's a wonderful bookstore near York, PA. called Hearts And Minds that carries them. You can hear samples and purchase CDs from the Square Peg Alliance through their website. You just need to google it. =)

I much prefer Family Fun magazine to Wondertime, but it's okay. I got a free subscription from our miles so I thought I'd try it. I noticed in the issue this month that it said you can view the whole issue online for free, so if you are looking for something to peruse, you can go to the website:

One last note... My son took his first step yesterday even while he has a cold and a fever. I hope he doesn't make too many face plants before he gets steady! That's always so hard--the falling part before they get steady in their walking.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Swiffer Wet Jet Urban Myth!

This is a link to the snopes website that addresses the swiffer wet jet email that's been going around. It sounds so genuine when you read the email. I have a 9 month old crawling around my floors, so I jumped last week when I got the email. I was ready to throw away all of my Swiffer pads! Thankfully I didn't. I was talking to another friend about urban myths today and asked her if it was on there. She said that indeed it was and so I went to check it out. If you've gotten the email about the dog dying from the Swiffer Wet Jet, go to the website above and it will explain everything!


I realize that I'm a quirky person and I don't always say the right thing. It's been an interesting thing to find people I went to school with on Facebook. I didn't really have friends until High School. In fact, in both Elementary and Middle School, I had girls in my classes tell everyone else not to hang out with me. I didn't really learn how to have friends or be a friend until High School and one very good friend--who I've been friends with for 20 years now--didn't give up on me. We talk every week though we live across the country from each other.

A few years ago, when I tried to reconnect with some friends from college, the one I most wanted to know about wouldn't answer the phone or return my call. It made me cry. I just wanted to know how she was. What did I do that was so horrible that didn't merit grace? I don't know. I know I probably never will.

Sometimes I wonder. What was so wrong with me? Why did people dislike me that much to turn everyone else against me? I don't have an answer to those questions. Part of me wants to ask those people, but I don't know if they'll have an answer for me.

My daughters and I just read 100 dresses by Eleanor Estes. I was Wanda Petronski. That was me off by myself. It felt horrible. Except I didn't get to move. I stayed in the same schools for 6 years in Elementary school and then 3 in Middle School and my first year in high school was just as bad.

Not having friends for so many years changed my outlook on life a lot. 1) I'm really thankful for my friends that I have now who I know like me for me. What an amazing blessing! 2) I still wonder if there's something wrong with me that caused people to dislike me so much all those years and say such horrible things to me. 3) When people tell me that my daughters need to be in school so that they can be socialized and learn how to get along with others, I am skeptical. After all, I never did. It wasn't until I was 22 that I was really comfortable in my skin and I had attended 13 years of public school and 4 years of college by that point.

It has surprised me how many people I knew in Elementary, Middle and High School have been glad to hear from me on Facebook. We've all grown up and now have families and/or careers. It's fun to see how people have grown up. We've all matured. It has made me think about what I will tell my daughters about how things will turn out when they encounter people who don't like them and are unkind. It has also made me think about how I will teach them to treasure the friends who are really their friends and what a friend is.

Well, those are my random thoughts for now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Zucchini Soup

I made alterations on a Zucchini Cream Soup recipe that I found in a cookbook and my husband thought it was one of the best soups I've made:

3 Tbsp. Butter, cut in small pieces or 3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. white rice, I used medium grain Calrose rice, but you could substitute short or long grain rice
1 tsp. dried basil
3 cups chicken broth, water, or vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/3 cup half and half
2/3 cup 2% lowfat milk

1. Put butter or oil, onion, curry powder, and zucchini in small round slow cooker and cook on High for 30-45 minutes.
2. Add rice, basil, and broth and cook on high for 4-5 hours.
3. Puree soup in a blender (you may need to do 2 batches). Add soup back to crock pot and add half and half and milk. Cook on low or high for 10-15 minutes and serve.

It's really good with warm crusty bread =)

Americans and Missions

I remembered while in the shower that the Judaizers also came up when my husband and I were talking about missions in light of the book I'm reading right now. It's really good. It's about microfinance efforts in Africa. But, it has brought up a lot of questions for me. One of them is something I've struggled with for a long time. The author of the book I'm reading makes the point early on that she had to learn humility and meet the women she went to help where they were at and get them on board--not try to mold them to her ideas and what she wanted to come in and do.

The question I come up against periodically is this: Are Christian missionaries from the United States sharing Christ with the people they go to love or are they like the Judaizers--trying to share with them American Christianity? My impression is that there are both type of missionaries serving the world right now. Some go to serve and love the people and their culture--and not try to change them. Others seem to go and share American Christianity. One of the autobiographies I just read recounted visiting an American run orphanage in Africa and then the state run orphanage. They were vastly different.

The Judaizers believed that the gentiles needed to be circumcised and observe the Jewish customs in order to truly be saved. But, Christ plus something--anything--nullifies the Christ's death on the cross for our sins. The Judaizers were wrong. Paul makes that very clear in Galatians. But, that idea is still so prevalent in our society--that we can work out our salvation--that it is our works that will save us. The Word is very clear that it is not our works, but God's grace that saves us.

Well, those are the thoughts I'm pondering. I would love to hear other people's thoughts on their recent experiences with missions in light of the question I've posed in this entry! Thanks!

Jadaizers and being Culturally Relevant

Just some food for thought..

I was talking to my friend yesterday about the dangers of being too culturally relevant as a church. My husband likened it to the Judaizers of the New Testament. Remembering that the Judaizers were trying to tell the Gentiles that they had to look and act a certain way in order to be truly saved. Sometimes a church can perceive our culture saying to the church that the church needs to be just like the culture in order for people to want to be there and to get saved. Just an interesting comparison.

My thoughts about the need to be or not be culturally relevant is that I come back to the questions, "Who is the one who saves?" Do we save? Or is God the one who saves? By attempting to be more and more culturally relevant, I think it is easy to put our trust in ourselves rather than God and to think that it is our efforts, not God's that bring someone to salvation. But, that isn't true. It isn't Biblical at all. It is by grace through faith that we are saved--it is God's work that saves us--not our own.

Lots to say!

So, I'm going to make a list today about all the things I want to post about, so that I don't forget!
1. Africa
2. The American Dream
3. Jadaizers in the New Testament and being Culturally Relevant
4. Indelible Grace
5. Knives
6. 100 dresses
7. Dying to Self
8. Lessons from the Economy: The 80s and 90s
9. Career Builder Super Bowl Commercial
10. Super Bowl
Well, that's at least a start for my list. =)

Oh, and one more thing. I added the subscription link on the side of my blog if you'd like to be updated when I post. Several friends had mentioned that they checked my blog. That was a blessing to me. Sometimes I feel so stuck at home--lots of days we don't get out at all between homeschooling and housework. But, knowing someone has read my blog connects me more to the outside world =) Thanks for listening (reading)!