Friday, August 26, 2011

Boy Scout Camp

Here are some pictures from Evan's Boy Scout Camp in June. I know it's a little late posting these, but I want to have a record of his first Boy Scout Camp!

Getting ready with the cot & the backpack &

the water bottle (a necessity in our 100+ degree temperatures ALLLLLLL summer her in Texas),

Ethan was really getting into helping with packing...

Right before he left for camp...Daddy & Son actually match too...

We got to visit him on the last night & see their closing ceremony.

After a week of camping, he looks a little worn out. Can you believe they sleep OUTSIDE for an ENTIRE week in a TENT??? This is not for me!

In the dining hall (that was not air-conditioned either)...

Yummy camp food...

The boys danced during supper...Evan had a blast doing this.

Flag ceremony...

Ethan enjoyed the outdoors...

Troup 342...what a nice-looking group of Boy Scouts!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A New Routine

I told my husband that this week is my “inservice” week to get ready for school to begin next week. Having taught high school math for 17 years, I have learned the importance of planning ahead and I am such a procrastinator…especially if I don’t have a definite deadline to complete something.

When we decided to homeschool last year, I felt pretty overwhelmed with all of the choices and all of the responsibilities and the fact that I had to be my OWN boss & motivate MYSELF to get up every morning and inspire my own boys to learn. Luckily, we found a wonderful co-op, Cottage Garden, and that dictated some of the courses Evan took. Cottage Garden and my friends, Kim and Jennifer, were God-sends because they provided much needed wisdom and support. And then I met even more wonderful moms from church and the co-op and we were settling into quite a nice routine.

But then it all changed when God provided a “divine interruption.” (This is what I learned to call it through my summer Bible study on Jonah by Priscilla Shirer.)

God called Eric to a new church in Center, TX, so we moved in the middle of the school year. Luckily, school and my job were not issues because we were homeschooling. But soon after we moved they became HUGE issues to me because I did not have my support group that I had grown to love and depend on so much! We worked out a way to travel to Tyler once a month to finish our year at Cottage Garden, but to say this move was not a struggle would be dishonest.

It certainly disrupted our nice routine which was the topic of this post. Sorry I’ve digressed, but it also helps me to process all of the changes to get to where I am today.

After months of trying to get settled and searching for a new homeschool group to join, we did find one in Nacogdoches. Once again, it’s about a 45 minute drive, but everyone seems to be really friendly and we are SLOWLY assimilating into the group. Evan has even joined the Boy Scout Troop that is sponsored by NACHEA (Nacogdoches Home Educators Association). This has turned out to be a great Daddy/Son time every two weeks, and Eric is enjoying getting to know the other dads and learning ways he can help as well. We’ve also joined the NACHEA 4-H group. We’ve decided this is for Ethan because he loves being a part of the Clover group for the younger children. His leaders are awesome & he comes away with a little project every month!

We are also going to be a part of a much smaller co-op this year, but we are really excited about it! Evan will taking Apologia General Science & Starting Points Biblical Worldview /Writing classes there, and one of the moms has graciously agreed to work with Ethan and her 5-year old son each week. They should have a blast together!

As a school teacher, I also learned the importance of attending CONFERENCES to learn HOW to do my job better. My husband and I were fortunate enough to attend two this summer! We attended the Homeschool Book Fair in Arlington in May and then the THSC Family Homeschool Conference in July. Both of these conferences motivated us to examine how, what, and why we are teaching our boys at home. The speakers were SO encouraging and full of practical ideas that we can implement, and the exhibit halls were so much fun to explore the diverse curricula available for any and every subject.

We had the opportunity to learn from Sally Clarkson (Whole Heart Ministries), Andrew Pudewa (Institute for Excellence in Writing), Steve Demme (Math-U-See), Jim Weiss (Greathall Productions), and many others!

A few observations that I have made from the few homeschool conferences I have attended…

1. The homeschool community does NOT seem to be out to get your money! There were many times that I wanted to attend math teacher conferences or any other educational conference over the years, but they were very expensive. I finally resorted to writing grants to be able to attend. However, these conferences are fairly inexpensive…the Book Fair in May only cost $20/person for the 2-day conference and the THSC conference was FREE to members! Wow!

2. These experts are tried and true normal parents just like us but with a lot more experience and a lot more wisdom! The ones I’ve met so far are all very godly Christians seeking to raise a godly generation of young people to change the world for Christ!

3. As I am learning, I have really had to question my motives and methods for teaching. I have to constantly remind myself of my priorities—to raise godly young men—and not just complete a checklist of learning outcomes each day. This process will take much more TIME and PATIENCE, but I truly believe the result will be a much better product!

4. I have learned the importance of READING good quality “living” books!

5. Audiobooks are awesome and the public library has so many of them! They are an answer to prayer for a dyslexic child.

This post is a little disjointed but it helped me think through some things this week & take a little break from cleaning that JUNKY school room/Ethan's room/office. (That post will come as soon as I finish cleaning!)

Thanks for reading! I'd love to hear how you are getting ready for the new school year!

Finding JOY in the Journey,


Missing My Malakoff Friends

Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to study Ruth (by Kelly Minter) with this group of sweet ladies. Kristie, Kim, Flo, Brandi, Penny, Kristi, Jenna, Jennifer (with baby Chase in tow), I miss you and love you each dearly!

During the study, we decided to not just fellowship, eat together, and study God's word but to also DO something...we helped wash clothes for a family that didn't have running water and we helped with a few other projects. It was during one of our lllooonnnngggg conversations one night that Jenna first mentioned to the group that she wanted to go on a mission trip to Uganda with Visiting Orphans.

She asked us to pray about joining her on that mission trip.

Fast forward about 10 months and 4 of the girls from our Bible study group plus 5 others from our Malakoff church joined 20-something others in Washington DC & headed to Uganda, Africa for two weeks to love on orphans!

As I read their blog posts & facebook posts while they were there, I could tell this was not your normal “feel good” mission trip. It was a very emotional and heart-wrenching trip. They loved it and I’m sure they are changed forever! They are ready to share their experiences & advocate for more support for these beautiful children. You can read about some of their experiences here and here and here.

And if you are close to Malakoff tonight, you can hear them share about their experiences at 6 pm. I SOOOO wish I could be there! I wanted to make the trip to visit them, but I am not ready for school to start Monday like I need to be. I need to focus on my lesson plans, so we will have a great start to a great year of learning!

Jenna, Flo, Kristi, Brandi, Kasey, Marci, Madi, Cassie, and Carla, I am so proud of you for giving of your time and money and heart to minister like God says in James 1:27! “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Finding JOY in the journey,


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Memory Verse #16

"Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth."
1 John 3:18

I'm memorizing this with my boys as our first memory verse for the school year. I'm trying to teach them how our actions speak MUCH louder than our words.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My Husband, The Builder

For my birthday, my sweet husband decided to build a deck "for me." Knowing how much I do not like the out-of-doors, it sounds kinda funny that I would want him to build something outside for me. But I really wanted somewhere we could congregate & enjoy in the shade. Unfortunately, my birthday is at the end of May & this summer has been the most sweltering here in Texas! So...the deck is now built & it was a great father/son project but it has not gotten used hardly at all. But it will be there for us when God decides to let it cool down below 109 degrees on a daily basis...perhaps October or November.

I am very thankful for my sweet husband building the deck! He conquered something he's never done before!

Our backyard before the deck...

Getting organized...

Cutting the boards...

Building the frames...can you tell how hot it is by the red cheeks on Evan?

Eli's (our dog) checking out the new "stuff" in the backyard...

Ethan's getting excited about it...

The complete deck...looks so nice!

Mauri & Ethan enjoying a little shade...

Oh, did you the broken umbrella? Yes, it broke the first time Eric put it up! A little dust storm came up when he & Ethan were outside one afternoon. He said the wind picked up that umbrella OUT of that HEAVY base & blew it clear across the field! He was worried that Ethan was going to get hit, but luckily he was safe. And after a little duct tape, it looks all better now too! You gotta love duct tape!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Dolphin Tale Movie Challenge

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to listen and learn from Sally Clarkson at the THSC Homeschool Family Conference. I learned SO many things about being a better parent, and she shared some really neat stories about her children.

Her son, Nathan, is in Hollywood as an aspiring actor, but for the next two months, he has the special job of promoting the new family film, DOLPHIN TALE. Sally Clarkson told us that a special interest group from Warner Brothers has given a challenge to see if they can get 150,000 people to watch the move on September 23! I think we can!

And if they achieve this goal, then Warner Brothers has agreed to make another family friendly movie!

As I was laying in bed last night, my math teacher mind was thinking how easily & quickly we could get this word out on Facebook. If each of us had just 300 "friends" on facebook & we told our 300 friends & they told their 300 friends (300x300x300), then you would have 270,000 "friends" that know about going to the movie on SEPT. 23! (I know my mathy mind kinda goes crazy sometimes.) And you only need a little more than half of them to actually GO to the movie! How cool would that be if they way exceed their goal!

Let's pray for this movement to be a great success! Go to the Homeschool Movie Club & sign up for their newsletter. They even have a curriculum guide/unit study to go along with this movie and a few others.

Here is a little ditty from the Homeschool Movie Club blog:

Mark your calendars for September 23rd…and set up a field trip for your local homeschool group or go as a family!
We are going on a giant homeschool field trip to see:

Dolphin Tale

Homeschool Movie Club and Warner Brothers will be offering a ‘homeschool day’ for matinee shows on September 23rd and if you sign up HERE you will get information on special group promotions, discounts for homeschoolers, and FREE DOLPHIN TALE CURRICULUM written by Sherri Seligson who wrote Apologia’s Marine Biology curriculum! Also, contact usand let us know if you want to bring your homeschool group to see the movie and we will send you some extra ‘goodies’!Register here to get updates on Dolphin Tale’s “Homeschool Day”:

And has a novel for less than $5 right now. You could read it as a family before the movie comes out!

So let's get going...start spreading the word & let's make it a date to watch Dolphin Tale on September 23!

Finding JOY in the journey,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Memory Verse #15

AUGUST...the HOTTEST month of the year for us in Texas! Today, the lady on the news said this would be HOTTEST week yet for us! How can it possibly get any hotter than 105-110 degrees???

So...I think we should all just stay inside & memorize our verses. What do you think? :)

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."
Proverbs 14:1 (NIV)

I got the idea for memorizing this verse this time from a Sally Clarkson workshop that I attended this weekend at the THSC Homeschool Conference in The Woodlands. Sally (and all of the other speakers) kept teaching about how important it is for us to cultivate a GODLY HEART in our children.

She kept telling stories & teaching us that we will reap what we sow. If we get frustrated easily with our little ones, we will cultivate FRUSTRATED HEARTS. If we get impatient because our children are not getting ready quickly enough for church or school or the trip to Walmart, then we are going to cultivate IMPATIENT & RUDE HEARTS. If we have a bitter attitude toward our jobs, church, friends, or life in general, we will cultivate BITTER HEARTS.

Then, Sally Clarkson quoted Proverbs 14:1: "The WISE woman BUILDS her HOUSE, but with her OWN HANDS the FOOLISH one TEARS hers DOWN."

Wow! What a gem of a verse! I've read it many times before but it really HIT me over the head when I heard Sally say it with her kind, gentle voice! She said do we want to build up our children or tear them down? I certainly do not want to tear down my house with my own hands!

I need to keep this verse in the forefront of my mind at all times! I can't tell you how many times I snap with an impatient, unkind attitude on Sunday mornings as we are trying to get out the door! And then I want them to be happy about going to church to learn about Jesus?

So this month I am going to try my hardest to say this verse to myself every time my boys (husband and dog included) try my patience. :) Will you pray for me & hold me accountable & check back to see how I'm doing?

I'd love to hear the verse you are memorizing this time!

Finding JOY in my journey,