Showing posts from August, 2009

One Thousand Gifts-Week 31

I've been thinking recently about how much changing the way I tell my story has changed the way I view my life. This list here, this deliberate seeking and treasuring that which is good, has opened me up to so much joy. You might want to try it. Let me know if you do. sweet juicy peaches the way her hair flips up at the back sun-kissed cheeks the way we have the swimming pool all to ourselves on the week days Little's undisguised pleasure greeting a favorite friend the use of a car for the weekend the joining of two friends for life on ocean cliffs with the setting sun behind them little girls dragging brand new grown up friends onto the dance floor the quiet maturity that sometimes settles over the Boy how exciting it is to discover together that rays are flattened out sharks Little telling her brother and sister, "Me want MY mommy." a tidy floor that I didn't have to nag about the way a neighbor's child runs to hug me each time she sees me the Girl picking

Thailand Again

It's been a year since I announced here on my little blog our plans to start The Charis Project move to Thailand and take care of refugee kids and provide resources for the refugee villages there. The response was overwhelming. Truly it was. That first month you all donated about $1000, which was enough for Chala to move the kids to Kamphaeng Phet where they could get Thai documentation and go to school. It was you, people we have never met in person, who made us believe that this could happen, that we could take care of these children, that there are people who care and are willing to help. So much has happened since then. There have been some rough times. But now, thanks to sponsors and donors we're meeting more than half of the monthly budget for the children, Chala and his wife are reunited, and there is enough to feed the children every day. (We still need more sponsors, but it's a lot better than it was.) We are still not living in Thailand. That will come when


For words about husbands go to my post a Blissfully Domestic . For a great recipe using black beans and rice that your kids will want to eat check out the real food revolution-volcanoes.

One Thousand Gifts-Week 30

All of you for the love in your comments on this post . I cried while reading them but in a good way. It is good to know people understand. Making cookies. Green spaces to run in. The delight on the Girl's face when I bought her a $3 bouquet of flowers at the farmer's market. A Boy who pushes the stroller when Little wants him too because he's more fun than mommy. The noise that means we're all together again. Little, hard at play in her aunties old playhouse. Family returning from far away. MIL's and friends who plan adventures. (The Boy is paddling the Girl around on his first day ever in a kayak while the GH looks on.) Brave, brave kids, who are eager to try out new things. Dirty little chubby feet. After beach gathering for tacos at a friend's house. Work tomorrow. Hugs from friends. The gratitude community is here.

Aw crap

I gained a lot of weight during my very brief pregnancy with Shiloh, and since then, rather than lose it I may have gained a little bit more. I don't like it. It's hard to go through my closet and only have 3 or 4 tops that fit and one pair of pants. I'm not that fond of looking in the mirror right now either. But it's not an all consuming thought for me. I know what needs to be done. I need to not have that second portion after I'm no longer hungry. I need to stop having an extra piece of dessert. I need to be more mindful and snack less. A few days ago the GH , for the first time in the several months that this has been going, on said something. Very gently he asked if there was anything he could do to help me. So I told him a few ways that I thought he could help. After that I thought of other things. Just as I was drifting to sleep it occurred to me to pray about it so I murmured a prayer for help to be aware and disciplined the next day. The next day starte

7 Quick Takes

1. Thanks to twitter, CherylSmith999 to be exact, I have now discovered the comedy magic that is literal music videos. For example, they take this video of Rick Astley singing, Never Gonna Give You Up 1987 (man I'm old) and they voice over it literally describing what is happening in the video. Watch it here . If you can't figure out how that could be funny just wait until, "enough of me, let's cut to my shadow." I also recommend Total Eclipse of the Heart-The Literal Version and With Arms Wide Open - Literal Video Version . You can manage on your own from there, I'm sure. Hours of free entertainment. 2. I just found out that people pay anywhere between $200 to $400/month for cable/internet. That kind of shocked me. What's more shocking, to me, is that that people in my neighborhood who are on a fixed income, unemployed, on public assistance, etc, are the ones paying these bills. Yikes. I pay $25/month for highspeed internet. The wireless modem router

It Sucks to be the Little Guy

There is a story I haven't told. I don't know why I'm telling it today. Perhaps I'm just sick to death of dealing with the fallout. Perhaps it's because a friend told me recently that reading my blog makes her feel jealous of my life. Which surprised me. It's a good life. I like it. This is the space where I try to savor all the good that has been given to me. But that doesn't mean that I never have to deal with crap. I choose to not dwell on it as much as possible, but it's there. So in the interest of a more complete picture of my life, I'll share this story. It involves a man who has a lot of money, and two men who don't. The man with a lot of money, and I mean, a lot of money, has a very big mansion in the midwest. He's a commercial developer. He builds private clinics onto hospitals with Saudi oil money. He has 600 million dollar meetings. He owns an 8 million dollar "beach house" in La Jolla, CA. He has a temper and he's

Life with Little

We have a friend over for lunch. During the meal we are talking about our plans to go swimming afterward. "Me want to go swimming!" Little says, abandoning her meal to climb out of her seat. "Me get ready." "No, not yet," I tell her, "First we have to finish eating, then we can go swimming." "Okay," she says. 30 seconds later... One of the other kids says that word, swimming. Little starts to get up. "Me want to go swimming!" "After you finish eating, first eat, then swim." "Okay." She takes another tiny bite of food. "Me all done. Me go swimming now." "No you are not done, eat some more." "No, me go swimming now." "Eat first." "Okay." Takes a tiny bite. "Me go swimming now?" Repeat all that another 20 times and you have an idea of how lunch was that day, and pretty much what any day with Little is like. ******* Her birthday isn

small and orange

I felt a bit of a pang as I looked at the beloved bright orange dress lying in the trash can one more time before shutting the lid. It was a gift for the Girl from her Beema, purchased in Thailand years ago. Just that morning I eyed it's tattered too shortness as she ran, bare legs flashing, and thought, "It would make a cute baby doll top if I just repaired that torn side seam." Then I saw the holes in the back where she used a concrete banister at the beach as a slide. Holes I repaired last summer, now returned. Still I thought I could save it once again, preserve it's usefulness yet another year. After all, I had thought it beyond hope after a camping trip rendered it filthy, but that washed out with a bit of hand scrubbing. But that night, as I picked it up off the floor, covered in stains from the blueberry cobbler, I was just too tired to think of washing, patching and sewing this rag of a dress anymore. Without a word to anyone I quietly dropped it in the tra

In Search of a Red Tent

A long time ago my MIL and I somehow got on the topic of Old Testament law. Particularly the bits about a woman being unclean during her menstrual cycle. I said something about how that seems so archaic and unfair to women. "Unfair!" she responded. "Think about it. While you are hormonal and holding rags or straw between your legs to catch your blood, you don't have to cook for, fetch water for, clean up after, or even be around your husband or any of your children who are old enough to not be nursing. You get to leave and spend a few days outside of the camp resting, all by yourself, or with a few other women, until your period is over. That sounds really great to me." All that to say, I could really use a red tent right about now. Once again, Tamra's way ahead of me. Check out her idea. I want to be her neighbor.

Home Schooling-How we do it. Part 3 schedule and routines

Be sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 as well. In my heart I am an un-schooler. I would love for everything to be spontaneous, all learning child directed and based on burning interests. In my experience, total spontaneity leads to doing nothing all day. Boredom is good for kids, it gives them a chance to be creative. I'm all about downtime. But I have learned that structure is necessary if you want spontaneous moments to happen. There needs to be an underlying routine and rhythm to it all. In essence you are forging space for learning to happen by establishing a routine. I've finally learned the power of a routine, versus a schedule. A routine is something you do automatically, flowing without thought from one thing to the next. A schedule feels artificial, is tied to the clock, and is work to maintain. The difference is the time it takes to sit down and figure out where things already naturally occur in the day and fit other things you want to do in with them. Then you need

Home Schooling-How we do it. Part 2 Curriculum

Yesterday I mentioned the curricula that we began with when we first started homeschooling. Please go and read for a better understanding of our philosophical approach to learning as well. This post isn't a neat and tidy list, though I tried. It's hard when what I'm trying to show is how different things we did all worked together in harmony with each other. There are no walls between one subject and another. They all work together. To review: The first year we just used An early reading primer: Explode the Code . The boy still has three books to go in this series. At the end of which he should understand all of the pronunciation and spelling rules at least. Each of these books costs about $7 US. And I splurged on the $20 or so dollar flashcards as well. Early math that continues into a full k-12 Singapore Math curriculum: Early Bird Kindergarten Mathematics I also inherited a big box of math manipulatives from a home school family that was finished using them. I pul

Home Schooling-How we do it.

Since it's about time for another season of school, and I need to file another course of study with our home school administrator*, I figured I would write a few posts about how we home school. Every family does it differently btw. (One of the first home schooling books I ever read, and still one of my favorite was called, Fundamentals of Homeschooling . The author paints such a lovely picture of what it can look like and how it can work. If you are thinking of homeschooling and don't know how to begin I suggest reading it.) We started out knowing that we would home school. Because of that I was able to see teaching reading, writing, science and arithmetic as a natural continuation of the conversation that parents have with their children in the years leading up to school age. During those years children learn to walk, to speak, to get dressed, how to put their dishes away in the sink, where their shoes go, how to wash their hair, set the table and peel carrots, etc. They lea

Duty before Happiness

On Tuesday Jen@conversion diary wrote a very interesting and insightful post on Duty before Holiness . (You should go and read it, I'll wait.) She discusses the temptation to do something great and interesting for God to the neglect of our true duty and vocation. I have referred to the concept of duty before as faithfully doing what is in front of you that needs doing. Elizabeth Elliot says, as advice to overwhelmed mothers, "Do the next thing." This usually involves something mundane and unexciting, like making sure the house is picked up, holding the crying baby, or going to bed at a decent hour rather than staying up enjoying "me time" and then being too tired the next day to do one's duty as well as could be done. (Why yes, I am preaching to the choir here. How observant of you.) Remembering one's duty is a safeguard against taking on things that we are not supposed to do, because those things conflict with what is clearly our primary duty. Now, I

One Thousand Gifts-Week 29

I'm still stringing them along, one day at a time, these gifts. Choosing to pause and treasure that which is good. Three little bottoms lined up on a bench at dinner time. Apron bows tied over sundresses. The Girl looking more grown up and pretty than ever with her new bob. Little asking me, "What dis mommy?" every time she hears a new sound. Children watching birds, heads together, giggling with delight. Early summer evenings on the green chatting with the neighbors. The scent of sun dried laundry Clear nights in the country where the breathtaking vastness of space becomes visible. The unshaven smile of a spouse at home coming. An after dinner wander with all of us together. Watching the Girl run a half mile, barefoot, like she was made to do nothing else. The Boy reaching the top of a climbing pole in less than 10 seconds. The Boy and Little holding hands as he helps her run. The silly, funny, twisting way that Little tries to make her body move faster. Cinnamon sticks

Seven Quick Takes

1. I was feeling a little bit stir crazy yesterday and couldn't figure out why. Then I realized that except for Wednesday, when my MIL watched my children for a few hours so the GH and I could go our for lunch to commemorate our anniversary, I've not been more than 1/8 of a mile away from my house for more than 3 weeks. One walk, one trip to the store and a few forays to the community swimming pool right next to the laundry room have been the extent of our wanderings. No wonder. We'll all be happy to be out of quarantine I think. 2. Next year for our tenth anniversary I want to throw a party. None of these fancy date like things that we keep trying. We're both extroverts, we love having people around and our marriage plays out day to day in the community we have with our friends and family. Why not have them celebrate with us, just like they did when we married? 3. The GH and I have been talking adoption recently. There was a specific circumstance that inspired it,

9 Years Ago

This picture, taken at a wedding a few weeks ago cracks me up. We are so totally not cool. We are having a lot of fun. 9 years ago today I married the man I knew was the one for me. He's stayed by me through better and worse. (And I gave him a lot of worse in the beginning.) He's supported, encouraged, taught, and corrected when needed. I know that I owe a lot of who I am today to who he is, his patience, and firm belief that I am strong, that I can be more, even when I wasn't so sure. A smile and a kind word from him still makes my day. I love working with him, I love parenting with him, I love the life we have together. I'm glad that most of the time he still likes me. And he seems to be getting hotter as he ages, though that could just be me. Happy Anniversary hon. I love you more now than I even thought was possible back then. The photo above was taken by Courtney , the lovely bridesmaid in this photo with the Girl. Her mom took our engagement photos, and now s


I don't know what to do with it. For some reason I didn't throw it away. Normally I do. Somehow I felt the need to keep it around. It didn't feel quite real that I was pregnant again. Maybe. Whatever the reason, I still have it. It rattles from one place to the next. Usually turning up when I am cleaning or need to take it out of Little's hand, again, and put it somewhere out of reach. I have no where to put it. I mean, it's a chemical reaction on a strip of urine soaked fiber. Doesn't exactly fit in the memento box. But it feels wrong to throw it away, like if I do it will be like Shiloh never existed. Already I go days at a time without really remembering. Or at least, the memory is no longer a fresh and aching wound. More like a scar that doesn't hurt anymore, and I only remember when I catch a glimpse of it. I know this is silly. Of course I was pregnant. And now I am not. And I have this, the tiny box the GH made to put Shiloh's remains into,

Multitude Monday-2

I won free carpet cleaning last week. So when this round of illness is done I don't have to worry about the traces of it sitting in the rug. Little, in her tired little croaky sick voice saying, "Ganku (thank-you) mama", when I get her water in the middle of the night. Sad but sweet. Two out of 3 kids are on the mend. I'm still cleaning up vomit, but less frequently, and they are sleeping through the night at last. A very long full body massage from my Genius Husband, who once trained as a massage therapist. I had no idea that my muscles were that sore and tired. I feel much better now. The smell of trees. I know, I say it a lot. But not a day goes by when I don't, at least once, stop and take a deep breath and savor the scent of green growing things around me. It's one of those pleasures that is so simple, and simply wonderful. Cool breezes on warm days. Odd looking seed pods on the side of the road. The sight of a child who is ill in those rare moments when


We are walking. It's a good way to get recovering kids out of the house, get some exercise, and not infect anyone else with the plague/whooping cough. The Girl is walking along a low retaining wall, treasures gleaned from roadside bushes clenched in her hand. She crouches down, and just as she does the wind catches her dress and her golden hair and the purple jacaranda blooms in her hand and my breath catches in surprise. She moves with such easy grace, and she is lovely. If I could paint I would paint that moment, and go back to it again and again. That girl over there, that's my daughter. She is 5. She is a middle child. She craves attention. She is never still and always plotting something. Her anger is quick if she doesn't get her way, and lately she has taken to revenge, quietly destroying something someone else cares about as "payback". (Where did she even learn this word?) I am often exhausted by her. Her heart is wide and generous, she gives away her t


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