Showing posts from October, 2009

Questions Without Simple Answers

This past week, including tonight, I have seen or heard at least 10 small children crying as they stand outside my apartment. They are fixed in place, staring upward at the window above my front door. The one belonging to my upstairs neighbors. They look like they're going to pee their pants they're so scared and yet they can't look away, and they cry in that panicked sort of way that small children do when their frightened. This is what they are looking at. To be fair, I have heard a lot of older kids yelling, "Hey, that's really cool!" But I don't think it makes up for all the scared little kids. This is what I hate about Halloween. Most of the year we have a choice about what our children are exposed to, and what we expose ourselves to. But from Sept. 1 to the end of October, we have shoved into our faces, every where we go, images of death and terror. More importantly, our children who have no filters and categories yet for this kind of thing, have

7 quick takes

It's been a while since I did one of these. But I read so many interesting things this week I figured here would be a good place to share them with you. 1. Against School by John Gatto is a scathing look at the historical roots and intentions of public schools and why they fail to help our children to reach their full potential. It's not just for home schoolers though. He speaks also to parents whose children are in public school about what they can do as well. Here's a bit to catch your interest. By the time I finally retired in 1991, 1 had more than enough reason to think of our schools-with their long-term, cell-block-style, forced confinement of both students and teachers-as virtual factories of childishness. Yet I honestly could not see why they had to be that way. My own experience had revealed to me what many other teachers must learn along the way, too, yet keep to themselves for fear of reprisal: if we wanted to we could easily and inex

Diverting myself with paint

I was inspired by The Nester last week to start yet another project. Well, that and the white paint was already out because the Girl was painting her swan puzzle. We got a lot of interesting furniture and collectibles, when Aaron's uncle Gordon died. (OK mostly collectibles. Have you seen our apartment? It's super tiny considering the 5 people residing here. But we did finally get some things to sit on thanks to him.) He had a house full of stuff. We know several are quite valuable. But then there are all of those items that you just can't tell if they are valuable antiques, or something he just liked at a thrift store, or both. But as Madam Nester says, "If you don't love it, why is it in your house?" Or something like that. I think it was her. I could be imagining that part. Our apartment is pretty dark; red on the walls, dark wood tones in much of the furniture, green and brown paisley rug, red couch and chair, and saddest of all, brown fake wood venee

Thankful for a dead battery?

A week ago Aaron and the Boy were supposed to go to Mexico for the day. Aaron was meeting with an orphanage director there to consult about the self sustaining model we're working on for Thailand, and a bunch of Korean pastors were going too. (It's a really well run orphanage. They were there to learn how to set one up in N. Korea.) He decided to take the Boy along. They woke up early, got ready to go, said goodbye and walked out the door. Fifteen minutes later they walked back in. Our not very new truck wouldn't start. While fiddling around trying to figure out the problem Aaron found a loose wire and connected it again. But the truck still wouldn't start. He called AAA, I called his parent's house. I know that they routinely head in our direction on Tuesday. His sister agreed to drive by and give him a boost, and lend him her car if necessary so he could make his meeting. The car started, so the boys left, and lovely Fair Haven (Her blogging name. You should

Conversation with my MIL

Sunday. her: I read your blog last night, it was really very sweet. You do sound like the perfect mother on there though. me: laughter. Yeah I have wonderful thoughts on motherhood on occasion. The execution on the other hand... not so perfect. (Let's just say we both know better.) her: Yes, they're lovely thoughts. But still, it was really sweet. Lest you get the wrong idea about me, or something, from what I write here.

1000 Gifts-Week 37

Foggy nights that smell like the Canadian Rockies. All of the family that pitched in to throw the Boy a great party. His face when he saw his new Star Wars shirt. Work this week after a 3 week dry spell. Good friends. The way Aaron can always make me laugh. Crisp fall mornings mixed with the scent of woodsmoke. Birds at the feeder. A sister in law who will drive me around on all of my birthday party errands. A second hand chair for $5 at the first thrift store I went to after saying, "I need to buy a $5 chair somewhere to replace this broken desk chair." Unexpected beauty. Little putting on her " pitty dwess to dance" when I am playing Moonlight Sonata. Watching Aaron and Hannah working together on her homework and laughing at calculus questions. Stifled giggles with someone who shares my sense of humor. Boy-I should be more responsible now that I am 8. Watching the Boy build all of his new presents and talk nonstop about them. Love. The gratitu

8 years old!!!!

We both look like children in this photo. Eight just seems so old. Only two years away from being a tween. Gah! How did this happen so quickly. I feel like I'm running out of time to get it right before you become a man, leave home, and all my spurts and mistakes and missteps are forever cemented into your image of what your mother is like; what your home and family are like. I'm not a perfect mother yet! Rather than sitting around waiting for me to become one and raise you properly your legs keep getting longer, your brain keeps getting smarter, and you take step after step away from me and into a life of your own choosing. Sigh. All is right with the world. I will recover from the shock of having an 8 year old soon enough. bittersweet I love you. The last 8 years with you have been full of joy. It is so much fun to watch you learn things. You read, all. the. time. If ever I wonder where you could have wandered off to I'm certain to find you, sprawled out somewhere with

Come Away

There is this thing I try every so often with my kids. When I can see that they are on the verge of fighting with each other, or when they are in the middle of fighting, I call one of them to come to me. Rather than give them something to stop, I want to give them something to do. I want them to come to me. I want to give them a hug, talk it over, cuddle. I want to have a moment together that diffuses the conflict going on around them. It usually doesn't work. They are too engaged in their anger, invested in winning this meaningless fight, to want to come and be with me for a moment. Which saddens me. I then have to discipline where I would rather comfort and guide. Sometimes it also puts me in mind of all of those passages in the Old Testament where God is saying, over and over, "Come back to me. Didn't I raise you? Didn't I nurse you? Didn't I stay by your side and walk you through the wilderness? Didn't I save you time and time again? Yet you persist in t

Built by Love

Our family has changed a bit in the past month or two. I've not written of it before. I wasn't sure I ever would. It's not the easiest thing in the world to explain. We have a new daughter. She's 19 years old. We have adopted her. Not legally of course, she's technically an adult. But she's a part of our family now in as permanent and real a way as if we had. To explain I've got to back up just a bit. You see, this isn't the first time this has occurred in our family. I talk about Aaron's brother Sean , in Thailand, every so often. But he isn't technically even related to the rest of the family. Aaron's mom adopted him when he too was past the age of majority. I won't tell all of the story here. Suffice to say his childhood was one of abandonment and changing homes. He thought his sister was his mom for several years, and he reached adulthood without ever really experiencing the love of a mother. Psalm 68 describes God like this, A fat

One Thousand Gifts-Week 36

Little smiling as she moves in her sleep. Three little girls walking abreast down the sidewalks. Each pushing her baby doll in a toy stroller. The Boy nonchalantly performing a series of jumps on his scooter. The Girl racing behind him, attempting the same. Little tell stories like this, "Wemembah when we go Sea Wowd? We see dawphins and dey spwash us. Wemembah dat, Mommy? Wemembah?" My kids all singing the same hymn, with many wild personalized variations, while playing with toys. The Boy-Yes mommy, I would be happy to do that. Was that good mom, that I said it like that? Because I wanted to be helpful and obey fast. Aaron calling me to tell me about something he's really excited about. The Girl, while looking at a book of mazes-Oh, this one looks challenging. (We all exchange meaningful glances over her five year old head so she won't notice us laughing at how adorable it is to hear her use such words so unselfconsciously.) The impromptu girl band that spr

The Doll Family is Sick

this post brought to you by Little. So glad only the dolls are sick right now.


Boy: No I'm not 7, I'm 18. Girl: [immediately] That means you're old enough to get married. (Imagine dreamy tones as she says this. She has been to too many weddings this summer.) Boy: Wait. Mommy? How old do you have to be to get married? ***************** Little: The baby mwiyah come to owa house tonight. Me wuv her. Me can touch her. Girl: Mommy, do you want to have another baby? Me: Yes. Girl: Oh. Can you do it tomorrow then?

1000 Gifts-Week 35

Early morning smiles from my kids when they just get out of bed. That sometimes, just being yourself can bless and encourage someone. Cuddling up on the couch to read books together. The Girl washing a pear for Little. The obvious delight on Little's face when she says good morning to the Girl. The Girl's sleep crumples hair standing on end. Conversations with Aaron after a successful day. Quiet time! When they are actually quiet. Crickets chirping outside my window as I fall asleep. Clouds and cool breezes. Not enough dirty laundry for a full load. A doll house on loan from a friend that has the girl's enthralled. Sun showers and rainbows. Long walks together when we're not in a hurry. Picnics at the park. Banana loaf. Sisters in law who are fun to be with. Paint, in rich, warm cheerful colors. My kids tucked into bed in the Sukkah at Beema's house, trying to find stars. The gratitude community is here.


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