Monday, December 29, 2008

Moving, Changing, Creating, Resolutions of a Wayward Time Me

My hopes for the new year come fast and furious...I have resolved not to make a resolution.
But I will get my passport.
Not a big deal to some, but a huge step for me.
I want to travel, my heart leaps, I get butterflies in my tummy, and a lump in my throat when I think about seeing the world. I do not long for the tourist experience or extravagance. Instead, I hope for going to neighborhoods, villages, homes, grocery stories and hole in the wall diners in places I have never been. The world is big and I need to see it.
As it stands traveling in this way is out of my socioeconomic reach, but we must all take a first step to our dreams.
My first step is a passport.
My second step is a dollar in a jar....
Micro-movements, that is what I am aiming for.
I do not believe this is out of my reach, in fact, I can almost put the tip of my longest finger on it.

The first time we visited the ocean, just a few years ago, I could taste before my eyes hit it, then I could smell it and feel it in the air, finally I could hear it, ultimately seeing it. In fact we ran to it with clothes on in February air on Clearwater Beach, Florida.
That was a chance trip that took us to Tampa Bay where I drove up and down the beach side drive, while frantically making phone calls (in order to not turn around on a quick overnight business trip), finding money from any account I had. They were phone calls of a woman with a need....to see things bigger than herself, outside of herself, but still a part of me.
Now I know what a daydream is.

I can not explain the burning in me that says we, our family, is meant for more than what we are doing, or being where we are, but it is there.
This year I will fan the flame, I will allow myself to feel it burning in my heart.
I will not push this to the side for fear of not seeing it come to fruition, instead, I will expect it to happen, make plans for it to happen, make small movements in the direction of it happening and not be surprised when I am at a different door step of the world watching it happen.
This is about me, about a desire I can't explain.
This part of my story is part I am actually afraid of.
This part of my story comes from the same place in soul, my spirit, my mind that wants to drag out the paints and the sketch books and cameras.
This part of my life story is to be continued, but enjoyed more than imagined.
This is some crazy creative part of me that I am not used to or feel comfortable with so I must embrace this, not push it away.
My story in this way is selfish-all about me and how this will play out, but I know deep in my cells that it will change the story of our family, our home, this part of my story if I don't fear the creative, exploring, adventurous part of my heart to move, will move us to a better place.
I will answer this call in my heart this year.
I will get a passport in 2009.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Home At Midnight and Refreshed

We didn't get home till Midnight.
That sentence alone makes me wonder what kind of Christmas miracle has come to pass in my life, that I Suzanne, the momma of 6 was okay with that.
We took all the children, to family friends, didn't eat till 9pm (so worth it, we were late getting there almost 8), played until 11:30, watched our husbands watch a stupid movie and didn't leave actually until Midnight.
Wow what a character stretch.
When all my babies were little in what seems like not so long ago we were all in cozies by 5:30, dinner eaten, heads washed, teeth brushed and ready for bedtime stories. I was tired.
I am still tired, but it is a different tired. I love watching my children late at night with family friends as we all navigate this crazy season of our lives.
It is the crazy that is our children are growing and we are changing, it is also the changing economy, family dynamics, gas prices, house sizes and pay checks. We are all in this together and so many of our stories are the same on the inside though looking so different on the outside.
There are some joys and struggles that it is nice to know that another mom and dad share.
The fact that so many wonder where Christmas gifts will come from and utilities will get paid is difficult, but lasagna with friends and a rowdy game of outside hide and seek in really cold weather makes it easier to bear and understand. AT midnight on the way home I realized that we are so much the same as generations before us, struggling to make ends meet, but not regretful about the families we have. Our family is not much the same as any other family we have around us, we have 6 kids, sometimes we are loud, the kids don't always match, our faith isn't in a box....but there is this family who has also stepped back and seen having 6 children a blessing (crazy I know), not having money for any of them, eating lots of cheap food....and on this night, last night sharing.
We got home at midnight and I was refreshed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Old Friends Still Growing Up Together


Above-Laughing till I cried
Below-Momma Cain Toasting her Oldest Son

Bubba's Youth being Buried

Below-Bubba in his glittery Homecoming Sash


Below-
Sammi and Johnna







Above: Sammi Cain- The Love of Bubba's life and an old/new
friend I have grown to cherish as a homeschool co heart and teller of tales
from a shared long distance past.




Below:
Our Sweet Bubba Cain 22 years after our first encounter
When he was still the oldest kid in the crowd and I was in
9th and 10th grade.















I have some old friends...not old in age (maybe), but old in years known....22 years to be exact in this case. We are now spending time together....at 40th birthday parties. We laughed until we cried, we told old stories and a bunch of women with grown up bodies....stretch marks, tummies that are not as flat as years before, and a confidence that is more different than ever, danced until we were sore (which was a lot sooner than when we were 16 years old). We were all wrapping up by midnight instead of getting ready to leave for the after party.
It was all just as it should be.
I am grateful for my old friends, they knew me in my freshman year when I was gawky and in trouble.
My old friends knew me when my story was young and yes, painful.
They didn't know the pain then, but these friends were my people, I found something in them and now I have the rare opportunity of saying thanks.
Thank you old friends for being the crowd that wasn't what most thought of us, but instead kind long movies, late Saturday nights full of laughter, tears through the breakups, hope through our young marriages, giggles till we cried at 40th birthdays.
Thanks for being the kids that I got in trouble with, found hope in and now fuss about my kids to.
I didn't know that I missed you, until you found me, I didn't know that I needed you until you showed up and NOW is really the best times of our growing up together ever.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Life is Perfect...Stand Don't Sit..Find it Don't Wait on How You Feel

YES! I sit SQUARELY in the seat of a perfect life.
The children fight, I have late readers, a tired husband, a checkbook in the red, a dirty house, a very sick mother, a past with a badly dressed reputation, some old addictions, bad choices, angry voices, too much therapy, a once bad marriage (sometimes tough marriage)....but life is perfect, my life is perfect. I am embracing all of that. It makes me who I am. There is no sarcasm in my saying my life is perfect....one would understand if you really knew what it could of been.
It could have been lonely, illegitimate children, still a woman of bad reputation, drug use, depression....constant loss.
Everyday, however I gain....hope perspective, love, encouragement.
Everyday I see grace, God's and other's for me, a sweet husband, growing children that I am learning to parent and love better, my mom is a surprise joy to every morning in my home, our home, it is a perfect life.
I do not stand ashamed at this or wondering if it is okay to say it, but instead thankful...
God has and will redeemed the years the locust stole....He has, He is, He will continue to.
This is our story.....good, bad, in different, it is my perfect story.
I am Cinderella, in a messy house, with lots of messy kids, with a life that doesn't always line up to the story books, but it is my story, and I LOVE it and embrace it and wouldn't trade it.
Find perfection in your life today, you are loved with an Everlasting PERFECT love.
It doesn't matter if your house or husband or wife or children or car or checkbook or, or, or, or.....anything feels perfect...WE ALL are loved with a PERFECT love and that is where I find identity, hope and breath, every breath that I think I can't take next can be taken in that thought.
Stand in that Christmas Light, that Perfect Life, HIS Perfect Love in YOU, ME....your messy family and Stand don't Sit in that
Christmas LIFE and Light.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Will Believe the Truth Not the Lie, It Really is Close to Perfect

I have had shaking down of my spirit in the last few days, this happens every so often and at the end I am as tired as if I ran a marathon (I think, I will never run a marathon). In my life it has become important to recognize when I am not expected to do something, when it is okay to just walk away, even if I was wrong. I have been wrong and I have been wronged, I have sought forgiveness where I could and been straightforward with myself and my Lord and I will protect the very spirit with in me. So many times it isn't people but that fear and insecurity deep within us that we fight and argue and wrestle with. For today I will not wrestle, I will rest. I will rest in some truths.....
I am not who I was,
My husband loves me more than ever,
Our children are a blessing,
Our home is a gift,
My mom is a pleasant surprise to my days,
I really do have a dang near perfect family (and I don't have to feel guilty about that),
I will see my grandparents in 24 hours and this evening my aunts and cousins will wrap their arms around me and say "welcome home".
My pain is not unbearable and I am loved by the great I AM.
As I type those truths the voices in my head and the voices on the phone and the voices on the tv and the voices from my past and the voices from my present..and, and, and.... melt away.
These are my truths, my truths of today and yesterday is no more, I don't need to explain or live in it, I have forgiven and been forgiven, but I do not have to say yes to the pain runnning over me again in a reminder of all the ways I have failed and done wrong.
Today I am doing right....
Loving the man of my dreams,
Feeding truth and rice with sugar to the children God has given me,
Seeking peace with my mother,
Seeing God out of that Rubbermaid Box I had Him in (you know the clear kind you can see through, but the top pinches your hands when you try to pry it open),
Believing the truths not the lies about myself.

I feel the tears in my throat and at the same time my strong spirit rise up in me and say "On this day I will be okay."
I will not wrestle with lies, I will rest in truth.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stories of Hospitality -Straight from Candy Season, Into I Bought So Many Groceries Season, Sliding Into How Will I Afford This Season

I will repost this....it is important to me. We have had our annual Thanksgiving with the Pikes (minus a few), we have traveled towards hope and comfort in Chicagoland and now we are putting up our tree.....but this is my heart even this year. I decided to share it again




It has been quite sometime since I posted a recipe....
Today I will share how to prepare for fun and Chaos in the Pike house.
This Sunday we will host 28 people including 15 children in our home, our relatively small, but blessed home....there will be tables in bedrooms, the living room and the school room. There will be fun in every room.
There are multiple steps in our recipe for fun....
First we started last night -FRIDAY
2 pans of cornbread dressing
1 pan of corn casserole
8lbs of sausage balls
Kix 106 (our local country music station)
Dancing with Husband in the kitchen
Sing with the kid
Chop Celery
Chop Onion
Boil Chicken Livers
Budweiser and few laughs that we are going to pull this off
Toss the worry about what the sisters-in-laws think, this isn't for them right....it is for the kids, they don't care what sort of house we play and pray in.

Second-Sleep in till 10am Saturday, let the kids play, wash Laundry with lots of Fabric Softener it makes the house smell yummy.
French Toast
Day old French Bread
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Pumpkin Pie Spice Coffee (to drink while cooking)-I just add the spice to my filter while brewing
My favorite Pampered Chef Skillet
1/2 dozen egg
6 Hungry kids and one grateful grandmother

Sunday-We are prepared and I will pray......

Memories for my children in our home as a family are more important than I think most know.
You only know how important that is if you haven't had it and so I will sacrifice my pride, have my children's heart filled with recipes of love, joy, and laughter and fill this home with people to the brim, so that each of them will remember that momma put her time where her mouth is.
We are called to love one another, to be hospitable, I think Jesus must have been fun and I just know he would have loved this kind of fun and chaos with all the kids and one momma who will commit to not worrying just for one day what others think and loving, living, laughing and maybe even a little dancing.
Enjoy the recipe....
Take a stretch out of your comfort zone and have some fun, for the family's sake.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Education of Henry Adams, America and My Very On Shack

I have been quite the reader. Reading is what has kept me sane for season of my life. We are currently reading through The Shack again, with the children and I have just begun The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams . I will maintain a level of integrity here with my readers by letting you all know that I am just barely through the Introduction of 'Henry Adams'.

I have asked myself of the children "Can we begin a legacy of excellence in government, society, and power at this time and place in history?" a big question that I have explored before. I am not even sure if it is important or something to be aspired to, but my question, none the less. The future is after all in their hands, the children we are raising to be adults....The Future is In Their Hands. Quite Frankly, this is daunting.



In the Education of Henry Adams or at least the intro., I am reacquainted with an age old pattern, a history greatness. That is the story of Henry Adams, his family was a founding family with many important figure heads of history, but he considered himself a failure in many ways and even asked that his book not be published until after death, his death.

Adams was more a writer of History rather than a History Maker.

What will our children be and how will they find that and can they find that in relationship....big picture Relationship?

Relationships are the root of my life, painful though that mostly is, it is what it is. Reading this after The Shack, all about relationship and seeing Adams' relationship to history, but merely relating history not making it, I am left with another question.

What is our relationship to our children's ability to make history, either because of our relationship or in spite of our relationships with them?

Recently we have seen a man elected to be our very next History Maker, our President of this United States of America. There is much to be said of his relationships, their is one that is strikingly obvious to me. His lack of relationship with positional power in government, society or money as a child...at least none that is glaringly obvious from my tiny bit of research. The relationships we do know about as an adult have certainly formed him and we have heard much of this and they will quite possibly be history makers and tellers, as well. But....which is better.....

A place in history where you can become an incredible somebody, history maker, President of the United States , even if you come from a family of no one important, no known variables?

(this sounds appealing to me, it is where my children are coming from)

or a place in History where Children who become adults who become a Somebody, are taught, trained, groomed if you will to do the job by previous History Makers not History Watchers.

My children wouldn't qualify, but maybe I would be more comfortable....in relationship to my on needs and desires.

I am not making a political statement, I am not talking about the vote, I am asking a question that I am uncomfortable with.

Would I rather have the opportunity of newness or the security of understood points?

Are these either/or questions and are they static answers?

I don't know.

I will keep reading, maybe I am raising a History Maker(s), if so will I be pleased?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Special Needs are Called Special for the Reason, Tis The Season for Special Care

Tis' the season for Chaos. As the Holidays approach starting first with Candy Season, moving into Food Season and full Force into 'oh how are we going to afford this?' Season, I am encouraged to remember why I love these times so much and how I can make them special for our children, especially for our Special Needs children....isn't that special.
In our home there are some needs that I have been reminded of again this week, as the first on-slaught of chaos sets in with Fall Festival parties, Trunk-or-Treats and a family party coming up Friday.
I know that we all get overwhelmed with the sites, sounds, busyness, and just general fun for all, but there is a sub-set of little people in our home that find it nearly painful. For these children this is both fun and potential disasters for themselves and all the work we do through out the year to get them through the days.
On any given day we navigate meals with special needs, a few days a week we navigate them with a 'lunch room' type setting that so many are familiar with, but what most home educated children never really deal with, add in the sensory over load of our special needs and I am painfully aware that because these precious gifts of ours don't 'look' different and do a fantastic job of appearing to only have 'active personalities' it is easy to see them only as discipline issues on any given day and even easier to exclude.
In order for our Family to have a successful holiday season, bringing glory to God I will have to figure out, and re-work a plan (because the same plan has to be tweaked every year with developmental changes), to show my children the face of our Lord in all of the Chaos with out some complete meltdowns.
God is in this, He hasn't been caught by surprise not one time in all these years and God is in us. The Lord's sweet Spirit must reign supreme in me as a parent and in our children as we go the curvy roads of loving each other through both a fun season and in many ways a dreaded season.
It isn't PC to say we don't like this season in wide Christian circles, because it seems a slight to our Lord, but God....He knows I love Him, even when I navigate the crazies.
Special Needs are just that Special.
Everyone has challenges, some of us are just given more in your face sort of work to do with challenges.
Holidays are hard for a lot of people for a lot of reasons.
That will be discussed more fully in the coming weeks.
Today remember the mom or dad in the pew next to you, the homeschool family you share a field trip with or a few classes taught together, the class room mom in your on private or public school that looks a little overwhelmed as she has another talk with the very busy son or daughter of hers remind yourself looking typical.....just that looking.
In the coming months as you have family dinners and trips through the airports or your family is at a large church function watching from the outside in a child who seems to be out of control...even though they look normal, all special needs aren't obvious, but most parents are aware and doing the best they can.
Roll up your sleeves, as I tell my children, and get in there, getting your hands dirty with the Love of Jesus. Be patient, speak quietly, fix an extra plate at the pot-luck for one of the kids or better yet for the mom or dad. Offer to find a quiet activity or book and a cozy corner....love them.
Let's remind ourselves often in the coming months to be on the look out, a secret mission to find these families and really get in there and give them what so many never get, a sweet glance, knowing smile and a hand, without advice or judgment, just way to get through their holiDAYS.
For many of us these are just the days you see our special needs, but every day is a special day in our homes and class rooms, with special needs called Special for a reason.
Lets remind our selves with all sorts of friends and families the Reasons for the Special Season(s).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Terrified but Okay and Moving with Change Even if I Can't Neatly List It

I hate change. I like constancy, predictability, for years I didn't buy things that were on sale that I would love to have, because I know I couldn't get them if they weren't on sale and that wouldn't be a habit and predictability that I could keep on my grocery list. I want to do the same thing at the same place every day and every week. I am content with an hour by hour schedule of where to be teaching, what to be teaching, grocery shopping, churching, and praying. I am most content when I have a cleaning schedule and everyone does exactly what needs to be done. None of this is a reality for me. Very few things outside of a couple of classes and church happen the same time every week, much less every day. I certainly have not been able to conquer keeping a home with 6 kids and now 3 adults in the order that seems to make all the little pieces inside of me fitting very carefully. What is a girl to do?
For many years I justified this weirdness with the, "it's what the kids need, it's what is best," line. Yes schedule is good, routine even better, mean momma because everything is not clocking in and out on time like it should, dysfunction. I see this, I know this, I am getting better. Is it to late. Will the children see this as just another system ( a system that will probably relapse often)? Will they buy into the work that God is doing in me? With prayer, I believe they will. I will seek forgiveness (I must do this often), I will pray through the tyranny of the changes moving in me as I accept the not perfect home that looks so different than almost every one I know, what with the curtained off dining room and small kitchen and re-arranged appliances in the dining room.
I will be forced to deal with what drives me to the frustration of over managing.
Did I say that out loud. I have tried for quite some time to micro-manage my way out of internal chaos and frustration and hurt....there is never enough management. I will heal on the heels of change.
I will embrace this new season, I will believe that it will not make me crazy.
Change is painful, change is scary, change is good.
Seasons change and it works for the Creator, this change thing. I will embrace the change in me.
I will not hold myself to a standard that I can't keep, believing I am a failure because others have been able to keep it.
I will be both terrified and OKAY.
Embrace being afraid and mobilized at the same time today.
Will you?
Let me know.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More on That Relationship Later in my Thoughts Through the Word and that Dog gone book

Relationship....it really is all about relationship. If you have read this blog for any time at all it is obvious that for me it is All about Relationship. I have finished The Shack and now am reading it out loud with the entire family a bit at a time. It is important to me that the children get as much input as possible to understand Relationship with our Lord and Forgiveness of our sins...and others. As I read it again I see things I missed, scrambling my thoughts, my Bible...finding more answers about this God of relationship....moving Him out of the box. Seeing Him, seeing me...through His words to me.
I am grappling. I continue to go back to the word of God, my sweet husband..and, and, and.....get the picture? Grappling without getting the firm grasp. I wonder to myself and sometimes aloud if I will ever get it. I can not grasp how far back current struggles go in the story of my life, the story of our family's life, the story of my parent's lives....my aunts and uncles. I saw the story at my uncles funeral as I watched my aunts and mother from behind the pew in a funeral home. I see the story in my sweet grandparents and read the regular emails and notes of hope.
The stories change the way I move, the way I think. The stories change the relationships I value AND the ones I don't want to value, but must.
These are my thoughts, fragmented as they may be. Relationships are there good, bad, hurtful, hopeful...we have them all. These are our stories, my story. How will I weigh that in my minutes?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Shack by William P. Young

I am reading The Shack By William P. Young
With out giving away the plot I am to a point where the main character is called to judge, something I do often and he is asked.....

This quote is shaking me (as are many parts of this book) causing me to ask questions, not new questions, but to ask them out loud.


He wrote:
"And what about the man who preys upon innocent little girls? What about him, Mackenzie? Is that man guilty. Should he be judged?"

"Yes!" screamed Mack. "Damn him to hell!"

"Is he to blame for your loss?"

"Yes!"

"What about his father, the man who twisted his son into a terror, what about him?"

"Yes, him too!"

"How far back do we go Mackenzie? The legacy of brokenness goes all the way back to Adam, what about him? But why stop there? What about God? God started this whole thing. Is God to blame?" (160-161)

This is a place I have been at often in recent seasons and days of my life. How far back?

I have talked about the stories of my Aunts, my grandparents...to some extent my parents.

How far back. I am learning the story the brokenness in more ways than I like has brought me to this point. Am I pointing a finger at God? What are my feelings, do they matter? Who is to blame, who should I judge, how should I judge? Without the judgement is there healing? Am I to blame for wanting to judge. Where and how does God our God reconcile with this?

Before you become alarmed that I am turning my face on our Lord rest in the fact that this is not the case. Rather, I wonder have I ever really faced our God or have I just imagined the face of God in a way that I am comfortable with concerning this blame, this judgement, this pain that I have wrestled with. That is more likely the case. I am more comfortable with this, but none the less burdened and often hurting. If God's will is that I not carry a heavy yolk or an unsteady burden, can this actually be God that I have been 'seeing' or is it only an idea I am comfortable with and a real relationship and peace isn't so much within my grasp(because lets face it I have no grasp on any of this at all), but instead waiting for me to acknowledge God for who He really is?

Who is He really?

Really Lord who are you?

Lord, who do you want to be in me?

Who do you want me to be through you and not through me?

Where are you really in my story...really?

Only you Lord have the answers....Only you.


Monday, October 13, 2008

Standing Knee Deep in a Storm, A Reminder


I remember pain tonight. I have been reminded. Pain of loss and question when all that you think is one thing becomes quite another. Pain of realizing you have allowed your self to believe a lie about your life, the ones you have hurt or been hurt by and it all comes crumbling, crashing like waves one after the other into you so that it is easy to forget that the depth is only to your knees, as the pain is sucked in like salty sea water. Grasping for ways to end the pain, quickly, with harsh tones, hushed silent treatments, desperate prayers while it gurgles in your throat the pain. Calm. Calm is what has come after torrents of pain in my life. That weird calm that tells me,"just do the next thing next, Suzanne, breathe."
Lighting candles and sending up prayers, washing the dishes and putting kids to nap, going to church and crying during lunch, making to many phone call and turning the phone off.....pain has driven me to do insane things that didn't make any since then or now, then I would breath.
My life is different now, not as much pain, I am not having new pain come at me constantly....anymore. I am reminded of the causes of past pain often. I have given up on being rid of the residual pain it is much like the joint pain in my knees and hands, I breathe and find ways around it, different things work at different times.
I must remind myself often that the pain I feel, the lump in my throat, the urgency to fix....it is not about now, but more about then and more....way back then or is it way back when?
There is nothing I can fix about the pain or the lump in my throat (does that ever go away?). I must just realize that I am only in knee deep water and that the waves aren't so high I am not able to wade in the water and continue to enjoy the sites and sounds of the ocean.....life.
Now, I know warning signs of choppy water, unsafe seas, I see the red and yellow flags go up and I get out of the water. The storms still come, I am still often tossed and I still get choked up a bit. I am not afraid of drowning.
Not today, I will never say never, I have faced too many unexpected, uncontrollable storms, to say never.
Today I am okay the pain is okay, I will feel it, I will remember it, I will grieve it, I will NOT drown in it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Family 'It", Getting 'it' and Having Just Enough Everyday of "IT"

Women...
I have 8 aunts, 4 Holton family and 4 Walker family, my father and my mother. They are different. I fit with some....
Yesterday, I sat behind four of my aunts at a funeral, 4 women, the last living siblings in this family, both of the sons have died.
I have 4 daughters and two sons, interesting how my life as been similar....in that.
I had so many rushing thoughts as I sat behind them. I don't have siblings that I really know and none that I grew up with or around. I don't know what it would be like to loose a brother or a sister in this context. As I sat there it was a rush of emotion, a rush that I wish somehow I fit, I fit comfortably with this family, they are nice enough and I have cousins that seem to fit quite comfortably. This is after all the family that I was raised around for the majority of my life ( I only spent summer with the other side of my family). For many years my aunts (and now deceased grandmother walker) treated me like a princess, we talked of the times where I was dressed up and trotted around the Goldsmiths store, I remember special times. I have memories with my cousins, but as adults, well I fell from grace. There are lots of reasons...
I am sure they have forgotten, but I realized yesterday as I was there laughing with my head thrown back and my high heels then kicked off, all of our young children circling around us, I long to fit, but I don't know if I ever will again. I have forgiven for some recent pains and hurts, forgiveness for things that were never admitted, but only talked "about", but the wounds are there and I am sad that like my children I can't just hop back on the bicycle or slide back in roller blades or climb a tree, even with a fresh scab and keep playing nice. I am playing nice and I do love them, but the pain was deep and hard. I wanted to tell them, I wanted to shout it to them (not at them), but now at nearly 4o I realize, they would not hear, or understand....they only saw from behind their on personal, perceived correct points of view how things happened how I fell from grace and then maybe some even took credit (rather than giving it fully to the Lord), when my sweet life turned around. There is certainly something difficult about wanting to both fit and turn away and never look back at the same time. The lump in my throat even this morning is a reminder that needing family that just can't understand is probably one of the hardest hurdles of my short life. I want 'it'....I will explore what that is later, but I do I am guessing they do love me, but maybe just don't understand why I can't see how right they are, about the things they did. It cost me, I have counted the cost and they were high on every front from the check book to the heart.

I don't know.


I hate that, but I don't know, how to work through this pain, so instead, I will home educate, fix lunch, smile for my kiddos and rest in the fact that there are those that get me....and that will be enough today. Always, just enough, but sometimes I want more, just the way I want it, when I want it.
I want those who get it, who give me 'it' close, I need them close.
Lord draw near to me.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Singing the Blues and Having a Ball In Memphis at Our Home






Washing dishes, wiping faces, shaking sand out of a four year old, writing reports....last night I dropped off my oldest at Choir, worked out for 30 minutes then came home and fried up some potatoes for my momma and husband. These are the days of my life. If I am out past midnight I am afraid to loose my glass slipper and have my coach turn into a pumpkin. I experienced just that last Saturday night.
I had the chance of the season here in Memphis...I went to the Memphis Blues Ball. My very dear friend Laura had the opportunity to do a cake for Jerry Lee Lewis that evening and with it came to tickets to the ball. So I donned myself in a borrowed gown, borrowed shoes, borrowed jewelery and a fresh pair of shaved legs, finished serving beans and rice to the kids and off we went to the ball. I sat within arms length of Lisa Marie, saw our mayors, and watched people work to impress. I spend most of my days keeping little people and teenagers happy (which is a pretty tough crowd), however I must say on this night, I showed up and had a blast and left knowing I had the right calling, just a mom and wife.
I have to admit to occasionally perusing the pages of our local RSVP magazine looking at all the pretty faces and thinking about the glamorous life these folks must have, all the fun of knowing the who's who of Memphis, and yes of having MONEY. Friends, it was fun, but my goodness, it looked down right painful for some of these citizens. The last thing I thought about during the evening was how that is not Memphis (even though that is what the folks all there said it was). I was speaking to a young lady who was from Atlanta (raised by her nanny she said), currently living in NYC and how she really found her roots there that night. Honey those aren't your roots that is playing pretend. The roots of Memphis are found a few blocks and miles away in homes just like mine. In homes like mine from Frayser to Orange Mound and Tipton County-McNairy County we are the roots of the south, cooking dinner (yes blackeyed peas and cornbread, turnip greens with bacon and pepper sauce, fried chicken and mashed potatoes with gravy), with our children under us or running around the street with other kids. In our house you would be hearing KIX 106 or the new KIM FM with a twist of Veggie Tales tunes. In the real south here in our home you will still find Sweet Tea and Budweiser, struggling to make ends meet and grateful to go to bed every night with my husband who is working 17 hour days to make end meets. In the real Memphis there are very few black tie events if any, but instead sweat pants events with the kids in the front yard with our neighbors just breathing a sigh of relief to get through another Friday.
Think about what your hometown really is.....after it steps out of the pages of some magazine and be grateful for THAT town.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We Weave our On Web with a Chin Up

I have a child who is discontent and believes we are all out to get her. This is not true of course we all love and adore her, we all waited expectantly for her arrival and watched her for all the years of her life in delight. She is a middle child....sort of. I see a lot of myself in her, I am an only child, she wants to be an only child. I say all that to say that the following words are from Charlotte's Web and it was Zachary's idea that we all learn the lyrics and sing it to her often.
Enjoy, and 'chin up'.


Chin Up
Chin up, chin upEverybody loves a happy faceWear it, share itIt'll brighten up the darkest placeTwinkle, sparkleLet a little sunshine inYou'll be on the right sideLooking at the bright sideUp with your chinny chin chinChin up, Chin upPut a little laughter in your eyesBrave it, save itEven though you're feeling otherwiseRise up, wise upMake a little smile beginYou'll be happy heartedOnce you get it startedUp with your chinny chin chin!Chin downYou can't come frowningTurn aroundStarting, clowningThink sad, your troubles doubleThink glad, they burst like bubblesChin up, chin upEvery little time your spirits wiltChin up, chin upGive your attitude in upward tiltTwinkle, sparkleMake a little fun beginYou'll be on the right sideLooking at the bright sideUp with your chinny chinChin up!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Answer to Nosiness and Mean Girls, Building Roads


My Sweet Husband and Youngest Son......Building Roads
Okay, here it is the big news to a nosey question, by a person who didn't really care, just seeking to hurt and cause a stumble.....it almost worked."What exactly is your family doing these days?" I can't mimic the tone or the body posture...of wanting pain or struggle in my answer, to justify the gossip or meanness...
For just a minute I went back to that struggling, sad, can't satisfy the checklist Christian. The season where life was ugly and the people were even uglier and then at that moment I remembered....I am loved with an everlasting love, I don't need the approval of men(or women), how others feel or what they believe about the redemption of our home and family doesn't matter. The lies, the gossip, the pain....washed away by the blood of the Lamb. For just a moment I wanted their approval of my home, my income, my children...I wanted them to know how life had changed, lest I forget, God is my redeemer and I will let HIM stand in the gap....Lord help me remember this.
Everyone ready for the answer
Spending time building roads to the future for our family, educating our children, loving the Lord and serving in a local church.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday-Friends

























Friends, They Like Me...They Really Like Me, Maybe

I have had a lack of inspiration, but today is the day to write.
I have friends, new friends, old friends, friends I trust, friends that sort of don't trust, but I still call them friends. My sweet Donnie is my best friend. Friends are important. I wrote at one point that I was a relationship person with out many 'girlfriends'. There have been seasons in our life where people were not available or willing or able to be friends in the true since, what with all the chaos and pain of a struggling marriage, special needs kids dealing with behaviour issues or the fact we didn't live inside the correct sort of box with the right border ( I am so glad border is out of style). There were people who didn't feel comfortable with us sharing our hearts or our struggles, that made us too real. The end result was we quit trusting and discovered many other people just like us. I became good at surface relationships and even didn't mind them, mostly.
Just like always, God got a hold of me. He kept bringing me people who endeavored to care about our family whether we wanted it or not. Our children are relationship people and the Lord continued to bring great families to us through them.
Today, I have an inner circle again, people I believe that God has given me and maybe even me to them (that would be a stretch to believe, really).
People who love what they know of us.
It would be a lie if I said that I am absolutely sure that if they 'really' knew me, they would leave, the same way they came. That is for another day.
Today, I am grateful what this circle of people know hasn't run them off yet. I will hold out hope for the future of these friendships, I will guard my heart, but take a step forward.
Today, will move out of my comfort zone and show a weakness. I am not always quick witted and sure of myself. So often I am concerned or even afraid of not being liked, but today, I will believe that at least a few of these people really do 'like me'.
They like me, they really like me. Even Movie stars are surprised with who likes them sometimes.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Marissa in Rawanda, Mission Trips with History Lessons

I just checked out the blog of a sweet, sweet young lady who served as a Youth Intern at our church. She is now serving the Lord in a faraway land. As I read what she had to read I sat stunned at what a difference one of us can make, if we know. Sometimes knowing the injustice or the pain, or the___________fill in the blank is all it takes to get us on our feet.
As I read about the injustices and the death, I wonder what can I do from here. I have some ideas, but it is limited:
Buy things from the communities in pain (ideas on http://www.marissainrwanda.blogspot.com/ )

Teach our children...I was told just yesterday that we can not be innocent and wise, I am moving that around my spirit, but I do believe it to be true, mostly. Teach them them about the pain and loss in communities near you, encourage them to read excellent literature and works by those who have suffered in our nation and those abroad, read biographies and autobiographies about others. Tell them about tough history, painful history, even if it is personal....Holocaust, Rwanda, Darfur, Civil Rights in the US, Apparteit, sadly we have many choices.

Choose to serve outside of our homes, with a plan, put on the calender regularly.

Go places that you think might not be safe and hug a kid or take someone to dinner.

I am sad today, about things happening in the world that I don't know how to help.
Being sad is ok.
Maybe being sad is best and if not we should wonder why.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Answers, Ideas, and Teenagers Knowing It All

I want a new checklist, that doesn't change from child to child or for that matter from day to day. We have some hard and fast rules in our family. We also have some guidelines that we pray continually over, seeking to protect the purity of our children's hearts and integrity and like it or not, those guidelines and what we allow are often dealt with based on the people (besides our children) involved. This is difficult at best, I ask for God's grace, often in successive moments. As a momma of one teenager and 5 up and coming teenagers, I now realize I don't know it all. What I know today is that I want the best for these kids. That my ideas have changed would be an understatement. When we found out that Zachary was going to be, it was the night that Clinton was elected....the first time. I was far more liberal AND at the ripe old age of 19, I had the entire plan for the coming 21 years completely set out. Fifteen years later, during one of the nights of the Democratic National Convention, I am far more conservative and I am trying to plan out tomorrow and how I will answer the questions, the big questions of the big kids, because I don't have all the answers anymore.

Movement, Just Enough Still, in Curtain Forts

My sweet mother, Marner, Rachel, mom....is moving in with us and for those of you that have actually seen my home you are now saying, "huh?", but God is good. I need to say that a lot lately, that is a side note.
I worked for years to get away from my mother, was out of the home on and off through out adolescence and on my on young, pretty independent even younger. Our experiences were those of two people surviving pain together and independently often at the hands of the same people/person. We did....survive, but not without scarring and deep bruises to our spirits. For the last few years God has graciously begun to redeem our relationship, to heal our hearts and to give me a heart of forgiveness and hope. My mom is not well, she has struggled with lung and ear issues for years and while surviving the first 50 years of her life in addition she worked, alone, to provide for me, during a season. Pain doesn't disappear and hurt has not been allowed to be covered with me in the most recent past, I have been forced to deal with it. I am grateful. The dealing with it and continuing to deal with it has put our family in the position, to once again defy the odds of the American Dream and re-shape the family, to how God intends it to be. So here in our small 1500 sq. ft. home, where I have said it is more like camping ....hot and sticky and you never sure what you are going to eat, we have put up curtains and made a room, moved kids around, mopped a floor and started transferring my moms life directly into ours, to make a new ours. DJ proclaimed upon looking at the twins new room "wowee, a biggest tent ever." We have always let the kids enjoy building sheet tents in the house, I guess this will be an extension of the Great Adventure of always Having and Being just enough....with tent/forts in the dining room.
Pictures will come
Just enough space.
Just enough time.
Just enough of me....to get us by.
Always Just Enough of Him.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Panic and the Stories We Tell Ourselves, Truth AND Consequences

If people really know who I am, the experiences I have endured, enjoyed or ultimately allowed to shape me they will not like me or accept me. If people really know the stories this life carries, the real stories, the ones that keep me up at night and that others fear, they will send me packing.
This is what I tell myself, this is sometimes what I believe.
I was an open book, now I am guarded book.
Sure I tell you my stories, some of them, with color and tone and hope....but you don't get the details. You don't need them, really, not in this forum, besides.....you wouldn't like me.....right?
We all have a story.
My story today IS....we are looking to join our local church we have been at for over 3 years. I am told we are loved, accepted and wanted. I say to myself, you don't know my story. Me the talker, the teller on my self, had a small panic, okay a large panic upon the announcement that we would meet with some of the elders and place membership. Mortified, I decided my husband shouldn't be such a leader after all. This all followed my sweet twin girls being baptized 2 weeks ago, surrounded by this family of friends who said they really love us. Surrounded by relationship I realize(d), I still worry.
I don't have any deep thoughts on this, know answer in the conclusion. I am just putting it out there. I believe somewhere in me that you may be fine with the conclusion of my story thus far, and even good with the sketchy details, but goodness forbid you ever need the details and you will (not maybe, but will) change your mind. It has happened you know!?.
This are my thoughts and this is my story today....no conclusion.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just Another Day In Paradise, with more GRACE

It is Monday. We have *deep breath*.....we have-----------
gone to Classical Conversations, looked for and found Daddy's keys, finished math, science, started presentations, worked on bible memory, played hide and seek, cooked supper, eaten supper, and checked teenager's text messages, logged into face book, survived a few seizures and and another day with a broken armed 10 year old, and listened to the children. Whew!!! I am tired, I am happy, I am tired. It is the good tired the kind where you take a deep breath and a sigh of relief AND a thought of gratitude and sleep well.
We have lived in routine/schedule mode for years,this year we have grace. I mean we have always had grace, but gosh, now I am more aware of it and giving it to the children. Amazingly, the more available I make grace to my babies, the better they do and the less I feel like they need grace. Did any of that make since? Learning to positively parent is a new thing, well not exactly...I have wanted to be more positive always, but now instead of looking for an almighty book, or checklist, get this...... I am just treating them the way I want to be treated. Clear expectations, good re-enforcement, lots of re-direction, a smile, understandable consequences, lots of laughing and grace.
It has been a good day, I am tired, but it has been a great day.
A grace filled day.
We all need grace.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Taking Care-Big Brothers and Baby Sisters

We have experienced another broken arm this last week. Maci, fell off the edge of the pool she had been told not to walk on and broke the left arm in two places. Last summer it was my son Zachary who is the oldest and almost a man this summer compared to last summer.
Zachary and Maci(mackenzi) usually bicker more than any of the other children, but this week while navigating her pain, I watched as Zachary loved her...not with an "I love you", but with "I know....it hurts". He was gentle with her, he showed her grace, I became aware that he is becoming a man. Our sweet Miss Marie, neighbor, says to the girls all the time "you will be as big as me in a minute." It really is just a minute and they are as big and as grown. WE are all learning to relate more to shift the paradigm of having another adult type in our home. He is a leader, and becoming more teachable. He is growing up. I am a proud momma. My mother in law advised me very early on that I didn't want to raise good sons and daughters, but instead good husbands and wives. I am not sure what the Lord has for these kids but I believe that it has had very little to do with me. I am mostly mean and too loud, but God has shifted us. The seasons have changed and we are moving and growing. End result....I am not all good, God is all good, the children will survive me.
Thank God.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Too Cool For School-Including Sensory Work, Schedule, Memory Work

(Warning Spelling Check not working and I am tired-publishing now by request)

The weather is so nice in Memphis, I wish we were on fall break and classes have barely begun.  Our family, usually, takes extra time off in the fall after the hottest dog days of summer in July and August have been filled with school, before others returned....alas, we are in class.
Getting down to business for us means back to a routine of school work.  I tend to be pretty precise with this, trying to build in wiggle room for fun, extra reading, sneaking off to journal or draw.
Here is ther run down for those of you who have expressed interest of 'how do you do all that with so many kids'.  I want to say that until 3 years ago we did the basic and prayed for sleep. Only since we have had big helpers and some more self-sufficiency have I been brave enough to leave the house for classes.  God is gracious and through lots of fun reading times, hands on projects, PBS, the History Channel and some creative field trips, our children have a vast knowledge of Science and History. We still depend on lots of reading for Science and History in the younger years where we have never used traditional text (they are so boring and easy to forget).  I have enjoyed watching our children enjoy the process and not just the outcome.

7 am wake personal Bible and Copy work         sensory work
Eat
8 am-Family Bible and assigned Bible work and memory
8:30-English Grammar and CC Memory Work
9:30 Spanish of  various levels for all AND PHONICS for the little guys
10 am Latin Memory work and Latin Grammar for the oldest two sensory work
10:30-Vocabulary-Wordly Wise-Research skills-Study Skills building-Logic
11 am CC Memory Work
11:30 Science (Including Biology 9th grade, Physical Science 7th, Anatomy for the littles with fun Songs from CC and Lyrical Life Science 3) sensory work
Then free time till lunch at 12:30
1:00 Straighten and nap for youngest
1:30 Assigned Reading (historical fiction to go along with our current study of American History and American Lit.)
2:00 Prepare for CC presentations (credit for applicable subject) sensory work
2:30 Math (Algebra2, Pre-Algebra, 5th grade, 3rd grade, 2nd Grade, and numbers)
3:30 History/Geography-Time line Cards form Veritas, 5 states and capitals, The Light and the Glory 7th Grade, Notgrass American History 9th grade, The Light and Glory for Children)
4ish-Before supper chores and FREE TIME-Large Motor Skills
Before 6:30 Dinner

Evening Activities-Church, Choir, Homework, Free time, Website work, Free Reading- As little screens as possible to help keep from having issues with sleep.

Friday, August 8, 2008

In Our Home The Cookie Cutters Broke

Who knew that my talking about discipline in our home would generate so much conversation. I am grateful for those that publicly commented and intrigued by the private comments. Please remember this is how we do it in our home. If I begin to tell you how to do it in your home that would make me no different than the theology that we were hurt by. It may work for some, but not this momma....I am just not nice enough naturally to not get angry when it doesn't work.
Over at Adventures in Mercy she wrote about the advice we can get online, without seeing the living out of this. There are so many families recovering from the same pain, because this is what we sought. That was dangerous for me, I got the advice and I ran with it, without first seeking the Word, my husband and the best interest of our family. I hurt people's hearts and I judged harshly, I didn't like me, because I was failing, constantly. I couldn't be loving or understanding of anyone else. I just wanted a list that is the OCD part of me, having a cookie cutter life would be a comfort to me....maybe. It wasn't so much that it was wrong *possibly*, its that it was wrong for us, or maybe being done for the wrong reasons....one may never know. The bottom line, this is IN OUR HOME....let me say it again In Our Home. The very same teaching for some has played out very differently In Their Home. God is good that way, we are not cookie cutter people. Today I am grateful for the walk out of what was legalism, in our home, the entire experience made me who I am today. This has changed the integrity of our family, the sanctity of our marriage and my relationship with the Lord. But for God's grace it could have swallowed me alive. This is how we do it In Our Home. As folks peruse through all I have to say, I know I am wordy and opinionated, don't make it a checklist for success in your home. Make your on life. For goodness gracious, if I had a check list for success, we would look more successful. Instead In Our Home, today, we just look like the Pikes...a family seeking God daily, hoping for a little more grace and hope on the journey, healing hearts and playing with babies....while trying to give a solid education. This is my story today, in our home.
What is your story today?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A New Idea....Grace not Legalism

A very important part to our home education journey is the way we correct children and ourselves in this walk. I am a work in progress and when I started the parenting journey, I didn't have good sign post. I have always adored our children and have sought to give them a base in the Lord Jesus Christ, but I was angry. It seems like for years, I was angry, frustrated and feeling often like a failure. I accepted teaching that told me if I followed a certain *checklist* then we wouldn't have conflict, our children would be just want to obey, naturally, and that if this didn't happen.....you guessed it....us parents were doing something wrong. The result of this was someone had to be to blame, myself, my husband or our children. I was offered the advice that if I didn't do it 'this way', I would have unruley, hellions, that could never serve God fitly. Discipline was just part of the list every part of our lives was touched by the theology. Often I would blame Donnie, after all if would just read the dog gone books himself he would understand. Next I blamed myself, "I am a bad ungodly mother," I would say to myself. Finally, I would become increasingly loud, and unkind with our children, I was tired and discontented. Occasionally, I would get a glimpse of grace and would try to change, but I had been entrenched in the teachings. I had become legalistic. I was working my way to heaven, through my kitchen, my schedule, my discipline style....but I was mean.
Thank goodness for God's grace. I lost everything, I came to the bottom of myself and God was there waiting with a sweet face to gaze into and I saw hope. It has been a few years and I am re-learning. I am climbing out of the pit of legalism, we are becoming a new family. Now, I have a teenager and some up and coming teenagers in addition to my pre-schooler. It is hard, the undoing of pain, is hard work. Bitterness set in at some point and healing is having to happen. I cry out loud and out to God often, "help me, fix this!". He will, He is, He wants to. Kind words are healing to the bones, that is what the Proverbs say, I am believing it.
Healing to the bones, like salve to the heart. God is able, I am not, but God is. If you are stuck in pain and battle with your children, stop, look and listen, God may want to move you, release you, change you....it just may not be about the children.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Education in our home Part Two, Classical Converastions, Memory Work, Grammar Stage,God's Hand in Your HomeSchool, Classical Education

Taking a deep breath and believing that home educators need to hear about this I have decided to share to the best of my ability what we will be starting on Monday, but what I have prepared for since late April, Classical Conversations.

Classical Conversations was introduced to me just over one year ago and I let it pass, it seemed out of reach for our family, something that I could not grasp or help our children accomplish...I was afraid of failure. I wish I had held on with both hands and taken this ride sooner.

Classical Conversations is an extension of the Classical Education that I have tried to implement in our home for over 10 years. With Classical Conversations I have the accountability and the resources to complement what we already study.

The particulars of our coming year are Classical Conversations Cycle Three are from God's hand to our family. God is so good, let me say it again GOD is so GOOD, all the time. As I began to evaluate the coming school year this last April, I knew that we would cover American History from Pre-K to Highschool Freshman. I knew that we would need to discipline ourselves to the memory work of Highschool History. God continually brought the Veritas Press materials before me and I even owned many of them. I became painfully aware that we need to improve on our English Grammar, Math Facts and Geography. I was only having minimal success in these areas. Our oldest daughter desired more challenging work and some more accountability to others. I prayed and woke in the middle of the night remembering an old conversation with Leah an acquaintance, now called friend. I prayed for confirmation, received it and in a glimpse had signed on not only for going to CC, but tutoring.....Classical Conversations Cycle 3, American History being the History offered in the cycle. God is Good.

Classical Conversations give the children and the parents the tools for memory work in English Grammar, Latin, Bible, History Sentences, Timeline Cards (Veritas Press), Art/Music,Math facts and definitions, and Geography. The Classical Conversations Guide adds to what a family is already doing, it is the punch to the Grammar Stage of learning (see link below to find out about that- http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=4964032397330282695&postID=9075835595637526092 ).

Our home education needs just that punch. I have prayed everyday for encouragement in this walk I started and to continue gaining strength where God needs me to serve in the program. God has given strength. I have been led to multiple blogs, while not all dedicated to Classical Conversations recently mentioning them.

God wants our home education journeys to succeed. Ask what you need, He will show you. Tell God where you struggle, His hand will become evident. God just like that.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Our School Looks Part 1,Classical Education 101,Vocabulary, History, Latin, Spanish, Classical Conversations, English Grammar

Yesterday, I tried to give you a picture of what our space looks like.
The next question I want to address is what do we do for school. This is not nearly as fun. But something I am asked to share often. I will do this in 3 or 4 parts ending with our routine and schedule. If there is something specific (as many have asked for this) you are not seeing, email me or better yet leave a comment I will see sooner.
Honestly, it would take so much time to say all we do in one post I have decided to talk about a few subjects at a time.
We have chosen to educate our children based on a Classical Model.
English please?
disclaimer- I realize this isn't by the book Classical Education, it is Pike Classical Education for the Homeschool at our home 101-
We teach history chronologically, we use original sources to teach history as much as possible, we integrate our Literature with our History and we write about what we are reading, we study Latin, memorize as much as possible in the early years,math facts are memorized and Advanced Math is pursued, finally (but not exhaustively) English Grammar is seen as a tool for effective communication.
Please remember this is a condensed version and many great....long books have been published about this.
A Classical Education in our home pre-supposes that children learn in stages so each child will study the same subjects on a different level for the most part, we spend much of our lower school (grammar)years memorizing, the dialectic stage(middle school, JR High, sometimes a bit earlier) we see the older kids start reasoning and understanding what they have memorized more than before and asking as many 'why' questions as they did at two years old, finally in the Rhetoric Stage (upperschool/highschool and beyond), the now young adults begin to communicate, present, and apply what they have memorized and understood, this is all fabulous to watch happen. At this point,I have multiple children spanning all the stages and I continue to learn from them...yes it is fun much of the time, sometimes I am just tired.
A very important part of Classically Educating a child is the study of Latin. Latin you say? Yes Latin, it prepares the children to understand the make up of English vocabulary as well as most other language an American Child would learn.
I can here most of you now (because I read your emails), "what do you actually use?"
Here is a list-
English from the Roots Up
Latin In The Christian Trivium
Rosetta Stone
Story of The World
Notgrass History
Institute for Excellence In Writing (IEW)
Our Mother Tongue
ABEKA English
Winston Grammar
Wordly Wise (vocabulary)
Classical Conversations which will be covered completely in Part two
This is just a short list of what we refer to, write in and use during the course of a week. Remember, that as the teacher I review and refer to probably 25 other books through out the year. I know that this seems boring, sometimes it is, sometimes it is not. I have developed all sorts of learning strategies to make this tolerable, even fun, for the children. If you have spent anytime at all around me you know that it would be hard to imagine our family sitting still long enough to absorb most of this, so we don't....sit still. Now because thinking about school starting back has made me tired, I must go swim.
In the near future you will see links to each of the books I list as well.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Real Life

I tell a lot about what is happening in my family, where I see God, and how I am raising our children. I want you to be able to picture the physical part of our life a bit so here is a run down to answer some recent questions.
We drink out of mason jars that start as spaghetti sauce jars that we bought from ALDI,there are never enough cups....I don't know the answer to that.
There are NEVER enough forks at our dinner table, the children loose them in there rooms even though no food is allowed, I have even found them in *gasp* the bathroom and under the couch, and in the dirt.
It is hot in my house in the summer, not because we are trying to be efficient but because we only have a few window units that only cool, what I believe is 12 square feet of the house.
Square footage- 1500 sq. ft. that is what we have and we live in a lower middle class neighborhood, that we love.
3 kids share one room and the baby shares with Zach, but never sleeps there so we took his bed down and he sleeps with us or one of his siblings, he has epilepsy and everyone likes it better that way.
It is hot in my house.
15 foot above ground pool that is cloudy most of the time and only green rarely these days....we still swim in it(not when it is green when it is cloudy) after all Sardis Lake didn't kill me.
A cluttered mess, for the record I am a clean freak, I like clean, I love clean, I used to be known for how many times a week I would bleach the kitchen and bathroom and kitchen, dust the blinds and organize our drawers....weekly. I got tired. I still want these things, but I am tired.
We have six kids, a recently deceased dog, a young cat, an old cat, and some fish (i think).
I am tired.
I love landscaped yards, mine is not.
We usually have grass that needs to be cut and the weed eater hasn't been started but once this year. I have what i like to call a flower bed in my back yard, it makes me happy. There is no rhyme or reason to my flower bed, it makes me happy.
The cabinets and fridge are completely emptied by the end of every week, not that we have just a few things..completely with exception usually of a can of corn, some sort of beans, and stale taco shells....we get creative when the money runs out before the week does and we have NEVER missed a meal.
We always have beef in the freezer, we buy it by the side, so we are definitely meat eaters.
We drink fresh milk and eat fresh eggs.
We fight fleas every summer (see note above about animals).
We almost always have someone elses children at our home.
Because of all the reasons listed above I am not at all sure why our children want other people in our home, or for that matter why they would want to come, but come they do. Just about every week a child comes, we argue over which movies we are allowed for, we improvise a meal or two, we try to get the pool less cloudy, turn the box fans on high and pray a blessing for them all. I think our home for most of them is sort of like camping, it is hot, sticky, and you never know what you are going to eat. Camping is fun. I love each of these children, that love us so much. When I have these kids around me, I am more of what I was created to be, I feel complete, I am grateful for parents that trust me with their most precious possessions. We have kids from all walks of life, big nice homes in big nice neighborhoods, friends from gated communities, friends from the same neighborhood, Baptist friends, Harding Friends,Home Educated friends, Public School Kids, kids with single moms, kids with dentist dads, kids with parents who fight and kids whose lives are mostly in a state of change , Catholic friends, and lost friends. Our children are sweet, they have created quite a peer group. We love them. I think it is mutual. I think that even when I am aggravated with our circumstances or surroundings, they just love us.
Thank you Lord for children who love our children and enjoy sharing our lives.
Thank you for the list that makes up our lives.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pictures of Summer






HOT HOT HOT

I wish those were words that readily described my look not my feeling, it is hot, hot, hot, in the wonderful city of Memphis. As many well know that when it gets hot crime goes up, same can be said for my little people (and people who are bigger than me) in our home. We have bickering, and fussing and crying, oh my (think'lions and tigers and bears oh my!').
I made the announcement that we were going NO SCREENS, for those of you who are new to Pike culture, let me explain.
NO Screens-\anything with a screen is off limits,cell phone(texting),
tv, wii, ipod, Nintendo DS, computer....you get the idea.
I don't give a time limit, the limit is when I don't think you are having to much artificial input to give positive output I will slowly let you re-intoduce the little devices.
I require a level of quiet, I think most of the human race does, and I have a firm conviction that we have, too much input and no moving room for any anxiety or unexpected change because something is constantly 'on'.
I just can't be on all the time and I know that the kids need down time, too. No Screens is one of the ways we implement this. After the initial withdrawals, it is nice, even pleasant in our home again. We also slow down our speech and coming and goings, purposefully during this time.
This is just one of the ways we slow down and take time to really enjoy each other and at this season, teach the children about their and our limits.
Have you gotten quiet today?
What did you hear when you turned it all down?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Blog Roll

Be not dismayed if you have formerly been on my blog roll and do not see your site listed, I am sorting things out and re-vamping a bit, you will re appear. The best way to make it re-appear is send me a comment with the link, so I don't have to go a huntin' for it.....thanks.

I have a few folks (Hi aunts) who have wanted to leave comments but haven't been able to...try it out now I have changed the settings....go to comments check the circle that says name or go to anonymous and just sign your name in the comment...ta da.....you have done it.
Go give it a try....NOW.....I love you.

I have added a few blogs on my roll that none of my friends will find surprising for me, but you may want to comment on the views that you read about or explore, by all means do so, talk about them, enjoy them and be kind, just like you all are to me.....play nice.
That is about it...now peruse and have fun.

Out of the Box

Out of the Box....that was the summer theme for our children's department at church. I am a pro at out of a box. Sometimes I must admit I wish for a nice cozy box. A box that could define me. If I had this box, my answers to tough questions would come easily, the answer could always be,"because my box says so." I have no box. The family I was born into doesn't fit into a box, with the exception of my mother (who incidentally may move into the box where we will have to expand our idea of what even I thought was an out of the box experience) most recently my family pretty much closed the box. They don't agree with the way I decorate my box, with lots of children, a slim grocery budget, home education and the Church of Christ. My father's family more recently has helped me build an adult box, showing me again and again that their love for me and support of my dwellings decorations isn't at all dependent on how I am connected to them, but instead that God wanted me to be connected to them. My church family, has been supportive of our family, maybe in spite of my box, maybe because of my box, or out of curiosity of my box....I have never fit in what I thought was the church box. That is okay now, I don't have to misform my family, my children, or my sweet Donnie to fit in a box that wasn't made for us, all of us are different. I did a lot of searching through the Word and even more listening to others about what I thought God may have wanted in my box, I was looking for comfort, lines in the sand....Head covering, wheat grinding, skirt wearing, QF family, it was clear cut and without question, but it didn't fit and I did have to many questions (my husband had answers). I admire families with this AND peace, we were missing the peace, it wasn't our conviction, just me looking for a check list. Now, I love my Space. My Space is a less a box and more a way. I love the Lord, I am grateful for Jesus and I depend on the Spirit of God everyday in order to survive. IN our space, we laugh, we cry, we forgive....often. I do things I thought I would never find possible. In our space we sort things out with teenagers in a way I don't always know the steps to, we love our babies with a tough love I didn't want to embrace and I seek help out side my self. In our space you will occasionally hear swearing, share some boxed wine, but always say grace before dinner and MEAN it. In our space you will pray before you purchase and believe God cares about the occasional pair of flip flops and Grande Mocha Frappacinio with 2 extra shots to get this momma through a Monday morning at MUM. In this space you will find a husband and wife finding their way with out clear cut rules or lines in the sand. On Sunday's and Wednesday's (3 0r 4 other nights a week in the summer) one will fine us at Highland. On Monday and Tuesday mornings you can see us loving the inner city kids that live just a few miles from us and later on those very afternoons I am laying out in the sun with my kiddos, working on a tan listening to country music and being mostly grateful for our smallish city house on the other side of the tracks. Almost everyday you will hear us talk about our highs and lows, hash out seating in the van and the dinner table, talk to kids about their anger and attitudes, then praying. In this space, I will often cry of regret of the way I could have done it better, of grief from the people I miss or the pain of a past that wasn't always safe. In this space you will find people real, live people....living like so many other people, with out clear cut rules or ideas, shaping a new way, their on family way.
Our space can get better, we need to seek more peace and less movement.
I recognize this space with honor.
Honor your space and quit trying to fit in a box.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Back By Popular Demand





Ok, I have had a request for some recent pictures of DJ.....so here he is by popular demand. He is the baby (still) so finding someone to take fun

pictures of him is never a problem....I included my photographers at the end of the pictures (maci and martha), so everyone would know who had all the fun with DJ.

He grows more everyday and when I look at him I can hardly believe it has only been 4 years since we had him. He is a constant reminder of God's great love. He came along when we needed him most (but didn't know it at the time). He has, in many ways kept our family attached to one another over his short life time. Often when I am tired with the big kid set, I don't want to sit down and have a quiet dinner with all of them, I remember that he and Maggie need what the older four have had. He keeps my teenagers and my pre-teens coming home for dinner (even if it is just because it is our rule). DJ makes Zachary smile when no one can and he reminds me that inside Zachary somewhere is the 4 year old that adored me. I am firmly set in the preparing to send them out camp with my older kids, but DJ keeps my life light and makes us giggle. Enjoy them all in all seasons.