SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Getting Political

Joey's gonna love this (even moreso because he can catch me using "gonna" which isn't proper English").

I've been getting involved in our political process beyond teaching the children about our three branches of government and reviewing the history of our nation. (I'm sendinging emails, signing petitions, making phone calls, mailing tea bags.) As I witness the hundreds of billions of dollars being created, financed, or taxed (maybe I could say "begged, borrowed, or stolen") and appropriated by our representatives in Washington I am waking up to the fact that by not saying anything I'm part of the problem.

I know what it takes to run a fiscally responsible home, I now know what it takes to run a fiscally responsible business, and I don't understand how those same principles don't apply to running a fiscally responsible governement.

Guiding principles:
Don't spend what you don't have.
Don't buy things just because "everybody else is."
Don't make emotional spending decisions.
Recognize the difference between necessity and luxury, and:
Borrow sparingly, out of necessity, with a sound plan to pay it back.

I've added a new blog site to my list to help remind me how my money is being spent. You may care to check out if you're interested.

I looked up the salaries of members of the House of Representatives during my adult life.

Great incentive to get votes. Join a campaign, get on staff and if your candidate wins you get thousands of dollars of taxpayer bonuses.

I'm writing a letter to Mr. Obey, who already wrote to me and admitted which of his constituents he doesn't "give a you-know-what about"--it wasn't clear whether I'm one of them or not. I don't think this letter will be my last.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kitty Litter

Someone told me that first-time-mama cats will sometimes eat their babies.

Our cat Izzy had five kittens on Monday.

Someone was right.

Gabe's Antics

Dana took a few pictures of Gabe's mischievous deeds several weeks ago and I threatened to post them if she didn't. Well, she finally put them on her blog and I invite you to click on this link to The Incredible Gabester for a chuckle.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Parenting the Heart

This Saturday I will conducting a workshop at the WPA homeschooling convention on parenting. The basis of the "lecture" will be the book, "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Ted Tripp. I have only ever used two books to glean child raising advice, The Bible and Tripp's book. By God's grace, I had a marvelous opportunity to see the heart principles in action last week.

Relationships have not been as sweet as they ought to be in our home and it was becoming increasingly obvious. So, last week I sat down with an audience of children and addressed the subject. I talked about how they should treat one another, how they should respond to problem behavior, how they should communicate, blah, blah, blah. Then it got personal.

I went around the room and, singling out one child at a time, asked everyone to tell me something that bugged them about that sibling. After vent time about one child I asked the one in the hot seat, "Did you know they had this problem with you?" The answer was no. "Has anyone come to you and talked to you about this?" No again.

Now the conversation switched to how we should go to one another in love to discuss a problem or fault. Not because we want to be relieved of the aggravation, but because we love the other and want to help them cease a behavior that is contrary to how God instructs them to live or to help them from being an aggravation to others. I tried to show them how merely complaining was not a productive method of handling the problem and only resulted in retaliation complaints.

We went around the room and continued discussing ways of addressing specific problems with Mom stepping in from time to time to just tell a child, "You can't act that way, it's mean, and it's wrong." (Because instructing a child on how to address a problem does not always result in a change and sometimes Mom does have to step in and take control of the aggravator--AFTER the aggravated has tried to handle it in the proper way.)

The climax of the discussion came when one of the older children finally admitted, "I can be nice to ________, but I just can't be nice to __________. He/She is just too annoying."

And I said, "You're right. You can't do it. Not under your own power. But when you're in Christ you have the power to do ALL things, even love _________. If God hadn't given that sibling to you, you could go on thinking what a good, kind older brother you are, and even turn your nose up at friends who were unkind to their siblings. You would be proud of your good brother record. But, because God gave you ___________, you are able to see yourself as unkind and unloving. You need to go to God and confess your inability to be loving and ask Jesus Christ to fill you with his Spirit so that HIS love pours from you toward the unlovable. Then, when/if someone says something to you about what a nice older brother you are you can direct that praise to your Savior who gave you what you didn't possess. All glory to God, in all things."

Good behavior should be the result of a good heart, filled with goodness by God. What a blessing to have the opportunity to communicate that to the next generation. Today we reconvene to discuss how they felt about the weeks' attempts to make changes in behavior, communication, and hearts. I don't know what they'll say, but the atmosphere in the home has been much sweeter. I think some children have been praying.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Word Conservation

I mentioned before that my husband can be a man a few words. Well, I guess there's truth in the adage that married people grow more like each other over the years. Keith walked into the living room the other night and said,
I replied,
He turned and left the room.

One of the boys just shook his head and said,
"Wow, two words and it was a conversation."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Gut Feeling

Three times last night I woke up coughing. Each time I asked myself, "What day is it?" and thought, "January 20". I thought harder and remembered, "No, Monday April 20." It happened THREE times.

I woke up, looked outside, and saw this out my window.

So, you tell me, "What day is it?"

Locks of Love

Lisa loves long hair. Lisa hates getting her hair combed. Problem.

I told Lisa about Locks of Love , a program to which people (who have 10 inches or more hair to spare) can donate hair to make wigs for children who, due to a medical condition, have none. Lisa wanted to help. Solution.

Lisa before

The new Lisa

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pictures and a Video for Ellen

Ellen, I thought you'd like to see these from the weekend last month when both Chet and Daniel were here.

Daniel and Lisa (or whatever puppy name she chose that day)

It's impossible to get Chet and Keith to smile naturally for a picture!

Dad, Chet, and Dana singing "I Am". I love working in the kitchen when family members are gathered around the piano singing, or when just one is there. I miss your voice joining in Ellen! The sound quality is not too good here, I just used the video option on my camera. You may need to turn your speakers down, I was too close to the piano. Notice your goofy brother at the beginning of the song and check out how much he moves, he never could sit still--still can't!

Another Milestone......Gabe Style

As Gabe's speech and communication improves I'm trying to get him to ask for food and beverages by name. He's doing pretty well with the several beverages he drinks but he asks for all foods with "eat" and "num".

We had rice with stir-fried vegetables and chicken the other night and I was identifying the foods as I gave them to him, "Here's some rice", "Want some chicken?", "Have a carrot."

Imagine my surprise when he actually requested more chicken by bellering out a loud,
"Bawk, Bawk!"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Interesting Teammate

In describing a player at his baseball practice, Bryce told me:
"He swings with his head missing."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Talk about a Good Samaritan!

Last Friday Shane participated in the Wisconsin State Geography Bee in Madison, but he almost didn't. After studying for weeks and hoping to make it into the top five (and having a good shot at it) he had some pretty big obstacles to overcome.

We left at 5 AM--not much sleep.
Our vehicle broke down at 7:30 AM--panic at how to get there.
We raced all over Westfield looking for a ride south--energy exerted on an empty stomach.
We received help in a way we never would have imagined--shock and disbelief.
We arrived late and out of breath--adrenalin being overproduced.

This was not the way to go into the bee and Shane stumbled on his first question eventually leaving him out of the final round.

However, the amazing solution to our problem was reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and it's one we'll never forget.