Friday, September 29, 2006

Proud Parents

On Friday, T works at home so we are home most of the day together, until next week when I start teaching the 3's class at Mother's Day Out. This is my last free Friday!

T received a call this morning from the school Guidance Counselor. On Fridays, she gives out an ACE award, one per student per grade. Katie has gotten this every year early in the year, so each year we have gotten this call from Mrs. R to let us know how sweet our daughter is, all the nice things her teacher said about her, etc. It's basically a citizenship award and students must be chosen by their teacher or anyone else in the school to receive it.

T came to tell me that both girls got their awards today!! I'm very excited about this because Em is my short fuse - hehe. The guidance counselor told T that both teachers wrote very similar recommendations for them - they are helpful, kind to others and respectful. She also said that at the assembly where they were presented, Em was sitting in the front with kindergarten and Kt was in the back. When Katie was having trouble making it up front to get her dog tag (that's the little award they get) Em jumped up and offered to take it to her sister. Now that I can see! Em is extremely proud of her sister and so excited that they go to school together. (I'm trying to remember if her clothes match today!)

The beginning of this school year has been our best yet. I'm really thankful for that, because sending Em off for a full day of school has been difficult. I don't really think 5 year olds should be in school all day. It goes against what I believe philosophically and what I believe in my heart, but I did it as a trial sort of thing. Every time Em wants to stay home because she's tired, I really want to let her but know that will be the first of many times! She has been quite the trooper making it these last two weeks with no breaks.

Today will be one more fun memory for them of school together. It's things like that they will remember, hopefully not the long, boring days with no parties, no field trips, no cupcakes... Winning an ACE award together, well that at least makes their parents proud!

Crazy Weather!

Well, we didn't see any of this, but a tornado in Severna Park!! Em was right on with weather predictions yesterday!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cloudy with a Chance of Cheesy Pizza!

One of my most vivid memories of my father is his love of weather. Even before the days of the Weather Channel, my father was constantly preoccupied with any "weather event", which included anything other than clear skies and warm, balmy temperatures. Once the clouds rolled in, my father would predict, patiently wait and evaluate every gust of wind, drop of rain or cyclone that might happen upon him. Hurricanes were the ultimate in weather events for him, ordinary thunderstorms coming in at a close second, especially if they produced hail!

His passion for weather only increased as each of his children moved away and he could track weather on the weather channel. Even better yet, when he could track weather anywhere in the world on the internet! We'd receive calls all the time about what we could expect in the way of weather while at college or traveling and when we moved, the first thing out of his mouth would always be weather related. In fact, when T called him to ask for my hand in marriage, after a quick, "Sure, congratulations!" he went right into our traveling weather, as we were heading to Connecticut for Christmas. So predictable!

Another vivid memory I have of him was his wonder for his second granddaughter Em. He was in awe of this little girl, from the moment she was born until he passed. I always thought it was uncanny how much like him she was. She had his twinkle in her eyes, her baby picture looked just like his, she has a little skip in her step just like he did. It was kind of odd, but in a small way comforting. She was only two when he died, and she is a constant reminder of him to me.

Em amazingly shares my father's passion for weather. She loves watching the weather channel and at any time, she will pipe up with the latest weather report. I used to think it was her fear of thunderstorms that fueled that passion, but now I'm not so sure. Each morning, Em will tell us all what to expect weather-wise and how we should all dress. She listens to WGTS, a Christian radio station, and I think the weather and traffic are more important to her than the music!

Today she was right on, although I think we all had our doubts! She showed up at the bus stop wearing a tank top, sweat pants, and then layers including a turtle neck and jacket. She announced it would be nice, but that storms would be arriving by late afternoon. It was a totally gorgeous day today, until around 3:30, when the wind was whipping up and now it's very cloudy out. I turned on the TV to find that there is now a severe thunderstorm watch. Boy was she right today! I guess it's a developing faith she has in the weatherman or possibly a kindred spirit that she shares with someone who loved her deeply. Whatever it is, I have this feeling I might someday be watching her on the Weather Channel!

Picture: Em yesterday having a little cheesy pizza for lunch with her weather!

Goofy Christians

So, here I am, a whole day to myself! Sort of... I met with a friend this morning that I'll be working with starting next week. Then I ran a couple errands and returned home to get ready to tutor. Then we cancelled tutoring... so here I am!

Have you ever seen one of the Praise and Worship CD advertisements on TV? They are so goofy! Now, I'm not bashing the songs. I happen to love most of them! But when I watch the commercial, I can't help but wonder what others think about us. I was watching one today and those Christians on there - they look so happy, like they are having fun or something... dancing, raising their hands, clapping, singing.... I reminds me of a co-worker of T's, who sang one of those songs from the commercial to him. I think it was "Open the Eyes of My Heart, Lord." He wasn't a Christian, but he'd heard that commercial so many times late at night that he knew the song! How crazy is that??

So, what do non-believers think of those ads? I pretty much know what some Christians think - we think they are goofy, right? Or do you sing along? Or do you just not care what it makes all Christians look like?? If we started seeing commercials at night for religious music not of our faith, how would we feel about that? Would we think it was goofy or strange?

As I was chuckling to myself about this today, I was reminded about the Bible study our group did Monday night, where we recalled King David bringing the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem. He "unabashedly" worshipped in the streets, singing and dancing. He didn't care one bit what it looked like to others, to non-believers. He was not ashamed. Am I ashamed?

Well, I guess I'm more ashamed of our "worship" becoming profitable to anyone other than God. I purchase CD's of worship music and I do enjoy them. But I really want my individual worship to be intimate, real, authentic and not displayed on TV. I'm a little embarrassed by those commercials, but I guess I'll get over it!

Well, after all these thoughts, I'm thinking it might be nice to take my now free afternoon, fill it with some great worship tunes and spend a little quiet time with my God. I think I'll pull out that new Patriarchs study of Beth Moore's that I'm working on and enjoy a little peace, quiet and privacy. I know it won't last long!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I don't really think of myself as that impulsive, but last night I probably did something a little impulsive. I agreed to be a Girl Scout Daisy leader! Hmmm.... whatever possessed me to do that? I'm slightly worried about this, but I have been wanting to get more involved, just haven't had the opportunity due to others having a greater desire to be in control.

I had to check my impulsivity level in that blog thing that I've been using lately - sounds like me, yet again. Don't bother trying this at home, mom....

You Are 51% Impulsive

You're quite impulsive, but you never are reckless.
You qualify as a very spontaneous person, but you still know how to honor your commitments.
And while responsibility doesn't come easy to you, having fun does!

Brown-Eyed Girl

They were right on again!

Your Eyes Should Be Brown

Your eyes reflect: Depth and wisdom

What's hidden behind your eyes: A tender heart
What Color Should Your Eyes Be?

Blonde hair, brown eyes... that's me!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Livin' in Miami?

Some might think so! Em is learning her address and about where she lives, like her house. She got off the bus today and announced that she drew a picture for her teacher of her house today. Em has never been interested in drawing and definitely not coloring. In fact, when I told her she would have to use the crayons I'd bought her in school, we nearly had a mutiny on our hands!!

I probed her for some detail on this house, mostly because I've never seen a single attempt of hers at drawing anything other than stick figures. I was really curious. She told me it was her best drawing, that she had done a really good job, but her teacher told her she had to color it in. She was not allowed to leave it white. I kind of chuckled to myself because I'm wondering if her teacher thought she didn't feel like coloring it in and had no idea that our house is white, or really ivory, which is white to a 5 year old!

So, I asked he what she did to make her teacher happy. She replied, "Well, I just colored our house purple!" I mean, why not? It's her favorite color! I wanted to ask her if she remembered the pink flamingoes in our front yard!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Just dreaming a little bit....

You Should Spend Your Summer at the Beach

You're a free spirit who is always thinking of new ways to have fun.
And you don't just love summer... you live for it.
So, you really should blow off your responsibilities and head to the beach!

He Told Me So

Tony's been telling me for years that I'm a bit intimidating. I have no idea what he means. Maybe this explains it??

You Are 76% Control Freak

You are a pretty major control freak, though you may not know it.
While your confidence is inspiring, your bossy ways tend to scare people off.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Veggies in the Morning?

Imagine seeing VeggieTales on Saturday morning cartoons?? Wow, at least that's what I would initially think. Of course, I'm not up early enough on weekends to watch cartoons anymore. And my girls? They stick to Animal Planet. The truth is, I would have loved to see them when my kids were younger, but after reading this article I'm not so sure anymore.

Apparently, you will only be catching the Godless VeggieTales if you catch them on NBC morning cartoons. Vischer, the VeggieTales creator and signer of this deal, has had to remove all non-historic references to God from his creation. Hmmm.... Bob and Larry without God? Now who will be bigger than the boogie-man? Who will save Rack, Shack and Bennie from the fiery chocolate-melting furnace? Who made us special? I'm trying to envision this cartoon that my first child grew to love so dearly, who taught her many of her very important lessons at such an early age, without references to the One who made it all happen to begin with. I just can't see it.

I guess if it encourages people who might never have ventured into the land of talking Veggies to go out and purchase some Tales (who said this wasn't about money!!), then it might be worth it. Personally, I think it's a total sellout. I'm not advocating cartoons from every religion be shown on Saturday mornings, and I understand NBC having a restriction such as this. I find it difficult to believe that a deal was signed without any knowledge of NBC's policy - that is totally ridiculous!

Good luck, Bob and Larry, living out your wonderful adventures in your new Godless Veggieland. It just won't be the same without a Savior!!

The OC

This one was right on, down to Disneyland! LOL

Orange County

You're rich, pretty, and living a charmed life. (Or you seriously wish you were.)
From Disneyland to Laguna Beach, you're all about living the California dream life.
Just make sure to marry rich - so you don't have to work for it!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

And Finally....

I'll end with my favorite cookie (still trying to figure out how I ended up being my favorite color and favorite cookie!):

You Are a Chocolate Chip Cookie

Traditional and conservative, most people find you comforting.
You're friendly and easy to get to know. This makes you very popular - without even trying!

I cannot reveal the generated fortune cookie they sent me - I don't post that kind of stuff on here! EEK!

I'm Dangerous

You Are 32% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

And this one...

You Are

A Happy Pumpkin Face

You would make a good pumpkin cheesecake.

I'm addicted...

to this site! I've done a lot of these, only posting my favorites. I LOVE green!

Your Power Color Is Lime Green

At Your Highest:

You are adventurous, witty, and a visionary.

At Your Lowest:

You feel misunderstood, like you don't fit in.

In Love:

You have a tough exterior, but can be very dedicated.

How You're Attractive:

Your self-awareness and confidence lights up a room.

Your Eternal Question:

"What else do I need in my life?"

I LOVE Pizza!

So I tried this one:

Pepperoni Pizza

Robust and dominant.
When you go for something, you go full force.
You tend to take control of situations easily.
And in return, you get a ton of respect.

It was Someone's Birthday!!

Yes, yesterday was a big day here in the Sheng house. The big Kahuna had his birthday yesterday... as usual, I was not entirely prepared. That's nothing new. Of all the people I've ever known in my life, T is the most difficult one to buy presents for. I've all but given up! I have a long list of things I'd love to get him, but he thinks they are all too expensive, or that he would never use them or he goes and decides just as I'm about to buy something that he'd like something else. Really, I just want to give him something he wants, but I always fail!!

On my list of things to get him: an XBox 360, which he said he'd like, but we didn't get that. He said he also wanted a leaf blower (he ordered it for himself), new tires for his truck (he'll have to arrange that one!) and then, the night before his birthday he all of sudden developed this passionate desire for a 24 hour time zone eco-driven watch. I sent him off to buy it for himself, which is basically what I've resorted to. I mean, if he can't decide until the night before he's going to have to take care of it himself. Right? I can't research and purchase something like that in less than a day -it's just not in my nature!!

The night of shopping proved fruitless for him, so he came home with nothing. That means I spent two hours at the mall on his birthday trying to find something for him that 1) he would want, 2) cost under $100 and 3) he would want. I found pretty much nothing - it was very disappointing. Not to mention, when I finally did find something, I knew the entire time that he would return it, as he does with most every gift that I buy him. It's now par for the course. The girls are used to it as well. I do make him keep anything they've picked out and bought for him themselves, including the size medium Gap surf T-shirt Kt was so proud of a couple years ago. It's a bit small on his broad shoulders, but he's learned to love it!

Since I knew I'd failed in the gift area, as usual, I headed home, cleaned up the kitchen a bit and proceeded to make cupcakes, which is what he prefers to cake or ice cream. I bought a couple balloons, some funny cards and once he was home we all went out for Japanese Hibachi. It was fun, and yes, he's going to return the L.L. Bean fleece jacket I finally found for him. No surprise there!

It's been a crazy year for T. In a nutshell, he's survived lots of changes at work, been to Africa and lived to tell about it, finished another year of raising up more missionally, Christ minded young leaders, took his family across the country and has two children in elementary school. He looked at me at back to school night and said, "I can't believe we children who go to school!" Yeah, it's hard growing up!

Aside from T being totally picky about his gifts, he's a great leader, teacher, friend and mentor. On top of all those things, he's an incredible learner in his field of innovative missions church-doing. That's what I'll call it for now because what he likes to learn I'm not sure has a name. That's the way he likes it - always changing, for the better. It's been clear to me for a while now that the perfect gift for T is not something we can wrap up, or purchase or even shop for. It something that happens in an instant, when someone he has invested in "gets it" or someone who has witnessed what he does comes to the realization that it's working. They are God-given moments he experiences that I can't time or give him myself. Nothing I purchase can bring him nearly as much joy as one of those moments.

Ah, the leaf blower just arrived. A day late, but just in time for fall!! I can guarantee, there will be only a small look of joy in his eyes when he sees that compared to the look on his face when he comes home to tell me how so-and-so wants to devote a life to making Christ real to the nations. "Wow, look at this leaf blower!" doesn't nearly have the ring of satisfaction that "They really get it!" does!! I've also learned that God doesn't limit his gifts to birthdays or Christmas. He doles them out whenever He wants, at random times, when we may least expect it, and that makes them more special than that one day of the year!

Happy Birthday, missions man!!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Yup, that's me!

You Are Mud Pie

You're the perfect combo of flavor and depth
Those who like you give into their impulses

Thanks, deana!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Disney Shopping

OK, I admit it - I'm a Disneyholic, and not just the parks. I like shopping at the stores (which are not even owned by Disney!) and online - until today, that is!! I have been eying a Sleeping Beauty costume for Em for about a week now, and yesterday, after seeing a little offer for 20% off, I took myself over to the site and found the costume, listed as being on sale for $22.99, just like it's been for a few days. I decided to "add to my cart" this item and went on over to try this 20% off, shipping, etc. to see what my total would be.

When I got to my cart, the item was listed as $24.99 instead of $22.99. I had a split screen so I could clearly see that numbers didn't match, so I used the "contact us" form at the bottom to see if they could let me know what that true price was. Of course, no one responded until today, and here's what they sent me:

Dear Disney Guest,

Thank you for your recent correspondence.

We apologize for any inconvenience that we may have caused. We are
pleased to inform you that we have the price of the item as $24.99 we
don't show any where that has that price.

If you should have any further questions, please feel free to contact

Now, this annoyed me for many reasons. Mainly because upon checking this item again, I see that they changed the price!! They have also removed the special 20% off offer. But even worse, why would they be pleased to inform me of this grievous act of theirs?? So, I sent them this little note:

No, I'm not really pleased to know this as you HAD listed the price on the item as $22.99 and now you've changed it. I think that is poor customer service and I'm totally appalled that you did that! When you make a mistake and the customer asks you to correct it, you should admit the mistake was made instead of covering it up to make it look like your savvy customer is incorrect.

I have enjoyed Disney products and Disney shopping and this incident really makes me feel like I'm not at all a valued customer. Why? Because in reality, $2 is measly, but accusing a customer of lying is priceless. I think you just lost a trusted customer!
I guess Em will just have to Belle this year, because it doesn't look like I'll be shopping Disney for some time!! That is some terrible customer service - shame on Disney!

OK - off my soapbox, back to real life! lol - Oh, wait - retail swindling customers IS real life!

EDIT: So, Disney called me yesterday - YES, on a Sunday! Hmmm.... anyway.... they wanted to correct the email they sent me. Apparently, after receiving my email (and maybe reading my blog?) they found they there was ONE DAY that they offered that $22.99 deal, so I must have gone to a "cached" page where that was the price. When I explained to them that I actually accessed the Disney site via the little 20% off ad on the other Disney site, then checked once again from that link to the dress, they did not believe me. So, once again, the customer is incorrect.

They did, however, offer me that dress at $22.99, which makes no sense at all. Of course, that was just beyond this woman, who didn't understand that I had expected to get 20% off $22.99, but since that wasn't possible, why would I spend $22.99 now when I could have had 20% off $24.99 that day had they written me back in time. In other words, she might have been doing me a favor by offering me this item for $19.99, but couldn't understand why I wasn't interested in $22.99. I tried to nicely explain this to her THREE times, but finally gave up and just said, "No thank you!"

Is it just me, or are people getting, uh, dumber? I don't really know how else to say that without is sounding really nasty. It just seems like cashiers, retailers, now these online people, they just don't get it. I'm kind of at the point where I just want to tell them to stop trying to do me any favors, because that's not really what they are!

OK - settled down and going to move on from here.... I missed the deal and I'm the one who is wrong here, right?

A Snip Here, A Snip There!!

Just last Thursday, we took Phoebe (our new puppy) for her first shampoo and trim. She came home all fluffy, smelling awfully nice (for about a few hours before she had ANOTHER accident). I could tell she had had a little trouble holding still, confirmed by the groomer. Her trim was less than perfect. A few days later, however, it appeared that the groomer had had a slip of the shaver. I noticed a whole spot of shorter hair on her back had been snipped, a place where they did not trim at all.

The whole spot on her back was really a mystery to me. T had mentioned something before she'd been groomed about a chunk of hair on her back missing. I thought he was crazy as he was trying to convince me that her puppy hair was falling out. That just isn't the case - she is pretty mutant in the growing up area. But after the trim, I could see that a portion of hair had been neatly trimmed, obviously with snips as the cut was quite clean. No big deal!!

Today, I tackled a rather large project and one that I'm finding I must tackle biweekly - Em's room. I've written about it before and today was no different. Finding one square inch of visible carpet was a challenge when I started. It's still not finished! After sorting through clothes, garbage, arts and crafts, etc. I came upon something fairly recognizable - a chunk of Phoebe's fur!! Could it be the missing spot??

Why the thought never occurred to me last week is beyond me. Em has been obsessed with cutting hair since she was a toddler, having given herself four rather gruesome looking haircuts! Even yesterday, when Phoebe was "lost" after Em had taken her out it still never occurred to me that she might be playing groomer right in our own house. Even the fact that I gave Em a little hair trim the other night, which likely put the desire in her little heart to once again cut hair. She's promised me over and over again, each time she has requested use of our closely guarded scissors (because of her snip-happiness!), that she will never cut her own hair again. I should have known!!

We had a little talk today when she got home. She is on puppy restriction for a bit, no taking the puppy out of the kitchen for her. Sometimes I forget she is still only 5. Full day school is a good cover for making children seem more mature than they really are. I will not forget, and on the way home from tutoring this afternoon, while I thought about Em giving the puppy a haircut, I really missed having her home with me! I was also hoping she wasn't trying out her new skills at school!!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Can I just say that I am ELATED that my daughter has a spelling book this year!! I'm so excited as her spelling "curriculum" last year was so totally bogus. Yahoo!! (She's not quite as happy as I am - were you wondering??)

Politics, Schmolitics

I cannot stand politics! They are one of the things that make living in Maryland so unpleasant!!! We had dinner with our good friends a couple days ago and their home has turned into a mini-campaign headquarters for Martin O'Malley. That kind of stuff is sort of nauseating to me. I don't think there's a politician in this state that I like right now. Which is why I've chosen not to vote today in the primaries.

I have to say, driving by a local polling location I felt a twinge of guilt, but the truth is that I'm totally fed up with politics, politicians, and the general attitude of "campaigners" everywhere I go. The attitude that "I'm right, my candidate is right and you are a total loon if you don't agree with me" is really annoying to me. I don't want to be that condescending with my friends and it's a total turn off to me when they are that way with me.

So, today, because I had to put up with looking at fluorescent green signs for a man I don't want to have as my governor (there isn't one I've seen yet that I like!), I skipped the polls. My one measly vote won't be counted. I refuse, also, to vote for a governor who will choose to use my tax money for embryonic stem cell research. That won't happen. I hate to vote based on one issue, but for those without a voice I will take a stand. At this rate, I won't be voting for a governor either!

O'Malley according to Ehrlich.

Ehrlich according to O'Malley.

Hmmm.... Slim pickin's....


I don't care how docile your dog is, in public areas, with little children, other people and other animals, keep your dog on a leash!! I'd say in this case, a noncompliant dog owner should have expected this outcome. Not to mention, the dog was a pitbull! I don't blame that Park Police officer one bit for protecting himself and others. Leash your dogs!

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Troublemaker

Full day kindergarten has been quite the adventure! Em seems to be happy, doing well, not too overtired. I wasn't sure she would share much with me as her answer in preschool was always, "I don't want to talk about it right now!" whenever I would pry for more information. I have been pleasantly surprised. Some days I can't shut her up!

There is one little boy that I hear about every single day. He is the consummate trouble maker. The funny thing is that I can't tell if Em likes him or not. She has always been attracted to the trouble makers, but mostly in hopes of reforming them! LOL So far, in the first two weeks of school, this little boy has kicked her, hit her, ruined all her organizing of books (that was the bad one - he actually made her cry, AND the teacher had to give her a tissue and drink of water!) and today he spit on her. Of course, as she is sharing these stories with me each day, she typically has a hint of a smile on her face.

Today I just had to crack up. She was in her adult mode of speaking to me, rolling her eyes, waving her hands around. She mentioned that this little boy had spit on her AND hit her all in one day. She had to tell the aide on him, and he wouldn't even listen to the aide. She then said, "So, I finally just decided today (with a shake of her head, flick of her wrist and rolling those big old eyes) he is DEFINITELY NOT invited to my birthday party!" That's good news for me, because I wasn't really planning a birthday party this year! (She plans wayyyyy ahead, as her birthday is in January!)

Never More Proud

Five years ago is a long time ago in the realm of the war on terror. It's a long time ago when I try now to remember what life was life on September 10, 2001. It's a thing of the past, an era of unrealistically feeling so safe here in the USA. Or maybe it was realistic, but more of a facade than a reality.

I remember the day well. T had decided to work from home, not a typical practice. I was doing some laundry at our townhouse, Kt was just 3, Em was a baby. We got a call from one of T's coworkers, a former Marine. He said, "Are you watching TV?" I answered, "As a matter of fact we are. We are watching Sesame Street!" He said, "You need to put on CNN right away, I cannot even explain to you what is happening." And from there, the rest is history.

I can remember as we watched the horrific events unfold thinking that our world will never be the same ever again. My mind was fixed on the unbelievable evil that must have ruled the hearts of this enemy. Who would do something like that? Who would rejoice at such an unthinkable act?? There was an eerie silence that day, no air traffic above our home, which was in the traffic pattern for BWI airport. It made me think of these things.

In the weeks that followed, many things emerged, including some "grassroots" efforts at Patriotism. I really couldn't remember another time during my lifetime where I felt the people of all generations embraced the American flag the way it was five years ago. Everywhere I went, there were flags, on overpasses, on cars, on homes, the colors were everywhere. Red, white and blue. We also began to see the real face of our enemy, and it wasn't really that clear. It wasn't another country, with a flag of their own, borders, rulers, etc. It was a hidden, rogue, evil and radical enemy. It was an enemy that hides behind the guise of a religion, a region and among helpless, powerless groups of people.

It's really so much more than that, but those are my memories from that day. In reliving part of that morning I watched some of the coverage today. The overwhelming sadness that I recall was felt again, the distress... there are still no words that can describe what happened, even knowing before I watched it this time it still seemed so surreal. There is still the question in my head, "Why and how could these people have done this??"

On my way home from the grocery store, I was driving over I-95 and there, on the overpass, were two Army dudes with a few kids standing next to them. They had once again placed flags on the fence and were each holding and proudly waving four or five huge American flags. I glance below to the highway and noticed cars slowing down, flashing lights and recognizing this gesture of remembrance, of patriotism. I can't really think of a time in my life when I've been any more proud of my countrymen for all they've given, all they've sacrificed in the last 5 years to bring justice to a faceless enemy.

For so many today is just another day that they are forced to remember a loved one who innocently lost their life on that day. It's just another day without them, but it's one day that we can all share as a nation, that we can remember to pray for them, their children, their families. It's a day that we can reflect on how life has changed, how the threat is still very real and we can remember to support those who have given everything to make our corner of the world safer for us.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Exit Strategy

Do "most Christians" really want to stage a mass exodus from public schools?? I don't think so, and I hope not. I won't disagree that it's a little oppressive being a Christian in today's public schools. There is clearly a push to eradicate anything "christian" from public schools, but isn't Christ in our heart? Doesn't He go with us wherever we go? If you want Christ in public schools, send your Christian children to them, let them shine the light that is being extinguished by fear.

My point here is not to say homeschooling is wrong. I'm not even saying that you shouldn't send your children to private Christian schools. I'm just challenging those who do to really ask themselves why. If you think public school systems are fearing this withdrawal, think again. You might actually be provoking them to continue being anti-Christian. It sure saves them millions of dollars each year when another Christian child is not going to their school because it's evil. No skin off their backs. Unfortunately, for the few Christian children that are left in the public schools, it's a tough road. But I really believe in the end that it will build a lot of character in them. For now, that's why we've chosen to leave ours in a place where the light of Christ needs to be seen and I only hope that we can stand right with them along that journey.

EDIT: Funny I wrote this last night. Today I picked Kt up from Brownies and on the way home she said, "Mom, I quoted the fruits of the spirit today in school." I asked her why, and she replied, "My teacher was talking about obeying and I said you should obey so you can have the fruit of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. My teacher said to me, 'Can you write that down for me?'" LOL.

A Great Loss

My mom called earlier this evening with some very sad news. Our neighbor, Mr. Schoenfeldt, died in his sleep last night. He was 83. In the wake of the tragedy of Steve Irwin's death, you would think a man in his 80's dying of natural causes would be much less significant. For me, however, it's a bigger deal. He was a good friend of mine, from the early age of 2.

Mr. Schoenfeldt and his wife have lived next door since my parents moved in. They have been the only neighbors in that house for the past 33 years. He owned a gas station for years and service center. He loved fixing cars. When I was 3 years old, he taught me the names of all his tools, and while he lay under those cars in his driveway, he'd ask me for a Phillip's head screwdriver or a wrench and I'd hand it to him. He loved telling people about that, even when I was a mom in my 30's!

When I was little, his son was a big stock car builder and racer. He took me to the Danbury fair to watch the races, ride a few rides, have some cotton candy and a balloon, which I clearly remember flying out the window on our drive home! He was like a grandfather to me, and his sweet, gentle demeanor made him a pleasure to be around, especially for a little kid.

Once I was driving and had my own car, a lemon of a Ford Tempo, he also became my emergency mechanic. I remember one time my brakes were shot and my parents were away. I had to go to work, but I knew I couldn't drive my car. He fixed them for me, right then and there. I could always count on him.

In the past few years, we've had the Schoenfeldt's over at various times of the year and it's been fun. The last time they came, they told us how they met, she was the child of an immigrant farmer living in Newtown, CT with no electric! They met at a party and she needed a ride home, so he took her. And that was their story. I'm sure there's a lot more, but the little bit that they shared brought huge smiles and laughter to theirs and our faces.

In the past ten or so years, Mr. S has worked at the Mobil gas station down the street. It gave him something to do and he was unobtrusive, happily went about his own business. I'm sure all those young whippersnappers who worked with him never knew that he'd once owned and operated a similar setup. He did all the menial labor around the place and I know he loved it! At the beginning of the summer, I stopped there on my way out of town to gas up and saw him. I tried to get his attention, but I missed him. So I went on my way. This last trip, however, I saw him again. I'm so glad now that I went right over to him to say hi and bye. It was the last time I saw him and I am glad I took the time to stop for him. He was so worth that minute!

I don't really know what this means for his wife, Anne. She is super special to us as well, but she has been very sick for a long time. Their only son lives in California and really wanted them to move out there, but they loved living in CT, right next to my mom. Both of them had been very disturbed by my father's death and really went out of their way to take care of my mom. Now this could all change. I felt my mom's sense of security drop a notch when she told me the sad news and wondered if she might have to endure having new neighbors.

I think what I will miss the most about Mr. S is his amazing smile, which enveloped all who saw it with a friendly warmth. He was a man with a huge heart, a servant's heart, and nowadays, he'd be one in a billion! I will also miss hearing his wife yell out the back door, "JOHN!!!!" in the way that meant, "Where in the world are you and what are you doing??" He was always tinkering in his garage, yard or basement! But probably the hardest thing to give up is the knowledge that two people who love my mom live right next door if she needs anything at all. That's the kind of neighbors they have always been. It's a big loss, and it's with a heavy heart that I go to bed tonight.

Rainy Tuesday Morning

Em woke me up this morning to ask, "Will they cancel school because it's pouring rain out?" She has been dreading going back to school since she came home last Thursday, but not because she doesn't like it. More because she's a homebody like me. I told her no, they won't, so she asked if she could take her "berella" along.

I'm not a fan of rain at all. I'm pretty sure I have SAD - seasonal affective disorder. A friend of mine who is a doctor used to tell me that. I have this general feeling of not wanting to do anything when it's not sunny out, rain only makes it worse! This past long weekend we opted not to go away so we could "enjoy" our last weekend at our pool. Well, it rained Friday and Saturday and that made the pool feel like it was filled with ice cubes on Sunday and Monday! What a drag!! I am SAD!

Today I don't know what I'm going to do. I was going to go for a walk, then grocery shopping and tutoring later. Now I'm sitting here blogging wondering if I should go to Curves instead or just walk on the treadmill, thinking about how I despise grocery shopping in the rain and wondering if my student will bail on me. I'd really like to go back to bed!