Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Am I Crazy?

Kt and I had a long talk today about friends/friendship/5th grade. She has gone through somewhat of a transition among her friends, one that I'm happy with but she is a bit sad over. In the conversation a new name appeared out of nowhere, one I've never heard before. Low and behold, this new person called and invited her over this afternoon for a couple hours.

I hate this kind of thing, because while I like being a little last-minute, I don't like being unprepared or uninformed. First, the babysitter had to give me directions (so, no parents at home, although the sitter was clearly an adult). Second, wasn't this the girl that Kt just told me was a little mean? I couldn't remember and didn't want to ask.... Thirdly, she just had a sleepover with her really good friends, so is more friend time too much?? I don't know, I have poor judgment I guess when I'm feeling manipulated.

So, off we go. I'm driving my 10 year old to a house I've never been to, to spend a couple hours with people I've never even met and Kt says to me, "You know, her mother is a newsperson or something. SHE MET OBAMA!!!" Like I'm supposed to be excited about that! Then Kt asks me if this girl lives near another friend of hers... and I say, "I don't know. I don't know who she is or where she lives, my GPS doesn't even have her street on it, I've never heard her name before today and I'm probably a terrible mom for leaving you with strangers." To that she replied, "I'm sorry it happened like this."

Huh?? I guess I could have said no and let her be mad at me for the rest of the night. Instead I chose to give in and only endure an evening of her being mad for picking her up too soon!! But I can't wait to look at her stomping up to her room for having a bad attitude about going to bed early for being grumpy and rude and say to her, "I'm sorry it happened like this!" ;-)

Nights in Rodanthe

I went to see this movie while in Connecticut - total chick flick, so it was fun to see it with a bunch of chicks! This was the first Nicholas Sparks movie I saw before reading the book. In fact, I didn't even know what it was called. My sister-in-law and the two ticket booth attendants were laughing at me because I asked for four tickets to Road to Rodantha! Anyway, it was a good movie, but a little depressing. Kind of sad, but very thought provoking. Enjoyable. Now I have to read the book!


I figure the end of September is as good a time as any to post a short update on our hiatus from student ministry. We have enjoyed our break, but with the start of school we have quickly filled up the void. T still seems to manage to have 2-3 lunch meetings a week, sometimes a meeting or two in the evening and is reading quite a bit. We have spent numerous hours in conversation about all the changes and philosophies about church, mission, culture, students.... yeah... we don't really know how to take a break, do we?

T is busy getting ready for his training in a couple weeks. I think we are both excited for him to have this opportunity and also to see where it leads. We have a lot we are thinking about, many things we are working through and people who have lots of interesting questions. Sometimes we just don't have the answers! We're working on that.

The girls don't seem to notice much of a difference, other than the fact that we've given ourselves some time to discover some cool churches in our area and beyond. It has been fun for us and a good experience for the girls. I would love to visit some of the CAI churches we've heard about in Europe, but at this point in time the cost is prohibitive! I think as a family we are itching to be let loose in some fashion, we just haven't figured out exactly how.

I am enjoying my new very part time job. It's fun to be teaching again, to have students and to be going somewhere in the morning. It's also nice that I have four day weekends! =) I did not offer to be a room mom and have not been contacted about being one, either. Yahoo! I did, however, sign on to coordinate a parent tutoring program with 1st and 2nd grade at the girls' school. It sort of goes along with what I'm doing for work now, so a good compliment. We'll see how crazy that gets.

I see a lot of things changing yet I don't feel like much is different. I spent a few days in Connecticut last week, and that was nice, relaxing and restful. I'd like to do more of that this year!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Housebuying Woes

The unfortunate victims of the present mortgage mess are first time, super credited, lots of cash down ready to buy homebuyers. At least in my brother's case. He was supposed to settle on a house today, but his bank is asking him (not yet the homeowner) to fix the roof (of the house he does not own) and get a letter from his home inspector (whom he has already paid to tell him the roof needs to be repaired before he can move in - and he is ready to do as soon as he actually owns the house) that the roof (which just needs new flashing around the chimney) will last another three years (actually, without the fix to that roof, the bank may not have a house to sell in three years!).

Of course, the appraiser (not the home inspector... just the person who is supposed to give you a value for the house) only suggested they paint the interior (they don't own the house yet), refinish all the 300 year old floors (??uh, they don't own the house yet) and power wash the wood roofing shingles (again, lady, they don't own the house yet). So... the bank changed those suggestions to needing a letter about the roof. Hmmm.... and now, they are not settling today. Something smells rotten in Denmark (or Connecticut!).

Here's the email my poor brother just sent me:

Your House As Seen By:


Your Buyer...

Your Lender...

Your Appraiser...

Your County's Tax Assessor...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Of late, this is an "issue" with my new job. I didn't realize when I agreed to do this it would become the topic it has. In the end, I'm fine with what I'm getting paid, but put in the perspective of my direct "boss", who has the most at stake with what I'm paid, it's sort of laughable. The problem here is really who would agree to do my same job for my same pay? She has pointed out that I'm being paid 45 cents less an hour than they are currently paying furniture movers. I totally laughed out loud when she told me that. Now, I'm not in any way saying I'm qualified to move furniture - hardly so! I just think it's funny that she noticed that. In the end, what I'm getting paid in money is hardly equal to what I'm earning in training and experience. But it's nice to have a boss who thinks you're worth fighting for!

Time Constraints

I should be heading into work right now, but I'm only "allowed" to work 7 hours a week and I've already worked 5.5!! There is just so much to do to be ready for Monday, when I actually start my reading groups. I'm excited but a little discombobulated. I feel like I'm going to forget something - and the truth is I always do the first time I teach something. Oh, well... Anyway, I decided to go in a bit later today since I can only work 1.5 hours - LOL. Of course, I'm not counting the hours I'm putting in at home... we won't even go there!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I want to move to red state. Maybe South Carolina... Hilton Head area. I just need a little break from taxes, slots, ridiculous threats to teacher's pensions.... get me out of here!! I'm thinking a permanent vacation is in order here! ;-)


I recently had a very short (and not very agreeable) discussion with a friend about abortion - pro-choice vs. pro-life. It's not a discussion I like to have, but I was asked what issues are most important to me in choosing who I vote for. Abortion and stem-cell research are likely my two top issues because I see both of those issues as protecting the unborn or those who cannot help themselves. Poverty is emerging for me as falling into that same category.

I was challenged on my belief, based on things I have read, that the abortion rate is indeed falling, even though Democrats and pro-choice folks have claimed otherwise. Obama stated in his interview with Rick Warren that under 8 years of a pro-life president, abortion rates have not fallen. I beg to differ. In this article, by Time, clearly the opposite is true. The problem is that nobody wants to give any credit to a pro-life president or faith-based initiatives, so there is a huge argument as to what could possibly be attributing to the fall in the rate. Abortion is legal in this country, so I'm doubting there are many "unreported" abortions. It is EXTREMELY possible that more women have open access to the "morning-after pill", therefore making abortions in a medical facility unnecessary. However, rates were falling before that pill was available.

I honestly don't know why they are falling, but my friend was not so happy with my insistence that they were. She whole-heartedly disagreed with me on that, even though my following up on my belief leads me to my same conclusion - the rates are falling. And aren't we glad about that?

We disagreed on the stem-cell issue as well.... and I followed up on that because I'm a Type-A perfectionist who can't stand to be wrong. And I wasn't wrong, but I'm not going to go there with that one. I've learned with both of these issues it's just emotional, very personal and sometimes we just have to agree to disagree. Most of the time these issues aren't worth losing a friend over. In fact, if I believe what I'm saying and the sanctity of life is of utmost importance to me, then I need to care about all life... friends, family, neighbors, strangers, everybody. If I can't do that first, I shouldn't be arguing about issues.

Monday, September 22, 2008


This blog is not a product comparison or brand advertisement ever... but I feel I need to mention this out of a desire for anyone who might be tempted... Lays NATURAL "thick cut" sea salted potato chips are not worth the extra money. I don't see how they can say they are thick cut and they taste identical to the normal chips Lays sells. I was a little disappointed when I opened the bag and even more disappointed when I tried the almost sea through chip!!

Now, I LOVE Lays Natural Tortilla chips, yellow and blue. I think they have a unique texture and are very tasty. When I can, I spend the extra and buy them for homemade guacamole, bean dip or anything Mexican I can convince my family to try. If I wasn't already a fan of those chips, I probably wouldn't have bothered with these. I'm really not impressed. Not to mention - they look nothing like the picture on the outside. Not even a tiny bit. Go open up your average Lays chips and that's what they look like. Too bad!


Far from my favorite season, although I prefer it to winter!

Your Autumn Test Results

You are a dynamic, vibrant person. You aren't afraid to pursue your passions.

When you are happiest, you are calm. You appreciate tradition and family. You enjoy feeling cozy.

You tend to be afraid of change. You are never ready for things to be different.

You find solitude to be the most comforting thing in the world. Being alone with your thoughts feels very peaceful.

Your ideal day is active and full. You like to keep busy with your favorite things, and you appreciate a routine.

You are very impatient. You spend more time waiting for something than actually enjoying it.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day in DC

We decided to finally take the girls into DC for a Sunday of fun. We've been telling them about this church that meets in Union Station, so today we took them. We met up with an old friend, Kellan, at National Community Church, and fed the homeless. I think the girls really enjoyed that. Then we went to church - it was awesome!! Loved the worship, loved the speaking, which was on video. We didn't have a chance to really meet or talk to anyone but spent some time with Kellan and another old friend, Taylor. It was really sweet.

Mark Batterson is the pastor of National Community Church, which started at the theater in Union station and now has three more locations, each at a major metro (train) station movie theater as well as their coffee shop, Ebenezers, located next to Union Station. Strategically, it doesn't get much better than this. Easy access, no building ownership (something we've been questioning ourselves), other than the coffee shop, multi-site, reaching out... and the homeless ministry? We went up one escalator, walked out to the street and the homeless came to us. This is an easy, regular connection with these folks - just amazing. They serve dinner with a Bible study on Wednesdays, lunch on Sundays and they know many of those they serve by name. Great venue.

After our NCC experience, we took the girls on a DC Duckboat tour. That was fun, informative and not nearly the aquatic adventure I assumed it would be. I believe we spent about 10 minutes on the Potomac River.... but at least we got T to go! We also got these cute "quackers" that amazingly the girls haven't completely annoyed us with! The price tag was outrageous, but if you like that kind of thing, you'd likely enjoy it. Of course, if you visit DC, we'll tell you everything we learned on that tour - for free! ;-)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Tony!

Yup, today's the day. Today marks the first day of T's last year in his 30's. Kind of weird. I guess it's time to start getting all those things done that we wanted to do before we're "over the hill"! We had talked about a bunch of things we wanted to do to mark this day, and instead have opted for a day at home, burgers on the grill and cupcakes - T's favorite! It's a beautiful day out and we're hoping for the same tomorrow. We're planning to visit National Community Church, hopefully take part in their homeless ministry on Sunday mornings and then, if it's nice enough, we're going to try a duckboat tour of DC. I'm really excited!!

SPACE Commander Extraordinare

This is going to be a year of change for our family and I'm excited for T to explore some more options which hopefully feed his passion for developing world changers. We are also excited to have our girls input in some of things we're thinking about. There's nothing better than a kid's view of the world and what it needs! =) Their ideas make for some interesting conversations, some stimulating ideas and many chuckles!! For today, though, it's Birthday Central around here. Off to ice those cupcakes!!

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm not going to comment on the on-going presidential race between Obama and Palin... I mean, McCain. I did, however, find this a very interesting read. I think it's well-written and speaks to both sides of these health, science and technology issues. Very good information without much opinion - really, hardly any. Some of the issues brought up were not ones I'd even thought of, which is why I despise the negative campaign tactics of late. Let's get to the important issues that matter to us!! I mean, really... who is going make the world a better place! LOL

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Knee How

I know that's not how it's really spelled, but I figure just to make my point more clear. I don't speak, write or understand Chinese. About once a year, someone calls here and starts rattling off a bunch of jumbly jum to me... and I have to say, "I'm sorry, I don't speak Chinese." They are typically stunned and finish the call with, "OK, sowry!!" That's it. It's funny being a Sheng (with blonde hair).


Oh, birdies in the sky
Why doth you fly so high?

Won't you stop and wait for me
To join you in your flight so free?

I'd only have to pack my earthly belongings
But then I'd not glide lightly with bogged down wings

Migration is a heavy plea
For one as weighted down as me

(Written while longing to head to warmer lands!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Go Two

Last week, I implemented a "behavior" chart in our house. It's actually a "positive reinforcement" chart with the added advantage of peer pressure!! Since we are home to an ultra-overachiever and a don't knock the status quo adherent, I decided we needed to address both personalities in a way that I would receive the optimum results.

I made it pretty simple, and thus far it has had some positive results. Each child has three "behaviors" they can earn stars for. For overachiever, the tasks are behavior oriented - washing the dishes, cleaning her room (specific goals here) and making lunches. Because she is so highly motivated, she has already earned her 20 stars and the monetary award that came with that achievement, $10. For status quo chick, we needed to focus on academic behaviors, so completing all her schoolwork at school, using her best handwriting and also cleaning her room (with specific goals). As an added motivation that only one child has taken advantage of, they are allowed to barter for stars. One night the girls made dinner for a star each (overachievers idea), overachiever has also cleaned the bathrooms, emptied the dishwasher and set the table. Needless to say, I'm wondering why we didn't start this last year!!

I have heard no complaints anymore about someone getting rewarded and someone else not, how unfair it is for someone who needs little effort in completing work to get rewarded when the other is not, etc. I think we've chosen achievable behaviors and people are choosing to complete them accordingly! So far, a success. I'm quite happy to have a clean kitchen sink, lunches made and kids awake to make them (=)) and no extra homework!! All in all, it's created a much more disciplined and happy household. Yay!

Oh, right... the title of this post. Overachiever has translated her encouragement to go the distance and more in all aspects of her life. Because she is now getting up early to make lunches for that star, she has time to practice running for the 1 mile Pumpkin Run. She and her friends are "training" at lunch and at home. Yesterday, while I sat in my car at the bus stop so I could head off to work, she came up to my window talking a mile a minute...

"So... last night I needed to do this book for school and I had 4 pages left. L (our babysitter) told me I should do two pages, so I remembered this verse "If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." (Matt 5:41) I decided to do all four pages instead so it's done!"

I realized that that is the key to overachievers - doing more than they are asked and having this passion to go the distance and farther. And the motivation? It's internal, but it's increased when the effort is recognized. Reminder to self: keep the chart simple so your 10 year old doesn't get burnt out!!

All Time Low

If people are now hacking into AND posting publicly Palin's personal email account, I'm thinking the American people/media have hit rock bottom. Is anyone safe at this point? Hmmm... Maybe her rivals are. I hope this is the last of it, but I'm seriously doubting it. Pathetic. I do hope the perpetrators will be brought to justice swiftly. They had the gall to call her daughter's cell phone. Geesh.


I subscribe to the Swerve blog by LifeChurchTV - some really cool posts. This one was intriguing to me:

"I would never use Google if it required me to leave my house and travel to an unfamiliar building on Sunday only once a week…listen to 30 minutes of unrecognizable music, followed by a person talking for 30-40 minutes, and still possibly have to try to find a person who looked “official” just to find “results” for my search. That would be absurd! But, that is a substantially abbreviated version of what so many churches put people through who are searching."

So true! Very, very interesting. You should read the whole post! Or just read the blog!!


In high school, I scored big on my math SAT's and was very distraught to see my extra test set was English. I was never a GT English student and barely an honors one. In college, I believe I received a C in my English composition class. That C and the one I received in Economy were my most pitiful college grades. These coupled with the fact that I'm not really an avid reader, nor am I a journaler makes for some amusement, and complete and utter embarrassment when anyone even suggests I'm a good writer. It sort of makes me cringe while I'm giggling. I feel somewhat like I'm pulling the wool over people's eyes - really!! Communication is somewhat of an issue for an introvert like me. I wonder now, if people really do like my writing, if I could actually speak if I were ever able to muster up enough courage to give it a try. Don't even ask!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Open House"

That's kind of a funny name for what amounts to a ~yawn~ night out with your child's teacher.... and 200 other parents! This is our first year the girls have different open house nights, so tonight was my turn. Second grade. It was the same mix of surprising, disturbing and terribly boring information!! I guess some of the boring was the PTA business, the long and monotone explanation of the idiotic spelling "curriculum" and the half of the parents who clearly wanted to be elsewhere, as demonstrated by their inability to stop staring blankly at their blackberries! The good news? Em seems to be doing quite well. Hopefully that lasts until the interim reports! The bad news? The classes have 25 or more students each in them, which qualifies us for another teacher... but it doesn't appear the county will allot one to us. Lame.

Lipstick on a Pig

As an aside to my earlier post on the campaigns, I guess now that my disgust needs to be directed to the media. This article is just disturbing, and it makes me want to discontinue reading anymore reports about this campaign. I believe my mind is made up - so all the twisted media claims will just have to be set aside for this voter!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Season of Rest

That's where we are... at least that's what I've been told! It doesn't really feel like that yet, but hopefully at some point it will. I guess when you just start a new teaching job a season of rest sounds a little suspicious. When you start a new job and your kids start school and all the extracurricular activities that accompany school and you are coordinating and driving them to and from various locations a season of rest seems like a distant dream! I think we'll get there.

For five years, T has been developing a program for students at our church to create globally, culturally and missionally aware individuals who might someday choose to live abroad in a strategic location to further God's kingdom in a unique and effective way. It has been fun, exhausting, exciting, educational, amazing and rewarding all rolled into one package. Each year, after a long summer of organizing, planning and executing trips designed to catalyze these future leaders, we sit back and wonder 1. why we do this, 2. how we do this, 3. if we can do this anymore, and 4. most importantly, is this really what God wants us to do. Most summers, T gets to the end and says, "I am never doing this again!" This summer, he did not say that, but instead had already developed a plan for next summer. It scared me a bit!

After much thought, soul-searching and some new missions initiatives at our church, we have surprisingly decided that this program has come to an end. T stepped out of that position because we recognize that it can no longer exist with the same initiative that sparked it's inception. Sometimes, when things change, everything changes. This was not an easy decision to make, but we both think it's for the best. Other opportunities that we had decided against pursuing due to time constraints are now options, we now have the freedom to explore what all these new changes would mean for the youth ministry at our church in the area of missions and we get to see more clearly what our team members from this past summer can do to shape their environments at home based on what they learned. We don't always have time for all these things, but this year, we do!

Sometimes God has to close doors to make you try new ones, with different opportunities, different stretching experiences and new connections you might have passed up otherwise. While it's not comfortable or even preferable in some cases, it is a comfort to know that God orchestrates these times in our lives with our best interest in mind and with the lives and experiences of others. I already miss SPACE and sometimes it's depressing to think that we won't do that again. Many very significant people and experiences came out of that for our whole family, so it's a difficult thing to give up.

As for a season of rest, it's much needed in our home. Especially for T, who worked tirelessly and endlessly in pursuit of excellence in every area of that ministry. There were many times over the last 5 years that I wondered if I indeed had more than one husband because he was working two full-time jobs. Nobody has the time to do that AND be a husband and father. He did things that were physically impossible - and that was one of the ways I could see God's hand in what he was doing. His passion for the mission and for developing student leaders was not like anything I've ever experienced before. At least not from a database engineer! Having him home again will be nice. For a while. But let's face it, a life without ministry for someone like T is no life at all.

We would certainly appreciate your prayers as we find our way in this time of transition and searching. It's an odd place for us. Since before we were married, we've never really had a time like this. We never adhered to the "drop out of everything for a year when you have a baby" rule because we feared a newfound love of having no commitments might keep us inactive. This is new territory for us and we have identified few nagivational tools to help us. Pray for our middle/high school students, that opportunities for them to serve in amazing ways will continue. Pray for our leaders who are scattered around the United States and abroad in various schools of higher education, that they would be catalysts in their schools for change in the world.

I am so exhausted from this week of craziness - new job, no SPACE, new extracurricular stuff, Six Flags today (I'm totally sunburned!) and new opportunities for T. I don't feel like it's the beginning of a season of rest, but I'm going to count on it! Actually, I'm counting on a season of family growth. And for real, I hope that for each of you, too!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Truth

I think this website will be saving me a lot of time! =)


"Stupid" Smear Tactics

I have tried to lay low on the political commentary on this blog because we all know I am far from educated on politics!! As far removed as I am from politics, I know a "stupid" smear campaign when I see one! And I see two, but one is far more disrespectful than the other. I don't take too kindly to Obama constantly calling me "stupid"... he's winning zero points with me each and every time he uses that word. AS IF I would feel any smarter to just unwittingly vote for him because I think that will make me smarter... in his eyes. I'm offended.

What the media and Obama campaign has done to Sarah Palin is just truly asinine. It's quite shameful and I have no desire to be connected to them in any way at this point. They demand respect for themselves and smear to the end a woman who is completely threatening to them. Talk about grace under fire - that's what I'm seeing in Palin, who is much stronger than I had ever imagined she would be. For me, the Obama camp is digging themselves to China - I don't look forward to a president who thinks I'm stupid!

As for politics, I'm becoming more clear on the McCain/Palin agenda - some things I like, some things have me wondering... I'm becoming more confused about Obama/Biden - some things I like, some things I don't like at all and then the message changes. I'm not sure what to think anymore. I keep listening, waiting to see if McCain/Palin flips on anything during their campaign... that remains to be seen.

Again, Glen Beck has a great piece on this very topic. Also, an open letter to that smear campaign by another journalist. I admit it - I like to read this kind of stuff. In the end, though, I'm going to vote for more than change. I'm going to vote for whoever starts talking about the things that matter to me... and just for the record, they don't include lipstick or action figures!! Let's hear some substance!


There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What does the worker gain from his toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on men. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.

~Ecclesiastes 3: 1-14

Thursday, September 11, 2008


For once in my life, I can honestly say I'm pro-choice. I'm having old facebook envy tonight! When I signed on this morning, my old facebook format had been deceptively slipped out from underneath my feet and I'm left wading through a very disorganized mishmash of a "new" face on facebook. The links don't work, my wall has been meshed with lots of other junk, I can't find anything I need. It's a mess. I hate it!!

T just signed onto his tonight and it's the old format!! I am ever so envious of him because he gets at least another day or two of old times while I'm stuck drowning in the new discombobulated one. I'm actually just going to stay signed into his account for the evening so I can dream of times past. Why don't we have a choice in this facebook matter??? I want to be heard.

Sorry for those of you out there who are living in yesteryear and have not bothered to ever check out the old facebook - you'll never know how good it was. =(

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Resources" Teacher

That is my new title at my new job. I tried to tell the badge maker it was "Resource" teacher, but he insisted, so it's resources. I'm basically a 1st and 2nd grade remedial reading teacher, but I didn't want him to try to put that on my ID card!

I'm excited about this job because in actuality, I'm not especially trained to do this job. That's one of the perks of working in a private school. When someone thinks your a great teacher and they have a job that they are sure you can do, they hire you. I have this opportunity to work with two highly qualified special education teachers. My direct supervisor basically has two masters degrees, and when we "chat" about the job, I take notes!! I have learned more in the past two weeks than I have in the past ten years. I'm convinced of that.

The past three days I have been observing potential students for my groups and it's fun to be back in a classroom. It has been a very empowering experience so far, since coming into it I felt like a total dinosaur. I'm now wishing I was there to help the teachers, because I have this terrible habit of thinking of 10 betters ways they could do something. So arrogant of me! But really... it's just the way I think. Bad, I know. In many, many ways I wish someone had done that for me when I was starting out as a new teacher.

One of the greatest benefits for me, I believe, will be understanding my own second grader and her oral and written language development. I know there's something I'm missing there, so maybe throughout this year I'll have a better understanding of how to evaluate that. Hopefully, we'll make some leeway this year for her!

OK - I have to go print out that reward chart for my girls... it's a start!

A Post to Read

Everyone, whether you have a special needs child or not, should read this post. Thanks, Deana! Many blessing and prayers your way!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Well, going back to work, albeit for one day a week (divided by three days!) is an adjustment. I actually enjoy coming home and putting on my "stay-at-home-mom" clothes in the afternoon. The work clothes feel weird. It really is a privilege to stay home, especially when the kids are in school! LOL

Monday, September 08, 2008


My life just got exponentially worse. New bus driver. Not NEARLY as nice as the last. Nobody is happy. Even when I reminded them they had two really fun weeks, it was just no consolation. I was so looking forward to happy faces coming off the bus all year - bummer!

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Is this term even relevant to newer generations anymore? I mean... all us old folks know what a ditto is. We nearly all had the experience of a ditto headrush after our teachers ran off hundreds of them on the "ditto" machine, purple ink and "ditto" fluid. We know that "ditto" means an exact duplicate. The reason I ask if it's a relevant term is because for years, we've said "ditto" to mean "exactly the same"... and I think everyone knows what it means, they maybe just don't know why... which might explain why, today, I saw someone use the word "dido" to mean... "ditto". If they can't spell it, then they have no idea what the word they are trying to use really means. Maybe we should just start saying "copy" or "xerox"... right?

I'm Forgiven

I'm forgiven,
because You were forsaken,
I'm accepted, You were condemned,
and I'm alive and well your spirit is within me,
because You died and rose again.
(I'm forgiven)
I'm forgiven,
because You were forsaken,
and I'm accepted, You were condemned,
and I'm alive and well your spirit is within me,
because You died and rose again.

Amazing love,
how can it be,
that You my king would die for me?
Amazing love,
I know it's true,
and it's my joy to honor You.
(Amazing love)
Amazing love,
how can it be,
that You my king would die for me?
Amazing love,
I know its true,
and it's my joy to honor You.
In all I do I honor You.

~Rebecca St. James

This is a really simple song we sang today at church. It's one that I love because I think it's just so basic, yet so humbling. I think it highlights the unbelievable part about Christianity, or unbelievable parts, the ones most often misunderstood. We have few examples in the world, I can't actually think of any right now, of a king or leader or ruler giving up his/her life for his people. Especially not in the way Christ did. Of course, none of them can offer what Christ did in exchange for his perfection - eternal life. It's difficult for me, a believer, to fathom what Christ did. I'm not even sure, in the best of my efforts, I could even come close to honoring what He did for me. I fall short more often than not.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Is It Already That Time Again??

For my longtime readers (all three of you!), you might remember last year someone putting my blog post with my 2005! Christmas letter on their "Christmas Letter Tips" website, generating close to 10,000 blog hits just last December. It. Was. Crazy!! Well... I guess it's still up there, and apparently there are some over-prepared peeps out there. I've been getting about 10 hits a day from that site. Are people really thinking about writing their Christmas letter already? I mean... I'm still wearing flip flops!!

Tropical Storm Remnants

We decided to head out for dinner at Mimi's Cafe. Tropical Storm Hanna had nearly passed, but it was still a bit windy and rainy. On our trip home, we saw so many different kinds of clouds floating about with bands of brilliant blue. The sun was streaming out of any opening creating fans of lights among the bands of stormclouds. Just as we were arriving home, we noticed a brilliant rainbow, then a second band, both of which were full. I was able to capture part of it - but the cameraphone pic isn't nearly as clear as what was seen. People were actually pulling to the side of our busy thoroughfare just to catch a glimpse in real life. Kt reminded us all of the meaning of the rainbow, God's promise to never destroy the earth, mankind with a flood ever again. It was really glorious. And then the rain clouds swept it all away again. What a funny storm!

Tony Childs

Someone, who shall remain obvious, is trying to make croissants today. He first asked if we had any yeast, then went out and bought a ton of it! Didn't buy any butter and decided he could make them minus a full stick of butter that he couldn't find.... I'm guessing he knows little about croissants, except how to buy them and eat them. This should be interesting!


Well, so far, it's just a day of rain. Not even much wind. I'm certainly thankful she seems to have spared my sister in Savannah and even the Outer Banks. I guess we'll just be stuck inside for the day. At least everyone down south is ready for Ike! (I hope!)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Governor

Tomorrow, the governor is visiting the girls' school. It's a little strange, seeing as he's the governor and my girls are kind of... apathetic towards his visit. I don't know if the school has been unable to instill a sense of awe for this visitor or if they are just as apathetic! Unfortunately, for this governor, he has a schedule (I have no idea who made it, but if they know anything about our school then they are just moronic!) that has him visiting the second grade lunch shift. Just to give you an idea.... and yes, Em is in second grade... today, while I was subbing in there, the principal came in to talk to the kids about their visitor tomorrow. It took some time for them to settle down, and they never got quiet, but the principal kept on going as if the kids were listening. When he was finished, he made his way out of the cafeteria, kids screaming, running around and one even sliding behind him on the floor to throw away his lunch.... The principal never even noticed. And we wonder why these kids are so out of control!! Good luck, Mr. Governor! (YIKES!)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Palin Power

I'm watching Sarah Palin's speech... I don't usually watch these boring things, but I didn't want to miss this one. Obama has put this woman through the wringer this week, so she must be deserving of some kind of attention. I mean... if everyone is so worried about her, she must be special. Right?

I don't know how anyone could be unimpressed with that. Wow.


FINALLY! Our county is going to provide recycling carts. We have been the worst recyclers. When we first moved in, we noticed that most of our neighbors had a recycling bin. Except us. The former owners of this house didn't have one or didn't leave one. (We've since noticed one of our neighbors has two... fishy!) Anyway, we called the county about this and they told us to get one ourselves. Translated: Recycling is just not a priority around here! We have done a meager job recycling - collecting what we can in plastic bags and leaving it all out, but we've been quite lazy about it. It appears as though the county is rethinking the recycling effort. We should have our new cart soon, and you bet your bottom dollar we'll be putting our address on it! ;-)

Hap, Happiest Season!

It's that time of year again - signing families up for the Salvation Army Christmas program. I did this last year and it's very humbling, very eye-opening, very interesting. Anyway.... they are always looking for volunteers, so if you live near me and have Thursday morning free next week, come with me! It'll provide a lot of entertainment - I promise! =)


On Labor Day, we took a back road that we don't normally travel. As we drove by a tiny little church, Kt let out a belly laugh. Of course, we all wanted to know what was so funny. She responded, between giggles, "That sign said 'Holy Spirit, Come!'" T said to her, "Why do you think that is funny?" I think we were both a little perplexed. But she said, "Well, don't you think it's funny they are asking him to come? He's already HERE! He can be everywhere all the time!" Uh, duh, mom and dad! We sort of shrunk in our seats while she continued laughing, not really realizing how silly we felt.

Today I was reminded of that as I was listening to WGTS, the local Christian radio show. The DJ was interviewing a member of the group Sonic Flood, who was preparing to lead worship at a prayer breakfast. The band member mentioned that one of their songs, God Is Here, is a great example to them that He doesn't need an invitation into things we often invite Him to, like politics or our lives. Interesting thought....

God is Here

In Your presence there is fullness of life
Healing flowing for body soul and mind
God of the impossible, God of miracles is here

God is here let the broken-hearted rejoice
God is here let the sick say I am well
God is here let the weak say I am strong
God is here

In Your presence there is perfect peace
And in stillness I behold Your deity
God of wonders, God of power is here

His wonders to perform

Oh His wonders yes His wonders
His wonders to perform
Oh His wonders yes His wonders
His wonders to perform
So, now every time I sing a song to invite God, His Son or the Holy Spirit, I'm probably going to laugh!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Lucky 7

I've been contemplating this post for a long time. There are some things I avoid writing about on my blog because I don't really want to post things about my kids that may come back to haunt them, but I also appreciate when people post things that are not easy to talk about but may be helpful to some.

This has been a huge year for Em. It's impossible to have two girls and not compare them, but my two girls are so different that I'm learning there is just no comparison at all. One glaring difference is in development. Being a first time mom, Kt's early development sort of made little impression on me until Em came along. =) I've learned that there were things Kt did at a very young age that I just can't expect from Em. At the same time, Em's laid back attitude and compassion have been a reminder to me that I need to slow down and smell the roses once in a while.

A year ago, I had a six year old first grader who struggled with handwriting, was more interested in who she sat with at lunch and played with at recess than what reading book she was being forced to read and who still was unable to make it through the night without wetting the bed! The first two I chalked up to development, the last, however, was really starting to have me very worried. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I'd still be buying Pull-ups for my first grader! Nor did I think I'd have a 6-year-old who would be OK with that, to the point of having anxiety over not wearing a diaper to bed at night. We had tried nights without them, she would either wake up in the morning very proud of making it through the night with several stained spots on her stinky bed, or she'd get herself a towel and change her own clothes without even getting us up.

I had my own anxiety issues over this issue. I'd thoroughly researched the many possible causes of this problem and was a phone call away from getting my daughter into some kind of program for kids with this "problem". I knew it was only a matter of time before she would be invited to sleepovers and not be OK with wearing a Pull-up at someone else's house. I knew we would soon be facing the taunting of "friends" who could not believe she was a bed-wetter. I knew I did not want to be purchasing diapers for a seemingly normal child, especially since she was already outgrowing what was available to us in the store!

Finally, on her seventh birthday, something changed. She was the first one to call it her "Seven-year-old miracle", but that phrase is something we refer to less frequently now. I don't really know what happened, but she began to be able to make it through a night. Even she was shocked and delighted. Since her 7th birthday, I think I can count the number of accidents she's had on one hand. This past summer, flying overseas overnight, she did not freak out about whether or not we'd allow her to use a Pull-up on the plane. She didn't have an accident in a hotel bed. She has been dry all night for almost a year - and I finally feel like I can celebrate a bit!

Not only that, but about 2 weeks ago, we all noticed a marked difference in her handwriting. It seriously was an overnight improvement without any effort on her part. I don't really understand how something like that can transpire, but not only is she having an easier time with handwriting, she is actually wanting to write. While we fought all summer through her summer packets, arguing over how many sentences she HAD to write for everything, she is now adding words in here and there to make her sentences "just right". I am so excited, because it's giving me a feeling like I may not have to spend another year fighting with her to complete homework and all her incomplete assignments for the day.

On top of all that, she came home last week and happily announced that she was the ONLY one in her class who volunteered to be in a Gifted and Talented book club that meets Fridays during recess to read the book Frindle. I didn't want to completely squash her enthusiasm, but she is far from that reading level. Even Kt, who was many levels above Em at this point, did not join that same book club until May of her second grade year. T and I decided to allow her to try it out with the condition that she drop out if she felt it was too difficult. In order to prepare her for the possible embarrassment, I had her read the first page of the book for me today. She read the whole page with almost no help from me - and I have to admit, I was shocked. Something has happened - I have no idea what!

This year is shaping up to be a much better start than I'd anticipated. Maybe having lower expectations helps, but really being pleasantly surprised by my 7 year old is having a bigger impact on my outlook for this year. She amazes me! I am hopeful this won't be short-lived, but I'm writing about it to remind myself (and her someday) of the growth she made in leaps and bounds in her lucky 7th year of life. Wahoo!

Gustav and an Open Invitation!

Here's the latest from our friends about New Orleans:

September 2, 2008

Gustav Sunday Night - No electricity, but we have Power!

Back Home! I'm sending this letter out from City Hall, Mandeville. Our councilman, Jerry Coogan, kindly offered to let me tap into his access. In the big scene of things, compared to Katrina, we dodged a bullet. In the short run, there is a lot of clean up to do. Here's my eyewitness report of our area:

1. 1.7 million people are still evacuated. Schools are out until Monday. People are being urged not to return for a couple of days.

2. 1.5 million people in Louisiana are without power. All of our area, and New Orleans, are without power.

3. Covington (the town where our church is located) is evacuating 1,000 people today because the Tchfuncte River is cresting and is expected to flood homes.

4. The Mandeville Lakefront and street is 2 feet under water.

5. One of our neighbors has a pine tree through his home. Most of the pines that fell, however, missed homes.

6. Mark Lewis and the Compassion first-responders are working in Houma this week. This is where Gustav first hit. There is a lot of work to do over the next 4-6 weeks.

7. John Gerhardt and Castle Rock Church are being housed in an Evangelical Free Church in Birmingham. There is a possibility that they will stay one night at Trinity before gaining access back into New Orleans. We'll see. John is a terrific shepherd.

8. Trinity Church survived Gustav. There is a lot of debris in the parking lot, a few trees down and a big puddle in the nursery, but the water has been swept out of the door already.

9. Moody Broadcasting with Chris Fabry called today to get a first hand report. We are thankful for the PR.

10. We have heard that there is a levee breach in Plaquemines Parish, but all of that you probably have more information than we do since we have no television!

11. We have had lots of storms today, and there are still tornado threats.

If you want to come with a team, please come. There is a lot of work to do. Check the website at www.trinitychurchonline.net and www.efcacrisisresponse.blogspot.com for more information.

Betting the Farm on God,


Please keep them in your prayers!

Absentee Ballot

I'm applying for one of these. We are hoping to go away for a few days and I don't want to be rushing home to vote. But also... during the last presidential election I was really offended by the voting site stalkers. You know what I'm talking about... I took my then 3 year old daughter with me to vote and there were many people handing out pamphlets and flyers for their candidates. Some of them were cordial, and I appreciated that. Others, however, were bipolar. One seemingly warm, nice woman, when I didn't take her pro-choice pamphlet (in fact, I didn't take ANY because I didn't want them!) started yelling at me, in front of my three year old, that I should be ashamed of being a woman who would stifle the rights of other women. Now... she had no way of knowing I was that woman. I wasn't taking anyone's propaganda. I did have a child in tow, but there are plenty of pro-choice women who have children. I just couldn't figure out what prompted her really embarrassing, really rude outburst towards me. I'm not interested in living through that again, so I'd just as soon vote at home! =)

Readers of All Ages

Yesterday my uncle, an elder at our church, told me that he tried to read my "blob" but it was too long. I told him to try Tony's sometime. LOL

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gustav Prayer Request

I just received an email from our friends in Louisiana. They are heading back home to assess the damage and begin their relief efforts in full force - what they have been talking about and preparing for from their experience with Katrina. Here's part of his email... his prayer request:

Pray this prayer for Trinity and our Disaster Response Ministry. Pray we mobilize a dangerous people into the highways and by-ways of life to wreck havoc on the enemy. Pray we are not caged, tamed, or domesticated church people, but are adventurous, loving, "a do whatever it takes" set of Christ-followers with deep seeded longings to walk in the spirit and enter into the Great Commission.

Betting the Farm on God,


Now... don't you want to go work for THIS guy!!