Friday, March 27, 2009


Now that Em has joined the ranks of bikers, I can't get her to do anything else. These girls just ride around and around the island in our cul-de-sac, and she spent about 10 minutes tonight explaining how tempo in music is like speed on bikes. The girls has two wheels on the brain!! I love how she thinks she's teaching the youngest in our crew how to ride faster - the one who has been riding about a year longer than her! LOL We do thank God each night for bikes. =)

Red Sea

I'm not sure how I missed this, but it's a Red Sea of tree buds around here! Spring! =) I think I need to fit a walk into my nice, quiet day today.

March Madness

I'm not talking about basketball, mostly because I just don't follow that at all! First up, the GE Bailout fiasco that you won't hear about in the news. Second, a commentary on CNN - finally, people coming back to reality on what's going on.

I am obviously not happy about the ridiculous amount of government spending and control, and I feel like Americans are part of the problem. It seems as though there are two views on the budget proposal: either you think it's horrendous or you just love Obama and you'll do anything he says. What's missing? The "I love Obama but this budget is terrible. Do over!" It's like Americans who supported this president are scared to admit this is going to be bad for us, and ask can you give us a more reasonable option.

I will also admit that I've had a horrible attitude about this presidency. When I step back and look at the past couple of months, it is difficult for me to find anything substantial that has been positive about it. It would appear the only world leader who thinks we are heading in the right direction economically (not foreign policy) is Hugo Chavez - that is just so telling, don't you think?

As for education, let me just say this. There are certainly things that our government can do to improve education, but can we find one positive thing to say?? We live in a country where every child is entitled to a "free" education, where that free education is provided by our tax dollars and we have a say in what happens! (local board of education - check it out!) and where the individual child, their gifts and talents, are shaped and molded by this idea of freedom. Of course it's not perfect, but we value creativity and innovation in this country. At least we always have. Instead of striving to be like some other country's overly strenuous, academically driven system, let's figure out how to make our own unique, American and top notch by our own definition. I don't want my kids in school all year from sun up until sun down - there are people from foreign countries (living in my cul-de-sac!) who have chosen to raise their children here, in American schools, where they have a life outside of academia. It's not a terrible thing! Our children deserve better than educational daycare. Period!

I guess in the end, I don't feel proud to be an American when I'm listening to this president, or his Secretary of State or his treasury secretary. I feel like an uneducated, selfish world bully, unfit to exist in this global culture of superior bullies. I'm thinking this is going to get old fast, because I don't think I'm at all alone in this feeling. That is becoming more and more clear!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009



I just cannot believe anyone would vote "yea" on Obama's budget. On so many levels, that's just wrong.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Parents, your kids are not special!

I will admit, I'm not a huge fan of Cafferty on CNN, but on this one, he hit it right on the nose!! I was just chatting with a colleague of mine about parents who seem immune to their child's bad manners, almost like they are powerless to *teach* any to them!! The word is "no" and your children use it frequently, so why not you?? It's not OK that your children are rude, disrespectful, lacking in ordinary manners, mean or bossy. Anyone who is a parent knows that at some point, even good kids resort to any of the listed behaviors above, and as a parent it's your job to address that. Kids *learn* manners, they are not innate. Do yourselves and your children and the rest of the world a favor - give your children the tools to live peaceably with their neighbors!

Annie, Jr.

This past week/weekend was dominated by Annie, Jr. Kt has been involved in an elementary school production, something I would have been way too scared to do!! I was really surprised she wanted to give it a try, but so glad she did. She has always wanted to sing, act and be on stage, but everyone who has ever heard her before would agree - her singing "skills" leave much to be desired! At least until Annie, Jr!!

T and I were, of course, completely taken by surprise. We couldn't be prouder and are just so excited that Kt has finally realized a dream of hers. It speaks volumes for not discouraging your children when you fear they might embarrass you - LOL! More importantly, embarrass themselves. That is really the motivating fear for me. I tucked that away in the back of my mind because Kt is the kind of child who loves to experience and I didn't want to take that away from her, especially not in the safe confines of her last few months of elementary school. On top of it all, she had an amazing time and was so regretful that her friends missed her performance. Like good parents, we video taped it - thankfully. She's come a long way from "My Favorite Color is Rainbow" she recorded with her uncle in first grade. (We're still waiting for Uncle D to do the same with Em! =()


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pastor's Wives

If you are one, have one, know one, love one... you should check out this on Beth Moore's LPM Blog. I really wish as a church that we invested more in the lives of our pastors, their wives and their families, to ensure that they know they are loved. We need to take way better care of them!

Bush Legacy

Here's an interesting article on the Bush legacy by Bill Frist posted on CNN.

"Future historians will also note what today's pundits ignore: total US government development aid to Africa quadrupled from $1.3 billion in 2001 to more than $5 billion in 2008. What's more, the Bush administration doubled foreign aid worldwide over the past eight years. You have to go back to the Truman years to match that."

I think the vilification of George W. Bush is one of the most disrespectful, unbecoming things in America today. I cringe every single time I read about this current administration "undoing Bush-era policy" without even the slightest hint at the good policy he enacted. Even our current president will have his own trail and good along with bad - much of that a matter of opinion. I feel like it's time to bury the hatchet and move forward (as Obama claimed he wanted to) and stop invoking past grievances. A time is coming, and sooner than later, that those claims will be hollow and he will have to justify his own actions with something more solid than trying to undo some perceived wrong.

Favorite Things

Some of my favorite things are things I cannot acquire but that happen on their own. Yesterday, Em came home bouncing, smiling, very proud of herself. She quickly pulled out her homework assignment sheet and showed me a note her math teacher had written on the bottom of the page, "Emily was a Math Superstar today! =)" She was SOOOO excited about this! I asked her if this is something everyone gets, and she replied nobody had ever gotten it before. I asked if this came with some kind of reward or prize, and she said no. I have to admit, I was a bit puzzled by the lack of luster I perceived in this "amazing event" that had her squealing with delight. So, I just asked her how she pulled off this one time performance, and she said, "By working carefully, quietly and paying attention." Wow! She then told me that her teacher had come up to her at the end of the day, while all the students were lined up, pulled out her folder and homework sheet, wrote on it and congratulated her. Everyone wanted to know what the teacher wrote, and after she read it to them, one of her friends congratulated her.

It seemed so unimportant of a thing, but what a difference this made for her. It was a great reminder to me as a teacher, and more importantly as a parent, that praising our kids alone is great, praising them in front of others is a boost and just praising them, without any kind of physical reward, is sometimes more meaningful than getting a pencil or a sticker or a treat. This child was on cloud 9, and that is really one of my favorite things.

This morning at the bus stop, the girls were talking about the play Kt is in Thursday and Friday. It's our very first play and a very big deal. Kt first asked if she could be in it with her friends and told me she was hoping they would just choose her to play a tree!! In other words, she had no interest in acting or the play itself, she just wanted to participate in this with her friends. We had a little chat about her responsibility to her cast, following through on a commitment and understanding that while it may not be important to her to do well, it would be important to others that she do well. She has done amazingly well, memorized all her lines and is even singing two solos!! She just told me that today, and when I asked her to sing them for me, she said she wanted them to be a surprise tomorrow night. Now my interest is really sparked!! I love it when my kids are proud of their accomplishments.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

I love this hymn. The first three stanza are by Robert Robinson. I don't know about the last. From the 1700's. I love words, sentiments that are timeless.

"Prone to wander" is the part of this hymn I relate to most. I've been wandering around for the past few months, here and there and everywhere. I surely feel the tug of the Spirit on my heart. I feel like I'm finding my way a bit better.

We just spent a really nice weekend up in Connecticut, Em and I. T took Kt to NYC for the weekend on a missions type thing. They loved it. I tried to spoil Em, although she was more interested in a weekend in DC and a stay at a hotel. Someday! She had some fun times with my mom, even told my mom's good friend that she is "good at farting" - where do kids come up with these things?? She has never mentioned this "gifting" to us before, so nice of her to share it with one of my mother's friends! Oh, and she got to sleep with my mom and then proceeded to throw up all over her rug. Spoiling Em has it's negatives!!

This week is incredibly busy, and it's making me feel more like myself. This is my first breather of the day. I had work, then a run to the Salvation Army thrift store for a costume for Kt, then off to the grocery store, then unload from grocery store, then off to school to deliver said costume, back home to get Em off the bus and get her ready for piano, which is happening right now. This is a day I'm more used to, and the rest of this week is shaping up to be much of the same. Kt will be in her first play this Thursday night, my mom is coming to enjoy that. We have activites every day and night, not a moment to breathe. Just like old times!

Come, thou fount of every single blessing....

Monday, March 09, 2009

Your Federal Tax Dollars

In the thousands of pages of federal spending bills recently passed through Congress, signed by our new president, there are bound to be many things I'd prefer not to pay for. Chances are, I won't even know what most of those things are. At the same time, there's a good chance I will benefit in some small way as well, and not even realize it. I mean, there's money in there for parks, water fountains, roads, textbooks... you name it, it's in there. Confusing, not so controversial. There are things, however, in there or in executive orders, that I don't care to spend my tax money on, and they are extremely controversial. Things like abortion, embryonic stem cell research funding and abortion in nations other than our own. Why? Because I cannot bring myself to agree that unborn children don't deserve our utmost attention, a voice in the world and that God is begging us to defend those who cannot defend themselves. While I realize it is the plight of millions who have disabled or disease-ridden loved ones to do anything, at any cost, to find a cure, I just think we are called to be ethical and reasonable in our response - and also loving. If we asked for federal tax dollars to print the word God on a building, we'd probably be taken to court. If we ask for federal tax dollars to enact "population control" in developing countries through abortion, we're awarded. There's just something wrong with that.

Realistic view on embryonic stem cell research, which has never been banned - only the funding of creating new embryonic stem cell lines was banned.

The door is now open to the business of embryonic stem cell research... and the implications thereof. It's a sad day indeed.

Growing Up

Today is a bittersweet day. Yesterday, Em FINALLY really learned to ride her bike. T taught her last summer, but she has been extremely reluctant to continue riding, instead choosing to woefully watch all her friends ride around the circle outside or try to keep up on her scooter. Through tears and tantrums, T forced her to learn yesterday. On the way to the bus stop this morning, she turned to me and said, "I really would rather ride my bike than go to school today!" So much can change with a little confidence!

Today also marks the end to our outdoor swingset. My mom bought it for our girls when we moved in here. It was the largest set we could fit in our minuscule backyard and provided hours of entertainment for a long time. It had a fort for caterpillar races, a sandbox that the girls only used when they were preschool age, swings that the boys next door nearly tipped the entire fort swinging on and swings the girls loved to swing on. The reality, though, was that it took up our entire yard and they weren't using it much anymore. We have a park we can walk to, bikes to ride in the cul-de-sac, pools we now go to in the summertime and we are all antsy about having a patio with a table to eat off, barbeque for our steaks and zucchini and a nice chair swing to swing on. I guess we're growing up.

I was thinking earlier that Em would miss the swingset the most, but I really think it's me. I have grown attached to the thing, to being able to send my kids out back to a safe place and to actually having kids who love to swing! It's almost like the beginning of having to say goodbye to childhood in this house. Kt is off to middle school next year, Em is entering the world of the tween and there are no little tikes left here. So sad! I attempted to pass that swingset along to my neighbor, just so I could see it every once in a while, but she refused. =( Fortunately, we found a sweet widow with two adopted children from Guatamala who happily took it off our hands. It's at least nice to know that it will be put to good use by two little kids who have a lot of child left in them. Now it's time for me to grow up!

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Hamlet Administration

This is an interesting take on the current administration of our country. If you like Shakespeare, you will appreciate at least the attempt at the comparison!

Restore Respect at School Act

Recently, I signed up to receive a newsletter from a Maryland Senator and I'm finding it very interesting!! He's not actually my senator - mine are both Democrats, and while I've signed up on their sites, I guess they don't offer any type of news about what they are doing. This guy is a Republican who sends out this weekly agenda of what they covered legislatively. I don't know why the others don't do this, but in the past week I've learned that there are new death penalty standards being voted on in MD, new education initiatives, and a plethora of other information. Including this:

Restore Respect at School Act
Student conduct, homework completion, and classroom
attendance receive attention in the Restore Respect at
School Act (HB 630). According to the bill, a parent or
guardian who is eligible to claim either the State tax
credit or subtraction modification under the State income
tax for household and dependent care expenses for any
dependent might be denied these tax benefits should a
student under their care:
· be unlawfully absent for more than 20% or more of
their school term;
· not complete the minimum amount of homework
required; or
· earn more than one expulsion or suspension for
disrespect, insubordination, or classroom disruption.
The bill allows for parents to regain the tax credit should
they attend a parent conference at the school prior to a
dependent's readmission and provide evidence that the
child has completed a community resource program. An
individual with a federally adjusted gross income of
$41,001 or less will not be denied the tax credit.

I have to say, I was all for this initiative, until I got to that last sentence. On average, I think any educator in any city in Maryland would tell you that a majority of students that fall into the above category come from low income families. This fact, of course, almost negates the effectiveness of this type of legislation. Then it makes me wonder if the approach is all wrong. I think there's a huge gap here between the way a legislator's mind works and the way the rest of the general public operates. Maybe they ought to ask some teachers how to to solve this problem!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Because I Am...

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

"... before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth, He has made mention of my name...
See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hand."
Isaiah 49:1, 16

Only God can orchestrate these circumstances. Who would have thought? or known?? Today is the day I remember losing someone who was so important to me to something so wrong: cancer. I've rejoiced when others, friends included, have overcome the odds to which my father succumbed. But still, today is my day to remember and to mourn.

Last Friday, Kt lamented to T and I about what a creeper her new bus driver is, solely based on the fact that he knows and calls her by name. I didn't think it too creepy, but she was totally creeped out, which led me to question just how creepy this guy really was!! It also caused me to lament on how much I missed Mr. Zach, the former Navy Seal bus driver, who we haven't seen since before Christmas. Our new bus driver explained that Mr. Zach has stomach cancer and likely would not return this year. In a very small way, this was devastating to me. I didn't cry or get all emotional or anything (I mean, I'm an INTJ, for heaven't sake!), but it was grievous for me.

This morning I waited in subfreezing temps with the kids up at the bus stop. As the bus rolled up, I was waving to our friends who were already on the bus and was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Zach's smiling face! I was actually shocked, and so, so happy!! I knew instantly that this was a gift to me from God. Some might write it off as a complete coincidence, but I honestly have no idea why I even bothered to go out to the bus stop on this coldest morning of the year, considering I haven't waited out there since sometime in December. This was way more of a coincidence for me - it was a true God moment for me.

I am thankful today that He remembers me, that he hears my cry (albeit, a soft one) and that my heart is not forgotten. He reminds me that my name is engraved on his palm. And so is yours!

Miss you, Daddy!

This past year has been full of deep places for me. I have posts that I haven't dared posting, places I wish I'd never been, depths I never want to return to and loneliness unlike I've ever experienced before. It's all so ironic, because this was our year off! Lately I keep hearing the last thing my father said to me, "Keep busy!", and I am wondering if there was some wisdom in those words. Recently, this song has kept me on my feet, reminded me that the only One I can count on is Jesus. He's better than.... and someday, in His time, I'll be with him, too.
'Til then, miss you, Daddy!

Monday, March 02, 2009


In Like a Lion

It's the first day (now the second) of March, and it appears it's in like a lion! Our first "real" snowstorm of the season since our last was ice. The girls are quite excited, but still went to bed unsure if we're really going to end up with a snow day. We're on the fringe. I'll let you know tomorrow if it's' real!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Peanut Allergies

Just before we hopped on our last flight home from Florida, I quickly stopped in a news stand and bought my mom and myself a pack of Resees Peanut Butter Cups. I had originally intended for us to eat them before we got on the plane, but thought better of having to buy them for my girls and saved them. Once on the plane, I had this nagging thought that it likely was not the best place to open up peanut butter! Having friends who have children with this particular allergy, I've listened to hours of them lamenting about restaurants, school cafeterias and one of the scariest places to deal with any medical emergency - thousands of feet in the air in the confined space called an airplane! So... we held off on our little treat until we were safely home!

Tonight, I read this super article on food allergies and the "hysteria" that they have created. I have such mixed feelings about this topic, but I really appreciated the information in this article. It did not go overboard, portraying parents as crazed fanatics, nor did it belittle them for their fear. It presented where we are now with these allergies and some experimental treatment that seems to be working in some cases on making some children allergy tolerant. Very interesting! And for real, it's a small sacrifice to make, keeping airplanes peanut free. =)