Sunday, April 29, 2007

My Musicians

Beth and Ben had their annual spring piano recital this afternoon. Beth is in her 5th year of piano and Ben, his 2nd. Beth performed one piano piece and also sang a duet with her best friend. They sang "You've Got a Friend in Me." They did an excellent job. I was a very proud Mama. :o) Ben also did an excellent job playing two piano pieces. I have video of them, but couldn't figure out how to put it on my blog. So, I guess some pictures will have to do (you can use your imagination on what it sounded like):

Ben playing Mist on the Lake.

Beth playing Sonatina in F

Happy faces now that the recital is complete!

Stock Car Races

These are pictures of my cousin's two daughters. They were in a stock car race last Saturday and did very well. Aren't their cars cool?!!! They both won trophies, too!

This is Hannah with her Super Stock Police Car.

This is Maggie with her Super Stock Fire Dept. Car

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Love Thy Sibling Day

My children are Perfect! They get along with each other 100% of the time! Their number one goal in life is to serve others. They see who can "out do" the other with kindness and good deeds ... with all humbleness, of course! They always put the other first, and they never say unkind words to each other or try to get the other in trouble. They are just....well....PERFECT!


Phew! That was just a dream! LOL No, I don't want perfect children, but it would be nice not to have mornings like yesterday morning! Bicker, bicker, bicker! I would have thought they'd gotten out of bed on the wrong side if their bed wasn't pushed up against the wall! Man, what is that all about!

Anyway, by about 4:00 in the afternoon, I'd "had enough!" And a somewhat recent blog by my friend, Perri came to mind. You can check hers out Here. She had a Love Thy Brother day with two of her boys. Well, since I have a boy and a girl I decided to have a Love Thy Sibling Day. :o) I didn't take it quite as far as Perri did with making them hold hands, but they did have to do everything together the rest of the day (except private bathroom issues -- and yes, Beth did ask if she could stay in the bathroom the rest of the evening!) They played the computer together, did chores together, played ball together (which, of course, works well), ate together, etc. Here are a couple of pictures that show how thrilled they were with the evening:

Here's Beth's reaction:

Here's Ben's:

And here's Suzi's:

I don't know if she's laughing or yawning!

Actually, the kids ended up having fun the rest of the night. It sure made for a more pleasant evening for me!

Affect or Effect

Does anyone else have trouble with these two words or is it just me? I can never remember how to use them correctly in a sentence. Remember? Perhaps I've never known how! Here's what has to say about them:

Affect1 and effect, each both noun and verb, share the sense of “influence,” and because of their similarity in pronunciation are sometimes confused in writing. As a verb affect1 means “to act on” or “to move” (His words affected the crowd so deeply that many wept); affect2 means “to pretend” or “to assume” (new students affecting a nonchalance they didn't feel). The verb effect means “to bring about, accomplish”: Her administration effected radical changes. The noun effect means “result, consequence”: the serious effects of the oil spill. The noun affect1 pronounced with the stress on the first syllable, is a technical term in psychology and psychiatry. Affect2 is not used as a noun.

Does that make it clear for you? It may have helped me for the moment, but I betcha when I have to write affect or effect again, I'll have to sit here and ponder whether or not I'm using it correctly!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dear God

I got this in an email from a friend of mine and thought it was really good:

Dear God:
Why didn't you save the school children at...

Moses Lake, Washington 2/2/96
Bethel, Alaska 2/19/97
Pearl, Mississippi 10/1/97
West Paducah, Kentucky 12/1/97
Stamp, Arkansas 12/15/97
Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/24/98
Edinboro, Pennsylvania 4/24/98
Fayetteville, Tennessee 5/19/98
Springfield, Oregon 5/21/98
Richmond, Virginia 6/15/98
Littleton, Colorado 4/20/99
Taber, Alberta, Canada 5/28/99
Conyers, Georgia 5/20/99
Deming, New Mexico 11/19/99
Fort Gibson, Oklahoma 12/6/99
Santee, California 3/ 5/01
El Cajon, California 3/22/01
Grundy, VA 1/16/02
Cole Spring, MN 9/24/03
Miami, FL 2/3/04
Red Lake, MN 3/21/05
Jacksboro, Tennessee 11/8/05
Cazenovia, Wisconsin 9/29/06
Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania 10/2/06
Tacoma, Washington 1/03/07
Virginia Tech 04/16/2007?

Sincerely,Concerned Student
Reply:Dear Concerned Student:
I am not allowed in schools.

How did this get started?
Let's see,I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complainedshe didn't want any prayer in our schools. And we said, OK..
Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school,the Bible that says "thou shalt not kill,thou shalt not steal,and love your neighbors as yourself,"And we said, OK...
Dr. Benjamin Spock saidwe shouldn't spank our children when they misbehaved because their little personalitieswould be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we won't spank them anymore..
Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity,and we surely don't want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning...
Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, that's a grand idea...
Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to do it anyway,let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that's another great idea...
Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And we said, it doesn't matter what anybody, including the President, does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good....
And someone else took that appreciation a step furtherand published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet. And we said, everyone's entitled to free speech....
And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence and illicit sex... And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes... And we said, it's just entertainment and it has no adverse effect and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.
Undoubtedly, if we thought about it long and hard enough, we could figure it out. I'm sure it has a great deal to do with...


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Friend and Multiple Sclerosis

I have known Linda since we were 5 years old and in Kindergarten. When I think of Linda I think of a very athletic girl. She could run really fast. She was always one of the first kids picked for ball games during recess or gym class. :o) Linda's other love was (and is) horses! She was also in 4-H with me, and her Mom taught me how to sew. Oh, we were also in band together. She played saxophone and I played clarinet.

There were several years after high school where we didn't keep in touch, but we got reconnected a few years ago (don't you love email?!!!). She was living in Montana and I was living in Georgia. Now I'm back in VA, and she's back in Ohio.

Linda was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2001. She is still very athletic, and I believe that has helped her in her fight against MS. I received an email from Linda this morning, and she is going to participate in the annual MS Bike Tour. She is trying to raise $200 for this event. I went over to her website this morning and made a donation. If you'd like to help a good cause -- maybe you know of someone with MS -- why not help Linda raise her support for the MS Bike Tour! You can click HERE to make a donation that could help save a life!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend Update

The single mom's retreat went really well! We had seven ladies come out, and we had a great time. The Lord is so awesome in how He helps me when I'm speaking to the ladies. I do not consider myself a good speaker in group settings, but every time I've spoken to the ladies, He's helped me speak without fumbling around and being nervous. I know it's's certainly not ME!

I had a special time at the retreat on Saturday morning. I woke up at 5:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. I went ahead and got ready for the day and went downstairs to sit out on the screened in porch. I grabbed a blanket on my way out and enjoyed watching the day wake up. There were three ponds in the back yard, with a small mountain as the backdrop. Wow, what a gorgeous view. I was able to just sit and soak it all rushing, no disturbances. The birds were singing and it was beautiful. When it was light enough I read some of the Psalms, sang, and prayed. It was a real time of refreshment for me.

Sunday was a busy day. After church we went to a friends house for a celebration potluck dinner. My best friend, Tammy and her husband found out that he was voted in to pastor a nearby church with a 100% vote. What a blessing! I've watched them the past few months and have been very impressed with how they've sought the Lord's direction for their lives. There were two other churches interested in him, and they had better "packages," but they prayed and just knew this was where the Lord wanted them. On a personal note, I'm very thankful that they stayed here so that I don't have to be separated from my best friend again! We get together at least once a month and go out. We've known each other for 25 years and I feel like Tammy's the sister I never had!

Last night we met with our pastor. Ben is going to be baptized on May 2nd and he's a little (understatement) nervous about it. So we met with the pastor so he could feel more comfortable with him. I think it was a success, and Ben is now looking forward to the big day! I'll be sure to take pictures. :o)

Tonight Neal took Ben to baseball, while I took Beth to "An Evening of Art Interpretation." This was an event we had at our church with our homeschool group. It was for grades 6 - 12, and each child could perform a special talent or two for the audience. Beth played two piano pieces. She did really well. Others played piano, violin, cello, guitar, and harp. Some recited famous speeches or poems, and one girl danced ballet (is that how you would phrase that?). Every one of them did an excellent job. It was not your "fingernails on the chalkboard" type of performance. It was obvious that each one had practiced long and hard and were very talented in the areas they performed.

Tomorrow's an "at-home" day. I'll be working on my handwriting job, doing school work, laundry, and house work. Fun, fun, fun! ;o)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

21 through 31

I'm really, really tired, but I'm going to try and come up with a few more of my 100 things about me list -- I'm on 21.

21. I hate it when I burn things in my oven and it smells up the entire house. (tonight I turned on the oven to bake cookies, and unbeknownst to me my husband had left some Thyme in the oven after drying it. Can you say
S-T-I-N-K??? I just hope no one comes around any time soon because it smells suspiciously like an illegal substance!)

22. I have found out this past year that, surprisingly, I enjoy teaching Bible studies to women (not just teaching kids!).

23. I love to drink water!

24. I do not like talking on the phone or IMing people unless I have something really important to talk about.

25. I play Yahoo Fantasy Baseball with my brothers and cousin. This is my second season and I'm in 12th place ... out of 12!

26. My favorite color is green.

27. My eyes are green.

28. I hated iced tea until I had to go three years without drinking carbonated beverages and finally gave in to peer pressure and started drinking sweet tea!

29. I love to read magazines when I have time, but I have a huge pile waiting for that time to come!

30. My son is getting baptized May 2nd!

31. He asked Jesus to be his savior on September 11, 2006.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Single Moms Retreat

We're having our first single mom's retreat this weekend! It's a small group -- only 7 or 8, but that will be a nice size for our first go at this. It starts tonight at 6:00 and will end at 1:00 tomorrow. There will be four sessions plus a devotional in the morning. I'm doing Session I and the devotional, Session II is a video by Liz Curtis Higgs. She is so funny! Session III will be presented by Donna, and Session IV by a Mary Kay Consultant. We'll send the ladies away with even prettier faces!

Tonight after my session we'll have dessert and then go sit in the hot tub. I'm looking forward to relaxing in there. What a week it's been!

Remember to continue to pray for the family and friends of those who lost their lives at Virginia Tech this week. We all wore our Maroon and Orange today and saw many more people doing the same throughout town. We saw a few cars with VT flags flying, and we even saw one car that had just stuck an orange t-shirt in their window and it was flapping in the wind. LOL Beth only had a sweatshirt, so she was glad to get home and change out of it. :o)

I'd appreciate prayers for our retreat tonight. Donna's brother had to go into ICU last night and there's a chance she'll have to leave early, and it's at her house. She's put so much work into this that I would hate for her to have to miss it. Her brother's name is Wayne and he's only 50 years old.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Va Tech Tribute

Here is a beautiful tribute to Virginia Tech Hokies.

Click here ---> Tribute

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What about me? Part I

I've been reading my friend Perri's blog and she's been listing 100 things about herself. She's not doing it all at one time, but bit by bit. I got to thinking about it and I don't know if I can even think of 100 things to write about myself. BUT, I'm going to give it a try....bit by bit.

1. My husband calls me a flatlander because I'm from Ohio. He doesn't like to refer to me as a Yankee.

2. I married a Rebel.

3. I grew up on Oxford St. in a small town in OH, and the first house Neal and I bought in VA was on Oxford St.

4. I used to play Charlies Angels with my friends.

5. I was in love with Steve Austin -- Astronaut -- Man barely alive -- AKA The Six Million Dollar Man!

6. I didn't like Farrah Fawcett because she married my man!

7. I played Barbies until I was in 9th grade. (shhh...don't tell anyone)

8. I love oatmeal.

9. My favorite holiday is Christmas.

10. My favorite season is fall.

11. I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 15.

12. I'm glad I did!

13. I've been blessed with many good friends in my life and I continue to be blessed with more and more.

14. I was supposed to have a beach wedding, but it rained. So I only had a beach rehearsal, and an indoor wedding (by the ocean).

15. We honeymooned on Hilton Head Island, SC.

16. My dream vacation is Hawaii.

17. I've always wanted to be a wife and Mommy, and I feel blessed!

18. I'm a home school teacher.

19. My kids love their teacher!

20. I love the principal. :o)

More on Virginia Tech

My sister-in-law sent me a link to this convocation address yesterday. I didn't get to see it on TV or hear it on the radio, but it sounded like the entire service was very moving.

Transcript of Nikki Giovanni's Convocation address
Delivered April 17, 2007

Professor Nikki Giovanni speaks
at Convocation, April 17, 2007.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech Hokie Hope Day

In case you can't read the print below the picture, here is what it says:

Virginia Tech family members across the country have united to declare this Friday, April 20th, an "Orange and Maroon Effect" day to honor those killed in the tragic events on campus Monday, and to show support for Virginia Tech students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and friends. "Orange and Maroon Effect" was born several years ago as an invitation to Tech fans to wear orange and maroon to Virginia Tech athletic events. We invite everyone from all over the country to be a part of the Virginia Tech family this Friday, to wear orange and maroon to support the families of those who were lost, and to support the school and community we all love so much.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pray for Virginia Tech

Please pray for the students, faculty, and families at Virginia Tech. What a tragedy! My husband is an alumnus, and my SIL is a Junior Engineering major. Thankfully she is fine, but sadly there are many people tonight that cannot say that about their loved one.

Please also pray for the parents and family of the shooter. How awful it would be to find out your child was responsible for the death of 32 people.

Promised Easter Pictures

Last Saturday we had an Easter Egg hunt at our house. We had 21 kids plus adults. It was SO cold, but we all had fun. We sat out coffee and water for hot chocolate, so the adults were happy. Plenty of eggs, so the kids were happy. It was a beautiful day though with the sun shining, so I cannot complain. We could have been hunting eggs in the snow!

Beth and Friends (Beth in hat)

Going through the "goods" after the hunt

Little kids hunting in the front yard

Middle age kids hunting in the front woods

Older kids hunting in back woods

Neal in tan jacket and kids opening eggs

Coffee and Hot Chocolate -- at least we didn't
have to worry about the chocolate eggs melting!

Playing with Pictures

This Friday night, we're having a Single Mom's retreat for our group from church. Last night and this morning I worked on note pages to include in the ladies folders. Our theme is "Fill My Cup, Lord," and each of the four sessions has a "cup" title. I wanted a picture of some sort of cup at the top of each of my note pages. I found some cute cups online, but when I'd try to copy them they would either be blurry or blocked from copying. So, Beth and I decided to take our own pictures (or use some I already had). Here's what we came up with:

A Cup Full of Friendship

My Cup Runneth Over

A Cup Full of Beauty

A Cup Full of Laughter (my daughter on left)

I loved how these pictures turned out, and Beth and I had so much fun taking them. The one of her and her friend was taken last summer on our porch. I took some great shots of them, but I loved this one because it was so genuine. These are our giggly girls!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Checking In

I know I haven't gotten my Easter pictures up yet, but that will happen. I promise! They're still on my camera.

This week has been busy, busy. I started a handwriting job on Monday. My friend's kids were on spring break and we kept her daughter here Sunday through Wednesday and then traded for her son on Wednesday night and we returned him safe and almost sound to his mom tonight. :o) I'm getting ready for our Single Mom's retreat next week. We had school every day. And, of course, every other thing that has to be done on any given week.

Tomorrow I leave for West Virginia to get my Mom. She's been staying with my aunt in Indiana for the past two and a half weeks, and my brother is bringing her half way to my house. I'm glad my mom was able to stay with my aunt, but I'm so excited to get her back. Now if I could get my aunt to come too! :o)

This week something very exciting happened in our house. We got DSL!!! WooHoo! I can't believe the difference in the speed. It's unreal. Didn't know my computer was capable of moving that fast! And it's so nice to be online and not worry about whether or not someone's trying to get hold of me. Now if it's busy, it's because I'm on the phone!

Well, just wanted to check in and let you all know I didn't fall off the face of the earth. I've just been sitting in my living room writing and writing and writing!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Testing and Treats

As homeschoolers in the great state of Virginia, we have the pleasure of giving our children standardized tests each spring. Yahoo! (NOT) Actually there are a couple of other options we could pursue, but this seems to be the simplist for us. The test we give can be administered by the parent as long as the parent has a four year college degree. Since I do not have one, Neal takes two vacation days each year to give the kids their tests. So this years testing fell on Thursday and Friday of this week. The kids don't seem to mind taking the tests. I used to be a nervous wreck about it, but not any more. Every year they do fine, so I quit worrying. It didn't help them do any better anyway!

They finished with their testing around noon on Friday. While Neal did some things around the house, I took the kids ice skating. They each took a friend wiht them, and had a great time. Their Daddy told them that when they came back from ice skating that they were going to have a surprise. That drives them nuts! "What is it Mommy?" "Is it a good surprise or a bad surprise?" "Knowing Daddy it's probably work!" LOL

Neal was still working with the mulch when we got home, so they had a while to wait. They kept asking him about it and he finally told them that if they didn't stop asking that we wouldn't do anything for three weeks! That stopped them! :o) (I'm going to be doing a three week handwriting job starting on Monday and he knows there will not be much extra curricular stuff going on.)

So, about 6:30 we were finally ready to leave the house. First we stopped by Subway and got Beth a sub "to go." Then we drove on over to a Japanese restaurant and got supper for the rest of us. Hibachi Steak and Shrimp! Yumm!!! Ben likes the rice the best, so we get him a side order of fried rice and then he ate some of mine, as well. Oh, he also likes the fortune cookies. :o)

As we were leaving the restaurant we glanced down the road and saw fireworks. So we made a quick left and drove toward the baseball stadium to watch the show! We turned down a street nearby and parked the car and watched the beautiful display. It really was pretty. I guess it lasted about 10 minutes. The kids then thanked us for the great surprise! (like we planned that one!)

Who can top a fireworks display? We tried though by taking them bowling. They love to bowl, but it is so doggone expensive! It was $4.25 each plus the cost of shoes. We had a coupon so we each bowled one game free and then we bowled a second. After we had thrown a couple of balls they turned the lights out and it was glow in the dark bowling -- disco balls turning and throwing various colors over the lanes. Black lights shining on their glow in the dark paintings on the wall. It looked cool, and the kids loved it! Neal and I on the other hand, fuddy duddies that we are, were disappointed because we couldn't see to bowl. LOL It really did make it more difficult. We're bad enough as it is, we didn't need them to turn out the lights! My high game was 96. Pretty bad!

We had a blast though. It was fun to take the kids out and do something fun with them.

Speaking of fun, today was a fun day! BUT, I'll fill you in on that later. I'm worn out and must go to bed! We're going to the early service tomorrow and having company for Easter lunch. 6:00 is going to come mighty early!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Baseball and Allergies

Warm temperatures, tulips, daffodils, green grass, budding trees, POLLEN! My 9 year old son said to me yesterday "Mommy, if it wasn't for the pollen, Spring would be my favorite season!" This said as his nose is running, he's sniffling, and his eyes are red and puffy. He started dealing with spring allergies when he was three years old. Through the years we've tried many different medicines (prescribed and over the counter). Now we're down to an antihistamine, eye drops, nose spray and Benadryl at night. Poor fella. He and I counted blessings yesterday though, and he realized that he really doesn't have it so bad!

Last night Ben started playing baseball with a nearby church league. They had enough for six teams. He's playing coach pitch and he loves it! After a bad experience two years ago with our county baseball league, we were very happy to find this low-key, relaxed baseball team! They only meet once a week on Mondays from 6:00 to 7:30. They practice from 6 to 6:30, and from 6:30 to 7:30 they play a game. It's just enough for Ben to enjoy himself and get experience playing ball, and ideal for Mom and Dad since it's just one night a week!
Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."