Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Blast From the Past

Here are my darling four girls about fourteen years ago! I think Hope is 1 1/2, Kezzi 3 1/2, Priscilla 5, and Candace 6 in this picture. Somebody loaded this onto the computer and I just had to post it here.

My only solace is that someday maybe I'll get some little granddaughters that resemble their mamas.

Texas Supreme Court Rules Against CPS

Here's a link to the Grits For Breakfast blog post, where you'll find plenty of links of the news coverage. Hopefully, those kids will be home with their mothers soon. And hopefully, CPS has learned a big lesson. This is still AMERICA where we have laws about such things.

Strawberry Muffins

Yesterday we drove to a strawberry farm and bought 5 flats of strawberries. Six quarts went next door to my sister and the rest we processed in the food processor and put into freezer bags. Some went into quart size bags with 2 c. in each for the recipe below doubled. Others went into gallon size with 5 c. for jam making later. We did freeze some whole and I made two batches of jam, which we immediately enjoyed on whole wheat (white wheat) pancakes with turkey sausage last night, along with some sliced and mixed with some sugar. Even Grandma and Grandpa couldn't resist a last minute dinner invitation.

This is our time tested favorite recipe for Fresh Strawberry Muffins:

1 c. fresh strawberries
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

Crush the berries before measuring. Combine strawberries, sugar, butter and eggs in a large bowl and mix together. Add dry ingredients and mix. Grease muffin cups. Fill 10 cups with dough and bake 350 for 16- 18 min.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What's Going On...

The garden has been consuming most of my time these last couple of weeks. Both the vegetable garden and the formal garden. The vegetable garden is all planted: tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, onions, peppers, okra, green beans, sweet potatoes, lettuces and some herbs.

We also built some raised beds and planted 50 strawberry plants.

The formal garden is taking shape (pictures to come soon, hopefully) Ford is working on painting and installing the white picket fence. I've been working on planting and mulching. The latest addition was 9 hydrangeas and a couple of Arborvitaes. I also planted a holly hedge in the yard. I'm all enthusiastic and a great outdoor worker in May but when the heat arrives, I'm an indoor gal, let me tell you. I don't like HOT. That's why everything gets a heavy dose of mulch because even those nasty looking weeds are not enough to lure me out of doors.

We are also in the midst of planning some trips. Priscilla and Kezzi will be taking their first road trip to Missouri soon while we take our annual trip to the beach. Having them grow up is bittersweet. It's fun watching them take off and experience life but I miss them being with us all the time. However, sometimes it is nice to "only" have four kids with us and I look forward to time with them on vacation.

Church activities are going well. We still LOVE our church and we all think we have the best pastor in the world. Some regular events are over for the summer, and that is a bit of a welcome break, especially since gas prices are so high. We've also been having a lot of fun with new friends who have a home church and often we go to eat together and hang out after our church is over. What a fun bunch of people! I love sitting around the table listening (and participating too) to one topic after another be served up and devoured with such lively discussion. Everything from the FLDS situation in Texas to growing apples to the Civil War. It's been a little bit of a different experience to be around a bunch of Yankee homeschoolers here in Tennessee who are every bit as passionate about the Civil War as many southerners I know, but from the northern perspective. I know it's not everyone's idea of a good time, but spirited debate is how I spell F-U-N!

I've finished the first week in my Precepts Ministries Hebrews study and I'm LOVING it! I look forward to it every day. I'm hoping to finish it this summer and start on the Covenant study this fall.

For some reason I've really been feeling the tragedy of the accident that killed Steven Curtis Chapmans little girl. Not only are they fellow Tennesseans, but he has always been a favorite of Kezzi's. I just can't help having them on my mind. I've been praying for them quite a bit. Especially their son who was driving the SUV when he hit her. Maybe it's affecting me this way because of losing my 4yo nephew in a car accident almost twelve years ago. I remember the grief all too well and the questioning of spiritual issues that comes along with it.

This weekend, we had a nice visit from Candace and Michael. They worked a lot at Ford's shop on a sign for their church but managed to squeeze in three trips to the Bluffs with all of the kids except Annalise. Once again we didn't fit in getting a picture of all of the kids together. Maybe next time. We also had our good friend Tristin for the weekend and that's always a treat.

Tomorrow is the beginning of our last week of school. After some lessons we'll do a good housecleaning and then head over for a BBQ over at Grandma and Grandpas in the evening. Yeah Summer!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Our Summer Routine

After this next week, we will be gliding into the summer routine. The best part is being able to sleep in when we want to! We always hold to some kind of routine because the kids seem to appreciate their free time when they don't have too much of it. And I don't like to spend the beginning of the new school year reviewing too much. I do drop all of this for a trip to the lake or something else that might come up.

My plan for our summer schedule is this:

Morning Quiet time - individual Bible reading and prayer

Kezzi, Hope and I are each doing the Precepts Ministries Heberews study. I bought Luke a copy of The One Year Book of Josh McDowell's Youth Devotions: A Daily Adventure in Making the Right Choices. I'm anxious to see how he'll like it. Abel and Annalise are still working through their Bible story readers with the Rod & Staff readers, although Abel did buy a new Bible at church today and I'm sure he'll want to read directly from that too.

Morning Worship & Family Read Aloud

I am hoping to have Kezzi and Hope learn enough worship songs on the piano and guitar to lead us in some singing and I'm going to print songbooks so we can all sing along. For our Read Aloud time, I have a list of books that I want to read to the kids this summer. We are working on Swiss Family Robinson right now. Here's some others I hope to get to:

Tree of Freedom

Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold

Rip Van Winkle

Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Robinson Crusoe

2 books left in the Narnia series...The Silver Chair and The Last Battle

finish the Ralph Moody series

The Railway Children

The Secret Garden

Table Time -

Hope still has math and science to do every day until she finishes her books.

Luke and Abel are going to practice typing and do a short drawing exercise. And Luke has to finish up some pages in his math workbook.


Many days will be filled with free time here but we will have gardening and canning to keep up with, along with occasional yard work and housecleaning.

After Lunch - Personal Reading of choice

This will be short rest when each person can read whatever they choose.

More FREE TIME before dinner.

One day a week the boys will have more school type stuff . They requested that we do this all in one day so the rest of the days were more free.

Dictation & Spelling rules, Math review (Life of Fred books) and Botany will be the once a week subjects. We will probably also include occasional other nature study besides our botany course.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Annalise's Latest Obsession

This little volume of poetry is what Annalise has been reading and listening to most every spare minute. It has a CD that comes with it that contains some of the poems in this book. She adores this book. She is the kind of child that would definitely do great with the "unschooling" method of education. All I have to do is give her access to good materials and she's off learning all on her own. She frequently tracks me down to tell me about something she's read (Mom, did you know Andrew Johnson didn't learn to read until he was 14?!), read something to me or in this case recite parts of poems that she likes. As I was writing this she brought me the book and read a poem to me and told me she was going to copy it.

I think she is unschooling me.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Update on Lily

5-14-08 - Swing on over to Lily's family blog and see some pictures along with my sister's thanks for all who prayed and helped. We had a great time in Gatlinburg this last weekend and Lily only had 1 short seizure the whole weekend! It was wonderful to see her enjoy hiking and swimming in the resort's pool.

***The Latest on 5-8-08 9pm. ~ Lily is on her way home! Apparently she hasn't had a seizure since 11:30 today, so they are sending her home.

I emailed friends and family yesterday to ask for prayer as we took my niece, Lily, to the Children's Hospital. As many of you already know, Lily has a seizure disorder, which is mostly kept under control with medication. Some of you may remember when we told you about Lily's website, put together by a generous friend.

There have been times in her life, such as two years ago, when the seizures are too numerous to deal with at home. This happened again yesterday. After a viral illness that we all had, Lily had an increase in seizures. Finally it got to the point where she needed some extra medication and oversight at the hospital.

So my mother and I accompanied my sister and Lily to the hospital yesterday. We arrived around 1:30pm. The funny thing was that Lily was in rare form on the way up there. She was constantly cracking jokes and obviously very alert and attentive to many details. One nice thing about her getting older is that she can call for help when she needs it. When we were loading up the car, she began having one and said, "Uh Oh, Aunt Lisa!" So I was able to get to her and hold her, preventing her from falling over. The down side is she shows more fear and frustration with her condition than she used to and she asks more questions about it now.

We sat in the emergency room for hours when Lori told us they were about to take them to a room so we should go on home. She wanted to snuggle in with Lily and get some sleep. We left at 6pm, expecting they were going to be taken up any minute. They were finally in a regular room and had an IV with the needed medication started at 9pm! Of course, you have to allow room for other urgent emergencies when you go to the hospital but almost eight hours seems a bit much.

The good news is that the seizures are decreasing and they had a pretty good night's sleep and they've been napping a lot today. Lori said the medication is making Lily groggy and a little unstable on her feet, but it is doing the intended work of getting the seizures under control. We don't know yet when they will be coming back home. Possibly tonight or tomorrow. I think the plan is to send her home with the extra medication and she will be kept on that for the next month.

I will update here in order to cut down on separate emails. Thanks for everyone's prayers and other help! To those of you who have called or emailed offers of help, I will let you know if a need arises. And I won't be shy because I'm not asking for myself.

Girls and Women Together

I wrote about our ladies small group's decision to start including our daughters here in this post. There were only three of us there that night when we discussed this issue. Due to a lot of different interruptions we had not met a lot since then. Last night was our first meeting in a few weeks, and boy was I surprised to count NINETEEN women/girls there! There were ten women and nine girls (mostly middle school aged).

And better yet was the fact that several of the girls talked quite a bit and quite openly!!! They shared about school experiences and asked questions about what they should do. My heart leaped for joy at the thought of building these relationships now that very well might help them through even rougher years ahead in high school and beyond. Many of us older women marveled as they filed out to go jump on the trampoline after the meeting. Some remarked that they would have never talked so freely at that age in a group of adults.

I'm really thankful that this has not been labeled a mother/daughter group because I SO treasure the women there who do not have daugthers to bring. We were trying to take down the barriers, not create others. And I'm so thankful for the variety of women there.

Can I do a little victory dance here?? I can't wait to see the fruit of this in the time to come!

Monday, May 05, 2008

What's Ripe at Shadybrook Acres?

This is the first time we have grown salad greens that are not bitter. Every day we are enjoying fabulous salads. I've ordered lots of different kind of lettuce seeds and we are going to experiment with a row cover to try and keep us in fresh greens all summer. Our first head of broccoli this season! And our first batch of strawberries.

We continue to have a bounty of eggs.

Ripe eggs turn into chicks! Well, ok, maybe ripe is not the right word but I had to include our 7 new chicks. It was great fun when Luke came in the first morning with a new chick. Then soon after, 0n another morning, he was bringing a new one in every 20 minutes or so. Luke had them outside for a "walk" today when I took this picture. We've been raising them in a box in the school room but soon they will be placed in their new outdoor pen.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Prayers Needed for TN Homeschoolers

The following resolution was sent out by one of our local homeschooling leaders. The situation here in Tennesse is very concerning. If they succeed in making the diplomas of our highschool students invalid, it will be a huge slide backward for freedom in Tennessee.

Whenever we face possible changes in the law that would make what we do illegal, I face the following choices: go to jail OR move to another state. Because complying with their wishes is just not an option. I am constantly reminded of those who have gone before us who were willing to sacrifice in order to fight for freedom. If we compromise when we shouldn't, we dishonor their lives.

In this case, I guess my kids would just have to find a way to do without a diploma. Or I suppose they could take a GED test.

I will be praying but I will not be afraid. I still believe God is God. I'm very thankful that he has placed our representative, who is a dedicated homeschooling father, in the state government at just the right time. I believe God has been preparing a people to be in the right place at the right time. And I'm sure this is just the beginning.


Written in the form of a resolution:

This is a call to prayer and fasting with regard to our efforts to pass HB 1652 and bring relief from the invalidation of Cat. IV diplomas.

Please pass it along as God leads.

Humble yourselves beforeThe Lord God Almighty
With prayer and fasting

WHEREAS, departments of Tennessee's government have voided diplomas awarded by legally operated Category IV high schools, and

WHEREAS, all remedies to this miscarriage of justice have been fully pursued with meetings held and reasonable resolution sought, but without effect, leaving changing the laws of the State of Tennesseeas the only remedy, and

WHEREAS, Representative Mike Bell has been given HB1652 which is perfectly suitable for correcting this injustice, and

WHEREAS, young Tennesseans with Category IV high school diplomas continue to step forward describing the loss of career, loss of profession, and being fired from their jobs, even though some of them have been awarded degrees from post high school educational institutions and even though their high school diplomas have been acceptable for serving in the United States Navy, the United States Marines and attending post high school educational institutions, and

WHEREAS, the Tennessee Department of Education has described Category IV high school diplomas as "Not worth the paper they are written on", and

WHEREAS, God has mercifully granted to us, even at this late hour in the 105th General Assembly, the opportunity to correct this injustice, and

WHEREAS, students, parents, grandparents, and friends who have been affected by this new policy of the Department of Education plan to contact their State Representative and ask them to support and to co sponsor the bill; they plan to come to Nashville on May 5, 2008 at 3:00 pm before the House of Representatives convenes to talk with their Representative, and

WHEREAS, the State Comptroller'sOffice issued a report analyzing "diploma mills"in Tennessee and found none existing, yet the Department of Education cites thefact that this report was prepared as if it had found diploma mills in the Category IV schools, and

WHEREAS, the Department of Education has determined to use this situation as a vehicle to take over the teacher requirements of the Category IV Church related schools and to increase the requirements for those parents who home school, and

WHEREAS, there is a God, who rules heaven and earth, and this all wise God has delegated to parents, particularly fathers, the responsibility to teach, to train, to prepare their children, and

WHEREAS, throughout recorded history civil governments have historically worked to terminate parents rights in the education of their children, and

WHEREAS, this Constitutional Republic was formed particularly for the purpose of promoting freedom of religion, so that the people so governed would be free in both their conscience and in their persons to enjoy a direct, intimate relationship with the Creator of all that is, the Lord Jesus Christ and to learn freely at His feet and from His Word,

THEREFORE, you are called this day to prepare yourselves to pray and to fast with gentle weeping and calling out in humility to our merciful God on Monday May 5, 2008 asking that our All Powerful God extend our freedom to educate our children away from the corrupting influence of those perverse, usurping men and women wishing to train our children to be dependent on the civil government rather than on God and implore your state representative that he or she work to insure that these Category IV high school diplomas be recognized by all Tennessee Departments as they are by the US Department of Defense and by colleges and universities all across our state and nation .