Sunday, August 23, 2009

Seasons Change

Oh, how I wish this were a post about the weather! We could certainly use a change of seasons. We did have some rain Friday night. Praise God for that!

This post is one that has been on my mind for awhile. School is about to start for many, if it hasn't already. For some of you it means a new season in your life. Maybe your child is going to Kindergarten for the first time. Maybe your child just left for college. Maybe your kids are just going back to Middle School and you are secretly planning a "Hallelujah I get a few hours alone" party! LOL! For my niece-in-law it will be her first year to teach as a Mom. She'll be "mom" for several hours a day to a bunch of high school girls in dance class, but her REAL job will be waiting as soon as she gets home. Another friend just went back to the classroom after being out of it for several years.

Let me give you a quick look at my past so you will see why change is something that hits my heart. When I was growing up, before I'd even gone to Kindergarten, we moved several times. I attended 5 different elementary schools. Yes, 5. We stayed in one home during Junior High, but that was the time when my older brother died in a car accident, then the next year my oldest brother got married. Then in high school I went to 3 different schools. Needless to say, I experienced a LOT of change. I didn't like it. I hated moving. But I will say it prepared me for my adult life. Before having kids, we moved several times, including that one year in Africa. Since having kids, this is only our 3rd home. The first one they don't remember since they were so young.

For homeschoolers, there are changes, too, but usually different than those of public or privately schooled kids & their parents. We've been part of a homeschool co-op for the past six years. This will be our 7th year with this group, but it isn't the same group it has been for all these years. The first two years we met at one place. Some of us moved on to a different location, while others stayed behind. New families came to join us. Some families stayed while others moved on. After four years in the same location, the church who allowed us to rent their facility decided we are no longer part of their mission for the church, so the hunt was on for a new location. God has provided one on the far northwest side of town.

While we are very thankful for this place to meet, it also means changes. For some, the location is too far to drive. For others, the classes being offered just aren't what their kids need. There are also some who just need a different type of co-op that is more to their families' personality and learning styles. Let's face it, homeschoolers are a pretty determined bunch with a strong set of ideas. I mean, you don't just wake up one day and say, "I think I'll homeschool and use whatever curriculum my friend who is homeschooling uses." Generally, there is a lot of thought about WHY you are homeschooling. There is a LOT of attention paid to WHAT you will teach and HOW you will teach it. Even among Christian homeschoolers, or perhaps ESPECIALLY among Christian homeschoolers, parents generally are educating their children because they believe they know the best way and best material for their families. After all, that is WHY we homeschool. Needless to say, when you get a room full of these moms with different reasons and methods for homeschooling, you will have different ideas on how a co-op should work. That means, not everyone will be happy about every decision. It doesn't mean one mom is right and one is wrong, it just means we do things differnetly. Sometimes it means having to say good-bye to friends with whom we have shared the past several years. These are more like family members than just casual acquaintances. That's the hard part of homeschooling: saying goodbye.

For our family, there are changes even within this co-op. One of our kids loves going to co-op. She is actually going to get up early to ride with another family to be in all 4 hours of classes. She thrives on structure and social time. Our other child is the reason we were almost always late to co-op. She does not like going. She would prefer to stay home all day, unless the option is swimming or playing with a few friends. Since she is in middle school, the class offerings are more academic for her age. Her autistic mind cannot shift to taking spelling at co-op, or any other class where she would have "homework." The funny thing is she & I will spend the same amount of time at home doing spelling, but it is different somehow. She asks me to give her words to spell when we are driving in the car. It is her safe zone, I suppose. So, for this child, she and I are going only in the afternoon. She will help in one class I am co-teaching, then either help in the next class or take some art supplies and do her favorite thing: draw. She NEEDS the social interaction in that she needs practice interacting, so I am hoping to get to co-op in time for lunch so she can visit with friends. I'll need to make her eat on the way there so she finishes her food during the lunch time. Did I mention she does things in slow motion? LOL!

As I was thinking about these changes, a song came to mind that I first heard when I was in college. It's short and sweet. To all my friends, whether we are still in a season of spending time together, or whether the season has come for us to go different ways, this song is something I want to share with you.

Dear Friend by Degarmo & Key
Seasons changes days go by
People come and people go
Though our paths lead us apart
They will meet one day I know

For I owe you so much, dear friend
For all those tresured times
For you've made me a richer man
Having had you in my life

The only place online I found a recording of this is on this youtube video of a family saying goodbye to their dog:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Crafting with hubby

That title is hilarious. You see, my husband doesn't craft. He doesn't stamp, he doesn't sew, he doesn't even call stickers by their rightful name. The only time he's painted would have been to "trick out" a dirt bike WAY back in the old days. Anything resembling a sticker would be called a "decal." Tonight, though, I sat on the floor assembling cards while he sat on the couch with foam, scissors and glue. Oh, yes, one more thing: his motorcycle helmet! Bwahahahaha! He was trying to make it more cushioned or something. When I told him we had been crafting together, he said, and I quote, "Huh?" I repeated my words. He said, "This is NOT crafting." Oh, well, you take what you can get I guess!

I just thought this was a funny thing to share about my computer geeky, motorcycle riding, formerly airplane pilot husband, who does NOT craft. He doesn't cook either. In case you wondered. tee-hee!

Can I lend you a hand?

The girls (mine & friends) are eating hands. They were frozen overnight, so they are nice and crunchy. hee-hee! Yesterday they put Kool-aid into latex gloves (thoroughly washed brand new ones), then froze them overnight. They are eating hand-sicles today!

Still sucking their thumbs. LOL!

Gig 'em Aggies!

Monday, August 17, 2009

And the winner is....

This announcement makes me giggle because of this person's username:
The crown goes to Miss Iowa! I'll get this package mailed out to you this week and will look to see if I have an extra pair of bamboo tongs! Congrats!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

20th Anniversary & Blog Candy!

ETA: I will close the giveaway on 8/16.

20 years ago today Phillip Charles Garrison and Lori Anne Smith were wed in holy matrimony in San Antonio, Texas.

Wow, that sounds really formal! How about we got hitched 20 years ago & we're still hangin' in there! LOL! So much has happened in that time. We've had eleven places we called home, including 2 homes in Africa. We've brought two new lives into this world. We've lost all of our grandparents and one parent. We've seen many different jobs. We've learned how to live with autism, ADHD & celiac disease. We've lost faith at times, but have seen the Lord's faithfulness time and time again.

To celebrate our anniversary, I am putting BLOG CANDY on this blog and my Crafty Blog. Please be sure to visit that blog @ and leave a note. If you'd like a chance to win blog candy, just leave a comment here and tell me your best marriage advice. I know this isn't an original request but I do want to hear what you have to say!

What kind of "candy" does one give to celebrate a 20th anniversary? In my case, it's Pampered Chef "Candy!" First there is a set of measuring cups. In marriage things are never equal, but you try to measure up to your spouse's expectations. Next, an avocado peeler. It peels, but also takes the pit out. Sometimes we have to peel off layers of life to get to the good stuff underneath. And sometimes, truth is, life is just the pits! LOL! A Quikut Paring knife: marriage can keep you on the edge, but if you are really sharp, you can cut through any problems. Finally, towels to help you clean up the messes you might make, dry some tears, and absorb spills. They also help make things look pretty in the end.

I'll pick a random name in the next day or 2!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Prayer Request

As you know, my nephew & niece-in-law had a baby on July 21. Her grandpa came up to see the baby last weekend. On Saturday, he started having stomach pains. They took him to the hospital for observation, but sent him home the next day so he could go back to Houston & see his own doctor. Niece-in-law's mom, Caron, just posted that he had surgery last night on his stomach to repair a hernia, but they discovered that cancer is back in several places and are giving him 6 mos. to a year to live. What a roller coaster to have the thrill of a new grandchild one week & a few weeks later have your dad dying. Please keep the Hulett family in your prayers. Thanks.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sad News from Africa

We got some sad news today. We do not know the families involved, but this is the mission group we worked with in Nairobi. Last week (8/1) an AIM-Air (Africa Inland Mission air branch) plane crashed. They were on a photo tour of the city, not even a missionary type trip, right in Nairobi, and somehow hit power lines. The pilot died on the scene and we just got word that the other AIM-air person (a mechanic) in the plane died this week. He was in Nairobi National Hospital, but his wounds were so bad, they airlifted him to Johannesburg. His wife was getting ready to leave for Johannesburg when they got news that he had died. If you don't mind keeping the families of Ryan Williams and Frank Toews in your thoughts & prayers, I know the families could use those. This is the first time that AIM has ever lost anyone in a plane crash.

While we don't know the families, it tugs at our hearts. We were there doing the same thing. We were in the jungle in the middle of Africa (if you can find Lodja, Democratic Republic of Congo on a map, you will see it's nearly smack-dab in the center) and Phil flew a plane for six months all around that country. He flew with engine problems once. He flew over Kikwit, the village that had the outbreak of Ebola in 1995, right when the outbreak was making news. We had a snake in the house, army ants in our bungalow, and spiders bigger than anything I'd ever seen. We then lived in Nairobi for six months where "roads" are created out of sidewalks if the driver becomes impatient, and walking people have to run for their lives. We rode on a motorcycle through a city with more potholes than pavement. We were blessed with a new life inside of me but went through scares when she didn't seem to want to stay put. Through all of this God protected us, and we can only wonder at why He kept us safe and why these men were taken. That isn't ours to know. As a song says, "God is God and I am not." We can't know His ways, but we can trust that He does have a plan & purpose through all of this.

Thanks for joining us in praying for these families.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

38 Days???

As of yesterday we broke a record for the most number of days with 100 + temps in San Antonio in a year: 38. The previous record was the day before when we hit 37 days. August has just begun, which means that record will likely soar.

What that means to us:
  • No watering the lawn except by hand on certain days. Okay, so we don't water our lawn anyway. Our water bill is high enough without that.
  • It looks like fall: ALL the plant life has now turned color--various shades of brown!
  • We stay inside. It's too hot to play outside. The few times the girls have gone out to play have been to use the hose and play with water balloons. OH, and that one day when we got 5 drops of rain.
  • Our electric bill just hit a record high. Granted, our house size went from 1070 sq. ft. to 1700 sq. ft when we moved, so you'd expect a higher bill. Still seeing the actual bill was a bit startling. I'm wondering if they will take payments of Pampered Chef products or handcrafted items. At any rate, I am going to learn to sweat more inside the house & turn the air to a higher temp.
  • We don't go many places. The car gets hot & takes awhile to cool down. This is not a bad thing, as it prevents us from spending money if we stay home. Though today's venture should be okay: returning some things to the store to GET money, picking up a library book and only getting a few essential groceries.
  • We love Sonic from 2 to 4. They have 1/2 price drinks and if we are out during that time we can get a Cherry Limeade, or even a Grape Strawberry Vanilla rootbeer (not really, but Bethany does like to mix up her flavors). Who am I kidding? I like to go for the Rt. 44 Coke for 80 cents! Why does Coke taste better from Sonic?
If you've never heard me do my Wicked Witch of the West impression, just picture me saying these words, because they are true in this heat,"I'm MELLLLLLLTTTTIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNGGGGG!"

A few little pictures

Just a few pics from Bethany's 13th birthday shindig on Saturday. More details later. Not to worry about the hippy look. We've had discussions about that movement not being the role model types. Also, my girls might be tired of me saying when I hear "Peace Out" that we like "Peace In," the kind Jesus gives us! The rest of the story later, but for now here are some of our friends ranging from 5 to 15!

P.S. I actually was prepared to teach them a 70's dance but doggonit ran out of time. We talked a lot about how the 70's ran the gamet from hippies to the Hustle.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Are we done yet?

I THINK we are done celebrating Bethany's birthday. We have spent a few weeks preparing for the various celebrations for this passing of age into teenhood and this mama has had little sleep this past week. I just didn't sleep well and/or had things to do into the night and in the mornings. We had a grand time today and I will post pictures later. I crashed on my bed at 5. I remember talking to Phil for a few minutes, then putting on my CPAP mask. The next thing I knew it was 7:50! Oh, my!

I told Bethany she will have to have smaller celebrations for 14 & 15, but we'll do it big again at 16. Of course in 4 months we'll start all over with Natalie's birthday!

I've also been trying to get some aprons made to sell on Etsy. When I am done, I will put a link in my blog.

Look for pictures of today's party coming soon. It was groovy and far out.