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Monthly Archives: December 2011

The Last One of 2011

WOW! Another year has flown by. So many things have happened in our life this year. So incredibly blessed to be on this amazing journey. I can think of nothing better to celebrate 2011 than a review of the year with pictures.

A new wedding band to replace the one I lost. The chance to renew our vows. And it was all a surprise!!

A teenager…

Mardi Gras

Dinner on the Americana cargo ship with good friends

Big Sis playing basketball on the Hornets court then a Hornets game

St Patrick’s Day parade in the Irish channel. Throw me sum cabbage mister!

A graduation

The Bonne Carre Spillway opened to prevent flooding on the Mississippi River

Middle Sis going into the youth group

Fishing with Papa in FL

Youth Camp in Orange Beach, FL

Camp Garaway

Trip to Texas

Seeing a long-lost bestie

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a based in Jackson, Mississippi, at the time of the civil rights movement. Each character comes to life as they tell the stories that only someone living in the South during this dramatic time can.

Skeeter just graduated from Ole’ Miss and desires to be a journalist. She has gone against everything her mother and her friends stand for. She isn’t married at the age of twenty-three. AND she wants a job.

Abileen has been a maid for many years and has raised many white children in addition to one of her own. She has seen her share of difficult times. Her wisdom and caring shine throughout the book.

Abileen’s friend, Minny, is also a maid and a wonderful cook. However, she has trouble keeping a job because of her sassiness.

Each of these women tell their own personal story about white Southern women and the colored woman who take care of their homes. At times the book is laugh out loud funny. At other times I found myself with tears running down my face. I loved the characters and loved the story. It brings a new perspective to Southern life in the 1960’s.

Now I can’t wait to see the movie!!

a life of gratitude (256-280)

So many wonderful blessings this time of year.  Such a joy to spend time counting my 1000 gifts!

256. Meeting the newest addition to our family

257. The joy of watching my brother as a new father

258. New cowboy boots for Lil Sis. She has been wanting some “forever”

259. Sleeping in my king size bed (that the Man won’t move to NOLA)

260. Visiting friends that I worked with in GA.

261. Spending time with great friends we don’t talk to or see very often but always know that they are there.

262. Lil Sis getting jealous when I get “under the chin kisses” from other babies. She knows that she will always be my baby :)

263. Nature walks on rainy days

264. Family gathered around the dinner table together and sharing all the same childhood stories that they share everytime we are together.

265. The stewed tomato saga

266. Cousins playing together

268. The “You might be a Redneck if….” book that had the Man laughing out loud.

269. More time with the newest addition

270. Safe trip home

271. Christmas eve with our international friends – new and old

272. An email address and possible contact with others on one of the cruise ships

273. Playing Santa to our international friends – we might have given them the only Christmas present they will get this year.

274. Spending Christmas eve watching The Nativity Story – our newest family tradition

275. The birth of our Savior  And she  gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”  Luke 2:7

276. Mary who willing gave birth to the Christ child despite the hardships that she would have to face   “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been [The first stage of marriage in Jewish culture, usually lasting for a year before the wedding night, more legal than an engagement] betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18

277. Joseph who chose to raise Jesus as his own child. “But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20

278. Observing the Lord’s Supper and having teachable moments with the girls

279. Christmas day spent with friends. It is hard to be away from family, but we are blessed with incredible friends who open their homes and their hearts.

280. Placing the last ornament on our Jesse Tree.

A Beautiful Message

So blessed and thankful this holiday season!

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the  government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Take time to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

a life of gratitude (245-255)

 Blessing abound! Hearts are opened! Ready to receive the most fabulous gift – the coming of a baby whose life and death would change the world.

245. His blessed assurance

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my SaviorLuke 1:46-47


 246. Christmas music

247. Great Christmas memories – so many that are etched in our heart.

248. Fall semester finished strong!

249. How I grow through parenting and all the each girl teaches me

250. Anticipation of a road trip to Georgia and family

251. His Provisions that are always right on time

252. Goodbyes to dear friends who are moving to the next phase of their journey

253. Safe travels

254. Kids that are GREAT travelers

255. Past Christmas memories with family that is no longer here (but live on in our hearts)!

December Nature Study in flip-flops :)

“Can we do another nature study this week in science lab?” This is the question that I got asked by three different kids this week. So guess what we did! We went on a nature walk. While I tried to figure out exactly how to do a “preparing for winter” nature walk, the kids had no problems observing all kinds of fun things.

We discussed the obvious weather issues. It isn’t suppose to be 71 degrees and humid in December. Nor should we be wearing shorts and flip-flops! However, it was! And we were! And everything was wonderful

We took off with binoculars, science lab journals, and a camera. The first thing we spotted was the blue jay. He was flying around the oak trees and finally landed long enough to snap a quick picture.

We think that this little fellow is a barn swallow but are not 100% sure.

We went from observing the tops of the trees to finding words to describe the base of the trees. This one looks like “a big animal claw.”

The girls noticed the ant hill at the base of the tree. And the boys wanted to poke it with a stick. The ants swarmed and provided enough oohs and aahs  that several other kids (not in science lab) came and joined us :)Since the first ant hill was so much fun, these two went searching for more. see, we really are in shorts and…. okay, no flip-flops…. they are barefooted! I had on flip-flops.

Earlier during the day, I had noticed hundreds of moths flying around several of the big trees. I intentionally headed us in that direction to see what we would find. Hundreds…and I mean hundreds…of buck moths. Everywhere! Everyone caught at least one and examined it closely. I overheard one girl state “These are actually kind of cute. Too bad the caterpillars are so hateful. It doesn’t matter how cute the boy is. If he is hateful, he is out of here!” And she let the buck moth go. To the best of my knowledge, no buck moth was harmed in this adventure.

Well the co-op is finished until after the new year. The kids have enjoyed the nature studies so much that I think we will continue to have them once a month. Any advice on how to direct 19 kids on a nature walk would be helpful. I want them to be able to explore and come up with their own learning opportunities, but I also feel like I need to give them some guidelines and directions.

Journey on! Get outside and enjoy all of God’s amazing creations!!

Check out Barb at The Handbook of Nature Study for lots of great ideas!

Christmas Wrap-Up!

In my life this week…

It is hard to believe that Christmas is here. It is 71 degrees and extremely humid today. Last night we went to our homeschool Christmas party in short sleeves and flip-flops. We have been busy making and wrapping Christmas presents as well as attempting to finish our studies of 2011 strong.  Despite the weather, we are ready to slow down and spend some time relaxing with family.

We also celebrated the Man’s birthday! He is the peanut butter to my jelly….the sweet to my sour….the chocolate to my milk!  So thankful to be traveling on this amazing journey with him.

In our homeschool this week…

Although this week hasn’t been as crazy as last week, it has been very busy. Ready for a much needed break.

Monday – I worked at the hospital so it was another independent study day.  The Man prepared for finals. And the girls stayed out of his way :)

I did get off work an hour early so that I could get to Middle Sis and Little Sis’ Christmas drama performances. Each of the dramas were written by the kids in the group. They all did such a great job dramatizing the true meaning of Christmas. Drama – finished strong!

Tuesday – Tuesday was a very laid back and relaxing day. I’m not really sure how that happened, but I am grateful for it.  Everyone got up, got to work, and finished their schooling without any prompting.

Wednesday – Great co-op day! Big Sis and Middle Sis had Latin and were so excited that one of the homeschool dads taught the class.  Finished Latin strong!

We had a Christmas party with the Public Speaking class and combined the big kids and the little kids. The older kids did dramatic interpretations of well-known children’s stories or Bible verses.  The little kids did current event speeches. I continue to be so impressed with the homeschool moms that are willing to teach these classes to our kids. And impressed with our kids that are learning so much. Finished Public Speaking strong!

Of course, we had science lab. Last week, we almost froze during our nature walk. This week we were in shorts and flip-flops. Earlier in the day I had noticed hundreds of moths flying around some of the oak trees. So we went to investigate. Hundreds of buck moths everywhere!! Relaxed nature study = lots of learning for the kids and the teacher/mom :)  Science lab – strong finish!

Thursday – We had a few small melt downs. Trying to complete assignments and do some testing.  Everyone did great, but there was some whining involved. The girls presented their historical person reports today. All of them did really great.

Big Sis had a flute recital. She is so hard on herself and says that she messed up too many times. I think she did amazing!! We had a small band that she participated with last year, but she has only been having private lessons since September. She did two pieces. Here is a little jazz version of Amazing Grace!

After the recital, we got to go behind the scenes and see the pipes of the pipe organ. So amazing. I think we might have to have a small music appreciation unit study and learn more about the pipe organ.

We also had our homeschool Christmas party which was sponsored by a wonderful friend of the seminary. The couple donated all the food, a year-long family pass to City Park, a visit to Celebration in the Oaks, ice skating, and a ticket to one ride at the park. So blessed!!

Twas’ the Night Before Cajun Christmas – Papa Noel and his ‘gators :)

Friday – Finished Strong! Everyone finished their assignments and took any tests that they had scheduled. Then we finished the year with lunch at Chick-fil-a! Gotta love the flexibility!!

I’m inspired by….

Family devotions and Bible reading that are becoming a habit.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

Head to Georgia to spend some time with family and friends.

I’m grateful for…

The many blessing that the Lord has provided for us this holiday season. So very grateful…

The Man who is the center of this crazy family. The co-worker who came in to work an hour early so that I could get to the drama performance. A wonderful drama teacher who lets the kids explore their talents. Great homeschool moms that teach our co-op classes. A great couple who are musically talented and willing to invest time in our girls. The amazing couple who sponsored our Christmas party.

I’m praying for…

I am continuously praying for our sweet friends who are leaving NOLA and headed to serve and love the peoples of South Asia. Such an amazing couple who have impacted the lives of so many people! Journey on dear friends!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Purnima was 13 years old in 1993 when she was taken with more than 30 other Christians to the police station at a town in Bhutan. Bhutan is a Buddhist country. “Who gave you permission to celebrate Christmas?” an officer asked her. “This is Bhutan. You are not allowed to celebrate Christmas here! This is your last chance. Either return to Buddhism, or leave Bhutan.”  “I will not deny Christ,” Purnima answered. “I do not wish to leave my country, and I will not leave Christ. He is the only one who can save me, or you.”  Read the rest of Purnima’s story and find out more about Kids of Courage and Voice of the Martyrs

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The Homeschool Mother's Journal

a life of gratitude (219-244)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

We wait patiently for the day. Anticipating His birth in a manger. Knowing that His birth will lead to His death – our salvation! Counting all the many, many blessings that He has given….

219. the first choir performance of the year

220. Little Sis getting to sing with the “big” choir

221. A church hosting our children for their choir performance

222. Hymns in Chinese and English

223. Exposure to “multicultural” worship – a glimpse of heaven

224. Middle Sis excited about people commenting on her blog – Made 4 His Glory

225. A good night sleep to prepare for a 12-hour shift

226.  Anticipation of a busy, crazy week.

227. The Man making pancakes for breakfast – and cleaning up

228.Voices of several choirs uplifted to give Him glory

229. A dramatic chapel service that punctured my soul and caused my heart to overflow

230. Sweet friends who send me gluesticks when I beg on Facebook :)

231. Nature study on a cold, windy day

232. Numb fingers and toes after the nature walk.

233. Another great choir performance

234. New international friends

235. Sharing the joy of Christmas with those who might have never heard the Christmas story.

236. Silly math games that encourage her to work hard to understand

237. Great mission teams from out-of-town who show the love of Jesus to our international friends

238. Christmas dinner with great friends

239. The opportunity for the girls to share their music at a nursing home

240. A broken down ministry bus that caused me to drive one of the vans to help bring seafarers to the center and the opportunity to explain “why” to a new friend from Trinidad

241. A beautiful new sanctuary to worship in.

242. Generations of believers gathered in the church to dedicate the new sanctuary to His glory.

243. Silly life group friends who share their troubles and their silliness with each other.

244. Silly gag gifts that have all five of us laughing all the way home.

A busy, messy week…..

In my life this week…

It has been a busy, crazy, messy week!!! Busy and crazy because of three choir performances, two drama dress rehearsals, a piano and violin recital, a Christmas dinner, and a going away party. WOW!!! All of this on top of all the other homeschool, work, and family things that we do every week. Thankful for all the opportunities! Messy because the weather this week has been messy. Rainy, cold, and windy!

In our homeschool this week…

Our adventures actually started Sunday night with a choir performance at a Chinese church. The children did a great job. I love the multicultural lessons.  The hymnals were in Chinese and English.

Monday – Independent study day! I worked at the hospital so the girls and the Man did school work together.

I did find some great math videos from Math Vids to help Big Sis. She really finds that the ones from YourMathGal are helpful. She is working on integers now so I am having to re-learn as I go. I am finding the videos helpful also :)

Tuesday – We have misplaced our “Drive Thru History” DVD which really upsets me. I am praying that we find it to supplement the little bit of history that we actually accomplish each week. We really enjoyed the first (and only) section that we watched and were looking forward to continuing it.  I went searching for some fun things to make it more interesting for all of us.  I found a fun, short video called American History: Growth of a Nation. We watched it and started our own American History timeline.  In addition, each of the girls is working on a historical person report. The only instructions given were that the person had to be from the time period were we discussing.  Big Sis is researching Phillis Wheatley. Middle Sis is working on information on Alexander Hamilton. And Little Sis is studying Pocahontas. It should be interesting to see what they come up with.

The girls had their second choir performance of the week on Tuesday night. All the seminary groups sang. It was a great night for worship through music.  Rachel van Voohrees, the principal harpist of the Louisiana Philharmonic, was a special guest. Beautiful music!

Wednesday – Writing, Latin, and Science Lab for the older two girls.  Lil Sis and I had a language arts, math, and history date.  Science lab continued with our nature study. The kids researched whatever nature object that they choose and brought ten fun facts to lab.  We learned lots of interesting things.  Did you know that pinecones are male or female? And that the largest pine cone is about 24 inches long.  If you are reading this and live in an area with pinecones that large, we would love for you to send us one :)

The rain stopped several hours before our science lab. But it brought the cold with it.  It was 40 degrees while we were traipsing around outside.  It was beautiful – but oh so cold!!

Thursday – The third and final choir performance of the season was Thursday.  Christmas in the  Atrium is an annual event that the kids love.  I don’t know it they enjoy with singing or the free drinks from the President (of the seminary, not the US :) ). Either way it was a great time!

I also found a silly little game for Big Sis to play to help with learning integers. She had to play until the guy walked off the plank.  Click here to see the game. She even ASKED to play one day. Of course, it was to avoid doing the next lesson. However, I had already planned to work on the adding and subtracting integers one more day – so I will chalk it us as a WIN!!!!

Thursday evening was spent down at Global Maritime Ministries (or see our facebook page at Global facebook page). The girls got to interact with seafarers from Sri Lanka and Poland. We even got a history/geography lesson. I love when we do missions together as a family!

Friday –

Middle Sis continues to work on her artistic abilities. She has found some videos online that are teaching her to draw different things.

Friday evening concluded with a piano/violin recital at a local nursing home and the Christmas dinner with the staff from Global Maritime.


I am inspired by…

Our Jesse Tree Advent devotion time. See Ann at A Holy Experience to get a free Advent devotion. You will not be disappointed.

My favorite thing this week was and I am grateful for…

All the musical gifted people who are willing to invest in my children. Since I have no musical talent, the girls are so beyond my ability. I am thankful for all those that are willing to teach – choir, piano, violin, flute, guitar…….

What’s working/not working for us…

Slowing down with Big Sis’ math and not worrying about deadlines that do not exist.

I’m reading…

I am re-reading Jesus Freaks: Stories of those who stood for Jesus. Middle Sis is reading it also and sharing stories. I read the book years ago but am re-reading it to help with her story telling.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Linked in with….

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

a life of gratitude (197-218)

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”   Matthew 7:11

197. Girls at home after 3000 miles of travel and 11 states.

198. Christmas decorations

199. Cold weather in NOLA

200. Work calling with extra hours teaching new nurses

201. Hearing from an old cruise ship friend who transferred to ship that doesn’t come to NOLA-he will be in town for a few weeks.

202. Another dinner with Pop before he travels home.

203. Artistic endeavors of Middle Sis found on my pillow at bedtime

204. Piles of cloths needing to be folded and put away.

205. Our little Charlie Brown Christmas tree

206. Putting the first ornaments on our Jesse tree

207. Kids enjoying our nature study – go here to see the blog post about our co-op nature study

208. Excitement in discovering the amazing things that God has created

209. Learning about the Buck Moth

210. Silly Boys – barefoot in December and climbing trees.

211. A quiet day at work

212. An “exceeds expectations” evaluation at work

213. Big Sis cooking dinner

214. Ibuprofen for headaches

215. Children with more musical talent than I have

216. Great music teachers who are willing to invest in our children

217. Opportunities to serve others through music

218. Girls’ movie night

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