Monday, August 27, 2007

First Day of School 2007

Summer is over! Above pic is of DS doing his famous arm farts at the pool this weekend.
I absolutely LOVE the expression on his face.

Today we started back to school. Since my Literature Arts is being shipped today it will be another week before we go full time. Today we did Math and Handwriting (He wanted to when he was looking through it.) And looked at other materials we will be using this year. I wanted to ease into it so doing Math only this week will get us back in the flow without demanding too much of any of us.

The following are our traditional first day of school shots in front of the house.

My camera is dead so my mom came over to take them.

Here's to a great and blessed year!

Have You Ever...

Have you ever had a moment that as soon as it happens you know something life changing just happened?
Last night I went to the "We Are Chorale" concert reunion. My aunt had traveled home from Maryland to attend her High School Chorale Reunion. 9 years of chorale students reunited for 5 days to practice and reminisce. The end result a beautiful concert giving a taste from the past.
I have to say "Man, we missed out!" These people were raised in an age where prayer was still in school. Their songs were predominantly Judo-Christian. The majority of songs played last night would not even be considered these days. Oh, sure we may still have musicals and "Trouble" or "Soliloquy" could still be sung. Maybe.
Looking through the many faces, most now wearing glasses, I saw contributing members of society. This tight knit group of people had someone who believed in them and inspired them to be all that they could be. Some became professional musicians, another a chief of police, teachers and choir directors. It was apparent to me that this man leading them was a part of their success in life. I realized as well that this man, Oak, was a part of my musical heritage. He instilled a love of music in my aunts who often sang with me on car rides. While my mom was not directly under him in choir he impacted her too. Then there is my choir director from my church choir that I was in during high school. And a dear man who mentors at Visions leading others into the Lord's presence through worship. Each has played a part in my love for music and they each were under the direction and care of this man. It spoke to me about how we impact those around us effects far more than we can see.
The concert was beautiful. Truly talented people. A glimpse of what school was like in the 60's and early 70's. Before email and internet, a connection, community. A deep sense of faith in one another and in God. At the close of the concert I saw the vision's mentor and went up to talk to him. I asked if he was a part of this and the smile in his eyes spoke it all. When we made the connection of who he was and who I was it came down to he was one of my aunt's best friends in high school. We had no idea. At the realization of how huge God is he began to cry. This night spoke of his redemption. Healing the past, where poor choices put an end to some of his most important relationships. It was a taste of just how far he has come and the moment was beautiful. We prayed, we talked. I asked him when prayer left the schools and he shared with me. 1969. We talked about the effects as they were evident.
I guess I left there feeling a few different things. First of all, God is huge. He orchestrated this moment and it was beautiful to see the joy, the healing, the laughter of remembrance. It was a night I am sure none will ever forget. Secondly, that we all are important and we all effect one another more than we realize. I want to be an influence in my world that leads others to a sense of accomplishment, joy and a knowledge of my Savior. The ordinary does accomplish the extraordinary. Third, PRAYER MATTERS! In my home school I still have the right to incorporate prayer into our day. And pray we shall. And lastly that I want to keep singing as there is something miraculous in song.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thank You Lord!

Friday afternoon I got a call from my sister-in-law. "A tornado is heading toward Lansing." I turned on the TV and all the local channels had storm alerts. I saw the path of the storm and knew I was not wanting to stay in the house through the storm. It took less than a minute to have shoes on the kids and everyone loaded into our car. It was still calm, even partly sunny. I spoke a quick prayer, "Lord, protect our home." and headed for my parents a mile away. There we watched the weather rolling in and the weatherman project the storms path. On of the focal points was the school at the end of street. Our house was the projected path. While a tornado did touch down 10 miles away, they lost sight of the funnel. At the projected time the rain begin to pour. Technology these days! We kept watch out the window ready to break for the basement at any moment. 5-10 minutes later the storm was passed. It calmed. I waited a few more minutes and then headed for home to see if the tree next door had fallen. The winds had been high as was the rain strong. I rounded the corner of my street and it appeared the tree was still standing. Praise God! Yes indeed it is still standing. In the one mile stretch back home I only saw one tree branch down. Amazing. The streets were flooded but all was well. At least for my neighborhood.
Reports came in. Destruction. Houses with roofs gone. Barns collapsed. Power outages. Trees down. A mobile home overturned. Later my husband called, he had to drive through one of the destructed areas. In the evening we drove by to see. A half mile from our home, it looked like the tornado had hit. Trees completely uprooted. Car windows busted out. It was crazy. AND a half mile from my home. It was heading directly for us veered to the south AROUND MY HOME and then veered back north continuing on its path. THE LORD PROTECTED MY HOME!
If the tree standed through that storm I am fairly confident it will stand until Thursday when the tree company takes it down.
Thank you to all who prayed and THANK YOU LORD!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I Tell Ya What

This week has been stressful!
Family camp was nice spending time with fam and playing games. Although the weather was terrible. Crazy rain storms and the like.
Then the tree looming next door. Which is still standing by the way. Thanks for praying. We have been sleeping here, not my desire. Hubby wants to stay put so for now we are. The neighbor has tree removal scheduled for next week Thursday. Still praying it comes down safely with no damage to our home or property.
While considering home stuff we realized our insurance policy had been lapsed. Not intentionally by any means. When policies were transfered a while back the home was completely overlooked. DO NOT ASK ME HOW. All is well now and policy is current. Thank God we discovered this BEFORE we needed it.
Last night I was doing my two week lesson planning as I wanted to start school next week, at least the Literature portion of it. About 45 minutes into my planning I realized that the teachers edition is different from my student work text edition. As in WAY different. Unknowingly I had an edition 1 for teachers and edition 2 for text. So not going to work! I was amazed at how different they were. Stories were not even the same. Looking into it this morning I found that edition 1 was published in 1980. The likelihood of finding new student texts that match my teacher plans are slim. I found one on Ebay but it does not close until Sunday night and other people have already bid on it showing interest. I can not risk waiting until Sunday. I need these materials NOW. As in pronto. I asked my son if he prayed that school would not start next week and he confessed he did. So apparently God is listening to my son's prayers. Edition one has 165 lessons for reading, it looks like edition 3 (which we will probably end up with) has even more. I tell ya.
Oh Yeah ...AND I have been sneezing like crazy from allergies. This has not been a good week for me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Please Pray For My House

Hello All...
Please be in prayer for the safety of our home. This morning the neighbors tree was struck by lightning and remains standing. However the integrity of this huge tree is uncertain. Our house is directly in the line of fire as is our neighbors depending on how it comes down. The neighbor is not sure when it will be taken down. I have chosen to evacuate until further notice. I DO NOT FEEL SAFE staying in the house as our bedroom is directly under it. I will try and update but please PRAY!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Highlights of Ludington

So much so that nearly the whole month of August is devoted to it. Well, not the whole month but certainly most of it.
For 12 days the kids and I went to Ludington State Park with my parents and dear friend. I love it there. There is SOO MUCH to do. All within the confines of the park you can go out on the boat to Hamlin Lake, canoe, lazy river tube down the Au Sable River, hike, bike, geocache, climb sand dunes, play on the beaches of either Lake Michigan or Hamlin(Lake Michigan has waves/Hamlin is calm), climb a lighthouse, there is large variety of activities throughout the day led by park naturalist and voluteers. There is always something to do. That does not even touch the time back at camp lounging around reading or sitting around the camp fire.
So obviously this place is one of our favorites. It is also loved by many others which makes it esp. hard to get into during the summer months. Exactly six months in advance, usually in the first 5 minutes of the reservation center opening THE PLACE IS BOOKED. Thankfully we got in this summer. The kids have been here many times but during fall color change when the salmon are running. The last time we had made it up for the summer months was when DS was 4 months old. Since we made it during the summer this year the place was overflowing with kids. And God smiled on my dear ones as we were surrounded by them. We had 4 first grade boys with their younger sisters. Perfect playmates for my kiddos. The parents took turns supervising as they made their way around from site to site as a little pack. Those first few days it was hard to keep track of the boy as he wanted to be with his friends. I never had to look far, he was at one of the surrounding sites with one of his new pals. Since our site backed up to a sand dune and wooded area it made for a great place area for the kids. Giving me time to sit back and read while still being able to see what they were up to. I actually got through a trilogy on this trip. Woohoo!
The kids and I like to canoe so we brought ours along. On our first night there, the naturalist led a canoe tour through parts of Hamlin and Lost Lake. It was nice and informative. Ludington has an elaborate canoe trail for those wishing to explore the wetlands. While we did not do this with the naturalist we decided we would give it a try later in the week. On one calm morning we packed a picnic lunch and headed across Hamlin to a shelter to do a geocache that was nearby. We made our find, ate our picnic and chatted with some hikers who had hiked out to the shelter. Nice trip! Near the end of our stay we had another calm morning so the kids and I (including my niece who joined us) packed another picnic and headed out to explore the canoe trails. However, it is a ways out to the entrance and what started out calm, turned to wind and waves. Not too ferocious so we pressed on. We made it to the entrance of the canoe trail. My mom and Bob decided to fish near the end to watch for us to come out. We paddle along through overgrown lilypads and weed thick paths. Then we hit our first stump. The kids grow concerned and think we should go back. I maneuver around it and we press on. When we made it to our first portage we had our picnic lunch and picked blueberries. Pond to second portage was very nice. Pond to third portage was a bit stumpy but easy to get around. The pond to our last and final portage was more than the kids could bear. Following the arrows we found ourselves stuck. It was very mud and rather shallow. This alone had the kids concerned. When we came upon the two down limbs they lost it. "Were gonna die" "How will we get out of here?" "I don't like this." "I want my mom." "Let's go back." amidst tears. When I could not get over the limbs we turned back around to take an alternative path. I could now see Hamlin Lake ahead and knew we were nearly there. Yet my niece would not be calmed. She cried for the next 20 minutes as we worked our way through the VERY THICK lily pads. Finally we arrived to the last portage and the end of the trail. Or so we thought. It turns out there was an additional route and the END END was around the bend. Meaning my mom was out of sight. The kids played in the water and calmed down but it was obvious they wanted nothing more to do with the canoe. I decided to go around the bend to alert Mom and Bob that we there at the first exit. The depth of the water and the waves that were coming in made taking the kids not a great option. I opted for leaving them in a cove with the understanding that they stay put and look out for each other. I made may way to the point and could see their boat, I yelled back to the kids that I saw them and then made my way closer to them to get their attention. Finally they heard me and came to pick me up. Then we made our way to the kids. Who were crying again. Even though I had been gone a total of 15 minutes and less than 5 of it out of their sight. I loaded them into Bob's boat, rescued and we tied the canoe to trail behind. All the kids have absolutely NO desire to ever canoe the trail again.
The visitor center has well done displays explaining the local history and wild life. My favorite was the monarch display. When we first arrived they had over 20 caterpillars and many chrysalis. On our second trip DS was showing grandpa the display when he noticed that one of the caterpillars was morphing. For the next minute we watched in awe as it transformed from a caterpillar into its chrysalis. It was not like anything I expected. Here is what happened, somewhat sci-fi like. The head of the caterpillar split open to expose a green goo like substance. It then continued to shed it's skin as it did a swirling dance motion. Wiggling and squirming it made it's way completely out of it's skin until it was this green glob hanging. For the next hour it dried with a yellow band slowly making the gold drops that I love. It was so AMAZING! We made frequent trips back to the visitor center and watched as more chrysalis appeared. We had hoped to catch a butterfly emerging but never did time it right.
While away we attended another geocaching event. This one was a meet, eat and greet in a park in Grand Rapids. Making it a nice place to meet my sister to get my niece and nephew. We did some caches in the park, met some new cachers, saw some we have seen before, ate some good food and overall had a good time. Add this to the geocaches we found in the Ludington area and we are now up to 167 finds. I think we will have no problem making it to our goal of 200 finds for 2007. It will probably end up being more like 250+.
Now home with the laundry done, I think it's time we headed out to go camping again.
I will attempt to post pictures at the end of the month when we slow down enough to get it done.
Have a great week and get outdoors!