Friday, August 23, 2013

A New "Class" for our Homeschool

This week I "enrolled" my kids in a new "class" this fall. It is a bit of a combination Spanish immersion/ Hispanic culture/ PE/ nutrition/ people skills/ slave labor class. This year we are going to volunteer one morning a week (maybe more once we see if it will fit in our school schedule) at the food pantry that is run out of a church near us. On Thursday mornings they get in a big truck of food for the food pantry and they have volunteers come and help unload the truck and put the food where it needs to go for distribution on Fridays.

We went yesterday for the first time. I'm not sure that the kids really knew what they were getting themselves into. They are good at hauling boxes though and at some point in the day Caleb told me, "This is way easier than moving!" They have each mentioned achy parts of their bodies today though.

The volunteers are primarily Spanish speaking so that has caused me to start speaking Spanglish around the house remembering words and phrases that I learned back in high school. It has also motivated my kids to want to learn Spanish so we all set up accounts and have spent quite a bit of time on Duolingo today practicing some Spanish words that we can use next week.

I had been wanting to volunteer with the kids this year and I am excited to have this opportunity to serve walking distance from our home.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

14 Years

14 years ago today I married my best friend on a steamy day in Upstate NY. We were young and in love with big dreams of serving our big God.

We've had many adventures over the years, 4 kids, 5 vehicles, 18 adddresses in 9 zip codes, 2 seasons when we had no place to call home. We've walked through the loss of 2 parents and 3 grandparents, times of great joy and times of deep depression, many jobs, many rejection letters, 4 years of undergrad at 2 different colleges with 2 years helping family in between, 4 years of waiting to get into medical school, 4 years of medical school, and most recently a 1600 mile move from all that was familiar in NY to all that is not in TX where we now have 1.5 months of residency under our belts.

It has been a crazy ride and I'm so thankful to have been buckled in beside Glenn for all of it with our gracious, merciful, generous God at the controls. God has been our constant, a firm foundation holding us steady amid all the chaos and many changes He has orchestrated. He has been our peace, our rock, our joy, our provider, our refuge, our strength, our Savior, and so much more. We wouldn't have made it here without Him.

Thank You, God, for helping us through these last 14 years. It is only by Your grace that we are here today.

Thank you, Glenn, for loving me, helping me, putting up with me and walking beside me through thick and thin. Looking forward to many more adventures and many more years together loving each other and serving Jesus together, Lord willing. I look forward to welcoming you home from night call soon and celebrating with you after you wake up.

Happy 14 years, Glenn. I love you!

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The UnWired Challenge

I am joining in the UnWired Challenge that Sarah Mae is having on her site. It starts today. I know that I have allowed the internet to have too great of a hold on me. Being new here I have allowed it to fill social, emotional, community and time requirements that it should not. We are in the middle of our first week of school for the year and I think that this is a great time to address this stronghold in my life. I am supposed to be blogging about it a couple of times through the challenge so you will hear about this again. We are going to be without power for 4 hours this morning so I guess God and the City of Fort Worth both think I should unplug a bit more too.

Here are the challenge titles for each day:
Day 1: Stronger With a Friend
Day 2: Write Out Your Why
Day 3: Set Up Internet Controls
Day 4: 10-15 Years From Now
Day 5: Prepare for Time Offline
Day 6: An UnWired Day
Day 7: Don’t Judge
Day 8: Your Ideal Day
Day 9: Your Realistic Day
Day 10: Interview Your Kids
Day 11: Get Together with an “in-the-flesh” friend
Day 12: Goals & Priorities
Day 13: Set Realistic Perimeters For Your Babes
Day 14: Have Purpose

If you'd like to learn more or join me in the challenge you can check out Sarah Mae's blog posts about it here. Email me or leave a comment if you'd like to join me in this challenge. I am sure I am not the only one who struggles with balancing time online.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

A New Holiday Proposal: Armadillo Day

I'm petitioning for a new holiday. At least a new Texas holiday. I am a Texan after all. I have a Texas address, a Texas library card, Texas license plates on our van, as of last week a Texas driver's license, and I own a pair of cowboy boots. (The lady at the DPS told me I wouldn't officially be Texan until I owned a pair of cowboy boots. When I told my family they reminded me that I do own a pair that I got at Sierra Trading Post a couple years ago in the Bargain Barn. So I guess I am a Texan and the rest of my family is not. Yet.)

Sorry about that rant... Now on to the real reason for this post. This has been the first Texas summer for a most of us (Glenn has had one before when he spent a summer in Houston on a mission trip). It it hot in Texas in the summer. I know that this has been a mild summer as far as Texas is concerned with only 12 days reaching 100 degrees in July but it has still been hot.

In New York around late October/ early November you need to start psyching yourself up for winter. "It's going to be long and it's going to be cold. There may be days when 3 feet of snow fall and there may be months when the temperature never rises above 20. Stack the wood. Find your shovel. Get out the blankets, long underwear, hats, gloves, scarves, snow pants and warm socks. Make sure your heater works. Adjust your budget for winter utility bills. We can do this!"

I think we'll have to do the same here in Texas in late April/ early May: "It's going to be long and it's going to be hot. There may be nights the temperature never dips below 90 and months when it's over 100 every day. Drag out your fans (probably only people from NY do that). Make sure your a/c is working. Put up the darkening curtains. Locate the nearest places to go swimming and to buy ice cream. Put away your blankets and sweaters. Shave your head or buy a lot of hair ties. Adjust your budget for summer utility bills. We can do this!"

In the north there is a holiday to celebrate "This will not last forever! The end is in sight! Only 6 more weeks!" called Groundhog Day. It doesn't really matter if that little rodent sees his shadow or not. Either way it's 6 more weeks of winter or 6 weeks until spring. Hope glows for a day in February when all hope of seeing grass ever again is fading. There is a holiday that gives hope and proclaims "The end is near. You can make it." Rarely does the end actually happen on March 16, six weeks later. There are often deep snows and freezing weather for another 4-6 weeks beyond that but... the end is coming. Hope.

I propose that in the south we should have a comparable holiday. Why should northerners have all the fun? A day to give hope. "This will not last forever. You will be able to once again step outside without sweating. The end is in sight." I think it should be named after another obscure, illusive animal that exists in the area. A quick google search told me that some in Texas already celebrate Armadillo Day on February second but I propose that Armadillo Day be August 2: a day to bring hope to those of us unable to breathe, sweating it out in the south that there will be an (admittedly temporary as I've been warned by those who've lived here longer) end to the 100+ degree days and water restrictions. Just like in the north I know there will be nights when it doesn't dip below 90 and long stretches with highs over 100 after September 13th but it will a day to breathe hope into heat weary souls. "The end is coming. You can make it."
'Nine-banded armadillo' photo (c) 2013, Robert Nunnally - license:

So tomorrow we will be celebrating Armadillo Day as a family. If you'd like to join us here is a link to some fun facts about armadillos, an armadillo recipe, an armadillo crochet project, an armadillo paper craft and some armadillo coloring pages. NOTE: not much research has gone into finding these links. My apologies if there is anything inappropriate on them.

Happy Armadillo Day!