Monday, February 28, 2011

Pictures of My New Room

So here are pictures of my new school room. I took one from each corner of the room, so you get kind of a panoramic view. I also added several photos of details.

This was originally Richard's room. When we were planning his room he had this idea to paint the walls to look like we were under the sea. He said it would look more like you were underwater if the lower portion of the wall was painted the darker blue. I still love his idea. We also found this great mural from American Blinds and Wallpaper.

Here are three of the desks I bought. These were from various places. They line up nicely and they have been holding up very well. I am amazed at some of the craftsmanship that comes from long ago. These desks were made to last. The people who built them had the mindset that things shouldn't wear out.

One of the people I bought a desk from, also sold me two inkwells. One of them was actually used in the desks, and fits in the hole nicely. The other is just a pretty glass bottle.

We took the closet doors off. They were already flimsy and one of them kept coming off the track whenever it was opened. I'm not a closet door installer, and as much as I tried, I couldn't fix it. I'm considering taking off the door to the room. The last thing I need is Amelia locking herself in the room and making a giant mess of things.

Most of the toys are kept in this awesome storage unit. I bought it from a store that sells products to preschools. It has a lock on it, so if I don't want the kids getting out a bunch of toys I can lock it up.

I found this old cash register at a quilting store of all places. They found it somewhere and were using it as decor for a while. They sold it to me for about $20 when they were updating their decor. The kids love it.

The desk is an antique I found on Craigslist. I don't really like the looks of the computer, but as a homeschool mom, I know that living with history is one thing... running a modern school is a completely different thing.

I use the small filing cabinets to store all the necessary papers to show that we are actually doing school. I have one drawer for each child. Of course, right now I'm sharing a drawer with Amelia. She doesn't technically do school. Although she thinks she does.

From this corner you can see the giant antique desk I bought. I was using it for my china, but I was able to buy a different hutch. This really was intended to be used as an office piece and didn't have the little groove in the back of the shelves for plate display. The new china hutch has the plate grooves. There is enough room here to hold all of our school books, art supplies, math manipulatives, flashcards, and everything else that I have to keep on hand for school.

The center drawer pulls out and folds down to be used as an actual desk. Eventually I would like to use it as a desk, but for now it is not practical.

I only have one thing left to buy for my room. I'm waiting to find a chair that is comfortable, fits in my price range and looks old fashioned like the rest of the decor.

I think that's it on this thread. I hope that all my homeschool friends out there are blessed as I have been. May God provide you with everything you need to make homeschooling a wonderful experience.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Living History

When I was in high school I was blessed to be able to volunteer at the Georgia Agrirama.

Here's a picture of the schoolhouse. I got to play the role of one of the school children at many different special events.

During this time in my life I was too stubborn to realize how much I love history. To me, history just meant boring dates you have to memorize and stupid facts about countries that don't even exist anymore. I had no idea that the study of history could include learning about the way people lived, and the type of clothes they wore. Now that was interesting.

Once my school years weren't staring me in the face and I could calm down enough to really think through things... or perhaps a better way to say it is this: Once I stopped thinking I knew everything and began to realize how much I had to learn, I began to study certain periods of history in earnest.

Lest I be taken to task... let me just leave this one disclaimer. My study of history has been more of a hobby than a profession, and I am definitely prone to error.

Anyway, I think I'm getting sidetracked.

So I got to pretend that I lived in the 1890's. I wore a bustle and if I'd had the money I would have owned a pair of black high topped, buttoned boots. My experience in this little room, has had a great impression on me, and now that I have the opportunity, I'm passing it on to my children.

This was my inspiration for my school room.

I searched craigslist and antique stores and asked around locally until I was able to find what I wanted. Now I have a whole bunch of furniture that was made many many years ago, and is still around today.

Next up: Pictures

My new room

So I'm finally getting an entire room designated for school.

Ok, that sounds kinda spoiled. Not every homeschool mom gets an entire room to designate for school. I remember many years doing school at the dining room table. In fact, that's where I've been doing school for the past several years.

I've been homeschooling for 6 years now (counting our current year). I can't believe I've been doing it this long. For the first four years it was only Richard. Homeschooling at the table wasn't very difficult then. Now I'm homeschooling both my older girls, and keeping a toddler occupied.

If you homeschool around the dining table, I completely understand how it feels. For me it was a bit frustrating to have to constantly pack away the school to set out the food. I imagine many mom's throughout the centuries have experienced this.

Ok, so what started out as a post about my new school room has turned into a bit of introspection about what I should be thankful for.

I'm thankful that I have been blessed to be able to homeschool my children with relatively little government interference.

I'm thankful that God has given me a house where I can designate a room to homeschooling.

I'm thankful that God has blessed me financially to outfit said room the way I want to.

Next up: how I've decorated my wonderful blessing of a school room.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I'll try to keep this brief and to the point.

My friend asked me about forgiveness the other day and this is what I feel God wanted me to share. I'm posting it here so that others can read it.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about forgiveness. Many people have a hard time with it because they think that forgiveness means you have to be ok with what a person has done. This is not the case at all.

To forgive means that you release all the negative feelings that go along with your memory of what the person has done to you. This doesn't mean that the person wasn't acting like a jerk, or that you approve of what they did. It just means that you're not going to allow the enemy to use this "thing", whatever it was, to continue to affect your future.

For instance, lets say that someone has a father who has sexually abused her. She goes through her life dealing with all the pain and shame of his decisions. Eventually she has to get to a point where she can forgive him. Did he do the wrong thing? Absolutely!! Does she still have to work through the process of healing? Definitely. All she has done is decide that she's not going to let his actions continue to steal her peace.

Another example: perhaps a someone has a friend who suddenly betrayed their trust. To forgive does not mean that you blindly trust them again. It just means that you aren't going to continue to be angry with them over the situation. The relationship will most likely never be at the same level of trust. But at some point the person betrayed should be able to focus on the fun they had together and no longer allow the betrayal to cause a rift.

As far as scripture goes, although there are plenty of verses about forgiveness, sometimes it's hard to figure out how to apply them. He tells us to forgive as we have been forgiven, to not hold grudges, etc. But how do we put it into action?

For this, I would recommend trying to view it from God's angle. God says he has removed our sin from us as far as the east is from the west. He remembers it no more. Yet, later in Revelation it talks about the judgement seat and says that all our acts will be accounted for.

In essence, God is saying that He is not focused on all the times we've betrayed Him. Rather, he knows that Jesus has paid the price of our sins. He wipes the slate clean and we start fresh, having learned from our mistakes.

Finally, we have to remember that people will always fail us. People are not perfect, and we cannot expect them to be. At some point, every human relationship we have will let us down. Some people will decide that it's just to risky, and shut down. They won't allow anyone to get close to them again because they have learned that they can't trust anyone. This not only turns off pain, but also turns off pleasure. We cannot enjoy the beauty of friendships if we refuse to allow them.

Rather than continue to be disappointed by others shortcomings, we should expect them. We should rely on God to fulfill us, and view our relationships with other humans as more for their benefit than our own. As soon as we stop focusing on what we can get and start focusing on what we can bring others, we will be a lot less likely to be hurt. Allow God to fill your love tank, and then it can overflow to others. If you're expecting others to fill up your tank, however, you'll never be satisfied.

I hope that made sense, and I welcome any feedback or input.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Politics as usual

I got this in my email yesterday

February 17, 2011

Dear Elizabeth,

A bipartisan group of the state's political and business leaders have pursued high-speed rail in Florida for decades, because it means more than $2.4 billion in economic
aid, thousands of construction jobs and a modern transportation link between several of the state’s largest cities. That’s why I support it. I’m joined by state lawmakers and many members of Florida's congressional delegation, who also question the governor’s decision to kill high-speed rail. One is U.S. Rep. John Mica, the Winter Park Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee. Also, federal transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican, has expressed disappointment. If Florida doesn’t take the money, another state will. So, some of us will look for ways to save the rail project. Meantime, please don’t hesitate to pass along your thoughts.


Well... as the email said. Here are my thoughts to pass along.

The thing that caught my attention was this sentence. "If Florida doesn’t take the money, another state will."

I was on board with the idea until I saw that. This sounds like something my kids would say. "My belly hurts from eating too much cake, but if I don't take the last piece then Mom will give it to my sister." This is horrible logic. We, as adults should not make decisions based on the possibility of someone else getting more. This fairness attitude has permeated our society. Life is not fair. What if another state has a project that will better serve the people. Being grasping and greedy is not good for anyone.

Another thing I pondered was this idea of money. Where did the email say the money was coming from? Oh yeah... the federal government. Wait... now I'm confused. I thought the federal government was out of money. This is why they've been borrowing from other countries, right? So if they don't have any more money, then how can they possibly fund a new transportation system in Florida, or for that matter, anywhere else in the USA?

This needs to stop. I'm all for the idea of building a high speed railway system. I'm all for using government money for things... I just want the government to use it's own money for things. Perhaps when our federal budget balances, then we can talk about things like high speed trains.

So there it is in a nutshell. I'm all for improving transportation and creating jobs. I'm not on board with the idea of getting deeper and deeper in debt by using imaginary money that is supposedly coming from Washington. The sooner we get it in our heads that our country needs to get out of debt, the sooner we will be able to go forward as a society.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Keep it Simple...

I left out the "Stupid" because I'm not a masochist.

Tonight for dinner I'm making canned soup. Ok, canned soup and BLTs... Ok, canned soup and some sort of protein enriched alternate side since my kids are really picky. Only one other member of the family actually likes tomatoes and two of them like bacon. Of course, I like all of it.


Ok, make that one... I just burned the bacon while I was blogging.

Anyway, I digress.

Anyway, as I'm popping the top on the cans, this is what goes through my mind: "Why didn't I think of this myself?"

The back story: I was listening to Dave Ramsey's radio show and this ad comes on talking about e-mealz. I decided to look into it, and eventually signed up. It's only $5.00 a month and I get a weekly dinner menu, plus a ready to print shopping list. In two weeks I've already saved hours of otherwise wasted "planning" time, and skipped the eating out excuse twice. The plan is definitely helping me.

But tonight... I mean really.... who's the genius that decided to put canned soup on this menu. It's brilliant.

At what point in my adult life did I decide to stop using canned soup as an alternative to making dinner from scratch. I can't even blame my mom for this one. I distinctly remember eating canned soup at her table. Not all the time, but often enough that I should have thought of it before now.

I guess somewhere in my quest for perfectionism I decided I was too "advanced" to open a can of soup. Now that I've paid $5.00 to be humbled... hopefully I will learn not to knock an easy meal once in a while.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A date with my daughter

Tonight I took my oldest girl to the Melting Pot for the first time.

Before we left she kept say, "Are we going to do anything else, or just go to the Melting Pot?"

After we got there and got started, she realized why I didn't plan anything else.

What I love about my Deborah (besides her obvious good looks):
She is honest. When the waitress came to take our drink order she politely informed her
that she's not allowed to have caffeine until she's 13 years old.

She loves mushrooms. I hated them at that age, and she eats them with gusto. She also loves lots of other veggies. I only had a short period of time when she was younger when she was a picky eater, and I now realize that a lot of her finickiness came from food sensitivities.
She has a wonderful laugh. We spent a lot of the time goofing around and being silly (as silly as you can be with a hot plate and boiling broth sitting in the middle of the table.
She is compliant. I realize this can end up being a negative factor when she starts being pressured by her peers, but right now I am just thankful that at least one of my kids is really easy to get along with.
She knows when to stop eating. My other children would have eaten the last graham cracker covered marshmallow and the few sliced strawberries just because they were left on the plate. My other children would have eaten the rest of the chocolate out of the bowl with the spoon because it was there. She stopped eating when she was satisfied.

I had a lot of fun with her tonight and I'll cherish the time I've spent with her, just the two of us.