Saturday, July 30, 2005

The results...

of camping are not nearly as high on my list of  "let's do THIS again soon!" Let's see, we started off pretty well, and then the 2.5 yo found the poison oak. She thought it would be so fun to play in it. She was wrong. She endured a vigorous wash with Dawn Dishwashing liquid (cuts the oil of the poison oak) and a serious wash-down of cold water. She was not very happy about either of those things, but she didn't get poison oak!


We had a lovely campfire Thursday night with great conversation and a lot of laughter, roasted s'mores, and enjoyed each other a lot.


Two of my children awoke with headaches and John had a fever that lasted most of the day. We were able to enjoy the lake and all the children except for John spent hours in the water. He had the glazed look that comes from feeling like a dead fish, and his eyes were pretty droopy and sad. He went to bed before dinner and stayed there all night. However! The night was not to be without its excitement. Our oldest dear daughter woke up and promptly shared her stomach's contents with her sleeping bag, her pillow, and her clothing. She was quite miserable, and we were not too joyful ourselves, but helped the poor dear thing to clean up, tossed the pillow, gave her a fresh sleeping bag, and helped her back to bed. For much of the night she dry-heaved. We woke up, packed up, and came home.


This was not like our previous camping experiences! We have never had this happen, and have almost always had stress-free camping (well, maybe that is a misnomer - stress-free camping - there is no such thing for a mom!) But I think you know what I mean. Normally we have lovely family times that are very precious. This just was not that.


It is NICE to be home, it is NICE to have air conditioning, it is NICE to have running water, and it was REALLY nice to have a shower.


Our middle daughter is having trouble walking correctly - I think her hip is out of joint or something. She was in pain last week and it was out of whack. She is no longer in pain, but is not walking normally. It is very unusual and if it is going to happen to anyone, it is going to happen to my sunny, wild girl. If you think of her, please pray for Abigail; we would appreciate it so much!


Happy end of July - I am glad we are home.




Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A camping we will go... a camping we will go!

Hi ho the derio a camping we will go. What is a derio? I am probably spelling it wrong, or it is not even a word at all - just a childhood mishmash of a word.

Regardless, that is where we will be from tomorrow at our earliest convenience, and our children's urging (), and home by Saturday night. We expect much frivolity, campfires, singing, swimming, and good conversation with some very good people. We really look forward to actually *being there* rather than packing to be there. Any campers out there know exactly what I am talking about.


Please pray for safetly for us if you think of it as well as for the Suarez family in their travels across the country to their new home. We will be roasting a marshmallow in their honor.




When you feel it, ya just gotta do it - dance!





Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Our dear sweet friends are leaving today.

I am not a person that spends a lot of time in sadness. But today will have its moments for me. Our precious friends, Paul and Gena Suarez, are leaving for Tennessee. I wrote what is below to her in her comment box because she mentions that she will miss our family. I share it with you because these are such wonderful people, wonderful friends, a wonderful family in Christ that will be missed more than they realize. The Bible says we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. I am trying my best to rejoice with them, but I am also doing a fair bit of weeping too.

It is our family that has been blessed because of yours. I cannot tell you what sadness it is to me that you are leaving, but I *will* rejoice with those who rejoice! I will rejoice for your new friends, for your new church, for the lives that you will touch while you are there. I will rejoice for your children in such a beautiful place, with parents that love them and sacrifice so much for them. I will rejoice that your sister will be joining you even though it is at great loss to us. I will rejoice that you are walking with your Lord, in the path He has set out for you, and that you will be blessed because of your obedience. I will rejoice in our shared faith that means we are sisters forever. I will rejoice in God's kind hand to have brought you into our lives, to have made an impact, to have left His mark through you on our lives. I will rejoice in His mercy!


You are *loved*!

As God carries you on His path, may you be richly blessed, sheltered from the harshness of this life, and may you meet such friends as yourself at the end of the road. You deserve them.




Homeschool Question!

Due to a recent phone conversation with a fab gal, and a lot of pondering on my part, I have been wondering if I accelerated my oldest without knowing I did it. In your neck of the woods, what age does 5th and 6th grade fall into? I think I may have inadvertently pushed her forward when she really should not have been. I have always felt that I pushed her in math and have regretted it so have backed off and have helped her along in this area in a much calmer manner. Math can be tricky and frustrating and patience is a much-needed virtue when teaching it that I am afraid I have not always had.


SO, this year we have slowed down somewhat and I have allowed her brain to catch up. She is now in the early logic stage of learning and it has become increasingly obvious to me that all that grammar stage math frustration was totally unnecessary. She is getting things on her own now that she simply was NOT getting before purely because her brain is ready to understand them. I am actually thinking of keeping her in her same grade, not because she is slow, but because I think she is too young to keep going forward at the rate she is and still glean all she can. Does that make any sense? I do not think it is necessarily the best idea to push forward just for pushing forward's sake. I really want her to get the most out of each grade, each subject, and not always feel like there are missing pieces. Do any of you veteran moms have any good advice?
I sure would appreciate it.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Rarely do I get political here, but...

THIS bothers me to no end.


Jane Fonda Plans Anti-War Bus Tour


Now you can think what you like about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and so can she, but you know what? She caused so *many* people such pain and suffering from her loud mouth during the Vietnam war, why does she have to start up again? SHUT UP, Jane Fonda - stop hurting people! I am sorry if my words hurt your ears, dear readers, but her presence in Vietnam only ended up devastating those in the prisons there - those suffering for their devotion to the U.S. and its choices. In my opinion, Jane Fonda does not deserve acclaim at all and should be ignored.


Jane has her own opinions on the war, but do we need to know them? I for one am supporting our brave troops and the courageous families left here at home to struggle through without their loved ones. I for one am supporting their sacrifices and am saying a great big




for all you have already sacrificed and for what you may in the future. You are appreciated here, and you will be prayed for more than you have been - and we will pray for your loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan. May God preserve and keep you!






Friday, July 22, 2005

Mixed Nuts

It has been some time (months!) since I have posted a Mixed Nuts here so for those of you new to me that term means what I am reading/watching/listening to, or what I think is good clean fun.


Ears to Listen:


I have really been enjoying my new CD, The Best of Glenn Miller! I know some of my loyal readers might be thinking, this, the 80's girl?! listening to Glenn Miller? Oh man, is this music marvelous! It makes me wish I had lived in the 40's when people really knew how to dance. My mother and her husband can swing like crazy and I just love to watch them. In the Mood is the toe-tapping, get-up-and-swing song you always hear in 40's period movies and you just can't help feeling like the world is a better place while listening to this music. This one is great fun for a twirl with the children!


At this very moment though, I am in my contemplative mode and am listening to George Winston's, December. There has been so very much happening this week that it is hard to think clearly. My dear friend's son was in the hospital for some mystery illness, our dear precious friends are leaving now sooner than I thought they were, and well, this music just sooths my soul. I sometimes feel as though certain musicians can share the heart of God through their work; give the comfort of the Holy Spirit. How music is a blessing! Even the picture is peaceful. God gives such good gifts to His children.



Eyes to See:


We just enjoyed a rousing version of Jane Austen's classic work, Pride & Prejudice, but with Indian flavor in Bride & Prejudice. What a highly enjoyable and marvelously colorful movie! It is a pleasant mixture of Bollywood and Hollywood and is almost free of anything objectionable. There was a fairly sensual dance scene with a scantily clothed Ashanti in it that didn't really seem to match the movie's Indian theme and sensibility. However, this was minor compared to the funny and highly entertaining take on Austen's much-loved work! The dances were beautiful and well done and the music was marvelous. It does not compare, of course, with the beauty and purity of the A&E version of P&P, but was not trying to. It was in a perfectly fantastic league of its own. The rhythm is going to get you!


Good for the Brain:


I recently finished reading a very enjoyable book, albeit one that started slowly (and that I read very slowly due to very little "free" time) but only grew more interesting as I persevered. It is called, The Daisy Chain, by Charlotte Mary Yonge. (Yet another 19th century author of the genre I find engrossing!) It was truly one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. It is wholly different from Austen in that it is a very intimate look at a large upper-middle class family living on a limited income, in very class-oriented England during the Oxford movement. I will repost a paragraph by the publishers, Beautiful Feet Books, here:

Charlotte Mary Yonge's Victorian bestseller is a domestic story, a novel of female education, and a detailed survey of the controversies and practices of High Church Anglicanism in the 19th century. Its portrayal of the bookish, awkward heroine, Ethel May, paved the way for stories of literary heroines like Jo March and Anne Shirley, and its emphasis on the domestic life of the May family illuminates the Victorian doctrine of separate spheres, the seemingly contradictory gender politics of the Woman Question, and the relationship between religion and the rights of women in the 19th century. Absorbing, moving, and intricately plotted, The Daisy Chain is Yonge's best-known novel; this edition will provide the 21st century reader with a comprehensive education in Victorian culture, not to mention a tremendously satisfying reading experience.

I agree whole-heartedly that it was a very satisfying experience! This edition also contains some very well-written and fascinating essays about various aspects of Victorian life, the Oxford religious movement, class segregation, and about Yonge herself. If you are looking to enrich your mind with a clear and engaging look into this time period, keenly feel for those in the story dealing with joy, sorrow, loss, gain, faith, peers, you will enjoy this book immensely.




Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Mrs. Jo - here ya go!

1.)  Where were you ten years ago?


A new mother to our first child, living in Sunnyvale, California, trying to figure out what it all meant to be a mother and a wife. That was quite a time. I was terrified of this tiny person and completely captivated at the same time. Thankfully she was a good baby and we worked out the mother/daughter kinks together. I still have much to learn, but she is a delightful young lady now and a treasure. I would not go back to ten years ago for anything in the world!


2.) Five Years Ago?


I was pregnant with our third child, our only boy, and living on some friend's property in the foothills of CA in a granny flat with two bedrooms, anticipating Y2K to be something far more than it was. We were attempting to raise chickens and did a better job of feeding them to the wildlife than we did at raising them for eggs. Not one egg resulted from all our hard work. :+) I am terribly embarrassed to say that we expected the worst with Y2K and planned accordingly. We lived amidst a lot of wheat buckets.


3.)  One Year Ago?


I was in the same place I am today; not much in the way of excitement, but content and happy (most days)!


4.)  Yesterday?


Worked a bit, played on the computer, ran errands, enjoyed watching the children hosing themselves off in the hideously hot weather we are having here in the lovely and picturesque smog-filled Sacramento Valley.


5.)  Today?


Pretty much the same as yesterday sans errands, and we are doing school today.


6.)  5 Snacks I Enjoy


Scones and clotted cream, ~dark~ chocolate, chocolate chocolate chip ice cream, homemade strawberry ice cream, barbequed chips


7.)  5 Bands I know most of the lyrics to their songs


DC Talk, Jars of Clay, Crowded House, Alarm, Erasure - sorry - 80's girl! (And I dare say there are a whole host of other bands I know the words to as well!)


8.)  Things I would do with a million dollars


Oh boy, what would I do!? Well, to start off, I would pay our debts, I would buy two brand new Honda Odyssey vans, have our house repainted and hardwood floors added everywhere. Save a big chunk, and give a big chunk away.


9.)  5 Bad Habits I Have


Laziness, too much computer time, addicted to blogs and boards sometimes, enjoy watching movies too much I think, and dislike cleaning, but I like a clean house. Go figure.


10.)  5 Places I would Run Away To


The redwood forests anywhere in the coastal mountains, any place that has small non-biting bugs, large green land plots, and old huge trees, England or Ireland in the countryside, Ireland or England in the 1300's - just for a visit.


11.)  5 Things I would NEVER WEAR


A bikini, a mini skirt, a tube top (cough, choke, gag, wheeze), bell bottoms, short shirts that reveal my belly.


12.)  5 Things I like Doing


Reading, eating really good food, talking with good friends about deep subjects, camping in the redwoods with my family, Thanksgiving.


13.)  5 Biggest Joys:


Watching my children be kind to one another, watching them learn and grow, making people laugh, fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters, when school is finished for the day and we have completed all we planned to.


14.)  5 Famous People I would like to meet


Jesus, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Apostle Paul, J.R.R. Tolkien


15.)  5 movies I like


I have already done this before, but LOTR series, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Ivanhoe, Braveheart, Life is Beautiful (OK that is six)


16.  5 Favorite Toys


?! Computer, DVD player, CD player, telephone (some days), and my books (not a toy really, but what I consider to be!)

So there you have it! I would love to see anyone who cares to do this let me know you did so I can read your answers too.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Water Play

On the weekend of the fourth of July we visited my aunt and uncle's home on the river. It was a wonderful weekend of water play in all forms and I thought I would share some pictures of our adventures (and adventurous children!)


This is Hannah taking the plunge following Abigail's jump.



This is John Henry being brave and jumping with Daddy!



After an accidental fall into the river (with her lifevest on of course) this is Emma's choice of water play:



This is some bumpy boat time with Nanny, the honored matriarch of the family, and the children's great grandmother:



This is Elizabeth after the bumpy boat ride!



This final picture is of our very own smiley Spiderboy. He wishes he too had been born a spider.

Protecting and defending ...

the cereal.



Monday, July 11, 2005

13 amazing years ago today...

was married in front of God and family - made a covenant with my
beloved forever - and pledged my life, my heart, and my devotion to
Mark Kessler. Marriage is no light commitment to me and I have taken it
seriously ever since. We both came from broken homes and that made it
all the more real - this is forever no matter what may come to us.
There have been hard times, there have been painful foolish mistakes
that we have both made, and we have hurt each other by our harshness
and sinful behavior. However! There have been marvelous times, amazing
times, beautiful God-parted-the-clouds times! There have been five
beautiful, healthy babies born into this marriage, and a family life
that I could never have imagined this day thirteen years ago.

There have been blessings overflowing and with our King and Savior at
the head and by His grace, there will be many more years of tears,
sorrow, pain, joy, peace, and contentment. Today, of all days, on this
our anniversary, I will say to the blog world, to my God, and to my
husband who will read this, thank you, Jesus, for the blessing of my
husband!  Thank you, Jesus, for my children's father!
Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of my best friend!

I love you, Mark Kessler!  Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Some things in life are just painful.

This week has been a difficult one for me. I found out two of my best friends were moving to the other side of the world from me. They are really only moving to Tennessee, but you know, when you live in California and your van doesn't run that well, that is the other side of the world. When I found out I just couldn't stop the tears. These families are beyond precious to us and while I firmly and faithfully believe in the sovereignty of our God, I just wish He'd had other plans.


There are people in the world that touch your heart and life in a way that others just cannot. These are two families who are just that to us. There is little time left with them before they go, and we will try to make the most of it. For those of you in Tennessee who will be receiving them, take good care of them, you little know what you are getting.



Friday, July 08, 2005

Fun Stuff...

I was reading Babs blog and saw she had taken the What kind of homeschooler are you? quiz. I have taken it before and thought it would be fun to see if I was any different. Nope! I am still:


Abraham Lincoln You have a Bible and a library
card what more could you possibly need? You
prefer the Charlotte Mason Method of reading
living books for everything: historical
fiction, biographies, real histories, nature
guides, etc. No soon-to-be-outdated textbooks
for you.

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla


I love it. In reality I am pretty much this way, but I use some Classical materials. I have frequently said I am somewhere between Charlotte Mason and Classical. At least I am consistent! Mr. Levi Suarez tagged me again so I thought I would answer his questions below:


What's your favorite movie?

There are many that I like and I cannot choose just one. Some of my favorites are Pride & Prejudice, Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Wives and Daughters, Persuasion, and Life is Beautiful.


What's your favorite book?

I have already answered this below.


What's your favorite animal?

Hmmm. I cannot say that I have a favorite animal. I am impressed with many of God's fine creatures, and if I had to choose just one type of animal I would choose a whale. All whales are fascinating to me, but probably the Sperm Whale and Blue Whale are my favorites.


What is the most fun thing you've ever done?

"Fun" is such a subjective word! I cannot answer this question. I have a lot of fun, and no one thing stands out to me as the BEST ever.


What was the best day you ever had?

Again, this is not something I can really answer. There have been many wonderful days of my life: the birth of my children, getting engaged, special events throughout my life - it is too hard to choose just one.


I am supposed to tag several people and I don't often do this, but I will tag two mice, Mariel Gullwhacker and Cornflower. I am always interested in the doings and thoughts of mice.




Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Such good reading!

Wow - I know I have written about this blog before, but a recent post of his really is marvelous. If you know me even a little you will know how MUCH I love history and cherrish the memories of great people. This post is so full of interesting historical people and things - I just long to visit it! What do I so long to visit? The Bunhill Fields, a London nonconformist burial ground. I can see myself walking through the trees in-between the gravestones stopping at John Bunyan's grave imagining what it was like to live during the time of turmoil in which he lived. What was it like to be considered a nonconformist  like Susannah Wesley or to write powerful literature like Daniel DeFoe with a clear message of our need for Christ?  These people and so many more are buried here. I know their souls have long fled this earthly realm, but to know that their bodies remain for the return of the true King - the One they served with ferver often leading to imprisonment - it is a sobering thought. I hope someday to have this great privilege of walking with some of the giants of church history!


His blog post ends with Charles Spurgeon writing on the life of John Bunyan. It spoke to me in a very powerful way and I hope you enjoy it too.

Bad men die out quickly, for the world feels it is a good thing to be rid of them; they are not worth remembering. But the death of a good man, the man who was sincerely a Christian—how different is that! And when you see the body of a saint, if he has served God with all his might, how sweet it is to look upon him—ah, and to look upon his coffin too, or upon his tomb in after years! Go into Bunhill-fields, and stand by the memorial of John Bunyan, and you will say, "Ah! there lies the head that contained the brain which thought out that wondrous dream of the Pilgrim's Progress from the City of Destruction to the Better land. There lies the finger that wrote those wondrous lines which depict the story of him who came at last to the land Beulah, and waded through the flood, and entered into the celestial city. And there are the eyelids which he once spoke of, when he said, "If I lie in prison until the moss grows on my eyelids, I will never make a promise to withhold from preaching." And there is that bold eye that penetrated the judge, when he said, "If you will let me out of prison to-day, I will preach again to-morrow, by the help of God." And there lies that loving hand that was ever ready to receive into communion all them that loved the Lord Jesus Christ: I love the hand that wrote the book, "Water Baptism no Bar to Christian Communion." I love him for that sake alone, and if he had written nothing else but that, I would say, "John Bunyan, be honored for ever." And there lies the foot that carried him up Snow Hill to go and make peace between a father and a son, in that cold day, which cost him his life. Peace to his ashes Wait, O John Bunyan, till thy Master sends his angel to blow the trumpet and methinks, when the archangel sounds it, he will almost think of thee, and this shall be a part of his joy, that honest John Bunyan, the greatest of all Englishmen, shall rise from his tomb at the blowing of that great trump. You cannot say so of the wicked. What is a wicked man's body but a rotten piece of noisomeness? Put it away, and thank God there are worms to eat such a thing up, and thank him still more, that there is a worm called Time, to eat up the evil influence and the accursed memory, which such a man leaves behind him. All this have I seen, and applied my heart unto every work that is done."


Charles Spurgeon
The Wicked Man's Life, Funeral, and Epitaph
13 June 1858

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

I'm it apparently!

OK, I have been tagged multiple times for multiple questionnaires (or memes as you blog folks like to call them) and here are my answers! You people must think I have endless time on my hands!!    Here is the first one, a book meme:


Q: What is your absolute favorite book?
A: I would have to say the Bible for a non-fiction book and The Lord of the Rings for a fiction one. I just love Tolkien! A close rival second is almost anything by Jane Austen. I have an almost feverish appreciation for any 18th or 19th century literature!


Q: What is your favorite book to have read to you?
A: Well, no one reads to me except my littles and there is nothing like hearing a new reader getting out those first tough words! It is precious and my John Henry is beginning to really pick it up. What a delight to me!  My other favorite is when my oldest girls read the Bible and manage the tough names and places or when they place emphasis on the right words to impart the meaning behind it. I love that! I also love book tapes in the car on long trips read by polished readers with good voices and suspenseful music!


Q: Have you ever started writing a book and not finished?
A: Yes.


Q: If so, what was it about?
A: Daughters.


Q: Today, if you were to write a book (assuming you had the time), what would it be about? (If you’ve already written a book, what do you dream of writing about one day?)
A: I may try to finish the book someday, but I don’t feel I have the right information to convey what I want to convey. I am too early in my journey with them to be able to communicate what I really want to. Time will tell!


And here is the second questionnaire:


Five Things I Miss from My Childhood:


1. I miss the feeling of freedom that comes with childhood. While I am glad to have put childish ways behind me, it was truly nice not to have the pressures of adulthood. I just wish I had known it at the time!


2. I miss bike riding. I know that sounds odd, but I do! I loved to ride my bike and just think about life. I no longer have a bike and I look forward to the days that I will again have one and the times we will be able to ride as a family.


3. Spending the night with my grandparents, snuggling up with my grandpa while watching Lawrence Welk and eating snacks with whole milk. I loved it there; it was a safe place with people I knew that loved me for me.


4. Acting in my high school plays. I always loved to act and it was absolutely pure fun for me to do it.


5. Family meals at my grandparents – St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just a dinner after school during the week. My grandpa was the best cook that ever lived and he could cook a roast like no one else. The times I had as a young person sitting there taking in all that the adults said around me while digging into the best sorts of food, there was nothing like it. I think now what an impact those times had on me and how much I really took in from their conversations! The fellowship with my special aunt was also something I will never forget. She is still my special aunt and is like another mother to me. What a blessing it is to have family.


6. OK, I have to add one more, late night talks with my mom. She would force herself to stay awake, well, sort-of awake, and listen to me ramble about my day or my problems. She was a treasure to me, and may never know how important those talks were. She still is a treasure to me.


And that's a wrap folks!