Sunday Journal: Move-in Week

dinner out

dinner out

This past week feels like the longest week of my life. Not that the time has gone by slowly but that so much has happened it feels more like two weeks instead of just one. I’ve lost an entire season with this move. Summer should not be in the past. Autumn should be a month or two away…not today. Hopefully by Thanksgiving I will be adjusted to this new town, new home…

I feel lost…just a bit. I keep getting lost in my house…my home. At night I still dream of my old home in western Kentucky. The dream has been recurring since we drove away last Saturday (really…just eight days ago?) In the dream I am desperately trying to find something. I think it is a toy from my childhood…a treasure lost long ago. My favorite stuffed animal, a dog

kids working on school while we buy a new home

kids working on school while we buy a new home

named Doogan. I’m desperate to find it but every room is packed full of boxes. The rooms keep changing to different rooms I’ve lived I over the years. I know that if I can find the room I lived in Louisiana then I’ll be able to find Doogan and save him before my parents throw him away.

I always wake up a little freaked-out and clueless to my current location. Moving messes with my psyche.  Alas, I’ll never find my poor Doogan. During one of our last moves with the military my Dad let the neighbor kids go through my bedroom and take anything they wanted. Doogan was a casualty that awful day. Totally sucks. I guess that’s why I have a hard time making my kids cull their mountains of toys. Just for fun I decided to look him up on Google and found him on eBay!

the movers are here!!!

the movers are here!!!

Tuesday we walked through the house with the builders. I had to drive to Frankfort from Lexington by myself that afternoon. But first I had to look up my address on Realtor.com and then consult with Google Maps for directions. I loaded the kids into the van and managed to get to the house without getting lost. That was the first time I ever managed to drive someplace new without getting lost. When we moved to western Kentucky I got lost several times. On Wednesday we bought the house. I was so nervous. The kids did school work during the signing. They sat in the floor and were very good and quiet. Everyone remarked on how well our children behaved.

Early Thursday morning the movers arrived. They took all day to unload everything. We’ve been unpacking ever since. It took two days to unpack the kitchen. All I want to do is clean the house but I cannot until all of the boxes are gone. We’ve been unpacking ever

Littlest in a box!

Littlest in a box!

since and I hope to be done by the end of the week. Hopefully we will be cleaning the house by next weekend.

I had planned to gradually start school this coming week. However, the neighborhood kids are on Fall Break this week. I think we will just work on math and the I’ll turn the kids loose to play outside with their new friends. Sparkles cried everyday before we moved…she was so sad. She met her new best friend the day we moved in!! A lovely young girl who lives on the street behind us. I am so very happy for Sparkles. Middle Boy and Littlest also have children their own age to play with as well. Awesome!

My husband has truly spoiled me with this home. I never imagined nor hoped to live in something so beautiful and elegant. I am blessed beyond my ability to express my gratitude for such a gift. I’m still surprised I live here…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

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Sunday Journal: Pink Adventures and Wooden Spoons

lunch at a favorite restaurant

lunch at a favorite restaurant

Today hurt. Today was our last “official” Sunday with our church family. My Sunday School class gave me a lovely blue platter as a goodbye gift. Sparkles received a little cross pin from one of the sweet ladies that always chats and hugs her. I’ll miss these people…more than I know how to express. I managed not to cry at church but blubbered on the way home. I turned up the music so the kids wouldn’t notice. I know that will find another church home and feel very blessed. But I also know that every church is a beautiful and unique expression of the Body of Christ.

Oldest learning a ballad for medieval history

Oldest learning a ballad for medieval history

We worked on the house this week, finishing the deck. The house inspector also came this week and we are anxiously awaiting his report so we will know what else we need to do before putting out home on the market. I also set a date for the movers. I’ve also hosted realtors, termite inspectors and movers. I feel like our life is being summed up by pounds, flaws, and net worth.

This past week I started working on downsizing some of our belongings. So far I’ve packed about five boxes of stuff to be donated to charity shops. Some things were just too precious to donate and I found beloved friends willing to adopt my treasures into their homes. I also came across some things in the back of my kitchen cabinets that I didn’t even know I owned. I found

playing at the splash pad

playing at the splash pad

two pressure cookers, about a dozen Christmas platters and some of my Grandmother’s canning equipment. I think my mom has been stashing stuff at my house in secret…kinda funny and a little weird.

This week I will continue to purge unneeded items and start giving the house a thorough cleaning. Mostly just the windows…we cannot do too much until after the movers clear the place out. Then I’ll have to arrange for carpet cleaners and clean the house from top to bottom. A part of me wants to hire someone for that job…I’m not looking forward to cleaning the house and keeping my four kiddos occupied in an empty home.

Despite all the meetings and preparations for moving we did manage to fit in some fun this week. I took the kids to meet with friends at the local splash park. Actually, we went twice this week. The kids had a blast and both times I forgot to put Littlest in his swimming trunks! Not that he cared one bit. All this moving business has turned Littlest into a needy little boy. He’s been my constant shadow all week…poor fella.

Sparkles with pink tips at church this morning

Sparkles with pink tips at church this morning

I had some fun with Sparkles this week. We put in the permanent pink dye in her hair this week. The Kool-aid trick was fun but she wanted something a little brighter and a little longer lasting. This time we bleached her tips so her hair would absorb the dye better and then applied the pink dye. Both times I used the baggie trick and it turned out super-duper cute. She loves it and that is what matters to me. My mother would never do something like that with me and I learned to quit asking at a young age. I remember promising my newborn girl that I would do all the fun things with her she asked of me. My mom used to bury herself in romance novels and my brother and I eventually learned not to bother her if she was reading. I remember getting whipped with a wooden spoon because my little brother needed a band aid and he was too afraid to ask her.  I started learning how to get through life without needing her for anything. Looking back I can see she was just trying to endure a miserable marriage. I guess my brother and I were the chains that kept her prisoner.

my fortune

my fortune

I prefer plastic spoons to wooden spoons. I reckon it is because wooden spoons were mom’s choice of instrument for punishment. I keep a few wooden spoons in a container on my kitchen counter. I remember mom when I see them. I remember what it felt like to be an unwanted nuisance to my mother. I never want my children to feel that way about me. So, I keep the wooden spoons as a reminder to never make them feel unwanted. I have my moments when all I want is a little peace and quiet…but as soon as I walk into my kitchen I’ll see those wooden spoons. They convict me and are a witness to my weak moments. I’ll never be a perfect mother. But so long as my kids know that I love them and want them then I am content. I was tempted to put the wooden spoons in the donation box this week. Instead I put them back on the counter. I need them on those days when motherhood is so overwhelming. Children need their mother’s love, they need to know that no one believes in them more than I do. The spoons remind me to be compassionate and to pray. I see those spoons and remember how blessed I am to be a mother.

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Lego Camp, Plans and Treasure’s Past

Oldest explaining his Lego Mindstorm projest

Oldest explaining his Lego Mindstorm project

Not much happened so there are not many pictures to share. Oldest took his turn at Extreme Lego Camp…so we spent a bit of time (too much for me) on the road. I am glad summer camps are over for us. Most of the week I let the crew listen to the Frozen soundtrack during the long drives. The fist couple of days we listened to “Your Story Hour” CD’s that went with our Primary Early American History. We listened to the story behind Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the frightening tale of Pvt. Billy Scott during the Civil War. The nineteen year old Pvt. Scott had the great misfortune to fall asleep during sentinel duty and was ordered to be executed. His fellow soldiers rushed to the Capitol to obtain a Presidential pardon for him. After listening to

Oldest and partner

Oldest and partner

the soldiers plead for Pvt. Scott’s life the President went to the military encampment and personally pardoned him. I was fighting back tears as we listened to the story and Sparkles’ tears were free-flowing. Later, I learned that Pvt. Scott died seven months later at the Battle of Williamsburg in 1862 and is buried at Yorktown National Cemetery. Yorktown is also the place of the last major Revolutionary War land battle where Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis surrendered. Someday, I’d love visit these hallowed places of American history.

Oldest getting into programming

Oldest getting into programming

While Oldest enjoyed camp, I worked on plans for next school year which begins very soon…in about two weeks!!! I finalized the yearly overview and made weekly lesson plans for nearly all of our courses. I’ve learned the past two years that I do not need to make a daily lesson plan. This year I will use the lesson planner (A Simple Plan which I purchased from Mardel) as a journal. I’ll simply write-up what we do each day. First I made up a calendar page and marked off all breaks and days off. Our school year is five sets (or terms) of nine weeks beginning the first Monday in July.  For my yearly subject overview I made up a page in Excel with five sets of nine weeks. I then

planning mess

planning mess

printed off a page for each subject and planned out the weekly lessons, labs, and projects. No details, just lesson numbers and chapters. I’ll write in the details in the lesson planner as we do the work. I’ve always written these up ahead of time each year and then got discouraged when we ended up off schedule…and we always end up off schedule. This way I won’t get so upset and have to rework my lesson planner but will still have the yearly overview pages to keep us on track. I also made up my grade and attendance keeping pages.

homeschool mess

homeschool mess

Now that all of my planning for the school year is done I can work on the school room. The place is a disaster at the moment. We will spend this week cleaning up the room and organizing for our upcoming school year. We need to clean out the workboxes, complete portfolios and throw out all of the old work. We’ll also spend the next couple of weeks finishing up our weather science kit and working on our Geography Through Literature course. I doubt we will finish the geography work in the next two weeks so I will add that into our schedule for our academic year…most likely just one lesson a week. The crew loves this study and we’ve slowed the pace down to savor every book. I’ve hunted down most of the extra books (there are always extra book recommendations in the Beautiful Feet Books’ guides) and we will continue to read these wonderful books.

Grandma's Bible and notes

Grandma’s Bible and notes

Today I cleaned out my desk and threw away several bags of papers and junk. In the back of the desk I found my Grandma’s Bible and spent some time rummaging through the pages. My mother purchased the Bible for her before I was born. I remember my Grandma taking her beloved Bible to church and marking in it every Sunday. I would look at the pictures sometimes when the church service was especially long. After she died I was stunned to learn that no one asked for her Bible. My mom didn’t want the Bible either and handed it over to me without a second thought. Grandma’s Bible is so worn it is taped together. I must have spent the better part of an

Oldest at Archery

Oldest at Archery

hour looking through the pages and reading her notes. She marked sermon notes, dates, names and listed passages for healing prayers. I found little papers with food she was supposed to bring to potlucks and Old Fashioned Days (a day for wearing bonnets and homemade dresses from the 1800’s). I cried when I saw her handwriting and a bookmark I made for her during my monastery years. The pages still smell like her home…

I also found my old Rosary and case that I carried for many years. My Rosary is made of rose petals from Israel. I was surprised by the strength of the roses when I opened

Sparkles loved the guitar at Lego Camp

Sparkles loved the guitar at Lego Camp

the little box. I remember buying the Rosary. I really wanted a very pretty crystal and silver one but could not afford to spend so much. Instead I purchased the rose scented one on clearance at the bottom of a basket in the shop. Over time the metal has darkened but the beads still smell like roses. I always thought I would save up for a pretty Rosary but I never did…I miss the Catholic Church sometimes…the rituals that brought me comfort. I always felt connected to the Christian past in the Catholic Church…a connection that I cannot find in Protestant churches these days…

Well…guess I’m feeling a bit melancholy this evening…goodbye last day of Spring…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Christ of the Mountains

I grew up in two worlds…in various military towns and in my grandparents home in the Appalachia foothills. We moved frequently from Washington to Louisiana and many places in-between.  I loved the mountains because everything remained as it was between stays. My early years were with my grandparents…up until about three and then off and on through the years depending on events I have little knowledge. I spent all my summers and winter breaks in the foothills and moved in again at about the age of ten.

My parents were agnostic at the time and eventually my father became more atheistic. He really hated God so I am not sure you could really call him a non believer since you have to believe in something to hate it so much…sadly my brother has followed him into the same nonsensical conclusion. At this point I honestly have no idea what my mother believes…if anything. Well, all of this background is to let you know that my grandmother took it upon herself for my religious education and training. I didn’t mind because she and Papaw were the closest I ever had to a home until I married my husband.

I believe the church she grew up in was called an Old Regular or some would say Primitive Baptist. I liked going to church with Granny and Papaw when I was a kid. Papaw always sat on the back pew very close to the door. I remember being scared to death for him one Sunday when the preacher told us that Old Satan always sat on the back row. I don’t really remember the point of that preaching but I tried several times to get Papaw to sit on the next row up. Granny always sat on the third row from the front, on the left side next to the isle. She said only “show-offs” sat any closer. I liked sitting there because the Candy Lady always sat in front of us and I got a piece of cinnamon gum every Sunday. Granny said “show-offs” always had candy to give away too…

Preachers are different in the mountains. Most of the preaching I was exposed to was not from seminary trained professionals. The mountain preachers had other full time jobs and were not paid by the congregation. (Granny always told me to never trust an outside preacher without a real job.) Usually a plate or hat was passed around after the service for the preacher or sometimes preachers. Sometimes there were more than one preacher and those meetings (we didn’t call them services) could get really long. One of my favorite times was when we’d sing the preacher down. Singing the preacher down was when someone in the congregation (usually a Deacon) would get up while the preacher was talking and start singing. Then someone else would join the deacon and then the rest of us would sing along. These would usually be in the style of shape note singing (I think that is the name of the style). A hymnal wasn’t used  when this happened. Most of the time these happened at the big mountain top graveyard but occasionally during a meeting.

The preaching sounded different too. I’ve never heard the sing-song chant style outside of the mountains. Some even held the Scriptures to the side of their head in order to better hear the Holy Spirit’s message. Most of the sermons were about either hellfire or the Lord’s triumphant return in the final battle when everything will be made new and the dead will get up out of their graves. Some of the sermons I remember were about the dead waiting in their graves for new life and the sound of the victorious trumpet to awake them. I wandered what that must be like for the dead and eventually for myself…all that waiting.  I asked Granny about it once and she told me the good souls went to Jesus and the bad souls waited in their graves for the Great Judgment Day. I still wander about that when I visit graveyards today. Mostly I just stay away. Such thoughts and beliefs made it easy to believe in omens, dreams and visions which were common discussions on the front porch as summer evenings settled into night. Some nights Papaw would tell us a ghost story…

The Jesus I came to know as a child is very different from the Jesus I’ve come to know in modern churches. The Jesus my Granny taught me about was fierce, terrifying and wild. I often imagined Him with flames in His eyes and carrying a flaming sword. He could not be tamed or understood by us regular folk. Looking back it seems I must have heard many sermons on Revelations. Jesus loved children and repentant sinners and He had a dreadful knowledge of right and wrong. I understood that I had to walk the line when my childhood was over because He wouldn’t love me anymore unless I was repentant. I remember very clearly the day my childhood was over but that is a story for another time.  God was very real when I lived in the mountains and we sang hymns while working in the garden and feeding chickens. When I returned to the modern world with my parents I kept my Wildman Jesus a secret. I wasn’t allowed to go to church or ask questions about God. Eventually, my father found my Bible and I never saw it again. But I still remember my Bible. It had a colorful picture of Jesus with children on it and it zipped shut.

I like the modern church I attend now even though it would be nice to “sing the preacher down” sometimes. Jesus seems very friendly and personal in modern churches…so much so that I think we can forget He is Deity. But no matter how Jesus is preached in these modern churches I will always remember He cannot be tamed by anyone…modern or mountain.

Yeah, this post is kinda long and different from my usual sharing. I miss my grandparents and am sad to know that their ways are becoming distant memories, forgotten and stereotyped by shows like Justified. Life and death were hard and faith was breath but it was a good life. Fall is around the corner and that is when I really miss my mountain home…something that is only in my memories now.