Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy New Year (and a shameless endorsement!)

Why is this woman so surprised?

She's just unwrapped a gift from one of her children: A kitchen towel set wrapped around a book by one of her talented blog friends! And that's not all ...

I unwrapped another ...

and another!

The first book is a compilation of comic strips by my blog friend jugglingpaynes (Cristina) and her book is available on Amazon. I was intending to make the purchase after Christmas but my husband beat me to it ... and completely caught me off guard! This is Cristina's first book but she has been writing for a long time, homeschooling is the theme and, boy, can I relate to so many of her ideas!

The second and third books shown are by Paula Vince, my published author blog friend in Australia. Her books are available through her web site appleleaf (at left). I have all of her books now, I think, and am so happy Todd thought to order them for me. Her books are thoughtfully written and take the reader right into the story and the fictional characters. When I read one of her books, I don't want it to end!

I am so excited and proud of these two awesome women and wish them great success in their respective fields of talent. This is not a paid advertisement - I just wanted to share my joy. Thank you, Cristina and Paula, for helping my Christmas to be all the more blessed!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Chad had his final exam, came home and promptly came down with a cold. He was kind enough to pass it on to his siblings a few days later. We lost a whole week there but we are back on tract, my shopping is done and I'm determined to mail out cards this Monday. Oh, Chad passed his class with an 'A' and if I sound impressed, relieved and proud, I am. This being his first college class, his first class ever, he's only 16 and he didn't do any extra credit - we really didn't know how he'd do. But I am proud of him, unashamedly. He never missed a class, participated in discussion and turned in all assignments on time. Wrote his first essay ever and got a good grade which gave him confidence to do all the rest. Now, he'll take the winter term of this history class but, unfortunately, it is being phased out in spring. We are all so glad for him.

I got a wake up call a few days ago. I drive to a tiny little town across the river in Washington twice a week, taking Chad to his volunteer job at a museum. Yes, I do speed some of the time, the highway takes us through a lot of field/farm land with mostly tourists driving along the coast. Last Thursday, I happened to be driving alone to pick him up and I wasn't paying attention to my speed. I was actually listening to a Christmas song on the radio, trying to figure out if it was Bobby Darin singing. There was no one on the highway in front or behind me but I rounded a corner and of the two cars that passed me, one was a highway patrol. Lights flashed. I slowed down to see if he'd turn around and he did. As he came up behind me, I pulled off as best I could (there was a hill to my right). I didn't panic like I have in the past. I just looked wide-eyed as a young officer (trooper hat and all) approached and asked if I knew how fast I was going. Just then, a pick up truck whoosed past, way too close to the officer. I pointed to the truck and said, "Not THAT fast!" He asked if I knew the speed limit there, I said 50-55 (I wasn't that certain, the speed changes several times on this route. When he told me I was doing 63 in a 50 zone, I was surprised and apologized. He asked if I was just not paying attention and I told him the truth - that I was "listening to the radio, trying to figure out if it was Bobby Darin or not". He didn't laugh but I'll bet he wanted to. He asked for my license and proof of insurance. I had my license, of course, but my proof of insurance was expired last month - I did, however, have my husband's car's proof of insurance and it was still good and on the same policy. I knew I had put my new card in my car but couldn't find it. Anyway, while I was looking for the right card, the officer watched another car speed past and said, "That driver has a suspended license. I'm going to let you go but I want you to be more careful." I said I would and thanked him for his compassion. He took off and I let out a big sigh. Mercy. Thank you, Lord.

I'm doing my best to obey the speed limit, all the time now. God has been merciful to me twice. When we first bought my Prius, I got stopped by an officer on the drive home from the dealer (50 miles from our home) because I was speeding, trying to keep up with Todd who was in his car ahead of me. At that time, I explained to the officer I was trying to keep up with my husband (it was nighttime). She let me go with a stern warning to be more careful. That was 3 years ago. I never want to be pulled over again - and I want to be a better example to my children. I'm so glad they weren't with me last Thursday, they usually are. God is good.

We've had Advent nearly every night with nearly perfect attendance. Some nights we dissolve into laughter, with our own personal versions of certain Christmas carols. Sometimes we sing a carol with another carol's tune. A few times have ended with disciplinarian actions. But most of the time it's been very enjoyable and everyone has fun and the Bible reading time is special. We add the fourth candle tomorrow night. Carmen has been the most interested in Advent, reminding us when we were about to forget and making sure when we need to add the next candle. She wants all the songs sung the right way, etc. I love how much interest she's taking in Advent. It wasn't always like that.

If I do not post before Christmas, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I really appreciate those of you who still visit, even though I blog so infrequently. You are and have been my friends for quite some time now and I really appreciate each of you. Have a wonderful Christmas season and Happy New Year! God bless!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Season Begins

Our tree is up, we've done quite a bit of Christmas shopping, a great start to the season. Todd's 10-hour days finally caught up to him at Thanksgiving, keeping him on the couch for several days. He finally returned to work on Wednesday but not before the bosses got a taste of just how much work he does and how many people it takes to do his job when he's not there. They survived and he's back to normal, I think. He's needed an assistant for, like, months but the powers that be don't feel it necessary at this point. Humph!

Since Todd wasn't up to decorating, the kids did just about everything. Chad put up the tree and lights himself, Alec and Carmen helped him with the ornaments and the household decor. They did a terrific job! We still have some lights and rearranging to do, seems like this year is more relaxed than in the past. We started Advent, and I'm so glad to see all the kids still enjoy this special time of singing and reading from the Bible. I love my kids.

I have returned to my natural brunette - time for a change. It was hard to get used to at first but the kids are definitely happier about it. It's just hair for goodness sake!

I hope this Christmas season is a good one for everyone out there!