Friday, May 25, 2012

Dumpsters and Pretzels

So there's this thing called dumpster diving... have you heard of it?  If you haven't, I'd recommend watching the documentary "Dive" which is on Netflix.  Super interesting and a very intriguing activity... A friend of mine told me about it, to which I was like "whhhhaaat?"  But after I watched the documentary I was convinced, and totally wanted to do it too!  The idea is that every store cleans out their merchandise at the end of the day/week, but much of this food, products etc is perfectly fine and consumable.  So there will be full bags of packaged food just sitting in the top of dumpsters, food that hasn't even reached it's "sell by date".  Or other stores throwing away "defective" items that are perfectly fine to use but maybe not "salable".  So if you go after the store has closed and before the garbage trucks come (around midnight) could potentially have a ton of free stuff!  Now I realize some people may be disgusted at the thought of eating out of dumpsters... but I really don't find anything wrong with it, as long as the items are packaged and in a bag.

So we decided to give it a try!  We went out at 12:00am, hit about 8 grocery stores... with no luck!  None had food in their we aren't sure if it was the wrong night to go or what.  So it was pretty discouraging!  But we had a lot of fun...sneaking around in the middle of the night is not a normal activity for a few suburban moms.  We had heard that Staples was a good store to check, so we went to their dumpsters.  Success!  In the first Staples we went to we found some random office supplies (all brand new in packages) and a safe (which was too heavy for us to get!).  At the second Staples we hit a jackpot!  Pens, pencils, and Sharpies galore!  We found tape, markers, folders, binders, coin counters, a calculator, headphones, wallets, an iPad cover, disks, and labels.  All of it was new, not even dented in the packages.  I'm not sure why they threw it out, but we were excited to find it!  So after we split it up, we each had a bulging garbage bag full of goodies.

We did find three big jugs of pretzels (sealed and unopened)... which was good because we were very hungry at 4am!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Life has changed...again!  Our newest precious addition, Israel Benjamin, came into our lives on January 18, 2012.  He is absolutely amazing.  The cutest baby on the planet of course!  He is smiling, kind of laughing, snuggly and kissable.  Life is just so much fun with a baby.  I know some people aren't baby people...but I am.  I've always loved babies, but having your own is like nothing else... Babies fill that spot in your arms that otherwise is empty most of the day.  They look at you like you're the most beautiful thing in the world.  They grab your hair, your shirt, your finger, like they're desperate for you.  They snuggle into your chest like you're their own personal pillow (which you are of course).  They cry and need you.  They need you... which is a wonderful feeling.  I love being needed by my children.  And to tell you the truth it scares me to think of the time they won't need me anymore.  I know it's coming...  

I have many days that I fail as a mother, as a teacher, as a wife.  I hate myself on those days.  I feel like giving up and why am I a mother and why in the world am I homeschooling these awful children? But those moments are brief in retrospect.  They're like tiny clouds in the most beautiful, rainbow filled sky.  The days I have with them (even the ones where half of it are terrible) are precious, sacred even.  I have moments that I treasure... Like the other day when Jonah was learning about Egypt in our Africa unit study.  I pulled out a few passages in the Bible for him to read about people in Egypt (Moses, Joseph, Mary and Joseph).  So we sat there and he read... my 6 year old boy and I reading and learning together.  I'd never had him read from a "grown up" Bible before.  It probably wasn't an epic moment for him...but for me it was one of those moments.  There are moments with Solomon where we are doing "school" and he gets so excited.  He wants to please me and his eyes twinkle with delight when he gets a flashcard right or does a workbook.  He claps his hands excitedly and says "this is so much fun mommy".  He brings joy to my life in ways that I missed out on before he was here. 

So in the midst of failure and having messy days, I have to remember this joy.  It's here that I want to remain...not lost in the ugliness of guilt and frustration.  

Friday, September 16, 2011


Yes, it's been almost a year since I've blogged last... A lot can happen in a year! I'm not dwelling there though. I woke up today with a sense of urgency to write down what I've been rediscovering here I go...

I've been an official homeschooler for about 2 years now. I don't fall into a category (sorry for those who like to label everything). I mix unit studies with unschooling with Charlotte Mason with child-directed learning with classical education with school at home... you know, whatever seems right that week, day, hour. Since I was 12 years old I've wanted to homeschool my children. I was home schooled briefly in 7th grade. I liked it, but was lonely. I appreciated being at home, learning different things (like quilting with my mom!), and the flexibility. But I desired being a silly social junior higher like everyone else. The biggest reason I decided I wanted to homeschool is when I saw a few examples of families that did. I noticed they were different. Sometimes weird, yes, but they didn't care. I saw they respected each other, cared about their little brothers and sisters differently, spoke more "grown up", seemed less worried about their peers' opinions. The families liked each other. As a 12 year old, I noticed that, I wanted that for myself someday. I planned on having 10 kids, living on a farm, homeschooling...being old fashioned...

Well, most of that isn't really happening. But the homeschooling's becoming a reality.

I'm thankful my husband feels strongly about homeschooling too. Maybe for slightly different reasons, but we agree on the basics. Here's why we homeschool (I think this will be in the correct order...)

1. As followers of Jesus Christ, and believers in the absolute truth of the Bible, we are called to "train up our children in the way they should go". We hold to the scripture that tells us to Teach them (the laws/rules of our faith) to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. I know this is possible to do if your child is is tradition school, but for us, we didn't see it being a possibility. If our child was gone for 8+ hours at school, then maybe sports, or music, or social activities... when would those lessons come in? When would we be sitting at home, or walking along the road with our children? We'd be too busy! Now, I know a lot of wonderful families that accomplish this...but our personalities and lifestyle...I think I'd fail at this. I believe my biggest calling in life, in my faith, is to disciple (train in spirituality) my children. And I believe the best way to do that is to keep them at home.

2. Flexibility. We like to be spontaneous. We like to go to museums instead of doing workbooks. We want to go on vacations, mission trips, anywhere, as a family. We want to say "yes, we'll do that" to great opportunities, instead of "oh shoot, we can't take them out of school". We want a full, exciting life that is spirit led, not schedule led.

3. Educational opportunities. If one of our kids is a science, art, math, whatever genius... We love the idea of them pursuing that as much as they possibly, before they're grown up and have "more time". We don't want our child held back in a subject just because the classroom isn't there yet, or our child pushed in an area he struggles with. We want them to develop at their own pace.

These are the main ones... There's probably a million little "ooh I love that" about homeschooling. We aren't keeping them home to shelter them or to keep them from scary public school or from the dangerous peer pressure. We are giving them rich opportunities to learn and grow.

So back to my original topic: rediscovery.

In the midst of homeschooling, and having 2 little ones...I've started gaining an excitement for learning. I'm fascinated by animals all of the sudden. How did God think of all these strange creatures? And why? The life of a butterfly is amazing to me once again (since I'm sure when I was 5 it was...but then after a while it's like "oh yeah, they big deal"). I think spiders are crazy and incredibly intricate. How animals just "know" what to do without being taught is fascinating to me. Oh, and how exciting is the water cycle? How God provides us with a whole system is so cool. Adding and subtracting is fun things make sense and it's fun to do calculations when playing with dice or games! It's really amazing that King David was a Shepard (Solomon's favorite bible story right now), how was he so brave to fight a giant? There's a whole world that I thought I knew about...but really.... I'm just discovering how amazing it really is.

What will I discover today?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Jonah

So my oldest son turned 5. Words cannot express how I love that child. I'll try...

I love his laugh, the way he finds joy in silly things. I love how he hugs and kisses me all the time, not feeling any shame or embarrassment yet. I love the way he pushes up his hair off his forehead, even though it doesn't really help to do so. I love the way he loves to wear big baggy tshirts and "cozy" pants every day. I love the way he talks, his voice and the words he can't really say yet. I love how serious he is, how he loves to follow the rules. I love how responsible he is, how he could probably run the household by himself. I love how smart he is. I love that he loves Scooby Doo, and scary guys. I love that he preaches to his brother about Jesus, and warns him about how scary Hall (hell) is. I love how tender he is, how when I cry, he cries and comforts me. I love how he has taken Emily under his wing and loved her like a sister. I love how he teaches others, how patient and kind he is. I love how he is interested in math, counting and adding and figuring stuff out. I love that he loves his family so incredibly much, how his cousins are his best friends. I love his sweet hands that reach out to hold mine. I love his half outie belly button. I love his skinny little boy legs and knobby knees. I love his beautiful eyes that reflect so much emotion. I love his big feet. I love how he's oblivious to his surroundings, how he has a very focused mind. I love his dancing. I love how he calls me Momma. I love how persistent he is when trying something new. I love how he looks like his daddy. I love how he gets so excited to see his grams. I love how he asks "momma, can I whisper something in your ear?". I love his embarrassed face. I love him.

Being a mother has changed me. I am not perfect, not anywhere close. But it has made me better. The biggest thing I've noticed is that I feel more. In general, I just feel more. I believe that when you become a mother, emotions are so close to the surface, they just overflow more often. All of the sudden you love someone so much, differently than anything else, that your heart is's ready to feel. I like this, but I don't. I don't like being emotional, but sometimes it is nice to feel more. More happiness, joy, excitement...

I've also experienced Jesus differently. You hear all the time how He loves us as children... I didn't understand this until I had a child. All of the sudden I felt the parental love, the crazy, passionate, I'd die for you love. And I got it. Jesus feels like this for me?! Wow. How much more do I want to thank Him, worship Him, honor Him? I want to please Him, I want Him to be proud of me. I thank Him for a child, for revealing His love to me. Now I understand... When my child messes up, I don't love him less. I forgive him and it's ok. How much more does God do that for us? I'm in a human capacity, but God does all this in a God capacity! This is exciting... I can feel forgiven, redeemed, restored. I love knowing that He is my Father, that He'll always love me and cherish me as I love my child. It's a safe, warm feeling...

Jonah will always be special to first born. He tells me "Momma, I love you most. I love you more than you love me.". No way, buddy. I tell him that's impossible. He'll never understand the love a mother has for her child... But for now, I'll cherish those sweet words from my boy. I'll treasure them in my heart and always remember those little boy kisses, the little hand in mine, and how he needs me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm a heartbreaker

So I broke Jonah's heart tonight. At least, that's what he told me. It seems to be a new trend in our house. If I yell, or some one's in trouble--they say, "mom you broke my heart". And it kills me! Usually it's said in a sad, sad voice, near tears, or in the midst of tears. My mommy heart melts. Jonah and I had it out tonight though... I told him he can't say that when he's mearly upset with me. That's a serious accusation, right?! So he finally came out of bed, after sobbing for a while...and said "I can't go to bed without being forgiven". Wow. Now this, this was a proud mother moment. My son, who's almost 5, has already developed a strong sense of forgiveness, the need for it, the desire for it, the importance of reconciliation. Wow. I was amazed at this. How many times have I gone to bed, needing to be forgiven, not caring, not even thinking about it. How many times have my relationships suffered because of my indifference? My child amazes me. With his swollen eyes, wet cheeks and whimpering voice, our relationship was restored.

Oh Lord, please let me be sensitive to forgiveness, and the need for it...from You and those I care about most. Thank you for my son who teaches me so much about Your love for me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I am thankful!

I am thankful for a lot this Thanksgiving... here are a few of the things...

-I'm thankful for my Lord, who has saved me from death and misery.
-I'm thankful for my husband, who has been faithful, supportive, loving, patient and the man of my dreams.
-I'm thankful for Jonah, my smart, sensitive, funny and serious almost 5 year old.
-I'm thankful for Solomon, my tender, silly, loving and wild 2.5 year old.
-I'm thankful for my church.
-I'm thankful for our community group, who has been such a great group of people to get to know.
-I'm thankful for my mom, always there for me, always helping and caring for me.
-I'm thankful for my sister, such a great friend and source of wisdom.
-I'm thankful for my job, that I can work at home, have fun, and do my own adult thing.
-I'm thankful for our house.
-I'm thankful for our running cars.
-I'm thankful for my husband's job.
-I'm thankful to live in America.
-I'm thankful to live in a safe, nice community.
-I'm thankful for a healthy family.
-I'm thankful for our co-op
-I'm thankful for the right to homeschool
-I'm thankful to live close to family.
-I'm thankful for wonderful in-laws.
-I'm thankful for warm clothes, blankets, beds.
-I'm thankful for Safe Families.
-I'm thankful for spiritual growth.
-I'm thankful for fun things in life, cookies, movies, and cell phones.
-I'm thankful for blogging, facebook, texting, technology.

I'm sure there's a lot more that I'm failing to mention...
but most of all I'm thankful that Jesus came to earth, died for me, and is now alive and reigning in my heart and the lives of my family. Thank you Lord for being in charge.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Death is a strange thing. I just got a phone call from my mom telling me my grandpa died. It was sudden, unexpected, tragic. When isn't death though? I'm shocked. I'm crying. Mostly I'm hurting inside for my grandma. She depended on him for everything...driving, cooking, day to day stuff...everything. She's alone. I can't imagine the pain she must be feeling. I ache for her, knowing her life just stopped, her energy gone, darkness took over.

I feel conflicted though. Thanking the Lord my grandpa knew Jesus, is free, isn't lost forever. But in such a sorrowful time, is joy allowed? Is it appropriate to be sad, knowing it's better he's with the King? Is it okay to go on with life...knowing a loved soul is gone? Is it bad to act normal, happy even? Am I insensitive to be bored with crying already? Why is death so difficult? I understand if you don't have the hope of Heaven...the hope of knowing you'll be with your Savior after you die... how scary, how sad, how miserable. But I do have this hope, I have a personal Savior that I know I will be with after this life is over... so why is death sad, scary still? I suppose as human beings we can understand something, but not really understand, not really grasp, not really know it in our depths. It's hard to let that go, to not understand and be okay with it. I can't really. I have decided, though, that I will not doubt or question my Lord, my faith, ever again. I've been down that road, and it's not somewhere I'm willing to go again. Yes, there are things that I don't understand, will never understand... but I choose to say "You know, Lord... I trust you Lord. That's enough for me Lord"

I'm scared for when my time to lose someone even closer comes... I loved my grandpa...a lot. He was a good man. A faithful man. He took care of my grandma. He gave the best hugs...I can still smell his aftershave. I can hear his deep voice. But what happens when someone else dies, someone even closer to my heart? I can't imagine it...don't want to. I dread the day. But why is death so hard? Oh Lord, fill my heart with peace and a supernatural trust in You.