Saturday, August 30, 2008

What is going on here?

It's not even 8:00am:

the kids are dressed:

the sink is clean:

the laundry is started:

there is bread in the oven:

I'm not on the phone:

I'm not on the computer:


It's the first day of school!!!



Children are learning.

No complaining!

I saw this blog on Thursday and decided I would join too! Brittany and I are not complaining for 7 days. (and then 7 more, and 7 more, etc) We are going to help each other by reminding one another and trying to catch each other. We are forcing Emily to try along with us. HAHAHAHA. That's too funny! Michael said he'd try but he probably wouldn't make it past 7 minutes. LOL.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama and McCain at Saddleback

If you missed Paster Rick Warren's interviews with Obama and McCain at Saddleback church, they are posted on GodTube. I haven't watched them all, but I plan to.

Here is a list of the topics they answered:

Why do you want to be president?

Does evil exist?

Define “marriage”.

What is your stance on abortion?

What is your stance on stem cell research?

What does being a Christian mean to you?

What do you think about religious persecution?

What is your stance on federal funding of faith-based organizations?

What do you consider your greatest moral failure to be? What is America’s?

Who are the three wisest people in your life?

Name one instance when you went against party loyalty.

Name one instance when you flip-flopped on an issue.

What is the most gut-wrenching decision you’ve ever had to make?

Which existing Supreme Court Judge would you not have nominated?

What is your stance on merit-based pay for teachers?

Define “rich”.

What cause is worth our troops dying for?

Would you consider creating an emergency plan for orphans?

What do you say to the people who oppose you answering these questions in a church?

Here is the link.

Monday, August 25, 2008

God is so good!

I realized this morning, in the shower, where all good thinking takes place, that I do not praise God enough in my blog! Every single day I can think of things that God has done to bless me and I need to remind myself of those things as well as "tell it so the people can hear."

So I am going to start off by telling you two things that God has done for me in the past week.

The other day I got a call from a friend, crying, asking if she could come over right away. I told her yes, of course, and I started praying. I had no idea what she was crying about, so I knew I needed to rely on God to prepare me. When she got there, I felt like God was able to use me to tell her exactly what she needed to hear. There were things I would have NEVER said regularly, that God used me to say and I can tell that she was touched. When I checked up on her later, she said that she kept remembering the things I had said about God and His love for her and it had gotten her through a really hard time. I just am so grateful that God was there for both of to minister to her and for her to have ears to hear.

The second thing that really blessed me this week was concerning picking Brittany up at the airport. I had a CRAZY Friday with computer problem and a computer tech here and trying to get the house ready for Brittany (I like to have it all clean when she gets home so she doesn't think, "great, I have to clean house now...don't these people ever clean while I am gone?") So I knew what time she was coming in and I knew what time I had to leave to get there but I COMPLETELY FORGOT to add the time it takes to have express jet give us 4 passes to get through security and the time it takes to get 3 kids and a double stroller through security including taking on and off everyone's shoes, etc! So as I am driving to the airport, I realize this and start freaking out...there is NO WAY I will make it to the gate on time. So I start praying...and asking for favor, asking for angels to clear my paths, anything that will help. Finally I just said, Lord, I can't figure out how it will work....I am just leaving it up to you. We got to the airport in record time (especially since there was traffic which I am not used to) and we got a front row parking space (Hallelujah!) and when we got to the ticket window there was NO ONE in line (another Hallelujah) and we were about 20 minutes early so I started thinking we could get this done. But God had an even better plan in mind! The lady at the ticket counter asked what flight number and when it was due in. I told her the flight number and told her that the TV Screen said it was on time (landing in 20 minutes). She gave me a funny look and called down and they told her that the flight had landed a few minutes ago. She told me I wouldn't have a chance to get through security so they would just take Brittany to the other side of security and I could pick her up there. HOW AWESOME IS THAT! I didn't have to worry about going through security and all those hassles and we didn't have to wait at the airport with three fussy children and we got to see Brittany right away!! It was awesome! God had such an awesome plan (which I NEVER would have done. I would have felt guilty not picking her up at the gate if I had the choice). But His plan worked out wonderfully and I am so grateful!

Big things and little things, God blesses us daily!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to me!!

Brandi sent me my birthday present and I got it today. I am so excited! It is something I didn't even know exists!!


It is so cute!! I love everything about it! They really made it with so many homeschool funnies..... and the real heart of a homeschooler. It's PERFECT!!! Thank you Brandi!! I can't wait to play it!!

Here is the video by the creator, explaining the game...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

update on Job search

We didn't get Dallas. They decided to go with a manager that had experience in a hundred million dollar club. I am bummed. But I know God has a perfect place for us. As my good friend says, I still have my joy. :-)

Cardboard Testimonies

This is awesome. I bawled. Get your kleenexes out first.

He's an EAGLE!!

Introducing Ian Zandi the Eagle Scout!

We are sooo very proud of you Ian!! Great Job!

And to think...we knew you when....LOL

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I just finished an AWESOME book and I MUST tell you all about it.

The book is called Plaguemaker by Tim Downs. I have read 3 other Tim Downs books - his "Bugman" books. They are great books, especially if you like forensic science at all. The main character is a forensic entomologist and it makes for very interesting reading. The third one, First the Dead, is about the aftermath of Katrina.

Plaguemaker is the first non-Bugman book I have read by Tim Downs. Here is the plot summary from the Tim Downs page:

New York FBI counterterrorism agent Nathan Donovan receives a phone call from an eighty-year-old man named Li who has a story to tell—a story too fantastic to believe but too terrible for Donovan to ignore. Li tells the story of Sato Matsushita, a brilliant bioweapons scientist, a man waging a personal war against the United States. His mission: to destroy America with bubonic plague—beginning with the city of New York. The old man has tracked Matsushita for six decades and across three continents because he, too, has a mission to fulfill: to stop Matsushita before he can strike—and to settle an old score of his own. Li’s lifelong search has brought him to the most powerful city in the world, a city of eight million souls, a city on the eve of its biggest celebration of the year: the Fourth of July fireworks display. Now Donovan and Li must work together to prevent a modern-day Black Death of global proportions. They must find the Plague Maker before it’s too late—for everyone.

This is the basic plot but it is the way Downs wrote the book that really makes the book stand out and makes it one of my top 5 favorite books ever. He tells the story both in real time and also in flashbacks. Not only that, but he also tells the story from several different points of view. You REALLY get into the character's heads and are able to understand each character's motivation, even if you do not agree with their actions. Furthermore, this book is written by a Christian author which makes it a delight to read in that there is no bad language or uncomfortable to read scenes. (as long as you don't mind bugs and violence) He does not use any of his books to preach or to convert. Instead, they seem more to show the lives of Christian people in "real life." (yes, I get the irony there) The ending of this book is fantastic and such a wonderful testimony to God's love.

I really really loved this book and if you like thrillers, political intrigue, CSI type stuff or Tom Clancy type books, I think you would love this book. I think this is also a great book to give to non-Christian friends. They would enjoy the book without feeling as if they were being preached to and they would be getting a great message about God's love and forgiveness.

Why I homeschool

I just wrote this for my homeschool group and decided to post it here in case I ever need a reminder. :-)

Why I homeschool:

I have two different whys. The first is why I wanted to homeschool. The second is why I DO homeschool.

So for the first: I was in the gifted program in 6-8th grade. We did unit studies and I really enjoyed them. I remember we did a semester on Eskimos and a semester on outer space. I think we did a semester on prairie life too. I loved the way we learned and it was very different from the way everyone else was taught. Naturally, I thought that was the best way.

Later, when I was in high school, my mom gave me an article that told how a 12 year old was being admitted into some Ivy League school. He had been homeschooled and had done unit studies. By this time I had realized that public school was very rarely done in unit studies and I decided that I would homeschool my children so they could have unit studies and be brilliant by the time they were twelve, too. Actually, I think God was putting the seed in my heart knowing it would grow over time into a real conviction.

I met first husband when I was 18. I don’t remember ever talking to him about homeschooling but I know he agreed with me. I went to my first homeschool convention while I was still pregnant with Brittany. I remember them asking me “how old is your oldest?” and I would point at my stomach. They got a good chuckle out of that one. When we divorced (Brittany was not quite 2), I had it put into our divorce decree that Brittany would be homeschooled. I did not want anything coming back to haunt me or anyone saying I couldn’t homeschool her after the fact.

Michael and I were planning on getting married when I told him that I would not marry him if he did not agree with homeschooling. Up until that moment he thought that he could just ignore that part of me and we would “talk about it later.” I flat out told him that if he would not support homeschooling and me staying home with our children that I would not marry him. I guess he liked me, because here we are 10 years later. :-)

Now the reason that I DO homeschool.

I homeschool because I don’t want to be a stranger to my children’s soul. I want to be there with them every step of the way: teaching them, learning along with them, discipling them, growing with them. I don’t want to be on the sidelines, letting other people raise my children. I spend time in God’s face every year asking what/how/when I should teach my children. I don’t expect anyone else to know those things about them. God doesn’t expect anyone else to know those things about them. I see it as something God expects of me. I want to parent my children and I consider teaching them part of that parenting adventure. I don’t consider homeschooling a “part of our day.” Instead it is our life. It is part of the package. I consider everything as part of the whole: which is this crazy, wonderful, wacky family that we have. I think that family is very important. Having school as part of our family life sees to it that we interact as a family all day long rather than being six separate spheres bumping into each other in the evening (before going off to our homework or sports or other activities.)

Over the years I have seen “reasons” for our homeschooling.
- it has made Brittany visiting her family in Albuquerque much easier.
- It has made Michael’s crazy schedules at work easier.
- It has made Kaedra’s stays in the hospital much easier.
But these are all side benefits and not the real reason we do it. We do it because God called us to do it and it is the only way we can see it done. I have never been able to imagine otherwise and I am so excited to have at least 17 more years of this journey ahead of us!!

(now remind me of this on those bad days, the ones where I say “WHY AM I DOING THIS???!?!?” hee-hee)

Monday, August 18, 2008


This is one of those posts that just meanders around and doesn't say much of anything...

Well let's see....
Brittany is still gone. Coming home on Friday. Seems like a LOOOONG way away! Can't wait for her to come back! She is so much fun and such a delight!! She has been having fun playing with her cousins and brother, getting a manicure and pedicure, going to the Albuquerque zoo and Explora. They had a birthday party for her and have taken her shopping several times. Yes, she is getting spoiled rotten. :-)

I am getting ready for school to start! I am really excited! I think I decided on a Spanish program called El Espanol Facil - The Easy Spanish. I can't wait to get it and get started on it! I am going to start Kaedra on a schedule this Thursday. It is going to be similar to a preschool program with different centers during different times of the day. I am going to start Emily next Monday and Brittany starts the day after Labor Day. I have to finish up my planning this week and get everything ready to go. I have a few errands that I want to get done before starting too, so I can have a really clean slate. (that includes your package, Zandis!!!) Unfortunately I forgot to get dentist appointments scheduled before school started and I need to get those done soon. Maybe they can fit us in next week before we get involved deeply involved in school. After school starts I am hoping to only get out on Fridays which will be our half days of school.

Michael has a "big" interview on Wednesday. I say big because it is the one we really want! It is for North Richland Hills, Texas. Why do we want this one?
1. a nice raise.
2. close to home.
3. good medical system for Kaedra.
4. good housing market for buyers right now (although that might be all over)
5. close to home.
We believe this is the right place for us so we are really excited about the interview. I have started packing and even found a lady selling 200 moving boxes for 20 dollars!!! I picked them up last week and have my work cut out for me now! :-)

Michael's grandmother died last Wednesday. Michael came home from his Kansas City trip early. Sam's was so wonderful about it. They gave him time off form the convention, paid for his car home and gave him the weekend off for bereavement. Walgreens would have never done all of that! Michael went down to Madill on Friday for the funeral. Lillie Mae (Michael's grandma) was a wonderful, wonderful lady and we are looking forward to seeing her in heaven. She was a precious soul, on fire for God and so very sweet. She was almost 96. I am sure she is rejoicing to see her family up in heaven.

Well I had better get off of here and get some real work done. Have a wonderful week!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brittany's Birthday Party

Brittany turned 13 on the first of this month. Yes, she is a teenager! And no, I am not worried about it! I know she will still be the precious, sweet, loving girl that she always is! I am so proud of her and can't wait to see the next 13 years and what she will be like as she grows older!

Because I had a fourth of July party for the extended family and an adoption party for family and a few friends and because I am not really a party person I just didn't want to have another party! I felt bad because I know that 13 is a HUGE number and needs something good to commemorate it! I had a few suggestions for Michael but he came up with one that Brittany really loved. He suggested that I take her and a friend out to eat and then get a hotel room for us, rent some movies, swim a little and just relax. And so, that's what we did! The only difference was, I invited Sherria to accompany me so I would not be a "third wheel" for Brittany and her friend.

We went to eat at Cheesecake Factory. It was a great meal and we got there early enough that there was no wait at all. We asked if they would sing to Brittany and they did, even though we declined on the cheesecake! They made her a little sundae in a glass and put a candle in it! It was so sweet of them! After dinner we went to Walgreens and picked out some nail polish and snacks then we went to Blockbuster and got a few movies, went to Cold Stone Creamery for Brittany's free sundae then went to hotel. The girls swam and Sherria and I decorated the hotel room. We then joined them swimming, although we liked the hot tub better. Afterwards we played twister and watched movies until we all fell asleep. In the morning, we had the free breakfast and I did everyone's nails while we finished up one of the movies. It was a very sweet time and we had a great time. Thanks for the great idea, Michael!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Introducing Freckles

I haven't officially introduced Freckles yet, so I thought I would do that now. Freckles showed up in our yard July 21st. He was obviously under-nourished and in need of water. He had no collar. We gave him some water on our porch and he stayed there all night. The next day we put him in our backyard, got him some food and called all around to see if he had been reported missing. I also looked online on Craig's List and Dog Finder. Thursday we took him to the vet to see if he was "chipped." They said he was not chipped however he is "clipped." LOL. By Friday Michael said we were going to keep him so I called the pound to see when he would officially be ours. They said 7-10 days of feeding and caring for him. Michael took him to the vet on Saturday to make sure he was healthy and had his shots. He is now officially a member of our family.

Now don't laugh. I think God brought us this dog. I know the kids (especially Brittany) really wanted a dog. I said I would NOT get a dog unless he was house trained and wouldn't run away. I didn't know how we were going to find a dog that was those things. Instead, the dog found us. He is completely house trained and stays with us when we are outside. He has just started venturing a little further away from us, which I'm not happy with, but I am working on it. The vet said he is about one year old. That has been both a pro and a con. He is very easy to work with and eager to learn but he is still chewing on things. We have had a few stuffed animal casualties, but he is learning. He is very sweet and very good with kids. I think he has been beaten at some point because he cowers and hides if you get the slightest bit stern with him. I don't know if it was the former owners or if it was while he was lost. The vet said that should fix as we show him love and proper discipline.

The pictures above were taken about two days after he came here when he was still on the skinny side. (I used them to post for "found" dog) He is a little bulkier now although the vet said he won't get much larger. He is just about the perfect size. Especially since he thinks he is a lap dog!

Another wonderful by-product of having him has been for the little people in our house. Ethan and Kaedra were terrified of dogs (although we owned some during both of their lives) and Emily was freaking out around dogs too. Michael and I seriously did not want our children to be afraid of animals (except for the healthy fear of unknown animals, which I seem to be missing) so we had done things like have one of our friends bring her dog over to let them get used to him. When Freckles first showed up the kids were afraid of him, too, but now they LOVE him! They aren't afraid at all. Michael and I are thrilled with that!