Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Being Real

On Monday night, while at the homeschool group meeting someone shared "A Day in the Life..." We talked about the struggle to share honestly. Do you share what a real day is like or what you want your day to look like? In other places this issue has been brought to my attention. Most of us spend our lives hiding behind masks. We want to keep up the facade that all is well. Yet all is not well. People are hurting but for the most part they are hurting in silence. I can't help but think if we were not worried about being judged we could take off our masks. If I could trust I would be met with love, I could let you see the real me. If you would be open with me, I would know you struggle too. Together we would be stronger. The enemy knows this so he does his best to convince us the only safe place is behind the masks. So there we remain. I can hear God calling, "Come out, come out, where ever you are!"

This is something I have struggled with regarding this blog. How much will I reveal? When life gets really hard will I remain silent? Truly our life has a great deal more than amazing photographs and cute things our children say. But what would you think if you really knew "A Day in the Life...?" Like say yesterday...


Monday, February 25, 2008

Geography Club

Alayna and Annalise with their friend Kaia.

Geography Club is a monthly activity with our homeschool group. Last school year we participated faithfully. This year we spent time learning about places not from books from the library or websites but from first hand experience. Needless to say this prevented us from making the monthly gatherings. Then when we arrived back home our lives seemed hectic as we tried to cover all the other school subjects and do the work we need to do to prepare to leave again. But as our homeschool friends chose to study the Philippines made the time to participate. The girls spent weeks researching and blending this with their experiences to write about life in the Philippines. Thursday, it was great to gather and share what we learned and eat some Filippino food. The girls shared only some of what they had written. Many of you may have questions about the Philippines or wonder what our girls perspective is. So coming soon to a computer near you will be a blog of their very own...Any suggestions for a blog name?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

All Things Work Together For Good

A few weeks ago Adriana broke her glasses. Of course had she been sitting doing her schoolwork as she was supposed to...So I called the place we got them from and found out they were under warranty for just a couple weeks more. We knew she needed a new prescription and had already scheduled an exam with our regular optometrist. Just pay the copay $24 for frames, $15 for the lens. Call back and it seems her frames were discontinued and we need to come pick out new ones. Adriana got to chose the frames she wanted and in the end we got the complete pair of glasses for $16.85. Nice.

Some of you will remember we asked prayer because we wanted to rent a floor of a building in Bontoc. Even after negotiations with the owner, the rent remained too high for us. A week ago we were told an American couple was renting the place and are planning to conduct church meetings in the top floor. Obviously God had a plan for what He wanted there. We are excited to see more believers reaching out to the Philippines and look forward to talking to them. Before we were not aware of any other Americans in the area. We are still trusting that God has just the right place for our family in Bontoc. He just hasn't told us yet...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dear Noah

Today Annalise asked if she could send an email to her friend, Noah. I agreed and sat and typed as she spoke. I tried to type exactly what she said without prompting or correcting. What resulted was a summary of her perspective on our transition.

I hope someday she and Noah will be able to forgive me for this intrusion on their privacy.

Dear Noah,

The Bible is great to us. God is always with me.

When we will go to the Philippines I will see people I made friends with already. I will make some more friends in the Philippines.

There is red ants that bite in the Philippines.

I will be there for 2 years. When the 2 years are over, I will be 7. When I come back I will see you at church.

There are a little bit of dogs there.

At lots of the orphanages, some of the children cried when we left.

In the Philippines, I might see a big palm tree. There are palm trees with coconuts in them and they climb up the coconut trees to get the coconuts down.

There is beaches that have trash in them.

There is trikes. Trikes is where there is a motorcycle or a bike with a tiny thing that you sit in and they drive you where you go.

I will see you at church.

I love you,

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ice Fishing

Saturday was beautiful. The sun was shining and the temperature was in the 20's. I took Adriana and Alayna ice fishing. We had a great time. I did not actually fish, they did. It was a good thing I had not planned to do any fishing myself because they kept me busy. They brought in 32 keepers.

Several times while in the Philippines, I had fun describing what ice fishing was like to my friends who had never seen snow, let alone walked on a frozen lake. So this video has been in my mind since we were leaving Bontoc.


Sunday, February 17, 2008


Yesterday I was listening to the radio and heard for the first time Steven Curtis Chapman's lastest song Cinderella. If you wonder what Thomas is doing, he's busy, as his dance card is filled.

Push play to hear for yourself and those of you with little girls at home take the time to dance...


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pay Attention!

We are reading Clementine by Sara Pennypacker.

Then I got busy working on my project so I wouldn't have to hear any "Clementine-pay-attention!"s.

Except I did anyway. Which was unfair because each time, I was the only person in the whole art room who was paying attention. Which is why I could tell everyone right in the middle of the Pledge of Allegiance that the lunchroom lady was sitting in the janitor's car and they were kissing. Again. No one else saw this disgusting scene, because no one else was paying attention out the window!

And after that, when it was my turn to pass around the stapler, I could tell everyone that the art teacher's scarf had an egg stain on it that looked-if you squinted-exactly like a pelican, which nobody else noticed.

"Clementine, you need to pay attention!" the art teacher said one more time. And just like the other times, I was paying attention.

Yes, we understand this quite well. Seems we have a Clementine living with us. It’s great to read about and laugh, because quite honestly the reality show we’re living in isn’t always so funny. Sure she’s paying attention to what’s going on out her window and creates stories in her mind but that doesn’t get her math done. You guessed it… rough week of school. I’d schedule a parent-teacher conference but I spend enough time talking to myself!


Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Heart Day!

Hearts, flowers, candy, hugs and kisses, and messages of love...gotta like a day like this! I always like these kind of surprises. Made me think of a Valentine's Day when Thomas and I were in college...

The doorbell rang and standing on my parents' front step was my beloved. He had driven all the way from Ohio to deliver his Valentine gift to me. Homemade cherry cheesecake.

I am so blessed to have him in my life. This is just one of many special memories of the last 21 years we have been a couple. Yes, we are high school sweethearts. Looking forward to what awaits us as we continue to take this journey hand in hand...


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes

I was at the library the other day and was looking for something about graphic arts that could help me learn how to make dazzling layouts for our newsletters and maybe even this blog. I would love to be able to envision creations that blend different lettering, photos, drawings, and other graphics to convey the message and the mood to whoever looks at it. As I perused the shelves of books which included classical painting, photography, drawing, etc., I came across one of the classics of modern male psychology in graphical form - Calvin and Hobbes.

I couldn't resist checking out the collection of this masterfully created investigation of boyhood. It has become a point of family contention - but hey, I checked it out so I shouldn't have to wait for anyone else to be done looking at it so I can. As a family that loves to read, we always have a number of books at our disposal. But most of what we read doesn't make us laugh out loud. When you are sitting in the room with someone who is suddenly laughing as they read, you feel left out. It is as if there is a secret that you don't know and the one in the know wants you to know that they know while at the same time mocking you for not knowing. With TV, everyone in the room knows what the joke is. Not so with a book. Anyway, we have really been enjoying it.

My sister might argue that there are many similarities between the comic strip boy, Calvin, and me. I would say she is completely wrong. I just wish I would have had the imagination and adventurous spirit of the perpetual 6 year old. Oh the places I would have gone and the stories I could have provided my parents with had Calvin been around when I was of the same age. I could have used such a role model. I think my childhood would have been much different. But she and Mom would probably say there are plenty of stories.

At times, she probably felt like Susie, Clavin's annoying neighbor girl. Sure, Susie is smart and reasonable and tries to like Calvin. But He is just not interested in returning the favor. Just because my sister sometimes felt she was on the receiving end of a few, minor, little, Calvin-like interactions doesn't mean that I have/had much in common with Calvin. I think she should be very grateful that I am not/was not much like him at all.

Then there are Calvin and Hobbes tobaggon, wagon, and box rides down the hill. Now, that would have been really cool. We did have some sleds and a little red wagon, but the hills in our yard were pretty pathetic; hardly steep or long enough to attain warp speed or anything like that. There was the hill on Miller Road where we lived when I was Calvin's age. But since the hill was actually on Miller Road, Mom freaked out whenever she heard about us sledding down it. It is interesting that Calvin tends to be very philosophical as he is screaming down the hill with life and limb on the line. Maybe there is something to be learned there - maybe not?

Well now you've made it to the end of this entry and really haven't been enlightened or challenged or anything. But hey, I am still laughing from the book and you are just sitting here reading a blog and wondering why.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Too Busy to Blog

This weekend the girls celebrated Valentine's Day with a special party at Grandma's. They had been looking forward to it ever since their invitations arrived in the mail. No invitations arrived for Thomas and I, so we went out for dinner...our first date in quite a while. Celebrating Thomas's birthday, Valentine's Day, hey,our love... whatever, the prime rib sure was delicious. Two of the girls spent the night at one grandparent's and the other two at the other's. So we had not only a lunch date but the whole night to ourselves...We had better things to do than blog. Sorry no pictures!

Fun Friday

Friday afternoon was fun. I read some Shel Silverstein to the rest of the family. Sure feels good to laugh. The girls did some watercolors. The idea of regular art projects usually just remains that, an idea. One that we never have time for it seems. So it was one of the moments I felt, "This is how homeschooling should be." Then it was pizza and a movie.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Got Fruit?

God gives us various gifts to use, but He gives us the fruit of the Spirit to develop. When the Holy Spirit lives inside us, we have everything He has. His fruit is in us. The seed has been planted. In order to use the gifts in the most powerful way that God desires, we must allow the seed of the fruit to grow up and mature in us by cultivating it.

We can cultivate all the fruit by focusing on love, the first in the list of the nine fruit, and self-control, the last on the list. Love and self-control are like bookends that hold the rest in place. All of the fruit issue from love and actually are a form of love, but they are kept in place by self-control.

Secrets to Exceptional Living, Joyce Meyer


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Equal time

We had pictures of the other girls enjoying their time on Sunday. Here's one of Annalise with her friend Noah making music together on Sunday.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Superbowl Funday!

After church yesterday, Annalise was invited to spend the day with her friend, Noah. Noah and his family faithfully sent cards and emails while we were away last year. She had been eagerly anticipating this event all week. The day had finally arrived! She really enjoyed her time with him.

While she was enjoying her time with Noah, the rest of us headed of for another type of adventure, cross-country skiing. There is a state hunting area nearby that we took advantage of for a trip through the woods and fields.

Alayna testing out the cushioning of the snow and snow pants.

Aleixe and I enjoying the trails.

Adriana and Alexie after crossing the "big field".

It was our first time as a family making it this far. We have had ski boots fall apart, children fall apart, and winds howl as we have tried to make it across this field in the past. We were all glad to have made it to the woods this time.

My little snow bunnies!

It is no wonder the deer love this place! Food is left on the table all winter.

When we got back to the van, someone had to load the skis back onto the roof - and someone didn't.

It was a fun afternoon. We were all ready to just settle in and watch the Superbowl. Of course we are such poor sports fans that until it was talked about at church in the morning, we were not even sure who was playing. But hey, even we will try to watch the Superbowl - unless something more interesting is going on.


Sunday, February 3, 2008


Today we enjoyed a culinary treat. We visited our friends, Norm and Criselda. Being from the Philippines, Criselda was able to make an authentic Philippino meal. She even taught us the trick for making lumpia so that it wouldn't be greasy. Lumpia is a type of spring roll. She also made nilaga, a Philippino stew. Of course, rice was on the menu as well. We completed the meal with bibingka and halo-halo. Bibingka is a cake that uses rice flour. Halo-halo is an interesting mix of sweet fruits, beans, ice, and milk. I had heard of it, but this was the first time I had tasted it. I especially enjoyed the coconut. What a treat!

Thanks Criselda!!!