Who writes this stuff?

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I am happily married to an amazing military man who spent 9 years enlisted and is now an Officer in the US Army. We have two amazing boys who are not so little any more! They still infuse every moment of every day with creativity and energy, and make my life an adventure.  I was educated at home, and am now teaching our children - second generation homeschoolers! I try every day to become more like Jesus Christ, and to love like HE does. If you want you can try and catch me at bethylovesandy@yahoo.com

My Blog Title Verse

"For the Lord gives wisdom. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6 NKJV 
The Message translation puts it this way "God gives out Wisdom free, is plainspoken in Knowledge and Understanding."

Verse of the day

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bowls of Icecream...

...just because!

Zion said - "Mom, don't take my picture!"

and the looks just kept getting darker...


Finally, a smile! sort of....

Canaan on the other hand, is a ham!


(albiet, with chocolate on his face, but a ham none the less)

Anyone who is a picture person can look at these pictures and see why I asked for a camera for my birthday. I'll be letting you know how that turns out... (it's in the mail!)

Monday, May 24, 2010

A repost

My friend Tricia has been sharing some of her older posts, a bit of remembering. I realized today that I could do that too.
This was originally posted May 31st of last year.

A post from the road
We are somewhere in Louisianna, at a Comfort Inn. My parents and children are in the room next door. Two of my sisters and a friend are in the beds behind me. I should be sleeping, and preparing for another day on the road tomorrow.
But right this minute I am just so very full. Full of Joy. Full of Faith. Full of Hope.
I have to let some of it out before I can attempt to sleep.

A few days ago I was reading a devotional about Nehemiah. They basis of the reading was pointing out in the second chapter when the king asks him why he is sad, Nehemiah is terrified but his first reaction is to pray.
My absolute first thought when reading this was, "well duh!"

After reading through the encouraging devotional concerning this subject I was actually in some ways disheartened. I was so saddened by the thought that there are some people, God fearing Christian people who love Jesus with their whole heart, who would not have their first reaction be prayer. What a sad, sad, thing to focus on fear, or any emotion really. How very blessed I am that I was taught from my earliest memories to place absolutely everything at the feet of God.

So, I have been thinking about this scripture, and prayer, and my amazing family a lot over the last couple of days.
After spending a lot of hours in the van with my parents and Kelsey driving to TX, I have had plenty of opportunity to NOT like my family. But none of those little nitpicky things matter. Honestly, it may drive me a little batty the way my dad drives, or they way my mom fusses at the way he drives, but those things don't change what really matters.
We were raised right. That is just a wonderful thing to have!

Now, on the way back to GA, we have Mary and her roommate Lindsay with us, and a second car. The van is loaded down with all the girls stuff, my parents, and my kids. The car has the four of us girls. As we were driving down the road this evening a song came on about God being our healer, and our portion, and something about trust. For some reason I just lost it. I was suddenly tired of being sick, tired of asking for healing. Tired of waiting for my sister to be well, and have a baby. For most of my life my parents have taken me to healing services, had me prayed over by anyone with that gift, asked repeatedly for God to step in.

The answer has always been Not right now.

The healing has always been for my heart, and my attitude, and my ability to cheerfully be diabetic, willingly use my disease as a ministry. I have had plenty of healing, and I wouldn't trade it for physical healing - not for a minute.

But for some reason this new disorder, these blackouts, or atypical migraines, or whatever they are - they are sapping my ability to cheerfully "deal". Added to that my unbelievable hurt for my little sister's physical and emotional pain, and the fact that my hubby is gone and our adoption is still delayed...
I guess I was a walking timebomb full of tears.

But here is the amazing part. Kelsey reached over and grabbed one hand. Mary reached up from the back seat for another hand. And we poured out our tears to our Father. Fears and hurt. Hopes and dreams. Old and new. As a family, automatically.
We were missing one sister, but she was definitely included, and prayed for.

I am so very thankful for my family. I am so glad that our automatic response, to pain or joy, is to take it to Jesus.
Faith. Joy. Hope. Truth. That is what we have, as well as who we are.

Emilee Hope, Kelsey Joy, Mary Faith - and Bethany Ruth... I get to be Truth. That is our heritage, and we claim it. This year, just as much as last.

And we love to laugh!

Friday, May 21, 2010

7th Birthday pictures


His "first thing in the morning" present from Noni.

And of course, one for Zion too, so he wouldn't feel left out. Crazy, spoiling, Noni.

Canaan's birthday party may have been last minute, and haphazardly planned, but it was fun, so all is well.

My friend Mary has a giant inflatable water slide.
(She runs a children't ministry, and used this for an end of the year party a few times.
Lucky us!)


Maddy, the little sister of good friend Cole, didn't want those big boys landing on top of her. She got the slide all to herself every once in awhile.

Then she would sit in safety with Mom and baby brother.

Getting wet, throwing water balloons, and trying to be a cool as Cole's big brother - What could be better?

Trust me, big brother CJ is being a helper - it looks like he is pushing in this picture, but he is just keeping them under control a little bit!

I failed at the "make a cake tomorrow morning" goal - I tried a new recipe, which was a total flop. Luckily, Walmart is close by, always open, and has cookie cakes in stock at all times.

I don't think he minded, do you?

Just had to show how very much I am my Mother's daughter. See the Lego in the corner of the picture, with the Target clearance tag still on it? That was from me. I was just so proud of that half price deal. I couldn't bear to take the price off! If I had been giving it to someone else, of course I would have, but staying in the family I didn't want to forget what a great bargain I had gotten!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Remembering

Andy is always trying to get me to clean out and get rid of things. We are military after all, and every piece of paper is weight, which has to be moved over and over again. But there are some things that I just can't let go.
Last summer while he was deployed I cleaned out "under the stairs" at my mom's house, and got rid of some old cards, letters, toys from my childhood. But some had to stay.
This week I have been trying to do the same with the more recent memories. More pieces of paper from college, cards sent congratulating us on being pregnant (with Canaan) all the letters from Basic, Tech school, Korea and all three deployments.
Andy insists that boys don't care about things like that, and there is absolutely no reason to save the cards they got for their first halloween... but it sure it hard to just throw them away. I had to save the entire first year. Just because.
But I guess they don't need the cards for their second and third birthdays?
Anyway, he can't lie and say that males don't care about words. He has saved every letter I ever sent him while he has been gone. He put them in ziplock bags and brought them home again. Much of the time in which I have been supposed to be getting rid of things, I have instead been reading my old letters to him.
There have been pages and pages of trite filler - at first telling him about my class, and then about Canaan, and later Zion. There are also pages and pages of gushing about how much I love and miss him. But mixed in with the daily details and mush, I find moments recorded when God spoke to me. And I am so very grateful to have those written down on paper and saved for me. the memory of those moments is almost as strong as when they happened in the first place.

The first time Andy deployed he went to an "undisclosed location" in the middle east. It was only for a little over three months, so I really couldn't complain. Our first child was 8 months old, and I was blessed to be able to leave our earthly belongings in our base housing in CA, and stay with my family in GA.
Here is an small part of a letter I had written Andy from about halfway through the deployment:
"Tonight on the way home from your parent's it just felt wrong. I was going to the wrong place, and the wrong people were going to be there. As much as I love my family and this beautiful little room they have fixed for me, it just felt wrong. I guess I had reached the end of my rope. I was beginning to feel that I couldn't do it anymore.... Tonight, I just wanted to hold you. And if the story ended there, I would be crying right now. But God is gracious. Part of my Bible reading for tonight was Psalm 34 - 'I will bless the Lord at ALL TIMES:His praise shall continually be in my mouth.' I am reminded to give praise in all things, even when I have reached the end of my own strength. That is the only thing that keeps me going- His strength. So I guess this is a letter to remind you to trust in His strength and to praise Him in all things. Vs 4 says 'He delivered me from all my fears.' So, once again I hand Him all my fears. I take them back almost daily, but He always accept them when I turn them over again."

That was over six year ago now, and he has gone away, again and again since that time. And yes, it has gotten easier. Partly because I have gotten use to it, but also because I have those reminders over and over that "I will bless the Lord at ALL TIMES".
That is why I cannot get rid of old letters. I just can't. You never know when you might NEED to read them again.
As a side note, I have an entire gallon sized bag full of letters I have written him for each deployment. I think Andy has about 30 total, for the entire 8 years of AF time. He was such a great writer until I married him.... Why is that once you get a ring on your finger, they quit trying quite so hard? But, at least I have last year's poetry! I told you, words are important!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy 7th Birthday Canaan


I was going to write a beautiful post about how seven years ago this beautiful boy made me a mother.
And really, I am so glad that he did. I CANNOT imagine life without him.
But I have a sore throat, and an aching head, it is after 1am, and I still have to wrap the presents, and make a cake in the morning, plus I promised him whatever he wanted for breakfast.
I sure do wish Andy would get home from work...
In the meantime, enjoy a small slideshow of Canaan over the last seven year.

Seems just like yesterday.

We made him just like Daddy, right from the beginning.
Not that it was hard - he looks just like him!

Right around his first birthday. Those pics aren't digital, so you get what you get!

This was right before Daddy left for a year in Korea.
I held onto this picture a lot while he was gone.


I love this picture - before Andy cut off all his curls!
This was just a couple months after he turned two.

The new big brother.
Third birthday mohawk
What, you never heard of that tradition?

Just a cute one... about 3 1/2

He caught his first fish on his fourth birthday.

Already has the "sweater attitude"...

Fifth - the addiction begins

but he got a bike too!

And a week later, was in my sister's wedding.

Last year was a huge party - we're going a little less crazy this year.

Last fall

Last week

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

School, or not...

There was a recent interview on Good Morning America with a "Radical Unschooling" family. Rather then following a curriculum, or schedule, they have student led learning. After watching the interview, I would definitely say they qualify for "radical". However, I have always considered myself more of an unschooler than a homeschooler.
Rather then pick out exactly what we want to learn each year, we sort of just play it by ear. I do have Andy, who was raised by a public school teacher. A very talented, but structured, one. And he is military too. He doesn't do well with lack of structure! So there has to be some middle ground.
We tried to do a 1st grade history book this year. We got bored. So, Canaan picked points in history that held his attention, and we did an in depth study of them.
We started a 1st grade reading program. Once again, way too much repetition. So, we picked out easy reader books in the subjects we were studying anyway, and he got his reading practice that way. His spelling words came from whatever subject we were studying, and the handwriting the same way.
We studied space, because it fascinated him.
Medieval times, Knights, construction of castles, and why the middle ages ended.
Immigration, and how our country is made up of all different cultures, in one giant "melting pot".
The library is our friend!
He learned to tell time, and the basics of fractions, and multiplication, just because he wanted to - not because a book said we should.
He had to learn the parts of speech. Nouns and verbs. Proper use of punctuation. Those are things that just have to be taught, usually with a workbook.
But, history and social studies, geography and science, art, and at his age, even math - well, we have had so much fun just playing with them. Soaking them up.
Andy has even gotten involved in the hands on part. After burning dead branches in the yard on monday, I decided to talk about the three "ingredients" needed for fire. Andy just turned on the stove and stuck a piece of paper on the burner- Started a fire. Stuck it in a pot with the lid on tight - put it out. Taught him everything he needed to know right there. Fuel, heat, oxygen. We have continued talking about different kinds of fuel, and sources of heat, but that lesson has stuck with him. Seeing something burning in the kitchen, right there in daddy's hand - that is education!
Here are a few pictures of our study of Sea Life. We made "claydough", molded it, baked it and painted it.

Don't you know the most important part is making a mess?

Hard working boys!

A group shot of our designs. Several of Zion's were, according to him, "boulders".
Twin sharks - one by mommy, one by Canaan.

Canaan's octopus.

Zion's turtle.

Today we went to the library and picked out about 30 books on Ancient Egypt, Mummies, and Archeology. Looks like the summer is going to be fun!

Let me leave you with this quote...

delicate little plant in need of freedom. Einstein quote at DailyLearners.com

Monday, May 10, 2010

Isolation recap

I had four days to myself. The house was quiet. I really should be relaxed, and renewed, right?
Whatever!!

I lost the first 5 hours waiting for my radioactive pill to arrive by special Fed Ex, which apparently had a delay. Thankfully, I had a book with me.
Then, everybody called me all day Thursday and Friday. Which really, I didn't mind. It was just hilarious that people were so concerned about my health - I swallowed a pill, for pete's sake. And no, it did not make me glow. Bummer, huh!
But, I cleaned out the boys room - clothes, toys, books and puzzles. I vacuumed the baseboards, while all the legos were put away, and I am pretty sure I only sucked up two. That may be a record. Even with all the hospital time, and phone time, they weren't wasted days.
By Sat... well, I guess everyone knew that I was fine, because NO ONE called me all day long. Not even my husband. He called me when he woke up, just to make sure I was still alive. Then, I didn't hear a peep out of him again all day long. Or my mom, or sisters, or strangely enough, one single friend. All in the same day.
Want to see what I got done in the day of silence?

I wish I had a "before" picture of the closet, but at least you can see most of the mess that was in it.

When I remembered to take pictures, this was what was left in the closet.

This was what needed to go back, either into the closet...

or onto the bottom shelf you can see behind the stack of books.
Under the basket of tea. Do you think I have enough? Tea that is.
Trust me, this isn't even a drop in the bucket of the books...
I am actually an insanely organized person, about what I want to be. It is slightly ridiculous. So, after nearly a year of living here, the school/craft closet had gotten a lot of use, and very cluttered.

I felt the need to weed some things out. Re-distribute. Re-label. Re-organize. The old children's magazines - we love Highlights- go into cereal boxes trimmed down. Playdough, popsicle sticks, glitter - proper containers. Markers, crayons, glue sticks, scissors, dry erase.... etc each has their own wipe box. See what I mean - slightly OCD.
I like to stock up at the back to school sales every year, when things are cheaper. I always have extra glue, and paper, and crayons. I think I may have gotten a little carried away on the scotch tape...

Yep, that is a giant sized pretzel tub, and yes, that is 16 rolls of tape. Sixteen! That doesn't even count the two or three open ones floating around the house...

The three drawer container has a drawer for construction paper, a drawer for other kinds of paper, and a drawer full of flash card type things. Many of which have been around since I was a kid. There is a "learn to tell time" set that was my dad's when he was young. (found the link on E-bay, so don't know how long it will be active) The discovery toys Think it Through tiles are in there too. Anybody else use those? They have been around since my sister's were little, and they were easy "puzzle time" for Canaan this year. I love my family!

When it was all done the closet looked like this -

Ideas for Canaan next year, neatly stacked. Ideas for Zion next year, neatly stacked. Coloring books and cereal boxes full of magazines in neat little rows. Geography is tucked up in a corner you can't see, as are several really great books on art. And at the very bottom, the backpacks with the rest of what needs to be completed "this year". Technically, we only have 13 days of school left before we are done. But I just got the coolest book from my MIL about Ancient Egypt. So, don't expect the learning to end, just because summer is here!

And here is the final view of the shelf, organized by subject matter. My "One Million Things", lots of science, (animals, space, dino's, germs, the human body...) Ancient history, Medieval history, American history, some teacher manuals and a really hideously ugly, but practical daily planner I dug out of the attic. Andy says it looks like a grandma's couch in 1982. I don't think that is supposed to be a compliment at all. But, it has a place for a scripture of the week, a personal goal for the week, dinner plans, and still room for writing which subjects I want to try to study which days, which days are library days... it goes on and on...
Ugly, but useful. You can't have everything, right?
All in all, my weekend of isolation was not a vacation. I worked hard. But, I had fun with my work. And, I took a little time for plain old fun too. In fact, with no one here to fuss at me to turn out the light and go to sleep, after all that work on Sat. I stayed up to 4am reading a book.
Foolish foolish woman... because the boys all came home the next day, and I will never get that chance to sleep back again. Oh well! I enjoyed the book, and I am GLAD to have my boys back!