My Big Life Change!

Picture taken by Abby Austin of 1000 Miles on my own two feet.


To transform my life, with God's help of course, one step at a time.

1. Get healthy & honor God with my body

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

2.Become at least 50% sustainable with emphasis on doing our part to take care of God's planet.

3. Live life as an adventure, experiencing new places, things & people.
18 out of 150 bucket list goals accomplished

4. Become debt free & build security for my family, so we can then bless others financially also.

5. Continue to grow closer to God, building My family's faith & sharing the Gospel with those we meet, by using the talents and gifts God has provided us.

6.Continue to make money by creating and sharing my thoughts and beliefs through artistic expression: all the while hoping that my art will impact others. "Holly Kennedy

: All I know is, if you don't figure out this something, you'll just stay ordinary, and it doesn't matter if it's a work of art, or a taco, or a pair of socks! Just create something... new, and there it is, and it's you, out in the world, outside of you, and you can look at it, or hear it, or read it, or feel it... and you know a little more about... you. A little bit more than anyone else does... Does that make any sense at all?" Quote from PS I LOVE YOU

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My first book review: REGGIE!

REGGIE: You Can't Change Your Past, But You Can Change Your Future

Reggie Dabbs is a world recognized motivational speaker. In this book, REGGIE, Dabbs tells his story of his past that could possibly cripple his life and sometimes does. But is his discovery of finding himself, he finds God and his true purpose.
Dabbs’ story will make you laugh and cry. I found myself wanting to be like Reggie! He is very inspiring, and helps you take a good look at your life and how your past might be holding you back.  More than a story, this is a spiritual study guide. At the end of each chapter, there are ten very powerful and insightful reflection questions. This book would be great for a group of students who are new or undecided in their faith. His words will challenge the students in ways most other guides will not. He relates to students well through the use of entertaining stories and pondering questions that will dig into their souls and find those hurt s that hinder them.
Dabbs shares funny, personal stories that connect the reader to his message. In one story, his Pinkie Toe talks with the rest of his body; trying to warn the body to stray from harm. He correlates this story to one small voice making a big difference in the world. He also relates Bible stories to his experiences, including the story of Hosea and Gomer. However, the first three chapters confused me – who is his audience? Is he speaking to students or adults? Also this is a book about finding God , but God isn’t mentioned until the third chapter. These little stories are broken up with in other stories creating confusion in the plot. However, if you dig through the confusion, the effort is well rewarded.
I would recommend this book to church small group youth leaders.  But more importantly, if you are someone who is searching for yourself and God, this book will help you find both!

I review for BookSneeze®

Monday, March 28, 2011

meatloaf, mac-n-cheese, and the Music Man

Okay so my weekend was great! I finally made 2 recipes that I have been storing and saving for. I also got to check out the local Family video in town and rented The Music Man.

The Meatloaf - I have never liked meatloaf. My husband loves it. One night at Bible study a friend had made barbecue meatloaf and I didn't want to appear rude so I tried it and it wasn't bad. You see I don't like the taste of  ground meat. I don't like meaty burgers that aren't seasoned well, and I have never liked meatloaf, because it taste like meat with ketchup on it. I definitely don't like ketchup on my meat. Anytime John wants meatloaf we would go to a buffet where he could eat meatloaf and I could eat something else. When we lived on Blackwelder Ave. we had cable tv and my favorite channel was the Food Network.  One day I saw the Neelys making a BBQ Turkey Meatloaf and it sounded like something I could try. After all if the meatloaf tasted like barbecue sauce then I might be able to stomach it. The same show they made their mac-n-cheese. I definitely could get into that. The problem with many chef recipes are that they A require many ingredients that are area specific, meaning that they are hard to find in good fresh quantities everywhere else. Or B are very time consuming and require many steps that average cooks don't have time or effort for. This was definitely the case with this meatloaf recipe. First it required their seasoning and their BBQ sauce. I could have used other barbecue sauce and seasoning but it's best to do it their way first and then adapt later. We had to buy spices we haven't had in the spice rack for awhile. Like dry mustard and paprika, Crab Boil seasoning? We don't eat crabs here so I have never had that in the house. After cooking the barbecue sauce for an hour and 15 minutes I realized that I didn't have any paprika. So I sent my hubby on an errand to get paprika and ice cream. We would definitely need the ice cram to tide us over till the meatloaf was ready. After all the work to make the barbecue sauce and the barbecue seasoning, then assemble the meatloaf. I was exhausted, but it was a very tasty meatloaf  with strong barbecue flavor and although it wouldn't be my first choice to eat, I would be able to make it again and have it once a year or so. The only thing I would add is that it is very hard to tell if the meatloaf was done and since I had never made meatloaf before I would like to know what the internal temperature is supposed to be. But it was done in the amount of time they gave us.

The Mac-N-Cheese - Now this macaroni-n-cheese recipe was much easier to make. I knew that cooked bacon was going to be on top so I made bacon for breakfast the morning before and saved 5 pieces to crumble later. The hardest part about making this recipe was making the Roux. I have never been really good at making roux. I am so afraid of burning the flour that I never seem to cook it long enough. It also isn't really clear on how thick the cheese sauce should get before you pour it onto the noodles. So I think my cheese sauce was a little too thick. But ultimately I think it turned out really well. It was very tasty. John has never liked mac-n-cheese and I was sort of hoping that I could make a mac-n-cheese that he would like, but no dice. I will not give up my quest to find that perfect mac-n-cheese that my whole family will eat. All in all these recipes were good, but I don't know if they were worth the effort. But I do not regret making them. I want to continue to make new recipes to increase my cooking skill and keep my repertoire open to new things. Do you have a favorite recipe? 

The Music Man - This was a wonderful musical classic made with the best of them.
Robert Preston and Meredith Wilson did a fantastic job of portraying the characters. I did find most of the music to be odd though. Shaboopy I think is the name of one song and I was cracking up because it was talking about finding a girl that wasn't a prude or a hussy. But the reason I was laughing was every time they said Shaboopy I heard She's Poopy. She's Poopy. I  don't know what it really means. But I thought it was funny, as my daughter runs around the room, I am asking myself, Is she poopy? I would definitely watch it again. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ponderings of a Church Youth Worker!

Disclaimer - The things I am going to say in this blog are purely my opinion. I have worked with youth for over 8 years in a church setting. I am not an expert! But I believe everything I write to be true and hope that it helps those who need to hear it.

These are some things I have come to realize while working with the youth of today.

1. You can't raise a child alone. - You might have heard the saying " It takes a village to raise a child." I completely agree. Moms and dads or grandparents or guardians who are raising their children without any outside influence are destined to fail. Have you ever noticed that dangerous cults and militant groups hide themselves away for the most part and only show themselves when it usually is too late. How as parents are we to raise a child on our own and give them the best upbringing? When I started working in  WCC's youth department, there were around 700 kids that would show up for Wednesday night youth service. Most of these kids didn't go to church on a regular basis, but they came there. I noticed a few things. A lot of the kids that didn't come to church, just came for their friends. Most didn't want any adult interaction, just to have a good time. Yet they came to a church service, listened to the music, fidgeted through the sermon and would come back the next week. Usually with more friends. Now, that isn't to brag on the church, though I love it so. They wanted attention and not just from their friends. Adults who were there every week who would show them attention. Sometimes we had to try real hard for their attention, but even though they seemed like they didn't care; we know that they did. They could have gone to a park or a friends house, but instead they hung out with us. The most successful parents I know have their kids involved in church and or other positive outlets. It is not just to keep the youth busy, but to involve other positive adults into their lives. Now I am not saying dropping your kids off at church, makes your kid successful. You have to be involved. Get to know the sponsors/leaders. Find out what the sermon/ lesson is about. Ask your them questions. Be involved! But don't do it alone. Involving God into your family is the single most influential decision you can ever make. He and only he can change hearts. But adding positive role models into your family's life will not only make you a better parent but a better person.

Freedom isn't free -  It was a pleasure of mine to get to go to an Orange Conference as part of my youth training. This conference was about bringing church leaders and parents together to raise a child. It was wonderful and I learned so much. But what astounded me the most was that after elementary school most parents dropped off the radar in their child's life. Thoughts that the middle schooler or teen was old enough to have a little freedom. So parents would back off and let their child have amazing amounts of freedom. But freedom isn't free and it can cost you too much. Young adulthood is a time of turmoil and choices and finding identity and when a youth is left alone with these decisions and hard times, they are likely to fail. As a youth worker I was always able to tell which teens had "free reign" on their own lives. There isn't as much of a description as there was a feeling about them. Sad. Usually this was because their parents weren't there at all, albeit missing mom or dad. Or that the parents weren't their emotionally for them. We would see this all the time. Parents that used drugs, had unhealthy relationships of their own, or parents whose plates were too full to deal with their older kids. These kids would start acting out for attention and when it didn't work they would go elsewhere for their love. Teens hate discipline, but they need it. If you aren't guiding their decisions then their friends are. Now, that doesn't mean they should be held on such a tight leash that they have no decisions. Eventually that leash will break and they will probably run as far away as possible. But, realizing that your teen is unique and letting him/her find their own identity through your guidance is the best possible answer in my book.

Trying on different hats - The teenage years are designed to be fun and a time where you can find yourself. I have bonded with teens wearing Gothic clothes and teens with Mohawks. I have had wonderful indepth conversations with kids that play guitar and those that play basketball. Deep down, all of them are trying to establish their unique personality but more than that they are looking for acceptance. Will I be accepted if I wear this clothing? Will mom and dad accept me only if I make perfect grades? Will I feel loved if I date this person? Will I be cool if I smoke that? These are all questions that I have seen many respectable young Christian teens ask. Of course they don't ask it out loud. Will you answer the questions or will they have to find out for themselves. In my opinion, if the questions are addressed at home and the child feels acceptance and love from their families then the teen will be able to find their uniqueness. But if they go on a quest for love and acceptance, they will forget to look for their personality and will adapt the personality of those that they feel love and acceptance from. Once the love and acceptance are established then the fun task of finding their personality can begin. Will I love to read? Will I be a leader or a follower? What will my character be. This can be fun! Letting your kids try on different hats in life will help them establish who they are. Remember failing at one thing doesn't mean they fail in life. If they don't do well in math but excel in writing, encourage those strengths. Help them find their strengths and work on their weaknesses. But remember to have fun with them. You once had to do this too. There was a student that came to my small group one night. We will call him Jerry. I was leading an all girls small group on Sunday nights and he came with his girlfriend. Jerry was the most Goth-ed out student I had ever seen. Black lipstick and black dyed hair and all. He didn't want to join the guys group so I let him stay that night in our group. He showed up for 2 groups and never showed back up again. One Wednesday night I saw him sitting in the sanctuary before the sermon started. I sat next to him exchanged plesantrys and said that I missed seeing him around. He said that him and his girlfriend broke up and he didn't come to church very often because of her. The sermon started and we didn't get to talk anymore. after service I told him that I hope that he keeps coming for him and that I hope to see him again. But I didn't see him after that. About 6 months after that a student came in to the room I was setting up and asked me if I remembered him. I apologized and said that he looked familiar but I didn't know who he was. IT WAS JERRY! But he was different. He had beautiful mouse brown hair cut professionally and was dressed in khaki pants and a nice button up shirt. Gone were the chains and the piercings. He said that I had made a big difference in his life by loving him for who he was, how he was. It doesn't take much folks to show someone you care and that makes all the difference. When you can love someone no matter what they look like or what they wear or even how they smell, you will get to see the real Jerry. Nothing can replace that feeling.

 Everyone has secrets - whether it is secrets of crushes or something more serious, everyone holds something back. But deep down we all want to tell our secrets to someone. Someone we can trust to keep it safe. Way back when I was a teenager, I was considered put together. I usually had the right answers, made the right decisions and knew how to make the adult think that I was ok! But on the inside I wasn't. I had thoughts of suicide all the time and tried it twice. I didn't know how to tell my secrets. I was too afraid to show my hand that I would collapse and never get back up again. Now my childhood wasn't that awful. I did have a dysfunctional family, but who doesn't? When I was in youth for a couple of years I learned why I went through my childhood. There are so many teens out there the same way I was. The pressure of life in even the happiest of families can crumble a person. I remember talking with one of my dear students one night. We were just shooting the breeze and she dropped a bomb on me. She had been experimenting with cutting. I was flabbergasted, though I tried not to look it. Her parents were active in the church, she was at every youth event and was one of my students that I thought had it together. I fell for the same stereotype I was famous for. This was when I realized that I wasn't an anomaly. You can be a good student, make the right decisions and have a mostly happy childhood and still feel helpless. This is why small groups are so important, for adults and for students. Everyone needs a place to feel safe and feel that they can share their secrets without getting disciplined for them. Now as an adult my safe place is Celebrate Recovery. They even have a teen version of CR. There are youth groups all over the world that have small groups designed for this purpose. Don't wait till it is too late.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Getting ready to write!

I found a few places online that send you free books if you review them and post the review on your blog and amazon. So I signed up and I got my first book in the mail on Saturday. I am in the process of reading it now but I have a few questions for some other bloggers. Is there a template for reviewing a book correctly?
You see my brain likes to over think things. I want to get it write. I am taking notes through out the book. What questions should I answer for those who want to read the book? Any ideas? And no I am not going to tell you what book it is, but I will tell you that it is a Christian Study book. Meaning that it has questions in the book after each chapter for reflection on how you can apply the words to your life.

Monday, March 21, 2011

To lose or to win.

Today as I was reading through the blogs that I follow, I noticed something that struck me. It was a blog about how a mother feels pressured to stop having children because people think it would be easier. She related to the diaper changing stage of life as a way of serving God and that when the changing diapers is over God will keep her busy with other things that follow His path. It was a beautiful analogy and I enjoyed the reading. But the comments reminded me of why I don't read a lot of mom blogs. A beautiful blog gets commented on by many people and then suddenly they are commenting on other comments and debating on how many kids one should have, whether to use cloth or disposable diapers, stay-at-home or work. A simple friendly banter turns to ugliness and misunderstood comments. Hurt feelings and the need to prove that one way is better than the other.

I think most families have certain things they fight about. Relationships, religion, politics,all sorts of stuff. There were 3 things you didn't talk about in my extended family unless you wanted a fight; politics, religion, and my dad. My sister and I warned our friends and men of this before introducing them to certain people. I got so sick of people fighting over things they could not change. If you can't make the situation better then why fight over it? I got to the point that even friendly debates got my nerves a tingling. I would have to leave the room!

What turns us into these people? The need to express our opinions turn into some sort of battle over unimportant things. We have the need to fight it out. I remember Andy Stanley telling a story about a family that came into him for counseling. The dad was very upset because his daughter fell in love with a guy from a different race and a different culture. He had the Bible in his hands and was screaming and yelling passages from the Bible on why it was wrong. His daughter and boyfriend showed up and were trying to explain their love transcended race and rules. The father finally pulled out a piece of paper that declared that he had the right to arrest his daughter and bring her back with him. Andy finally pulled the dad aside and said that he could arrest his own daughter to be right, and lose his daughter. Or he could lose the argument and win her heart. He decided to lose the argument. Andy kept up with family and a year later he spoke with them. The girl and the boyfriend were good friends but ended the relationship because they were heading different directions.  The dad had started sending his daughter love letters and their relationship was better than ever. Now, had he chosen a different path; imagine the hurt and devastation he would have caused over a now pointless argument. 

So what happens when you lose an argument? Do you become bitter and enraged? Do you become humble? Do you walk away in shame? I think it is so important to teach our children not to become sore losers, but it is just as important to teach them how to be humble winners. What is the purpose of a win? How will it affect the other person/people. Was the battle worth the cost? Am I showing God's love no matter win or lose? 

I hope so!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It is very hard for me to believe that it has almost been a year since we moved out to the country, Chickasha, OK! Boy time does fly when you are having fun. I have discovered so much in this year that it is almost immeasurable. God has taught me many lessons this year through the help of friends and I want to take this time to thank those people that have been monumental in this year.
First I have grown many steps in my quest to enjoy "quiet time". I am not referring to quiet moments, which are only possible in this house if the toddler and all the dogs are sleeping. I am referring to being alone. You see, one of my constant struggles as a codependent is being alone. My inner being detests alone time. The devil knows this and uses every opportunity to bring me down, tell me lies and drudge up the past. But luckily God has used certain wonderful people in Chickasha to help me through these struggles and to teach me how to use this time to grow closer to God and learn more about myself.
Megan. She is a fellow blogger and Stay at home mom. I don't think she knows how much she has enriched my life. When I was searching for friends she befriended me at church and always had a friendly smile to offer. She is one of those people that I want to flock to because her heart for God is so available. Megan had invited us for lunch one day after church, no notice just an invite and I was and am still very grateful for that. It meant a lot that she cared enough about us to invite us over without fussing about details. It was one of the most wonderful moments I have had here in Chickasha. It seems silly but, so many people including me never show you their house without plenty of warning. Although, we are truthful in our want to enjoy and be enjoyable, there are parts of ourselves that we feel we need to hide. Messy houses, untidy places that we feel we can't expose. Now her house clean and welcoming, but it was lived in, so I felt completely comfortable to be me in her house and with her family. The experience was beautiful.  I don't know how i stumbled on to her blog, but I was amazed when I did find it. It was just what I needed. I was a new blogger and I looked to her site as a guidebook to blogging.  Her spirit is uplifting and her blogs are thought provoking and wonderfully written. I have also met many other wonderful Christian bloggers through her blog; that draw me closer to God. Please check out her blog Sorta Crunchy if you can, you won't be disappointed. I am very thankful for her.

Secondly, God has been teaching me to serve only for Him. When I started going to Celebrate Recovery at the wonderful Baptist Church here in Chickasha; I was being told by God to go a whole year without making commitments to serve in the church. This was very hard for me to do, because I had used service in the church to fill up my calendar, fill my need to be needed, and to build my self esteem. All of these things should have been lead by God, but instead I was doing them for my own selfish reasons. Celebrate Recovery helped me see why and when I was doing this, but God told me that I needed to break the habit. Yes you can get addicted to serving. Or more point in fact people. I needed them as much as they needed me and therefore I was not being God's hands and feet. I was relying on my own power, although I did it with the best intentions.  Many people have been very influential in this aspect of my growing process. Some of them are:

Cindy is (how do I say it) the most wonderful bundle of positive energy I have ever met. She has been a mentor, a friend and a provider for me this year. She is always so positive, even when times are tough. God has used her to help me get through the tough moments and help me move past my conflicts with being dependent on people. She is very wise and she guided me through writing and sharing my testimony for the first time. For this I will be eternally grateful. She is helping me to enjoy life more. It is easy for me to write about adventures but doing them is not as simple. Being in Cindy's presence is always an adventure. I will forever be grateful for her.
Jennifer is a wonderful soul and my neighbor. It was a couple of months before I got the nerves to talk to her. Meeting new neighbors has always been hard for me, since I moved a lot growing up. Once I did I was kicking myself for waiting so long. We are kindred spirits. We get each other. We have a lot in common and are both moms, Christians and wives of truck drivers. When we talk together we never want to end the conversation. God lead me to her because I needed a friend that I could see almost everyday. He knows my fears and being able to talk to someone, who isn't my husband, allows me to feel better. She also needed me to watch her daughter after school and on days when school is out. I enjoy having an older child around and Joslyn gets the interaction she needs too. I am learning so much from being in their lives and I enjoy their company very much.
Thirdly, God is teaching me that I don't have to have money to have fun or reach others for him. He has given me many ideas on how I can use what I have. I have learned so much about money in this phase of my life and I know that I am not done growing on this issue. I have talked before about our lessons through Financial Peace but I don't think I said that it would have been possible without my friend Heather.
Heather. How do I describe her? Joyous, amazing, successful, loving, generous, etc... The list could go on and on. When she joined my CR group I had no idea how influential she would be in my life. John and I started talking seriously about going to FPU but had no idea how we were going to afford the 100 enrollment fee. We figured that we would be able to raise the money some how. Well, after mentioning that in CR one night, Heather walked up to me and said that she wanted to sponsor us. She didn't even know me that well and definately didn't know John. Well, I was floored! I knew that she was obeying God by doing this. Well of course I told her that we would accept only if she would hold me accountable for going. She did and we have been great friends and accountability partners ever since. I love her dearly and feel so lucky to get to be a part of her life.
Sharon. Sharon is a woman in my Sunday School class that I was intrigued about right away. I noticed her humble attitude and serving heart right away. It took me awhile to get to talk to her because she was always surrounded by people who she was serving. Since the moment Megan had invited us to her house on a whim, I had wanted to do that for someone else. I knew that Sharon was that person. When I invited her she accepted and I was thrilled. As we ate our sausage and french fries (glamorous isn't it) , we got to talk and get to know each other. We were like two peas in a pod. Feeling the same way about so many things. We talked about our enjoyment of playing games and how it invokes wonderful feelings for both of us. A couple of months later we had our first Friday night game night. I made tons of food and expected many people but it ended up just being my sister, Sharon and I. We had so much fun. We have had many other Friday night game nights and it has always been just the two of us, well 3 Joslyn included. I have loved every one of them, getting to know this kindred spirit a little better.
There are so many people that have been influential in my life and I can't name them all. But these people have been valuable since I moved to Chickasha. I had left so many of my friends behind in the city that I felt abandoned. I pleaded with God to bring people in my life that would help me during this time of struggle.
I don't like asking people for help but God has shown me that I am not doing his will if I don't trust Him in providing for me through His people. The desires I had to help others wasn't wrong it just had to be God lead, then it could work the way it was supposed to. And it had to go both ways. I had to be humble enough to ask for help as much as I liked helping others. These people have allowed me to be who I really am and loved me for it. I couldn't be luckier.
As we look forward to a future move and the exciting new plan that God has for our lives, I can't help but be nostalgic as I look at who we are leaving behind. I will miss each of them so much! Thank you God for the people you have put in my life. May our friendships always be healthy and pleasing to you Lord. May we grow together, lifting each other up in times of need and drawing each other to your will.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mary Poppins

Since I plan on home schooling, I am coming up with a list of books that I think Joslyn should read in school. And because I want her to be able to gain knowledge and enjoy reading; she will be required to write a report on most of the required books. Now obviously, there will be books that she will read for fun, but the major classics and some of the most popular books will be on that list. Since I am not a dictator, I will be reading these books first to determine what questions I should ask and if the books are appropriate. A lot of these books I will have her read and then we will watch the movie to determine the differences. I have noticed that many movies that I love are based on books and usually I like the book better. The first book I have chosen is Mary Poppins.

Unlike most of the books that I have read that were turned into movies, I do not like the book of Mary Poppins more than the movie. I believe that the book would have been a totally different experience if I had never seen the movie. The Mary Poppins in the book is so very different. She is 100% more vain then in the movie and it is overwhelming in the book. Also, she is so rude in her responses to the children that it is almost cruel. This destroyed the beautiful, sweet Mary Poppins that I grew to love in the movie. Some of the other characters are very different also and between the first two books that I have read so far, there are many more adventures that show a whole different world in Mary Poppins. I did enjoy the book enough to finish the series. But I almost don't want Joslyn to see the movie until she had read the books.
Now I have some questions for my readers. I need advise on how to have Joslyn do book reports. What questions should I ask that will provoke thought and breakdown of books. Do you guys have any books that you think should be on the lists? And any other tips on helping Joslyn retain important info from books? Thanks guys! Happy Reading! I will keep you updated on the books as I read them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Home school

So I have been on a quest lately to write down all of the books and movies and things that I want Joslyn to read, watch and do in home school. I have to say that I am felling very inspired about this. I love making list. I enjoy making a grocery list more than going to the grocery store. But when my list is made, and I get everything on that list, and I get home, and put up the groceries, then get to delete the list; Life is grand. My hope is that my list will include everything that she needs to learn and somehow year by year we accomplish and fulfill everything on that list and more, then when she is graduated and is the smartest most brilliant beautifully well-rounded person in the world; I can cross of the list and retire peacefully to blissfuldom. OK! I know WAKE UP Teresa!!!!!

Obviously life doesn't work that way. But a list I am making. And my true goal is that by the time that it is time for her to be home schooled; that I will have come up with a efficient and reasonably fun way for her to learn and  enjoy the schooling process. My list is just a jumping off point. I do have some great friends that are home schoolers and I hope to utilize their knowledge. I also want her to learn so much more than she will in school. Yes math, English, history and science are important, but so is sewing, art, cooking, finances, gardening, PE and music. Schools can't do it all and the way that the economy is going, music, home economics, balancing a checkbook, and art are on their way out. Home EC was an important class in our parents generation and in my generation it was an elective. Now most schools don't have it as an option. Money for classes such as music and art are dwindling and the education system is having to decide on whether or not to keep them. Resume writing should be an important class, so should balancing a checkbook; but most students don't know how to do either when they graduate. No wonder our economy is declining, we aren't teaching our children how to get jobs or raise children, two things they might need to know how to do, but by golly they will know geometry and history. Now, please believe me. I don't hate public school. I love it and there are so many things that are advantages of public schools. I am not downing people who use it. I just can't see how it will work for Joslyn. I don't remember half of what I learned in school. I want her to learn so much and retain it. Most of the classes that I went to weren't designed for hands-on learners. I couldn't learn history well, because it was mostly visual learning. memorizing and reciting dates and events. There was one teacher in high school and one teacher in college that taught history fun and in a way that I could learn it. My biggest challenge will be to learn how Joslyn learns and teach her that way. I believe that you can have a good balance.
I am most excited about science. There are so many ways you can learn science by smelling, touching, seeing, hearing and feeling. I plan on taking her to farms and have her learn gardening by people who actually can get more to grow than weeds (me). Learn about the animals from people who are around them. Build rockets and blast off volcanos. Grow crystals and put as much under a microscope as we can. Have a telescope and actually find constellations instead of reading about them.
Music is dear to my heart. I loved choir in school and was good at singing. But I never retained the knowledge of Reading music. So when I got into college, I had trouble keeping up with my talent because I spent hours playing the notes on a piano to practice. I survived mostly by being good at hearing the songs and remembering them. But that wasn't all I needed to know. Learning music and scales will be more important to me at first with Joslyn then we can go on to finding talent.
Cooking, is something that I think that every student should know how to do. Because of my background I was cooking for my family at a young age. But no one taught me about vegetables and fish and  how to cook these things. I could make hot dogs and hamburger helper.  I want Joslyn to be able to cook for herself and her friends in college and not just rely on fast food, because she doesn't know any better. Teaching kids to cook gives them the chance to be healthy. If they rely on only stuff that others cook for them, they have no choice but to become what they eat. But if they learn which foods are good for them and how to cook them to make them tasty they have the ability to choose healthy vs fattening. Teaching kids the properties of salt and when to add it instead of handing them a plate of salted french fries, gives them the opportunity to choose. It's not wrong to eat these things. I feed Joslyn hot dogs and french fries, but I want her to have the choices I didn't as a kid to pick fresh fruit over ice cream. I want her to love food even healthy food. I am trying to learn this now so that I can teach her.

I could go on and on about the stuff I want her to learn but these are just a few of the things on my list.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Kirby House!

Have you ever been a part of something that you know might change the world? A couple of blogs ago I spoke about my story and how I was wanting to be a part of something like this. I always thought that it would be in church that I would affect the world. But God is showing me more and more serving out in the world is where he wants me. I have been asked by one of my newest friends to be a board member of a soon to be homeless shelter. Me a board member! I feel slightly underdressed in my pajamas as I reply yes that it would be an honor. I had to give it some thought though. The codependent in me wanted to join right away, because it would be something new exciting and I would feel a part of something. And I do, but that isn't why I joined. There is a deep desire in me to make a difference for God's kingdom and how better to do that then take it to the homeless. This place is even more special than that. It is going to be one of 3 homeless shelters in America that accept pets too. There is one in California and one in Florida. So here is a place that I can use my love of people, animals and those who are hurting. This wonderful place is called The Kirby House. It is just in it's beginning phases. The idea was started by my friend Tiffany, who wanted to create a place where families (whole families) could live while in transition. Many of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. I know that John and I do. What if you were layed off from your job or fired and had no place to go. What if you found a place to spend the night but you had to leave your dog on the street to survive on his own. What if the dog that protected you and comforted you had to be left behind because you couldn't afford rent anymore. During Hurricane Katrina, many animals got abandoned because the help that came weren't equiped to handle animals. Some people love their animals so much they would rather face a storm with deadly consequences than leave their animals abandoned. God put a responsiblility on us to protect and care for those who could not care for themselves. This is my goal in becoming a board member. I hope that I can always do the right thing. Thank You God for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this. I know that your hand is on this project. Help me to do your will and guide me in your path. Also, help me to be bolder in speaking for those who can't speak for themselves. 

So one last thing. I have never asked for money in this blog before. I don't like to solicit people for money even if it is a good cause. But, I do think that I need to put it out there. God gives us everything we have. Our ability to work, our health, our friends our family, even our animals. He wants us to trust in Him to give some of it back to Him; with the realization that He can do great things with it. If you find it in your heart that you are wanting to give some money; would you consider the Kirby House? We are in the of raising $850.00 to get our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. After we raise that money we will be able to get corporate funding, until then we are solely relying on private donations. Please click here if you would like to donate. Also, I am putting call out there to all my friends to please spread the word about The Kirby House. This place is only going to be built if we can put the word out there. Will you help us? Thank you for listening!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Life with a toddler is about as pleasant for me as it is for most people to go to the dentist. Please don't get me wrong, I absolutely could not love my daughter any more than I do now, but this stage in life is testing my boundaries. I knew I would never be good at this stage. When I was 19 I worked at a daycare and I loved the baby room. The littlest babies would come in cooing and babbling and I would hold them and love on them. And then there was the 5 year olds. They would come in after kindergarden and we would talk about their day and help them with homework. But the 2 through 4 year old rooms, I would almost have to go in there medicated. And surely after the day was done I would definately need the pain reliever. The screaming, the yelling, the tantrums, and the excessive whining; would drive me bonkers. Needless to say I didn't keep that job long. My favorite stage was teenagers. I loved everything about them. Even the rolling of eyes and sarcastic tones. I worked with youth for over 8 years and loved almost every minute of it.

I think my problem with this stage in life is the communication barrier. I want to get across to her that throwing her lunch on the floor to the dogs and then eating out of their bowl is unacceptable. But everytime we go through this, she seems to think it is a game. Just as climbing on the table to see what my response would be, is not as fun for me as it is for her. If it weren't for her sweet face and the ever diminishing sweet moments we have together, I might have thrown in the towel. Thank goodness that I have other mommy friends that seem to be having just a hard time of this as I am. Not that I am happy that they are having a tough time, it is that I don't want to be the only one. I find my patience being tested hourly.

Still, there are so many times during the day I see her sweet personality shine through that defiant no no and I thank God that I get to be a part of her life. When daddy takes her to bed and they say their prayers, I am praying too. "Thank you for this wonderful life that you have let me be apart of. Help me Lord to get it right. To see past the distractions and pain and guide her straight onto your path. Help me to be a shiny mirror reflecting your love and grace and mercy. And Lord help me to always remember that my time with her is short and everchanging. Help me to cherish every moment.  Amen"

My sweet hubby and I were talking the other night and I brought up how nice it would have been if the hospital didn't lose our manual to this wonderful present. In fact all my manuals, in life have been lost, except one.  And I will be learning from that manual the rest of my life.