Monthly Archives: July 2005

Surprised and blessed

I was surprised and blessed by the turnout for our local support group’s first New Homeschooler Workshop.  Our group hasn’t ever hosted a workshop like that before and we really didn’t know how many people would show up or what they would be expecting.  In fact, I wasn’t feeling well the night before and seriously considered just staying home.  I’m so glad that I didn’t though.


We had seven families show up for the workshop.  Our President had done a wonderful job of creating a helpful brochure answering many first time homeschoolers' questions, as well as preparing handouts with helpful websites, samples of schedules and record keeping forms and other basic information.  She even brought her two oldest children who were such a blessing.  Four of the families brought children with them and Heidi’s children did a great job of keeping them entertained during the meeting time.  I stood by with my trademark nametags and a Sharpie marker (I have to see names to remember them) and my copies of The Old Schoolhouse of course.  Gotta start them off with a good first impression of homeschooling you know.


As the new homeschoolers introduced themselves, we were so blessed.  One was an Army wife preparing to homeschool for the first year even with her husband deploying.  Two were pulling their children out of the local Christian school as their children asked to be homeschooled.  (Isn’t it amazing how God can even use our children to lead us to homeschooling?)    Another mom has a daughter with Asperger’s, is dealing with a high risk pregnancy and preparing for her husband to leave for Iraq as well.  The next mom was just trying to prepare for the future since her children were only 2 ½ and 10 months (Don’t you just love how some people choose homeschooling early on?)  One whole family – Mom, Dad and three children- came as they were preparing to officially homeschool for the first year.  They are blessed to go to a church with many homeschooling families, but surprisingly none of us had heard about that church before.  We were pretty glad that they came just so that we can point others towards that homeschool friendly church!  Then our last mom came in.  She has a daughter graduating from our local public high school this year, but is pulling out her 7th grade son to homeschool him.  She was so appreciative of the us taking the time to help her wade through curriculum choices and we were just so blessed by seeing her willingness to do the best for her son’s education. 


I’m so glad that I didn’t stay home and miss out on these new families.  They all needed information and were so appreciative of our modest little workshop.  It wasn’t a big production and it didn’t need to be, but it was what God wanted – an encouragement for those families considering homeschooling and an affirmation for Heidi and me of the importance of reaching out and being visible in our community.  If your support group hosts a New Homeschoolers' Workshop, go and be blessed.  If your support group doesn't,  you might want to consider organizing one.  There may be some families out there just waiting to hear what you have to say.


Interesting email

I received an email this morning urging me to put my emergency contact information in my cell phone in case we were ever in an accident.  It said that you should list it under ICE (In Case of Emergency) so that Paramedics would know who to contact if you were unable to speak for myself. 


I wasn't sure if this was accurate information or not so I went to the Snopes Website.  That helpful website researches the email forwards that we never know if they are true or not, then posts their findings.  It's pretty interesting.  So far I've learned that no one is ever going to send me or any charity money for forwarding anything and that sometimes those prayer request emails are years old or even fake. 


According to their website, ICE is an actual program that Paramedics do encourage.  You can read all of their information.  They even mentioned that there have been some forwards saying that hackers have created a program to send out a virus on your cell phone if you have the ICE listings.  They said that is false and not to worry about it.


So I think I'll list my emergency contact information on the phone.  I don't figure it could hurt anyway.  Go check out the Snopes site and see if some of the emails you've been forwarded are just urband legends.

Concert in the park

All summer long my boys have been looking forward to the Way FM Brown Bag Todd Agnew w/Jonah 33 Concert.



We love Contemporary Christian music and Joe had gotten the Todd Agnew Grace Like Rain CD for Christmas.  We knew that it was going to be hot, but thought we'd tough it out.  The concert was FREE you know. 


Well we got there and couldn't find a spot in the shade.  It wasn't just hot, it was that miserable kind of hot.  I think the temperature was 96 with a heat index of 110.  We had our trusty water bottles and sunscreen, but just couldn't really enjoy the concert.  As we were sitting there with this great music, we just kept thinking, “I am so hot.  I am SO hot.  I bet they are even hotter on the stage.  Maybe if we were sitting in the shade it wouldn't be so bad.  Nah, it's hot everywhere right now.” 


The concert was really good, but I just kind of felt badly for the bands.  People just weren't super enthusiastic because they were so dog gone HOT!  We, who had been looking forward to it all summer, even left a few minutes before it was over. 


I did manage to get close enough at one point to really see Todd Agnew and hear his testimony in between songs.  We had been so far away that I couldn't really see him, so I was surprised when I got close enough to realize that he was up there barefoot on the stage.  Now I enjoy going barefoot, but I felt like a mother hen.  “His feet are going to burn up there on that hot concrete.  He should wear his sandals!” 



So I hope Todd Agnew didn't burn his feet and will come back to do another concert sometime when we aren't under a heat advisory.  We really do enjoy a good concert and will be a better audience when we aren't so dog gone HOT!

Three years

July 25th marked three years since my dad died. Sometimes it feels like it’s been forever and then other times it still seems fresh. The last time I saw my dad alive was at my youngest son’s first birthday party. I can still remember what he was wearing, the scent of his pipe tobacco, the feel of his strong arms around me when he hugged me, and his smile as he watched our boys.

It was a short 10 days later when we got the awful phone call. My father was a chiropractor and had worked all day in the office. My mom was his office manager so they’d been together all day as usual. They began working in the yard – Dad on the tractor and my mom on the riding mower. Mom said that she noticed him go inside, but she just thought that he was already done with his section. After she finished her area, she went inside to check on him and he was gone- sitting in the chair in their bedroom. He’d had a massive heart attack at age 59.

I hate wondering if he felt alone. Did he realize what was happening? I hate thinking about how scary and heart wrenching it must have been for my mother. She called 911 and neighbors came over to help, but there was nothing anyone could do. Mom was still in shock when she called and told my husband. She didn’t even mention what hospital they were at so I ended up calling a few hospitals before I could even get her on the phone.

Oh it was so hard to tell my boys that they’d lost their Granddad. He’d had his special nicknames for them – Joseppi, Jaker Jaker Mover Shaker, and Big Jon. In fact he & my husband had just caddied for my two oldest sons in a golf tournament not two weeks earlier. I felt so bad for them. We’d lost my husband’s father 8 years earlier, so this meant no grandpa at all for them. I hated it for my husband because he had already lost his dad and I know my dad meant so much to him. I hated it for me.

My father and I were/are alike in many ways. Some good, some bad, but it’s undeniable. He bought me my first computer and encouraged me to get on the Internet. I had no idea what he was talking about or why I would want to get “online”, but he was insistent that I needed to learn how to use it. He loved the Internet and email. For the longest time, I saved the last email that I ever got from him. It wasn’t anything deep, just some jokes, but my dad took great pride in selecting the best jokes that he thought people would really enjoy. He always replied to emails and didn’t like it when people didn’t reply to his. More than once we would wonder, “How long does it take to hit the Reply button?” He loved Solitaire and Free Cell. Kept records of his games and scores. I don’t go that far, but I do enjoy my Solitaire and always try to end with a winning hand. When my kids are looking for me, they start at my computer desk first.

We both enjoy simple pleasures – family stories, good friendships and nature photos. Just like he got me started with the computer, he also bought me my first camera. He went through a phase where he was really into 35mm photography. He caught many good pictures and I guess they are precious to me now because they were precious to him. Here was this big bear of a hard working man that would stop to take a picture of a rose in bloom. Sometimes it’s a little harder to see inside some people – my dad was one of those. I guess a lot in his generation were that way too though.

My dad inspired me to write. He had just begun to try and write some of the stories about his days growing up before he passed away. He was one of 7 children. His daddy was a poor sharecropper in TN. His mom loved babies, but could be pretty negative with the kids as they got older. Mostly my dad just wanted to tell the stories of his adventures with his siblings and friends. Just to leave the stories as a lasting legacy. So that’s probably how I got started wanting to journal our family stories.

My dad always acted like I could do anything that I set my mind to. I sometimes wondered if he thought I had made a mistake by staying at home with my kids. After he died though, I found some comments that he made on a discussion group about how great my kids were (proud Granddaddy speaking) and how he thought that I was doing the right thing. It was so reassuring to know that he realized that I wasn’t giving up anything; I was simply giving my best to the people who meant the most to me.

So today it’s three years later. Three years since I’ve gotten to share my excitement with him. Three years since I’ve gotten that fatherly hug. Three years since he’s been able to play with my boys. Three years since I’ve gotten to share my writing or email stuff with him. But today, I won a little contest for my writing and I know that he’d be proud. He always knew that I could do it.

The music

We were all busy tidying things up around the house before the boys left for a weekend in the woods and Jake picked out the CD for us to listen to- Phillips, Craig and Dean – Let Your Glory Fall.  I realized that he had one of the songs set on repeat.  Over and over again, we were hearing “Here I Am to Worship”.


As I walked down the hall, I glanced in his room and saw my almost 9 year old singing along with such heart. 


Here I am to worship

Here I am to bow down

Here I am to say that You're my God


You're all together lovely

All together worthy

All together wonderful to me


I just had to stop and thank God for sons that encourage me.  I want to hold tightly to that memory of my son worshiping God as we were working that day.  While I enjoyed the quiet weekend with just Jon, I still missed Tony and the older boys. But I just had to play “Here I Am to Worship” to feel like we were together again.  Music is such a wonderful gift.


What are you listening to?