Monday, December 28, 2009

Writer of the Week

This week, I've been catching up on Melanie Jeschke's writing. Years ago, I'd read the first two of her Oxford Chronicles. I finally got to read the third, and I'm hoping to read her new book, Jillian Dare, before heading back to Ohio. My parents, who before moving to Albuquerque attended the church Melanie's husband pastors, have all of her books, so I'll read them while I'm here. I tend to like novels set in Great Britian.

Melanie's website is here, but doesn't seem to be entirely up to date.


I am enjoying my visit to Albuquerque. Obviously, it's wonderful to spend time with my parents and sisters, but I love the southwest. Yesterday, we drove up the back side of Sandia (a way to the top without taking the tram) and walked along the crest before watching the sunset from the peak.

Cold as could be, but so beautiful.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Budget

Anyone who has read much Amish fiction is familiar with The Budget. In the local edition, it covers the news in Holmes county, Ohio area. It's claim to fame for the local edition: "a newspaper in which the good news reported in its pages routinely outweighs the bad."

The national edition is more widely known. It publishes 'letters' or articles by Amish and Mennonite writers throughout the United States and the world.

Here's the link to the paper's website. Only information from the local edition is online, but I found it intersting. I'm also considering subscribing to the National edition.

Writer of the Week

The day before a 3:45 a.m. trip to the airport, I realized I had nothing to read on the plane. After my initial panic, I hurried to the library and grabbed the first 3 or 4 books that looked interesting.. all of them by unfamiliar authors.

One of the books that caught my eye was Leaving Carolina, by Tamara Leigh. I don't usually enjoy books written in the first person, and rarely get beyond the first page of one, but she pulled it off well. I enjoyed the book thoroughly; she brought some delightful characters to life. I'm looking forward to the sequel which will be available in May.

Here's the author's website. It lists some other series which I'll be looking for, also.

Guide to Literary Agents Blog

It's a great blog -- full of good information. One of the recurring columns is '7 Things I've Learned So Far,' and as I was reading through the blog a few weeks ago, a number of things were coming to mind that I've learned, so I submitted a post.

I don't feel like retyping it, and I can't easily access it otherwise as I am visiting my parents in Albuquerque, so here's a link to it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Agree or Disagree?

Is there truly only one basic storyline in the world?

I have to put some more thought into this, but I've been tossing around an idea lately, and I'd be interested in feedback.

Without actually analyzing every story I've read and enjoyed, a quick survey gave me the sense that they all have one basic plotline, as follows:

Start with a character who is in some way a sympathetic or generally positive figure (protagonist.) The protagonist has some sort of a problem, which is not (or not primarily) his own fault. Dangle a possible solution just out of reach. Throw roadblocks and obtacles in the way. Repeat the last two several times, ending with huge roadblocks that make it seem almost impossible, and then solve the problem in a better way than was originally envisioned.

I suppose that I'm referring to all stories when I say there's only one plot... just the good ones!

Friday, December 18, 2009


An odd name, but I like the website. It allows you to share things you have written, as well as, of course, to read things others have shared.

I uploaded two short stories and one article on marriage late last week; to be honest, I didn't really expect anyone to read it. After all, if there's a way of publicizing one's presence on the site, I haven't found it yet (or looked for it, to be fair.)

I hadn't been back to the site yet until today, and to my astonishment, I found that the three items had garnered a total of.... (drumroll) 39 reads. Okay, granted, that's not exactly earthshaking, but for this unpublished writer, the response was, "Hey, someone's reading my stuff! Cool!"

So, I got excited, and went into my archives and uploaded two more short stories this morning. I just checked and they've already gotten 6 reads. My concern is that it may tempt me into spending time polishing and/or writing short stories for upload when I should really work on my new novel.

Anyway, here's the link. My username is DLeeFuhry to read my stories.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Yay, Tim

Tim's Civil Air Patrol Squadron had their end of year dinner tonight. First, I'm very proud of Tim who was named Cadet of the Year for 2009, and who is apparently right on the verge of getting his Mitchell Award and becoming an officer.

I also liked that they un-apologetically prayed before the meal. Sometimes it seems that the the heritage of this country would be utterly lost were it not for the armed forces, the churches, and the rural folks.

It was a nice evening. I appreciate the men and women who do so much work to run that squadron more than I can express.

Writer of the Week

At the recommendations of both Kathy Fuller, author of the Hearts of Middlefield series, and my mother-in-law, I picked up Plain Perfect, by Beth Wiseman.

I enjoyed the interplay between Amish and English life, and found the story compelling and the characters realistic. I'm looking forward to finding more of her books.

Learn more about Beth here...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Love it, love it, love it!

In addition to last Friday's field trip to a local campus of DeVry University, yesterday Tim's class got a tour of Cisco's facilities. There are no words for how grateful I am that he has this opportunity.


Over the last week or so, I have completely rebuilt my website. I finally gave up on my own design talents, and decided to use a convenient template. I would have liked to have matched my blog design somehow, but that didn't end up happening. I also added a lot of new links, and got rid of a couple of older ones that no longer worked. I'm very pleased with the result.

My Writing Dilemma

I'm trying to learn to write in a more structured manner -- that is, planning out my story and scenes in advance, but I'm finding it difficult. When I write, I almost feel like I'm following my characters around, recording what happens and how they respond. On some rational level, I recognize that it's all coming out of my head, but it doesn't feel like it sometimes.

It seems like since it's 'all coming out of my head,' I ought to be able to sit down and plan it all out, but that's a recipe for writer's block for me. But I'm afraid my stories will be weaker and less structured if I don't plot them out first...

What to do? What to do?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Take laptop?

The kids and I will be visiting my parents soon... here's my dilemma: I'm in the middle of a new story, and I'd hate to not have my laptop to note any hot ideas, but I'm afraid it would seem rude to do that while I'm supposed to be visiting family.

Fortunately, they're supportive of my writing, so I don't think they'd be offended. It just feels kind of funny. I'm also not crazy about carrying this laptop through multiple airports on our multi-legged by inexpensive flights.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Dinner at Church

Our family attended our church's annual Christmas dinner this evening. Doug played sax for part of it, and of course did a good job, but it meant that he ate a pretty cold dinner. He wouldn't eat before playing.

I thought it was because food in his stomach would cause him to become short of breath more easily, but apparently it was... a little more disgusting than that. (Think bits of food being blown into the horn!)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not very encouraging for an unpublished writer!

My brother-in-law sent me this link today. It's an article on Scribd, written back in June by Steve Piersanti. The basic point is that fewer and fewer people are buying books, and that most books never even get onto bookstore shelves... etc. etc. Nothing in it was actually surprising, or even news to me but there's nothing like having it all spelled out.

For those of us to whom even getting a book published is still an unattained goal... yikes!

Oh well, here's the link to the article: Ten Awful Truths About Book Publishing

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Writer of the Week

This week, I'm reading a book by Kim Vogel Sawyer titled A Promise for Spring.It's a historical romance set in Kansas in the late 1800s. This one hasn't grabbed me yet as much as some of her other work. I've also read My Heart Remembers, which I really liked. Some months ago I read at the Sommerfeld Trilogy, three books set in a Mennonite community, with some good characters and a fun story.

Her website is here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

College Visit Friday

After my agonizing about college visits, Tim goes on one Friday that I didn't have to arrange. His networking class and the programming class at CVCC are going to Devry University in Independence/Seven Hills Friday. With all my researching, I hadn't even found that one yet, even though it's very close to us, and has a potentially appropriate course of study available.

Thanks, Mrs. Pruitt (and God!)

One concern: he was saying he had a sore throat last night, so I'm hoping he doesn't get sick and have to miss it!

Well, that was wrong!

After my, "I don't even try to write on Mondays" post, I got to spend time doing writing exercises from Plot & Structure. I got everything on my list done (that's rare and usually only happens if I pray a lot) so after dinner I had some time to write. Thanks, God!

Monday, December 07, 2009


I don't even try to work on writing on Mondays. I'm usually trying frantically to catch up from getting behind over the weekend... laundry, school schedules, church deposit, meal planning and grocery shopping, housework, and exercising. It's 3:40 and all I have left is a little bit of picking up downstairs, cleaning the master bathroom, ironing, a little bit of exercise, and cooking dinner...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Interesting pattern

One of the writing exercises I've done recently gave me a very useful insight into what makes a compelling plot. I would summarize it as follows:

A sympathetic character (one with whom the reader can identify and who is basically good, but not flawless) experiences some kind of suffering or trouble at the outset of the story. This trouble is not the character's fault; it is generally caused by the antagonist (whether another character or something more general like societal conventions.) Some method of fixing the problem appears early in the book, but obstacles continually arise, alternately bringing resolution into sight and then snatching it away so that it looks impossible again. Eventually, the character gets not only what they hoped for, but something far better. As part of the resolution, the antagonist usually experiences some kind of negative consequences for their harshness toward the protagonist.

I can easily fit my Amish story, the Jairus novella, and my YA fantasy piece into this model. Faithful Unto Death is going to be a little more difficult, I think. I haven't tried yet with my futuristic thriller.

Friday, December 04, 2009

James Scott Bell

I am reading (well, studying is probably a better word for it!) two books by James Scott Bell: The Art of War for Writers, and Plot and Structure. The first consists of lots of short chapters, some encouraging, others more informative about the writing process and becoming an author. The second is a practical how-to book on plotting.

As I finally have time to devote to writing this year, I'm realizing what a juggling act it is. It's not just sitting down to write whatever story has currently taken up residence in my brain! First of all, there are usually multiple stories fighting it out over which one gets to be worked on next... but I also want to spend more time working on my craft (thus the aforementioned books), establishing a web presence (thus my current activity : ) ) and working on finding an agent and getting published.

Wow! And that's without having been published... add in book signings, fan communication, etc. and it must get a little daunting!

Oh, yeah, I don't want to forget the link for James Scott Bell's website!

Thursday, December 03, 2009


I've decided to bite the bullet and submit my manuscript to Tamela at Hartline. I've been wanting to for a while, but between an unexpected re-edit and the daunting list of supporting documentation they request... I decided to leave it on the back burner for a while.

But with homeschooling taking so much less of my time this year, I've decided to finally get serious about trying to get published. I'm very grateful to Kathy Fuller for her offer of help with figuring out the supporting documentation requirements.

First question, I'm going to ask her: What's the difference between this

One-page sell sheet
A one page overview that summarizes your novel

and this

Story Synopsis
Prepare a one to three page synopsis of your story?

Other than the second can be a little longer if there are things you'd like to put in but can't fit in the sell sheet... anyway I got a pretty good start on the whole thing yesterday.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Not that gaps in my blog are unusual (unfortunately) but...

The earlier blogs about spending two nights in the basement taking care of Becky while she had swine flu explains the most recent gap. She, of course, gave the flu to me.

We weren't tested or anything, but it was definitely a flu-like bug, and since it began with Doug who had the seasonal shot at work -- it seems likely. It also fit the H1N1 description to a tee.

The timing could have been better. My first day out of bed (and only because I had no choice) was Tuesday -- two days before Thanksgiving, for which I was going to be feeding 23.

Writer of the week

I've decided to start making notes of authors I've enjoyed so that next time I step into the library, I won't feel so clueless about where to look!

Recently, I came across Brandilyn Collins, and enjoyed the three books I read, Eyes of Elisha, Dark Pursuit, and Exposure. I'm not normally a huge fan of the paranormal craze -- I get a little uneasy with it sometimes. But she handles it very well, with no sense of pushing the limits of spiritual acceptability.

They've all been a fun read, too!

Here's her website for more info...

Monday, November 30, 2009

College visits

I really need to get moving on some college visits. I think I've changed my mind about trying to take Becky along, too. I guess we'll just wait until next year, and hopefully, take her by herself to places more targeted to her own interests.

The places I definitely want to visit are Baldwin Wallace and University of Akron. I would like to find a Christian school with Tim's potential major, but thus far I've not succeeded.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another interesting school

Hope College, in Holland, MI

It's a Christian school, and seems to have some good aspects, as well as potential for Tim's interest in computers.

Night #2...

... in the basement.

Tough Week

Flu, I guess. First Doug started feeling bad over the weekend, and came home sick on Monday. Today's Friday, and he's finally back at work, but now Becky's sick. Having Doug home sick meant delivering meals, drinks, and Tylenol periodically, and wiping down every surface I thought he might have touched.

Becky, unfortunately, tends to get queasy when she has a fever. She has a very high fever now, and hasn't thrown up, so maybe she's outgrowing it. But at least partially because of that history, she likes me to stay close and take good care of her.

So I spent the night in the basement with her (notice I didn't say I slept in the basement with her.)

One blessing is that I don't have to spend Saturday in Columbus at the CAP conference with Tim. I have so much I'd like to accomplish in the next week or so. I'm just going to have to work on it while sitting with my little invalid, I guess.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Going through colleges to see if any in our geographical have Tim-like majors...

4 year programs
Calvin College
Baldwin Wallace +
University of Akron +
University of Toledo

I wanted to check Grove City, but their network must be having problems...

Middle of the night

Can't sleep, so I guess I'll do some thinking/planning. I was looking for my notebook, but couldn't find it, so I guess I'll think here...

I want to change my schedule. The kids' school is less of a burden now that it has been in years, so it seems I should be able to get more done with my time.

Stuff I do already (when it could be scheduled)
Housework (Mostly Friday, some Monday)
Laundry (2-3 days a week or one load a day?)
Meal planning and shopping (once or twice a week?)
Cooking (blech, almost every day, though the kids are supposed to be taking a night each)
Homeschooling-includes planning, paperwork, teaching/correcting (mostly Sat. or Mon.)
Church work-offering, teen study, cleaning (Sundays, and every other Saturday?)
Time with kids (more or less daily, I'd hope)
Taking Becky to horse riding, Victoria, HOPE (Tuesday afternoon, Wed. a.m., Friday 2X)
Some writing (So far, just Tuesday evenings)
Some time with church women (here and there)
Computer time (probably too much - periodically through the day)
Reading (when I'm able or can't resist)

What I'd like to add:
More time with church people (prob. not very scheduable)
More time writing (some weekly daytime slot?)
Time spent developing an author's profile (website/blog/contacts) (same as above?)

That's all the thinking I can do right now -- after all, it's 3:30 in the morning, and I've been awake since before 1:00.

I'll try to come back to this and see if it suggests any kind of schedule...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nice evening

I went out with Kristyn from church last night. I enjoy her company a lot. We had dinner and walked around the Aurora Farms outlet mall.

Other than the fact that I ate too much, it was a very nice evening.

Doug said he and the kids had a nice evening too. Monday is their Bible study night, and he also looked at Trig with Tim and watched some old Dick Van Dyke shows with them.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Ordered it!

For the first time, I was let down by the WTM boards, and did not receive an answer. But with both Doug's and Tim's approval, I decided to make the switch.

We started using it Thursday as a trial, and I know two days aren't much of a trial, but we're already behind for the year, so I went ahead and ordered my own copy, and the companion, on Friday.

I prayed hard during the last week for God to help me figure out what to do, so I'm sure hoping this is it!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Life of Fred

I just emailed the author of the LOF math books... laying out my Precalculus sob story and uncertainties about switching into his curriculum. I ended by asking him to convince me that his was adequate for a kid going into the math/science field.

I can't wait to hear what he has to say.

I put basically the same question on the WTM high school board, and have yet to hear anything...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

No Nano

Well, not doing Nano again this year... I just realized this morning that if I were going to, I'd be three days late starting, but besides that, I just don't have time this year.

November is a HORRIBLE month to do it. Thanksgiving... Christmas prep, for me, an anniversary... a busy time in school...

It's just really tough. This year, though, I really want to finish (again) the final edit on FI.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I wasn't even thinking about it, and then I got an email from the coordinator of Cleveland NaNoWriMo. Ack! Do I really want to do that this year? Do I have time? Shouldn't I try and finish the edit job on FI before tackling FUD, or anything else?


A bad one... the worst I've had in years. I don't want to go to the doctor, though, because if I do, I'll probably end up sitting in a waiting room full of people with H1N1, and I REALLY don't want that.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog musings

I've used this space for all kinds of things... I really don't know what to do with it. I've noticed that it is migrating as different parts of my personality become more dominant. Initially, there was a tendency to comment more on politics or social concerns. Then it was abandoned for a while. I thought of having a more homeschool bent to the topics, but I'm really in the final throes of homeschooling. That will become less and less of my life for the next few years and then disappear entirely.

Now I'm just using it for my own record, but I'm wondering if I should give it a more literary bent, since that's hopefully the direction my life is headed.

Should it bother me that I don't have anything about specifically Christian content? That's the one part of my life that is most important and will never change.

Teacher's Conference

Doug and I are going to CVCC for a teacher's conference tonight. I've never had one of these before, so I don't know what to expect.

I think Tim probably has one of the best grades in the class, and I know he's probably the most well behaved kid in there, so I'm not sure what we'll talk about.

I know Tim is more the slow and steady type, so he takes longer than many of the students to finish some of the assignments, and he's lost some points for things being late. Some of the work, like today's assignment, can't be finished at home, so if you work slowly, you just get behind during the hours you're there. I just don't want him to get discouraged.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I am extraordinarily tired today, and I've got a bit of a sore throat, and generally feel yucky. I sure hope I'm not coming down with something.


Tim and Becky both took the PSATs this morning. Tim's a junior, so it 'counts' this year, not that I honestly expect him to make the NSMQT cutoff. He may have had a decent chance at doing so had we done a boatload of test prep, but it wasn't that high a priority. If he ends up missing by only a few points, I'll probably be kicking myself!

Becky's taking it for the same reasons Tim did last year: to get a sense of how close she'd be to NM scholar, and to have a practice run at it before the real thing.

I don't remember how long it took to get their scores. I want to check the WTM forums but they've been down all day.

Monday, October 12, 2009

WTW '81

So this was homecoming weekend at my old high school. Of course, eighteen homecomings have come and gone since I graduated, and I've never known (or really cared much) about it. But things are different now that I'm on Facebook. Not only do I know about it, I get pictures.

I enjoy seeing the pictures, but the whole keg bus and pub crawl thing seems too reminiscent of high school for a bunch of 46 year olds to get that excited about. I guess I've become an old fogy, but by now, shouldn't we all? Isn't there a time for exchanging the ways of a child for the ways of a man, as Paul puts it?

Gray hair is a crown of splendor, according to Proverbs, and is a sign of the wisdom that comes with age. I guess I'm glad to be an old fogy rather than still wanting to get down and party.

I'm probably misjudging... hopefully it was a lot more about reconnecting with old friends than just about drinking!

Empty Calendar

I have nothing written on my calendar today. That doesn't exactly mean I have nothing to do. HA! In fact, as always on Monday, I have a very long 'to do' list. And, unfortunately, it also doesn't mean I don't have anywhere to go. I probably should run three errands today: bank, BMV, and UPS store. Maybe I can save the UPS store for tomorrow when I have to go grocery shopping, since it's next to Marcs.

Ah, well. Life is busy enough, it seems.

The last shall be first...

I had a novel thought this morning during my devotions... Will those of us who are following the Lord in the peace, affluence, and safety of 20th/21st century America be the 11th hour workers receiving the same reward as those who have followed the Lord through hunger, persecution, and suffering?

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Apart from your grace, I have nothing of value to give these girls tonight. Grant that the words I speak may be imbued with your power to touch hearts and change lives.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nice Date

Had a nice time out with Doug tonight. It seems we're always so busy that we rarely have time to talk. We talked about kids, church, various friends, theology, etc. Just a chance to reconnect and remember why we enjoy each others' company.

I can't imagine what it will be like in a few years when we don't have kids around and have as many evenings together as we wish. I expect that we'll try to invest that time in the Kingdom somehow, instead of being self-indulgent.

My very unrealized goal for both then and now: a life of service, sacrifice, and self-denial instead of a life of self-indulgence.

Grace, Lord, grace...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

I'm an idiot

I feel so bad. Since Jeff is out of town for a few days, I invited Missy and the kids over for dinner, but completely spaced that tonight's my writers' group.

I had to call and uninvite them. UGH!

Big day today

Tim takes his driving test today... I think he should pass but the Ohio test is definitely tougher than what I had to take in VA 30 years ago!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

First try

Okay... a first guess at an elevator pitch...

Free Indeed tells the story of Onesimus, the runaway slave referred to in the Biblical book of Philemon. Though he hates being a slave, Onesimus is too fearful to risk escape until his master, and everyone else in the family except him, becomes Christians. To get away from the faith he despises and can't share, he runs away. The story tracks his adventures traveling through the Empire to Rome, where he finds success using his artistic talent in decorating pottery. Recognizing Paul as the man who converted his master, loneliness and emptiness cause him to follow when he witnesses Paul's arrival under arrest in Rome. After his own conversion, he continues under an assumed name and false identity for several years before he confesses his deception, repents, and agrees to return and make restitution to Philemon.

Saturday, October 03, 2009


I'm realizing that I need to self-edit a bit more before I post on blogs or facebook. I've been having to go back and fix things two or three times as often as not. My biggest problem is reusing the same words again and again in one entry.

Now I'm going to read what I just wrote before I publish it...

I was more careful this time, so it looks okay.


I put a FB comment under the wrong person's status, and it made me sound like a druggie or something.

I intended to mention that a blistering hot shower just as the pills start taking effect works wonders after Susan's status about waking up with a sinus headache... instead it went after Ginny's post about loving Saturday mornings.


Friday, October 02, 2009

Not home much...

It seems like Thursdays and Fridays are going to be 'out and about' days. On Thursday, I'm gone from about 10:20 until almost 11:30, and then once I get home, Becky and I leave almost immediately for lunch and several hours of library visiting and shopping.

On Fridays, I take Becky to HOPE in the morning, then pick Tim up from CVCC and take him out to lunch, and then I have to pick Becky back up at 3ish.

I just have to make sure that the important stuff each week gets done by Wednesday, I guess.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Elevator Pitch

Last month at our writers' group, Matt & Stef were telling us about a conference they went to, and something they said caused me to suggest that our group take a session to work on our pitches -- what we'd say if we had one minute or so to impress a potential agent or publisher.

It's something I've known I need to do for years, because at this point, I have nothing.

But now I have to have one for critiquing by Tuesday... HELP!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Cold, callous, uncaring

That's how I feel sometimes, like tonight, when I realized that it never occurred to me to bring up the Samoan and Sumatran tragedies during prayer request time at church this evening.


I don't like dogs, and I really don't like barking dogs!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cold all of a sudden

Too cool, windy, and rainy yesterday, so I never took a walk. Unfortunately, today promises to be worse.

Airfare to Albuquerque for Christmas

Well, I got okay prices for our tickets. The kids and I came to $882, which is about a hundred dollars more than we'd have paid if I'd chosen the option that would have required Tim to miss a few days of school. Doug's is $350 or so - hack, choke - but we knew that he'd pay more because of flying at peak times.

Considering the ages of the kids, and how often we fly instead of drive, this is probably the last time we'll have to pay four airfares, though.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Calvin College

I was looking at their website... it's a Christian school in the Midwest, which makes it potentially interesting for Tim, but YUCK! Maybe I've gotten hypersenstive, but on the front page, they have links to their news and information type stories, and the first one is about all their wonderful diversity.

I clicked on the link, and the first three of four articles were on their diversity, on their 'green' initiatives, and on HIV something or other. Can we get a little more PC, folks?



I wasn't sure how well things would go at the teen Bible study. My kids, Becky especially, are very audio-focused. She loves to listen to stories, but I wasn't sure if these girls would be used to it enough to follow the story line and get anything out of it.

I was pretty impressed. It seemed as if, at the end of the story, each had followed it, and understood the characters and their choices. I enjoyed hearing what they had to say during the discussion. I wonder if I should have made the questions deeper?


Well, the endless search for the perfect chore chart that will make my life easier, and somehow turn my children into responsible, mature, domestically-skilled individuals continues...

The latest twist in the game... no chore chart! At this point, I think they've gotten good enough (for now!) at housework, but could really use some time in the kitchen. Also, I feel like I need to exert some major self-discipline, and control over the housework, because it hasn't been kept in acceptable shape lately!

So, I'll take over all the housework again (oh, joy!) and have them each cook dinner and clean it up one night a week.

I don't really expect this one to be much more successful, but at least we can have some variety in our failure.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


My thinking about this Sunday's teen girl's Bible study has changed. I'd initially been focused on exploring attitudes that would keep them from hearing Jen's words on repentance. It's become a discussion on choices we make in general, both spiritual and practical daily choices.

I want to finish it today so I can give it to Jen tonight to look over. I'm spending a lot of time trying to make it visually appealing... colors, boxes, borders, etc.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patrick Swayze

I wonder if the Lord is calling my generation to listen... so many of the celebrities we grew up with have died recently. Will it make anyone seriously consider our lives are just a passing flower, and we'll stand before the Judge sooner than we think?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fell off the wagon...

Well, for the last couple of weeks, I haven't done as well as I had been in terms of my eating and exercising. It wasn't to the point of gaining weight, but if I've lost any over the last two weeks, it hasn't been much!

I think I'll be able to climb back on though. One problem is this weekly rewarding of each kid with lunch out... I might start taking them out and just getting unsweetened iced tea or something. I don't know if I can lose weight and eat out twice a week or more!


One of Doug's brothers thinks it's time to buy precious metals. It makes a lot of sense to me... I've always understood that if the government overspends and then prints money to cover itself, it will cause inflation. I've also understood gold to be a good hedge against inflation.

All of which does seem to suggest that now would be a good time to follow Steve's lead... BUT, if that were really true, would every single conservative talk show have ads pushing gold? If they companies making the ads really believed that a collapse of the dollar was imminent, would they really be giving us their gold in exchange for our dollars? Wouldn't they be holding them, or at least only selling to those who approached them, instead of spending incredible amounts of money on all these commercials?

What I think might be the best hedge against inflation right now is real estate, but that costs more and adds a layer of complication to life that I'm not sure we want now.

I guess our security will have to be in the Lord!

God is so good

It's a busy Monday morning, but I'm so aware of God's faithfulness and goodness today.

I have a lot of things/people I'm praying for:

Frank S., who has been really sick with pneumonia
Jack M., who may be rapidly descending into Alzheimers
M. family, that God would lead them to a church where they can be blessed and a blessing
Our pastor and his family, who give so much to the church, that God would protect and provide for them
Other M. family, having difficult health, financial, and family concerns all at once

Thanks, Lord, that we can be confident that all these things are working for good to those who love you and who are called according to your purpose.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Busy day

Since Tim's CAP work at the Kent State Airshow meant we couldn't go to DC, I used the time most productively, if not at all 'funly!'

4-5 loads of laundry, cleaning 3 bathrooms, vacuuming the entire house, and hopefully getting the kitchen mopped and picking up a bunch of stuff from Walmart. Not to mention figuring out something cheap and easy for dinner tomorrow night...

Do the next thing, right?

Friday, September 11, 2009


I sure wish I could go to Washington DC for the 9/12 rally.


Becky started at HOPE (Homeschools Organized to Provide Education, or some such) today... she's taking five of six possible classes, so she'll have one hour free. I've been thinking she should use it to get work done, but it might also be a time to get to know some of the other kids. (Although she's in a very small minority in not taking the British Lit.)

I sure hope the kids are nicer than they were at VCA. Some of the things at HOPE seem distressingly 'schoolish' to this determined homeschooler, but these are not kids who are products of a school environment, so they should be significantly nicer than the VCA folks.

And it's only one day a week, so it could never be as miserable as when she was in school all day every day. How can people do that to their kids?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

One more quickie, then off to do laundry!

It's still early in September, so maybe I shouldn't be getting anxious, but I'm having a heck of a time finding good flights at an acceptable price to go to ABQ over Christmas... I think I need to ask God for help on this one.

Lord, you know all the reasons we want to do this, and you know how much is okay to spend on it. Please guide me to the right tickets, at the right time, and give me the discernment to know when I I've found them.



I'm so glad it's raining. I really didn't want to have to water the garden and the outside pots today!

Bad girl!

Not a good weekend in some ways. I felt a little tired and out-of-sorts, looking at the same jobs that I have every other day in the week.

I'm reminding myself to 'Do the next thing.' Stop thinking of all the stuff that needs done that I don't feel like doing, or don't have time for, etc. etc. Figure out what the next thing is to do, and just do it. Don't think about the rest.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

I got a good start

on my story for the teen girls. It kept me up a bit late, though, because it can be hard walking away from new characters and a developing plotline.

I have an extra week to finish it now. Jeff canceled church tonight (for Labor Day weekend) so we'll probably move the teen study to the 2nd and 4th Sundays.

Gee... now that I'm thinking about the story, and am conveniently on my computer... I think I hear a kind young man named Carlo calling my name!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Useless compassion

Compassion, uninformed by wisdom, results in mere sappy emotionalism, and is of no value.

Rough start to the day

I had bad dreams all night; I woke up with a headache; and I really just want to take the whole day off... I feel tired and unmotivated. This is the kind of day where I need to lean hard on the sufficient grace of God to empower my weakness with his strength.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bye, bye, babies!

Wonderful Stefanie, from the Writers' Circle, gave me the phone number of a pet store near her, and they'll take all the piggies! She'll take one, and Becky may keep one to replace Luigi (though I'd really rather she didn't!) The rest we will deliver and be done with tonight!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Health Care

To say that health care is a right is to say that you have a right to the products and services produced by another person's labor, and that, my friends, is slavery.

Church day, I guess

This morning, I went to the UPS store and copied the offering count sheets.

I also wrote a paragraph for the church bulletin about the teen Bible study, and read through Jen's handout on repentance.

And what took longest, I went through the church DVD (with many pauses and rewinds) proofing all the written portions.

Then during karate, I cleaned the church for Sunday.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009


At this point I'm leaning toward doing something on pride, or what the Bible calls being stiff-necked. It seems that ultimately, resistance to repentance must boil down to being stiff-necked in some fashion or another. Sometimes it's not being willing to admit that there's anything wrong with you; or similarly, nothing wrong that you can't fix quite well by yourself. A different way in which pride keeps us from repenting is by making us fearful of others' opinions.

I was thinking about this in bed last night, and there may have been one other way; but if there was, and if it's important, the Lord will have to bring it back to my mind, 'cause it's GONE...

I may write a story about teens in Pompeii. In the weeks and days before the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, one or two will see the danger and warn their friends to leave. They'll be laughed at by many, but there friends will have the three reactions above: not believing anything bad will really happen; being confident of their own ability to outrun whatever happens; and being more afraid of being laughed at than of the volcano.

In addition to the story, I may look for good scriptures on pride. There's a bunch in Proverbs, I know. I'd also like to do something interactive, but we only have an hour or so!


I'm not having any luck with the Christmas reservations, so far.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Guinea pig babies

Well, I've just sent an email blast to 19 different families... I hope we can get rid of the babies.

Teen girls

Another project in my life right now involves the girls in our church. Jen and I want to start some sort of Bible study for them. It's definitely where my heart is, but without God's grace, I am utterly inadequate to give them anything of eternal value.

The girls who might be involved are:
Cassie, 18
Sara, 17
Kayleigh L. 16
Izzy, 16
Angelica, 15
Styline, 14
Becky, 14
Jaycee, 13
Melina -- a bit younger, but she really wants to do it and Charis would like her to.... But because she's completely out of the age range, I'm not including her in the calculations.

The average, or mean, age is 15.375. The median, or middle number is between 15 and 16... there are 4 girls 16 and up, and 4 girls 15 and under. There are two modes, or values which occur most often, 14 and 16. And finally, halfway between the youngest and oldest is 15.5.

So, to the extent that I have a particular age in mind to aim at, it will be 15-16. That may end up being helpful to know.

I'm looking at the Harris twins' book, also Eugene Petersen's Run with the Horses. I've also thought about a theme of pride, or Proverbs 31. Jen is going to kick it off with the 1st and 3rd sessions about repentance. I'm not sure what will fit well in the 2nd session, which will be mine to lead, on September 20th.

I'm just praying like crazy.

Why I love the WTM boards

Okay, at 7:27 a.m. Eastern time, I posted the below-referenced note on the college board. In less than an hour and a half, I'd received 5 responses.

Also, on the high school board, which is where I've 'lived' for the last few years (and where I've learned almost everything I know about doing homeschooling high school) these are some of the threads being discussed this morning.

One mom was just notified that her student is a National Merit semifinalist, and has questions about the paperwork. She was able to get answers both from people who'd done it in the past, as well as another mom currently going through it who had been on the phone with the NM folks, and was able to share the info she'd received recently.

Another mom wants to know if a certain calculator is allowed on the ACT test.

Another is sharing a change in textbooks she's making for an advanced or AP physics class and why. There are always lots of discussions related to specific texts and courses.

Several threads are folks either new to high schooling this year, or facing it in the next year or two, questioning everything from what curricula to use, to how to grade, to how to track paperwork, etc. etc.

Movin' on up!

I just made my first post on the WTM college board! I feel like I'm both very ready to be there, and yet not at all prepared in some ways...

I like the constant reminder here, and in my username at WTM: God's grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in my weakness.

Anyway, I explained how I'm going about trying to plan visits to different types of colleges, and a little of why I've chosen the ones I have. I asked for input, both on my general approach and on suggestions of specific schools.

If it works as usual, I'll find a lot of interesting chaff in response, and a few precious grains of wheat!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Making progress

Quick lunch, then errands: library, bank, drugstore, grocery store, then back to the drug store to pick up the prescription.

I still need to read Romeo and Juliet with Becky; go over both kids' writing exercises from Friday with them; take a 45 minute to 1 hour walk; do some decluttering in the basement; dry, iron, and hang up school/work clothes for Doug and Tim; clean a couple of bathrooms, call my grandma, spend 10-15 minutes doing yard work; and hopefully get to a couple of other small, miscellaneous jobs.

Oh, yeah. I guess I should make dinner for the family sometime, too.


It seems I always start the week with a do-list as long as my arm. So far today, I've done the dishes, taken the dog out for a few minutes, straightened the downstairs, lifted weights, done a couple loads of laundry, paid bills and balanced the checking account, got Sunday's offering entered into spreadsheets and ready to take to the bank, picked up Tim and Jimmy from CVCC in Brecksville, and gotten Tim and Becky both started on the work for the week.

That's less than half of what I need to do today.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


I've been trying for the last couple of weeks to be more faithful about taking Sunday as a Sabbath. I'm not suggesting that this is some sort of law that is currently binding on believers, but when Jesus spoke about it, it was as something God put into place for our benefit. I don't want to miss out on any of God's benefits.

Also, I have always heard and tend to believe that those who are faithful in tithing are never left with the needs unmet. I also tend to believe that if a person is chronically short of money, beginning to tithe will help, even though it seems very counter-intuitive.

So, since I've been chronically short of time lately, I decided to try being faithful to use my Sundays in a more God honoring way; instead of merely as a day to get caught up on all the work that didn't get done the previous week, or even to get ahead of the game for the coming week.

I did better the first week than last week, and this week I'm having a hard time. I have to get some laundry done so Doug and Tim have work/school clothes for tomorrow. I also tried to pay some bills, but the bank's online system is offline until 8 a.m. tomorrow.

I guess I'll do the bare minimum of laundry, and then continue going through the Elizabeth George book. I originally started into that thinking it would be good to use with the teen girls at church; I'm not so sure of that now, but I think it's probably beneficial to me anyway. The other thing I will try and do is look through the material I have on purity, since that's what Jen really wants to cover with the girls.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I'm pretty impressed with Tim

This morning (Saturday, mind you!) he gets up at 5:30 a.m., reads his Bible, has breakfast, and wakes me up just after 6:00 to take him to the armory for an O-flight.

He's growing up to be a wonderfully responsible young man.

Friday, August 28, 2009

To share with Raphael

Good stuff for talking about Jesus to a Jehovah's Witness, with thanks to

John 20:28,29-Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

Acts 20:28-Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Col 2:9-For in Christ ALL the fullness of the Deity [or, Godhead] lives in bodily form

1 Ti 3:15-16-God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. Beyond all question, the mystery of godliness is great: He appeared in a body...

Titus 2:13-while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Heb 1:3-The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.

Heb 1:4-So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.

Gen 1:26-27-Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness..." And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him.

Is 44:24-Thus says the Lord [Jehovah], your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, "I, the Lord [Jehovah], am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone..."

John 1:3-All things came into being by Him [the Word], and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. [If Jesus was created, then he created himself]

Eph 3:9-...God, who created all things...

Col 1:15-16-And He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the first-born [cp. Ps 89:27, Gen 41:51-52, Jer 31:9] of all creation. For [Gr. because] by him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created by Him and for Him.

Micah 5:2-"Bethlehem...out of you will come...ruler over Israel, whose goings out are from of old, from days of eternity."

Heb 7:3-[Melchizedek]...having neither beginning of the Son of God

Rev 5:11-14-And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, [be] blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped.

Matt 4:10-Then Jesus said to him, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord [Jehovah] your God, and serve Him only.'" [Quote from Deut 6:13]

Matt 14:33-Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Matt 28:9-Suddenly Jesus met them [the women]. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.

Matt 28:16-17-Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him...

John 9:38-Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and he worshiped him. [He recognized Jesus as the Son of Man-vs. 35]

Heb 1:6-And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him."

Rev 5:8-And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb.

Rev 14:7-He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."

Jesus is worshiped many times in the New Testament; the worshipers are never rebuked. An angel is worshiped twice in the New Testament [Rev 19:10, 22:8-9]; the worshiper is rebuked both times. Peter is worshiped once [Acts 10:25]; the worshiper is rebuked.

John 5:18-This is why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 10:28-33-" one shall snatch them out of My one is able to snatch [them] out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one." The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?" The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God."

Is 9:6-And he [Jesus] will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Rev 21:6-7-"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End...I will be his God"

John 2:19,21-Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." But the temple he had spoken of was his body.

Acts 2:24-"God raised him from the dead"

John 5:18-For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 8:28-"When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I AM [Gr. ego eimi-cp. Ex 3:14; LXX-no "he" in Gr.]"

Ex 3:14-God said to Moses, "I AM who I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

John 8:58-59-"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I AM! [Gr. no "he"-cp. Ex 3:14; LXX]" At this, they picked up stones to stone him...

Acts 20:28-Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

Phil 2:6-Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God...

Col 2:9-For in Christ ALL the fullness of the Deity [or, Godhead] lives in bodily form

Titus 2:13-while we wait for the blessed hope-the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

2 Pet 1:1-To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours...

Jesus Christ:

aa. He is from everlasting (Mic 5:2).

ab. He was in the beginning (John 1:1).

ac. He is before all things (Col 1:17).

ad. He had glory with the Father before the world was (John 17:5).

ae. He existed in the form of God (Phil 2:6).

af. He was God (John 1:1).

ag. He is the Firstborn of all creation (Col 1:15).

ah. Through Him are all things (Heb 1:2).

ai. All things were made by Him (Col 1:16).

aj. God attributes Jehovah's creative works to Him (Heb 1:8,10).

ak. All things were created by Him and for Him (Col 1:16).

al. He made man in His own image (Gen 1:26,27).

ba. The Father sent Him (John 6:57).

bb. He sought not His own will, but that of His Father who sent Him (John 6:38).

bc. The way was prepared for Jehovah, then Christ came (Matt 3:3).

bd. He was Immanuel-God With Us (Matt 1:23).

be. All the angels of God worship Him (Heb 1:6).

bf. The magi worshiped Him (Matt 2:11).

bg. He was the Son of God (John 10:36).

bh. He who has seen Him has seen the Father (John 14:7-9).

bi. The Father was greater than He (John 14:28).

bj. He could do nothing of Himself (John 5:19).

bk. He did nothing of Himself (John 8:28).

bl. His Father gave Him the words which He spoke (John 12:49).

bm. He knew not the day nor the hour of the end (Matt 24:36).

bn. A cured blind man worshiped Him (John 9:38).

bo. He would raise up His body (John 2:19,21).

bp. No one has greater love than Him (John 15:13).

bq. He was one with the Father (John 10:28-33).

br. The Jews believed that He made Himself equal with God (John 5:18).

bs. He forgives sins against God (Luke 5:24).

bt. He gave men power to be born of God (John 1:12,13).

bu. Those in the boat worshiped Him (Matt 14:33).

bv. His 11 disciples worshiped Him (Matt 28:16,17).

bw. The Father's name has been given to Him (John 17:11,12).

bx. He is heir of all things (Heb 1:2).

ca. God raised Him from the dead (Acts 2:24).

cb. He ascended to His God (John 20:17).

cc. He appeared in the presence of God (Heb 9:24).

cd. He sat down at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).

ce. God highly exalted Him (Phil 2:9).

cf. God glorified Him (Acts 3:13).

cg. He was made better than the angels (Heb 1:4).

ch. God made Him Lord and Christ (John 2:36).

ci. All men should honor Him as they do the Father (John 5:22,23).

cj. He is the First and the Last, as is Jehovah (Is 44:6, Rev 1:17,18).

ck. In Him dwells all the fulness of the Deity in bodily form (Col 2:9).

cl. He is the exact representation of God's nature (Heb 1:3).

cm. He is above all (John 3:31).

cn. He sustains all things (Col 1:17, Heb 1:3).

co. He is eternal Father (Is 9:6).

cp. He is Mighty God (Is 9:6).

cq. All things that are the Father's are His (John 16:15).

cr. All authority in Heaven and on Earth has been given to Him (Matt 28:18).

cs. The Father has given Him power over all flesh (John 17:2).

ct. He is mediator between God and men (1 Ti 2:5,6).

cu. He is in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18).

cv. He is Lord of lords (Rev 17:14).

cw. "Whoever calls upon the name of Jehovah will be saved" applies to Him (Rom 10:9, 11-13).

cx. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).

a. Jesus is the creator of all things.

b. Jesus is the sustainer of all things.

c. Jesus is the Savior.

d. Jesus is the giver of things of God.

e. Jesus has authority to forgive sins.

f. Jesus is the judge of all.

g. Jesus is all-seeing.

h. Jesus is all-knowing.

i. Jesus is omnipresent.

j. Jesus was eternally preexistent.

k. Jesus never changes.

l. It is proper to serve Jesus.

m. It is proper to pray to Jesus.

n. It is proper to give glory to Jesus.

o. It is proper to worship Jesus.

p. Jesus is Lord.

q. Jesus is sovereign with His Father.

r. Jesus is the Son of God.

s. Jesus is God, as is His Father.

t. Jesus is Jehovah, as is His Father.


Feminist garbage on Moody today!


Well, I had Becky's Shakespeare class all figured out. I had carefully and logically figured out which plays to read and in what order to read them. Now, I'm looking at it and wondering what I was thinking when I did so.

So far, she's just been reading some introductory stuff about William Shakespeare and his theatre, but today we're supposed to start into a specific play. I had Romeo and Juliet scheduled first, and A Midsummer Night's Dream last. I'm thinking I may switch them, but I can't remember why I scheduled it that way.

It would be just like me to get far enough into it that we can't really turn back, and then realize, "Oh! That's why I was going to do it that way. I wish I'd stuck with it!"


They're a bit snug, but I'm wearing a pair of jeans that a month ago I couldn't even come close to buttoning!

Hopefully, in another month or two, they'll be as baggy as all the jeans I wore last winter are now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


For close to a year, I've received occasional visits from Raphael, a Jehovah's Witness who comes to our neighborhood. Sometimes he's been with an older man, several times with his wife, and at least one other time with the young man who came today, Eric.

We've done a lot of dancing around the areas we disagree on, but today we were more direct. I know I haven't done the research and put the time into studying in order to give an answer that I should have, considering the eternal importance of what's involved. I'm going to try to do better.

I haven't seen him in a while. I thought maybe he'd given up on me... What's interesting is that this morning I asked God to give me an opportunity to share the gospel with someone today...

Large public university

We have two nearby schools that would give the kids a chance to see what a large public university is like, Kent State and Akron. Considering what a liberal place Kent State is, I doubt I'd actually want one of our kids to go there, so I'm leaning toward visiting Akron.

Both are nearby, both are big and in an urban environment, both are less than 10K a year for tuition, and close enough that room/board wouldn't need to be an issue.

I know other homeschoolers who've gone to Akron, and I think they're probably the more homeschool-friendly of the two. Besides, Kent State is very liberal and has welcomed and defended at least one jihadist on the faculty, so we'll probably visit there.

Malone University

I've also been looking at Malone. Again, like all the schools we want to give early visits to, it's nice and close. It's in Canton; and unfortunately, Mapquest suggests it's in a very built up area.

However, it's a Christian school, so definitely worth looking into. Doug thought it might be only a business, Bible, and education school, but they have a major in computer science and several in the natural sciences.

It's not a very small school, at almost 2500 undergrads, and the tuition + room/board is over 25K a year.

They have three kinds of visits: group visits, personalized visits, and overnight visits. I like the sound of their group visit days, but unfortunately, they are on weekdays and so would require Tim missing a day of school. They have one each month in October, November, and January - April. I think we'll probably do it... maybe in November?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Church tonight

Boy, am I looking forward to church tonight!

I'm grateful to God for bringing us to a church home that feels like home, and where the people feel like family.

First day!

Well, we survived the first day of school. Becky's done with all her work (with only a small amount of grumbling) and Tim's almost finished with physics (phynished with fisics?)

His class at CVCC seemed to go well. I'm so impressed with that program I'm about to bust!

Somewhat challenging schedule today

Dropped Tim off at around 8:35 a.m. Becky is planning on getting started with her schedule at 10 a.m. We let her choose her start time this year. I usually do a lot of the first day stuff with them to introduce new books and methods.

BUT, I need to leave hear by 10:15 at the latest to get gas and pick Tim up at 10:45. Believe me, I'd get grief if I'm late!

So through the late morning and early afternoon hours, I need to take my walk, work with the kids on school, iron Tim's CAP uniform, and hopefully get some of my actual normal work for the day done.

Then from 3:20 until almost 5 p.m. I'll be with Becky at horseback riding lessons. Once I get home, I'll need to find something for everyone to eat. (It's probably good that Doug isn't home this evening until later so I don't have to have a formal dinner ready!)

Take Tim to CAP around 6 p.m., and then try to be on time to church at 7 p.m.

A lot to answer for...

Ted Kennedy's passing is a very sobering and sad thing. Not because I will lament his absence, but because of the lack of any sense that he trusted in Christ for salvation. He has a lot to answer for!

It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Becky's school this year

Becky's in 10th grade. This year, we are trying HOPE for the first time. She's taking two full credit courses there, and five half credit courses.

The full credit courses are Chemistry, using the Apologia text, and Geometry, using Teaching Textbooks. Both of these are the same courses, using the same materials, she would have taken at home. The half credit courses are music, current events, church history, logic, and speech.

Since only speech would count as a language arts credit, I'll do a half credit at home, too... some composition and an introduction to Shakespeare. I've decided that we'll watch movies of two Shakespeare books I read to the kids a couple of years ago (Julius Caesar and Macbeth.) I'll also read aloud with her one tragedy and one comedy (Hamlet and Midsummer Night's Dream) and I'll have her read Romeo and Juliet. I'll shoot for her writing two essays, reading several of his sonnets, and hopefully writing one as well.

She'll also take Spanish at home, using Switched on Schoolhouse. For P.E., she'll take horseriding, and read a good portion of Total Health, a Christian high school level health text.

The courses she'll do at home will start tomorrow. The courses we'll do in the co-op don't start until September 11. She's very happy about that!

Tim's school this year

Tim's in 11th grade.

Half of his credits (3.5) are being taken in something as close to a public school as I ever expected my kids to get before college. The Cuyahoga Valley Career Center (a much improved version of the old Vocational/Technical classes of my day) offers a two year course called the Computer Networking Academy. Tim will attend there from 7:45 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Monday through Friday. In addition to computer networking, they learn a lot about computer hardware and systems, which at this point is his real interest.

In addition to that, he'll be taking Physics with Dad, the rocket scientist, as his primary teacher, using the Apologia text. He's also taking Precalculus using the videos from Chalkdust. I watched one of them and didn't like it as well as Videotext. I hope Tim will like it and be able to learn from it. If there are any problems understanding it, Doug will have to be the go-to person.

All I'm really teaching Tim this year is a course in 19th Century British Literature, as well as directing some reading in a health text for part of P.E. He'll be continuing in Karate for the rest of it.

I hope he can learn a lot from the CNA course without it being too much work, since Physics and Precalculus sound to me like a pretty tough row to hoe!

Better late than never...

I mostly finished yesterday and over the weekend, but the very last details for school are finally complete. I don't think I've ever procrastinated this badly before. (About school, I mean. Unfortunately, I procrastinate pretty badly about a lot of things.)

School starts tomorrow.


I'd really like us to spend Christmas with my family this year, but four airfares to Albuquerque isn't something to take too lightly. I found great fares if the kids and I could spend almost three weeks there, but Tim would have to miss four days of his class. THAT'S THE BENEFIT OF HOMESCHOOLING, which we've given up as the kids take more outside classes.

I think I'll talk to Tim's teacher and to Doug about it. The three of us could travel for only $776. Doug would cost more, since he'd probably only come for a week.

Mt. Union College

Info from their website

Close by, though I'm not familiar with the area
Located in Alliance, a town of about 25,000.
Seems to have decent computer and biology departments
Has a nice looking nature center
Has Saturday morning visits
Expensive... just under 30K per year room and board
The website says they have 'religion life organizations' but not info on them


Thoughts on Hiram College

Close -- only about 45 minutes to an hour away.
Rural -- I really like the area.
Small school -- only 1200 undergraduates
Has a Christian club
Has a good biology program with the field station
They have Saturday morning visits from Sept - May that seem short and informal.

Expensive -- tuition and room/board exceed 30K a year
Not sure if they have a good program for Tim's (current) interest

Notes to me

Tim is a junior... Becky's a sophomore. One of the scariest parts of homeschooling high school is being the 'guidance counselor.' I've discovered that college visits usually start in 11th grade, but I don't exactly have kids who are chomping at the bit to go visit this school or that school because it's a good school for this or that major.

Becky: I don't want to go to college. I hate school.

Tim: Ho, hum. whatever.

So, I've decided to do some college visits to local places. It (hopefully) can't hurt, and will at least give them some exposure and a base of experience with which to compare other schools. (Though for all I know, they'll just end up at home and going to community college for the first two years. It's certainly the most cost-efficient option.)

These are the ones I'm thinking of so far: Hiram, Mt. Union, Malone, Kent and/or Akron. If we decide to go further afield, Grove City and Cedarville. I need to check into what majors they have, though. Tim is definitely leaning toward something like computer systems administration, but this year hopefully go a long way toward confirming or changing that. Becky has leant toward something in the biological sciences for a long time, but I don't think that's certain any longer.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

School next year

Tim will be taking a neat program next year. It's called the Computer Networking Academy and will be three hours every day (M-F) at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center. It will count for 3.5 credits, so we still need to figure out English, Math, and Science.

Becky is still up in the air, although I'd really like her to take at least 3-4 courses via the homeschool co-op.

I'm glad we only have a few more years of this left, to be brutally honest!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Why was the stone rolled away from the tomb?

Jesus showed up in the upper room where his followers were hiding, though the doors were shut and locked. The stone could have stayed in place and he would certainly not have been trapped behind it.

The stone was rolled away for the sake of his disciples, then and now, so that they could see and we could know that his body wasn't there.

The Lord is risen indeed!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


Once again, I have finished the 'last rewrite' of Free Indeed. Hopefully this time is is the last! I've gone a little further with it than last time, anyway; I've actually submitted to a couple of agents. Here's the query letter text:

Obsessed with freedom and desperate to get away from his master’s new religion, Onesimus plots his escape from Colosse to Rome, seat of the empire. After years of living a charade, he meets the apostle Paul, a friend of his former master and emissary of the faith he once despised. A close spectator to Paul’s life and teaching during his Roman imprisonment, Onesimus’ heart is so changed that he realizes true freedom is only found in Christ, and chooses to give up his liberty and return to slavery. How will Philemon respond to a runaway slave who betrayed and stole from him, yet returns with a letter from the Apostle Paul pleading for mercy?

FREE INDEED is a completed Biblical fiction manuscript of 98,580 words. My target audience is readers of Christian fiction, especially those who enjoy works like LaHaye and Jenkins’ MARK’S STORY, Bunn and Oke’s THE CENTURION’S WIFE, and a number of recent similar novels. I am submitting to you because I appreciate your blog and would enjoy working with you, however, this is not an exclusive submission.

This is my first novel, and though I do not have any publishing credits, I submitted the early chapters to the Christian Writers Guild critique service. In their response, they stated, “You have a great story well worth developing and a strong skill that will surely lead you to publication, if you aren’t there already.”

I would be a hard worker and a tireless marketer if given the opportunity to publish. As a long-time homeschooling mom, I would reach out to contacts within that community, as well as within a number of churches to generate interest in the book.

I have pasted the first 10 pages below my signature line for your perusal. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

The two letters weren't exactly the same... For example, only one of the agents requests that pages of the novel be pasted into the query email. And, of course, the reason I picked each agent was different. Now, I wait.

Friday, March 27, 2009

I have decided...

After struggling for several days with unanswered prayers, worries for my kids, and feelings of failure, I heard Doug playing his saxophone. He was playing I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, one of my favorite hymns. It was a good reminder. The decision about how to respond to difficult circumstances has already been made. I have decided to follow Jesus, and to follow him means to do what he did. When he was faced with circumstances and a future from which he shrank in utter detestation and unwillingness to suffer, he said, "Nevertheless." That one word makes all the difference. "Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done."

So, when I find my mind whirling with fear and frustration, unwilling to tolerate any realities behind my imagined forthcoming disasters, I too must say, "Nevertheless."

Nevertheless, I will trust your promises and choose your will. Not my will, but thine be done.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Writers' Retreat

Our Writers' Circle at the Twinsburg Library had their annual Writers' Retreat today. Cari Dubiel, who runs the group, did a great job of setting everything up.

It's good for motivation... now I just need to get cracking!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Emergency Preparedness

I don't like to think of myself as a paranoiac, but with the currently shaky economy combined with the 'just in time' nature of retail systems, I've decided to stock up on some basics. It's the sort of thing I hope I never need, but given a choice between having it and not needing it, or needing it and not having it... well, 'nuff said!'

I did some shopping today, and got most of what I think I should have on hand. I'll go again in a few days and try and finish it off. It will be a good feeling if for no other reason than I can finally throw away the pages I printed about it several years ago when I first started thinking about it, and which have been living at the bottom of my 'to do' pile ever since.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Is progress always good, always bad, or somewhere in between?

I ask this because I'm reading a grammar text which states the following:

"This flood of language has had its effect on writing and thinking styles within the culture at large. Ideas today no longer need be expressed in full sentences. Rather, the ideas of today seem to come out in a continuous flow of ongoing language. Sooner or later the idea seems to be “out there,” and then the word-stream stops. But this style, based on flow and quantity, is not
the language style of yesterday. In the past, the carefully structured sentence was the medium for encapsulating and precision-stating our thoughts. Today, precision and structure seem to be less important than the ability to “wax eloquent” at the drop of a hat." [Quote by Robert Einnarsson, found in]

A few paragraphs later he states that he wants his textbook "to stand against the current culture of language as quantity and flow..." My initial reaction to this introduction of the book was very positive, but then I found myself wondering if this is akin to publishing a guide to excellence in classical carriage manufacturing in the early 1900s.

As a homeschooler, do I want my students to be more facile with last century's methods of communication than with the next century's methods? In terms of writing, I suppose I'd like the best of both worlds. I want my students to be able to write an elegant essay, deliver thoughtful, well-reasoned oratory, and understand their peers' texty lingo.

Unfortunately, taking a hard look at things, I'm not sure I've succeeded in any of those goals.

Sunday, March 01, 2009


I love the idea of taking Sunday as a Sabbath, spending extra time in Bible study and prayer, and just hanging out with the family. Unfortunately, I usually spend Sunday trying to get ready for the week ahead.

I know that if I were completely honest with myself, it's because I "sabbath" when I'm not supposed to! If I were more efficient and especially more disciplined the rest of the week, I would have enough time to get it all done.

This has been an issue for me for a long time, but just recently I'm starting to get serious about changing things. I just don't really know how.

Monday, February 16, 2009


So now I'm starting to work on next year's school, and I've come across a two year program at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center that might be really neat for Tim. It's called the Computer Networking Academy, and consists of spending half days at something like a Vo-Tech program. Fortunately, unlike the Vo-Tech programs of yesteryear, it's not a replacement for college, but can lead into it, as well as give a head start on certain classes. It could lead to direct employment after high school, which may be a bonus in paying for college, too!

Tim built his first computer just after his 13th birthday, and just recently rebuilt it with components he got from us for Christmas. He seems to enjoy the hardware side of computing much more than the software side, so I would expect him to enjoy the program. It may also be a good indication of whether or not this is indeed the field he would like to pursue in college.