Monday, June 27, 2011

Our Week In Review - June 27, 2011

Several times this week, I really expected to see the animals coming 2 by 2 into an ark.  The rain and storms have been just crazy!  PWM and I are from down South where torrential rains aren't unheard of, but this kind of rain is not the norm here in Wisconsin.

For the next couple of months, these weekly reviews are going to be pretty sparse.  I'm chronicling our opening of The Knitting Nest over at The Knitting Nest blog, so you can click over there to see what other mischief we've been up to!

The big excitement this week was having my parents up for a visit.  My mom cooked and cooked and cooked some more - and there are no arguments from me because I love her food and I've been working pretty obsessively on this Fair Isle sweater for the County Fair (see The Knitting Nest blog for more details on the knitting projects).  Not only that, but she had Wild Man helping her and learning how to make some of his favorite dishes.

We've watched several of the Star Wars movies this week - at the kids' requests - and the new PBS/BBC Masterpiece Theater adaptations of Mansfield Park and Persuasion.  PWM received the new Lego "Pirates of the Caribbean" for Wii, so he and the kids have been having fun playing.

When the rain finally quit, Wild Man went out fishing - once with Grams and once with PWM.  He didn't catch anything, but he enjoys it.  He's still getting drum lessons once a week as well as having Youth Band practice on Sunday afternoon.  And, of course, he works at the Nutrition Site on Wednesday and helps the Children's Ministries Director on Sunday morning.  He has yet to tell me that he's bored - of course, that may just be because he knows how I'll respond (give him housework to do - there's never a shortage!). 

Rosie Girl just finished crocheting some juggling balls that look like tomatoes as a prop for her CosPlay for DaiShoCon this Fall.  (She's going to dress up as an anime character for the anime convention.)  Now she's working on a crocheted backpack.  In the last two weeks, she's been on two sleepovers.  It was good to have her home for a couple of days!

Rosie Girl is working diligently to finish Geometry and Japanese, although she didn't have as much opportunity this week since the grandparents were here.  Wild Man and I have not done any spelling yet.  I hope to do some review with him once or twice this week.  She is also driving a good bit so that she can get all  of her hours recorded

PWM has been sharpening all the tools for his new (well, new to him) lathe.  He's even done a little bit of turning.  It's good for him to have a creative outlet, particularly if he makes knitting needles that we can sell at the shop!

So, what about me?  I've had two big, bad migraines in the last few weeks.  Not fun.  Despite that, I've gotten a lot of knitting done as well as trying to read more about sheep and wool as well as how to be a successful entrepreneur.

Oh, and we got a car.  My Malibu gave up the ghost this Spring, so we've been driving PWM's mom's car.  We'd been looking for a few weeks, but found a Saturn VUE in good condition and in our price range (always a plus).  And, it's a standard transmission, so Rosie Girl will get to learn to drive it.

This week is going to be filled with more work at the shop and, perhaps, cleaning some fleeces to send to a mill for processing.  And, then, we get to go to Family Camp!!  I really can't wait for camp!  It's the one week when we are pretty much unplugged and have time to just relax and enjoy God's creation and our family.

Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others are spending their summer!  And leave me a comment about what your family is up to!

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Friday, June 24, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday - June 24, 2011

So, what's going on around here this week? Lots and lots and lots of fun! OK, some not-so-fun as well, but God is still good.

1. My parents are visiting this week. We have all really enjoyed having them here - and it certainly doesn't hurt that my Mom cooks for us!

2. The weather has been just atrocious this week! PWM and I are used to heavy rains, having lived our early lives in the Deep South, but we aren't used to seeing the heavy, drenching rains up here in Wisconsin. There are all kinds of flood watches and warnings now.

3. I had a big, bad migraine yesterday that left me just worn out today. And I feel another one coming on. Yuck!

4. It has been funny to watch Wild Man and Grams together this trip. Wild Man has grown several inches this year and is almost towering over my mom!

5. PWM has spent a good bit of time this week setting up his lathe working area in the garage and has even done a little bit of turning. I'm excited about getting some custom-made knitting needles!

6. Rosie Girl is such a musician! She played some of the theme from Lord of the Rings on her keyboard and recorded it. Then, she played ocarina while she played back the keyboard part. It was wonderful!!

7. Grams has been teaching Wild Man to cook several of his favorite dishes this week. No arguments from me!

Check out what others are saying at 7 Quick Takes Friday (note the temporary change in location)!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thinking About The School Year

I’m a planner.  Normally, I’m such a planner that by this time of year, I’ve already planned the curriculum for next year and purchased it.  Then, during July and August, I plan things out week by week.  Whether we actually stick to the plan is a completely different story, but I like the planning.  It makes me feel secure.

Not this year.  In the hustle and bustle of starting a new business, I haven’t had much time to think about curriculum.  In fact, Wild Man didn’t get nearly as much of the last month of his curriculum done as I would have liked.  And Rosie Girl is going to do some Chemistry experiments in the Fall since they didn’t get done this Spring.

I think, though, that involving the kids in our shop is going to be at least as educational as any purchased curriculum that we could use.  Not only that, but Rosie Girl works quite independently and Wild Man is more and more independent each year.

Here’s what I’m thinking right now:

Rosie Girl

New Testament Survey

Sonlight Core 300 – 20th Century History

20th Century Literature

Research Paper Workshop (through Write At Home)


The Science of Music (independent study)

Algebra 2


Tap Dance

Art 3 (at the high school)

Metals (Art class at the high school)

Community Service (helping our Worship Arts Director once a week)

Composing and Arranging (at Lawrence Academy of Music)


Wild Man

Bible (don’t know what I’m going to have him study, perhaps apologetics)

History – I think I’m going to have him do a largely self-directed unit study on weapons (his choice) for the first 9 weeks.  Then, I’ll have him do an abbreviated Core 6/7 or Overview of World History.  We’ll have to see.

Literature (from Sonlight Core 6/7)

Math (ALEKS)

Spelling (All About Spelling)

Institute for Excellence in Writing

Science – For the first quarter, he’ll be learning science in the unit study.  After that, who knows?


Community Service (working at the Senior Nutrition Site)

At the end of the school year, I’ll see how much Rosie Girl has learned from helping us with the business and award credit.  I’m actually not very stressed out about the kids’ education right now.  Home education has been very successful thus far, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t continue to be.  I like to be very organized, but I’ve also seen how real life interrupts my plans.  I’m learning to be flexible – which is going to be important this next year!

Friday, June 17, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday–June 17, 2011



1. The Knitting Nest is taking shape.  And, from now on, posts about my knitting projects and The Knitting Nest can be found at the Knitting Nest blog.  Check it out and add it to your feed reader if you want to keep up with our progress!

2. Rosie Girl turns 16 next week!!  Ack!!  It feels like it was just yesterday that she was a little toddler who loved to yell, “To infinity – and beyond!”

3. Wild Man is loving that I’m letting him have more media time during the summer.  But, when the weather is nice, I’ve been making him disconnect.

4. It’s going to be a busy week next week.  My parents are coming for a visit!  I’m sure they’re going to enjoy the break from the 90+ degree Florida weather!

5. Wild Man is becoming quite the cook.  He made apple pie this week with PWM’s help.  Wild Man also made spaghetti for dinner last night completely by himself.  I’m enjoying this self-sufficiency.

6. Rosie Girl has developed quite the social life.  She’s at her second sleepover of the week!

7. We have the windows open intermittently depending on the weather.  The cats love open windows and will sit in them and watch the squirrels and birds for hours.  When it’s too hot or cold for open windows, Sophie (usually, but occasionally the other two cats as well) cries and begs for us to open the kitchen window.  It’s rather pathetic!

Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to!


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Embracing the Gray

And I don’t mean gray hair!

Do you ever wish that God gave us a textbook of systematic theology instead of the Bible?  I do.  I’m not sure why God chose to give us the Bible in the form it is in, but the consequence is that we have a lot to discuss about the Bible and what it means.  (I suspect that part of God’s intention was to force us to work at relationships instead of making it easy.  Kind of like marriage.  When a couple works through all kinds of difficulties and troubles, they usually end up with a better relationship in the long-run.)  It seems a little odd to me that the book that points us to Jesus is, in many ways, a story book.  Lots of stories.  Put together over a long period of time.  Sometimes it’s hard to know what a text actually means. 

The basic plan of salvation through Jesus’ death and resurrection is pretty clear.  Beyond that, though, there are lots of places that are just difficult to understand.  Humans like, I think, to be certain about things.  As I grew up in Evangelicalism, I learned a lot of things that were very black and white (many from my church, less from my parents).

1. The earth is about 6000 years old and God created it and all life in six, literal, 24-hour days.

2. The flood was worldwide and all geological formations that we see were made by the flood.

3. People who engage in practices beside married heterosexuality can’t possibly be saved.

4. The plan for the end of the world is spelled out in Revelation, Daniel, and a couple of Paul’s letters and can be predicted, albeit not down to the day.

5. Baptism must be by immersion after someone prays the “Sinner’s Prayer”.

6. We can know about other people’s eternal situation based on whether or not they have prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer”.

As I’ve gotten older and more mature, I’ve learned that very few things are as black and white as I thought.  There are gray areas.  And it’s not necessarily bad.  I have changed my mind on some of my beliefs, but, while I still hold on to some others, I realize that believers in Jesus can and will have differences.

1. I believe that the scientific discoveries that show that the universe and earth are very old and that biological evolution occurred are the best explanations for origins.  But, others believe in an old earth but don’t accept that biological evolution occurred.  But, when we try to be true to the original meaning of the text by it’s original authors (inspired by God), what are the truths that we can get from Genesis 1-3?  Did Adam literally exist?  If not, what does that do to our interpretation of the New Testament references to Adam?  Origins is definitely a gray area.  There are lots of questions, few concrete answers, and lots and lots of opinions.

2. I believe that the story of Noah describes a local flood.  The science doesn’t support a worldwide flood, and the text is part of the early sections of Genesis that may or may not have contained literal descriptions of events.  That doesn’t mean that I believe that it’s unimportant or uninspired!  So, another gray area.

3. I think the Bible is pretty clear that we are only to express our sexuality through marriage to a partner of the opposite sex.  Yet, others disagree.  And they love Jesus.  (And, you have to admit that the examples of sexual relationships in the Old Testament show a much wider variety of “acceptable” sexual practices than we now have.  When a woman is raped nowadays, the perpetrator is (hopefully) brought to justice.  The biblical rules say that they should get married.  Strange.)  While I don’t consider this very gray in my world, I know others who worship Jesus and disagree.  But, I can still worship with them.

4. As we all saw a few weeks ago when the Rapture did NOT occur, there are widely varying opinions on when the world will end and how.  There are those who believe that the events foretold in Revelation have already occurred.  Others believe that Revelation needs to be understood symbolically.  This isn’t an issue that I spend much time and energy on.  It’s definitely a gray area.

5. I still believe that the Bible teaches baptism by immersion after someone has clearly accepted the Christian faith as their own.  Yet, I can see how paedo-baptism (infant baptism) got started and how it is still used in Reformed churches today.  And, apparently, some people do credo-baptism (baptism after the person has professed their faith), but still sprinkle.  The one part of the baptism controversy that is black and white to me is that baptism is NOT what saves us.  However, we can agree on salvation while still disagreeing about baptism.  More gray.

6. A person can know about their own eternal salvation because they can know what they believe and have a relationship with God.  However, we can’t know the eternal status of other people.  If you have seen any of the controversy about the book Love Wins (which I haven’t read), you will have seen how concerned people are to be sure they know what happens after death to other people.  Certainly, we can have some clue as to a person’s destiny, but we can only judge by what we can see on the outside.  God judges the inside.  And here’s what makes this really gray – what happens to people who have never heard the Gospel?  I don’t have the answer for that.  Paul says in one of his letters that those who haven’t heard still have the witness of nature.  Does that mean that God holds us responsible for what we know of Him?  Is there a time after death when people are given a chance to make the choice for salvation?  I think this is the most gray area in the Christian faith that I can think of.  I have far more questions than answers here. 

So, what do we do with all this “gray”?  We don’t run away from it.  Nor do we try to get rid of the gray and make those black and white lines that have become so much a part of Evangelicalism.  Rather, we need to embrace the uncertainty and limitedness of our knowledge and point instead to God, who knows everything, even if he’s not spelled it all out for us in detail.  Besides, would a God that you can understand be a God worthy of worship?

Embrace the gray.  Be willing to talk about these issues with other believers.  Give lots of grace to those who hold a different perspective.  Let’s get away from all the sniping and fussing and fear-mongering and instead focus on Jesus, who tells us to love one another.  Remember, Jesus said to lay down our burdens and take his burden because it is light.  I’m afraid that sometimes I get caught up in these peripheral issues (particularly origins) and forget the primary thing: Love.

Any thoughts?  Go out and Love some people tomorrow!

Friday, June 03, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday–6/3/2011

The end of the week and the end of the school year!!

1. Rosie Girl has dance recital this weekend – 2 performances on Saturday and one on Sunday.  It’s a long weekend, but she’s only taking one class now which makes it easier.  I can’t wait to see the dance!

2. Wild Man made lasagna on Wednesday night for us for dinner.  I love that he’s old enough to cook.  But, I wonder where my sweet little baby boy went!

3. Next week sometime, our yarn shop will be officially incorporated!  We start renting our shop space in the middle of the month and hope we can open in early Fall.  Exciting!!

4. I bought some wonderfully beautiful yarn last weekend and I’m making a lace shawl from it.  Right now, I hope that I have enough yarn to finish.

5. We’ve been watching lots of Lord of the Rings.  Earlier this week, we watched the appendices to The Two Towers and tonight we watched The Return of the King.

6. Next week is time to clean the basement and garage.  I am so thrilled.

7. Tonight was high school graduation, so Rosie Girl went up to the school to watch her best friend graduate.  The friend will still be living in the area, so they’ll get to see each other next year, but not every day in the hall before Rosie Girl’s art class like they did this year.

Check out what others are saying at 7 Quick Takes Friday!



Wednesday, June 01, 2011


I am the mother of two adolescents!!  And, since we homeschool, I spend hours and hours each day with these adolescents.  And I love it!!  (Most of the time!)

Adolescents are physically, mentally, and emotionally become adults, but the brain and body don’t always develop at the same rate.  So, I have a thirteen year old boy who still loves watching cartoons (especially Phineas and Ferb) but wants to learn to cook and use power tools (not at the same time!).  Sometimes the hormones just seem to be on overdrive and emotions are completely uncontrollable.  And the next day, that excessively emotional teenager is very calmly driving me to the grocery store. 

I have read somewhere (and since this isn’t an academic paper, I don’t have to go track down my sources) that adolescence is a creation of the twentieth century.  Prior to this, teenagers were expected to transition from childhood to adulthood with minimal trouble.  It was largely the start of mass education that allowed childhood to continue into the late teens.  I agree that this is likely the case, but the body changes and hormones were still there.  It was just that teens didn’t have the luxury to “freak out” on occasion because they were expected to be acting as productive adults by that time.

Another book that I read recently (again, I don’t remember the source) said that kids often don’t feel like they are doing anything important, leading to some of the adolescent angst.  And, that’s not an unrealistic conclusion.  Most kids go to school to prepare for college, which seems a million years away, and then maybe work in a fast-food place or have other kinds of “unimportant” work.  The authors of this book recommend that kids become part of the adult world during their teen years by doing volunteer work or paid work that they see as having some value.

PWM and I love homeschooling because we can help them find places where they can learn to be part of the adult world.  Wild Man volunteers on Wednesdays at the Senior Nutrition Site to pack Meals on Wheels while Rosie Girl does some clerical-type work for our church’s Worship Arts director.  Wild Man is also busy every Sunday morning helping the Children’s Director at church with her skits for Children’s Church.  And both kids are going to be helping us open the yarn shop.

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a roller coaster with these kids – sometimes they’re children, other times they’re adults!  But, this is my job – helping them navigate all the changes going on as they become young adults and eventually leave home.  Excuse me now while I go cry over scrapbooks and baby pictures!