Sunday, December 30, 2007


Today we got much needed, all-day soaking RAIN!

We've enjoyed a visit from my brother, Steve, sister-in-law, Lynn, and nephew, Isak, who drove down from MA on Thursday. The boys made their annual trek down to Raleigh to watch high school basketball at the Glaxo Smith Kline Tournament on Friday night, and Mark bought some of the tournament basketballs for the Lighthouse teams. The girls went out for lunch at the Olde English Tea Room. They head back north tomorrow, just in time to shovel their way in to their driveway after a big snowstorm hitting southern New England tonight! I do love North Carolina.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Do The Next Thing

Does anyone else get overwhelmed by a "to do" list that is miles long, and seemingly unconquerable? I find myself flitting from one unfinished task to another, highly distractable and generally irritable! I read somewhere that as women get older, they start to lose the ability to multi-task because they produce less estrogen and more testosterone, thereby becoming more like men in their thinking processes! Oh, that is BAD NEWS! Author and teacher Elisabeth Elliot has a favorite saying that has become one of my favorites as well!

"Just do the next thing!"

This helps whether you are trying to declutter a hopelessly messy room, deal with a house full of sick children, get through an emotionally trying week, face a daunting challenge, or just get supper on the table.

Here is the poem that was her inspiration:

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
And on through the doors the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “DO THE NEXT THING.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking for Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor;
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day

We enjoyed our Christmas Eve dinner, and even had some friends drop by to visit for a couple of hours. As usual, we were up VERY late, so even my youngest didn't rouse until about 8:30 AM on Christmas morning! The rule is that no children can go out to the living room to see the gifts under the tree until everyone is up, so Jason and Amanda and I proceeded to pounce upon all the big kids ( yes, 18-22 yr olds, and DAD are definitely BIG KIDS ) With some good-natured grumbling and complaining, we got everyone on their feet and out to the living room, where Amanda took the job of passing out gifts, one at a time, to be opened while everyone watched and ooohed and aaaahhed. There were a LOT of DVDs received this year ~ but some other coveted items were a REAL bow and arrow set for Jason, a camo CamelBak hydration backpack for Alex, soft and comfy robes for the girls, a tripod for my photographer daughter, a Dick's Sporting Goods gift card for Eric, a fire & water-proof file box for Mark... and an IPod for me! That was a surprise, because I was expecting a frypan! The rest of the day was spent relaxing, playing games, and watching movies. We ended the day by watching The Nativity Story, and being reminded of the real people living in a real place known as Palestine, over 2000 years ago, and the miracle that was the birth of God's own son, Jesus Christ.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas


Christmas Eve ~
I've been baking up a storm today - 2 apple pies and 3 Cranberry Eggnog Braids so far - so I'll just pause a moment to wish you a joyful and blessed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! We are having our traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner tonight - crab-stuffed mushrooms, tuna spaghetti, shrimp fettuccine alfredo, meatballs, salad, garlic bread, with cream puffs and Christmas cookies for dessert. Tomorrow morning is a sausage-egg bake, orange wedges, and the Cranberry Eggnog braid. Then dinner tomorrow evening will be glazed ham w/ pineapple sauce, mashed potatoes, cauliflower & broccoli casserole, Holiday Ribbon Jello, and whole wheat rolls, followed by the apple pie. Yummmmeee! Does it seem like FOOD is a big part of my holiday celebrations? I really do like to cook, and my family likes to eat, so the combination works out great!

My husband and 2 of the kids are out braving the MALL, finishing up some last minute shopping. You know, one of these days I'll figure out how to get my Christmas shopping done ahead of time....yeah, right. I don't even like to THINK about Christmas ( although it is my favorite holiday and I LOVE Christmas!) until after Thanksgiving. I did start ordering gifts online the day after Thanksgiving ( I refuse to join the mobs in the stores on Black Friday), but when you are buying gifts for 7 people, plus grandparents, it takes a while! My kids are apparently a lot like me, because most of them were out doing their Christmas shopping yesterday!

I am very blessed to have all my family - plus my "adopted daughter"- home for Christmas. My prayers are with those families, like my friend, Lea's, who are missing their soldiers serving far away. And for those like Kate's, dealing with illness and hospitals and separation during the holidays.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

College Graduation

Wow, this has been a really busy week. My oldest son, our first homeschool graduate, is now a college graduate! North Carolina State University held its Fall Commencement Ceremony at the RBC Center on Wednesday morning, December 19, 2007. My eyes were misty watching my boy enter the arena in black cap and gown along with the other members of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, to join the various other colleges, as well as masters and doctoral degree candidates. How can this be? Am I really that old? (rhetorical question ~ I obviously know the answer...)

Alex earned his B.A. with a major in political science. He also completed the Army ROTC program, so on Tuesday night, he received his gold bars as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army at the NC State Army ROTC Commissioning Ceremony and Dinner. He looked really sharp in his dress greens, up on stage repeating the Army oath of office and afterwards receiving his first salute from a NCO.

The new officers all received a really nice gift in a presentation by the Officer Christian Fellowship Minister ~ a gear tree engraved with their last name on one side, and NCSU 2007 on the other side.

A second Joint Commissioning Ceremony was held on Wednesday afternoon, this time for all 4 branches ~ Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force. Both ceremonies were very impressive. I am so proud of my son, both for what he has accomplished over the last four years and for what he has committed to do over the next four years. My parents and niece were here from MA for the festivities as well. Alex is their first grandchild, so this was very special for them as well.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Sarah, Bekah, and Alex all came home for Christmas break yesterday ~ but then Alex turned around and went back to his apartment on campus for the weekend. He realized that there wasn't going to be a car available for him to use anyway, since Mark and I have pretty busy schedules this weekend, so he might as well spend a few more days with his college buddies before everyone leaves campus and he graduates!

Amanda sings in the Raleigh Homeschool Girls Choir, and last night was their Christmas Concert! It was a quick 30 minutes, but they sounded wonderful! Afterwards, we met up with the rest of the family at Taco Bell, where they were eating after Eric's basketball game at Franklin Academy. It was one of those "divide and conquer" evenings ~ mom & dad couldn't be at both activities at the same time.

This morning was our TOG Co-op. We moved locations ~ we had been meeting at a small house on our church property which is used for Sunday School space. It was wonderful to have that place to meet, and we didn't have to worry about bothering anyone or making messes, so long as we cleaned up after ourselves. Well, the house's water and septic systems aren't doing so well, so we had to move into the main church building. We really appreciate that we were allowed to do that, since the church is very descriminating in allowing anyone to use the facility. We moms are a bit nervous about the new arrangement, but I think it went fine today. The first question the boys asked when we told them we were moving to the big church was "where are we going to play football?"!!! They have a weekly contest during our lunch hour, and had been playing on the house lawn. But all is well, because there is a small playing field adjacent to the church building as well. It is getting a bit difficult for all of us to get through the TOG reading and assignments at this time of year, with so many holiday preparations and activities going on. We will meet next week, and then take a 2 week break. We are expecting to get back into the groove after the holidays!

After Co-op, we headed to Creedmore for JV basketball games. Amanda's team played a tough game, doing much better against the Christian Faith Center team than during the previous two meetings. Amanda played great, although she is being bothered by a very sore foot ~ I think she might have a strained tendon or something like that on the side of her right foot. Mark wanted to stay and watch the JV boys play, but we had to get Amanda to our children's pastor's house where she was babysitting 9 children for the evening, while the parents enjoyed fellowship downstairs!

Sarah was planted in front of the TV tonight watching her college team, the Appalachian State University Mountaineers, win the NCAA Div. I Football Championship against the Delaware Blue Hens, 49-21!

Oh, and we finally got the ornaments on the Christmas tree tonight! We HAD to wait for Sarah to get home from school....I'll take a picture tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Helping Hand

This morning, after I dropped Amanda off at her Biology class, I went over to my friend Eileen's house for the morning. Eileen and Jerry just adopted 3 beautiful children, a 3 yr old and 9 mo. old twins, from Ethiopia, and they also have 4 yr old twins at home. Eileen has a bad cold; Ellie, her 14 yr old daughter, has a viral infection in her throat; the kids have coughs and assorted other minor ailments, so they needed an extra pair of hands! Since Mark was working from home today, I left Jason home ~ he wanted to come so badly, but I decided it wasn't wise this time with them all sick ~ and packed up a bag with the makings for Old Fashioned Chicken Soup, a baggie of Very Berry Tea, and 3 paint-with-water coloring books from WalMart. I got to feed the baby girls their breakfast, played with the boys, folded laundry, enjoyed a hot cup of tea with my friend, and made a big pot of chicken-rice soup for their lunch. This soup has fresh garlic, gingerroot, and cayenne pepper, so it is especially good when you are suffering with a stuffy head and cold. Opens things right up! And the garlic is a natural antibiotic! Amanda got dropped off after her biology class ( thanks, Eve!), so she helped for a while as well, until it was time to go home so she could get to her basketball game this afternoon. I hope it was a help for Eileen to have us there ~ I know we enjoyed ourselves immensely!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Do You Recognize These Christmas Carols?

Christmas Carol Quiz

1) Move hitherward the entire assembly of those who are loyal in their beliefs.

2) Nocturnal time span of unbroken quietness

3) An emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good given to the
terrestrial sphere.

4) Embellish the interior passageways.

5) Diminutive masculine master of skin-covered percussionistic cylinders.

6) Omnipotent Supreme Being who elicits respite to ecstatic distinguished males.

7) The first person nominative plural of a triumvirate of near eastern heads of state.

8) Tintinnabulation of vacillating pendulums in inverted, metallic, resonant cups.

9) In a distant location, the existence of an improvised unit of newborn
children's slumber furniture.

10) Proceed forth, declaring upon a specific geological alpine formation.

11) Obese personification fabricated of compressed mounds of minute crystals.

12) Jovial yuletide desired for the second person singular or plural, by us

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Another Alex update

I suppose I'll have to get used to sudden change when it comes to Alex and the Army - he found out yesterday that his training schedule has been bumped up, so he reports for training the first week of Feb. instead of April. Okay, I'm still grateful that he'll be around for a month and a half before he heads out. Graduation day is fast approaching - Dec. 19th!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Salute to Aprons!

APRONS have made a big comeback over the last several years. I suppose in some places they never were "out", but I definitely thought they were very... Ozzie & Harriet. I have been married for 25 years , and a full-time homemaker for most of that time, but I'm only now coming to appreciate the APRON! A cute or casual or sassy or sophisticated cover to keep my clothes neat and free from drips, splashes, and splatters ~ there are so many styles, and so many fabrics, to fit the mood of the day. My daughters also, appreciate an apron. I think because we are all somewhat nostalgic for simpler days, we all value the work of the home, and we all like craftsy, homemade things. So Grandma, hint, hint, hint.....
I just found this site with 50 free apron patterns found on the web:
So run to Joann's and buy yourself a pretty print fabric, get the sewing machine out of the closet, and have a blast!


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Tea

Tonight was our homeschool group's annual Mom's Christmas Tea. This year it was held at the American Legion building. It is getting harder and harder to find rooms /buildings available in the area that 1) are big enough to hold 50-70 people for a meeting, and 2) don't charge an arm and a leg. Churches, which were once our primary meeting places, now tend to have grueling reservation processes in place, and are less welcoming than they once were. I guess liability issues have many of them scared to open their doors to outside groups that don't fall under their ministry umbrellas. But I digress.
The Tea was wonderful, and has become a much anticipated tradition for our support group. Each table is decorated by a volunteer "hostess" who brings her own table linens, candles, dishes, centerpieces, etc. We had 9 tables, with 6 people at each table. I wish I had a camera so I could have taken pictures. I rely on my daughter's camera, and she had it with her at a basketball game tonight. Oh well. One table at the back of the room had an urn of hot water with various teas and cocoa mixes, and a couple of crock pots of spiced cider. Then two long tables were filled with plates of goodies. I brought tea sandwiches - curried chicken salad with apples & cranberries ; ham & apricot-cream cheese; cucumber & mint-cream cheese. There were other trays of sandwiches as well as cookies, brownies, fruit, mini cream puffs, and other treats. Three ladies and I sang the holiday classic - 14 Days of Homeschooling (* sung to tune of 12 Days of Christmas ) Then Lynn G. led us in some Christmas Carols, while her husband accompanied us on guitar. Her 4 little children sang "Happy Birthday, Jesus", which was absolutely precious. Following that, Dianne Hart presented the Christmas story from the point of view of Mary. It was an enjoyable night, mostly because of the fellowship with the wonderful homeschool moms in our support group. I so enjoy spending time with them, as we talk and laugh and encourage one another. Eileen and I stood shivering and talking in the parking lot for about an hour afterwards, as we have done so many nights through the years. Her husband is a gem, as he shooed her out the door tonight so she could spend an evening relaxing with the ladies while he stayed home and put all FIVE under five to bed ( I'm sure with Ellie's help) Good job, Jerry. :-)