Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving with Mom

After yesterday's Thanksgiving with Jon's mom, today was spent with my mom and brother.  The girls and I were able to help my mom do a little cooking for the day.  It was nice to be able to spend time visiting with Mom and Bob.  My brother Michael joined us for the evening.  

Caleb spent part of the day working on final projects for school while the girls played a little Yahtzee.  

I think we all finished the day off fat and happy!  I'm pretty sure we ate our way through the day. It was great to have us all together, but much too short of a visit! 

Let your father and mother be glad;
    let her who bore you rejoice.

Proverbs 23:25

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving at Granny's House

Our first Thanksgiving stop was at Granny's house. Granny and Donnie had a houseful of people, I think I counted 18+ at dinner.  Jon's brother Bob and his son BJ were in town; we were only missing Jess. Lots of laugh and story telling and plenty of delicious food make for a great holiday.  As you can Sport was worn out from all the activity! 

And he answered, “It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table.” Matthew 15:26-27

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Boy is Home for the Holiday

The boy made it home for Thanksgiving break!  His last class finished up today at noon, but he was working in Professor Patty's office until 5pm.  So happy to have him home for a few days.  His sisters and puppy were so excited he was coming home, but Sissy fell asleep before he arrived.  

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Support for Malori

Malori Maddox is a sophomore at LCU with Caleb, who collapsed in the locker room during a volleyball game, she was rushed to the hospital after complaining of a severe headache and blurred vision. A surgeon at the small hospital in Wichita Falls who just happened to be trained in her symptoms performed an emergency surgery to treat her brain bleed, which was caused by a arteriovenous malformation (AVM) - a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries to the brain.

Malori is making big strides as she recovers and on November 19, she was able to eat by herself for the first time since her collapse.  Malori would have died had the doctor in the Wichita Falls hospital not performed an emergency surgery to stop the hemorrhaging, and her family is hoping for a full recovery once the AVM is removed next month.

Today students at LCU purchased shirts to show their support for Malori and her family.  Caleb is on the second row, toward the center.  

And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 
Acts 15:31

Friday, November 20, 2015

Christmas Recital

The first of the holiday events, our PEACH Christmas Recital! Abigail chose to play Burgmuller's Ballade on the piano. She was more that a little nervous because she's spent almost twelve weeks in a cast or brace with a torn ligament in her left thumb! 

To his son Shemaiah were sons born who were rulers in their fathers' houses, for they were men of great ability.  I Chronicles 26:6 

Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark

Our PEACH Drama Club is preparing for our spring production.  This year the 9th-12th graders will be putting on, 'Something's Rotten in the State of Denmark.' The play is a spoof William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Abigail will be portraying Hamlet's mother, Queen Gertrude.  This is the sixth years for our drama club and it is so enjoyable to see how comfortable the kids are with each other, they've become quite the 'hams!'  

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,

    but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
Proverbs 12:4

Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part II

If you haven't experienced a teen flick, especially the latest book to movie adaptation, know it should be experienced sitting next to four fourteen year olds. Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part II came out last night and Abigail and a few friends were at the first showing this morning. 

The girls giggled through the promo clips of upcoming movies with Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter). The promoters knew their audience placement!  it was fun to watch the girls who had read the books and knew when 'something' was about to happen.  The girls would begin to slouch down in their chairs, grab each others arms and brace themselves!

The girls declared the movies to be a hit, true to the book, just marvelous.  The mom vote goes something like this, lots of action, no profanity, no sexualized scenes, great family entertainment all except for that depraved society that kills children.  

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up,
 as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
 Ephesians 4:29

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Dinner

Who doesn’t love it when Peppermint Patty invites herself and her friends over to Charlie Brown’s for Thanksgiving?  Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock help Charlie Brown put together a quasi-feast of sliced buttered toast, pretzel sticks, popcorn, and jelly beans.  Each year our homeschool families from church get together and celebrate a meal of thanksgiving together.  

The Gungan family has always hosted but with their recent move to Oklahoma the Hunt family graciously opened up their home.  To the delight of everyone, the Gungans drove down for the afternoon.  Lunch was filled with all the traditions of the 1973 holiday classic with a few additions like meatballs and brownies.  The kids enjoyed Nerf wars, basketball and a few games of chess while the moms caught up around the dining room table.  

It was a fabulous afternoon for all and to quote Linus, quoting Elder William Brewster, “We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land.  We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice.”

Here are a look back at previous Charlie Brown Thanksgivings: 

give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge I Corinthians 1:4-5

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Lovepacs for Children

Everyone has different things that motivate their behavior, I find that my sweet oldest child is a huge motivator for many of the routine things I do.   

Today was one of those tear-jerk moments, you see last night despite torrential rain and tornado warnings Frankie went with me to load 31 boxes of food into the back of my mini-van. You see, these boxes were loaded with can goods: Chef Boyrdee, vegetables, fruit, tuna, crackers, granola bars, oatmeal, etc. The boxes are headed to children who qualify for the free school lunch program.  With the upcoming Thanksgiving break many of these children's families will struggle to supply three meals a day for the kids.  Enter Lovepacs to help these families. 

Lovepacs relies on individual and corporate donations to fill these boxes.  They are prepared for children identified by school counselors for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Spring Break. In the Lewisville ISD school district where we live 478 boxes were packed and prepared for today's deliveries.  

Our first delivery today was made to The Colony Police Department.  These police officers will be taking 19 of the boxes along with bread and turkeys for families identified through the high school.  Our second delivery was to Griffin Middle School where we met up with other volunteers to delivery 36 boxes. 

It was touching to see so many people working together, many of them for children they've never met. I get choked up at the sight of my sweet girl who loves helping other people, grinning from ear to ear knowing she is helping children.  

For He satisfies the longing soul,

    and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
Psalms 107:9

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lady Storm Softball

Our lives have been relatively softball free due to the ligament damage in Abigail's thumb.  However, now that she is without a cast, without a brace and has a doctors release she can resume playing.  

At the time of the injury to her thumb Abigail had aged out of 14U ball with Southern Force and she was shopping for a 16U team.  She has been subbing for the Lady Storm team even with her brace.  She isn't on the team until they can see her play at full capacity.  Fortunately for Abigail, today they need an extra player to join them for their five tournament games.  

The girl played right field and it may be a little time before she is back behind the plate, but the important thing is she played ball!  She ran into several friends from former teams including Sarah who plays with Abigail on the CHANT home school high school team.  The Lady Storm won their game against the Frisco Fusion and both games against the Little Elm Wolfpack. It was a good day for softball! 

Fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh

    and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 3:7-8

Great Scott at The Dallas Opera

The Dallas Opera was host to the world premier of Great Scott, an American Opera.  It is the tale of opera star Arden Scott returning to her hometown to save the struggling company that launched her career. The acts fade in and out of the back stage antics and the opera performance.  On stage is the opening night performance of the long-lost opera she discovered and falls on the same night as the home team’s first National Championship game (Go, Grizzlies!). The fate of the company hangs in the balance as Arden discovers that greatness is truly a matter of heart.

What is missing from the general description of this opera is that like many things the dialog has been dumbed down; the sets are simplistic and the costuming was more people of Wal-Mart.  The humor of the show relied on profanity, sexual innuendos and included the back side of a man urinating on stage.  

What is frustrating is the music was fantastic; and the talent of the voices was second to none! Given the story line, there was no need for over the top costuming; the music was strong enough to carry the audiences attention without flying a mans naked butt back and forth above the stage.  (He was supposed to be a Greek-god messenger). 

Anyway, the blog is here to keep family and friends up on our adventures so, Frankie and I took in the performance this afternoon. It was enjoyable to hang out with my girl.  And just like people have different taste in movies and music, today's performance was not to my taste.  I feel confident that Christian home schooling families was not the target audience for this opera. For the record, Tosca = fabulous, Bastien and Bastienne = Very clever, and Great Scott = amazing music!  

They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying,
 “This man is the power of God that is called Great.”
 Acts 8:10

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Frozen in South Texas

In 1990 Jon and I celebrated our first Christmas with Frankie.  She was in our home through foster care and we were anxiously awaiting her adoption.  That year when her social worker came to visit, he brought Christmas gifts for Frankie from Salvation Army's Angel Tree.  I was taken back, I had no idea that the Salvation Army made sure all children in foster care in Oklahoma received Christmas gifts.  

Frankie was excited because her previous foster care parents didn't celebrate Christmas and she thought the gifts Larry brought would be the only gifts she would receive. I will never forget her opening the 'Where's Waldo" book, an Easy Bake Oven and a pair of purple sweats.  

I can't pass up an Angel Tree without selecting a gift, usually for a six year old little girl.  This year Frankie and I picked a little girl from the Iglesia de Cristo in South Texas.  Our church collects gifts for several hundred children in South Texas, Mexico and East Plano.  The little cutie we picked, Teresa said she would like anything Frozen!  Fortunately we were able to find a few Disney Frozen items! Frankie and I wrapped everything up and will be arriving soon to one happy little girl in South Texas. 

Give to everyone who asks of you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.  And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.  Luke 6:30-31

Friday, November 13, 2015

Blue Bell Delivery to the Boy

The females in our house were beginning to get a little anxious about having to wait until Thanksgiving to see the boy.  So when we heard that his Honors class was cancelled today we loaded up to meet him Wichita Falls.  Abigail baked cookies while Frankie and I ran to pick up Blue Bell ice cream and some dry ice.

Wichita Falls isn't exactly a mid-point between Plano and Lubbock but it is one of the few larger towns, not too far out of the way that offers plenty of dining choices.  It also offers a laundromat where I could mother him and we could sit around and listen to Caleb's latest adventures. 

We were able to spend three or four hours together and then sent him back to school with clean laundry, a full stomach and plenty of Blue Bell to hold him over until Thanksgiving! 

Hear, my son, your father's instruction,

    and forsake not your mother's teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head

    and pendants for your neck.
Proverbs 1:8-9

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Homemade Cookies vs. Store Bought Cookies

For PEACH's Speakers Club, Abigail presented her 3 to 5 minute persuasive speech today. The guidelines are simple, to convince the audience of an idea or subject.  Abigail choose to persuade her group that, 'Homemade Cookies Are Better Than Store Bought Cookies.'  Her points included comparable pricing, more wholesome ingredients and of course, taste! 

The speech was enhanced by the samples of cookies she provided! Passing out the sample did fluster her a bit and she has the dreaded 'uumm' a few times in the beginning, but it is all part of the learning process.  I proposed to Mrs. Hansen that Abigail should have to present the lesson again next week, minus the 'uumms' but with the samples! 

You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord. Leviticus 23:17

Bastien and Bastienne (aka. the Sheep Opera)

If you are a homeschooling parent in the Dallas area you must know about the Dallas Opera's Educational Program, it is outstanding.  They offer programming for all ages from Opera Boot Camp for the very young, student performances for elementary age and dress rehearsals for high school age. 

The Dallas Opera and Fort Worth Opera were two of the first performing arts programs I found when we moved to the Dallas area.  I had never been to an opera and wasn't sure it was something I would enjoy.  In a world of green screens and overtly high tech (non)reality entertaining the opera is still one of the purest forms of entertainment.  

It has all the classical elements, a stage with creative and ingenious backdrops and I love to see the clever take on costuming.  And of course, the music!  The symphony of a live orchestra and some of the most amazing voices ever.  Even having sung a Capella all my life in worship, there are incredible 'musical things' these talented performers can do with their voice that leave me in awe. 

Today was the matinee performance of one of Mozart's earliest works, written at age 12, Bastien and Bastienne.  It is a comedic one-act opera that tells the tale of a young shepherdess, Bastienne and her boyfriend, Bastien. Bastienne believe her love has fallen for a wealthy girl from the big city.  Distressed she runs into Colas, the town magician who has a few ideas of his own on how to reunite the young couple.  This opera is usually performed in German but because this is targeted for a young audience it was performed in English.

After the performance we got a behind the scenes look of how they break down the scenery.  They pulled back all the curtains to reveal the set of Tosca which is currently running.  The youth in the audience were fascinated as they changed the configuration of the giant retractable chandelier from it's ordinary arrangement to a festive Christmas tree. 

I am fairly confident I was a set designer or costumer in a previous life.  I look at all the artistic talent and think, 'oh, that's cool.  I could that!' But I'm not sure what we would do with giant hay bales and a shepherdess costume! 

Your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes
    that have come up from the washing,
all of which bear twins,

    and not one among them has lost its young.
Song of Solomon 4:2

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Shakespeare's Macbeth

In the spring our PEACH home school group will be performing a version of Hamlet, so in the name of 'research' we took a field trip today to Fort Worth's Bass Performance Hall where Stage West was performing Macbeth.  Bass Performance Hall has a prestigious Children’s Education Program. Stage West performed an abridged, seven-actor version of Macbeth by William Shakespeare. Prior to the performance Abigail went through the synopsis of the play along with vocabulary helps to guide her through the Shakespearean language.

On the car ride home we all practiced our Shakespearean accents.  I'm sure Mrs. Hansen will be very impressed at drama practice next week! :) 

“Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?”

Acts 8:30-31

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Texas Bible Bowl

Just a few more pictures to prove that studying the Bible really can be fun and games!  This year I'm working with a predominantly younger group of students with Bible Bowl so I'm working with ways to reinforce the details of the Bible lessons.   Much of the reinforcement is via games and memorization. The kids are staying engaged and keeping up with their homework, but we still have five more months! Jon and I are enjoying this group of kids, as you can see they are characters! 

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
I Corinthians 9:25 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Dallas Opera's Tosca

I'm a big fan of the opera and the symphony.  I am a self-proclaimed joyful noise with a great appreciation for those who can make beautiful music.  I've continued to coordinate trips to the opera for our PEACH home school group.  This years big performance for the Dallas Opera is Tosca.

It's Puccini's melodrama about a diva, a sadistic police chief and an idealistic artist.  It's set in Rome in the early 1800's.  This opera has all the elements I love; drama, suspense, love; all set against majestic backdrops with brilliant costuming.  

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles
 and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. 
Rather, it should be that of your
 inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is of great worth in God’s sight. I Peter 3:3-4

Monday, November 2, 2015

Lunch and Laughs

After volunteering at the food pantry today we met up the Gungans who were in town to get Roy's braces off. Ms. Emma joined us to meet up at Chick-fil-A for lunch together and catching up.  

The kids laughed and giggled as the exchanged stories.  Either they missed each other immensely or they had way too many refills on the sweet tea! 

We may have texted Caleb and Richard a few times of photos of us all hanging out, having a good time together without them. 

A cheerful heart is good medicine,

    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Church Fall Festival

This evening was our church Family & Friends Fall  Festival.  It was a great picnic and cook out. There were games for the kids along with bounce houses and a rock climbing wall. 

Frankie participated in the games and won even more candy to the stash she collected last night. I'm not sure if she enjoys eating the candy or sorting it more. 

Abigail loved the rock climbing wall.  My little monkey flew up the wall in no time as if it were a contest to get to the top the fastest, even if no one else knew it was a contest! 

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me;my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24 

Texas Bible Bowl

So my kiddos are one month into preparations for Texas Bible Bowl.  We are studying Joshua, Judges, & Ruth for competition in April. I have twenty-six youth, mostly third through sixth graders preparing for the 250 question test!  It amazes me every year that these kids would get so excited about studying the Bible and willing do 6-8 pages of homework a week in preparation in addition to all the reading.  

This year, I'm again blessed with several parent helpers who hang out and help with games and reinforcements after each class. The other very important element to good Bible Bowl preparation is snacks!  

The lions may grow weak and hungry,

    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Psalm 34:10