Friday, August 31, 2007

This I Know

I graduated with a B.S. in psychology. Took the extra couple science classes for the B.S., because at the time I felt science was more respected than the arts. I intended to follow a friend's footsteps into neuropsychology, I studied hard for the entrance exams, applied to a number of schools, and went on interviews. I was ready to settle down and dive into my future at the same time.

My favorite school was in Kentucky. The blue skies, the fenced pastureland for horses, historic homes lined the campus, built for southern charm. This place offered a culture that seemed new to me. I asked one of the interviewing professors if he enjoyed living in Lexington. He laughed, as if I expected to do any "living" while immersed in my studies. Well, yeah, of course I did.

A professor held a party for us, the night before the actual interviewing began. After making introductions, I sat out in the night air, feeling very concerned about this commitment I was setting to make. A graduate student checked on me a couple times, as I innocently, like the young woman I was, said something didn't feel right. My intuition had always given me yes/no answers, and I faithfully listened.

When I returned home I waited for other acceptance/rejection letters. I'd made it on the alternate list in Kentucky. I called the most appealing of the professors twice, the one who seemed the least understood, but the smartest of all the staff. He connected with me, and understood that my commitment to check back meant I'd be serious if accepted. If any of the other candidates declined, I'd be in. He sounded sad when my space was filled.

Wisconsin gave me a phone interview which I failed miserably, on purpose. My heart was nowhere near it. Another school, which required no interview, accepted me. Why would I go to a school that didn't require an interview?

I set myself free to live my life. My fiance, who was off at his first year of medical school, begged me to come live with him. An "international" school, on a beautiful caribbean island, it didn't sell me. He said I'd make a great doctor. No, and I needed to end the engagement.

Then, the great flood happened. I'm not joking. I was at the frontlines sandbagging, the dike broke that night, and we evacuated. Thousands moved away, but I stayed to rebuild a life.

I didn't finish my senior honors thesis, on the memory deficits of temporal lobe damage. In fact, I still felt guilty for forcing the patients to go through my stupid tests. They wanted healing, not more measures of their disorder. It was complete, I'd dumped my old life and had faith in the new.

While relocated in Fargo, I said a prayer. I said all smart-assey, 'cause I'd never believed before, "God, take me where you will. I will follow you everywhere, I promise." I thought that should cover it. And I fell.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Homeschooling Recap

The first week of school was a success.

Lauren (9): Horizons Math, Dictation/Spelling, and Reading Prilla

Cole (7): Horizons Math, Handwriting/Phonics

Taylor (5): Handwriting/Phonics

I declared school would officially be starting, and everyone surprised me by following my instructions to a tee. Get up, get dressed, brush your teeth, comb your hair, eat breakfast, do your school work.

I was so proud of their dedication, every single day they focused on their duty with pride. I paid them each $5.00 at the end of the week (it's allowance). Build-A-Bear Workshop, I surrender.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Holy Order

Somewhere at the beginning of my career as a mother, I imagined a world that was perfect. This eden within my mind is vital to my children's future, for without this vision, I am merely raising mediocre children to partake in mediocre destinies.

Fortunately for them, my idea of achieving perfection stretches no further than present time, and requires only an ability to tune out distraction and tune in with clarity. Basically, I want my children to hear God when He speaks.

I provide no religious instruction as of yet, since discovery is the most delicious part of the feast. But quietly, I lay the path before them, daily walking my faith without proclamation. My rituals are centered in the home, and are the literal embodiment of:

"Cleanliness is next to godliness" and

"Order within, order without" (and vice versa).

For this reason, I have worked steadfastly this past week clearing and cleaning my basement. The lowermost floor of my home, though the walls are unsheetrocked and the floors unlaid, it's clutter free, everything in its appropriate place. It is so significant an achievement, the space set deepest in the ground, where roots draw nourishment and stabilize the structures above.

I almost felt as if I were preparing for doomsday. It honestly scared me for a second, as I noticed the last items I had to put into place, hanging ominously by the stairs---a black nylon dress and a red Christmas cardigan. I'd actually prepared my world for its final days, all the way up to my burial garment.

In the same blink, thank God, I realized the outfit was identical to one a teacher would wear. This was precisely the intention I'd set while making my basement changes. I sense something bigger though, so generously do I trust God to keep up His end of the details.

Order within, order without. Our roof is beginning its reshingling, weathered gray steadily deepening into a heather. Changes without, changes within. And so it is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Filling in the gaps

Kenneth C. Davis has written some excellent books in his "Don't Know Much About" series. I am currently reading "Don't Know Much About the Civil War". I ordered every one of his titles available at because they were such a great deal, and really, with my public school education I don't know a whole heck of alot about anything! But I'm learning as fast as my kids are.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


I loved our homeschooling life last year. My oldest had art class on Mondays and my younger two had it on Tuesdays. Lauren also takes a pottery class on Tuesday afternoons. Their teacher is both talented and educated, immersing the kids in art history while doing hands-on projects like printmaking, collage, sculpture, drawing, and painting.

They come home with some amazing artwork, utilizing the techniques of various artists. My kids regularly blow me away identifying works of art and recognizing styles and forms in the most random places. I'm excited to see how fluent they become with a few more years under their belts, as they begin to see patterns in the works, and really start to understand why and how art is created.

I'm hedging my bets that Jackie's art will be around for my kids' entire education. Can you imagine receiving quality art education from K-12, instead of just dabbling in a class or two during high school or college? I feel so fortunate.

Gymnastics class was supposed to be my other "old reliable". Every Thursday, me and the ladies would congregate on the gym balcony, forgetting ever to peer down at our tumbling sweet hearts, so immersed in chit chat we were. Two years running, I was committed to stay for the long haul, even though the quality of gymnastics instruction was quite dismal compared to that given to the "real" athletes recruited from public schools. We were a novelty I guess.

I would've stayed committed nonetheless, for the sake of a consistent peer group for my kids, and because I love the open gyms on Fridays. We're all hanging out, chasing toddlers on the mats, while our olders have free reign of the equipment. These are the memories.

Tides have turned and we will be switching to the tennis center, where a variety of activities from wallyball to basketball, to fitness classes will consume our school year. I'm disappointed but hopeful. I will meet more moms, get more chances to see the ones I already know and like. Or, I fear, it won't be like gymnastics at all and I'll be waiting in my car for the misery to end.

I had it so good. At least we'll always have our art.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


I was reluctant to say goodbye to summer, but it seems the ol' school-minded folks have hijacked this month as their own. When the kids' day camp ended in July I had planned to savor August, sitting out on the front steps watching chalk drawing, hula hooping, bikes and scooters whipping past. I've been indulging in a little computer time, thinking the last three weeks we'll play hard with no schedules or constraints, holding tight to the season as it comes to completion.

The art teacher came calling first, interrupting my bliss with permission slips and parental agreements to sign--a woman who firmly believes "school should not happen until after Labor Day".

Then, the homeschool activity fair was planted on the 4th of August. On one hand I'm excited to see which activities will be shaping our coming days, but I was quite enjoying a respite from the familiar faces and petty dramas of the homeschool set. I actually dreamed last night that one very Charlotte-Masony, Latin and Greek teaching Mom was criticizing me because my kids didn't behave in the instant I reprimanded them.

This is likely leftover psychic shrapnel from an issue going on here...(the second half of this post has been erased, someone out there must have all my original copy.)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

In our town he's a legend

I spend alot of time waiting for my husband to finish work. Almost daily he reports that he's "finishing up", but in reality three hours pass and still no sign. I stopped planning for things a long time ago, be it dinnertime, outings, or more importantly, a break for myself. It's not his fault, he runs 2 businesses and he consistently deals with situations coming out of left field.

Compared to my life of leisure, I really have nothing to complain about. When he IS with us, he's entirely devoted to our love, to our family, and he manages to show us how important we are, even when time won't cooperate. I know he really, really loves me when he brings me these. An iced latte, and two decafs. Love with reheatable leftovers.
Honestly, why would I complain when my husband knows me THIS well, and I get to spend all my waiting hours with goofballs like these: