While getting ready for a trip to a local bookstore, my son became very excited and I commented that it was as if we had told him we were going to the playground. His response was "We are - a playground of words!" What a description for books. So, welcome to our playground of words!

Saturday, November 29, 2014


The season is certainly changing right now. We've had a few days where the high temperature didn't make it out of the forties, I've found all of my sweaters and all of my fuzzy socks and have been searching for my earmuffs. My life is certainly changing in other areas as well. This is my son's senior year of high school - how did that happen so fast? He is taking some dual enrollment courses this year and is applying to university, writing scholarship essays, drawing, running a Minecraft server, going to church and keeping up with a couple of friends. I am not the primary teacher in any of his subjects this year. I am going to be "shepherding" him through a personal finance credit, but other than that, everything is outsourced. It is a strange feeling. I am not writing any lesson plans, nor am I researching curriculum to use next year. After all, that would be silly! So what am I doing? Praying Reading Quilting Petting kittens Wait - did you say kittens? Yes, of course! We said goodbye to our longtime cat, Bert earlier this year. In an effort to provide some company for our remaining cat, Mia, we went to a shelter to adopt a cat. We were thinking about maybe one about 18 months old. Well, we came out with two ten-week old kittens. This is what they looked like when we brought them home in June. Aren't they adorable? Tribble is the cat on the top, and Sprocket is on the bottom. I have no idea why Tribble is upside down, that's kind of funny. You'll have to check back another time for more current pictures! I'm looking forward to reading some substantive books this coming year - I'm hoping to participate in a group where we read one book per week and post reviews of them, linking to a central website. I did this a few years ago and it was great to get so many ideas from the books others had reviewed. I already have quite a list of books I've been putting off reading - I can't wait to get started. Until then, I'll probably post some shorter comments or reviews on other books. I am, however, saving my best for next year when they "count." Isn't that funny? I am looking forward to writing more, to reading more and to quilting more. Most days, I am looking forward to this next phase of my life. I am at one of those rare life crossroads, in that I am fully aware that the choices I make over the next year or two will greatly impact the next twenty years or so of my life. They are choices like: do I work for pay or continue to do volunteer work? Where would I do either? Do I travel with my husband when he goes on his business trips? How much time to I devote to my hobbies? How can I use my bobbies to make a difference in the world? What can I do to take an active role in strengthening my faith, not a passive one? What will my relationship with my son be like as he starts college and begins to live more independently? How will we both change and grow after having spent so much time together over the years? Mostly, I am enjoying the journey!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Marking Time

Today is the first day of summer. It is also the 171st day of the year, which means it has been 172 days since we arrived in the PICU with our son. There have been 170 days since his last blood transfusion, 169 since he came off of the ventilator. God is so faithful! There have been no lasting effects from his illness whatsoever. Today he and I participated in a fundraiser for the Children's Hospital that took care of him. We ran into two of his nurses (not literally), which was fun for us. The fundraiser was a 5K/10K run, and believe me, I am no athlete. I was with the stroller moms in the back of the pack, which was fine with me! As we were getting ready to start, my son looked at me and said "I'm going to try to post a good time." I responded "Bye!" Well, post a good time he did! He finished in just under 35 minutes, 10th in his age group!
"Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…to Him be the glory" Ephesians 3:20-21

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Welcome, Baby!

In March I was able to attend my very first quilting retreat. It was so much fun spending uninterrupted time at the sewing machine! I completed two quilt tops, both baby quilts for friends who are expecting babies soon. The first top I completed is for a baby girl and has these really neat ruches on five blocks - that was a first for me, but it went well. This is also the first time I did more than "stitch in the ditch" on a quilt. I traced a flower into six of the blocks using my iPad as a light box, then quilted them on my machine, feed dogs down! I also added some curvy lines to other areas of the quilt. Overall, I like the way it turned out.
The second top I completed used a line of fabric called Chantilly by Moda. I love these fabrics! The colors and patterns are so lively and they were perfect for a baby quilt when the gender of the baby is a surprise. I took the time to match the stripes, it wasn't too hard to do, but I'm so glad that there weren't many I needed to match! This quilt, with all of it's lines, begged to be quilted using "stitch in the ditch" so I complied! I tried a new sewing machine foot for quilting that has a guide for ditch stitching, but I preferred my usual foot to that one, so I will be returning it to the store. Live and learn!
I've been taking pictures on my iPhone up to this point as I had lost my charger for my camera battery. I finally purchased a replacement charger last week, so hopefully future pictures will be less fuzzy! I'm continuing in my two block of the month programs and have started my next quilt, which I am very excited about. More updates on my little corner of the quilting world will be coming shortly.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Retooling Junior Year

As you can probably guess,  given my previous post, the semester got off to a late start. We ended up dropping the outside Algebra 2 class Rocket Boy was enrolled in. He was having some trouble keeping up and the curriculum wasn't the greatest match, then when you throw in missing three weeks of class due to his illness, it just made sense to go another route. We chose to use Teaching Textbooks Algebra 2 for the remainder of the course. In order to determine the starting point for the course, Rocket Boy is taking the tests and when he hits a wall, ideally we will have our starting point. Hopefully this will keep him from having to repeat material he has mastered.

The close of fall semester also brought the close of the required high school history courses to our homeschool. Both American History and World History are on the books! This semester Rocket Boy is studying American Government for 1/2 credit. I selected Power Basics American Government from Walch Education. It contains all of the needed information, tests and the activity workbook requires research, critical thinking, writing and some project management. Combined with the fast-paced Standard Deviants American Government DVD's, it makes for a complete American Government course.

We picked up Windows to the World again and I love, love, love this program! Rocket Boy is writing his first literary analysis paper (on how the author creates suspense in the short story A Most Dangerous Game) and it has opened up a new way of thinking for him. I think we may be able to complete this program by the end of the summer. For the remainder of his English credit he is continuing with Easy Grammar's 180 Daily Teaching Lessons and Vocabulary Power Plus for the New SAT, Volume 2. 

Rocket Boy is continuing with his outside chemistry course, using Spectrum Chemistry. Although he missed some classes due to his illness, he was able to do the labs here at home with his dad, so he was able to keep up. He has also picked up a one semester career exploration course through our co-op.

I'm hoping things will smooth out some soon - this week is actually our first un-interrupted school week of the semester - no hospital, no doctors, no medical tests! I'm not sure how much we will have to go into the month of June to get finished, but honestly, finishing by a certain date isn't that important to me anymore - it's just a privilege to be able to finish!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Welcoming the New Year - An Unexpected Start

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Psalm 34:1

2014 started off in one of the worst imaginable ways. My son became suddenly, critically ill with internal bleeding and was admitted to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at an area hospital on New Year's Eve. My husband & I didn't notice the turn of the year at all - we were busy learning about his monitors and his IV medications. I took a photo of his IV pole that night. It looked astonishing to me with it's five pumps working away, delivering life saving blood products and medications.

Little did I know that following exploratory surgery, an additional four IV pumps and a ventilator would be added on New Year's Day.

While the nation was sleeping in and then watching football, we were watching our son breathe, grateful to God for every breath he took and for the machines that were helping him. In fact, God has been faithful to us every step of the way of our sudden, terrifying journey. The Bible relates several instances of memorials - places where God either provides or has His people construct something that, when seen, will remind us of His provision and His faithfulness to us.   This is my memorial, my remembrance - so that I don't forget what God has done for us, how he provided for us and sustained us through this indescribably difficult time, but most of all so that God may be glorified.

Several things came together to make this experience "the perfect storm" - if there is such a thing.

1 - Many years ago we moved to an area blessed to have three research/teaching hospitals within 30 miles of our home. One of them has a stand-alone Emergency Room three miles from our house. We joined in with Joshua, saying "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15

2 - My husband was not traveling, and in fact, was on a much needed & well deserved vacation.  " 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.' " Mark 2:27

3 - A critical care ambulance was stationed at the local ER, ready to transport to the main hospital, the one with the PICU. Staffed w/paramedics, they were able to continue a desperately needed blood transfusion in the ambulance. This reminded me of Moses' words to Joshua: "The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8

4 - A PICU bed opened at the hospital nearest to our home just at the time our son needed it.  "I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars… so that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name" Isaiah 45:2-3

5 & 6 The attending physician in the PICU that night "happened to be" the Medical Director for the Children's Hospital. The surgeon-on-call was the Surgeon-in-Chief of Pediatric Surgery.  Can it get any better? "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…to Him be the glory" Ephesians 3:20-21

7 - The faculty physicians, nursing staff, RT's, PT's and others were incredible - we believe our son had fantastic care!  We never felt like our son was a number - he wasn't just "Room 9" to the faculty and staff - he was a real person. Every person who came in the room called him by name (even when they knew he was unable to respond to them) - that was amazing to me! Although I know they didn't know him personally and may have just glanced at a chart to get his name as they walked in, the fact that they cared enough to do that speaks volumes about them as professionals and as people. They were God's hands and feet in our lives. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no Evil, for You are with me; thy rod and staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4

8 -  A dear friend who works at the hospital went the extra mile to make sure we were cared for and in the process made us feel very loved.  John 13:35 - "By this all men will know you are My disciples if you have love for one another."

9 - We have medical insurance. "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:9

10 - Friends & neighbors took care of our pets, our mail and put together the newly delivered bookcases that were still in their boxes in the middle of our living room floor. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" Matthew 19:19

11 - Pastors and friends came to listen, to pray with us and even to provide some much needed moments of levity. Most of all they reminded us of God's presence and love for us. "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things" Romans 10:15

12 - A special friend agreed to graciously serve as our "administrative assistant" by keeping our local friends up to date on the situation so that they would know how to pray effectively.  "But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." 1 Corinthians 12:18

13 - Worldwide, family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and even strangers stepped up and stood in the gap for us and prayed without ceasing. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." James 5:16

14 - As mysteriously as the bleeding started, it stopped. He is our Jehovah-Rapha - Our Lord who heals. " Bless the Lord, O my soul and all that is within me bless His holy name." Psalm 103:1

Today is the one month mark. Follow up testing was completed yesterday and my son was given a clean bill of health. While he was not able to determine why the bleeding occurred, the physician said that he did not see anything in the testing that would lead him to believe that it would ever happen again.  He is free to go about doing all of the things that any teenage boy should be doing!

I'll close with one of the songs that has been going through my mind all month. It brought much peace to me and I hope it ministers to you as much as it does to me.