Monday, March 22, 2010


This past week, I have watched my sister and mom go through a very tough time in the school system in which they both work. This is the same system my girls would attend if we chose to educate in public school. Anyway, as in many systems around the nation right now, there are budget cuts and many teachers are losing their jobs or are being asked to make changes somehow. I went to a school board meeting with my sister and my mom to hear about the proposed cuts. I always feel a bit awkward walking in just because my mom has worked in the system for over 30 years, this is the school I attended and my girls would attend if we didn't homeschool. I feel as if everyone is wondering why I am I am a traitor. However, I am an educator by trade and I am also a tax payer in the district. Beyond that, my sister's job was on the line and no matter how much I felt watched, I was going to be there for her.

After attending the meeting and observing all that took place, or shall I say...all that did not take place....I am more confident of our decision to homeschool our children. There is no way I would want this group of people to make decisions for my child's education. They did not seek out advice of parents, they just took the advice of the superintendent and did what he said. I felt they were more like yes men than board members. It really made me sad. No teacher was given a chance to give ideas, no taxpayer able to be heard, all of the decisions were made by these 6 people. Most of them do not even have a child in the schools now! So they are making decisions on children's future based on one man's opinion. It made me so sad. My sister is a P.E. teacher at an elementary school. All three elementaries have lost their P.E. program. Now, my sister has said she was fine with knowing things had to be cut and obviously they are not cutting math! However, she felt it would have been wiser to cut one art, one PE, one music teacher and then rotate the others to make sure all students would have all three options. Wow! There's an idea...if only someone would have asked her opinion.....Let me say it again....I am thankful to live in a country that allows me the freedom to educate my children at home. I foresee that occurring longer than I imagined after this experience.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

If Only...

This month, we celebrated my niece and my dad's birthdays together. At that party, my mom had baked my dad a homemade carrot cake using his mom's recipe that we all enjoy thoroughly. I was able to get him to pose with it before we dug in for the yummy treat.
After that pose, I asked mom to pose with him. So she did looking way too cute. Right after this pose, my dad turned and kissed my mom. I said that he should have done that earlier and my daughter said...and I quote, "gross!"
So I told them what any good mom would tell their it again! So my dad grabbed my mom again but this time he had a little extra something there too....Doodle!!!

Don't you love it! I have to tell you that this picture is so precious to me for many reasons. First of all, my parents will have been married 44 years this summer. They adore each other and truly are each others biggest cheer leaders and support. While they have friends, they rely on each other for that emotional support that others run to their friends for. They gave each of us a great view of what a healthy, Godly marriage should look like. I remember my dad standing up for my mom when we had crossed a line and I so remember my mom showing us ways to honor Dad. I also love that they showed us that the best gift they could give us was to love each other well. So true!!! I cherish that today as I am brimming on being married 19 years. What a gift and legacy they have given each of us.

As for my daughter, good for her! I think it is great that at age 12 she thinks kissing is gross! Ha! Keep on thinking that for a good while girlie! One day you will see that it is not gross when you are given the man God has planned for your life. Until then, be disgusted but my prayer is that my girls will see these pictures one day in the future and realize what a gift it is to have had grandparents who are not just married still but in love still. If only we all could say the same....that's my goal!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My Ballerina

Doodle has been in ballet since she was 4 and adores dancing. Over the past four years, she has been blessed with an amazing teacher, Miss Pearl, who has been able to teach Doodle to not just do the moves but to use her dancing as a way to worship God. All the songs she dances to are Christian songs which is an added blessing. Two years ago, Doodle auditioned to be part of the Precious Hearts dance ministry team that Miss Pearl leads. She made it and has been able to be fully committed to attending practice every Saturday morning at 8AM! Yes, that also means mom has been committed as well...or maybe I need to be committed! :)

Part of being on this team allows the girls to dance at various churches, nursing homes etc. not only as entertainment but as a chance to worship through movement. This month, we have had two such events as well as the spring recital. Watching the girls worship God through dance is truly precious. I think Miss Pearl knew what she was doing in naming the group Precious Hearts.
Doodle dancing for her Jesus with the Precious Hearts Ministry Team.

"How Beautiful" is the song and I think it fits.

Dancing at the spring recital.

Doodle and Bean got flowers from Grandma when the dance was over.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ok...changed my mind a bit.....

We spent two days at the Stumpf's Peaceful little farm. I was so looking forward to that time away and it did not disappoint except to cut it shorter than we had planned so we could see our guy before he left again. It is tough to be torn between all the things we love! While we wanted to stay at the farm all week, Matt has been having business trips the past two weekends which meant if we didn't stick around home for part of the week, we would not have seen him for 10 days total! Yikers! We don't work like that around here. :)

Things you don't see out my window.
So anyway, we headed to the farm on Wednesday morning. It was a beautiful day. Even before getting stuff settled inside, the girls were in the barn with the animals.

The girls getting busy on the farm.

Ripley, the horse, was already in pasture thanks to their neighbor and the chickens were out doing what they do. We had some eggs to collect and feed a cat or two as well as a bunny.

Doodle with Ripley and Bean with the new barn cat.
All critters were happy to have the girls in the barn and running around the yard. I must say that the amount of muddy poo mess after the snow and rain we have had was a bit overwhelming for me personally. My girls didn't care at all. You see, normally when I come up to my buddy, Lainie's house she is there and I stay in with her chatting or reading to her littles....whatever she needs. I don't really do the barn stuff. So after some pondering, I have realized that maybe farm living is not for me as much as farm visiting. I am just grateful for the quiet and the blue skies galore out there. The peace and quiet really speak to me and I love seeing all that nature at work....from my porch or a window! Thanks Lainie and Bryan for letting us have the time to just be still and enjoy the peace and quiet.
Why I love visiting this place...besides the people of course. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Farm Living is the Life for Me....

This week the girls and I are headed to our friends, the Stumpf's, to help out with their animals while they are in California for a funeral. We are so excited to head over to help out. We don't have chickens or a horse, but my girls love visiting their house so much and helping their children with the animal chores. I am hoping that they have paid close enough attention to know what to do. I want no harm to animals on my watch! :)

Besides the love of these animals, I think I am looking forward to having 20 acres to spread out and breathe! I love the effect this place has on my soul. I know it is silly but as I drive to visit, I can feel the pressures of life just disappear as I see more corn fields and green grass. I love visiting even more with my friends home but am so glad we can bless them in this way. But really, who is getting blessed? They live in a place you don't have to lock doors...can you imagine?! I know it is silly to be so excited about staying there when they are not even there, but we have been on the go so much lately that I am really looking forward to not hearing traffic, the phone, family drama, and just taking walks, doing school on their porch if the weather cooperates and watching the girls care for these animals. So thanks, Lainie, for the invite and we hope we do a good job. :) Most of all I am grateful for a chance to breathe in God's beautiful creation. Certainly makes me feel something I haven't felt in a little bit...peace. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sweetpea and Cupcake

In an earlier post, I shared that I was going to have the opportunity to meet up with a former student's mom when I visited the state house with our co-op. So, yesterday I did that! I had the blessing of meeting up with my precious buddy's mom. As she walked toward me with a beaming smile and outstretched arms, I knew time knew no boundaries. While I had not talked to them since he graduated from high school, I have thought of them often and prayed for them even more.

Chris was the child that had brain cancer at age three and the radiation treatment for that left him with developmental delays. He and I had the privilege to work together when I had graduated from college. We worked for two years and tried to fill in the gaps the best we could. This precious mom would do research and show me what she found and she trusted me to try things that were different than her other children as we both knew Chris's mind was very unique in the way he learned.

After we hugged, she gave me a letter from Chris. It was typed off the computer like he use to give me when we worked together. So precious...

Dear Mrs. Miller,
I am so glad that you are going to meet my mom at the state house. How are you? It's been a long time since I saw you. I use to be your helper in your school. I miss you so. Tell Dr. Matt I said hi.

Oh my heart filled with joy! This boy, now age 24 but does not look any differently than he did at age 10, had not forgotten our time together, which I so would have thought to happen. His mom went on to explain that he still has the picture of the two of us on his shelf and uses all the tricks I taught him in doing his daily activities. She wanted me to know that all he knows now, he learned from our time together. Well, I don't know if I would say that is true, but from this mom who has been home for the past 12+ years, it touched my heart.

We shared stories with my girls of the time we spent with each other. She told them what a blessing I was to their family and that they had the best teacher. Again, humbled but grateful. I shared with her how the girls use Chris' nickname for me now....cupcake. She giggled at remembering that story: I always call little ones sweetpea as I talk to them. "come on, Sweetpea". So one day, he asked why I call him that. I told him I say it to the kids I work with. He said, " well then you are going to be cupcake!". After that, if you saw us in the hall, I would be encouraging him by saying, "Let's go, Sweetpea" and he would respond, "Ok, cupcake!" My girls do that now as well. Still brings a smile to my face as it was such a sweet memory.

After her sharing what he is doing and walking down memory lane together, I asked HOW he was doing. She immediately turned from a smiling face to seriousness. She went on to share that he has cancer again, or so they think, and if so, it is inoperable this time. She shared this with tears in her eyes but was trying so hard to be brave in front of my girls. She looked so fearful standing there and my heart just sank. How can this be? This little guy, well this 24 year old child, has had to battle cancer four times. How is this right? I struggle so much when I hear stories like this.

Last night, I was very weepy over this situation. I just couldn't get them out of my mind. We agreed to get together as families soon. I want that to happen so badly. I do not want Chris to leave this earth and me not have taken time to let him know what a special student he was for this teacher. He taught me more than I taught him. Watching him struggle as he did just to do daily things, was what I needed to see at that time in my life. Who was I to complain about infertility, when this child could lose his life?! I kept thinking of our time together and how much it blessed me at a dark time and then it hit me.This was another divine appointment in my life. How blessed was I to have a connection like this with this family. Their perseverance and drive to help their child was amazing for me to watch. What I learned from my time with Chris has lead me to be the homeschool mom I am now. I know not all kids learn the same and God has created each mind to learn. It is my job to figure out how. It may not look "normal" but if the child gets it and it works for them, Great! So today, I am still feeling very weepy as I ponder what is to come. I also am feeling a sense of urgency. I know that what this mom told me took courage after all these years but how it blessed me. I was able to share with her as well, what a blessing Chris was for me during that dark time of waiting for a baby of my own. I wonder who else I need to let know what a blessing they have been in my life before I regret that I did not take the chance.

Divine Appointment

Yesterday the girls and I went to the State House for a field trip with our homeschool co-op and family friends. We had such a nice time. Truly it was a blessing. God knew who to have there and it worked beautifully.Our group at the state house

My mother-in-law is a state senator so she spoke to our group and even took them up to her work wall to show where she does what she does. Everyone was quite shocked at one a tiny amount of space she truly has to work. After meeting with her in the senate chambers, the group headed to the court room where we ended our "official" tour. The guide let us know there was a "mediation" room on the fourth floor that we might enjoy seeing. We went to see the chapel as a a group. As I opened the door, I noticed a lady playing the piano. She stopped and was prepared to leave. I reassured her to stay and play that we only wanted to see the room quickly then we would be out of her hair.

Our mystery piano player

After we all were in the tiny chapel, she started playing again. I realized I knew the song: What a Friend We Have in Jesus. One of my favorites. :) A lady from our co-op asked if we could sing while she played. So we did. It was a God moment. Truly a blessing. After we finished, the woman put her hands to her face and said that we were her angels. She explained that she was having a hard day and came into the chapel to have some quiet time and then we met her. She knew God had sent us for her. How precious for those kids to witness this moment.Miss Kat praying over the piano player.

I am just amazed that if you are open to His leading, God will allow you to experience some remarkable, moving moments. I also wonder how many times I have not jumped at the opportunity to obey God's nudges and end up not being blessed or blessing someone else. Truly, listening for that gentle nudge yesterday is what allowed this precious woman to feel the way she did and her willingness to obey in sharing that with us allowed all of us to walk out knowing we had just experienced a divine appointment.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Father's Breakfast

Every February something special happens at our co-op. It won't make the news, but it is a big day for our group. We have Father's Breakfast. We invite all the dads to come eat breakfast with us and see what we have been learning throughout the year. The little guys sing songs and such. The science classes display any projects or share something they have learned. The literature or writing classes display or put on a short play. It is always fun.
The girls with their special guest: DADDY!

The girls were two of several kids who played piano music while the guys were eating breakfast. Very nice! :)
In the past, Doodle had more things to prepare for Father's Breakfast, but this year, it was Bean's turn. Here she is reading from her report on the Cardinal for Indiana History.
Bean also got to share her science project findings with the group.

For writing class, both girls were displaying their recent works....Bean wrote about her daddy and Doodle had made a memory box that held the information and pictures she gathered after speaking with all four grandparents about different times in history that they each have lived through and experienced. It was sweet to see both displayed.
I am blessed to be married to a man who understands why these days matter to the girls and that while the songs may seem silly or whatever, the heart behind each little thing shared is precious. All in all, the morning went well and truly we love doing this each year. Sure we have to be there at 8:30 instead of 9:45, but the kids are so excited to show their dads what has been happening and what they are working on for class. That gets me to thinking, isn't that how we should react when we get to meet with our Heavenly Father...excited and eager to show what we have been doing?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sweet Words of Encouragement

Have you ever had anyone ask to speak to you and suddenly you have a slight fear of what is about to be shared? I had that experience today at co-op with a fellow homeschool mom. Mrs. L and I may not have the exact same teaching styles or even parenting styles for that matter, but God has placed us both on this same path during our homeschooling journey and I am grateful. I love how confident she is in what she does and why. I also love her boldness in her faith and convictions.

With that said, today she did ask to speak to me quickly. I was prepared for a concern about co-op as that is what has been the norm this year being on steering committee. Regardless, she continued to speak to my heart as she said that she wanted me to know that Doodle's character and grace outshines others in her group and she can see God's hand on this child. Now, before you go off thinking I took every word as truth...let me say this, I know my girls. I know their hearts and their flaws as well. I also have to say regardless of the fact this is this woman's opinion, it was a precious moment to hear her rattle off examples as to why she feels this is true. As I stood there listening to this woman share her opinions, I could not help but look over at my girl. There she stood putting her books away diligently. I thanked the woman for her kind words and I walked away wondering who I need to bless by sharing what fruit I see in their children. Such a gift that cost nothing at all...but meant the world.

It's a Parade!

How fun! My blog buddy, Lynnette's daughter, Abigail is hosting a blog parade this week. Just click on the link above and join in. It is fun to meet new people and get to know those we already know a little bit better. Great idea, Abigail!
1. What's your favorite time of the day, and why? That is a tough one! I like two different times for two different reasons. :) My first favorite time is early mornings when I have quiet time with God...just the two of us. The second favorite time is when Matt comes home from work. I love hearing the girls screaming, "Daddy's home!" and to know the day is getting better! :)
2. If health wasn't an issue, what food could you live off of? I'm sorry, but is there something other than chocolate that would be appropriate here? Ha! I love chocolate, I also could live off cheese. :)
3. If you could have one wish granted (besides wishing for more wishes), what would it be? That my children would boldly and safely walk in their faith and we all be together for eternity.
4. What's one thing that you get teased about a lot? Forgetfulness is one of my issues so I get called Dory, from Nemo. The thing my family giggles about most is my need to have the covers just right before I can go to sleep each night. My husband now puts his hands up in the air until I get everything just right and then he says, "Are we all good now?" and starts giggling. He now has trained the girls to do the same when they cuddle up. Cracks me up! I admit, I have issues. :)
5. If you could choose one movie, book, or TV show to spend your life in, which would you pick? What type of character would you be? Little House on the it and Charles always saves the day! :) I'd want to be either Laura or Ma...probably Ma because she was always calm! That woman had a gift of making mothering look so easy...could it be it was just a show? Nah!!
6. If you could have one talent that you don't already have, what would it be? I wish I could play the piano as well as my girls, but I think the one thing I have always wanted to do and just can't get over the hump, write children's books. Love reading stories to my kids and always thought it would be great to read them my own.
7.If money were no object, where would you go on vacation? The first thing I thought of was Romania to see our girls and our friends. Next, I think I would want to go walk through history in Europe...Rome, Greece, Italy, etc. I love reading about different parts of history to my girls but to walk through it would be amazing! Lastly, selfishly, I would want to go back to St. Maarten to see that blue water and sky again. I have never been able to explain the colors and it is awe strikingly beautiful.
8. If you were an awesome singer, which genre would you sing? Christian for sure. :)
9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, what would it be? Oooh, one store? That is tough. It would have to be something for our home because that is the only place I could spend 10,000 bucks in one place. So, maybe Home Depot or Lowe's. Oh, wait! Pottery Barn if money is no object and we are dreaming!
10. If you could live in any point in time, when would it be? Again, tough! Good questions. I think I would love to "visit" different times such as early American history, walking with Jesus, different times in history fascinate me, however, I really feel blessed to be here now so I think I'll stay put. :)
11. If every outfit in your wardrobe had to be one color, what would it be? I wear a lot of browns right now. I jumped from black to browns! I wonder what is next!
12. If you were one of the seven dwarves, which one would you be?(Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, or Dopey) Ok, this question has me giggling now because as I was reading it I started a sneezing fit!!! So, while I was going to say, Happy, I think I am being told Sneezy! LOL!
13. What's the last album you listened to? Rich his stuff!
14. What's something we'd be surprised to know about you? I met my husband on a blind date, as did my parents, as did my brother and his wife. Blind dates rule in our family. :)
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