Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pause to thank

There's a lot going on here, hence the sparse posts. I'm trusting in the Lord's provision -- just as He's provided all of my years growing up and then married with children. Whenever I start to get anxious, I have to sit myself down and remember that there is nothing that He can't handle.

I took the much-anticipated GACE pedagogy test on Saturday. Let me tell you that I studied my brains out for that thing . . . for about a day and a half right before the test. Did I get my study cards in the mail finally? The ones that I ordered two weeks ago? Oh, yes I did! They literally came in the mail as I was driving off to take my test. Fortunately, I had bought a study guide book two days before so that I would have at least SOMETHING to study. It helped me a lot with the 120 multiple choice questions but not much with the four essays.

I haven't studied like that in 20 years! I tried vainly to study at home, but that was a lost cause with Kathleen singing her heart our in the bathroom, Keva watching cartoons in the family room, me trying to study in the living room, and various kids coming in and out throughout. So, on Friday, when I got back from work, I put Keri Lynn and Kathleen in charge of dinner and getting Keva ready for bed and ran off to study in blissful silence. I studied for about an hour at the library, then I went to Golden Coral (where I ate and studied for a couple of more hours), then I went to Starbucks (got an herbal tea) and studied for a two more hours. My big mistake was drinking two Cokes and a coffee at Golden Coral, because by the time I got to bed at about 11:00 that night, I was WIRED! So even though I should have gotten enough sleep, I most assuredly did not.

After following my mapquest map to my destination and thinking about how I could write a dozen children's stories on my mapping adventures (Jackie finds Tyrone!), I met with a girlfriend from church who was also taking the test. We saw a few other people from church, too, who were taking one of the tests for the fourth time! Eeek! That did not bode well for us newbies!

I will quote Princess Bride regarding my test:

Miracle Max and his wife are waving at Westley and his friends as they're riding off to kill the Prince and save Buttercup:

"Bye-bye, boys! Have fun storming the castle!"

"Do you think it will work?"

"It would take a miracle!"

Onto other news:

Last Wednesday, Daniel, a boy in Keva's class suffered a perforation in his stomach and died. It was tragically sudden. He was 13, just like Keva, and a sweet boy, but his health was pretty fragile. I remember several times helping him with various sorting and puzzle tasks when I subbed in his room. And he always announced whenever anyone new came into the room. It was always a BIG event. Well, now Daniel in his very own BIG event in the presence of the Lord.

Keith and I discussed who would go to the memorial service and we finally decided that it would be me and Keva. The little Methodist church was packed out with people coming to celebrate Daniel's life. It was a precious time.

Afterward, the family (the mom, dad and twin brother) met with everyone downstairs in the fellowship hall. I just about chickened out, just not feeling up to the emotional drain of greeting the family, but I gave myself a talking-to and headed on down with Keva in tow. I cried and told the mom and dad that I was sorry for their loss and then I had Keva give them each a hug, and then I was glad I had come.

It's times like these that give us all pause to contemplate God's ways. We don't understand them, but we must trust them for what they are. Perfect in every way. It also gives me pause to thank God for the health of our family. We're struggling very much with our finances, but money trouble pales in comparison to the death of a child.

I took yesterday off to spend some time with Keith on his day off. It was really nice, even though we had some errands and business to attend to.

Today, it was back to business. I went to Lee Middle School and worked with obnoxious and not-so-obnoxious seventh graders. I think when I see Kathleen, my own seventh grader, I will give her a big hug and thank her from the bottom of my heart for being such a terrific kid. I am blessed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Non-productive day

I can't say I'm sorry I'm not working today. I needed a bit of rest, but now I'm going to really book it to make some kind of progress today in anything. There's some very nasty laundry that needs to be addressed and the crew is not keeping up with their weekly chores. The kids each have a job for a week that they're supposed to take care of, but if anyone were to take a tour of the house today, they'd be hard pressed to find the floor. Sigh.

It is COLD! This morning, after getting the kids off to school, I camped out on the couch in front of the TV, bundled up in sweats, long-sleeved shirt, another shirt, socks and comfy shoes, jacket with a hood to cover my cold head and a blanket. I spent several hours snoring. It was nice. I needed it.

Then, I ate irresponsibly and went off to the computer to play on Facebook, pogo.com and catch up on email.

I STILL have not received my study cards for GACE. I'm very unhappy about it. I may need to go to the bookstore and put out more money for a study guide, if they even still have it. Eeek!

I did wake up from my couch nap to watch The View. I put myself through that show simply to see how the "other side" is dealing with politics. Elizabeth, of course, holds her own for the Republicans, but she's rarely allowed to finish a point. Her frustration was palpable today. She said, "I decided that I'll just wear my shirt!" that said "AmeriCAIN". Cute shirt.

Yesterday, I heard a brilliant phrase from Rush Limbaugh's show to counteract the liberal attacks on Trickle-Down Economics. They bash it, saying it doesn't work -- look where it's gotten us -- Reagan was evil, blah, blah, blah. Rush says that liberals have Trickle-Up Poverty. That's exactly what it is! Trickle-Up Poverty!

Has anyone taken advantage of early voting yet?

Monday, October 20, 2008


I'm starting to get the whole facebook thing, I think. It's interesting and so accessible! I originally signed up to look at pictures that my brother had put up on his facebook. He's 10 years younger than I am, so that ought to give you a clue to the whole age thing as it relates to facebook. I sign up and it took weeks to start to figure it out. I got a few friends along the way. I finally decided it was safe enough for Keri Lynn to sign up, and she now has 55+ friends. Wow.

I subbed a six hour day today at the high school, working one-on-one with a special needs student. She'd been in Keva's class last year, so we had a lot to talk about. She wanted to know all about Keva and how she was doing, and she needed to be repeatedly assured that her regular TA would be back tomorrow!

In my last post, I wrote about my grade for my first test -- the one I thought I'd done so great at. An 84. Whoo-hoo. Stop the presses. Well, today, in the mail, I received a breakdown of my score:

Reading comprehension 100 (I was surprised I did so well here, because historically -- like in the SAT -- I've always done poorly)
Spelling 85 (I know which two words I got wrong)
Telephone Usage 50 (What!?!?)
Proofreading 94 (Thank you, Biola Chimes!)
Punctuation 80 (Thought I NAILED that, argh!)
Sentence Composition 55 (I seriously think the test writers are whacked out with that one!)
Alphabet Sorting 89 (I can't believe it wasn't a 100)
Numerical Sorting 100 (She can count!)
Grammar 100 (Told you I was a grammar geek!)

The mailer also informed me that most people score between 70 and 100, which means I did pretty average. Sigh.

Depending on what happens with the Home Depot job, I may or may not retest. It's free to retest if you don't count the gas, but I have to wait a month.

Speaking of gas, I filled up my van at $2.56 today. For weeks, Georgia was far above most of the country after the horrible hurricane spike we'd all suffered. We were paying over $4 up until a week or so ago. It wasn't quite so painful to fill up today. In fact, it's the first time I've filled the van tank all the way in months!

It's starting to get cold. I found our favorite tea on sale and bought up a few boxes in preparation for warmth! It was COLD overnight, but at least it warms up again during the day. I bundled up Keva for bed -- socks, something to cover her legs and arms -- in case she kicked off her blanket, but she didn't. She stayed all snug in her bed last night. So did I! I love the feel of being bundled up in a good blanket.

The cold has also inspired a flurry of crochet projects. There's nothing like scarves and slippers when it's cold! I made a really cute something for Ginny for her birthday that was on the 12th (better late than never!), and now I'm in the process of making something for Cheryl who drives both Keri Lynn and Kristofer to school with her every morning. Thank you, Cheryl! The plan is to get the scarf to you while it's still cold!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I need another tag

I'm home today (no job) working on laundry, dishes, bills and the job hunt. Kelly, Keva's bus driver and my life mentor, recommended a job through Coweta County for a part-time deputy clerk. Good pay for nearly full-time hours AND her husband can put in a good word for me. Love those contacts! So I just finished filling out the application and I'm going to drive it over to the County office in downtown Newnan.

While I'm there, I'll try to see if I can fix my little vehicle tag problem. I originally paid for my tags ( for both of our cars) over the phone and waited for weeks for them to arrive. I finally drove over to the office and explained that the tags had never come, so they printed me up some new ones right then and there. I then dutifully brought them back, gave Keith his and put mine on the counter next to my purse.

Keith said to me, "At least keep the tag in the van until you get a chance to put it on, in case you get pulled over."

"Okay," I said, I put the tag, still attached to the registration paper, in the car, where it disappeared forever into the black hole that is my car.

So now, whenever I drive anywhere, I break out into a sweat when I see a policeman because I'm too lazy to go and fix the problem. I'm also worried that the tag people are going to be a little suspicious. "You need ANOTHER tag?!?"

Besides, putting a tag on a license plate is really a man's job. So it's KEITH's fault. : ) Tags, taking out the trash, lawn care -- all fall under Man Jobs. Yes, they do. Keith will sometimes throw me and prep dishes, make the bed, vacuum -- but usually that's when he's attempting to give me a little kick-start. Getting things done around the house has been one of the great benefits of my staying at home. But now that I'm not at home all of the time, housework has been undergoing an evolution. What is has evolved to is still undetermined.

By the way, if any of you happen to be on Facebook, you can find me there. I'll be your friend! Keri Lynn is on Facebook, too. I think I have about six friends and been on it for longer. She started hers a few weeks ago and has forty something friends. It's an interesting tool to get to know people. Technology is something else!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Just call 911

I subbed at Newnan High School yesterday. I was a math teacher this time -- advanced algebra & trig -- which just gets more and more ironic the longer I sub. I get a big kick out of subbing in these higher level classes. Kids were asking me questions and I'd preface it with a "don't quote me, but I think it's . . . " At least I had an idea of an answer!'

Then, this morning, once again I made the trek to downtown Atlanta, this time for a dispatcher's test. We were given three hours, just like the office assistant test last week, but unlike last week, I used every single second of those three hours. It wasn't a hard test, but it was very detailed. I think I did okay. I got a chance to finish it and even go over some of the main sections that were a little iffy the first go-around. There were only about six or seven other people taking the test, so I might even have a shot at this job.

I also applied for five jobs at Home Depot. I applied there last year, too, but heard nothing. Which didn't really surprise me since last year's job search was endlessly non-productive. This time, though, one of my friend's from Bible study told me that her husband is at Home Depot and will put in a good word for me. Now we're talking!

I haven't given up on the teaching job, though. It is my goal. I'm in countdown for the big test on the 25th. It's going to be a doozy! I just ordered some flashcards to help out a little. I've been studying from the on-line test prep stuff, but the test prep stuff is pretty abysmal. It doesn't help that I have my own views on classroom procedure from homeschooling that don't always coincide with public school views.

Tonight is Wednesday night church. I'm not ready for my GA class tonight like I usually am. I've been swamped with life. My saving grace is that I've been in God's word much more regularly for the last month. I love the verse that I got from Mary Blaustone's blog (she's in my favorites). I told her I'd steal it . . .

When in distress, just dial 911 . . . Psalm 91:1, that is.“

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


If you voted for your favorite candidate over to the right on my blog, then you may need to vote again.

See, I was looking at the candidates names, admiring the fact that I figured out how to put a poll on the blog using Blogger Gadgets, when I noticed that I had spelled Barack Obama's first name WRONG! In fact, much to my shame, I had been spelling it wrong for quite some time and hadn't even realized it.

So, I thought, "I know what I'll do. I'll just redo the poll and put the votes in again myself. Oh, the cleverness of me!"



Except Blogger won't let one person vote more than once on a poll. (Unlike actual election polling places!) So, if you've voted already, please vote again. I appreciate it!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Precious Keva


The boys found a huge spider at the side of the garage door. The girls had found it earlier, including the girl writing this, and WE chose to ignore it. The boys couldn't leave well enough alone and captured it and killed it without squashing it. I don't know how they killed it without squashing it, I didn't ask. I still find it very interesting, though, that the spider looks a lot smaller in the picture than it did up close and personal.

Go Cougars!

Keith takes Kade to the Friday night football game. Kade looked forward to it all week!

Chicken and rice

Currently, my family thinks I'm the best mom in the whole world.


Because I'm cooking chicken and rice. It's my specialty. I've cooked it so often that I really don't like it myself all that much. So, I'm cooking some chicken wings in barbecue sauce just for me. That way, we're all happy.

I'm in the cooking mood today, or at least in my version of the cooking mood. All that means is that I cook things that take a little more time, or require a little more ingredients or I'm preparing something ahead of time. This morning, I chopped up the last of our potatoes into thin slices (like french fries) cooked them, then I cooked hot sausage, and added it to the potatoes, along with eggs and cheese for a breakfast burrito that is to die for. Oh yes, it is!

Since three kids were sleeping over at people's houses last night, I served up some of the breakfast burritos to remaining family members this morning and then prepared the rest of it for breakfast for tomorrow! Yay for me! It didn't stop the hungry minions from stopping by and asking if they could have one today, but they'll just have to wait. Breakfast burritos are the perfect Sunday morning on-the-fly treat.

This afternoon, I started cooking the chicken and rice. I make that with the big frozen wings chicken bag you get at club stores. I love those chicken wings, because 1) they're yummy and 2) I can make one bag stretch for at least three big family-filing meals. I throw the frozen wings into a big dutch oven, cover it with seasoning salt (the end all to all things related to my recipes), and let the wings cook until they are nearly fall-of-the-bone done. Then, I scoot the chicken over to one side of the pan to add half of the rice. I do not take out any of the oil -- most of it has cooked off already, but the remaining oil adds the best flavor to the rice -- and then I scoot all of the chicken on top of the half of the rice in the pan so that I can add the rest of the rice to the other side of the pan. Then, I scoot the chicken back on top of all the rice, add water and a little more seasoning salt, cover and cook until the rice is done. Fabulous! If I do say so myself.

Keith now has Sunday and Monday off, which is a real bummer on the weekend. I miss him, especially since Sunday is such a run-run-run day. He took Kade to the high school foot ball game last night. Kristofer couldn't care less about football, but Kade is an entirely different beast. He adores sports of all kinds and told me that he's going to be a famous football player and buy me a house. That fits well into our overall plan. We told the kids that one of them has to be rich. That's all. Just one.

What they don't know (or maybe they do know) is that we're already rich because of them. I am so proud of my kids and so thankful for the blessing of each of them in my life.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Government jobs

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning to go test for two government-type jobs in a fancy building next to the Capital building in Atlanta. I drove city streets, clutching the directions in one hand and the steering wheel and and cell phone (for a makeshift flashlight) in the other. The parking attendant let me park my 15-passenger van in a handicapped spot. (Shhhhh!!! Don't tell anyone!)

"Are you sure no one's going to tow my car while I'm gone?"

He assured me that it would be fine, and as I walked away, I thought that maybe I should have gotten his name, so that when I came back to a missing van, I wouldn't have to say, "Well, officer, yes I did park in a handicapped spot, but the parking attendant said it was no problem, and, yes, I know he's not there anymore, and no, I didn't get his name . . . " Yes, I thought all of that as I walked away, and then decided I'd take my chances rather than make the parking attendant grumpy at me for asking his name.

I took the test in a place called Twin Towers. Um, yes, I did. Who's in charge of these places? I got to the right floor of the right building by a sheer miracle (since I am most definitely directionally challenged), but wandered a full circuit of that floor before I found myself a nice guard who pointed me in the right direction. Even after that adventure, I got to where I was supposed to be a full 56 minutes before the test was scheduled to start. (Am I really needing a job? YESSSS! I AM!)

I settled in the waiting area and got out my notebook to enjoy a little time writing, when a lady arrived asking if she was in the right place for job testing. We then started talking, sharing financial concerns and getting just a little depressed about the economy and how it's affecting the job market, especially out of the city. I gave her Keith's name as a referral for possible work with Delta -- she's closer to the airport -- and after learning each other's life stories, we went in with about 25 other people to take the test.

While in line to get our tests, we all got into an interesting conversation about politics. One lady says she's probably not going to vote at all since all politicians are evil. My new friend said that she's definitely going to vote for the person who was so clear and had such good ideas . . . Obama . . . and she's a Democrat. (Oh well, friends can't be perfect, right?) And I put in my two cents, too, with a deep breath said, "I'm a Republican to the core, and there are several issues that are VERY important to me . . . " looking around for mob riots . . . "I'm pro-life . . . And the President appoints the Supreme Court judges. That's REALLY important . . . " Unfortunately, I didn't get to continue (having just warmed up!), because we got to the end of the line and needed to start the test.

Spelling, punctuation, grammar, filing, fact checking. It was actually an interesting test. I did pretty well, partly because I did a quick review of filing rules the day before. That saved a lot of angst.

Eventually, I settled into the test. It took about an hour and half. My new friend Marge and I sat together and finished at nearly the same time. We left with a promise that we would pray for each other for our jobs. It was nice to have a little moral support, even from a Democrat. : )

Tomorrow the kids are home from school, and I'll be continuing the job search. I'm started looking into teaching positions in private schools. I fully realize that private schools pay is very low, but it is still pay. I don't need a great-paying job. I just need a consistently-paying job.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

To teach

I've been working at Kathleen's school this week. I'll be there for three days this week, working with sixth graders in physical science. They are taking a benchmark test tomorrow. I personally now know all I'll ever care to know about igneous rocks.

Despite my personal lack of enthusiasm for igneous rocks, I do enjoy teaching at the middle school level. The teacher has been out for more than a week because her husband is getting cancer treatment in Texas. So you can imagine that the classroom is in some upheaval. She's a good teacher, though. The kids miss her and keep asking when she'll be back.

This kind of substitute job is different from the usual job where the teacher is only out for a day for a doctor's appointment or a meeting or something like that. In this situation, I've got a lot more responsibility to keep the learning flowing. So I've been getting a real taste of classroom experience.

I have to say that I really love it. I mean I REALLY love it. I love the connection with the kids. I love that they like me. I enjoy figuring out their personalities -- which ones are the "good" kids and which ones are the trouble makers.

Later on this month, I'm going to try to pass the GACE (Georgia Assessments for Certification of Educators). If I pass that, then in the fall, I should be eligible to get my own classroom in a training program unique to my county.

It's the getting to a place of employment that's the trick. As a substitute teacher I'm just not making enough money to help meet our bills. If I got a call every day of the week, which was happening toward the end of last year, then we'd be okay. But apparently there's a glut of new subs in the school system. People who have been laid off from other jobs are becoming subs, and there aren't enough jobs to go around.

On Thursday, I'm driving into Atlanta to take two tests for two government type positions. Neither position pays great, but it's steady. Steady wins the race! One is for a general clerk and the other is a secretarial job. Neither one is for a specific job. It's ongoing filling of places in and around my county. Hopefully somewhere close. Next Wednesday, I'm going to Atlanta to test for a third job for an phone operator. I would sincerely appreciate prayer for employment.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Composing Memories

First thing in the morning, I get dressed, then I take myself into the living room spend about 15 minutes with God reading His word and praying. I also enjoy listening to the rustling of my family as they wake up. It is a precious time.

Yet it is with some dismay that I've had to pull out reading glasses lately. My eyes have really taken a spiral. It's a constant reminder that life and health should never be taken for granted.

This morning, Konner was the first to come downstairs. His hair was standing up all over the place. He said to me, "Mom, they should make a school where you don't have to wake up in the dark."

Amen, Konner. You are definitely my son.

When I'm done with my quiet time, I get Keva ready and then sign and go over last minute homework, listen to excuses for why there is last minute homework, have Konner change out of whatever he thought was really okay to wear to school, and start a load of laundry. The younger kids run out the door first and then the high schoolers come down, as they both ride with a neighbor who works at the high school. They do not miss the bus at all.

I am VERY excited about Shutterfly. I discovered it yesterday. It is a online photo service. And even more importantly, it's FREE. You just upload as many of your digital pictures as you want and create as many photo albums as you want. The catch is that if you want a real live photo album in your hot little hands, then you order it through Shutterfly and pay for whatever it costs. But that is something I'm willing to pay for. When I made my albums using Creative Memories, it cost me an arm and a leg.

While I uploaded pictures onto my brand new Shutterfly account, I got to thinking about offering my services to whoever wants a photo album made, particularly people who have old pictures and slides -- I can get those scanned digitally and use Shutterfly to make albums. I'm calling it Composing Memories. So I've put an ad into a local online classifieds section and I put up a blog for my business, and we'll see how it goes! I'm kind of excited about it, particularly if I get that job at Target Portrait Studios.

And while I was at it, I put up Adsense onto my blog to make a little extra money. This is my first venture into blog ads. I'm going commercial. : )

Here's Konner seeing if it is worth eating at the cafeteria today or if he should pack their lunch. All three of the little kids do this every day. I never lift a finger to make lunches for them. They like to do it themselves.