Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back to Plan A!

My, how things change in 24 hours. I learned this afternoon that I will be able to complete my Master's program this summer after all. The financial aid office informed me that there were enough MAT students short of funds to offer extended student loans. As much as I hate getting into more debt, I very much appreciate being able to get a teaching job sooner rather than later! At any rate, I am so excited about this development!

So on Monday, it will be off to school again! With Keri Lynn in Japan for a month and Kristofer and Kathleen on choir tour for a week, it will be up to Kylie to hold down the fort on the days I'm gone. Fortunately, it will be only two to three days each week in June. She is a remarkably good babysitter. Keegan absolutely adores her. It also helps that both he and Keegan sleep in until at least 9:00 most mornings. As long as I keep the pantry full, things should be fine! It's a little scary just how much the kids eat in the summer time.

Kylie and I went on our third walk tonight. We saw lightening bugs and an armadillo ambling along a neighbor's yard. By then, Kade had joined us and both Kylie and Kade wanted to see it up close. I've seen plenty of armadillos before but they've always been road kill. However, I was not in any big hurry to see one up close live and personal like that, and I wasn't too keen on the kids doing so either! In fact, when we got back from our walk, I told the kids to please be sure they closed the garage as I knew for sure that thing would wind up in our garage if we didn't because that's what seems to happen to me. And I would be the one to find it in there!

It's still cool in the evening, but it won't stay this comfortable for long. The days are most definitely HOT. The kids welcome any pool time they get in the neighborhood. They just have to be sure they apply liberal amounts of sunscreen.

In other news, I want to start a Bible study for ladies and teen ladies, hopefully this summer. At first, I wanted to start one for the ladies and one for the teens, but time prevents that. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of putting us all in one group. I think it's important for women to have women mentors at any age. In general, I think that we divide ourselves up by age too much. There is much to be learned from those older than us and much to give whatever age a woman is to a group of women. I'm hoping I'll be able to get enough people interested to do the Bible study.

I also do not have a particular plan for topic of the Bible study. I'm going to leave it up to the group to pick a part of the Bible to study then we're going to use scripture to study scripture. I LOVE studying scripture this way. I also want to memorize scripture as a group. Once this is all underway, I plan to put it on a blog, so that anyone who is interested in joining in on the Bible study can do so.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

I had a bit of a pity party for myself for a while yesterday and today. I want to finish up school so badly. The goal is so close, but hope is slipping away for getting it done this summer. In the meantime, I need to figure out what I'm going to do this summer and going into the fall and QUICK.

On a positive note, I am enjoying being home again especially with the kids home from school. I enjoy having time. What a luxury! Time to plan and cook meals. Time to write these notes. Time to work on much neglected projects.

I've started short walks. I'm trying to make it as non-exercise like as possible. I just want to enjoy a little walk. So far, Kylie has joined me both times that I've gone walkabout. I don't even change clothes to go. Since I'm just wearing my grubbies, it's not a big deal. I just wear my flip flops and out I go. I timed it tonight and it's a grand total of 15 minutes, which is even more than I thought it was going to be. So I'm pretty proud of myself for that!

Mrs. Collins, our neighbor in Los Angeles, always went out on a daily walk. She was in her 80s and in great health. I was always so impressed with her. So I'm going to attempt to emulate Mrs. Collins!

We had a peaceful Memorial Day today. I am so thankful for the freedom afforded to us because of the ultimate sacrifice of so many.

Keith grilled hot dogs and warmed up some chili and we sat down to watch a Braves game. with delicious chili dogs. Very relaxing. I also worked on a crochet project. I finished up a cute scarf. It was a new pattern, so it was interesting to see how it would come out. Kathleen liked it so much that she wanted me to make her one, but in a different color. The one I did was too "old person" colored for her! I liked the color, which of course clinched it for Kathleen -- "old person" colored. It's always kind of weird to work on crochet projects because they are usually cold weather items like scarves, gloves and slippers. Not anything I am even remotely interested in wearing now, but if I can do a little every day, I'll have a good supply of Christmas gifts ready to go. This is my mantra every year, but I don't usually get it going until well into October!

We also played cards, the second time in two days. Kylie has become quite the card shark with the confidence to carry it through. She whupped us all yesterday. We had to talk a little about good sportsmanship when you're winning for those of us who weren't doing quite as well! Playing games are such a good way to teach character to our kids. I still work on it myself since I'm so competitive. I hate to lose and i hate to play with people who don't care if they win or lose. To the death, people! To the death! Well, maybe not that extreme.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Coupon Thing

I am seriously looking into the whole Coupon Thing. I want to be the crazy coupon lady that holds up the lines with her two or three stuffed carts and pays $2.73 for it all. This is a big turn around for me. I have always bought generic and bulk, lots of bulk. I usually spend very little and keep meals relatively simple. However, as I've looked further into the whole Coupon Thing (as I call it), I've been more intrigued. It's almost like a game. Get groceries only when they are already on sale and use the manufacturer's coupon (doubled) along with the store coupon to make these items significantly lower. I like it.

I really like Southern Savers and will use that system to start out. I have a feeling it will be a lot like homeschooling where I'll just over time develop my own system of getting it done. For now, I'm enjoying going to YouTube and blogs and internet sites and watching successful coupon clippers get great deals on various items. I don't think I'll be quite as tenacious or crazed as some of them appear to be because that is not in my nature, but I can be methodical. And I do love to plan!

The kids are enjoying summer vacation already. Their last day was Friday. Already kids have been to various end-of-school parties, a little camp-out in someone's backyard, swimming at a neighbor's pool and playing in our own sprinklers. It is HOT. This is yet another reason why I'm feeling the need to coupon. The kids' appetites are something to behold!

As I write this, Keri Lynn is in the air on her way to Narita International Airport in Japan. After two false starts, she finally got a winner, and is seated business class to boot. She started off at 6:00 am this morning headed off to the airport here in Atlanta and she won't be getting into Japan until 5:00 this morning, our time. That's nearly 24 hours of travel. She's going to be bushed. We are so very thankful for our flight benefits, even so. Sure is nice to hop a plane anywhere whenever we need to go. It's a bit hairy sometimes getting on a flight, especially when it's all of us, but if we didn't have flight benefits, we'd never get to go anywhere!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Little Man loves to look out the window!


Change of plans

It looks like I won't be able to complete my Master's this summer as I had hoped. We've simply run out of funds. Things were starting to look tight financially as we headed into the spring semester and they just got tighter. So we head into Plan B with a lot of mixed feelings.

Since I'm not done with the Master's program, I won't get my certification and I won't be able to get a job as a teacher in a public school yet. This is the most disappointing part of the whole deal since the whole idea was to have a decent paying job to be able to begin paying back school loans! Oh, the pain!

As always, though, God has it all in His hands. So we're starting to look at other options, such as teaching at possibly teaching at a Christian school (which I would LOVE) or even branching out and teaching children whose parents want them to be homeschooled. I would be a tutor of sorts. I've thought of this option before but did not have the confidence to pull it off. I do now! If I can handle a group of eighth graders, I think I could handle just about any group of kids.

This will also make the transition for Kathleen easier if I'm staying at home. She'll be homeschooling next year. She's been wanting to homeschool for years. Now I think she has the determination and independent attitude to make it work, particularly if I'm not there during the day. It also helps that she's got several very close friends that homeschool. She enjoys the comradery and I enjoy that she has such great friends!

All of this leads to another great ramification. Keegan doesn't have to go into daycare. He can stay home with just his sister, or with his sister and me. We'll see how everything pans out, but whether I somehow get a job as a teacher or end up teaching right in my own home, Keegan won't have to go to daycare. This is such a load off of my mind!

Then, hopefully, we'll have enough money, or be in a position to at least finance the rest of my classes next summer. Then, there also might be more jobs by then as well. Teaching positions are slim pickings these days.

Friday, May 20, 2011

No fear

With all that has been burdening my heart lately, I have been praying more. That is the way of things, isn't it? Life gets difficult, and there is only one true Provider. Nothing has really changed except that the fear is now gone. The Lord has always been faithful in His provision. Year end and year out, He is faithful. So why do I get anxious? There is no good reason, so I have chosen once more to give all the worries back to Him.

Now that I'm not worrying so much, I'm getting busy with getting more things done around the house. However, in a house where 10 people reside, housekeeping is usually a two steps forward, one step back affair. For instance, last night I put in a load of laundry and somehow mistakenly put in one of Keva's pull-ups. It's really amazing just how much water a pull-up can retain. It is equally amazing just how messy a pull-up can be once it has retained a lot of water. It is not pretty. Also, now that Keegan is home all the time now, he spends a great deal of his free time trying to break out of his prison called the family room. Since he's stuck in there, he makes the best of things by dumping out all his toys all over the floor and then standing on his overturned toy box. I've had to start spanking his little hinie for getting up on dangerous spaces. He doesn't like that one bit, but then again, he wouldn't like getting his head cracked open either so I'm okay with a few crocodile tears.

The kids have one more week of school left. Kristofer will graduate on Thursday and is looking forward to his college days at Georgia Southern. The little kids are starting to really get on his nerves! I saw the same thing happen with Keri Lynn when she was about to break free from the nest. In fact, it's not unlike Keegan breaking free from the evil family room. He goes running like his head is on fire! O, the joy of independence! Before college starts, though, Kristofer will have to get through summer. He's going to be busy with the senior trip and then the usual choir tour, VBS and Camp Sonshine. I have an eerie feeling that summer will go by in a flash! I'm really going to miss that boy!

Feeling the burdens

It's been a bit of an emotional roller coaster lately with Keri Lynn and her trip to Japan. For a while there, it looked like she wasn't going to be able to go because she wasn't able to gather together enough funds. We cried together and we prayed together. I went to bed feeling so sad for her. Meanwhile, she went to bed after typing a message to the missionaries she will be working with. Could she go for a partial time? That hadn't even occurred to me as an option and here, lo and behold, they were able to make changes in her itinerary to accommodate her for a full 40 days. Not quite the full summer she had planned, but 40 days is nothing to sniff at! We are all very thankful for this development and for the opportunity this affords her. Her plane leaves May 25, just a scant week away!

And here I sit typing away and working on all the odds and ends that have been gathering while I've been busy with school. My heart is heavy for my own opportunities this summer. I'm not sure if we'll be able to swing this last semester of classes. I feel like I'm at that last mile of the marathon and the road has been blocked off with big "No Trespassing!" signs.

Having by God's grace come this far with one income is really a miracle, but it's still hard not to start wringing my hands again about the mortgage and utility bills and groceries. I begin to wonder if there will ever be a time when we will be able to actually take in more than we spend! Then, I become very ashamed. So many people suffer, really suffer, and not just monetarily, but with poor health, death in the family, emotional rifts, addiction, etc. I have so much to be thankful for.

Then, in the middle of all the drama, there is Kristofer. My 17 year old son. Graduating from high school on Thursday, May 26! I am having a really hard time with this. It's bad enough to have Keri Lynn finished with her second year of college, but to have ANOTHER one heading off to college?!? We had some drama, too, with where he was gong to go. We all wanted him to go to GCSU where Keri Lynn attends, including Kristofer, but he didn't get accepted there. He did get accepted to Georgia Southern, which we then found out is pretty much a big party school. However, I've been thinking about Elijah lately. He cried out to God that he was the only prophet that served God, but God told him otherwise, that there were still 7000 in Israel who did not worship Baal. He was not alone. And that is my prayer for Kristofer, that he will remember that he is not alone, that others keep up the fight with him. I am excited for the opportunities before him.