Saturday, May 30, 2009

It rained today.........

Garrett, Malachy & I were driving home from Garrett's baseball team barbeque this afternoon........when the thunder clouds that had been building released one giant raindrop on my windshield, about 1/2 mile from home. As I was pointing out the size of the raindrop to the boys, a bolt of lightning seemed to land right next to our car, and the thunder was an immediate, instantaneous jolt. Just one loud boom. We all jumped! Then, the rain made large polka dots all over the road......and as we pulled into our driveway, the 1/4 inch hail began to pelt our car. The rain was SO hard.

We were stuck in the car for a few minutes before the boys decided to make a run for it to the porch.

Anne came out of the door and said: It's Kansas all over again!

Not quite! THAT was pretty bad! And extremely scary for the driver.

After another two minutes, I decided to make a run for it, too! I was soaked even though it was only a ten foot run to the porch from my car.

The rain was pouring off the roof........the flower-bed-needing-flowers was filled with water......

The rain was thunderous in its pounding of the earth. We had to yell to each other to be heard, though we were all on the porch together.

I did go turn off the sprinkler system after ten minutes. :)

I had yet to use the video function on my new, just for fun, I took a video. It was so easy! I think I will use it more often for posting here.

I must say, the rain does not sound or look as intense in the video as it was in REAL LIFE. The water on the ground that you see is after only about 3-4 minutes of just broke open wide.

So, have a peek with us!

Blessing from Our Hearts' Haven!

Love, chari

YES! That IS Matthew on crutches! More later on that! But, DO need to know his dancing days for the summer may well be over......before the season even started. Pray it is not so!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's a Picture Book Day!

I think I will start a new topic post. We read lots of picture books around here.....and I thought I would start keeping track of the keepers.

We will often read a handful, or more, of one author. Here is a recent discussion on 4 Real message board about the same topic........

I recently found at Bridget's blog, that she had a recommendation for

Our library did not have it, but I could find it on the interlibrary loan list. I also saw about six other books by the same author, and I found the titles intriguing, so I ordered all of the books by Ferida Wolff.

I am glad that I did! I pretty much enjoyed them all, as did the kids. I kept them to share with my friend Gloria from San Francisco last weekend. She liked them, too.

I was surprised that all of the books have a totally different illustrator. We liked some better than others.

Here is the list we read:


Cute & sweet story as the busy, productive sister takes ill and the lazier sister takes over.......and she finds that making less than seven loaves of bread actually costs more work that making all seven loaves of bread.


I saw on her website this is her newest book. This is an incredibly sweet story about an old lady who makes gifts for the community out of her story blanket...till its gone. Then, the community give her yarn to make a new story blanket as a thank you gift for all she has done...and then she starts the give-and-take cycle over again. The colors and illustrations are lovely. I think Miss Miranda, my little princess friend, will like this story.


We really liked this book, too. Humble villagers who are very agreeable with each other create a garden for the emperor's visit. When a monsoon damages their work in the garden, they are sure the emperor will not like the garden. They begin to be less agreeable toward one another. When the emperor loves the garden, the villagers begin to appreciate each other again. Gorgeous artwork and color.


Loved this story and artwork too. A clever and witty story as a woodcutter has a beautiful and efficient coat become ragged and less useful, only to be stolen by a beggar on his way to get a new coat, with a trade of firewood to the tailor. We then follow the coat as it gets new life, from one person to the next........only to end up in the woodcutter's hands again.


I thought this story would be different than it was. It tells two perspectives about how a negative thing can be viewed on a positive side. For example: a weed is a plant growing where we do not want it...but it can feed a mouse in the winter......or moth eats a hole in our shirt, but pollinates flowers.......or rain ruins a picnic day, but waters the fields. The illustrations are fair, the colors nice.


The watercolors are lovely in this book, and make up for the text, which we did not mind, but did not prefer. It might be because the text was a bit young for us. Actually, I found on her website that this book is for youngers. Gorgeous artwork.

The author has a website. There are a few lesson plans there. I did not take a look at them.

The list of all her books is here.


Happy reading blessings to all!

Love, chari

PS: should be able to find all of these through the same library system. do you know how to use Northstate Cooperative Library to your advantage?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Matthew Graduates Tonight!

WOW, we did it!

We will actually have graduated TWO kids though our homeschooling experience.

I know saying TIME FLIES is not very original, but sheesh! I had just found out I was pregnant with them........and now they are leaving home in August.......


So, Matthew has been with a local charter school for most of his school years......and they have wonderfully created a lovely graduation ceremony for their seniors.

Matthew will be introducing the keynote speaker, since he is the one who invited her.......and he will probably give a dramatic monologue, comedic, of course, as a student performance........and he is giving a little speech, too.

I cannot wait to hear one of my favorite songs:


I played it so many times in band........I looked forward to it every year. :)

And, now, Matthew is the first of our kids to actually go through a graduation ceremony from high school.

We are so proud of him!

We cannot wait to see what his future holds.....especially when we see what his present has offered us...........

Please pray for his future vocation.

With love,

Chari & Family

P.S. These are the three photos to be shown on the screen at graduation.

First: Cast photo from college play last December taken by J. Young

Second: Matthew, age 3 & Marty, younger than he is now :)

Third: Matthew in NYC on our Star-Spangled Adventure

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Written Sunday morning, May 24th.......

Outside My Window.......a gorgeous sunny last week.......and like the week to come.........I am deliriously happy about the weather!!!!! :)

I am MUCH to do! Where to start??? SHOULD I start??? I want to slow dowwwwwn!

I am also sadly thinking about a situation that happened recently...........someone was strangely offended by something I did........It was a simple thing and now it is making for bad feelings in her family......please pray! And, what I did was NOT offensive......and if I could do it over again.........I would have to do the same thing! My conscience would not allow me otherwise. Oh!

I am thankful for.......... warm weather...........for my kids helping to put the garden in..........for the amazing work they did in putting on a play........for my friend Maria.........and for Gloria..........and for being chosen to be Benedict's godmother........and.........and........and.....

From the kitchen.........bacon sandwiches for lunch.........we are eating leftover Costco lasagna for dinner and some steamed veggies........we need to run out of the house........again......for another show........the final show......I also hope to make a cake or cupcakes.......for Christopher (Maria's # 4 out of 8) who is passing the programs out at the play tonight. It is his birthday...........and I was his nurse when he was born!

I am wearing........a nightie.........and a hand-me-down Disneyland sweatshirt from my dad........

I am creating........not. Just trying to maintain. :)

I am going...........not sure :)

I am reading......... Still barely reading The Confessions of Saint Augustine. And I am 1/3 through Walden; Or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. I need to start a new book with the boys........Back of the North Wind??? Maybe. I just read six picture books to them by Ferida Wolff. Also our weekly newspaper........that has an article and photo, both by me.........for the kid's play. I almost forgot........I just read Betsy-Tacy and Heaven to Betsy by Maud Hart Lovelace.

Here is the book review I wrote for Abraham's Book Challenge:

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

I was needing something light to read while I am in the middle of something "heavy" and this book "popped" off of a list. This is the first in a series. My friend Lissa loves this series as does my oldest daughter, Anne. (In case you wonder who my friend Lissa is.......she is an author of Little House "pre-quels" and her pen name is Melissa Wiley. She wrote the Martha Years and the Charlotte Years.) Right away I found out something I had been assuming WRONG for years. I had always thought that Betsy-Tacy, was ONE person! I had no idea it was TWO girls.

It is an adorable book!
It was written in 1940. It is a story about 2 five year olds who meet and become best friends. They are such sweet little girls! I love their family lives. So good, so pure. In this first book of the series, a very sad thing happens in Tacy's family. And, a very happy thing happens in Betsy's family. Tacy has about 8 siblings....and Betsy only one. Both have 8 year old sisters who become very good friends, too. They live on Hill Street at the top...their house are the last two houses, across from each other. Betsy's dad has a store and I forget what Tacy's dad does. Both dads "drive" to work in buggies or wagons. They both have barns. Betsy's mom is so sweet. I was surprised at how much freedom two five-year-old girls are allowed!

They live in Minnesota and I just found out from the link below that it is based on the author's hometown of Mankato.....a town I drove through recently on a cross-country trip. That will make it easier to imagine their surroundings. That is always fun.

The girls love to sit at the bench on the top of the hill and have picnics. They also have a piano box in the backyard of Betsy's house and they have their own little "living room" in it. They play "paper dolls" with magazine cut-outs and the "dolls" live in magazines. They love to play dress-up.

I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series. From looking at this website: I find that each story has the girls getting older....all the way to the first few years of Betsy's married life and each book in the series becomes a higher reading level. I only own the first book and the last I will have to try the library for the others.

I HIGHLY recommend this book to little girls whether as read aloud from mom or to read to themselves. I think Shawna should read this to her two little girls soon...and she can borrow my book if she wants. I highly doubt little boys would be interested in this story. I am so glad I was inspired to pick up this book I missed as a girl.

AND.......I still need to write the other one.......

I am hoping.............that our cat, Jane, named ofter Jane in Pride & Prejudice........miraculously lives.........and if she does not, that her kittens will be well-cared for by her sister Lizzie.............who is at this moment nursing the four of them along with her one kitten. Boy, was she shocked when I gave all of those kittens to her last night!

I am hearing......Maddelyn playing her piano pieces, readying for her recitals next week........and the two youngest boys playing together......barely below the argument level.... :/

I am wondering.......why computers must be a pain in the ____!!!! Every computer I am touching this week makes me nuts..........from the computers at home, including Anne's new the one at Rite Aid photo my new cell my new the ones at the charter school......ACK!!!!!!!

Around the house.......wet, clean clothes to hang on the line......a floor to be vacuumed.......cupcakes to entire house to organize (I sound like a broken record :) )........I HAVE gone through Malachy's clothes.....both in the drawers and in he is ready for summer.........and I have gone through Maddelyn's drawer with her.

Now Showing..........I just watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I was looking forward to seeing it because I recently read the short story of the same name by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I loved the story! Therefore, I was disappointed with the movie.........because it barely had anything in common with the original story. The acting was good of, course...........but, it is a long (almost three hours) and strange story.........and all of the coupling between couples was between unwed couples. The original story was SO good! It was good enough for a movie...........why did they have to change it!

We saw the second disc of The Planet Earth, a BBC series from Discovery Channel. It included Ice Worlds.........FABULOUS!!! Deserts............SO COOL!!! They spent over 25 million dollars making the series.......and it shows. It is absolutely wonderful and amazing!!! See it if you can........we are getting ours from Netflix.

Though.........I have found that my dad has the series on DVD so I am trying to get a hold of his set now.

In the schoolroom.....and OUT of the schoolroom....NOT MUCH............mostly is it PLAY Performance WEEK!

Though there is some......Handel, math........Sarah finished her math-u-see book and has one more to go.........Maddelyn is 2/3rds done with the last book........and hopes to start Jacob's algebra soon. Garrett and Malachy are plugging away at their math books.......Some baseball, teeball (just finished this week!) piano, singing, American history, chicken egg development, picture books........

The BIG projects this week, after the play is done.........for Matthew to get his high school project papers done so he can graduate at the end of the week and Maddelyn has two 8th grade projects to do before she moves up to 9th grade.

Also, I have something "new" in homeschooling that is exciting me.......I hope to share eventually..........I just pray I can see it through!

One of my favorite they say in the song from one of my favorite musicals: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers: Spring, Spring, Spring!!!

Signs of the seasons............that gorgeous bright spring green EVERYWHERE!!!! Wonderful and comfortable temperatures!!!! Flowers everywhere..........swallows building at least eight nests on the third floor of the fort (my grandma would hate that!).........mowing and watering of the lawn......a visit to the lake.........a hike to several falls.....sandals...........happy am I!

In the garden............all the seeds are in..........and I think.....I may have actually combined the carrot and lettuce seeds into one packet..........this should be interesting!!!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...........

Monday-music night for piano is in the evening..........a barbeque with several families???

Tuesday-go to lake with Gloria & John, graduation rehearsal for Matthew, Piano lessons for three of the kids........and one more performance of The Gazebo for the kids so we can film it

Wednesday-Matthew presents his high school project to two teachers..........a private piano recital in the evening.......only Sarah & Maddelyn will be playing from our family

Thursday-Matthew graduates from our charter school this evening

Friday-we go see TWO different dance school performances because we have friends at two different studios.......and baseball for Garrett that evening and possibly my older children will go to a dance........but we are thinking about having our own at a different time :)

Saturday-Garrett's baseball team having a kids vs parents game & barbeque....not sure if I should embarrass Garrett and Marty by playing, in a skirt :)

Sunday-Mass, followed by the official piano recital at which Garrett, Maddelyn & Sarah will be playing

Monday-45 chickies arrive!!! Garrett has a baseball game in the evening

Tuesday-five of six kids go to orthodontist at a city 1.25 hours north of here.............and perhaps Mom's Night Out at my favorite local restaurant

And, now...........if I shall not be here can see why!

Special prayer requests on my mind this week.....for private intentions..........for these breathing issues I have...........for two someones very close to me who have deadlines........for my friend Willa and her family after the passing of her father.........for two acquaintances of my children (through theater) whose father died earlier this month (I just found out)..........for other health issues for many I know

St. Gerard's List..........Tonia (my co-worker, due the same due date as Malachy: October 20th), Suzanne, (Gloria's sister), Louise, Victoria & Erica.....and we can add two of our nieces......both in New Hampshire: Clara due with #5 and Suzanne with #2. And, now, my friend Jodie is due with #9 and Gloria's sister-in-law Jody is due with #5!

I am currently scrapbooking..........I actually found a bit of time to scrapbook.......but not until I re-organized my scrapbook stuff and put it totally out of save till June.......did I realize I actually had time to do it two nights while Matthew as building his set. So, I got Anne's baptism photos and first two weeks of life scrapbooked. yes!

And, now, it is all put away............I am not sure when it will come the end of June for sure..........I hope to go away for a week and take it with me.

I am exercising.........unfortunately, I have taken 2-3 weeks off............due to illness and other such stuff, such as NEVER being home!!

I do hope to get a 2 mile walk in with the kids today along the railroad tracks behind our house.

Here is picture thought I am sharing........
Signs of spring near the falls.......

God bless us all!

Love, Chari

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Remember those picture booths?
The ones where you and your friends squeeze in and take four photos?
Well, I recently did the same for Sarah & Sierra.

Spring blessings!!!
Love, Chari
PS.......anyone living anywhere remotely near me is welcome to come see the kids in their show this weekend!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Anne Graduates Tonight!

Tonight Anne will take part in her first graduation ceremony.

She will be receiving an Associates of Arts Dregree in English, with a focus in Theatre from our local Junior College.

She is expecting to transfer to the University of Alma Mater!

We are very proud of her......she will graduate with High Honors and Phi Theta Kappa.

She is so excited to move on.........

Prayers for her future vocation, wherever God calls her, please!



Thursday, May 14, 2009

For the month of May, Mary's Month original post tonight is below the line.

I thought it over and decided I needed to do a bit of research through Blogger's Help section......and the first attempt failed, using their video tutorial......but, their written info.........fixed my education........I think it will work!! Let's see!

So, the credit for finding this video goes to Buring the Candle at Both Ends.......


I have no idea how to embed this, I will have to have you go to this can see it!

I am so proud of those kids. They are inspiring!

Oh! is another video

So, here is the video at the above that I have it figured out! BEWARE! I will be using more video now! :)

God bless!

Love, chari

PS......If anyone knows how to embed video witout downloading it to my computer.......PLEASE teach me! I think I made my computer sick the last time I did it!

I did try to copy and paste the "embed" on youtube.......but I cannot get ALL of the link! ACK!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Haven Heartbeats

So, I have a half an hour to wait for my boy to start his baseball game.....I am at the charter school while the other four rehearse.......their play opens next week.

Thought I would just babble for a few moments babble.

Last week, on Tuesday, I felt like I was coming down with something.....which was no fun when I had to go teach a childbirth class for 12 couples.

The next day I was down with something...and so was Marty. Then the next day, I felt better....and went to work for about half a shift.......but got really stuffy while I was there..and could not breathe through my nose for 48 hours....ugh!!!

Then the next day........I felt much worse......and the following day, barely better....and I had to call in sick for my morning shift on Mother's day.......I felt barely better on Mother's I was SO glad I called in sick.......but then they called me in to come sign my time card...ugh! That was the second time in three years that I called in sick....and still had to go in and sign the time card.....ugh! I usually only call in sick once a year at the most. Kind of easy when you are hardly on the schedule. :)

Luckily everyday since Sunday, I have felt a bit better. schedule was such that I could get the house cleaned up a bit..........I started out that way......but my breathing issues were perking up too much today...and it sure slowed me down.....

Plus, I had to get Matthew's student VISA application and other stuff taken care of today........for the travel agency.....that took all morning....not to mention all of the time last week......but, I was able to FEDEX it this afternoon. FEDEX is $$$$$!!!!! I had no idea. I am so glad Marty gave me more $ than I asked for this morning........I would not have had enough.

It is SO MUCH WORK to get this kid out of the country! Every time I turn around...there is another packet of paperwork!! This is much harder than figuring out the college application stuff.........a whole new lingo, too.

I should go back to that "to-do" list I posted here in January....and see what's left.

And add what's new. is a "due date"

Until June 4th at noon.

I know.

I have mentioned that before........but, I am keeping my eye on my work and every once in awhile.....I peek ahead to June noon. :)

I have a meeting with Shelly at 10am on the 4th........our last of the year for our learning records.

Now you know why I keep saying........noon on the 4th.

Oh, wow......this is definitely babbling. :)

I have been "writing" so many blog posts in my head lately....even philosophical ones.....even profound posts :) .....and homeschooling...and spiritual posts. But, I am not sure if I can ever actually commit them to paper...I mean to the blog.

Please pray I can get my house a bit cleaned up before our company arrives next week! It is SO thrashed.......and never being home and being up too late.......and having appts every just making it too difficult to get to it.

If you walked into my house right this would see clean clothes all over the living room floor........waiting to be folded.......piles of dirty clothes on my bedroom floor.......a refrigerator desperately needing to get cleaned (has to happen tomorrow because Marty is going shopping for us tomorrow)........two bathrooms needing to be cleaned.......a certain nameless child did not do his turn at cleaning the bathroom.....its in trouble!.......the hallway is full of stuff I need to get into the garage.......the floor needs to be mopped, desperately.......the carpet vacuumed.......the dining room table and the kitchen counter cleared and wiped down........the kitchen has our early dinner mess all over it.......both kids rooms are strewn with clothes.......and my desk and dresser need!!! Is that enough of a visual for you???? :)

I promise........I am NOT exaggerating......OR sugarcoating it. MY kids will VOUCH for me!! :)

And OUT of the house....the school room is DESPERATE after the winter......and the back of my car is full of stuff Matthew put in there from building the set.

Okay....time to go to the game!!!

Love to you all!


Monday, May 11, 2009

Sad news for one of my dearest friends......

If you are one of the few who read my blog regularly.........two of which are actually in her own will probably recognize my friend's name.

It is with great sadness for one of my dearest friends, Willa, that I beg these prayers.

Earlier today the sad news came.....that her father passed away this morning, unexpectedly.

Being unexpected does make it all the more painful.

A few specific requests:

.....for Clare, she was to spend ten days with her grandparents next week in Alaska.....and this is especially painful.

.....for Liam as he finishes up his finals at TAC and graduates this weekend.

......for Paddy & Aidan, they are so young and this sorrow is strange to them

......for Willa's mom....she and her husband were a very close couple.....

......for the rest of the family, of course........her other children and husband, and Willa's brothers and their families

And, could you please MOST ESPECIALLY offer a MEMORARE for Willa's dad's soul? He was a Christian, and a good man, but not Catholic.......and Willa has been praying so hard and so long for his conversion......she feels this loss most painfully.

Could you please pray that Memorare for her peace as well? This is one of her favorite prayers.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen. Thank you so much for covering my friend, and your friend, in these prayers.

You are all so dear. You may leave a note of condolence here for Willa and family, if you so please.

Thank you so much for your prayers. I know Willa and her family covet them. I do as well.



Sunday, May 10, 2009


And to my Grandma!!!
And, to my sisters.......and my cousins........and all of my friends!

Going back only a few generations, my grandma was the offspring of these two people....

My Great-grandparents, William Henry & Era Lee

She was a Winn & he was a Goodwinn. Kind of funny.

They were only 11.5 and 17 years when they married.

Then, they gave birth to my grandmother, below, who then married my grandfather.

This is May Alleen & Ira James.

She hates her first name and goes by Alleen,

but mostly "mom" and grandma," and he went by Jim.

I think this is their 25th wedding anniversary.... which case, I must have been born already, I am guessing.

And Alleen & Jim gave birth to BeverLey Kaye, my mother.

My mother was born in Texas, but here above, my grandma with my mom as a toddler, and my Uncle Louis, her older son, are visiting California. This is Morro Bay and Morro Rock which looks much more busy now than it does in this photo!

My grandpa with my mom as a toddler, and my Uncle Louis.

My mom and her younger brother, Stephen.

My mom with her older brother Louis and her younger bro, Stephen.

A school photo of my mom.

The next bunch of photos were taken in 1955 when my mom and her parents and younger brother came from Texas for a visit to California, just before they moved to California.

Their first visit to the Pacific Ocean? grandpa, always ready to play, with my mom and Uncle Steve.

My mom and her younger brother Steve.

My mom.....

My mom......

My mom........

My mom and her brother Stephen with a friend or cousin in the middle.

Then, my mom grows up and gives birth to me after one year of marriage to my dad.

You are going to love the sixties look in these photos......

My mom with me.....notice the clock, the scarf.......the clothes

My mom with my first sister......ntoice the chairs, the sandals.....glasses and "sideburns"

My mom and my dad and me at her elbow, at a Cristmas meal.

Am I whining???

My mom with the black scarf.....with me next to sister Teresa in the high chair......Uncle Louis and Aunt Martha on the right......and my grandparents on the left, with my cousin Mark. That's my dad's arm. We often went to this Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles......very auhtentic.......I only remember tortilla chips...........and a man singing with his sombrero......"Ai, Yi, Yi, Yi" :)

My mom in the blue dress, me in the red..........Uncle Rex......who later abandoned Aunt Ruth. :/

I always loved this photo of everyone dressed up.....and posing in front of a tent!

This is my mom, my little sister dad's mom....and me!

Love their dresses!

My mom did lots of really cool things for me when I was growing up. I have a serious amount of samples below..........

My sister Teresa and I with our cousins Mark and Michael.

My mom would always set a lovely "children's table" for us at Christmas and Thanksgiving.

She also sewed our matching dresses.

Oh, and curled my extremely STRAIGHT hair!

She always made a beautiful Christmas tree for us.

My grandma feeding cousin Michael..........Aunt Martha in the mom in the red...and my sister and I and Cousin Mark opening many presents.

Another Christmas.........and another dress my mom made for me...........this time she knit it. I may still have it. Though you can barely see my sister behind me........she crocheted that dress.

My mom and Aunt Ruth are on the couch.

My mom threw great birthday parties for me!

A bunch of friends and the park in Westchester, California.....

......the park I "grew up" at. My dad in the Mickey Mouse shirt.....he has not changed much!

My mom in blue with sun glasses. I am in center with present.

Another year, another party........same park :)

Must have been a cool April day in Los Angeles.

I am the gal with her head bent, to open a present.

Cousin Mark is front and center, with my little Cousin Jimmy to the right.

Mark is now a Professor of Psychology in a Southern California UC school....

...and Jimmy is now an Internist in So. Cal.

I have no idea who most of those kids are.... Aunt Sue, Jimmy's mom, my dad's to the left.

My mom.......looks my sister-in-law Dana right here......

one of same parties as with pony tails.... sis Teresa with the short blonde hair.

My made great cakes for us.........her first being for my first birthday.

Here, she lights a yulelog cake that she made for one of our Christmas dinners.

Isn't it a sweet cake!

My mom always worked hard to get our family together to see my Cousin Julie,

whose mom (my dad's sister) died when she was one year old.

I always appreciated that........

and now I have been able to maintain that relationship through my adult years.

Julie and I were buds when we first sisters then.

We are only 15 months apart.

Above, you have a lot of cousins, two dad's cousins and my cousins.

Starting on the left, is my dad's cousin Leslie holding my littlest sister Jennifer Leslie, her namesake.

Leslie and her twin sister Lynn, whose name is the same as my middle name (Lynne), are only nine years older than me.......and Leslie's kids are same age as Anne, so we have a lot in common.

I am in the center the row behind me are Cousin Julie, my sister Teresa, my cousin Cindy.

Aunt Nancy is holding her baby Garry..........and she is cousins with Lynn and Leslie, because she is my dad's youngest sister.

Lynn is the cousin standing on the right.........

and the grown up in back are Julie's step-mother (I am having a blank on her name) holding her baby, my mom and my Grandma (dad's mom).

She took me to Johnny's Pastrami as many times as we were KNOWS visiting Johnny's is always priority in Southern California!!!

My mom "tried" to teach me how to sew.........I am still barely just past novice.......I do not sew least my girls do! But, she was able to help me sew this quilt while we had four generations hanging out in Louisiana with my great-grandmother and grandmother (see them above!). Seh helped me sew a quilt when I was 12 years old, too. I still have that one. The one above I made for my new has since disintegrated. :/

Lesson learned.......NO Wal-Mart fabrics for permanent quilts!!!

My helped with all of the planning of my wedding in only three months..... veil, my cake and the decor.

Our family in 1985:

Baby sister Jennifer, my mom, me, my new husband, Marty,

my dad and my sister Teresa.



......but, not enough pictures to prove it! :)

Blessings to all on this Mother's Day, 2009!

Love, chari

Friday, May 8, 2009

May well be my book find of the year............

I did not mean to go looking for a new book......but there I was,at our local library.......and I was drawn to the on-going library sale, which of course is rather small, being in a small town. I fingered through the tiny children's section.......then the magnet drew me to my favorite section, "old" or "antique" books. That's where we find the paperback or hardcover. Some ARE old........some are brand new.

Sarah & Maddelyn stood by my side.........all of us hoping to glimpse a treasure before the others........I have raised my own competition. Sigh. Matthew & Anne are even MORE competitive than these two girls. And, I saw it first.......and reached my hand out........

It is such a beautiful copy! I did not even open it till I was is 98 years old! Henry Van Dyke, of The Gift & the Magi and The Other Wise Man fame............was an excellent poet! I had no idea.

What a treat!!!

I have been perusing it ever since........reading poems aloud to whoever will listen, especially the two little boys who are my captives just before our morning read aloud. :)

Van Dyke even wrote poems about poets! He has tributes to Tennyson, Longfellow, Hugo, Aldrich, Browning, Keats, Wordworth & more!

He has "story poems", too. Here is the first poem I read aloud to all who would listen, while they all were getting ready to leave for their college classes:

The Foolish Fir-Tree


Henry Van Dyke

A tale that the poet Rückert told

To German children, in days of old;

Disguised in a random, rollicking rhyme

Like a merry mummer of ancient time,

And sent, in its English dress, to please

The little folk of the Christmas trees.

A little fir grew in the midst of the wood

Contented and happy, as young trees should.

His body was straight and his boughs were clean;

And summer and winter the bountiful sheen

Of his needles bedecked him, from top to root,

In a beautiful, all-the-year, evergreen suit.


But a trouble came into his heart one day,

When he saw that the other trees were gay

In the wonderful raiment that summer weaves

Of manifold shapes and kinds of leaves:

He looked at his needles so stiff and small,

And thought that his dress was the poorest of all.

Then jealousy clouded the little tree's mind,

And he said to himself, "It was not very kind

"To give such an ugly old dress to a tree!

"If the fays of the forest would only ask me,

"I'd tell them how I should like to be dressed,—

"In a garment of gold, to bedazzle the rest!"

So he fell asleep, but his dreams were bad.

When he woke in the morning, his heart was glad;

For every leaf that his boughs could hold

Was made of the brightest beaten gold.

I tell you, children, the tree was proud;

He was something above the common crowd;

And he tinkled his leaves, as if he would say

To a pedlar who happened to pass that way,

"Just look at me! don't you think I am fine? "

And wouldn't you like such a dress as mine?"

"Oh, yes!" said the man, "and I really guess

I must fill my pack with your beautiful dress."

So he picked the golden leaves with care,

And left the little tree shivering there.


"Oh, why did I wish for golden leaves?"

The fir-tree said, "I forgot that thieves

"Would be sure to rob me in passing by.

"If the fairies would give me another try,

"I'd wish for something that cost much less,

"And be satisfied with glass for my dress!"

Then he fell asleep; and, just as before,

The fairies granted his wish once more.

When the night was gone, and the sun rose clear,

The tree was a crystal chandelier;

And it seemed, as he stood in the morning light,

That his branches were covered with jewels bright.

"Aha!" said the tree. "This is something great!"

And he held himself up, very proud and straight;

But a rude young wind through the forest dashed,

In a reckless temper, and quickly smashed

The delicate leaves. With a clashing sound

They broke into pieces and fell on the ground,

Like a silvery, shimmering shower of hail,

And the tree stood naked and bare to the gale.


Then his heart was sad; and he cried, "Alas

"For my beautiful leaves of shining glass!

"Perhaps I have made another mistake

"In choosing a dress so easy to break.

"If the fairies only would hear me again

"I'd ask them for something both pretty and plain:

"It wouldn't cost much to grant my request,—

"In leaves of green lettuce I'd like to be dressed!"

By this time the fairies were laughing, I know;

But they gave him his wish in a second; and so

With leaves of green lettuce, all tender and sweet,

The tree was arrayed, from his head to his feet.

"I knew it!" he cried, "I was sure I could find

"The sort of a suit that would be to my mind.

"There's none of the trees has a prettier dress,

"And none as attractive as I am, I guess."

But a goat, who was taking an afternoon walk,

By chance overheard the fir-tree's talk.

So he came up close for a nearer view;—

"My salad!" he bleated, "I think so too!

"You're the most attractive kind of a tree,

"And I want your leaves for my five-o'clock tea."

So he ate them all without saying grace,

And walked away with a grin on his face;

While the little tree stood in the twilight dim,

With never a leaf on a single limb.


Then he sighed and groaned; but his voice was weak—

He was so ashamed that he could not speak.

He knew at last that he had been a fool,

To think of breaking the forest rule,

And choosing a dress himself to please,

Because he envied the other trees.

But it couldn't be helped, it was now too late,

He must make up his mind to a leafless fate!

So he let himself sink in a slumber deep,

But he moaned and he tossed in his troubled sleep,

Till the morning touched him with joyful beam,

And he woke to find it was all a dream.

For there in his evergreen dress he stood,

A pointed fir in the midst of the wood!

His branches were sweet with the balsam smell,

His needles were green when the white snow fell.

And always contented and happy was he,—

The very best kind of a Christmas tree.

Isn't that just wonderful?! Couldn't you just see the pictures Van Dyke was painting for us with his words? I love it! I am so happy to have discovered this jewel of a book!

Here are two poems from the book...........he was big on patriotism, based on quite a number of his poems.

Ah, Van Dyke speaks my heart.......sigh.

Have a great day!

Read some poetry!

Let me know what poem you found!

God bless!

Love, Chari

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

There's another BIRTHDAY in our house!

Fourteen years ago tonight, at this moment........I was holding my newborn Maddelyn. She was so sweet. She was my last homebirth....and my favorite birth. Oh, how I loved her birth. She is the only homebirth of ours actually born at Our Hearts' her own bedroom as a matter of fact. :)

Poor thing, our day today was too busy due to obligations.....too busy for, we will do cake this coming weekend.

She did get to go for a walk to the meadow behind our house.

She did get to skip school this morning.

And, most importantly, her mama did not forget to make her the pancakes she loves......and that she had asked for for her birthday months ago. Phew! I barely remembered.......but, I did. And, they were ready to eat when she awakened at 7:45am.

I was going to post a recent photo of Maddelyn but ran out of time in our busy, if you go look at one of my favorite will find a picture of Maddelyn here and here. The particular maiden who owns this particularly fond of Maddelyn.....and thus the photos.........the maiden is one of Maddelyn's confirmation sponsors. They are practically "sisters."


So, I know I was not going to post much....but, I am stuck at the charter school while Matthew & Garrett work on the set for the play. Marty just left. He and Matthew "built" a fireplace tonight. Matthew made a mantel earlier in the day. Wait till you see photos of the completed set!
I want to go home and go to sleep. I feel a bit like something is coming throat is a bit swollen....I have a bit of malaise. ugh.
I taught the first of three childbirth classes tonight. I was sort of dreading it...because I have a huge crowd, 12 couples....and I did not feel well. Only ten couple showed up.......and they were a very nice group. Every group I teach has its own personality. I like this one. Everyone seems to have been educating themselves before they came to me....laughed at my humor :) ......and one is planning a homebirth. I love getting the homebirth couples. Also, there is another in my class who seems to be getting the rap about how bad it is to have a baby in the hospital.......from those who are anti-hospital. She really wants to be at our hospital. I am glad that my perspective of having "homebirths at the hospital" and refusing almost everything from pitocin to eye ointment to fetal heart monitor (though I rarely volunteer that :) ) can be of a help to her, and lately, others. Pray I can help reduce her anxiety.
That is one thing that works so well for me in teaching the childbirth classes: my experience of home births and of hospital births..........and of actually working in our very small OB department, knowing all of our nine nurses well and the four doctors.
I want to go home...did I mention that already?
I cannot wait for this set to be completed.
It did not rain much today at all...the sun came out quite often, and it made it to at least 58*
The weekend temps have warmed up to 70* Oh, I am so happy!
I need to say goodnight........I hope I can get home safely......I can hardly hold my head up and I can certainly think of nothing to unlike me!! :) Pray I can sleep in for once. I know Marty is planning to sleep in tomorrow since he got to work extra early the last two mornings.......I want to join him! :)
God bless, and love,

Monday, May 4, 2009

Haven Heartbeats

I am just spending a few moments here to say........I am VERY busy, till noon on June 4th.......though the SATs are on June 6th......and Matthew has his wisdom teeth removed on June 8th..........and a baby shower for Louise on June 11th........but those things will be easier without school and plays and piano. Oh, I imagine there will be a baseball tournament in the first two weeks of June. But that will be easy and fun after we get through everything else!

Until then.....we have..........
two graduations: Anne with her AA in English and Matthew from high school
graduation rehearsals
lots of play rehearsals for two plays
two tech weeks, one each for two plays
set building
set de-building
company for a few days, once or twice
numerous Tee-ball games
numerous baseball games
three childbirth classes to teach
three days to work
one day to work interviews of pregnant women
one or two plays to attend at the college
4 plays to attend for the other kids
LOTS of meals to give thought to...
foreign exchange student stuff to go through
a birthday
a birthday party
finals week at the college for the four older kids
work the concession stand for baseball
help the boys clean their room.....ugh!
meet with our educational facilitator twice
finish up Matthew's senior year
finish up Matthew's senior project
finish up Maddelyn's two little projects
math lessons with Patty
piano lessons
piano rehearsals
piano recitals x2
plant the garden
attend a ballet, or will that be TWO?
attend a recital
prepare chicken coop, in order to......
welcome 44 baby chicks
a run out of town for orthodontics
possibly host two Catholic brothers as they drive by

and lastly.........there are, of course, the every day things that need to be done, like homeschooling some of the kids some of the time, like meals and exercising and cleaning bathrooms..........etc!

So, I am putting blogging on the back burner on the imaginary stove in the garage. I will get to it as I when Maddelyn is in her class...........or I am stuck at the school. We will see what time I can pull out of my hat. It often seems when I take a "break" from blogging......I often blog more that I thought I could, or would.

I am going to try to get a Daybook done over the course of a few days.......maybe load some pictures..........who knows. I have LOTS of posts going around in my head!

I beg God's blessing on these endeavors........and on your endeavors, too!

Have a nice day.......week.........month!

Love, chari