Monday, August 31, 2009

My Hearts' Haven Daybook

Written on Monday evening, August 30th

Outside My Window.......a lovely sunny day easing away into a lovely evening.

I am thinking........I wish someone else would set up the curriculum for the three kids, out of four, that still need their school planning organized. has been a long time since I blogged....I enjoy using this "script" to know what to write next :) my grandma will be surprised that I actually wrote something! :)

I am thankful husband who works hard for us and carries the heavy burden of financing this family. Not easy when stupid things are allowed to happen to make cell phone bills unnecessarily increase. Sigh......that would be my fault.

From the kitchen.........there is an awful lot of squash sitting on my kitchen counter. We already ate as it is almost 8 pm.........leftover hamburgers for the little boys and me....not sure what the girls ate....

I am wearing........a lovely thrift store find....a long skirt with criss crosses and flowers on a blue background....and a nice blue knit shirt. is down....but not long anymore......

I am creating........curriculum, lesson plans.......though my scrapbooking is calling to me......sigh

I am drive home from the college where I am parked in the hallway of the theater waiting for my four children & their friends to finish their Ballroom Dancing class.......and watch our current family episode at a time......while working on curriculum. Of.course.

I am reading.........I am over halfway through Walden; Or Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau. Reading Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald aloud to the boys......not much.......we need to get back into our reading habit....our copy of the book is 100 uyears old!!!.........right now I am waiting on the library to bring me some books I the would be nice to update my blog with my reading since I last posted about books. This summer I have read the first seven Betsy-Tacy books:

Betsy-Tacy (1940)
Betsy-Tacy and Tib (1941)
Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (1942)
Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (1943)
Heaven to Betsy (1945)
Betsy in Spite of Herself (1946)
Betsy Was a Junior (1947)
Betsy and Joe (1948)
Betsy and the Great World (1952)

And then, here is an edited post I wrote recently on the 4 Real Book Club:

"I still have the last Betsy-Tacy book to go.........been slow at the library.........but in the meantime, I just finished EARLY CANDLELIGHT by Maud Hart Lovelace. Here is HER description of the story:

"My second novel was Early Candlelight (John Day Co. 1939, later Grosset and Dunlap and the Minnesota Historical Society Press.) In the course of my research for "The Black Angels", I had read Folwell's History of Minnesota and was fascinated by the life at Fort Snelling in the early decades of the Nineteenth Century... with its gay routine of dinners, balls and picnics in the midst of Indian country. The story includes the founding of St. Paul. The love scene in the next to last chapter takes place at the meeting of the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers, where Mankato's Sibley Park would later be built."

I loved it........She writes so well! Much better writing than the BT those are kind of like candy .........but this was a very well written novel.......clean and historical. I think is was the writing and the way she helped me get to know the characters so intimately that got me. The story itself is simple enough.......I could not sleep last night so I got up and read it till 1:45am.....oops! I finished it today......and I am so sorry........I miss the main characters so much.

I also read this summer by the same author: EMILY OF DEEP VALLEY, WINONA'S PONY CART

I ADORED the Emily story immensely, even a bit better than the Betsy-Tacy stories........Emily is such a wonderful girl! If you love BT and have not read this........DO!!! The Winona story was young......kind of like an American Girl story.

And lastly and finally!!!! I have read LEFT TO TELL by Immaculée Ilibagiza.

Have you ALL read this book??? I know it was popular when it came out, but my library did not have it......and finally a friend received a copy to lend to me. I could not put this book down. What lessons this woman can teach us about thankfulness, fear, love, forgiveness, FAITH, the rosary.....

Here are words from her website:

Immaculée Ilibagiza is a living example of faith put into action. Immaculée's life was transformed dramatically during the 1994 Rwandan genocide where she and seven other women spent 91 days huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor's house. Immaculée entered the bathroom a vibrant, 115-pound university student with a loving family - she emerged weighing just 65 pounds to find her entire family had been brutally murdered (with the exception of one brother who had been studying out of the country). Immaculée credits her salvage mostly to prayer and to a set of rosary beads given to her by her devout Catholic father prior to going into hiding. Anger and resentment about her situation were literally eating her alive and destroying her faith, but rather than succumbing to the rage that she felt, Immaculée instead turned to prayer. She began to pray the rosary as a way of drowning out the negativity that was building up inside her. Immaculée found solace and peace in prayer and began to pray from the time she opened her eyes in the morning to the time she closed her eyes at night. Through prayer, she eventually found it possible, and in fact imperative, to forgive her tormentors and her family's murderers.

You can find the rest here.

READ THIS BOOK if you have not yet....... "

And now......I just finished yesterday: Carney's House Party, also by Maud Hart Lovelace. I loved it! It was so sweet and fun and good to be back in Deep Valley where even Betsy came for a visit!

I am feels like summer for a good two more months....wouldn't that be lovely?

And, SEE ABOVE: I am thinking.......

I am hearing......Cha, Cha, Cha music and a practicing orchestra.....I especially hear the horns and the clarinets.

I wonder if that is because I am sitting in a college music dept?? Last week we also had the Barbershop singing...but they are somewhere else tonight.

I am wondering.......if the curriulum planning would get done on its own while I sleep......

Around the house.......yikes...the house needs some serious help ! My desk and dressers are covered with stuff......the living room is full of curriculum, Lincoln Log buildings and Matthew's clothes awaiting the final pack-up by me. The dining room has a table covered in books and some stuff.....and the boys room needs help...and the rest of Matthew's stuff accounted for.......and two rooms need painting......and I already have the paint. sigh.

Now Showing..........Ocean's 11 and 12........James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small, half way through the first season......

In the schoolroom.....hmmmmm.....I am guessing the notes about curriculum above would make one think there would be nothing going on here......yet..... we actually live a life of learning, not simply school-at-home....I can claim to some learning going on.......such as ballroom dance lessons, soccer, piano lessons and practicing, listening to Schubert, an occasional math page this week.....definitely some reading...including one of my more current delayed readers picking up a book and reading chapter after chapter.....a simple book...but it IS a chapter book!

And, my youngest has decided to read through Go, Dog, Go.....and several have been poring over the Great Books from Usborne lately.......The Sea and Through Time....the high schoolers are reading Beowulf and Christopher Columbus for their history......watching All Creatures Great & Small (that's literature brought to life, of course).......we also attended a chamber music concert...visited Lake Tahoe.......

There, now I feel better.......there IS something happening here!!!

One of my favorite things.........knowing we have the Rosary prayed for the day already!

Signs of the seasons............cooling nights, an abundance of squash from the garden, and other vegetable goodies.......and a big pumpkin already turned orange!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The games and practice.......teach a childbirth class....start math lessons with Patty........Anne will be home for the Labor Day weekend and the G Family from San Francisco will be here, too.......leading a large group to the Lava Beds National Monument on the usual!

Special prayer requests on my mind this week.........for a special intention, for Molly whose husband is ill.......for our priest who is having problems with a leg and with walking.

St. Gerard's List..........Tonia, Suzanne, Jody, Suzanne, Clara.......the last two are nieces......

I am currently scrapbooking......ah, I wish!!!....I have not had a chance to scrapbook since the last week of June, at Willa's home.......I read a scrapbook magazine from Creative Memories, the last issue e.v.e.r and their new book, too......

I am exercising.........well, I am thinking about how I need to get back to the walking......

Here is picture thought I am sharing........

ack...blogger is not letting me load a photo at this time......I will try another time....

Was writing this blogpost avoidance behavior? I wonder......



Saturday, August 8, 2009

Matthew is moving to Switzerland for a year!!!

I tried to write the story below in the spring......and then busy-ness got the best of me......and forgetfulness.......that I was working on it at all. :) So, I am posting it now........without editing.........and perhaps in the future will finish it......and, it just ends suddenly. :)

We are about to leave for San Francisco where we will spend two days with the G-Family and get to mass and confession on Sunday and then he will fly out on Monday Minneapolis-St. Paul........Amsterdam.........and finally Zurich, Switzerland. See you later and thanks for the prayers!


I know most of you know that already.........but, just for posterity's sake, I will write about our journey to the point at which we have now arrived....which is in no way the end, of is barely the beginning, :)

Where to start?

How about the summer before last? That would be the summer of 2007. Matthew, who is the lead character in this story, was 16 years old. He had been having frequent conversations with my sweet friend Sheila........and their conversations were revolving around the Rotary Youth Exchange Program. Sheila had much recent experience with this program due to the fact that her oldest daughter, Katie, was about to leave for Germany for a year. That summer, Matthew was begging me to look into it....but gave me a deadline of "by the end of summer." Well, with only a month to decide if he could apply, and my reluctance to send him out of the country so far away from me........and still not fully recovered from our Star Spangled Adventure......and in the middle of six weeks of play rehearsals for three plays.....I could not let myself look into it. It was overwhelming. He was disappointed.......but apparently not discouraged.

Flash forward one year...summer of 2008. I am now more relaxed. Matthew has been spending time actually doing his research at Rotary International. He is a year older....more wise in his approach. :) Now, he can give me info he has gathered. Now he has Katie's positive experience in Germany, as she returned this same summer. While we were visiting friends in the Sierras, he filled out the form on Rotary International's webpage "requesting further information." He had a hard time reducing his choices of countries to only 3-5. Of course, all of my travel-loving kids would be happy to go anywhere....but where to choose to go for a whole year? Where???

He finally put in order of choice:


He loves history.....really LOVES history.......and he wanted to go immerse himself in European history. Of course, he would be satisfied with any country. He is one of my kids......

He pushed "submit" and sent his request.

About six weeks later, in mid-September, he received a phone call from a gentleman who lives about an hour south of us. They must have spoken on the phone for an hour or more. I found out later that this man is very talkative and he is very enjoyable with which to chat. He gave Matthew some local contact people. I knew both of them, and since one of them, Frank, worked at the hospital....I decided to just drop in to see him one day while he was working. We discussed what Matthew needed to do. He gave me the number of someone to call. He also asked me if I were willing to take in an exchange student from somewhere as part of the deal. I explained that this did not feel like the right time in our lives to do that. Frank said it is kind of assumed that if you are sending a student OUT of your home, you would therefore have room to bring one IN. I informed Frank that I did not even have room for the student I was sending OUT! :)

So, I called the contact given to me by Frank, and it turns out to be the same man who had called Matthew about two months before, by the name of Mark. We talked for an hour and a half. I learned so much information. It was very helpful, and enlightening. He said they were having some trouble with Italy's Youth Exchange.....that France was kind of a "pain" to get have to meet their ambassador and be approved by them, in person........that they discouraged English speaking countries for US that left Scotland off the list. The one thing he did not know about was whether Matthew's lack of vaccinations would be a deterrent from his applying. Mark said he was leaving the following weekend to vist Dave, who was in charge of all of Northern California Rotary Youth Exchange, and he was sure Dave would know the answer. In the meantime, Mark wanted me to contact the local Rotary Clubs to see if any would sponsor Matthew to travel. He also said that if we could not find a local club to sponsor Matthew, that he would find him a club, even if he had to go all the way to the Bay Area. He was very enthusiastic and supportive.

By this time, we had already printed off a copy of the lengthy application. It was going to be time-consuming....oh, yes....time-consuming.

So, I checked on the website and got all of the contact names for the three clubs in our county. I called the ones in my town first, but found they were out of town. I tried the town north of us.....and a man said that their club had already turned down someone that week, that they did not have enough funds to sponsor anyone this year. I never even left my name......that will make sense later. So, I finally called the little town south of us...only to find a most amiable and pleasing personage with which to have a pleasant chat. His name was Steve, and he was to be our contact person for the next two months. He asked me to send an email to him, writing about Matthew, so he could tell his club about Matthew. It was a pretty good email, if I do say so myself. :) As Steve is the treasurer for his Rotary Club, he told me their club had enough funds to send Matthew, and later, even two if they wanted. He told me that because someone else in their club knew of a a boy who wanted to go......but that boy never went past "being interested."

Steve also wanted me to try to follow up on the club in my own town to see if they would sponsor Matthew, or share the sponsorship. He said they had not had an exchange student in a good while and he wanted to encourage them. So, I went to see another member of the local club, who I also knew. He said: "When you bring me the application, then we will look at it and see what we think." He was kind of vague and I could see they really did not want to do it. The application is quite lengthy as I said....and it has so many places where you need to put the "sponsoring" club....and I just felt better filling out for someone who wanted to sponsor Matthew.

I called Steve and updated him on how it went with the club in my town. He agreed to just have Matthew send it all to their club and they would sponsor him and he would also talk with the other club himself.

Matthew and I spent a good amount of time filling the form out accurately. A GOOD DEAL!

He needed to have a dental check and papers signed by the dentist. We had his orthodontist take care of that since he had been seeing him since he was one year old. We had to mail one form, have him fill it out........make four copies and then sign each copy in blue ink.

Then, I called our primary MD and they said no adult physicals till February. Well that was not soon enough. So, I asked them to leave a message asking if they could fit him in sooner....they would ask the doctor. The doctor is a friend of mine. In the meantime, I made an appointment with another doctor friend of mine, just to get it done. I got a phone call later that day from our doctor's nurse, Kathy........they said they could see him that week or the next....since he is only 18...........they do not consider him "adult" yet. :) They had openings for "youth physicals" just not for "adults. Actually, I made the phone call two days before his 18th, I guess it could have gone either way. Again, David, the doctor, needed to fill out one form, then copy it and sign all four in blue ink. On the part about vaccinations, David wrote: not had, or something to that effect. But first Matthew needed a TB test before David could sign it. Luckily the nurse said we could come in on that Saturday............


.........and that is where I left off............and here we are now!

Let me know if you need his contact info!



Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Haven Heartbeats

Dear Grandma,

Hi, there! Just thought I would jot a letter off to you this morning.

I have a feeling all of my children will be sleeping in till at least ten am. They had a party last night. It was supposed to have happened last Thursday night while we had friends in town.........but, a few folks got sick so we had to postpone. The party was a barbeque followed by "a dance." Even last night a few folks could not come due to more illness. Ha, ha...I guess that includes me, too! I woke up yesterday am with nausea and malaise. I slept most of the day. Horizontal was the most comfortable position and reading, computering and watching movies was dizzying. By late evening I felt good enough to grab some photos of the party.

The dance was held on the front lawn where Matthew had mown a dance floor in the grass. He then used his theater lights to surround the dance floor with lights, including colored. He took the stereo outside, too. There was a table set up with punch and desserts. I know the kids had a great time......and they had to be made to quit dancing at 1am. I hope the neighbors are not too mad at us. :/ There was a lot of swing dancing (Matthew did not re-injure his knee! :) ), dancing to 80's and 50's music and the Virginia Reel, of course. The crowd was 12 to 23 years old, except for 7yo Malachy, who came in at one point and told me, "I am having so much fun dancing out there!" And he sure did, trying to keep up with the big boys! There were sixteen total, till Marty came home and joined the dancing. He had been home earlier and did the barbequing for the kids. All I did was lay in my bed. :)

When I looked out at the crowd of kids, all I saw were homeschoolers. Funny, there was a time when the kids didn't really have many friends.......and now, they actually have a bit of a social life. One of the things I love about homeschooled kids is their ability to interact well with people of all ages, and you could really see that last night. Except for two guests, all of the guests were present with at least one to two more more of their siblings. That is another thing I love about homeschool kids: how well they can socialize in their sibling groups. They were such a great group of kids! Our friends who had been visiting the week before were greatly missed......and this was mentioned on several occasions from several of my children.

I have to say, since this dance was a success, I do believe there will be plans to do this at least once each summer. What joy to dance with your friends, under the light of a full moon!

The clean-up does not look too bad this morning.

Marty came home last night in a new car for Anne. She will not actually get to own it, but use it while she is away at college. It is a 2001 Honda Accord, 2 door. I just went out and peeked at it. It is immaculate inside, with leather seats. It is gold metallic and formerly owned by a grandmother who only put 40,000, miles on it. Looks great! Anne will be putting daily miles on it since she will live with Jennifer in the south of town.....and the university is in the north of town. Anne said she loved driving it last night. Marty is so good to his kids.

Speaking of Anne and school, we will move her over on the 16th, probably, and we will stay a week to visit with our family there. Anne has an orientation day on the 20th. She starts school on the 24th. She is excited, but worried these classes will be more challenging than the JC. We all just keep telling her she will be fine. :) She will be taking Spanish, an English class, a drama class and something else....all are basic UNR requirements.

And as for Matthew, he will be flying out of San Francisco International Airport on Monday the 10th, our 24th wedding anniversary. It looks like I will drive him down with at least a couple of my kids. We will stay with our friends, John and Gloria. We still have a lot to do to get him ready. He needs patches sewn on his Rotary jacket, to narrow his packing down and load in the duffle bag, or two, to pick up a few more gifts for his host families (and wrap them), learn to iron, and to make a DVD of his life here. I am sure there is more......but these are the priorities. I will start working on the patches when I finish this letter.

Our garden is doing well, but desperately needs are going to have to go do that today! Our chicks are getting so is funny to hear them still peeping. They are nine weeks now. They are nice group of ladies. So, far, I think I only have one rooster...but still too early to tell for sure. After a few losses, we are down to 42 now.

We ran out of hot water yesterday.......actually, we ran out of fuel to heat our water. Apparently, the float is not working right, and we missed the getting low sign. I just got a call that the guy can bring fuel today........I am glad......I need a shower, a load of laundry washed and have a full dishwasher.

I am getting sleepy now, so I will sign off. It was nice to get to use Anne's new laptop while laying on the couch to write this. Matthew has a new laptop as well.....and I will inherit Anne's old lap top for use around here for me and the other kids.

Goodbye and God bless, for now,

Love, Chari