Friday, August 31, 2007

For the Love of Literature

Maureen Wittmann's latest book For the Love of Literature is on its way!

It's due out on approximately October 15, and the cost has been set at only $11.95. What a "deal" for all that's going to be included in this book.

You can read all of Maureen's recent and past posts about the book by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nice Matters Award

Thank you to Esther for giving me this award. You are very kind, Esther! If you all haven't visited her blog, A Catholic Mom in Hawaii, please do. Faith, family, and wonderful pictures (some of Hawaii, of course) are among the lovely things you'll find there.

Here's the description of this award:
“This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you’ve been awarded please pass on to seven others whom you feel are deserving of this award”.

Esther is one of these bloggers, as well as Jean at Catholic Fire and all those I mentioned when I passed on the Blogger Reflection Award. You can read that post here.

Today I will pass on this award to blogs and bloggers I didn't include in that previous post. In no particular order:

1. Cottage Blessings hosted by Alice. This gracious lady shares the beauty and joy of her life with her family.

2. Holy Cards for your Inspiration hosted by Micki. With lots of beautiful pictures and inspiring quotations, you'll find just inspiration here.

3. Minnesota Mom hosted by Margaret. Come for laughter and joy of soul.

4. Tater Tots and Ladybug Love by Maria. You can feel the smiles and love in Maria's family life as you enjoy the words and her beautiful photos.

5. Daily Donna-Marie by Donna Marie. Donna-Marie is an author of books on motherhood and prayer, and shares her depth and joy with us.

6. Here in the Bonny Glen by Melissa. Melissa Wiley is the author of the books about Laura Ingalls Wilder's grandmother and great-grandmother, and an inspiring Catholic homeschooling mom.

7. Like Merchant Ships by Meredith. She makes frugal living look like loads of fun. I visit for the beauty and the inspiration to keep up the good fight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Book Adventure

For my readers and friends who have children in grades K-8 (either going to a school or homeschooling), you might like to check out an online service called Book Adventure.

"Book Adventure is a FREE reading motivation program for children in grades K-8. Children create their own book lists from over 7,000 recommended titles, take multiple choice quizzes on the books they've read, and earn points and prizes for their literary successes."

The quizzes appear to be memory oriented, so this may not be for everyone. Those parents who prefer a more discussion-oriented approach may not like the question and answer style. But some kids would find it a fun thing to do, and it might also help improve reading test scores, as well as encouraging more reading.

As with anything with your grade schooler, you will want to check it out and be involved. Maybe there are certain books you want your child to read or certain books you don't want him to read. You can still control this. The books are not on the website, only the quizzes.

You also may want to discuss the prizes with your child beforehand. I remember when one of my kids used this program, he didn't bother with the prizes, but there had been a candy bar he was thinking of trying for, until we learned you had to visit a certain kind of store in order to redeem the coupon. This would be a good opportunity to teach the children about advertising and prizes, that there's often a catch or hidden expense, even in otherwise-free situations. I do see they have a six-month subscription for Highlights magazine as one of the prizes. If you like Highlights (I loved reading it in doctor's offices as a child), and if you don't mind renewing the subscription if your child falls in love with it, then it might be a good prize to encourage.

If you're interested, check it out. If you use it, I'd love to know what you think.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Robe of Christ

It might not seem, at first, that a poem about the wiles of the devil would be a positive thing to reflect on. However, it is in the seeking of guidance from the Mother of Jesus that Joyce Kilmer's poem The Robe of Christ has its value, besides the fact that it is written in a beautiful and interesting way. If the name of the author doesn't ring a bell, he's an American poet, who also wrote a well-known poem called Trees (which ends with, "Poems are made by fools like me. But only God can make a tree.")

To read The Robe of Christ, click here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

A Deal was Made

Today I met at the appointed time with the other jurors, where we began waiting to be called into court...and waiting and waiting. Then, instead of the clerk coming again, the judge appeared. She thanked us and told us that a deal was made, and we wouldn't be needed any longer. (I'm not sure she said "a deal". I don't know all the terminology.)

Due to the scantiness of the evidence, the nature of the case, and the age of the defendant, I was most grateful that it was resolved as it was. The judge seemed to be very satisfied with the outcome too.

I've never served in any other county, so I'm not making any comparison to any other county. This is my first time seeing the justice system at work. That being said, I want to say that I was very positively impressed with everyone I dealt with as a juror here in Baltimore County.

And I'm grateful for your prayers. Thank you!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Day at Court

Approximately 85 of us were called to a court room for the selection process. After three or four hours, those of us remaining were sent to lunch. Upon returning, we spent another hour, and finally they decided on twelve jurors and two alternate jurors. Did the prosecution and defense, both of whom had said "accept" for each person, accept the jury panel? No, still more changes, and so when I was "that" close to going home, I was mistaken. I found myself an alternate juror. As I'd been telling myself all day, "Someone has to do it."

More than this I won't tell you. (That way I don't have to worry about what I can and can't tell, the latter, "can't", being the key.)

But I will ask you for something. If you have it in your heart, please say a prayer, maybe one Hail Mary if you're a Catholic, or however you'd like to pray...for all involved in this case and for God's grace and guidance.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Letter from the Grinch

If you saw the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas, you might remember the Grinch causing mayhem at the post office. He was delighting in sending out items such as, "Eviction notice, jury duty, pink slip." The letter I got was for jury duty; or as the Grinch would say, "Jury duty, jury duty, jury duty!"

Actually, I got the letter a few weeks ago, but tonight I called, and my number came up. So I'm heading off tomorrow with all the commuters who are heading off to work.

Actually, I got my first letter at the beginning of the summer. At that time, I was eager to do my civic duty. But they said they didn't need us...and would call us again in a couple months. This time, I'm concerned about our upcoming school year, for which I haven't finished my lesson plans. I'm even concerned about my blogging. How will I have time to do anything? I've never worked full time away from home since I've had children. But who knows? They may turn me away again anyway.

So, if you don't hear from me for awhile, you'll know I got a case and I'm off being a responsible citizen.

Spanish by Association - Book (P)review

Public Confession: My kids "take" Spanish for high school because it's the language I am closest to knowing...which means, you guessed it, I don't speak, read, or write Spanish. I do know a few words and memorized sentences from having lived in California for so many years, and can "read", even if I don't know what I'm reading. Actually, I can make out a bit of what I read but I haven't been able to put a sentence together to save my life (only an expression, so far).

Well, I always say "you don't have to know it to teach it" (at the high school level). You give them the tools for learning: the ability to read and study, and the right materials; and they pass you up. But in this particular subject, I've been looking for the "right materials" for years (not able to bring myself to buy an expensive program, when money is tight and math and science are so crucial).

Spanish by Association, by Michael M. Gruneberg, is one of my new picks for this year. Over the past few days I've been going through the first section, and actually getting excited. I can make sentences! Wow. If this book turns out as well as I think it's going to, I'm going to be one happy camper! Not only because hopefully my sons will be able to really learn some Spanish, but because maybe I can finally begin to wrap my mind around it. I would be quite willing to give up my statement that I only know one language.

Monday, August 20, 2007

House Rules for Adult Children

Yesterday I received a comment, in response to my blog post about college children, asking about house rules for an 18-year-old. Because my children are 27, 25, 22, 19, 16, and 14, and we had a college boarder for a few years who is the age of our oldest, I feel I have a bit of experience. That doesn't mean I know it all. It doesn't mean we haven't had our problems. But we do have a close family and good "kids". And I thought I should be willing to share.

Note added in January of 2012: I originally wrote this post, about five years ago, and linked to the article, which I had posted at my other blog, "Reflections"; however, I get so many visits to this page that I've decided to re-post it here, so you won't have to click through to read it:

I'm bringing this question up from the comment box at my other blog. A parent wrote:
"I have a newly-turned 18yo at home now ... we are struggling with "rules" for her ... she IS an adult (just ask her LOL), but she lives in our home ... what kinds of rules do you have for your adult children living at home?"

First, let me say that some people choose to exercise more control over their young adult kids than we have done, and to those people I say: More power to you if it works for you. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I also want to add that in dealing with our young adult children, I didn’t have anything to model from. When I was 18, I left home and moved to another state. So I kind of had to feel my way. But by the grace of God, I think what we did worked for us, because we have adult kids we are proud of (and one young lady, who is like a part of our family, who lived with us for a couple years, whom we’re proud of too).

I have explained to our kids a number of times through the years, whenever they questioned that I want to know anything or have rules, that people sometimes board with a family or with a single person who has a house to share. I lived in several such situations as a young adult; and then a relative lived with my husband and me, when our first children were little. I tell the kids that when an adult lives in another's home, there are usually rules, whether they are rules discussed beforehand, or simply "rules of courtesy". Sometimes there are unspoken rules in the host’s mind which the guest or tenant doesn’t pick up on, which begin to cause friction. Communication is key.

Here are four areas of expectation I usually cover in some way, though I don’t sit each child down formally when they turn 18, nor do I have it all written on a sheet:
1) Hours
2) Expenses
3) Clean-up and service
4) Influence and Respect

Hours: Our hours have varied over the years and they vary from family to family. I don’t call it a “curfew”, per se. But I do tell my adult kids, when they are living at home, that if they won’t be home by a certain time, then they need to call me to let me know when they think they’ll be home. At different times, this time has been midnight or 1 a.m. Perhaps 11 p.m. would be more practical, so I don’t get wakened. (We do have the advantage that Ed sleeps through the phone and I go right back to sleep.) If they think they’ll be out playing cards at a friend’s or sibling’s place until 2, say, and it turns out they are going to spend the night instead, they are to call me (yes, again), and let me know that. I don’t want to wake up at 4 a.m. or 7 a.m. to an empty bed or no car, wondering if they had an accident. As far as specifically where they are, yes, I like to know, but I haven’t always insisted, depending on age, gender, etc. They do have cell phones (and I’m not afraid to use them, sometimes just to say, “Hi. Are you having a good time? “). And I have made sure to ask for their friends’ phone numbers in case of emergency. We have occasionally reminded our kids that if they ever need a ride for any reason, to call us any time. I’ve heard them tell each other that, too.

Expenses: If you had a boarder, you’d discuss up front how much you expect them to pay you for rent and utilities. We’ve never asked our children to pay us to live at home (but they’ve always been struggling through college, not just working full time and living at home). However, I do share with them my expectations for certain things. They are welcome to eat our meals with us, but they have a part time job and pay for their own auto insurance, gasoline, and spending money. Another family may not require this, but again, my point is communicating expectations. Along these lines, there may be hidden expenses you may want to discuss. If someone consistently takes a 20 minute shower, this is a problem for me because of my water bill, so I am going to communicate with them about it. If a long shower is important enough, maybe they can contribute to the water bill.

Clean-up and service: As part of a family – or even as part of a household – we need to clean up after ourselves and also contribute something. When our children were commuting to college full time and working 20 or more hours a week, I didn’t give them specific chores; but they still helped with getting someone to an appointment now and then, babysitting if we were going away for a weekend, mowing the lawn now and then, wherever a need popped up that they could fill. Keywords here are contribution and communication.

Influence and respect: If there are younger kids at home, the older kids (excuse me, “adults”) can have a powerful influence. While I want to keep the lines of communication with my adult children wide open, I might ask them to discuss some subjects at a time or place where the younger kids can’t hear the discussion. Language is also a consideration. My kids didn’t come home taking God’s name in vain and using really bad language. But they would sometimes come home with words that would not be acceptable for my younger kids to use with their friends. The older kids need to understand the influence they have and that they must respect our requests. (The younger kids, too, might need to understand that they can’t do, or even say, all that their older siblings do or say.)

Respect also means that if they want to be treated like an adult, then they need to behave with adult courtesy toward their family. Most of the time, they haven’t needed to be reminded to be respectful toward us, as long as we aren’t trying to tell them how to live every detail of their lives, or displaying anger toward them for their choices.

If you would like to share your own strategies or thoughts on any of this, you are most welcome to leave comments…even if you want to disagree with me, that’s okay, too.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

College Children

First of all, that title "College Children" is an oxymoron, of course. College students are not children. They're adults. You don't agree with me? Just ask them. They'll tell you.

No, but really, so will the government. There is a federal law that states the school can give you no information about your college child. Bills to pay? How are they doing with their grades? Nope. There is an exception, though. There is a form the student can sign saying that you are allowed access to this information. But even if you sign this release, please don't expect the college to call you to tell you how it's going. (One of the questions a parent asked at our orientation yesterday.)

Yes, college students often know just about everything, certainly more than their parents do. I really don't know why they need to got to college; they know so much. However, don't despair. By the time they graduate and spend some time in the world, their parents have usually learned decades worth of knowledge and wisdom. Very refreshing.

Does this mean that we let them do whatever they want now? Well, I don't know how different families handle this, but ours mostly lived at home during college, and frankly, I would not let any adult live in my home without some house rules, some expectations for when they come in - or, if they're going to be out late, letting me know rather than worrying me. It's all in the presentation, you see.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Today We Go to College

This morning Ed and I will be going with Greg to an orientation day at University of Baltimore.

My daughter called last night while I was looking at their website, so I read out loud the title of one of the sessions we'll be attending, "Survival Tips for Parents of First-Year College Students". She humorously mentioned tips we've learned over the years, while my husband said from the couch, "We could teach that session."

It has been interesting this month, reading about people sending their first child to college, when we're about to send our fourth...almost our fifth, since we had a friend of our daughter live with us for a couple of years during college, besides our own three oldest in college.

Actually, that phrase "send them to college" is a misnomer, at least for us. We don't say, "You must go to college," and "Here's the money," and send them off. In our case, we haven't even "sent" them, in that they've attended local college, living at home (Paul is not local because we had to move away for my husband to get work).

Perhaps I will share wisdom with you later. (smile). Right now I've gotta' run!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Party Manners for Blog Visits

Comments I've seen on some blogs recently spurred me to compare a blog to a party. You can read what I wrote here at my Reflections blog.

Oh, and please feel free to leave comments! (Smiling as I say that.) Really, I WELCOME your comments!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Too Bad I Don't Get Paid to Write

Too bad I don't get paid? Whose fault is that? I need to get to work and find a match between the market and what I'm good at writing. But in the meantime:

When I post something here at my blog, I'm just thinking of you, my dear readers. But lo and behold, I get picked up (like a leaf) and carried (on the wind) to other quarters. My book review about Inside My Heart, by Robin McGraw, wife of Dr. Phil McGraw, got picked up by their website. Kinda' neat, huh?

I did have just a brief moment of thought about copyright (I got interrupted just as I happened to find my review out there). But when I went back for a second look, I realized they only quoted a passage and linked to me for the rest. Totally right! (Of course they know what they're doing! They're media people.) As a matter of fact, even better than what's allowed for a review, they left a sentence hanging so people would want to click through to read the rest. Click through to my blog. How neat is that?

For those of you who have blogs, you might want to do a Google search now and then with the name of your blog. Never know what you might find. (I suggest putting the name in quotation marks.) Even if you don't write a blog, you might like to Google your name now and then, just for fun.

P.S. Just as they posted a disclaimer about my blog, I want to say that I have never watched Dr. Phil's show and don't know how I'd feel about it. I only know I liked his wife's book. Oh, and about getting paid, just for the sake of total honesty, yes, I do. I get a bit of royalty for Chats with God's Little Ones. But having written that in about 1980, I need to get something else going now. It's about time, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Feast of the Assumption

This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Many centuries ago, on this day, the Blessed Virgin Mary fell asleep in the Lord (as they say in Eastern rites), and was taken up to heaven to eternal glory.

Unlike us, she was always pure. Like us, she suffered on earth, especially watching her Son suffer. May she bring us consolation in trials. May she bring us hope in the joyful triumph that we await.

Thank you, Dear Jesus, for thinking of us from the Cross, even to the last, even beyond all your sacrificial gift of Self; and giving us Your Mother to be our Mother too.

P.S. I was sure those first two sentences were a Bible verse, but I can't find it in a Bible search. Not sure which translation/version I remember it from or what book or chapter. So I present it without its source. Maybe a reader will know and share with us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mission Statement for Our High School

Last night I wrote a mission statement for our high school homeschool. Some of this is what I've always done. Some of it is what I've learned over the years is important, or am trying to adjust a bit. As someone who's going into her 14th continuous year of homeschooling high school, I want to say to those of you who are new to high school, or looking toward high school in the future, that what I've written are my ideals to reach toward; they are not mandates that I have to accomplish perfectly in every way. We as parents do not have super powers, nor are we perfect, which is good for our humility. We will make mistakes, and also life will often deal blows for which we are totally inadequate. But we pray, do our best, and then leave the rest to God, and to the children themselves...who will sometimes shock us, but more often amaze us. Praise God in His mighty works!

My Mission Statement for 2007-2008:
1) To prayerfully provide our children with the information, inspiration, and accessibility to the Church that will allow their Faith and love of God to grow.
2) To help them to acquire the skills they need for their personal care and economy, household care, and travel.
3) To encourage them to have self-motivation and healthy interdependence in all aspects of life.
4) To provide them with the materials, environment, support, and guidance for them to learn all they need in order to graduate from high school, and to be able to go on to a higher education, if they so choose.
5) To provide opportunities for them to seek discernment for their own personal vocation and/or career.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Preparing for a New School Year

"Check the date!" That should be my new motto. I was visiting the blog of Maureen of Trinity Prep School, and I clicked on a link "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective New School Years". I saw there was a meme going on, and thought I'd join in. I followed her links to a lot of other articles on the same topic, some by a few of my favorite bloggers. After writing mine up, I went back to get her link to give you, and guess what? I was trying to attend last year's party! I hadn't realized at first that she was linking to an article she wrote - and a meme she invited people to participate in - approximately a year ago.

Well, her article is still interesting and timely, and the links I clicked on that other people had done are still interesting and timely. So you can still check it out. And I'm still going to share what I wrote, even if I'm really, really late to the party.

In order to join in, I decided to skim through The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People again (a book which I highly recommend), and apply its principles to homeschooling. So this may be life-changing for me. It certainly got me thinking. Thanks, Maureen.

By the way, for anyone who doesn’t know, I’m going to be homeschooling two high schoolers - the first time in 23 years that I haven’t had anyone younger than high school. (Just in case I might miss having children, I have been asked to take a preschool class at our co-op. But the following resolutions are about my high school homeschool.)

1) I will choose to be “present” and “in the moment”. While the boys are working on schoolwork, I will do housekeeping, grading, or writing; but avoid email, telephone, and running to the mailbox - anything that might cause me a major emotional distraction. My motto will be EPA: emotionally present and available (hmm, you might refrain from telling my kids this).
2 I’ll sit down this coming week to re-evaluate and re-define our mission statement.
3) I’ll set general goals for each subject for each student in order to get through all the material by the end of the year. But then I will have a weekly goal-setting session with each son to set up and adjust the lesson plan on a weekly basis.
4) I will try to make regular deposits into the Emotional Bank Accounts of my husband and children, taking into consideration their strongest love languages.
5) I will discuss such subjects as religion, literature and history, trying to really listen to what my kids have to say.
6) We will try to be a team, working out shared computer time, enjoying lunch time, and working toward making this a memorable last year before the youngest becomes the only student homeschooling.
7) I’ll plan time for myself: for prayer, exercise, learning, and social activity.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Update on Updating the Blog

If you just got here for the day...or for the first time, you might be wondering what kind of blog this is. Is it just lots of lists? Nope. I just had to put the lists somewhere so that I could make them accessible to you from the sidebar. This will keep the sidebar less cluttered without eliminating anything that I thought you might find interesting there.

Now, if you came here for meat and I've given you only lists, you can scroll over, hmm, check out some of my...lists? Actually, you could always scroll down to the blog archive, if you'd just like to see what I've been posting lately.

Scripture & Prayer

General Prayers --

Novena to St. Jude --

Catholic Websites



Blog Construction Going On

In case you're wondering, "What IS she doing?"...I'm making pages that you'll be able to link to, from the sidebar, rather than having the whole long lists in the sidebar. It will require an extra click, but it will keep the sidebar from becoming totally unmanagable. Thanks for your patience with my navigation pages being mixed in with regular posts!

Labels - Topical

Labels - Alphabetical

A Beautiful Website for the Beautiful Mass of the Motu Proprio

I couldn't believe how beautiful the background of this website is - with it's parchment paper, script and shield. The theme is carried out beautifully throughout. More importantly, what a wonderful service they are providing! The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius, in Illinois, have fashioned this website for the express purpose of teaching the Latin Mass, the Missal of 1962, which has been encouraged by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI in his Motu Proprio.

If you know any priests who are saying, "I'd like to offer the Tridentine Mass, but I don't know how," here's something you can share with them. All the rubrics (the details of the ceremonies) are explained, beautifully. There is rich text, describing all the details of the Mass. There is also a sample liturgy (low Mass of Trinity Sunday), where you can choose to view a series of slides (gallery) or a video. And they have more planned for the future.

You will want to visit this website, if only so you can see its beauty.

HT: Jean at Catholic Fire.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rebuilding the Blog

This morning I've been recluttering - I mean rebuilding - the links in the right hand column. What you see today, you might not see tomorrow. And what you don't see today, might be there tomorrow.

I changed the Library Thing listing to just be book covers. It's dawning on me that this is probably not user-friendly for those who are visually impaired, so I may switch back to the covers and titles both. (By the way, did you know that if you click on a book, it takes you to that book at Amazon.)

Some of the little lists just appeared when I made the switch to the new template. I think they moved over from my very first days with this blog - about a year and a half ago. I'm still thinking about how and what I want to add.

I hesitate to add Labels, simply because I have SO many - though I'm not sure I want to drop them altogether, either. In the meantime, if you want to find any past posts, you can always use the search box at the top left, where it says "Search blog".

If there's anything you'd like to see me add (or subtract), please leave me a note in the comments, and I'll consider it. Thanks!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Anniversary Celebration

As you can see, the beach was a bit crowded, or as I would put it "wall to wall people" (Do you see any walls?). We had been all set for a walk on the beach, but ya' know, it was way too hot anyway. It was so hot that the sand that crept over my flip-flops was frying my feet. It was so hot that I felt like my brain was fried. And I told Ed that we could fry an egg on the bench at the boardwalk, but that by the time we got the egg to the bench in order to fry it, it would have spoiled, so we wouldn't be able to eat it anyway. (See what I mean about my brain having been fried?) It was only 98 degrees, but I hear the "heat index" was way over 100.

We did have a very nice time, though! We went to a Victorian restaurant overlooking the ocean for lunch. (You do know that you get the best prices by eating lunch rather than dinner at a nice restaurant, don't you? It's also a way to enjoy the beauty and ambience of the hotel lobby, while staying at a less expensive motel up the street a few miles.)

And now, having been away from my computer from Tuesday morning to Wednesday night, I have (at last count) 45 blog posts to read and 92 emails to process. Much of that processing will be hitting the delete button. No, not on personal emails, but on groups, newsletters and advertising. Hmm, I wonder if I could hit the delete button on some of my household clutter, too.

P.S. Just occurred to me you might wonder what beach it is. It's Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, a couple hours drive from home.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Come to Me

"Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you." Matthew 11:28.

Whether it's making a visit to Jesus in a nearby church, thanking God for the beauty of nature, or just lifting our hearts to Him in the midst of the everyday stresses, in Him we find our rest.

Today, as I was reading all my emails and all the blogs on my account, I was beginning to feel information overload, maybe even emotional overload, too, from some of the emails and e-newsletters. And then I saw it! Micki's Blog, "Holy Cards for Your Inspiration". I visit every day, but this morning it dawned on me: Here - with the beautiful holy cards - I could get away from the information and emotion, and find refreshment for the soul. Thank you, again, Micki.

What Season Are You?

You Belong in Spring

Optimistic, lively, and almost always happy with the world...

You can truly appreciate the blooming nature of spring.

Whether you're planting flowers or dyeing Easter eggs, spring is definitely your season!

Amazingly, this is my favorite season. How did they get that out of this quiz? I'm not so sure about the "optimistic" and "almost always happy"; I tend to think I'm more on the "realistic" and "trying not to get down" side... Of course, I've had a few blows in the past few years. And on the other hand, faith certainly helps with optimism and joy!

Hat tip to Karen.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts

In her book, The Homeschooler's Guide to Portfolios and Transcripts, Loretta Heuer shares lots of ideas, advice, and ample samples. Whether you use classic, Charlotte Mason, unschooling or whatever type of schooling, this book can help you prepare both conventional and unconvential learning for presentation.

I read this book several years ago, while my oldest high schoolers were still enrolled with a correspondence course. When we were ready to do it on our own, the knowledge I'd gotten from this book helped me to be ready to "do the records" to help the second pair of kids get into college.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Time to Switch Templates

I just copied the html for my template: twenty pages! I am now going to switch to the newer version. I think I will use the same template, but by using the new version, I will be able to make the sidebar less cluttered. (P'raps I should be doing that declutter thing with my house instead of my blog.)

Please be patient as I work gradually to restore links.

All the Better to See By

I was just referring you to an article about checking the driveway, and then Alicia posted about a special device for the back window that increases your field of vision. Might want to check it out!

Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

Do you know where your children and your pets are before you leave the driveway?

This timely article by Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle is both sensitively-written and practical.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

How to Get Out of Debt

I received a call this morning from one of my unfavorite companies...a debt collection agency (fortunately, the only one we do business with). The man on the phone wanted me to pay the bill in full. (Wouldn't I love to do that! I would probably like that even more than he would.) When he found out he couldn't have the whole thing, he wanted more per month than we've been paying. That, of course, is his job. But my job is to keep the budget in balance. I told him things are not better since the last time we talked, because we now have a blind son who needs our help. He actually sympathized (collections people can actually be human once you've reached an initial agreement. Don't expect them to be human when you're first getting acquainted, though). It's funny that I was never good at yard sales or anywhere that I would have to barter. But when necessity requires it, one can acquire some new skills. So, we settled, not where I wanted, not where he wanted, but a compromise.

Is there something you can learn from this? Well, if you're not in debt, try to avoid it. If you are in debt, try to stay out of collection. If you're in collection, try to communicate and negotiate with them.

I could share with you many other snippets of story and advice from the last year. But what caused me to want to write this post today was that I stumbled upon this article about paying off debt that looked really good! If you have debt that you would like to get rid of it, I hope you'll enjoy this article, by David Bach, as much as I did! Of course, for us, the one we should probably pay off the fastest is the one that's in collection. What a joy that would be!

Note: In case you don't know our story, we are responsible people! We just fell on some hard times, and are now, as they say, "playing catch-up".