Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On a Much Lighter Note

I found a lovely list of Family Read alouds here. I have not looked at the rest of the site, but the excellent recommendations are in order by grade level.

Since I have multiple age levels in my home, I choose the family read aloud at the highest grade level and make sure to read appropriate grade level books to individual children.

Open Letter to President Bush

Dear Mr. President,
Arrogant. Rude. Childish. Inappropriate. Each time you flashed that smug trumping smile and even reduced yourself to snickering during your State of the Union addresss, I became infuriated like never before. It was like watching a fourth grade boy taunt, "Na, na, na, nuh, boo, boo. I got YOU!"

Perhaps you isolate yourself with people who won't speak the plain truth to you, so I'll say it myself. Apparently noone has told you over the years that smirking in triumph over your enemies does not build trust in either those who support you or in those you so visibly disdain. If you expect to accomplish the goals you set out last night by working together with opponents, you will be sorely disappointed. Will you have the gall to blame THEM if they do not cooperate? You only succeeded in alienating those you mock further.

I voted for you. I've trusted you. Please make amends, sir, before it is too late.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

This evening I feel that nervous urgency which visits me in the very beginning of my creative process. I have two projects due in one month, and I get the jitters as I'm about to jump into planning. I'm to prepare "lectures" for my training, and a series of prayer stations on the theme of refreshing for a retreat. I also have another side project of making a display for a conference, but I've secured two thoughtful designers to assist me there.

I'm at the point in the shaping process where I read and mull over the requirements. I almost always feel overwhelmed and panicked at the volume of material to be covered. I think, "This may be the time I really won't be able to think one. original. thought." I do not like to learn by lecture nor give lectures. I endeavor to present materials in such a way that the focus is on the work and not me. It takes enormous yet natural effort for me to move from a script toward developing ideas in community through creative means. I weigh that effort against the ticking clock and gulp.

After the initial "creative ball starts rolling", I relax and enjoy the flow of ideas. But beginning for me, is the hardest part. I wonder about the cause of my anxiety. Fear of failure? Deadlines? Worrying my muse won't cooperate? Other busyness? Lack of interest? Insecurity?

The interesting part of it all is that none of this is required of me. I do it for the joy of the work. I don't need consolation- it's simply a matter of getting over shivering and thinking about how cold the water is before I dive into swim.

Do you ever have trouble starting projects? What helps or hinders creativity in you?
Do you fear failure? Do you enjoy the work of your hands and mind?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Faith in Parenting

Kat is hosting the topic of faith in parenting this week for Parenting University blog project. Here's my submission:

Maybe you, like me, have heard and believed the expression

Love the sinner, hate the sin.

Today I came to the conclusion that this is not a biblical statement. How? Through the difficult work of parenting one of my sons.

Last night this son managed to expose my last nerve and jump repeatedly on it. I found myself talking at him, lecturing really, while he shut down and shut me out. Sullen. Arms bound tightly around his knees. Sour expression on a hardened face. Everything about him screamed, "I'm not listening!" except his voice.

This morning he woke up and greeted me with his arms flung wide, a huge delightful grin on his face, and exclaimed "Mommy!" In this magnanimous gesture, he was testing if the storm had passed between us. We embraced in a giant bear hug.

His polar actions got me thinking about the rock wall I'd hit in him last evening. He has a particular weaknesses which I'd like to see gone, and I hammered hard like he was made of some kind of stone. "It's so easy to tell the whole truth! It's not like in this family you are mistreated if you make a mistake. We have grace! So, why, oh why, do you keep this up? The truth is easy. Furthermore, why do you take things so far with your brothers. You stir up trouble and act surprised when discontentment comes flying back at you! Why don't you get it?", I demanded. How ironic that I'd insisted so passionately when I know deep in my heart this boy struggles terribly with impulsivity and self protection. Obviously, I was stomping about on my moral high horse on moral high ground.

Problem is that love doesn't work that way. I asked this child point blank this morning if he believed he could be deeply loved by me, and more so by God, when he lies? He painfully answered, "No. I don't deserve it. I try and try to be good, but I always fail. I don't know what to do." Doesn't that break your heart? He felt helpless. He'd internalized my anger and judgment of his sin as directed to core of his person, because I was picking on his weaknesses. If I couldn't somehow manage to rebuke my son without him feeling attacked, then I certainly wasn't "hating the sin and loving the sinner". I realized that if can't accomplish this statement with my own beloved son, then why did I think I could do so with anyone else on the planet?

I've decided the saying should go like this instead:

Love the sinner. Hate my own sin.

That's much more like the Gospel. My propensity to lecture a child utterly mocks me. In fact, it reveals my own pitiful weakness of controlling behavior and judgment.

Mulling this over has given me new depth to understand Paul's words in Roman 6:15:
"For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I Am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate."

This morning I spoke to my son about Paul's words. The Great Apostle Paul failed again and again. Next,I shared my own entrenched weaknesses. I laid out my choices. I could shut whom I chose out, believing myself to be a good person. Of course, I'd be forced to work diligently to hide or justify my own sin if I made that choice. Or I could take another route entirely in which I'd humbly admit my shortcomings and the hurt which they cause yet know that I am still deeply loved by God.

In this new conversation, I watched my boy come full circle from "I don't deserve love" to "I am incredibly loved by God."

Deeper still, I asked my son if we both could try to embrace the unlovable parts of ourselves and promise to remain open to God's love when we feel like closing the door on others.

As parents, we are the keepers of the faith until the child learns to have faith for himself. Yesterday I failed. Today I've gained astounding faith for myself and my child.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The fire yesterday got me thinking of my attachment to things. Gandhi is said to have only owned the few things in this picture. At the othe end of the spectrum, I'm overcome with all the stuff in my house. There are days I'd like to get rid of it all and live a much simpler life. However, I have things to which I'm attached.
Here's a list I've come up with so far:

a fruit bowl from my grandmother's house
my notebooks from Catechesis of the Good Shepherd
a picture over my computer of a woman in a storm
a metal piece of artwork in my living room of birds in a tree
a few antiques
a quilt from my grandmother
a picture I painted for Buck which hangs in our bathroom
last supper figures my husband and I made together
a creche made for Meredith Lee and my work in the city
of course, old photos
a chest Helen and Clay refinished for my fortieth birthday

How long would it take to replace all my homeschool material collected over seven years? I shudder to think.

I'm sure there are more items I'd miss. I know I'd be impatient and irritable working to replenish my home. I don't like that about myself.

I thought of how my neighbors might be ever so grateful to have everyone make it out safe from the fire. However, I considered the grief they'd experience as they remember something sentimental lost in the flames. How the grief would keep coming in waves over the entire year as they reached for something they used for a particular holiday, and it would have been destroyed.

What would you hate to lose? How would you handle such great loss?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sirens approached. More than one. Blue and red lights flashed. Tater yelled through the bathroom door as I relaxed in a hot bath, "Mom, the house at the end of driveway is on fire!" Buck and the boys ran the quarter of a mile down the road for a closer look. Our neighbors stood shivering in the freezing cold helplessly watching the blaze.
"It's bad, honey," Buck reported to me, "I'm taking them some blankets."
Pooh Bear looked down the distance from the porch, "Everything's burning!" Tears filled her eyes.
I thanked God when Buck assured us that all people and animals were completely safe. Not being an expert on such things, I wonder if any amount of repair would undo the massive damage. The roof caves in at the middle in the morning light. Whisper a prayer for these folks. I can't imagine what it's like to lose everything.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Vyne Family Grace and Courtesy

Kat and Jessica asked if I might share about the development of our family discipline system. It's a long story, so feel free to skip this post if the topic sounds uninteresting.

Keep in mind that I felt I had come to a crisis, and that our family needed deep healing. My family mostly seemed just fine from an outsider's perspective, but on the inside I saw incredible disrespect for one another. Sometimes disrespect spilled outside my family as well. My children would bicker, disregard, and tear one another down. While some parents turn a blind eye and say, "Kids will be kids", I couldn't stomach it. Nor could I control it.

The first month of our parenting revolution moving from punishment to respect, I decided it would make a difference in our family if I put on some additional discipline myself. I tried in every way I could think of to take external consequences off the table and seek ways to motivate my children internally. Ultimately, it was a complete disaster. I found myself constantly annoyed and frustrated with my children for not making good choices. Things would fall further into disaster when I leave for dinner out with friends or book club, because no one had a vision for the plan except me.

The next month, I realized I'd come to the end of myself and began to seek God's help. I did not like what I was hearing from Him. I felt God leading me to cancel all my own plans and listen carefully and quietly on behalf of my husband and children. That month I had been asked to be a leader at a retreat. I'd organized a girlfriend getaway. I was part of a book club. I was planning a teaching project. God asked me to cancel everything until further notice for at least three to six months and then carefully weigh with Him every moment away from my family afterwards. I even gave up long conversations with people on the phone. Five minutes of phone chat was my limit. I gave up meeting friends for coffee or dinner. It seemed downright reclusive.

Although I didn't understands it initially, letting go of my agenda was key to the success of our parenting revolution. It gave me the gift of the most precious commodity. TIME. When I wasn't working with God on the plan or homeschooling, I spent the rest of my time tying heart strings individually with my children. I spent at least an hour of one on one time with each of the four children every. single. day.

I concentrated on deeply listening without outside interuptions to the problems in my house. And God was faithful to speak in a time loneliness for me. Everyday, I'd wake up and ask the day's plans.

The first assignment was to discuss with all the children, "What is a good family?" and "What is a bad family?". We spent two hours thinking and writing our down every one's thoughts. I returned to the topic later in the day again to go deeper. I wanted to keep it positive, so I stopped the discussion as needed when I saw the children becoming restless. We called our big list "family agreements".

The next day we talked about the "why's" behind all the agreements we'd written the day before.

Examples: "People in families should ask before they go in someones room." Why? "It makes me mad." What else? "It's MY room, and it makes me feel like I'm not important if I people burst in and touch my things." "People might damage something I care about."

"People in families should speak nicely. We should use calm voices and gentle faces." Why? "I feel scared when people yell at each other. It's like hurting with words, not hits."

"People in families should not hit one another." Why? "No one likes to be hurt."

Again, so as not to exasperate the children, I watched for signs of disinterest and stopped. Other times we'd pick it back up again. After all, I had the gift of time.

The next assignment was to figure out what in the world we could do to love one another in times of disrespect. This was by far the hardest assignment, and precisely what took three months to negotiate. I was firm in that I did not want punishment but relationship. Some sweet soul came up with, "We could serve one another when we've done one another a disservice." How? We batted around ideas I can't quite remember that day. Apologies didn't offer the incentive to stop a repeat of the disrespectful action again. One suggestion was to do the other person's chores, but that seemed so complicated as we explored implementation. Someone stumbled upon time away from each other- time away from everyone thinking over the "why" behind the disrespect. Everyone liked that idea. I randomly picked a family agreement from the days before of "People should wait turns to speak." If this agreement was broken, did it require same amount of thinking time away from people as hitting? Certainly not. We gauged each agreement together and assigned thinking time. This took days, because every single person had to agree completely. Someone would say, "That's too long." especially if it was something in his personal area of weakness. Another would say, "That's too short", because the disrespectful thing had happened so often to him.

We spent the following months working out the fine details which came up along the way:

Where would a person serve thinking time?

After much struggle we came to the conclusion of outside, since we live on a farm in the middle of nowhere. And yes, Buck and I have served thinking time outside for sundry infractions of the agreements ourselves. Mostly I've served for being impatient or harsh.

What if two people needed to serve thinking time at once? Front yard. Back yard.

What if it got too cold outside? The garage was an option, and thinkers were welcome to take blankets, sleeping bags, whatever seemed necessary.

What about Pooh Bear outside by herself? She goes outside for very short thinking times, but she also has a thinking chair inside she may use. I didn't like the idea of someone so young being alone outside for more than a few minutes even if we do live a long way from others.

Could the person play and think outside at the same time? We decided, yes. It's not punishment. Bikes, trampoline, skateboards, petting a variety farm animals would connect us back to good ways to burn energy. We just couldn't be around other people.

What happens if the person didn't agree with thinking time? We'd hammer it out till every party agrees.

What if people wouldn't take responsibility for his or her actions? We'd work on it as positively as possible until everyone came to harmony.

What if a person came in saying, "He deserved me to yell at him, and I'll do it again."? Back outside for more thinking.

What if someone woke up grumpy and said, "These agreement are ALL stupid!" They'd stay entirely away from the family until they agreed to keep them again, even if it was for a whole day which actually happened. To break the cycle, we asked the grumpy son to call ANYONE he wanted to talk about any injustice in our family and hold Buck and I accountable. We suggested names of friends, pastors, teachers, and told him we'd make any change the person asked, because we simply couldn't be a family without our son. Ultimately, he did not want to make that call, because he knew he was being unreasonable. His heart melted, and he joined back in the family agreements.

What if someone stomps, slams doors, and yells on his way out to think? Adding time for each broken agreement didn't help. It took a few months for me to think this easy solution up-I modeled zipping mouth, walking slowly and carefully with hands on thighs, carefully opening and closing the door, running quite a bit away from the house, then stomping, and yelling, "It's not fair! I hate this! This is stupid! Why do I always have to go outside? My family stinks!" It got laughs from the kids, but my son who struggled with his angry exit, changed his approach.

Who would be the judge of hearts? Me.

What if I made a terrible mistake in judging? God showed us the example His Son on the cross forgiving for what they did not know they had done. Plus one child chimed in, "It's just time to think and play outside. Nothing like dying on a cross!"

Where was Buck during all these many discussions? Mostly working, but he'd come home, look over what we'd decided, and put his stamp of approval on every detail.

Are we a perfect family? Not by any stretch of the imagination. All the Vynes exhibit selfishness, pride, anger, and other unhappy behaviors at times. Figuring this system out has been messy, but there has been a huge difference in the way we treat one another inside the Vyne household. In the beginning, the boys spent lots of time exchanging tit for tat serving of thinking time. A year later, we find less need for the entire system. Grace and courtesy developed within each person has become the rule rather than the exception.

When I see that commercial for a minivan in which "family time" is portrayed as three children with headphones on doing separate things and barely tolerating one another in some horrid conversation, I know we're markedly different. With God's help, we've built a way together to work through conflict with dignity and without power struggles.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Internal Discipline

Kat is featuring something new on Thursdays called Parent University. Today's topic is discipline. Here's my contribution.

Every parenting expert says it- discipline comes from within. However, parenting
experts seem to spend an exorbitant amount of time tauting external forces parents might use. Time out. Taking away privileges. Consequences. Spanking. Positive reinforcement. Negative reinforcement. Rewards. Punishment. None of these things come from within the child. They're something adults can impose on a small person.

So how to work towards internalization of discipline? Great question. It's all about letting the children feel the weight of the problem themselves. Little people won't ever catch on to what is important if everything is handled for them by us.

Let's take the typical scenario of one child tugging the toy from another. Let's says they are old enough to speak well (3 or up). I can put the child who tugged in time out or send her to her room. I can take the toy back and give it to the victim of the crime. I can give stickers to my children if they haven't taken toys from one another all day. I could even spank the child who stole the toy. Parenting experts might agree that these are all perfectly fine interventions. I disagree, because all of this involved the extrinsic resource of the parent.

Why not request the children to hand the toy in dispute to the adult? The adult could say, "Whoa! Both of you want this toy right now. What can we do that is fair for everybody?" Let the children determine with one another what works. If one has a hard time finding adequate or appropriate words, then help. I promise three to ninety year olds can figure it out.

May sound simple, but I hadn't quite caught onto how to expand the idea more to family life. After all, I had been indoctrinated with behavior management in college courses for my special education degree. So, I found I had to go cold turkey with external force parenting.

Why? A friend gave me this great counsel concerning my future as a mother. Teenagers only give as much control as they want give to anyone. External force simply does not work on teenagers. Grounding. Taking away cell phones. Taking away driving privileges. All external forces. I'd be dire trouble if these were the only things I have to "control" my sixteen year old. Teens can walk away from control without relationship, and I've seen many simply jump the family ship. I don't want to use power with my children; I want relationship. Relationship is respect, and no one has ever demanded respect. It's earned.

A year ago, we decided as a family to stop punishment altogether. Can you believe it? We all still wanted some way for each to be held accountable for disrespecting one another, and so everyone came up with a system together in which we could live well.

What has been the result? Pandemonium? Bedlam? Nope. Quite the opposite. My children have developed more self discipline this year than any year before.
It took weeks, maybe even months, and many hours of family meetings to hammer it out, but we have arrived at a relatively peaceful household containing six strongly opinionated individuals.

So what's your advice on discipline? Post it and submit it to Kat, too.

Interesting Cross Cultural Adoption Post

Great post here on a common experience I've had over many years of being the adoptive mother of a biracial child.

Six Words

Here are some words at present I could live without in the English language. My middle son has worn them out with his constant use.


As in: "SWEET! That band is AWESOME! You're a SPAZ,DUDE, if you don't like them. It's so STUPID and AWKWARD that they aren't touring in Knoxville."

Am I raising a surfer or something? What's come over that child?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Why,oh why, does my daughter believe that the following actually matches?

plain gray long sleeved Gap shirt
red windbreaker pants with cute snaps at the ankle
bright pink socks
ruby red slippers
plaid Christmas purse
light blue hair clip

When I asked her to change, she emerged with:

a red summer top with spaghetti straps over the same gray shirt
white socks
same read pants and slippers

She doesn't look any better by any stretch of the imagination. I just hope the seven year old version of "What Not to Wear" isn't filming in town today.


I truly did not appreciate my own mother until I looked into the bright eyes of my first born son for the first time. I knew right then and there, that if my mother loved me a fraction as much as I loved the itsy bitsy baby in my arms, then that was quite enough for me. My mother loves me. She doesn't want to change me, make me something better. She loves who I am. What an incredible gift to give a daughter. I only hope I can do the same for my daughter.

Having my own children has helped me understand the judgement I held against parents in general. Negative things in particular which I'd harbored against my mom evaporated on the spot as I cradled my wriggling infant son. His birth brought healing to my dissonant heart.

As I continue to grow as a mother, I continue to increase in admiration for my mother. Today is her birthday, and I want to honor her with words, but I fall short. So I'll simply say-

Thank you, mom. Thank you for all that you've done for me, and the friendship we have today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The two women working on my hair today had me in stitches. Yes, I did mean two ladies. I do have lots of hair.

Somehow the common hairdressing topics shifted to hot flashes and menopause which I have yet to experience.
So I asked, "Is it really that bad? I think I'd like to get hot for once since I'm cold natured."

Deena grinned and spoke in a humorously sarcastic tone, "Oh, no. It's not that bad. You just wish you were DEAD."

Beatrice chimed in, "Honey, it's sleeping that is worst of all. You wake up burning hot all over, so you kick off all the covers in a hurry. Ten minutes later you jolt awake freezing to death. Repeat this cycle through the whole night, and you begin to understand the horror of it."

Together they pronounced, "There nothing like it."

I can't wait.

Next the conversation skipped onto Jane, the other hairdresser who was supposed to be come to the shop. Deena answered the phone, said a very few words, came back and shared with Beatrice, "That woman must take the whole morning thinking of a new excuse, never been used before. Right now, she's apparently sitting in her car on the side of the road throwing up all over the place. She can't even drive into work. Who knows what she'll say tomorrow."

Beatrice answered, "Jane did make $100 yesterday, so she probably doesn't need anymore money for a day or two. I wish I lived like that. I get off work here and go right straight home to work in my own beauty shop."

I told them about my precious aunt who owns a shop in Georgia who takes care of every elderly woman's hair in town for free. Apparently, Beatrice gets up before dawn, picks up customers who can't drive any longer, does their hair, and drives them home just like my aunt. Of course, it was Deena who told me so.

I could see the friendship between the women. I liked the way they talked to the other customers while I was there. I don't go to the salon often at all, and it was pleasant to be with these two fine ladies this afternoon.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

My children scattered to the wind throughout the weekend. Pooh Bear went to birthday beauty parlor party/sleepover in which I was given the privilege of manicuring nine year old nails, already bedazzled with sparkles and updos. To make things a little complicated, many girls asked for completely different colors on e.v.e.ry. s.i.n.g.l.e n.a.i.l.

On the fly, my youngest son, Wise One was invited to spend the night as well.

When I picked them up on Saturday morning, both were grumpy with one another until I performed mommy magic. I let them buy doughnuts. Wise One decided to use his own money to buy one for Pooh Bear, because they's argued all the way to the store. What about? She wanted to sing, and he wanted absolute quiet.

Peace, not one to enjoy a leadership role, was asked by his Scout leader to come to a leadership training. I asked Peace to seriously think about it, and he finally agreed. The young man came back walking on clouds. He told me stories about nature, leadership movies which contained cheezy elements, pranks, talks. Two other boys shared a cabin with him, and he especially liked talking in a vampire voice to the one who'd been reading a scary book before bedtime. His leader talked to Peace about staying the course to The Order of the Arrow- an honor in the Scout world. I've heard that the award has lost its meaning in certain troops by giving it to every scout, but ours troop doesn't look at it that way. It is earned. We'll see if Peace merits such a thing.

Tater is very concerned that some of his best friends, Owen and Tory, are leaving for L.A. this week. They called last night and invited Tater to sleep over one last time. The kids will probably only be gone four months, but you'd think it was forever. He's been moping around for two weeks. Kudos to a family who actually let their children try for their dreams in such a real way, and we hope they break a leg. Both will audition for television and movie productions.

Early weekend recovery bedtimes for all to be rested for school tomorrow are required. This means I may be able to sneak some personal reading time after teaching this evening.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It occured to me that we have an odd family. How many people have teenagers who still like read alouds? As a lover of literature, I am so grateful for it.
I started the Hawk and the Dove trilogy today with my children as a read aloud. I tried to stop after one hour, but Peace and Wise One protested loudly! Obviously, it's going to be a family hit.

On a homeschool note, my children are older. This book seems to be just right for my fourteen year old. My seven year old girl doesn't mind listening, but I hope to read it to her again when she turns fifteen, just like the girl in the story.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sound of Music

The Sound of Music has always been my favorite all time movie. My seven year old Pooh Bear watched it for the first time. Her response? After a few unsolicted inquiries to me about the vocation of a nun she stated,

"Just so you know, Mommy. When I grow up I do not want to become a nun. I want to get married and be a mom."

Had to wipe my brow on that one, right?
I'm now savoring The Hawk and the Dove trilogy by Penelope Wilcock. The book was recommended by Miriam about ten times, and I tried to get into the story for an entire year unsuccessfully. I just was not drawn in within the first chapters. "Keep reading," Miriam chided, and I did. Now I can hardly put it down, so I've devised a way to relish each story in the book. I only allow myself one chapter a day, so that I might treasure each character and memorize the lesson within. Yes, it's that good. Father Peregrine, a proud yet broken Abbot charged with overseeing a humble Benedictine monastery, lights a fire deep in my soul. His character displays a uniquely relational perspective on intentional love in community.

In order to keep myself on this Hawk and Dove diet, I'm also allowing myself to read as much of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet as I like. I had no idea when I picked up this book, that it contained the story about a monk as well. It's much lighter reading, and I'm enjoying it so far. Don't be fooled, this current best seller doesn't hold a candle to Wilcock's depth and insight.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Nerdy or no, my son Peace is handy with model kits. When Pooh Bear's soccer trophy fell to the floor via our clumsy cat Janet and the plastic girl broke off at the foot kicking the ball, I knew the fix it man. Peace got right to work but lost hope when he realized the kicker was top heavy and model glue wasn't doing the trick. I knew he was up to something questionable when he took the project into his room and emerged with a silly grin on his face fifteen minutes later. "Don't mess with the pony tail, Pooh Bear," he requested trying hard to suppress giggles. Peace handed Pooh Bear an entirely different trophy. "That's not mine. Does it say my name?" she inquired. Surprisingly, it did. She couldn't resist touching the hair of the soccer player and it drooped. Buck, Peace and I exploded with laughter. He'd taken one of his old trophies, changed the name plate, and stuck the pony tail on his boy kicker to make it a girl. Peace had discovered the trophy maker's top secret. The only difference in the mold is a flying ponytail.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Outspoken on Culture

It's all in fun, right? On New Year's Eve I learned Soulja Boy Crank Dat Superman dance. Knowing it's rap, I came home and googled the lyrics. Oops! I was mistaken that "Hooooo" wasn't a "Hey, Ho" songy thing, it was a Hoe thing. My bad. Also I wasn't impressed with the few obligatory "bitch" mentions. Then I took a few lyric phrases to urbandictionary.com.

Let me spare you the pain.


are phrases with urban meanings so defiling to women that I wouldn't dream of staying in the same room the next time I hear dat Soulja Boy crank. If a person is inclined to dismiss these images as part of rap, then consider any of these actions happening to any woman or girl you know and love. Don't get me wrong. Rap has important raw stories to tell. However, the stories should not be at the expense of women.

Who was I kidding? My children heard about the song from their friends at church. Laugh if you like, but I assumed it was a Christian group at first. I learned the dance from a bunch of eleven year old girls at a New Year's Eve party, for heaven's sake.

I believed if children were listening and dancing to this music, their parents certainly had checked it out though I hadn't. Shame on me.

As far as I'm concerned, any person who participates in that song in any way sets back women, and yes, humanity thousands of years. Aint' no way any person considering her or himself a feminist or humanitarian could bear to stay silent. So I speak.

Homeschool Pet Peeves

This week contains all my homeschool pet peeves.

1. I've a cold- the kind where I cannot breathe at night and wake up a hundreds times snorting through a mouth as dry as the Sahara. It's also accompanied by a nice dull head ache and a dire need for a large amount of tissue. I hate getting out of bed in the morning, because I haven't slept well in the first place, but I'm not ill enough to call it quits entirely.

I have the only homeschooling children in the world who are average and not incredible self starters, so I am forced to crack the whip with little to no energy behind it. So, surprisingly I come across as somewhat lazy and grumpy to my less than eager students.

I do not like to homeschool on days I don't feel well.

2. We pay big bucks for an online school which had trouble loading for several hours yesterday. I called for tech support and worked on my computer with a young man on the phone for an hour. He recommended I call my server and work with them also. I did so for another hour. It took 3 hours to get school up and running. I don't understand how one day things work fine, and the next, it takes hours to load a dang website. Someone obviously changed something which dumbfounded my computer, but no one can take responsibility. Computer problems of the same nature happened last year at this same time.

I do not like technical problems which stop the school day.

3. My children lose their school books. I can't tell you how frustrating this predicament is for me. Each child of mine has colored coded books with a particular colored painter's tape on the spine of each book. Each child has color coded baskets of the same color and specific spots on the shelf for books, so disorganization cannot be blamed on me as the cause. Over Christmas holiday my daughter's math book grew legs, and Wise One's composition book may never have been delivered. Sometimes I spend an excruciating hour in he middle of the day grudgingly searching high and low for some one's missing reader.

I abhor lost homeschool books.

Anything bother you in particular about schooling- home or not?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Peace turns 14 today. How is that possible?