Saturday, August 26, 2006

First day of homeschool


My youngest two. Posted by Picasa

First day of school

Maybe I should start calling these two, Cornfed and Lilbit. Cornfed's a junior and Lilbit's a freshman. Posted by Picasa

This makes me feel old

This baby is the daughter of MY oldest daughter's friend. The friend is one year younger than my daughter who is now 20. I realized as I was taking this that when I was 20, I gave birth to my oldest daughter. Oh wow. I am old enough to be a grandmother...somebody please pick my jaw up off the floor and send me to bed. I am too old for this kind of shock! Posted by Picasa

Another visitor

This makes the fourth bit of wildlife to visit us that I have been able to photograph since spring. This is a baby possum. We have had possums in the past, but they rarely come right up to the door like this, much less a baby alone. There is alot of construction in our town and it's pushing the critters into the developed areas. We have had several encounters with foxes as well, but I haven't been able to get a picture. It's usually too dark and too far from the house.

Now possums are some of the ugliest critters, but amazingly, even one of them as a baby can be kinda cute. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 24, 2006


My heart cries out
But words I am without
Of something so vast
My mind cannot grasp

The depth of love
The sky above
No time
No space
No rhyme
No way to embrace

The enormity
The profundity
My God is He
Resides in ME!
How can this be?

Before you I stand
Lifting up my hands
Nothing between
Yet still unseen

My God
My Lord
My Savior

Close my eyes
Ever near
His whispered sigh
I can hear

Warm embrace
So full of grace
His arms around me
His glory astounds me

Taken in rapture
For a moment captured
Open my eyes I don’t dare
Bated breath in silent prayer

A voice on the gentle breeze
Tells me that He sees.

©2006 Joy E. Meade

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Moving On

In spite of the hormonal pity party of my last written post, we are fine and back into the swing of homeschool. I have made a token effort to look for jobs-you know asking around, but not really asking where there may actually BE a job. I did make a stand for my kids though and told hubby that if God wants me to work and provides a job, I will send the kids back to school, but NOT until then. While things are extremely tight and we are eaking out every last cent of hubby's paycheck and then some to make ends meet, we are not looking at losing the things that are important-home, food, water, and electricity. If we have to let some things go, fine. He calmed down and agreed that we shouldn't do anything rash when the kids weren't physically or emotionally prepared to make a change. I know that women are supposed to submit to their husbands, but neither of us were being very rational at that moment and mine was less of a panic than it was just an overwhelmed, throw-up-the-hands-and-scream. Meaning: I calmed down first. So things are status quo for the moment except for one problem that has come up that has the potential to be huge, but I can't talk about it here. Please pray for us on that.

Anyway, school is off to a great start. We are getting so much done. I intend to take breaks often so we don't end up fading out at the end of the year. Last year, my son kept losing his books and we ended up having a hard time assigning him any work. This year, I have stuff for him to do and if he loses his books, the work gets harder. He does NOT want to do that. Daughter loves school and I have learned that I will never be able to unschool her. She has too much teacher in her. She thrives on the organization and scheduling. Today has been an off day for me, but thanks to planning the week ahead of time, I can have an off day and the kids still be on track.

The first thing we did this year is take the VARK test. It confirmed what I knew about my son-that he is a kinesthetic learner-but where I thought daughter was a read/write learner, I found that she is a visual and aural learner. She has always LOVED workbooks. So I assumed that she could pretty well learn on her own with those self taught courses. No, she does better if someone reads it to her or shows her how it's done. So we have been doing that and it has been so much less stress already. For my son, I give him something to color or fiddle with while I am reading to him or teaching. He is one of those who teachers will chide for not paying attention, but when asked what was being said, can reel it off almost verbatim. He has to be moving. So if fidget he must, then fidget he will. I think this is why his last teacher disliked him so much. He made a fool of her when he repeated what she thought he was not hearing. He thinks so too. He said she sputtered a bit when he would do that. He is actually getting his work done now that I allow him to "play" while I do the instruction part. How could he ever learn in an environment where he is expected to sit still and be quiet all day? Admittedly, youngest daughter would do just fine in that setting, but she does love to cuddle while we read. She would miss out on that.

My oldest son, after the incident I wrote about in my last entry, kept bugging me to go for a ride with him. He wanted to drive, yes, but the real reason was that he wanted to apologize. I knew that, so I managed to slip away with him for a few minutes. We had a nice talk and I reminded him of how when he got frustrated with his dad over not getting to drive his car as much as he wanted, he threw the keys and told his dad to just sell it cause he wouldn't ever get to drive it. We are JUST alike, he and I. We are both all-or-nothing kind of people. It takes alot to get us to that point, but when we are there, pity the people in our path. So I allowed him to eat a little crow in private and went home to eat my own in front of everyone.

Intelligent Design, You Can't Tell Me There's Not

This is my Wordless Wednesday. You can find more Wordless Wednesdays here.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Throwing Away My Past...Part Two

I debated on wether or not to blog about this, but after the commotion this whole mess caused in my family, I realized that this may be as more of a spiritual battle than I though.

My mom called me shortly after I posted this. Now I had not told my mother all of that was going through my mind. She hadn't had time to read it as I had JUST posted it. And she said something to the effect of, "God has been dealing with me, with all the stuff that is going on in the world, that I need to seriously declutter my house. We don't need to be tied to material things right now. We need to be ready to move at a moment's notice."

Now I didn't say these things, but the very feeling of needing to be unencumbered right now has been quite prevalent for the last couple of weeks. I don't know. Maybe it's just watching people's homes being obliterated on TV that gives me that feeling, but I believe God uses those kinds of feelings to motivate us sometimes. I mean, what if...? I don't even want to put utterance to the thoughts.

Anyway, here's something to think about: (for the sake of time and space, I am linking these to the whole chapters.)

Matthew 24
16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

Mark 13
15And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house:

16And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment.

17But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

18And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.

Luke 21
21Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.

22For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

23But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

Okay, so it's just an impression I have, but I've learned to pay attention to impressions. I don't think fear is the point here, I just think "Be ready" is the point.

I have always felt that my scrapbooks were not necessarily for me and mine. I have always looked at them with the idea of leaving my story for people who DON'T know us. I just don't want to leave behind alot of undone "scraps". So I am culling.

And here is the second half of this post. I did good today. I got rid of a FULL garbage bag today. But in the midst of this culling process, an argument about homeschooling broke out. I'm not sure if the two were related to begin with, but they became that way due to my state of mind from it all. It seems that husband and my second and third all disapprove of my homeschooling methods.

Okay, back up. Add to this what I am about to tell you, that I have yet to hear from the pastor about this after laying that at his feet a month ago. I have not heard from some other ministry people to whom I volunteered to help a month ago. One other ministry that had been asking me to do something has also stopped calling me, not sure if it's because they aren't ready to start the project we were discussing yet, or if they changed their minds about needing my help. And the last photo shoot I did was horrible! Guess where my self esteem is! Oh yeah, now add the following to it.

So hubby starts asking me if I want to send the kids back to school this year. He really wants me to go to work to help with finances but in my overloaded state of mind I hear, "you just can't get the job done". This morning I find out that Second and Third (who are in public high school don't like me homeschooling Fourth and Fifth because "I don't teach them anything and the house is trashed." They told my mother that. So in the middle of all of this stuff, Second wants to go driving and we have company comming tomorrow, I need to finish what I am doing and WE need to do a rush clean up on the house. It really wasn't alot to do, but it meant no driving. So he drops the little bomb of "I hate this house it's always trashed." (Hello, I don't see you bending over to pick up that piece of paper your standing on!) Hormones kick in and I really don't remember where it went from there. Something along the lines of throwing my box of "Keep" stuff out in the rain and raking EVERYTHING off the top of my dresser into a big black garbage bag to the tune of, "Just throw it ALL out, I'm not worth the stuff I have anyway!" Then proceeded to tick off all the little self esteem busters that have been nagging at me lately.


Mother of the Year right? Fifth curls up next to me in bed crying cause she wants to stay home and homeschool. Fourth is running through the house going, "noooo, I don't wanna go to public school."

Well, needless to say, no one has said anything to make me feel better about this. My confidence is shaken to the core. Hubby patronizes, but he is a master of smoothing things over so I question his sincerity. Oh he sincerely wants peace in his house.

I just want to be taken seriously. I mean, I feel like the last few times I've tried to volunteer to do something, the people looked at me like they were thinking "this nutcase? In our organization??? I don't think so!" All the while nodding at me and taking contact info like they cared.

I'm wondering what I did to clue them off.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Throwing Away My Past

I've been sitting here for the last few days, immobilized, completely and utterly overwhelm, looking at what amounts to a mountain of ephemera. I mean this is not only a lifetime, it is well over 7 lifetimes as I have not only saved the scraps and evidence from mine, my husbands, and my 5 children's lives, but I also inherited the same from my grandparents home (they also had 5 children). Granted, they didn't save as much as I have, but I do have the equivalent of 3 underbed boxes full of their pictures that go all the way back to my great-great grandparents. What a treasure, right?

Well, if I die, how will my children sort through all of this...JUNK? I believe that God is really convicting me about being so tied to the past, and the material trappings of it. My poor kids would have a HUGE job ahead of them if I don't do something with it. It would be literally impossible to move if we had to with all of this stuff. Yet when I sit down to go through it...I just can't get rid of it. My youngest's first pair of tiny. My middle's first pair of ballet shoes when she was 3. My oldest's graduation programs, invitations, and awards. My boys' sports awards. Ticket stubs to the kids first pro baseball game. Cards to me from hubby where he wrote such sweet things. How do I get rid of all of that????

Granted art work, kid's school papers, things like that are fairly easy until I come to the first drawings. (My oldest started drawing people as heads with tails.) I have those for each of my kids, dated and translated as to what they are. My oldest daughter was a prolific story writer and I can document her progression into a GOOD story teller. How can I throw those out?

Yet still I hear, "What are you teaching your kids, Joy?"

I am not teaching them to preserve the past. I am teaching them to HOLD ON to the past. I am teaching them to be packrats. I am teaching them to be sentimental and to trap themselves with possessions. Surely this isn't what God had intended for us.

I know how freeing it would be to be rid of it all (not the pictures of course) I imagine a cleaner house and more time to actually work on my scrapbooks rather than constantly be trying to catalogue and find places for all of this. I have always wanted to move to a house in the country, but the though of moving all of this...NO WAY!

What brought this up was when we tried to move our office to another smaller space so my boys could have seperate rooms. All that stuff had to come out of it's spaces and now it is staring me in the face. I am overwhelmed now with the thoughts about what else is in my closets, cabinets and drawers. I don't even want to think about the attic and garage. When we moved to this house-which is the house I grew up in by the way-I inherited stuff in the attic and garage from my mother and my brother's family who lived here while my brother went back to school. 40 some odd years of stuff is in that attic. And I am so sentimental, I could probably find some attachment to all of it.

I know I need to do it. Just get rid of it all and free myself and my family. I've been trying. I'm making myself sick over it. Not that I ever look at the stuff, but just knowing it's there. When I do look, I re-live. I missed so much of my kids from my own stupidity and a period of time when I wasn't really all here. How can I let go when that's all I have left? My oldest is fledging, the next one is just shy of fledging, the middle one is already working all the time.

I blinked. I missed it. I'm not sure I can move on. I used to think I would be soooo glad when they were all gone. Now I think empty nesting is going to be the hardest thing I've ever done. With five, it is always noise, noise, noise. I have grown to love that. When the kids have friend over and they are all talking excitedly at once, I sit back and feel like my home is so full of joy. At Christmas when everyone is excited and playing around with each other, I stand back and am filled with warmth. What am I going to do when everything is silent? Truly one of my greatest fears is to spend Christmas alone.

See? I am too sentimental! I have to stop this madness. I have one child who is even more sentimental than me! I have to save her!!!!! I'm off to do the deed...well, to try again anyway.

Monday, August 7, 2006

I've been tagged!

Kpjara gave me my first tag today with this book meme. Thank you kp! It was fun!!!

Okay, before I start, I have one book that is my favorite of all times, that I could insert in any, if not all categories. It changed my life, I read it more than once (7 times to be exact), I would want it on a deserted island, it made me laugh AND it made me cry. (I cried more than laughed.) No, it's not my Bible. I am assuming that everyone knows the Bible is THE book. It's "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. Since I read it the first time, I have read EVERYTHING Francine Rivers has written that is in print and am anxiously awaiting whatever bone she throws to me next. I am hooked.

That said, I promise to be more original in my answers.

1. One book that changed your life: I would have to say the "Present Darkness" books by Peretti because they changed my perception of things. They just brought the whole "we wrestle not with flesh and blood" thing into a new light for me. They made me wonder about the choices we make and the thoughts and just how much we are influenced by things unseen.

2. One book that you've read more than once: I am not really in a habit of reading books more than once-even if I really enjoyed it. So I am going to revert a bit and say that I have read the Little Golden Book "We Help Mommy" by Eloise Wilkins probably 500 times between my mother reading to me (every night because I loved the pictures) and me reading it to my own kids. Yes, I still have the copy, worn and coverless, that I had when I was a girl.

3. One book you'd want on a desert Island: I have to admit that kpjara inspired me on this one when she mentioned a dictionary. I wouldn't have been able to come up with an answer without that prompt. Given, once again, that the Bible is THE book and could be the response to any of these, I would have to say that I would like to have a thesaurus. I get hung up on words alot and rely heavily on the thesaurus when I am doing any serious writing.

4. One book that made you laugh: I read Douglass Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series when I was a teen and absolutely ROFL'd-to the point that my mother kept looking at me like I was crazy. I read it again with the kids last year before the movie came out and, while they thought it was hilarious, I just couldn't remember what I found so funny. I did however enjoy it even though I didn't find the same jocularity that I had when I was young.

5. One book that made you cry: "The Debt" by Angela Elwell Hunt. The reunion in this story is one I have longed for for 22 years.

6. One book that you wish had been written: How to Lose Weight Without Diet and Excersize by Dir Tearot Tenbum

7. One book you wish had never been written: Anything by Michael Moore or favorably about him should be banned, burned and cursed. The man's a stark-raving-to-the-moon lunatic.

8. One book you are currently reading: I’m reading: Just one??? I've always got 2-3 in the works. Let's see, probably the one that has me drawn in the most, believe it or not it's NOT fiction, is "Do You Think I'm Beautiful" by Angela Thomas. I feel like I could have written it, it's so close to what is in my head.

9.One book you've been meaning to read : I have a list a mile long of books I want to read. So I will say that the "Every Woman" books are next on my list. I preordered "Every Woman's Marraige" at the Exodus Conference and it came just a couple of days ago. They have one for each age group and I am going to read them all so I can pass some of it's wisdom to my girls.

There are a couple of categories I'd like to add here just to plug a couple of my other favorites:

Closest to my heart: "A Lantern in Her Hand" by Beth Streeter Aldrich about a young girl growing up on the plains in the mid to late 1800's and into the 20th century. She had big dreams and one by one, sacrificed them for those she loved.

Most amazing: Anything by Nicholas Sparks. I can't believe a man can weave a tale with such emotion. I even enjoyed the one he wrote about going on a trip with his brother and reliving his childhood which was not fiction, but a very captivating story.

Enough about me. I will tag everyone who reads this. Especially my lurkers. Yes, I know you are out there cause my counter keeps going up, up. up. So de-lurk and share your books! :-)

Sunday, August 6, 2006

We went to the zoo and they all got along!!!!

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More from the zoo-and they all got along!!!!!!

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We went for her birthday. She's 15 and she asked to go to the zoo! Can you believe it???

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Blogger only allowed four so this is cont. from last post.

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Meerkats (oh and my kids looking at the meerkats) at the Nashville Zoo

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Clouded leopards at the Nashville Zoo

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Attempt at vintage


I bought this dress at a yard sale for my daughter who LOVES to dress up. We had always kinda talked about doing the reenactment camps with a friend of ours, but I could never get up the guts to. Anyway, she's had this for a couple of years now and still likes to pull it out and dress up. So I decided to add a few props and poses and play around with it a bit. I ran them through photoshop to play around with them some more-give them an old look and this is what I settled on. I liked this better than straight black and white or sepia. I know that takes away from the old look, but they still have a dreamy effect. What do you think? Posted by Picasa



The dark one looks black to the human eye, but the camera sees the yellows and reds in it. Cool huh? Posted by Picasa


I'm feeling anti-writing these days. Not much going on in my life right now, but alot going on in my head. My rebellious nature is coming out anyway so maybe it's best that I can put my thoughts together enough to write right now. So I'm just going to post a few pictures to make it look like I am updating my blog. This is all of us but my oldest (who still sleeps at home, but lives elsewhere-I call her my fledgling-ready to leave the nest, but not quite able to yet) at the Hungry Mother State Park in VA. We stopped there on our way home from our vacation to picnic. It is a beautiful park, but then again we thought everything about VA was beautiful. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

Writing for an audience of one

I recieved an e-mail from a man the other day encouraging me to let go of my belief in such things as God and sin, and just enjoy life. I am not in the least bit convinced to do so, but my response to his e-mail has surprised me. First I was a bit saddened for this man. Of course I am praying that God will reveal Himself to him like He has me. I know that it is quite easy to deny something that you can't see or feel. But what this man doesn't understand is that you CAN see and feel God. No you don't see a physical presence, it's more of the things He shows you in your own mind and thoughts. This can be explained away or denied. But to FEEL Him...there is no denying that. Anyone can deny God, most would say they know about Him, but few KNOW Him. He has to reveal himself to you. He says that if we earnestly seek Him, we will find Him. To this man, I would like to say:

Thank you so much for your concern for me. I don't say this to be patronizing or facitious. I seriously appreciated your e-mail. But please understand that I don't have a blind faith bourne from stuff my parents taught me, nor from a need to explain an afterlife (although I can't imagine life without that hope). My faith is quite simply based on the reality of God. No not everyone has experience that. Even to some Christians it is a foriegn concept. But I guarantee you that NO ONE who has ever experienced that reality can deny Him. It isn't something I can explain other than "I felt His presence". There just aren't words to describe it. But it isn't an experience one would EVER forget. It also isn't something I expect you to understand, or believe. It's not my job to convince you otherwise. If you want to know what I am talking about, it's something you will have to seek for yourself. It defies logic. It sounds like foolishness. But God knew His ways would be foolishness to man from the beginning and even told us so in His word.

No you can't believe everything that comes your way. But there is an innate understanding of right and wrong in each of us called our "conscience". The Bible says these things are written on man's heart. We are also told that we will know His voice.

I believe the path you have chosen to honestly be the easier path. Again, I don't want you to think I am in any way trying to belittle you. I know through this format you can't see how truly touched I was that you cared enough to write and that you did so without an attack. I hope you will see that I am trying to show you the same respect. I merely want to state why I believe and perhaps challenge you to look a little deeper. Look into the claims of Christ for yourself. You may find some truth there that you didn't know existed.

Jesus said He is the only way to the Father (God). There is no other religious figure that makes that claim. At the very least, consider that if you die and are wrong, where will you be? But if I die and I am wrong, where will I be? It is too much at stake not to err on the safe side. My faith is so much more than that, but in the most simple, base form-if I didn't understand or know anything else about God-that would be reason enough for me.

As for my party affiliation. I firmly believe that any party is easily capable of the hatred you spoke of. I affiliate myself with the Republican party out of a sincere desire to save unborn, innocent children. My true political beliefs lie on more of a Libertarian platform. I am not rich-(ha!)by NO means am I, so the stereotype of a Republican comes nowhere near me. I don't believe that the Republican Party is based on hate, but I do believe that POLITICS are. I don't believe any party truly addresses the issues anymore because they are too busy trying to make the other look bad. I do believe in checking out the candidates voting records and asking LOTS of questions in order to find the right candidate to vote for. I have learned that not all Republican candidates actually stand on the Republican platform and the same holds true for Democrats. I also believe that the majority of this country bases their vote on what the press tells them and do not really know or understand the issues, or the consequences of a "what will you do for me" vote that is so often given. I think that most people don't want to have to make the hard choices for the country's good because they don't want to be inconvenienced in the here and now. And I think our country is moving toward it's own extinction. Unless a candidate comes along who will move past all the bickering amongst the parties and is willing to take a stand-FOR OUR COUNTRY-in the face of the world and the press, we will not survive.

All that said, I do see your point. I acknowledge you ability to choose and would like to politely say that I don't think I will make the same choice. I do enjoy life. In fact, life is beautiful. And to me, acknowledging that my Creator made beautiful things for MY enjoyment (yes, it is that personal for me) makes it so much sweeter.

I know you don't believe in God, but allow me this as a wish for good things...May you walk in Truth. Stay in touch, will ya?