Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This is one of my favorite Christian skits ever. We first saw it at our church in Kansas. When we found out Ben's youth group was going to perform it here we were absolutely thrilled. It's such a good visual aid for teens of how things can come in between them and God.

Ben is playing Jesus. He creates a girl, creates a world for her, and they dance. Then a boy comes in and dances with the girl, turning her attention from God. Next, her pursuit of money takes her attention. Then alcohol and the desire to be thin and look like a model enter the picture. As each thing takes her time attention, it is then standing between her and her Creator. Finally, death enters the picture and tries to get the girl to kill herself. When she tries to get back to Jesus, all the things which had separated them hold her back. But of course, in the end, Jesus saves her.

This skit is performed to the song "Everything" by Lifehouse.

Friday, April 23, 2010

To My Future Daughter In Law

Somewhere out there is a girl who is one day going to steal my son's heart away. One day he will marry this girl and she will be part of our family forever.

I'd like to apologize to her now.

Sleep while you still can girl, Ben's a cuddler.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Trouble with Self-Directed Learning

At some point in the homeschooling years, kids have to learn to be self-directed. They have to stay on top of their own schoolwork, keep up with which chapter they supposed to be reading in which books, and find answers on their own without me policing them every step of the way.

I do still have to check their math and language lessons. I do ask them the questions about the book they just read. I have to set up science experiments, and have history discussions.

But some things they can do themselves without me having to hold their hands and baby-step them through every moment. Ben and Emily can check the teacher's manuals and see which pages they are reading in a book today. They can find which lesson of math they have to do. Especially when I am still sitting next to Katie saying, "Okay, what should you do next? Right. Then what's then next step? Right. Look at the page, not at the ceiling. The answer is not written up there somewhere. No, you may not go to the bathroom. You've been three times during this lesson already. Pay attention. What should be your next step?"

If Ben and Emily had to wait on me to tell them what to do for school today, they would never get anything done.

Unfortunately, for the past two days, Emily's teacher's manual as been missing. She's been unable to look up her school schedule. Fortunately, some things are not difficult to figure out. If you are reading "Great Expectations" (which she is) it stands to reason, you just continue on reading the chapters in order. No great brain power to figure that out. They same goes for math language and history. Just move on to the next lesson. Still, there comes a point where we need the manual to tell us which book to move on to next, or exactly how many pages to read. She was getting antsy about not being able to find it.

This morning, I found the manual in the clean laundry pile. Clothes had been piled on top of it and it had simply vanished underneath the pressure of the monolith.

When I informed Emily of its whereabouts, she simply looked at me and deadpanned, "Dang. I'll have to hide it better next time."

If I didn't know she was kidding, she would so be grounded.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bible Quiz

Katie recently competed in an Awana Bible Quiz. We've practiced her Bible verses for months. Everyone in the house knows them by heart. She practiced weekly with the other kids from our church who were also competing. The competition was delayed once because it was originally supposed to take place the day a tsunami warning was issued. But finally the big day was here and we carpooled with the rest of the team (at the crack of dawn) to a church 30 minutes away where the event would take place.

Katie walked in, took one look at the stage, and decided she didn't want to do this after all.

"Do I have to go up there?"

"Yep," I told her.

"I don't want to," she whispered.

It took a little while to calm her nerves. Fortunately, one of the teens in our group talked with her for a while about how much fun it is and convinced her to try it after all.

Once she got up on the stage, she seemed to completely loose her stage fright. (Please ignore the hole in her jeans - it was dark when we left the house and I can't do everything, okay?)

Each of the kids was given a box with three paddles in it. Each paddle had "A", "B", or "C" on it. The announcer would call out a Bible question and then announce the three possible answers. Each child would hold up the paddle of the answer they thought was correct.

They were not to look at each other's paddles.

Katie and her teammate were awesome! They won third place!

On the way home, Katie spotted a Pizza Hut/Taco Bell combo restaurant and told me, "I won third place Mama! I deserve some unhealthy food!"

When she's right, she's right.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Teen Pact Part 2

We set up a carpool with a number of other families to ride to TeenPact. No need for all of us to have to fight the Honolulu traffic.

The very first day of TeenPact, I was the mom scheduled to take three teen boys and three teen girls to the state capitol. I loaded up the six teens who had all been remarkably altered by business attire.

On the drive down, all the teens were griping endlessly about all the research they had to do. One of the girls remarked that the research hadn't been to bad, but memorizing all the state leaders and representatives had taken her a while. All the other teens reacted with horror - "We were supposed to memorize that? I thought we just had to write it down!" They all dove for their papers and there was a mass scramble throughout the van as they earnestly tried to memorize a page of political facts.

They also had been instructed to memorize 2 Timothy 2:1-3 - "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior."

The instructions advised them that they could use any translation of the Bible. In other words, they didn't require you to use the King James version, or the NIV, or the NASB, you could choose any version that suited you. So one of the teens chose to use the Hawaiian Pidgen Bible which translates these verses as: "First, I tell da peopo fo pray fo everybody, fo everyting dey need. Dis wat I tell um: Go aks God fo wateva you guys need. Make shua you guys pray to him wit respeck. Aks him fo do good tings fo odda peopo, Tell God, "Mahalo plenny!" Pray lidat fo da kings an all da odda leada guys so we can stay good everytime, an our heart stay rest inside. Den daat da odda peopo get respeck fo us guys. Dat stay good, an dass wat God like. He da One dat take us out da bad kine stuff."

After she recited that version, one of the other teens turned around to look at her and said, "Are you making that up?" No she was not.

There was much griping all the way down to the capitol. The girls didn't like wearing skirts and heels. The boys didn't care for suits and ties. There were several requests for me to have a minor wreck, or take a wrong turn, and one threat to tell the police I was kidnapping them. Anything to keep from being dragged to TeenPact.

But by the end of the week, they were all singing a different tune. TeenPact turned out to be fun! They had a fabulous time and learned how easy it actually is to contact your state representatives or write a bill. They sat in on Senate meetings, held mock elections (Ben was elected chairman of his entire group), mock court sessions, debated bills and made lots of new friends. There was an ugly tie contest, a rap about the judicial system, and ultimate frisbee (always a crowd pleaser).

Amazingly, one of the teens even said he wished it would last another week.

Will wonders never cease.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nature Lesson

Last week we had a great unexpected lesson on nature in action. We were all standing around chatting, waiting for PE to start when one of the many young'uns in our group discovered a large praying mantis.

There was much excitement about this.

Everyone was greatly impressed with the size of it and everyone shared all they knew about mantises (manti?). There was talk about taking it home and making a pet of it and a heated debate about who should have it and which mom would actually allow it in her car.

One mom shared how her kids had once found a praying mantis and kept it for a bit. Then, when they discovered another praying mantis in a bush outside, they decided to release their mantis into the bush so it wouldn't be lonely.

The mantis in the bush promptly ate their pet mantis' face off.

The debate over who could keep it ended abruptly when the mantis suddenly took flight. We all watched it sail three feet away whereupon a bird appeared out of nowhere and snatched it from mid-air. There was a collective gasp of horror from the younger kids and a delighted snort from all the teens.

At least it's not going in my car.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sign Language

All of my kids have learned a good bit of sign language in the last year. Our youth groups perform regularly at church. Recently, Emily and Katie were in a performance together signing the song "Amazing Love" by Chris Tomlin.

Emily is a traditional signer. Classic. Elegant.

Tradition is not dramatic enough for Katie.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dancing Queen

Katie is getting ready for her dance recital.

She really loves the skirt on her costume.

It's very twirly.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hipstamatic Photo

I downloaded an app on my iPhone called "Hipstamatic". It takes pictures that look as if they were made with one of those old plastic cameras we grew up with.

Then I snapped this photo of Emily:

I can not stop looking at it.
I love the coloring!

Monday, April 5, 2010


Back at the beginning of the school year, I signed Ben up for something called "TeenPact". This is an excellent program, where students go to the state capital for four days and meet with their state representatives and learn about making bills into laws.

Pardon me for a moment while we have a musical interlude:

"I'm just a Bill. Oh, I'm only a Bill and I'm sittin' here on Capitol Hill."

Anyway, I signed Ben up back in, oh, September or so, and promptly forgot about it because it wouldn't actually happen until April and that was forever away.

And I forgot to tell him about it.

Then last week, I finally looked at all the information that had been sent to me and realized Ben had homework.

And lots of it.

And Ben was not happy with me.

He had to read an entire book about the government (it was thin though he complained mightily). He had to memorize a Bible verse. And he had to look up five pages of terms and vocabulary words using the 1828 version of Websters dictionary.

And he had to write a sample bill of something he would like to see become a law. He chose banning protesters from coming within a mile of a private funeral including the funeral home, church, cemetery and route to and from all places where the deceased's family may be.

Then he had to write a "humorous" bill. He wrote the "Don't Pull My Finger" Act which banned all public farting. He even included a tax on broccoli and beans.

And he got it all done last week.

Then Sunday night, the night before TeenPact started, he looked more carefully at the instructions and realized he was not supposed to just write two short bills...........he was supposed to look up three real bills currently in the the Hawaiian legislature, research them, and answer four pages of questions on each one.

And Ben was not happy with me.

My bad. I admitted it was my fault I had not given him the assignments sooner and had not read the requirements carefully.

So Kerry and I kicked into high gear with Ben in between us. Kerry found various bills on the Internet, ran through them quickly with Ben and let him pick three he had the most information on. I researched terms and definitions. We all typed. We managed to get it all kicked out and talked through all of it with Ben to make sure he had a full working knowledge of the bills he would be presenting to TeenPact.

Oh. And he had to wear a suit and tie.

And Ben was not happy with me.


This is for those of you who are not fortunate enough to live near a beach every day of your lives....

- you may bask in the happy glow from my life.