Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Must Blog Often or Risk Forgetting the Week

Now is the time for me to reflect on how the process is going so far. Are the girls learning?  Am I enjoying teaching? Are they getting the correct instruction needed for their age and abilities?

The answer to the first two questions (or interrogatory sentences) is that they are learning and I am enjoying this.  The last one is a bit more difficult to respond to. If I was to answer it based on our desire to keep them up to date with current instruction that they would get at school then they are not meeting that goal.  If I answered it from the "other" type of homeschooler then yes they are getting what they need.

It has been a whirl-wind week.  We have not been in the classroom for one week. We were at two field trips, one Lyceum day, one Kitchen Table Monday and suddenly we have not had a traditional lesson in one week. I really feel sorry for them tomorrow when we return to our classroom but I hope it also a motivator for them  I hope to show them how much we have done to give the the extra things they want and use that as a catalyst to work diligently so we can plan other days and weeks like this past one.

Yesterday as generally a big success as we finished up the unit study about the rain forest. G worked on it for a long time while F demonstrated her physical age rather than her typical approach to these things. She will gradually color her pages to the book they made over the next several days as I know she wants it to be nicely done but the 4 year old in her directed her differently.  Otherwise, she participated in the activity to day and watched the movie Dolphin Tale without issue. Actually, a theatre full of homeschoolers, which means lots of children yet we did not experience the typical child interruption that generally takes place in children films.  It is an amazing story and we all enjoyed it.  K had to see her high risk OB so we took along a family friend it was enjoyable for her as well.

Our rain forest, (see back about three posts) is doing well and it was a fun unit. There is so much more to learn but we must stop at a point that is right for them. We will of course readdress the rain forest in the future.
G completed a project in her scrapbook class and is ready to begin the next one. She has decided to make it a book of pets and animals she has contact with or has had in the past.  I need to hunt down the photos to print for her. She enjoys telling stories like this. Our Pizza Hut Book It materials came and we will begin coloring in a nice calendar I found on their web site to keep track of the extra reading they do. Yesterday was a library day and F really is enjoying her efforts to read books.  G has read her books several times and enjoys it each time.

Back to my review of our progress. I am tossed. I know we learned new things, that we enjoyed it and that goals were met. I know that we must push on to the traditional subject matter, after all, even though our laws are few in our state that does not provide me reason to ignore the material they need to learn and learn it now while they are young and it comes easier.

I am finding my balance and when I do LOOK OUT as it can only create a more balanced child too.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bob died today and the city of St. Louis lost a friend

Two post back I told about the City Museum and the creator, Bob, who sees his city and wants to keep the beauty, restore what he can and make it a place where people want to come and live at again.

Well, Bob had another new vision at an old concrete company and was killed today in a bulldozer accident.  I did not know him personally but did run into him at the museum and his dog during lunch last Febuary. He was personable and one could not help but to realize he had found his purpose on earth.  Those who work at the museum have always been joyful and I am sure it begins with Bob and makes it way through his creation.

I know he will be missed by many. 

Give-aways and internet wonder

I have not yet won any give-aways that have been on other blogger sites and my site is not an income site by any means. I am amazed at the mothers who blog and add printables to their sites. They clearly have a better understanding of blogs and their gadgets than I do.

Here is another freebie I hope to get so not sure why I am telling you about it. There are so many wonderful resources out there to help teach. I could not imagine this years ago but now there no reason not to educate your children at home.

Here is the link to win a great item. If I do not win this one I am certainly going to check into purchasing it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

St. Louis City Museum

Just a hop, skip and a jump across the historic Eads Bridge is an old warehouse. This warehouse became the vision of one man and has turned into a profitable work of art.  Bob saw the beauty in an old warehouse, in a part of the downtown city that really needed and has been getting a face lift. I do not know anything about this Bob except that he is a talented man with his creations. He takes old junk and turns it into creative and living art. In the process he has created a fun place for children to play and to be touched by art in a way that is unique. If you ever take a vacation to the area it is an entire day event for the family but I do suggest you take the day and participate. The St. Louis City Museum  has a web page of course to tell you more about it.  It consist largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, housed in the former International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District. The best description of the City Museum is found on Wikipedia as it has a floor by floor description of what is available. Wikipedia link will tell you more.

One of our friends needed us to take her oldest daughter because one was sick at home. It turned out to enhance the experience because it created a play friend for G and F rather than the two of them playing all day together AGAIN. 

We have been so busy at the beginning of our school year that we really need to buckle down and get some academic learning going as well but that will have to wait a while as we have a busy week planned for next week too.

This welded tunnel begins on the second floor of this old warehouse and goes upward over the large open staircase.

When you look at this with your naked eye you see the shells, the marbles and crystals that create a mosaic picture but when you snap the photo you get an entire different view.

This area is one favorite of the girls. In the ceiling are tunnels to climb through, under the floor are passageways that surprise you and the new tree house area is an amazing fun play on sculpture.

One of many slides and this one is almost straight down.
 It would be too much to take in if I put up too many photos. As a home school the museum has created days this year that are a huge savings compared to the general admission price. It is amazing how the home school craze is being recognized by local businesses and museums.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crack pipe for show and tell

Yes indeed, that was the headline for today. It seems that a kindergarten student brought in their mother's crack pipe for show and tell.  I know little ones find ways to carry lots of trinkets in their pockets. When G goes someplace it is often like a pat down to see what contraband she has on her, but that is generally in search of tiny dinosaurs or Polly pockets that do not need to be present.

Might I suggest to these drug moms that they check their children's pockets before they leave the house and if it is your child's turn for show and tell then at least know what is going on with them and find a stuffed animal.  GOSH!!!!

One more very valid reason to teach your children at home and hold them close to your values.  I cannot even imagine how many children played with that thing before it came out in class for show and tell.  I would hate to hear what the child could tell about it as well.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kitchen Table Monday- make a rain forest

We begin with an old fish tank and store bought gravel.

Add a layer of charcoal and then stones that they found outside

Next we seek our natural compost around our wooded yard and begin to get dirty

The old end of the woodpile is a great source of composted material

We end up in the woods and find lots of matter that is decaying for natural compost

See the layers in this picture

Top view waiting for plants

Now to the yard to gather moss, as we do live in a rich environment.

Begin by adding the moss while it is freshly taken.

Layer view of our rain forest; see ferns, umbrella plant, orchids and moss in our forest.

Top view before we put the cap on top and some water in the environment so it can now produce its own rain and compounds it will need to thrive.  WE HOPE!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This has been a busy yet productive week. The girls are really looking forward to another Kitchen Table Monday but I find that it adds to my planning process. Coming up will be taking a large old fish tank and getting it cleaned up so we can make a Rain Forest. Just one more item I came across from the enchantedlearning.com site. I still need to get the plant for it which do not seem available to me locally so we will make a trip toward Belleville but probably end up at the Missouri Botanical Garden shop in St. Louis. It should be a fun project for them complete.

Friday was our second enrichment day and it went very well. My class sizes are not too large and it seems we get a lot accomplished. Additionally, I have only one distracter in each class which is so much better than last year. My helpers are indeed helpful and I think I am doing too little to help out some times. The children think I am a bit weird as I try to get them to act out the story but they cannot seem to do so without feeling uncomfortable. One boy even told me that I was too crazy and he just cannot do that.

G is enjoying her class in tumbling probably more than ballet and loves her other classes of scrapbooking and read a book make a craft.  I have to find other pictures as she will have her first project completed nest week.  F tells me "I just love Five In A Row".  She was very proud to mark the location of Ohio on the large map in the room this week as well.  She first found Illinois then point and said Indiana, Ohio.  "There it is, just to the East of  Indiana that is next to our state Illinois."  (show off).  She enjoys the social aspect that goes along with tumbling, as there is wait time while each child does their trick.  This year the tumbling class has a mother who is also a tumbling instructor so they are double blessed.  The last class of the day is Solar System and K stays in that room to help. F is first grade but young which means she barely makes it as a class participant, for that reason K thought she would be present.  She is glad she did, yes F needs a bit more help with some things and we learned that just because she was doing well cutting we need to be better about adding that into her class plan as it is apparently a lost skill.  That class is large, it is at the end of the day so for a home school student who does not spend a long day at home we find this is a stressor at the end of the day. G does well although she had five class times all together and has to wake at 0645 and hit the road with me by 0730, then she is several class times until 1430 with a 30 minute lunch break.  There are likely a few others who are in the same boat but begin at 0830. Well my point is that this class has many girls who are disrupters.  During the first week that was bad for the room but this week G ended up sitting next to one who had brought toys to class. So now K will be choosing G's seat in the future.  I plan to send an email to the leadership crew and discussing the toy issue in the classroom. 

This week began our second year in the 4H Cloverbud program. I expect it to be a great experience as long as G can hold on that long. It meets once per month at the end of a Lyceum day so it is an extra long day for G. The group is small with only three youths meeting the age requirement.  Then there are three children who are tag-a-longs that for now will participate as well. Our leader Mrs. F. headed up the group last year but her girl went onto 4H, still next year her youngest will be a Cloverbud so she has decided to stay on with the program. Thus the third tag a long. As for G, well she was all giggles and squirmy and a bit disruptive. I can say in her defense that it had been a long day but most of all the group was so wild and out of control last year that she sort of learned that it was part of the process.  I think she will do fine now that she has had it revealed to her that no one else was wild in the room.  I say that like she ran and screamed but she was just a bit --center of attention- mode I guess.  We likely put a halt to it as well as I did have her go tell Mrs. F that she was sorry for being disruptive.  Overall, we know where we are headed to this season and have some project books ordered for G to complete.  I think she will really enjoy it and I expect her daddy to help with this, not for it to be part of what we do in class time. 

Coming up this week is a field trip to THE CITY MUSEUM in St. Louis.  This is a place unlike any other museum. This creative man takes items from Old St. Louis and creates, recycles, it to a fun center surrounded by art with tunnels and caverns and slides. Climbing all around the center even on suspended tunnels made of metal bars all vibrant in color. I will be sure top post pictures of this. IF you ever travel to St. Louis and stay it would be a great day of fun to take your family too.  It is not a museum in the sense of displays and tablets to read but it is indeed a tribute to much old architecture. 

It is Sunday and I am not at work. I had an anaphylatic reaction to something I ate in the cafeteria yesterday and at 0100 today I was still in need of steroids and Benadryl. So now I am at the point of feeling good enough to get a few things done and pace my day.  Head if foggy so it is possible that some of the event yesterday was related to my APS.  The doctor tells me that my chest and face were beet read when I arrived and we both know that means I could have tossed another pulmonary embolism.  A little Epi, respiratory treatment, and IV Solumedrol to the rescue.  I use to do this a lot until I got fully anticoagulated.  Often events show like an allergic reaction and the treatment for symptom relieve is the same anyway.  I checked my INR and I am therapeutic  so nothing more would be done either way.  Our ER doctors are so kind to not drag me into a million tests as well;  they have come to know me over the many years and have seen some pretty odd manifestations.  Oh well, here I am today to tell about it once again.

At the end of the week K will have a 3D ultrasound completed. Should be interesting to see if baby O looks anything like his pictures. 

Well, I think I will head to get some charcoal and plants for out rain forest.  "till next time

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When to teach about the 9/11

That question has no answer as there is never a good time to introduce such a terrible subject; but with all the information that was out there as we reached the 10th anniversary it seemed to be a good time to find a gentle approach. After all, Hunter is a dear family friend and K's best friend and he has been off at war.  The girls have been taking care of his dog while he had to go fight the war. Hunter is a Marine.

So I did some searching and found two books I would use. Both books are written for 4-8 year old. One book I could not get from out local library system but this one came in right away.

It is a wonderful true story and we chose it because it is something the girls can relate to simply because being a firefighter in their local community is an important thing to their father.  They are that typical "firefighter family".  It permits an introduction that something terrible happened when the planes went into the twin towers but is more a story about the retired fireboat that pumped water to the firetrucks when the waterlines failed as the towers fell. It is a terrific story.  I had to convince G that it was a true story as she could not imagine the events to be real.  We did explain that it is because of the attack that Hunter is off fighting a war. 

I would recommend that this story book can be used anytime and not just in September.  Read it first as I did  before to your children as there is that single moment in the book that I choked.  It begins very light hearted as it tells of the events of the year the John J Harvey was built. 

The other book I am waiting on is call The Little Chapel that Stood. I heard about it from another home school mom and the reviews look promising.  It will take a few weeks to get it to me which will be nice as it is not necessary to give the young ones too much worry. It too is written for 4-8 year old.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Study about a structured homeschool and Mondays

Today I was lead to an article about the success of homeschooling.  It came from Concordia University and another institution that I cannot recall at this time. The point that it made was that a homeschooler who was taught in a structured program scored better than their peers in the brick and mortar schools. That is not a shock but it was a huge relieve to me to read this study and see also a comparison to the unschooling approach to education.

We are very flexible and toss in lots of interesting extras that the girls want to learn but we are also traditional.  I tend to justify this to other home school parents when I meet them. The fact that we have a lesson room and a very specific curriculum that we follow nearly to the letter making adjustments as appropriate for each child. I make sure to tell them that I have a chronic illness and that our family knows all too well how life can suddenly make a change. that we want the girls to be able to more easily step into a regular classroom in circumstances require it.  I do not tell them that this is our preferred way of teaching and seems to be ther preferred way to the girls as well.  If we get too off the strucutre they seem to seek it.  I always feel judged by teaching in an old fashion manner.

The study further identified the unschooled approach scores and they were lower than the public school students in all seven areas of testing. On the other hand the strucutred homeschool student was 2.2yrs ahead in reading/language skills and scored  0.5yr higher in math.  Of course, this is an average and we will all know that exceptional student that the statistics will not accurately apply to. Still, I find comfort in knowing that I can finally rest easy and not feel compelled to justify my methods to others who are more relaxed than us.

Now, as I type this I must tell you that we did decide to change up our structure a little. It seems that the girls want to do some lapbook and additional studies but we just loose our zest at the end of the day when we finally complete our lessons. On Mondays I am very very tired and my feet hurt so bad from working my two twelve hour shifts that it is hard for me to get down the stairs and stand in the room to teach.  So today we did what we are going to coin as "Kitchen Table Monday".  It will be the day that we review any of the work that our Lyceum needs to have completed. It will be the day that we learn from special items I get, such as the rainforest books and printouts that I came with today. It will be a day that scissors will be used, glue and colored pencils.  Today we used several items from http://www.enchantedlearning.com/ .  It has been one of the best $20 I have ever spent.  Next week we will make a rainforest in an aquarium during Kitchen Table Monday.  They enjoyed coloring the Morpho Butterfly today and making a Rainforest Animal Wheel. 

G had some work as did F from Lyceum and it permitted time to do this. As it turned out, G spend a few hours of uninterupted independent work to get her project completed and loved it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

79 enrichment opportunities in one place

I did manage to feel rather exhausted by the end of the day. I would like to think that it is my age but all the parents looked a bit whipped at the close of the day. I am going to be brutally honest in this post.

Our co-op is called St. Clair County Christian Home Educators (SCCCHE) and I know that last year there wer a little more than 180 families. I heard it said that we no are around 200 families strong, and as our leadership team clearly states, we have 3-8 kiddos on the average per family. There are parents who have been educating at home for over 20 years. I cannot imagine how difficult it woulld be to do this 20 years ago.  We also have an enrichment program called Master's Lyceum and there are 143 families registered to participate this semester as of 9/1/11.

Lyceum is an enrichment opportunty that I feel is like no other. Of course, I do not have others to compare but it is a blessing to be connected with this group.  This year there are 79 classes offered plus a group PE.  We use two floors of their classroom section and they have a huge classroom section.  Some classes are very artsy crafty, some are logical and thought provoking, some are direct learning of a particular subject, some chalenge our bodies to bend and flex. The leadership team is very clear that this should enhance what we are teaching in our homes and should never be in place of what we teach at home. Julie, our rock, makes it cleat that "we are not a school, we do not aspire to be a school, we come beside you as you teach you child".  (oh her voice is so firm but soft and sweet when she says this). 

I have two classes I lead this semester but the subject is the same. We do a lapbook all around the book Curious George Rides A Bike.  At the end of the ten weeks they will learn about the story sequence, ordinal numbers, general information about monkeys, ostriches and have an opportunity to recreate the story as a group play.  I have Curious George party face mask that we put on when we are feeling curious about something. I identify that George is a monkey and point out as the story goes along the opportunity that presents itself and how George could have made better choices. After all, this was written in 1952 and nobody gave second thought to George hopping into a truck with strangers.  We will weigh and measure each child and compare height and weight and we will create classification cards as well as we separate items with one, two, three and four wheels.  It always amazes me that so much can be done from one simple storybook that children love to read and hear. 

G enjoyed her first tumbling class very much. She has seen her girl scout friends doing cartwheels and such so of course she wants to be able to do this too.  She was full of energy and tried it all.  Her second class is a beginning scrapbook class.  She loves to do crafty things but I am very weak in this area.  There are only three girls who are taking this class and I must say that there were so many good choices during this time slot that it was hard to make a choice. As the adult there were other ones I would like to see her do but we us this time for what she wants to do.  We sent our photos of the Missouri Botanical Gardens but they expect to do four projects and so I have to get more picutres once she knows her theme. From there was ballet class. This class is taught by a professional but this year they are both in the same class due to age breakdown. All I can say is that we expect a prayer intervention as they sure did not do well in the same class together.

--off topie--why did they have issue in the same class...they are next to each other every day when we have lesson time...one faces one wall and the other faces the opposite wall...there elbows nearly touch as we put the desk in the middle of the entire room ---back on topic---

Following ballet G went to group P.E. and then joined K and I for a picnic lunch.  During the next hour of class, G was in a book called "Read a book, Make a craft" then to a class about the Solar System.  At the end of the day, when she is beginning to drag she finally reaches a class with an academic nature.  She enjoyed her day very much but it is long as she has five classes. 

Next is F, who enjoyed her first experience with FIAR.  She has outgrown the Learning Centers time and this was a natural progression for her.  Then there was the famous ballet class as discusse above, followed by P.E. and picnic lunch. After lunch F was in tumbling and then Solar System.  They did well in Solar System class but K was there to help out in that class.  F was not as tired although she did have to get up just as early. Nope, not true as she was still asleep and K was helping G to get ready when I arrived at their house so maybe those extra 15 minutes made the difference.

So what about the brutaully honest part of this post?  Here it goes!  Homeschoolers have certain stereotypes that we face. Well folks, the reason that stereotypes exist is because the NORMAL people blend in so well that no one can tell we homeschool.  It is the extreme one that stand out in the crowd and prompts others to look and observe what is going on. With 143 families I am certain to run into some. Now let me say before I say...that.... I appreciate the individual wonder of every family God has created, that I do NOT live in a glass house so I am not trying to toss stones...BUT......BUT

If you have a child who has serious medical needs that you must attend to and you do not have the time to pick up your child from his class as you must keep the sick child away from others. PERHAPS you should not participate or find another family that is willing to take on the responsibility of your children.  If you have a child with a learning disability then you should participate in the class with your child as I am only a grandparent or parent and I am not educated in the special teaching methods for your child.  OH and do not wait until after the first class to tell me that your child has a learning disability.

IF you tell someone you will help in a busy class that has lots of cutting and glue then you should show up and stay for the entire class. 

If your child does not learn to contain his wildness or learn to accept accountability then you should keep him in the walls of your home as you are harming the future view of homeschoolers and ultimately harming the future of homeschool. 

I feel like I am making up a bunch of  "red neck" jokes.  Seriously though, some parents just do not have a handle on managing their child in public yet it really is not the child.  It is the adult.  Adults that make poor choices and their choice effects other people.  They must have a headache every night unless God has shielded them from that possibility. I wonder how some manage to get from home to church when they cannot read a map of a building and understand that 203 means it is on the second floor while 309 is on the third floor. 

Back to the kiddos and families that do not drag the homeschool community into the lime-light.  It is amazing that these children make it through the hallways in a somewhat orderly fashion and no one breaks out in a fight or pushes others out of the way.  I know that in the next two weeks almost all the children, even the four year olds will be able to move from room to room with east.  BTW the doors have monitors and no one leaves without the proper adult or enters without the proper ID. No one walks a hall without a name tag, and trust me if Julie finds a person without a name tag she has the perfect solution and is not afraid to initiate operation name tag sheriff to the offender.

I must say that my class went smoother than I had anticipated and I am ready for next week. 

First day of the semester at our enrichment program

So today will be the first day of group classes.  We will do this every Friday for ten weeks.  G and F will participate in several learning opportunities and gather with others while I will monitor two classes to promote good behavior and teach two classes. 

I want to take a moment to tell all about it and how it went. I know I will be too exhausted to write in the blog at the end of the day and of course I work my job on Saturdays and Sundays.

We got to bed later than desired the night before so I woke very tired and needing to prepare our sandwiches for the day as I generously offered to help. I began this blog then at 0550 to tell you now while I am at my most rested point. 

Guess what, this does not work!!!  (haha) You cannot blog about an event before you are exhausted by the event; but wouldn't it be nice to have a crystal ball sometimes? SO off to the showers with me so that I am at the girls home in one hour.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Why do I do a summer break when I love the Fall so much better

I was reading another blog I follow and it suddenly came to me.  Why am I taking the traditional summer break?  It really makes not sense at all.  I know I do not want to do year round school although it seems G has forgotten a lot of math (of course).  But what I mean to say is that if I love the Fall time so much and there is so much we can be outside and doing all day long then why do we break at summer. After all, I could swim in the morning when temperature is hot but the sun in not blazing down on us. That is rather important as I wear a big floppy hat to protect myself from the sun due to medications and the effect of the sun on my skin.  We could then come in for lunch, and spend the afternoon, in the heat of the day, within cold air conditioned climate control setting.  This makes so much more sense to me.  We could play in the park, ride our bikes in the middle of the day, hike the trails without DEET applied really take advantage of the best time of the year.

Years ago students were taken from school to harvest and did not attend school in the summer months as it was just too hot "in the olden days" to have school in the summer.  When I attended school, even my children the air conditioned rooms were the office. Gradually the schools that my children attended got central air but even now some classrooms do not have that luxury.  So of course the summer vacation had to happen. 

I do believe I will discuss this possibility with K and see if we can change our routine a bit.  Maybe a late Summer and early Fall break would be a good thing for us. 

I know most of you are feeling it too. The air is crisp and the windows are opening. 

Tomorrow we will attend another trip to see the rest of the Missouri Botanical Gardens as G needs more photos to make her scrapbook with.  We will also begin our Master's Lyceum on Friday.  I have been trying to put together the planned art project for the week but so far it has failed me.  I think I may have to reschedule this one and come up with some other idea.  I cleaned the classroom on Friday when we were finished so I am looking forward to beginning our second week of school with an up kept room. I have lots to do with my lesson plans as I prepared them way to far in advance. We are too flexible for such structure. I will need to bring home some books and redo some things for the next seven days. I hope to find that the program I downloaded will run on K's laptop, if not she will need to bring it here and download it as it will be so much easier that way.  She does not see an Internet at her home anytime soon. They can come use this one when the need to.

Oh yes, there it was again, a crispness in the air!

Friday, September 2, 2011

25th Anniversary

So today is my wedding anniversary and it feels like any other day. I am not sure what I thought it would feel like. After all, a birthday is not different than the day before or the day after. This means that since later this month I also turn 50 yrs. old I will be married to Roger for half of my life. 

Half of my life?  So I ponder, which is the better half?  I hear it said, go ask my better half. Well he is not the better half of me nor I of him but in the bigger scheme of things I would like to think that I am embarking on the better half of my life.  Why will it be better?

In the beginning, when God created this union, we were young and lacking much of the fruit of the spirit that we have both come to improve upon. Sure we were head over heels  in love, however,  that began two year prior to being married. Roger and I both had been married before and each of us had one child.  I had the baby fever so the two years of daily love and life became a marriage commitment in oder to justify our baby.  If we make a choice to have a child then we certainly had better get married. We had to make a firm commitment to a family as well.  Still, I was not patient in those days like I am now. Perhaps patience comes from the day to day living and the fact that no matter what happens that you think you cannot endure is not as important to the rest of the world as it seems to you today because tomorrow kept on coming. One day after another of getting us to the little stuff and living through the big stuff.  I find that as those days passed and the world did not implode that I gradually developed patience.

I have heard it said that Love Is Patient and I believe I understand that today. Roger and I use to argue our points firmly and sometimes loudly to no end. Somewhere along the line we just stopped. Yesterday, he and I had a very brief argument over a financial matter, of course, but that is the first time in several years that we have taken the time out of our precious lives together to argue about anything.  Within our years together we have carved out our own little niche, one in which we find peace, acceptance, understanding, cooperation, respect, and just a down right comfy feeling each day.

Could we both improve little habits in our lives?  Well, he sure could but if I shared that with you then you would wonder why I still put up with his habits.  I on the other hand am flawless.  After 25 years together the truth of the matter is that none of my bad habits or his bad habits are significant enough to come between the tremendous deep feeling of joy that we bring to each other. I understand him in a way that nobody else can and he understands me. God has blessed us by developing within us individually and as one whole the living example of the fruit of the spirit.

So after 25 years we are indeed one whole created by God and a tree growing His fruits in our lives. His fruits in our lives will then also grow in our family's lives. You see, we are faithful not only to God but to each other. We are patient to each other and ourselves and certainly demonstrate self-control. We find peace and joy in each other which grows in us as one whole. We are certainly gentle and kind to each other and to the single whole that God has joined as well as finding meekness in this union as we are not tempted and do not find fault in each other. Then there is LOVE.  It is ever growing in us.  Not the kind of love that we felt our first few days together but the kind that is a slow blooming flowering plant with deep roots into a firm soil. 

So the better half of my marriage is upon us because we have grown to truly be one whole as God intended us to be. He has given us the tools to make it better in this half of our whole by the gradual growth and development of His fruits of the Spirit  within this thing we call marriage.

Neither Roger or I expected this much from that simple act of wanting another child, but that is where this all first began.  The honesty is that is neither of use really cared if we were married or not but we knew that it was best to get married if we wanted to raise a family.  The surprise is that we had no idea how emmense this connection woule become. So one day, 25 years ago, I wore white (my white nurses uniform as I had just gotten off of work at seven a.m.) and we went at the court house. We did not take a single person with us and so two strangers in the room witnessed our mariage in front of an Associate Judge. He was a pleasnt man and desired to be a full judge so he signed his name backwards on the paper so as to write the word "associate" last. Sure that does not make sense to you but at the time it was funny to Roger.

Knowing now, what I did not know then, I can only look forward to the ongoing next half of our married life and accept God's wisdom in the union He created.  Who could have ever imagined this complete and perfect whole that He has created?