Sunday, March 01, 2009

Retiring.....for now at least

I am posting an official notice today that I will not be updating this blog for the foreseeable future. Big surprise, I know, since I haven't updated in months. Please come visit me at my Facebook account, for I can write short blurbs there that aren't out of place and also see you, my friends too. I can also be found at jdemotte2000_at_yahoo_dot_com. With love,


Monday, December 01, 2008

Celebrating Advent

These are my new Advent Jesse Tree ornaments.

I had a set of ornaments that were handmade by a group of Sunday School Moms about 5 years ago but several weren't holding up very well and a few managed to get lost over the last few years.

A couple of years ago I saw a set similar to the ones I've made, but the price was more than I was willing to spend on something I was sure I could make myself. A couple of weeks ago I realized that I was running out of time if I was going to have new ones for this year. Using a couple different sources for pattern ideas I managed to come up with a set that match my Advent Jesse Tree book of devotions. After digging around for some leftover felt and my stash of embroidery thread that dates back to 1990, I got to work. I was so afraid I wouldn't be done by today that I worked diligently for 3 days and managed to get them knocked out before Thanksgiving. I am hoping these can be used for many many many years!!

I am pretty satisfied with this group and I can't wait to start tonight on our first day. Our devotion book does 25 devotions from December 1st until Christmas Day. We are starting with Creation and the first ornament will be the world.

To me the Christmas season can be stressful. My favorite parts are putting up our Christmas tree with all the ornaments we've collected over the years, baking Gingerbread Men, having our Advent devotions, and Christmas Eve services at church. Winding down each evening before putting the girls to bed with a story about God's plan for our redemption keeps my mind on the real reason for the season and away from the stress of all the "fun" that comes along with it!

What are your Christmas traditions?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Grateful Today for.....

Canadian leaf show

I am grateful today for:

1. some cold weather. It truly feels like fall here in the Sunshine State and that is rare before Christmas! Brrr Chilly!!

2. feather comforters, food in the pantry, and a comfy house.

3. parents that taught me obedience. The value of that in my Christian walk is incalculable.

4. God's grace. For when obedience is difficult.

5. having friends and family scattered all over the US. My dream to travel the US in an RV is sweeter because I know that no matter where I go (in the US) I am not more than a 12 hour drive from someone I know and love.

6. homeschooling because it's cold outside and we don't have to get out until after lunch.

7. my husband who loves me way beyond what I deserve. How I love that man!

8. cold weather cooking - pumpkin bread, stews that simmer all day, gingerbread men, hot cider, mmmmmm........

9. three sweet girl's shining faces in the morning, still wrapped in sleepiness, carrying their favorite blankets out to greet the day, giving soft greetings of "Good morning, Mommy" with a still warm-from-the-bed embrace.

10. A husband, father, and provider who got up in the middle of the night to shower and head out the door for an out of town trip (for the second time this week), creeping around our bedroom quietly in the dark so I could still (try to) sleep.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

You, Happier.

I don't usually get aggravated enough by advertising to feel the need to blog about it but the Best Buy slogan the last few months really has me fired up. You might disagree with what I am about to say but I'm going for it anyway.

You, Happier.

The insinuation is that if you buy the stuff at their store you will be happier. Now, I know that is the premise behind all advertising. If you buy x, y, z you will have an infinitely happier, sexier, funnier, easier, more enjoyable , fill-in-the-blank, life. Apparently it is pretty successful for marketing. But, as I tell my girls all the time, that is an advertiser's job - to convince you to buy what you don't need with what you don't have.

I also know that retailers are hurting along with the rest of the economy right now. I'm sure they are pulling in a few notches on their belts too and doing what they can to bring more buyers into their stores. But this slogan is over the top.

My issue with this advertising campaign is how it perpetuates the notion that stuff buys you happiness. That is a patently false lie and completely out of place anytime but especially so in the current economic situation. Nothing can buy happiness. There are no stores that sell it, no manufacturers that make it, no potions that create it. Happiness does not reside in the consumption of stuff. Happiness is an emotion, temporal, fleeting, and dependent on circumstances. There are a lot of very unhappy wealthy people out there. As Americans we think we have a right to happiness but the Declaration of Independence only established our right to pursue it, it did not guarantee it. Our pursuit of that temporal idea has gotten us into some mighty fine messes. As we remain in pursuit of that temporal feeling we get ourselves deeper and deeper into trouble.

I think what people are really after is something completely different and found in a very different place than an Electronics Store.

I propose a different point of view. Me, Joyful.

JOY is unaffected by circumstances and is a view of life derived from an abiding faith in the One who has the whole world in his hands. We have joy when we trust in Him, the One True God, unchangeable and trustworthy. Galatians 5:22 tells us it one of the fruits of the Spirit, along with love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and faithfulness. Joy can be present in the midst of great suffering. Happiness is often not. Peace and Joy. These are feelings that everyone wants and God freely gives to those who love and trust in Him.

So, I'm sorry Best Buy - I'm not buying your faulty reasoning. I can be joyful, even happy, without the help of your stuff.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Canada and a shamless plug

Domaine Pinnacle's apple orchard for their delicious Ice Cider. Just outside Frelighsburg, Quebec. I love the deep red hues of the apples contrasted with the green and then the splash of orange right behind! The wine was really delicious - so different than anything else we've ever tasted.

Head to my Facebook account (link in the title), open the photos tab, and you can see more Canada pictures. It takes too long to upload all these photos to more than one place, sorry.

We are back in our full swing in homeschool and activities this week. It feels good to be back in a more normal routine. Speaking of school, if you are an out of state reader and did not get the email I sent out recently our girls are doing a contest for our Classical Conversations group to see who can collect the most postcards from these three categories: Most states, most cities, most postcards. Surely we can manage to snag one of those categories with all the people we know, right? Not to mention the fact that ALL the girls in our house LOVE mail!

Sending hugs!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Oh Canada! Part 1


Day 1 - the view from our 27th floor room. Just Mike and me with an incredible city view.

The view from the Chateau Mont Royal in the middle of the city toward the St. Lawrence River. That was a really steep hike!

A building in Old Montreal - old City Hall I think.....

The Basilica of Notre Dame in Old Montreal.

On the plaza in Old Montreal with some of the beautiful fall color in the background.

I had a great post started about our trip but in trying to move it around and make it look pretty I lost it. I'll work on it some more later. Next installment will be Quebec City and surroundings. Let me just say, don't let 11 years go between extended trips away with your husband (like we did). It is money and time and effort well spent in a renewed relationship with your beloved. We pray we are able to do a trip like this again within the next two years......

Friday, September 12, 2008

School Days

Hi all! I haven't made the paper yet as that crazy mom who was found muttering in the street about how her kids made her lose her mind. I'm not buried under mountains of books. Actually, we are doing well and I really enjoy teaching our girls at home. From most reports they are enjoying learning at home as well.

Homeschooling is absolutely all the work that people claim it to be. At least the way we are doing it (classically). The good news is that I am seeing some great academic progress. We just finished our 4th week of "official" schooling. I'm learning what works for our day and what doesn't. I'm sure that lots more tweaking will be done but so far, so good. I have no regrets.

I'm still a completely normal Mom and still miss that quiet part in my day that used to exist when the big girls were at school and Emily was in her room for a quiet time, but I'm trying to carve that out of a different place in my day - early in the morning. I certainly can't start my day without a quiet time now. I need that time in prayer and reading my Bible to make sure I start my day out on the right foot. There is a definite difference in the mood of our day when I take that time first thing. I do wish I had a grandparent or two around to come for a few hours a week so I can get out of the house by myself. A solo trip to the grocery store last week was way too enjoyable (I usually hate that chore!).

My favorite parts of homeschool, in no particular order:
I love re-learning (and sometimes for the first time) along with my girls. I've sure forgotten (or never learned) an awful lot!
I love reading all these good books together.
It is really cool to select a book for independent reading that first gets a wrinkled nose and rolling eyes but by time she's finished it, she is narrating the whole story to me with excitement.
It is awesome to hear my daughter tell me she loves math and watch her giggle with joy as she works through her worksheet.
I get so excited to do science with my girls because they are jumping out of the their skin with excitement to do a science experiment.
I love having our family bible study time in the morning, something we could never manage consistently when they were in "regular school". I'm learning so much about them just from listening to them share.

Lest you think I am a weirdo super homeschool mom, Emily is loving her traditional 3-day a week preschool (yes, she's at school!). She's painting and fingerpainting, playing with playdoh and swinging on the swings with other kids her age and having a ball. Her teacher is super sweet and Emily skips out of bed on school days. She's had it the roughest of all the girls with this change. She used to have Mommy all to herself during the day and when Sisters were home it was time to play. Now they stay home and she goes to school (MWF) and when they are home together (TT) the big girls are busy with school. I think going to school has been the perfect thing for her this year. If you ask her she'll say she goes to All God's Children AND does Homeschool because she gets to have the best of both worlds.

Sending out our love to you all!