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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our day in photos...and Dad update

 These ladies are becoming super tame. Drank my whole cup of coffee and chatted with them, and they never even flinched.
 Alphabet review
 Book report
 Math drill
 Trying to hold onto Summer just a wee bit longer
New dog kids/cat bowls. ;-)

Update on my Dad
Dad went back to Cleveland yesterday for more tests. Last time he scored a 12. 14 and under puts you on the heart transplant list. This time he scored a 20.6!!!! The doctors said it was some kind of miracle or something. "You're DARN TOOTIN right it's a miracle!!!" Thank you Jesus and all you prayer warriors. Please continue to pray for his strength and healing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Love in action!

What a full past few days I have had. I can't quite decide what I want to blog about. Should I write about some of the yummy things that came out of my kitchen?
No, that doesn't seem like something that I will want to remember years later. How about the new hawk that has been circling our house trying to peck off chickens one at a time?
Nope...that's not it either. Hmm...maybe I should write about a "first" for the girls. You know..something they always ask for, and I always say no. Well, this time I said "OK" to the mystery danish. Those cream horns at Kroger's have been catching their eye for some time, so, against better judgement, I let them splurge on the calorie filled snack. It did not end up quite like they thought. They were moaning most of the evening saying they didn't feel good. I wanted to say "I told you so"...but I just ate one for myself so I could sympathize with them. ;-)
As eventful as this was, it still doesn't seem to be the thing I want to remember about this weekend. Oh I know!!! It's the "surprise" work party I planned for my Dad. didn't end up being a surprise, I had to make sure he would be there, but he still seemed rather excited. Most of the family met us up on the hill for an all out "roof raising". Sweet Man was at a men's retreat for church, and since most of my family is terrified of heights, I had to take his place on the roof. He better of got a WHOLE lot out of that retreat. LOL
What a great day this was!! EXHAUSTING, but Great! We got the whole roof done....and it only took us 12 hours. :-o I am going to bed very tired, but oh so happy that we could all pitch in and do this for my Dad. Love should definitley be shown in our actions, and today we showed Dad just how much he is loved. :-)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Welcome home!

This past week my parents were in Las Vegas for a business trip. Although I was secretly happy for the break from cabin building, I missed them so much. We were very eager to pick them up at the airport last night.
Everyone should get to be welcomed home by precious little girls armed with flowers, 
 and welcome home signs. :-)

You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.  ~Desmond Tutu

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School time

Paper and pencils were bought. Book shelves were cleaned out to make room for the new curriculum. Schedules wrote out, thrown away, and then re-wrote. Alarm clocks were purchased for the youngest members of the household, along with new clothes. Bet you didn't think homeschoolers bought school clothes did you? Teacher's guides were bought with the intent to actually read them this year. Extra activities were dropped off of the calendar to make way for less chaotic days. (I am so thankful for this one) We were ready!...I think...

We started our 2011-2012 school year this past Monday. I was just as excited for this school year as the girls were. This would be the first school year that I wasn't working somewhere, or running/organizing some group that my girls were in. I would be free to just focus on my own little family for a bit, and actually finish a full day of school. YAY!!! I know I shouldn't put so much stock in being able to mark off every little box in my school day planner. But so much satisfaction comes from that. I want to be able to look back at the end of a school year and feel good about what we had accomplished. So, with all of that in mind, I stepped down from running our homeschool co-op, and from being a leader at American Heritage Girls. I am trying to not have to leave the house, during school hours, more than I have to. Too many field trips and extra activities eat away at actual learning time for us. I thought that my girls would be upset about this, but that wasn't the case. They were thrilled to not always have to be going somewhere. WHEW!

The first day (Monday) all three girls hopped up at the sound of their alarm, and got straight to doing their chores. Wash face, brush teeth and hair, get dressed, clean rooms, make beds and feed animals. They were so excited to try out the new school books. We decided to take an hour break for lunch, and took a walk to the cemetery. I don't know what it is about cemeteries, but they fascinate me. I leave there wanting to know everything about the people who were laid to rest there. Their history, background, what they did, how many children they had, how they died...but all they leave you with is their born on date and the day they left this world. The cemetery that we walk to, is an old one from the plantation that once called these hills and valleys their home.  The girls have asked if we could research it more to find out just what it might have been like in 1848 (the date on the concrete bench we rest on). I think that would be a wonderful idea!! Just not sure how to go about it yet. The school day was a long one, but very laid back. We enjoyed our new material, and most of all, we enjoyed each other! Princess #2 kept saying "This was the best day of her life!"

The second day (Tuesday), Princess #3 was up before her alarm, and already sitting at her desk while I enjoyed my coffee. She said she couldn't sleep, she was just too excited to learn how to read more. :-) I am very proud at how serious they are taking their school work. I wonder if it's because I won't allow school in Pajamas anymore? I do plan on making special Pajama school days though. Maybe once a month. The hour after lunch has been such a blessing to me. I have been letting them have this time to play together while I run about getting the house work done.  As I was washing dishes and looking out the kitchen window, I saw how Princess #1 decided to spend her free time. She decided this sunny day was perfect to hang out on top of the bunny coop, and read a book. I think that sounds better than washing dishes for sure!

The third day (Wed. today) was not greeted with so much excitement. I kept waiting downstairs....and waiting, but no one came. I decided to hang out just a wee bit longer and have some more alone time. I am just now realizing that early morning really is the ONLY time I get to be alone. So, I let them sleep until I was fully ready for the new day. When I did wake them up they all seemed to be kind of confused. One asked "What day is it? Where do we have to go?"  "To school of course!"... least I got 2 days of excitement from them! ;-)

I have made a list of a few goals that I want our family to focus on this year. We are going to focus more on serving others, instead of just trying to find something fun to do. I was worried that we might not find someone to serve though...but God has opened my eyes to several people in need that the girls and I might be able to do something for. I also want to teach them how to crochet, bake (by themselves), and do more hands on activities. Thinking Friday might be the day for science experiments and art projects. Princess #1 will start taking piano this year, which she is thrilled about.

I decided to try another new thing this year. Reading those HUGE teacher guides/manuals. Did you know they have all kinds of tips and advice in them? I think it will take me half the year to read them though, and I'm not sure how to squeeze all that reading in....maybe in my  "free time". ;-)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Alan will be missed!

Alan Burns 


Family-Placed Death Notice

BURNS, Alan ALAN ROBERT BURNS Alan Robert Burns, 57, formerly of Woodstock and Lilburn, GA died Sunday morning August 7, 2011 at his home in Blountville, TN, after a brave fight against pancreatic cancer. Alan was a 1972 graduate of Shamrock High School in Decatur, GA and retired after a 30 year career with Bellsouth. In retirement he worked to help others; either volunteering at the United Methodist Children's Home in Decatur, volunteering at national and state parks or fostering Scottish Terriers through Scottie Rescue of Tennessee. Alan had started a second career as Santa Claus with his last appearance at Northlake Mall in 2009. Being Santa was one of the most fun experiences of his life. He attended Blountville United Methodist church. He enjoyed hiking, camping, boating and many other outdoor adventures. Alan was preceded in death by his father Edward W Burns of Tucker. He is survived by his devoted wife, the former Sandra Underwood of Charleston, WV, his 3 furry kids, Kali, Piper and Sunny, two children Chris Burns and his wife Katie of Dallas, GA and Amanda Burns of Lilburn, his grandson Ryan Burns, mother Mary Burns of Atlanta, brother Steve and his wife Jane of Lawrenceville, and numerous nieces and nephews. "Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold." Emerson Alan will be greatly missed by everyone that knew him. He loved life and his family. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 on August 20, 2010 at the First United Methodist Church of Lawrenceville. In lieu of flowers, Alan has requested that donations be made to the Tennessee Scottish Terrier Rescue Network in his name.
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on August 14, 2011

Pain with a purpose

I haven't blogged lately, for there wasn't any time. Every spare minute I was on my knees crying out to the Lord to have mercy on our broken family. Last weekend was a rough one filled with loss and pain. My uncle died on Sunday morning, and Monday my Dad was admitted to the ICU cardiac failure department in Cleveland Clinic. I won't lie...I was left wondering how God's ways are always good. I was left asking how I was supposed to count this joy. I was begging him to not only heal my Aunt's broken heart, but my Dad's as well. I cried. I prayed. I saturated myself with God's word hoping for some comfort for me, and some to be able to offer other family members. I was left feeling numb.... Then the lyrics of this song came to me..

Be still, there is a healer
His love is deeper than the sea
His mercy, it is unfailing
His arms are fortress for the weak

Let faith arise
Let faith arise

I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart
These things, I remember
You are faithful, God, forever

I could feel God was close and He was using friends to show me just how much He cares for me and for our family. He sent one special friend over to my house with money that made it possible for me to not only drive to Tennessee to be with my Aunt, but also to Cleveland to be with My Mom and Dad. He used friends to pray over, with, and for me. I had people offer to watch my children, make us food and so and so on. And when I got the phone call from my Mom that said it didn't look good for my Dad, and felt that I could no longer stand...that special friend showed up to help me. To let me lean on her and trust that God was in this and bigger than this.

I loaded my princesses up and we headed to Tennessee to see my Aunt. She has a beautiful lake front house that her and her late husband had worked so hard on, and I was so upset at myself that this was the first time I was seeing it. What is it about us humans that we think our loved ones will always be there? We always think we will have time....later. She is such a strong woman ,but she has lost her best friend. I am continuing to pray that God heals her broken heart and is closer to her than ever.

The second day we were in Tennessee we got a call from my Mom....they were releasing my Dad and they needed me to come pick them up!!!!!!! My Dad is not healed from all his heart troubles, but the Lord still did a miracle for sure! They found a leaky valve and since he is too weak for surgery, they are going to try and minimize the side effects with medicine. I felt like God had answered my prayer of "Not yet Lord, I need him here longer!!!" So after I came home and slept a bit, we took our girls to a good friend's house, and Sweet Man and I drove to Cleveland to pick up my parents. I can't tell you the joy I felt seeing them waiting on us as we pulled in. It could have turned out so different. It could have left me in this world without that special man I am so lucky to call Dad. I am lifting my hands in praise...that it didn't.

I felt my faith growing by leaps and bounds this past week. There is something about not being in control, that makes you trust the Lord just a little bit more. To be in a situation that you have no say about and cannot manipulate it to work out for the best, that makes you call upon the Lord and know He is going to work it out the way He sees fit. It leaves me trying to figure out what lesson I was supposed to learn from it. I am taking away the fact that we are just earthen vessels that are so weak and fragile. We will not be here forever, and neither will our loved ones. We need to treasure each other and focus on eternity. This life is so fleeting and fly's by so fast, and yet I feel that constant struggle of trying to make this place my home...when it is just a "way point" to our real home. I learned that when I get the breath knocked out of me and think I can't go on, God sends someone to help me. And sometimes he sends me to help someone who got the breath knocked out of them. I learned that God does indeed listen to our prayers, and sometimes uses the diseases of our bodies, to bring out about healing to our soul.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I have heard it said before, that in order for your soul to have a "rainbow",
 It must first have some "tears".
Well...our family is waiting on our "rainbow".

R.I.P. Uncle Alan
You were loved, and you will be missed!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

All work and no play?

All work and no play makes you dull? Well I am not sure about that, but it sure does lead to burnout. So this Sunday, when we realized we overslept for church, we had a day trip. We loaded the girls up, and headed to Hawk's nest for a day of taking in all the beauty this state has to offer.
 Mountains and water. Who could ask for more?
We walked a few hiking trails.
 Posed for a few pictures. :-)
 Took in a most amazing view.
 Identified native trees, flowers, birds and bugs.
 Realized just how small we really are.

 We rode the tram, to take in the view from a different angle.
 "Hey, you're supposed to be taking in the view sweet heart!!" ;-)
 Which was well worth the $15 it cost for the whole family. At the bottom there was a swan! A beautiful swan!!
 And a really neat, hands on, nature room....
 With all kinds of neat things you can touch. Little girls love to touch things you know.
After all that fun educational stuff, we took the tram back up and headed on out to the river.
I can still remember my parents taking me here when I was younger. I love that my girls will grow up with some of the same memories that I have. This was a wonderful day...and only cost $15!!!