Saturday, December 20, 2008

Road trips

So it's been awhile since I've posted, and alot has happened in the last 2 months.

In early November, I packed up my Rav4, buckled my kiddos in and headed out for a month-long road trip. Our path started in Virginia; wound through Austin TX, went down to Las Cruces NM, back up to Abilene TX (meeting up with my husband for Thanksgiving), east to Chattanooga TN, then finally back home to Virginia.

I absolutely love traveling in the car (especially when I am the one driving). You have so much more control over your itinerary when you drive, unlike traveling by airplane. We all had alot of fun and Miles and Elizabeth are very good travelers.

We got to do so many cool things (like enjoy the warm southwestern temperature while it was getting cold back home). We went to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum and the blacksmith gave a demonstration and forged a steel arrowhead for Miles. We also saw LOTS of cows and watched a milking demonstration. The Tennessee State Aquarium is one of the best ones we have seen, and the Incline Railroad in Chattanooga was really neat.

A highlight of the trip was getting to spend quality time with our family members that we don't get to see very often. My sister-in-law brought her 7 week old baby boy to Grampy's house for Thanksgiving; bringing the total of great-grandchildren to a big 3 for Mr. Henry McGinty.

As it turns out, I have another road trip coming just next month. When we were in Austin visiting one of my very best friends, she discovered a lump in her breast. The results of the biopsy revealed cancer. In a few weeks she will have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I will go to Austin and take care of her children and generally keep life moving while she recovers from the surgery.

While my other road trips are done for fun, this one will be done out of love for my friend. It is the "least" of what I would do for her, there is so much more that I am willing to give her if only I get the chance.

Friday, October 24, 2008

"Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow"

My friend is having surgery as I type this post. Her mastectomy is almost finished and I have received an update (through with the results from tests on her lymph nodes NO CANCER! The cancer is isolated in the ducts of her breasts and they are able to remove it all!

I just want to jump and do a little dance, but I can't. I am immobile, with tears flowing down my cheeks. I feel some kind of paralysis that has pinned me to the sofa. Probably from my exhaustion, both physical and mental.

They are tears of joy, praise, relief, and amazement at the perfect provision of my almighty God.
I will never know all of the reasons why He has chosen for my friend to have this experience. I do know that He will do incredible works through this; works with results beyond my comprehension.

She still has a tough recovery ahead of her. When her mastectomy is finished, the plastic surgeon will take over and do reconstruction. She will experience great pain as her body heals from the mutilation of her flesh. But God has surrounded her with an extensive support system of friends and family who are already stepping in to take care of the everyday tasks.

Please continue to pray with me for my friend and her family (especially her husband and kids).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Secret Life of BeeKeeping

One of the perks of homeschooling is the ability to be spontaneous.

This morning I got a phone call from another homeschool mom, saying "I know this is totally last minute, but we just got invited to go see a man and his bee hives. Do you want to come too?" I said "sure, I'll be there as soon as I get the kids buckled in the car."

Yippee!!! I love field trips. I always have. I felt like a kid bursting with anticipation about what we were going to see and learn.

15 minutes later we were listening to Mr. Smith tell us all about his bee colonies. It was really interesting. I learned alot about bee behavior, and honey harvesting.

My favorite part (other than the free honey), was learning that the drones (boy bees) don't really do any work. All they do is fertilize the eggs that the queen lays. And (this is the best part) every fall, the workers (girl bees) push all the drones out of the colony and they freeze to death over the winter. Then the following spring brand new drones are hatched. (Hmmm)

On the way home, Miles asked me if we can start our own bee colony. "Well, little man, why don't you talk to your Daddy about that one."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Determination: A lesson learned from a 1 year old

My baby girl is growing up.

Elizabeth took her first tentative steps a few weeks ago, and has gradually been gaining confidence in her ability to walk.

Today she officially became a toddler. She has been practicing all day long and has learned how to navigate obstacles (except for her big brother) and even turn corners.

Her sheer determination has amazed me. As I have stood aside and watched my daughter take a few steps, fall and get back up to try again, I wonder "what if we all had that same sense of determination?" When we set out to learn something new, each time we fail, we should just get up and try again, and again, until we get it right.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Where is My Womanhood?

Today I am laying myself out there. Bare. For all to see. At the risk of facing judgement from some, I have to be completely honest. I have to put this into words or I may explode.

My friend met with her Dr. today, and it was determined that a double mastectomy is the best course of action along with a possibility of chemo and radiation therapy.

I WANT to say that my first thought was of gratitude, because her prognosis is one of hope. But I can't. I am ashamed, I must say that my first thoughts were much more shallow. I kept thinking of what will be missing after the surgery. If it were me, how would I handle this?

I have always thought of myself as un-selfconscious (is that a word?). I don't spend a lot of time on my appearance. Most days I get up, wash my face, brush my hair into a ponytail, and throw on whatever comfy clothes are clean. I save the make-up for those rare "dates" I get with my husband. Only sometimes does it occur to me to look in the mirror before walking out the door. It just isn't that important to me.

Or is it?

I was shocked to realise the importance that I have placed on a woman's breasts. Whether subconscious or suppressed, I'm not sure. But now that I really think about it, it makes sense. My breasts serve many purposes; they are a source of nutrition for my babies, a source of pleasure for my husband, they are one of the distinguishing features that make me different from a man.

It shouldn't be important what my physical body looks like. For some reason though, it is important.

I am still struggling to come to terms with the fact that my friend is facing a life-threatening disease. I know that her life is in God's hands, and that He knows every intimate detail about what she is going through. My heavenly Father knows every intimate detail of my heart, and He will walk with us through this.

And that is the comfort that I need to come to terms with the revelation of my own shallowness.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Pink Monster

My friend was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday.

I am always amazed at how fragile life really is. How in mere moments, a phone call, a letter, or an email can change the course of our lives forever.

I know that for now, every time I see the color pink I will pause and say a prayer for my friend and all women who face this ugly battle.

I am without words right now.

I ask you to pray. Get down on your knees, and pray for my friend, her husband, and her kids. Join me in this vigil: "Almighty, Glorious God, my Father, strengthen my friend and her family. Guide her doctors, direct the treatment precisely where it needs to be. Help us to always know that you are in control. Father, I just don't have the words right now, I don't know just how to pray. I am encouraged by your Spirit whom I know is speaking on my behalf. Thank you Father God. In Jesus' name I pray."

Thursday, September 4, 2008


We have successfully completed 3 full days of homeschooling. I must say that I am enjoying it more than I ever thought possible. Today I turned my kitchen floor into a science lab and conducted experiments about how temperature affects molecules. We caused air to expand and shrink, we made a quarter "jump" on the top of a wine bottle. My kindergartner now knows how to find Germany and Italy on a world map, and can tell you all about Martin Luther and how he discovered the truth that is in the Bible. Miles has blown through a full 2 weeks worth of his math lessons, and can explain the concepts we covered in those lessons. He even tolerates our Language Arts studies with a positive attitude (so far). I suspect part of his motivation for learning to read is simply so he can understand the words on his Sponge Bob video games (but who really cares as long as he learns to read).

As I look back at my previous post, I must ask myself "why was I so scared?" I am equipped to do this (I majored in early childhood education for gosh sakes). I think that I was feeling overwhelmed by the huge responsibility that I have chosen to take upon myself. And please don't think that I now consider it a light burden, it is simply less overwhelming. I am gaining the confidence that I need in order to achieve this goal. I also realize that I cannot yet consider myself a "seasoned homeschooler" (I mean really, we have only done it for 3 days). But I am much more optimistic of our potential, as Miles and I take on this grand adventure called learning.

There are, however a few things that I never really considered. Just a few minor details. Now that I am spending my day being Teacher; who is doing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen, or fixing lunch (not to mention dinner for my hubby who has been at the office all day)? And let's not forget the sweet little person called Elizabeth, who has been enjoying her mommy's relaxed supervision by discovering the stray crayons and who knows what else under the table. She has figured out how to use her big brother's step stool to reach all kinds of interesting things on the kitchen counters. We really must do something about our little explorer.

So, my goal, first and foremost will be to find some balance. A way to keep all of these "balls" in mid-air without having them all come crashing down. I must learn which of them can fall to the floor without catastrophic results. I must learn which of them I can safely let someone else handle.

It is truly an adventure and an experience of a lifetime, one that we as a family will have to learn how to navigate our way through.
Without the help of the latest GPS technology.