Friday, December 02, 2005

We know the way
The packing is nearly complete. Grace will be getting on a plane tomorrow. Our trip won't be quite the same with her going to Florida ahead of us. So yes we know how to get to Florida from New England even without one of my navigators. I have some loose ends to tie up. Today I am in corduroys, longsleeves with an undershirt. By this time next week, I will be in shorts and a golf shirt hopefully.
May each of you find yourself reflecting on the birth of one I call Savior and Lord.
Pax Vobiscum, CM

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Yada yada yada
Ya ' da is a hebrew word that means several things, one being "thanksgiving" It is our desire to be a thankful people. Dan and I sat down with the children quietly before dinner wrote our gratitude lists and then shared them with one another. Most of our life looks anything but traditional, however, our one standing Thanksgiving tradition is writing these gratitude lists and sharing them with one another (our one other tradition we broke by not having turkey - a very nice meal that Grace and I prepared but it did not include a bird).
Today I am grateful that it is a packing day. As we will leave in just 13 days. So, now that the table is cleared and the dishes are washed. It is time to fill some more boxes. Blessings to all who may be reading this post. And if you have a few minutes why not take a few minutes to literally count your blessings. PAX, CM

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

From the Chimney
Last weekend our friends the Kehoes came to visit. It was brisk out and I thought a fire would be nice. I started to make some newspaper logs when suddenly I heard a very distinct noise coming from the chimney. **Rasberry** (tongue stuck out and r she blows and echos) "Michael," I yelled up the chimney, "are you on the roof?"
"Yes." came his answer without hesitation.
"Get down from there - now."
Boys being boys, thankfully no one fell from the roof. They were simply enjoying the view and wanted to see if I noticed that he was up there with his friends Matt and Pete. I did step outside to see if everyone made it down ok and to let him know that he no longer was needed on the roof. Some time later he came in and asked if I heard the pitterpatter of growing feet. I said, no, just the rasberry.
Risk taking - I wonder where he got that idea from.....ummmmm.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A passage from Liberal Education & the Public Interest

"As students seek appropriate role models, they cannot do better than to emulate men and women who are idealists. Who are idealists? They are people who are inspired by an idea greater than themselves, who are driven by a moral imperative to imagine a world better than the one they found. They are people animated by principle, who dedicate their lives to fortifying the spirit and improving the lot of those on the brink of hopelessness. They are people who sail against the wind and persevere despite setbacks or ambiguous success.

Idealists are informed on political matters and involved in the civic life of their communities. They devote their energies to the debates that make wise and humane public policy, as all Athens did in the age o Pericles. Idealists care about those who need help and commit themselves to national service and to a lifetime of civic engagement. They care about the health and well-being of neighbors and strangers alike. They care about the legal rights of all, especially those without advocates. They care about the working poor who struggle to make their way and to preserve their families in a global economy of bewildering technological change. They care about children, who need the full support of society in order to achieve their potential.

Idealists remind us, by the way in which they advance the lives of others, that, as Matthew Arnold said, “Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and becoming.” And they invite us, through their generosity, to be open to the possibility that what they have been for us, we might be for others. Idealists are not mere dreamers. They are known by their deeds and by the pride and purpose that animate their altruism. They instruct us, by their example, in the best meaning of character. Idealists are not rare. But there are not enough of them, in this society or any other.


I have the feeling that many of us regard life as beginning, in the important sense, only after we pass some future milestone – after we have been graduated from college, or after we have settled into a prestigious job or a comfortable home or a proper marriage, or after we have achieved a measure of professional success or personal security. It is only then – several decades into middle age – that many people finally give themselves permission to live generously.

But life, of course, is not what happens after we pass some future milestone. Life is what we are doing now. And so the necessity of leading a life guided by ideals, a life that each of us is proud to lead, is present from the start and is always there. My message to students is that a life motivated by idealism promises the deepest kind of personal satisfaction. "

This is from the chapter Appraising Significant Lives from James O. Freedman’s Liberal Education & the Public Interest. (currently I am reading this book.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Statistical evidence is overwhelming that millions of American children, including those graduating from high school, cannot read. When a disorder affects so many people, one calls it an epidemic. An epidemic is always caused by external forces, not by defects in the individual....When so many children are affected by the same disorder, the explanation cannot possibly be individual psychopathology." Dr. Hilde Mosse

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

When you educate on the road
Today Book the 12th of the Series of Unfortunate events came out and my guess is my kids were one of the first to get their hot little hands on their copies here in the northeast. Katie had pre-ordered and Michael said, Mum will you please take us in the morning when the store opens? (this book store opened at 8 am, well we weren't there quite at 8) So...we went.

The three of us were sitting at a table reading and there were these two older gentlemen sitting not to far from us. One said to the other, "my grandchildren never have any time, they're involved in Scouts, debate and whathaveyou, then of course they have school on top of everything else." The other one said, "my grandchildren are the same way," (I listened but didn't look up doing my best to look like I was reading, I was thinking do you see these two across from me, enjoying a book?) the second gentleman continues, "they are so busy that they do not have any free time. No wonder they grow up and don't know how to relax, they are not learning how to play and enjoy free time now." I thought they also don't have time for their grandparents either.
As I was relating this story to Grace this evening, she said that perhaps the one who spoke first said it because he saw Katie and Michael enjoying a book while they were sitting there. That very well could have been. Part of me was thinking, some of my associates in the homeschooling world would think this idea is too fun, you ought to make them do their work first well, I guess that would be true if we did school at home but as most of you know (or perhaps some of you don't) we EDUCATE our children at home and we wouldn't want schooling to get in the way of this more worthy endeavor. Then my true heart rose to the surface, it put a smile on my face as I thought that I could hear Katie and Michael saying 5 or 10 years from now, "remember when we lived in Quechee VT and Mum took us to the Dartmouth bookstore to get The Penultimate Peril." "And she gave us the day off to read the book."
I thank God every day that my children love to read and that I was given the great privilege to teach them how. Along with the continued blessing of cultivating curious minds.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

On location in Natick MA
Last night my kids and I arrived at my sweet sister-in-law, Shosh's in Massachusetts. We are here for the weekend. I called Dan at work to let him know we have arrived.
The secretary answered the phone but did not state the floor or the hospital. Here is how the conversation went: (secretary's and nursing supervisor's words in blue)
"Is Dan Mullaney there please?"
"Dan is gone."
"What do you mean, he was working there 7-7 today?"
"Dan is gone and won't be coming back."
"Is there your way of telling me, my husband's dead?"
(at this point I was in a panic)
"No, he's gone, left town."
"May I please talk to the nursing supervisor?"
waiting....really nervous.....maybe he just got out early, to come here to Massachusetts and this secretary is unaware
"Hello, this is Dan Fuller at Parkwest" in an unmistakable East, TN accent.
complete relief, embarrassment and laughter......I had dialed the wrong hospital..."is this Dan's wife?"
laughing....."I am so sorry"
"You scared the life out of our secretary."
"I am so sorry...I dialed the wrong hospital."
"That's alright, it will be our little secret."
"OK....I will now go call Dan in NH."
Now, I get off the phone explain to Shosh and Grace what happened since they had listened to all of this transpire and we continued to have a good laugh on me. Grace asked me if I had forgotten to change Dan's work number in my cell contacts. I don't keep Dan's work number listed like that. I have it by hospital. So, I just went to the P's and went to Parkwest which is actually listed as Parkview - I just wrote it wrong and never corrected it. After hanging up I went to the D's and called Dart & Hitch.

Dan is alive and well on his way to MA to meet up with us.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Katrina - responses and responsibility
My heart goes out to the victims and survivors of this natural disaster.

A friend of mine sent me this report and it just amazes me how much spin we are fed everyday, that being said, it is hard to know what the truth is. Read is a thought provoking article.

This is so typical of the upside down way worldly thinking takes one. jlc
The Way it Really Is:
In case you aren't familiar with how our government is SUPPOSED to work: The chain of responsibility for the protection of the citizens in New Orleans is: 1. The Mayor 2. The New Orleans director of Homeland Security (a political appointee of the Governor who reports to the Governor) 3. The Governor 4. The Head of Homeland Security 5. The President What did each do? 1. The mayor, with 5 days advance, waited until 2 days before he announced a mandatory evacuation (at the behest of the President). Then he failed to provide transportation for those without transport even though he had hundreds of buses at his disposal. 2. The New Orleans director of Homeland Security failed to have any plan for a contingency that has been talked about for 50 years. Then he blames the Feds for not doing what he should have done. (So much for political appointees) 3. The Governor, despite a declaration of disaster by the President 2 DAYS BEFORE the storm hit, failed to take advantage of the offer of Federal troops and aid. Until 2 DAYS AFTER the storm hit. 4. The Director of Homeland Security positioned assets in the area to be ready when the Governor called for them 5. The President urged a mandatory evacuation, and even declared a disaster State of Emergency, freeing up millions of dollars of federal assistance, should the Governor decide to use it. Oh and by the way, the levees that broke were the responsibility of the local landowners and the local levee board to maintain, NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. The disaster in New Orleans is what you get after decades of corrupt government going all the way back to Huey Long. Funds for disaster protection and relief have been flowing into this city for decades, and where has it gone, but into the pockets of the politicos and their friends. Decades of socialist government in New Orleans has sapped all self reliance from the community, and made them dependent upon Political correctness and a lack of will to fight crime have created the single most corrupt police force in the country, and has permitted gang violence to flourish. The sad thing is that there are many poor folks who have suffered and died needlessly because those that they voted into office failed them. For those who missed item 5 (where the President's level of accountability is discussed), it is made more clear in a New Orleans Times-Picayune article dated August 28:
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - In the face of a catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin. Acknowledging that large numbers of people, many of them stranded tourists, would be unable to leave, the city set up 10 places of last resort for people to go, including the Superdome. The mayor called the order unprecedented and said anyone who could leave the city should. He exempted hotels from the evacuation order because airlines had already cancelled all flights. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding. The ball was placed in Mayor Nagin's court to carry out the evacuation order. With a 5-day heads-up, he had the authority to use any and all services to evacuate all residents from the city, as documented in a city emergency preparedness plan. By waiting until the last minute, and failing to make full use of resources available within city limits, Nagin and his administration messed up. Mayor Nagin and his emergency sidekick Terry Ebbert have displayed lethal, mind boggling incompetence before, during and after Katrina. As for Mayor Nagin, he and his profile in leadership police chief should resign as well. That city's government is incompetent from one end to the other. The people of New Orleans deserve better than this crowd is capable of giving them. If you're keeping track, these let 569 buses that could have carried 33,350 people out of New Orleans-in one trip-get ruined in the floods. Whatever plan these guys had, it was a dud. Or probably would have been they'd bothered to follow it.
As for all the race-baiting rhetoric and Bush-bashing coming from prominent blacks on the left, don't expect Ray Nagin to be called out on the carpet for falling short.Here's why: It's more convenient to blame a white president for what went wrong than to hold a black mayor and his administration accountable for gross negligence and failing to fully carry out an established emergency preparedness plan.

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Wednesday, September 07, 2005

**It is a working vacation however......children to education, places to visit, conferences to prepare for and to once again get acclimated. There is something very freeing about becoming so flexible right down to having 3 toilets instead of 2 (we pretty much don't allow ourselves to get to use to it, because we know, that in a very short time it will probably go back to 2) or sleeping in a king size bed instead of queen.

Quechee Gorge (A thought)
Twice in the same weekend we headed down into the Quechee Gorge. It is a beautiful little spot, with a distinct element of danger. Katie helped rescue her brother from the rapids. In nature beauty is often coupled with danger. That I believe is part of its allure.
One of the days my brother was with us. He said there is no one coming down here to pull the weeds from between the rocks. So, I was thinking about that. My bro has an excellent garden, he brought some tomatoes and cukes. Delicious!!! Anyway, I was thinking about the weeds thing. In probably a matter of weeks the cold will come and eventually, the snow will cover all those weeds and the Creator will be the Master Gardener. No one does it because the Master Gardener has it all under control. Then I was thinking about the fruit from Pete's garden and even with all the labor he must put into it including the weeding, it is still The Creator who makes it grow. If our lives are the garden then the Master Gardener will also tend it and only he can pull up the weeds and cause things to grow, it is up to us to give God access to our lives so that He may grow and bear fruit in our lives.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Driving through children start singing.....Madison, Wisconsin, Lansing Michigan, Columbus Ohio, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We had this states and capitals song tape when they were little. Well, when you are crossing state lines and seeing signs for "Harrisburg" or "Richmond" these songs just seem to roll off their tongues.
There is so much to that we get to see along the way or not see. In Virginia we wanted to see the Natural Bridge. It is right off of Route 81.....they want to charge you to see something that is a part of nature. If it was a couple of bucks each, not a problem, we would have gladly forked it over, but it was more than what it would cost for all of us to go to the movies.
Route 81 is a beautiful drive along The Blue Ridge Mountains. We couldn't help but sing and praise the Creator of it all.
Shout out's go to Jeff and Doris Reed, Michelle and Glen Bahn, Tom and Elizabeth Kehoe. These are the folks that rolled out the red carpet ande treated us with love and kindness by their gracious hospitality. Blessings!!! Michael put it best by stating that it is better to stay with people then go to a hotel. That way it is like you are just going to visit someone and it really breaks up the ride. On the flip side, when you are doing a lot of driving and visiting, it leaves little time for sleeping. To say the least, I am still a little exhausted and not finished unpacking.
We did spend about 24 hours in Massachusetts which we thoroughly enjoyed with our dear friends the Kehoes and then we celebrated a special time with The Marlborough and Sudbury Grays!!
So, here we are, back in New England!!! In beautiful Quechee, Vermont! Living in the woods in a Northern New England chalet. Fancy is hard to beat. Looks like I am on vacation again. Pax, CM

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

All our bags are packed and most of the cleaning is done......I guess we are getting pretty good at this traveling thing....we are headed to VT/NH. We will live in Vt. and Dan will be working in NH. It's funny, this will be our 8th assignment in 29 months, but it is not exactly like moving, since most of our earthly belonging fit into our two vehicles and we set out on yet another leg of our adventure. It is hard to articulate at this time but we all know this journey is challenging and growing each one of us ( Lord willing for His Glory).
We have had some wonderful fellowship along the way so that some dear ones will provide us with refreshment during our drive from the southeast to the northeast (my kids' prayer is God willing NO Hotels, staying with "folks" is so much more fun and warm). There is a strange anticipation for this visit back "home" and I pray that we will be a blessing to any and all that we have the pleasure of getting together with during the short 3 months that we will be there.
Until we meet again, here, there or in the air.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

There are hills you've never seen....
(like the ones in the Smokeys and Shenandoah Valley)
Day before yesterday Grace and I returned to TN from VA Beach.....those who have been following our pilgrim journey from the onset know that we have lived there both in 03 and 04. While we were there Grace celebrated her 16th birthday!! In fact, going to Teenpact Judicial (our reason for being in Va Beach) was our present to her. It was extra special for me since I got to help out and be the staff mom at Teenpact Judicial(TPJ) 2005.
This was the third trip that Grace and I have taken together in the last 6 months. What a blessing to be there, serve and enjoy a wonderful and very intellectually stimulating program. Originally, this was going to be a solo trip for Grace but a couple of circumstances led to me being included in this one. What a gift!!! I had a great time!
Our dear friend and TPJ Director, Emily Smith kept me so busy that I didn't have time to think about the fact that I would be returning to Knoxville 10 days before needing to leave for NH. That fact hit me over the head yesterday - it is not all that bad. The Lord continues to lighten the load as we go along and teaches us how to live with less things and more of His grace.
I wish I had time to tell of all the wonderful things that happened during the week. For now, I will just leave you with 3. First off, our dear friends Gordon and JimmieLou Coons blessed TPJ by letting the staff (5 wonderful young people) and myself stay in their home while they are out west visiting family. Secondly, the Raifords hosted our sweet 16 daughter, Grace, made birthday dinner and invited Emily and myself. Lastly, Grace advanced to out rounds during the Moot Court tournament and was Best Oral Argument Runner up in the finals.
This will be my last blog before hitting the road.
"Don't look back, don't get side track just travel on...."
from The Pilgrim Song by Josh Bales

Friday, July 22, 2005

Today....I can't wait to see Grace!!!
Yesterday, my daughter Grace called me 3 times. What a gift for me that she is looking forward to seeing me just as much as I am her. I really really miss her...and I am glad. Now, that seems like an oxymoron....but not if you know that my relationship with her has grown so much this past year. We are in that mysterious time known as the teen years. It is actually a time of great change and transition.
In a matter of weeks Grace will turn 16 and she will tell you that she still needs her mama but we are starting to become friends. She still wants and needs our guidance but she is a young adult and is growing up (when she is suppose to...I didn't start to grow up til I was 19). This is a time that I am cherishing and keeping in my heart. I am so grateful to be on this journey with our 3 children especially as they are walking out of childhood and into adulthood.
Pax Vobiscum CM

Monday, July 18, 2005

Not the same around here without Grace
Grace has been in Southeast Tennessee for 8 days at Summit (where she will remain til the end of the week). Summit is an educational Christian ministry whose very existence is a response to our current post-Christian culture. Their goal is to not only equip young people to defend their faith but to also influence our society in a positive way.

I do not know how much Grace will post about her experience. This past weekend she went caving and whitewater rafting. Yesterday, I had an actually conversation with her (her phone calls have been very brief but upbeat). It sounds to me like she is having a blast. As many of you know, this is the longest she has ever been away from home and we all seem to be handling it quite well. Of course, we all miss her but we are happy that she is having a great and fulfilling time.
Pilgrim thought
Today, I realized, as I was emptying the dishwasher that we still have too many cups in the cabinet. We have scaled back considerably since we started traveling, but I could still have a house full for coffee. And wouldn't you know, I was at a thrift store not that long ago and replaced some of the glasses that had broken recently and Dan stopped at a yard sale and bought one more glass because he thought I would like it. The problem is I do like it and it will be hard to get rid of....perhaps, I ought to plan on making a donation to Salvation Army and a local yard sale before leaving TN.
As my kids say, "Peace Out"
Pax Vobiscum
[might be more in my age bracket]

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Children are not children for very long
This afternoon Katie and I dropped Grace off at Bryan College in Dayton, TN for Summit Ministries. She will be there for 2 weeks. I have peace about it and I am surprised. I thought I would get really emotional but I didn't. However, the last mile or so before we got there, I did think about just pulling over to the side of the road and stopping but I didn't. Instead, I prayed and gave my anxiety to the Lord. We got there without a problem, got Grace registered and to her room, met up with friends and then Katie and I headed back to Knoxville. WOW....I am excited for Grace as she branches out, expanding her horizons and growing into a lovely young woman. I am blessed!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

"A little rebellion now and a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." Thomas Jefferson
Happy Independence Day!!! Today we celebrated quietly at home with Dan reading the Declaration of Independence
(yesterday I started this post but never made it back to the computer)
"A little rebellion now and a medicine necessary for the sound health of government." Thomas Jefferson
Happy Independence Day!!! Today we celebrated quietly at home with Dan reading the Declaration of Independence. (picking up from here)
We have a fireplace here in our townhouse. I have always wanted a fireplace. So I get to have one for 3 months during the summer *sigh* oh well. Dan and Michael built a fire for us last night. We sat around and read by the hot fire while of course, cranking up the AC. LOL
Plenty of fireworks going off in the neighborhood. It was nice that we had invitations to go places but after Dan working all weekend the kids just wanted to stay home and that really was good for us.
We reflected about going to the Needham Parade when we got Shosh's (Dan's younger sister) pictures from the 4th. The kids and I had gone to this parade for 10 years straight with my sister in law Karen (1990-2000). We would meet at Grandpa's and he would make us breakfast, then we would go to the Parade and then the flea market.
We appreciate and hold our freedoms dear to us. It is our hope to continue to help maintain those freedoms as we feel called to action.
Pax Vobiscum. CM

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Friday May 26th, 2005
Before sunrise we started to make our way out of the wonderful state of Florida and before sunset we found ourselves just northwest of the Smokey Mountains in Knoxville, Tennessee. It was our hope to be in our new place last night but to those who think this traveling thing may be routine - it is anything when we got the call that there was a human error with the arrival of our furniture and we would have to get a hotel room for the night, I was neither surprised nor disturbed and I just said, "Never a dull moment." It has sort of been my motto for life unofficially. It is a statement of the obvious for us as travelers.

Merriam-Webster online dictionary's definition of adventure is 1 a : an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks b : the encountering of risks . Life is an adventure and you do not have to travel in order to live it. However, I believe that to live the abundant life it must involve risks. One of the biggest risks brings both joy and pain. It is for us to open our hearts to others.
Now, I have not been good about posting about all the wonderful people that the Lord has put in our lives. I will have to do it for their encouragement and the testimony of God's faithfulness.
.......more on that later.
Not just for "travelers" of our variety
“Maybe the way in which we travel and the attitude we have wile making our way through life is more important than reaching our destination. Or could it be that in God’s sight, the way actually is the destination? Jesus said, “I am the way….”
Don’t Wrestle, Just Nestle by Corrie TenBoom

Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Taste of Tender Tennessee

Tonight we went to a small benefit concert for some Tennesseans who are preparing to go to the Dominican Republic. We were invited by a dear family, the Lees who we met last week through speech and debate.
It was a quaint country church, simple yet inviting. As I sat there listening to Eddy (Lee) share from his heart not just through his music but the introductions he gave to each of his songs. These songs were about his life, he was real and transparent. It was as intimate as being around a campfire or sitting in someone living room. I thought, we weren't invited to some benefit concert but to a chair at our Father's table and He had asked this dear brother to share: love, compassion, wonder and joy!!! I drank it in as one who had walked through the desert all day to get to this place.
Knoxville is in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. When we walked out to the van to leave the sky was pink and purple, the sun was setting. Getting onto the main street none of us was prepared for the beauty we were about to behold.....words cannot describe it....Katie said, "Ahhh, I wish I had a camera......." " have never seen such a color" we were just in awe. The sky turned almost magenta but not quite......
Our quiet Tennessee evening was coming to a close. It started out real slow and the music was a gentle bluegrass/country (which is really outside my preferred genre) and we drove home through the hills under a breathtaking sky. Sounds like a great way to kick off our summer.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Years ago some one said, "don't use your homeschool support as your church family." How compartmentalized was that statement? I believe the statement lacked wisdom and insight. I believe the statement diminished the reality of the family of God, the church. I know that "the church" is a living organism that cannot be confined to buildings made of mortar, steel, wood, a name or location. The Spirit is alive and well among God's people and residing in their hearts.

Grace and I just returned from San Diego, CA and NCFCA'S National Speech and Debate Tournament 2005. These people from around the country are our brothers and sisters in Christ. (it is afterall the National Christian Forensics & Communications Association) Whenever, wherever in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, when 2 or more gather together for any reason in the name of Jesus Christ, He is in our midst and we are called to operate as the body of Christ. This was definitely the case. I felt encouraged and I encouraged others.

Our club FUSION was there for me when I needed them. I found myself in need of prayer and I went to my sisters, we prayed together. We are a speech and debate club who are addressing life issues from a Biblical worldview in a manner that glorifies God, i.e., first we are brothers and sisters in Christ. It is not for us to leave our identity in Christ at the door; in fact, it is quite the opposite. We want that to be evident in our dealings with one another and the world we live in. I can not tell you how grateful I am to have people who love the Lord and want so much for their children to become loving truth tellers in our midst wherever we live.

Grace and I reconnected with friends we have from MA and new friends we have made this year. Competition was stiff. It was encouraging to hear people besides myself surprised that Grace did not advance into the outrounds with her Red Sox Speech. As far as originality and passion, Grace was better than at least half the people I heard in the finals. (yes, I am bias, but the others are more objective, especially those who could care less about baseball and that was reaffirming)

Overall, we enjoyed being at Nationals on a college campus overlooking the Pacific and getting to see some of San Diego, CA. I treasure these times as I see Grace's adulthood fastly approaching with her sister and brother not far behind. God is good and faithful.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Any thoughts of returning to smoking was snuffed out last night - Dan and I attended a smoking AA meeting. We stayed for the whole meeting, our eyes were burning, I could taste the smoke and our clothes stunk. I would suggest that anyone who might be thinking about smoking to go into an unventilated room for an hour and a half with 15 peoples smoking - I think it is a sure cure for the time being.

I drove over 800 miles NORTH to find myself in the deep south. The mountains are beautiful. The winding roads and hills remind me of NH. Cool mornings and evenings remind me of spring in Massachusetts. Too tired to write and I need to get ready to go to CA.
Love and Peace to all. CM

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Packing and listing (not the real estate kind)

This morning I need to revise my "What to Pack Last" List. It is a lot like working backwards but not really. I have to fast forward to the 26th and look back in order to proceed forward. (If you are female or perhaps left-handed you may be following me ;-)

We do have a number of boxes packed. We have a number of social engagements before leaving so this will probably be my last post before leaving. Time to log out and pick up a pen.

Pax Vobiscum

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Tuesday was National Teacher Day and this week is considered National Teacher's Week. Although, I do not consider myself a teacher in the traditional sense of the word, I am however one of two of the only teachers my children have known when it comes to their formal academics. We have been educating them at home since 1989. Learning is a life long endeavor that we wish to instill in our children, so in the Lord’s eyes we have been educating our little loves since birth.

I wanted to take this time to acknowledge each and every parent who has chosen the road less traveled and is educating their children at home – you are the unsung heroes of the future, but take heart. I believe some of our children will be the leaders of tomorrow and they will sing your praises from the halls of justice, the Senate Chamber, the golf course, at sea, on the battle field, the corporate conference room, in homes repairing plumbing or computers and hopefully from the heads of the tables of their own families.

This evening we read from 2 books, Let Us Highly Resolve by David and Shirley Quine and a family favorite we finished, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (by the way, my children are very upset that Hollywood is taking artistic license with this classic tale of Narnia). Reading aloud has been one of the most enjoyable parts of learning together. Funny, both these books recognize the fact that we are in a fierce battle, spiritual in nature yet affecting every area of our lives. The Lord is yes; our Great Defender and we are His Warrior Children. It is not for us to sit by and watch or to shake in our boots hiding behind our Lord. No!!! We are to stand up and fight for the Lord is at our side. Like David who set out to defeat Goliath.
45Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, (AU)but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.
46"This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the (AV)dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, (AW)that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47and that all this assembly may know that (AX)the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; (AY)for the battle is the LORD'S and He will give you into our hands." 1Samuel 17

Satan wants the hearts and minds of our children. Many parents fail to protect and fight for these precious ones. The hearts and minds of our children are the battle grounds upon which we fight. Remember, you have been given all authority in Christ Jesus and having them in our homes and with us as we go about daily life, living and learning together is in my opinion the best way to exercise this authority. Do not take my words out of context. My children are some of the freest and independent thinkers I have ever known. These young people that the Lord has entrusted to our care are bold, courage, teachable, trusting, truthful, grateful and loving. They are not afraid to ask the tough questions and the simplest questions.
In a very real sense, Dan and I are living without regret, treasuring these times, knowing that educating our children is right for our family. So for each family living life together and trust God for the results, I salute you and I highly value your companionship along this pilgrim highway.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

A Magical Mystery Tour
Piling our stuff and then ourselves into the Harris Van, not knowing that this would be an adventure we would long remember………it was a Tuesday evening. We arrived in Hernando without incident and had a restful night sleep after “the girls” (Amy, Grace and Jenna) stopped talking.

Wednesday, after decorating the Van with “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” “HONK if U heart JESUS” “Dare you to Move” “F.U.S.I.O.N.” “L-D DEBATE TEAM” Our FUSION Logo among other things, asking for God’s traveling mercies, we set out for Wake Forest, North Carolina. The joy truly is in the journey………

“We bow down and we worship you Lord…..” “Change my heart O God, make it ever new……” “My heart and flesh cry out for you the Living God” these are just a few of the songs that the girls led us into spontaneous worship. What a privilege to enter into the presence of the One who made us!

As we were cruising along, I asked Karen if she had picked up Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. Well, not only had she bought, she had brought it with her to read. Karen, Tom and I continued talking. Sometimes on these kinds of trips Karen would read aloud to Tom. Since, we are both Wild at Heart families, we were already familiar with the Eldredges, so when asked, I said I would be happy to read it out loud.

“She is the crescendo, the final, astonishing work of God. Woman. In one last flourish creation comes to a finish not with Adam, but with Eve. She is the Master’s finishing touch………Eve is…….Breathtaking.
“Given the way creation unfolds, how it builds to ever higher and higher works of art, can there be any doubt that Eve is the crown of creation? Not an afterthought. Not a nice addition like an ornament on a tree. She is God’s final touch, …..Step to a window, ladies, if you can. Better still, find some place with a view. Look out across the earth and say to yourselves, “The whole, vast world is incomplete without me. Creation reached its zenith with me.” Captivating page 25
To say the least us 5 girls were feeling pretty built up by this chapter. Every woman needs to know that she too is captivating. For every woman reading, you are captivating!

This is just a mere morsel of what we read from this refreshing and inspiring book, written together by a man and wife. Our first reading we only got through the first 42 pages. We had interrupted with songs and stories. On page 42 I had just read, “Whatever else it means to be feminine, it is depth and mystery and complexity, with beauty as its very essence. Now, lest despair set in, let us say as clearly as we can:
Every woman has a beauty to unveil.
Every woman.”
As I was reading this very line, Tom was pulling over. A woman was hitch-hiking in the dark and we would be the ones to get her home. Kim was a beautifully wounded woman who only wanted us to take her to the next exit but Tom got her to let us take her to her street. Our time with her was brief but it touched the hearts of our children. There were only a couple more paragraphs on the page. Grace interrupted, “Mum, could we pray for Miss Kim?” Of course, honey, let me finish the page. So, I did and then we found ourselves in the Loving Presence of our Abba Father, coming to Daddy with a burden for Kim, another daughter of Eve, another beautiful woman.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Thanks for all the comments and kudos for my last blog. One of my dear friends from back home commented that I don't blog enough. Well, Grace and I are preparing to leave this coming Tuesday to travel to Regionals. Since, the last tournament I have done follow up and Grace has just bared down on preparing for the next step. It is similar to advancing to the playoffs in sports. You gear up and work harder.
On a more somber note, I took Michael to his first wake. He has been to funerals. This was a wake for his friend Anthony's 4 year old brother, Mikey. Little Mikey was killed in a car accident. He was playing in the street. Mikey was the youngest of 4 children. It was heartbreaking and hard to go, but Dan and I knew it was the right thing to do. Anthony was very grateful that we came....not that he said so in so many words but his little face lit up when he saw us and he knew we cared enough to come. At the last minute Michael didn't want to go and I told him that it never gets easier but we need to not think about ourselves but about Anthony and his family. They need us to be there and be a comforting presence. And of course, after I left the funeral home where a little life has come to a premature end, I held Michael's hand a little tighter, and couldn't help but think of my own children and how precious they are to me. Death is a part of life.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Post Tournament Update
Amazing! Enthusiastic, poised, spunky, energetic, entertaining, delightful, strong yet gentle style, confident…..these are just some of the wonderful adjectives that judges use to describe Grace’s speeches and debates.

I imagine you may be interested in how she did with the Red Sox speech. One of her favorite comments from a judge from this event was, “How is it possible that you made a subject that usually bores me and kept me spell bound?”

This morning I was all gung-ho to list how well she did…..and perhaps I will but you need to know something about Grace, she really see this as a place to grow and learn skills that will benefit her throughout her life. In fact, she whole-heartedly agrees with her fellow FUSION debater, Jarret, who wrote on his xanga, “My NCFCA experience means nothing at all if I haven't collected some logical reasoning skills during those debates.”
It makes a mama proud to see her own child staying right sized.

It was such a full week. We hosted an out of town family in our home, so our children all bunked out with us in our room. All fared pretty well. On Wednesday night, we got to talking, then the kids started laughing and I wanted to go to sleep and I did to the laughter of my children. These are treasured moments.

My favorite part of this tournament was that each one of us was involved in a very real way. Dan, Katie, Michael and I were a part of the operating team (the committee is what most of the people call it). Dan and I ran errands, did some judging, assisted the Tab Room, worked in the hospitality room and whatever else was needed. Katie was the official Tab runner which means she did most of the postings for each round of speeches and debates (among other duties). Michael timed in practically every round. Each speech and debate requires a timer. Michael & Katie were also instrumental in set up and break down of the rooms.

In the past, we have told our children, “it is not ok to be proud of yourself but it is ok to feel good about making someone else proud.” (Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. So says the proverb) Well, our Grace made us proud. God has been showing us how each of our children are made and what their giftings are. Grace is capable of becoming a great communicator.

So, I guess it would be ok to let you know how Grace did. She placed in 5 of the 6 events that she entered. She qualifies her to go to regionals in these events.

Original Oratory 3rd place Red Sox
Lincoln-Douglas Debate 8th place Advanced to regionals
Persuasive 6th place Africa aids, debt and trade
LD Speaker 4th place Debater earn speaker pts.
Impromptu 3rd place Limited prep
Duo 1st place A dramatic duo with friend
Sweepstakes tied for 6th place with friend Kyndra. This is given to the top 8 speakers of the entire tournament. (90 students)

Hopefully, I will write more tomorrow. Send congrats to Grace at

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

This is my daughter, Grace's Red Sox speech

There was that chant again. As distracting as it must have been for the Red Sox players, it was heart wrenching for us watching at home. Must they rub it in our faces? Oh, why, of course they must. They are Yankee fans. But little did those fans know that this would be the year that THEY choked, and we triumphed.
So, what made this year different than all other 86 years? Could it be that Jesus was playing in Center Field under the Alias “Johnny Damon”? Could it be because of Curt’s passionate courage? Was it because so many men had the threat of being free agents the next year? And who is that guy ‘Belhorn’ getting almost as many strikeouts as Babe Ruth? What really was it that drove the Red Sox to their first world series since that dreaded year: 1918?
There are many, many reasons, but for the sake of time I will focus on only 3;
Johnny Damon, Curt Shilling, and The Fans of the Boston Red Sox.
Johnny Damon:
Conan O’Brien, the host of “Late night with Conan O’Brien” had this opinion: “When your leadoff hitter is a 600,000 year old caveman, an 86 year-long curse seems pretty insignificant.”
To understand what this means I must take you back to spring training 2004, where the leadoff man Johnny Damon stepped out onto the City of Palms Park field right here in Florida and shocked his teammates and Sox fans with his wild caveman like look. His hair was to be envied by women (yes, women) everywhere…his beard to be longed for by a gillet razor. Damon went from being an average, mostly unheard of Center fielder, to the catalyst and jumpstart of the 2004 world champion Red Sox. We can only speculate at what transformed this scruffy man into the player who had an on base % of .380, scored 123 times, and had 94 RBIs. He bulked up over the off season, grew his hair out, didn’t shave, and ~WALLA~…one of his best seasons ever.
In case you haven’t seen a red sox game, or seen Mr. Damon in the sports section of the newpaper, I’d like to paint a short picture of what he looks like. His dark brown hair is past his shoulders, stadiums like to play “the dude looks like a lady” when he comes to bat, his beard gets bushy fast, and he’s above 6’. Now, this probably sounds like the last person you’d like to meet in a dark alley, but in reality Johnny Damon is one of the most loved players on the Boston Red Sox, by fans and players alike "He's the nicest guy in the world'' commented teammate Gabe Capler. Lovingly nicknamed the “caveman” or “Jesus” Johnny has really stuck out in more ways than one. With his look, his glove, his bat, and his team spirit.
After we all got over the initial shock of his new look, it seemed to really grow on people, “Our caveman’s pretty awesome” said Jason Varitek (the catcher for the red sox and the team captain) New pictures of Johnny Damon began to appear on Sox fan’s walls (namely mine).
Johnny Damon summed up his job as leadoff man by saying; "My job is to go out there and score lots of runs and get on base. and I have so many big guys who hit behind me." but he doesnt just get on base, he also plays the wall (better known as "the Green Monster") better than anyone since fred lynn (so says Johnny Pesky, former red sox great)
But Johnny catapulted the Red Sox to this World Series not only with his strength and athleticism, but with his vibrant personality. This was recognized when he received the Jackie Jensen Award for leadership and team spirit.

but personality and athleticism isnt the only thing that wins you a world series, Some call it being courageous, some call it fortitude, others call it perseverance, I prefer to just call it Guts. Something that Red sox ace Curt shilling seems to be made of.
Curt aggravated an old injury in his ankle in early october, but instead of sit out and watch his teammates compete in the post season, he made a daring move by getting an temporary radical surgery that stitched him up inside the ankle to keep the tendon in his leg in place so that he could push off his ankle to pitch...
And pitch he the 6th game of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees and the second game of the World Series, and win he also did–both times. Headlines the next day read “Red Sox [s-o-x], Red Socks [S-o-c-k-s]” What exactly were they referring to? They were talking about curt shillings blood soaked sock. Yes, his ankle bled, leaving his sock red for all to see, who could not root for this man and his team? Here he was, probably in such pain through every pitch, and yet through all this, with blood on his sock and the air so cold you could smell snow curt shilling pitched 7 innings in the game against the yankees allowing only 1 run to score and 6 excellent innings in game 2 of the world series allowing only 4 hits!
This mans almost non-human fortitude is amazing and must have spurred on his fellow red sox to give it their all. If an injured pitcher can play that amazing, surely they could do the same. Which they did. The sox won both games 4-2, and 6-2.
After the game against the yankees Shilling was asked how much it hurt to pitch, but he didnt talk about how hard it was, and how he just had to do it for the team, or about how proud he was that he could do it, instead he gave the glory to someone bigger than himself; "Seven years ago I became a Christian, tonight, God did something amazing for me....I knew I wasn't going to be able to do this alone. And I prayed as hard as I could. I didn't pray to get a win or to make great pitches. I just prayed for the strength to go out there and compete, and He gave me that. I can't explain to you what a feeling it was to be out there and to feel what I felt.''
When I saw curt shilling pitching with his bloody ankle, when Isaw him wince just from throwing a regular fastball....thats when I knew, this was it. This IS the year, theres no way we can lose with that kind of man on the mound.
Other fans seem to think so too, and this belief in the team we love seems to give the players even more drive. Doug Mirabelli said of the fans "They really are the 26th man on this team."
The Fans:
Red Sox fans are notorious for their loyalty; Fenway sells out almost every single game. The fact that the sox hadn’t won the World Series for 86 years, seemed to matter little, as signs bearing messages like “This is the year” and “We Believe” graced the stands. Fans this devoted deserve a world series.
Growing up in Massachusetts teaches you a lot, I mean, theirs monuments, ships, historic homes, and so much more. But one really big thing that anyone who is raised there will take away with them is, that we must never, never, never, give up on our team. They WILL win. It may not be now, and it may not be tomorrow. But they will, and you must always believe.
Billboards are seen saying “keep the faith”, or have pictures of players on them. Baseball in Massachusetts is much more than baseball—its beauty, its passion, its hunger, its failure, it encompasses all that we hold dear, in one team—The Red Sox.
With this passion and this hunger, the fans of the boston red sox, watched huddled to the TV in the 4th game against new york…The yanks had won the first three games—if they won this one, we were out….done for, it would have to be ‘next year’-----Again.
But with their fans behind them the red sox did what everyone said was impossible, they beat the Yankees that game, and the next, and the next, and the next, to get to, and win the biggest prize: The World Series.

So, what was it that made this year different from all other 86 years? I think it can be summed up in a 2 words: Passion and Spirit. Many people say that baseball is a thinking mans game, and indeed it is, but it is also a game where you have to be passionate, be willing to go the extra mile, and you also, must be able to keep up your spirits when the going gets rough. Johnny Damon, Curt Shilling, and Red Sox Fans everywhere exibit these 2 things every game, every season, every year. We used to end baseball season by saying "Wait till next year", I'm proud to end this season by saying for the Yawkey’s, Ted Williams, Bill Buckner, Nomar Garciaparra, Johnny Pesky, Carlton Fisk, Yaz and all the other red sox greats who never got to experience what this feels like;

"We did it.
We are the Champions of the world"

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Untrained Apologist
It has been a while since I have blogged. My plan today was to post at least 3 blogs but that would be amazing if I do. However, I have been spurred on to at least get this one written. My daughter Grace’s recent blog lit the pilot and the most recent tournament email ignited the flame. (I am asking the Lord to help me channel my passion so that it will generate more light than heat – pray for me)

Yesterday we had the privilege of hearing a lecture on C.S. Lewis given by Marjorie Lamp Mead who has studied in depth the life and works of C.S. Lewis. The title for this afternoon event was C.S. Lewis Impacts Contemporary Thought. It was while Lewis was a Literary Professor at Oxford that he began writing theological books. He did not avoid the hard questions; he asked them and wrestled with them. In a quote from an introduction to one of his books he said, “I am a fellow struggler who writes from one amateur to another…….” He likened his writing to comparing notes with us who question and wonder about the things of God. Lewis was an untrained apologist. In case, you think you misread that Lewis was an UNTRAINED apologist.

Grace actually got me to go to this lecture. It is not that I didn’t want to go. We just have a lot to do for the speech and debate tournament. How did she get me to make it a must for all three of my children? She said, “Mum this will be really good for my apologetics event.” Sold to the girl with the best argument!!!

In Grace’s blog she reminded me of how M. Mead spoke about Lewis’ humility and that his books continue to sell in the millions. Mere Christianity which Mrs. Mead referred to often in her lecture is used in high school and college courses in the areas of worldview and apologetics. Yet, Lewis neither considered himself an authority on the matter of theology nor to he take comfort in the money he was making (he gave it away). “Theology is more like a map than a destination. It is not God. It points us toward God,” said Lewis.

When Lewis came to Christ as an adult his focus changed from literature to theology. In fact, his writings help the church to come back to theology. He challenged the church to think through problems not dodge them.

Mere Christianity was birthed out of Lewis’ radio talks on the BBC during WWII. This is a book that is both for the believer and the unbeliever giving merely the rudiments of the Christian Faith. Although Lewis grew up in a certain denomination, he chose to write about the basics of Christianity. He did not wish to write about things that divide the church of Jesus Christ.

There is more I wish to write about (that hopefully I will get to later today) concerning the lecture and C.S. Lewis, but for now I will have to leave it at that as we are getting ready to make our way to the Reading Festival down at Centennial Park in Ft. Myers.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Edison Festival of Light 2005
Last night we went to The Parade in downtown Ft. Myers. We were doing a townie thing with our townie friends The McGuires. It is one of the few night parades in the country and it was an enjoyable time. Thomas Edison is the man who put Ft. Myers on the map. This parade is in honor of Mr. Edison near his birthday (Feb. 11th, 1847). The parade starts with fireworks. There were bands and floats for a parade that lasted nearly 2 and 1/2 hours. Go to the local paper at to check out more about the parade.

Our friend Pete McGuire had been in this parade when he was in high school (a few year's ago :-). My favorite parts were the bands who didn't just play the music but danced as well not just flag corp and cheer leaders but the drummers and trumpeters too. Bronson Arroyo from the Red Sox was apart of it too.

So much more has been happening. I will have to write later since I need to finish packing to go camping - yes, isn't Florida just Fabulous in February!!!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Not missing out
Last night the girls and I went to a homeschooling meeting where our friend, Esther was going to be speaking about her experience in Africa this past summer. It is our delight to be supportive and attentive to those whom we love. Walking into this meeting all the parents were dressed in their Sunday best, I was a little out of place with my Birchenstock sandals, golf shorts and a Marlborough MA t-shirt but that was the least of the distinctions. I have not been to a formal homeschooling meeting in nearly 3 years and I don't thing I have been missing out on much.

When I walked into the meeting someone immediately greeted me, with Hello my name is A...B...., are you a member of CHESF (Christian Home Educators of Southwest Florida) ? I said no, we are friends of the McGuire's. Do you want to be members? No thanks. Then we were directed to the name tags. There was a professional photographer there to take pictures of the officers of CHESF, a table for the yearbook committee and so many activities available that you never have to stay home. This was not a new encounter. In Virginia we found the same kind of thing. As a family we affectionately call this "group" school.
Mind you, there is nothing wrong with activities, co-ops and the like but when you are either required or expected to participate in most things, then you are no longer functioning as a family but within the context of a group or a school, an institution. Doesn't this kind of defeat the purpose of homeschooling?
John Taylor Gatto in his book A Different Kind of Teacher referred to this as being identified by association. No longer is it ok to be an individual family or simply an individual. No one can be trusted by his or her character, that is trusted by his/her association. This sentiment has infiltrated those of us who educate our children at home. It is good to gather for support and to be supportive of one another but to be educating one another's children on a regular basis, requiring members of a homeschool group to participate in XYZ in order to continue being a member sounds very close to a system that we have choosen not to be a part of.........looks like the days of support groups are coming to a close make way for associations that conduct themselves much like dare I say it.....a school. Anyone want to be principal?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

This evening I took my Mum to centennial Park at the waterfront in downtown Ft. Myers. We watched and took pictures as the sun sank "into" the Caloosahatchee River. We returned back to our apartment where I dropped my Mum off and picked Grace up. As we drove down route 41 it dawned on me that my mother is in the sunset of her life. She doesn't walk as quickly and she sleeps more and she appreciates being waited on by her grandchildren. It is our pleasure to care for her as she had cared for each of us in the past.
I pray that the Lord will allow her, when the time comes to go gently and quietly in a clear sky and calm waters.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Happy New Year
Has it really been since last year (2004) that I have posted? Yes. So much has happened since I posted. Grace had another practice tournament. We all participated this time. Dan enjoyed judging and sitting in on some debate. Being able to discuss important matters and look at ideas from both sides of the table is such a great skill to acquire as a young person.

We have also been participating in 4-H working on a study of Marine biology. This past week we went out among the islands of Captiva and Colossa on a boat where we got to see dolphins up close. Some of our friends had not been out there since Hurricane Charley. They were amazed at the loss of trees and the ability to see homes that you usually were coved by Florida scrub exposed. Dan and I could not grasp what it was they were experiencing. The trees that were still standing a majority of them were permenantly bowing. Seeing the dolphins playing in the water was a good disctraction from all the distruction that took place this past summer.

The big Florida sky has really captured my attention as well.