November 30, 2005

Thought for the Day

"One of the commonest ailments of the present day is the premature formation of opinion.” --Frank McKinney

November 29, 2005

The Computer Blues...

We have the computer blues here at our home. It is hard to believe it but it is true. We are to the point where a couple of our computers crash daily and just can no longer chug, chug, chug through the daily email and web-surfing grind. It really is an odd thing because we run an Internet-based business and I work from home as a graphic/web designer. So I guess I should explain.

My computer is great. Tip-top shape because it has to be. They bring home the bacon, so to speak, and need to be dedicated to work only. I have a Gateway 500 Series XL with full multi-media support running WX Professional. I have had it over 3 years now and have not had one issue with it. This past summer, we purchased an IMAC G5 so that I would have two systems, one from each platform, to work from. I was really excited to get the G5 but have to say that once I got it home and started working on it, I found out that it is very noisy, often overheats, and generally makes my workload tougher (not lighter). My days are spent on the XP with occassional work on the G5. It works for me and for the most part I feel that I can be pretty efficient having the two machines side by side (well kitty-korner from each other).

My dear dh's computer, on the other hand, has a well-loved and trusted old Apple G3 that is, as we speak, hanging on by a thread. I was donated from my loving brother who had used it for a number of years of his computer-based design business. It was a dead-horse as he called it. Not good for anything and was sitting in his closet. In fact, he said it couldn't even start up. He kindly shipped it to me and I set it up, plugged it in and voila! It worked. It needed some TLC as my brother had removed most of the good stuff (drives etc) to his newer system. Nonetheless, I was grateful and set to work to get it working in the best order possible. I added a new NIC card, a bigger hard drive, a USB card and then began the enormous task of upgrading the operating system. If you are not a Mac person or are a OS X newbie, then this will just not make any sense to you. But for oldie Mac users like myself, upgrading an OS is just not something that can be easily done -- unless you happen to own a computer Software store or are a licensed Apple Technician (even then it is not possible anymore). Apple has made it impossible to upgrade old systems and they force consumers to retire their old machines in favor of the new breed. Well, I was not ready to do that and headed off to EBay to find used copies of OS 9. Thankfully, I found a brand new version of OS X with Classic bundled in to boot. Since that time (almost 3 years ago) dear dh has been sending and receiving email, browsing the internet, and creating his business documents on an old dinosaur of a machine. It hums now, sort of loudly, but not too noisily to really bother anyone. It gets overheated so we need to keep air moving around it. We have talked about getting him a new Dell PC but dh is not ready to trade in and become a "gates convert" yet. We have looked at the new Mac Mini but think that it offers a limited palatte of options. Even though it is very price-friendly, a new Dell will out perform and out last it.

So, that brings us down to my dear son's computer. DS has had the cast-off's of the family and the business since he was 6. I gave him his first computer, a Mac SE (anyone remember those?) with a 10 MB hard drive (yes, that is MB). DS drew on it and wrote stories mostly. He loved it. The next computer was handed down to him after DH upgraded from the IMac Blueberry (which dreadfully overheated and locked up daily) to the G3. DS got the older still, Mac Performa system. Non-internet capable, it was a fun machine to play games on and just do silly things with. As DS got older though he wanted to play more advanced games and that required a bigger, more robust system. At that time, I was working off a HP Win 98 system that had a very nasty habit of not turning on or off. It was a fairly solid computer system, just wouldn't always behave as it should. I have since come to loathe anything made by HP! When I upgraded to my newer Gateway PC (for business), DS got my old HP. Not a bad system for a while but then it began to fade. Memory leaks were the main source of problem and a virus did it in. We do run anti-virus but ds had downloaded a game from a website that had a very malicious bit of code in it and it just destroyed that system completely. About that same time, my MIL decided she needed a faster computer (for her church work) and bought a Gateway system. She donated her HP ME edition to ds. It was clogged with viruses and after several cleanings, reformattings, and then reloading of the software, was in somewhat usable condition. DS has modified it to the best of his ability -- and has slowed it down to a crawl with all his games and other computer software code. He is now asking for a full-fledged multi-media system so that he can run Battlefield 2 on it. I am holding out -- because I pretty think dear DH needs a computer first (did I mention that he has less than a GB of space now -- he is walking on water -- literally!)

So our computer/office/schoolroom looks like this:

One brand new, very noisy IMAC G5 (I love it - but cannot tolerate the noise or the excessive heat it generates!)
One very sturdy and excellent WIN XP system - my beloved Gateway
One very old IMac Blueberry that doesn't do much of anything anymore except get too hot and then lock up
One very old IBook G3 notebook that cannot do much of anything either. We use it when we travel to check email.
One very old Powerbook G3 that was donated to us (another Brother) that as of this writing is still sitting under the cupboard in desparate need of repair
One very weary HP ME edition that works some days and not others. Generally, dysfunctional but still part of the family.
One very hearty but quickly fading G3 -- in need of well-deserved retirement.

As I write this blog post, I laughed because our computers almost take on personification (becoming human). My brand-new IMAC is very high-maintenance (just like someone I know). The sturdy WIN XP is all business and never gives me a moment's trouble. The old systems are seem to reflect different stages of life, mostly aging, some still hanging on, some already passed on. Curious. Just made me think of life and how quickly we go from being brand-new to being close to death. Hmmm...have to think more on that thought.



Down with the Flu

This past week was meant to be enjoyed. Family had travelled from far to celebrate both the Thanksgiving Holiday along with my in-laws birthdays (MIL on 21st and FIL on the 26th). We had big plans...a 75th birthday party for Dad as well as lots of kid-friendly family time (games, movies, swimming, and just hanging out). But instead, some of us came down with a rather nasty bout of viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu). It started with my BIL and nephew who became ill shortly after arriving at my in-laws home. Everyone else seemed to dodge the bullet until yours truly fell under on Saturday.

I have not been this ill in years and do not recall really ever experiencing such a violent upset to my tender and somewhat sensistive digestive system. My dear dh and ds spent most of Saturday, all day Sunday and most of Monday caring for me. I am blessed as they ran to and fro with blankets, pillows, 7-up, and crackers, just to ease my sick tummy.

Today, I feel wonderful. My side still aches and my back hurts when I move just the right way, but the illness has passed (just as I heard it would - 2-3 days and it was gone). It was really awful but I have to say that if anything good can come from getting ill this way, I guess it would be that I got to relax and sleep to my heart's content. I also got to see the great job both hubby and son did around the house. I really appreciate all they did while I was out of commission. They saved me from returning to a sink full of dirty dishes and a house unkempt.

I wish you all well and that you and your family can escape this virus this holiday season. I have read online and heard from friends that it is fast-moving and spreading all over the country. Stock up on 7-up, crackers, chicken soup. Take care.

November 25, 2005

Paradise Valley Gift Wrap Booth

For those of you who live in Phoenix, make sure to bring all your holiday gifts to the Paradise Valley Mall GFWC Gift Wrap Booth (at the Dillards court). My woman's club has manned the GW Booth for over 26 years and all proceeds raised benefit the local community. The booth will be open beginning today (11/26) through December 24!

Thought for the day...

We are what we repeatedly do. ~Aristotle

The Cat's Meow

Well, it is late and the cat is meowing. This is our nightly ritual. He comes and gets me to tell me it is time for bed. He has a rather annoying meow - very loud and sort of a wail. He is diligent and will not stop until I pay him some attention. Usually, he will sit at my feet and just cry.

So, I need to beckon to his queue and head off to bed.

Loving Others

Loving others requires a heart of obedience to God.

Yes, Lord. Help me to love others, especially those around me I meet, or those who can be difficult to love. Teach me to love as you love us. Without limit, without prejudice, without fear, without concern of loving back, without hesitation. Teach me, O, Lord, to love with my whole heart, in obedience to you.

Family Visits



Our Family

My husband's family is in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. His sister and her family have travelled from Liberty, MO to spend the week with us. Dh's father and mother both celebrate birthday's this week and his dad is turning 75 on Saturday. We are having a massive 75th birthday party for him and are expecting 75 in attendance.

Dad singing "Because He Lives"

Ps. DH's father suffered a massive stroke 12 years ago on November 3rd. He was left partially paralyzed, almost blind, and disabled. He was 62 at the time and president of a Christian High School in San Francisco. He has lived with this disability all these years and although he wishes he could see better (some times he can see, othertimes he cannot), his spirit has never diminished. He loves the Lord Jesus and has a special ministry, a gift from the Lord, to share the love of Jesus with all he meets. He is very social and loves to chat with everyone. Not a moment goes by that he doesn't stop and talk with strangers and ask them if they know Jesus. He invites them to church, he prays for them, he loves them just as he can. He is a testimony to the faithfulness of God, the deeply rooted love of our Saviour and that perserverance is not as difficult as we like to make it. He is a blessing to our family and we cherish our days together.

November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Blessings!

"And it is further recommended, that, together with devout Thanksgiving, may be joined a penitent confession of our sins, and humble supplication for pardon, through the merits of our Savior..."
~United States Government Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1777

Today is Thanksgiving. As we are getting ready to celebrate this most thankful day with our family and I want to take a moment to give thanks to the One who deserves our unending thanks. It is without hesitation that I say that I am thankful to God above for his great care and mercy, his never-ending forgiveness, and his daily participation in my life. I am truly blessed to have family around me who love the Lord and walk in his ways. They are a light to me and help to guide and direct me as I traverse the ways and means of my life. I have good friends, new and old, who share with me their love of God, home and family and offer wise words of support and encouragement, often at the most opportune moments when I need to hear it most. My husband and child are the focus of my life and I give thanks to God every day for this gift. I do not know what kind of life I would have had or where I would be without their constant love and support. I am thankful to our founding families (not just the fathers but the mothers and their children) who came to this great land in search of a dream - a dream born out of their love of God and their desire to live in a way that pleased him. Without their deep sacrifice, we would not be reminded yearly to give Thanks to our Creator.

Family Blessings

My hope and prayer is that today you would receive the Lord's blessing upon your life and that as you share in the bountiful harvest around your table, you would take a moment to reflect and give thanks to the Lord, for he is SO GOOD!

Thanksgiving Eve

Tonight we went to church for our Thanksgiving Eve service. It was a service of thanks and celebration and it was perfect. Our church is small and is an evangelical Covenant church. I was not raised in this denomination but have for many years attended non-demoninational Bible churches. We recently changed churches so we could fellowship in a smaller setting and also attend with my parents.

Anyway, tonight we had several people share testimonies of their thankfulness to God. It was a tearful time as pure hearts shared with humility all the the Lord had done for them this past year. I am so grateful for the honesty in my church. I am thankful that while we may be simple in our approach (not the best music or best ordered service), we are real and filled with loving and living "Christ followers." Not a Sunday passes that I don't learn something new, take home words of wisdom to meditate on, or stand convicted of unconfessed sin in my life.

God in his ultimate wisdom has chosen for us to learn to be humble through his life-breathing Spirit who gives Grace and Mercy to all those who diligently seek after Him.

November 23, 2005

Contacts - Oh drats

I went to the eye doctor today to have a follow up visit. I have been testing out contacts for the past month now and so far haven't been able to find the right kind to work with my nearsightedness. I am wearing trial pairs of soft lenses and while they are comfortable and help with my upclose vision, I just cannot see things at a distance.

I have ordered a pair of gas permeable lenses (hard) to try next. I used to wear this kind years ago and always had issues with protein buildup and eye dryness. I really want these lenses to work out as I am loving the freedom they bring from wearing glasses.

November 22, 2005

King of Kings

O thank the Lord, the Lord of love;
O thank the God all gods above;
O thank the mighty King of kings,
Whose arm hath done such wondrous things.

Refrain

King of kings forever and ever;
Lord of lords, forever and ever,
King of kings forever and ever;
King of kings and Lord of lords!

Give thanks to God, for good is He,
Thanks to the God of gods give ye;
Thanks give the Lord of lords unto,
Who only wonders great can do.

Refrain

Who thought on us amidst our woes,
And rescued us from all our foes;
Who daily feeds each living thing;
O thank the Heav’n’s Almighty King.

Refrain

O praise the Lord, for He is kind,
Give thanks to Him with heart and mind;
His mercy flows an endless stream,
To all eternity the same.

Refrain

November 21, 2005

Mentoring

This post is about my Mother -in-law (or Mother-in-love) as she likes to say it. I don't know about you but I am grateful to have a MIL who is an amazing woman, who loves the Lord, and who cherishes her family. My MIL is a spiritual warrior, a woman who has dedicated her entire life to serving the Lord and serving others. She was raised in a family of spirit-filled believers who gave their Lord everything. Her parents and grandparents were Salvationists (they were Officers in the Salvation Army). She married my FIL who also came from a heritage of Salvationists. My husband grew up a child of missionaries and lived all over the United States and in Puerto Rico.

Daisy Hepburn

I think about her often because she has made a huge impact on my life. It is hard to explain really but I would say that she has lived her life before me as an example of what a spiritually mature, Godly woman, should look like, act like, and live like. She has a powerful presence and always a word of wisdom to share with any one she meets.

When I first met her, I was so intimidated by her presence. After all, she and her husband were serving the Lord and had done so for years. I felt inadequate in my spiritual walk and in my knowledge of the Bible. I felt unsure and unsteady and worried that I would say or do the wrong thing. But in those early years, my IL were supportive and encouraging of my spiritual growth. They wanted to know what I thought, what I learned, and always encouraged me to learn more, delve deeper, get involved, and love the Lord.

We have spent the past 23 years together and it has been a long road and at times a difficult journey. My dh and I have lived near by for most of the time and have spent many, many hours in fellowship and bible study, listening and learning from both my MIL and FIL. It is a blessing to be able to sit and learn from people who have walked the road before you and who can share with you positive and encouraging stories of their faithfulness and that of others they know.

My IL live near us now and we cherish the times we spend together. They are still very active in ministry and as a result we do not see them as often as we would like. They continue to serve the Lord and travel often to preach the Good news to groups around the country. It is exciting to see how the Lord is using them in this time of their life. My MIL has written many books and bible studies and two years ago I had the priveledge of helping her write her most recent book, "We're Having the Time of our Lives." This little book (self-published) tells the story of my IL past 10 years and shares the trials and triumphs of living with a disability (my FIL suffered a masssive stroke that left him disabled, almost blind and partly paralyzed). It is an encouraging story of living life day by day and learning to adapt to a change of plans and a change of focus.

If you would like to read a copy of her story, you can order on from her website DaisyHepburn.com. Her books are still available through Amazon and other used sources - just google on Daisy Hepburn to learn more.

Ps. Today is my MIL's birthday! Happy Birthday, Mom!

November 3, 2005

Curriculum

We are using Ambleside Online for our curriculum and we really do love it. It is an academically challenging and riqorous curriculum and is based on the methodology of Charlotte Mason. This is our second full year of homeschooling and we are using AO again (Year 7) for ds' 7th grade.

One of the great things about AO (http://www.amblesideonline.org) is that it is very flexible and easy to implement. Most of the planning has been done by the Advisory board and yearly schedules have been created so that you can start immediately. You do have to get your books, either from the library, online (e-texts), downloads, or purchase them. But other than that, you can pretty much take the yearly schedule and begin school with one simply MS Word document.

Now, I would be lying if I said that that was all there was to it. I do know some families with older teens who simply print off the yearly 36-week schedule and hand it to their student. The student manages their time and schedules weekly meetings with their parent to go over their work and discuss certain books/topics. For younger students some sort of schedule or system is needed, just to help the student begin to learn how to manage their time.

My goal is to work towards helping my student learn how to manage his time. He struggles with time management so we often have to use the kitchen timer to help him focus and stay on task. I do have a weekly routine set up and we follow it pretty faithfully. Our schedule works well for us and so here it is broken down by the days of the week.