Thursday, October 30, 2008

looky lou...

I write words (and people pay me for that) -- you know, when I'm not doing the other stuff I've done this week, like teaching homeschoolers about the presidential election process, getting ready for the 150 or so trick-or-treaters I am expecting tomorrow night, or hacking my lungs out like a chain smoker (Thanks, Florida!).

My breast cancer story is teased on the front page on The Greenville News online today.

And my story about Holding Crosses was in yesterday's Tribune Times. I had never heard about Holding Crosses before being asked to write the story. Learn more about them here.

Enjoy. Cough, cough.

And dang, I really do own a very nice camera and might one day post a picture and update my Flickr account...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

24: Redemption Trailer

What the world needs now is...
Jack, yes, Jack.
You were thinking something else? :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

the value of a mom

I've written here several times about Let There Be Mom, a wonderful organization that helps terminally ill mothers leave a legacy for their young children. Another of "their" moms passed away today -- and what a legacy she left. Learn more about Monica Pryor and her beautiful family here, here, and here. The last link is to a sermon at my church from about six weeks ago. Monica appears in a video near the end of the sermon, telling about the importance of Let There Be Mom. She then plays violin -- she played with several orchestras in the past -- with our praise band to "Live Like You Were Dying."

She did.

We should.

It is believed that Monica's cancer was caused by radon in her home. My friend, Mike Burns, wrote a great story about Monica and the dangers of radon here. It is scary, but worth the read.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

what's that popping in your brain?

I am always asking other homeschooling parents about their experiences with various books and programs, so much so that they are probably starting to run away when they see me coming. To pay it forward, I am going to include some of our experiences here. YMMV.

First up, we just completed a free trial of Brain Pop. Sign up and enjoy. It is not in our homeschooling budget to continue with a subscription but my son has pretty much devoured the site already. He loved it and asked to spend more time watching the videos. Learning disguised as fun -- always a good thing. I would say the site is for older elementary and middle school ages at least. There is also a Brain Pop, Jr. for younger students, but we have not perused that one.

Note that in addition to the free trail offered by Brain Pop, several of the videos are free to watch at any time.

On a less than happy note, we have rid ourselves of Singapore Math for all eternity. I actually liked this program very much (I have an aversion to Saxon Math after my daughter's experience with it years ago) and I thought my son would do well with it. He hated it -- simple as that. I think the core of his dislike came from his familiarity with traditional public school math texts (sound bites and bright, shiny colors -- and some math, too). Singapore is decidedly different and apparently too much so for his taste. We are using a couple of different things at the moment before potentially moving on to Teaching Textbooks in a few weeks. The jury is still out.

A hearty endorsement for Woe is I Jr. It is funny and sometimes gross, which is just about perfect when you are a 10-year-old boy. The grammar lessons are rock solid and I find that my son sometimes reads more than he is assigned. That's the best endorsement around, as far as I am concerned.

More -- good and bad -- to come...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

autumn gathering

A few photos in celebration of the Autumn Gathering Home Party...


~a banner strung from vintage stained glass...


~ and the timeless appeal of thrifted books.



does florida have seasons?

I find it reliably spring/summer there whenever I go, which is one of the things I love most about the state. We had a wonderful respite at Walt Disney World over the past week. New to us: the Food and Wine Festival at Epcot (food, wine... that's enough, right?) and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom. There will be stories and photos published and I will tag those here. For now, enjoy a bit of summer in October.






the jedi and the flapper

...and their dad, who attended Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party as my handsome husband.


Some of us did not have time for costumes because we were down to the wire (the wire, I tell you) sewing a Jedi robe. It was imperfect and the edges of the linen undershirt (linen!) were zigzagged in a hurry -- not even hemmed. But as I told my son, Jedi knights take a vow of poverty, making material possessions unimportant to them. Sometimes you have to go with what you know.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

fall, part four

Fall is...



and bounty.





Wednesday, October 15, 2008

fall, part three

Fall is...

High adventure,


low tech,









Tuesday, October 14, 2008

fall, part two

Fall is...

An empty lake...




and canoes waiting for summer.



Monday, October 13, 2008

save the date

The second annual Dine Out for Mom, benefiting Let There Be Mom, is Oct. 23. If you are in the Upstate of South Carolina, please check the list of participating restaurants. And read more about this great organization in this month's Upstate Parent magazine.

Upstate Parent is one of the event's sponsors and I am proud that I was asked to help by writing about LTBM again. This year's story isn't online yet, but last year's is still available. I know the founder of LTBM and I can vouch for the fact that she is doing great work that directly benefits families in a profound, lasting way.

Let's eat!

fall, part one

Fall is...

field games for Scouts,


walks in the woods,






and nature slowing down.



Friday, October 3, 2008

byob (of the water variety)

Going green? Bring your own water bottle... (Ignore the goofy picture of me. I must get that updated.)

think pink, girls

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Oh, you're young and healthy, so that doesn't apply to you? Sorry -- the greatest risk factor for breast cancer is being female. Read more here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

inbox microcosm

Without naming names, let's just say a certain huge organization that regularly updates the media on certain very important issues had a big problem with their latest media update. Rather than the usual way we all get this (BCC, I guess), it was sent from their listserv address. The result was that everybody who received the original email (and there were probably thousands of us) also received every "out of office reply" that came back. It has been interesting to see the reactions. I have enjoyed my own little anthropological study here, anonymously, as the angry emails IN ALL CAPS were shot out, unknowingly sent to those same thousands of people with the flooded inboxes.

Some people were mean and it made me wonder if they talk to people that way on a daily basis. Or is it easier when you can type it, click send and you get the instant gratification of blowing off steam, even at the expense of another's feelings?

Soon, the funny emails started filtering through. The folks who don't sweat the small stuff tried to get the meanies to lighten up. Very funny -- good on you, people. You make the world a better place.

Serendipitously, old friends seem to have found each other and some people just took joy where they found it. "Hey G, how are you?" "I grew up in your town in the 60s!" "Hi Barbara, good to see your name here." "Hi everyone, here's the problem with the email list..."

Carry on, good souls. Don't let the meanies get you down.