Sunday, December 24, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
After reaching the North Pole--about 45 minutes outside of Bryson City--the train stopped to let Santa board with his elf.
He autographed books and spoke to each child. Most requested snow for Christmas but didn't think it odd that there was none at the North Pole. Go figure!
Each child was given a bell to signify the first gift of Christmas like in the book.
The ride back to the station was spent singing Christmas carols. The most memorable song was "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Each section was given one day and we sang it from one end of the car to the other. It was hilarious. The kids hope to make this trip an annual tradition, but the adults aren't so sure. I think the car ride over the mountains to get there about did us in! It was very curvy, and if it snowed we never would have made it. I overheard one mother saying that her child threw up on the way. Ross felt sick, and we had to pull over on the way home, but he never did throw up. Thank the Lord!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
I did manage to do one creative thing in the decorating department this year. I actually cut branches from our magnolia tree, our pine tree, and the neighbor's holly bush to make window and mantle decorations. I was quite impressed with how they looked----until 50 mph winds blew them all away two days later. Fortunately, Tessa was able to locate them, and Ryan was kind enough to drag the ladder out to hang them again. I am pretty impressed that the zip ties held them together.
You know you're getting too old for this stuff when you actually forget the graduate in the program. Yep, the program was over and tons of people had shared before someone mentioned that Ryan had never made his way to the stage. Much to his delight, I forgot the part where he was supposed to thank his mother for putting up with him for twelve long years. He was supposed to say how wonderful his education was and how he'd never forget the paper mache armor we made in the second grade. Talk about an untraditional graduation! There was no Pomp and Circumstance. There was no cap and gown. There was no anything that looked like a graduation. Well, the food was great and the square dance a blast.
My boss, Dan, did a great job of charging Ryan. I'm so glad I didn't forget him. He really encouraged Ryan to live life for the Lord and to always honor his parents! I didn't even have to pay him for that one!
Friday, November 03, 2006
Chapel is held every other Wednesday and is one of our favorite parts of school! The children are given a chance to share what they are memorizing. Classical education emphasizes a great deal of memory work during the grammar stage, K-6. I am totally amazed at how effortless memorization has been for all the Cornerstone children.
The kids really enjoy the crazy games that Dan plays with them during chapel. Here they are doing reverse push-ups! The worship time is also a lot of fun.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Several months ago, I heard that some families at our church were getting together to start a Christian school in our town. Since it obviously didn't apply to my life, I didn't really hone in on the details. Around that same time, Michael was doing a job at one of the founding family's home, and he was casually asked if I'd be interested in a job at the new school. He laughed and said, "I really don't think so." When he told me, I had about the same response!
Then in June, I was asked to consider teaching by another person on the board of the school who had heard about me--whatever that means! I politely told her that I was flattered, but that I didn't really consider myself that great of a teacher. They specifically needed a teacher for bible/history/literature. I assured her that I would pray about it, but since the thought of it was giving me heart palpitations, I was pretty certain that the answer from God would be a no! Sure enough--I was not being led to take the job. Honestly, I felt that I had too much on my plate already. What a relief!
It wasn't to end there. A few weeks ago, I asked how things were shaping up with the school and was told that they still needed a grammar teacher and an administrative assistant. I jokingly said that grammar might have tempted me. Before I knew it, I was interviewing with the headmaster and a board member for the part-time position. To make a long story short, I was eventually hired as the administrative assistant--a full-time position. Did I mention that I wasn't really looking for a job?
When I went to the Lord in prayer, this is what was spoken to my heart:
I do not need a job, but I do need an avenue to be who I am and to use the gifts God has given me to impact the world and this community for Christ.
I also reviewed some notes I had taken during a Sunday school lesson a few months back that reminded me that God is doing something bigger than my itty-bitty world. The question was whether or not I wanted to be a part of it. And I did!
The catch was that Tessa would have to attend the school. YIKES!
I only agreed to the job on the condition that if Tessa was not coping after one month, she would be taken out to be homeschooled once again. We have both survived and, more importantly, enjoyed the first week! I can't even express how wonderful it is to be part of this adventure! The operational board is a group of amazing, prayerful people, and the headmaster is a true gift from God. There is no doubt that this school has been ordained by the Lord. I feel honored that God would include me in this work and look forward to my faith being increased daily! I have been awed and challenged by the men and women who, through much prayer, obeyed the call.
At this point, there are 55 students, so the school is still very intimate. I love that! Tessa is the only 4th grader, so she is combined with the 3rd graders. She knew several of her classmates from church and was happy to see a friend from a previous dance studio on the first day! Because classical education is new to all of them, nobody seems to have an advantage. Believe it or not, Tessa is loving Latin. Who'd have thought?
So far, I actually love my job! My unofficial job description is: Anything I am asked to do! And that about sums it up. I am Dan's--Mr. Peterson's--assistant, but I also pitch in when needed in the classrooms. Besides a ton of paper-pushing and phone work this week, I was able to have lunch with Tessa and teach a part of her P.E. class. The latter better have been a fluke! I am really looking forward to being able to do some creative projects with the students when we are more settled in. A few are already brewing in my head.
Every day brings new challenges since we are in a borrowed facility, working with limited resources. But, I love that part of it. God continues to provide for our needs each day and that excites me.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
From there, we headed to my birthplace, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! Every so often I feel an incredible need to go back to my roots. After the visit, I'm never sure why. :) I guess it is to appreciate that the Lord brought me out of that place! :) We stayed in a hotel on the outskirts of the city, and I really had to work at finding my way around. Not having someone else to read the map while I drove was probably the biggest challenge on the trip.
It was pouring on the first day, so we visited the Science Center in downtown Pittsburgh. I think our favorite part was the miniature town with all the moving people. The dog lifting his leg on the tree sure got some laughs! We also were able to go inside a real submarine. I wish I could convey some enthusiasm here; but honestly, the kids and I didn't enjoy being in such tight quarters. :)
Another highlight of our visit to Pittsburgh was taking the kids to my old neighborhoods. We were all amazed at how little the house was where I spent most of my childhood. While we were stopped to take this picture, some lady asked us if we were lost. She was able to tell me who still lived in the neighborhood. I can't imagine having stayed in the same place for all of my life, but many had! A while back, my brother, who no longer lives in Pittsburgh either, realized during a business call that he was actually talking to the man who bought this house from my parents back in 1971! He met up with him on his next trip through and was taken on a tour! I would have loved to do that.
After the neighborhood tour, I took the kids to the park where I spent a lot of my free time. The high school and town pool are located there as well. Many July 4th's were spent there, enjoying community events and fireworks. The kids really enjoyed walking part of the path in the woods that we used as a shortcut to the park. Unfortunately, now it is littered with partying trash. :(
I should mention here that traveling with the three kids was a joy! My grandchildren are so well behaved (Thank you, Kelly and Travis!) that there was not even one discipline issue! No one moaned, groaned, or whined! They were troopers the entire trip and brought many smiles to my face.
We ended up staying an extra day in Pittsburgh because of flooding in the middle of the state. My brother had a little too much water on his property and in his basement; and since his house was our next stop, we decided to wait. We arrived at his house a day later--after the clean-up--and met Kelly, Travis, and Kenzie. Of course, we had a wonderful meal, prepared by a fabulous chef! :) It does pay to have a Certified Executive Chef in the family! Mike and Mary are so hospitable each time we visit. Imagine putting up seven extra people the day after you clean up from a flood. We were able to stop at Mike's house again on the way home--it wasn't just for the food, I promise! Come to think of it, maybe it was! I did come home with three coolers full! I'd also like to put in a plug for the game Apples to Apples. We had a blast playing this after dinner one night. Aunt Mary seemed to enjoy spending time with Kenzie as they waited for Uncle Mike to finish cooking the feast! And what a feast it was!