Archive for December, 2009

Making a list and checking it twice

In the past few days, I have found myself overwhelmed thinking of all the normal household stuff and Christmas stuff I need to get done, so I decided to make a list.  There are 33 items on my list, and I have yet to add writing the Christmas newsletter; signing a lot of Christmas cards; folding; stuffing; and labeling same; and making Christmas cookies!

However, I do feel a sense of accomplishment, because I marked every item on the list that MUST be done today (only 17) and then listed them in the order they need to be done.  I have marked off almost half those items and it’s only 10:45 AM!  Now I just need to keep going at the same pace, and all will be well.

I love a parade!

This evening, Jessica and Josiah culminated SEVERAL weeks (months?) of preparation – and Andrew joined them – by participating in Branson’s 61st Annual Adoration Parade.  A map of the route and some pre-parade information can be seen here.  Jessica and Josiah helped design, build, and decorate AIM’s float “Christ for All Nations,” and tonight they and the float were AWESOME!

The float was very sharp and professional-looking;  a van pulled a rectangular flatbed trailer featuring vertical posts supporting a high top (wood, I think) banner that ran all the way around.  From the banner hung flags of many nations.  It was all beautifully lit up, and in the bed of the trailer many “angels” (including Andrew) were signing to the Michael W. Smith song that was playing.  Beside the float, older AIM Branson team members (including Jessica and Josiah) costumed in the garb of many different nations, walked, marched, and/or danced while also signing.

As a mom, I wanted to not only watch my kids doing this grand thing, but to also take some pictures.  Since the float did not stop near us, I had to do both activities on the fly, so to speak.  Therefore, I didn’t get good pictures, and I didn’t see Josiah or Andrew.  Jessica was on our side of the street, though, and she was a delightful Egyptian princess!

Scott ran across the street and down a block to see Josiah and Andrew before the float got to where I was standing.  He hollered enough supposedly Spanish words at Josiah (dressed as a Spaniard) to embarrass him, and he snapped a few quick shots of the boys’ side of the float before running back up the street, zipping back across to the street right in front of the moving float(!), and tossing the camera back to me.

The weather at parade time was about 35 degrees, with 11 mph winds and alternating mist and rain.  It was NOT a nice time to be out in one’s Egyptian, Spanish, or angelic garb; especially since all three were expected to smile and sign continuously during hour it took to traverse the one-mile, approximately one-hour-long parade route.  Josiah claims he was not cold at all, Andrew said he couldn’t feel his feet or fingers, and Jessica says that given the fact that she probably signed some 617 “hallelujahs,” her shoulders may never be the same.

Scott and I were, as always, terribly proud – of our kids, the AIM team, their work, and their devotion to Jesus and willingness to boldly lift Him up.

What a parade!

Dog whistle

I am aware that I have begun to lose a bit of my high frequency hearing.

A few years ago, we saw (or actually heard) a nifty exhibit at the St. Louis Science Center that demonstrated this fact.  You stand in front of speakers (or maybe you wear a headphones?) that produce a constant tone, and you can move a lever to change the pitch of the tone.  As you adjust it higher and higher, you can read on the display the exact frequency at which you suddenly hear nothing.

It’s very odd, because as you move the lever up, the tone doesn’t grow gradually softer until you can’t hear it; instead, it remains at full volume and then just turns off in an instant, like you’d turn off a light switch.  I no longer remember what that frequency was for me at that time, but the kids were amazed that they could clearly hear a high-pitched whine at a frequency where I heard absolutely nothing.

It seems – although I have no way to prove it – that my computer monitor emits a very annoying high-pitched squeal.  The kids come into the office and say things like, “Mom!  How can you STAND to listen to that all day?!??”  When I reply that all I hear is the whirring fan noise of the CPU, they shake their heads incredulously and say they’re glad it’s my monitor and not theirs.

Maybe my monitor is really a dog whistle in disguise.   Or maybe it’s a mom whistle.

Catching up

I am now a little more caught up than I was on recording homeschool hours. That may not be saying much, but I did spend almost an hour and a half today doing nothing but entering information in to several Excel spreadsheets.

I have now thoroughly and officially documented the academic activities of three children up through October 3 (of this year!), which puts me a mere two months behind.  However, instead of thinking of myself as being two months behind, I prefer to tell myself that I only have to record sixty more days’ worth to be current!  It’s all in how you choose to look at it, right?

It’s a curious thing, ministry

No matter whether it’s a church or some other ministry organization, I have decided that serving in any kind of ministry is THE most stressful, challenging occupation in which one can be involved.  It ought not so to be, but it is clear that our enemy (Satan) attacks ministry more than any thing in the universe.  The other thing that makes ministry difficult is that it nearly always involves people.   = )

Dropping like a rock

The temps, that is.  For weeks and weeks and many more weeks of fall,  we were consistently experiencing lows in the 40s and highs in the 60s.  That all changed abruptly on November 29, and now our highs are in the 30s, with an expected low of 15 tonight!  The good thing is that we saw snow flurries at Highlandville yesterday afternoon.  That, of course, is nothing compared to what our menfolk will be experiencing in Colorado in a few weeks.  I always say there’s no point having cold, windy weather without any snow.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Except maybe not on the evening of December 6, when Jessica, Josiah, and the rest of our local AIM team will be wearing “foreign country” costumes (not all of which would be described as bulky and insulating) while they walk along the Branson Adoration parade route.  BRRRRR!

How many. . . ?

ten year-old boys ask for “tie-on” ties and a sport coat for Christmas?  Just wondering.

Go, Tell. . .

I found a really nice, jazzy arrangement of “Go, Tell It On the Mountain,” and I started working on it today.  However, it’s pretty difficult and it will take a LOT of practice to get it presentable by the first week of January (the last time we can get credit for learning Christmas songs).  That means that if I can carve out time to practice at all, my family will be hearing an awful lot of “Go, Tell. . . ” in the near future.”  Maybe I should move from the computer to the piano now.  = )

Is it all too much?

I guess I am a confirmed stick-in-the-mud.  One of my main goals in life is to carve out days when I can stay home and/or when there’s nothing going on.  Boring, eh?  I am looking at our family’s December calendar, and it comes to my attention that there are only six days this month when something isn’t scheduled.  For some reason, that wears me out just thinking about it.

Now, I know that I will enjoy many of the activities that are planned, and I know that our family members generally like to have a lot going on, but some days I find myself wishing it would all just go away!

End of overwhelmed rant.  I will now return you to your regularly scheduled happy Walnut Shade Mom.  (I am actually quite happy today; maybe it’s just my calendar that’s feeling the pressure.)

Yellow belt!

Last night, Andrew was given his yellow belt certification in taekwondo!  He has now officially moved from white belt to yellow belt and will be training in a more advanced class.  Due to a shipping delay, none of the students were able to actually receive their new belts at the awards ceremony, but they will all get them at class tomorrow.

The judges used E (excellent), S (satisfactory), and N (needs improvement) to rate each student testing for yellow belt on 21 specific moves and 4 general areas.  Andrew received mostly S’s, only two N’s (on his  “inner forearm block, back stance” and his “answer ups” – loudly saying, “Yes Sir!” when addressed), and E’s on each of the following:

forearm strike, front stance

turning round kick, middle stance

crescent kick, front stance

hook kick, middle stance

uniform neatness


We are really proud of Andrew’s accomplishment.  He has learned a lot so far and will be making even more progress in the coming weeks and months.
Great job, Andrew!

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