4 Asian nations

Before reading any farther, name four Asian nations.

Did you do that yet?

My husband’s four were nations we’ve been involved with in wars. (China, Japan, Vietnam, Korea)

Mine were “big, famous” and the two I’ve taught in missions classes for kids. (China, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia)

My youngest son went for big population first. (China, India, Indonesia, Japan)

Eldest said, “China, Japan, Russia, India.”

What do you think about when you think Asian countries?

Raising and educating boys

is the topic of a blog entry on Betsy’s Page.

Boys have been less well educated, starting in the 80s, when my husband was in high school. But the trends are reversing. Despite this, the researchers are still finding boys are more medicated and more isolated -into special ed classes- and less likely to go to college. They also find that boys are more likely to graduate from high school as functional illiterates.

I have said this before, but I am going to say it again. I am grateful to God for getting me homeschooling. My youngest would have been in a special ed class because he didn’t start reading until after he was eight. I can’t remember now if he was eight or nine. I do remember it was in February. But within six months after he started reading, he tested at the 12th grade level in reading. He reads like a house afire. So does my oldest, who didn’t start reading until his second week in first grade. (He had told me it wasn’t important for him to read before that. I was the only one who thought he should read. So he just refused.) He also reads exceedingly well.

My boys were able to do what they did because I was willing and able to homeschool them.

One thing they talk about in the blog entry is free time. My boys have plenty of free time. Most kids these days go to school from 8 to 4 and have homework another hour each evening. Then they have some activity at least three nights a week and one on the weekend. My boys have about 20 hours of structured work a week. The rest of the time they have free.

Going to work is going to be a shock to them. I’m hoping to wean them into it, with classes at the college and part-time work before they leave home.

UT transfer

E’s been taking classes that will transfer to UT. Two of the classes he took, it turns out he doesn’t need. But the hours will still transfer. And they were interesting classes that took him out of his comfort zone.

I was thinking he should have more of his general ed classes at the community college. But then I saw this statement on UT’s website for the Natural Sciences transfer students:

Applicants with additional math and science credentials also receive priority consideration.

So he’ll be taking sophomore physics next summer, eight hours of it. Then he’ll take Calculus 3 in the fall. Or, maybe, if the school will let him, he’ll take Calc 3 and Span 3 in the summer along with physics.

Anyway I am going to make sure he has finished the calculus sequence at the cc and has taken his physics classes. That will at least indicate that he is interested in the area he wants to major in.

If I had seen that earlier, I might have done something different with the classes I am making him take now. But I’d have had to know it when he first started taking classes. I guess that just says that, especially as homeschoolers, we need to be looking ahead and planning for down the road.


for homeschooling can be a challenge.

E has finished four years of high school already. And he should be going into 11th grade this year. So he’s been taking classes at the community college. He’s planning to transfer to UT when I let him go (when he’s 18). I’ve looked online and found out what classes UT will accept as transfer in his degree program. I did make one mistake, so he’s got two classes they will accept as electives, but not as required courses. But that’s okay.

The real concern I have is that I want him to be able to take some general education requirements at UT so that he’ll have an opportunity to meet people who aren’t in the math department. Right now, with the schedule I’ve given him, he’ll only have government and accounting in the general ed classes.

But I want him to take some computer science courses. It seems that taking those while he has access to his dad for help would be a good idea. So I may drop the second history and his physics classes out of the list and have him take computer courses. Maybe I’ll even drop microeconomics. He can take that at UT too.

That would leave him with four classes that we could reschedule as computer science courses. Why do I want him to take cs courses? Because he’s a computer person. He should know how to do some programming. Also all the math people I’ve talked to say that you need computer programming skills. He may not need them if he stays with actuarial science, but he might even then.

So I’m going to require him to take computer science for me.

Then there’s M. I thought I had it all worked out. He’d take Algebra II and Spanish I. Then the homeschooling classes changed the schedule. Now he could take World Geography, which I would like him to have, as well as the other two courses. But he’d be sitting in a study hall for an entire class. Or I could just take him for the single class I can’t possibly teach him… I just don’t know what to do about that.

Possibilities for his schedule are:
Spanish I
Physical Science
Algebra II
World Geography

Algebra II only

Algebra II
World Geography

Spanish I
Physical Science
Algebra II

We’ve actually already had Physical Science, but it was two years ago, so it wouldn’t be outrageous for him to take it again, especially with someone else. He needs the Algebra II. And, of course, we’d do English, reading and writing and grammar, at home. If he doesn’t take physical science, we’ll do biology.

I’d like him to take Spanish I because he will need some basic foreign language skill when it comes time to take Greek. He has to have a foreign language in college if he didn’t take one in high school. But he has plans to take multiple years of Greek. So I don’t know.

I need to figure out what I think he will benefit from the most. I don’t think being in class all day three days a week is the best. Which are the most important?

Positive things about this committee

I’ve been reminded that for years, decades, my church has had a history of teens bringing their friends and having those friends accepted.

I’ve learned that if someone is gone enough, you can get a good workaround in place.

I’ve learned that emails come off snipey when you are tired and upset. Don’t write them then.

I’ve been given some hope for our next youth pastor. We may actually get someone I think is good.

I worked another two hours on one closet

and it’s still not done. Not anywhere close.

I did go from eleven boxes of things in there to four. But those other seven? I got three trashcans full of stuff out of them. I am not sure how that happened. Except that the boxes were packed a lot tighter. But still…

I threw one broken box and four 60 gallon trash bags as full as they would go away.

There are two boxes up there, sell and give away.

And there’s about twenty boxes left.

At this rate, I’ll be done by Friday, maybe.

Okay, that was a bigger project than I was thinking.

I’m down four boxes and have 22 more to go in the “clean the teen room closet” plan. Oh my goodness. I didn’t realize how much was in there, packed tightly together. And I’m having to decide what I want to keep and what I want to throw away.

I have thrown away two arm loads of old workbooks, heavy armloads, and two big black bags of trash. All that in four boxes? Hmm. Maybe I did more.

Took me almost two hours.

Cleaned two closets

I cleaned out two closets. I’m very happy with the way they looked and we didn’t need what I took out, either ever or rarely.

The rarely things I stowed in the Harry Potter closet, under the stairs.

I want the house to look better than it does. This helps me.

Things to paint:

front door (both sides)
closet in living room
edge of new work in hallway upstairs
back door (both sides)
the teen room wall where the dog tore it. How will I match the color?
media room
kitchen (or do new wallpaper, but stripping the wall paper and putting on textured paint would be cheaper and easier to make neutral)
inside of my closet
inside of R’s closet
dining room

Want to:
edges of house with a white, it will make the paint that is on it stand out more or maybe an off white
our bedroom (It’s the right color, but when you move the furniture it’s a problem.)

Our house has almost all green carpet. I loved in when I put it in and I think it does bring the outside in. But it’s not the neutral people are wanting. I’m not replacing the carpet though, unless I have to in the media room to get rid of the peeing dog smell.

To buy for the yard:

Impatiens for the shaded areas

Encore azaleas for the sunny areas

Knockout roses for the sunny areas

Something, anything? for the front where the crepe myrtle is

The folks writing on curb appeal recommend yellow flowers because it makes people want to spend money.

List of things to go in a storage unit:

The how-to places on preparing your home for sale say that you should delete furniture so that there is only enough for people to be able to tell what the room is for. I think that is a little extreme. I’ve seen houses with only a tiny table in the room and they turned me off. I wondered if the room was too small for regular furniture. But there are a lot of things in my house I could move and make the house seem bigger.

In addition they said that people will look in your drawers and closets. I think I’ll have to take stuff out of those. We’ll see.

bookshelves in the entryway (1)
in the dining room (3)
in M’s bedroom (or give it away?) (1)
in the laundry room (1)
in E’s bedroom (1)
in the teen room, the one R made (1) (Can I get rid of the books on it? They’re not mine. Hey, R, go look please.)

Maybe I should also take out the two small yellow bookshelves in the game room. Or put one in M’s room and one in back of the couch as a sofa table.

small dresser in E’s room (or get rid of it)

grandfather closet in E’s closet (and everything else in the closet)

all the things in the office closet

all of the things in the teen room closet (go through first and give away)

most of the stuff in the Harry Potter closet (keep some suitcases for travel)

kitchen stuff in right top cabinet (or just throw/give it away)

kitchen stuff in bottom cabinet in corner (we use these, but rarely.)

most of the stuff in the bottom next to the stove, both sides; Keep only enough to keep us going.

clean out any extra dishes we don’t use much

empty cabinet over hood and refrigerator

the brown dresser in M’s room (Would his clothes fit in there? Then I could get rid of the white dresser.)

the desk in the teen room

the sideboard (or give it away)

the little plant table in teen room

the glass table in entry way? (should I put the big end table there or just leave the glass. It seems too small.)

the cedar chest in our room

Most or all of the too small clothes in R’s closet and the other storage items. Leave the sweaters hanging and his camera bag in there.

Either the armoire or the dresser. The armoire makes the room seem small. The dresser doesn’t really match the furniture. It would be better to put the clothes that he wears in a suitcase, maybe, on the bottom of the closet so that he can get them out easily. So maybe the armoire and the dresser. We’ll have to hire someone to do that. We can’t move the armoire.

the table in the teen room (Or put it in dining room to make dining room seem bigger and put the d.r. table in storage. Or put it in the breakfast room.)

Either all the furniture in the breakfast room or some of it and some of the furniture in the living room. I think we should probably set up the breakfast room as a breakfast room. We love it with living room furniture in there, but I don’t think most people would.

Any knick knacks that are not in the china cabinet or out on the kitchen window shelf. I think that needs something, so I would leave it. But all the other knick knacks should either be given away or put away.

The blow up bed in the teen room.

The cute suitcases in the teen room.

the side tables in the media room

the big gray thing in the media room (or give it away?)

the hepa air filtering unit

the toys in M’s closet

some of the stuff in the hall closet. Then I should put towels and linens in there, so it looks like I know what it is for.

I am sure I will put in others. This list makes for a big storage unit.

Things to give away:

the sleeping bags in E’s room (we never use them)

the tent stuff (same)

Okay, I can’t do that. They’re survival stuff.

Most of my Christmas stuff. Get rid of anything I don’t love that is mine. Pack the boys’ things in one normal size box for ease of whatever.

The two small fake evergreens on the front porch and the pots they are sitting in.

Some more books. I’ll get rid of some. I’m sure I can. There are a lot I don’t read. I just bought them in case I ever need to teach them.

?The glass bookshelf in M’s room.? I like it. He likes it. In this house there is no place to put it. But there might be in the next house.

the white dresser in M’s room

the globe

Give Mom back the clock.

All the art/crafty things we’ve had for years and haven’t used.

Cull clothes. (I need to get back in shape so I can wear some of my clothes, but cull others.)

Some of the kitchen specialty things we don’t use. The fancy glasses. The ice cream serving pieces. Some of the ice cream scoops. (I think we have six.)

The big pot plants in the garage.

The plastic containers we aren’t using. (Of course, I always think we could use them. We will use them.)

I need to keep this list going and give all that stuff away anyway. Maybe I can make a run on Monday. I have a few things already thrown together to go away.


old magazines

Things that I don’t love in the little half bath. (Should we get rid of the unit? It was here when we came. But I think taking it out would make the bathroom look bigger.)

Ideas from different websites on how to stage a home.

Obviously clean and do repairs. Replace broken blinds, etc. I think this would be a good idea to do now, whether we sell the home or not. I’ve been trying to do more real cleaning and this is helping me get motivated.

Remove any personality from the rooms: personal photos, knick knacks, jewelry, bathroom things.

Plant yellow flowers. They make buyers want to buy.

Set the table with chargers, plates, and center pieces. But don’t put out flatware because it gets stolen.

Put on a colorful movie with the sound off. That is probably a great idea in our media room. They recommend a kids’ movie like Finding Nemo.

Open all windows, blinds, etc.

Make cookies or bread everyday so it smells good.

Have some easy listening or light jazz playing quietly.

Have everything absolutely clean. Including the garage and the wastebaskets. (To do this I may have to buy new wastebaskets.)

Clean the carpet.

Wash the windows inside and out.

Put fresh flowers out in the house.

Use floor lamps and table lamps in every room. You can get them at garage sales. (Maybe borrow some from Mom or S?)

Walls look the best when they are painted in neutral shades like beige, off white, peach, light blue, etc. (I didn’t know light blue was a neutral.)

Stage “smart” activities like reading and playing chess.

Remove any political or religious artifacts from home. (I guess for us that means get rid of excess religious books and the pro-life books.)

Have plants inside.

“Stage” the bathroom by having a pretty basket with new towels, new soaps, pretty stuff set out. (Mom would probably have some good ideas on how to do this.)

Buy new shower curtains if need to.

Empty pantry of most foods. Just leave enough that they can see there is room.

Have kitchen cabinets neat. All cups facing same way. Arrange spices by alphabet. (Hey, we already do that.)

The drums have spoken.

Tom Wolfe: “One by one, Marshall McLuhan’s wackiest-seeming predictions come true. Forty years ago, he said that modern communications technology would turn the young into tribal primitives who pay attention not to objective “news” reports but only to what the drums say, i.e., rumors. And there you have blogs. The universe of blogs is a universe of rumors, and the tribe likes it that way. Blogs are an advance guard to the rear.”

I got this from American Digest. You will want to go and see the pic that goes with it. You will be astounded.

Dear God,

I’m having trouble staying focused while lying in bed praying, so I thought I’d get up and write you a letter. I know you can read anything I write, but I thought I’d post it up here so I could think through things and come back to it easily.

First, I want to tell you thank you, immensely, for our house being paid off yesterday. Yours have been the blessings that have allowed that to happen. I know for some people it will never happen. Thank you. (This is my heart doing a jiggly dance.)

I also want to thank you for my family. R is a wonderful husband, supportive, kind, loving, sexy. Thank you for bringing him into my life. And thank you for letting me be in his. Thank you for our boys. Many people who want them can’t have children and, despite the fact we had been told we couldn’t, we have two. They are healthy. I have clear proof that their health is a miracle from you. And I continue to thank you for it. They are smart. That, too, comes from you. And you gave it to us as well. We appreciate it.

Lord, thank you that my parents brought me up to know you. Thank you that when I had the choice, I chose you. Thank you that when he came to times of trouble, R continued to follow you. Thank you for M’s love for you. I ask you to bless that, reinforce it, and continue to draw him toward you. Lord, for E I ask a stay of your coming. I ask that you give him time to use his brain and heart and come back to you. I know that if he does, he will be stronger for having questioned and been answered. (I think M will too, because he was here through this.) But I ask you to chase after E, Hound of Heaven, and bring him to you.

“You are Lord of creation and Lord of my life, Lord of the land and the sea. You were Lord of the heavens before there was time and Lord of all lords you will be.”

Which reminds me, that was so cool this morning. It must have been the Holy Spirit. And I appreciate that. There I was, lying in bed, holding my hand out and touching R, and talking to you. Then I started singing, “to reach out and touch you and say that I love you.” I don’t know what the author of the song meant, but I realized that I reach out and touch R because I love him; so in a way it is saying I love you. And, Jesus, I realized that is what I wanted to do for/to you, too. I ask so much and I’m not sure how well I share my joy and love. Thank you.

“I want to know you. I want to see your face. I want to know you more.”

Wow. That wasn’t what I started to pray about, but, God, I must be needing to, because that is what is coming out of me. Maybe the other, logistical prayers, prayers for wisdom, are contingent on my heart’s praise and knowledge of you. I think it may be so. In fact, I think it must be so.

In that spirit, and knowing that often I ask you far more than I thank you, just in case I forgot to thank you…

God, thank you that Christopher can see. Please protect his eyes for his lifetime. Continue to give him sight even as his genetics try to take it away from him.

God, thank you that Katie is less fearful of life and the world. I am sure it is horrifying for a little girl to have someone close to her die. I ask your continued blessings on Katie’s friend who lost her dad.

God, thank you that John and Kim are able to go to Italy with their family this summer. That is an awesome opportunity for them. They will enjoy it, I know.

God, thank you that Ang and Lou are in Colorado. Thank you for blessing their marriage. Thank you for bringing them through the hard times together. Thank you for Lou’s growth and worship of you. Thank you for being their for Ang. Yesterday was the anniversary of the black out in NY. Thank you for keeping her safe during that. Thank you for bringing her to me to be my friend.

God, thank you for your blessings on Amy and Thomas. Thank you that they were able to move into a bigger house and have room for Amy’s mom. Thank you that their hearts are open to your leading. Lord, I bless you for the love they have for you and for your lost and for your children. I have never in my life seen such openness to doing what you want on a daily basis. They have given their lives in serving you and it shows. Thank you for blessing them to be able to take care of Amy’s mother.

Please continue to bless their ministry of prayer. Please continue to guard the health of their children. Thank you that Noah was bludgeoned with his gift of guitar playing. That is so funny what you had to do to get him to see it. Thank you for letting him lead the service. He’s just fourteen and yet he led your congregation in worship. In my mind I see David. Thank you for that, Lord. God, give them time with John Paul. Keep his kidneys functioning. And, please, Lord, let someone in his family, or me, be able to give him a kidney when he needs it. Thank you for Peggy’s joy in dancing. Thank you for bringing her to such a blessing of liturgical dance and the group of women who dance with her. Lord, I laugh to see Justus grown so big and loquacious. I remember when he didn’t say anything and people worried. Thank you, Lord, that he was just taking his time to think before he began to astonish us with his words.

God, I thank you that from the wilderness time in North Carolina, you brought us to streams of living water. Thank you that James and Beverly came into our lives. Thank you for their friendship, their graciousness, their following after you. Thank you for Mark, whom you blessed them with. Thank you for bringing him to them safely. God thank you for Mei. Thank you for keeping her safe and growing her up and bringing them to her. She is such a precocious joy! She fits right in with their brilliant family. Thank you that they are able to be her family. And thank you for their willingness to take the boys if something happened to us. Please bless Bev’s homeschool experience. Let it be a blessing for her and the kiddos. Lord, please bless James’ work. Let it be something he enjoys, rather than a curse.

God, thank you for Nikki graduating from high school. Thank you for her being alive. Thank you for her being healthy. Thank you for her following you instead of the path that others in her family have taken. Thank you for calling her out of the darkness and into the light. Bless you for her tia and tio who took her in, added her to their family, and disregarded the financial cost to be a blessing for her.

God, thank you for Paula and Chris. Thank you for blessing their relationship. Thank you for healing them and growing them together. Please continue to guard and guide them. Thank you for Jonathan and Christopher. Thank you that they are healthy, happy, and smart. Thank you most that they have continued to follow you. Strengthen them in that.

God, thank you for Jessica. Thank you for healing her heart after Nathan’s death. Thank you for breaking through my experiential prejudice and showing me what to say. Thank you for bringing J’Lee into her life. Please, Lord, bless their family and their future together. Give them one as bright or even brighter than her parents’. God, thank you for K’Lee’s birth and growth. Help them to be the parents you want them to be.

You’ve been so good to us, Father. Thank you for that. Please forgive me when I forget to say thank you. I am so often excited over what you’ve done, but I don’t know that as often I say thank you. Thank you.

I love you.

Dream House

R thinks I’m having too much fun looking for a house in another town. But it’s actually a little stressful. We have more house than we need here, but we’ve done a lot to improve it and make it ours. The idea of letting go and starting over does not fill my heart with joy. If, however, this move would be the best thing for our family, I would definitely go anyway.

4 bedrooms or 3 bedrooms and a room we could use as an office. (We have that.)

Brick or Austin stone (my favorite, but more expensive) all four sides.

Big mature trees in at least part of the lawn. (We kind of have that.)

Gas stove in kitchen.

Hardwood floors. (We kind of have that.)

A garage that is not a major feature of the curb appeal in the house. (We got that here.)

Things to do if we put our house on the market:

Paint the media room white instead of red.

Repaint the office white or some pale color instead of bright purple. Or for the short term, stick a bed and dresser in there and say it’s a girl’s bedroom.

Maybe repaint the hall so that it is white rather than pinkish.

Paint the pantry closet in the living room. We’d probably have to turn that into storage instead of a pantry. A pantry makes it look like there isn’t enough room in our kitchen. And there was plenty when we moved in.

Probably should repaint the stairwell and our bedroom, too, but that’s a lot of work. And our bedroom doesn’t look too bad with the new put together look.

Remove/rearrange furniture:
Take down some of our bookshelves. All four in the dining room. The one in the front entryway. Maybe the one in the office and the one in the office. Probably the smaller one in the teen room. I could remove the books from the teen room big bookshelves and put our sci fi in there. That would be better than having those in storage.

A smaller table in the dining room would be better to show it off, but it may be that with the bookshelves out of there it looks plenty big. I should probably also move the china cabinet to the dining room. I like it in the living room, but furniture is supposed to be in the room where it goes.

In our room, we should take out the armoire, the cedar chest, and the little stool so that it makes the room look bigger. I love the armoire and the cedar chest, but they really do crowd the room.

Get rid of the gray thing in the media room. Empty out some of the bookshelves in there for game storage.

Take the tiny table and the bookshelf out of E’s room.

Take the bookshelf looking thing out of M’s room. Also maybe one of the dresser’s out of M’s room. He’d be better off with a small bookshelf in his room.

We could put a table back in the breakfast room. If we put the china cabinet in the dining room we’d have room for that loveseat in the living room. Then put the big chair in storage or up in the teen room? Or maybe in Micah’s room? I’d really need ot think about that rearranging. I think the love seat would be fine in the living room. Maybe just take the white chair and the other two chairs and put them in storage.

The paper in the kitchen. It’s not scrubbable and it looks bad. That was about $500 for paper and $500 for the work when we moved in. But we should definitely do it because it makes the house look so much better.

The boys’ bathroom tiles which have fallen out and/or broken.

The bathtub tiles in my bathroom need a heavy dose of bleach and new caulk.

The piece of wood at the back door that got water damage.

I would need to weed the yard really well.

I would need to take down those things I have on the fence trying to get the roses to train on them. And I should take out the roses. Instead I should buy a bunch of knock out roses or encore azaleas and put them there. They’ll bloom longer and be pretty.

If I do that, I should put black stuff down, to keep the weeds down, and then cover it with mulch. I might even should put a liner between the bed and the driveway.

In addition, I would need to mow the back yard, cut down things, pull up weeds.

The very back fence, though I don’t think it is actually ours, should be repaired so that the dog can be kept in the back run. Cleaning up, maybe planting some bright colored flowers in the back yard would be good too.

For the front yard, I would need some more foxtail ferns for the side of the driveway. And I should plant something else or additional somethings in the bed in front of our window. It doesn’t get as much sun, so that’s harder to find plants.

Also we would need to replace the jacuzzi cover and the piece that is missing on the inside. It doesn’t matter to us if it doesn’t work. (The heater needs something done to it.) But it does need to not be an eyesore. That’s $500. But it is easier to buy that piece than it is to get rid of the jacuzzi. And most people think a jacuzzi is a big plus.

When we moved from Austin, we got a storage unit and decluttered the house. We put the Christmas stuff away and cleaned up the other things we didn’t use often. It made the house in Austin seem much bigger the last few times we were there.

It makes me want to do that here. What books could I get rid of? What books should I get rid of? What pieces of furniture would be better off out of our house?

It seems that the piece in M’s room would be better gone. But I like it. And I paid $250 for it. But it doesn’t do a thing for the aesthetics of anything.

The table in the entryway is really too small, but the only other table I have that I might put there is the one in the living room. It seems like it might be too big.

All told
There’s not really a LOT to do. Repaper one room. Repaint three or four. Move a bunch of stuff into storage. Get rid of some stuff.