Sunday, November 30, 2008

Three Cups of Tea

I am just a couple of chapters away from finishing what will be put on my shelf as one of the most influential and important books I have ever read. The book is called Three Cups of Tea. It is the inspiring true life account of Greg Mortensen. This giant of a man, in many ways, attempts to climb K2 only to find failure and ending up in a little village in Pakistan called Korphe. There he is nursed lovingly back to help by people who will become to him like family only stronger. After being there for some time he asks to be taken to the school. He gets to a place where a large amount of kids are scratching their multiplication tables in the snow with a stick. They do it with no teacher because they can only afford to have him a couple of days a week. He is so moved and I think inspired that he tells them he will build them a absolutely inspring tale that will bring you to tears and have you re-evaluating your time and your life follows. At this time I think a lot about my desire to help find eduaction opportunities for the poor. You all know that I would happily sale all I own and move my family to Haiti to do it. But, the challenge for me is that I am needed here, doing what I can for Haiti often times from a computer or being willing to speak up and try and find help. However, I have the honor of raising five boys...maybe if I can soften their hearts and help them receive an astounding education they can make a much bigger difference than I ever could. That is my hope...After reading about Mr. Mortensen and the amazing Pakistani people he has the honor to work with the world becomes smaller and you feel you heart getting larger.
From the Book-Let nothing perturb you, nothing frighten you. All things pass. God does not change. Patience achieves everything. Mother Teresa
May I also take a moment and point out how blessed we are. When the war broke out after the attack on 9/11 Greg was in Pakistan. When it became time for him to return to America, his self appointed bodyguard was in tears. This man was willing to die for him, and would have been honored to do so. This is their conversation:
Greg: What is it, Faisal? Mortenson said, squeezing his bodyguard's broad shoulder.
Faisal: "Now your country is at war, what can I do? How can I protect you there?"
Faisal sees daily the tragedies of war, hears the bombs, sees the refugees filter into the cities by thousands, knows people who have died. He assumes that Greg is returning to Montana and will see the same things. We all know that just isn't the way it is.
We have experienced tragedy and I don't discredit that in any way. But, for the most part we tuck our kids in at night and we don't have to worry about bombs, starvation, if our children will ever have to leave or if our children will make it safely through the night. We are so blessed to be Americans! It is an honor, but with that honor I believe comes responsibility. May I encourage each of us to use our blessings for good. We all have something that means a lot to us. May we put our hearts into making a difference and that will be the best way we can thank God for giving us the priveleges we have been given!
From the book I quote a necklace worn by volunteer Julia Bergman heading into Afghanistan knowing her life is likely in danger, "I want to be used up when I die!" I know exactly how she feels.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving...Really I am Thankful...

Let me begin by saying I am aware how blessed I am! Here is a short list of the things I am grateful for....
#1 My Husband-He is the greatest and I thank God everyday that he is mine.
#2 My boys-I mean really five adorable reasons for living, how blessed am I?
#3 Food. We are all grateful for that, but I think about that a lot since a lot of the people I love worry everyday if they will eat today.
#4 Running-Everyone needs a drug, this is mine
#5 Books, books, books. All the lessons, all the escape, all the knowledge...
#6 Modern conveniences-heat, washing machines, dishwashers...need I go on?
#7 My family. I love them and am lucky to have them.
#8 My friends. Seriously what would I do without you all?
#9 My Savior who is my life and means everything to me.
I really could go on and on. I have so many blessings and so many things to be thankful for. This Thanksgiving went a little different that I had planned. We were going to go to my mom's where we would have had a lovely dinner and basked in the warmth of my parents home. Little change of plans. Two of the boys had the flu so I was going to go with the other three and Lyndon would be sweet and stay home with M and J. Another change of plans, mom is reaching for yet another change of clothes for M and slips a disc or something in her back...spent the day screaming like a crazy person...Thanks to mom and dad for picking up the couple of not sick, not screaming Friant's and bringing us a Thanksgiving feast. No complaints, we have so much to be grateful for...

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Confession

I think for me writing this is similar to standing in front of a room of people and saying out loud, “I am an alcoholic.” But, they say the first step is admitting you have a problem, so I am taking the plunge. Here it is, the whole truth “My name is Heather and I am a hopeless romantic.” Wow, that felt really liberating. Most of you know me as Heather the organized or Heather the responsible, but it’s just a cover up because on the inside I am really this whole other person. On my bookshelf you will find stacks of the classics, book on parenting, church non-fiction, books about people making a difference in the world and books on education. I love them all and devour it almost all of the time. Hidden on the top of my shelves however is the Twilight series. Now I am the very first person to say they are insane, that it is not the thing I would want my teenage daughter to read, and that the “Twilight mania is absolutely ridiculous. But, my great friend talked me into going to Cedar on Friday to see it (I really did act reluctant about it and I really kind of was). But, I was like every other swoony teen watching the movie and spent the last two days looking at my adorable husband through the eyes of my 16 year old self. I remember it well since I was looking at him that way when I was my 16 year old self. The same thing happened to me after watching Pride & Prejudice…all of a sudden there was beautiful piano music in my head every time my husband would walk into the room and I found myself thinking, “You have bewitched me body and soul and I love, I love you…” I mean really doesn’t that make you swoon? You can really almost say that with pride though, it’s a classic. But, Twilight? Really this is in fact a movie about a vampire falling in love with a human. The whole, “will he give in and eat her” thing is hovering on the edge of your thoughts the whole time. But, he doesn’t even though he wants to and let’s face it that’s pretty darn romantic! So now it’s out there. Lucky for me it’s easy to stay swoony because I am married to the ultimate and I am absolutely certain he will never give in and suck out all of my blood….

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love to Learn

I have been thinking a lot about what makes me, well, me....I am a woman who Loves God and hope that He knows it, I love to organize and admit that sometimes I let my kids make an organization disaster just for a challenge, I love to run and while running I listen to very loud often hard rock music...But, one of the things that really makes me me is how I love to learn. I love learning and teaching (I really learn more when I teach actually because you must study so much harder). I have already shared with you just how much I love my books. The other day my mother gave me the worn serendipity series, these are the books we had her read to us over and over again as children. I literally burst into tears when she gave them to me I was so happy. I also have thought about "school" a lot in the last couple of years. The answer that came to me is that there isn't one right way or wrong way to school...we do a lot of different things in our home and I love certain aspects of all of them. Kyle home schools. Jamen goes to a traditional public school. Isaac & Grayson go to a district pre-school for a few hours each week...So in tribute to that a little top six of why I love home school and public school...
Public School Pro's
6-I love preparing for school days. Love backpacks, sack lunches and school supplies.
5-My Jamen gets to be around lots and lots of kids, for him that is as important as breathing.
4-I get to be the mom when he comes home and not worry so much about the teaching. Not that I don't get to help him with homework or do extra things but it is in a mom role. I love how he comes home all lit up with news of his day and I get to just listen and fix him an afternoon snack.
3-I love when they take field trips or see the world as a group.
2-I appreciate my children learning from someone other than me, I think there is so much to learn from other people. When my children get an especially good mentor our whole family benefits. Last year Jamen had a teacher who was on fire for learning! He fell so in love with Van Gough that he marinated in it for months, I love that!
1-I love public school for Jamen because for him it works. He is happy and learning and that's all I could ask.
Home School Pros
6-I get to choose who his mentors are and he has some great ones. Jeanette has taught him more this year than he has ever learned anywhere (piano, government and history). She is also the kind of woman I want teaching my kids. (I will miss you Jeanette). Becky is one of his teachers for Knights of Freedom. He really is learning how to be a modern day knight and she is an excellent mentor for him. It is awesome to have the choice about who will mentor your kids and there are some great ones right here in small town USA.
5-I get the opportunity to teach. I love being a mom of toddlers, but it is so cool to fill the role of teacher. I have really had to stretch and that's good for the old brain. Let's face it the cobwebs needed to be dusted!
4-I am thrilled to see Kyle working at Kyle's pace. He had pretty near turned into a zombie for school the last few years. Not at all the fault of the teachers, but Kyle has always sort of been able to get something seeing it once. Sort of like, "we learned multiplication yesterday do we really need to ever go over that again?" This year we breeze through the stuff he knows and he gets to labor over the things he doesn't, that is so good for him!
3-I get to see him! Once your kids hit about first grade they sort of disappear....they are gone so often and then I think before you know it they are grown and you wished you could have seen them more. I get to be with him all day. I took him to a foreign country for two weeks and didn't come home to a pile of busy work. I love having him around and seeing who he really is.
2-Kyle gets to spend more time on the things he loves. My son loves classical music and plays the piano so amazingly well. Now he has more time to play and compose and that is good. He especially loves politics and studies it constantly. There are so many lessons taught from his passion. He knows all the states (and how they vote), he has studied math as he figures out voting percentages, his reading has improved because he reads some deep political things that are a stretch and let's face it the kid is a walking encyclopedia and that is cool. Ask him who ran against Richard Nixon second term, he knows. But I do want you to know that once you show an interest you will be game for all political discussion---ever seriously considered your position on gun control, Roe Vs Wade or government spending?
1-It is the right thing for him. I have watched my son come back to life this year. He has had great teachers in the past, by no fault of theirs he just wasn't challenged enough to find school interesting. He is so happy and I am so happy to see it...
As for the little boys, we all have our strenghts. Little people learning colors and such is not mine. I love that they have teachers that plan "smelling field trips" and other great things. I also love having a few hours without light sabers and tantrums! As for me, my ideal day would include a stack of books, a quiet place and a bag full of chocolate...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Halloween Cuties

Just a pic from Halloween of the kiddos..This year was so much more pleasant than usual. The weather was great and we only went to about 10 houses so it was actually fun.

Phase #3 Hole Gets Some Guts

Not much to say, just wanting to keep a little running log of the house. My hole would do nicely for a skating rink at the moment...I am getting really excited. We are so blessed.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To wonderful Not to Share

I hope it is OK with my dear friend Shannon if I put a link to one of her posts. Except you have to type it in because I am way to computer illiterate to have a place for you to click...sorry. Haiti, Haitian Roots and the children of Haiti mean everything to me and her post summed up so much how I feel. The Lord is in charge and He does not forget his children, even if it seems to the outside world that He does. This week as my heart has been in Haiti (as usual) because of the tragedy at the school I was so happy my friend posted something so positive and wonderful about something that means so much to me. Check it out, she is an amazing writer tied closely to her wonderful heart....
PS The Photo of the adorable dad with the little girl is the one that Kyle sponsors. He was the sweetest man and kept saying to me, "God Bless You" over and over and all I could think was that He already had just by having the honor of meeting him.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I Remember You!

I am just hours away from going away from my home WITHOUT CHILDREN! I am meeting my husband in Salt Lake for Engineer's Conference (translation he goes to boring meetings and I shop and have lunch with my college roomies.) We get to go to a fancy dinner and listen about the states best roads...this probably doesn't sound fabulous to you but we flirt with each other and hold hands and I could care less what they are saying. Anywho, I adore my husband. I have been in love with him since I was 16 years old, but with our lives sometimes I hardly even see him. He is always so good to me. For instance I told him I wanted York peppermint patties in the shape of bats. They are my favorite and for some reasons I like them even more when shaped like bats....Now I just sort of said it off hand, I really didn't expect him to look, just if he happened to see one grab one for me. Weeks go by, I have forgotten and I assume so has he. Yesterday he tells me, "I have looked EVERYWHERE for those bats. I called Hershey Pennsylvania today and they said I can't get any, I'm really sorry." I have the world's greatest hubby and for the next 36 hours I get to be with him and I am so grateful! Should we take a poll on whether or not my sweet mom will need a vacation after 36 hours with my boys?