February 2013 Update Letter

February 2013 Update Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

February has been a fairly mild month, weather-wise, here. I know you might not have had weather as nice as we experienced, but I hope you did!

Early this month, Rachel took the ACT test. She got her scores on the 25th, with a score that is solidly average. I’m very proud of her, as she has overcome some serious health issues to reach this point. As you will see (or perhaps have seen), she will be graduating on March 16, 2013, with a nice ceremony and reception at the church.

Bobby got a letter this month inviting him to join Mu Alpha Theta, a national honors math club. He hasn’t decided for sure, but I’m encouraging him to go ahead and join.

My brother started several new blogs, in order to separate his writing by genre. He included me as a contributor to a couple, but I haven’t contributed much, yet.

I turned 42 this month. Robby got me a new dresser made of real wood, which is a great blessing! He bought it unfinished and his dad stained it for us. It looks very nice! Also, the church threw me a very nice birthday party after church the Sunday before my birthday. It was very sweet!

I was also able to get three more bad teeth out of my mouth, and now have them added to my partial plate. It is a blessing to have teeth that don’t hurt, even if they are fake!

We were able to get a family membership to Sci-Quest again, this month, which will allow us to visit as often as we like for the next year. This is a hands-on science museum that we enjoy; plus, we have homeschooling friends who also have a membership, so it will be nice to be able to spend more time with them, also.

And, I finally took down the Christmas decorations. I guess it was about time, huh!?

May God bless you!

January 2013 Update Letter

January 2013 Update Letter

Dear Friends and Family,

I hope you are well. I am hoping to do better with keeping up with updates this year, so I’m hurrying to do this one before January is over!

December was pretty nice. The Christmas parade on the first Monday of December actually saw some reasonably warm weather, for the first time since we moved here in 1998. Usually, we get freezing weather starting the day of or the day before the parade.

We went to a birthday party for a friend’s son on the 2nd Saturday, and then the following Tuesday, we attended a special memorial service that the funeral home hosted for those who lost a loved one in 2012. While it was a beautiful service, I hope that it will be many years before I “qualify“ to be invited to another one.

We took pictures so I could make a Christmas card (which is enclosed—sorry I didn’t get it to you sooner!!)

I made peanut butter fudge and divinity, which everyone enjoyed. I used the recipes Robby’s grandmother gave me.

We visited with a friend, who wasn’t home when we arrived. The interlude when we were waiting provided us with this adorable photo of Sarah:

Sarah, waiting

Rachel had a Christmas tree in her room this year—a small 3 or 4 foot tall tree. She and Sarah decorated it together. I believe it was the first time Sarah decorated a tree, since we have had a tiny 2-foot tree on the piano that more or less stays decorated for about as long as she has been alive.

Rachel's tree

On Christmas Eve, we had dinner at Robby’s parents’ house, as we do every year. After eating, his dad read the Christmas story from Luke. After that, we opened presents, then fellowshipped for a while.

Bobby & Mammaw

On Christmas morning, we opened family stuff at home. John Luke was quite pleased with his police set and “Perry the Platypus“ pajamas. (It’s a character from a cartoon.)

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After Christmas, Robby’s oldest sister, her husband, and two of their children came to visit. It was really great to see them!

And then, the new year arrived! We started out the year with a visit with some good friends. We played games and generally had a pleasant time. We have already planned to visit again, though we haven’t set a date (yet!).

In the second week of January, Timmy finally got his permit (“learner’s license“ here in Alabama). He hasn’t driven much, yet, but is excited about learning how.

Nathaniel turned 13—another teen in the house! He got a guinea pig for his birthday, which he named Frodo.

Bobby is taking a full load this semester, including a drawing class (at which he excels already) and a programming class. Most of his classes are Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes, but one of them is Tuesday-Thursday, and one is online (no on-campus class meetings).

Rachel now has 12 of her paintings for sale at a consignment art shop. It would be very nice if her paintings sell. She will be graduating this spring, but isn’t sure yet what she plans to do after that.

Robby is doing pretty well, in general, and is keeping quite busy these days, which is a good thing! I am also keeping busy with computer work as well as housework and children, but it’s a good busy! My health has improved a lot, but my eyes are still not great, but it may be that I just need a new prescription for glasses. I’ll find out in March.

I hope this letter finds you healthy and happy, and may God bless you!

FYI: Craig cmp741e tablet reset information

FYI: Craig cmp741e tablet reset information

We had a customer who had purchased a 7″ tablet – a Craig cmp741e – and whose grandchild had entered a pattern password and then could not remember it. She was looking for a way to reset it. We searched all over the internet, including Craig’s site, to no avail.

We have just been called back with the proper procedure by this customer. She said that one must simply insert an SD card, then power on, and the tablet will be reset. It will not do it without the SD card.

I hope this helps someone else out there!

October Update Letter

October Update Letter

Dear Friends,

Sorry I have not updated in so long! A lot has been going on. My last letter was sent the end of January. I definitely did not intend to wait until October to send another one!

At the time of the January letter, I had just found out I was pregnant with what would have been our seventh living child, following two miscarriages last summer. The pregnancy went along uneventfully through the spring and summer, with our 20-week ultrasound showing a healthy girl, who we named Hannah Grace. We were eagerly anticipating her arrival around the end of September. However, as most of you already know, we instead ran into some complications resulting in a stillbirth August 26, four weeks before Hannah’s due date. We had her funeral on the 28th, and I ended up back in 9/1 with eclampsia for a week, followed by another stay the end of September for blood clots in both legs and both lungs. I am now recovering, with most of the issues resolved. I still have an issue with my eyes and possibly a pinched nerve in my neck that I am praying will resolve over the next few weeks, though I’ve been told it can take up to a year.

The children weathered the time without mom (and without dad, to some degree, since he was with me) pretty well. Bobby pretty much took over the business and Rachel ran the household, and both did wonderfully.

Other things that have happened since the last letter include:

In February, I turned 41.
In March, Sarah turned 3.
In April, Bobby turned 19.
In June, Bobby graduated from high school officially.
In September, Robby turned 46 (while I was in ICU… what a birthday!) and Rachel turned 18. We had an ice skating party for her in between my hospital stays— I am so glad we were able to do that!

Rachel has also seen amazing improvement in her health since May. We are pleased with her progress.

Additionally, Sarah has shown interest in John Luke’s schoolwork (he is in 2nd grade), so I tried doing “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons” with her — and so far, she is doing wonderfully with it! We are only on the 4th lesson, but she is having no problem doing the sounds of the letters. The two littles may BOTH be reading by the end of this school year!

Oh, and another side effect of being in the hospital half of eight weeks, and unwell the other half — I have lost over 40 pounds. I intend to continue to eat right and get exercise, in hopes of losing about 60 more. So far, so good!

I hope you are doing well. Thank you for being patient with me and my lack of communication over most of this year.

Sad news

Sad news

Hannah Grace was stillborn at 36 weeks. I’m thankful for the 36 weeks I got to love her, but of course I’m sad that I never got to hold her alive. She was physically perfect; it was a placental abruption that resulted in her stillbirth.

Apparently, I had HELLP syndrome, followed by eclampsia (due to the HELLP not being caught and treated).
My husband made a powerpoint of Hannah, which you can see at http://www.preachthecross.com/images/Hanahfixedpresentation.ppt

The Beauty of Nature

The Beauty of Nature

Robert Marleton PhotographyI’ve seen a lot of beautiful photos over the years. My daughter takes some wonderful pictures, as many of you know. I’ve recently discovered that a friend from long ago now does some wonderful photography, as well. If you have a minute, you should take a look at some of his work; I’m sure you will enjoy it. I know I do!

(Update: fixed the link that wasn’t working.)

January is over. Already.

January is over. Already.

How does the time go SO fast!? We just celebrated the new year, and the first month is over already. I think it was good that I made no resolutions, as I have not done anything particularly different yet this year. I have goals, but have barely begun to work on them. One of them is to get more exercise, because I am very out of shape. I began yesterday by riding my bike around the block twice (a mile), and repeated that again today (except we went around a longer block instead of twice around the short block).

What are you doing to meet your goals for the new year?

January Update Letter

January Update Letter

Dear Family & Friends,

First, I want to apologize for the length between update letters! I had intended to send one at Christmas time, but obviously I failed. I hope you had a pleasant holiday season and I hope this letter finds you feeling well.

I haven’t written since August. I know there have been things that happened in that time, but most of it is a blur to me. I’ll try to hit the highlights, anyway.

In September, Robby turned 45 and Rachel turned 17. We went ice skating for Rachel’s birthday in what has become a tradition (or, anyway, it was our second year in a row to do it). She really enjoys ice skating. She received art supplies, mostly, and has enjoyed creating beautiful pictures.

In October, Timmy turned 15. I still can’t get over how fast these kids are growing, you know?

Also in October, I had the privilege of going to a ladies’ meeting at a church in Hartselle, AL, where a lady was speaking who had grown up with rheumatoid arthritis. She was diagnosed at 18 months! Her story was quite inspirational, as she discussed how she could only make it through with God’s help.

In November, we had Thanksgiving, and Robby’s youngest sister Cathy was able to be here with her family. It was very good to see them, and the cousins had a great time playing together.

I was also able to get a great deal on a train table and train set for the little kids in November, and they really enjoyed it! I like that the train is expandable with most wooden train sets.

A couple days after Thanksgiving, John Luke turned 6. He bought a toy rifle with his birthday money and dressed in camo and an army hat to pose for this picture.

Of course, we had Christmas in December. Robby’s sister Stephanie and her children were able to be here this year, and it was great! Bobby & Alex spent a lot of time together and we really enjoyed getting to visit with them for a few days.

This month so far, Nathaniel has turned 12. He was given a bicycle for his birthday and is thrilled with that!

We have had pleasant weather, for the most part, and some days were practically summer-like, which has been very nice. I hope that your new year so far has been going well, too.

God bless you!

Why do I write?

Why do I write?

Why do I write? I write for many reasons. Some of these include: to process things; to vent; for fun; to share information; and to connect with others. What motivates me to write? Feelings are often motivators – when my emotions run high, writing offers an outlet that may not be otherwise available. This includes both positive and negative emotions. When I’m angry, a rant to a blank sheet of paper is more productive than venting all over someone who is not even involved in whatever it was that made me angry. When I’m overwhelmed by gratitude, writing that out (and sending it!) is an excellent way to express it – and a lasting one.

Now, that only applies to the dribbling, rambling sort of writing (which is, admittedly, much of what I do), but there is also the literary side of writing. For example, I entered NaNoWriMo in 2011, and even though I didn’t win, I wrote more than I have in any previous attempt. Why do I want to write a novel (of which I have two started now)? For one thing, I have always enjoyed reading. What could be better than being on the other end of that? As much as I have enjoyed reading, creating a work that others can enjoy would be immensely satisfying.

As for inspiration, that is more difficult. I usually have to work at finding things about which to write. My brother and my daughter seem to have never-ending waterfalls of ideas, but I have to chip bits of idea from solid granite.

Gadsby

Gadsby


I found out about this book in a rousing bit of that family fun thing that I did discuss in a post prior. This book contains not that thing that most usually shows up in works of fact or fiction, and it is difficult to avoid it. I found a wild thrill at this finding. If I can, I want to obtain a copy of it.

 

 

Adding: a copy is found on holybooks.com.

Quelf

Quelf


Quelf is an amusing and delightful game in which players act like idiots without it being a problem. Everyone gets in on the fun and it is a blast! There are five categories of cards and eight character pieces (each with its own personality, as shown by quotes on the cards). Apparently some boxes also include biographies of the characters, but the game I bought at Walmart did not include these. The cards include trivia, stuntz, showbiz, a Scattergories-style one, and roolz. This is a game that you really can’t appreciate until you play it for yourself!

Schedules, School, and Sleepiness

Schedules, School, and Sleepiness

So here it is, Monday again and a new week. A new year! So we started to follow our schedule (which I created a few months ago, and it worked great the single day in which we managed to follow it successfully). So far, we only missed one thing on it today.

School is in progress, and one of my students has already finished for the day. Another is working diligently, and a third is … not.

The biggest issue with restarting the schedule is the time at which we need to arise. We are, unfortunately, a family of night-owls, and getting up at 6am is not the preference here. We have found, however, that we get more done if we get up earlier and get busy, so here we are. Again. Yawning abounds, and naps are being requested.

We’ll see how long it lasts this time around…