Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I Quit!

I hate to do this (mostly because I'm really sorry I blogged about this book at all), but I'm quitting The Shack. As Pooh would say, this book is "fluff and stuff". It's just plain awful!
Not only is it a clunky read, as far as fiction goes, but it's so full of Biblically inconsistent theology, that I can't recommend it at all. There are a few thought-provoking truths, but they are few and far between. What this book does have is a whole lot of garbage. I've been convicted that finishing it, much as I hate to quit a book, would be to allow trash in my mind. I'd rather not.
Don't buy this book. Don't read this book.

Do not be deceived. God cannot be mocked.

~Galatians 6:7

Don't be deceived. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father, who does not change like shifting shadows.

~James 1:16-17

"Watch out that you are not deceived."

~Luke 21:8

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We're Crossing the Line into Crazy

You thought we were weird already, I'm sure. Homebirthin', homeschoolin', herb-lovin' crazies, right? Well now people will really talk! (Our neighbors especially.)

We're getting chickens!

Hubby and I have talked about this before. We have a neighbor who has this fancy schmancy limestone chicken coop in a corner of her backyard, called Coop de Ville. (We live in the city, so this is quite a rarity.) Anyway, last time we talked about it, we had just brought our three home from Liberia and weren't in need of any extra anythings to think about. (Whew, I'm glad we're well past those days. ) So in the last month, we've been talking about it again and getting pretty excited about the prospect of fresh eggs.
I just ordered our chicks today and here's what we're getting:

2 White Rocks
2 New Hampshire Reds
2 Barred Rocks
We chose these three for their temperament and egg laying skills. While we were discussing this with the kids, Maya said, "I used to have my own chicken in Liberia." Huh? Then Daniel pops in and says the same thing. Questioning looks are directed at Maya. She confirms it. Isaac also confirms this. Apparently, all three of them have experience with chickens. Bonus!

Any chicken wisdom you farm folks got, I'm all ears.

Monday, April 28, 2008


For all my Vision Forum fans, check this out!! Woo-Hoo!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Shack

Anybody read this book?

I'm reading it now, by the prodding of a friend of mine who was utterly frustrated by it. Apparently, it's quite controversial and I enjoy a bit of controversy, so I'm digging into it. One critic gave The Shack equal status with "Pilgrim's Progress". That really surprised me, so I had to find out what all the heat's about.
It's a quick read at 250 pages. If you haven't yet, read it and tell me what you think. What did you love or hate about it?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Getting It All Done, Part 1

Somebody asked how I get it all done: homeschooling, homemaking, cooking, scrapbooking, and blogging. The simple answer is: I don't. I have seven helpers, five of whom are a significant help. I have three goals Monday-Friday:

1. Get school done
2. Get chores done
3. Make dinner

If I get those three things done, I've had a successful day. I have to make my list short because I'm all about productivity. Checking things off a list makes me very happy. The more things I get done, the happier I'll be. However, if my expectations are too high, I'll kill myself trying. That's just me.

To get it all done, I use a loose schedule. I can't do half-hour by half-hour schedules, they wear me out and don't work for me. Instead, I have a list of things I need to get done by a certain time. This has worked great for us.

Here's our weekly schedule:



Breakfast & Bible Study

Aesop’s Fable or Poetry

Math – Maya & Elena

Lydia plays w/ I & C

Phonics rotation

Lydia plays w/ 3 kids

Chores & Dinner prep


Outdoor Time/ Errands



Literature & Rug time

Daniel & Lydia nap

Quiet Time

Daniel & Lydia nap


Outdoor Time/ Toy Time


Tidy-up Time



Breakfast & Bible Study

History/ Geography

Math – Isaac & Chloe

Lydia plays w/ M& E

Phonics rotation

Lydia plays w/ 3 kids

Chores & Dinner prep


Outdoor Time/ Errands



Literature & Rug time

Daniel & Lydia nap

Quiet Time

Daniel & Lydia nap


Outdoor Time/ Toy Time


Tidy-up Time

Fridays, we have homeschool co-op all morning. The schedule picks up at naptime on those days.

* The phonics rotation and rug time are explained here.

We do a college-type schedule. I can't do the same thing everyday. I'd go nuts. I like change. So instead of doing a single page of Math everyday, we do half the lesson (3 pages) per day.

Daniel is my little tomato, he stays with me while I do the math and phonics rotations. (The big kids can handle Lydia, but Daniel is too fast and too impulsive. He needs my constant watchful eye to stay out of trouble. Tomato-staking is working wonders with him.)

I read, nap, or blog during quiet time.

I'll explain our chores in another post.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mascara Face

This picture taken February 2007
I really loved your so-called "terrible two's", but I sure am enjoying you as a three year old! I love it when you say "actually, I want _____" and when you ask, "you 'member when I ____." I love how you always ask for a hug when you're afraid of something (like all the insects you refer to as ladybugs). I love your hugs, do you know that? I love how you smile when you see Daddy come home from work, and how you call him "Dada" sometimes too. You are our precious baby of the family and we all adore you! (But you seem to already know that.)



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Mohawk

Whenever Kyle cuts the boys' hair, I always have him do a mohawk first. I think it's hilarious.
Step 1: Wrap a Peptobismol pink towel around the victim. (Someone actually gave me a set of four of these as a graduation gift. My dorm room was decorated blue and red. However, these towels may well be the longest lastest graduation gift I received.)
Step 2: Rev up the clippers. Every once in a while, gasp and say: "Oh nuts!!" Then calmly add: "Oh well, it's just hair."
Step 3: Trim the left side, then the right side, but leave the middle well enough alone.
Step 4: Inspect the cut to make sure it's even. Frown so everyone present will know how serious you take this.
Step 5: Despite your better judgment, obey your teenage brother, unbutton your shirt, and pose like the Mr. T you look like. Wait a minute, you need a bunch of bling on that hairless chest of yours. Oh well, maybe next time.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Modesty Defined

An older cousin was laughing about my kids' having not seen the movie, Little Mermaid. I explained that they would be saying, "Mom, she's so immodest!" every 30 seconds if I allowed them to watch it. They wouldn't enjoy it and I'm not interested in subtly teaching my sweet girls that showing off your body is something desirable.
Low cut tops and short shorts scream: "This is all I have to offer. Please like me for my breasts and cute buns." We women insult ourselves by dressing in revealing ways.

A fellow adoptive mom, Dianna, wrote this terrific article defining what is and is not modest. I hope it helps you as it has me.

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.
1 Tim. 2:9-10

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Name Changes

Here's a question I get asked a lot by families in the process of adoption: "Did you change their names? Why? How?"

Yes. We changed their names based on the biblical examples of Abram becoming Abraham, Saul becoming Paul, Jacob becoming Judah, etc. God changed their names when their destiny changed. By adoption our kids' destinies changed completely!

Maya's birth name is Beauty. Her new name is Maya Beauty.
Isaac's birth name is Eric. His new name is Isaac Davidson.
Daniel's birth name is Daniel. His new name is Daniel Corbin.
Here's how we did it: we let the orphanage director know our desired names and what each of them meant. The names have specific meanings for each of them. (Maya means motherly, which is how everyone who returned from Liberia described her. It's a perfect fit for her. Isaac means laughter, what he was doing in every photo we received of him while he was in Liberia. He gets compliments all the time for his joyful spirit. Daniel's first name didn't change because he was so young and because we love the meaning of the name- "God is Judge". We added his middle name, Corbin, which means "Gift from God" and it's a family name.)

So the orphanage director told them that we planned to do that, which is quite common at least among Liberian adoptions. Then when they came home, we called them by their birth names when we met and that whole first day together. The next morning with them, we asked: Are you ready to be Maya and Isaac? They said yes and we haven't gone back. They rarely called each other by their birth names after that. To them, their new name meant they were committing to a whole new life and family, which they were excited about. It cemented the whole adoption process for them. It's been a very positive experience indeed!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Best Parenting Book Ever

I LOVE this book! The basic premise is that by keeping your children near you throughout the day, you can take every opportunity to train them in godliness. We can't expect our children to be well-behaved if we send them off to watch television or to play alone in their playroom while we do something "more important". (Hint: There's nothing more important.) At first glance, tomato-staking seemed like too much work. But the changes it produces!! Oh my!

Tomato-staking has worked wonders at our house. Here's the changes we've noticed:
  • we enjoy each other far more than we irritate each other!
  • the volume in the house went way down
  • when selfishness rears it's ugly head, I am able to quickly nip it in the bud before feelings are hurt
  • when pouting, whining, or crying starts, I am able to quickly and effectively teach my kids how to control their emotions (if only more adults knew how to do this!)
  • my kids LOVE helping me out with daily chores (laundry, cooking, tidying) because we are doing it together
  • more teaching and more learning take place in a day than I ever thought possible
Consistency is the secret to any good parenting technique.
Serious character flaws and bad behavioral habits, once established, are very hard to change, just like the neglected branches of a tomato plant. Catching problems now and then won't begin to make a dent in the problem. And just like th sprawling, unattended, unstaked tomato plant, your child's heart will become firmly fixed in the position it has been growing in for all the many hours in between your sporadic corrections and over the years when you've allowed outside influences and peer pressure to do your staking job for you.

~Raising Godly Tomatoes

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Somebody left an *anonymous* comment the other day, saying:

". . .a foundational principle of genetics is evolution. In fact, even CS Lewis believed that evolution was a sound scientific theory."

Now I know that evolution is taught in public schools, but it still surprises me to hear people supporting this weak theory. No fossils for "in between" species exist. The oldest fossils found date around 4,000 years old, not millions of years. There is just so little evidence to back evolution that it always catches me off guard to hear people supporting this concept. Even if all the cells in our bodies, perfectly designed as they are, came together in one Big Bang, I'd still prefer to think that a loving Creator made me. I can't imagine how hopeless life must be otherwise.

Speaking of evidence for evolution vs. creation, here's an interesting movie coming out by Ben Stein:

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
Psalm 139:13-14

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's All About the Hair

The other day, Maya fixed the girls' hair for a ball. They have these pretend balls every third day, you see and their hair must be just so. Check out Chloe's fancy upsweep:
Maya had just had her hair redone, so perhaps that's what started it all. She had her hair braided in 5 different braids up into a ponytail. (Much like Chloe's now that I think about it.)

Elena wanted a more sophisticated look, of course. She's not the sanguine her sisters are.
Every night, Maya wears a sleep cap to protect her 'do. If she didn't, her hair would be all frizzy when she woke up the next morning, rendering it a one day 'do. That's not good stewardship. With the sleep cap, her hair will look wonderful for a week.
That night, Chloe wore a sleep cap as she wasn't ready to be rid of her beautiful 'do. She wore it that way the next day too. We didn't go anywhere that day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

When the Lights Go Out

Ever wonder what happens in the Clark house after dark? I went into the kids' rooms at 11pm (as I do every night) to check on my babes. Here's my youngest, doesn't she look lonely?I don't know why we invested in beds. A total waste of money according to my kiddos. They ask almost every night if they can sleep on the floor. Elena's wrapped up burrito style in her blanket at the bottom of the pic. That's Maya in the middle, but you can't see her under her sleep cap. (Keeping the hair beautiful is high priority as you'll see in a later post.)
Pedro was doing homework and shunned the Mamarazzi. He was still smiling though. He secretly loves the attention.
I didn't go into the boys' room as they are light sleepers. I want to show you how adorable they are when they're sleeping, but I'm not willing to wake them to get the shot.
Tonight, as he does most nights, Daniel asked if he could sleep with Isaac on the top bunk. (Another wasted purchase- we really should have just gotten a few sleeping bags and thrown them on the floor.) Of course, we said no to Daniel a g a i n, because the boy giggles and plays and has no self-control whatsoever. We do occasionally say yes to cute Daniel, but only when they can sleep late the next day.

When The Cat's Away. . .

On the weekends, Kyle and I take turns sleeping in. (I am forced to acknowledge that Kyle did not approve of this statement. According to him, I get to sleep in both days.) He lets me sleep in on Saturday, and on Sunday I get up first and feed the kids while he sleeps a little later than usual. (Kyle says this never happens. Maybe he's right. I'll never admit it.)

So, what happens when Mommy's sleeping and Daddy's in charge of feeding the crew??Donuts for breakfast!
Lydia was thrilled with her messy donut. But when she found out that Mommy didn't approve of this sugary meal,
she was shocked! She was noticeably disappointed in Daddy and his lack of concern for their health. (Well, not really.)
Daniel didn't care if I approved or not, he just enjoyed his powdered donuts. You can see the twinkle in his eye. Oh wait! That's just the glazed look of a sugar high.
The Clark Kids LOVE Saturdays!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Genetics is FASCINATING!

Two-Tone Twins

(Taken from Creation on the Web)

Believe it or not, these two beautiful little girls are twins. Born in April 2005 in Nottingham, UK, blue-eyed Remee would be called ‘white’, while many would label her brown-eyed sister, Kian, as ‘black’.

The twins soon became the focus of much media attention. News reports described how both of their parents (photo below), Kylie Hodgson and Remi Horder, ‘have white mothers and black fathers.’

These two little girls help answer one of the questions that has troubled many people about the Bible. If there was just one man and one woman at the beginning then where did all the ‘races’ come from, with their ‘different skin colors’?

Read more. . .

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Practicing What I Preach

This week was almost a total loss. I started feeling crummy on Wednesday, achy and tired. Felt fluish. I laid around pretty much all day, and when I got up to do something I was grumpy. Mommy was no fun at all! The kids looked like this most every time I got up:
So I started taking raw garlic right away. Garlic is a natural antibiotic. I crushed a clove into a tablespoon and poured a bit of orange juice over it to make it go down easier. After I got the hot stuff in my mouth, I washed it down quickly with a cup of O.J. (Not quite like a spoonful of sugar, Mary Poppins, but it sure helps!) I take 1 clove 3 times/day.
The next day, (I should have done this Wednesday, but all I wanted to do was lay down) I brewed up some Echinacea tea and downed 2 quarts of it over the course of the day. It tastes pretty good alone, I didn't even add any honey.Because I was feeling so worn out, I upped my vitamins. I take a liquid multivitamin because liquids are more easily and quickly absorbed into the body. (And because my Naturopath Doctor says so.)On Friday morning, I was still a little achey. By this time, I was about done with feeling like I'd been run over by a train, so I started getting serious. I added B Complex to my arsenal. I needed energy!
That afternoon, I felt fine! The aches were gone and I wasn't so tired anymore.
All those things together added up to a healed and happy Mommy.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Now That I Know. . .

So, according to the poll results, you guys read here for a bunch of different reasons. The votes were fairly evenly balanced. Very interesting stuff.
The top two reasons you read here are: to find out how a "big family" functions
and because you just love learning about adoption. If you fit into that category,
you're in luck because I love talking about it. You guys also seem very interested in herbs & health. Woo-Hoo for me, that's another of my favorite subjects.
I also discovered that either (1) I have very few relatives who read here or (2) most of my relatives who read here already understand me. Good for them. That will certainly make their lives easier.
So I'll be blogging more about big family stuff, adoption, and herbs. And I'll do my best to keep the pictures coming. I know that most of you just wanna see my cute kids.
And Vicki, now that I've blogged a pic of YOU, I've got your attention haven't I? I expect a comment now. I have more pics of you from that cruise, ya know? ;)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Family Game Night

A couple nights a week we play a game before the kids go to bed. Tuesday night, Elena chose Pictionary, so tonight Isaac picked Junior Monopoly.(Since someone always asks) I'm not in the picture, because I didn't want to be in the picture. I haven't been feeling great and I looked plain awful. You don't get to see me looking like that.
The game is only set up for 4 players, so we use a penny and a dime as two extra pawns. Daniel and I are a team, and Lydia & Kyle are a team. (They roll the dice for us and they're quite skilled at it.)
Since there are only four game pawns, there are also only four colors of houses. So Kyle and I use legos. See what creativity you gain by being a bigger than average family?

Highlights of the game:
  • Isaac cried when he was corrected the second time for rolling the die and knocking houses over. (He's a perfectionist just like his daddy.)
  • Chloe was completely unaffected all seventeen times she was corrected for playing too slow.
  • Maya won "Moply" with a whopping $28
  • Lydia serenaded us with the first 6 words of Amazing Grace, over and over again.
  • Daniel was quiet as usual, but smiled when anyone looked at him.
  • Elena learned, for the first time, the point of Monopoly: ownership. (She's a tightwad like her mommy.)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What Would You Say?

Elena holding baby Chloe, 2001
My sweet Elena confessed to me the other day that she hasn't been praying very much lately. I was telling her to pray that we would find a new van soon (we're in the market for a "big van" as we've outgrown our beloved minivan). I asked her if she prayed during the day on her own. She said that she mostly just prays before we eat. I asked her why. She got really quiet, then a sad face overtook her.
She said: "Sometimes I pray for things and God doesn't answer my prayers."

I told her that sometimes Daddy and I have to say no to her because we know what is best for her. I explained that God responds the same way. Sometimes He knows that what we are asking isn't what's best for us.
I asked her what she was praying for.

"A baby brother."

Last week, she said, she had a dream that I had given birth to a baby boy. She was so happy because she's been praying for that for a long time. She said, "When I woke up and realized it wasn't true, I cried a lot."

I don't know what God has planned for our family, but I would love to be blessed again.

What would you say if your precious daughter said this to you?

I Just Gotta Know. . .

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Another Reason We Homeschool

This pretty well sums up my public school experience. LOL! I am learning so much by homeschooling my kiddos. I call it my second chance at a quality education. :)

Monday, April 7, 2008

On the Edge of Our Seats

We got these audiobooks for the Spring birthdays and we all LOVE them! No more bickering and chattering in the car- everyone's hanging on every word of the Jonathan Park stories. Even Kyle and I are addicted to these adventurous stories! Jonathan Park rules!