Saturday, December 10, 2011


So much about homeschooling is good, that I pretty much ignore the things that are challenges. And for the most part, that is pretty easily done...until the last couple of years of high school, that is. Now is a time where the benefit of being "in the system" would be really handy. There are so many extraneous things on my To Do list these days, I sometimes wonder just how in the world we will get to school in these last couple of years. There are a plethora of deadlines, and would you believe, I'm just on time, or already behind? BAT is a junior. He is just competing his first semester. If he plans to attend some of the "try it on for a week" events at some of the campuses he is interested in, we are a little tardy to one school, and will just be on time for some others. In December of the year before hand. Wow. That was a shock to me. I'm glad that I thought I was being early and starting looking around now. Imagine if I had begun this process as late as January (gasp). These next few months will be anything but boring. I've already felt overwhelmed, panicked, doomed, and thought that I may have ruined my kids' lives. And that's just this week! Wish me luck, and I'll eke you posted...

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

If You Want to Become Depressed...

Go to a Christian College Fair. Oh. My. Good. Lord. We are in serious trouble. I was hoping (OK--I'm a realist, so I wasn't really hoping, but I really wanted to be wrong) for, well, light and salt and such. What I found was the world. There was not one representative who mentioned the Word. Not one. They talked about their facilities, PC majors ("We even have gender studies!"), and all the fun activities that students will have at their school. GAT was looking for art history as a major. One school had art as a major, but most had "film studies" and "graphic design." One school highlighted that they have 233 palm trees on campus, and nearly half their student body holds annual passes to Disneyland. Parents can give their beloved progeny all this for only about $35K a year. I'm still hopeful. And we're still looking. UPDATE: Point Loma Nazarene had a representative that was really busy during the fair, so I wasn't able to speak with her. Fortunately, she came to the school where DAT and GAT take a class. She was great. And actually emphasized the Christian environment. No school will be perfect, but I am at least encouraged more this evening than I was!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Lamenting The Way Things Ought To Be

In the past, when I would lament the reality of life, I found it easy to despair. Hopefully due to growth and maturity in the Lord, the sting is now somewhat lessened. People disappoint. Friendships end. People become ill and die, leaving children behind. This world is a tough place. And how much tougher if God had removed His whole self from us? I praise Him that He has left His Spirit with us. And I pray that I will come to know the Spirit better. God has given us a Comforter. We are not alone.

Friday, October 28, 2011

So Many Thoughts...So Little Time

I have been so desiring to blog more frequently this school year, and yet have been remiss in doing so. (What I really want is uninterrupted time to fully form my thoughts, and throw in something funny or witty as well--You'd think by now I'd realize that uninterrupted time really isn't something I can plan on having!) So I've been thinking about quitters and commitment a lot lately. I'm trying to field questions from the kids about what it means to stay committed to something. I'm having a tough time, as we are surrounded by a culture that just doesn't commit. Fortunately, most of our friends are still married, so the kids have had a pretty consistent view of committed marriages. And I don't take that lightly one bit, as a kid of the no-fault divorce generation. But the one place where I should be able to show my kids fully committed people is the church. And sadly, I cannot. Most of our church is military, so people leave every 3 years or sooner. That ironically is usually the group who are the most committed--at least for the time they are here. What is actually very painful, though, are the many folks who leave our church for another one that better suits their needs, or who leave Hawaii altogether for various reasons. I get it--I really do. Life is complicated and there are many factors that come into play in breaking fellowship. But it's just bothering me that I don't have a good answer to the question I was recently asked: "Why are there vows of membership, when no one ever sticks around?" That question has me stumped. Because I realize that I actually don't buy it. The notion of vows of membership, that is. And frankly, it's because it simply isn't true. At the very least it isn't demonstrated. And yes, I realize it could mean the Church at large, but I doubt that's why we are in fellowship in particular communities. The fellowship God has in mind doesn't work if deep and sincere relationships cannot be formed. And we're in a self-obsessed culture that rails against that level of intimacy. So what to do, what to do? I'll have to search Scripture for an answer. I hope it has a better one than I do!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Econ Field Trip Day

Today we headed out to the NELHA site here on the big island. Hopefully, I've got this right: NELHA (Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority) under the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) in Hawaii leases land to private companies seeking space to test and/or utilize proven renewable energy systems. For businesses, the pluses are inexpensive leases and a completed permitting process. (Permitting alone can take 12 years!) Pluses for the state of Hawaii are that the land is utilized in line with the goal of Hawaii achieving energy independence, and NELHA pays for itself. It's also groovy PR for the state and the businesses. Visiting the site was fascinating in that the ideas being tried are all very innovative and creative, but none are really financially feasible. The bottom line is, even at $90 a barrel, oil is still the cheapest source of energy. The solution our presenter at NELHA had for that was for "each and every one of you to contact your senators and representatives and tell them to raise taxes on oil!" Yeah--I'll get right on that... Next stop was Hula Daddy Coffee farm and visitor center. If I ever run away from home, I may go there. It was beautiful, peaceful, rural, and about 10 degrees cooler than Kona. We learned some of the issues in farming coffee and making a living. When told of the title of our seminar ("Environmentalism and Economics") one of the owners said, "That's every decision we make around here." He discussed weighing pros and cons of typical "green" methods for farming, and told us of some of the simpler, cheaper solutions he discovered. For example, the coffee borer beetle has had a devastating effect on many Kona coffee growers. However, Hula Daddy sprays a fungus that kills the beetles, leaves the good bugs alone, and doesn't harm any other plants. Though this method is initially pricier than the usual pesticide, it is effective and eco friendly. But there are times however, when teh economics wins out over the ecology. And where the process to go through certification to become organic "tied [Hula Daddy's] hands," simple long term thinking has netted the same result for the company's coffee consumers. We got to taste coffee that was recently harvested, and had actually been roasted before our very eyes. It was pricey, but I think DAT will appreciate his souvenir. Next: I'll talk Ironman and watching what teachers do when they're off on a trip to Hawaii...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Economics Day 2 (Closeted Homeschooler)

After a jam packed session yesterday, I was ready for rest. It's great info taught by great teachers, so I am really enjoying my time here. I can't wait to digest it all and am so grateful to get to add this to my "bag of goodies" to teach. It is interesting to be here as a closeted homeschooler among mostly public school teachers. (It is also interesting to be here while the Ironman triathlon is happening, with all of those folks staying in the same hotel. But that's for another post!) It's interesting to be in on conversations with teachers who think I'm one of them. It really is some kind of sisterhood/brotherhood effect. There are many assumptions made that "we" all think alike on particular topics, and an entire vernacular of acronyms I have absolutely no clue about. This group could either be a sociology study--we're kind of a Gilligan's Island mesh of folks--or the start of a joke: There's a gay guy, an older lady, a housewife, a 200 pound woman who eats every 5 minutes... I'm always fascinated by the way people interact so as a side benefit to the economics education, I'm having fun with that as well :-) More to come later. I'm pooped!

Planes Trains and Automobiles

An opportunity came my way to attend an economic forum on the relationship between economics and environmentalism. It's sponsored by the Foundation for Teaching Economics (FTE) and the Hawaii Council on Economic Education (HCEE). I just so happened to get an email from a homeschooling group that clued me in to this incredible opportunity. It's free, and though I wish it was on my island, it is providing me a short respite form my usual work week. It is no small effort for mama to leave home: I put the kids on a quasi-fall break (something we normally do not do), and have actually hired someone to drive my children to and fro. (Between Tae Kwon Do, swimming, piano, drums, art class, Trig class, and PSAT prep class, there's a bit of chauffeuring in an average day.) So that brings us to my departure... DAT had kindly planned to drive home from the office to take me to the airport. However, he was awakened at 6AM by his assistant calling to tell him that in fact, the newly repaired (FedExed from Texas) computer was dead again. So, he had to book it in to assess the damage and begin a plan of recovery. Again. No worries, I can drive myself, and he'd just have to figure out how to get the vehicles back where they belong. No big deal. There was a little issue checking in, but it got resolved. As I approached my gate, I heard my name on the PA system. So I went to the desk at the gate. No one was there and it had a sign that it was closed. However, there was someone right at the jetway. I approached her and attempted three times to get her attention. I was less than five feet from her, and got progressively louder, yet she did not react in the slightest. She typed feverishly at her keyboard, then turned around, swiped her ID card and walked down the jetway. "Typical," was my thought. I walked to the next gate desk and tried to ask that person for help. Though he did acknowledge me, he seemed surprised that I expected him to assist me. He told me to go to my gate. When I told him that I had just been there and had been ignored, he said, "Well you should go back there. She'll eventually come back." So I did. And he was right. She did come back. But she did not make eye contact with me and again did not acknowledge me at all. So I figured "I've got my boarding pass, and they'll be boarding shortly. If they really need to talk to me, they'll know where to find me." Boarding began, and as I walked down the aisle of the plane, something very unusual happened. My seat was 5D on this smallish plane, but as I looked at the numbering above the seats, I saw row 1, 2, 3, 4, 6....Wait a minute. There is no row 5. So, I try to make my way back to the flight attendant who so pleasantly smiled an welcomed me aboard. By now, though, there is a steady stream of people boarding the plane. I finally get the flight attendant's attention, and explain to her my problem. Her first words to me were, "This plane doesn't have a row 5." "Yes," I said, "that's what I am asking you about." She is flustered and says, "When did you print this?" "About 15 minutes ago at a kiosk downstairs." I reply. She frowns and says, "Uh...just sit here." And motions for me to sit in the first row. So I do. (I've heard you'd better do as your told on planes these days, or you can land in the pokey.) I wait as everyone boards the plane--including the people whose seats I'm waiting in. They were very kind as I moved to another empty seat. Finally the original woman who ignored me at the gate is on the plane and is apparently here to save the day. At this point, I am not only seriously in doubt of her saving abilities, but I realize I'm probably screwed. Then the gate lady asks a man sitting in row two if the empty seat next to him has anyone in it. He says he doesn't think so (being just a passenger and all). So customer ignoring gate lady points to the seat and says to me, "Sit there." So I do. And that was that. I made it on time to check in and register for the seminar, and off I went!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My 9/11

I have spent spurts and moments recollecting that morning ten years ago, but never fully indulging my memory. This is my attempt to make the time to do that. I had gotten up at my usual 4:30 AM for a run (one of the many things that are different now). I put on my armband radio with headphones and started out into the dark. The weather had been warm and clear and gorgeous during the day, which meant that it was a little cooler in the dark--much like the weather is right now, in fact. My usual talk radio show wasn't on, and as I began my warm up trot, I tried to figure out just exactly what was being broadcast. Something had happened, and I didn't know if this was a live report or a recording. When I could surmise that it was not a local broadcast, I assumed it was a recording since the nation's news day was half over by the time most people started their day in Hawaii. So I continued to jog, expecting the chaotic noise I was hearing to eventually be explained by a calm reporter. Trying to make sense of what I was hearing became increasingly difficult. Everything about my morning was routine. And yet, somehow, as I ran along, it was simultaneously not routine at all. The craziness I was listening to was juxtaposed against my pitch black, very typical surroundings. I couldn't see clearly, and the neighborhood was its typically silent self. Most people were still snug in their beds, unaware of what was taking place at the other end of the country. Finally, I heard someone attempt a recap: Two planes had purposefully hit the World Trade Center towers one and two. One tower was down. That was all that I could understand, as even the reporter--remote from the actual situation--was speaking in a hysterical voice. Without realizing it, I had been running faster and faster as I listened to the events unfold. By the time I realized it, I had run nearly twice my usual distance. I came home into a dark house. I was breathing heavily, and as I entered the kitchen, my whole family was oddly awake and standing before me in a line. I still don't know why they were awake or how they all ended up there like that, but I was so glad to see each of them was just fine. I opened my mouth to try to tell my husband what had happened, and I began to sob uncontrollably. I had been running for nearly an hour in the dark, trying to absorb what I was hearing, and not responding at all. That opportunity to finally react opened the proverbial floodgates, and I now sounded like the reporter I could barely understand on my radio. Finally, I was able to say, "We're under attack, the World Trade Center Collapsed." My husband could not believe it. Surely I had gotten something wrong. "Those towers were built to take a hit by a plane..." he said. We turned on the television and both towers were standing there, smoke billowing out of them. "See," he said, "there's no way..." Just then, the video showed the south tower's collapse and we both realized it was not a live shot. Many things followed in that day, some I recall clearly, and others not at all. I remember calling the headmaster of the kids' school, and informing him of what had happened. I remember wanting my kids within my sight. And I remember, that very day, knowing that my country would not be the same country that my kids knew. It broke my heart, as it still does. Well, that's about all I can muster right now, as life's duties call...