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Archive for April, 2007

OK, fellow obsessive bloggers. Here’s an additional challenge. BIG sigh here. Can we limit our blog time during TV Turn-off next week? I know this will be a much bigger challenge for me than ignoring the TV. Here’s the goal from Mom Unplugged:

A maximum of one hour per day online. It will occur after the kids go to bed, no “peeking” at my email during the daytime. This one will be hard since the computer is in the kitchen, tempting me, taunting me, CALLING OUT TO ME!!! OK, this is getting weird. As I said – only one hour per day.

The no “peeking” at my email outside of the allotted time will be tough. My laptop is also on a desk in the kitchen. I think I’ll just have to leave it off until my allotted time. Oh, this will definitely take much more discipline than leaving the TV off. That will be challenging for B & G, my challenge will be the computer. I was planning to spend time with my husband after B’s bedtime, so need to think about when in the day I do get to check on my email and blogs. Perhaps I should set a timer . . .

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It’s almost here. On Monday, April 23rd, we will turn off our TV and leave it off until the completion of Sunday, April 29th. Can we do it? Can we live a whole week without our TV? What about you? Do you think you can? Mom2One commented in my last TV Turn-Off post that her 5 year old wouldn’t stand for it. I’ll admit, even though we’ve been talking about it and attempting to prepare him for it, our B is not going to be happy the first time we say “no” when he asks to watch something. TV is a pretty ingrained habit around here.

But, there’s lots of stuff our kids don’t like that we enforce because it’s what we believe is best for them. I’m willing to endure the fit that is likely to ensue. I’ll have ear plugs at the ready. 🙂 Yeah, it won’t be pretty. But, as with other things that fits are thrown over, once we get past the fit, it will be accepted. Then we can proceed to fun times and cherished memories. I believe it will be worth that initial difficulty for all of us to learn that we can get along without the “boob tube.” Shoot, we might decide we like life better without it. Well, maybe with less of it. 🙂

So, being the addicted blogger that I am. I’m participating in the Mom Unplugged blogger challenge. See the graphic link in the sidebar. In light of my OBD, I’m seriously considering taking a blog break in addition to the TV. We’ll see. 🙂 If I do, I’ll blog about our TV free week at the end. So, stay tuned.

Here are some ideas I’ve come up with for our family to enjoy while not watching TV. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comment section.

  • Well, there are three times a day that we have to eat. At least one of those each day we can all do together. Yeah, cook dinner together! So, I’ll be planning a menu of stuff that B can help with.
  • Mother’s Day is coming up. B and I can make J and all the grandmas their cards with plenty of time to get them in the mail on time. What a concept!
  • Go to the library. We love the library. We’ll go early in the week and get a stack of books and some stories on tape or CD. B loves to listen to stories, anyway. That might be a good substitute during his afternoon veg time. hmmmmm.
  • Play out doors. Tag or anything with a ball is good.
  • Ride bikes.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Gardening. Maybe I’ll take care of those pots of dead plants on the front porch. Yeah, I let them go a little too long without water, in the desert.
  • Read! B will have a stack of books from the library along with his favorites at home. I always have a stack of books I’m trying to read.
  • Get this, instead of turning on the TV in the evening, after dinner, the whole family can gather around a book! Pick a favorite or new story and read it together. Anyone want to recommend a good book a whole family might enjoy?
  • Play games! We have various types of games in the closet that are rarely ever pulled out. While G’s not watching TV and I’m not glued to the computer, we can play a game. And maybe talk, even.
  • Get creative. Write a story, draw or paint a picture, sculpt something out of clay . . .

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I suppose we all have those days when we wonder what the world is coming to. I was already feeling low about the Stephanie Bennett case. How horrid that an adoption agency would find it acceptable to put paper and pen in front of a young woman they have just met with the intention that she should hand over her child to them. And then encourage her to leave home, crossing county lines, to ensure no interferance in the so-called adoption. How do those people sleep at night.

While so many of us were blogging about that yesterday, another tragedy occured in Virginia. Today I’m numb from it all. I have a TV turn-off post on the back burner. But today, I want to turn off the whole world. I want to scream at the injustice, the insanity of it all. My heart breaks for the families of the 30+ students and professors that were killed. The prayer I offered up in my last post for all involved in the Bennett case, I offer up again today for those families, and for VA Tech. May you find comfort and strength to carry on.

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This has been on my mind all day. I was so moved earlier that I banged out a quick post while B was having his quiet time, although I know it isn’t very good. I so hope folks reading here will click over and get the details of this case. It is very heart wrenching. As an adoptive parent, myself, I have some thoughts for the couple that currently have Evelyn Bennett and are hiding her despite a court order giving custody to her grandparents (Stephanie’s parents). Correction: The grandparents had a temporary custody order that has since been overturned. Unfortunately no one went to bat for them enforcing the custody order while it was in effect.

As an adoptive parent I can very easily put myself in your shoes. Though I haven’t experienced it myself, this type of scenario is feared by many who consider adopting. My heart breaks for you. You have also been victimized by this agency. Please know that much of the outrage being expressed is directed at the agency and what they have done. And I have to wonder what those folks are telling you – likely not the truth. How can they look at you and admit how they acquired a child for you?

But if you’ve found yourself here, then you have access to the truth. I know I could not live with myself knowing I have a child by manipulation and coercion of a scared, vulnerable young woman. As painful as it is for you to think of losing this child, think how much more painful it has been, IS, for Stephanie and the rest of her family. They are fighting this adoption because they have been wronged. The agency you used was WRONG in what they did to Stephanie.

I know it hurts. I’m very sorry that all of this has happened and all the people being hurt by it. But the longer you hide Evelyn and prolong this, the harder it will be. She is not yours. You have to admit that to yourself. She is not yours. Evelyn belongs with her mom, Stephanie,  and grandparents who love her very much and had every intention of raising her. This is a travesty, I know. And I feel for you. But, as hard as it is, you must choose to do the right thing. Do right by Evelyn, and Stephanie, and the rest of the Bennett family.

I am praying for this situation, for all involved. I pray for God’s wisdom and the courage to do the right thing. I pray for God’s comfort in your pain and grieving.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
       he leads me beside quiet waters,

 he restores my soul.
       He guides me in paths of righteousness
       for his name’s sake.

 Even though I walk
       through the valley of the shadow of death, [a]
       I will fear no evil,
       for you are with me;
       your rod and your staff,
       they comfort me.               Psalm 23:1-4

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
       you will restore my life again;
       from the depths of the earth
       you will again bring me up.

 You will increase my honor
       and comfort me once again.          Psalm 71:20-21

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There’s a blogging blitz in progress regarding an Ohio “adoption” case. Here’s a brief overview. Young girl pregnant, keeps baby with her parents help and support. Five months out, babie’s father causing trouble, making threats. Apparently not a nice guy. Girl sees high school guidance counselor and mentions adoption. Guidance counselor gives brochure from an agency and schedules a meeting on school grounds. Adoption workers encourage girl to run away from home, to another county, where they have her sign adoption papers and take her child. Girl’s parents not notified. Seven months later girl and parents are fighting to get her daughter back. The girl’s name is Stephanie. She named her baby Evelyn, after her grandmother and great grandmother.

Hello – can you say coercion? Let me help you – co er shun! The actions of this agency are reprehensible. You can read more details of this case on KimKim and ParagrapheIn. Then, if you feel as outraged as I do, go here and sign a petition for the return of Baby Evelyn to her mother and grandparents. Let’s implore this agency to do the right thing.

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Another Family Thought

I realized as I re-read the Family Ties post that I did not mention my in-laws. Let me just say that was completely unintentional. I’ve been thinking about that and wondering why. Well, we’ve been married over 17 years now, so they’ve been a part of my life longer than anyone, aside from those that have known me since birth or childhood. I think, unconsciously, I was considering them a part of my first, original family – as near and dear to me as my own parents. Ann has been as much a mother to me as anyone since G and I started dating, really, and especially after we decided to get married. So I’m especially blessed to have three wonderful women in my life I can call mom (Although I call my mother-in-law and my step-mom by their beautiful first names, to avoid confusion). How cool is that?!

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First off – yayyy! We get to stay in Texas!

So, some things that have been on the back of my mind are coming to the forefront now that I’m starting to look at our options for adoption and foster care. Foster care has always been something I thought I would do “someday.” I’ve just always had a heart for caring for kids having a hard time. But I have some concerns of how that will fit into our family.

Well, really just one main concern is my homeschool convictions. I have an idea that foster kids will pretty much HAVE to go to public school. Believing that public school, the way it exists today, is not the best thing for kids anyway, I imagine how hard it would be to send these kids, that are already having a hard time, away to school all day while B gets to be “home.” And then I also imagine it will be hard for B to have them go away, leaving him the only kid at home all day.

Any other concerns I’ve thought of don’t seem like they’d be very difficult to adjust to. But the school issue looms over me as something that might cause problems. So, I’m wondering if there are any homeschool families that provide foster care??? Does that combination even exist. If it does, I’d love to hear how it has worked out. Can the two coexist? Is this going to be something that eliminates foster care as a possibility for us? I’m just wondering.

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UPDATE 4/11: I’m searching around and have found this 10 year old article from the HSLDA newsletter stating that TX did not allow homeschoolers to become foster parents, but they were working on changing that. On the Texas Homeschool Coalition FAQ, this is the answer to the question, “May someone else homeschool my child?”

Yes. Home schools in Texas have been determined by the Texas Supreme Court to be private schools. Private schools are not regulated by the state of Texas. There are no requirements such as teacher certification or curriculum approval. The ruling of the Leeper case states that a parent “or one standing in parental authority” may educate a child. However, if a person is teaching more than three students outside her family, the teacher may encounter problems with local zoning ordinances, and the state will require that the teacher be licensed for child care.

I also have found this information about a house bill that sounds like foster care homeschooling is allowed:

HB 614   is a bill by State Representative Robert Puente that allows funds to continue to go to foster care families with children who are over 18 years of age and still in high school pursuing a diploma.  Representative Puente accepted an amendment from Representatives Ken Paxton and Larry Phillips on the House floor last week to delete the word “accredited” defining the school.  This change will allow home schooling foster parents to take advantage of this change as well. 

And here is a quote from a letter written in 2005 by the Texas Homeschool Coalition on behalf of one of it’s members:

The Commissioner of the Department of Family and Protective Services has assured me that home schooling is routinely allowed for foster children. 

Of course, the letter was written because social services was not allowing that family to homeschool. I’ve also seen some references to a NJ battle in 2004, with media reporting as if all homeschoolers are abusing their children. So, although it seems it may be possible, I’m not sure I want to add that extra hassle, potential harassment, to my life. We’ll have to seriously and prayerfully consider whether foster care is a good fit for our homeschooling family. I’ll contact some folks for further consideration and will be asking lots of questions before we decide whether to proceed in that direction.

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