Sunday, September 27, 2009

Well, It's Over...

And it sure ended with a .... I was gonna say bang, but it seems like a bad choice of words given the circumstances.

The last day the business was opened, Friday, is a day that I can say with certainty will never be forgotten. Jesse said he should have known it wouldn't go out quietly.

Desperate times can make otherwise decent people do desperate things.

It started a couple weeks ago when a woman brought her car in to be fixed. The insurance adjuster appraised it at $3700 and she added on $1000 worth of work that wasn't covered. She agreed to the charges and signed off on it. The work was completed and the insurance company sent a check to the business for.... $1033. Upon calling the insurance company several times it became clear to her that she wasn't going to get the money from them... Jesse called several times on her behalf, as well. She, feeling trapped, decided to try to bully it out of the business by claiming that she was being ripped off. You can't fight big business, but you can go down to the local small business and throw a fit, you know? She did that and when that didn't work, she brought her husband back. Jesse said her husband was reasonable enough when they spoke on Wednesday and he laid everything out for them. Friday rolls around and it becomes very clear to them that they are going to lose their vehicle because they can't pay for it. They came in with $300 towards their bill which would have brought the total they paid towards the job to about $2000, including the insurance check. Jesse said the man was agitated and aggressive from the very start. He tried to talk him down, but the situation was escalating, quickly. The man stepped up to Jesse very aggressively and the store manager, Chris, quickly stepped between them and told the man to step off. Jesse said the next thing he knew, Chris was pinned on the ground and the man was on him beating him viciously. Somebody called 911 at this point. His back was to Jesse so he couldn't really see if he was using a weapon or his fists. He pulled his gun out of it's holster and told the man to step away from Chris. He came at Jesse and dared him to shoot him and then said he was going to take the gun from him and kill him with it. At this point, four crew members from the back of the shop where lined up behind Jesse. Jesse, who had no intention of shooting an unarmed man, put the gun back in it's holster and asked the man if he really thought that was going to happen. The man grabbed Jesse's shirt with one fist and attempted to punch him with the other. Jesse ducked his head back and he only caught the edge of his glasses, knocking them almost off. Jesse was cut and bleeding just below his collarbone from the way the man grabbed his shirt. Jesse, even at this point, was pretty calm. He took off his glasses, folded them and put them on his desk. He had pretty much decided at this point he had enough. He started to go after him and the man said, NO, let's take it outside and turned.... to meet my uncle's fist. My Uncle John, who is a small Irish pit bull with a heart of gold, nailed him straight out in the face 3-4 times before two of Jesse's crew member's rushed over to drag John off of him. When they did the man took advantage and managed to get John twice in the face while the crew member's had his arms. They feel really really bad about it, because it resulted in the worst black eye I have EVER seen and 5 stitches in his mouth. At that point the police came (within 10 minutes!!! In North Philly it can and has taken them an HOUR for them to show up!). They arrested the man. First though, they threw Jesse on the hood of the car and took his gun (which yes, it is registered and he has a concealed weapon permit). Four other police cars showed up-must have been a slow day in Philly!-. Several knew Jesse. They quickly told the over-zealous cop that Jesse was one of the good guys and to let him up. Jesse and John went to the police station and gave their statements. The guys rap sheet had been totally clean for about 9 years (he's 46)... and even then the offense was a minor drug possession. Even so, the police said that if they pressed charges it was a minimum of 2 years behind bars. John, being the most injured, was given the most say. He chose instead to go in to the holding room with Jesse and talk to the attacker. As soon as they walked in the guy was choked up and effusively apologetic. He said he didn't know what came over him and that he isn't "that guy". He has an 8 year old and coaches little league in the city for underprivileged kids! He said he was feeling desperate and ripped off (by the insurance company) and lost his head. He asked for forgiveness and Jesse and John gave it. Then they drove him back to the shop, took the $300 and gave him his car. The dilemma, for them, at this point was how to pay their crew their last paychecks, as this job was how they had intended to do it. They went to return some rental equipment they where using in the last month and instead of owing $3000, like they should have, the store owner charged them $1000! They had the money to pay the guys!!!

Praise God! for His Mercy, His Grace, His Loving Protective Hand, His Provision in the whole situation. Jesse and I are still in awe. But for the absolute Grace of God, it could have all ended so badly, for everyone. Grace, for those that don't know, is the unearned, undeserved love of our loving Heavenly Father. You can't earn it, you don't deserve it and yet He chooses to give it extravagantly. This is the absolute foundation of my faith and I believe it with all my heart.

We both feel, now, that God used this situation to show us that we are on the right path. The one He wants for us. Jesse begins building his Solar Power Energy Company first thing Monday morning.

After all that, the fear I felt about being unemployed has been replaced with a really peaceful, optimistic feeling. I am actually looking forward to seeing this....

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, September 21, 2009

We Could Use Some Prayers...

It's a difficult week for us, this week. Without going in to too many gory details, Jesse is under a tremendous amount of pressure and we are at a split in the road.... well, it's actually more like the END of the road with a big honkin' cliff on one half and a solid wall on the other. The Maaco will close it's doors permanently on Friday. All but a skeleton crew have already been let go and they aren't accepting any new business, just finishing what's in house. The crew could use your prayers, too, I am certain. It's not a great time to be looking for work. We know that it's been a long time coming. Still, it feels very sad and scary.

Here's to jumping off the cliff and landing softly... Jesse will be the one with his eyes wide open and shouts of glee all the way down... I'll be the one next to him with my eyes tightly shut and hands firmly on the parachute....

ummm, anyone seen my parachute?

If you are so led, please keep us in your prayers this week. We both need peace, rest, and the opening of doors that only God can provide.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Adventures in Homeschooling...

Today while I was having lunch with the kids Talyn rattled off the answer to a math problem we where discussing. It wasn't something I had taught him, yet. So, I asked him how he came up with the answer.

He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know, I just read it in my brain."

Read it in your brain? I ask....

Yeah, he said in a nonchalant tone that implied-Doesn't everyone?

Talyn has been able to do math in his head since a little before he turned four. He would sit in the back of the van and rattle off the answers to math problems, occasionally asking Jesse and me if he was correct... more often than not he was and when he wasn't he went back and corrected it himself. I have been trying to figure out how he comes up with the answers for years, but he still can't explain it to me. It's actually one of the big reasons that we homeschool. His preschool years and kindergarten year where fine, but upon entering the first grade in a different school, it was a sharp, steep, plunge to the bottom. The system took a kid that could answer math problems in his head, correctly, and decided he was "special needs" and "ADHD". Our pediatrician, who has known him since birth, vehemently disagreed... interestingly his kindergarten teacher, who adored him, went to bat for him as well, even though she worked at another school. They put him in special classes and tried to medicate him. That only lasted a week resulting in the worst mood swings I have seen since my sister was teenager. Why? Because according to our ped, medication only works if you actually NEED it. Imagine that.

The end result of all this helpful intervention?

A lively, energetic child who had an incredible spirit for immersing himself in learning and a knack for doing math in his head was, by the year's end, unable to complete 2 basic subtraction problems on a standardized test and was convinced he was stupid. He would walk to the bus every morning like the weight of the entire world was on those small shoulders. He would cry his heart out on Sunday nights. It broke my heart in to a million little pieces.

I was reminded again today, while I watched him fly through his math book and animatedly discuss math problems, how incredibly far we have come. We where at our homeschooling PE class yesterday where he competed, chatted and was completely comfortable with his peers. Thank You, Heavenly Father, for this amazing journey. You have shown me time and again that my plan is not needed. YOUR plan is all I need. Amen.

I still really want to know how exactly he figures the math out in his head. Hopefully, someday, he will have the verbal ability to walk me through it. Till then, I am content to just sit back, smile and marvel at my beautiful, smart, vibrant son.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another Happy Mistake...

Ringside Seats to a Trinny and Sylver Wrestling Match on our neighbor's lawn, LOL.

A happy mistake and a learning experience. I am making something for a super special little lady (moochies Krynnie) and once again I needed to do a rough draft before the real thing. Soooo, ARI got a new dress, LOL.

Some Pictures...

I made the girls and their doll babies, Stacy and Mary, matching nightgowns with glow in the dark thread. They couldn't WAIT for bed tonight! Don't forget to click on the pictures to see the girls and their babies in all their cuteness!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Some Visitors....

We had a couple of really beautiful visitors last week. Jesse took Mr. Frog's picture... didn't he pose beautifully? And I took the Leaf Bug's picture... I had to hang out the front window on a chair to get him. -sigh- I always get the difficult models. LOL. Be sure to click on the pictures to see the bigger version! The detail is just amazing! I love marveling at God's hand in all of His creation!

Heard While Out to Lunch today....

"MOM Sylver just sprayed SPIT on me with her straw!" (that's Talyn, looking disgusted)

-Snort- .... that's me trying not to outright LAUGH, because, after all, I am a mature adult.

"It's not funny, Mommy! Sylver Spit could be classified as a Bio-Hazard Weapon!"

Outright Laughter could be heard all around... and not just from me :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

One More...

Yup, that's a colander on her head :)

Some Pictures of Ariya from Last Month...

Ariya is getting SO big! She drinks out of a big girl cup!

No denying this little one!

Loooook in to my eyes.... you will bring me all your candy :)

This is either, Daddy has cute cheeks, or Daddy needs help getting these spikey things out of his face :)

Trinny giving Ariya a hand Up and Away! Ariya was quite unhappy about the feel of the grass on her bare feet and Trinny, being the awesome big sister she is, rescued her!
Click on this one to see it full size! Actually all of them are click-able!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why Do We Homeschool?

Jesse is fighting some major battles at work this week, so to distract myself I thought I might blog a bit about the above question. It's a question I hear constantly at this time of year. So I figured I would sum it all up in one place for those that are curious. Not to debate, mind you, just to offer some of the information we used to make our decision. If you aren't interested, no worries, but if you are read on!

Homeschooling wasn't a decision we took lightly and one that we feel very deeply is the best decision for our family. Anyone who knows me even a little bit (and I pretty comfortable that all 14 readers of my blog do, LOL), knows my children are my number one priority and I want the best for them. We talked to public school educators, counselors, and most importantly, Our Heavenly Father, when making our decision 2 years ago while Talyn was in public school. Talyn had a torturous 1rst grade year in an award winning school district that really opened our eyes to the limitations of the school system as it stands now... which, interestingly, has changed alarmingly little in the last century, with the exception of the sheer numbers of kids that are now pushed through it. Jesse actually went to college to be a high school biology teacher and was discouraged from the profession by other educators. I do tend to be an out of the box thinker, but my first reaction when first Jesse, and then Laurie, who was a former public school teacher, suggested homeschooling, was, Umm NO! and No and really, NO... I was really looking forward to some time for myself! It's funny, really, how often I find myself eating my own words. I began to research- I am a huge advocate of thoroughly researching something and then drawing your own conclusions... even "small" decisions get googled at least once! It took a lot of support from Jesse and other homeschoolers, knee shaking, a hefty dose of self-doubt, and a whole lot of prayer before we jumped in. I haven't regretted it, ever, but I do admit to pangs of jealousy when all the other moms send their little ones off for 8 hours of peace every day. Someday, I will have all the peace I could ever want, right? The journey has been enlightening and bumpy and most of all, educational, for the children AND the adults.

So I guess the long and short is that we believe that it is better for our children then the other options that are available to them.

Here are some interesting recent articles that back up that opinion.....
Studies have shown time and again that homeschooled children excel in academics, and not just by a little bit, but very significantly.

This article sums up how we feel about socialization concerns.

I would like to mention our area is considered a "hotspot" for homeschoolers and we have several clubs, groups, dances, field trips and sports teams available to us, so I don't really worry at all about the kid's social skills.... but their "social training" isn't just confined to their peers and I really do believe that is important. Our children are comfortable with people from all walks of life, including their peers. We are constantly complimented on how well spoken and well behaved our children are... a mennonite woman at the Farmer's Market last Friday told me that my children are very "mannerly". They aren't little robots, though. They are all independent thinkers and quite comfortable (a little TOO comfortable) negotiating with anyone they see fit to ... I had to remind my son tonight that contrary to what he believes bedtime is NOT negotiable. I don't think he believes me though, because it still took 30 or so minutes to get him to actually GO to bed. Which I should actually go do, as well.

Happy to chat via e-mail, so drop me a line!

'night :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Some Prayers Please...

It was a very sad day today.

Our neighbor's, Tom and Melissa, are very good friends of ours. Adrian, their daughter, is Trin's BFF and Tommy and Talyn are video game amigos. They received some very devastating news in the wee hours of the morning this morning. Tom's dad committed suicide last night. We are used to seeing Big Tom in our cul-de-sac often. Trin, in particular, was quite charmed by him and I am quite certain the feeling was mutual. He spent all day with Tommy and Adrian Sunday before they went back to school today. It is going to be a long road to healing for this family. I am in prayer for them, his wife of thirty years, Cheryl, and his daughter, Shannon, who is pregnant with her first child, a daughter. If you can spare a moment to pray for them, I know that it will be heard.

The world seems topsy turvy today.

Heavenly Father, I would like to offer Melissa, Tom, Adrian, Tommy, Cheryl and Shannon up to you tonight. Please Father, comfort them and bless them with the peace and healing that comes from accepting your love in to their hearts. Please surround them with Your Love, that they might see it and accept it as a salve upon their broken hearts.
I pray for Jesse, tonight, as well. He is making some very difficult decisions this week and I just pray that he will follow the path that is Your Will for him and for our family. Thank You Heavenly Father for your Grace, your Love and the Peace that comes from knowing that Your Plan Is Perfect, even when I can't see around myself long enough to get a glimpse of it. In the Precious Name of Jesus I pray. Amen.