Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Songs That Remind Us of Ethan

When Ethan passed away in June of last year, we had to do what no parent should have to do--plan a funeral.  Since we are military and did not live back home in Texas, we planned two funerals.  That was a challenge that I do not wish on anyone to ever have to experience, but with the grace of God, we did what needed to be done.  We were blessed with many friends who helped us so much, a great staff at both funeral homes (especially Palm there in Las Vegas), and help from the military (Survivor Relations).  My dad flew out to help us, and that was a blessing as well. 

We had two funerals because we had our family in Las Vegas that we had become very close to during that assignment.  We had been in Las Vegas for over four years.  Our military family there was really the only family our boys truly knew.  They were the people that we all interacted with on an almost daily basis.  Now I'm not discounting our family back home in the various states, but when you're a military family you truly have to cling to and support those in your military community. 

The other funeral was in my hometown of San Antonio, TX.  We chose San Antonio because that is where Josh and I met and married four months (yes, that quickly) later, and welcomed Ethan's birth several months later.  Evan was also born in San Antonio, and well, it's a very sentimental place for us.  Both Josh and I have family and friends in San it just made sense for it to be Ethan's final resting place for his earthly body.  He was laid to rest at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.

At Ethan's Nellis AFB service, I remember being in a frantic just before the service began.  Josh and I were in Chaplain Brown's office discussing the type of service to be performed (what to be said, music to be played, etc.).  Chaplain Brown had suggested "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe.  That song was absolutely at the top of my list of songs I wanted to be played.  We had just seen them in concert April 16, 2008 on Nellis.  It was a wonderful concert, and we are huge fans of their songs that glorify the Lord.  "I Can Only Imagine" was the song played at that service.  It now holds, I think, a much different meaning to many when they hear that song.  I know that it does for Josh, Evan and I.  We here on earth can only imagine the glory that Ethan is witnessing in heaven!  What a wonderful place heaven must be, and how happy Ethan must be there with his heavenly Father.

At Ethan's San Antonio service, MercyMe's song was played as well.  But I had been on a long, hard search for Chris Tomlin's "Our God."  It was a newer song that was released in 2010, and the CD had just been released shortly before Ethan's passing.  The reason why I picked that song is that the boys and I would often sing that song together while driving.  Ethan would smile and sing along, as would Evan.  Ethan often would say if he heard a song somewhere (store, restaurant, etc.) that wasn't about God, that is was a yucky song!  Yes, Ethan knew the true heart of a Christ follower and what they should do, listen to, etc. that would glorify the Lord.

In desperate search for Chris Tomlin's new song, I went to Family Christian Bookstores in San Antonio.  I remember walking in there searching frantically for the CD.  It didn't exist.  Then I went up to the counter and explained that I needed the song for my son's funeral, and how important it was that I find that CD quickly.  Of course, this created tears from the kindhearted elderly lady who so graciously helped me.  She got on the phone and called KLOVE (a Christian radio station) and asked them what CD the song was on.  Turns out, it was on a compilation CD.  Nonetheless, I bought the CD and was on my way.  Our God was played at the San Antonio Service. 

When you hear either song on the radio, you just might stop and think of Ethan being in heaven with the Lord, having a great time!  I believe surely he is smiling down on all of us, hoping that one day we won't have to imagine heaven...we will know it as a reality. 

I Can Only Imagine

Our God

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Choose Our Attitude!

And I choose to glorify Him (though I daily fall short)!  I could be bitter and mad that Ethan died tragically, or I can be thankful for the 7 1/2 years we were blessed with his sweet soul.  I choose thankfulness and a positive attitude. 

For the first time since Ethan's entrance to heaven, I'm pretty happy with my life.  HAPPY!!!  I'm sure that sounds strange that I could be HAPPY despite my circumstances.  Well you know what, there are many others out there struggling and going through FAR worse than I could ever imagine.  Just the other day a man lost both his wife and baby (they had to deliver the baby urgently).  A couple of years ago a young couple lost BOTH of their twins due to a tragic circumstance similar to ours.  Yes, TWO blessings they had to bury.

When we find that our situation is difficult, just remember that everyone "carries their own cross in life" (not anywhere near the Cross that Jesus carried for you and I--yes He carried it even for the Agnostic, Atheist, etc.--HE loves everyone of us and I strive to do so too!), and there's always someone else far worse off than you and I.

Be blessed today that we are so rich in His love, we have homes over our heads, and plenty of daily bread to nourish our bodies!

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  Colossians 3:15 NKJV

Monday, February 7, 2011

If at First They Don't Succeed, Try Again In a Unique Way

Today during school time, we came to the most exciting and favorite part (okay, I'm being a bit sarcastic): Handwriting. I was trying so hard to motivate Evan to keep going and not give up. He was in tears, I was remaining calm, and got an idea. I put some rice in a large container (rectangular shaped) and took it back to the homeschool room. Evan's attitude changed from one of frustration to once of curiosity. I placed his finger in the rice and helped him write a number 3 in the rice. Within minutes, he was excited and writing 3's with no problem! Succeed!

If you are finding a particular subject/task to be frustrating, switch it up with something different. Take school outside and make it fun and interesting! Don't forget, children need a lot of stretch breaks, and aren't meant to be in a seat for too long. Children do much better when given frequent stretch breaks from their school work.

By the way, I'm in no way brilliant. The rice in a container idea I've read from many other homeschool mommies, and in creative activity books. Venture out onto the internet and see what you can find on blogs. There are a lot of great homeschool moms out there that are veterans, and a plethora of knowledge!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Homeschool Update

I must admit that since June of last year, this blog has been about anything but homeschooling.  I have pondered creating a blog devoted to Ethan and the grief journey, but have decided to keep all of that right here.  But I wanted to update on our school adventures.  We are going to continue to homeschool Evan until the Lord says otherwise.  Hooray!

Evan just turned 5 in October, so he is technically (according to public school standards) not old enough to be in Kindergarten.  However, we don't follow the public school standards as far as age requirement, so Evan has started Kindergarten early.  I had high hopes of starting our formal school days in August, but it wasn't possible with moving and still being deep in my sorrow.  It has taken us a while to adjust (not even sure that we are really adjusted....just "tolerating" where we live I suppose).  And I am an advocate for not rushing your children into formal education.  If they are showing an interest in a particular subject (for instance, insects), then go on that.  Take your child out into nature and let them explore.  Check out books on that subject, etc. 

This past week it seems as though we got through an entire week of school, and it felt great!  We have been "doing" school on and off, but not with set-in-stone lesson plans.  It was basically school on a whim!

The million dollar question:  What are you using for curriculum?  Here we go:
  • Bible (most important, our direction in life...nothing else matters!) along with Plants Grown Up from .  At this moment, we are discussing self-control and temptation, reading some from a great book for little one's called Leading Little Ones to God by Schoolland.  If you are wanting to teach your children more and more about the Lord, and grown their relationship with Him, look to Doorposts for some great resources!
  • Science:  Apologia, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day:  Exploring Creation with Zoology 1.  Great book for a read aloud!  Once Evan is older, he will read and learn this material more self-paced.  We are learning basically zoology and then going onto Lesson 9:  Insects  Evan loves insects, and he's going to learn everything he ever wanted to know about them!
  • Math:  we are doing simple math with real life aspects;  for example, while eating crackers, adding or subtracting them and using real world scenarios (if that makes sense).  We are practicing writing all of his numbers, and getting reading to probably add Primer from Math U See.  I am looking into a couple other math programs too.  One is Developmental Math.
  • Reading:  Alphaphonics by Samuel Blumenfeld and BOB Books.  We are going to integrate Spelling to Write and Read in a couple months once I "learn" how to teach this unique system.
  • History:  History for Little Pilgrims from Christian Liberty Press.  We will just read through this and then have him repeat the lesson.  He's not ready to read and write the questions at the end of the chapters.
  • P.E.:  We mountain bike as a family.  Just this week Evan did 10 miles!  Plus he goes to the gymnasium in town one to two times per week.  We go on walks and bike rides quite often in our neighborhood.
  • Drawing/Art:  Book One from Draw Write Now
Other subjects may be added.  One for sure is Geography!  I already have those books and cannot wait to get started!  The Books are:  A Child's Geography:  Explore His Earth and A Child's Geography:  Explore the Holy Land both by Voskamp.  Excellent books, and they really are super, super interesting.  You can find those books at

Well, thanks for stopping by and reading about our homeschool adventures!

A Seed Has Been Planted...

And is taking bloom!  Last night this is the conversation that Evan and Josh had:

"Daddy, what day is it tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow is Sunday."

"Ah, nuts!!!," Evan exclaimed.  "I was going to fix the mailbox, but it's the Day of Rest (Sabbath)!"

   You see, night before last vandals went through our neighborhood and randomly bashed in mailboxes (we have regular mailboxes, not lock and key cluster boxes).  Evan was very upset about it and wanted to fix the mailbox.  The fact that when Josh said it was going to be Sunday, and Evan remembered that Sunday is the Lord's Day, meant a lot to the both of us.  It means that a seed has been planted, and is blooming!  Hallelujah! 

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.  Deuteronomy 6:7-9 (KJV)