Friday, January 30, 2009


I've not posted much in the past week, and I apologize.

It's been a hectic week for myself and my husband, especially since my computer was stolen and Shaune's gets a "blue screen of death" approxomately every 5 minutes. We intend to buy one that works sometime this weekend or next week.

I've been working on some posts in paper-pencil mode and will be posting them within the next week or so. Be patient with me!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

City Girl vs. Country Girl

I saw this on Sarah's blog and couldn't resist!

How City Are You?

The “X” stand for “No.” The “*” stand for “Yes.” (I am just going to write yes or no)

I’ve drunk Starbucks more than once in my Life: Yes! There’s one at my college, and we can use meal-plan money there. It’s the best place on campus to meet up with people, especially first-contacts for Evangelism team. Kind of a safe territory. That, and I’m addicted to hot tea.

Sometimes I link arms when I walk with someone: Yup. With Shaune or my best friend Carrie.

I shop at AE A&F, or HCO: Back in high school. But even then, only once or twice.

I own 4 or more dress shirts/dresses: Yes. I call it my “I’m a teacher” wardrobe for preclinical rotations. I’ve started getting everyday dresses tho.

I will never be caught without my cell phone: Yes. *blush*

I blow dry/straighten my hair on a daily basis: No. I pulled out my blowdryer when we were running late the other day, but that’s the first time in 6mo. Haven’t straightened my hair in 8-9 months.

I will wear flip flops no matter what the weather: No. Only in the summer.

I own an over sized pair of sunglasses: No. I had a pair as a gift. I wasn’t sad when they got stepped on.

I own 1 or more pairs of ripped jeans: Yes, but they weren’t ripped on purpose! They’re just too old. I only wear them painting now.

I layer my shirts: All the time, because I’m tall and for some reason most shirts hit way too high.

I have/had a “Myspace mirror pic”: LOL… high school.

When I’m not drinking star bucks I prefer water: Only if it’s hot and tea-flavored.

I get annoyed with tom-boys: Not really.

I own an over sized bag or purse: Yes. Three. They’re the perfect size for carrying a few folders/notebooks back and forth to class/teaching, and are prettier than most tote bags.

I have seen every episode of Laguna Beach: Not a single one.

I say “lol” online: Too much.

I own straight legged jeans: No.

I walk across the street when cars are there or not: I like being alive… I wait to cross.

I wear necklaces: Every day.

I own an iPod/mp3 player: Yes. A gift.

I have the internet: Yes.

I have more than 1 screen name: Yes.

I own/have owned a small teacup dog: No, I’m allergic to most furry animals. No pets for the Prestons :-(

I have said “lol” accidentally in a real conversation: Once.

I love shopping: Depends on the company. But we have to go to Saint Louis, because Central Illinois is miserable.

I shop whenever I have a chance: Not even close. I go “shopping” maybe twice a year. I pick up things I need… when I need them.

I have watched the Simple Life: No.

Count the *’s and multiply them by 3 and put “I’m % city.” I’m about 45% city. Makes sense – I was born in downtown D.C., moved to the shadow of Saint Louis, and now live in the state capitol. I like my creature comforts. I don’t go overboard tho.

How Country Are You? Have you..?

Ridden a horse: Yes. It went the wrong way and I was scared to death.

Owned a horse: Never have and never will.

Owned Land: No, but we’re looking (once we get the downpayment)

Been 4 wheeling: No, we didn’t have those where I grew up.

Said “ain’t”: Yes Been cow-tipping: Not exactly – we tried, but it charged us instead. I guess you’re supposed to find one sleeping.

Been deer hunting: No.

Seen a deer get cleaned: No.

Caught a fish: Yes! I was so proud… even though I didn’t touch it.

Been swimming in a lake: Yes, girl scout camp every summer.

Have worked on a ranch or on land: Not even close.

Have lived in a house in the middle of nowhere: My cousins bought 95 acres in the Smoky Mountains and I visit every year. However I don’t think that counts as “lived”

Have been duck hunting: No

Have/went swimming in a river: Yes, several times. On my cousin’s farm as well as a few other times.

Driven in a truck: Yes. For 2 years! It was so abnormal. I had a blue Jeep Comanche right after I turned 16. It was older than I was.

Own or owned a Confederate battle flag: Daddy has one (he’s from West Virginia) but no.

Have said, “I don’t like it. . I love it.”: Yes, but how is that country?

Have a funny accent or people have told you that: Yes… a New England accent…

Owned or own a pair of cowboy boots: Yes. They were red. I was 4. It was heaven.

Own/owned a cowboy hat: No.

Own/have owned a big dog: I grew up with a German Shepherd and an American Mutt. Dad always taught me that if you have to bend over to pet it, it’s not a real dog.

Say “y’all”: Sometimes, after I visit my cousins for a long time.

You have been made fun of for sayin’ “y’all”: Yes, when I get home from the mountains.

Swear when you’re mad: Unfortunately yes. I’m trying to break that habit.

Go to church on Sunday: Yes.

Have ridden a horse to somewhere in town: No

Have gone on a field trip to a farm/ranch: Yes, every year in grade school. Got to show us “suburbians” what an animal is.

Made deer jerky: No, but I love to eat it.

Have eaten deer meat: Yes

Have shot a gun before: Yes. I was so startled by the recoil I dropped it.

I’m about 45% country, according to this? How strange. I leave my heart in the mountains every time we visit. Shaune and I would love nothing more than to buy some land and become as independent as possible. All the same, I’m so suburban it isn’t funny.

I tag... anyone who's reading. Post a comment so I can come see yours!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Power of Observation

I’ve faced a small set-back in my post series on learning, as someone broke into our home Tuesday night and stole my computer. I lost nearly all of my writings. But God provides – thankfully my husband’s old computer from graduate school was still in the closet so I am not without the ability to restart. I almost feel bad for the thief, though, as there was so little here for him to take! All he got was a 3 year old laptop running on its last leg. Apparently they weren’t interested in books…

One of the most powerful methods of learning, throughout our lives, is by observation. This is so broad that I’m struggling to find examples! Children learn how to treat others by watching how first their parents, then their peers treat others. Young girls learn how to keep home by watching their mothers. Attitudes towards formal studies (like math!) are passed from parents to children simply by the things parents say while helping their children with their work.

We learn most by what we’re surrounded with. God knew this, and directed Moses to teach the people to surround themselves with God’s word, so that they would learn it:

  • “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6-9

Cultural values are transmitted simply because they surround us, and we are designed to absorb what we see. This is one of the reasons we have decided to remove the television from our home. I realized that when I watched some of my favorite shows, I would begin comparing myself to the women on the screen. I felt inferior, like an ugly duckling. It made me want to go out and buy (whatever product the star is promoting this week)!

How many have heard while growing up, “Do what I say, not what I do”? Did that ever work? I tried cigarettes in high school because as a small child I had sat on my favorite grandfather’s lap every morning of our visits while he drank his coffee and had a smoke. He repeatedly admonished me to never smoke, but then why was he? Similar curiosity taught me how to curse, drink, and drive dangerously. It is only as an adult that I’ve realized the power of addictions and just how slippery the slope to death is. It’s taken years to re-learn the behaviors I picked up through observation.

Paul warns of this power of observation in his first letter to Timothy:

  • “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:15-16

Psalm 37 instructs us to:

  • “Consider the blameless, observe the upright.” Psalm 37:37

We do not live in an isolated bubble. People are watching us every day. For parents this is very obvious, but children are not the only ones watching. Our life is our clearest witness to Christ. We may “talk the talk,” but that is not enough to convince non-believers that our lives are changed and better for following God. They need to see our joy, our forgiveness, our growing compassion for those the world has rejected. Otherwise we become another hypocrite wasting their time. Don’t mistake me! We are not to be perfect, that’s impossible for any but Christ! But we need to watch our walk and be quick to apologize when we do err (which we will, on a daily basis).

Sarah Jane asked some excellent questions about what to do after formal education; those have been added to my list and I’ll write about them once I’ve had some more thought time. My next post will be about a fabulous research study I saw a clip on, demonstrating the innate abilities of infants to do mathematics.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Value of Learning

Today is the first day of the new term at Springfield College, my hopefully soon-to-be Alma Matter. Gearing up for school has put me in a thoughtful mindset and set me off on theme I plan on studying over the next few months: the role of learning and teaching in life – Christianity, school, hobbies, etc. I’m not sure where it will take me but I’m feeling philosophically inspired so let’s give it a try.

In my discussions with various educators and home-schoolers, I’ve realized that everyone has a different definition in their heads of “learning.” defines it as:

  • To learn: To gain knowledge, comprehension, or mastery of through experience or study. To fix in the mind or memory; memorize; i.e. learned the speech in a few hours. To acquire experience of or an ability or a skill.

We use the word “learn” in a wide variety of contexts, starting at a very early age. Some things we learn come naturally to children in healthy settings – walking, speaking, playing. Other things require effort for even the most intelligent people (I’ll never learn calculus). We learn a multitude of facts; we learn to communicate in various mediums. We even learn what it is we are thinking about something – and this can be some of the most surprising learning ever!

While the waters of learning are muddy, it is crystal clear to me that our Father God values it:

  • 8 Solomon answered God, "... 10 Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?"
  • 11 God said to Solomon, "Since this is your heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have." 2 Chron. 1:8-12

In addition, Proverbs is full of suggestion to seek Wisdom so that “you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.” (Proverbs 2:9). What does this mean for us? What does it mean for schooling children and pursuing a formal education? What is is that God wants us to learn about? When I ran a search on, I got 130 hits for "knowledge," 105 for "learn," well over 200 for "wisdom," and 350 (!) for "teach." My goal for this blog series is to study these passages and combine them with the conversations I've had, books I've read, and thoughts I've thought to discern the answers to my questions.

If anyone else has specific thoughts or questions, I'd love for you to join me in this journey of learning, about learning. Post a comment and I'll add your questions to my list to investigate over the coming months.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dear friends,

We just arrived home from a long, cold night at the ER where we found out we will not, in fact, be having baby at this point in time. Thank you for your previous prayers, and continued prayers, as we wait for God's timing to start our family.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The cold days of winter

Today is nearly the last day of winter break. On Tuesday morning, I have to resume my place in the drudgery that is the American education system. These 6 weeks at home, learning about myself as a wife and a homemaker, have been heavenly. I feel like I've accomplished so much! I never realized that being home alone all day could be so fulfilling. As sad as I am to go back to school, I take joy in the fact that I have only 6 more classes, then 15 weeks of student teaching before I graduate with my Bachelor's in Elementary Education. Although it's hard to be motivated now, my husband and I have talked repeatedly about the benefits it will bring to our future family, especially if we move to a state that is not homeschool-friendly.

Here's what I've completed during my brief stay at home:
  1. Sewing my Regency Christmas dress, start to finish.
  2. Crocheting a little stuffed mousey for a friend's baby (see the adorable pattern here)
  3. Reorganizing the study/spare bedroom
  4. Sewing new flannel pajamas for myself and my husband
  5. Decorating for Christmas and hosting a Christmas party
  6. Reading several good books
  7. Canceling cable television (we decided, after much discussion, that it wasn't worth the cost and was only bringing filth into our home) and reworking our budget to increase giving
  8. Baking many tasties in the kitchen
  9. Going on a wonderful honeymoon to celebrate my marriage with my soul mate
  1. Quite possibly started on the road to mommy-hood! Although we're still waiting for a positive test, my body is telling me that I am carrying treasure. No period, sleeping 12-15 hours a day, constant nausea, coupled with bloating that makes even my most comfortable clothing a little uncomfortable is cluing me in to the idea that maybe I'm in the small percentage of women who don't get enough hormone in their waste to ever get a positive test. I plan to call a doctor and ask for a blood test next week, if nothing changes.

It wasn't until this break that I realized how much SAHMs or SAHWs actually get done. I've been in the public school system from preschool through college (the end is near...) and have constantly been told that a woman without a job is worthless, especially if she doesn't have children. This teaching has always conflicted with the tug in my heart towards home, which has only gotten stronger as I've grown in my faith. When I worked in a daycare center, my heart would break every day as mothers and children would tearfully say good-bye. Certainly leaving a piece of yourself behind so you can "work" isn't natural!

My husband and I decided even before the wedding that I would stay home once we had little ones, but my mind was still filled with lingering doubts about my ability to do that well. It wasn't until just a few days ago that I found peace with making my own schedule and finding contentment in my own explorations and projects rather than those assigned to me by professors. Home certainly offers a different kind of life, but has it's own peaceful, sustaining rhythm. Home is where I'm called to be. I am counting down the days until I can be home for good.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pretty in Pink

I work about 10 hours a week for a sweet home-school family. It's their first year at home -- the older girl attended K-3 at a local school. The 4-yr-old is starting at home and staying there. Since the mom had to keep part-time hours at her job to make ends meet, I come in once a week to "do school" with the girls, as well as help pick up the house and keep everything moving smoothly.

Yesterday things didn't go smoothly. The 9-yr-old was in a heart breaking "need mommy" mood, so we struck up a bargain: the older girl would go to work (then lunch) with Mommy, and the little one would come over to my apartment for a "Pretty in Pink" tea party!

We put on our pink dresses, then aproned up to bake pink cookies. We laid out my pink heart afghan to be our picnic blanket. I had packed a bag with her favorite cuddly animals and we got out my old, battered teddy bears. Oh of course -- we tied pink ribbons around their necks and ears. It was so fresh and exciting. I haven't had this much fun in ages.

We still don't know if I'm expecting. My husband asked me to wait until this weekend when he can spend the whole day with me to test. In the mean time, I've been acting as if I am, taking vitamins and avoiding the bad-for-you stuff like diet coke. I feel pretty certain that I am, tho, after reading a variety of websites that describe exactly what I'm feeling. Among other things, I've never been so tired in my life.

Today's tea party made me so excited about the prospect of having a little one! I only "borrow" these girls one day a week, but I look forward to it so much. We have such a good time together, and I love being intimately involved in their schooling. It's exciting to see them learn and grow more every time I visit. My time with them is also building my confidence in my abilities as a future mom.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


So I either have the strangest stomach bug I've ever experienced, or I came home from my honeymoon with an extra souvenir! I've been nauseous since Friday morning and haven't managed to do much around the house between naps -- including a 5 hr one yesterday (I woke up at 8pm and I still slept through the night).

We went to visit my mother-in-law this afternoon and she kept staring at me and grinning, then told my husband that she'd "babysit anytime!"

A test this morning was negative, but it is still a little early according to the calender. I'm quite uncomfortable, but my dear husband has been an angel catering to my every whim. Hopefully we'll know for certain by the end of the week. In the mean time, I'd appreciate a few hours of feeling ok, because the kitchen has become an absolute disaster and I can't bring myself to deal with it :-)

Life just got a whole lot more interesting!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happiness Is...

Tilly's Tea: Happiness Is...

One of the blogs I've recently found had a post-challenge that I'm excited to be a part of (it's my first! I'm afraid I'm becoming a blogger addict...):

"The rules are simple...just share at least one picture that truly makes you happy. :)"

I have two to share, one old and one more recent. I never can help but smile when I see these...

My little brother was born when I was 13 years old. Both my parents worked, so I spent a lot of time taking care of him during the summers. This was when my parents went on a business trip together and took us with them -- my sister and I rode the trolley around Memphis seeing the sites. MattMan ran out of steam and took a nap on my chest. I'll never forget how warm and milky he smelled... this was the moment I knew I'd be a mom. It's especially lovely to look back at now that MattMan is almost nine years old and more often smells like sweat than anything sweet.

My daddy took this picture the morning after I got engaged. What more do I need to say?! I spent the whole morning in an excited fluster that has continued to this day. God has blessed me so richly with my dear husband.

So those are my pictures of happiness! If anyone else wants to play, I think you should link back to the original post, but I'm not sure how these things work. Love to see other pictures!