September 27, 2011

a couple things

I'm really happy with two things right now, and I wanted to share them with you guys.

Thing One:  Dazzle.

Dazzle is a consignment shop in Hayden, geared a little more for the classy, middle-aged woman who wants to dress her age and look awesome for cheap. It's on Government Way over by Albertson's and Washington Trust Bank if you wanna go there.
I don't normally care for consignment shops. Not too crazy about thrift stores either. I don't like having to dig thru stuff, checking for holes and stains, and most of all... I hate the smell.
Also, when I was a little girl, Moma took me to thrift stores all the time and I sat forlornly under the clothing racks while she shopped and shopped and shopped. I hated it.
Also, when I was a little girl and was sitting forlornly under those clothing racks, a boy came over and tried bashing my head in with a pair of smelly cleats. His mom must've liked thrift stores just like my mom because that boy was there all the time, with his hands stuck in those cleats, looking for me under the clothing racks. His mom said Jesus alot. She was Pentecostal. I found this (bless Jesus) skirt on (bless Jesus) sale (praise Jesus). I can hardly believe (bless Jesus) how cheap it (thank you Jesus) was! Fifty cents! (praise, bless, and thank you Jesus)
I have deep psychological problems from this. And I've hated shopping ever since.

Anyhoo... what the heck was I talking about?

Dazzle. Right. Consignment shop in Hayden.
So, Moma needed some new clothes because she had approximately three things hanging in her closet.
And my friend Sherry was shopping at Dazzle the other day and said, Bring your moma over here. They're having sidewalk sales.
So we thought we'd pop in for a couple minutes and see what we could see.
An hour and $170 later, we walked out with pretty much an entire wardrobe.
%100 cashmere, Ann Taylor sweater- $30. Brand new Coldwater Creek skirt- $15. Lovely, soft, earthy brown/grey slacks that fit perfectly- $3.25. Nearly new, burnt orange corduroy jacket- $20. Another Ann Taylor sweater, hot pink- $10.
Skirts, sweaters, slacks, jackets, shirts... so many nice things, for so little cost.
I was so happy. So was Moma.
So if you live around here and you need to go shopping, go to Dazzle. It's the best place ever for that classy woman wanting to dress beautifully and not have to sell her firstborn child on the black market in order to afford it.

My pretty Moma and one of her new tops.

Thing Two: Apologia curriculum.

I've been teaching astronomy to Karen's older girls, and I love the curriculum Karen found for us to use. I mean, love it. Like, I want to marry it.
You can click on this link to check out the books if you wanna.
Moma tried out alot of different curriculum with us kids when we were homeschooling and I really had a thing for A Beka books. I swore I'd use A Beka curriculum with all my many children, when I had them. I planned on having 6 sets of twins and one, lone single child at the end... just to give myself a break after all those twins. I told my Sunday School teacher that several times and the last time I was down in Texas, she asked me, So do you still want 13 children? To which I replied, Actually, I've changed my mind. I was thinking more along the lines of the American Dream and having about 1.5 children. I was sick and demented back then.
I've also changed  my mind about A Beka.
Before you start thinking, Whoa, that Sunny Jane. She's like the homeschool curriculum expert... um... I'm not. Don't take my opinion and run with it.
Here's why I changed my mind about A Beka- did you know that if you use A Beka, your kids will probably have an awesome education, but you will also have to cash in your 401K, stop buying Zingers for the rest of your life, sell half your children on the black market, and get a second loan on your house in order to afford that brilliant education? Yeah. Also, if you opt to buy their DVD school, you have to send the DVDs back? You pay for something that you don't get to keep and use for the next kid? They make you sign a contract thingy promising you won't use the DVDs for two kids in the same year too. So if you have two kids in the same grade (and Karen does), you have to buy two sets of the same DVDs.
If I ever buy A Beka DVDs, I'll scratch every single one of them right before I send them back.
And here's another irritating thing that really irritates my irritated nerves- you can't just buy the text book and the teacher book. No, you have to buy the text book, the teacher book, the map book, the companion book, the quiz book, the test book, the activity book, the non-activity book, the lunch book, the dinner book, the year book, the every-book-in-the-world book, the flash cards, the day planner, and an answer key to go with every single one of those books. Plus all the activity supplies. A Beka has a serious money making racket going on.
Take a deep breath, Sunny Jane.
But, Apologia is nothing like that. There is hope for the broke homeschool mom.
Apologia Science has two books- the text book for me, and the journal for the kids (you do need a separate journal for each child). And here's an awesome thing about Apologia Science, I can teach grades K-6 in the same class. The books contain everything in them that grades K-6 are supposed to be learning. So that's only one teacher book to teach Karen's four girls who are in three different grades. It's wonderful. At first I wondered how Emma would do with learning the same stuff as her big sisters, and there are some things she doesn't get, but it doesn't matter because she gets what she's supposed to, and everything else falls by the wayside. And if it's something she won't get and it's going to take some time to explain it to the older girls, I tell her to go watch a movie or play Barbies for 15 or 20 minutes. She loves school...

Other Pros of Apologia Science:
1.  It's affordable. About $30 for the teacher book and $17 for each journal.
2.  It's fun learning. The kids beg to have school. I have to fend them off me. Seriously.
3.  Each year covers a day of Creation. So I chose astronomy for this year, and next year we'll do marine biology. Then we could human anatomy or botany or zoology. I just love that it's the days of Creation.
4.  The completely awesome activities are completely awesome, fun, and easy.
5.  It's easy curriculum without losing the whole good-education factor.
6.  Emma now knows what makes colors. She was sitting at the table the other day, looking at my white tablecloth and Moma's black laptop and said to me, Sunny! The white is because all the rainbow colors are bouncing off into my eye and the black is because Granny's computer is soaking up all the rainbow colors!
7. I was so proud of Emma. She was listening when I explained the whole light-is-colorful-lightwaves-aborbing-not-absorbing thing.

The teacher book

Lucy's journal.

There. Now you can shop for clothes and properly educate your kids.
Go, and live your life more fully...

September 26, 2011

pretty sister



This is my pretty sister, Shelly. She has 5 kids. Me not included.
I heart her.
And I like these pictures.
I like her necklace. I like it alot.
Shelly will probably give me that necklace.
Also, Shelly will shave her head and send me her hair.

Dear Shelly...

Christmas is coming up.

My birthday is even sooner.

I love you and when you come to visit next month, I will let you sleep with my little pillow that I can't sleep without, if you donate that necklace to your favorite charity. (That'd be me, Sunny Jane Wood)

Dear Shelly... my love is maybe unconditional...

Sincerely,
Your Covetous, Necklace-Lacking, Little Sister

September 24, 2011

last day of summer

We celebrated the last day of summer today... even though the last day was yesterday.
(Whatever, they don't own us. We do what we want.)
We hiked up Higgins Point, a child friendly hike. Good thing because I tried hiking the M in Missoula once and nearly died.
Then we went swimming.
Then we had Blizzards from DQ.
Then we were exhausted.
Then I went home and folded laundry.
Then I was in a bad mood.




Lucy, aka Deb.





Lily... child has style.




Me n' Mr Higgins. I asked him to marry me, he was oddly silent.
Just yew wait 'enry 'iggins, just yew wait. Yew'll be sorry, but yer tears will come to late.






Seriously, who else wears their church shoes to go swimming?






Lily doesn't get her sense of fashion from Karen. Poor Karen.



Beauty pageants want me.




Beauty pageants want me too...


My new favorite picture of Karen. Poor Karen.


I love this one of Molly chillaxing on Moma's back. Sweet moment.


Favorite picture of the day.
Swimming in her church shoes and a big, fat flower... little Miss Fashionista.



Later this year, when I'm shivering and crying uncontrollably because of the freezing cold tundra outside, I'll look at this post and gather warmth from it.

Love,
Not Looking Forward To Winter

September 23, 2011

70 times 7

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.      1 Peter 4:8 

Behold, what manner of love hath the Father bestowed upon us. 1 John 3:1

God's been showing me something, and it's not been easy.
I asked for it though.
I blithely prayed one day, Teach me sumpthin', and God took me up on that request pretty dang quick.
Whereupon, I said, Um... wait a second. I take it all back. Maybe teach me something else, ok? I'm not really liking this thing called forgiveness. And I set my stubborn jaw.
So God sat very quietly with His hands folded and the clock ticked loud and I looked around and said, Wow, see that sky today? Talk about blue. And I laughed nervously.
But God is patient. He waited for me. He has this way of doing that, this way of being gentle and taking my hand and standing still while I hem and haw.
And finally I said, Ok, I'm willing. But, Lord... I'm not sure where to start.

See, the thing is this: I thought I was forgiving and had nothing to learn. I'm easy going, passive for the most part. People can do their thing and I'm pretty much okay with whatever. Also, people are usually nice to me so what's to forgive?
Then God dug around and pulled up some old stuff that I've been pushing away and ignoring for years. If I did have to confront those things, I quick put a lid on it. Like an ostrich, I stuck my head in the sand and called it good. But then sometimes the lid would blow and it'd be a struggle to go out and find it in the top of a tree somewhere and shove it back over my simmering anger.

Child, out of sight, out of mind doesn't equal forgiveness. 

But, God! I've totally forgiven those things! Really! I'm super spiritual and don't even have to think about forgiveness. It just comes naturally.

And when you think of these people, speak of them... what comes out of your mouth?

Ummm... well... I guess... actually... *sigh* Loathing and contempt. That pretty much sums it up.

Forgiveness isn't just suppressing the hurt. It isn't turning a blind eye. It isn't saying you just won't care anymore. Forgiveness is turning around and facing the enemy head on, it's uprooting the slow burning, consuming anger, and it's allowing fervent charity to take its blossoming place. 

But they deserve my unforgiveness. They were wrong. I have the right.

This is the part where I set my stubborn jaw. I would hold onto to my right like a big, fat prize.
And this is where God reminded me of something He had shown me last year- His own forgiveness.
God's love language is gift giving. He gives and gives and gives and gives and gives. He never stops. He has this huge pile of presents for me and gives them to me all day long. And I'm super happy to accept those gifts. And once I realized how much He gives to me, I started looking around for ways to give back to Him.
And God showed me how forgiveness is a gift. His to me, yes. But also, mine to Him.
See, I looked at it this way, What the heck, I don't wanna forgive... it's like doing them a favor. I can't do this for them. I can't.
But I was looking at it all wrong.
It's not about them. It's about Him. Forgiving them is my gift for Him.
I had this gift in my hand, wrapped in yellow paper, so pretty, and there I stood before Him- holding the gift behind my back. Trying to give it to someone else, or keep it for myself, when the gift was His all along.
And when I finally got that point thru my thick cranium, I felt this aching overwhelming desire to give Him His gift. To finally, finally have something to give back to Him after all He's given me, something I knew He wanted and would take pleasure in.

I said, I really want You to have this. It's Yours. Unfortunately, it seems to be super glued to my hand. Not really sure what's going on here. You can have it if You can figure out a way to get it loose.

And He said, That happens. This isn't really a gift-in-day kind of thing. It's more like a 3 step process.

I was like, So... like alcoholics anonymous or something? What three steps?

So He gave me the three steps. And maybe He would give you a different three steps. I don't know how it works for everyone, I'm just telling you what He told me.

Love them. You need fervent charity. It's easy to forgive when one loves. That's how come I can forgive you everytime you walk away from me. Here's the three steps: Pray for them, be thankful for them, and be nice to them. That's all. You wait and see, it'll work My lovey.

And He told me a couple other things. Just because He could see I was a little worried.

Sometimes, you still have to keep a wary eye out. Forgiveness doesn't mean letting all your defenses down and inviting trouble in. Be wise. Know where to draw lines with those you're forgiving. It's different with different people. Breaking down walls and hard shells doesn't mean you can't keep your armour on. And, Sunny Jane?

Yes?

Remember you aren't standing alone.

I was happy at those words. I didn't want to be by myself in the middle of the dirt road watching the hordes in rows, as they steadily came to murder me in this battle. Because frankly, my dear, I'd run. But to have Him with me? Then I can stand, calm, easy, being okay, shoulder to shoulder.
And it's working, those three steps. I'm not there yet, but I can feel the unyielding unforgiveness seeping out.
I can't wait for the day when I can give and say, Here this is all Yours now.
And He'll say, I love it. It's the best present I've ever had.
Because on that day, the already bright sunshine will burst, and His already cup overflowing goodness will spill like crazy.

I love it. It's the best present I've ever had.
That's what I want to hear.

September 21, 2011

pictures

Kelly posted more ladies retreat pictures on facebook.
I have no idea how she knew I wanted them. It's not like I was hinting or anything. Or complaining about her lack of posting interesting pictures or anything.
God must've told her.

Anyhoo. Here's some pictures of the games!




The toothbrush game. The point was to get the toothbrushes on the hat brim, walk across the room looking cross eyed, and deposit the toothbrushes into another set of cups.
Also, I love the way Talia is looking so adoringly at her toothbrush. Toothbrush, you make my heart sing.
I lost that game.


The boiled egg game. Using a wide rubberband/headband thingy, you carried the egg from one side of the pavilion to the other and gently placed the egg on a new water bottle.
Also, I have a weird chinese pigtail thing going there.
I lost that game.



The M&M-on-a-pencil-that-was-attached-to-your-ears-via-string game. The idea was to pull the M&M up to your mouth and eat it.
Also, my M&M never stuck to the pencil. So I just ate it off the floor.
I lost that game too.


Playing spoons. Don't let our calm appearance fool you. This game was anything but calm.
You can't see Kelly, but that doesn't mean The Brute wasn't there. She's lurking behind the camera... taking a break from slaughtering all us innocents. Playing spoons isn't good for my heart's well-being. Spoons is the tensest game ever. What if I don't get a spoon??? What if I'm out??? Keep your eye on the spoon... who cares if you have four of a kind.. somebody else will get it and then you'll see them make a grab and you can grab too. Breathe in, breathe out. Breathe in, breathe out... Where's my brown paper bag when I need it? Dear God, please help me get a spoon.
You can see how spoons might be detrimental to my health.
On the bright side... I won this game 3 or 4 times! It's the only game I ever won.
But only after Kelly went to bed.

September 20, 2011

happenings

You'll never guess what's happened!
I have internet! Right here, in my house, where I live, for the first time ever!
I hardly know how to handle all this modern technology right at my fingertips. I'm wigging out. I don't know why I've never done this before.

Alot has happened in the last month.

I got a new gardening account making killer amounts of money. I know it's crass to talk about money, but... I can't help it. I named my price per hour (and upped the price right before I named it) and these people didn't blink an eye. Instead, they actually asked me to spend more time working for them. That, in my entire history of gardening, has never, ever once happened. People are more like, You charge how much??? But I had Pedro doing my gardening last year for ten bucks an hour... it's not like this takes brains or anything. At which point I say, So do you still have Pedro's phone number? Because you're gonna need it.
So I'm pretty dang happy with this new account. It means I can drop every other small account I've been doing all summer and have more time off. I've hugged myself multiple times over it.

I got another job as well. But this one has nothing to do with gardening. This one is for a marketing company. I go to stores and set up displays of whatever product the marketing company is pushing. It's simple, pay is decent, hours are good, and my new boss is a born-again Christian. I've hugged myself multiple times over this too.

I started teaching astronomy to Karen's four oldest girls.
If you were at church when Leah was telling everyone I'm teaching them astrology, you can stop with the shocked glances... I don't know squat about astrology. I don't know squat about astronomy either, but I'm throughly fascinated by it.
So, I'm a homeschool aunt this year.
I wear jean jumpers. My jean jumper came from Anthropologie though, so I'm forgiven.
Teaching this class kinda makes me feel like Napoleon when he's dancing with Deb, I like your sleeves... they're real big.




I like Pleiades, God... it's real big.
I make that face Napoleon's making too... my mouth always kinda hangs open alot when I look at that picture of Pleiades.
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Job 38:31
Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. Amos 5:8
The heavens are spectacular.

I got a ticket. Before I say anything else, I broke the law... I deserved the ticket. There, now that that's out of the way, I can complain freely. That cop had zero compassion. I cried great tears of anguish and he just stuck his thumbs in his belt and cockily said, I give everyone a ticket who has their studs on after April 30th. And it's, like, September 5th so...
I felt like maybe I should give him a gold star or one of my Zingers or something. I mean everyone needs something to be proud of themselves about, right? But instead I cried some more and wiped my nose on my sweatshirt sleeve and looked around at the bleak world like there was no hope. Then he gave me my ticket and said, I'm not going to write you up for not having your registration signed. He waited for me to be properly grateful. I wiped my nose again. He said, Thank you so much for wearing your seatbelt. I had the sudden urge to cram that ticket in his eyeball. Since September 5th, I've had lots of conversations in my head with Officer Flood. All of which have the same end result... I sound smart, he sounds like an idiot, I drive away without a ticket, and my nose isn't running. It's a beautiful fantasy.

I went to our church's ladies retreat. I don't know about you, but the words ladies retreat put a mental image in my head of myself being in the same room as 50 billion other emotional, hormonal, sensitive, and most likely sobbing women who are checking each other's clothes out and talking about who's friends with who and making crafts like... calico lamp shade covers or something. Then I want to stay home real bad. But I went to this retreat anyway. And here's the thing, there were 26 emotional, hormonal, sensitive, and sobbing women who all sat in a circle and shared their deepest hearts with each other while passing a box of tissues around and... I adored it. I want to have ladies retreat every month. It was awesome. We played games with pantyhose on our heads. We ate amazing food. We talked alot.
I didn't take any pictures so I stole a few from Kelly's facebook page.
Unfortunately, Kelly didn't post any of the interesting ones. There was a really great one of me looking cross eyed at a toothbrush and another great one of my rear end. Maybe someday Kelly will post all her pics and I'll steal them from her and then you guys will get to see them. Not that I'm hinting or anything, Kelly.

This is a road Kelly and her mom drove down. (I was in a different car so I didn't see this road.)


This is a goat-sheep-thingy animal with horns that Kelly and her mom saw. (I didn't see this horned animal either.)


All us HBCers. I'm really liking Janel's face there behind me.


Some of us stayed up late, playing spoons. This was my favorite part about the whole ladies retreat. You see the lady up there in the white shirt and blue skirt? That's Bette. You see the one next to me in the orange shirt? That's Kelly. Kelly might look like a shorty with long hair, but when it comes to playing games... she's not short anymore. Kelly earned herself a new name at this ladies retreat- The Brute. She fought Bette for a spoon. I'll never forget the sight of Bette on the floor, hanging onto the skinny end of the spoon, and Kelly standing over her, dressed entirely in black, with a death grip on the fat end of the spoon. It was like time paused for 45 seconds while the rest of us watched to see who the sweaty, fierce winner would be. Kelly won.
If I ever meet Kelly in a dark alley, I'll give her all of my spoons... gift wrapped. Especially if she's wearing that black muscle shirt.

My moma moved in with me.
Here's the odd thing about Moma: She makes her bed every morning. She folds her laundry. She doesn't mind cooking. She fixes her hair- even if she's not going anywhere. She always puts her things away. And she likes to sew.
I do none of the above. I hate all the above. I'd rather die than fold my laundry. And what's the point in making the bed? I mess it up every night.
She's very neat and orderly. I came home the other day and her bed was unmade, groceries weren't put away, there was a sock on the floor along with a piece of fuzz. I was gripped with the sudden fear that either the Rapture had happened or Moma had been kiddnapped by kidnappers. But she was just down the road getting her lowlights done. I was relieved to know I hadn't been Left Behind.
And here's the nice thing about Moma: She cooks for me. She keeps my fridge stocked with Zingers (God love her). She cleans alot (God bless her). She sings alot. She bought me a super cute insulated lunch bag so I wouldn't starve while I'm out working. She bought me a mix matched set of canisters (that I love with all my heart) for all the sugar and flour I never cook with (I filled them with nuts and chocolate chips instead). She's always here when I come home. She goes places with me. She buys me coffees.
I like her.
I like her being here.


Ah. Now these are some nice pictures of Moma right here. She loves me.


We've been having fall weather so I guess winter is right around the corner. I have one particular, very miserable, vivid memory of last winter. I was on my way home from Walmart, I was frozen to the steering wheel, I defrosted long enough to grab my groceries and get myself inside, I turned every heater in the house on full blast, I turned the oven on broil, pulled a chair in front of said oven, stuck as much of myself in the oven as would fit... and cried. Cried from sheer, aching, cold misery. I've never been so cold in my life as I was for the nine months that comprised last winter. I spent alot of time sprinting from my car to whatever heated building was nearest me. I avoided the freezer section in Walmart at all costs. I spent alot of time hovered over the nearest heater. I learned to hunch myself into a small doughnut shape so as to conserve body heat. I had one facial expression last winter; bluishly pinched. If you sit next to me during church this winter, I will most definitely cram my frozen toes under your rear end in an effort to heat them up and regain feeling in my numb digits.
May summer last forever this year. May I never shiver again.

I killed a snake. Sorta. I saw the snake, freaked out, tried chopping it in half with my pruning shears but they were dull so the snake was just kinda crammed between the blades, then I stood there like, Now what? So Moma came over and cut it's head off. It bled. Turns out it was only a baby garter snake, but whatever. A snake is a snake and they should all be deader than a doornail. I twitched at every single fluttering leaf and pine needle after that.

That's all the happenings folks.
I'm glad to be back. And I'm glad you all missed me.

September 14, 2011

for you

Dear blogging world,

I wish I had time to write something awesome right now.
(Because I always write awesome things, right?)

But I don't.
(I'm sorry. I'm sadder than you. I love writing. I've been missing it.)

In the meantime, here's an awesome picture of me to hold you over...


You're welcome.
I'm so glad I could do that for you.

Love,
My Big Nose
(And the rest of my busy self.)