Tea Time with Valerie

Tea Time With Valerie

It's all about relaxation

So I'm putting it out there.  First semester was rough on Emily.  We were concerned about her heading to college because she's always been so blessedly innocent.  She had two serious boyfriends, and they were both wonderful, moral, respectful young men.  They treated her very well, the way she deserves to be treated.  I never had to worry about her whereabouts. She always made good decisions.  In college, she had a lot more freedom, of course, and she found that the people there did not always have the same morals and respect that she had grown to expect. She was taken advantage of.  And hurt very, very deeply.  

So, she's taking a semester off college to heal and remember who she is.  It's been pretty painful to be a part of, and very painful to watch.  Over the last three weeks, she has healed a lot, but still has a long way to go.

She needs some serious R&R so...she and I are heading to Cozumel at the end of the month.  We are staying at an all inclusive resort on the beach, and plan to take bartending, cooking, SHOPPING (of course) and maybe even Latin dancing classes.  Mostly, though...we are just relaxing.  I can't wait, and neither can she.

However, I do get a Bad Mom award.  Darren has an upcoming business trip to New Orleans.  I love NOLA, so I'm coming with him. The bad news...after we booked, we realized we would be gone over Easter weekend.  I feel pretty bad about that.  Okay...really bad.  Thankfully, Emily will help a lot.  They're going to church and having their own Easter dinner.  That is recital week for Matt.  Friday and Saturday are his recital dates.  Sunday, my cousins want to have their anniversary party in our backyard.  Monday, Em and I head for Cozumel!  I'll need soe beach time after that schedule!

If anybody has some beach tips, please let us know.  I'm a little nervous, because I'm plus sized, but I'm not going to let it bother me.

Busy weekend plans

Darren's been in Boston this week and is coming home tonight.  I can't wait to see him!  

I found a "cheater's" recipe for chicken n' dumplings tonight.  I'm going to try, and hopefully the kids will love it.  

Tomorrow we have friends coming over for a BBQ.  I'd love to hang out at the fire pit and enjoy being outside, but I'm not sure if we're still under a fire advisory.  We have had dry ground and brisk winds often over the past couple of weeks, so burning has been a big no no.  If we can't use the fire pit, we still have the hot tub and pool table, as well as video games and Netflix.  I think it should be pretty fun.

Sunday morning will be special.  We're heading out to breakfast with Uncle Victor, the Young Schultze Clan, the Browns, and HOPEFULLY the Goades.  I love my family and I need some hugs and support right now.  Of course, when Baby and Preschool Young Schultze sees my Matt, the rest of us may as well just disappear.  They love their cousin so much!  It's a lot of fun to see them interact.

I have one more thing I really hope to accomplish this weekend.  I want to get the stones set for my raised garden, and I want to get my seedlings ready.  I'm planting vegetables this year, and in the holes of the concrete blocks, I'm planting edible herbs, catnip and strawberries.  I've also been so pleased at my apple tree, that I bought a plum tree to plant, as well!  Some of my favorite childhood memories were of picking plums off the tree at our rental house in Kentucky.    I also got another blackberry plant; hopefully I won't accidentally cut this one down.  

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!  I use you all as a joke...nobody really reads this blog, right?

A secret garden

I have a big backyard.  I mean...a REALLY big backyard.  There is an unused space on the side of my house that I think would make a lovely secret garden.  See, I'm finding my green thumb this year, and this is something I'm considering.  

My secret garden would have three entryways.  The first one would literally be the side door in the study of my home.  I would love to open that door and be transported back into time with lavender scents, a comfortable bench, a softly trickling waterfall, trellises and flowers.  A citrus tree would be delicious. On the front side, I would love a wooden gate, hidden beneath ivy and wisteria.  Only I would know where the latch is.  On the yard side, I want an iron door that seems to just melt into the flora and fauna.

In my dreams, I would sneak into my garden to relax and write.  It would be just as comforting as a long, luxurious bubble bath.  I would sip English tea and read books.  I would have soft music playing when the mood strikes.  I would meditate, talk to God, solve life's problems.  Heal.

It would be my Eden in the backyard.

I wonder if I can talk the Big Guy (also known as my husband) into making this fantasy a reality.

Doesn't that sound amazing?

In honor of friendship

For several years, I've been lamenting my lack of friends.  This year I've made it my focus word.  I'm studying friendship in the Bible and working on implementing it in my life.

I see people talking about going out with friends, girls' trips, going shopping, hanging out...and I become pretty sad.  I haven't had that for a while.  I miss that.  I used to make friends easily.  Hanging out at the skating rink growing up; those friends were my lifeline.  I had my amigos in junior high and high school.  On weekends, Kerri, Michelle, Melissa and I were interchangeably at each other's houses.  In high school, after I moved, it was Stacy, Denna, Louise, Teresa...

But now, I spend my evenings and weekends hoping for friends.  I put myself out there, but nothing.  I'm trying.  I really am.  I'm hoping that my lake house will be a good way to show  people that I can be a good friend, somebody fun to hang out with.  We'll see.

But today, I had a wonderful friend moment.  My best friend lives 3150+ miles away in Alaska.  Today we both had a day off work, with nothing hanging over our heads, so we skyped for almost 2 hours.  We laughed and planned and just enjoyed each other's company.  It was healing.

So...I'm hiring a local friend.  WANTED:  Somebody to chat with on the phone, hang out with on weekends, drink a good glass of wine with.  Grow old together.  Anybody interested can post their resume under comments.

Loneliness sucks.

The Holy Land

I am spending the first part of 2014 working my way through the Gospels, through Bible study and through prayer and imagining.

Meanwhile, my friend is in the Holy Land.  Right this second.  

This is not coincidence.  This is God.  At work.  In my heart.  And it's beautiful.

I am jealous.  Beautifully, amazingly, heart-rendingly jealous, of Heather and her husband, Corey.  Heather is an exquisite writer, and reading her journey is just like being there with her.  Seeing her pictures brings me to the spot.  The roads where Jesus walked.  Preached. Prayed. Loved. Lived. Died.  I don't have words to explain how I feel walking those streets with her, in my heart.

Today, she talks of Bethany.  Where Jesus went to be with his friends.  And how her pastor talks about our own Bethany.  Now, I don't really have friends who are here with me.  I don't make friends easily. I am scared, in my heart, to open up to people.  And people just don't like me.  I dream of a Bethany where I can be with my friends, to spend time having fun, making memories, celebrating life and friendship.  Maybe someday.

I am realistic.  Although I would love to go to Jerusalem, I know it will never happen.  I will never have that kind of money, those kind of connections.  I live through the experiences of my friends who will and do go there.  

I just trust God.

Good for me!

This is the longest I've blogged consistently in a long time.  I know that's why nobody reads my blog anymore...I'm just not consistent.  That's okay.  No, really...it is.

Yesterday was a really good day.  We had school conferences for Michael.  He's in 8th grade, which amazes me.  6' 2" tall, handsome (okay, am I prejudiced toward him or what).  Smart as a whip.  That was confirmed by every one of his teachers.  He is in 8th grade, and already taking high school classes.  They have all recommended for AP and Honors classes next year.  He will take Geometry, Honors Biology, Honors Communication Arts and Debate.  I am really proud of him.  He's also going to take Social Studies, of course, and French, but he's thinking about dropping violin.  It's too bad, because he is really musical.  It is really hard for me to realize that next year, I will have 2 high schoolers and a sophomore in college.  Time flies.

The next bit of good news is that Matthew made it to Districts in DEBATE!  I am beyond proud of him and his hard work.  A little over a year ago, he wanted to quit.  Now he's headed to Districts!  Quite an accomplishment for a dude who spent 3 years in speech therapy when he was little!

Oooh, I'm teaching, so I better get back to work.


plural noun: homonyms
  1. 1.
    each of two or more words having the same spelling but different meanings and origins (e.g., pole1 and pole2); a homograph.

I love homonyms.  Inn 5th grade, wee had uh contest wear we whir two list as mini as we could.  Eye won that contest!  It seams that I always yews homonyms and puns too get a pointe across win I'm subbing in the middle schools.  Sew, four fun, I figured I wood right as many as I could think of.  Enjoy! **DISCLAIMER**  Some of these are considered homonyms because of regional dialects.  PS, this is a work in progress 

A uh a aye ale ail accept except ad  add aid aide air heir err alter altar ate eight 

B be bee bite byte born borne board bored boar bore by buy bi bye bare bear beat beet bate bait but butt blue blew bread bred bayed bade brat brought basis bases  bust bused baste based 

C sea see  capital capitol cay key carat carrot ceiling sealing chews choose coarse course cite sight site cast caste compliment complement counsel council 

D do dew disk disc den din dent dint don dawn dun done days daze dual duel dear deer 

E eminent imminent 

F for four fore fair fare flour (s) (ing) flower (s) (ing)

G gee gray grey grayed grade 

H hair hare horse hoarse hose hoes here hear

I eye aye isle I'll aisle lean lien

J jay

K knot not know no knows nose nos knew new 

L lite light lei lay lode load 

M meet meat mite might mote moat miner minor mist missed more moor

N in Inn night knight
O oh or ore one won

P pea pee pare pear pair pail pale pi pie point pointe past passed pros prose plane plain pray prey patients patience poor pore peer pier piece peace pact packed principal principle prophet profit 

Q cue queue

R are rays raise(d) raze(d) role roll read red  reed read right write rote wrote 

S so sew sale sail sigh psi sell cell sent cent

T tee tea there their they're to too two ten tin tent tint tow toe

U you ewe your you're you'll yule use yews

V very vary

W would wood where wear who hoo way(s) weigh(s) wait weight wrap rap whale Wale wail we'll weal wine whine wind wined wind wend 

X  ex

Y why


Don't worry!  There are plenty more.  If you think of any, please list them.

Time to decorate!

We spent time at the lake house this weekend.  My in laws had given us a sofa bed, so we're setting up the back bedroom as a daytime sitting room, as well.  

So here's what we've decided (by we, I mean ME).  The front bedroom is a blue sailboat theme.  The back bedroom is a green hunting theme.  The bathroom is a light blue and sand beach theme.  The living / dining / kitchen area is a fishing / lake theme.  

Things I need:

1.  sailboat bedspread
2.  sailboat dresser pulls
3.  hunting wallies
4.  hunting bedspread
5.  fold up cot
6.  seashell hooks
7.  small Mason style jars
8.  antique lures and bobbins
9.  crock pot
10.  griddle
11.  a lake-themed journal for guests to leave notes
12.  a boat...once we sell the camper

I've been Pinteresting like crazy!  I think I have a pretty good idea what I'm doing.  I'm hoping to have it ready for snagging season in March.  I'd like to start renting it out to fisherpeople.  Of course, if friends need time away, there is no rent...please just come and enjoy!

Kingdom Assignment

In November, my church, Journey Covenant Church, donated $100 to people willing to take on a kingdom assignment.  The goal was to use the money to show somebody God's kingdom.

There were several amazing gifts.  Helping the homeless, donating for somebody's Christmas, prayer shawls for the sexually assaulted...I prayed and tried for over a month to try to figure out what God wanted me to do with this gift.

My best friend, Pattie, suggested a journal, since that is something she and I love to do.  That was the seed I need planted.  Instead of just a journal, I am donating spiral notebooks to families facing health crises.

Five years ago right now, they were taking my husband out of a coma, following two brain surgeries (including an emergency surgery in the emergency room).  January 2009 is still such a blur!  He is fine, today, praise God.  However during that time, my spiral became my best friend.  I used it for doctor's notes, lists, names of people who were helping, medical words I just didn't understand...sometimes I even used it to remind me to eat and sleep, and to check on the kids...it was my working brain.

So I have an email address specifically for these spirals.  I'm handing them out to people who are going through a rough medical time.  I have an encouraging note inside, as well as links to some really helpful resources.  The email address is for them to use whenever they want prayer.  I pray over every notebook after I complete them.  I've made about 50 so far, and am hoping for donations for more notebooks, paper and printer ink for the notes, as well as postage for when I need them sent long distance.

Something simple, yet I hope it's meaningful..

If you know of somebody who would be blessed by a notebook, please let me know.  

Lots of stuff

So much going on in my head right now, but thee's just too much to write in a single post.  I think that's why I have 11 posts in my draft folder, just waiting to be finished.

It's a long weekend.  Judging a debate tournament tonight and tomorrow.  This is our 5th Liberty Debate Tournament year we've judged.  We have many more to go.  We require our kids to take debate.  The critical thinking and ability to research is so vitally important that we insist our kids learn them.  In our district, you have to be  advanced communication arts to be invited to the debate squad.  Luckily my kids have always done that.  Both Emily and Matt fought us and wanted to quit.  But they both have stuck with it.  Emily graduated 4 year varsity, and Matthew is in his second year.  Following in his siblings' footsteps, Michael is complaining about "wasting" an hour in debate, but he seems to understand that he will complete a year of it.

After the tournament, the boys and I are heading to the lake house.  I haven't been there in a while and I'm starting to get serious withdrawal.  I am hoping to get the refrigerator painted.  Have any of you ever painted appliances?  How easy or hard is it?

Emily has returned to school.  We are hoping for a successful semester.  She definitely needs some good prayers!  She changed her pageant talent to contemporary flute, and she was pretty much incredibly amazing at the debut pageant.  There were people singing as she played!  It was pretty cool.

Happy new year!


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