Friday, February 27, 2009

Music in School

John and I both are products of the Public School system. And when our kids were getting to school age we really thought about what we would do with them. And we got all kinds of advice from many different people. People who feel that all Christian kids should be in Christian schools, or home schooled. Then there are public schools and charter schools of every shape and size to consider.

We prayed about it. I knew right away home schooling was not for me. Either I or my oldest son would no longer be here if I had home schooled him! ; ) And Zach was already a better speller than I am when he was in preschool. Ouch! I knew that was not an option.

We also had the advantage of being Youth Pastors at the time and having a pretty large youth group, where we had the vantage point of having students from each of these kinds of schools: home, private, public, Christian, you name it. And we carefully observed all of them. And let me tell you we found pros and cons for EVERY kind of school! We weighed them all, and came to the conclusion that each family has to do what is best for them and their children. And no one else can tell you what that is.

Some of the things that were (and are) important to us are, number one Music, with John being a musician and worship pastor it was important to him that our kids have band available to them. He started playing drums in forth grade and played all through school, and got a full ride collage scholarship for drumming! And on a pastor's salary we knew private lessons would not be a permanent solution.

Also having two athletic boys, we wanted P.E. and sports teams to be available to them. Again probably not being able to afford joining long term private teams that travel, and cost an arm and a leg. (Besides even the best athlete can't do their best without an arm and a leg!) They played soccer in elementary school. And have played basketball, football and ran track in Jr. high and high school.

So, obviously our choice was public school. Which also offer foreign languages, and skill classes as well. We also felt, and feel, that if you take all Christian kids out of the public school system, there is no one left to be a light in this dark world—which is what we are called to do. But again, what's right for us may not be what is right for you and your children.

But, back to my original thought. . . Zach started playing Saxophone in band in 6th grade, and played into high school. But in Jr. high he took a one semester class on acoustic guitar. And fell in love with the instrument. He is now a Junior and plays guitar on his dad's Worship team on Sunday mornings, and is the worship leader for the youth group. And he now plays in the top Jazz Band of one of the largest high schools in Arizona! He feels called to be a worship pastor and so (like his dad) will probably make a living making music. And also like his dad, it's all thanks to public schools!

Leading Worship in Church

Playing with the Jazz Band

It breaks my heart that many school systems are cutting back and even eliminating their music programs, sports programs and other things that greatly benefit our kids.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Blah, Blah, Blog.

I know, I know, I haven't been blogging much lately. And I'm so sorry about that. I've been really sick for the last three weeks. Fighting off cold, cough, etc. Not fun! And even though I still look and sound terrible, I finally feel like I'm on the upswing. Finally. My family will be glad to have me back I'm sure. (And don't kid yourself, it's mostly for the laundry they need done!)

What have I been doing while I've been down, not feeling well? You had to ask didn't you?! Well, I have one word for you: TWILIGHT! I know, I know, don't judge me. The first time I heard of the Twilight books was when one of the girls who went with us on our missions trip to New York City this summer kept pulling out a book every time we got on the subway. Normally that would have been me, but I didn't want to miss a thing of the city, so I refrained. But due to my love of books, I asked her about what she was reading. I had never heard of the Twilight books before that. And to be honest when she told me it was a vampire love story, I pictured a Harlequin romance with Fabio in fangs! No thank you. Not my taste in books.

But since that time, I've heard a lot about these books. The author is from Arizona, so it's a pretty big deal here. And when my sister in law asked me what I knew about them because her 13 year old daughter was interested in reading them. Along with other moms I know wanting to know what I thought of them, I decided I better read them, at least the first one to see what they are all about. Pretty much every teenage girl is reading these books. And anything that gets kids interested in reading I want to look at.

I had read a few other blogs of people, including several other Pastor's wives, who had read them, and they all seemed to like them. Even though like me, they didn't want to at first, when they had heard what they were about. Our youth Pastor's Wife, a sweet, Godly young woman, finished one at like 10:30 at night and had to run out to buy the next one right then! I had to know what was going on.

So, for Christmas, I got the first book. I couldn't start it right away, because I was in the middle of another book, but when I finished that one I read Twilight in just a few days. And these are pretty thick books. And I have to tell you it was good. One night, I told John I'm just gonna finish this chapter and I'll be right up to bed, but it got so suspenseful that I had to read the next chapter too. They are not scary, but a little thrilling. I wanted to know what happens next. So, I got the second book. And again read it within just a couple of days. Then for Valentines I got the third book and am just about done with that one as well. And yes, I will read the forth one as well. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I want to. Most people who have said it is good and sticks pretty close to the book.

For those wondering if they are appropriate for your daughters to read, I would say this; they are pretty clean, fun books. I would say they are fine for older teenagers, like around 16 or 17 and up. I probably wouldn't recommend them for younger girls due to the fact they are not yet secure in themselves and I wouldn't want to give them the message that they should sacrifice who they are for a boy, any boy. (But that's just me) I do know girls who are younger than my daughters who have read them, but I would wait. If you've read them I would love to hear your thoughts on them as well. Just don't give anything away, I haven't finished them yet.

Also, you may ask what I haven't been doing while I've been sick? Well, I did manage to color my hair finally, I was starting to look like Rouge from X-Men with my gray showing! And I have to show you what I haven't gotten around to: I've been hanging on to Christmas by a toenail!

Yes, if you look close that is a Christmas tree painted on my toenail. Nice pedicure I know, but it is now February and time for me to let go and move on. This is me putting one foot in front of the other!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Good Gift

For our Forbis Family Fun Day Valentines Dinner, the girls got, as part of their little gift some new books. The City Of Ember books, Erica had read the first one in school and then bought the movie with some of her birthday money. The girls loved the movie and have since wanted the books. As an avid reader it does my heart good when my kids ask for books!

So after dinner Lexi runs upstairs to get on the computer. I didn't think anything of it until I got an E-mail from my 11 year old daughter that said:
thank you for the book i realy liked it. I can't wait to finsh this one and read the next.I hope you like your book.

Shortly after dinner this is what my girls looked liked:
I LOVE it when a plan comes together! And anything that gets kids excited to read is a good thing! And yes, I got a new book as well! Happy Valentines Day to me!

"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven
give good things to those who ask Him!"

(Matt. 7:11)

Monday, February 16, 2009

25 Random Facts about me!

On Facebook everyone is doing 25 random facts about themselves. Where you write 25 Random facts (hence the name) that everyone may or may not know about you. Then you tag 25 people and they are supposed to do the same thing, and it keeps going. Well finally, after being tagged about 25 times at least, I decided to give in and do one myself. It's fun to find out some unusual things about people you know. So, I decided to share mine here with you . . .

1. Star is my Real Name.

2. I was born on Christmas Day! (Hence the name!)

3. I love all things Christmas! (Except getting older!)

4. Every year from the first of November through the first week of January at least, I listen ONLY to Christmas music! Think about it, even if you hear a commercial in the middle of summer for a Christmas in July sale, and you hear just a few lines of Jingle Bells, It just lifts your spirits and makes you smile! You know I’m right.

5. I am one of 7 children. . . I have 5 Brothers and 1 Sister. ( I'm the second to the youngest, and the baby girl, could you tell?)

6. I met my Husband on a Blind Date! Yes, they do work! (We were set up by one of my brothers and sisters-in-law!)

7. We were married within a year of that first Blind Date!

8. That was over 21 years ago! (And they said it wouldn't last!)

9. I am older than my Husband! (By almost two years, don't tell anyone. Everyone thinks I am younger!)

10. My Husband Rocks! (And I’ve always been attracted to musicians, it started with Donny Osmond and went from there to Andy Gibb and Rick Springfield, and eventually landed on John Forbis! Do I have good taste or what?!)

Donny Osmond, The first love of my life!

11. I've had one planned pregnancy, and I have FOUR children! (I guess God had other plans!)

12. We thought we were done having kids with two little boys, ages 5 & 6, and then found out we were expecting TWIN GIRLS! Our world changed drastically, to say the least!

13. I love being from, and having a Big Family!

14. Those two little boys of ours will be graduating from High School this year and next year! Ouch!

15. I was a Dancer all through High school! Jazz, Ballet, modern, etc. And loved it!

16. I thought I was done with dancing, until as an adult I discovered Hula! My daughters and I took Hula lessons for over three years. And again, Loved it! If we had the time and money we would still be doing it.

17. I started keeping a journal for my girls when I found out I was expecting them.

18. Since that time, I've filled that journal, and almost a second one. And will add another one for the teenage years! These are journals my girls will have even after I'm gone.

19. Some of my most prized possessions are hand written cards and letters from my one and only sister that I lost to cancer at a much too early age.

20. I love to write! And I started a Blog this past year.

21. When I was younger EVERYONE told me I looked like a young Elizabeth Taylor! (I think it was the dark hair and light eyes. But, I’m still only on my first husband though, so I have a lot of catching up to do to be her!)

Me-vs-Elizabeth Taylor

22. If you asked ANYONE to describe me, (besides all the obvious things like: Shockingly Beautiful, Hilariously Funny, and oh so intelligent, not to mention Humble) with out fail, every single one of them, no matter how long they’ve known me or how close they are to me, would use words like “Laid Back”, “Easy-going”, or “Happy-go-lucky” because I am all those things. But if the truth were known, deep down inside, I’m a closet worrier! (Please don’t let my secret out!)

23. I LOVE to read! And I try to always have a book with me! I love books. There is a saying: “When you read a book it becomes a part of you!” and for that reason, I cannot borrow books from friends, or check them out from a library. Because I don’t ever want to give them back. Unless it’s a terribly bad book. I’ve kept almost every book I’ve read! (My loft is full of books if you need proof)

24. My favorite book of all time is Little Women! I read it as a child and fell in love with it, I re-read it as a teenager and still loved it, and as an adult I’ve read it too many times to count. I have several copies of the book and I also have it on tape (John had to listen to it with me on one of our cross country trips) I also have two versions of the movie, the old one with Elizabeth Taylor (I knew I liked her!) and the newer one with Kirsten Dunst and Winona Rider. Both of my daughters had their own copies of Little Women before they were old enough to even read!

25. I love Polka Dots!

How’s that for Random?!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Our Valentine Tradition

We have a Valentine Tradition we started with our family when the kids were little. Our Valentine Version of The Forbis Family Fun Night! Every Valentines Day we cook a big fancy candlelight dinner. (And when I say we, I mean John, he is the chef after all! I decorate!) There is always a small, special gift at each place setting.

John & I go out on our own date as well, usually on a separate night, for our couple time. This is just a special night that all the kids look forward to every year. We use our good china, and usually serve sparkling cider in our fancy champagne glasses. I remember getting a little Valentine gift from my parents every year until I got married and had my own personal Valentine! How do you celebrate Valentines with your kids?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Having "The Talk" With Your Children

Did your parents ever sit you down, with sweaty palms, and nervous words and attempt to tell you the facts of life? My mom was of the generation with the mindset that "we don't talk about those kinds of things" she talks about it now that we are adults. But, luckily for me I had a sister 13 years older than I, who got married at a young age. Who could and did answer any questions I might have had.

I've had friends tell me their stories of how their parents (usually their mom) sat them down and had "the talk" with them. And about how embarrassed and even mortified they were. A memory they cannot forget. So, I ask you; why would we want to do that to our kids?

Dr. Phil says (and I really agree with him on this one) that talking to our kids about the facts of life should not be A conversation. It should be many conversations, that take place all during our children's life. Not a once in a life time deal, when we work ourselves all up and get so nervous that we can barely get the words out. Imagine the impact of that on a child.

Instead, sex and puberty, etc. should be things, like everything else, that we talk about regularly. When we were youth pastors we had teenagers ask us ALL KINDS of questions, some that would embarrass Dr. Ruth! And I determined then, before my kids were old enough to even talk that I wanted an open relationship with them where they would feel comfortable talking to me about anything.

So, anytime they ask a question I try to never say, "we'll talk about that later, when your older" but, to answer it. If they are old enough to ask, they are old enough to know the answer. And here is my rule of thumb: answer all questions in the simplest form possible. If the answer doesn't suffice they will continue to ask more questions and you can answer with more depth. They are children and do not need to know everything you know as an adult, but you don't want them getting answers from the wrong sources.

For example when my kids see a commercial on T.V. and ask me: what is a condom anyway? I start with something like: it's something men use when they have sex, so their wife doesn't get pregnant, If that's what's age appropriate, or If you have younger children just say it helps people not have a baby before they're ready to. If they want more information and continue to ask, I'll continue to answer. If they say "Oh, okay" your good.

You can use what you see on T.V. to start many meaningful conversations. I'll find myself saying things to my girls like, "Do you know why that girl is going after that boy who we know is bad? It's because she doesn't love herself". . . and we talk about self-esteem. Or the choices we make and how they affect our life and the lives of those around us. Even just today, we were talking with our boys about Micheal Phelps and how no matter what great things you do, or accomplishments you might have, you still have consequences for your actions. And one bad choice, even if it doesn't seem like such a bad one, can affect the rest of your life. Here he is an Olympic gold medalist who is suspended from his swim team now for one bad choice, or lack of judgment.

The other day my girls and I were in the car on the way to church and between Jonas Brothers songs one of the girls asks randomly "So, why do women have to have a period EVERY month?" This must have been something she'd been thinking about since one of our previous conversations, or maybe it just popped into her head, I don't know. (I do know that I've asked myself the same question every month since I was about 12!) So, I tried to explain cycles again.

The key is to not make any question they might have seem nasty or bad. Even though it may be uncomfortable for us to talk about such things with our own children. I'd much rather they ask me than some friend at school who will give them who knows what for an answer. And try to make it just like any other conversation you have. Not something they need to be embarrassed about or make them afraid to ask.

Speaking of embarrassing . . . I remember once when my boys were too little to have had any of these conversations, we were outside talking with one of our neighbors and I mentioned my husband and I were going out on a date that night and one of my boys said very nonchalantly "You are? Are you gonna have sex?" I was surprised he had heard that word before, (it must have been from some of those teenagers I talked about before) But, I know he didn't know what it meant. I'm sure I turned all red and I think I said something sarcastic like "In your dad's dreams" to make my neighbor laugh.

Okay, so, now it's your turn. I want to hear your stories about how and when your parents had "The Talk" with you, or about conversations you've had with your kids. Even if they are embarrassing. Leave them in the comments so we can all learn from them or laugh with them! And keep talking! Even when it's uncomfortable!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Senior Year - Part 4 (Senior Portraits)

Today I took my Baby Boy to have his Senior Portraits taken. Where has the time gone?! It's hard to believe he is 18 and graduating from high school. I CAN NOT be that old!

I had his portraits taken at Sears Portrait Studio (where else?!) I was planing to take them myself, we have a really nice park for outdoor shots. But, since I worked at the Portrait Studio for Christmas, as a bonus, they gave me a free session, along with 20 sheets of portraits. That's a couple hundred dollars worth of portraits for FREE! How Exciting! So, I chose to use it for Kyle's senior pictures.

We had so much fun. We did some in Black & White, wrote his name & the year on some. He brought a few changes of clothes, and for props, he wanted to bring his entire drum set, but luckily it is all torn apart right now because he is re-finishing it! So he just brought his drum sticks and of course his Long Board! I think senior pictures should show some personality, and not just be so formal.

Here are a few samples of his pictures:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Super Bowl Party!

Yes, this is my Husband, John, leading worship on Sunday morning
in a Cardinals T-shirt!
(Don't tell God!)

Some of the fam.
(Look at little Tinkerbell, our dog, going crazy with all the cheering!)
My sister-in-laws and I watched the game in another room
where we could still talk to each other, but when it got really exciting the rooms merged.

(I think the Cardinals must have heard us all the way in Florida!)
Great Game! We'll get em next year!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day

Yes, today is Groundhog Day. Here in Arizona that doesn't mean a whole lot, since we have pretty short winters anyway. And I don't really understand the whole thing anyway . . . if the groundhog sees his shadow it means six more weeks of winter, but it seems to me, that if he sees his shadow, that must mean the sun is shining, so why doesn't that mean spring is closer? But the opposite is true, I don't get it.

But Groundhog Day is also one of my husband's favorite movies. And it is pretty funny. It got me thinking today, there are day's in all our lives that we wish we could live over. Do again, do differently. Am I right? Like yesterday for example, my team lost the Superbowl. And I lost my job! Some day huh?!

Well, The Arizona Cardinals played a really great game! They did great and made us proud! It just didn't happen as it should have. (thanks in part to those refs! But, I digress) I actually enjoyed watching the game MORE than the commercials this year, not to mention making fun of my brothers who were yelling at the T.V. and the aforementioned refs. It was a great game!

And yes, I found out yesterday as well that my job at the Church will only go through February. Due to financial struggles at the church, just like with everyone. They've already cut all the Pastor's pay by 5%, and living on a Pastor's salary, we literally live paycheck to paycheck, there is no savings to fall back on. So we can not make it on just John's salary, at full pay, let alone 5% less, because unfortunately our rent, car insurance, electric bill, etc. isn't cutting their bills by 5%. Though that would be awesome if they did! A girl can dream!

So now I, who besides working two day's a week at the church for the last few years, and my Christmas stint at the Portrait Studio, have basically been a stay-at-home mom for the last 18 and 1/2 years. Now has to venture out into a job search, in one of the worst job markets in our nations history. It is overwhelming! I need your prayers, my little bloggy community.

I know God is control! He has provided for us time and time again. Even this Christmas, without our usual Christmas bonus, if it hadn't been for the Portrait Studio job, our kids wouldn't have had much Christmas at all. But God came through. And it made working 7 days a week for that short time worth it. And I trust He will provide again. He always does. He is truly Amazing. So, thank you so much for your prayers, I will need them.

And now I ask, what day would you want to re-live over again until you got it right?