31 August, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

Remembering to pray for all the refugees living through and struggling after Hurricane Katrina.

It is sobering. I have an Aunt and Uncle in Lafayette, who missed the destruction *this* time. I think of anyone who has ever lost family, homes...everything, including the industries large and small, that provided their livlihood, because of the destruction of any of the hurricanes in the last few years...Florida, The Yucatán, Cuba, South Texas, The East coast...or the death and destruction left by the Tsunami last December.

No words...only prayer...and then the instinct to action of "What can I do to help?"

On That note, I share the following info:

Houston news station with list of places to donate



~a volunteer organization that helped supply homeschoolers in the Houston area after they were flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Allison just a few short years ago. Here is a snip of info from them:

"In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, many of you are rushing to send help to our friends in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The recovery and cleanup will be a very long process and there are things that will be needed in the future, but not immediately. This is why I am writing to you today.

Project Noah is a homeschooling ministry that helps homeschooling families in crisis. We only provide curriculum and school supplies to the families that come to us with crisis needs - whether it is because their home has burned,or been flooded, or the primary wage earner has been without workfor an extended period of time, or other similar crisis, we try to help. We have been serving the homeschooling community for almost 5 years now and will continue as long as there are families in need.

If you would like to help us help them in this unique nitch of need, we would be honored.

To send us your donations please ship to the following location:


15807 Brickman Ct.

Houston, TX


our fax number is 281-225-4562

Spread the word!!


Another source to check out~

From Homeschooling Today:

Family Reformation Ministries, a non-profit ministry based in Katy, Texas, announces an outreach to assist displaced homeschooling families affected by Hurricane Katrina. This program will assist families in replacing lost curriculum, clothing, and other necessary supplies. It will also provide food and temporary lodging as needed. Your tax-deductible donation will be a great blessing to our homeschooling friends along the Gulf Coast! As the storm passes, you can help repair the ruins. Can we count on you?

Imagine how your assistance in this effort can glorify God by spreading the truth of the Gospel to an unbelieving community. Prayerfully consider how you might be able to help.

To donate by credit card, click on booksonthepath.com. Your gift can be used right away!

Or send a check to

Family Reformation Ministries,

2020 S. Fry Road, Suite E,

Katy, Texas 77450.

May the Lord bless you,

Pastor James McDonaldPresident, Family Reformation Ministries

An outreach of Family Reformation Ministries to homeschooling families

29 August, 2005

Sewing the text block of an old book

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I finished mending the outer signatures with Japanese tissue and have sewn (as you see in the picture) the text block back together. The next step is to even it up, add paste and work it into the grooves, round the back, create a new spine lining, add a fabric lining, and reinsert the text block back into the original boards. Then I can paste down the original spine cover to the spine, and place in the book press for a final pressing.

27 August, 2005

Enrichment classes for the Fall semester

My kids and I finally dove in and signed up for co-op classes this fall, in a "Friday co-op" setting. We've joined with other families several times over our 12+ years of homeschooling for various classes together in our homes, but this is the first time we've co-oped on this scale!

Oldest son takes Worldviews of the Western World Class once a week, and began doing that last school year. I did not have to help with that class in any way, except to drive my son there and home, plus support and encourage him. We do a lot of discussion and narration of the materials in the home, though!

14 yod is taking these classes in co-op:
Biology lab and VideoText Algebra, Spanish 1, Mosaics class

12 yos is taking:
Treasures of The Orient, Spanish Made Fun, Ancient Battles and Weapons of Warfare, Chess, and Archery

10 yos is taking:
Walk the Line, an interactive learning-with-Legos type of class; President's Fitness; Wilderness training & first aid; Protozoa to Primates; and a Pond Scum class :-)
Sounds gross and fun, anyway!

I'll be teaching Spanish Made Fun for 7-8th grade, and Freshman Spanish 1; helping in the Sculpture class, and in son's Pond Scum class.

In addition to the above, I will be teaching American Literature with a Worldviews emphasis to a small class in my home. We'll be following James Stobaugh's American Literature materials.

I am also scheduled to have a couple of little bookbinding worshops for the lower school art teacher at my hubby's school. That *will* be fun!

We will be carpooling with friends from church, to help share gasoline costs. Sheryl's daughter will be riding with us, as well. She (the daughter) gets to keep home schooling, even though the rest of her little siblings have had to go back into public school, since their Mom is very, very ill.

All other days of the week, we will be working on our Ambleside Online rotation and resources.

What will some of you all be doing this fall? Share your plans and links with me, and I will come visit you on the web!

24 August, 2005

Pray for Sheryl

There are no words that I can write when it comes to this. A friend and homeschool mom from our church is figthting for her life. You can read about her here. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

19 August, 2005

A New Site

I've created a new site to make it easier for potential customers to view some of my freelance work as a bookbinder.

This site will showcase my hand-made guestbooks, journals, sketchbooks, and reading log books. I'll also post pictures of my vintage book restoration projects.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by!


17 August, 2005

Journal - Sketchbook Project

This is the latest journal I made in July. It is the largest one I've done so far. It is sketchbook size, made with drawing/sketching paper that I cut to fit.

Here, you can get a glimpse of the stitching, and of course the cover design.

I need to make more this size! It just takes longer than any of the others that I've made.

15 August, 2005

Hammock project :-)

This is the boys' latest project.They were outgrowing their beds, so AA and I replaced them with hammocks we bought in the Yucatán. They are very happy with the arrangement, as they can hook the hammocks up in different places, and then they can roll, tie, and hang them on the loop/hooks during the day, thus leaving lots of floor space to play and walk. We are going to make a curtain out of burlap sacks for the window covering :-).

UPDATE: It is interesting to note that the guys who may take the boys' beds (and they are sleep-comfort mattresses and older Cargo beds) are from Honduras, and grew up sleeping in these types of traditional hammocks!! Hehehe! They thought this was kind of funny!

Back to "school"

We're finally getting ready for "school."

Pointed opinion alert:

We're getting excited about the new, "official" school year...although I consider all the traveling and learning our family has done this summer to be just as important and productive as the traditional "book" work of "doing" school. [probably even more important and realistic to the world they will go into when they get out on their own] The Lord supplies ample opportunities to learn new facts and skills, and I really cannot *limit* learning or even requirements for "passing school" only to those things taught through institutionalized means.

Hubby begins teacher in-service today, and his students begin school next Monday. He teaches Jr. English and American Literature. Since we homeschool, we follow his school schedule. This week is in-service for us, too! We're organizing shelves, getting our books, art, and other resources together, and printing up schedules.

We will be using the recommended resources from Ambleside Online. 14 yo daughter "Toffeenut" will be studying Year 9. Our oldest son, age 16.5, will be focusing on a second-year course in Worldviews of the Western World, based on the writings and lectures of Francis Schaeffer. He meets with a group once a week, writes a *lot* of essays and gives a lot of speeches. This year, he will also begin debate in earnest (hehehe-with fellow students, that is ;-). Some of the AO upper years books are the same as those in the WVWW course, so they dovetail nicely at points, if he has any free time.

We're also going to try to arrange the history rotation for our younger two boys, ages 10 and 12, who have often done the same history level. They have not followed the same pattern of our older two kiddos, who were able to follow the Ambleside years almost exactly since the experimental early years of the PUO online. Since I just got back from the Yucatán, I'm wanting to spend some extra time on the early explorers for the younger two. This will also allow us time to study Texas History.

I'll be teaching American Lit. to a few students in my home, including dd. I'll also be teaching Spanish for grades 7-8 and Freshman credit level Spanish on Fridays in a homeschool co-op setting on Fridays.

We'll all continue to hone our art and our handicraft skills:

Hubby: Guitar repair and guitar and mandolin building from large, scrap wood

Me: Bookbinding and restoration of books and documents

For oldest 16.5 ds, AnselAdams: photography, photojournalism, videography,
worship leading, woodworking. He plans to cut and plane his own wood floors.

For 14 yodd: Jewelry crafting (and hoping to take a few workshops from a semi-local teacher), photography, music and worship.

For 12 yo Audubon: drawing/sketching, leatherwork

For 10 yo Androcles: more home improvement projects. He helped sledge-hammer the fireplace, put up drywall, install laminate floors and paint!! He also loves to draw cartoons.

All four kiddos like to make toy guns out of pvc pipe, create lego scenarios, and play games together. Rest assured that the older two teens can also be mature and converse with adults, as well! (big grin)

13 August, 2005

*Group Photo*

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This is our group, and all of our Yucatán students with whom we worked. It was the trip of a lifetime and a new beginning for many. I could go on and on, and i thank my readers for taking their time to visit and indulge in a glimpse of our trip. It was very difficult NOT to find great things to photograph.


We have wonderful memories, and some of us have plans for book drives and photo and book restorations, and other help for the people of Izamal.

Afternoon at an abandoned hacienda

At this point in our stay in Izamal, we were not "doing as the locals do" by staying home during the heat of the day. We visited a hacienda way out in the country off a mostly untraveled road. We did, however, rest and eat in the breezeways of this magnificent plantation house, after taking more photos, of course. It was a "Photo Safari" trip, after all! I was shooting up to 170 pictures each day.

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From a distance, I am peeking down onto the back patio, where Charles and Gabriel
are grilling our late lunch.

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Our lunchtime faire...chicken, beef, and large slabs of grilled squash

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Grand front entrance

12 August, 2005

At the Spanish Convent

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View of the convent from Parque Cinco de Mayo

During the day, vendors set up tents to the right and sell everything from local honey to embroidered dresses to hammocks. In the evenings, after siesta time, other vendors come out and sell snacks and other things. Many locals gather and sit with family and visit with neighbors.

This convent was built with stones from...and on top of a Mayan pyramid.
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Luís is our guide for this private tour for Valerie and me. It is said by the locals that Luís knows every stone in this convent.

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Here, Luís is showing us the time on the sundial in the courtyard. It is 11:40 in the morning on Wednesday, 3 August, 2005.

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Luís took this picture...it was his idea! See another Mayan pyramid in the background, just above our heads.

A Mayan Hut

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Humble and simple. These people live well, even though one cannot tell by their (lack of) material possessions!

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This is the family's kitchen...REALLY

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Cutting the grass
photos by Javamom - copyright 2005
some on display soon in select Galleries

09 August, 2005

Our photography students!

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The white boy to my left is one of the kids who went with us on the trip from the school...he is a funny fellow, and jumped into the picture as a joke!

These youth are also the student leaders who work with the Korean Missionary in a large geographical area of the Yucatán. Several of the older guys are missing...I need to find photos of Rolando, Umberto, and the others!

We are standing in the courtyard, and you can see the bathroom and showers behind us.
To my right (left as you are looking at it) of those are various fruit trees...sour oranges, and a coconut tree.

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"Vignettes of town life in Izamal"
photo by Javamom
copyright 3 August, 2005

* For Robin and other quiet visitors *

Just a quick note to say "Thanks" to Robin, my "Lily" sister from the Lily Garden, and others like her who visit my little gallery-on-the-web. These are the folks who stop by and linger, then e-mail me personally or on various e-mail lists to say what they enjoy about my gallery.

You are all appreciated, and please feel free to comment here anytime!

Robin likes my vintage book restorations and picture/descriptions, so I'm going to try to post more about those, or create another site just specifically for those...and maybe for my hand-crafted journal/reading log books, as well.

I am getting a waiting list for work, for both journal/reading book list/note keepers and for restorations. My biggest client is the hardest one to get in touch with...in Mexico. Pray that all those glitches are worked out easily and that I can supply him with good work and a nice product.

With affection,

08 August, 2005

Home and Thankful to God!

My family was in a very bad accident with friends of ours while they were on a camping trip to New Mexico on Wednesday, July 27th. The Dad of the other family was driving and fell asleep at the wheel. The car went off the road and up a hilly area...then rolled three times. Our friend ended up being care-flighted with his daughter, who had neck fractures, to El Paso. Our son, Jordan was on the same side of the car they were on, and cut his head up. He got nine or ten stitches above his eye and has cuts all on his scalp. James, Kylie, and Andrew, and the other family's mom basically just got cuts, bruises, bumps. The mom later realized she also had a broken rib. The two other families that were also camping on the trip saw almost they'd wrecked, and came quickly to help them out. It took 45 minutes for help to show up, since they were out in the middle of nowhere. Some of the pictures of the wreck are posted on Kylie's website.

Flash forward to me and Jonathan (our almost 17 yo son) in the Yucatán...we found out through one of our daughter's friends that they'd been in a wreck, but not until late on the next Monday night...August first, and there were only a few details written on her website. Imagine how helpless we felt, not knowing much, and just having to trust that my husband had not told us about it through his e-mails because everyone was alive and doing better. If it had been worse, he would have called us home, but he did not want to worry us or mess up this educational and career opportunity for Jonathan and me. The Dad, Norman, is home and will be able to go to work for half-days starting today. When the roof of his car caved in from rolling, it basically scalped him. His daughter, Caitlin, has small fractures in her neck, but they will heal over time, as she keeps her neck-brace on. The Mom, Teresa, had a sprained arm and a broken rib. Our son, Jordan, already has his stitches out, but the emt guys cut all his clothes off...including his brand new and favorite pair of jeans! Jonathan and I are now home from Izamal, Yucatán, and are so thankful to see our family alive and well. I got sick on American food Saturday...went to church Sunday, but came home from lunch and slept straight through from 3:00 p.m. yesterday to this morning. I feel much better today, only needing an adjustment from my chiropractor!

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~Jonathan and me in the courtyard of the Korean Mission House in Izamal, Yucatán, where we lived. You can view more photos of our trip on his site, linked at his name.

~ some of our students, walking the streets of Izamal to take photos

This trip was a humanitarian trip through Hubby's school (The WinstonSchool), but it became a mission trip for Jonathan and me...One of Hubby's students even came to church with Jonathan yesterday!! Pray for Mike to make a commitment and to grow in strength against peer pressure and against boredom. He says that's when he is tempted to do the wrong things with friends.
I'll have to tell you all more about the adventures, opportunities and blessings sometime. I'll be posting about it here as I decide to spend more time online. I have enjoyed the lack of distractions of being in another country and being on a mission.

Love and hugs,
Javamom, who missed the
Ambleside Online Conference here, for which Jonathan and I were going to be helpers...and missed meeting
Donna-Jean, Wendi, Leslie, see Lynn and family...and the other AO ladies in Texas only because God opened this huge door for our son and me in Izamal!

hs mom to four ages 10-16.5 who've always homeschooled

03 August, 2005

William Cullen Bryant's Birthday

*Ink impression of Bryant in his library at Cedarmere, from my (now restored) copy of Homes and Haunts of our Elder Poets, D. Appleton & Co, 1881.

Today is the birdthday of William Cullen Bryant, born in 1794 in Massachusetts. He is categorized as part of the New England Renaissance...a pre-transcendentalist. His father recognized William's literary gift early in life, and encouraged his son along the way. At ten years of age he made very credible translations from some of the Latin poets. By the age of Thirty, he moved to New York City, to pursue a career in law and journalism. Within four years, he became editor-in-chief and part owner of the New York Evening Post, a position which he helf for almost fifty years.

Some of his most well-known works of poetry are: Thanatopsis, To a Waterfowl, and perhaps To The Fringed Gentian. My Autumn Walk is an interesting poem, where he remembers American soldiers fighting while he enjoys his autumn walk.

Here is a stunning tidbit I stumbled upon while reading about him in one of the books on our shelf called Treasures in American Literature. His essay is called "Sensitveness to Foreign Opinion" (1839).

"...we seize the occasion to protest against this excessive sensibility to the opinion of other nations. It is no matter what they think of us. We constitute a community large enough to form a great moral tribunal for the trial of any question which may arise among ourselves. There is no occasion for this perpetual appeal to the opinions Europe. We are competent to apply the rules of right and wrong boldly and firmly, without asking in what light the superior judgement of the Old World may regard our decisions.

...If an American author publishes a book, we are eager to know how it is received abroad, that we may know how to judge it ourselves. So far has this humor been carried that we have seen an extract, from a thrid- or fourth-rate critical work in England, condemning some American work, copied into all our newspapers one after another, as if it determined the character of the work beyond appeal or question.

...If every man who writes a book, instead of asking himself the question what good it will do at home, were first held to inquire what notions it conveys of Americans to persons abroad, we should pull the sinews out of our literature. There is much want of free-speaking as things stand at present, but this rule will abolish it altogether. It is bad enough to stand in fear of public opinion at home, but, if we are to superadd the fear of public opinion abroad, we submit to a double despotism. Great reformers, preachers of righteousness, eminent satirists in different ages of the world--did they, before entering on the work they were appointed to do, ask what other nations might think of their countrymen if they gave utterance to the voice of salutary reproof?"

Wow! What do you all think?

02 August, 2005

Update from Yucatán

Well, our website for photos from our humanitarian project are now posted at Project Izamal.
There were obvious problemas with the other server.

Our gallery show at the City Hall portico was a success! One of our Izamal students, Rolando, even sold one of his photos for 400 or 500 pesos...about 40 dollars. Exhibition was our sole focus, but since he is local and the money will help him out, we encouraged him to sell. He can make another print and mat for it anyway, and still have it for a portfolio.

I found out on our day trip the the Carribean Sea yesterday that all of our photography students from Izamal and surrounding village are Christians in the local church, here. In fact, they are the Korean missionary´s best student leaders who help him do local VBS and VBS in other villages around the area. He has taught them to be mission minded for their own country, and his mission is to grow the church in Yucatán through local youth.

I´ve got to go, as we are about to have lunch at a banquet with the local Mayor. My son and I love this place! Javamom