Posted in Family

Family Reunions

Before everything went down with my family, we had a wonderful five day escape to Idaho for my husband’s family reunion.

If I’m honest I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing. I had only really met my mother and father in law and my husband’s siblings. I’m an introvert. A house with a bus-load of strangers (and the added pressure of getting along with everyone) was a tad bit terrifying to me.

And overwhelming. Not just to me, but for my son Caleb as well. Caleb has ADHD/ODD and is by no means a social butterfly either.

I was worried about drama, because these things are inevitable in large families.

I was worried about seeing my husband’s birth mom and adoptive mom in the same house for two days straight.

I was worried because I didn’t personally know all the men that would be there. And with the statistics being that 1 in 4 children are sexually abused by a relative or someone they perceive to be a close friend/authority figure, I think a small amount of anxiety is healthy in this regard. Momma bear instincts and all.

I was worried because I don’t do crying. Which is also inevitable at family reunions.

But as much as all these stressors were very clear to my husband, I also knew that I had to be the right example for my children. I HAD to be joyful, excited, and at peace about meeting more family because it would affect how my children reacted to this experience. This was important to my husband. So I put on my big girl panties and my smile and off we went.

The reality is: What worries a person who struggles with anxiety like me are often scenarios imagined (chronically) in our head that more often than not, never happen. We make big “what if” monsters entirely out of our imagination.

The truth is, none of the things I worried about held any ground. At all. The most I had to worry about was what did I want on my french toast for breakfast one morning.

It was soul-refreshing and wonderful.

There was plenty of sunlight and fresh air.

There was games, conversation, and laughter.

There was worship. And of course, where there is worship with the Hass family there’s me singing off-key.

There were pictures and family trees and genealogy building.

There was geocaching!

There was late nights talking or playing skip-bo. And of course, there was a game of Catan!

There were “new family” – people who like me, married into this family and didn’t really know everyone either.

And my kids had a blast. To the point where they didn’t want to leave and said they’d miss their cousins!

I was a little bit “socialized-out” and took some naps to help cope with the insane amount of noise and activity. But it was nothing a Tylenol couldn’t handle and I got back in the game as soon as I felt better.

All of this to say, my husband’s family is doing it right. Have the family reunions when people are alive and well! Don’t wait for funerals to bring family together! Looking back after my own experience with my mom’s passing, I’m so thankful to have spent time with everyone and have all these wonderful pictures that my kids can look back on and remember.

Specially if everyone lives in one country and aren’t separated by political asylum visas and dictatorships.

Posted in Family

Sprinkles of Grace

Good friends like Ralfie are around even though I had not heard from him since 2011.

Getting the gloom and doom out of the way in the last post, I have to say I also experienced “sprinkles of grace” on this trip to Florida. Any moment when I smiled, laughed, or felt joy was like a refreshing rain after a summer of forest fires and unbearable heat in Alaska.

And I’m sure my mom would’ve wanted it that way. She hated funerals and cemeteries. She didn’t want people mourning her and moping around. She even hated flowers because they remind her of funerals.

I am here to let you know that it’s ok to feel joy in the middle of grief. It doesn’t make the grief any less valid or real. And I readily embraced any comfort given to me.

Comfort came in the way of hugs with family I haven’t seen in ever. My family in Canada, for example… It had been 24 years since I last saw them! We only hung out for like one night, but it was so nice to be hugged and prayed for by them.

Later on my cousin came down from New York and spent two days with us. That was fun. I had grown up living with or close to him most of my childhood, or visiting his home over the summer when we didn’t live five minutes apart.

I always love hugging and spending time with my mom’s youngest brother and his family.

Then there’s family that’s not really blood but might as well be. My mom and Yeiby had met back in 1997. We were roommates in Venezuela from 97-99, then again in Homestead FL from 2001-2004 or so. We are talking about years of meals together, doing each other’s hair, helping with homework, etc. What the Bible calls “a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. I could spend time with them any day! That felt like home to me.

My high school biology teacher came to my mom’s celebration of life (the only one of my friends who could make it!) and then connected my sister and me with a trunk full of mangoes, star fruits, avocadoes, and even a jackfruit! Which we tore up… and now that I’m back in Alaska I’m bummed cuz I want more fruit…

And as a way of saying thank you for the trunkload of fruit we came over and made Arepas for their Dungeons and Dragons group. Which was fun! Got to connect with old friends and meet new people.

Not only that, but while in Alaska my husband found the time to take the kids to Dave and Busters, because no one wants to grind without stop. So they had sprinkles of grace as well.

I actually feel worse for my cousins who had to leave Venezuela, because through this grief of their favorite aunt, they were alone. Alone in Peru, or Chile, or Argentina. I was able to connect with family and reminisce, cry, and pray. They were left to their photos and Whatsapp. There’s nothing like a hug from family during these hard times, and leaving your parents in search of a better life is a hard time enough as it is.

Posted in Family

Stop this ride! I want to get off!

Just passing through…

I haven’t even had the time to sit down and blog the past two months. And that’s because everything came like a hurricane – the good, the bad, and the ugly – all at once. I would not have chosen this; if I had a say in the events of my life I’d schedule them out, give me a chance to recover. But in the span of only 15 days:

  • My oldest son needed oral surgery and major orthodontic appliances
  • My mom went in the hospital with pneumonia, in FL
  • We passed appraisals and inspections on the house, got ready to close
  • My mom’s cancer came back in her lungs
  • I booked the soonest flight to FL from AK, in the middle of everything here at home (Thank God for my friends Tony and Tracy who worked together to get me a ticket within an HOUR of getting “the news”).
  • My mom passed away in her sleep before I boarded the plane.

What followed felt like a Lifetime movie, and I was jumping through hoops to keep everything moving.

My mom holding me in one of her Venezuelan beach adventures…

I processed my mom passing away from the floor of the airport in Phoenix, AZ. That’s about all the time I got before I was on the ground making decisions, and planning her ceremony.

Her entire ceremony was at the hands of none other than my sister and yours truly. Thankful for the friends who helped, kept us company, or at least brought us food.

My sister had to move out of the apartment she shared with my mom, so we were also going through boxes and drawers, deciding RIGHT NOW what to do with all of my mom’s belongings. $160 worth of shipping costs from FL to AK later, and a suitcase costing me $130 on United Airlines, I can honestly say I kept as much as I could because I wasn’t ready to let her go.

Mom, Sister, and Me with the pink suspenders. 1991

I was too busy to be angry, but I felt angry anyways.

Back home, my husband closed on a home, packed our apartment, worked 60+ hours a week and moved us into our home (and completely out of our apartment) all by himself. Well with heavy lifting and a lot of help from friends the Saturday we moved. But all the packing, all of the paperwork, all of the childcare, all of the kid stuff was entirely on him while he’s working two jobs. I’m surprised I have any husband left and he didn’t just fall apart and die on me. Entirely grateful for having him in my corner.

The only family able to be there for the Celebration of Life. Family from Canada, Miami and me (from Alaska). She left behind another 9 siblings in Venezuela and nieces/nephews scattered all across South America and Portugal who would’ve loved to have been here.

While I was gone I would keep in touch with the kids and my son’s appliance broke, in the evening, while Dad was working. That made me feel so helpless. If I was home, I’d call the emergency line and get him to his orthodontist after hours. But because I wasn’t home, my husband had to take a morning off work to get him in. I felt a little bit like I was failing. I felt like I was being torn in two – half of me in Alaska, the rest of me in Florida.

So now I’m home! I came home to my house, to all of my belongings in boxes I can’t sort yet, to needing to figure out where the grocery store is or my new church… to having to set up mail service. And with weeks before my husband and I start teaching through AK Exploring Studies/AK Exploring Science. I’m still running… But it may be a good thing. I wouldn’t know what to do if I just sat still for a moment with nothing to do.

Teresa Karalus
August 14, 1962 – July 12, 2019
Posted in Family

Bite the Bullet…

I signed my kids up (and attended) a free event put on by Friends of the NRA and other local shooting organizations at one of our largest outdoor gun range. I’m always up for an opportunity to get my kids around guns and handling them under the safety and supervision of professionals such as law enforcement, our local SWAT team, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Wildlife.

It’s very common in Alaska; most of our high schools have indoor ranges and offer competitive shooting as a PE elective. There are more guns than people in this state, most homes own more than one! (And by the grace of God, every school shooting attempt or threat has been thwarted by our hard working law enforcement who assigns police officers to each school and does not delay in addressing social media comments as serious.)

However we moved to Alaska in 2009, so we weren’t raised that way. My husband and I grew up in families that consider guns to be evil and would never own one. The first time I went to the range, I was 30 years old. So this isn’t something that brings warm childhood memories for us.

In fact, If I google search my brain so to speak on the words “gun” and “school”, the first thing that comes to mind was the incident at Columbine – and the avalanche of copy cat threats and evacuations at the schools I attended. I also recall a lot of tragedies where a child found a gun and killed himself or a sibling – sometimes these children who pulled the trigger were barely 4 years old, not even old enough to be safe in Kindergarten during the school day.

Aside from all the personal reasons my husband and I have changed our minds and choose to conceal carry ourselves, I want my kids to fire a gun (safely, at the gun range, with adult supervision) as often as possible because:

  • Video game and TV violence has snuck in gun usage to younger and younger ages. My kids have seen people shoot at Captain America and he lived to defeat the bad guys with nothing more than his shield. But hearing the gun go off on the TV or playing a game where a gun is fired doesn’t have the child register just how powerful these weapons are. The moment my children felt the recoil of the gun in their hands, and heard the deafening noise of it discharging (which reminded them to put on their ear protection and leave it on all day!), their perspective on them changed. They can easily separate fact from fiction now.
  • Curiosity has killed the child tragically ONE too many times. Kids are naturally drawn to risk and adventure; a gun is not one of those things I’m letting my children have ANY curiosity about. There’s no mystery in it. They’ve taken law enforcement led classes where they disassembled and reassembled guns to clean them, they’ve been able to look down the empty (unattached) barrel of a gun and hold bullets in their hand.
  • All of our homeschooling or parenting purpose boils down to building a relationship with our children where they feel comfortable coming to us FIRST as a reliable and honest source of information. One day, when they’re older, we’ll have to bite the bullet and have honest discussions about sex and dating that we aren’t exactly having right now. But it would be very dangerous for me to assume that they’re too young to encounter a gun in this day and age, so we are going to beat everyone else to it.

Conclusively, there’s something taught with gun usage that is drilled into their minds and I believe it’s life-saving: Because you have to assume every gun is loaded and lethal, NEVER point a gun at something you are not willing to destroy. Target practice is appropriate. Waving a gun while recording yourself in selfie mode to try to look cool is NOT.

If nothing else, regardless of your stance on gun control rights or the second ammendment, I’m going to recommend you teach your child something about guns – no, I’m going to beg you to do so. I’m going to step on your parenting toes and implore you to drill this into your child the way you know “Stop, Drop, and …” (Roll, that’s right.)

If you see a gun anywhere at any time: STOP, Don't Touch, Run Away, Tell a Grown Up.  Never, ever try to transport the gun to an adult.  And don't try to argue with a friend who is holding one or convince them to put it down.  The moment you see a gun, run out of that building or area to another place immediately and ask a grown up for help calling the police.  This response saves lives!
Posted in Faith, Family

A Long-Awaited Open Door

I don’t think this blog post will have any context without knowing all that we’ve been through since I started this blog. So for a point of reference, I’ll summarize and link to previous blog posts before I start.

I married my husband “For Richer or For Poor“. And we’ve had our fair share of “poor”. As I mentioned before, “… we’ve been homeless more than once, tried to make ends meet in Oklahoma, Florida, and now Alaska. We’ve changed careers and jobs at least four times; from military, to Subway (making sandwiches), to the FAA, to selling cell phones, to now working in the medical field where he’s finally growing and doing great.” But I would not trade any of it for all the money in the world, because our marriage has been reinforced like gold by a blacksmith.

There was a whole year where we were technically “homeless”, living with our friends (9 people in a three bedroom condo) while we did some major credit repair (no thanks to a military leak) and tried to buy a home. It was a trying time that would have been disastrous for our friendship had God not intervened. But, as I shared in “Unanswered Prayers“, He didn’t answer by getting us into a new home. He answered by saying a hard NO and we moved into a small rental to nurse our wounds like dogs in a corner. My heart and my faith had nearly been destroyed through these “Hard Times” and it took some isolation to heal. Really heal. But as we healed, our friendships and our church relationships were like… lavender essential oil to a burn wound. Or an IV to a dehydrated patient. It brought our family back to life.

Through this experience over the span of 18 months I learned to dance with God in this “Cha-cha of Life“, and I saw God work in miraculous provision, and miraculous healing. Not because we got the house but because of everything He did after the “no”. I saw my mom beat breast cancer, and a lawsuit dropped. I saw the will of a church family in an envelope with $5,000 cash to go take care of my mom and reunite with my family.

And then the dust settled. And we all sang joyfully, “It is well with my soul.” And we took on new adventures, more manageable ones. We paid off our vehicle AND flew to Hawaii. We were making it work.

So this is where I give the glory to God and to God only: We have been pre-approved for a home loan and are in negotiations for our dream house. To be even at this step makes me terrified to share for fear that something goes wrong! But I can’t say it was our great budgeting skills (because mistakes were made) or our amazing credit score (which actually went down after paying off debt) or a real impressive mortgage application. It was God and He alone. It was a night where I was praying instead of sleeping and I asked God, “What am I supposed to teach my children from that rejection? God I want them to have faith in You. I want them to build their lives on prayer and yet we prayed really hard and our prayers were not answered. How do I make sense of that for the sake of THEIR faith?” And then meeting a new friend at a wedding who became our realtor… and who had a good friend at a mortgage company who took all of our stuff… and here we are. Hoping to buy a house.

We are a family of 5 in a 1,000 sq ft, 2 bedroom apartment and a beautiful, blue, sun lit open door has been placed in our path and all I can think is “Thank God for His mercy and grace” because I don’t know how we got here, I’m just thankful we are here now.

Even if this home doesn’t work out, our hope has been revived. And there’s no price I can put on that. Hope that God has always heard and kept in mind every tear we shed. Hope that His “no” at that time wasn’t because of His inability or our unworthiness. Hope because we don’t know and may never know why He said “no” then and seems to be saying “yes” now. But I worship a God who is so far greater than my understanding, I can’t calculate and manipulate His responses or bribe Him to give me my way.

Posted in Family, Homeschooling

The Strength to Educate Bravely

This is not a sponsored post, I did not get paid to read this book or review it, and if you go buy this book I will not see a dime of it.

My current “I’m going to start a book club!” Inspiration

But I strongly recommend all homeschoolers to read Julie Bogart’s “The Brave Learner”.

Spoiler – The Brave Learner is not the homeschooled child. It is you. The parent. But now that all disclaimers are out of the way, I’ll proceed.

In my last post I shared how I learned this school year that I needed to let go of my kid’s education. And how they actually did BETTER being educated by others than in my homeschool environment.

In all transparency, this was a huge blow to my ego! I mean, I had homeschooled them for 6 years! How could they turn on me like that? And what would that say to the other 60 students I’m offering classes to!? I felt like a failure all school year – doomed because my kids weren’t progressing the first semester now that Mom was distracted with “part-time” work, doomed because I had to outsource and pay for their education at the hands of other teachers who were clearly better at this than me.

A Happy Curriculum Fair Goer

That’s probably the Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria aspect of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder speaking. But it was still there.

The turn around point from defeat to surrender was at the IDEA Curriculum Fair when I listened to Julie Bogart. She shared how her kids loved playing video games (and I felt a little less guilty) and how she played Yu-Gi-Oh cards with her sons for years (and I felt a little more validated). By all accounts I felt like we were in the same boat – so why did I feel like a failure while she is a renowned author and speaker?

But she encouraged me with a monumental truth I can’t help but share with everyone I know – a truth I’m not plagiarizing but making my own:

If I want my kids to be sincerely happy with this very different (and valuable) form of education, I need to let go of the type of education that makes ME happy and surrender to the life that makes THEM happy.

Today’s Brave Learning involved meeting up to play Dungeons and Dragons with other kids….

This next school year, my kids didn’t ask me to enroll them in public school or a charter school. And they didn’t ask me to enroll them in the same classes where I work. But they did ask me for real opportunities to work independently.

They want to do math online, specifically with Time 4 Learning. They loved their preview videos and felt like they would enjoy their time doing math in this manner. I wanted to enroll them with the fabulous math teachers I work with.

They want to do Oak Meadow textbooks for middle school, working at their own pace off one book (primarily) because Sonlight was “killing their love for reading”. I have mostly happy memories of teaching with Sonlight, and they loved the books! But they resented me for pressuring them to read the books as a part of their curriculum instead of allowing them to read it out of curiosity and enjoyment.

They have no choice with band. I paid $1700 for their instruments. They are stuck doing band till they get married!

My older two won’t even be in the classes I teach. They were more interested in the Oak Meadow materials than the subjects I would’ve covered next school year. I did not take this personally at all because at this point of the conversation, I saw the sparkle in their eyes as they ‘Ooohed’ and ‘aaaaahed’ over the textbooks that Oak Meadow brought to the convention. They are excited for next school year… I’ve homeschooled the past 6 years waiting for this moment of independent learning.

The time has come. I’m no longer the leader in my kid’s education.

Now my job is to be strong enough in my love for them to support them no matter what they choose, and to be brave enough to go on this journey being led by them (and not the other way around).

Posted in Family, Homeschooling

The Courage to Let Go

I’m super thankful to the charter school I homeschool my children through, Interior Distance Education of Alaska, which is different than the program I normally teach for.

Why aren’t my children students with the program I mostly work for? Because we started our homeschooling journey with IDEA long before I even thought of AK Exploring Studies. They are family!

My youngest LOVES WORKBOOKS and his pets.

IDEA puts on a curriculum fair every year for all homeschoolers in the area (more than one, across different cities, to be precise). It’s an opportunity to hear good speakers, and browse a whole convention’s worth of curriculum vendors. I love looking at stuff with my own eyes before considering what we are going to do next school year! There are also “fun” vendors like the Anchorage Museum, Barnes and Noble, or Classic Toys, which are a must-stop-at for my kids.

As a bonus, because I’m an IDEA family I can complete purchase orders at this fair for ALL THE SUPPLIES I WANT for the following school year. Some vendors will ship it to me in July (and most of them had free shipping as part of their deal), and some vendors give you a bag of stuff (like the vendors I bought Legos, or microscopes from). That means IDEA pays for it, I make a purchasing choice, I don’t spend any money out of pocket. We even walked out with three new iPads!

But for as long as I’ve homeschooled my kids it’s all been about ME. How I was going to teach. What I was going to use. I took into consideration my kid’s learning style, but I went with what I thought was fun or interesting.

He actually won money at his science fair project… Which to this day I do not understand.

Imagine my shock when my kids asked me – no, begged me – for text books. WHAT?! You mean you don’t love my Charlotte Mason/Classical/Unschooling approach?!? You didn’t enjoy all the wonderful readers I got from Sonlight?!? And all the projects from Moving Beyond The Page?!?!

And I guess this was the lesson for the school year: It’s time for me to let go. When I felt like I was hitting a wall with my kids and sacrificing their education at the altar of my new business venture teaching OTHER PEOPLE’S KIDS, I had to enroll them with teachers and place them in a classroom (GASP!) where they had to do homework (GAG!) and even work out of textbooks (DEATH!).

But you know what? They thrived. More so than they had with me.

My daughter is my Pokemon Go buddy.

My youngest went from refusing to read or write to reading Robinson Crusoe, memorizing poetry and Latin, and diagramming sentences. My middle child went from refusing to learn her time tables at 5th grade to passing her math class at the very top, doing division and fractions like a boss and teaching others! My oldest wrote more essays (and learned to write better) the second half of the year than all the fussing and nagging I did would’ve ever accomplished.

So the first thing I learned at this year’s fair is that if I want my kids to enjoy their educational experience, it HAS TO BE THEIR educational experience. It is time for me to let go. And I did…

Posted in Family

Aloooooha!

We used our Spring Break to go to Oahu, Hawai’i.

Oahu, Hawai’i

This was such a big deal for our family. We had NEVER experienced a family vacation before. We had some memorable camping trips, but never traveled out of state all five of us for FUN.

The kids had been asking me to go to Hawai’i for a while, since we learned about the 50 States. I had told them they needed to learn how to swim. And they did. I was overdue in keeping my word!

We wouldn’t have been able to do this without the income that AK Exploring Studies provides. Through it we paid for everything and took this vacation DEBT FREE. No worries on the way there, no worries on the way back. This truly helped it to be a family vacation we’ll never forget because my husband and I were so relaxed, I think the kids got to enjoy a different version of us than the ones they get at home.

Teaching the kids what waves are good for!

We stayed in Waikiki, near the beach. We had plenty of days just walking to the shoreline to get all salty and sandy. We discovered a beach we liked just a little south, called Kapi’olani Regional Park and did some boogie boarding there.

But the home educator mom in me couldn’t just … beach lounge… so we did a lot of learning activities too. Like the Waikiki Aquarium, on a “rest day”.

Caleb was fascinated with their resident Monk Seal.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is the highlight of our entire trip there. A must go. We pulled out all the stops and paid for an “Ambassador Prime Rib Buffet” deal. Every show and attraction was phenomenal and my kids loved every “island” we visited (well, it didn’t look like Caleb enjoyed it, but that’s only because of sensory issues. Nothing the Center could’ve done; it was hot, and he’s Alaskan, he didn’t like it. He recalls only wonderful things from there!). The event that made the price totally worth it (more than half a crab and prime rib buffet dinner) was the Ha’ Breath of Life show. It moved me to tears. Like, I know you don’t want to fall into tourist traps where you wonder “Is this really worth the money?” so I’m here to tell you: YES! For two reasons: 1) You will never be able to “island hop” and get to know so many DIFFERENT Polynesian cultures for this price and 2) Every performer and employee is a foreign exchange student from the Island they represent. Your admission helps house and feed them while they attend school in Hawai’i in hopes of bettering their home.

We also did a whale watching and snorkeling tour. Go figure it was the only day that it was windy and rainy. The choppy waves led to some serious nausea and had I not been so sea sick I probably would’ve totally enjoyed their kalua pig buffet style lunch and four complimentary alcoholic drinks. They did, however, let us take home left overs and their food, microwaved a day later, was amazing.

The whales we got to see and the snorkeling experience made the experience worth it. Take it from someone who grew up snorkeling off the coast of Florida… It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

And it gave me the bug to snorkel some more (and take my poor husband on an enjoyable, definitely shark free trip) so we went on a date (that’s right! Kids stayed in the hotel!) to Hanauma Bay. This is the place to see fish if you are afraid to swim. You can literally see the fish from the sand. Find a spot that is knee deep and put on your snorkel – you will see very colorful fish and it will make it all worth your while.

More importantly, it was 9 days of no nagging, chores, homework, or grading. Literally no worries. A lot of snuggling, Pokemon Go, and sun burning. We met up with a church that meets at the beach called the Waikiki Beach Gathering thanks to Instagram and Hashtags and we worshiped together at the park that Sunday.

And I realize now that we need a God-ordained “Family Retreat” more often than we’ve done. Certainly can’t wait another 14 years of marriage to do that again. Probably won’t be able to go annually like my kids are asking. To be honest, I can’t wait to go back!

Posted in Family

My Hero Academia

Confession: I grew up with Anime (dubbed into Spanish. Yikes) and with few exceptions, I wasn’t really a fan. 

** Disclaimer: None of these images are mine.  I don’t draw that well. I don’t own them nor do I have the copyrights to them.**

heidiI was four years old when I watched my first anime, “Heidi” – yes, based on the novel of the Swedish orphan?  That was like my soap opera.  And I grew up with cousins that were really into Dragonball Z, and Sailor Moon, and I preferred Dragonball.  And then there was the Pokemon craze which I lost interest in after Pokemon #152.

My husband and kids are more into it than I am.  Once Dragonball Super finished my kids were looking into all the wonderful possibilities (and some of them were even dubbed in English!). I got involved to step up my parental controls.

Out of left field comes an anime that inspires us, makes us laugh, keeps us hanging at the edge of our seat!  I geek out over My Hero Academia, but I’m going to give you the parental review and not from a fandom perspective.

master

The premise is that humanity has evolved where 80% of the population has meta-powers or “quirks” (not all that different from Marvel or DC comics).  This has changed regulations and laws as villains arose that could do things which had never been done before.  Because the police is maintaining it’s integrity in handling suspects, “Heroes” have stepped in and used their quirk to help apprehend (and that’s the key) villains and save mankind from the catastrophes that this ensues.

kachanEnter Izuku Midoria, a young boy in middle school.  In a world where he is bullied by kids with amazing superhuman abilities, he has none.  Completely quirkless.  But all he has ever dreamed of being is a hero like All-Might, the man he looks up to.

In a chance encounter Izuku meets All-Might and impresses him with his hero potential, not in his physical ability but in the condition of his heart, which gets Izuku a quirk and the best mentor in the hero world – and admission to the elite high school where super heroes are trained.  Here Izuku needs to learn not only how to use his quirk power but also the power in himself to be a hero by doing the right thing.

all mightThree seasons into it we are waiting for every episode.  I love and have had MULTIPLE devotions where we parallel Scripture to what we see!  As we see qualities in Izuku that Christ Himself has shown us to be the supreme example of (sacrifice, love, and compassion) we can’t help but cheer him on.  Along him come a whole crew of characters who are also navigating this personal growth and you can’t help but fall in love with them.  It is very well written!

studentsI personally LOVE how male to female relationships among high-schoolers are portrayed.  There’s a lot of respect, it’s innocent, and not dating centered –  as it should be.  There is the exception in one of the characters but it’s painfully obvious how this one dude is not with the program and when he’s inappropriate, it’s not funny.  It’s frowned upon.  Overall you see a crowd of peers that learn to work together the way I would hope my kids work with other kids at that age.  In the midst of teenagers, hormones, and crushes it’s very refreshing to see a series where boys and girls develop healthy, normal friendships.

That being said, there are some themes that may cause you to pass on this or watch episodes ahead and see if it’s for your child.  Although in my opinion, it’s not all that different than watching The Flash on the CW and definitely WORLDS better than anything on Cartoon Network, so here we go:
– Some females are overly sexualized in their costumes.  It was a character development decision that was thought through and justified (the way you would justify a woman in a bathing suit because she swims, but really wouldn’t expect her in a bikini top at school).
– In season 2, they get into the back story of one character that features an abusive father and the trauma that it brings about in his mother, which may be a bit too dark for younger kids.
– The villains are scary.  Scary the way Killgrave was scary in Jessica Jones; not because they’re monsters but because they are psychopaths.
– Season 3 episode 2 is not for kids.

Overall, I would say it’s for kids 10 and up with some episodes skipped, but with open communication I know of kids as young as 4 watching it with their parents.  And I think that’s what matters the most, to be honest.  What kind of dialogue do you have with your kids on the things they are watching?

Posted in Family

ISO Long Lost Relatives

This is not an affiliate post!  I paid for my own test with AncestryDNA.com and was not compensated or even asked to leave a review in any way.  The opinions on this blog post do not reflect the views of Ancestry.com and are exclusively my own.

Legalities out of the way, my husband and I did our DNA profiles with Ancestry.  Yup, despite the fear that now they will keep our DNA and sell it to third party companies that would track us from now on (no research for this, just my usual paranoia), we spit into the little tubes, shook it up and mailed it in.

And the results are in!

I did mine to try to find more info about my family.  I was hoping to find matches on my dad’s side of the family.  My dad and I don’t have a lot of information there – my grandfather left from Venezuela to Germany sometime around 1966.  My grandmother kept her maiden name, and came from Prussia – whether the polish or the German side of it, who knows?  Enough world wars have changed the landscape of Eastern Europe.

 

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Possibly my grandfather?? Who knows!

I have pictures of my grandma as a nurse, and bike riding through Europe as a young woman fresh out of school.  I also have pictures of her exploring Venezuela, and some colored photographs of her in Bali.  I know she visited a relative in Australia and had a friend in New York City.  I know she had brothers because I remember seeing the sepia-colored photographs of young men in uniform.  But I don’t really know anything about her!

 

So I was hoping to find more on Else Karalus or Hans Heimig, and see if there are any second cousins anywhere?  Any pictures or connections to a “home land”?  And this was probably fueled by the realization that my homeland is destroyed.  I will never, ever be able to take my husband and children to Venezuela and show them my grandmother’s grave, or my childhood neighborhood.  They’ll never know what it’s like to visit the falls, or the Andes, or the Amazonian basin.  And that grieves me.

My mom and I spent some time researching her side of the family and found out that her paternal grandparents were European Jews that came to Venezuela seeking refuge.  News to both of us!  And I’m thankful I met my great grandmother, and have pictures with her, and she walked me to school, because there isn’t much in the way of documents on an orphan ex-slave.  But it’s ok, cuz I knew her.  Till her dying day.

Anyhow, it’s a very difficult feeling to explain; you are always an immigrant, but you never have a country to go back to.  And you are adapted to the United States, well versed in politics, geography, and history – but it’s never “home”.  It always feels like you know this information as an outsider looking in.  Somehow I went on the search for a “home country”, one maybe in Eastern Europe I could hope to visit and learn about one day in replacement of the one I lost.

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I’m such a mutt I’m a child of the world!!

East Europe – my paternal side,  Prussia, explains this perfectly.  Native Americans – I’m sure that’s indigenous to Venezuela, like the Yanomami.  These two things make up half of the genetic pool that is me.

Then it’s a smorgasbord of ancient history and migration patterns.  Vikings that sailed all over the Baltic sea and established themselves in parts of Russia and the Iberian peninsula.  Spaniards, conquered by Romans and then Muslims.  Celts that fled from the Roman invasion in Britain.  African slaves from Senegal and Mali, brought on Spanish ships to Venezuela after Columbus’ ill arrival.  Aside from Southern Europe and Ireland, it’s dashes of spice from people that moved and were moved, conquered and were conquered, all somehow ending up in the northernmost part of South America to make me.

And somehow, unexplainably, a pinch of Melanesian (Papa New Guinea/Australian Aboriginal).  I’m sure that one made an interesting story some years back…

But this comforted me because it gave me a lot of places to call “home”.  A lot more history to learn, genealogies to look up, and hopefully once my kids all graduate – places to visit!  I was never meant to belong to any one geographical place here on earth.  I’ve always been a traveler passing through, with my citizenship in Heaven.  Then I’ll feel like I’m truly home.  Until then, I’ll keep searching for family members.

Do you have interesting lineages or family histories?  Share below!