28 November 2012

why i'm glad the tv is on

I speak enough of Little B for you to know the ups and downs.
Now let me show you what life is like as winter draws her cloak closer around us, as the dark settles into our bones and the face she gives Seasonal Affective Disorder in our home, on my son.

B is asked to wake early - if he sleeps past 8, it's difficult to drag him from his bed. 7am is fine, 6am even better. He showers then sits in front of his light box for an hour while eating breakfast, reading a book, doing math, perhaps drawing comics. A book is his preference.

If he gets up at 8:30am because I've overslept (again) and he turned off his alarm, he moans and groans pulls the covers over his head. Repeatedly. By the time he has showered and finished his light it's easily past 10am.

By now he's ready to go to his room to read, listen to an audio book simultaneously, perhaps play Legos. For hours. He'd gladly skip lunch for the quiet solace of his room. When he emerges it's with fits of anger over chore time and resentment of an assignment he slipped away from with the quiet of a cat burgler.

Yes. It's a typical school day. Yes, he has chores to do and lessons to complete. But dragging him from his room becomes a chore to me in and of itself. He is peaceful in there, albeit too wrapped up in his little world. He does not bite angry words from his haven until he is called down from there. I crave peace.

He reads (and listens to) massive amounts of fantasy (dragons, space, etc), historical fiction, non fiction. He will come home from the library with a dense pile of books and need to go back in less than a week. Thus far, the reading material seems appropriate, I cannot keep up; if I read that much I would never sleep. He has a conscience and is bothered when the character kisses a girl and lets me know if there is cussing. (We keep tabs on how much, what kind, and discuss openly. If it's frequent, he stops reading the book. Willingly.)

A recent goal is to find ways for him to leave his room. Reasons to keep him downstairs. A set way to carry on the day without denying his need for solitude.

First, I'm working to have him up earlier which shifts his entire day for the better. As does the morning shower, something we discovered in 2nd grade with him.

Then, the light. It's necessary. A blessing. We didn't even stop using it in the summer. Instead we cut the time back to half an hour. This time of year it's a full on hour unless the day is sunny and we have someplace to be that cannot wait. Half of that is the need for routine, consistency.

I'm finding a designated time to expect chores. That way he expects it. Eventually, it will be habit. In the meantime....well, we're pressing on.

I'm breaking up his room time with scheduled assignments. When they're done, he can find his haven until the next scheduled item.

This week, before we've really set this into motion (I'm in the figuring-it-out stages still), he is drawn to his computer programming book, smack in the center of the house, distractions all around. He is happy to watch documentaries at length (and Phineas & Ferb, the one show all kids agree on at any given time). I am happy to see him downstairs (until the crabby side surfaces when someone annoys him).

I've decided that in the throes of too much room time, TV is preferable, better, and healthier for him and his mental outlook. It draws him out of his exclusive world and I will use it for all it's worth. It will be scheduled into his day in some form. It definitely has a place.

21 November 2012


I prefer my privacy and close friends, not large crowds and a name splashed for many to see. Facebook is a trial to me (as I've mentioned before) and the idea that my blog could be found by people who scarcely know me is debilitating (and by the nature of this post itself, doubly so).

And yet, I am typically an open faced person with little left to secrecy. Lying is a pet peeve of mine and I feel my thoughts are an open book, written upon my face. As such, I frequently feel compelled to explain myself, leaving little mystery behind. (Of course, I've learned there can be quite a difference between telling someone what is going on externally versus internally; depends on the circumstance. It's an art, my friends.)

Oddly, those two aspects of who I am both go together and also repel one another. Forthrightness is much simpler with circumstance as opposed to intent. I don't mind babbling on and on about car repairs that have me stressed out and being worn out from hard months of homeschooling - those are my circumstance. But my feelings and dreams are much harder to admit aloud. Matters of the heart are far more personal.

I have wanted to share a secret for a while. But it's hard because it's my heart. It's something I'm doing, my outlet, my dream. Tending my dream is the easy part (some days anyhow); the hard part is admitting it to others. And yet that's why I'm posting today.

I'm writing a book.

Admitting it to those not already privy to the story has been a challenge to me, colored by a million different crayons....just a few of those colors:

  • I'm probably not that amazing of a novelist; it's just a dream of mine and I'm overdue to follow it.
  • I'm content writing and never publishing, though that bug is starting to bite me a little.
  • Having someone read my book who knows me, but doesn't know me well, terrifies me - I'm not worried that they'll think I'm a poor writer; I'm afraid of the opinions they will create, the impressions my book would leave about me, based on what I choose to write.  

Truly? I love my story. And I'm working at not caring what someone else might think of it (an author on a writing blog I frequent mentioned needing tough skin....so I'm trying to grow some). I've sworn for nearly 20 years that if ever I happened to publish I would use a pseudonym. And I still might. But I'm working to not have a secret life and be open faced about my dream and what I'm doing. Of course, if it sits in my laptop forever more, unloved by the published world, I suppose none of this will be an issue.

I'm more than halfway through my first draft. I will finish it - of that I am sure. I am already anticipating my second draft and how much better it will be by then. I'm also beginning to see the seeds of another story pushing out from this one.

I've taken steps like joining a writer's association and following a few writing blogs. I can assure you they captivate me far more than the ones on parenting (I learned to throw out most of what I read on that topic long ago!), and even homeschooling.  I'm nervously considering attending a conference next year as well. This desire to write has pushed me for years. Now it's spilled onto paper and I cannot get enough.

The bottom line - I'm writing.
I am following my dreams.
(Whew....secret told.)

11 October 2012

life in october

(So... I never had the guts to post my third pondering topic last month.  I'll save it in the draft folder in case I find that nudge someday.)

Autumn has begun.  It's fresh air, crunchy leaves and my wedding anniversary (15 years!) mark the beginning of my favorite season. This is the time of year I love to go outside and lay on the ground and just feel the earth beneath me, soaking in the loveliness around me.  It's the easiest time for me to be still and know God, even for just the moment at hand. Just to feel His presence in the midst of the chaos that surrounds me.

It also marks the beginning of Little B's seasonal struggles.  It seems he has different issues all year long, and they cycle consistently. This is when the days begin to get shorter, and his frustrations mount higher. Resistance to everything becomes his norm and my ability to cope falls through the floor. Arguing begins with rising and ends when his melatonin finally kicks in around 9pm. Or he swings from helium-like-high to the darkest shades of blue in the blink of an eye.

This drains the entire family and asking him to complete his homeschool day is practically impossible.  It spreads to Miss C who would then rather draw on her papers than write. It oozes over to the little ones who would rather be in another room and grow cranky from the grumps that pour over the house as the day drags on.

I am challenged to find new and creative ways to help my kids learn.  Every year I try to go farther "out of the box" and still help them grow and learn. I've spent weeks talking to the Lord about it and gradually I'm finding little ways to make changes. Since Little B does more with a routine and is the master of avoidance, it's truly a balancing act to get the things that need doing done and blend them with the easy things.

Anyone with creative learning ideas, do share!  I'll try to post on how it's going once in a while.  For now, I'm finding subjects (read: "electives") to enrich the enjoyment of learning without requiring lots of table time unless they want to....

So far, my list of ideas include:

Science Experiments (not per curriculum - just whatever strikes their fancy)
Languages (Little B listens while playing Legos, Miss C wants to learn...)
Music Appreciation (um...we'll see)
Reading (easy for Little B, less so for Miss C)
Cooking (anything and everything)
Walks, yoga, outdoors, skating, etc.
Nature Study (again, we'll see...though Miss C adores animals and bugs more than anything)
Art (again, Miss C's forte...though they all enjoy it)
Time Line of World History, fill it in as you read something (this stirred Little B's excitement!  LOL!)
Netflix documentaries
Educational apps on my iphone (need to find some GOOD ones!)

I'll give them a small chunk of time for the math and writing/phonics each day, and chores are a must.  But I want their heart not an all day argument....if they grow up to be bitter with a stellar degree, it would mean far less than if they love the Lord (and hopefully me) and are happy and have a job and life they're content with, whatever it is.

10 September 2012


Some of the friends who make my life richer and more robust by their very existence live far away now - the ones I've known more than half my life and whose short, infrequent visits leave my cup full and running over.

When time and distance and life are the reason for not having time together, it's easy to think you've just lost touch, drifted away - it's nothing personal.  But when anticipation of a reunion fills you with delight, it's not a drifting away.  And when the friend gives you a hug, their words spilling out easily: "Why don't we live around the corner from each other?"  - it's then you know that you didn't imagine the invisible thread that's kept you connected in spite of rare phone calls, infrequent emails, thousands of miles.

This weekend was one of those times.

I am full, renewed, beyond words.

08 September 2012


I have about three possible posts circling my brain, wondering if there are enough words to go with the feelings to cause them to spill into my fingers and land on the keyboard.  I'm still not sure.  But I'll give it a try, offering each a space of time and a different posting this week....

In the last week, Little B asked me if I'd ever decided whether he was "autistic" or not.  (Some of you may recall that a couple years ago we discussed the likelihood of Asperger's with him.  It went over as well as withdrawing money from a negative bank account; a doctor retracted the suggestion of Asperger's and pushed him onward instead, leaving me mildly uncertain what to think).  So in response to this recent question, I deferred to the therapist or other doctor he sees.  Just that simple.  I also clarified that he's not autistic - but left most of what needed to be said to the professional.

Yesterday Little B asked the right person.  Who explained the spectrum, ascertained he was not on far end, and described the milder side, Asperger's.  She told him that she didn't always care to use such terms to describe people since everyone is different....I love and respect this, but I also think it's good to be able to embrace our individuality and be okay with it, label or no label. (I'm still learning to embrace my forever cluttered life - and be okay with inviting guests over whether their homes are cluttered and dusty or spotless...definite work in progress.)

She concluded by asking Little B what he thought of what she'd said.  He promptly said he believed he had Asperger's.  Her response was that while she agreed he exhibited many of the symptoms, it didn't mean it was conclusive.  He came away more accepting of having it than not, but being okay with it.  I'm relieved.

That, however, does not make it easier to live with him, or teach me how to be his mommy, or give me the compassion or balance needed at pivotal moments.  I'm still a major work in progress.

05 September 2012

a new start

Two interviews; one offer.
Much prayer and consideration.
One acceptance.
One resignation.

After more than fifteen years at a firm we once expected John would retire from, he is starting down a new path with a new firm.

This was hard for me - letting go of something that seemed permanently stable - but when His peace is so overwhelming, following is easier than ignoring.  Now, I'm excited and ready for all that lies ahead....

28 August 2012

castles in the air

Last week, we finished our school year for 2011-2012.  And next week we begin again, according to my year-round rhythm of learning that keeps things sane in our house.  Fridays are still our day off, and the occasional week for holidays and having not gotten too far behind.

In the midst of filing my Declaration of Intent to homeschool again this year, I acknowledged the boringness of our school's name: "[Last name] Homeschool".  I was ready for a fresh start and a fresh outlook.  After much pondering (and encouragement from some facebook friends), I've found one that I like and a quote to go with it.  In theory, this will be printed and put in a place to remind us all that we're going the right direction....

Sandcastle Academy

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be.  Now put the foundations over them."
-Henry David Thoreau

27 August 2012


We are waiting right now.  

Waiting for possible changes, 
and hopeful changes, 
and potentially hurtful changes.

John has spent over 15 years at the same job, loyally, diligently working from an AutoCad technician all the way up (thorugh many years of school) to Licensed Professional Engineer.

The economy has swept us into it's painful downturn but still he has had consistent work; something I remain thankful for every single pay day.

Today, he had his second interview with a new company for a new job.  They have indicated an offer will be made within a week's time.

Mostly, I am at peace and feel excitement over what may come.  But then fear of the unknown rises up like high tide in a row boat and makes me sea sick.  I find my peace replaced with the anxiety of our needs being met - as though the Lord isn't completely in control, though I know when I calm down that He is.

When I remember that a friend was recently burdened to pray regarding our situation before I told her about this possibility, I know without a doubt He is orchestrating this above any thought I have.  When I hear a different, well-meaning friend talk about the ideal pay increase and what to shoot for, I have to remind myself that ideal on earth and ideal with God are often vastly different (as are the job descriptions of our respective husbands).

I also feel a sadness that there could be some family bridges burned in taking this new path.  Bridges we both spent years trying to build.  Walking a new direction could make it all crumble, which I know we don't want.

I've prayed and cried out for the Lord to provide an opportunity such as this one.  And yet, I don't want to force His hand.  I don't want him to say, "Fine; if you want it so much, I'll allow it....but with it comes another cost."  

I truly want His will.  
I want His way to be clear.  
I want to follow Him into a new direction or stay waiting with Him where He has us.

And so the waiting goes....

10 July 2012

a day in my shoes

On the 4th of July my husband was asked to work....this was good for us because he would get paid holiday pay as well as the hours he worked. He went in early and came home early and took the kids to fireworks with my brother -- I stayed home having dire need of alone time.  Everybody is happier for it, especially me.

Not intending to cheat him out of a bit of time off, which everybody needs, he was told he could take another day off to make up for the lack of real holiday.  He took yesterday.  And so did I.

I've probably mentioned that we homeschool year round and take Fridays off.  But never Mondays because if we take a day off earlier in the week no one wants to make up for it on Friday.  Hard lesson to learn, but I haven't forgotten it.

So, when Daddy is home on a school day, the kiddies want to play rather than work.  And chaos ensues because both parents equals distraction and excuses and a lack of school routine. After an ultra brief discussion in which John almost just went on to work but had told the kids he'd be home, I said he could teach and I'd run all the un-kid-friendly errands on my list.  Presto.  I got a mini-vacation.

It was actually even better than that because my first errand was to drop something off at a friend's house.  It's good she had to leave a little over an hour later because I might not have gotten the rest of the things done at all.  After leaving her house I made three other stops and filled the van with gas before heading home.

Decadent, I tell you.  Simply decadent.

But when I got home, I could tell you precisely how much more John loves his job than my job.  And tomorrow, I am certain he will not complain about any aspect of the work he is so good at.  Today, he was as harried and exhausted and frustrated as I am every day by mid-afternoon.  He sees small glimpses but to truly take my place for that long...I felt sorry for him, but I was so glad he could spend a day in my shoes.

He said it gave him insight as to what else he could do that might be helpful - whoa!  I didn't see that coming and it was certainly not my goal.  But I accept, whatever he thinks he can do.  Bless the man.

It was already closing in on 4pm by the time he unloaded groceries and what-not from the van for me, so I had mercy and sent him to the mechanic with the broken air conditioner in the van.  At least, I was trying to have mercy.  A good bit of stress actually followed and I'm glad they aren't calling ME tomorrow....  But I'm sure he was deeply happy to leave the house for a bit, regardless of the reason.  I know that feeling.

And me?  I mustered through the unfinished school work and started dinner....typical.  But oh, how refreshed I felt!  I think we need to schedule a day like that every few months.  It was healthy in a million and one ways.

06 June 2012

an ending

This week marked an ending for me.  I nursed my last baby for the last time.

She is 17 months old and though not everyone subscribes to extended nursing (I can respect that), she has weaned the youngest of all of them.  I've seen it coming for a while now, particularly when I enforced night weaning a few months ago.  She immediately went to mornings and bedtime, then just mornings because daddy sings at bedtime and that is clearly more enjoyable.  Those mornings were very early mornings, I might add.  Usually between six and seven.  Sadly, it was too early for me to be awake enough to enjoy the moments with her, half dozing in discomfort, occasionally peeling back a gritty eye to peer at her beauty.  Then I noticed when her daddy was home on the weekend mornings and got her out of the crib she typically didn't think to whimper for mommy, so she started skipping some mornings with me (quickly becoming annoyed by the three swallows available on the lesser side....we've been right-weaned for weeks now I suppose).

And suddenly that momentary whimper would be so fleeting she forgot what it was for.  As the sun filtered through the sides of my windows Sunday morning I nursed her for the last time. Her face was curious at the familiarity of the experience, disappointed in the sparseness of what was available, content to be with mommy in other ways.  I knew it was over.

She has not asked since and I decided that if she should indicate an interest tomorrow I will distract her.  She won't really notice and she will be happier with her full sippy of coconut milk and extra hugs and tickles.

I feel ready and bittersweet.  I have spent 83 months of my life nursing babies.  I have been pregnant for a day shy of 159 weeks of my life (no one really counts months of pregnancy, let's be honest).  I am ready to have my body back, to wear dresses and even night gowns (if I like them still...) instead of nursing-ready shirts.  I will mourn the voluptuous cleavage of this era that is ending, and work to embrace the wrinkled, saggy A's that are my fate for a lifetime.

And so I bid goodbye to a time that I will never return to again, and embrace the coming of growth and independence that lies ahead.

29 May 2012


I believe I've spoken before of the feeling that those around me lead a charmed life while I struggle to stay afloat in the midst of the chaos that surrounds me.  Then again, I don't feel like digging through archives so I may have simply thought those things and not voiced them.  (Either way, I bring you today's post...."charmed".)

I do feel that way at times.  I have often looked around me at the homes in better order, the moms with more energy, the children without unusual needs, the spiritual lives apparently driving on the right side of the road, and wondered how it was I always end up feeling like a clumsy fool in the face of real life.

And so life would wend its way onward, one small moment at time, me working intensely to be thankful for the amazingness I know is mine -- a marriage I believe to be among the best of what I've ever seen (so very far from perfect -- just wonderful where it is), kids full of forgiveness for my shortcomings, opportunities to follow the path I feel led in so many ways (homeschool to name just one).  That's me working not to feel that everyone's life is better than mine.

Then occasionally I see a little peak into someone else's world and I know with sudden clarity that their world is not charmed, either.  Or the next person.  Or the next.

I had a month full of insights like this.  Like dominoes falling, my perceptions of the charmed life went down.  Mine is not charmed, yours is not charmed.  It's just life in many colors, with many struggles, and many opportunities for the grace of God to be sought and received.

20 March 2012

land of living migraines

There is this one blue and white (with a bit of sickly yellow) multi-purpose store that can change the most beautiful day into a low-price living migraine for me.  I am rarely to be found at one of these stores for this reason, but once in a while it just has what I need and it kills me to admit it.  A half hour in the confines of this fluorescent pit and the nausea begins, the head pressure builds, the knots in my neck and shoulder begin to cramp, my eyes begin to lose focus and all decision making flies out the window.  I hit a wall.  Those walls double the time it takes me to finish my errand and everyone who was forced to go with me is miserable.  High-functioning mama becomes frantic, crabby, exasperated, low-functioning mama.

(I do, however, love my better-lit, nicely-staffed, more warmly decorated (think: red) multi-purpose store.  It is logical, higher quality, still kindly-priced and most importantly: migraine-free.)

16 March 2012

hope for things not yet seen

I took Miss C to a new allergist today. . .

I love:
the time he took
the answers he gave
the questions he asked
the open-minded attitude he had
the appreciation for our holistic efforts he showed

We did the traditional allergy skin test.  And yes, she still has her allergies.  But I came away with a new understanding and insights of some recent changes in her reactions.  It's possible she is developing a tolerance to milk baked into products and some of her tree nut allergies didn't show up.  That said, there is at least one new nut, but he said those can cycle a bit, so we're just biding our time with it.  We have to avoid them all still anyway.  The milk one we can test further some day, but she didn't want to do that yet.  I decided that since it's her body and her blood we'd have to draw, she got to make the call.  She didn't want to be messed with any more than she had been - roughly 60 skin pricks on her arms.

We did discover a multitude of seasonal allergies, which the previous doctor never took the time to ask about or test for, passing them off as not bad enough to check.  Knowing this will help me to stay on top of her sniffly, red nose and the circles under her eyes.

Her saddest moment came when they told her she is allergic to horses.  On the way home she suddenly blurted out that she was so sad because she wanted to have horses when she grows up.  Then she promptly burst into tears.  I almost pulled off the highway to hug on her, but traffic was pretty heavy.  I made up for it later.

The most reassuring part of my visit is that I have been praying for a doctor who would dig deeper and help me find ways to help her - not just be passive.  This is that doctor.  He has been pursuing Integrative Medicine with Dr. Andrew Weil.  I am in awe.  We conversed for much longer than any doctor visit I've been to.  His staff and the other doctor in his practice do not yet know, so it's hush-hush for now.  I came away with armed with information on natural supplements to try for my migraines, detoxing my daughter's liver, my husband's chronic hives (as well as an anti-inflammatory diet for the same thing), and more.  I need to dig through the notes and remember which thing is for which family member.  We were cared for.  And given hope.

10 March 2012


I'm feeling ready to stretch my wings and catch a few dreams - a personal stretch in who I am and where I want to go, with dreams of my own secret self, though nothing large or impressive.

I do not profess to have any kind of wonderful writing skills - but I enjoy it anyway.  And I aspire to be better at it.  I love writing more than speaking for a million and one reasons (if you know me in person, you will realize I am quite a babbler in spite of this statement).  Mostly, I love that I can tweak, adjust, change, erase, scratch through, delete, and rewrite until what I am truly thinking is almost correct on the paper (or computer) in front of me.  It gives me time to straighten out the jumble of words that fall over each other in spoken form.  I'm not convinced writing can be completely perfect either, but once in a while something I've written is satisfying enough that I derive a thrill from re-reading it a few more times (until I find that awful hidden typo. . . ), or knowing when I send an email or letter I've carefully worded each part of it to express exactly what I wanted to say.

I will make an effort to ramble here a bit more if for no other reason than a little writing practice in the coming weeks and months.  I have no idea what that might mean for my little bloggy world, but if it gives me an outlet to scritch-scratch, so be it.  I need to drop some inhibitions, push myself out of my comfort zone.

Here is a little secret: I have decided that instead of the running sneakers I have been thinking about, I will spend my hard saved dollars on a small writing class.  If I'm lucky, I'll save enough later for another one.
Just because I want to.
And I always have.
And now I can.
For me.

23 February 2012

not a born juggler

There is is a large denomination one mile from our home that has a vast array of community-welcoming activities.  On some of these, I have mixed feelings about how much it meets a spiritual need.  But there are many others that I believe serve a useful purpose for drawing the hearts in this town.

One of these is AWANAS - this is the second year we have had Little B and Miss C in Awanas, and they are blessed by the consistent pursuit of memorizing verses, forming new friendships, and finding leaders who care about them in personal ways.  I am blessed as an indirect result of this.  A few weeks ago, we allowed Baby J to start going to their Cubbies program since he is finally staying in his own class on Sundays and typically staying in his own bed at night (our two requirements for joining Cubbies).  He could seriously pop the proverbial buttons with all that pride!  The one downside to Baby J going now is that we have to stay on campus, unable to go out on a mini-date or make a grocery run.  And that means entertaining Bitsy as well.  But, we're making do.

Another opportunity they offer is Karate.  I have found multiple reasons to like this.  First, the men and women in charge speak English.  I mean absolutely NO disrespect to the amazing instructors in traditional programs - I know they work hard and do a fabulous job.  But I do not do well deciphering heavy accents, which I hear a lot in do jos.  Next, they close in prayer.  They might open in prayer, too, but in our 4 free classes so far, I'm not sure we've actually been there right in the beginning (ahem).  Third, the atmosphere is clearly about character training and good exercise, but there seems to be a slight balance to the strict regimen I've seen elsewhere - they really like the kids in each class and it shows.  I love that this is an opportunity for character training - it makes my day!  I also love the most amazing budget-friendly pricing of their karate school - there is not way we could do this any other way. There are two times available on each of the two nights, which helps make it more convenient as well.
I do not, however, like juggling that many children back and forth three nights a week to various activities.  I am just not that mom.

We told Miss C she could do the karate program.  But when they said we get 6 free classes to make sure she loves it first, well, we took them up on it.  After the first 3, we all got nasty colds, so our pretty faces were not in class for a couple weeks.  I took her back Tuesday night while John took Little B to his basketball practice (just one more thing to juggle this season - oi! - and he gets to do karate when basketball is over).  Tonight, I simply could not get my ducks in a row and asked that she go back next week for her last free classes.  She's upset.  I understand.  But there is this little matter of loving to have her friend from up the street to play in the late afternoon and evening time (said friend was still here eating homemade pizza before we realized we just were running too late).  And after a day of driving and doctors and half naps and not enough night sleep - well, surely you understand....

The thing is - my daughter needs an outlet like this for exercise and structure.  It will be so very good for her.    And I know Little B loves it and wants to do it also.  But Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are all suddenly nights that make dinner feel impossible (yes, I need to get the crock pot in better rotation), bedtimes get later, and mommy feel like juggling the little ones is maybe not worth it (Miss C is not able to let me leave during karate at this time....think impatient 1 and 4 year olds).  That's pretty much half the week, people!  And I feel passionate about not being the mom who has her kids in so many activities that there is not time for friends on the street or nearby.  (A pet peeve of mine - a big one!)

So, since I am not born a juggler, I am having to find a method to the madness right now.  I know it will come.  I was hoping Miss C would wait for basketball season to end and just sign up with Little B to keep our lives simple, but that does not seem to be headed in my favor.

Arranging dinner time better - and decent dinners, not throw together dinners - is my first step.  Figuring how to return a neighbor girl to her home in time for us to leave when I have no contact for the non-English speaking mom and the brother is somewhere with the boys down the street and I have 3 kids that have to walk up the hill and back....might not be so simple.  Having John home in time to do karate duty - also not a guarantee.  Somewhere, there must be a way, though.

Hey, at least Baby J can buckle his own seat belt finally.  Definitely a step in the right direction!

06 February 2012

sanctify this food we pray

I grew up in a home where praying freely, calling on the Lord's name openly, thanking Him for all things were a commonplace occurrence- as common as washing one's hands when preparing food.

Praying before meals was not a religious or ritualistic experience, rather a time to contact the One we loved the most.  Thanking him for the food was a simple yet pointed matter.  Sanctifying the food was equally so.  I accepted each of these practices as a matter of course and also embraced them with understanding and appreciation for myself.  Except this little matter of sanctifying the food.  That, I did not get.  Yes, I wanted it to nourish my body for His purpose, but. . . uh?  To sanctify something is to set it apart.  Really, it's just food, and while I'm hopeful it's not spoiled, that's rarely a real concern of mine.  And so it went, this not making much of sanctifying the food.

Until very recently when it slowly dawned on me just how serious a matter it really is. . . . . .

If you are at all in tune with things related to healthy eating, organic foods, what animals are fed versus what they should eat, pesticides, antibiotics, living conditions of the animals, genetically modifying our produce. . . . the list goes on and on here - then you will at least begin to understand what I speak of.  I, for one, quite simply do not have the financial means to purchase all foods organic and eat the way I would love to.  I accept the argument that you can spend your money on organic foods or you can spend your money on hospital bills later.  I get that - very much so.  But that still leaves the need for the actual cash flow to get it to your table.

In my years of researching and seeking to understand food allergies better, I have come across more than one article about the connection between genetically modified foods and the dramatic increase in allergies over the past 15 or so years.  I have consistently found this alarming in levels I don't have words for.  And buying groceries for my family has become an extremely stressful task.  Now, not only am I trying to accommodate safety with each food purchase, all the way down to potential cross-contamination for fear of my daughter's life - I am also plagued with the desire and desperation to choose as much organic food as I possibly can to prevent further allergies from flaring up and simply be healthier.  My budget just doesn't cover that much organic food.  It can't feed six of us that way no matter how I've tried.  I do what I can and buy some of it organic and some of it not.  It's the best I can do.  (If you see someone circling the meat department three times before deciding which meat to buy on any given week, that might be me. . .)

Food allergies get in the way of normal life: eating with friends on Sunday afternoons, and homeschool parties, friend's birthdays, .  I have prayed over this matter of my family's allergies more times than I can begin to recount to you. . .  about them, for them, for healing, for safety. . .  And along the way, it occurred to me that I need to pray for the sanctifying of the food.  For He is able to cover all the things I cannot, as well as the things I can.  He is able to set the food apart, help it nourish our bodies, and keep it from further damaging them.  He cares about this even more than I do - and wants my children to grow into men and women of God who can serve Him and love Him.  Will he heal my daughter, son, husband?  I don't know.  I will pray for it, believing.  If He chooses not to, I will accept that and be thankful.  But along the way, I find that I pray about the food while I shop, while I cook, while I serve a meal....

**There are many, many resources relating to food allergies and GMOs and other similar topics.  Choosing just one or two for my posting was difficult and silly in some ways - a simple search on Google popped up more than I wanted to see.  One of them even showed a person allergic to the GMO itself - with symptoms identical to those my husband has had for 15 years (chronic hives).  I have placed a few links here, but further reading is easily available should you desire it. . . .

Seeds of Deception

("The UK is one of the few countries that conducts a yearly evaluation of food allergies. In March 1999, researchers at the York Laboratory were alarmed to discover that reactions to soy had skyrocketed by 50% over the previous year. Genetically modified soy had recently entered the UK from US imports and the soy used in the study was largely GM. John Graham, spokesman for the York laboratory, said, “We believe this raises serious new questions about the safety of GM foods.”")

GMO Food Allergies
("To my surprise, I discovered that my sister was having the same problem of constantly breaking out in hives. After extensive allergy testing, her doctor told her it was from genetically modified corn. It has been proven that the tendency for allergies is inherited. So, anytime she (or I) eat anything with genetically modified corn or corn derivatives in it, we break out in hives.")

Gentically Modified Foods Unsafe
("Another study verified that GM soybeans contain an IgE-binding allergenic protein not found in nonGM soy controls, and that one of eight subjects who showed a skin-prick allergic reaction to GM soy had no reaction to nonGM soy.9 Although the sample size is small, the implication that certain people react only to GM soy is huge.")

16 January 2012

a smattering of things

A somewhat "normal" balance and rhythm are starting to fall into place for us.  I've been exercising to let go and let some of our school days be less rather than more - yes, we still need the "more" to an extent, but right now I'm feeling that there is a season for everything, and this is a season for "less."  Perhaps in the new year we will find the energy to tackle "more" again.  Each week can look vastly different in our little world.

I did pursue the coaching with 7sisters and it has gone very well.  I am encouraged, guided, prayed for, and given opportunities to ask, consider and decide.  I can say that I highly recommend this experience for anyone who is adjusting things in their homeschool or related situation.  Among many other things, I have learned that my "ideal" shows my heart, and my "good enough" is truly good enough.  I don't have to get everything crammed into every day.

And the light for Little B - it never ceases to amaze me how content my son has become.  The "issues" we get are so very small compared to any other time in his life that I am blown away.  God answered my desperate pleas with grandeur and I feel immense relief and unceasing thanks and praise....(that said, I need to write some sentences 100 times as punishment: "I will never deliberately let Little B have dairy again in my lifetime."  Suffice it to say that was a one-day experiment gone badly astray and lasted way more than one day.  Keeping him dairy free makes for a much happier family life in every way!)

I still feel a deep and overwhelming sense of thankfulness every time we pull onto our street, and it deepens as I park on the driveway and come into my home.  I do not take for granted the cozy warm feeling and the space to spread out and school in any corner or read on a real couch, run in a massive back yard.  These things foster hope and peace in my soul.

In the past couple of weeks, since Bitsy turned one, Baby J and I have both had birthdays.  Nothing like feeling a little older and moving onward.  I'm beginning to sense that I will survive this thing called life and tackling it head on is a sure fire way to succeed.  The years I've piddled on this little blog have certainly documented some interesting seasons of my life.  It has me thinking and pondering some things.  I'm not even sure if I have words to share those thoughts, but perhaps they will gel a bit more in the months to come.

Now I must tend a bit of laziness in someone's lessons for the day. . .