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Nothing Can Be the Best Something

Mom, what are we doing tonight?

Happily, I say, “nothing.”

Frowns ensue.

But, they quickly dissolve.

I’m asking myself these days…

Since when did this become nothing?

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This isn’t just something.

It’s one of the best of the somethings.

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The “glorification of busy” has been at the forefront of my mind lately. The following video from Paul Tripp has been very helpful. Hope you enjoy:

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Staying Put in Tough Times

Don’t doubt that in the midst of a tough time, you may be standing in the middle of God’s will.

Many times we question and want to run because times aren’t as easy as they should be. Our expectations for life far outweigh reality. What the world says is good is not God’s good. So, we’re caught in a whirlwind of how to get out of a situation as quickly as possible because it’s just too painful.

This morning, I was standing on the corner watching my youngest ride his bike to school. I stand at a distance as he crosses two streets, and fortunately, am able to watch his head move along the brick wall of the school, knowing he has safely arrived. I’ve dropped every obligation I had at the elementary school for the last six years as my oldest went through, and I’ve barely stepped foot in her middle school. I have dropped and am dropping other activities as well – some obligations, some ministry opportunities, some time with friends.

And, it’s painful.

There are days that I have grief over these losses.

I’m not saying this for sympathy or to complain.

What I’m saying is that in the midst of this discomfort, there is no doubt in my mind that I am following God’s will – in homeschooling. I’m not pretending to know any steps from here. I just know this is right for now.

Homeschooling has changed my life. It’s been a big adjustment – bigger than I would have expected. But, I am not sorry. I fully believe God has brought us here. He will accomplish his work through us, and He intends for us to succeed. And, while some of the sorrow remains, it is falling away. I am seeing God’s purpose more clearly.

May God show Himself to you today as you seek Him through pain.

May He give you a glimpse of His purpose and will.

For he satisfies the longing soul,
    and the hungry soul he fills with good things. Psalm 107:9

Chicken-and-Vegetable Stew

It’s my favorite time of year!

Time to throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot, heat it up and serve with cornbread!

This is a great stew that I snagged from Southern Living several years ago. I’ve changed it slightly.

Ingredients:

1 T olive oil

1 (32-ounce) container chicken broth

4 chicken breasts (I put mine in the crock pot first thing in the morning, so they’re ready to shred by mid-day).

1 medium onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 (14-ounce) package frozen corn

1 (16-ounce) package frozen baby lima beans

1 can crushed tomatoes

1/3 cup ketchup

1/4 cup chopped country ham (I don’t use this).

1 T sugar

3 T red wine vinegar

1 t Worcestershire sauce

1/2 to 1 t hot sauce

1 t dried marjoram

I use s & p to taste.

Once the chicken is ready and shredded, sauté the onion and celery in olive oil for about 4 minutes. Add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until beans are tender, around 30 minutes.

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Am I Really Happy? Am I Really Sad?

I’m still thinking through this one.

About rejoicing and mourning…

Last week, we gave one of our children a gift. We didn’t have a reason. We love her. That’s all. And, okay, we got the idea from The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers/Children by Gary Chapman.

We didn’t give the other two gifts. Their “day of no reason but love” will come.

One of the two handled the event very well, helping to wrap the gift and showing great excitement for the receiver. The other child did not handle the event so well. Let’s just say there was a bit of a melt down, a few tears, and maybe a stomp or two.

I know some of you would become enraged at this point, and I don’t know when I became this person, but I could barely hold in my laughter. So, after the sulker and I gathered ourselves, we launched into a discussion:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15

I wonder if it’s easier for us to weep with those who weep because we don’t want the lot they’ve been given.

Maybe we struggle to celebrate with those who are celebrating because of jealousy.

I wonder if it’s easier to rejoice with those who rejoice because we don’t want weeping to get in our way (like me with my sad child in the above story).

Sometimes we’re quick to join the mourners only to look like the hero.

Are we truly happy when something goes well for others?

On the other hand, are we truly grieved when it doesn’t?

Verse 9 of the same chapter in Romans says, “Let love be genuine.”

May we be genuinely celebratory with our friends when they receive an expected or unexpected gift.

May we truly hurt when they are hurting.

As I keep reading back in this chapter, all of these issues seem to “fix” themselves…

every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think (3)

present your bodies as a living sacrifice (1)

A Time Line with Meaning

Learning to deal with dyslexia pretty much consumes my day. This is not a complaint, although within the last few months it may have been. Abby and I are having a really good year, and the God of creation is gifting us with creativity.

This morning, I got an idea and kept running with it. Abby mumbled something about me being weird, and I think I forgot school was for her for a minute. Do we really need students to have school?

Anyway, here are some facts about dyslexia, and this is the reason I went in search of an idea:

Memorizing non-meaningful facts (facts that are not personally interesting and personally relevant) is extremely difficult for most dyslexic children and adults. In school, this leads to difficulty learning:

History facts: dates, names, and places. Dyslexic students do well in history classes that emphasize why some event happened, and the consequences of that event, rather than rote memorization of dates and names. (Information taken from the above website)

Maybe it’s just me, but “rote memory of non-meaningful facts” isn’t very appealing to me, and dyslexia is not my struggle.

So, we set out to make a time line.

And, we made a big time line.

It covers the border of two walls.

It starts with Father Abraham (2000 B.C.)  and will end with Daughter Abby (2013 A.D. 4th grade).

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We plan to hang pictures as we go to make it more attractive.

Please share your ideas, and we will share our finished product at the end of the year.

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Kale, Hot and Cold

I know this may be difficult to believe, but photography is not my strong suit. I am pretty good, however, at eating kale. This time of year, it is my favorite green. Hopefully, in your supermarket, you can find a big bag of pre-washed Glory greens right next to the bagged salad.

This week, I have eaten kale for breakfast and lunch, and I’ve learned a few things:

Strawberries and pineapple are not strong enough to overpower the taste of kale in a smoothie.

But, almond milk, blueberries, a banana and kale make a pretty good smoothie.

Kale soup is good with just chicken broth and a dash of salt and pepper.

But, it’s really good with white beans, carrots and a dash of nutmeg.

Here is a previous post I did on kale along with some health benefits.
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Know What Keeps Me Up At Night?

Porn.

When I was in 5th grade, I went to a friend’s house. She pulled a hardback book off the shelf, showed me pictures I had never seen and said words I had never heard. She proceeded to take me out back to her dad’s shed and reveal more shocking photographs from magazines. Occurring somewhere around 28 years ago, I can still see some of those images and hear some of those words.

I don’t have to tell you WE ARE IN A BATTLE WITH AND FOR OUR CHILDREN! 

In this battle, admittedly, we’ve been too lenient around our house. My kids are familiar with the above story. We have ongoing conversations about pornography in our home, safeguards on our equipment (that are still allowing pop-ups). But free time on the computer is, well, just a little too free.

So last week, we created a “tech table.”

You can about guess what that means. We keep all technical devices in one place: computers, iPods, IPad (even the Kindle is here, but I think it’s just for looks).

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Do I expect my kids’ eyes and ears to be forever protected because technical devices are not allowed in their bedrooms? Nope.

Are we being overly protective? I sure hope so.

Two articles that may interest you:

The New Narcotic        I Hate Porn

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:10-18

We are equipped for the battle (and not because of a tech table — but the table is giving me a little more sleep).

Fall Break Festivities

Well, I didn’t win the family talent show last night. As a matter of fact, I “won” last place; I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong. Chris won with 626 thousand something points by singing a Blake Shelton song. Of course, the kids are full of singing, dancing, acting and athletic talent. The competition was no sweat for them.

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Because it’s Fall Break, we have filled our calendar with as many family activities as possible: camping out in the backyard, riding the Greenline, movie night, game night, (of course, the talent show), a quick trip out of town, and a little fun with food.

I love to connect teaching & food.

I’ve combined these two during our break to teach a few lessons from scripture. The Halloween section from Pinterest has proven to be a big help. (See photos below, all taken from Pinterest)

The Valley of Dry Bones Ezekiel 37:1-14

“When I dig up graves and bring you out as my people, you’ll realize that I am God. I’ll breathe my life into you and you’ll live. Then I’ll lead you straight back to your land and you’ll realize that I am God. I’ve said it and I’ll do it. God’s Decree.” Ezekiel 37:14

Balaam’s Donkey Numbers 22:21-39

Lazarus, Come Out John 11:43

Stay tuned to see what we’re doing today with our “Tech Table.”

What are you doing for Fall Break?

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On A Journey With Dyslexia

Dyslexia is difficult, so I’m gathering. I don’t know this to be true personally. As a matter of fact, my degree is in English Education. I’m decent with reading and spelling — exactly where those struggling with dyslexia suffer. What I’ve learned is that saying to my 10-year-old, “You spell it exactly the way it sounds,” means nothing to her. She hears sounds differently.

We’ve been on a journey since kindergarten to find out why Abby learns differently. If you’re a parent, you may have said, “I know something is wrong; I just can’t put my finger on it.” That’s exactly how I felt. Every year, her teachers told us everything was fine — until 3rd grade.

And, then, Mr. Carmichael.

(He gets his own line. You should also envision rays of light around his name.)

To make a long story short (and I will fill in the gaps later on why we decided to home school), we decided to home school in January. We have continued this fall and added a dyslexia tutoring program.

This is a big ol’ roller-coaster, people. We have GREAT days and HARD days. But, I am beginning to see a glimmer of hope, AND IT’S NOT BECAUSE OF THE GREAT DAYS!

Yesterday, my 10-year-old had a tough time spelling out a 3 letter word and had a headache by the time we finished 30 minutes of work. This work is hard on her brain! And, it’s hard on my heart! But because of the hard, I know it’s working. I can see the benefit of what this program is going to do because God is gracious in giving us glimpses of good through our pain.

We have a long road.

Abby has had to make a lot of adjustments. I have faced quite a bit of sadness, despair, guilt and loneliness. I have good friends who have helped a lot and listened to way too many complaints. I feel sure those days are not dead and gone, but…

God is faithful.

He is conquering the complaints, loneliness, guilt, despair and sadness. He is providing help, answers and direction. With every trial, my heart is being strengthened, and with every skill, Abby’s brain is being strengthened. He is giving hope.

Dyslexia may continue to be difficult, but it has been, is being and will be redeemed.

Why am I sharing?

1. 2 Corinthians 1:4 — I’m not the only one in this situation. There are other families who need support, comfort.

2. I have permission. I asked Abby if I could share. Hopefully, she will be able to pass on the same comfort in the future.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Multi-Sensory Gifts from God

Abby and I are currently engaging in the “Barton Reading & Spelling System: An Orton-Gillingham Influenced Multisensory Structured, Explicit, and Systematic Phonics System.”

If you’re cross-eyed right now, join the club. Nearly a year ago, Abby (our middle child) was diagnosed with mild dyslexia, and it seems we’ve been scrambling since then. We are learning all we can to get the training and help we need, which may lead to my brain exploding.

So, in the spirit of Multi-sensory Education (and sanity), here are a few things that have brightened the last few weeks:

What a beautiful sight to see head, thorax, abdomen, compound eyes and simple eyes on our sidewalk after studying insects with Abby

What a beautiful sight to see head, thorax, abdomen, compound eyes and simple eyes on our sidewalk after studying insects with Abby

 

Delicious tastes from picking fresh vegetables with a neighbor in a nearby garden... Our kids even got to try and hate eggplant.

Delicious tastes from picking fresh vegetables with a neighbor in a nearby garden… Our kids even got to try and hate eggplant.

 

Hands touching pen and paper in our new "family journal." Add a little or a lot every day - whatever you want to say.

Hands touching pen and paper in our new “family journal.” Add a little or a lot every day – whatever you want to say.

 

The smell of corn dogs and funnel cakes at our first college football game.

The smell of corn dogs and funnel cakes at our first college football game. And, lastly, the sound of our oldest singing and playing guitar.