Monday, October 8, 2018

October is here!


We just wrapped up "Kisses From Katie".  I feel like in the process we bid a dear friend good-bye.


My oldest is reading "Trumpet of the Swan" to all of us.  One of my favorite parts of the day.



We just began "Corrie Ten Boom" (Christian Heroes Now and Then).  I LOVE this series of missionary stories.


We have had SO SO many doctor and therapy appointments the past two months and so many more facing us.  I am SO tired of sitting in doctor office waiting rooms.  The magazines crumpled from nervous hands repeatedly rifling through the pages.  I am so ready to be done with this season.


I am so ready for the fall and holiday season.  I recently turned 42 years old, and realized that the older I get, the more special this time of year becomes.  During the first few days of cool weather I feel a bit like a caged animal being released.  The long, oppressive heat of the summer is (mostly) over and the holiday season is on the horizon.  
CANNOT wait!


Psalm 34:8
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Amazing Resources

My kids are by nature extremely private, so I don't talk in detail about the list of struggles they deal with on a daily basis.  However, I have found so many amazing ideas that I want to share some here in case someone else needs them too.

31 days of posts from an Occupational Therapist

Homemade calm down kits

Free printable visual calm down cards

40+ ideas for calming down

Hands-on visual schedule for older children

Manage Big Emotions game

Bright Solutions for Dyslexia

Sensory Processing Resources 

Spa Bubbler

Sound Machine

Slime

Mermaid Pillow  then go here  Lemon Lime Adventures there is a DIY weighted pillow

Chew Necklace

Noise Canceling Headphones

THIS book :)

and last but certainly not least

My favorite go-to blogger for special needs.

I am going to just keep adding ideas as I find them.

Calm Down Jars

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fighting to believe God is good



The tug of war in my soul is fierce.  It is one that wants to rear it's ugly head when life does not go according to plan...which means that it rears its head constantly.  About a year after my oldest child was born, after an Anne Graham Lotz Bible meeting, I went home and pulled out my Bible.  I dusted off the front cover, cracked open the New Testament for the first time, and it was like taking a long drink of cool water after a blistering summer's day.  For the first time, the Word opened to me and I drank long and drank deep. 


                                     


Life suddenly seemed full of hope and it seemed like with faith anything was possible.

Fast forward roughly sixteen years and life has come at us hard and fast.  It has left bruises and cuts and wounds that I have attempted to stretch a band-aid across.  It has been messy and beautiful and rarely boring...but often left me questioning my understanding of the Word of God.  I have a hard time reconciling Isaiah 41:10 with what my actual life experience is and has been.  Or Jeremiah 17:14.  Or the abundant promises of peace - for example, John 14:27.  Peace has been so far from my heart for so long, I don't actually remember what it feels like.

                          

I want to scream it is unfair.  It is so unfair.  This season right now is so so very hard.  It is hard to explain just how hard it is.  We spent from late spring through mid to late summer very sick.  That in itself was awful.  Reading about and seeing all the fun summer things families were doing and meanwhile, we were basically living at the doctor offices, our pharmacy, the UTC, and the ER, oh and just for fun also the vet office. 


            
But all of that, was nothing compared to the fall out from that.  The underlying health issues that my kids have, they have basically exploded.

            
                          (this is what I feel like at the end of the day - ha!)

Last night I poured out my heart to my husband.  Asking him where was the goodness of God in all of this?  I know that I know that I know that He is good, but my experience in life does not feel like it is mirroring that belief.  Does that make sense?  I told my husband that the hardest part of this journey is that there is no guarantee that tomorrow will be better than today, I do know from experience that everything will eventually get back to a normal pace and that things will even out - but it may be longer yet.  How do I hang on to hope in the midst of the hard?  It doesn't help for me to tell myself or to be told that it could be worse.  I fully realize that, but that is not a balm to apply to the hurt right now.  It just increases the dread of 'oh no, what if it does get worse'?  Or the guilt of, 'who am I to complain when so and so lost their child or their home or their marriage or...?'

   

Then this morning dawned and I was awoken by our very, very old dog wanting to go out (he actually got me up at 4 am, thankfully, I was able to delay him until 6) and I was standing outside in the dark trying to get him to hurry up.  All of a sudden I saw the shadow of some sort of animal and I felt fear claw up my spine.  All I knew was this wasn't a cat, another dog, or the cute bunnies and squirrels...it was something that looked somewhat like a rat.  It came shuffling through some old leaves and stuff, making quite a racket, I got my phone ready to capture it or use as a weapon (not exactly sure how that would have worked exactly) when out waddled an Armadillo!   Much better than all of the terrible things I was imagining!!




I snapped pictures and went in to wake up my youngest, my fellow nature nut and we joyed in the fact that an Armadillo basically waddled right up to our front door.  As the morning sun peeked out she reminded me to check a chrysalis we have been watching on our hose spout...and then it dawned on me.  Here is the goodness of God, delighting us in the midst of the hard.  He has been showing us wonder after wonder almost every day - I just was so focused on the hard that I almost missed it.  He is a God of intricate wonder and beauty.



 He takes such care in the cocoon of a caterpillar turning it to a butterfly - something so temporary - it started off tucked and bejeweled - seriously it looks like golden jewels sealed it shut.  SO beautiful.  It now is turning translucent and inside is tucked what I believe is a GORGEOUS monarch butterfly. 



You see I have been approaching life through a titled lense.  Believing that God owed us something different than what He was giving us.  I am the creation, my children are the creation, NOT the Creator.  Why am I, the clay pot, whining to the potter, why are you forming us this way?  I have no idea where He is going but I do know the truth is that He determined our days before even one came to be, He knitted my children together in my womb, and they are His workmanship (not mine), with good deeds He prepared for them ahead of time (see Psalm 139 & Ephesians 2:10).  If He is going to so carefully create a caterpillar that makes such a beautiful (albeit temporary) cocoon, then how much more has He carefully planned my children's lives?
                                      



                   

             

               

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book Girl

Books have become such an important part of our lives, I remember the seasons of our lives through the books we have read.  When my girls were young and my husband traveled a lot, my best friends & constant companions unfolded and spilled forth from whatever story I was reading at the time.  In the midst of learning to navigate such hard days with my children and diagnoses, unpredictable learning disabilities, unpredictable chronic medical issues, unpredictable energy levels...our one constant has been found in stories.  I love to read aloud.  I love the bond that a great book has, to watch as a story forms my daughters' characters.  I cannot tell you how many days were just awful, seriously so hard, but that thirty minutes or hour we spent reading, that was the magic hour.  That time spent invested in a good book (whether it be literature, history, science, or even math) that time was so pivotal.



There is this book coming out in September (if you are related to me and are reading this, fair warning I have already pre-ordered you a copy 😍) and just by the title alone I am : totally excited, cannot wait, am counting down the days until it arrives!!!





Book Girl!  Ahhh, can you not just imagine the delightful wonder this book contains?  If I had one educational goal for my girls it would be that - that they would grow up to be book girls!  I cannot think of a better way to navigate life, especially in light of their individual struggles.



I have followed Sarah's and her mom Sally's blogs for about twelve years.  Right after I began homeschooling I somehow stumbled onto a blog written by another Sarah (In the Midst of It - LOVE her blog too!!!) I remember hearing her talk often about Sarah and Sally Clarkson.  So one day I clicked on the link she provided and was captivated by this young woman's ability to write and communicate ideals.  There was one blog post in particular in which Sally and Sarah went to a B&B to write and I LOVED that post.  I was hooked.  My girls and I have followed Sarah as she has grown and gone to England (isn't that amazing?!?) and now has become a mom herself.


I cannot wait to read this book, absolutely cannot wait.  If at all possible, please get your hands on a copy.  You can pre-order it now at Amazon (& I think Christian Books and Barnes and Noble, but am not positive about those two).  It will be released September 4, 2018.  Go to Sarah's Instagram page @sarahwanders or her blog Thoroughly Alive.   Leading up to the book's release she is writing several posts detailing why this book was so important for her to write and my absolute favorite part - she is including the very books that she read and how they formed and molded her character, her worldview, and her walk with God !!!!!  I love to read what great writers are reading, don't you?  Sarah is a great writer, an immensely talented writer, and I cannot wait to find out what books she has read that have most fashioned and formed her heart.



Sunday, July 29, 2018

Boy am I glad to see the summer's end on the horizon...

This has NOT been a fun summer.

Not even close.

The majority of the summer has been spent in doctor offices, urgent treatment centers, the pharmacy and even the ER.  And when we haven't been hanging out in those places we have been to the vet's office multiple times.  Since the end of April, we've had upper respiratory infections, ear infections, stomach viruses, head colds/sinus infections, bronchitis, a second round of ear infections and topped it off with a horrible case of tonsillitis.  These were back to back to back and it ran through all five of us each time.  ☹  My husband just missed work again on Friday because he is still dealing with the remnants of tonsillitis and sinus yuck.  Of course, all of this disrupts my children's underlying health issues so the fall out from this will continue for a while.

With the school year right around the corner, I catch myself taking a deep breath, half scared to guess what the fall will bring, half hoping that surely it can only get better from here.

This summer I finally took the time to read a book called A Thomas Jefferson Education by Oliver DeMille.  It's a book that I've heard about over the years and kept putting off reading it.  Because really do I need to read another book on homeschooling?  We are well into our journey after all, and it kinda sucks to read a book and realize you have done everything wrong up until this point.  Who wants to have that "Oh no!  I've ruined any chance for a great future for my kids...if only I'd___________" (fill in the blank with a long list of things you discover you should have been doing since they were toddlers) filling hanging over you as you prepare to start a new school year?

But, after reading Kari Patterson's blog posts (she blogs at Sacred Mundane...if you don't read her blog, you really should!  It is SO good!), I finally gave in and asked my husband if I could purchase it on Kindle.  He said yes, so I proceeded to devour it in two days (while taking copious notes!).  It is SO rich.  If I could recommend one book to new homeschoolers, veteran homeschoolers, or parents who want to enrich their own education...this book would be it!

We haven't read much this summer, but we did get in Brighty of the Grand Canyon, Kisses From Katie, and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.

I am ready for the cool mornings and early sunsets, the crunchy leaves and beautiful colors...I know it is still several months away, and despite the summer we had, I really am SO excited to welcome fall.  Plus Sarah Clarkson has a book coming out called Book Girl and I have it already on pre-order, I cannot wait.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Summer

I have seen these neat ideas for Summer posted (either through Instagram or email) and wanted to share in case anyone is still searching for something :

A Bible Reading Plan for the Summer 

Mother Culture Tracker  (hosted by Brandy Vencel from the blog Afterthoughts)

Mother's Education  (also hosted by Brandy Vencel)

Bible Journal Love with Robin Sampson (her current course Time with God is FREE!)

Any of Kari's Bible Studies 

Prayers of Promise devotional

One of my all-time favorite preachers is Paul Washer.  He began the Heart Cry Missionary Society as a way to support foreign missionaries, while at the same relying completely on God to finance and open the doors to do so.  On the website, there is a reading list posted - once you click on the link scroll to the bottom.  Fantastic ideas for those afternoons when you need a book to crawl into.

Making Bible a Daily Habit (I have only watched the first part of episode one)

And I have been trying to carve out the time to watch this entire series all the way through, this summer I am determined to find time to do it!  Bible Skills by Bent Tree.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Planning for the next School Year



There is something inherently exciting about looking forward to the next school year.  This past year was less than stellar, with so many ups and downs and interruptions.  I am SO glad to put it behind us and look forward in hope.

I am excited to peruse the new reading lists and fill out tentative lesson plans, excited to think about all that my kids could learn and explore and experience.  I just hope it's a little less adventurous than the year we just completed.

Guess what?  I have THREE green tomatoes on my tomato plant.  I am SO excited.  I cannot believe we are actually growing things.  My kids and I planted flowers and vegetables and a butterfly bush for the first time this year and we have had THE BEST time waking up every day and checking to see how things have grown.

*Update from our three weeks of craziness.  Our 14yo dog (pictured below) had to be rushed back to the vet two more times.  He is on some strong pain meds, muscle relaxers, and an anti-inflammatory - but still is in pain and is not eating or drinking much.  I am so sad because this is literally the sweetest dog - we rescued him from the pound twelve years ago and he has just been so sweet to our family.  Patient as my kids grew up and rolled all over him and dressed him up, patient as they squeezed too tight in hugs and steadfast as he was often times the last to get attention at the end of long days.  He is so laid back.  For the longest time, we were convinced he did not know how to bark, he was that quiet.


The thought that he is now hurting and there is little but time and meds we can give him, it makes me sad.  Animals are such a big part of our lives, they truly provide a therapy - a connection - that even the most highly trained professionals cannot foster.

Oh and my tooth was not infected, I had a sinus infection.  Once I started the antibiotic, I felt much, much better.  I am SO happy the past three weeks are over, looking forward to a calmer, peaceful, boring month of June.  ☺