Sunday, March 26, 2017


We have been sick this past week.  Which throws all of the other health issues we deal with into a tail spin.  Which is so not fun :(.  It also is not fun when both parents come down with it on the same day, so there is no one to run to get more sprite or cough drops or Kleenexes.  Ick.

My kids and I have been listening to 5 Children and It, Lunch Money by Andrew Clements, and Extra Credit by Andrew Clements.  I have been reading The Girl of the Limberlost, The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, and listening to sermons by Paul Washer.  I will do a post (I hope) next weekend to track what we read during the month and to set goals for April.

I also am looking forward to completing Mystie Winkler's homeschool audit, signing up for Classical University, and to getting a full night of sleep soon...I hope.

Hopefully you guys have had a great first week of spring - talk to you soon.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


for Paul Washer, he had a heart attack earlier in the week.

for the people who lost someone this morning from the terror attack in London.

for those that are hurt and hurting from the terror attack.

for the men and women who are first responders.

for those that are sick.

for the lonely and the forgotten.

for the families that are falling apart.

for the persecuted.

for the ones who are walking through life without the hope of God as their anchor.

1 Chronicles 16:11
Look to the LORD and His strength; seek His face always.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

struggle with worry

I have written here quite a bit about my tug of war with wanting to trust God and my propensity to worry, stew, and anxiously pick apart each day.

This morning I decided to start in Psalm 1 and slowly work, write, and art journal my way through the Psalms.  I have no set schedule, no deadline, no daily quota of scripture to meet.  My only desire?  To dive deep.

I love Psalm 1.  It is one of the first scriptures my kids learned, and it is one that convicts me.  Every.single.time. I read it.  This morning was no different.  To begin with I copied down the verses that I was focusing on, and then using the Blue Letter Bible, (have you heard of this site?  It is awesome!!!)  I dove into each word and read through several translations, before looking up definitions of words that caught my attention and then browsing through the commentary.

Anyway I found myself listening to an Elisabeth Elliot commentary this morning and she mentioned a book my kids and I just read, "Pilgrim's Progress".  She referenced when Christian finally found himself at the Cross and how his burden literally just rolled off of his back.  I hear that phrase a lot, 'leave you burden at the Cross', or 'focus on the Cross and your burdens will lift'.  I am not sure if it is just me, but when someone says that I get really frustrated.  It doesn't seem to be my reality.  I know God is good, even when things seem like they are crazy unfair - that He is a God of justice.  And that He has a plan, a plan to give us hope and a future.  He promises it over and over and over in His Word.  But, at the same time, I am not peaceful, I am anxious.  So in utter frustration I googled 'how do you bring your burdens to the cross' - and guess what?  God met me right there and finally something clicked that hadn't before.  The first thing that popped up was Psalm 55:22, "Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken" - then I read the Matthew Henry commentary at the bottom.  "Whatever it is that thou desirest God should give thee, leave it to Him to give it in His own way & time.  Care is a burden, it makes the heart stoop.  We must commit our ways & works to the Lord.  Let Him do as seemeth Him good & let us be satisfied. (emphasis mine)

That is the key.  Let God do as what seems good to Him and let me be satisfied with it.   I ask Him to do the first, but I never rest in and am satisfied with His answers, especially when it is hard and heavy and involves my kids' health struggles.  But, I will pray that God gives me the contentment, the satisfaction in His every decision.  Then the peace will come.

Monday, March 13, 2017

not so much of a fail?

After I 'failed' my no-sugar challenge last week I was afraid I would book it to the store and load my cart with everything I could not have...donuts?  cookies?  chocolate bars?  But guess what?  It didn't even sound good to me.  I did get a hot chocolate every day for three days in a row, but after that I have been ok.  I had a pop with dinner last night because we were eating spicy foods and for some reason a caffeine free pepsi or caffeine free coke will prevent my tummy from becoming upset by the spiciness.  I haven't bought cookies or candy.  Yesterday my kids ate cinnamon rolls, I didn't, I had an egg and potato burrito with some meats and veggies added in.  I didn't even eat chocolate yesterday and I was ok.  So maybe I didn't do the challenge the right way, but obviously it is working.  I am going to keep going forward on my 'less' sugar challenge.  :)

I have two things that I love, that are healthy, and I wanted to share them.

I love salads.  I do not love fruit in my veggie salads, but I have discovered the wonderful world of nuts and seeds on my salads.  YUM!  I also discovered if you go down the baking aisle, they have pre-sliced, pre-chunked nuts for you and most of them are unsalted, with nothing extra added to them.  I get a big tub of mixed salad greens, boil some eggs to have ready, whatever veggies I want (cucumbers, carrots, onions, tomatoes....) and measure out my dressing (2 TBSP).  Lately, when lunch time rolls around, I grab a big salad bowl and dump my greens in, any veggies I have that I want to add,  and top it with chunked walnuts before drizzling my dressing over it.  YUMMY.  Just make sure you measure your nuts and seeds as they pack a HUGE calorie and fat content.  But in moderation they are really, really good for you.

Another thing that I have been doing for a few years that I am still amazed over how good it is - green smoothies.  My smoothies are basic, basic, basic.  It sounds so gross, but it really is yummy.

1 cup of fresh baby spinach
1 small banana
2 TBSP of plain or vanilla yogurt (if I am feeling extra 'healthy' I will use greek yogurt here, but normally I just use plain or vanilla yoplait)
a small handful of ice and if I have them some nuts (almonds are my favorite)  

I got to have coffee with one of my favorite friends on Friday night.  I just love her, she has the sweetest heart.  She told me something really neat.  She said that at the grocery stores you can look for chocolate bars that will say (for example) 70% chocolate.  The higher the cacao content, the lower the extras (milk, sugars etc;) are.   Neat!  I never thought to look for that.  The higher the cacao content the 'healthier' your chocolate bar is.  However cacao also has caffeine in it, 12mg a TBSP, so for me at least, it would mean being careful to eat a little bit and not go crazy.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

a book

I love World War II history.  And I love to read about the Revolutionary War.  Actually I have found through teaching my kids that I have a deep love of history.  I did not receive a very good, very thorough history education in school, I attended catholic school until sixth grade, public school through high school, and finally graduated from an undergrad program at a university.  I took history all through school, and several courses in college.  Yet, even with all of those years of history textbooks and history classes, I somehow graduated with a Bachelor's degree without knowing War of 1812 happened.  Without knowing that the holocaust occurred during the Second World War and without knowing the names of all seven continents, I didn't even know where most major countries were located on a globe, well besides the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and England.

Sad, huh?

When I began homeschooling, I determined that our kids would have a different experience.  I wanted them to graduate knowing basic geography, with a strong sense of the historical narrative that has unfolded from ancient times until know, and that they would know the major wars that have occurred, because really how can we hope to make better choices in the future if we cannot learn from the mistakes of the past?

This past week I devoured a book called Auschwitz Escape by Joel Rosenberg.  I cried, I bit my nails, I read until I could hardly keep my eyes open another second.  I love Joel Rosenberg, he is a very, very good author.  My favorite line from the book was when a Jewish young man asked a goy, a gentile, why was he in Auschwitz?  The pastor replied, you shouldn't be asking why as a Christian I am here, you should be asking why there aren't more Christians here.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

OK I give up

I need the simple joy in life of having a little bit of chocolate every day.

Life is hard in our house.  Some days all I can say at bed time is, "Well, honey, we survived.  Barely, but we did it,"

I was in tears by the time my husband got home last night.  It had been another hard day.  Our house is a mess, school did not go well, medical issues flared up...sigh.  It was just one of those days.  And I learned something about myself.  A little bit of chocolate is a simple joy for me.  I feel like this challenge is an awesome challenge and I would like to continue the no dessert, no extra sugary things...but I cannot do the thirty days without chocolate right now.  My husband said the challenge is a great idea, the timing was simply not right for us, at this point in time.  I did go a whole week without any chocolate and really, really limited sugar.  I didn't miss the extra sugar, but boy did I REALLY, REALLY miss the chocolate.

God gives grace to get through things, even things we do not like and would not have chosen.  I was a HUGE caffeine consumer, the larger the cup, the more caffeine, the better in my opinion.  And then one day about three years ago I suddenly stopped being able to have any caffeine at all.  It was rough.  I love coffee.  I love the smell, the taste, every thing about it.  An ice cold coca-cola?  Nothing better on a hot summer afternoon.  But I couldn't have any coffee or any pop that had even the smallest amount of caffeine in it, not even decaf at first.  It was hard, but God gave me the grace to get through it.  It didn't feel impossible.

This felt impossible.  So I know the timing is wrong.  It taught me something about myself though.  I can't just jump into things without counting the costs.  Being the parent of children with special needs, challenging days, and roller coaster medical issues, that changes the playing field.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Day...which day is it? Why did I ever think this was a good idea?!?!

UGH.  I am seven days into this and twenty-three days feels like fooooooorever away.  I want chocolate.  Like five minutes ago.

I hope this challenge will be worth it, because right now it feels like the dumbest thing I ever agreed to try.

Hands down.

Monday, March 6, 2017


OK so I failed miserably yesterday.  My husband was being really thoughtful and sweet, forgot my sugar challenge and bought me home a shake.  


So today I start again.  I thought the cravings were over...but last night I dreamed we were in Disney World and I discovered I had twenty dollars that no one needed so I went (ran) to the Starbucks there.  I ordered one of those jumbo Mickey Mouse cookies - the sugar/shortbread ones with the YUMMY icing that is red for his shorts.  And a grande decaf latte - with a WHOLE package of sugar.  Never mind that I can't have Starbucks decaf drinks because they bother me as much as a cup of regular cup of coffee would.  I guess my cravings are still alive and well.

Today is the Day in the Life of link-up at Simple Homeschool.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading about other people's homeschool days.  I do have to guard against the ugly monster of comparison, thankfully it's not as bad as it was when we first started homeschooling.  I just love the wealth of ideas, book titles, game suggestions, schedule tweaks...there is just so much good stuff to find when other moms and dads share what their days look like.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Day 5 & ramblings

Good morning,  It's still early, most of my house is asleep, except for one puppy that is occasionally letting me know he'd like to be fed.  Like five minutes ago.  :)  But I am trying to keep him on a schedule since he sleeps in my kids' room at night.  We have taught him to sleep until at least 6:30 most mornings, it truly is like having a baby/toddler all over again.

I feel so much better this morning than I have been feeling, I hope that I am over the hump of sugar craving?  I am not sure since I did have a vanilla shake on Friday. I was afraid it would 'reset' but so far, so good.

I am still having a very little bit of sugar in my morning cup of coffee.  I drink decaf and have a one cup brewer, so it literally is one small bit (maybe 1/8 of a tsp) in one cup.  And I am not reading my labels - so I know I am getting some sugar through the day, but I am steering clear of things that I know contain lots of sugar (like some cereals, granola bars, ketchup, juices etc;)  I am also excited about the reduction in all sweet treats and sweet drinks.  Next I think I will tackle reducing breads and pastas.  I LOVE bread.  Sigh.  But I think that if I increase my vegetables, then reducing the bread will be easier.  I have always heard 'replace a habit with a habit to make it stick',  Not sure who said that, but it works!

My husband and I saw the movie 'Hacksaw Ridge'.  Have you seen this movie?  It was so incredibly moving.  I keep thinking about Private Doss' words, "Lord, help to save one more."

The news is so depressing, I either get really mad or really frustrated, and normally always feel helpless after I read the headlines.  They sound so hopeless.  There is so much anger and hate.  It makes me so sad.  But the other day when I made the above comment to my husband, I realized that I could do something to change it.  I could actually do a few things.  I could pray.  For both sides of the political tug of war, for the media, for those that are hurting and those that hurt.  And I could be as kind as I can to everyone I meet, whether they return the kindness or not.  That is hard, really hard.  But my husband pointed out that if I model that and teach our kids to do that, when they are grown. their circle of influence will be greater than ours - especially if all three of them have families.  And it could be a pebble in the pond effect.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

when you fall down

pray for grace, dust your knees off, get back up, and try again.

Yesterday I had a minor dental procedure...long story. Anyway, once I got home, I started to bleed quite a bit.  Enough that it scared me and I went back to the dr.  Finally it stopped and after sitting in the lobby for what felt like forever to make sure it was ok, my husband and I left.  It was now lunch time and I still hadn't eaten anything at all.  I was starving, but really limited on what I could choose from, so I got a vanilla shake, hoping the cold would help.  I am a chocolate girl through and through, but I figure vanilla would be enough of a cheat :).

That vanilla shake was the BEST thing I have ever tasted.


So I chalk yesterday up as a bad day, I started again this morning and will keep counting forward from here.  My kids are currently eating m&m's as a treat they earned for something and guess what?!?!  I didn't eat one, not even one.  That is like a record achievement for me.

Oh and I lost two pounds WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Day 3

Good Morning!  I am on day three, not any easier yet, but I hope by this weekend it will be.

Yesterday morning I was sitting here in my chair worrying over some stuff before I opened up my Bible Study from Arabah Joy called Praying the Cross.  Yesterday's verse was Romans 8:32.  I was so in awe - someone had wrote this study weeks, perhaps months ago.  Then on March 2, 2017 I (and I am sure SO SO many others) sat down to read it and He shows up, reassuring us and encouraging us with the truth of what He gave, what He is doing, and what He will do, right smack dab in the middle of wherever we are.  

32 He who did not spare even his own Son, but gave him up on behalf of us all — is it possible that, having given us his Son, he would not give us everything else too?

Thursday, March 2, 2017

48 hrs

Yesterday was hard.  I went to the store...hungry.  

BIG mistake.  


I didn't cheat, but boy was I tempted.  I even mapped out in my head how I could do it, position my daughter's wheel chair so she couldn't see it, grab it, scarf it down asap.  What is wrong with me that I thought that out?  


I think it would help if I clarified for myself why I am doing this.  I used to be a professional ballet dancer.  I was thin and in shape (but thought I was fat at the time?!?!) I was always on a diet, always watching what I ate (in an extreme, unhealthy way).  

Then I got married and got pregnant.  WOOHOO - I could eat three meals a day - when was the last time I ate three whole, entire meals a day?  I could snack,  I could have DESSERT - whenever I craved it.  The only problem?  I gained 50 lbs.  Most of it came off pretty quickly because my baby was fussy and I literally walked the floor for hours on end.  Who cared about the additional 10lbs I held onto?  I was no longer stuffing my legs into tights and a leotard, no longer spending my days in a room surrounded by mirrors, no longer had to care what so and so thought or whether that tutu would fit or whether I would lose out on a part because my partner could not lift me without giving himself a hernia. 

The second pregnancy I was determined to be more careful and I was.  I only gained 24 lbs, but that added with my 10lbs from last time meant I had 34 to lose.  I lost about 25 - still clinging to those stubborn 9-10lbs.

The third pregnancy?  We moved in the middle of it, several states away.  I stress ate.  All,the,time.  I gained 50lbs. again.  This time though the weight did not come off.  It expanded.  I gained even more.  I was too tired to care.  Then the chronic health issues started (or got worse) for my kids.  I ate chocolate by the bags.  I had my husband run through drive thru to get dinner for us, I sat by the bed or couch of my kid(s) or rocked them in a chair - not getting any exercise at all :(.  

Then one day I took a good long look at myself and was ashamed.  The dimply thighs, pudgy tummy, and well cushioned bottom...who in the world is that person standing there?  I thought about what my old friends, artistic directors, teachers, coaches, and partners would say if they saw me now?  How could my husband (who was also a professional dancer) still look at me?  I looked like I had swallowed cartons of cottage cheese blubber.  I weighed more than I had nine months pregnant.  I was determined to do something about it.

So I did.  I worked hard for two years and slowly, slowly, slowly 40 lbs came off.  I was so proud of myself that Saturday morning I stepped on the scale and was within 25 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight - I fit into jeans that I hadn't worn in years, I felt great.  

Then the holidays arrived.  And I went back home for the first time in 5yrs to see my extended family.  And little by little the weight crept back on.  Five lbs the first year, ten the second.  Today I have gained 20 of my 40 I had lost back.  I am so sad.  Why did I do that?  

I realized the other day - I am tracking my calories, running/walking, and biking, oh and rowing on a row machine.  Not every day - but enough that I should be seeing a difference and I am not.  I thought about it and realized when I am tracking my calories on LoseIt that I don't track that one cookie, or those few m&m's, or that bite of a piece of cake (that I go back for 'just one more bite' over and over and over again until I eat a whole slice).  I also realized that the days when I start my morning off with a sweet something (cinnamon roll, french toast bagel, muffin, or hot chocolate) I crave more sweets and I snack more through the day than when I don't.  The sugar had to go.  

I love sugar.  I come from a long line of sweet lovers.  But I decided I do not want to pack this extra weight along every day for the rest of my life, I love being able to be active and fit and not so tired all of the time.    That is why I am doing my sugar challenge.  So far I haven't seen any difference in the numbers on the scale, but I have always been quick to show the extra weight, slow to lose it  :(.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

OK so I am 24 hours in of no chocolate, no added sugars.  Honestly?  Not liking myself right now.  The cravings haven't hit yet, but at the same time I am really, really missing my little sweet treats.  :(