Monday, February 26, 2018

A Day in the Life of

I wake up.  Generally speaking, I awaken when our house is still dark, and the sleepy quiet still hangs in the air.  Our puppy will sometimes beat me to the punch, but if not, I try to have a basket of prepped of Bible study supplies in the master bathroom.  I hide in there until either someone comes to find me, the puppy decides it is time to get up (NOW!!!!), or my alarm rings.

After the dogs have been walked and fed, we sit down for breakfast.  I have a breakfast helper, a lunch helper, and a dinner helper.  This is how my kids are learning how to follow recipes, cook, serve, operate the stove and oven safely, cut, chop, mince, get the picture.  Anytime we have company over (like this coming weekend) they also learn how to cook for more than just our family of five.

After breakfast, we clean up, do a quick chore of brushing teeth, making beds, and then taking the dogs out again.  This is also when I start a load of laundry.

Now our school day truly starts.  This year, for the first time we have played with our morning schedule, trying new ideas.  For years we have had one on one time, where I work with each of them one on one concerning language arts and math.  This year though, we have started with morning time.  Our morning time looks VERY different from everyone else's.  We have tried other's plans, pre-made, suggested, examples...and it just

I wanted to begin our day with the Word of God.  When we first began earlier this year, we tried simply reading the Bible with maps and background books.  That was ok, but it wasn't working really, their attention was constantly drifting, they would drag their feet on any writing assignments, or narrations, or map work.  I think Bible study is suited to afternoons or evenings as a thing all on its own. It is something special, something that should be treasured, not just a check-off box to get through.

About this same time we also selected a country to pray over and have been learning all about that country - the population, style of government, currency, geography, climate...etc;.  That worked better, but I still wanted something more than just praying over and learning about a country and memorizing Bible verses.

This year, we switched our history curriculum to Mystery of History.  This is a very biblically based curriculum.  So, I simply decided to start with that.  We are really enjoying this.  Perfect fit!!!!  About three or four mornings a week we also work on our country after we get done with history.

After morning time, we meet one on one for language arts and math.

Generally speaking, it is now lunchtime.  We eat and then have quiet time.  Quiet time, due to the health struggles that my kids have, is an integral part of our day.  I have tried eliminating it, and they just need that time tucked into the day.  So we use audiobooks or in the winter months watch movies.

After quiet time comes our favorite, favorite, favorite time of day.  Read-alouds.  We use read-alouds to encompass biographies, science, and history (fleshing them out), geographies and customs from different parts of the world (Give Your Child the World - we use this for a master list).  We also do Shakespeare study at this point in the day (ok so definitely NOT a favorite for everyone, but important).  We try to end the days with any science experiments, art class, music (learning to play the piano), and handicrafts.  If it has been a particularly hard day, we do save those for the weekends.

Since a large part of our day is spent with me reading aloud, I do think it is important that I constantly am monitoring to make sure my kids are actually learning from listening by having them narrate to me, complete a written assignment or a notebooking page.  I know I wrote a post about our folder system, but I cannot find it.  So briefly, I get three manilla folders out a week, write the kids' name, date (example this week's folder will say February 26 - March 2) and inside I will tuck any work they complete for that week.  Quizzes, review sheets, written narrations, notebooking pages etc;.  This helps them keep their work from becoming so overwhelming to them  (a three-ring binder with dividers completely overwhelms them, a spiral notebook loses it's sheets etc;), this system also helps me be able to pull out a specific week if I need it.  Which, I am always surprised how often I need to do this.  They will choose one or two themes from the week and decorate their folder with an example from it - either from a read aloud, a science or history topic, or a math problem.  They can also pluck a folder out and take it with us if we need to go somewhere unexpectedly.

By the time my husband gets home from work, I am tired.  It has been a full day, both with learning and struggles.  I am ready to count down the hours for bedtime in which I get to either read (if my husband is busy) or spend some time with him talking and listening and watching a tv show or movie.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Adding onto our running list of read alouds...

This month we have read:

We finally completed Part One of Little Women, this is one of my favorite, favorite, we have purposely taken our time and savored it.

Bambi's Children -started last month but completed now

The Princess and the Goblin

Freckle Juice

Sign of the Beaver

We started Hatchet and about four chapters in, realized this book was not one that would be worth completing.  I know a LOT of people LOVE this author, but we just did not, and that's ok.

Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

I have a separate post of what I have been personally been reading because it just needs its own post :)

Here is a list of what we have read up until this month.

Thursday, February 22, 2018


Since last summer, our lives have been framed with hard days.

It started with a week in which everything seemed to go wrong from our car not working, to our lawn mower kicking the bucket, to our puppy getting a tummy bug.  Then our plumbing went out and our puppy got a tummy bug.  Then our puppy got another round of diarrhea.  Then we switched vets and he again went through several food changes, probiotics, antibiotics, steroids, puppy Pepto Bismol...meanwhile every few weeks I was up all night with him, his tummy just couldn't seem to get it together.  This all culminated in him getting very, very, very sick a few Sundays ago.  We found an emergency vet that was open, took him in, and I requested an x-ray since every other idea had been tried to this point, with nothing truly helping.  His ribs were showing and he looked like he was just not being fed, yet every meal he attacked his food to the point that several times he choked (not breathing, staggering around...I would have to sweep his mouth free, meanwhile we were all terrified).  We have a maze dish, we have separated out his food scoop by scoop, having him wait to eat each helping, I have even fed him kibble by kibble for his meals.  Nothing helped. 

Well, when the vet showed me his x-ray, I was stunned.  Somehow, this puppy that was chosen to replace my daughter's service dog, who is either always by her side or in his kennel, somehow he had a tummy FULL of foreign objects.  He immediately went in for surgery.  Of course, this came in the midst of other problems, one of which (second time in six months) I had somehow misbalanced our accounts - like REALLY misbalanced them.  And, emergency vet surgery is not cheap.   Two of my kids came down with a skin rash - one that took MONTHS to get over two years ago.  And this is on top of all of the special needs that consume our days and other issues that are too personal to share here. 


I cannot tell you in words how hard this season has been. 

I feel SO crazy to type that statement.  Because taken on their own all of these issues are so minor in light of what others are going through.  A teenaged boy who lost his mom to cancer right around Christmas, after having lost his dad to a heart attack unexpectedly several years ago.  That's hard.  Or the school shootings. That's incomprehensibly hard.   Or the police officers being gunned down in what seems like daily attacks recently.  That's hard.  Or the people who have lost babies, homes, spouses, or are facing major health crisis. Hard, hard, hard things. 

Yet, to me, these things that just keep happening seem like a tsunami wave of insurmountable difficulties.  Literally, since late summer, every few weeks something happens that just upends everything.  Anxiety and worry claw at my heart.  How are we going to do this?  What if this puppy, who is so important to my daughter's daily care and comfort, what if he dies?  After the disastrous service dog experience, I actually beg God to spare this dog's life.  Daily.  Why can't things just calm down and be boring?  Why can't I handle these things like a duck sheds water?  Why can't I balance everything with grace and patience and trust in God, like other people seem to?   


I believe the Gospel with all of my heart, I just never knew it would take such effort to preach it to myself when my circumstances don't unfold smoothly. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

a book that wrecked my life

I read Insanity of God by Nik Ripken.  


This book.

This book is shocking.
It is challenging.
It is frustratingly beautiful.
It is one of the most life-changing books I have read.

I, originally, checked it out from our library and read it as fast as I could before it had to go back, only to discover that I actually already owned it.  *sigh*

I often times get books as they come available on Kindle for free and then forget them.
Isn't that horrible?
I wish I could figure out a way to catalog them so that the ones I have don't get lost in the shuffle. Which is what obviously happened here.

Anyway, this book.

It begins with this guy from KY and his wife deciding to take the Bible at face value and they go to Africa.  Ending up in Somalia, they spent six or seven years doing relief work during the late 90's, right about the same time the storyline of Black Hawk Down unfolded.  After about six or seven years, the Ripkens left Somalia, heartbroken and completely unsure of what, if anything, they had accomplished.  This story is told in part one of the book.  It is captivating and challenging but then comes part two.

In my opinion, part two is what makes this book worth reading.  Nik Ripken, the author, embarks on a journey - a research project. Totally broken from his experiences in Somalia, he tries to figure out how people suffer for their belief in Jesus, how they actually survive imprisonment, persecution, and not only survive it but thrive.  In seeking these answers, he crosses the globe from KY to Europe, then to Asia, and then I believe circles back to Africa.  What he discovers is that the people that he talks to, who have been persecuted for their faith, they come out on the other side, often times decades later, with a faith that is deeper, stronger, and surer.

It left me wondering what the point of my life is.  I haven't ever, not once, had to read the Bible in secret, I haven't ever, not once, had to hide my faith in Jesus for fear of my life, livelihood, or the lives of those that I love most.  I was raised on a different branding of Christianity than the one that I see in the Bible and the one I see in books like this one, and it makes me wonder, what exactly is the point of my belief in Jesus?  To just save me from hell?  To make me a better person?  To help me be, stay, or become healthy, wealthy, wise, comfortable, happy...?  If that were the entire point of the Bible, would it be so polarizing?  Why would there still be suffering and hard days and things that were beyond my ability to handle?

What if God's purpose in sending Jesus was to do something so radical, something so huge, that it was worth my dying for to share that with someone else?  That it was worth losing everything for?

What would be worth that?

The only thing I can think of, the only thing that I would be willing to give up everything for and suffer for would be love.  Total, all-encompassing love.  If I knew that my husband's life or my children's lives were at stake, there would be nothing that would be too great for me to lay down.  I would gladly give up anything for them to have a chance at life.

That right there is a small glimpse of what God did for the world.

The sin problem is too deep for it to be a self-resolving fix.   We as humans are full of sin, whereas He is holy and pureSomething had to happen to regarding our sin problem(s), something drastic and dramatic.  Our hearts are consumed with ourselves and we are incapable of fixing that.  We cannot make up for our self-centeredness any more than a two-year-old can think rationally when it is hungry and tired.  We need someone to come in and change us from the inside out.  In short, we need a new heart, a new spirit.  God promised to do just that.  So roughly 2000+ years ago, God sent His Son as a tiny baby and that Son lived a perfect, sinless life.  Then He launched a ministry that shook the world starting with just twelve men, one of whom betrayed Him.  He then proceeded to lay down His life, and  became sin.  In that moment, He who was sinless, became sin, so that (don't you LOVE the so that?) so that you and I have hope.  In that moment He took the wrath that was due to us.  (Anyone else so overwhelmed by their own failures, their own sin, that the truth in these passages just offers you hope to anchor your soul to?  Grab onto that with both hands!)

He was willing to give up everything just to redeem the lives of those that He loves.

But, see the problem is this.  He doesn't just love me that much.  He doesn't just love my husband, my kids, my family, and friends and neighbors that much.  He doesn't just love my city, my state, my country, or my continent that much.

He loves the entire world that much.

And He redeems us so that we can then reach out and connect to others.  To love them and live life with them and to share our single greatest hope with them.


Jesus, the perfect Lamb of GodThe MessiahThe Son of God.

So, why don't I tell more people about this?  I am not sure what is going to have to change in my life, but something will.  I cannot read a book like that and still be the same person I was beforehand.  I cannot just be content to read my Bible each day and not hold my life up to it, letting it sift me like a sieve.