Tuesday, September 3, 2019

My girl’s dog

 He started having seizures again last night and it was a super long night and a longer day today ☹️  I know for some this may seem silly with all that is going on in the world, but if you can please take a minute to pray for this doggie.  He means so much to my girl.  She also has epilepsy and a looong list of health issues, so he’s more than just a pet to her.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Somebody

was ready for school this morning 😍

(Incidentally, that is not a leash on his collar, I accidentally drew on the picture when I was editing it to make it smaller and I don't have time to go back and fix it.  *giggle* )



Friday, August 23, 2019

Perpetua and Fervency

We LOVE missionary stories, heroes of the faith stories.  One of our favorite series, hands down, has been Christian Heroes Then and Now.  Recently, we discovered on Amazon Prime that you could watch the Torchlighter's series by Voice of the Martyrs.  This afternoon I have had this headache that just will not go away.  Finally, I called it a day and we piled on the parent's bed and watched the story of Perpetua.

Oh.My.

I had never, before today, heard of Perpetua.

I will never, after today, forget Perpetua.

This girl, she literally gave up everything.  She lived and died Luke 14:26.  In case you are not familiar with Luke 14 verse 26, Jesus says, (I am paraphrasing) 'if anyone comes to Me and does not hate their mother and father, their own children, their very own lives, such a person cannot be My disciple.'

This is one of those verses that I usually trip over, wonder at, question, argue, struggle with, and just cannot wrap my mind around.    I cannot imagine hating - and I know it doesn't mean hate in terms of being mean, it means to love Him so much that it seems like you despise the greatest earthly treasures you are given.  Ouch.  I do not do this.  I want Jesus and my family.  I want Jesus and a fabulous earthly life.  What would I do if I was faced with the choice, like Perpetua.  I need time to process this.  I need time to mull over what I have just learned.  This girl's story is one of those that wreck you.

A few nights ago we were watching Chris Beat Cancer.  I love this guy.  I have watched it for three years now when he posts it free on his website.  He spoke about his walk with God a few modules ago and I am still thinking over what he had to say about fervent prayer and what that looks like.  I realized at the end of the night what I thought of as fervent prayer was more like when I felt like it prayer, or when I am in a pinch prayer.  Ouch.  I need time to mull over this some more and make some changes.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Frustrated

I am mom to three.  Three beautiful girls who bring me SO much joy.  They love me something fierce.  And I love them back more.

My three happen to struggle with mental health issues, chronic medical conditions, and learning disabilities/struggles that range from mild to severe.  No, they will not be driving or graduating or leaving for college or doing most things kids their age will be doing when the calendar year says they should or their grandparent or uncle or aunt or family member or friend thinks that it's time for them to.  Asking them about it, pressuring them with tons of questions, that isn't going to make it happen any sooner.  Actually, it just makes them want to avoid you and not spend any time with you.  They will do it when they are ready.

Please remember that some disabilities are in fact invisible.

That means that you canNOT look at someone and tell whether they are healthy and whole or struggling with something that would bring you to your knees.  You can not look at someone and tell if they have a sexually transmittable disease, you can not look at someone and always tell if they have a sore throat or a headache or even cancer.  So why in the world do we think we can accurately judge whether someone else has a mental health issue or not by just looking at them?  Why do others feel compelled to offer their advice?  Their experience?  Their opinion?  

Do you spend twenty-four/seven with my family?  Nope.  Do you go to the doctor appointments with us?  Nope.  Do you deal with the metldowns and the migraines and everything in between?  NOPE!  That would be my kids, me, my husband, and a team of doctors and specialists.  Last year alone my kids, collectively, saw six different specialists regularly - month in and month out.  Believe me, if possible, I would not have my kids on any medication.  But medication is NOT a cop-out.  It is not because I doubt God's willingness to heal, it is not so my life will be easier, it has ALWAYS always ALWAYS been a last resort.  But I believe that the same God who can heal someone by speaking it over them, the same God that walked the earth in the form of Jesus, whom had such power that if someone touched the fringe of His garments would be healed, that same God (He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow) has gifted physicians and pharmacists with knowledge to help people live and function.  Yes, I do realize that sometimes doctors reach for their prescription pad before they should, and yes I do realize that some people abuse and overuse medicine and drugs, but not everyone who takes medicine is doing that.  

I am SO glad to hear when someone has been healed of something.  That is awesome.  It glorifies God. Truly is such an amazing thing to hear.

But just like there are sincere, devout, Bible-believing, Spirit-led Christ-followers who are GINORMOUSLY blessed with physical wealth, there are just as many (if not more) sincere, devout, Bible-believing, Spirit-led Christ-followers who are not just poor, but in fact severely impoverished.  Just like there are sincere, devout, Bible-believing, Spirit-led Christ-followers who walk and live in complete freedom, there are just as many (again, if not more) around the world who sit in jail cells right now, enduring what we would consider nightmare scenarios.  

So, would it not stand to reason that there will be people who are healed and people who instead continue suffer under the weight of chronic medical, mental health, ______________ (fill in the blank) issues?  

Please remember that some people who have not been healed often have just as strong of faith as those that do, believing in something isn't going to make it happen if it isn't God's will for it to happen.

Also, please remember that all healing comes in HIS time and is only temporary and actually only delaying the inevitable.  Life ends, hopefully after a beautiful, long life, but everyone meets the same end eventually.  Whether it is cancer or heart disease or old age or an accident.  Any healing that takes place here on earth, like any material blessing - they are temporary.  

Heaven is forever. 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 English Standard Version (ESV)

17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient (temporary), but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Today

Today I am grateful for a dining room table of girls to teach.

Today I am grateful for the hot chocolate I am sipping.

Today I am grateful for a husband who works hard and is so incredibly kind and thoughtful.

Today I am grateful for the snuggly pets we own, the swishy fishy, and the roadrunner we have seen streaking through our backyard this past week.  (Incidentally, they do NOT look like Looney Tunes)

Today I am grateful for friends who send me country home house listings and for future coffee dates.

Today I am grateful for an amazing vet office, with kind and compassionate staff.

Today I am grateful that some human anti-epileptics transfer over to dogs.  (Arendale had a seizure as we walked into the vet office last week for his check-up.  I HATE seizures.)

Today I am grateful that fall is closer and closer with each day that I check off on my calendar.

Today I am grateful for the fact that some people draw a line in the sand and say, "I will NOT cross that line, no matter what everyone else does."

Today I am grateful for good books and great discussions.

I am looking forward to homemade bread, beef stews & chilis, pumpkin spice candles, hot coffee in delicate china cups, my birthday!!! *even though I will be 43 (where has the time gone?!?!).  I am looking forward to warm jackets and see your breath mornings, crunchy fall leaves, running and not feeling like I need a portable air conditioner just to make it through.  I am looking forward to the holidays and pumpkin pies and warm cookies.

Always I am grateful that God woke me up this morning, that His Word was here to greet me and a fresh new day, just as it is there at the end of a long, awful day, to comfort me (especially when it was me who was awful!) and soothe me before bed.

Always I am grateful that Jesus came, lived the life He lived, died the death He died, and that He lives right now, interceding on our behalf in the very presence of God.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Teaching with Special Needs in Mind

As the years have passed and my children have grown, their needs and learning disabilities have evolved and changed.  What worked last year, definitely will not work this year, and what works for one when they are twelve, most certainly will not work for the other one when they are twelve.  I find this fascinating and challenging.

Between the three of them, they have a wide range of special needs and learning disabilities.  Some mild, others profound/severe.  I am by no means an expert on the various diagnoses that they each have, but I have learned a LOT.  With that said, one thing that has remained consistent through the years, across the board, no matter the subject matter or the child, is this:  they need lots and lots and lots of review. The problem comes when you realize that there are only so many hours in the day, so if you want to move forward, how can you do that while not forgetting what you just covered?  Especially if what you just covered is a stepping stone for where you are headed?  

I have tried lots of different ways to incorporate the review that was sorely needed, while not eating away at instruction time.  For example, I have made folders according to topics with practice problems in them, so they can grab the folder of whatever topic is at hand and review on their own time.  I have made task cards and created boxes to hold them and assigned x amount of cards per day.  Both of those are great ideas, and in theory, would work, but I have found out that my kids need the review to be more structured, led by me.  Because sometimes they are reviewing something written on a card or in a folder, but it was if I told them to go eat using a menu at a french restaurant to pick their food when all that they knew of that language is the phrase 'french fries' (which I am fairly certain isn't even on that menu).  So then I tried using anchor charts, notebooks, printed notes, outlines etc; again, all great tools, but it just wasn't accomplishing what I needed it to accomplish.  However, this summer I stumbled on an idea, and it has already made a HUGE difference.

Every morning, I usually work one on one with my kids for the a.m. session.  We do language arts and math together.  As you know the phrase language arts encompasses a LOT: phonics, reading, reading comprehension, handwriting, composition, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and sometimes elocution and speech.  Due to the particular challenges that my kids have, they need to do one aspect of language arts every school day for a long time, so for example, if it is grammar this year, there will naturally be writing, reading, vocabulary, and even elocution included, but the focus is on grammar.  By grammar I mean, focusing on finding out what part of speech is doing what and where it is doing that at in a sentence, paragraph, and/or composition and what kind of punctuation is needed to make that meaning clear.  

So, this summer I took a spiral notebook and divided it in half.  One half is for the language arts topic (grammar for example) and the other half is math.  I then took the table of contents of the text we are using and/or the scope and sequence I use to guide our progress and created questions using Bloom's Taxonomy as a guide.  I use the questions in Bloom's Taxonomy to make sure that their knowledge, understanding, and grasp of the topic progresses from superficial to internal.  I not only want them to know what a noun is and what it is not, but I also want them to be able to apply that knowledge and use it correctly.  

The second half of the notebook I use for math. (example below)
Then every day when we begin the lesson we spend ten to fifteen minutes going through the questions.  As their knowledge and understanding increases and they are accurately able to give the definitions, then we progress into application questions, then into analyzing and evaluating and from there into creating.  This not only keeps the topics fresh in their mind, but it also creates a daily habit of review.  Eventually, there will be the things that they know that they know that they know, you know?  πŸ˜ƒ  When you reach something that you know they know, they know that they know, then you put a dot by it and review it at first on Mondays and Fridays, then just Mondays, and eventually just during review week.  

That is something else that I am doing this year, every two months I am going to have a review week. I call it a review week, but really it is a week of testing.  I use the notebook I am creating as a guide and create a test with one or two problems per question and then give it to them.  I will not help them, correct them, or allow them to use their notes for this, but I do sit next to them and it is never timed.  Afterwards, I file the tests away in a folder and use these 'tests' to show our progress over the year and also guide me in determining what questions still need to be reviewed daily that maybe I thought they had mastered when they had not.  

Also, a side note.  For the topics that we do together, science, history, and read-alouds - do not be afraid to make a notebook for these.  Science and history are pretty self-explanatory -science definitely lends itself to using the table of contents and/or scope and sequence, history I find using a timeline to guide us or a map of the country(s) helps with the review and solidifying of the knowledge/understanding.  Read-alouds though are in a class all on their own.  I use little dolls for the characters and have them re-enact parts or use them to discuss character development, I also use discussion dice - they are foam dice with discussion questions printed on them.  Mainly though I know a story has stayed with them because it shows up everywhere, in their play, at the dinner table, when hearing a news article, or real-life example and then they turn to you and say something along the lines of, "Doesn't that remind you of when Oscar N. Reteep..." Then you know that the Wingfeather Saga has made a difference.  Or "Do you think that Sundar Singh would have done that?"  Then you know they are thinking about the missionary biography you read last Wednesday.

Hope this helps😍 & have a great week!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

July brings great things...

It brings my husband's birthday ❤

My husband is my very best friend, my favorite person, and I love him so much.

Whether it's folding laundry or listening to an audiobook or doing both, I love spending time with him.

Happy Birthday, Richard.  You are such an amazing gift to us!  I pray this year is awesome for you, that you know how very special you and how much the girls and I adore you!