Wednesday, November 20, 2013

When do you stop the creativity?

I am tired of nagging... tired of repeating myself over and over.  My children are supposed to be doing their school work.  Sure they have done some but we are not finished for the day and that bothers this OCD mommy.  However, my kids are in the dress-up box and pretending.  They are using their imaginations and not asking to have an electronic device turned on.  So what do I do?  I could sit here and tell them to stop having fun and get the school work done.  I know what will happen.  They will do as I say but the second they are done they will want to be fed something fun from me.  The juices that I want flowing and being used will stop dead in their tracks and they will want my help to start them up again.  So, I am choosing to shut up and let them have recess.

Most of the homeschooling books I have read tell how important it is to allow kids to explore the world through play.  I read that and say to myself "Yes!  This is why I homeschool!"  But then if I sit back and am honest with myself, I don't...  I require them to be working hard until all work is done.  I have a schedule that allows some free time but I never let them run with it because I want school done at a certain time of the day.  When, in fact, if I allow and hour of recess in there the kids will probably enjoy school more.  Why am I like this?   Well I have two trains of thought... The first is that I am OCD and want to be able to check off all the boxes for the day. The second is that since my children are homeschooled I feel like we are examined more closely.  We are held to a different standard because I have to prove to the world that while I don't have a degree in teaching, I am qualified to teach my children.  I am tired of people questioning my children in checkout lines, at doctors offices and every other place that we might end up while the world feels we are supposed to be "in school".  So I strive to have my children be so "above and beyond" what people would expect that there is no questioning that I am doing ok by my children.

But, is this really fair to them?  Should they be stuck in a harder school system because I feel like I have to prove to others something?  Should they lose some of the items that make it so that I wanted to homeschool them in the first place?  The answer is NO!  So, I am choosing right now to allow the mess in my house of forts they created to do their school work to remain while the dress-up box is being spread throughout the house and listen to them be some of the most creative creatures I have heard them be in a while because I am not hounding them to be little soldiers in the home school.  I am choosing to be a mom right now and not a drill sergeant.  I need to go clean something to take my mind off the fact that I am not checking boxes off in the list of curricula for the next hour...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I am not doing good following doctor's orders...  It is so hard not to bend over.  I don't want to step over that shirt of piece of paper on the floor.  I want to pick it up.  My house is far from perfect or even clean on most days but this is out of hand.  It seems to me that I have a desire to clean them up more now that I am not allowed to pick them up.  I have to keep telling myself to ask the children for help.

Don't blow your nose!  I have been following this one but boy is it annoying/hard!  Especially after using a saline rinse...  Don't lift anything over 10 pounds... UGH!  My four year old keeps asking me why the doctors don't like him.

No physical activity that raises blood pressure... they needed to be very specific on this one...  Like no raising BP AT ALL!!  Going up a flight of stairs too fast results in nose pain for me -- even laughing hurts!  I thought I could teach at my children's homeschool co-op.  I thought I could stand and talk for 3 hours as long as others carried things for me.  Well, apparently that was over doing it.

It seems to me that my surgery last year that left me on crutches and no driving for 3 weeks was way easier than this.  The worst part right now is that from my research while the doctors said 3 week recovery, it is not quite on the mark.  It may be 3 weeks of intense recovery but it looks like this can go on for months or perhaps a year.  The last few days I have felt really down about these things... Maybe that seems silly, after all I just had surgery, right?    Guess what?  Apparently there is a thing called post-op depression.  No one told me about that one.  Good grief!  I am a little better today than I was yesterday.  Just need to keep praying to heal and for safety for my nose. LOL!

Would I do the surgery again?  Well that depends if it works.  I can definitely see that I should have less sinus infections from this but does it help the migraines?  I might not know for several months!  So for now I just wait for that time to come.  Would I recommend to others that they go through this?  Well that depends on whether it works or not.  If it takes away 23 years of pain, then yes it was worth it.  If not, I will be left wondering why I tortured myself.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sunk costs are getting to me.  I am struggling with my curriculum choices.  I paid money for these items and they are not working for my family.  I feel like so much money has been wasted on products that really do sound good but are not working for my children.  I know these companies are businesses and need to make money, but only one out there tells me the reasons NOT to buy their curriculum!  Shouldn't they all be like that?  Who wants to have the customers be unhappy?  Wouldn't it be better to have fewer very happy customers than many who are lukewarm about the product?  I am frustrated.  I feel like I have wasted my husband's hard earned money on some of these things that sounded great but do not work for my children!

I am a huge fan of Cathy Duffy's book 101 Top Pick for Homeschool Curriculum.  I take the test in the front at least once every 12 months to see how my styles have changed over time to make sure that I am getting products that work for me.  However, while she talks about the styles for the children, I am not sure where one of my children fits in there.  I wish there was a "quiz" for the students as well so that I could see really where he fits in.

So what do I do?  Do I keep using these books that are not working for my child because I bought them?  OR, do I pay more money to try something new?  Honestly, I don't know.  I know I will be buying a new program next year!  But, I am not there yet so I am not sure how to handle it right now.  I am trying to be fiscally responsible but it feels like I have a fight on my hands for that.  I feel like I have failed in that department right now.

Not only that but these failing curricula are taking valuable time away from me and my children.  We are wasting time on products that are not working and therefor we are loosing precious time that we will never get back.  We are losing time to learn through play and fun.  We are losing time to be together and enjoy each other.

So I am left with the choice to throw money out the window to lose time with my children.  Neither is a perfect choice but I think using products that are not working will do more damage than good... Now to convince my OCD perfectionist brain that it is ok to stop and move on (and sell what I can) despite the financial loss...

Thursday, April 18, 2013

So, I really truly want a backyard urban homestead.   It is going to be a process that takes several years to reach my final vision but I would like to make better use of the land God has blessed my family with and I would like to spend my time doing more valuable things around the house... more like the Proverbs 31 woman.  In this desire of mine, my first addition to my yard is a chicken coop.  I do live in the city so I tried to make my coop look presentable to the neighbors and I think I have succeeded in that.  I bought 8 chickens and am now waiting for eggs.

What I find surprising about this whole project is the number of people worried about the welfare of the chickens.  And not for reasons that you might think. I am not being questioned about whether my coop is the right size or if the run will be enough.  Instead I am being questioned as to whether or not my chickens will be warm enough outside...  now at first that makes sense to ask but let's think some more.  As far as I know chickens in the US preceded electricity.  Our forefathers were not concerned about putting heat lamps in the coop in the dead of winter!  I understand that I want to do what is best for the creatures that I have taken in. However, unlike some people I have no plans of heroics if a chicken takes ill.  It will not be going to my avian vet.  I do not have plans of heating the coop or providing them box fans like I have seen some do.  I do plan to try to heat the water but they have been designed with down and will fluff themselves up just fine.  I know that some think I am cruel but I am just trying to keep my priorities straight.  These animals while sweet in disposition and providers of food for my family are NOT meant to be treated like they are royalty.  I think sometimes when I read various animal forums (any animal) you can see extremes.  There is a difference between being kind to the animal and overdoing it.  I hope that my chickens like their coop and I may make some more windows to help in the hot months but I am not going to make them a coop that has more amenities than the local Motel 8...

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

This was supposed to be posted last Wednesday but things came up and it took me some time to get it posted...sorry for the delay...

TJ Lane.  Odds are if you live in NE Ohio you know that name.  It is not a name I wish I knew.  He did not affect my family personally but his actions in a neighborhood not far from my home had me glued to the television for a day.   After his shooting spree in Chardon, Ohio, he has been convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.    Yesterday there was a fury of posts and comments on Facebook about his sentencing.  Personally, I was outraged that he was allowed to leave the “Killer” shirt on.  I think the judge should have made him remove the shirt or cover it.  It was in very poor taste to allow that.  However, the comments TJ made in the court room were so infuriating and vulgar that my shock left me almost speechless.  The thought that TJ was so disturbed to make those comments to the parents of the victims had never crossed my mind.   I was certain that this young man after this amount of time would have regret and sorrow about his actions.  Sadly, this is not the case.

As the day went on I saw many people express their outrage.  Everything from outcries for public hangings to be brought back to joy in the fact that in prison will most likely experience rape and severe beatings from the inmates – and sheer joy that he would be rotting in hell in the afterlife.  I must admit, as a parent, I was inclined to think that he would be “getting what he deserved”.  But, through my husband, God convicted me to think otherwise last night.

After looking at the posts and comments it is actually almost as scary to look at those of us on the outside as the inmates.  If you are not a professing Christian these comments will make no sense to you and honestly are not directed at you.  But, if you do profess, I hope that you will take these things to heart as I have done.

TJ committed a horrible, awful and life changing crime.  There is nothing acceptable about his actions.  As Christians, however, we should be praying for this young man.  Rather than rejoicing that he would be in hell, we should be praying that he finds Jesus!  Think about it.   We tell people over and over again that God’s love is unconditional.  We say that there is NOTHING that they could do to keep God from loving them.  But then, we see this young man and begin to rejoice in his path to hell.  I am not saying that we should be letting him out on the streets in an act of forgiveness… clearly he is a danger to our society.  But, we should be praying for his salvation!  Are we ready to say that God’s salvation is only for some individuals and not for others?  Yes, I have not committed murder, but I have sinned!  Personally, I am not willing to say that I deserve God’s grace and mercy but TJ does not. 

Look at the Bible.  Paul, one of the greatest (if not the greatest) missionaries the world has known started as a murder of Christians.  God called him and then used him!  Has TJ committed some crime worse than Paul did?  No.  The fact of the matter is that we need to be angry and mad at the sin and the complete lack of respect for human life that has occurred in this crime but at the same time praying for the soul remaining.  If we do not believe that these souls are worth saving, why do we have prison ministries?  Why do we send the gospel into the prisons?

What was probably the most disturbing comment that I saw yesterday came from a pastor.  I was not able to post on the pastor’s wall directly because we are not “friends” but I will post his comments here:

“A few observations on the court room performance today by T.J. Lane, convicted shooter in the Chardon High School killings:

1. Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David Fuhry, you ought to be stripped of your Judgeship and disbarred immediately for allowing this low life your courtroom as a platform to once again victimize these poor families who have already lost so much. 

2. Mr. Lane, If you serve no other purpose in your miserable existence, you will forever be a walking advertisement as a reason why we need the death penalty in the United States.

3. While the Bible tells us that vengeance is the Lords, I can't help but believe the Lord is going to be getting a little help from the prison population wherever this sad excuse for a human being ends up at. I don't think he'll be laughing too much longer. 

4. Please, SPARE ME the lecture me on how as a Pastor I should be more compassionate and forgiving toward this scum bag. It's up to God to forgive him - our justice system should arrange the appointment. 

I'm Jim McComas and I approved this message.

Really??? #4?? I am not saying that we need to forgive the sin in terms of saying it is ok… BUT we do need to feel compassion for this young man.  This man is a pastor and he is saying these things… does he realize he is leading a flock?  Shouldn't he be stating what the Bible says – even if, as was my first reaction, we can’t easily do it ourselves, shouldn't we be pointing out what the Bible says we should be doing?  Yes, living up to the standards of the Bible is hard, well impossible at times but as a pastor, shouldn't he be encouraging us to look into compassion and prayer for this young man?

As I listened to my husband last night, I originally thought he was crazy, but as I continued to listen and talk to him and other women, I felt God softening my heart. (Thanking God right now for him giving me a husband that is turning into a great spiritual leader FOR ME, even when I make it hard for him to do at times!) TJ Lane needs our prayer and if you are a professing Christian, while his actions and words are disturbing please think of Paul and think of TJ’s soul and pray as led.