Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Week 14 - Ready for the new year...

Here are a few highlights from our week...

Week 14 actually took us 2 weeks to get through, but it felt longer than that :/ We had our church choir/drama production (which took up a lot of time the first 2 weeks of December), a few mild cases of the flu, a few doctor and ER visits, AND the normal holiday craziness...I was ready to go crazy! Too much stuff going on...we ended up splitting the school week up and completed a few days of school one week and a few days of school the next week.

I learned from that though. It was crazy trying to do a little bit of school here and there with so much going on, so around New Year's week, we are going to take the entire week off, regroup, get our school room and supplies in order, and just relax a little.

We finished up Twice Freed. It was a great book. All of the books so far this year have been really good. We are looking forward to the next book :)

We skipped art this week. It was about mosaics and we did a lot of that earlier on in the year so we didn't feel a refresher was needed yet.


We watched a few videos to go along with MFW Week 14. Don't know that the kids learned much from them, but they were somewhat entertaining. Here is one about the Byzantine Empire and another on Theodora.


We completed a really light week in science. We added the lungs and diaphragm to our paper people, the kids played a lung game, and watched a video about lungs and breathing.

I don't know about you guys, but I am ready to begin a new year. I've never really been much of a New Year's resolution type of person, but LOTS of changes are in store. I am bad about overloading my schedule and pushing to get school in on any spare day we may have regardless of doctor visits, illness, or other unexpected things during the week. What I should be doing is slowing down, taking it easy during those times, being selective with the things I put on my plate, and just enjoying everything more.

There's just something about a New Year that gives you that extra motivation to reevaluate everything and try to make things better.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Day and a better 2014 :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

No school and one CrAZy week!!!

Last week was supposed to be our first week back to school after taking a much needed week off.

However, our daughter came down with a very mild case of the flu on Monday and Tuesday. She actually handled that part really well. The only things she experienced from the flu were sleepiness and a fever. Even then, her fever never made it past 102.5. She had no sore throat, no muscle pains, no achiness, etc...  

I debated on giving her Tamiflu. The pediatrician's office really pushed it. I even filled the prescription and everything. They also gave me an earful about getting the flu shot in the future. I gave them an earful myself. My children have not received the flu shot on over 7 years. This was one of my children's first time to ever get the flu (and a mild case of it at that!). I told them the odds against NOT getting it again in the near future seemed to be in my favor.  Anyway, upon doing research when we arrived home, Tamiflu has been known to cause nausea and vomiting, and since our daughter has had her fair share of that in the past already, we decided against it thinking she may be one of the ones to experience these side effects. Plus, Tamiflu only claims to lessen the days of the flu by 24-36 hours. That's it?!? Doesn't really seem worth it to me. AND, there is no research to even back up those claims!!! Anyway, since her flu only lasted 2 days, I was so glad we opted not to give it to her.  

Starting on Monday, her tummy also began to hurt in that same area as always at the same time she had the flu. By Tuesday, she had her full fledged back pain and nausea too...no vomiting this time around though. Wednesday morning, she woke up fever free, just exhausted from her stomach/back pain. She remained fever free through Thursday, but her appetite was still not back to normal. 

I should note, that on Wednesday morning, we received a phone call from her gastrologist letting us know her ultrasound we had done earlier in the month showed she had a UPJ osbtruction. On Friday, her fever came back and so did her sever back pain and nausea. Although her fever was gone again, she was not well by Saturday, and knowing what we knew about UPJ now, we were afraid she had a kidney infection.

We spent all day Saturday in the Texas Children's ER. No kidney infection tho, just another episode of UPJ. She usually doesn't have them this close together. All her blood work and urinalysis came back ok. They said the fever on Friday must have been some little virus she picked up due to her immune system being weak.

Poor gal missed every chance to perform in our church play and she had worked so hard for and had been faithfully attending every practice since we started. Everyone felt so bad for her. Good news is, once all this is taken care of, hopefully, she'll never miss another thing again due to UPJ :)

It's Monday again. Needless to say, we didn't do a lick of school last week. This week won't be much better. Now I don't feel well. I have felt a cold coming on for quite some time, and now that things are calm, it all hit me this morning. We will manage to get in a full day of school today and hopefully another tomorrow. After that though, we plan to take the rest of the week off to visit Granny, finish up Christmas shopping, and go to our daughter's urology appointment. I hope I get to feeling better or I will be missing out on every bit of it :(

So, here's to another CrAZy week!


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

UPJ Obstruction - not the best news, but not the worst news either

So, what is a UPJ obstruction?

The technical term for it is Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction. It is a blockage at the point where part of the kidney attaches to one of the tubes to the bladder (ureters). This blocks the flow of urine out of the kidney.

Our daughter has a narrowing of the ureter tube and because her symptoms are intermittent, it most likely kinks up on itself to completely block off the kidney for a period of time. This explains her excruciating back pain and the mass (which is her kidney and tube enlarging) that can be felt when she has an episode.  

She did not have the typical urinary tract infections associated with this. I don't think she's ever had one of those. Every test she has ever had run for urinary tract infection came back clean. She did not have blood in her urine (that we could ever tell). She also didn't have kidney stones. What she did have was severe localized abdominal pain which moved more to the back as it progressed and a palpable mass appeared accompanied by vomiting...LOTS and lots of vomiting. She couldn't keep anything down. She cried all day long and scrunched up into a little ball. She'd drift in and out of sleep and in some of her most severe cases, her lips would turn a blue or purplish color. This typically lasts an entire day and night. Can you imagine an entire day and night of feeling like your kidney was about to burst open?!?! Then, just as quickly as it comes on, it goes away just as fast...as if it was never there. 

The majority of these birth defects are found while the child is still in the womb. Hers was not diagnosed. Even then, some of these require no intervention and correct on their own. Hers got worse. Our daughter is 9 years old now and has been suffering with this noticeably for the past few years.

Anyway, more can be found about it here.

It was diagnosed with a simple ultrasound. A simple ultrasound!!!! I had asked other doctors for ultrasounds of this area before, but most passed us off and told us it was just constipation...including the ER at the hospital. I wish we were more persistent then like we are now. 

So, what's next?

We are researching pediatric urologists today and will make an appointment with one tomorrow. She will have a full UPJ evaluation. Based on all of those tests and findings, we will determine what to do next. With all the research I have done, she will most likely need surgery to correct the problem. We hope there has not been any permanent damage to her kidney so far and we want to get this sorted out asap because, left untreated, most people experience kidney failure as their condition worsens.

UPJ obstruction...that's our answer and it all adds up. It's not the best news, but it's not the worst news either. 

Ok, NOT what we were expecting...cyclic vomiting?

It was just a little over a year that I posted a series about my daughter and cyclic vomiting.

If you would like to get caught up, you can check these posts out.

If anything, writing down my thoughts and keeping detailed journals and blogs have helped me to keep track of what we have done, when we have done it, and relay that info on to the doctors in order to best diagnose a treatment path. 

Keeping detailed journals has been SUCH an asset! If you are going through something and the docs can't figure it out and you have more questions than answers you MUST keep a detailed journal or blog. There is no way I would have ever been able to keep everything straight without writing all of this stuff down!

I left off in part 3 where we were trying different things. One was eliminating gluten from her diet. We did and she did seem to get better. We went the longest we have ever gone without a vomiting episode in quite a while when we did that. 

We did (and continue to) see a wonderful doctor at Texas Children's who encouraged us to keep doing what we were doing if it was helping. Our daughter experienced 2 significant growth spurts during this time and the cyclic vomiting was lessening, so obviously we assumed me were on the right track.

Wrong! Well, sort of. I mean, the gluten was causing some of her stomach issues and with that out of the way, other underlying issues surfaced.

She started to have a few more vomiting episodes. Some were associated with accidental gluten ingestion, but others were unexplained and it was the unexplained ones that were wearing on my mind.

How can this be happening? We are doing everything right!

We started noticing, when she drank a coke or other heavily sugared drink, she would tend to have an episode. So, we took her off of all sodas and sugary drinks. The doc said sugar can slow down a person's digestive process and cause some of her symptoms. So, taking her off seemed to help...for a time anyway :/

Even off the gluten, sodas, and other sugary drinks, she was still having unexplained episodes of vomiting that seemed to be happening more frequently despite our best efforts. One thing more prominent now though was her increasing stomach and back pain....in one certain location. 

She would get so bad sometimes that you could even feel a knot or a mass in that area. We assumed it was inflammation of her intestines from something she ate or drank causing that bulge or gas or constipation as had been thrown at us time and time again from her pediatrician. (I never sat well with the constipation idea tho b/c my daughter had frequent bowel movements and was taking in a lot more fluid than she ever had in the past.)

We had a follow up appointment to discuss this with her gastrologist.  My husband and I were beginning to think it was an obstruction of some sort. About a year prior, the gastrologist had written down something called a UPJ obstruction on the white board as a rare, but possible cause to her problems. It was so far down the list that we really didn't pay a whole lot of attention to it. Since we had ruled out a lot of the other causes and the issue was still happening, we started to think more and more about it being some sort of intermittent obstruction.

So, we followed up with an ultrasound of the kidneys just to be sure. 

Turns out, she has a UPJ obstruction :/

(more to come in the next post)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Focus on what you have, not what you 'could' have...

We live on just a little over 2 acres. We've lived here for about 12 years now and we love it here. A little bit of country in the middle of a growing little town it just about how I'd describe it. 

One thing we have always wished and hoped for since the day we moved in was to have more land. When you live where we live with neighborhoods all around you and the price for a tiny lot is sky high, those chances of getting anymore land (let alone acreage!) are pretty slim.

However, there is a 4.5 acre plot directly behind us (mostly wooded) like our 2 acres, which is pretty rare in this town. A few years ago, the lady who owned it passed away. Fast forward to now and that land is up for grabs. This lady's daughter approached us and our neighbor about purchasing the land at a decent price. I know $17,000 an acre is a whole lot of money, but considering acreage around here goes for $20-25,000, it wasn't bad ;)

Wow! A dream come true for both of us!

We were busy looking into land loans, checking out the status of the land (as far as taxes, liens, clear titles, etc), discussing property lines with our neighbor, estimating the costs of hauling off about 100 years of junk the previous owners had collected, as well as the costs for the tear down of a house with asbestos siding as well as some likely asbestos ceiling tiles and wiring. Arg! Lots to be done!

Fast forward another month or 2 and our neighbors decided they would not be able to purchase part of the land. That' ok though. We still wanted to purchase the part directly behind us...about 2.5 acres. We contacted the lady back and brought her up to speed. Problem was, she wanted the land sold all at once AND she already had another buyer. End of discussion. 

I was mad! I felt kind of duped or played. To go though all of this and that's it, end of discussion?!? Lots of crazy thoughts went through my head. Had she had someone in her back pocket the whole time? Were we part of some bidding war we didn't know about? Had we wasted our time even bothering looking into all of this in the first place?

My husband had to bring me back down to reality. We had prayed, since day 1, for God's will to be done in this matter. When our neighbors wanted the other half, we were so SURE about everything. When the neighbors backed out, we were kind of on the fence about the land. We just wanted clarity. If things weren't meant to be, we prayed for God to work things out that way. He did and I overlooked His answer.

I prayed for peace and contentment and God gave it to me.

The whole land thing didn't happen, but it will be ok :)

We started to focus on what we already had. We've lived here for 12 years now and haven't done much with the 2 acres, so why not focus on that? Over this past year, my husband and the kids have made a few trails through the back acre for walking and go-cart riding. We've made some improvements to our garden area.

This should keep those pesky, but cute little rabbits from eating up all out hard work ;)
We built the kids a "fort" that is yet to be named in the woods. It turned out pretty awesome!
If the kids ever actually want to enjoy this fort then mosquito screening is a MUST in these parts!!!
Trees growing through the fort...how cool is that?!?!

View from the top level...

We spent the night in the fort when it was all complete. Not the most comfortable for mom and dad...oh, the sacrifices we make for our kids...lol! They had fun and that was the whole idea :) 
They want to do school out here some days too. I can work with that ;)
We would love to redo our old fence and put up a more aesthetically pleasing one, plant more fruit and nut trees, get better at gardening, and the list goes on.
Sometimes you just need to refocus...not on what could have been, but what already is.

Week 13 - Constantine, the Nicene Creed, and the fall of Rome

Here are a few highlights from our week...

This week was a short schooling week for us...just 3 days. The next was just 2, so together, it was one full week ;) Our church is one of the drop off locations for the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, so we volunteered several hours by collecting the shoe boxes, redoing labels that were faded or missing, 'rubberbanded' shoe boxes so the contents wouldn't fall out, and taped up a ton of large boxes. On Sunday, we prayed over the shoe boxes and a large portion of the congregation stayed behind for about an hour to pack all these shoe boxes into larger boxes to send to the next location. 

More Revelation. I try to explain the simpler things, but this book is hard to understand.

Trial and Triumph is a great book! While it is sad to hear about what these brave early Christians went though, it is amazing to read about their faith and courage for Christ.

The kids started putting the bigger picture together in how riches and greed began to play a part in early Roman church history and how, as beneficial as Constantine was to the early church, played his part in all of that by 'glorifying' church leadership.

We learned about Athanasius and the Nicene Creed and saw how and where the early disputes of the Trinity began. We talked about current religions that are still divided on this topic today and those that still side with the early Arian beliefs to this day.

We learned where the lie of earning your salvation and salvation through works entered into the picture with the Pelagians and how Augustine fought for the truth of salvation through God's grace alone. We also talked about current religions that still believe in the lie of earning one's salvation.

We never did get to that bone experiment from several weeks ago. We forgot that we had left the bone in the vinegar. It was there for at least 2 weeks before we remembered. By that time, it stunk, was gross, and none of us wanted to mess with it.

We are now on to the digestive system. We labeled all the pieces from The Body Book and added those to our skeletons. The kids finally got around to putting their skeleton model together too.

We are taking off the entire 1st week of December. We all need a break. School prep is getting to me and things are piling up at the house. We are gonna try to get away for a few days and just spend some quality time together  having fun :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Week 12 - Gladiators, the early church, and a few good emperors

Here are a few highlights from our week...

Pretty simple this week. The kids got to draw whatever Christian artwork they wanted according to early church history, so there was very little push-back. Of course, my blue-eyed boy didn't want to color anything, so his were just pencil drawings.

We are in the book of Revelations now and I have to say, I am very disappointed in the commentary and explanations (or lack of them) for this book on the Rome to Reformation teachers manual. This is a very difficult book to read through for an adult much less a child. Lots of imagery and symbolic language. Aye! - So easy to get confused :/ I just wish there would have been more info behind the passages in the teachers manual.

We learned about the gladiators, played an online game, and watched some Rotten Roman videos (animals and gladiators), (gladiator vs mouse), and (gladiator school).

Watched a few more Rotten Roman videos about Nero, reviewed the most evil emperors of Rome, learned about the terrible Christian persecutions, learned more about persecutions, and finally got to the 5 decent emperors Rome had. Whew! It's about time for someone decent...

Still truckin' along with Galen. We also learned more about the brain. It was also interesting that our guest speaker at church talked about the brain. Because the kids had been studying about the brain, they totally knew what he was talking about. Love it when things line up like that!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

So why exactly is homeschooling so controversial?

This has been on my mind lately...a lot. It could be due to recent comments people have made to me or to others or recent discussions I have been a part of. 

Whether you feel it is a calling or a choice, either way, a decision is made...to homeschool or not to homeschool.

So, why exactly is this particular decision SO controversial?

I actually had an educator not too long ago tell me that the reason the public schools are in such disarray was because of all of the Christians leaving the public schools. So basically, this person point blank told me that I (and others like me) were the reason schools were failing. 


My head was spinning! I wanted to get into a discussion with this person and "enlighten" them to the facts. No, no, it couldn't possibly be the schools were already failing their children and because of that, they chose to pull them out and seek alternative means. It could not possibly be because lofty bureaucrats who have never set foot in a classroom or even taught children were handing down new regulations and laughable curriculum. Nope, it couldn't be that terrible educators were teaching their children and they wanted something better. Not all, but some. There are a lot of excellent teachers out there, but sometimes, 1 rotten one is all it takes. (I can say that because I was an educator myself and I saw firsthand. There are just some people who should NEVER be teachers.) Nor could it be that, for some people, like myself, felt called by God to homeschool their kids or people who simply wanted to homeschool to give their children a biblical worldview. However, this was not the time or the place for that discussion, after all, I have to see this person at church week after week and I don't think it mattered what the facts actually were, this person had their mind made up.  

What I find really ironic is it is mainly the homeschooling families that are targeted as being controversial. You can pull your child out of one public school to put him in another (even if it is a totally different town) and it is accepted. You can pull your child out of public school and enroll him in a charter school and people don't bat an eye. You can even take your child out of public school and put him in a Christian school and usually no one says a thing. But HOMESCHOOL?!? You might as well have committed some unpardonable sin!

I think, what really gets to me the most though, is that some people...people I had considered friends, would think this way about me. And that hurts. How do I know this? Little comments here and there, snide remarks, or just plain ol' ignorant statements. I have always been respectful of others education choices for their children. I have never been one to push my views and my reasonings onto anyone else. I try not to 'jump on the bandwagon of negativity' even when they come to me upset and talking about whatever recent thing is going on in their children's schools. I try to listen and be a supportive friend. Having been a public school teacher, I try to offer advice that is relevant for their child in their situation. I only offer advice on homeschooling if it is asked of me always pointing out my personal reasons for homeschooling. I always make sure to tell them to pray and seek what God has for them and their families. I cannot make that decision for them. They must make it for themselves. 

It's honestly hard to know who to trust when it comes to talking about homeschooling. I mean, I know I can trust my fellow homeschooling friends, but I worry about people who come to me for advice or information who do not homeschool. I know most are sincere, but there are those who take what I say and twist it or think that I think they are horrible for having their kids in public school or something.

Aren't we all just trying to educate our children the way we feel is best for them? Whether it's homeschool, public school, charter school, or private school?

Then why the controversy or competition? 

I don't look at my friends down the street at a different Baptist church and think any less of them because they don't go to MY church. We are all believers doing our best to give God the glory and point others to Him.

I don't criticize others for eating at The Olive Garden instead of Jason's Deli. We all just want some good food.

I don't question anyones choice to enroll their child into one sport versus another. They all just want to play.

Then why would I think any less of someone because of their schooling choices? We are all just trying to educate our children...Aren't we?

I like what Matt Walsh said in one of his recent blog posts. I may not always agree with what he writes or how he puts things, but I loved the punch line in this particular one..."we are going to homeschool our kids, but that's only because we hate education."

Hmm, maybe that's why homeschooling is so controversial...we must all hate education...LOL!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 11 - 2 field trips in one week!

Here are a few highlights from our week...

So, this week proved to be just as crazy as the last with 2 field trips AND a co-op day, but again, we managed to get in 3 days of school work and the kids got to do lots of things they have never done before. I think we are making up for our lack of field trips last year. This year may be a record :-O

With such a busy week, something had to give...and this was it. Besides, the kids remembered the portrait of Caligula they drew last year in God and the History of Art.

Paul was one busy guy. It has been interesting tracking all of his trips tho and to see how everything fits together with history.

Caligula (Gaius) was one messed up dude! He tried to attack the sea, killed numerous people (just because), and made his horse a senator...among other things.

Here are a few Rotten Roman videos to go along with history this week:

Caligula's crazy speech
His attack on Poseidon

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine is actually a pretty good read. We thought it was going to be boring, but it's not too bad.

We also learned about teeth. Here is a short video from Chloe and the Nerb about teeth.

The bone activity and the skeleton model we were supposed to do last week, but moved to this week, will have to be moved again...to the next week. Maybe, just maybe we'll get it done then :/  

Since we are studying Rome to the Reformation this year, we decided to go to the Texas Renaissance Festival. We went on a school day and BOY am I glad we went then. I can't imagine what it is like on a regular day! Some of the comments and attire pushed my limits of acceptability especially for a school day.  

We went with their cute little cousins which made the day even more eventful :-D

We also went to Berryland farms. The kids got to launch mini pumpkins, walk through a corn maze, climb a hay bale tower, ride a culvert swing, go on a hay ride, and slide about a gazillion times down this HUGE hill slide.

Week 10 - A very busy week

Here are a few highlights from our week...

This was a very full and busy week...add in a last minute trip we decided to take with my husband for his job, a day long vomiting episode (because my brown-eyed girl got a hold of some gluten), AND a fall festival and you have one crazy homeschool mom.

We still managed to get 3 days of school in there and we turned the hubby's business trip into an extra field trip for the kids, so it was all good ;)

Here are pics of the skeletons the kids finished up. Don't ya just love the way the kids posed them? LOL!

We also watched a short video about skeletons.

The bone experiment and an extra skeleton model activity we have to complete would have to wait until next week...

Here is a picture from our field trip to the Texas Zoo.

Sadly, I didn't get a single picture of the kids at the fall fest in their costumes :(

My brown-eyed girl went as an 80's valley girl and my blue-eyed boy went as an arctic forces ninja.
They had a blast so I guess that is all that matters :)

I'm hoping next week will be a bit more calm....

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Week 9 - Peacock poo, a pumpkin carving contest, and a vortex cannon

Here are a few highlights from our week...

Well, we ended up just going on one field trip, but throw in our homeschool co-op group, a contest, and a fun science activity with Dad, and you have a pretty full week :)

On Monday, we went to the Lufkin Zoo. We love that zoo. For one, we got in free, and two, it's never overly crowded. 

They don't have some of the big name animals most zoos have, and it is fairly small, but they do have LOTS of free-roaming peacocks...and where there are a lot of peacocks, there is A WHOLE LOTTA peacock poop. The test was to see who could make it through the entire zoo without stepping in poo. My blue-eyed boy and I failed :( 

White peacock

Hippo Crossing - thanks hon, I love you too ;)

Long lost....cousin?

Guess who else we saw at the zoo...lol!
After that, we visited the Texas Forestry Museum. Too bad all the cool outside stuff was closed for renovations :(

He's not really thrilled about the new look :/

Bubba had a long hard day at work so sister was making him a good home-cooked meal ;)

We only completed one of the art lessons listed in the TM since science was heavy on the cutting and coloring again. I don't want to push my blue-eyed boy too far this week...lol! We skipped art lesson #152. 

We came to Jesus' death and resurrection. Believe it or not, but we were actually looking forward to making the resurrection cookies. We have always heard about them and always meant to make them, but they just never fit into the schedule.

They were good, but a little too sweet for me...almost like an airy, crispy divinity cookie.

We said farewell to Augustus and hello to Emperor Tiberius. I wonder what type of ruler he'll turn out to be?

We finished up the Bronze Bow. We really liked the story, but dislike the kind that leave you hanging or wondering what happens next. Ugh! And this one did a little of that. If it was up to my brown-eyed girl, she said Thacia and Daniel would get married and Leah would be healed and eventually marry the soldier. Yeah, I'd probably end it that way too..lol!

This week was all about the eyes. We watched another Chloe and the Nerb video and did another activity from the Body Book.

Friday was our homeschool co-op. The kids had a blast in their classes with their friends, but the highlight of the day was the pumpkin carving/decorating contest. They did an awesome job on their pumpkins. 

Sonic the Hedgehog

Felix the Cat

My blue-eyed boy even won 3rd place and a $5 gift card to Sonic. My kids had decided beforehand that whichever one won would share with the other. So...guess who all had ice-cream from Sonic after the park?

The final touch to the end of the week was when Dad built a "vortex cannon" with the kids. He explained to them how it worked and they had loads of fun playing with it until the box pretty much pooped out.

Now to gear up and get ready for next week...which is lining up to be even crazier than this week :/

Monday, October 28, 2013

Things I want for my daughter (part 2)....

(If you missed part 1, check it out here.)

So, what about all the "frogs in princes clothing" these girls and teens get their hearts broken over?

I don't want that for my daughter. I don't want her in and out of wasteful relationships and heartbreaks. Someone once made this statement to me and they may have heard it from someone else, 'Dating is good practice for divorce.' Seriously...how true is that! Girls who 'date around' or flit from one guy to the next are not learning the meaning of commitment or even of what a real relationship is and means. Not that I expect them to get it right with the first guy they date (I sure didn't), but if that whole dating scene could be kept to a minimum it would make a huge difference. 

If they would only purposefully choose who to lend their hearts to, and choose someone who respects them and has a strong walk with the Lord... 

Growing up, I was not allowed to date until I was out of high school. At that time, I wasn't fond of that rule, but I was ok and didn't rebel all that much about it. Although lots of other girls around me dated, it wasn't too terribly uncommon to find someone else who wasn't not dating like me, so I didn't feel alone. Now, that concept is almost nonexistent! And these girls are dating starting in elementary school not high school as was common in my time (not that it was all that long ago or anything). But elementary school?!?!

Now that I am an adult, I am SO THANKFUL for my mother's wisdom in helping me to avoid that whole circus. The only wish I have is that she would have talked more to me about her reasons why she did that though AS I was growing up. I never fully understood it until AFTER I was much older and married. My mother never was much of an 'explainer'. I knew she loved me and that she had good reasons for doing what she did because she'd say things like, 'I just don't want you to make the same mistakes and have the same heartbreaks as I did'. I knew she had a terrible childhood and upbringing and she didn't like to talk much about it at all. Or she say things like, 'I grew up without a mother and she was not able to guide me or teach me, so I want to make sure I do that for you'. (Her mom died when she was just 4 or 5 years old). Like I said, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she loved and cared for me so I accepted that the rules she had and what she was doing was for my own good even though I didn't always understand it at the time.

I want my daughter to be strong in who she is BEFORE she adds some guy into the mix. I don't want her to be some wacko, crazy, liberal feminist or anything, but simply a healthy, self-respecting girl that possesses a sureness of herself and the person God created her to be. Girls that are unsure of themselves are often taken advantage of or they "lose" themselves getting all wrapped up in the other person only to struggle to "find" themselves again when the relationship ends.

I don't want that for my daughter. 

I want my daughter to love God, first and foremost. I want her to take the best path He has for her. And as she is going along that path, I want her to look across the way and see a guy on the same path, going the same direction, with the same heart for God. That will be the one for her. 

That is what I want for her.

I pray she always remains a "God Girl".

...And while I am at it, that is the kind of person I want for my son's future wife as well....Ahhh, but that is an entirely different post in itself ;)

Things I want for my daughter (part 1)...

I don't know why this has been on my mind lately. Maybe it's the pictures I have been seeing on Facebook of half-dressed girls and teenagers. Maybe it is all the status posts I've come across of yet another teen girl depressed or devastated because the latest prince charming turned out to be just another frog. 

I see these things and my heart hurts for these girls. Then I start thinking of my own little girl and how she will be a teen in just a few short years. She will be bombarded with dating choices and clothing styles of all of her friends, peers, and older teens she looks up to.

...and that scares me.

I don't ever want my daughter to feel that she must show more skin to attract some guy...and I definitely don't want a guy like that going after my daughter!

I want my daughter to have self-worth, to be confident, and to be sure of who she is as a person and, most importantly, as a child of God. 

I want people to be attracted to her because of her heart and her inward beauty. Maybe this is why I downplay my own outward appearance. If she sees me overly concerned about my looks, my clothing,  or my appearance, then I am in a way, teaching her that is what is important. Notice the key word, overly.

Of course it is important to have good hygiene and to look presentable. I want to teach her to eat healthy and to take care of herself both inside and out. I just don't go overboard with it. I don't stress out about every blemish on my face or the weight I've gained over the years and so on.

I don't freak out if I didn't put my make-up on that day as I have seen A LOT of women do and they just go on and on about how terrible they look. In reality, they really don't look bad...they just look real ;) Truth be told, I rarely wear make-up anyway and actually prefer not to wear it. Hey, that's 10 minutes I get back in my day...lol! I just don't want my daughter to feel like she has to cover up or alter herself in any way to feel more confident about herself or to get others to like her. Sure, it is fun to get all dudded up for different occasions, and yes, there are days when I put a little extra color on my face to conceal a few extra blemishes I might have or to make myself look a little less tired than I really am...LOL!  I just don't go overboard with it all.

I want my daughter to have respect for herself with the clothing she puts on her body. I want her to dress in a way that honors herself and the God who made her. I know she won't be perfect in the way she dresses every single time, the Lord knows there were times I certainly wasn't as a teenager, but if she can understand and see just how beautiful and virtuous she is, perhaps she will choose more modestly rather than loosely.

I see some girls and the way they dress and my heart breaks for them. Why do they feel the need to attract a boy's, well, anyones attention in this manner? What happened in their lives to cause them to want to dress the way they do? What distorted their self-image or adversely affected their self-esteem? I pray for the Godly women in their lives to come along side them and encourage them to be who God created them to be...beautiful from the inside out :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pearls Before Pigs...

Strange title, I know. Let me explain...

It was inspired by Matthew 7:6 and some memories of my mom - "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

For a little background info on this verse or the next few paragraphs, check out The Expository Files. In a nutshell, "...Of course, these words of Jesus are allegorical. I doubt that any were literally casting pearls before swine. The meaning is pretty simple to figure out; "Do not persist in offering what is sacred or of value to those who have no appreciation for it, because your gift will not only become contaminated and be despised, your generous efforts could also be rebuffed and perhaps even openly attacked."

The "dogs" and "swine" here stand for the unappreciative and worldly; unappreciative and uncaring men and women who belittle the value of what is offered to them. "That which is holy" would be the meat offered in sacrifice to God. A dog could care less whether it came from the altar or the garbage. The swine have no appreciation for either the beauty nor the value of the pearls under their feet..."

Now that we have the Bible part of it down, let me get on to my mom.

My mom was not really raised in a Christian home and certainly did not have a Christian upbringing or positive experiences from early childhood on into her young adult years. Let me just tell you...it. was. bad. She gave her life to Christ after I was born as did my father. I guess I was somewhere between the ages of 3 and 5. Even then, change came slowly as their walk with the Lord and their convictions grew.

Believe it or not, my mom had more patience with the "bad kids" and the people no one else really wanted to be around rather than the good ol' "churchy" folks. You see, she could relate to those bad kids... those rejects. She was not afraid to go where most would not or mingle with the outcasts. She knew all too well how her lack of Christian influence and lack of God played a role in her life and what a struggle it was for these people to break free from the bondage of sin. 

My mom just could not understand how kids (and adults), raised in church and christian homes could squander what they had been given and could care less about God...hence the saying, casting pearls before pigs. And yes, sometimes, she was perhaps a little too blunt about it (to their faces). Yep, my mom was a "what you see is what you get kind of a person". Love her or hate her, but she was, for the most part, always real.  

Now, don't go all politically correct on me. I am not calling "church folk" pigs or dogs or anything like that. I am one of those church folks. But I do have to be honest...churches are full of "pretend" people...saints on Sunday and sinners the other 6 days of the week. I should know, sadly, I have been there many times myself. I see people who have been given many opportunities to follow Christ and hear about His saving grace, yet turn their backs on Him... and I can see where my mom was coming from and why she just didn't have much patience for the act of being all churchy-fied and pretend. I thank God for giving me a mother who bluntly pointed out (time and time again) the sad truth of this precious gift that I was squandering.

How she wished she could have had a life and opportunities like mine.

I think about these "pretenders" and I have a deep sadness for them and the gifts they are missing out on or squandering. Like my mom, I have an even deeper sadness for those people who have never heard or have not had the many opportunities to hear about Christ as others have.

With all that being said, I also have a deep, overwhelming sense of thankfulness and appreciation to God for my life, my parents, and my upbringing. I have been up close and personal with the other side through my mom and much of her side of the family. Thinking about how different life could have been for some of my family members just breaks my heart. God....God made all the difference in my parents' lives and ultimately in my own life. 

I don't even know why I started writing this...perhaps it started with some memories of my mom and perhaps a little out of my own fear.... fear or worry that my kids or my grandchildren or my great-grandchildren will take being raised in a Christian home for granted and squander their blessings. I read about the Isrealites and the miracles God performed time and time again and yet somehow generation after generation pushed God further and further out of their hearts and minds until they forgot Him completely.

I pray God helps me and my husband to train up our kids in Him. I pray for their spouses and that they will continue to train up their kids and so on from generation to generation. I pray I/we never lose our sight of God and our appreciation and thankfulness for the gifts and family that God has blessed us with. I pray we never become like pigs...not knowing or appreciating what is being offered to us.

Thank you, God! And thank you mom and dad for being that pivotal turning point in our families...thank you for answering God's call...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

RtR Week 8 - LEGO aqueduct, an "electrifying" field trip, and lots of rotten Roman videos

Here are a few highlights from our week...

On Monday, the kids participated in a free online Lego class about aqueducts through Currclick. The instructor always does a great job providing the history behind what the kids are going to be building as well as step by step instructions as they build. They had lots of fun. My daughter built the kit that went along with the lesson and my son built his own creation from the Legos he already had on hand.

We have been VERY relaxed in this area. We watched a cutesy video made by kids that sort of caught us up on the life of Haydn tho. So, we called it good and are ready to move on.


We finished up the Mystery of the Bible series about Herod. The kids lost interest somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd segment, but I was interested so I watched them all. There was only 1 part that I disagreed with. I believe it was somewhere in the 3rd or 4th segment. To some degree, it sounded as if they suggested Herod murdering all the male babies under age 2 was a made up story simply because it wasn't found in Josephus' book of writings. Really?!? There are a lot of things that happened around that time period, but were not mentioned in Josephus' book, so I guess they didn't happen too? The Bible states otherwise, so I know it to be a fact. Other than that, it was pretty interesting.


This week, we focused in on the Roman army. Here is a comical Rotten Roman video to go with Roman armies. The kids love it when they get to watch the Rotten Roman videos and this week was full of them!

Here is another one about surviving in the Roman army.

And another funny about deserting the Roman army.

And yet one more about executions since that was covered in The Roman Empire this week when discussing what would happen to slaves if they tried to sneak in and join the Roman army.

In Augustus Caesar this week, one of the chapters was about Germanic tribes, we we watched a video to go along with it. It really didn't add much to our studies and we could have left it out all together.


There were several Chloe and the Nerb videos to go along with everything we learned in science this past week.  Hair video, nail video, skin video

The kids also completed the activity from the Body Book. This activity had a lot of cutting and coloring. Even my brown-eyed girl thought it was a bit much.


We finished the week up with an "electrifying" field trip. We watched the ArcAttack show at the local theater. This was a group that was featured a few years ago on America's Got Talent. It was a ood show. The kids learned about the Tesla coil and how it goes with music. Here are a few pictures...

Next week, we have not one, but TWO fun field trips planned...and i guess we'll fit a little school somewhere in there too ;)