Archive for July, 2009

A couple of big ALIVE blessings!

I wish I could come up with titles that are *actually* cool.   Oh well.

A few days ago, a good friend of mine and her husband offered me their old computer. Everything on it worked, they just got a new one. Of course I said yes, please! and thank you so much! =)

It works great and in fact is what I am typing on right now. It’s going to be SO much more convenient for me to use this one during school and other times, also, than the one in the bedroom!

Samson has taken to climbing up on the desk when I’m sitting here and snuggling. He climbed up just a minute ago and is now laying on arm as I type. LOL

So there’s the first alive blessing. It’s an alive computer, vs. my dead computer. LOL

The second blessing is also alive, but in a different sense. This blessing doesn’t cost as much as a computer, nor is it as big. However, it does eat, poop, and sleep!

It is a sweet little brown and white lop-eared bunny! =) This blessing is why I have this post listed under “God’s Guiding Hand”…

See, with Matthew homeschooling again, I was wanting to get him involved in something outside of the house and also outside of the church school. I know he can go up for P.E., and I think it’d be wonderful if we could go up for chapel, as well. The two of us could/can even go along on the field trips for school events, too. The things like mini-golf, tennis, music festival, etc. Only problem is, he can’t compete. Last year he took 1st place in a lot of the singing events, as well as bible memory verses, woodworking, and I think tennis, too!

So for this year I was looking at getting involved with one of the local homeschool groups or the co-op or something. Granted they all cost an arm and a leg, but still… I wanted him to be IN something, and he is definitely NOT a sports kid. (The medical problems make it pretty rough on him that way. I mean, he’s still the size of a 6yo for one thing.) Boy scouts was also a given NO! They’ve changed the way they do things so much in the last 2 or 3 decades, and not for the good if you ask me.

Today I got a phone call from a woman at church. Her granddaughter stayed with her last year (and was one of Meg’s good friends) and they had put her in 4-H and bought her a rabbit. The granddaughter had to move back to her mother’s this summer, and the mom said no to the rabbit. Well, the grandmother kept the bunny for awhile (for the other, much younger, grandchildren), but decided that it was just a little much for her, and also not so good for the bunny as she wasn’t getting the attention and play she needed.  She said she’d tried to offer it to some of the elementary teachers for a class pet, but no one was interested.

Then she thought of Meagan. She and her husband decided that they would really like to give it to Meagan (and Matt, too) and so she called me. At first I was going to politely decline, but as she told me the story of this rabbit and how they came to have her, I became convinced that not only did I want to take the bunny (I knew the kids would want to, of course), but that I SHOULD take the bunny. As she talked more and more about 4-H and this bunny (registered, ready to breed, they had a cage and had just bought a 6mo supply of food for her, and it was all coming with Miss Rachel) I became more and more convinced that this was of the Lord.

I just kept thinking about what all the kids do in 4-H and how PERFECT it was for Matt – the great animal lover. I thought to myself  “WHY didn’t I think of this myself?”  Of course the answer to that is simple… I did, years and years ago back when Matthew was way to young to join. As he grew older and it became apparent how painfully shy… paralyzed with anxiety, actually… I knew there would be no sports, no scouts, no clubs, no co-op or summer classes, no anything. I never gave any of those a second thought for him. For Meagan, yes. We tried girl scouts and got a lousy troop, and as it was the only one she could join, we quit.  I started to have her be a Juliette and do the scouting ourselves, but she didn’t want that, she wanted PEOPLE! LOL

Anyway. I really got the impression that this phone call, this suggestion, this offer was from God. So I said yes and we made arrangements for the bunny to be brought over this evening. After I hung up the phone, I called Matthew in to the computer and we looked up the 4-H online and I tried to explain to him a little of what they do. At first he kept telling me he was not interested, no thanks, etc. – even though he totally loves animals, and had already asked me if we could study/do woodworking and electronics (which 4-H also offers) this year in school. I kept talking, though, and once he realized that #1 it is not just for homeschoolers, #2 ALL the kids (incl. the teens) do not get together for a meeting, they’re broken up into groups, and #3 that if he raised, showed, and SOLD an animal, he would get to keep the $$…. he immediately changed his tune. LOL

He said, “I’m in. Sign me up. I wanna raise a calf!” and when I told him no, we couldn’t do that. At least not this year, since we live in the city and can’t keep one here, he asked, “Well can we move to the country then?” HAHA

Then I had to go through all the explanations and so-forth again, because Meagan wanted to know so she could see if she also wanted to join. The selling point for her was being in a parade. LOL

So both kids decided they wanted to join. I’d already decided it was something we should do; as I said the timing and ‘perfectness’ of the phone call and idea was very clearly the work of God’s guiding hand.

Next thing I did was to call the local 4-H office (actually our local Ag Extension office, but I didn’t realize that at first) to get info on the program… how to sign up, what it costs, etc. The woman I spoke to, there, was SO kind and helpful. She knew exactly what I needed to know and she guided me through to find the online registration form, and gave me phone #s of the women who run 2 of the clubs, as well as date and time and location of the first meeting for each. The only other thing I needed to know was cost, not that I was worried, because by this point I was sure that this was something God wanted for the kids, so I knew He would provide, but I still needed to know so I would know how much to bring to the first meeting.

Well, before I could even ask, the woman on the other end of the phone said something like, “And everything is free, there’s no charge for any of the meetings, so you can go to as many meetings and clubs as you want…”

I was so shocked! I had no idea 4-H was FREE! I mean, I realize there is cost involved if you’re raising an animal or doing a project or need to bring supplies, but that is the same with ANY club, organization, etc. This is GREAT!! Absolutely perfect! Not only is the club geared more towards things my two are interested in than any other, but it’s also cheaper than the other things I was considering.

I wasn’t just completely settled or sure about the other options. I knew they would work, but none of them really said THIS IS IT! to me, if you know what I mean. 4-H, however, does. It did even before I knew what it would cost, that’s like a big ol’ bonus to me. =)

Thank You, Father, for answering my prayers. I’d prayed that You would help me to know what to do with this school year and that if there was something You wanted for Matthew (or Meagan, too!) to have for this school year that I didn’t know about, that You would show me and then provide a way for them to have it, and You did just exactly that. I had not even thought of another computer, much less joining 4-H and having another animal, but You had. You wanted this for the kids, and You showed me and provided a way. Thank You, Father, for this wonderful gift You’ve given the children (and myself)!


On Curtains and School, Mostly School

The curtains were one of my latest blessings. After the kids and I got back from camp (GREAT time, awesome preaching, nine saved!!), my mom and I went to Lowes. She needed to do some looking and pricing at stuff for her new house (flooring, appliances, etc). When we went in they had some curtains on sale out on the sidewalk so we went and looked. They were nice, but the prices were fairly steep (for me, anyways) even after the discount.

About 3hr later (I was on a motorized cart or I never would’ve made it!), we were done and headed for checkouts. We’d found some marble tiles and each picked out 2 (at $1.50 ea) to use as cutting boards. Right in front of the checkouts were the curtains. We were waiting in line and kinda looking at the curtains while we waited and the cashier told us they were 90% off what they were marked. Our jaws both dropped and then we dropped out of line and started going through them more carefully.

When it was all said and done I got curtains for the living room and the master bedroom. A total of 5 windows. Two sets of panels on the living room windows (one blue, one white), and panels and valances for in here in the bedroom. Original retail price of $525 and some change. I paid (after taxes) $30 and some change!

WOW, huh? =)

Ok, on to school. This coming year’s schooling has been a subject of prayer for me for months now. Years ago, I knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that I was supposed to homeschool the kids… and I did. Occasionally I would contemplate putting Meagan into a private or public school, but each time after prayer and closed doors, I realized it just was not supposed to happen.

Then the year before last, right before school started, our pastor offered Meagan a scholarship to our church’s school. After a crash course in prayer (because there were only a few days to decide before school started) and asking the Lord to let Mike make the decision that God wanted him to make… Meagan ended up going to the private school.

That first year with Meagan in the church school and Matt at home promised to be very exciting and it did turn out that way, but in a much different way than I anticipated. Because of my health quickly deteriating and Matthew’s behaviors/moods/etc (brain symptoms) also getting worse and worse, the homeschool was a big bad flop that year. We didn’t get done anywhere near what I wanted to. Both our lives were miserable because of the frustration and stress. It became evident by the end of the school year that I could not homeschool the following year. I was too sick to deal with it.

So, Mike made the decision (again… HIS decision) to send him to the church school (out of our pocket) if they would take him. For many reasons we didn’t/don’t want our kids in the public school system… not even for a year or two. Also, Matthew’s anxiety was such that we knew he could not handle going to a public school. We weren’t sure he was even going to be able to handle the church’s school, even though it’s only 2 adults and about 15 kids big.

Matt started antibiotics treatment right at 4wks before school started last year. The week before school he attended a short ‘class’ on movie-making at the local library for a couple of hours a day. We anticipated having to not only force him to go and to stay while we left him, but also that he would stay in a corner, scared and unmoving the entire time. Prior to antibiotics this is exactly what would have happened. We were determined to make him go though, since it seemed like a good transition to having to go to school for the full day and also be expected to focus on things or face consequences for not doing so.

We *did* have to force him to get into and then out of the car. However, Mike said that he sat down at a table and didn’t make a scene or say anything when he left. When it was time to pick him up, he actually thanked us for making him go. He had a blast and couldn’t wait for the next day.

He literally hasn’t had a problem with anxiety/social phobia since! So, the next week starting school was no problem whatsoever, thank the Lord!

Anyway. Over this last school year, with both kids in the church school, we’ve all made progress in every area of our home-life, including in our health.

I am doing MUCH better physically, emotionally, and mentally than I was a year ago. I do still have enough physical problems that my doc still considers me ‘disabled’, but I can oversee things being/getting done from my bed or the couch on a bad day. Mentally my brain is back. By the end of the last year Matt and I homeschooled, I couldn’t think or focus or work anything out. I couldn’t even figure out how to score a math worksheet using the score key (answer sheet)! It was that bad. Now? Not only am I back to reading (a lot) and understanding, my brain is functioning almost back to 100%. I occasionally have some short term memory or word retrieval issues, but I can not only score a math sheet, I am back to doing complex math problems in my head.

Matthew, too is doing much, much better. In the last year, his doctor has made several med changes and adjustments and so he is now and has been for many, many months being treated for Lyme, as well as some of the symptoms it has caused for him. He is on medication for depression (which helped a lot with his behavior) and ADHD (which brought him the rest of the way). His behavior and attitude now is completely different than before. He’s no longer ‘difficult’ (and that was putting it mildly to be sure!). Now he’s no more of a behavior problem than an average 10yo boy. He’s even pleasant to be around! LOL

He’s been talking about wanting to go back to homeschool, and of course I would love to, as well… but I only wanted to do so if it was God’s will, and not just our will. Thus the praying… for months.

Over the last several months, not only has it become more and more evident that we are supposed to go back to homeschooling with Matthew, but I also prayed and asked the Lord for the same thing/s I had each of the last two school years. I asked that He would help me know where each kid should be schooled, and also help Mike to know. I asked that He would give Mike guidance and wisdom as well, and let him make the decision concerning school that the Lord would want us to make.

Mike and I have, of course, been discussing the schooling issue for months. Around mid-June, he made his decision. Matthew would be homeschooled.

Then a couple of weeks later our pastor said something that led me to believe that the church was considering sponsoring Matthew’s tuition to the school as well as Meagan’s.

I went back to prayer and also back to Mike. Now I was doubting whether we (Mike, and then me following his decision) had made the right decision. That’s where it’s been for the last month or so. It was becoming more and more evident, more SURE, more peaceful-if-you-will, that yes we had made the correct decision, and that through this possible offer, I may need to stand up for myself/family/the Lord, and politely decline.

It came to a head Sun night. Pastor told me they had decided to pay Matt’s way. As nervous as I had been about talking to him about the schooling (and I had been and had been praying for strength and guidance and the whole 9 yards because I suspected what was coming for a couple of weeks at least by then), all my nervousness disappeared.

Looking back I know I could have stated/explained a couple of things a little better, but overall I think I did ok. Pastor told me that “where the Lord leads, there will be peace” (which I had felt for weeks, if not months, already about homeschooling, but none whatsoever about sending him back to the school) and to keep praying… which of course is what I had planned on doing, and have done and will do. He also told me he would be praying also.

I kept praying as I had been and talked to Mike about things again, letting him know the church had offered to pay Matthew’s way. In spite of the ‘free’ price tag (well as ‘free’ as Meagan’s is, there’s still uniforms and what-not), Mike still feels we should do what’s best for Matthew, and he stills feels that is homeschool. So… again Mike has made the school decision (with help from the Lord, whether Mike realizes it or not!), and again I am following.

Why isn’t Meagan supposed to be homeschooled anymore? Well, honestly I do not know all the reasonings God has. I just can’t know them all. I can say, though, that Mike and I have always had doubts about homeschooling Meagan (not Matt) and have often done the whole circle through options thing with her. Until our pastor’s offer a couple of years ago, we’d always had to stop at homeschooling because we had no way to afford any other option.

The kids are very different. They’re both very intelligent, but their personalities and learning styles and so much more are just vastly different from each other. Meagan has leadership potential in a big, bad way. She needs to be around other people ALL the time. She also needs to hear from someone other than me to get her school work done and done properly. She slacks off much too much with me, regardless of how strict I am. Matthew does better with his studies if he can work alone at his own pace, not just in broad terms, but in smaller ones as well. If he gets interested in a particular subject’s lesson, for instance, he wants to soak up as much of that subject right then as he can, so he’ll work further ahead in that subject that day and maybe not even get to the others. That’s ok, though, because then the next day it might be a completely different subject. He has no problem getting ‘enough done’ over the course of a year, he just doesn’t like to do a little of everything all at once like Meagan does. Also, he doesn’t have to be around people all the time, in fact just the opposite. He needs more alone time than Meagan. He’s certainly not devoid of social interaction and won’t be, but he needs time to himself more often and longer than Meagan. He might be ready for an all-day field trip with tons of friends and other kids one day, but another day he may just need to be alone most of the day. That is how he thrives.

It boils down to that, I guess. Meagan was surviving in homeschool, but not thriving. Matthew is the opposite. They both could/would get a good education in either place, but they’re only going to THRIVE in one or the other.

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July 2009
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