Archive for the 'Ideas of All Kinds' Category

Crazy, not lazy, May!

So it’s been a crazy busy May this year. Praise the Lord I’ve been healthy enough to handle it!! Last May I was doing good if I could get two or three chores done a week and was hoping beyond hope that I’d be able to survive our upcoming trip to Arkansas.

This May was so different. Granted the last 5 or 6 days of the month I spent doing a lot of sleeping, but nothing compared to last year or the 2-3 years before, for sure! I think I was just zapped because it’s been SO crazy busy…and it was ‘my time of the month’. Blech!

So what’ve we been up the last few weeks? Well, I got the new (temporary) floor down in the kitchen, three shelves hung in there, and a new cabinet/countertop installed. Of course, the icky old red laminate countertop from the 70s was replaced with white stone tile and the shallow sink replaced with a deep one, but props for those have to go to Mom and Dad. Actually, everything but the floor needs to, really. LOL I just helped hold boards in place for the shelving. I know. Hard work there, right?

Then there was the biggest cleaning the house has had since I first crashed with the Lyme. I don’t mean cleaning like scrubbing walls, baseboards, ceiling fans, and the like, though. Nope. I just mean getting STUFF put away and trash OUT. Oh, and laundry either washed or put in hampers. Yes it was that bad. No I am not proud of that fact. =/ So while the house did get “tidied”, it wasn’t really a “cleaning”. That is still to come. Soon, I hope.

Then there were the doctor appointments. We had 4 dr appts in 4wks! Matthew had a routine follow-up with the endocrinologist, and two visits to the pediatrician to try and get his bipolar meds adjusted. Then Meagan had to go and get strep throat again…. which she gave to me. Nice. Then I got a cold just as I was getting over the strep. Nice again.

My best friend/adopted sister has started a new business. Quite the entrepreneur she is. This is not her first endeavor at being her own boss and bringing in extra income for the family; just the first one since SHE crashed with Lyme. What’s she doing? Selling high-end cosmetics…wholesale. Selling LOTS of it. LOTS and LOTS. Like 5-figure orders, we’re talking! How does that have anything to do with me? Simple. She got in over her head because the business didn’t just bloom, it BURST almost over night. She needed an extra set of hands to help count, sort, package, and tend to her youngest (just turned 5yo). She was doing all that *and* all the emails (tons) and phone calls (even more tons) and overseeing another daughter’s homebound school and trying to get all the regular mom stuff done, too. Overwhelmed much? YES! lol

We’ve just about got her set up and ready to go, though. Well, I say that. I haven’t actually even started getting her new software set up yet, but at least I’ve got her convinced she has GOT to get some. (Seriously. Trying to keep track of thousands of dollars worth of orders on pieces of scratch paper and post-its just is NOT efficient!) I’m also getting a website set up for her to direct her customers to in order to see what she has available.

In the meantime, I also helped…or rather TRIED to help my older ‘niece’ with her Algebra. I was all like “Oh sure, I’ll help her. No problem!” And then I was all like “ummm I have NO idea how to do this”. We did, however, have an absolute BALL trying to figure the problems out. To our credit, between the two of us we DID get things figured out. It just took hours and enough laughter that we were seriously sore at the end of the day. We had fun, but I’m not so sure I should be ‘tutoring’ in Algebra anymore. LOL

After that adventure, we had the end-of-the-school-year awards ceremony for Meagan’s school. This kid makes me so proud! She comes home with handfuls of ribbons and other awards every year. Of course I’d be proud of her even if she didn’t, but it’s a Mom’s job to brag on the kids! =) She made mostly As with a couple of Bs all year long. Silly girl got a paper report of all the awards she had already received throughout the year and was shocked and excited when she saw that the tea towel she embroidered for my birthday won first place. She couldn’t remember bringing home the blue ribbon, so it was like winning all over again! LOL

After that I spent several days making a kitchen ‘unit’ for a ‘niece’s birthday present. It has a sink, cabinet under the sink, and then a dishwasher (with countertop). I had all the plastic canvas and almost all the yarn I needed, so aside from time the only cost for this bday gift was 50 cents for a clearanced set of dishes approximately Barbie sized, $1 for a gift bag, and the $2.58 I spent on a skein of gray yarn (of which I have almost the whole thing left). Not bad at all!

The last few days I’ve been busy doing some research. Matthew had an interesting ‘episode’ last week in which he had MAJOR problems getting to sleep 3 nights in a row. Why? Because his “toe felt funny”. Yes, seriously. The first night he was at my mom’s and I only heard about it in passing the next day. I picked up on the fact that he had cried some, but it sounded more like he missed me than anything else. At least that’s what my mom insinuated. I stayed at her place that night and he said it felt funny again. No tears and he didn’t seem to be in real distress, so I chalked it up to him being overtired and/or trying to stall. The third night we were back home and it happened again. This time he did cry. A lot. Also he admitted that it took everything he had to NOT cry the night before. There was nothing wrong with his toe physically. It just felt “funny”. It didn’t hurt, it wasn’t red or itchy, nothing like that. Just the way his toes were touching each other “felt funny” and it bothered him so much he literally was in tears because of it. Then the light bulb went on! He was fixating on the ‘funny feeling’ because of his OCD. We’ve known for years that he has OCD tendencies, and have joked that he has OCD many, many times. Never before, though, had his quirks interfered in his life in a major way. I explained to him what I thought was going on and he asked what to do about it. I told him there were medicines that could help. (I highly suspect that one of the meds he was recently taken off of had been treating the OCD to a degree…and now that the med is gone the OCD is coming on full force.) He was oh-so-ready to go to the ER. Right then! That’s how upset he was over this. He did NOT want to think about his toe, he did NOT want it to feel funny, he was tired (and admittedly so) and just wanted to go to sleep but he couldn’t quit thinking about it. The “funny feeling” was driving him crazy. Really.

After explaining that the medicine isn’t a ‘rescue’ med like his asthma inhaler, but a ‘maintenance’ med like his Singulair, I took him into my room and we laid in my bed while I read to him. I really was wishing I had some Ativan to give him, but since I didn’t (and I was certainly NOT taking him to the ER for an OCD ‘attack’) I thought trying to get his focus off the funny feeling toe and onto ANYTHING else was about the best thing I could do. Thankfully it worked. I can’t remember now what search terms I thought of while laying there holding my breath that the poor kid had finally managed to fall asleep, but I got up and came in here to the computer.

Whatever it was I looked up, it led me to a series of workbooks written by a psychiatrist. I ordered three of them on the spot. The names of them are: “What to Do When Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming OCD”, “What to Do When Your Temper Flares: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Problems with Anger”, and “What to Do When You Grumble Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Negativity” I have no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit led me to these books. Matthew needs these SO much! I pray that he will cooperate with me in working through them and that he will actually put into practice some of the technigues they teach him. From what I gather they are all based on cognitive-behavior therapy techniques that he would get if he were to see a psychiatrist or therapist for these challenges of his. Since he is NOT willing to go to someone else, this is truly a God-sent alternative. There is even a workbook for anxiety. I thought about buying that one, but really his horrific anxiety (disabling in all seriousness) is a thing of the past thanks to antibiotic treatment for the Lyme. There are a few others in the series as well, but for now I’m uber excited to see how these can help him.

All that research also led me (later, after I’d already purchased the 3 workbooks above) to a book/workbook set similar to this series only written specifically for bipolar! It’s in my shopping cart at Amazon waiting for the next payday!! The name of it is “My Bipolar, Roller Coaster Feelings Book”. PERFECT! If I had any question about sending Matthew to school versus keeping him here at home, the Lord just answered them clear as a bell! My only ‘regret’ is that Meagan will be home during the day for the next couple of months so finding “Mom and Matt Therapy Time” will be a bit more difficult… just as we’re getting started. Go figure! LOL

I’ve also been putting together a unit study on Isaac Newton for Matt. He took an interest in the laws of motion and wanted to know who figured them out. Not so ‘coincidentally’ Isaac Newton was a Christian who had bipolar disorder! Brilliant! I haven’t spent a lot of time on putting the unit together, but I did just order a biography from the Sower Series (Christian based) on Newton. That led me to looking at other science stuff since he doesn’t have a formal science curriculum this year. I found a couple of things I want to get, but not a huge hurry on those. THAT led me to researching English curriculum.

The English curriculum we’ve been using the last couple of years is really frustrating for Matt. It spends a lot of time on diagramming (which I can’t help him with because I never learned how to and it makes NO sense to me whatsoever), and just is so technical! He really struggles with it, which has been confusing for me because Matt is me ‘language’ kid. He has always been super fascinated with words and phrases and languages. He likes to know where the words/phrases came from, and just goes giddy over puns of any kind. He likes playing with words and even with accents. When he was little bitty and first started getting interested in words and what-not and then picked up reading and spelling almost instinctively I felt sure I had a writer in the making. Sadly he hates writing for now, and as I said he struggles in grammar, usage, and mechanics.

I think I may have found some answers to these problems, though. I’ve learned that the area of the brain affected by bipolar includes the area responsible for executive functioning. Long story short this makes writing difficult for him. He might have tons of ideas in his head (and he does) but getting them out onto paper is more difficult. I’ve found a curriculum for grammar, usage, and mechanics that does NOT use diagramming at all, and I’ve also found a writing curriculum that looks very promising given his unique challenges. These too are in my shopping cart awaiting next payday. LOL

On top of all that, Mike’s 64th birthday was yesterday, though honestly we didn’t ‘do’ much to celebrate. I sent him to the chiropractor and then stuffed his belly full of pork chops, fried eggs, and cheesecake. Fix ‘im up and then clog ‘im up. haha The rest of this week is busy with getting Meagan ready for teen church camp… that is provided she gets her chores caught up and we can find the funds to send her! Then next week (with Meg at camp…?) we’ll be getting Matt ready for church junior camp the following week. And sometime in the next two paydays we have to buy Meg some new uniform shirts for school.

We had to replace a tire on the van in amongst all this, too. Oh, and we also bought a new auto-injection device for Matt’s shots. I still need to purchase the rest of the fabric for the kitchen cabinet curtains, too. Lots of ‘extra’ expenses the last few and next few weeks!

At least we won’t have to buy 3 more tires for the van. My best friend’s dad (and Mike’s high school classmate) just gave us two nearly-new tires that will fit the van. That gets 3 of 4 replaced, and I’m pretty sure that one of the existing ones is still in pretty good shape. =)  I’m constantly being surprised by the ways in which the Lord provides for us!!

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Random Theological Musings

 

If it is possible for some men to fully believe they are saved and then be surprised at the judgement when they learn they are in fact, not….

And it is possible for saved men to doubt their salvation, right up to the time of death and then be surprised when they find themselves ushered into Heaven…

It therefore stands to reason that it is possible for a saved man to know he is saved and yet not know the exact time he was/will be saved, and be unsure of WHEN it has happened/will happen up to the time of death and then be surprised when they, too, are ushered into Heaven.

A good tree is known by its fruit. Some trees are mature, and its full, ripe fruit falls readily off its overloaded branches by the scores. Other trees are just beginning to bud out, as they are just beginning their first spring season, and as yet their fruit are just tender whispers of what will be. Still others, while they are not a first year sapling, are nonetheless new to bearing fruit. Perhaps because of many years of drought or poor soil, and where other trees of the same age have branches that are overflowing, their branches are very sparsely covered. The fruit is mostly small and only a few ripen and become heavy enough that it falls of its own fullness onto the ground. Most of the fruit must either be delicately handpicked or the tree shaken in some degree in order for the fruit to become seperated from its limb and fall.

While there is only way to the Father…to Heaven… and that way is Jesus Christ, I believe there are as many ways to Christ as there are souls. No two people, or souls, are alike. We are each created by God to be unique, and as such, no two of us will have identical thought processes, life experiences and opportunities, or emotional ‘baggage’ with which we have to deal. While the only way to be saved is to believe on Jesus Christ, there are an infinite number of ways to come to that belief.

John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever shall believeth in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” While it is true that we must each work out our own belief on Jesus… that is, we need to believe on Him in our own right, not just because someone else like a parent or grandparent did/does, each person must believe that “the world” and “whosoever” both include themselves personally… I find no specification as to HOW one must COME to that belief.

For some people the threat of their flesh being perpetually in flames helps them to realize that they truly are deserving of that punishment and that they NEED a Savior, and then are able to shake off the pride and stubborness of wanting to be self-sufficient and in need of no one and nothing, and so then are greatly comforted by the fact that God loved/s THEM enough to sacrifice His son, so that if they choose to believe on Jesus, they can escape that horrific fate.

For others, (and I think especially of young children, here), the thought of burning in hell never enters their thought processes. They hear that God loved/s them and that He sent His son to give them everlasting life in Heaven with Him, and that’s all they need to know. Jesus loves them and will take care of them. I think a lot of these types of people believe on Jesus simply because of His great love for them. I think, perhaps, that many never even give a thought to the ‘afterlife’ when they believe on Him, they just believe because of His love.

Still others, have perhaps resisted accepting and admitting what they know in their heart to be true because of their foolish pride in their thinking skills and remain ‘skeptical’ because…after all…no one who was around when the Bible was written or when Jesus walked the earth is around today, so how can anyone KNOW for sure it’s truth. Then something, or several somethings happen in their lives that show them that if they don’t “quit messin’ around” and just believe, their lives here on earth will only continue to spiral downward… faster and faster, until there is no way to pull their heads back up above the deep, dark abyss.

Then there are those who quietly watch believers from near or far, and notice that there is something different about them. Something different in their lives that enables them to get through even the most difficult of life’s trials with an overall sense of peace. They notice that there are many small differences in their day-to-day lives and that those differences are by and large, BETTER than what they have. Perhaps they watch quietly for years and see blessing after blessing bestowed on the believer and countless times of comfort or intervention when trouble comes their way. Perhaps they have even personally benefited from the prayers or good deeds of the believer. They watch and they eventually come to a decision that whatever it is that makes the believer different, they want the same thing, and then when they hear the gospel, they believe. Not because of fear of burning flesh and eternal suffering, but because they have SEEN with their own eyes the incredible earthly benefits of believing on Jesus.

John 3:16 has often been called the gospel in miniature; I’ve even heard it called the bible in miniature. It is certainly the greatest story ever told. Thousands of souls have been saved and had their names recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life with their only knowledge of God or the bible being what is expressed in this verse. It’s that powerful! It’s that simple!

Let’s break the six simple phrases into three parts. (Three, as opposed to six, because the last 3 phrases are very much dependant on each other…intertwined like a finely made rope.)

For Godevery man is created by God and the knowledge of the existence of God is ‘built in’ at creation. Every soul knows on an instinctual, primal level of the existence of God.

so loved the world- just as every soul knows on an instinctual, primal level of the existence of God, so too does every soul realize on that same deep level that they are a creation of that God…that without that God they would not exist. As they mature, and are able to begin reasoning, they go on to realize that if one creates something, they are bonded to it…they love it. If they did not love it, they would not have created it. Therefore, on the most elemental level, every soul is already aware that God loves not only them, but all souls that He has created. (This would include unborn children.)

that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.- This is the part of the verse that men are NOT born knowing in their own hearts. This phrase, along with the rest of the verse is why it is most necessary for believers to share the gospel with others. The first part of this verse men know instinctually. Unless someone who has already learned it themselves shares this knowledge with them, they will never know the story of God’s son. They will not know that He exists, nor why it was necessary for him to lay down his life for the men of this world. While each soul, will know instinctually that God is better than s/he is, that they are in comparison- bad, the knowledge of what this means has NOT been instilled in them at their creation. Somebody will need to tell them that God has a begotten son. Somebody will need to tell them that WHOSOEVER believeth in this begotten son, will have everlasting life.

While there are many doctrines contained in the bible, and many, many more lessons for a soul to learn about God and His son, Jesus Christ, the small amount of information (which is the greatest truth in all the world) contained in this one verse is all that is necessary for a soul to know in order to receive eternal life.

My Goals and Plans for 2009

I’ve been thinking a lot about the different goals and such I want to set for the new year. I don’t feel like I have everything nailed down just yet, but I do have a couple. I’m not going to call these resolutions, but goals. I like the idea of having a goal or a theme or whatever for the year.

One thing I plan on doing is trying very, very hard to keep grocery spending to $80 or less a week. That includes toiletries, paper and cleaning products, and pet supplies. (Except the flea control, since I get that online.)

I did a trial run sotospeak today. I planned out a menu for the next week…

Wed- hamburger helper, leftover veggies
Thurs- blackeyed peas, beans, cornbread
Fri- ground beef stew
Sat- creamy chicken casserole
Sun- crockpot potato soup
Mon- chicken/veggie/rice bake
Tues- pizzas
Wed- grilled cheese and tater tots

…and went to the store to pick up the things I’d need to accomplish this. I also had to make sure I got stuff for lunches both here at home and then Mon-Wed of next week school lunches.

I also needed to get sponges, scrubbies, and rinse aid for the dishwasher if I had enough $ leftover.

I was pretty sure I’d make it this week since I already had ground beef, bread, and almost 2 gallons of milk.

I also had a bunch of coupons, some of which were expiring within the next week, so IF I was going to have enough leftover and IF it would be a good deal (i.e. something we would actually use or would be buying later), I wanted to add a few things that weren’t on my list.

I did it! =) I got everything on my have-to-get list and more for $71!!

Some of the better highlights…

I bought 10lb of potatoes instead of 5lb, so they’ll go twice as far. I got a one-load package of Tide and a bottle of Suave hairspray for free. I got 4 cans of soup, and 4 packages of rice that weren’t on the list, so that’s a decent start towards next weeks’ groceries.

I did actually spend more than the $80 today, though. I went to the dollar store and spent $20 on Christmas decorations (LOTS, plus 4 matching Christmas dinner plates), and I also spent $15 on Christmas stuff at WalMart (mostly tins for giving away fudge or cookies next year).

The only things I didn’t pick up (yet) are carrots which go on sale tomorrow, and another gallon of milk which Mike can pick up on his way home from work Saturday for cheaper than I could get it here.

Not too bad for a first go! I even had room to get some crockpot liners and shampoo!

Another thing I’m going to try to do in 2009 is finish up a BUNCH of little projects and also start and finish some bigger ones.

I’ll be updating my projects page to the new 2009 goals tonight or tomorrow.

I’m hoping that the projects I want/plan to do will be at least partially funded by ‘leftover’ grocery $. That’s a pretty tall order considering I’ve set a limit of $80 a week and I’ve been averaging around $180 a week. It’s going to be hard enough to keep it under the $180 consistently, let alone enough under $80 that I have leftovers! We’ll see.

I told the kids what I plan on doing and told them that anything leftover up to the $80 mark gets put into a project/goody fund. I’m hoping they will help me out and then we’ll be able to buy stuff like paint and lamps for their room, maybe a new Wii game, or just a trip to the ice cream shop.

Christmas Gift Ideas

Last night’s message at church was really good. The pastor had lots of examples and illustrations and anecdotes, but the message was really quite simple…

What are you willing to give Jesus this CHRISTmas?

Jesus is the reason for the season. We are supposed to keep Christ in CHRISTmas.  I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t recognize and do that more than I do. I’ve been praying and thinking about how I can do a better job at that.

This is what I’m starting with…

I’m going back to (back to because I have done it in the past) baking a birthday cake for Jesus for one. It IS a celebration of His birth, after all.

When we celebrate our children’s births we generally throw them a party complete with balloons, games, cake, and gifts. Our children are very special and dear and their births really are something to celebrate…

Jesus is special and dear and His birth is really something to celebrate, too. And we do. That’s what Christmas is, of course.

We sure do celebrate His birth weird, though. Think about it. When we celebrate our children’s births we have good foods and presents. When we celebrate Jesus’ birth we have the same, but different. For our kids’ birthday celebration, we give gifts to the birthday boy or girl… the one whose birth we are celebrating. Jesus’ birthday celebration?? We give gifts to all the guests, sometimes we give gifts to OURSELVES even, but do we give gifts to the One whose birth we’re celebrating? Nope.

The kids get a cake and presents. What will Jesus get?

Ok, so chances are pretty good Jesus doesn’t really want a Tickle Me Elmo or a Bratz doll. He probably doesn’t need a new cell phone or back massager. While I’m sure He would be polite about receiving a green sweater with a reindeer on it, I don’t think that’s the kind of gift He REALLY wants.

I’m not sure any of the things you can find at the local WalMart or ‘in’ the many online stores are really fit to give the King.

The three wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Those gifts are fit for a king, but I’m sure many, many kings have received gifts like that.

Jesus is not just a king, He is THE King of Kings. He doesn’t need any more gold. (Really, it all belongs to Him already anyway.)

So what kinds of gifts are fit for The King? Here are a few suggestions…

  • Give Him your bad habits. No I don’t mean give him a bottle of booze, a pack of smokes, a pile of garbage that you tossed out the car window, or a copy of that TV show you really shouldn’t be watching. I mean GIVE UP (REPENT OF) YOUR SIN! This could really be anything. Just because none of the above habits fit you, doesn’t mean you have none. There’s something you could give up. Ask Him what He’d like you to give up if you can’t think of something. (Don’t we ask our kids what they want for their birthday?)
  • Give Him your time. Just like our kids like spending time with us (going shopping maybe or reading them bedtime stories), so too does Jesus (going soul-winning or reading your bible). Maybe you could spend more time in prayer, bible reading/studying, soul-winning, Sunday School teaching, working on a bus route or VBS…
  • Give Him your service. This could actually be a dual gift with your time. Jesus spent a lot of time here on earth helping others. Caring for them and helping them with whatever they needed help with. Whether it was medical help (healing), physical help (food), emotional help (comforting), or spiritual help. We can do the same thing. We can reach out to our neighbors and give them aid when they’re hurt, we can share our resources (food, clothing, money, shelter, whatever) with those in need, we can certainly be kind (kindness costs nothing), and we can pray for others.
  • Give Him your life. This is all an-encompassing gift. This is the creme-de-le-creme sotospeak. With this gift you will be giving Jesus your repentance of sin, your time, and your service. Considering the gift He has given you**, it’s really not too over-the-top at all.

I think this year I’m going to start a new tradition of being sure to include the One whose birthday we’re celebrating on my gift list. I’m hoping to get the kids to include Him on theirs, too.

And yes, truth be told the cake is more for us than for Jesus. It’s just a little token to REMIND us whose celebration it really is and who should really be getting the gifts and the glory! Plus it’s tasty! =)

** If you’ve never received a gift from Jesus (or you’re not sure if you have), but would like to, or you’re wondering who this Jesus is and why anyone would want to give Him these gifts click here to read about The Gift of God.  Unlike the gifts we give each other, the gift Jesus has for you is not kept under wraps until a specific day. It’s not a secret. It’s guaranteed to not be the wrong size, color, or brand. It’s not cheap or last-minute. It will never break, wear out, or fade. It’s precious, priceless, and perfect. It’s eternal life in Heaven.


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