Archive for the 'lettin’ hubby lead' Category

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.


Impeccable Timing

I can’t recall where, but somewhere and sometime in the last 2 days I read a little note that said that while our physical bodies grow slowly and at a relatively steady rate, our spiritual ‘body’ grows in spurts and leaps and bounds.

Oh how true that is! Even my reading that (and then tonight recalling it again) is an illustration of impeccable timing, and the impeccable timing… let’s call it the ‘lesson in impeccable timing’… is a glorious example of my own spiritual self going through another growth spurt.

I wrote the above two paragraphs about an hour ago. More of that timing. =) Matthew woke up needing a neb treatment and wanted me to sit with him while he did it. Despite the fact that just before I got up out of bed to plug the puter back in and get on here and type up these praises to God for His greatness and impeccable timing I had prayed silently in my head something like…

“…and now that I know the devil can’t hear what we are saying to You when we talk to You like this, I know that if I ask You to please prevent the devil from interfering with me doing this, if I ask You to please make it smooth-sailing sotospeak so that I can be sure that yes this is what you would have me do (get up in the middle of the night to go type for awhile even though I do need sleep because I have to get up at 7am with the kids and I’m still needing LOTS of hours of sleep)… now that I know I am truly asking You this such that the devil has no idea… I can know that if I have no interferences, then I can be sure of Your will in this…”

…despite the fact that I had JUST prayed that, I did not immediately go “oh well that’s it, that’s an interference, I should go back to bed and not type my thoughts up tonight. (And, as an aside yes, I am well aware that the above was nowhere NEAR being grammatically correct. Since I am typing how I THINK and I do not necessarily THINK grammatically correct, I think the technical errors are perfectly acceptable in this instance.) (How’s that for parenthetical thoughts imbedded in more parenthetical thoughts!!)

I didn’t immediately write it off as not God’s will after all, I must have been mistaken, because (well partially because I am learning patience and learning to wait on His timing…see even more impeccable timing) I remembered something else about God… and life. There is a reason for EVERYTHING. Everything that happens, everything that doesn’t happen, every situation, every interruption, everything that happens in a different way than you expected, or at a different time than you expected, etc.

So… I thought… “ok, there is a reason for this. It could be the reason is He is telling me ‘no, go back to bed and sleep’… OR the reason could be something else entirely. I’ll go sit with my little boy who is not feeling well and wants his mom and just see how things go.”

Into the living room I went. Matt set up his neb treatment and sat down on the couch and I followed. At first I started to pick up the book I’ve been reading (Rilla of Ingleside), thinking I’d do what I did last night when this happened…I’d get another chapter or two in. Then I had a much better idea… God’s idea. I told Matt I’d be right back and I went back into the bedroom and picked up my bible (well, actually Mike’s bible, but the one I do my daily reading from). See, I still hadn’t done my daily reading.

I normally do my bible reading after I’ve gotten the kids off to school. By then I’ll have eaten and taken my morning meds, and even though I’m generally exhausted and need more sleep, I have to stay upright for at least 30min or else my meds will burn my esophagus. Sooo… I’ll prop the pillows up, climb back in bed (but sitting!), snuggle under the covers, and read until I just cannot stay awake long enough to comprehend a sentence anymore. By then there has been enough time that I can lay down and not get burned. I generally get 2-4 chapters in.

Today, though, the kids were off, I was getting something to eat and the phone rang. I almost didn’t answer it, but something told me to answer this call. I did and it was a very good friend of mine asking if I could come over and play. No, I’m just kidding. =) She wanted some help with a project. It always seems like play when I’m with her though, because she is just so good for me! We talk and I don’t know about her, but I have a wonderful time talking. We laugh, occasionally we’ll cry (or maybe just come near it), we do occasionally get something accomplished, and I always, always find myself coming away stronger, encouraged, and refreshed. I guess she’s kinda my own little F5 button or something. I just seem to have a spiritual growth spurt of some sort nearly every time we have one of our ‘playdates’. I can’t count the number of times that has happened. Sometimes it’s just one little thing I’ve learned, other times (like today) it’s a whole lotta goodies all in a big bundle.

Anyway. There were a couple of reasons I could see that the interruption was so I could get my bible reading done. One is the most obvious… so I could get it done without forgetting it. Then, too, I’d be doing that before doing all this typing. First things first sotospeak. Also, one of the things I had learned (or realized or realized anew or whatever…) today was that the kids need to see (or hear) me doing the godly things that I normally consider to be very private, just me and Jesus kind-of-things, at least every once in awhile. So there was that, too.

So I read. I was in 2 Samuel towards the end of the book, and as I often do when I’m reading, I made a comment out loud. Tonight’s was “Ok, I so do not understand this story. I have no idea what is going on or what this means.” I mean seriously, even the little footnote dealys weren’t helping me out this time! (Definitely not a first-time occurence, mind you.) It occured to me that even though I’ve told Matthew (and Meagan, too) that no one understands all of the bible, and certainly not the first time they read it, and no one is expected to… certainly not the first time they read it… and I’ve told them that there are lots of parts I do not understand when I read it… I’d never given them a specific example of a bit I didn’t understand. That might not seem like such a big deal, but to kids especially, it might be a huge deal. Even though they hear us ‘talking the talk’, they might not truly believe we are ‘walking the walk’ if they don’t see any specific evidence of that.

Well, after Matt’s treatment was over and he went back to bed, I came in and sat back down to the computer only to find that our anti-virus program was doing its nightly scan. ‘Aha!’ I thought! Another reason for the interruption. Better I walk back in on it already running than it take off on its own all of a sudden when I’m right in the middle of writing a tricky grammatically incorrect sentence!

It only took a second or two for me to figure out what I should do while I waited for it to finish. I’d only gotten one chapter read… so I brought the bible back in here and… I kid you not… the anti-virus scan ended within about 5sec of me finishing the book of 2 Samuel! Talk about impeccable timing!!

Now… all that (or nearly all anyway) was/were (whatever!) thoughts that came to me after I decided to get up and come and type some thoughts out. Now I can get to the thoughts that were begging to be put down on paper (figuratively since my handwriting is horrible, but my typing is pretty good) and that were the intended subject of this very long post.

I’ve actually touched a bit upon it above. It’s the awesome way God times literally everything and in particular the many, many illustrations or instances if you will, of Him doing so in my life in the last week. I don’t think it would be possible for me to write them all out and I’m not even going to try. There are some that deal with private family matters that really don’t need to be made public. I am going to give some specific examples, and then others I’ll talk about a little, but only in vague terms, no specifics. Really though, the specific details aren’t the point anyway, it’s the fact that the Lord has been timing everything just so.

The Lord has really been working through impeccable timing this last week. Little things, big things, and everything in between. For a start I’ve had a lot of instant prayers answered instantly. Things like “Lord please help me find the ____” and within seconds, sometimes even before I complete the sentence, there it is. Shoes, CDs, remotes, and lots of other stuff that I’m not even remembering. These are some of the little things.

One of the bigger things needs a teensy expansion thought. The expansion/background/whatever is this: very often these ‘playdates’ with my friend have been immediately followed (when I get home, of course) with a really good talk with Mike about something spiritual. Something that probably I had been wanting to talk to him about for a long time, but just somehow hadn’t worked up the courage to do so. This friend of mine, I don’t have a clue how she does it, but she somehow inspires and encourages me, and I can’t say enables because that part comes from Christ (although… I suppose it could be that He is doing so through her… there’s a thought), so maybe not enables, but maybe something close to it… strengthens me or gives me more confidence or something! What it boils down to is when I get home, I’m just suddenly courageous (or whatever) enough to start the conversation. And the times (more than once or twice) this has happened… the talk has gone far better than I ever anticipated, and ever-so-much easier.

One thing I want to make perfectly clear, these talks are not confrontations in any form. Sometimes it’s something as silly-simple as asking him a spiritual question, like “Can I tithe off the grocery money each week?”. I won’t say I never confront Mike in a manner that I should not, because chances are I probably have at some point and will probably do so again at some point. I’m far from perfect. I just want to be clear that these talks that she has helped me (somehow) to be able to have with Mike are just that… talks. Often they are attempts to encourage him, to show him I intend to be (and am) submissive to the decisions he makes for the family, to share with him or to point out to him different things God has done or is doing, etc.

So basically… no foul play involved. =) At least, not that I know of!

The tithing on the grocery money thing is one of the bigger ones I want to share, but the question itself was actually asked last week. Here’s where the timing comes in…

For whatever reason, Mike just does not have the trust or belief that God really, truly will take care of us financially if we tithe that I do. I certainly do not mean that to say I am better than him or anything of the like… do not think that. I just mean that it’s become evident to me that while I have no doubt that God can and will take care of our needs…including those financial ones… he does have doubts. Or at least hesitations. Or something.

To me the single most important thing we can/should do to help/improve our financial situation is to tithe. I know that beyond any shadow of a doubt. Even if it seems like there is no way we can afford to lose that 10%, the truth is we can’t afford to keep it! Mike, though, he just can’t see that.

So, as I talked about before (which ‘coincidentally’ also contained references to God’s impeccable timing), he told me to quite putting the tithe check in at church because the bills were getting such that he felt we couldn’t afford to tithe anymore. I knew that while not tithing is not the right thing to do, tithing against his say-so was not the right thing either. However, I still wanted to help our financial picture somehow. Right now there are only a few ways I can do that. The biggest impact/influence I have on the finances is through the grocery shopping. I cut my ‘budget’ back from “whatever it ends up being” to $80/wk when I do the grocery shopping. I’ve been clipping coupons and matching them with sales. I’ve been planning menus and trying to cut back on food wastes, etc.

Then I had another thought… I know that God can make the 90% you keep go far further the the 100% you keep. That’s true on the big scale… like with paychecks… and on the small scale too. Even though Mike didn’t think we could afford to tithe off his income maybe he would be agreeable to me tithing off the grocery money. After all, that would only be $8 a week. Maybe a smaller amount wouldn’t be so scary to him. Also, that would fit in perfectly with another thing I’ve been trying to do for a long time now… that is finding (and then executing) ways to help Mike see that the Lord really does care and really will provide… that He can do anything, even miracles… even for us. If he would agree to letting me tithe off the grocery money, not only would it make the grocery money go further (thus improving the finances), I knew it wouldn’t be long before I would have the opportunity to point out just how God was doing so!

Love never fails! God is love! God never fails!

I asked Mike that question last week. He said yes. (excited squeal!) Today, after our ‘playdate’ I took the kids grocery shopping. They helped me comparison shop and keep track of what we were spending and when we got to the checkout our total was well under the $72. Score 1! Then when we got home, I initiated a conversation with Mike about finances and the subject of tithing did, of course, come up.

As most conversations do, this one rambled around and we talked about a lot of different things. At one point he brought up the fact that his schedule change meant he would be traveling a little further to work each day, and then mentioned something like “well at least I’ll be getting partial shift differential for the 2 afternoon shifts”. His schedule was changed last week. He told me his new hours last week. I did not know until today (right then) that there was going to be a change in pay. It turns out that the new schedule change is going to mean about $12 more a week.

I grinned and said, “See! Last week you told me I could tithe on the groceries and already (before I’d even had a chance to give the tithe and go shopping for the first time after getting permission) He’s given it back… PLUS! You can’t outgive God. You just can’t!” Score 2!

So that’s an example of the little and the big. Now for one of the in-betweens… just one, though there have been many… because this is already very long, and it is getting very late, and also I do believe these few are all that’s really necessary to make my point and that is that God’s timing is impeccable!

Matthew has been leaving the house without permission this last week. He’s done it 3 or 4 times and each time I’ve left the discipline up to Mike, and I have just kinda ‘given him a talkin’ to’. Besides the standard you have got to obey for your own safety and simply because God says to… I also explained to him that the kids he has been playing with this past week (when he’s left without permission) are watching him and his sister and really our whole family very closely right now and he needs to set a good example. Of course, as an ambassador of Christ we/he should do that all the time anyway… set a good example to the world in general… but right now with these kids it’s even more personal.

Two sisters and a brother, they are. The younger girl and the boy both attended church with us one Wed night about 3wks ago. Before we left they both spoke with the husband of my ‘playdate’ friend, my Sunday School teacher, and the children’s church preacher. (Same guy, not 3 different ones, I mean.) They both accepted Christ as their Saviour and got saved that night. Last weekend (so a week ago), Meagan had a slumber party (which I have intended to post about but have not yet…I’ll get to that sometime…). Both of these sisters were invited and since they live in the neighborhood were the last to leave. Before they left, I was able to talk with the older girl about Jesus and showed her how she could be saved. I led her to the Lord and the smile on that girl’s face when I told her all of Heaven was singing and shouting and just so happy that she had gotten saved! =)

Meagan and the girl’s sister were both in the room and the sister would sometimes say something or ask a question that would lead to more discussion. One of the things she asked about was ‘what if you were trying to be good and change and not sin anymore’. This, along with Meagan’s retelling of an incident just a few days after she (the younger sister) had been saved where the older girl had told the younger to go in our house and take some gum and the younger told her ‘no, that’s stealing and that’s a sin’ because Meagan had told her the 10 commandments a day or so before, was plenty of evidence to me that she was absolutely watching our family (in particular the kids) to see how she should act now that she was a Christian.

It’s this younger girl (more so than the older who is closer to Meagan’s age) who Matthew has been playing with mostly this week, and so that’s what I would explain to him each time- that he was setting a bad example for this girl.

Well, tonight he left the house again without permission (it’s been a case of I turn my back and he’s gone each time! so frustrating!!) and when he came back (he hadn’t been gone long enough that Mike had left to go hunt him down like he’s done a couple of times), I went through the whole rigamarole again with the setting a good example for the younger (spiritually anyway) kids. We told the kids it was time to stay in and their friends needed to go home for the day, so they said bye and the friends left.

Not ten minutes later there was a knock on the door. The older girl and the brother had come looking for the younger girl. “She left without permission and we don’t know where she went”, the older sister said. They started to leave to go look elsewhere, we shut the door and I seized the opportunity to show Matt (thanks to God’s impeccable timing!!!) that what I had been saying about her watching him was true. Both my kids wanted to go help look, but Daddy had already said it was time to stay home, so they asked if they could at least give the kids ideas of where to look.

I agreed and they went out, called the kids back to the property and the four of them stood there discussing and eliminating places where she might have gone. By this point the concern was beginning to really set in, I think. They came up with a couple of places to look, the siblings set out, and my two headed back in. Before he’d gone very far, Matt turned back and hollered, “Call us if you find her!”

When he came in I pointed out to him that the concern and/or fear that they all were beginning to feel was only a little taste of what it does to us old parents. Not to mention the fact that there always is the real possibility that the wayward kiddo is hurt or in danger somewhere… and you have no idea where or even that they need help and so besides you being scared there’s the threat of the kiddo not getting help at all and so maybe things could get worse.

Timing. It’s all about the timing.

Oh, I did want to share (vaguely because there’s too many specifics) some other ‘in-between’ examples real quick.

During the course of our ‘playdate’ today, there were numerous occasions that the conversation stumbled upon a very specific thing or thought that I had just in the last 24hr been praying about. Coincidence? Certainly! As long as you use the true meaning of the word (a meeting of events in time). If, however, you are using the currently accepted meaning… no way! God’s impeccable timing.

Even the fact that she called today of all days, today right on the heels of all these other things that were being timed out so perfectly and on the very heels of my meditating on different things and praying about all these things, was evidence of the Lord’s meticulously timed plan.

So it seems that once again a ‘playdate’ has ended with a spiritual growth spurt. I can’t even really put my finger on just exactly how or what has grown in what way, but I can tell I have… somehow. And I am so very thankful for all these wonderful timing lessons this last week. I love watching it all come to fruition like it seemed to tonight when I laid down and started to pray. It just seemed like looking back over the last week there were so many, many beautifully timed events that were opportunities for someone, whether it was me (as in the case of the little instant prayers), my loved ones (as in the case of the tithing and the behavior modeling), or someone else – a virtual stranger – (as in the case of the two sisters whom I really only met at the slumber party) to learn more about Jesus and His love for us.

That’s really what this post was about. I wanted to write about this growth spurt and share it with whomever is interested in reading it… whenever. ;-)

He will make all things beautiful in His time. Even dumpy old mommies like me. (Says the 30yo who is finally getting interested in caring for her skin and in dressing/looking nice and feminine and is on the verge of purchasing products to attend to this…but that’s another post entirely!)

And now, about 3.5hr and a little over 4,ooo words (so WordPress is telling me!) later I will go snuggle up to my hubby and nap till time to get up with the kids.

I think I have about an hour before time to wake the kids. But that’s ok, the Lord’s got the timing all planned out already so I don’t have to worry. I may be tired, but I know he’ll help me do the many things I need to do tomorrow (err… today…) regardless of tired and weak I am. I am weak, but HE is strong.

Mixed News. The end of an era?

Such a bag of mixed news today. Could explain why my feelings are mixed. Or maybe it’s mixed feelings and that’s what makes it mixed news.

The big where-are-the-kids-schooling question has been answered. Mike decided it would be best for everyone if I took a break from homeschooling this year and the kids went to our church’s school. He called today to set things up. Praise the Lord Meagan still has a scholarship, so we will only have to come up with tuition for Matthew.

I definitely have mixed feelings. Of course, Meagan loves the school up there, so she is ecstatic. No mixed feelings for her! LOL Matthew? Yeah, he’s just as mixed up as me, though for different reasons.

Don’t get me wrong… there is nothing WRONG with our church school. Good school, good environment, good teachers, good curriculum, good extracurricular activities, etc. Nothing wrong with it at all. I just don’t like giving up homeschooling EITHER kid… not that I’m losing THEM, just losing the opportunity to teach them. I really enjoy the homeschooling (that is, the way I like to/was homeschooling a few years ago… the last couple of years I have been unable to homeschool to my standards). It stung a little last year when I lost one student, but I definitely saw the special opportunities it opened up for one-on-one teaching. This year it just downright hurts.

It’s not the difference in the kids, either, although there is a difference in how each kid views this change. Meagan, of course, is thrilled to continue on in the private school. Matthew, on the other hand, is less than thrilled. He’s apprehensive at best, and terrified at worst. He has a lot of concerns about going, not the least of which is all the PEOPLE. (He is also not exactly excited about the loss of textbooks and the gaining of small workbooks… the kid likes to READ, and he’s loved reading his schoolbooks.)

The reason this year is so hard on me, is not because I’m losing Matthew this time as opposed to Meagan, it’s because I’m losing ALL students as opposed to just one. I don’t favor one kid over the other, though I’m sure to strangers it probably appears that way because of the difference in the kids’ personalities (Matthew is mega-clingy and sticks to me like glue, Meagan is super-independent and can hardly be seen with me for more than a second before she takes off to do her own thing.)

Homeschooling is all I know. It’s been my ‘thing’, my job for 10 years. It’s been my life. I don’t mean that homeschooling has been more important to me than anything else and that nothing else holds any meaning whatsoever, I just mean that homeschooling… or at least the way I like to homeschool… is a lifestyle. It’s not just what we do did during school hours, it is was the way we live d.

I’m not going to lie and say I’m excited, or that I’m even happy about this. I will say that I gave the decision over to Mike, and I will stand by what he chose. I will even do so without complaining (too much…at least… I’ll TRY not to complain!). I can’t promise I will do this without a couple of bucketfuls of tears over what I’m losing.

No, it’s not the end of the world, and yes there are even aspects of this change I AM looking forward to… like Matthew learning to pray in front of others (they take turns asking the blessing at lunch). I just feel like in the last year everything I knew, everything I did, everything I was able to contribute has been slowly but surely taken away from me. This… the homeschooling… was the biggest contribution to my family and to the world and certainly to the Lord that I was making. It was and IS the only thing I knew how to do even remotely well enough to be considered a *good* thing… and now that’s gone.

With no longer being able to homeschool even, I feel like a complete and total failure in every regard. I mean I knew I was failing at the raising of the kids in terms of discipline and making them feel loved and accepted and so forth, but at least I was training their minds academically decently. I might suck at handling sibling squabbles or chores or hurt feelings or spiritual questions, but at least I could teach them how to use a dictionary or how to do long division. I might not know what to do or how to do it when it came to the “parenting” part of raising these two, but at least I could see how they each learn differently… what they have difficulty with, what they excel in, how they think, etc… and was able to fine-tune the curriculum and teaching methodology to suit their individual needs.

Proverbs 22:6 has SO much meaning to me… so many layers. I believe that each child’s training needs to be individually tailored in every way… that is tailored based on the way the learn, their personality, their spiritual gifts, their talents, their weaknesses, their strengths, their physical, mental, and emotional help… just completely and 100% tailored for them. Train up a child in the way they should go… (pronoun choice and emphasis mine to illustrate what I mean by individualizing everything). This is what I’ve tried to do, and while the private school is a good school and the teachers are good and the curriculum is good… they can’t tailor every little thing the way I can here at home. Not because I am so much better at doing so, just that they have to use ONE curriculum, ONE schedule, and they have several kids. It is perfectly understandable that there has to be some level of standardization amongst the class… whereas here at home I only had two kids to ‘tailor’ for and a vast array of curriculum and schedule options. (Plus, I had the added bonus ‘leg-up’ of knowing each child very personally from the time they were born. lol)

Now it’s someone else’s job. I don’t doubt that they can DO the job, that’s not my problem. My problem is… the teaching was the only job I felt like I could do even a little bit ‘well’. It’s like… my academics… my knowledge… my brain was all I had to give the kids, and now that that is gone…

It just hurts so much.

And also? What in the world am I supposed to occupy my time with now?? I mean, sure, I can crochet, sew, read, learn, etc, but do you have any idea how GUILTY I will feel doing things I enjoy but have no benefit for anyone aside from my own pleasure instead of doing something else I enjoy but that actually BENEFITS the kids (i.e. Homeschooling)?!!

I hate this.

My Husband Needles Me

A few months back Mike and I had a rare night without kids. We did what most red-blooded-married-for-almost-twelve-years-American couple would do in that kind of situation…

He pulled out a movie and headed to the new TV in the living room and I headed to bed… to sleep.

Except I didn’t get to go to bed. I ended up having to watch the movie that I wasn’t interested in at all. Why? Because our bedroom floor hated me that night. Maybe it was mad at me for tossing my shoes a little too roughly… or maybe it was upset that I hadn’t given it a good mopping in awhile. I dunno. For whatever reason, as soon as I stepped into the bedroom, the floor stabbed me!

It did! A huge, gigantic LOG of the floor lodged itself in the bottom of my foot. (Probably because lodging itself in the top of my foot would’ve been too difficult for it… the stupid log!)

I gasped and hopped into the bathroom to find the tweezers whose usual job it is to keep the hair off my chinny-chin-chin. I flopped back over to the bed and pulled my leg up to inspect the carnage bestowed upon me by the evil wood floor. Yup, sure enough a GIANT log of a splinter that was starting to sting like crazy. Burn, really. Something about the fact that these floors are close to 100 years old…

So there I was with an antique telephone pole stuck in the bottom of my foot, but no worries! I had my trusty chin-hair-plucking tweezers! Alas, the bit of the redwood-sized piece of flooring that was sticking OUT of my foot trembled in fear of the mighty tweezers and promptly broke and fell off. Victory!

Or not… now there was nothing left to grab… or at least, not much. Yikes! I knew that if there was any hope of grabbing the teensy bit still on the outside of my skin it was going to take a steadier hand and eye than mine, so I hopped in to the living room and handed Mike the tweezers. He tortured me tried unsuccessfully to grab at the splinter with the tweezers, so I decided to soak my foot. The idea was for the splinter tree to kinda be drawn out and when I took my foot out of the warm, salty water…wahla! No more foreign object.

So I sat down to watch the totally boring movie (actually it was You’ve Got Mail, which is actually not-so-boring, it’s just I’d already seen it 5,392 times and so sleep sounded WAY more appealing) and soak my stinging, burning, ouching foot.

Notice I said the idea was for the splinter to be drawn out. The reality ended up being that all the warm, salty water did was soften the skin a tiny bit and wrinkle my toes. My foot was still impaled by the bedroom floor’s weapon of fierce owie-ness.

Now I have to stop this suspenseful (haha-hoho) tale for a moment and make a note that in the days just prior to being attacked by the floor, I had been worrying about my health and more specifically about what would happen if I got sicker before I got better and who would take care of me, because Mike was obviously not going to. After all he was all disinterested and seemingly unmoved any time I mentioned feeling achy or what-have-you. Any time anything medical or remotely so came up with the kids it was always left to me to handle… so obviously this translated into “I will be on my own and no one will take care of me”. Because my brain likes to put random conclusions on things that really make no sense.

Then Mike asked for a needle. He was going to have to perform surgery dig it out. OY VEY!!!

I have always hated splinters. Even just the real simple, little-bitty, out-on-the-first-try-with-tweezers kind. Once, as a kid, I got a splinter of GLASS (can you imagine the horror??) in my foot and I carried on so and screamed so much, that my mom was petrified the new neighbors would call the cops for child abuse. Splinters always seemed to mysteriously disappear anytime Mom even mentioned a needle. Not once did she manage to get near me with one. Come to think of it, there are probably some splinters still in my feet or hands that I didn’t let her get out with the needle and so the skin eventually grew over it. Yeah, I probably should not have let my thoughts wander in that direction… now I’ll forever be wondering just how much wood I’m carrying around under my skin…

Anyway. So Mike asked for a needle because the floor had done a doozy on my poor, size 7.5W (so not so little) foot and the chunk of wood was completely under the skin, inaccessible by tweezers. Great… not! Somewhere between the thoughts “AAAAAAHHHHHHH!” and “No, no, no, no, NO! NO NEEDLE!” I had the thought “there is even a reason for getting splinters and this time it might be an opportunity to show you that you can trust Mike to take care of you”.

And so, I gritted my teeth and tried with all my might to hold still while Mike dug at my foot with a needle equally as big as the log he was trying to dig out. (Or at least it felt that way.) My might wasn’t enough to keep me completely still or quiet, though. I did squirm and squeal, or at least Mike claims I did. (I think maybe he’s just foolin’…)

The thing is… Mike did get the splinter out… and he was VERY gentle in doing so. Yes, I said gentle in reference to a needle. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. I immediately declared him the World’s Best Splinter-Taker-Outer and have since referred the kids to Daddy at least twice with rave reviews of his splinter-removal skills.

Better than that though, I saw the whole episode for what it was… an opportunity to see that I could trust Mike to take care of me. I know that sounds hooky, but it’s totally true. It was hard for me to trust him with that needle, but I knew I needed to and I knew God wanted me to. So I closed my eyes and ‘handed’ over my foot instead of declaring the splinter miraculously gone and running and locking myself in the bathroom like I used to do as a kid. I’m glad I did, because I learned so much. Like how gentle my husband’s great big hands can be and how careful he is in trying not to hurt me BUT also totally capable of ‘doing what needs to be done’.

It’s a lesson that immediately came to mind a few weeks ago when my doctor told me I’d need IM (intramuscular…as in IN THE MUSCLE and so therefore very LONG and FAT needle) shots of B12 every day for awhile.

Somewhere between the thoughts of “AAAAAAHHHHHHH!” and “No, no, no, no, NO! NO NEEDLE!” I had the thought “It’s ok. Mike can do it and he’ll be good at it. It’ll be ok with him doing it.

And truly… as much as I squirmed and squealed for the couple of weeks between hearing this news and actually getting everything in place (medicine, syringes, training) to start the daily injections… deep down I really wasn’t worried about it. That’s not to say I was looking forward to them or that I wasn’t a little curious as to just how it would feel, but I really wasn’t worried about the shots… as long as Mike was giving them.

I knew I could never give them to myself, which was actually the dr’s first suggestion. Needles are sized according to ‘gauge’. Kind of like wire. So the bigger the number gauge, the thinner the needle. Then they also have a length. The needles that Meagan uses for her growth hormone are super-thin and short. They barely go under the skin and they are just barely thicker than a hair. Seriously. They are 5/8″ long and 31 gauge.

I have a SUPER hard time poking those needles through skin… basically? I can’t bring myself to do it at all… which is why we use the Injectease. We put the syringe/needle in the Injectease, put the Injectease on Meagan’s skin and push the button. The Injectease pops the needle in her skin using spring-action and then I just push the plunger to deliver the meds. I don’t do any poking, though.

I use a big, fat 20 gauge to mix her meds. It’s almost as thick as the innards of a ballpoint pen. The needles I was going to be using? 1 1/2″, yes that is ONE AND ONE HALF inches, and 22 gauge!! You’ll notice 22 is closer to 20 than 31. There is a reason. They are THICK! Then the stupid pharmacy didn’t have 22 gauge and so Mike came home with a week’s supply of 21 gauge! Also, because they are so long and so big they won’t fit in the Injectease. Yeah… NO way I was going to be able to stick that in anyone, let alone myself.

Mike can, though. And very well, I might add. These are monster sized needles (in my opinion and since it’s my backside getting poked, it’s my opinion that counts), but the shots really, truly don’t hurt. He is THAT good! From the very first poke!! You’d think he’s been giving IM injections for years. I kid you not, his technique is better than the technique of most of the so-called professionals whom I can remember giving me injections.

Then today… oh my man is so good to me! He volunteered to take Meagan to her orthodontist appointment and then to go get the groceries…while I stayed home. How sweet, right? When he got back from the pharmacy (his 3rd trip out) he declared that “No one can say I don’t take care of my baby” and handed me a new pretty for my kitchen (a metal Coca-Cola tray) and a box of 22 gauge needles!!

Oh the romance that was in the air! Ok, maybe it wasn’t very romantic but it did make me remember the whole splinter/trust thing and prompt me to get on here and brag about how my hubby is taking good care of me despite my worries that he wouldn’t or couldn’t.

I am so thankful for my hubby and his gentleness!

Bitty Burgers

Ok. Yes, I know this post is about 3.4 seconds after the last. There is a good reason for that. Simply put? I am a dork. I got on here to post about our Bitty Burgers, and somehow (don’t ask me how) ended up posting, instead, about being 9 years old. So here is what I wanted to share about our burgers…

It’s actually kinda sad. =(

For Mike’s birthday last week, the kids and I decked Dad out in all manner of grilling. Well, except for the apron. I don’t think he’d have worn one anyway… So he has a new grill and a cool Texas flag-themed chair (my man, he loves his state!) and is the new Grill Master around these parts.

So tonight he asked if I wanted hamburgers for dinner. Out he goes to play with starter fluid and FIRE while I cut up and moosh 2 pounds of raw cow into burger shapes. At this point they were not bitty. They were not huge, as I had cut each 1 lb log into 4 patties, but they weren’t bitty, either.

Now, meat does shrink as it cooks. We all know that. We expect that. What we didn’t expect was for it to practically DISAPPEAR! After grilling to a lovely color, Mike decided I better microwave them for the last few degrees of internal doneness because the fat was dripping onto the coals and now there were angry flames trying to devour (or at least char) our burgers before they could reach the 180 F that we were shooting for. So he brought them in, and I popped them in the nuker.

At this point, they were understandably somewhat smaller than they’d started out. After all, meat shrinks as it cooks. Two minutes in the nuker, I thought, should do it. Not so. The thermometer was still only peaking at about 120-130.

Back in they went. Five minutes this time. Still only around 130-140 or so. WHAT? Ok… another 5min. SURELY, I thought, this would be enough. This would make who-knows-how-long on the grill plus 12 minutes in the microwave.

When the nuker beeped, I immediately hopped up to go check the temp. I reckoned maybe the patties were cooling off before I could get my slow tookus over there with the thermometer. I was much quicker this time. Internal temp?

150 F. Barely.

Regardless, we declared them more than done. They absolutely HAD to be, as any longer in the magic microwave and they would have been gone completely! We didn’t have hamburgers anymore, we had Bitty Burgers. (That, disgustingly enough, were swimming in a sizzling lake of greasy fat.)

Seriously these suckers were smaller than the infamous White Castle burgers. No lie. They would have been a huge hit at a toddler’s Mini-Everything birthday party. Though… I’m not sure where you would find buns small enough. They were about 1.5″ in diameter. Soooo cute! Good thing I’d put together 8 patties even though Matthew was staying the night with a friend. Since one had jumped ship grill during the initial warming phase we were down to 7 Bitty Burgers for the 3 of us.

Seven burgers for three people. Not NEARLY enough considering it took 3 patties to mostly fill the hamburger bun. Four if you were using regular white bread. Well, at least we had tater tots and cottage cheese…

One scrape (not bite, these suckers were petrified beyond bite-capabilities…the teeth just scraped down the side) later and Mike declared two things:

  1. I am to only purchase the more expensive LEAN meat from now on. The leanest I can find.
  2. Tonight’s burgers would be furnished by Dairy Queen.

God’s Promises

Tonight Mike was explaining (again!) to Matthew how (contrary to his quite vocal opinion) everyone had rules to follow. He started to list some examples, but before he got very far Matthew interrupted with, “Yeah, yeah, everyone but God, I know.” or something very similar. Anyhow.

I commented that, “God makes the rules” in a tone that apparently was interpreted as “He makes them, therefore He is exempt”. Not what I meant at all, but I’m guessing that must have been the way it came across based on what happened next.

I was MORE than pleasantly surprised to find Mike interject with, “Actually, God does have rules He has to follow. He makes the rules and then because He made them He will not break them. He’s made promises and has guaranteed that He will keep them.”

Jaw. Drop. Now.

Ok, so that is not verbatim (like my memory is that good!), but that’s pretty close. I, of COURSE, immediately confessed my mistake and agreed because…well because he was right! =)

Matthew piped up, “When did you ever learn so much about God?”

Poor kid. As far as he is aware his dad has been in a church once. This Easter. That’s right! =) He slid in a little late and took off super quick like, but Daddy DID come to church with us finally! Meagan kinda missed it, though, since she had already gone back for children’s church.

Matthew giggles each time we have sit-down dinner (not nearly as often as we should…my fault…need to work at that!) because Daddy asks the blessing using the exact same words every time. I have no idea why he finds that so amusing, but I do know that he’s apparently decided that the reason behind it is that Daddy doesn’t know any other way to pray.

I’m frequently finding myself trying to figure out how to handle questions and comments from the kids about Daddy’s spirituality. I am never sure what or how to answer. I want to make him as big and wonderful a Dad as possible in their eyes, so rather than risk damaging that I find myself saying “I don’t know” an awful lot. Like…

“Why doesn’t Daddy ever come to church?” I don’t know

“Why does Daddy say the same prayer every time?” I don’t know

“Has Daddy ever read the bible?” yes “Then why doesn’t he read it now?” I don’t know

I’m just gonna keep wingin’ it with these questions, keep prayin’ and let God work. Cause I know He is, and I’m so thankful!

The hubby I haven’t seen in awhile

I haven’t been getting these posts done up very often, have I? Ah well. C’est la vie!

So this last weekend was good and bad. Bad first, outta the way…I was super achy and kinda nausea and just blech. Worst couple of days I’ve had in awhile. Also? We didn’t get a whole lot done. Anyway.

It was good, though, because we did get SOME done, and we played cards again…as a family…the four of us. That is just simply too amazing for words. Truly. You have no idea! =) I’ve been begging, cajoling, and I dunno what-all Mike for Y E A R S to get involved with the kids and I. It’s actually kinda surreal now that he is. Mind-boggling, but oh so wonderful! Thank you, Jesus! (Cause I know it’s Him making the change!)

Saturday the kids and I went and washed clothes (nope, the previous weekend did not fix the washer drain) while Mike napped. When we got back and woke him up, we had a family meeting of sorts about the dogs. Specifically what do we do with them? They are way too big for the fence we have. No, we didn’t realize this would be a problem when we adopted them or we would surely have adopted smaller dogs. That’s one of the problems with adopting from the pound.

Anyhow. (I suck at segueways, so I just use anyway or anyhow…easier on my brain.) The dogs won’t stay in the house, either! They keep bolting out the front door and frolicking all about town. No, I take that back. Not all about. Only the tick-infested bits. Grrr!

Also, whether it is solely the kids’ fault (for neglecting their assigned chores) or not, Butterscotch and Brownie have achieved new nick-names: Trash-Digger and Lake-Maker.

Mommy is MORE than fed up with her house smelling like a sewer and being overrun with dog hair and ticks. We’ve sprayed the yard, bombed the house, dipped the dogs, etc. twice in 6mo, but it’s not going to do a bit of good. Within two days the dogs were gallivanting around Ticksville again.

So, the family meeting consisted of debating these options:

  • get rid of the dogs and maybe get a cat
  • get rid of the dogs and maybe get a Beagle and/or a cat (Beagles being small enough our fence would hold it with a couple of minor repairs)
  • get rid of the most rambunctious dog, build a new fence, and keep the other dog
  • build a new fence and keep both dogs
  • build a new fence, get rid of the dogs, and get a Beagle

And really, just about any other variation involving fence/no fence, dogs/no dogs, cat/no cats. It was actually a pretty civilized, informative session. What I’m trying to say is: I learned summin’. I learned my husband of 11.5yr actually LIKES CATS! I had no idea. How did I not know that?!

We are so getting a cat. Shhhh, though! It’s gonna be a surprise. ;-) I gotta do me some homework on what kind of cat he likes, but we are so gettin’ a cat! Meagan has wanted a kitty for the longest, but I wouldn’t cave in and get one for a couple of reasons…the house was in NO way clean/decluttered enough for one, I’m allergic, my mom was totally against it (and since my parents and brothers were living with us….), and I thought Mike did not like them either. I’ve heard him tell stories about cats for years in which he portrays them as being annoying, conniving, and altogether nuisance-making. I had no idea he LIKED them. I just assumed all that talk about how they always pick out the ones that don’t like cats and are constantly under foot were his way of showing his displeasure with them.

So, sometime shortly we will be getting a kitty. Maybe for Meagan’s un-birthday…she would be SO excited and totally go bonkers to get a kitty for a present!! Or maybe for Mike’s birthday, because we can totally afford that better than the other thing he wants…a laptop.

About the dogs, though. What Mike decided was this: we will build two new sections of fence that will enclose our side yard (the house and a neighbor’s fence will form the other 2 sides) and keep these dogs…OUTSIDE! He decided this way, he says, because it will cost only a little more than buying a Beagle, and I totally feel better having a dog since he works nights. He said that even if we were to switch the big doggies for a smaller doggie, we would still need a good fence and he’d actually like to take down the old fence, so this way he could and still have a fence for a dog. Also, the way he is planning it, the back door will no longer open directly into the fenced in section, so I’ll be able to pull right up to the back door for unloading groceries and/or laundry. (Well, once we get my dad’s old pickup outta the driveway, that is!)

I thought it was just too sweet! My honey was absolutely thinking about all this with ME in mind. Mind-boggling! =) It probably sounds corny and lame and obvious to most of you, but this is a side of Mike I haven’t seen in about 11 years.

Saturday also saw Matthew’s closet getting worked on. Oh, it’s still not finished, but the cubbies we did have painted (one side) are now installed, as is one closet rod. One more side of cubbies, one more closet rod, and 2 shelves over the rods to go. The kids worked on cleaning their room a little, too.

Sunday we played canasta between church services, finishing our game from last weekend. The boys won. Rats. We girls are planning a turnaround this coming weekend, though!

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