Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year’s Eve Eve

So I sat down to write a post about our Christmas since I haven’t written anything in a very long time.  But, the stress level in this house is at about 1000 on a scale of 1 to 10, so I don’t think I’m going to do much writing.  Why are we stressed?  Rosie Girl is having her tonsils out at 8am tomorrow.  From a purely medical point of view, this is not a big deal.  I had my own tonsils out when I was four years old, so I don’t actually remember it.  When I was in practice, I had tons of patients who had tonsillectomies so they were kind of run-of-the-mill for me.

But, it ain’t run-of-the-mill when it’s my own kid.  Nope.  For one thing, we have to leave the house at 5:30am.  The middle of the night.  We have to be at the surgery center at 6:30 and the procedure is at 8am.  I know that they won’t have her occupied for the full hour and a half before the procedure, so we have to make sure she has a bag packed with ipod, books, etc. tonight.

Of course, Rosie Girl is nervous.  I’d like to say that I’m not nervous but that’s not actually true.  Because I am.  Not so much about the outcome but because it’s a big deal and because Rosie Girl is going to have a few days of feeling really yucky afterwards.  And because it’s my kid who’s going to have general anesthesia.  I’d be much calmer if it was me.

And we have to make sure to pack plenty of stuff to keep Wild Man from getting too bored.  Video games, books, audiobooks, etc.  And, there is a man from church upstairs at the hospital recovering from a stroke, so Wild Man and Mr. Math Tutor will probably take a few minutes and visit him.

Of course, I had a migraine last night and today.  So I’ll be packing every migraine medication in the cabinet for tomorrow.  It looks like the weather system is supposed to be past us by tomorrow so the headache shouldn’t be too big an issue.

So, I’ll write a post about Christmas sometime in the next few days.  In the meantime, I’m going to go pack up snacks (for those of us who are allowed to eat tomorrow!) and boredom busters for tomorrow.

Pray for us.  All of us.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mission Love Our Neighbors – Steps 1 and 2

Our neighbors are difficult to love.  Not the family with kids – they are great people, our kids play together, and we watch each other’s houses when we’re out of town.  Not the couple across the street – they are very sweet and have a cute little great-grandson that they watch during the week.  And not the couple a few houses over – they gave us a van a year ago (yeah – GAVE us a van for free) so we really like them.  No, it’s the neighbors on the other side of our house that we’re having issues with. 

The house is a rental and has been occupied for the last month or so by young people who look like they’re just out of high school.  They play loud music.  They ride a snowmobile in the front yard late at night.  They wait a very long time to shovel their part of the sidewalk (and then don’t keep it well-shoveled).  The police have been there to visit several times.  The owner of the house lives several hours away, so she came by a few weeks ago because a neighbor had called anonymously to complain.  The occupants haven’t done anything illegal or that looks like it would violate the lease, but they are just hard to live near.

So, I complain.  That is the Godly thing to do, right?  No, you’re right, of course.  Complaining is rarely useful or Christlike.  Normally, we take over a loaf of bread or cookies within a week or two of someone moving in nearby, but I never got around to it this time.  And, now, I’m not really all that interested in trying to get to know these kids.

And then the Holy Spirit smacks me across the face (metaphorically, of course).  In Matthew 5:43-44, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”  I don’t even know these kids enough for them to be my “enemies”.  If I should love my enemies, then I certainly need to be able to love the kids next door.

Step 1 – Pray.  I’ve started that.  I need to do it lots more.  And quit complaining (‘cause that’s a really rotten example for my children – EEK!)

Step 2 – Christmas cookies.  Who doesn’t love Christmas cookies?!  I baked a bunch of cookies the other day, so I’ll take a bag over to the house this afternoon.

Step 3 – I have no idea.  Mostly it will involve doing good and not complaining.  And more praying.  Can’t forget praying.

How do you love people who are hard to love?  What other ideas can you give me?  Any great stories of how God has changed you or the person you loved?  (Yeah, I could use a little motivation!!)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Book Review – What Women Don’t Know (and a Bonus!)

First, I have to make a short apology.  The actual Value Gifts Blog Tour was last week, so I’m late posting my reviews.  I was sick with one of my worst migraines last week, though, so I wasn’t up to reading or writing.  But, I’m up and about now, and ready to write!!

For the Value Gifts Blog Tour, I received two books to read and review: What Women Don’t Know (and men don’t tell you) and 99 Ways to Increase Your Income.

what women don't know What Women Don’t Know by Michelle McKinney Hammond and Joel A Brooks Jr. is written to help single women looking for lasting love.  They set the book up into chapters describing 14 “rules” such as “Be patient”, “Know what you want”, and “Know your value”.  Each chapter is built on an important principle and is liberally supported with Scripture.

The one problem I had with reviewing this book is that I’ve been out of the dating arena for close to 20 years!  (Can it really be that long?)  Nonetheless, I found the author’s advice to be practical and on-target.  They encourage women to develop their lives as individuals while waiting for their lifelong love.  The writing was clear and the authors used scripture to support their positions.  The only real negative I found was that this book is pretty much the same as the books I read when I was single.  I think that this book is the Christian dating handbook for the current generation and I can definitely recommend it.

99 ways 99 Ways to Increase Your Income by Frank Martin was a pleasant little surprise for me.  From the title, I expected a book about actually bringing more money into the household, but the author is really talking about anything that brings money in or keeps money from going out.  He starts with some brief words on managing money then moves on to tips on saving money, ways to improve your job situation, and ends with some information on saving and investing.  This short book is obviously not a comprehensive book on money management, but it has some helpful information and goes along nicely with the principles taught by Dave Ramsey.  It would make a nice stocking stuffer, particularly for a young adult who is just starting to develop their financial habits.

Both books are available online:  99 Ways to Increase Your Income and What Women Don’t Know.  I received a free copy of each book for this blog review.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fear Not!!

My kids (OK, and the grown-ups, too) love to listen to Jungle Jam. One of our favorite bits is from the Christmas episode.

Angel: (In very deep voice) Fear not!!

Shepherds: Aaaaaaaaaaargh!!

Angel: Fear not!!!

Shepherds: Aaaaaaaaaaaaargh!!

Angel: What part of “Fear not” do you not understand?!

I can understand why the shepherds might have been a bit nervous. I mean, they’re out in the fields minding their own business when other-worldly beings appear in the sky and start speaking to them. Yeah, pretty fear-inducing in my world!

So, what did the angels mean by “Fear not!” On a surface level, it’s pretty clear that they were trying to say, “Hey, we’re the good guys so you don’t need to run off and leave the sheep and lose your jobs!” We’ve already established that other-worldly beings appearing in the sky is not a normal event and one might think that it’s not necessarily a good thing. The first thing the angels need to get across to the shepherds is that the angels are on the good side and have good news for them.

But then, they give them the news that a baby has been born. OK, tell me how this is fear-inducing!! It’s not like they said that the neighboring village had just been firebombed or something. They said a baby was born in a barn. I picture these shepherds saying to each other, “Ya know, the peace on earth thing is great, but I’m not really seeing how the baby thing fits in.” But, when an angel tells you to go worship, I’m guessing that you go worship. (I’m not speaking from experience here.)

I think, though, that the angels were saying something deeper when they said, “Fear not!” I have no idea if the shepherds ever really got the whole picture or not. But, God was saying, “Don’t be afraid that everything is about to change. Don’t be afraid that all you’ve known about religion is about to come to fruition in the next 33 years.” If the shepherds could have seen what was going to happen over the next 33+ years, I’m betting there would have been some serious fear going on!! The change is good, though.

Because of what happened on that night in Bethlehem (which was likely in the spring, by the way), we don’t have to be afraid! God’s plan was played out exactly the way it was supposed to. Jesus went from baby to child to adult to crucified to resurrected. Now, we need never fear. Remember that perfect love casts out all fear. All because of that first Bethlehem morning when the angels told the shepherds to “Fear Not!”

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Week From H*ll

So, this week has truly been one of the worst weeks that I can remember. And I really hate that it is during the Christmas season. I love Christmas! So, when a week like this happens during the Christmas season, it’s even worse.

What happened to make it so awful? Mostly, the migraine. I did have a little intestinal virus on Monday that made me feel kind of icky, but things weren’t too terrible. Tuesday was when everything went downhill so badly. The blizzard that came through gave me one of the worst migraines that I’ve ever had. Normally, Mr. Math Tutor would have just taken me to the Emergency Department for an IV and some heavy duty meds, but we were in the middle of a blizzard and it wasn’t safe to drive. So, I took my meds by mouth until I was throwing up too much. Then, I took the one med that I have in suppository form. Mostly, I lay on the sofa with an ice pack on my head until I needed to run to the bathroom to throw up. I thought my head was going to explode and my insides were going to turn inside out. It was an awful night. (But, I do have to say that it was pretty cool to watch the snow come down and swirl around – we got over a foot of snow and the winds were pretty wicked!)

I finally fell asleep around 8am Wednesday morning. The time that I was awake on Wednesday I still felt rotten just because I was so sore from vomiting. I had another migraine Thursday morning, but it only lasted about an hour, partly because I threw every medication in the cabinet at it!! I had pretty vivid memories from Tuesday night.

Today was better since I didn’t have a migraine, but I have had a dull headache all day. And, of course, I’m still sore all over. I was finally able to get on the treadmill for about ten minutes this evening. I’ve gotten some reading and knitting done in the last couple of days, but absolutely no housework.

Mr. Math Tutor has gone above and beyond the call of duty in taking care of me during the migraine and taking care of the house. He’s usually very good about keeping the house going when I have migraines anyway, but he didn’t get much sleep Tuesday night, either. And, he had to deal with the foot of snow in our driveway on Wednesday – when he had had very little sleep. He deserves a medal!

So, why blog about this? For one thing, it’s therapeutic for me to see this in written form. It also reminds me that it’s temporal. Even though I couldn’t go to the Emergency Department Tuesday night like I wanted to, I kept telling myself that the migraine wouldn’t last forever. I held on to the fact that the headache would only last a few hours. The migraines are miserable and they seriously disrupt my life, but I just need to hang on because the individual migraine will end eventually.

I also write so that other migraineurs can see that they aren’t alone with this awful illness. Not only are there lots of other people out there with migraines, but, more importantly, God is with us even in the worst of our pain. The Bible tells us to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). God may not choose to take away my pain. His plan may include my being in pain. But, it doesn’t include leaving me or deserting me. “Surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

7 Quick Takes Friday – The Christmas Traditions Edition



For today’s 7 Quick Takes Friday, I decided I’d share some of our family’s Christmas traditions.

1. We have two cloth Advent calendars – one with a Nativity scene and the other a Christmas tree with candy.  Each day, the kids take a stuffed item (with Velcro on the back) from the numbered pockets and put it onto the scene.

2. Last year, the kids and I made two gingerbread houses and we have decided to make it a tradition because we had so much fun!!  This year, we are planning to do three houses – one for each of us!

3. Santa Claus gives each child one gift as well as filling everyone’s stockings with candy.  The kids won’t take pictures with the big red guy anymore, though!

4. We wrap our presents well before Christmas, but we don’t put them under the tree until Christmas Eve.

5. We eat lots (dare I say too many?) of mint M&Ms this time of year!!  It’s the only time of year that they are sold and I love them!!

6. We open one gift on Christmas Eve right after we read the Christmas story from Matthew or Luke.

7. The kids make a paper chain to put across the stairs Christmas Eve.  No one can go down the stairs until we all go together!

So, what fun Christmas traditions does your family have?  Check out other 7 Quick Takes Friday posts!!

Friday, December 04, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday – December 4, 2009



1. It’s time for the Christmas wars, and the “Christians” are taking the offensive this year.  At Stand for Christmas, you can see if your favorite retailers are using religiously correct language and appropriate symbols for this time of year as they entice you to engage in more gross consumerism.  After all, this is the time of year when we show God’s love by racking up large amounts of debt while giving each other gifts of stuff we don’t need.  And the job of the retailer is to make us feel as holy as possible while we do this.  Because that’s what Christmas is all about, right?  (Jason Boyett has a nice little rant against Stand for Christmas that I like.)

2. Here’s a great post you should read about fear.  As perfect love casts out fear, so imperfect love casts in fear.  So much of the culture war is just fear.  We are afraid that God will be taken out of the public square, that liberals will run the country, and that the cashier won’t say Merry Christmas.  But, God’s perfect love will take away our fear – even the fear of the cultural changes.

3. Apparently, it snowed in Houston today.  I know this because I have several Facebook friends who live in the Houston area (not surprising since I went to college at LSU).  It also snowed some here today.  The people in Houston were ecstatic and thrilled.  The people here were mildly interested and talking about getting the snowblowers/snowmobiles/skis ready for the season.  It’s like two different worlds!

4. Mr. Math Tutor and Wild Man were reading in Luke about the resurrection of Jesus. Mr. Math Tutor had Wild Man tell me that the fact that the burial linen was in the tomb and folded was part of the evidence that Jesus' body wasn't stolen. I told them it was evidence that God wants us to fold our clothes.  They weren’t really amused.

5. So, while I’m trying to simplify Christmas and doing the whole Advent Conspiracy thing, my daughter is getting crazy busy because she’s in the school choir and the church choir.  I was incredibly proud that she made it into the Madrigal’s singing group, but that means that she has three or four Madrigals performances in addition to her Treble Choir performance and church choir performance (where she’ll also be playing accompaniment for one piece).  I’ve tried to make sure she doesn’t have any other external commitments, though, because I want our family to be able to enjoy our time together.

6. I’ve noticed something rather disturbing since my parents left last week.  My kitchen appears to no longer be self-cleaning and our food supply appears to be dwindling.  While my parents were here, the food and kitchen stuff kind of took care of itself as if by magic.  I’m going to have to cook and clean again, I’m afraid.

7. I had my thyroid scan done this week, and all is normal!!  And, I am now back on thyroid hormone and must be having a great placebo effect because I feel great even though I know that there can only be a small amount of hormone in my system yet.  Nonetheless, I’m a happy woman.  I’m also trying desiccated thyroid instead of levothyroxine to see if that helps my migraines any.  It’s a long-shot, but we’ll see what happens!

Check out Conversion Diary for more 7 Quick Takes Friday entries!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Whole Bunch Of Wasted Self-Righteousness!



Have you heard of Advent Conspiracy?  It’s a great movement that encourages us during the holidays to “Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All.”  Their website has lots of great ideas, including the chance to contribute to Living Water International, an organization that helps provide clean water to people all over the world.

I found out about Advent Conspiracy last year and Mr. Math Tutor and I thought it sounded like a great idea.  For the last couple of years, we have intentionally spent less on gifts by both giving fewer gifts and making more handmade gifts.  We are trying to give a higher percentage of our income to charities such as Living Water International, but also to Ninos de la Luz and other groups.  And, we’ve radically cut down our schedule and even now celebrate our Christmas over three full days (although you could argue that the schedule changes were mandated by my headaches – but, hey, whatever).

So, I was feeling pretty darn good about myself coming up on this Christmas season.  While everyone else was hitting the malls on Black Friday, Mr. Math Tutor and I did our little bit of shopping online and I went back to my knitting.  We put up our Christmas decorations, but chose not to put up lights outside because they’re just too much trouble.  Even our Christmas tree is a 4 foot artificial tree that we put on a table to make it look larger.  I was feeling pretty smug about how relaxed we are this Christmas season and how we can really focus on what it’s all about.

Apparently, though, I’ve been focusing on how great our family is.  Kind of like a Christmas Pharisee.  I got seriously convicted when I read the following on the Advent Conspiracy blog:

I’m worried that people are being guilted into Advent Conspiracy. The last thing we want is for people to feel like they can’t shop because their church or family member or friend told them it’s not the [AC] way. Because that’s not true. So what is the [AC] way? Simply this: We want to encourage people to do Christmas differently by worshiping Jesus first before anything else. We want to push back on hyper-consumerism. Notice the word “hyper”. We’re not saying you shouldn’t buy a gift, we’re merely suggesting you don’t gorge yourself on gifts or buy stuff out of obligation.


I know some think it’s hip to push against “the man”, but when it’s taken to extremes we sound like a man ourselves--an old man who’s gone all Scroogy on everyone, sitting on a hill of righteousness using scripture like rounds of ammunition. Who wants to be around someone like that at Christmas? Plus, we happen to know a few folks who could be considered “the man”, and they’re doing some amazing things for the kingdom through [AC]. You know what that means? That means this movement is for everyone, because Jesus is for everyone. Christ told us in the book of Matthew to love even “the least of these”. And guess what gang, we ARE the “least of these”. We’ve all fallen short, and we all need Jesus.

The advent season has begun. Let’s use this season to love one another well instead of making us-vs-them statements. Let’s put Jesus in front of us and let Him lead us into a life of joy and exhilaration to the point where we can barely catch our breath.

I was feeling self-righteous over how good I was being about Christmas.  Just like the Pharisee who prayed  “Thank you, God, that I am not like that tax collector”, I was saying, “Thank you, God, that I am not like all those materialists”.  Yet, I am.  Maybe not as much of a materialist as I used to be, but just as much of a sinner.  And, apparently, you can add pride and self-righteousness to my (incredibly long) list of sins.  What wasted energy I was spending on being self-righteous!  Ugh!

So, tonight, let’s all sit down and enjoy the Advent season.  Let’s shop joyfully because we are giving gifts to show our friends and family how much we love them.  Let’s bake with abandon because we love our friends and coworkers (enough to ask them to consume thousands of extra calories, apparently).  Mostly, let’s love others like Jesus loves them – completely and with abandon.  I’ll do Christmas in a way that works for our family and not worry about how you do your Christmas celebrations (unless you plan to send cookies, in which case, chocolate chip without nuts is preferred - ‘cause that’s what Jesus would want).

If Advent Conspiracy sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, check out their website.  They also have resources for churches that would like to participate in Trade As One and Living Water International.  And remember to Worship Fully, Spend Less, Give More, and Love All!!

More on Thankfulness in Difficulty

First of all, can I just say that I love it when I get to quote someone way smarter than I am about something I’ve previously written. So, I’m pretty happy about this.

Tullian Tchividjian wrote on his blog about being thankful for pain.

To be thankful for our comforts only is to make an idol of this life. “God-sent afflictions”, says Maurice Roberts, “have a health-giving effect upon the soul” because they are the medicine used to purge the soul of self-centeredness and this world’s vanities. Pain, in other words, sharpens us, matures us, and gives us clear “eye-sight.” Pain transforms us like nothing else can. It turns us into “solid” people. Roberts continues, “Those who have been in the crucible have lost more of their scum.” All of this should cause us to be deeply thankful.

It’s been said that pain is the second best thing because it leads us to the Best Thing (God). For, it is only when we come to the end of ourselves that we come to the beginning of God. And it is only when we come to the beginning of God that we come to the beginning of life.

What more can I say? I am thankful for my pain because God is leading me to Him. What more could I want?

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hard To Be Thankful

So, we just got finished with Thanksgiving when we were supposed to give thanks for all of our blessings. Just having a stable food supply and a place to live makes us more fortunate than probably 90% of the rest of the world, so we should be thanking God every day for just about everything!! Nonetheless, it is nice to have a day to remember that everything that sustains us comes from God.

So, I’m thankful for all the usual things like food, shelter, and family. I’m thankful for LSU football at the moment because they’re winning against Arkansas (but that may be temporary depending on the outcome of the game). I’m thankful for two funny and beautiful children. I’m thankful for an amazing husband who loves me as much as he does.

But, sometimes, it’s hard to be thankful. But, God tells us to be thankful for everything – and he doesn’t qualify it by saying to be thankful for all the good stuff. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” Ouch.

It’s hard to be thankful for migraines, but Paul writes that we are to give thanks in ALL circumstances, not just the ones that we like. And, I’m not liking the migraine I’ve got right now. Being thankful for the tests and trials of life doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t make an attempt to resolve them. I’m still seeing my chiropractor and adjusting my medications. But, I have to thank God for the migraines.

Why? Why in the world would God want us to thank him for bad things as well as good things? A couple of things come to mind. First of all, what appears to be bad may eventually turn out to be good. Joseph told his brothers that what they intended for evil, God intended for good. God may have some greater use for my migraines. Second, I think that God teaches us simply through the act of gratitude. When we can take our eyes off ourselves long enough to thank God for the bad stuff in our lives, we can look around and see what other needs there are in the world. That’s just my thoughts. Let’s face it – God’s mind is way bigger than mine and so he’s probably got even more going on than I can think of right now.

So, what do you need to be thankful for today? What is hard to be thankful for?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Of Scans and Psychosis

When I was 10 years old – 32 years ago, for those of you keeping track – I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, aka chronic thyroiditis.  At that time I was started on desiccated thyroid tablets (aka pork or cow thyroid gland ground up and dried – yeah, it’s gross, but I didn’t find this out till much later).  This was in the days before Synthroid (aka levothyroxine – stuff made in a lab – I don’t know if that’s better or worse than the ground up thyroid glands of other mammals).


So, before it became trendy to have thyroid trouble, I had thyroid trouble.  Of course, I can’t really blame much on my thyroid because my thyroid levels have been in good shape since I started medication.  Well, except for one month.  You see, when I was ten, the doctors took blood and felt my thyroid gland and made the diagnosis and gave me medicine and I was good with all this.  When I was 14, though, they decided they wanted to do a nuclear medicine scan of my thyroid gland.  The only reason I can think that they decided to do this at that time in my life was that the scanner was new and exciting.  I mean, what could have changed in 4 years.  We already knew that my thyroid gland was the size of, well, something larger than it should be. 

So, the doctors in their great wisdom (I didn’t know then that I would join their ranks 20-odd years later) had me go off my thyroid medicine for a month so they could do the scan.  I don’t remember much about this time in my life.  I was 14 and the major decisions in my world generally involved clothing choices and who to sit with at lunch.  But, as my mother tells it, the month was not pretty.  By the time we got to the scan, she told the technicians to get the scan over with so I could have my medication back because I was crying at the drop of a hat.  Apparently, I was a little more moody than usual.  Although, I remember 14 being a pretty moody time of life, so I’m not sure how she could be sure.  But, she was. 


I remember getting to see the scan itself, which was cool.  The thyroid gland looks like a butterfly.  Mine looked like a really big butterfly.  According to the technicians, at least.  I’m not sure it was good for a teen girl’s psyche to hear the techs marvel about “the size of that thing”!  But, there it was, in all it’s glory – my 5x normal size thyroid gland.  (When I got a lovely string of pearls after graduating med school, I had to get an extender because they didn’t fit around my neck because of my enlarged thyroid gland.  True story.)

Well, I went back on medication and had no further incidents until I was 17 when I was switched over to Synthroid which made me happy because the crushed-up cow or pork thyroid gland kind of grossed me out a bit.  Then my endocrinologist also decided that he wanted to do a fine needle aspiration, yet another new technology.  I was starting to feel like a thyroid guinea pig.  I politely declined.  My mother accepted.  I declined.  My mother accepted and told me that if I wanted to eat at her table again, I would have the procedure done.  She won.  I’m not proud.  Food is my downfall.  And I was a minor – what were my options?  I almost fainted during the procedure, but it only took 10 minutes and did not require giving up my thyroid medication.  And the samples were completely normal.  Yippee.

So, for the next 28 years, I’ve been faithfully taking my levothyroxine (various brand names based on what was cheapest), having my levels checked, and having different doctors feel my thyroid gland (wow, that’s a big gland!).  No big deal.  I know I have a couple of nodules and nothing has changed.

But . . . and that’s where things get dicey.  Chronic thyroiditis is associated with an increased chance of thyroid cancer as well as lymphoma.  (It’s also associated with diabetes, Addison’s disease, and other autoimmune diseases which my doctor and I keep in the backs of our minds.)  So, since it’s been 28 years since my thyroid gland has been imaged, I’m having another nuclear med scan done the first week of December.  This time they wanted me off my meds for 6 weeks.  It’s been almost 4 weeks now.

And this is where we get to the psychosis part of the title!!  OK, that may be a little hyperbole.  Or not.  But, let me tell you, I am seriously missing my thyroid replacement.  My headaches are worse.  I’m exhausted, but have trouble sleeping.  My skin is more dry.  My moods are all over the place – and I don’t realize that I’m being moody until I’ve already gone and said or done something I regret.  And I’m freezing cold!!!  I feel like my entire body has gone on full-scale rebellion! 

Two and a half more weeks till I can have my meds back!!  And, I’m probably going back to desiccated thyroid to see if that might help the headaches a bit.  I figure that, at 42, I should be able to get over the source of the tablet.  Right?  Right.  But,the main thing is that I get my meds back as of December 3!!!!!!!!!!!  I will be a truly happy girl again!  Well, after about a week or so when the levels come back up.  In the meantime, I’m hanging on by my fingernails and praying for my poor family!


Our Week in Review – November 15, 2009


We finished Week 11 here in our little corner of the educational world.  Nothing terribly earth-shattering happened, but it was generally enjoyable.

Rosie Girl

Her choir class sang at a Veteran’s Day presentation at the Middle School on Wednesday.  They did quite well and I was very proud of them.  It was also very interesting to see all the kids sitting on the bleachers and almost all of them were slouching, but Rosie Girl was sitting straight up – remnants of all those years in ballet class!

I continue to be thrilled with  Rosie Girl has had two graded assignments returned, one was a “B” and the other an “A”.  She clearly showed improvement from the initial drafts to the final drafts.  And there was no arguing with me!!

Rosie Girl asked me last night if she could loan out one of her Sonlight books from last year - Don’t All Religions Lead to God?.  I told her it was fine with me and asked why and to whom.  She said that one of her friends in choir believes that all religions believe pretty much the same thing, so it doesn’t matter which religion you believe as long as you’re sincere.  Rosie Girl thought that this book would be very helpful for her and offered to let her read it.  I’m definitely pleased that my girl is talking about faith issues to her friends.

For Science this week, Rosie Girl was supposed to do a microscope lab, but I couldn’t find the slides that she needs.  I have concluded that I actually didn’t purchase those slides, so I have to decide how strongly I feel about her looking at them. 

At the public school parent-teacher conferences, Rosie Girl’s art teacher was very pleased with how she’s doing.  He commented that she does tend to get behind easily, but that’s because she’s something of a perfectionist.  She’s getting a little better at choosing projects that are more doable, and her teacher definitely is happy to have a student who wants to work hard, so he’s happy.  We didn’t get to talk to her choir teacher.  In any case, she has “A’s” in both classes.

Wild Man

One of the main things that I have noticed with Wild Man has been that reading is not an obstacle to much of anything anymore.  He still does Explode the Code which is helpful for the sounds that he still has trouble with, but he is able to figure out most words now from context that he rarely gets completely stumped in a book.

In light of Wild Man’s reading prowess and my spate of migraines, I have had him start reading “Adventures of an Early American Boy” for Science since we haven’t done nearly as many experiments as I would have liked.  After he finishes that book, I’ll have him reading biographies of scientists.

I have been constantly surprised by how much information Wild Man has been learning from sources unknown to me.  For example, he was able to tell me about guerilla warfare tactics used by the American colonists and why they were effective against the British regulars.  We talked about World War 1 on Veteran’s Day and Wild Man knew a good bit about trench warfare and why it was so horrendous.  There’s information stored in his head that comes out at surprising times!

On Wednesday, Wild Man and I worked at the Nutrition Center as usual.  After working, he took out his bell set and drum pad and played a little bit for the clients.  Several of the clients that day stayed at the center until time to go to the Veteran’s Day program at the Middle School.  Wild Man and I went home first, but then walked to the Middle School for the program.  There was something very special about seeing these guys who were just the elderly men who at lunch at the center most of the time who were now dressed up sharp and carrying the flags.  It made and impression on me and Wild Man.  All of the sudden, we realized that these guys had done more than just run the farm and raise a family – they protected our country.  Wow.

On parent-teacher conference day, Mr. Math Tutor and I visited Wild Man’s band teacher.  He agreed that Wild Man is, indeed, very distractible, but said that he was easily redirected back to the task at hand and wasn’t a behavior problem.  Wild Man needs to practice more, but is otherwise doing well in band. 

So, that was our week.  This next week is going to be just a four day week for academics because the grandparents are coming on Thursday night.  I’m going to be working on the schedules tonight.  We are taking all of Thanksgiving week off of school.  The kids will still have to go to their public school classes, but they won’t have to do their academic work here that week.

So, how was your week?  Anything exciting happen?  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more great posts!!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Secret to Homeschooling High School


Yes, indeed, you have come to the right place because I’m going to tell you the secret to homeschooling high school – how to make sure our precious darlings one day become productive citizens who move out of our house, quit eating our food, and buy their own clothes, how to ensure that they can spell their own names and know their date of birth, how to get a child from reading Dr. Seuss to Shakespeare.  Are you ready?  Here it is.

I have no idea!!!!

We are eleven weeks into my daughter’s freshman year of high school and I have only one concrete piece of advice for anyone attempting this crazy venture:

Pray without ceasing!

It really helps that it was God’s idea first, so I’m clearly a total copycat here.  But, I can’t stress enough that praying is the only thing that seems like it might do a lick of good over the next four years.

So, why did we even attempt to homeschool through high school – besides the obvious fact that I’m crazy?  First of all, we were doing so well through eighth grade that it just seemed like the right thing to do.  Second, we live in a small town and the local public school doesn’t have much in the way of curricular choices.  For example, all the kids take the same English 1, 2, 3, and 4.  There aren’t any advanced classes except for a few AP classes and nothing like Creative Writing.  Third, I really want to spend the next few years working on developing an even closer relationship with my daughter and that’s easier to do when she’s here instead of at school.  Then there are the other things like the fact that schools don’t fit well with kids’ circadian rhythms, the entire institutional nature of schools rubs me the wrong way, and I want my kids to spend more time with groups of people of different ages, not just their own age (to name a few reasons of about a hundred).

But it’s not easy.  Rosie Girl and I butt heads about getting her work done just about every week.  Part of me wonders if it is really worth doing this or should we put her in school or do an online school.  We are already having her do an online writing course since that’s the subject that has given us such fits in the past.  The reason that we continue with what we’re doing right now is that I see progress in our relationship every week.  Rosie Girl is not only learning to manage her work (and I’m learning to help her) but the two of us are learning to talk about the problem, not just carp at each other.

I hope that I can give some of you some more concrete advice at the end of this year, but right now, we’re just hanging on for dear life and enjoying the ride!!  And, of course, praying without ceasing!!

Check out Thirsty Thursday to see what others have to say this week!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Baked Garlic and Onion Cream Soup

Blissfully Domestic 1 


It’s Fall – time for soup!!  On Sunday, I made two kinds of soup, along with some foccacia and a chocolate sheet cake.  Yep, I have a happy family!!  So, here’s a recipe to warm you up this Fall.

Baked Garlic and Onion Cream Soup

  (Source:  Appleton Post-Crescent Newspaper  By Darryl Kilsdonk)


  • 6 large onions, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 heads garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 5 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves (I used ground thyme with good results)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish


  • Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  • Place the onions and garlic in a shallow roasting pan.  Add 3 cups of the chicken stock.  Sprinkle with the thyme, pepper, and salt.  Dot with butter.
  • Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.  Stir once or twice while it is baking.
  • Remove the pan from the oven and use a blender or food processor to puree the onions and garlic with the liquid in batches, until smooth.
  • With the motor on, gradually add the remaining 2 cups stock and the cream.  Pour the soup into a large saucepan.
  • Adjust the seasonings and slowly heat through.  Do not allow the soup to boil.
  • Sprinkle with the parsley and serve.
  • Serves 6-8

My modifications

  • I don’t have a roasting pan, so I use 2 9x13 glass baking pans and divide the onions and garlic between them.
  • I have found that baking the onions for longer than the 1 1/2 hours makes them softer, but also sweeter.  Experiment to see which consistency and flavor you prefer.
  • My blender won’t hold all of this soup, so I puree (actually liquefy or grind!) the contents of one baking pan then empty it into the saucepan, then do the contents of the other baking pan and empty it into the saucepan.  I then add the remaining stock (broth) and cream to the saucepan and stir.  I make my soup really smooth, so there’s nothing lost by not having it all in the blender at once.
  • I didn’t have enough cream on Sunday, so I used 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of Half and Half with good results.
  • This stores well in the fridge for several days.
  • I love it with fresh bread – particularly French bread or foccacia.
  • This is also a great soup to keep your insides moving, if you know what I mean!!

Here are the other recipes I used Sunday night:

Happy Cooking!!

Check out what others are saying on Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and I Am Blissfully Domestic!!

Christians as Slave Owners??

So, I was reading the book of Philemon the other day and was a little perplexed.  What?  The book of Philemon?  It’s the little one-pager right before Hebrews.  Yeah, there it is.  You haven’t heard of it?  That’s OK.  I think the only time most of us hear about it is when we memorize the books of the Bible or do a read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year thing.  Which is why I was reading the book of Philemon.  It came up in my Year-long Bible.

Philemon is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to Philemon regarding Onesimus.  Apparently, Onesimus was a slave who belonged to Philemon but had run away.  Philemon was a Christian who had apparently been won to Christ by Paul.  At some point, Onesimus came into contact with Paul and became a believer.  Paul seems to have convinced Onesimus to return to Philemon with this letter in which Paul exhorts Philemon to accept Onesimus back into his household as a brother in Christ.

I got a lot of the info in the previous paragraph from the Broadman Bible Commentary.  Some of it can be easily inferred from Philemon itself, but some of the other information is more obscure.  For example, it is generally agreed that Onesimus was a runaway slave, although it is not explicitly stated in the letter.  Some people have speculated that Onesimus was an apprentice which would make most of the rest of this post irrelevant, but bear with me anyway.

The part of the letter I have a question about is verses 15-17 “Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a while was that you might have him back for good – no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother.  He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.  So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.”

Here’s my question – why didn’t the Apostle Paul explicitly tell (or ask) Philemon to free Onesimus?  It is agreed among Christians today that slavery is completely foreign to the will of God.  There is an implied request that Philemon accept Onesimus as a brother, but there is no explicit statement that Philemon shouldn’t OWN another person.  It’s so obvious to me that slavery is wrong and I have a hard time seeing that this belief is culturally conditioned.  So why doesn’t Paul tell people, “Hey, quit it!  You can’t own another person!  You need to treat each other with the dignity God has given you.”

In Ephesians 6, Paul tells the Ephesian church that slaves should obey their earthly masters with respect – OK, that’s understandable since they can’t do anything about it.  But then he goes on to tell masters to treat their slaves well.  Hmmmm.

Here are some options and my thoughts:

1. Slavery is no big deal.  People can own each other and God is cool with it. 

I seriously doubt it!!

2. Slavery is a cultural situation to which we should adapt as Christians (think – women wearing pants in the 20th century). 

I’m not comfortable with this explanation.  Clothing can be a cultural issue that can change while the primary moral issue – modesty – remains in place.  In the situation of slavery, it’s hard to see how there can be any acceptable ethical or moral situation for Christians to own slaves.

3. Baby steps.  When an individual comes to Christ, the Holy Spirit doesn’t convict them of every sin all at once. 

Talk about overwhelming!  In a modern situation, a business person who comes to Christ may be convicted first to deal with anger issues with a spouse before dealing with shady business dealings.  The point here is that the Holy Spirit convicts.  Perhaps Paul knew that Philemon was not yet ready to deal with the slavery issue.  Perhaps, having Onesimus return as a Christian was going to be the impetus for him to deal with it.  But, this doesn’t really deal with the fact that nowhere in Scripture does Paul speak against slavery like he does adultery and plenty of other sins.  The Apostle Paul certainly wasn’t shy!!

4. Paul was trying to get across concepts that transcend earthly relationships. 

This might be a reasonable explanation.  In whatever situation, we need to act in a Christ-like fashion.  There may have been a very few examples in which freeing a slave was not in anyone’s best interest (I’m thinking of 19th century American in which free blacks were often picked up and sold back into slavery) and treating each other in a Christ-like way is more important.  Paul’s statements would also apply to employer/employee relationships as well.

5. Paul may not be terribly concerned about slavery because once we have freedom in Christ, our situation on this earth is paltry compared to what awaits us in Heaven. 

I’m not sure what I think about this explanation.  I think it makes sense from the perspective of the slave, in that, our soul’s are free no matter what happens to the body.  I still have trouble with the idea that a Christian could be a slave owner. 

I know that the book of Philemon and verses from Ephesians 6 were used to justify continuing slavery in the United States, even though most slaveholders were nominally Christian.  Why isn’t Scripture more explicit on this topic?  Do you have any ideas or thoughts?


Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

I love modern worship music, but I have a special place in my heart for hymns from my childhood and adolescence. Not only do they bring back memories of when I first gave my life to Christ, but they have beautiful language from years gone by. Here’s one of my favorites:

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

1. Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

2. Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

3. O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

“Ebenezer” refers to 1 Samuel 7:12 - “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far has the Lord helped us.” Ebenezer means “stone of help”. When I sing “Here I raise my Ebenezer”, I’m saying that God is my helper, the only one who will bring me safely home.

When I sing “prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love”, I sometimes just want to cry. God loves me so much, but yet I’ll wander away at the drop of a hat like I’ve got spiritual ADD or something. But, not God. He doesn’t wander and He will “bind my wandering heart” to Him. Amazing.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our Week In Review – October 31, 2009



It’s been a pretty crazy couple of weeks around here – and mostly because of non-school (but still highly educational) activities.  So, you’ll understand if I don’t talk much about school subjects today!

1. Illness – Rosie Girl started getting sick with a cold last week on Monday (October 19) and missed her public school classes that Wednesday and Thursday.  She seemed better so I didn’t worry about taking her out of town last weekend, but she developed a fever Saturday night.  By Sunday morning I was convinced she didn’t have influenza (a real concern around here these days!), but she was feeling pretty awful.  She missed public school again Monday morning and I started her on Amoxicillin that afternoon for a sinus infection.  She’s finally looking better the end of this week.

2. Migraines – We’ve had some seriously unsettled and icky weather which has triggered a number of multi-day migraines.  (Did you know that “icky” is a technical meteorological term?  It is.)  It’s hard to keep up with the house and the school stuff with all these migraines.  And all that Imitrex is expensive!!

3. School – Yeah.  We’ve done some of that.  I haven’t even tried to figure out yet how far behind Rosie Girl is.  I really hope it’s only a few days and not a whole week.  Wild Man is doing pretty well in History but I really hope we can get some Spelling and Grammar done this upcoming week.  While I worked on Halloween costumes, the kids and I watched a PBS show about Pocahontas and Jamestown.  Rosie Girl has been learning about Botany – she’s not impressed.  Even with illness, Rosie Girl got her work for WriteAtHome turned in.  I’m just amazed at how well she is writing these days!  Her writing coach is really bringing out the best in her!

4. Project Serve – I’ve blogged in more detail with pictures here about our weekend.  Suffice it to say that it was a really fun and (I hope) useful weekend.

5. Nutrition Center – Wild Man and I have been able to go both of the last two weeks to the Senior Nutrition Center to help serve lunch.  Last week was the monthly birthday party and it was incredibly busy.  Instead of the normal 12 or 13 people that we serve, there were almost 50 clients!  After lunch, they played Bingo and let Wild Man play along.  I was really happy to let him play for a while because it gives him a chance to interact more with the clients.  This week there were 20 people because they had a Dartball tournament after lunch.  Not only that, the lunch came about 15 minutes late, and it was a somewhat complicated lunch to serve – soup and sandwiches.  We worked really hard!!  I’m so glad we do this.

6. Halloween – I broke down and sewed Rosie Girl’s cape because she’s been so sick.  Both kids now have their costumes completely ready.  Wild Man has been up at the theater getting ready for the Haunted Theater on Tuesday and Wednesday and then they actually did the Haunted Theater on Thursday and Friday and will do it again tonight.  He comes home with all kinds of makeup and hairspray on.  He looks really creepy and is totally loving it!!  He’s such a performer.  He and Rosie Girl will be giving out candy at BooFest on Main Street today – Wild Man with the Haunted Theater, Rosie Girl with the Library Club.  Meanwhile, I will be bundled up and sitting on the front stoop giving out candy to the zillions of kids who come by here.

That was our week.  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others have been up to!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Three Things This Thursday – The Halloween Edition

1. I used to stress about whether or not to “do” Halloween.  Not any more.  There are so many more important things in life to worry about – like migraines, Democrats in Congress, and the state of my kitchen floor.  And it’s not like we can “accidentally” end up worshipping the devil!!  Here are some links about Christians and Halloween that you might find helpful if you are trying to sort out how to handle the holiday.

   Concerning Halloween by James B. Jordan

   Annual Halloween Rant by Internet Monk

   Halloween Schmalloween by the Jolly Blogger

2. Before we moved to our current home, we lived in a rather new subdivision.  I like to be generous on Halloween, so I bought a lot of candy.  Since we were in a pretty new area, though, we had very few trick or treaters and we always had tons of candy left for me to take to the office the next Monday.  Don’t worry, though, my kids got lots of candy at our church’s Fall-O-Ween party. 

Now, we live on Main Street in a nearby town and things are totally different.  We have trick or treaters almost non-stop during trick or treat hours!!  I ran out of candy the first two years and barely had enough last year.  Our church doesn’t do Fall-O-Ween anymore, but my kids make good use of the trick or treat hours and don’t come home empty-handed!!

3. Halloween is the one time of year that I sew.  Otherwise, my craft of choice is knitting (and scrapbooking, but I don’t have time for that anymore).  Last year, I made part of Wild Man’s costume, but was fortunate that Grandma came to town and finished Wild Man’s and Rosie Girl’s costumes.  This year, both kids just wanted a cape – and the exact same cape that Wild Man had last year, but in different fabrics. 

We had a bit of a fiasco finding the pattern since it had gotten put in the wrong package, but eventually I got all the supplies together.  Originally, I was going to sew Wild Man’s, but he was supposed to help me and start to learn to sew (everyone should have some basic sewing knowledge, right).  Didn’t happen.  I made his cape between headaches so I did it on my own while he played video games.  Yeah, I don’t win mommy points for that, but it’s done. 

Rosie Girl was supposed to do her own cape this year since she does have some basic sewing skills.  Unfortunately, she got a sinus infection and is now behind in her schoolwork.  I took pity on her and made her cloak on Monday night.

Both kids are now ready for trick or treating.  Thankfully, all I need to do is sit on the steps and hand out candy.

Check out Three Things This Thursday to see what others are up to!

P.S.  Wild Man is part of the local Haunted Theater this weekend.  I’ll have some pictures of him in his scary makeup in a day or two.  Stay tuned!


Mythbusters as Science Class?


One of our family’s favorite TV shows is Mythbusters (on Discovery Channel) – the show where Adam and Jamie test out various myths to see if they hold up to close scrutiny.  Note only is the show fun to watch, but it doubles as science class when I’ve got a migraine!  Why?  Glad you asked!


1. Mythbusters uses basic scientific principles to test their myths.  They test the myth itself along with a control group.  They often start with scale testing to decide how to do the final test at full scale.  They also often break the myth into pieces and test each part before testing the whole thing at the end of the show.  When all is said and done, the kids are learning a lot about problem solving.  My favorite – Diet Coke and Mentos.

2. The Mythbusters actually teach science.  Yeah, they put up a disclaimer, so kids can close their eyes and cover their ears, but I have threatened my kids enough that they usually listen!  My kids have learned the science behind various kinds of explosions and terminal velocity, among other things.  My favorite – dropping a penny from the Empire State Building.

3. Even history makes an appearance in some of the myths.  Mythbusters did a pirate special in which they included lots of information about piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries.  They have tested myths from ancient Greece and ancient China and the US Civil War.  My favorite – Archimedes death ray.

4. Safety comes first!  Many of the myths that are tested are safety related.  The show about how many lights it took to set a Christmas tree on fire ended with a strong lecture on Christmas light safety.  There have been shows on kitchen grease fires and defective fire heaters, all of which end with discussions of safety.  I am also happy to see that all of the testing is done with safety in mind.  My favorite – Kitchen grease fires and water.

mb-mythbusters-sign160 5. They do a number of alcohol myths which might be off-putting to some families, but I actually don’t mind it.  Pretty much all of the myths about consuming large amounts of alcohol show the Mythbusters being quite miserable, whether from the drinking itself or the hangover the next morning.  My kids aren’t too interested in drinking to excess after watching these results!  My favorite – Beer vs. beer and shots to see which gives a worse hangover.

So, yeah, Mythbuster science may be lazy day science, but it certainly works around here!  My kids have learned some surprising things and enjoy it at the same time!

Check out Thirsty Thursday for more great homeschooling ideas!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

God’s Timing

I was writing out some Bible verses tonight to use for my meditation and I noticed a definite theme – waiting and rest. See what you think:

Isaiah 30:15 “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength . . .’”

Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Lamentations 3:25-26 “The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks hi; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Jeremiah 6:16 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look’ ask for the ancient paths; ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’”

Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.”

Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord: be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”

Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’”

So often, I want to tell God what to do and when to do it (right NOW). But, God has his own plan and I’m sure it’s waaaaaay better than mine is. These verses are all excellent reminders that I can rest in God’s timing and God’s plan for my life (my family, my church, etc.).

How do I wait?? Do I passively sit back and do nothing? Absolutely not! The Scriptures also tell us to be obedient. While I wait, I live my life and I obey God with as much energy as I have. But I’m don’t need to worry that God’s going to miss something. He’s on top of things.

God is faithful and I can rest in his love. So I’m going to bed, trusting that He’s got everything under control.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Project Serve

You’ve probably guessed from previous posts that we love our trips to Fort Wilderness.  So far this year, Rosie Girl and Wild Man have each been to camp on separate weeks, the whole family went to Family Camp, and I went to the Women’s Retreat.  But it wasn’t enough.  This weekend, we took a couple of teens up to do Project Serve for the weekend.


Project Serve is a program where groups can go up to Fort during the Fall, Winter, and Spring for the weekend and work wherever they need help.  Mr. Math Tutor proposed this to his small group of teens that meets for Bible study on Sunday nights and they thought it was a great idea.  Originally, there were going to be 5 teens and the 4 of us in our family.  Early in the week, we lost one teen to illness.  Thursday, we lost another one to influenza.  Friday morning, we found out that another one wanted to come, but several people in her family were being treated for influenza.  We told her that we just couldn’t risk taking her.  Later that afternoon, we got a text from her that she had gotten sick, too.

When we finally left Friday afternoon, it was just six of us instead of the original nine – IMG_0809thank you, H1N1.  Nonetheless, we had a great time!  The weather on the drive up to camp was awful.  In fact, I had had a migraine since Wednesday evening and was still taking meds to keep it at bay even Friday afternoon.  By the time we reached Rhinelander, the rain had turned to snow.  Thankfully, the roads weren’t icy!  We got to camp and got settled into our rooms in Jay Lodge – some of the older accommodations, but still nice.  And we were warm – good thing since it snowed a couple of inches overnight!


Saturday morning, we started working!  I worked in the kitchen, alongside Janet and Kathy.  My job was to do whatever else needed to be done in the kitchen, mostly getting food ready to serve, chopping veggies, cutting up bread, etc. before the meal.  After the meal, I helped clean up the kitchen and deal with the leftovers.  Bob and Karla, another couple who have helped several times before, were also working in the kitchen.  The work wasn’t very hard, and everyone was so pleasant to work with that it went by very quickly!


IMG_0831The rest of the group was on dish crew so they worked significantly harder!!  They had to set the tables before meals then get all the dishes clean and put away after the meals.  This weekend, there were about 200 campers at Fort for a retreat and we served four meals.  Wild Man wasn’t old enough to be able to work in the kitchen or the dish room, but he was able to help set tables and clean up afterward.




Rosie Girl worked as a stablehand on Saturday.  If her jeans and boots are any indication IMG_0824of how hard she worked, it must have been pretty intense!!  She got to go on a couple of trail rides in addition to the general labor of mucking out stables and filling mangers.  Unfortunately, she developed a fever Saturday night.  I was quite paranoid about influenza, given the issues that we’d had with losing team members to the illness, so I sent her to bed and wouldn’t let her go to the dining room for breakfast Sunday morning.  It turns out that her fever didn’t return and she probably has a sinus infection.


IMG_0815 IMG_0822

Now that it’s all said and done, the whole team agreed that it was a successful weekend.  We enjoyed the work and had a blast!  I was also very glad that we got to hang out during our free time with the two teens that we took with us.  We played games in the coffee shop and talked.  They are really great kids.



I did manage to get everything unpacked today and the house cleaned up, but I think it will be a day or so before my feet and legs are willing to talk to me again!  And, I may just sleep for another 12 hours tonight!  Yep, I’m worn out – but in a good way!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Lessons in Humility

After med school and college, I spent ten years practicing medicine, and (if I can say this without sounding cocky) I was pretty good at it.  I knew how to manage most of the problems that came my way and I knew how to get help for the stuff I couldn’t handle.  Most of the time, I felt very qualified.

When I quit working as a family doctor and became a homeschooling mom, I still felt pretty competent.  We have a pretty laid-back educational style here so I wasn’t over my head very often with schooling, and I’m pretty comfortable with basic cooking and cleaning.

However, for the last couple of months, Wild Man and I have been going to the local Senior Nutrition Center to help pack meals for Meals on Wheels and serve meals to clients who come to the Center for lunch.  The work isn’t hard – packaging food into individualized containers, packing containers into bags, cleaning up.  Nonetheless, it has been something of a humbling experience!  For example, it’s really hard to know about how many servings of applesauce or salad are in one large container.  This week, I filled the 32 containers for Meals on Wheels with what I thought was a good amount and then we served 50 meals but we had a bunch of applesauce left over.  The director for the Center is much better than I am at figuring out about how much to serve and I often have to ask her if I’m giving the correct amount.

As we were working this week, I realized that, while it was an enjoyable experience, it was a little stressful because I was still learning new skills at age 42.  I was used to being very competent at my job and at my work at home so this was a new feeling.  Honestly, I think it’s a good feeling to experience sometimes.  It reminds me how my kids feel every time they try something new and also reminds me to take their feelings seriously.

I’m looking forward to getting more comfortable at my role at the Nutrition Center.  We only go once a week (when I don’t have a migraine) so it will take a little while.  Wild Man and I are still learning all the people who are there.  Generally, there are only 12-14 clients who eat at the Center, although they do have about 50 come for the monthly birthday party, like they did this week.  (Wild Man loved it because they played Bingo after lunch and let him play along.)

Tomorrow afternoon, we are going up north to Fort Wilderness to work this weekend on Project Serve.  We are taking Mr. Math Tutor’s teen/young adult group and our family and will be working with the staff while there is a retreat going on.  I’ll be in the kitchen, Rosie Girl will be in the stables, Mr. Math Tutor will be on dish crew, and Wild Man gets to just hang out.  I’m really looking forward to it, but I expect there will be some of the same uncomfortable kinds of feelings.  Of course, the Fort staff do everything they can to make it easy for us and our family is quite comfortable at Fort.  Nonetheless, it won’t be like cooking at home.

What do you think?  Do these feelings show up when you are in a new situation?  Do they get severe or are you able to brush them off?  How about your kids?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Our Week In Review – October 17, 2009


So, it’s been three weeks between weekly reviews this time!  Yep, we’re pretty busy with life around here.  Since it’s already kind of late on Saturday night, I’ll just hit the high points!

Rosie Girl is loving Choir.  She had to get character shoes for Show Choir and she was all concerned that they would be uncomfortable.  We were both thrilled when her shoes came in and she found that they were some of the most comfortable shoes she’d worn.  Rosie Girl’s Art class is also going well.  She has made a couple of pottery pieces and is almost finished with her linoleum printing.

Rosie Girl’s academic subjects are coming long pretty well.  She has had no more trouble with getting things turned in on time, although she has been known to not complete her work because she overlooked a section.  She’s more careful, now, though.  She is studying pre-Revolutionary War America in History.  She just finished nutrition in humans in biology.  I continue to be very happy with  I love that I don’t have to try to teach Rosie Girl to write, but can just advise her on her assignments!

Wild Man is doing great with reading on his own.  He has been able to do several of his workbook assignments without help from me at all (which was great because I’ve had lots of migraines).  He is learning about the 13 colonies and their relationship with Great Britain.  For Science this week, he learned about pH, so I gave him some pH testing paper and let him test substances around the house.

Wild Man still really likes his band class.  He plays percussion and has learned to play bass drum this week (it’s not as easy as it looks!).  He and I still help out at the Senior Nutrition Center on Wednesday morning.

So that’s about it.  For a busy three weeks, I’ve got remarkably little to say tonight!  Ah, well, I’m sure I’ll make up for it another time!

Check out how others’ week’s have gone at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Friday, October 16, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday – October 16, 2009


1. I’ve had more than my share of contact with health care providers this week.  You’d think I’d enjoy this, since I worked as a Family Doctor, but not really.  I saw the chiropractor twice, the dentist, my family doctor, my counselor, and took my daughter to an ENT.  I don’t want to leave the house now for a week!

2. Speaking of ENT’s (Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists), Rosie Girl had a visit today with one.  She has had about six months of getting “junk” in the crypts in her left tonsil.  She has to get the white stuff out with a Q-tip and it tastes and smells bad.  As expected, the ENT told us that the only real treatment is to have her tonsils out.  Right now, we’re considering having it done around Christmas time.

3. Speaking of Family Practice (we were, you know, at least, I think we were), I do want to go back to work eventually.  But, I think sometimes about doing some kind of full-time ministry like working in a depressed area (rural or urban).  I don't want to leave this area while the kids are still at home, but I remember how much I enjoyed working at the boy’s ranch in Venezuela several years ago.  Mr. Math Tutor is also not adverse to the idea of full-time ministry work in the future.  Where and when?

4. I always said that I would never marry an engineer or a pastor.  Mr. Math Tutor has a degree in Electrical Engineering, although most of his work was in software engineering.  He’s not a pastor, but he has been an Elder in our church for the last four years, which is pretty darn close to being a pastor.  God is laughing at me.

5. Next weekend, our family and Mr. Math Tutor’s small group of young adults are going up to the Northwoods to help out at Fort Wilderness for the weekend.  I’m going to be working in the kitchen, Rosie Girl will be in the stables, Mr. Math Tutor will be doing dishes, and Wild Man will get to goof off!!

6. The weather is nice and chilly, so I’m making Ham and Tomato Bisque as well as gingerbread.  Definite fall comfort food!

7. It appears that some neighbors may be conducting business of questionable legality.  Law enforcement visited there a few weeks ago but the procession of people of young age and moderately unpleasant appearance in and out hasn’t changed.  Sigh.

Check out Conversion Diary to see what others are saying this week!