Friday, April 30, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday – April 30, 2010


1. My baby boy turns 12 years old tomorrow!!  I can’t even believe it!!!  I’ve baked and frosted his cake, but the decorating will wait till tomorrow when he and his friends are at Chuck E. Cheese for lunch and games and I am at home NOT getting a headache from all the noise and craziness!

2. I’ve started a lot of seeds indoors already and the cucumbers are coming up far more quickly than I expected.  I am trying to wait until Monday to put them in their final containers.  Two are going to be grown upside down in old ice cream buckets while another will be grown in the “official” Topsy Turvy bag.  We’re trying to see if using the bag actually makes a difference in outcome.

3. Rosie Girl and PWM are having a Zelda video game competition.  They are playing Twilight Princess on Wii and the one to beat Ganon in the shortest period of game play time wins.  Since the Wii keeps track of the time the player has played, it’s an easy and fun way for them to play against each other.

4. It’s raining pretty hard right now and the thunder and lightening have passed, so the kids (age 11 and 14, remember) are out playing in the rain.  What silly children!

5. The Next Food Network Star starts in June!!  It’s one of my favorite food competition shows.  It’s more family friendly than Top Chef (which I won’t let Wild Man watch because of the language) and lets you follow the competitors (unlike Chopped which only has them on for one show).  Check out the promo video!


6. Speaking of cooking and competition shows, it was a pretty cool coincidence that this week on Chef Vs. City (Atlanta) the chefs had to make oriental noodles using traditional Chinese technique and also on The Amazing Race, in Shanghai, the competitors had to make oriental noodles using the same technique.  Wild Man and I thought it was pretty neat to see both shows in the same week!

7. Wild Man’s socks are coming along quite nicely – I just started the heel flap.  Unfortunately, these  socks have more mistakes than any I have made.  Whenever I made a mistake, though, Wild Man told me not to worry about it and not to rip out my work – I think he’s afraid I’ll never finish them!  In my defense, though, Wild Man picked a pattern with very tricky cables!

Check out Conversion Diary to see what others are saying on 7 Quick Takes Friday!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Links – April 29, 2010

I’ve been dealing with a migraine today, so it’s a good day to leave you with some links.

Jason Boyett interviews archaeologist Robert Cargill about the Noah’s Ark hoax.

Do Christians need more enemies?

Even LOLCatz can praise the Lord!

Rachel Held Evans’ thoughts on Liberty University’s decision to invite Glenn Beck, a Mormon, to deliver the commencement address at the Evangelical school.

Japan’s “Space yacht” looks pretty cool!!

Sony will no longer produce 3.5” floppy discs.  I feel really old.

19 tips for if you’re depressed.

What colors (or colours) mean in different cultures.

A bit of vindication for homeschooling moms!


Hope you enjoy the links.  I’m off to bed, hopefully to sleep off the headache!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Works for Me Wednesday – April 28, 2009


A couple of years ago, when we started working on Sonlight Core 6, we needed to put a world map up on a wall in our house.  The problem was that we had no wall space.  We put the map on the dining room wall just beside the dining room table.  When we started American History (Core 3+4 for Wild Man and Core 100 for Rosie Girl) this year, we moved the world map several inches over and put an American map up beside it.


I never really thought that maps would be an integral part of my dining room decor, but I have found it useful for several reasons.

1. It is a central location for when someone needs to look up a location – when reading a book, when studying an area, or when something gets mentioned on TV.

2. We often look at the map and talk about places during mealtimes.

3. When the kids’ friends come over, conversations often start over the maps.

Having maps in the dining room may be one of the typically homeschooling things to do, but it has it’s advantages!!

Check out Works for Me Wednesday to see what others are saying!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Being a Night Owl

I’m a night owl.  I wish I wasn’t because my dear hubby (PWM) is a morning person.  But, alas, I’m a night owl.  It’s genetic.  My mother is a night owl, too.  She doesn’t like mornings, and she does her best work at night.  I would get up in the morning sometimes to find the house completely clean and the furniture rearranged.  Now she works 3rd shift as an intensive care unit nurse – a clear case of putting her power to use for good.

I tried to be a morning person in college.  I even signed up for 7:30 classes.  I just slept through them.  Most of the time, though, I was in the classroom.  I’m optimistic.  I really tried.

In medical school, you don’t have any choice on the whole morning or night person thing.  Rounds are obscenely early in the morning, but we had so much studying to do that we couldn’t go to bed until really late at night.  In other words, sleep deprivation was the order of the day.

Things weren’t much better when I was in practice.  My colleagues were, for the most part, early risers, apparently.  They seemed to like to schedule meetings for first thing in the morning and did not understand my desire to sleep as late as possible.  At least, when I was practicing medicine, I could get enough sleep – except when a baby decided to make an appearance since the vast majority refused to be born during office hours.

Now that I can schedule my own hours, I definitely get enough sleep since sleep deprivation is a major migraine trigger.  I also, though, can indulge my night owl tendencies.  Notice that I said “indulge” as if being a night owl is somehow bad.  Even though I can be quite productive in the late hours of the night, there is this stigma about it.  People who are really serious about life, do things in the morning, like work out, have devotions, etc.

Jon Acuff on Stuff Christians Like did a post on this topic called “Assuming God is a morning person and satan is a night owl”.  First, go read his post because it is really funny and he’s a better writer than I am.

OK, now we can continue.  Have you been told serious Christians always have their devotional time in the morning?  I have. The idea is that having your quiet time or devotional time starts your day off right and gets you in the right frame of mind.  This is a great idea, but for those of us who don’t “do” mornings, it’s hard to stay awake and focused enough to do a devotional time.  It also locks us into a specific time frame before the rest of the day starts.  And, honestly, for us night owls, we’re just foggy first thing in the morning. 

That’s how I’m wired.  I tolerate mornings and start to function well sometime after lunch.  PWM is the opposite – he gets up alert and ready to go, but is ready for bed by about 10pm.  But it’s good that God made people like me, because it’s the night owls of the world who work third shift.  It’s part of the amazing variety that is the human race! 

The way I see it, God is awake all the time.  When I meet with God is between me and God.  I like using my prayer beads and breviary so that I have fixed times to pray throughout the day (since we are told to pray without ceasing), but my main time with the Lord is at the end of the day.  This is when I really can relax and think.  This is when I do most of my blog writing.  I also read my Bible and meditate on what God is telling me.  I spend a lot of time telling God what’s on my mind and trying to quiet my mind to listen toe what He’s saying to me.  And it keeps me from rearranging the furniture.

What about you?  Are you a morning person or a night owl?  Are you in a place in your life when you can live out your tendencies or are you having to conform to others’ schedules (like if you have kids in school)?  How does that work for you? 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Random Stuff – April 26, 2010

The writing experts say that when you can’t think of something to write to just start writing something.  That’s what I’m doing.  Writing random stuff that’s going though my head.

I’ve had wicked terrible migraines yesterday and today, but they both responded to medications.  Just in case you were wondering.

The cucumbers that were supposed to take 6-10 days to germinate came up in 4.  It looks like I’ll be moving them to bigger pots this week.  I either need to get another little plastic dome system or these cuke plants have to be able to handle chilly evenings outside because they can’t go in an open pot indoors or they’ll become a digging spot for the kitty cats.

We had a toilet overflowing emergency Thursday night while PWM was taking Rosie Girl to dance.  Why is it that I can handle obstetrical emergencies with some amount of grace and decorum, but an overflowing toilet just flummoxes me.  I know now, though, how to turn off the water to the toilet – although, in this case, I didn’t really need to.  Everything is all fixed now thanks to PWM my handyman hubby.

Why is it that I have such a hard time with getting the white clothes folded?  I don’t mind washing or drying the clothes, but getting the white clothes (towels, underwear, socks, etc.) folded and put away is my housekeeping nemesis.  And having a migraine is a great excuse for putting it off!!

I made fish cakes with remoulade sauce and spinach with alfalfa sprout salad for dinner on Saturday night.  Yummy!!  The fish cakes (made with tilapia) could have used a lot more seasoning, but a decent remoulade sauce covers over a multitude of sins.


I guess those writing experts were correct, after all.  I sat down with nothing to say and yet I’ve written a mildly interesting (I hope) blog post.

I do have some more profound thoughts bouncing around in my head and I’ll get those written one of these days!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Numbering Our Days

Psalm 90:12  “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NLT)  “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (NIV)

When I quit working, I felt for a time like I was kind of quitting life.  I knew that I was doing productive work by keeping the house and educating the kids, but I can’t really do that effectively without PWMs help most weeks because of the headaches.  I still fight with the voices inside that tell me that I have to be “producing” and “doing” in order to justify my existence.

Notice, though, what the psalmist asks of God.  He wants God to help him make the most of his time so that he can grow in wisdom.  The last time that I looked, growing in wisdom wasn’t measured in number of patients seen or hours worked.  Nor are there “wisdom points” counted by how clean the kitchen is or whether all the clothes are folded.

How do we grow in wisdom?  Psalm 111:10 tells us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us that a wise person puts His words into practice.  James 1:5 tells us that we should pray for wisdom if we lack it.

From just a cursory look at these verses, it appears that we are to use our time wisely to grow in wisdom by spending our time with Jesus and obeying Him.  This can be done by working at home as a stay-at-home parent, working outside the home, or being at home with a migraine.  Whatever the case, we are to be conscious of the fact that our time belongs to the Lord and to use this time well.  We are not to overwork ourselves, but to take the rest that God expects us to take.  At the same time, we are to immerse ourselves in His word.

In my case, I’m learning to accept the days when I’m not able to be “productive” in the usual sense of the word, but I’m also working harder at making sure that I make time every day for dedicated prayer and Bible reading.  I’m sure that “making the most of your time” will look different for you.  What it should not look like, though, is frantic or guilt-ridden.  God wants us to give our schedule to Him, and then to rest in what He gives back to us.

How does this verse speak to you?  How does using time wisely look for you?

Friday, April 23, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday – April 23, 2010

I still have 37 minutes in which to get this post done and still have it be on Friday, so let’s get going!

1. Tonight was Arti Gras at the local Middle School and High School (we’re in a small town, so the schools are all on one campus).  Rosie Girl had two art pieces displayed, and PWM and I enjoyed seeing all work by the other students as well.  In addition, some students put on some comedy sketches, then Rosie Girl played a piano piece and some of the other students sang their pieces from solo and ensemble.  Then, two singing ensembles, one of which included Rosie Girl, performed.  Our “artiste” was in her element!!


2. Rosie Girl is having a friend sleep over tonight so that they can have a Lord of the Rings marathon since her friend has never seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I know!!  Can you imagine?!  So, yes, we are making sure to help this young woman become appropriately acculturated this weekend!!

3. I got some new yarn this week so I’m trying to finish Wild Man’s socks and I’ve started a new sweater for me.  I’m making a short sleeved raglan for which I’ve kind of made up my own pattern.  I sure hope it works!!

4. Speaking of yarn, I’ve started buying a lot of my yarn from  I love the quality of what I’ve been getting and the prices are great.

5. More knitting stuff – I’ve been knitting continental style (holding the yarn in my left hand) for the last several years, but I still find that doing right leaning cables or cables where the needle has to go in the back of the work is quite awkward when I’m working continental style, so I often switch back to “throwing” to work the cable rows.  Does anyone else find this to be an issue?

6. I’m loving my new computer.  Right now I’m trying to transfer files from my old computer over to this one.  I got all the pictures over to this computer, but I realized that I have several thousand and it might be a wise idea for me to burn a DVD for more permanent storage as well as to just weed through and get rid of some of the just completely useless pictures.  But, having this super-speedy laptop is wonderful.  And we’ll only be eating peanut butter and jelly for a month or so (I’m totally kidding on that!!).

7. I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter books – I’m halfway through the second one – and I’m impressed yet once again at JK Rowling’s genius.  I’ll write a post next week sometime with details, but the foreshadowing and the amazing world she created just blows me away!

So, I managed to finish and it’s still Friday!!  Check out Conversion Diary to see what others are saying at 7 Quick Takes Friday!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Links – April 22, 2010

While PWM is trying to unclog the toilet, I’ll share some fun links I’ve found this week (particularly since I’m not sure how profound I can be when there’s plumbing occurring in the next room!).

A funny joke

Some not-so-smart pirates had a really BAD day!

A cautionary note to Congress

So, when do you take the Bible literally and when do you not?

For Heaven’s sake, folks, pull the rope!!

Christians at restaurants

Making sure your homeschooled child is weird and unsocialized.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Scripted Prayers

As I noted in my post about my prayer beads, I’m using scripted prayers regularly.  I use the Lord’s Prayer, the Gloria, and the Jesus Prayer along with praying certain scripture verses and the Apostle’s creed.  One of the concerns that I’ve heard about scripted prayers is the admonition given in the Bible that we are to avoid “vain repetitions” of the “pagans” (Matthew 6:7 in KJV).  In the NIV, that verse reads, “And, when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”  Jesus is telling us here that it is the attitude of our heart, not the specific words, that matter when we pray.

There are three instances in which I have found scripted prayer particularly useful, although there may be many more.  First, in a corporate setting, scripted prayers can be an effective part of worship.  There is something that is hard to define, but quite special, about being part of a group that is praying the same words out loud.

Second, I find the scripted prayers to be helpful to start to clear my mind and focus me on Jesus when I’m starting my devotional time.  Sometimes, there is so much going through my head that I miss the first half of my Bible reading or I realize that I’ve been “praying” for three minutes, but now I’m thinking about tomorrow night’s dinner.  Using my prayer book or prayer beads gets me to focus and makes it a little easier to get started on my devotional time (and think about dinner plans a little later).

Third, scripted prayers can give us words when we have no words.  In my case, the situation occurred about five years ago now when I was in the hospital getting treatment for a really bad migraine.  I was an inpatient and getting iv narcotics to try to break the migraine.  Unfortunately, no one knew at the time that I had obstructive sleep apnea, so when the nurse came around, she found that I had just about quit breathing.  So, they gave me Narcan to wake me up, which put me into a funky heart rhythm, and they sent me to the ICU – which in a 30 bed hospital, is just down the hall.  PWM (formerly known as Mr. Math Tutor) was at home, so they called him and he was on his way there.  As they were getting me hooked up to every monitor in the ICU, I was asking the nurse to pray with me because I was scared and couldn’t think of anything to pray myself.  I was getting a little frustrated because people seemed to be ignoring me!  (Actually, they just don’t know how to handle a request for prayer.)  Finally, the nurse asked about praying the Lord’s Prayer – which was just fine with me.  So, we recited the Lord’s Prayer together.  It was incredibly calming for me.  I wasn’t able to say anything on my own, but saying the Lord’s Prayer helped me feel like I was “really praying” (even though I know God was hearing what I was saying without words before we prayed).  (I have since learned that this experience has given this nurse the courage to ask her patients more often if they want her to pray with them.)

Do you use scripted prayers?  How do you use them?  How have they helped you?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

All in the Family

Mr. Math Tutor now has a blog!!  He can be found at  Go check it out and become a blog follower!

Rosie Girl is writing a good bit of fan fiction.  She can be found at  Search the authors for HeroineOfTime4242 to find her profile.  She has five stories published right now.

Check it out!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Prayer Beads

Last week, I received a set of prayer beads that I ordered from Alan Creech Rosaries.  As a lifelong non-liturgical Protestant, I didn’t grow up with the tradition of praying scripted prayers in church or praying the Rosary.  In the last few years, I have developed a habit of praying nighttime prayers from a prayer book, and always have great intentions of doing morning and noontime prayers as well.

When I read that Alan Creech was doing a special sale of some of his one century rosaries to help raise money for Michael Spencer and his family, I ordered a set for myself and a set for my mother-in-law.


Now, I have the beads so I’ve been trying to figure out how to use them!  I’m not opposed to using traditional or scripted prayers, but I’m not comfortable with the Roman Catholic rosary that includes the Hail Mary.  I can understand that people who use that prayer do not see Mary as a deity, but I’m not comfortable using it.

The first thing I found in my research is that praying a full rosary is complicated!!  It involves quite a few prayers and then meditating on a certain aspect of Jesus’ life (which changes depending on the day of the week and the season).  Wow.  The prayer beads that I purchased, though, are just a single “century” or one repeat of the regular rosary.  A little more research led me to this site which shows a modification of the full rosary to appeal to Protestants who aren’t terribly liturgical.

So, here’s how I’m using my beads:

Crucifix – Apostle’s Creed (which I still need to memorize – sad, I know)

Silver Celtic Knot Bead – The Lord’s Prayer

Silver Celtic Knot Bead – Gloria

Green bead – The Jesus Prayer

Green bead – The Jesus Prayer

Green bead – The Great Commandment  (Matthew 22:37-39)

Green bead – The Great Commission  (Matthew 28:19-20)

Green bead – The Great Commandment

Green bead – The Jesus Prayer

Green bead – The Jesus Prayer

Green bead – The Jesus Prayer

Silver Celtic Knot Bead - Gloria

I’ve been using them for a few days and I really like them.  I don’t use these prayers instead of my extemporaneous prayer time, but to help settle my brain and get me ready to focus on God while I read my Bible and pray.

Have you used a rosary or prayer beads?  How were they helpful?  Have you found other physical items to be useful in helping you keep spiritual disciplines?

Friday, April 16, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday – April 16, 2010

Friday!!  Let’s get going:

1. I’m posting this from my rocking chair and my brand new laptop computer!!  Yippee!!  Mr. Math Tutor got the computer for me last night from WalMart so I’ve been learning to use it and setting up my software today.

2. It’s serious allergy season around here.  I only took my Zyrtec last night and forgot to use my Flonase, so I’ve been sneezing up a storm!!  I won’t forget my meds again and I’m praying for a rainstorm to get the pollen out of the air.  Although I’m wondering if I could get dehydrated from all this mucus production.

3. My doctor increased my Topamax last week.  There’s a reason that it’s nicknamed “Dopamax” by doctors – it makes thinking slow and word-finding difficult.  The kids are mildly entertained when I can’t say what I want, but I get highly frustrated.  Thankfully, it should only last about a month.  It will be worth it if it works.

4. My seeds came in the mail today.  I hope for nice weather and no migraine tomorrow so I can get the other outdoor bed ready and get my indoor pots ready.

5. Wild Man put all his Lego heads in a pile today and told me he was playing French Revolution.  It’s dangerous to teach history to a 12 year old.  He later put all the heads on his Lego people and had a Medieval/Futuristic/Skeletal battle – so much for history.

6. I think I’m doing a nostalgia thing right now – I’m listening to Pride and Prejudice on mp3 and reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  Not at the same time, though.

7. The only thing more crazy that going grocery shopping at Woodman’s late on Friday afternoon is going grocery shopping at Woodman’s late on Friday afternoon with Mr. Math Tutor!  He’s not as bad as the kids about putting stuff in the cart, but he is entertaining nonetheless.

Check out what others are saying at Conversion Diary!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What If?

I read a great post at The Virtual Abbess which was her entry in Donald Miller’s What If? challenge.  And it’s inspired me to do my own What If? list.  The challenge is to come up with five What If? questions – not the kind that I have no control over, but the kind that I can actually make happen.  Then, I decide on making one of them happen this week.  Ideally, this is an activity to do in a small group.  I’m not in a small group right now, but I’m going to talk to a good friend about it and share my progress with her.

So, here goes:

  1. What if I concentrate on smiling even when I have a headache?
  2. What if I play a game with Wild Man when he asks?
  3. What if I read all of Rosie Girl’s fan fiction?
  4. What if I say yes to Mr. Math Tutor – when he wants to take a walk, watch a movie, or just talk.
  5. What if I make prayer more than just something I do at night – use my prayer books for fixed-hour prayer, carry on more spontaneous conversations with God, etc.

I’ll let you know what happens.  I’ve had a pretty rotten headache today, so I’ve already been working on the first What If?  Will it make a difference?  Will I feel different or act different?  We’ll see!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

“You have the words of eternal life”

Why am I still a Christian?  Why haven’t I given up on my faith when I hurt most of the time?  For that matter, why does anyone believe in God after they look around and see the mess that it is this world.  When Satan was testing Job, Job’s wife encouraged Job to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).  And some days, I’ll admit, it’s tempting.

But then, I return to a passage in John:  “From this time, many of his (Jesus’) disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  You do not want to leave too, do you?”  Jesus asked the Twelve.  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.”  (John 6:66-69).

That’s the key – there is nowhere else to turn.  Jesus is the only one who has the “words of eternal life”.  He is the “Holy One of God”.  What more could we ask for?  Each world religion has it’s own appeal, but only Christianity offers Jesus as Savior – forgiveness for what we’ve done, a friend and comforter for today’s troubles, and the hope of eternal life.  It simply doesn’t get any better than this.  God Almighty reached down to love each of us individually.

When the others left Jesus, the Twelve recognized Jesus for what He was, the giver of life.  That’s what Jesus offers all of us.  But, he offers more than “fire insurance”, a “Get Out of Hell Free Card”.  Jesus offers us real life right now here on earth.  That’s why I’m still a believer.  Because Jesus and no one else has the words of eternal life – life that starts now.  Life that may still not be easy, but it’s worth living.  Life that’s full of God’s love – a love based on God’s actions, not our feelings.

“Lord, to whom shall I go?  You have the words of eternal life?”  Lord, I’ll go only to You.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This Is Crazy!!

I got a letter last week from our doctor’s office (where I used to be a partner) telling us that Mr. Math Tutor and I will no longer be able to access Wild Man’s medical records from the computer as of the first of May when he turns 12 years old.  The reason is that when he turns twelve, the law in our state is that parents are no longer allowed to access the parts of the medical records pertaining to sexual or reproductive health issues.  When the medical records were made available to patient’s families online, it was decided that the parent’s proxies would be revoked when the child became of an age that any part of the record became legally private because it is too difficult to try to allow the parents online access to just part of the record.  (I was still working when that was all sorted out.)  If we want to see part of our child’s record, we have to go into the office, where they will show us the parts of his record we’re allowed to see.  I vaguely remember this happening when Rosie Girl turned 12.

But, folks, HE’S 12!!!!!  The state has decided that my children can get medical advice and treatment without my consent as long as it’s related to their reproductive organs.  So, they wouldn’t be able to get treatment with an antibiotic for an ear infection, but they’d be able to get the same antibiotic if it was for a sexually transmitted infection.  And the physician wouldn’t be able to have the parents in to discuss the behavior that got the kid the sexually transmitted infection in the first place.  Girls all over the country are getting birth control pills (with all the potential side effects) and their parents may or may not know about it.  They can get abortions in many states without their parents’ knowing about it.  But, they can’t get an ibuprofen in school.

Does anyone else see the psychosis here?  We’ve decided that CHILDREN should be able to make their own decisions about the parts of their body that can have some of the most serious long term consequences!!!  Early sexual activity can lead to pregnancy, infection, infertility, and cancer.  And many studies show that parental involvement is the most important factor in kids’ making health choices.  So, why are we taking the parents out of the equation?  I don’t know.  (When I was working, I told families that I didn’t prescribe medications to teens without parental consent.  I did insist on keeping conversations private, but I wouldn’t give treatment to a minor without their parent knowing about it.  If a minor wanted to get something behind their parents’ backs, they could go to the County or another physician.)

However, the Christian community is guilty of this kind of attitude as well.  Parents get freaked out by the idea that their child might hear something about birth control in high school sex ed and make sure the student gets pulled out of that class period.  We’ve elevated abstinence-only education to the level of Scripture.  And we act as if sexual sins are unforgivable.  The Evangelical Church has become sex-obsessed in many very unhealthy ways.  What started as a response to try to help kids navigate our over-sexed culture has become an obsession on purity to the level that there’s very little real, honest information out there about healthy sexuality. 

How is a teen supposed to navigate the hormone-laden years in a Godly way?  I’m afraid we’ve focused so much on the external (not having sex) that we’re losing what’s truly important – nurturing a relationship with Jesus.  And it’s that relationship with Jesus that gets us through temptation, not the gritting-our-teeth-willpower.  As a parent of a teen, I talk with my kids about sex, marriage, the importance of waiting till marriage, etc.  But, I’m mostly trying to encourage them to love Jesus.  And I’m praying a lot.

This sex obsession in our society is not helping anyone.  I do know that my kids are not old enough to make any medical decisions on their own, but I hope and pray that they trust me and Mr. Math Tutor enough to confide in us no matter what they’re facing, even if it does involve their reproductive organs.  Right now, we are all very close so I’m not worried about this crazy law.  It’s a good reminder to keep praying, though, and not just for my kids, but for our whole community.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gardening - 2010

The weather was gorgeous today – sunny and in the upper 50s, low 60s.  Add to that the fact that I had a minimal headache, and it was a day begging for gardening.  Of course, I’m not much of a gardener, but we do have our two Square Foot Gardens in the back yard and I like flowers in the front yard.

Last year, our Square Foot Gardens were moderately successful, but we learned only after they were established that there is not really a truly sunny spot in the backyard.  Bummer.  Because of that (and the fact that the summer was chilly), we didn’t get really good yields on much of anything except green beans.  Several of our plants were also not helped by the fact that the green beans were shading them because the green beans grew so well. 

Today I cleaned out one of the SFGboxes and loosened up the dirt.  As I was doing this, I discovered that we hadn’t harvested 8 or 10 of the onions last year, so Grandma cleaned them up and chopped them up for us.  Mr. Math Tutor turned over our compost and we discovered that it’s not quite ready for use in the garden this year (another casualty of not enough sun, I think) so we’ll probably add some Miracle Gro to the soil.  Besides, we really don’t need much more soil volume in the box.  I haven’t started on the other box yet (although the first one only took about 30 minutes), but it’s going to be a little more complicated because Rosie Girl’s strawberries are in one corner of that box and can’t be disturbed.

I’m going to just grow carrots and green beans in SFG box #1 (the one without strawberry plants).  I ordered seeds this year from Park Seed.  I’m not sure if that will make much difference, but we’ll see.  In the other box, I’m going to try broccoli again (maybe I’m a glutton for punishment) and some bellflowers (the website said easy to grow and likes light shade).

I would also like some herbs, but I’m going to grow them in containers so I can put them in a nice, sunny spot.  I’m probably going to start the seeds indoors, so I purchased some fiber (not peat – we’re saving the bogs here!) pots and a tray with a dome to keep the cats out.  I’m going to try sage, spearmint, catnip, oregano, and basil.

We are still going to grow our tomatoes and cucumbers from the bottom of buckets, but we’re going to use old ice cream buckets instead of the big 5 gallon buckets.  We’re also going to move the shepherd’s crook to a sunny spot.  I am planning on starting the seeds indoors so I can get a head start this year.

For the front bed, I’ve normally purchased plants, but this year, I decided on something different this year.  I’m going to start lavender from seed and then plant it in pots then put the pots along the back of the bed with the other perennials that are there.  I ordered some Wave Petunia seed pellets from Park Seed that I will start indoors and then put in some rectangular planters that will go in the front bed.  (Fifteen years ago, I tried to grow Park Seed Purple Wave Petunias along with a bunch of other flowers.  The petunias were the only ones that grew and they were amazing.  I’m pretty confident I can get these to grow.)  I love Wave Petunias and I bought the variety that creep all over, so I hope to have a luscious carpet of petunias this summer (for less money than when I buy the plants).

Rosie Girl and I also love Morning Glories, so I bought some small pots to have some of those vine up along the handrail on our front stoop.

I hope that these are things I can do a little at a time between headaches.  It helps that my kids are old enough to help as well.  Using containers will also give us more flexibility and spare my back, particularly in the front flowerbed!

Well, if you’re still reading, you must be related to me!  I do reserve the right to change my mind at any time.  Mr. Math Tutor and I are still thinking about putting a SFG vegetable box or two in the front yard where we have some sunshine.  I’m also interested in putting another box in the backyard for growing asparagus (I love stir-fried asparagus – well, as much as I can love a vegetable).  So, that’s the plan.

What about you?  Any gardening plans on the horizon?  Any advice for me?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Our Week In Review – April 10, 2010


Lots and lots of changes going on around here!!  And, of course, they affect the schooling routine!  Grandma (Mr. Math Tutor’s mom) is visiting this week and next and has decided to rent the house next door, although she won’t live there full-time.  We are excited about the fact that she will become even more a part of our lives than she is right now.

The other big change is that Grandma and Wild Man will be taking a trip this summer from Tampa, FL across the southern United States to Monterey, CA and then across the middle of the US and back here to the Great White North (which won’t be white when they arrive back in the middle of August, but you get my point).  Wild Man and I will be leaving in the middle of May, so he’ll be finishing his schoolwork two weeks early.  I’ve already stopped his History and Geography work because he’ll learn more of that this summer than he’s already learned this whole school year.  The other reason is that I want to spend our time focusing on reading, spelling, writing, and math.  I do have him watching some History DVDs, particularly ones that are about places that he’s going to visit this summer.

Rosie Girl will finish her Biology book this upcoming week, so we will do a month of dissection work.  I’m all excited, but she seems less thrilled – something about “Oh, gross!”  The rest of her work is coming along quite well.  She has piano Festival next Saturday which will be a big day for her.  She’s been practicing theory tests all semester along with practicing her pieces.  Unfortunately, she’s developed a mild tendinitis in her right hand.  She’s been taking care of it, so I hope it doesn’t bother her next weekend.

I hope that we can start working on gardening next week.  Wild Man can help me get some things started, but Rosie Girl will be the one to help me through the summer. 

How was your week?  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see how others have done!


Friday, April 09, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. Mr. Math Tutor and I went to the visitation at the funeral home for the 9 year old boy we knew who died of cancer.  I was glad to get a chance to hug his parents and see the little boy for the last time.  It really provided a sense of closure.

2. I wore my new sweater to church on Easter Sunday (but the pictures were taken after church when I had changed into my jeans).  The yarn is silk and bamboo and feels just luscious!!  (The sweater did end up a little longer than I planned, but overall, I’m happy with it.)


3. I ordered seeds last night for the garden and the front flowerbeds.  I also ordered some seeds for herbs which I’ll grow in pots.  More on all that later.

4. Mr. Math Tutor and I discovered Half Price Books tonight, a used book store in Appleton.  My goodness, we could have spent our kids’ inheritance, if they had one!!  Our primary objective, though, was to get books for Wild Man to take on his trip with Grandma since it’s too long a trip to take library books (and there’s entirely too much chance they’ll get lost).  Nonetheless, we found a set of language learning CDs in Japanese for Rosie Girl who has been picking up all kinds of Japanese from watching Japanese anime, and a set of DVDs about military airplanes for Wild Man.

5. Grandma is thinking about renting the house next door.  She wouldn’t live here full time, but it would be very convenient for her to have a place to stay when she does come.  Right now, she and the owners are negotiating price – Mr. Math Tutor and I hope it works out, but we’re staying out of the discussions.

6. We had 4 inches of snow yesterday.  This doesn’t really surprise me, but it did upset me because I’m pretty sure that the weather system that brought the snow also caused my headache!!

7. Why is it that when Wild Man can’t find his Explode the Code book, he thinks five minutes is long enough to look before deciding that it vaporized into thin air, but when he can’t find his Artemis Fowl book before bed, he has to spend thirty minutes looking?  It’s a mystery, I tell you!!

Check out what others are saying at Conversion Diary!!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Making Plans

Summer is almost upon us, so it’s time to make all of our vacation plans, right?  We already have our week at Family Camp scheduled, Wild Man’s week at Boy’s Camp scheduled, and a week for my family (parents and brother and his family) to come up here for a visit scheduled.  It would seem that everything is all taken care of.  Not so.

I decided that I wanted to take a short visit to see my parents in May and that I would take Wild Man with me.  I’m in the process of making the airline reservations for that trip.

Grandma (Mr. Math Tutor’s mom) is up here visiting right now and is planning a trip from her home in Tampa across the US through Baton Rouge, Houston, San Antonio, and then up to Monterey, California where Mr. Math Tutor’s sister lives.  She will be leaving the first part of June and asked about Wild Man joining her for part or all of her trip.  Wild Man is thrilled with the idea.  Mr. Math Tutor and I think it’s wonderful, except for the part where we won’t see our son for two months – EEK!

Sooooooooo, Wild Man and I will fly down to South Florida to visit my parents.  (We will be stopping his “regular” schoolwork early and taking him out of public school early this year.)  After a week, I will come back up here.  My parents will get Wild Man to Grandma’s house in Tampa before the first of June.  Wild Man and Grandma will then “hit the road” for two months.  They will definitely be back to Wisconsin by August 12 because Grandma wants to see the Tall Ships in Green Bay on that date.

Sound crazy?  Indeed, it is.  Wild Man is willing to give up Family Camp and Boy’s Camp for this trip.  Rosie Girl isn’t interested in the trip because she’s got plans this summer to write stories with her friends and to work more on her music.  She’s also excited because we told her that she can bring a friend to Family Camp.

Over the next week, Grandma and Wild Man are planning their route, learning to use the GPS, checking websites, and just generally getting excited about the whole thing.  I’ve got to make sure Wild Man has clothes and other things he needs.  Thankfully, Grandma uses Facebook so that they can post pictures and messages while they’re on the road.

It’s gonna be a great summer for everyone!!

P.S.  And Mr. Math Tutor and I are going to paint my dining room and kitchen!!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Many Questions, Very Few Answers

On Sunday night, a nine year old boy died of cancer.

Where was God?

Last night, a good man died of cancer.

What was God up to?

This week, 25 miners were killed in an accident in West Virginia.

Was God aware of this?

8 people died this week in Pakistan when the U.S. Consulate was bombed.

Why didn’t God stop it?

And, on a much smaller scale, my head still hurts.

Does God really care?


My faith has taken a beating this week.  However, I don’t choose to believe because of how I feel but because of what God’s Word says (why I trust Scripture is a topic for another post).

God knows what is going on.  Nothing that has happened surprised Him or happened outside of His plans – even though we don’t understand it.

Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Isaiah 55:8-9  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Romans 8:28  And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

It’s OK to mourn.  And to allow the God of the universe to comfort us in our pain.  And to know that Jesus is the One to whom we can run when we get overwhelmed with all this pain and grief.

John 6:68  Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

Matthew 5:4  Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.

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.

Mostly, when we grieve about friends and loved ones who are gone, we must remember that God has prepared a much better place for believers.  A place without cancer, headaches, sickness, or death.  A place filled with God’s amazing love.

Romans 8:18  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

Romans 4:17-18  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Philippians 3:20-21  But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Revelation 21:4  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Hold On To Jesus

A friend’s 9 year old son (whom I helped bring into the world 9 long years ago) died last night of cancer.  There are no words to express my grief and sorrow.

Please know, Thomsen family, that you are loved through all of this by Jesus as well as friends and family and I pray that you can hold on to Jesus.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

My Favorite Easter Songs

Arise, My Love by NewSong

The Easter Song by Keith Green

In Christ Alone by Newsboys

What are your favorites?  I’m sure I’ve missed some of mine, especially hymns!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Get Me Out Of Here – 2 (From Xena, the Warrior Cat)

Yes, it is I, Xena, the Warrior Cat, who has once again “borrowed” the IMG_0686humans’ computer for a few precious moments.  I continue to plan my escape from this house.  As we enter into Spring, my need for fresh air and outdoors increases.  Yet, here I am, stuck inside with the humans.


Sassy remains as silly as ever.  She adores the adult male and whines and meows and jumps on top of IMG_0960him.  Depending on his mood, he will either throw her on the floor, or pick her up and pet her.  Silver is more restrained, but remains devoted to the adult female and has no desire to escape – something about being too “old”.  I’m seven years old and will never be too OLD to want the outdoors. 


Sassy occasionally makes a break for the outside, but she is so silly that she either stops dead on the driveway so the humans can pick her up immediately, or she runs under the bushes.  When she runs under the bushes, they spray water at her until she runs out and then they catch her.  No, an escape plan must be more subtle.  So, I rarely try to run out through an open door.


The adolescent female takes me out on a leash at times.  It is nice, but not enough.  And, now, she has been gone for almost a week.  She is the only human I can tolerate around here.  I’ve had to be nice to the adolescent male!!  And this morning, I allowed the adult female to stroke my head and neck.  Yes, I was desperate.  I need the adolescent female here if I am to survive my imprisonment.  She is the only one who understands and, I believe, loves me!

Oh, no, here come the humans.  I will send more messages as I can.  Stay free!!

Xena, Warrior Cat

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Silly Children With Cell Phones

My kids are great, but they are also silly. Rosie Girl is on the choir trip to Washington D.C., so she has texted us on occasion to let us know how things are going. Today, she texted Wild Man to say that she had bought him a souvenir. He texted back to ask what it was. And, she said that she wasn't going to tell - he'd have to wait till she got home!

So, later, Wild Man texted Rosie Girl to say that Grandma had come to visit a day early (she's expected tomorrow). Rosie Girl responded by saying, "Cool. Tell her I said Hi." Wild Man texted back, "April Fool!" According to Wild Man, Rosie's response was something along the lines of "Grrrrrrrr!"

I love that my kids are friends with each other. They fuss and argue and generally make me crazy sometimes, but overall they like each other. And I think they might miss each other right now. A tiny little bit!