Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I love to thank and praise God when life is going well – we’re making money at the shop (The Knitting Nest), the kids are behaving and I’m feeling well without a migraine.  When things aren’t working out like that, though, it’s harder to be thankful.  I mean, how do I thank God for something as miserable as migraines?

In the first part of the book of Philippians, Paul thanks God that he is in chains for the Gospel.  Paul’s life was on the line for Jesus, and he was OK with that.  He said that living would be good, but dying even better.

Can I just admit right here and now that I don’t have the faith that Paul has.  I’m not sure how I’d react in a life-threatening situation.  (Although, I’m listening to The Hiding Place and Corrie Ten Boom often comments on how God gives us the faith that we need just at the right time!)

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.   Phil 4:4-7

We are told that we are to rejoice in the Lord always.  Always.  Migraine? Rejoice  Fussy kids? Rejoice  Uncertainty? Rejoice.  But, Paul understands this.  In Hebrews 13:15, we are told to offer up to God a “sacrifice of praise”.  I am to praise and thank God even when I don’t feel like it.

I also notice in this section of Philippians that the emphasis on what we get from prayer is not the answered prayer (although God certainly does that), but the peace of God that  transcends all understanding. 

Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances.  I’ve got insomnia right now – I’m praying for it to go away, but also thanking God that these few hours by myself give me some time to read that I might have otherwise missed.

Honestly, there are a lot of times that I don’t feel too grateful for my circumstances.  But, somehow, God will give the grace and faith to  give thanks.  Don’t be too surprised if you see me write about thanking God for migraines on my next Facebook post!  I thank God for the migraines even though I don’t see the whole plan.  God is still good even though I don’t understand.

God is God and I am not.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Our Week In Review–September 17, 2011


We just finished the fourth week of owning The Knitting Nest and third week of the school year.  Unfortunately, I had terrible migraines on Tuesday and Thursday, so I wasn’t very useful most of the week.  Nonetheless, some education did happen.

Rosie Girl

History – She finished the first decade of the 20th century this week and wrote a paper on inventions.

Literature – She’s reading Murder on the Orient Express and finished Heart of Darkness.

Bible – Still in the book of Matthew.

Math – Making progress in Algebra 2.

Japanese – She needs to take her final exam for 1st semester and then she can start 2nd semester.

Writing – The paper on inventions.

Science – She’s still reading about music and the mind.

Music – Her piano teacher is also teaching her some principles of arranging and composing music.



Wild Man

History – This week he read about the Samurai.

Literature – He’s reading Theras and his Town which is about a boy in Sparta.

Bible – Read some of the major events in the book of Genesis.

Math – Working on math facts and otherwise progressing well in ALEKS.

Writing – He read Katy and the Big Snow in preparation for story-writing.  Unfortunately, that’s as far as we got.  Hopefully, this week, he’ll make a story outline and then rewrite the story.

Spelling – I had a great idea to use the All About Spelling curriculum, but have him practice words using the Spelling Power 10 step list.  We did it on Monday, but not the rest of the week.  However, I hope he is learning some spelling by being on Facebook because he keeps asking me and PWM how to spell common words.

Grammar – Easy Grammar.

Typing – Yep. 

Music – After band class on Thursday, he stayed and taught one of the other middle school percussionists how to play the drum kit (with the director’s permission).


Not a very exciting week, but the kids are moving forward in all their subjects.  How are things at your house?  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others have been up to!


I am a selfish person.  I know this.  And I pray regularly for God to forgive me of that particular day’s version of selfishness – being irritable because someone interrupted my listening to a good book, my frustration at my less-than-perfect children, my wish to be left alone or to be with people (but by my choice – not anyone else’s).

One of the signs of spiritual growth is becoming other-focused.  I know people like this.  One of my dearest friends made time to come see me at home on Thursday despite my headache since we had missed our last couple of get-togethers.  My husband took care of me on Tuesday when I had a splitting migraine and was throwing up.  (That’s how you know someone loves you – they stay with you even when it involves bodily fluids!)

One of my frustrations is that I feel like my migraines make me very inward-focused when I should be focusing on God and other people.  I feel like I’m always self-monitoring to see how bad the headache is, whether I need to take meds, whether I should put an ice pack on, whether I’ll be able to go to the shop.  It’s a little difficult to focus on other people’s needs when I’m constantly checking on my own.

The Great Commandment says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. . . . and . . . love your neighbor as yourself.”  I don’t have any trouble with the loving myself part.  I don’t do so well with loving God and loving others.

It’s hard to find the line, though, between being selfish and legitimately meeting my own needs.  When I have a migraine, I know that I need to treat it and not try to pretend it isn’t there or it gets worse and I end up in the ER.  When I’m not in the throes of a migraine, I need God’s grace to help me look beyond myself and do what I can for others.  Right now, that appears to involve working (or knitting) at our yarn shop.  Not only do I get to be around yarn, but I get to help people with their knitting, and build relationships that benefit us both.  But I know that I can’t do this myself.

How am I supposed to solve this problem without doing something active, setting up a “program” (of Bible reading, prayer, etc.)?  It seems to me that it’s not the activities of spiritual formation that are helpful here, but the walking day by day with Jesus.  He tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).  Jesus tells us to take His yoke upon ourselves.  A yoke is meant for two animals, so Jesus is saying to walk with Him.  While prayer and Bible study are important for this walk, I think that meditation and solitude and silence may be just as useful.  As I walk with Jesus, I hope to become more like Him, seeing people through His eyes, instead of through my lens of selfishness.

Just my thoughts on a Friday night.


Friday, September 16, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday–September 16, 2011


1. Wild Man has shingles.  Seriously?  Shingles?  He showed me this rash on his back and chest early in the week and I thought it might be a herald patch from pytiriasis rosea which is completely benign.  I briefly thought about shingles, but I’ve never seen them in a kid, although I have seen them in a young adult.  Anyway, the rash wasn’t getting better, so PWM took Wild Man to see a “real” doctor (as opposed to his mother who still has my MD, but no valid license).  Well, the “real” doctor said Wild Man has shingles.  Huh.  The poor kid has to take “horse pills” for a few days, but overall appears not to be terribly ill.  Now, I’m still not going to be an anti-vaccination person (because there is lots of good evidence that the vast majority of vaccination programs have been very helpful to the population), but I do wonder about the whole chickenpox issue.  The kids were both vaccinated, but the vaccine uses a live virus, which could be the cause of the shingles.  Or, Wild Man could still have picked up a low-level chicken pox infection.  And, one article suggested that since people are no longer frequently exposed to small amounts of the varicella-zoster virus, we are seeing more shingles in kids and young adults.  Food for thought.

2. So, the idea of opening a yarn shop was that I could go in and work when I was feeling decent, which would be several days each week.  That would not be this week, though.  I had a wicked migraine on Tuesday, bordering on requiring a visit to the ER.  Then I woke up Thursday with another one – and PWM was waiting at the pharmacy when they opened because I was out of Imitrex.  Not good.  Anyway, I was at the shop a little on Wednesday afternoon and then today.  Here’s praying that next week is better.

3. I think I have found something that works for our school days.  Each kid fills out a journal page each day telling me what they did for each subject and giving me their thoughts about any reading they’ve done (hopefully).  This has been a real challenge for Wild Man since he doesn’t spell very well and is often asking me and PWM to spell words for him.  However, they do the journal pages on the computer and email me when they’re done.  We’re still working out a few kinks, but overall, I’m pretty happy with it.

4. Tomorrow is Weyauwega’s Horse and Buggy Days!!  This year, they’re just doing a parade down Main Street, but Main Street businesses are encouraged to have a presence.  We are going to be teaching finger knitting and giving away little bags with enough yarn to make a finger-knit bracelet.  We’re really excited about this – more people to see what our shop is all about!

5. The library sure knows how to get my attention.  One of my books is significantly overdue, so I can’t put any more on hold until I turn in the book and pay my fine.  Unfortunately, I’m not exactly sure where the book is.  Hmmmmm.

6. We were very bummed that Lawrence Academy of Music was not able to offer the composing and arranging class that Rosie Girl wanted to take.  The good news is that her piano teacher is taking a few minutes of her regular lesson time to help her learn some skills for composing and arranging.

7. My mother is on Facebook.  Thankfully, we managed to get her to change the account name to hers and Dads because she was the only one talking, but it had Dad’s name.  That was kind of freaky.  It’s still a little strange to see both their names as one, but it is a reminder of who does the typing in that house!!

How was your week?  Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lagniappe–September 11, 2011


Highlights of our week:

  • I had a migraine Wednesday night through early Friday morning.  It did calm down enough to let me go to Open Stitch Night at The Knitting Nest.
  • Wild Man doesn’t have to turn his palate expander each night.  Now he has a rubber band that he puts in for 14 hours a day.
  • Rosie Girl had her first piano lesson on Thursday night.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough kids to run the music composition and arranging class.
  • This was our third week that The Knitting Nest has been open, so PWM made chocolate milkshakes for us all last night.  Yummmmmm!
  • LSU and the Packers both won this week!! 
  • It has been nice enough weather here that I walked about 1/2 a mile to a friend’s house to knit with her on Friday and walked to and from the shop yesterday.
  • The nice thing about opening a yarn shop with the hubby as the main “business person” is that I get lots of time for knitting!  Lots of yarn shop owners on Ravelry say that they don’t have time for knitting or crochet because of the shop responsibilities.  PWM does most of the business stuff (although I help when I can), giving me the luxury of knitting.  Mostly, I’m working on shop models, but I try to choose things that I’d like to have or give away eventually.
  • I’m reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis again.  Excellent book!
  • We watched the first half of The Return of the King (from the Lord of the Rings trilogy) with cast commentary this afternoon.
  • This evening, we watched a Lifetime Movie Network movie about JK Rowling which was quite good and very interesting.  I think this has to be one of the very few times that we’ve watched anything on LMN.

Make sure to check out The Knitting Nest blog for details about how the shop is going.  Anything exciting going on in your neck of the woods?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our Week In Review–September 11, 2011



Week 2 of the 2011-2012 school year is done.  Overall, I’m pleased with how things are going.  I’m sure we’ll be making some changes over the next few weeks. though.


Rosie Girl

  • I’m really missing being with Rosie Girl most of each day.  PWM, Wild Man and I spend most of each day at the shop but Rosie Girl spends most of her day at home.  She says that it’s working fine for her.  She does her schoolwork early in the day and emails me her journaling page when she’s done.  I’m very proud that she’s being diligent about getting her work done before doing her “fun stuff”.
  • History/Social Sciences – She got her new copy of A Visual History of the Twentieth Century on Friday so she had to do her full week’s reading in one day.
  • Bible – She’s reading the book of Matthew.
  • Literature – She’s read The Great Brain and Heart of Darkness.
  • Writing – She chose to write a compare and contrast essay about The Great Brain and Tom Sawyer.
  • Math – ALEKS Algebra 2.  She’s spending more time on math this year so that she doesn’t have to finish it during the summer.
  • Science – Can I just say how pleased I am that Rosie Girl is engaging the idea of learning the science of music.  This semester she’s learning about how music affects the brain.
  • Music – In addition to her piano lessons, she’s documenting her practice of guitar, clarinet, and ocarina.
  • Art – The public school art class seems to be going pretty well.


Wild Man

  • Wild Man still needs a fair amount of direction, so he does most of his work at the shop.  I wasn’t there much on Thursday or Friday because of a migraine, so he didn’t get as much work done.  We need to work on that.
  • History/Social Sciences/Natural Sciences – Wild Man is reading through his Warrior and Weapon books.  After he reads some in the beginning of the books, he usually reads some in the back of Weapon about modern weapons.
  • Bible – He’s doing a read-through of “highlights” of the Bible.
  • Reading – He’s enjoyed The Roman Ransom.
  • Writing – We watched the IEW section on story outlining and writing.  This week I’ll have him do a story outline and rewrite the story.
  • Math – more ALEKS
  • Music – Between Band class, private drum lessons, and playing with the youth band, he’s got lots of music in his life!!
  • Spelling – This is probably Wild Man’s most difficult subject, but we keep pressing on.


How was your week?  Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others have been up to!


Friday, September 09, 2011


Entropy: The tendency of a closed system toward disorder.


My college roommate and I put a sign on our door one year that read “Entropy at work: Enter at your own risk!”  Yes, we were geeks.  The idea of entropy is that a system will become disordered over time without the input of energy.  In the case of our dorm room, the room became a disaster (disordered) unless we put in some energy (in the form of cleaning up).

I’m feeling entropy in my life right now.  I have too many things to maintain for the amount of energy I have to put into them.  I just cleared a bunch of blogs from my blog reader, realizing that there are quite a few that I never actually read, and some that I shouldn’t expend the time or energy to read.  I spend too much time doing things that are not important to me that leave me with less time to do what is important.  I’m again asking God, “What do you want me to do?  Where is my ministry?  How do I serve you – and others – between headaches?  And, by the way, you are welcome to take the headaches away at any time!”

In the next few days, I will probably post some more of my thoughts on how to deal with entropy in various parts of my life and where to spend my limited resources.

Any thoughts?? 

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Good Day

Today was a really, really good day at The Knitting Nest.  I try to spend as much of each day up there as I can, but I’ve had so many headaches in the last few weeks that it’s been difficult.  PWM is completely capable of doing everything that needs to be done, but I like being there.  Yes, I LOVE being around all that wonderful yarn!  But, I also enjoy hanging out with PWM.  Wild Man is usually up at the shop when I’m there because he needs some supervision with his schoolwork.  I’m a little bummed out that Rosie Girl spends most of her day by herself here at home.  I do hope that she’ll come to the shop after school sometimes – she takes an 8th hour Art class, so she could walk to the shop from school.

Why was today such a good day?  Well, it helped that we had three customers who made purchases as well as a couple of people who just came in to check out the shop.  What really made my day, though, was that I got to help a customer on a project.  She came in with her pattern and the 5 rows that she’d already done, but was having trouble with having too many or too few stitches at the end of each round.  The problem itself wasn’t difficult (although unknitting angora can get a bit tricky), but I enjoyed figuring out the best solution to her problem.  When I was done, I showed her the changes I had made and did a couple of pattern repeats to show her.  She then did a couple of pattern repeats.  And then she hugged me!  What was a somewhat tricky problem to sort out for me really made her day.  I think we have a loyal customer now!

When I was working as a family doctor, hugs were not uncommon.  I hugged little kids who were coming in for physicals.  I hugged elderly people who just didn’t get out much.  I hugged and cried with women who had a pregnancy loss.  I hugged families, whether it was a good occasion or a bad one.  I guess I’m just a “huggy” kind of person!  (We hug a lot in our house.  It’s not unusual for the 13 year old or the 16 year old to walk up to me or PWM and say, “I need a hug.”  And we’re happy to oblige.)

Not everyone wants hugs or to be touched.  People have different personal space needs.  But, today I realized that I’ve been missing these kinds of encounters.  I like being able to help people – whether it’s getting their cholesterol under control when I was working as a family doc or teaching them a new knitting technique.  And I’m finding that these interactions with people in a yarn shop can be (are) as important as when I was working as a family doctor.  Yes, I hope we can meet people’s crafting needs, but I also want to help meet their emotional and spiritual needs.

And these contacts with people are also helping meet my own emotional needs.  I have become so isolated because of the headaches, that I didn’t really notice how much I missed being with people.  Nowadays, I prefer smaller groups of people and tend to avoid places with lots of noise.  However, I’m still an extrovert and being with people is generally uplifting for me.

I’m learning how to balance my need for interaction and physical touch (being a natural extrovert) with my need for solitude and quiet (which helps me relax and keeps me grounded).  Even more than meeting my own need to be around people, the yarn shop provides me and PWM a way to minister to our community in a very practical way.

It was a really good day today.  Here’s praying for many more to come!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Our Week In Review–September 3, 2011


It’s “Back To School” week here at the Martin School of Joy!!  We started on Monday, while the public schools started on Thursday.  Overall it was a good week, and we only have a few kinks left to work out.

Rosie Girl

  • Bible – She is reading through the New Testament and journaling as she goes.  Right now she’s in Matthew.
  • History/Social Sciences – Core 300 is looking to be pretty interesting.  The one issue that we had is that one of her books (A Visual History of the Modern World) had some pages missing and others duplicated.  Sonlight is sending us a new copy.  We’ve never had any issues with Sonlight, but this year, both of Rosie Girl’s primary history books had problems, one of which might have been an Sonlight issue, while the other was definitely a publishing issue.  In any case, they made the return process very simple and Rosie Girl should have her new book next week.  Rosie Girl is enjoying this Core so far.
  • Literature – Rosie Girl questioned why they had The Great Brain in Core 300 because she thought it was a little “easy”.  I reminded her, though, that she’s going to be reading a lot of “heavy” stuff this year in history and literature.  The 20th century was the most brutal and bloody in history.  Books like The Great Brain are scattered through the Core, not just because they’re good books, but also to provide a little break from all the bad stuff of the 20th century.
  • Writing – In the second quarter, Rosie Girl will take a research paper writing workshop through WriteAtHome in conjunction with her self-directed science course.  Otherwise, I’ve scheduled an essay per week from her, rotating through History, Literature, and Bible.  Next week, she starts with a paper about The Great Brain.  She will also choose which paper she wants to also present as a speech.
  • Science – Honestly, I’ve been a little concerned in the last month how a self-directed science course might work with Rosie Girl, but I’m pleasantly surprised so far.  She is reading a book about how music affects the brain and watched a PBS show about the same topic.  She is thinking that she will do her research paper on something to do with music’s effect on the brain.  Then she wants to do a second semester project using her computer, keyboard, clarinet, guitar, and ocarina in some combination that explores the physics of music.  She’s also excited because I agreed that we would get her the microphone that she needs for second semester if her research paper effort was up to par.
  • Math – Rosie Girl is starting Algebra 2 in ALEKS.  She was very bummed out that her assessment score was very low, but she’s never had Algebra 2, so it’s supposed to be low!!  After this  year, she’s not going to be taking trigonometry as originally planned, but will do a semester of personal finance and a semester of statistics (not AP). 
  • Piano – Lessons start next week, but she is still doing some work from her summer lessons.
  • Community Service – She hasn’t worked at church in the last two weeks, but now that she knows her schedule, she’ll set up times with our Worship Arts Director.
  • Art – This course is taken at the public school.  There is a new teacher this year and Rosie Girl thinks she’ll like him.
  • Japanese – Rosie Girl turned in her last assignment of Semester 1, so she needs to take the final.  This year, she needs to get her semester’s work done in a semester, not a year.
  • Other Music – Rosie Girl has been singing and playing guitar lately – and she’s really good!  She continues to play ocarina.  She’s also practicing clarinet so that she can perhaps have clarinet as her second instrument in college.

Wild Man

  • Wild Man does his schoolwork up at the shop.  He needs reminders to stay focused, etc.
  • Bible – Wild Man is doing a “tour” of the whole Bible.  So far, so good.
  • History/Social Science – He is reading through Weapon and Warrior.  Not only does he tell me about what he is learning, but he journals a few sentences each day.  He’s not fond of journaling, but he needs to get used to writing.  And I usually am around to spell things for him, but when I’m not going to be available, I tell him to guess at the spelling and we’ll check it later.
  • Science – Wild Man is learning a good bit of science from his Weapon and Warrior books, but  I also will have him reading some about the human body.  That will provide a nice basis for understanding how bullets affect the body, etc.
  • Math – He’s working in ALEKS Middle School Year 3.  He’s realizing that he needs to know his math facts better, so he’s been asking me to help him.  He conceptually understands math very well, but still needs to practice his multiplication tables. 
  • Writing – Wild Man’s main source of writing at the moment is his journaling.  Mondays are our days at home since the shop is closed, so I plan to do some work from Institute for Excellence in Writing with him once a week.  We’re going to start this year with outlining.
  • Spelling – I’m still using SpellingCity as a resource this year, but I noticed that Wild Man does better when I drill him than when the computer does.  I’m trying hard not to give feedback until we’ve done the  entire list, but he still spells better working with me.  Hmmmm.  We are still in Book 3 of All About Spelling.  In addition to learning the spelling rules and how to spell the words, I’m also dictating lots of sentences to get him used to writing.
  • Typing – This  is new for Wild Man.  I think we’ll be using TypingMaster.  In any case, he definitely needs some typing practice.
  • Grammar – He is continuing in Easy Grammar 5.  He’s able to be more independent these days, which makes me very happy.
  • Community Service – Still helping at the Senior Nutrition Site.
  • Drums/Percussion – He takes Band at the middle school and plays  percussion.  They have a new band director, and Wild Man likes her.  He will be starting back with his drum lessons (with our Minister to Students) in the next week or two.  He’s also playing drum kit and percussion in our church’s youth band.  They also split into middle school and high school groups every week; when they do that, Wild Man plays bass guitar.
  • Literature – I’m pulling books from previous Cores for him to read this year along with some library books.  Our read alouds are going to be alternating apologetics with novels.

Both kids are also helping out at the shop when we need it, although we haven’t needed much help since we opened now that the yarns are priced and  put out on display.  But, I’m sure there will be more opportunities for them in the future!

Whew!  It looks like more than it is.  Really.  Now  I need to get the books off the dining room floor and find them homes on the school bookshelf (which is already full, even after  I weeded out the books a few months ago).  But, I have a migraine today, so I’ll  just  knit.

How did your week go? See what others have been up to at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Friday, September 02, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday–September 2, 2011


It’s Friday again!  Funny how it keeps happening every seven days. . .

1.  Wild Man has had his palate expander in for a couple of weeks now and there’s a big gap between his two front teeth – almost like when he was a toddler!

2.  The kids have been doing a good job of picking up the slack in the housework with PWM at the shop so much and me either at the shop or having a migraine.  I don’t have chore charts for them anymore, but they have been doing what I ask (usually one big task per day) without complaining (much).

3. Public schools started this week.  Both kids have eighth hour classes.  Rosie Girl is in Art 3 which meets every day.  Wild Man is in 7th and 8th grade band which meets on Tuesday, Thursday, and every other Friday.

4. I’m loving that Rosie Girl can drive.  She can run up to the store to pick something up when we need it.  I had a terrible migraine on Wednesday, so she went to pick up our CSA veggies so PWM could stay in the shop.

5. Rosie Girl has been spending a lot more time practicing guitar these days and she’s glad that I'll give her school credit if she documents it.  My favorite is when she plays and sings “Into The West” from The Lord Of The Rings.  So beautiful.

6. Wild Man has been playing bass guitar lately.  He plays drums or percussion in the church combined youth band, but he plays bass guitar when he plays in the middle school church youth band (which really needs a name).  He and Rosie Girl have even started doing some playing together with her on acoustic guitar and him on bass guitar.

7. A huge storm came through this morning and I didn’t even wake up.  A lot of areas around here lost power, but ours only flickered a couple of times.  Since I use a CPAP machine, the kids called and asked PWM if they should wake me up if the power goes out.  He agreed that they should.  Really, though, I’m betting that I would wake up if my machine quit working.  But, I’m glad they thought of it.

How has your week been?  Anything exciting?  Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to!