Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Home Schooling High School Ramble

I just have some random thoughts about homeschooling high school, giving grades for a transcript, and other homeschool things in general. This is all based on my experience, so don’t take it for gospel truth.

I’m very glad kids are resilient. I’m sure PWM and I have made tons of mistakes with Rosie Girl that we won’t make with Wild Man. The biggest one I can think of right now is generally being stressed about being “on schedule”. I actually think being on a good schedule is incredibly important when the kids are in high school because I want to be able to justify what’s on the transcript. But, when they get behind, I’m learning to be more relaxed and just make some schedule changes and keep going. The main thing is to remember that their teenagers and that their attention span is short. Keep reminding them, especially in 9th and 10th grade, to check to make sure all their subjects are done.

I’ve also decided that schooling was more fun when the kids were younger. Nowadays, we have to consider credits, transcripts, and getting the boring work done. When they were younger, it was easier to do a field trip, some reading, make dinner, and call it a day. But, I have decided that we’re going to figure out how to do some field trips this year – for my sanity if nothing else.

We don’t give grades in our little “homeschool”. I’m not a fan of them. Mostly, they measure how well a student kept up with their homework and assignments. They are less good at showing how much a student actually learns. Our goal is for Rosie Girl and Wild Man to learn the material. They also need to learn responsibility, but that’s separate from Math, History, or English. And there’s no need to move on to another topic in their course if they didn’t master (i.e. make an “A”) in the previous topic. This is most important in skills courses like Math, but it also applies in Social Sciences, etc.

Grades are also hard to use when you have kids who are as different as Wild Man and Rosie Girl. Rosie Girl is good at taking tests and writing essays, the most common ways to grade students. Wild Man is another story. His dyslexia makes writing, particularly spelling, but also the act of putting sentence to paper or computer, very difficult. If he was in a traditional school, he would likely make low grades in social sciences and natural sciences even if he knew the material because he can’t express his knowledge of it. At home, we work hard  on the spelling and writing, but I can evaluate his understanding of many subjects just by talking with him (because he has GREAT verbal skills).

Overall, our grading system hasn’t been too bad. One problem that has cropped up is Rosie Girl’s perfectionism. If she can’t make something perfect, she becomes paralyzed and won’t even start. And since we’re working toward mastering the subject, she feels the need to get any assignment perfect the first time. Somewhere along the way, we failed to instill in her the concept that making mistakes is good. It’s an opportunity for learning. But, let me tell you, writing rough drafts has been very difficult for Rosie Girl. The idea of going back and redoing her work just drives her crazy! And when there are multiple deadlines, she has trouble prioritizing the projects so she can do her best work on the most important assignment, especially now that she’s working on piano lessons, composition lessons, BYU Japanese, and her regular homeschool work. She told me the other day that her life would have been easier if she could have learned to take the “C” and move on. I think it would have been better for us to discourage her perfectionism, instead. I think we’ll agree to disagree on this one.

The other issue with our grading system is that it doesn’t translate well to a transcript. Either she gets all “A”’s or all “P”’s. I don’t know what a college will think seeing a homeschool transcript with all “P”'s. And I do think that she deserves “A”’s since she mastered the material. I think part of  the problem with all “A”’s is that PWM and I know the blood, sweat, and tears that he and I have put into getting her to that level of mastery. The thing is, though, that it hasn’t been actually teaching the material that’s been difficult, it’s been parenting a teenager.

Which brings me to being the parent of two teenagers. One of the hardest things about homeschooling is that these children are always HOME. This isn’t a big deal when I’m feeling well and am up at the shop for a good bit of the day so I get a break from being Mom. But, when I’m home, there’s always a kid. I love my kids dearly, but sometimes I need a break. When I’ve got a migraine, I really need a break. Homeschooling is wonderful but very “home” intense.

The other problem with them being home is that they make a mess. It’s not that they won’t clean up when asked – they’re really good kids – but neither is much of a neat freak. So far, I’ve managed to get them to take responsibility for their own laundry. The only issue there is that I still have to get them to bring the baskets back downstairs. There’s very little interest on their part in cleaning the kitchen. When asked, they do clean and they do a good job and without complaining. But the very fact of them being home all day means that there are more dishes to deal with, books strewn all over the house, and general messiness. I handle it pretty well for about a week or two, depending on the headache level, and then it becomes clean-up time before Mom goes insane. Although, occasionally, I’ll just clean it up and they never really notice. Sigh.

Those are my rambling thoughts about home education tonight. I welcome any and all comments.

More About Headaches

So my head barely hurts right now. I know. Amazing!

I had three days of infused medications: D.H.E., Reglan, dexamethasone, magnesium, and Depacon. The first day was the hardest because the D.H.E. makes the headache temporarily worse and makes me quite nauseous. On days 2 and 3, I brought my ice packs and also took some Zofran during the late morning. I had far less headache, but I still had a fair amount of nausea. Today (day 3) was definitely the best. I started with the lowest headache level, so I ended up feeling the best afterward. And, the magnesium didn’t burn today. On the first two days, the magnesium (which was given last, thankfully) burned going in to my veins and made it so I needed new iv sites on the last two days. Today, I think the iv was in a large enough vein that the magnesium was just fine.

The plan now is for me to see the neurologist again in a couple of weeks to discuss the plan of treatment. I’m also going to Physical Therapy and trying to slowly increase my neck exercises. My neck is still really sore and that may be why the two weeks prior to this were so bad.

So, let’s pray that this reprieve lasts several days!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Sound Doctrine

In addition to reading in Jeremiah, I’m also reading in 2 Timothy. Paul had so much great stuff to say to flesh out how we can practically follow Jesus and his letters are like gems. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in the last few years, though, is how important it is to place his letters in their context.

What struck me today, though was 2 Timothy 4:2-5

2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

Paul had been mentoring Timothy and two of his letters to Timothy are part of the New Testament. The section of this passage that struck me was verses 3-4. People don’t always want sound doctrine and they want to hear what they want to hear. In verse 5, Paul tells Timothy to stand strong for truth. In verse 5, Paul tells Timothy to stand strong for truth.

One reason this is so important to me is that I’m coming to believe that much of what I’ve been taught about the role of women in the church is incorrect or misleading, at best. But Paul’s words to Timothy are a reminder to me to check my own motives. We need to read the Bible and do exegesis (learn what the passage means using history, cultural studies, and grammatical studies) and not eisegesis (bring our own meaning to the text).

Am I bringing my own prejudices to the Bible, or am I reading critically, using the resources available to do good exegesis in a consistent hermeneutic. Either way, someone will disagree with me. I’m strongly leaning toward egalitarianism over complemetarianism. I’m already made the jump from literal 6-day creationism to theistic evolutionism. Are these good choices? Have I made them using the brain God gave me along with the wisdom from the Holy Spirit? I hope so. But Paul’s admonition to Timothy reminds me to be careful. Be very careful.

Are there theological issues that you question? Or question your motives?

A Fire In My Bones

Reading the Old Testament, particularly the prophets, can be hard for Christians in the 21st century. Actually, reading and studying it isn’t the problem. It’s reading it devotionally and trying to find out what God is trying to tell us today. Sometimes, I think there isn’t a particular application for today from a particular passage. And that’s OK. We read it and try to understand how it fits into the trajectory of God’s plan to redeem humanity.

Today, though, I came across Jeremiah 20:9 “But if I say, “I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name, his word is in my heart like a fire. a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” What a great verse! Jeremiah has just been beaten, put in stocks and then released from stocks the next day. Now he’s complaining to God about how he’s been treated. In the verses before this, he tells God, “Hey, God, I’m trying to do what you tell me, but all I get is insult and reproach! What’s up with that?”

And then we get to verse 9. Jeremiah says that “No, I’m not going to speak God’s word anymore.” Which is totally reasonable in my eyes. After all, Nobody is paying attention and they keep doing mean and rotten things to him. So, turn your back on them and keep God’s word to yourself, Jeremiah. That’s what I’d do!

But then Jeremiah speaks from his heart. “No, I can’t actually do that because God’s word is like a fire in my bones. I can’t keep it inside me – I must tell them.” And here’s where Jeremiah and I would part company because he’s a hero of God and I’m a total wimp. I’d be off stage left, but Jeremiah says that the truth is that he may want to leave and that God’s people don’t deserve God’s work, but Jeremiah is compelled to tell them. Compelled. He cannot just ignore the words God has put in his heart.

And then Jeremiah complains some more. And then we get verses 11-13.

But the Lord is with me like a mighty warrior;
so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail.
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;
their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous
and probe the heart and mind,
let me see your vengeance on them,
for to you I have committed my cause.

13 Sing to the Lord!
Give praise to the Lord!
He rescues the life of the needy
from the hands of the wicked.

Jeremiah goes back to what he knows to be true of God. God will prevail and will sustain His prophets. No matter how rotten Jeremiah is feeling (and I’m betting it’s pretty rotten given the beating and stocks), he goes back to the solid truth of God’s promises. And the next several verses are Jeremiah complaining again. And I’m right there with him. But, notice that God never gives up on Jeremiah even when Jeremiah complains to God about how he’s being treated and “nobody loves me, everybody hates me”. God is big enough to handle our petty complaints. And then God turns us back towards the truth of His love and grace, if we’ll see it – like Jeremiah.

I really resonate with Jeremiah’s statements of having God’s word “shut up in [his] bones” like fire. I’m not there yet, but I want to be. I also really feel for Jeremiah when he goes from wanting to give up to saying that God’s word is like fire. I’m that way sometimes. I want to just give up on the whole God thing one minute, but yet know I can’t because it’s so much a part of me and it’s true and real.

I think there are plenty of gems to learn from this passage of Jeremiah, but the one I take away tonight is that even the “great men of God” like Jeremiah went from wanting to run away to feeling like shouting the good news from the mountaintops in the space of a few seconds. And that God still used him. God used Jeremiah in a big way that we still read about 3000 years later. Maybe he wants to use me like that or maybe he wants to use me in my small town of 2000 people in a way that most people will forget. Either way, I want to be obedient. And I’ll try to keep the complaining down to a minimum.

What do you get from this passage of scripture?


More Migraine Fun

And fun it was! I had a headache ranging from a 5/10 to a 7/10 so I was happy to start my 3 days of iv medications today. Rosie Girl drove me to the neurology office. I was the only one getting meds for the first couple of hours, so they let her have the recliner next to me.

The first really fun thing was that the first iv attempt infiltrated. Ack! I hate needles. But, the nurse was very nice and had the phlebotomist come for the second – and successful – attempt. Then, I got Reglan to prevent nausea from the D.H.E. It kept me from actually vomiting, but the D.H.E. actually made the headache temporarily worse and made me quite nauseous. Thankfully, the Reglan kept me from actually vomiting.

That was the worst of the afternoon. I then got dexamethasone (a steroid), Depacon (a seizure medication), and some magnesium. We wrapped things up with thirty minutes of straight iv fluids, just to make sure I’d need a bathroom nearby for several hours, I guess! But, by the time we were done, my headache was down to a 3/10. I do have some interesting side effects like jitteriness and heartburn, but since the meds were iv, I expect they’ll only last a day or so.

We get to do the same thing tomorrow and the next day. Yippee! I feel like we’re at least doing something – and I feel better now than I did this morning. I really hope we can calm down the headaches enough for me to do my physical therapy exercises and get all this muscle strain in my neck to relax. Then we can really deal with the migraines.

So, that’s what’s up in my little corner of the world.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Conservative’s Dilemma

I’m a political and social conservative. I was born and raised in a conservative home, and except for a short period in college, have remained conservative ever since. (Although some die-hard social conservatives  would think I’m going soft on some social issues.) So, what’s my problem? Health care.

As a small-government conservative, I’d prefer that the government stay out of our lives as much as possible. Ideally, there would be no government intervention in insurance, hospitals, or pharmaceutical companies. The church and other charity organizations would take care of people who couldn’t afford health care.

In 2012, though, that’s not really practical. Healthcare costs a lot of money. Insurance costs a lot of money – and the cost is going up, not down. PWM and the kids have insurance that we’ve purchased on the open market since we can’t purchase employer-based insurance. We had a great deal 6 years ago, but the prices keep going up. I can imagine that there are plenty of families who aren’t poor, but simply can’t afford even high deductible insurance. Some churches and faith-based charities provide some financial support and run clinics and hospitals, but it’s hard to imagine them doing much more – they’re already stretched pretty thin.

So, what do we do? I don’t really want government taking over an entire sector of the economy. I’ve heard plenty about the H5N1 epidemic in Great Britain and how many people were treated after phone triage – very poor health care to my mind. I’ve met a number of Canadians, some of whom were happy with their health care, but several of whom were distressed by long wait times for elective surgeries. The US leads the world in medical research, in part because of our free market system. But, our costs are also out of control.

Yet something must be done. It really is immoral that people in our country die from treatable diseases. In many cases, there may be screening programs or charity programs, but it’s such a pathetic patchwork that no one is aware of them. For example, I diagnosed a woman with cervical cancer who hadn’t had pap smears in years because of financial difficulty. Yet, most county health departments provide free cervical cancer screening. This woman didn’t think it was important enough to go looking for until she developed symptoms. There are plenty of other times, though, that people have prioritized which medications they take based on cost. (Yes, some people make poor choices, like continuing to smoke despite needing medicine, but there are plenty who are truly in a difficult spot.) Not all of these folks are even poor. When your medications are $200/month, though, something has to go. When I was working as a physician, I was glad when patients were honest with me about their financial issues because we could look for the cheapest options and try to find drug company programs for them. But, it doesn’t always work. How can a rich country like ours justify this kind of inequity?

But I’m not so comfortable with a big government program either. I’ve had enough experience with big insurance companies to make me wary of anything that purports to “help” doctors do their jobs. Just this January, I had to ask my doctor to change three of my medications (that were already generic) to other medications because of my insurance. When I was working, this was an annual January event. And not a pleasant one. I’ve had plenty of experience writing to insurance companies for medical exceptions to use certain medications or other treatments. What they do to save money creates incredible headaches for doctors. And I don’t think it’s that big a help for patients.

So, maybe Romney is right and we should let the states figure out how to insure the people in their states. Medical Assistance (or Medicaid) isn’t any fun to deal with, but there seem to be fewer levels of bureaucracy to deal with. And, at least here in Wisconsin, BadgerCare seems to be a workable program to help people who aren’t poor enough for Medicaid but still can’t afford private insurance. The problem I see is that there is still a huge financial discrepancy among the states. Some states can afford pretty decent healthcare for their residents, but others could end up no better off than the current patchwork of federal, state, and charity programs.

But then there’s the whole “coercive” nature of a federal (and even a state) program that bothers me. When we chose insurance for PWM and the kids, we chose insurance that had a high deductible, choosing to pay more of the up-front costs ourselves. Being required to purchase insurance will give us fewer options in how we want to deal with our own insurance needs. I’m also quite disturbed that insurance will have to pay for abortions, because that means that my tax dollars are paying for the deaths of babies. And we don’t have any way to opt out of that.

What’s a conservative to do? I see both sides of this issue. And I feel strongly on both sides. This country needs to deal with the healthcare crisis – not only because it’s a financial issue, but because it’s a moral issue. The stock conservative, small-government answers don’t seem adequate, but the liberal, big-government solutions have plenty of their own problems.

I gotta admit . . . this one’s a dilemma. What do you think? Be nice in the comments . . . . remember, I can delete you!!

(And don’t worry, I won’t venture into politics again for a while. I don’t think.)


Our Week In Review–The One Where We’re Still Behind


I kind of hate to say that we’re “behind” because homeschoolers can make their own schedules, right? But, both my kids are high schoolers and want to have their summers off, so we need to get a full credit’s worth of each subject done in 36 weeks or they’ll be doing schoolwork in the summer, which no one likes!!

I had hoped to get Wild Man all caught up this week, but my headaches were bad again, so I couldn’t stay right on top of everything he was doing. He got a normal week’s worth of work done, but not enough to get caught up. Rosie Girl is a bit behind, largely because she had the ACT on Saturday and was a little stressed about that.

Wild Man

He’s about done with the Revolutionary War in history and is learning about the Constitution. He and Rosie Girl and I had a great educational discussion about the Electoral College the other day.

I’ve done some of his science reading with him because it’s the one book that tends to go over his head. His most recent topic was mountains. Before that, we read about earthquakes and fault lines. This was pretty cool since he went with Grandma to California a couple of years ago and saw the San Andreas fault and the Rocky Mountains.

He wrote a nice paragraph for me on the solar system. He doesn’t have any trouble with organizing his ideas, so writing reports and essays won’t be a big deal. However, we are going to need to work on grammar issues like fragments and run-ons. Rosie Girl will quite often use fragments in her writing, but she uses them knowingly and for effect. Wild Man – not so much. (yes, that was a fragment!!)

The one thing Wild Man does plenty of is music. He and Rosie Girl played again at the nursing home on Monday. He also played with the youth worship band on Wednesday night. Lots and lots of music has been going on around here. And Christmas is around the corner!

Rosie Girl

Rosie Girl took the ACT with Writing yesterday. She wasn’t crazy about taking it again – although this is the first time she’s taken the writing portion. Overall, she thinks she did OK. Her previous scores were good, but I wanted her to take the test with writing in case she needs it for scholarship reasons.

Overall, Rosie Girl is caught up on things. The one place that she’s behind is in writing. I cut one of her assignments since we were behind and I wanted her to practice for the ACT. She still owes me one or two papers, though. And I’d like to see her doing more math every day so we can get Algebra 2 over and done with, especially since she starts Dave Ramsey Personal Finance next week.

And, of course there’s music. Rosie Girl is doing lots of piano practice for her audition in February as well as just general playing piano, ocarina, and guitar. She continues with composition lessons as well.


That’s where we are in the education department. Overall, not too bad, but the organizational part of me really wants to have them caught up. To that end, I redid Wild Man’s schedule for this week. He’s going to have to work a little harder, but then he’ll be right where he’s supposed to be and nobody will have to worry about working on Thanksgiving or anything crazy like that!!

So, what’s up with your educational adventures?  Check out how others are doing at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday–October 26, 2012


I’m feeling a bit rebellious and using Comic Sans today!

1. Here’s a great little post showing the various ways people in this country say the plural of “you”. It doesn’t show on the map, but there are four people in Wisconsin who say “ya’ll”!!

2. I’ve had migraines on four of the last five days, but have only been able to take Imitrex on two of these days. It’s not been good. But, since I’m seeing a Neurologist again, I’m scheduled to have three days of IV meds next week. it sounds like more fun than I could ever have imagined, particularly since I’m such a needle-a-phobe. Prayers are appreciated.

3. Less than two weeks ago, I got Winter of the World by Ken Follett from the library. It’s 900 pages long and I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to finish it before it’s due since it’s a short-loan book and I only get to keep it for two weeks. Guess what?! I finished it! I’ll probably review it (and some other books) soon. Overall, I liked it – which is  why I kept reading it enough to finish it in two weeks.

4. Internet Monk is doing a book club in November. I’m hoping to join in on the first and the last books. Unfortunately, the first one is on Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free and it’s still on hold for me at the library. I do have, though, Julian of Norwich: A Contemplative Biography, which I’ve started reading and really enjoy.

5. I’m in a knitting rut. I have several projects that I need to finish for personal or shop reasons, but I’m not terribly motivated to work on them right now. The migraines haven’t helped, although I often knit while I listen to books or music. I’ll finish them eventually.

6. Have you heard of The Piano Guys? You really should check out their music. Not only are they insanely talented as musicians, but they have amazing videos. And they have Wild Man fascinated by Bach and Beethoven and Pachelbel! Their CD should be out now, too – although, I bought most of their songs individually since Rosie Girl and I wanted to have them for our trip to the Twin Cities last month.

7. Rosie Girl takes the ACT for the last time tomorrow morning. Her scores have been quite good, but this time she’s also taking the writing portion just in case she needs it for scholarships. She’s not so thrilled about taking it again, but this is the last time. After this, it’s time to focus on the college applications!

So, what’s going on in your world? Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others are up to!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Small Life

I grew up with lots of ambition. I was smart and had big plans. And, they were good plans. Plans that even included God. I was going to go to college and then medical school and then practice medicine in some way that honored God. I wanted to have a Big Life. I wanted to do Big Things for God. While I was in college, I was in Alpha Phi Omega, a service fraternity, where we did lots of practical things for people who needed help. That kind of thing energized me. And I wanted my life to be full of that kind of work, particularly in medicine.

Before I got into medical school, I thought I might want to be the first female Surgeon General. Well, Dr. Antonia Novella beat me to that. Besides, I applied twice for US Public Health Service Scholarships and was turned down both times. After a couple of rotations in my third year of medical school, though, I realized that I wanted to practice family medicine. I wanted to do it all – deliver babies, take care of children and adults, do hospital work, take care of nursing home patients. Basically, I wanted to do rural family practice. I still wanted to do Big Things for God. And I still think that God was OK with this plan at the time.

But something happened. Migraines. Big, bad, ugly migraines. And now I’m not living a Big Life or doing Big Things  for God. And it appears that  God is OK with this right now. In fact, it might be His plan for me right now. In 1 Timothy 6, we read that “contentment with godliness is great gain”. Sometimes, God wants us to live a small life. And that a life where we love our family and neighbors and serve those who come in our way may be the life God calls us to.

I’m writing about this tonight because Jeff Dunn wrote about something very similar on Internet Monk. He talks about how he is living a small life, but is able to really know and serve people on a daily basis. PWM and I are finding the same thing in our little yarn shop. In fact, PWM and I were talking today about how big we want our yarn shop to get. We want to be big enough to make a living off the shop, but not so big that we don’t know our customers.

This is a really counter-cultural idea. We should always be getting bigger and bigger, we’re told. In some cases, that’s true. God uses some people in big ways. But sometimes, God just wants us to be faithful in our little corner of the world. And it’s OK if we live a small life – as long as it’s a life of obedience and faithfulness and a life of walking with Jesus on a daily basis. I pray that’s the life I have right now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rejecting Rest

I’m reading in Jeremiah these days. It’s really hard to read Jeremiah devotionally. There’s all kinds of stuff about how Israel has ignored God and  how God is going to allow terrible things to happen to them. The lesson is pretty much the same – “Obey God because He knows best”.

Today, I came across Jeremiah 6:16-20

This is what the Lord says:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,(AH)
ask where the good way(AI) is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest(AJ) for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I appointed watchmen(AK) over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’(AL)
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’(AM)
18 Therefore hear, you nations;
you who are witnesses,
observe what will happen to them.
19 Hear, you earth:(AN)
I am bringing disaster(AO) on this people,
the fruit of their schemes,(AP)
because they have not listened to my words(AQ)
and have rejected my law.(AR)
20 What do I care about incense from Sheba(AS)
or sweet calamus(AT) from a distant land?
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;(AU)
your sacrifices(AV) do not please me.”(AW)

I really like verse 16 “Stand at the crossroad 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.” That really speaks to me. God seems to be saying that we don’t need to be looking for some new-fangled way to “be religious” or “do church” or “follow God”. He’s told us how to do it a long time ago. We can look for the ancient ways and follow what those in the past have done and we will find rest.

Verses 17 to 20 are important because they show just how stubborn and stupid we humans can be. God tells us how we can find rest – and Judah rejects it. They continue to sacrifice to God, but be disobedient. It’s like they continue the outward activity of church and other pious works, but yet are unjust and unloving.

God wants us to have rest for our souls. Following Him is the easy way – He wants obedience rather than sacrifice. Yet, we won’t do it. But, I really want to. I want to follow those ancient paths – of prayer, of love, of following Jesus.

Being Awake At Midnight

So, I’m awake at 12:18am. And I don’t actually have a rip-roaring migraine right now. No, I’m awake right now because I was up at 4am with a rip-roaring migraine which required that I take a 3 1/2 hour nap at 3pm, thereby throwing off what little bit of a normal circadian rhythm I may have had.

What does a homeschooling mom do at 12:18am? Not calmly knit because all is right in the world. Well, actually, the kitchen is clean and the laundry is going because I took care of those items around 11pm.

No, I’m scheduling out this week’s schoolwork for Wild Man. Wait, how can that be, since it’s early Wednesday morning? Shouldn’t he already be done with Monday and Tuesday’s work? You’d think, wouldn’t you? Actually, he started this week working on last Tuesday and Wednesday’s work. Yeah, not good.

Monday wasn’t a stellar day for education in our house. Wild Man and PWM went to the DMV first thing in the morning to get a photo ID because the Clerk of Court said that Wild Man needed a photo ID for his passport application. (Wild Man and Rosie Girl are going to Ireland with Grandma next summer.)  What was crazy was that the pieces of paper he used to get his DMV photo ID were the same ones he needed for the passport application. Crazy.

I was supposed to be gone for several hours on Monday for a doctor’s appointment, but I had a migraine (yes, a migraine Monday and Tuesday – not a good week). You’d think that a migraine would be a great time to go to the doctor’s office, but my appointment was for a physical so I just canceled.

A little later in the afternoon, though, we did go to the Clerk of Court office to do the passport applications for the kids. (I had a little “convenience bag” in case my migraine nausea made another appearance.) When we got there, we found out that Wild Man did NOT need the DMV photo ID that he and PWM had gotten earlier that day. Sigh. Well, everything else went smoothly and both kids’ applications were turned in without incident.

But not much schoolwork got done, at least on Wild Man’s part. Rosie Girl wasn’t very far behind and I think she stayed pretty caught up.

I had high hopes for Wild Man getting all of last week’s work done on Tuesday, but, alas, it was not to be. Mostly because my migraine was really, really bad so I wasn’t up to nagging Wild Man enough.

So, the plan is for Wild Man to come to the shop with me tomorrow (assuming I’m not having another migraine – if I am, all bets are off for my sanity) and do his work up there so that PWM and I can both keep him focused.

And on Thursday, he’ll start this week’s work. One day he’ll catch up. I hope. I’m going to schedule everything out so I can then calmly knit until I’m sleepy.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Being Domestic

So, when I quit the whole “doctor” gig (because of headaches), I figured I’d be all domestic, hence the name of this blog – “Adventures in Domesticity”. I actuality, there’s far less domesticity going on around here than you’d think for someone who stays at home as much as I do. What do I do?  Ummmmmm, I knit, read, educate the kids, and think about being domestic.

But, I was incredibly domestic yesterday. So domestic that I need to record it for posterity.

First, I sewed. As in used a sewing machine. I threaded the machine, threaded the bobbin, and sewed actual seams. What, you may ask, possessed me to try to sew? I wanted to make a project bag for knitting projects that I found on Pinterest. And I did!! I’m incredibly proud of myself.


Then I made creamy onion-garlic soup. Cooking isn’t a rare thing for me like sewing, but I did cook on the same day that I sewed.

And then I made cookies. I kind of had to make cookies because Wild Man and I (mostly Wild Man) ate the last batch a few weeks ago before PWM got any.

And I finished up by actually cleaning the kitchen – mostly. There’s still one cookie sheet to be washed, but things are overall pretty clean.

That was my “domestic” day. Have you done anything domestic lately?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Our Week In Review–The One Where We’re So Far Behind


The grandparents are all back in Florida and we’re supposed to be getting back to normal. Except that we’re not. Back to normal, that is.

I was overwhelmed with headaches this week which, of course, had a negative impact on our week. But, I did manage to do a huge grocery trip to Woodman’s on Tuesday. We have plenty of meat in our freezer and candy for Halloween. The important things in life, you know.

Wild Man – The big issue for Wild Man this week was that he was behind on his schoolwork from last week and he never got caught up. In fact, I think he got further behind. Most of my non-headache time is going to be spent making sure that he is getting caught up on his work, even if he has to work longer than usual.

I’m learning to be more laid back about things. When Rosie Girl would get behind on her schoolwork, I would get all upset and worry that she was irresponsible, etc., etc. Now, I’m taking it in stride. Of course, Wild Man is behind. He’s 14 years old and needs more of a push than I could give him this last week. I’m not lecturing him about being more responsible, but I am going to try to teach him how to get caught up and stay caught up. Everyone’s life will be easier. (Poor Rosie Girl. We made all our parenting and homeschooling mistakes with her. It’s a miracle she’s survived.)

Rosie Girl – She’s getting ready for her ACT next Saturday. I had her do a timed essay this week and was pleased with the results. The rest of her ACT prep this next week is just going to be doing more math and doing some practice science questions.

Rosie Girl started her college application and got as far as the personal statement. She’s going to work on that after the ACT and will hopefully have all of the application done within the next few weeks. Of course, I need to get her transcript finalized and mailed.

The next thing after the college application is her audition, assuming that she is accepted into the university. She is hoping to audition in February, so she and her piano teacher are working to get her pieces ready. After that, she will work on the rest of her repertoire for her senior recital and any auditions for scholarships. Whew!

That was our week. How was yours? Check our Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others are up to!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday–October 19, 2012


1. My mom has been gone for about two weeks and we have finally found the big aluminum bowl. She may have thought that she had won by hiding it so well, but we managed to find it in less than a month. Yay! We won!!

2. This has been a terrible week for headaches, but I did have a good session at physical therapy. My therapist says that my rhomboid muscles (between my shoulder blades) are stronger and that my posture is better. Yippee!!

3. I’ve been using plastic zipper bags to keep my various knitting projects separate, but they’re not really an ideal solution. I came across a tutorial on Pinterest on how to make cloth bags, so I’m going to try that soon. Of course, it will require that I get on speaking terms with my sewing machine . . . .

4. Wild Man (age 14) needs a photo ID to get his passport even though he’s not in school (so he doesn’t have a school ID) and he isn’t old enough to drive (so he doesn’t have a driver’s license).  Sooooo, we’ll be going to the DMV and getting him a photo ID next week. Later the same day, we’ll take the exact same pieces of paper that he used to get the ID from the DMV to the courthouse and use them plus the brand new photo ID to apply for his passport. Does anyone else see the psychosis in this???? (Thankfully, Rosie Girl has a driver’s license so we get to skip this craziness for her.)

5. When my parents were here, my mom bought a bunch of scarf yarn and has been knitting up a storm!! It sounds like she’s still knitting like a crazy woman because she had PWM send her some more yarn and some hand-turned needles this week. I may have created a monster. Oh, well . . . .

6. My computer has taken to overheating again. From what I’ve read online, the next step is to actually take the bottom off and clean out the area around the fan and heat sink. Really? I think I’m going to see if I can bribe PWM to do that so I can play with pretty fabric and the sewing machine.

7. Rosie Girl started her college application this week. I’m trying to keep my hyperventilating down to a minimum. And I’m pretty unsuccessful.

So, what’s up in your world? Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others are doing!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Curriculum Review–Revelation for Everyone

When I picked up Wild Man from camp this summer, he told me all about everything he had done during the week and everything he had learned, including all about what was going to happen in the “end times”. He had learned the popular “premillenial dispensationalist” perspective from his counselors which includes the Pre-tribulation rapture of the church, etc. I didn’t object to his hearing this – he is a teenager, after all. He’s certainly old enough to learn about different points of view. It did, though, remind me that PWM and I needed to make sure he got another perspective rather soon.

Things worked out pretty easily because Wild Man said that he wanted to learn more about Revelation, particularly what PWM and I believe. So, I started looking for a good curriculum for him. I have several really good books on Revelation, particularly that address the use of apocalyptic language, but they are college/seminary level books and not great for a 14 year old. I wasn’t crazy about what I saw for homeschool curriculum.

Then I was reminded of N.T. Wright’s “For Everyone” series of commentaries. I don’t know if they are available for the entire New Testament yet, but they are available for many of the epistles and for Revelation. Revelation for Everyone has been great for Wild Man. The reading level is right about high school age and it’s written for a general audience and doesn’t assume a high level of previous biblical knowledge.

It’s a commentary, not a curriculum, so there are no comprehension or study questions. But, it does have something of a devotional/application tone to it. Wright handles each passage separately, with an introduction, an explanation, and then a little wrap-up/application/lesson. They don’t have “3 action steps” for each section or anything like that, but he does make sure to have a summary at the end of the section.

What I mostly like about this commentary is Wright’s overall approach to Revelation. He looks at the original author, audience, and context to try to figure out the meaning of what are, admittedly, very confusing passages. He doesn’t spend much time detailing apocalyptic literature, but gives a brief explanation. While he doesn’t assume that the reader has a strong grasp of Old Testament apocalyptic literature, he doesn’t hesitate to explain the images that refer back to these passages. And he explains why the first century church would have understood these images so readily.

Wright does not take the premillenial dispensationalist point of view, which is one reason I chose this particular commentary. I think that Wright’s perspective makes the most sense and I hope that my kids will agree. But, I really wanted Wild Man to read that bible scholars can disagree on some of these issues while still taking scripture very seriously. And I think it’s working.

How are we using this as a curriculum? I have Wild Man read one section each day and then I give him a question to answer in his notebook. Given his dyslexia, this pushes the language part of his brain! He has also started several discussions about what he is reading – sometimes just discussing what Revelation says, sometimes comparing Wright’s perspective to what he learned at camp.

I can strongly recommend this for personal study or for homeschool use. If using it as curriculum, you may choose to add questions or other writing or response, depending on your educational philosophy. I prefer using “real” books, including commentaries, as much as possible for home education, and this one fits quite well into our home education plan.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Al Dente Potatoes

I love to watch cooking shows like Chopped, Top Chef, and Top Chef Masters. Something that happens entirely too often, though, is that the chefs will try to cook rice, pasta, or potatoes in too short a period of time. What gets served to the judges ends up being raw. I have to laugh when I hear the contestant say something like, “Well, I like my potatoes ‘al dente’” or “It’s toothsome!”.

Yesterday, Patrick started some stew meat cooking in the crock pot. I didn’t get around to putting the potatoes in until around 3pm. When cooking potatoes in the crock pot, they take more than the typical 30 minutes or so to cook. In fact, we didn’t end up having our stew until around 8pm, and those potatoes were still rather “al dente”!! (Although, when I reheated my stew today in the microwave, the extra 30 seconds seemed to get them to just about the right level of doneness.)

Lesson learned. Put the potatoes in the crock pot around noon. Or eat raw potatoes. Or “al dente”. Whatever word makes you happy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

TV News

Do you watch the news? I don’t. Not any more. I still keep up with what’s going on in the world, but I’ve found that the packaging of information on television is very frustrating to me.

For one thing, I read quickly, so reading a news story is fast for me. But, I also find that the TV news shows and even the videos on the internet are painfully lacking in information.

And they all have some level of bias – even if it’s just on what stories merit coverage.

The emotionalism is also excessive. I want to know what is happening in the world, not to have my emotions torn from one side to the other. Certainly, some stories are heart-rending and can’t be told completely clinically, but when every story is intended to make me feel big emotions, I eventually feel none. And the emotions are quite often intended to swing my opinion one way or another – when I just came to read about events.

My solution: I read several news websites. I’m not a news junkie, so I no longer subscribe to the in-depth papers like the Wall Street Journal, but I usually check out a couple of news sites every couple of days. I rarely watch TV news except for live events like debates or election returns. PWM and I talk over current events with the kids at least once a week, so they aren’t isolated from what is happening.

During this recent election cycle, I’ve realized how much work it is to manage the media presence. Even without TV news, there are always little sidebars and pop-ups on web pages. I don’t want to completely ignore things, though, because I want to make informed decisions in November. I want to be able to pray for our country right now. And free speech and free elections are such a gift that I don’t want to take them for granted!

I think I’ve got a decent balance right now on how much information and media to allow in. I don’t want to get emotionally overwhelmed by it, but I don’t want to be uninformed. That’s why I need to keep some discipline of reading about what is happening but pay attention to the sources that work for me.

How do you manage all voices around us without losing your mind?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Mornings Can Be Hard

Going to Sunday morning church service is hard for me sometimes. OK, a lot of times. It’s not the worship, fellowship, or music that’s hard. It’s the logistics. And the timing. And just life.

I know the importance of being part of the local church. I was so thrilled to be present last week when we had communion. I love worshiping through music, and it’s especially cool to when PWM and Wild Man are helping to lead with the worship team. But being there on Sunday morning only happens about half to two-thirds of the time these days.

I have a hard time being up and moving by 10am on a good day. I’m more of a night owl. When I was healthy and working, this wasn’t a big deal. I was at work by 7 or 8, so I could be up and at church whatever time I needed to be. That’s not so easy anymore. This morning, I was up at 6am, but with a headache, neck pain and hip pain. It’s a really slow morning – even if I don’t crawl back into bed for another hour or two. Thankfully, we have a service in the evening, so I can go then if my day perks up. And that often works well for me.

My other “church” issues are really just my own. I get up and get dressed and go and then my headache gets bad in the middle of church and I have to leave. The headache would probably have started at the same time if I had stayed home, but it doesn’t always feel that way. And I feel very obvious when I get up and leave a church service. That’s not logical. Why should the rest of the world notice when I slip out quietly? I’m pretty sure this is all in my own head.

The before and after church crowd noise is also hard on my headache, so I don’t tend to hang around and “fellowship” (aka chat) much these days. I do better in smaller groups. This really frustrates me sometimes because I still have some “extrovertness” at my core. I like being around people and I used to love throwing parties. Not so much these days. I tend to go to church service and then go home.

This doesn’t mean I’ve given up on church or faith or God. It just means that I don’t get to Sunday morning worship services every week. I’m still part of the local body of Christ, and have plenty of ways to interact with my friends and fellow believers. It’s just not always Sunday mornings.  And I need to get over my issues with the fact that American Evangelical culture has made Sunday morning a big deal. Because I am still walking with Jesus and other Christians even when I feel rotten on mornings like today.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Our Week In Review–Grandparents Part 2


Between my headaches and grandparents around, I’m not sure how much “academic” stuff got done this week. But, since we believe that academics aren’t necessarily the most important part of life, it’s all good. Some “school” got done, but all kinds of “real life” got done.

My parents left town last Friday morning so this week, we got to hang out with PWM’s mom. PWM and I worked at the shop all day Saturday, but the kids were free, so she and the kids went to Roche-A-Cri State Park for the day. It was kind of cool and cloudy, but not rainy and they had a great time.

Grandma has been getting the kids ready for their trip to Ireland in June. It’s going to be Grandma, PWM’s sister, her two youngest kids, Rosie Girl, and Wild Man. Grandma took one of the cousins on this same tour a few years ago, so she knows what to expect and is excited about getting to take the other grandkids. On Monday, Grandma took Rosie Girl and Wild Man for passport photos and we would have all gone for their passport applications, but it was Columbus Day and we figured the courthouse was probably closed. In any case, the photos are done and we can do the passport applications on Monday. She also gave the kids journals they can use to record their time in Ireland. Grandma also has a relatively new ipad that they all got to play with so they can Skype and take amazing pictures on the trip!

So, what about the academics? Well, a little bit has been done .  . .

Wild Man

  • History – We’ve been reading the US Constitution together at night and I found a good article about the electoral college to go over with both kids this next week. There’s a lot about the electoral college (like “faithless electors”) that’s spelled out in state law and not the Constitution, but it would be good for the kids to know about.
  • Literature – I love hearing Wild Man tell me that a book (Amos, Free Man) is really good. I was afraid that I’d have to cut down on his reading because of his dyslexia, but he’s keeping up quite well.
  • Bible – This week, Wild Man got to the part of Revelation where what he has learned from his counselors at camp is completely different from what he is reading in the N.T. Wright commentary. My main point to him is that sincere believers who hold the Bible in great esteem are disagreeing on these interpretations. Yes, one is right and one is wrong, but it doesn’t mean that one set of people is “good” and one is “bad”, just that they disagree. That’s not always an easy thing for a kid his age to hear, but I think he’s ready. And he’s learning a lot from how Wright uses context and audience to guide his interpretation of the text.
  • Science – This is the hardest for Wild Man in terms of reading, but he works hard at it and seems to be learning. I also like seeing how he evaluates the topic with what he knows and then reads to add to it.
  • Spelling – Ah, spelling. This would have gone better if I hadn’t felt so rotten all week. As it is, though, I’m seeing some improvement in Wild Man’s spelling when he answers questions for other subjects.
  • Writing – Wild Man’s writing fluency is improving significantly. However, the last couple of weeks, he’s forgotten about writing me a paragraph on Thursday. And I’ve been too overwhelmed to deal with it. We’ll be doing more writing next week.
  • Math – Wild Man is doing some Flashmaster to help him with ALEKS, but he hasn’t done much ALEKS lately. I think we’ll be doing some focused Algebra over the next few weeks.
  • Music – This is not a problem in Wild Man’s world. His band grade is excellent. He stays behind after band when he has questions. He’s playing acoustic guitar, cajon, and mandolin at church. At some point, I might want to add in a bit more formal theory, but I figure maybe we should catch up on spelling first!
  • Physical Education – Ideally, he’d be in TaeKwonDo, but right now we’re relying on him walking and riding his bike to school and the shop because no one has the time to drive him to Waupaca for TaeKwonDo class. Sigh.

Rosie Girl

  • American Government – The election fits pretty nicely into her government reading. It’s not an exciting course, but it gets her the credit she needs. And it’s useful. She’ll be learning the ins and outs of the electoral college next week, too.
  • Literature – Hamlet! Rosie Girl loves Shakespeare, even when she has to read the plays instead of watch them. She’s gotten behind on writing because of this week. One of them is her timed writing practice, which is important because she’s taking the ACT with writing in a few weeks. She’s not crazy about it, but I want to make sure she has it in case she needs it for scholarship applications.
  • Math – The bane of her existence. Well, lots of hard work to finish Algebra 2 and then on to Dave Ramsey.
  • World Religions – Going along OK.
  • Music – Lots of music. She’s mainly working on getting ready for her piano auditions, but she’s also taking composition lessons and playing guitar for fun (and the nursing home). She teaches piano lessons to an 8 year old girl as well.
  • PE – Tap class is one of her favorite weekly activities. She’s also demonstrating for two dance classes. Originally, it was going to be the vey little kids, but now it’s the 8-11 year old girls in intermediate ballet and tap. She isn’t having any trouble remembering what to do, but she is having to get into a little better shape to do all the routines with them!

Next week needs to be a little more academic around here so we can get caught up. But it will be worth it. Time with the grandparents is precious. We can do spelling next week. Grandma will be back in Florida next week.

That’s what’s going on in our educational neck of the woods. I’m always amazed to watch what God is doing with my kids. What’s going on in your world? Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others are up to!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday–October 12, 2012



1. I can’t say that this has been a great week for me. Early last Friday morning, I fell and hit my head on an end table. For a couple of days, my fibromyalgia flared and I had acute neck and shoulder pain. On Monday and Wednesday, I saw Physical Therapy which has been helpful. I was already on steroids to break a bad migraine, which is probably why I have only had one significant migraine since the fall, but I have had lots of persistent neck and shoulder pain and just chronic headache. Ick. OK, done complaining (for the moment).

2. We’ve had PWM’s mom visiting this week. It’s been nice to have someone else cooking again this week as well as the company.

3. Between two weeks of grandparents and my headaches from h*ll, the kids have gotten behind where I’d like them to be for school. I think there will be lots of math getting done in this house next week.

4. We discovered a new TV show. Actually, Rosie Girl discovered it – and now we’re all watching last year’s episodes on Netflix at our own pace. It’s “Once Upon A Time”. We mostly watch cooking and documentary types of TV shows around here, but it’s nice to find a TV show with plot that we like.

5. I got a new book from the library a few days ago. It’s a short loan – 2 weeks – and 900 pages. I love to read, but I’m just not sure I’m going to get through the entire book in two weeks. I may end up having to wait till I get my turn to get it on audiobook.

6. Wild Man is playing mandolin at church again this week. It really is kind of crazy how he can just pick up a guitar-like instrument and play.

7.  Rosie Girl is teaching piano lessons and doing demonstrating for some dance classes this year and is loving it. She hasn’t minded babysitting in the past, but teaching really seems to be more fun for her. And she really works at finding ways to help her piano student learn. She has far more patience than I!

What’s up in your part of the world? Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday and see what others are up to!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thankfully Thursday–October 11, 2012

I have had a really icky day. But, we’re told to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:18) so, here goes.

1. I’m thankful that my bad days involve headaches and aren’t life-threatening.

2. I’m thankful for hanging out with a friend for an hour to just chat.

3. I’m thankful that all three grandparents have wanted to and been able to visit in the last few weeks.

Life looks a lot better from this perspective, huh?

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Debate Watching

Monday night, we finally got around to watching the presidential debate from last week. Actually, PWM and I are pretty conservative and don’t think a single debate performance would have changed our minds on much, but we really feel strongly that our kids be as involved in thinking through politics as possible. So, we bribed them. Yes, we let them have chips and soda while we watched. (Bad homeschooling mommy, bad homeschooling mommy . . . .)

After the debate, we had a really good discussion about the two candidates’ debating skills and positions. The kids had very good and pertinent observations. And they had listened to what the candidates said separately from their debating technique. Both kids agreed, though, that President Obama did not have a very strong showing in this format and they are both interested to see how he changes his style for the next two debates.

I thought it was very interesting that the kids were still talking about the debate yesterday and even some today. PWM and I take our civic responsibilities seriously and make sure to stay informed and vote, but we aren’t otherwise very political beings, so I was a bit surprised to hear Wild Man talking about things that one or the other candidate mentioned during the debate.

Rosie Girl is studying American Government this semester and Wild Man is studying American History this year, so following the election links perfectly into their other studies (and if it didn’t, we’d study it anyway!). Wild Man and I have been reading the Constitution together at night and last night we read about the Electoral College and got to talk about why the framers chose that method of choosing a president.

Just some stray thoughts about home education. Although, really, this isn’t specific to home education. Any family can (and probably should) be paying attention to the national election and making sure their kids understand (at age-appropriate levels) what is going on. And the kids might not dislike  it as much as we grown-ups think. . . .

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

If The Bible’s Not A Self-Help Book, Where Do I Get Help For My Self?

I have recently asserted that the Bible wasn’t given to us as just a “self-help” book. God gave us the Bible to point us to Jesus, who is far more powerful than 300 pages of “how-to”.  Here’s my issue today: I want self-help. I’m feeling overwhelmed with life and just want a set of rules on how to do things to make life easier. I want to be able to turn on TBN and do what the guys running around with bad hair are yelling about and know that I will then have a perfect little American middle class life.

Isn’t that what American Evangelicalism is all about? If I follow this book’s set of rules on diet and don’t worry about my underlying food issues, I can still be thin and perfect on the outside. Another book will give a list of principles on how to have plenty of money. And then, there are the myriad of books about how to be emotionally healthy and calm. All the time. And all of these books are based on pulling lists of what to do from the Bible. See? It’s all there. If I could just find the key, I could pull out the right set of steps for my perfect life. (‘Cause clearly, I am not emotionally healthy . . .)

Or could I? Looking back through history, I’m betting that the Christians who were fed to the lions in the first few centuries after Jesus’ resurrection weren’t feeling all contentedly American middle class on their way to the arena. Same thing with the Christians being burned at the stake by other Christians for practicing their faith “incorrectly”. And plenty of other folks who just had a rough time despite hanging on to Jesus.

Even in the Bible, Jesus doesn’t tell us to follow him to be comfortable. He tells us to “take up our cross” which means to pick up the means of our execution. Ack! But he reminds us that “In this world you will have trouble. But, take heart; I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) In Matthew, he tells us to give us his burdens and take up his because his burden is light. (Remember that this is a man who knew he was going to be crucified in the next couple of years – light burden?!)

So, I kind of get it. I need to be walking with Jesus. The Bible is to teach me about Jesus and all the self-help stuff is kind of bonus because it’s teaching me about the character of Jesus. Right now, though, I could use some practical steps. What is the next step when I get off the computer?

My head aches. I want to be at the yarn shop, but I’m at home debating whether to ice my head or put a heating pad on my neck. My 14 year old son is growing up and getting more busy, but also starting to think for himself (who said that could happen?!). My 17 year old daughter is doing a much better job of thinking for herself, but she’s getting overwhelmed by the whole college/school/music thing. I love my husband dearly, but feel like there’s never enough time or energy to spend with him. And at some point, I think the kitchen and bathroom should be clean!

How does walking with Jesus help these problems? This is why our Christian bookstores are more like self-help bookstores! I just want a list of what to do today. How much of my Bible to read. How long to meditate. How long to pray. Who gets more of my time and energy.

My dad points out that faith is uniting my life with Christ. WHERE’S THE HOW TO LIST?

Maybe it’s because my list isn’t the same as yours. Maybe the way Jesus works in my life and wants me to walk with him isn’t the same for me as for the other 7 billion people on this planet. After all, I’m the migraine queen/yarn diva/homeschooling mom of two great kids/wife to an amazing man of rural Wisconsin. My life and walk with Jesus certainly aren’t going to be the same as that of a single mom in an urban area or a suburban mom with four kids.

The Bible is God’s way to point me to Jesus. There’s no list of rules for how I walk with Jesus. I know that my way tends to involve lots of reading, praying, meditating, and music. Other people may find that their spiritual journey is enriched with more music while others  prefer more intellectual stimulation. And the “self-help” books I’ve been complaining about aren’t all bad. Lots of them have great suggestions for how we can practically enrich our own devotional lives. I’m just starting to see that we can’t rely on them like chemical formulas.

I really want a list. But that’s not what you get in a relationship. Thankfully. (Can you imagine getting a list of “what to do” at your wedding ceremony? Ugh.) It’s a lot harder, but I suspect it will be a lot better in the long run. So, back to my life of figuring out how to “cast my cares on the Lord” without having a manual.

What are your thoughts? Any insights?

Monday, October 08, 2012



How about some unrelated trivia about life? OK? Good.

1. I changed my blog theme again for anyone who comes to the page to read it. Hope it’s not too disorienting that I keep changing it. This time, though, I needed to make this blog different from The Knitting Nest blog page so I could remember what I was supposed  to be writing!!

2. Wild Man is borrowing a friend’s “cajon” to play for youth worship a couple of weeks ago and is also going to be playing it for “grown-up” worship this Sunday. Don’t know what a “cajon” is? That’s OK. Neither did I. “Cajon” is the Spanish word for box. Here’s a link to one in a catalog. Basically, the musician sits on top of it and produces different sounds (snare, bass drum, etc.) by striking different parts of the front of the box. Cool, huh?

3. We had a day of overlapping grandparent visits. Now, though, just Grandma is here. Since PWM and I were both at the shop on Saturday, but neither kid had plans, Grandma took them to Roche-a-Cri state park. It was chilly and overcast, but they had a good time walking trails and doing some (unsuccessful) geo-caching.

4. I had an Occupational Therapy appointment today since I’ve been having some neck and shoulder pain after I used my laptop while it was sitting on a desk for entirely too long about a month or six weeks ago. But, since I took my little fall on Friday morning, my neck and shoulder are now acutely injured and painful. The therapists had a little conference and had me see a Physical Therapist today for my initial evaluation and treatment. Once we get past this injury, I’ll get my lecture on how to properly use my laptop (i.e. don’t be STUPID)!

5. This post is being written at 10pm with the definite hope that I will not be up till some crazy hour of the morning with steroid-induced insomnia. That’s what I’m praying for anyway.

6. And where the heck are my size zero 40 inch cable needles??!!!! Probably at the shop. But, I really wanted to start my second entrelac sock tonight. Did I mention that steroids also make me a bit psychotic?

7. I DVR’d last week’s presidential candidate debate and we watched it tonight with the kids. I was actually pretty impressed with their insights and analysis. Maybe they are actually learning something!

8. Monday = laundry. Unfortunately, I got started a bit late today because of my appointment, so laundry may go into Tuesday. Let’s hope I’m not still working on it when Sunday rolls around. Winking smile

So, that’s what’s up around here? Anything new with you?

Isaiah 30:15-18

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,
but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
Therefore you will flee!
You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee
at the threat of one;
at the threat of five
you will all flee away,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
like a banner on a hill.”

18 Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

What a great section of Isaiah this is! Isaiah is telling the people to remember that God is there to fight for them. The Israelites are seeing the Egyptians come on horses and are getting all freaked out and wanting to run (which is, I am sure, immensely logical), but God is telling them that He will take care of them. This is not the time for them to run away, but to stand firm.

What I love is that God is telling them that their salvation isn’t coming from being “rough and ready”, but from repentance and resting in Him. He’s saying that their strength must come from trusting God alone.

Those promises are repeated at the end. God wants to be good to us because He is a God of justice! We are to continue to live in hopeful expectation (i.e. waiting) of his love and grace.

Is this passage telling us to be passive? NO! Repentance is a moment-by-moment activity of walking with Jesus (although you may have a different experience if you sin less than I do, I suppose). Resting in Jesus is not sitting around waiting for the right circumstances to happen – rather, it is letting him take our burdens and worries and taking His burdens on us (Matthew 11:28-30). When we trust that God can meet our needs, we are free to put our energy towards creative solutions to problem and quit spending time and emotional energy worrying.

In my situation right now, I’m frustrated that my occipital nerve block almost two weeks ago was a failure. But, my neurologist started me on some dexamethasone for the severe headache which worked great until I fell in the living room at about 3am (dexamethasone gives me insomnia) and hit the back of my head on a table. I don’t have a significant head injury, just a goose egg, but my neck and shoulder pain are getting worse. Thankfully, I already had planned to see occupational therapy tomorrow for an older and far less problematic neck injury. This therapist is going to get a lot more than he/she bargained for.

What does that have to do with this scripture section?  When we see obstacles coming up at us – another temptation, more headaches, falling down and getting a sore neck and shoulder – instead of responding in fear about what will happen next or rumination on how much time and energy it will cost to get to feeling better or stressing about how this is going to affect my headache recovery, I should be spending more time repenting for my lack of faith and asking God for more faith. I need to be willing to rest from whatever is giving me problems right now, even if it’s knitting (although, please, God, no!!). My goal is not to be passively accepting circumstances, but neither is it to be running away from a problem like the Israelites were trying to do here.

Isaiah clearly had a different audience, setting, and context for this prophecy, but I think it very easily applies to the Christian life. God’s essential nature hasn’t changed. He doesn’t want us running off like chickens with our heads cut off trying to sort out problems that we don’t need to worry about. God is big enough for our anxiety. Our part is to repent, rest, be quiet, and listen. When God says to do something, then do it.

So, tonight, I’ll try to sleep (again). I’ll call my neurologist  and see my occupational therapist and, hopefully, get through this little “blip” in a reasonable time frame. And in the meantime, I will steadily, but not anxiously, do the work of educating kids, keeping house, and selling yarn in between migraines, all while walking with Jesus.

How do you handle the day-to-day walking with Jesus? What tends to make you anxious and feel “unrested”?

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Our Week In Review–The One With All The Grandparents


My parents came to visit this week. We only got two weeks notice, so I didn’t change up the entire school schedule around their visit; it’s gone well despite the interruptions. PWM’s mom arrived Thursday so we had some overlap in visits. She usually comes twice a year so I don’t worry so much about working school around her visits. It’s all good.

Overall, it has gone remarkably well, except for my near constant severe headache. I did get started on some dexamethasone on Tuesday afternoon. It definitely has side effects, but the headache was much better on Thursday. Early Friday morning, though, I slipped and fell in the wee hours of the morning (dexamethasone gives me insomnia) and hit my head on the corner of a table and strained most of my other muscles. I didn’t tell my parents till they were Friday night, when they were already stopping for dinner in Missouri! The headaches weren’t fun, but they allowed the grandparents to spend more time with the grandchildren, I suppose, and I felt no guilt over not doing anything useful in my own house!

My mom was completely taken in by the yarn shop. I refused to make a shawl out of novelty yarn for her because it’s so simple that she can do it herself and I don’t like working with that yarn. So, she’s well on the way to having a lovely Organza scarf that she knitted herself. But, she did twist my arm (about 3 degrees did it!) to make her a silk shawl.  By the time she left, she had yarn and needles for three projects along with some shawl pins.

Grandma (PWMs mom) arrived late Thursday morning. She got to hang out some with my parents, but she’s staying at a friend’s house, so we will get to see her after breakfast most days. She has a new  toy – an ipad! I’m a bit jealous, especially of the picture quality! She’ll be here for a week or so. And Rosie Girl actually has this weekend completely off, so she requested that we do something family-like. We’ll see what we can manage!

Wild Man

He seems to be enjoying his American History. Yesterday, he was particularly intrigued by Roger Williams since he  seems to embody the American ideal of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of association.

The N.T. Wright Revelation commentary is also rather interesting. I’m glad we’re using this particular commentary because it is the clearest explanation of some of the confusing images from the book of Revelation that I’ve read. Wright is good about explaining what the various options are for a symbol and then explaining the most likely meaning. Wild Man understands what he’s reading, but has told me that this is more unusual than he expected when he requested to study it!

Grandpa was most impressed  with Wild Man’s science book. I have Wild Man read a section of DK/Smithsonian Earth each day and answer a question or write a summary sentence for me. Grandpa was amazed by the amount of information and pictures, but then also by the price! I bought the book about 5 years ago for only $25 off Amazon. It’s now being used for the second time for a high school science credit – probably the best money I’ve ever spent on these kids’ high school studies!

I’ve found that his handwriting fluency and legibility is much improved by having him answer questions for each subject each day. The questions aren’t hard, but they make sure that  he  has read the material.

He’s playing drum kit for one of the Christmas songs in band but still playing bells in marching band and cymbals in pep band. And I’m super-proud of him for staying a few minutes after class to get the band director to help him with his timpani part when none of the other percussion players could.

At church, he and another few teenagers lead worship for the kids during the 10:30 service on Sunday. The teen bands have practice on Sunday afternoon where Wild Man plays drums or acoustic guitar. On Wednesday night, he and a couple of other teens lead worship with just keyboard and drums.

Wild Man and Rosie Girl Went to the local nursing home a few weeks ago and played guitars and sang for several residents. They are working up some pieces to play in a few weeks when they go again.

Wild Man is delighting Grams by eating everything she makes plus some! He and Grandpa shared some “guy time” by watching LSU play pitifully against Towson (although they won) and the Packers play OK against the Saints (again, they won). There was much testosterone to be had in the living room during those games. During half-time of the Bears/Cowboys game, the kids brought out their guitars and played and sang some beautiful music for the grandparents. And a good time was had by all!!

Rosie Girl

Rosie Girl is enjoying British Literature except for poetry – although I suspect that deep down she really doesn’t mind it all that badly. She’s reading Sherlock Holmes right now and really likes it.

I DVR’d the presidential debate to watch next week as part of her American Government (and Wild Man’s American History). She likes her American Government Text even though I regularly assign her questions that require a little internet research.

Rosie Girl is finished with Japanese except for taking the final exam! Now she gets to use Rosetta Stone for her second credit of Japanese. And now she has extra time to finish Algebra 2 before Personal Finance starts. Yippee!! Can you tell that  these aren’t her favorite credits to rack up.

In music, Rosie Girl is learning pieces for her college audition (while also filling out her general college application). She’s taking composition lessons as well. And, we are borrowing an old electric guitar from church so Wild Man can practice guitar without bothering Rosie Girl, but Rosie Girl is finding that she likes the idea of getting to learn to play electric guitar when Wild Man isn’t using it. I think she has musical ADD.

And, of course, she’s taking a tap dance class and demonstrating for  intermediate child ballet and intermediate child tap classes. And teaching piano lessons.

Rosie Girl  and Grams spent some time Monday driving around and taking pictures of Fall colors. She’s also been driving Grandpa around making sure he knows where the grocery store, etc. are. And, of course, there’s cooking. They made some delicious Zuppa Toscana on Thursday morning for all of us to have as the weather cooled down! And then they proceeded to have a girls’ day out. Grams went with Rosie Girl and watched her demonstrate for dance classes. Then they did a bit of shopping and stopped at Starbucks. A teenager and her Grams. Does it get much better than that?

How has your week gone? Anything exciting or educational in your world?

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