Monday, March 31, 2014

spring cleaning

If a person were to read and heed every healthy eating plan out there I think they'd go mad.  We are told to drink water first thing in the morning.  With lemon.  Warm.  Or cold.  Then protein, this much but not that much.  Eat fruit.  But fruit is full of sugar so don't eat fruit.  Eat whole grains but no gluten.  Don't eat before 6 a.m.  or after 7 p.m.  Eat red meat once per week.  Eat vegetarian once per week.  Eat fish but not certain types of fish for the mercury levels.  Eat certain things organic.  Madness.

Food is a wonderful servant but a horrible master.  It should be enjoyed with balance.

I am wary of diets.  There was the one time I tried Slim Fast shakes to lose weight and snuck peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in at every turn because I was so hungry.

It is much more beneficial to eat mindfully.  Healthy choices, one at a time, one after another after another after another after another after another.

Honestly, sometimes I make poor choices.  Sometimes I choose to indulge.  Sometimes I eat nothing but vegetables and plain black beans.  I cave at the sight of Doritos.  But it's ok and I'm ok and Doritos are ok.  In balance.

I will not punish myself for eating, nor punish myself by NOT eating.  Food is my servant, not the other way around.

Occasionally I will record my calories, protein, fat, carbs, sugars for a day.  It helps me to have something to compare to.  If I know that on the day I ate Wendy's I really went over on my fat and sugars, maybe I ought to be more mindful there.  If I notice that I'm really just not making the recommended amount of protein I'll try to be more mindful there.
 
I juiced a bunch of stuff today.  I know it's not advised to keep fresh juice long, the goal is to consume it right away.  My problem is the time required to prepare the items, juice the items, clean up the juicer.  So, this week I juiced ahead and will keep the jars of juice in the refrigerator.  Hopefully the juice will maintain flavor, color, and texture well.
 
In these jars are the following items:
strawberries, kale, ginger, carrots, celery, spinach, oranges, pears, apples, watermelon, cucumber
 
 
 
When it comes time to drink I will add hemp hearts for protein and maybe some flax seed.
 
I also prepared a bunch of fresh vegetables.  If they are ready, they will be eaten.


 
Mini watermelon.  First of the year.
 

 
Even the garden gets some special treatment.  I tilled the juicing scraps into the soil along with some eggshell and coffee grounds.  I'm going to have one happy garden!
 


In the crockpot some pasta sauce is working it's way into a magical, nutritious meal.  The guys will never guess that I snuck kale, spinach, white carrot, and pumpkin into the sauce!  Hee-hee!  It's our little secret.  Lest you think it is only healthy and I am depriving my guys, it also has a sturdy helping of ground beef and will be spooned over egg noodles, the cheap white flour kind that the guys like so much.

I just pulled some strawberry banana bread out of the oven and it smells so sweet and warm.  I only halfway used a recipe so I'm hoping it turns out ok.  Strawberries, bananas, pumpkin puree, applesauce, whole grains, brown sugar...sounds good right?

Being hungry is not a crime...EAT.

Friday, March 28, 2014

what do they do while you're at work?

The question comes up a lot.

"You homeschool, right?  Well, what do your kids do while you're at work?"

It's a perfectly valid question.  How does one homeschool their children but also have a job outside the home? 

Honestly, I'm still trying to figure out the answer.

I don't mind the question, really.  I don't mind any questions folks have about homeschooling.

Here's the deal.

I work outside the home four days per week, averaging 20 hours.  In the mornings I am available to assist in any subject that needs a little extra instruction (usually Math).  Most mornings will find me at the table with my students for about an hour.  I scurry to get to work, sometimes throwing my hair in a quick ponytail as I'm running out the door.

While I am at work my students work independently through their subjects.  They write verses, they do research online, they compose essays and reports.  They usually have a list of chores that need to be done when schoolwork is complete.  The rest of their time is theirs.  They'll roughhouse, they'll fight, they'll read, they'll text me, they'll play our limited offering of video games, they'll fight some more.

When I get home, I try to sneak in a little down time.  Then I plunge headfirst into correcting the work they did.  If help is needed, help is given.  I like to leave them notes in their schoolbooks, either hints, tips, and instruction, or just a quick "I love you" that they'll find the next day.  I look ahead each week at what they are to do and make adjustments as I see fit.  At the end of each week they have a day of  quizzes.  I record their grades and we move on into the next week.  Each afternoon my time expense for homeschooling is between one and two hours (longer for the day I record grades).

Eldest son is involved with the high school as I've mentioned before.  He shoots with the Rifle (Markmanship) Team, practicing in the very early morning before school.  He spends first period there in NJROTC Naval Science.  Then he comes home to complete the rest of his schooling.

Youngest son is involved with the city's youth wrestling club.  Next year he'll be part of the middle school football and wrestling teams.  When he gets to high school we'll see if there is something else he'd like to try.  Maybe not JROTC as that is not something he's drawn to.  But the option is there.

This is how WE homeschool.  It is different for every family, for every student within a family.  It is a custom fit education, tailored for the individual.  The possibilities are endless, the opportunities are endless, the benefits are endless.  The drawbacks do exist.  Homeschooling is not for everyone.  And it is hard.  There is a lot of responsibility that rests upon my shoulders.  And I feel the weight.

Of course I have the assurance that God called us to this task and therefore He will give us the tools and strength to see it through IF we'll lean on Him and not our own power which is where I fall guilty.

And that is all I wanted to say.

_______________________________________________








Tuesday, March 25, 2014

she came



Spring came in her quiet, gentle way last week.  Just another day that felt just like the day before.  No fanfare, no red carpet, no paparazzi.  But my soul breathes easy knowing that she's here.  The light, the hope, the promise, the newness, the life, the color, the assurance.  She brought it with her.



Sickness has come to my house.  We who are rarely sick.  I struggled through last week in a sick haze, keeping my schedule as clear as possible so I could rest.  My family laughed as I sneezed and blew my nose through a whole roll of toilet paper ( I never buy Kleenex for whatever reason).  Then one night I woke up with a start and new that I was better, my body had won victory over the virus.  Then my eldest son woke up with it.  And youngest son is battling against it too.  It is when you are sick that you can truly appreciate health.




My uncle is beginning a journey, fighting Lymphoma.  He is one of the kindest, gentlest men I've ever met and I hurt for him, hurt for his wife, his kids.  I pray along with them (over many miles) that he'll receive strength for the battle, healing.



Thursday, March 13, 2014

please pray

Won't you please keep praying for little Lanae?  She is indeed fighting a strong form of cancer.  Along with her family and the doctors, she is in for a long journey.  At this time she is healing from the surgery that removed most of the brain tumor.  When her body is ready they will begin chemotherapy.

Her family is holding strong to faith, trusting the God that has brought them to this and will most definitely bring them through it.

Please pray.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

about a boy

Over the weekend, my Austin attended his first JROTC ball.  He wore his uniform and was looking forward to some good food and playing games. 

We left Blake home playing video games with his friend Caleb and drove him onto the Navy base where the ball was being held.  When we pulled up to drop him off at the Officer's Club I caught a glimpse of the kids already arrived.  The girls wore long gowns, Chief was wearing dress blues.  A tear choked my throat for a moment as our eldest son got out of the car and walked inside.  How did we get here?  How did we get here from superhero underwear?!

Turns out he spent some of the evening locked in fierce arm wrestling battles with the other guys.  He ate salmon and fresh spinach and two rolls with butter.  A mom asks these things. 

Tomorrow Austin gets to go back on base and take part in survival swimming training.  He is beyond excited for this opportunity.  I believe he'll be meeting some Marines as well as having lunch in the "galley".  He will be wearing his uniform and marching on grounds.  I can't wait to hear all about it.

To add to his busy month, Austin is competing in the JROTC Championships this weekend held here at our own school.  The competition is for all the different teams (color guard, armed and unarmed drill, pt, rifle, and whatever others that I am forgetting).

But for today, I snatched my guys away from a humdrum afternoon and we went down to the waterfront and walked.  We walked from one end of town to the other.  It was a perfect sunny afternoon and the air smelled of salt water and warm berries.  We ended up at the frozen yogurt place, as good a destination as any.  And my mom heart was full for the time I had with my boys.

Monday, March 10, 2014

be you, bravely

Inspirational quote ... Be You Bravely Art Print via Magpie Paper Works // Society 6  $18

The most beautiful women I know are flawed.  Women with laugh lines and crooked teeth.  Their bellies are soft.  Their skin ranges from dewy and pale to rough and darkened.  As I think right now about these beautiful women what my mind is drawn to is their spirits, the souls within their bodies.  The light that shines from their hearts.  The warmth that radiates from the inside.

Beauty lies in the strength to accept yourself as you are.

Can you accept your hair, whether it be course or fine or curly or straight or short or long?  Can you just love that it grows out of your very head and God knows the number?  Can you accept your skin, whether it be pale or tanned or thick or freckled or soft or not?  Can you accept the fact that your fingernails just don't grow right?  Can you accept the fact that your eyelashes are not as full as they once were? Can you accept the fact that you don't have washboard abs and maybe just maybe you have the curvaceous body of a woman?  Can you accept the fact that occasionally a stray hair grows out of your chin?

Now I am not saying a person should just plant themselves in a comfy chair and sit there all day long just "accepting" themselves as they are.  We should be proactive.  But we should not be fake.

A woman can be healthy.  A woman can be strong.  A woman can get her hair cut or let it grow.  A woman can dress in pretty things.  And we can wear cute shoes. 

BUT

How much time and attention goes into these pursuits and what is the motivation behind them?

Are you eating healthy out of pride?  Is it a diet that feeds your vanity?

Are you exercising to get a flat belly, to be thinner than her?

Are you wearing your hair to gently flatter your features or has it become a source of pride, a fa├žade?

Are your clothes an over the top embellishment to portray a character?

Has your makeup become a fake masquerade that turns you into something you never were?

I just want to beg a woman, tear off the mask and be exactly who you are!!

A little concealer, a dusting of powder, a splash of color here and there, okay.  But, is yours a mask?  The cat-eye eyeliner, the out to there mascara, the unnatural red lips, the rosy red cheeks....it is not YOU! 

It is a pained heart that hides behind a false front.

Where are you seeking your validation from?  Are you seeking the appreciative looks from the people in the grocery store?  Does it make you feel better when they take two or three looks and you pretend not to notice?  Does your validation come from people telling you that you are beautiful?

You should know better.

A woman whose heart is held by her Heavenly Father seeks only His validation.  I'm pretty sure God doesn't care if your eyes are lined, your cheeks are contoured, and your stomach is flat.

Have your ever thought that what you are portraying to those around you isn't really who/what you are?  What is it that you are trying to get them to believe about you?  What message are you preaching?  Does hair a certain way, makeup a certain way, glowy skin, and hip clothes draw others to Christ or does it draw them to you?  I can tell you that it certainly pushes some away.

People want real.  People want to relate to each other.  Women want to see women that are comfortable in their skin, comfortable in their bodies enough to not constantly judge themselves, measure themselves against those around them.  I don't want to be measured against you.  I don't want you to measure yourself against me.

I want to be aware of my flaws and know that I am exactly who God created.  Each line, each mole, each soft spot, each firm muscle, each eyelash.  It is all part of the package that I am.  All or nothing.  That is how I can accept it.


Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain.
 
 
but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
 
 
Proverbs 31:30

Friday, March 7, 2014

hope

A chorus of frogs serenaded us all through the night.  It was peaceful.

Yesterday my eyes caught sight of three pink blossomed trees and my heart leapt with joy.

I feel poetic.  But I feel worn.

Living gets messy and painful and the heart searches the horizon for the light of the dawn.

The barrage of the mundane, the difficult.

Loneliness clouds the sunshine.

I sink and I rise.  Empty and full.

My soul sways as in a turbulent sea.

Yet I am anchored and that is why I do not drift.

And my hope looks for pink blossoms.  The promise that life is beautiful.

The reassurance that even though I can't foresee what lies ahead, there is the ONE that walks it ahead of me.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

an update, keep praying

I know that my friends and family have been praying for little Lanae.  Please continue to do so.

If this is the first you've heard, catch up here: urgent prayer request.

She had surgery yesterday and is doing well today.  Her parents are tired, worried, and trusting.

This is what her mom has to say:

She's settled in her room and sleeping, doing well. Opened her eyes just a little bit, and even fighting the nurses- YAY! They will keep her sedated for another 24 hours, just so minimize her moving around. We won't know the full results of the surgery for a few days, but here's what we do know. They got as much as they could- it was massive, with fingers entangled into the brain itself. Nasty stuff. But they worked hard, they fought for my little girl. Now the hard part. We won't know for a few days more on the results, but the surgeon did give a guess- 80% accuracy. Based on what he saw, he thinks that it is cancerous.... choroid plexus carcinoma. It's one of the bad ones, hard to beat. But, I know that my little girl is a tough fighter, and we have a great support system. More than that- we serve a GREAT God, who is here through it all. I will give more details later, but I will tell you that your prayers were definitely felt during the surgery in an amazing way- and it has literally saved her life. I thank you, your prayers and messages mean a lot to us right now.
 
Photo
 
Please, friends, continue to pray for this girl and her family.  Trust that we will see amazing things happen through this storm. And, if you needed the reminder, hug your babies.
 
Also, if you are able to assist with a monetary gift, send me a message and I'll get an address for you.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

on things around here

1.  the garden is 2/3 tilled - it hurts my back so much to dig up the grass and get all the clumps out that I can only work for 30 minutes at a time but I dig and I sweat and I ice my back and the garden is that much closer

2.  eldest son has his first NJROTC ball this weekend - he bought his ticket and is looking forward to good food and playing billiards all evening.  He said some of the kids have dates.  Keeping that conversation open and low-key.

3.  I can do a headstand.  This news shocks me.

4.  youngest son has an eye appointment in a few weeks, his vision test with the pediatrician reiterated the need for a comprehensive exam.  I think he'll look very studious with glasses, if he needs them.

5.  homeschool is chugging along - algebra gets a little hairy but we do our best

6.  still working, waitressing four days a week - my co-workers are pretty cool, make me laugh, make me think

7.  I am unsure whether I have the energy and time to get chickens this spring.  My mind gets made up one way then sways far the other way with every slight breeze.

8.  I stumbled across an envelope of love notes I had written my husband before he was my husband.  It made me thankful for the time we've had together to grow, to ripen, to deepen our bond.  It's been 17 years since we were engaged.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

urgent prayer request

This is an urgent prayer request for a sweet young family.  Please pray for rest, for peace, for unwavering faith, for wisdom, for healing, and for good news.

This is what they are up against:


Photo: I would have shared this photo with people earlier, but we wanted our family to see what lanae was up against first. i know that you will respect that decision. so here is what we are looking at. The white area on the right side of the brain is her tumor. kinda give you some information on it, they believe that it started in the sack where her spinal fuild is held at, and it has just progress from there. I can not tell you how long this has taken to get this big, but all i know it is there. Monday we will being some testing to see how we are going to go about and remove it. Just keep us in your prayers right now. we are very tired and lanae is being such a good tropper through this. thank you all

That large white section is a tumor in the brain of a very young little girl.

This is what her mother has shared:

What started out as a simple viral infection has led to a final diagnosis... one we never expected to hear. Our little girl, not yet two, has a brain tumor. It is massive... about the size of a grapefruit. There is good news- it's in a good area of the brain, and it was caught in time, before things got too worse. Surgery is scheduled for ...Tuesday as of right now. No word on what kind of tumor, won't know until they are able to examine it after the surgery.

My heart aches for them and all we can do, the BEST we can do, is pray.

Please pray with me for Lanae.