I’m Afraid of Repeating History

Reading Galatians with my kids this morning I was struck at how little our world has changed, or learned, or progressed since the time of Jesus and Paul. All our various subjects seemed to align today with a message that I just feel pushed to share.

Paul writes that we must not allow ourselves to become “enslaved to so-called gods that have nothing of the divine about them….For that is exactly what you do when you are intimidated into scrupulously observing all the traditions, taboos and superstitions associated with special days and seasons and years.”  (Gal. 4:8,10 The Message)

A wide range of religions practiced in the past and today have these “scrupulous observance of traditions” do they not? Many government systems, many cultures, now and in the past have tied their people’s hands with tradition, so much so that they cannot see beyond them to the Christ-based truth.

Paul warns the Galatians that “These heretical teachers go to great lengths to flatter you, but their motives are rotten. They want to shut you out of the free world of God’s grace so that you will always depend on them for approval and direction, making them feel important.”

We discussed Communist Russia this week. Through our literature reading and culture studies, we again can see the fear mongering that becomes rampant in a society where suspicion is everywhere and one fears to speak against the political flow for fear they too will be arrested, persecuted or killed. We see a leader’s need for a dependent population, making the public feel that what is being done to them is in their own best interests, when clearly it is not.

Today, we often fear standing firm in our beliefs,  standing up for our right to disagree. We allow ourselves to be intimidated, stifled, silenced, shut down for fear of retaliation or retribution of some sort. I rarely post my political thoughts on social media, for fear of being attacked, laughed at, or beginning a heated debate between my liberal and conservative friends.

How is this living in the freedom Christ promises again and again? How is it living in faith that He protects His people?

I am not an overly political person, nor do I typically follow a  lot of current events. But this week has me scared. Scared for the future for my kids. Scared for the future for our country and our freedom. We cannot blind ourselves and think it is just a war across the ocean anymore; it is changing our lives, bit by bit, as fear creeps into our daily activities and actions, and into the actions of our political leaders.

We are afraid. Afraid to let our guards down and share our true thoughts. Afraid of being compassionate and helping a stranger on the street, or a refugee into the country.  Afraid of letting our kids walk to the bus stop without us. Afraid of leaving the house without a phone in case of emergency. Fear rules our daily choices, it governs our lives. They are winning. Like it or not, we are their slaves.

Paul tells the Galatians (Gal 5:1, 2, 4), Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery (or fear) on you. The moment any one of you submits to… any rule-keeping systems, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace.”

Time has not changed this eternal, internal battle. Paul reminds us this by repeating the story of Abraham. One small act by a man tired of waiting for his personal promise from God to come true, still has consequences for my children today, as it has for all the generations from then until now.

The question is, while living in this modern age, an age of repeating history, and age of terrorism and fear, are we able to wait patiently in faith for the promises God has given to each of us? To not get impatient and force his hand by making rash choices and quick decisions? To stand firm in the faith that God has promised good to us, and that He will bring that promise to fruition?

Can our leaders, and all the leaders of the world, take time to think, to study, to learn, (to pray?) on what will be the right move? Can they allow themselves to not be harassed by the media into giving a quick sound bite answer, that they then feel bound to, for fear of looking dishonest? Can they make a choice today, and then confidently decide to change it tomorrow without being raked across the media’s coals? This is serious stuff!

We need to support the leaders, and pray for them, not do our best to tear them down. God sets rulers on the throne (or in the Oval Office). Our job is to support, uphold and pray fervently that they make wise decisions for us– both for right now and for future generations.

Fear gets us nowhere. Hate makes us bitter. The evil ones may have success for a time, but remember folks, we know the ending. It’s right there for all to read in Revelation (& Psalms & Isaiah & really, all over the Bible). 

In case you haven’t read it yet…God wins in the end. 

Can you live in faith, not fear, knowing the outcome? Can I? I believe He has promised good to me, but remembering that in the day-to-day decisions and moments of fear is tough. I work daily at living in faith and in the knowledge of His grace.

I encourage you to read Galatians 4 & 5 as a whole. There is much other to be gleaned from Paul’s words, that I cannot put into words. History repeats itself again and again. This is why we study it, or should. But when we are ignorant to the truth, miss the parallels, and refuse to see the comparisons, we only have ourselves to blame for the outcome.

Shira

 

repeating History

 

 

 

Our History/Lit for 2015-16

I’ve been meaning to share my curriculum choices (and the reasons for choosing them) for this year for a while, but alas, I have been too busy starting school. Or finishing school. Or doing summer school. Not sure what we’ve been doing, but it’s been school this summer for us.

I chose months ago to work with Skylar (5th Grade) on Sonlight’s Core F, Eastern Continents and Cultures, and to add age-appropriate readers and work for Devin (1st Grade). We do the read-alouds together, I add in fun picture books from the library for Devin, and we do some non-fiction reading as a family as well. Skylar does age-appropriate readers on her own, and notebooking pages that come from Sonlight to add some writing and research in the mix.

6 weeks in and (I think) we are all enjoying it. It is challenging to get it all in, especially in our shortened days, and we are only doing a bit of the curriculum so far. I plan to take the next few weeks in slow-mo to get her caught up on her Bible Psalms study and finish up the reading. We have done a few fun projects and have a few more to do before I would call it finished, but for the most part, we are all up-to-speed on Ancient China, with a little bit of modern China life thrown in for good measure.

 

I chose Sonlight this year because I have this curriculum challenge: We have bounced around so much between curriculums that I couldn’t find one that would hit us where we were in history at the proper grade levels for my kids. My biggest innocent/newbie mistake in homeschool so far is that I haven’t really had a long-range plan. I’ve been trying to find a program within the curriculum spectrum that works for us, but still feel a little bit lost on that regard. I see Core F is a good break. It stops the sequential history cycle by focusing more on cultures than history. After a couple years of in-depth history, my kids were eager to take a break and to try something new. It’s written for a 5th-8th grade student, so we are definitely on the young end, but I’m lightening the reading load and pre-reading all the book choices to be sure I find them appropriate for Skylar to read alone, or for Devin to listen to with us.

I’m loving Sonlight’s Core F book selections for the most part. Some are a bit on the dry side and I’ve tried to cut a few of those out for her.  Some books are a bit on the violent side, but I’m tempering those with discussion on how blessed we are to not be living in a war zone. Some are just WAY too long to even consider me reading them aloud. (Young Fu, ALOUD? Really Sonlight? It’s an excellent book and great for historic China lifestyle but long even to read myself for this speed reading mama.) I have been able to find a few of the read-alouds on e-audio or books on CD so that I can save my sanity.

I have also added regularly scheduled readings from Usborne Book of Peoples of the World, Children Just Like Me, and Children Like Me: Our Favorite Stories, Usborne Stories from Around the World, Around the World Art & Activities & WeeSing Around the World. A few hands-on note booking activities from A Trip Around the World 1 & 2, and Around the World Coloring pages for each country.

Core F add-ons

I’m adding in some FIAR book selections for Devin to read with me, some used book finds to be done FIAR-ish, and a hefty use of library resources, at least one movie per country unit & our year is quite full!

I’ve planned to do about 4-6 weeks per country or region, to shorten the year a little, and to prevent boredom. I find with my kids (and myself) that we really can’t go over the 6 week mark on any given topic before we really start to become stir crazy and bored, so I’ve edited Sonlight’s calendar to fit our families needs. I’m trying to get into the mindset that I rule the curriculum and it doesn’t rule me! I think I do okay with that for the most part. But once I plan it out, it drives me nuts to miss and skip things and I want to get it all in! Letting things planned go is still difficult for me so we’ll see how we do this year, long term.

I’m pleased with how it’s going so far, the kids seem to be enjoying the change from ancient history, and we’re all excited for our trip around the world!

Shira

 

 

 

Look Straight Ahead

It’s been a bit of a rough week. We finished our second back to school week (after a long week & even some Saturday school), with more complaints and lectures than I would like for week 2. We haven’t settled into our schedule for this year yet, and its a rough transition from playing all day at the lake to sitting around doing spelling and math!

View East from Camp Skyland

Our Summertime Lakeside view

Week one went ok, but week two, ugh! Let’s just say I have high hopes for weeks 3 & 4! I’m looking forward to trying again, getting in the rhythm, and resetting after the bumpy week we just finished.

I am working hard at placing God in the forefront of our school. Beginning our day with Bible study time and stories has helped. We all start with some God time (and Mom gets a little mom time), and we just seem to start with a better frame of mind.

Honestly, we/I missed Bible time on Thursday because we decided to do a homeschool day at the local heritage museum somewhat last minute. Our day began a bit earlier than usual, and since we were in a rush, I didn’t take time to sit with God. Then I didn’t on Friday, or Saturday.

It makes a difference, y’all! 

I have felt a bit out of sorts. A bit lost. A bit unsure of where I was headed & why.

Now, to be fair it’s been a bit of a rough week emotionally. Friends of ours are watching their son fight through the last phase of an aggressive cancer. As a mom who has lost and grieves a child, my heart hurts. Hurts for them, for their other son, for their friends, for their son’s many many online followers. I hurt for their future, short term and long.

And this week, I’ve been led to read through Job, of all books. (Revisiting the themes of: Our days and months are determined, All life is in His hands, How do we even begin to ask for healing, and How does He destroy someone He has created?)  I’ve been a bit of an emotional mess, trying to maintain normalcy. That might have something to do with our rocky school week, I suppose. I guess maybe I need to have some grace days for mommy’s moods. Add in a few ‘Give myself a break and just feel’ days.

Cayden & Mom, Mother's Day 2005I just so miss my child, and hate for any other family to have to endure that burden. It weighs on my soul. This child is about the same age that Cayden would be if he were still with us. But this child was happy, healthy, normal… until the rare form of cancer attached itself to his neck. His parents have been fighting hard to keep his life more or less normal, to fight the good fight, but sometimes, God has other plans. Not that the end has been written for us to see yet, but it unfortunately seems that the cancer is winning.

From my perspective, I see that they have been blessed with time to share with their son. Time to say a long goodbye. Time to make and do a bucket list. Time to enjoy him one more day. Time that we were not given. It’s a two-sided sword, sudden vs. drawn-out ends.

At C's Balloon release, Miss Jackie shares the meaning of the Heaven Pillow

At C’s Balloon release, Miss Jackie shares the meaning of the Heaven Pillow

We were saved the choices, the mess, the seeing our child get sicker; we were given instead a sudden and unexpected end. No chance to say goodbye. No chance for a bucket list. No holding his hand at the end. Just an end.

Yes, read the bitterness in my voice. It plain out sucks. No one wants to outlive their child. To miss them day-to-day, everyday. I feel for them and their journey. It won’t be easy or smooth, that I know.

Still, I have chosen, in these past 8 years, in the day-to-day of missing my son, to make a  perspective change, and to look straight ahead. To look ahead to our Heavenly reunion, one that will last for an eternity. I hope to have a few more years before I get to that golden city, but that short wait will be nothing compared to the blessing of an eternity to spend with Cayden and our other children who are waiting there for us.

Straight Path in the woodsLooking straight ahead means keeping God’s words in the midst of my heart, for they are life to those who find them and health to all their body. (Prov. 4: 21-22).

Life and health I need, because grief can overwhelm. I know I still have a job to do here. I’m in the process of figuring it out what exactly it is, but the one thing I know is that I need to keep His Word in the forefront of my days, and in the midst of my heart.

Proverbs 4: 25 – 27 says,

Let your eyes look directly ahead

And let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you. 

Watch the path of your feet

And all your ways will be established;

Do not turn to the right nor to the left; 

Turn your foot from evil. 

Following the path

Looking straight ahead keeps us on the path God has established for us. To watch the path, to follow His ways, we can’t make a wrong turn.

He tells us in Proverbs 3:21-23 that if we

Keep sound wisdom & discretion, 

They will be life to your soul

And adornment to your neck. 

Then you will walk in your way securely

And your foot will not stumble. 

When you lie down, you will not be afraid;

When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 

I’m writing this at 1:20 in the morning. I was not able to have sweet sleep tonight, and felt a pull to come and open my Bible, since I hadn’t this morning. This post is the result. When I’m walking in the way, my feet stay on the path of their own, His own, I should say, and I have a serenity I can’t explain. When I step off the path, I have rocky days, I stumble, I fall, I can’t sleep.

Keep the path. Look ahead, straight ahead. Eternity is not that far away. Make each day count, because you never know when will be the last day you have with someone you love. Make each day count for eternity’s sake.

Keep your eyes lifted to Him, straight ahead, to His heart.

Shira

 

 

As I wrote this post, my iTunes  was playing in the background. Somehow it was left on from when the kids were watching apple tv this afternoon. I couldn’t figure out how to turn it off, so I just left it playing. As I was typing Proverbs 4:25-27, this song began to play… Amy Grant, Straight Ahead

Straight ahead, I can see your light

Straight ahead, through the dark

Straight ahead, there’s no left or right

Straight ahead, to Your heart. 

Straight ahead. 

I think this is something God wants me to say!

 

 

(Sort-Of) Back-to-School

It’s (sort-of) Back to School Time! What does that mean? you ask. Well, it’s fall, so its full on Back-to-School sales (yay!). It’s back to fall sports (really? Soccer already?!!) It’s time to really be sure I have planned all our fall schoolwork. I’m mostly ready, but have a few things to finish and to account for what schoolwork we’ve done over the summer.

Wait a minute! Summer school? you ask. Yep! We had a super busy April-May and none of us felt like doing school any more. The kids had really mostly finished their math and spelling books, reading and writing were coming along and… well, everything else is in elementary school is just gravy, really, isn’t it?

Sky SwimSo I decided to try a summer school experiment this year, (with the kids’ fully on board). A bit of school here & there, (mostly in June & July). In between quite a few field trips and summer camps. Oh, and don’t forget our daily swim team practices.

Mainly we focused on beginning our history reading, keeping up with Devin’s Hooked on Phonics, working on fun math & some games.  It was light & mostly fluffy as we spent the month doing our unit on China. But, as usual for us, it dragged on beyond it’s scheduled 5-6 weeks, and we are still plodding along with one last reader, a few stories and folk tales, and half a read-aloud to go. Deadlines are hard to manage and stick to at God’s Path School, summer, fall OR winter!

I went with the summer school thing for a couple reasons. First, I just wanted to try it. To see if we could manage a year-round school experience. I found that the kids didn’t seem to mind too bad, as long as I didn’t ask too much of them. My goals were to at least do the first 6 weeks of history, so that during our regular school year we would be a bit less pressured to ‘fit it all in!’ (I’m sure none of you ever feel that pressure!)

(I call it the ‘Git-er-done’ need. The check-the-box need. The must-complete-the-book compulsion. I’m trying to break myself of this feeling, but it is so HARD! I like that box checked, that list ticked off and getting smaller. It makes me feel so HAPPY and so accomplished! )

I digress. The kids didn’t really seem to mind school this summer, but man, this MOM did! I hated having to keep reminding them to do school work before play. To have to sit with them and work while I would much rather have been getting my I’ll-do-it-in-the-summer list accomplished. (Yep! there’s another list again!) I would have much rather been sitting at the pool relaxing while they played, than trying to motivate the kids to read, spell or do math.

It became the school year that never ended. NOT a good thing in my mind, and I’m not sure it was not healthy for Skylar and her distractible tendancy as well. She really struggled with choosing to do school, rather than wiling the days away with her dolls and legos. & I struggled with forcing them to work because it was distracting for me as well! (She doesn’t get the distractibility from a stranger, folks!).

The current state of our schoolroom. Of course the kids wanted to re-arrange again this year, and I'm still trying to finalize choices for curriculum, reorganize and clean!

The state of our schoolroom. Of course the kids wanted to re-arrange again this year, and I’m still trying to finalize choices for curriculum, clean and reorganize!

The main problem for me in trying to school this summer, is that in my changing over from last year’s curriculum, to this year’s stuff, my schoolroom and half my house became a DISASTER. Book piles everywhere, trying to get sorted and organized, to be put in the garage so I know what I have and where to find it for the next time around. Deciding what to sell knowing I won’t use it again, and sorting through all the awesome deals I found at the end of year curriculum sales, that won’t be used for a year or two.

Sorting books in the foyer... at least they are not in the school room, but not where they need to be either!

Sorting books in the foyer… at least they are not in the school room, but not where they need to be either!

My schoolroom is still a mess, but gaining. My foyer is still a book repository, my garage is insane. But we got some of a headstart on history. (hear the load of sarcasm there). I’m pretty sure it wasn’t worth it, but by next spring I may feel differently.

Koala at the zoo

Snoozing Koala at the zoo

But, summer school does have it’s advantages. I like the unstructured learning fun of trips and camps, the learning while doing, the family togetherness. We’ve had a lot of fun adventures even if my to-do list hasn’t gotten shorter. And really, what is life as a parent if you aren’t having adventures, enjoying time with your kids, and being silly?! Learning takes place all over, and though I know our school is not meant to be in the unschooling style all year, I do enjoy the unstructured learning we get in summer.

Holding up the Balancing Rock

Holding up the Balancing Rock

Along with a few books, God’s Path Summer School also consisted of Nature Camp, AHG Camp & Bible Camp, VBS, Trips to the Zoo and Science Centers, Hiking and Camping, and Swim Team. I think we had our fill of extracurriculars!

A few Swim Team Ribbons

A few Swim Team Ribbons

Now we’re taking a break, a mini-vacation of sorts, before the reality of our fall schedule kicks back in, in early September. I realize that keeping a set, more regimented schedule each day works better for my kids. They know what to expect, what comes next, can sit and work in a better mode if we are not trying to “squeeze in” some school. Distractions aside, school works better for us.

Muddy Day at Nature Camp

Muddy Day at Nature Camp

Summer school experiment: I rate it a 5 for getting ahead, a 10 for fun extra stuff. Not sure I like it, not sure I hate it. What do you think? Have you tried Summer School? How does it work for your family?

Shira

Creating Critters at Camp Wannacombac

Creating Critters at Camp Wannacombac

Singing at VBS

Singing at VBS

Trip to the Strawberry Farm

Trip to the Strawberry Farm

5 Fast & Easy THM Breakfasts

It’s the most important meal of the day, right? And usually the most crazy! Since we homeschool, I don’t have that gotta-get-out-the-door stress that many moms do, but it’s gotta-get-the-day-started just the same. My kids would love to linger over pancakes, tv, and games, but then our school day is ridiculously slow and long. A quick breakfast, moves toward an early start, and a smoother moving day for us for sure!

I have found that THM style meals do benefit my entire family. My kids do so much better at their school work with a healthy, low carb, high protein breakfast. And I am the teacher being tormented if they are hyper, so why do that to myself? These ideas work for them as well as me! YAY!

IMG_6568#1. Fried Eggs & Sausage Patties (S) 

Super easy, right? I do two eggs for myself, one or two sausage patties (I get the Aldi kind). If I have a few minutes to spare, I will heat up my pan with the patties in them, then cook the eggs in the sausage grease. If I’m more rushed, I microwave those bad boys! Eggs only take a couple minutes in a small pan. (Yes, I’ve even saved some bacon grease to use to fry my eggs with! I’m that girl!) Some days I add a thin slice of sprouted bread (Target brand) but usually not. It has 14 net carb in 2 slices, so 7 carbs in one. Technically, its over the 6 carb limit for a S meal, so have half a slice, or use it only occasionally.  Bread is a craving creator for me for sure, so I typically avoid on S days.

Target Sprouted bread

This thin sliced sprouted bread is found in the deli area at Target.

#2. Scrambled Eggs with Cottage Cheese (bacon or sausage optional) (S)

We are IN LOVE with scrambled eggs & cottage cheese. Have you tried this yet? If not, you must… tomorrow! Scramble your 2 eggs as usual. Add a couple big spoonfuls of full fat cottage cheese. I do this after the eggs have set a little in cooking, my hubby does it before cooking, either way is fine. Keep the eggs moving as you cook them, they won’t get dry at all, but cook until the eggs look solid. The cottage cheese gives them a light, buttery, cheesy, fluffy goodness… you have to try it! Add in some bacon bits or sausage crumbles to add a bit more flavor & fat if you like. Or do some minced veggies with it. But veggies aren’t in my morning schedule or palate, so I stick to the plain jane stuff, not that THESE eggs are plain!

 

 #3. Scrambled Eggs with shredded Cheddar (maybe in a mini pita pocket) (S)

Farm fresh eggs!

Again, the eggs. We now have a source for farm fresh eggs, so we can’t get enough of those lovely brown & blue shells. So delicious & just right in the morning. Scramble up a pile for the family, salt & pepper to taste, throw them in a warm pan & stir until cooked as desired. I like mine well cooked but not dry, so just before finishing, I throw on a couple handfuls of shredded cheddar cheese, mix some more until the cheese is melted. If we’re really hungry, we’ll have these on a mini Joseph’s pita pocket, like a mini taco. But most days it’s plain jane again, just pile ’em on the plate. Add a sausage patty  on the side, or add bacon or sausage crumbles to the mix when cooking). If you can actually pre-cook bacon & have it last in your home, this is excellent to have with cheesy eggs. Bacon vanishes around here, and school days just aren’t the time to fry up some more. So packaged bacon bits, or pre-cooked sausage crumbles have to work for me.

skinny syrups#3.5. Coffee and cream (S) I have to admit… I am a coffee addict. I can’t really function or think before I get at least a half a cup in. And I like my coffee with half & half or cream. So I tend to stick to S breakfasts most days, so I can have creamy coffee. I’ve also found this delectable stuff called Skinny Syrups that has 0 cal, 0 sugar, but tastes like caramel. It’s a former Caramel Creamer gal’s newest addiction! (again… this is probably NOT for the purist! There are definitely some big words in the ingredients list that do NOT come from nature. BUT I am NOT a purist, and this is a lifestyle change, NOT a diet, so I choose to enjoy!) I sip coffee in my huge mug all morning, so S breakfasts really are the way I lean. However… for those fuel cycles or (agh!) when we’re out of eggs, I’ll share my other regular choices.

 

#4. Oatmeal Deluxe (E)

My husband has been eating oatmeal for years. I have not. I just didn’t see the pleasure in eating a bowl full of brown mushy oats. But, to be fair, I have been trying. It really is a quick, easy option for breakfast, and doesn’t take much more effort than the eggs. If you’re an oatmeal newbie… try it this way. And yes… you have to do your coffee with almond milk or black on these E days! (or with the skinny syrup!)

Get standard Quaker Oatmeal. Put 1/2 cup into a bowl with 1/2 +/- cup water to desired wetness. Microwave 1 minute on high. quick stir. I then add 1/2 scoop protein powder, dash cinnamon, dash vanilla, dash truvia & big splash of almond milk. Mix it all up & BAM! deliciousness! A little sweetness, a little flavor, a little more protein to hold you over longer. If I have fresh fruit I will also add blueberries or raspberries as well. Sometimes walnuts, sometimes kefir instead of almond milk. This is a great stick-to-your-ribs breakfast for a cold, damp day.

IMG_6565#5. The Smoothie.

I like the smoothie. The kids LOVE the smoothie. To them, it’s like having ice cream for breakfast & what kid wouldn’t want that?! I’ve gotten pretty quick at making them, and try to make a big batch for all of us to share. But the Ninja single serve cups to make them easy to customize & just make a few at once if no one can agree on flavors.

I actually have SO much love for the smoothie, that I am going to write another whole post on our favorite smoothie & the 11 quick flavor varieties you can get from one easy-to-learn recipe! Tune in tomorrow! (While you eat your eggs maybe?!)

Taste & see that the Lord is Good! 

Shira

 

IMG_1009

Our Journey to Wellness


Do you ever feel like you just NEVER are truly healthy? That no matter what you try or do, someone in your house is always sick? Or maybe you’re always tired & just can’t lose weight? You can’t get things done, you’re turning in circles, life is on repeat?

Wow, I did. I do. I have.

This spring I was finally & truly fed up. I vowed to make some changes. I needed to lose weight, to finally get those pesky baby pounds off my back! It’s not that I was obese. Honestly, I just had not been able to lose the baby weight from my last child. He’s 5. I was frustrated.

IMG_4672

I want to say, I have been fed up long before now. But with 2 small children, homeschooling, doing my various volunteer work, housekeeping, cooking, etc., personal time has evaded me for years. I’d do the Wii Fit, then the small boy child would climb all over me while I tried to balance on one foot. or the larger girl child would join in, get too close, & get punched during my faux-tennis match, then cry hysterically until I stopped. Exercising at home obviously wasn’t in the cards for me. (and a Y or gym membership wasn’t in the budget!) Every time I would get on an evening ‘me-time’ walking or jogging streak, it would rain for days on end or the schedules would go against me, thus killing my streak & effectively my exercise habit.

triathlon day!I needed to exercise more, but most things I enjoy I couldn’t do because of my worn-out knee. I began swimming more regularly this summer, doing laps & really making an effort. I even did a mini-triathlon for my daughter’s swim team. But did I lose weight? NO!

I thought I had just hit that magical age of 40-something when the weight becomes very stubborn to leave. I was at the point of “Do I just succumb and admit that I will be a “well-padded” mom like my grandma was,” or do I find something entirely new. I went for the entirely new.

I had already begun using essential oils to optimize my health. (Read more about that part of the journey here!) I needed to add the component of diet to the mix.

I have not been able to really ‘diet’ for years. When I reduce caloric consumption I become grouchy. VERY GROUCHY.  Like “you-don’t-want-to-be-around-me” grouchy. Then there’s the fearsome “I’m-much-too-mean-to-my-kids, especially-during-the-homeschool-day” grouchy. So a standard “diet” did not work for me. My husband is diabetic. My daughter verges on ADD. My son eats PB &J for almost every meal. We needed a food style change.

We didn’t eat horribly. We were pretty healthy overall. We had veggies at almost every meal, salads frequently, lean protein, not lots of junk. We usually eat in. But still we have these issues! I wasn’t losing weight, but I wasn’t gaining either. The kids are healthy, but Joey really wanted a way to take less insulin, since the costs are through the roof.

This summer, a friend invited me to an info session for Trim Healthy Mama. I had heard vaguely of this plan on FB, didn’t have a clue what it was, but her timing was perfect. A group of homeschool moms who all want to lose weight, I figured at least there will be accountability!  What did I have to lose, besides weight? or a little cash?  The meeting was led by a THM successful friend who was going to try to explain her weight loss secrets to us all. I had not even laid eyes on the book yet, so S, E, FP was a big mystery to me & I asked a LOT of questions. It sounded interesting, real food based, “You can bake, you can eat cheese, you can eat steak!” Sounded good to me.

I jumped in, about a month later, after my book came & I had time to read it. I’ve been mostly on the downhill trend since then. A few small bobbles here and there, adjustments as we go, and even over the holidays.. no gain!

IMG_6324Finally, I feel like I have found something that has worked!

Since I have found success, (30 pounds gone from Aug-Jan!) I want to be able to give back a little to the THM community. I would say I fall in between the drive-thru-Sue and the Crunchy Granola but I am definitely NOT a purist. I do quick and easy, and sometimes I get it right. Sometimes I don’t, (and I don’t even know it). But I don’t stress over it, I mostly freestyle within my comfort zone. If you’re new… you have no comfort zone, I realize, so I’ll try to share my success with some tips.

Next I’ll share my 13 easy steps to menu planning THM-style! & as the week goes by, I’ll share my favorite go-to recipes. THM doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to break the bank. You do have to trust the plan & love yourself enough not to cheat. The cheats matter.

God doesn’t want us to be unhealthy. He shows us the way, continually, if we just allow him to. Had I turned my back on my friend’s invite, only God knows where I would be. But I didn’t. I trusted the still small voice saying.. “Just go!” and went. & then the voice said “Just try!” and I did. & here we are.

Psalm 18: 20-28  summarizes Our Journey to Wellness (so far) perfectly.

God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, He gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways He works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.

The good people taste your goodness, The whole people taste your health, The true people taste your truth, The bad ones can’t figure you out. You take the side of the down-and-out, But the stuck-up you take down a peg.

Suddenly, God, you floodlight my life; I’m blazing with glory, God’s glory!

I hope and pray that you too, can blaze with all the glory God intended for you! Place your life’s pieces before Him, & allow him to lead you each step of the way. Taste His goodness, & the goodness of His earth! Enjoy eating & lose weight!

God Bless!

Shira

shi selfie

We Made The Oil Change!


I have not posted recently because I have been swamped with holidays, homeschooling, running an American Heritage Girls troop, & my most recent endeavor of becoming a advocate promoting and selling Essential Oils. I have been using essential oils for about 6 months now & cannot express fully how much I love these oils and products. They are so fun to use, interesting to learn about & are a great value for family health & wellness.

When I was at a Homeschool Convention last spring, I attended a seminar on how Essential Oils could help within the homeschool. I found it fascinating & afterwards, I did a lot of research on oils and exactly how they work, and how they could help the homeschool problems I had been having with my kids (namely attention, focus & attitude).

I have to say, that honestly, the attitude problems still are present, even with the EO’s, but the focus and attention is becoming better. However, I am not very diligent in using them regularly. We use them when the situation is already problematic, rather than as a preventative measure. That is MY issue in consistency, but I haven’t found the right combo that works for all of us yet. When I do, I will be sure to share!

While the school thing is still a bit rough, even with oils, I have found many many other uses for them that I do find work extremely well for our family. I do believe that this is one facet on our new journey to wellness that has been placed in my path by God. It has been an answer to prayer in many ways & the more I learn, the more I firmly believe that this is healthcare in the way God intended.

Oils are mentioned frequently in the Bible for their healing benefits, use in ceremony, and for fragrances and oils were commonly used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.

Even Psalm 23, mentions oils… (vs 5-6)

You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

David used oils, Jesus used oils, Solomon too. In Exodus, there is specific directions on what oil blend to use for ceremonial purposes. This is not a NEW trend, but an old practice recently becoming popular again, as people are trying to put their health back into their own hands!

Using essential oils is changing how we think about healthcare and pharmaceuticals. At the first sign of an illness, I turn to my oil book and research and treat my kids (and myself) as I see fit. I can treat them naturally, easily, and quickly with oils, rather than waiting for a doctor’s visit to get a prescription that then kills all the good stuff in my kids system along with the bad germs.

With the oils, I can begin the healing process before the bugs have a chance to really take hold. I can give it to them on a Friday night and not worry about how much the Urgent Care visit is going to cost me. And usually by Monday, the issue has resolved and no visit is needed. Yay!

Cost is a big factor in many people NOT getting into the regular use of essential oils. But really, one visit to Urgent Care (appox $150 plus meds) costs most people MORE than the cost of my company’s Starter Kit ($125). This kit is a great range of 10 oils that cover a myriad of the most common issues families have. It’s a great starter pack, to “test the waters,” (or perhaps ‘test the oils’) and see if you can mentally make the change.

It really is a mental shift. Learning how the oils work, what they do, and how to blend them is definitely a process, if not an art. You are literally putting your healthcare into the palm of your hand. You are not tied to the medicine cabinet, to the drugs available, and the horrible taste, side effects or cost.

d poison ivy faceDevin had a bad case of poison ivy this summer while I was out of town (and I had brought the oils with me). His face got extremely swollen, so much that his eye was almost swollen shut. Joey had to take a day off work, bring him to the doctor, and get 2 prescriptions for him before it could get under control. Then, about a week after it finally cleared up, he had a secondary reaction of hives that required 2 more prescriptions and another doctor visit. This one small scratch of poison ivy cost us well over $250 in doctor costs, multiple daily prescriptions and several weeks of suffering through poison ivy, hives and rashes for the little man.

d poison ivy oilsA month or two later, he got a similar scratch, about 4″ long on his cheek. It started to puff up, and I could tell it was again poison ivy. This time I was prepared, and applied the joyful blend and the calming blend on the scratch 3-4 times a day, as a soon as we found it (on a Saturday of course). After 3 days, you could not even see the scratch, all that was left was a few small scabs from D scratching the itch, and no residual swelling or hives. Cost: $67 total cost for the two bottles (about .13 a drop x 32 drops = $4.28 total cost.)

I already had the oils in my stash, so no late night stress, instead, he had immediate relief. And I had no worries about overdosing/missed dosing/mixing meds. In this particular case the cost comparison is: essential oils $4.28 vs. traditional medicine $250. A more than 98% savings. Do you think oils are expensive now??!!

It is hard for the beginner to understand the potency of the oils in that little ‘expensive’ bottle. But with 250 drops in a 15ml bottle, and dosage of 2-3 drops on average, that ‘expensive’ bottle becomes very cheap per dose. Average cost per bottle is $20 at 2.5 drops per dose = 100 doses per bottle at a cost of $.20 per dose.

Compare that to a bottle of children’s benadryl. A 4 oz bottle, 12 2t doses @ $6 per bottle. Cost = $.50 dose. The oils are less than HALF the cost of the over the counter medicine! AND the oils typically work quicker and have less side effects, AND the bottle will last longer due to many more doses per bottle. PLUS one oil has many uses, so it’s much more flexible to use.

Can you see why our family has Made The Oil Change?

If you are interested in making the change with us, let me know. I’d love to share with you how oils can help promote health and wellness in your family. You can message me if you’re curious  at maketheoilchange@gmail.com, and I can share more about my company and my favorite oils. Really, no problem, email, call or message me & I will gladly help you! I want to be sure you are getting the best oils for your needs at the best pricing.

I hope you will join us in Making The Oil Change!

Shira

A World of What-If’s… 28 Days of Cayden, Day 27

Look in the sky tomorrow, as we send our birthday balloons to CC. There will be 11 this year. Seven more than the last time we celebrated with him. There will be 11 candles on a pudding cake, that should be all over his face; instead his little brother will get to blow the candles out as we sing to an empty chair.

I hope you hear the regret and sorrow in my voice as I say that. It is loud and clear.

Each year that goes by is another one spent without him. We can be joyful that we were blessed with him, and at peace with the fact that he is in a better place, and still wish we had him here. That is the duality of death in the midst of faith. We have been missing him longer than we enjoyed him, and that cannot be changed.

I don’t often allow myself to go there, but today I do. Go where? You ask. Go to the place of imagination and wonder, a place of what if…

 

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What if Cayden had just been a regular, normal kid?

Cayden would be going into middle school this year, 6th grade already! He would probably be almost the youngest kid in his class, because of his late birthday. (Or maybe we’d have let him wait one more year, and he’d be a big 5th grader. But he’s so smart, so we decided he could handle the work. 6th grade it is!)

He would be not quite a week into his first week of school, where he is the little kid in a big school, rather than the big kid at the elementary school. A transition for most, but Cayden handles it with ease. He’s ready for the challenge of changing classes, getting a locker and trying out for a new sports team. He’s still nervously picking just the right outfit each day, trying to impress the little red-haired girl in his math class.

Last week we spent back-to-school shopping, when we fought over the cost of his new sneakers (adult sizes already! Prices are sky high!) Target jeans aren’t really cutting it anymore, for this style-conscious child. He keeps his hair cut short, the curls aren’t cool, and his shining blue eyes are excited to get to hang out with his friends every day again (we didn’t see nearly enough of them this summer).

This summer was spent running him and his sister to swim team, sitting at the pool all day, and then heading to our neighborhood pool after, because they can never have too much chlorine! They each had a week at scout camp, where they learned all kinds of outdoor skills and hiked, built shelters & did other outdoor games like archery and climbing.

0026This fall, we are juggling his soccer practices with his brother’s, and cheering them on every weekend starting next Saturday. His scout meetings are another night, as are his sister’s, so we have 4 nights a week that we shuttle the kids back and forth. Little brother Devin patiently goes with the flow (not!) this year wanting to do just as much as the big kids.

Mornings start with a flurry, this year being particularly busy, as we have 3 kids in two schools and two different start times & bus routes. Cayden doesn’t really want to get up on time, so we have the morning ritual of groaning and complaining and snooze alarms, until I threaten to roll him and his covers onto the floor. Packing lunches (how much is this kid going to eat?!), eating a quick breakfast & off to the bus stop… don’t forget your lunch! or your backpack!

After school, I try to get the little kids’ homework finished before Cayden gets home, because his workload is dramatically increased now that he is in middle school. A huge backpack of books, and over 2 hours of work a night is hard to fit in with all the activities. Dinner is on the go many nights, with Dad going to soccer with the boys, while Mom goes to scouts and swimming with Skylar. Cayden has to stay up later than normal, to get the homework finished, and then sleeps late in the morning again.

This is the busy, fun life I had imagined for myself when I was younger. Does this sound like yours? It’s somewhat mine now, but not really….

 

What if Cayden were his broken self, and still alive…

Cayden would be going into 5th grade this year, we decided to keep him back when he was 5 so he could have extra time in kindergarten. He goes to a regular public school, where he is included in the regular classroom, and he only has a part-time aide this year. He has worked so hard at communicating his needs using his ECO, that we feel he is ready for a little more independence. He still needs help with class transitions, feeding and toileting, so the aide comes at pre-set times to help Cayden with these things. He has a special water bottle that attaches to his power chair, so he can drink throughout the day. His arm mobility is really improving, but he still can’t get into his backpack that easily, so sometimes he needs help with that. Because writing with a pencil is still really hard for him, with his funny elbows, he completes much of his work on his ECO in computer mode. He also has an ipad on which he does math and some other subjects; this makes all the kids are jealous, and they fight to get to help him.2011-08-28 19.01.15

This year Cayden has a new teacher who forgot to put him in the front of the class. She has him sitting in the back, thinking it would be easier for her to deal with his power wheelchair and setting up the other desks. But because of his hearing needs he needs to be in the front (it’s in his IEP! come on!). She also doesn’t really want to wear the headset and use the sound field system, even though we have explained several times how simple it is, and how it really does help all the students in the class. We also had to remind her that he needed free movement around the class, to get to the white board, and book shelves, but overall the classroom is still much too crowded for him to navigate. I think this might be a challenging year for us already! (At least he is not in the mobile units… pure torture for a child with a cochlear implant, and double for a child in a wheelchair, who doesn’t like the sun!)

Some things are good, the class has a few kids who know Cayden and enjoy helping him, and it’s closer to the library and cafeteria than it was last year. The new principal last year was a bit of a tough one to win over, but in the end, she saw that our complaints were just good advocacy, so she had to accommodate Cayden’s needs.

Last week we went back-to-school shopping, and we whimpered at the cost of his new extra wide sneakers (How hard it was to find adult sizes that accommodate ankle braces! Prices are sky high!) Jeans are really what he wants to wear this year, my style-conscious child, but his aides really prefer it when he wears athletic type pants (they are easier to get off when he needs help with the bathroom.) They already have to deal with his ankle braces, his ECO, CI, and all his other gear, so I try to keep them happy in this regard. I have a special deal with the principal that he is allowed to wear a hat whenever he wants, especially outside, to keep his eyes protected, since we often misplace the special sunglasses he needs. He keeps his hair longer, the curls hide the cochlear implant coil, and his shining blue eyes are excited to get to hang out with his friends every day again (he didn’t see them much at all this summer).

SAMSUNGThis summer was spent running Cayden to all his therapies and his sister to swim team. He had to sit in the shade while she practiced, because the summer sun is too bright for him to handle. Even the special swim goggles we have don’t really help in the early morning sun. The kids complain that they never get enough pool time, and that we always have to do what Cayden needs. Some days Devin sat in the shade with him and they played games on Cayden’s ECO, but other days, D swam & Cayden was left to try to watch a movie in the glare on the screen.

The big kids each had a week at camp, Skylar at scout camp, and Cayden at adapted horse camp where they learned all kinds of outdoor skills, hiked, built shelters, made crafts & did other outdoor games like archery and climbing. (Yes, he would have done that stuff too!) Devin had a couple weeks to himself, because he just wanted time alone at home with mom!

This fall, we are juggling Cayden’s adaptive baseball practice with his brother’s soccer practices, and his sister’s scout meetings. Cayden has therapy one night, and therapeutic riding on yet another, so we have 4 nights a week that we shuttle the kids back and forth. We’d like to do evening church activities, but there just isn’t time. This year Devin wants to do just as much as the big kids, and it adds another sports schedule into the already busy mix. The kids complain about doing homework in the car, or at the practices but that’s how it has to be.

Mornings start with a flurry, but I’m relishing this year, since we have 3 kids in one school, the only time it will ever happen! I have set it up so the other kids can ride the adapted bus with Cayden and help get him on and off at school. If we run late, school is pretty close, so we all pile into our adapted van and drive over there, hoping to miss the drop off line, because no moms like to get stuck behind our van, with our long unloading ritual! Cayden doesn’t really want to get up on time, so we have the morning ritual of groaning and complaining and snooze alarms, until I threaten in sign language to roll him and his covers onto the floor. Flicking the lights and shaking the bed sometime just isn’t good enough. Packing lunches this year is bearable, Cayden finally can eat a regular pb&j, I only hope that he doesn’t have a child in his class with peanut allergies, or I don’t know what he’ll eat for lunch! Soup every day… boring! He has a regular breakfast of oatmeal & applesauce & off to the bus stop… don’t forget your ECO! or your charger! or your ipad!

While the kids are gone, I have some time to deal with insurance, research the new walker we are looking for, and trying to set up another IEP meeting. I have let it slide for now, but Cayden really needs to have set time in his walker and stander, and this just hasn’t happened yet. The aides are not wanting to stay with him that long, and the teacher thinks having him standing will distract the class. I really need to get that wheelchair that can sit and stand and he can drive it standing up through the school. That would be excellent, but we can’t get it for at least another year yet. We have had so many wheelchairs, the insurance company is dragging their feet, even though he is growing like a weed and really could use a better option. Plus the van needs service, the power lift is acting funny, so I have to figure out when we can drive all the way downtown to spend a day or two getting that fixed. Never a quiet moment around here! I also am still working with Families for HoPE, and volunteering at the barn when I can, so time flies when the kids are at school. Before I know it, its time to meet the bus and see how the day went, and deal with the tired and crazy kids.

IMG_2090After school, I try to get the little kids’ homework finished and let Cayden’s after school aide help him with his. But as always, she has a problem getting to the right screen on the ECO’s computer so I have to help. Cayden is very agile on his ECO, and has a 32 icon screen now, so surprisingly it goes fairly well. In fact, Cayden often knows how to work it better than I do, and he is beginning to help me program it too. Still, he has a lot of homework, and needs help typing and writing, because even the adapted work takes him a long time. At least she will stay with him tonight so I can bring the other kids to their activities.

I forgot to get dinner in the crockpot, so I am trying to find something to cook quickly before soccer tonight; something that Cayden can chew, Skylar will eat, and Devin won’t complain about. Dinner is on the go many nights, with Dad going to sports and scouts with the boys, while Mom goes to scouts and swimming with Skylar. Cayden still has a hard time falling asleep at night, but sometimes that’s okay because he needs the time to get his homework finished, but then he sleeps late in the morning again!

 

Wow, I sound busy either way. I’m busy now, but adding an 11 year old child, either typical or special needs would definitely add a bit more crazy fun to the mix. Instead of doing either of these imaginary scenarios, I homeschool the two kids I have, drive them to riding, swimming, scouts and soccer & volunteer for a variety of different things when I have time.

Life is unpredictable, except to the Man in charge.

Job too, felt his life was unpredictable, and yet his faith never wavered.

In Job 23:10-14 Job says,

“But He knows where I am going.
    

And when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.

For I have stayed on God’s paths;
    

I have followed His ways and not turned aside.

I have not departed from his commands,
    

but have treasured His words more than daily food.

But once He has made His decision, who can change His mind?
    

Whatever He wants to do, He does.

So He will do to me whatever He has planned.
    

He controls my destiny.”

This is my challenge too, my quest. To stay on God’s paths, to not to turn aside, and to treasure his words more than food. He controls my destiny & I’m okay with that. The what-ifs are only imaginary; my life has been blessed beyond compare because Cayden was in it. To wish it differently is to wish away the blessings I’ve been given. To have never met the friends I have made in the world of holoprosencephaly, therapy, and advocacy. To have perhaps been lost to the world of too busy for faith. Would I have written it with a different ending? Maybe so, but I submit my life is His decisions, to ‘do to me whatever He has planned.’

 

Shira

Fully Supported… 28 Days of Cayden, Day 18

Most kids don’t need help sitting. By 5 or 6 months old, most children can sit unsupported. It’s a normal developmental milestone. However, for kids with holoprosencephaly and cerebral palsy sitting is a MAJOR accomplishment, a lifetime achievement, a long, long-range goal.

If you put Cayden in a carseat or swing or other baby seat, he would just slump over, slide down & possibly even fall out of the seat. If he slumped his breathing would be compromised. If he fell, he had no motor skills at all to catch himself with his arms, hands & feet. Really, none. He would fall flat on his face.

graco high chair

C in the high chair. The center pommel helped keep him in, & If he was tilted back enough, he could sit without a strap. Wide side supports & high back made this work for a long time for C.

Every piece of baby equipment we purchased, had to have a 5-point harness, to safely support Mr. C. If it didn’t have 5-point, (&  even if it did) it needed a good center support to keep him from sliding down, wide supportive sides to keep him from falling sideways, and a high back, to support his head and neck. Tilt features were necessary as well, because a standard fully upright seat was much too vertical for his breathing & head support needs.

I found most Graco products were well designed to work for us. From high chair to stroller to carseat, these were usually my products of choice. The other excellent product that lasted us for years was a Fisher Price toddler rocker. This had a deep sling seat, a good 3-pt waist strap & a nice reclining feature. It also vibrated & had music so it was a hit at our house.

If I ever made the mistake of not strapping him in, even on a quick trip, I learned NOT to do that again. Once I put him in the stroller, reclined, so I didn’t use the seat strap. I was talking & walking, not very far & I hears this whimper. Cayden had slid all the way down the chair, his feet were at the ground & his head had caught him on the feeding tray! Never again did I put him in the stroller without that strap! The next stroller had a central post to keep him from falling down through! He didn’t get hurt that time, but these are the kind of situations a floppy kid with little vocalizations can get into. Its things like that, that you don’t even contemplate happening with a typical kid.

Double stroller

My double stroller. This was nice, but you can tell that Cayden, at age 2 probably had less body tone than Skylar at 3 months.

They called this type of need, full support. He couldn’t just have any old carseat, or chair, it needed to be able to support him all over. It meant he couldn’t even have just any wheelchair, he needed side supports (laterals), a seat belt, a chest harness or shoulder supports, and a pommel just so he could sit safely.

There were several expensive & uncomfortable special needs chairs that we looked into getting; popular with therapists were something called a corner chair. These were typically made of plywood, put to form a corner, to support the sides kids, and had a tray. These were meant to be an activity chair but Cayden didn’t like them at all.

By the time Cayden was around 2, he had outgrown the high chair & most of our baby gear was getting too small for his long legs. I needed someplace to safely put him while I fed, changed & dealt with Skylar, who was a newborn. Cayden was unhappy in the bed, he couldn’t sit on the couch, and he didn’t like to lay on the floor. We were not interested in a wheelchair yet; I felt the stroller was sufficient since Skylar was a newborn and I needed to use a double stroller at the time. So we were counseled to get a positioning chair with tray. So we began the process of finding a fully supportive activity chair.

C new hi-lo

Cayden in the new high-low chair.

We looked at several different versions, the Tumbleform chair, the corner chair, the kid something. In the end we got this high-low, hydraulic chair. The high-low feature allowed him to sit close to the floor (child height), and high for sitting at the kitchen table . It also had a tray for work or toys & was fully adjustable for growth for several years. I called it Cayden’s hi-tech office chair.

It was fully loaded with lateral supports, head support, foot rests & straps, seat belt, chest support, pommel support, and lateral leg supports. After having problems with the chest strap causing him breathing problems, we decided to add swing away shoulder supports instead. We also had to try several different head supports, because of his weak neck he needed side support, but because of his hearing aids & cochlear implant he needed it to be in a particular place or those devices would constantly fall off.

I liked this chair somewhat, but it was frightening to me sometimes. It was meant to be used as a feeding chair, but all the straps and supports were difficult to open quickly if I needed to get him out because of his gagging, coughing or vomiting. I’ve already said he couldn’t sit unstrapped. So I ended up feeding him on my lap usually anyway. For such an expensive piece of equipment, I never really felt that it met our needs.

My frustrations with this chair, along with the long time it took to go through the selection and approval process got me thinking of other options for sitting positions.

baby C in beanbag

The beanbag was a great napping spot. If he did slide out, he didn’t have far to go & I could make a little hole for his tush to sit in & support his back well.

I found an old used carseat with good support, and brought it in the house. I leaned it against the sofa & it wouldn’t fall over. I could strap Cayden into the carseat, and he wasn’t going anywhere. Cayden was safe, and he was positioned properly. And it was cheap (less than $10 at a garage sale!)

cmas 06

He has grown a little & the bean bag was getting softer. So we added the pillow to help with the head support. Still a good seating option though!

We found that a standard beanbag chair was also good for Cayden. It supported him, and was easy to position him in a way he was comfortable. I could fluff it so it had a bit of a bottom support & keep him from slumping. This worked great for watching TV or just relaxing at home.

My favorite chair we had for him was a bolster chair. I really liked this chair, as it encouraged leg strength, built strength in his lateral torso, & had a tray. He was in a position similar to riding a horse, so it built on that therapy we were doing. This was an investment, but one we felt was well worth it. It was a totally different position from just sitting in a chair, & it was a good active sit that was great for playing cars, building blocks or doing schoolwork.

Kaye Bolster Chair

The bolster chair. There is bolster he sat upon & it was fully loaded with side and head supports as well. Cayden really liked this chair and it gave him great chest & breath support for talking, so we often used it for speech.

I also made a special supportive chair for Cayden after seeing one in a catalog that was over $500. It was a supportive foam chair for floor sitting. I decided I could make one in a similar way & that had become his favorite place to sit and watch tv in the last few months. A high back, arm supports & full side support, along with straight leg floor sitting were the benefits of this chair.

 

Cayden needed full support while sitting, to be comfortable and to be safe. He needed full support in all activities of his life. We all need that support in life. We all need to feel safe and secure. We can find that security, that safety, and that protection in Christ alone.

 

Psalm 32:7-11 (NLT) says

     For You are my hiding place;
    

     You protect me from trouble.
    

     You surround me with songs of victory.

 The Lord says,

     “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.    

     I will advise you and watch over you.

Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
    

     that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

Many sorrows come to the wicked,
  

     but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

So rejoice in the Lord and be glad,

     all you who obey him!
    

Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!

We were learning to follow God’s lead and to patiently wait for what he had in store for us. He was guiding us along the best pathway, and many times, we saw that in waiting for His timing, a much better option would become available. Whenever we would rush the process, we would be unhappy with the choice, or wish a different decision had been made. But when we waited, we were able to ‘Rejoice!’ for it was the right, lasting choice for Cayden.

These many sitting options were just the beginning of our journey with chairs. By the time Cayden was about 3, we realized that a wheelchair would be the safest most comfortable place for Cayden to sit. But that is a story for another day…

Shira

4th birthday

Cayden in his hi-lo Chair with differenct chest supports & head rest. It was almost too small by the time he was 4.

 

 

The Boulder… or is it Barbed Wire?

So I’ve been quiet lately on the blog. I know its not new, I haven’t really gotten in the groove of finding a good time during my week to write, or to exercise, or to have alone time with God.

WorryIt seems I haven’t really gotten into a groove on anything yet in this homeschooling world.

I’m feeling a little defeated here lately. Well, more than a little.

To be quite honest, I’m feeling crushed in more ways than one.

My feelings are hurt, my heart hurts, my soul hurts.

I know that homeschooling is the correct path for our family. I know that without a doubt. I didn’t ask or expect that it be easy, that was never part of the deal. But I didn’t expect it to be so soul crushing, so often.

D told me today, that he just wasn’t one of those kids who do school. HUH? I didn’t (and don’t) know how to react to that. I have always been the kind of person who loves learning, reading, and trying new skills. Why my kids wouldn’t feel the same confuses and baffles me.

But although the sentiment baffled me, it didn’t surprise me. We have been struggling to do any school type things. He doesn’t want to do worksheets. He doesn’t want to write. He doesn’t want to put the work in to learn how to read.

It’s been frustrating because he is so smart that he can (and does) learn so easily, but to hear this from Devin, hurts my heart. It tells me that what I am doing with him for school isn’t right.

I feel like I have been pouring my time out into planning, researching, scheduling, etc. and nothing seems to really be working. All my kids want to do is play: dolls, house, kitchen, games. You name it, they’ll play it! But they won’t play those things if it’s school, if it’s planned or scripted. I just can’t seem to find the special motivating words to get them to do their actual work.

I’m on the who-knows-how-many schedule revision and hope it will work, that is, if I can get anyone else to pay attention to it. I plan and plan and plan and still, 3 days into the week we are so far behind it frustrates me so much!

Why?!!! What am I doing wrong? I know I want this process to be fun. I want it to be more than sitting at a desk all day. I want it to be learning as we go and on the go. But getting to that, to where I am ok with that, to where I can find a program that jives with that, is very frustrating and heart wrenching and soul crushing.

Perhaps (certainly actually) it is the work of the enemy, trying again to get me to waste time and be frustrated, so I give in, so I quit altogether. He attacks what is good and right. So I guess I should be flattered with the attack.

But it’s hard to keep waging that war day in day out.

Today in my not-often-enough prayer time, I found this passage that spoke loudly to me.

Isaiah 8:11

God spoke strongly to me, grabbed me with both hands and warned me not to go along with the people. He said:

 “Don’t be like this people

     always afraid somebody is plotting against them.

Don’t fear what they fear.

     Don’t take on their worries.

If you’re going to worry,

     worry about The Holy. Fear God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

The Holy can be either a Hiding Place

     or a Boulder blocking your way.

The Rock standing in the willful way

     of both houses of Israel.

A barbed-wire Fence preventing trespass

     to the citizens of Jerusalem.

Many of them are going to run into that Rock

     and get their bones broken,

Get tangled up in that barbed wire

     and not get free of it.”

Boulder ReedyCreek 13Wow.

Maybe that doesn’t speak strongly to you, but when it began and immediately ‘God spoke strongly,’  I sat up and listened.

I think my need for a set curriculum and a checklist is my boulder standing in the way of our success. It is the barbed wire that I am tangled up in; it is breaking my spirit if not my bones.

I need (and my kids need) routine. We also need a bit of freedom. We really need freedom within the routine, to play, to be free, to be kids. And I need the freedom from the checklist of what schoolwork still needs to be done today.

The Rock of the Curriculum Giant, is firmly in the middle of our path. It is blocking the way of our school success, and I suppose I need to move it aside. It is hard for me to even admit that I need to set it aside. That it isn’t working, but it’s not.

It’s hurting our relationships. It’s hurting our friendships. Its hurting our daily lives. It’s damaging our family.

But is the need to set it aside, just a smoke screen for Satan to get his hands on my planning mind again? To get me to once again, start over with the plan? To waste more time on trying to figure it out?

I don’t know the answer… I don’t know the next step. But I trust in Him and His plan for our family, I just need to find it!

Wait with me and see how I can free myself (with God’s help) from this particular barbed wire so we can continue down God’s Path.

Shira