Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I thought I was just being lazy...

I happened upon this article this morning that speaks of the growing trend to skip over the phase of feeding your baby a bunch of pureed baby food and start them on soft cooked solid food that they can pick up with their fingers and self-feed. Huh! That's what I have done for most of my kids, especially my little Samuel who is just approaching his first birthday. Now, I have to admit that I stick a plate of something soft that he can pick up in front of him because I am busy serving and tending to the rest of the family and I really like to be able to sit down and eat at some point as well. With several little ones, that can be a challenge. So, if I can get my little guy to feed himself, my life is much easier. I've been feeling a bit guilty about this. Now, that many experts are saying that this may be a good idea, I guess I can let go of my guilt, huh?

I think what is really going on here is that God has designed us from birth on to thrive in the most efficient manor. Kinda cool!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Story of a little girl and God's tender care...

This is my spunky little girl, Rachel. She is strong-willed and can be quite a stubborn thing, but then again, she can be quite a cutie, too, when she wants to be. My story is about her.

About 5 months ago, my little girl got a runny nose. It was clear and not bad. I didn't think too much about it. After several weeks it was no longer clear, but a dark tan, and her upper lip and outer nose had become red and irritated from the constant drip. You can see this a bit here in this photo. In addition, her little nose on the right side was so red and irritated on the inside. It even looked almost bloody and if it got bumped she would usually get a bloody nose and have a screaming fit. I also noticed that no matter how much we brushed her teeth, she had this nasty, rank breath.

So, I figured that she must have some wicked sinus infection and took her to see our family doctor. He agreed and prescribed an antibiotic. Rachel took it for 10 days and seemed all better. But within a day or two after the medicine was gone, the nasty nose started to come back. It wasn't long before it was just as bad as it was before. By this time, we were in the midst of the holiday season with Thanksgiving and preparing for Christmas, so I didn't get her back into the doctor right away. I guess, in my mind, I kept thinking this would clear up.

A couple weeks before Christmas I took Rachel back to see the doctor. He deduced that since the previous round of antibiotics seemed to clear things up, she probably just needed to be on them longer. So, he prescribed 3 weeks worth which we diligently administered. Rachel improved, but never got 100% better and as soon as she was done with the antibiotics, everything came right back.

Now, I was getting a bit more concerned. This had gone on for a very long time. I decided to take her to see an ear-nose-throat specialist. The day before her appointment, I was at my bible study with my good friends. I asked if we could pray for Rachel and her upcoming appointment. My friend, Kim, led the prayer and specifically prayed for God to give this doctor wisdom to know how to help Rachel.

So, we go to this new doctor, filling out all the necessary paperwork. I must have been asked 3 times if Rachel had had a CT scan done on her nose. I told them no, but concerned with what we were in for in trying to figure out this problem. The doctor came into the examining room, took one look at Rachel and clarified that all of her problems appeared to be just on the right side and said, "I think she probably has something up there." I was surprised at this thought, but she went on to explain that from her experience, when symptoms like this are just on one side, something is in the nose. She shined her light up there and said, "Yep, I am pretty sure there is something up there." She grabbed a long skinny pair of tweezers and immediately pulled out this huge, nasty, matted wad of something out of Rachel's nose. My jaw must have hit the floor. She placed it in her gloved hand to show me. It was about an inch and a half long and a half inch wide. She asked me if I recognized it. It looked like the polyester batting that I use to make stuffed creatures and dolls. I had been in the middle of sewing several stuffed projects about the time that Rachel's symptoms began. I was shocked! The doctor said she should clear right up now that that was out. I could not believe how quick and easy that was.

Later, after I had shared this with friends, my friend Chris said, "I guess our prayers were answered." That is when it hit me. That is exactly what happened. We prayed for the doctor to have wisdom and that is exactly what happened. God had directed us to the right doctor who had just the right experiences to know what was wrong and to take care of it easily. The doctor had the wisdom she needed. What a great God we serve!

Later, I asked Rachel if she remembered putting that stuffing up her nose. She simply nodded "yes." [Sigh] Unfortunately she is not a very good communicator and I never dreamed of asking her if she had stuffed something up her nose. She now appears to be on the mend. I can only imagine how much better she must feel!

So, that's my story about a little girl and a very big God who tenderly cares.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

In my blog surfing this morning, I stumbled upon a post with this video about serving God. I am listening to this thinking , Yes! I agree. I seek God each morning for his guidance as to how to
serve Him each day. I want my actions to be guided by Him.

But then I hear this:
"It is hard to know when we have done enough for the Atonement to change our natures and so qualify us for eternal life. And we don't know how many days we will have to give the service necessary for that mighty change to come."

That's when the red flag went up for me. For the bible says,
"No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are." (Acts 15:11)
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved." (Ephesians 2:4-5)
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
"But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace." (2 Timothy 1:8-9)

The Mormons do amazing works, but it saddens me to know that many serve God merely to buy a ticket to heaven. Everyone already has their ticket bought and paid for. Christ paid for it by sacrificing Himself on the cross. All we need to do is accept it:
"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)

Serve God! Yes! But do it with the right motivation. Do it out of overwhelming love and awe for Him has already given you new life.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bored is a choice.

"Being bored is a choice."
I can't even count how many times I have said this to my children in response to the "I'm bored." or "That's boring." comments that I hear on a regular basis from those residing in my household. They don't believe me or agree. In the minds of my children, boredom is a state that is forced upon them by external circumstances such as being forced to run errands or not being able to use screens (TV, computer, video games, etc.) I think that's baloney! Bored is a state of mind. It is something we choose. Even in the least stimulating of situations, our minds can take us anywhere we want. Often I hear my children utter the "I'm bored." statement in the midst of all kinds of activity. This tells me that they have their minds fixed on doing something else at that moment, therefore anything else, no matter how exciting, will be relegated to "boring" status.

This morning I stumbled upon an article that agrees with me titled, "It's Good to Be Bored." In it, the statement is made, "If you're bored, it's you're own fault...Boredom is our own responsibility because there is always something we can ponder, imagine, laugh at or pray about." The article goes on to say that Boredom is a blessing because it allows us to "Be still and know that I am God." as the bible entreats us to do(Psalm 46:10)

So, we should periodically turn off the screens and the noise and retreat from people and just allow ourselves to become just plain "bored" so that we can hear God's voice and be refreshed and rejuvenated. My daily life is filled with much chaos in our household of 8, and I find that if I don't wake up before my family and have some quiet time to be still, I can go crazy. This is when I find God and myself along the way.

It's not always easy to find some time to get away from all the activity, so I guess we should consider it a blessing when we find ourselves bored with the activity surrounding us and detach enough to have a moment to ponder and pray.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Laundry Woes

I have a lot of areas that I am weak in. Laundry is definitely one of them. I have really improved through the years, but during that time our family keeps growing so the net results don't look much better. I have tons of laundry around. There's the ever present dirty stuff as well as a big messy pile of clean stuff that needs to be sorted and put away before it permanently looks wadded up.

Really, I think it is this putting away of the laundry that really does me in. I hate when you have a pile that has items that literally need to get put away in six different locations. It actually makes me crazy and robs a bit of my sanity. So, my solution to this is that each family member has their own laundry basket and I wash all of their clothes at once and then they get put back into their basket and then put away. This does work pretty well, especially if I keep up on it. The problem is that I don't always. Then I have laundry baskets of clean laundry sitting in the kids' rooms and they are throwing their dirty stuff on the floor of their closet where it all gets mixed up together. Then I end up washing loads of mixed up clothes which, in turn, get piled up in my laundry room because I hate to sort them to put them away. That is where we are now. My laundry room is literally a black hole of (mostly) clean laundry.

This terrible laundry state has driven me to think about a new way to tackle laundry. I truly have no idea if this will work for us, but it should solve some of my problems. I am thinking about moving everyone's individualized laundry baskets into the laundry room so that clothes can be sorted right as they come out of the dryer into them. Then each child (perhaps with an older helper) would be responsible for putting away their own clothes. Also each person would take their dirty clothes to the laundry room to be sorted and washed instead of piling up in their closets.

I am thinking that I may try this with just the little ones and see how it goes. My older girls do their own laundry for the most part, so I don't want to mess with that. We'll see how it goes and I'll report back.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Am I doing enough?

Am I doing enough? I am I teaching my children all that they need? Am I missing something? I think this is the mantra of many homeschooling moms. I know these are questions that I continually wrestle with. These are things that I struggle with often - things that drive me to my knees in prayer. Lately, my knees are feeling battered and bruised again as I grapple with these thoughts. After 11 years of homeschooling, you would think that I have this all figured out. At least *I* thought I would by now. But circumstances change, the kids change and mature, and what works for one does NOT necessarily work for the others. So, I am constantly reevaluating what we are doing; keeping what works, and trying something new for what doesn't.

Last night I was woken by an icky dream and was unable to get back to sleep. As I lay awake, my mind went to the recent news story about two local homeschooling moms who were charged with educational neglect and could even face jail time because the authorities said they didn't adequately teach their children or keep proper records. Shivers go down my spine when I hear this and once again, those questions haunt me. Am I doing enough? Am I teaching the right things? Are my children lacking something?

So, I sit here and question what we are doing and our approach to education. I am not a big fan of boxed curriculum. I went to public school and spent plenty of years in textbooks and felt that my education was lacking. Most of what I studied did not stick with me. Because of this attitude, we are rather eclectic with what we do, using real life and real books. I try to spark interest in a subject instead of merely cramming it down my children's throats. When someone has a desire to learn something or a need to know it, they will learn it quickly and well. My ultimate goal is to give my children strong foundations for learning. I want them to learn HOW to learn independently. They should not need someone to spoon feed them information. They need to know how to research it, and learn out of there own motivation and will.

With all that being said, I feel that there still may be weak areas in my children's education. Sometimes I think it may be easier to just buy a boxed curriculum and merely make sure they do it. At least by the world's standards, they would have a complete, well-rounded education. It certainly would make my record keeping easier, especially as the number of students I am teaching increases. However, there is something deep down nagging inside of me that says that there would be SO MUCH more that would be missing out while their heads were buried in boring textbooks. I fear that their love and desire for learning would be squelched.

So I wrestle...
I fall to my knees in prayer...
I ask the All-Knowing One for Wisdom...
I know I will not find the answers or my questions within myself or in this world. So in the quiet, I seek Him, and I listen for answers, for I know that eventually they will come.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

These are evil, but you must make them...

I made some of these babies on New Year's Eve. I had seen them on The Pioneer Woman's blog and then I got her cookbook for Christmas and they were in there, too, wooing me to make them. So, I did. YUM! I removed all the seeds and membrane from the jalapenos so there were barely spicy. The cream cheese cooled them sufficiently. Then, these are wrapped in bacon. Isn't everything better when it is wrapped in bacon? Well, there may be a few exceptions to this... but at the moment they all escape me.
Well, I made a bunch and had leftovers. I discovered them to still be pretty good reheated in the microwave. I put them on a paper towel to absorb any excess bacon grease and although not near as good as the fresh-out-of-the-oven version, they were still quite yummy.
Here's the evil part, though. This morning I was quietly minding my own business when I got this incredible craving in mouth for one of these babies cold right out of the refrigerator. I swear that I could here them calling me - tempting me.........................................yes, they are pretty delightfully tasty ice cold, too. Evil, I tell you! But you gotta try them!