Sunday, May 31, 2009

Steep path

Excerpt taken from Home Sweet Home-school by Sue Maakestad in regards to going against modern culture:
There is one catch: You have to be willing to take the tomatoes to the face that come with sticking your head above the crowd. The natural reaction to such an onslaught is to bolt and run or duck down and fit in. In the army of God, neither is acceptable.

Within the last few weeks I have been questioning the way we operate as a family as well as how other families operate within their own. Questioning where we are headed and what we have been through and wondering why we seem so out of the norm. And is this the climate that I want for my kids? Is this what we intended to do as parents? Why do we seem like the only ones rearing our kids the way we do? It has been a soul searching time coupled with the fact that we are still church shopping and you can see one dozy of a mental breakdown on the way.
I have in no way come to any conclusions but I am beginning to be hopeful. This path we have chosen is hard...and lonely. We have been criticized on many fronts and I think I was starting to wonder if they were right. Remarks made on why we homeschool, why we follow a budget, why do we keep our kids with us in church, why do we not have sugary snacks around the house, why are we so conservative when it comes to public policies, why, why why? We have been called bigots, racists, simpletons, crazy, weirdos, radical extremists and much more. To tell you the truth, I have wanted to put our house in lock down and come out when the food supply is desegregated.
This path my husband and I feel called to is so hard! It is lonely and steep. And then I read of beautiful hope.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His right hand. I have been young and I have been old. Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging for bread. - Psalm 37:23-25
There is so much more to write but I am still processing all these things. I am beginning to understand that this life led by convictions may be tiresome in these days on earth but if I can just hold on to that which I know, (and to the person that I know), I will enjoy seeing the bigger picture for eternity.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rock Sculpture

We were on the 405 freeway when we saw a truck hauling a large rock. I thought it would be a good teachable moment so I pointed out the rocks to the kids and was talking to them about the artist, Michaelangelo. When he saw a large chunk of marble or rock, he would also envision the "artistic piece" inside the mass. And then he would carve out what he envisioned. He viewed his work as simply letting free what was already there. So I asked the kids what they saw within the rock if they were the sculptor.

Josiah saw a dragon.
Naomi saw a cheetah.
Aunt Amanda saw a four-headed dog.
I saw a bald eagle with his wings partially spread open.
And with great anticipation the kids asked Daddy what he saw. Without missing a beat, Dustin replied, "I see a smaller rock."

Friday, May 22, 2009

So High

We have had quite the lovely week. I have been savoring it all morning. The house is decent, the kids have been enjoying their studies and my husband is still my stud. I never imagined my life as a homemaker nor did I ever think I could homeschool. And quite frankly, I cannot believe how much my husband enthralls me. It is not the life I was trying to attain. I am so grateful that God did not answer my requests for the life I had desired. Unbelievably grateful for a God who gives us what is best for us.

Contentment is the key word for the week. Not because life is going well but because of how God has shown Himself to me this week. I have rediscovered how puny I am in light of an awesome and holy God. At first it was frightening and then it was humbling and now I am just in awe that the One who calls each star by name, also knows the number of hairs on my head. The one that stores the rain, also knows my name. The One that looks throughout the whole earth, enjoys my feeble attempts at worship and He wants to know ME! What an amazing God we have. It is beyond words. I think it is best summarized by the song, "So High."


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sacred Hour Project

*We began this experiment on Monday, May 18, 2009*

My new little project for our family is designating a Sacred Hour in which we go to our rooms and have the option of read, sleep, pray or think. It is designed to start to train the kids and myself to truly learn the discipline of being still before the Lord. Feet are not allowed to touch the floor. No computer time or TV time. No getting chores done. Just sitting still.

So far I have been able to read and contemplate the ideas in the book, "Crazy Love," by Francis Chan. (And I have fallen asleep for a power nap.) The ideas in this book are so foreign to me that I can only read a section at a time. To truly understand or grasp God's true self is unattainable but I think the effort to grab even a finite concept in my head is worth the struggles. Because if I view my God as BIG and ABLE, then the way I worship, the way I pray, the way I give, is drastically changed. I cannot even put into words what I am trying to understand. This search is changing me. It is changing the way I view everything and yet it is so mind boggling that I cannot comprehend it or put it into words. For me, the Sacred Hour Project has been very beneficial.

Josiah has had the worst time with this concept because he cannot play with his toys. One of the rules is that feet do not touch the floor. So he hates this new idea but isn't that how we all feel sometimes. The idea of sitting by ourselves is scary! And yet it is a discipline that will serve him for a lifetime so I will not be foregoing this any time soon.

Naomi thoroughly enjoys her time. She grabs an armful of books and sits on her bed and reads for the entire time and is not interrupted by silly brother or a questioning I am getting a ton of missionary biographies for her to peruse. ;)

I have become, one of those

I have recently overhauled our food consumption and realized that I have become one of those houses that I hated going to when I was little. The kind that didn't have fun snacks like Twinkies nor chocolate bars or fruit snacks. The kind that had fresh fruits, nuts, granola or yogurt. There was nothing to eat at those places!

Josiah had two friends over this afternoon and we had peanut butter sandwiches and fruit for lunch. The boys wanted honey in the sandwiches and did not like the mango juice we served so they settled for water. After some hard playing, the troops came by for a snack and wondered if I had any chocolate dipped marshmallows. There were a few other suggestions like ice cream and chocolate strawberries of which I did not have. So once again they settled for fruit smoothies but were dismayed when I didn't have any whipped cream. It dawned on me that my overhaul has been quite successful. My children pointed out plenty of things to eat and were so excited with the smoothies. Although I would have hated living in a house like mine when I was young, I am so glad that we have smoothly transitioned to a more healthier lifestyle but perhaps I can keep a stash of fruit snacks for those who aren't used to such living.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hot Earth

The kids spent the earlier part of the week at my mom's house in Imperial, CA which is at the very southern tip of California. They are literally 15 minutes away from the Mexico border. It is a very dry, hot place with red clay for dirt. I don't know how they handle life in the desert but they do. One particularly hot day Josiah said came inside the house and said to my mom, " Lita, you have to find a new earth to live on. This one is too hot." :)

Church Shopping

Perhaps it is because we have been visiting churches for the last couple of months but we have found this process quite wearing on ourselves and our kids. Churches have many different ways that they try to "entice" a person to return. It may be in the form of a basket or card or phone call. It could be a small gift like a book or coffee mug and maybe even candy for the kids. This Sunday we visited another church and halfway during the service, Naomi looked up at me and asked, "Does this church give out candy?" And I realized, we have a problem if we are visiting churches and the kids are expecting goodies.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Empty house

We have had the craziest three days. While our kids have enjoyed grandma time, we have taken up carpet in three major rooms, removed all the furniture, painted each room (some several times) and reorganized, weeded through old toys and replaced furniture into the room (moved some pieces several times) and found a place for everything and put everything in its place.

Although it has been nice to perge our house of unnecessary items, I found that life without kids around is really not that fun. I haven't laughed hard for three whole days. I haven't had anyone to share the wonder of finding 8 caterpillars on the house nor the excitement to see that they are now in thier chrysalis. No wet kisses or sticky hugs. No explanations on profound subjects like why did Mary's lamb follow her and be disobedient and will the lamb get a paddle when it gets home. No children's music and silly dance-a-thons. No snack or recess. In fact, I think Dustin and I have barely eaten with out the kids here because there isn't a rush to feed anyone. It has been nice to get the house looking more like I want it to but I cannot wait until my monkeys get home. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Double Celebration

I usually hate it when my birthday falls on Mother's Day because it seems like one or the other gets lost in all the "expected" fanfare. I don't have to worry about it too much since it only happens every 7 years I think. But this year, my family truly out did themselves. They surprised me with cake and presents on the 9th for my birthday. The kids picked a beautiful necklace for me and Dustin got me a GPS system so I don't have to worry about getting lost on anymore field trips. My parents got me a modest bathing suit which I am pretty pleased with and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Best of all, my mom took all four generations to hear a lovely speaker at the local Baptist church. This was a huge sacrifice for her as she usually does not like to go such events. But she was thinking of me and what I like. It was wonderful and really nice to be with the whole family.

The next morning we enjoyed a nice breakfast together and I received a shocking gift. My mom had her original engagement ring re-sized to fit me. It is a beautiful solitaire set in gold petals. I have secretly longed to inherit this ring. My parents were poor growing up and had planned to get married without an engagement ring but my dad surprised her and bought her one a month or so before the wedding. At the time that he had gotten the ring it cost $300 which was alot of money in 1972 for an unemployed man just out of the Army. So my dad scrimped and saved and did odd jobs so he could buy the ring. As I sat there staring at the ring I wondered what it was like for my mom at the age of 21 years old to sit and stare at her new ring and dream of what her future would hold. Needless to say I cried, my mom cried and my dad sat there with a silly grin watching the both of us fawn over this special moment.

The kids took one of my favorite pictures of them and framed it....can't wait to place on my dresser. I truly felt honored and cherished and treasured this weekend.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


My dad recently went to Texas for some homeland security training. When I mentioned to josiah that Grandpa was on his way to Texas, Josiah became aggitated and began rather loudly saying, "Texas?! Texas?! He can't go there. You need to tell him not to go there!" I asked him why and he said, "Because that is where they take all your money! Then he will have no money. We have to help him." I replied that I didn't know what his was talking about and tried to reassure him that Grandpa's money is safe when I realized that he was saying Taxes and we were saying Texas!

Maybe I need to lay of the talk radio?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I am feeling a bit dejected today. Most you know that I am prone to drama and feel quite deeply so when I hear that our current administration has canceled the national day of prayer events, Maine has accepted gay marriage and that a childhood friend of mine that is married with kids is now a homosexual....I hurt. This blog is becoming more like therapy than anything else.

I am so saddened by the state of affairs in our country right now. I know God is on his throne. I know that we are still on His timetable. It reminds me of when we read through "The Last Battle" which is the final installment of the Chronicles of Narnia series. There is such hopelessness as Shift (the ape) has convinced Puzzle (the donkey) to wear a lion's skin and pretend to be Aslan. Shift then begins to destroy and waste the land and inhabitants of Narnia. And the people blindly go with the destruction not knowing of the impostor but not choosing to do that which is right. I was screaming at the book, "Why? Why are you so blind? Stop this nonsense. He is obviously not Aslan." I was so sick by the tragedies that befell the Narnian creatures that I didn't think I could get through the book. But then, hope flickers as Scrub and Poll arrive and free King Rillian. Then the enemy of Aslan, Tash, arrives and the stage is set for the last battle for Narnia....

Now I am not saying we are in the last battle but I feel like we are at the beginning stages of much tragedy as our society becomes more and more anti-family, anti-God, anti-freedom of speech, anti-common sense and basically have lost logical reasoning. I am just trying to keep my focus on my role during this time and the end of the story where Jesus is triumphant and we are taken to be with Him forever.

The best movies and books are the ones that take you through great tragedy and into great victory...such is the story of our world. But during this time of setting the stage, I have been most disheartened today.

Monday, May 4, 2009

On The Meds Again...

My drug holiday is over and I am back on the medication to "control" my Multiple Sclerosis. It already has been no fun. I went off the meds back in January because it was causing side effects like depression and insomnia and fatigue. At first, the answer from the Doctors was to prescribe more medication to alleviate the side effects. Thus began the Prozac (depression), Provigil (fatigue) and Ambien (insomnia) routine. And then one day I woke up and said enough. So I went off of everything cold turkey and have felt great!

So why am I back on the Copaxone? Apparently studies show that the Copaxone defers the damages cause by MS by 30-40%. And to better my chances with Social Security, it is best that I am being proactive about the whole they say. The other available drugs damaged my liver so there is no going back to them. The new oral drug has not yet been approved but hopefully the CDC will clear it within another 6 months. (Hopefully)

The question that remains is whether or not the side effects will come back. Today is Day 3. I am feeling a bit anxious and emotional and fatigued but I am not sure if it is the drugs or just being a woman? The only silver lining is that I met a really nice couple at Groups (my homeschool co-op) and they prayed over me with laying of hands and encouraged me by promising to research alternative medicine that may help me without all the side effects. Until then, I will have to wait and see what happens before I can choose to go off of the meds entirely and trust our known God to this unknown future.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

World of blogging

It is so nice to catch up on what other families are writing. It verifies that I have some really neat friends. From the Hesters to the Kerrs and the Marshalls and the Harrellls (Jr.) and everyone in between, I so admire the way you all live life and display grace and love not only within your own walls but in the world. Just wanted to share some love with you all. I am so glad God has put you in my life. :)