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Thursday, December 4, 2014

That night...I remember.



I have often joked that I have the memory of a fish, a memory spanning approximately three seconds. Chalk it up to not enough sleep perhaps…or just lack of really cataloging some memories. Whatever the case, remembering details is not one of my gifts. But, there is one night that not only I remember, I can’t get it out of my mind. Every time I close my eyes, that night is relived over and over…

It was October 30, 2014; our family was visiting at my parents’ house after a night of Trick or Treating. It was time to leave for home, for it was getting late, but I was trying to find ways to prolong the visit. I could tell my Dad was not feeling well, and after getting the news from the previous day of his pacemaker not working, I was hesitant to leave him. When I could lengthen the visit no longer, I went to hug my Dad goodbye. Grace had given him a tootsie pop minutes before, and he was sitting in the dining room chair savoring it. I leaned over to hug and kiss him, and could tell he was having a hard time getting enough air. I told him that I would like to take him to the ER to make sure he was OK, and continued to tell him how much I loved him and he was the only Dad I had; we needed to take care of him. I noticed the Tootsie Pop start swirling around before I noticed his face…something was definitely wrong. At first I just thought he was emotional from me telling him how much I loved him…then he fell over in the chair and that Tootsie Pop hit the floor. No one else in the room noticed…they were saying their goodbyes for the night and gathering up their candy. I started screaming out to the Lord for help…I was pretty sure I’d just lost my Dad. Mom came and held Dad while I called 911. That was the longest 11 minutes of my life. I remember feeling the huge relief of seeing the ambulance, then the frustration when they pulled into the wrong driveway. After Mike ran down the road to flag them down, there was a sense of relief, feeling that help was there, only to find out they brought the wrong kind of truck and didn't have a defibrillator with them. Mom was told she wouldn't be allowed to ride with them, so Mom and I jumped in my Jeep and followed extremely close…

I remember seeing them defibrillate Dad, (after meeting another truck to get the device), through the little glass window of the ambulance, from my Jeep...

I remember having to make the calls to family while speeding down the highway...

I remember the looks on the medical worker’s faces, looks that did not show hope...

I remember the long wait we had until a doctor finally came to see Dad...

I remember my brother driving all night from Illinois, and my Aunt from Tennessee, to make it in to see Dad...

I remember the cold floor…

I remember the family, friends, Dad’s employees, Pastors, and elders coming to pray with us…

I remember thinking how nice it would be if we always showed people how much we cared for them…not just in their last moments…

I remember the moment Cleveland Clinic staff arrived to prepare him for his jet ride to their clinic…

I remember the words, “We can’t make any promises, but we’ll give him a fighting chance!” Thank you Cleveland Clinic, we love you!...

I remember almost losing him twice at the Clinic, where Mom and I were chauffeured rather abruptly out of his room…sitting in the hallway, only being able to see a foot below the curtain, but straining our ears to hear everything that was going on...

I remember feeding him Jell-O, all the while trying not to cry…

I remember my Mom singing to him, rubbing his back, and trying to be strong...

I remember friends who watched my children so I could stay with Mom and Dad…

I remember God’s presence, goodness, and mercy…

I remember the nurse telling Mom on the day of his release to go home, "We really didn't think he would get to leave"...

I remember that sometimes God reminds us that he can do anything...

I remember answered prayers…

Dad had a 17 day hospital stay. He has overcome so many obstacles. I think it is easy in this day and age to not notice miracles as much, because of modern medicine…but I am here to tell you, that Dad’s life is a miracle. There were so many things that went wrong with his care…things that easily could have had a different outcome. But, the Lord heard our cries and had mercy on us. He still has many health issues, but we are so thankful for his life, his story, and the Lord’s protection.


Today, I remember to be thankful!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Planning the school year...one week at a time!

School time already? The older my children get, the shorter the summers seem. This is the first school year that we have not followed the public school calendar, for that very reason. I get it. There are so many reasons to start school early, but there’s also a few reasons to not, like: beautiful weather, last of the season swimming, yearly burnout in October (is this just me?) nature hikes, play-dates, forgot to order your youngest daughter’s books, (just me again?), so, I felt pretty confident in standing my ground of starting school the day after Labor Day, like we used to when I was a kid. Did I say confident? That was  before everyone starting posting home-school pictures on face book of their children’s rather full school days, wearing matching clothes, and having bows in their hair; While mine were outside ‘loafing’ around, chasing butterflies and charting the process of a frog’s life cycle. Bows in their hair? I would just settle for a hair brushing some days! I quit looking on Facebook. Who needs that pressure? ;-) The butterfly and tadpole season is so short…Let’s hope the whole hair thing is, too!

I wanted to share a blog post that I am finding to be most helpful in my organization of our upcoming school year. I kind of giggled when I typed that. You want to get a Mom to read your blog? You write about organizing. We’re just drawn to it. I can sit and read articles and posts about organizing all morning…and then of course not have time to implement it for all that time spent reading. ;-)  

We have added a few things to our schedule that have left me fearing we won’t be able to complete the things we need to in a day. That’s where a plan that is simple enough for the kids to understand comes in handy. I won’t go into detail about the schedule, I’ll just share the link, but the jest of it is each child has their own binder with 6 dividers in it. One for each day of the week, and one for completed work. Every weekend I will print out any handouts that each child has for the week and put it in the appropriate day’s divider. I’ll also write out their schedule of what book they are supposed to work on and the page numbers I expect to be completed that day. This will free me up in the morning to get my chores completed while they are working alone on the things they don’t need help on. Do you have younger children that can’t work independently yet? Don’t fret! This day comes before you know it, but in the meantime maybe you could put together a little plastic shoe box for each day of the week. Stick a coloring paper, picture book from the library, puzzle, and play dough…anything that can buy you a little bit of breathing space to tackle a few chores in the morning. Just make sure you only let them have those boxes on the days given and for short period of times. That way they don’t get burnt out on them and actually look forward to their ‘box time’.  Oh yeah, before I forget here’s the linkhttp://ourjourneywestward.com/weekly-lesson-notebooks/. She also has some pretty neat printables to help with your scheduling.

As you start your school year, be reminded that your teacher’s guide, planning calendars, schedules, etc. are there to be a tool to help you. Don’t become a slave to them. Not everything has to be marked off every day. That’s the beauty of weekly planning;  you can just roll them over to the next week. I quite often over plan a school day. That’s a surefire way of zapping any fun out of learning. Your kids need to have enough margin in their day to really digest what they just studied. Don’t just scoot them on to the next lesson before they have really comprehended that current one.

As helpful as planning can be, don’t forget the joy of spontaneity. Kids love that unexpected outing…so do I!  And no, you can’t plan a ‘spontaneous’ picnic 2 weeks in advance. ;-)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Summer is...

Summer is... pretty girls in dresses,
 Water fun,
And hiking,
Summer is... gardening,
And porch sitting.
Summer is...archery practice,
trampolines, Popsicles, and friends!
Summer is...cooking classes,
Pine derby races,
And bowling.
Summer is...butterflies, worms, tadpoles, and toads.
Summer...is parking lot fishing,
Too much sun, and not enough slushies.
Summer is...backyard swimming,
And 'dog fishing'. ;-)
Summer...is rivers,
Sand,
And exploring God's marvelous creation.
Summer...is happy lawnmowers,
Kitty love,
And getting lost somewhere in Kentucky, but finding a great wishing well! Seriously, people should get lost more! It's fun!
Summer is...workshops, (learning to grow mushrooms),
Hanging out with friends,
And kitchen windows filled with bounties from the garden.
Summer is...almost over! :-(
Hope you all have had a wonderful summer.





















Thursday, April 3, 2014

Getting to the heart of the matter...one lunch at a time!




  It was the room that time forgot. Drafty in winter and dusty in summer. It was cozy enough with a soft brown couch and a refinished trunk full of board games that rarely ever got played…yet it was an extra room that really didn’t have a purpose…until now.

  One on one time is scarce in a home-school family. We have chosen the lifestyle of experiencing things together as a group. We school, play sports, bake, and thrift store shop, take field trips, craft, and even work and do chores together. As awesome as that is, it leads very little time to just be with one child…alone…chatting about what is going on in their lives/hearts.

  The Lord has really laid it on my heart lately to treasure my kids. To let them know how important they are to me, and that they are not an inconvenience. There are many ways to go about this, but for my girls it is most definitely shown the most in listening. They want to tell me about every book they read. They want to chat about a movie, friends, favorite things, dreams, goals, and all those things that go along with growing up. Try as I might, I can’t always find the time to just stop what I’m doing, sit down, and listen. Oh I’ve tried, but with three sweet girls who have been given the gift of gab, I’m sure I would never get anything done.

  So, once a week, that cozy little forgotten room, will have a much valued purpose. It will serve as a mother/daughter lunch date. I will get to pray with and for my daughter…alone. Those rarely used board games will be pulled out. A simple lunch served on our best dishes (you know, the ones that aren’t plastic), along with some sort of liquid served in tea cups, will be enjoyed together. My phone will not enter this room with us, and the other two girls will be instructed to respect this time…for they will want it respected when it’s their turn. We’ll giggle, read a book together, play games, and chat.

  Why so spread out and only have one date a week? I want this time to be intentional. I want it to be a time we look forward to, instead of it becoming just another thing on the calendar. Sometimes less really is more…

  What a blessing this time has been for my girls and me. Out of all the things that I do for my girls, this will probably be one they remember the most. They can’t wait until it’s their turn. They save up things they want to talk about or questions they want to ask..and it’s so simple. Doesn’t cost a thing…but is worth so much.

  Getting to know your children’s hearts takes time…time well spent!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Things they never tell you when you get glasses...but probably should!


When I promised my Sweet Man I would grow old with him, I didn't think it would happen so fast!

I made us both an eye appointment...you know...because it was February and there just wasn't anything exciting going on. ;-) Totally expected to be told that our vision was great and they would see us back in a few years. Didn't happen. What did happen was a lot of explaining things in rather large words that boiled down to, "As we age our eyes might need a little assistance". I should add that our eye doctor was very careful when he dropped this bomb on me... Apparently we both were in need of some spectacles. Ok. That's cool. Something to accessorize my outfit with. As you can tell I have never needed glasses before, and didn't grasp what a pain this was going to be!

"It might take a little while to adjust they said". That was a little bit of an understatement for sure! It didn't help that the day my glasses came in, I was dealing with a sinus and inner ear infection from...well...you know...somewhere unpleasant! Adjusting? Is that what it's called? Running into things, tripping over junk on the floor because you somehow feel like you're not really a part of your surroundings anymore, dizziness, and nauseousness...this feels a little bit more than 'adjusting'. If this facial bling wasn't so expensive, I'm pretty sure I would toss them out the window for the dog to chew on!

I don't know why, but perhaps it's because the only experience I have had with any type of glasses are the over-sized sun-glassy type, but I somehow feel like no-one can see my eyes when I have them on. Like, I almost didn't do my eye makeup the other day since no-one would be able to see them through these crystal clear lenses. Weird. I know.

And at the end of the day when I take them off I feel like I have accomplished something huge. I kept those things on for at least 2 hours today!...and then I get bummed realizing I am supposed to wear them again tomorrow. :-o





A succesful day?





What does it take for you to consider your day a success? Have you ever really thought about that? I came across a cute little picture on Face Book not too long ago, that made me chuckle just a bit...
 
Perhaps this was so funny to me because I know for a fact that there have been days that I put away ‘clean’ laundry, that smelled worse than it did the day it was put into the hamper.  

When I get the end of the day, I often reflect back on the events, and try to judge if it was a success or not. Did we get all of our school work done? Did I make gourmet edible meals? Did I answer all my emails? What about the house; would I be embarrassed if I had a drop in visitor?...oh wait…here’s a big one…did I speak kind words to my family? If I’m being honest with myself…and you...the first ones are way easier than the last one. And you know what? Out of everything listed, the last one is the only one that matters!

I think it is pretty near impossible to have/do it all. Every time you say yes to something, you have to say no to something else. There are only so many hours in a day, and if we fill every last one of them, something will have to be put on the back-burner. Now, I’m OK with the laundry being the thing that has to give. We have way too many clothes anywho…so what if we have to wear one of our least favorite outfits with a missing button. But I’m trying to be more careful to not put my family on the back-burner.

A couple of weeks ago, during all the snow, my girls and I took the day off from everything and spent the day outside. We needed to. We have been hitting the books hard, and we were really needing a change of pace for the day.  We snowboarded, rode our sleds, made snowmen, had snowball fights, and built forts. I know we ate that day, but I’m not sure what. Some prepackaged granola bars made with high fructose corn syrup, and some water to drink probably. The breakfast dishes didn’t get washed, and I’m pretty sure nothing got transferred over from the washer to the dryer. No one scooped the litter box, or even made their beds. It was the best day ever! My face hurt from laughing so much. My body hurt too! Who knew you had so many muscles that could ache all at the same time!? :-o

Be careful how you judge your day. When everything that didn’t get done for the day makes you feel like you failed it…you might have just nailed it!