Thursday, October 28, 2010

Strong Will, Strong Heart

Recently, I posted on The Homeschool Lounge about my struggles with my beautiful 7 year old Princess, Emmalee.  She is my middle child, my strong-willed, dive in head first girl.  She does things her way and when she wants.  This is how God made her.

My struggle with her is that she does not do things I ask, when I ask.  She tends to make life miserable at times because of her willfulness.  I want to change this in her, or at least show her how to use her strong-will for good and not misery. 

The first place to start is always Prayer.  So I have been fervently praying (for years now) that she will grow out of this behavior, and of course, she has not!  Well, recently it's dawned on me that this is how God has made her and He must have a purpose for it.  So now I pray for God to help me and show me HOW to live with this sweet, yet stubborn child.  I also pray that He shows her how to use her strong-will to do good things, as He intends her to.

This leads to my job.  I am her mother.  It is my job to train her to be a great woman, a strong woman, and hopefully someday a loving wife and mother.  How do I do that?  I can barely do these things myself. LOL  (Leads me to my own quest, mentioned last post, to strengthen my bonds with the Lord and become a better wife, mother and woman myself.) 

So now I am looking for yet another thing.  I'd like to find a book that will show me all the things I want to show and teach her.  Some will say that is the Bible and of course it is, but I'd like something to go along with that.  I don't want a book on discipline measures, but instead a book on changing our (mine and her) hearts to better serve the Lord and how to use our strong-wills for His purpose as He intends. 

Any suggestions for this matter are more than welcome.  And when I find what works, you can bet there's gonna be a post about it!  For now, onward searching.

Thirsting for More

I just finished watching A Night With The King, the story of Esther, Queen of Persia and was immediately reminded of this post I have been meaning to write.  (BTW, that was a REALLY GOOD movie!) 

I am currently on a quest to fill my heart and my mind with knowledge of the Heavenly Father.  I have a thirst that I am in need of filling, to learn so much about Him and what He wants for my life and that of my children and family. 

Recently, I read Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado and I plan to re-read it again in the future, taking more time to study each chapter as Lucado meant it to be read.  I'm also anxiously awaiting my recently gifted (won) copy of Feminine Appeal from Jasmine at Far Above Rubies (see sidebar for link to this wonderful site!)  Today I purchased (online) a copy of Passionate Housewives Desperate for God and I can hardly wait to dive into to it when it arrives.  I've ordered several books for the kids also, that we will be working on together.

I feel God pushing me to learn all I can about Him and His wants for me.  I want to learn to be the Proverbs 31 woman He wishes for me to be.  I want to teach my daughters and my son to be all God wishes for them to be, to have patience and love beyond normal expectations with God leading their life.  I am so very excited to be following His loving guidance onto this path that He's leading me upon.  I can't wait to see how it changes and improves our lives.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Out Live Your Life {Book Review}

Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado
Published by Thomas Nelson
Available in bookstores and online at Amazon.com

Max Lucado proves once again what an inspiring Christian author he is in Out Live Your Life.  In this book, Lucado shows examples of how Christians in Jesus's time led ordinary, and yet extraordinary lives, and he challenges each of us with suggestions and questions that lead us to out live our own ordinary lives.  In true, What Would Jesus Do form, only instead showing us how ordinary men became disciples of Jesus, sharing the Father's Word and leading other's to Christ himself.  At the end of the book is a section of questions to dive even further into each chapter of the book, creating an in depth study of Out Living Life or at the very least, living life to the fullest for God's Will.  Anyone aspiring to Out Live their own life for the Glory of God will greatly benifit from reading this wonderful book.  I know it has touched my life, like many other books by Mr. Lucado.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The House That Cleans Itself {Book Review}

The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark
Paperback from Harvest House Publishers
$12.99 at local bookstores
Online at Amazon.com

This book was written with the unorganized home-keeper in mind.  Mindy Starns Clark discusses her battle with disorganization and her way of overcoming it, through creating a house that cleans itself.  The book creates a unique way to look at your home and keep it organized and clean, all of the time.  If you can successfully follow the plans detailed in the book, the result should be a well-organized and fairly clean home.  Mrs. Clark's methods could be very helpful to many disorganized families in need of guidance in an efficient way to keep their home clean and straight.

For me, this book was yet another housekeeping book full of good ideas that I will never utilize.  Most of the ideas are common sense and a great many I already knew.  There were a few new surprises that I may utilize but overall it was just a refresher of ideas I've already heard of elsewhere.  It took me a few days to read this book because I was honestly bored by it.  I think this was because it was not a book of "fresh" ideas for me.  For someone who has not thoroughly researched home-keeping, this book would be a great asset but for those of us who have read almost everything possible on the subject of keeping a home and learning to organize and clean a home, it comes as a repetitive territory.  So I will be placing this book into my box of things that can be sent on to someone else to enjoy and I will continue on my search of the perfect housekeeping method for myself and my home.  


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Days Like This {Epilepsy Awareness}


There are days like today when I wake up to find my babies are all awake and waiting for me to guide them.  There are days like today when I find my sweetest two year old shaky and stumbling, in need of her medicine to fight off the seizures that are just on the edge of her mind.  There are days like today when I'm the only adult home, the only one dealing with all that goes on in our life.  These are the days that make up my life, the days that encourage me, scare me, show me how strong I am, all at the same time and in the same moments.

 
When you have a normal child who doesn't suffer from anything life-threatening, you can take things for granted and look at the world completely differently.  It's a blessing that is easily overlooked.  I know because I did it once, when it was just me and my sweet boy.  There are days when I long for it to be just me and him again because it was definitely so much easier back then.  I could lay in the bed with him and snuggle.  I didn't have three kids to worry about, only him.  We could read without interuption and play games, just he and I.  Truth is, I barely remember those days because they went by so fast and they were quickly replaced by days of frantic what-if's and girls needing to be held because they were unsteady.  My son is my strength, my inspiration, the one I can count on to be just fine on the days the girls aren't.  This disorder (Epilepsy) has cheated him of much of his Mom-time and his childhood.  Don't get me wrong, he's still been able to be a kid but there are days when he's got to be a strong boy and help me through.  I know I'd seriously be lost without his helping hands and his kind heart.  I used to wonder why this boy came first into my life and now I understand that God's plan all along was to give me a strong little man to help me through our tough times.  And he surely has, every day.  He's sweet hugs get me through it all.


The days when the girls awake, weak and in need of a medicine dose or already ready to go back to sleep (because sleep is a HUGE factor in keeping this disorder managed) are some of our hardest.  I never know when I climb out of bed that day if it's going to be a "normal" morning with no health issues, or a day of loving, holding and praying for the seizures to stay at bay.  Many people wonder why I chose to homeschool and a huge factor was days like this.  Days that the public school would not understand or be willing to put up with.  Days when we just can't get up and go catch a bus because holding a sister is so much more important or even hugging a little boy to make up for his burdened, yet helpful, kind and strong heart. 

Truth is, no matter how normal my girls look, they aren't.  Some people see me as over-protective and fail to realize that I have to be.  I have to know where these girls are at every second of the day.  I have to know either myself or my son is nearby to make sure they have not slipped into an unexpected seizure unnoticed and alone.  Being over-protective and aware is the only defense I have against this disorder.  And I am more than aware of my girls signs of oncoming seizures (which are not always dependable, nor do they always show before one comes on). 


I am so THANKFUL that my Emmalee, my oldest daughter, no longer requires medication to fight her disorder but that doesn't mean our fight has ended.  The signs are still there, on days when we've been out late or have done way too much with no break in activity and on days when she's not eaten enough or rested.  The signs of oncoming seizures show themselves on these days and the ones following until she is settled back into her normal way of life and her normal sleep and rest patterns.  She has days where she stares off and is just not there.  There are days when her head aches so much from her brain fighting this disorder that she can barely take it (I have them too).  It's a lot for a sweet 7 year old to handle but she does it every day.  She is such a bright little girl and so amazingly strong for her age. 


Right now the hardest part is watching my littlest angel suffer through this disorder.  She has no knowledge of what's happening to her or why.  She takes her medicine cocktails like a pro at only 2 years old.  She "knows" without them she feels strange and unsteady and she "knows" this leads to bigger things.  Her last visit to her neuro she blocked her ears because she didn't want them looking inside them.  She remembered the doctor was one of the ones who did that at her hospital stay in August.  She's such a smart baby to have to go through so much.  She knows she needs her nap once a day to keep herself feeling well.  She only argues when the medicine she takes hypes her up and makes her feel strange.  On those days, all she wants is her Momma to hold her morning to night. 


I've been asked in the past why I don't get a job out of my house and put my children in the public school like so many other parents.  Well, days like today are the reason why.  I could never live with myself if I put my children into a school or daycare and something happened while they were there, especially when I know they have this disorder.  I know it's more important for them to have time with Mommy, for them to be in their own home so that when they need me I'm close by and when they need a break they have their familiar things surrounding them and their beds to go climb into until the unexpected has returned to normal again.  For me, this is much more important than all the money I could have made.


Right now my sweet girl is napping, after her very stumbly morning.  When she awakes, she should be as close to normal as it gets for us.  She's had her medicine for her Epilepsy, she's had breakfast and then her nap medicine to help her sleep.  And I'm waiting, for her to wake up, for this disorder to let go of our every day lives (though I know it's not likely to happen) and for a non-stumbling morning tomorrow.  I'm thankful that God blessed us with this disorder because I know it's something we can handle and it could have been so much worse but I'll never stop praying for it to just disappear and for my family to be able to have a life that it doesn't control.  For now though, we will continue to be thankful for days like this.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Update {October 21, 2010}

Lately there is just so much on my mind that I cannot even grasp and hold onto one thought or function in my daily life.  I'm lucky to remember to cook, do the dishes, feed the kids, and homeschool.  I feel pulled in so many directions and within minutes I forget which direction I was heading to in the first place.  My days are filled with prayers on the issues clouding my mind, prayers for my family, my home, my children, my life and so many others too.


I find it astonishing how quickly Peace in your heart can slip away and become clouded and consumed by other worldly things.  I miss the Peace and I'm fervently searching for it to return to my heart. 

I've tried for over a week just to write a new post for this blog, other than sharing one of the wonderful giveaways from dear friends.  I have thought of a hundred separate ideas to write about but when I come to put the words into form, they do not come.  There is so much I want to do, yet never enough time. 

These are the things we have been up to:

Recently, I located some old friends, and I am happy to have those who have chosen to be back in my life.  Always a welcome blessing to find those you love.

The kids have been doing a lot of video schooling thanks to the wonders of the HDMI cable that allows me to hook the laptop to our Viera TV.  They have a hard time grasping that they are really doing school though, as they relate school to worksheets, books, paper, pencils, crayons and crafts.  "If we're not writing, we're not learning, Mom!"  It's hard to de-school the public influence from homeschooled kids.


I'm reading two wonderful books: Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado is a Christian book explaining how to live your life to the fullest.  The House That Cleans Itself by Mindy Starns Clark is an excellent self-help, housekeeping guidebook with many tips on home management and organizing.  Look for great reviews on both these books coming soon.

I've re-joined Flylady and I'm in a group on The Homeschool Lounge called Home Management in order to overcome the Chaos filling my house.  Both are helping through supportive relationships and small steps, I am really getting somewhere.


The kids are doing AWESOMELY on actually cleaning up after themselves.  Sometimes it takes some extra prodding, repeating and downright begging to get them to clean up but they are getting better at the actual getting it straight each day.  I'm really proud of them and I can see how much they are maturing every week.  Winston has always been a big help with things but this is a HUGE achievement and accomplishment for my born disorganized baby girl, Emmalee.


Laycie is now taking Melatonin to help her sleep and it's working wonderfully.  I give it to her at lunch time so she can take a much needed afternoon nap and again before bedtime so she can fall asleep easily.  She no longer argues about going to nap or sleep and she's out within 30 minutes of taking the medication dose.  This has improved her attitude, clingy-ness and her overall behavior tremendously. 


Laycie's naptime allows us to do school and allows me to make a late lunch, prep for dinner and do household chores that can't be done while she's awake.  This schedule is new for us but so far it's working great! 

I know much of my exhaustion and confusion comes from weeks of Laycie not napping and feeling overwhelmed worrying about her, and trying to keep up with her tiring ways.  She's only been on the new medicine for a week but the changes it has brought to our life are amazing.  I'm hoping her resting will also allow me to rest so that I can straightened my overburdened mind and get our life back on track.  I guess that's something only time will tell though.


Many blessings to all until next time. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our Year 2010-2011

I'm sitting in my dining/class room at 1:25 AM because I just can't sleep.  It often takes me a while to wind down at night but tonight seems to be taking longer than usual so I thought I'd use this time to update.

We officially began school this week.  Though we are usually always doing school-type stuff, this week we began actual studies, like normal homeschoolers.  We are stepping back into things very slowly and are only doing a portion of our intended yearly studies.  Next week we will add in another subject or two and the week after we will hopefully begin all our planned subjects for this year.

That said, our subjects this year include, but are not limited to:

Reading great books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Winnie the Pooh (the fully written text of the story), Understood Betsy, The Whipping Boy and many others.  These books will be read together for our Literature studies. We will also do subject studies, study guides and lapbooks on different things dealing with each book, such as a study on Chocolate for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and learning about Winnie the Bear when we read about Winnie the Pooh.  These will be fun extentions to use throughout the year.

Reading skills also include completing a phonics review, working through our Skills books, playing various reading games on the computer and getting out there, reading every book we can manage on each child's grade level.  My daughter is right on track in reading but my son is behind in his reading and this years goal is to have them both reading thoroughly and with little help by the end of the year.

History finds us using the Story of the World Volume 1, along with the wonderful activity guide provided to us by an extraordinary lady from The Homeschool Lounge, the Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History, and many other interesting history related books to go along with our SOTW curriculum.  We will also be using activity guides and History Pockets: Ancient Civilations to further our study, along with lapbooking and/or notebooking on each subject portion furthering our study even more.  History is gonna be a good thing this year!!

History also incorparates geography by discussing things that happen in different places throughout the world and providing map skills for those places.  We will work on these skills in depth as we go through our curriculum for the year.

For Spelling we will be working through the Dolch Lists and also using our Instant Spelling Words for Writing workbooks.  I will be including spelling words for each subject learned as well as writing exercises to encourage word recognition and spelling.

Grammar is from Scott Foresman.  We began this last year and we will finish what we started and move on through the next levels for this year too.  The kids really enjoy this Grammar curriculum.

We will also be using Scott Foresman for Math, along with the IXL website, to build our math skills.  The beginning of the year brings a quick assessment on previous learned skills to see what they really know and move from there, building upon that knowledge.

We will be working the Book of Virtues unit study this year too.  You can find this unit study at Shiver Academy.  We will do the various activities included in the study and expand on the sections that apply to us the most.  We will also read more of the Book of Virtues than is required by the unit study.

We will continue our daily devotionals with Keys for Kids online.  We will use the daily verse as copy work and do provided activities to encourage our relationship with God.  We will also pray daily for whatever is on our hearts at the time.

At some point this year we will cover various Health topics, using both our Health curriculums and various information from other areas, online and in print.

We will be doing a study on Manners using Manners Made Easy.  I am waiting on this book to arrive and will divulge more on this at a later date. 

Science this year is Apologia's Botany course.  We will begin this next week, provided I remember to pick up the necessary items I keep forgetting!  For now, we've been discussing the Fall weather, going by the pond to see nature up close and at it's best, discussing various habitats and various animals that are now out and about getting ready for Winter.  We're also supplementing by watching nature shows to learn even more about animals and plants in their natural environments.  At this point though we are ready to move on to the solid stuff and Botany will be a wonderful experience for us.

Handwriting is built through various writing activities throughout our curriculum, including daily copywork for most studies, as well as writing out words, definitions and various things in lapbook, notebooks and elsewhere.  This leads to writing which will also be provided through various activities throughout the curriculum, such as book reviews, letters, creative stories and much more.

For Home Skills, we will be working on perfecting new skills: cleaning, dishes, learning to do the laundry properly, cooking and much more.  Household skills are important for all children to learn so they can take care of themselves once they are grown.  Also, we will be learning how to use routines and schedules to better stay on track.  Even though the kids have used these things for years, this year will bring the instruction to why we do the things we do.

Our language studies this year will include Sign Language and French.  These will be added in later on once the main subjects are underway.

Per request of my artistic daughter I will be including Art to our curriculum this year, though I am still in search of an appropriate, yet afforadable curriculum.  For now we will do Arts and Crafts based upon activities that go along with our educational studies, as well as Holidays and times of the year. 

Looking at the list, it seems we have a LOT to do but I know it's going to go by so very fast, especially since we homeschool year round, pretty much daily, even on holidays.  We will take off school as needed but at this time there are no real planned breaks other than Christmas and birthdays, which will also be filled with fun activities. 

I think this year should bring forth a lot of learning and fun experiences for us and I am as excited about it all as my children are!   I truly LOVE homeschooling!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October is Here! {Fall 2010}

Wow, October is here already.  I love it!!

The things I love about October are:
Fall decorating
Cool weather
Leaves are a-changing
Light jackets, boots, jeans, light sweaters and long sleeve shirts can now be worn.
Pumpkins galore
The end of the month brings Halloween and that means pretending to be someone "fun"!
Holiday baking begins
Apple and cinnamon scent the house
Christmas is a-coming and following it is four months of birthdays celebrating the life of my littles!
Did I mention cool weather???

Oh yea, this girl is HAPPY it's October!!!!

Things I'm doing:
Cleaning out stuff around the house.
Cleaned all three bathrooms from top to bottom. 
Cleaned the kitchen, finally.
Cleaned the carpet in the Living Room = bye bye doggie pee smell!! :-p

Things I'm working on next:
Classroom re-order
Finishing the girls' room re-order
Painting the girls' bathroom and finishing painting the boys' bathroom.
(Sounds like a "real" school with Girls' and Boys' bathrooms, doesn't it?? LOL)

In school we start with:
Some fall and halloween lessons for fun.
Our first Botany lessons
Reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together for fun! 
(And what better month than October - CANDY month of the YEAR!)
Learning about the Ancients in History.


So bring it on October!  We are more than ready for your loveliness!!!


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