Sunday Journal: Break Week

Littlest on his day out with Daddy

Littlest on his day out with Daddy

We took a break from school this week while my mother was visiting for Sparkles’ procedure. Tomorrow is our first official full day of school for the new year. All of the books and baskets are organized and ready for tomorrow…and hopefully the rest of the year. Over the last few weeks we worked on establishing our morning routine so tomorrow should roll along smoothly. Go ahead and laugh if you want. I know tomorrow will not go as planned. But for the moment I would like to pretend the children will be delighted to learn math and write compositions with happy smiles.

I like to indulge my delusions sometimes.

Grandma and Littlest

Grandma and Littlest

My mother’s visit went fairly well this time around. She spent more time with Sparkles than she ever had before. I was busy the first part of the week tending to Sparkles and spent the latter half of the week prepping the school room. My husband finished the shelving and I was able to get all of our books out of the hallway and organized for the year. At some point this year the cabinets will be painted to match the shelves later this year. I’ve ordered a storage bench to fit along the window and I plan to get some nice curtains to add some color and softness. We have a couple of hummingbird feeders

school room ready for tomorrow

school room ready for tomorrow

outside our window and I spent a bit of time watching them this week. The little birds are fun to watch and the females are quite content to share the feeder but the males chase each other constantly. The lovely little hummers will prove to be a nice distraction during our time in the school room. I feel so very blessed that we can have a school room.

I knitted a coffee cozy

I knitted a coffee cozy

I am also glad that I had the room to work on during my mother’s visit…the work kept me from feeling pinned down by her. In a way, I feel badly that I left her to her own devices during her visit but I also know that the experience was less stressful for me (and everyone that has to live with me). She did say a few things that irked me but I let them go…well, my husband knows.

Anyway, Sparkles seems to be responding well to her medicine since her diagnosis with Ulcerative Colitis. She wasn’t happy to

Sparkles and Boots

Sparkles and Boots

be taking so many medications at first but has already adjusted. I can’t blame her. I avoided my doctor for two years when he mentioned that I might need cholesterol medication. My daughter may take too much after me…One of the ladies I met at the retreat last month was also diagnosed with UC at the same age as Sparkles and she has generously answered so many of my questions and given awesome guidance. We are so blessed that Sparkles was diagnosed so quickly and that we have recently met some really amazing people who can guide us. For many people a diagnosis takes years…yet we managed to encounter the right people at the

Poetry tea time

Poetry tea time

right time to get our daughter treated relatively quickly. She is a blessed little girl.

Tomorrow I plan to take first day of school pictures. I have some fun unhealthy kid cereal to set out on the breakfast table for in the morning and candy bars to put at their places in the school room. It isn’t much but hopefully it will help the day seem special for the kiddos.

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The Anticipated Day

Glad to be home and watching Harry Potter movies.

Glad to be home and watching Harry Potter movies.

Today we finally learned the name of Sparkles’ nemesis: Ulcerative Colitis. We still need to wait for lab results to confirm. However, her doctor was certain enough to give us paperwork to read and prescribe medicines to begin her treatment.

She’ll never get over it. This is forever. No cure.

I have not even begun to work out my thoughts and feelings. I cannot even imagine how my little girl will process all this new information. Right now, she just wants to feel better. And I want to make this forever disease go away but all the wishing in the world cannot change her life story now.

 

Sunday Journal: Baseball, Butter and Brave Writer

DSC02645 (640x480)The week went by too quickly…mostly because of the long weekend. The big event for me this week was going to my very first baseball game to see the Lexington Legends. I do not know much about the game but my husband filled me in on the basics. So, I wasn’t too lost. I may have called one of the “runs” a “touchdown” but otherwise managed to follow along. I only know DSC02691 (640x480)football and a smattering of NASCAR at this point in my life…and I’m okay with that. Anyway, I expected to be kinda bored but it was actually really fun. I doubt that I could ever sit through a game on television but going to a game “in the moment” is certainly doable.

20160710_210236 (480x640)Did you know hot butter will ruin laminate floors? I discovered that fact painfully this week. I melted some butter in a pan and for some reason it suddenly exploded! I’ve been cooking since I could push a chair to the stove and nothing like that has ever happened to me before. My counters, stove, cabinets and floor were covered in hot butter…and so was I. Hot butter hurts! The mess was truly spectacular and it impressed the boys.

20160710_204321 (480x640)Later this week I will leave for the Brave Writer Retreat. I get to hang out with a bunch of homeschool moms for some relaxation, fun and educational lectures. Melissa Wiley (author of The Prairie Thief and other children’s books as well as a homeschooler) will be a speaker along with Julie Bogart of Brave Writer. I am looking forward to the trip and the adventure of the experience. A little piece of me is a bit freaked out. Some of the planned activities are way outside of my comfort zone and I am such an introvert. I enjoy other humans but sometimes people and their noisiness can be very overwhelming.

20160710_203004 (480x640)Brave is my word this year…that one aspiration I chose for myself this year. I am not brave. I am terrified mostly…especially outside of my home. Every time my husband goes to work I fear that I will never see him again. When he leaves on a trip without me I am afraid…I worry. I consider my excessive ability to worry and imagine every possible disaster scenario a sin…a personal failing of massive ineptitude. Sometimes my fears are paralyzing. I want to hold my family tightly and never let them go…if I gave in to my 20160708_210931 (480x640)natural inclinations I would smother them. I likely suffer from some form of anxiety. For the most part I keep that part of myself well hidden from everyone else. But I am constantly aware…and constantly worry about passing on my faults to my children…or hurting them emotionally somehow. I see pieces of this in my daughter sometimes and it hurts…hurts.

When I chose to be brave this year the retreat is the first thing I signed up for…I am afraid to leave my family. I am not worried DSC02710 (640x480)about my husband’s ability to care for them. He is a perfect father…a perfect husband. I fail him all the time but he never fails to protect or calm me. Many times I feel that he would be happier without me. I feel that his life would be better without me. I know that isn’t true because he has told me so. I know that it is my personal daemons that say such things to me.

20160710_201053 (480x640)My daemons keep me caged…or they have. I’ve spent my life trying to ignore them or run away. I chose to face them this year and quit running away. I am embracing my faults, my sins…I worry too much, I am overly anxious in a crazy way, like really crazy…I am afraid all the time. Since I chose to be brave this year…I chose to accept my daemons, to embrace them as they have held me all these years. At this point in my life, I can honestly look my kids and husband in the eye as say…I haven’t done everything right and I accept that I may have hurt you but…I love you and I did better toward you than I ever received from my own roots. I have honestly strived to be better than my raising. And that striving is brave.

Sunday Journal: Sparkles and the Specialist

Sparkles and Boots

Sparkles and Boots

This past week was mostly a quiet week with one really long day. On Tuesday we met with the specialist to discuss Sparkles’ illness. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but after filling out reams of paperwork the last words I want to hear from a doctor include; “So, why are your here?” Really?!?! Did you not read the file??! I didn’t say that but I wanted to. After a discussion Sparkles was sent for an x-ray and more tests.

Middle Boy reading a bedtime story to Littlest

Middle Boy reading a bedtime story to Littlest

The next day the nurse called to let us know that Sparkles would have to endure a “cleanse” (trust me you do not want to know). She also explained to me they were waiting on one test result. If the test result comes back normal then she just had a blockage and infection and once this clears up she will be just fine. If it comes back abnormal then she will have to be sedated for a scope for a proper diagnosis. Hopefully we will hear about the test results this week. The day of the cleanse started at about eight in the morning and went until about three in the morning. I think we are

Sparkles leaning on Daddy

Sparkles leaning on Daddy

all still recovering. Littlest stayed up with his sister for a long time and ended up napping the next day. At a certain point my husband sent me to bed and he finished out the really long day with Sparkles.

This week begins our soft start to the up coming school year. I plan to spend the next two weeks re-establishing our Morning Basket time. For now out Morning Basket time includes our read-alouds, character studies and poetry memorization. This year we are going to work through Mensa’s “Year of Living Poetically”.  After listening to Andrew Pudewa on the importance of poetry

planning for the week

planning for the week

memorization and language development I knew that I wanted to add this to our home education lifestyle but I did not want to purchase a curriculum. I was going to put together my own list of poems. However, once I stumbled upon Mensa’s free course I went with it. The kids will also begin keeping a “word journal” for collecting interesting phrases or quotes. On Friday they will have to share

Middle Boy

Middle Boy

three entries from their word journal. We’ll also continue the art journaling once a week. We hope to return to poetry tea time this week now that Sparkles can handle the occasional treat in her diet again.

I participated in a photo challenge on Instagram this month that I have enjoyed and plan to post my pictures later this week. Photography was our practice the engage in this month in a homeschool community I belong to. It was fun to have a project to work on even though I know nothing about photography…

 

Sunday Journal: Doctors and the Computer Interface Misappropriation

my little helper

my little helper

Monday morning was horrible. Sometime during the night Microsoft stole Windows 7 and replaced it with Windows 10.

WTF Bill Gates??? What a dreadful thing to do on a Monday! Well…any day of the week, really. I am not happy with you sir!

The rest of our week was slow and rather quiet. We took lots of walks around the neighborhood. The boys played outside and worked on some schooling. Sparkles slowly began to show some signs of improvement. She tires very easily and is still very ill. She received a get well card from one of her aunts this week and it just brightened her day. She carried it around for hours and it is still sitting at her spot at the table.

waiting for the doctor

waiting for the doctor

I took Sparkles to see our new family doctor this week. He is wonderful and didn’t want to wait for Sparkles to see a specialist to begin tests. He spent lots of time asking questions and ruled out several possibilities already. The nurse had a hard time collecting blood samples because she is so dehydrated. I’ve noticed that Sparkles is trying harder to stay hydrated after that experience. The doctor also sent us home with a five gallon bag of sampling equipment to bring in tomorrow…and I’ll spare you the details. I am glad a friend recommended this doctor to us. We’ll be able to go to the

morning sunshine

morning sunshine

specialist’s office with the results from these tests and get answers and possibly a diagnosis much sooner. We love out new family doctor…who just happened to have been homeschooled!!! Sadly, we did learn that Sparkles has lost ten percent of her body weight since her trip to the emergency room…in eleven days. Frightening. We also got a call this week and her appointment with a specialist was moved up to June 21st.

Good night

Good night

For those of you who have been praying for her–Thank you so very much!!

I haven’t any big plans for this week. I plan for the boys to continue with some schoolwork…math and such. I am considering getting Oldest started on his science for seventh grade. We could do some one on one time together and get him prepared for working and learning on his own. Dr. Wile suggested this method to me when I asked about teaching science at the middle grade levels. I can also spend more time with Littlest too

pool time

pool time

as he learns to read. I had lots of plans for group learning over the summer but I think I will switch over to one on one time with each kiddo. Sparkles can rest this summer. She has participated in the art and nature journaling this week and even wrote a little essay on her trip to the emergency room. I will simply let her choose when she can work on schooling. She tires out rather quickly.

page in art journal

page in art journal

I’ve spent time reading this week and working in my art journal. I’ve nearly completed the Sarah Mackenzie book and plan to begin The Living Page by Laurie Bestvater next. I finally came up with an idea for my art project for the Brave Writer retreat and plan to do some sketches to work on how to approach the idea. Maybe I’ll have something to show next week…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

Sunday Journal: The Week Summer Plans Changed

Sparkles in the ER

Sparkles in the ER

We greeted June in the emergency room.

Emergency comes from the Latin meaning “to arise” or “bring to light”. The symbolic beauty of the word’s origin is obscured today. The word seems ugly to me and does not flow well off the tongue. I like words and I enjoy learning about words. In those moments as May faded into June and I guarded with prayer my daughter’s  rest in the ER; I thought about “emergency.” We certainly have a mystery on our hands…a mystery where truth needs to be brought out of darkness and into the light of understanding. Unfortunately, her mystery illness will require a specialist that she is scheduled to see next month. She

Sparkles and Boots

Sparkles and Boots

is still ill but responding to antibiotics. (A thousand times “thank you” to those who have offered prayers for her!!)

Oh, and about those antibiotics she is taking…this stuff is given to people with the plague or anthrax exposure! The side effects are just as horrible as her current symptoms. We won’t really know if she is feeling better for another seven days or so…

hanging out with Middle Boy

hanging out with Middle Boy

My plans for our summer courses are moot. I’m not sure what to do now. Sparkles thinks she could work on math and maybe one or two other things. For now our summer intensive Kentucky history is out. I had planned for us to visit all of the historical spots in town this month (most of them anyway…).

None of my plans have worked out this academic year. We have moved, suffered with pneumonia this winter and now Sparkle’s mystery illness. I’ve learned more about homeschooling and my children this year than in the past. Despite the year’s turbulence and even my own

cloud formation

cloud formation

spiritual lows, I feel God’s guiding hand on us. I do not know what the next six months will bring. Not a clue. I’m only starting to emerge from the spiritual funk that has kept me from church and talking with God. Honestly, I expected the events of this past week to knock me back into my doubts and darkness.

So far so good…and that seems kinda weird to me. I should be falling apart and totally freaking out. But right now I just accept and know that all moments pass through the hands of God. In acceptance I find rest and strength. And a little fear…

the new journal

the new journal

Many years ago I use to keep a journal. I would write poems and paint in my journal. Sometimes I would write out quotes or word phrases that I just needed to remember. All of my journals and art were thrown away by my mother many years ago. I cried and still haven’t forgiven her for throwing those away…and other things she thought I needed to grow out of. Today I started a new journal…I feel a personal renaissance is awakening. I used to be creative and I let others beat and ridicule that force out of me.

the rainbow

the rainbow

Maybe it is time to reclaim and make certain that my children fine their own creative force within… Also, for the month of June I will be posting a picture each day of grateful moments. I just need to remember right now.

Another huge change for me this week was dropping out of the TOS Review Crew. It was not an easy decision to make because I signed a contract with them and have an obligation to be part of the team. I have one review due next month and it will be my last. I also had another review due next month but since we hadn’t even started working on it I was taken off the list of

the boys learning to play pool

the boys learning to play pool

reviewers. The owner of the company allowed me to have access to his art curriculum anyway even though I will not be able to provide a review for him (thank you Mr. John Hofland of ArtAchieve).  So, if you happen to be in the market for an art curriculum then I encourage you to consider ArtAchieve. I am very touched by his generosity. I think a little art therapy is just what we may need to get through this summer of changes.

Linking up with: Weird unsocailaized Homeschoolers

2016 Word

A new year full of promise, hope, new adventures, and dreams.

Not exactly…

Just more of the same-old, same-old.

I’m not one for keeping New Year’s resolutions. I’ll let the fitness hype go this year. But, now that we are getting settled in the new house I’ve returned to working out a bit. My youngest loves Wii dance games and I like to join him. I try not to think about how awkward my attempt at dancing (especially to some of the hip-hop songs) must appear. Sometimes I jump (not literally) on the treadmill and walk a bit. New songs on my iPod would be motivating…but every year it seems the learning curve for iTunes grows exponentially.

Progress in healthy eating of the slow and steady variety is coming along nicely too. Not out of desire for health though. Mostly to escape pain. So many foods (the stuff that actually tastes good!) aggravate my stomach or ignite my inflammation troubles. I quit trying during the move but time to get back to taking care of my health. The joints in my hands and wrist are so painful. I expected the pain but not the weakness or the crunchy gritting sound in my wrists. I’m back on my ginger now that all of the holiday travel is over so some of the discomfort is already starting to ease up a bit. Sadly, the strength doesn’t come back…I’ve learned that sad fact this year.

I wanted to choose a word this year. A point of focus. Originally, I had clarity or perceive in mind. But as I spent time meditating, praying, reflecting and remembering my reaction to this year’s trials…well, those chosen words were without meaning.

my childhood in a picture

my childhood in a picture

Fear beat me down this year. Fear brought on by rejection. My wee little black hole, you know, the one in my soul? The core center of my very self. (Please see my series on Made To Crave if you are interested). As this year’s events unfolded my black hole began to grow in strength. My deep sense of unworthiness threatened to overwhelm me as I felt discarded…again. I’ve broken down and cried many, many times since July. All of the fear from my abusive childhood returned. I felt like an unwanted little child all over again. Unloved and not even worthy of being loved.

I’m wise enough to know that I’ll never be rid of those feelings…not entirely. I’m blessed to be loved by an ever patient man. My husband is the warmth that keeps those old demons away. I should have been a pillar for him this year but he supported me instead. Only out of love for my husband did I not torch and burn a few bridges to lifeless ash. I am consumed with fear.

I do not want to be ruled by fear. I do not want to be that nearly lifeless child pleading to be loved.

My word is brave. My word terrifies me.

Let me be brave…