Thursday, February 26, 2009

Off my crutches...

I met with my surgeon on Tuesday and my Physical Therapist Wednesday this week. I was given the okay to go off my crutches and to get out of my brace!

I'm about 3 weeks ahead of schedule with my recovery. I was given the release to do therapy only once every other week. But of course I have to do about 45 minutes of exercises and stretches every day. I'm guessing because I've been doing that for the last 4 weeks, the Lord is blessing my efforts, and that is why I'm bouncing back so fast.

I can start a light workout routine back up this week. I can do the stationary bike, elliptical, light weights for lower body, upper body and abs.

Somehow, I have actually managed to lose about 6 lbs since surgery. I don't know how, but I'm grateful for the boost towards being healthier!!

I still have about 9 months til I can get back to doing some of the things I did before like shooting ball, playing volleyball, and kickboxing might be more than a year away. But I can start swimming again, so I'm just ready for summer.

As always, thank you so much for your prayers! I'm telling you, I don't know how a knee can go through all of that and survive. But God is still in the business of healing and providing, even if I didn't have to go visit Benny Henn.

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

The Bitter Homeschooler's Wish List

By Deborah Markus, from Secular Homeschooling Magazine, Issue #1, Fall 2007

*1 - Please stop asking us if it's legal. If it is — and it is — it's insulting to imply that we're criminals. And if we were criminals, would we admit it?*

2 - Learn what the words "socialize" and "socialization" mean, and use the one you really mean instead of mixing them up the way you do now. Socializing means hanging out with other people for fun. Socialization means having acquired the skills necessary to do so successfully and pleasantly. If you're talking to me and my kids, that means that we do in fact go outside now and then to visit the other human beings on the planet, and you can safely assume that we've got a decent grasp of both concepts.

*3 - Quit interrupting my kid at her dance lesson, scout meeting, choir practice, baseball game, art class, field trip, park day, music class, 4H club, or soccer lesson to ask her if as a homeschooler she ever gets to socialize.

*4 - Don't assume that every homeschooler you meet is homeschooling for the same reasons and in the same way as that one homeschooler you know.

*5 - If that homeschooler you know is actually someone you saw on TV, either on the news or on a "reality" show, the above goes double.

*6 - Please stop telling us horror stories about the homeschoolers you know, know of, or think you might know who ruined their lives by homeschooling. You're probably the same little bluebird of happiness whose hobby is running up to pregnant women and inducing premature labor by telling them every ghastly birth story you've ever heard. We all hate you, so please go away.

*7 - We don't look horrified and start quizzing your kids when we hear they're in public school. Please stop drilling our children like potential oil fields to see if we're doing what you consider an adequate job of homeschooling.

*8 - Stop assuming all homeschoolers are religious.

*9 - Stop assuming that if we're religious, we must be homeschooling for religious reasons.

*10 - We didn't go through all the reading, learning, thinking, weighing of options, experimenting, and worrying that goes into homeschooling just to annoy you. Really. This was a deeply personal decision, tailored to the specifics of our family. Stop taking the bare fact of our being homeschoolers as either an affront or a judgment about your own educational decisions.

*11 - Please stop questioning my competency and demanding to see my credentials. I didn't have to complete a course in catering to successfully cook dinner for my family; I don't need a degree in teaching to educate my children. If spending at least twelve years in the kind of chew-it-up-and-spit-it-out educational facility we call public school left me with so little information in my memory banks that I can't teach the basics of an elementary education to my nearest and dearest, maybe there's a reason I'm so reluctant to send my child to school.

*12 - If my kid's only six and you ask me with a straight face how I can possibly teach him what he'd learn in school, please understand that you're calling me an idiot. Don't act shocked if I decide to respond in kind.

*13 - Stop assuming that because the word "home" is right there in "homeschool," we never leave the house. We're the ones who go to the amusement parks, museums, and zoos in the middle of the week and in the off-season and laugh at you because you have to go on weekends and holidays when it's crowded and icky.

*14 - Stop assuming that because the word "school" is right there in homeschool, we must sit around at a desk for six or eight hours every day, just like your kid does. Even if we're into the "school" side of education — and many of us prefer a more organic approach — we can burn through a lot of material a lot more efficiently, because we don't have to gear our lessons to the lowest common denominator.

*15 - Stop asking, "But what about the Prom?" Even if the idea that my kid might not be able to indulge in a night of over-hyped, over-priced revelry was enough to break my heart, plenty of kids who do go to school don't get to go to the Prom. For all you know, I'm one of them. I might still be bitter about it. So go be shallow somewhere else.

*16 - Don't ask my kid if she wouldn't rather go to school unless you don't mind if I ask your kid if he wouldn't rather stay home and get some sleep now and then.

*17 - Stop saying, "Oh, I could never homeschool!" Even if you think it's some kind of compliment, it sounds more like you're horrified. One of these days, I won't bother disagreeing with you any more.

*18 - If you can remember anything from chemistry or calculus class, you're allowed to ask how we'll teach these subjects to our kids. If you can't, thank you for the reassurance that we couldn't possibly do a worse job than your teachers did, and might even do a better one.

*19 - Stop asking about how hard it must be to be my child's teacher as well as her parent. I don't see much difference between bossing my kid around academically and bossing him around the way I do about everything else.

*20 - Stop saying that my kid is shy, outgoing, aggressive, anxious, quiet, boisterous, argumentative, pouty, fidgety, chatty, whiny, or loud because he's homeschooled. It's not fair that all the kids who go to school can be as annoying as they want to without being branded as representative of anything but childhood.

*21 - Quit assuming that my kid must be some kind of prodigy because she's homeschooled.

*22 - Quit assuming that I must be some kind of prodigy because I homeschool my kids.

*23 - Quit assuming that I must be some kind of saint because I homeschool my kids.

*24 - Stop talking about all the great childhood memories my kids won't get because they don't go to school, unless you want me to start asking about all the not-so-great childhood memories you have because you went to school.

*25 - Here's a thought: If you can't say something nice about homeschooling, shut up!

This is so funny! It is exactly how I feel sometimes. My prayer is I'll remember the grace that God has given me, so that I can answer with the grace He would want me to offer to others!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Started my Physical Therapy

Thank you to so many who are praying for me as I continue to heal from my surgery. I know that the Lord is giving me strength and is teaching me patience throughout this ordeal.

I just wanted to do a quick update on my recovery.

I started physical therapy this past Monday. They gave me a series of stretches and exercises to do daily. Although they are painful, I can feel the difference it is making.

I go back to see the surgeon next Tuesday. I am hoping to get the ok to just report in for therapy once a week. It is expensive and time consuming to do be there twice every week, especially when this could last 3 months. We shall see.

I helped Greg with dinner this evening, which felt nice. I started driving again this week, and I'm feeling more stable on my knee as the days go by.

The incision healed incredibly well, although that scar is crooked, it hasn't bothered me at all.

I am still on crutches, and from what I understand, I will be for at least another 3 weeks.

I'm not sleeping well at all,(note it is 4:11 am right now). Since Monday I have been experiencing quite a bit of pain in my thigh. The therapist said it is probably where my bone is healing around the screw and anchor. It comes and goes, but for some reason, I'm just not able to rest well.

Although, since I've not slept at all tonight, I am starting to get sleepy. So, I will end this blog and hopefully get a few hours of sleep!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hope to get a comment or maybe two!!!

Almost two weeks ago, I made an attempt to stir up some discussion amongst us.

I described 3 different types of communicators, and asked that you try to figure out which one best described you. I had hoped that it would break the ice and I would have a few of you leave comments on whether you were a Q, R, or G.

I was bummed that you were all Qs and couldn't even muster up the courage to admit it. But I'll give you another chance!

Here is just one scripture that I feel touches on communication.

James 1:26
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

This verse packs a big punch, eh?

Of course we know that we are supposed to watch what we say! Hello! We know that gossip is wrong. We know that cursing is wrong. We know that nagging our spouses is wrong. We know that telling an off-color joke is wrong. We know that telling a lie is wrong.

We know that we should speak up for Christ when given the chance. We know we should share His message with the lost. We know that we should disciple new believers. We know that we should encourage those who are hurting with kind words.

We know that we should pray.

So, I'm curious.

When was the last time you spoke about someone in a way that wasn't pleasing to the Lord?

When was the last time you expressed frustration with words that you probably wouldn't have used if your pastor was by your side?

When was the last time you used words that annoyed, frustrated, or even ridiculed your spouse?

When was the last time you forwarded a joke to select few, but again, chose to not share that with the pastor?

When was the last time you exaggerated the truth ever-so-slightly?

When was the last time you took a verbal stand for Christ?

When was the last time you were able to sit down and share God's love and forgiveness with a lost person?

When was the last time you took time to disciple a new Christian?

When was the last time you went out of your way to express sincere concern for someone in need of encouragement?

When was the last time you really talked with God?

I have often taken spells where I get into writing in my journal. I write down my thoughts from the day, events from the day, and even what I ate. Just the act of writing it down helps me to be more aware of what is going on in my life. When I am really serious about having a more balanced diet, I keep a food journal. I can't question why I'm up a few lbs if I have concrete notes stating I ate 4 slices of pizza for dinner 5 times this week! What makes it even more effective, is when I would turn it into the trainer at the gym. I don't want them thinking I am too weak to abstain from overindulging, so I can either lie and eat bad, or I can eat in a way that I don't mind admitting to.

Are you communicating in a way that you don't mind admitting to?

If you kept a journal of things you were saying, or things that you should have said, would you be embarrassed to share it with me?

Maybe you are a Q who is struggling with being more vocal with your faith.

Maybe you are a R who needs to go out of your way more often to disciple and encourage others.

Maybe you are a G who needs to practice more submission to Christ's authority when speaking.

If you are like me, and you answered these questions, but don't want to share your answers with any humans anytime soon, I hope you will share them with the Lord. I pray that it will encourage you to spend more time in His word learning ways to be more like Him.

If you feel comfortable, leave a comment with your thoughts on this post. Share another scripture, or even a testimony as to how God is using you and your style of communicating for His glory.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Educate yourself on your children's education

"What did you learn in school today?"

This is a question asked by thousands of parents around our nation around 6pm every single day.

I know when Ethan was in the public school system for 2 years, I asked him that a number of times. But I never really got an answer.

I trusted that the lovely teachers who were spending so much time with him had his best interests in mind, and that he was learning things that any 5 or 6 year old should learn.

But as Ethan was approaching the end of Kindergarten, I had to confront myself with a truth I had been struggling with. Why is someone else doing my job? God gave me and Greg Ethan and Emma as gifts. Gifts that we are to train, to educate, to disciple in such a way that God is ultimately glorified.

At 4 months, do we send our newborn away to a school to learn how to roll over?
At 8 months, do we send our baby away to a school to learn how to crawl or to walk?
At 1 years, do we send our toddler away to a school to learn how to talk?
At 2 years, do we send our little girl to a school to be taught how to go to the potty?

Then what PROGRAMS us to enroll our 4 year olds in Pre-School? By law, we don't have to enroll children into an educational program until they are 6. So why do we start them out at 4? Well everyone else is doing it????

Most people say they need the income of two parents to make ends meet, and that school helps with child care. I'd like to know then, are all these people out of work suddenly pulling their children out of school?

I'm not trying to be condescending. I know some of you reading this have children in a school system outside of your home, and I would hope you know I'm not attacking your parenting ability. I have every right to speak up on this issue, I had a very poor view of home-schooling not that long ago. I read many articles like this one I am writing, and I thought to myself, who are you to judge me? I hope that you are involved in their education outside of the school, and that you are more concerned with the condition of their heart than you are their ability to add and subtract. Just don't trust that the school system knows what is best for your child. You know what is best for them, and we need to ensure that we are just as involved in their training as their teachers are.

At 4 years old, I sent my Ethan into a school with hundreds of strangers to learn how to socialize. Right? Isn't that why we do it? That is what they say Pre-School is for. To learn how to interact with other children and to learn some basic skills in order to be able to function well in Kindergarten. Question: Why would I want hundreds of strangers to teach my son how to behave? Why didn't I just teach him how to behave? When a kid gets in trouble in his teen years, do the parents say, "I'm sorry, he has been running around with me and his dad and, well, I just don't know what has gotten into him." Or do they say, "He's a good kid, he has just gotten in with the wrong crowd."? Where did that wrong crowd come from? Yes, that is right, that crowd is the crowd you asked to teach your Johnny how to behave.

This is hard to swallow for some. Believe me, when I was facing the idea that I would give up a career I had worked so hard to build so that I could be full-time mom and full-time educator, I was confused. I was close to having my schedule opened up to mornings at the gym, lunches with friends, and afternoons of chores before an evening and night of children. Now I would go into weeks, months, years of having my children by my side. Oh my, can you picture the majority of moms at the soccer field screeching in horror as you paint the picture of being expected to tend to your children's needs all day long? I hear moms complain about summer because they will have to deal with their offspring. A snow day to some is exciting because they can sleep in and don't have to be annoyed with getting their children off to school, to others it is a nightmare because they will be the ones expected to entertain their gifts for the day.

I know this seems harsh. Maybe you will read this and become upset with me and never visit my site again. I will say I am sorry if you feel such anger because of my questions or my challenges.

But if you are set on your children receiving an education outside of their home, please, take the time to educate yourself on your child's education. Know what their science books are going to tell them about us coming to life through evolution. Know what their health books are going to tell them about reproduction. Know what their kindergarten reading books are going to teach them about same-sex marriages. Yes, you heard me right.

This will shock you, but my dear reader, anytime now - it could be your 5 year old reading about a young Prince finding himself another fine Prince to have as his husband.

Everybody wants to be a winner!!

So here is your chance.

The gentleman that has the power to make you a winner, is married to an awesome woman, and has a gift for conveying unique information.

Enjoy his & hers literary work, and hopefully you'll get to congratulate me when I win the drawing.

My investment of thought for the day...

I stumbled upon a blog sometime back and began following to gain inspiration from a fellow homeschooling mama.

Today when I logged in and read her latest post, I was intrigued with what I found.

So, I took a few moments to check out the first article, and decided to throw a comment in there to give some support to Ms. Stringer.

You can read my comment there, it was my investment of thought for the day.

I signed in under the username Cadle.

After you finish with that, I hope you'll find time to read the first post of hers that I read.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

the activity of conveying information

Hello my faithful followers who demonstrate your support by visiting my spot of blogging and create in me an experience that is altogether warm and fuzzy by making your presence known with a sincere comment that encourages me to keep on writing to appreciate...

I have lots of thoughts stirring around in my head today. I have been on and off writing almost all day, and I'm honestly struggling with the activity of conveying this information.

But here goes nothing...

The topic is communication.

I'm going to describe a few different types of communicators. After you read the descriptions, I ask that you try to figure out which one you relate to the most.

The first is Q - for the quiet person.

A Q is one who just simply doesn't feel the need to voice everything that pops in their head. A Q may giggle over a joke, or even add a story to a conversation if asked, but for the most part they are just more comfortable with someone else leading the conversation. Is a Q always just shy? I know of some Qs who do not feel as confident in their ability to communicate and so their level of interaction with people may vary on the environment. Some may be extremely secure in their ability to communicate and therefore feel no reason to talk just to talk. They may have strong beliefs and convictions, and yet are content to keep it to themselves. Silence in a room of a few people isn't so awkward that Q would begin a conversation just to break the ice. One thing is for sure, a Q rarely has to walk out of a room or hang up the phone asking themselves, "Why on earth did I say that? When will I learn to shut my mouth?"

The second is R - for the reserved person.

I am related to a spitting image of a reserved person but I will hold off on naming her in case she reads this and wants to try to label herself on her own. The "R" person may have strong beliefs and convictions, and they probably don't need to be given an electric volt in order to voice them. I would say that most feel secure in their ability to communicate, but don't have any desire to dominate the conversation. When needed, they could step up and lead a group in a discussion but know when to take a seat and be taught rather than to teach. Speaking isn't something they typically do without thinking and rationalizing first. Therefore, they typically can avoid leaving a room asking themselves the above named questions.

The third is G - for the gabby person.

I have found that a G is typically unable to tolerate silence in a room of a few people, they must break the ice with conversation and then continue to either dominate or facilitate until the very end. There is no question as to if a G does or does not have strong beliefs or convictions, if G does have them, you will need to administrate an electric shock to stop hearing about them and their point of origin. Details are necessary for the shortest of stories. If you already have a G in mind, you know that sometimes you just have to give them that extra hour to finish the 3 minute story or your interruptions may give them a moment to remember something else they must share with you. A G is comfortable leading a group discussion, and probably interrupts often if it is being lead by someone else. The G will almost certainly walk away from every conversation asking the question,"Why on earth did I say that? When will I learn to shut my mouth?"

Communication - the activity of conveying information.

I am a recovering G. Almost all my life I really thought that it was just who I was and that I needed to embrace it rather than feel insecure about it. I finally realized that the insecurity I felt over it was the Holy Spirit trying to help me find a style of conveying information that could help others to see more of Christ and less of Jamie.

Old habits die hard, and I still have days where I wish I wouldn't have been so vocal, but I am hoping that maturity in Christ will create a more reserved spirit within me.

I am grateful to God that, in spite of my flaws, He is still working in me and through me. There have been times when I have had a few people asking me about leading a Bible Study, or ladies from my church who thanked me for something that I may have offered up as we studied together in a group. The Lord hasn't called me to do any of those things right now, and I am quite content with being a keeper of the home that is ministering daily to the needs of my husband and children.

Since I am not going to be starting up my own cult anytime soon, I have been entertaining an idea of sharing some things I am learning here on the blog.

Now, I want to be careful here. I do not want to start a Bible Blog Club that would tempt someone to just read it, comment back, maybe look up a scripture and it just become another drive-thru devotional to add to their ever-slowing digestive system. Some of you may have a daily time that you set aside to study God's word. Some of you might be slacking in that department and need to quit trying to justify why you aren't in God's word in between church services. I am guilty of times where I have let life, hobbies, schooling, and even laziness deafen the voice of my heavenly father who desires more time with me in prayer and the reading of His word. I pray that you and I will be challenged to make that a top priority in our lives.

The objective of starting this will be to open up the lines of communication so that you feel okay sharing whether you are a Q, R, or a G.

The topic of communication is my first attempt at getting your brain going.

Find a passage that gives us an idea of how our Lord wants us to communicate, and what type of information should we be conveying.

I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I shouldn't have...

After surviving my check-up on Wednesday and taking the kids to their annual check-ups on Friday, of course with the help of my paternal chauffeur, I was feeling a little brave yesterday. Maybe too brave?

I woke up around 8:00 to get a shower and get ready for Ethan's game. I was feeling so much better because Friday I had managed to get in the downstairs bathroom and get a shower all by myself. All of us got ready and headed to Ethan's basketball game at The Place, I was feeling really good and was so relieved to be able to get around so much better than the previous Saturday's game.

It turned out that Ethan's team would be playing against the team of Kaitlyn Sweeney. Kaitlyn is Kelly's daughter. Kelly and I had been the bestest of best friends from first grade up. Although the years of jobs and motherhood have kept us from talking and seeing each other on a regular basis, it seems no time is lost when I run into her at sporting events throughout the year. It is as if we are back in high school as we chat each other up about the current phases of life we are experiencing. It was a great game. Ethan's team didn't pull off a victory, although they don't officially keep score, Kaitlyn's team dominated and we had to swallow our pride to admit defeat. Okay, so I'm a little dramatic about it, but I'm telling you, I find great happiness in watching my son play ball.

After the game, I knew Greg would want to grab some food before picking up some groceries and heading home. I thought it best to go ahead and use the restroom at The Place than having to wander around a slippery restaurant floor with my crutches. As I attempted to exit the restroom stall, my extremely handy cell phone slipped out of my sweatshirt pocket and was swept off by the current of the massively strong toilet. I've heard of folks dropping their phones in the toilet, I spent almost 2 years working at US Cellular, I heard lots of things. But actually managing to flush it down the toilet...geez...

Greg found it quite amusing. Let us pause for a moment as we try extremely hard to imagine my husband finding humor in this situation. Okay, I'm done, are you done? As we drove down the hill leaving the gym, he cupped his hand to his ear and looked over at the culvert swearing he heard it ringing.

Moving on.

We went straight to US Cellular where they confirmed my dreaded thoughts...I had remembered calling and taking off a few bells and whistles to lower our phone bill because of my surgery. I knew that I would be at home more than anything in the upcoming months and therefore thought it would be in my best interest to drop the insurance I had on my phone. Um, yeah, well, enough said. I had just purchased this phone back in October. It had cost me almost $200. I had ruined my ipod by accidentally running it through the washer, so I wanted a phone that would also work as a music player. It wasn't too fancy, but it served it's purpose perfectly. I had hundreds of #s stored in it. And now it was gone, and I was paying $110 for a used phone to try to take it's place.

We ate lunch and decided to make the best of our time, we would split up and I would go to Wal-Mart while he went to Sams to get the few items on our list. Greg dropped off Ethan and myself at Wal-Mart. I had every intention of getting one of those scooters and attempting to not humiliate myself by pulling a back and forth Austin Powers episode in front of a Saturday shopping crowd. But I just couldn't bring myself to do it. So, with my faithful silver crutches, we headed off to pick up 5 things. He dropped me off at the grocery side. We walked over to get some pencils and erasers for school, then to get nail polish, then to get a mini sd card for my phone(my other one was now in the sewer), then all the way to the back to get yogurt, and finally back up to get lettuce and to check out. All this time Ethan is pushing the cart while I am walking about 1 step per minute. On the way to retrieve the lettuce, I started to feel my leg giving out. It was getting really heavy and my brace was feeling really tight. We checked out and when i got in the car I realized that I had made a huge mistake. My thoughts were a little walking wouldn't hurt, and would maybe even be good for me.

I was wrong.

We came straight home and I put on some shorts and assumed my position on my reclining couch. My leg was huge. I'm talking HUGE! From the back of my knee down to my toes my leg was bulging. I removed the brace and just couldn't believe how tight my skin was. It was extremely painful and I was just so angry that I had went from feeling so much better to having to prop it up and ice it again.

I spent all of the evening, night, and this morning with it propped up, and also icing it as often as I could. I wanted to be back at church really bad today, but there was just no way. I called the ER last night and talked with a nurse. He said to stay off of it for 24 hrs and then to ease myself back in to walking.

Greg was really disappointed with me for walking all that way in Wal-Mart, he kept saying that he thought I was going to get a scooter, and he wouldn't have dropped me off had he known that I was going to walk it. He was right, it was dumb, and I was paying for it. But in my defense, I thought a little exercise would be good for it.

It is almost 10 this Sunday morning, and here I am in the bed getting ready to eat a bacon biscuit that my husband just brought me.

I don't know if you ever find yourself doing this, but at night when I lay my head down, I do what I call a little emotion evaluation. I just kinda run through what is going on with the relationships in my life to see if there is a little something out of whack that I should work on the next day. The typical things like me and Greg, me and the kids, the people I talked to that day, the people I should have talked to that day, and then I usually pray and drift off to sleep. If there is something not right, and it is something that I have done and I can't fix, I have a hard time just praying and going to sleep. Let's face it, there are worse things that could happen to me than flushing my phone down the toilet or having a swollen leg, but because I caused those things and I can't fix it, it troubles me. I mean it really troubles me.

I find myself wallowing in regret. Now, I know that I shouldn't. I know that the Lord would want me to be focused on my blessings, to be thankful for so many good things going on in my life while others around me are currently suffering major heartache. But I have to admit that I struggle with forgiving myself for doing stupid things. I pray that I will start remembering that as a child of God, He has a purpose for me, and I am getting in the way of that purpose with my ignorant self pity.

Alrighty then, my biscuit is getting cold.