Thursday, August 29, 2013

Melissa’s Weekly Journal WE 8/31

My Weekly Life Summary: 
This week will be fun, I’m traveling to Mississippi for a few days, and the kids are home with sitters while John works. The boys have Jujitsu Monday-Wednesday evenings this week and Abby has ballet on Thursday. The boys are hoping to get a yellow stripe – not sure what that means or how they obtain it, but they are excited.
 John has his first week with his new students! We are praying he does not get any runners!
Praying for: 
Our house to be started/finished in God’s perfect timing – He knows we have family coming from China and Oregon for Christmas. Update: The final paperwork was signed for the final set of changes and the permits were ordered. Our French doors and covered patio is now in the plans and the pricing was very reasonable!
Abby – she has been very naughty lately because she is bored in the mornings while the boys have school. She constantly interrupts and doesn’t play with what I’ve given her. It seems like wherever I put her she destroys something or makes a huge mess. This makes for very long days! I can’t wait for her to start preschool next week – she will go Monday’s and Wednesday’s.
Finding a new helper that can assist a few hours during the week with schoolwork and also fill in for me when I have a meeting or training class. Praise – we have a Homeschooling senior coming to hang out with us on Thursday next week – praying she is a great fit!
Drew’s reading to improve and for him to like reading.

Homeschool  Stuff: 
Gabe has his first Math test this week and Drew is finishing his last assignment for Fullbright Zoology on Flying Creatures Chapter 1. The first lesson was great and Drew is excited for chapter 2 on birds! Drew was also excited because he got a 100% on his Spelling test – that is the first time! He is thrilled to go out to ice-cream with mommy or daddy this weekend as a reward.

Oily Stories
Progesterone for my depression & hormone issues – still going strong!
Johns left shoulder has been in severe pain for many months and I’ve been able to get it down to a 2 using Clove and Cedarwood. This is a huge praise because we were looking to have surgery to keep the muscle in place. His lower back has been sore, I used Panaway which helped!
Drew’s chlorine allergy from the pool was fixed with R.C.

Special Projects:
I cleaned out my office – dusted and wiped everything down. That hadn’t been done in about 6-12 months. Yippee! There are still tons of boxes in the office for packing, but at least the part where I work is clean and organized.
I’m converting my 2011 blog entries to a book this week, its my long-term goal to get each year done and printed for our family library. I also bought the pdf copy so each of the kids can have all our stories written down and they do not fight over the one copy I am buying for the family.

God’s Fingerprints:
John’s back and shoulder are improving – his back and shoulder pain had been at an 8 three months ago. Now that I’ve been using the oils on him every night, his back pain is at a 2 and shoulder fluctuates from a 2-4. I’m so excited, this is his first time being close to pain free! I can’t think of a time in John’s life where he wasn’t in pain. John has been coming home and taking the kids to Jujitsu and then playing blow guns with them in the evenings and reading them their bible story. Prior to the YL oils he would come home from work and crash in bed because his back and shoulder pain took all his energy.
Our ability to keep the kids at home and teach them; as the world goes back to school, it reminds me how blessed I am to teach around the table. Its hard work and unconventional most of hte time, but it works for us!
Transitions within my job, I acquired a new department to work on. This takes away a good chunk of the job I have done for 10 years, but challenges me in a new area. The area I’ll be taking over is Fixed Assets, its never been managed so I’ll be starting with a mess! I’m thankful the company will pay for my training classes and are still allowing me to work from home.

Dreaming about:
What our life will look like when we move to the country! That will be a huge change from having the Kroger in our front yard.

What I'm reading, listening to, and watching: 
I’m (slowly) working through John Piper’s book A Hunger for God.
I just finished Leonard Sax book “Boys Adrift” which shocked me. In the book he addresses 4 top reason why he believes that boys are not making it in our culture. The most shocking information came out of a Harvard study where it was determined that brain stimulating medication like Ritalin can improve focus in not only children with ADHD but also in children who did not have ADHD. The findings also showed that in boys, being on this medication for a mere 3 months increases a boy’s motivation – especially after puberty. The medication alters the brain center where ambition resides and many boys are couch potatoes because they have no desires due to being medicated.
We are working through Hatchet – we have about 8 more chapters left. The boys love it!
Still working on the “Lord, Bless My Child” prayer journal for Drew this year. My goal is to complete it by December.
Reading in the Psalms and refreshing myself with Daniel before the next Precept class begins.

Goals for this week/updates from last:
Paint front door and trim. (Melissa)
Fix motion lights on either side of the garage. (John)
Get up before my kids, have quiet time with the Lord every morning – last week I made it 4 days out of 7.
Get a new phone before my trip since it keeps freezing up on me – done!
Read aloud to the kids 4 afternoons this week – Yippee, we did!
Make/plan dinner for all 5-week days and take the kids to a sit down restaurant and practice manners.  – we practiced eating out, but I only made dinner 3x, the kids didn’t care but my budget did!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sceloporus olivaceus

We found this lizard in our backyard yesterday. We were working on school stuff and Drew saw it all the way across the yard.  I on the other hand  only saw the tail as it was running into my flowers when we approached. It was big! Drew was sad I didn't get to see the whole thing, so he drew a picture and we looked it up on the internet. It fit right into our lesson on classification of animals - the name in English is Spiny Olive Green Lizard!

Artwork by Drew age 8

Poor Assumptions we make as Christians

I was reading this morning in A Hunger for God and a chapter from last month just keeps coming back to me regarding the  Fasting over the course of History (Chapter 5). There were two assumptions Piper brought up that I confess I am very guilty of assuming. I keep coming back to these thoughts, so I thought I'd write them out so I can remember them.

Assumption 1. "It is a mistake to think that God's way with one of his children will be his way with all."
I found this statement refreshing and humbling. How many times have I shared how God spoke into my life and expected Him to work the same way with my husband or children or friend? Or I'd give a formula that worked in my own life to grow deeper and expected it to work with others instead of praying for that person to discover their own methodology which would grow true intimacy?   I also found this very intimate, that God and I have a special language that only I can hear. This powerful statement removes rules and checklists when desiring more of God.

Assumption 2. " Another mistake we can make as Christians in admiring the work of God ... is to think that God's blessing implies his approval of their behavior and doctrine."
Piper goes on to describe the life of Apollos in the New Testament and how Aquila and Priscilla had to set him straight on his teaching even thought God was blessing the church and ministry. He also referenced Romans 2:4 - " Do you not know that God's kindness and forbearance and patience are meant to lead you to repentance."

I've been meditating on this truth for the last few weeks and it keeps coming back. So often times I hear Christians say that the Lord blessed such and such decisions so God must agree with my life. This verse in Romans reminds me that the choices in our family need to be made cautiously and humble before the Lord and a blessing or open door from God isn't necessarily an approval by God. Piper goes on to talk about the Reformation and the false doctrine by prominent pastors of the day who grew churches and  were used to save souls yet their own theology was not biblical. I rested in Exodus 33:19 which states " I will be gracious to whom I am gracious, and will show compassion on whom  I will show compassion."

I love and tremble that my God does not fit into a box and that the Word of God is the plumb-line we must use to deepen our intimacy with Him. God longs for a deep and personal relationship and that takes intentionality from me to give up the things of this life to grow closer to the Lord. What I feel Jesus calling me towards is much harder than a formula, its time and prayerful choices and the giving up of myself. Most days I'd rather resort to a checklist instead of a faith walk.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Melissa’s Journal Week Ending 8/25

I've decided to write my own weekly schedule in my journal as part of the Sunday night routine when I prepare lessons for the kids. It will help me focus on my weekly goals/prayers/projects.

My Weekly Life Summary: 
I’m excited for a full week of homeschooling and finance work – all at home in our safe haven. Its funny how much I think about our home as a haven and cherish it more than I ever use to – it might be because we’re only going to be living here until Christmas

John heads back to work after a fun and productive summer.

I’m leaving for Mississippi on Sunday evening for a business trip, I’m not a huge fan of business trips anymore, but its only for a few days and I’m learning some new software so  I can manage the companies fixed assets.

My camera is back from being repaired so I hope to make up for a lot of lost picture taking opportunities.

Praying for: 
Our house to get started/finished in God’s perfect timing – He knows we have family coming from China and Oregon for Christmas.
Our cell group to become closer and more committed to the Word of God
My job and the juggling act that comes with it
Drew’s reading to improve (thank you Lord for the slow but steady improvement!)
John going back to school and the upcoming school year, for administration and the students

Homeschool  Tips/Lessons: 
Make a yearly schedule, and then break it into Quarters, weeks, and then days. Each Sunday pull out all the work for that week and make the kids lists. It keeps us all on track to have a plan! So far, we are three weeks strong!

Special Projects:
Painting the house, touching up walls, changing out worn locks and replacing the doors on the shed in preparation for moving to our property and a renter taking over our well loved home. I’m not sure if I can let it go – so many memories and dreams were made in this place.

God’s Fingerprints:
The Lord was so gracious to provide us a great renter, its someone we know and he is single and older, so the house will be well cared for. He also wants new carpet (which I’ve been wanting for a long time) so  in lieu of a security deposit we told him he could put in new  carpet upstairs. He will also bring his own appliances so we will have some cash when selling all the current appliances. The best part is he never wants to move, so we won’t have to find another renter in a year. God is great!

A second praise is my attitude and depression issues are gone! Through a neat series of events I attended a class on Young Living essential oils about 3 months ago and have been integrating them into our daily life ever since. We all love them, John’s back pain is so low and the kids asthma is much better and my depression and anxiety were fixed with an essential oil that delivers progesterone from plants. I had no idea I was lacking in hormones, but now that I think about it, it makes sense since I felt great pregnant because I was on progesterone shots! This oil has been a huge answer to my prayers and my husbands prayers!

Dreaming about:
My children making their beds and putting their clothes away?  Instilling good habits into the kids.

Our chicken coop that needs to be made for the baby chicks that will arrive the end of September! I am praying our neighbors do not notice them in our backyard... originally I thought we would be moving in October so we wouldn’t have long to keep them before moving – oops!

Planning out an orchard on the new property and trying to do it cheaply is posing to be a  challenge.

What I'm reading, listening to, and watching: 
I’m (slowly) working through John Piper’s book A Hunger for God, I’ve been meditating on this quote for the week, which has been very true in my life. “We will only maintain our stability and unshakable confidence if we keep our focus on the unchanging God and take rising or receding tide as a work of infinite wisdom for the accomplishment of God’s holy purposes.” Page 100

We are back to read alouds! Drew’s school was very intense last year and I felt like all we did was get him through the check list and read alouds were forgotten. Therefore, this year they are back in our schedule! We are a few chapters into Hatchet and the kids are loving it – thanks Mrs. Kelly for the suggestion.

I’m enjoying TOS annual convention online via gotomeeting, I’m only hearing a few of the speakers since its busy around here in the afternoons, but I’ll get a link to hear all the speakers on Friday.

Working on the “Lord, Bless My Child” prayer journal for Drew this year. My goal is to complete it by December.

Reading in the Psalms and refreshing myself with Daniel before the next Precept class begins.

Goals for this week:
Get up before my kids, have quiet time with the Lord every morning
Get a new phone before my trip since it keeps freezing up on me
Read aloud to the kids 4 afternoons this week
Make/plan dinner for all 5-week days and take the kids to a sit down restaurant and practice manners.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

School Happenings and Life

We just completed two weeks of school and we're still on schedule, wow I  can't believe it! In these first two weeks we've worked through a lot of fun material. The highlight for Drew was his paper airplane experiment and the history reading - we're currently reading about The Phoenicians and Assyria. Fun times! Gabe and Drew are plugging along with their schedule and doing quite well - its fun to see them sit on the couch and read silently and then share about what they read.

We're sad to see John head back to work on Monday - sniff sniff! I really enjoyed him home this summer. He is currently running around the house finishing up last minute projects like - molding around the mirrors and a new shed door. I'm painting and touching up things around the house, trying to make it look less lived in! We celebrate 10 years in this home in November - about the time we move into our new house that is being built. I was praising the Lord today when I realized how he directed us to this home, our original plan was to not have kids right away and we were looking at a smaller 1400 sf home, when this 2150 sf home landed in our lap. What a blessing because we would have wanted to move from the smaller house and God knew that ahead of time and blessed us with this bigger home for the same price.

Our new home build is finally getting started - 3 months later than I thought. We made a lot of changes and it all took time and patience. We're excited to watch the house go up and let the kids enjoy country life - I've been drawing yard plans and researching the fruit orchard I want to plant. I foresee a homeschool class in horticulture in our future!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First Day of School 2013

Vacation is officially over!
(pardon the lack of pictures, my camera is in the repair shop so I didn't get to document most of it)

Monday we started back to school! It was a quiet day since Gabe was still in Oklahoma with my mom. It was special to work with just Drew and Abby. Our first day wasn't too eventful, we've been working through Math and Reading and phonics for most of the summer so we started back with the basics.  Here is what the first day looked like:

Drew stayed up with mommy and daddy to watch "The Hobbit" which is a super big deal in our house. In the morning he slept in so school didn't get started as early as I'd liked.... (what was I thinking? He was up until 11!).
Not sure what he is doing? Maybe a lesson on if sand is digestible?

So we hit the books about 10:00 and worked until noon on Math and Explode the Code and Zoology. We started our day with "The Big Dig" which is our Bible study in the book of Luke. The kids and I are really enjoying the lessons, I'm taking a Precept type review and am still asking them the main points in Luke. We had taken a 6 week break so I was impressed that they at least remembered the Author (Luke)! Drew enjoyed coloring in his Zoology Notebook Journal and we learned about classifying animals - Latin lingo and other great terms like Taxonomy! I am determined to review and review this year so Drew doesn't forget his hard work, so I've got spiral note-cards for each subject and I add review questions as we go. Drew memorized the classification of animals by committing "Kings Play Chess On Fine Glass Sets" to memory. Tomorrow we're grabbing all the stuffed animals in the house and trying to classify them  - pray for me, we have a lot of stuffed animals!

This kid ran so much at the beach, I am glad he comes back because I didn't know where he was most of the time!
I managed a History lesson this morning on the Exodus out of Egypt, which led into a conversation about Joseph and famine and wandering in the wilderness and the theme of Genesis and Exodus. We are finishing up the second part of "The Story of the World" book 1 this year. The kids colored pictures of the 10 plagues and pasted them on a paper, Thursday we're tracking the Israelite journey over the red sea to Canaan on a map! Today Drew had his first 3rd grade Math test - since he had worked ahead this summer. He did well with a 95% - only missed the silly clock problem. We're still working on telling time and the calendar, but this second grade year will be his year to get those!

I'll start Shurley grammar next week as we ease into school - same with Geography and vocabulary.

We started the new spelling curriculem for Drew called A Reason for Spelling, he also is working on books B and C in A Reason for Handwriting. The C book is cursive, so we're working both books, the B book isn't too hard and Drew loves the bible verses. They boys have 30 minutes of silent reading and sight word review. They also worked on their Flashmaster for 10 minutes each today - reviewing Math facts.

Finally, Drew went to the Mint with his Nana and learned all about how money is made. He made it out alive and had a great time!

Friday is our light day - the kids just have Spelling tests, Drew has a classification quiz and then we're headed on a scavenger hunt for field study!

So far, it has not been too bad. Gabe has been a little stinker and isn't quiet ready for school to start, but he is way ahead so I let him slide through today with just a few math problems and a page of phonics.

Well - off to relax a little, its been a great but long day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Summer Fun in Oregon

 We vacationed in Oregon this summer, the kids and John spent three weeks basking in the PNW sunshine. I tagged along for the last 10 days. It was a great trip with trips to see grandparents, cousins, second cousins, aunts and uncles. We visited Grants Pass, Beaverton, Silverton, the coast, hiked the gorge and managed two trips to Seattle.

 Gabe and Drew loved the ocean, there were not many pictures of them because they ran the whole time. I had a really hard time keeping my eyes on them, finally  I just gave up and assumed they would keep an eye out for us. They did. Man those boys burned a lot of energy!

 The boys went canoeing with their Uncle David, they made some  great memories. They also went canoeing with their daddy but the canoe got stuck on the other side of the inlet and Uncle David and Papa Tractor had to go save them!

 By the end of our beach day Abby was down to a sweat shirt!

 We went to Oneonta in the George. It is a special place for us because John and I hiked to this falls when we were dating. The water fall is located about a quarter mile down a river with a huge rock face on both sides. Its breathtaking! It is a tradition to take the kids hiking there whenever we go "home" to Oregon. Last year John took the boys and our good friends the Whites. I had stayed home with Abby last year, so this was super special for Abby and I to tag along.

 Uncle Scotty fixed up the cable ride that his dad rigged for them when John and his brothers were little. How the grand-kids get to enjoy! Drew and Gabe had the best time flying down the property!
 I love it that the boys are best friends and help one another through difficult situations!

 We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory and saw how cheese is made. Then we endulged in some yummy Tillamook ice-cream!
 Here is Grandma Patti and her Texas grandkids!

The three brothers and their mom!

We fit time in for the Portland Zoo!