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Mug of the Month #2

frenchpress2Hello there, August. Bye bye July, you sneaky fast month, you.

Here’ my July/August M.O.M

My coffee of choice has been split between a smattering of ceramic mugs.  So, the coffee shall be the star this month.  I’ve been french pressing these days.  My smallest press gives me just enough joe for one gigantic jug.   I’ve even been known to drink it straight from the press. Oily, frothy, and feisty this method has me playing old melancholy music from my teen years.  Earbudding bits of Jeff Buckley, Nick Cave, and some Counting Crows pep me up and get my brain a’workin.   This is summer and for a homeschooling mama that means planning next year, attending training webinars, and even a convention or two. But it’s also the season to play and splash with my kiddos in our blow up pool.  They want fun moms to replace school moms.  They beg for board games and new adventures.  The long to find lost things and hide new things.  (AKA rock painting) And so, time is not my friend these months.  Nor is my tired mind.  Thus the deep draughts of dark deliciousness.  Sans proper or even paper cup.  I’ve really been enjoying an organic coffee I picked up in Montana.  Though I brew it sparingly. Who knows when my next road trip will lead me north?

Devotions:   I’ve been drawn to simpler methods of study during this season.  Using an app called ReadScripture I’m starting at Genesis and working my way to Revelation.  I’m decidedly slow in my reading.  I’m training my heart to linger over God’s word the way my senses linger over steamy slugs of coffee.  I want to discover details and get lost in the poetry and savor the ongoing saga that is the Bible.  Thanks to the app an alarm chirps near 8 am every morning reminding me to read.  Most of the time I don’t even allow my feet to feel carpet before I feast.  This is a newer and sometimes impossible habit I’m growing into.  I want to be a walker, a doer, not just a hearer.  So, I read first.  Even when the brew now button is beaconing.  Determining to make God my strength in action and thought and not depend solely on coffee to wake me up and get my day going.  The kids follow along if they’re awake.  (remember it’s summer).  If they’re occupying a pillow nearby I read aloud.  Sometimes, I read aloud anyway.  This helps me focus and not fall back asleep.  Try the app out.  It’s a simple encouragement to read the entirety of God’s word from start to finish.frenchpress1

What we’re reading:   Being summer the kiddos tend to take care of their book habit via Librivox.org.   They particularly love the narrator Kara Shallenberg of Kayray.org.  They’ve devoured The Hobbit, for the 100th time, listened to the Melendy quartet again and again, and branched off from each other to enjoy The Secret Garden and some Jim Wiess readings.   For me, as I’ve been cleaning and coordinating and collaging the next school year together,  I’ve been enjoying some Christian Fiction.  I’m not a huge fan of the genre, as I like my fiction addictive and not overly preachy.  But I fell headlong into Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.   Oh my my… how I loved the drama of it.   I loved the spurts of daily life humor.  I loved the aching angst of a heart struggling to understand grace.  It is now one of my all-time favorites.  Which is saying something, since  I normally dabbling in delightful narratives for the youngers.  I listened via Audible.  Not a child-friendly read my earbuds got a workout as I plugged them in and toted the characters around the house with me.  I challenge anyone not to enjoy this novel. I finished the entire 17 hours in less than four days.  That’s a lot of finagling and finessing of family and manipulation of time.  Though I don’t regret a second of it. This book was not only entertaining but inspired me to action.  Growing closer to the Lord and loving others more wholeheartedly.   If only I could apply my mad time management skills to homeschool prep work. Oh well, maybe next year.

Hormones

Tube Tied

Strapped down, drugged, and tired I watched as my husband left the room. I still split open. Him carrying my beautiful Sprout. The pressure of hands diligently putting me back together tugged at my empty belly. I kept my breathing light, waiting for the words that I’d prayed for, I’d begged for. When they came, I was left dumb. “Are you certain you want to do this?” mumbled the voice of my OB, bringing me the opportunity I’d longed for in secret. The opportunity, I reluctantly and painfully, turned down. The room went to work and I asked my anesthesiologist to put my guilt-ridden heart to sleep.
After not desiring motherhood (that’s another story), I’d been unexpectedly swept to my knees with joy, with Bean, my firstborn. I loved him before I was certain he was real. I adored him from the second the double lines appeared on the simple plastic stick. But growing him was not an easy task on my body. At 5 months, I was taken off work and warned to limit my standing time. A wise prescription since I had developed a habit of passing out at work. The next long weeks were devoted to stress tests and monitoring. I was careful but not too worried. Many women I’d known had a worse go of their maternity months. My baby seemed safe at every doctor’s appointment. I was tired, achy, fat and mostly happy.
Then came the birth, 38 hours of panic, pain, and punishment for an emergency cesarean, a newborn with water on his lungs, a frantic husband and family, and even more pain and weakness. I’d nearly lost Bean two times during labor. One of which I myself was in trouble, and prayed that God would have the medical team make Chef leave the room, so terrified hubby wouldn’t have to watch me die. God was more than gracious to answer my prayer and go above and beyond my request. Bean lit up my world and the world of those he touched in an instant. I was charmed and changed and converted. I actually enjoyed being a mother. I thrilled in it, good ababyfeetnd bad, messy and miraculous, fearfully and faithfully. I couldn’t wait to do the whole thing again.
But it took over two years to conceive Sprout. Again, I loved and cherished her as she bloomed inside my body. This time things were better. Until the end of my seventh month, when my heart couldn’t take the excitement or the strain. I, again, started passing out. Though, now, I had a terrified toddler watching me do it. I also began blacking out, while sitting. At 9 months, I was told it was no longer safe for me to spend the entire day alone. My family took care of me. My sister and mother in law visited me often, and let me sleep.
During this time, my husband and mother started to wonder whether another pregnancy would be wise. Even I questioned if my body could carry another baby, no matter how toned and strong I made it before implantation. Loved ones began debating with me the merits of two children having a healthy mother over more children having a sickly mother. Or no mother at all. I understood their fears, but I did not want to relinquish this new purpose I’d discovered. Tubal ligation was casually brought up by my doctor in the presence of my husband. Deal sealed.
So, in the spirit, I prayed. I pleaded. I petitioned. In the physical world, I told my family I would have my tubes tied. They nearly hooted with relief. I signed my consent and filled in all the required forms. Meanwhile, I still hoped If the Lord was willing to protect me even once more, if His plan for me didn’t include my sterilization then I asked one thing of Him. Just one thing. While in the operating room have my doctor ask me if I was certain. I told no one else.
And the question came. A moment of rapture swept over me. A moment I relinquished to fear. The moment after my reply was so terrible and sorrow soaked, I asked for sleep. As if sleep would save me.
Why? Why did I do it if God had given me a Damascus light confirmation? Why did I give up something I could never get back? At first, I blamed my husband. He wasn’t in the room when the question came. I was being submissive and respectful. I was keeping my word to him and my mother. For a long long time, I allowed this reasoning to cover up my hypocrisy. I was embittered and hostile, on a monthly basis for the lack of more children. My poor husband.
It was me. All me. Selfish with the happiness I’d found. Terrified it would be taken away. Unwilling to risk the uncomfortable. I choose to rid myself of more blessing because I wasn’t willing the bear the trial.
Tubal ligation is a decision each woman and her spouse should make in the light of God’s word and His calling for them. I ignored His grace and wisdom. My choice may be the choice God wants another to make for herself and her family. Listen to Him, if it is. But please listen to Him if it isn’t. It is not a choice to take lightly or merely to avoid inconvenient contraception. Allow God to control what only He can truly control. Trust and obey.
For me, every month I hope for the rare statistic. I hope He has made a way for me to conceive again. I mourn for the children I could have carried. I ask the barren to forgive me for tossing aside what they long for. I badger myself for not seeking alternative forms of birth control. (Pills and IUDs are not for me.) I wish I’d researched and found Sheila Wray Gregoire her blog http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com  . There, she clearly lays out multiple forms of contraception. Methods that don’t mess with one’s hormones or heart.
I have never had peace since that one little “yes”. Though I’ve sought forgiveness and know I have it, I struggle to truly forgive myself. I am confident that the Lord is working out my failing to the good of His purposes. I am happy and blessed and my house is loud with laughter. But I will always wonder, I will always pine, and I will always wish I had grabbed tightly to the Lord’s hand and followed.
I know I can’t be alone in my remorse. I also know I am not conventional in my opinions. Neither am I anyone’s critic or accuser. This post is just one woman’s point of view and offering of honesty for my friends who may be apprehensive to share their feelings. For those who may be tube tied and tongue tied, enjoy what the Lord has given and don’t let another adventure slip from your grasp. Hugs to my mom heroes. (that’s all of you) from sarah the coffee jedi

photo credit: sean dreilinger newborn feet – _MG_4072 via photopin (license)License: (license)

Homeschool

Together Time, Blue’s Clues and the Challenge Years

Long before I considered teaching my children from home our family had adopted the habit of morning time. We’d come together, open God’s word, pray, read, play and discover the world before separating into our individual routines. How did this begin? I didn’t have an epiphany as I read the scriptures. There was no correlation between how Jesus bonded with and taught the 12 that brought about our quaint routine. At the time, I had never heard of Pam Barnhill, Sarah Mackenzie, Charlotte Mason, or any other home school savant. I hadn’t even read a single book on child education. No, Bean, my then 3-year-old, came up with it after watching the highly regarded kids’ educational show called Blue’s Clues. Yes, the episode titled “Blue Takes You to School” started it all. Periwinkle, the cat, begins preschool and wants to know Blue’s favorite part of the day. The paw prints lead to circle time which is a section of the class that leads the students to a rug where they learn and share together. It even had its own song “Circle time, circle time, it can be anything as long as we’re together.”
As an enthusiastic new big brother, Bean wanted to share circle time with his sister. After breakfast, we’d plop her pudgy baby booty into her Bumbo and gather around on the floor. There, with help from me, Bean would re-enact an abridged version of his Sunday School Class. Singing with puppets and dolls, he would teach her that her senses

were God gifts and could be used to explore the world the Father had made. (Mostly with Moo Moos here and there and the like) The whole cute scene took only five minutes but bonded us for the day. Afterward, I would nurse the girl, Bean would snuggle beside us and we’d watch a show or listen to an audiobook together. I had no idea how this little habit would grow into the feast of fellowship it has become.541417081_7960714e0a_m (1)Homeschool grew more formal. Circle time became known as together time. Morning routine switched to the afternoon and back again. Still, together time was our bonding time. As the kids sprouted, we used curriculum like My Father’s World to guide our time and introduce us to missionaries of the past and unseen populations of the world. We added prayer baskets and dedicated time to hymns and celebration. Then teen life started and with it a new curriculum and a more rigid schedule. Classical Conversations’ Challenge program seemed like a perfect segway between family together time and learning to express oneself to one’s peers. So, Bean jumped in. But with Challenge A came a new load of data to digest and a greater need for a more focused individual learning time. At first, we mournfully buried together time. Wasn’t Bean absorbing more important information? The weekly planner was brimming with interesting ideas and hours of workload. Surely together time was just a burden and misplaced use of energy.
What I didn’t see, until the fighting started, was the sudden and scary segregation that canceling our routine would cause. A distance between siblings. Bitter angst on my end and a bit on my boys created walls. On my knees in desperation and tears, God brought a simple tune to my heart. “Circle time, circle time it can be anything as long as we’re together.” Duh! Thank the Lord for Blue’s Clues.

So, together time morphed and returned to its humble beginnings. It couldn’t last 2-3 hours every day. But 15 minutes was enough to reunite us and pump us up for harder labor. What does it look like now, you ask? Like the song says it can be anything. Recently it’s been a short Bible verse discussed with the five common topics. Following that is a short cursive lesson which review for Bean but new for Sprout. Sometimes we toss in a poem or hymn. More often than not we leave the languid family read aloud for evening time or even Audible it out on car drives. One blessing is combining subjects to broaden our conversation while limiting our time spent. With books like Prayers that Changed History by Tricia Goyer, we can lump Bible study, prayer time, history, geography, and character training into one 20 minute reading. We add in time whenever, wherever, and however, we can. If Bean is ahead in his week or family strain is getting palpable, we ramble through our time instead of blast through it. Discovering new material. Revisiting old friends. Drilling Latin or math facts. Playing a short game, “educational” or not. Singing and praying. It truly can be anything… as long as we’re together.
The teen years and Challenge years are not the time to drop out of routines. Family involvement is more crucial than ever. If you’ve never instituted a together learning time, do so! You won’t regret it. Will kids always joyfully sit beside you and read? Uh, nope. Do you have to make it ultra-academic? Again, nope. Will you get behind in the curriculum? Uh, possibly. But what’s more exhilarating than going down a relational rabbit trail filled with light bulb moments and laughter. Just remember it doesn’t have to take all morning. It’s the connection that’s vital. Trials become adventures only when they are traveled with friends and family. Together time is the perfect way to remind yourself and your kids that you’re a team and life is the best mission ever.
Gather your kiddos. Allow them to bring a coloring book and crayons, a sketchpad and pencil, maybe play dough, or even a puzzle. As long as their task is quiet and not distracting let them bring it along. Next, is grab your favorite book and your favorite snack to share. Set a timer for 15 minutes and go. When the buzzer sounds, put down your book. Hooray! You’ve finished your first together time. But you were in the middle of a chapter? Your kids want more? You don’t want to stop, either? Great! Everyone will be even more excited for tomorrow’s time. Remember this time can be molded and grown, no need to start out elaborately. Keep it simple. Keep it real. Keep it together. You can do this! Let me know how it goes.

Don’t know how to start? There are great blogs and podcasts out there to show you the way. Here’s a couple for you.
https://amongstlovelythings.com   (Sarah Mackenzie and the Read Aloud Revival)
https://edsnapshots.com/basket    (Pam Barnhill and Your Morning Basket)

photo credit: sean dreilinger Family StoryMinute – (license)_MG_6491 via photopin (license)

Mug of the Month

Mug of the Month #1

Mug of the Month:  An eclectic list of goodies. Including but not limited to:  The best cup of joe I’ve had in the last 30 days.  What scripture spoke to me the loudest and the method I used to study it.  Books I’m reading be it for pleasure, work, or school.  What my kids are reading.  Any new workouts, routines, games, or the like that has marked the calendars in my home.  Sit back and enjoy.

2017-07-17_13.36.40

This mug of the month is a destination drink.  Dreaming of vacation days in the mountains brought about remembrance of a cozy, creative, eclectic ambiance drizzled with moody melodies and seasoned with the scent of new rain. The most recent addition to my list of favorite places. The Red Caboose.  Great coffee.  Cute take away cups. Lovely, artistic atmosphere.  Yummy, yummy, coffee.  I drank mine straight and steaming. Delicious. Check them out   http://redcaboose.coffee/

Scripture study:  Ephesians.  With my trusty whiteboard at my side, the kidlets and I strolled half a chapter at a time through this short epistle.  We used key word outlines to short out what spoke to us and then compared all of our lists at the end.What is a key word outline?  Just that. A hunt for the key or repeated words in the passage.  Write down up to five.  Sometimes we dictionary dive for a better understanding of a word or phrase. For this round, each of us chose one word a piece from the section and then we worked together to come up with the last two.   What stood out most to us? Because of God’s humongous love, He sent us Jesus so we could benefit from His GRACE.  Which then makes it possible for us to love others.

Reading:   School’s out!  Yippee!  So, mostly we’ve been using Audible for our read alouds. This mama’s brain is overloaded.   My favorite family read this month was Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith. (Check it out below) It had us laughing out loud and even entertained dad. Perfect length for a road trip with enough cliff hangers to keep us all involved, even after quiet time and potty breaks.

Personally, this is the time of year, I read how to homeschool books or books of encouragement. Honestly,  I haven’t had the stamina. (As I may have mentioned previously,  I have brain overload)  But,  I have been diving full force into Classical Conversations Essential Program, as I am tutoring a class this fall.  Whoa, has it ever been so enlightening and terrifying!  But that’s how this mama rolls.  Biting off life in huge meaty chunks.

And on that delicious note,  what Mug of the Month moments did you experience this June?

PS:  If you get so lucky as to stroll into Whitefish MT, check out the Red Caboose. I’ll join you in spirit.

Uncategorized

Why start yet another blog in a bogged down bloggy world

 

Well, why not? After attending an inspiring weekend at a CHEA of CA convention I was left seriously considering it. I have little skills, little knowledge, but I was more than a little encouraged. That leads to now. Here. Me, bumbling and stumbling and blogging away.
I have a story or two to spin but not enough brain power to plod my way through a novel. I have life experiences similar to some, unfamiliar to others. I’ve lived through and with my share of difficulties and I’ve had my bundle of exciting and uplifting events I’m a homeschooling mama of two. The wife of an awesome although underappreciated chef. I’m hitting my late 30’s and the hormone shifts that accompany middle age. I’m a snarky bitter rebel at heart, daily softened and sanctified by the love my unshakeable Savior, Jesus Christ.
But who cares? Why add my voice to a web of voices? Because, I have a feeling there are more than a few cyber kindred spirits out there who need an encourager along their journey. Moms who fret over their ability to teach their children. Women who struggle with spiritual and martial submission. Gals who may stay up way past their bedtime in hopes to finish a single cup of coffee while it’s still warm. Wanderers who wonder if anyone out there hears their hearts sigh. If you fall anywhere in that mix, or if you’ve tripped over my blog by mistake, welcome. This blog is for you. Thanks for visiting.