Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Status Report, Book Log for November, etc.

Sitting…in my big recliner.
Drinking…coffee. Stevia in the Raw sweetener, and a touch of Coffeemate Caramel Machiatto.
Complaining…mentally about not complaining.  I had a big, silly, self-centered day of shopping planned.  I had gotten money for my birthday, and was going to just go and have a day of it.  Then one of my kids began throwing up last night.  So, I realize that scrapping my silly, self-centered plans for the day is not a big deal.  And I am not complaining.  But I would like to.  Does that make sense?
Realizing…that complaining about anything is a useless waste of time, and more importantly, is not pleasing to the Lord.
Convicted…that I should really be quiet and get over myself.  
Reading…nothing right now - though I have A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch on the table next to me.  I will probably start it today.  I get all excited when I am trying out a new author for the first time.  
Anticipating…going on a family road trip soon, as long as no one else starts barfing.
Listening…to the dryer on "fluff" now, as it is full of throw pillows from the sofa.  Where the barfer was sitting last night.  Just saying, you fill in the blanks.
Almost ready…for my science co-op tomorrow, which is a shame, because if the barfer is not 100% better in a few hours (and no one else is sick) I will be cancelling.
Wondering…if I am going to get sick, too.
Thankful…that my life is such that we can re-arrange for sickness, etc.  Thankful that we homeschool, and that our business is in our home, so I don't have the stress of having to be somewhere else.  Also thankful that as I get older I am learning to "go with the flow" more.  
Ready…for whatever the Lord brings my way today!

And now, since I read so few books last month, I might as well just pile these posts together!


A Duty to the Dead - Charles Todd - 4 (out of 5) - first in the Bess Crawford mystery series.  Bess is an English nurse serving in World War I.  While home recuperating from an injury, she takes a deathbed message from one of her patients to his family.  There she finds a mystery, an family secret surrounding a murder, and a few more suspicious deaths.  I would say that if you like the Laurie R. King "Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes" books you will probably enjoy this one as well. 

A Shilling For Candles - Josephine Tey -3 - this is only the second Tey that I have read. She wrote in the same time period as Agatha Christie, so her books have that sort of feel to them.  Lots of characters, at some points it was hard for me to keep track of who the minor players were.  

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis - 4 - a read aloud with my younger boys.  Always like Narnia, this is one of my favorites.

And that is it!  I picked up and put down lots of books, and really just had a hard time finishing anything.  I am blaming it on too much social media.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday on the Homestead

It has been a very nice, very relaxed week.  Nevin has spent the last two weekends deer hunting.  This is the last weekend of rifle season, so he is gone for a few more days.  So far Ben got one during youth season, and Nevin got three last weekend.  Our freezers are filling up!  We did some processing this week, and for those who don't get all squeamish over fresh meat, here are picks from our activities!

Nevin and Ben, hard at work.  They cut up the meat out here, I package and label it inside.

Everyone gets in on the project.
I love having a full freezer, and I especially love that we have done it all ourselves.  Looking forward to some good eating this winter!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Happy Birthday to My Twenty Year Old Self

My friend Anne at Not A Supermom posted this earlier this week - a letter to her twenty-year-old self.  There is a linky thing on her website so that you can blog on the same topic and link it to others who have done the same.

I don't have a good picture of my twenty-year-old self right now.  Maybe later.

But, without further ado, here is the birthday letter:

Dear Paula,

Happy 20th birthday, December 2nd, 1985.  Tonight you are going to go out with some friends, drink cheap draft beer and overall have a pretty good time. Your life is generally a mess, it is true, but right now you have a smidgen of hope.  You moved out of the dorm, you have joined a sorority and living in the house.  Basically, you have done another "geographic."  You don't know that term yet, but you will in 1993.  A geographic is when you move from one place to another, thinking that if you could just get away from there, then everything would be fine.  Problem is, you keep taking you with you.  You have a few more geographics to come, but that is later.

For today, I am glad you are happy.  You just came home from Thanksgiving break, your father bought you a beautiful bright blue wool coat.  All is fine.  A few more weeks of school, finals and then Christmas break at home.  Christmas parties are being planned with your sorority sisters, possibilities are in the air.  Enjoy today, because in eight days it is all going to collapse.

On December 10, your mom is going to call.  Your father and brother are going to be in a terrible accident.  Your little brother is going to be physically okay, but the scars are going to go deep.  Your dad, on the other hand is going to be in persistent vegetative state for the next 7 1/2 years.

And you, Paula, are going to fall apart.  Over the cliff, no holds barred, freefall.

If I could give you one piece of advice right now, it would be, "Whatever you think is a good idea, do the opposite."  Every choice you make is going to be wrong.  Literally, every.single.one.  I would love to tell you about how the Lord is going to preserve you, but I don't know that you would listen to religious talk.  You have been to church, done all that.  Didn't work.  I know.  But listen to this - there are going to be some dark, dark moments coming up - times when you honestly don't think you can go on another day.  And something - someone - some small remnant of a Sunday School lesson or a sermon or a hymn from long ago is going to give you just enough to keep going.  Just enough.

You are going to pull yourself up by your bootstraps a few times, take those geographic cures several times, and in the meantime you will finish college, and go through a series of jobs.  You will leave a path of wreckage behind you, like a tornado whirling through peoples' lives.

Be nicer to your mom and your grandma, by the way.  They are going to pull you butt out of the fire more times than you can count.  Appreciate them more.

But hey -it isn't all gloom in doom.

In late June of 1993 you will finally reach the end of your rope.  You've tied a knot and hung on so many times, and at 27 you are too tired and too worn out to do it anymore.

And finally, FINALLY - you will be broken enough.  And God will save you.  He will take away your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  You will cry out to him with this new heart and repent.  

And it is all different.  Suddenly, it really is.  You will quit drinking.  You will see life through new eyes.  You aren't going to realize at the time that this, this moment, is when God saves you.  You are still deluded by the theology of your youth, that walk-the-aisle-repeat-the-prayer notion of salvation.  That is going to lead you on a spiritual journey to understand what salvation really means.  But, maybe another letter.  When you are forty or so!

In July of 1993 Daddy will die, never having woke up from the permanent vegetative state.  The night before is the last time you will drink or use a drug up to and including today - over 19 years so far.  Not bad for someone who couldn't go more than a day or so for years and years.

You are going to make new friends.  You are going to meet him.  The real HIM, that God has for you.  You will build a life together, build a home, build a family, be part of a community.

You are going to homeschool your four (yes four, I am not joking!) sons.

Yes, it is legal.  No, you won't worry about socialization.

Your husband (his name is Nevin, don't go looking for him now though, he is a big mess at twenty, too) is going to build you a little house out in the forest, with his own two hands.  He is going to grow into a Godly man, and he is going to lead you.  Yes, lead you.  You will understand later, don't start panicking now.  It is going to be good.

Life will not always be perfect, as the world sees perfect.  The house is going to get crowded and messy, the kids are loud (you cannot imagine how loud four boys can be), you will own your own business and that is going to have its' ups and downs and lots of stress.

But Paula, the Lord is good.  He is merciful, and his grace and mercy have no end.  God is going to reveal himself to you, over and over, and it is good.

It is good.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Can You Be Grateful All Month Long?

November is always the Thanksgiving month, the gratitude, the thankful month.  A whole month of gratitude?  We should certainly be grateful every single day for our blessings. But (always that "but") - how often do I find myself ungrateful, or grumbling, or complaining?  Any is too often.  Whatever is in the Believer's life is there because the Lord has allowed it.  All the Lord does is good.  He is sovereign, He is all-knowing.  For me, sinful and with extremely limited knowledge to complain or grumble about what he has given me is..well, it is ludicrous!

I just looked in my concordance for verses on thanks, thanksgiving, and all forms of blessings.  Way too many to list - that can be your project for today - look up a few of those verses and meditate on them!  It is going to be mine.

If we are to give thanks always, maybe focusing on it every day -through this little blog- could be a way to start.  To get in practice, as it were.

And I am already three days behind!

I can start off with gratitude to my Lord, Jesus Christ, for my salvation.  Here is a section of Psalm I read a few weeks ago that has plastered itself to my heart:
Some were fools through their sinful ways,
and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
they loathed any kind of food,
and they drew near to the gates of death.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
and delivered them from their destruction.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man.
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
Psalm 107:17-22

That was me, dying and miserable in my sin, and the Lord reached down and softened this hard heart of stone, gave me a heart of flesh that I could have faith in Him.  He saved me, plain and simple.  Through no works of mine (so I can't boast!) but strictly by His mercy.

Day 2, for my wonderful family - Nevin and the guys.  I never dreamed of the life I would have, and some days I just wake up amazed at what the Lord has done.  This life is not perfect in the sense that the world uses - often the work is hard, the money is tight, and sometimes people just plain get on my nerves.  But, this is where God has put me, and even on days where I am struggling, I stop and realize that this blessing, this family, is so much more than I ever thought possible.

Monday was our 18th anniversary. Some years have been harder than others, but it has always been an adventure.  When I married Nevin I was one who never thought "outside the box".  I would have bought a newer house, with the income from my 8-5 job (where you got a regular paycheck with benefits), had 1.6 children, and done all the things you are just supposed to do.  Nevin not only thinks outside the box, I don't know if he'd recognize a box if he met it.  He was self-employed when I met him, and except for a brief foray into regular employment (because he knew I really wanted him to get a regular job, I think) he has always been.  He has gutted a very old house and made it our home, then he built this house in the middle of a forest.  He built a business, and then convinced me to leave my regular job and work with him.  Live in the forest, own a business, homeschool the kids, raise chickens, process your own deer meat....crazy, I know.  But here we are.  Anything is possible, and there are opportunities everywhere.  

He is deer hunting this weekend, so maybe absence makes the heart fonder!  But truly, I am so grateful for the husband God gave me, how he follows the Lord and leads us.

And for today.....grateful that I am almost done grading lab reports for my science co-op!  And so very grateful to see that they seem to be getting it, in spite of the somewhat haphazard instruction they are getting.

So, today, start practicing daily gratitude - let's do it together!  After a month, hopefully it will be instant and automatic!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reading Log for October, 2012

I only read three books this month - I am having a terrible time FINISHING any lately!

The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins - 2 - considered the first (and the longest) of the English detective novels.  Mr. Collins seems to have a cult following.  It took me two months to finish 500+ pages.  I had a hard time staying focused.  And....I knew who did it.

Hiss and Hers: An Agatha Raisin Mystery - M.C. Beaton - 4 - okay, so sue me, I liked this better.  Read it in about 24 hours.  Now, have to hold on a few months until the next Hamish Macbeth comes out, then another 11 months until we see Agatha again.

Contending: Defending the Faith in a Fallen World - Aaron Armstrong - 3 - pretty good.  Cruciform Press publishes short, to-the-point books on weighty subjects.  They have a subscription service, where you pay as each new book is published every other month.  So far I have thoroughly enjoyed them.  This was a little slower going for me that some of the others.

And that is IT.  I am planning to make up for it over Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 19, 2012

To Facebook or Not To Facebook...

I am seriously considering getting back on Facebook.

Yes, I said it.

I have been off for ten months.  Have I missed anything in that time?  Well, I have missed keeping up with some friends that don't live near me, or that I don't see regularly.  That is definitely a loss.

I have also missed out on political one-liners that get on my nerves, seeing parties or outings that I didn't know about, and being irritated with people who put on a fake face for the world to see.  That is definitely a gain.

I have gained the time I used to spend looking at Facebook on my phone.  If something really exciting happens Nevin or Tony (who are on Facebook) will tell me, anyway.

I thought I would do better at sending emails (maybe even real cards) to those friends I kept in touch with on  FB, but it hasn't happened so far.

What to do, what to do.....

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Status Report for October

Sitting:  at the coffee table with my laptop.
Thinking:  the boys better get up if they want breakfast before Bible study.
Sensing:  that I will have to get off the computer and go pull them out of bed.
Wondering:  if I can just mentally will them to get out of bed.
Debating:  whether to make Chicken Enchilada Casserole of Alice Springs Chicken for dinner tonight.  Both recipes come from Pinterest (note, below on your right, you can follow me there).  
Wishing:  someone would magically show up with dinner tonight.
Asking myself:  why I moved to the country where no one delivers.

Oh, yeah, this is why we moved.

Deciding:  to go with Alice Springs tonight, and make the casserole tonight for dinner tomorrow.  Glad that is settled.
Telling anyone who wants to know:  that I woke up this morning and did my individual Bible study and did (most of) my wii fit exercise, and I am ready to face the day.
Glad:  that my dvd of Richard Simmons Sweatin' to Disco (something like that) is supposed to arrive from Amazon today..
Perplexed: at why everyone doesn't like Richard Simmons.
Hoping: that the weather will be good this weekend for Rockport Baptist Church's Family Camp!
Counting on:  a good time of fellowship, no matter what the weather may bring.
Thanking God: for my husband and sons, our home, the beautiful weather outside my window today, plenty of food and overall good health, the opportunity to share in my sons' education today.
Looking forward:  to Family Camp!
Tasting:  my freshly brewed coffee, and already considering my breakfast options!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Reading Log for September, 2012

Finished a few good ones this month.  I have a whole lot of books "started" with bookmarks moving slowly through them.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - JK Rowlings - 4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)
The big guys and I have been reading this all summer, at bedtime.  We finished it last night, so tonight we can watch the movie!

Hittite WarriorHittite Warrior- Joanne Williamson - 5
This was some excellent historical fiction, taking place in the time period of the Judges.  Generally I don't care for historical fiction using Biblical people, because I don't like the liberties that are taken with scripture.  A recent "not finished" of this sort was Adam and His Kin by Ruth Beechik.  The characters of Deborah, Barak, Sisera and Jael are fleshed out, but nothing happens that is contrary to scriptural accounts.  This is on a lot of homeschool reading lists, and for good reason.  My older boys and I read it together.

Garment of Shadows (Mary Russell, #12)
Garment of Shadows - Laurie R. King- 2
Ms. King better get some good stories going again, or I am going to be done with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes.  The last couple books have been lame, and not only lame but hard to follow.

Walking in Power, Love, and Discipline: 1 & 2 Timothy/TitusWalking In Power, Love and Discipline (1 and 2 Timothy and Titus) - Kay Arthur - 3 - used this as a guide for my ladies' discipleship group.  If I had never used any of Mrs. Arthur's other studies I would love this, but it was only okay by comparison.

The ExpatsThe Expats - Chris Pavone - 4
This was a fun book.  Kate has left the CIA, without ever having told her husband she was in the CIA.  Now they are living in Luxembourg with their two sons, and strange events make her wonder if she is being tailed, or her husband.  Overall, an interesting thriller.  Some of the situations toward the end defy credulity, and the story being told out of chronological order was hard to get settled into, but still a good story.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday Morning on the Homestead

It is a beautiful morning here.  Couldn't be better.  Except for me and my failings.  Sniff.

This week, after having done (imho) so well with my diabetes control....fell off the wagon.  I have found that as long as I exercise almost every day, I can eat a bit of sweets and not have it affect my blood sugar levels much.  All has been going well.  And then this week.....no exercise. No Wii Fit, one time on the treadmill, much hanging around the house.  And no cutting back on the carbs to correspond with my lack of exercise.  So, last week my fasting numbers were in the 104-111 range, the last few days they have been 126, 128,124, and we won the prize today with 130!

So, I got off my butt, slid the Wii board out from under the loveseat, and ran/stepped/boxed with my Mii.

Are Wii and Mii supposed to be capitalized???

Anyway, here is my strange dichotomy.  I have done great with my Bible study this week.  Got up every day and really studied and wrote.  I am using a new way I learned last weekend at True Woman 2012.  Priscilla Shirer gave a teaching on the 5 Ps of Bible Study (Pore over it, Ponder it, Paraphrase, Pull out the spiritual principles, Plan obedience) that has revolutionized my time in the Word.  It is supposed to be 10-15 minutes,  1-2 verses a day.  Of course, I get carried away and spend about 30 minutes, then I text what I wrote to my friend Julie who was with me.  I am in James, she began with Titus.

But......by the time I get done it is time to feed the cats, get the kids up, they want breakfast...then we start school, with our family Bible study and prayer time.  The next break I have is at lunch, and I want to a)eat and b)read.  Afternoon is spent finishing school, housework, laundry, working on stuff for our business (the accounting never ends!), besides the myriad of other things to do - then fix dinner.  After dinner, finish folding laundry, read science for the co-op I teach, bedtime reading, get my own shower in...and I am done, it is 10:30 and all I want to do is check my email, play Words with Friends, and read three pages before I fall asleep.

Obviously, this system needs some tweaking.  But, it is all a growing process, and overall, things are going well.

So, if you think about it, pray for me, that I will keep it simple, that I will keep my focus on my priorities, and that I will seek wisdom from the Lord in every aspect of my life.

And here, a few pictures of autumn on the homestead:
The garden, still lush-looking, but settling down for the fall.  Nevin replaced the wildflowers with mums.  The huge green plants to the left-center are sweet potatoes.  This is our first year with them.  Queen Esther is front-right.  

Hunter the Tomcat in his tree.  He is just a little over a year old, and has turned into a beautiful  fellow.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tuesday Morning on the Homestead

A busy week behind me, a busy week ahead of me.  This weekend I am going to the 
True Woman 2012 conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. I went in 2010, and had an incredible time, so I am really looking forward to this year. I am road-tripping with three other ladies, so you know it is going to be a blast!  

But, for now, a few scenes from the homestead:

Mr. Hunter was chased up into the tree by old Esther kitty.  He tried to make it look like he meant to be there all along.

And here is what the garden looks like in the fall!  Nevin replaced the now-deceased wildflowers with mums.  The giant sprawling vines on the left are sweet potatoes - I cannot wait!  We have never grown our own before.  I have a killer sweet potato biscuit recipe.

And that is it for today.  Going to get my haircut, run some errands, have lunch with a friend, get ready for science and all my Wednesday craziness here........

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Support Comes From All Around Me

Last night I attended my first Diabetes Support group.  It was pretty much what I expected, though it was more of a "class" and less "discussion" oriented. It was very similar to the sort of teaching I am getting from Joan, my Diabetes Instructor from Kick Diabetes - St. Louis.  We had a workbook of scenarios, dealing with nutrition, medication, feelings, exercise, etc. and had to get into pairs, read the "word problem" and then answer questions about what we thought the person needed to do.  My partner and I had "hypoglycemia", which is low blood sugar.  I have not experienced this in my brief diabetes journey, and my partner was a nurse who was observing the class as part of her continuing education.  So.....I think we did pretty well, but I did note that our information was strictly theoretical.

I keep thinking I am outside of the norm for Type 2.  Joan told me I was "the skinniest newly-diagnosed Type 2" she'd ever met (bless her!!) and last night I was definitely the youngest person in the room.  Maybe not by much, but the next youngest were in their 50s with grandchildren, and there were a lot of ladies my moms' age.  Everyone was very welcoming, and I do plan to go back.  Next month we are meeting at Schnucks and then going through the store and learning how to shop.  My initial thought was, "I am NOT doing this!  And I already know how to read labels."  But you know what - I need to do this.  I thought I knew how to read labels and Joan showed me some things I didn't know.

I see it as a defect of character that I always think I already know so much.  When I went to Weight Watchers four years ago I thought I already knew it because I had had gestational diabetes three times and had to learn to do meal plans, food journals, read labels, etc.  Now I think I know it all from the incredible combined knowledge of that and Weight Watchers.  And you know what?  A lot of what I "know" is wrong.  Or has changed.  Nutrition science moves forward, constantly.  The things I learned about food exchanges in 1998 when I had my first son are not the same as they are now.

Be Teachable - that is a good theme for life.

Yesterday I got a letter from a Christian sister who is in prison.  I will give more info later when I have time, but for now, just know that Michelle is saved, and she is leading Bible studies and ministries within the confines of a womens' state penitentiary.  The Big House, as it were, not one of the little jails.

It would be very easy for me, as a good church woman (and deacon's wife, have I mentioned that? Don't forget I used to teach Sunday School, too) to feel that my years of church experience and Bible exposure put me in the position of being somehow "more" Christian than this lady who is a fairly recent convert, and btw, is in jail.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  This lady is a spiritual giant, standing next to my puny faith.  Yesterday I was grumping about, basically having a few extremely minor things not go my way.  Then I get this, my first letter from Michelle.  I had written her a month or so ago, sent a few pictures from the garden (the frog and butterfly over to the right, there) and a couple pictures the little guys colored.

She blows me away.  She made me a card, with the inscription:

Jesus Is:
The light that is Brightest
the word that is Surest
the peace that is Calmest
the counselor that is Truest
the friend that is Nearest
the companion that is Dearest

And this is part of the letter:
"God has not only made us alive in Christ, but He has gifted us for His purposes.  His Holy Spirit fills us and we are equipped to do any task He has ordained for us.  Our service to Him must flow out of our joyful praise and adoration of Him.  It must be more than an academic or mechanical theology or knowledge of God.  It much be to God.  W are not merely trophies of God's grace.  Show signs of life!  The born-again nature is FIT to do good works.  How can a light not shine?"

I began to cry as I read this.  This women, sitting in an incredibly dark place, reaches out and ministers to me, whose world is only light right now.  I was ashamed of my attitude, convicted of my sin.  And I have learned.

Keep learning today!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Status Report: September

Sitting…on the couch.
Eating…nothing right now - ate a Weight Watchers ice cream a little while ago.  Might have another soon.
Plugging…a couple Diabetes blogs I am following, Sweet Success: My Life With Type 2 Diabetes and Diabetes Mine - check both these ladies out!
Adjusting…to living with Type 2 Diabetes, and getting back into the full swing of school this week - including our science co-op!
Thankful…for so many things, especially our home-based life right now.  We have cut out a lot of running and "busy" and I am being very selective in what makes me leave the house.    I love having Nevin home, and love being with the boys.  
Missing…ordering tickets for the student programs at Powell Symphony Hall this year.  One of the things that got cut.  I will miss it.  The boys won't.  
Wishing…that Nevin would get home from his installation before the thunderstorms hit.
Preparing….a pot roast.  Also having a green bean casserole I found on Pinterest.  Where you can follow me, by the way.
Anticipating…A whole day tomorrow to get some cleaning and organizing done; Sunday worship with my church family, and then an afternoon and evening of rest with Nevin and the boys.  Also eagerly anticipating True Woman 2012 in less than two weeks!
Thinking…about 1 John 1 that we read together this morning.  If we are in the light, and have fellowship with Christ, we are no longer in darkness.  So how come sometimes we still act like we are in the dark???
Noticing…that many people really don't understand Type 2 Diabetes, and that includes people who have it and primary care doctors.  
Reading…The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins and having a hard time getting into it.  
Realizing…that these piles of folded clothes are not going to put themselves away.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Reading Log for August, 2012

August was a good book month here -certainly a lot of diversity!

First up is "The Organized Heart: A Woman's Guide to Conquering Chaos" by Staci Eastin.  This one is a 5, and one that will be re-read.

working cover 364h 263w
I read most of this on the train coming back from Kansas City.  It is published by Cruciform Press.  Cruciform is a small publisher with a nifty idea - thin, to-the-point books dealing with deep theological topics, but put into very concise language.  These are the sort of books I'd be happy to share with friends/  Sometimes I would love to share books on topics like, say....idolatry.  Or sanctification.  But the sheer mass of the book keeps me from doing so.  No one likes to be handed a really thick book with, "Here, read this." But these books, generally around 100 pages or so, do the trick.  And - to top it off, they publish books every other month or so - and you can subscribe to them, just like a magazine.

The Organized Heart is different from every other "how to be more organized" book that I've read (and I have read A LOT) because it is not a new system - no index cards, no Excel spreadsheets, no giant calendars with post-it notes.  It gets to the heart of the issue - my heart, by addressing the idols that keep me unorganized - perfectionism, busyness, possessions and leisure.  The author, Staci Eastin, is a Missouri homeschooling mom of three, and her blog (how I discovered this gem) is over on my blog roll.  I highly recommend this book.

Next up, just a 2.  Stand By Me: Souled Out Sisters by Neta Jackson
Stand by Me (A SouledOut Sisters Novel)

I loved the Yada Yada Prayer Group books, some more than others of course.  I enjoyed the House of Hope series.  This one....I will probably read the series, just to keep up with my friends in the Yadas, but the new characters are ANNOYING.  I have noticed that the main characters tend to get on my nerves - Jodi Baxter was the least interesting of all the Yadas.  Gabby Fairbanks was someone whose impulsiveness and poor judgment would get on my nerves badly.  But Kat, the environmentalist-college student-busybody was beyond irritating.  Will Kat and Nick live happily ever after?  Most likely (it is Christian chick lit, after all) but really, who cares?

Next up, more dealing with diabetes in The Complete Guide to Carb Counting, which I will give a 4.
Complete Guide to Carb Counting: How to Take the Mystery Out of Carb Counting and Improve Your Blood Glucose Control

Carbs (flour, sugar, starches....you know, the good stuff!) turns to sugar when you eat it.  Glucose levels go up in the blood.  One of the ways I maintain my blood sugar levels is by planning how many servings of carbs I have each day, space them out, eat them with protein, etc. This, along with exercise, is really helping to keep my blood sugar controlled.

Another diabetes read is Sugar Nation by Jeff O'Connell
Sugar Nation: The Hidden Truth Behind America's Deadliest Habit and the Simple Way to Beat It
Jeff discovered he had pre-diabetes and went on a personal journey to discover research and treatment for Type 2 Diabetes.  He is pretty radical - comes down hard on the medical profession (some of which I definitely agree with), the American Diabetes Association, and anyone else he can find.  He also goes on a fairly radical lifestyle of next-to-no carbs, supplements and working out.  There was a lot I took with a grain of salt, but this book did cause me to think more about what I am being told and who is telling me, and to educate myself about this disease.  It is a 4.

The Hidden Flower is one of Pearl S. Buck's lesser-known novels.  Immediately after WWII, American troops occupied Japan.  There an American soldier fell in love with a Japanese girl.  This book went to a lot of places I was not expecting.  The Japanese girl was actually Japanese-American - she and her father were both born in the USA, but moved to Japan to avoid the camps Japanese citizens were shamefully placed in.  Her brother died fighting for America against Japan.  Then, for her to marry an American and go back to the USA, and face the discrimination there....let's just say this started out all love-love-kissy-kissy and I did not think I would like it, but once again, Pearl S. Buck's characters don't do what is expected and the story explores elements I never imagined.  I don't know if this is still in print or not, I found it used on either Paperbackswap or Bookmooch.  I give this one a 4.

Modest: Men and Women Clothed in the Gospel is another offering from Cruciform Press.

Modest 364

This book does not even touch things like how long your skirt should be or whether or not a woman should wear jeans (praise God!).  It goes straight to the heart - what is modesty, as an issue of the heart?  What does scripture say about being modest, for both men and women, and what does this mean?  Much deeper than a legalistic list of do's and don'ts.  I give it a 3, because I think it was almost a little over-edited and could have gone deeper.  But hey, it is one of those to-the-point books from Cruciform!

Prince Caspian, Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  I hate to say it, but only a 3.  Caspian was not one of my favorites, nor the little guys'.  Too much backstory, not enough action.  But, hey, it is part of the Chronicles, and so we love it as part of the bigger whole.

The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #8) by Louise Penny
The Beautiful Mystery (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #8)
Hard to believe, but only giving this one a 3.  I have loved most of the books in this series, but not this one.  The mystery was interesting, though a little drawn out.  Then, in the middle of the book the Inspector's nemesis on the force shows up, and it just goes from ugly to uglier.  One of my favorite characters disappoints and I am just going to leave it at that.  I left the last book (a year ago) all hopeful about an exciting turn of events.  Now I feel like I have a year to wait and see how badly some lives are screwed up.  Thanks, Louise.  Maybe at least next year she will take us back to Three Pines, the setting of most of the stories, and we can at least have some fun with the crazies there.

And that is it - my nightstand is piled high with the goodies I am anticipating for September!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Field Trip!

Not that anyone but me gets excited about this stuff, but I thought I'd share some pics from our field trip yesterday.  We went to The St. Louis Zoo for the day.  We hadn't been in a few years.  The St. Louis Zoo is world-class, and did you know it is FREE????  That is right.  You can park somewhere in Forest Park and walk on in.  You can pay for extras, like food, the train, some of the shows....but you don't have to.  You can even pay $15 to park, but I wonder why anyone would.  We parked about 1/4 mile away, if that, in the Art Museum parking lot.

As it was getting warm, I did suggest we go to the (air-conditioned!) Art Museum instead, but was loudly voted down.

I did not take many pictures of the kids - actually, only a few of Joe and Henry.  Mainly, I photographed the Zoo residents.

Henry really enjoyed watching the sea lions being fed.

There is a cool insect museum, and a small butterfly house you walk through.  Imagine being in an overgrown garden, with butterflies all around.

Look, it is Capyboppy!

I don't recall this fellows' name, Cotton Top something or other.  He is only about 8" tall.  Joe was fascinated by him.

Seal at lunch

Seal and sea lions at lunch


Joe posing by the Childrens' Zoo

Some sort of Lemur

Lion.  Note the females on the rocks to the right.  Usually I don't get to see the lions, they tend to be inside when we are there.

Meerkat showing off.

Probably my favorite is the Penguin Exhibit.  Besides it being very chilly (nice, when it is 92 degrees outside) you can get up close to them.  If no one had been looking, I bet I could have touched a few.

Don't the Zebras sort of look like an optical illusion?
Next week school starts back up here - I wanted one more day of just fun before we got back to our routines.  And I am logging it as science!

Monday, August 27, 2012

From Another's Journal

This is a link to Bob Jenning's Journal.  Bob Jennings is a pastor from the northwestern part of Missouri.  My husband and I have had the privelege of hearing him preach twice at our our Grace Camp Meetings.  He has been battling pancreatic cancer for the last few years, and it looks like his time here is almost over, and his new life with Christ forever is about to begin.  Please read his journal.  You can also find many of his sermons at SermonAudio.com, just search by his name.  You will be blessed.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Morning on the Homestead

Only 6:30, so everyone else is still asleep.  I think this qualifies as a "stream of consciousness" post.

Last week was very productive - spent a couple of days cleaning out and organizing the office/schoolroom.  We don't actually do much of our schoolwork in there, but it is where everything is stored, and we have desks and a nice big island top.  It is good for the older boys to have a place that is quiet to do some of their work.  When we built the shop here it also became the office, so a big chunk of the space is devoted to desk area for Nevin, room for job files and bid files, office supplies, etc.  Last year it was sort of a mess.  This year, I think we can do better, now that I have an idea of what our needs are.

Last year was a "finding our way" year - with Nevin working from home, us having the huge commitment of the science co-op here, having joined a new church and getting involved in the lives of people there, and Nevin becoming involved in ministry there.  Now, I feel like we have a good idea of what the "flow" of our day can be, and we have eliminated a lot of outside activities and "running".

Simplify, simplify!  We had already been looking at ways to be more intentional and focused on our family and on God's calling to raise these boys.  And then this diabetes thing shows up and now I really do HAVE to stop and take the time and care for myself.  I HAVE to fit in time to exercise, to check my blood, to plan meals, to get pedicures.....okay, no one told me that specifically, but foot problems is a HUGE issue for diabetics.  Diabetics should check their feet every day, any dark spots or cuts with pus are a trip to the doctor, and pronto.

I am not a diva about this stuff, I checked with the cosmetology school in town.  The students do the work, under supervision, and you can get a pedicure for $10, and toss in a manicure for another $5.  Cannot pass that up!

While I am on the topic of being frugal, I found another great deal.  At St. Louis Community College at Forest Park there is a dental hygienist program Dental hygiene students work in clinic.

that needs teeth to clean.  We have not had dental insurance since I left my office job in 1999.  Consequently, for me to take the boys and myself for a basic checkup, cleaning and x-rays once a year is in the neighborhood of $700.  That was not a typo, for those of you who have insurance and no idea of what things really cost!  Still, the $700 is cheaper than any dental insurance we can find.  But, if we have the dental hygiene students do the work, all five of us can get it done for.......maximum $115.  Total.  For all five.  An added benefit is that it is next door to the St. Louis Zoo. So, this Thursday we are going to the Zoo, and then I go for the consultation.  A drawback is that we do have to make two trips, once to meet with the student who will plan our work.  The student will then get a "team" of other students together to take care of us and schedule an appointment.  So, we get to make two trips to the City, but I will plan some other outing for the day we go back.  I was explaining the process to Nevin and grumbled a little about having to use gas for two trips to St. Louis (it is about a 45 minute drive to the College) and he noted that I won't be using $600 worth of gas, so it is well worth it.

I met with my Educator from Kick Diabetes St. Louis again yesterday.  Joan is great, I am learning so much. When dealing with any kind of  "chronic condition" - knowledge is power!  Yesterday we talked about food,    reading nutrition labels, making good choices, what were some of my pitfalls (church fellowships!).  I have been humbled in this.  I always think I know so much, and having had gestational diabetes three times AND having been in Weight Watchers I just know all about it.  Not so, and I learned more about how fiber plays into counting carbs, how to deal with the "food police" who want to watch what you eat (and comment on it!) in a kind way (educated them, don't berate them!).  Here is a Diabetes Etiquette Card for those who don't have diabetes - very nice!  I remember reading something like this in college, when working on a paper about the Americans With Disabilities Act, on how to treat someone in a wheelchair.  It was very eye-opening.

Well, lots more going on here, more decisions about simplifying our life, just celebrated "my baby" Henry's 8th birthday Friday night (of course there are pictures!) but it is time to get moving and get breakfast going.  Have to get everyone out of bed and ready for church and then off to our annual church picnic!

You have a wonderful day, out there!

Friday, August 17, 2012

I Am Strong

This morning I took an early walk down to the barn and back.  Our "road" is just gravel and big rocks -most vehicles cannot travel it.  We generally go on foot or 4-wheeler.  After the thunderstorm last night, big gullies were washed out, revealing huge chunks of rock.  Walking down this hill is an exercise in caution -walking up the hill is easiest in mountain-goat mode.

I made my way down the hill to the bottom, then cut into the woods and began running up the dry creek bed.        I heard Tony going by on his 4-wheeler, so I cut up a hill through the woods and back to the road.  As I waved to him I started a jog/climb up the hill, over the rocks.

And the Lord spoke to me.

"I made you strong."

Yes Lord, through you I am strong.  Three weeks ago, BD (before diabetes) I could not have done this.
You have given me strength every day to get on the treadmill, set at an uphill walk.  You have given me strength to walk and walk around the house, through the woods, to the barn and back.  You have given me strength through my weakness, to eat this meal plan, to take my supplements, to monitor my glucose, to write down every.bite.of.food.  To only eat one piece of pizza yesterday, and IT WAS DOMINO'S!

God, thank you - you have given me strength.  I am not just a middle-age woman whose blood resembles a Krispy Kreme - I am created in your image.  Through this affliction, I will trust in you.

And I WILL rejoice!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday

I love the idea of having a "theme" some days - life on the homestead on Saturday, thankfulness on Thursday. And on this particular Thursday, I have a lot to be thankful for!

First and foremost, thankful for salvation through Christ my Savior.  On Sunday mornings our preaching elder is teaching through Ephesians.  Probably be a few years!  Lord Jesus, thank you that my salvation did not depend on my weak will, for before you saved me, I was dead in my sins and trespasses.  How could I choose you?  I was dead.  A dead man (woman) does not do anything.  Thank you that you are sovereign in all things Lord, that even while I was dead in my sins and trespasses and deserving of Hell, you showed mercy.

Here's a little Ephesians, in case you haven't had time to do your Bible reading yet today. Blue notes are my own "amplifications".

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us (he is sovereign!) in him (not in ourselves but in Christ) before the foundation of the world (when?), that we should be holy and blameless (what am I now?) before him. In love he predestined us for adoption (in what?) as sons through Jesus Christ (through who?), according to the purpose of his will (his will!),to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him (in who?) we have redemption through his blood (how are we redeemed?), the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished (lavished, I tell you!) upon us, in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose (whose purpose?), which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in heaven and on earth.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will (his own counsel, he needs no other!), so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory (all is for his glory!).  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth,the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (when you heard the gospel and believed, you were saved, and received the Holy Spirit - right then, right there, not later, not through your own effort) who is the guarantee (promise) of our inheritance (Heaven, eternal life with God!) until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory (all for his glory, ALL for his glory!!)."
Ephesians 1:2-14
Stand up and shout for joy!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Clean, clean, clean

Have you ever seen the movie "Throw Mama From the Train" with Danny DeVito and Billy Crystal?  It is from the early to mid-80s, I do believe.  DeVito's character Owen wants to be a writer, so every day he is typing away on his typewriter (yep, that's how old the movie is) and one day Mama asks what he is doing.  He replies, "Writing, Mama.  A writer writes, always."  Mama grunts and says, "Type, type, type like a fat little pigeon."

I don't know why, but "type, type, type like a fat little pigeon" has stuck in my mind.  A lot of days I do that on the computer.  And today, when I thought about cleaning house that is what I heard...Mama in my head, saying, "Clean, clean, clean, like a fat little pigeon."


I love trying to clean, and I dream of organization.  I guess I don't love cleaning, but I love a clean house, so there you go.  I did Flylady for a while, incorporated some good habits from that, but personally, the onslaught of emails all day did me in.  I am always looking for ideas to add to my "daily habits".  Today I found a great house cleaning schedule at Time-Warp Wife.  The link takes you to her complete schedule, but here is the cute quick-glance chart she provides:

I wish I could type on it - Wednesdays I have a science co-op at my house from 9:30-11:30 (ish) and then we go into town for guitar lessons at 2.  We have a pretty rush-rush day.  But, I like her way of thinking.

Today - I think I will try the Friday stuff, and also spending a goodly portion of my day working on the website for our business.  Yes, we have been in business almost 20 years and no website.  Once I get it going I will post a link and would appreciate some input, of the constructive and uplifting nature!

Started reading this yesterday 
so far, a lot of things I already knew from having had gestational diabetes and Weight Watchers, but as this is fine-tuned to diabetes it is a helpful resource.

And that is it for today - the weather is only supposed to get up to 90 today, I have the door open to let in some breeze, going to hang some laundry, I hear people stirring about (Mom, how long are you going to be on the computer???) so I should go get busy.

Have a wonderful day, all!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thankful Thursday

A little late in the day, but that just gives me more to be thankful for.

Last night we went to our small group - we call them "C-groups" for "community".  I am thankful for the time of praise, of sharing what the Lord has showed us in His word this week, of study (Proverbs 9), and of prayer and singing.

Today I am also thankful for this tasty recipe I found on Pinterest.  Yummy treats, no sugar added!

I am thankful that I got to go to the grocery store, that I have access to all kinds of good food.  Sooo thankful we have an Aldi, too!  I buy the bulk of my groceries there, but needed a few things from Wal-Mart today, too.

Thankful for a windowsill full of tomatoes ripening (if I leave them on the vine too long the critters get them), for plenty of work for our shop, for all my school curriculum bought for the upcoming year, and for a day at home to FINALLY get some real work done around here!

I am thankful my glucose numbers are going down, down, down - a whole week of not going out to eat, counting carbs and exercising each day is starting to pay off.  Thankful that I get to meet with the diabetes educator this Saturday.

Thankful all my guys are healthy, everyone is doing well....thankful for all the Lord has blessed us with, and thankful beyond measure that He saved me, my husband and my two older boys, and praying for His mercy that my two younger boys will also be saved.

Thankful watching my 14 year old, 6'1" son eating pizza and watching ESPN and knowing that he turned out normal EVEN THOUGH HE WAS HOMESCHOOLED.

Yeah Buddy!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

And it is official....

Per the nurse, my doctor has "coded" my file - I have Type 2 Diabetes.

True to nature, have purchased two more books on Amazon (gotta love that Amazon Prime!).  I am meeting with my personal Diabetes Nurse/Educator this Saturday at Breadco.

And I have to get my numbers down to avoid going on meds.

So....off to get my numbers down.

Yes, I am diabetic. No, it is not because I ate too much sugar. #diabetes

Just in case anyone is confused...

Tuesday Morning on the Homestead

It is so nice - two days in a row I could get up and open the doors to the breeze- and have there actually BE a breeze, not just rolls of heat like an oven full of biscuits!  Praising God for the cooler weather, and especially for the rain we got over the weekend.  My poor, dead yard is starting to come to life again.

Today is (hopefully!) going to be a quiet day at home.  I have laundry to do, things to clean, and need to scoot out and vote this afternoon.  If you have elections in your area, don't forget to vote!  It is a great privilege, one not to be taken for granted.

Yesterday I allowed myself to "stress" - I gave the doctor until 1:30, then I called to check on my test results.  The nurse said that they had them, and that the doctor would call me that afternoon.

Guess who did not get a phone call......and my doctor is leaving today and will be gone (out of the country, I believe) for the rest of this week and all next week.  Hopefully, the other doctor in his practice is picking up the slack and will call me.  On top of just wanting to KNOW, and wanting to PLAN the next stage of my "life with diabetes" (meds, no meds, diet, what???) I need a diagnosis and some of the test results to get scheduled with the KICK Diabetes program. So, basically, I am waiting.....and I hate waiting.  I want to get information, form a plan, and proceed with said plan in a timely fashion- usually in the form of a checklist.

Yesterday I was texting all this angst to my friend Faith.  Here her response to my cries of agony,
"Be still and know that He is GOD, He works all things in His time, trust.  I love you!"

To which I responded,
"I am trying.  I hate having to depend on other people.:

And her sage words,
"You don't.  Just Christ teaching you patience and contentment."

Be still, be patient, be content, wait upon the Lord's timing......I was praying on the treadmill today for God to give me peace.  This is not that big of a deal.  Lots of people have MUCH bigger issues going on right now.  But what I managed to do to myself yesterday was eat a little extra snack and a little less veggie and stress, which raises blood sugars.  So this morning I hop off the treadmill and see that my fasting number is 11 higher than yesterday, and I weigh .2 lbs more (I know I should not weigh every day, but watching the number go down the past two weeks has been nice).  Physical response to spiritual malady.

So....to take my mind off it, I will keep busy, and share a few pictures from our vacation last week.  We were so busy this whole trip that I didn't have time to take many pics.  My inlaws took us, and my sister-in-law and niece to Kansas City on the train last Monday.  We went up Monday morning and got there around 1.  They rented two cars for us (there were ten of us) and we drove to Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun.  We got to stay in cabins in the park (really nice, little modulars made up to look like log cabins) and just hung out.  Monday night we spent 6 (count'em 6) hours at Worlds of Fun theme park, then spent all day Tuesday at Oceans of Fun waterpark.  Wednesday evening we took the train home, but not before spending time in the new Lego Discovery Center in Kansas City.  And it was there that my few pics were taken.  I have better ones....somewhere, but here is what my phone can share with you:

Henry and Joe make a new friend

Joe, Henry and Ben building Lego racers.  Ben was easily the tallest person there.  Tony  declined  a visit to Lego-ville, and went to the aquarium with the rest of the family.

This is our souvenir picture.  Okay, this was fun.  We rode through a Lego adventure, and shot  lazer guns.  I did not do so well.  It appears Henry's gun was not activated.
Here is a cute one - Henry and Nora playing in the train station.  A  photographer from the Kansas City Star took this picture while we were waiting to board our train - I copied it off the paper's website.

I wanted to add this close-up, so you could see the focus, the  intensity in our eyes.  Oh yes, we will save the Princess, we will find the jewels, we will shoot the bad guys!!

And that is it for today - enjoy your day, look me up on Pinterest (I will eventually figure out how to put the link on the blog), and don't forget to vote!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Diabetes Update, and other Life Stuff

So, how is the diabetes thing going?  So far, so good, I guess.  I am keeping a food diary, and tracking my carbs, fats and proteins. I wrote up a meal plan, based on what it was when I had gestational diabetes.  I had that three times, so I am way too familiar with monitoring, etc.  I am just writing it down and being aware of portion size, etc. again.  Just like Weight Watchers, only a little easier in some aspects. What is harder, though, is that in WW you can save up your points for megadessert, or have a huge dinner one night with your extra points.  Here, the main thing is to stay regular.  The problem is not that blood sugar goes up (everyones' does) but that it does not come back down.  So if I eat a Big Mac and large fries, it is going to go up, up, up, but it won't come down.  If I eat a regular hamburger and small fries it won't go up so high, so I won't have such a high level over extended time.  I probably won't change a whole lot about how I cook, but it is portion control - if I bake cookies, two small ones, not 8 cookies and a giant glass of milk.  

It is really a shame, because I make such good cookies!

I went to the doctor Friday, and he said for now he calls it Impaired Glucose Tolerance.  On Monday, when he has the rest of my bloodwork back, he will call it Diabetes.   Semantics.  He also said the problems I have been having with my feet are nerve damage from the diabetes (numbness, tingling, feels like needles in them, as if they were "asleep").  Anyway, depending on my numbers from the A1C test (which will give him a weighted average of my blood glucose), I may be just diet-controlled.  I am trying now, and some of my numbers are coming down, but they are still too high.  He said we may start out with oral medications and then see if my numbers go down and wean off it.  He said that should help with my feet, too.  If not, there is a specific med for that, but he doesn't want to start piling on too many meds.

I was also super-blessed in that I have a friend who is a parish nurse, and she referred me to a program call KICK Diabetes.  It is free, part of St. Louis University Medical School and ADA/St. Louis Diabetes Coalition.  It is research on diabetes education, and people with pre- or type 2 diabetes can participate.  You are assigned an educator and you meet four times to go over nutrition/create a meal plan, exercise, monitoring, medications, etc.  You agree to fill out questionnaires when you are done and again at three months.  I think they want to see what role education plays in helping people to manage their diabetes.  I am very excited about this!  Plus, now I will get to go to St. Louis four times and can get in a little shopping!

Financially, this is not as bad as I expected.  I told the doctor I was self-pay, and instead of the $150 office charge, I had to pay $80.  He has his own lab, so my A1C and cholesterol tests together were $18.50.  He said the meds would be generic, too.  I was able to cancel the appointment with a nutritionist ($50) because the KICK Diabetes educator will do the same thing.  And I signed up for discounts for my blood monitoring strips.  

So, the Lord is good, as always.  Sometimes my sinful attitudes keep me from seeing that.  Today, for example.  We had our monthly Fellowship Sunday, aka, crockpot and dessert supreme!  I did really well, small portions of a couple starchy items, larger portions of veggies, small dessert.  Still, last month I would have had a LARGE portion of the chicken potpie (my friend Faith makes THE BEST potpie) and at least two regular servings of dessert.  And probably (syrupy) sweet tea.  And later on today I will hit the treadmill again.  I have been getting on it almost every day.  

August is my month to "organize and simplify" my life.  I have almost nothing except church on the calendar.  This seems like it would be sad, but I am so happy.  I need time to establish some routines of exercise and meals before we jump back into the whirl of school chaos.  I need time to get used to this and order my mind around the new "normal" here.  

As normal as it gets, anyway!