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, 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  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. 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. 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!

Reading Log for July, 2012

I know, a long time coming on this one!

Our Boys: A Perfect Season on the Plains With the Smith Center Redmen - Joe Draper - 4 - for some reason, I love sports stories.  I don't love sports, so go figure.  This is the story of the Smith Center Redmen and their coach Roger Barta.  Smith Center is a town of 1,900 in western Kansas.  They had been written up in Sports Illustrated because they had won 55 straight games and 4 straight state championships.  The author moved his wife and son from Manhattan to Smith Center to write about their upcoming season.  The coach was in his 30th year and considering retirement, they had just graduated the "dream team" senior class, and they were tied in the record books for most consecutive state championships.  The book is about the team, but even more about the town of Smith Center, about how the community completely supports the team, the school, teachers, etc.  They are not the Friday Night Lights variety of fanaticism - they are just right there for their kids.  If I ever decided to put my kids in school, we would have to move to Smith Center.

American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes- 5 - my new "guide for life" - nice big book, covers everything, has been extremely helpful.

Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference In Our Daily Lives - 4 - Wendy Horger Alsup - I follow her blog by the same name.  I thought this brief book was very good in explaining who God is- the real God of the Bible - in terms anyone could understand.

Killing Calvinism: How to Destroy a Perfectly Good Theology from the Inside- 4 - Greg Dutcher - this is one you need to be Reform to get.  Reform folks sometimes have a reputation for being arrogant in their theology and "knowledge".  There is even a term for someone who is new to the Doctrines of Grace - "cage stage" - as in, they are on fire with new understanding of scripture and socially...they should be put in a cage for a while.  I found it very practical and enjoyable, and a good admonition.

Meeting God at Every Turn- 4 - Catherine Marshall - A series of essays of the different points in her life (going to college, marriage to Peter Marshall, her illness, his death, grieving, remarriage blending families, etc.) and how God met her at each point.  There were some definite aspects of her personal theology that I did not agree with (quite a bit of NVP "Power of Positive Thinking" mixed in, which surprised me)but overall it was very uplifting.    

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - 5 - C.S. Lewis - what can I say?  This is my second go 'round.  Read the series to my older sons a few years ago, now it is a bedtime read with the younger boys.