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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Well, I just got the call from my husband who took Daniel in to his appointment at the burn clinic this morning. Everything still seems to be going well, but we did discover he had more third degree areas than we have thought this whole time.

The white areas are 3rd degree. At first we thought it was just the kind of charred or scabby looking area right on his spine there.

They did remove the foam pad, and are going to leave it off, as now they want it to "breathe." They gave us a cream which is suppose to be the same as what was in the pad, and more bandaging. So each day he is to bathe to get the cream off, only to put it back on and bandage back up! They don't want the ace bandage any longer as again, they want it to "breathe."

He goes back in to the burn clinic on Thursday. The low grade fever we've been concerned with since last night is "normal" they say. Which is reassuring I suppose.

So, whether this is all good news or bad(because of the 3rd degree areas) I honestly am not quite sure, but it's news. My husband assures me they feel this is all going well still, so I am going to take comfort in that. I will update after his appointment Thursday.


I watched a movie last night called Idiocracy. Now I wish I could say it was a good movie or even freely recommend it, but.... well, I do recommend it, but with caution. It is pretty raunchy, foul language, sexual, etc...BUT it makes some interesting points which makes it worth watching(definitely an adult movie, not for little eyes and ears!)

Without giving away the whole movie, it is about a guy and gal who get frozen and then awoken some 500 or so years later and wake up to a "dumbed" down society. I mean way dumbed down! These people can't talk properly, take care of their trash, grow food, etc...what made this movie worth watching is that sadly I do believe our future could slightly(or maybe not so slightly) resemble this someday if we allow it to!

Alot of the movies humour is truly in bad taste and I warn you of this ahead of time. While raunchy it almost had to be to make the point it was trying to make. It was almost a Beevis and Butthead society, which if societal trends follow Hollywood as they often do, perhaps this movie really isn't too far fetched at all!

One of our favorite lines was when the main character was sending the girl back to their time he tells her "tell them to read, keep reading!" I think that one line really should be heeded. It is the dumbing down and watering down of our educations, and even our TV and Movie viewing, our literature and such things as we feed our minds on that could make a future such as depicted in this movie a sad reality.

On a slightly similar note...I recently found this Blog. Recently THIS was posted. GREAT post! Alot of similar thoughts to those posted above, things we should all be doing anyway; staying educated, limited TV viewing, knowing our own rights, he even recommends Homeschooling! etc...take the time to check it out!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Great Back-to-School Resources!

Whether you homeschool, private school, or if your kids go to public school, there seems there will almost always be a time when you may be faced with a struggling learner or one who just has a harder time grasping a particular concept.

I have had two now that really struggled with learning to read. The second time around I found what I consider to be one of the BEST resources out there!

Headsprout. I had tried everything with my youngest and he still just couldn't quite take off in his reading. One day out of desperation and frustration I tried this program. It is a little pricey but well worth every penny! In just a few short weeks he went from barely able to sound out the simplest words to reading at near grade level. This is recommended for younger children, but I have used it with great success with a nine year old!! Something in the way concepts are presented just made things finally "click" with this child! I have heard many other similar success stories. I HIGHLY recommend this if you have a struggling learner, or a beginning reader you want to give an extra edge to!

My oldest has struggled for years now to grasp Algebra. We finally found something that has helped him along quite a bit.

Aleks. While the results weren't quite as dramatic as they were with the Headsprout for my youngest, there was a definite improvement in the time we used this program. Again, it had to do with the ways the concepts were presented, things just finally "clicked." It is almost as if a light bulb suddenly went on!

If you are interested in a free trial of this one, leave a comment with your email, and I will email you the code for a one month free trial. It is worth giving a try, and with a free trial you have nothing to lose!

I hope everyone has a great school year this year, whether you are at home or go to a public or private school! We are very much looking forward to starting our year next week!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Getting Ready

We start back to school next week on Tuesday. We are excited and nervous all at once. As I shared here before, after 11 years of mostly private homeschooling, this year we are diving into public virtual charter schooling.

We still school at home, but the main difference is we have school/government oversight. The school provides us all materials free of charge, but the trade off is we give up some of our freedom to do things our own way and agree to state testing and such.

For years we considered this option, but never liked the trade-off much. This year I actually welcome the oversight and guidance. Finances are what helped us make this decision initially, but as time has gone on I have become quite comfortable with what we are giving up and what we are getting.

I am still an avid advocate of private homeschooling and feel done correctly this is the best option for most who want to school at home, but for two of my children's needs for now this is the best option for us. I have one who may need a little extra "help" and this is a way to be sure he gets it, and I have another who I feel is highly intelligent and wonder if I've held him back when perhaps he could soar under the correct encouragement and guidance.

I still have one who will be privately homeschooled. He is graduating this year and for all but one year has been schooled at home privately since first grade. I would like to see him finish up that way.

Both boys enrolled in the new school have been quite excited since finishing up their online "orientation." Today my older child's homeroom teacher called and he is rather shy, he doesn't even talk to his friends on the phone(he has little brother call) so he froze and kind of freaked out and now is saying he doesn't want to do this school! I think once he gets going he will be fine, and meanwhile we are going to work with him on getting over his shyness on the phone by doing practice phone calls with immediate family, eventually friends, and then hopefully he'll be more comfortable talking to his teachers.

My little guy is rearin' and ready to go! He has been doing some lessons early and working in his workbooks. He just can't wait!

Here's a sampling of what they sent us so far:

On the left is my 6th graders materials. Mostly texts and some supplies. I am impressed with the History text and think the others will be fine. On the right is my third graders materials. Texts as well, but quite a massive supply of workbooks, especially for Language Arts. I am impressed with the quality of all but fear he may be a little overwhelmed. He really struggles with reading and spelling, and I thought being public school material it would be "dumbed down" compared to our homeschool materials, but it's NOT!! It is up there. I am pleasantly surprised to see such quality and expectations from public school to be honest! We are going to give it our best shot and hope for the best!

I am sure I will post updates throughout the year on our progress and experiences with public homeschooling. It is a change for us, but in many ways a welcome one!

Dr. Mom??

It just occurred to me that I hadn't updated those of you I only know here in blogger land or other places on the web about my sons first of several appointments at the burn clinic.

Actually, there isn't alot new or exciting to report. The foam patch thingy they have on can't be removed until it's been on for 7 days total, so they only "peeked" under a corner to check it out a little. But they say all looks well and is going good!

He has been oozing quite a bit which concerned me, but they assured me that is normal and part of the healing. The only problem is it is pretty gross and getting over all of his clothing, leaving behind stains.

So they showed me how to re-bandage all but the foam pad which is off limits! They provided me with lots of supplies, which is a good thing considering I've already had to change him twice since Tuesday and we are only on Thursday!

I thought I would share a bit of how he is bandaged, and show this foam thing which I am fascinated with. I forgot the name, but as we told each Dr. or nurse that he's had no pain, they seemed quite surprised until they found out he has this thing, then they say "oh, that's why!"

Here's the foam patch thing:

From what I understand it has all sorts of good medicine in it to help with pain and prevent infection. All I can say is it seems to be doing it's job because he has had very little pain at all. He doesn't like this exposed though, and gets inpatient waiting for the first layer of bandaging to go back on:

This is just a thick gauze roll out bandaging. Then comes this:

More gauze, but this is a quite a bit thinner. There is actually one more gauze layer but he begged me not to put it on this time, as he found it uncomfortable. It wasn't necessary anyway, they just put it on Tuesday, hoping it would catch some more of the seepage before it runs unto his clothing. Finally the ace bandage finishes it all off:

Now can you believe through ALL of those layers, he is still managing to soak through and stain his clothing? YUCK!!

So the plan for now is he is to return to the burn clinic Saturday. If all looks well when they remove the foam pad, they will leave it off and provide creams for us to apply and just bandage him up. He may have to get another foam pad on, it just depends.

So far so good. Everything has gone very smooth and he seems to be healing up just fine. We are just amazed at how well everything has turned out so far.

I have to say the people at the burn clinic are great! I believe it is a teaching hospital which means he sees lots of people each time we go, but they have all been really friendly and helpful, and have gone out of their way to make him comfortable and keep his mind off his burn. I am not happy about the over three hour drive(it should only be a little over two, but you gotta love LA traffic!) and the hospital itself is a bit different than what we're used to, but all of that is worth it for the kind of care he is receiving.

I will post more about him on Saturday when he goes in again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sometimes Things Just Happen

Daniels recent "accident" brought up some interesting responses from people and provoked some deep thinking in me.

It seems that many have a hard time believing an accident can be just that, an accident. Not everything has to have a reason, or even a place to place blame.

Not everything is a "test" from God or an "attack" from Satan. Sometimes things really do just happen, no reason, no lessons, no higher powers playing checkers with our lives, things just happen.

I heard a slightly disturbing rumour that someone wanted to use my sons burnt T-Shirt as an "example." An example of what I am not sure. It may be appropriate to use as an example of what fire could do. But do we really want to show my sons young friends this shirt? I know I never want to see the thing again, why re-hash something so terrible? An "example" of what else? How somebody did something wrong? There was no wrong done here. I have been assured Daniel wasn't goofing off or not paying attention(as he's been known to do!) I was assured Dad was watching Daniel, it just happened, period. No blame to place on anybody.

Let's pretend there was blame to place(Which I know for a fact, there isn't!)but let's just pretend for a minute. What good would it do? Is it going to make Daniels burn go away? Is it going to make anybody feel any better? I don't think so. I guess it is human nature to try and place blame somewhere, but in a case as something such as this, it really doesn't solve or change anything.

Way more was done right in this situation than done wrong. My husbands quick thinking prevented this from being way worse than it was. Daniels calmness helped everyone involved in treating him. The fire department that first responded was wonderful! All of the Dr.s and nurses were wonderful as well.

This brought many people together. We had people of ALL faiths praying(God listens to EVERYONE's prayers!) we had people send well wishes and good thoughts. To see so many people of so many backgrounds come together to rally around someone they care about was amazing!

So was this anybodies fault? NOPE? Was this Satan attacking our family? OK. I am trying to contain my laughter....was this God testing or challenging me? I don't think I worship a God that would allow one of His precious children to be so severely hurt for such a reason. Is there any reason my burned sons T-shirt should be used to teach any lesson? I think not, the only lesson I learned is sometimes bad things happen to good people. I learned that God hears the prayers of all people, not just those from brand X church. I learned we have many great friends, a wonderful church family, and Daniel is one loved little boy. Is a T-Shirt going to teach all of that?

I would like to see that shirt burnt, and pray I or my family never have to see it again! The lessons learned from this accident have nothing to do with that shirt, and everything to do with a loving God, caring friends and family, and a renewed faith!

Friday, August 22, 2008

When You Play With Fire

Okay, I'll be the first to admit, probably not the most appropriate title considering.....but I can't really think of an appropriate title for this day.

It was one of the harder days I've had as a mother, one I'd soon rather forget, but one that will never escape my memory. Yet it has had it's shares of blessings as well.

I got woken up to a phone call from my husband this morning alerting me to the fact that my youngest had "a little bit of an accident." They were at the fire department getting the situation evaluated. It seems early in the morning my son managed to back up into the camp fire/cook stove and catch his shirt on fire. Due to my husbands calmness I didn't feel too alarmed even when the fire department decided to transport my son to the hospital via ambulance. As I got more of the story I started to worry a little.

At the first hospital it was determined my son should stay overnight at least for observation and blood work. Our lovely insurance though decided to have him moved to a burn unit that they contract with in downtown LA which is 2 and 1/2 hours away from our home, if there's no traffic! So they provided basic treatment at the first hospital including scrubbing the melted T-Shirt out of his skin and sent him in yet another ambulance to the second hospital.

At the second hospital they checked him in and admitted him right away still assuming based on the first assessment he would be staying AT LEAST overnight. Meanwhile waiting for the new Dr. to come evaluate my son, my husband sent the following picture to me, I guess hoping it would ease my mind, perhaps thinking I was thinking the burn was worse than what it was:

In all honesty, I never imagined it looked quite like that! Ease my mind? Not quite...make me want to cry and give me even more guilt for not being there(I had 3 kids at home to watch) YES!!

Surprisingly and pleasantly enough, this Dr. felt that we could do here at home, what they would do there. They put a foam type patch and secured it with an ace bandage and said that whether he stayed there or came home that patch isn't coming off till Tuesday due to the risk of infection. If he complains of pain they would provide medicine. Other than that it is just checking his temperature for high fever. All things that can be done here. So they released him! We do have to go back Tuesday all the way to LA for follow-up.

By the time he got cleaned up and sent home to me he looked like this:


I have to admit that many things lately have challenged and shaken my faith in God and my fellow man lately, today could have done the same, but rather it renewed my faith in both!

First, the burn could have been much worse. It looks bad, I am sure it will give him some pain, but the Dr's said that usually once a child's clothes catch fire, the burns are much worse. It was my husbands smart thinking to "stop, drop and roll" that prevented it from being much worse. Usually most children will run, causing the fire to spread.

Second, we started the day with a hospital stay of at least one day but perhaps more, and here he is home with us!

Third, our son has not felt ANY pain. A little stinging here and there, but no pain what so ever. The Dr.s were amazed.

We had literally hundreds of people praying for him, churches, online friends, friends in our community and more. I am pretty convinced it was those prayers that helped this situation to turn out as well as it did.

Fourth, we had an outpouring of love and support from friends, church members and even people I have never met in real life. Several people offered help, child care, even a place to stay if needed. It is a kind of support we honestly have never felt before, and while the situation was terrible, the feeling of caring and love was quite comforting.

We still have a ways to go in the physical healing process, but we are very grateful it all has turned out as well as it has thus far.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Company, Cleaning, Kittens and Kids....Oh, and Coughs and Colds Too!

How's that for a long title? It's long like my week feels like it's been and it's only Tuesday! Yikes!

On Sunday we had some out of town visitors coming for a short stay. We had been looking forward to this visit for sometime and I anxiously went into my frantic cleaning mode. There are six of us in this small 1245 sq.ft house. That's not counting the four dogs, now 2 cats, bird, mouse, and even a snake . So no matter how hard I try, the house nearly always looks cluttered. I was stressing a bit over it when I found THIS link on another blog and realized I am not the only one who suffers from an unrealistic ideal of cleanliness.

Comforting as that may have been the reality was for the next few days not only was I going to go into overdrive trying to keep tidy, I had to fit five more people in here, making it ELEVEN humans in this tiny house!! Luckily we have a tiny "guest house" which is really more of a converted glorified workshop with a nice paint job and a futon! But it worked out fine!

I worried over nothing, they weren't concerned about the size or cleanliness of my home. They were just glad to be on vacation and away from their own worries for a few days I suppose. It helped that their three children were so sweet and well behaved. It is a rare occurrence these days to find well mannered children who are actually enjoyable to be around. Good job mom and dad!

A big part of this visit was the arrival of our newest family member. Finally I will get to share this house with another female. See, since our dear dog died last week I once again have been the only female. The humans are all male, the one cat was a male, the dogs are male, the bird, the mouse, and while I can't quite prove it, I am sure even the snake is a male.

I am already totally in love with this cute little girl! Her name is Samantha. We had picked her out via a photo online months ago, but we really didn't know when we would be getting her. The timing couldn't have been more perfect! While Samantha can never replace our sweet Tasha who we lost last week, she sure provides a nice distraction in our grieving process.

I was so worried that my spoiled Neko kitty would bully her, and he is SO much bigger than her, but it is quite the opposite. SHE bullies him!! She chased him all the way up the stairs hissing and growling, and he was terrified!

During all of this company, cleaning and new kitty cats we also came down with colds. Maybe a "cold" is too mild a word or description for how I feel. I am miserable. But luckily it waited to inflict me too terribly until our guests packed up and left this morning. So now I sit here sipping on Theraflu hoping maybe I can be able to breathe well enough to sleep for a bit tonite! Hopefully it wont totally knock me out just incase the baby wakes up in the middle of the night needing me. Everyone else packed up and headed off camping for Boy Scouts today, leaving me alone, suffering with the baby(whine, whine)

It's not all bad as I have a new soft snuggly friend to cuddle up with! She even purrs! I can't think of better medicine!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Screwed Up System

I was typing a reply to a response left on my last posting, and it got terribly long, so I thought perhaps I would just write about it here instead!

I was sharing how we shouldn't be so quick to judge others, but just love them as God would love them. I stand by that 100 % !! I happened to use as an example the many people at the social services office I was at that day. That is a place where many judgements can easily be made! I still feel we need to remember that it is easy to be angry at a group; "abusers of the system", "illegals who manage to get benefits that citizens can't" and many other stereotypical groups. It is OK not to love such groups, it is OK to get angry at them. But within each group there are individuals, and I still feel we are to love each individual and not be quick to make judgements on the individual based on the group as a whole. BUT....that isn't necessarily where I want to go with this today...

My beef, as well as the responder to the last post really is with a system, not an individual person or even a group of people. The system in place is so messed up I don't even know where to begin!

I don't know the whole history of the Welfare system, nor do I have the time or desire to research it, but I do know what it has become and it is a disgrace! There are many, many people who have figured out how to abuse the system and do so for their whole lives. Many who have never worked a day in their lives, yet they are receiving money that you and I worked for and paid taxes with. I got a good chain type email on that subject one day. It mentioned how you or I have to take drug tests at our places of employment in order to keep our jobs and receive a pay check. Yet those on welfare who receive some of our hard earned money don't!! Where is the fairness there? I flunk a drug test I lose my job and money, yet the bozo who is dealing on the side and using welfare to pad his or her income doesn't even have to submit to a drug test???? That is the first thing I would change if I could reform the system.

The other thing is that welfare should be more of a "workfare" type system. Sure, if you recently lost your job and you need a helping hand for a few months, that is one thing. But to just keep collecting checks and not working for years and years, generations and generations, is quite another. After 3-6 months of required job hunting and perhaps classes in job hunting skills, the recipients should be required to work for their checks. You and I work for ours, why shouldn't they?? Perhaps they could take those jobs the illegal immigrants now fill? That could potentially solve two problems at once? The recipients would be working and earning their benefit checks, and perhaps the illegal problem would be cut down on a little as there would be less work for them. But, hey, while I think our illegal alien issue is a big problem you have to admit, at least they are working for what they earn...another post for another time.

Another thing that I would want to change is that the qualifications be the same for everyone. Everyone should qualify for benefits or be turned down for benefits based on the same requirements, period. See, several years ago, my husband lost his job, we had two kids. One a baby who had been hospitalized for a serious illness, and myself hospitalized shortly after. We had no money coming in and a pile of bills that couldn't be paid, not to mention an empty pantry and fridge. We very reluctantly went to apply for some assistance. We were rejected as we hadn't been out of work for three months yet(???) We were literally walking out of the workers office when she called us back. "Rameriz? Your mothers last name is Rameriz?" "Oh, you do qualify after all." So nothing had changed in that few brief moments other than a last name and our ethnicity and all of a sudden all of the doors opened for us. That is just wrong! Qualification should be based on true need, not a last name or a box marked something other than "Caucasian"

This is just the tip of the iceberg of my gripes with a system that does more harm than good. These are just a few of the things I would change if given the chance.

While I still hold firm in my belief to love and not judge, that is for individual people, not for groups who abuse and certainly not for government systems that are so screwed up that those that need help never get it, and are rejected because they actually worked once in their lives automatically disqualifying them(????) or the color of their skin or their mothers maiden name(???) Love that?? NO!! Judge that?? YES!! The system needs to be scrutinized and judged and changes need to be made!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Loving, not Judging...

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them.~Mother Teresa"
I just love Mother Teresa and her quotes. She was such a wise, loving and compassionate woman. I thought I was familiar with all of her wise sayings, as I have read just about every book by or about her. Some how this one escaped me until recently. Good timing though.
I am always so quick to complain about how others judge me, but if I am to be brutally honest, I'd have to admit that I too, can be pretty quick to pass judgements as well. I think it is something we are all guilty of to some extent. That is probably why the Bible is full of warnings against being judgmental. My guess is that other religious Holy books make similar warnings.
Monday afternoon I found myself in the Social Services office. UGH!! I hate that place more than you can imagine. Now, there is a place where one can find plenty of persons, things, and situations to pass judgement on. Trust me, I made plenty of my own!
Perhaps some of my judgements were correct, and some of these people were just lazy bums and baby making machines hoping to get a bit more cash or food stamps out of their off spring. I am sure there were plenty there who have figured out how to abuse the system and make a decent living off of it. But wait a minute....!!! Wasn't I there? What could THEIR judgements of me be?? They don't know why I am there. They don't know I am raising a child that is not my own and not receiving child support, so therefore participate in the Kin-ship assistance program to help out with the costs of raising a child that is not biologically mine. How many of the others there could have been in my situation or similar? On this topic itself(public assistance and judgement) a fellow Sonlighter and Blogger wrote an EXCELLENT post far greater than anything I could say or write so I will just direct you there. Please take the time to read it, it is well worth a few short moments of your time.
But what if my judgements of these people WERE correct? Then are they less lovable? Perhaps to you or me, but are they less lovable to God? So if God loves them regardless of their life choices, are we to love them? I believe so. Mother Teresa believed so. That's what I admire about her. She was able to love people right where they were. She didn't ask them what they did that caused them to be a leper on the streets with no family to love or care for them, she just loved them.
I believe that is what we are all called to do. Just love. Don't judge. Much easier said then done I know. That means loving those who are in situations perhaps they put themselves in. That means loving your neighbor who is less than nice, that means loving your own family and those who have hurt you..
It is easy to love the people far away. It is not always easy to love those close to us. It is easier to give a cup of rice to relieve hunger than to relieve the loneliness and pain of someone unloved in our own home. Bring love into your home for this is where our love for each other must start.~Mother Teresa
Again, wise words. It is easy to feel love and compassion for the poor hungry orphans in China, or the lepers in India, they are far away. But what about that pesky neighbor or annoying church member. What about the lady with 8 kids in line at the Welfare office with another in the oven? What about the family member who you continue to try to help over and over, yet they continue to abuse drugs and those around them? THOSE are who we are called to love! We aren't to judge them, just love them!
That doesn't mean we set ourselves up to continually be hurt emotionally or physically or robbed blind by them. We set limits and boundaries, but yet we extend genuine love to them. They may or may not love you back, they may or may not change their ways. God isn't going to judge us on whether we won any converts or helped to perform miracles in anothers life, but He IS going to judge us on our ability to love. That's the only judgement we should be concerning ourselves with.... His!

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Recent Loss and Painful Memories

I will have to ask that you all forgive my little pity party in yesterdays short post. I had just lost a good friend of 15 years. It may sound extreme to many that I got so upset when you learn this good friend of mine had four legs. But those that know me well, know I love my four legged friends and family members just as much as I do my two legged ones, and in some cases, maybe even more!

Tasha was no ordinary dog. She was naturally incredibly smart. She made us look good! We tell her something and she does it. Never had any formal training, she was just smart.

She once took a rattle snake bite intended for my youngest son! How many of you have a friend willing to lie down their lives for yours? I happen to have two! I am indeed blessed(one took a bullet(never mind it was a pepper ball, he didn't know that at the time!) to protect me!) I am not sure I have a human friend (other than my husband, I think he would!) who would do that for me!

This was also so hard for me as it brought back memories I have yet to deal with of my mothers death. The circumstances were very similar. Both were suffering greatly, and I held the ability in both cases to end that suffering. That is a great burden, not to be taken lightly!

One of my tattoo's is on my shoulder, and is of a cross:

I got this tattoo as my mother was dying. I had recently learned during this time, I alone held the ability to decide when and if my mothers life support would be ended. I know why she gave me that power, she knew I would be able to make those choices if the time came, but that didn't make it any easier! So, this cross represents the cross I knew I must bear. It is a heavy cross and weighs me down daily to this day.

Tasha like my mother suffered greatly...did I let either suffer too long? Was I too hasty in any decisions I made? Were lack of decisions(therefore a decision in itself really?) a wrong decision as well? Was I thinking of my needs more than theirs? As I said, it is a heavy cross....

I had grown up being told only God can give life, and only God can/should take it. Thanks to medical science, things are much more complicated today. A suffering person can live indefinitely thanks to machines that breathe for them and makes their hearts pump. But is that life? Is that life as God intended it? But at some point someone has to decide when to stop those machines, therefore taking Gods right to give and take life away and placing it in a simple mans(or women's) hands. I for one don't like playing God.

I thought I was crazy or over emotional when I looked into Tasha's suffering eyes and saw my mothers eyes. It is a look I will never forget. My husband later shared he saw the same thing, so perhaps I am not overly emotional. Actually I get accused of being cold at times, but it only appears that way as the emotions run so deep and hurt so bad, I don't want to bring them up to where I have to deal with them.

But everything has to be dealt with at some point, perhaps just not today....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It Is Done.....

"It is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all."
Who makes this crap up?? And people say this to comfort one another? And it's suppose to work? Hmmm... not buying it, no thank you!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Eating Their Own

As a homeschooler of nearly eleven years, getting ready to graduate my first this coming year, I am struggling with how to best educate them this coming fall. All but 1 and 1/2 of these past eleven years I have homeschooled privately. I always figured, if public school wasn't good enough, why would public school at home be good enough(IE: Charter School, Cyber School, Public ISP)?

We've had our ups and downs, hits and misses, successes and failures, but overall I think we've done pretty well. After eleven years I can look back and see where I did things right as well as honestly assess where I fell short.

Due to our current financial situation, and me feeling a need for some oversight and guidance I decided this coming year to enroll my youngest two in a Public CyberSchool; Connections Academy. This has gotten the response I suspected it may from fellow homeschoolers.

See, homeschoolers have a tendency to think their way is the only way, what ever that way may be....We tend to be free thinkers and rather opinionated, which aren't necessarily bad things, but it can lead to many a heated debate!

Most homeschoolers that I know seem to be very leery of public school, even public school at home type programs. Perhaps with good reason, let's face it, most public schools leave a bit to be desired these days! But the debate can get really heated when one enrolls in a public school at home program and tries to call it "Homeschooling." Such parents and their children find that once they enroll in a public charter or ISP that they are quickly shunned from the homeschooling community, no longer allowed in the homeschool support groups, co-ops, and even asked to stop calling themselves "Homeschoolers."

Never mind that these families may have been part of these groups for a decade or longer, perhaps even leaders in said groups, but now they are shunned and told they aren't "real" homeschoolers, and if this happens to be a Christian group, now said family is nothing short of a heathen, no longer a "real" Christian(let's see, whose the one not acting very Christ-like here?hmmm...)

Private homeschoolers see Public Charter Schools as a threat to "real" homeschooling. They fear that it may infringe upon their right to continue to homeschool as they see fit without public school/government interference. I can understand, I have held those same fears myself. Here in California we have had recent battles on the legality of homeschooling. But while I think families should have the choice to homeschool privately if they see fit, I also think they should have the choice to join a public school program, or (gasp) even go to public school! It's an issue of parental choice, not which educational method is best or even most godly(don't laugh, this is a big debate among Christian homeschoolers)

Perhaps if private homeschoolers were respectful of public homeschoolers and helped support their right to choice, then in turn the public homeschoolers will in turn help to defend your right to school privately. But if we are shunned, isolated, called names, have our faith questioned, don't expect us to come to your rescue if needed.

I have officially enrolled in the program, and received our books, and yet still am unsure this is what I want to do. This is a decision that has not come lightly, but I really need to evaluate how much is true second thoughts and how much is me being brainwashed after nearly eleven years that the public school is my enemy and I am less than a loving parent or faithful Christian if I choose to be in such a program, or that my kids will turn into heathens if we have any involvement in a public program.

I have to admit to formally being one of these judgemental homeschooling types, but after observing different families and schooling experiences I have come to understand that it's not as simple as public school vs. homeschool and one is more superior to the other. I have seen lots of kids graduate nearly illiterate from public school, but you know what?? I have seen some graduate from homeschool that way as well. I have seen homeschoolers enter Community College only to leave after a semester because they just couldn't cut it.

I have seen many a public schooler turn away from God, but I have seen the same in homeschoolers as well. On the other hand I have seen public school kids graduate and go into the ministry!!

I have seen great kids come from homeschooling, public and private, and I have seen rotten eggs from both! Not every thing is either black or white, good or bad...

I see the bigger issue as an issue of parenting. Parents caring and being involved in their children's education, either public or private.

We've got to stop eating our own so to speak! We need to stick together so we all have the right to parent and educate how we feel led rather than fight against each other. Not everything needs to be an "Us against them" issue.

I could write pages on this issue, and perhaps I will in a series of smaller posts sometime soon, because this "eating their own" issue isn't just about the public/private side of homeschooling, it can get just as heated over methods as well. I see this type of mentality often in homeschooling and in the religious community as well in regards to issues of theology and such. Why do we choose these things to fight over? I don't see this sort of attitude in other communities, why these two? Anyone?


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TV Reviews

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Maybe I'll Head To The Polls After All....

While I am still unsure if I can in good conscience cast a vote for either candidate in the upcoming elections, I have found a cause that will get me to the polling station come November. I don't know why I am just now hearing of Prop. 2 here in California, but I am glad it came to my attention via MySpace today.

Watch this video to learn a little more:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sometimes It Takes A Five Year Old...

I have shared many times that my family sponsors a young girl through Compassion International. I enjoy getting her letters, sadly she writes us far more often than we write her. I am working on changing that!

I love reading the letters aloud to the family. They give a glimpse into a whole other world that seems so far away from here. A life that one can hardly imagine. Our little sponsored girl is only five years old, yet she carries the burden and worries of an adult. Yet she also has a selflessness that I rarely see in many children OR adults in our own culture.

She has many worries, yet she doesn't fret about them, she prays and asks for prayers. She tries to work hard in school in hopes of getting a job and helping her family. Keep in mind this is a FIVE year old girl! Does your five your old worry about such things?

We sent a seemingly small cash gift for her recent birthday, and she spent all but a few pennies on a pig to raise and sell the offspring to raise money for her family. The few remaining pennies were spent on sweet treats to share with her brother. I don't know about your kids, but if mine were given some birthday spending money, they'd be off to buy the latest action figure and certainly wouldn't be concerned about getting something to share with brother! But this little girl used her gift from us, to gift her family.

We still struggle financially, but as I've mentioned before, our struggles are quite a bit different than this sweet little girls struggles. I just feel like an idiot sometimes that it takes a five year old to help me keep things in perspective!!

I can't recommend enough helping a child through an organization like Compassion. There are others out there, but this is the one I feel most strongly about. It costs a few dollars a month, but what you get back in return is priceless! I am nearly in tears as I read her prayers for us, can you believe, she prays for us?? And not just a general, "praying for you" she gives specific prayers! Again, I have to remind myself, this child is only five years old! The knowledge that our small monthly gifts to her will make a difference in this bright, caring, little girls life is also priceless. I hope if you don't already, you would consider sponsoring a child through Compassion or another organization that you feel strongly about. I know we thought about it for sometime before we actually acted on it. Thinking about it is a good start, but if you've considered it, perhaps now would be a good time to act upon it?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

If You Give a Baby a Cookie...

Sure, it all starts off innocent enough, even kinda cute.....

Next thing you know though, they look like this!!

And you should see his hands!! And clothing, and mine!! Off to the tub for us!

Monday, August 4, 2008

"It's Christians I Can't Stand"

Christian or not....ever feel that way? I am a Christian, and I know I sure do sometimes. That's why when someone on my favorite online hangout suggested the book; "I'm Fine With God, It's Christians I Can't Stand", I just couldn't resist! I immediately put it on hold at the library. I finally got time today to read it and found it a quick and easy, and totally amusing, yet sadly true read.

The book was actually written by fellow Christians, hard to believe with a title like that, but I think they are just expressing what many today feel. They aren't talking about ALL Christians, just the ones that seem to manage to make the headlines and everyone assumes represent us all. You know, the abortion clinic protesters, funeral protesters of anyone who doesn't fit their image of a "true christian"(anyone who doesn't go to their church most likely) the fellows trying to take your money on TV, and all the others who give us all a bad name!

It's not just the fanatics though, even some of the more mellow, centered Christians can give off anything but a Christ like image with all the finger pointing and judgments.

The first chapter I was laughing hysterically, even though much of what was said was sadly true, it was funny. The second chapter I hate to admit I think I saw myself in some of the statements. Many of the things I would admit to a few years back, not so much now, but it was still an "ouch" moment. Just in case your curious, it was the chapter titled " I can't stand Christians who are paranoid", and while I admit to being a bit paranoid, I think it's just my nature, not so much my Christianity. If I were a Buddhist, I'd be a paranoid one, a Hindu...same thing. If I were a follower of Islam, I'd be a paranoid Muslim. I am just a bit paranoid! Still, it hurt to think they pegged me so well, and it wasn't very flattering!!

The following chapters were less funny, and more serious, but continued to point out where we as Christians can do more harm than good when we try to bash people over the head with our beliefs on science, prosperity, end times and more.

My only complaint about this book, is that I feel the only people that are going to read and appreciate this book are other Christians who feel the same way, or non-believers who do. Isn't that preaching to the choir? Those that should read it and maybe take a cue are those that probably never will, or if they do will be so offended they wont learn a thing from it but rather protest at the authors funeral when the time comes!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

On This Day

Seventeen years ago today I gave birth to this here good looking guy.

Of course he didn't look like that then, but I don't have any baby picture of him loaded on my computer. We didn't even have a home PC all the way back then, boy he's old!

Well, that particular day, just happened to be this good looking guys birthday as well.

For those of you that don't know this one here is my husband. Now you would think a guy such as him would be thrilled to have his first born son born on his very own birthday. Not the case. At least not back then. See, we had a "date" to go see Terminator II that night, well obviously we missed it. And he was sure to remind me of that fact several times during the birthing process! It's a joke now, we laugh about it every year about this time, not so funny then.

It seemed everyone had someplace to be that day, and was in a rush for me to push this kid out! See, my dear mother in law had tickets to take our daughter and a few of her other grandchildren to Disneyland and to a dinner theater for dinner. They had to be at the dinner theater(about 2-3 hours from the hospital) at a certain time or they'd lose the pricey tickets they had pre-paid for! So I was constantly being told to hurry up and get it done with!!

I think the birth of this child was the weekend entertainment this day though, as my husbands young sister and new boyfriend came in to sit on the sofa in the birthing room during one of the more active parts of labor, and just stayed visiting. I think I had up to 15 people in the room at one point, some who I didn't even know!! Luckily my mother(bless her soul) had a short temper and quickly cleared the joint!

My young daughter got tired of waiting and went to an aunts house to rest. Brilliant aunt gave daughter aspirin which she was allergic to! So guess who was a guest in the ER of the same hospital I was giving birth to her brother at!

In the end it all turned out fine, I got a handsome young son, the others got off to Disneyland just fine, daughters eyes eventually opened after being swollen shut from the aspirin, sister in law married the boyfriend, and husband got what I would consider the best birthday gift of all! Of course we never did see Terminator II until it came out on VHS several years later(no DVD yet!)

So, happy birthday to you both! Hope you enjoy your day today much better than I did mine 17 years ago. I see it only fitting that you two go share a movie today to celebrate the occasion, enjoy!

Friday, August 1, 2008

My Picks

I mentioned yesterday that I would come back and post some Yoga DVDs. There are many to choose from and some are much better than others. I have tried more than I can count and out of all of those there are about a handful I either use semi-regularly or would bother recommending to anybody else...

For those that are looking for something "Christian" out of the ones I am familiar with there are only two I recommend. One is Yoga Prayer and the other is Yahweh Yoga

Out of the two I personally prefer Yahweh Yoga, I just prefer the flow of that one, but both are good. There are other "Christian Alternatives" to yoga DVDs out there but I didn't and wont list them here. The makers of these DVDs are usually behind all the negative comments you hear in regards to Christians practicing Yoga, and I wont support that. If you are truly interested in such programs you can Google "christian alternatives to yoga" and you will find them fairly easily I am sure!

While I enjoy and occasionally use the above selections, I must admit, while I am a Christian, the DVDs and styles I prefer are not necessarily "Christian" but there is also nothing in them that would be offensive to devout Christians, or that one should have an issue with. These are the ones I use regularly since having to give up going to class due to our current financial crisis...

I really enjoy most anything by Rodney Yee.

I really enjoy his style. He has a very soothing voice and his style is a bit more relaxing and meditative than some of my other picks. I always feel so relaxed after doing one of his DVDs! It doesn't hurt that he is quite pleasing to the eye(or so I've been told by other ladies, of course I only have eyes for my dear husband!)

I really like David Swenson as well.

I really appreciate that he takes the time to show you alternatives to each pose depending on your level, and each of these is shown without outside props. This is how I learned from my instructor, and the way I prefer. The video above is one I use often. There is no background music(which I must admit I miss, I really like soothing flutes or something, but that's just my preference) On that note: this is my favorite yoga music CD that I practice to often, or listen to when the mood strikes.

My current favorite Yoga DVD is by Baron Baptiste

His style is what I would consider a little more "athletic" than most and a bit less reflective, which neither is my preference, but I am enjoying the level 2 DVD VERY much right now! It is a great workout, and his verbal cues are some of the best out there! He too, shows alternative positions based on your level and is constantly reminding you to do what you can do and to work the edge but not push too hard. He really explains the positions much better than any I've ever seen/heard.

There are many more out there, but these are the ones I have come to trust and rely on most over the years. I also prefer many days to do my own flow with just the CD mentioned above, but some days I need the motivation of someone else moving me along, which is when videos can come in handy!

I wanted to share a couple of neat sites I found while googling "Christians and yoga" the usual negative ones appeared, but I was surprised to find a couple of positive ones this time! Christian Yoga Magazine is really neat and I spent a little time over there the other day and hope to find more time this weekend to explore it a bit more! Neat resource!! The other I actually found following a link from Christian Yoga Magazine; Light on Christian Yoga.

While visiting the websites of my favorite picks to grab links I found this Q&A article by David Swenson about a Christian practicing yoga and I really appreciated his answer.

It was refreshing to find a few positive mentions of Christians and Yoga, sadly they were in the minority, but it's a start!