Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Wall: Having Faith in the Little Things

Today's sermon included a short story about running a half marathon. The pastor said he, not being a "runner" hit the wall at mile 10 and how everything was hard and how he was mad at his friend and how everything in his life seemed bad--his freckles and that kid that hurt him in 7th grade, etc. And then his friend (the "runner" who had already finished the race) came back to run the last portion with him and kept telling him he could do it.

Well, his story sounded so familiar to me. No, I don't run. In fact I really can't--not more than a few steps when I think one of my kids is in danger or something. But I honestly know that feeling of hitting a wall where I just "can't" keep going. Yep, it comes as I try to get thru the day and suddenly everything in my life seems bad and can't perceive I can make it. So, I'm trying to figure out how to look at each day as a marathon and push thru the wall--but not overexert myself. The one comfort God gave me is that his mercies are new every morning. I think I'll make a New Year's resolution this year--to look only to the day ahead. I can't handle more than that. When we were missionaries, it seemed easier somehow to look at the big things and have faith for them (not that it wasn't a challenge!) But now it's like my miracles are getting the house clean and watching all the different people that pull together to help me get through the basics of caring for my house. We are making it and that seems like a miracle in itself.

I hope that these little miracles and chances to have faith are just a training for the future God has for me. After all he says those who are faithful with little will be given much.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Easy Yoke?

When I look at my daily life, I struggle with where the "easy yoke" Jesus promises come in. I was praying about it and wait came to mind was that Jesus also says take up your cross. Ouch! And then I thought no one will carry your cross for you until you fall down. I think God is teaching me to be weak. Oh it's hard! But when I'm weak He is strong.

Another verse I was encouraged (or maybe I should say reprimanded with ) was

Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

Truth is I don't want to let endurance have it's full play--I want it to have a quick death and end! But I know that's not for my best. So, I'm enduring and trying to think outside the box to see how carrying a cross CAN be an easy yoke.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Celebrating the small stuff...

Last I posted I mentioned about my "children being taught of the Lord". Well, I want to celebrate an little ex. of that by sharing a cute story. We've just started reading a family devotional on grace at night. So, my 3 y.o. must have been trying to process it all b/c out of the blue she says something like, " I did grace one time when I gave Elizabeth 2 people (toys) when she didn't deserve it." So neat that she got the basic idea--I really didn't expect her to get much out of it. But to give you the background, when she was playing with Elizabeth a few weeks ago they had a disagreement b/c my little sweetie wanted to have all the people in the house set and give Elizabeth only one. So, after I explained that she could share them equally or not play at all she decided to share. :) It cracked me up that she deemed Elizabeth unworthy of having an equal share of the toys, but hey, at least she's learning something.

It's especially encouraging b/c I'm struggling to keep up with the devotional, so it's a good motivator to see someone is listening. And especially b/c I'm way over my limit of stress and pressures and ability to keep up right now. But God's got my children covered.

If you have a small celebration, please share it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm retiring--someone else will be teaching my kids this year...

Someone was praying for me today--and even though they didn't know I homeschooled, they encouraged me with the verse, "Your children shall be taught of the Lord".

Cool--maybe I'll become an unschooler after all...I've been really wondering how much I can take on this year and how much I should just let go. My dd is really into chess right now and since she's only a 2nd grader, I am pretty excited. SO, I think that will be a big part of our school day. At least to start out. And as for the rest, I'll let the Master teacher worry about that. :) That is until He tells me what else I need to be teaching.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I'm an ACHIEVER again!

You know, I have some trials--especially in my physical body. It makes it hard to get things done. But I was encouraged by this verse today:

For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!],

In comparison to heaven, this affliction of mine is light and it's momentary (my life is but a blink of an eye!). BUT it's achieving for me. I can't seem achieve much right now. But this burden is doing it FOR me. I don't see this, but I do believe it. I am achieving just b/c of my afflicition. I've always been one to work hard and achieve. I've been struggle and getting no where, but I realized that I'm getting somewhere in the unseen realm. I don't get it--but it's in the Bible in black in white in 2 Cor. 4:15-18. I AM achieving! Not a functionally clean house; Not a job; not even in my homeschooling am I acheiving anything right now (I can't seem to get started, though I planned to). BUT I am achieving in the unseen realm.

Oh, and did you notice the "passing" part--this too shall pass. Repeat after me "This is temporary". Don't think of how long it is--just focus on that it's temporary. People say "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." That's right--you can only handle such huge things b/c they are temporary. "This is only temporary." I can endure a little while longer in the mess--but I can't wait to get to heaven and the joy that's waiting there.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

My boat won't float

I thought it was time to "publish" my latest way to describe Lyme disease.

It's like being in a boat with termites. That is a wooden boat...

The most immediate need is the water leaking into the boat which you must bail out. That would be dealing with the practicals of life that I get behind on b/c of the illness. The to do list that multiplies unmercifully even when I can hardly get off the couch.

So, to prevent the water from getting worse, I need to patch the holes in the boat--that is the symptoms of the disease (something like 400 different ones to choose from). I actually am pretty good at patching holes/fighting off symptoms. It takes time--but my health blog is full of ideas on everything from insomnia to general health boosters--learned from years of patching holes.

But the root of the problem is the termites--eating the boat apart--the Lyme bacteria (Borrelia) wrecking havoc inside my body. I can kill off some of it--but so far not all. And so I keep having to bail, patch, and kill--over and over and over and over.

My boat won't float--unless I keep working. I want a vacation, but there are plenty of others who don't get a vacation from their hardships either. God help me keep up the good fight.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Carrot, an Egg, or a Coffee Bean?

The following story arrived in my e-mail today and I wanted to share it:

A young girl complained to her father that she was tired of the struggles of every day life. It seemed that just as one problem was solved, another arose. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen, filled three pots with water and turned the heat on high. Soon the three pots came to a boil. In one pot he placed a carrot, in the other he placed an egg, and in the last he placed ground coffee beans. The father and child sat while the items in the pots boiled, all the while the young girl was wondering why her father was cooking when she had come to him for help with her problems.
Thirty minutes later, the father took the carrot, egg, and coffee out of each pot and put them in separate bowls and let them cool. The father then instructed his daughter to feel the carrot. The young girl noted that the carrot was soft and mushy. He then asked her to take the egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Her face frowned at the strong taste of the coffee.
"What does it all mean, Father?" The father explained, "Each item faced the same adversity; 212 degrees of boiling water for 30 minutes, however, each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong and hard, but came out soft and weak. The egg was fragile; a thin, outer shell protecting a liquid center. But after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The coffee beans became stronger and richer and permeated the water."
"Which are you?" he asked his daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you the carrot, which seems tough, but wilts with the smallest amount of pain or adversity? Are you the egg which starts off with a malleable heart, but after experiencing the trials of life you become hardened and bitter?
Or are you like the coffee bean? The bean does not get its peak flavor and robust until it reaches 212 degrees Fahrenheit. When life is at its toughest, you are at your best. When the hour is the darkest, and trials are their greatest, your worship elevates to another level. How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?
"We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." 2 Corinthians 4:9-10
--Author Unknown

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Keep your mind set on things above...

I discovered one thing that helps me on (on my good OR bad days) is MUSIC.

One day I made a CD of songs that inspire me during struggle, which included SuperChik's "Beauty from Pain". (I need to figure out how to add that song to this page!)

Or other times I listen to a CD of worship songs that the girls have. It's great b/c it's kids singing music I like, so the girls love it and I do too!!! We have the first 2 volumes of Absolute Modern Worship for Kids.

Anyway, just a short suggestion, but when I remember the uplifting music, it really helps keeping me going.

If you have a song that really encourages you, be sure to share!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

All Types of Mothers--working from your strength saves energy

I was inspired today by a discussion online. If you are homeschooling and chronically ill, you don't have energy to waste. But it's so easy to waste our energy feeling guilty. And not being a good mom can easily top the list.

But the truth is God made us different on purpose. He didn't make any moms who fit a cookie cutter. Sorry, but few (if any) of us fit the descriptions that are read in Mother's Day sermons. There are those who naturally make cookies and always have all the right clothes picked out and provide a nice stable home. But they have trouble with the spontaneous interruptions and struggle to be "fun" with their kids. On the other hand, the "fun" mom has trouble getting all the mom-work done in a timely fashion.

I read a book MotherStyles: Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting Strengths that really helped me see that I was a good mother. See the type of mother I thought I should be, I was really not good at--and doubly so since I was sick. BUT I realized that type of mother was missing a lot of things that do make me a good mom! In the end, no mother is any better off. Each one has to learn to serve the family out of their strength and do their best to stretch in areas that are not so natural. One of the blessings of being a mother is that we are forced to grow as people b/c being a mother requires us to taking on so many varying task. And we can learn to bring other people into our child's life to fill in our gaps. That's what community is all about anyway!

So, I hope you can learn more about how your strengths bless your family, even while you are sick. God made us a certain way on purpose and there is no point comparing ourselves--especially those of us who have no energy to waste.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Making Homeschool CD's--increase learning with less energy!

One trick that really helps me is my daughter's morning routine. I should add that I've been having to prompt her lately to get back in the habit of doing it promptly in the morning. But still it's a life saver.

In addition to practicals like getting dressed, her routine includes her math page (unless we are to a new lesson), hand exercises, writing in her journal (the date, and right now she is writing her phone number to help her learn it--before she was practice her name with lowercase), and her CD.

I make the CD on the computer. It includes a bible verse memory song (even though I haven't been working with her on the memory lately--at least she's hearing it and we'll work on it eventually), her German lesson(Power Glide), and a story. When she is learning math facts, those songs are included as well. Next year I will be including Audio Memories Geography Songs.

The stories come from several online sources such as: (Thanks Cara!)--These are old records with classic stories, books, etc. You sign up for a weekly e-mail to get various stories--after a while you get quite a collection. These are mostly old radio programs--many are historical or based on literature. This is Aesop's Fables--14 volumes--284 stories. I would assume that's the complete collection! :) is Alice in Wonderland. Here's more including a couple Beatrix Potter stories. is Fifty Favorite Stories Retold by James Baldwin.

Several of these links have other stories on the same site if you want to look around.

Listening to stories is partly a fun reward for getting the other work done and she can skip it if she wants. But it also helps with auditory processing--which helps with the phonics side of reading. And I try to include stories that relate to our history when possible. But of course lots of them are just plain fun. But I love knowing that there is learning going on, even when I can't yet drag myself out of bed. (And for you healthy folks who don't relate--I'm not talking willpower--I'm talking--my body won't go!)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hint on getting your bathrooms cleaned

One cleaning chore that I can't let go too much is the toilets and sinks. So, I taught my dd 6 how to clean them. She does a passable job (good for a six year old!) But the trick is we use natural cleaners! A small spray bottle of vinegar and a bit of baking soda for scrubbing. Kills germs and scrubs stains. Here's some info on natural cleaning from my health blog:

I accomplish several things: teaches my daughter life skills/home ec. (she really likes cleaning, but not picking up), helps our house stay liveable, and helps me save energy so I can invest in my children. Also, I think it helps to start young chores, b/c there is less resistance. They actually enjoy doing "big" things. Later, it will be a habit. If I ask for much work, I do usually pay them a bit. They are much cheaper than a maid though! Just getting used to doing chores helps teach a good work ethic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Does my daughter suffer b/c of my illness?

The other day my daughter had helped me quite a bit and so I was thinking--I need to give her some kind of reward. But then one of those thoughts popped in my head that seemed inspired--(NOT something I'm smart enough to come up with): she's gaining rewards in heaven.

So, I told my daughter I noticed how much she had been helping me and how I thought maybe God had a special reward waiting for her in heaven for all the extra help she'd been that day.

I asked her if there were no limits, what would one thing would she pick (on earth) she would like to have. She said "A Dora castle". So, I asked which would be better: a Dora Castle on earth or to have a Dora castle in heaven that would last forever. She confidently said one in heaven (eyes glowing). To which I said, you never know--God might have a Dora Castle for you in heaven, but if he doesn't, he has better things for you.

I explained how when we do things in secret without getting a reward or applause, that God rewards us. And I encouraged her that she has lots of chances to do service for her sick mommy or to be accommodating to her demanding little sister. She was so excited about this. And honestly, I was so relieved to realize I don't have to make it all fair for her--God will.

I try hard not to take advantage of her obedience for the sake of my laziness. Training her to have a servants heart can be an eternal blessing to her.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Connecting on the web

Here's a neat blog by a homeschooling mom who's dealt with lots of hospitalizations.

Here's another great story with lots of tips about homeschooling while sick:

I love reading other's stories as it always gives you strength for your own fight.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Why homeschooling works for me....

Somedays I think I'm crazy to homeschool. I mean, I can hardly get out of bed in the morning, why am I choosing extra work. But on the other hand--I can hardly get out of bed in the morning, so how would I get my 6 y.o. to school on time? I love that I now homeschool in the afternoon b/c it fits my physical needs better. My daughter does do all her independent work in the morning, but I don't check on any of it until the afternoon, so it works great.

Then there's my second reason--my second daughter--who is about to turn 3. You see, she wouldn't be in school anyway. And I've found that it's no more restful to me to be home alone with just the younger daughter. My older daughter can get things down for her, can clean up toys, and can pour cereal and milk for both of them. And my older daughter follow complex directions that my 2 year old can't, so she saves me a lot of getting up. She even goes to listen to the answering machine or bring me the phone. And being the oldest, she loves being responsible and having important jobs. If I ask a lot of her, I pay her for her work. And I tell her to go get _____ cents and we get to practice math!

And 3rd, I don't have energy to be the involved parent I would want to be in school, such as helping with parties or field trips. And it seems it is easier to teach her myself then have to pack lunch, get her to school, bring her home, help with homework, reading, and spelling, sign papers, take her to birthday parties of people I don't know, buy certain things for project or teacher gifts or whatever, and sell things for fundraising. Especially b/c sitting and reading a story vs. getting out to drive to school are a big difference in energy for me.

Now, those reason are all about me and my illness. But those are NOT the main reasons I homeschool. To be honest, it simply started out as me praying about what schooling options. But the longer I do it, the more reasons I have b/c I see the great results in areas I didn't expect.

1. I am choosing superior education methods that are possible with one-on-one. I use literature base curriculum for history, science, civics, Bible, geography, etc. Then, I add in Math-U-See and great phonics and handwriting programs (3 R's). I've also been able to pinpoint a weakness in auditory processing and work on that with her. I have a degree in Elementary Ed., but through homeschooling, I've learned much better ways to teach.

2. I can add in foreign language and lots of other enrichment. Truth is I don't usually feel like doing the extras (physically), but I try to make a lot of resources available for my daughter to learn from during play. For example, she has 2 videos that teach Ballet and she has a guitar and recorder that she's been practicing on lately. I've made it a real priority to have lots of educational toys and limited TV/computer time. I find her using her free time to write a book that she made out of construction paper or to read Magic School Bus or Usborne history books or play Operation (which I bought for to help her fine motor skills). Occasionally, I'll do a drawing lesson with her or chess lesson.

3. My dd (darling daughter) is free to go visit her grandparents. One set lives on a ranch, so I love that she can get out of the city. The other set love to take her places, like to ride an old steam train or to visit a wildlife park. She's able to go an visit them--not confined to the weekend-- and take a bit of school with her and catch up on the rest later.

4. Sibling relationships. My girls LOVE to play together, even though they are almost 4 years a part. But I don't think they would have really learned that if the oldest had gone to school 2 years ago! They are both highly emotional, so they do conflict, but they are learning to get along in a way that I don't see in others. And my dd2 is learning right along with her sister. She listens in on stories I read and talks about the characters. She likes to go check the weather with her big sister and listens along to the German CD.

5. Parent relationship. I love that my dd's and I get to spend unhurried time together just talking. My dd6 is really picking up on values right now and so we talk alot about important things. I love it.

--Friend relationships--I've realized that if she gets to go to at least 2-3 things with friends a week, her needs are met. So, church, small group, and getting together with a friend/or going to with a friend to a kids prayer group really feel that need at this age, though it may change in the future.

So, call me crazy, but we are sticking with homeschool. Even when I do less than I like to do with my daughter (like right now we aren't doing science other than magic school bus), I know she is getting more than she would in public school. Homeschooling fits our family. It's best for my daughters and best for me right now. And God's giving me grace to do it.

And now it's your turn....What's your story?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Welcome to my brand new blog. My goal is to create a place to encourage chronically ill, homeschooling moms. Soon, I'll be sharing my story and hope others will come and share their story as well. If you have a story to share, send it to lymeadelady at hotmail dot com and I'll be glad to share it here.

By the way, if your wondering about the name.... I started with the blog: Since I have Lyme's, I turned it into something sweet--the chance to help others improve their health. Now, I'm taking to helping others in my shoes homeschool.