Sunday, March 1, 2015

SWD March 1

FOR TODAY...  March 1, 2015

Outside my window...  there is a couple of inches of snow on the ground. The juncos and finches are enjoying the feeder on my back deck.

I am thinking...  it will be nice when my new computer is set up so I can post pics again!

I am thankful... that I have nothing too pressing to do today because I am warn out!

In the kitchen...  my kitchen needs attention badly as I have been so busy that I am not keeping up with everything, sadly.

I am wearing... church clothes but snuggled into bed to try to get warm.

I am creating...  an appreciation in my family for nutritional foods (although no one much appreciates it right now as they are withdrawing from all the adulterated foods they are used to).

I am wondering...  how I can get on top of the sled of my life instead of continuing to be dragged behind plowing through the snow with my face.

I am reading...  The Shining Company by Rosemary Sutcliff.

I am hoping...  Princeton High School will have a good school option for both of my girls next fall and will take their credits from previous school work done.

I am looking forward to...  resting today and a new women's group I am a part of on Thursday evening.

Around the house...  my two youngest are playing Wii in the living room.  My two oldest are doing homework.

One of my favorite things...  birdfeeders and birds.

Highlights from this past week...  We had our first visit to Chicago to see DD#2's new pediatric gastroenterologist.  We really liked her.  DD#1 is having female problems, so I took her to see a GYN.  After we get lab results tomorrow, we'll hopefully get started on a solution.  DD #3 was sick Monday and Tuesday with a sore throat -viral.  DS was sick all week with an intestinal bug.  I had parent teacher conferences for the two youngest.  They both are doing very well.  We got a new computer from Best Buy!  We moved DH's parents the rest of the way into their new apartment yesterday.  However, my FIL ended up back in the ER and was admitted back in to the hospital for a few days due to heart failure exasperation.  He then needed moved back to the rehab program a few days later.  Hopefully he'll be able to go to his new home in the next couple of weeks.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  get stuff done that is stacking up on me and help my MIL get settled at her new place.

Monday, February 23, 2015


A mother walks a tightrope juggling
In the air are various responsibilities.
She runs up and down the tightrope as needed to keep each item in the air.
Food for the family
And healthy meals,
Homeschooling a child with chronic health issues.
Driving two children to school at different times,
Later picking them up.
Appointments to doctors,
Never-ending laundry,
Keeping the checkbook.
Another child home sick, again and again.
Soon she wearies.
Things drop here and there.
She cannot keep them all in the air.
She forgets to pick up the kids.
She misses the PTO meeting.
No time for her husband who works long hours.
Why do the kids keep getting sick?
Keep everything in the air, mother.
You can't let them drop.
The stress of it all burns her out.
She can't keep up.
The inability to pay all the bills puts her off balance.
How could she possibly hold a job and keep all these things in the air?
She feels disaster is looming.
Each day she picks herself up,
Keeping it all going.
The weight is tremendous, but she cannot stay down.
Breathe, mother!
Then one day she realizes something.
She does not need to do it alone.
Her God is holding things up in the air
When she lets Him.
When she asks.
He is giving her grace
And wisdom
And strength
If she comes to Him
And asks
With the faith of a child.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Daybook Entry 2-20-15 

The Daybook is a blogging exercise I used to indulge in during my early blogging years.  I came across it again today and was inspired to use the template pounce again to get my blogging re-kickstarted.

FOR TODAY, Friday February 20, 2015

Outside my window...The wind is blowing snow flurries around and many little birds are enjoying the birdfeeder on my back deck.  Warmer than yesterday, the temps will get up into the 20s today. Yesterday it stayed below zero all day.

I am thinking... I really enjoyed the new Bible/book study that I took part in with some of women from my church, from another local church, and the staff here at Menno Haven. I was hoping to find a reason to fellowship with the women from the other local church, and this will be perfect! 

I am thankful... For a warm house and that I did the shopping yesterday so my cupboards are full today! 

In the kitchen... Lately we've been going to a major transition in the way that we eat. We have almost completely eliminated dairy from our diets. We are eliminating all grains, sweeteners, processed foods, etc for the next 30 days.  It is called the Whole 30 program.

I am wearing... Long underwear, black cords, red turtleneck,  grey, red, black and white striped sweater

I am creating... A healthy family, a clean house, and a blog entry!

I am going... To take Jaedyn to school in a few minutes.

I am wondering... If we will ever find a good school solution for Jaedyn.

I am reading... It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig, and finishing book 5 of The Viking Quest series by Lois Walfred Johnson.  Both excellent reading.

I am hoping... To get to the point that all my kids will be in school and thriving.

I am looking forward to... Seeing what good changes the Whole 30 will bring to my family.

I am learning... About nutrition and healthy diets - quite contrary to common medical advice.

Around the house... The rats are happy in their clean cage.  Joe is in the clean living room on the couch watching The Hobbit DVD because he has a stomach bug.

I am pondering... what to do today.  I don't have much motivation.

A favorite quote for today... "The only ill will you will see here is that which you bring among yourselves." Gandalf to Thorin Oakenshield upon entering Rivendell.

One of my favorite things... My Bible.  I got it for my 16th birthday over 30 years ago.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Tonight starts Sabbath.

A peek into my day...

Friday, February 6, 2015

Taking care of David

My in-law's are the main reason we made a major disruption in our family to move back to Illinois.  My father-in-law, David, had a stroke back in 2010 just as we moved to Alaska.  He recovered fairly well, but has struggled with memory issues and a general health decline since then.

My mother-in-law, Margaret, has been caring for him along with a close knit community since that time, but the burden of his care has become to much for her.  He is 82 and she is 78.

I was coming and staying with David once a week so that Margaret could have some time out of the house.  We also shared supper with them once a week.

About 2 weeks ago, David had to go to the ER by ambulance because he couldn't breathe.  He ended up being intubated and transferred to a bigger hospital.  He recovered nicely from CHF and Wednesday night I helped bring him back to a local facility where he is getting therapy to help him get his strength back so he can go home.    He no longer is short of breath or needing oxygen.  It is sad to visit him in the evenings though because he gets confused and seems quite unhappy.  I think we will have to visit him frequently the so Margaret can get home and get rest.

Margaret and David will be moving to another home soon.  It will be hard for David again due to another change, but he will hopefully be back with Margaret and feel at home again quickly.

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Year Later!

How do I even summarize a year? I guess it's time that I tried. I was so busy with working full time and taking care of my children, and I was so tired of writing the same thing over and over that I lost interest in blogging for a while.

In July , we felt the Lord's clearly directing us to move back to my husband's  hometown in Illinois . My husband and my two oldest girls left in August so he could start his new job. My two youngest children and I stayed back in Alaska waiting for the Lord to sell the house, which he did supernaturally. It was a very stressful time nonetheless.

 November 1 my two youngest and I finally made it to Illinois. We have finally adjusted to the new routine.  Already I've made some new friends, which is quite miraculous for me. Usually takes me years to establish the kind of friendships I've made here already. I'm very thankful for this.

 Tim is working at Camp Menno Haven as the maintenance director . We love Camp Menno Haven . It's a beautiful place to live and wonderful people to work with. Josiah and Eliana are taking the school bus to public school each day and that transition has gone well . They started public school in Alaska which was a very good experience as well. The two older girls have been doing a small private high school, which is working out well for Ciara, but a little overwhelming for Jaedyn, who is now doing school part-time and doing some homeschooling as well .  I am not working at this time, but perhaps I will try to find an urgent care clinic to work part-time at this spring.

You may have noticed that I changed the name of my blog since we are no longer up north following that dream.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Winter Holidays 2013

2014 is just waking up (still very drowsy at 9:32 am with all the children still sleeping and the daylight just starting to show).  I realize it has been 2 months since I last posted.

I thought I'd share about our holidays in the past couple months and also tag on our annual newsletter at the end.

Josiah with his birthday cheesecake
Starting in November, Josiah had his 7th birthday on the 11th.  We took him with a friend and our family to Jumping Junction to play miniature golf with black lights.  It was nice that both Josiah and his buddy won another free game at the end of it.

At the end of the month we had an unusual meeting of the holidays - Thanksgivukkah (a mixture of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah) and also lit the lites for Hannukah each of the 8 days.  We had a special friend and her son over for Thanksgiving/Hanukkah on the day of Thanksgiving.  We sat around playing games and watching Youtube videos by the Maccabeats and others celebrating Hannukah and/or Thanksgivukkah.  Tim made a turkey and we had a lot of the fixings as well.  On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we had a celebration of Hanukkah at our fellowship group as well with lighting of candles, dreidel and lots of good food.

December passed quickly for the first two weeks, but ended in a muddle of sore throats and pain meds as half of our family (Josiah, Jaedyn and Ciara) had their tonsils taken out.  We put up a Christmas tree to enjoy the lights and cheer of this holiday and shared a few gifts with each other.  Our Christmas dinner was delicious for the 3 of us who could eat.  At this point, the younger two have almost fully recovered, but Ciara is still having a rough time of it - although I don't think she's been up since 11:15 pm to get more pain medicine (a first since her tonsillectomy on the 23rd).

Today we will focus on cleaning our house and enjoying a day off.

The following is the Christmas letter we sent to family members with their Christmas packages:

Dear Family,
Merry Christmas everyone!  Here’s a little blurb from each of us.
Carol:  This was an intense year for us as Jaedyn was diagnosed with Crohn’s and finding out how to make her better.  I traveled daily between two different clinics for almost the last year.  The stress of life is making me fat!  Ciara and I went to Hawaii for a medical conference in October – it was wonderful!
Tim:  I didn’t grow any except more white hairs.  I enjoyed Leonard and Valerie visiting and Mom and Dad visiting.  It was very special.  I played my djembe with the Kenai Orchestra for two performances and currently have a bunch of my instruments in an art show.

Josiah is in the center with a white shirt and tie,
Elly is behind and to the left with black and pink dress
Hi, my name is Josiah.  I just want to tell you about my Christmas.  I went down my sister’s and my slip-n-slide.  We had fun.  My friend Rachel came over to play with Jaedyn and then go to the movies to watch “Frozen”.  I love you all lots.  I am in 1st grade!  (I’m learning about punctuation and reading).  In the summer I went to the Watershed Forum camp and played at the park, where the camp was held.  I am learning violin.  I played basketball, but I missed the jamboree.  I played soccer indoors and outdoors.  I got 1st place in the private Christian school spelling bee in Wasilla, Alaska – Elly got 4th place in 4th grade and I got first place in the first grade!)
Elly and Josiah with their ribbons from their spelling bee
Dear family,  Merry Christmas.   Love you so much, Elly.  (She’s in 4th grade, still loves to dance and is taking Jazz right now.  She went to Bible camp and drama camp this summer too, and soon she and Josiah will be taking cross-country skiing).
Jaedyn accepting one of her many rewards this semester
Jaedyn:  In January I was diagnosed with Crohn’s.  I had to have a feeding tube for a few weeks.  I couldn’t go anywhere because it was humiliating.  In June I went to Camp Coleman, where there were other kids with Crohn’s and Colitis.  It was a lot of fun and I want to go back again next year, but it is really expensive.  I spent the rest of my summer in my room.  I did go to drama camp and was the comic relief of the show.  That went well.  I was a vampire.  I played a couple video games and ya-da, ya-da, ya-da.  I do homeschooling and that is pretty much it.  This fall I won 2nd place in a writing contest, first place in a poster contest, and 1st place in a pumpkin carving contest.

Ciara left and Jaedyn right
Ciara:  I spent most of my time in my room doing either homework, writing stories or drawing pictures.  Every Monday I watch Once Upon a Time with my sister and dad.  I was Romeo at drama camp and was a werewolf.  I’m hoping to be able to go to Peru on a trip with my school in March if I raise enough money.  I’m in 10th grade and I feel like high school is going by really fast.  I feel  so old already.  I feel being a Junior would be so old.  Oh, and I finished my first novel.
Ciara at the resort in Hawaii
I think that pretty much sums up our year.  We hope you are all having a wonderful year and finding ways to grow and love and express yourselves in ways that give you fulfillment and bless other people.
Love you always,
Carol, Tim, Ciara, Jaedyn, Eliana and Josiah

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Rethinking Halloween

A colleague/new friend of mine asked me to join her and her family doing a "Halloween" themed booth at a local park for kids to do a kind of trick-or-treating along a trail of booths put on by other local community businesses.  It would involve dressing up in a costume and exposing my children to the Halloween holiday (more than walking into a Wal Mart and seeing all the costumes and decorations).

Our family hasn't "done Halloween" for a very long time.  I don't know if the older kids even remember ever celebrating it.  For me, it was one of those things that seemed to be a "no brainer".  Christians and Halloween were diametrically incompatible.  Halloween means "dark creatures", candy, doing mean things to people... right?  I'm not into those things.  Yet, is that what Halloween is all about?

My mother's absolute favorite holiday was Halloween.  She would decorate the house in orange and black, cute little decorations that sat on the TV, icky spider webs in the windows, and she herself had the most hideous hunchback mask and costume she'd greet the kids at the door in - scaring the pee out of unsuspecting little children who'd come to the door to trick-or-treat.  Most Halloween evenings she'd go out after we children were all home safely to go to some party with her friends.  My mom loved practical jokes, and one of her favorite was to leave recycled manikin body parts that her Red Cross friend, Wanda, gave her in unusual places to shock her friends.  I have great memories of wider family members finding "someone" (pillows, a wig, hands and feet sticking out of their blankets) sleeping in their beds and getting creeped out about it.

I too enjoyed Halloween until I became an adult.  Trick or treating was great to get all that junk in a pillowcase, canvasing the entire town of Towanda, Kansas in a single night.  We knew where to go for most the likely score of big candies, who had the best decorations, etc.  We knew the rules about "porch lights" and strangers, and it seemed to us a time of fun.

When I was a young mother, I lived in north central Illinois and was a part of a community of Mennonites.  They didn't do Halloween.  They had another set of traditions called "Lantern Festival" in which the children and adults made lanterns out of cans and candles, sang songs in the meadow in front of the common building, had a small bonfire, came in for hot chocolate and popcorn treats, remembered the dead who had influenced them in life.  We shared with one another and our fellowship was sweet.  The children went home with a bag of treats for their parents to distribute to them appropriately.  This was usually done on October 31, so there really was no room in our lives for Halloween.

Around that same time, I think I put myself "above Halloween".  Sure, it was okay for other people, but we don't do Halloween.  It was the first of many changes in our choices of lifestyle that separated us from our friends and neighbors.  The next was Christmas, the food choices we made, Easter, and the list goes on and on. 

Last year, I realized that not celebrating Christmas separated us unnaturally in our culture from our families and some of our friends.  It cut out a season of lights, songs, sharing of meals, giving gifts, and so forth.  It left a distinct black hole in our lives.  Celebrating the Biblical holidays is nice, but it doesn't fit in our culture, and I'm not sure God is asking us to give up our gentile culture and to separate ourselves from our friends - Christians and unbelievers alike  - at this time or (maybe ever?) until He comes back. 

Maybe when He returns, all things will be put as it should be.  Everyone will celebrate Sabbath in a beautiful way that includes fellowshipping together - not hiding out from society.  Everyone will live in huts for 8 days in the fall celebrating Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), remembering the children of Israel and how Yeshua came and "tabernacled among us".  It sounds wonderful.  Yet, today in 2013, it doesn't work out quite so nicely.

This year we are going to put up a Christmas tree, wrap presents, eat a special Christmas dinner and hang out with our family playing games.  We don't believe that Jesus was born on Christmas day, or that Santa Claus is going to come to every house and magically enter through chimneys bringing toys and gifts for the good children.  We do believe in family and gift giving, Jesus coming to the earth as a gift to us and that He is the light of the world, giving to the poor, and getting together with friends.  Christmas is a wonderful gift, and maybe, just maybe, God doesn't intend for us Gentiles to give it up quite yet.

But what about Halloween?  I've never seen any redeeming qualities of it until now.  Yesterday I pondered my friend's invitation to join her, her family, and other coworker friends at the booth and asked the Lord to lead me in this.  What did He think about it?  I came across a blog on the topic that has me thinking.  If I can overlook the origins of Christmas for the redeeming qualities it possesses, perhaps there is some good in Halloween that we can open ourselves to:  opening our doors to our neighbors, sharing our friendship and time to get to know one another and find a common ground.  It doesn't mean that I need to decorate our home in orange and black or a have witch's pot sitting on my television (and really, I think there are a lot of cute Halloween decorations which have these themes, and I am not offended if you do it).  This year, we just might find that for the sake of finding a common reason to hang out with new friends, that donning costumes (that any other day of the year we find appropriate to play in), standing in a booth passing out toys to children of our community and building memories is worth overlooking the origins and history of yet another extraBiblical holiday.  Honestly, I thought I'd have anything to do with Halloween again, but hey, I think it's going to be fun!