Our Summer Second Wind

We homeschool year round. It’s a must because we take our time throughout the year. No Monday through Friday 8 AM- 3 PM here. It’s more like, Monday 11 AM- 2 PM, Tuesday 9 AM- 9:30 AM, Friday 10 AM- 3 PM…you get the picture, we don’t do well with schedules!

So in order to keep forward progress (and yes, we are well capable of making great progress with a “schedule” like that) we work on through the public school breaks. Like Spring Break, Christmas Break, Hurricane Days (hey, we don’t get snow days here in Florida) and of course, Summer.

Usually around Christmas time I am hitting a bit of mid year melt-down, but by summer, I have what I like to call my Summer Second Wind!

This summer also coincides with 4 kids advancing a grade level. I have one moving from 6th to 7th, two going from 8th to 9th and one from 9th to 10th. We also have a 3rd/4th/5th grader who will remain in those grade(s) and two that will be starting kindergarten. We are using this advancement to try out a new curriculum, one we’ve dabbled with before, but this time we are going at it with full steam.

Our picks for all grades for the summer term:

10th Grader:

Language Arts, Geometry, Biology, and Spanish I: Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool

9th Graders:

Language Arts, Biology and Spanish I: Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool

Spelling, Grammar: ABeka

Algebra I: Saxon

Spelling, Grammar: ABeka

7th Grader:

Language Arts, Spanish: Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool

Math 7: Rod and Staff

Spelling, Grammar: ABeka

Science: Apologia Anatomy and Physiology

3rd/4th/5th Grader:

Language Arts: ABeka

Math: ABeka

Science: Apologia Anatomy and Physiology

Everyone:

History: Mystery of History Volume 1: Creation to Christ

 

Praising God For My Stubborn, Strong-Willed Fighter

Today is my firstborn’s 15th birthday.

At the moment of her birth, I was a very scared young lady, scarcely 18 years old, the ink barely dry on the marriage certificate.

She was born prematurely, by emergency c-section at a rural hospital with no NICU. The first time I saw her was 5 hours after her birth, covered in wires and tubes, in an incubator surrounded by life flight nurses. I was allowed to touch her hand through the hole and could barely etch a memory of her in my mind before she was rushed out by helicopter. It would be almost a week before I would even hold her.

She would be flying 85 miles before I could register what had just happened.

Before the fact could sink in that I was a mother.

I certainly didn’t feel like one. Here I was in the maternity ward, with no baby.

At 7:30 that morning the nurse came to my room. I had a telephone call from the NICU at the hospital that received my little girl.

She was currently in critical condition. Her lung had collapsed on the flight there and they had to put in a chest tube and intubate her. They almost lost her. I needed to be checked out that morning and try to get there as soon as possible.

As I hung up my doctor came in and encouraged me to get out of bed and start walking, I would be discharged by lunch time. He wanted me to get to see my baby…in time.

There was no time to waste, no leisurely recovery. No time to feel the searing pain of the incision. I was up an walking down the hall. The nurses had just recently changed shifts and one of the new ones did not realize that I was the one who’s baby was whisked away that morning.

“Ma’am, is someone in the room with your baby? You can’t leave it alone. You need to return to your room.”

I almost collapsed on the floor. Hot tears welled up, I leaned against the desk, began weeping and barely made out…”My baby is gone.”

She at once realized who I was and ran around the desk to help me. We walked up and down that hallway until they were fairly certain I would be ok to be discharged.

It was evening before I was home, by that time my sister and mother had already made the trip to see my daughter, who was now a bit more stable, but still very fragile.

Arrangements were made for me to stay in the Ronald McDonald house and finally, the next morning I was on my way. That seemed like the longest trip of my life. I was anxious to see her, but I had to get checked in to my room. The longest trip was turning into the longest day.

We only had one vehicle and my then-husband had to continue working, so I was being dropped off essentially. No support whatsoever. Without a car, I had to walk from the RM House to the hospital several times a day. No time to feel the pain of the c-section. I opened my staples up twice, but barely took notice. It’s a miracle I recovered so quickly.

When I finally made it to see my daughter, it seemed surreal. I didn’t recognize her, as the short glimpse I had faded quickly. The NICU was such a scary place. Alarms and bells, buzzing of machines. She didn’t feel like she belonged to me. I had to ask permission to touch her, I was supervised changing her diaper. I couldn’t even feed her. She was given my breast milk through a feeding tube.

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Every where I turned I was met by sadness. The baby boy in the next incubator over was dying. The parents were there to say goodbye. I didn’t know what to say to them. In my youth and inexperience I tried to not make eye contact. I could barely process my own grief and despair, I was not prepared to witness others. The aisle over was quadruplets. I did manage enough bravery to ask if I could look at them, I was intrigued. They were so tiny, but seemed stronger than my own little one, who was over 5lbs larger than they were.

When she was born, at 6 weeks premature, she weighed 5lbs. 14 oz. I was told that if she went to term she would have been a very large baby, possible 10+ pounds. In the short 10 days she spent in the hospital she lost down to just over 4 pounds.

I was told she would be in the NICU at least until her original due date, but she recovered remarkably quick. Ten days later her father and I carried her home, smaller than when she went in, but she was a little fighter.

I have always called her stubborn. Strong-willed. It’s that spunk that gave her the strength to fight for her life. That, second only to the grace of the Father.

That fight would stay with her. To this day she is stubborn and strong-willed. A little (she still is small for her age) fighter.

And I thank God for granting me 15 years with the most precious gift I have ever received. A gift I was afraid wasn’t going to make it through her first day on this earth.

Today we celebrate the wonderful young lady she is becoming. We are so proud of her. We are excited to see all the amazing things she is going to accomplish in her life. With the determination she has shown since her birth, she could move mountains.

Happy Birthday baby!

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Write a Letter to Your Own Teen!

Can we just move past it? Please stop writing letters to other people’s children. Let’s start writing letters to our OWN children.

Here, I’ll start the first one:

Dear teenage child of mine,

You are going to encounter all types of people in this world.

A small select few will think, act and dress similar to you. The very large majority will not. They will not care about your personal standards of modesty and purity of heart, mind and body.

They will not care if what they wear, what they post online, or how they act around you causes you to stumble in your walk with the Lord. You need to learn to guard your own heart.

You can’t do it alone. The flesh is weak. That’s where the Holy Spirit comes in. Allow Him to be your guide. If it even remotely feels wrong, flee with all your might. If you look left at church and a young lady is wearing a provocative dress next Sunday (and let’s face it, this is becoming the sad norm in our churches.) please try your best to look right. Maybe ask your parents if there is any way an elder can gently approach the subject of the girl’s outfit. Sometimes you can remedy those situations, and well, sometimes you just can’t. Not without running the people right back out the church door. And what is the church for, but to help sinners (which would mean every last one of us, not just those whom we label as “worldlier” than we) to be a little more Christ-like everyday.

Unfortunately you are going to have to learn to not only look away, but to filter your friend circle. For now you have mom and dad to help you with that. They tell you who you can and can not hang out with, or have as a friend on social media. But there will come a day very soon when you will have to make those decisions yourself. Begin now really thinking about the character traits of people who make good friends. Ones who always have your back. Ones who help you make good decisions, not stupid ones. And maybe you already have to make those decisions on your own. Maybe your parents don’t monitor your facebook, or read your chat conversations (yep-unashamedly guilty!). Oh boy is it hard. Especially when you don’t have someone to be accountable to.

We all can’t be the behavior police. There is an old saying that has helped me a ton of times in my life, from my teenage years on up…”You can’t change the behavior of others, but you can change the way you react to their behavior.”

See a selfie online that looks a little too provocative? That girl was kissy facing in that low tank top,right to you through the screen? That boy was showing off his beach muscles just for you to see how manly and sexy he is?  Well, first off, don’t click the like button dummy! Secondly, why exactly do you have a friend who would be posing like that? If it’s someone who otherwise doesn’t engage in that type of thing, maybe it was a spur of the moment regrettable decision. Haven’t we all done things only to wish we could take them back a second later. (or a week later, or a month later). In that case, click that little “hide” button, turn the browser page, and if you are close enough to the person,  maybe even have a little conversation with them. A simple, “Hey, what was up with that pic you posted on Thursday? Kind a little over the top, don’t ya think?” will usually make them think a little more about what they did. Or, not. if they get all bent out of shape over you speaking out on things you see as wrong, well, remember that friend filtering I just mentioned a second ago?

For the rest of your life you will be bombarded with images and behaviors that are unbecoming. Even in the church. Unless you want to hole yourself up on some compound and leave the modern world behind you then you are going to have to build up a strong enough backbone. One that won’t bend every time you go into Wal-Mart. Immodesty and immorality are going to be rampant in the last days. And believe it or not, we are there. Where wrong is right, and Christians are persecuted and ridiculed for their standards. It’s not going to get easier for you teenager. You won’t magically become superman of wills when you turn 18 or 21. You will battle the flesh your entire life. Start fighting that battle now! And I’ll be there to help. Stay in church and you will always have older advocates rooting for you, mentoring you and helping you along the way.

Love, Mom.