Friday, January 27, 2012

Knocked Down

The appearance of a disease is swift as an arrow; its disappearance slow, like a thread. ~Chinese Proverb

I did not touch my computer at all since Monday. Did you miss me?

There is nothing like a good old fashioned stomach bug to make me appreciate the normal things in life, things like: food being digested after eaten instead of violently rejected (or ejected, might be more accurate); having energy to feed your pets; sleeping without a chilling fever, stomach cramps, every joint in your body aching; not being concerned how far away is the closest bathroom or bucket; and just things like that.

The Princess began complaining about stomach pain just as we were finishing lessons on Monday and her evening was trips to the bathroom continuing until around 11:00 PM when she finally slept peacefully. I called that evening to say we would not be at the horse barn the next day because I was not sure how she would be. She was no longer getting sick in the morning, but she would not eat and needed to rehydrate. We watched Netflix together on the couch and by late afternoon, I was in the same condition she had been just twenty-four hours before. She would have to go outside to feed the rabbits on her own, which she had not done before, but it is not a difficult job.

My husband was out of state. I did not talk to him Tuesday evening nor Wednesday morning as the Princess took his calls. The Princess fed the rabbits again that morning. We again camped out on the couch all day watching episodes of Stargate Atlantis, drinking lots of water and juice and light soups, eating little. Our stomachs still were not "normal" although we were not getting sick. I had a fever all the day and took a four-hour nap in the afternoon.

My husband came home Wednesday evening and that is when I found out he had spend a day in a hotel room all alone with the same symptoms, plus more. As I lay in bed on Thursday morning, I was feeling pretty well as the fever had broke during the night, even though I still ached everywhere. I hoped we could do our errands and make the piano lesson as the Princess as a judging coming up very soon and her teacher cancelled on us the week before because of her own illness. However, after I had been on my feet a few minutes, I knew those plans were a wash. My husband ran a few very necessary errands as the cat food was depleted, before he left for work.

I felt so well, while sitting on the couch, but up and moving, not so good. I have tried to eat...some, but the appetite does not bounce back quickly with this thing apparently. The Princess is still struggling with that too. So, here it is Friday and I thought for sure I would be well enough today, but the energy comes and goes and my appetite has still not returned even though I eat some. We again spent most of the day on the couch, but my daughter was a bit more restless and is now playing a game on her computer downstairs in the office/homeschooling area. As you can see, I turned on my computer, so I guess we are starting to feel better finally.

We do not know if it was food poisoning or a stomach flu. I am not sure it matters. I am just very happy it is ending.

~ My Lord, thank you for good health when we have it and take for granted the simple things in life that we can do. ~

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homeschool Deals vs. My Budget Plan

A penny saved is a penny earned. ~Ben Franklin

I wonder if Mr. Franklin's thoughts on this included five pennies spent to save one, because I know that some people tend to go to great lengths to get a bargain, but they still spend money to save it. I will confess that I am a bargain shopper junkie. I have a list of things I need, but if I see deep markdowns, I really have to stop and think about it, whether I need it or will use it. A clearance sale for me is like ice cream and candy for children!

The Princess is nearing the end of Latin's Not So Tough Level 3 and I looked over some other Latin curricula to decide whether to stay with this one or not. There was one close fit that we could easily move into, but I had decided against it because it moved a bit too intensely, even though I liked the format better. So, I need Level 4. I looked for an unused Level 4 at and there was a listing that had all I needed but the pre-cut flashcards. Now I know that the flash cards are on the pages in the back of the book, but they never are even which makes them more difficult to handle. Been there, done that. So I would have to order the flashcards directly. That is not a big deal except that the shipping nearly matches the price of the cards.

Well, there still could be a way, I think to myself. Also listed at is an unused Level 6 set also without flashcards. So, I check out the costs for both sets with ordering the flash cards. There is a savings but just a few dollars and I eventually need Level 5 also. If I just order the complete Levels 4, 5, and 6 directly, the cost would be about $4 more than all this extra work trying to save here and there, but that is only if I order all three sets at the same time because of the combined shipping costs for around $179.00.

This is doable even though it was a stretch for my homeschool budget at this time. It seemed like a very good plan until...

I received an email notice from Homeschool Buyers Co-op and made the mistake of actually reading it. They have a buy for Discovering Music: 300 Years of Interaction in Western Music, Arts, History, and Culture (for Middle School to Adult), which could go down to as low as 40% or around $130 with shipping and co-op fee (if there are enough buyers to get it down to that price). I had not seen this one before and we have a very good curriculum on Classical Music that we just got started on. Even if I bought it now, it would not be touched for over a year (maybe even closer to two as we have our schedule at this time). However, it is very impressive as a curriculum, not so much on the number of musical pieces, as it has far fewer CDs than the one we have now, but in the way it explains how the history of music was influenced by the times, monarchs, religion, etc. I do not know if I could ever find it again at such a low price. With the co-op, you never know if they can get the company to deal with them in the future or not, so this might be my one and only chance at that price.

Doing both is not a stretch of my budget plans, it is a break. It is not that we do not have the money right now, it is just that I also have this goal to aggressively pay down our credit card debt this year. If we stay on tract, it could be gone in less than eighteen months, even as soon as twelve months, but most likely around fifteen.

What to do?

Update: Oh, guess what! If I buy the Latin curriculum it will be a bit cheaper, so I could buy just the Level 4 now and the music one on the group buy. I am liking this idea! I also like quick answers to prayers!!! Thank you, my Lord!

~ My Lord, I am very thankful that You kept Your promise to me about this year's finances being easier and I am still trying to live very frugally. Show me what my daughter needs for her education according to Your plan and the best sources. ~

Monday, January 16, 2012

Every Fast is a Bit Different, but....

Fasting is the greatest remedy--the physician within. ~Philippus Paracelsus, one of the three fathers of Western medicine

Some fasts start out better than others; this one was not one of those. I fact it has been the roughest first five days of a fast that I think I ever have had. I have been terribly weaker than normal. Right after I finished my shower on Sunday, I felt very queasy and could not even dry off as I was about to pass out. I lay on the bed and got my bearings back only to have them wane away with every effort to stand up. I know what some people will say reading this: "See! Fasting is not good for you." I have been fasting for over twenty years and I never had this problem before...not ever. I have experienced and strongly believe that fasting is a natural healing remedy for all sorts of health issues.

That is not to say that I have never been a bit lightheaded when going up steps or standing up quickly or generally weaker, but this problem was not like that at all. My husband brought me about four ounces of milk and within fifteen minutes I was fine again. I went to church without a problem...except that my right shoulder was very painful with certain movements and I did not even injure it, so I am not sure what that is all about. Perhaps an intense healing of something I have not recognized as a problem? It has happened before. I notice the difference later and think something like I guess that was bothering more than I thought.

On the second night of this fast I began having insomnia, which is common for me usually when I have fasted for more than a week. I planned to have only tea, raw milk, and water for this fast, but I really needed to get my strength back up to make it through the week, so last night I had a bit more milk and took a few supplements: flax seed oil and fish oil hoping the Omega 3, a natural anti-inflammatory, would give me back the use of my arm; Vitamin D3 for better calcium absorption; and a Magnesium and Potassium mixture for the nighttime leg cramps that I also usually do not get this early in a fast.

I woke up only once last night, which is quite normal for me even when I am not fasting, and went right back to sleep until morning. This morning I awoke up feeling great! So much more energy and that shoulder is just a bit sore. Good thing too, because I found out just this morning that my husband will be gone all week, so I have extra chores at home, besides the horse barn tomorrow.

My husband was going to fast with me, but changed his mind and asked when I would end mine as he would like to continue my fast. This is something different. I am wondering how it will go as I was planning to fast at least a week to ten days, depending on the weight loss which is one purpose of my regular January fast. As to the spiritual part, I had some things to discuss with my Lord. Actually, I always do, so no fast goes without the spiritual aspect.

~ My Lord, thank you for Your answers to my prayers even before I know Your answers. ~

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: Healing is a Choice

The latest edition of Healing is a Choice: 10 Decisions That Will Transform Your Life and 10 Lies That Can Prevent You From Making Them is an excellent 10-step emotional healing program that has been revised to include a full workbook. It emphasizes that healing is a choice. First, it is God's choice. Second, it is the choice of the one needing to be healed. He reveals how emotionally injured people tend to hide away their hurting and hinder their own acceptance of God's healing.

The author, Stephen Arterburn, has an amazing style of writing for this type of book. He is not condescending at all. Rather, he reveals his own vulnerability and draws the reader in with a simple use of the English language. I nearly felt as if I was in a room being gently but firmly counseled by him. I found it to be very encouraging.

The author presents each of the ten steps as a choice to heal and to dispel myths along the way. Also emphasized is the need to make connections with other people while going through the healing process. He strongly suggests several times that having support is essential and the book is not a self-help program to do on one's own. As such, it is an excellent book for using in a small support group.

I was hoping this book would include more on physical healing, but it merely touched on the subject here and then more as a result of emotional healing, which does happen to some degree. On this issue I was a bit disappointed, but I plan to use this book in a woman's support group study that I hope to start this year.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Western Art Museum

It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet. ~Kojiro Tomita

Saturday we were planning on being at a 4-H horse clinic for the day, but it was canceled because of the rain forecast. My husband could not really do anything he planned after slicing a large chunk of skin off the tip of his thumb the night before. And, here I was with a Christmas gift of two free adult tickets (children are free) to the Booth Western Art Museum from Miss Annette expiring that day, so we went there.

I was just amazed at the energy, use of light, and photorealism of some of the work. I now think I may have to try my hand with oils. My husband does not like most modern art and I am a bit more forgiving in that way, but not much. We all like the one pictured above and we all like the bronze sculptures, but since I knew a bit about the process, I think I was far more appreciative of the work than my companions. I decided that my favorite painting was a man beside his horse on the prairie by a steam at that golden hour of the setting sun. I think it was called "Quiet on the Prairie" or something like that. Picture taking of the works in that gallery were not allowed, but the serenity of it is remembered.

You might be curious how truthful I was that day. I have no problems with expressing my criticism and appreciation of art, but I was alone most of the time. Apparently, I take far too long to examine brush strokes up close and then back up to experience how the eye blends, boring stuff for a ten-year-old artist who already knows everything she needs to know about art, or so she thinks, and man who either likes it or not, but could not care less how it was made to look that way. We were there until closing time. While we saw everything, I could have stayed a few hours more.

My truthful promise was not a problem at the museum; it was, however, challenged on the way when I saw a man on a roof. My husband stated that he saw three men on the roof...and added that he also saw a goat on the roof. My daughter saw the men, but no goat. My husband went on about the goat and I could see were this was going. I caught myself about to give a detailed description of the unseen goat that had not been there, but I stopped myself and stood firm with I only saw one man, personally, which was the truth. Whew! That was a close one.

~ My Lord, thank you for artists and that we have museums in which all people can enjoy their work. ~

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Being Truthful 366: What is Truth?

We tell lies when we are afraid...afraid of what we don't know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us. But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger. ~Tad Williams

I have only posted twice previously about my truth promise for the year, but my friend, Ganeida, left some comments that have given me with some things to think over. That is what my Ganeida does, after all she is my blog Muse.

She has suggested that there are different "sorts of truths." She wrote: There is the truth so far as we know it & then there is the truth as God knows it. There is the truth of the hearth & spirit & emotions as opposed to the truth of facts.

Then she referred to Pilate with his question: What is truth?

It seems that this is one time that Ganeida and I cross over to opposing sides between the realms of complexity and simplicity. Whereas, I tend to see complications and complexities, I believe that truth is simple, even pure, yet Ganeida seems to see complexities in truth. Perhaps we actually believe the same, but we would describe it differently; it would not be a first time for us.

I believe truth is not complicated or complex. It simply is what it is. It cannot be what it is not, or else it would be deceptive, a lie. I believe that being truthful is only complicated because of our struggle against it. We can have so many reasons, highly justifiable reasons, for wanting to hide the truth: We don't want to admit that we did not catch the biggest fish; we are protecting a loved one from harm; or we have a vice that would be embarrassing if others knew. Whatever the justifications, it all comes down to a singular, simple motivation: we want to hide the truth.

Now there are things we cannot know with certainty nor can we prove, yet there is truth regardless of our limitations in perception. Things that cannot be proven yet are believed are a matter of faith. There is a difference between faith and truth. If all truth were revealed, there would be no need for faith, yet we place our faith in things that seem to us to be true.

I have made a truth promise for this year. I do not know all truth, but I know I can be truthful. I may not wish to be truthful all the time and I have not been truthful all the time, but I can be truthful. It is a choice. There is no murky middle. Either I am truthful or I am not. It seems very simple to me.

What may be seen as a complication to truth is opinion. Opinion is based more on feeling than truth, or else we all would have the same opinion. I can be truthful in giving my opinion, explaining my thoughts and feelings, and yet my opinion can be flawed because emotions are not based in truth.

I think having relationship with truth is like having a relationship with God: I cannot define all that God is only my perspective of Him and so it is with truth. I can only control my offering of what I believe to be true, but that does not make what I say absolute from God's perspective or a profound truth...although both would be ideal and perhaps that is the way it should be for us in a perfect state.

Now that I am really thinking about this I believe that my honesty failures probably favor compassion, fear of being vulnerable, covering my wrongdoing, and just wanting things my way. But at the heart of it, I think my problem is that I am not living in Truth, seeking my Lord before I speak. It is so much easier to do that when I write, but in talking I can push God aside instead of being in a prayerful, seeking mindset accepting to what He is giving: the right words, His words. I am not surrendered to Him in such moments and surrendering each moment, each word, is the ideal state I wish to maintain.

At deeper examination of my list, perhaps truth is in selflessness...for it is in trying to save myself that I am not truthful. I say I do not want to hurt another person's feelings, but perhaps it is that I do not want to be the one to hurt his feelings and the hurt he would feel from the truth is secondary in my concerns. In truth, perhaps all lies are to save ourselves from any consequences of the truth we could give because we lack the faith that God will do take care of us according to His plan.

Could it be that in lying we are covering the truth about our own distrust in God?

What is truth?

I suppose I will have many ways to answer this question in the coming year, but today I would say that truth is the one thing that scares most people into lying, which harms them spiritually far worse than the truth could.

I must brave being be truthful to experience truth.

~ My Lord, give me courage in being truthful. ~

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Equitum Spiritus: Third Place

An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.
~Charles Horton Cooley

The Princess entered the first annual Pawcasso art contest open to all children in the county that was sponsored by Animal Control and a non-profit animal rescue organization. The rules were to create any kind of artwork of an animal but with no people in it. The art was in three categories according to grade level. The Princess would be competing with only elementary students.

There was only about a hundred pictures and all of them were in the elementary level. I wish I had gotten a few photographs of the other entries because it was obvious to me that a group of classes had all been instructed in creating abstract fish, probably as an art assignment. There were only a handful of truly original works and it was obvious that the judges favored the younger ones.

First place was a first grader's pug-nosed dog with brown around one eye in marker on white paper. Second place went to a second grader with a giraffe painted on canvas. If I had been the judge, I would have had a difficult time choosing between this one and the one done by the Princess. However, the Princess placed third with Equitum Spiritus (Spirit of the Horse), chalk on black paper.

The Princess was very pleased to place. She was even more pleased when she found out that two people wanted to bid on it, but that we had first choice...with a small donation. We picked up the drawing just before Christmas and tonight the Princess will be giving it to one of the women who wanted it, Miss Annette, the leader of the 4-H Horse and Pony Club.

~ My Lord, thank you for the gifts my daughter has and that I am able to share mine with her. Please bless her to be an exceptional artist. ~

Monday, January 2, 2012

Being Truthful 366: The Mirror of Truth

The human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it.
~Francis Bacon, Sr.

Wouldn't you know it that 2012 is a leap year so I have one extra day to work at being truthful! (I will probably need the extra practice.) I started out my year of truthfulness and so far so good, but then I only been home and gone to church services. I will say that making a promise to be truthful is like looking myself in a mirror examining everything I say for any speck of untruth all the time. This could be a very long year.

I am not sure I like what is being reflected back at me now, but then lies do reflect back on us all. Maybe, I just cleaned up that mirror so that I have a clearer view of the things I really did not want to see. Yes, it is going to be a very interesting year and one I hope brings some serious and lasting changes in me. For any such change to begin, I have to be truthful with myself, brutally truthful...well, maybe it just feels brutal.

Speaking of mirrors in a differing light, I have noticed that my daughter is often mirroring the things I do. She has been correcting me--not that I correct myself, but that I am often correcting her. She is also correcting her father, which he does not tolerate at all. We both came from an era when it was considered disrespectful for children to correct or argue with their parents. Although her generation seems to be encouraged to do both, she is not being raised in schools but by her very involved, homeschooling parents.

I do encourage discussion, but not disrespectful behavior. I explained to the Princess last night, again, that she will be corrected by her father and me, because we are teaching parents all the time. There is no school bell and class is never over. However, she is not to correct us--at least, not all the time, over everything. We would probably be more lenient if she would just back it off a bit, although we did not tell her that part. However, the poor girl may be the victim of genetic engineering, because I was like that with my own mother, probably be truthful.

This mirror of truth is already beginning to make me feel uncomfortable and I have 365 days to go.

~ My Lord, help me to see what I reflect in the mirror of Your Truth and become more truthful. ~