Saturday, November 16, 2013

Rescheduling in Reverse

The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders. ~John Taylor Gatto

I will concede that I, perhaps, just have an aversion to schools. Schools, even ones that are hand-picked, home-like meeting in a remodeled ranch house, highly inspirational and encouraging, and wonderfully honoring of God, are still schools. They have rules, schedules, classrooms, grading, tests, homework, and inflexible project deadlines. Well, inflexible for us, but not necessarily for them.

I understand the need to change schedules. Our homeschool has to have a higher degree of flexibility with my husband traveling so much, but both my husband and I have deadlines in our lives, so I think it is good for the Princess to experience them from outside sources as well. She has done this for many years with piano recitals and judging, but most of these deadlines get moved back if they are moved at all, which is rare.

The syllabus had the science presentations scheduled for the two weeks between the Thanksgiving break and the Christmas break, but there was also the warning that the schedules could change at the bottom of the page in finer print. About a month ago, the teacher flipped two weeks of planned lessons due to a planned trip that obviously was move to the week before. It is understandable that such things happen, however...

This week on Tuesday afternoon, my husband and I received an email to "clear up the confusion" that the science presentations for my daughter's class would be on...(Are you ready for this?)...the following day, Wednesday. Clearing it up? Ha! That is when the real confusion began in my house!

Now the Princess probably had been warned in class, but we parents were not and our thoughts were why not revise the syllabus or send out emails about this change a few weeks ago? I have been trying to let the child take on this responsibility fully for herself in regards to her science class, but still, the presentations are such a major project and high percentage of their grades...AND since the parents are invited, one would expect the school to be sure the announcement of the schedule change was given a few weeks in advance with greater priority than all the other emails about donations, upcoming events, like yard sales and a silent auction, and the food pantry collections! (This may be one of the reasons I have aversions toward schools.)

The Princess knew her facts and had everything ready except that she had not practiced her presentation in front of us, so we crammed that should have been done over the next couple of weeks into one night. I was impressed with how well she knew the information that she herself had researched. Unfortunately, she was a bit scattered in her delivery, so we gave her some pointers and tried to get her to hold up the dried starfish that I had shipped in for this presentation.

The Princess told me adamantly that she could not use notes during the presentation. However, my husband and I attended the presentations and of the nine presentations we watched, all but three, including the Princess, used (at least) outline notes, three read word for word either what they had typed out on paper or on their Power Point presentation. They all gave very interesting information on the various Fifth Day creatures they had chosen, but still the ones who read the entire time had boring deliveries.

The presentations were supposed to be a solid seven minutes to ten minutes and every student was to present twice to give the other students in the rotation the opportunity to see at least nine of the eleven presentations. The very first one we attended was done in under a minute--not kidding, we had just settled in our seats and it was over in four or five sentences. A couple students went well over ten minutes.

How did the Princess do? I think the Princess made it to between 4 to 6 minutes, because she dropped different facts between the two presentations and the second one was rushed due to her being the last one and we had to finish by a set time. She did fine for her very first presentation ever, but not knowing how she should have done would have improved any assessment. I tried to get her to practice her opening statement a little dramatically, for which she has a knack any other time: "The Crown of Thorns Starfish is the second largest starfish, the most destructive one and is poisonous!" Too bad she forgot to begin with this line the second time when her teacher was watching to assess the presentation, but her last line thrilled her teacher: "The thing I like most about the Crown of Thorns Starfish is that was named after the crown of thorn placed on Jesus' head."

The one thing that I think the teacher was hoping for is the thing that most of the students did not do, except for my daughter and one or maybe two others. That would be to relate some thing(s) to God with their creatures of choice, and it was obvious that she was thrilled when they did. I would have given my Princess a B grade, but this school seems to be easy on its grading, which bothers my husband as she has been getting all A's so far, and the focus seem to be on the students having the experience of giving a presentation, so we shall see.

~ My Lord, help me to stay the course with the reasons we had enrolled our daughter into this school. Help my husband and I both to see beyond the institution and its disorganized organization to its heart, which is to excite the children about the wonders of this world that You created for us and honor You in it all. Please continue to bless this school and all the students, teachers, and families. Be along side of my daughter in her class and interactions reminding her of Your presence in her life in all she does and open her ears to instructions, especially when there are changes in schedules. ~

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2 Busy 2 Blog

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. ~John Lennon

Decades ago, my aunt once told me of a ranch that had an interesting name. The brand was a number "2" followed by another "2" lying on its side, which represented a "lazy 2," followed by a capital "P." It reads like texting: 2 lazy 2 P. This represented the name of the ranch which was "Too Lazy to Pee." I honestly am not making this up.

With that thought in mind I probably should have a blog called "Too Busy to Blog." Sometimes there is so much going on that I just have not time to blog or I may have some time but no energy...or maybe it is just that I feel I have too much to write when I have not been writing regularly.

Perhaps lots of chocolate would help, but "Never Enough Chocolate to..."—well that just is not working, is it?

So, back to the Wednesday (the day I seriously needed chocolate) that was too much to write about, as I wrote in my last post. First of all, it really started the week before when my daughter told me that she had no homework from her science class but preparing for her presentation, because the next week there would be no class. She told me that was when the high school science expedition would be. Although I thought it was the first week in November, I did not question it because sometimes schedules change or I may not have remembered accurately, and surely the girl would have been told correctly in her class! In retrospect, I really should have checked the school calendar, but in part she is supposed to be learning to listen to instructions and little did we both know that she was about to get that lesson the hard way. (Me, too.)

So, with this news we went from the school directly to the Princess' piano lesson and I asked the teacher if we could change her lesson that following week to Thursday as there is a closeout store near her at which I had not been able to shop since the errand day change to Wednesday because it is open only Thursday through Saturday. I told her that I would call to confirm the change later after I checked with my husband, who was going to off that week as well.

Sunday we helped set up for my friend's daughter's birthday party directly after the first church service and I face painted, which means I missed out on watching the lawn twister game and mummy wrapping contest, but all the kids loved having their faces done. We also helped clean up some and then dragged ourselves home as it was getting dark.

Monday I was working on trying to get an appointment for getting my eyes examined while my husband was home so I would not have to drive home with dilated eyes, but our vision insurance, while quite good, only is for private practitioners of which are few these days, particularly in this area. Tuesday I finally got everything settled and found a nearby doctor in the network, but the only appointment time open that week was on Thursday and since I completely forgot about going to the piano lessons on Thursday, I decided to take that appointment even though it meant I would be driving home myself, since my husband was leaving on Wednesday to go hunting.

Wednesday morning, as I am preparing to leave for our errands, is when I finally remembered changing the piano lesson to Thursday, but I had not called to confirm. Nothing like realizing something like that at the zero hour! Still, knowing my piano teaching friend how she would have typically called me to confirm by then if I had not (and I had not) I wondered if she had forgotten also. I was trying to get in touch with her by calling both her cell and home phone numbers about every twenty minutes, but the lady often does not answer her phones and she is not that good about checking her times. Not all the time, but just at times, which makes me always wonder if this time is one of those times.

So, I decided that we would go shopping anyway having faith in my Lord He work it all out and the Princess would bring her music to be prepared for a piano lesson. I have been needing to stop at the bank and withdraw some money from a trust account that my husband and I manage so I decided to do that, but that ended up being a 45-minute ordeal without resolution because they apparently cannot find our signature cards...again. By then, I definitely was not in a happy place when we went on into the city to go grocery shopping.

Things brightened up for me after I called my husband and he said he would handle the trust fiasco himself. Then the piano teacher called us when we were over halfway to the store saying because she was having dead trees removed from her backyard, she was going to be home all day anyway so we could keep our regular lesson time.

Not even two minutes after she and I hung up, I received a call from a number I did not recognized. The young girl introduced herself as one of the servant leaders (high schoolers that help in the lower grade classes) from Living Science and asked where my daughter was. Oops! Now it was my daughter's turn to be unhappy. I told her that although she was not prepared, she would be there in about twenty minutes. The Princess did not have her backpack; she did not even have a pencil or sheet of paper to take notes. I suggested to her that she could borrow off of someone this one time and dropped her off with an hour and a half of her two-and-a-half-hour class left.

Then I drove back towards the health food stores and did my nearly two hour shopping usually between two to three stores in less than an hour at one store alone to pick up the Princess about fifteen minutes after class and get her to the piano lesson right on time. She assures me, absolutely confirmed, that next week there is no science class, and the first week of November sounded right to me. (I have since checked the school's calendar.) This time I made arrangements for piano lesson to be the next Thursday and we are taking the piano teacher to lunch before her could work.

On the way home my daughter said that it seemed as if God worked everything out. If I had not decided to just go hoping her regular piano lesson time would be available, then we would have been an hour from the school and not prepared to leave the house at all. If I had not been delayed at the bank, we would have been in the store with a shopping cart half full and having to leave in a hurry to get to the school instead of approaching a good place to turn north to get to it. Plus, the piano teacher was able to take us at the regular day and time. She is looking for how God fits things together for our good, even when it seems to add to our difficulty at the time. That made the day completely worth it!

We made it home after buying new athletic shoes for the Princess, who now wears the same size as I do (although she is about six inches shorter than me and still has one baby tooth yet), so when she out grows these, I will probably inherent them even though they are not my taste. As the sky darken, we had food to put away, pets to feed, and we finally ate just after 7:30 PM...and my friends wonder why I do not make it to church service at 7:00 PM on Wednesday nights, but then somehow God will work that out with us as well.

~ My Lord, as we try to become more involved with church, it seems we have more difficulties with our managing our time, but whether in the building or not, help us to be Your church at all times and in every situation...and not be too busy enjoy to chocolate and blogging now and then also. ~

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Eye Am Fine

The eye sees a thing more clearly in dreams than the imagination awake. ~Leonardo da Vinci

On Thursday, the Princess and I went to have our eyes checked. I know that I am somewhat nearsighted with a slight astigmatism, but I have not had glasses for over 25 years and I gave up on contacts 20 years ago because my eyes became so relaxed that my eyesight was worse than before I had them, but it improved again afterward. I rather my eyes not get that lazy about focusing on their own. Reading a book or working at my computer I do just fine, but really tiny print or cross-stitching now requires 1.25 reading glasses, so I could have gotten bifocals that I could wear all the time, but I really felt that I just wanted glasses for distances, mostly for reading signs when I drive, signs in a unfamiliar store, the occasion captions on a movie, or words of songs projected at our church. I just do not see me wearing them in my home, where I am most of the time.

The Princess has been telling me that she has a problem seeing things close up, but I think the range in which she means close up would be difficult for nearly everyone! I have always known she had good eyesight for distances and she has no problems reading at all, but now I have confirmation: the girl is 20/20. The optometrist said that she is very slightly farsighted, but not enough to bother with glasses; she looked so disappointed, as I was thanking God! I think she even tried to convince the doctor that she must need glasses, because he made a point to say that her complaints were probably due to eye fatigue. This is likely because she reads books and writes on her computer in her leisure time as well as the work she does for homeschooling.

I was also thanking God that both of us had very healthy eyes, because last year about this time I had incidents of flashes of light in my eyesight, which could have been an indication that the retina was detaching, but when I asked my Lord, He told me this was not the case. Flashes are also common as the fluid in the eye changes with age. So, in a little over a week I will be enjoying the fall colors in crystal clarity, if I choose to wear my glasses.

Our appointment was just after 8:00 AM, but because our eyes were dilated for most of the day, even well into the afternoon (instead of the two to three hours we were promised), we took the day off from former lessons. The Princess said everything was fuzzy and she even was seeing double. I told her that what she was complaining about is how I see all the time, except for the double vision. Because the doctor was so informative and because she had recently dissected an eye in her science class I decided that this would be considered a field trip. Everything is a learning opportunity! She spent part of the day working on her science project and cleaning her room, without being asked.

Some days are good days...but then I have not told you what happened the previous day, Wednesday, our errand day...and I just do not think I have the energy to go there right now.

~ Thank you, my Lord, for our healthy eyes and for the excellent eyesight you have given to my daughter. Protect her vision in that she sees only what You wish her to see. ~

Friday, November 1, 2013

Healer in Need of Healing

Christ is the Good Physician. There is no disease He cannot heal; no sin He cannot remove; no trouble He cannot help. He is the Balm of Gilead, the Great Physician who has never yet failed to heal all the spiritual maladies of every soul that has come unto Him in faith and prayer. ~James H. Aughey

The past three weeks have been...well, a single word for it escapes me, so if you have one, please submit it.

Although it is mostly gone now, I had been having intermittent back pains that jumped from side to side and even traveled up and down my back but mainly settled on the right mid back. I had two chiropractic adjustments and a massage in three weeks, all which were very helpful, but the next day the pain would return. My chiropractor suggested I needed a new pillow and I considered that, but the pain was very odd in how it moved around during the day sometimes. I have had a variety of back pain throughout the years and this was nothing like anything I had before and since I did not get any lasting relief from the chiropractor and no emotional or spiritual knowledge during my massage as has happened to me in the past, I began to wonder from whom I was picking up this pain.

It is very difficult being an empath at times because it is not always obvious if the pain is my own or coming from someone else, especially if the someone is in my home and not telling me they are in pain, as is often the case with pets. My seventeen-year-old indoor cat finally became so ill that I thought he had had a stroke one morning, but it turned out that he was just terribly sick. I prayed for him and was led to a homeopathic remedy called Thuja. This remedy is often used for detoxing animals from vaccinations, but it can also help with viruses and bowel irritations, which was exactly what was going on with my old cat. After the first dose, my back pain diminished noticeably. It would take a few more dosages and days before he was truly feeling well again, evident by his increased degrees of annoyance, and that the back pain I was feeling would be completely relief most of the day.

I wonder sometimes if my daughter is right when she tells me that she will be giving that cat to her own grandchildren one day. I know that is not likely, but he has outlived every pet we have had so far and doesn't that just figure when he is also the most annoying cat I have ever had!

There were two women at our church Sunday, one was the pastor's wife, that I found out had back pain when talking with them after the service, so I prayed for them. It is so nice to see people get instant relief. Thank you, my Lord.

Sharing another's pain is unnerving at times, but for me it is the way of my life. It forces me focus on the needs of others, because I am affected by them. There are benefits, though. It also helps me to have compassion for everyone regardless of their appearances. You see, I have found that everyone has pain...not just the physical pain, but emotional. I try to see through them to their hurts, because in that sense there is no one better that another. One who looks successful can be racked with hurts that are not seen.

The only solution is love: God's love. What a privilege it is to be the instrument of God's love for them! I only hope that I can be sufficient in God's purpose for me in bringing them His healing love.

~ My Lord, thank you for the opportunity, even the pain it causes me at times, to give healing and love to others. Help me, my Lord, give all of what You have given me to give. ~