Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lois Frye

Today I went to the memorial service for Lois Frye.  She was a sweet woman who certainly lived well for God!  It was wonderful to hear about her early days and how she has loved her family and friends!  She had no children of her own, but wow oh wow did she love her nieces, nephews and extended family!  "Everyone should have an Aunt Lois," were words spoken by her nephew today.  

I met her years ago because I am friends with some of her extended family.  She often brought a yummy zucchini dish to potluck gatherings.  I loved it so much that I got the recipe awhile back.  I shared it on my blog two years ago so CLICK HERE to get it, especially if you have a garden and need new zucchini ideas!  I can't make this without thinking of her!  It's a regular around here all year round!

She was a sharp lady and I know I will miss her smile at church.  She and her husband Lester {who is 95 years old!} attended the same service as me.  They were a cute couple!  Oh how Lester will miss his bride so if you read this and pray, please remember him.  

This is the verse shared on the handout today.  Good one to end with...

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Thanks for swinging by,

Friday, August 29, 2014

Why we homeschool and our first week

When my daughter was 6 and in first grade, life was feeling chaotic.  
She was going to public school.  I drove my 4 year old son to preschool 3 days a week.  Vienna started cheerleading, which took us out one weeknight for practice and Saturday mornings for a game. Meanwhile, I lugged my 1 year old everywhere!  It was crazy!  
Look how little they were!!
V's 1st day of grade 1
To add, Vienna got home from school at the worse time of day... around 3:30 and baby Colin was always finishing his nap around that time.  She was tired from a long day at school, she snapped at her 4 year old brother who was happy to see her and wanting to play.  I felt rushed to start supper.  She always had homework and I had little quality time with her.
Fall 2011
As a stay-at-home mom, I always knew I had the option to homeschool but I didn't want to!  The burden of teaching my kids was too much and I didn't think I was capable.  I yelled too much.  I didn't have patience and honestly I was very selfish and wanted more time to myself as the kids gained independence, not lose it!  

But God slowly worked on my heart and I was convicted to give it a try.  The bottom line is that I wanted more quality time with my kids while they were young and wanted to be with me.  I know this will not always be the case and I want to take advantage of this time while I have it.  Everyone says to enjoy these early years and I figured it was for good reason!

With a wonderful support system in place... a husband who is my rock and supportive beyond words... and with friends who helped me figure it all out.... we started our homeschool journey.

WOW!  We just started our third year this week!  A couple weeks ago I summarized last year and wrote what we are doing this year.  {You can CLICK HERE to read that if you want to know about our curriculum.}

Aside from teaching language arts, math, history and science, one thing I want to focus on this year is instilling a good work ethic in my kids and work on self-discipline.  I made these weekly charts in Word and put them in page protectors.  They use dry erase markers to check off the subjects that are done.  This gives my kids a visual of what they need to do, and at the end of  week 1, I can say that this has DEFINITELY helped!  {And we didn't do EVERYTHING this week because we are trying to adjust to doing school again!}

I used to have a great set up in our basement but I learned that we prefer to do school on the main floor of our home.  This allows me to do dishes, prepare snacks and meals, etc as the kids do independent work.  So we have officially taken over the dining room!  The kids told me that prefer this set up!  YAY!

We also changed our school time. We were doing it in the afternoons because Colin used to nap then and because of a preschool schedule but this year mornings are free and clear.  So school starts at 9am and we go til we are done, obviously stopping for snacks and lunch.

As for how long I will homeschool, I am still taking it year by year because I always want what's best for my kids and this set up may NOT always be.  But for now, it is clear to me that this is the path God wants us on.  

And honestly... I'm glad for lazy mornings... not rushing for the school bus... and not having to pack lunches!  hehe!

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Monday, August 25, 2014

I love whales but not a fan of Blackfish

After my last blog post sharing Juno's video, I received some comments that ruffled my feathers.

Why you ask?  Oh maybe because I am more sensitive then I let on and I don't want anyone to think I don't like animals!  And because I suppressed many thoughts about Blackfish when it first came out.

I just want to apologize for coming across aggressively on the edit I added to this post.  The comments I got were submitted anonymously {except for one} and to deter more of the same, I felt the need to post that.  I initially felt that they were stirring up controversy that hit the world upon the release of the movie Blackfish. In hindsight one of the people commenting was probably addressing my question in the video {which was taken 3 years ago and I got my answer straight from the Aquarium back then}, where I wondered about the behavior that Juno was doing.

The anonymous person told me to watch Blackfish to educate myself.  
But that movie was made with an agenda and is not a documentary on whale behavior. 
I know a whale trainer personally who worked at SeaWorld.  Not everything in that movie was fact. People get all hyped up on movies and they don't always look into the other side of things.  If you want to read up on Blackfish exposed, click HERE.  I think there are some things that more people should be aware of.  If you click over, please be sure to read it to the end.

I am a BIG animal lover and it didn't take a movie like that to keep me away from places that use wild animals for human entertainment.  I have long boycotted places like traveling circuses and certain animal shows, yes like SeaWorld.

Total tangent but... did you ever notice that in the Curious George books they changed how George came to America?  In the original, the man with the yellow hat, brought him in a sack and George was sad.  He was captured for a zoo.  In the newer movie and books, George was curious and stowed away on his own free will.  It bugs me that history was "rewritten".

Some people who come to Mystic Aquarium actually say it's boring!  There are no "fun" whale shows or dolphins anymore.  They are a research center focused on animal conversation and education.  They rehabilitate seals and release them all the time.  The belugas are not there for performance and their habitat is the largest outdoor exhibit in the USA.  So I have a great peace of mind visiting and supporting this facility!
2014 -  We love the Mystic Aquarium

I absolutely love God's creation and wouldn't want to be portrayed as someone who didn't.  So again I am sorry for coming with my claws out.  And thanks for letting me vent about my position about Blackfish.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Juno at the Mystic Aquarium

EDIT 8/23:  To all the people telling me to watch Black Fish, I have.  You are barking up the wrong tree.  Research Mystic Aquarium and what they do and have done to help animals.  I have been an animal lover for years and personally boycott traveling circuses and have no interest in watching animals at Sea World or the like do silly tricks for human entertainment so please do not come hear preaching to me on my blog because you were affected by one movie that got a lot of buzz.  
I moderate comments and will not publish anything negative on here. Thank you.

----Original post below-----

Three years ago we visited the Mystic Aquarium.  We are members and in all my visits, I never saw a whale do this.  I posted the question on their Facebook page with the video below.

"Does anyone know more about this behavior? Would love to know the inside scoop! ~Mary"

I got this response:
Mystic Aquarium Juno’s behavior in the video is an open mouth threat and jaw pop. Open mouth threats and jaw popping are aggressive behaviors. Juno (and Kela) seem to direct these behaviors toward guests at the windows when they are annoyed or seemingly trying to get a reaction from the guests. If people are banging on the glass, running towards the windows quickly, waving objects around in front of the glass, the whales seem to react more. However, there are times that guests are not doing the above things, and the whales still seem to react to their presence.

For the record, we were not doing any of those things to irritate him, so I guess he was in a playful mood!  If I remember right, Juno was a newer whale on loan from another Aquarium as part of a breeding program.  But as of today he is still there and still entertaining the crowds!  

Earlier tonight, I started getting random "likes" from strangers on that video I posted on the Aquarium's Facebook page.  Then I got a notification that someone shared it.  I was really confused so hopped over to the FB page and saw that a video of Juno scaring kids aired on The Today Show {here} this morning!  How fun that Juno is getting National attention!  I love it.  And to think, I took these videos three years ago!  I should have contacted a news outlet!  hahaha!  

Here is a cute video of my kids interacting with Juno!

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Good Morning Girls team split and changes

I have been doing bible studies with Good Morning Girls {GMG} for 3 years.  Recently there was a split in leadership.  Since I have been a facilitator of a Facebook small group, I wanted to summarize what was going on to reach all the ladies who have been in and currently are with us, along with those who are thinking about joining. 

As confusing as details might be to us, we have to remember that the ladies who lead our studies are imperfect human beings who have emotions just like the rest of us.  Whatever their struggle, it need not be ours.  They provide a TOOL for helping us with getting into the Word daily and we serve HIM not them.  So please do NOT be discouraged.  They each had a different vision and now there are two ministries.
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Courtney Joseph started GMG years ago at her church.  Then she took it to her blog “Women Living Well” {WLW}.  It grew, so she brought her friend Angela Perritt onboard to help her as website administrator and contributor.  Later they added other writers {Whitney & Jen} to the GMG blog.
For whatever reasons, Courtney stepped away from GMG in April.  She owns copyright to the “Good Morning Girls” name so in order for the ministry to continue, Angela and team changed the name to “Love God Greatly” {LGG}.  


1.    LGG will be doing a Fall study in Esther using the format that the ministry has always used.  8 weeks doing the SOAP format. They blog on Mon, Wed & Fri to further enhance the study time.  After that they are doing the annual Gratitude and Advent studies in preparation for the holidays.

2.     Courtney, who will continue to use the GMG name, is doing a read through of the entire bible breaking it down to just 1 chapter a day!  Read her blog announcement about it HERE.  She will offer a weekly reading plan on Sundays.  A blog post on Wednesday and a short video on Fridays.

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Every person studies the bible differently at different times in their lives.  For years I attended studies at my church, but now that I homeschool that is not an option for me.  Doing it online has been wonderful!  
Likewise there are different ways dig into God's word... Use a published book study, following a reading plan, do a topic study, read it cover to cover, read it chronologically, etc. Each person has a different preference at different stages in their lives. 
So as you read what each ministry is doing, don't worry about the issues behind the scenes. Decide which format suits you best and use one or both if they can help you get to know God's Word more.

If you want to know what my small group is doing, please email me and I will share.  I don't want to take sides publicly here on my blog because I love what each team is doing; it's just a matter of preference.

To read each ministry leaders own words, please visiting their websites:

Serving Him,

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Homeschool year summary

This year will be my third year homeschooling!  
We are taking each year as it comes and it remains a great option for our family!  
{I need to remember this each time we have bad moments and I wanna send them away on a yellow school bus!  Because let me tell you now, I am NO stellar mom - and there are many hard days! There is nothing special about me.  I lose my cool, I lack self-discipline and the idea of more ME time sounds glorious.  But this is bigger than me and my "wants".  I shall serve my family and love on them while they need me and as long as God leaves this door open to us.  That was for all the moms who read this and say "I could NEVER"... because I was just like you once.  But God is teaching me much and this is part of my journey!}

Ok... so on to the recap... Before I could move forward planning our upcoming year, I really felt I needed to summarize our past school year in a "report card" format for the kids' files.  There were many free report cards online but I just made a simple table in Word.  I wanted a place to summarize the curriculum we used and write feedback on how the kids did. I finally finished that earlier today!!  

For the 2013/2014 school year, I bought a full curriculum {minus language arts and math} called "My Father's World" because all the books came with it and all the lesson planning was done!  I just checked things off as we went.  {I didn't end up doing much for bible or art but it was nice that it was outlined for me if I wanted to.}  

For Language Arts we used the Critical Thinking Company, Using the Standards, and Explode the Code.
For Math Vienna used Teaching Textbooks and Lance used Horizons.
We also were part of a homeschool co-op that met every month.  The kids were able to do presentations in front of a group.  We shared things like book reports, a Science Fair, an Art showcase, a World Fair, a fun Field Day, a Scavenger Hunt and some other things.
And if that wasn't busy enough... Colin went to a preschool 2 mornings a week, V had speech therapy {done now!}, Lance did martial arts, Vienna joined gymnastics this past year and they always take swim lessons each summer.  

For the 2014/2015 year... 
  • We will continue with our study of US History and cover more on Canada this year! 
  • Vienna is going to learn to type and I really have to work on Lance's handwriting, writing stories and basic spelling.  He's a great reader but doesn't like to write!
  • I also plan to have the kids use a free app called Duolingo, to learn Spanish.
  • Add a preschooler to the mix!   Mr.Colin will not be returning to his preschool this year.  I'll be homeschooling THREE!  {Here is my Pinterest board for him if you wanted to see preschool ideas!}
  • We will be doing our co-op again.
  • And we are joining a local 4-H group to learn about livestock and farm life!  That should be really interesting for this "city" girl!  But a great Science component to our studies!

So that's the quick of it around here and an update on homeschooling!  The smell of fresh pencils is in the air!!!

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

My HuffPost Live interview recap

Oh wow!  I did it!  Complete with sweaty pits and cold clammy hands!  ha!  
I shared Colin's conception story on HuffPost Live today!  Click HERE to watch if you missed it!

Before we went on the air, we three female guests chatted.  Dr. Greenfield said she was on TV before and warned it'd go by fast and it did!  She also said that it's best to speak in short spurts to allow others to speak.  So I did my best to just answer the questions but I had so much more to say!  Glad I blog!  haha!

First off, I don't know what's up with the head tilt I did!  My cousin said it's genetic... Apparently my cousins do it for pictures every.single.time.  I had no idea I looked like that when I talked.  But I digress...

So at the 1:50 minute mark, you'll notice I start to answer a question then stop because another guest answered it for me.  At least I am pretty sure that's what happened!  haha!  Jay was right beside me so I turned to look at him and we laughed.  So that's what happened there!

Also I said "that he couldn't parent child" at 6:38... I should have said fathered child.  Jay is a great parent! LOL!

Dr. Goldstein, the urologist on the show said that transient recanalization "must have happened" at the 4:32 minute mark to explain how I got pregnant.  I have never heard of this before!  I wish I had more time to talk to him because I had questions!  So basically a little channel formed and then shut down?  Why didn't our two urologists suggest this before?  I was told {and read online} that the reason the effective rate is 99.9% is to account for the people who don't wait to get the all clear after the procedure and also to account for the people who have recanalization occur - like a permanent one not a Houdini one.  I can't seem to find much info about the "transient recanalization" online either.  I wonder how they prove that's what happened?  What kind of evidence do they have if it disappears?  Could there be another way sperm is getting out that they haven't discovered?  So many questions!
{We should call him Colin the Comet... transient recanalization
|sounds as rare and random as certain comets!}
I also thought it was interesting that he said that effectiveness depends on the technique.  He said that all over the world and in less developed countries that they just tie the vas off.  He said that failure rate was 1-5% "which would be totally unacceptable in this country".  And I agree with him!  He said that he performed 2800 vasectomies and hasn't had a failure.  But what is the protocol when a patient says his wife is pregnant and the sperm count is still zero after retesting?  Jay's doctor just said to him on the phone that he was sorry in a way that implied Jay wasn't the father and he was sorry for our troubles.  They left no room for the possibility that "transient recanalization" had occurred.  If anyone visits Jay's urologist, he probably says with full confidence that he has performed a certain number of vasectomies and hasn't had a failure either.  See why I challenge the stats?!  {And for the record, Jay was snipped, had a piece removed, cauterized and tied!}

What my simple mind doesn't understand is that if autism rates {for example} have changed, then why not vasectomy stats?  Should or does each urologist office report numbers to a National Urology group or something?

Geesh... after writing all this, I feel it's my duty to notify the urologist!  {I just don't want them to think I'd sue and didn't know how to tell them without it sounding threatening.}

If you are more interested in vasectomies than tubal ligation, the show started with my story.  Then they talked about tubal ligation from 8:00 to 16:09 {which was a great story by the way!}.  Then at 18:29 Nancy asked me if I thought about suing.  I answered never and said that the doctor "did his job to the best of his ability" which I should have worded:  "By all medical definitions he did his job accurately.  My husband is medically unable to conceive a child."  But I was really nervous and it went by in a blur!!

I really hope our story reaches more people just so that people know it can happen and aren't so surprised if it does.  Thank you all for your support!  I felt the support from my friends before and after the interview and that really meant a lot to me!

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