Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Healthy Living update....

Hmmm.... I do think that my thyroid had a hiccup. I've talked to my PCM and he's agreed but says we'll do the lab work in January (a year since the last time). I don't try to understand any longer, I just go along with them.

My nails are brittle and breaking. My skin is dry. I can't remember what I'm doing a good share of the time. My hair is falling out. My joints are hurting again. I gained 18 lbs in 6 weeks....I keep a food and exercise journal, there is no explaination for this, other than I believe my thyroid hiccuped and my metabolism tanked.

After evaluating all I was doing, I was reminded that I NEED to do 45 - 60 minutes of cardio most days of the week. I have a sluggish metabolism. What works for most, simply won't for me. I had bought the party line at Curves. I love Curves. I believe it is a good program for MOST....but 30 min 3x a week is simply not enough for my slow metabolism. I'm back to doing 45 min of cardio most days of the week (5 - 6) and strength/toning work 2 - 3x a week. I sent in my notice to quit Curves today. It was a tough decision. I was already doing the circuit three times when I went. They didn't like that. There is no way for me to make a Curves workout 45 - 60 min of cardio. I asked about going around the circuit 4 times on the days I come, and they don't want me to do that. I was driving to Curves, doing it, driving home and doing cardio....I may as well stay home and do weights (and get my spending money back) the theory goes. We shall see.

I know that I was within 5 lbs of my goal before I went to the 30min 3x a week thing....and now I'm 16 lbs away from goal. I gave Curves a great shot. I did 102 workouts in 9 months. I did 3 circuits 5 days a week, until they insisted I should only go 3 days a week. I gave my body time to adjust...and now I need to go back to what was working....simply sweating and busting my tail 6 days a week. ::snort:: I don't believe that CURVES made me gain weight. I had maintained from when I joined last Feb - July. Then I gained 18 lbs in 6 weeks - can't really blame Curves for what I believe was a thryoid hiccup. Curves helped me maintain but it isn't enough to keep my metabolism moving....because I'm sluggish. ::snort:: Oh yeah, and several have told me I'm of a "certain age". ::snort::
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Jared's Day on the Town

We had a great day! Jared has a sharp wit.
Here he poses for a photo while cracking comments about homeschoolers and field trips to Wal-mart.
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Isn't this a cool hat? The lights and the white pompom light up and blink.
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Jared found all his gifts and we headed for Olive Garden at lunch time. The salad was "ok". It seems to be pure bagged iceberg salad with a few olives, tomatoes and onions sliced over the top....oh and the mandatory jalepeno. Next time I'll try to remember to ask them to put the dressing on the side. I think the silly McDonald salad may win this contest.
Back at home Stacia makes all shopping worth the trouble.
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Jared really wanted to buy her a rocking horse but they were out of his budget range. He settled for a big floppy stuffed horse. I think she'll ride on it anyway and love it.
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One more shopping day to go - Arielle's. We aren't sure if we should try to fit her day in in the morning tomorrow or wait until next week. She doesn't want to rush. She wants to have a lesiurely lunch with Mom.....
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket A Tree & A Dog

Beatrix has NEVER done anything like this....but THIS year she is DETERMINED to sleep UNDER the Christmas tree skirt. This has become a challenge this week as presents are starting to collect under the tree.

This a.m. I found her as close as she could get.
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Clothes are Optional?

I do dress these children every morning. Honest. Stacia must change clothes about 20 times a day. She takes her clothes off at meal times (that's really ok with me - less laundry).....Today she came out of her room in

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She had tried to sneak into "gift wrap central" and got her dress caught in the door...guess that convinced her that dresses aren't always the most convenient outfit to wear?
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And after Jotham's Journey she joined right into the wrestling match - sans clothes. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Nifty Grading Tool

We have never worried much about "grades" in our homeschool. The kids were told what I expected and they did it. If they didn't meet my expectations, they did it again. ::snort::

It worked. Two children graduated and have gone on into life just fine with my unorthodox "grading" system. The girls graduated in AK. We chose to work with a state program because they wanted to have a diploma from the school district. They took whatever grade I awarded and wrote it down. They checked the kids' work every 9 weeks and verified that the work I was turning in was worth high school level "A" work. I was told that their work was actually college level (we were using Cornerstone Curriculum at that point).

When we moved to TX our boys wanted to graduate from a program similar to Cyberlynx. We found NARHS. They let us homeschool as we see fit, we turn in work once a year; they give us a transcript from an accredited private high school. THEY want number grades; they check the work much closer than it was checked in AK, they require log books...well they are easy to work with, but they do have more requirements than the state program in AK.

I was having trouble figuring out how to give a NUMBER grade to Jamin's book and writing assignments from Christian Writer's Guild. Louise, our teacher/advisor, called today with the greatest little system.

She had a check, check +, check ++, check -, check R system.

Check was average - they did all that was asked of them - 85%
Check + a bit better than I expected 95%
Check ++ - very rare 99- 100%
Check - Work was done but not up to expectations 75%
Check R - RE DO and keep the 75% grade

Well - now - is that simple or what? I told her that I was doing something similar but I thought that if they did what was asked - in other words - average work - they earned 50%. She laughed. She told me again that the boys' work has been great and that she loves the work we turn in. She gave me tips for making all the "self-designed" courses that we do "official".

Yes, this is LAST YEAR'S portfolio. I have until 31 Dec to turn it in. They are very homeschool friendly and this allows families to homeschool year round or be on their own schedule. I've NEVER been this late turning in a portfolio...but we did have deployments, graduation, pregnancies, miscarriages, 6 week trips etc last year. I thought we did GREAT to finish the work and get this year I have to document last year. This may be what I end up working on at our next Ladies Project Night on Friday instead of that illusive Christmas Letter.
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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Giving and Receiving

How many times have you heard, “Christmas is not about gifts!?” “Your focus should not be gifts!?”

I’m hear to tell you that Christmas is ALL about gifts and your focus must STAY firmly planted on gifts! In truth, our focus must remain on giving and receiving throughout this season.

I’ve experienced what I’ve come to term the Christmas Pendulum. Maybe you’ve seen it too. On one end is over the top Commercialism and on the other end is Spiritual Scroogism. (I’m not talking here of those who have a conviction from God not to celebrate Christmas at all). As we walk by the Spirit, we must seek to find the balance between Commercialism and Spiritual Scroogism. We must also teach these principles to our children/grandchildren.

Giving is a very part of God’s nature. Perhaps the most loved verse about giving in the word is John 3:16, “For God so loved the World that He gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

God gives. In our home we’ve prayed and taught and mentored our children with a desire for them to become people characterized by hearts of giving.

We’ve modeled giving of self, of time, of blessings, of spiritual giftedness, and yes of monetary gifts. Obviously, this is a family focus not only at Christmas, but all through the year.

At Christmas we’ve focused on giving and not receiving. This time of the year it’s crystal clear to see if the Shepherd’s heart of giving has been formed in an individual.

We are a large family. We have lots of gifts under our tree (or will have by 24 Dec). At times some, who perhaps have a log (or even just the teeniest of specks) in their own eye on this issue, have suggested that our Christmas is materialistic and focuses on things. Not so. We keep Christ the center of all we do – including our giving throughout the year and at Christmas.

It’s become very popular in some circles to limit giving. This is in response to the rampant self focus in our society. God gives without limit. We don’t. We believe in debt-free living. We have boundaries on our giving. Still, we want our children to learn to give generously, without limits, as God enables them to do and as they purpose in their hearts. We, as parents, give just one gift to each of our 9 children. We spend no more than $50 a person. This hardly qualifies as over the top commercialism. So WHY does our tree look so very materialistic? (I should insert a photo at the end of the mont. LOL) Because giving mushrooms! Each of our 9 children will usually buy at least one gift for each other family member and guest in our home. Isn’t this a kingdom principle? We give and God multiplies that gift, often spurring others to give.

God gave without limit. God gave His very son so that we might have life, relationship with Him. Jesus was born to die. It was God’s plan to make us holy as we cannot do it for ourselves. My character should reflect His nature of giving ever more strongly as I walk with Him. Christmas is ALL about THE GIFT(s) - possibility of relationship with God, eternal life, peace, joy, hope, love,provision, children….

God also receives. Where there are givers, there must be receivers. God gives, we must receive. John 1:12 states, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.”

We must accept and eagerly receive what God has given. In the same way, a discerning believer must learn to graciously receive what is given by those around us.

We teach our children to give to others (Operation Christmas Child, our garbage men, our neighbors, clerks in stores, chapel folk and staff) and we teach them to give to each other.

We also teach our children to receive. Why? Because, clearly, receiving is also a spiritual principle. (And there is nothing worse than a child who doesn’t take the time to say thank you. LOL) They must receive salvation, they must receive the Holy Spirit, and they must daily receive Christ into their “routine”. They must learn to receive, as well as to give, love. When others give, they will receive.

Is it in God’s nature to receive? I believe so. He receives our service, our love, our obedience and our worship. He receives the glory that the fruit in our lives and our good deeds bring (Matt. 5:16).

We pray for the heart of God to be formed in our lives and the lives of our children. It’s so easy to get out of balance in this area, especially as we view the excess of the season. If not careful we react to the selfish commercialism by down playing righteous giving and receiving. It’s really a heart issue.

Giving and receiving are foundational not only to this season but to our very faith walk. Christmas really IS all about the gift. We celebrate receiving Christ into our universe and into our lives. We celebrate the gift.
We would do well to keep that focus, during this season yes, and throughout the year. We want our lives to reflect both the giving and receiving found in the nature and character of our Heavenly Father.

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