Monday, May 26, 2008

Photobucket Summer is HERE!

Hmmm....what does that mean in our home?

It doesn't mean school is out. We will probably school a few more months. I did check out the syllabus for next year and printed a list of books I will keep an eye out for.

It doesn't mean it's going to get hot - it's BEEN hot!

It doesn't mean the girls are home. They consider WA to be their home now. We plan to meet them in the mountains of CO for a week this summer. OH - CO FRIENDS AND FAMILY - I am trying to remember to email you.

It DOES mean that we are dreaming of a home with a pool. We are fondly remembering the big above ground one we had in Hardin, MT. We ARE dreading hot, hot dog days.....but we hope to be able to take a few days here and there to go camping.

We won't be hiking much this summer...or tent camping...those are fall/winter activities down here. The snakes are out now....I can sense this. ::snort:: I need to keep looking for some countryish pool, sun, cactus graphics.

I love the change of seasons.....down here it isn't quite as marked as I'd like....but the calendar says to me - "Summer TIME!"


Photobucket CAP Remembers our Fallen Heroes

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
They were on the news tonight. I'd send a link but I can't find one. LOL They looked great. Jared was interviewed and looked at ease in front of the camera.

Schooling Without a Schedule?

When people hear I am the mom of a large, military, home-schooling family they often assume our house either, 1. runs like boot camp or 2. exists in total chaos. I assume their perception depends on if they focus on the word “large” or on the word “military”.

By nature I am by nature a perfectionist. I created and followed brilliant, color-coded, MOTH-like (Managers of Their Homes) schedules and chore charts before MOTH was published. I am a RECOVERING Perfectionist.

I love my lists, schedules and charts. What caused me to curb my scheduling impulses? One day I heard myself actually say, “If you would all just sit there naked on the couch and not eat anything for a day, I could stay on schedule.” ::blush::

I was making my children neurotic with my need to organize and plan. Everything had to be in its place; everyone had to STICK TO THE SCHEDULE. I would chase around after them, pick up dishes before they were finished, and move newspapers when they got up to get a new glass of milk. When a child was slow to pick up a school concept, my gut would twist with anxiety because we were “off the schedule”. The problem was NOT the chart; the problem was my personality and my “get it all done on schedule” focus.

I desperately needed to add mercy and grace to my schedules and plans. I had to relax my standard. I no longer aim for perfection - excellence will do. In some seasons of our life, I loosely define “excellence”.

While I personally love schedules, I find that with our lifestyle and various personalities (read: busy chaplain’s family where mom is often pregnant or up all night with a little one, homeschooling with toddlers and preschoolers), it is better for us to focus on ROUTINE rather than a strict schedule. With a schedule, I find myself stressed when we are “behind”; with a routine, we are always right where we need to be. With a schedule, I often miss times of interaction, play, and truly teachable moments because I am rushing to reach point X before the timer goes off; with a routine, I am at ease to match our pace to our current needs. Routine allows me to I listen more for His still, small voice.

In our home, we each have well-defined routines. Some of us are structure-lovers, and we begin the routine at the same time every day and progress through it in a very methodical and orderly fashion. Others are more relaxed in the routine.

There are still times when color-coded charts enticingly attempt to seduce me. About two years ago, I actually ordered Managers of Their Homes and breathed in the charts, color-coded…be still my racing heart. I took the matter to prayer and was called to adjust my ROUTINE, rather than implement a new schedule. I lovingly blessed another with MOTH. A great tool, by the way….just not for us.

It’s my strong conviction that each Mom needs to go to God with her responsibilities and frustrations to see what creative solutions He drops into her heart. God has gently showed me that in the past my trust and dependence shifted from Him to MY SCHEDULE. My personality feels secure, purposeful, and productive with lists, charts, and schedules. Instead, God invites me to seek His heart daily and to walk by the revelation and in the strength of His spirit for that day. These really have been the key to our style of schooling. For these reasons, I hesitate to share our exact routine.

I realize that God can use others’ concrete ideas to speak to us, and so, I’ll share a few tips I’ve gleaned on my journey. Please, do not try to imitate ME – seek His heart, and implement His plan for your family. Pray about each item in your routine or on your schedule. I ruthlessly trim outside opportunities and ministries in order to give us TIME and flexibility to change plans as He directs. If you add something to your schedule for next year, force yourself to subtract something of equal time from your current schedule. This can be painful. We look for opportunities with firm begin and end dates. For example, eight weeks of drama or nine weeks of Co-op sports. In this way, if we find something is not right for us, we aren’t committed to a full year.

I was invited to share our family schedule for a handout that was given to new homeschoolers. I share that here if you want nuts and bolts.

If you can implement schedules without being consumed by them, they are probably for you. If, like me, you are a recovering perfectionist, you may be surprised what God will teach you if you live life without a strict schedule. It’s been exhilarating for me. My children rejoice that they are no longer hungry and starving on the couch, in a picture perfect home, with an efficiency expert standing over them with charts and stopwatches. I had a moment of great glee when I heard someone describe me recently as the “queen of hands on homeschooling” and a “spontaneous type”. YES! That’s grace!

In closing, these words of Nichole Nordeman’s song, Legacy, sweetly remind me of the legacy I’m striving to build in this season of my life.

...I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough?
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy...

©2008 D.R.G.


By Mark A. Wright, HMC(SS)
22 June, 2000

I first saw him on a park bench
I've seen him every day
Sitting in a shady grove
Where my children come to play
Sometimes he feeds the birds and squirrels
Or whittles little toys
Sometimes he just sits and smiles
At the laughing girls and boys
And I never paid him any mind
'Till one day just this year
I noticed that he wore a frown
And on his cheek ... a tear.

Well I asked him why he seemed so down
He looked up, began to say
I lost half my friends 60 years ago today
He told me of the terror
As he fought to reach dry land
By the time the beachhead was secure
Half his friends lay in the sand

That was just in one long day
He fought on for 4 years more
And the 60 years from then to now
Have not dimmed His sights of war

He said they have reunions
Just to keep in touch and share
And for each comrade who has gone on
They leave an empty chair

Well, His park bench has been empty now
About 6 months or so
And if I'd never took the time
Then I never would've known
That sitting on that simple bench
With bread crumbs and little toys
Was a man who gave his all
To guarantee my daily joys

So give thanks to all the men and women
Who're still here or have gone before
And made the highest sacrifice
In both Peace time and in War
Because they bought our freedom
Paid their own blood, sweat, and tears
Then endured the heartache of those empty chairs
For all these years

So please do not ignore them
Or speed by without a care
'Cause you never know
When you might pass by
A hero, unaware

Note by the poet: "The old man in this story is an amalgam of my grandfather who used to sit in a chair behind his house and tell me stories of WWI after I came in from the fields at the end of the day. He was mustard-gassed there, fighting with modern weapons, but using mules. Of Noris Tanton, of Commerce Texas, who barely made it off the ship with his life at Pearl December 7th, 1941. And all the other WWII survivors I have talked to throughout the years. My father-in-law, James Rowse of Wolfe City Texas, who, even though he fought in Korea, graciously considers me a Comrade in Arms because of my Naval Submarine service over the last 18 years. Lowell Clemens, Jim Sullivan, and all the other Viet Nam Vets who I have had the privilege of knowing and serving with. And lastly, all the people like Barry Shay, Thomas Galliher, Mark Heithaus, Patrick Rourk, Marv Mumblo, Chip Green, Chip Sumner, Tony Zilar and the list goes on, that I have served with on Submarines and Surface Ships, with the Marines, in clinics, Hospitals and school for all these years of turbulent peace.
My heroes Unaware." -- Mark A. Wright, HMC(SS)


Moms of Many Exercise Challenge Weekly Fitness Goals (click button for more info)

Weekly Goal - 300 Minutes (60 minutes most days)
Total Weekly Minutes - 380 minutes

Annual Goal - 11,700 minutes
Minutes to Date - 5,192 minutes

I've decided to try to keep my weight/workout musings to this post once a week in order to spare my 4 faithful readers extreme boredom. ::snort::

Long time readers will know that I lost lots of weight while Mike was deployed. I did this by doing Becky Tirabassi's Thoroughly Fit Step Work Out (can't find a link online) 45 min 5 - 6 times a week, and eating 1200 Calories (10 - 13 servings of produce). I lost 1 1/2 - 2 lbs a week faithfully.

I joined Curves, which I LOVED. I've not found a place where I enjoy working out more. I think it would have been ok if I'd ADDED a Curves workout to my aerobic workouts, but I bought the line that 30 min 3x a week was ALL I needed. I gained a couple of lbs and maintained. THEN I had the thyroid storm of 2007. I gained 20 lbs in 6 weeks.

Debbie, our wonderful base dietician, and I looked over the food journals and decided that the food plan was in order. The only thing that had changed was that I'd quit doing 45 min of aerobics 5 - 6 days of the week. Debbie said the current recommendations now (as I've shared before) are "30 min most days of the week" to maintain, "45 min most days of the week to lose," and if you've EVER been obsese "60 min most days of the week." It all sounded overwhelming, but I began.

I faithfully worked out 45 minutes 5 - 6 days a week, watched what I ate (1200) and didn't lose a thing since Jan. Not one lb. Back to evaluate and we decided I'd up the exercise to 60 minutes most days of the week as I have such a sluggish hypo-thyroid metabolism. I did that for two months. I'd still not lost, but wasn't gaining either.

Two weeks ago the personal trainer at the gym told me that the key was to add weights 3x a week back to my routine. Something should have clicked. It didn't. The plan was to skip aerobics on the days I did weights. I knew that would be a problem as that is pretty much what I did in the year with Curves. I did cut the cardio down to 30 - 40 min on the days I did weights and kept it at 60 min on the days without weights.

Two weeks. I weighed. I GAINED 4 LBS!!!! I learned from Curves. I will not stick with this for a few months. I simply NEED the 60 min of aerobics every day....I can't cut my calorie intake lower. I've gone back to 60 min of cardio most days of the week and I'll figure out HOW to ADD the weights to that schedule.....and we shall see.

Food wise....I started counting it all out - not only calories but measuring and checking carbs, protein, fat and fiber to evaluate if I may have slid. My calorie count has been pretty consistent at lower than it should be. I've been missing breakfast to get the gym....which puts a body in starvation mode and does nothing to help my metabolism. I have begun having a smoothie, oatmeal, or piece of fruit before the gym again. I've gone back to eating smaller amounts every few hours (I HATE that!!!). I also need to up the produce to 10 - 13 again and not worry too much about the carbs - they are complex.

In talking with the dietician she speculated that my body was "young" and then the thyroid storm, and now it isn't responding the same way and so hormones may be kicking in in prep for mentalpause....which is something the doc mentioned with the migraines too. I don't like that. I'm selfish and want more babies.....but God has dealt with that these past 6 months too. I've learned to simply be content. Frankly, I'm fairly content with being overweight, and fairly content with no more babies....but I need to have a healthy heart and I'll do what I'm told to do. LOL Anyway, the hormones may be working against me and the advice is to keep doing the right things......because it will take longer to see results as you "age" and especially with the whole thyroid thing.

I feel great about this week. I got 5/60 minute aerobic workouts in and 2 total body weight sessions. This upcoming week I will try to fit the 3rd weight session in. I'll continue to monitor produce and calorie intake. I doubt I'll continue counting carbs, fiber, protein, fat as I'm in range with those fairly easily when I get 1200 calories and 10 - 13 servings of produce.

Monday - 95 Minutes (25 min ARC, 40 min bike, 30 min weights)

Tuesday - 65 Minutes (bike, finishing The Appeal LOL)

Wed - None

Thursday - 95 minutes (30 min ARC, 30 min bike, 35 min weights)

Friday - 60 minutes (40 ARC, 20 min bike)

Saturday - 65 minutes (20 min ARC, 45 min bike)

To read accounts from more participants - click here. To join us, click the icon above.....