Tuesday, December 16, 2008
We are all so proud of him! He's the first of his family to go to college and what a high bar he has set for the rest!!
Monday, December 1, 2008
Snow! We've had a couple of snows so far....only a couple inches each time though.
But enough for the wee folk (or is she a gnome?!) to play in.
And to build a snowman! Meet George, our snowboarding snowman. (Do you think our minister minds that a snowman shares his name??? )
Good thing we started feeding the birds before the snow came!
Bluebonnet was quite happy we had food available!
So what do you see out your window?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
So what have we been doing all that time??? Well, I'm not sure about the WHOLE time, but the last month or so has been consumed mostly with a DISSERTATION! DH has been working so hard to get done (his last extension was labeled as a "final extension") so that he could graduate next month!
It's done!!! It's about 250 pages and was turned in two days ago. I'm not sure how many reams of paper we went through writing and re-writing it!! At least 10 in the past month. (That number does include the 7 copies we had to make for the dissertation committee.) I know we went through over half of the toner cartridge for each of 4 colors.
He defended it last week, made the recommended changes, and turned it for signatures this past Monday. As of yesterday, only the final dean was needed to sign it, so I think we're in the clear! \o/
Just a few more weeks until a long-awaited graduation........
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Homeschool Share has launched
Now all you unit study fans can talk
Does matter which unit study you use,
come talk about it!
There's even a special forum
for LAPBOOK fans as well!
('Cause if you're like many
of us unit study fans,
ya also like lapbooking!)
you don't know what you're missing!
Hundreds of free
literature-based unit studies
We've since learned that Hurricane Ike hit Ohio as a Level 1 hurricane. There are still some without power.
Wow! Sunday afternoon, evening, and night were unreal! Ohio got a small taste of Hurricane Ike, and I simply cannot imagine the power that must have been behind the real thing! I have never seen sustained winds like that that lasted for hours. Small branches and leaves were flying everywhere...or rolling like tumbleweeds. I saw one bird trying to fly.....he was losing the battle.
I went back home to get our dog, as I knew her box was right under a willow that we've been waiting to fall....most of the limbs had already come down in other storms. I felt sure it would come down in this one! Driving home to get her was like driving on an obstacle course...limbs down everywhere on the roads. I've never seen her so happy to see us....even when we have returned from being been gone several days.
When it was all over, we had no trees come down. \o/ My in-laws lost three, but did not fall on anything that could not be replaced. Half of one tree fell while we were there. We were out on the patio and it fell toward us onto the upper patio. It took out an old grill, but the smoker and the picnic table survived it. The other half came down after we left, but fell into the field. Another tree fell into the same field, but much further from the house. The third tree that fell was in the horses' area. It landed on the brand new round bale hay feeder, but we are thankful none of the horses were hurt.
We were without power for more than 50 hours.....which is awesome, as we were told it would 4 to 10 days before we had electric. We were one of the lucky ones.....we dusted off the generator and hooked up the freezer and fridge and two lamps. We had borrowed the generator from my in-laws for the summer, to ensure dh's doctorate project was never without power for any great length of time.
My in-laws were worried about their basement flooding (but the rains never came!), so they told us to keep the generator since we had recently purchased 325 lbs. of beef!!! They were able to locate and purchase a generator for themselves Monday afternoon......only after calling all around trying to find one. They were required to secure the purchase with their credit card. Then they had to drive about an hour and half to get it.
Lines at the gas stations were unbelievable...everyone filling up their containers so they could run generators. Fire stations were giving away water. Local stores had Red Cross and fire stations come in and take the foods from the coolers and freezers and give it away to those in need......I cannot imagine the amount of money they lost. Everywhere you looked Monday and yesterday, folks were cleaning up trees and debris; pick-up trucks were filled with branches. Restaurants that had electric had lines and waiting lists. Restaurants that were normally closed during breakfast hours, opened to serve. Ice and water at the stores went fast.
Many are still without power....please keep them in your prayers. We are so thankful that this took place in September and not January!
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Scroll down to view other posts,
including my post on my Invisible Illness.
Statistics show that nearly 1 in 2 people in the USA have a chronic condition and that 96% of it is invisible.
So what is an invisible illness? All kinds of conditions! Multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, autism, migraines, chronic back pain, cancer, endometriosis, eating disorders, and yes... mental illness and depression. There is no sign of the illness existing, nor (at least not until the debilitating stages) the use of an assistive device like a cane or a wheelchair.
National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week, September 8-14, 2008, is an outreach to increase awareness that living with an invisible illness can be emotional challenge—as well as physical—and that more people than we would imagine are suffering silently.
Respondents answered the survey at www.invisibleillness.com and reported the following other annoying comments people tend to make:
- “Your illness is caused by stress.” (14.22%)
- “If you stopped thinking about it and went back to work…” (12.42%)
- “You can’t be in that much pain. Maybe you just want attention.” (10.95%)
- “Just pray harder.” (9.15%)
Believe me, we wish it were that easy.
Join me in prayer for the 133 million sufferers of invisible illness in America and the countless others worldwide. Our strength, our hope is Jesus Christ the son of the living One True God.
Are you a sufferer of an invisible illness? So am I. I have dermatomyositis, interstitial lung disease, and Raynaud's Phenomenon. Leave me a comment and let me know how I can pray for you!
If you homeschool with an invisible illness and are looking for others who truly "get it" try the "Doing it Anyway" forum at the Homeschool Lounge or the Beyond Surviving Homeschooling forum at Rest Ministries' Sun Room.
Friday, September 12, 2008
You may not want to read such a long and personal post, so you have my permission to skip this one.
But it's Invisible Illness week and I am posting this more for me (to remember just what it was like in those early days) and for anyone who stumbles across this post who also lives with an invisible illness....may it encourage to you to know there are others like you "out there" and who truly understand your walk.
This has been my fourth year of living with the diagnosis of two autoimmune diseases. One is called dermatomyositis. Derm relates to the skin, myo relates to the muscles, and the itis means inflammation. The other disease is interstitial lung disease. In both cases, my body's immune system has gone haywire in the sense that it won't shut off when it's supposed to and so it starts attacking various parts of the body that it shouldn't. Prior to being diagnosed I thought an autoimmune disease was one where the immune system wasn't working when it should.
Anyway, I'm creating this entry as a reminder...for myself. You see, God has brought me so far along the journey that I quite often forget just what it was like those first several months. And it's also written to be an encouragement to anyone who stumbles up on it and is also living with an Invisible Illness of their own. So if you'd rather just skip reading this entry, that's fine. It's probably going to be a long one anyway! LOL.
So where was the beginning? I'm not really sure. I remember in January or February of 2004, I would wake up so stiff. Hobbling around a bit and opening and closing my hands would work the stiffness out of my hands, legs, and feet after a bit. I started taking MSM with chondroitin. It worked very well for a month or so, then the stiffness seemed much worse. I noticed too that when I sat for any real length of time that I stiffened up then too. I also noticed that the knuckles on my hands seemed red and I had faint red streaks from the bottom knuckles up to the middle knuckles on almost every finger. I just lived with it at the point, not making any appointments to see the doctor, trying to hide it from the family.
That July, I scheduled to have my wisdom teeth removed. My dentist and been telling me for years to have it done, that I didn't have room for them. But I'd never had a problem with them, so why bother. Then I got to thinking about the fact that I used to have a gap between my two front teeth and that gap was now gone. Yea! It looked much nicer now! But I wondered if the wisdom teeth made my teeth closer together and would they continue to do so, eventually making my teeth crooked? I had the wisdom teeth removed. I had an awful time with the nerve pain for a couple weeks! It hurt so bad. My nerves were still sending signals to the missing teeth and nothing really helped except the numbing gel the doctor gave me.
Prior to the wisdom teeth removal, my muscles were starting to become sore and by late summer they were extremely painful each morning. I felt as if my leg muscles weren't quite long enough anymore and I needed to stretch them out before walking. Each morning, I would hobble out of bed and down the steps and into the bathroom. It hurt so bad to walk. Within a half hour or so, I'd be OK except the muscles were still sore.
On top of this, a week after the wisdom teeth removal, I started having eye problems. My eyes began pulling outward! I thought the problem was connected to the teeth removal and I went back to the eye doctor, thinking it must be the pain medicine and/or the nerve gel he gave me, but he had no clue. I went to my optometrist and he referred me to a specialist.
At this point, I began wondering if the extremely painful muscles and the eye problems were related....after all, eyes have muscles. I thought surely I must have some kind of autoimmune disease (AI). My mom has two (Sjogren's and interstitial lung disease) and I knew there was a higher occurance in families with at least one person having an AI disease. Researching the Internet did not help--first off, many of the AIs have very similar symptoms, and second, the Internet net is quite a scary place when researching anything medical. Seems like you find mostly info on the horror stories of medical problems!
I finally made an appointment with my family doctor. He agreed--it was very likely an autoimmune problem. Bloodwork confirmed something was going on. He referred me to Mom's rheumatologist, where I got more blood work done.
I also went to the eye specialist. After determining that I did NOT have a particular autoimmune disorder that involves the eyes, he said that this was a latent problem that affects many children....lazy eye. That if anyone in my family had a lazy eye, then that was definitely the problem. And when I asked if it could be connected to all the other muscle problems I was having, he gave an adamant "No." He completely dismissed that there could be *any* connection! He wanted to do eye surgery--to cut the stronger muscles of the eye thereby eliminating its pulling the eye outward. I said I'd get back to him. I left thinking....Yeah, right, you can't tell me that I suddenly develop an eye muscle problem and it's not related to all the other muscle problems I was having! There was no way he was going to cut perfectly good muscles! (I am especially happy that I did not have the surgery, because about a year after that, I was only still having problems with one eye and was now turning INward!!!)
By this time, every muscle in my body hurt pretty much constantly. Other muscles became affected, including the esophagus, the intestines. I tired very easily. My energy was zapped quickly.
One day, Columbus Day, we went out to supper at Ponderosa. When we left, I felt like I ate way too much. I felt so full I couldn't catch my breath. After that I often felt like I just wasn't getting enough air. I mentioned it to the rheumy.
Then one day, as I sat in a cold room waiting for the doctor to come in, I noticed my hands were a sort of purplish-blue and white...my legs too! I remembered reading about Raynaud's Phenomenon and asked the doctor to confirm it when he came in. It's sometimes called the "All American" disease because the hands are blue and white from poor circulation and then when the blood rushes back into the veins the hands turn red. Red, white, and blue....hey, I'm patriotic.
Anyway, more tests and more blood work was done and it was narrowed down to one of two autoimmune diseases that affect muscles. One more blood test to determine which.
At last I had an official diagnosis.......dermatomyositis. Then came the kicker, the one I wasn't expecting....I also had interstitial lung disease. The same lung disease that my Mom has. I'd had no symptoms of it until the day I went out to supper that one day.
When Ritch and I went in to receive my diagnosis, I was determined I wasn't going to take medication for it. I'd researched enough to know that most AIs are treated similarly and that I'd very likely be on the same drugs Mom was. I knew how it affected her body, her eyes, her liver, etc. I felt surely I could some more natural, herbal route. That changed with one sentence from the doctor......."If you don't, you'll be dead in two years." The lung disease was the culprit.
I had a 4 year old and a newly turned 7 year old.......how could I not take the prescriptions? And so I started the traditional treatment of steroids and cancer medications.
As the saying goes, things get worse before they get better. That certainly held true in this case. Before things started to get better some 4 months later, things got a whole lot worse.
I lost 40 lbs. This was a good thing, since I was 40 lbs. overweight, but I wasn't even trying to lose, so it was quite scary. The doctor suspected cancer, since with DM there is higher chance of developing some kind of cancer. He'd never heard of anyone on high doses of prednisone not eating themselves out of house and home and gaining oodles of weight. He never found cancer. \o/ God! Must have just been the stress and just my body's reaction to the meds.
I also lost a ton of hair. Never to the point of needing a wig, but boy, I wondered. I probably lost at least half. I never understood when my hairdresser said I had a lot of hair! To me it was thin. Yes, I had fine hair, but there was a lot of it....most people really didn't notice that I'd lost so much hair, but I did. It came out by the handfulls, daily. I've since, with the help of Nioxin shampoo, regrown much of it.
Also during that time, I often choked on foods or drinks due to the DM affecting the epiglottis and esophagus muscles. I hated drinking anything at that time--I became anxious prior to taking a drink, which usually made it worse.
All my muscles continued to grow weaker. I could barely lift my head of wet hair up out of the bathtub and I eventually had to give up baths altogether as I didn't have the strength to get out of it once I just kinda fell in. I was exhausted by the time I got out of the shower. Lifting my arms up to wash my hair and then to dry and comb it out was soooo tiring! I had to rest in between. Walking across the house wore me out. Taking a gallon jug of milk out of the fridge, it took all I had to get it to the counter that was only about 3 feet away. At bedtime, I would stand at the bottom of the steps and say "OK, Lord, you're going to have to get me up these things!" I never knew 13 steps could be so much! If I got up in the night to get to the restroom, I didn't have the strength to do the steps again and I'd spend the rest of the night in the chair or on the couch. I got to the point where I didn't even turn over it bed unless I absolutely couldn't stand that position any longer....it took too much effort to turn over. Anytime I'd worked my leg or arm muscles to the point of exhaustion, which happened quickly, they would tremor.
Schooling slowed to a crawl. Most of my days were spent on the couch. But I thanked God that I had found, long before this, a curriculum that could be done from a couch! From almost the beginning of our homeschooling journey, I used an awesome literature-based curriculum called Five in a Row. When I first read about it, I think I fell in love! I knew--without even yet seeing it--that it was a perfect match. It did what we had been doing all along--reading to our children and then discussing the story. I went full tilt, hook, line, and sinker into it.......I used a Buy-it-now option on E-bay and purchased a package deal that included the first three manuals and many of the books used in the program. Yes, FIAR can be done from the couch by a mom could barely do anything! I had to struggle to get through the reading of the book (I'd become winded from reading) but it can be done!
Well, I think that's about it....what I remember from that first six months or so. Now, I wear sunscreen a lot and, in the summer, a dreaded hat (I hate hats!) and try to listen to my body when it's tired. I've been off the prednisone several months now and hope to be off the last nasty medicine within the coming year.
I thank God \o/ that He was my strength during this time. I am thankful too for the support of my entire family. And my dear friends from my homeschool co-op were such a blessing, not only for their prayers but also for bringing us meals three times a week during the worst three months. And I'd be remiss if I didn't thank my church for their prayers and encouraging cards. (((hugs))) to each of you.... I thank my God every time I remember you. (Phil 1:3).
"Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ." (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
Monday, September 8, 2008
The Autoimmune Epidemic: Bodies Gone Haywire in a World Out of Balance--and the Cutting-Edge Science that Promises Hope by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Autoimmune Disorders: The Revolutionary, Drug-Free Treatments for Thyroid Disease, Lupus, MS, IBD, Chronic Fatigue, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and other Diseases by Stephen B. Edelson and Deborah Mitchell.
Here is an interesting video, mostly concerning MS and childhood diabetes, that does a great job of explaining how autoimmune diseases (in general) work. It is 45 minutes in length, but very informative. He discusses some experimental treatments that really offer some very promising hope. I recommend those who do not have MS or childhood diabetes to also watch this, as he mentions many other T-cell autoimmune diseases, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn's, Ulcerative Colitis, etc.
Have you read an interesting book or found something on the Internet? Leave a comment.
Today begins National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.
I, along with several other homeschooling moms, are blogging about our invisible illnesses this week. If you are, leave a comment below with a link to your blog, so that others might visit your page.
I started a message board called Doing it Anyway, which is for moms who have (or whose spouse has) a chronic illness but who still choose to homeschool.
Another great place is Rest Ministries, which sponsors this weeks' Invisible Illness Week. Their Sunroom provides Christian support for living with a chronic illness.
The store at Rest Ministries has many resources for your chronic illness support group or to help start one. They also have devotionals written by folks who have truly been there! The founder of Rest Ministries, who is an author of some of the books on the site, suffers from chronic illnesses. They also have books for those who are caregivers for or who have a loved one with a chronic illness.
Jen has a listing of other homeschooling moms who continue to homeschool, despite their invisible illness. You can see their faces, read their names, learn what illness they have, as well as pray for them on Jen's Prayer page. She'll add you if you let her know.
Hope this helps bring awareness to the many invisible illnesses, as well as provide some places to visit for those who want to learn more or who may be looking for support of their own invisible illness. --Celia :o)
Thursday, August 28, 2008
This morning, my FIL was taken by ambulance to the hospital. He had some chest pains and passed out. In the hospital, they gave him 3 nitro to stop the pain. He may have cracked or at least bruised his ribs in the fall, but he's doing a bit better now. They're keeping him for tests.
This week, my FIL's mother (the only living grandparent for my husband and I) was diagnosed with PAD (peripheral atherosclerotic disease) and may have to have one or both feet amputated someday. She's also in congestive heart failure.
So, if you'd lift them up in prayer, we'd appreciate it!
Just wanted to give an updated: My FIL spent 4 days in the hospital. His heart went into A-Fib, so he's been put on new medications. Grandma is still doing so-so. Please continue lifting them up in prayer.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Our church comes together in praise and prayer and music and worship for all the children going back to school (public, homeschooled, college) and all the educators (preschool through college and including homeschooling parents) and all the adminstrators, workers, staff, etc. of any educational institution.
Prior to service or early in the service, everyone writes on a postcard the name of a child they wish to be prayed for. At a designated time during the service, everyone comes forward and places those cards in a basket and they are prayed over. Several times between songs, we pray.
What an uplifting time! As a I said before....what a great way to start the new year!
Monday, August 11, 2008
Just a reminder to everyone to get outside tonight to watch the Perseids. They have been sporadic for a couple weeks and will be sporadic for a couple more, but TONIGHT! Tonight is the height of the shower!
The best time will right before dawn tomorrow morning, so set your alarms! Another good time will be around 9 p.m. tonight, when the slower (but less frequent) "earthgrazers" will skip through our atmosphere. Setting your alarm for a couple hours before dawn and getting away from lights is your best bet and will offer the most reward when you can see dozens, maybe even hundreds, of meteors. Look to the NE skies, near the Perseus constellation.
There is a free unit about a meteor at HSS, Call Me Ahnighito. It's a favorite here and I'll be getting it out today!
Visit NASA for more information.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I happened to be up in the announcer's stand when she started. This barrel is under the announcer's window, and when I saw her coming, I snapped this shot.
One of our 4H moms decided to get in on the mounted games' fun! What a photo finish to her run! She gets through the "gate" at almost a full run and the horse rears, spins, and comes back down at a stop...without knocking a pole down. What a run!
This young lady had to fight a bit to get her horse under control, but she managed to do so without falling off.
On this last shot, she looks to be right under the horses legs. Fortunately the horse side stepped and did not step on her. \o/
I took about 2,500 pictures at our recent county fair!! By the time the week ended, I had a blister and the tennis elbow pain was in full gear. Also, by the end of the week, you begin to see strange sites like this one that make you think you're hallucinating!
Most of the photos were of the 4H kids' horse events. It's always fun to take pictures of the gymkhana events and the mounted games, as these are full of action. I'll be posting a few of the cooler shots I got.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Did you know that you could order 4H project books on-line or pick them up at your county extension agent, even if your child is not a 4H member?
They have lots of neat project books! And they have much more than books on farm animals, too! Your student can study bugs, rockets (Aerospace), pets, robots, vet science, computers, cooking, science, sewing, fishing, photography, woodworking, and much more! Books range in costs from $4 to $15.
Here's the link to the Curriculum listing at the 4H Mall. Check it out!
After lots of late nights, many cups of coffee and tea, and much discussion, Ami, Wende, and I are soooo happy to say: The Blast is over!
The HSS website has been updated to reflect all the wonderful resources folks sent in for the Blast contest. We held lots of drawings and contacted the lucky winners of each category. But you know what? YOU are a winner too!
YOU get to use all the wonderful literature-based unit studies, lapbooks, and notebooking pages that can be found on HSS. And you get to use them for free! Hope they are a blessing to you!
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!! Ha, ha...couldn't resist! But really, we do have one more prize to hand out and YOU get to help us decide. Just go to the Winners Circle page....there are 8 units/resources listed that did not win any prize (pout, pout...but that's the luck of the draw). They were well done and we really think at least one of them should get something, sooooooooo......you get to vote for one of them! Just look over the new units/resources and then go back and vote for your favorite. Hurry, the voting ends this Friday night at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern!)
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Supreme Court (that's us way up at the top of the steps, on the left, by the pillars!)
Our congressman was busy at the time we were to meet him, so he asked his aide to bring us over to the capitol to meet with him between votes.
In between votes he gave us a private tour! This was soooo nice because the next day, when we went on our "real" tour of the capitol building it was jammed packed!!!
Taken from inside the capitol, looking out the window.
If we ever find the other card, I'll post the Washington and Lincoln pictures!
In addition to the senate and house building tours, we also got to tour the capitol building and ride the subway that the congressmen use to get from their building to the capitol building.
We didn't get to sightsee nearly as much as we wanted, but we did get to see the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History.
We feel so blessed at the wonderful things the Save Our Wild Salmon set up for the art winners. It was a special time for dd10.
And (LOL) we made sure each of our senators and congressman knew that she was homeschooled....she mentioned it when talking to each and she shared her salmon lapbook that we had created. (Click on this link to be taken to Homeschool Share, where you can print off and do your own salmon lapbook!)
And for those interested in purchasing one of the calendars that dd10's picture is in, you now can! Just go to the Save Our Wild Salmon website and go to the donation section. For a minimum of a $10 donation, you can choose to receive the 16 month calendar. (You can select the calendar after you make the payment.) Her artwork is featured on this December's page.
Oh, and here's a picture of the winners who were able to go to DC, along with their families and their pictures.
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Here are pictures of my FIL removing the swarm and taking it to their new home.
I just love that you can take advantage of lots of cool things when you homeschool!
My FIL started beekeeping because of our homeschooling, really because of Five in a Row (FIAR). He'd had an interest for a long time and one summer we rowed The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco. Our local beekeeper's association was doing a demo of honey extraction, so I had decided to row the book and take advantage of the demo. I invited my FIL along. He talked to the various beekeepers a long time that day, and few months later, he started his own beekeeping!
Hey, if you are interested in bees, Homeschool Share has a free honey bee lapbook! We have lots of other free lapbooks, literature-based unit studies, and notebooking pages on there as well, so be sure to poke around the site! And also be sure to come back in July, when we'll have oodles more after we update the site with all the cool new goodies we get as a result of our annual Blast contest!
Friday, May 30, 2008
12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.
14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud:
15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.
17 And God said unto Noah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth.
Then clouds came in....
and another storm came
But then the sun came out again,
and God treated us to another spectacular site....
...only this time, it soon became a double!
Thank you, Lord,
for sending us rainbows.
anyone know why?
Night of the Moonjellies, anyone?
One of our favorite fish
Gotta love hammerheads, too!
I wish saltwater aquariums
weren't so hard to keep!
We had a lot of fun watching the
polar bear playing in the water.
The otters were entertaining, too!