Friday, February 26, 2010

Front Door Friday

My dad came through our front door today. Isaac opened the door for him while the other three ran to get their coats and shoes. My parents have graciously agreed to take the children once a week for a few hours so I can get some quiet studying time in to prepare for the Bible study I'm preparing. This week, this morning is my studying time.

This morning was a flurry of activity - Swedish pancakes for breakfast, cleaning up, piano lessons, finishing the schoolwork not completed yesterday - so everyone would be ready to leave when Papa rang that doorbell.

Now, it's quiet here. And I'd better get to work!

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Emerging from a Fog

I’m sitting on my couch in my living room, soaking in a rare winter sunny day. As I sit here, I realize that I am ever-so-slowly (too slow for my taste) coming out of a winter fogged by a thyroid condition.

I have discovered more women than I could possibly imagine, including my mother and grandmother, are taking thyroid medications, although thyroid disorders cause different symptoms in different women.

I fought my symptoms for many months. I didn’t realize that my difficulty in sleeping, my exhaustion, and seeming inability to think – the feeling like I was walking through tar – were symptoms of hypothyroidism (a slow thyroid).

Fortunately, I decided I should really go to the doctor for my annual visit (which I last had four years ago). Also, fortunately, my doctor is well-read on thyroid issues, and realized that although the numbers in my blood test were well within the “normal” range, my symptoms indicated that something was wrong.

Dealing with this health issue this winter has made me more thankful than ever for Shaklee. Here are four reasons why:

1. Shaklee supplements have given me a good nutritional base from which to get better. Because I am not nutritionally deficient, I can focus on what helps my thyroid function better, instead of wondering if my symptoms are a result of a nutritional deficiency (which they could be).

2. I know the supplements I am taking are high-quality. My body only needs to use the nutrients I am feeding it, instead of fighting against toxins, fillers, or synthetic nutrients found in other supplements.

3. My body is freed up to heal because it is not fighting toxins found in common household cleaners. Shaklee’s Get Clean products are safe for me and my family. Plus, I can put my kids to work cleaning when I’m having a bad day. (And even when I'm not!)

4. Because Shaklee products work, you, my customers, are loyal to the products, even when I am not functioning as I would like. I appreciate that so much! My business keeps going, and I am still able to pay for my own products, even when I’m not 100%.
There are so many reasons why I am thankful for Shaklee, but today, those are my top four.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


As I sat down this morning with my children to read our school books, I was surprised by how many poems we read today.

I thought it fitting, considering today is Poetry Wednesday. First, we read Psalm 100 and tried to create our own tune (rather unsuccessfully, I'll add. I guess the kids are worn out after having friends over for a couple of days.)

Then I read the younger two a Robert Louis Stevenson poem, and Lydia read from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. In the middle of reading she paused, looked up and said, "Hey Mom, do you realize this book is written as one long poem?"

So smart, that one.

And finally, I read to the older two out of our poetry book, which I have quoted several times already in the past few months. I am going to quote from all the small poems and fourteen more by Valerie Worth again, because I enjoyed this poem best of all the poems we read this morning.

My hope is, that by quoting this poem, I will somehow manage to destroy the sweets monster which has been raging in me this past week. (Ya, right!)

Is a list
Of likely
To taste:


How they manage
To flavor
The paper

enjoy more poetry, contribute your own, by clicking here.
the lovely picture of peppermint is courtesy of flickr

Friday, February 19, 2010

Front Door Friday

Fridays is usually our day off school. However, because Glen had Monday off for President's Day, and because we were traveling, we had schoolwork to finish today. That threw off my schedule - so I almost completely forgot about taking a picture out my front door.

If I had remembered earlier, I could have taken a picture of the children building a snowman by our driveway, or sledding down the little hill next to the road, while their mom said good-bye to me and tried to herd them into their van.

If I had remembered earlier, I could have taken a picture of my children sledding down the bigger hill in our backyard. (Finally! Of course they decide they must sled when half the snow has already melted.)

I remembered now, and am documenting the end of the second sunny day in a row this week. It's funny how I count sunny days now that I've returned north from the land of sunshine, otherwise known as Florida.

I spent eight sunny years in Florida, where I counted cloudy days because our a/c didn't run as much and they gave us a relief from the relentless sun. Plus, they didn't come very often, and rarely more than two days in a row.

Now, I rejoice when we see the sun two days in a row, giving us a break from the relentless clouds which hover over Illinois nearly all winter long. Those sunny days don't come often and rarely more than two days in a row.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Calling Out Your Name

When I was contemplating joining the "Poetry Wednesday" bloggers, I was very concerned that I would not be able to find enough poetry that I enjoyed enough to share. I am not completely enraptured with poetry, and I doubt I ever will be.

However, I felt I needed to stretch myself a bit. And finding a poem to share each week would certainly be stretching. Still I hesitated.

Until I remembered that music is poetry. Poetry combined with notes and rhythms. I realized I would have plenty of poetry to share, even when I don't have time to find a poem for the week.

That's when I started participating in Poetry Wednesday. It has been stretching - and enjoyable.

Today, I share with you the poetry that makes up part of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs from Rich Mullins - an artist who's work accompanied me through my high school, college, and young adult years.

Calling Out Your Name

Well, the moon moved past Nebraska and
spilled laughter on them
cold Dakota Hills
And angels danced on Jacob's stairs...
There is this silence in the Badlands and over
Kansas the whole
universe was stilled
By the whisper of a prayer...
And the single hawk bursts into flight and in the
east the whole
horizon is in flames

I feel the thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

I can feel the earth tremble beneath the rumbling
of the buffalo hooves
And the fury in the pheasant's wings...
It tells me the Lord is in His temple and there is
still faith that can make the mountains move
And a love that can make the heavens ring...
Where the sacred rivers meet beneath the
shadow of the Keeper of the plains

I feel the thunder in the sky
I feel the sky about to rain
And I hear the prairies calling out Your name

I know this thirst will not last long, that it will
soon drown in the song not sung in vain

I feel the thunder in the sky
I see the sky about to rain
And with the prairies I am calling out
Your Name

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop

I admit it, I’m a Monk fan. I think that whoever thought up the idea of putting TV series on DVD was a genius. Otherwise, I would never have been able to enjoy watching Monk.

I was a bit taken aback when I spotted a book at the library with Adrian Monk on the cover. I thought, “Really?” but couldn’t help picking it up.

And oh, did I enjoy it! If you’re a fan of Monk, you’ll like Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop. It’s no work of literary greatness, but its fun.

I can just hear some of the dialogue between Stotlemeyer, Disher, Monk and Natalie – which makes sense since it’s written by Lee Goldberg, one of the writers for the TV series.

I laughed so hard when Mr. Monk made the find of his life – a Diaper Genie. Monk fans will appreciate his obsession.

Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop is a great read for vacation, a good laugh, or just an escape from real life.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Front Door Fridays

For various reasons, I am up early this morning even after a late night last night. I thought about waiting until a bit later to snap my Front Door Friday picture, but decided to catch the pre-dawn, chilly morning outside my front door.

We had about a foot of snow this week - I was thrilled, because I hate seeing patches of grass between snow drifts in the middle of winter. Those patches make me think spring... and we are far, far from that.

The day after the snow, I opened my living room curtains to a thick white blanket of snow, marred only by the prints of deer as they meandered through my yard at some point in the night.

It was beautiful.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Flotz

My very dear friend, Mrs. Mionske, gave my family a book several weeks ago. She gave it to me after she had read it, and had marked her favorite poems with sticky notes, bulletins, e-mail messages or business cards.

I love getting books like that. I, of course, immediately sat down and read all her favorites. My oldest then claimed the book and read it cover to cover, in order. (Just what I would have done at his age.) Fortunately, he did have the sense to leave all the bookmarks in place.

I just read my sister-in-law's blog, and discovered that her poetry-friend had suggested a theme for today - love - with it being Valentine's Day and all. Well, this poem doesn't exactly fit the theme. But I will force this square peg in the round hole by saying:

I love getting hand-me-down books from Mrs. Mionske... and I love that we have been friends since I was in junior high. (Thus the Mrs. part. She keeps telling me to call her Jean, but I just can't.) She sought me out because my name was in every single church library book that she checked out. She thought we must be kindred spirits. And we are - bless her! I love the fact that we've remained friends for so long, and that one of my best friends is old enough to be my (very young) grandmother. Hugs to you Mrs. Mionske!

The Flotz
by Jack Prelutsky

I am the Flotz, I gobble dots,
indeed, I gobble lots and lots,
every dot I ever see
is bound to be a bite for me.
I often munch on myriads
of sweet, abundant periods,
I nibble hyphens, and with ease
chew succulent apostrophes.

From time to time, I turn my gaze
to little dotted "i's" and "j's,"
and if I chance upon a dash,
I soon dispatch it with panache.
I chomp on commas half the day,
quotation marks are rarer prey,
a semicolon's quite a treat,
while polka dots are joys to eat.

When I confront a dotted line,
my tongue flicks out, those dots are mine,
Morse code becomes a feast, and yes,
I've snacked upon an S.O.S.
For I'm the Flotz, who gobbles dots,
I gobble them in pails and pots,
And you'll not like my brief embrace
if you have freckles on your face.

You may love other poetry selections. Check them out here.

(And, in case you are wondering, I am happily married to a wonderful man who loves humor more than sappy sentiments - Love you!)

Monday, February 08, 2010

Super Bowl Celebration

I am quite amused at the anticipation my children feel for Super Bowl Sunday. I remember dreading it as a child - forced to watch a football game because there was nothing else on TV. The only time I got excited about football was the year the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl. That was the year I finally understood the term "first down."

Our Super Bowl Tradition (yes, with a capital T) started several years ago, Glen could tell you the exact year, when the Chicago Bears played the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. Glen grew up in Indiana, but rooting for the Bears, so the competition between his two favorite teams created much angst in our house.

"Which team will I root for?" he asked the children time and time again.

This, of course, intrigued them, so I decided to put on a Super Bowl spread and we would watch the game together. And, shock of all shocks, we would eat in the living room (a very rare treat, deserving of italics).

Since that game, it has become our annual tradition. The children were counting down the days until Super Bowl Sunday, their excitement increased by the fact one of Daddy's favorite teams, the Indianapolis Colts, was playing in the game.

So yesterday, I made my Ro-Tel cheese dip, ham & cheese sandwiches, put out the trail mix, chex mix, and soft pretzels and we feasted in front of the TV. Anna even generously contributed a bag of Skittles a friend had given her at church that morning.

It's a family tradition we enjoyed immensely - even though the Colts did end up losing. Glen was the only one really disappointed, I think. The kids were more disappointed that there wasn't any cheese dip leftover.
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Friday, February 05, 2010

Front Door Fridays

Here are my girls, running in the front door after an afternoon hanging out with Papa and Nana at the church. (The boys were there too - just didn't run in the door at the same time.)

A couple of weeks ago, I asked Mom if she could take my kids for an afternoon during the week so I could have time to study. No - not for school, but for a Bible study I'm writing for the women in our church.

She generously said yes, but wasn't feeling well on Tuesday, so we postponed this week's afternoon until today.

The kids report they had a great time - playing soccer with Papa, 'bowling' in the gym, and I think, maybe, practicing dribbling and shooting a basketball.

Meanwhile, I had a quiet house in which to study a really evil person... Jezebel. Hm, I think this Bible study is going to be ... well ... interesting. (tease, tease!)

Happy Friday!
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Wednesday, February 03, 2010


We've recently started reading a book about which I have heard very good things. It's called Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J Maybury. If you're a part of the homeschooling world, you've probably heard of it or read it. If you're not, then you may not have.

We're only on Chapter 7, and already I think this book should be required reading for every American - especially the politicians. I took economics courses in college, in which I scored very well, but which never answered that question - what did happen to penny candy? I've pondered that question since reading about penny candy in Laura Ingalls Wilder's books.

Anyway, Maybury's book is very easy to read, and even my 4th-grader is getting familiar with terms like inflation, recession, deflation, depression, among others. We've also learned where the dollar came from. Quite interesting.

So, all that to bring me to today's poem. At the beginning of Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?, Maybury quotes one of my favorite Shel Silverstein poems. It always makes me laugh, and my older two and I had a good laugh over it again last week when we started the book.

My dad gave me one dollar bill
'Cause I'm his smartest son,
And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
'Cause two is more than one!

And then I took the quarters
And traded them to Lou
For three dimes - I guess he don't know
That three is more than two!

Just then, along came old blind Bates
And just 'cause he can't see
He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,
And four is more than three!

And I took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
Down at the seed-feed store,
And the fool gave me five pennies for them,
And five is more than four!

And then I went and showed my dad,
And he got red in the cheeks
And closed his eyes and shook his head -
Too proud of me to speak!

You can find more poetry selections here.