ELECTION 2020: A Guide For Conservative Women

ELECTION 2020: A Guide For Conservative Women

This is it.

The days are winding down fast and Election Day will be here before we know it. This is an election of enormous consequence.

When it comes, may we know we did all we could do. Then let’s remind each other the results are God’s.

Many are wondering, WHAT CAN WE DO?

I’m glad you asked.

Pray. Pray fervently and often. Consider joining me in fasting every Tuesday between now and the election. (I allow myself drinks, and finish fasting at 6:00 pm.)

We need to pray for our President and our country; for unity and wisdom, AND we need to be praying for the opposing party. May they be humble and wise. May the scales fall off the eyes of people who refuse to see. May each of us come to know God better and rely on HIM more during this season.

Donate. Small amounts add up. Much of the Republican fundraising is funneled here. Have a garage sale and donate the proceeds. We NEED to keep the Senate and the White House, but we should try to take back the House as well.

Serve. If I still lived in California, I would call Joe Collins’ office and see how I could help. WHY NOT help Maxine Waters retire? Make phone calls, walk precincts, answer phones, send out mailers…anything. Do you know who is running in your district? Can you help them?

Keep it positive. There is enough division. Let’s rise above it. Keep it simple: Republicans want safe streets, funded police, school choice, to open back up quickly after COVID, and low taxes. No name-calling. No foul language. No pointing fingers…just steady reminders of what we are building toward.

This is our time.

We women can make the difference for our families, our future, and our fundamental beliefs.

Do not let people shame you for supporting President Trump. There are abundant reasons for doing so. Here is just a shortlist:

  • Lower taxes. This has made a real difference to many people.
  • Higher wages. Prior to COVID wages were actually increasing across all demographics.
  • Energy independence. For the first time in 70 years, we were a net exporter of energy products. This has a profound impact not only on opportunities here in the US but helps to shift the balance of power around the world. (Can you recall one significant radical Islamic terrorist attack, anywhere in the world, since the US became the #1 oil producer? I can’t say for sure those two things are related, but I do believe fewer oil dollars in the pockets of terrorist funding regimes is a good thing.)
  • ISIS is gone. We need to not forget the days of ISIS running through villages in the Middle East, beheading all the Christians, and taking all the teenage girls as sex slaves. It was horrific. It is done.
  • Peace agreements for Israel and Arab nations. This is huge. This President literally cannot do anything to get kind words from the left, but this is a really, really big deal.
  • The Supreme Court. Enough said.

This election is poised to be a fundamental shift in demographics.

The Republican umbrella of low unemployment, better trade deals, a strong military, and supporting law enforcement so our streets can be safe speaks to people of all races, colors, and creeds. No longer is this the party of rich, white people.

It is the party of dreamers.

In 2020 The Republicans did not offer a new platform for the convention. It was not a litany of promises and “this is what we will do for you if you vote for us!” Instead, they boldly stood firm on the promises made in 2016. It was a political party saying, “This is what we are doing, come join us!”

They celebrated what was working: The wall is getting built. (No more caravans from South America.)

The economy was the best on earth. (It will get back to booming.) Republican policies work.

They talked about wanting to restore order in cities across the nation.

Meanwhile, this summer, Chaz (or Chop, or whatever it’s name was) in Seattle had to be shut down after a few short weeks. The dreams of spaghetti potlucks and a summer of love crumbled in the face of violence. In June, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously voted to defund the police. In September they wondered where all the law enforcement had gone.

The differences in philosophy about keeping cities safe could not be more stark.

Let’s agree that protests do not cause property damage…Riots do. Think of all the cities that are being ripped apart by protests and riots. This article talks about the 1 billion dollars in damage caused by rioters since May. Of those cities being ripped apart, how many are run by Democrats?

I encourage you to take the time to look it up.

“Let us first examine the political leadership of the most dangerous American cities, large and small alike. ‘Danger,’ for purposes of this analysis, is defined in terms of the number of violent crimes committed per 1,000 residents. Four categories of violent crime are included in these calculations: homicide, rape, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. The statistics regarding the incidence of each of these crimes in each city were derived from FBI records and were published in 2019 by the custom analytics website NeighborhoodScout.com.[4]

The following chart shows the 50 cities that have the highest violent crime rates in the United States and: (a) have a population of 25,000 or more; (b) are governed by mayors who are clearly identifiable as either Democrats or Republicans;[5] and (c) have either a “Mayor-Council” (MC) form of government, a “Council-Manager” (CM) form of government, or a Hybrid (HYB) of the two.[6]  Of those 50 cities, 46 are governed by Democratic mayors and administrations; only 4 are governed by Republicans. Moreover, 42 of the top 43 are governed by Democrats.” –frontpagemag.com

Do you realize the President already signed an Executive Order requiring police reform and better training? And that he passed the FIRST STEP ACT–prison reform to undo the Biden-authored Crime Bill of 1994 which incarcerated African American men at a much higher rate than white men? He advocates for school choice. He is fighting for equality across this land, and it is reflected in the polls, even if it is not reflected on Twitter.

We can do this.

We can be kind and loving to the people we disagree with and relentlessly move forward with saving this nation. We can learn, and then articulate kindly what the better choice is.

We can vote and encourage others to vote as well. We are women. We can do anything.

We can sit on the Supreme Court, run winning Presidential campaigns, hold high offices, and love our families and communities with honor, grace, and effectiveness. We can celebrate people, even when we disagree on policy.

We can be the people we want the other side to become. Are you with me?

Education

Education

Ok, I am in a mood.


Let’s chat about education.


Many people are posting memes imploring parents to support teachers and administrators as this nation faces decisions and circumstances never before seen in my lifetime.


People want us to be nice. Got it.


But this is an amazing opportunity to try to think CLEARLY and, perhaps, DIFFERENTLY than ever before about how and why we educate our kids.


I believe there is one vital question/concept that must be wrestled through first and foremost: OPEN, WELCOMING PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE EITHER ESSENTIAL FOR QUALITY EDUCATION AND VITAL FOR OUR NATION OR THEY ARE NOT.


Hang with me.


Doesn’t it make sense to answer that first? Ultimately we have had to answer that very question about hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons.

Have we seriously debated/discussed/contemplated whether or not schools are vital?

If they are, why is whether or not to open the focus, rather than how to open?

If they are not, why are we allowing the discussion to be dictated by the same people who have run the system we no longer consider to be vital?

As we are continuing this conversation, let me ask: Do we really want systemic change and better results for all people?

Really?

Don’t just answer because the obvious choice is the only comfortable choice. What we say with our words, and what we live are often two very, very different things.

If we do want solutions, we should talk about things that work.

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In many ways, if we want something to change, the very best place to be is facing a problem that can be fixed with personal responsibility. Think about it: If the only way life can get better is for someone else to do something, we have very little power.

If the only hope for people suffering under the burden of systemic racism is if the system changes–that is an incredibly vulnerable place to be.

(I suspect some people will now need to take a deep breath. Nothing in the previous statement implies that systemic racism does not exist. Nothing implies that the systems should stay the same. It merely states the hypothesis that IF personal changes can change outcomes within the system, that is a better place to be than if outcomes can only change after the system changes.)

Again, hang with me.

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There are a wide variety of international studies that support the following conclusion: The number one indicator of academic success is not race, gender, geography, class, or income. The number one predictor of academic success is whether or not a child is read to early and often.

If that is true, and if we want all kids to have the best possible chances in school, WHY are educational experts not screaming READ TO YOUR KIDS from the rooftops?

Do we believe teachers and educators don’t know this?

Think of the anxiety and stress burdening parents and teachers regarding open/closing of schools. What if the conversation shifted to this:

“The number one thing parents can do to support academic excellence for all ages is to read quality books aloud to their children. How can we help you, parents, develop this habit?”

I think that is empowering.

If, during the last few months on lockdown, families read Little Women, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Tom Sawyer together, do you believe they would feel as far behind academically?

Parents of little people could read the Little House on the Prairie series.

Language, history, attention spans, and connections would all be encouraged and developed.

Putting aside whether or not everyone would do it; or whether or not there might be economic, geographic, or racial disparity in who actually followed through; it is still a valuable option available. Willingness is the defining factor. If access to books is an issue, I suspect many moms would line up to help fill in the gaps.

Instead, people are confused and afraid, waiting for the breadcrumbs of ideas and plans coming from the people in charge.

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It is time for even the most supportive public school parents to sit in the discomfort and face the fact that political ideology has hijacked much of the public education system.

That doesn’t mean there are not great teachers. It does not mean there are not great schools. It does mean that there is nowhere near a healthy amount of diversity of thought and there is a DRIVING desire by the people in power to control as much as they can.

As a general rule, it is far easier to control victims.

At the 2018 American Federation of Teachers convention, three of the keynote speakers were Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. The president of the AFT said this: “We are in a race, and the November elections are the key…[To] truly change America takes more than mobilization—it takes organization, persistence, and a sustained political effort.”

To believe that public school system is only about education and not driven by politics is, well, wishful thinking.

The Los Angeles Teachers Union has made its demands for what needs to happen in order for the schools to open up and get back to normal after COVID. You can read the entire document here. For those who don’t have the time, I will copy and paste the demands for you:

FEDERAL SUPPORT

  • Federal Bailout…Many experts are calling for at least $500 billion in additional federal assistance this year, and a commitment to continue support over several years.
  • Fully Fund Title I
  • Fully Fund IDEA
  • Medicare for All

[That’s right. The Los Angeles Teacher’s Union is demanding they control what kind of health insurance I have here in East Texas.]

STATE SUPPORT

  • The California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2020, aka Schools and Communities First [This is a proposition on the November Ballot. They are including an outcome of a yet to be held election in their demands.]
  • Wealth Tax
  • Millionaire Tax

LOCAL SUPPORT

  • Defund Police
  • Housing Security
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Charter Moratorium
  • Financial Support for Undocumented Students and Families

This is from their published document. I did not get this information from a right-wing news source, I got it from their own site. This is the conversation being driven by one of the largest teacher’s unions in the nation.

Does it match how you feel? Are these the hurdles you think should be overcome in order to best serve your child? Is this what you think education should be about?

I am going to say this as clearly as I can: If we really want to deal with systemic racism, truly, we must acknowledge that the single greatest perpetrator of it in this nation is the public school system.

They regularly, publicly, promote a narrative that reinforces limited opportunities and demand handouts for people of color. Some of the worst schools in the nation are in predominantly minority filled neighborhoods. Rather than promoting education as the key to a free and better life, they ask for handouts that tether people to reliance on the government for survival.

And they fiercely fight against the opportunity for parents to choose better (or even just different) schools for their kids.

The benefits of school choice to minority communities are deep, wide, and profound.  As Heritage.org says: “For instance, students participating in the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which helps low-income students attend private schools of their choice, experienced a 21 percentage point increase in graduation rates.”

You can read more about the benefits of school choice here or here.

There is no more passionate enemy of school choice than the public school system, as the LAUSD teacher’s union’s demand to put a moratorium on charter schools illustrates.

We should celebrate every single child who is educated well. It should not be offensive or insulting if that education takes place somewhere else. One school’s success does not guarantee another school’s failure. There is more than enough room for a thousand different kinds of schools to succeed in teaching millions of individual students with unique strengths, interests, and needs.

However, in the public school system, as it stands, there is only room for one way of thinking: theirs.

This is a beautiful opportunity to change that. Rather than seeing this entire debacle-ish situation as a choice between one disaster and another, it could be an opportunity for radical, systemic shifts that are dynamic and thoughtful. Need ideas?

I thought you’d never ask:

What if school districts offered different types of schools, rather than similar schools in different locations? In this virus-filled era, there is no better time to consider several of these:

  • OUTDOOR SCHOOLS I am not an expert, but an outdoor school is more than simply having class outside. It is building learning and curriculum around activities that are–you guessed it–outside. For those kids who actually suffer when they have to stay still and clean, this is a beautiful option. Getting in touch with nature, learning about the ecological systems, gardening, moving, journaling about the experiences. Literature filled with stories about life outdoors, connecting reading to real-life experiences. How many kids would thrive in such an experience? Learn more here.
  • UNIVERSITY MODELS My daughter was educated in a university model high school, and we loved it. (“It” being the University Model Method, not necessarily the school we attended.) This quote sums it up: “The immediate goal of the University-Model® educational system is quality, cost-effective college-preparatory education accomplished in a way that gives parents more time for imparting the faith and values they hold precious.” It is designed to combine time at home and time at school. The time management aspect readies kids for college very effectively. You can learn more here. That is a faith-based program, but obviously it would not be in the public school system.
  • MONTESSORI SCHOOLS. A district in my area here in East Texas has a Montessori charter school. You can learn more about this method of educating here. This particular method of educating encourages self-discovery and exploration. It would be a very doable thing to add the cleaning and sanitizing of the stations, by the kids, as part of the learning experience. It lends itself to the teaching of hygiene.

Obviously, that list is not extensive. There are many more ideas, but why not start talking about ideas rather than limitations? Rather than growing a generation of kids that are afraid and think in terms of limitations, we could start something better than what has ever been before–and NOT have it dependent on voting the way the teacher’s union wants us to.

Dear Portland Moms (And, well, Moms everywhere)

Dear Portland Moms (And, well, Moms everywhere)

My kids will undoubtedly need copious amounts of therapy for being my children.

I am hot-tempered, hard-headed, and horrendously lazy.

My intentions are among the best, most complete, and well thought out in the world. My actions…are not yet up to the mark.

Yet, as crazy as I may be, I think that many mothers out there have lost their ever-loving minds.

I started to consider whether or not I was from a different planet after the last Super Bowl halftime show.

Credit to the Chicago Sun-Times from Google Images

Facebook started blowing up with moms–many Christian moms– who thought it was an awesome performance. Somehow, scantily dressed men pawing and looking up the crotch of an extremely provocatively dressed woman was admirable.

The defense seemed to be that it was a wonderful thing because J Lo was “hot”. So, if I understand correctly if she was not, say, attractive, and was just an average mom of three kids without millions of dollars to spend on her looks, the performance would not have been so great?

Apparently, it was not a problem that she was being portrayed as a piece of meat and doing things that fuel both the pornography and prostitution industry on what some believe is the biggest sex trafficking day of the year? Huh.

There were still moms–Christian moms–raving.

“Is this what you want for your daughters?” I asked over and over and over again.

I got no answers.

I think my daughter is prettier than J Lo. This is not what I want for her.

WHAT DO WE WANT FOR OUR KIDS? WHO DO WE WANT OUR KIDS TO BE?

This week Portland, Oregon moms locked arms and took to the streets. My understanding is that they were “protecting” protestors from federal police forces sent to protect federal property.

This is a screen shot from my computer.

Wearing coordinating t-shirts and bike helmets, People magazine declared they were there to protect the demonstrators.

But where were the moms when this took place?

Another screen shot from my computer.

Seriously. What kind of character do we want our kids to have?

I believe in standing up and speaking out.

But I believe it must be effective. And I believe it needs to be for the right things.

Last night someone posted a video taken in the beautiful college town near where I used to live in California. “Protestors” were walking through public places and shouting in unison, “F*&#$^$%k YOUR COMFORT!” over and over and over again.

What on earth does that have to do with anything?

In an attempt to encourage elevated conversations and clarity, and to try to find like-minded people, I am going to put in writing what I believe and want other people to believe with me:

  • Profanity is not the mark of intelligence. I go through seasons of cussing–and they are all seasons peppered with stress and unhappiness. F-Bombed filled rants rarely get compassion from other people. If you want people on your side, use your nice words.
  • It is wrong to destroy other people’s property. I can’t believe this needs to be elaborated on, but it does. “Property can be replaced, people can’t” seems to be the rationale. Do you know what else can’t be replaced? Time. The time invested to build businesses and believe in dreams. Time spent creating art and memories. Time spent trying to get ahead and create financial stability for family…only to have it destroyed by someone who is angry about something someone else did.
  • Blocking the freeway is illegal. It is not a peaceful protest if you block traffic. (**I am going to define a peaceful protest as something someone else has the choice to engage in or avoid.) Blocking traffic doesn’t give people a choice and–in my opinion–makes you a bully. It is also against the law. Even if local police “give permission”, that doesn’t make it legal. Or smart.
  • It’s time we started speaking out about children being hurt. In my former California community, while blocking freeway traffic, someone smashed a car window. There was a 4-year-old in a car seat in that car. Over the 4th of July weekend, an 8-year-old girl was shot in Atlanta. An 8-year-old boy was shot in a mall in Alabama. An 11-year-old was killed in Washington DC. Add Chicago and San Francisco to the cities where kids were killed. All of them were children of color…let’s protest for those beautiful people.

What is it we really want? For weeks and weeks, violence has filled our cities. Police officers were battered and property destroyed, and there has been silence from the parents of the people doing the damage.

But as soon as the federal government decides enough is enough and takes responsibility for protecting federal property, moms hit the street. Ok.

Do I want them to have that choice and that freedom? Absolutely. I completely support the First Amendment Right to do just that.

But is that who you want your children to be?

If the protests were peaceful, would additional law enforcement be necessary?

Are you proud of your kids when they march through cities wishing ill on other people and cussing? What does “F*#$%K YOUR COMFORT” have to do with any righteous changes that may need to take place?

Have we/you, as parents, worked hard to try to provide a good life for yourself and your family? A comfortable life?

My husband and I have. We are not ashamed of that. We do not feel any obligation to martyr ourselves for the popular socialist mantra of the day.

While we have worked (sometimes effectively, sometimes not as much) for a good life, we have also served and given our time and treasure to causes and people we believe in.

Remember those books that filled our shelves when our kids were preschoolers that taught us all about natural and logical consequences? It is a natural and logical consequence that when people seek to damage and destroy federal property, federal law enforcement will step in. “Protecting” your kids from that consequence might not produce the kind of adults you want your kids to be.

It seems to me that “woke” white people are storming through the streets and social media trying to feel righteous and important by shaming those who see things differently. It seems these Portland moms want to shame the federal officers for showing up to do their jobs. Their job is to keep vandalism and destruction from continuing. I think it’s an admirable goal.

If you want me to join your cause, inspire Me. Wouldn’t we want our kids to be inspirational and informed, rather than loud and ignorant? Do we believe the “woke” protestors can define socialism? Name a successful socialist country? Name several signers of the Declaration of Independence? Know what the Magna Carta, Emancipation Proclamation, or Mayflower Compact is?

Really. That is a serious question. Do you believe the vast majority of people wreaking havoc have accurate historic knowledge and can explain the context of decisions made in the past?

How about us, the parents?

Ignorance should not win the day.

It is possible to have compassion for others without feeling shame for myself, my blessings, or even my privilege. (More on privilege another day…) I would go so far as to say, shame never helps anything, but clarity does.

So again I ask, what do we want for our kids’ lives and character? Let’s build on that.

May Four Somethings

My friend Heather has a monthly link up. Our little online community shares something loved, something read, something treasured, and something ahead. I rarely actually do it.

I intend to every time.

Since I want to become a person more successful with my intentions, I am going to plow through here…

And do it.

Something Loved

There really are so many things I love, even though my heart is a little grumbly lately, but one of my favorite new additions to my world is BALANCE THERAPY for my Dad.

He falls like it is his job.

We were on a grueling, but amazing, 5-week path to health when COVID hit. The thought of where we could be grieves me. Two months of staying home with very little movement are NOT good for the aging population.

We were going to start Balance Therapy locally just before everything shut down. After a bit of research, I discovered a Balance Therapy place still open an hour and twenty minutes away, so I signed him up.

It is amazing.

Miss Vanessa is a wonderful addition to my TEAM HAPPY. My Dad is absolutely getting stronger, and it has been weeks since he has fallen to the ground.

He is FATIGUED when it is over. We stop for drive-thru Western Bacon Cheeseburgers on the way home and give him his Singing Canary with double protein powder to sip while he rests when we get there.

I schedule IV Vitamin and oxygen therapy the day after to help his body recover. Just because he is 83 doesn’t mean all his best days are behind him.

Something Read

Technically, I listened to this. Gary Sinese reads the audiobook, and I Love his voice, but Steinbeck’s words from the early 1960s are so poignant in today’s world.


“I remember an old Arab in North Africa, a man whose hands never felt water. He gave me mint tea in a glass so coated with use it was opaque, but he handed me companionship, and the tea was wonderful because of it. And without any protection my teeth didn’t fall out, nor did any running sores develop. I began to formulate a new law describing the relationship of protection to despondency. A sad soul can kill you quicker, far quicker, than a germ.”

John Steinbeck, TRAVELS WITH CHARLIE

Let us each work on building not-sad-souls; in ourselves, and in those around us.

Something Treasured

This is, hands down, having my college-age daughter home. (This has nothing to do with how I feel about colleges closing–I am opposed–but love the actual result of it which has been having her home. I am in conflict here.)

All families have rough spots.

We certainly do.

But my daughter is not currently one. She gutted distance learning out. (And hated it.) She self isolated at a mobile home we are renovating after spending spring break in New York.

Even that meant she was here, and I could deliver food and go clean and enjoy her presence.

Then she came home and has been a delightful watcher of her sister while I do the necessities with my parents. (My husband is gone working on an out of state project.)

We celebrated her birthday.

(Yes, our refrigerator is in the living room. We are in the middle of a remodel…life is not as orderly as I would prefer.)

I bought her new clothes.

We are working together to train her dog, and have made incredible progress. He is becoming well behaved and trustworthy in almost all situations.

She leaves in a week to take possession of her first apartment. School won’t start until the end of summer, but in our pre-COVID days we signed the lease for June, because that assured she could get this apartment. She is moving from Champlagne College to the University of Vermont so she can switch majors. This apartment provided perfect distance between connection with her previous college and proximity to the new.

Apparently there is currently a nice selection of available jobs, as some prefer unemployment to work. She prefers work, so this is a good time for her to return.

I will miss her madly.

Something Ahead

Someday my house will be remodeled.

It will have an open floor plan with a large island and dining room. This means there will be several places to actually sit as a family and have a meal.

It will have flooring that is not wood-looking linoleum.

My daughter will have a new room and homeschool room.

In my imaginations, it will be so much easier to create a rhythm of life that helps my family to thrive in my someday-newly-remodeled home.

I can’t wait.

As COVID-19 heads into the next season of whatever it is, I CAN’T WAIT sums it up nicely.

Homeschool Ideas

Homeschool Ideas

I am terrible at homeschooling.

Except for the times I am not.

Consistency is what I lack most. And my kiddo has pretty severe special needs, so there are complications. BUT, I still believe it is our very best option.

In these crazy, COVID-19 days, where CDC guidelines run the risk of seriously altering public education, it is a great time to investigate other options.

For anyone who may be wondering IF homeschool 20/21 is worth it, the following is a compilation of resources and ideas. I wish desperately I could turn back the clock ten years and start then, knowing what I know now, but forward is the only option.

First, you do not need to create your own curriculum. There are plenty to choose from.

Here is a list of free curriculums.

There are also many places to purchase an all in one curriculum or individual courses. Try here. Or here. Or another one. I have used this one and really liked it.

That should help get you started.

If you have small kids, ages 2-7, I recently stumbled across Other Goose. The founder, Erin Loechner, blogs here. She believes in chasing simplicity as though it were an Olympic sport. She’s my newest favorite.

There are MANY, many different educational philosophies. Each have their own strengths and merits. Many homeschool families combine various parts of various notions. One of the beauties of homeschooling os the freedom to find what helps your child/family to thrive.

Several years ago the book someone recommended A Thomas Jefferson Education. There was going to be a book group conversation about it, and of course I had procrastinated the purchasing of it, unaware that it is impossible to find in a normal book store. So, I downloaded it to my daughter’s kindle and sobbed my way through reading it.

Suddenly, my whole life made sense.

The author, Oliver DeMille, breaks down education into three types.

The conveyor belt education, education for the masses, is designed to teach people what to think.

A professional education teaches WHEN to think. This is necessary for medicine, education, and law, etc. Under what circumstances do you apply this information?

A Thomas Jefferson education is based heavily on mentoring and the classics teaches HOW to think. I suddenly realized why I hated school and struggled in Bible Study groups.

I hate being taught what to think. In that spirit, I don’t want to tell anybody what to think about how or where to educate their children. Instead, these are just ideas and places to get more information.

Here is a quick overview of several different educational philosophies.

THE CHARLOTTE MASON METHOD

The Charlotte Mason method, from my simplistic point of view, focuses on habits, nature, and reading original sources whenever possible. If you want your child to spend hours outside every day, consider this method.

This website gives a thorough overview. This morning my daughter made the bed without being asked. This counts as a homeschool victory! (Habits make up a life, for good or ill.)

REGGIO-AMELIA APPROACH

Like Charlotte Mason. Reggio emphasizes environment for learning. Natural is best. Allowing a child’s interest to inspire deep learning is encouraged.

Here is a great, brief introduction. In fact, that website has an enormous amount of helpful information.

CLASSICAL EDUCATION

The Well Trained Mind is the modern go-to resource for information on a classical education. Here is their link, with an abundance of information.

In a vastly over-simplified explanation, the Classical Model teaches with history as the foundation. Learning goes through 4 one year cycles:

  • Ancient History
  • Medieval History
  • Renaissance/Reformation
  • Modern

The science, math, art, and literature are all taken from the period of history studied. This does allow a unique insight into how the people, places, inventions, and culture influence what happens from one period to the next.

ABEKA

I honestly know very little about Abeka, except that they have been around and used by Christian schools and homeschoolers for decades.

You can look into their resources here.

Never has there been a better time to make hard decisions about education. Paying private school tuition for online at-home learning would not be my favorite thing in the world. Days full of mask wearing, small crowds, no field trips and no assemblies is not a winning formula either.

One of my biggest regrets in parenting is that I stopped reading to my kids. Once they started to read chapter books, I let them read whatever they wanted as often as they wanted. They started reading chapter books at 5 and 6. If I had it to do over again, I would have continue to read aloud every night.

She is my favorite resource on the topic. If you really want to understand the how’s and why’s of how much good it can do for your kids look here, or here, or here.

Not everyone has a choice. But for those who do, who are thinking about the third option: HOMESCHOOLING, I hope this helps!

Today

The gift of an international pandemic and lockdown, for a person like me, is thinking.

Evaluation.

Where is my life and where can it go?

It involves the inevitable blaming. It then circles back around to promise, but only if I root myself in the gratitude which doesn’t come naturally.

My prayer journal for many, many months was filled with me asking God to help me pour into the things that matter. As many do, I chose a word for a year, or a season, or a time that felt right and the word pressing into my heart was INVEST.

So I begged God to help me to invest in the things that matter–the people that matter. My parents, my kids, my husband (more difficult than the rest) and my relationship with the Lord.

I tried serving at church, but finally faced that it wasn’t working and stepped down. I have not yet found my place and purpose, but am confident it will come in due time.

I am increasingly accepting that I often don’t fit in.

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Ryan expressed an interest in learning to play tennis.

It will, quite literally, take us thousands of attempts before she will be able to bounce the ball and hit it over the net.

But the practicing gives us the chance to count and try and soak up the sunshine. I love it.

She is also, like her mama, quite the soda lover. Being on the court, in the warm rays, encourages her to drink water–because it is the only thing I make available.

***************

As always, the time to think brings about a renewed interest in getting healthy.

Cinnamon swirl French toast with homemade blueberry sauce and fresh fruit start her day well. The more colorful food my precious not-so-little peanut eats, the more color she has to her face. That’s a welcome thing.

She and I are spending more time outside. We take her “baby” on walks with the dog, go to the park, and (of course) play tennis.

The words of a brilliant speech therapist run through my mind, “What you see in the body, you see in the mouth,” so getting her body to move well moves us forward in many areas.

I used to take her to Louisiana once a week–a three and a half-hour drive, we’d go to Cracker Barrell for dinner and stay in a hotel together–and then go have two hours of wonderful physical therapy every Friday morning. But the costs mounted and my parents constantly needed me, so I canceled.

An international pandemic would have halted it the following week, but the loss stings.

It means I must try harder on our own. So I am.

************

My beautiful college student came home early (thank you COVID 19) but is leaving again soon.

She has more of a life outside the four walls of my home than she has inside these days, and while I know that is the way it is supposed to be I can’t help but be sad.

I want the remodel of my house finished and the boathouse built so that the life she has when she comes home is even better…not so much “in process” as it has often felt.

************

For years I have unsuccessfully tried to talk my mom into writing her memoirs. She is a master of words, and now that she can no longer talk, writing is the only way to get thoughts out.

It certainly would have been easier had she started when both hands worked well. Her right doesn’t work at all and her left is mildly disobedient. But I keep telling her (still unsuccessfully) that one sentence a day would add up.

That thought keeps me coming back here. Maybe, someday, my kids will want to read my words. Maybe not. But they will at least have the option that I don’t currently have.

Why I Am Not Afraid of COVID

Why I Am Not Afraid of COVID

Before you get into a tither, let me START by saying it is fully rational to be wise AND not fearful. This is not a binary choice between being lawless and cavalier or being up in the night with panic; there is a third option.

We are where we are, and the only thing to do is hunker down and let it pass. If you pay any attention to the numbers in Italy and New York, you may come to the same conclusion as me: Proximity matters. The closer the people are, the more the people will get sick.

However, I have been living with rubber gloves, Clorox wipes, Lysol spray, and hand wipes in my car for a long, long time. That’s what life with family members with terrible diseases is. Perhaps that adds to my steady emotional response to the Coronavirus.

Here are some other reasons:

We already live with worse. My mom has Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. It is a terrible neurodegenerative disease that presents to the outside world a lot like ALS. She was, on more than one occasion, diagnosed with ALS.

We have been in multiple doctors’ offices receiving news that literally makes the room spin. We have been told that it doesn’t matter what is wrong because there’s nothing that can be done. We have been told more times than I can count that there is no cure and no medicine and that it is a matter of when, not if, this will kill you.

Because she was diagnosed with ALS once, and “not ALS yet, but it will be” once, I feel connected to that community. I feel their pain as they are screaming for an incredibly hopeful treatment, Nurown, to be approved and used on a large scale; but their shouts are currently being drowned out by people hoarding toilet paper.

To many, this response seems out of proportion.

I follow the numbers. I check the progress of the disease on worldometers.info daily. The other day there were 452 new cases of COVID-19 in the United States.

That was just over 8 people per state. I live in Texas. It’s a big state.

***Edit: It turns out my son sometimes reads my blog. That is a surprise! It turns out he does not take my facts at face value without researching himself. This is NOT a surprise. He brought up a valuable point: The WORLDOMETER site updates daily. Clicking the link now gives much larger numbers than when I wrote this. The numbers swing wildly. I am still not afraid.

So far there have been 311,357** (updated) documented cases in the United States, with 8,452** (updated) deaths. In no way am I minimizing those deaths (each life matters) but the CDC estimates that between October 1, 2019, and March 28, 2020, there have been between 24,000 and 63,000 deaths due to influenza.

My mom was originally diagnosed with ALS in December of 2017. The 2017/2018 flu season DID scare me. It seemed so much deadlier to me.

The death rate of COVID is simply not that high. 50,000,000 people worldwide died of the Spanish Flu in 1918. 675,000 of them were here in the United States. In 2009, we had H1N1–the Swine Flu. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that swine flu infected nearly 61 million people in the United States and caused 12,469 deaths. Worldwide, up to 575,400 people died from pandemic swine flu.”

Perspective.

I didn’t have a life before this. We already homeschool. There have been changes at church in the preaching that made it a struggle for my family, so that’s doesn’t feel like a real loss. Most of my time each day is spent at home or going to doctors appointments or therapies for my parents or my daughter, so there’s just not much that has changed.

My favorite pastime is going with my husband for appetizers and a drink to watch the Astros games. The Astros are currently the least liked baseball team–maybe ever. I can’t be sure their games would be ON in any restaurant…but we still miss them.

I do need to get a life, but now I get to blame everyone else for not having one. BONUS!

I see so much good happening. Watching the Navy hospital ships Comfort and Mercy pull into California and New York, bringing help and room for patients was breathtaking.

Watching companies shift gears to produce things to help in the crisis is the American spirit I want to grow. The New England Patriots’ diesel truck filled with 1.2 million face masks to be delivered to New York hospitals was fabulous. Restaurants are donating food. People are sewing masks. Bible verses are everywhere.

There is so much to gain by families spending more time at home. I hope we read more; use technology less; take time to think about what we want our lives to be. This can be a magic moment in so many ways, if we let it.

I think the responsibility for those who are at greatest risk, lies mostly with those who are at greatest risk. Hold on.

Take a deep breath. Don’t let yourself get too upset, yet.

I saw an Instagram post saying something along the lines of, “MY MOTHER IS NOT DISPENSABLE,” in response to the idea reopening businesses.

If we don’t reopen businesses, MANY, many businesses will die.

This person’s fear was that if we DO reopen businesses, her mother would die.

My youngest was born with special needs. She was medically fragile and highly susceptible to illness. The responsibility to keep her safe was ours–my husband’s and mine. The onus was not on the rest of the world to cease normalcy because our life was no longer normal.

Those who are the most at risk need to take the responsibility for their own safety seriously.

That being said, we all need to be respectful.

My college age daughter spent her spring break in New York state–ground zero for COVID-19 US. She was also exposed to someone who was exposed to someone who tested positive.

When she came home from college, she self isolated for two weeks because she does have a sister with special needs and medically fragile grandparents. She, at 18, behaved in the most respectful way possible because she believes she has a responsibility to the world around her.

She’s awesome.

Earlier this week my Dad fell in the middle of the night. Normally my husband goes and gets him up, but this time he seemed to be in considerable pain, so my husband called 911.

I headed over and got to the gated community just behind the ambulance. We were having trouble getting the gate open, so I took a moment to chat with the paramedics. “My dad has to be really, really hurt before I will take him to the ER,” I said. “His doctor’s office has an x-ray and a lab to do blood work, so if it is possible to give him a pain pill and tuck him back in bed, that is the plan.”

They were totally on board.

I am not terrified of the contagion, but exposing an elderly man unnecessarily while also giving potentially overworked ER staff ONE MORE THING to do is something I will try to avoid.

We need to gut it out. We need to keep away from others when possible; wash, wash, wash; don’t touch our faces, which, as it turns out, is THE VERY HARDEST THING about this entire situation; try to support local businesses by ordering take out or buying gift certificates; and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.

The most vulnerable should completely isolate. The church and friends and family should support that by filling in the gaps for them.

ANYTHING WE CAN THINK OF TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES we should do. I am in the camp that believes the economy will come roaring back. The people on the front lines, working day and night, will someday stop working day and night and will be looking for food, fun, and some pampering.

Businesses that are currently closed will have to open early and stay open late to accommodate the massive flow of customers. This day is coming.

VERY SOON the numbers of recovered cases will skyrocket. Once they hit 6 digits, the conversation will change. THIS, TOO, WILL PASS.

Let’s simply decide not to destroy ourselves with fear in the meanwhile.

Four March Somethings

Four March Somethings

Each month, my online friend Heather hosts a blog link-up entitled SHARE FOUR SOMETHINGS: Something Loved, Something Read, Something Treasured, Something Ahead. Each month I say I will hook up; each month I don’t.

If an international quarantine and stay at home order don’t take away all my excuses, I will need to face the fact that perhaps I am not being honest with myself about who I am and what my intentions really are.

I don’t wanna do that, so here I go!

Something Loved

I love that my college student daughter is home.

Well, not home exactly. She spent her spring break in New York and has been exposed to someone who was exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID 19, so she is self-isolating at a mobile home we are in the process of fixing up. But she is close and I have seen her and we are making plans.

Not exciting plans because, well, COVID is the biggest buzzkill of a lifetime. But we are planning on helping the dog learn how to behave well and that is actually a life-changing prospect.

Something Read

My reading is a bit lacking. I admit it.

My daughter and I finished The Penderwicks on Audible. We have begun the Great Illustrated Classics version of Around the World in 80 Days.

I have been listening to/watching podcasts for writers, then popping over to web sites to get to know new authors.

I have, as always, spent most of my reading time on research studies and health articles looking for help for my family.

It’s kinda boring.

Something Treasured

This may sound arrogant, but I treasure the ability to think.

These are fascinating times we live in. The world is both incredibly distant and unified in experience all at the very same time.

I see people posting things online, enmeshed in their own fear, and they don’t actually look into what they are posting or THINK about what things actually mean. Many times in these last days someone has posted something inflammatory.

I then respond with statistics that offer a different way to look at things. The comments are then taken down. People are INSISTING on their own feelings and perspective…facts are secondary.

Ugh.

Something Ahead

A remodeled house.

ALL THE HAPPY HANDS FLAP WITH PRAISE.

I am a wee bit ashamed of my inability to function well in the house we live in. I have never really liked it; I liked what I could see it becoming. And it was affordable.

But there’s no great place to eat as it currently is, and there are too many started–but not finished projects–working toward the BIG remodel. I have been stuck.

I hate that feeling.

But things are significantly underway now, and I couldn’t be happier.

There are now and will be many more moments in the coming weeks to push pause. To think and reflect are valuable things, and I am grateful for this brief moment to do just that.

Day 4

Have you ever seen a toddler that was so out of control it was a scene? Like a train wreck people stare, roll their eyes, and judge? The mom seems oblivious and ferociously defensive at the notion that anything their darling child is doing might be wrong?

That is me, except with my parents.

I am the daughter who is unrelentingly unwilling to acknowledge there might not be hope. The incurable disease might not be cured and the “Progressive” in its title is not a joke. It actually guarantees things are getting worse.

My mom has a terrible disease and lost her ability to talk over two years ago. Last December, she was no longer able to swallow, so she lost the ability to eat and had a feeding tube put in. That transitioned us to needing 24 hour care, and it turns out my father needs it as badly, if not worse.

He falls all the time.

People love to point out any flaw in his memory or thinking. (I, on the other hand, accidentally drove the wrong way down a one-way street this week, so I am gentle with the imperfections of life.)

We have issues with constipation and the unfortunate consequence of overcorrecting.

Recently I talked them into a 5 week time frame of intense therapies and treatments. They will do neurofeedback, hako-med, medical wave, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy, oxygen therapy, and lower back decompression designed to increase circulation to the brain and body. They will are supposed to be in the pool three times each week. Twice they’ll exercise for an hour, once for half an hour. They will also get weekly massages, once for my mom and twice for my dad.

But things keep getting in the way of my plan. And I hate that.

Yesterday was DAY 4. I took my mom on the two-hour journey to Louisiana for cranialsacral therapy. The plan was to then take her to neurofeedback and then the pool. (My dad had been up all night with intestinal issues and was too tired for the newly-put-in-place program.) All day my mom had looked a little wonky, so when she said she had the chills we changed course and scheduled IV Therapy for her.

I had already made an appointment for my dad, so there they were, side by side getting their particular cocktail of vitamins and minerals and fluids pumped in. The last time I did that for my dad, he didn’t fall for days.

Last night my husband had to head over at midnight and help him off the floor.

Each day I pray to the Lord, asking for HIS help to help my parents. I ask HIM to show me which way to turn.

It’s only Day 4. It is not supposed to be perfect.

I want HIS work in my parents to amaze everyone who thinks I am nuts.

Here’s how it works for me: Any new idea that eases my heart or mind a bit, I consider to be from the Lord. I don’t hear audible voices. I don’t have burning bushes, but if I believe HE is for me (which I do) then I believe that help is from HIM.

And then I thank HIM for allowing my father to have made enough money to pay for the new idea. Then I talk to my parents and if they agree, I consider that HIS work as well. They can be stubborn, old codgers.

Yesterday was only DAY 4. I can look to HIM for a better tomorrow.

2020 Vision

The end of 2019 came in like a wave. Rushing and thrashing, it took my family to new places. Places we didn’t want to be but knew we could not avoid.

A New Year always brings me hope. The opportunities to look fresh and start anew are treasured. Loading up things to take to the Goodwill, extra bags of trash by the can, and the scent of cleaners illustrate my nearly desperate need for a more manageable life.

I am always striving to “get organized.”

One thing I have changed this year is to write my calendar items in pencil.

There, quite simply, is always the possibility of a crisis around the corner. My mom has a terrible disease. My Dad falls like it is his job.

We have caregivers, but that is its own tricky situation. There is a constant balance of living with purpose and throwing plans away to best deal with a situation at hand.

Just the other day I was taking my precious little peanut (who is no longer little) to an appointment that had the possibility of helping me pursue several therapies for her that I am excited about. While I was driving I got a text from my mom that my Dad had fallen.

The caregiver left to get lunch and he was on the floor, unable to get up.

As always, the first call was to my hubby. He was on his way out to the airport. He was willing to turn around, but our son was closer, so I called him and he was off to the rescue.

When my husband called a few minutes later, he was a bit surprised that I wasn’t on my way to my parents’ house. “I need to do this for Ryan. I have to feel like I am moving toward a better life with her, and this could be a big part of that.”

The brutal truth was this:

  • I could not get my Dad off the floor.
  • My son could, and he was on his way.

My father means the world to me, but there was no real benefit to sacrificing the opportunity to move the ball forward for my daughter at that moment. So I didn’t.

Each moment presents choices. I want to choose to invest in the wisest way available, in the priorities the Lord has put before me. Every day is an investment. The results are the Lord’s. The decision to invest obediently is mine.

I am empowered by those truths.

I love my family. I want to do this life well. I want a watching world to see God in a real and powerful way flowing through the pulse of my life. That will be the most effective if HE is pulsing through the flow of my days.

And my choices.

And my priorities.