Sunday, November 12, 2017

"Rising"


"Rising"

With your words, you tried to kill me, and I lay hurt and wounded for some time.
I had to fight and claw my way back, until strength once again became mine.

You hid in cover behind another; you refused to confront me face to face.
Yet I'm supposed to keep quiet and be sure to stay in my 'proper place.'

The battle lines have been drawn, and you're the one holding the pen.
I will take the high road, yet that doesn't mean that you win.

Everything said in the dark will eventually come to light.
Your words will turn on you; you will lose this fight.

I know who I am, and I do not care what you think.
I am rising now, and I will watch you sink.







Monday, November 6, 2017

When You're Judged as Not "Christian" Enough


"Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure
will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the
wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see
clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye." -- Matthew 7: 1-5
There appears to be a movement, and I'm on the outskirts. It's not that I want to be a part of this group, anyway. I don't care to sit in judgment of others; I'd rather love them and try to understand their views, even when I don't agree with them. But now this "I'm better than you because I don't do (fill in the blank here) or I don't participate in this thing or I don't allow my kids to do that thing" movement has affected me personally because I have been openly criticized for choosing to do certain things and for allowing my kids to do certain things. Both my parenting and my Christianity have been called into question. And that, my friends, is not okay.

I have to wonder if these same people spend as much time praying for me about my battle with major depressive disorder and suicidal ideation and my challenges in being a mother to a child who is severely mentally insufficient and legally blind as they do in judging me for perceived "sins" in my life. They certainly haven't reached out to offer me any sort of tangible help or encouragement. I recall that Jesus said those who follow Him would be known by their love. I'm not really feeling the love here.

Furthermore, as a person with major depressive disorder and suicidal ideation, life is a balancing act. All it takes to knock me off balance is one push. When people say hurtful things about me, ostracize me, look down their noses at me, or judge me as not quite holy enough, it can trigger a catastrophic episode. All the progress I've made can come to a halt and then spiral and crash back down to rock bottom. This is what happened to me last night as a result of things that people said about me. I was right back in the darkness and irrationality that put me in the psychiatric section of the hospital this past January. I was in the kitchen again, and I had a plan. My husband had to stop me and calm me down. It was scary, and it was ugly. I eventually settled down, though, because I did not want to go back to the hospital. But, see, words hurt. Being judged crushes a person. This is true for all people, too, not just for those of us who are diagnosed with some type of mental illness. Plus, it's not your place to tell someone that he/she shouldn't celebrate a certain holiday or dance or have one glass of wine once a month.

I'm writing this post to make you aware of the damage you can do when you speak critically of others. Your words can have far-reaching consequences that you might not intend for them to have. So, think before you speak. If it's not edifying, then don't say it. If you're not saying it directly to the person you're discussing, then don't say it. Talking behind someone's back is cowardly, and it's also gossip - even if you preface it by saying "Please pray for...negative...judgemental statement...criticizing..." Show love. Extend mercy. Overflow with grace. Live like Jesus.

"Nobody knows what we’re for only what we’re against when we judge the wounded" -- Casting Crowns



Sunday, October 29, 2017

Poe Party

I'd been missing the early days of our homeschooling years, when my children were "little," and school was fun. I longed for the excitement of activities we all looked forward to doing and the memory-making times of the past. Well, thankfully, I discovered that homeschooling high school can also be fun! I want to give a huge thank you and a shoutout to fellow homeschool high school blogger, Nerdy Little Birdie, for inspiring me. She shared a wonderful idea for a poetry party, and it sparked a fire in me. So, I took that desire and combined it with my love for Edgar Allan Poe. We studied his life and poetry throughout the month of October, and then we culminated our studies by having a Poe Party. Here are some of the highlights I'd like to share with you.

I printed out quotes, framed them, and placed them in various places in the dining room. I purchased the candleholders and raven on the pumpkin decor from Target.

We decorated coffee mugs with black Sharpies and then baked them in the oven to set the designs. Here you see the famous 'Nevermore' quote from Poe's well-known poem "The Raven."

And here, obviously, is a raven.

Another raven.

'Nevermore'

The 11th grader painted this to represent the last stanza of Poe's poem "Annabel Lee."

The 9th grader sketched this and then colored only the couple to convey artistically the meaning of the second stanza of "Annabel Lee."

We had a delicious apple crisp dessert while we took turns reading and discussing quotes of Poe's.

We wore these "masques" so we could be like the revelers in "The Masque of the Red Death." Well, not EXACTLY like them. We're still alive, thankfully!

We had a simple dinner: veggie nuggets, vegetables & ranch, & wine-for those 21 and over only!

More decor on the piano.

Vegetables and ranch for the party.

Cheese & crackers for an appetizer.

Tabletop decor - all purchased at Target.

More decor, printed by me or purchased at Target.

Finally, a coffee mug with the first stanza of "The Raven" printed on it.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Bitter Truth


Most of us eventually reach a certain place that will never allow us to go back to the place we used to be. We know too much. Our eyes have seen far too many things. Our hearts have been asked to bear more pain than any one human should have to stand. The answers we thought we had suddenly blow up in our faces, leaving us wounded and gasping for air. We look for new answers, but can find none that satisfy.

It's as if a hole has been ripped through our chests. The sorrow is tangible; we feel it in every painful breath we draw and every morning when we open our eyes. We long for our younger days - the days when we thought we knew the answers and could wrap difficult concepts up in neat little packages. But we got older, and the hard things got harder. There is no explanation now. We don't have one. Nobody has one. We're forced into this enigma of pain and cynicism, and there is no escape.

We are locked in this world where so many things don't make sense. This is hard for me to accept, and the older I get, the harder I gets. I can't imagine that it will ever get better. This is where I am now, and I can never go back.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Legacy of Love and Faith


This year I've had to bid farewell to the last of my grandparents - my father's mother and father. While I'm sad to see them go, I know that I will one day see them again in my eternal home in Heaven, where they are already rejoicing together. This knowledge brings me both peace and joy.

My grandparents celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary just a few months before my grandfather passed away this past March. How amazing is that? 75 years of love and faithfulness, which included three children, my grandfather's service in World War II, the path to my grandfather's recovery after his stroke, and the countless misadventures that my granddaddy always managed to have. He was stubborn and quite a handful, but my grandmother loved him deeply, just as he loved her. 

Once my grandfather was gone, my grandmother was lost without him. He was truly the light of her life and her best friend. She thrived on the act of taking care of him. It was how she showed love. She served, whether it be through her delicious cooking or through her prayers for her family. She was a strong woman; saying goodbye to her this week was hard, yet we smile at the precious memories that will sustain us as the years go by.

They leave me with big shoes to fill. A marriage like theirs doesn't come along every day. It doesn't just happen. It takes work. It requires endurance. It needs faith. It calls for sacrifice. My grandparents are examples of all of that. Their faith is a testimony to the love and goodness of God. Throughout their lives - in times of joy and sorrow - they clung faithfully to the Father. I am inspired to walk in faith as they did. My grandfather said many things while he was alive, but two things that I will always remember and strive to live in light of are the following:

"If you want to know how much God has blessed me, just go outside and look at the stars at night. That's how many blessings God has given me."

"I know the reason that I made it back safely from the war. It's because Lucille [my grandmother] was on her knees every day praying for me."

This is their legacy. I have been blessed.





Thursday, August 24, 2017

"Fire"


“Fire”

Dark days and even darker nights,
Tired of being in this fight.

Falling, crashing, and hitting the floor,
Yet rising to do battle once more.

From deep within me arises a song,
The darkness will not have victory for long.

I have power that cannot be contained,
I turn a small spark into a fiery flame.

I burn brightly, and I leave my mark,
Unforgettable, I am a shining star.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Beginning of the School Year: 2017-2018


It's hard to believe that another summer break has come and gone, and yet here we are two weeks into our school year already. Things have gone well so far. Other than the usual difficulties that arise as the children and I readjust to waking early, things are going quite smoothly overall. This year is also a bit challenging for me as a homeschooling parent, as I am now teaching two high schoolers. My youngest child is attending our local public elementary school, which has an excellent special needs program, and she has a fabulous teacher.

I am often asked what program I use to teach my children at home. I always laugh when I get asked this question because I am definitely an eclectic homeschooler. I use varying companies and methods with each of my children, depending on individual learning styles and preferences. Some children are visual learners, while others are auditory or kinesthetic learners. Tailoring curriculum to fit my children's needs is one of the advantages that homeschooling offers. For this year's lineup, here is what we are using:

Ninth Grade

Saxon Algebra I
Sonlight Core 100 (U.S. History & Geography)
Literature (Taking at homeschool co-op)
Analytical Grammar
Biology
Greek
Catholic Theology
Physical Education (various sources)
Photography (Taking at homeschool co-op)

Eleventh Grade

Math U See Geometry (She has already completed Algebra 1 and Algebra 2.)
History and Philosophy of the Western World
SAT and ACT Grammar Workbook
Spanish
Chemistry
Literature
Foundations in Personal Finance (Taking at homeschool co-op)
Photography (Taking at homeschool co-op)

Fourth Grade

Attending the local public elementary school; in a special needs classroom.

"Rising"

"Rising" With your words, you tried to kill me, and I lay hurt and wounded for some time. I had to fight and claw my way b...