June 18, 2011

They Did It, Again!

Wow! Last night my little CKS woke up about 3:30am and threw up. I have no idea why. My oldest two feel a bit under the weather today, too. Detox baths helped. I went ahead and left them with the babysitter so I could participate in the last day of the conference. They did fine.

Almost all of everything got done today. One load of laundry was still waiting to be washed, the dishwasher was not started, and dinner was not on the table when I arrived at home, but everything else was done. Still, pretty amazing. Two loads of laundry were done, beds were made, rooms were somewhat tidy, probiotics were given, juice and cod liver oil were given, lunch and snack were served, eaten, and cleaned up, they played a bunch and everyone was happy. They did it!

June 17, 2011

They Did It!

They did it! The kids had to carry out all of the basic chores all on their own and they did it! We worked hard during the first part of the week to prepare for this weekend. I'm gone all day for three days, my husband is out of town, and a babysitter is staying all day with my kids. Laundry was washed, folded, and put away (only pee pee laundry as we finished the rest of the laundry during the first part of the week). All beds were made with dry sheets. All meals and snacks were served, eaten, and cleaned up. Dishwasher was loaded. Rooms were all tidy when I got home. Dinner was on the table. They played. They read books. They played Wii games, which is a rare treat for my kids. They did art together (my girls are artists and our babysitter is an amazing artist). They did it!

I am so proud of them. They did it because God has been working in us and they wanted to do it and do it well. They knew I was counting on them, but they were not afraid of getting in trouble. In fact, I had expected that a few things might be forgotten and I had made up my mind to overlook anything unfinished and simply praise them for what they did well and encourage them to remember tomorrow, but they did it all. Our babysitter kept telling me over and over how wonderful they were. She had only positive things to say. Mind you she was with them for ten hours from 7:30am to 5:30pm and she still plans to be here again tomorrow. I am so proud of them. All glory to God! He did this.

Side note: I am enjoying my time away and I am learning so much about how to teach my children classically. I am more and more excited about this coming school year. It is delightful to let go and trust God that all is well. I thought to call home a few times to check on the children and to remind them about what to do, but I am so glad I resisted the temptation. It was their opportunity to shine! They DID!

Praise be to God, our Heavenly Father, for His great love for us. It is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good purposes, for we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. We will be able to do God's work because He is preparing us to do the work. We can not boast in ourselves. It is by grace we have been saved, through faith, and it is a gift from God, bought and paid for by the blood of Christ! I can now say with confidence that Christ lives in me!

June 16, 2011

Quiet Time

What an amazing blessing!!! I am ever amazed at what God is doing in my life and in the life of my family. I have started reading through the Bible and have been working to hide God's Word in my heart by memorizing scripture using the Say and Do method. I am working my way through a Bible study at my own pace and I am really taking it in, stopping to ponder, reflect, and apply what I am learning to my everyday life. I am talking with God every morning and throughout the day about anything and everything. I ask Him questions. I tell Him what I am thinking. I talk to God as if He is right there next to me, and He IS. He is real. He is there. I can't see Him or hear His voice, but He answers me. I read His Word, fully expecting Him to speak to me through His Word. He does. Jeremiah 33:3 says, "Ask me and I will tell you great and unsearchable things that you have never known."

Seek God by reading His Word, talk to Him about everything, and ask Him to teach you great and unsearchable things that you have never known. HE WILL! Seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.


Chapter 4:20-23 - "My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and HEALTH TO A MAN'S WHOLE BODY. Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life."

* My Amazing God

Of course, He's amazing! God has been teaching me so much through His Word and then He keeps confirming the truth of what I am learning. He teaches me something and when I am sure that I know what I know, someone else tells me what I just learned so that I am constantly saying to my children, "That is exactly what I was just telling you about."

It is good for them (and me) to see that God has revealed the same things to others who have also sought out His wisdom. It only makes sense. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. A new revalation for me is only new to me. It makes sense that He would reveal the same things to others.

This morning I wanted to read a short bit of scripture to ponder as I got dressed and ready for my homeschool conference. I read the first part of Ephesians 2 about how we once lived as slaves to sin and while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. It is by grace that we we have been saved, through faith, and it is the gift of God so that no one can boast. By divine decree, the coordinator of our conference began the day with a short devotional based on Ephesians 2:3-5.

During the conference, I was filled with such joy to discover that what the Lord has been teaching me lines up perfectly with the program we are about to commence. He has been preparing us for this. The purpose of Classical Conversations is to know God and to make him known. I have been praying for my children to be mighty warriors in God's kingdom. They will be!

Also, the theme of love keeps coming up again and again, in the Word, of course, and also in other places, like the Son-Rise Program for healing autism, our church during a time of transition, Classical Conversations conference, and in conversations with others. Love is healing me. Love is healing my kids. When they tantrum or cry or whatever, we now respond in love (God has made this possible in me) and peace comes. Still, no eczema. Still doing well.

I truly believe that because I have been set free from guilt, shame, fear, anger, and all kinds of negativity, that my body is healing very fast and is tolerating and accepting all kinds of new foods. I truly believe that because I am now filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control and that I am loving and accepting my children for who they are and where they are and am not placing demands on them to be more than who they are, that they are experiencing freedom from guilt, shame, fear, anger, and all kinds of negativity and, therefore, they are healing very fast and are tolerating and accepting all kinds of new foods. Also, we are not afraid to try new food anymore. We eat all of our food with thanksgiving and rejoice that it is food we can eat.

I am eating nuts and fruit and I am no longer very bloated. Truly, the battle is the Lord's. If he can take 300 men and defeat thousands upon thousands of Israel's enemies, then he can take whatever good gut bugs I have managed to put in my body and multiply them. He will balance everything out. I'm only guessing at what I need. He knows exactly what I need.

Psalm 103 - Praise the Lord, oh my soul! Praise His holy name! Praise the Lord, oh my soul, and forget not all His benefits, who forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. Who redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and mercy.

He has redeemed my life from the pit! I rejoice in the trials He has ordained for me because through it He has been refining me and has been making me more beautiful. Jesus is IN me. Really! He really IS in me. Thank You, my Lord!

June 14, 2011

Still No Eczema

We added mushrooms yesterday. Still no eczema. They had some nut butter with honey yesterday. Everyone had a few grapes today. Everyone is just fine.

I have been eating nuts, apples, grapes, strawberries and more, in addition to soups, broths, salads, and ferments. I am on top of the world. I am so full of gratitude towards my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for the change He has brought about in me and in our whole family!

My children listen better. They rarely interrupt anymore. They have stopped commenting on everything all day long. They are figuring out what it is that they want or need and they are finding the words to ask for it, instead of whining, complaining, or throwing a tantrum. When those behaviors do happen, they cease when the children are reminded to think about what it is that they want or need and ask with nice words. They are working cheerfully and quietly. They are working with each other instead of against each other. They have learned to yield to those who are older. (and on and on and on)

OK, my two older boys (4&12) are having a few issues yesterday and today, but we have figured out that they are reacting to their cousin (cologne? deodorant? detergent?). They have been hanging out together in a small bedroom all afternoon for the last three days. MKS had to change his bedsheets because there was such a strong scent in them. He has been anxious and teary. Little CKS, is getting rough red cheeks and his eye-contact is now very minimal. He has been complaining of headaches. He is putting everything in his mouth and has been licking stuff. He has grabbed at my face during prayer for the past two nights. (and on and on) He has not done these things for at least a month or more, and nothing like what he is doing today. He is emotionally reactive, too, but he is a good little boy and he listens when we remind him to think and ask. He tries hard to look at us when we ask him to, but you can tell it is difficult. These are definitely reactions to the scent. We have experienced this before. Bathroom air fresheners, insecticides, fabric softeners, and other scented products do cause regression in our little boy and reactions in all of us. I am thankful that there are only two more days for the cousins to play together. I'm glad they get to have a good relationship with each other and spend this time together, but...

Oh! This makes me think...we ought to let our babysitter know that she will have a better time of it if she skips the deodorant and perfume this weekend. Hmm. Never would have thought of that.

* Victory in Jesus!

Today I nearly melted down on two occasions because I have a lot to do in the next three days to prepare for a homeschool conference that I am going to this weekend. My husband is going out of town this weekend. We have a babysitter coming to watch the kids.

Unexpectedly, my sister's kids came to visit for the week and so we have to get the kids together. Stress for me. My husband is sick, fever included. Stress for me. He's home instead of at work. I thrive on routine, so this is somewhat stressful for me to have all of these unexpected things come up. Also, my oldest daughter has not been feeling well and is unable to help as much as she normally would. I increased my probiotic on Sunday. I have been eating all kinds of new food. These things would have caused me stress in the past.

Today I handled things differently. Because of what God is doing in my heart, I did things differently. I prayed. I explained my fears to my children, making sure they understood that I was not blaming them for my anxiety and asked them for help to figure out how to get it all done. We came up with some great ideas and everyone was agreeable to do what had to be done.

They suggested that we push back the time the cousins would come over to play, in order to give us more time to finish everything before they got here. They suggested that we let KRS take a detox bath and just rest until she felt ready to come and help, if at all. MKS and I would run around super fast trying to do everything ourselves. We prayed together about the day, thanking God for helping us to work things out together in love.

Other things came up, too, but we worked through it all with respect and love. We DID get it ALL done before the cousins arrived. I was able to go to a meeting I had in the evening. My older children put my younger children to bed and put themselves to bed, while their daddy rested in the back. They did not ask for his help. They did it! They did it all by themselves. What great kids! We have come such a long way!!!

Also, we continue to eat the food we added in, including fruit and honey. No eczema! None! Not on anyone! Praise the Lord!

God IS healing us!!! He is healing us spiritually and the physical healing is following. Hate hurts! Love heals!

What is the greatest commandment? To love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus, my faith in You has grown through all of this and I am truly filled with the Spirit, so that I truly love others. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I have to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects. It always trusts. It always hopes. It always perseveres. Love never fails.

These three remain: faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.

Jesus fulfilled the law and gave us a new commandment to love one another. We are to love each other the way that He loves us. If we love Jesus, then we will follow His commands. Whoever follows His commands loves Jesus. His command is to love.

When I became anxious and afraid today, I responded in love. It is God who works in me to will and to act according to His good purposes. I responded in love. Victory in Jesus!

June 11, 2011

Beautiful Clear Skin

Today we had watermelon for snack. Yum! So refreshing on a hot summer day in Texas to be eating watermelon. I also gave some of the kids some raw local honey with the honeycomb from a local farmer. Delicious! Skin is clear. Behavior is fine. Attitudes are cheerful! Yeast is under control!

We had cauliflower and broccoli again today. It is such a treat to have all of these foods after going without for so long. We feel like we are having a feast at every meal. We have also been making salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, carrot, and avocado. We mix in some sauerkraut with a little sauerkraut juice as our dressing. It is delightful.

May all who read this post find the same kind of success in their own homes and may they be as delighted as we are to be enjoying the bounty of what God has made for our pleasure and for our nourishment. Let it be so.

June 10, 2011

* No eczema and No other reactions

In the last two weeks we have added tomatoes in for everyone. We had cucumbers once. We are eating broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, brussel sprouts, and asparagus. We've been making soups with bone broths. We are cooking with garlic.

I have been giving the little boys grapes and even apple. Yesterday, I gave my daughter, KES, two bites of apple and a bit of honey. NO eczema! Today, I gave her a few grapes and a bit of honey (not together). NO eczema!!!

My four year old is not having any problems either. His eye-contact is hit or miss, but it is there at least some of the time every day. He smiles a lot. He talks constantly. He plays make-believe. He is very interactive. He begins to freak out over something not being the way he expected or wanted it to be, but he responds well when reminded to stop, think, and use nice words. My actual words with him and his two year old brother are, "Think about what you want or need and ask for it with nice words." He can do this now. He is not sensory seeking. His rashes are gone, except for one in his diaper area because he still wets the bed.

OK, bedwetting is still an issue for us and it has gotten a little worse since we added in all of these new foods, but I believe it will be resolved very soon.

God IS healing us! GAPS helps. Staying away from toxins as much as possible helps. The allergy treatment helped. The drops for parasites might be helping. All of these things help, but it IS God who is healing us.

Did I mention that I have been increasing my Bio-Kult by a half capsule every 2-4 days? I am not getting angry or rigid. I started my last cycle right at 28 days and was so surprised. I had no PMS symptoms at all. I was expecting to start 4 days late, as usual. I'm eating all of the food I mentioned above an I am not having any discernible reaction. God IS healing us!

Here is what is different: My older three children and I get up early every morning and read the Bible and talk to God about everything. It is a great way to start the day, connecting with the Creator of Everything! He has been changing us from the inside out. He is changing our hearts. My oldest girl (10) told me that she thought that God was healing our spirits and as a result He is healing our bodies. I believe that she is exactly right. I was thinking the same thing. Ever since we have made it a priority to Seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness, things have been changing for us. God is very real and ever present in our lives. He really does speak to us through His Word. He really does answer our prayers. His Word really is the Truth. Jesus gave us a new commandment to love one another. We have been learning how to love, to truly love one another.

To confirm that I was on the right track, I found out about the Son-Rise Program for healing children with autism. Some of the key principles of the program are joining the child, loving and accepting them for who they are right now, and focusing on connecting and building relationships. This is basically what I was beginning to do with my own children. As a result, I now have their hearts. I truly love them and they truly love me. My younger daughter (7) told me yesterday morning that she was glad that God made me to be her mother and that she loved me very much. She has been helping very cheerfully with chores and tells me that she finally feels like a seven year old, which tells me that she feels proud of herself for willingly choosing to do big kid stuff. I knew the moment she told me how much she loved me that she was going to be able to eat some fruit or honey. I just knew it!

Our negative thoughts create a whole cascade of chemical reactions in our physical bodies that are detrimental to our health. Feelings of guilt, shame, fear, anger, hatred, bitterness, or any negative thoughts are detrimental to our physical health. When we get nervous, we get butterflies in our stomachs. When we get angry, we feel hot. When we are hurt and feeling sad or depressed we feel shaky or cold. When we are stressed, we get tense or we get a headache. Negative thoughts or feelings have a negative effect on our physical health. God knows this. He created us!

As we have been reading God's Word and memorizing scripture (hiding God's Word in our hearts) and as we have been talking it over with each other and with God, He has been making His thoughts our thoughts and He has been making His ways our ways. We have made a game out of trying to say everything in the positive. We strive to say only what will bless others. We think about things that are lovely, noble, and right. We praise God and we thank Him for everything. We have stopped looking at both sides of the coin. We have stopped playing the devil's advocate about everything. We have stopped making thoughtless comments all day long. We have started to look for ways to bless each other with our words and with our actions. We respond to each other in love and try to understand each other. Oh, how we have been changed.

It is because God has set us free from guilt, shame, anger, frustration, and negativity in general that we are really beginning to heal. God led us to GAPS. GAPS has been a real help to us and we are still following GAPS. God has used this journey to teach us many things and to bring us back to Him. By believing in Jesus and obeying Him by loving each other, as well as others who are difficult to love, we are being healed. Jesus said many times when he healed people that it was their faith that healed them. I thought I had faith, and I did, but it needed to grow. Now, what I thought I believed, what I wanted to believe, I truly do believe!

I am thankful for everything that we have been through and I gladly take whatever is to come because God knows what He is doing. He has it all in hand. He is good and He is good all the time. He has a plan for us and he plans to give us a hope and a future. I rejoice in my trials, even the trials of these past few years, because my faith has been proven genuine and will bring praise glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

May it be so for all who hear our story that they, too, will rejoice in their own trials and find that they, too, have a genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that will bring Him praise, glory and honor, when He is revealed. Our God reigns!

June 8, 2011

Remembering People

I have had several requests to share what I have learned about learning people's names and remembering important things about them so that when we meet again I can feel confident speaking knowledgeably with them.

I used to forget the names of people I knew that I knew. I would see people week after week at church and be very familiar with their faces, but I would not know their names or remember what has been going on in their lives. This made me very nervous and uncomfortable speaking with them, for I might say something very inappropriate. What if their mother had recently passed and everyone in the church knew this, but I forgot and somehow started talking about how wonderful it is to have my mother so close to be able to spend time with my children? I lived in constant fear of saying the wrong thing. I worried I would call someone by the wrong name and I often did. A number of years back, I just decided to admit my weakness to people and ask them their names over and over again, but it is hard to swallow one's pride so regularly. However, most people in turn confess to me that they also struggle with the same thing.

One thing I would do to avoid feeling embarrassed for not knowing much about someone was to keep talking about things I was familiar with. I would listen for things I could connect with and join in and share on those points, so I wasn't really listening to learn, rather I was listening to connect.

Now I use my mouth and my body to help me remember people's names and remember some of what they tell me. I really listen to what people tell me and I repeat back much of what they tell me. When someone tells me their name, I say their name and I ask them how they spell it. I ask them what their last name is. I say their whole name out loud and ask if I pronounced it correctly. I might tell them what a beautiful name they have and ask how they got such an unusual name or what ethnicity is their name. I ask where they moved from or where they were born or how they came to be in Houston. I confirm what they tell me, which gives me an opportunity to say out loud the very same information I just heard so it has a second opportunity to stick.

When listening only, you have put the information into your mind only once and using only your ears. When repeating what someone has told you, you are using two to four modalities to imprint it into your mind. I say it with my mouth and hear my own voice with my ears. That's two. Often when I talk, I will use my hands and of course my eyes see the other person's face and also what my hand's are doing. I might point to the person or shake their hand when I repeat their name back to them. It all looks and feels natural and the other person is blessed because, admit it, we all love it when someone else takes a special interest in us and really listens to what we have to say. When I repeat something back to someone and confirm what they have just told me, they know that I am really listening and that I really care. It works out great for everyone because I remember what I need to remember and the other person knows that I care enough to get it right.

So here's the deal. I used to listen passively, taking in all manner of information using only my ears while panicking on the inside because I knew I would never remember much, if anything. I listened selfishly, looking for things I could connect with so I could talk about things I felt comfortable talking about, all the while worrying about what the other person thought of me. Now I listen actively, purposing to take in information. I ask lots of questions and confirm the answers in order to make lots of connections in my mind, all the while looking at the face of the one I am talking with. I do not worry what the other person is thinking of me because we are not talking about me and I know that the person will think well of me because I took an interest in them. Pretty cool deal!

Update: The day after I posted this, I was listening to a seminar (about listening being the most important communication skill) by Jeff Meyers and interestingly enough he confirmed that nearly all of what I have learned on my own is true for others as well. We differed on at least one point, plus he knew stuff I had not yet figured out for myself. He said to ask "infrequent" questions. I wrote that I ask lots of questions. I thought I should clarify that I ask lots of questions at the beginning of the conversation to help me remember names and a few details about the individual, but after the initial introduction it is mostly listening. I do interact by confirming that I have heard things correctly and by checking on the meaning of what they are saying. Paraphrasing what someone has said helps the other person to be confident that you heard and understood what they have said, gives them an opportunity to clarify anything that was not understood correctly, and helps you to stay engaged in the conversation, which in turn helps you to remember the conversation.

June 7, 2011

Say and Do

As a homeschooling mama, I want to make the most of every moment. As a mom of at least one child who could not seem to remember directions long enough to carry out the task. Actually, he could not carry out the task because he did not process what he heard correctly. Diet has helped some, but Say and Do, together with diet, has worked very successfully to get information to stick and be useful.

I learned about it from a language arts curriculum I bought for my kids. I could not make the curriculum work for us, but the concept of using four modalities at the same time to imprint information into your brain has been life changing. My oldest could not do it at first, but now he uses it for everything and it makes such a difference.

It works like this: You say what you are doing as you do it in order to learn new information. As you SAY it, you HEAR it. As you DO it, you SEE what you are doing. Say, hear, do, see.

Example: My son could not remember how many days there are in one year after much repetition in his math curriculum. After one ten minute practice with Say and Do, he has never forgotten it. I asked him the question, "How many days are there in one year?" and he had to answer in a complete sentence, "There are 365 days in one year." while doing something with his body to help him remember what he was saying. He could write 365 days in the air, sign for the word day, and hold up one finger, while speaking the sentence. He resisted, but he did it, and he has never forgotten it.

Example: Everytime my little kids go to the bathroom, I sing (in a fun and lively way) "I gotta flush the potty and wash my hands with soap. I gotta flush the potty and wash my hands with soap." They sing it with me as they do it. It imprints the message into their minds so that every time they go to the bathroom the song pops into their minds and the remember what they need to do.

Example: One of my children had troubles remembering not to talk about private things outside of the immediate family. This child might share some embarrassing private bodily issue, like another sibling's bedwetting or details about a rash in some inconvenient place, with others. We purposed to put the statement in the positive and practice it and review it many times so that when the situation arrives where one might be tempted to share such things it will pop into our minds that, "Speaking publicly about private things is always inappropriate." We make our fingers move from our mouths out toward others, we subtly indicate private places, and we give two thumbs down while we practice or review the statement at home. It has indeed helped my children to think first before sharing private matters with others. When little ones rush on with their thoughts, I can stop them by simply calling their name, making my fingers move out from my mouth, and giving one or two thumbs down, depending on how many hands I have free. It is very helpful to reign in all of the inappropriate talk that used to rush on like a runaway horse.

Example: My oldest uses Say and Do to memorize formulas and definitions of technical terms for math and language arts. He can easily tell you the definitions of parts of speech and formulas for working out various math equations. This child could not remember to use capital letters to begin sentences and names. Now he has no issues remembering such things.

It is important to use the exact same words and actions every time you practice and review any information you are trying to learn and imprint in your mind. It is important to Do something while you Say it.

My oldest had much trouble at first. He could not repeat a sentence exactly as I said it and he could not coordinate his body to do something at the same time. He would get very frustrated with me. He would try to say the same thing, but with slightly different words each time. It did not imprint in his mind. He could not remember it the next day or even a few hours later. It actually took several years to convince him that this method worked, because, even though he could remember the things I made him learn using the Say and Do method, he refused to be exact in his wording and actions on other things and therefore could not remember stuff.

When I tell my children something, I now expect them to give me a positive response using the Say and Do method. They do not have to like what I am saying or agree with what I am saying, but they must let me know that they heard and understand what I have told them. If I tell them that they need to remember to put their shoes away in the shoe cubbies when they come into the house, then they say something like, "I understand that you want me to remember to put my shoes in the shoe cubby when I come in from outside." or "Right. I need to put my shoes in the cubby when I come in." or "OK, I will put my shoes in the cubby when I come into the house." If they continue to forget the request, I help them form a positive sentence with actions and we practice it. It might be something like, "When I come into the house, I put my shoes into the cubby." I might have them make a roof shape with their two hands then point to their shoes.

We are having fun with it now, trying to say everything in a positive statement, say everything with as few words as possible, and come up with a few simple actions to help us remember the words.

These are some positive changes that have helped our family to better communicate with one another and to better remember the things we learn from one another so that we get along more peaceably with one another.

My oldest is actually excited about starting a new, more challenging curriculum next fall, because he now knows that he can learn and organize information in a meaningful way and retrieve the information when it is needed, instead of just randomly remembering information when something triggers it and feeling compelled to share it right then and there because he might not remember it when he wants to share it later. Pretty cool stuff!!! I, too, can learn and organize information in a meaningful way and retrieve the information when it is needed. I am remembering the names of people I meet along with interesting or important information about them that will help me to feel comfortable and knowledgeable when we meet again. Very cool! I may share the specifics of my methods in a later post.

Thank You, Lord, for all of the ways that You are growing us and changing us to be more effective witnesses for Your glory. Amen!

June 5, 2011


Things are changing around here. Lots of healing has taken place, yet we have a ways to go. It is still a delicate balance, but it IS wonderful to be in a place where we can make some changes.

I am trying to simplify things and streamline things. I am trying to establish healthy routines to make life easier. There are certain things that have to be done everyday, like it or not. I try to get those things done as early in the day as possible. Wet bedding gets first priority everyday, then the regular laundry. Juicing and lunch prep gets priority, then food prep for dinner and thinking ahead for meals later in the week. On GAPS, I have to plan at least a day or two ahead in order to have meat thawed in time or veggies cut and prepared well in advance so that I can just throw things together at meal time.

One wonderful change we have made is establishing a set bedtime, a set wake time, and a set time in the morning to read the Bible and pray. We are wanting to Seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness in our lives. Establishing a bedtime has always been difficult because of leg cramps, die-off, rashes, sensory issues, trouble settling, emotional meltdowns, and on my part, just being too tired at the end of the day to pull it all together and make it happen. I have been praying about it, and God, who is very real and ever present in our lives, has been working things out so that it is all falling into place for us. Bonus: I have time to think at the end of the day and time to write in my blog. Yay!!!

I am so enjoying my time spent with God in the morning. Even if I sleep horribly or feel awful when I wake, I am motivated to get up because I do not want to miss spending time with my Lord and my Savior everyday. He is changing me. He is changing my family. I love what He is doing in our lives. Now, my older three children are also getting up early to spend time with God, reading their Bibles and talking to Him as they experience and appreciate His creation. We go outside into our backyard, or front yard, to watch the birds and check on the garden and such. We swing on the swing. We walk about. We garden. We talk to God. It is wonderful!

We do not all go out at the same time. My ten year old and I go out between 6 and 6:30 in the morning. My oldest gets up to read for fun. He keeps his ears open for the little ones, in case they wake up crying as they sometimes do. At 7:15am, my ten year old goes in to get started with chores and to help the little ones get dressed and such, while my six year old joins me outside for her quiet time. We do not talk to each other. We read, pray, think, and garden. At 7:40, I tell her that quiet time is over and we talk and garden together. This is our special time together everyday. My oldest has his quiet time from 7-7:45 in the morning. Then, he starts in on morning chores. My six year old and I go in at 8:00 to get started on morning chores.

Interestingly, we are all motivated to get up in order to have this time with God. Before, I was dragging tired and sick kids from their beds. As a result, they are motivated to go to bed on time so that they will be able to get up in the morning and participate in this special time of communion with God.

So now, my four youngest kids go to bed between 7-7:30pm and my oldest goes to bed between 8-8:30pm. Amazing! Like I said earlier, God, who is very real and ever present in our lives, has been working it all out so that everything is falling into place.

I should also mention that my girls are more willing to go to bed knowing that they will have some guaranteed time with me early the next day, so they are not stalling on bedtime hoping for a little one on one time with Mommy. KES and I garden together in the morning and KRS and I read together in the morning as soon as all of the morning chores are done.

God is healing our minds and our spirits. He is providing sleep, which is so helpful to healing. He is bringing peace. He is bringing quiet, too. We are learning to control our tongues. We are learning to work quietly and cheerfully in the mornings until everything is done. We are learning to work together as a team. We are learning to serve one another.

Quotes you will hear often in my house are as follows:

"Teamwork! It's a beautiful thing!"
"Everyone working until everything is done!"
"In the morning, say only a cheerful 'Good morning!' and do your work quietly, cheerfully, and quickly, yielding to those who are older than you."

The reason I have time to blog is because the children are going to bed so early and all together at the same time, so I sit in the bedroom with the middle three and blog until they fall asleep. Sometimes, like tonight, I stay a little longer. They were all asleep by 8 or so, but I wanted to finish my thoughts. I have time to do this. It used to be that we would still be trying to get kids settled at this time. Ooo, I love it!

This blog is for me to document my GAPS journey and is meant to be a blessing to all who read it. May you be blessed by what God is doing in my life and may He bless your lives richly, too, as you Seek First His Kingdom and His Righteousness.

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for the trials that have drawn us ever closer to You. You are answering my prayer to make my children Mighty Warriors in Your Kingdom! They are learning to serve, give, love, and trust. You have done, and continue to do, what I could never have done on my own. You, and You alone, are working in us to will and to act according to Your good purposes. You have a plan for us, to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future. You are good and You are good all the time, working all things together for the good of those who love You. Those who obey your commands are the ones who love You. Jesus gave us a new command to love one another. We can rejoice in the trials we face, knowing that these have come so that our faith, which is of greater worth than gold, will be proved genuine and bring praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Heavenly Father, thank You for refining us and for making us more and more like You by skimming off the yucky stuff little by little as it comes to the surface. You are making us more and more beautiful. Continue to strengthen our faith that we might bring You praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Amen.

June 4, 2011

Sunday School

It is only recently (a few months ago) that we have been able to make it to church on time consistently. We figured out how to work it out so that I could help lead the music. My dear husband takes charge of all five kids on Sunday mornings. We send the oldest into the nursery with the youngest to look after him and keep him from eating any illegals. We bring the other three into church with us. They leave for children's church just before the sermon. We send the ten year old with the 4yo and 7yo to help out and make sure they don't get any snacks or get into markers or paints.

So much healing has taken place in the past 21 months that little CKS, who used to be so rigid and unhappy that small things would set off huge tantrums, and little KES, who used to throw such angry hateful fits, are often complimented as being the best listeners and the most well behaved children in the class. It brings my heart such joy to hear these things, knowing from where we have come.

Starting tomorrow, Sunday, June 5, my husband is going to teach the 2's and 3's Sunday school class for 3 months. Our littlest one will be in his class. Our 4 year old is actually going to go to his own Sunday school class. He will have the same teacher from week to week and there are no snacks in his class. Our older children have been going to Sunday school for several months now. We are finally to a point now where we are stepping out and trusting that our children will be safe under someone else's care for a time. It feels wonderful to be in this place. Thank you, Jesus, for taking away the fear.

Our little CKS is so VERY excited about going to Sunday school every week. It is his very first class ever. He went last week for the first time and loved it. He has been talking about it all week. I am very pleased that he is ready for this step. Praise God!

Just a note to add about snacks at church: We take some boiled chicken or pizza eggs for our kids to snack on between SS and Worship while everyone else is munching on donuts and fake lemonade. My kids love it! (Pizza eggs are just eggs cooked in a small round skillet and cut into fourths or sixths to look like pizza slices.)

We are definitely different. We have more kids than most. We eat funny. We homeschool. We do things together as a family, rather than running everyone around in all different directions. We are definitely different, but we don't mind anymore.

We are right where God wants us to be. He is in control of all things and He "works all things together for the good of those who love Him and for whom He has called according to His good purposes". I must remember always that, "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do." and "It is God who works in us to will and to act according to His good purposes." (can't remember references at the moment) God's people do look different. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. When we do things God's way, we will definitely look different. I am now quite accustomed to being different, so I am no longer afraid to follow God and do things His way. Isn't God awesome?

June 3, 2011

More Homemade Therapy

SSS and KES are sick with congestion, runny nose, croupy cough, ear ache, etc. MKS fell and hurt himself yesterday. He skipped youth group. Both girls have had headaches for the last few days. They even skipped art class last night, which they never want to miss.

Did we pick up a bug that's going around or is this a healing crisis?

Anyway, CKS is making excellent eye-contact and his thinking is complex and wonderful. His cheeks are clear and smooth. He's eating with a fork and spoon again. He is still somewhat reactive emotionally and still not settling well at night. So which is better? Lack of eye-contact and delayed echolalea, but handles upset well and goes to sleep when I put him to bed? OR...Great eye-contact, above level cognitive thinking, but sensory seeking all day, emotionally reactive, and stays awake for over an hour after bedtime just talking, wiggling, thinking, etc. ? I think I will take the latter, even though it can be very trying. I can't help but see this as a good sign. Some of these behaviors are difficult to deal with, but You know that healing is taking place when the mind is growing and developing on or above level. I love it!

So we continue to swing on the rope swing and roll each other up in blankets. Today we did pony rides (I was the pony). We also just tackled each other and rolled around on the floor together. I'm sure the smiles and the laughter are helping to speed our recovery. We DO smile and laugh a lot more these days.

At bedtime, I hugged and rubbed CKS all over before kissing him good night. He is still awake nearly two hours after putting him to bed. He can't stop wiggling. His leg hurts him. I put a hot towel over him. I pray he will fall asleep soon.

Homemade Therapy

So we have been having a mess of reactions. They are all over the place, coming and going, and I can't figure out what's causing what. That's because of me. When I react, I go crazy and throw in a bunch of stuff to muddy the waters. Is it the homeopathic drops? Bone broth? Cauliflower? Broccoli? Is it a healing crisis? Is it a reaction? Oh, I wish I knew, but here we are and here's what's what.

SSS (2) has been fussy and has been wanting Mommy all day everyday as of late. CKS (4) has been sensory seeking, anxious (quick to panic and throw a fit), and his eye-contact has slipped a bit. KES (7) has been losing control of her temper and has been screaming at her siblings and has even lost it with her Daddy and I a few times. KRS (10) has been edgy and anxious. MKS (12) has been emotionally reactive, too, and has found it difficult to think and remember his responsibilities. These are a few of the typical reactions for my children.

We can not afford time or money to do outside therapies for any of our kids, so I trust in God to lead me to do what is good for each child and I have been praying a lot this week. I remembered that early on in intro, whenever I experienced die-off, my nurseling would become agitated and would not settle down to sleep. I eventually discovered that scratching him all over and vigorously rubbing his arms, legs, and back right before laying him down would settle him. My older daughter sometimes has the need to push her body against something to settle her mind. I sometimes need to wiggle, scratch, jump, stretch, etc. to feel settled.

I had researched some about sensory integration and learned about dry brushing, compressions, and sensory diet, which is a diet if sensory stimulating activities spaced throughout the day. Can't afford the therapy. No time to become an expert through research. I look at God's world and see that if we were not living in an air-conditioned house full of books and videos, we would be outside feeling the breeze, hearing the birds and the rustling leaves, feeling the crunch of the dry and thirsty grass under my feet, and smelling the fresh earthy outdoor air. Also, we would be pushing, pulling, climbing, and just moving in all ways as we work the earth.

So, I figure that we, my little ones especially, would benefit from lots of sensory input. We started compressions and dry-brushing a few days ago. We started rolling the kids up in blankets like a burrito. We have a little exercise trampoline in the living room. We have a swing set, slides, and two rope swings in the back yard. We also have me, Mommy. Today, I made a point to carry my little one a lot. I made a point to touch, tickle, hug, squeeze, and dangle my littlest ones often throughout the day. We rolled over the big ball and squished each other and bounced with each other. We smiled and laughed a lot. We read books. We played on the swings. We stomped around like bears. We pushed laundry baskets. We cut veggies (squash) with knives (toddler knives). We peeled veggies. We pulled weeds. We jumped rope (the older kids).

It's only been a day, so I do not know if it is related, but they did settle better at bedtime. Also, at dinner, I noticed CKS staring right in my eyes as he talked to me AND he had clean hands and a clean face after dinner. Related? We also did compressions. I'm going to keep it up and see how it helps all of us. I'll report back later.