Lessons in the Kitchen

We homeschool. That doesn’t mean that we have just moved a classroom into our home. It means we learn at home. And there are many additional important lessons that can be learned while at home. Don’t get me wrong, we still learn the required subjects, it’s just that we can also learn by living our daily lives.

Today we have new neighbors moving in across the yard. They are moving into a house that is owned by the same landlord who owns ours, so we had a little notice about the move. I wanted to take the opportunity to teach my daughter a few things about hospitality and generosity.

Yesterday we got out our paper and rubber stamps and made welcome cards. We had fun creating together, learning that bringing a smile to someone else is fun.

Today, I decided that we should make some brownies to take over with our cards. but then I remembered something else. I have been couponing for about a year now, and one of the things I learned when I first got started was to always give back (thanks, Claire!). I also remembered what it was like for the first week or so when we moved in – difficult to find everything necessary to put a meal together. So, I combined the two ideas and decided to create a ‘meal basket.’

Diva and I got together and made some brownies. We doubled the recipe so the kids could have some later too, so I took the opportunity to reinforce some math as well. Since she is working on fractions, I asked her how much flour I would need if one recipe called for 2/3 c, then I told her that I had already added 1 c of flour and asked how much more I needed. It was fun, and I let her lick the spatula at the end!

While the brownies were baking, we made some biscuits – I forgot to take a picture of that – oops! Then we took the bottom of a cardboard box and covered it with tissue paper. We inserted two square paper plates for the bottom and began to fill it. We added spaghetti sauce, pasta, biscuits, some peach jam I made last summer, the brownies, and the cards.

While it certainly isn’t everything they’ll need, it is a good start to a home-cooked meal. I am so grateful to God for these little opportunities to model true Christian behavior to my daughter. I hope and pray that these lessons don’t get lost over time. I pray that she will fondly remember spending time in the kitchen with Mama, practicing fractions, learning baking skills, and loving thy neighbor.

Now if I can just contain her excitement as she continues to look out the window eagerly anticipating her new friend’s arrival – you see we found out they have a little girl just about her age…

This post is being linked to Titus 2sday over at Time-Warp Wife

Trust and Faith

I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.Mother Teresa

I have Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Raynauds’, and Scoliosis. Now my eye doctor thinks I may have the beginnings of Glaucoma. I am in my early forties. I was diagnosed with the scoliosis around the age of 12, so it and I have been together for a while. While I never had to have surgery for it, I did have to wear a fiberglass brace underneath my clothes – not a good look for the teenager who does not want to look pregnant! If it weren’t for the scoliosis, the doctors told me, I’d be about 2″ taller than my nearly 6′ tall frame already is. As a result I have always had lower back pain and one leg longer than the other.

At the time, these things scared me. While my family was very active in our faith, I don’t recall leaning on God to get me through my teen years. Though He was most certainly there.

Until about a year ago I had never heard of Raynauds’ or Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. It was only though visits with doctors concerning my endometriosis – for which I ended up needing a hysterectomy – that we discovered these two mysteries.

The first mystery was the Raynaud’s. Apparently, there are two versions of this and I have the milder of the two. Basically, a few of my extremities are extremely sensitive to temperature changes; cold especially. My mother always used to say, “Cold hands, warm heart” in reference to me and my hands. I never thought much about it; until the diagnosis. What cinched this little discovery was that my toes were a delightful shade of purple – or was that blue? Now, I wear lots of warm socks, slippers or shoes in the house (at all times), and I take a baby aspirin every day. While in the house, I have made a couple of other adjustments; such as, not stepping on the bathroom floor without something on my feet. I also make sure the shower is warm before I plant those tootsies on the basin. For the time being this works…

The second mystery was one I had struggled with for a long while, but had yet to realize that it was a problem. You see, my right arm would go numb while sleeping, driving, using the computer, etc. After a couple of years of this and many appointments, specialists, and tests, I was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The first mistake I made was to look it up on Wikipedia. It listed a few people who had died as a result of this condition; people who were in much better shape than I am. All that did was make me depressed and scared. New game plan…

What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome? In a nutshell, the space between my clavicle and my 1st rib is too narrow. The major artery, vein, and nerve become compressed; causing numbness, tingling, swelling, pain, and loss of fine motor skills. I am starting to drop things and it’s really getting annoying :>

My surgeon, yes that’s how doctors ultimately deal with this condition, said I was a surgical candidate for the right side. I have it on the left side as well, but it’s not at the stage of surgery just yet. She offered me an alternative of physical therapy – which I took. But I’ve learned that this is only a delay; kinda like a band-aid.

Most recently, my legs have begun to get this numbness and tingling, without explanation. In the past week, I have had a vascular test and an MRI – both negative/normal; which is both good and bad. Good for the obvious reasons; but bad because we still have no idea what’s happening.

In the middle of all this, I decided to go get a new pair of glasses. I haven’t worn glasses in about ten years, so I thought it was time to get back with the program. Little did I know, God had something else in store for me. This is where the Glaucoma comes in. The doc’s not positive yet, but he’s seeing the indications. Not what I wanted or expected to hear. I mean I just wanted to update my prescription and get a new pair of glasses.

As you can see, my plate is full – Scoliosis, Raynaud’s, Thoracic Outlet, Unexplained Numbness, and possibly, Glaucoma. I have at least two surgeries in my near future. By all earthly standards, I have reason to be scared, even a little mad. What about a little self-pity? And, as a human, I do experience these feelings. However, I choose to look at this differently…

I choose to give this plate to God; to place it at the foot of the Cross. I choose to ask for help with healing, if it is His will for me. I choose to have faith; and trust that God will use all of this for His greater purpose. It all reminds me of a song I’ve sung in church, based on Psalm 91, called “Eagle’s Wings”

And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,

Bear you on the breath of dawn,

Make you to shine like the sun,

And hold you in the palm of His hands.

I want Him to hold me in the palm of His hands. I can’t handle all this alone. But, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians).

I’m sure I’ve broken some kind of blogging rule for the length of a blog post. I am sorry this got kind of long. But this is something I’ve had on my heart and mind for the last couple of days.

Would you mind saying a prayer that I am able to maintain these choices? That I am able to leave this full plate at the feet of Jesus?