All posts by Juggler

Heat Stroke

I’ve only killed a few things in my life and unless they were an insect, it was always an accident.

When I was about 10 years old I broke a rabbit’s neck when the cage door slipped out of my hand as it was getting into the cage.

When I was 17 years old a deer ran in front of my car in a kamikaze move that ended its life.  I’m still scarred by the guy who drove by, came to a screeching halt, turned around, and asked me if he could take the carcass and eat it.

Then, there was my innocent hamster.

I lived off-campus my sophomore year of college.  It was a big time for me, I had a kitchen, living room and bathroom all to myself.  And I bought a hamster.

The hamster had a ball and a travel case.  It bit me sometimes but generally we got along well.

And then the year ended.  I had to travel four hours from college to my home and stop midway in the desert for a meeting.

I took the hamster inside the meeting with me in its travel case.  It behaved well, no one was bitten, our relationship broadened to include this new experience.

After my meeting I went with my parents to dinner, assumed the desert heat had cooled enough to leave the hamster in the car (rodents not usually being well-liked in restaurants… except in the movie Ratatouille) and came out 45 minutes later to a scene of desperation.

There was my hamster, sprawled out across the floor of his carrying cage, comatose, with spit coming down from his mouth, across his jowls and to his shoulders.

I howled.  My parents howled.  My dad, who has always been great with animal husbandry, grabbed the hamster, told me to turn the car air conditioning on high, and doused the poor little brown puff-ball with the contents of a 16 oz. bottle of water.

We held the wet hamster in front of the air conditioning vent and watched anxiously.

He stirred.  His eyes opened.  He licked the water of his whiskers.

We rejoiced!

After watching for a few more minutes we decided he’d recovered enough for us to continue our journey home.  My mom volunteered to sit in the passenger’s seat of my car and hold my ailing hamster while my dad drove the trusty Dodge Ram diesel home.

The diesel engine started with a roar and I closed the door on my mom.  Then, over the growl of the diesel engine, I heard a screech and saw a peach-colored mass fly from the front seat of my car to hit the backseat window with a splat.

I found the hamster underneath the seat.

It bit my mom.  So she flung him.  (Is “flung” a word?)

There was much blood.

The caregiver pact of trust between my hamster and my mother was broken.

Hamster spent the rest of the journey home on the floorboard of the front seat, staggering in circles between the soles of my mom’s Teva’s.

Hamster lived for three days after his heat stroke, but he was never the same.  I think he lost function of one side of his body.  If he hadn’t been a hamster we would have thought he was the town drunk the way he lurched from place to place.

It was a sad time.

Since then I’ve killed a raccoon with my car, bringing my dead animal count to four.  I hope to never kill another animal because, you know, life is precious, isn’t it?

Do you feel guilty for any animals you’ve accidentally killed?

Stumble It!

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One Time I Lost My Mind

This morning I saw a bug.  It was dead and, after Tres got to it, missing one leg.  Whoops.

 

It reminded me of how psychotic I got about a bug right before Tres was born.

 

How to Kill A Bug (originally written March 4, 2010)

 

There’s not a lot that I know about my maternal grandfather. He died before I was born, and, though I know he was an attorney and judge with a deep desire to be a builder and that I have his cheekbones, there’s not a lot of substance to fill in the gaps of my grandfather’s personality.

 

What I do know is that sometime in the gap between WWI and WWII my grandfather was an elementary schooler in Texas and my great-grandparents found him running home from school one day at top speed and in a state of panic.

 

When they asked him what was wrong, he admitted that he had run home from school because he “was afraid the germs were going to get him.”

 

Though we are generations removed from one another, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I have spent the last week in a state of stress because I’m afraid the scabies are going to get us.

 

I heard there was an outbreak of scabies at the girl’s school last Thursday. I immediately did internet searches about scabies and began to disinfect my house to the best of my ability. On Friday I discovered that, while it wasn’t the little classmate Uno had accused because her voice sounded funny, it was her closest classmate – the one that she is “baby doll buddies” with. They share dolls, doll pacifiers, and convoluted games of house and make-believe on a minute-by-minute basis throughout each day of school.

 

Criminey.

 

That bit of information started another round of disinfecting.  (May I remind you I am 33 weeks pregnant and large as a Beluga Whale?)

 

I washed every article of clothing and bedding in our house. I used several cans of Lysol spray on all hard surfaces. On Saturday morning, exhausted and stressed out to the max, I called my parents and became a sobbing heap, telling them that I “didn’t think I was going to make it through this scabies thing!”

 

I called the pediatrician and asked if we could be treated. The doctor on call on Saturday said we had to have a rash to treat.

 

On Sunday night we discovered a small red mark that may or may not have been a rash on Dos’s hand. On Monday morning, while yet another load of laundry was rotating in scalding water (I forced Lizard to turn up the heat on our water heater!) I went to the pediatrician’s office. Our regular physician told me that he didn’t know for sure if her rash was scabies but based on the circumstances, he was willing to treat us all for it.

 

I was happy. The scabies germ would die.

 

But then… I was distraught. How would I kill it all over our house without infecting ourselves again?!

 

Back to the internet I went!

 

(Be advised, you really shouldn’t Google “scabies.” It causes the concern levels to heighten dramatically.  Pregnancy hormones have nothing to do with this.)

 

I went to the Center for Disease Control website, opened and studied every single link in connection to the subject. From that knowledge I formed the plan of attack.

 

The treatment for our bodies was to lather ourselves up with a cream for 12 hours – every member of the family had to do it or it would be a completely ineffective treatment. The next challenge was to once again put every fabric-based item in our house into the laundry, clean and disinfect all hard surfaces, and keep our children from wallowing in the uncleaned areas and contaminating the clean ones in the meantime.

 

Or… Since the mites can’t survive without human contact, we could leave our house for 72 hours.

 

The eight-month pregnant, stressed-out, exhausted woman had a preference.

 

Her husband is a wise man.

 

To Dallas we went!

 

All along the way I sent myself little encouraging text messages. Things like: “Watch out, mites! I have the planning prowess of Machiavelli and you’re going down!” and “The crusty Norwegians are the ones you really have to watch out for!”

 

(This last comment makes no sense unless you’ve studied scabies like I have in the past week. Basically there are two kinds of scabies, the kind we were exposed to, which is moderately difficult to spread and then the crusted Norwegian scabies which are EXTREMELY contagious, take over people’s lives, and can be caught from airline blankets. Most of the internet reading I had done originally was on the crusted Norwegians. In light of the recent Winter Olympics I’ve been having a good time imagining the events that a “crusty Norwegian” would win or lose… Hey, I can’t claim it’s been a sane time in my life but these little imaginings have been small beams of sunlight.)

 

We prepped our children multiple times to follow the plan. Here’s how it went.

 

We stopped at a store and purchased pajamas and underwear that were in plastic packaging.

 

We checked into the hotel and went from the hallway immediately into the shower. We stripped our clothes and dumped them into a plastic bag for immediate containment. We lathered ourselves in the treatment cream, and when I say we were thorough, WE WERE THOROUGH.

 

(I discovered that while some creases in my body – say my belly button – have vanished, there are other creases that have appeared thanks to the fetus. Who knew?! I’m praying by this time next year I’ve found my abdominal muscles again.) ***Note from 7/27/11: The abdominal muscles have not returned – they’re just covered by the lard baby.  Sad day.***

 

We tiptoed into bed, touching as little as physically possible.

 

I got up in the wee hours of the morning and invaded the hotel laundry. I washed every cloth item we had with us in the hottest water the hotel could provide and then dried everything under the hottest temperature.

 

I lost my Croc slippers in this process. Apparently when you cook a pair of Croc slippers for 10 minutes in the dryer they shrink two shoe sizes. Not wanting to practice foot binding at this late age of my life, I left the poor shoes in Dallas. I’m missing them terribly.

 

After that, we asked for a complete linen change in the room and then tried to enjoy our forced 72-hour vacation.

 

Which we did, with the notable exceptions of the fights over the cell phone usage (the mite dies after 24 hours on a hard surface, 10 minutes in 120 degree or hotter temps, or 72 hours without human contact – you do the math on what that meant for our cell phones).

 

When we got home this afternoon I was so happy to be home again! I’ve already changed and washed all the bedding in the house, along with all the items that we took to Dallas. I view the house with a decent amount of suspicion, but I truly think that we’ve done everything possible to clear our family of this horror.

 

Lizard thinks that the timing couldn’t be worse – it plays into my general dislike of germs/disease/stuff as well as my nesting instincts from pregnancy. He may be right – in a conversation with our local Health Department rep I wailed, “I’m set to give birth in seven weeks! Am I bringing this baby into the world to give her a parasite?!”

 

No, no one should question my sanity. No, not at all.

 

Dear God, please let it be over.

 

We’re going to make it. Yessiree, we are!

 

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Why We Homeschool

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OK. I’ll admit it.

 

We are a homeschooling family.

 

We don’t wear matching denim jumpers and our hair in buns, although we have been known to dress the kids in matching outfits.

 

As we begin this journey, I think it’s important to identify why we would choose to homeschool, especially since in so very many ways it would be easier to send the kids off to make friends and learn from a person who has a college degree in education and love for children.

 

Two quotes have deeply influenced my ability to consider homeschooling as a viable option:

 

“We should understand that teaching our children is our delight, our joy, our opportunity. When we see spending time with them as a burden, rather than a joy, we see further evidence of how encultured we have become. Children, biblically speaking,  are a blessing from God. And we ought to seek out time with blessings from God, not plot out ways to avoid them, or hand them over to others.” – RC Sproul Jr. When You Rise Up

 

“When you face two options and each seems to please God, consider the one that displays God’s glory, power and strength. This makes room for God to reveal Himself to you and show Himself through you. Don’t be fearful about the hard road he may ask you to take… He desires to show Himself strong in you and will encourage you to do things that require trust and faith.”  – Priscilla Shirer

 

I used to make fun of homeschoolers and swear I would never, ever let my kids be socially awkward freaks who were so sheltered from the world they couldn’t function and rebelled outrageously as soon as they had an opportunity.

 

Never say never.

 

As our little ones have grown closer and closer to school-age, we became more and more anxious. Something didn’t seem right. We sent Uno to Pre-K and loved her teacher… but never felt easy with the entire system.

 

So we are trying it a different way. We’re becoming the counter-culture. Here are some of our reasons why:

 

1. We like our children and believe it’s our primary responsibility to raise them. Our children are awesome. They’re quirky and funny, smart and sassy. We genuinely like them as human beings!

 

At the moment we conceived, we put on a new hat – to be the best stewards of this gift God has given us of life. It’s our job to take care of these little ones, protect them and cultivate them so they are able to A) do the work God needs them to do B) be the people they were created to be. Yes, others in the community help, but no one has the same level of responsibility we have as parents.

 

2. We want to be the primary influencers of our children. Humans become what they spend the most time doing. The time spent in school is equivalent to a full-time job and that’s a lot of time for a little person. At home, we carefully and intentionally construct our family, employment and life to create an environment we believe is family-centered, supportive, and Godly. We want to filter the influences on our children. As parents, we have a maturity our children haven’t acquired to discern what is helpful and not helpful to their development. If we don’t stand alongside them, we are abandoning them.

 

3. We know our children. Putting a single teacher in a classroom with 20+ wiggling, goofy children is the definition of madness. Who would willingly choose that?! How can I expect my child to get individualized attention from a teacher trying to teach social skills? It’s not fair to the teacher or my child.

 

Homeschoolers typically rate 37 percentage points higher than public school students. The average homeschool 8th grade student performs four grade levels above the national average (Rudner study). At home, I can work with my kiddo one-on-one, have the time to listen to them, make certain they understand a concept before moving on, and create an environment where mistakes are gently corrected instead of mocked. I know my kid and I care most for their well-being.

 

4. Children benefit from peer interaction, but profit from adult interaction. A friend of mine told me this. Yes, the social aspect of friendship is valuable, but as much as children benefit from peer interaction, they profit from interaction with adults who have maturity and wisdom we hope they emulate. After all, fart jokes and friendship bracelets can only take you so far in the free market.

 

5. We have a support group. I was terrified to homeschool because I didn’t think I was up to the challenge. I also didn’t realize it’s not rocket science. (Think of all the teachers you’ve had in your life – don’t you think you can at least do as well as they can?) I also didn’t want the kids to “miss out” on anything significant. We discovered Classical Conversations, a program that provides a framework for learning. There are weekly meetings for peer interaction and accountability and the level of academic instruction is amazing. Once I had that help, I was in!

 

Let it be said, you can accomplish all of our goals with your child in the public school system. I once had someone tell me my hesitancy to homeschool was a lie from the pit of hell – and she meant it! Good friends have their kids in public school and they are awesome, bright kids who are impacting their peer groups in a positive way.

 

Our decision to homeschool is not a condemnation on anyone who decides not to homeschool! But we do have an accountability to do what makes sense for our family. And this is a snippet of why we feel compelled to keep the ruffians at home.

 

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

 

Here are some pieces of Scripture we’ve found helpful as we think about what family means and why we do what we do:

Psalm 127  1  EXCEPT THE Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman wakes but in vain. 2  It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil–for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep.3  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. 4  As arrows are in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.5  Happy, blessed, and fortunate is the man whose quiver is filled with them! They will not be put to shame when they speak with their adversaries [in gatherings] at the [city’s] gate.

Romans 12 2 Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Deuteronomy 6 5 Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got! 6 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you 7 and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.

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Copyright © StealingFaith.com 2010-2019 | All rights reserved

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