Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
This is the second letter I have written Compassion International in an effort to make sure the child I sponsor (XX-XXX-XXXX) is being cared for properly. She wrote me a letter dated 4/22/2010 stating that she had been in the hospital for a week with herpes. She is 13. I think we can safely draw the conclusion that someone has caused this child harm. I am asking someone to please look into it. If you can't for some reason, then write me back and let me know. But at least take the time to let me know if something can and is being done for her. If we truly have compassion for our neighbors, then we can't just ignore something like this. I have to try and asking Compassion to look into it is the only way I can help her. 757-xxx-xxxx firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: I received a reply today:
"Thank you for your e-mail and allowing me the pleasure of assisting you today.
I do see that we did receive an e-mail from you on June 8. A compassion representative responded on June 8 by asking you to send us a copy of the child's letter and we will be glad to research your concern further with our El Salvador country staff. I apologize if you did not receive the response. ....(contact info)...."
Condom distribution policy starting in elementary school at Provincetown, Mass.
Sex education starts early, especially if you go to elementary school in Provincetown, Mass.
That’s because the school committee has unanimously adopted a condom distribution policy beginning as early as first grade.
According to the Provincetown Banner, the program requires that students speak to a school nurse or trained counselor before receiving condoms.
The committee also directed school leaders not to honor demands from parents who object to their kids receiving protection.
Some members on the committee were wary because the program requires that students speak to school officials first.
But Beth Singer, the school’s superintendent, said she wanted to guarantee younger students get information on how to use condoms because there is no age limit.
“We’re talking about younger kids,” said Singer. “They have questions they need answered on how to use them, when to use them.”
Be very careful of the rights you are giving away parents. Fight for your parental rights or lose your children to the system. Even if you are, for some twisted reason, OK with them giving your 6 year old a condom, think of the other things you might not be OK with them teaching your child.
A condom won't even FIT on a first grader.
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Proverbs 13:20
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
On the 2nd, Emily will turn 3. I am planning her cake and party. I am thinking PRINCESS! I am going to make another attempt at potty training her. I had her almost trained and then she regressed because of Hannah. She does like going to the potty in the travel trailer though. I might take a weekend and spend it out there with her. I have to say the toilet in the travel trailer is the perfect size for her!
I spent some of yesterday and this morning capping herbs for Clint and I. I love working with the herbs. I know their potency and freshness because I have seen, smelled and touched the bulk herb. While I've been taking them, I've not been as consistent in taking supplements so I am going to make a better effort at it. Hannah is still nursing and my body needs that support.
About buying your herbs in bulk: If I see light touching herbs, I know they have not been stored properly. The herb companies I use ship their herbs in dark plastic bags to keep the light out. They should be stored that way on the shelf too. I store mine in quart sized canning jars in dark cabinets. Heat, moisture and light are enemies of medicinal herbs.
The shuttle bus is in the shop with a bad bank of solenoids in the transmission. Now, I have no idea what that means and I had to Google solenoid to make sure I was spelling it correctly. It is still under warranty. The mechanic said a defective bank comes out of the parts manufacturer ever so often and this should fix it. We have to wait a week for the part to arrive.
We are still working out arrangements to take the cow back to the farm to be bred. Clint has made a lot of inroads in getting the cow to trust him. She walk right up to him to eat out of his hand now. The calf is still skittish from it's escape, but I will keep working with her.
I know the days get long and hard sometimes, fellow mothers. Keep looking to the Lord for strength and help. When you are discouraged, put on praise and worship music. Renew your mind! It's not housework, it's making your home a clean and comfortable place for those entrusted to your care. Motherhood done properly can be the farthest reaching ministry you will ever do. I don't want you to just exist as a mother and wife. I want to see you thrive and shine!!
Psalms 5:11-12 But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.
Texas Roadhouse in Yorktown, VA features their version of John Trumball's Surrender of Lord Cornwallis.
It seems Andy the Armadillo was an important part of our country's history :-)!
Our family enjoys this restaurant. All nine of us can eat for $80. It's noisy so if our family becomes boisterous, I don't have to worry about disturbing other guests. The music isn't something I'd choose for my children to listen to, but again, the noise in the place covers it. The floors are covered with peanut shells, so if the babies make a mess, it doesn't matter.
The children and I took Clint here for Father's Day.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Can bacteria make you smarter?
Exposure to specific bacteria in the environment, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could increase learning behavior according to research presented today at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.
"Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breath in when they spend time in nature," says Dorothy Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, who conducted the research with her colleague Susan Jenks.
Previous research studies on M. vaccae showed that heat-killed bacteria injected into mice stimulated growth of some neurons in the brain that resulted in increased levels of serotonin and decreased anxiety.
"Since serotonin plays a role in learning we wondered if live M. vaccae could improve learning in mice," says Matthews.
Matthews and Jenks fed live bacteria to mice and assessed their ability to navigate a maze compared to control mice that were not fed the bacteria.
"We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice," says Matthews.
In a second experiment the bacteria were removed from the diet of the experimental mice and they were retested. While the mice ran the maze slower than they did when they were ingesting the bacteria, on average they were still faster than the controls.
A final test was given to the mice after three weeks' rest. While the experimental mice continued to navigate the maze faster than the controls, the results were no longer statistically significant, suggesting the effect is temporary.
"This research suggests that M. vaccae may play a role in anxiety and learning in mammals," says Matthews. "It is interesting to speculate that creating learning environments in schools that include time in the outdoors where M. vaccae is present may decrease anxiety and improve the ability to learn new tasks."
Monday, June 21, 2010
If God cares about the sparrow that falls from a nest, He cares about your daily struggles as trivial as you may think they are. Read through the many intricate instructions for the Ark of the Covenant, the Temple and the garments of the priest. He pays attention to the smallest of details. Feeding spiritual hunger seems far more important, but Jesus took care of the less significant physical hunger of the multitude with two loaves and five fishes. Then, He picked up the scraps. Even the seemingly insignificant matters to Him. Mark 6:30-44
Intimacy with God requires us to share the big and the small things in our lives. You could not call it an intimate relationship if you only went to God every few years when something big enough cropped up in your life. How much more complete and vibrant your relationship with God is when you included Him in all of life. Nothing is insignificant or escapes God's notice. He has numbered the hair on your head. Matthew 10:29-30
If fellowship with other Christians is our goal, we should not elevate ourselves up with pride and think we know what requests are worthy enough for our attention. God allowed each need to be presented as an opportunity for you to minister to them through prayer.
In our limited view, a suffering saint with sorrow filled loved ones gathered around for her death would rank higher than the struggles of a healthy, stay at home mother with five children.....unless that mother is suffering silently from a severe depression and about to do the unthinkable.
We fall short of the intimacy God wants from us and with each other when we don't ask prayer for the small things weighing us down because we assume they don't matter to Him. We aren't giving Him enough credit as a loving Father when we say He doesn't care about our small problems as well as the big. Philippians 4:6 says Be careful for nothing; but in **every** thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving ***let your requests be made known unto God.*** If it is troubling you, God cares.
We also need to use wisdom in our requests during a prayer meeting. Don't overburden the public fellowship time with a lengthy list. Ask God to reveal to you what to share. Present those few that clearly stick out in your mind. Use discretion and respect other people's privacy.
Feel free to go to the Lord and ask Him to help you with all of the parts of your life. Share and invite your close friends to join you in prayer for those seemingly small things. As your sister in Christ, I don't want to finally get to know you when you are suddenly in dire straights. I want to pray for you through the days, weeks and years of our lives. I can't imagine your Heavenly Father wanting less.
A new study conducted by Dr. Brian D. Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute solidly confirms what homeschooling parents have known for years: homeschoolers outperform their peers in academic achievement. Comparing almost 12,000 students in the United States, Guam and Puerto Rico, the study, slated for publication in January 2010, validates what researchers have observed for many years – students who are homeschooled score well above the norm as compared to their same-age public-schooled counterparts. Further, combating age-old criticisms at last, Ray’s research demonstrates that neither parent education, nor teaching background, nor income play any part in homeschooling success. Despite these and other variables, the study finds homeschooling to stand completely on its own and continue to be the number one choice for academic success.
A preview of the full report can be found on HSLDA’s web site. Although just a summary, this preview highlights some of the major findings of the research, including:
- Homeschoolers scored 34–39 percentile points higher than the norm on standardized achievement tests
- Average homeschooler scores were 84th percentile or above in Language, Math, and Social Studies and 89th percentile or above in Reading
- Whether or not parents were teacher-certified had no impact on high test scores.
- Little difference exists in families using unstructured homeschooling methods (such as student directed learning) and highly structured and pre-planned methods (such as standard curriculum approaches)
- Contrary to gender gaps found for decades in public education, male and female homeschoolers performed the same at almost all grade levels
- The number of hours spent per day on parent-directed learning activities plays no part in student achievement
- Family income only very slightly impacted achievement; even those from the lowest income strata still well outperformed the public school average
Do homeschool graduates get in to college? You betcha. Not only do homeschoolers get in to colleges and universities, they get in to the "good" ones if they want to. Anyone on the fence about homeschooling need only check the statistics to see that homeschoolers go to college all the time. In fact, almost twice as many homeschooled grads go to college (74%) as other 18-24 year olds (only 46%).
Along with the greater numbers of homeschoolers attending colleges is their level of preparation - superior to many of their same-age counterparts. Known for being bright and motivated, homeschoolers also come to colleges more mature and better able to work independently, too. Because college admissions officers know this, they actively recruit homeschoolers; thus, these kids have an open invitation to apply to almost any school they like.
Zach Smith of Flagler County is a perfect example. Homeschooled just about all his life, Smith earned a homeschool diploma, and then moved seamlessly on to college without so much as a hiccup in his plans. Smith credits homeschooling for his success, stating it allowed him more specialized learning opportunities and helped him develop the skills needed later on for college, and for life.
For Smith, and for other homeschooled graduates just like him, the low student to teacher ratio, individualized curricula, and ability to study topics that match both learning style and interests, make it easier to pursue a higher education because the level of preparation is so much better than graduation from a traditional high school. It also doesn't hurt that many homeschoolers have already earned college credits through the dual enrollment program, even earning Associates degrees by the time they graduate high school, making the transition from homeschool to college that much smoother.
To address the myth that homeschoolers are limited by college choices, actually the opposite is true. The list of American colleges that admit homeschoolers is hundreds long and growing all the time; some homeschool grads even attend university overseas. College admissions offices, and even the College Board has dedicated web pages for homeschoolers who apply, therefore parents and students can have confidence that the process really works.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Children's tops and shorts reduced to $3.99 (reg. 6.50) with $5 shipping. Use promo code G4AQMRAG5A for an additional 15% off. Yesterday I bought 8 tops for my littles for $31.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Miss Em is growing up too quickly!
That's a homemade baby gate behind her. It's lasted through the last five children. The store bought baby gates could not hold up to our usage level.
Monday, June 14, 2010
This is one of my favorite family times. The dialogue back and forth between our family members enriches all of our understanding. Even the younger children ponder deep issues and come with questions and remarks.
Clint comes alive when he is sharing God's Word, especially when he sees people "getting it."
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I looked in my copy of Tracking and The Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign written by professional wildlife consultant and animal tracker, Paul Rezendes, who is considered a leading expert in the field, and learned this is probably a skunk burrow that was made close to the children's play area. I have not found any tracks or scat around the sites. I've managed to find a few more of these...the hard way. This particular site was dug out more where we had removed a post. My Junior Trapper, Amanda, is very excited! A skunk is one of the few things she has not been able to catch and release in her Havahart Traps. In this case, I am OK with her being disappointed. If she does catch one though, I will rise to the occasion and help her all I can.
The book has color photos of each animal, pictures of its feet, drawings and pictures of tracks and trail patterns they leave, pictures of burrows, scat and other useful information like where to look for lays. All of my children LOVE this book! I've had it for about two years and have not had a chance to really look at it until today. The children have kept it constantly moving around the house!
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Friday, June 04, 2010
This just happened and I am hot, sweaty and hungry, but wanted to let everyone who has been praying for us know the calf has been found!
Earlier today, I could not stand having the mother trailered any longer, so we put her in the fence. Just a little while ago, Clint and I went down the path on the back of our property and scented it with "mama manure tea" and "molasses tea."
We had been spreading it behind our lawn tractor and trailer but at just the right point, the tractor stopped and would not restart. We were not happy about that because it slowed our progress down to a crawl. We learned later this was a blessing in disguise! If that mower had kept running, it would have scared the calf off and we would not have been able to see the tracks on the side of the trail as clearly. I was in the corner of our lot, waiting for Clint to fix the tractor when I heard heavy crashing through the woods. We froze and listened. We decided to keep scent marking the trail without the tractor to the pasture "trap" we had set up. I was wearing shorts so I asked Clint to look past some thick briars for tracks. When he got there, he saw the calf coming towards him! We decided to keep scent marking as fast as we could so she could keep following. Within minutes, she was RUNNING towards us and we were simply not able to keep making the trail that fast. When she ran into Clint, she turned around and went back the other way. That was the worst feeling! To be so close and to have her leave!
Clint called Brandon, who was in the house eating, told him to go to the other end of the path and to come our way heavy footed. The calf was retreating still, so Clint put the buckets down and started gently talking to the calf and she responded. She really picked the pace up when Brandon came. Clint told Brandon to go slow until he knew the calf could not get off the path. At that point, he told Brandon "Get her, Brandon!" Brandon happily obliged! (For years, he's been nicknamed "Cougar" for his speed and catching abilities. He did very well in track!)
I was the first off the trail and I heard "WENDY, PULL THE CATTLE PANEL ACROSS THE HOLE!!! PULL THE CATTLE PANEL NOW!!!!!!! WENDY, PULL THE CATTLE PANEL!!!!!!! PULLLL THE CATTTTTTLLLLLLEEEE PANNNNNNNNEELLLLL!!!" I pulled and waited. Then I saw one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen as the calf came running through and Brandon and Clint blocked her from getting back out. I had just washed the horse trailer out in that area, so the mama cow's scent was strong. The calf lifted her nose and then bellowed! The mama heard her and answered back. Clint used the cell phone to call Amanda and Joshua out to watch the holes. Then Clint, Brandon and I herded the baby to a corner with a cattle panel and cut the fence to let her in with the mama.
Thank you for the prayers! We LOVE the way this story ended. If our mower had not stopped working at just the right place and time, we would have missed this opportunity to catch the calf! Our entire family sees once again how God loves us. He cares about the small things in our lives...like a missing calf. We realized yesterday we were not waiting on a cow to moo, but on God's perfect timing. It has been a great lesson for all of us!
Luke 12:6-7 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Please pray for Flor de Maria (story below). A little girl is more important than a lost cow.
Please pray for Flor de Maria. (see below) I believe God is in ultimate control. He does use the bad things in our lives to grow us into people of character and strength. I believe if Flor de Maria allows Him, He will do great things through her.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
I never thought a letter from Flor de Maria would trouble me so much. If you click on the picture, you can read the letter. From the reports I have read, where she lives, the men are drunks that prey on young girls. She needs our prayers. About two years ago, her clothing and stance in her pictures changed and I suspected something had happened then. She was 11 then. She turned 13 March 5. I consider Flor de Maria my "daughter afar." All I can do for her is to pray, let others know and ask them to pray too. So I am doing that with this post. Please pray for her. Pray for those who did this to her too. The program ends when the child is 15. We have been her sponsors since she was four. I don't have much longer to impact her life. Pray God inspires me with words to write her to make a difference.
I am so proud of her artistic ability and consider it a privilege to have watched her develop it!
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
I had no idea we'd get such a big response to this prayer request! Thank you for your prayers, concern, support, advice, similar stories and friendship!! We just have the most awesome, loving, caring people in our lives! I hope you show more concern for the post above this one concerning Flor de Maria. She is more important to God and our family than this calf. I hope you feel the same and show it with your prayers for her. Back to the calf....
I am trying to answer everyone's questions in this one post, so bear with me. This has been a very distressing episode, mostly because the calf has a preference for standing in the middle of the road. Black calf+dark roads+speeding neighbors. We have notified Animal Control and the Sheriff's Dept. We have gone door to door in the area the calf was spotted in and warned the neighbors. I have stopped cars, much to some people's irritation, and warned them to slow down. We have hung signs all throughout the neighborhood warning people she may be in the road. Our main concern is that no one is injured.
As aggravating as it is, we are in good company as we have many friends this has happened to at one time or another. Calves will go looking for their mamas! Mr. Webb, our cattle expert, says he's had to wait on a calf to come home more times than he has fingers and toes. We were warned the calf would try to bolt and we took precautions against it by keeping her in a strong horse stall. We are still not quite sure how she escaped late Monday. We knew not to chase her, but we had to go shoo her from the road all night Monday night. She was bound and determined to stand on the dark road!
She was hit by one vehicle. PTL, no one was injured and the car was minimally damaged. The calf appears uninjured and I'll look her over once we have her contained.
Tuesday night, Clint set up a 10x10x6 dog pen on an abandoned lot she was particular towards. I had already made inroads with the calf's trust just by going out to sit with her a few minutes out of every hour. She as letting me pet her and even initiating contact. So, I sat in the pen with a bucket of her formula, a jar of my pear preserves and a rope to pull the door closed. I called and sang to her as I had been every hour. She came right up to me, stuck her head in the pen and was licking the pear preserve syrup off of the trail I had made. She was headed to the bucket of formula which would have let me pull the door shut. If you've been on a farm, you know things rarely go as planned. Someone I love deeply, who had been warned not to talk, spoke....and the calf bolted. Sigh. That was my last opportunity on that. I sat out there a few more hours singing to her. The family of racoons enjoyed it and came a little too close. The critters I heard in the brush behind me got so close to my back, I stopped trying to woo the calf and started looking after my own hide. The black snake didn't bother me at all until Clint made me aware of it. ;-)
The calf disappeared for nearly all day Tuesday. Brandon finally found some fresh tracks that showed the calf was getting further and further from the house. I had a feeling she was looking for the barn, but could not find it. She had only been here just over 24 hours. So, I asked Clint to "scent mark" our barn by pouring the formula the calf likes on the roof of our two story barn. We also added some of her scent (manure mixed with water) and pear preserves. Within two hours, the calf found her way back. She is circling the farm right now and staying very close.
I put down patches of sand in strategic locations. This has told me exactly where the calf is going and what direction she is traveling in as she circles the farm. The kiddie pool with fresh water was a helpful addition to my "track traps." She's going there frequently. I know she's close to us when we go looking at the traps, but she's staying well hidden.
We have her mother "trailered" on the premises. This evening or tomorrow morning, that cow or her calf will start mooing. Once that happens, they'll hear and then call to each other until they find each other. We'll be able to close the gate to the fence we have the trailer sitting in and life can go back to normal...or as normal as it gets around here anyway. :-D The cow will go back to the farmer so she can be in with the bull until the end of the month.
I think I answered everyone's questions and hopefully clarified some things for our urban living friends (city folks).