Friday, October 25, 2013

Homeschool and Mother's Journal Oct. 25

In my life this week…

Some day I hope to sit down here on a Thursday night or Friday afternoon and write that it was an uneventful, routine week.

But not this time.

On Thursday I developed a migraine headache that landed me in bed for most of the school day. About 14 days a month I get migraines, though not all land me in bed, depending on how fast I take a med. They used to be daily rebound migraine headaches, but I ended that cycle last spring, and now it's just a hormonally-fueled problem mixed with stress.

Imitrex is available to me now, but I'm only approved for 9 pills a month, and since I can get up to 14 headaches a month, Imitrex is not the best remedy because it definitely causes rebound headaches. I decided not to take anything this morning, hoping the headache wouldn't progress.

I went to the doctor last month for a daily preventative medicine, so that over-the-counter medicines and Imitrex would not land me back in the daily rebound headache cycle. I was given Elavil, which is an older antidepressant given off-label for migraines and chronic insomnia. While very effective for migraines, it can cause weight gain (not a good side effect for a 47-year-old woman whose metabolism is slowing anyway). If you must come off it, you may have to learn how to sleep again, which frightened me.

I took it for one day and hated the way it made me feel...tired and like a zombie emotionally, for the next two days. I gave up on it after that first dose. Of course I should have given it more time, but the sleep thing, again, frightened me. I researched the med and so many users commented that they had a horrible time getting to sleep and staying asleep after stopping this drug. If my headaches stop after menopause, which may be about 3-4 years away, I want to be able to stop this drug without problems.

If you have any experience with Elavil (amitriptyline), please share how it has helped you? Thank you! I still have it in the medicine cabinet and I'm praying about trying it again.

My ADHD son needs routine and this headache episode caused stressful behavior problems for the rest of the day. Still, the boys are old enough to resume several subjects without me, which is a blessing. I didn't teach my 6 year old a single lesson, so it felt like a totally wasted day, leaving me more stressed and behind on laundry and school.

If you homeschool with a chronic medical problem, my heart goes out to you. Give the word and I'll pray for you.

What finally worked was when my 4yo came to see me in my bed for the tenth time. She doesn't like it when Mommy is down, so she seeks my attention frequently. I told her I was still unavailable, and could she please pray for Mommy?

I heard her pray as she left the room and walked down the hall. About 20 minutes later, I felt improvement and was up after another hour!

In Our Homeschool This Week...

I read Torches of Joy this week, previewing it before the boys started it as part of our Sonlight Core F curriculum. I was amazed at God's miracles amidst these Stone Age tribes in New Guinea. It reminded me of Bruchko, which I read last semester, and of the Book of Acts. God moved in miraculous ways to further the Gospel: miracle healings such as Jesus performed, and husband and wife Dani tribe members sent as missionaries to other unreached people, equipped with faith that moved mountains. You must read this book. It's that powerful.

Torches Of Joy   -     
        By: John Dekker

In the first world we don't often do brave things for the Lord. We get saved, only to keep the joy to ourselves. We forget we were saved for a purpose...a purpose larger than us. As soon as the Dani people came to Christ, they wanted to help others know the same joy. Where is that fire in our hearts, that gratitude, here in the western world? 

When I read missionary books, I'm reminded that we don't see God's full and miraculous power because we're too comfortable relying on ourselves. Would we have the faith to take off into an unreached area, risking our lives and that of our children, for the sake of the Gospel? Some missionaries die at the hands of unreached tribes, and yet their wives say "You called us here, God, and we obeyed. This is hard, but I trust you. I love you. We knew this might happen, and we were ready."

They said the same when their children died in the field.

They lived boldly like the Apostle live is Christ, to die is gain.

I compare their experiences to my own, in my neighborhood, and I'm ashamed. In January of 2013 we started a neighborhood Bible study for children, hoping to reach the children for the Gospel, and through them, the adults. It's been hard, but nothing like the Dani missionaries experienced.

Discouragement set in right away, as three families we were praying for moved a month before we began. Didn't we hear God right, we wondered?

Other issues arose too, which took the wind from our sails, if only temporarily.

For example, a month ago I decided I had too many children's picture books, especially given that my children prefer library books with their more attractive bindings. Most of my books are paperback, purchased from Scholastic book clubs. The shelves were overstuffed and underused, and it was time to bless someone with them. I considered carefully which child in the neighborhood would most appreciate them, and decided on Anessa, 7 years old, who looks at books every time she comes here. We sent two medium-sized storage boxes full of books.

Fast forward a month. This week Anessa told my daughter that her father burned her books; she has none left. I had no reason to think she would make up such a thing, so I was devastated, angry, and disgusted. I told my husband I thought this man was dangerous, and perhaps we'd better write the family off (and just pray)?

This father lost his job about a year ago, and judging by the missing teeth, he probably has a drug background. Still, a Baptist church near us goes through this neighborhood asking if anyone wants a ride to their church. This family began going to the church, and evidently the parents got baptized a few weeks ago, which is why the daughter's admission was so disheartening. Is theirs a cult-like church? Was he a poor reader and felt jealous of his daughter's new reading skill? The books weren't controversial in the least, so I don't know what to think. But this man disgusts me, I'll say that.

Many times the Dani missionaries were disgusted by the people they went to live among and evangelize. Some were cannibals and most were dirty, not paying attention to where they left their excrement. Some were completely naked.

The Dekkers, John and Helen, were at first disgusted by the Dani people, with whom they spent 21 years.

It was as though God had me open this book at precisely the right time. I learned that I can't write this neighborhood family off. I can't let my disgust discourage my attempts to reach out and behave like Jesus would. Wasn't Jesus himself disgusted by our behavior, before he died for us?

In my wildest dreams, I'd like to be a missionary and share my joy and faith without bounds. I'd like to feel and witness the Lord's might and power as I work for his glory. I'd like to fall in love with Jesus, over and over again, with each miracle.

Maybe, just maybe, I can do it here in my neighborhood first, if I will only trust God more and get over myself? Maybe I can truly learn how to love?

We've been low-income since I quit working in 2005, and often I've wondered if I'm being forced to give up comfort for a reason, beyond just my own spiritual advancement. Yes, I'm growing spiritually by not living like everyone else. Where is this leading? Will it serve me in a mission field someday, where they certainly give up comforts for the sake of the Gospel?

Lord, build my faith and my husband's faith. Take us to greater heights of obedience to your Word. Equip us to serve you bravely.

Learning update for the children: Mary enjoyed learning about volcanoes and typhoons in her Sonlight A science curriculum. The boys are enjoying Torches of Joy, Silkworms, Born in the Year of Courage (Sonlight Core F, Eastern Hemisphere), and the final chapters of Jenny Wren. They still love their Sonlight F science curriculum, learning in depth about the human body, and this week they add in Food and Nutrition for Every Kid. I keep a tight reign on their nutrition, and I appreciate them learning precisely why it's so important.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Pray, pray, and pray again, everyday. Amen.

It's easy to homeschool when you have a quick learner working ahead of other kids. I have one of those, so I know how it feels. There's a variety here in my home, so I know what the other side feels like too. When you run into a child the same age as yours who can do more, it's easy to feel envious or insecure about your methods or your skill as a teacher.


Recognize that God created each child unique, and ease of learning is part of their uniqueness. You didn't do anything wrong. Don't beat yourself up or begrudge your child for the slower pace. Learning pace has nothing to do with how well a person serves the Lord, and isn't that our ultimate goal? Raising children who will make serving Him and loving Him their reason for living? 

My favorite thing this week was…
I'm teaching from the Book of Matthew right now at morning devotions, and the children are learning much, along with me. The Gospels never get old and something entirely new jumps out for every believer.

My kiddos favorite thing this week was…
 ..seeing a hint of snow on Thursday morning. I heard that some parts of Ohio received nearly a foot. It seems fall, my favorite season, was here for a week, and now winter. Don't you love it when the seasons behave?

The leaves are still beautiful though, so praise God!

Things I’m working on…

Getting crockpot recipes printed out so I can make shopping lists for them.

Greater and greater obedience. Less and less of me, more and more of Him.

I’m cooking…

baked ziti, crockpot beef stew, turkey burgers, crockpot navy bean soup with ham, bowtie pasta with sausage marinara, cheesy eggs, cafe potatoes and fruit, and for the 7th thing...I don't know yet.

I’m grateful for…

~ fascinating curriculum

~ being spurred on in the faith by missionaries who relied on God for their very lives

~ children who will pray for me

~ the Word of God

~ spending all day with my children, never losing an opportunity to disciple

~ full days at home

~ serving the Lord

~ hot cocoa

~ working water heater, furnace, and washer and dryer

~ children who pray readily for our Compassion children, thinking of them as adopted siblings

~ a loving husband

~ fun time picking apples and riding a haywagon last week

A quote to share...

Luke 22:27 For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
Thank you for reading. How was your week?
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Terri H said...

I had a number of thoughts while reading this post, but they all flew out of my head when I got to the pictures at the end. How are your children so big and grown up? My eldest is suddenly shooting up and becoming even more lanky and older looking, too. :(

Christine said...

Aren't they looking grown up? Makes me sad, you know? Bittersweet time, thinking of my youngest turning five in December.

Amber said...

So sorry to hear you suffer from migrains so often. I will keep you in my prayers.

What a sweet little one to check on her mommy so often and pray for her to feel better.

I appreciate your homeschool tip this week. It is one we should all remember. Each child is different and will, and should, learn at their own pace.

Thanks you for sharing this post.
I do hope you are able to find something for your migrains.
Have a great weekend.

Christine said...

Thank you for the prayers, Amber. Have a wonderful week! Enjoyed your nature post, btw.

SarahElisabeth Jones said...

Popping over from HSMJ.
Sorry about the migraines-I've had them rarely. It must be very difficult to have them that often.
We recently read Witness Men by Rebecca Davis which was about the Bible arriving with the Dani tribe.

Beth said...

I have read the Amazing Dani's and was challenged in so many ways. I enjoy missionary books. Thanks for sharing about your migraines. Praying that you have a restful weekend.

Becca said...

I don't know if this would work for you, but I thought I'd share how I handle my migraines in case it might. I've gotten them since age 12 and at the first sign of pain [always my first symptom] I take 1000mg Tylenol, 400mg ibuprofen, 81mg aspirin and a HUGE cup of coffee. This is close to what's found in Exedrin for Migraine, but it's more medicine. A friend of mine adds 4-6 ginger pills to this which I haven't tried yet.

Christine said...

Thank you for the references to more Dani Tribe missionary books. I will write them down and look for them.

Becca, I use something over the counter which was in the old Excedrin Tension headeache pills--500 mg tylenol and 65 mg caffeine per pill. It led to rebound headaches, so now I try to limit the over the counter meds. They all cause rebound headaches if used more than twice a week consistently. The Tension Exedrin does work, though. Thank you for sharing and I can't imagine having them as a child!

Tesha Papik said...

Hi my friend I Love these homeschooling post. I appreciate your encouragement as I have a struggling son it can be very discouraging. Love that your perspective always points to the Lord. Sorry you are still struggling with headaches I know first hand how difficult it is to funtion in pain!