Sunday, February 07, 2016

Not second-guessing

This dog thing is hard. So hard to know if you are doing the right thing, the wrong thing, or just not doing enough at all. I keep telling myself, "He's just a dog Wendi. It's okay." But he isn't just a dog to me. He is so much more than that to me.

I must admit that prior to having Scrubs, I didn't get the sadness associated with losing a pet. I never mocked it. But I never truly, in my heart, understood why the pain was that debilitating for people.

I get it now.

Totally get it.

The hardest part for me is that Scrubs is totally, 100% himself. He is acting like the same old Scrubs. But his abdomen has now gotten so big, he can't reach his ear to scratch with his leg.

JB and I talked at length this morning, and I emailed a former player of mine from Franklin, Kentucky who is now a vet. She gave us some good advice, and we have decided to call our vet here in the morning and bring Scrubs in for another draining -- but this time couple it with IV fluids. We'd like to try this one time and see how much fluid she can get off, how much it costs, and how long before we would have to do it again.

We know that he is dying, but we also know that he is currently really enjoying life. My friend Emily said that she wouldn't put him down until he indicates he is in pain or his mood declines. I have to agree. He is so happy. Running around the farm. Begging for treats. Asking for pets. If he was acting sick it would be so much easier.

I'll keep you all posted on how things go tomorrow.

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Review: I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God

God's names tell us who He is, what He is like, and what He does.

This book is just, genuinely, beautiful. The cover features a textured image of Moses and the Israelites crossing the red sea. Inside, the pages cover 40 of the Bible's many names and descriptive titles for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

An example would be: Jehovah Jireh The Lord Will Provide. What follows is the story of Moses as they follow a pillar of cloud during the day and fire at night. It then follows up the story with what Jehovah Jireh means in a child's language.

Beyond the fact that the content of this book is stellar, it is simply a remarkable looking book. The illustrations are incredible. The colors amazing. It is truly one of the nicest books I have ever had in our kids' library.

I have received a copy of this book from booklookbloggers.com in exchange for my honest review.

Actual Conversation

Short man: (Stares me up and down as I walk into the gas station where he is paying for his food.)
Tall woman: (Feels uncomfortable but smiles kindly as I get a drink and move behind him in line.)
Short man: "May I ask you something?"
Tall woman: "Five foot two."
Short man: "You aren't Five foot two."
Tall woman: "You're right."
Short man: "But that actually wasn't my question."
Tall woman: "Oh. Okay. It usually is the first question people ask so I like to make a joke."
Short man: "I wanted to ask where you are from."
Tall woman: "Well, I'm from all over."
Short man: "Okay. But where were you born?"
Tall woman: "Florida."
Short man: "Oh okay. See my x-wife was real tall."
Tall woman: "Okay."
Short man: "She was like 6'2". How tall are you?"
Tall woman: "6'3"." (There's the question.)
Short man: "Yeah she was about your height. She was from Hungary. And she was blonde and looked like you."
Tall woman: "Yeah?"
Short man: "Yeah and when you walked in, I thought you was her."
Tall woman: "I'm not."
Short man: "I know. But I thought you was. And I thought Holy $(#$ she's found me and she wants money."
Tall woman: "I will take your money if you will give it to me."
Short man: "I don't have any money."
Tall woman: "Okay."
Short man: "But I'm glad you aren't her."
Tall woman: (Me too.)

I love this picture!


I love taking the time to capture the moments of our lives with our pup. Here is Scrubs with Grampa. I especially love how fast his tail is wagging in this picture.

Scrubs is really bloating up badly. He is in great spirits and otherwise exactly the Scrubs he always is, but please pray for us.

Year Round Homeschooling

In our home, we, basically, homeschool year round. Our goal, per state mandates, is 180 days a year x 4 hours a day. We try to intersperse those throughout the year so that we can take breaks whenever we want.

When people come to visit, I drop my expectations to 2 hours a day.

When we go out of town, we take the week off, or take it mostly off.

When something happens, like an unexpected illness or an opportunity for a fun field trip, we do it.

Going year round allows for that flexibility.

Here is a great article that shares this sentiment. 

Breaking all the rules

We are letting Scrubs break all the rules.

If he ends up living longer than we think, we will have a lot of bad habits to correct. And I'm perfectly okay with that. I, honestly, am loving being able to let him do all the things we never let him do. He's eating food out of our hands in the kitchen and laying on the couch and having snacks all day long.

Another rule breaker? Scrubs has never been allowed to put his paws on people laps. (We had to start this when he was little because he was so energetic, he would literally jump on top of adults when they would come to the house. We also had really little kids so we had to be careful that he didn't climb on them.)

Anyways, normally, Scrubs comes up to a sitting adult and just puts his head and as much as of his chest onto people as he can. But here he is getting some mega-attention from Grampa and the kids. Grampa K. is one of his very favorite people. (If I am being honest, I think he likes him as much as me.) Aside from JB and me, Scrubs most loves Grampa and his friend Shane.

Here's a video I got. I am loving capturing these moments. I will treasure them forever.




Friday, February 05, 2016

A few videos (and an update on Scrubs)

I thought I would share a few videos. This first one is Hannah who somehow learned to ride a bike with training wheels while I wasn't looking. I just turned around and there she went. She is singing "Round in Circles."



The second is a quick video of Scrubs. You may not be able to tell by the video, but I can, that he is getting pretty bloated again and that he definitely has some muscle loss around his back. He is not looking "fit and trim" like he always does. But honestly, other than that, he doesn't look like he has cancer (or a tumor or some other weird thing) that is going to end his life soon. I keep praying the vet is wrong (and she admitted the timeline is unknown to her) but also trying to be very level-headed and prepared for him to leave us. He is eating snacks and hanging out with us and doing all the things he normally does.



I've never had to deal with a chronic illness in someone I love, but I have to imagine that it would be sort of the same in a person as it is in a dog. You watch them. You see how they feel. You ask them questions. (Although dogs don't answer back.) And you dream that maybe they aren't sick. And maybe they'll defy the odds.

And sometimes they do.

And sometimes they don't.

I'm praying and hoping that my Scrubby will live longer than anyone thinks he can while still preparing myself to say good bye to him.

And while I thought I would be really sad, once the initial shock wore off, I'm actually a very sort of "happy sad" as Sidge likes to call it. I'm so enjoying spoiling him and loving him and really paying attention to him. He must be thinking, "Woman. Leave me alone!"

We bought him extra bacon snacks at the grocery store today.

And man oh man does he love sleeping on the couch in the school room.

Part of me wonders if this all wasn't to get himself up on that couch.

Either way, I am really so thankful that his death didn't come suddenly and that I'm able to really thank him for the wonderful years he gave me.

It's Okay To Be Ordinary


I loved this post which basically said: Do what works, and when it no longer works, change what you are doing. Homeschooling can be overwhelming. There are so many voices. So many things to consider. The question is: what is working for you? That's it. Keep it simple. Do it your way. Be ordinary.

Facebook's Favorite Books: Updated


I recently posted on Facebook asking for people's SINGLE FAVORITE BOOK (other than the Bible.) I took what my friends gave me and split them into two groups.

The first category is favorite books that I have read. I have decided to star them according to how much I liked them.

*** AWESOME
** GOOD
* DIDN'T LIKE IT

BOOKS I'VE READ
  • The Outsiders ***
  • The Shack * (Just couldn't finish this.)
  • Mark of the Lion series ***
  • Redeeming Love ***
  • This Present Darkness **
  • Chronicles of Narnia series **
  • And the Shofar Blew **
  • To Kill a Mockingbird ***
  • Zion Chronicles (Brock and Bodie Thoene) **
  • My Utmost for His Highest **
  • A Walk to Remember ***
  • The Kite Runner ***
  • Catcher in the Rye **
  • The Hunger Games ***
  • The Art of Racing in the Rain ***
  • Little House Books ***
  • A Bend in the Road **
  • The Help ***
  • A Passion Most Pure (Julie Lessman) ***
  • A Passion Redeemed (Julie Lessman) ***
  • A Passion Denied (Julie Lessman) ***
Next I have a list of books that you listed that interested in me in going onto a "To Be Read" list. Please note that I have left some recommended books off of this list because I didn't think they would interest me. I am going to work my way through these books and then rate them as I go. (I may, after reviewing more closely later, decide to exclude some of these books.) I am bolding them once I read them and rating them as well. But for now, my list includes:

BOOKS YOU ARE RECOMMENDING (I have bolded them when I read them):
  • Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  • Snow Falling on Cedars**
  • The Giver (Lois Lowry) 
  • Sherlock Homes (Original by Sir Arthur Conan)
  • Winds of War
  • War and Remembrance
  • The Time Traveler's Wife**
  • Stepping Heavenward
  • Gone with the Wind
  • The Devil in Pew Number Seven
  • Wish me Well
  • Sense & Sensibility
  • Jane Eyre
  • Like a Driven Leaf
  • Works of Love
  • Yada Yada Prayer Group series
  • Undaunted (Christine Caine)
  • Cross and Switchblade
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  • Kisses from Katie (Katie Davis)**
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
  • The Rosie Project (Graeme Simsion)***
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • The Brothers Karamazov
  • Enders Game
  • My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • The Last Plea Bargain
  • A Lantern in Her Hand
  • Freedoms Holy Light Series
  • The Double Blind
  • Calm my Anxious Heart (Linda Dillow)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • Cold Mountain
  • The Rule of Four
  • Les Miserables
  • Kitchen Table Wisdom
  • My Grandfather's Blessings
  • How I came to Spark Again
  • P.S. I Love You (Cecelia Ahern)
  • Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
  • Still Alice (Lisa Genova)
  • No Better Friend (Robert Weintraub) 
  • Glass Castle
  • Make Your Home Among Strangers
  • The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
  • When they Rise Up
  • After Anne
  • For the Love
  • Sandcastle Girls
  • A.D. 30 (Tedd Dekker)
  • Nightingale (Kristen Hannah)
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Mary Ann Shaffer)
  • Someone Knows My Name (Lawrence Hill)
  • She's Come Undone (Wolly Lamb)
  • This Much I Know is True (Wolly Lamb)
  • The Night Circus (Erin Morganstern)
  • What Alice Forgot***
Anything I have missed? Leave a comment if your favorite book isn't on the list.

Review: What Alice Forgot


I picked this up at my local library after reading about it on another Blog. I absolutely devoured this book. This is not a Christian book and there is some language, but I found the story absolutely riveting and could NOT put it down. I begged JB to let me skip putting the kids to bed with him so I could keep reading. Just amazing.

Because you find out in the first five pages, I'll tell you that basically this story is about a woman who hits her in the gym and wakes up having completely forgotten the last ten years of her life.

Loved it!

We Bought a Farm: Time to start a forest garden


For those of you following the progress of our farm, I thought you might be interested in my husband's latest blog post about our up and coming forest garden! We arrived to late in the season to do this last year so the time is drawing near!

Because of Isaac Announcement!

It is with the greatest of excitement that I announce the FIFTH child to be placed in a loving family through BECAUSE OF ISAAC. A huge congrats to JOEL & CRISS who are now the proud parents of Sophia. While we did not raise all of the funding for their adoption, we did come close to raising $10,000 -- a large portion of what they needed to bring this little girl home. THANK YOU to all of you who made this dream come true for this family!

Review: Jesus Today (Devotions for Kids)

Sarah Young has written another delightful children's devotional. The Bestselling Author of Jesus Calling® has done it again with a beautiful book: 150 devotions include a left-hand page with Jesus' words to his children and the right-hand page includes scriptures that correlate with his words.

This is My promise to all who follow me: I will live in your hearts because of your faith. The more you trust Me, the more My Spirit will bless you and the more I will live through you.

Jesus is the Friend who is always with you. This devotional for kids will pour this powerful truth into your children's hearts as they learn that He knows everything about them and loves them more than they can imagine.

I am the One who keep you safe. I know you like to think and plan and figure things out on your own, searching for a way to feel secure. But beware of trusting in yourself and your own ideas. They aren't perfect. Only My plans for you are perfect. Trust me.

Each devotion is based on Scripture and is written as though Jesus is speaking, assuring that He is in control, that He is good, and that an amazing future awaits all who put their hope in Him.

It takes great faith to trust Me when you see some of the sad and terrible things that happen in this world. But you must live by what you believe about Me, not by what you can see in the world.

Adapted from ECPA Gold Medallion-winner, this devotional has the same these as the adult version, as well as written-out scriptures. It is a great choice for families to read and discuss during devotional time together.


Booklookbloggers provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Free Printable Country Packet


Reading Around the World: Check out these books about countries and a FREE printable country study packet.



Celebrating his life

I imagine some people may feel inundated with pictures and videos of Scrubs in upcoming days and weeks. However, I've decided that it will be healthy for me to take as many pics and videos of him with my kiddos as I can. 

We do not know how long he has left. It maybe hours or days or weeks or maybe months. The vet guessed a few weeks, but she admitted she had not really seen a case like his before and really could not be sure what she was dealing with. Her boss concurred. His abdomen was too full of fluid to get a really good look. She offered to refer us to Knoxville where we could get more answers, but we really don't think exploratory surgery is necessary. We don't have to know exactly what went wrong. We just want Scrubby to enjoy however much time he has left. (I am hoping it's a lot more than we think it is!)

I want to tell everyone that as of right now, he is nearly completely himself. He is a bit more lethargic than usual, but we aren't sure if that isn't from going under for the procedure yesterday. He is also loving laying on the couch. He is still scouring the kitchen for snacks and definitely wants to go out and feed the animals with me each time I go. 

Here is a little fun from our afternoon. I am actually realizing what a blessing it is that we have "gotten word" that our dog is sick. I am really waking up everyday treasuring him and giving him a lot of love that I am normally a bit too busy for.


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

The Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports

I was a college athlete.

I was a very good high school volleyball and basketball player and could have played either sport (or both) in college.

I chose basketball and was a Division I Basketball player for Western Kentucky University.

I played my first sport at age 9. And it wasn't basketball or volleyball. It was softball.

I didn't play basketball until I was around 12. I first played volleyball at 13.

It wasn't until I was in the 10th grade that my father, who was also my coach, suggested I eliminate softball from my arsenal of athletic activities. Basketball and volleyball were dominating my schedule, and it was suggested that cutting one out that I wasn't all that good at might be a good idea.

In addition, in the middle of an intense recruiting process, I began to burn out. I told my Dad that maybe I didn't want to play big time basketball. Maybe I just wanted to go to some little school somewhere.

My father's response: "If that is what you want, I support you 100%."

I have written about my opinion of coaches and parents and young athletes in previous blog posts. You can read those here:
And today, I stumbled upon another article that really backed up my very strong feelings about youth sports. You can read the article by clicking here: The Race to Nowhere in Youth Sports.

JB and I have continually gone back and forth about whether to put our children in sports. We feel pushed and encouraged to do so from various sides. I did, in fact, put the boys in tennis while we were in the Azores. It was a cheap opportunity, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn some hand-eye coordination. JB was not a fan of me doing it, but he allowed me to put them in. Neither of them particularly liked going, and while they did learn some things, generally, the activity just cluttered our schedule.

I don't have any problem with kids playing sports young. If the families are enjoying this and the kids are enjoying it and it is a healthy family experience, then I don't see anything wrong with it. I recently attended our friend William's Upwards soccer game, and it seemed like an incredibly positive environment and good opportunity for faith and fun to couple together in a family-centered environment.

However, what I hear from most of my friends when it comes to children and activities is instead a feeling of exhaustion, frustration, and lack of time as they race from activity to activity. I feel that children are being started way too young and being pushed way too hard. And because they are, I, as a parent, have FEAR.

I have FEAR that if I don't put my children into sports soon, they will be left behind forever, and they will never be able to catch up. I think in general, pushing this hard is a RACE TO NOWHERE. Most children do not play even intramural sports by the time they get to college. They are burned out and bitter. I think it is utterly ridiculous that:
  • children are being encouraged to narrow their focus before high school.
  • children must get private lessons or attend extra camps to be considered for a spot on a team.
  • families must give up vacations or that an athlete must choose between a holiday with their parents and an athletic event.
  • coaches must focus more on creating winning athletes instead of creating winning young men and women.
  • children are being pushed without ownership, enjoyment, and intrinsic motivation. 
  • sports dominate to such a degree that a childhood is eliminated in exchange for running from place to place.
  • parents and coaches are robbing a child of the opportunity to be a child, to play freely, to explore sports of interest, and to learn to love sports and become active for life.
I have often said the following words in my own voice, and I loved seeing someone else write what I feel:

"Chances are great that your children will be done with sports by high school, as only a select few play in college and beyond. Even the elite players are done at an age when they have over half their life ahead of them. It is not athletic ability, but the lessons learned from sport that need to last a lifetime."
I LOVED my athletic childhood. But I CHOSE that childhood. My parents did not push me to participate in things I did not want to. The decision was mine. And for all those years we spent pursuing my athletics, I received a fully paid college education.
However, at 21 years of age, that era was behind me, and it was time to move forward with the rest of my life. Had I been instilled with the qualities and character I needed to live my life away from the game?
Yes.
And that is the most important thing.

Longevity

Now that Scrubs has made it through the night, I am feeling a bit hopeful. We still know something is definitely not right with him. His liver and spleen looked not-so-good at all at the vet's office. His abdomen is filling with fluid.

But the truth is that the vet had never seen something like this before, and while her guess was weeks or less, we jut don't know.

Maybe it's just wishful thinking, but I am praying for longevity. I was emailing with a friend this morning, and she told me she was going to pray for Scrubs' longevity.

Either way, in a sense, I'm very thankful that we didn't lose him suddenly. We are getting to treasure him. We've given him a spot on a sofa which, as you can tell from the photos, as made all of his dreams come true.  He has always wanted to be on our furniture and due to his excessive shedding we have refrained.

Maybe he is doing all of this to get on the sofa and sit outside with me on the porch last night and eat gobs of peanut butter off a spoon?

Silly dog.

I have cried more in the last 48 hours then I ever imagined I would. I knew I loved this dog but truly had no idea the magnitude of my appreciation for his presence in our home. We simply cannot fathom him not always being here.

For now, we are truly enjoying every single minute we have with him. He is moving a little slower and has been throwing up a bit, but is otherwise acting completely like himself.

I owe it to this dog to see him to the very end. And I'm praying that that end comes much later than any of us are expecting!

Made it through the night

Scrubbs made it through the night. This is a really good thing. He had a lot of swelling after the procedure yesterday, and the Vet thought it might mean he dies quickly from dehydration/shock. So making it through that tough 24 hours means we could get some extra time with him. The Vet guessed no more than weeks, but truly, no one knows. We could go to Knoxville and get a bunch of tests done to know exactly what we are dealing with, but we don't want to do that to Scrubs. We want to just take him for walks on the farm and let him enjoy his last days/weeks/months with us here on the farm.

His belly is swollen and one of his legs is very swollen. He also threw up last night. But otherwise, he is acting quite like himself. He is moving slower but still very present and he does not appear to be in any pain.

I will definitely keep everyone posted here on the Blog.

Amen.