On Many Things

Posts that follow my little bloggy vacations are often long, random ramblings on many things. This one is no exception.

On Gardening: I grew up on a large farm in northern Indiana. We had pigs, cows, horses, geese, chickens, a handful of other animals and lots and lots of acreage of hay, soybeans and corn. Our family garden alone was more than one acre. No joke. We even grew our own popcorn. My mother canned and did all sorts of beautifully domestic things that come naturally to homesteaders like Kristina over at Proverbs 31 Woman.

I’ve always romanticized that part of rural living and tried, unsuccessfully, to bring a small piece of it to my suburban home. For four years I’ve tried to grow patio gardens. In four years, groundhogs, squirrels, rabbits, skunks and who knows what else have benefited greatly from my labors. In fact, from my collective annual efforts, I have eaten precisely three tomatoes, two tiny strawberries and absolutely no sunflower seeds.

Like the critters, I have also stolen a couple pints of mulberries from a wild bush growing through the neighbor’s fence, but that has nothing to do with my gardening efforts.

This year, however, I employed a little solution. Or so it seems. I bought a large ornamental birdcage to house my garden. It’s not a huge garden, but it’s not bad considering we live on less than a tenth of an acre. Check it out.

We have tomatoes up top and, on the bottom shelf, a green pepper plant (far right) and a few things the kids have grown from seeds, including cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers and some kind of bean. (Ellie started this one, in the blue pot, at school, so I’m not exactly sure what it is yet.)

My little caged garden has a latched door on the side that allows easy access to the plants inside. And, look! No critter nibbles. :)

Already this year’s harvest has exceeded the grand total for the previous four years! I’m quite thrilled about that.

On Doctors: Doctors are not prophets, accurate calendars and definitely not willing scapegoats.

I don’t expect them to be able to tell me the future or anything, but an accurate estimation of healing time would be nice. We’ve been told three times “just two more weeks.”

A common interpretation of seasons would also be nice. We’ve been told (on several occasions and by more than one doctor) that Zach “definitely won’t have the cast all summer.” They’re now telling us that he’ll get the cast off sometime in the middle of August. If all of June, July and most of August is not “all summer”, I’m not sure what is.

At our appointment last week the doctor told us we could do what we want, but if we take the cast off and someone drops a table on our son’s leg, it will break again and it will be all our fault. Not only does this man envision worst case scenarios (Seriously? Who is going to drop a table on my son’s leg?? What are the chances of that?), but he also makes sure that we know that whatever happens after he removes the cast will be entirely our fault because he refuses to make a solid decision about it.

On Calcium: Did you know that two slices of  Wonder Kids bread (yes, that dreadful stuff I swore I would never feed my children) has more calcium than 6 ounces of yogurt?

In an effort to speed up the healing process thereby decreasing the length of bondage and, hopefully, subsequently the length of physical therapy to follow, we’ve started pumping calcium into this kid. We have learned a number of new and unusual sources of calcium like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, rhubarb and almonds, among others. We’ve also learned that certain pastas offer a significant amount of calcium, in some cases 30% of the recommend daily allowances for adults! Homemade mac-and-cheese has become a frequent menu item lately.

Another surprise: over-the-counter kids’ daily vitamins offer NO calcium.

On Haters: They exist and I don’t understand them.

This weekend, for some unknown reason, a handful of people decided to go through a bunch of my old book reviews on Amazon and deliberately ensure that I know that they think I’m a moron. One person in particular went to great measures. He (or she, I’m not quite sure) browsed through several of my Amazon reviews, visited my websites and then went back to write me AGAIN about how unqualified I am to write a review because I’m simplistic, a terrible writer, a cruel judge of character, and all-around a pretty despicable person … simply because I wrote a bad review for a book this person liked.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Quite frankly, I don’t care if people agree with me or not, but I must admit that I cannot comprehend why people get personal during debates. So I didn’t like the book. Is that cause to personally attack me? Can’t we discuss our different perspectives without insulting one another?

On a somewhat related note: There are many topics I would love to write about on this blog, but I fear the haters. I’ve had a number and it is uncomfortable, to say the least. Especially for a middle child, people-pleaser like me.

Or perhaps I fear my ability to accurately describe and defend my position on such issues. Part of me thinks if I just do more research and take a little more time, then I’ll be able to do the subject justice. But then I get distracted, and the topic cools off in social circles, and before I know it, the discussion seems nearly irrelevant.

This type of random rambling is probably the “drivel” my most recent hater referenced. Oh, well.

On Homeschooling: I haven’t updated you since my first post about our summer homeschool program. Things are going well! I’m actually really pleased with it. Ellie has advanced to a second-grade level in math and has acquired a great interest in history. Meanwhile, Zach’s handwriting is slowly improving and he has finished the kindergarten reading curriculum ahead of schedule! I plan to start him on the first grade books this afternoon. As a family we have already memorized four complete passages. (We are at the beginning of Week Six now; we skipped one week of memorization, but I’m okay with that. Two passages consisted of multiple verses, so I stretched the deadlines a little.) While the kids still grumble a bit at the start of each “school” day, they seem to really enjoy it. They especially love telling Daddy about all that they’ve learned.

On Serenity: Serenity, peace, contentment … these have very little, if anything, to do with circumstances.

This summer has combined two things I never would have intentionally chosen: a handicapped child and homeschool. Sure, I’ve toyed with the idea of homeschool in the past, but never as a positive, superior option. In my mind, it’s always been a last resort, an obligation by matter of necessity.

As these two undesirable situations joined forces to hijack my life, a very odd thing hit me: serenity.

I discovered that I kinda like being a recluse. I like having perfect excuses to not crowd my schedule with errands, appointments and coffee dates. (Okay, so I miss the coffee dates quite a bit.) I like not having a “real” job. I like having my kids home with me all day. I like knowing what they’re learning and I like being proactive with what they’ll learn next and how. I love being able to wind Scripture and God’s truths into every single topic they encounter and raise. I like having my house in order and peaceful before my husband returns from work.

I’ve learned that the choices I make in my attitude and the use of my time greatly affect how well my family works. And my family works really well the way we’ve done it this summer.

Your Turn: What have you been thinking on lately?

Talk to me!

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