What I would be doing with my kids…Focusing on Hope

Training kids

A friend asked me recently what I would be doing with my kids if they were little during this time of self-quarantine. Here are some of my thoughts. I would be going on beach walks, looking for birds, shells, and rocks while noticing the clouds and sunshine. I would be planting seeds and weeding. This is the best time to weed before the roots get too deep and the thorns get too long. I would plan an annual trip to the feed store to purchase hand size appropriate gloves and rubber boots as well as replenishing or replacing the child-size tools needed for the job.

The garden is a great place to talk about the story of Creation. Where did weeds come from? Weeds, pain, suffering, and death came from when Adam and Eve decided to believe Satan’s lie and they choose to rebel against God. (Genesis 3). It has always amazed me that they had just one law to obey and they were not able to do it. It amazes me how many rules we have to try and keep track of today and we can’t do it either unless we have the love of God living there.

I keep them busy learning about how to prepare our garden space. What to add so the soil will grow best. What seeds shall we order? Do we start them in pots or do we plant directly into the ground? What about companion planting? How will we water our garden? How do we tend our worm bin with food scraps or our compost pile?

Spring reminds me of God’s love for me, my family and everyone. He renews the seasons despite the things going on around us. I know for many, many people, this season of earthquakes, tornados, a very scary virus that seems to stalk its victims without rhyme or reason, governors deciding we need to only go out for essential things and only essential people are allowed to work unless they can work from home, schools closed indefinitely, fears about the effects of 5G towers and electromagnetic fields and how they affect health, “provaxers” arguing with “antivaxers”, while fear is almost more pandemic than the virus.

I remind us that God is still Sovereign. His Word, the Bible is still true and God always keeps His promises. He is the Supreme Ruler of the Universe from the largest star or planet to the smallest thing that we may not have discovered yet. He is the Creator of all even though the created are not always willing to acknowledge that fact. He loved us so much that He created us with free will. We might have several conversations about “Why can’t God make the bad people pay for their sins and not threat the good people so poorly?” The answer I gave is “because God also gave the bad people free will too. Their actions and choices will one day be judged just like our actions and choices will be. The truth is that we all sin and fall short of the glory of God. No one is good enough nor can they do enough good things to be right with God. All sin is ugly and leads to death in one way or another. But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 3:23. Each person has to make the choice to accept God’s gift through Jesus Christ and follow Him or go their own way. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever will believe in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.” I am focusing on hope with my family.

Brussel Sprout “Frittata”

We learn and practice cooking, baking, cheese making other food preparation skills because that is how we will eat each day. It is a part of life that goes on regardless of the choices being made around us by others. Ultimately, we may need to bake some cookies and have a cup of tea together while we color, or paint, or read a story by someone who already made it through some challenging time like “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. As I hear of snow in Montana, I can imagine the long winter. I lead my children in prayer for our leaders while I listen to resources from news media that are more balanced with a prayer for wisdom and discernment about what we need to do to respond. I call this “homeschooling in action”. This approach worked well for me often removing a lot of the arguing about doing “school” because if people want to eat today, we need to read the recipe and follow the directions and do the math so we have enough servings for everyone with some leftover to share. I rarely told my kids we were doing “school”. The more I could include them in real life skill set development, the less of a hassle it was to get them doing school.

I would be teaching by example how to eat as we do our best to fuel our bodies with foods that heal while drinking plenty of water, tea or low sugar juices to boost our immunity.

Music with and for kids!

I love to sing songs with and for children that teach us eternal truths that apply to our lives. When I remind others, I remind myself thus comforting my heart too. This one is by Franny Crosby published in 1880.

  1. Tell me the story of Jesus,
    Write on my heart every word;
    Tell me the story most precious,
    Sweetest that ever was heard.
    Tell how the angels in chorus,
    Sang as they welcomed His birth,
    “Glory to God in the highest!
    Peace and good tidings to earth.”
    • Refrain:
      Tell me the story of Jesus,
      Write on my heart every word;
      Tell me the story most precious,
      Sweetest that ever was heard.
  2. Fasting alone in the desert,
    Tell of the days that are past,
    How for our sins He was tempted,
    Yet was triumphant at last.
    Tell of the years of His labor,
    Tell of the sorrow He bore;
    He was despised and afflicted,
    Homeless, rejected and poor.
  3. Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
    Writhing in anguish and pain;
    Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
    Tell how He liveth again.
    Love in that story so tender,
    Clearer than ever I see;
    Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
    “Love paid the ransom for me.”
  4. Tell how He’s gone back to heaven,
    Up to the right hand of God:
    How He is there interceding
    While on this earth we must trod.
    Tell of the sweet Holy Spirit
    He has poured out from above;
    Tell how He’s coming in glory
    For all the saints of His love.https://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Tell_Me_the_Story_of_Jesus/

How are you focusing on Hope?

What are you going to do with what you have?

Death of the Firstborn (Exodus 12:29) Art by Clairesse Mirgon
Everyone is responsible to make their own choice to answer the question, “What are you going to do with what you have?” My answer will most likely not be the same as yours. Each of us has been given our own set of skills and resources. All of us have access to the wisdom of God just by asking for it. (James 1:5) I really like the story of Moses.  You can read about him in the book of Exodus in the Bible. I hope you are reading this story to your children this week particularly because we are still in the season of Passover.  A simple thing to do is to eat Matza this week as a remembrance of the unleavened bread as we remember the story of God’s provision for His people.  Moses is born in the time of the Pharaohs of Egypt. His ancestor, Joseph, God strategically places in Egypt ahead of time to prepare for a great famine thereby saving his family from starvation as well as the rest of the known world is in the book of Genesis. If you have never read, Genesis to your family, you need to read that story to your kids too.  Moses is born in a time when all of his family and people are slaves of Pharaoh. They have no rights. They work long and thankless hours creating bricks out of mud and straw. They have become so numerous that Pharaoh is afraid they will figure this out and they will rebel.  Pharaoh orders the midwives to kill all the baby boys when they are born.  But the midwives fear God and tell pharaoh that the Hebrew women are so strong, the babies are born before they get there. 
Midwives quietly rebel (Exodus 1:15-22) Art by Clairesse Mirgon
Pharaoh’s next idea is to send his solders around to every home, check out the babies and throw all the boy babies into the Nile river.  How terrifying that must have been for the Israelite families!  Moses is born. His mother Jocabed hides him for three months.  Having had three babies of my own, I don’t know how she did it to keep him quiet enough so that no one knew he was there. Im sure there was reward money for telling the officials that a baby boy had been born.  She must have trusted God so much and prayed for her son to be saved. She comes up with this idea to make a basket and line it with pitch so it becomes a little boat.  She puts Moses in the basket and leaves her daughter Miriam to watch what happens. The Nile river is full of crocodiles and hippopotamus. Not the safest place to leave a little baby to float! I think she must have gone and been praying for God’s help for sure!
Miriam guards Moses (Exodus 2:1-10) Art by Clairesse Mirgon
Pharaohs daughter “just happens” to show up at the river to bathe with her attendants. She saw the basket and had her maid go and get it. I imagine it was a very beautiful and unique looking basket due to the very precious cargo it carried. She looks inside and sees the baby Moses deciding to adopt him even though she knows “it is one of the Hebrew babies.”.  Miriam comes and asked she needs a nursemaid. The princess said “go and find me one and I will pay her”.  What a miracle!  Miriam must have been ecstatic to run and tell her mother to come and meet the princess who is going to pay her to nurse her own baby!   Moses is saved from the river and gets to be nursed by his own mother! I think that Jocabed told Moses every story about their God she could. In those days, babies were nursed until they were much older than we do now. It was common for children to not be weaned until 4 or 5.  When Moses was weaned, he went back to the palace where he was given the best education Egypt could provide. He learned about all their gods, all their rituals and how to rule.   He was a prince of Egypt.  One day, he was out and about and saw a task master beating a Hebrew slave. This made him so angry, he killed the task master and buried him in the sand.  The next day, Pharaoh was after him to kill him. Moses had to run for his life and left everything behind in Egypt.  It would seem that his destiny to help his people has been ruined. He disappears into the wilderness where he meets Jethro’s daughters and saves them from shepherd bullies. He ends up getting married to one of the daughters and takes up a new vocation of sheep herder. 
Moses runs away discouraged (Exodus 2:11-25) Art by Clairesse Mirgon
The Bible says he did this for 40 years. One day, out with his sheep, he sees a bush burning but it did not burn up. I have heard that in the desert, it gets hot enough that bushes just spontaneously combust.  But they always burn up. This one just kept burning. He goes up to the check out this phenomenon out. Whoah!  Not only is the bush burning, but someone is talking and telling Moses to take his sandals off because “You are standing on holy ground.”   Moses takes his sandals off and approaches the bush to find out that the God of all Creation, “I AM that I AM” is talking to him! Not only is He talking to him, God has an impossible sounding assignment.  God tells Moses, “I have heard my people crying out against their bondage. You are going to Egypt and you are going to lead my people out of slavery.”  Moses has quite the conversation with God about how he is not the right guy for the job.  He says I can’t speak. I can’t ……. God responds, “what do you have in your hand?” Moses says “A staff” God says to throw it down on the ground.” The staff becomes a poisonous snake!  God says, “pick up the snake” and it becomes a staff again. God says, “put your hand in your coat.” Moses does so. He pulls his hand out. It is full of leprosy.   This is a horrible disease.  God said, “put your hand back in.” Moses pulls it out again and his hand is healed.  God says I will help you and give you the words to speak. Even now your brother Aaron is coming to meet you. You will tell him what to say and he will say it.  Thus begins the great adventure of God’s deliverance of His people.  
Moses and God’s burning bush (Exodus 3-4) Art by Clairesse Mirgon
I hope you will read this story today with your family.  Remind yourself that God cares for the needs of His people. He calls us to turn our backs on sin and to be open Him with all we do.  Our country is in effect dealing with the plague of the corona virus. Parts of Africa have a plague of locust. God allowed 10 plagues to get His people free from slavery. Perhaps today,  the plague we face is giving us the opportunity to get out of our own form of slavery. We still have slavery today. Sin is a form of slavery. Habits, expectations, thoughtless selfishness, fear, addictions to drugs, alcohol, pornography, videos, all are a form of slavery. God gives us so many chances to choose to trust Him and follow Him leaving our sin behind.  It is a learning curve for sure.  I am grateful that we have the whole Bible that shows us how God uses flawed humans guided by His Holy Spirit to help us learn and obey God’s word. Here is a link to the song, “Go Down Moses” that I like to sing with people. https://hymnary.org/text/when_israel_was_in_egypts_land What do you have in your hand? What are you going to do with it?

Palm Sunday, Passover, HOlocaust and Easter

This week I am mindful of the calendar as I have so many things to celebrate and remember this week. Palm Sunday, Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Holocaust Remembrance Day and the lives of good people worth learning about like Margaret Thatcher. We read the story of Jesus coming into Jerusalem and His prayer “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”  (Matthew 23:28 NIV)   I think about Psalm 91 with a similar word picture of being hidden under the wings of God.  

Hunting for eggs.

Passover begins tonight April 8th and it is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Two very important days to tell stories and prepare to remember.  My children would help me clean the house in preparation as we read the story of Exodus and look for parallels to our present day. It seems to me that we still need to be freed from the slavery of sin.

Passover Seder

In these past few months, I have read people discussing how we as individuals and even nationally, essentially worship celebrities from sports, movies, musicians and all of these venues have been closed down as we socially distance ourselves. What does God say about who we are to worship? Something to discuss for sure! Perhaps there are other things that we still idolize in our days even if we are home.   Something to think about again and again.  I think about “If my people, which are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)  I think the time to do this is now.  Our family is thinking and talking about this as we read through the Bible and asking God to show us our sin as we pray for our family, our community, state, country and world. It is easy to look at other people and notice their sin but so much more difficult to notice our own.  The Children of Israel had to learn to trust God to be lead out of Egypt and slavery. Jesus trusted God’s plan to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin as He died, was buried and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. (I Corinthians 15:3-4 NIV). We are learning to trust God too in the challenges we face in our time. 

Cleaning the greenhouse window is fun because you get to climb up and over the kitchen sink! Make it fun and the work gets done!

I delight to teach little ones the songs we sing ahead of time so that they can joyfully sing along too.  I make rhythm instruments so that they may play along too and “make a joyful noise unto the Lord”. Little people can also “serve the LORD with joy and gladness” they can “enter His gates with thanksgiving in their hearts and into His courts with praise.”  “We will say this is the day that the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it!”  

Little people music and motion.

Easter is on April 12th.  “Up from the grave He arose! With a mighty triumph ‘or His foes. He arose the victor of the dark domain and He lives forever with the saints to reign! “  My plan is for our family to gather together and sing songs of hope and deliverance. We may even do some dancing!   We will join in worship on-line with Camano Chapel, make our dinner with our favorite recipes, play games and talk on the phone.  https://www.camanochapel.org/worship/sermon-video/

This morning I found myself singing this song by Larry Norman,  “Sing me that sweet sweet song of salvation. And let your laughter fill the air. Sing me that sweet, sweet song of salvation and tell the people everywhere. Sing me that sweet, sweet song of salvation to every man and every nation. Sing me that sweet, sweet song of salvation and let the people know that Jesus cares!”

This is a poem I made up for my children:

Oh happy Day! (clap your hands)

Jesus washed my sins away! (pretend that you are washing your hands)

He made my heart as white as snow, (point to your heart)

So His love in me can grow! (squat down, hug yourself and jump up as if you are growing)

Regardless of what is going on around us, I have heard fear referred to as “false expectations appearing real”.  I want to focus on faith.  “Fearless affirmations in truth (and) hope”.  God’s salvation is untouchable by anything that is going on in the world.  I hope you are looking for this hope as you prepare for this remembrance of Jesus Christ being raised from the dead.  Another song I like to sing, “Jesus is coming back to stay. Could be any time of day. Jesus is coming back I know. The Holy Bible tells me so.” God always keeps His promises! I choose to focus on the truth of God’s Word and I hope you will join me! How are you going to be celebrating this week? What are some of your favorite stories of the season? Do you have a favorite song(s) you like to sing? I’d be delighted to hear about them!

Home remedies – Vitamin C

Our juicing box.

I have been spending a lot of time reading on my therapy days about how to respond to the Coronavirus. I am convinced after 40 years of study, that much of our health challenges are directly impacted by how we eat, think and live.

Good nutrition is the foundation of good health as it builds our own bodies ability to fight invader viruses, bacteria and other things that can make us sick. I also know that cleanliness is also an important factor. I’m sure everyone knows by now to wash hands, wash surfaces, etc.

This is what I am doing to get more vitamin C into our food plan:

One of our delicious Klesicks “Box of Good” delivered to our door! https://klesicks.com/. You can select a box or build your own.

1.  I get two boxes of produce delivered weekly from the Klesick Family Farm. One box has vegetables for juicing. The other is a salad and vegetable box. One thing I find really helpful is that they include a weekly newsletter with several recipes on the back to use the sometimes “new to us” vegetables. My husband has some pretty definite ideas of things he won’t eat and the recipes help to get around that. The recipes also give him something to follow when he doesn’t know what to cook if I am not feeling well. 

32 ounce bottles with fresh juice ready to be mixed.

2.  We juice the veggies and pour it into these brown bottles I’ve collected as I have used up the Sonne’s Bentonite Clay. We fill half the bottles with the juice mixture.  I then add a full scoop each of: Vitamin C powder, collagen powder, spirulina powder, Plexus Slim, and whatever else I can think of to bump up the nutritional value.  I shake that all up and top it off with distilled water. I place the row of these bottles in my refrigerator.  My family mixes the juice ½ and ½ with cranberry juice for their dose.  I just drink the bottle.  For my personal therapy, I try to drink one whole bottle a day.  

Somethings I add to boost nutritional intake. mysite.plexusworldwide.com/fiddlefamilyfarm Lots of good stuff there!

3. The rest of the veggies we try and clean and cut up the celery, cucumbers and whatever else and put them into containers so they are ready to eat or take on a picnic. We are doing a lot more picnics lately!

My children enjoyed using a hand juicer to “make” orange juice, grapefruit juice, etc. My friend Carrie Smalley makes “Hungarian Lemonade” by washing lemons, limes, oranges and then slicing them up and putting them in water.  It tastes good and I think its a fun way to include kids the the process of making things to eat or drink.  

I have been watching Youtube videos of Dr. Richard Cheng from Shanghai, China and his extremely positive results with using Vitamin C IV’s for patients with the Coronavirus. He is now involved with three clinical trials that I know of in which Vitamin C IVs are being used. He said he has used 24,000 to 100,000 mg IV and seen an excellent recovery rate. He recommends 3,000 to 5,000 orally for people who do not have the virus to “bowel tolerance”. “Bowel tolerance means, when someone gets gas or diarrhea, cut back on how much Vitamin C you are taking. In a video I saw of Dr. Cheng, he said to avoid the pill form as some the things they use to make a pill interfere with absorption. He also said to drink it from glass or pottery cups. Plastic can leach into the drink with the vitamin C and metals also are a problem. I don’t recall if he said why. https://www.globalresearch.ca/three-intravenous-vitamin-c-research-studies-approved-treating-covid-19/5705405

I do know that I have been reading posts on Facebook from the “Lead-Free Mama” Tamara Rubin. Besides educating people about lead toxicity, she tests dishes and cups for their lead and other metal content. She found that a child who was dealing with lead toxicity was taking his medications and remedies drinking from a leaded glass cup. Lead toxicity in our world is a whole other issue to write about.

I recommend practicing this yourself first and then have your children help you with this. Kids love to smash the veggies and fruits through the juicer! I find kids that help prepare food are more likely to eat or drink things they make themselves.

Our basic recipe is a combination of celery, cucumbers, lemons, garlic, a little fresh ginger, beets and carrots. My family likes to add an apple or two to their share of the juice. There are many options!

How are you making healthy eating more fun?

Home Remedies – Castor Oil

I was thinking of writing this in such a way that I included resources for Castor Oil and even research sites that confirm what I already know by my personal experience. I realized that people may just need to know what I did with my children who are all very capable adults now and who also use many of these remedies. I also have thought about what I would be doing if they were still home in this coronavirus quarantine. As I read articles and talk to my doctor, I am compiling a list of remedies many of which I already have in my tool box and have used for other illnesses.  Sometimes responding to symptoms early on can reduce the severity of an illness. Castor Oil is one of those. It can used orally and topically.  In my own journey for remedies that let me treat many things at home, I have found castor oil to be very inexpensive and a good “tool” to keep handy. 

I have used Castor Oil on my little babies and children topically to help break up congestion in their lungs and for myself for bronchitis and pneumonia.  I have found it useful to treat sinus infections and swollen tonsils.  I have watched swollen tonsils shrink with each application. I have used it internally to induce labor for my three home births at the recommendation of my midwife. I know it can be used for many other things.  It has been in use for 1000’s of years.  

When my children were babies and they had a bad cough that other remedies were not working on, I learned to spread the Castor Oil over their chest. Sometimes I would do it on their back too. Maybe it just made me feel better to have something to do.  I was trained to do this by my naturopathic physician.  He also taught me how to use mustard plasters and  other natural remedies. After applying the castor oil, I would take a wash cloth or a piece of flannel and get it wet. I would squeeze the excess water out of it and put the cloth in a plastic bag. Next, I would warm it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and then cool it off until it wasn’t too hot before placing it on the baby or child’s chest.  I’d would cover it with plastic to hold the moist heat in and then put a towel over that. Sometimes I use a heating pad or a bag full of dried beans or wheat  warmed in the microwave to hold the heat. This usually did the trick to break up the cough.  With serious congestion, this needs to be done multiple times until the congestion is broken up.

A few weeks ago, I had a Thermography appointment in which heat is used to identify areas of inflammation. It can also help find if there is cancer or other issues present.  I am learning that Castor Oil can be used almost anywhere on the body and will help lymphatic drainage. One site I looked at said Castor Oil may well improve immune function and that it has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  Most illness involves some kind of inflammation which causes pain. If there is a more natural remedy to release that congestion without using some kind of drug, I’m all for it.

Here are a couple of sites I looked at: https://draxe.com/nutrition/castor-oil/ https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-castor-oil/

Years ago,  a friend encouraged me with the verse in Hosea 4:6 that says, “My people perish for lack of knowledge”.  “The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. But I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” John 10:10.  I also think of James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach.”  

Daily as a mother, a wife, a worker, a daughter, where ever we are, we need wisdom.  We need God’s perspective on what we are going through.  I find that seeking wisdom from women who are older than I has helped me gain perspective when I did not know what to do.  Sometimes I need younger women to help me too because they understand other things that I don’t – like how to set up the live Facebook function on my @fiddlefamilyfarm Facebook page!

My daughter set us up to listen to David Barton’s Wallbuilder podcasts. I am finding them very helpful, balanced and keep my eyes focused on where they need to be which is on Jesus Christ and God’s wisdom.  https://wallbuilderslive.com/chinese-coronavirus-what-can-we-learn/#

A good health practitioner /doctor /massage therapist or whatever, will teach people how to take care of themselves at home.  With the order to stay home, I hope to continue posting some remedies that will help families take care of themselves in place. God says, “I have not given you a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7 I welcome questions of things you would like to know about. 

What are you finding that gives you hope and helps calm your fears?


This week we got some new chicks. I have found that this is a good homeschooling project that is fairly inexpensive and full of life lessons. They are cute yellow and black balls of fluff. Currently I have one in my pocket as it was a little challenged. Chicks have a tendency to pile on top of each other is a small space. I found this one in the small feeding area. It survived the night with us giving it drops of water we added B-Complex drops.

This is the way it’s been done in my family since I was a little girl. My father raised fancy chickens to show at the local fairs. We always got an order of fancy chicks  and ducks to raise for many years. It about broke my heart when we moved from the farm to the city in the middle of my fourth grade year.  

Today is “moving day” for the chicks.  Their first box was a little box that brought them home from the store. My son used one the Klesick’s boxes of good layered with newspaper to house them for the past three days. He put a night light in with their water and feed and placed them in our living area near a heater.  

Small, medium and large box to be covered with old fashioned news paper. The Newspaper will be used in my garden as a weed blocker and a bit of natural fertilizer.

My father had a small incubator that we used to hatch eggs. Somehow it survived many many moves in our family and I used it with my children for awhile until it finally would work not longer. ITs impressive what a 25 Watt incandescent light bulb is capable of to keep the temperature so the the eggs can hatch. I 

It is a good life skill for children to learn about how to care for the eggs during their incubation period.   I put an “x” on one side we can keep track of which side needs to be turned.  The eggs need to be turned several times a day.  There is also a measure for the humidity inside the incubator. If the eggs don’t get turned over frequently enough and if it isn’t moist enough, the chick won’t be able to get out of the egg. It is really important that the chicks get out of the egg on their own.  They will die if they don’t have to do the work themselves. It can take several hours for the them to hatch.  It makes for an interesting day!

This is a great Life Science project as everyone learns about how to care for the chicks. When they grow up you have a food source. Depending on how long the quarantine goes, this is a good activity for families to enjoy together. Chickens also do a good job eating bugs in the yard.

The thing is to enjoy the day and look for new things to learn and do together. We are all going to get through this. God still loves us and cares for us.  I like the picture of God hiding us under His wings.  There are several verses in which this metaphor is used. 

Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”

Deuteronomy 32:11 “Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that hovers over its young. He spread His wings and caught them. He carried them on His pinions.”

New home for a few days at least! Newspaper should be changed every day or every other day. Wood shavings also work. Keep it simple sweetheart.

Psalm 17:8 “Keep me as the apple of your eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”

Psalm 36:7. “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.”

I know that I need the shelter of God’s wings!   How do you see God sheltering you in this season?  

Zigger Zaggers and Lemonaide

How do you deal with change?  Unexpected and unwanted change?  Some people thrive on change and delight in it while others baulk and dig their heels in. It is one thing to plan for a vacation or some kind of trip with anticipation and planning, but to have one thrust on your family because of outside forces seems very unfair!  

One thing to do is to acknowledge the feelings and validate them.  Take turns talking about what is scary about this situation.  What seems like it will be the most fun as a result of this enforced school break and loss of an external routine?  Discuss things that you and your family can work together to do to prepare to “hunker down”.   What does it mean to “hunker down”? What can we do if we feel lonely or afraid?  There are still resources out there even if we can’t go and do what we are used to doing. Each one needs to work together to create our new normal.  One thing we have done is to have everyone write down several things they like to do on separate pieces of paper and put them in a jar. I called this the “boredom buster” jar and labeled it accordingly. We also have made one with different family tasks that need doing. That worked well as there are just things that need to be done.  

We spent several years of our family life living in an RV and moving every two weeks.  We lived on one income with a lot of prayer, and creative skill development. Moving 26 times a year, living out of color coded bins and mini chests was not easy and many people thought we were weird.  Moving is said to be one of the most stressful things someone can do.  I homeschooled our children while continuing to take them to their various therapy appointments. Often it was “car school” as we listened to “Adventures in Odyssey”, www.whitsend.org “Your Story Hour”, www.yourstoryhour.org “Classic Kids” or “Storybridges to French, German or Spanish”. https://www.worldcat.org/title/storybridges-to-french-for-children/oclc/20258068

Workbooks did not work with the vision challenges my children had so I had to find alternative ways of teaching them. I figured if Anne Sullivan could teach Helen Keller to read and speak when Helen was blind and deaf, there had to be a way for me to help teach my children.

In those days, there was no help through public schools for special needs. I had to figure it out myself. Prayer and “asking, seeking and knocking” and “doing the next right thing” was how I managed. Reading books, listening to Focus On The Family and “meeting” Cynthia Tobias through those Broadcasts, and others helped me find the door or window that we needed. When I hit a wall, I learned to turn left or right to find a way through or around the obstacle always praying fo God’s favor to help me help my children.  The Serenity Prayer and The LORD’s Prayer are life lines. 

Each diagnosis was a new “zigger” “zagger” in my expectations of how my life was supposed to go.  My first daughter suddenly had her eyes turning in and out at 18 months of age resulting in the diagnosis of Strabismus.  This led us to help and training from Dr. Nancy Torgerson https://alderwoodvisiontherapy.com/ for vision therapies and redirection on educational expectations. My son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and ADHD at the age of 11. Dr. Torgerson connected us with a good psychologist who was able to do the testing we needed. http://www.fountaingate.com/services-counseling During the same time frame, my son Judah was diagnosed with Trisomy 13 and lived a very short but valuable life. We had a crash course in Genetics that very difficult and blessed year.

As a trained teacher, it was a blow to my self confidence when they did not meet the expected and assumed milestones.  Relatives were critical and judgmental and refused to help often offering hurtful and damaging advise.   We learned to distance ourselves from them and seek people who would encourage us. We chose to focus on the “LORD, the Maker of Heaven and Earth. “  Psalm 121

One thing we did was every day ask our kids, “Where are you going to sleep tonight?” The response always was, “with you”.  We had a nightly ritual of “I love you.” “I love you more”. “I love you best!” I love you better!” Sometimes we’d have to say “night night little toes” and work our way up all the body parts until we got to the head. Generally by that time, they were asleep.

We have a whole list of songs and prayers and blessings we used to remind ourselves that God is with us and for us regardless of where we find ourselves to be. Psalm 56:3 is one of my favorites, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You, LORD.” I like that verse because it acknowledges that we can be afraid and still choose to trust God with our circumstances and our needs.

We made a point of counting our blessings.  We had a dry place to sleep, clean clothes to wear, a swimming pool, playground, sometimes mini golf and tennis courts, books to read, toys to play with, a picnic table to set up the sewing machine on to repair or create new clothes, or to dehydrate bananas and apples or other fruits and vegetables we got from the gleaning groups we belonged to. We had “school” to do and musical instruments to play and songs to sing.  We met interesting people along the way who had interesting stories to share about panning for gold or of watching the coolies carry buckets of sand on their heads up the hill to pour on the American equipment when they were building the dam in Egypt.  We had games to play like cribbage, Go Fish, Rummy Cube and many others to work on math skills and brain math.  We had friends we learned how to make gecko key rings and Christmas Ornaments to sell and trade.  We collected bottles and cans on walks and recycled them for the kids to purchase things they wanted or needed.  We had access to the public library and could ask for help finding information on whatever we wanted to learn about.   My children gained confidence asking for help and giving help to others.

Summer and Thanksgiving breaks at Cannon Beach Conference Center led us to much time learning about sea creatures and Lewis and Clark as we spent time at Fort Clatsop.  Sometimes we’d pretend we were on the Lewis and Clark Trail or the Oregon Trail. We would try to copy how they did things. I viewed it as a fun way to learn new skills as we appreciated the work our ancestors did to find a good place to raise their families. Those skills are coming in handy lately.

What are some skills you are developing with your family as you navigage the “new normal”?

Compassion​’s Hope

    “Compassion, Mercy, Grace, what we want to see on our LORD’s face. As we go through each day He gives, may we rejoice that our Savior lives!

    Challenges each and all much face. Some we choose, others we must embrace. leisure, and school, let us remember the gift of the Christ child’s tools.

    Love, peace, hope, Light shines clearly in the dark. The world ablaze with insanities gaze, yet the Lamb of God, the perfect sacrifice came to live and die, and rise again to pay our sins price.

    Redeemed we are by the Morning Star. King of kings and LORD of Lords, Wise counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting One, Redeemer, Friend, Coming King for the Eternal World that had no end.

    New days await and challenges we face. May we be strong in the Holy Spirits strength. Forgive each trespass, our own and others too. Grant us strength to trust and follow You.

    Though days seem dark and the signs unclear , help us to read Your Word for Your help is near. Help us trust You and not give into fear.

    Bless our days and our nights. Guide our steps with Your pure light. Grant us courage as we win the fight. For it is not by power nor by might. But only by Your Spirit will we win the fight. “

    I wrote this poem on December 7th, 2014. December 7th, the “Day of Infamy” when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese and everything changed in America. Gardens, called “Victory Gardens”  were encouraged then as all our country’s efforts turned toward defending us from a common enemy. Families, neighbors and communities banded together to do what needed to be done. People shared seeds and plants, traded, collected recycle materials, learned to sew, darn socks and patched jeans, canned and dried foods, kept chickens and gathered eggs, milked goats, raised a pig, and other skills to help each other and our country make it through that challenge that suddenly affected everyone. I think it is time to re-learn and re-share these skills. Most people can Facetime with friends and family. I think this is good time to call mature friends who lived during the Great Depression and WWII. Ask them for stories and how they did things.

    I was thinking this morning about ways I could get seeds if by chance I can’t get to the store. Currently, I get a weekly box of organic produce from Klesick’s Farm https://klesicks.com/tag/a-box-of-good-food in Stanwood, Washington. Actually, I get two boxes because I believe that the first line of offense in being and staying healthy is to consume healthy food and make healthy lifestyle choices.

    One of my boxes is celery, carrots, cucumbers, lemons and garlic that I use to make juices that I add buffered vitamin C powder, a packet of Plexus Slim from http://mysite.pleasusworldwide.com/fiddlefamilyfarm and some collegen powder. The second box is a surprise of salad and other vegetables that I can use to add good nutrition to my family’s food plan. It changes every week. It is almost like Christmas everyweek! Sometimes there may be root vegetables that go well in a soup or stew. We cut up the celery, carrots and cucumbers and put them in containers so we have quick snacks available. We make soups and stews out of beans we have soaked and pressure cooked and add whatever vegetables that go along with it. A short cut is to add some cooked ground beef into the mix of beans and vegetables with a box of tomato and red pepper soups. Another short cut is to add some chopped cooked chicken with some chicken broth with the vegetables and beans.

    I have purchased seeds from Baker Seeds and had good yield with them. https://www.rareseeds.com They have a good understanding of what part of the country and the timing for planting. I also like flowers and enjoy ordering a “surprise mix” of Dahlias from Pearson’s Foothills Farms, in Sandy, Oregon.

    While I do have seeds saved from other years of growing pumpkins, squash and other flowers, it occured to me today that I can save seeds from my cucumbers, peppers and squashes. It is too cold to plant outside right now but I can start them instide. The tops of the carrots and the roots of the green onions also can be planted. A principle I live by is “what can we do with what we have?” This is a good time to do an inventory of what you have. It is a good time to identify the strengths of each member of your family and your neighbors and community. Even children have good ideas and skills to add. Really all of us only have “one day at a time”. Enjoy some sunshine too!

    What are you doing to prepare for your garden?

    Homeschooling Suddenly?

    Homeschooling means you do things at home that you would do everyday and you do it with your children.  It is not as hard as some people think. I started working with Homeschooling families in 1984 when they needed certified teachers to supervise families participating in Washington States Pilot study.  I very quickly discovered these parents knew a lot more about what their kids needed than I did as an Educational Consultant. In addition to helping parents lobby for the right to homeschool in Washington State, I gave SAT tests at the beginning and end of the year, helped with finding learning style appropriate curriculum, tutoring in areas the child needed help with and encouraging parents to keep doing what they were already doing well.  



    My daughter was born in 1986 and I continued to work with families and took a class called “The Writing Road to Reading taking her with me. We joke that she learned her phonograms at 3 months of age as she slept in her stroller or I held her in my sling. That class rocked my world in that it gave me tools that I did not get from any of the Methods classes I took in college nor was it in any of the teaching manuals I had ever used. I have continally utilized that material to teach writing, reading and spelling ever since very successfully with children and adults. My training in Home Economics, Nutrition, Music, Cooking, Sewing, all helped me to meet the needs of my children as well as other families.

    Homeschooling my three children until they went to college or Job Corp is one of the greatest challenges of my life and the most satisfying. I learned more about Strabismus, Aspergers Syndrome, food allergies, gluten intolerance, ADHD as well as Trisomy 13 than I would have ever wanted to know. Each diagnosis and life challenge, including layoffs and strikes, became an opportunity for learning for all of us. We gained skills as we worked as a team. It quickly became apparent to me that each of us brought unique skills and insights into our family dynamics that helped us survived, thrive and overcome.

    I tutored my children and my husband through in college classes as we all continued learning together.   I am a certified Pre-K through 12th grade teacher in the State of Washington and have done a lot of classes with kids on our hobby farm, through the Lighthouse Co-op, as well as teaching music to children of all ages through “All Moms” groups and the Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association.  In 2005, I discovered that Bible Study Fellowship has some really good resources to use to teach Biblical truth to preschoolers through adults. I like how the whole family can study the same thing at the same time with questions geared to their level.  https://www.mybsf.org. Lots of good resource material that is free.  Unit Studies are the easiest way to integrate learning throughout the day.

    In light of all the current news about the Coronavirus, I notice that there is a new group of people finding themselves with their children home from school for the next six weeks in our area. Some seem to be panicking – What will I do with all my kids for so long?  While schools are trying to come up with materials to support families with computers, iPads, chrome-books, I would like to ask parents to breathe.  This is an opportunity to do some really cool things with your kids and make some amazing memories.  There is a whole new world of learning that you will all benefit from if you can take one day at a time and do the next right thing.  Which may be, make breakfast, lunch, plan dinner, feed the cat or dog or

    Start a garden

    Garden helpers

    We are in the beginning of spring here in the Pacific Northwest. Go out, design and dig a garden. Or do it in containers. Keep it small and simple. Let each child have their own spot or pots as the case may be.  Digging is good exercise and a garden is full of learning opportunities! Some plants, like peppers and tomatoes will need to be started indoors and then be planted outside around Mothers Day.  Seeds like lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, radishes, and carrots can be directly seeded into the ground.  I have planted sprouting potatoes and garlic from my refrigerator successfully. There are few things more satisfying than eating things that you grow yourself. Good nutrition is the bases for good health. 

    Instead of investing in workbooks and textbooks that you will never use all of the pages or complete, invest in child size garden gloves and child size tools – rakes, shovels, trowels,  at the local Farmers Co-op,  https://www.skagitfarmers.com so that your child can learn about Botany first hand.  Look for books online at the library and put them on hold.  You child can take before, during and after pictures.  In college, Photography counts as a Humanities credit and pictures can be added to a portfolio to document school work done or plan to submit to the local fair in the summer.

    Check out the Washington State Extension site https://extension.wsu.edu Master Gardeners and 4-H for lots of good information on how to make raised beds and plan gardens.  This is a meaningful math project waiting to happen as size and materials have to be planned for in the design. Look for ideas to reuse and recycle materials you already have around your house or garage. Learn about composting, biological pest control and the list goes on. Some plants need to be separated and transplanted. Currently in my yard, I have Lillies, primroses, and other plants that need to be thinned and will do well elsewhere. They can go in pots to grow as a gift for upcoming birthdays and Mothers Day.  When my kids were little, we often made bowls of plants to sell for raising funds for choir uniforms, mission trips or whatever else they needed.  I called it “math in action” as they had to keep track of what they spent, how much they invested and a running total of the goal they had.  If they needed to borrow capital from me, they had to pay it back.  You can learn about taking “cuttings” from one plant and how to help it grow roots so that you have a new plant for beautiful flowers or for good eating. 

    One of my favorite verses is Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you, be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you may go.”  I’ve got lots of ideas and experience. Questions? Just ask!

    Why Our Family Celebrates Chanucha

    Night number 1

    Some years ago in our homeschooling journey, we started researching and studying Biblical Feasts and Celebrations. At another point, we were challenged by Bettie Mitchell at a Good Samaritan Ministries Counselor training seminar to study the life of Jesus to benefit not only ourselves but also those people God may send to us.

    As I started my study, I noticed something that struck me as significant. Jesus, the Son of God (John 1:1,14), the Bread of Life (John 6:35), the Light of the world (John 8:12) celebrated the Biblical Feasts.

    As a teacher by training and ongoing experience, I have learned that children learn best by not only seeing and hearing, but by doing. I notice in my studies that God often incorporates His teachings by using the five senses. He also made times of rest to focus on remembering His great love and provision for His people.

    The use of oil to commemorate the miracle of enough oil to keep the light burning, was to remind Gods people of His continual presence with them even during the hardest times. God aided the Maccabees with courageous endurance to follow Him and His ways even when the prevailing culture threatened death and destruction. Light is a metaphor for wisdom.

    I have found myself many times in my life needing the Light of God’s word to show me the path I need to take. It often seems to run counterculture to follow God’s direction. Currently, we are dealing with how to remediate mold in parts of our home. It has become clear that this is the root cause of my health challenges. We were looking forward to a quiet Christmas at home with our children and friends. Most years find us sharing music at various venues. This is a season of rest, reflection and “where do we go from here?”

    It is pretty dark where we are living right now. It is so dark, our dog becomes invisible in the night. But we are warm and dry. We have food to eat, much more than we could ever use and looking forward to sharing what we have.

    Jesus announcement of Himself as the Light of the World in John 10:22 during the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, reminds me of Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 9:2, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”

    Lord, help us to see Your light in Your son Jesus. Help us to turn towards Your light and follow You. Help us to remember that it is “Not by might, nor by power but My Spirit declares the Lord. Zechariah 4:6”

    How are you seeing Jesus as the Light of the World?