Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Question and answer

By true blessings: Heelo, I have a question. DO you believe homeschooling is meant for every child? or do you have to be led to do that? I would have loved to homeschool since my kids were little ,but my 2 oldest are 12 and 13 ,and they attend a very good school,as far as curriculum goes,their website is yesprep.org,can you tell me what you think about this?It is privately funded so it is not a public school.ANd I also feel that if I were to withdraw them ,that I would not be able to teach them like their school teachers..thank you

Yes, I do think that being taught by their parents is the ideal situation for all kids to be in. This goes for academics as well as general life skills, or a trade that the Dad may work in. Imparting an education is only part of homeschooling.

Other, equally important benefits of homeschooling include a close-knit family, siblings who learn to become best friends with their family members, and who see first hand every day how much work it takes to keep this ship called "family" afloat. They learn to pitch in from an early age, and they learn to teach their younger siblings.

Homeschooling is also as much about teaching and growing us as parents as it is about the kids. A homeschool mom is forced to constantly grow - academically, spiritually, and as a mother, as well as in every area of life that we could all use growth in but are all too often happy to be complacent. There is nothing like waking up to a house full of hungry, energetic little sinners that you know you will have to spend all day with teaching and training that will drive you to your knees and ask God for His help.

Mom is forced to spend large amounts of time with her kids, instead of the internet or TV. Our modern world often looks at large families and thinks that the kids in these situations are not getting enough individual attention, when just the opposite is true for those families who choose to homeschool. While the public elementary school kids on our street get picked up at 8 am and dropped off at 4:20 pm, my kids are usually sitting down to a hot cooked breakfast when the bus rolls around in the morning, and when it comes back around in the afternoon they have not only completed their school work, but also spent hours playing with each other, helping me, and running errands.

At home, there is no peer pressure to wear the latest fashions or labels. Nobody cares if you wear your brother's handed-down clothes. Our kids know nothing about any TV shows or current movies, or popular books such as Harry Potter or Twilight. If they went to school, they would either quickly become very wise in these worldly matters, or be social outcasts, neither of which we want for them.

Another (maybe fringe) benefit of homeschooling is that kids enjoy a much better diet than the average school child, especially if they are eating a school lunch. Private schools may offer better options, but what public schools serve is literally lower quality than fast food. Add to that vending machines with candy and sodas, and it's no wonder kids are acting crazy all day and get labeled as having "ADHD".

Finally, I really feel that I would miss out on so much of their childhood if they spent the majority of their awake time in the care of others. None of us knows how much time we will have with our children, and I don't want to have to look back regretting having given up precious time with them.

If you are unsure about whether or not homeschooling is the right option for your family, you should pray for God to show you His opinion on it from the Bible.

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By Kimmie: I have a question. I had my tubes tied four years ago during a c-section with my second set of twins. My husband and I are raising 5 little girls. I wasn't a Christian or even married when I had my tubes tied. I have HORRIBLE carpal tunnel during my pregnancies and decided I never wanted to get pregnant again.

Now, I'm so very sad about this decision. The cheapest I can find reversal surgery is in Tennessee with a female pro-life Christian Dr. It would cost us about $6000, we live on one small income and don't have this money. I am so discouraged. I feel extreme conviction to have this surgery done almost to the point of being depressed about not being able to conceive again. I've prayed for God to heal the tubes, but I have a feeling he wants me to save and have the surgery. My husband is not so sure he wants more children, but I want to fix myself and leave it up to God.

What do you think about reversing a tubal ligation? If it were your situation, would you save as long as you can to have it reversed.


I am sorry to hear you are in this situation. Sadly, it's all too common, and many ladies come to feel the same way you do.

While I do think that reversing a tubal ligation is a great idea for those who can afford this option, I do not think it would be a sin not to go through with it if you are not able to do so. The mistake/sin was to get one in the first place. Think of it like a tattoo - the Bible clearly says not to have one, but if someone got one ignorantly, they don't have to go and have it removed, just realize it was wrong and don't get any more.

I cannot say what I would do in your particular situation, but I imagine I would try to do what I could to be able to have it reversed, while at the same time trying not to be discontent and obsessed (not that you are either). Whenever I feel like I am in a hopeless situation like that, I pray about it. I tell God that if He wants me to be in such and so the position that I'd rather be in, to please help me get there, and if He doesn't want me to, to change my heart so I won't want it any more, either.

Also, not to scare you, but one common side effect of tubal ligation is an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, although still very rare. It has to do with the fact that if the tubes are only tied (as opposed to tied into a loop and then cut), the man's seed could be small enough to make it through the tied part. If a child is conceived, it will have grown too large by the time it passes down the fallopian tube on its way to the uterus to pass through the same spot, thus leading to an ectopic pregnancy. I have personally known a lady who suffered this. I would guess that the risk of an ectopic pregnancy would also be higher in a tube that has again been restored, as there will probably be scar tissue in that spot.

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By anonymous: Just wondering, as I remember the Border Patrol video but didn't think much of it at the time, you have made some comments about a police state.... however, I noticed you have not commented on SB 1070 at all. I am not asking necessarily about the immigrants, but about the increased role ALL police officers will soon have (to charge you with a crime, detain you and fine you - basically deem you guilty and you must prove your innocence). Do you at all worry that you might get singled out as a possible illegal (they have no real parameters or qualifications for "illegal," it is just the officer's judgment as far the text of the bill goes)?

I don't doubt there are some amazing police officers out there (in fact, I have known some). But when I moved to the Phoenix area last year, I was shocked by all the police misconduct cases in the Arizona Republic. For some reason, there seems to be a disproportionately high number of police who enjoy abusing their power. SB 1070 could easily be carried out faithfully and without prejudice up north (or even by our fellow southern neighbors west of us), but in Arizona, I don't believe it can or will be done without incurring massive lawsuits from injustices like your husband's.


For many reasons, I am 100% against SB 1070. It will, and in fact already has been, used to violate the rights of civilians of all skin color, not just those who look like "illegals from Mexico". I think our nation's whole view of immigration as a negative thing is wrong. The Bible and the Founding Fathers agree that the more people we have, the better off we are. Unless, of course, people are coming here for a free handout, which we shouldn't be giving out in the first place, to immigrants or citizens.

My husband wrote an excellent article on this particular bill, you can read it here.


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By Narelle Nettelbeck: I'm a little late, but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts about depression - particularly Christian people who struggle in this area.

I think depression is real, and can affect Christians as much as non-Christians. However, I do disagree with the popular belief that all heaviness of spirit (what the Bible calls it) is negative. For example, we once had a lady in our church whose 1-year old son had died in a tragic accident. Her work made her go to counseling, who then prescribed her with antidepressants, as if she should not have been saddened by the fact that she had lost her beloved child. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:3: Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

I also disagree with the proper treatment for depression. I do not think that medication is EVER the right course to pursue. To those who think that there are chemical imbalances that cause the depression, they are wrong because the Bible clearly tells us that the sadness is what causes those chemical imbalances, not the other way around.

Proverbs 12:25 - Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.

Proverbs 17:22 - A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Other than in cases of obvious sadness like the lady I mentioned, I think that the true source of many people's depression stems from guilt they are feeling. Guilt about things they have done wrong, maybe even through ignorance. As Christians, we know we have forgiveness through Christ for all of our sins, but we may not feel forgiven, and thus still feel guilty, if we never confess our sins to ourselves and God. In other words, if we do wrong and never admit we did, we will feel guilty, maybe even without knowing that it is guilt that is making us "depressed".
I see this all the time in divorced people, who most often never come to admit that getting divorced was the wrong decision, and who as a result become different, bitter people. The same is true for people who did not go through the time and trouble to raise their kids right. The kids grow up to become adults who bring shame to their parents, something that would make any mother feel "depressed" to think that she has wasted her life's work, but the true source is a guilty feeling about not having done their part to ensure their kids' moral development.
We all make mistakes, and some people make mistakes that will have lasting consequences for the rest of their lives. In the end, we have to learn to ask for God's forgiveness, forgive ourselves, and then move on.
As far as counseling, I cannot condone being counseled by unbelievers or liberal Christians. Any true Christian would always point a fellow brother/sister in Christ back to seeking counsel from God through Bible reading and prayer.

While I have no personal experience with what would be defined as "depression", I do have emotional ups and downs simply due to the fact that I am a woman who is always lactating, gestating, or both, and these acts involve a lot of hormones. I have never suffered postpartum depression, but looking at our current maternity care system, I am surprised more women don't get it, particularly after a traumatic birth. I get particularly hormonal in the first few days after giving birth to a girl, but thankfully it never lasts past when my milk comes in and the pregnancy hormones have shifted gears to now supporting the little one outside my womb. The single best remedy for me to get in the right mindset during these times is to read the Bible.


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By Julie: I do have a question, and I am not trying to stir up controversy or question your beliefs - I am asking with respect, and if you don't feel that it's appropriate to answer that's fine too.

If you got to the stage where it would be medically inadvisable to have more children, would you take the decision to have your tubes tied or use contraception. I guess the root of the question is, as a Mum do you consider your first responsibility to be ensuring your own health so you are around to look after your family, or would you continue with further pregnancies despite medical advice? Again, NO disrespect, just curiosity from a mum of 4.


Good question, and not the least disrespectful. It's hard to answer, because there are so many unknowns. Would there be a real, significant risk to my life, or just a risk perceived by doctors who may think I have too many kids already? A second (and third) expert opinion would definitely be in order. Every time I have heard about a case where the mother's life was at risk if she had another pregnancy, it was something that could either have been prevented, or could be reversed/treated. I guess what I'm saying is that I can't imagine such a situation ever truly arising. It is also extremely important that moms learn all they can about maternity, natural childbirth, and healthy living in order to prevent such a situation rather than treating it.

What I do know is that even if I knew that another pregnancy meant certain death for me, I would not condone using hormonal methods at all, since these take the life of the child. If one of us has to die, it would be me, not the baby, just as I would gladly give my life if it meant saving that of any of my other children. I do not support using NFP as a method of birth control because I believe the abstinence during the most crucial parts of a woman's cycle are detrimental to the marriage bond, but I guess in a case of certain death (again, a hypothetical that I don't believe exists) abstinence for certain days would be better than no wife at all.

It's a personal decision that a couple in that situation would have to make, and since I have never been in such a case, I have no advice or recommendations, only speculation. It is possible to put oneself in a situation (even though maybe through ignorance) where any possible option to deal with the problem is wrong or sinful.


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By Elizabeth: Glad you're feeling better. Since you have now with carrying both boys and girls, do you have any inclination as to what you're having? I have one girl out of my 4 and it was so different with her. I was sick every single day until my 7th month. I was sick for only a few weeks with my boys. I also felt earlier movement with my girl, and later with my boys. Just wondering.
Italic

I'm about 90% sure it's a boy, although I'll have a better idea once it gets closer. My boy and girl pregnancies are very different. With the boys, I only crave hearty foods and lots of vegetables, and don't have any sweet cravings. I also gain less weight, in fact, I get to a point where I stop gaining or even start losing, even if I eat to my heart's content. After having gained almost 15 lbs during the first trimester (eating non-stop was the only way to combat the nausea at all), I first stopped gaining weight, and have now even lost almost 5 lbs even though I follow the Brewer Diet religiously and eat as much as I want. I do not recommend trying to lose or even maintain weight while pregnant, but what else can I do than eat when I'm hungry? I do like moving bulk from my hips and thighs (left there by my two last girl pregnancies) to my pregnant belly without gaining weight. Yay for boy pregnancies!!

There are other differences I notice. One is that the hair on my legs grows much faster, and I have to shave every time I shower. With girls, it almost doesn't grow at all. I have also noticed that when I am expecting a girl I enjoy being cuddled by my husband and kids a lot more than when I am pregnant with a boy. Must be the hormones!

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By Holly: Would you please comment on the following post? I am a non-Christian (but not hostile to religion, by any means, just agnostic).

http://fullofgraceseasonedwithsalt.blogspot.com/2010/06/wife-whisperer-is-back.html

I am very curious about how you feel about this post, given your previous statements about feminism.

Thank you!


I liked the article, although I can see why some women would be offended by being "compared" to a dog. Then again, the ones who would be offended are the ones to whom it probably applies, as the author herself pointed out.

Male leadership in every area of life is so lacking in our society. It extends beyond marriage into areas such as politics and the workforce. I think what is commonly referred to as "feminism" has done much to destroy families by abolishing God's line of authority: God - husband - wife - children. The current sorry state of our society, with all its broken marriages, dysfunctional homes, and rebellious children was only the logical next step.

I think the term "feminism" is a joke because it has nothing to do with being feminine. Feminism teaches that in order to have any value, women must act, dress, work, and otherwise behave like men. The Bible, viewed as archaic, patriarchal, and abusive exalts, honors and protects women as the weaker vessels that they are. Not weak as in having less worth, or being less important - just weaker as a fact of life, weaker in the sense of needing and deserving protection. Our kids are weaker than either one of us parents, which is why they are under our parental protection. That doesn't mean they have any less worth as human beings. The motto "Women and children first" was not born out of disrespect for either women or children, but out of utter respect for them, and valuing their safety and well-being above that of men, who are expected to give their all, even their life, protecting them.

Women in the workforce have to wear certain clothes, a name tag, have to give account of their every working minute, get limited breaks at certain times, are not free to come and go as they please, have to be courteous and respectful even when they don't feel like it, are often watched on camera, and generally have much less freedom than any woman who has decided that she will stay home and her husband is her boss. Few are the husbands who would require more of their wife than a boss would require of an employee. We think nothing wrong with the idea of an employee obeying their boss who does not even love them, yet we scoff at the idea that a husband should be the one to rule his own house which he is financing by his blood, sweat and tears.

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By Carrie: I know nothing about you and your husband, other than what you write, but I'm curious--it seems as if you work so hard and have so very much to do, does your husband pitch in at all? I'm sure, being a pastor with another job keeps him busy, but surely no busier than you!!??

Good question. I do work very hard, and I do have very much to do. On a typical day, I rarely ever sit down between 7 am and 9 pm. Thankfully, I was not thrown into this situation the minute we got married, because kids come one by one rather than in litters. The gradual increase has made it possible to grow into this workload, that if I were thrown into from being single and carefree would probably have sent me screaming the other direction.

My husband, likewise, has gone from working 40 to 50 hours per week, to working closer to 80 or 90 hours, not counting all the nights he spends out of town on business trips. It's the natural side effect of having a growing family on a single income in today's two income world. In addition, he is the one to bear all the emotional and mental stress of being responsible for providing for this large and growing family.

He does not help with the housework unless I ask him to, which I rarely do because I see it as my realm. I'm a lot better and more efficient at it, just as he is with his job. He does help with taking care of the kids a lot when he is home, often changing diapers, getting them in bed at night, or taking them with him to the office to get them off my hands for a bit. In addition, he obviously also spends a lot of time playing with them, reading to them, teaching them things like playing an instrument or boxing, etc.

I do think that if a husband expects his wife to work outside the home, he should pitch in with the housework to the same extent that she is pitching in with providing the finances to run the family. Sadly, most women who work outside the home still end up doing the majority of the housework.

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That's it for today! I am not claiming to have all the right answers on everything, only God/the Bible does. These answers are my opinions that I try to base on the Bible, but I am human and probably wrong on something I said.

My apologies if your question went unanswered - it was not intentional. There are two questions I have been asked repeatedly (disciplining children, and how I am so sure none of our kids will turn out sodomites) that are going to be answered in their own blog posts. Any other unanswered questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ways to help your kids keep their bedrooms clean

1. Garbage bag method: Go through their room and toss everything into big, black garbage bags. That way they won't see things peeking through the white bag and beg for this or that broken, junky toy that has been hidden under the bed for eons but suddenly they can't live without.

2. Donation method: Same as above, except as you go you sort between things that need to go in the trash because they are unusable, and things that can be given away. Hide donation bags in the trunk to prevent the kids from going through them treasure hunting.

3. Bonfire method: Round up all the toys and junk and make a nice bonfire. Don't roast marshmallows over it because the fumes from all the cheap plastic is probably highly carcinogenic.

All methods work equally well. Your goal is to leave the kids with nothing but a bed, blanket and pillow when you are done, plus two changes of clothes (one to wear, one to launder). I call this the "jail cell method", and it does wonders to help prevent cluttered, messy rooms.

Am I serious? Well, I wish I were. I finally dragged myself to go through John and Isaac's room this afternoon, which I had not done since getting pregnant. Now that the morning sickness is gone, there are just so many chores to get caught up with, it can be overwhelming. I literally pulled out at least 3 loads of clothes from under their bunk bed, and most of it had never even been worn but was now covered in thick dust. (For those of you who don't know, we have TERRIBLE dust in Arizona, because it never rains. I think it last rained in March.) Every toy box, shelf, and drawer was a total disaster. Three hours of work later, I was only done with half the room. Employing either of the above methods was very tempting, and would certainly have saved me a lot of time and trouble.

It was 7 pm before I started fixing dinner, and 9 before I finally had them all in bed. Only to discover that the two girls had completely taken my bedroom apart while I was busy cleaning the other room with all the boys. Now I still need to do dishes, clean the kitchen, get started on the huge mound of dirty laundry, mop half the house, clean bathrooms, and sometime tonight get some sleep. And to think that they will only turn it into a dirty pigsty again within a short amount of time!!!! In fact, they'll probably do so tomorrow while I clean my own bedroom up again! I feel like a hamster in a wheel sometimes. AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!

Did I mention I am super tired and have a splitting headache?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Enchilada casserole

Having grown up in Europe, I never learned how to cook Southwestern foods in spite of helping in the kitchen from a young age. When my husband, who is from California, and I got married, I soon came to love this particular type of cuisine.

This recipe is one of the first I ever tried making on my own, and over the years I have tweaked it here and added ingredients there to perfect it. I have also gone from making it in a deep pie pan to using a large casserole dish to accommodate our growing family... :)

Last week, I made this casserole with fresh homemade whole wheat tortillas and enchilada sauce made from scratch. For the meat, I used some leftover slow-cooked beef roast. My husband declared it to be the best meal he had ever had in his entire life. And you better know he eats like a king every day, so that was saying a lot.



12 Servings

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 50 min.

Ingredients

  • about 12 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 3 10-oz cans of red enchilada sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked beef or chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked rice or 1 cup uncooked instant rice
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup prepared salsa

Directions

  • 1. Defrost corn by rinsing under water in a colander. Mix corn and salsa in a small bowl, set aside.
  • 2. In a large bowl, mix meat, beans, rice, 1 1/2 cups of enchilada sauce, and 1 cup of cheese.
  • 3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • 4. In a 13x9 inch casserole, assemble ingredients as follows: pour 1 cup of enchilada sauce in dish, then add a layer of tortillas (I cut 2 tortillas in half and put the cut sides of the halves against the four edges of the dish. Then I add cut strips to fill any gaps). Next, add half of the meat and bean mixture. Add another layer of tortillas. Next, add all the corn and salsa mixture in one single layer. Top with a layer of tortillas. Add the second half of the meat and bean mixture. Add a final layer of tortillas. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the tortillas, and top with remaining cheese.
  • 5. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes.
  • 6. Turn heat up to 400 degrees, and bake another 10 minutes or until cheese is golden and casserole is bubbling.
  • 7. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving (if you can resist!).
  • 8. Enjoy!!
12 Servings

Prep: 30 min. Cook: 50 min.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another worthless cop

**** Edited to add below ****

I know - what a shock!

Last week, I had several people comment on a Forbes article I published on this blog entitled "The Millionaire Cop Next Door". The article was mainly talking about how the salaries, benefits, and pensions of cops would translate into staggering salaries for us common mortals who are still employed by private businesses rather than the federal government. The article also made this connection about all government workers, although the main emphasis was police.

Of course, there were comments telling me that such is not the case everywhere, and not for other government workers such as fire fighters, military, and teachers. True, these branches do not have to offer the same benefits as police departments, because there is always an abundance of people wanting to get into those jobs, while the police is always growing, and always on the prowl to hire more little robots. They'll take every Tom, Dick and Harry and give them insane benefits to boot.

You can dispute that, but I won't publish your comment, because you are wrong. Case in point the local news tonight (emphasis mine):

Assistant Chandler Police Chief Dave Lind would tell Chief Sherry Kiyler he had "things to do" or "errands to run." Then for months he would leave his office in the middle of work days to meet the wife of a motorcycle buddy at nearby hotels for [---], according to an internal investigation.

A 13-page internal investigation report obtained through a public records request details how the assistant chief socialized with the woman and her husband at motorcycle events and how their affair began last year after she confided in Lind that she thought her spouse was cheating.

The names of the couple were redacted from the report.

On April 22 the husband called Kiyler [police chief] to complain about Lind's conduct and a subsequent investigation led to Lind's two-week suspension without pay for "unbecoming conduct." He returned to work this week. Police spokesman Sgt. Joe Favazzo said the husband is not a Chandler police officer but he declined to identify the man or say whether he is an officer for another department. Records show the woman refused to be interviewed, hinting Lind may have used his high-ranking position to pursue the affair. "I'll use abuse of power as my general blanket statement," she told investigators.

A former Tempe police officer who retired from that department two years ago, Lind was hired as an assistant Chandler chief in December 2008; his annual salary is $146,071. He also is collecting a public safety retirement pension for his work in Tempe. [So he is probably getting paid a total of at least $200,000 per year to commit adultery on the clock, being paid for by hard-working citizens!!!]

[...]

"Lind believed that his meetings with (name redacted) were never at the expense of the department nor affected the ability for him to complete his duties," the report said. "However, the issue of unbecoming conduct relates to the issue of employees conducting themselves in a manner that will reflect favorably upon the police department."

Lind is the second Chandler police officer this year to come under fire for [---] conduct during work hours. In February Lt. Shawn Hawkins resigned in the middle of the investigation after a fellow employee accused him of "terrorizing" her and threatening to expose the salacious details of their relationship that included having [---] while at the police station.

[...]

Shawn Hancock, president of the Chandler Law Enforcement Association, said the police union is in contract negotiations and does not intend to make an issue of Lind's discipline. "He took his punishment, he's dealt with this, and as far as we're concerned it's over."

[...]


He took his punishment? Two weeks unpaid leave from his Chandler salary, while still receiving upward of 80% of whatever he was making when he left the Tempe Police Department? I thought the adequate punishment for adultery in the Bible was the death penalty, and I am sure that anyone who has ever had their spouse betray them like that would more than agree with God on this. It sure would cut down on people getting married haphazardly, then divorcing/committing adultery (the same thing), and in the process destroying children's lives and our society as a whole.

No, this guy gets a paid two-week vacation - he's just making a little less money during that time. My husband is self-employed, and any time he takes time off he makes no money. But no, not if you work for the great whore, our out-of-control government.

This assistant chief didn't even get demoted! How can any Chandler cop have respect for a superior like that and work for him? I guess with a woman as the police chief, these things ought not to surprise us. She is no more qualified to fill such a position of authority and leadership than my dishwasher is qualified to do laundry. It's not that she is worthless as a person - but she has completely missed her God-given calling and is meddling in an area that she is failing miserably in.

Tempe, the city in which I live, just raised the sales tax this month by about 1%, as did the state of Arizona, bringing our total sales tax to nearly 10% on goods and close to 2% on foods. They (Tempe as well as the state) said this was necessary to pay for two things: more police, and more money for schools.

And then some dirtbag cop like this wants to pull people over for rolling through a stop sign, while he is committing adultery with another man's wife. Disgusting! Their own life is totally wicked and messed up, and they want to make themselves feel good and righteous by imposing every little law and ordinance on others while themselves committing one of the few sins that the Bible punishes with capital punishment.

And then they wonder why nobody likes them, except for liberal Baptist and other pastors who want to kiss up to the government by "honoring local heroes" such as the police department during special Sundays at their churches.

Even Chandler PD's own website says:

"A police officer is a citizen who knowingly chooses to accept the responsibility of enforcing the laws of society with the purpose of ensuring the rights and safety of every citizen within the community
[except the right of a married man to safely have his wife to himself]. This purpose requires officers to hold themselves steadfast to the great morals of mankind – honesty, integrity, justness, selflessness, and compassion are but a few. [Someone explain to me, which of these 'great morals' did the assistant chief exhibit?] Officers willingly subject themselves to the watchful eye and scrutiny of the community in order to maintain public trust and confidence. [And if they are a dishonest, shameful excuse of a cop, they still have a job, a fat paycheck, and a huge pension.]"

Did you know that most towns in America did not even have police departments one hundred years ago? And guess what - the crime rates were almost non-existent compared to today. And no town was spending in excess of $9000 per student per year to turn out illiterate, violent morons. Juvenile violence and delinquency was UNHEARD OF. But let's all keep feeding The Beast and turning our children over into the care of people with no conscience and no morals. Then when they grow up and become criminals, somebody worse than themselves will take them off to jail. And the rest of us who are not stupid, lazy, and immoral will have to keep working more and longer and harder to keep providing the tax money to feed this machinery of self-destruction.

Shame on you, City of Chandler, and Chandler Police Department!


Edited to add: I realize that all human beings are sinners, and that adulterers and other perverts can be found in any profession, including pastors, teachers, and whatever else you want to think of. But there is one big difference to the police: None of these people have any authority over your physical body. You do not have to obey them. You do not have to go to church, put your kids in school, or otherwise expose yourself to such scumbags.

Such is not the case with police. You MUST obey them, and they are lurking up and down every street, lying in wait to harass citizens for petty offenses to bolster city coffers. When you really need help, you are not allowed to defend yourself, you have to call them and then wait 20 minutes for one to show up SCARED after you called 911 to report someone breaking into your back yard and trying to get in the back door (personal experience).

Police departments put too much power in the hands of a few sinful humans. Because of this, the profession as a whole attracts an unusually high percentage of people who are crazy and perverted and thriving on this kind of undeserved authority and power. The same is true for teachers and pastors, both of which have high numbers of perverts in positions of authority. But thankfully, you get to chose where to go to church, and have the freedom to leave at any time.

I don't get to pick if and when I get pulled over because some pervert thinks he saw me change lanes without signaling long enough first. That reminds me of a story that a lady, who was married to a Highway Patrolman, told me about how she met her husband. I have been meaning to tell the story on here because it is so bizarre and perverted, but for now I'll just tell you it started with him pulling her over for absolutely nothing (and not even claiming that she had done anything wrong). Story to be continued...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From the school room

We are continuing our school work over the summer for several reasons.

For one, we haven't quite finished up last year's Math and English curricula because I was down with severe morning sickness for a couple of months. About two more weeks and we'll be done with those.

Secondly, for most of the day it is much too hot to be outdoors, and if I don't keep the kids busy, they will keep themselves busy in ways that I cannot condone. I like to say that the boys are always either breaking stuff, or building stuff. Not good building, but building as in making a brick kiln out of the back yard, trying to dig a ditch to fill with water and make a moat around their swing set castle, or trying to build a bomb using oxygen absorbers (don' ask me how or why).

Thirdly, we prefer to take time off during the winter, when the temperatures are mild and spring-like, perfect for hiking and other outdoor fun. Accounting for the fact that I am due in early December, right in the middle of holiday season, I am planning on taking December and January completely off.

And last but not least, I'm just a jerk that way and like to torture my kids by making them do school work. Not really. Well, maybe.

Anyway, aside from Math and English, I combine all the other subjects for all kids. We have continued using "Galloping the Globe", and are still LOVING it. I just bought the authors' other book, "Cantering the Country", to use next once we have made it around the globe. That book focuses on going state by state through the United States, tying in all subjects besides Math and English.

The country we are studying this week is Mexico, which concludes the North American continent. Next, we are going to study half a dozen South American countries, and afterward about as many African countries, which will end our trip around the globe. I thought I'd share some more about what exactly it is that we will be learning this week to give you a better idea of the curriculum, because we have seriously been so happy with this program and can only recommend it.

Each week or two, we get about 50 books from the local library on subjects that tie in with that week's country. Most of these books are non-fiction, but there are also picture/story books for the younger ones and chapter books for the older ones.

This week, we will be learning about:

Mexico: These are books with some general information about Mexico. Usually, we also try to tie in learning about the ancient civilizations of the country we are studying (i.e. the Middle Ages when learning about European countries), but I could not find anything wholesome on the Aztecs because their civilization was so wicked that there really was nothing I wanted my young kids to be exposed to.



History: books about Benito Juarez, Cortez, and Coronado. I learn so much by reading these myself, much more than I ever learned in school.


Social Studies: books on Cinco de Mayo.


Geography: the Rio Grande and the Gulf of Mexico


Science/Geography: volcanoes - these lessons will be augmented by erupting our play volcano we made years ago for a science project, and also making (and eating!) this volcano cake.


Science: donkeys


Other: books about various holidays and ethnic foods in Mexico, along with some nice recipes to try. So far, we have made the best and easiest flour tortillas, as well as enchilada sauce made from scratch. We used both in an awesome "enchilada lasagna". I'll have to share the recipes in another post.

Chapter books for the older kids to read on their own that tie in with one of the above subjects.


Picture books to read to all of them during story time, that also tie in with one of the above subjects.


Every single country/week, we cover different exciting subjects. The best part of all is that the books we are learning from are all from the library, which is much cheaper than having to buy consumable school books for each child each year. Because the publishers of "Galloping the Globe" are professing Christians, they are choosy about which books they include in their recommended reading lists. They also list references to Bible passages that tie in with concepts learned about during any particular week, or subjects covered in any of the books. It really is a great curriculum.

Our kids all love sitting and reading these books. They retain so many facts it blows me away sometimes. Isaac was asking me yesterday whether volcanoes were hot enough to melt any kind of metal, to which Solomon replied he didn't think so because he had read that tungsten was the metal with the highest melting point at about 3000 degrees K, while volcanoes are more in the 1800 degree F range. Solomon is 8, by the way. Today, I showed the kids a video clip online about a volcano erupting. Again, Solomon said, "Oh, that is Kilauea, it has been erupting non-stop ever since 1983." These kids retain facts like little super-computers: things go in, but they never come out. I wish I would have had an education like theirs! I think the fact that they have never watched TV also has a huge impact.

On another note, I sold old school books and other homeschool materials we no longer need on ebay over the last couple of weeks, and made almost $400! I'm not sure I even paid that much for them to begin with, as I bought them all used and then kept then nice, knowing I'd eventually sell them off again. I was really tickled pink about that!

Homeschooling is a lot of work, but it is also a lot of fun, and a continual source of making great memories with the kids.

Monday, June 21, 2010

One of THOSE days

Being a stay-at-home mom to five kids (and pregnant), there are good days, there are bad days, and there are those days. Today has been one of those days.

I think it really started last night when, after a busy Sunday, I stayed up until 11 pm just finishing my daily "must do" chores (as in, cleaning the kitchen, sweeping, rebooting the laundry, picking up the house, etc.).

Oh yeah, I did fix one of toilets last night because it was bugging me and I didn't want to wait for my husband to do it himself later this week. It wasn't broken, it was just rendered useless by the improper use of this toilet by three young boys. If you don't have little boys, you may just want to skip the rest of this paragraph. My guess is that they must do everything else but aim while they are using the bathroom. No surprise there. But there comes a point (usually in the summer, when temps are high, especially in this particular bathroom that gets full sun all day long) when no amount of cleaning, scrubbing, or bleach will take care of the smell. That's when it's time to unscrew the toilet, take it off where it sits on the ground, and clean UNDER it from the messes that have seeped in there and are causing the stink. It's even more fun doing it at night after an already busy day...

Anyway, after I got done with all that and the chores, I got a second wind and stayed up past midnight reading. Bad idea.

Getting up this morning after little more than 6 hours of sleep did not agree with my pregnant body. That, combined with the fact that the kids were being really silly and loud today, made for one stressful day. It was just one thing after another all day long. Bedtime could not come soon enough!

In the evening, as an alternative to going crazy, I decided to go to the thrift store with the kids instead. I found a couple of really nice maternity skirts, a maternity dress, and two maternity tops. It was a miracle! These days, finding maternity skirts that are of a modest length is almost impossible, as is finding a top that is not low-cut. I have yet to understand why clothes for pregnant women are so much more immodest than ladies' clothes in general are.

For dinner, I had made roast beef, potatoes au gratin, and braised kale. The kids all made faces about the kale to each other, and I heard them whispering and calling it "stale kale". But they ate it, and didn't even complain to me, so that was nice. John was the only one who loved it and asked for seconds; it really agreed with his zeal for eating healthy. Of course this is the same child who likes to eat raw garlic cloves because of the health benefits of garlic (I don't do that!). I loved the kale, too. It's healthy for anyone, but I would especially recommend it to pregnant ladies who need the B (and other) vitamins that leafy greens offer. My husband ate it with a smile, but when I asked him what he honestly thought of it he said that "obviously it was disgusting". I guess that's what growing up eating veggies out of cans only will do to you...

After bath time, I sent all the kids to bed without story time, which never happens, not even on church nights when we don't get home until past their bedtime. Something had to give tonight. Now I'm off to bed to get rested up for tomorrow and hopefully have a much better day with more energy to put up with busy and demanding little people.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Family Update

This summer has been such a busy time. In fact, this whole year has been. It's hard to believe we are getting near the end of June.

The fact that I am still very tired most days is not helping me with keeping up with my daily chores. Thankfully, the morning sickness is all but gone. Now it only strikes if I don't eat soon after getting up in the morning, or if I don't eat at least every two hours. But this tiredness - it seems I just can't get enough sleep.

I sleep at least eight hours at night, and take a nap for an hour or two every afternoon. When I am not pregnant, I usually only get between 6 or 7 hours of sleep in any 24 hour period, so this extra sleep time this pregnancy has been majorly cutting into my "me" time. Usually, after I get done with my chores at night around 10 or so, I have an hour or two to myself to blog, sew, read, or work on a craft. But now, I can barely drag myself to finish my chores, drop into bed tired and wake up with the kids the next morning. Normally, I like to get up at least an hour before them to give myself a head start.

Well, this too shall pass. Yesterday was my first prenatal appointment. This is my fifth planned home birth, so I had put off the first appointment until the nausea was gone and I felt like myself again.

I had the same midwife for the last two babies we had in Arizona (the others were born in other states), but it did not work out to have her again with this baby. She is is a joint partnership with another midwife now that I just personally don't care that much for (although I have no doubt she is extremely skilled). The personal aspect, even when I can't put my finger on it, cannot be ignored in a home birth. The two of us just weren't "compatible". Unfortunately, my old midwife had an agreement with this new partner that all their joint clients had to be cared for by both of them interchangeably, which I can understand from a business point of view. It's the only way a midwife could ever reliably have some personal time off. Sadly, this arrangement did not work for me however, so I spent a couple of weeks at the very beginning of the pregnancy finding a new midwife. Thankfully, I wasn't feeling sick at the time yet, and there are lots of great options to chose from here in Arizona as far as midwives go. I am very happy with the new midwife I found, although I won't be sharing her name on here. She has already received some negative feedback regarding me when someone (I don't know who) found out I was seeing her and anonymously contacted her and told her to check out my blog because she might not want to have me as a client after she saw it. People can be so sweet! :) Apparently, especially in the "tolerant" home birth community. I have seen some strange birds there myself, but my goal has never been to personally persecute or harass them.

Anyhow, the prenatal went well. My uterus was measuring pretty large for how far along I am, but I am sure on my dates. At the beginning of my pregnancy I was totally convinced that this was going to be twins, because all my symptoms were much earlier and more pronounced. In fact, I was so sure that I went in for an early ultrasound, something I reserve for urgent matters and emergencies. It revealed only one baby, so I felt reassured that it was in fact only one (and still do!). But I can't deny that I am having a lot of weird symptoms this time around (aside from dreaming about twins repeatedly): the voracious appetite, the extra nausea and fatigue, the early movement I felt, and my uterus that is measuring several weeks farther along than I am. Maybe this is just a really big and hungry boy!

I heard the baby's heartbeat, and all other checkups went well. My midwife gave me two boxes of pregnancy tea for free, the exact brand I love drinking daily with every pregnancy, so that was a special blessing. My husband had stayed home because the girls were napping at the time of my appointment, and two of the three boys also stayed home with him. My husband is the biggest home birth advocate. In fact, he regularly pitches the benefits of home birth to complete strangers he meets on his business trips. Ladies, how would you like to get stuck on a plane next to a guy who lectures you for a 2 or 3 hour flight on the dangers of hospital birth, and the benefits of home birth, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, etc? I'd like to be a fly on the wall sometime. :) All that notwithstanding, he does not like coming along to prenatal appointments. He finds them painfully boring. As in, women getting together to chat and hang out, and he feels totally misplaced in the middle of it all. I can live with that, because I don't particularly want to bring all five kids along anyway. I do hope he comes along next time just so he can meet the midwife in person.

The other kids are all doing well. We are in full summer swing, which means the kids are lazy but I have to keep them somewhat busy/working because it is simply too hot to be outdoors between 10 and 4. The four oldest go swimming in our pool pretty much every afternoon, while Becky can only go if me or my husband have time to go in the pool with her, which is maybe once a week or so. We are continuing with light school work through the summer, and also going on lots of field trips in places that are either air-conditioned, or in cooler climates.

One Saturday recently, we went up north to Payson and the Mogollon Rim. Arizona is not only home to the Grand Canyon, but many other canyons, gorges, and topographical wonders. The Mogollon Rim is like a tectonic rift, with one side of it in the 4000-5000 ft elevation range, and the rim as high as 7000 ft. It's like half a Grand Canyon, all grown over in pine forest. On the way there, we first stopped at the oldest fish hatchery in Arizona.




The kids were too penny-wise to spend their quarters on fish food when they could just pick it off the ground for free under the machine.


There was a creek right there where we stopped to play in the water, have some picnic lunch, and hike along the creek for a bit.





The boys in front of the Rim. It's hard to see in the photo how steep the drop-off is because I would not let them get any closer to the edge. The rocks are made of limestone, which can break away quite easily. It's probably several hundred feet high at his spot, in one straight drop. I didn't even let the girls get out of the car here because I was afraid they'd run, trip over a boulder, and go flying over the edge.


For dinner, we stopped at a nearby lake and enjoyed the rest of the yummy picnic we had packed. The picnic table was right at the edge of the forest, overlooking the lake. Behind where we were sitting, a pine forest was covering big rolling hills. The boys had fun going up the hill, and then running down full speed and stopping just in time before hitting the table. They kept doing this over and over. Suddenly, I noticed that John was not by the table with the other boys (they are always supposed to stay together), but I had just seen him literally a minute earlier. I asked my husband where he was, and he said he was up the hill playing. I couldn't see him though, and when I called, I got no answer. I wasn't alarmed because I had just seen him, and John likes to hide out right near me, out of sight, just to scare me. After I called a few more times and he didn't answer, I started getting nervous, and my husband reluctantly started up the hill, still thinking John was playing a prank. When he got to the top, he could hear a faint distant scream "Mommy! Mommy!" and saw John quite a ways off, RUNNING in the exact opposite direction. My husband started running after him, and several minutes went by before they both came into my view again. Apparently, John had followed a squirrel into the forest when he suddenly found himself out of our sight and disoriented. Instead of standing still and calling (we were close enough to have heard him), he started running in a panic in the opposite direction! I am so glad I noticed he was missing when I did, because it had only been a few moments and already he had got quite far. We again instructed him on what to do when lost (stay put!!!). When we go camping, I make each of the kids wear a whistle around their neck because it is so easy for something like this to happen. All's well that ends well!



A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I went to the Phoenix Children's Museum. It is free on the first Friday night of every month, and while I knew it would be busy I had no clue HOW busy. There were so many people, it was very hard to keep my eyes on all five kids scattering everywhere running and playing. It was unnerving. While we were there, a lady asked me if my name was Suzanna, and I told her it was. She said she recognized me from my blog, which she read. I thought that was so funny to be recognized in public. This is the second time that has happened here in town.









Back in early May, we had an unusual spell of mild spring weather, and I was miraculously not feeling sick for a couple of days, so the kids and I headed to a local u-pick peach orchard. They also had apricots, and we stocked up on both and made lots of yummy jelly and peach cobblers. Afterward, the kids enjoyed seeing the deer on the farm and having lunch in a play fort












My husband recently discovered his love for indoor kart racing, and has been a few times since. The place is just down the street from us so it's very convenient.



Solomon is continuing his piano lessons over the summer. He is getting so good at it, it's exciting but also hard to see him grow up. He can play several instruments fairly well now (for his age, that is): piano, organ, guitar, and harmonica. That last one is a lot harder to play that it may sound. He has some serious musical talent, he picks up new instruments and musical concepts immediately. My husband recently picked up another instrument: the trumpet. Oh joy! He has a knack for picking the loudest, most nerve-grinding instruments. Thankfully, he mostly practices at his office.


About a month ago, Solomon bought himself a hamster with cage and all other supplies from money he had saved up from his allowances. It's a boy; his name is "Frankie". He is a very cute little guy, and very good with the kids. Solomon has been good about taking care of him without my help (but not without my reminders).





Isaac has become an excellent reader. There was a time when he really struggled with the concept of stringing letters together, and that in the right order. He has an interesting way of thinking, and I'm certain in school he would have been labeled "dyslexic" and put in a special reading class, just furthering his belief that he was never going to learn to read. Instead, I kept at it with him every day, and suddenly, almost overnight, it "clicked" with him. Ever since then, there has been no stopping him. He reads for hours every day, and can retell the stories in the most vivid details. His spelling has also greatly improved as a result of this. It seems that these kids' brains are like thirsty little sponges, because they never seem to forget any little detail they ever read or hear about. They are always surprising me with funny facts they recall months and years later.

Isaac is a total outdoors type of guy. He is a very hard worker, and literally never complains about chores. He takes out the garbage, cares for our dog, tends to our vegetable gardens, and generally likes to do all the "manly" work. The heat doesn't phase him one bit, and he is not scared of anything. Which kind of worries me, especially when I think about him starting to drive one day. Isaac is very concerned about eating healthy, he will of his own accord turn down candies and treats that have bad ingredients in them. It's cute.

John is his usual weird and wonderful funny little self. He still likes to dress up pretty much every single day. He says the funniest things, I only wish I had time to write them all down. Like Isaac, he is always concerned about eating healthily. A day will not go by that he does not eat an apple (or two or three) because he once heard "an apple a day keeps the doctor away", and he does not want to have to see one. Between all of our kids, it's a struggle to always keep enough produce in the house, as they each probably get about 7-10 servings a day, especially this time of year. Sometimes, I have to insist they eat something "proper" so they won't ask me for food again an hour later. When I was exasperated after finding the fruit bowl empty again last week (shortly after having stocked it), John told me he likes to eat fruit because he doesn't want to get "early-onset type II diabetes". When he says things like that at the store, I get the weirdest looks from other shoppers... :)

Miriam is just the sweetest little angel. I can see how there will be a special bond between her (and other daughters) and me later in life. Girls are just such a blessing! She loves to cook with me, and generally stays by my side all day long. She loves holding my hand, kissing me all over, and telling me "You are the goodest mommy in the whole world!" Except, she can't pronounce a "g", so she says "doodest". She can't say "k" either, and substitutes it with a t or h, depending on the word (i.e. "tandy" for candy, but "Behi" for Becky). It's cute. My husband secretly hopes she will always have a bit of a speech impediment because he likes it so much. Her and Becky get along well most of the time, which is really all to Miriam's credit because Becky is in a stage where she is very possessive and demanding.





Becky is almost 20 months old, and starting to talk a lot herself. She is very mischievous, and likes to climb on top of things, like the kitchen counter, and get into cupboards far out of her reach. She is in a phase where she adores her Daddy more than anyone else in the world. Anytime he leaves the house, she is heart-broken. The second she hears his car pull in the driveway, she runs to the door shrieking "Daddy! Daddy!" and will not leave him alone while he is home. Of course, with such treatment, she can get whatever she wants from him! :)

The other day, I went to change Becky's diaper, and she was refusing to let me put a fresh diaper on her. She is too young (and I too busy) to let her run around without one and hope she makes it to the potty, so finally I put a cloth diaper on her because it gave her the idea that she was wearing "underwear" when she really wasn't. Oh my. I admire moms who cloth diaper toddlers. I mean, I don't mind with a baby that is 100% breastfed. But boy, I will NEVER convert to cloth on a toddler, especially one who gets tons of fiber in her diet because of above-mentioned preference for tons of fruits and vegetables. She filled the first diaper literally within minutes. It wasn't too messy, and I thought she was done. Put another cloth diaper on her. Not 30 minutes (and a snack of nectarines) later, she had a major blowout, and dumping it into the toilet was not even remotely an option. That was the last she saw of cloth diapers, her protests notwithstanding. She also got a rash from wearing the cloth even for the short time she did, because it did not immediately wick away the moisture from her nuclear waste the way that disposables do.

That's pretty much it. Nothing new or exciting, just the everyday madness. Tomorrow night, we are going to pick up another quarter of beef from the ranch where we get our beef and pork. It'll be just in time to have a nice slow-cooked beef roast for Father's Day on Sunday. The funny thing is, I thought last week was Father's Day, so I had already planned a big lunch for that day. It didn't dawn on me until a few days before that I was off by a week. I guess my husband is getting two special dinners in his honor this year.

BTW, if you are on Facebook, and you were on my friends list, you may have noticed that I deleted my account. Between emails, blogging, working on the computer, and Facebook, that just had to go as I am trying to eliminate using the computer during the daytime. It is just so easy to sit down for a minute and stay 30, while my work is piling up. I didn't want to keep Facebook and axe the blog. :) If you want to get in touch with me personally and don't have my email address, please leave me a comment on the blog with your email address and I will contact you (your comment will not be published).