Friday, March 26, 2010

Hubby is Home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dear Husband has been gone for two weeks to start his new job...He came home for the weekend...(big, dumb grin...).
Sorry I can't stay and chat, but I have better things to do...(sigh, smile).

Sunday, March 21, 2010

When the Budget is Tight

We will, God willing, be moving into a new house soon. We will be moving into a new(to us), big, beautiful house. Can you tell I am looking forward to it??
However, it will probably stretch our limited budget even more than it is now. My dear friend, Holly, has heard my ramblings about home-making.
I am not one of those people who can take a bare house, buy a few odds and ends at a junk store or yard sale, spray paint them and make my house beautiful with them. I don't have that nack. Does anyone else struggle with this??
If my house is relatively clean, and picked up, that is about as decorated as it gets. I do put some pictures on the walls, and use a few dresser scarves or doilies and such, but I just have a hard time seeing how things could look. And we rarely have the money to do much.
I have decided, however, to put a category in my budget in our new house that will at least provide a little funding if we want to re-paint or such.
I wish I knew the secret to making a house a home, visually. I am not talking about being so fussy about how things look that I get grumpy about it--but just to maintain a degree of simple beauty in the house with whatever simple things I come across, or could make myself.
How do you-all create atmosphere in your dwellings??

What's the Matter with Boys??

I went to a new church today. With Chara away at his new job, I decided to be adventurous and go somewhere completely new to us.
It was a friendly church, with a nice atmosphere, and the people were helpful(ie I needed a changing table as soon as I got there...).
I troop in with my three boys and my protruding stomach. Several people welcomed us, and asked us about ourselves. However, every time I said I was having another boy, all I got were groans and almost sympathy.
Now, I am not saying I don't want a girl, I do. But someone tell me, why are boys so bad?? One lady even said that her daughter had two boys and then took measures to be "done", just so she wouldn't have anymore boys.
There are things about boys that can be scary, as a parent. They can be more aggressive, and daring, which can put them into danger. As far as I know, none of the school shootings took place with a girl on the trigger.
But if you look at society, what makes society safe, free, charitable, and moral more than anything else?? A society of upstanding, righteous, God-fearing men.
Yes, boys can be energetic, hard to control, and difficult to parent in ways that many girls are not (though there are exceptions...). But I don't think good women have the same effect on society as a whole as well-brought up men, and boys will grow up to be men.
So as we do the daily difficult grind of parenting our boys, let us remember that these little boys will grow up to be men. And it is how we shape their character now that will ultimately determine what kind of men they will grow into. Think about that boy with the gap-tooth grin, and unruly shock of hair as a husband and father someday. Or as a future employer or employee. Think about his faults and sin-tendencies, and then boot him up ten years. What do you see?? Will he be the kind of man that will be a benefit to society, by his strong leadership, servant's heart, and his willingness to sacrifce?? Or will he suck society dry by his shallow desire for pleasure, entertainment, and run from responsibility??
We must decide now. When they are young. So that in the future, our own children will want boys, because they know how vital good men are in society.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Comment on The Waltons

I have in my possession, two seasons of the old family drama The Waltons. My dear brother got them for me for Christmas the last few years. For the most part, I really love watching them. Compared to most media options available these days, they are refreshing, relatively wholesome, with enough humor to keep it entertaining. Mostly, I listen to them when I am alone in the evenings, doing dishes and such.
However, there is one aspect that drives me a little crazy. The character of Mary Ellen. She is the oldest girl, and something of an early feminist. She's around thirteen years old, and tends to be scatterbrained, something of a bully, a bit of a tomboy, very selfish, and full of moods and tempers. She has no interest in doing womanly things like cooking, keeping house, or the like. She'd rather be off inventing something, exploring something, or imagining life away from home.
Her character really irritates me at times, as she's always complaining and whining about something. She constantly gripes about having to do dishes and ironing, and tends to let things burn in the kitchen. She also seems to think somehow that the boys/men in the family have it all so great because they don't have to do the "boring household jobs" like she does. She tends to be very ungrateful for the daily services and sacrifices offered by her mother and father.
In essence, I think the script writers were trying to sneak in some feminist propaganda, but they put it in a younger, less important character, so that it could be labeled as rebellious youth, and wouldn't offend older, traditional viewers.
I wish they had done an episode where the parents get so fed up with her moods and ingratitude that they allow her to switch roles and be a boy. She would be made to work in the family's sawmill for eight or ten hours, and have to load and unload lumber, and help saw trees with a cross-cut saw, and see how she likes it.
She also needs to be made to see how willing she is to accept other peoples' sacrifce on her behalf, made because they love her, but how unwilling she is to sacrifice her own time, comfort, convenience, or amusement for the same people who love her so much, and do so much for her.
She doesn't seem to see what her life would be like if her parents and grandparents acted like she does, and if they treated her like she treats them.
I wish I could hold a discussion about this with some of the young girls growing up today, whom, I think, hold to a similar mentality. Girls whose parents provide them with so much, and yet they aren't at all grateful for it, but think it's their right. Teen girls who have no appreciation for the work that goes into their provision, and no desire to lighten that load or pay back in some way, a portion of what they received. They are just content to live each day, with their hands out, whining, complaining, making life miserable for those who love them more than they deserve.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thoughts On Obamacare

I was unexpectedly at my mom and dad's last night, and took full advantage of the opportunity to watch as much FOX news as I could. I also took in a five minute u-tube video of some of the things that are in this healthcare bill.
This bill is so disturbing.
It's 2700 pages--who could possibly read that?? Or understand the legal, official jargon it contains??
The video I saw listed page numbers and sections and described some of what is in the bill. Here are some snippets (without the page numbers, as I didn't write them down.)
-There is a dollar limit on how much medical care we can receive. It was $5000 for individuals, and $10000 for a family per year. Let's see, I have been taking a prescription for this pregnancy that is $4000/month...hmmm...what would I do??
-There is language that indicates that the federal government would have access to all our personal and financial records--like checking account numbers and stuff like that, and could access the funds therein.
-All illegal alliens would be covered on our pocket. We would be paying for medical services for people who don't work or pay taxes in this country!!
-Doctors wages would be capped--even specialists. All doctors would be government employees and would be told how much they could make.
-A government committee would be the ones to tell us what coverage we could receive from this plan--not our doctors.
-End of life situations where a patient is terminally ill, could end in having government officials suggesting euthanasia, as opposed to long-term treatment or hospice care.
-Employers who pay part-time work would be forced to pay for medial premiums for those part-time employees, and their families (talk about a way to drive lots of companies out of business!!)
-Marriage and family therapy would be under this cloak as well--federal government barging into our personal family lives!!
Is this not disturbing?? When the government gives, the government has the right to take away!!
I have heard that many many doctors would either quit, or take their retirement should this pass. The number I heard was up to one-third of the doctors in this country would do this. Also, how many young people are going to be inclined to take up the medical profession in the future??
Not to mention questions about disabled individuals who need very expensive medicine and/or treatments. Or perhaps even families who have several children (like my own)--I could see baby number five or six being on the way, and having a case worker tell me, "I'm sorry, but you have reached your childbearing limit--the only option that will be paid for is abortion." That would be a short step to a country like China, where women are literally pulled from their homes and dragged to an operating table if they violate the maximum child law.
Don't get me wrong. There are things wrong with the healthcare system in this country. Cost is getting out of hand. Out of pocket to have a baby in a hospital--and that is all natural and no complications, is around $10,000. That is in this area. I am sure there are hospitals that charge even more!!
My suggestion is this. What if every hospital (except perhaps tiny ones like the one I was born in), had their own "health insurance" plans. So that as long as you received your care at whatever hospital you paid premiums to, you would be covered. They could even divide premiums by income, to insure basic coverage for lower income families, and allow for very hefty premiums for those who want all the bells and whistles covered. That way, all the people in a region could be sending in money to the hospital they use, with premiums ranging from say $50/month for basic/emergency care to say $300/month, for the most lavish plan. I am sure some sort of prescription card could be worked up for discounts, as well.
It seems like it could provide working capital to struggling hospitals, the people in one area would be, in essence, helping each other--neighbors helping neighbors. Sure there would have to be some bugs worked out, but I think it would be a much better option than Obamacare.
My dad, who was born in '39 and grew up during and after WWII, says he remembers the days when an office visit was $5. He also remembers how most doctors had a pharmacy right in their offices, and would fill your prescription right there. Most people in years past didn't even have health insurance. Health insurance is a new thing. If everyone had to pay for their health care without the use of insurance, I am sure prices would drop. They would have to, because no one could afford it otherwise.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Inner Versus Outer Circumstances

I just read a thought provoking post at about a young woman who is struggling to honor and serve her father and family. She expressed feelings of depression because her father isn't doing and being what she wished he would. She struggles on a day to day basis, if she is not directed to stimulating and challenging work that suits her. She seemed to be pointing a finger at the Botkin girls almost in jealousy of how their father seems to direct and guide them so well, and saying, more or less, "I'm more limited than you because my father won't do what yours does."
I have struggled with similar feelings as a wife and mother. I have three,(almost four) boys, ages five and under. The constant upkeep of basic household necessities is overwhelming at times. The necessary thought and preparation for homeschooling my oldest is hard to squeeze in. There are days when at the end of the day, things seem more chaotic than at the beginning, even though I have been at it all day!!
My husband, who is very sympathetic about the plight of young mothers with small children at home, and helps a lot, and gives me tons of encouragement, and lots of appreciation, still has his own things to attend to. I help him by freeing his mind of the household concerns, so he can focus on his job, and help the kids we works with.
This does not mean that this comes naturally. It doesn't. Sacrificially serving others day in and day out never comes naturally to any of us. Especially in a day and age where status, respect, and the paycheck are the proof of the value of your work.
When Dear Husband and I went to the Sufficiency of Scripture Conference in Kentucky, I listened to a speaker who dealt with the topic of women's ministry. He used the passage that describes how the older women must teach the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be sober, keepers at home and all the rest. The point he made was that the reason the older are to instruct the younger is because the things listed are not things that come naturally to the younger women, and they need the help and encouragement of the older to work their way into this role, the way the Lord would have us do it. And I will tell you, it would be a ton easier to learn these things under the guidance of a mother, than 'on the job' after you are married!
Taking captive each thought of the day, and making it obedient to Christ is the hardest thing to do. But it is the most important thing to do. It doesn't come naturally either, but it is the thing that can change our perspective from complaining to thanksgiving, from resentment to gladness, from bitterness to contentment.
I would suggest to this young lady that as she focuses her energies on serving her family and father, that she be on her guard against times when she finds thoughts creeping up on her that are opposite to what she should be thinking. Anyone in the world can be discontent about their circumstances for any reason, be they justifiable or not, and the most challenging and stimulating thing anyone can do is learn to control the kingdome within.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Difficulty of Always Being There

I really think the most difficult thing about being a mommy is the constant necessity of being there. I read a child training book once that suggested something many others have not. It indicated that most (if not all) children will do anything for any grown-up that will bother to give them the time of day on a regular basis. So often it is easy to dismiss the questions of very young children. Or to brush aside their concerns or childish observations and prattle(and let me tell you--mine know how to prattle!). It was saying that to forge healthy relationships with your children, effort must be made to engage with them often, and on their level. That means most of the time making eye contact, listening actively, and giving responses that are appropriate to the age of the child. This also means frequently entering into their play, pretending with them, explaining to them how the world works, answering all the thousands of how and why questions.
Ever since reading this explanation, I have tried to limit the times when I have said, "not now, later", to the exception, rather than the rule. I try to take the time to listen to them, engage, and make eye contact with them, and everything I said above. I don't do this perfectly, and sometimes find myself doing exactly the opposite. But it is my experience, that when I consistently give my children the value of my time and undivided attention, everyone feels better. They interact with each other better, they handle discipline and chastisement better, and when I truly can't take a few minutes to listen, due to a task I am involved in, they seem to be more willing to wait patiently for a time when mommy is more free.
This doesn't mean that children don't need to learn to wait, or to not interrupt, or how to do so politely--they do. We try our hardest to teach good table manners, please, thank-you, excuse me and the rest, and when we say "not right now" we do mean it. I think, however, that if we want their attention when we have something important to say to them during the course of their childhood and later years, they are much more willing to receive it if they are used to interacting and talking, and know that their opinions, ideas, and questions are considered just as valuable as ours.
Also, I think this is the biggest reason "interactive" toys are so popular today. It's much much easier to give a child a toy that feigns interaction than to interact with that child ourselves. It's easier to put the child in front of a tv or computer screen that will engage him than to engage him ourselves.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

An Update

Hello World. I haven't posted in several days, cause we have been so busy. I don't remember how much I have or haven't posted about everything, so here is the big scoop. We are moving. To Altoona, PA.
About a month ago, the company my dear husband works for dedided to close its doors. However, they made the offer to relocate anyone interested in staying with the company. He applied, and they came through with an offer of a new job near Altoona, PA. He will be working as a Counselor-2, with troubled boys at a residential facility--pretty much what he does now, and has done for quite a few years. He will sustain a small pay raise, and keep all his current vacation, benefits, and retirement that has been started.
As of right now, we have put a bid on a house to buy(as rent is pricey), and so far, things look good. The sellers should be signing the papers on Saturday, and then we can submit the loan application, and hopefully get things going. We are paid up here til the end of the month, and will move our stuff out then(we have permission to move it into the new house early), and me and kiddos will be staying with my mom and dad for a coupla weeks til the closing. This is all hypothetical of course, til Saturday. Chara starts his new job on Monday. We'll pack him up and he'll drive down on Sunday--and I'll be as lonley as lonely can be til we are moved in!!
This has had to happen very fast, and all the decisions have been made very fast, out of necessity. There hasn't been much time to think about things. We are sorry to be leaving the area, but are thankful that work has been secured for Chara, and that housing has opened up that we can afford.
We may, however, not have internet for awhile. It's not exactly a need, and until we get a feel for the budget at the new house, we will have to do without it. So around the end of March, if I seem to disappear, that is why(though it could drag on into April at mom's). I will try to let you all know before we move, so you have some idea of what's happening.