Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Mysterious Homeschooling Angel

This will not be the first time you've read an account of ministering angels (see my prior post HERE for some of my cancer-related stories). However, this just might be the first time you've seen a blog post with an angel story AND a mommy blog on homeschool ideas combined.

How this all began is my twin sis, whom I spend a lot of time text swapping homeschool ideas with, asks me today if I have some good tot-school ideas (we have toddlers very near in age).  I think to myself "why yes sis, I certainly do!".  Thus I walk around my house snapping pictures with my phone (photo documenting is quite common for me these days) to send her.  Then wammo!  The flood gates of my mind open and I'm off and running.  After about the 3rd email of ideas I realize just how many ideas I've come up with and start congratulating myself how good I am!  Then before I could type my next idea, my little tot comes running up wanting to be held.

I swoop my little munchkin up in my side saddle and decide I can unload the dishes with one hand no problem.  I literally open the door and pull a dish out of the dishwasher when suddenly and promptly the inspiration portal closed and I'm left there thinking "don't go away!  I want more!  I just had an idea and it's completely gone nor can I remember most of the ideas I had already emailed.  I'm left there scratching my head as to what happened.  The only explanation that came to mind is that I had a homeschool angel feeding me ideas as fast as I could type them but when I moved on to the dishes, the angel moved on too.  Yes, I KNOW that's an unconventional explanation but that's really what I thought!  BUT WAIT, IT GET'S BETTER!

It took me about 30 minutes before I typed up this experience for my sister (something she would want to hear as it (ministering angels) relates to conversations we've had of late due to her 19 year old son suffering a heart attack, cause unknown).

The very moment I acknowledged that it must have been an angel giving me these ideas, the idea portal opened again right where it left off with the idea I had forgotten and many more!!! By then it's just a feeling of shock and awe.    It was so amazing.  So for all those times I've had a flood of ideas come to me (and they do at times) more self congratulating on my wonderful gift of ideas (heehee), I know where all good things come.  In fact, the scriptures teach:

And I would exhort you, my beloved brethren (and sisters), that you remember that every good gift cometh of Christ 
and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise, men were fallen and there could no good thing come unto them

This evening after returning home from the store, I tell my husband about this surreal experience and half joking say "maybe I'll blog about it If I have any time" and I'll be darned if a voice, yes a voice in my head said "you will have time!"  Well who can argue with that; I figure I'd give it a shot.  I still had a few things to accomplish on my cancer therapy but then another miracle occurs...I look up at the clock as I'm nearing completion thinking there's no time to blog because it's going to be REALLY LATE (I regularly lose hours in that kitchen of mine meaning it can easily be pushing midnight as I wrap up my therapy) but it's not...has only been 30 minutes!

I'm tellin ya folks, these type of things don't usually happen to me.  But if I were to really think about it, I think it happens on some level to all of us.  The Spirit of truth and light strives to be in us all. We are all God's children and he loves us infinitely.  So why wouldn't He, who loves my young daughters infinitely, want even them to have blessed days of learning of all His grand creations and design.  Of course he would!

Now I bet some of you are wondering what ideas my angel gave me today. I'll preface by saying there is nothing out of the ordinary really about them.  But what's really extraordinary about it is that (1) I know it was God's gift to me, a homeschooling mom with terminal cancer who doesn't have ANY TIME AT ALL to spend researching cute ideas (just ask my sis who has to do all the research for us both; (2) most of them are things that I already have laying around my house or I can get them very cheaply at a dollar store or thrift shop (having cancer does not afford many luxuries after all the medical fact, you're lucky if you're NOT bankrupt afterwards); and (3) my daughters will have a blast doing them all!!!  So here they are unedited photos and all (hats off to anyone on the Gerson Therapy who has time to spend editing photos):

Kinder Tot Ideas (aka Kindergarten & Tot School):

Sensory Bin (food)
Sensory Bins Galore!! 
This has sewing odds and ends, you could also do cut fabrics to dispense out of a baby wipe container

Beans sensory bin or possibly an I spy bag 

Buttons would be a fun sensory bin.  They got lots of fun buttons these days.  You can buy a bag of pain ones and then add fancy ones

Stamping.  Also use as reward on work sheets

Any type of building blocks. 

Dry Erase boards...For tot use dry erase crayons
Wooden doll to color
old fashioned coloring books work too 
Regular, puffy, googly eyed, foam  or you name it stickers! 
For either play or rewards on worksheets 

A "surprise box" to use as a motivator etc...filled w my finds

Dress up (which means they must be put away so it's actually a treat). I just got pretty much an entire Halloween costume at the 99c store (hat, cape, broom, cauldron to collect candy, & tutu... the princess 

Dance / movement best music cds were 99c

Games & puppets (find easily thrift stores or garage sale)

Magnets on cookie sheets or white board (numbers letters shapes pictures)... you can make lots of things magnetic with those magnet rolls.  Clothes pin magnets. 

Let your tot play with a big Sunday newspaper.  She will love pulling it apart!

After chasing baby out of this cd case twice a lightbulb moment.  Let the kid at it with a dollar store case and throw away cd's...I just tossed some but I know I have more

Tiny toy sensory bin.  I actually tucked this away to use when & how I see fit. 

Pots & pan play w utensils

I have a variety of these dollar pails (target bins) to use however (sorting) when they aren't holding school supplies. 

Moving pictures would be an awesome sensory bin but I don't know how hard they are too come by.  Ya gotta be looking for them. 

Oriental trading company catalog or the like would be fun to look at for with for tot. Or old phone book

Character cups around 75c each for any number of activities including snacks  (To compete w individual expensive  packaging kids like)

Hobby Lobby clearance sale after a holiday ought to be absolutely fabulous!

Ideas are a rollin! I may just have to post it all in a blogpost for safe keeping & pinning. 

The Ideas stop here (but now I think it's my big ego that stops it not me doing the dishes lol):

My acknowledgement: I had something else but as soon as I began emptying dish washer the inspiration portal closed suddenly & swiftly!!!. That has never happened & it's the only way i can describe it.  Almost like I had an idea Angel throwing things at me in a steady flow and then when I got busy suddenly moved on.  I found myself thinking "no! Come back i want more! " I don't even remember all the ideas I sent you! I'm left scratching my head. ..

The ideas start again here: 
Plastic tub play

Jewelry play or jewelry beads. .. always found in clearance aisle of craft stores or old jewelry in garage sales. I got some from mom and a friend who moved.

Offer to borrow and swap sensory bins (I'll be doing this)

Do a nature treasure hunt in a pasture or side of road  Gather varieties and sizes of wood twigs or rocks or shells for kiddo to sort... you can also buy rocks & shells

Use markers to color and decorate a shirt to wear that day

Leaf sensory bin You can also scribble paper on top ithink to imprint. I got a million houseplants so this will be easy. 

Make a latch board from papas garage with door/gate locks, hinges etc

Nut sensory bin. Nut cracking (it will be fun just to figure out how to crack the nuts)

Used parts sensory bin (check your garage). Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store has tons on weird used parts. 

Metal shapes sensory bin made by daddy or the metal place by his work  Or better yet show & tell box from daddy's work... whatever they could bring home that is. This could be from child best friend too.  Swap boxes w family or go to houses

You can easily acquire refrigerator boxes any appliance store for an easy play house...just call and ask them to save you one. 

Paint a throw away food cutting board

This is what I forgot and remembered again!  Canning jar rings (I've got a ton) to do a ring toss or any number of things with 

Balloon Ribbon curling, supervised, w kid scissors (kinder)

Target dollar bins in front of store.  I don't usually shop here but their dollar bins always have an impressive assortment (this is where I went tonight Ha!)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Who Are You Meant To Become? Responding to a Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

Have you ever wondered if God has greater things in store for you?  The Bible is clear that though Peter saw himself as only a fisherman, the Lord saw him as a fisher of men, a leader among men, the rock upon which His Church would be built. Divinity gave Him the insight to extend the invitations that would help Peter discover the life he was meant to live. 

To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered a chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared and unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour- Winston Churchill 

What are you willing to sacrifice? Are you ready to take a stand and leave neutral ground? Are you ready to do remarkable things and become extraordinary?  The Lord is completely aware of you, He has miracles in store for you, and He knows what He is about to do. Give Him all that you have to offer. He will bless it! He will make it more! Together we can overwhelm the world with little bit of good at a time!  

How we respond to situations, whether we see them as roadblocks or invitations for something greater--With each invitation comes the choice of having faith strong enough or doubt more powerful.  Sometimes you have to set aside times for wondering. You have to entertain thoughts of greatness.  In those moments, the Lord will unfold possibilities you have never even considered.

Through understanding how Peter found his potential, we can better understand how to achieve all we are meant to be.  Journey with Peter and the Savior as you begin to understand the potential the Lord sees in you. 


the life you were meant to live


None of the above were my own words but rather the description plus several reader reviews of a new book entitled The Peter Potential.  I was so very  taken and inspired by the description alone that I thought it worthy to blog about.  Then I got this crazy idea to see if I could share some of it's inspirational message without giving away it was a book, or better yet, one I've never read!  

The Peter Potential, and why I feel so compelled by it's message---I'd have to say that it started, in part, by my recent internal struggle of turning my daughter over (casting my net) to the public school system.  What  you need to understand is that I've been planning to homeschool long before I even thought I'd have children (being infertile for an entire decade).  Even as a public high school teacher, part of my ongoing education was purposefully attending homeschooling seminars (Thomas Jefferson Education).  And then it happened, God blessed me with not 1, but 2 beautiful daughters!  And Iet me tell ya, as an older mom I've been living it up...mommy-daughter library days, music makers, field-trips, mommy pre-k, the whole 9 yards...then I got cancer.

During a full year of cancer treatment, all the mommy-daughter time was put on entire life was put on hold.  My 3 turned 4 year old was graciously taken in every single day by other mommies from church.  My preemie newborn (whom I had to deliver early because of the cancer) was essentially raised by my own mother her entire first year of life.  If I wasn't receiving chemo or radiation, or surgery I was sleeping from all the pain meds.

Until finally one day  the sun tipped over the horizon again...cancer treatment was complete and everything looked good.  I'm on the mend, I've re-entered society in a new house, a new city, a new church family (we moved about 10 miles closer to my parent's home during the cancer...or I should say, everyone else moved us I just showed up).  

I've been getting on a role again even finishing another year of mommy pre-k.  I recently found a kindergarten curriculum (5 in a Row) that looks perfect for us.  We began the library's summer reading program, weekly dollar day movies...I had the entire summer lined up.  Mommy-daughter time is back in business! 

Amidst our summer fun, I mosey on down for my routine 6 month follow. Uh Oh-- the CT-Scan sees something.  My oncologist is concerned so he orders A PET-Scan which reveals not only is the cancer back but has metastasized.  It's's inoperable.

But God is in control this whole time, he has actually been preparing me for for a solid 7 years on the next step he wants me to take.  I'm to decline the chemo to instead to the nutritionally based Gerson Therapy which I'll admit is only possible for me because I've been in a 12-step program for food addiction these past 7 years which, praise God, made it fairly easy to eat this very healthy but non conventional to the average person way.  Could my food addiction nemesis really turn to be my salvation?  I wonder if Peter ever felt that way?

So today I'm doing the Gerson Therapy full swing.  I feel pretty good barring some tiredness I get from the constant detox. You'd never think looking at me there is cancer raging in my body.  But the Gerson Therapy is by no means an easy way out (vs chemo); in fact it's very, VERY rigorous.  The funny thing is I've joked over the years that I may have thrived living law of Moses in the Old Testament because I like structure...well now I get to put my money where my mouth is with this therapy every single day...The Holy Spirit already whispering to my heart that this is a spiritual exercise just as much as it is a physical one!  

So turning back to the point of this entire post, I've realized that if there is any chance to homeschool at all in my future, I must let my daughter go for now...cast her out in "Peter's net" so to speak (with maybe a few tears) while I heal my body before I can draw her back into me again.  

And should the good Lord see fit to take me back home to Him sooner rather than later, won't I in essence be casting my precious little family out in the net so to speak?  Away from me for a season? But like Peter who when casting his nets at his own bidding found his net's yield random at best or completely empty at worst. YET at the Lord's beckoning, his nets were overflowing in abundance EVERY SINGLE TIME!  I'm choosing to cast my net at the Lord's call. 

The Lord has tapped, no SLAPPED me on the shoulders with this cancer.  No trial is wasted with the Lord unless we choose to let is waste us.  When I read the blurb on this book and thus began pondering Peter's ministery, I realized that I NEED the Lord to turn this trial into something great, but not only for me but also my dear husband and precious daughter's...and all the good dear people who are ministering to us and praying for us.  May the Lord find me prepared and qualified for it.

So here I am today, my nets are cast in faith. I will wait upon the Lord knowing and praising Him in advance that my net will not return empty, but overflowing in ways I can't even comprehend yet.  I sustain the plan of salvation!  I hope you do too.

His eye is on the Sparrow and 

I Know 

He watches over me!

Disclaimer: Nope, I don't know the authors. Nope, I wasn't given anything to review this book.  I just stumbled across it in a mailer at dinner tonight.  BAM! there it was and I felt utterly compelled to share it's message. Now I think I'll go buy it! 

FYI another book I heard an entire podcast about several years ago by Cindy Rushton and even ordered my own copy just to have it sit on my bookshelf ever since collecting dust bunnies.  And here's the kicker!? As it turns out, it's not even necessary that I read this book anymore to understand the message (even though I'd still like to) because with my recent terminal cancer diagnosis ( find the details here ), I know exactly what the author is talking about.  The book's title? One Month To Live: Thirty Days To A No-Regrets Life (Shook)

Amazon description & Reviews
Author's blog (I plan on reading)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What Would You Do if You Were Told You Are Going To Die?

I think everyone wonders what they might do if they were told they're going to die.  Well, I got the chance to do just that 1 week ago.  This is not something that one can just type up because there is alot of emotions that go along with it; therefore, I made an "unprofessional" audio recording for my family (and then decided to share it with the rest of the world too). YOU CAN LISTEN TO MY STORY HERE.  

I also want to add one important point that is not in my audio that I heard someone mention in church last Sunday that is indeed my story.  Quoting from scripture:
“And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions. 
“And now it came to pass... the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord” (Mosiah 24:14–15). 
People who know my "dire" diagnosis keep mentioning their amazement that I'm not only ok but quite happy and peaceful.  Well this scripture sums it up.  The Lord has lightened my burden of cancer that I am able to submit to it cheerfully so He can do His great work in me (and trust me there's alot of work that needs to be done!) and so I can stand more fully as a witness for him!  This is not power I have in and of myself (or I might be a tee-total wreck right now), but rather it is God's gift to me for which I am eternally grateful!

Now, back to my recording. If I had the time I'd divide my audio recording into segments but oh well! Sorry! The best I can do is offer a quick "table of contents" for you:

  1. I discuss my diagnosis and why I'm so happy, happy, happy despite the news.  I list a run-down of miracles that happened leading up to this...I'd like to think it's God making sure I know He has his eyes on me.
  2. The Gerson Therapy explained off the top of my head (so yes, I made a few minor and inconsequential errors) and why I'm choosing it over conventional medicine
  3. Finale: The big secret that even my doctor doesn't know that should have us all dancing in the streets!

It's truly an honor and privilege to be privy to such marvelous works that the Lord is unveiling before my very eyes daily, so quickly I can't document it all. It reminds me of AN UNBELIEVABLE STORY I just heard about a Dad who flew to Haiti a few short days after the massive earthquake to rescue a little girl they adopted.  He left not knowing before hand what he would do with only a backpack, granola bars and some jerky.  Yet God had a great work for him to accomplish.  He ended up saving the lives of countless orphans and also acquired a military escort to transport several dozen baby's back to the states.  It is truly a mission impossible story that will leave you on the edge of your seats! You can hear the entire Haiti rescue mission HERE.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Angels Among Us: My Personal Angels

In my last post I promised to tell you my angel story.  To give you a little background, since my diagnosis of colorectal cancer while pregnant on  November 1, 2012-- I made a regular habit to pray for the ministering of angels.  Please let me explain exactly what I mean by this.

I found comfort reading many near death experience (NDE) books last year when I was most ill from cancer treatment.  All of these NDE survivors shared a common observation of heaven and its dealings with us which is: Angels are always in our midst--aiding and ministering to us--AND these angels are almost always our closest friends and relatives.   If you think about it, this makes perfect sense.  Who loves you more than your own family?  Who has your best interest at heart if it isn't your own kinsfolk.   Thus, who better for God to send to us when an angel is needed, right?!

Well, I indeed found this to be very true in my own case as well.   I had very many instances during my treatment when I felt my deceased family members watching over me (supporting me, encouraging me, and just being present).  Here are a few examples:

Grandma & Aunt Vonn
January 2013: I delivered my second child 8 weeks premature to begin cancer treatment.  But I had to be admitted a week earlier because of an unexpected infection.  Visitors came daily, mainly because the constant morning ritual to help me heal was a quite painful procedure, so I just needed someone to hold my hand.  Nope, I'm not kidding.  I had someone drive up every morning just to hold my hand for 5 minutes. One morning, my niece popped in for a visit.  Although she usually maintains a very busy schedule, she stayed a while visiting and come to find out, she actually had been in a rush to get to work but felt compelled to wait for the medical staff to leave my room to inform me that she felt a very strong, almost overwhelming presence of two spirit personages in the room with us.  Maybe it's because they had me pumped high on drugs, but I didn't feel a single thing so I was very glad she shared this with me.  My prayer was answered!  Late that same night, I lay their "chained" to my bed by my medical paraphernalia and out of nowhere, a cameo looking headshot image of Aunt Vonn & Grandma popped into my mind.  The moment I asked myself if maybe it was them whose presence my niece had felt, a sensational envelope of peace swept across my whole body like a tidal wave. I instantly knew the Holy Spirit was confirming to me this was indeed true.  Even in death, this loving duo were still some of my biggest fans!
"Peace I give unto, not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John 14:26) 

2013: Once while having an imaging scan in which I felt particularly claustrophobic.  The nurse put a towel over my eyes to help calm me.  I began to visualize myself in a big, open and field looking a beautiful tree. My hands were stretched out above my head and suddenly I felt warmth in my hands as if they were being held by someone. Almost immediately, I received a knowledge that it was Aunt Vonn there to cheer me on through it. Side Note: Aunt Vonn & Grandma lived for us kids.  They were always at our sports games, musical events, you name it!  Ever cheering us on.  Why would this day be any different, right?!

 April-May 2013: While receiving intense and excruciatingly painful radiation therapy daily for 5 weeks solid, I just had a sense that my brother, Scotty, who died at age 3 of leukemia-- he also having received radiation therapy to his sick little body--that he was just present for it; that he knew from experience what I was going through and he was just there for moral support!

June 2013: For my last pre-op procedure before my big cancer & reconstructive surgery, I sat talking with my husband while waiting on the medical staff when I interrupt him and ask "do you feel that?  Someone is here with us".  It's hard to describe but have you ever had a distinct feeling that someone is in the room with you?  That's what it felt like.  So what do I do?  I yell out with a grin "whoever you are, thanks for being here!"  It wasn't till the next day I knew it was my grandpa.  I just had a warm tingly feeling wash over my entire body.  My mom had the exact same feeling too (separately) that is was her father with me.  Love ya PaPa!!!

Now that you see my history with ministering angels from these people whom I loved so dearly in life, it only makes sense that I keep I keep praying for them!  

My dad died 2 months ago after being ill for decades.  He too, by the way, had felt for the 2 years leading up to his death my brother, Scotty, would come and get him when his life was complete.  

Well, since my dad was ill himself during my cancer treatment, it just seemed fitting that he finally get a chance at being my "angel".  Thus, on my 15 minute drive to the radiology lab for my first CT scan post surgery---I actually pictured dad riding along with me in the car and saying "well missy, let's get going".  It was nice...relaxing.  However, after I arrived I felt I was just there...alone!  But I didn't dwell on it too much because I was pre-occupied with paperwork until the nurse swooped me back. 

So we're going through the standard procedures of a CT scan.  My nurse, a middle aged woman whose name I can't recall, very kindly walks me through the procedure like clock work.  But after she left and I was being scanned, I had a very distinct impression (which I often refer to as a God whisper) that dad wasn't supposed to be with me because God had sent me a living angel instead; my nurse.

So, I sat there reflecting...why her? I thought how she had been so warm and smiling from head to toe.   Even though she did this same routine day in and day out, I could tell that I wasn't  just a number or a job to complete but that she really cared.  She was interested in my story and what was going on in my life.   She asked me questions about my life and children while she was prepping me.  She said "you're so young to be going through this; but I can tell you are strong, I can see it in your countenance".  I really had nothing to say to that but the truth "well, this is the path the Lord has for me to take".  She then explained that she is a believer in prayer as well.  She sees many believers who don't care what their doctors say; that they will beat it because the Lord is on their side!  She said one of the resident Doctors will usually respond to them with "and that's the attitude that will help you beat this!"  

So how do you tell a stranger they are the ministering angel you prayed for this morning?   As she walks back in after my scan, I clear my throat and said "since you mentioned you believe in prayer, I wanted you to know that on my way here, I prayed for ministering angels to be with me because I don't like to do these things alone.  God answered my prayer and sent me you!"

I continued as I see a look of shock spreading across her face, "you've been so very kind, helpful, and smiling.  Thank you very, very much.  It means a lot to me".  Her response? "You are going to make me cry!"  You really have no idea how much that means for you to say that to me"  explaining how she has wished over the years she could stay home with her kids instead of working.  But instead of complaining, she prays that He will instead give her the opportunity to minister to the patients who come in.  When I stood up she embraced me and escorted me all the way out of the office.

Wow!  Isn't God a good and wonderful God?!!  Answering both of our prayers at the same time!  This is clearly a learning moment to follow through when God tells you to do or say something. It was truly a precious moment indeed.

Arise & Shine Forth!