Monday, August 1, 2016

Back-to-School Reflection: Every Mom is a Homeschool Mom

EVERY MOM IS A HOMESCHOOL MOM! Today is the first day back to school for most area students and teachers. Back-to-school time is one of reflection for me as I recall those September days of my youth, dressed in a new "dress" and shoes complete with a new Blue Horse 3-ring binder notebook. I imagine I had a new puffy hairstyle too! I also reflect on our family's 15 years of homeschooling. When I recently observed a mother with her two blonde little boys shopping at Target with their list of school supplies, I got emotional remembering when that was me with our boys. Yes, homeschoolers shop for new stuff at the beginning of the school year too. When we would be out running errands during the normal school hours, well meaning folks would inquire and when I told them we homeschooled, they often asked me if I was a certified teacher. No! I was a certified mother! That alone qualified me to educate our children at home. Please hear me on this. Every mom is a homeschool mom! As their mother, you most likely taught them everything they know as babies, toddlers and preschoolers, of course with a little help from their father, like dressing themselves, how to eat with a fork, potty, pick up toys, get along with their siblings, etc...Teaching them to count and the ABC's is just the next step. If you love your child and you can read and follow instructions, you can homeschool. No one knows your child as well, or loves them as much as you! So no matter your choice of education for your child, you are their first and most important educator. Work with and show appreciation for your child's teachers. May your family have a great school year! God bless all the teachers, principals and bus drivers who impact students' lives every day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

I'm A Self Help Junkie: When Is Enough Enough?

I confess. I'm a self help junkie. Check out this stack of library books beside my recliner. Most are on dieting, some on hypothyroidism, some on improving our minds, our bodies. Please notice The Living Bible is on the very top, as it should be. But when is enough information enough? Why I could literally write my own book on the subject of weight loss. I know the basic information and have lost weight in the past, I just have a problem applying the vast knowledge to my daily living.

I liken this broad selection of self help books to trying to pick out wallpaper. How many books must one look through to decide on one wall paper pattern for a tiny powder room? Do we peruse every wall paper book available until we magically determine the ONE? Or should we use sound judgement and look at only 10 or 20 books and make our decision from those?

Please know I did not read all of these books. I browsed them and gleaned something from each one. But what good is it if I don't apply the knowledge and information I obtained? If knowledge is power, then lots of knowledge means lots of power, right? It's not that simple. I must take what I know now is true and apply it to my daily living. "Now" is the operative word. So, enough is enough! Enough said! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Fashion Over 50 on Southern Hospitality

 My life long friend, Rhoda, featured me on her blog today. Every Wednesday she does Fashion Over 50 on her extremely popular blog, Southern Hospitality. Please check it out! Thanks for dropping by.

vicki hat

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Graduation Day, 1974

May 31, 1974 was the day I graduated from high school. Wow! That was 41 years ago! Each year when the day rolls around I spend a little time reflecting.

I had not been with my fellow graduates long as my family moved the summer before my junior year from the area where I went to elementary school, junior high and my first two years of high school. My junior year, we were on a split session due to overcrowding and I attended classes in the morning with the junior and senior class. My senior year, we went into a new school that received students from a much larger area. The school building was huge and new concepts were introduced, like teaching to large classes in a "pod". I was celebrated my 17th birthday in December during the school year. I was one of the youngest in the graduating class. My friend Rhoda and I are a week apart in age so she was one of the youngest too.

As I reflect back to my high school years, I regret I didn't get more involved in activities. I love to sing so why didn't I join the chorus? Fear. I was afraid of failure and never tried anything new. I never played sports as a girl, again, fear, and really regret I missed out. My parents, bless their hearts, tried to encourage me to be more involved, but I was too afraid to step out of my comfort zone.

Just yesterday I told my son who is finishing his bachelor's degree this year (at the age of 26) how I made a D the first semester in Senior English, but an A the second semester. I imagine my parents put the hammer down and told me to get with the program or else!

I hated school my entire life. I began Kindergarten in Atlanta City Schools when I was 4 years old. Hmmmm...Mom read to me daily and I imagine I was a bright and shining little star compared to my boy cousins and appeared to be "ready" for school at that young age. I recall sitting in my class room during elementary school and staring out the window wanting to be outside, feeling claustrophobic in the stuffy room, tied to a desk. I'm still this way. I've never had a desk job that restricted me to a space without the freedom to move around and interact with people.

I was a social butterfly who was much more concerned with talking and having fun than studying. My mom had been Valedictorian of her senior class and won an academic scholarship to nursing school but was unable to pursue it. She knew I had potential to make A's and pushed me to work at my full potential, but I resisted. Studying interfered with my social life!

When I began homeschooling our boys, I read about early learning vs later learning. Aha! Maybe that's what happened to me! I am a product of early learning! My brother, an academic genius and master of many talents, did not attend Kindergarten. He excelled academically in high school and college. Today he has earned certification and credentials that only 50,000 people in the entire world have attained in his specific field and just spoke at an international conference. He plays numerous instruments, has taught his 4 children piano and violin, and has a Master's Degree in Divinity! Yep, he's everything I'm not! He's a product of later learning!

Or could it be the educational system of that time just didn't work well for me? I think my own experience with traditional school influenced my homeschooling experience with our boys. I knew what it was like to be forced to sit in a classroom even after completing my assignments while I waited on the others to complete theirs. That's one of the benefits of homeschooling. Parents know their child's learning style and can work with it to keep the child engaged and interested. Teaching a child reading and math using hands on techniques and subjects the child enjoys, like Ninja Turtles or Barbie dolls, keeps the child engaged.

Well, I never finished college, but I did teach my boys how to read and the basic 4 math operations! I take full credit for their college successes, one down, one still a work in progress! And I'm happy to say I've succeeded in writing with several published works and hopefully more to come!

So as I reflect on my high school graduation, I will cherish the memories of the positive experiences and of the friendships I still enjoy from back in the day!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Unmasking Mental Illness by Vicki Davis

I'm still new to blogging. It is uncomfortable for me to talk about myself in a self promoting way. But as a writer, I have been blessed by a few published works and I want to share them with you. I believe I'm called to use my writing to encourage others. 

I wrote an article on my mother's experience with generalized anxiety disorder. It was published in a Christian magazine in September 2012. I debated whether or not to share it with her, but had decided to in an effort to honor her for her courage. Sadly, Mom had eye surgery the month the magazine article was printed. The anesthesia during surgery progressed her dementia and I decided not to share the article with her. As a writer, this is the piece I am most proud of. If just one person seeks help based on Mom's experience, then her pain will not be in vain. And...if I never write another published article, I am so grateful Mom's story has been told in hopes just one person will be helped. Mom is 83 now and lives in an assisted living facility. 

If you or a loved one have been touched by mental illness, my heart goes out to you. My prayer is you will seek the necessary help to live life abundantly. 

Thanks for stopping by my blog. 

On the Journey: Full Length Mirror: Friend or Foe?

A common phrase I've heard from my financial wizard husband I refer to as Bear, aka The Budgetmeister, is "if you can't measure it, you can't manage it". Well, that's easy to apply when managing money with a check book register, credit card receipts, piggy banks or spread sheets, whatever works for your family. 

But how about how we measure ourselves in other areas of our daily lives? What tools do we use to measure certain aspects of our health? 

I referenced Steve Arterburn in a previous post. One of the founders of the Women of Faith conferences, he has authored many books including Lose it for Life and is one of the editors of The Life Recovery Bible. I became well acquainted with his ministry on the daily radio broadcasts of New Life Live ( where they answer phone calls of people who are hurting with all sorts of life issues. This ministry has sown hope and healing into my life for more than 20+ years. If you want balanced teaching from the Bible from godly men and women who have dedicated their life's work to helping others receive grace and live the abundant life Christ died to give us all, then please check them out. 

So, back to Steve Arterburn. On one of the broadcasts he addressed weight loss and advised a caller to "face the music" by looking in a full length mirror every morning while....NAKED!!! Wow! That brought shivers down my chubby spine. I don't own a full length mirror. Well, there is one on the other side of the house that is actually a mirrored sliding door the previous owners installed. I'm not highly motivated to trek over to it, much less in all my glory! 

Isn't that how we are? We avoid what makes us uncomfortable. We avoid being in pictures because it's true, pictures do speak a thousand words. In 2012, the last time I was motivated to truly work hard at weight loss, it was a photograph of me that jolted me to change. I ran across that photograph this morning, hence this article. Last week I was undressed and looking at the back of my hair in my bathroom mirror. Horrors! The sight of my undressed back was a surprise! I had rolls! Now please understand I know I'm overweight and accept that fact. I look in the mirror every day, just not a full length mirror in the buff! I wear garments that tend to cover and flatter rather than highlight my "shortcomings". Seeing my bare back from that angle in that lighting was eye opening and rather than digressing into self pity (I just realized for the very first time that pity is based on the word "pit") I chose to face it for what it very clearly is and try harder. 

If we can't measure it, we can't manage it. The number on the scales is a strong indicator of success or failure in the battle of the bulge. But other measurements can be just as effective. What measurement tool do you use? Do you measure your waist, hips, thighs? I've received tremendous encouragement from seeing, on paper, the loss of inches at a time when I was at a plateau on the scales. Is there anything more rewarding than trying on a pair of jeans that didn't zip the last time you tried them on? Or buying a size or 2 smaller than your old normal size? Or being satisfied by eating half an entree at your favorite restaurant! I can measure my fitness level by how many miles I can walk in an hour. If you normally enjoy 2 servings of salad dressings with your salad, try just one serving. Have you measured your food portions lately? Small changes reap big rewards in the area of health.

Whatever measuring system works for you, just do it! Measure something to give you the data you need to see progress in your efforts toward health! For a greater challenge, measure something that's more difficult for you. If you've been avoiding a mirror, face it. Um, you can decide if you're naked or not!  If you've been avoiding a scale, go, now, and hop on it. It's just a tool to help you reach one of your goals. If you've been walking a track for 4 laps to equal one mile, go for 5 laps! Measure it, manage it, maximize your efforts!

Thanks for stopping by! Whatever you're facing today, it will be easier if you're healthy!
Until next time,

Monday, May 18, 2015

Grocery Store Blessing: Pass It On!

My nephew came in town and he, our son and a buddy were coming for dinner. Our son suggested spaghetti so I dashed out to our local Publix for the ingredients for an easy spaghetti dinner. I was very low on cash and counted up the dollar amount of my items as I shopped. The bowls of fresh watermelon were BOGO FREE so I grabbed one just in case I had enough money. I placed all the spaghetti specific items on the check out counter and held the bowl of watermelon back. A young man in line behind me pointed out I'd left the watermelon behind. I laughed and told him I was holding off to be sure I had enough money to pay for it. Well, I only had enough cash to pay for the necessary spaghetti ingredients! The young man pulled out his wallet and tossed a $5 bill on the counter and said "here, I want her to have that watermelon". I tried to talk him out of it but he was determined for me to have the watermelon! I was so blessed by his kindness and generosity! I asked him how old he was as he seemed about the age of our son. He's 29, the same age as our oldest son. I hugged him, of course, and told him his mama did a fine job raising him.

Have you ever paid for someone's meal in the drive thru at a fast food restaurant? Or bought someone a cup of coffee in line behind you? I haven't done either of these but I have given money to someone in front of me to help them when they ran short when paying their grocery bill. So I know how good it feels to bless someone with a random financial "gift". That young man named Mike blessed me with the watermelon and I know he was just as blessed by his generous gesture.

Kindness reaps kindness! Let's pass it on!