Praying For...love and joy for children all over the world...also received an answer to a private prayer that was different than I wanted; it changes everything. I must choose best over good and better...although it is sometimes hard, it is vital to listen to Heavenly counsel and follow the will of God. Years ago I rationalized away inspired counsel with devastating results, so have learned the hard way to always listen, go, and do the things which the Lord commands.
Ponderization..."The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him," Psalm 28:7.
Sermon of the Week...Behold Thy Mother by Jeffrey R. Holland, is a inspiring comparison between the love of the Savior and the love of a mother. Maybe if I had come to this world perfect like my dear Savior, I could have been a better mother. But I am not perfect; my failures had disastrous consequences. With my experiences in mind, I wish I could open the eyes of young parents. We have such a short time with them and no second chances. We simply must put aside selfish pursuits and selfish reactions in favor of devotion and charity if we are to build a strong family and lead children into the arms of Jesus Christ.
Cucina Fresca...I think I inherited my Dad's noodle addiction. At my favorite Thai restaurant, I always order steamed vegetables, steamed noodles, chili sauce, and peanut sauce. I found it extremely easy to duplicate with Annie Chun's Brown Rice Pad Thai noodles and plenty of yummy veg. Peanut sauce recipes abound so I won't post one here. It's also a good meal with brown/red rice.
Garden Gate...because of the three nighttime freezes this week, I had to cover my mango trees. I plan to get the big mango in the ground during the coming weeks, because I almost fell off the ladder covering that potted monster.
Doctor Ginger, Medicine Woman...nope not a real doc but a student of natural and nutritional healing. After decades of obsessing with food and weight, I am throwing out my scale. Eating plant foods all these years, I've learned a great lesson. The scale is not a true measure of one's fatness or lack thereof, but it can exacerbate eating disorders. When I exercise and drink plenty of water, I gain muscle weight in proper places and the wrinkles on my face fill out...but belly fat melts away. When I eat fatty foods, I gain chub and belly weight. When I count calories, a deprivation mindset for sure, I lose muscle mass and water well before any fat comes off...so I look wrinkly, old, stooped, and pudgy before the skeletal look kicks in. Excluding added fats and animal products in favor of beans, grains, starchy veggies, greens, other veggies, and fruits, weight is distributed correctly. So....the conclusion of my one person study is this...Eat a diet of totally satisfying starches such as grains, beans, and starchy veggies with plenty of greens, other veggies, and fruits but devoid of added oils and animal products. Drink lots of water and exercise gently 30-60 minutes six days a week. Oh wait! Didn't Dr. John McDougall say the same thing? “The list of health problems I think it would very hard to live with is SO much longer than the list of foods I previously thought I couldn’t live without” Merrill Alley.
This week I read Dr. Gregor's new book, How Not to Die. While I think the title is silly, the material inside is interesting, important, and backed up by scientific studies. One little tidbit that is helping my family is the use of ginger root for migraines. One family member suffers constantly. According the the research he found, ginger root powder in water works as well as expensive migraine medications. Even though I only had fresh ginger root, I made a concoction with a bit of honey and water in the magic bullet. My guinea pig skeptically sucked it down. Within 15 minutes or so, he felt a marked reduction of the pain. I gave him a second dose, which ended the headache for a time with zero side effects. We repeated this procedure again and again over the last week with similar results. Dry powder didn't work as well for him. At first he didn't like it much, because it is a pretty strong concoction. After the a couple doses, he now loves it. While this doesn't address the cause, it allows him to function better; the cause is being addressed, too.
Teaching Little Children...this week I presented Language Works independent phonogram work to 12 of my readers at school (three are either not past the first pink work or were on vacation). Amazed at their excitement and success, I watched them patiently wait for a turn to do another set (there is only one set of each work in a Montessori classroom to teach the children patience). In effect, I took myself out of their learning picture, as they only need to show the booklet to any teacher or aid to discover the sound of the phonogram. With that information in place, the self-teaching materials give them plenty of practice reading and writing words with the particular phonogram. One little boy didn't do so well, because he didn't pay attention during initial instruction. After a reminder lesson, he accomplished the work with accuracy and joy. They are especially proud of the little booklets they make for each phonogram but a little frustrated that they must leave the learning journal at school. These kindergarteners can complete the whole program by the end of the year if they complete three phonograms per week. If this happens, reading will be solidly in place before look-say, pseudo-phonics can stifle their reading abilities. What this program accomplishes used to be the first semester of first grade, I know because I have my old first-grade, 100% phonetic reading program on my library shelf. Today, this is considered third-grade level. Isn't that horrendous! Plus, 4 and 5 year olds have been using this work in some American Montessori schools for 27 years. Anyway, our next group of four-year-olds, will be ready to begin this work in a couple weeks but at a much slower pace. If they attend the school during their kindergarten year, they will leave with a complete phonetic toolbelt.
I had a serendipitous teaching moment during cubs this week. The outgoing leader took the us to a gingerbread house display, which was enjoyed by all. In the car on the way home, we all talked about our various Christmas traditions. One little boy grew from quiet to sullen until he finally said. 'I hate it when people talk about things I don't know about. I get so jealous.' I explained the jealousy was a form of the sin envy, which Heavenly Father commanded us against. Further I pointed out that everyone has some cool stuff in their lives, and we shouldn't get angry and jealous because others have different cool stuff from us. 'Be happy for them, and be happy for yourself.' After this brief soapbox, I asked him to tell us the cool stuff his family did at Christmas. Visibly happier, he told us of traveling to snow country each year to play and pajamas on Christmas Eve and several other things.
Puppy Prattle...our favorite game to play with Dash is hide and seek. One of us runs off to hides in a part of the house, while the other one keeps her attention. Then the hider whistles. She looks and looks until she finds us. Usually it's within seconds, but sometimes she has a little trouble. Anyway, we all love this.