Chronic Illness & Everyday Worship

My physical therapist insisted that I have at least one massage per month.  Although it’s expensive, I told her we would try for at least one thirty-minute massage per month.  She said that with my back and joint problems that I absolutely needed this for my health.

I haven’t had a massage in a few years, because of the price.  I know that they are really beneficial to my health, but aren’t covered by insurance.  All my other therapies are covered, so I don’t hesitate to continue keep them up.  Today I had a 30 minute session and I was determined to make the most of it.
When I arrived, I was having a dizzy spell and could barely stand.  It was such a relief to get undressed and resting flat on the massage table.  The room was a little too warm and the essential oil scent was starting to make me nauseated.  After a few minutes the spell was over and I began to feel better.  The therapist used unscented oil on my back.  I made certain that she understood my conditions: Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Scoliosis and that my shoulders were unstable.  I felt this was enough since she would only work on my back today.  She decided to not work too deep, which was just about perfect.

She did work on the knots in my neck and upper back area, though.  These knots are always present and even without severe rubbing, the knots were much better.  I began to feel better.  I usually have to remind myself to relax during massage.  Even with the new age music and dull lighting, my mind will spin with all of my problems or to-do list.
I thought I would pray, and thought about all my kid’s prayer needs.  Then, I thought, “No, I’m going to pray for me.”  I prayed for the massage to help me.  Then I started to meditate on Scripture verses.  All the verses that I could think of about thankfulness, salvation, everything.  I mediated on hymns that I love and I began to worship God.  Then I started focusing on the verse – I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  This brought tears to my eyes.  As I was laying there in pain, realizing that my body was so messed up and had so many health problems – and yet, I am fearfully and wonderfully made…just the way I’m designed to be.
I’m so thankful for God and for His wisdom.
 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  Ps 139:14
@2016, copyright Lisa Ehrman

Why I Pushed My Kids To Succeed In Homeschool

A book could be written on this topic.  My first clarification is that my children were five years apart in age and above-average in intelligence.  Wait, I don’t say this to boast.  I believe that every child can succeed to the best of their ability.  Because of poor health and miscarriages, I couldn’t have my children close in age.  So, I wasn’t able to teach them all together.  Each child needed their own books and separate plan.  Though there were bumps along the way, I can’t complain about any learning disabilities.  I’m very thankful to God for my children.  God knew that my health was going to be bad, and that would be enough stress.

My husband and I are both teachers and we wanted our kids to attend college, so we planned to have them prepared as much as possible.  Although I’m not able to teach math or science classes at the high-school level, I found ways to help the kids learn these subjects.  I’m really terrible at math, and knew that I couldn’t give them any help.  When they reached pre-algebra we always used a DVD Math program and a tutor.  Sometimes the tutor was 2-3 times per week.  This really paid off, because our youngest is a math major in college and doing well.

Our older two have done or are doing graduate school.  My main objective with homeschooling was to have them prepared for anything God might call them to do in their adult life.  I didn’t want them to be held back by a second-rate education.  So, we tried to make sure they took all the courses (as much as we could).

Extra-curricular activities were also available.  They could only choose one thing at a time.  This was fun, because they tried a lot of things: many different sports, musical instruments, voice, ballet, theater, and more.  Nothing really made them want to become a professional in any of these areas, (and they weren’t that talented).  But, it’s great fun, helped them make friends, wonderful exercise and they learned skills they can always enjoy!
Because we’re a Christian family, we studied the Bible.  Our kids memorized Bible verses and went on Mission trips and Youth retreats.  They earned trophies for their years of Bible memorization.

We participated in standardized testing each year, which made college entrance exams much less frightening.  Putting high standards in front of your kids is good for them.  How will they know how far they can go if we don’t expect a lot from them?  Of course, I would never expect more than they could do.  I’m always pleased with kids when they do their best.
@2016, copyright Lisa Ehrman

Margin: Book Review

I was once a homeschooling mom who wanted to do it all.  I taught my children with a full load of curriculum and then taught dozens of music students in the afternoon.  It looked great on the calendar.  All the little boxes were filled in with different colored ink.  There was just enough time to fit it all in, and take the kids to their baseball games and ballet lessons, too.

Margin: Book Review

But, in reality, too many days we threw a frozen pizza into the oven at 7pm or went out to eat.  The extra money from the music lessons was going for the extra food.  I was getting more and more exhausted and the kids were grumpy.  After a while, we realized this wasn’t a great plan for our family.
We hadn’t left any margin on the edges of the paper.
Someone introduced me to this wonderful book, Margin,  by Dr. Richard Swenson, a Christian author.  When I read the book, it made so much sense.  You can’t just push and push your mind and body the way I was doing.  Let me show you what the back of the book-jacket says:
Overload is not having time to finish the book you are reading on stress. Margin is having time to read it twice. Overload is fatigue. Margin is energy. Overload is red ink. Margin is black ink. Overload is hurry. Margin is calm. Overload is anxiety. Margin is security. Overload is the disease of our time. Margin is the cure. Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. It is something held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. In Margin, Dr. Richard Swenson provides a prescription against the danger of overloaded lives. Focusing on margin in four key areas-emotional energy, physical energy, time, and finances-he offers an overall picture of health that employs contentment, simplicity, balance, and rest. If you yearn for relief from the pain and pressure of overload, take a lifelong dose of Margin. The benefits of good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for Gods purposes will follow you all your days.” from the desk of Dr. Richard Swenson

Margin: Book Review clocks

After this turning point, we made changes.  I stopped teaching the music lessons and spent all the time with my husband and children.  I scheduled margin in my life, and it made a huge difference!  As I got older and my health got worse, the times of margin grew longer.  
I recommend this book to all homeschoolers, young and old.  I think it’s important that we teach our children to also have margin in their lives.
@2016, copyright Lisa Ehrman