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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Social Networking, Vaccines, Religion, Politics, Essential Oils, and Other Hot Topics: Just Me Speaking My Mind


Oh sure, everyone is nicey nice and plays fair - Until the topic of whether or not you vaccinate your child, religion, politics and other hot button topics pop up. Suddenly, the insults begin to fly! It is just something I have to do. If I don't address this subject, the stress is just too much! Please excuse me as I speak my mind about social networking and hot topics.

If you know me, you know where I stand on all of these issues. Even if you don't know me,  you know our family has made the decision to homeschool, which is a topic in and of itself that I'll leave for another time and blog post as it holds a myriad of controversy that isn't the intent of this post.

The purpose of this blog post is not to convince you to change your way of thinking over to mine. After all, I have lived long enough to realize that sometimes I'm wrong and need to recalculate my thinking. So, I will not argue with you. I will most likely ponder all legitimate options before coming to my own conclusion through prayer and research.

This blog post has to do with a festering sore spot that needs to be put down into words:

Yesterday, I watched a perfectly innocent post spiral downhill quickly. The post was not mine, nor did I comment or even click "like" on it, to my remembrance. The post was a warning to others who might be thinking about using a particular weight loss product. A friend posted it on Facebook. Another friend, who recently signed on to sell said product immediately commented. It was apparent in her comment that the original post was personally offensive to her.

On the same day, I did dare to comment on a stream regarding vaccinating your child.  And, I did so without any intent on looking back at the comment retorts to follow, because I know it's a hot-button topic.

This morning when I logged on, I saw a post from another friend about how the Presbyterians are taking Israel out of the Bible and rewriting it.

UGH!  ***GET READY, BECAUSE HERE IS WHERE MY RANT BEGINS***

First of all, let's take the topic of Presbyterians rewriting the Bible - It bothers me when I see "Presbyterian" in a headline that is then followed by some drastic stance against traditional biblical teachings. The reason it bothers me is because usually the group involved is Presbyterian USA - NOT - Presbyterians as a whole. Now, I am neither Presbyterian nor Presbyterian USA, but it sends shivers up and down my spine when I see people begin to attack all Presbyterians in general simply because of a headline that should have specified it was, in fact, not Presbyterians in general, but rather, Presbyterian USA. Mostly, I wish people would read the articles that others post before they comment. But, if they are going to go only by the headline - I wish the headlines would be more accurate and not such click bate.

Second, let's tackle the issue of religion while I'm on it. If you want to see a firestorm of angry comments, just post something you believe in with all of your heart. Let's take Christmas trees, tithing, or marriage, for instance. And, don't even start a controversy about how to discipline a child tying it into a scripture. If you are not firm what you believe, it's enough to make you want to run far, far away from anyone who believes in any form of doctrine from any form of religion. Why is it that if you happen to believe the teachings of Fundamental Christianity that you are attacked for being hateful, judgmental, spank your kids, submit to your husband, backward living and disdained as phobic? Are we not free in America to believe in any religion we choose? Why is it, then, that everyone is tolerant and respectful of everyone else's beliefs UNLESS you are a fundamentalist Christian, or for that matter - Muslim or even atheist? Then, all of a sudden, it's call out the lynch squad and it's ok to call this person hateful, or even a backward, uneducated, downtrodden fool?

Thirdly, let's tackle the subject of alternative medicine, essential oils, chiropractic care, and GULP! Vaccines!  When you watch the comment threads on any vaccine comment, you get two groups: One who believes in all medical science all the way, and one who believes that vaccines are no good. Where is the middle ground? And, better question - Why, if you believe in medical science, do you see the need to pound your scientific research and medical training down onto a non-vaxer's head as if this person has done no scientific research for him or herself. Not every non-vaxer chooses to not vaccinate based upon Jenny McCarthy's claims, and not every non-vaxer only quotes from the one scientific article of evidence that is accepted as scientific fact, which was by some Dr. in Europe that had his license revoked. Many non-vaxers actually have a library full of their own research that is probably just as, or more, scientifically true as any medical journal, but is debunked by doctors and nursing schools as foolish simply because it's a different line of thought. One thinks health can only be had by medical science, while the other thinks medical science sometimes does more harm than good. Again - Where is the middle ground of tolerance and respect? Not to mention those how choose not to vaccinate because of true religious issues. Why, if you say you do not vaccinate, or you selectively vaccinate, are you suddenly assumed to be a moron or swayed by a blog or movie star's opinion, but if you are medically trained, you are suddenly god and know what is best, throwing out any other form of treatment as bunk? Haven't both sides had a history of both success and failure?

Lastly, let's talk about politics. This one never ceases to amaze me how opinionated people are, attaching strong emotions to an individual who will very likely get into office and denounce every campaign promise ever made, or live a lifestyle with at least one questionable moral element. Why do we get so angry and so defensive about this? Again, where is the middle ground? And, is it really worth losing a friend, a true friend - Or, even a social networking friend - Over something that is constantly changing? Both democrats and republicans have a history of successes and failures. Add in libertarians, constitutionists, and any other party or individual who tries to lead, change, or uphold America's Constitution, and it's enough to break up families. Why?

And, this doesn't even cover the parenting sites and their comment streams. You try to tell someone they are messing up their kid, or doing it wrong. Just try it! Mention that you agree or disagree with co-sleeping, attachment parenting, nursing v. bottle feeding, natural birth v. medicated or c-section, and it continues on and on and on and on and on. The truth is we are all in the parenting thing without a user manual, and every kid and every family has to figure out what is best for them. Why is it so difficult for us to respect that? Why is it a personal assault when someone does it differently. We don't have to convince them to change to do it our way. Unless the parenting choices are causing the child real harm, we only need to respect each other.

Is it possible for us to all get along? Yes, by all means, if you see someone headed for danger - Alert them, warm them, throw them a line. But, just because someone does something differently than you doesn't mean they are headed for danger or messing up their kids. What happened to speaking the truth in LOVE?

What happened to Love your neighbor as yourself? (Not, accept and embrace everything about them, but love them and give them respect that they are not a moron, idiot, low-life, imbecile, or fool who is not capable of making their own choices!

Is it possible to have discussions, share opinions, agree to disagree and not go around blocking, defriending, angrily spewing out vile with every turn or comment that looks as if it doesn't line up with your way of thinking?  Sadly, I know the answer. I also know both sides of the arguments on every topic I brought up. If you knew my stance on hot topics, you might be surprised. The best I can do is to live my life the best way I can and through the eyes of how I understand what my God desires. If you have a different opinion, that's fine. But, please don't call me stupid for the choices I have made. Because I don't make my choices lightly without regard to consequences, and I rarely make a decision based upon a flippant, passing trend.

I respect you, whatever conclusions you have arrived at in your life. If you disagree with the choices I or your friends have come to, I can only hope you will return the same level of respect.

Before There Was Success - There Were These Epic Fails





Are you afraid to fail?

I have a couple children who want to get everything perfect at their first attempt. One child, who shall remain nameless, completely falls apart and melts into a puddle of tears when she "fails" at her first attempt. She will take no encouragement or consoling. She just becomes consumed in frustration until she tries again only to usually succeed well.

This process of intense struggle is something that is foreign to me. For some unknown reason -

I am not afraid to fail!

To me, it is simply part of the process of learning. You jump in with both feet, hands fully engaged on a new adventure, and when it doesn't turn out as you had hoped - You try again. Eventually, you will gain success!

OR

Worst case scenario - Learning takes place. Like Edison is said to have quoted:

I have not failed. I have merely found 10,000 ways that won't work!

Well, recently the New York Times posted a brilliant article depicting the history of some very big epic fails:

New York Times A Brief History of Failure

I love the one about the typewriter keyboard. At my peak, I was timed at typing 120 wpm. This is almost as fast as my boss could dictate.

The article does an excellent job of displaying a learning process that, in many cases, eventually ended in success with a modified version of the invention that failed.





Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Physics and Galileo for Kids


PLEASE NOTE: Disclaimer: This blog post is an unofficial review. I was not asked to review the books mentioned, nor was I compensated in any way. I was not even given free product in exchange for my opinions. THIS "REVIEW" IS SOLELY MY OPINION.

I started using a book with my Third Grader called "Christian Kids Explore Physics" by Robert W. Ridlon, Jr. and Elizabeth J. Ridlon from BrightIdeasPress.com.


Not long into the book, there is a list of inventors to explore. We are now sidetracked, starting with Galileo Galilei.  I found a couple books from the library that would be suitable for a child, and I really liked one of them in particular.

It's called, "Galileo's telescope". It's part of the Stories of Great People series.

The book is written by Gerry Bailey and Karen Foster and illustrated by Leighton Noyes and Karen Radford from Crabtree Publishing Company.

The book starts with two children wandering into a modern-day flea market where they find an old telescope, and the man at the booth of the flea market who is selling the telescope, begins to tell the children the story of Galileo. The book continues throughout the story shifting back and forth between current day and history (with text and pictures on blue shaded pages).

   

Some other stories that I hope to pick up from the library from the same author/publishing company with the same modern day/history storytelling style include:

  • Columbus's chart
  • Leonardo's palette
  • Martin Luther King Jur.'s microphone
  • Mother Teresa's alms bowl
  • Mozart's wig
  • Shakespeare's quill
  • The Wright Brothers' glider
And, there are others (see picture above).

In the children's book about Galileo, I learned more about the man than I ever had from any science class of my own education.

I learned that his dad was a musician. Why is this important? Because my children are being raised by a dad who is a musician. Galileo's dad also taught students an instrument similar to the guitar - a lute. My husband also teaches students, the guitar.  Galileo's dad conducted experiments using math and music, music theory, and worked with how math affects the tension of the lute's chords to form different sounds.

I also learned that Galileo did not receive honor in his lifetime. In fact, it was more than 300 years after his death before the Catholic church admitted they had been wrong about his views.

I learned that the Bible's passage that talks about "And, the truth shall set them free." can be applied to Galileo's search for scientific truth and that even the Bible talks about the skies and the heavens proclaiming the glory of God. His new knowledge about the universe did not defy the Bible but enforce its truths.

I learned that even though something is considered to be acceptable fact - Like Aristotle's ideas of how fast objects of different size travel and how he thought the earth was the center of the universe - doesn't mean it's true. Popularity does not equal reality.

I learned that Galileo did not invent the telescope, but improved upon it, making it 30 times more powerful. And, I also learned that after he was sentenced to house arrest and accused of heresy, he ironically kept inventing - This time, he focused on the microscope (a direct opposite of the experiments that got him into trouble).

Another fascinating fact that I never knew was how he invented the pendullum clock - By watching a chandelier sway back and forth.

Another fascinating fact about Galileo is his observations of the surface of the moon.

I have a new interest in Galileo, and am happy to have stumbled upon this children's book.

Here's some more fun facts and vocabulary words associated with Galileo in the form of a quiz (answers at the end of the blog post):

  1. What year was Galileo born?
  2. In what city was Galileo born?
  3. Whose theories did Galileo prove wrong with his gravity experiment and with his studies of the universe and how it revolves?
  4. What did Galileo invent after watching a chandelier sway back and forth in rhythm?
  5. What did Galileo invent that is an instrument that measures air temperature?
  6. Name three other inventions that are credited to Galileo
  7. What did Galileo's bodies that float on water experiment reveal?
  8. What year did Galileo create his telescope?
  9. What was the name of Galileo's 1632 book?
  10. What church denomination accused Galileo of heresy?


*********************

Vocabulary:

astronomer
constellation
cosmographer
geocentric theory
heliocentric theory
heresy
mathematician
pendulums
physicist
projectiles
refracting
solar system


**********************

1503 - Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa
1508 - Michelangelo began painting the Sistine Chapel
1519 - Ferdinand Magellan set out to sail around the world
1543 - Nicolaus Copernicus published his theory of the sun being the center of the universe
1552 - Books about astronomy were burned in England being said to be associtaed with witchcraft
1564 - Galileo Galilei born, February 15
1564 - Shakespeare born on April 26
1597 - Galileo invented geometric and military compass
1607 - Jamestown, Virginia founded in America
1609 - Galileo improves the telescope
1611 - KJV King James Version of Bible printed
1620 - Pilgrims arrive at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts
1632 - Galileo writes "Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems"
1633 - Galileo charged with heresy by the Catholic church in Rome
1642 - Galileo died on January 8
1642 - Isaac Newton born on December 15
1992 - (That's right, 1992 - 350 years after Galileo died) The Catholic church officially admitted error in condemning Galileo

*********************

ANSWERS TO TEST:

  1. Feb 15, 1564
  2. Pisa, Italy
  3. Aristotle
  4. The pendulum clock
  5. A thermometer
  6. Hydrostatic scale, pump and irrigation system, geometric and military compass, thermometer, telescope, microscope, pendulum clock (any three are acceptable).
  7. That objects floating on water are suspended because of their lighter weight, not because of their shape, as Aristotle had believed.
  8. 1609
  9. 1632, he published "Dialogue on the Two Chief World Systems"
  10. The Catholic church




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

34 Week Clean House DeClutter Challenge

Wahoo! I just saw this post on a fellow blogger's page.

It's from Family, Faith, and Fridays!
34 Weeks of Clean



Here's the deal:

She and fellow blogger Homemaking Organized have teamed up to help the rest of us get clean, decluttered and organized in 2015.

I know I'm speaking to many who already have a really healthy, or possibly even over zealous, cleaning routine. But, there still may be something in these weekly posts that spark an interest.

For the rest of us, I'm stoked!

My family lives in a fairly small 1300 or so square foot house - 3 kids plus 2 parents - 3 bedrooms!  The house seemed rather large, or at least large enough, to us when we bought it and upgraded from an approximate 800 sq. ft. bungalow - BEForE KIDS.

Nowadays, it seems like there's not even enough space to move. My kitchen that seemed spacious when we bought the house suddenly is cramped. When I enter the kitchen, it seems I'm always followed by 3 or 4 hungry people.

Goal 1 for me: Declutter kitchen so I can actually use it

I will say that I recently managed to declutter my son's room, but it took all my energy for months. It really took longer than I had anticipated, and he did end up selling almost everything that I pulled from the wreckage so he could buy parts to build his own gaming computer. SCORE! That was a win-win for both son and mama and clean, clear space.

Even more recently, we managed to tame the elephants in my daughters' room. My daughters share a room, and my youngest is an elephant lover. she has tons, pardon the expression, of plush elephants. We have moved to focus more on taking pictures of elephants or buying her things that are not plush stuffed animals, but she still has accumulated a lot. We FINALLY upgraded her toddler bed to a twin, and that gave us underbed storage. So, I bought four clear tubs and stuffed the elephants inside. Though, we still have two plastic garbage bags that need to be filed away. It was a HUGE accomplishment.

So, I have accomplished something. But, here's what happens:

When I declutter one space in our house - It has to go somewhere. Some of it gets tossed, some donated, and some moved to the eBay section of our house to list and hopefully sell.  The rest of it has to be put somewhere, and it usually ends up in a room full of clutter that hasn't been touched for years.  JUST THEN is when we suddenly need to access that space. For instance, I moved the toddler bed into the dining room temporarily so I can load it into my van and hopefully sell it this week. Well, this week is below zero temps, so I may not be doing it this week. In the meantime, we purchased three new mattresses for our children as a Christmas gift and to upgrade the toddler bed.

WHERE Do YOU THINK ALL THAT BEDDING WENT?

Plop into the dining room. This wouldn't be a huge problem, but school started again, and suddenly my daughter needed to sharpen a pencil. Guess where the pencil sharpener is?  Behind all the bedding and laundry plopped piles.

Then, I went to wash the mass loads of bedding, and discovered my washer was leaking. Oh, it's just a slight trickle, but it needs to be tended to. So, my next project will be to clear out the very tiny wash room area so a serviceman can come. This was in the declutter plans of 2015, but not until I had tackled the kitchen.

Goal 2: Clear out laundry room

In the meantime - Our basement collects the remains of the stuff we have no where else to put.  It's getting too full.  And, my dream is to clear out a space where my girls can dance and maybe even ask a friend over.

Goal  3: Clear out a space in basement where girls can dance

I'll stop for now with 3 goals, because I realize how long it has taken me to get past the kids' bedrooms (which are now in decent condition) and actually get to the point of staring down Goal 1: The Kitchen.  Though, ideally, I would like to completely declutter the basement and then make my hubby and my bedroom a place I actually want to spend time in as a respite. But, that will have to wait for another day and hopefully not after another unexpected disaster.

Oh, and one more thing:  I really don't feel comfortable doing BEFORE PICTURES just yet. So, bear with me. You might be lucky to get an AFTER PIC. We'll see how it goes.  But, I'm hopeful and determined!

Who is in this with me?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

It's a .99 Cent Clearance Sale

I just wanted to pass along a fantastic sale that's going on right now. A huge amount of Christmas children's dresses, boys' vests, and dress up costumes are currently on sale starting at .99 cents. Or, you can get any of the items immediately for a $5 Buy It Now price. The sale is going on here.

It's only for a limited time. Many of the items end tomorrow, Wednesday January 7, 2015. They may or may not be relisted to extend the sale another week. So, if you are interested in Christmas clothing at a bargain or dress up wear, take a look.

Here's a sampling of what is currently available, at the time of this writing, but there's no telling what will or won't be available at any given time:








Thursday, January 1, 2015

Restore in 2015



Thinkin and praying quickly, I believe the one word that sums up what we hope for 2015 is:

RESTORE

There is a verse in the Bible that says

"I will RESTORE the years which the locusts have eaten."

We need some restoration. 

Lord, restore our finances with blessings. 

Lord, restore our health with fitness. 

Restore our healthy eating. 

Restore our joy. 

Restore our family relations. 

Restore our desire to learn. 

Restore our first love for our savior. 

What's your word for 2015?







http://schoolhousereviewcrew.com/word-of-the-year-2015/

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Scott's Year In Review Christmas Letter 2014


Hope this time of year finds you healthy and content.

We’d like to share a little about our year with you!

BRIEF SUMMARY

2014 has been dubbed the year we realized Hermie the Elf on Rudolph The Red-Nosed-Reindeer had a great idea when he said, “I want to be a dentist!” Dentistry or orthodontics would have been a wiser choice of careers for us. Have you seen how much dentists/orthodontists charge? This year we had two kids complete their time in braces, and topped it all with a rousing rendition of John singing “All
I want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth” (More on this later), but Whew!  

Some highlights to our year included a dance performance trip to Dubuque, IA with Jale’na, a trip with the Wells side of the family to Branson, and another music performance tour to WI and the Upper Peninsula of MI. We always try to use our trips as an educational experience for the kids, discovering many amazing things. Though, we don’t always know what to expect.

THE NORTH POLE LOST SOME MAGIC

While we were in the Upper Peninsula, we visited Christmas, MI thinking it would be a magical place. After all, we read about the town’s sweet history of a man with high hopes who once sold holiday items from a roadside stand. When we arrived at our hotel in Munising, we were even greeted with a lovely display complete with Christmas tree, packages and a sign that showed how many miles to Christmas. We hurried to fit in a visit between John’s scheduled performances, rushed the kids in the car with anticipation, even turned around to get a better picture of the town’s sign. And, then the magic went poof! The town is now not much more than run-down AT BEST. We were pinching ourselves to make sure we hadn’t stepped into an episode of the Red Green Show or somehow been part of a Jeff Foxworthy post. There was a slightly faint glimmer of hope with one small year-round holiday shop trying to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive where the owners actually look like Santa and Mrs. Claus in real life, though we’re not sure they realize the resemblance. Instead of embracing despair about the much-anticipated trip to Christmas town, our family began finding one thing after another that just made us laugh. It has now become the family joke, or an “It’s a Wonderful Life” style of lesson, about what Christmas town really looks like. But seriously, we can only hope that the winter’s snow brings out the town’s hidden magic.












So, we didn't stay here but thought this hotel may still have some potential. At least, it has a cute sign.




 Our stuffed Pear, Peara, showed up in this picture as a reflection on the dashboard, but it seemed as if it fit.










A little about each family member:



John – Still teaching guitar at Mozingo Music as well as performing 304 solo gigs this year, including 36 performed on tour. This year he was almost singing, “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!” His year involved extensive dental work after his front teeth shifted while playing the saxophone, due to an injury he sustained as a child. He now has a new pair of pearly whites.




Tere – Still homeschooling three children, reviewing products through The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew on her blog, selling on eBay, writing for CBS Local and other sites, and this year added making crafts to sell on Etsy to her list of things to do. She also teamed up with a friend to be co-in-charge of the teen events for a local homeschool group, something that is soooooo out of her comfort zone, but has turned out to actually be enjoyable.


The kids, once again, started school while still on the road.






  Graham – 14 years old. He is our resident computer guru. Ever hear about kids who eat, sleep, and dream code? Well, now you have. That’s him. For his 14th birthday, he bought the parts and built his own gaming computer. He even has his own YouTube channel called Radfordhound, if you’d like to subscribe. Find him on Twitter under the same name. Graham also was thrilled when he got his braces off in October. He is also still a huge Sonic the Hedgehog fan. 


Jale’na – 12 years old. She keeps us busy with her social calendar. She has been taking gymnastics, goes to a homeschool enrichment Thursday all-day classes, and any and every extracurricular activity she can muster. After dancing since the age of 2, she hung up her dancing shoes this fall for a temporary break before hopefully focusing on more competitive dance next year. Jale’na enjoyed getting her braces off in September.

 Eliana – 8 years old. She still loves elephants. She has been taking gymnastics and has also taken a break from dance this year. She can sometimes still be found enjoying coloring and drawing elephants. Her logical whit never ceases to make us laugh, for instance, when in all seriousness she wants to make meaning out of nursery rhymes and such. The girl tries to convince us that she is really shy, but we get to see her at her most comfortable moments when she is making us laugh. This year, her big accomplishments have been tackling the swimming pool. She not only learned to go under water without incident, but went down a small water slide as well.  These were no minor feats for this child.







Some of the highlights of our travels that rack up the education hours included things like seeing part of the Old Route 66 in Illinois, seeing a double rainbow, visiting lighthouses, visiting the Osh Kosh Zoo, watching a chicken hatch, visiting a farm in Door County, jumping into the ice-cold Lake Michigan with dad, hiking a nature dunes park, and countless PE hours walking along the beach and swimming.

















Thanks for reading our year in review. We truly hope your year has been blessed and that the Light of the World shines brightly in your heart this coming year!

Merry Christmas – And Happy New Year

John – Tere – Graham – Jale’na – Eliana Scott

Johnscottmusician@yahoo.com (@Johnscottmusic on Twitter) - TereJScott@gmail.com (@Jalenagraham on Twitter) – Of course, we are on Facebook as well. Connect with us! Graham as Radfordhound on YouTube, Twitter, and Google Plus




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