Saturday, August 25, 2012

Johnson Academy: First Day of School

H13 - 8th grade
S10 - 5th grade
M8 - 3rd grade
Although we'd planned to start this school year after Labor Day, Rob's open-heart surgery three weeks ago threw all of our plans into turmoil.  Since all of our summer field trips were cancelled and we found ourselves at home, we decided to make use of our time now for school.  The plan is to take a week off in October just for fun. 

Our first day of school was August 23.  We decided to take a leisurely approach to kicking off this year.  We began with Bible, logic, math, and art.  We also began our first read aloud of the year, The Secret Garden.  I'm excited to share one of my favorite books with my children.
M8 sorted coins to play our math game, Race to the Quarter.

Drawing in the round like Bottecelli.

Happy Birthday to M!

M celebrated her 8th birthday with a family and friends party at home.  She had beer butt chicken, sweet potato fries, macaroni & cheese, and veggies with dip.  Her birthday cake was our traditional chocolate with Hello Kitty.  The kids loved taking hits at the Hello Kitty pinata.  M stocked up on sparkly purple party gifts.  It's pretty safe to say a good time was had by all!

Friday, August 24, 2012

First Day of School & Tea Party

On August 22, K15 had her first day at the Career Center.  She's taking their cosmetology program and will graduate in two years with her cosmetology license and an Ohio high school diploma.  Here are her first day of school pictures and some highlights of our annual first day of school tea party.  It's hard to believe we've been holding this event for eleven years!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

When a Tree Falls

Today S10 was completing a project that he started several days ago.  He was given the responsibility of cutting down a tree.  The trunk of the tree was about four inches in diameter.  The sawing time seemed endless to him.  In truth, he spent about an hour in real effort. 

As he neared the end of the cutting time, he became convinced that he'd never finish.  His technique wasn't efficient and he was spending a lot of effort on limited results.  Sooner or later, regardless of technique, the tree was going to come down.  I knew that when the tree came down, his sense of accomplishment and victory would sky rocket.  The trick was to teach him how to saw more effectively without making him feel discouraged.  I wanted him to remember the sawing with a sense of accomplishment and purpose.  I wanted the entire experience to be one that built him up.

As a parent, it's difficult to balance the need to teach with the desire to encourage.  I never want my children heavy with the weight of instruction and correction.  I want to foster in them a sense of accomplishment and purpose while I teach new skills.  Sometimes, I think I am successful at my effort and sometimes I am thankful that when the tree falls my children know victory no matter how I've taught them how to saw.

Wordless Wednesday: Rob and Buddy

Friday, August 10, 2012

Guest Author: Things I Learned In Ohio by Julia McMahon

My youngest sister, Julie, joined us to play with her nieces and nephew for a few days.  Her help was so appreciated by the grownups and the kids.  Here is what she had to say about her visit.

Julie, Kady, Evan, Noah, Halley, Emma, Macey, Shane and Adam in Parkersburg, WV after an afternoon of lazer tag.
 Things that I learned in Ohio this week...

1. To drive on twisty, windy roads of ohio/wv like a pro (maybe not a pro..but at least minor league)

2. That a burrito at taco bell is called "99 cents of goodness."

3. that 99 cents of goodness does not sit well after driving 45 minutes on the twisty, windy roads of ohio.

4. chickens do not like cheese puffs.

5. it is a bad idea to walk 2 giant black labs on one leash.

6. watching a 17 year old boy run from a giant bumble bee is one of the funniest things you will ever see.

7. lazer tag is way underrated.

8. cows have the best eyelashes.

9. columbus, ohio has one of the most thorough tsa staff in the United States.

10. and watching your brother (in-law) recover from quadruple by-pass surgery is a wonderful thing (just don't mess with his ceiling fan)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A New Heart

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 
 -Ezek 36:26

It seems so crazy, as I sit in my family room this morning watching the Olympics, to think that this time last week we were waiting and wondering what was going to happen with Rob's heart.  We were still trying to wrap our heads around the idea of open-heart surgery and not really understanding what it meant.  Now, by the grace of God, he received four bypasses in his heart and is on his way to full recovery.

Right now his recovery is focused on coughing carefully, taking laps around the room and using his volurex.  Eating is an chore.  Texture, taste and smell work against him in so many of the foods he normally enjoys.  It seems impossible to him that in six weeks he'll be able to return to work.  Time has warped and it's difficult to understand how healing will come and things will return to normal.

Part of the truth that we face is that normal will be changed even after Rob has healed from surgery.  Rob has been diagnosed with coronary artery disease.  The bypass didn't cure the disease it just fixed some of the results.  In normal coronary arteries, blood has a smooth wide path through which to flow.  As a body ages, even a normal heart can have some deposits of fat and cholesterol form in the lining of the heart arteries.  In Rob's heart, this process was accelerated.  Rob's doctor called it a transportation error.  Rather than distributing cholesterol throughout his body Rob's cholesterol collects in his heart causing his blood vessels to become clogged and hardened.  We learned from Dr. Streicher that in Rob's heart as cholesterol collects  it is deposited in the lining of the vessels and calcifies, like bone.  Hardening of the arteries truly means that the heart, at least parts of it, is turning to bone. 

While the bypass provides a solution to the blockages in Rob's heart now, genetics work against him.  The transportation error cannot be corrected.  We can only fight genetics to slow down the coronary artery disease.  Medication for blood pressure and cholesterol, exercise, a heart healthy diet and no smoking will be Rob's new normal.  The price of a new heart is small and the benefits are great.  We are so thankful for this heart of flesh and the new life it brings.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Power of Prayer

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. 
 If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
- James 5:15

There have been so many prayers filling heaven and earth on Rob's behalf this week.  I believe the miracles we've witnessed this week are the direct result of prayer and God's grace.  It will be impossible to name every person and prayer chain that has lifted Rob's name and situation to the Lord but I'm going to give it a good shot.

Watertown Presbyterian Church - Watertown, OH
1st Presbyterian Church - Jeffersonville, IN
1st Presbyterian Church - Parkersburg, WV
Oviedo Presbyterian Church - Oviedo, FL
Living Waters Presbyterian Church - Wendell, ID
Perrow Presbyterian Church - Cross Lanes, WV
the board of VMTC
an orphanage in Liberia
prayer chains at Operation Christmas Child
Dee Wright
Tony Clarke
Tom Westlund
Carolyn Westlund
James Wells
Jane McMahon
Lisa Borchers
Stacy Johnson
Kristin Holiday
Shayla Goldenberg
Jill Wells
Brenda Cline
Lynn Wallmeyer
Marianne McCafferty
Kathy Scohy
Jennifer Crow
Hannah Ayers
Crysta Bourdon
Angie Dieterlen
Shannon Wiezik
Marian Coleman
Jack Dabney
Kelly Peele
Keri Murray
Sandra Schmidt
Wendy Stewart
Stacey Wachsman
Anne Barnes
Tammy Roberts
Tre Roberts
Kathleen Graff
Jennifer Holland
Bridgette Williams-Searle
Kathy Huffman
Jill Lane
Emily Geogerian
Melinda Coats
Sandy Locke
Karen Westlund
Christine Schwab
Laura Zeller
Don Summerfield
Jennifer Eisenman
Holly Kelly
Cynthia James
Diana Bay
Linda Avery
Stephanie DiGugliemo
Sarah Townsend
Eileen Kosar
Natalie Kritenbrink
Eleanor DeWeese
Amber Mace
Amy Daniels
Mary Wiese
Fran Westlund
Mark Miller
Sherry Frame
Tammy Therien
Anna Oehlmann
Amy Beaty
Sandy Harrison
Kim Orcutt
John Browning
Kathy Huffman
Jill Lane
Cathy Sepko
Amy Kesterson
Jackie Brown
Nancy Heitschmidt
Kathy Heaps
Bobbie Heaps