Yes, Mary did know.

Spear-3937Kiss frog

I live in a house full of preteens and teens. (No, I don’t take Valium yet. Yes, I have a lot of grey hair. Yes, full moons terrify me.) All four are adopted and have siblings and half-siblings not living with us. We live in a rural area with a relatively small population. This poses a problem on the dating front. Even though my kids are definitely not ready to get into serious relationships, you have to admit that it’s creepy to have a crush on someone only to find out that they are, in some way, related to you. For this and many more reasons, I had a talk with my kids about not diving in too quickly into our area’s very shallow gene pool. But the thing is… they’re still kids. It’s a tough situation to know how to handle even as an adult. The advice I gave to them is actually applicable to everyone…preteens, teens, and even adults. In fact, I ended up sharing it at a Divorce Care meeting and it was received favorably…no one even threw anything at me!

The key is found in Luke chapter 2, “But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I don’t know about you but if shepherds visited me and said angels told them something about my newborn baby, I might be tempted to freak out a bit and do something rash. But she didn’t. She didn’t take an ad out in the Bethlehem Times or post a selfie with the shepherds. OMG! Traveled a million miles on a donkey while pregnant beyond belief, gave birth in a stinky barn surrounded by animals, and now I’m hosting a bunch of shepherds who have been seeing things. What a day!!! Anyway, a big shout-out to my son, Jesus, who is gonna save the world…so proud of my little man. 🙂  Not Mary. She just stored it up in her heart. And that’s what I advised my kids to do. If someone compliments you or asks you out, it’s okay to be pleased and store up those things in your heart. It is equally fine to not act on them. You don’t need to say anything more than “Thanks” or “Thanks but I’m not dating right now.” This gives you time to really get to know a person. This is especially important when there’s a possibility that you might be related to them. But, truthfully, this concept of waiting until you really know a person is important for everyone. It would definitely reduce the amount of heartaches and divorces. So hang in there, store up the compliments in your heart because something amazing is in store for your life and you might miss it if you’re curled up on the couch, crying into your post-break up Häagen Dazs.

Teaching healthy eating habits to kids

Two of my kids have problems with hypoglycemia. One just happens to have a metabolism to die for. The other has been monitored since she was a baby because early childhood hypoglycemia can sometimes turn into diabetes. While I was homeschooling them, it was easy for me to provide healthy well-balanced meals. Then they went to school. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with school lunches (and breakfasts) but they are tremendously carb heavy. Unfortunately, carbs are like the kiss of death for hypoglycemics. They eat carbs, feel full, and then crash in a big way within the hour. It is not pretty. That’s one reason why I can’t understand the pancake breakfast offered free to our school kids the week of testing.  I feel like they should be offering a higher protein, lower carb breakfast if they expect the kids to do well during testing. Anyway, back to school lunches. I had 4 kids with different eating preferences packing lunches. I wanted to teach them about packing a healthy lunch but wasn’t sure where to start. (When I was growing up, my idea of a balanced lunch was one that included a salty snack and a sweet snack to accompany my lunch meat and white bread sandwich. In fact, I spent more time choosing a cool lunch box then picking healthy foods.) Thankfully, I was working with an awesome dietician who had shared a diabetic consistent carbohydrate diet (DCCD) cheat sheet with me. I modified the concept to create a chart to help guide my kids in choosing better-balanced breakfasts and lunches.


One from each column will do.  Just don’t forget the protein 🙂


Here’s an idea of some possible lunches and where they fit in.  For the empty spaces or other ideas, check out the Fill in the Blank Chart.  No need to fill in the empty spaces under the Fats column, we get enough of those in more places than we can imagine.


There are so many better options for the snacks but this was my first try and I wanted to include my children’s ideas so they would have some ownership for the project.  Hopefully, you’ll find these charts helpful! Have a blessed day!

Outliers are awesome too!

notstandardizedJust going to give warning right off the bat…I intend to talk about statistics. (Just in case someone is allergic) But, don’t worry it won’t be a bunch of dry numbers and formulas.  I want to focus on outliers. For those who aren’t familiar with statistics, an outlier is “a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample.”  I know your eyes are glazing over but stick with me here.

When you look at the trend of a graph, they are the dots that aren’t on the line. Statisticians, because they are looking at raw data only, aren’t always sure why they don’t fit but they’ve created mathematical workarounds so conclusions can be made from the data with or without them.

If you’ve helped a kid with math homework, you’ve probably come across the terms mean, median, and mode. (It amazes me that these topics are being taught in elementary school, but I guess it’s good to get kids familiar with the concepts.) These things are called measures of central tendency and some of them are affected by outliers and some are not. (Quit snoring!) In some way, they each tell about the middle of the road.

Back to the outliers. In a data set of IQ test or standardized test scores for example, the outliers might be seen as geniuses, master test takers, crappy test takers, or learning disabled. Regardless, they are not considered normal or part of the crowd.  Unfortunately, judging people by performance on a written test only leaves out a lot of gifted and talented people. On the flip side, there are people who pass standardized tests with flying colors but do nothing to improve their own lives or the lives of others. I recently saw a list of character qualities not measured by tests and I started thinking about the amazing people in the past who would have fallen short according to today’s standardized testing.

Thomas Edison was once referred to by a teacher as “addled.” Alexander Graham Bell had crappy grades and didn’t really develop a love of learning until he spent a year with his grandfather. General Patton had trouble learning to read and write. George Bernard Shaw even wrote about his hatred of standardized schooling in A Treatise on Parents and Children.

These people would be considered outliers in today’s schools. And not in a good way. Yet imagine the world without their contributions. What I’m trying to get at here is that our children deserve more than to be treated as statistics. Although numbers are easy to quantify, they don’t show the full potential of a child. Standardized curricula and standardized testing are not doing any favors to our children. Too much emphasis is placed on standardization, grades, and scores.

Teachers are required to teach according to the Common Core standards whether that’s in the best interests of the children or not.  With the Common Core disease spreading, it has become increasingly difficult for teachers to reach anyone but the average student. They all know about the different learning styles but are given less freedom to implement appropriate plans.  (One of my reasons for homeschooling.)

The problem lies with the one-size-fits-all approach. Children are unique, ever-changing, not quantifiable. If we don’t come up with a better way, then we just might be robbing the world of its next Thomas Edison.  It’s time we start accepting and even celebrating the outliers.  Book knowledge, rote memorization, and good grades do not always equal success in life or encourage development of great character.  Weakness in those areas can not be equated with failure in life. So why do we base the school system and the success of our children on inaccurate measurements?

We’re not raising numbers, we’re raising children.  Wonderful, unique children (even if they are outliers) who have so much to offer…much more than anything you might see in a graph of standardized test scores.  It’s time for the outliers to show us what they’ve got.  Time for them to shine.  The world will be a better place because of it.

(P.S. For parents and kids struggling to understand statistics or practically any subject for that matter, I highly recommend Khan Academy.  It’s free and it’s awesome!  I’ve even used it on a college level.)