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A Week at Home — ALONE

Posted by Hallee on Jun 21, 2014 in Life

jumpYou heard me. I had an entire week — AT HOME — ALONE.

How many wives and mothers of young children long to be able to say something like that?

Kaylee is in Florida for the month and this is a very busy travel time for Gregg and me. He’s doing a National Guard thing east, I had a conference west, so on his way to his thing, Gregg dropped the boys off at my parents’ house. He left on a Saturday, and I didn’t have to be at my conference until Thursday night.

I’ll admit, right or wrong, I was a little excited.

I’m used to being alone during the school day. Regardless, I kept listening for the sound of anyone else moving in the house. In my entire life, I don’t think I’ve ever been alone for that long. It was kind of a weird experience over all.

I’d planned to write the remaining 3 novellas in my upcoming World War II series during the week. I know, you’re thinking, “Three novellas???” But, I had NO ONE who needed ANYTHING AT ALL from me for about five full days. I type fast. The story is in my head. I could write uninterrupted for five full days!

I didn’t happen.

I only wrote one novella.

I was talking to Liz Curtis Higgs yesterday about it, and she said, “20,000 words in a week!? That’s fantastic! You go girl!”

It made me feel a little better.

I think my creative energy is available for the same amount of time every day, then it’s just gone. I feel a little disappointed in myself; however, I’ve done a TON of research, and that will be necessary information when I do write the other two novellas during the next couple of weeks.

So, during the course of this week alone, I learned a few things:

  • Without planning and preparation, a household without convenience foods makes it hard to feed one person. I ate more than one omelet, let me tell you.
  • I can go entire days without any noise at all – no television on, no person speaking to me, no radio. I’m not really a “talk to my pets” kind of person – I don’t talk for no reason. I kind of want to have something to say if I’m going to speak, and a conversation with my dog or cat just isn’t happening.
  • For a wife and mother of three who adores her husband and children, I never felt lonely during this week. I’m hoping it was just the realization that I knew what day I’d see everyone again and not that I’m über weird or something.
  • I washed all of the bedding and did every single bit of laundry in the house. The only thing in any laundry basket left are the pajamas I wore on my last day there. It felt WONDERFUL to throw away the mis-matched socks left in the basket. I HATE mis-matched socks, I HATE that basket, and after typing this, now I know I’m über weird.
  • No matter what, with no alarm on, I still woke up every single morning at 5:25. Sigh.

All in all, it was an interesting week. I finish my conference this afternoon and head to my parents to get my boys. Tomorrow we’ll head on to where Gregg is. I’m hoping to see Kaylee by the end of the week.

 

Hallee


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Social Media is Replacing Social Life

Posted by Hallee on Jun 18, 2014 in Life

tupperwareI was born in 1972. I know that’s hard to fathom for some of you younger wives and moms out there. I graduated high school in 1990 – probably around the time some of you were born. When I graduated high school, I remember wondering why there would be an initiative to raise money to put computers in the school, because I couldn’t fathom what they would be used for in the classroom.  These were the days before the public use of the internet, before www.anything, and long before any kind of pixel driven social media.

I remember when I was a little girl, my mom had a Tupperware party in our home in Ft. Lewis, Washington. My older brother, Jim, was in kindergarten and my little brother, Ty, was a baby. It was an afternoon party while Jim was in school – during a time when most wives and mothers would be home and available to attend an afternoon party.  I remember my mom cleaning the house, making snacks, brewing tea, cooling sodas – and then I had to play in my room while the house filled with other wives and moms and the Tupperware sales woman did her sales pitch. I remember having little Tupperware cups, popsicle makers, and matching canisters on the kitchen counter when it was all over.

When I became an adult, I had my share of “parties” — 31 purses, Premier Jewelry, Pampered Chef — I’d invite 20 friends and 5 or 6 would show up. But that was okay, because you could hand out catalogs to all of the friends who had a dozen other commitments but who still wanted to see what the latest line was and the sales woman would extend the party for you.

Now, though, it seems like parties of this nature are coming to a slow crawling end. The last 31 party I attended, I was the only guest, but there was an order sheet of orders already filled out.

This morning, I received an invite to an “all day online party”. Basically, instead of getting together, socially, with a bunch of friends and friends of friends, I just have this in my “social media calendar”, and on that day I potentially go and order, and that “host” gets the “hostess” points and gets her free gifts.

vintagesocialnetworking1For everything good that it does (and there is a lot of good to it), I feel like social media has sucked the social right out of our lives.

And, I know it’s not just social media. It’s busyness – it’s filling our days until they’re so full that there’s no time to take a break and go to a friend’s house for one single evening and enjoy the company of a bunch of other women while we all munch on snacks and sip drinks – even if that evening is under the guise of buying jewelry or another purse we really don’t need.

But what social media has done has kind of excused this lack of social in our lives and created a way to “make it all better” — so that we can cram more and more into our life and keep up with friends and family and complete strangers on our time and within our limitations.

Last night, I met a friend for dinner and we were in the restaurant for about 3 hours.  Eventually, the waiter even quit coming to our table. We just were having too good of a time talking to each other, the restaurant wasn’t overly crowded, and it didn’t matter that we occupied that table space.  Another table, directly in my line of vision, was filled three times during the time I sat there. One couple came in, sat down, and picked up their phones. They looked through their menus with phones in hand, waited with phones in hand, and ate with phones in hand – and never, not a single time, said a word to each other. They didn’t even look at each other. Whatever was going on in the media of their phones was more important than their interaction with each other.

I’ve been alone this week. I’ve set it this time alone aside to write a book I’m finishing. In doing so, I pulled off of a social media presence so that I wouldn’t be distracted during the day and focus entirely on writing.  Whenever I do something like this, I LOVE it. I love the freedom I receive by not constantly checking social media. I HATE being in a social media climate and want so badly to pull out of it – but I’m bound to it by the nature of my career.

How about you? Do you find that social media is taking your social life away? Turn it off for a few days and see how different your life can be without it. See how much more often you look up and look out and SEE the life going on away from the screen.

 

Hallee


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Today’s Word of Promise

Posted by Hallee on Jun 16, 2014 in Christian Faith

actsMany days a week, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 17 – Acts 28.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter in the following manner:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To the most excellent governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man,  I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him.

Farewell. ~Acts 23:24-30

I have always imagined that the government in the time of the New Testament was corrupt. I think it stems from the fact that Jesus, a man without sin, was crucified so terribly — in my mind, only a corrupt system could have that be so.

However, while it’s not necessarily “moral” to the way that our society operates today (and I use the term moral in conjunction with our society loosely), it was absolutely NOT corrupt. It’s fascinating to me the lengths that were taken to protect Paul – a Jew – because he was a Roman citizen. He was about to be beaten when Paul revealed his nationality – and in a day and age without recordings and video evidence, they could have easily beaten him, killed him, and covered it all up because was a Sadducee in the Jewish faith. Instead, they immediately halted anything against him until they could investigate who he was and what he was.

In the meantime, the Jewish leaders sought to kill him. Rather than just letting it happen and washing their hands of this whole religious feud between the followers of Christ and the Jewish leaders, they took great pains to keep Paul safe and transport him out of the area for his protection.

When I listened to this, the lack of corruption both surprised me and impressed me.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

Hallee


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Summertime Screens

Posted by Hallee on Jun 10, 2014 in Parenting
A picture of the television taken by Scott

A picture of the television taken by Scott

I have typical kids. They want easy entertainment. They want something colorful and flashy on a screen to engage their minds and keep them occupied, keep them from being “bored”.

My typical kids have a mean mom, though. It’s summer time. Time for sun, dirt, bugs, fish. Time to sweat and drink lukewarm water and get sticky with homemade popsicles. NOT a time to sit and stare at a screen for hours.

So, here’s our house rule:

Between the hours of 9AM and 3PM, there are no screens. No television, no laptops, no tablets, no phones. -AND- before 9AM, there is a list of chores that must be completed before those screens can come on. Maybe some days I’ll turn on the radio and we’ll listen to classical symphony or Christian contemporary music, but not all the time. I like the sound of the silence – the sound of the house filled with the noise of things NOT produced by multimedia.

Every day, around 9:01AM, we go through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. By 9:05AM, acceptance kicks in and they’re busy. Around 2:00PM they start asking every thirty seconds what time it is. By 3PM they’ve forgotten that they were waiting for the clock and are busy and engaged elsewhere. *I’m* not going to be the one to remind them that they can turn on devices.

It makes for a much less boring summer if they have to train themselves to seek out engagement and make their own entertainment.

How do you handle summers?

Hallee


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10,000 Toddlers on Ritalin??

Posted by Hallee on May 27, 2014 in Parenting

I came across an article this weekend that suggested that nearly 10,000 toddlers are on medication for ADHD.

TODDLERS.

Here is the quote from the article in the New York Times:

More than 10,000 American toddlers 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder outside established pediatric guidelines, according to data presented on Friday by an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, which found that toddlers covered by Medicaid are particularly prone to be put on medication such as Ritalin and Adderall, is among the first efforts to gauge the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. in children below age 4. Doctors at the Georgia Mental Health Forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where the data was presented, as well as several outside experts strongly criticized the use of medication in so many children that young.

Picture source

Picture source

I have a friend who has a teenaged daughter who is bi-polar and is on medication that, seriously, saved her life. But, she’s a teenager with a developed brain who can very rationally explain what she’s thinking, seeing, hearing, and feeling. She isn’t a four-year-old who has had language skills for the lesser part of two years, or a three-year-old. Or a two-year-old. She and a few other friends I can count using one hand, to me, is the rare exception to what should be the “medication as a last resort and only in the most extreme circumstances” rule. I’m not talking about them here.

Ritalin is a drug that is classified by the DEA as being a schedule II — the SAME classification as OPIUM and COCAINE.

And medical doctors are prescribing this drug to toddlers?

ritalinTo babies?

HOW did our society come to this – to the point that we throw drugs at our children in an effort to force them to behave in lieu of parenting?

And, before you come to me with, “You don’t know what it’s like –“, I have a son who, when he was seeing the psychiatrist at the University of Kentucky at the age of 4, was classified as “having issues far more reaching than simply ADD or ADHD,” and was ultimately diagnosed under the autism umbrella.

And, you know what?

He listens. He pays attention within the parameters established by us and his educators. He eats, sleeps, and behaves according to the standards set by our family. And he does it because we have diligently worked with him, with understanding how his brain functions, with monitoring what foods affect his behavior and shifting to adjust accordingly, and with a sympathetic understanding of how affected he can be by stimulated environments.

So, don’t tell me I don’t understand.

What I do understand is that my son requires a whole lot more parenting energy than my other two children. But, I’m certainly not going to throw an addicting drug onto his developing brain.

generation rxIt’s bad enough that there are MILLIONS of children who have these kinds of prescriptions. But, now they’re being given to TODDLERS? What kind of attention are we expecting from toddlers, anyway? In what environment are these toddlers that require them to sit still and have to pay attention?

What?

This article made me crazy. Seriously. I’m so angry over it that I’m having a hard time typing this.

If you haven’t seen the documentary Generation Rx directed by Kevin P. Miller, do see it. It was free on Netflix last I checked. Every single parent in the free world should see this movie and think not twice, but three or four times more, before placing their child on a mind altering drug. Here’s the trailer for it:

Seriously, watch this film. Learn about what danger these drugs are. Make informed decisions for your children.  And, in my opinion, any doctor who prescribes these drugs to toddlers ought to have his or her medical license revoked before facing criminal charges.

Hallee


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Today’s Word of Promise

Posted by Hallee on May 26, 2014 in apologetics, Christian Faith, holiness, Leviticus

actsEveryday, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 9 – Acts Acts 17.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Acts 10:9-16

Almost certainly, whenever we explain our choice to follow a Biblical diet, someone brings up Peter’s vision. However, this vision has nothing to do with food. In fact, Peter himself knew that. While he was having this vision, Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian regiment, had a delegation on their way to where Peter was staying. These were not Jews, and it was unlawful for a Jew to “keep company with” someone who was not Jewish. However, these men explained that an angel of the Lord told Cornelius to send for Peter. So, he put the men up for the night, and the next day went with them to see Cornelius.

When Peter met Cornelius, he said:

Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Peter’s dream was showing him that God could sanctify and cleanse any MAN.

So, if you want to argue about whether God has approved those country hams for Sunday after church consumption, this isn’t the passage you ought to use.  If you want a passage to use, it’s better to use Acts 15. There was a church in Jerusalem that was preaching that Gentiles had to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses in order to be saved. So, Peter and other church leaders met and held a council to determine how to handle this situation, because the Gentiles were coming to Christ in huge numbers. They determined that:

They wrote this letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Farewell.  ~Acts 15:23-29

So, there you go. If you’re a Gentile, and that country ham wasn’t sacrificed to an idol, it isn’t a sin to eat it.

But that doesn’t make the meat clean. Or healthy. Or pleasing to God.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

Hallee


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2500 Fans Giveaway

Posted by Hallee on May 25, 2014 in Blog Stuff

2500

Hallee the Homemaker’s Facebook page reached 2500 fans!

To celebrate, I’m doing a massive giveaway on Facebook.  Here’s the information from the post that you can find at this link.

We reached 2500 likes on this page! I didn’t realize it – I was out of town last week. So, let’s celebrate. Let’s do a giveaway. “like” this post and leave a comment. That allows more people to see it through Facebook’s stupid filters.

One person who BOTH comments and likes will win an autographed set of my cookbooks – Fifty Shades of Gravy, The Walking Bread, and Iron Skillet Man.

Three people will win a single autographed cookbook of your choice.

25 people will win ebook of your choice.

Giveaway ends Tuesday morning at 7AM EST. And — go.

Please don’t enter on this blog post. Please enter on Facebook!

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Today’s Word of Promise

Posted by Hallee on May 23, 2014 in Christian Faith, holiness

actsEveryday, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 3 – Acts Acts 9.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

 

Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. Acts 4:34-35

But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. Acts 5:1-5

Our modern church does not operate like the church in Acts 4. Church goers do not sell all of their possessions and give it all to the church to distribute to those who have need. Instead, church goers work with the intent of achieving possession and status within the community – and oftentimes pay taxes with the idea that the government should distribute to those in need.

I’m not a big fan of this. I’d LOVE to see a modern church that has a congregation full of Christ worshiping believers who give everything they have. Unfortunately, in today’s society, that would probably be considered a cult.

All that said, here and operating in modern times with a modern church, the part I want to look at is Ananias and Sapphira.

What do you think he did wrong? Why was he killed by God?

I don’t think it was due to greed. I think it’s because he didn’t believe in the omniscient divinity of God. I think he thought if he did something in the darkness, it wouldn’t be shown in the light. I think he thought he could get away with lying TO God. I think that’s why he was killed.

Examine your life and your heart. Is there something being done in the dark that you don’t think will see the light? Remember: God is all present and all knowing. He’s here. He’s there. Trust Him and love Him. There’s no need for lying, conniving, bad business practices – no need for any of that when you lay it all at the feet of Jesus.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

Hallee


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Glad It’s Back to Normal Around Here

Posted by Hallee on May 18, 2014 in Blog Stuff

coffee_heart22The other day, Gregg was trying to navigate through the site to look for something. But the theme we installed several months ago was just awful. So, he re-installed the hold them.

I feel like I’ve come home. I didn’t want to say anything to Gregg, because he’s really overloaded with work work, ministry work, and national guard work. But, I hated that new theme. I hated working with it, producing on it, and I cringed when I was working with the designer for the upcoming new theme. I kept wanting to refer back to elements within this theme while talking to him.

But now I’m happy! I wish there was a way to keep this theme, but it’s old and not “hip” technologically speaking. But I’ll enjoy it while it’s here for the next several months.

 

 

Hallee


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Is School Over Yet?

Posted by Hallee on May 17, 2014 in Autism, Parenting

scottThis year has been an amazing year for Scott. He’s come so far in his attention, drive, focus, coping skills — so far in fact that the special ed teacher told us in his parent teacher conference that she didn’t think he’d need to be under an IEP after next year.

That is, until this week.

Sigh.

I don’t know if he has spring fever or what. I just know that this week has been horrible – he punched a boy (who was bullying him) in the eye- twice because the kid punched him back and then it was ON, he was removed from the classroom twice, he’s had two full days where he refused to work at all…

His class is going on a field trip to the Louisville Science Museum on Monday. On their desks in his classroom is the word “LOUISVILLE”. Every time they get a mark in class, they have to scratch through a letter in the word. If they scratch out the entire word, then they don’t get to go.

Scott started the week off with no scratch marks. As I type this on a Friday, I hope and pray that he made it through the day without scratching out those few remaining letters. (UPDATE: He made it! Yay!)

He also has a special ed field trip next Friday to a local park. The agreement for that was that any student who made 90% average in behavior for the week for the last three weeks get to go. Until that note came home, Scott was getting between 90-100% per day. This week — well, let’s just say that yesterday he was at 10% and that was just one day of five.

kidsI’m hoping that this is just end of the year syndrome. I’m hoping that he’s just so TIRED of sitting through the school day and HATING every second of it that he is just DONE. Because, what I don’t want is that this is the new norm. If that’s the case, then we’re going to have to examine what we’re doing and determine what needs to be changed. That isn’t as simple as it may seem.

In other news, Jeb has scored in the 3rd grade level in testing of reading and math as he exits Kindergarten. That comes with its own set of challenges, but he LOVES school, which makes mornings easier that if both of them hated it as much as Scott. And Kaylee is looking at ending the year with a 4.2 gpa despite balancing a job, volleyball, and a driver’s license.

We’re all counting down the days. 11 more days of school. 3 more Mondays. We got this.

 

Hallee


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