Saturday, March 30, 2013

The greatest gift you can give to your children

is not to try to make their life all about you.

Not their problems, struggles, successes, failures, joy, sadness etc;

I am realizing that one of the greatest things I can do for my children is to not try to make it all about me.

The immense pressure to be more, do more, and say more as a mom feels so heavy some days. 

Sometimes all of that perceived pressure is self-induced. 

We think we have to be it all, do it all, and say it all for our kids to turn out okay. 

But guess what? 

It isn't about us. 

It isn't about me. 

It is all about honoring Him, loving them unconditionally, and then trusting Him to work everything out.  SO easy to say, so hard to do.  I want to get in there and tweak things, and talk about it, and talk about it some more...and before long I have made it all about me.  How I see it, what I want in that moment, what I think is best etc;

So I need a few post-it notes tacked up. 

On the mirror, by the dry erase school board, near my computer screen...

It's.Not.About.Me.  John 3:30

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Faith is...

when you have the sea in front of you and angry army behind you and you bend your knee and declare :

"God is good.  If I die, I die.  If I live, I live.  Nothing is too hard for Him.  He is God."

Friday, March 22, 2013

it is dark and quiet

I am the first one up this morning.  I hear my dog softly snoring, I am looking forward to my cup of coffee I will brew here in just a moment.  Yesterday was one of those days that I was all too happy to see come to a close.  Actually this entire week has been rough.  There have been some great moments of happiness, but by and large it has been a heavy, trying week.  The weight bears down upon my shoulders and it feels too much.  I let it press me all the way down to my knees and I pray...

Dear God,
You are awesome and full of wonder.
Show me Your wonder.
You are full of loving kindness and mercy.
Show me how to be full of that too.
You are the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
Create within me a clean heart.
You are the storehouse of my salvation.
Renew a spirit of joy within me.
You are my shield and my buckler, my fortress.
Teach me how to take refuge in You.
You are gracious and just.
Teach me how to act justly and speak graciously.
Your love is patient and kind, it never fails.
Show me how to love like that.
You have a plan and a purpose for everything.
Teach me to trust in You.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What has helped us....

for those pesky math facts.

At one point or another all of my children have or are struggling to memorize their math facts.  For the list of major wars we are memorizing we came up with a fun little chant, for the US Presidents I came up with the silliest song to known to man...but for math facts we have tried a cd of math fact songs, flashcards, etc; and still they struggled. 

So we came up with a comprehensive review - this is what we do and it seems to be helping...a lot:

Sometime throughout the day my children see them and say them (flashcards), listen to them (cd of math facts) and then they do them - on Monday they do a worksheet (usually timed to build speed), Tuesday they use math blocks and build the math facts, Wednesday they cut and paste, Thursday they use the dry erase board and our magnetic numbers, and on Friday they use the dry erase place mat we have.  This is in addition to other math that they are learning, but until they nail down their math facts...whether or not it is just adding and subtracting, or it is their multiplication and division facts...they need them.  It is the foundation they will build on and it needs to be solid and strong.

Using all of the learning channels, visual, kinesthetic/tactile, audio, and written (would that be kinesthetic/tactile too?!?) - it really seems to solidify what they need.  So I hope this helps someone else.  Have a great day!

Friday, March 15, 2013


Five Minute Friday Lisa-Jo Baker


My day began at four this morning.  After tossing and turning with thoughts jumping around in my mind like a hamster on steroids, I decided to go ahead and get up.  I poured myself a small glass of International Delight's Iced Coffee.  My husband recently made a special trip to the store so that I could try it after I read about it on a blog recently....oh my.  He is sweet like that.  Anyhow I stumbled into the kitchen and blinked as the bright light hit my still somewhat groggy eyes.  My body was tired, my mind was not.  I sipped my treat and got out my Bible and journal.  Someone who is very special to me bought me a journal titled "Coffee With God" - LOVE it.  As my ink was flowing across the page I turned the page and as my pen hovered on the clean, crisp new sheet, suddenly what I had been about to write fled to the far reaches of my mind.  Something bigger, something better, more substantial now took center stage.  The quote at the top said "No matter where you are, no matter what you're dealing with, if you sit for a moment in the stillness of His presence, God's voice will come to you - quietly - and whisper words of peace."  Trieste Van Wyngarden

Stunned, I sat there.  You see for years at different times of my life, especially the more difficult, confusing, or heavy the circumstances, the verse "Be still and know that I am God." is whispered over and over, in my heart, in my thoughts...I will read it when I pick up something, or hear it in a song, or in a sermon or teaching.  And when I do what that verse says, when I quiet myself before Him, His peace, His rest wraps around me so snuggly, so comfortingly that I feel it seep down inside of me.  Soul level. 

I needed this reminder desperately this morning.  I needed to be anchored after the past few days have tossed me to and fro like a piece of driftwood.  I need His rest.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Days 13 - 19

I decided that trying to blog every single day is just NOT going to happen :) so I am going to put my checklist for what I want to do each day up at the beginning of the week and then if I get a chance to write during the week AWESOME, if not then at least I have tracked this.  :)

Day 13 *yesterday* rocked my children and went through a list of things they did right during the day
Day 14 try to capture a picture of each of them during the day and then make them a card (with their picture pasted on) letting them know their Daddy and I prayed for them that day
Day 15 build a blanket tent for read a louds under the dining room table with flashlights :)
Day 16 have dessert first for dinner
Day 17 sit down and plan a one on one event with them to take place within the next week - give them a ticket to be turned in for said event
Day 18 leave them a chocolate kiss on their a hotel :)
Day 19 create a movie theatre - popcorn, sprite, tickets, etc; and let them stay up a bit late to watch a movie

Friday, March 8, 2013

Five Minute Friday

Lisa Jo Baker Five Minute Friday


When I was little I used to dream of two things, one being a professional ballerina for Joffrey Ballet and getting to dance Sugar Plum Fairy during the Christmas season, and two of being a wife & mommy and having my own home. 

While I never got to dance for Joffrey professionally, I did get to experience life as a professional dancer and it was amazing.  And a lot harder than I thought it would be. 

But by far the dream that reached the deepest in my heart, the one that I longed for the most was to have a home where I belonged.  Where there was peace and joy and unconditional love.  I wanted so badly to have a man love me with all that he was and for me to be able to give him that and more in return.  I deeply desired to have children that I could hold and love on and talk to and play with, in short do life with.  When I got married I realized that God had answered above and beyond what I could ask for.  When I became a mommy I realized I was in no way prepared to be who I wanted to be.  I have stumbled and flailed , but sometimes, when I stop and think about it, all I want to do is sink to my knees in awe of the God we serve.  He has hand crafted my home to be more than I ever hoped for.  More than I ever dreamed of.  More than I knew I was longing for.  Because in the day to day of life He has revealed Himself more clearly to me than ever before.  I never realized what I was actually longing for was for my home to be Him.  He was what I was hungering for, He just happened to use marriage and parenting as a way to teach me that. 

And while I am ever so thankful that He did, if I am honest I also have to admit how much time I spend complaining about the gifts I spent so much time praying for.  In writing this it has again reminded me of the wonder of each person here in my home. 


Day Twelve

I want to leave little love notes for my children and husband where they will discover them through out the day. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day Eleven

First of all I read this article this morning and came away with an idea for today's act of kindness.  I am going to laugh more.  Now let me preface this by saying for some reason in the last five or so years I have forgotten how to play, enjoy, and laugh with my kids.  I cannot pinpoint the moment it changed, but I became more serious, more focused on teaching, instructing, short form BORING and NO FUN for kids.  There is NOTHING wrong with instructing and teaching and correcting, in fact there is much good in that.  But my problem is balance.  I need balance.  I need to be reminded that it is ok to laugh, in fact it is very good to laugh...especially at myself.  So today my act of kindness for today is laugh with and to enjoy my children and my husband. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Day Nine & Ten

First of all we have recently tried something that has been an awesome tool to teach dictation to my children so I wanted to share.  First of all start with a really small sentence, especially if you are starting this when they in first or second grade, the older kiddos who need practice can handle a longer, more interesting sentence.  But assuming you are starting this when they are really young then choose an easy, short sentence - literally like three or four words and make a flashcard for every word, every punctuation.  So if your first sentence is 'The cat sat', then you would have one card for The, one for cat, one for sat, and one for the period.  Say the sentence three times and then have them repeat it back once to you.  Mess up the cards and have them put them in correct order, over an over again.  (The longer selections will be more interesting and able to do this for longer).  Several times through the day have them take the cards out and put them in order.  The next day say the sentence three times, have them say it once, and then write it.  Then day three do a new sentence and repeat the steps.  On day five repeat both sentences three times each and have them write them.  After a while you will no longer need to do the repetitive stuff, but it was too much of a jump for my kiddos to go from copying straight to dictation, we needed to bridge the gap.

Yesterday I made them encouraging signs - that even in their weakness, His strength would show through.  Today I am going to do their chores for them.  :) they will be VERY happy about that :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Day Seven & Eight

Today we played with our children.  Got down on our hands and knees, on their level, and played with them.  We dug, we explored, we bundled up because it was chilly, but we had a blast. 

Tomorrow I want to go an entire day without correcting my children.  Well, that is not entirely true.  If they do something wrong, I simply want to say "no" or "please stop" and note it down for future conversations, but instead of springing into "lecture" mode, or instead of listing everything they just did wrong, I want to go out of my way to encourage them and point out what they are doing right tomorrow. 

Tomorrow I want to go an entire day without complaining to my husband (not about him, just to him...about the work load, something about being a parent, about cooking, laundry, the dog, the name it I seem to complain about it lately).  Ugh!  I have a feeling I might be really, really quiet tomorrow.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Heavy & Day Six(ish)

Some days are hard.  Extraordinary circumstances bear down heavily on all of your ordinariness.  The tears burn the back of my eyes, I blink them back.  Swallow the lump, and try again.  And again.  And again.

Yesterday, obviously, I did not post my plan for kindness.  Oops.  We got so busy trying to just survive the day :), and that is ok.  Surviving is good.  Today I am going to pray for my children and my husband and do a creative journaling page for each of them.  I would like to make this a weekly habit (the journal page) and give it to them when they are older (my kids, not my husband :) he can see his now). 

We already trace their handprint and write a verse or character trait that we commit to praying for them over for the entire year.  When they graduate and move out, we want to give them their handprint books to take with them.  Not that the prayers will stop, I anticipate they will only intensify :).  But if they are having a bad day, if they feel like life is too much, they could pull this out and remind themselves that no matter what else unfolds, they have two prayer warriors in their corner. 

May my husband and I continually bend on our knees, so they can stand tall and strong.