Thursday, April 28, 2005

On Faith

Little Joshua was playing in the closet right by the bathroom. I noticed that he had tucked his little body under the bottom shelf, beside some storage bins. He smiled at me sweetly from his hiding place. I was just passing through, checking to make sure that everyone was on task with their morning routine. As I walked in the girls room I heard the door close and Joshua call from inside. I didn't go to him because I knew David was right there and thought that he would let Joshua out. Several minutes later I exited the girls room and walked into the bathroom, calling for David. As I passed by Joshua said "Mama, Mama." I was amazed that he was still in the closet! But more amazed that he was so calm. I opened the door to the same sweet smile. I thought to myself, how calm and sweet he has remained, in the dark closet. He had such faith that I would come and let him out that it did not even occur to him to be afraid. Truly the faith of a little child is a wonderful thing!

"And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him." -Luke 8:25

Wednesday, April 27, 2005


After having some trials with my kids at Walmart over the years, some things have started to click for me...

I walked out of the store on a few occasions early in my parenting, and tried using rewards for awhile. This became depressing when they would not often measure up to my specific instructions (ie don't pick things up, or stay near me), and I would not often receive the intense pleasure of rewarding an obedient child. So, I came to the conclusion that giving instructions beforehand seems to be counterproductive, because the children tend to feel a burden and become discouraged. It is far better to give specific instructions as needed, and make sure that they are obeyed at that specific time (a neck squeeze does wonders!).

Secondly, involving the children with the work of shopping gives them something to occupy their thoughts and it makes them feel useful and important (today David minded the list, Deborah steered the cart, and everyone retrieved things we needed within their reach - except Joshua, though he tried:-). This leaves less attention for them to quarrel among themselves or be distracted by things in the store.

And lastly, my attitude is of paramount importance! I've found that if I smile often, the children think I like them (I'm happy to report that I do - most times!), and they like me back. This makes them want to please me and behavior problems become less of an issue.

Also, shopping is a perfect opportunity to homeschool. Today David figured out some hard math questions I asked him about how much cream cheese to buy - we needed 2 1/2 pounds - for Daddy's birthday cake. :-)  I remember seeing once a well turned out lady in Walmart with her 4 children. The youngest was maybe 4 they were about 2 years apart. She walked calmly through the store and the children walked sedately beside the cart, two holding onto one side, two on the other. I saw them several times and each time they were just as calm and orderly! Maybe someday I'll have it that together, but until then, I have something to reach for:-)

God is so good to have given us sweet children to train us up in the way we should go. Then, Lord willing, they follow ;-)

Saturday, April 23, 2005

A Good Day

Friday, which I usually can't get the hang of..... or is that Thursday? ;-)

I sat down with my Bible around 6am, and was not surprized to hear the sounds of Joshua climbing out of his crib. He toddled down the hall, opened his sister's door and was just about to climb in bed with her when I swept him up. I put him back in bed and told him he couldn't get up quite yet. He lay down obediently but I knew he wouldn't go back to sleep (this morning I thought of the solution - books!)

Around 9am everyone had breakfasted, bathed, and done their chores. Then the fun began - fingerpainting! Our subject was the letter of the day, which happened to be 'v'. They painted violets and vacuum cleaners, volcanoes and vases, velicorapters and vitamins. Then we all (yes, I am a sucker for a good alphabet story) wove together our 'v' items into a story, using our pictures to illustrate. Deborah Jane had 5 pages to her story, and told it remarkably well. It was such a good listening lesson for all.

Exercise was our next item, so each child chose a different exercise and we did 22 of each (22 being our number of the day:-). Since everyone has changed jobs, job training took up the rest of the time before lunch. David is now our sweeper/swiffer and mopper. Deborah has taken over the vacuuming and shows great promise. Rebekah has taken over the bathrooms - she follows instructions so perfectly! Joshua still brings the laundry basket and dumps it out for me to be sorted. I am looking for another job for him because he is so capable. Garden work was on hold due to dreary outdoor conditions.

During lunch I read to the children the story of Saul being chosen as Isreal's first king. After lunch was cleaned up, and the kids were settled for naps and quiet time (Deborah reading, David a United States puzzle), Mom had a half hour break. Woohoo! It was nice just to email a friend and look at some homeschooling articles online.

I then set up David with ingredients and an easy to follow recipe and supervised him making some cookie bars. He was wonderful! He did almost everything himself. When we put them in the oven, he helped me cook the taco meat and make fresh guacamole (yum!). We searched and searched and found that we were truly lacking in onions (though I remember purchasing a bag at the store recently) - to cry or not to cry? It was fortuitous, for we found that our guacamole doesn't really need onions. It tastes just fine without it. Now we have a few extra minutes every few weeks, and every minute counts!

Everyone was up and dragging their feet at 4pm, not wanting to pick up their areas. So we put on our rock'n'learn bug music and danced while we folded the laundry. I admit I may have had a bit too much fun:-) Some individuals, which I will not name, were dawdling with picking up downstairs. To inhibit nagging on my part, I implemented the "Incentive: Tacos" plan. We had just bitten into our delicious tacos and Nathan went to the top of the stairs and hollered "These tacos are delicious!" Soon two sweet children came eagerly to dinner and daddy found a spotless downstairs. "..if any would not work, neither should he eat." (2 Thess 3:10b) Deborah quotes this scripture often.

After dinner David had Daddy-time. (The children take turns having Daddy-time in the evenings.) They drew robots together on the whiteboard downstairs while I worked with Deborah, Rebekah and Joshua to clean up the kitchen. Setting the timer helped so much because it was easy then to just focus on the essentials of cleanup. I think usually I get caught up in things that are nice to have done (like shining the sink) but very unnecessary. Sometimes training takes up a lot of our cleanup time but the returns on this investment are impossible to pass up (though this was not always the case with us).

Couch time is something that Nathan and I have resurrected after enjoying some good times relating as homework for our marriage class. It is basically a time for us to sit down together while the kids play quietly (great training opportunity) and focus only on each other. We talk, hold hands, cuddle, make plans (isn't it amazing? poetry just appears sometimes!).

Next we readied the children for bed, read a chapter from "The Banks of Plum Creek" and sang some hymns together. I noticed that David was singing very well beside me. I think the rock'n'learn CD's have improved his singing skills. He knows so much more than I ever thought possible about bugs and the planets!
It was bedtime and I admit, I was very lazy; Once they were done in the bathroom and tucked in and prayed for, I went into the kitchen. I am well aware that if I stayed outside their door and trained Josh to stay lying down in his bed, within a few days he would just lie down and go to sleep every time. But I continue to choose the kitchen cleanup, my email, the laundry. When will I learn?
God is so good. I am so thankful that I am graced with beautiful children!
Maybe next time I'll write about a bad day...

Sunday, April 10, 2005


We are progressing nicely on our first garden. Just tonight we spread out the hay cover for our mulch on about a quarter of it. Spreading hay is more work than I thought it would be! Making sure that it is thick enough everywhere is time consuming. Especially with 4 children having hay fights all around you:-) We pushed back the mulch to form two rows and planted some lettuce also. This part was fun. Little Joshua sat on my lap and I put one tiny lettuce seed on his pant leg. He grasped it with his remarkably dexterity and dropped it somewhere in the vicinity of the row. The others did it a little more systematically :-)
Today at church I pondered the power of God, which he wrought in the work of Christ's resurrection; the same power which is contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ. It occurred to me that the Christian's guarantee of answer to prayer is only contained in this same context. Ie, that of being in Christ, being buried with Him by baptism into death, being raised again with Him into newness of life.

Saturday, April 9, 2005

My First Blog

Well, here goes! I am blogging now, thanks to meine wundebar Ehemann. Now what do I say? Maybe I'll think of something by tomorrow.....:-)