"Blessed is she, who has believed, that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished." Luke 1:45

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Old vs.New

Old...

Laying on the floor in my jammies watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

New...

Watching the kids lay on the floor, watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Old...

making haystacks with my mom

New...

Making haystacks with my kids

Old...

Having leftover dark meat turkey sandwiches and cranberry sauce for dinner.

New...

Having leftover dark meat turkey sandwiches and cranberry sauce for dinner.

Old...

Decorating for the Christmas holiday and watching my dad put the star on top

New...

Decorating for the Christmas holiday and watching my husband help my son put the angel on top.

I don't know about you, but it is fun to look back at the old traditions of my childhood and compare to see how they have shaped the traditions of today.

One tradition that I didn't carry on was my mom's cornbread dressing and giblet gravy. It was always my favorite dish and I would eat a ton of it. I can still taste it. I didn't have her teach me how to make either one, so now, I just make stove top cornbread dressing and enjoy the fact that I have great memories of watching my mom in the kitchen working to make our Thanksgiving great. This Thanksgiving I am very thankful for my family and friends, but I keep returning to the fact that I had such love and security growing up. It makes me look at how I am raising my kids and really think about what memories and traditions I am passing along. Are they good memories and enduring traditions? My mom has been gone for awhile now, but it is still really hard for me around the holidays. She was great at making the holidays a big deal and making them fun. I hope that I can bring that same excitement and enjoyment to my kids as the years pass by.

Have a great holiday everyone.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Music brings me happiness

Ok, I admit it. I am kinda in a music rut. It's not that what I listen to is bad or boring, it's great. But I have neglected some of my first love styles. I am refreshing my ears with some of my favorite genres. I just wanted to share a couple of songs that are right at the top of my "LOVE IT!" list.





Sunday, November 23, 2008

Letters aren't, numbers are and I'm so confused!

As you know, Kevin struggles with reading. He is in 3rd grade and is only reading on a kindergarten level. He does well in all other subjects, he just struggles in "language arts". I have felt this pressing frustration the past two years, knowing that he is so smart and watching him struggle so with learning the basics. I have to admit, I have been feeling pretty hopeless about him ever becoming even an average reader.

Then...

a couple weeks ago I was talking to a friend after church. He is one of those friends that is like a conversational dentist. He will just poke and prod around until he hits a nerve and then will dig in and get everything cleared out so that the healing and correcting can start. He just wouldn't leave me alone. We had a wonderful conversation in which he confided that their son had struggled with learning and with that admission, I instantly lost that "I'm the only parent in the world suffering through this" hopelessness. He suggested that we get some books from another couple in our church who, come to find out, had went through the same struggles with their kid as well. The book is called The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias.

Wow.

Obviously, there are no 10 STEPS TO A BRILLIANT KID miracles in here. But there is some insight that, in the space of a few days, has completely changed the way I see Kevin's struggle.

There is a general "quiz" where she asks a very few questions then takes the broad "learner" and divides them into one of four dominant learning styles. Obviously this is not an in depth testing, but it is enough to make some things really clear to me.

The way I learn, the things I learn, and the ease with which I learn them are completely foreign to Kevin. He is what she describes as "concrete". Things must follow a logical pattern. This is why he does well at math and science. A 2 is always a 2. It doesn't change to a 6 under certain circumstances and it doesn't sit in an equation and not do something. It is what it is. The same thing with science. If you take A and add B you will get C every time. It doesn't change. Now let's look at reading and spelling. I before E except after C, E can be pronounced E or Eh or sometimes it is silent, There and their, and don't even ask me about long and short vowels. I liked language and couldn't figure it out. There is absolutely NOTHING concrete about learning to read. There are exceptions to EVERY rule. How do you know if this is an exception or the rule? How can a word be a noun in one sentence and a possessive pronoun in the next? If you learn in a logical pattern like Kevin, you may never be able to figure this stuff out.

So, now we know what one of his problems is. He need logic to be able to understand something. the question is, how do we figure out how to make all of that stuff logical to him when it really is not?

I have been so frustrated because I learn in a random pattern. Things that are very easy for me to grasp are so foreign to Kevin that it must seem that I have been speaking Chinese to him. I just assumed that he would learn the same way that I did. She uses a great example in the book.


If I say the phrase "Listen to Me" in Russian, but you don't speak Russian, you will not understand. Even if I slow down, speak louder and enunciate very clearly, you will never understand what I am saying simply because you don't speak Russian.

EPIPHANY!


Yep, you guessed it. I have been speaking "Russian" to my good 'ol American kid. He wants to listen and do what I ask (he is such a great kid, he really does like to make his dad and I happy), but he just doesn't UNDERSTAND! I am sure that this is the major sticking point in his classroom setting as well. Teachers teach in one set style, their own, and the kids that learn that way excel, and the ones that don't struggle to understand. It isn't anyone's fault, it is what it is.


So, now, the mission becomes trying to find a translator. I have not finished this book. She has written another one besides this one as well. Will I find some kind of magic answer? Most likely not, but I have already learned some great ways to encourage his learning style, and to really build upon what he already knows and does.

I am setting up an appointment to meet with his teacher, and another appointment to meet with his resource teacher. I am interested to see what they have to say regarding this and if they have any ideas. My kid my not ever be an accelerated reader, but he is really smart and I know that he has all the ability in the world, we just have to figure out how to best teach to his learning style.

Prayers are very, very welcome!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Reruns and new works

I am studying up for Sunday school tomorrow. We will be discussing the fall of Adam and Eve and what it means to us today. The guy that wrote the study guide said this..."The serpent's intention was clearly to incite disloyalty and rebellion in the man and woman by attacking God's character. He did this by first robbing them of their thankfulness for God's abundant provision”. (emphasis mine)

He also said that "the nature of sin has not changed, and the goals and strategies of the Evil One are essentially the same". (emphasis mine) That's right folks. We struggle and fight and Satan just sits back and plays reruns.

wouldn't you agree that it is such a waste, that if we would only learn from the thousands of years of history and hundreds of generations that have suffered before us, that we would have figured out that we are the ones allowing Satan to continually have a hold in our lives? He doesn’t even have to work at it. His strategies are the same. Every time we think or feel we deserve more, we have abandoned thankfulness and stepped easily into sin. Specifically to me, overdrawn checking, impulse spending, ingratitude for what I have and expectations of what I think I deserve. Do you have a laundry list of things that you continually struggle against? How do you feel knowing that Satan isn't on the other side struggling against you? He is just running the same plays he always has, knowing that if he fails, he will just start them all again.

I have also been reading in proverbs and it talks about the three kinds of people called by God to develop wisdom: the simple, the scorner, and the fool. Of those I can classify myself as the fool because I continually go back to old behaviors that I know are harmful in my spiritual growth. I have the wisdom to change, but I return to old habits and behaviors again and again. Satan wins!

That’s why I am disappointed in me. I keep giving things to God and then keep taking them back because I lack willpower to not continue in bad behaviors.

I refuse to let this be the end of the struggle. Isaiah 59:1 says,

" Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear".

What comfort to know that God is willing to reach for me, and to hear me when I cry out to him. Satan may be running the same old plays, but God has new ideas!

Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)

"I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus".

God is continually pressing us forward. The good work that he intends for us isn't something that holds us in place, doing the same thing. He pushes us forward, into new situations, challenges and blessings!

I invite you to look at where you are today. Has Satan convinced you that his "same old same old" is too hard to overcome? Or maybe, just maybe, can you trust God to press you on to the life that He has planned for you?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What's the final picture supposed to be anyway?

Have you ever felt like you are a jigsaw puzzle that God wants you to put together, but only he can see what the final picture is supposed to look like?

Recently I have been looking at the things I have been doing and trying to figure out if the ministry I serve in is the right one, or if I should be in more than one, or if I need to step out of all ministry to have time to clear my head and redirect.

I have been trying to really pay attention to the things and activities that attract me, as well as the things that I am naturally drawn to, and the things that bring me joy. I have to say that the more I try and figure it out the less sure of myself I am. These are some of the things I am looking at:

I love things that allow me a creative outlet; like scrapbooking, polyvore, decorating my home, and formatting and generating projects on the computer.

I love to shop, but in certain ways. Once a week I take Abby, the umbrella stroller and some cash and spend the whole day hitting all the consignment and resale shops in my area. We try to see how much we can get for a certain amount. I also am always watching for deals on things that I know would bless my family or friends. I also love to shop on ebay.

I love to lead my high school girls small group. It is so much fun for me to just hang out with them for awhile and facilitate conversation and get them to ask questions and such. I like the process of finding curriculum that I think would bless them and grow them.

I love love love to read. I read all the time. I read spiritual growth, Christian fiction, Christian chick lit, Bible studies, biographies...pretty much anything I can get my hands on.

I am passionate about the music I listen to. So much of what I listen to has a deeper meaning to me, and often I can directly link a song to a situation, feeling or time in my life. Singing is my favorite form of worship and any time I can get to a concert it is very special for me.

I love to hang out with the women in my church. I like to serve with them, have Bible studies with them, shop, eat, pray and laugh and cry with them. I love the fact that God has given me such great friends.

I like to play volleyball and frisbee.

I like board games and NERTS, and spoons.

I like sitting around with my friends and just chatting.

I love being a servant to others.

I would much prefer to be the behind the scenes gal that does the support and prep work than the one out in the front of the house.

So, you see, I am pretty confused as to how best to use the things that God has given me a love for, talent with or desire for. I am not worried, but it is just another instance of me not being content with only seeing a portion of the final picture. I would much prefer to see all that God sees.

On the other hand, I was really blessed by coming up with the list above. I realize that it is only a scattering of things about me, but it shows me how unique God made me, and that everything listed above was placed in me to be an avenue to glorify God.

Have you ever dealt with this issue? If so I would love to hear about it.

I've Been Tagged

The rules are that when you are tagged you have to share 7 things about yourself and then tag 7 other people...

1. I love teen chick flick movies. I love love love the fact that they are completely unrealistic and that no real life romance begins like that. But is sure is fun to watch.

2. There is nothing about Abby that doesn't completely amaze me. I could spend the rest of my life watching her learn life. We played peek-a-boo tonight with her bending down and springing up from in front of the couch and all I could think was "I love this girl so deep it is a physical hurt".

3. I have never seen the ocean. I have only been out of this time zone to take the kids in youth group to camp. I really want to start seeing the country I live in, and I am still planning that Mediterranean cruise.

4. I love to decorate my house. Every fall I re-decorate at least two rooms. It is my ultimate fun to plan and hunt for the new room decorations and accents.

5. My favorite hobby is shopping consignment stores for Abby. Every week I load Abby, the unbrella stroller and a little cash into the car and head to Springfield to see how much I can get for how little. We spend the day shopping and chatting and playing and when we are really lucky, we meet Daddy for lunch out!

6. I overindulge my love of scrapbooking. I will spend months looking for the perfect accent for a spread. (or my friend April will surprise me with the items that I have mentioned I want). My pages are fancy and fun and such a great way for me to be creative.

7. I want to be able to impact someone, someday, with something I have written. I don't know where this desire comes from, it is just there, living and breathing, quietly waiting.

I don't really know who to tag, most of my readers don't have blogs and just pop on to see if I have posted any new pics or updates about the kids. I know that April and Missy will read this and they have blogs so I will tag you guys. :) For anyone else: If you are reading this and you have a blog, you are tagged!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Bow My Head For You Today

I got up out of my toasty warm bed and went into the bathroom that has running water and my handy dandy hair straightener. I got dressed in the clothing that I picked out and then went in and cuddled my baby girl awake. I left my home that I own and got into my car and dropped my baby girl off at her nana's and papa's for the day. I drove to my part time job as an administrative assistant at a crisis pregnancy center. While there I ministered to women with material goods, life skills education and the love and compassion of Jesus. I finished my work day and drove home and sat in the home that I own and watched TV that made me laugh as my son and daughter played and my husband worked in the yard. I sat on my couch and did my study for my women's Bible study group. Then I got on the computer and posted this message about all the things I am free to do and take for granted way too much.

Dear God, Thank you so much for the men and women who have fought and served and struggled and hurt and died so that I could have my normal day. Please bless them with safety and success. Help them to feel You there, right there, next to them in the middle of the fight. Make the loneliness a little more bearable, and the fear a little less overwhelming. God, provide them all the equipment and supplies they need to be effective and safe as they perform their duty. As I lay my head on my soft pillow tonight, break my heart for the soldier half a world away laying their head against the side of a tank to pray, or standing guard over their friends, or who struggles to get past the overwhelming desire to just go home. Bless the soldier that is the new father that has never held his new little blessing, and bless the soldier that has no one to send them letters and cookies and hope. Finally God, wrap the families of these soldiers in your loving arms and whisper the words they need to hear the most directly to their heart. Give them strength and faith and passion to continue on. Bring support and hope to them from every direction. Thank you God for every man and woman, wherever they are stationed. Bless them and keep them safe. Amen


"Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends".
John 15:13

Friday, November 7, 2008

Trust Fall

I am posting a little video today that I found really relevent and really funny. I hope you are blessed by it.

Shannon