Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Drewism

While driving home from dropping Gabe off at school Drew and I had the following conversation -

Drew: "Mommy, I have a word for you!"
Mommy: "You do, what is it?"
Drew: "Do all things without grumbling or complaining."
Mommy: "Thank you Drew, that is a good word, does that word have power?" * I've been trying to feed of his love for having "powers" and correlating that to God's word being powerful when we speak it.

Drew: "Yes, it came from the Bible so it has power."
Mommy: "Do you know what the Bible says about God's word?"
Drew, "Yes, but I can't remember."
Mommy: "God says his words in the Bible have great power and are sharper than a double edged sword, His word has power when we speak it and will never return without impact."
Drew: "I remember now, so....(after thinking a few seconds) is it powerful enough to even chop your head off!"

I couldn't stop laughing! Children are priceless!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Randomly Honest

So I just finished posting about our lives the last few weeks and I am sitting here perplexed.  Why is it that life looks so wonderful in pictures yet I don't appreciate those accomplishments?

I see my blue eyed blessings sweet faces and smiles in those pictures and all the fun we had and can't believe we actually did have a fun few weeks.  That fun was marred by all the pictures not taken.

The fighting between brothers, unkind words spoken to my husband, time wasted, lunches not made,  the mornings I slept in, the frustrated mommy who didn't want to read one more "Good Night Moon", the time Drew told me he wanted to go live at Mrs. Kelly's house because she is way more fun, the poop on the floor which ended up being cleaned up twice because I'd thrown it in the diaper pail and then Drew flipped the lid later that day and it flung out of the pail and back onto the floor. Or the two hours I spent cleaning up dog poop in the boys room because the dog was locked in there all night and couldn't get outside, or the screaming baby whose teeth hurt and nose is stuffy, or telling my boys to be quiet only to have them scream down the stairs pretending to be space ships and waking their sister in the process. or the broken vase thanks to a random football being thrown in the house, or the lies that come, the disobedient hearts rebelling against God, the "yes mommy's" spoken with no intention of actually doing what I asked, the broken washing machine, the tantrums from mommy and kids, the errands not run, the work turned in wrong, the deadlines missed, the people offended, the spankings given, the "Forgive Me's" begged ...... I could go on but I think I'll stop before you really think I'm a nut case.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Just know we have been doing a lot of confessing around here. Life isn't just a beautiful photo, its truly what we do about all the unseen footage that goes on behind the lens of perspective. We're sinful, in process people, who are learning along with our children how to live a Faith Full Life. I wouldn't have it any other way- God is faithful and just to forgive us and send us out again with a new perspective. Sweet Dreams - tomorrow is another day to try again. "God's mercy is new every morning, Great is Thy faithfulness."

Friday, September 24, 2010

Help Me!

Help Me! I'm Teething!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Is Here

Celebrating the First Day of Fall in Pictures! The Mayflower Boat Is Out of the Attic!

Fall Books Are Here!

New Fall Books to Read!

We Made Fall Cookies - Pumpkins & Leaves

Gabe getting into his cookie - he had more fun decorating that eating  since he isn't big on sweets.

Measuring and Mixing

Reading Fall Books

Nature Journal Time Outside drawing leaves

Licking the Icing is the best part

Abby wants to be older so she can have school too!

Brotherly Love right before arguing about who was going to frost which cookie!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Home Learning Week 5

This week we finished up our Apple unit and then went into Blueberries for Sal. Here are a few pictures from our first few days learning about Blueberries For Sal.

Abby Loved Frozen Blueberries Too!
We baked blueberry pies, read the book "Blueberries For Sal" numerous  times & listened to the audio and learned about bears! We also talked about how different animals and people prepare for the upcoming winter. It was a busy week, I didn't feel like we accomplished very much, but we're pressing along.

I'm learning to enjoy the special  times I have together with the kids, no matter where my "random" child  takes the lesson or if the baby is fussy or Gabe is gluing and cutting up Drew's worksheet.  Drew is learning, just in his own random ways, which I am learning to celebrate. God made Drew so unique and He has a great and mighty purpose for Drew life. I just facilitate the opportunities for his God-given style of learning to be expressed, practiced, and manipulated into fun learning times. Drew loves to move from thing to thing, never sitting still, always thinking about the 10 millionth "great ideas" he has for our day. Some days I am flexible, like this week, and other times I try and keep him focused and to our schedule. Sadly, the times I'm more flexible are normally the times he learns the best! So, I need to be more flexible!

I'm also learning to not be so darn controlling - who cares if he is playing with his pencil or fingers while I'm reading or climbing into and out of my lap?  I'm not quite so anxious about it anymore but it is a constant struggle. My Aunt Beth (teacher of littles for 20+ years) told me, which was so freeing,  that she tells her little boys in class that if they  can prove they are paying attention, they can do anything as long as a toe is touching their desk. I told Drew, since I don't have 20 kids in my class,  that if he can prove he is paying attention then he can move, jump, wiggle, or do whatever he needs to and I won't say anything as long as he is quiet. We tried this the last few weeks and he has been so much better! Drew also loves to ask tons of questions. When reading about his learning style (Abstract Random (AR) learners are sensitive, compassionate, perceptive, imaginative, idealistic, sentimental, spontaneous, and flexible.) I saw that Drew actually learns in a random way  which involves asking a million questions - like why and how. I'm trying to get better at telling him - "today you can ask all the questions you want when I'm reading" or " While  I read this book your just going to listen and ask me questions at the end," If Drew knows in advance he tends to do so much better and I don't get so frustrated.

We also worked a lot on Drew's presentation to his Texas History class. Drew learned all about an explorer - Cabeza De Vaca and told his class all about what he had discovered - or rather what mommy read to him and had him memorize!  Drew did really well, his teacher was impressed and said he did better than her older 7 and 8 year olds. Drew gave me his presentation (I asked him 10 questions and he answered since he can't stay focused to tell a whole story yet) at home while we were practicing so I'll try and post it once I get get it uploaded.

I'm looking forward to gleaning even more knowledge from our upcoming conference on Friday/Saturday  called "Raising Kids For True Greatness" by Tim Kimmell and takeing a day off from school to celebrate the First Day of Fall tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Only You Can Save


Listening and meditating on "Only You Can Save" by Chris Sligh this morning
I want to love because you loved,
I want to Give because he Gave,
I want to reach my hand out to the lost,
I know only Your hand will save
Only You can save.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Abby at 8 Months

Always Smiling
Love The Rolls!
Look What I Can Do!

Why I Blog: HIS-Story Part 2

The next generation needs to know the glory and wonder and greatness of God. The next generation, my three little blue eyed blessings,  need to hear and see God active and lived out in my daily life - they also need to hear about our family history while we're daily laying down the rails of life. I've been thinking a lot about where I've been and where the Lord might take me along this faith journey. There are so many stories already written, I pray thousands more will be penned here and shared with multitudes of Williams.


So, this blog came into being back in 2005 - a tale of great and small and mighty moments that all relate life's circumstances to God's plan. The good, bad, ugly, redeemable, and real -  put out there for my children and those brave souls who dare look at this place. All will see in plain black and white - many times unedited and not proofed since that takes time and I don't have much these wonderfully busy days.

Williams History Lesson:  Back in 2005 I lay in a hospital room, alone, depressed, pumped up on tons of drugs I can't spell or pronounce, shut in from the outside world - I literally couldn't even go out of my room except to have ultra sounds every 4 days. After about a month I finally was awarded a wheel chair ride once every few days and a daily morning shower! Once, when it snowed, John snuck me out to capture snowflakes on my tongue!

Though hard for me to even imagine now, it had become hard to speak to others on the phone about what transpired  that given day - many times I couldn't even remember. I was broken and felt totally abandoned by God. Much of the time I outwardly looked ok, but I was a great deceiver - my mind wasn't stimulated like it had been before and I wasn't really engaged most of the time - it felt like I was living out a bad, hazy dream. John remembers I cried a lot!. The Lord heard my cries, but in his sovereignty remained silent. John says I almost died, I probably did. Now, many years later I don't remember very much about that time in my life. Scary to think that I lived through it, but can't remember details. There were other crazy family, financial, and frustrating situations that compiled this chaotic time in my life. It wasn't just being in the hospital - it was that every area of my life was seemingly falling apart before my bedridden eyes. As Anne Shirley said in Anne of Green Gables, I was in the "depths of despair." In the picture above I was 32 weeks and had been in the hospital about 21 days. The picture was taken in December and I returned home on bedrest on January 11th of 2005.

Our first blue eyed blessing arrived safely and healthy almost 5 weeks early on January 24th,

In my attempts to let others know the medical details of my life I posted a blog on a baby website that would hopefully house pictures of our expected little blue eyed bundle - AKA  "Drew." That baby page housed much of Drew's first two years - pictures, stats, and special moments. It also revealed a little of the broken pieces of faith I was trying to put back together. The reality was, now that I have an unmedicated perspective, that God was there! He just chose not to answer me in the way I wanted. He chose to let me  sit in my dark, depressed room and express emotions, live moments, capture memories that I would need later in life for my story. I also needed a smack over the head so that I could put my husband in the position of authority for our growing family. John needed to see me weak to stand up and lead. In God's soverienty He remained - silent. That silence only last about 6 months - but the effects will be influencing my faith until the moment I take my last breath.

 I grieved.... I chose .... I overcame.... He Answered...I gained  perspective!

Here are a few reasons why believers should record their family His-Story (maybe not on a public blog, but a private one or in a yearly journal ): 

  • History: It is a historic retelling of God's plan, protection, and deliverance. Our kids will need to obey and receive God's plan, they will need protection and deliverance. What a reward to begin this process now! The stories of our lives will live long past our earthly life through the retelling of history.
  • Faithfulness: (Vs 33)  God always fulfills His promises: our children need to know that God is faithful and our stories are a great way to reaffirm this message.

  • Freedom: (Vs 38)  Forgiveness of sins is proclaimed and we are FREE! If anyone, other than ourselves, needs this message, its our kids! Mine sin on a constant basis! They need to know that momma sins too and God is Faithful to Forgive our greatest and smallest offenses. Children  and peers need to hear about our struggles, it builds a bridge to intimacy with others and intimacy with God.

  • Lasting: stories relate well to children, they solidify in word pictures hard to understand concepts about God and man and sin and good and evil.

  • Perspective (Vs 40)  We all need to see that God is accomplishing a work in our lives - in this very moment! A mighty work that no one will ever believe, such miraculously orchestrated that it has to be written down!

  • For Others (Vs 45)  His-Story is for everyone - Jews and Gentiles - Neighbor or National - Child or Adult. Everyone needs this message! I've heard it said that the best testimony is our story because no one can argue with ones own life experiences. There are also those who believe that they are unworthy of eternal life, they need to know that Christ on the cross redeemed the most unimaginable of sins. Salvation is available to all! 
  •  Light to the World- (Vs47) We can't be light (attractive) in a dark world unless we look different. True believers look different and should be asked frequently why they act different or look different or care differently that the world - not in religious checklist Christianity, but in real, authentic Christ lived out daily in my love for others. We're to be generous givers of time, resources and our lives to an unbelieving and dying world. Those living in darkness should ask us and we will have His-Story to share! 
Pray along with me -- for the world to awaken and be captivated by God's Story lived our through Our Story!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Why I Blog: HIS-Story Part 1



Luke begins chapter 13 with a story. As I meditated on this passage, a dialog began to take place in my head about why I blog, whether it is worth the time, whether it is of benefit to my family, whether I'm "called" at this season in my life to put my story down for the world to see. The answer, for me, became an encouragement and  I'll be sharing the Williams history more frequently with my blue eyed masterpieces - more thankful times of remembrance, more dialog about events, more time spent teaching my children about God's presence in my daily life.

Luke begins chapter 13 with the history of the Jewish nations - the history lesson is being told to the Gentiles. The gentiles were hated by the Jews (they were like the popular kids in the class who never wanted to play with the ordinary girls with the glasses) and after Christ's resurection and many miracles and angels and revelations -  God finally convinced the apostles that these gentiles were His people too. There wasn't a select group that "made it" or received a "free ride." "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God - Jew and Gentile! 

Chapter 13 is Luke teaching the Gentiles about their new history -  all that the Lord had done for the Jews to protect, provide, and deliver  His people - from Egypt all the way to Jesus. Luke hoped to show the Gentles that just as God protected and provided and  delivered the Jewish nation that continually strayed away from God, He too would do the same for the Gentiles. God, in His mercy and grace, had grafted in the gentiles and there was no longer a distinction - "neither Jew or Greek (Romans 1:16-17). I am that gentile  and just as I need to read about what God did back in AD 45 or BC 1450, I too need to remember what God did back in 2005, 2003, 1979, etc. My children will need to know these things and this blog is a great idea birthed by God Himself to reveal to my children and those after what God did, and is still doing,  in the hearts of the Williams.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Catechism Kids (With a Few Distractions)

Drew has successfully, for the most part, completed his first set of catechisms. We've worked on these through the summer and into the first few weeks of school. The video is a little long, but shows great 5 year old knowledge about God and  His word. Gabe too is learning and his video is below too - he is working on the first 4 catechisms.

Catechism, a Greek word Katacheo, simply means “instructed” (Luke 1:4). Catechism (pronounced: katakism) is a question and answer type method of instruction type teaching in basic Christian doctrines. This method of question and answer creates a framework for  interacting with the Bible and helps me as a mom to bring everyday life activity back to God's holy word. This type of learning will assist in developing a childs basic understanding of God, prayer, obedience (10 commandments) sin, salvation, prayer, the Bible, the church, and heaven and hell; each answer in the catechism is supported by a scripture references. I've been learning along with Drew this past year, my own understanding of basic Christian doctrine is not as mature as I would like it to be. Plus often Drew will ask me questions, like "where is God? or Does God see everything I do?" and I'm able to bring it  back to his catechisms and reinforce with examples what he has already memorized.
video

To get the whole list of basic children catechism's go here. Or if you want to use a great resource that has stories associated with the catechism and teaches the children great character traits, order the book "Big Truths for Little Kids" by Susan Hunt which we have used and loved over the past few years.Her other book "My ABC Bible Verses" is also a wonderful resourche which we are using in conjuction with the Catechism's.

Drew's video was so long I had to post it on a Free sight which will show advertisements before you can view. Sorry! Click "close  to play" after selecting the "Play All button"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week Two on Character

John took the Drew out of donuts last week because he earned enough checks. Gabers gets to go tomorrow morning with Daddy since we ran out of time last weekend.

This week Gabe gets to spend his checks on his very own train from Target and Drew is getting a new Lego kit. Best of all, the boys were wonderful again this week. They certainly weren't perfect - like  when Drew  threw a football in the house tonight and broke my favorite vase.  Oh well -that is what glue is for right? The boys had many opportunities to serve and care for others. Drew even did the dishes with a huge smile tonight! I don't think I've ever seen him volunteer to wash dishes, let alone actually stand up on his stool and complete the task. Such fun and exhausting days!


I'm home alone for a whole hour and a half on a Friday night - finally able to change up my blog a bit. Abby has finally drifted off to dreamland thanks to the Tylenol I gave her. She slept from 9:00 pm last night until 2:00 pm this afternoon! Once she woke up and ate like a little piggy she fussed and fussed over her painful teeth which are coming in. She finally fell asleep on my chest, exhausted and in pain. The only good part was that I was able to get 30 minutes of cuddling with her on my chest. I hope she is ok, its not like her to be fussy and sleep so long.


We spent the week on Apples again - too much fun to stop last week! Drew also mastered his first 5 sections of  catechism's  - it only took a year! I'll post that video soon! We also worked on distinguishing the difference between "Fact & Fiction" and learned the 5 senses. Drew was so funny, he decided that if he didn't know the answer to fact or fiction  he would just say, "Faction?" It was a fun week with a lot more reading aloud on my part, more smiles, giggles and fun which were some of my goals. Academically we didn't peak any mountains, but I think we at least worked ourselves out of the valley, had fun along the journey exploring, and made it a few steps up the path to the top of the mountain. It was a good week! Next week we're doing a three week unit study on "Blueberries for Sal" - learning about bears, fruit, and making mini blueberry pies.


Random Quotes / Entries from Facebook

9/12/2010 Drew and I have been talking about choices and how real love for God is a choice - to love or to reject God, which led to the discussion about Heaven and Hell. So we're in the Dr. Office and the waiting room movie shows a scene in which a lion kills some humans (Tarzan) and Drew yells at the top of his lungs for the wh...ole room to hear, "Momma, that Lion is going to HELL!"

9/9/2010 Taught Drew about the difference between Fact or Fiction, when he doesn't know the answer he just says "Faction?"

 

9/4/2010 This afternoon I told Drew that he couldn't grow up and he said, "Yes mommy I have to grow up - to become a man. When I am a man I have to work otherwise God says I won't be able to eat. If I don't eat I'll die! See, I have to grow up mommy."

My little man, almost 6, is indeed growing up - what a wise young man he is ...in the process of becoming.

9/8/2010 Too much rain! Our school/dining room is flooding! It hasn't rained this much since Katrina - when the dining room flooded and we had to replace the carpet with laminate. John's not going to be too happy about this one, we thought we'd fixed the problem. I think I'll call him after he gets off work.

9/11/2010 Sweet Abby is teething really bad and after two hours of fussing and some Tylenol she finally fell asleep around 9:00 pm - she has been sleeping ever since and its 1:00 pm? Suggestions on helping a baby through the teething stage? My boys were 1 & older before they started teething. Prayer & suggestions for Abby's pain... would be helpful - I think its going to be a long road for her to get her teeth!

 

9/5/2010 Drew found a toy in the bathroom that wasn't ours. He brought it to me and said, "Mom, this toy isn't ours, maybe God sent it to me for being so good yesterday?"

 

8/30/2010 Suppose to go meet Gabe's pre-school teacher, instead Gabe is in his room throwing a big, fat. angry fit because we didn't read the book he wanted. It is going to be a fun Friday, I can tell already!

8/18/2010 Just call me Alexander! My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day began at 5am when I hit the gym to spin with my favorite instructor, he is everyone's favorite too so the class was closed, so I decided to do some weights instead and pulled the muscle in my shoulder, then accidentally sent out confidential info via ...e-mail after grabbing the wrong scanned document, then left my car door open at the grocery store during the one day it actually rains, finally the crock pot cord melted with my dinner and shorted out the whole wall in the kitchen and ruined my crock pot, while investigating the cause Gabe dropped a glass and it shattered all over the floor. I'm quarantining myself to the bedroom once John comes home!

8/18/2010 Attn Kroger Shoppers: Yes, it was me who went shopping with the children and left my door open for the whole parking lot to gawk at!

 

 

 

 

Generous Giving

Here is a sweet story from Wednesday that I hope will encourage all to participate in some way - big or small - in the Northwood Home Makeover coming up October 8-9. Drew's character quality for this week is generosity and his Bible verse is "Even a child is known by their deeds." So while we were talking about generosity Drew asked if he could take all the change in his piggy bank and give it to someone poor. Drew immediately ran upstairs and wanted to count it all. I was a little smarter than him on this one and found that coin star will take change and waive the fee if you have over 40.00 and buy a gift card. So I asked Drew if we could support the Home Makeover with all his change and he thought it was a great idea. We headed down to the coin star machine, feeding on his excitement,  and had 69.97 in change, which he converted into a Lowe's gift card for the Makeover. Drew was so excited! I rewarded his generosity with a  trip to Starbucks for a special treat, where he proceeded to share with the barista about how he was able to give all his change to the Home Makeover! 
 
Additional Information can me found at: www.northwoodhomemakeover.com.
 
That began a great conversation ending in an invite to participate in the Makeover and an invite to church - 
 
"Even a Child is known by their deeds."

Laughing

Have you laughed this hard recently! Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Home Learning

We've  been learning a lot these days - or should I say Mommy has been learning a lot! We had a great week learning about Johnnie Appleseed and working on character. The character chart and rewards is working wonderfully! I just loved all the "yes momma's" this week,  we're going to  work extensively on cooperation next week - since there were still a lot of arguments between brothers that brought out some selfish hearts. Overall it was  a good week of staying disciplined and working through challenges.

Our new revised schedule will  be morning circle time for about an hour, which covers: counting, months, continents/oceans, prayer, calendar, learning a new song each week, a new verse of the week, letters, character focus, and lots of jumping and running around to silly music! Then before lunch I'll sit the boys down for some fun reading time where we all take turns picking the books we want read. After lunch Drew works on his lap-book projects and does some copy-work. Overall we spent about 2-3 hours on school, I'm forgoing reading right now since Drew is really resisting it and not paying much attention. It will come when he is ready and he just isn't quite there yet. We've been using the computer for some phonics fun in the afternoon as a reward for a job well done - Drew loves it! I was so proud of Drew, he got a glowing  report from his Texas History teacher who said he sat and listened so well, was polite, and stayed focused on the project they completed. That is huge for Drew since he is in the  class with 7 other children who are all older that him.

I was so encouraged that I kept myself disciplined last week - gym and bible time in the mornings. Those 5 am wake-ups (MWF) must have caught up with me because I slept most of Saturday away. It felt great to sleep and sleep and sleep! John managed all the kids and was so sweet about it!  I added a weight routine to my morning two weeks ago and my body has felt great, but I've been really tired. So, Saturday was my labor day - it even went into Sunday with a nap after church! I'm feeling much  better and even managed to get the bathrooms cleaned tonight and laundry half way completed. I was quite surprised to hop on the scale Friday morning and see that I'd dropped 4 pounds in  two weeks. I'd been stalled for the last month and couldn't get over that hump, so with the addition of some weights and being careful about how much sugar I ate, it seems to have paid off.

Well on to week #3 - we'll be working on the lap-book Blueberries for Sal and finishing up Johnnie Appleseed!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Schooling at Home Character Checkup

Just a quick pop in to say that the honorable character chart and reward system is working  better than I could have ever imagined. Drew is working so hard on character, which is "Doing right when no one, but God, is looking." Gabe is also working so hard on self control and has been dry for days, his little tantrums are down to a minimum and he sat nicely today for the barber! I love focusing on the positive and redirecting back to the positive when all kinds of bad attitudes begin to flair up. Today John caught Drew teaching  Gabe how to put on his own clothes, then helped him succeed when Gabe said he couldn't do it.  I also found Gabe giving his brother hugs and sharing a book with his sister when she was fussing. Drew had a wonderful report from his Texas History teacher, she said he sat better then some of the older kids -  which for Drew  is HUGE! He has been working so hard on focusing and being still since we started school last week. We only have a few short periods in the morning when he has to sit and practice, since he is only 5 and has tons of energy and learns by engaging not lecture,  but those times are paying deep rewards!

Today we learned sequencing - Drew and Gabe made homemade pizza for dinner. They worked on directions, using sequencing words like, first, second, next, finally.... Both did a wonderful job and loved the responsibility of making us all dinner! We are still working on Apples this week, we've planted apple seeds in dixy cups, written apple poems, and read Johnnie Appleseed many times. I also found the 1947 Disney film of Johnnie Appleseed which was a huge incentive to get school work completed yesterday.

Off to bed, mornings come early around here!