Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The beauty of creation...

I am sure most of you have seen the awesomeness of God's hand in a wondrous sunset... or a delicate flower... but have you ever noticed the wonder of creation in numbers?  Math is the one subject that I have always had a love for. So, maybe my enjoyment of this has to do with the amazement I have.  But, there are so many amazing things about numbers that just point - once again-  to an amazing CREATOR! There have been several times in the middle of tutoring a student in math or teaching our homeschool math - that I have just had to say - "Isn't that amazing? That just proves we have an intelligent and awesome Creator."  Pascal's triangle, the Catalan numbers, the idea that numbers go on for infinity, and  even the nine times table... which is what brought you this rather "off the wall" post.  The twins and I were reciting the nine times table just a few minutes ago - do you realize that in the nine times table all of the digits in the answers will add up to 9? (except for 11X9=99 but even that one has a nine in it)  That is just so really amazing to me.  I feel like all of the "awe" inspiring things about math - are just giving me tiny glimpses of my God.  His "order" in everything. Like Corinthians says, "For now we see through a glass darkly..."  I can't wait for our limitations to be removed - if we are just getting small glimpses of his absolutely amazing awesome wonderfulness :) now... just think how "amazed" we will be when we can see "face to face." How can such absolute order in our universe be explained by a "Bi*g Bang" or any other accidental type beginning.  This was no accident - every bit and piece fashioned together with a purpose and an order... and even something as humble and "hidden" as numbers are here to GIVE HIM GLORY!

"Psalm 19:1-3 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."

Related posts
Hardlining in the Homeschool
The Preschool Pressure

Monday, February 22, 2010

Beautiful things happen...

When a Woman Trusts God

Just finished reading this new book by Sheila Walsh.  I enjoyed the chapter on fear, and I hope to share that with a dear friend in the future.  All in all a good book that deals with trusting God explicitly with your life.  Isn't that the only way through the maze and labyrinth of circumstances and life? Though there is much good and practical help in this book, some of Mrs. Walsh's theology and convictions would not parallel mine. I enjoyed how she paralleled the struggles that women face with ten transformed people in the Bible.  It is good to see in their example how God truly does transform your life - when you trust Him completely!

A new Page...

Just wanted to let the ladies of my church, as well as our blog followers, know that I have posted a new page that includes the most recent Bible Study that we are doing with the ladies on Sunday morning. I am not sure how it will all work out, but I hope to add to it somehow each week.  If you click on the Daily Devotionals button on the sidebar, it will take you to Sunday's lesson.  Please comment if you have any difficulties, or any suggestions. Your prayers in this endeavor are greatly appreciated!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Send the Fire...

Old time outdoor gospel meeting

Praising God for a blessed message by Pastor Alligood from Texas. His short and simple word from God really hit home. He used Abraham's servant, and the picture of how he made an oath to Abraham to find his son a bride - - to parallel it with how our churches are setting out to find the "lost" to win (who will eventually be our Lord's bride when He returns). But Abraham's servant asked him what he should do if the girl would not come. In our modern day case - what do we do if the lost will not come to Christ? We tell them of HIS glories, of HIS wonders, and of HIS precious gift - but what if they will not listen or do not come to HIM? What a question... but the blessed part of the message was that Brother Alligood so humbly stated that in churches all over - all across America - we need the Power of God - this is what brings the lost to HIM. That fire... that "old time religion"... that power. Lord today - send the wind... send the fire... send the Holy Ghost in Power...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Preschool Pressure

It truly is sad that preschool has become an area of increased social and educational pressure.  While I was at a department store this past weekend I heard one well off mother asking another - "Do you send your little one to Royal Learn*ers?" As if it is a status symbol.  Where are we going with this?  What happened to the good old days when parents helped their own children learn their letters, sat down on the floor and colored with them, taught them how to work, how to tie their shoes, and how to get along with their siblings.  Now we think someone else should teach our precious little ones these absolutely invaluable life lessons. But why?  Are we like the ladies in the store - is it a status symbol for us - are we just too busy - or are we just lazy?  Whatever reason, it is a sad result.  I see children in preschool who are nervous, anxious, who cry for half the morning, who refuse to use the restroom at school, or who bite their nails.  All of this before the age of 5? Like Robert Fulghum children learn all they need to know by Kindergarten, but for some reason I DON"T THINK stress and anxiety should be one of them!

Now don't get me wrong... I am not saying that we should not teach our children before typical school age. No - Not at all.  It is just the PRESSURE on the little ones to perform that is so wrong. It is obvious that there are some children who are ready to be challenged with various preschool activities at very young ages.  Most of my girls were able to color in the lines, cut with safety scissors, and draw prewriting symbols when they were 2. In almost every situation the girls did this without my prompting.  They just "wanted" to color, cut, and draw.  So, I provided the means.  With each of my children, I have taken the stance that I WILL NOT PUSH them in preschool. My two oldest girls did attend PreK at the Christian school that I Administrated.  They were NOT at the head of their class.  They were NOT the super star readers. The teachers would often pull me aside and say they needed extra work in this or that area... not trying to be a "rebel", but I just did not make PreK a big deal.  If they got it - good. If they didn't - well, then they just weren't ready.  The whole idea is to "introduce" the child to "pre" school activites or things that would develop "readiness."  Just give them the opportunity.  I did the same things with my son that I did with the girls, and guess what?  He could not even hold a crayon correctly until he was almost 4.  He wanted NOTHING to do with coloring or writing... BUT he enjoyed books and building things with blocks.  Different, but still good. No pressure to make him write every day - just an occasional "You want to color with mommy?" More often than not - I got turned down - but he would occasionally join me in a coloring session.  All this to say, that "pressuring" a child will not get results - just stressed out - "pressured" children.

The abuse of the parent's responsibility to give their children the "opportunity" to learn is what has caused our government to increasingly "push" PreK.  Many parents, like we mentioned before, are just too busy or just don't care.  This is a disservice to our children.  Their little minds should be challenged - not just set in front of Barn*ey or some other cartoon.  There is so much that they can do - these little people are absolutely amazing!

The "pre" school child should also be given the opportunity to develop responsibility as well. This is achieved by giving them duties or chores around the house. (Again - we see... it starts at home!) We know that the national standards want our children to be learning their letters, numbers, pronunciation, speaking in complete sentences, their colors, and how to behave socially.  But there is so much more to child development. What about instilling them with good work habits?  or is that a dirty word in today's society?  Did you know that a Preschool child can clean their room - wash their own hair and body - set the table for dinner - clear the table after dinner - gather up their dirty clothes and put them in the basket - separate dirty clothes for washing into piles of darks and lights and whites (helps practice colors) - put away their own clean laundry into drawers - the list goes on and on.  A child has purpose and meaning when they are given doses of responsibility appropriate for their age.  What did children do 100 years ago? You better believe most children worked as hard as some adults do today. What did they learn? Latin, logic and rhetoric along with LOTS of readin', ritin', and rithmetic were common 100 years ago - did you know that most of our country's "Founding Fathers" could speak Latin fluently?? What kind of people did those children grow into? WOW...these were the adults that made American the Christian country that we were so proud of.   My thoughts are...  why are we trying to reinvent the wheel?             The way we raised children 100 years ago.... hmmm... did it work better than pressuring them into preschool when they are still babies?

Whether your children learn at home or at school they really do learn almost everything they really need to know before they are 5.  Robert Fulghum's short essay is wonderful....

-Share everything.

-Play fair.
-Don't hit people.
-Put things back where you found them.
-Clean up your own mess.
-Don't take things that aren't yours.
-Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
-Wash your hands before you eat.
-Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
-Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
-Take a nap every afternoon.
-When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
-Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
-Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
-And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all - the whole world - had cookies and milk at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Many many thanks...

I read the first part of a blog article today that one of my blogging friends writes, and was pleased to hear that she had won a blog award. Kudos!! My husband shortly interrupted my blog reading reverie with a request for supper.... so I never finished the whole article.

 Well, I was suprised to get a comment from her just a few moments ago - letting me know that she had passed the award on to me! If I had only had the opportunity to scroll down.... I am so excited! Thank you so very much Mom2AHRJ at Never Just a Housewife for giving me that honor.

I see that the rules for the award require that you pass it on to five other blogs that you admire.  Well, here are my five:
A Chosen Chic - a blog by a very special young lady
A Reflection of God - a blog with much encouragement in the faith
Wife Mommy Teacher -  a blog about homeschooling and family
God' Faithful Follower - an on again off again blog about the life of a pastor's wife
Lifting My Eyes - an inspirational blog

Congratulations - you are all SUPER in my book!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Day in Georgia

We had a wonderful weekend in Georgia... the unexpected ... snow. It was one of the most beautiful snowfalls that I have every seen.  The snow stuck to the tree branches and made it a "winter wonderland."  I loved the beauty of it... but I defintiely could have traded the cold. But alas, one must come with the other.  So we just "hunkered down" and tried to stay warm.  Of course, the children enjoyed it... red cheeks and wet socks. 
Confederate cemetery near our house

Then they came inside and helped make Valentine Cookies, cupcakes, and Valentine cards for their friends at church.  They had so much fun... that mommy got a headache. :)  But what precious memories!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Importance of Play

  I recently read an article about play... sounds fun, huh? Well, it was very interesting. This article brought out how our society has reduced and limited children's play until it is almost non-existent.  Now, don't get me wrong... I am not a proponent of playing ALL day and not doing anything meaningful with our time.  Oh no... not at all.  I just firmly believe that adults and children should work hard, and devote time to playing.  Some of the best people that our world ever produced were people who were hard workers - most from large families - and most were NOT wealthy.  I doubt there is a way to find out, but I wonder if those same people had great childhood play times??

The busy - ness of our culture has limited our children's ability to have time for "free play."  We have errands to run, people to meet, schedules to keep, and on and on.  But "free play" is important. Do we even know what it is anymore?? You know where you go outside with NO TOYS and just pretend... cowboys, indians, princesses, horses, knights in shining armor - all your props made out of what you find outside...  That is "free play."  It isn't organized or dictated  - it's just pure imagination.  This type of play unbelievably does grow and develop children's minds. Though some children can function fine in a busy life, a hurried lifestyle can cause children stress and anxiety.

The other side of this is that we are also so busy trying to "educate" children, that play is even being eliminated from their day at school.  (Another wonderful reason to homeschool ... he he)  But in 1989 most Kindergarten state schools had at least one recess... a survey 10 years later showed that only 70% of state Kindergartens had a recess.  30% of Kindergartens had NO RECESS.  I cannot even comprehend this.  No wonder children are being diagnosed right and left with ADD and ADHD.  Children cannot concentrate when they are penned up for hours on end - they must move!!!  They are built to be moving - they are children!! But American's desire for pushing academics in the earliest grades has driven this movement away from play in schools.

And ,of course, we cannot forget the fact that though considered another form of play itself... video games and television have decreased the amount of "free play" that American children get. There is evidence that passive entertainment not only robs our children of the much needed "free play", but has in itself other harmful effects.

Ideally, we need to make sure that our children have plenty of time for play.  They don't need the most expensive toys, electronics, or even 4 wheelers... they just need their imaginations. I really like this portion from a research article I was reading from the American Academy of Pediatrics.  I don't always like what they have to say - but this has MUCH merit!

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing

their imagination, dexterity, and physical, cognitive,

and emotional strength. Play is important to

healthy brain development. It is through play that

children at a very early age engage and interact in the

world around them. Play allows children to create and

explore a world they can master, conquering their fears

while practicing adult roles, sometimes in conjunction

with other children or adult caregivers. As they master

their world, play helps children develop new competencies

that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency

they will need to face future challenges.

Undirected play allows children to learn how to work in

groups, to share, to negotiate, to resolve conflicts, and to

learn self-advocacy skills. When play is allowed to

be child driven, children practice decision-making skills,

move at their own pace, discover their own areas of

interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they

wish to pursue.

Play is not just for children, we as adults often suffer from stress, anxiety, and depression.  Have you ever just went fishing?  How destressing is that? or took a hike up some beautiful mountain - WOW!  Take some time to get away from the demands of the world around you - spend some time on the trampoline with the kids, or play freeze tag outside this evening... it's good medicine for both you and your children!!

Related posts
The Preschool Pressure
Hardlining in the Homeschool
The Beauty of Creation

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Far Away...

This good old hymn has been in my head this whole week.  The tune to this is very nice, it comes from our regular church hymnal.

Far away in the depths of my Spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than Psalm.
In celestial like strains it unceasingly falls
O'er my soul like an infinite calm.

Peace, Peace, wonderful Peace.
Coming Down from the Father above
Sweep over my Spirit for ever I pray
In fathomless billows of love.

Oh by the way - we all survived the "fast food" and had a good time getting out of the house!
And look there was a little bit of sun this morning - but back to clouds now...
wondering what all those mommy bloggers are doing at Blissdom ( a cool conference connecting and enouraging mom blogging)....  but kinda glad I am in my jammies at home by the fire.... just kinda...

I am linking to another blog having a party for those not at Blissdom - check it out...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fun Friday...

It has been raining for what seems like months here in Georgia.  Cold, dreary, rainy days.... where did our beautiful happy sunshine go??  Well, most of you know what happens with children - lots of children - after days and days and days and days... well you get the picture...  we are getting a bit "dauncy" as my friend in Wales says....

Anyway, things have been so tight financially that we have been staying home ALL the time.  Today, I am determined that even though it is pouring down rain outside... we are going OUT!  I have $20 to spend, and I think -  although I loathe fast food, I may take them up to McDonalds for an ice cream and an inside "play place."  I wonder if there is anything deadly or disgusting in the McDonald's ice cream??  Hopefully not...   by the time someone lets me know - we will have consumed 8 of them...  

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Things I love Thursday...

Joining the Things I love Thursday Carnival...  Ok...  I have to admit having a good - no GREAT vacuum cleaner is high on my list of things to love.  My sweet husband bought me one a year or so ago - and I love it.  It happens to be a Dyson and as my very good friend put it.... really sucks. NO PUN INTENDED ;).  It really has the best suction of any vacuum that I have ever tried.  Anyway, it also has a lifetime warranty - my hose split this past week - so I called up Dyson - gave them my serial number and they told me my new hose would be in the mail tomorrow. Can you get any better than that?