Monday, December 31, 2007

Looking to the New Year always makes me pause and reflect.

We have a beautiful park in our town and this past year they did a major overhaul on the parking areas & roads, put in a memorial garden... I can't get used to it. I drove through the winding roads one night this fall, and came again to the sign that says the exit is the opposite direction from where we used to go, even though the exit is exactly where it was before. I always think, how can this sign be correct? How can I turn right here, and finally end up left? How can this road possibly take me out of the park?

I drove that long, dark, counter-intuitive, winding road and thought, this is our life. Long, dark, going the wrong way and yet God says it will be the right way...and I don't understand it. I want the whole map--but God gives me the headlights on my path in Jesus, who is the Way. And He says that is enough.

Hosea 6:3 "So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth."(NAS)

There are few certainties in life. This coming year let us press on to know the Lord!

In Christ, Merry :-)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Get it in Writing!

The kids and I have started interactive journalling. I tried a few years ago, but they really didn't have the writing skills or the interest yet to keep it up. This fall when my mom offered to buy a couple of books for us, I remembered this idea, and decided to pick up a journal for each of the kids. We're having so much fun!

A lot of the notes are "I love you, Mom!" but we also draw pictures to each other or say something funny, and I'm able to share things they do that bless me or make me proud of them. They love to read what I've written to them and respond back. Kids need lots of encouragement, and this is a great way to give them some.

Another benefit is that they are much more willing to write. Today when I was working on our Language Arts (changing passive verb sentences into ones with active verbs), I noticed Zac wasn't responding to my question--and he told me he was going to write it first and then tell me! This is my child who has been allergic to writing!

Now, I am a little sneaky, I admit, because we're secretly working on spelling too. I don't correct their spelling, but I notice words they misspell, and I try to use the words in my response, with the correct spelling of course. I've seen them start to spell several common words correctly through this. Gotta love those side benefits!

A great resource for encouraging all kinds of journalling is The Gift of Family Writing. Another favorite resource for encouraging writing in general, whether you homeschool or want to help your kids afterschool, is The Writer's Jungle.

Dave likes to write notes for the kids & hide them in their pants pockets for them to find, and they love this too. What things do you do to encourage your kids through writing?

Merry :-)

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Children Decorated the Tree...

One of them literally! (See the one-of-a-kind Anna-ornament, just above the Christmas bears). And there's a glimpse of Zac to the side, who finds the tree so bright he has to wear shades :).

Please also note the joint-effort creation of the now infamous star, which they decided should NOT be shiny, but white. They split up the work quite equitably--Zac finessed his way into "designing" the star by telling Anna she should do the decorating, since she's "so good at that." He'll make a fine delegator one day!

As for the rejected angel...when she was unpacked, Anna said maybe they should put her up next year--kids! Ah well, it's a tree with character...especially since I think the 2nd row and 3rd row of branches from the top got reversed, giving the tree that "trimmer" (pun intended!) waist many of us have on our Christmas wishlists!

This year the baby Jesus in swaddling clothing will also grace our tree--he rests inside the jeweled halo now surrounding Anna, when he's not being called "Katie" and riding on Anna's hip.

All was done while playing vintage 1960's Christmas carols on an actual record-player. (They sounded better once I changed the button from 45 to 33!).

Happy Holiday Preparations to you! Merry :-)