While It’s Easy

This post was prompted by two conversations I had today.  One with my eldest, 18yo, son and then our 12yo son’s PE teacher.

18yo son and I were talking about a convo he had with our church’s youth group about being a martyr.  How many of us really know what we would do if we were faced with real persecution and/or martyrdom?  Probably none of honestly know what we’d really do.  I am sure as christians we have a scenario in our head of how it would all go down.  However, humbly, we just won’t know until we get there.  Which I pray we never arrive at that terrible juncture.

Could I still defend my faith, my belief in my savior Jesus while seeing any one of my kids tortured or faced with the threat of death?  My 18yo and talked about the horrible reality of what christians before us and even today in other parts of the world go through for their faith in a very graphic, grown up format, one not suited for this blog.  We left the sobering conversation with the choices we make today, the little ones, prepare us for bigger ones.  The ability to make huge stands starts with taking small ones, at school, at work, with friends, family, neighbors and sometimes even church people.  The little ones won’t seem so big once you do it a few times.  Then the bigger ones won’t look so big.

As an American, I take for granted my religious freedom and it has made me weak and not sure footed when pressed to defend my convictions.  That saddens and frightens me.  I know that many martyred christians were given a tremendous amount of courage, faith, peace and grace at their time of martyrdom.  I believe He still does and will continue to do so.

I also know that while I have time and the freedoms, I need to make the stands here, no matter how small they are, no matter how big they may feel.  12yo son is taking dance in P.E. right now and asked if he could be excused.  No problem.  We don’t really think it’s appropriate for middle schoolers to dance with each other anyway. So I wrote him an excuse note.  Then I got a call.  The P.E. teacher wanted to know why we wanted him excused.  I didn’t pull the religion card, though I could’ve.  Admittedly, while I knew exactly why we excused him, defending our stance was tougher than I thought.  The words for my case didn’t just flow out with confidence as I would’ve liked.  Though the teacher was understanding and I got my wish, it really brought to mind the convo 18yo and I had just hours earlier.  It really wasn’t a big deal to say no he couldn’t dance and that the school had to provide an alternative (which they had none, but came up with one) in light of what others go through.  Yet, I feel a bit stronger, a bit more prepared to defend my faith and my convictions the next time around.

The way things are going in the school system, (and America) I think I may need to gear up for more such stands, while it’s easy.  Before it gets real.

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Our Silly Names

Chief Potato

Mr. Bubblewrap, or Donkey from Shrek

Little Man aka Little General

Nana

What’s up with these and what do they mean?

Chief Potato: second oldest son, oldest is our adopted sib group.  He also is a self-proclaiming lazy person, hence the potato=couch potato reference.  Chief just fits.

Mr. Bubblewrap: third son and third in our adopted group, needs bubble wrap as he is constantly getting hurt.  Donkey: a Shrek reference…just think about how much Donkey talks and how he acts in the movie…you get the picture.

Little Man/Little General: the youngest in all categories, just an affectionate name I gave him after I bought him a onesie with “Mom’s Little Man” on it.  It makes it easier to refer to him instead of going through the mental list of boys in our family as well.  He just acquired a new nickname that fits even better; Little General/The General as he so thinks he is the boss of all his siblings, even our adult ones.

Nana: our second daughter and right behind Chief in the birth order of our adopted ninos, it’s what The General calls her.

Ninos: a simple reference to our adopted children.

 

 

Read to Me

Read to me and I will grow.

Read to me about the things I should know.

Read to me right by my side.

Read to me and these things I will apply.

(by me)

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“Read to them”, “Have them read to you”, read, read and read.  This was the most common advice for all of our ninos, who came to us behind on various levels.  The advice came from their teachers, therapist (OT, Speech, etc.), everyone at their IEPs. Yet books, when the kids first came, were foreign, something they just didn’t “do”.

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The first summer reading program was like pulling teeth just to earn their T-shirts.  This was a blow to my mom ego, as I had been bringing my bios to story time and the summer reading program since they were in diapers.  Literally.

But we pressed on and this past summer reading program the children’s librarian commented, “You have some good readers.”  Boost to the ego for sure.  Mine and theirs.  The general is our bookworm.  Nana is reading big books.  Still working on the comprehension part of reading, but we’ll get there.

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Here Mr. B is reading to the library’s cockroach. Mr. B really struggled with reading.  Could not sound out words to save his life.  It was such an emotional time having him read to us. I had to give it up for awhile.  Hubby stepped in and yet the little wires in Mr. B’s brain seemed to be having such a hard time clicking and connecting.  Fast forward to the most recent report card…Mr. B is ON level in reading!!  This guy has accomplished so much already.

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We read everywhere.  In just about every room in the house.  We read labels, cooking instructions, homework, the Bible, street signs, etc.  It helps them realize why they need to read and understand what they are reading.  Mac-n-cheese doesn’t taste too good if you can’t read and/or follow the directions.

There are also some good online sites that read the book to the kids. Storytime Online, Storyline Online.  Also, if you have kids from birth to 5, be sure to sign them up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.  The kids just love getting the books in the mail with their name on the postal label.  These are all free!

 

How reading helps kids:

*Sitting still.  Can’t say enough about sitting still.  For all kids but especially kids who don’t know what still means, what safe means, being still means you have not been on alert, not worry about what’s going on around you.

*Focus.  Focus on what the pictures are telling you, what the words are saying.  Again, focus on the story and not fear what’s going on around you.

*Comprehension.  When you can put words to the pictures you see you can get a better understanding of what’s going on in the story.

*Vocabulary.  Reading alone won’t build vocabulary, but alongside comprehension, it will.  It a child can figure out what a certain word means by deciphering the context of the sentence then they have pretty good problem-solving skills and can figure out just about any word.  If you don’t now the words you’re reading, reading won’t be any fun.  Chief Potato and Nana don’t really enjoy reading out loud to me.  I stop them often from seeing of they understand certain words, if they comprehend what they are reading.

*Problem-solving skills, relational skills.  When you read how the main character solved the conflict in the story you gain the knowledge you may need to get out of a jam in the future.  You learn how not to be a bully and what to do about bullies, and so on and so on.

*Increases the imagination. Do I even need to explain this one?  You can go anywhere, be anyone when you read books.

 

Tell me your favorite kid books, book sites, or tips on how to get kids to read.

No Trick or Treating

We don’t trick or treat.  We didn’t with our bios and were aren’t with our four ninos.

 

Here’s why:

*We are born again christians.  While other christians celebrate and dress up on this day it is our conviction not to.  To us, the holiday has so many dark, superstitious roots that we just can’t.

*Our ninos have been exposed to too many scary things in their young lives that they don’t need any more exposure.  Last year just going to the store would provoke fear in two, sometimes three of the four.  One, sometimes two, is drawn to dark things.  He, she doesn’t need any more darkness to feed that spirit.  We make it a fun day, a happy time, a family event.

*To me the whole idea of going door to door for “handouts” and the notion of the trick just doesn’t set right with me.

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Here’s what we do and have done.  With our bios, it was mostly a regular day.  I bought them candy that lasted a good long time. Sometimes they’d do stuff with their friends.  With our ninos, we make it more of a fun day.  When they came to our home they were stripped of some stuff and had to adjust to so many new things that Hubby and I decided to compromise.  We make it about having fun together as a family.  We have made Halloween-ish/fall crafts, carved pumpkins, had a pumpkin ring toss, the kids paint each other’s faces, just fun games, eat easy, fun food.  This year I even made a Pinterest treat, which ended up being a Pinterest fail!

This is what we do.  Do you have any Halloween alternatives?  I’d love to hear about them.