School is about to kick into full swing here in Texas. We have purchased school supplies, been talking about expectations and soaking up every last bit of summer we can!
Homework is an inevitable part of having kids in school. One thing that I put together this month as we prepare to get back into our school routine is a homework tray. I love this more than the homework “bucket” we have had before. Now everything sits on the tray and we can easily pick it up and move everything quickly if we need to use the table.
I bought a nice tray on clearance at Target and then loaded it up with a magazine file where the girls can put items that Mom and Dad need to see/sign, pens, pencils, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, notecards, post-its, scissors….just about anything that is a “normal” homework need.
I love the way it turned out but I’m not in a rush to try it out.
Supplies are ready, but we aren’t!
Well, when we moved to PA I knew we would have snow but really I never thought about a hurricane. I grew up with hurricanes in Texas—it was a yearly thing. We would start school and then school would be canceled for a while to ride out a storm. I had to laugh when my dad called to make sure we were using all our hurricane knowledge to prepare for the storm. This is my “hurricane preparation knowledge”:
“Kids, here is a box, fill it with what you want to take to LaGrange and then get in the car. Dad will stay here to take care of the house during the storm.” (Thanks to my Aunt Kay and Uncle John for providing safety from the storms!)
As an adult I’ve never lived in a hurricane’s path! As a child, I was sent out of the path and my Daddy took care of everything.
This time I’m still relying on my Dad—my heavenly father knows exactly what will happen and we are making preparations and then trusting Him for protection.
I’ve already cleaned the gutter, brought in all the plants and the patio table, made cookies using my frozen dough, banana bread is in the oven while I type and now we just wait. If you are in PA, I hope you will take precautions too—hurricanes are not to be mocked! I can still envision what our basketball goal, cemented in next to the driveway, looked like when we returned from LaGrange, once again, this time after hurricane Alicia. Let’s just say my little brother who was probably 6 could dunk the ball easily! Fortunately where I live we are on the “good side” of the storm so the winds should not be that bad. We are more worried about the trees and the already saturated ground in which they sit.
It is summer time and so that means lots of time for swimming and the occasional trip to the beach. Of course, up where I live in our great nation you don’t go “to the beach” you go “down the shore”. Last week we had the chance to spend the day on the sand and in the surf. It was great. I didn’t know how our 6 year old would do as it had been a long time since we had been to the beach and she isn’t one for getting her head wet even at the pool so I didn’t know how she would respond to the waves. She loved to stand about knee to waist-high and jump the waves as they came. Our 9 year-old loved everything about the water. She was in it for every moment we were there. She used floats, wave boards, and just her tiny little body to ride the waves. It was fun to watch them enjoy each wave.
Our 9-year-old would stand and watch in anticipation, wondering if this wave would be the one that would allow her to ride all the way in. While the 6-year-old just stood and braced for whatever came her way.
I’ve been reflecting this morning on life and the waves came to mind. This summer has seemed like one wave after another is crashing through my life. Waves can be overwhelming if you aren’t ready for them. I am glad that several passages in the New Testament remind me that God is in control of the wind and the waves. I think about Matthew 8:23-27 when Jesus and his disciples are all in a boat together. Jesus was asleep and a crazy storm came up on the water and the disciples were scared. When they awoke Jesus he calmed the winds and waves and they were amazed at His authority. Then there is the Matthew 14: 29-30 passage when Peter steps out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus. In this passage I am reminded how important it is to stay focused on Jesus and not to take my eyes off of him. When the wind and the waves distract me then I begin to get pulled under.
My girls loved the waves….do I love the waves of life?
My girls were prepared for the waves…am I spending time daily with my Lord to get ready for the waves that may hit me that day?
My girls have fond memories of their time “down the shore”….will I have fond memories of how I allowed God to work through these times of trials?
I hope so.
I’ve always heard preachers say that it seems that the passage they are preparing to teach on becomes real, in life situations to them that very week. Tomorrow (Sunday) I get to teach both Jr. Church and Sunday School. I usually don’t teach either but I wrote myself into the schedule for Jr. Church and then our regular Sunday School teacher for K-2 will be out. We are talking about honor in Jr. Church. I love that topic- especially as a parent. But honor is not just for kids, it is for me in my everyday encounters with people.
Then there is the Sunday School lesson. I’ve been looking at the lesson all week, but it dawned on me today that there is a message there for me too.
We will be talking about the Israelites leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea on dry ground. How wild that experience must have been for them. They have lived through the plagues and then Pharaoh says “Go…get out of here”. They pack up and leave. They must have thought “oh, finally we are out of here…things are finally going our way”. Then they get to the Red Sea and realize that Pharaoh changed his mind. I can imagine standing there and thinking “How are we getting out of this?”
Then God tells Moses to raise his staff and the waters begin to part. I would have loved to have seen their faces! I can imagine mine…the wonder and the awe….the realization (once again) of the power of God. They had to then step out in faith. The miracle was right there before them and they had to trust God to carry them through to the other side. If they had not trusted, they would not have experienced all that God had set before them. They walk through to the other side- safe in His care.
Our lesson “take away” tomorrow is that we can trust God when we are scared.
HA! How did I read that all week and it not hit me until today. I am so scared right now. I am up against my own Red Sea. I know that the God who took care of the Israelites is the same God who is taking care of me. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. So he can still part the waters if that is how He chooses to work. I see the waters before me and I see the enemy approaching behind me….I am standing, trusting and waiting to see how God will move.
Last summer as God began to put some things on my heart, he spoke to me through the passage of scripture where Peter walks on water to Jesus. God told me not to be distracted by the waves of life but to focus on Him and keep walking.
Now this summer–water again. A Red Sea of life.
God says, Trust Me when you are scared.
I’m yours Lord. I will trust. Help me trust you more and more.
Reporting back is something that most adults do on a daily basis–maybe it is at work with your boss or a committee you are on. Regardless of where, I am sure it is something you have done in your lifetime. Well, have you applied that “adult skill” to your kids?
I attended a parenting webinar on Tuesday night from the comfort of my own home office. I put a movie on for the girls and logged on to learn how to tackle morning routines. The speaker, Scott Turansky with the National Center for Biblical Parenting, had many great things to say. One nugget that I pulled and I’m working on this week with my kids is “reporting back”. Scott shared that before you can begin a morning routine you have to have several things in place. The first one was an Instruction Routine. He said that there are two components to this: coming when called and reporting back. The coming when called isn’t a new concept for us, but the reporting back was.
He said that after your child has done what you asked of him/her, the child should be trained to come and report back. So “I finished putting my books back on the shelf Mom.” would be an example of reporting back. He said to tell your kids that you are going to teach them an “adult skill” something that will be important their entire lives. Then let them in on reporting back.
It was an “aha” moment for me. I don’t know why I never thought to do this with my girls. It trains them to have a skill that they will need to be successful and it also will help me know if they have finished a task that I have given them.
So I am saying things differently this week. Instead of just saying “go get your pjs on” I’ve said: “Go get your pjs on and report back to me when you are done.” Then I have to remember that I am TRAINING them and you don’t run a marathon on the first day out. You have to train and build up. Suffice to say…they are still in the training mode.
I liked the emphasis Scott made throughout the webinar on being a coach. So many times I jump to disciplinarian and I need to be a coach. Maybe I should wear a whistle to remind me?! 🙂
So, have you tried reporting back? If so—tell me about it.
If you haven’t tried it, what do you think about the concept?
Tonight I stepped out of my comfort zone. I went to a meeting at the school to discuss the movie “Race to Nowhere” that focused on the impact homework is having on our kids. For those that know me well you have picked up on the fact that I don’t like to speak up in groups in which I’m not already comfortable. I say it takes me about two years to warm up. With Brad working at night, it makes for an easy excuse to NOT attend these kinds of meetings. Why pay a babysitter, right? Well, I’ve yammered on and on about homework this year and I decided that I really needed to show up at the meeting. So I did, with my two girls. They sat to the side of the library and were really very good. Except for needing to go find some books on the other side, they would have never been seen by anyone there. Child #2 was doing her humming bit near the end so they were heard, but one lady kept looking out the window thinking the sound was coming from there!
After the meeting I told the girls we would go to Wendy’s and get a frosty as they were so good. As we drove to the next town to get their treats, I tried to tell them why I went to the meeting. I said that it is so easy to complain and fuss about things but it takes a different kind of person to step up and say “Hey, there is something not working well here, let’s see what we can do to fix it”. We talked about how the school has needs, kids have needs and parents have needs and somehow there are things that can change to make homework a better fit for all parties involved. I’m sure some of it went in one ear and out the other, but I’m also sure the topic of stepping up to make things better is one that I will keep yammering about for years to come 😉 !
Yep….9. 9 is the number around our house lately. Child #1 had a birthday recently and she turned nine. So in honor of her 9th year, here are nine things that are on my mind tonight.
- I have wonderful parents! They flew up to be a part of Em’s baptism and while here helped redo our 1/2 bath. Goodbye 1980s wallpaper, hello brown paint!!
- I have no spare time lately—hence the very few posts in the last weeks, sorry. I’ve hardly cooked and when I have it has been my old standbys- Taco Soup, spaghetti, corn dogs and Ranch style beans….
- I’m trying to capture time with my girls in this hurried life. The quote that propels me to capture time, ” Mom, I’m 9….I’m almost in middle school” (and, uh…no you aren’t)
- I can’t believe I let Em ride her bike to piano tonight. She was very excited to take my cell phone for her trip around the corner.
- I love PA in the Spring….come on Spring. Today was so nice.
- Different personalities- it is amazing to watch my girls and see how they respond to the same thing in different ways.
- I sure did enjoy my cup of spiced tea with my 9 year old this evening and our time on the back deck.
- Will Heather actually sleep through the night? She fell asleep at 5:45 and hasn’t woken up yet……
- I love my new living room rug! After four years we finally found one that we both liked and could afford
So there you have it. Nine random thoughts.
Now, I have to go tuck that 9-year-old in.