Saturday, August 30, 2008

Teaching Kids To Pray For Their Special Someone

Princess has obviously dove into school in the prime time of awaking hormonal awareness issues. I mentioned in the previous post that she had a little boy bugging her because he liked her. By the end of the week there were three of them and they were doing that little school yard ritual of sending one over to ask her if she liked the other, or passing a note through that same gopher friend to find out the same. Man, I remember that so well, yet it sank back somewhere in my memory till now. On Friday she received a love note: "I love you, do you like me?" to which she replied: "no, not really". Then, the little boy was crying and she felt bad so she sent another note: "I'll be your friend though." to which she received by way of above mentioned gopher/carrier (pity that guy) a fancy pencil with thus note attached: "okay! This is a gift!".

Oh, my....the comedy.

Christy from Zimms Zoo had an excellent point in her comment on our last post:

"It does seem that these days parents think it is so cute for elementary kids to have "boyfriends". I say that is an extremely slippery slope."

I totally agree with Christy. There is nothing cute about encouraging children to play marriage, and they will only go from there to escalate their process of playing that game. It's a biological process with a climatic end. Do we really want them on that road at all? NO! Pretend on this topic ended in kindergarten when they played house...those days are over and they need to know it!

We encouraged Princess to be a friend to everyone. Right now of course she is more annoyed by the attention and would rather avoid these boys but we are trying to make a point to be kind to everyone. Though this age is normal for those feelings to really start bubbling to the surface in kids, we have to be aware as parents that their exposures on television or elsewhere are more than likely far above where our child has been mentally.

Right before school she and I did a lot of talking. I wanted things to come from me. It went really well. Once I told her things, I was able to explain God's plan for marriage, commitment, and therefore appropriate behaviour when these feelings start to bubble up through the growing up years. She all ready has a major crush on the actor who plays Prince Caspian, so I know she is starting to notice the opposite sex. Like most girls, she is noticing ones a little older rather than those at her own awkward age. I am not threatened by this, or panicked. It's healthy and normal. But, it is a catalyst for a time of discipling that begins now and goes on till the day she walks down that isle.

So, I begin to prayerfully ask what I can do, how to teach. Yes, there are books I've gathered, there are ways it was done for me, but what does God have for these children? Well, right now we begin with the practical blanket statement of every ones friend. Neither shun, a classmate, nor is it appropriate to treat one as more than a friend.

I think a very practical development at this time is to guide Princess through beginning to pray for her future spouse that God has for her. I wish I had done that earlier (I started to when I was in college) than I did so that I could be reminded that if God had a mate for me, he was out there, and he was real. Prayer for God to develop his character even now through his growing up years, and prayer to save romance for him. These are more simple terms at this age. We don't want to ignore the topic and therefore leave room for their secret imaginations to fill the void, or the comments of their friends or else. Nor do we want to overkill the subject and take away what is indeed left of their childhood years. What we REALLY don't want to do is make them feel wrong for their developing feelings. I am absolutely sure this can lead to unhealthy understandings and even guilt burdens in regard to what God has programed in us naturally. We want her to know it IS NORMAL, it is, what do we do with it? Prayer for their future spouse is a mental compass of sorts to keep guiding her back to the goal God has for her.

Rick and I feel that a simple guideline is as follows. (1) Your romantic feelings though noticeable for years are not to be acted upon until you are ready for it's ultimate goal...marriage. If you are not ready to marry, you are not to be engaged in marriage building behavior. (2) and much later on.... If you would not do it to your brother, you should not do it to a boy. I often was confused as a teen as to what was right and wrong in a relationship. There were many adults who I heard discuss it and many would say that it was something you just had to pray whether it was right and obey conviction on.....baloney! When you are feeling those feelings, you are not ready to do those mental processes. However, a practical line is drawn by thinking "would I kiss my brother on the lips?" "heavens, no!" (well, maybe in a Greek or Russian family, but I know my girls won't want to:). "Would I hold his hand?" "Well, yes." (and please remember I am not speaking now, I'm speaking later when the #1 issue has been settled, that being whether you are prepared for marriage in a relationship and okay with being headed in that direction). "Would I kiss him on the cheek?" "Well, yes" (if he was nice:).

The fact is, until we are married, we are in essence brothers and sisters in the Lord (and of course this is all under the disciplining to be pursuing a man of God though I have not mentioned that yet). What we would not do with our physical brother, we should not do with our spiritual one. These are clear, and easy guidelines, and it will be how we will be presenting the harnessing of romantic emotions over the next decade of our daughters life.

The important thing that I'm having to remember now, and I'm excited for the new challenges because of, is that we are beginning to open up those channels of discussion. I don't want to shame her for having feelings if they do come up because that shuts down the channel and it's a fearful reaction. Instead, I need to reaffirm that God gave her these feelings and they are great! I don't need to be fearful, or panic, I need to put my discipling hat on and take her hand boldly but with prayers for wisdom.

Today, I'm thankful she is annoyed by the boys. For today anyway. :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Public School: Demasking of the Monster That Was

This week has been fun, exhausting, stimulating, and HOT! I thought it was hot a few days ago, but it wasn't. Today, it's hot. The streets are silent. Lilo and Superkid are sound asleep taking that much needed nap, and Princess is playing Mario. Rick is all ready home, and I'm glad cause not even the mailman should have to endure this.
BTW, it's 107 at 4pm! is it going?
It's going very well! Great actually. The girls first day Lilo came out with a big grin on her face and lots to tell. Princess was tired but she was tired on Sunday from a week of camp and she never really got to catch up from vacation, to camp, to school, then add the heat.

(we made peanut butter cookies on Monday, the girls first little helping chef)

(Superkid did something amazing, something you could never do if you tried. He managed to crack the egg over the bowl but only get the shell in the all ready going butter and sugar, and the yolk all complete on the counter! Mommy had to spend the next five minutes picking out shell pieces after she quickly tried to turn the mixer off before it was all worked in!)

Superkid had his first day of kindergarten on Tuesday. If you have been following the blog, you know that his teacher is the wife of an old favorite teacher of mine. He did not talk about going to school much all summer. He was neither excited nor apparently apprehensive. Then, on Monday, while the girls were in their first day, he began making some revealing statements like "Mommy, I don't know how to learn". I could tell that he somehow thought he had to know what the girls knew to be up at the school, and was nervous he would be the only one who didn't understand or couldn't do....whatever. I tried to assure him with my words and he listened but I was a little worried all of a sudden what the next day was going to be like. Then, at 2pm, we had to be up at the school for his little kindergarten assessment. It was a short test with one of the kindergarten teachers to get an idea of what each child is coming in to the year all ready knowing, or not knowing at all. (doing the pointy-finger-happy-dance while jumping out of the van for the first day of kindergarten)

(Showing Lilo where the Library is, since he found it the day before walking around with mommy)

(caught mid-air in a happy skip down the halls....yes, my son skips sometimes:*)

Superkid went right over across the room to the teacher and sat down, he seemed confident to be starting. That right there made me feel better. Then, when he was done taking the test, the teacher gave me a big hearty thumbs up so I knew he had done well. I came on over and she let us know together that he was really above where he needed to be all ready. That made him smile, and he was eager to go to school after that. He even went home and asked me to pull out worksheets so he could do them.
Each day I'm asking the kids what their favorite part of the day is (this is our cookies and milk time at the table, when they also had me any papers and let me know what they need to do) and what the hardest part was.

(name changed for blog:)

The first day Lilo said that nothing was hard, and there was nothing she didn't like. I am absolutely thrilled with her teacher who blessed me by thanking us for letting Lilo be in her class. Lilo loves school now....that is something! I knew when we met this teacher, that they would hit it off well, and they have. (Superkid and Mrs.E)

I knew Superkid was adjusting well when on the second day of school he saw his teacher in the distance and said excitedly "Hello Mrs. E....!" He does not usually greet openly anyone he does not feel real comfortable with. He has been enjoying that he knows a lot of the stuff so far, but feeling stretched to learn his name in lowercase letters since he is so comfortable writing in

(getting his intro picture taken)

capitols. I don't remember ever using lower case in kindergarten but they move faster now days on some things. They have play time too and he loves the big playhouse in the classroom where he can play cook pizza between lessons. I was blessed that on a board introducing herself with pics of her and her family Mrs. E had for her favorite book: The Bible, and on her other picture "God made me special". Nice to see boldness in the public school.
Princess has had the biggest adjustment I would say. She told me she loves it and would not go back, but she has had different challenges. A little boy who likes her and tried to pinch her cheek like a mommy would a cute baby's...not cool. The teacher reminded the kids that they need to all keep their hands to themselves and respect other peoples space, but the next day he tried to poke her. So, this little guy is getting in trouble very early on. He is not being mean to her, just trying to get her attention (like boys use to pull ponytails way back in our day, I guess). I told her that under no circumstance is anyone to lay a hand on her personage whether to be funny or else. She was bold enough to let the teacher know the second time and I told her I was proud of her for handling it. She was put as a barrier between two chatty girls as well, because she was the one quiet and paying attention. I warned her to look out for the chatty one trying to talk to her instead, but we have not had a problem. So, when she gets her turn to share what was great and what was hard, the certain little boy is always the subject of the annoyance of the day.

For homeschooling kids, they have made the transition miraculously so far and I am so thankful.
I thank God for the way they are excited and doing well.

For me there have been other adjustments. Though my schedule is not fully kid free during school hours as Superkid is only in school right now from 8:25-11:20, the few hours at home have been a very focused time and they go fast. I do feel in my element and reassured for this time that this is where we are supposed to be.
Socially it has had it's challenges. It is strange to take off a hat that use to match others and now does not. Some of my friends have proven to be deep sisters and moved along with me, if not further in our journey as friends as they have prayed for us and encouraged us to follow the Lord's lead no matter where he takes us. Others seem to not know what to talk to me about anymore and avoid the subject of school. I try to battle out in my head...."don't read in to it Alicia, trust in God, he has lead you, and He is faithful". Yet, I feel like some Christian's think this a very nonspiritual thing (and that's again, me worried about what man thinks, not God....."but it's a Christian man God...isn't that more important!?"). When someone turns to homeschooling there is usually silent applause for being so self-sacrificing, and doing the "best". When you are called out it sometimes feels like only God and few friends and family are cheering you on. Sorry for venting, but I have to remind myself, I'm allowed, it's my blog.
I just feel the change brutally at times, and more than that, I feel like the decision does not make logical "spiritual" sense.
Yet, the Lord has encouraged me greatly the last few days. I have been reminded of how important it is for Christians to not seclude and hide away, therefore removing all salt from the earth. I use to think that our family being salt and light in the public school was actually more like sacrificing my children to wolves. That they should be coddled and protected from all non-christian thinking and worldview until they were old enough to be sent off and then enter that world. I still stand by my former mention that I don't believe in entering the public school for the motivation of being salt and light alone. What do I mean by that then, and why does it sound like I'm contradicting myself? Well, I'll explain.

You could spin your globe and finger point to any place on the planet inhabited by humanity and say that you should go there because there are people who need the gospel. You would be right, and your reasons would be right, but does at mean you should go there? No, definitely not. Why should you go then? Only if you are called by God to go. Does he call people into the public school? Yes. Does he call people to Africa? Yes. Does he call people to homeschool? Yes. In all cases, he calls us all to look for every opportunity to be salt and light in this dark world when we are within the situation he has all ready called us to. That is how I speak of it, after the fact of the calling to be here. Now that we have been called to the public school, our conversation to our kids is very thick with the subject of being salt and light, and it is exhilarating and fulfilling to anticipate what God will do now that He has us here. That is where he spirit of fear is abolished just like those called to the dangers of India and Africa go boldly. If God is for us, who can be against us!

The fact is, I don't think there is one formula for all families, well, there's called pray, and follow God's leading, and be bold. I do think, after entering the public arena and feeling the change after being so secluded after so many years, that families who do homeschool may want to make an effort to be in some arenas where they and their children have the chance to be light and practice standing up for their faith, and sharing it. Seasoning the world with the good news is after all our great commission from Jesus and he said to "go out" not to "hide and wait till it's over". I know that sounds like a stark statement but I don't mean it as a slam to homeschoolers, just as an encouragement to us all look for those opportunities either way. You could be in the public school and still hide out, but it would eventually lead to compromise since you are out there, and visable.
Princess was asked by another classmate if she was a Christian on the first day of school. I was surprised that someone else beat her to the subject. She was glad to make a Christian friend. The next day Princess came home and asked me what I thought of her setting up an accountability with her new friend for them to read a chapter in their bibles every day. I said I thought that sounded great! What amazed me was, that as a ten year old, she followed through and she and this friend are doing that very plan.
Myself, I found little baby steps today of how I can look for those opportunities to build relationships. I was in line at a check out in town and one of Superkid's fellow kindergarten kids spotted him and said hi. They stood their chatting and I got to say a few words to the little one's mom. Then the lady behind her asked me if he went to (blank) school. I said yes, and that I had two others up there too. She went on to tell me she had two up there and was very talkative from there. In an few moments in line, I was able to make a connection with her I would not have been able to make before. Being around the school every day you tend to see some of the adults on a regular basis. I knew I would probably see her again, and now we have had an ice breaking conversation. I don't know who she is, but God does. I don't know if I'll talk to her more, but He does. I do know that we are out there and I can feel it! I can feel the boldness to grasp every opportunity to greet and show love to people in the every day of life. To be a friend. To reach out. It comes naturally to me to do that and I have been pondering if that is why the Lord has put this change in our lives, because He knows we will speak boldly and joyfully of Him whenever we get the opportunities. Each one of my children tend to be sociably outgoing in this way as well and I all ready see the blossoming in this new journey. Leading them through this won't be easy, but it will make us strong if we go to the Lord about all of it and ask Him to guide. I like this verse shared by an author on the Sojourners Journal listed on my blog roll.

John 17: 15-17 "I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
(taken from this post on public school)
This song on christian radio has spoken to my heart lately:
"Give Me Your Eyes" by Brandon Heath

Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black tile
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breath in the familiar shock
Of confusion and chaos
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Wasnt it far beyond my reach?
Give me your heart for the once forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide whats underneath
Theres a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
To ashamed to tell his wife
Hes out of work
Hes buying time
Are those people going somewhere?
Why have I never cared?


Ive Been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all aloneChorus (x2)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Adventure Begins

For I have not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind.

That verse meant a great deal to me the last two years as my family has been on some amazing journeys. Yet, the level of what it means to me has only increased as I travel along.

God is so good. I think if you had taken me six months ago and catapulted me forward in time to this night, I would have freaked out! I would have been one big thing: SCARED. Yet, this evening I have joy and it's unexplainable. There is peace, like a river in my soul.

The girls are giddy. They got their hair cut today and picked out their outfits, filled their backpacks, and handed over their lunchboxes.

Oh, by the way, tomorrow is their first day in Public School since I have not mentioned that yet. :)
Superkid starts on Tuesday but goes in for a little assessment for 20 min tomorrow.

Rick sat and talked with the kids over ice cream tonight about the adventure they will have in being salt and light in a dark world. It was a good family time. The girls are coming down from a good week of bible camp and I thank the Lord now for the timing after hearing what they learned about. They even had some mean girls say a few things to them at camp (yes, even at a christian camp) and it opened a door way of discussion for me to share with them about these trials in life.
I mentioned to them that one way I learned to deal with getting picked on is to seek out that one kid that got picked on the most and be their best friend. It's true, her name was Ruth. She had a very bad set of bucked teeth and everyone reminded her of it daily in the most cruel ways. She and I became best friends. I was not there for long so I don't know what happened to her later on, but it was a time when she needed a friend. Princess seemed impressed upon by this story since she brought it up on her own tonight and repeated it back to daddy in our discussion. I was glad she heard me. She has the gift to seek out that one person who is in need and I know she will be tenderhearted toward them.
So, I have to shove off and head to bed so I can be up EARLY!

I'll try to get back here to let y'all know how it went but I get to go to a Pampered Chef party tomorrow night to, so well see!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why We Use Kid Code Names On the Blog

"Lilo", "Superkid"and "Princess"
One of my favorite pics from the trip (which yes...I'm still working on! Got some on Facebook though if you are in my network!)

Sarah asked me this and it's a valid question....

Why are our kids "under cover"?

Well, back in May when the Lord was leading us toward putting them in school, I decided it would be wise do not have their names on the blog just in case. We started in early before the decision was made so the time would laps before school started.

Here is the potential danger scenario:

Someone not good is viewing the blog (it is on the open web after all). They see their faces, and names. With some clever effort perhaps by the fault of my slipping up on a picture with noticeable background, or place names, they figure out where we live. This is not a big deal with homeschooling, but with public school it is. All they have to do is come up to the fence and call them by name. Perhaps tell them that there has been an emergency and their mommy and daddy (who mind you, they know their names too...and the other siblings, and family, and job, and whatever) Rick and Alicia, need them to pick them up. Now, mind you, the school has safety policies on who can pick them up. Yet, if they happen to lure the children to an unsafe place near a could be scary. On the other hand, if the kids hear their code name, (which I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to use) they know that person does not know them except through the blog. They can run and tell the teacher right away.

It's a worse case scenario precaution. The safety of it works if they drive up to our house and the kids are playing outside too. Kids think that if someone knows their name, they know them. It just gives that little protection. Not full proof, but something.

We do use their real names on facebook since it's in a network of friends and family only.

Does that make sense?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thankful For Confident Children

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I had to just get some of these thoughts down as they are happening. It's a cool summer morning, dark from fog cover (yeah for that break:), my fan is running and I'm sipping my coffee in quiet as the kittens have had their early morning energy burst and got sleepy, and Superkid is sound asleep in his little loft bed still.
It's strange to not have the girls, and in that, I find myself reflective of the event. Lilo's first year at camp.
Rick and I were both just so happy to be home from our trip for more than location reasons. We both were overwhelmed with a great sense of contentment with and joyfulness about our little family. I had a renewed appreciation for my husband and our love, and how we work together. What our common goals are, and our relaxed, yet focused perspectives are. We were also full with a love for our kids. We just love our kids....they are great kids. Not perfect, but great.
Having the girls take off only increased our thoughts about this. Just last night Rick mentioned that he had been pondering how great our girls are and I found it ironic that our heads were in the same place. These are not really "better than other kids" thoughts, nothing stuck up, just purely appreciative and thankful for God's blessings to us.
Princess had her first year of camp last year and loved it. She was more than ready for another go. She just loves the social time and absorbs the biblical concepts like a sponge.
Lilo dove into her first camp year with almost an overwhelming lack of fear. Mommy was a little wishing she would be a little more dependant on us! Nope. She heard me saying the day before on the way to church that I was going to be going out to the camp and she was worried I was staying. I explained that I was just talking about dropping them off and she was relieved. When we got there she headed right in and set out her stuff, making herself right at home. Not a smidgen of timidity. When I said goodbye, I had to squeeze a hug and kiss into her focus on setting up house! It was a little hard that she did not need me more. Yet, I was overwhelmed with a thankfulness that both girls were excited to live a bit of life without us. That is the end goal after all, to strengthen those wings so they can soar. Our kids seem to do real well spurred on by positive social settings like these. Superkid is my only real homebody and I think that even that is his being five and getting tired and ready to go home.
The Lord used this to just swell my heart with encouragement for next week when the venture from homeschool moves to the public school. I sense God having their little hands and keeping them. I am thankful they are geared up and ready to go. Though I become less important in these new areas of their lives, I am thankful they are strong and I get to be somewhat on the side and pray for them at times now. It grows my faith, and that is a good thing.
Sometimes it's healthy that we are not always needed. Humbling, but healthy. As long as they always come home and they follow the pursuit of the glory of God in their ever venture, I'll swell with joy on their every journey.
Praise God for His goodness and the peace He gives to my mothers heart.

(later today pics should be up!)

Monday, August 18, 2008

To Use a Southern Term.."I'm Pooped!"

I am home! Sorry for the dull silence here lately!
We did the trip in two days this time. Eight hours one day and ten the next. We hit the ground running though as the girls have summer camp this week. Since Sunday was a church potluck and getting to see our pastor's photos from Israel, I have not even fully unpacked lots of our stuff. The girls had to be repacked right away and I forgot a few things for them.
So, I'm pooped.
I promise I will try this week to get some pics up. I have a lot to do though as school starts next week and I'm going to be trying to keep Superkid entertained without his sisters to play with. It is kinda fun to have him to ourselves for a few days though. Especially now that he is becoming a big guy and heading off to kindergarten next week.

Judy...I should see you soon! I need to pull my stuff together and bring it in. Thanks for your greetings!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On The Road Again

Wed, August 13
We set sail for home in the am. Please pray that the kids stay healthy. Caedmon had a 24 hour fluish thing with fever yesterday. I am hoping there are no cookies needing to be chucked in the car. So far we all seem good.
The trip home will be taken in 8 hour chunks instead of the 16 hour pull we did to get here. The kids are relieved.
California we come. Too bad we can't bring the green along with us. :(

Friday, August 8, 2008

Blog? What Blog?

Friday, August 8th
Hello! Greetings to my personal buddies and bloggie friends! We are still gone and I have not been on the computer at all! It has been kinda nice to be so unplugged.:) We are enjoying our very long vacation in the Northwest. The best part has been to see family and all the kids cousins. They have really enjoyed their time. Other adventures have been fun as well. Today for instance we went to the temperate! I felt like I stepped in to "The Lord of the Rings". It was beautiful and quite stunning. The kids loved it. It did not rain so we had a very pleasant walk through. We want to go back next time we are here and try to stay longer. I could not get over the clear waters and the amazing green plant life that grows in them. The water was so clear it was like it was hardly there...and yet it was. One of those had to be there things I guess.
So how are you all? I'm not reading blogs so I feel so out of touch. Please say hello here and I'll try to come back to see your notes. Rick's folks have dial up so it's not as fast, but it's not all that slow either. Its really just that I don't feel like being on the computer when there are so many adventures to be had.
I can't wait to get home and load pics and tell all! is my doggie? Thanks for taking on our insane pet! :)
Love to all,