2.10.2016

Will You Be Brave Enough to Talk with Your Children about Sexuality, Safety, Body Parts, and Privacy?

Knowing how to talk about body parts, sexuality, safety, and privacy in age appropriate ways with our kids can be so challenging and intimidating and even awkward as a parent.  We want to protect our kids, but often can feel a little muddled in the “when and how to talk about what” as our babies become preschoolers who become school-age kiddos.  Equipping our kids to understand their bodies, their privacy, and their safety is an incredibly valuable tool we can give them.


The other day, my friend Mrs. Gore over at Mrs. Gore’s Diary, shared an incredible resource to help us as parents navigate these topics in age appropriate ways.  The book God Made All of Me by Justin and Lindsey Holcomb is a phenomenal resource to help you equip your kids to protect their bodies.  It is written as a picture book of a family having a very natural conversation about these topics.  This book could be read aloud to your children (even your very young children) as a conversation starter, or it could simply be a tool for you as a model of how to have this kind of conversation with your children.  There are some practical steps at the end of the book for you as a parent to incorporate into your life as tools to help protect your child from sexual abuse.* 

Some of the most valuable insights this book highlights include:

1) How to empower your children to be able to say “no” to any kind of unwanted touch (even as simple as normal but unwanted hugs from relatives and friends).  This helps them become accustomed to being in charge of their own bodies by communicating and holding their own boundaries for their own bodies.

2) The importance of using proper names for all private parts.

3) Creating a family culture of having no secrets (there is an excellent part describing the difference between secrets and surprises).

I highly recommend buying this book and using it as a resource not only for your kids, but also for yourself in knowing how to continually create this type of safe culture within your family.  Click here to see God Made All of Me on amazon.  

To educate yourself even further on the importance of being courageous enough to talk about child sexual abuse, please watch Jill Tolles share both powerful facts and personal insights on the issue in the TEDx video below.



Lastly, if you have been a victim of child sexual abuse, I am so sorry.  If you have never told anyone, will you take a courageous step today to share that burden with a safe person and begin your own journey of healing?  You do not have to carry that burden alone any longer.  



* Note: If your children are young, you may not be ready for them to read on their own the statistics and information contained in the parent sections of this book, so as a word of caution, this is more of a parenting tool book rather than a storybook.  You may want to use discretion as to where you keep it if you have skilled readers in your home that are not ready for the weight of the parental information in this book.  




2.04.2016

Echoes of Our Original Design Restored

You were created in the Image of God.  He began His story with creation and He called what He created good.  There are echoes of that original design in you.

But.  That good, original design has been tainted by the fall.  You entered a fallen world when you were born.  Creation has been altered…broken.  You entered a broken world.  You yourself have been broken by sin done to you and sin you’ve done yourself, your very sin separating you from God.   

Then.  Jesus entered the story.  His death and resurrection brought about redemption.  Now you can be brought from darkness and death to light and life.  When we follow Jesus with our lives, we are redeemed. 

The story doesn’t end there. As long as we are alive on this earth, we have the opportunity to join with Jesus’ restorative work by engaging in His transformation of our very selves.  We have the opportunity to enter into His healing of the wrongs that have been done to us.  We also have the opportunity to engage His transformation of ourselves through confession and repentance of our own sin, ultimately believing Him to make us new, as we live connected to the Spirit.  He reconnects the echoes of our original design to our current reality. And as we experience His restoration of ourselves, we have the opportunity to bring restoration to all the people and places our lives touch. 






1.28.2016

My Husband Changes the World by Starting with Us

Too many men want to change the world but aren't willing to change diapers, but that's precisely where changing the world begins, at home. – Burk Parsons

I am walking out the door in a couple hours to be at a retreat I’ve been dreaming about for months.  Four ladies at my favorite bed and breakfast for 48 hours sharing our stories, our hearts, and looking to God to speak to us as we meet together.  Can. not. wait. 

This is the weekend I have ahead of me:  Rest.  Renewal.  Gourmet breakfast.  A large quiet room with no night wake-up calls from small people.  Dinner delivered right at my doorstep.  Alone time.  Spiritual encouragement.  Friendship. 

The weekend Val has ahead of him, though, is very different from mine.  Work.  Energy being poured out nonstop.  Waking up to an assortment of possible needs from snuggles because of nightmares to a midnight snack plea to a 4 a.m. bottle (who knows if Val will even sleep…pray for him).  Cooking breakfast.  Making lunch.  Cooking dinner.   Making snacks.  All day.  Changing diapers.  Playing endless games of Chutes and Ladders or Angry Birds.  Comforting a teething toddler.  Reading bedtime stories.  Doing bedtime baths.  Breaking up squabbles.  Doing dishes.  Doing dishes.  Doing dishes.  Reading Beautiful Babies at least 100 times.  Getting everyone outside to play.   Wrestling.  Listening to lots of talking about lots of topics with lots of questions all day long.   Lots and lots of work. 

Val is doing this because he actually does believes what that quote at the beginning says: changing the world begins at home.  While Val does do wildly world changing things like going into Middle Eastern nations in times of war to offer medical relief, he also does not view changing diapers as something that is beneath him. Some of his most powerful world changing impact happens right in our home with our family of five.  He believes that loving, serving, and connecting with his wife and kids is God’s work in action.  He is incredibly involved on a daily basis in our family life.  But he doesn’t just stop there, either.  Just as much as he believes that his world changing impact is both within the home and beyond the home, he also believes that I, too, have world changing purposes to live out, both within the home and beyond the home. Val gives himself to making it possible for me to do the things that I feel God leading me to do and be…both within the home and beyond. 

While we both work cohesively together to make our God-given impacts both at home and beyond, it just so happens that this weekend, Val is taking on a double-share of world changing at home. 

To any men that are reading today, this is where world changing begins: loving, serving, and connecting with your wife and kids in everyday tangible ways.  Start there, and you will watch the world change right in front of you. 



1.21.2016

How We Homeschool: Homeschooling Snapshots

I have this little dream of featuring a variety of homeschool families on this blog.  I stepped toward this dream by asking some of my homeschool-mom friends to share a few words about what homeschooling feels like in their family followed by photos of their family actively homeschooling.  I am calling these blurbs and photos “Homeschooling Snapshots.”  Here are a few homeschooling snapshots:

The Creekmore Family, Texas

When I first considered homeschooling, I visualized myself standing in front of my children, all dressed and seated (pencils in hand) around our dining room table. But it didn't take us long to find a rhythm that looked a whole lot less formal than that. Homeschool takes place all over our house for a few hours every morning. Sometimes it looks like explaining a math assignment to my nine-year-old son while I finish the dishes. Sometimes it looks like my daughter lying on the floor of my bedroom filling in her spelling workbook while I change our sheets. Sometimes it looks like sitting on the family room sofa to teach my five-year-old how to read. And, sometimes, it looks like a family game of UNO where it doesn't seem like school at all, yet with every game my four-year-old gets better at his numbers, colors, and matching skills. 
 
Some days everyone is dressed before school. Other days, we all (myself included) get it done in our pajamas. With all the pressures of this life lingering outside the walls of our home, I cherish the opportunity to keep our learning casual, relaxed and fun.

In addition to homeschooling, Heather Creekmore also blogs at Compared to Who (click here).  


 




The Schroeder Family, California


We love being able to teach our children at home. The best thing is having a flexible schedule with other activities and with their individual academic needs. It’s fun to enjoy time together as a family and all participate with learning about the world, reading, history, Science and P.E.
























The Luu Family, Oklahoma

Writing Lessons at the Kitchen Table
I’m honored Katie asked me to contribute to her “snapshot” blog post! I considered not sharing because, to be real, I wouldn’t read about what someone else’s homeschooling day looks like. When I have read homeschooling moms posts’, as each line builds, my confidence decreases. They obviously know what they are doing and I do not.  The intentions are always to encourage; but my immaturity always wins and I am discouraged. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. A dear friend from out of state recently visited me.  As all homeschooling moms do we talked above the chaos (read eight children) about our homeschooling lives.  On the last day her eyes swelled with tears as she confessed struggling and feeling defeated in her ability to school in comparison to other homeschooling moms. Why do we put the standard of what a homeschool day/mom/life should be on those standing next to us? We are not intended to be each other’s standard. Our God knows you and your children more intimately than any other, trust Him.

That being said, what does our day looks like? Honestly, it’s never the same! Each day has it’s own issues the pendulum swings from good too bad in mere seconds. I don’t get too worried about that. In the last several years God has revealed some major truths about me and how I teach, and my girls and how they learn. In this understanding He has helped me carve the “space” for school. I know what I want my girls to learn in the year. But making sure we had the opportunity to do just that was and is big to orchestrating our days.

Frustration has defined the borders of this space! I began to dread Mondays. Roll out of bed and then roll back into bed kind of Mondays. We are pretty firm on resting on Sunday but rest created two days worth of work on Monday. I quickly realized if I was to rest on Sunday I would have to school Tuesday-Friday and allow Monday to be house-attack day. We have a two year old. I quickly learned I cannot teach and have a two year old in the house at the same time. A lot of people can. I can’t. So my precious daughter goes to preschool Tuesdays and Thursdays and I teach my older two daughters from the moment my toddler is gone to the moment she returns. This is my space to be with my schooling girls. Do I care what subject we tackle first or where we do our work; no. We just get our work done and take the time we need and do it where we want. I have a one year old who loves me, and still takes a morning and afternoon nap. I don’t know what I will do when he stops. For real.

Math on the Living Room Floor
Teaching two truly is a juggling show. One is in hand being taught the other is sent out with work and then you just rotate, keep them coming and going. There are just two subjects we do together, I love and value my one on one teaching with each of my girls. Wednesday and Friday I have a folder filled with my girls’ assignments for the day they can complete without me. If they have questions they can ask, but all the work is based on the lessons we had the previous day. What a freeing moment to know your kids are doing school and you can do x, y, or z and it’s ok!

All of this may change in six months! I know God will give me wisdom in how to orchestrate my week and curriculum based on the specific needs to our family. This is what I love about homeschooling. And let’s be honest, what sometimes drives me crazy!




I’d love to share many more “snapshots” of homeschooling in the future, so if you are a homeschool family and would like to share what you do, what it feels like in your family to homeschool, and a few photos, please contact me by clicking here.