Welcome! Nuestra Casa Es Su Casa ...Our house is your house
Monday, August 31, 2009
As we come into the months of September and October, the days get hotter and more humid and we often get downpours of rain as hurricane season is in full force here.
Saturday, the day was bright and sunny and oh so hot. By lunch, the children were jumping with excitement as billowing clouds were forming on both the east and west. A couple hours later the sky was dark and the wind began to blow. They say here it always rains dust before water, and the dust began to "rain". It looks like you are in a fog only it's all dirt. Within minutes the first drops were felt and then down it poured. The temperature went from about 105 down to 85 in about an hour and when the worst of it had past, our children and the neighborhood children could be seen splashing joyfully through the puddles and finding all sorts of creatures that had to evacuate their desert homes.
Our neighbors told us that it was suppose to rain again on Sunday. Sure enough, by Sunday afternoon, the same thing happened. The clouds began to form and the sky darkened. Daniel prayed that the Lord would hold back the rain and even cool down the temperature a bit as it was over 100 again.
We had a very special evening service planned with 2 more following the Lord in baptism as well as a couple ready to give their marriage vows. When it rains here, everything stops. Even a 30 minute rain will turn the streets to creeks and the mud makes it very difficult to get anywhere. Saturday, we were unable to have our guitar/piano classes or youth meeting due to the downpour.
The Lord who controls the wind and rain answered our prayer! The dust began to fall, but the rain never came. The clouds lowered the temperature as did a cooler wind.
What a sweet service yesterday! Hno. Ramon and Hna. Ninfa, a dear lady and her son in law, stood up in front of the church giving testimony to their faith in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation. We gathered outside as they followed the Lord in obedience through baptism.
We continued with our regular service and afterwards, Hno. Juan and his wife Hna. Leticia came forward to make their marriage vows before God and us as witnesses. Hno. Juan and Hna. Leticia were saved this year and baptized together at our family camp. They have 3 precious children but had never gotten married. In wanting to follow the Lord completely in everything, they knew they needed to get married. This week, they got their marriage license and said their vows Sunday.
How wonderful is our Saviour! How He works in our hearts and changes our lives!
As we begin this week, we are keeping a close watch on Hurricane Jimena, a category 4 hurricane due to hit our area within the next couple of days. How good it is to know the one whom the wind and the seas obey! How good to know we are always under His care! How good to know He loves us!
We are praying the Lord's protection over our family and the people here. He is so good.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
-How do you get your children to work?
-How do you get them to work cheerfully?
-How young before they begin to work?
-Do they do the same chores each day or do you rotate?
-How do you keep track of who is suppose to do what? How do you make sure they did what they are suppose to do?
-How do you get them to do a job well?
*Work is Good!
During our family Bible time a year or two ago, Daniel pointed out something that I'd never thought of before (he likes to do that a lot...he's good at it :) ). He was telling the children that before Adam and Eve ever sinned, when everything was still "good", God placed them in the garden and...
...they just laid on some lush grass in the shade of a beautiful tree sipping on coconut milk and fresh fruit salad prepared for them by some angels, right? :)
No, he placed them in the garden and gave them a job...work to do. Genesis 3:15- And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."
Work was never the curse. Now when Adam and Eve fell, the Lord told Adam that the ground was cursed, it would bring forth thorns and thistles and he would eat bread by the sweat of his face. But Adam worked before the curse.
He went on to ask the children what they thought we will be doing in heaven. You see drawings of people with angel wings floating on white fluffy clouds; or I remember being little and thinking that we would be singing praises to God forever and I use hope it wouldn't ever get boring :). Daniel told the children that the Lord will have a job in His kingdom for each of them to do and what a wonderful job it will be.
That devotional that night encouraged me to daily remind myself and my children the blessing we have of being able to work.
That being said, these are a few of the things we have seen that have encouraged our children in doing chores:
*The Blessings of Diligence
The Bible is of full of verses and stories showing us this truth. I try to talk about these regularly with my children as well has help them see these blessings in their own lives as they choose to be diligent. Here are some of my favorites:
-Prov. 12:24 "The hand of the diligent shall rule" As the children are faithful in small things, they are given even greater responsibilities and the privileges that accompany them.
-Ec. 5:12- "The sleep of a laboring man is sweet" How good it feels to have accomplished a hard days work, rest your head on the pillow at night, and enjoy sweet sleep.
-Proverbs 31:28- "Her husband...praiseth her". While this is talking about the virtuous woman, I always try to praise the children for helping with the work of the home and for doing a job well.
Praise goes such a long way! How a child wants to make mommy and daddy proud! Even if a job isn't done perfect but I know the child did his/her best, I love telling them how proud I am of them. I am truly thankful for their help! When Daddy comes home in the evening, I love to tell him out loud how this child or that one was so helpful or did such a good job on a task. Their faces light up and they just grin ear to ear :).
We do not give allowances for their regular chores as that is what is expected of them as being part of the family. But we do have rewards for doing good on their regular chores and I always have a list of extra things that need to be done where they can earn money.
*Working with the children
Do you remember being a child and working along side your mom or dad? I do! How important I felt! And so Daniel and I rarely do a job without one to ten helpers along side us. It is so much more fun to work with someone. There are several benefits to working with my children:
-It gives them an opportunity to learn a new task or practice and learn more of one they already know.
-It gives me another opportunity to talk with and listen to them as they chatter along working beside me.
-It helps get the job done faster or at least makes it more fun :)
And I'm sure there are many more!
*Teaching them how to do each chore
One of the problems we use to have was that the chores were not being done right. It finally dawned on me that it wasn't a matter of laziness or disobedience in many of the cases but rather a lack of knowing how to do the job.
During the summer, as I have time to dedicate to other things since we are not doing school as much, I work on chore training. This is done on either an individual or group basis depending on what I am teaching.
For example, I will take one Saturday after all the sheets have been washed to teach the children how to properly make their bed, what things they are allowed to keep in their beds (as in NO food, No live animals, No cups filled with dirt...only pillows, blankets, stuffed animals/dolls, back packs with whatever they can fit in there, and a couple other things).
Other group sessions include folding/hanging clothes, clearing table, brushing teeth and the clean up afterwards, etc...
Then I will individually go over each of the assigned chores for the year with the person responsible for them. I will show them how to do it, then I will work along side them, and then watch them do it by themselves so I know they understand how to do it well.
*Consequences for Not Doing Chores
Overall, our children do their chores faithfully with little complaining. The times that we've had where jobs were not getting done or we were struggling with good attitudes were always the times that I had gotten lazy in checking thier work and carrying out the consequences for uncompleted or poorly done work.
I want to be faithful to my word and faithful in helping my children develop godly character and good work habits. It is difficult for me with all I am doing each day to remember all the different chores and what should be done if they are not completed.
Daniel sat down with me this summer and we worked on our "Consequence Sheet". This is a sheet we make each year which contains 3 columns and several rows. The first columns lists the different things the children may struggle with day to day.
A few things on our list this year are:
-Not doing morning chores on time or done poorly
-Not completing daily school assignments
-Disturbing another during school time
-Leaving socks our shoes outside
The second column was Daniel's idea...here we list the cause behind the sin of the first column. This helped us in finding an appropriate consequence. For example-
The third column lists the consequence. For example,
-Extra work sheet in school
-Loss of privilege
We try to make sure the "pleasure" of the sin is not worth the weight of the consequence. For example, if a child doesn't do his part of breakfast clean up(which is a 5 to 15 minute job) they will have to work for 30 minutes during their free time.
When I am faithful to be attentive to the children in these areas and faithful to firmly but lovingly give them the consequence listed, every one is happier! :)
-Our children begin assigned chores when they are 5. Before that, they are given little jobs here and there as they LOVE to help out like their big siblings and they are responsible for cleaning up their toys, putting their shoes back, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, clearing their plate after a meal etc... Usually, as soon as they can walk, I love giving them a spray bottle with water and a rag and tell them over and over again what big helpers they are as they joyfully clean a wall. It is a very special day when the year they turn 5 and get to have their name along side the others on the chore sheet. How proud they are! :)
-Our children keep the same chores for the school year. During the summer, when I plan our new school schedule, I will re-evaluate the chores as well and make changes as necessary.
-I make a chore chart each year with all the chores listed which we hang on the wall next to our schedule. The children do not have to look at it though (it's more for my benefit) as they all know what to do and when to do it. I remind the younger ones time to time until they are able to remember on their own.
Many hands make light work and make it so much fun!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Isaiah- age 7/ 2nd Grade
Favorite Subject- Math
Enjoys playing outside, working with Daddy, working with his tools, and coloring/drawing
Favorite Subject- Reading and Math
Enjoys playing outside, doing crafts, looking for bugs and lizards, and listening to mommy read
Favorite Subject- Math
Enjoys playing outside, playing with his train set, coloring or doing crafts, and being a big helper to mommy or daddy
Enjoys playing dolls, helping mommy, being with her sisters, playing with Noah and Nehemiah, making crafts, and singing
Nehemiah- age 2 1/2
Enjoys keeping everyone entertained as he's so cute and full of energy, playing outside, listening to mommy read, going anywhere in the truck with Daddy, and finding bugs
Enjoys making everyone laugh with his adorable giggling, playing legos, trains, books, playing outside in the sandbox or trampoline, and playing ball
Samuel- age 5 1/2 months
And if you want a peek at how it really is around here....
It's certainly never boring! :)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Often times I am convicted of sins or areas I know I need to change. The longer I hold on to those things, the more bogged down I become. How free it is when I go to Him like a little child telling Him how I've been wrong and asking Him to change me. It makes me want to cry and sing all at once! :)
Monday I spent a good part of my prayer time praying for our new school year. While I have now been home schooling for over 8 years and thank the Lord daily for the blessed privilege of teaching our children day and night, I often have worries or can get discouraged over a certain area of our day.
I was particularly concerned over one of our children as he has struggled more than the others in most every subject. We have taken it slow and given lots of praise balancing it with teaching him the importance of being diligent, but this child was just especially on my heart. Much of that morning I asked the Lord to help me in teaching this child and to give him understanding and a desire to learn.
I told Daniel that nothing short of a miracle happened. This child's worst subject by far was spelling. We have tried everything and while we could get him to remember a few words one day, the next he couldn't recall them. Last week he was so excited to learn his first list. He had them down perfect...PERFECT...all on his own with little to no help from me by Thursday!!! He even memorized 3 extra Bible verses in his free time and taught them to one of his younger siblings. The look of sincere pride and joy on his face was priceless! And I instantly remembered what I had prayed.
Thursday morning, little Samuel woke up a bit earlier than usual...4:30 am to be exact. That wouldn't have been so bad if I had gotten to bed before 1 am the night before. :) Some things in the ministry came up and we just ended up getting too bed late. Since it took Samuel until 5 am to finish eating, I didn't see the point in trying to sleep for another 30 minutes as I usually wake up wwaaayyy more tired when I do that. So I got dressed and thanked the Lord for the extra 30 minutes I could have with Him. I asked him to give me extra grace and strength that day as I knew I hadn't had much sleep and we had a long day ahead. I knew I could ask Him this as He has done this so many times before. It's not so much not wanting to feel tired that bothers me but the grumpiness that can come when I am tired :) And how thankful I was to really feel good all day long.
Great is His faithfulness!
Daniel heads back out to the village tomorrow. It's been very hot and humid the past few days. September and October are usually the months the hurricanes come. Uncle Samuel has been a tremendous blessing with all the help he daily gives with the work here and how we enjoy his fellowship as well. The children love having an "older kid" to play with and to throw them around a bit. :)
Monday, August 17, 2009
Today we started our first day of our new schedule and our first official day of school.
*we all had our personal time with the Lord in the morning
*Daddy, Mommy, and 7 children took a 10 minute walk around the block before breakfast
*we ate an early breakfast, read a chapter of a book, and a chapter of the Bible together around the table
*I was able to do an art project and review the letter "A" with my little ones while the older ones cleaned up from breakfast
*I was able to spend some individual time teaching all of my children
*Timothy taught Noah to recognize several new numbers
*I got 8 new paintings/drawings to hang on my walls/fridge
*I taught a piano lesson
*the girls and I read together on their bed
*the children and I spent 30 minutes outside swinging and playing kick ball in the afternoon
*after baths, Daniel and I swang together while the children threw balls at us and showed off all their stunts on the trampoline
*Samuel and Eliseo cuddled lots on my lap while I taught school
*we all wrote a thank you letter to a family
*Alma and I practiced a song with Daniel for Sunday
*everyone was well fed and had at least 1 bath :) and the house is picked up
*we ended the evening singing songs together in the family room while Daddy played his guitar, taught us about Elijah in the Bible, and prayed with us
Today we did not stay perfectly on schedule.
*Sleepy heads, messy diapers, and such took most of our walk time...but the 10 minutes we had were just perfect
*A chewed up crayon, another messy diaper, and a child needing some loving discipline took the place of most of my plans for preschool teaching time...but we got over half an art project done ready to finish tomorrow and hang on the bulliten board
*School time went like it always does...never perfectly smooth...but the children talked non stop with Daddy when he got home about all they learned in their new books
*And unexpected visit from Alma, a dear young lady from our church, replaced the time I read to the little ones and half of a piano lesson...but we were able to visit, she told Daniel she wants to get baptized, and we were able to practice a hymn to sing Sunday
*Little things here and there took up half my cleaning hour so I only got the front of the house clean...but my girls surprised me and cleaned my room and bathroom
*Dinner was late due to another visitor and the yards hadn't been cleaned up like we want to do before Daddy gets home...but of course, Daniel didn't mind a bit and so we skipped our evening walk and we all cleaned the yard and played a bit after supper and baths
*I felt bad because the boys were excited about playing a game with me tonight, but since the evening ran late, Daddy and I thought it would be best for them to go to bed....but when I hugged Elijah good night and asked him if he had a good day, he told me it was one of the best days ever...
I agree :)
Sunday School Hour
Friday, August 14, 2009
You drive and drive through miles of cactus until you find another home.
Drying out meat
Daniel said this hen made her nest in the garbage can...there she lays her eggs :)
Sweet Julisa...age 3...in her papa's arms
I just love this picture...Daniel brings his guitar so he can play/sing songs to the Lord. Nobody will sing along with him except for little Julisa. But they always ask him to bring his guitar and sing.
Do you see what I see?