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Monday, May 2, 2011

You CAN Learn From Your Kids...

    So, just before Easter, the 3 girls and I (being the craft junkies that we are) went to AC Moore and grabbed a bunch of stuff to make a mini Jesus project we saw online. The craft itself was a little tricky but the kids love a good challenge and i wanted to use the time we spent making it, to reflect on the TRUE meaning of Easter and why/what we are celebrating. They basically already knew being that it was taught to them in Winners Club at church. Reinforcing the lesson at home is always a good thing though. Anyways, back to the blog...
    My son was asleep when we did the project but he loves to paint stuff too so he also made one with me a few days ago. Today we worked on it a little more together. Basically you get a small Terra Cotta pot and a wooden ball, some brown and white felt, gold glitter glue, little paint and VIOLA! The pot is white the ball is a flesh color.   So while I was working on something else, my son sat next to me and painted his pot. He asked if he could paint the inside red - his favorite color. I said sure since the inside of the pot is never seen in the finished project.   I stop paying attention to what he's doing for 2 minutes-big mistake lol! He is painting Jesus' head bright red!! I'm like, "NOOOOO!!! What are you doing?!" He just wanted to paint the ball red too. I tried explaining to him, as if he could grasp the concept of the vision I had, that the ball needs to be flesh colored because it is going to be His head. With a sad, puzzled and yet still uncaring expression he said, "I just want to paint the ball red because its my favwit color. Can I??" I tried to tell him that Jesus' head is not red, it's peach. Then I thought for a second and mid-revelation I just said, "Sure kid go ahead, whatever floats your boat."
    You see, I suddenly remembered that Jesus' head IS in fact red. Or at least it was. While He was being beaten, tortured and forced to carry His cross, Jesus' head was red. Red with the blood of redemption. Blood that was shed so we didn't have to die for all the sins we committed. 
    Last night, on May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced that Osama Bin Laden was killed and his body was taken into custody by our military. Hundreds of thousands of people cheered and were happy and felt closure for the horrible acts of violence he committed against Americans and their families. When I heard the news my original reaction was that it was of no importance to me. Even this morning after I've had time to let it settle in, I still cannot rejoice in his death. How sad his family must feel, how sad his followers must be. How did it make you feel when terrorists rejoiced in the death of your husbands, wives, siblings, parents, children, etc? There are two commandments God has given us. Love the Lord with everything you can, Love your neighbor as you love yourself. That includes your enemies. The only one who knows where Osama's final resting place is, is God. Although we can speculate and assume he is in eternal Hell, we should pray for him and his loved ones anyways. What did Jesus do while He was nailed on the cross? He asked His father to forgive the very men who were making Him suffer so much. How can you not do the same? 
    Furthermore, about 2-3 months ago, my family was eating lunch at Pudgie's Pizza. My husband and I were reading the paper and I came across a big article on the student who was killed at the U of R in January. They interviewed the mother of the victim. She stated that she wanted no part in his trial. She forgave him for what he did to her son who she will never see again. A son she never got to say goodbye to or even hold one last time. This mother told the newspaper that she actually was praying for the young man who took her son's life and she was praying for his mother too! Jeffrey Bordeaux's mom felt sad that not only had she lost her son, but Darren Venable's mom might lose her son too if he was convicted. That blew me away. I was in such shock, you always hear about vengeful comments and they solve nothing. It's not often that someone turns to Jesus and draws from the forgiveness he gives us. She said that bringing his killer to justice would serve no purpose. It wouldn't change anything, her son will still be gone and now another mother would be sorrowful for losing her son too. What does that prove? How does it solve anything? IT DOESN'T!! After reading the article,I felt stronger. She inspired me to show forgiveness to my own enemies. If she can lose her son and say I forgive you and I'm praying for you to the young man who took his life....what more can WE do? That woman is truly strong in Christ. 
   I'm thinking about how today there are so many people who seem to just write off the death of Jesus as a simple story. Our father gave up His son for us and we should be praising Him and thanking Him for His love and mercy. But, our flesh is so strong sometimes, that we fail to see anything besides what is in front of us. We see that we are behind in a bill, have a flat tire, a long day at work, a pain somewhere in our body, lose a loved one. What we don't see, is that we will have money to pay that bill because we have a job that makes us work more hours, we actually have a car to get around and don't need to walk in the rain and snow, we can feel pain period and are not paralyzed, we don't see that we have so many loved ones still here when there are many people who have no living family anymore.
    In closing, I'm just glad to have access to change myself with the help of God. I'm so thankful for the mercy that He has shown me when I didn't deserve it in the slightest. When I was baptised, He washed all my sins away. Everything that I was holding onto in sorrow or in heartache was gone. He allowed me to let go and start fresh. I am part of an amazing church who guides me and prays for me when I need it or don't need it. Yet, still I miss services for the dumbest reasons. If there's a service, then that is where I need to be. If God's word is being preached, then I need to hear it wherever it is. I am by no means perfect and I'm not expecting to be anytime soon. The only thing I ask God to do when I pray, is to keep working on me. You don't give birth to a baby and then give up when they can't read or walk in a month. You help them and keep working with them, showing them how to do it until they master the skill. Then, you move onto the next one. Same thing God does with us. 

*~May His goodness and mercy be with you all the days of your life~*

Monday, February 28, 2011

Every Journey Starts With a Plan

So, we've finally made the decision to homeschool the girls. They are not doing so hot in school and the school seems to not truly be able to help. Yes, they have them in tutoring but they are being tutored so much that it is making them fail other subjects. Mariyah right now sees a teacher 5 days a week to help with ELA, another teacher 3 days a week to help with math, ANOTHER teacher twice a week to help with ELA and she has tutoring after school twice a week. I mean, is that over kill or what?! Her last report card was not very good and Jocelyn's was not good either. Scores are not A-F anymore. It's 1-4. A score of 4 means you are above grade level, 3 is on grade level, 2 is below grade level and 1.....well you get the picture. Both had a lot of 2's n some 1's, hardly any 3's. The school had only 24% of the kids pass ELA and math last year. That means 76% FAILED! Wouldn't YOU start being a little more involved in their education? At this point, I might as well home school them, I basically already am. Am I a little apprehensive? NO, Im A LOT apprehensive, but it needs to be done. I do want to add, in a class of ~30 kids, its impossible to give each student the individual attention they need. Every student learns differently. The teachers do the best they can with what they have. They both have great teachers, but if I have the opportunity to teach them in a more individualized environment, why would I pass that up?
This past week, all the kids were off from school. So, I took the opportunity to take off from work also and stay home and work on schooling. Plus, if I worked, the 4 kids would be at the shop all day driving my husband totally insane.....AND my van overheated and needed the head gasket replaced, AGAIN! (that's another story) So, I really couldn't get to work anyways. Jocelyn (6th grade) and Mariyah (4th grade) worked on a lot of cursive, math, ELA and test prep. Barnes & Nobles is a wonderful resource (especially the one in Pittsford)! When I worked one on one with Joce, she got it! This is a girl who cannot remember her times tables to save her life! She had mastered quite a few over the span of 2 hours! She was doing mental math, which she has not been able to do. It amazed me how well she grasped the concepts when I worked with her alone. She did great! Mariyah wasn't too shabby either. She, thankfully, does know her multiplication facts pretty well for a 4th grader. I taught her how to divide the big kid way. No more drawing 300 circles and splitting them up. She got it down pretty good. As the rest of this school year goes on, we will continue to work on math and ELA but I do have high hopes for these girls. They are very bright! They just need more focused attention on them to learn. Sure working 40+ hours a week and homeschooling for at least 25 hrs a week will be draining, exhausting, trying and who knows what else, but the things we must do for our kids will always be a reminder. I had the girls write down some reasons why they want to be homeschooled next year and I will do the same. I plan to type them up, print it out and put it in a frame in our schooling area, which is yet to be finished. That way, when we get frustrated or down, we can look at the list together and remember why we started in the first place. Plus I can turn it into a lesson, write a paragraph about one of your reasons you chose to be home schooled and elaborate. With super mom as an awesome writer, these kids may have a blog of their own someday.... hmm..... ENGLISH project!!
~~~Time to home school the little guy.... numbers and colors - here we come!! (BTW-he started home schooling just a few months ago and went from not writing anything to being able to write his own name pretty neatly!!