So here the children are doing some of their favorite things lately: being superheroes, reading, cooking, being goofy with the cousins and playing soccer.
Filed under: children
For many years, our family was not called to or able to adopt. We have had many close friends who have adopted, or have tried to adopt. We know so much (but still so little) about the process simply from observation, and we have loved orphans informally, but mostly we have watched.
At different points, I have struggled with feeling on the fringe. Like somehow we weren’t as spiritual because we weren’t adopting. As some of our best friends are on their second adoptions now (or third!) I feel like I’ve become quite the adoption observer, yet I still feel so inept at being any real help. This sent me recently on a research binge. . .searching the internet, polling friends who have adopted, and asking lots of questions.
- What can those of us who are not called to adopt now (or maybe not ever) do to support and love the orphan?
- What can we do to REALLY help those who are adopting?
- What can we avoid doing or saying that is a hinderance or discouraging?
I got lots of answers. . . straight from those who have or ARE walking the adoption road:
- Read the book, Adopted for Life by Moore, (we took this advice and it gave us perspective on adoption that helped us understand and better support who are adopting)
- Support an orphanage
- Support a missionary to orphans
- Volunteer at a local crisis pregnancy center
- Give money toward someone’s adoption
- Help with a fundraiser for an adoption
- Tell someone who is adopting that you are praying for them
- Give specific items needed (ask for specifics if they don’t give them)
- Be a listening ear, and ask how things are going
- Avoid complaining or reinforcing negative feelings about the process or the birthparents (it’s taking too long, why didn’t that caseworker do something different, etc. etc.)
- Allow an adoptive parent to express their frustrations, but respond supportively, “I cannot imagine how hard that is” ”I’m praying for you” ”Is there anything I can do to help?”
- Pray more, for the child’s heart and transition into the new home, for the grief process, for healing, for whatever God places on your heart
- Allow the child to tell their own story IF they want to, in their own time (avoid asking either the child or parents for details, allow them to share as much as they feel is right)
- Offer babysitting, and other help you can think of, no matter the age of the child, or age of the children currently in the home
- Give attention equally to children in the home. There is the temptation to “ooh” and “ahh” over the adopted child and others in the family feel left out.
- Celebrate with families who are adopting in any loving or creative way you can think of: cards, letters, notes, making phone calls and remembering special days in special ways (the list is endless).
- Remember that every adoption is unique, just like the children who are adopted, and so no two adoptions are alike. Make no assumptions.
- When in doubt, ask what would be most helpful
A few days ago I asked some advice of someone at our church about a small garden plan I had. He gave me the advice that I should build a garden box, and said he had some scrap wood if I wanted it. I told him I would take it, as long as he didn’t need the wood for something else. The next day we return home from some errands to find him and his wife building me a MASSIVE garden box behind our house (12X24 feet).
Elijah really wants watermelons to come out of the garden, and has mapped out what should go in my garden box near the front porch, and what should go in the new big garden. The little ones are planning on pumpkins in the fall.
Today the weather was beautiful, and so we headed up to a cow farm to get some of their “black gold” and on the way up, the children had some lively conversation about farming.
Merry said that her teenage neighbor friend’s dad had lots of money because he bought her friend two baby ducks. Is that all it takes? Then Micah announced that he wanted us to have a cow. The cow would live in the house, of course and they all agreed that it would potty in the toilet so the house wouldn’t get stinky.
Then Merry vetoed the whole idea, “Micah, we aren’t wasting our money on a cow, but you can waste your money on a cow if you want to.” It seems that “spend” and “waste” are synonymous in this five-year-old’s mind. Oh yeah, and how did she get the authority to decide if Micah could buy a cow?? Yet no one questions her, not even Jeremy or I, we are too entertained by this conversation to interject some reality.
She seems to be on a kick about buying/spending/budgeting/acquiring lately. Earlier today while she and Micah were playing, I overheard her saying in a very lecturing tone: “Micah, you can’t have everything you want.” Watch out Dave Ramsey. . .
Tonight one of the children announced that another one “smelled.” And they did, but it was a good thing, because they smelled like dirt, and sweat and. . .the outdoors. . .the best smell to this grown-up farm girl. The island farm girl who’s far from the ocean but strangely back in her element in the warming-up-mountains of the NORTH.
Filed under: children, Faith Baptist Emporium, Pictures | Tags: Emporium PA, Faith Baptist Church Emporium
Here is a picture of the church taken yesterday from our upstairs window. Jeremy’s office is the first window on the left, and we can see it from our upstairs hallway.
The sanctuary of the church, with the fellowship hall, Jeremy’s office, Sunday school and nursery rooms off to the right.
One of my favorite windows in the house with some flowers one of our members brought to welcome us. This window looks out from our kitchen and dining room to the church.
These are the steps going upstairs to the bedrooms, with some of my favorite people being goofy on them (my children and some of the cousins)
I can’t say it enough: we serve a GOOD and merciful God! Jeremy’s first sermon yesterday went well, and many aspects of this move have been better than we could ask or think. We look back and see that God has been leading us here for a long time, and has been preparing this church and location for us. We could never have imagined this in a million years. God is perfect, even if things don’t seem perfect to me, HIS ways, in the end are always right, just, and better than anything my sinful heart and mind could have come up with on its’ own!
We have recently enjoyed doing some Bible memory with our children now that they have the attention span to practice. Micah, being two, is probably the most proficient!
Here are some resources we have found to be QUITE effective and simple enough for me to do with our children, even though they are close in age and keep me very busy.
1. The Charlotte Mason method - using a card file box on the kitchen table that has cards that are reviewed at most meals (the daily verse we are working on currently) and others that are only reviewed at one of the meals. An adult in the house will read the card aloud, leaving a few blanks after a few days of just reading the verse/verses and allowing the children to take turns filling in the blank. After a week or two, they usually can say the verse themselves, then we move it back to be reviewed less and less (see details on the CM link above) You can also print the dividers to set up the system on this website.
2. Music – need I say more!! Songs of scripture are awesome and easy to use.
3. Hands-on activities – I just found this cute one that could be put in the back seat of the car for review, or between the front seats for the time you get stuck at a train crossing, or are arrive early somewhere, or are at an appointment (this is also where I keep my catechism booklet for easy access and review with the children.)
4. Memorize as a family! We try to learn the verses they get assigned from church with them, even competing with them (their young brains usually win, of course!) If someone is struggling to get a verse, we like to have one of the more competent ones help them individually. This reinforces AND helps at the same time.
5. Explain the verse - Jeremy helps with this, talking with the children not just about the plain understanding of the verse, but what it commands us to do, and how that applies in THEIR lives as children. We find that they memorize better when they know what the words mean. Hopefully they are working on their hearts in the process, of course, too!
Any other resources you have found out there to help with Bible memory, not just for children, but adults too?? Please post a comment!!!
I was challenged recently at a retreat by the wife of a professor to evaluate how much I am promoting myself or my family. As she said, “just because you CAN, doesn’t mean you should” (promote yourself). I guess, along with how involved we have been in living REAL life, I’ve let the blogging slip for the summer. I’m going to make an effort to keep the bragging (self-promotion) down but still keep you all updated on the work of God in our lives.
I have lots of pictures to post (and I don’t intend to quit doing that) but it’s just not terribly high on my list of things to do as I homeschool three, support Jeremy in his last semester in seminary and enjoy being a part of this journey God is taking us on.
I know the big question many of you have is what are you all doing after seminary? GREAT question! We don’t exactly know at this point, so please pray for us and drop us a phone call, we do really like to hear people’s live voices! Our phone number is still 843-819-1332.
Much love to you all, and I’m sorry for the long silence!
Filed under: children, Info/Resources | Tags: best children's movie music, disney music compilation, kids movie music
Filed under: children, homeschool, Info/Resources | Tags: best books to buy for children, best family read aloud books, best read aloud books for preschoolers, best read-aloud books, charlotte mason reading list, homeschool living book lists, homeschool read aloud books, kindergarten books read aloud, preschool read-aloud
We have noticed that the quality of a book DOES determine how long ours enjoy listening. My children tend to prefer “living books” with good illustrations. I could make our favorite books list now, but it would take me days. And every family and child is different, so I thought I would post some links to some book lists that hold some of our most treasured book finds so you could peruse for yourself. I will update from time to time. We’ve not read everything on these lists, but have enjoyed many on each list. . .so we recommend them with the idea that perhaps you will find more good books here than you might find at your average grab and borrow trip to your local library.
To save money, we search online at our library, (have them delivered to the front desk so I can pop in and just pick up if we don’t have time to browse) check as many out as we can, and only buy if it is a true favorite. One would think that would keep our personal library to a minimum. No such thing in the Caskey house!
1. Five in a Row
2. Ambleside Online – for all ages, click on whichever age you are searching for
3. Sonlight’s Read-Aloud List
4. Charlotte Mason Read Around the Year List
5. Tapestry of Grace Book List generator (search by grades and time span you are studying)
Any comments or suggestions for other book lists??
Filed under: children, Info/Resources | Tags: best parenting book ever, best parenting book review, sacred parenting by gary thomas, sacred parenting by gary thomas review, sacred parenting gary thomas, sacred parenting gary thomas review, sacred parenting review, sacred parenting thomas review
Jeremy and I have been reading Sacred Parenting by Gary Thomas together over the last few weeks for a class we are taking together. We will finish the last few pages today and I just can’t say how encouraging it has been to us! It was a breath of fresh air that our family needed!
The book centers around the idea that parenting is a wonderful avenue God uses to sanctify us. There are no formulas, because every family and every child is different. But it does offer some solid advice from a biblical perspective and from a dad who has grown children and sweet godly relationships with his children. He has challenged us to accept the journey of parenting and embrace the often-difficult process with joy and faith in the God who ordains every aspect of it.
Unlike other parenting books where I finish with a list of things I feel I now should be doing with my children, we finish with a greater desire to know our God better and display HIM to our children in our actions as parents.
If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend to a parent, planning to be a parent, pregnant, a parent of grown children, READ THIS!!!
Chapter titles include:
1. Papa God
2. The Hardest Hurt of All
3. The Gold behind the Guilt
4. Seizing Heaven
6. Vicious Vulnerability
7. Burning Love
8. The Glory behind the Grime
9. Walking on the Wild Side of Parenting: the Gift of Extremely Demanding Children
10. A Very Boring Chapter in the Bible (That Can Change Your Life Forever) And it did for us!
11. Xerox R Us
Epilogue: Receive Your Reward
This one makes it into our top five marriage and family books to include:
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tripp and
Everyday Talk by Younts
Instructing a Child’s Heart (sequel to Shepherding) by Tripp and
Sacred Marriage also by Gary Thomas
*If you only ever read one chapter of a parenting book, I would suggest the chapter titled “Giving Your Children a Vision for the Glory of God” from Instructing a Child’s Heart
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:1-2, 15-16
As a mommy I’m struggling with “making the best use of the time.” No matter where I turn, there’s always an idea, manner or skill I should have already trained into our children. We should have pleases and thank-yous down, one needs to be potty-trained, one “needs” to be showering themselves at this age. Oh, and I just read that they should be cleaning their room independently by now. And don’t get me going on interpersonal and communication skills!
We’ve come so far, yet my list is endless. I have seen God work in my children. I see growth. They aren’t struggling with most of the same issues they were struggling with six months ago. Is this the way mommyhood will always be? Will there always something else to do? More to pray about? Something to improve?
Every older mother I’ve talked to says that the answer to all the questions above is “YES!” So what do I do, or not do? I could go crazy and run about, as my mother used to say, “like a chicken with it’s head cut off.”
However, Ephesians 5 puts it so simply:
1. Walk in love This will likely mean taking the time to plan/schedule specific events/time to show love to my children and husband in ways that speak to them and their personality. If I wait for things to just happen, everyday events will likely crowd out potential meaningful interactions.
2. Imitate Christ Christ’s love for us was sacrificial, it didn’t think about what HE wanted, it walked in obedience to the Father and out of love for a rebellious, sinful people who hated Him. This means that I will not chose to set up rules in my house for my personal comfort or desires. I’ve heard it said, “parents are the original family unit, and children shouldn’t change that. They are a welcome addition, but the family should not revolve around the children.” That is true. But it shouldn’t revolve around the parents either. (Phil 2:3-4) The family should revolve around Christ. And ourlove should be sacrificial toward everyone. We should model for our children what it means to give up our needs or preferences for the desires of another. This doesn’t mean we don’t lead and exercise authority. It does mean that our authority and leadership will happen in humility and love, not seeking our own interests or comfort.
3. Spend time carefully on the things that really matter Last night this meant that when one of mine woke up in the middle of the night, I tucked them back into bed and crawled in with them to whisper and talk with them for a while. It was peaceful, and in the dark with some intermittent light from the lightning, we got to have a sweet conversation that likely has eternal ramifications. It was much more valuable than sleep. I will have to evaluate even “good” things that I think I should be doing to see if they are what our family really needs at the time.
4. Know God Better I will need to know the God I desire to imitate. This means time. Time with God in prayer, in study, in meditation. And time with believers who challenge and encourage me.
How do you prioritize as a mommy, mother, wife, employee? Any thoughts? Comment and share!!