Coubertin Quote

Monday, July 30, 2012

The most important thing in the 
Olympic Games is not winning 
but taking part; 
the essential thing in life is 
not conquering but fighting well.
~~ Pierre de Coubertin

Photo Credit


Five Minute Friday: Beyond

Friday, July 27, 2012

I can't believe this is the last Friday in July! Summer is speeding by.

And since it is Friday, it is time for five minutes of writing. Writing that isn't over analyzed, just released. Just spending five minutes putting down the words as they form, and not turning back - that is hard sometimes, not the not thinking part, the not turning back to fix it part. But it is important, and so I will do it!  Want to join? Follow the link to Lisa-Jo's and let go for five minutes!

Five Minute Friday
Beyond... beyond what?

There are so many minutes in the day that there doesn't seem to be anything beyond what I am doing and what I am feeling.

Photo credit
I mean let's face it, staying at home all day with your kids is a blessing, but it isn't easy. There are million things to do. The chores, the bills, the meals, the teaching of your kids, the raising of your kids, the playing with your kids, the feeling guilty when you don't play with your kids, the extra long reading sessions to make up for the guilty feelings... I mean really the list goes on forever! So how can there be a beyond?

Sure everyone who has finished this stage of parenting tells you to enjoy it because it will be over so quickly. So I try my hardest to enjoy it - enjoy the whining, the yelling, the crying for no real reason, the endless time spent pinking up toys, helping them pick up the toys, etc, etc. But most of the time, I don't enjoy it. I just do it. Waiting for that next phase to come.

Taking the time to think about that next step isn't worth it. Thinking of what comes next sets expectations, which means I set goals for my kids and then push them towards them. I don't want to be that momma - the one that lives her dreams out through her kids. I want to live their dreams with them. Changing the dream even over and over.

I want that phase that is beyond this one to be full of fun. And I know it will. Because even though this stage has it's moments of hair pulling and sighing, it does have it's fun moments. That phase, beyond this one will get here when it gets here.

And until then I will do this phase. And focus on just making it through - which translates as sighing in those moments of craziness and smiling in those moments of fun.


Five Minute Fridays: Enough

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another Friday!  Why is it that Fridays are always anticipated? Doesn't matter what it is that keeps us busy all week, Fridays always seems to have a special allure.

And since it is Friday that means it's time for five minutes of writing, thanks to Lisa-Jo.
Here are her rules. Find five minutes and join in the fun!
Five Minute Friday
1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..
OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:::


Photo credit
I was taught that phrase as a kid - "I am enough." Meaning I don't have to be someone else's enough. What I do, as long as I am doing it to the best of abilities, is enough. It's perfectly enough. And sometimes it worked. I felt happy because I did my best. 

Then came those wonderful days of standardized tests - ACT, GRE, LSAT - and it was filled with I am not enough. The scores were not what everyone else had. The schools didn't see me as enough. 

I was crushed. Sure I had been told I don't test well, I need a different method - it was on paper that I was different. Yet with those standards, enough didn't fit with me. 

How many times do we find that the standards of the world do not allow us to be enough? Too often to count I think.

How often are kids crushed because someone in the world says they are not enough? How often to teenagers feel the over-inflated ego that comes with being told they are better because they fit these standards perfectly while the teenager next to them barely makes the cut? How often do moms feel discouraged when their kid doesn't fit into the percentile of most kids? This list can go on and on. 

Why do we feel we need to have these standards? Why can't our best just be enough? Why can't we ask for help with the areas where our best isn't as good as someone else's without feeling like we failed? When will we really feel like we are enough just as we are? Because it is in those moments, when we feel we are enough that we are excelling at our full potential and somehow those moments of enough become more. Even more importantly, how to do we teach and model this for the next generation? 

If only the answers were as easy to come by as the questions are to ask. 

American Sign Language

Baby Sign Language Basics

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Photo credit
Baby Sign Language Basics
By Monta Z. Briant

I'll be honest, baby sign language wasn't really on my radar for a long time. Then I didn't think it was necessary when I had my first (mostly because he was a preemie, and there were a million other things on my mind). However my pediatrician recommended giving it a shot with my second. She said he would probably love it, and it would allow my older son a chance to teach him something. So I headed to the library to look for a simple book. Let me just say there are a ton, and I didn't know where to start...

After asking a librarian for a suggestion I landed on Baby Sign Language Basics. It was a great choice.

We got started right away. Yep just jumped right into the deep end, so to speak. Mostly because at least sixty percent of this book is a picture guide to many baby signs.

Anyway, back to the book. This book was a great introduction book for us. Briant does a great job of getting to the point of each chapter, because really the objective is to start signing with your baby and communicating, which doesn't happen if you are reading and reading and reading (to yourself that is). Briant explains why she decided to teach her babies American Sign Language, and then reassures the reader that you don't have to become fluent in this language to teach your baby. Briant makes the point that as parents teaching our babies sign language we only need to know enough to communicate on the baby's level. So start with just 6 - 10 signs (her suggestion) that you can use daily with the routine you have already established. Then add as you feel comfortable.

The biggest point is to make sure you use sign language as often and regularly as possible. Which makes sense right? The words you speak the most are the most likely to be in your child's vocabulary first. With that in mind I started signing before I finished reading the book! I started with mommy, daddy, eat, more and drink.
Photo credit

We soon added milk, dog, cat, ball, play and dance. I choose these because they are the things my little guy seems most interested, which Briant refers to as motivating signs. She suggests that these signs are the ones that will grab your child's attention and get him (or her) signing quickly.
If your baby is hungry or wet, all he has to do is cry - you'll run through the 
short list of possible causes and figure out which one it is fairly quickly. No let's say,
 for example that you take your baby for a walk around the neighborhood, and at one
 point you visit with a neighbor's cat. The cat is very friendly, and your baby really
 enjoys seeing and touching it. Later (perhaps even a couple of days late), your
 baby decides that he'd like to see the cat again or maybe just hear more about 
cats in general. How can he bring up this topic of conversation?... Using Motivating 
Signs will teach your baby the power of signing and get him interested in 
all the signs you're showing him. - 43
That made sense to me, so I added in play, ball and dance as quick as I could. 

This book was a nice starter because the chapters were super quick reads, which let's face it, is a must when you have a baby to take care of! Plus her writing style was very conversational, and for me, that was great. 

After about three week of signing as regularly as I could (which was usually just a meal times) I started to feel a little discouraged. My nine month old would look and me and watch my signs, but that was it. Then one day the phone rang during lunch, and while I was on the phone he signed "more"! I was thrilled, he got it!  I started to realize that I was just not giving him a chance to sign his response - which is actually something Briant addresses (Over anticipating Baby's needs). 

I realize teaching your baby to sign is not on everyone's to-do list. But I'm enjoying it. We have started having times each day where we get out toys or some picture books and just practice the signs, mostly for me to learn more. But both of my boys really enjoy this play time, so that's good! 
Photo credit
Some other books we are using to add to our vocabulary of signs include: The Parents' Guide to Baby Signs,  The Everything Baby Sign Language Book, Baby Sign Language, and Signing for Kids.


Confronting Jezebel

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Photo credit
Confronting Jezebel
By Steve Sampson  

This is one of those books that you can fly through, or spend a ton of time pondering as you read. I found myself taking forever because I had so much to think about. In fact I don't really have an opinion on it yet, can't say if it's great, just good, not bad, or not good! Still mulling it over.

One reason I decided to even read this is because of the foreword. Here's the quote that hooked me: "Steve has endured season of warfare in the Spirit over the years that God has used to season him." (Dr. Mark Chironna) That and my husband has been really into learning more on how to be prepared for the spiritual battle in front of Christians.

So here's a synopsis:

In Confronting Jezebel, Sampson enlightens the reader with the characteristics of the Jezebel principality - a subject of Satan. Remember Jezebel? I knew of her from the Bible, you know that really evil queen, but I didn't realize just how much she popped up in it until this book. Sampson does a remarkable job of showing just how much of Satan's dirty work she does. And let me just say, this is one minion of Satan that is pretty smart, as she tends to go after Christians who are confident and even powerful.

One big point Sampson makes over and over is that this principality, although given a female name, can influence both men and women in today's societies.

Most of the book is comprised of examples of Jezebel's destruction that Sampson has witnessed or heard about during his career in the Church. There are many disheartening, and nasty stories that involved strong Christians and stable churches.

Sampson says that Jezebel finds people who are insecure about something, and are making up for that insecurity by taking control of others in order to build themselves up (- sounds a little like what many kids are taught growing up to me...). He does make it clear that just because a person is strong-willed does not mean he or she is under the influence of Jezebel, but that if such a person is not striving to follow God's will Jezebel can get a foothold on this person. And it is a scary picture he paints of what happens when Jezebel really starts to influence.

Here are some of the quotes that stood out to me the most:
All Christians must face up to the fact that their real battle is with their flesh. - 12
Jezebels make idols of their opinions. - 88
Jezebel deceives with the right words and wrong spirit. A Jezebel spirit overcomes
people through the weakness of their flesh, appealing to them through their fear, insecurity, wrong concepts
of authority and the like. Jezebel will use any effective means, but some if its favorites are lust, 
sex, gossip, manipulation and false accusations. - 58
Refusing to try is not learning; it is evil. There is no grace for that
We have to take responsibility for our lives. -136

There were many times when I realized I'd met many people who, if not influenced by Jezebel, were well on their way to allowing a Jezebel to influence them, but always just thought to myself, "Now there is a seriously angry person with a lot of influence!" Have you met someone like that? Are you someone like that? This book addresses that.

Photo credit

If you are a new or young Christian (as in still focused on the fundamentals, not young in age) this probably isn't a good book for you, just because it makes you feel that your sins are all because a Jezebel principality has gotten a hold of you. This is most certainly a book for a Christian who has a good foundation with Jesus and even a strong support system of believers to draw strength and counsel from, because there is a lot here.

However, Sampson does spend the last chapter talking about ways to deal with Jezebels in all forms - in churches, work places, families, friends, yourself. Which, after reading everything, was a welcome relief.

Does this book sound interesting to you? Are you interested in hearing what the Bible says about the demonic battle going on? Does this just seem like too much for you? Let me know, because like I said, I'm still mulling this one over!

Linked up with:
** Please note this was received from the publisher, however the above review is all my personal opinion, and was not required for the book.

Five Minute Fridays

Five Minute Friday: Story

Friday, July 06, 2012

Want to join our favorite free writing exercise of the week? It’s easy peasy:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt: “Story” with no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

Stories fill my days. Stories to read to my boys about cars and far-away places. Stories to read online about the world. Stories I dream up. They are everywhere.
And yet it is so easy to miss the story of life - isn't it?   
I mean we are living story every day, even if for the most part it is a repeat of the previous day (you know same chores, same schedule). It is the story of our lives that makes it life, right?
Photo credit
Shouldn't we be trying to make the story count? At least a little. Make it a goal to do one thing each day to make the story worth reading. What one thing can I do today? Did I do yesterday? Will I do tomorrow?
Maybe it's digging out a puzzle I know my oldest loves and spending 15 minutes with him while we put it together. 
Maybe it's making some cookies just for fun, even if the clean up seems daunting in the end. 
Maybe it's just going out side and seeing what happens - kids are great at coming up with ways to fill the stories and make them interesting, it's us parents and grown-ups that have place restrictions on our stories. 
So at least for 15 minutes a day, I will forget about my restrictions on my story and focus on letting life write freestyle in my book.

Fourth of July

Fourth of July Quote

Monday, July 02, 2012

 Liberty is the right to choose. 
Freedom is the result of the right choice.
 ~ Unknown

Photo credit

The real democratic idea is, 
not that every man shall be on a level with every other, 
but that every one shall have liberty, 
without hindrance, to be what God made him
~ Henry Ward Beecher

Photo credit

 Happy Fourth of July - I hope you enjoy it freely.



Like me on Facebook