The tough part of mothering a girl

 

She says she’s “Okay”, but is she?  I see the insecurity she masks so well. I see how she adapts her personality to fit in with what is okay in your group and what is not …… and my heart bleeds for her.

She is my child and my heart aches for her and all the little girls like her who have been forced to try and find ways to fit in with a group of girls who won’t accept her for who she is.

She is spontaneous, but she’s lost her spontaneity and it is most noticeable in a crowd of girls of her age because “you are either in or you are out”.

Where is the guidance of the older generation when it comes to girls relating to other girls, or girls accepting the differences in other girls?

Boys are different, they just get on with whatever it is they have in common.

But girls …. Girls have a set of rules – unspoken rules – that if you are not like me, you are not part of my clique. You either dress like me, do what I do, speak how I speak and do what I do, or you are not my friend.  If you don’t adhere to the unspoken rules and hints that go with them, then they are spelled out to you in words.

This is not a new phenomenon, it is an age-old phenomenon and it just doesn’t get any better.

I know, I was told I was different on my first day of school.  I always looked for the other girls who, just like me, were pushed into the side-lines – those who also were not included in the “IN” crowd – whatever that means.

Have you ever been lonely in a crowd?  Have you ever been told that you are not good enough to be part of a group? Then you will understand what I mean.

Moms can make a difference by teaching their girls to be inclusive.

The world is filled with beautiful, interesting and diverse people.  Everyone is unique and special.

I pray that this is the life lesson that my daughter learns: to love others as she loves herself, to make room for those who are different to her and to stand out from the crowd, confident and content to be her own person because she truly is a beautiful young lady.

Romans 8:26-28

Love Cycle

Psalm 23

Photographer:  Shelley Gibbs

The Pleasure of His Company – Book Review

When you find yourself in the pages of the book, when that book captures the desires of your heart in its very content and puts into words those things that you live for and desire, then you know that you have found a book that is so precious it must be shared.

I was given such a book on my last birthday!

The message is so powerful and thought provoking that I found it easiest to work through it as a Daily Devotional as I needed to chew on each topic – sometimes over a few days.

The Pleasure of His Company by Dutch Sheets, published by Bethany House Publishers

If you are hungering for more of God, if you are desiring to know Him better and if you want to understand His heart for you, for all of us, then I would strongly recommend this book.

The topics in the book are explained in a simple, yet profound way. Dutch Sheets has a gift for “opening up” the Bible and the meanings of some of the verses, as he delves into the definitions of the original Hebrew and Greek meanings of words in Scripture.

If you desire a closer relationship with God, if you desire to know Him more and to understand His heart and desires then this is a book for you.

Sometimes, we make God out to be so complicated, but in actual fact, He is simply longing for the pleasure of your company too.

Roast Leg of Lamb

This is my favourite recipe for our Passover leg of lamb, it is both delicious and tender.

Ingredients:

1,3kg to 1,8kg leg of lamb

Marinade:

3 to 4 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon each of thyme, oregano,  rosemary OR 3 teaspoons mixed herbs
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Cut excess fat from leg of lamb.

Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl or baking dish large enough to accommodate the lamb and mix well.

Massage the marinade into the lamb.

Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning often. Or place all ingredients and the lamb into a bag and seal, ensuring that the marinade coats the meat.

The next day, remove the lamb from the refrigerator and to allow it to reach room temperature      (approximately 30 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C for a thermo fan oven.

Cook for 4 ½ -5 hours brushing with remaining marinade every 1/2 hour or turning the leg over in the marinade sauce.

Allow the leg of lamb rest for 20 minutes before you carve it. (Serves 8-12)

WHEN YOUR CHILD STRUGGLES WITH WRITING

What do you do when your child shows an aversion to writing?  Or when your child is in their 3rd grade and you still have to go back over the basics of writing with them because they are confused about letters or struggling to write?  How can you help your child who seems exhausted after writing the simplest sentence?

Some people think that a child who struggles in this way is just acting up or has behavioural issues.  However, one needs carefully consider all the criteria and assess whether the child is acting up, or genuinely has trouble conveying data from the brain to the fingers to write; a condition called Dysgraphia.

What is Dysgraphia?

A person who has Dysgraphia struggles to process words that are written (or in some cases heard) into the movement of the muscles which are used for writing (fine motor skills).  It often, but not always, overlaps with other learning disabilities such as Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Problems, etc.

A child who struggles with Dysgraphia is often emotional when it comes to writing, they may cry, become angry or appear stubborn and refuse to write.  The feelings of inadequacy and the knock to their self- esteem can be crippling if not dealt with in a way that empowers the child.

How does one help a child who has Dysgraphia?

  • The first thing to do is to go back, way back to before they started writing. All fine motor skills stem from gross motor skills. Get them to move, work on strengthening their core muscles and their upper bodies.
  • Make the alphabet using playdough.                          
  • Cut the alphabet out in different textures of material and let the child trace the letters with their index finger.
  • Draw the alphabet in the sand or write words in the sand using a stick. (Big movements of the arms from the shoulder are important here.)
  • Make up some cookie dough and let your child roll the dough into sausages  and then make letters out of the cookie dough. We flattened the dough to allow even cooking of the letters.         
  • Writing with a whiteboard marker on a window. The thickness of the marker helps toward a better grips as the child struggles with fine motor manipulation of the pencil.
  • Use blank paper without lines. This reduces the stress these children experience at trying to stay on the lines or within specific lines.
  • One can also allow the child to give answers which the teacher can write down in the appropriate place.
  • Give small amounts of work at a time with breaks to allow the child to rest between exercises.
  • Simple cutting exercises are also important it will exercise the finger muscles.
  • Let your child make food with you, scrub or peel potatoes or any other baking activity.
  • These are just a few ideas to help you on your way.  There are many other activities one can do with a child, based on their particular needs.

NOTE:  When the child is writing with a pen or pencil, it is important to establish a proper pencil grip as children with Dysgraphic tendencies will change their grip often or hold the writing instrument at awkward angles.  Buy a pencil grip that fits over the pencil to position the thumb, index and middle fingers correctly for writing.

Freedom

We are all looking for FREEDOM.

So often we search for it outside of ourselves.  Some look for it in their family or friends;  some look for it in their careers;  some through their wanderlust as they travel the globe;  some in sports achievements and accolades;  and some in their leaders (as we see in so many countries in the world).

True FREEDOM, however, comes from within.  It can only be experienced in our hearts as we face our fears, forgive those who have hurt us and leave the past behind us.

Jesus taught that we should bless those who hurt us and pray for those who hate us.  He showed us by example.  When He hung on the cross, He prayed for those who had Him crucified  “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” ” Luke 23:34 (New International Version)

If ever there was an example of one who understood this, it was Nelson Mandela.  If ever there was “A Long Walk to Freedom”, it was his story. He embraced it and became one of the greatest statesmen of our time.  We can all heed his words:

“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”  Nelson Mandela

FREEDOM – it was such a longing in my heart, it was God’s promise for me.  It seemed so hard to attain, to just step past the curtain of fear and step into freedom. The road has been long, but it has been so worthwhile.  When we let go of the past, we find out what it means to be free and we can  truly be ourselves.

Galatians 5:1  “Christ has set us free to live a free life.” (The Message Bible)

 

Within each person is the potential to be a Butterfly

Romans 12:2 “… be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

  • A caterpillar spends its day with its face down, eating leaves and stalks of plants.
  • A butterfly spends its days dancing in the sun, enjoying the view and drinking the nectar of flowers.

A caterpillar must go through metamorphosis in order to to change its view on the world.  When we allow ourselves to experience change, no matter how much it challenges our fears and insecurities, we open ourselves up to a whole new perspective on life.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Don’t hold onto the life of a caterpillar when you can be a butterfly and …….FLY!  Trust the Master to change you for His glory and your joie de vivre (joy of living).

Every child can succeed … life is a journey … let’s cheer them on

We are on a journey – A learning journey.

Not only do I have the privilege of seeing my children’s personalities blossom, but I get to understand their learning styles, their incredible giftings and see and be actively involved in helping them with their struggles in learning.

In our house there are no failures, only learners who learn.  Children who are encouraged to believe that they can overcome any obstacle because there is time and space for them to learn at their own pace.

Each child is unique and special and each child thinks in a different way.

I am so grateful that I can walk this road with my children.

Difficulties processing auditory sounds and transferring them into writing

As unique as each child is, so too are the challenges they face.  What works for one child may not work for another.

Our four children are all so different and as I school them, I find myself constantly tweaking, making adjustments and changes in order to accommodate each of them on their level.

One of our brood has been struggling with language.  I have been devouring information on Sensory Processing and other related topics and have discovered that our approach with him needs to be one that is multi-sensory.

I have been so blessed to have been gifted with a box from Excellence in Spelling. Their multi-sensory approach to spelling seems to finally be the answer, or at least one of the answers I have been searching for over the past few weeks.  Together with the Excellence in Spelling Programmed, we were also gifted with a huge box filled with spelling and language games and helps.

We began our week with the “ow” sounds.  The programme teaches Mastery, which means that we don’t move on until the spelling words have been mastered  and that  any grammar rules that may apply to a specific sound are understood.

Here is our first activity which we tackled:

DAY ONE:

The “ow” on laminated cardstock is colourful and big enough write on using white board markers.

I used small alphabet cards before and after the “ow” sound to help my young man discover the words that could be made using the “ow” sound.  He would say the word. Then, if it was indeed a word, he would write it on the poster as I spelled it out.

The multi-sensory process is SEE, SAY, HEAR, WRITE in this case.

DAY TWO:

I took each of the words on the list and spelled them out for my son.  He took great delight in completing the task. His sense of accomplishment that he was able to write out his spelling words by listening to me slowly spell each word was a delight to behold.

Search for the answers you need to help your child succeed.  Be their cheerleader in life. Celebrate each victory, no matter how small or how big.