I wanted to share some Advent resources we have used, or come across over the years. These resources have helped us as a family stay focused on the true meaning of the season.
In the area of gift giving to help us stay focused…
we base the gifts we give our children on the three things presented to Christ by the wise men.
The “gold” gift is the fun item, for the little ones it is usually a toy. The “myrrh” gift is some type of clothing, or something they need, and the “frankincense” gift is something for their spiritual growth, a new bible, a new devotional, or a book. For the little ones it could be something along the lines of a Christian CD, or a new Adventures in Odyssey.
For many years, we have used these advent stories.
I think this is our fourth time to read this series. Each day the story ends with a cliffhanger, leaving the children anxious to read the next part the following evening. The first time we read the first book in the series with our children I will confess, I had to peek and see what happened. I could not wait until the next evening to find out. This has become a wonderful way to end the day. Before we read the story, we try to have all the children ready for bed; we turn off the lights in the house, except for the area where we are reading the story. The children take turns lighting the advent candle each evening. After we read the story, we pray, then the children take turns lighting their own candle from the advent candle. They quietly walk to their rooms; we come up, tuck them in and blow out their candles. When I had pre-schoolers in the house they would carry flashlights, or we could carry them up helping them hold their candle.
Ann @ aholyexperience also has Advent Devotionals that looks wonderful.
May your family have a blessed Christmas.
Updated from original publication from November 18, 2008.
New Year’s Resolutions- the reality is that few smokers actually quit because of a single moment of resolve, few obese people have become slim and healthy because of one dramatic moment of commitment, few people who were deeply in debt have changed their financial lifestyle because they resolved to do so as the old year gave way to the new, and few marriages have been changed by the means of one dramatic resolution.
How Not to Read Your Bible -When it comes to daily (or not-so-daily) Bible reading, January 1 can be a welcome arrival. A new year signals a new start. You’re motivated to freshly commit to what you know is of indispensable importance: the Word of God.
Yet this isn’t the first time you’ve felt this way. You were entertaining pretty similar thoughts 365 days ago. And 365 days before that. And 365 days . . . you know how it goes.
So what’s going to make 2013 different? What, under God, will keep you plodding along in April this year when staying power has generally vanished in Aprils of yore? From one stumbling pilgrim to another, here are five suggestions for what not to do in 2013.
23 Reasons to Be Joyful-The book of Philippians has been my food for the past month, or so, in response to the encouragement of a faithful brother of mine. Having struggled my whole life with negative thought patterns, which come so easily—without any conscious effort—I am asking the Lord to train me in a pattern of joy.
Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will. – Jonathan Edwards
One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things. – Burroughs
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21
Let us test and examine our ways,
and return to the Lord!” Lamentations 3:40
The Lord has blessed me with eight wonderful children. Of those eight, two have Dyslexia, and I am suspicious that the five year old may also be dyslexic. Dyslexia runs in families, so it is an inherited gene. It can be mild or severe. One in five people have some form of dyslexia.
In the 90’s I had suspicions that something was not quite right concerning the area of reading with my second born daughter. She had a very hard time learning to read, even with intensive phonics instruction. She also had a lot of difficulty memorizing her math facts. I took her to a respected physiologist who administered several tests, at that time he determined that her issues were ADD related. As her mom, I knew this did not sound right. Not knowing what else to do I continued with phonics and comprehension skills throughout her school years.
When her younger brother began to have the same struggles, I started doing my own research, which was much easier now than it was in the 90’s with so much more information available on the internet. I had suspected he might have dyslexia because unlike my older daughter he continued letter reversal well into third grade. I began to educate myself on the signs of dyslexia. I then had him tested and I asked that a Woodcock Johnson be one of the tests administered. This particular test will indicate if a child has phonemic awareness issues. The test indicated he did indeed have phonemic awareness issues. With this information, I had my daughter who was now a freshman in college evaluated also using the Woodcock Johnson and with no surprise, she had the same issue. I am happy to say she is now doing well and receiving the accommodations she needs so that she can be successful through college.
I want to encourage you that if you think your child might have a learning difficulty, or be dyslexic, it usually takes several tests to determine what the issue may actually be. You cannot depend on one specific test. My son had several tests administered and each corroborated the other. Because Dyslexia can be mild, moderate, or severe, using one single test is not recommended. Because dyslexia is hereditary, I knew what we were looking for with my older child.
Having a name to put on their struggles has set both of my children free. They now know they really are intelligent, they just learn in a different way. In fact, dyslexics are gifted in areas controlled by the right side of their brain. They are usually gifted in these areas: art, music, athletics, mechanical ability, great people skills, 3-D visual spatial skills and more.
As a parent, when one of your children struggles you will do whatever you can to help them. The first thing I did was hire a Wilson language tutor until I could get the training I needed to help my son. Little did I know at that time that I would have the privilege to use my training to help other students who struggle with the same issues.
If you have a child whom you think may have phonemic awareness issues a reading program based on the Orton-Gillingham method has research-based evidence that shows it to be very effective. Orton-Gillingham is different from other reading programs because of what is taught and how it is taught. Dyslexia is not a maturity issue, Meaning a child with dyslexia won’t “grow out of it.” The earlier it is detected the better.
Here are three Orton-Gillingham based programs you might want to consider.
Wilson Language Program– This is the one I use at a small Christian School where I am now the Reading Specialist.
All About Learning– I have not used this program, but from what I see online it is Orton -Gillingham based. It may be a great home school option.
Barton Reading System & Spelling– This is another great Orton-Gillingham based program.
Here is a little more information about what dyslexia actually is. Most of my information came from Susan Barton’s site. She has a wealth of information.
What exactly is Dyslexia? According to the National Institute of Health…
- “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin.
- It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.
- These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction.
- Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
Phonemes are the smallest unit of spoken language. Children who do not have phonemic awareness cannot distinguish sounds within spoken words. If a child has phonemic awareness, issues they will have difficulty with letter sound relationships.
The NIH states…
- “The lack of phonemic awareness is the most powerful determinant of the likelihood of failure to learn to read.”
- “Phonemic awareness is more highly related to learning to read…than tests of general intelligence, reading readiness, and listening comprehension.”
- “Phonemic awareness is the most important core and causal factor separating normal and disabled readers.”
Warning signs of Dyslexia.
Common myths about dyslexia such as dyslexics see words and letter backwards
Famous people with dyslexia.
When my Dyslexic children have a hard day, I remind them that God has made them for His glory. Their Dyslexia was not an accident. It is part of His plan, and He will use it for His Glory if they will let Him.
“Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” Isaiah 43:7
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” Isaiah 55:8
Blessings~ Kim @ littlesanctuary.com
Additional articles on Dyslexia
Defeat Dyslexia by catching it early
Video from the US Dyslexia Congressional Caucus
Navigating School with a Dyslexic Child: One Mom’s Story
James Middleton: How I battled my crucifying dyslexia to read at Kate and William’s wedding
Schoolhouse Rock Electoral College
270 To Win is an interactive Electoral College map for 2012 and a history of Presidential elections in the United States. Since electoral votes are generally allocated on an “all or none” basis by state, the election of a U.S President is about winning the popular vote in enough states to achieve 270 electoral votes, a majority of the 538 that are available.
and just for fun…Duck for President
Last week I had several around the web links concerning raising boys. Many of the links dealt with aggressive girls. We encountered this issue on a small-scale this past year as my oldest son began his first year in a school setting. With all my children going to school this fall Preacher daddy and I have had several conversations with our older children about exhibiting Godly behavior, how to identify and deal with teenage drama, and boy/girl issues as they arise as well as many other issues.
Preacher daddy was a youth minister for many years before planting a church. Over those years, we have seen it all the good, bad and ugly. As a result it has been my prayer that the Lord would give us lots of wisdom as parents. That He would give our children wisdom, a love for Him and others, and the ability to recognize the enemy’s schemes. I am also fully aware that a parent can do the best job they know how and a child can still make bad decisions. That is why preacher daddy and I try desperately to find biblically solid opportunities for our children to participate in that will help them grasp and apply truth for themselves.
As parents, we pray for other mature believers, conferences or camps to also come along side them and speak the Word as well as Biblical principles into their lives. Many times, for them to attend these we have to request scholarship help. The children have to work, and send out support letters to pay their way. If for only a week or two, they are not the preacher’s kid, but just another youth growing in their relationship with the Lord is worth the letter writing, lawn mowing, and anything else we can do to get them there. This year my oldest son applied and was accepted to Summit Ministries Student Conference . Summit is an amazing ministry and we are thrilled that the oldest boy will be attending this year.
Raising children in today’s world is not an easy task.
That’s why the most powerful tool I have as a parent is prayer.
“No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will supply its lack.”E.M. Bounds
How often have we prayed something like, “O Lord, be with cousin Billy now in a special way”? Have we stopped to consider what it is we’re requesting? Imagine that you are a parent who is preparing to leave your children with a babysitter. Would you dream of saying, “O Betsy, I ask you now that you would be with my children in a special way?” No way. You would say, “Betsy, the kids need to be in bed by 9 pm. They can have one snack before their baths, and please make sure they finish their homework. You can reach us at this number if there’s any problem. Any questions before we go?” We are very specific with our requests and instructions for our babysitters. We want them to know specifics. It should be no different with prayer. –David Jeremiah
May we always use our most powerful tool, and use it well.
The links this week are a few articles I have enjoyed as well as a study I think is fabulous to go through with girls from teens to any age.
Taming the Wild Tongues in your family
How to Ruin your kids for Life
The Missional Mom
Three must have Bible Apps
Five misdiagnosed symptoms | The Cripplegate
In the Emergency Room, decisions of life and death are regularly made with extreme pressure and very limited information. Symptoms present themselves and a trained, discerning mind diagnoses the real issue. Get it right and the treatment plan takes over. Get it wrong and not even the best treatment plan is able to fully help.
But what about diagnosing spiritual problems? Only God is omniscient and has a full, uninfluenced view of the human heart (1 Samuel 16:7). As believers, our discernment must be driven by the insights and fruit Scripture directs us toward as His Word exposes and corrects issues of the heart (Matthew 7:20; Hebrews 4:12-13). Many more could be added, but here are five symptoms that are commonly misdiagnosed by pastors:
A Guy’s Take on Modesty–From a Beach Trip – Inside Girls’ Ministry
March, I had the privilege of spending a week in Panama City serving alongside some amazing college students from all over the country at a LifeWay event called Beach Reach. My role was to speak to college students as they prepared to share Christ in practical ways with their peers—spring breakers looking for all manner of MTV-style fun. God moved and the experience was fruitful.
As a pastor, (12 years in kids/student ministry), I was alarmed by what I saw.
6 Unbiblical Methods for Change | Counseling One Another
Many professing Christians seek change in their lives using methods which are contrary to Scripture. As a result, they don’t experience the change which God seeks to produce in his people. In the very helpful booklet, HELP! Want to Change, which I refer to as a primer on progressive sanctification, pastor and biblical counselor Jim Newheiser mentions six common, but ineffective, methods for lasting personal transformation.
Georgia Voters to Consider Charter School Constitutional Amendment | Heartlander…
“The law, up until a few years ago, only allowed a local school system to charter a school,” said Sen. Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock). “You didn’t see a lot of great return in terms of academic achievement because a lot of the same people who were running the school before the conversion were running it after. Start-ups, time and time and time again, were defeated. Essentially these start-up charter organizations came to legislators and said we need another authorizer because the local system won’t approve us.”
Please Don’t Ask about My Child | Home Educating Family Association Blog
You run into an old friend at your homeschool support group you haven’t seen in quite some time. You do a bit of catch-up, the chit chat goes on for a while, and then, here it comes—the question you’ve been dreading—“So, how’s that daughter [or son] of yours doing?”
Paste on that smile. Take in a quick breath, but inside, die . . . just a bit.
Second (2nd) Grade Skills | Grade Level Help at Internet 4 Classrooms
‘A Test You Need to Fail': A Teacher’s Open Letter to Her 8th Grade Students | C…
Dear 8th Graders,
(llustration: David McLiman)
I didn’t know.
I spent last night perusing the 150-plus pages of grading materials provided by the state in anticipation of reading and evaluating your English Language Arts Exams this morning. I knew the test was pointless—that it has never fulfilled its stated purpose as a predictor of who would succeed and who would fail the English Regents in 11th grade. Any thinking person would’ve ditched it years ago. Instead, rather than simply give a test in 8th grade that doesn’t get kids ready for the test in 11th grade, the state opted to also give a test in 7th grade to get you ready for your 8th-grade test.
But we already knew all of that.
What I learned is that the test is also criminal.
5 Things You Should Know about … | The Resurgence
If child molesters are so “good” at what they do, what steps can the faith community take to ensure that they don’t succeed? Learning how offenders think and act is the first step in developing protective antennas, which can keep our community safe from those who pose a risk to our little ones. This post will examine five basic behavioral characteristics offenders that must be understood if we are committed to making the faith community a safe community.
Video: Some people are going to get hurt | Communicate Jesus
This short but powerful video unpacks the practical outworkings of Dawkins’ beliefs. It was developed to support the Doubting Dawkins campaign.If you are viewing this in an email or RSS reader, please click here to watch the video.