Sunday, August 26, 2012

Say Jurisdiction Five Times Fast

Eight years ago, I met a woman who introduced me to child training, discipling your kids, homeschooling and the like.  She has influenced the "why" of what I do in my home every single day.  I am so grateful for her!

One thing Lori taught me was about giving my kids (soon-to-be kids...I was a newlywed with no bun in the oven yet!) ownership in our home.  I wasn't a great house-keeper then when it was just Treavor and me, so how in the world was I going to manage all the work that being a mommy requires as well as keep us from living in a pigsty?  I definitely have NOT arrived yet, but I am working on it.  Enough about me...

So, giving my kids ownership in my home can be seen in a million different ways, but there is one thing I have started this week: Jurisdictions.  Say what?


noun - the territory over which authority is exercised

Or, in my dictionary, the territory over which one child is responsible for.  It is different than a is more like a responsibility.

So, in the practical sense, every day except the Sabbath, in the morning and at nighttime, they are to inspect their "jurisdictions" and see if they are in right order.  If there is a need to, they might even have to teach someone in our family about how to help keep that place in order.  That's where the small ounce of authority comes in.

For instance: 

Jeshurun (the 6-year old) is in charge of sweeping off the front porch, throwing away any wayward trash that has collected there, and arranging the shoes outside the door.  In the morning, he will organize...and in the evening, he will shake out the rug, sweep, and puts things in a general order.  If someone is habitually leaving their shoes right on the welcome mat (, then he has the authority to remind me (politely!) about where to put my shoes.

The front porch - completed!  So much more welcoming than how it usually is.

Huy (the 4-year old) is in charge of putting all the shoes in pairs on the inside shoe rack, and is also in charge of sweeping the area around it with a small hand brush and dustpan.  When I told him about it this morning, he literally jumped to the job.  For some reason, he got the "orderly" gene that skipped me.  Bummer.

Huy's jurisdiction - completed!  Ah...mental stress freedom!  (At least at the front door)

Now, I realize that even my four-year old probably can't even say jurisdiction...let alone my little toddler (who is, conveniently, exempt from jurisdictions).  Hey, for fun, you should even ask your own kids (if ya got 'em!) to say jurisdiction five times fast.  That would be funny.  But, even though my four-year old might not be able to even repeat it properly, I was so surprised to find out how quickly he would "own" it.

As I have read and observed in my home and in others, kids really love to help out!  If the job is do-able for their age, and if we parents can encourage them and point out when they complete it well, it is so motivating to them to have ownership over certain areas of the home.  And, frankly, it crosses off a few more things on my list of things to clean every day.  As my kids get older, their jurisdictions will change as their abilities change, too.  And, I just might get to prop my feet up a little more instead of wear myself out every day like I already do.  

Score one for mom.

Score one for my kids' future homes.

And, amen for a light at the end of the tunnel to having a more prepared, hospitable home.  One day!  

This definitely needs some sort of ownership.  Yikes!  One day at a time...

Do you have anything to elaborate on the subject of ownership, chores, or keeping your own space in order?  I would love to hear it!  My closest friends know I need all the help I can get.  Share your thoughts in the comments below:

Friday, August 24, 2012

10 Things I Like Today

Our view today on our way out to get dinner.  We saw God's promises splashed all over the sky!

1. Promises written in the sky...over my neighborhood...over my adopted country...over my life!

2. Brand spankin' new crayons.

How I love thee, Crayola, let me count the ways...

3. We broke out #2 because the kids and I have returned back to home school.  These past few weeks have been awesome.  I am finally feeling like I am in a groove with three.  Now if I can just get Kyla to keep still...

4. Potty-training Kyla.  It has actually been a joy.  Seeing her wear Hello Kitty undies, wash her hands by herself, and eat Starbursts (her treat for a dry diaper at nap time) has been fun.  It is Day Three.  Ask me on Day Ten if it is still a joy.  ;)

Bird of Paradise plant in the front yard.  I love these!

5. My garden blooming even after not being around to tend to it for four months.  Bird of paradise flowers, purple, white and yellow orchids, and twenty plus papayas.  Wow.  God is awesome.  Oh yeah, and my Christmas grass didn't die.  Treavor bought me grass last Christmas and and it made it through the hot season without me.  Oh, the joy!

6. Breaking out the bread machine for the first time since being back.  If being addicted to carbs is wrong, I don't wanna be right. 

7. Movie Night tonight; Finding Nemo for the billionth time (it's still good!).  To-go Thai dinner.  Freshly baked cinnamon raisin bread (see #6) for dessert.  

8. Earlier today I finally talked with my neighbor and gave him the souvenir from the States that I bought for him and his wife.  How lame is it that we've been here three weeks and I'm just now doing this?  Lame.  But, now I have finally broken the ice (again) with them (the first time was a year ago when we moved in!).  Maybe they'll finally talk to us now that we brought them sweets!  :)

9. Treavor's at a meeting tonight.  I don't like being away from him in the evening, but the reason he's gone is why I'm loving it; there is a group of new leaders that have come to know Jesus and are wanting to know how to disciple others in His love.  What a great reason for me to fly solo tonight!  We have the best job in the world.

If we were still in the States, would we get family photo ops like this?  Maybe if we were snake handlers...or in the circus?  

10.  When I am lonely, bored, confused, at a loss of what to do next, or when the silence in the house feels stifling rather than refreshing...I am so thankful to have the comfort of the Holy Spirit near to me.  In fact, He never leaves me.  My needs can be met and I am more content when He's the one that fills them, rather than a Facebook fix or even a phone call with a close friend.  It is in the silence that I can quiet my heart to hear Him better and better.

What's on your "like" list today?  I'd love to hear it!  Share in the comments below:

Monday, August 13, 2012

The iPod (i.e.: The Way I Gladly Cheat To Help My Son Love Quiet Time)

One thing I have learned through my journey of parenting is that I have to be willing to give in, yield, succumb, to change, evolve. Evolve sounds more palatable than other things, I guess.  I guess it is a way to save face.  Wow, I have been in Thailand for some time now.  Saving face is a huge value here.  

I posted once about leading Jeshurun in how to have a quiet time.  Since he became a new believer earlier this year, one of our chief parenting goals has been to help him learn more about who Jesus really is and that we can have a real relationship with Him.  I don't want my kids to know the Bible backwards and forwards, to pray eloquent prayers, or to play the guitar like a worship-leading rock star if they don't learn to really love Jesus first.  Check out 1st Corinthians 13 for more on that subject.

seriously awesome Bible for wiggly boys...some wiggly boys, at least!

So, when we bought a "real" Bible for Jeshurun while we were in the States, instead of relying on him reading bible story books for the rest of his life...we knew this journey wasn't going to be as easy as before when he needed a picture to go with everything he read. The Jesus Storybook Bible and all the other beautifully illustrated and highly paraphrased bible books are awesome!  I have cried through reading them myself and greatly value them for all my youngsters. But, they still don't hold a candle to the real, authoritative word of God.  We want our kiddos to learn to love The Word at a young age.

Fast forward to the last few months...

Jeshurun read through Genesis with no major reading problems (BTW: thanks, God, for that incredibly awkward story about Lot and his two daughters in the cave...I was so short on teaching points about sexual immorality).  *shudder*

But, as he started working though Exodus, I began noticing a reluctance every time we reminded him about spending time in the Word every morning.

"But it is hard!"

"I'm bored."

"Can't I just do something else instead?"

"I can't focus!"

And so on...

I started thinking that maybe we were missing something and that soon he was going to start dreading his quiet time rather than looking forward to it like he was before.  Enter...

...the iPod.

Ricky, Treavor's brother, graciously gave us his iPod because it was collecting dust in his house.  Treavor and I have been using this app from YouVersion...a free bible application that gives an almost endless option for translations.  Oh yeah, and a few of them have an audio bible option.  Perfect!

In observing that Jeshurun is more in love with audio books than I am in love with sitting for (extra) hours reading to him...Treavor had the genius idea to show Jeshurun how to use the audio bible on the iPod.  One catch, though...he has to listen to it two or three times in order to make sure he's actually catching the material rather than zoning out.  He's prone to zoning out.  He gets it from me.

What was I talking about?

Oh, after "reading" through his chapter a day, Run spends time in prayer and worship (music already conveniently located on the iPod) and then finds me when he is all finished.  We go over what he is reading, ask him questions about it, answer his own inquiries, and then check up on what he senses God is speaking to him about each morning.  

We have seen a complete turn-around in his attitude and have actually noticed that he is "getting" more out of the Bible than he was before.

Thank you, YouVersion creators
Thank you, Steve Jobs.
Thank you, Treavor...for your great idea.  

Even at reading one chapter a day (if he sticks with it) Jeshurun will have read through the bible at the ripe old age of 9.  This isn't a comparison issue.  This isn't a competition.  It is just a really awesome opportunity for him to work through, daily, what he believes.  It is a chance to, daily, feast on the words of Life.  

What else helps you to focus in your time alone with God?  Got any tips for this distractable mom (and son)?  Leave your advice below in the comments...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

First Leg Back To Thailand And Sippy Cup Woes

Our plane has just passed the International Date Line, has traveled almost eight hours at frightening speeds, and our children are averaging their third movie and their umpteenth snack and drink of the flight.  On the whole, my boys, sitting with Treavor, have been staring at their personal entertainment screens, watching Japanese pre-school cartoons and playing video games.  I love the Information Age.  Kyla, after eating a snack and napping a few hours, has been generally busy.  Busy.  BUSY!

We went on a "walk" around the plane to search out all the other babies on board, waved, got down their names and moved on to more interesting territory.

By "more interesting territory" I mean, the bathroom. 

Seriously folks, if you're at a loss to what to do with your child on a overseas flight...take a field trip to the bathroom.  We washed our hands, went potty (not necessarily in this particular order), made silly faces in the mirror, tried the complimentary lotion AND the Jasmine scented facial spray (lovely!)...

...and then there was an unfortunate incident with the sippy cup.  Rather, the lid of the sippy cup.  It may or may not have landed in the toilet. 

I kid you not...the toilet.

I was innocently trying to wash out the remains of Kyla's third helping of milk...when I dropped it promptly in the (empty!  Praise God, Hallelujah!) toilet.  Could I have wisely closed the lid of the toilet seat while I did my blessed washing....oh, no!  That would be too smart!

So after about three complete scrubbings with soap and the hottest water I could manage from the safety-sink in the plane's bathroom...we're good as new. 

Let's just hope Treavor doesn't read this entry.  He might banish me from watching Kyla for the rest of the trip...

On second thought, maybe I should forward this directly!

Off to endure the second leg of our trip: Seoul to Thailand.  You'll be hearing from me again soon if I can regain my ability to type after jet-lagging myself into this next new season of our ordinary life in the wild.  Thanks for reading, friends!
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