The ADHD Friendly Church

Confession: I was THAT kid at church. Restless. Slightly disruptive no matter how interested. I had to keep busy. 

My husband and I as unmarried 16 year olds at church.


15 years later I come to church and I see my boys, among other kids, and I get it. We can have the most dynamic worship team and the funniest Pastor, it is very hard for us ADHDers to do nothing during the service.

What are you saying Maria?! You don’t sit at church and do nothing! You pray! You listen! You worship!

Fair enough, let me expand. Yes, we actively worship, and provided we can sing along at the top of our lungs you still have our attention. But sitting still and listening during a sermon is NOT our forte! Even with our best intentions, our minds wander. And we get restless. As in, grab another cup of coffee, go pee, and remember to send that email kind of restless. 

True story: I either pray out loud or pray in writing. Bowing our heads and closing our eyes is how I take a power nap while out in public

My daughter asked if she could sing with Mommy and Daddy.


Which is why we seem to do better as a family in churches that are more ADHD friendly; a much more casual atmosphere, where we can laugh along with the distractions that inevitably happen without offense being taken. And where the sermons get to the point (sorry I had to be honest and say it).

What denomination is that?

I don’t know! I don’t think you’ll find it reading the church bylaws or ministry website. It’s an exclusively organic feel the congregation as a whole creates when they love your family and accept you- quirks and all. It’s a kid-friendly environment where they are not a distraction but the mission. It’s a place where you’re invited to plug in so you’re NOT asked to sit still for two hours week after week. 

Our small group doesn’t just do church, we do some camping and hiking too 🙂


Before you find this blog post disappointing (seeing as I didn’t solve your problems or gave you solid answers) I’d like to share that there are things YOU can do to make church work better for your family regardless of how differently-abled your family is:

  1. Be honest and open about the disability. You’ll find most ministers are compassionate. The majority of church folk want to believe that your boy isn’t acting like hell on wheels because he’s rebellious. A lot of times, they’ve just never met anyone quite like y’all. So speak up (the Bible tells Christians we can’t be psychic)!
  2. Try to make church enjoyable for the kids: they deserve something to look forward to! Reward incentives work great. Allow them to wiggle a bit and make friends. Mainly, lighten up your attitude! Do you ever wonder why some adults only come to church for funerals and weddings? If you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, and your kid can be himself, you’ll find everyone has a better time. 
  3. Minimize the uncomfortableness: is it hard to sit still? Bring crayons and paper to draw during service. Or take a Rubik’s cube. Or a fidget cube. And don’t fear the electronics: an iPad with the youversion app open to write notes is ok! A bag of gold fishes has saved many moms with toddlers. Flags to wave during worship and tambourines for kids are great too (except at my church, my pastor friends kindly asked me to pass on tambourines).
  4. Have an “end goal” in mind: our family normally doesn’t eat out during the week so Sunday lunch is often looked forward to. Also, MY boys bring Pokémon cards to church (Sacrilege!). Provided the actively participate during service, they can trade with friends afterwards. 
  5. Most importantly, make church about the people and the Lord, not the building. Our God is very relationship-minded and we should be too. Church for our family is the people we love! The quiet prayers, the worship music, and the listening is a daily part of our lives at home, so when it happens at church it’s no biggie! Instead, church is where we get to pray with our friends – and that’s what makes it even more special. 

Have any tips to share with that Mom that doesn’t feel like she can relax at Church? What encouragement would you offer her?

The Special Needs, Battle-Worn Parent

Confession: This post may seem like a rant.  But it’s my heart’s goal that through THIS momma’s rant, you can be just slightly more aware (if you aren’t already) of what it’s like to walk a mile in these shoes.

Being the mom of a special needs child is hard.  I know MANY moms in different battles and my heart just goes out for them, because though I have it much easier than some… It’s still exhausting.

boys reading

I’m sure we all have moments where we yell at others but only inside our heads, because we’re still trying to keep what little appearance of sanity we have.  But it may sound something like this:

“Well your child is constantly interrupting others and can’t wait his turn to talk, but I don’t think that’s an ADHD symptom at all…”

So you’re assuming he’s just rude and sabotaging his friends on purpose?  This is TEXTBOOK impulsivity in a social setting, classic symptom of ADHD – and I know, because I read the books.  Would you like one?

“Your child’s behavior is not the greatest, so although the rest of his peers are advancing, I don’t think he is taking this as seriously as his classmates and we won’t be advancing him.”

He fractured his hand at the growth plate of his middle trying to impress you with the skill he was trying to accomplish because it mattered to him THAT much to earn your approval though… Just sayin’.

chess

“I would never try medication with MY kids! We’ve been able to manage little Tommy’s behavior just fine by cutting out his sugar and red dye number 40.  I’ve also read that more protein helps little boys with the same issues you struggle with.”

Would you tell a diabetic that he just needs to get his fat self to exercise and eat healthy and he wouldn’t need his insulin any more?!?  And would you not think that I have tried everything before this point?

“I just don’t see the big deal with behavioral issues.  After all, boys will be boys.”

I don’t think boys are supposed to struggle with insomnia, bed wetting, and poor appetites either.  And him talking out of turn in a class is not nearly as concerning to me as the migraines he gets two to four times a week from constantly trying to focus around non-stop distractions.  But I’m glad you feel he’s manageable.

swimming

“My mom just whooped me when I didn’t focus.”

Yeah, my mom whooped me too.  We now have lived 6000 miles apart for the past 8 years.  You were sayin’?

“Have you considered that maybe you just shouldn’t homeschool him?  At some point you need to see you may be doing things wrong and you should leave him to an expert.”

I don’t even want to dignify this with an answer.

Anakin and friends

I could keep going. But I can also go in the other direction; I have friends who have just loved on us and never said a word – which is helpful.  But if there’s one thing I’d like for all these people to know is that they are the icing on the chocolate cake of my problems and my battle as a parent of this child.  Which is why many, many moms in my situation just walk away and don’t bother saying a word.

We don’t want to begin to tell you how much we have to wrestle with our spouses over this.  Many spouses are in a sort of tug-o-war over their hopes for their special needs children and how to address it, and while we’re walking that tight rope we’re still fussing with the child (usually over the SAME thing, over, and over again… It’s like beating a dead horse until you get it to the edge of the water and then making it take a drink!).  And we still have to research for outside sources of help for our child.  While managing the rest of the family and other “normal” kids and not so “normal” kids.  And let’s not forget any semblance of self care…

family pic

So from all moms like me, I kindly ask moms like you: When you see us in the struggle at the school line or the grocery store, don’t be THAT mom – the judgy mom, the mom with all the answers (the one I used to be, when everything seemed in control).  Instead, be the mom that brings an extra cup of coffee or sends a funny meme.  Be the mom that teaches their kids about differently-abled brains and how to be friends with kids who process life differently than yours.  Be the mom that “moves towards the mess.” If you don’t know what to do, just lift three fingers and whistle the “Hunger Games” tune.  We get it.

put your love glasses on

For Richer or for Poor

Confession: My husband and I attended a wedding where the bride refused to say, “or for poor” at the end of her wedding vows.  The preacher tried to get her to repeat the whole phrase, “For richer or for poor” twice… she would drop the last half of the phrase every time!


I’m thankful I’ve stuck with my husband on the “or for poor” parts of our lives, just as he has stuck with me on the “in sickness” part of our lives.  It would’ve been a lonely stretch if we skipped out on each other when times got tough.

For the record, we’ve been homeless more than once, tried to make ends meet in Oklahoma, Florida, and now Alaska. We’ve changed careers and jobs at least four times; from military, to Subway (making sandwiches), to the FAA, to selling cell phones, to now working in the medical field where he’s finally growing and doing great. 


Can I share a deep revelation I received through this journey?

A godly man doesn’t need to be reminded about his responsibility to provide. It’s a constant, heavy burden over his shoulders. It’s his primary ministry and his God-given curse. 

“And He said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.””

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

I didn’t learn this only from my husband, but also by having open conversations with other husbands when they shared how deeply work transitions and unemployment affected them. 

It is excruciatingly painful for a godly man to be unable to provide for his family. I qualify this statement by emphasizing that this is how a godly man feels because any man who intentionally neglects his family is not in a relationship with his God and is spiritually blind.  Whether or not your husband loves God is really up to you to know!


So what do we do in these seasons? When we can’t make all the ends meet, and the husband is applying for jobs unsuccessfully, and the notices are piling up on the kitchen counter…

  • Pray for your husband AND don’t nag at him. There are some needs that are meant for GOD to provide. And since you don’t really need to remind your husband of what needs to be provided for anyways, seek God for these burdens instead. 
  • Do NOT with-hold sex from your husband during difficult times. Contrary to pop culture bolony, sex is not just a physical need for your man; it heals his soul, and validates him deeply in a season where everything else is telling him “you’re not good enough.” And sex is not a reward tool, your husband is not a dog. 
  • Encourage your husband and appreciate all he does for you. It’s quite foolish to get angry at a man who’s spending a lot of time at work… because he’s working! And deep in his heart it brings him peace to know he’s providing- even if this comes with overtime, travel, or deployment. So thank him for the hard work, or the part time jobs, or the traveling, or the applications he has put in. He needs to know that it matters to you in a dog-eat-dog world.
  • Live within your means! Don’t make the burden more difficult by desiring a lifestyle that is outside of his (or yours, if you both work) income. Learn the biblical key to contentment so he can truly find solace and rest at home. 

I have learned to say, “I love going camping with you!” Instead of “I would love a Hawaiian vacation.”  And, as any godly man would, Paul actually took me to Hawaii kid-free for a four day honeymoon (debt free too!). I have learned to not mind used furniture if it means we’re not adding an extra bill. And I have specially learned to serve him in our budget by asking him, “What bills should we focus on with this paycheck? How much do you want me to spend on groceries?” I have the better memory for when bills are due, but he’s a better mathematician. 


More than anything, my husband is my favorite person. I’m happy to eat ramen noodles or steak and lobster with him. And you should feel the same way about your husband! 

These trials come to teach both husband and wife to rely on God and not only on themselves. Don’t despise the humble beginnings. Don’t fear the seasons of lack, because you both serve a God who knows all your needs. 
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

How can you encourage a struggling wife (or yourself) when finances are tight?

One Week of Idita-Reading

featured

Confession: My oldest son loves to read.  In fact, when he gets into a book we’re all normally annoyed by how he binge reads – and neglects everything and everyone else.  My daughter likes to read too…

… But when it comes to my youngest, asking him to sit down and read a book is like asking him to volunteer for wisdom tooth extraction.

Caleb at Iditarod Start

Here’s Caleb, freezing cold but happy to see the Iditarod Ceremonial Start in Anchorage!

Sit the youngest in front of the pediatrician and  he can read 4th grade level texts at age 7.  He knows a lot of “encyclopedic information” from books about animals and human anatomy.  But there’s something about sitting down with a book for a few minutes, specially a fiction book or a chapter book, that he was just not having it.

Enter IDEA, stage right! (Interior Distance Education of Alaska)

Anakin's Artwork

Original Artwork by Anakin Hass, done entirely by freehand 3/4/17

They are our homeschooling charter school.  I’m always very thankful of their educational support.  They have always stood behind me as a homeschooling parent – an experience I’ve heard is unique to charter schools in Alaska.

Our schools every year participate in the Iditaread, a race against mushers actively competing in IditarodThis race to Nome is a big deal for us Alaskans, as these Mushers access towns that are off the road system completely – only reachable by dog mushing or plane.

http://iditarod.com/photo/

Mats Pettersson lead dog jumps and is ready to continue to run after Mats checked in at the Kaltag checkpoint during the 2017 Iditarod on Sunday afternoon March 12, 2017.Photo by Jeff Schultz/SchultzPhoto.com (C) 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

In the Iditaread, kids read on average a page per musher’s miles.  They log their miles and try to make it from Fairbanks (only this year) to Nome (979 miles) before their selected musher does.  Many homeschooling families do this challenge outside of the official Iditaread because it’s very fun for readers. (That’s the key… It’s a marathon of reading, usually all pages are done in two to three weeks!). 

http://iditarod.com/photo/

Jason Mackey runs on the Yukon River with many snowmachine tracks running alongside on the trail nearng the Kaltag checkpoint during the 2017 Iditarod on Sunday afternoon March 12, 2017.Photo by Jeff Schultz/SchultzPhoto.com (C) 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Obviously, this was daunting for my 7 year old.  But I have a couple of liberties recommended to me by the teachers and staff at IDEA:

  • Pick rookie mushers for emergent readers!  Caleb is racing against Roger Lee in his first Iditarod, all the way from England! It gives them a chance to learn about new mushers.  If your kid is a good speedster reader, he can tackle the more challenging mushers.  My son always races against Dallas Seavey – and that’s hard to beat! He’s won multiple times and finished last year in record time.
  • I get to “vet check” the books the way veterinarians check the dogs to make sure they’re healthy.  In that sense, I can offer Caleb 2 miles per page if the book is more 2nd-3rd grade level, as well as make sure with my oldest who has read the entire I Am Number Four series that the content isn’t entirely inappropriate for a 10 year old.
  • Keep track with maps and colors and progress book marks – provided entirely by IDEA, Caleb now has a visual so he doesn’t feel discouraged.  He can trace his finger along his map and see how far he’s come!

iditaread1

We started with a kick off party at the school where each kid did a cut out of their lead dog.  Then the staff can move their dogs along as the kids reach the check points along the way.  This captivated all three of my kids!

Then we added a twist: Mom and Dad are doing the Iditaread too!  We’re racing mushers as well (and falling tragically behind, but it’s the effort and attitude that counts!).  We’re leading by example.  The rules for us are a little different though:

  • I can’t count pages I read during Paul’s work hours, because that’s not fair!  So the pages I read have to be between 12-1pm (his lunch break) or after 5pm in the evening.
  • Pages of books we read aloud to the kids in the evening or during lunch count for the parent who reads and the children who sit still and actively listen.  Woo-hoo for the Read Aloud Revival led by Sarah McKenzie!

iditaread2

We’ve spent a lot of evenings just reading after dinner until bed time. The TV is collecting dust, and I kind of like it that way! However, we decided to take the weekend off, and our mushers didn’t, so now we’re pretty far behind them.  But there has to be a balance to everything – a big learning point when you have 1 confirmed and one awaiting diagnosis for ADHD.  So there is still school work, math, writing, chores, family board games, outings and church.

And for the record, Caleb read 300 pages this week.  Motivated himself to make it 400 pages starting tomorrow.  He’ll make it to Nome with his “lead dog Max” in no time!

caleb and max

How do you motivate children to love reading when they seem to prefer doing ANYTHING else?

Moving Toward The Mess

In my last book review, I shared about Danielle Tate’s “Restoring the Lost Petal”.  It just so happens that I’m finishing up this other book – and it goes quite nicely with the last one!

There’s been a deep need in my heart to reach out and say some very important things.  And I believe that what God stirred in my heart with the last book and with this one are related.  So even though I was supposed to be done with Move Toward The Mess by mid-January, I think God’s timing was perfect.  It let me soak this book in a little bit deeper.

book

My last book review talked about the importance of the church addressing modesty, purity, and sexuality – since they did such a poor job with me!  I was already not a virgin when I got saved.  I was “too messy” for that church.  But we’re never going to get a grip on this much needed conversation if we’re afraid to get messy.

People will come into our churches just like I did – with soiled hands and a filthy dress – and we have the responsibility to embrace them into our Kingdom family.  We need to be the ones to affirm them in Christ, remind them of their God-given value, and remind them of their purpose.  This is not something we can do from a distance.  We have to get our hands dirty!  That’s not to say that “sinful people” contaminate us.  But we desperately need to learn to be comfortable with hugging, talking to, and spending time with people who are not washed in the blood… Because how else would they get to that point?  What else would attract them to God’s love if it isn’t demonstrated in our very own hands and feet?

muddy-splash

So without stealing the previous book’s thunder, I would say “Move Towards The Mess” by John Hambrick came at just the right time.  Because this book contains chapter after chapter showing us how God shows up in the lives of those who run towards the mess instead of away from it!

We live in a broken world.  Drive two miles away from your church and you’ll see the spiritual and moral chaos that is in every city; the poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, and prostitution.  And if the neighborhood is still nice, just keep watching; they may not be poor financially, but they’re poor in spirit.  Those kids may have a house to sleep in, but be so disconnected from their family it’s not quite a home either.  There’s still addiction to fight.  There’s still young girls using their bodies as currency to meet their needs.

So I hate to be the one to break it to you, but if your Christian walk is rather uneventful or you find your church life quite boring, it’s probably because you’re in a “country club for saints” instead of a “hospital for sinners”.  That’s not to say you need to change churches.  What you really need is a new perspective.

One analogy that Hambrick used which stuck with me so well is that church is really the locker room pre-game ralley with the coach.  The hype of being in that locker room is the precedence of going out into the field and playing the game – going out into the world, “moving towards the mess”, getting our hands dirty carrying out the plays our coach has planned.  Without hitting the field, using our grit, and finding our mettle these “locker room ralleys” are useless.  We waste time going to church if it doesn’t radically affect what we do outside in the world.

football

His antidote to this attitude really boils down to knowing that we are sinners saved by grace.  When we realize just how much God has forgiven in us, we stop waiting until we get our lives together, or until we get the right “title”, or waiting for the broken to come to us.  Our own need for grace becomes fuel to love others and want to bring salvation to them.

Not many churches will experience the randomness of a girl like me walking through their doors one Sunday in February and getting saved.  I was the exception, not the rule! Most people live on the fringes of the church property and won’t step inside because they feel filthy.  Well, my friends, let’s bring church to them.  Let’s move toward the mess.

Pick up your copy of “Move Towards The Mess” here, or you can win a copy on my blog by commenting below and answering the following question:

What mess do you feel God calling you towards?  Where does your heart ache the most towards others?

Disclaimer: I received two copies of “Move Towards The Mess” by the Blythe Daniel Agency in exchange for my honest review.  I was not paid to give a good review, nor will I receive any monetary compensation from your purchase.

Triumphal Procession

Everyone loves parades!  My daughter was in the Fur Rondy parade here in Anchorage last weekend.  She marched for American Heritage Girls.  My boys had a blast cheering their sister on and then getting candy and goodies from everyone else that passed by.


We all want to walk through life feeling like we’re a part of the parade.  We want people to cheer us on! To clap as we go by!  We want to feel victorious as we move forward…


… It doesn’t always feel that way, right?

If I’m honest, I’d say that lately it feels more like I’m walking the Green Mile.  Sometimes we’re in icky situations, surrounded by an icky crowd…

… Sometimes we’re sure that they are not cheering for us, they’re laughing at us as we walk by.  They are rejoicing in our misery.  We’re out to be spectacles, put on display for all our failures and short comings.

It’s times like this we just want to retreat.  Let’s just go home… we shouldn’t have left our beds.

The Apostle Paul can relate, he wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:9: “For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.”

Oh I can relate to that.  We have been technically homeless since last July; having moved in to our friend’s spare bedroom until the doors we are praying for get opened.  Every time someone asks, “Have you guys bought a house yet?” “How long can you stand to live with your friends?” it stings like an insult.

I’m pretty sure there are wives who wince the same way when they get asked, “When are you guys finally going to have a baby?” without knowing that they have tried… oh how hard they’ve tried!  Or the husband who hears the wife’s friend say, “How long has he been working for that company? And no promotion yet?”

First, you and me have to realize that these are innocent, well-intended questions.  Our friends aren’t trying to embarrass us, they’re concerned about us.  Even though their questions don’t seem very graceful, we can extend grace to them and forgive how they’ve stepped on our toes.

But more importantly…

We can turn the corner that Paul turned, when he realized that he wasn’t just placed at the end of a victory parade, as the prisoner of war to be laughed at.

Could it be that you and I are being paraded in our weakness, and in our frailty, because God wants to show us off to the world?  That maybe it’s right here, in this suffering, God is showing us to the world to say, “See my servant?  See her struggle?  Just you wait! I’m going to do something in her life that you wouldn’t believe unless you’d seen it with your own eyes!  The victory that’s coming for her is so great, you’ll want to see this now so you can see the revelation of what’s to come – and rejoice with her!”

2 Corinthians 2:14-15 New International Version (NIV)

14 “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” – Paul the Apostle

My friends, I can truly see that the suffering of this present time cannot be compared to the glory that is coming.

Joel 2:24-26 New International Version (NIV)

24 The threshing floors will be filled with grain;
    the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.

25 “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
    the great locust and the young locust,
    the other locusts and the locust swarm[a]
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
    and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
    who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.

These are promises we can hold on to as we walk through what feels like parades of shame.  We don’t have to walk in defeat, we can walk with joy and with our faces held high regardless of our circumstances!  It’s God’s heart to lead us in triumphal procession, to spread the aroma of His salvation everywhere, so that the world knows it was God who has worked wonders for us.

Do you have an encouraging promise to hold on to? Or a prayer request to share? List them below!

Restoring The Lost Petal

I shared a few blog posts ago that my daughter had asked Siri, “What is the definition of modesty?” and how I tackled that conversation.

no-shame

Confession: My feelings on the subject have been unraveled after reading “Restoring The Lost Petal” by Danielle Tate.  And although I have provided links so you can get a copy of the book for yourself, I was not paid to provide a good review and will not be compensated in any earthly way by your purchase of it.

I think it would be helpful to understand, first of all, that I was not raised a Christian.  I got saved at 15.  And I was already an angry, rebellious teenager trying to assert some level of independence from my mom by then.  I had already made less-than-ideal choices, and because of my attitude I already had a reputation (although it was far worse than I actually deserved).

Interesting thing about how I rolled back then: If you accused me of being slutty and I didn’t really deserve it, then I would go out of my way to show you how slutty I really could be.  I don’t know how this logically could’ve worked in my favor, but that was how I rebelled against EVERYONE – by one-upping whatever anyone said, being more than what I was accused of. More tough, more angry, more violent, more promiscuous, more cruel…

And yet, if I’m completely honest, these experiences didn’t hurt me as bad when they happened as they did AFTER I got saved and started going to church!

let-god-in

When Jesus showed up in my 15 year old self, I didn’t need to be told that my dating speed was inappropriate, or that self-harming was bad, or that I needed a whole new circle friends.  The Holy Spirit did that well enough; I understood at the moment I gave my heart to Christ and asked Him to be Lord of my life that I couldn’t have Jesus and live like I’m going to hell on wheels.

No exaggeration: I gave my life to Christ one Sunday morning, and while I was praying the sinner’s prayer, I told God, “And Lord, you know that tonight these boys from my neighborhood are going to knock on my window and invite me to sneak out while my family is asleep.  No sense lying to you about this.  I’m not sure I’m strong enough to say that I’m not going to go.  I need You to protect me from this.”

That night, I slept like a rock.  Heard at school that the boys went as far as opening my window and shook me in my bed as quietly as they could and I would not budge, so they left me alone in my room.  And they never came back.  #truestory

Christ’s forgiveness was so real at that moment that I completely forgave myself – being as far removed from that girl as the east is from the west.  The problem is, I went to church…


From then until I got married and got the heck out of dodge, it seemed that no one in my church believed I was changed – no matter all my efforts to prove it.  If I participated in EVERYTHING – from Mission’s Trips, to Bible Quiz, it was to get into my then-friend-now-husband’s pants.  Nothing I wore was modest enough.  The highlight of learning about sex was “Don’t do it! Don’t touch! Don’t even kiss! Until you’re married!”  And then when my husband and I decided to get married, the church refused to get involved under the auspice that we already had sex and our marital union would no longer be sanctified.

Sadly, this is a #truestory as well.  Needless to say, this did little to build me up in modesty and purity, little to break spiritual bondage, and little to bring healing…

the-why

Fast forward to this year, now that I’m 31 and even further removed from that person, I received a copy of this book to review.  Danielle and I are Facebook friends and we had engaged in blog-related activities and personal conversations over the years.  I was so stoked that she wrote this book and excited to offer her my support.

I didn’t realize how much I needed to read her words.  And that’s about as far as I’ll spoil it for you.  Because even though I wasn’t living a promiscuous/adulterous life style, and I wasn’t recovering from a traumatic abusive experience, I had still in some ways lost some petals and just learned to live without…

I strongly recommend this book for any girl of any age – before any sexual experiences or after, before marriage or married more than once… We as Christians need to re-engage in these conversations about sex, dating, modesty, purity and we need to do it right! We need to know much more than “don’t!” but also “Why?” and “When?” and “How?”  And we need to restore the petals in the flowers of our hearts and protect the flowers in the hearts of the younger girls coming up after us.

live-restored-title

You can get your copy of “Restoring The Lost Petal” by Danielle Tate here, but I’m also willing to give my copy away at random if you answer this prompt below:

What is the conversation about purity you WISH you had as a teenager?  If you could go back and give your 15 year old self a message on this subject, what would you say?

Seward!

Our family is just having a great time today. 

A friend of mine coordinated a nocturnal, overnight field trip to our very own Sea Life Center in Seward Alaska. 

Confession: I love taking pictures. There are so many memories I have of Venezuela; places I’ll never be able to show my husband or my kids. I wish I had a camera back then! So I go overboard with pictures now…


Even the drive is absolutely beautiful! I keep my nose glued to the glass the whole way there!


I drive this same road multiple times a year, and it always looks different. Seasons make a difference. 

We also love car trips to listen to Audiobooks. It’s so much fun to listen to a good story while you drive! Today, we played “The Spiderwick Chronicles” narrated by Mark Hammill. 


When that needed a break, the Celtic soundtrack to the Disney movie “Brave” did just fine!

Once in Seward, we arrived about four hours ahead of schedule, so we took our time walking around town. We tried to find some geocaches for Anakin’s camping badge. 


Oddly enough, at 26F and sunny it felt wonderful. Like, Lularoe leggings and a hoodie nice. There were also wild seals to observe on the bay, and a few bald eagles who had no problem with our intrusions. 


When we went in the Sea Life Center there was so much to see! Home to sea lions and Harbor seals, as well as plenty of local fish and an aviary. 


The experience is more than just watching the tanks. After dinner, we did two classes on marine biology that were fascinating! The kids (and I) learned so much!

Now we’re all in our sleeping bags between the seals and the birds. I don’t know that I will sleep… but I hope my kids do! 

You can see a few more pictures on Instagram, and there’s still so much on our schedule for this week that more blogs are to come, I’m sure!

Until then, I just want to thank my friend Cass and her husband for putting this together. It’s a super cool experience, maybe even more so for my husband and I – we never had experiences like this!


You know, sometimes you have deep theological thoughts, other times life throws you deep perspective. With RA, ADHD, and homeschooling I could have plenty to write about… And yet, sharing a nice experience is just fine too! Thankful to God for sunny days like these.

The Auditory Learner

I thought I was so smart when I made my daughter flash cards to memorize her multiplication tables.  Then my feelings were completely hurt when she wasn’t learning anything from holding them in her hands for 30 minutes at a time.

multiplication

Duh!

My daughter is an Auditory learner.  In part due to vision problems she had from Kindergarten through 2nd grade, which required vision therapy and kept her from successfully being able to read and write.  Vision therapy helped strengthen the nerves around her eyes and now she reads and writes just fine.

That doesn’t mean that she’s a visual learner though.  It just means she can read and write.

Her memory is directly linked to what she hears – specially what she hears in her own voice.  And this can be such a tough type of kid to teach because most public school curriculum is visual, and a lot of the homeschooling curriculum is kinesthetic (which works too, but only in some things).  So what do I use?

I get audio books for the books she’s supposed to read that are a bit too thick.  Our Library has the Overdrive app which allows us to borrow audio books directly to our phone!  Audible is a good source too.  And a good old fashioned trip to the Library for some CDs to play in the van work great too.  When we had long days in the van, driving everywhere, we listened to stories narrated by Jim Weiss.  Celtic Tales.  A Tale of Two Cities.  The Three Musketeers.  My kids know a lot of the classics from listening to this on the go.

It also means that we do better having conversations about history and science than making her write it or fill out worksheets.  Specially if I want her to remember key points.

Auditory math feels like watching paint dry.  I’m glad I use manipulatives for this, and she’s actually able to keep up visually for the most part.  But when it came to memorizing her time tables, which is just plain boring memorization, she couldn’t do it on her own.

For this, I sat down and talked her through the time tables.  I started with 2s and 3s, and then I would give her an answer and ask her what time table gave her that number (example: 18 = 2×9 and 3×6).  We sit together for thirty minutes and go back and forth on them, and if she’s confused, I ask her to say the correct fact four times back to back.  Now she’s learned up to her 5s.

Key issue for memorization: You have to sound confident.  Your brain has to hear you say it like you know it.  You can’t memorize questions or doubts.  If you sound like you don’t really know, what your brain will remember is that feeling of “I don’t really know”.

Bible verses? Read them out loud often.  Lines to recite for a play? Record yourself saying them and play it back!

brielle-headphones

At this point someone would ask me: How do I know I have an auditory learner?

  • Does your child make songs out of everything?
  • Do you hear your child talk to herself during play?
  • Can she pick up a rhythm or hum a melody she just heard?
  • Does your child have a prosecuting attorney-like ability to quote you on something you said?  Maybe even weeks ago? When you weren’t even talking to her?
  • Does your child pick up on words or phrases she hears others say?
  • Does your child like it when you read out loud?

Then these are hints that she might be an auditory learner.  They’re very musical.

I just learned to use her strength in her favor instead of beating the dead horse over concepts that she just wouldn’t memorize fresh off the text book.

I also have a kinesthetic learner (movement/wiggly butt) and a visual learner.  It spreads me out in my homeschooling day!  Between learning styles AND difference in grade levels, every child is almost always working individually on all subjects.

What would you say is your learning style?  Can you remember things you read?  Do you learn songs very quickly?  Or do you prefer to be hands-on to understand how things work? Share below!

Use It Or Lose It!

Confession: I lost my entire previous blog, with 3 years and 200 followers, because I forgot to pay for it one month.  I didn’t pay for it because I wasn’t using it.

Seems very irresponsible of me, I know, but welcome to my long laundry list of failures… potentially related to being ADHD myself.  It’s not the first mistake, and it probably won’t be my last.

child-bible

What reminded me that I had a blog in the first place (pathetic, I know) is that I heard this Bible passage some days ago:

Matthew 25:14-30 The Message (MSG)

The Story About Investment

14-18 “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

19-21 “After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

22-23 “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’

24-25 “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

26-27 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

28-30 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’

In older translations, the currency was known as a “talent”.  So the last verse in essence says that the talent was taken away from the servant who hid it underground and given to the one who had 10 talents…

My loved ones, there’s a “Use It Or Lose It” supernatural law at work here on Earth!

If you don’t fully articulate and bear weight on a joint, it will start to become brittle and weak, and you lose range of motion.

Coupons that you don’t redeem before their expiration date are worthless.

I’ve been sick this whole week, and I went to my medicine cabinet only to hopelessly discover that all my cold medication expired in 2015!  I had not used it in many years.  It all was useless now.

Our Heavenly Father is a “Give us Today” kind of God.  The manna in the desert was only for the day.  His provisions for us tend to be what we need for right now (how many of us have won the lottery and are financially set for the rest of our lives? I didn’t think so).  And the gifts and abilities He has blessed us with are for us to use them today – not in some future, potentially after retirement! Now!  Because when He suddenly returns, He will ask, “What did you do with the talents I invested in you?”

Let’s be good and faithful servants then.  If we put to use even the smallest things we have been blessed with, He is good and will bless us with more.

Let’s pay heed to the fact that just returning what was given is not enough for the Master.  He owns thousands of hills under which He can bury treasure to dig up later.  It is a disrespect to our Master to not even attempt to put His gifts to work.

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Do you have some talents lying kind of dormant right now?  What can you do to start activating them, even if just a little at a time?